Saturday, April 27, 2019

What It Was - Chapter 4

Chapter 4

Saturday came around and I did some grocery shopping at the market in walking distance not far from my apartment. I did have a small car but I didn’t use it very much really, usually to drive out to my parent’s place or to visit Chad and Amber. My car was mostly parked in an assigned spot in the garage under my apartment complex.

At the supermarket I bought a few things I needed. I didn’t need to worry about dinner that night since Matt was going to take me out. I was looking forward to the date with Matt but I also knew that I couldn’t take this any further. I stood at the register and paid. The girl behind the counter chatted cheerfully and told me how delicious the Strawberry cake, I bought a slice of, was.

I stepped out on the sidewalk with my two bags and made my way back toward my apartment. Right outside the grocery store a homeless guy was sitting on the ground with a sign in front of him stating that anything helps and God may bless us.
I dropped two dollars in the small, dirty plastic container on the ground in front of him. He looked up at me and thanked me. I nodded at him and went home.


I spent my day straightening up in my apartment and eventually sat down with a book, coffee and the strawberry cake. The cashier girl had not been lying, the cake was delicious.

My mind kept drifting off to Jordan. Ever since I had met him, I couldn’t get him out of my head anymore and I felt a restlessness pertaining to him. There was an urge to get up, get in my car, and start driving around the city to look for him. In the same train of thought though I also realized how crazy of an idea this was. I couldn’t just drive around and look for a random, homeless guy, who probably could care less about me. We had exchanged maybe fifty words if even and all I had gotten from him was that suspicious look of his dark eyes. To me that look in his eyes seemingly had had a flicker of curiosity in it though and I wanted to believe that I had stirred that curiosity in him.

I tried to keep my mind occupied otherwise for the rest of the day and at five o’clock I got ready for my date with Matt. I was finished with a shower and stood in my closet with a towel wrapped around my body and deciding on what to wear.

It was cool outside but it didn’t rain and I decided on a sleeve-less dark green jumper. I picked out matching ankle boots from my average capacity shoe collection and I added a jeans jacket and a thin scarf as an accessory. I transferred some things I needed from my large every day purse into another smaller purse.

I did my make-up and my hair. My blonde hair was down to my mid back and I decided to leave it hanging loose and only slid a hair band matching my outfit onto my head to keep the hair from falling into my face.

I was happy with my body and I usually tried to hit the gym a few times during the week after I got home from work. Not far from my apartment was a 24-hour Fitness Center and I had a membership there. I stood in front of the full-size mirror in my bedroom and I was satisfied with what I saw.

Matt was on time when it rang at the door shortly before six.
I pushed the speaker button that connected to the main door downstairs, I lived on the fourth floor.

“Shay, it’s Matt.”
“Hi Matt, why don't you come up for a moment?”

Matt had never been to my place and I thought I should invite him up.

“Sure, the restaurant reservation is for seven.”
“Okay, we have some time. Come on up, fourth floor.”

I pressed the buzzer for the door to open downstairs and waited at my apartment door. 
After a few moments Matt stepped out of the elevator down the hallway and he looked very nice. He held a small bouquet of flowers in his hands and smiled as he approached me.

“Hi Matt, welcome.”
He held the flowers toward me, “For you.”
I was surprised and smiled, “But Matt, you didn’t have to do this.”
He smiled, “I know but I wanted to.” 

With that I took the flowers from his hands and we hugged quickly, then I gestured him into my apartment.

“Go on through to the living room.” 

Matt walked ahead of me into the living room.

The kitchen was open to the dining area and living room, “Let me put these in water really quick.”
Matt looked around.
“This is a nice place.”
In the kitchen I let water into a vase, “It is I guess.”

I arranged the flowers in the vase and set it on the breakfast bar, then joined Matt in the living room.

“Can I get you something to drink?”
Matt turned around toward me and smiled, “Thanks but I’m good. We’ll do that drink after dinner.”

He was well-dressed in a trendy cut pair of dark jeans with a grey button up shirt tucked in, top button undone, and black leather shoes. Over his shirt he wore a casual jacket. He had his hair tamed on his head and looked freshly shaven and smelled fresh of a masculine scented cologne.

