It’s Not Time To Make A Change

Tyson finally decided to reconcile with his father on a neutral ground: Dinner with his father and his new wife at a restaurant.

So he would not have to endure this challenge alone, Tyson invited me to tag along for moral support. Honestly, I didn’t realize how serious this meeting was until I met Tyson and his father and his wife at Babbo’s in the seaport district. Fortunately I picked the right day to wear my new black dress with my new pumps.

Upon entering, I spotted the group sitting in a corner booth.

“Hi Tyson,” I greeted.

“Hello Belle,” he kissed me on the cheek. By the expression on his face, he was relieved that I finally arrived. “You are beautiful,” he whispered in my ear. I smiled in response. We then turned his attention to the couple facing us. “Belle, this is my father, Bruce and…his wife, Julia.”

“Nice to meet you,” I shook hands with both off them before sitting on the opposite side of the table.

“So Belle, Tyson informs us that you met each other at the fitness center where he works,” Bruce commented. I glanced at Tyson with a raised eyebrow. He gave me a signal as if hinting that is the story we are telling.

“We did,” I turned back to face Bruce.

“He also says you came here for school and you are pursuing a publishing career,” Bruce continued.

“That is correct,” I answered as I took a sip of my water.

“A tough industry to pursue nowadays,” Bruce responded in a rather cynical tone leaving me at a stutter for words.  Granted I have heard that response every time I tell someone, I still do not know how to counter their skepticisms. Sometimes it makes me question why I’m continuing on this career path even though it feels like I’m heading nowhere.

“That is true. But I also told my father that you are genuinely serious about placing your mark in publishing. You have been interviewing, job shadowing and applying to various positions at prestigious publishing firms in Boston. You also graduated Summa Cum Laude from Emerson College. You interned for the Huffington Post and Random House.  In addition, your current boss has given you, opportunities to build your marketing and communication skills,” Tyson added, saving me from defeat.

“That’s right. I just had a phone interview with OWS Publishers. They are the top publishing company in Boston, “ I answered now feeling confident.

“I see. Well good luck.” I turned back to Tyson and mouthed “Thank you”.

Fortunately, the conversation redirected towards Tyson. Tyson discussed his job at JLS including his upcoming business trip to DC. Bruce was clearly impressed, as he should be, on how far Tyson has progressed on his career and professional life.

 

During dinner, I could not help but notice that Tyson bears a strong resemblance to Bruce, especially the eyes, nose and mouth. Even the way they sit and cross their arms.

Julia appeared to be at least 10 years younger than Bruce. She had loose blonde curly hair with blue eyes. I could not help but notice that she clearly got something done, with her boobs unnaturally bulging out. I tried to concentrate on the conversation to avoid staring at Julia’s figure. Is she the same woman whom Tyson walked in on in his father’s office? She clearly must have had some powerful influence to convince Bruce to cheat on his ex-wife.

Julia and Bruce currently live in a Roslindale. Bruce works in technical consulting while Julia stays home with their two children.   They spend summer vacations in the White Mountains in New Hampshire. Julia is treasurer at the Parent-Teacher Association at the kids’ school and runs the school carpool. Bruce coaches their son’s hockey team. Despite the affair, they are a pretty normal suburban family.

The evening was flowing smoothly until…

“So Belle, what was your first impression of Tyson when you first met him?” Bruce asked.

“Well, I actually didn’t like him at first,” I answered honestly. “But once I got to know him, his true colors shined through such as his incredible work ethic, thoughtfulness, and loyalty.” Tyson smiled at me and squeezed my hand under the table. “One time he waited outside a building where I was having my interview. When I exited the building, there he was with a huge bouquet of roses.”

“He must have gotten it from his old man,” Bruce chuckled, which made Tyson to stiffen a little.

“Actually,” I said turning to face Bruce. “I believe he inherited all those wonderful traits from his mom. His mom has done a remarkable job raising him and teaching him important values.”

“I see,” Bruce’s face suddenly turned cold. The evening soon became sour. The conversation stopped just as the food arrived. We started eating in the most awkward silence. I knew I should have kept my mouth shut. The tension became so thick you could cut it with the steak knife.

Fortunately, the dinner ended early as their children had soccer practice the next morning. After parting ways and saying goodbyes, Tyson drove me home.

“That went well,” he finally spoke as we reached the front door of my apartment building.

“I’m sorry,” I squeezed his hand and gazed up at him.

“What are you sorry about?”

“I insulted your father when I know you are trying to reconcile with him.”

“You didn’t insult him. You were just expressing the truth. And I thank you for that. Besides I would have blurted out something if you didn’t.”

“Really?” I suddenly felt relieved.

“Yes and that’s what I admire about you. You are not afraid to voice your opinions.” He kissed my hand. “And I’m happy you came to dinner tonight. To be honest, I was feeling terribly uncomfortable facing the two of them. Before you entered, the conversation felt very business-like and stuffy.”

“So was Julia..the woman who..”

“Yes she was,” Tyson cut me off. “That’s what made it even more uncomfortable, which is why I’m so glad you rescued me.” He kissed my cheek.

