Character List

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Figure It Out

**** Author's Note:  I apologize to those that read Amanda's tirade yesterday.  Her heart was definitely in the right place but maybe not her head;)  Anyways, I just wanted to say that I welcome all comments - good and bad (as long as their constructive).  Also it has been brought to my attention that my posts might come across as though I'm talking down to my readers or feel that I am more advanced or proper than them.  Please believe that is furthest from the truth and never my intention.  I am grateful for all of you and appreciate the time you take to read this blog.  I want to create an open forum where we can interact and discuss posts; I encourage all of you to share your thoughts.  I love reading them, even when they don't agree with Elisabeth's antics!!  Trust me I don't love her behavior at times either and I have favorite posts and then some that I don't love just like my readers. Anyways, thanks again and I hope that you all have a great Halloween!!)

For the past three days, Lukas and Joe's fight replayed in my mind.  I still had unanswered questions such as who the fuck invited Joe and why he was hellbent on creating a situation?  Melissa called and texted numerous times but I was pissed that brunch unfolded as it did and ignored her.  I felt incredibly guilty knowing that I hurt Anthony.  I now know and believe that Anthony had nothing to do with this debacle and felt that Melissa set me up.

I close my eyes and I'm taken back to that moment.  My heart was in my hands and I couldn't speak as I stood helplessly, mere inches away from where Lukas and Joe rumbled.  I wanted to scream for help or jump in and protect Lukas but was paralyzed with fear. I watched in horror as Joe struck Lukas in the face.  Blood oozing out of his busted lip.  That incensed Lukas even more and he started pummeling Joe as the two of them wrestled on the sidewalk. Thankfully Eric and Anthony came out of nowhere and pulled them apart.

Lukas insisted he was alright but I wanted to take care of him.  This might sound odd, but having him defend me totally turned me on.  He had always been calm, collected and in control; seeing him lose his cool and going at Joe scared and turned me on simultaneously.  In my opinion there's nothing hotter than knowing that your man can protect you if need be.  Seeing Lukas like that made me realize just how much he truly means to me.

I cringed, recalling how I blamed Anthony for Joe being there in the first place.  He looked so hurt when and shocked by my accusation.  He was genuine when he looked me in the eye and said he didn't invite Joe and didn't even know what he was doing there.  It killed me knowing that I hurt him and I realize now that I should have apologized immediately.  I don't know why I act like such a spoiled child at times...I swear I'm working on it because that's one of my weaknesses.

As we cabbed it to my apartment, I light traced the bruise that was forming on the left side of Lukas' face before kissing him softly.  I traced his swollen upper lip and asked if it hurt.  He shook his head, "No.  It was worth it."

"Thank you for defending me" I said emotionally.

With a small smile, he replied, "I would never let anyone disrespect you.  There's no reason for Joe to talk shit about you."

"Thanks.  I swear nothing he said was true" I said quickly.

He took a deep breath.  "Who the fuck invited him?"

"Anthony said he didn't and I believe him.  That only leaves Melissa.  I don't want to believe that she would intentionally invite him knowing that it could lead to crazy drama" I explained.

He shrugged, "He's a piece of shit."

As we drove through the congested Manhattan streets, my hands trailed up Lukas' muscular thighs; I blushed when I felt his erection.  I stroked him slowly while staring into his intense green eyes.  Needless to say we were both very aroused as we rushed out of the cab and into my building.  That night we had round after round of mind blowing sex.  It was what both of us craved and needed after all the madness.  By the time we fell asleep, I felt more connected to Lukas that I ever had.

-----------

The next morning I was full of anger when I opened a text from Joe.  

"Hey Liz.  Sorry about yesterday.  I was drunk and couldn't control my emotions.  Forgive me?"

I scoffed and immediately deleted his text.  There was no way I was willing to forgive Joe.  How dare he come to brunch and then make pointed comments to get under Lukas' skin?  Even worse he had the audacity to say that I wanted to fuck him the night at the bar.  That couldn't be any further from the truth. I loved Lukas and he was the only one I wanted to be with.  Joe had his chance and blew it.  I had long moved on.

I cringed recalling Joe ambushing Lukas and hitting him in the face, splitting his lip.  In retrospect, I should have kicked him the balls and told his ass off but I was too scared to even move.  If Joe had seriously hurt Lukas, I honestly don't know what I'd do.  How would Joe have reacted if the cops showed up and he was arrested for battery?  He talked about how much he loved and cared for his daughter but if that were true he wouldn't have even put himself in that situation?

Then on top of everything, he had the nerve to use being drunk as an excuse for his behavior?  A grown ass man should be able to know his limits and control himself better.  I was glad that Lukas kicked his ass and didn't hold me accountable for Joe's presence.  I cringed remembering what a bitch I'd been when Rachel texted him and at the wedding with Sandy.  I made such a huge deal about both women being overly flirtatious when Lukas had done nothing but reaffirm his love and affection for me.  In retrospect those incidents seemed trivial compared to what Lukas had to put up with.  First Jason, his dislike for Grant who I continued to hang out with regardless of Lukas' protestations and then him having to fight my high school ex.  He would have every right to be upset with me but he wasn't. Instead he told me he would always do whatever it took to protect me.  I needed to lose my insecurities and appreciate Lukas a lot more.

I was so caught up in my thoughts that I almost missed my stop.  I hurried out of the train and walked up the block to SIB.  I literally threw myself into my work to keep my mind off the anger that consumed me.

----------

I finally decided to text Melissa back when I was leaving work Wednesday afternoon.  I needed some answers and she was the only one that could provide them.  Melissa was home and insisted that I stop by her apartment so we could talk.  I immediately agreed.

It was close to seven when Melissa threw open her apartment door and hugged me.  "I'm so glad you're here" she squealed as I walked in.

"Melissa, we need to talk" I said curtly.

She motioned for me to sit on the couch.  "I heard about Joe and Lukas' fight.  How is Lukas doing?" she asked, nibbling on her bottom lip.

"He's okay.  Why was Joe at brunch?" I blurted.

She stuttered before getting up and walking towards her galley kitchen.  "Want a glass of wine?" she hollered.

"No, Melissa.  I want an answer to my question NOW" I demanded.

She returned to the living room with a glass of white wine.  She took a huge gulp before trying to change the subject again.  I gave her the side eye before gathering my things.  "Honestly, Melissa.  If you're only going to sit there, drink wine and avoid my questions, then I might as well leave."

"Please don't go" she pleaded.

I sighed, "Are you going to answer my questions or just give me the run around?"

After another sip of wine, she said "I'll answer your questions."

"Fine.  Why was Joe at brunch?"

She avoided my glance.  "I swear I didn't think he'd cause any problems."

"Answer the damn question" I demanded.

"I ran into him on Friday and we started talking.  He asked what I was up to for the weekend and I let it slip that I was planning celebratory brunch for you and Lukas moving in together" she replied.

I was hoping she'd continue but when she didn't I asked, "And you invited him?"

She shook her head.  "Not exactly.  He kinda invited himself and I didn't have the heart to dis-invite him.  I didn't think he would cause any trouble.  When he heard that you were moving in with Lukas he seemed genuinely happy for you.  If I had known this would happen I would've told him he wasn't welcome" she explained emotionally.

"Okay" I said flatly.

Her eyes met mine, "I swear Elisabeth, I had no idea that he would've turned into a raging lunatic.  Please believe me."

We sat in silence for a couple minutes while I processed her words.  Melissa was never the type to knowingly get involved with or create drama.  In fact, she hated drama with a passion.  She was the type who said what was on her mind and squashed disagreements before they got started.  She looked incredibly distraught sitting and waiting for me to say something, anything.

"I believe you" I responded honestly.

She threw her arms around me.  "That means so much to me.  I'm so happy that you've found Lukas and I can see how happy you make each other.  I feel horrible that brunch went so bad.  Please let me make it up to you and Lukas."

I shook my head.  "That's not necessary.  I mean you aren't responsible for Joe's actions."

"I know but I'd, no we'd like to take you and Lukas on a double date.  Just the four of us.  I promise no freaking drama.  Only good food, company and conversation."

I smiled at her, "Okay but let me run it by Lukas first and get back to you."

"Perfect."

--------------

After conversing with Melissa, I still felt uneasy.  I wanted to completely believe her story, that she ran into Joe and he asked about her plans for the weekend but it didn't make sense.  Melissa worked in Midtown and Joe was attending graduate school in Long Island.  How would they cross paths?  Something wasn't adding up for me.  The only person who would be able to provide some color is Joe but there was no way in hell I was going to contact him.  He had texted me numerous times since Sunday night to apologize.  Initially I ignored him and then by Monday night I had enough and blocked his number.

The answer to my dilemma was right there when I opened my apartment door - Anthony.  Priya was busy studying while he played with his iPhone.  I felt awful accusing him of inviting Joe and apologized to him Monday afternoon on the phone.  Thankfully he accepted my apology and confessed that he felt guilty letting Joe leave on his own accord.  He didn't realize that Lukas and I had left and would cross paths with Joe.  I convinced him that he wasn't at fault for the fight and we made up.  I knew that he had met Lukas for lunch on Tuesday and apologized as well.  I appreciated the lengths Anthony was going to make things right, even though it wasn't necessary.

I smiled happily at both him and Priya.  "Hi guys, how's it going?"

"Ugh, I'm so sick of studying" Priya bitched.

Anthony gently rubbed her back.  'It's going well, Priya's just overreacting.  What's up with you?  You seem happy."

I shrugged, "Same old, same old."

He titled his head to the side and looked at me in disbelief.  "I know you well enough to know that's bullshit."

I giggled and Priya sighed.  "Guys, I'm trying to study here and I'm totally stressed...can you two take it down a few notches?"

