Her Little White LieBy: Cj Howard
“Is that your underwear hanging over the bath in there?”
“Well who else’s, underwear could it be?”
“I just didn't realize you wore such sexy, lacy panties under that strict exterior.”
“Strict? I'm not strict.”
“So why can't I just work in a bar?”
“You are in marketing. Your name is Mikey, we've been together six months, and we met at the top of the Empire State Building, which was a set up by a mutual friend. You're vegetarian... Mikey? Are you even listening to me?”
“Yeah, but I'm just picturing you in that sexy underwear.”
“All right. I think we're done here. Just smile at anyone you meet and walk away. We'll stay half hour, tops. It'll be enough to convince them. Oh, and put your arm around me as much as you can.”
“Okay, got it. You gonna be wearing that underwear?”
“Mikey, I think it's time for you to go. Tomorrow show up at 6.30, clean, at the staff entrance and give your name to security. Got that?”
Mikey saluted me, kissed me on my cheek and left.
I figured nothing could go seriously wrong and then decided that we'd just stay ten minutes and say we're meeting his family for supper.
I didn't sleep a wink praying that Mikey wouldn't let me down. There was no going back.
Thursday was my day off. The Christmas Party was never a big deal. It lasted between six pm and nine pm and everyone was expected to attend, even for just a half hour if you happened to have to work a shift around that time. The hotel would operate on a skeleton staff and sometimes they would hire in a few agency people just so more of us could attend. There was always a DJ, a free bar and all the finger buffet food you could eat, all courtesy of the Great West International. Everyone made an effort to dress up and not look anything remotely resembling a busboy, a bell hop or a lift attendant.
I got ready slowly and with bated breath. My dress was calf length, a shiny, cherry red dress in a slinky 1950s style like I was Dorothy Dandridge in Carmen Jones. I styled my hair in a 1950s movie star updo with large silver earrings, show-stopping red lipstick and with smoky eye makeup. My perfume was expensive, a present to myself when I was feeling a little down, but I'd never worn it until that night.
My heels were high and made a loud, clacking sound when I left the building and looked around for a taxi. I just hoped Mikey wouldn't let me down. What if I was all dressed up like this and he didn't show? I'd die of embarrassment. Or what if he showed up in his work clothes and forget to change before he got there? I only hope he was able to wash his face at least.
Alicia and Suzette were right by the door as I pushed it open to enter the banqueting suite, each holding a cocktail.
“Look at you.” Suzette exclaimed. “You look like a superstar, girlfriend.” Her head rotated on her neck and her eyebrows were raised. “But where's lover boy? He not coming?”
“He'll be here,” I said. “He's still at work.”
With every ten to fifteen minutes that went by, either Alicia or Suzette would look at their watch and then at me and make an, “Mmm-hmm,” sound.
“He's coming,” I told them.
I went out to the bathroom to try to text him because it was now seven thirty and he should have been there nearly an hour ago. I got a text straight back from Mikey saying, 'I'm in the hotel, just on my way to the party.'
I was relieved but immediately panic stricken, because the moment had arrived. Mikey and I would have to put on the performance of our lives to convince the girls. If they sniffed a lie it would be all around the hotel by morning and I'd never live down the shame.
I made my way back to the banqueting suite and to the bar to line up a cold beer for Mikey when Alicia came running towards me.
“Now I know why you kept him hidden. That man is gorgeous! Girl, where you find a man like that and has he got a brother or a friend who looks just like him.”
“What do you mean?”
I turned to look at the door. I saw a tall, broad and good looking man with neatly combed, fair hair looking around for someone. His suit looked like Armani and his shirt and tie were from the Jean Paul Gautier collection I'd seen in a magazine. This guy spotted me at the bar and raised his hand. I turned around to look behind me to see who he was waving at and stopped in my tracks.
Turning back, slowly, I recognized him at last. It was Mikey. I could not understand how he could have appeared looking so well turned out, so smart and so darned hot. I never knew he could look like that.
He walked towards me like a model on a catwalk. One hand in his trouser pocket the other swinging confidently at his side. Everyone was staring at him and when he reached the bar his smile widened.