His blue eyes were alert and friendly and when he smiled, he had those sexy wrinkles in the corners of his eyes. Matt was definitely a good-looking guy and I should have been excited and happy to be the one he was taking out on a date. 

I smiled at him and nodded, “Yeah, sure. Well, this is my place.”
Matt walked over to the large floor to ceiling window looking out to the street and other buildings around, “It’s very nice.” 

Next to the window was a door leading out to a covered balcony. I had two chairs and a small table out there with some plants.

This was a one-bedroom apartment. It was just big enough for one or two people but definitely not meant for a couple with kids. Most tenants in the building were either single or young couples. Matt turned around and I showed him the bedroom and bathroom. There was a bathroom with only a toilet and a sink and a storage room in the hallway. There was a small kitchen with breakfast bar, a dining area, a decent size living room.

Matt stood by the breakfast bar and smiled at me, “You look beautiful by the way.”
I smiled nervously, “Thanks.”
He tilted his head some, “I don’t think I have ever seen you wear this at work?”
I laughed softly, “No, I haven’t because it’s not really work-appropriate.”
We both laughed and he remarked, “Yeah, you’re probably right.” 

At work we both had to wear dress clothes a lot more conservative.

I smiled at him, “You look very dapper yourself.”
“Thanks, yeah, I can’t wear this stuff to work either. Sometimes I wish I could wear some less business and more casual clothes.”

At work Matt always wore suits with ties or bow ties.

I smiled, “Well, you look very nice in the clothes you’re wearing right now. It’s nice to see you not in a suit for a change.”
He laughed and then his face turned serious and his smile turned into an admiration of some kind, “Shay, I’m really happy you said yes to tonight.”
My heart was beating quicker and I bit my lips.
“Yes, I’m looking forward to hanging out with you.”

It wasn’t really a lie but I had a feeling that Matt expected a lot more to come out of this date. I was already nervous at the possible let down I would have to put him through.

After we talked for a few more minutes in the apartment we eventually left and soon sat in Matt’s Chevy Camaro making our way through the city and out to Montlake where Matt had made reservations at a high-end Thai restaurant.

Matt was a gentleman, opening the car door for me and the door to the restaurant, gently touching the small of my back and pushing me through in front of him. The hostess led us to our table, a cozy romantic corner nook table.
Matt assisted me in taking my jacket off and let me sit down before him. There was a candle on the table with the flame flickering in an invisible breeze.

He sat down across from me and smiled, “This is a nice table.”

It was the perfect table for two people who either were much in love, had been married for many years or who would be coming out of this evening hand in hand and kissing in the car. Thinking about Matt’s possible expectations made me nervous.

The table was already set with glasses, silverware, napkins folded in a very creative design on a real table cloth. The lights weren’t very bright and the voices in the restaurant were low and muted. In the background Asian music was playing softly.

Shortly after we had been seated a waitress in traditional Thai attire came to our table and greeted and welcomed us warmly. She set down the menus and poured some water in the small glasses.

When she asked if we had any questions on the food choices we declined and she walked away to give us some time to choose our beverages. Matt decided on a Thai beer and I ordered a Thai wine. We still needed some time to look over the menu for our meals but agreed on an appetizer of spring rolls to share. As for our main dish, I ordered a Pad Thai and Matt had decided on a Thai curry.

We sat over the appetizer and chatted about work, coworkers and all different things. We were laughing and telling jokes like good friends. Just looking at Matt the whole time, listening to him, and watching his face and gestures I kept thinking about that he was actually a great guy. Inside though I was torn and my mind was racing as I thought about Jordan, a homeless guy in a wheelchair and Matt, a guy that had his life together and walking through it strong and proud on two functioning legs.

I hadn’t really met or sought out guys in wheelchairs throughout my life but I couldn’t help that I was very drawn to them and when I did see them and they were attractive I was usually distracted for days and things were bubbling up that I was constantly trying to keep hidden away in my everyday life.

Matt was the perfect company. He was polite and funny, he listened when I talked and he watched me closely making sure I had what I needed. We spent a nice dinner together and I felt good being around him.
He paid for dinner and we were ready to leave. He grabbed my jacket off the hook nearby and helped me get into it, then he slipped into his jacket and with a gentle touch to my back he guided me in front of him to leave the restaurant. It was cool outside but at least it was not raining. We made our way to where Matt had parked.