Both Anthony and I mumbled apologies.  Priya looked completely frazzled.  "I don't mean to take out my frustrations on either of you.  This class is working my last nerve and I'm completely stressed."

I nodded, "I understand, no I mean we both do.  I remember how on edge I was when I was taking calculus.  I know it's no comparison to Medical school but I think I get how you're feeling."

With a small smile she replied, "Thanks, Liz.  I appreciate it."

I didn't want to interrupt Priya's studies anymore and asked Anthony if he wanted to go for a walk with me.  He asked Priya is she was cool with that; she totally was and actually seemed relieved to have a few moments to herself to study.

We made small talk until we came across a Starbucks.  Not hard to do considering that there is practically one on every other block in the city.  After getting our drinks we sat on the stools looking out onto the bustling street.  Anthony wasted no time asking what's going on and why I asked him to go for a walk.

I played with the stir in my latte nervously.  "I was wondering if you'd do me the biggest favor."

His eyebrows perked up, "What type of favor?"

"Well, I just came back from talking to Melissa but I'm not completely buying her story that Joe invited himself to brunch.  She claims she ran into him on Friday and he asked what her plans were for the weekend.  I might be totally off but my gut tells me something's wrong."

He frowned and wrinkled his forehead, "Joe was in class all day Friday.  I even have a text from him saying that.  Is it possible Melissa went to Long Island Friday?  She's usually honest so I can't picture her making something like this up."

I nodded, "Me neither.  It's just that something about her explanation doesn't make sense to me.  Maybe I'm overreacting and making a big deal out of nothing."

He shook his head.  "I'm not saying she's lying but there are holes in her explanation."

"That's why I need you to help me" I said anxiously.

"How?"

I sipped my latte through a straw.  "I was hoping you'd ask Joe how he ended up at Bagatelle."

Anthony turned to face me.  "I haven't spoken to him since I told him off for ruining brunch.  If you want me to, I'll ask him but it's your call."

"I'd appreciate it if you would" I replied firmly.

Anthony nodded, "Okay, I will but you do know that me asking him might stir the pot and prolong the drama."

I paused for a moment;  I hadn't really thought of that.  Right now Joe was pretty much on the back burner and I liked it that way.  Having Anthony contact him might lead to more drama.  Was that a risk I was willing to take?  I sighed loudly.  "I want to know but I don't want to get embroiled in drama."

"Why don't you think about it and then let me know what you decide?" Anthony said understandingly.

I shot him a small smile.  "I will.  Before we head back, I gotta ask.  What's up with Priya?"

He chuckled, "She's worried about her classes and completely stressed.  I've tried helping her but what the fuck do I know about medical school?"

"Maybe she just needs time to herself to get lost in her studies" I suggested.

"I know. As much as I want to spend time with her, maybe hanging around when she's in the midst of studying is more of a distraction.  I'll have to be a little bit more creative."

---------------------

Friday night I excitedly got ready for my date with Lukas.  I hadn't seen him since Monday morning when he left my apartment after a night of passionate sex.  He had a black and blue on his cheek and a fat lip.  Not exactly a professional look.  He ended up working from home most of the week and only went into the office when absolutely necessary.  Even though we didn't spend much time physically together, we still FaceTimed, texted and talked on the phone each day.  I searched through my closet multiple times before settling on black DVF fit and flare dress with black Dolce and Gabanna t-strap pumps.

The weather in NYC had transformed from springlike to late fall.  It was only 50 degrees max outside.  I slipped on my Burberry trench and grabbed my bag before leaving.  As my cab pulled up in front of Tao, I immediately spotted Lukas in a dark fitted suit and tie.  I don't know about other women, but a man in a well-fitted suit turns me on.  I hopped out of the cab and wrapped my arms around Lukas before brushing my lips against his.  "I've missed you so much" I cooed as he pulled away and took my hand in his.

"You look amazing as usual" he said huskily as we walked into Tao.

Moments later we were seated and waiting for our Lychee Martinis.  "You lip has gone down and no more black and blue bruise" I said quietly.

He smiled, "Yeah.  I looked like shit for a few days but I'm good now."

"I'm sorry you had to deal with Joe."

He waved his hand.  "Elisabeth, I would never let anyone disrespect you or my family.  What Joe did was utterly wrong and uncalled for.  I don't want you to apologize for him again."

I reached across the table and entwined my fingers with his.  "Thank you. Even though I was terrified that something bad was going to happen to you, I appreciate that you defended me."

Our eyes locked as he brought my hand to his lips and kissed gently.  "It's the least I could do."

I giggled and he joined in. In that moment, I realized that it didn't matter how Joe ended up at brunch. Melissa invited him and it didn't matter how that invitation came to be.  What's done is done and no one can change that.  Instead of focusing on the past, I needed to live in the moment with Lukas.  During dinner we exchanged stories about our college days. Eventually our conversation shifted to Lukas' new apartment.

"I can't believe I'm closing on Wednesday" he said excitedly.

"We should totally celebrate" I chirped.

He looked at me for a second as though trying to read my mind, "What do you have in mind?"

"It's a surprise" I said with a wink.

He laughed, "I love surprises."

I hit him playfully with my napkin.  "Like hell you do."

"Okay I don't but your surprises are pretty awesome."

I leaned over and kissed him softly.  "Trust me this one won't disappoint."


Monday, October 27, 2014

As Told By Lukas.......

Our celebratory lunch instantly transformed from carefree to tension filled upon Joe's arrival.  An eerie silence filled our once jovial table.  Eyes followed Joe's every movement and transfixed on me; patiently awaiting a reaction.  I convinced myself I wouldn't fall for this infantile trap and shook Joe's extended hand after Elisabeth introduced us.  She was clearly caught off guard and bewildered by Joe's unwanted presence.  She brushed my thigh and leaned over, whispering that she didn't know he would here.  Her cheerful demeanor replaced with apprehension.  I nodded, kissed her cheek and reassured her that she had nothing to worry about.

We were both grateful when Melissa proposed a toast to us.  While we clinked glasses in a celebratory manner, Joe was muttering incoherently under his breath.  I was determined to not allow Joe or his intentional digs to get under my skin.  I was making great progress; conversing with Josh about football and making plans to go golfing in West Palm while avoiding Joe's prying glance.  I noticed him staring at Elisabeth as he reminisced about their past with Monica, who looked completely uninterested.

Initially I ignored Joe's smart ass quips but everyone has a breaking point.  Numerous times Anthony interceded in attempts to reign Joe in; even going to the extreme and asking our waitress to cut off his alcohol consumption.  I noticed Elisabeth inconspicuously shooting daggers at him with her eyes.  He was too intoxicated to take notice and instead became unabashed.  Monica tried to dodge him and change the subject but Joe was steadfast.  He had an agenda and wasn't going to allow anyone to veer him offtrack.

Elisabeth was engrossed in an animated conversation with Madison, Eric's girlfriend.  They were speaking excitedly about clothing, shoes and making plans to get together.  I was thrilled that she was making new friends; after Britney screwed her over, Elisabeth had become suspicious and second guessed everyone's motives.  Seeing her morphing back to her bubbly, exuberant self brought a smile to my face.  My thoughts were short lived; interrupted by Anthony calling my name and asking if I was interested in going to the Knicks-Cavalier game on December 4th.  Though I wasn't an avid basketball fan, I said I was down.  Having Lebron James play at the Garden with his "new" team was bound to be epic.

Joe seemed perturbed that he was not the center of attention.  In fact, everyone was avoiding any type of interaction with him.  He laughed bitterly before saying something about Elisabeth wanting to bang him that night at the bar.  His lewd comment immediately caught my attention and made my blood pressure skyrocket.

I glared at him and angrily asked, "What the fuck did you just say?"

All eyes darted from me to Joe.  Elisabeth rubbed my thigh softly while asking what was happening.  Anthony and Eric attempted to mitigate the situation by suggesting Joe take a walk outside with them.  Joe became belligerent and scowled before raising his voice.  "This love fest or whatever the fuck it is is a farce.  You were the furthest thing on Elisabeth's mind at the bar and I'm almost positive that she wanted to go home with me."

Elisabeth flinched before grabbing her glass of Rose and throwing it in Joe's face.  "You're fucking delirious" she shrieked.

Joe started calling her a liar and then every name in the book.  There was no way, I was going to let ANYONE disrespect the woman that I love.  "Shut the fuck up" I said menacingly.

He stood and barked, "Make me."

I jumped to my feet but Anthony and Eric interceded.  They grabbed and dragged him out of the restaurant while Melissa apologized profusely. Elisabeth was distraught and on the verge of tears. I wrapped my arms around her, promising that everything would be okay.  I hated seeing her this upset. After my wife passed away, I never thought I'd have a second chance at love until I met Elisabeth.

---------------

After having open heart surgery as timid twenty year old, I avoided relationships.  I was fearful of scaring women off.  I had a huge scar in the middle of my chest that looked horrific.  In addition, I worried about having a relapse; potentially losing consciousness and having my heart fail in the middle of sex.  Though the doctors assured me I was good as new, I needed time to come terms with my mortalitty and feel like myself once again.

My family - my parents and two sisters - were incredibly supportive.  Whenever I needed them, they would make the one hour drive from Greenwich to New Haven.  My frat brothers were relentless; insisting that I take part in mixers, fundraisers, recruiting, anything to get me out of my funk.  That fall semester I was a recluse - avoiding all activities due to fear.  Upon returning to Yale for the Spring semester, I became determined to live my life to the fullest.  I started dating casually but not committing.  I became more involved with my fraternity and even found time to volunteer at a nursing home.

By the time graduation rolled around, I was back to my old self.  I graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor's in Business Management.  I had dreams of creating a non-profit organization that would help children with congenital heart disease get the help and care they needed.  Though unfulfilled, I am determined to make this particular dream a reality.