“Will you ever reconcile with your father?”

“Eventually, just not right now. And most likely when she is not around,” Tyson expressed in a low voice. “I love you.”

“I love you too,” I smiled giving him a kiss. “Do you want to come in…and stay the night?” His eyes lit up.

“Sure.”  He got out of the car and opened the door for me before we headed inside, with my hand in his back pocket

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She Works Hard For The Money

gettyimages-485205043

Pippa is acting extremely stressed out lately. This past two weeks, our entire computer system upgraded to a new server with supposedly more user-friendly products.  The upgrade, however, caused numerous problems across the office. Desktops have been acting slower than usual. Employees are not able to perform their regular work tasks. Emails and databases are taking longer to download.

In tackling all these issues, Pippa is working overtime, even coming in on Saturdays. Despite hiring a second IT person to replace Duncan, poor Pippa is being pulled in different directions.  Employees constantly come to her with all their problems.  Upper management pressuring her to fix everything fast. Though she tries to hide her emotions, I could tell that she felt aggravated and exhausted.

Regardless of her busy schedule, she still makes time for us to eat lunch together outside the office. I feel terrible though. I would spend the entire lunch period talking about my own struggles with work, my job hunting, and my relationship with Tyson. Pippa patiently sits there and listens and smiles and provides her advice.

I am trying to be better in encouraging Pippa to express her frustrations, not to mention motivate her to find another job with a larger salary. She is highly skilled in technology and computer programming. A tough career field for women to pursue, especially for a woman of color. On top of that, Pippa has extensive managerial experience.

JLS is evidently taking advantage of Pippa, especially with how they pay her. She never revealed to me how much she earned. One Friday, I was distributing pay checks to employees, when Pippa’s pay check slipped out of its envelope. I couldn’t help but examine her pay check and my jaw dropped at how little she is actually paid. After doing some research, she makes only 20 percent less than what she should actually earn. Plus, Pippa isn’t paid for her overtime. She has been with JLS for more than five years. It is totally unfair. No wonder Duncan decided to leave.

JLS does not even compensate her for her public transportation costs, or anyone else for that matter, which is unfortunate. Pippa has a long commute from her home in Dracut to Boston. She wakes up at 5 in the morning, gets ready and eats breakfast. She wakes up her son and helps him get ready for school. An hour later, she drives to the train station in Lowell to catch the commuter rail to Boston.

Sometimes I wonder how her overtime work is affecting her family, especially her six year old son, Jeremiah. He is at that developmental age when he really needs her. I’ve met him when Pippa invited me to her house for Thanksgiving. He is so adorable you could eat him with a spoon. And he is incredibly smart for his age. Gets his intelligence from his mom. At least, she gets to work from home on Thursdays so she can spend time with him. Pippa’s husband is also extremely supportive of her and her career. He especially helps out with the housework and taking care of Jeremiah.

All in all, Pippa deserves better.

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It’s The Things You Do

breakfast-in-bed-hrszu6td

A few hours later, I woke up to the strong aroma of scrambled eggs and coffee. The sun was seeping through the open window, followed by a light breeze. I could hear ESPN on my TV running in the background. I rolled over and noticed Tyson not lying next to me, yet his cologne still remains. I stretched my arms and gave a big yawn.

“Good morning,” I gazed up to see Tyson walking in, carrying a tray with a rose in a tiny vase I might add. Phillipe trotted behind him.

“You cooked breakfast?” I exclaimed as he set the tray on my lap. I could tell he had showered by the scent of my shampoo and soap. Tyson was still wearing the same clothes from last night.  But appeared as handsome as ever.

“The least I could do after last night’s reconciliation and you allowing me to spend the night,” he smiled. Hmm maybe I could get used to this.  I gazed around the room. He also took the liberty to clean my windows and mop my floors.  How much sleep did he get?

“I  took Phillipe out for a morning jog so his exercise is covered till evening. He is already fed.” I just stared at him in amazement as he picked Phillipe up from the floor and held him like a baby.  Since Tyson and I started dating, he and Phillipe have formed a special friendship. I never witnessed Phillipe warming up to someone so easily. He is always excited when Tyson comes over. Tyson takes Phillipe occasionally on walks to the park. They play catch. Tyson picks him up from doggy daycare. He even takes Phillipe to the  Vet.

“You’re sweet.” And Tyson is not that terrible of a cook. Bacon was crispy. Toast was properly buttered. Eggs were fluffy and well-cooked. The coffee had the perfect balance between milk and sugar. The orange juice was fresh. He definitely picked up some cooking techniques from his mother.  As I  started  eating, I caught Tyson staring at me.

“Aren’t you going to eat?”

“I ate after I returned from jogging.” He smiled as he placed Phillipe back down on the floor to play with his chew toy. I continued eating. When I looked up again, Tyson was still smiling.

“What is it?”

“Nothing. You’re beautiful.” I gave  him a weird look, not knowing what he’s talking about. I had just woken up.  My breath probably smells. I’m not wearing my contacts. I wore no make-up. As if he was reading my mind, “You have natural beauty.” My mouth dropped. “What?” he asked confused.

