I sat at the small, black desk with the white bucket chair in my hotel room. I kept looking at Evan’s card as I sat in front of my laptop computer now online. I kept wondering about him. How did he know I was in this hotel? Did he see me earlier? My phone rang: Paul’s name appeared again. It was a three-hour time difference. He never called me on the road. One time I went on a three-week vacation to see my cousins in Wisconsin, and he hadn’t called me the entire time. My cousins had never asked about it, but I could tell they had thought it was strange. Paul just didn’t seem to care anymore – out of sight as they say.
“Hi, what’s up?”
“Lulu is crying all day. She has a cold and doesn’t feel good. You need to come home!” he flatly demanded.
“Paul, I can’t come home from New York City because Lulu has the sniffles. I spent $5,000 on the booth space alone.”
“Can’t you get your manager to come out? What’s-her-face … Ellie?”
“No, she’s on vacation in the Turkish Islands. Really Paul? You can’t handle your daughter’s sniffles for one day?”
The phone went dead. He hung up on me like he routinely did when he deemed the conversation over. I held the phone away from my ear and looked at the screen.
“Love you, too, honey,” I sneered aloud.
I got up, went to the bathroom, and stared at my reflection. Most people said I looked 10 years younger than my real age of 40. I had put sunscreen on my face since I was 16-years old, and good genes prevented my hair from going gray, although I colored it anyway to brighten it. I got my eyebrows waxed bi-weekly and had those unsightly facial hairs removed with laser treatments. I was vain at times, but overall not really. I knew I was beautiful only through constant comments from other men not Paul who rarely said anything nice. I wondered if Evan thought I was attractive. Well, what did that matter anyway? I was married. I sighed and felt tired.
As I stood staring in the mirror my mind wandered and then all of a sudden, I felt air on my neck, and I looked in the mirror again. Evan was standing next to me. His full lips and mouth got close to my ear, and I could hear his breathing and felt warm breath on my neck. It sent a chill and tingle down my spine. And then it felt like a pull and yank, and I was back in front of the mirror – alone.
I stood straight up in shock and looked around. No one was in that room with me, but I had felt him, had seen his image in the mirror. I looked around, confused and uncertain. I had never experienced something so strange. I sucked in oxygen and paused. I looked around again. Yes, I was totally alone. What happened? Now though it was like Evan crept under my skin or plugged some invisible tether into me. I kept thinking about him. I wasn’t sure if I was troubled or not, but the slight touch of his lips against my neck left me with a sexual longing – a hunger which five minutes before hadn’t seemed possible. Longing for what, though?
I looked at the phone. It rang. “Evan,” I whispered.
I went to the desk and picked it up. The number was unfamiliar. I picked it up. “Hello?”
“Are you ready?”
“What? Who is this?”
“Oh, hi, ready?”
“Yes, to come up to the bar?”
“Yes, I’ll be there shortly.”
“Good,” and he hung up.