Two weeks after graduation I landed a job in NYC within a Fortune 500 company.  I was psyched and scared; this was my first real job.  Growing up in a wealthy family, I spent my summers in Europe, the country club or hanging out with my friends.  Working was a completely new challenge and I was up for it.  Initially my commute was hell.  I took the Metro North from Greenwich to Grand Central daily.  There was always track congestion, canceled trains, signal problems or a sick passenger.  I had enough of my one hour commute and was hellbent on finding a place in Manhattan.  My dad offered to cover my rent but I wanted to do this on my own.

My childhood buddy, Gino, found a place not too far from the Flatiron Building.  It was a 700 square foot one bedroom, converted to two and the rent was $1500.  I jumped on the opportunity.  Our living quarters were cramped and the walls were paper thin but doable.  I worked 60-70 hour weeks and needed a place to sleep.  Gino and I lived in that place for two years until our landlord sold the building and the new owners wanted us out.  I had saved enough money and had a huge bump in my base salary.  Suffice to say, I opted to get my own place in Midtown - a cozy one bedroom that was completely updated.

After months of being inundated with work, my buddies convinced me to head down to Atlantic City with them.  I reluctantly agreed and embarked on a weekend that would change my entire life.  It was a Saturday night in May.  The weather humid and hot.  The club completely packed with desperate women, who were looking for a one-night stand.  I had enough of those and became bored in their presence.  I needed a drink and made a beeline to the bar.  After getting my Grey Goose/club soda, I started heading back to my boys when I ran right into and spilled my drink on the most stunning woman I'd ever seen.  Her name was Isabella.  She had caramel skin and long, black hair that reached her waist.  Her eyes, the deepest blue, and mesmerizing.  She was drop dead gorgeous.

I was lost in her eyes, her beauty, her essence.  I apologized profusely for spilling my drink all over her tight black, mini-dress.  She insisted it was okay and her friends invited me to join them.  I readily agreed and bought them a round of shots upon finding out it was Isabella's 23rd birthday.  We conversed and got along great, but it seemed as though Isabella was holding back.  After about an hour, I mentioned I had to get back to my friends.  Isabella and I exchanged numbers before I left.

She was all I could think and talk about.  I waited two days before calling her and asking her out on a date; she shot me down.  Instead almost every night we would talk on the phone until we were exhausted.  It took me three months to get her to agree to go out with me.  That first date was the beginning of our whirlwind romance.  Isabella was my everything and exactly one and half years later, I proposed to her.  She excitedly said yes and we started preparing to spend our lives together.

Our marriage was perfect and we were planning on starting our own little family when Isabella got sick.  At first I didn't want to believe that she had pancreatic cancer.  How could someone so full of life only have six months to live?  I didn't want to picture my life without Isabella.  Even through her darkest moments, she promised me that she wasn't going anywhere and would fight this.  She tried to alleviate my fears and make me feel better.  She was so positive.  Four months after her diagnosis, she passed away.  My world crumbled before my very eyes.

After losing Isabella, I thought I would never find love again.  I believed I was destined to be alone.  I purchased a new apartment on the Upper East Side and started working at my dad's architechural firm.  He had had a slight stroke and I wanted to assist him with the business.  Throwing myself into work allowed me to dull the pain of losing Isabella.  As her one year death anniversary loomed near, I created a charity in her honor to raise awareness about pancreatic cancer.

After thirteen months, I reluctantly started dating again but found myself unrealistically comparing every woman I went out with to Isabella.  The bar scene was getting old and I began to envy my friends who were settled and starting families of their own.  If Isabella were alive, we'd be doing the same.  After many unsuccessful dates, my buddies convinced me to give speed dating a try.  Reluctantly I did.  That night I met many women who were pretty enough but boring as hell.  Their responses seemed very rehearsed.  I wasn't looking for a Stepford wife.  I wanted a woman with a mind of her own, intelligence, ambition, spunk, creativity and of course good looks.

I was beginning to think my standards were too high until I came across Elisabeth.  Like me, she wanted to be anywhere but speed dating.  She was funny and spoke her mind.  Not to mention, she was gorgeous.  She looked like Megan Fox but with a sexier figure.  We were engrossed in conversation and admittedly I was disappointed when it was time to switch.  I kissed her on the cheek and moved to the next table.

Over the past seven months, I've fallen head over heels in love with Elisabeth.  We've had our ups and downs but I was sure that we could get through anything.  I still grimace, remembering her storming in and accusing me of cheating when I was having coffee with my sister, Lauren.  Unfortunately that wasn't a one off incident.  I planned a romantic NYC getaway - even though we both lived in the city, Elisabeth mentioned she wanted to do the touristy thing - only to have her accuse me of cheating when I was on the telephone making arrangements for a spa day.  Then at my friend's wedding she jumped to conclusions when a former one night stand accosted me.  Most recently, she jumped to conclusions about Rachel.

At times I feel that there is a double standard in our relationship.  Elisabeth is allowed to do as she pleases, no questions asked while I'm constantly walking on eggshells.  I shuddered to think how she'd react if I had met my ex for a drink in a group setting or texted a female friend.  We all have insecurities but sometimes the drama becomes too much for me to deal with.

With that said, the good times far outweigh the bad.  Elisabeth makes me feel young and carefree again. With her I could let go of all the false pretenses and be me.  She was the first woman I was completely open with.  Truthfully, I thought she would run for the hills when I told her about Isabella but it was the opposite; it drew us closer.  I can vividly recall our first date at Fig and Olive.  I got tied up in shitty NYC traffic and showed up late.  Instead of freaking out, Elisabeth was understanding and alleviated my nerves.  As our night progressed, there was hardly a lull in conversation and plenty of laughs.  I knew she was special and I feel blessed that she came into my life.

I love Elisabeth too much to be unfaithful.  Hell, if I didn't care I would have broken up with her by now.  It sucks to have the one woman you trust wholeheartedly accuse you of cheating repeatedly.  I understand she had trust issues from her previous relationships, but I'm not her ex.  After a long conversation, we agreed to make our relationship more transparent.  I promised to not get upset whenever she asked me a question while she promised to be more trusting.

I can still recall my conversation with Anthony.  I called him to get Elisabeth's parent's phone number.  I wanted to get her a ring to show how much she means to me and needed to know her ring size.  After giving me their number, he let it slip that Elisabeth was having a drink with him and Joe.  Initially I thought nothing of it but after seeing her reaction to Rachel, I blurted out that she never shared that she had drinks with Joe.  I wasn't pissed about it but her secrecy was unnerving.  I've shared everything with Elisabeth but have found her to avoid telling me things until the shit hit the proverbial fan.  I knew I wasn't perfect either and loved Elisabeth too much to walk away.  Shit, I can picture getting married and starting a family with her.  She had made it apparent that she wasn't ready for marriage yet and I am willing to work with her time frame.  Right now moving in together seems so right and I can't want to start a new chapter with her.

-----------------

After Joe was escorted out by Eric and Anthony and uncomfortable silence filled the air.  Melissa tried to get everyone back in the party spirit but it was too late.  All of the alcohol and drama was too much.  Elisabeth was on the verge of tears and I reassured her that it wasn't her fault.  She shouldn't blame herself for Joe's inappropriate behavior.  She whispered in my ear that she wanted to leave and I immediately agreed.  Melissa attempted to convince us to stay but the mood was clearly ruined.

Elisabeth grabbed my hand, partly to keep her balance, as we stepped outside.  We were about 300 yards away from Bagatelle when I felt someone grab me from behind.  I turned around and came face-to-face with Joe.  I pushed him back with both hands and he stumbled.  He started slurring about fucking Elisabeth and I had enough.  I got in his face and told him he needed to stop disrespecting my girlfriend.

He laughed bitterly and threw a punch.  I ducked and he missed.  I could hear Elisabeth pleading with us in the background as I struck him in the face with my closed fist.  He staggered initially but then tried to charge at me.  I grabbed him by the collar and through gritted teeth, "I'm only going to tell you once.  Stay the fuck away from me and Elisabeth or I'll fuck you up."

He laughed and wrangled free; he tried to tackle me unsuccessfully.  He swung around and tried to bitch slap me but I caught his hand (all those years of martial arts as a kid was finally paying off).  I punched him in the stomach and grabbed his shoulder.  "Get the fuck out of here" I spat, pushing him away.

Eric and Anthony appeared out of nowhere and tried to talk sense into Joe while I went over to console Elisabeth.  I wrapped my arms around her and kissed the top of her head.  After pulling away, I wiped away her tears with my fingertips.  I heard my name and turned around, only to be blindsided by Joe punching me the face.  I tasted blood and charged at him, both of us wrestling on the sidewalk. I had the upper hand and was on top of him.  I started hitting him without abandon before Anthony pulled us apart.

I stood up and walked towards Elisabeth who was shaking like a leaf.  Eric helped Joe up while Anthony started apologizing for Joe's behavior.

Elisabeth stuttered, "How could you do this to me?  How could you invite Joe to a celebration for me and Lukas."

Anthony stared at her in disbelief.  He spoke slowly and quietly,  "I didn't invite Joe.  Fuck, I didn't even know he'd be here."

He looked sincere and hurt by Elisabeth's accusations.  "It's okay man.  Elisabeth and I need to get going."

Anthony nodded and apologized once again before turning and walking towards Bagatelle.  "Are you okay, Lukas?" Elisabeth asked with such tenderness.

"Yeah, I'm fine.  Let's get out of here."

I hailed a cab and we headed towards her apartment.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Love and War

An awkward silence encompassed our once exuberant conversation.  I felt extremely guilty hearing Priya describing me as the "best roomie ever."  I sure as hell didn't feel that way, knowing that I was about to drop a bombshell.  Maybe having Melissa there would make my news a little bit more bearable.  I looked up at Priya with a tight smile.