“It’s just no one has ever said that to me before,” I answered feeling flattered. He kissed my hand.

“It’s the truth.”

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Two In the Morning

Later that night I hear my phone buzzing while I am deeply asleep. Gazing over at my digital clock, the time is 2 in the Morning. Who could be calling me at this hour? It better not be one of those annoying telemarketers.

Upon checking caller id, Tyson’s name pops up.

“Tyson?” I managed to croak out.

“Hey Belle. I’m sorry to wake you. Can we talk?”

“Tyson, it’s 2 in the morning,” I groaned, frustrated not to mention annoyed. “Can’t it wait till daytime?”

“Again I apologize from disturbing your sleep. But I’ve been thinking a lot about our fight earlier.  I want get some things off my chest so you don’t stay angry at me. I’m outside your apartment.” I sighed. I am angry he woke me up. Part of me wanted him to suffer and spend the whole night waiting inside his car.  But I am a better person than that.

I rolled out of bed causing Phillipe to stir, who always sleeps at the foot of my bed. Flipped on the light switch. I put on a sweater over my pjs and made my way out to the main apartment building door to see Tyson standing on the sidewalks, hands in his pockets.

“Hi,” he greeted with a weak smile.  I motioned him to the bench outside the apartment.  He took my hands in his.

“I’m sorry about snapping at you earlier. I didn’t mean for those hurtful words to come out like that. I should have been more sensitive.”

“You should.” I am not letting him get off easily.

“I know.” He paused before continuing. “Growing up, my dad was my hero. He and I were the best of friends. I wanted to be just like him. We did almost everything together. To me, he could do no wrong. He taught me the importance of being authentic, loyal and faithful as well as hard work.” He then turned his eyes down to the gravel. “Then one day, I marched into his office after school when I was 14 years old. I found my father’s secretary sitting on his desk with her with shirt unbuttoned almost to the point where her bra was almost showing. My father standing there, his hair messy with her lipstick all over his face.”

I gasped with my hand over my mouth, not believing what Tyson witnessed. “At that moment, I immediately turned and stormed out of his office. And you know the worst part?”

“What?”

“He came home later that day acting as if nothing happened. Our relationship began to drift apart.  My mother eventually found out without me telling her. They started fighting and he walked out two months later. They divorced within a year. I had just realized that I had been listening to a hypocrite this whole time. A man who claims the significance of loyalty and truthfulness. And he cheats on his wife. To this day, I never forgave him despite him trying to reconcile with me.” I could see little tears coming out his eyes and he sniffed a bit.  “Which was why I started having a hard time to trusting people.”

“When my father showed up out of the blue today, I just became so angry. All of a sudden, I felt all those old wounds coming back and I found myself closing up again. And I took it out all on you.” Though he appeared exhausted, he seemed genuinely apologetic. “I lashed out on the one person whom I cared about the most. I’m sorry, Belle. Will you forgive me?”

“If we are going to move on like this, we need to have more transparency. We can’t hide secrets from each other. We need to trust each other.” I needed to give him an ultimatum and still stand my ground. I wasn’t giving in that easily.

“I agree,” he nodded and squeezing my hand. “From now on, I promise to tell you everything especially things that bother me the most.”

“I forgive you.” He hugged me tightly and kissed my forehead and caressed my cheek. “Well I should go. It’s getting late..well early.”  He was about to head back to his car but I stopped him.

“I don’t want you to fall asleep by the wheel. How about you stay the night?” My heart skipped a beat.

“Sure. I have some extra clothes in my car and I don’t have work at the club anyways tomorrow.” He followed me back into my apartment. Phillipe immediately started barking happily and jumped on Tyson. I stood for a moment debating whether to let him sleep on the couch or… my bed.

I could still feel my heart  pumping.

“Do you want to cuddle tonight?” motioning to my bed as Tyson took off his jacket. He stared at me for moment as if questioning my instincts.  “It would be more comfortable than the couch,” I offered. .

“Okay,” he smiled before heading to the bathroom to wash up. I sat for a moment and wondered am I going too fast? I mean we just made up from our first fight and he revealed a bunch of things of his past. This is the farthest (not to mention earliest) I’ve gone with a guy in inviting him over to my apartment for one night after 5 months of dating. But we are just cuddling and keeping each other warm. No harm in that right?

Tyson finally emerged from the bathroom in his boxers but still with his t-shirt on. I breathe a sigh of relief…though I wouldn’t mind seeing him… with his bare chest. He sat down next to me on the bed.

“If you don’t want me to lie down next to you, I’ll be happy to take the couch,” he noticed my uneasiness.

“No. I want you to be next to me,” I assured him.  We pulled the covers and lied down. He wrapped his arms around me.  I’m not going to lie but his embrace  felt  warm and comforting, not to mention secured. I soon found myself snuggling a little closer to his body, his warm breath against  my neck.

“I love you,” he whispered softly in my ear.

Within minutes, we both fell asleep.

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He Turns Away Again

Today, Tyson and I just experienced our first fight.

