Last night, I almost went somewhere I shouldn’t have gone…no it was not a dark alley in a really bad area in Boston.
At around 6 pm, I was making my rounds to close up and I noticed a light in one of the meeting rooms. Upon checking, I found Tyson typing away at his lap top, with papers and files spread across the table.
“Hi, what are you still doing here?” Usually he leaves early before I do to catch the commuter rail home.
“I have a big presentation tomorrow to give to Mr. Cogswirth, Mrs. Potts and the government services team in DC. So I’m looking to have an all-nighter. Fortunately I drove into work today.” He began stretching his arms, clearly frazzled.
Without thinking, I asked “Do you need help?”
“Actually I do,” he said looking up, relieved for my offer. “I mean I don’t want to ruin your evening plans.”
“That’s okay. I have nothing going on. Phillipe is at doggy day care. I can tell my friend to pick him up.”
“Oh Great! I really need a second person to help me organize this presentation. I feel like it’s a mess.”
“No problem,” I said with a smile. After finishing locking up, I brought over my laptop as well as two cups of coffee. Tyson had me look over and edit his presentation content. I made suggestions on how to make his business plan stand out while being clear and concise. After feeling confident that his powerpoint was complete, he began rehearsing his presentation in front of me. At times, he kept stopping after messing up and being frustrated with himself and starting over. There were times where he crumpled pieces of paper or tore them apart and threw it across the room. Or he would stop and cross out bits of his speech and write in something else. I tried to be encouraging and give constructive feedback.
“What time is it?” he asked noticing the night sky outside the window.
“9 pm,” I said after checking my phone.
“Wow I didn’t know how late it is. Yet there’s still so much to do,” he sighed staring outside the window.
His face showed signs of being overwhelmed, stressed, and tired.
“Do you want to order Chinese?” I asked. “To reenergize you and take a break.”
“Oh sure,” he said taking off his glasses and rubbing his eyes. I began dialing the delivery service while he went to the bathroom. When food arrived, he immediately dived in, very hungry.
“Your presentation is fine. Just requires some tweaking. You just need not to over think it,” I said after taking a bite of my fried rice.
“Yes but it needs to be perfect. I really want to impress Mr.Cogswirth. I also found out Nick Byrne will be there as well,” he took a sip of water.
“Well as long as they see your results and business strategies, you’ll be fine.”
“Thanks for the positive reinforcement.” After finishing dinner, we continued working for another hour until Tyson finally called it a night. “I can give you a ride home,” Tyson offered as I put on my coat.
“Are you sure? Somerville is quite out of the way.”
“Yes but you’ve been gracious enough to work overtime and help me. Not to mention patient. It’s the least I can do.”
“Tyson, I can take the T or even an Uber.”
“I’d feel more comfortable if I gave you a ride especially this late at night,” he insisted, giving me a pleading look.
“Ok fine.” After turning off the lights, we rode in the car together mostly in silence with the exception of his GPS.
“Thank you for giving me the ride home,” I said once we arrived at my apartment.
“No problem. Thank you for helping me with my presentation.”
“I do what I can.” We stared at each other for a moment.
“I’ve been meaning to ask you this. And tell me if I am overstepping my boundaries. Why did you and Ben break up?”
“I guess he’s likes to talk about his problems at the gym,” I sighed. “We both wanted different things and had different priorities. I wanted a career. He wanted to get married and have kids and make me stop work and be the house wife. I knew that wasn’t the life I wanted so I ended it.” This was the first time I have actually told anyone why I broke up with Ben. I soon felt vulnerable.
“I’m glad because you deserve better. And you made the right decision for your career,” he said in a soft voice, barely above a whisper with a serious look in his eyes.
“Thank you,” I smiled. Silence fell again and I started to sense the intensity thicken the air between us. Then he started to lean in towards me, getting closer and closer until his face was inches away from mine. Then his phone buzzed and he pulled away. Saved by the bell. He briefly checked his phone before looking back up. In that moment, I had to leave.
“It’s getting late. You should be heading home and get a good night sleep for your presentation,” I said opening the passenger door.
“Belle,” he said grabbing my hand. “I’m sorry.” His eyes showed the same genuineness as that night he surprised me in the rain.
“No need to apologize,” I shook my head. “Good Night.” I exited his car and ran into my apartment, feeling my heart going a million beats an hour.