At the car he unlocked the doors but quickly came around to open the door for me. I thanked him and got in.

Inside the car he turned to me, “So, do you want to go have that after dinner drink maybe?”

It was only nine o’clock and really, I wasn’t tired yet and really a date that had been so fun and great shouldn’t be over yet.
I didn’t know what to do and I guess Matt sensed my hesitation and said with a sad tone, “Unless you’re ready to get home. Then of course I will take you.”

I looked over at him and his face had an expectant and questioning expression.

I took a breath and smiled, trying to distract from my hesitation, “Yes, let’s go for that drink.”
He seemed relieved and turned the key in the ignition, “Do you have a place in mind or do you want me to pick a place?”
“You may pick a place.”
 He pulled out of the parking spot, “All right, I know just the place then.”

Matt got around in the city a lot. He was always out with friends on the weekends and sometimes we talked about it on Monday mornings. He knew of restaurants, bars, clubs, and everything else where fun could be had.

I used to take him for somewhat of a player but he had been single for at least a year and a half and even though I didn't doubt that he had had a few one-night stands, I knew that nothing had come out of any of it. And he had basically waited for me to finally give him that date. Every time I had turned him down, he had said that he would wait for me.

We drove out to Bellevue where Matt knew of a nice lounge with bars and live music. Inside there were quite a lot of people already but we found two seats at one of the bars. The music was not too loud where we couldn’t talk. I climbed onto the bar stool and positioned my legs and my feet on the chair frame. Matt sat right next to me. I looked around and I saw lots of beautiful people, attractive women and men enjoying themselves. A few people even danced to the music the DJ was playing.

This was definitely a high-end lounge and Matt turned his bar stool somewhat to face me, “What do you think of this place?”

I smiled, “It seems kind of fancy.”
He smiled and rubbed over his chin giving me a smart look, “Nothing but the best for you.”
I laughed, “Oh Matt, you know I’m not a fancy girl.”
“You’re beautiful and smart and just an all-around great woman with an awesome personality so that makes this place at least minimum for me to take you to.”
I lowered my eyes, “You’re making me nervous saying all those things.”
His expression turned serious, “It’s true though. You’re the most beautiful woman in here.”
I smiled and waved my hand at him, “Stop it Matt.”
He now leaned over some and was closer to me, “Shay, I never can get enough of seeing you at work. I’m really happy you’re here with me.”

I realized he was serious now and he meant every word he said. I didn’t know what to reply and how to act. I didn’t know how to let him off easy and at the same time my inner good girl was telling me how stupid I was to not be into this guy all the way. 

I slowly looked up at him and in the dim light of the bar I couldn’t see his blue eyes but I still saw his handsome face clearly, “Matt, I’m happy to be out with you as well but I don’t know…”

I stopped, not really sure on how to keep going.

He pressed his lips together and after a moment he remarked somewhat tense, “Shay, it has been nine months since your break-up with Justin.”

I lowered my eyes again and I felt my heart beat fast and my hands tremble. I felt horrible for doing this to him.
We were interrupted by the bartender, “Good evening folks, what can I make for you tonight?”
Matt asked me, “Shay, do you know what you would like to drink?”
I turned to the bar tender who smiled at me friendly, “Could I get a Black Opal?”
“No problem. Coming right up. And for you sir?”

Matt ordered a beer and then he looked out to the dance floor. I think he was still waiting for me to say something about his comment pertaining to my break up with Justin.

I swallowed and had my hands folded in my lap, my feet on the bar stool under me and my purse on the bar counter.
Matt then turned toward me again and he held his hands out to me and I realized he wanted me to put my hands into his. I didn’t know what to do but eventually put my hands into his and he closed his hands around mine and leaned over some more.