It was a Friday evening, particularly stressful day for Tyson. His meetings were scheduled back to back along with critical project deadlines. I could tell by his face as he paced by my desk that he had a lot on his mind. On top of that, Tyson had to cover for Chip who was sick in the shipping room. Although I tried to help lighten his workload a bit, I took my cue to keep my distance.

We originally planned a dinner date that night but I felt hesitant, noticing how exhausted Tyson appeared by the end of the day. But Tyson insisted dinner would be a stress-reliever.

Fortunately, we were able to leave JLS right on time. His mood had lightened up once we exited the office building. Not together of course. He even squeezed my hand and kissed my cheek as we strolled down Tremont Street.

However, as we entered the restaurant, Tyson’s face suddenly turned cold.

“What’s wrong?” I gazed up concerned.

“We should not eat here,” he started to turn around.

“Why?” I persisted, noticing that the restaurant was only half full and no one waiting to be seated. This restaurant is also well-known for its farm-to-table concept and emphasis on sustainable cuisine.

“No reason,” he pulled my arm, but as we headed out the door, we heard a voice behind us.

“Tyson!” We both turned around to see an older gentleman heading in our direction. He had brown eyes and checkered black hair combed back. He sported a blue blazer with a white collar and a pair of jeans.  I felt Tyson’s body stiffen and eventually turned around to face the gentleman.

“What do you want?”  He glared at the older gentleman.

“Can’t you say hello to your father?” My eyes widened as Tyson’s fists tightened.  His face turned from cold to anger.

“You mean the one that walked out on me and my mom, breaking our family apart,” his voice full of irritation and loud enough for restaurant customers to turn their heads. My heart skipped a beat as I witnessed the scene before me.

“Tyson, that was a long time ago,” the gentleman pleaded. “Can we talk about this?”

“Talk? Do you have any idea how much pain you caused me and my mother? How I had to pick up the pieces?”

“Tyson, I know I may be the last person you want to talk to but I want to make it up to you,” he edged closer towards us.

“Too late for that,” Tyson immediately turned around and marched out of the restaurant. I quickly ran to catch up with him. I wanted to say something once I caught up with him but realized Tyson needed to let off some steam. We finally ended up at a bar on the financial district.

The atmosphere felt uncomfortable. We mostly ate in silence. Tyson kept looking down at his plate and pushing his food around with his fork. I tried to lighten the mood by sharing stories about when I took Phillipe to the park and when I took him to the Vet. Tyson still didn’t make a sound.

Thank goodness for the availability of white wine. Otherwise this date would have been  unbearable.

“Can we talk about what happened earlier?”  I finally asked. “You never really mentioned your father before.”

Tyson just rolled his eyes at me and put down his fork.

“There is nothing to talk about,” Tyson snapped. “He abandoned me and my mother. End of story.” I already knew the whole background from Mrs. Knightley. I just wanted to hear his side.

“You know you can tell me anything,” I lightly touched his hand.

“Belle, it’s none of your business,” he angrily pulled away. “Did my mother put you up to this?”

“No she didn’t,” I answered patiently. “I am just asking because your father clearly made some impact on your life and him walking out was especially devastating.” Tyson motioned me to stop.

“Belle, drop it.” The intensity was rising between us. “Unlike you, I don’t believe in airing out my feelings and engaging in heart-to-heart conversations to make me feel better.”

“I’m your girlfriend,” I pointed out.  “We shouldn’t be keeping secrets from each other.”

“How about you act like my girlfriend and drop the subject?” he fumed, causing a chill up my spine. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed the bartender and servers all staring at us.

“Why are you shutting me out like this?” By now, I am frustrated.

“You wouldn’t understand.”

“Why wouldn’t I understand?” I probed him.

“Because you grew up with your father always being there for you and loving you. You never had to deal with a parent suddenly out of your life and you can’t do anything about it.  You never felt the emptiness and suddenly having to take the role to fill the void.” I stared at him, my jaw wide open. I couldn’t believe the words I was hearing. I’ve had enough.

“How is it any different with losing a mother to cancer and dying right in front of you? And feeling powerless? And having the growing up without a mother? And miss out on the big moments in your life like my prom, my college graduation, and my 16th birthday? And dealing with that big hole in your life?” Tears were coming down my face. You clearly don’t know me at all,” I responded bitterly. I grabbed my purse and got up from my seat. I had to leave.

“Belle, I’m so sorry,” he tried to reach for my hand, realizing what he had said.

“Tyson, you need to figure out a lot of issues and need some space to clear your head. You can call  me tomorrow when you are ready.”  I know he didn’t mean what he said. But his words still hurt, not to mention, offend me.

I immediately made my way out of the restaurant and hailed an Uber straight home without Tyson trying to stop me.

Sometimes I don’t understand him. I thought I changed him in encouraging him to open  up to me.  We grown closer since our weekend in DC. I confided to him about my past. How I coped with my mother’s death as a teenager and growing up with only my dad around. I thought we could relate along those lines.

I even told him why I broke up with Ben and turned down his proposal. Sigh. At least my furry little friend is waiting for me at home.

