Summer Goes To Washington
-Summer Goes to Washington”
I remember his voice. It had a cool, rocky sound to it. He sounded like one of those old Hollywood movie stars. He looked like one too. He was tall, strong, with perfect skin and bright, white teeth. He was almost too good to be true. Oh, correct that. He was too good to be true. The entire thing started out when I got a call from my boss at V’Laad PR.
“Summer, hi, Joan here.” She said at her usual caffeinated speed. “I just got a call from Washington, D.C., if you can believe it. It was the PRESIDENTS DAUGHTER! She wants our firm to plan a little something there for her fiancée.” She was speaking so fast my mind did not have time to catch up when she then said, “So, will you do it?”
“Do what? Plan the party?” I asked, a little, panicked.
“Summer, I love everyone at V’Laad, you know that. But truth be told, there is no one with more style or class then you. This party needs to be elegant, and I am counting on you to get the job done. I’ve already called a jet to fly you out tonight. Get packed and ready to see the state capitol up close, and personal.” She then hung up, leaving me completely stunned.
After my brief phone call with Joan, I rushed home to pack. I gathered an array of clothing from my walk-in closet. I filled my suitcase with a variety of skirts, pants, tops, and a few evening gowns, just in case. Around 4:00pm, I arrived at the airport. I did the usual flying ritual of visiting all the magazine racks and picking the trashiest tabloids to keep me company on the flight. I then went to the Starbucks stand and ordered a Venti Caramel Misto with extra foam. I took my magazines and my pretentious coffee and waited for my flight. An hour and ½ later, I was onboard the plane.
The ride took only a few hours, and left me completely un-jetlagged. I arrived in Washington D.C. looking fresh and rested. I stepped out of the airport feeling sexy, confident, and in control of how this party was going to go. I felt good. As I strutted my sexy, confident self toward the town car waiting for me, I felt a sudden rush of pain. I was so busy acting sexy and cool that I had walked straight into a parking meter. My leg was bleeding and I was in serious pain, but my pain would have to take a back seat to my pride. I hopped away with as much dignity and grace as I could muster.
I arrived at the Shay Hotel about 2 hours before I was to meet with Cassandra and plan her fiancé’s birthday party. I walked around the celebrity suite I was staying in and lavished at the swanky furniture, giant plasma TVs and the loads of gifts laying on the bed. I knew V’Laad was a popular firm, but it was not until I observed the way I was treated at Shay Hotel that I realized how respected my work really was. After taking an extended bubble bath and laying around in my terry cloth rob, I changed into something a little less comfortable and a little more respectable.
An hour later, I was sitting in FAIR; a classy French restaurant located a block away from my suite. I sat; sipping at the white wine, I had ordered for myself and waited for Cassandra to show. Once she arrived, I knew I was in for an interesting couple of days. She was dressed in a slinky, black mini dress. She had a floating diamond necklace around her swan-like neck and a platinum bracelet on her bony wrist. Her hair was long and golden blonde, and her bouncing curls told me she was not going to the local barbershop. Out of the President’s daughters that I had seen in the past, Cassandra was the most beautiful of them all. I heard her ask the concierge where I was seated, and floated across the outside café like an angel. I knew it would be unprofessional to hate her for her looks, but I felt the envy building up inside of me.
“You’re gorgeous!” I blurted out as I shook her delicate hand. She, obviously, looked at me a bit strangely. She must have sensed how nervous I was, because her face softened as she smiled. Instead of thanking me for the compliment, she sat across from me and opened her portfolio book.
“I have some samples of other parties I’ve attended. I thought we might pull some of the better ideas from these and create a spectacular party. I talk a mile a minute and I don’t plan on repeating myself, so try to keep up, and let’s get started” Cassandra said, sounding like Joan, minus the kindness or appreciation. I sat, staring at her for a few seconds before reminding myself how powerful the President’s daughter was. I figured it would be better to play along, instead of risking being fired.
“Well, I am ready to get planning…” I started to speak, but she obviously had not heard herself speak quite enough.
