Meeting My Rival

Meeting My Rival

It really hurt to see him with her but what did I expect? A man with his looks and personality was bound to have a woman in his life. I just wished it were me.

A couple of hours had passed and I was still hanging out with the women I was with when he and his date arrived at the party. They were all single like me. Natalie was a law secretary at a very prestigious law firm; Michelle was a secondary school teacher; Vonetta was a Marketing Director; Cathy was a Pediatric and Wendy was a Fashion Editor.

“It’s too bad that he’s taken,” Natalie remarked.

“You can’t expect a gorgeous man like that to still be unattached,” Cathy piped in.

“Is that his girlfriend?” Vonetta asked me.

“I don’t know,” I replied.

“You don’t know?” she looked at me in surprise. “But, you work with him, don’t you?”

“Yes, I work with him but it doesn’t mean that I know much about his love life.”

“Well, whoever she is, she’s darn lucky to have snagged him,” Michelle remarked, her green eyes filled with envy.

“With her looks, the rest of us don’t stand a chance,” Natalie concluded.

“Are you all right?” Cathy asked me.

“Yes, I’m fine–“

“He’s coming over,” Michelle announced.

My heart began to beat faster as I turned and saw him approaching us. I nervously smoothed the skirt of my dress. I managed to plastic a smile on my face. I was glad that he was alone. I didn’t know where his date was and I didn’t care. His handsome face broke into a smile when he reached us. His eyes met mine. “Good evening,” he said.

“Good evening,” I replied, sounding a tad breathless.

“You look stunning,” he replied.

My face felt hot because of the way his eyes traveled slowly over me before they met mine in a steady gaze. “Thank you. You look very handsome as usual.”

“Thank you.”

“Well, aren’t you going to introduce us?” Vonetta demanded.

After apologizing, I made the introductions. “Ladies, this is my boss, Andreas. Andreas, this is Natalie, Michelle, Vonetta and Cathy.”

“Andreas, you’re even more gorgeous up close,” Vonetta said as she shook his hand.

Andreas smiled. “Thank you.”

I watched as he shook each woman’s hand, wishing that he and I were alone. It was nice when we worked late. It was just the two of us. Everyone else had gone home. We would order take out and eat before we continued working. We would sit on the sofa in his office, talking about all sorts of things while we ate Thai or Greek or Italian or West Indian. We knew so much about each other and that’s why I was surprised when he showed up tonight with a date. I didn’t get the impression that he was seeing anyone.

I started when I heard him say, “Will you excuse us?” and then, taking me by the arm, he led me away. I could feel their envious stares following us as we walked out of the ballroom. We stepped through the open French doors and unto the balcony. It was a lovely night. A cool breeze was blowing, it caressed my skin and teased his hair which I longed to run my fingers through.

I chided myself for my thoughts and glanced away. I could feel him watching me. We were alone. Inside, we could hear music, laughter and voices. At any moment I expected his date to find us. “I had no idea that you were dating.”

“Dating?”

“Yes.” I turned to face him. “The woman you came to the party with.”

“Kamila and I aren’t dating.”

“Oh. When I saw you with her, I thought…”

“You thought she was my girlfriend?”

“Yes.”

“Well, she isn’t. We arrived at the same time and decided that we would walk in together.”

“Oh.”

“You and I have known each other for a long time, Pauline. If I were dating someone, you would know just like I would know if you were dating someone.”

“She’s very beautiful.”

“Yes, she is but I’m not attracted to her.”

I was so relieved to hear that and was about to tell him so when Kamila joined us. “I’m leaving now,” she said to Andreas.

“All right,” he replied. “Before you leave, though, I would like you to meet my secretary, Pauline.”

Kamila smiled and extended her hand. “It’s nice finally meet you, Pauline. Andreas has told me so much about you.”

I was very surprised to hear that. “It’s nice to meet you too.”

“Pauline thought that you and I were dating.”

“Andreas and I are just friends,” Kamila told me. “There was a time when I would have liked to be much more but then, I met Khalil.”

“Khalil is her fiancé.”

Kamila showed me her engagement ring. It sparkled. “He proposed a couple of weeks ago.”

“Congratulations,” I said.

“Well, I’ve got to run now. It was nice meeting you, Pauline.” She hugged Andreas. “I’ll call you during the week. Goodnight.”

“Goodnight.”

She left and Andreas and I were alone again. We spent a long time on the balcony and then, he offered to take me home.