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Deeper

Tyson was scheduled to travel to DC for a week. And, he asked me to spend the following weekend with him in the capital since it was Memorial Day Weekend.  At first, I felt excited but hesitant at the same time. Not only did I worry about drawing any suspicion, I also felt unsure if I am ready to take our relationship to the next level. This would be the first time we would be spending a whole weekend alone together. But I trusted Tyson enough to know that he would not push me into anything I did not want to do.

Fortunately Fridays are our slow days at JLS so I was able to leave early and take a flight down to DC. To ward off any questions, I told people that I am going out of town to visit friends.

Tyson met me at the airport and to my relief, booked me a separate room from his at the hotel. Our weekend ended up being a relaxing one. I am happy to report that Tyson stayed off his laptop and work phone the entire time. Tyson actually impressed me with planning every detail of the entire weekend. He even avoided speaking about work the whole weekend despite presenting a successful business plan to the partners in the capital.

Jefferson Memorial in Spring

Washington, DC at the Tidal Basin and Jefferson Memorial during the spring cherry blossom season.

 

Spring had fully begun in DC with the cherry blossoms in full bloom and clear skies. The weather was not too hot and not too cold.

Since it was my first time in Washington, we definitely did the typical tourist stuff. We visited the Lincoln Memorial.

We ate a picnic lunch at Meridian Hill Park.

We took a bunch of pictures in front of the White House, Capitol Hill and the Supreme Court. We spent time at the National Museum of American History where I dragged Tyson all the way to the First Ladies’ Exhibit so I can see the dresses the First Ladies wore to the presidential inaugurations.  He actually enjoyed it.

Tyson even surprised me with a candle lit dinner at Art and Soul on the restaurant’s patio. The sun had just set and the restaurant hung lights above us. We had the whole patio to ourselves since most diners chose to eat inside the restaurant. It was so romantic and delicious.   Tyson had the 12oz ribeye and I had the royal sea bass and we shared an artisan cheese board.

After dinner, we took an evening stroll along the Washington Mall. After a while, we stopped at the edge of the reflecting pool with the Monument in full view. Tyson gazed into my eyes, squeezing my hands and inhaling deeply. And that’s when he said finally said the words.

“I love you,” he said softly, barely above a whisper. I gasped, my heart skipped a beat.

“What?” I couldn’t believe my ears.

“I love you,” he beamed, his eyes glowing. My heart skipped a beat again. He kissed my hand.

“I love you too,” wrapping my arms around his neck and giving him a big kiss on the lips. After pulling away, Tyson breathed a sigh of relief.

“You don’t know how nervous I was about telling you this,” Tyson confessed.

“Why?” I asked caressing his face with my hand.

“Because I was afraid you wouldn’t feel the same way. That’s why I planned this whole weekend just to tell you.”

“Of course I feel the same way,” I smiled back at him. “You make me happy.”

“Well I love making you happy,” he grinned. “Cause you make me happy. And no one has made me feel the way you make me feel. And I never ever expressed these words to someone before you.”

“Really?” I felt happy tears streaming down my face.

“Yes.” We kissed again, this time a very long passionate kiss. After pulling away, I slipped my arm into his and we walked back to the hotel. We stopped outside my room.

“Do you want to come in?” I asked, surprising myself realizing what I just asked him. I noticed Tyson’s eyes widened. He then smiled.

“Sure.” We entered my room. I kicked off my shoes. Tyson took off his jacket and placed it on a chair. He then came up from behind me and wrapped his arms around my waist. He kissed my cheek. He smelled of fresh grass with hints of the steak he ate earlier. I leaned my back a little against his body with ease and closed my eyes. I felt his lips trailing down my neck. I turned around to face him and we shared another kiss. The next thing I know, we are lying on my bed with Tyson on top of me in full make-out session. I was about to lift up my shirt until Tyson  stopped me.

“Why did you stop?” I stared at him confused. He gave small smile and got off the bed. He took my hands off his.

“I think we are moving too fast. I just told you I loved you. I also have so much respect for you that I think we should take things one step at a time until we’re both ready,” he answered. His voice sounding gentle and soft.

“Okay,” I said, making me appreciate him even more. I also found myself feeling more relieved that I put my trust in the right person.

“Good night,” he kissed my forehead before exiting my room.

After he left, it dawned on me that I was really falling for him. Deeper. Head over heels.  And I hope this love is for real this time.

I know that we’re moving too fast
But I can’t let go and it may not last but
I’m going deeper, deeper head over heels
I go deeper, deeper
And I hope it’s for real this time

Deeper – The Saturdays

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Mr.Knighley and Ms. Woods: The Two of Us

No one in the office knows that we are an official couple. Ok. Only Pippa but she swore not to tell. She has expressed her concern  on how long we would carry this secret.