"There's something I need to tell you" I said nervously.

Immediately a look of concern flashed over her face.  "What is it?" she asked apprehensively.

I looked at Melissa for a sign of encouragement but was met with confusion.  "Priya you're an awesome roommate and I love living with you.  You've been there for me through thick and thin and I appreciate you more than you know."

She smiled, "I feel the same way about you.  Over the past seven months you've become more than just my roomie; you're one of my closest friends. If not for you I wouldn't have Anthony in my life."

Melissa interrupted our little love fest. "Liz, what did you have to say that was so important?"

Both Melissa and Priya eagerly stared at me; waiting for me to say something.  "I don't really know how to say this.  When I was in Miami, Lukas was telling me that he was in the process of buying a new place here in the city" I said, pausing.

Priya urged me to continue.  I shredded my napkin slowly, trying to determine the right words to say.  I knew there was no point in prolonging the agony and continued.  "Lukas asked me to move in with him and I agreed."

They both stared at me in shock.  Melissa opened her mouth to speak but changed her mind.  Priya looked both surprised and pissed.  I wanted one of them to at least say something but neither was budging.  After a few minutes of tension filled silence I pleaded with them to say something.

"Are you sure this is what you want?" Melissa asked critically.

I nodded, "I've never been more sure about anything."

"I don't believe in playing house until you at least have a ring on your finger" she started and I interrupted.

"Well I do have a ring on my finger" I said teasingly, holding out my left hand.

The two of us laughed, "That you do.  I don't want to be judgmental.  If this is what you really want, then I'm very happy for you."

Priya stared at us and shook her head.  "I don't really know what to say" she said quietly.

I turned my attention to her.  "I'm not leaving you tomorrow or even next month.  It's going to take three months or so before I move out.  I promise that I'll do whatever it takes to make this process as painless as possible" I replied genuinely.

She nodded, "Don't get me wrong, I'm happy for you but I'm also sad that you're leaving me."

I leaned over and gave her a hug.  "Just because I'm moving out, doesn't mean I'm leaving you.  You're one of my closest friends and I will always be there for you.  If you need me, I'm only a phone call or a text away."

She sniffled, "Thanks.  I know I'm being kinda selfish.  I really liked living with you."

I pulled away and wiped away her tears.  "I loved living with you.  In fact, let's make the next three months unforgettable."

"I'd like that a lot" she said with a small smile.

Melissa interrupted, "Why didn't you tell us sooner?"

"Even though I agreed to move in with him, Lukas and I weren't exactly speaking when we got back to NYC.  I wanted to make sure things were good with us first before telling anyone.  You two are the only ones I've told so far.  My parents don't even know yet."

Melissa grabbed my hand.  "We should all get together and celebrate.  I'll set something up."

"That would be awesome" I said excitedly.

It was close to midnight when we left the pizza place.  I texted Lukas and asked if he still wanted to stop by.  He replied by sending me a pic of him laying in bed.  He looked so freaking hot and I wanted nothing more than to be in bed with him.  Unfortunately, that wasn't happening with his parents temporarily living in his guest bedroom.

--------

The next morning, Priya seemed distant. Each time I tried to make conversation, she brushed me off or gave me a one word response.  She was clearly not in a good mood and I couldn't help feeling that she was not as cool with me moving out as she claimed.  My first instinct was to call Anthony but I quickly realized that I had to stop being so dependent on him.  Even though he was my best male friend, I didn't need to be running to him with every little issue.

Instead I texted Lukas and asked if he wanted to get together.  We agreed to meet in an hour.  New York weather was still absolutely sunny and glorious and I wanted to savor it as long as I could.  I slipped into a long sleeved Free People sweater dress that was mid-thigh length and black knee high, suede Michael Kors boots.  I ran a flat iron through my hair and applied nude lip gloss.  As I waited for Lukas, I unlocked my phone and saw a group text from Melissa.  She had arranged for us to have brunch at Bagatelle on Sunday and needed a final headcount by the end of the day.  Anthony responded that he and Priya would be there, as did Eric, Monica (a girl that we grew up with) and someone else who's number I didn't recognize.  As I was responding that Lukas and I were down, I heard a knock on the door and then Lukas and Priya conversing.  I locked and slipped my phone in my purse and headed into the living room.

I gave Lukas a hug and a quick kiss before looking towards Priya, who seemed to be doing her best to avoid my glance.  "Hey Priya, Lukas and I are heading out."

She didn't even look up as she said flatly, "Have fun."

I looked at Lukas and shrugged.  Once inside the elevator he said, "What was that about?"

"I have no idea" I replied exasperatedly.

"Did you two have an argument or something?" he continued.

By this time we were in the lobby of my building.  I exchanged pleasantries with the doorman before stepping outside.  Lukas held my hand as we walked.  We were about a block away when I finally started to answer his question.  "We didn't have an argument.  Last night I told Priya and Melissa about our plans to move in together.  At first Priya seemed shocked but she warmed up to the idea; at least that what I thought.  Maybe I was wrong?"

Lukas sighed.  "Maybe this is too sudden to her."

I nodded as we continued to walk aimlessly around the city.  Eventually we ended up walking through Central Park, which was packed with people taking in the last hurrah of spring.  Yes, I know it's fall but the weather certainly felt more springlike.  I was relieved when we found an empty bench.  Even though my boots were flat, they were brand new.  I hadn't had a chance to break them in and they were killing my feet.

I scooted closer to Lukas and he threw one arm around my shoulder.  I leaned back and listened as he spoke excitedly about closing on his apartment on October 22.  He couldn't wait to show me our new home.  I asked him about his parents and his current living situation.

"Lauren is doing better.  In fact, we're looking to move her to a rehab center in Connecticut.  It's a 24 hour care facility and she'll get all the help she needs to get life back on track."

I wrinkled my forehead, "Rehab center?  I didn't know she was an alcoholic or hooked on drugs."

He shook his head, "No, no not that type of rehab center.  This one is for the clinically depressed like Lauren."

"Oh.  I feel so dumb.  I had no idea that such places existed" I replied, completely embarassed.

"I wouldn't be with you if you were dumb. I didn't know either until this situation with Lauren" he said softly.

I nuzzled closer to him.  "I hope she gets better."

"Me too" he replied, kissing the top of my head.

It was close to four when Lukas and I decided to look for somewhere to eat.  We walked around for a little but came up empty.  Lukas suggested that we go back to his place and order something.  At first I was hesitant with his parents being there but he reassured me that they would be at the hospital with Lauren until visiting hours ended at nine.

Ten minutes later we strolled into his apartment.  It seemed like an eternity since I last visited.  It took a moment for me to familiarize myself.  As Lukas searched for a place to order from on his laptop, I pulled off my boots and breathed a sigh of relief.  While I reclined on his sofa, Lukas asked if I was in the mood for Thai.  I quickly said yes.  After placing our order, he joined me on the couch.  "I've missed you" he said, kissing my neck.

I stopped him, only because I had to tell him about brunch.  "I should've asked you earlier but I got caught up with Priya and spending time with you."

With a look of concern he inquired what I wanted to talk about.  I smiled.  "Nothing too serious.  After I told the girls about our plans, Melissa suggested that we should get together and celebrate."

"That's an awesome idea" Lukas said happily.

I nodded, "Yes.  She actually set up brunch tomorrow at Bagatelle.  Please tell me you can make it."

"Of course I can" he replied before tipping my chin with his index finger and kissing me softly.  I moaned and wrapped my arms around his strong back.  My fingers entwined in his thick hair.  His lips moved down to kiss the side of my neck and then my collarbone.  I arched my back, wanting more.  His hands slid up my dress and inched closer to where I needed to be touched.  He made small circles with his fingertips on my thighs, all while kissing me deeply; his tongue playing with mine.  His fingers slowly moved over the crotch of my thin lace thong and my hips bucked. I groaned in disappointment when his hands started moving up my body and cupped my breasts.  I sat up and raised my arms, allowing him to take off my dress.

Once in only my bra and lace thong I pulled off his shirt and unbuckled his belt.  He raised his hips allowing me to remove his pants.  His erection sprung free and I wrapped my fingers around it; stroking it slowly.  He pulled the my bra cups down and pinched my nipples, sending sensations throughout my body.  Lukas gasped when I lowered my head and kissed just the tip of his hardness.  I licked all around it's length before sucking gently on the head.  After a couple minutes, Lukas pulled me onto his lap.  He pushed my thong to the side and entered me with one quick thrust.  I screamed in pleasure, feeling my body stretching around him.  I placed my arms on his shoulder as he moved underneath me.  Each thrust bringing me closer.  I arched my back and closed my eyes; I was so close.  I breathlessly moaned his name as his lips found my nipple; that was all it took for my orgasm to wash over me.  Lukas' gave me a few seconds to recover before gripping my hips tightly and moving faster.  He threw his head back and grunted as he came.  My fingers gently caressed his face and he opened his eyes.  I kissed him gently before snuggling close; both of us still catching our breaths.

We were ready for round two when Lukas' phone rang.  It was the delivery guy with our food.  Lukas looked at me apologetically before quickly pulling on his clothing.  I got up and headed to the bathroom to clean up and get dressed.  By the time I was done, Lukas had already taken out two plates, cutlery and a bottle of wine.  We were both famished and devoured our meals and a bottle of wine in record time.

Both of us were exhausted after our meal and ended up retreating to his bedroom.  I took off my dress and got under the covers in only my underwear. I watched as Lukas stripped out of his clothes and crawled into bed in only a pair of black boxer briefs.  I laid my head on his chest and listened to his heartbeat as I drifted off to sleep.

