January and the Single Heart

BOOK: January and the Single Heart
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“January and the Single Heart”
   

by
Vi Zetterwall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright © 2014 CC Productions

Edition
2

All rights reserved.  No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or any information storage and retrieval system, without prior written permission of the Author.  Your support of author’s rights is appreciated.

 

All characters in this novel are fictitious.  Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

 

 

 

 

 

PART ONE

 

 

 

Nine hundred and twenty two days.  She didn’t want to count them, but once she started she couldn’t stop.  Nine hundred and twenty two days since a human being of the male persuasion had planted a smack on her over-anxious lips.  She thought everything would change after she found that golden
amulet on that serendipitous day.  But that was months ago and still her lips felt unloved.

She had plenty of time, didn’t she?  Almost two months. 
A dozen men could come into her life in that length of time and solve this dilemma.
  She smiled ironically at that last thought. 
Right.  That was going to happen …

She closed the front door to her apartment behind her and flipped the lock closed.  The couch was calling her name so Jan just dropped her briefcase on the hallway floor and gracefully slipped out of her overcoat in the straightest line to the couch.  She
stretched out, kicked her heels off and leaned back into the pillow.  Today had not gone well and tonight would have been a fine evening for a loving and doting hubby to come to her aid with a warm smile on his face and a cold martini in each hand. 

Her cell went off, playing Billy Joel’s
Just the Way You Are
, her mother’s song. 

“Hi Mom”, Jan tried to sound upbeat even though she wasn’t.

“Hi honey,” the sweetness oozed out of her voice, “long day?”

“Not so bad.  A few things could have gone better but that’s kind of par for the course these days.  What are you up to?”

Cleverly done,
Jan complimented herself. 
Get her talking about herself and sometimes she gets so wrapped up, she forgets to ask the dreaded question.

“Took Tecums
eh to the vet.  He keeps scratching at his ears.  Doc looked at him and says he couldn’t find anything wrong.  That will be $60 please.  So, on the way home I did some retail therapy at Nordy’s and now I’m trying to figure out what to do for your father’s dinner.  I am so out of ideas.”

“Tell me.  I only have me to please and I haven’t got Idea One.”  She regretted her phraseology the moment she said it. 
Talk about leaving the door wide open.

“Well, maybe that will change soon. 
Who’s the beau in your life this week?”

Jan cringed. 
Here it comes.
  She tried to get off the hook quickly and move on to something else.  “Oh, Mom, I’m still playing the field a bit.  But when I find the right one, you’ll be the first to know.  But I’m a bit worried about Dad.  He didn’t look so good last time I saw him.  Is he doing OK?”

“Oh, he is just fine.  Drives me crazy sometimes but that is just
the boredom of retirement.  I want to meet someone you’re going out with.  Maybe you’re being too picky.  Why are you teasing me so much?  When do I get to meet one of these mounds of manhood?”

“Mom, I told you.  I don’t want to rush anything.  Please just let me go at my own pace here. 
Remember, I promised I’d bring a special guy to your Anniversary party.”

“Oh my, that is months away.  I can’t wait that long to meet my future son-in-law.  You were always my favorite, honey, you know that.  Throw your Mom a little morsel here and there.”

“Mom!”  She dragged the one syllable out making it sound like two or three with some kind of rhythmic hump in the middle.  “As usual, you’re getting way ahead of yourself.  I gotta go.  Someone’s making a bunch of noise out in the common area.  I’ll call you later, ok?”

“I can’t hear anything.  Why don’t you …

“Mom.  I have to go.  I’ll call soon.  Bye.”

Jan ended the call, pressed her eyes closed and thought to herself
‘This is crazy. I have two months and suddenly I am supposed to find Mr. Right? All because I was seduced into thinking positive by some stupid coin I found?’

She
turned her phone off before placing it on the coffee table.  No, there was no noise outside.  Just the silence of living alone knowing that your only hope rested with some guy you hadn’t met yet.

