Her Little White LieBy: Cj Howard
“No, Mikey, you know you're not a morning person.” My eyes were bulging out of my head but I couldn't get Mikey to read the signals. We needed to get out of there.
“Grace,” Alicia said. “I think if the boss is late he can get away with it.” She looked up at Mikey, impressed by the notion that Mikey was the boss.
“The boss?” I looked at him but he was too busy knocking back the remains of a scotch to notice.
“So,” Suzette edged her way towards Mikey with her back to me. “You're the boss of this marketing company?”
“What marketing company?” Alicia asked. “He ain't no boss of no marketing company, he the owner of a restaurant.”
Suzette swung straight back to me as I was trying to catch Mikey's eye, he was shrugging his shoulders.
“I thought you said marketing, Grace?”
“Of course I'm in marketing,” said Mikey. “It's all part and parcel of the job. You own a company then you're in charge of marketing, sales, food and things like that, am I right, Alicia?”
“Damn straight. So when you two gonna take us to Mikey's restaurant? Maybe we can go there instead of Brown's.”
“It's closed!” I blurted out.
“Closed!” both Suzette and Alicia said at the same time.
“Um...” I looked at Mikey.
“For refurbishment,” Mikey added. “Yes, that's what the meeting is about tomorrow. Got to get those slackers working hard to get the place finished. You know what the construction crew can be like?”
Suzette and Alicia were looking at each other. Damion and Ramon came over to us.
“So what gives dudes? We heading outta here or what?”
“You know what?” Mikey said. “I think Grace and I will call it a night after all. I think we might like to have our own night cap.”
“Ooo, but you so romantic,” Alicia said, not wanting to let go of Mikey. Suzette, on the other hand, did not look too impressed.
“Just one more thing, Grace – and” she cleared her throat. “Red.”
“Yes,” I said, pulling Mikey out of Alicia's clutches.
“Grace said she doesn't wear her engagement ring to work so I just wondered why you're not wearing tonight and, could either of you describe this ring?”
She looked from me to Mikey.
“Well,” I said, “it's kinda a ring with a, a stone that...” I looked at Mikey and all four of them were lined up in front of us, as quiet as stone. Suzette crossed her arms.
“Well,” Mikey said. “I can do better than describe it. I can show it to you.”
“You can?” I could feel beads of sweat collecting on my upper lip and I took a deep breath in.
“Sure. I noticed you left it by the side of the bed. Here.” He put his hand into the inner pocket of his slick and expensive suit. What was he doing? He would blow the whole thing. I knew there was no ring, I just didn't know what Mikey was playing at.
He pulled out a red, silk handkerchief and opened it into his open palm. There in the middle was a gold ring, slender and elegant with a small but quality, diamond stone. I looked up at Mikey and exhaled a quiet, staggered breath. My eyes were asking, 'Where the hell...?' and his eyes were saying, 'Trust me.' I decided to do just that.
While the others were all exclaiming things like:
“How much you pay for that thing, dude?”
“That thing real or what?”
“Grace, you so lucky, girl, he a romantic!”
“My, my, my. She got her a rich husband.”
Mikey picked up the ring and placed it on the third finger of my left hand. It was a perfect fit. My hand began to tremble and Mikey held it while he put the silk handkerchief into his pocket.
“Shall we?” Mikey gestured towards the door.
“We shall,” I told him and we left the four of them open mouthed while we made our way to the door and just kept on walking all the way to the emergency staircase where we both burst out laughing.
“We did it!” I let out a deep sigh. “But where did you get this ring? What a brilliant idea and it looks so real.”
“It is real,” Mikey said. “Mr. Iglesias said it was for you. It's an early Christmas present he said and he thought you might need it tonight. Turns out he was right, you did.”
I looked at the ring on my finger. It was beautiful. How could Mr. Iglesias have been so perceptive?
“I can't keep this,” I said, still admiring it and holding my hand up.
“Why not? Looks good on you.”
“Well, he was only trying to help. The suit, this ring. It's all got to go back.”