Sunday morning I awoke at seven.  Part of me wanted to stay in bed but I didn't want to run into his parents.  I slid out of bed and got dressed.  Lukas' eyes fluttered open and he asked where I was going.  I walked towards him and sat on the bed.  "I'm going to head back to my apartment.  I want to get ready for brunch and I don't want your parents to see me doing the walk of shame."

He smiled.  "Let me at least walk you out."

We literally tiptoed through his apartment and towards the door.  He kissed me softly before promising to meet me at 10:30 at my place for brunch.

-----------

At close to ten, I rummaged through my closet for something to wear.  Bagatelle definitely had a party vibe but everyone dresses to the nines.  After trying on three dresses, I finally settled on an ivory Diane von Furstenberg lace dress with sheer lace sleeves.  It fitted me perfectly and showcased my curves.  My shoes were gold, gladiator Michael Kors sandals.  After applying my makeup and spritzing myself with Prada Candy I entered the living room.  Priya was in the kitchen making coffee.  She looked stunning in a gold body-con dress with cutouts.

"Morning" I chirped.

She shot me a small smile.  "Want some coffee?"

I shook my head.  "No, thanks but I wanted to ask you something."

"What?" she asked looking perplexed.

"Well, you seemed really upset yesterday and I wanted to make sure you're okay" I explained.

She took a sip of her coffee.  "Please don't think it's because you're moving out.  I'm genuinely happy for you.  Yesterday I was stressed because I logged unto my med school account to check my grade on a test and was so upset that I only got a B-."

"It's only one test.  I'm sure you'll do better and pick up your grade" I said soothingly.

"I hope so" she responded.

I smiled, "You will and I'll help you."

She laughed, "Thanks, Elisabeth.  I really am going to miss you and our little talks."

As luck would have it both Anthony and Lukas arrived a little after 10:30.  Lukas looked hot in a button down with dark dress pants and a blazer.  We all cabbed it together to Bagatelle.  We arrived at exactly 11.  We were immediately led to a huge booth in the back with leather wraparound seating on one side and chairs on the other.  Melissa squealed and gave me a tight hug before greeting Lukas.  She then turned her attention to Priya and Anthony.  Lukas and Josh immediately started talking about how much the Giants and Eli Manning suck and everything else football related.  I was a little relieved when Melissa sauntered over and introduced us to the other guests at our table.  A pretty redhead named Justine, who works at Melissa's company and her husband Todd; Brian Anderson, who we went to high school with, and his girlfriend Madeline and Melissa's cousin Michelle and her "friend" Thomas.  In no time we were sipping on Rose and talking happily amongst ourselves.  I was on my second glass when Eric walked in with a very curvy blond with captivating blue eyes.  He introduced her as Madison.  She was super sweet with a southern drawl.  I quickly found out that she was originally from South Carolina but was currently attending Fordham Law School.

We decided to hold off on ordering actual food until Melissa's final two guests arrived.  Instead we moved onto a bottle of champagne.  Needless to say, by this time I was feeling buzzed.  We were laughing loudly and sharing stories when I saw someone looking like Joe approach.  At first I thought I was imagining things but unfortunately I wasn't.  I couldn't help gawking as Joe hugged Melissa and made his way around our table.  He gave me a kiss on the cheek and I stuttered saying, "Joe, this is boyfriend Lukas.  Lukas, this is Joe."

Lukas' jaw clenched.  He shook Joe's hand.  "Nice to meet you" he said curtly.

It seemed like all the air was sucked out of the room and our carefree brunch was now full of awkwardness.  I brushed my hand against Lukas' thigh and leaned over.  "I swear I didn't know he was coming."

"Don't worry about it" he replied, downing his glass of champagne.

Melissa tapped her knife against her glass to get all of our attention.  She stood up, "I'd like to propose a toast.  To my best friend Elisabeth and her boyfriend Lukas.  I'm so happy that the two of you are taking such a huge step in your relationship and moving in together.  I wish you nothing but the best."

We all clinked glasses but I couldn't help but notice Joe staring at Lukas and I with a displeased look on his face.  I was hoping that Lukas wouldn't notice but Joe kept on acting like a petulant child and making unnecessary comments. We were all beyond buzzed when Joe started talking about our past relationship. I shot him a dirty look and tried to ignore his completely inappropriate and unnecessary commentary.  Instead I immersed myself in conversation with Eric's girlfriend, Madison, who was so charming and sweet.  I completely caught off guard when Joe brought up that I had drinks with him weeks prior and said something incoherently under his breath.

I knew this brunch was awkward for me but I didn't realize how uncomfortable Lukas was until he asked Joe pointedly, "What the fuck did you just say?"

Immediate silence followed and all eyes were focused on Lukas and Joe.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Clearing the Air

I was immediately annoyed that Anthony was ambushing me.  After ignoring my texts and phone calls, how dare he show at my apartment and demand that we talk?  I was prepared to give him a piece of my mind. Seeing him sitting there made me remember his cruel words and actions.

Coldly, I replied, "Yea, we do need to talk."

Anthony flinched, clearly not expecting that reaction.  I sat across from him, crossing my legs; my hands in my lap.  He opened his mouth to speak but seemed distracted.  I quickly realized that I he was gawking at the ring Lukas gave me.

"I don't have all night.  You wanted to talk, so say something," I said impatiently.

He finally looked up.  "Holy shit, you're engaged" he said, clearly shocked.

Even though I knew it was immature, I decided to play along.  "Yes, aren't you happy for me?" I asked, holding out my left hand.

He seemed taken aback.  "Of course I am. Congratulations" he said a little too quickly.

I laughed bitterly, "Cut the crap, Anthony.  I know you tried to fuck up my relationship with Lukas.  How dare you tell him that I was having drinks with Joe?"

He looked down guiltily.  "He called and it just slipped out."

"Sure" I replied skeptically; shaking my head in disgust.

"I swear, Elisabeth.  He called that night we were at the bar and wanted your parents phone number.  I assumed he was going to ask for permission to marry you.  I accidentally said that you were having drink with me and Joe.  I didn't mean anything by it" he said, groveling.

I took a deep breath and let out the air super slowly.  "Lukas and I aren't engaged.  That should make you happy since you were totally against me going to see him in Miami and tried to drive a wedge into our relationship."

"Please believe me, that was never my intention" he said genuinely.

"Didn't you accuse me of being needy just a few a days ago?" I asked in an accusatory tone.

A look of sadness flashed across his face.  "I'm the last person to accuse anyone of being needy.  I sincerely apology for even saying that.  I don't feel that way at all."

"Then why'd you say it?" I inquired.

"Honestly, I was trying to protect you.  I thought Lukas was going to propose and I didn't want you to automatically say yes and have regrets."

I studied his face for a moment, looking for a sign of insincerity but there was none.  "Why would I have regrets?" I asked.

With a small smile he replied, "I think you and Lukas are perfect for each other but you need time to work on some things.  I didn't want you to jump into an engagement prematurely."

"What things do I need to work on?" I pressed.

He hesitated, "Promise me you won't get mad."

"I promise" I said quietly.

"I know you love Lukas but many times you've come to me with trust issues.  With Lukas being away, I'm worried that your insecurities will come out in full force.  I'm not a relationship expert by any stretch but I know that relationships need to be built on trust.  I could be way off but I sense you don't trust Lukas unequivocally."

It's shocking how well Anthony could read me.  "You're completely correct" I said flatly.

"Lukas loves you and is a stand up man.  He's not going to fuck you over.  Why's it so hard for you to give yourself to him completely?"

I shrugged, "I thought I had the perfect relationship with Joe, only to find out he cheated on me. Then with Jason, things were great and I cheated.  He did too but I didn't find out until after we broke up. I'm scared that history will repeat itself with Lukas."

"Fuck the past.  Lukas has never given you reason to question his faithfulness."

"I know.  We actually had a huge argument about that in Miami" I said, embarrassed.

He smiled sympathetically, "Do you want to talk about it?"

I nodded, "Yes but first I want to clear the air with you."

"Go for it" he replied.

I folded my legs under me and looked at him.  "I treasure our friendship and I know that I can count on you. I just can't shake this feeling that you were trying to sabotage my relationship?"

"I wasn't" he said quickly.

"After all the shit Britney put me through, I can't deal with anymore shady friends" I said strongly.

He nodded in agreement.  "I admit that what I did was fucked up and I'm sorry.  After I said it, I felt like shit.  I shouldn't have have been a dick and shut you out.  You're not needy.  Fuck, if you're needy what the hell does that make me?"

"Whipped" I deadpanned before we both started laughing.

"Maybe" he said with a wink.

I giggled, "Where is Priya by the way?"

"Study group.  I told her I needed to talk to you."

I stood up and walked to the kitchen.  "Want some ice cream?" I hollered.

"I don't know."

I rummaged through the cabinets.  "We have chocolate chip cookies too."

"Since you've twisted my arm, how can I refuse?"

I laughed.  Anthony had a sweet tooth and loved chocolate chip cookies.  When we were little kids we use to dip them in vanilla ice cream.  The two of us sat on the bar stools around the small breakfast island eating cookies and Haagen Daaz vanilla ice cream.

Between bites, Anthony asked, "So do you forgive me?"

I pretended to think about it before replying.  "Yes.  Just don't do it again."

"Okay.  What did you and Lukas argue about?"

For the next five minutes I told Anthony all about Rachel's inappropriate behavior, the texts, the pictures and Lukas somehow bringing up Joe in the middle of our argument as though I did something wrong.

Anthony scratched his head but didn't say a word.  After much prodding he finally shared his opinion. "What did you expect Lukas do?  He explained the situation.  Remedied it by threatening to pull business if Rachel was involved.  Willingly handed you his phone to go through his text and you still didn't believe him.  I'd be frustrated if my girlfriend treated me like that."

