Chapter 4 – The Grotto

Edward made it to their favorite watering hole in record time today. There was no sign of Derik so he took their usually spot at their bar. Susie their favorite waitress was working today. She was actually the only waitress that was smart enough not to sleep with Derik, and that’s why Edward liked her. It wasn’t that he didn’t respect Derik, but subconsciously he always he thought less of yart. The usual?” “Yes, please. Thank you.” The usual was a Long Island ice tea. Just as Susie walked away Edward heard a familiar voice shout, “Hey bitch. I ran into Ana in the elvator. I invited her for a drink.” It was Derik. “I know you know better than to invite her. She’s been hounding me non-stop lately. There are no safe boundaries with her. At first this whole thing was fun and I hate to admit it…but it was convenient,” Edward confessed with a hint of guilt in his voice. Contrary to Derik’s advice Edward liked to respect the women he slept with. “Yeah she is ruthless with a hint of crazy. My favorite type of woman. I’m sure you mind that when she is on top of you,” Derik said as his eyes visually undressed Susie. Derik played baseball in college and did a minor stint in the minors. Unfortunately, he suffered a shoulder injury his first year in the minors. This injury immediately ended any professional aspirations he had for baseball. Luckily he completed his business degree while in college and did have a good head for numbers, so he easily fell into a corporate project management job. He was Edward’s drinking buddy, and despite for some obvious differences in the way they lived their life Edward trusted him. “Ana and I need to have a talk. I tried to have this conversation this morning, but somehow ended up inviting her to dinner.” “Just make sure it’s somewhere public and keep all sharp objects out of her reach.” “Yeah it will be in a public place. I’m not stupid. As the bard said ‘Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,'” Edward said as he toasted their first drink. “Salute, here’s to one more day closer to Friday. Did you hear they hired a new project manager?” Edward asked Derik. “Yeah some guy from England. I over heard Jack talking about it in the coffee room.” “Jack wants him to help me on my new project. He said it would be a good project to get his feet wet.” “Really I thought you were leading this project?” Derik said as he grabbed a few olives from the bar and tossed them into his mouth. “Yeah I thought this was going to be my baby. For once I was actually care about this job. I don’t know what I am doing here. I should quit and finish my novel, maybe get lost in Europe for a few months. I’d probably starve but at least I’d be happy,” Edward said as he swallowed the last few ounces of his drink. Instinctively he motioned to Susie across the bar for another drink. “Just hang in their bro. This new guy can’t compete with you. Who knows maybe you’ll get lucky and he’ll take Ana off your hands, you know how women love that english accent. It’s a real panty dropper.” “Yeah I am not that lucky,” Edward joked just as his phone rang. It was his older sister. Edward knew it couldn’t be good, she only called him to either complain about their younger brother or deliver bad news. “I need to take this outside,” Edward said as he took a quick gulp from his drink. “Hi Valerie.” “Hello Edward. We need to talk about Mom. She just doesn’t seem herself lately.” “What do you mean? I was just there yesterday and she seemed fine.” “Edward you don’t see her as often as I do.” Edward’s mother baby sat Valerie’s 9 year old daughter after school. “She is starting to forget things, and it’s not just small things. Yesterday she got lost on her way picking up Isabella from school.” “Val, you know she’s never been good with directions.” “Edward there is something wrong. I just feel it. The other day she wrote me a check and I could barely recognize her handwriting.” “Ok, let’s talk to her this weekend. I am swamped at work the next few days, but let’s take her out for breakfast on Saturday. I have to go Val, I will call you when I get home later.” “Ok bye Edward.” Edward sat down on the wrought iron bench in front of the bar. He knew his sister was right. He had noticed his mother’s memory declining during the past six months, but chalked it off to old age. There were other small things he noticed, but part of him was in denial. The loss of his father affected him deeply, and part of Edward never recovered. His eyes trailed upwards into the sunset as he momentarily got lost in thoughts and memories of his father. He wondered how his family and his life would be different if his father was still alive. It was a cool autumn evening a few minutes before the last bit of sun was swallowed up by the horizon. This was his favorite part of the day. Even as a child he would climb on the roof of his parent’s home to watch the sunset. During those days he dream and write, but as he got older based on his father’s advice he turned his energies towards more sensible things. His father never understood his fascination with writing. Even though Edward’s teachers identified his aptitude for literature at an early age. His father grew up poor and never really saw any value in Edward’s love of writing. Ivy was really the only one he shared his writings with. When they were younger most of his poems were about Ivy, but this was something he never confessed to her. “Ok back to the real world,” Edward told himself as he pulled himself out of the cold metal bench and walked back into the bar.”Susie can I close out our tab. Derik I need to go.” “What we only had to drinks?” “Yeah I know but I need to meet Ana at the restaurant down the street, and I’m 15 minutes late. Wish me luck,” Edward replied as he quickly signed the receipt. “Call me if you need back up,” Derik laughed. Edward was about to turn the ignition of his car when his phone rang again. It was Ana, but knowing she was probably upset that he was late he sent her to voicemail. The restaurant was just down the street. It was one of Edward’s favorite Italian restaurants. He arrived in five minutes, quickly parked and walked in through the back entrance. Ana was sitting in his favorite corner booth. The restaurant was dimly lit for their dinner hours. The decor was a throw back to the 50’s with dark wooden paneling, and dark red vinyl booths. They usually had some Dean Martin or Frank Sinatra playing in the background. It honestly looked like a scene from a mob movie. You know one of those scene where the bosses meet in a dark dimly lit backroom to plan a hit. It was a little cliche, but something about it provided comfort to Edward. He wasn’t looking forward to this conversation with Ana, but at least he’s be able to find strength in their homemade pasta. “Hello Ana. You look nice. Did you go home and change?” Ana was a very tight and low cut black mini-dress. Despite the inability to emotionally connect and her lack of compassion Edward still found her attractive. In someways he wanted to save her from herself, but he knew she had too much pride to admit she needed to be saved from herself. In Ana’s mind she had all the answers. “Well I thought we could go get a drink after or maybe even dancing. It would be a shame to let this dress go to waste.” “Yeah well I’m not sure I can go out tonight. I promised Jack I’d show the new guy around tomorrow and I have an 8AM meeting.” “Well I don’t mind going back to your place Edward,” Ana said playfully as she grabbed Edward’s tie and pulled him in for a kiss. “Let’s talk first Ana. I really think we need to talk. This thing we have been doing is complicating things at work. In the beginning it was fun, and we both knew what we were doing, but now…I don’t know. It’s just different now,” Edward said trying to push her away. He really didn’t fight that hard. He fought for about 2 seconds before he gave in and kissed her. Who was he kidding? She looked damn good in that dress, and with that kiss he knew that dress would end up on his bedroom floor before the night was over. “Let’s just enjoy a nice dinner Edward. I ordered a bottle of wine. I know you had a bad day, let’s just leave the serious stuff for tomorrow.” Ana wasn’t as clueless as Edward liked to think. She knew which strings to pull to get what she wanted. Ana was young, beautiful and she knew it. Edward thought to himself, “What the hell? It’s been a hard day.” He rationalized with himself and convinced his mind one more night wouldn’t hurt. The sex was good. It would get rid of the stress of the day, and hell he was going to have some long work weeks coming up. So with that thought he surrender to Ana’s ploy and settled in for one more night of fun.

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