So something unexpected happened last night where someone finally decided to come out of his shell.
Last night, JLS was hosting an office party to celebrate the latest product release on the ground floor reception room. We were allowed to bring a plus one and almost everyone showed up with their significant others except me. It didn’t really bother me that I came alone. I enjoyed meeting and socializing with the spouses of my fellow colleagues because you get to see a different side of them. Pippa’s husband is especially hilarious and now I see why Pippa is so cheerful.
However, I mostly wanted to meet the girl who managed to capture the heart of Mr. Knighley. No I’m not jealous…just curious. But to my biggest surprise, Tyson showed up solo. He did dress up for the event in a black suit and even opted for contacts instead of his usual glasses exposing his clear bluish-green eyes. He…actually looked kind of handsome.
Why would his girlfriend not come with him to this party? I mean she is missing out on the free food and the opportunity to network. Not to mention, be on the arm of her well-polished boyfriend who happens to be a rising star in this Fortune 500 company…ok he may have cleaned up in a nice suit but clothes doesn’t guarantee that his personality changed. He could still be the same cold, robotic person inside.
I tried my best to avoid any contact with him by hanging out with my friends and making occasional beelines to the table of delicious appetizers. Until, I noticed Tyson quietly stepping out with his phone and heading towards his desk upstairs just as Nick Byrne was about to make a speech thanking the product development team.
It got me wondering why would he step out like that just when the CEO is about to give an important speech? He could just let the call go to voice mail and answer later. Maybe it was an emergency call.
Curiosity certainly got the best of me…I quietly snuck out of the room and followed Tyson. When I got upstairs, I went by his desk. He wasn’t there but I couldn’t help but look around. You could tell a lot about a person by what’s on their desk. I know I’m being nosy.
Other than the sports memorabilia, Tyson definitely keeps his desk in order, exhibiting his infamous neatness and preciseness. I noticed only one framed photo of what looked like his mother and brother/cousin in a wheel chair at some outdoor sports event. Hmm no photo of his father or his girlfriend. Odd…not so much a missing photo of his dad, but why no picture of the girlfriend? I’ve seen lots of photos of other employees’ significant partners and their children sprawling across their desks.
I then left his desk and continued to look for him. I finally found him out on the balcony outside one of the conference rooms. His back was towards me with his phone in his hand. The glass doors were open so I could hear him yelling on the phone and pacing outside.
“Lisa, we’ve been over this. I’m sorry Lisa but it’s over. ”
He then hung up the phone and moved his body to turn around. I immediately tried to run but it was too late. Tyson immediately spotted me with his cold piercing bluish-green eyes. I felt like a deer caught in the headlights, with my heart pumping.
“What are you doing here?” Tyson said sternly.
“I…I came to get you because Nick was going to give a speech to all the staff,” I stuttered.
“You were eavesdropping!”
“I was not!” Clearly he saw right through my lie. He came towards me with clear rage and anger.
“You know ever since you came to JLS, there was something about you I couldn’t stand. Beyond that sweet and innocent face, you flirt and manipulate others to get ahead.”
“Excuse me!” I gaped in disbelief.
“Don’t act like you don’t know. Despite the fact that we are both in committed relationships…though I’m not quite sure about yours…you still flaunt yourself on me.”
“How so?” I folded my arms.
“By persuading Mrs. Potts to sign you onto projects that I happen to also be on. You always seem to single me out when asking for help on things which you can always ask someone else or you clearly know how to do it yourself. You also bribe me by buying little gifts like cupcakes and cookies.” Ok…I can’t take this anymore.
“First of all, I am not interested in you. Second of all, has it once occurred to you that I get put on those projects because of my talents, skills, and experience? Not because I’m a woman and I happen to be nice to you. May be I act sweet because I am actually a friendly and caring person, unlike you. Maybe I bought you a cupcake that one day because I wanted to thank you for your help. FYI a week ago, I baked cookies for the whole office. And if you were more observant, you would see I ask help from everybody and I treat everyone the same way because I want to learn from others and build my network and challenge myself professionally. Finally, why would I be attracted to someone like you? You build an invisible wall in front of you closing off anyone who wants to get to know you with the exception of some of the men. On top of that, you are mean, cold, monotone, all business like, zero personality and robotic.”
I was not finished.
“I only came out here because I was concerned about you leaving during Nick’s speech. I thought something was wrong. I thought you needed…a friend not because I wanted to be alone with you. “
He just stood there stunned and speechless.