"But why would he throw Joe in my face?"

Anthony chuckled.  "As an example.  Elisabeth you do whatever you choose, no questions asked.  With Lukas he has to go through all this red tape if a woman even looks his way.  No man is going to put up with his girlfriend questioning his every move.  It gets old real fast."

"I never really thought about it like that" I said quietly.

"Are you interested in Joe?" he asked quickly.

I was taken aback by this question and immediately replied, "No.  Why would you ever think that?"

He looked down at his hands.  "When I returned to the bar, you and Joe looked very cozy.  I wonder what would've happened if I didn't come back at that moment."

I blushed, remembering.  "Trust me I don't want Joe.  Been there, done that.  At the bar he was reminiscing about when we were together.  I felt a little uncomfortable but nothing happened.  Fuck, I wouldn't ruin what I have with Lukas for Joe or any other man."

Anthony looked relieved.  "I'm happy to hear that and glad that we got the chance to clear the air.  I want you to know that I'm you and Lukas' biggest fan."

"Have you ever felt that everything is too perfect and you're waiting for something to go wrong?  That's how I feel at times with Lukas" I shared.

He nodded, "I do but I don't let those thoughts fuck with my mind. You gotta live in the moment."

He was absolutely right and I nodded in agreement.  We continued talking about Miami.  I shared our picture perfect night ending with Lukas giving me the ring.  I left out the part about him asking me to move in with him and of course sex on the balcony.  Anthony seemed genuinely happy and I was relieved that he wasn't morphing into a psychopath. Eventually I shifted the conversation to his relationship.

"How are things with Priya?" I inquired.

"About that, I have a bone to pick with you" he said wearily.

I frowned and wrinkled my forehead. "Why?"

"Why were you talking to my mom about Priya?"

I shook my head.  "You mean Labor Day weekend?"

"Yeah."

"Your mom was telling me that Priya reminds her of herself when she was that age and she didn't want her to give up her dreams for love because she'd only have regrets.  Nothing more.  Your mom loves Priya and knows how happy she makes you.  I am too.  That night Priya and I discussed everything and I thought she was cool with everything" I explained.

He shrugged, "It's possible she had some doubt still.  I don't know."

"Does it still bother her?"

He shook his head, "Nah.  She's good now. When she first told me I was pissed thinking you and my mom were talking shit about Priya."

"I would never do that.  I'm like you and Priya's biggest fan.  I couldn't be more thrilled that you two are FINALLY together" I squealed.

Anthony and I talked until close to midnight when Priya finally got home.  I excused myself and headed to bed.  I had a long, exhausting day and after not getting any sleep the night before I was totally beat.

--------

Fast-Forward - Two and Half Weeks Later

I could hardly believe that it was already October 10th.  Melissa had arranged for Priya and I to meet with her at a bridal store nearby to pick out bridesmaid dresses after work.  Even though she and Josh were actively trying to have a baby, they decided to proceed and get married on Valentine's Day.  She had selected a venue on Long Island and even made a deposit!  I was super excited for both her and Josh.

Work had gotten super stressful.  With ISIS, the Ebola threat and fears that European economies were slowing down the stock market was all over the place.  We had consecutive days of triple digit gains and loses.  Needless to say, investors were rattled and trying to find safe havens or at least break even before year end.  Our clients were busy hedging against their investments in the stock market by reaching out to us to purchase bonds and derivatives.  I won't bore you with the details but will say that business was definitely at an all time high for me.

Being busy took my mind off the latest Grant and Britney updates.  As per the news, there was increasing evidence showing that Britney was conspiring with Grant. However, the most shocking break was the discovery of sex tape Grant made unbeknownst to Britney of the two of them together.  I immediately remembered Britney telling me that he was holding a sex tape over her head weeks earlier.  After making up a similar story about Jason, I didn't believe her.  Now, I felt sorry for her.  She had reassured me that she was going to take steps to her life back in order and I believed her.  Now her plans were put on hold and all of the sordid details of her relationship with Grant were made available for public consumption.  Even though the evidence was stacking up against her, I had a small glimmer of hope that things would work out for her.  Even though we've had our up and downs, more downs than ups lately, I wanted Britney to get better and lead the life she always dreamed of.

By three, Nick asked me if I wanted to grab coffee with him.  I declined and asked him to bring me back a grande Chai Latte.  I was responding to an email when my phone vibrated.  I picked it up and immediately smiled, seeing a text from Lukas asking if I wanted to grab dinner later.  I frowned.  Obviously I did but had plans with Melissa.  I told him I couldn't and asked if he wanted to come over once I was done.  He agreed and I promised to text him later.

My relationship with Lukas was going great.  After returning from Miami, we made up and I decided to be more open with him.  I shared my fears of our "perfect" relationship ending up like all of my others.  He also shared his past experiences with me.  He had never been cheated on but Isabella's death really screwed up his belief in love for a long time.  After many lengthy discussions we both agreed we had some things to work on.  Lukas promised that he'd be more understanding and open when I asked him pointed questions.  I promised that I'd start being less paranoid and stop accusing him of cheating.  I had seen Lukas almost every other day for the past two weeks and couldn't be happier.

I jolted from my thoughts when Nick returned and tapped me on the shoulder.  I jumped and he apologized profusely.  After working together for over six months (time flies), we've become really good friends.  "What were you thinking about?" Nick asked, sitting down.

I shrugged.  "Life" I replied with a laugh.

"Anything you want to talk about?"

I shook my head, "No, but thank you for offering.  How's your wife?"

He grinned, "Fantastic.  No more morning sickness and she's feeling great.  The boys are so happy to be getting a sister or brother.  They tell everyone they see."

"Aw, that's so cute" I cooed.

"I'm psyched too.  At first I was worried about having another child but now I can't wait" he shared.

I smiled.  "I think you're an awesome dad and will do just fine with three little ones."

"Thanks" he said genuinely.

"You have to bring your twins in one day" I said excitedly.

He nodded, "SIB has a Christmas carnival each year with activities all day long for the kids.  I'm planning to bring them in then but I'm working on my wife.  She doesn't want the kids around too many strangers and kids because she's afraid of them contracting enterovirus."

"Oh my goodness.  I've been hearing about that on the news.  It's scary and I understand how your wife feels.  I'm a little a paranoid about Ebola myself.  I'm a germaphobe and that just makes me so antsy.  There was this man sneezing on the train this morning and literally everyone moved away from him."

He chuckled, "It's hard to tell who has what these days.  You have to be extra careful."

-------

It was close to six when I entered the dress shop.  Melissa was looking through a rack of dresses and hurried over and gave me a huge hug.  "I'm so glad you could make it" she chirped.

"Have you found anything you like?" I asked.

She scurried over to the dress rack and held out a ice blue a-line princessy looking prom dress.  It was definitely not something I would pick but if that was Melissa's vision then so be it.  I forced a smile when she asked what I thought of the dress.  "It's pretty" I replied.

"I knew you'd love it.  It's so perfect" she rambled.

By this time, Priya had finally arrived.  Breathlessly she said, "I'm so sorry I'm late.  My train was all screwed up."

"Don't worry about it.  What do you think of this dress?" Melissa asked her.

She looked at the dress and then at me.  "Um, it's okay" she replied.

While Melissa chatted with the sales woman, Priya pulled me to the side. "There's no way I'm wearing that dress" she whispered.

"It's not my favorite but I'm going to suck it up and wear it if that's what Melissa ultimately chooses" I said quietly.

Thankfully after trying on dozens of dresses, Melissa settled on a navy blue gown with a sweetheart neckline and spaghetti straps.  It fitted both Priya and I perfectly and was ideal for a winter wedding.  It was close to nine when we finally left.  We were all starving and ended up getting pizza right across the street.  While we ate, Melissa happily shared her plans for the wedding.  They had decided on making it black tie and very formal.  So far they had guest list of over 350 people but wanted to condense it to 250 max.  Listening to her wedding planning was making me exhausted.

I'm guessing Priya felt the same because she shifted the conversation to the awesome spring like weather we were having in October.  It was still in the 70s and gorgeous for the most part.  Melissa eventually asked her about Anthony and she shared that she wanted to ask Anthony to go with her to California for Thanksgiving to meet her parents.

"I don't know about that" Melissa said quickly while I tried to busy myself by texting Lukas.

"Why not?" Priya asked perplexed.

Melissa took a sip of her drink.  "Well Thanksgiving is huge for Anthony and his family goes all out.  I don't know if he'd want to miss that ."

Priya looked dejected.  "It's just that I like him a lot and would like to at least get my parent's approval before taking the next step."

"What's the next step?" I asked quickly.

Melissa responded, "Getting engaged."

Priya giggled, "I don't what the next step is but I love Anthony and would feel more comfortable knowing that my family approves too."

"Hypothetically, what if they don't?" I asked.

She frowned, "I never thought about that.  I mean I want to be with Anthony and I would  think it wouldn't matter to me either way."

"Let's say Anthony asked you to move in with him, would you?" Melissa prodded while I felt guilty.  I hadn't mentioned to either Melissa or Priya that I agreed to move in with Lukas yet.

She shook her head.  "No.  My parents would kill me if I lived with someone I wasn't married to.  My sister and I lived together until she was about to get married.  In our culture it's frowned upon.  Plus I have the best roomie right here" she said, smiling at me.

An awkward silence filled the room and I knew that I had to tell Priya.  Maybe having Melissa there will make my news a little more bearable.  I looked up with a tight smile.  "There's something I need to tell you."


Friday, October 17, 2014

Some Thoughts

Hi Dolls,

I initially started this blog as a way to relieve my stress from wedding planning.  I thought that writing would give me the outlet I needed and I was absolutely right.  I enjoyed writing about Elisabeth's life and found it to be fun.  Now I just feel drained for lack of a better word.  I created a comments section to encourage my readers to discuss the storyline and offer constructive criticism because I want to improve as a writer.  I wanted to create an engaging, drama-free zone where all of us can converse like adults.