Tyson and I  wanted our work lives to remain as normal as possible as if nothing has changed and not draw any suspicion. We still kept the same routine as before. Tyson arrived and left an hour before me at the end of the business day. We mutually decided not to collaborate on any projects. We also agreed to avoid each other during the 8 hour work day (even making eye contact).   If we were spending lunch together, one of us would leave at least 5 minutes before the other. Or we would invite someone else to come with us. We also made sure we weren’t seen alone in a room together.  We even started acting   more formal towards each other during the work day:  addressing each other as Mr.Knighley and  Ms. Woods. I know that sounds a little too much!

We occasionally did meet for breakfast or he would buy me coffee before work and we’d walk together to the office, holding hands. However, Tyson would break off and enter the building first in the back and I would enter the building a few minutes after in the front main entrance. Although this arrangement presented tough challenges at first, but we completely understood that JLS is a professional organization with managers enforcing strict employee guidelines (sometimes a bit micro-managing) and the organization plays an important role in our careers. The office is also filled with prying eyes that may pick up on anything that suspiciously slips up. We can focus on our relationship after 5 pm in our own personal time.

We have gone on several dates since the first date…and kiss. We ate brunch together on the weekends before he starts his job at the fitness center or dinner after he gets off work. We watched movies and grabbed ice cream after. He took me to the fair at Topsfield which was the first time I’ve ever been. We went bowling which I’m happy to say I beat him because he really sucked at bowling. And I don’t think he was trying to lose on purpose.

We would spend the night in my apartment with Phillipe and watch Netflix. We’re taking things slowly dating and it’s been pretty normal despite the fact that we work in the same office. Not to mention fun!

I have met his friends. He has met my friends. We even went on a double date with Holly and her boyfriend, Bradley. I am happy to announce that both Danni and Holly approve of Tyson.  They tell me that they have never seen me so happy. When I talk to them about Tyson, I have this glow in my eyes and a big smile on my face. Most importantly,  they are happy for me and point out that Tyson definitely treats me better.

And his actions definitely show it. He calls me in the morning to wish me good morning and calls me in the night to wish me good night. Sometimes, after a long day at work, Tyson would come to my apartment and massage my feet while we ordered take out. He listens to my frustrations I have been having at work particularly with Mrs. Potts and the pressures I face especially with the upcoming users’ conference. Tyson is still very encouraging of me pursuing my publishing career like before. He checks on me on whether I have completed my job applications and was even willing to reschedule our lunch date so I can coordinate my interviews. One time, I had a stressful day at work with both Mrs. Potts and Mr. Byrne breathing down my neck with their demands.  Tyson secretly cheered me up by leaving a vase of roses on my desk in the morning along with a comforting note of encouragement. He definitely raises me up to all that I can be.

More importantly, Tyson makes me feel safe. Not that I have never been able to stand on my own two feet, but I feel protected when I’m with Tyson. I feel secured when he holds my hand when we walk down the street especially late at night. Or when he would walk me to my door and make sure I was safely inside my apartment. When he is in the room especially at JLS, I feel like I have some sort of safety net to fall back on knowing he is there.

However, no one is perfect. Tyson has little flaws like talking with his mouth full of food. He also eats food very loudly especially soup and it ends up more on table then the mouth. He sometimes forgets to put the toilet seat down. At times, Tyson also doesn’t know when to stop working . Sometimes he would be checking his laptop while we would  be watching the movie in my apartment.  He would be  talking non-stop to a business partner while we are on a date until I tell him to get off. I admire his ambition but sometimes he needs to remember to relax and shut off the work phone.

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First Date

A few days later, Tyson took me on our first official date as a couple. Our first date was quite tumultuous in a good way.  The date was casual. He wore a collared white shirt with a red sweater and jeans and sneakers. I wore a yellow striped dress with sandals.

We picnicked in the Boston Public Garden on a Saturday afternoon.Tyson bought us sandwiches, cheeses and grapes and a bottle of wine from Delucca’s Market. It was a warm sunny day. The flowers were in full bloom. The park was not too crowded so we had enough privacy. We picked a nice spot where we could watch the ducks floating in the pond. We spread the food out and sat down on the blanket with my back laid against his chest.

Image via [beingtazim.com]

We mutually avoided any conversations about JLS. Instead we talked about our individual goals. I talked about how I want to eventually write and publish a book and how he wants to eventually start his own business running a fitness center. We talked about things we want to do on our bucket list like ride elephants or swim with dolphins and where we wanted to travel. He told me about his recent trip to Florida to go see some football game with his friends.  I found the more I talked to him and got to know him, the more I liked him. Also the fact that he listens to me.

Photo of swans in Boston's Public Garden

 

We were enjoying a lovely peaceful picnic with me feeding a few grapes into Tyson’s mouth. All of a sudden, we both felt drops of water falling on our heads and shoulders. We suddenly realize rain started to pour and it was coming down hard. We immediately packed up and ran underneath one of the trees with low branches large enough to shelter us from the rain. Noticing my clothes were completely drenched, Tyson wrapped his jacket around me. I started giggling.

“What is it?” Tyson asked looking confused.

“It’s just whenever it rains, something happens between us. Like that rainy night when you came to my apartment and broke out of your shell and apologized and we became friends.”