He started, “Shay, I’m not sure what it is and why you can’t go for it all the way but I need to let you know some stuff. I’m thirty-five years old, I’m at an age now where I think about settling down with a great woman and maybe one day still have kids. I have partied my heart out, I’ve established a good life for myself, I’ve travelled and I’ve done all the stuff guys do. I’m ready to slow down and calm down and I’ve been looking for the right woman to do this with. I’ve been with lots of women but none of them worked out. None of them made me feel the way you do when I’m around you. We’ve been working together for what…”
He stopped for a moment and I answered for him, “For over two years.”

He nodded, “Yes, and I remember the first time I saw you at the office I was attracted to you. You were still doing your thing with your friends and then of course Justin was in your life and I backed off. I also figured that you and I probably wouldn’t happen because your thing with Justin seemed serious. And I listened to you telling me about him and the stuff you guys did and I told you about my life but deep inside I always hoped that somehow Justin wouldn’t be your forever kind of guy. And then when you started having problems with him, I felt horrible for actually being kind of glad about that. And I started crushing on you again and here we are finally. I’m not sure what it is but I thought I did everything right over the months. I wish you could let go off whatever you’re holding on to and give me that chance to show you that I can be the guy for you.”

I looked down on our hands and I felt my heart beat so fast I thought it would pop out of my chest. I had a lump in my throat listening to Matt.
Our drinks were set on the bar and for a second we were distracted.
Matt then turned to me again and when I looked at him, I saw sadness in his face.

“Shay, is there anything else you need me to do or prove to you that I can be the one for you?”

I was taking quick breaths trying to come up with what I wanted to say to him or how much truth I could give him.

I couldn’t tell him that if he would be paralyzed in a wheelchair, he would be exactly the guy I would want. I couldn’t tell him that all those years I had had those guys in my head, the guys who couldn’t walk, the guys who were paralyzed, the guys who were depending on wheelchairs or on crutches or in braces, guys who had been through the trauma of Spinal Cord Injuries. Yes, it had always only been the guys who had acquired their disabilities, not the ones’ who suffered from genetic disabilities. I didn’t know why I felt this way; I didn’t know what caused my attraction and I had felt shame and guilt for the longest time. That’s also why I had never sought out those men except for in my fantasies they were ever so present. They had been there when I lay in bed with Justin or any of my exes for that fact. They swarmed the photo albums in my head and they were there in my day dreaming when life seemed dull. 

And when in the rare instance I saw an attractive man in a wheelchair in real life, I added his image to my mental photo album and for days I would look at him and eventually when I finally was over the initial excitement, I would pull his image out on occasion and I would feel sadness and I would hope and wish I would one day maybe meet a man like this. I had lived with this all my life and I felt that I couldn’t keep going like this anymore.

I sat there and I looked at Matt and all the sudden a tear ran over my cheek.
Matt almost panicked and he squeezed my hands tighter, “Shay, god, I didn’t…”
He stopped and asked nervously, “What is it?”

I felt awful being like this in front of Matt and I had to say something.

I swallowed and attempted, “Matt, you’re a great guy. You’re everything a woman would want, I mean everything. You’re the full package, the real deal, and you have a great personality on top of all of it. It’s nothing you didn’t do or did do. It’s me, I’m dealing with things that I need to sort out.”

I didn’t know what else to tell him or how much more I should confide in him.

He looked at me inquiringly, “Is it still because of Justin?”
I shook my head, “No, is has nothing to do with Justin or anyone else. It’s me and only me.” 
“Is it something I can help you with?”
I shook my head, “Unfortunately not.”

He shook his head and I could feel his desperation in trying to figure out what was going on with me.

“Shay, you can tell me anything. I really like you and I care about you. I really…”
He stopped, swallowed and took a deep breath, “I really want to be with you.”
I lost another tear looking at him when I said, “I can’t yet; I’m so sorry Matt. But I want our friendship.”

He licked his lips and hung his head, shaking it slightly, then looked up and I saw his face was full of sadness.

He then said softly and with a trembling voice, “I don’t know how long I can wait Shay. I’ve basically waited two years now. Please think about it, about us. It could be so great.”
I nodded and I felt more tears run over my face, “I know it could be. I understand if you can’t wait any longer. There are tons of women out there who would give anything for a guy like you.”
He pressed his lips together and moved his head from side to side, “I don’t want any of them.”