Trust me I understand that not everyone will like every post and I have pretty thick skin growing up in a loud Italian family with three brothers.  Let me explain my annoyance.  I don't need the same person to post multiple times that they dislike a post and not provide any rationale.  Believe me I got it the first time; no need to keep repeating yourself or defending your statement by saying that you have a right to your opinion.  You absolutely do.  Or better yet defending your opinion by stating I will see that you dislike a certain post and will make changes.  How can I make changes if I have no idea what you disliked in the first place?  

Right now my husband and I are in the process of moving out of the city to Long Island.  You'd be surprised by the amount of things we managed to keep in our 1100 square foot apartment.  I'm shocked!  Presently my days consist of work, checking up on the contractors to make sure everything is on schedule and packing.  Somehow I've managed to find a hour here and there to attempt to write!

I hate disappointing people and unfortunately I have done that to so many of my readers.  I'm sorry the most recent posts weren't as appealing as I envisioned.  Ironically, those are the ones that I put the most effort into.  Writing Anthony's story was a stretch for me - I had never written from a male's perspective before.  I wanted to try something different and maybe in retrospect not the best idea.

I've decided that I might some time to reassess and reevaluate where I'm going with this blog.  That means that my posts might not be as scheduled.  I'll try my best but please, please, please bear with me.  This will not interfere with Monday's post but might affect subsequent posts.

Anyway, I appreciate all of my readers.  You guys are awesome and make me want to create quality posts.  However, it's apparent I'm not doing that currently.  I love reading all of your points of views and enjoy the friendly banter when you have opposing opinions.  I thank each and every one of you for reading and supporting my blog.  Without you I would have never made it this far.  

Thanks again and I hope you all have fabulous weekends!!!


Arianna

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Anthony's Story

The screams were deafening and piercing.  Not even hiding under the covers could stop the fear and angst that was building within me.  My mom sounded hysterical sobbing while begging my dad to stop.  He shouted in gibberish; unable to formulate a complete sentence in his drunken state.  Mom pleaded to no avail.  Without warning I heard a loud crash; the sound of glass breaking and my baby sister, Ashley, wailing.  The fighting had stopped and all that could be heard were the crickets outside and my mom soothingly singing to Ashley.  At six years old, I didn't fear monsters underneath my bed or in the closet.  I feared my dad.

Twenty years later and I could still vividly recall every detail.  My dad was wonderful when he was sober but those instances were few and far in between.  He had no qualms getting drunk after work, staggering in and demanding that mom cater to him.  Many nights I heard her cries and the sound of his hand striking her.  Even as a timid little boy, I knew his actions were wrong but I was helpless. Instead I silently cried myself to sleep, hoping the nightmare would end.

Mom carried on as though she had no care in the world.  A bright smile to hide the pain and battle scars.  Never once did she say a disparaging word about dad to either me or my sister.  She praised him.  How could a woman praise a that man physically and mentally abused her?  In retrospect, I know she stayed with him because of my sister and I.

Even though mom spoke highly of dad, I never had a real relationship with him.  I wasn't good enough in his eyes.  He ridiculed and criticized everything I did.  One of my earliest memories is of him berating me in front of my entire little league team because I struck out.  He said I wasn't worthy of being his son and called me incompetent.  As a child I had no clue what incompetent meant but I knew it wasn't a compliment.  His anger terrified me and when I started crying he dragged me away from the crowd and shook me until I stopped.  He claimed I was behaving like a petulant little girl because boys and real men don't cry.  My rage and anger grew with each passing day.  I found solace playing with the neighborhood kids - Eric, Elisabeth, Britney, Frank, Tommy and Chris.

After school, mom allowed me to go out and play.  She knew that was the escape I needed.  All of us played while Elisabeth sat of the sidelines, cheering us on.  She was the "princess" type; always afraid to get hands dirty.  To this day her idea of roughing it is staying at the Four Seasons.  Back then I hung around Elisabeth because I had a crush on her mom.  Mrs. Lombardi was and still is a MILF.  Their house was filled with love and happiness.  It was my refuge.

Mom and Mrs. Lombardi oftentimes had coffee together to talk, while Elisabeth and I played.  There were many days when I wanted to confide in Elisabeth but retreated out of fear.  As the years passed, the yelling turned into violence.  Dad had no problem beating me with a belt as punishment.  Mom tried to intervene and stop him but he was relentless.  Even as a nine year old, I'd rather him beat me than hurt mom.  I couldn't stand to hear her cries in the middle of the night.

I don't know how my mom stayed strong and put up with his shit.  I was cracking from his constant criticism.  His remarks cut deep and made insecure.  I built a wall around myself that no one could permeate.  No one saw through my facade.  My peers thought my life was as idealistic as theirs.  The didn't know the pain I endured.  The breaking point came days after my thirteenth birthday.  My silent reverie was broken by my belligerent dad's voice.  He was incoherent as always and mom was begging him to leave.  I heard a loud thump and my heart dropped.  I rushed out and ran towards the living room.  I grabbed my dad from behind and attempted to stop his drunken antics.  He turned around and punched me square in the face.  My head snapped back and I passed out.  I awoke on the couch with a headache and a dull pain radiating down the left side of my face.  My mom tearfully hugged me and apologized for "putting me in a dangerous situation."

To this day, I don't know why my mom didn't call the police.  Maybe she didn't want to go through the process and be looked at with pity?  Instead she called my paternal grandparents.  They came over the next day and she pleaded with them to talk to dad but they refused.  In fact, they flat out blamed her for being a shitty wife.  As for me, I deserved what I got for getting involved in grown up affairs.  Needless to say my mom shut them out of our lives and headed straight to her lawyer to file for a divorce.  We moved to my maternal grandparent's home a couple blocks over until my dad moved his shit out of the house.

Eventually we moved back to the house of horrors.  I no longer had a relationship with my dad, neither did Ashley.  He was merely a sperm donor, nothing more.  My last words to him were on that faithful day when he knocked me out.  I threw myself into my studies and sports.  During my freshman year in high school, I was so good that I made both the varsity football and baseball teams.  My life was stable for the first time and everything was falling into place.  I was one of the most popular boys in my class and had a date every Friday night.

Elisabeth and I had also grown closer.  She was dating Joe, the most popular guy in school.  Every girl had a crush on him while the guys crushed on Elisabeth.  She never went through that awkward teenage phase.  She was stunning.  Long, shiny brown hair, beautiful hazel eyes with specks of gold and flawless olive skin.  She was thin but had curves in all the right places.  Admittedly, I had a crush on her during those days and even fantasized about her.  I never made my move on her though.  Joe was my boy and she was one of my closest friends and I couldn't risk it.

Life was ascending.  My mom had started a business and was the happiest I'd ever seen her. None of us had a relationship with dad.  He sent my mom child support but never asked to see or speak to us.  I was content with that.  Why would we want to an abusive prick to fuck up our lives?  He'd done enough damage.

--------

It was close to midnight on a chilly, fall night when the phone rang.  The three of us looked at each other before mom rushed over and answered the phone.  She turned white as a ghost and started shaking.  Tears streamed down her face.  Immediately I knew something was wrong.  Mom was in a daze as the phone receiver dropped to the floor in a loud thud.

Both Ashley and I walked over and helped her to the couch.  We sat on either side of her and asked what happened.  She stuttered before saying, "Your father was in an accident."

"Is he okay?" Ashley asked.

Mom shook her head and burst in tears.  That told me all I needed to know.  "Dad's dead" I said flatly, devoid of emotion.

Mom wrapped her arms around us.  While she and Ashley cried, I felt empty and angry.  How the fuck could they cry for a man that put us through hell?  That bastard deserved to suffer like he made us.  I pulled away from my mom and marched straight to my room.  I needed to be alone.  It was there that my anger turned into remorse, even more anger and sadness.  My own fucking dad thought I was too much of loser to associate with him.  I regretted not making an attempt to know him better or formulating some type of relationship with him.  Now I it was too late.

Turns out my dad got drunk and was going down a windy road when he slammed into a tree.  He supposedly died on contact.  His blood alcohol level was well over two times the legal limit in New York. The funeral was two days later.  I sat in the front row and pretended to be the dutiful son.  My paternal grandparents put on quite a show with their affection for us.  Inwardly I cried for my dad. Even though he treated us like crap, he had to have good qualities.  How and why did I not reach out to him?  Maybe I could have saved him or given him a reason to stop drinking?  My mom said that was crazy talk and placed both my sister and I in therapy.

Therapy helped me come to terms with dad's death and also allowed me to forgive him.  In due time I was back to my normal routine.  Acing all of my classes, excelling in sports (I was an All American Football player both my junior and senior years) and volunteering at a rehab center.  All of my friends were supportive during my time of need, especially Elisabeth.  She would come over with my favorite Mrs. Field's cookies and brownies and cheer me up.  I was grateful for her.  She gushed about Joe and how happy he made her.  I felt a tinge of jealousy.  Why couldn't she feel that way about me?  To this day, I don't think she realizes how I felt about her back then.

There were many instances when we would talk about our futures.  Elisabeth wanted to be a lawyer; she was obsessed with Legally Blond and thought she'd be the next Elle Woods, Gucci shoes and all.  She wanted the big house with the picket fence, an adoring husband, two children and a kick ass career.  Me, I wanted nothing of the sort.  I told her repeatedly that I would never get married.  She joked that I would be a player for life and I went along with that, not wanting to tell anyone the truth.  I was afraid of morphing into my dad and repeating his mistakes.

