The second part of my plan is that I would have quit my job running the All Saints clothing store downtown and finally branched out on my own, opening my own clothing boutique.
That hasn’t happened. In fact, my dream has never seemed so out of reach. I’m scared of taking the leap – securing rent, signing a lease, doing all my own buying, my marketing, my promotions, my hiring. Even though having my own store has always been a dream, the thing that I’ll do when I’m older, it seems that the older I get, the scarier it is to finally do something about it. Daydreams become dollar signs and a million ways you can fail and still have to pay for it.
I don’t want to fail. But I can’t keep coasting along in life like this either.
I’m out in the kitchen, brewing a huge pot of coffee even though I know in my hungover state I’ll only get through one cup, when my cell rings. I answer it quietly and on first ring, just in case it wakes the slumbering ape.
“Hey old lady,” Linden’s charming accent comes in over the phone. “How are you feeling this morning?”
“Ugh,” I say, even though I’m smiling. “I feel like a piece of turd.”
“I figured you might,” he says. “Speaking of turd, who the hell was that guy you were with last night?”
I sigh and place my forehead in my hand, leaning over the counter. “I wish I knew. He’s in my bed at the moment, sleeping like I fucking drugged him.”
There’s a pause and then Linden says, “What happened to ‘no more sleeping around’ and ‘twenty-six is the whole new me’?”
“Well what did you do last night? If I seem to recall, you had your tongue down some tiny chick’s throat half the night.”
“Tongue in the throat, cock in the cunt, it’s all the same,” he says while I make an exaggerated sound of disapproval at his choice of words. Truth is, it always sounds sexy coming from him. Call it Scottish slang or whatever. “Besides, when it was my birthday I never made such foolish claims as you.”
That’s true but then again, Linden has never needed to change anything about his life. He now has his helicopter pilot license and is working on a contract for a local charter company. His parents are wealthy big-shots and I know they bought him his apartment on Russian Hill, where he lives alone, and he’s never once said that sleeping with chicks is a problem for him. In fact it seems not sleeping with chicks seems to be a problem.
“Anyway,” he says, “want to get a wee bit of breakfast? Brunch? Lunch?”
“Sure,” I say, quickly calculating how fast I can get ready. “I can be ready in a half-hour but I’m not sure how fast I can get rid of the dude.”
“Leave that to me,” Linden says and then hangs up.
Ah shit. I fear what Linden has planned. He’s been diabolical on more than one occasion.
I make my way over to the bedroom and peer inside. The guy is still sleeping and snoring lightly. I grab a pair of black jeans and a long, studded t-shirt and head into the bathroom. When I get out of the shower, I comb my wet hair back into a bun and do a light dusting of makeup on my face. I still feel like crap but at least my cheeks and lips have color.
When I step back out, I’m surprised to see the guy standing in his boxers and looking out the window to the street below. He turns around and smiles at me in surprise. He’s cute, I’ll give him that, but not cute enough for me to want him to stay.
“Oh, hey,” he says. “Great view you have.” He gestures to the window.
I frown. My window looks across at a rough-around-the-edges Mexican restaurant and a rusted bicycle that has forever been chained to a utility pole.