“Good. I’m thinking of Hollywood meets Morocco. I want ethnic touches mixed with an overall glamorous atmosphere. My George deserves the best of the best, and I’m counting on your firm to give it to him. I spoke to a tediously boring woman, named Joan. She spoke incredibly slow and had no idea what she was talking about. I hope I won’t be dealing with her again any time soon” I was about to let her continue, until I realized she was insulting my boss.
“Well, Cassandra, you should know that Joan is an incredible worker with brilliant ideas. However, you will not be dealing with Joan. Actually, you will be working exclusively with me for the remainder of the week. I work extremely hard, and I don’t plan on resting until you and your fiancée are satisfied.” I said, with no inflection whatsoever. Cassandra looked at me, smiled once again, and handed the portfolio over to me.
A few days later, I found myself preparing for what was to be the biggest night in Washington D.C. since the inauguration. The planning for George’s party had gone perfectly, once I told Cassandra to let me handle everything. That night, I walked into the party, wearing a scarlet red mini dress, designed by Bieli Bonvergdoni, along with my favorite pair of black stilettos. I looked to the left and saw Cassandra and George kissing by the orchids I had ordered, due to George’s allergic reactions to every other plant I tried. They seemed happy. And suddenly, I did not feel so great about the party. I looked around me to see couple everywhere. I was one of the only single people there. I then looked over to my right to see another single. Only this one was blonde, handsome, and a man. He was in a gorgeous charcoal gray suit with darker lapels, a sky blue tie, and loafers that were obviously Italian and expensive. He spotted me staring at him and began to walk over. The closer he got, the more dazzling his blue eyes appeared. Once he smiled, I knew he was out of my league. I never realized a person’s teeth could be so white and straight.
“Excuse me; I couldn’t help noticing that you were staring at me from across the room. I decided it might be a little better for your vision if I came closer.” He said through his beautiful smile. If any other man had said that to me, he would have been on the floor, with my fist indented on his face. However, he was so charming; I could not do anything but giggle. “I’m Tommy,” he proclaimed, extending his manicured hand to shake mine. While I was still entranced by his face, I managed to escape from my gorgeous induced coma to comment on his introduction.
“I’m sorry, your name is Tommy? You don’t look like you’re 10 years old.” I said, trying to come off casual, but probably sounding more spastic. “I’m sorry, that came out a little mean” I apologized. He did nothing but continue smiling.
The rest of the conversation seemed like a blur. He was so charming that I felt a wave of happiness sweep over me every few minutes. I could not believe I had actually found an intelligent, funny, sweet man in Washington. For the remainder of the evening, we chatted, danced, and drank champagne. I was having the time of my life.
The way Tom spoke had a real honest quality. I felt like although we did not really know each other, he was speaking to me like an old friend. Everything was going perfectly. We were not running out of food or drinks, Tom and I were gabbing away, and Cassandra was basking in the glow of her fiancée. Everything was truly magical. Then, just as I began asking questions about his profession, Tom got a call. He placed his hand on my arm and told me he would be right back. As he walked away, I noticed how stealthily he walked. He was like a panther or something that was smooth in every step. I felt myself melting again.
Just as I thought things could not get better, Tom and some man flew through the doorway near the bathroom. They were wrestling with each other, and in the process, ended up breaking one of antique Italian flowerpots I had brought with me from my apartment for the party. The two were destroying the party. They smashed into an ice sculpture and as it smashed into the ground, I felt tears begin it well up inside of me. This party was my chance to prove to Joan and the rest of my V’Laad coworkers that I could handle planning an event on my own. To think the man that made me melt was no destroying the opportunity of a lifetime in front of my eyes was too much to bear. I lost control of my emotions and began weeping.
Then something ever more unexpected happened. Tom pulled a badge from his jacket and slammed handcuffs on the man he was fighting. My head was spinning and I felt ill. A string of questions came into my head. Was this why he avoided my questions about his profession? How could I have trusted him without even knowing him? Then, because I did not feel bad enough about the mess, Cassandra came up to me, screaming. She blamed me for the entire thing. Saying I should have been aware, that something like this could happen. Then, she and her entire party left the ballroom.
