When Chris got home, Mia met him at the door with a huge hug and a kiss. However, when her lips met his, she tasted the sour edge left over from his after-work stop with Mercer at a bar near his office. She sensed tenseness in him, too. He pulled away a little too quickly, and said, “What a lousy day!”
Stepping past her, he went into the small living room of their apartment and sat down in his leather chair. Immediately, he began to talk about a deal that fell through, and how Mercer believed it to mainly be Chris’s fault. Throughout his monologue, he never mentioned the lowered lights, or table with lit candles and precisely set china which Mia had prepared to properly break the happy news about their daughter. Instead, he began to complain about the unfairness of Mercer’s expectations and of how he never seemed to notice or mention the long hours Chris was working.
“He is just like Frank!” Chris said harshly. “Nothing is ever good enough for him! He doesn’t like it if I take clients to lunch or dinner… and then he doesn’t like it if I DON’T take them out! I try to explain that my best conversations happen with clients when we can relax and get to know each other. What does he WANT from me?”
“Well, maybe if you…” Mia began, but Chris cut her off by continuing his imagined conversation with his boss.
“MERCER is never there to see how well I get along with clients. After two or three drinks, we begin to RELATE to each other. They LIKE me then. I have been SO close to huge deals in the past couple of weeks. But Mercer wouldn’t know that. He asks if I got a signed deal yet. NO I don’t have a deal yet! He was the first one to tell me that the larger the deal is, the more complicated… the longer it takes! I just don’t GET it!”
As Chris continued his tirade, Mia quietly walked around the table, blowing out the candles, and picking up the plates. Walking into the kitchen, she set a load down, took a deep breath, put a hand to her protruding stomach to quiet the moving child, and said, “It’s alright Hope… his day was bad. We will introduce him to you another time. Just know that Mommy loves you…” Walking out of the kitchen, she added, “…and Daddy does too! He just doesn’t know it yet…”
Chris got out of the chair and walked over to the living room window and looked down on the street. Suddenly, his face brightened, and he walked swiftly to the couch upon which he had tossed his jacket, and picked it back up.
“Mia, I just noticed a client walking down the street. I’m gonna see if I can’t catch up with her…uh… him, and catch a drink before he goes home for the evening.” He said as he hurriedly put on his jacket and straightened his tie.
“But what about dinner?” Mia argued.
“I’ll pick something up while I am out… Go ahead and eat!” He encouraged. “Really… It’s ok!” He then breezed through the door, and left it standing open behind him.
Mia walked over to the door, watched him rush down the hall and down the stairs. She began to caress her stomach, as if holding her child in her arms, and said, ” I know, Hope… it’s time to feed you again. I guess we both need some nourishment. Keep growing, Honey, I need to remember you are there. I promise I will continue to feed you. You must keep growing, Darling. You may be all I have!”
Turning from the doorway, she closed the door and walked into the kitchen and began the task of reheating the dinner she had fixed for a romantic meal, but which was now a culinary collection of tarnished dreams.
Chris hustled down the hall, and took the stairs two at a time; which was quite a feat in a Brooks Brothers suit, and black wing-tip shoes. Rushing into the lobby, he nearly bowled over their next door neighbor as he vaulted himself through the doors of the building and immediately turned to the right.
“Hey D!” Chris shouted to a rapidly retreating figure. “D…wait a minute!” The figure kept walking, and Chris began to quicken his pace, dodging the apartment doorman, and then spinning around an approaching family carrying bags of groceries. “Hey… DELORES!” He finally screamed in desperation.
The figure turned at the name to reveal dark hair, brown eyes, and a widening smile. She was dressed in a pair of chocolate brown slacks and a brown and cream, zebra-print shirt, covered by an old, London Fog rain coat which was unbuttoned and hung loosely on her trim figure.
“What are you doing down here?” Chris asked as he got nearer to Delores.
“I didn’t want to go home after work, so I decided to catch a movie.” She answered.
“What were you going to see?” He asked.
“Well, that’s the problem.” She said, “When I got down here, there was really nothing worth seeing.”
“Are you in a rush to get home?” Chris inquired.
“N-n-not really.” She hesitantly responded. Although it was the truth, her husband, Glen, was out of town for some training for work, she wasn’t sure how she should answer. The light from the coffee shop they were standing in front of, made her decision for her as it lit up Chris’s eyes in the most amazing shade of green.
“Then let’s take a walk and see what we can find.” He suggested.