Throughout high school and even college, I never got emotionally attached to any woman.  Instead I stuck to one night stands and friends with benefit type relationships.  During college, Elisabeth and I grew apart.  Her new boyfriend Jason wasn't comfortable with her speaking with me.  Our interactions were strained and gradually tapered off.  I believed Jason was controlling but she seemed so happy.  I missed our weekly conversations and our friendship but had no intention of interfering in her happiness.  I heard from mutual friends that she moved to California after college.  I was genuinely happy for her and glad that I was wrong about Jason.

My life was on an upward swing.  I found a job as a junior accountant at an insurance company while I studied for the CPA exam.  I wasn't concerned about monetary compensation; my dad left me a hefty chunk of insurance money that I would receive once I turned 25 and both my sister and I inherited his investment properties.  I wanted a career with upward mobility and this seemed perfect.  My personal life was full of sexual liaisons but I was beginning to feel empty.  All of my friends had girlfriends and I was still in college mode.  They offered to set me up but memories of my parents failed marriage deterred me from accepting.

Over three years ago, all that changed.  My buddy Frankie asked me to be one of his groomsmen and I immediately agreed.  As the wedding neared his crazy fiance Jennifer arranged dancing lessons for the bridal party.  I was paired up with Amy.  First impression - I thought she was a stuck up bitch. She complained about everything and needed to remove that stick from her ass.  I couldn't stand her. Her only positive trait was her beauty.  She had flowing long hair, captivating eyes, full lips and an hourglass figure.  Physically she was my type.

Amy was determined that we had a connection and convinced me to take her out on a date.  I didn't expect to fall in love with her.  She acted differently from the girl I met weeks earlier.  I was intrigued by her charm.  Our relationship became serious quickly.  We were inseparable.  Many nights she was stayed over at my place.  I was happy, we both were.  My apprehensions dissipated.  This was the woman I was meant to spend the rest of my life with.  Along the way we had issues.  Amy started acting erratic and eventually admitted to using drugs.  She promised to stop and I believed her.  In fact, things were going so well that I proposed to her.  She said yes and immediately started planning our wedding.

Shortly after I purchased the condo in Bayside and she moved in with me.  It was then that our relationship took a turn for the worse and became tumultuous.  Amy became increasingly violent.  Even our most minor arguments resulted in her slapping or punching me.  I never retaliated and I loved her too much to walk away.  She always apologized and seemed sincere.  My mom had reservations about Amy but didn't interfere.  She wanted me to be happy.

Superbowl Sunday, we had a party at the condo.  Amy sent me to the liquor store to get vodka.  We only had Grey Goose and she only drank Ciroc.  I didn't want to argue and did as she asked.  Upon returning I was shocked to see Elisabeth.  It had been years since we last spoke and saw each other. I had heard she broke off her engagement with Jason.  She looked sullen and bored sitting with Britney.  I could feel Amy shooting daggers when I went over and gave Elisabeth a hug.  That was when the madness commenced.

Amy started acting unstable.  Her violence tendencies became more apparent.  I ended up burying myself with work (thank goodness it was tax season), not wanting to go home.  Elisabeth started reaching out to me.  She wanted to reconnect.  I did too.  She was one of my best friends growing up and I wanted to reestablish our friendship.  Oftentimes we would meet to discuss her latest relationship drama.  She had started dating Lukas.  I didn't know him but advised her insecurities would only push him away.

Funny that I was preaching to Elisabeth about her relationship issues and completely unaware of the storm brewing at home.  Amy and my fights became increasingly violent.  One night, I attempted to leave but she followed me, taking our fight into the parking lot.  With the neighbors watching she screamed and kicked my car.  That night I broke off our engagement and called the police.  Enough was enough.  This only incited Amy more.  She started stalking and threatening Elisabeth.  She blamed her for the demise of our relationship.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  While Liz was supportive, she never interjected herself into my relationships.  Amy's hatred towards her was completely unwarranted.

Things went from bad to worse, ultimately ending with Amy trying to run me off the road and killing herself in the process.  I blamed myself for her actions.  Deep down, I chastised myself for not getting her the help she desperately needed.  Even though our relationship was fucked up, I still had and have love for her.  She was my first and only love.  Her funeral and the subsequent days were difficult but I had my family and friends by my side.

When I received Amy's farewell letter, I didn't want to read it but Elisabeth convinced me that I needed to.  Both Elisabeth and Britney were by my side that night as I read Amy's confessions. We talked about having children and she seemed completely on board.  I still can't comprehend why she couldn't share her desire to not have children.  It might have been a dealbreaker for me but at least I would have known the truth.

To this day, I still can't forgive her for not telling me about the abortion.  That innocent child was half mine and didn't deserve such a fate.  Don't get me wrong.  I'm pro-choice and believe that a woman has the right to choose what's best for her.  However, Amy wasn't some random chick I was banging.  We were in a committed relationship and discussed having a little family of our own. She owed it to me to tell me the truth.  I could have supported her through the aftermath or even changed her mind.  I'm still angered about her decision.

The only upside in this debacle was meeting Priya.  I was immediately struck by her beauty but was captivated by her personality.  She was sweet and caring.  Always putting others ahead of herself.  The more I got to know her, the more enraptured I became.  Everyone always speaks of this connection and I now know what they meant.  After Amy's death, I was scared to pursue a relationship with Priya.  I wanted to be completely ready to share all of me with her.  I couldn't do so if I were still mourning over an ex.

After weeks and a few cancelled dates, we finally went on our first date.  It was magical and perfect.  We connected on every level.  Each subsequent date made me care for Priya more.  Within weeks I knew that I had fallen in love with her.  To this day, I still haven't professed my love for her in fears of scaring her off.  I know she cares for me and I treasure the moments we share together.  It's crazy but I feel more connected to her than I ever did to Amy.  I know in my heart that she is the only one for me.

Our relationship was perfect until Labor Day weekend at the Hamptons.  During the drive home, Priya was very quiet.  She avoided speaking with my mom and pretended to be asleep.  She eventually confessed that she overheard a conversation between Liz and my mom and assumed my mom didn't approve of her.  Liz reassured her that she had nothing to worry about.  I was peeved that Liz was discussing my relationship with my mom.  Who was she to judge?  Initially I wanted to confront her but opted against it.  She had enough drama in her own life and I didn't want to add to it.

The very next day Priya started school and we hardly got to see each other anymore.  I missed seeing her or hearing her voice on the phone.  She began questioning our relationship and whether the timing was fucked up.  I needed to reassure her of my feelings and agreed to see her after her classes on Thursday.  Joe, my high school buddy and Elisabeth's ex, wanted to hang out and agreed to meet me at a bar in the city.  By pure luck Elisabeth was passing by and I invited her to join us.  She didn't want to but I convinced her to stay for one drink.

We were all conversing when my phone rang.  It was Lukas.  Over the past few months Lukas and I had become friends.  He was a stand up guy and I thought he was perfect for Elisabeth.  He made her happy and wasn't afraid to call her out on her shit. She practically lit up each time she spoke of him or saw him.  He genuinely loved her too, going to extreme lengths to protect her from Amy and then Britney.  I admired their relationship and wanted the same with Priya.  I excused myself and walked outside.

Lukas wanted Elisabeth's parents phone number.  He claimed he wanted to ask them something.  The first thing that came to my mind was him proposing to her.  I hesitated before giving him the number. Deep down I felt that Liz was not ready to be anyone's wife.  She had flaws and insecurities that preventing her from giving herself completely to Lukas.  We talked for a few more minutes and I accidentally let it slip that I was having drinks with Joe and Elisabeth.  I didn't think anything of it and didn't have any ulterior motive.  I eventually ended our conversation when my phone beeped - Priya was calling.  She said she would be home shortly.  When I returned to the bar I was shocked to see Joe and Liz sitting very close together, their heads inches apart.  They looked as though they were about to kiss.  I cleared my throat and they both jumped retreating to their original spots.

Eventually Liz and I cabbed it back to her apartment.  She shared happily that she was planning to surprise Lukas in Miami.  After her interaction with Joe and knowing that Lukas was planning something huge, I attempted to convince her it wasn't a good idea.  That night, Priya and I talked about our relationship.  I mean really talked.  We both wanted the same things and I reassured her that I didn't have a specific timeline and wanted to move at a pace we were both comfortable with.

I should have known the very next day Elisabeth would press me to explain why I didn't think going to Miami was such a hot idea.  I figured she'd drop it.  When she called me I was a complete asshole.  I regret telling her that she was acting needy.  Fuck, if she were needy what the hell did that make me? I was finding any way possible to spend time with Priya - even if it meant helping her study.  Liz was following her heart and I should have supported her.

The truth is I didn't want Liz to make a decision she'd regret.  She had so many insecurities from her previous relationships that she needed to work on before getting engaged.  In my heart, I knew her trust issues would drive a wedge into their relationship.  She needed to trust Lukas unconditionally and him splitting his time between Miami and New York would be a true test of their relationship.  Further after seeing her with Joe that night I had question marks.

Needless to say, Elisabeth followed her heart and went to Miami.  I envied her drive and her ability to not give a fuck at times.  She had texted me Saturday asking why I told Lukas about her having drinks with Joe but I didn't respond.  I wrestled with feelings of guilt and worried if I had unknowingly caused unnecessary drama.  Priya tried to reassure me that Lukas and Liz were fine but I had a gnawing feeling that wouldn't disappear.

I needed to clear the air with Liz and explain my actions.  I didn't want her to feel that I was interfering in her relationship.  I wanted to support her as she had supported me.  I was sitting on the couch when Elisabeth came home Monday night.  She looked happy and she literally glowing.  She did a double take when she saw me.  Before she could utter a word, I said, "Elisabeth we need to talk."

A look of panic flashed over her face and she nodded.  "Yea, we do" she said coldly.