Monday, March 31, 2014

New York, New York

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?”

She seemed to perk up, being able to offer me an idea.  “Of course, I can do better than that.  I think you will enjoy 230 Fifth, it’s a rooftop bar not too far from here with an amazing view of the NYC skyline and the Empire State Building.  I think you would love it.”

I smiled, Zach would love that, I think.  Plus, it would be a great surprise for him!  “That sounds great!”  I threw away the napkins in a trash can.  That was a nice thing I noted about NYC.  They have trashcans all over the place.

I was getting ready to thank her for the suggestions and head into Starbucks when she continued, “You know what?  Let me treat you and your friends to drinks there.  It’s the least I can do.”  She looked hopeful, and I could tell by her determination that she wasn’t going to let me off easy.

“I have a feeling that you won’t take no for an answer.” I laughed and stuck out my hand.  “My name is Aleah.”

She grabbed my hand firmly and smiled warmly, “Elisabeth.”

From there we exchanged numbers and she said she had to get to back to work.  Typically, I have good intuition about people when I first meet them.  I smiled as I headed into Starbucks, thinking Elisabeth seems like someone I would really like.

*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  Thank you everyone, for your comments and for reading!*

Friday, March 28, 2014


Zach and I were in the airport, waiting for our flight to take off.  Of course he had to drag me out of bed, to get going.  Since I had fallen asleep, I hadn’t gotten finished packing and had to get up to do so before my tennis match, because we were leaving straight from the courts.  Our flight was late evening, but because of all of the flying precautions and checking procedures now, since 9/11, we were arriving to the airport 2 hours early.  And, since we were flying out of Omaha, we had to drive just over an hour to get there.  We were sitting at a table in one of the in-airport restaurants, playing Speed.  I try to keep a deck of cards on me at all times.  You never know when they’re going to come in handy!

“I feel bad for the people that are going to be next to me on the flight,” I told Zach, as I slapped a card down on the table.


“Because I stink!” I exclaimed.  Since we left right after my match, I hadn’t had time to shower.  I had pulled on sweat pants and a sweatshirt.  Normally, I was the person who looked put-together when traveling, as you never know who you were going to run in to.  I got that habit from my mother.  However, I secretly felt good being in sweats.  Sweats are my guilty pleasure.

I took a quick glance at Zach in between flipping cards to see him wrinkle up his nose as he said, “I know.”


“I’m playing.  But seriously, you can have the window seat.  Then the only person who will really be subjected to your grossness is me.”

“Hey now!  But I guess better you than anyone else!”  We both laughed.  The thing I loved about Zach (or I guess, rather, one of the many things I loved about him), is that we could tease each other, even if we were being serious, and not get mad.  He just really knew who I was to the core, and vice versa. 

We finished the game and meandered over to sit in some seats by our gate, as boarding was supposed to start soon.  We chose to people watch.  People watching is a past time that both Zach and I have always enjoyed.  When we went to the mall, he didn’t mind accompanying me, because he would sit on a bench outside of stores and just watch people.  Not only is it interesting because of the entertainment, but you can really learn a lot about humanity, too.  The good, the bad, and the ugly.  But we usually give our quick assessments of people, as they pass.

Two young-ish males walked by us who were dressed in black combat boots and black trench coats, and looked like they enjoyed talking about their emotions and listening to metal.  Zach: “It puts the lotion on the skin.”  Me:  “Judging!”

A lady who looked to be close to 30 was walking by, talking loudly on her phone.  She had her hair died a bright, unnatural red color, had a leopard print sheer button down shirt on, with just a bra underneath, and too tight jeans, giving her an apparent muffin top.  Zach: “Trashy.”  Me:  “No… Just, no.”

Before we got to assess anymore, they announced us for boarding.  Since Zach had booked us first class, we boarded first.  When we got settled into our seats, a mother and her daughter, about age 10, sat in the seats behind us.  The girl had ear buds in when they passed by, and I was disappointed when they sat behind us.  I’m not one of those people that doesn’t like kids, but I don’t like when they’re behind me on airplanes.  They typically are annoying.  Whether it’s because they kick the seat, or bump it a lot, or get whiny because they’re bored.  It just isn’t enjoyable.  At all. 

I find flying soothing.  I love the power of the plane when it’s taking off, and after in the air, something about it causes me to fall asleep.  Shortly after take off, I feel myself start to drift off.  My head is rolling to the side when all of a sudden I hear, “Who let the dogs out? WOOF! WOOF WOOF WOOF! Who let the dogs out? WOOF! WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF!”

My eyes popped open and I whipped my head to look at Zach, widening my eyes at him.  He put his fingers over his eyes and turned away from me, trying not to laugh.  The little girl behind me clearly liked one hit wonders from the 2000’s.  And singing with headphones on.  When no one else could hear the music.  And loudly.

“Zach!” I whisper hissed.  “Zach, this is horrible!”

It had quieted down, clearly indicating that the verse was playing.  But then it started up again, “WOOF!  WOOF WOOF WOOF!”

I covered my mouth with my hand, trying to muffle my increasing giggles.  He nudged me with his elbow, which made me laugh harder.  Then I heard her mom finally hush her.  Shortly after, I drifted off.

We arrived in NYC really late, and so we went straight to the hotel and checked in, and laid in bed watching television until we went to sleep for the night.