After I was done, I felt so hurt and couldn’t stand being in the same area as him. I immediately walked back into the building. I had to get away from here. I grabbed my purse and quietly and quickly snuck my way out, just as Nick was finishing my speech. Tears started falling down my face. I never felt so humiliated .
“Where are you going?” I felt Pippa’s arm on me.
“I can’t be here,” I shook my head before running off without saying goodbye. I ran all the way to the Park Street T stop and took the T home. Once I got back to my apartment, I changed to my jammies and grabbed ice cream from the freezer. I laid down on the couch and cuddled with Phillipe and watched whatever marathon of Law and Order SVU.
A thunderstorm started to erupt outside my window. The thunder, lightning, and heavy rain could not have fit this depressing mood better.
Then in the middle of one of the episodes, Phillipe leaped off my lap and headed towards the front door and started wimpering and scratching the bottom of the door.
“What is it Phillipe?” I said. Usually, he could sense someone was outside way before they could even press my doorbell. But who could be visiting me at this hour of the night in this weather? Phillipe would have barked if it was an intruder or someone he didn’t know.
I got up from the couch, straightened myself up and made my way to the door.
“Who is it?”
“It’s Tyson.” My heart stopped at the very familiar voice that matched the name. I opened the door to see a very drenched Tyson standing there in a rain jacket with an umbrella in one hand and a bouquet of flowers. I just stood there tongue-tied , not believing he’s standing right in front of me in my apartment building. “Hi,” he said shyly with a hint of emotion in his voice with water dripping off his face.
“What are you doing here?” I manage to say.
“Listen, I know I am probably the last person you want to see right now. But, I came to apologize and these are for you,” he handed me the flowers.
“Pink roses. How did you know?” I managed a smile, smelling the bouquet.
“I’ve noticed that you wear a lot of pink and I overheard you say roses were your favorite flower.”
I stood there for a moment before realizing I was can’t just let him stay wet out in the hall way. I immediately invited him in and had him take off his jacket. I put the flowers in water and gave him a towel to dry himself a bit. He sat down on the couch and briefly looked around my studio before returning his eyes back to me. I decided to stand facing him with my arms folded. Despite the nice gesture, I was still angry at him.
“I just want to say I’m sorry for the things I’ve said to you. And I’m sorry for mistreating you all this time that you’ve been at JLS and shutting you out when you’ve been nothing but gracious towards me,” Tyson said looking directly at me. It was the first time I’ve seen him so genuine and honest. “Plus you are really talented and smart and put a lot of dedication into all the work you do.”
“And when you tried to be friendly and reached out to me, I took it the wrong way. I just haven’t been able to open up lately since my parents divorced and my dad walked out on me and my mom. And tonight I just broke up with my girlfriend and took it all on you. I’m really sorry that I hurt your feelings. Will you forgive me?”
I stared into his eyes for a moment and hesitated. Part of me wanted to forgive him. Part of me felt those mean accusations really upset me and he should suffer for the things he said.
Then I saw Phillipe walking up to Tyson’s feet and started sniffing him. Then pouncing on him and started barking happily. Hmm… Phillipe is not usually like this around strangers. “Who is this?” Tyson asked, with a noticeable smile on his face, petting Phillipe on his head. Phillipe responded by licking his fingers.
“This is my dog, Phillipe. I saved him from the animal shelter,” I explained.
“He’s really friendly,” Tyson stroked Phillipe’s back.
“Yeah he is,” Hmm Phillipe is not usually welcoming to someone he doesn’t know particularly my guy friends. Phillipe is especially brutal towards Ben. He growls every time Ben came over and barks angrily. One time, he chewed on Ben’s shoes leaving big holes.
But with Tyson, he’s warm and friendly. Sometimes I think Phillipe has a special insight on people that I wish I had. I don’t know what it was and it may sound silly, but Phillipe’s behavior towards Tyson influenced my decision and grow a soft spot.
“I forgive you.” Tyson looked up. I could tell he was partially surprised.
“You do?” He said standing up from the couch.
“Yes I do,” I nodded with a smile.
“Does this mean we can be friends?” Tyson asked offering his hand.
“Yes we can be friends.” I shook his hand. “I got to tell you, it took real guts for you to come in the rain all the way to my apartment to apologize.”
“Well I felt really bad after you left and I wasn’t sure if I should have gone after you. But Pippa knocked some sense into me.”
“Yeah. She pulled me aside and insisted I apologized. Pippa seems to really care about you and you guys are really close.”
“She’s a good friend. And you can be too.” And for the first time ever, I saw him smile. His eyes actually lights up a room when he smiles and it warmed my heart.