I looked over to see Tom brushing himself off. He looked guilty. I knew he felt bad for what happened, but it did not solve my worries. I looked away from his caring glance and walked out of the room, tears flooding my eyes. I practically ran outside. I stood, getting drenched in the rain that began falling from the sky. My red dress started becoming see-through, and I knew I would have to find shelter fast. My brain was telling my legs to keep running. However, my heart told me to wait for Tom to explain himself. I decided my heart had fooled me enough for the evening. I ran across the street, nearly being hit by a taxicab, and hustled into a nearby pub, called “O’Riley’s Hideout” or something of that nature. I sat at the bar, and ordered a dirty martini. I figured I would need to be either heavily sedated or drunk to deal with the night’s events.
Three and ½ dirty martinis later, I was feeling no better about myself. Cassandra had called and apologized for becoming angry. She asked me if I was available to plan her wedding, and I agreed. However, that call did not erase the image of Tom destroying the party, not to mention my favorite vase. Then, to add to my misery, in walked the man of the hour. It was Tom. He was soaking wet, and looking damned fine. I almost started forgetting what he had put me through earlier. That was until he started walking over, a tall glass of beer in his hand. The closer he got, the more hurt I felt. I knew if I tried talking, the tears would start up again. He came up and said “Hi”. I could not respond, afraid of losing control of my emotions. I think he sensed he was not going to get a syllable out of me, so he continued talking.
“Look, I know I can’t repair the damages I did tonight. I understand if you hate me. However, just let me get some things out in the open. Maybe you will understand why I had to lie to you. My name is Johnny.” He said, extending his hand out to me. I did not reciprocate. But the fact that his real name still sounded like that of a ten year-old’s made me a bit more at ease. He then went on to tell me he was with the F.B.I. and was undercover at the party to prevent a drug deal that was going to “go down”. He looked for my approval of his story, and not having the energy to argue, I told him I knew he was a secret agent. I made up some story about having a list of secret service men on my guest list. He bought it. He also bought me a few more drinks. He was unaware of the fact that I had already reached my drinking limit before he arrived.
I was drunk, he was handsome, and the bar was empty. Somehow, my night seemed salvaged. He began looking at my leg, and just I was about to comment on how crass he was being, he asked about the cut on my knee. Too embarrassed to tell him about my accident at the airport, I told him it was nothing. He smiled that heavenly smile and looked into my eyes. I knew he was going to kiss me, so I leaned into him. He pressed his soft lips against mine. Either he was an amazing kisser, or the six martinis were getting to me, because I felt my entire body buzzing. We pulled away and he held my face in his strong hands. He apologized for ruining the party and I smiled. I told him about Cassandra’s offer, and his face lit up. I could tell he really cared about how I felt. He asked how long I would be in Washington, and I had to tell him I was leaving the next morning. At first, he looked crushed, but then he pulled me closer and kissed me again. It was that second kiss that confirmed the martinis had little to do with the buzzing. As soon as I felt myself begin to melt again, I pulled away. I knew we would never be able to make a relationship work, and that judging by how strongly I was attracted to him, I knew if we tried and failed, I would be heartbroken. I told him it would be best to leave things the way they were. I told Johnny that if he were ever in New York, he could look me up.
He got up and went to the bathroom. I watched him walk away and I knew it was time for me to go. I was never good with goodbye. I guess I attained that trait from my father. However, unlike my father, I did not leave an explanation for my departure. All I left was a napkin with my phone number and a smeared stain from my lipstick. I left the pub and called for a cab. As I drove back to the hotel, I started to cry. I knew leaving was for the best, but it still hurt. I thought about what he would think when he got back from the bathroom. I started to lose it again. It could not end like this. I did not want it to. I told the cab driver to go back to the pub. He pulled up to the curb, right where he had picked me up. I climbed out and ran into the bar to give Johnny one more goodbye kiss. I looked around, but Johnny was not anywhere to be found. The bartender told me I had just missed him.
The next day, I arrived at my apartment. I checked my answering machine for a message from Johnny, but there was none. I fell onto my bed with a package of red Twizzlers and a diet coke and I thought about how great we could have been together. Then, for the first time since I met him, I listened to my heart. It told me that if Johnny and I were meant to be, it would happen. I went to sleep that night tired and happy. I hope he did the same.