“Oh yeah,” he said with a twinkle in his eye. I wiped off some spouts of water from his face with my hand. He then took off my hand and kissed it softly, making my heart skip a beat. Tyson soon pulled me closer to him and he leaned down towards me and we kissed.  And I don’t want to sound cheesy. But when we kissed, I felt some sense of electric spark and passion between us. At the same time, the kiss was gentle, soft and warm like a fuzzy comfortable sweater. I wrapped my arms around his neck and we continued to kiss, not minding the rain falling all around us. We eventually pulled away and he brushed aside strands of my hair off my cheek, leaving me breathless.

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Father and Son

First of all, let me just say that Mrs. Knightley’s meat lasagna is delicious. Her lasagna contained a perfect proportion of meat, cheese, noodles, herbs, and spices. My stomach never felt so fulfilling. I must have consumed two portions. By the look of her face, she was clearly pleased that I enjoyed her food. I’m also glad I met her. She is warm, kind and down to earth. Mrs. Knighley made me feel welcome in her home and like Tyson, I can be myself around her. She is also very sincere. I am glad to finally meet her because she showed me Tyson’s true character.

Mrs. Knightley and Tyson have a strong and caring mother-son relationship. She spent the whole dinner telling me funny stories about Tyson’s childhood, causing Tyson’s face to constantly turn red. At the same time, she praised him of his various accomplishments like earning a business degree and getting the promotion at JLS. Mrs. Knightley is definitely proud of her son and what he has achieved so far.  Reciprocally, Tyson is very devoted to his mother. Last year, Tyson even convinced her boss to take the week off to spend her birthday in Jamaica. This totally touched my heart!

Mrs. Knighley also did pull me aside to thank me for changing Tyson for the better. She told me that since we became friends and now boyfriend/girlfriend, she noticed the light came back into his eyes.   He started to smile and open up again. He also would not stop talking about me and how my positive spirit encourages him to do better. She is also glad that Tyson finally found someone who is as goal-driven as he is. More importantly, he found someone who he can trust again and care deeply for and not give up on.  Apparently, all that was lost when Tyson’s father walked out on them.

Before they divorced, Tyson and his father shared a close bondage. They enjoyed baseball games together either at Fenway Park or in front of the TV. They spent weekends camping in Merrimack Valley in the summer months. He coached Tyson’s little league team. Tyson truly idolized his father who was a lawyer in a private firm. Though he worked many hours, he would still find time to help Tyson with his homework. His father taught Tyson the importance of a strong work ethic and focus. They also confide with one another.

Unfortunately, Tyson’s parents divorced when Tyson turned 13. His father apparently cheated on his mom with his secretary. They had a secret affair for 10 months behind his mom’s back.  This made me understand why Tyson’s initial behavior was so cold towards me and why he acted against office romances when I started at JLS. He was afraid that he would commit the same bad behavior as his dad did to his mother.

At the same time, Mrs. Knightley felt Tyson took the blame for the divorce. Tyson thought he failed his father despite his mother kept persuading him otherwise. So Tyson took upon himself to take care of both him and his mother.  Although his mother also had a job, Tyson worked tirelessly with his various jobs and school. He managed to get a full scholarship and focused on climbing the career ladder to prove that he can be as successful as his father, which explains his determination on pleasing the higher male authority like Mr. Byrne and Mr.Cogswirth.

Tyson, however, never reconciled with his father nor got over the betrayal. After the divorce, Tyson’s father moved out of Massachusetts with his mistress to Rhode Island. They eventually got married and started a new family. Tyson personally felt his father abandoned him and his mom and forgotten them and decided to replace them with a new family. Though his father tried to reach out to him and persuaded him to visit with his mother’s encouragement, Tyson did not return his messages. Instead, he chose to completely shut his father out of his life.

Mrs. Knighley also noticed Tyson had closed a part of himself up from her and the rest of his friends and family.   He would only talk about school, work  and sports. He acted very business-like, methodical, and gave short answers. Mrs. Knightley thought Tyson was just experiencing   a phase. But this behavior carried on even through college. When she confronted Tyson about this change of behavior, Tyson just shrugged off and stated everything was fine. She tried to get him to talk to a counselor or a therapist but Tyson wouldn’t budge. Since he wasn’t displaying any concerned signs of potentially threatening behavior, Mrs. Knighley let it go.

He did tell her of various challenges and problems he faced at work and school but he never really confided in her as he used to. She even told me that his previous girlfriend, whom he dated since his senior year of college, could not get him to open up either. He didn’t completely isolate himself from the world. He has a tight group of friends, mostly guys, he hung out with on the weekends and taken vacations with. But he never showed his true self.

Overall, Mrs. Knighley made me see Tyson in a different light. Before, I knew Tyson as this hardworking and ambitious colleague. Someone who kept to himself and is a sports junkie. Someone who took a while to come out of his shell and become my friend and now boyfriend. Now, I see him as this devoted son who loves his mother. I understand now why he built that wall in front of me. He was and still is dealing with the disappointment and confusion of his father. Losing his best friend was like a part of him was gone. He was also experiencing betrayal and lost of hope.  This sounds crazy but it made me see him as more human.