I swallowed and leaned closer to him and now I took my hand from his and I let my hand run softly over his cheek and his eyes were just gazing at me.

I said with a few more tears running down my face, “I’m probably making the biggest mistake of my life right now. You’re an absolutely awesome man Matt. I would love to have your friendship but I would understand if you can’t do it anymore.”
Matt was scanning my face with his eyes.
“Why not Shay?”
“I can’t tell you.”

He nodded in defeat and he moved his face away from my hand and he also let go off my hand in my lap. He turned around on the bar stool, facing away from me and he then took the beer bottle in his hand and drank a large sip.

I felt horrible and I got up and went to the bathroom trying to contain my tears from falling even more. My heart literally hurt for Matt and what I had done to him. I was certain he would be ready to take me home as soon as I would come out of the bathroom.

Inside the bathroom I looked in the mirror and was relieved that my make-up had not smeared really. I made sure it stayed that way and I applied some more lipstick and powder so I wouldn’t shine too much. I felt absolutely horrible about how the night had turned from really nice to this. A girl came into the bathroom and stood next to me by the sink and looked in the mirror.

She seemed tipsy and smiled at me in the mirror, “Hey beautiful girl.”
I forced a smile, “Hi.”
She asked cheery and bluntly, “How’s your night going?”

Her hair was a red mane around her head. She wore a tight top showing lots of cleavage. Her bright green eyes were painted perfectly with make-up and appeared extra-large in her pale face.  

I looked over at her in the mirror, “It’s not going too good anymore.”
She now turned toward me and asked like she knew me, “Oh no, why honey? What’s going on? Heartache?”
For some odd reason I felt like I had to tell someone, “I just turned down the greatest guy a girl could ask for, for a guy I know nothing about except that he is broken and that life has been rough for him. I turned down a great guy for a guy I don’t even know where to find again, because he came into my life for just a moment and disappeared just like that again. I can’t stop thinking about him though and because of that, I turned down the sweetest, most awesome guy who could really have any girl but he picked me and I turned him down.”

Tears were trying to push through again. The redhead just looked at me and had apparently actually listened even though she was swaying dangerously on her very high heels.

She now said, “This other guy, the broken one, do you know his name?”
I nodded, “Yes, I do know his name.”
She now added in a slight slur, “Then you know everything you need to know about him. If you know his name you should do everything to find him again. He’s still out there. If you don’t try to find him, you’ll never know how he feels and you’ll have to always live with the not knowing. The other guy, the one who could have any girl and the one who likes you, will always be around but the guy that you really want still needs to be found by you but you know that he does exist so you can find him. He’s out there waiting to be found by you.”

I looked at her and was astonished at her words and tried to figure out if she actually made sense. Her words sounded wise and mysterious but there was something about her eyes on me that made me feel like she spoke the truth for some reason and she somehow gave me a glimmer of hope that I could find Jordan again.

She now smiled at me, “The broken guy is waiting to be found by you.”
She didn’t sway anymore and she didn’t slur the words.
I nodded and said softly, “I hope so.”
She nodded reassuringly, “He’s out there and he’s waiting.”

Now she turned toward the mirror again and looked at me through the mirror and she smiled at me quietly. She pulled out a lipstick and drew some more color on her lips. 

I smiled at her, “Thank you for listening and giving me hope.”
She nodded with a smile.
I asked her, “What is your name?”
“Jordyn with a y, not an a. Lots of people assume it’s with an a, but it’s not, it’s with a y.”

My jaw dropped at hearing her name and slowly I closed my mouth and was about to say something. 
Jordyn though just smiled at me, touched my arm and said in the process of turning away, “You will find him, Shay.”

I was speechless and instead of saying anything else I just watched as she walked out. I took a deep breath and had to hold myself steady with my hands on the sink counter. I stared at myself in the mirror and for a moment I pondered if this conversation with Jordyn had actually happened or if I had been imagining stuff. I tried to remember if I had told her my name.  

I then saw the lipstick she had used on the counter. I grabbed it and looked at it for a second, it had a Rite Aid sale price tag on it. I was in awe and hurried outside with the intention of finding her and giving her back the lipstick. I looked around in the bar and even though there were lots of people I was able to scan the place for Jordyn but she was nowhere. She had simply just disappeared.

