The young man sat in the dark room, running his hand on his handsome, chiseled face. The day was long and exhausting. 3 meetings and 2 overseas conferences had been enough to drain him up. He’s been here since morning and it is 9PM at the moment.
With an audible sigh, he opened his door to see if anyone else is available to fetch him an invigorating cup of tea. The floor is almost empty now. Stretching his muscles, he came down the glass staircase and made his way to the kitchen. He started boiling his water for tea.
“Hello boss, didn’t think I would find you here” a feminine voice chimed and he turned back to see it was Cece. Cecilia Simone, the managing director of his company.
“You don’t have to call me ‘Boss’, Cece” muttered the young man with a deep voice.
“Calling the CEO ‘dog’ sounds disrespectful. Doesn’t it?” chimed Cecilia, bringing out a juice box from the refrigerator.
This earned a smile from the young man “you know, I hate that”
“Do I know? Yes. Do I care? No”
After a few short laughs and silent moments, Cecelia asked, her voice softer, “How are you?” her hand rested on his shoulder making him look up at her.
“How do I look?”
“Like total shit”
“That’s how I feel too, Cece.”
She put down her juice box and brought him to her embrace. He flinched a little but moved ahead to hug her back. “I will miss you” his voice was almost chocking up.
“I know, I will too”
After a few more silent moments, the young man muttered again, “I am sorry, for everything”
“It’s alright. I am sorry too”
He let go of her and straightened up, his eyes red, and voice, hoarse. “Tell that good-for-nothing boss of yours that I will have his head if he doesn’t treat you well” a smile on his face.
“I will convey this to my boss” Chuckled Cece. “Well, now, I should leave, else I won’t be able to catch my flight”
This time, he moved in for a hug “I am here if you need anything, okay?”
Cece nodded. “Same goes for you. Don’t beat yourself to death, you overachiever dog”
Chuckling, he let go of her and watched her walk out of the marbled corporate kitchen.
Cecelia Simone, AKA Cece, was not only the Managing Director of his office, she was his best friend. They were dating for a while when she began working in his office. Now, she is moving away overseas, quitting his company, leaving him behind.
Cecelia was the only meaningful relationship he’s had in the last 9 years. She was one of the few people he ever had a genuine connection with. It was all doomed from the beginning with his fateful, doomed quest for her.
He poured his tea and walked out of the kitchen.
Reaching his office, he looked up at his own nameplate and gave a bitter laugh. It read, ‘Douglas Bishop, Owner and CEO, Epiphany Enterprises’.
All the toil, all the hard work, everything he did was for her. He wanted to give her the best life she ever dreamed of. Now, it’s all just a distraction for him, distraction from the fact that he hadn’t seen her in the past 9 years.
He had met Amanda, her sister, once in the mall. She seemed sad when he asked her about her. She didn’t reveal anything when he asked how is her sister and walked back with a man in suits before he could ask anything else. That was 5 years ago in Paris. Since then, no contact, no pictures, nothing of hers, or about her reached him.
He wanted so badly to move on from her, from this idea of hers. He got into relationships, went on dating apps, had flings, and drowned himself in his work. It resulted in heights of success for his company and loads of heartbreak for him.
She was always there. Her final statement would resound in his ear every time he would mutter ‘I like you’.
“I will always wait for you”, she had said with eyes glistening with tears.
He settled in his chair and opened his laptop.
About 100 pictures popped up on his screen.
All of them, familiar. None of them, hers.
Maybe he should try something else.
It’s dumb. He’s been at it for years now, trying all the variants of her name. Yet, he can’t find anything. It was as if she never existed.
With a sigh, he turned in his chair and his eyes found a card lying on the plush red carpet. He picked it up. It was an invitation to a cruise, for the 7th wedding anniversary celebration of Robert Shaw.
“That old piece of shit” he muttered, deciding that he will, in fact, visit go to the cruise. He can’t stop trying to find someone for himself to fall in love with. He can't wait for her forever.
After all, waiting for 9 years for someone sounds unreasonably ridiculous.
-NEXT DAY, EVENING-
Donning his expensive maroon suit and a bouquet of exotic roses, he got ready for the party in his room on the ship.
With his gelled up hair, clean shaven look, and the briskly pressed suit, he walked into the ballroom of ‘XES Sapphire’, luxury cruise. He was ready to bump into some ladies. He was hoping desperately to bump into someone, desperate to move on from her.
His eyes searched for Robert Shaw, the middle-aged director he once modeled for. They have grown to have a formal friendship through official meetings, more of acquaintances than friends.
“Hello Rob. Many happy returns of the day.” he said hugging the man. “Congratulations Martha” he beamed to the young brunette standing beside Robert.
“Hey Doug” beamed Robert "How are you?"
“hey Rob, Hey Martha” said another deep voice from beside them as they were talking.
Standing behind were a couple. He was thunderstruck. It was her. It’s her but, her hands were wrapped around the arm of this blue-eyed Greek god and a white band glinted on her ring finger. It’s her and she’s married.