I sat staring at the box: holding it, my lips parting, and my eyes widening. I looked up and glanced around the room, feeling guilty, as if I was about to get caught, though I knew no one else was there. There was a white ribbon tied around the box, and I was contemplating if I undid it, if I would be able to tie it again as prettily as it was tied now. Was Zach going to propose to me? What would I say? What did I want to say? What if it wasn’t a ring? What if it wasn’t for me? Should I ask him? All of these thoughts were racing through my mind when I heard a card being inserted into the door and the beeping, signaling it had been accepted. “Shit!” I whispered and hurriedly stuffed it back into the bottom of his suitcase under his clothing. Obviously if Zach was planning on proposing, he wouldn’t want me ruining the surprise. I popped up a little too quickly as I heard Zach’s footsteps coming towards me.
“Were you looking through my suitcase?”
“Uh…” I stammered. “Yeah, well, I mean… Yes. I was… uh… looking for the toothpaste.”
He looked at me questioningly and asked, “Do you really think I would’ve left to go get Starbucks without first protecting the world from my morning breath?” He then started laughing and went to set the grande sized Starbucks cups on the table, next to the note he left for me. “It’s in the bathroom.”
I walked over behind him and wrapped my arms around him and leaned over to peer up at him. “Thank you. So what’d ya get me?” I smiled up at him, giddy as if I was a kid on Christmas morning. I have a special spot in my tummy for Starbucks.
“It’s pretty cold outside still, so I got you a Chai with whipped cream. Oh, and a piece of their banana bread.”
“Ah… You definitely know the way to my heart, Zach!”
He smiled and handed me my gifts. “So, since we will be here for almost a week, I was thinking today we could go shopping? I’m sure you can do some damage here.”
I had previously cleared it with my parents to use the credit card here. They understood that it’s not every day that I come to New York City. “Oh yes. Please!” I hopped up and down a couple of times, careful to not spill my precious drink.
I finished my bread and drink and hopped in the shower to get ready. Once out, I blow dried and straightened my hair, braiding the front part across my forehead and pinning it back behind my ear. I put minimal make up on. I wore skinny jeans with some high-heeled Kate Spade riding boots, an emerald green sweater, and white winter coat (that I specifically packed because I knew it would match anything I would wear). Zach held my hand as we left. We spend the entire day shopping, hitting all of the major retailers and boutiques that we could, especially the ones that they didn’t have in Lincoln or Omaha. Zach was being the best sport possible, carrying my bags, watching as I tried on things, and oohing and aahing whenever he liked something. Zach also bought multiple things, although if we were having a race to see who would buy more things, I blew this competition out of the water. After shopping, we dropped our purchases off at our hotel room and went to dinner. We were famished after our long day of shopping, and had only stopped for a snack during our outing. Zach had made dinner reservations for us. We went to Veritas, which had great reviews. The food was delectable and the wine exquisite. I felt as if I had a food baby afterwards. But definitely in a good way.
We then made our way to Central Park to walk around for a bit, despite the cold. After, we hailed a cab back to the hotel. When we arrived in the room, before I could even get out of my coat, Zach shut the bedroom door, grabbed my waist, and turned me around, pinning me to the door. He bent down and kissed me deeply, making it known his intentions. I kissed him back, more hungry for his affection than I was for the food we had so recently consumed. We were stripping each other’s clothes off quickly, between kissing and stumbling our way to the bed, leaving a trail of random articles behind us. By the time we got the bed, we were both naked. He picked me up and gently set me down on the bed. He hovered his body over mine, lightly kissing me. He propped himself up on his elbows and took his hands, pushing my hair away from my face. “I love you, Aleah,” he murmured, before kissing me again.
“And I love you,” I softly responded. Our frenzied removal of clothing seemed for naught as everything slowed down at that point. He trailed his finger down my body, to get to my area, to ensure that I was ready. I felt him smile against my lips, as we were kissing, when he felt how ready I really was. He then entered me. Our bodies moved in sync, from familiarity. He moved his finger down again, to help me along, and we both finished relatively quickly, a mixture of wanting each other so badly and a lack of sex since the last time we had come together (or what I could only assume, since we didn’t talk about it). After finishing, he let his body collapse onto mine, laying with his head beside mine, gently kissing my earlobe and neck. He rolled over, and laid beside me, covering us up with the sheet. He draped his arm around me, and I snuggled up to him, falling asleep with ease.