 

It was back to the office again.  One month short of a year.
  That’s what she was thinking
.  I’ve been here at Grant Technologies for almost a year and I’m exceeding my sales expectations, so that is good.  But in the romance department, all I have to show for it is three casual dates with Eddie Haversham.
  She had started out on fire, ready to pucker up when he made his move but nothing had happened yet.  As time went by, she was less and less interested in getting close to Eddie.  He seemed satisfied to keep her at a platonic distance as well. 

“Hey, Jan.  You look deep in thought.”  Grace was the South Sales Division leader and Jan’s
best friend.  “Something up?”

“No, all is fine.  Just doing a little mental inventory here.”

“Something wrong with the stock in supply?”

Jan laughed.  The kind of laugh you laugh for others, not yourself.  More like the kind that evolves into crying if you let it.  She didn’t let it.  “No.  I just reached an ugly point today.  You know how you feel after you have been shopping for the right skirt for a long time and then you find it and you’re all excited
?  You buy it and bring it home and then try it on and suddenly it doesn’t look so great.  Different lighting or something and there you are, seeing every flaw and not liking the way it fits you in the hips?”

“Been there.  Too many times.  Are we talking about a skirt named
Eddie?”

Now Jan really laughed.  “Oh god, even my cryptic metaphors are transparent now.”

“Only to me, honey.  Something happened between you two, huh?”

Jan sat down at her desk.  She leaned over a bit closer to Grace and lowered her voice. “No, actually nothing much happened at all.  We went out
for a few drinks last Saturday and then he took me home and just dropped me off, didn’t even walk me to the door.  You know, the first date was exciting and I was, you know, getting a bit ahead of myself in the fantasy department.  So, I promised myself I would be patient and not rush things and now, here we are, and today I’m not sure I even care if he asks me out again.”


And you got that big party coming up for your Mom and Dad, right?”

“Yeah, and Mom is fully expecting me to arrive with an armful of Man-Candy hanging on me.”  Jan shook her head as if she were chastising herself.

Grace started to turn back to her desk and today’s work.  She had a lot of cell phones that needed selling.  But before she did, she winked at Jan and said, “Keep Friday night open.  I think we all need to go to Schiraldi’s and set some kind of new record for Tequila quaffing.”

Jan laughed again.  “You’re on.  Sounds like exactly what
I need.”

 

Grant Technologies billed itself as a Business Solutions Provider.  Grant had all the answers for all those fast growing companies in Seattle and a sales team that was on the verge of smashing every company sales record in existence.  Although the economy was still iffy, certain niches were on fire and Grant occupied space in one of those.  Selling cell phones, pads, desktops, networking equipment and every new invention recognized as being on the cutting edge, Grant had carved out 18% market share in the Seattle area and was gaining ground every day on the leader.  All that kept a team of seventy eight people very busy.

Thomas Meyer was the CEO and partial owner of the company.  He was a good man to work for and ran a tight ship.  He was demanding but fair, and, most importantly, he worked hard to create an atmosphere where everyone felt welcome and comfortable.  Thomas reasoned that happy employees are more productive.  Not an original thought to be sure, but
it always surprised him how many managers didn’t think that way.

A cast of characters filled in the upper management levels.  Dashing Dennis Miles was the VP of Ops.  Sandra Hayes, the VP of Marketing.  Glen Bay was the mousy Accounting Manager while B
rick Taylor was a heavy-handed Warehouse Manager.  Jan Falkenberg and Grace Ishakawa were the North and South Region Sales Managers.  Working for them all were about 70 others in various supporting roles.  Eddie Haversham was a warehouse supervisor and, as the secretarial pool all agreed, the catch of the lot.

And in the last year, Jan had set new standards of excellence in the sales arena. 
She was thirty, stood five foot ten in heels, well-dressed, quick witted, with strong and appealing features.  She wasn’t what anyone would describe as amazingly pretty or beautiful but she still turned heads when she entered a room. All of those characteristics served her well in her sales role and she used her advantages to the max.   All in all, Jan should have been very pleased with herself.  But she wasn’t.  The men in her life had all disappointed her.  She admitted it to herself.  She wanted a relationship that could survive a wild bump or two.  She wanted children and she wanted to be able to trust someone again.  She wanted all those things, but even at thirty years old, she wanted one thing more.  She wanted her mother’s approval.