I couldn’t believe what I had experienced in the bathroom but I held the lipstick in my hand and looked at it. I stuck it in my purse and made my way back to Matt. He sat hunched over the bar counter with the beer in between his hands. My heart ached at seeing him and I slowly walked over to him again.

I now stood next to him and I cautiously said his name, “Matt?”
He looked from his beer to me and a weak smile brushed over his face.
I asked softly, “Are you okay?” 

His eyes were sad but the shy smile stayed on his face.

He nodded, “I am actually. I thought about everything. I do want our friendship to continue.”

He paused, looked at the beer bottle for a second and then back at me, “If I can’t have you as my girlfriend, I still want you in my life as a friend. I don’t want to not have you in my life and maybe one day you will trust me enough to fill me in what it is. If it’s not something I have done or not done, then it must be something you’re dealing with and I hope you can trust me enough to maybe share this with me some day. I want us to stay friends and hang out as friends. If that’s all I can get from you, then that’s what I will take.”

As much as I felt sadness, I also felt a huge relief at hearing him say those things. I smiled at him with a tear running down my face again.

“I want that too. I want our friendship. I want you in my life too. You’re a great guy Matt and the woman who will get you will be the luckiest woman in the world.”
He smiled, “Yeah, we’ll see. Maybe I’ll stay single.”

I now moved closer to him and he turned toward me. I set my purse down on the counter and we fell into a hug.

I said next to his face, “I’m so sorry Matt.”
“It’s okay. I’ll always be around while you try to find what you’re looking for.”

I remembered what Jordyn had said in the bathroom about the guy who likes me always being around and I couldn’t really believe when I heard Matt say exactly those words. I pulled Matt even tighter and I felt so safe and so loved in his arms. I always wanted to have him in my life.

The evening had turned from hopeful and fun into something different but much deeper. I somehow knew I could always turn to Matt as a friend no matter what would happen. I thought that eventually I would let him in on my endeavors and my longings so he would know that it wasn’t him.

We didn’t leave right away but still sat together and chatted about each other and life and love and relationships in general. We also hugged again and sat arm in arm but we didn’t kiss and Matt didn’t try anything. I felt very close to him and I was so relieved he had not kicked me to the curb all the way.

When he dropped me off that night we sat in the car outside my apartment and I turned to him, “Matt, I want to thank you for being you and for…”
I felt emotional, “For being in my life and wanting to stay in my life despite of what happened tonight or what didn’t happen. You’re a wonderful man and I’m lucky to count you as my friend.”
We hugged again and Matt then said, “Thanks Shay. You’re everything a guy could wish for and whichever guy that’ll be, better treat you right or he’ll have to deal with me big time. I’m sorry I can’t be the one for you right now.”

We hugged again and then I got out.

I leaned into the car once more, “I will see you on Monday at work.”
“You sure will.”

Matt waited until I was in the building and he wanted me to text him when I was in my apartment. I did that and locked the door behind me.

Inside my apartment I leaned on the door and just stood there, breathing and thinking. I pondered if I had possibly made the biggest mistake of my life not letting Matt be the one for me but having met the girl Jordyn in the bathroom at the bar had been such a strange, but yet an enlightening conversation. It had really been the weirdest thing with what she had said but I now was determined to find Jordan again. I wasn’t sure yet how that would be and how I would do that but I just felt that there was a reason I had met Jordyn with a y that night.



  1. Thanks for the wonderful chapter. I love this mystery that you put in your stories, it can make me shiver. I look forward to the next.

  2. Such a nice and long chapter. I'm looking forward to next Monday already.

  3. Great chapter. Can't wait to "see" Jordan again.

  4. Can't wait for the next one!!!

  5. I absolutely love this story. I am so eager to read the next chapter! Dani, you are really talented at developping the characters and the story. i can really relate to Shay and so curious about Jordan !

  6. Thank you for another amazing chapter! Oh, I am so curious on how it will develop.. What will Matt's reaction be when he gets to know about Jordan. And vice versa. And this Jordyn, is she somehow connected to Jordan or wš it just a coinsidence? Looking forward to the next chapter and more of Jordan and his story!