The next morning I woke up, and Zach was still gently snoring. I decided to schedule some things for us to do today, since he had been such a willing shopping partner the day before. I decided we would go the American Museum of Natural History and in the evening we would go see The Phantom of the Opera. It is my absolute favorite Broadway show, ever. I knew Zach would enjoy it, as well. He and I had previously seen Wicked together, during a high school spring break that he had gone with my family on, and he had really liked it. When he woke up, he found me clicking away on my laptop, searching for tickets. He rolled over and smiled at me. “Good morning, sunshine!”
His voice was still raspy from sleeping as he said, “Good morning, beautiful. Whatcha’ doin’?”
“Making plans for us today.” I looked up at him and smiled, also trying to gauge by his facial expression whether he had something planned that I might be ruining, the thought of the ring box still in my mind. His expression revealed nothing, except a smile and then him telling me he was excited for whatever I had planned.
The Museum was so much fun, and we spent hours there exploring, and seeing as much as possible. We walked hand in hand the entire time, and everything just felt right and how it should be. Part of me was daydreaming during the trip, as to what life would be like if Zach and I were to get back together. Or even engaged. But then the reality of being in different states would set in, and snap me back to the present. Afterward, Zach said he was sleepy and asked if he had time to take a nap. I said he did. We went back to the hotel room and he crashed on the bed. I was watching tv for a little bit, but decided the weather was too nice to just sit in the room.
Even though I’m directionally challenged, I decided I would be able to find the Starbucks that Zach had gone to the other morning, and I would go get something to drink and walk around a little. I was wearing black leggings with 4 ½” Louis Vuitton peep toe black pumps that I had bought the previous day. I also had on an oversized flow-y sheer black button up top with a bright green camisole underneath. I made my way outside and looked around, already knowing I was lost. I took out my phone and pulled up the Maps app, searching for the closest Starbucks. I found one and started walking towards it, following the navigation. I was fully aware of how tourist-y and lame I looked, but I wasn’t about to get lost, end up in a bad part of NYC, raped, mugged, and murdered, and then have Zach wake up and never find me again. Ok, so I’m overdramatic.
Right as I was rounding the corner, looking down at my phone to close the Maps app, as I was right next by the Starbucks, I literally ran into a girl, carrying multiple cups of coffee, spilling all over my coat. Yes, the white one that I thought would match everything. She immediately started apologizing over and over, “Oh my God, I am so sorry.” She shoved the napkins at me, her eyes pleading with me to take them, as a minor token of her apology. As I took them, I noticed she was wearing a coat I had been ogling in a store the previous day, but had decided to not buy, as I already was spending too much. I smiled and took the napkins and started soaking up as much of the coffee as I could.
I told her, “No, no it’s okay. I’m at fault. I was turning the corner, lost in my thoughts, and not paying attention to where I am going.” I really looked at her then, and saw she was gorgeous. She had long, brown, layered hair that looked as if it was professionally done every morning, a flawless smile, and an enviable figure. She was dressed how I hoped I would be able to dress once I graduated, looking very professional, but fashionable. I didn’t think she was much older than me. Maybe 24 or 25. Due to being tall, but also wearing these heels, I had to look down on her.
She replied, “That’s very sweet, but the least you can do is let me pay to get your coat cleaned. I feel terrible for spilling coffee all over you.”
I waved her off, then. “No, don’t even worry about it.” I thought she was so sweet for insisting, though.
“Well, let me make it up to you.”
I started thinking. I didn’t know what Zach had planned the rest of the trip, but I could at least get a good suggestion for someplace to go one of these evenings, that maybe neither of us had heard about. “I am here on vacation, and I’m not that familiar with NYC. Might you be able to point me in the direction of some hot spots or reasonably priced restaurants?”
*Author's Note: I hope all of you readers have been enjoying Aleah's story, and like some of the twists that have happened, and are looking forward to the turns to come! Arianna and I have collaborated on a crossover story line, and hope everyone enjoys what's to come. Please check out Elisabeth's side of their story at crazyadventuresinny.blogspot.com/. Thank you everyone, for your comments and for reading!*