 

The end of the week rolled around swiftly.  “So we’re all here, let’s order”, Amy almost yelled it to be heard over the din of a boisterous Friday night crowd at Schiraldi’s. 

“Nope, not yet.  We’re missing Ellen.  You know we can’t make any big decisions without a full quorum!  Ellen will be here any minute.” Grace was confident.  Ellen was never late.

Jan watched Grace and the others in amusement.   These gals made the Rat Pack look like a church choir.  Grace, Amy, Latonya, Ellen, Leah and Jan.  So it was mostly the sales department along with Ellen, the Office Manager and Latonya, the HR Department Head.

Somehow, Jan was always amazed that she got to be included.  She felt like the odd one out most of the time. 
Most were married except Leah and Latonya and both were what Jan described as terminally engaged.  As she finished her thought, the clock struck six pm and Ellen walked in the door.  Ellen was a teetotaler and the most dependable person on the planet.  And most importantly, she was the ride home.  Nothing started without Ellen.

Ellen seated herself graciously, smiled and then
declared, “What are we waitin’ for.  Couldn’t one of you lost souls order a drink?”

“We were waiting patiently for you, El.  You were almost 2 seconds late by my watch.  I wish for once we could count on you.”  Grace mocked herself and the girls howled. 

Grace started again.  “OK, everyone, we’ve got serious business tonight.  Jan has the granddaddy of all men problems and we are going to do three things.  First of all, we’ll do the standard pinkie swear that what is discussed at Schiraldi’s stays at Schiraldi’s.  Second, we are going to solve her problem for her.  And third, we are going to drink so much fucking booze that our eyeballs will float right out of their sockets!”

Jan could only smile and shake her head.  Grace was the most professional, discreet and serene person she knew who also had a mouth like a sailor and a mind like a streetwalker.

With the first round of tequila ordered and the pinkie ritual out of the way, they got down to business.  Grace looked at Jan and said, “OK, kid, you’re up.  Tell these little ladies what the core of the problem is.”

Jan started tentatively.  “Well, when I was 15, I had …”

Latonya interrupted, “Uh uh, Honey.  Readers Digest version.”

Jan laughed. “Oh god, I guess I could go on for hours starting there.  You’re right of course.”  Jan recollected her thoughts.  “OK, bottom line is, my Mom wants me to get married and have kids and I turned 30 this year with no man in sight.  But I love my Mom and it just kills me to disappoint her.  All my siblings are married
now, and they’re all younger than me, and half of them have families going already.”

“You’ve not alone, Jan honey.” Amy
chimed in.

“Oh, I know but, the fact is, I want the same thing my Mom wants
and I, well, I’ve sort of made it worse with a few little white lies.”


Keep going.  Lay it all out there”, Ellen encouraged.

Jan decided to tell
them everything including the strange part.  “OK, so here is all of it, including the weird stuff. See, my Mom got sick when I was in high school and she was pretty much bed ridden for the next three years.   During that time, I had to be Mom to my younger sisters and brothers.  With my Dad traveling, I was head of the household and, well, after my Mom recovered, we were like this.”  She held her first two fingers on her right hand together intertwined.

“I mean, I was her favorite and she sang my praises to everyone.  She told all of her lady friends, and they are super tight by the way, that I was the best and brightest and she perched me pretty high.  Meanwhile my sisters all got married and I went through college and five years now in the workplace without finding Mr. Right.”

“Is that the weird part?  ‘Cuz I don’t think that’s too weird.” Amy offered.

Jan laughed.  “No, that wasn’t the weird part.  What I did next though certainly qualifies as less than smart.  I lied to my Mom.  To my Mom
!  My best friend!  I told her that I was having fun playing the field.  I told her that I was dating a different guy every week and when I found Mr. Right, I would let her know.  And then I kinda told her that would be in time for her 40
th
Anniversary party and I’d bring him by then for her and all her friends to meet.

BOOK: January and the Single Heart
11.57Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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