After understanding what his dad did to his mom, I know Tyson would never be like that to me. I  feel more secured of his loyalty and his willingness to take a chance on us.

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Take A Chance On Me

Fortunately, the next morning was Saturday. I would not have to face Tyson until Monday morning. I have time to clear my head and think.

 

I  took  Phillipe out for a walk/run after breakfast in the park since the weather was bright and sunny. The air was not too cold. At least both of us can stimulate our minds and bodies with the fresh air in our faces. After running for a good 15 minutes around the park, we both took a break. Well I took break and sat down on the bench. Phillipe decided to bark at the other dogs passing by and ran over to the dog playground to join his friends.

Westiepoo

While watching him closely, my mind drifted to Tyson.

Tyson has really come out of his shell since we became friends. I feel really comfortable around him. I also find myself can easily confide in him. When he senses that I’m having a bad day at work, he cheers me up by buying me bubble tea or taking me out to eat at Flour Bakery. Most importantly, Tyson respects me and my goals. He is willing to show his genuine support and we share similar values. Tyson even stood up for me at work when Mr. Byrne reprimanded me for not being at my desk when packages arrived and I was in the middle of making copies of the latest subscription sales in the backroom.

I know I will leave JLS eventually. Maybe I can start dating Tyson after I leave. We can just stay friends. That way, we can avoid any conflict. But, honestly, I don’t want to wait that long.

Or, we can date on the down low and be official when I get my next job. But then, we would run into the risk of getting caught. What if Tyson throws me under bust when we do? What if I end up like Kerry? No. He won’t do that. I trust him and we have a good group of supportive friends and colleagues.

But am I ready for another relationship after breaking up with Ben? I need to focus on myself and my career.

But I can take things slowly with Tyson and figure it out as we go. We can discover each other emotionally and mentally. Dating is not a fast track….to marriage. Our relationship does not have to be an office romance. We can still act professional and friendly colleagues in the office and have relationship outside.

If the relationship does not work out, we can be friends.

Ok. I know what I want to do.

After returning home and feeding Phillipe, I changed out of my sweats and headed back out to catch the red line train down to South Station and transferred to the commuter rail to Marlborough.

What am I doing? I can wait until Monday. No. I don’t want to miss my chance.

The smooth weekend commute to Marlborough made the train ride shorter by 20 minutes. After getting off the station, I google mapped my way to Tyson’s house. Fortunately his house was not far from the station. I took a deep breath before  knocking on the door. My heart skipped a beat when Tyson opened the door.

“Hello Belle,” he said, clearly surprised to see me. “What are you doing here?”

“I was in the neighborhood running errands and decided to stop by,” I stuttered.

“Oh come on in,” he showed me into the living room. “Would you like anything to drink?”

“Water would be fine,” I answered, realizing how parched my throat was. Tyson nodded and headed to the kitchen. I sat down on the couch nervously looking at the floor. My mind started to wonder what if he turns me down and breaks the news that he got back together with his ex-girlfriend. Maybe he changed his mind and realized dating someone from work is a mistake. He soon returned and handed me a glass of water. I took a sip.

“So besides running errands, why did you come?” Tyson asked straight-forwardly. He remained standing with his arms folded. My heart started to quiver as I looked directly in his eyes. I put the glass of water down on the coffee table and stood up.

“Because I couldn’t wait till Monday to tell you that yes I want to go out with you and be your girlfriend,” I declared.

“You do?” Tyson said, his eyes lighting up. I nodded with a smile.

“Yes I am willing to take a chance on you…on us,” I took his hands in mine and squeezed them.

“What made you decide?” His full face was beaming.

“I realized how much my attraction to you has grown since you came to my apartment on that rainy night. The feelings I have for you was  hard to admit even to myself. But I think about you every day. It’s the things that you do that makes my heart flutter. Like getting that special room in the Boston Public Library. You spin my world around.” I stroked his face with my fingers. “I want to be with you and see how great it could be.”

“Do you mean it?” he asked in a soft voice.

“Yes,” I said feeling more confident and relieved that I finally expressed how I really felt. “I want to take a risk no matter what others say.”  I gave him a kiss on his cheek. Hey! I told you we have to go slow. I was happy that I made the right decision. He gave me a hug and lifted me up and spun me around.

Our small celebration was interrupted when the front door opened and we heard feet walking. We both turned around startled to see Tyson’s mother walking in.

“Hello Tyson,” she greeted. “And who is this?”

“This is Belle,” Tyson introduced. He paused before putting his arm around my shoulder. “My girlfriend.” I couldn’t help but notice the big grin on his face.

“Oh…nice to meet you Belle,” she greeted with a smile despite looking totally off guard. “Will you be staying for dinner?”

I looked over at Tyson before answering yes.

I know you know
There’s something here
But you cannot get past the fear
I can help you make it clear.

So when you feel like trying again
Reach out, take my hand
See how great it could be
To fall in love with someone you can trust
Who would never give up
‘Cause you’re all that he needs
Baby take a chance on me

Take A Chance On Me – JLS 

 

 

 

 

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