On Monday I woke up to a missing Zach.  I sat up and looked around and didn’t see him anywhere, and the bathroom door was open and the light was off.  I stood up and stretched, trying to loosen my tight muscles from playing tennis and then sitting on a plane for hours.  I walked over to look out at the city view from our room window.  I grinned widely, giddily, at the sights of the high rises and cityscape.  I glanced to my side at the table and saw a note on it.  Zach had scrawled:

A, Ran to find a Starbucks.  Love, Z

The previous day when I was packing, Zach had told me not to worry about packing toothpaste, because he had enough that I could use his.  We had gotten in so late, I had forgotten to brush my teeth the previous night.  I eyed Zach’s suitcase lying on the empty space of the television stand next to the television.  I went and started digging through his suitcase, trying to find his toiletries.  I went through the pockets of the suitcase and didn’t find anything.  I started digging through his clothes and towards the bottom when I felt something hard.  I stopped, feeling its edges with my fingers, knowing full well what it was.

I removed my hand, and pulling out from underneath Zach’s clothes, was a small, light blue box, that had Tiffany & Co etched onto it.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Saturday, Part B

*Author's note: I know this post and the last have been shorter; there are longer ones to come, I promise.  But know there are big things that will be happening in NYC, and I can't wait for you all to see what's in store!   Thank you to all my readers, for taking the time to come back and follow Aleah's journey*

After practice, I walked outside to Zach waiting for me to take me home.  Zach had told me we had reservations at The Normandy, a French restaurant that had just opened March 1 and always had a line.  I had seen reviews on it, and heard amazing things, but wanted to see (or taste) for myself, so I was super excited when Zach told me that’s where we were going.  Reservations were at 6:30, so I had a couple of hours to get ready.  

 I got into the shower immediately upon arriving home.  I was standing under the steaming hot water, letting it run down my body, rinsing away the salt and sweat, when I heard the bathroom door open.  When we got there, my roommates were gone, so I knew it could only be one person.  I heard the shower curtain sliding open towards the back of the shower and felt a hand on my side, reaching around and lightly resting on my stomach.  Zach linked his other arm underneath mine and reached up so his hand was on my shoulder, and pulled me back against him.  He kissed my shoulder, and then my neck.  I could feel him become aroused, against my back.  He twirled me around and pushed me up against the wall of the shower.  I sharply breathed in and closed my eyes as he leaned down and kissed me, long and sweet.  I wrapped my arms around his neck, entwining my fingers through his hair.  He slowed down his kisses, to be lighter, and more tender, and pushed his body against mine.  Then he pulled away, gazed into my eyes and said, “that’s all you get, for now.”

My eyes widened and I balled up my fists and lightly pounded him on the chest.  “Tease!”

He came in rapidly then and kissed me again, passionately, like he needed me at that moment.  But he pulled away, again, and whispered, “We need to leave in just over an hour.  Now is not the time.”  He opened up the curtain then, and climbed out.  I longingly watched his toned body stepping out of the shower.  I showered quickly, then, wanting to escape the place where I was just left hanging.

After getting out I got ready relatively fast, wearing flared charcoal dress pants, a black camisole with a cream colored lacy long sleeved shirt over, and black pumps.  I put my hair into a high ponytail, braided the tail, and wrapped it around and pinned it, into a braided bun.  My makeup was simple.  I stepped out to the living room to see Zach watching basketball, wearing black dress pants, a pale blue dress shirt that was tucked in, and a black skinny tie.  He helped me with my coat and we left.

I had already cleared it with my roommates for Zach to stay the night, sleeping in the living room, so after dinner we were heading back to watching We Are the Millers, and relax before flying out the next day after my match.  Dinner was absolutely amazing with Zach’s parents.  I had a Gougére for an appetizer and Boeuf bourguigon as my entrée.  Both were phenomenal, and I completely gorged myself.  Afterward, we were sitting chatting, drinking glasses of wine.  His parents were asking him if the trip to New York with me was a special occasion.

“No, we are just getting away, catching up, taking a vacation together.”

His mother then asked, “Are you going to be sleeping in two different beds?”

Zach scrunched up his face at Gloria, “What?  Mom, come on.  Really?”

“Well, Zachary, you know how Aleah’s parents and I feel about any sort of premarital relations.”

I blushed and Zach rolled his eyes and said, “Mom, stop.  Aleah and I are both adults and are not going to make poor life decisions.”

Ben chimed in then, with, “Make sure you put a helmet on that soldier, son!”

My eyes widened and I almost spit out the wine I had just put in my mouth.  I turned bright red and snuck a glance at Zach out of the corner of my eye and he was just as red as I was.  While both of our parents were conservative and had the hope that their children were going to marry each other and not have sex until they were married, Ben was more of a realist.  Ben also was hilarious and would say completely inappropriate stuff at times.  Most of the time, Ben appeared to be so regal and proper, that when something like that came flying out of his mouth, you just didn’t know how to react.  But that made me love his dad even more.  Proper with a touch of sarcastic, perverse humor.

Gloria reached over and pulled Ben’s wine glass towards her.  “Clearly, dear, you’ve had enough.”  She raised an eyebrow at him.  I snickered, Zach shook his head, and Ben looked at Zach and winked.  We finished our dinner date shortly after, and headed back to my apartment.  On the way, Zach apologized for his parents.

“You know I love Ben and Gloria.  Plus, it isn’t like I’ve not seen this side of them before.”

“You’re right.  Dad is just usually so reserved and business-like.  So then when he says his ‘in the gutter’ remarks, it’s usually to just me, and we can laugh and banter back and forth.  Mom knows, and laughs usually, just not in public.”

“Zach.  You don’t need to explain.  I love your whole family.  You know this.”  We were stopped at a red light and he leaned over and kissed me then.  He paused before sitting back straight in his seat, looking thoughtfully into my eyes.  We drove the rest of the way in silence.

Back at the apartment, we made a cushion/pillow/blanket bed on the floor of the living room, and snuggled in together, to watch the movie.  I popped a bag of popcorn to share (movie theater butter, of course), and sipped on a Coke.  Halfway through, I fell asleep, enjoying the warmth and comfort of Zachary laying next to me.