I knew I was in over my head. What had started as a one night stand had escalated into a torrid love affair. She wasn’t good for me but I couldn’t seem to break free. I tried so many times to end it but I always ended up going back. If I had followed my mind and stayed at the hotel instead of going to a bar she wouldn’t have picked me up when I was alone in a Chicago bar. I was in the city on business for a week. It was a Saturday night and I decided to go for a drink after having dinner at the hotel instead going back to my suite. I was flying back to Seattle early Sunday morning.
I was sitting at the bar, nursing my drink when she sat down on the stool next to me. I tried not to stare but I couldn’t help it. She was gorgeous and sexy. And I was engaged. I heard her order a virgin Pena Colada. The bartender seemed to know her. They chatted for a bit and then she turned towards me after he handed her her drink. “Hi,” she said.
“Hi,” I replied. I thought to myself that nothing could happen between us. We were in a public place. There was no harm in chitchatting and then I leave alone.
“You look like you’re from out of town,” she said, sizing me up. I could tell that she liked what she saw.
“I’m from Seattle.”
“So, how do you like Chicago?”
I shrugged. “It’s not bad.”
“Are you here for business or pleasure?”
“Business. I leave tomorrow.”
“Hmm. That’s too bad. I could have given you a personal tour of Chicago.”
“But you don’t know me.”
“I’m getting to know you now. So, what’s your name?”
“Justus. What’s yours?” No harm in asking. We weren’t likely to see each other again.
“Angelica but everyone calls me Angel for short.”
Angel? She looked anything but angelic. “So, what are you doing here alone in a bar on a Saturday night, Angel? Don’t you have a special man you would rather be with than talking to me, a complete stranger?”
“No, I don’t have a man and you won’t be a stranger for much longer. So, tell me about yourself. What kind of work do you do?”
“I’m an Enterprise Architect. What I do is to take the view of what the Business would like to look like in 4-5 years and then come up with strategies that will allow the Business to get to that envisioned end state. What about you?”
“I work at a software company. So, tell me, Justus, are you single or not?”
“Not. I’m engaged.”
“Your fiancee’s a very lucky woman. Do you love her?”
I was a bit taken aback and miffed by her question. “Of course, I love her,” I said. “Why else would I be marrying her?”
“There could be several reasons. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to upset you. How long have the two of you been together?”
“We’ve known each other since university.”
“And you’ve only now decided to tie the knot?”
“Yes. Marriage is a big step. We wanted to be sure that we were ready.”
“And are you sure that you’re ready? No, don’t answer that. I’m sorry. Let me buy you another drink.”
“No thanks. One is enough for me.”
“Will you stay and keep my company until I finish mine?”
I glanced at my watch. It was 10:45. “Sure.”
We talked about different things. And then, she slid off the stool. “Let’s go for a walk. It’s such a lovely night.”
“All right,” I agreed. There was no harm in going for a walk.
We walked along the Riverwalk where there were live musicians performing. I couldn’t help but admire architecture and there were several restaurants in the area where we were. I regretted not venturing out there before tonight. She turned to me, her head tilted to one side. “I hope you come back to Chicago again soon. We can come here again and have dinner.”
“I don’t think so,” I said. “I should be heading back to my hotel now.”
“I’ll walk with you.”
“You don’t have to, Angel.”
“I know but I want to.”
“All right. But when we get there, you should call for a cab.”
She nodded and we headed towards my hotel. I was staying at the Trump International Hotel and Tower which seemed to impress her. “You can use the phone at reception to call for a cab,” I suggested.
“May I come up to your suite? I need to use the bathroom.”
I hesitated for a moment before reluctantly saying, “Okay.”
We rode up in the elevator. There were other people in it. They gave us curious looks. I let her into the deluxe one bedroom and while she went to the bathroom, I removed my suit jacket and draped it over one of the chairs. I had a spectacular view of the Chicago River. I was sorry to be leaving.
She came back into the living room. “Thank you for letting me use your bathroom,” she said. “It’s was really nice meeting you, Justus. I hope we see each other again.” She walked over to me, her hips swaying slightly and putting her arms around my waist, she hugged me. I stood there, stiff. Her body was pressed against mine. I didn’t know what to do. After several minutes, my hands went up and taking her by the shoulders I intended to push her away but when she looked up at me with those beautiful eyes and I saw the desire burning in them, I lost my head.
My mouth found hers and devoured it. She responded wildly. After she ripped open my shirt, we staggered like two drunks over to the bed. We came up for air long enough to strip and then, we were under the sheets, kissing passionately and ravaging each other. It was the most explosive lovemaking I had ever experienced in my life.
When it was over, we lay there for a while and then, she said, “I have to go now.” She kissed me on the shoulder before she got up and got dressed. She walked over to my side of the bed and leaning over she kissed me on the mouth. “I won’t say goodbye,” she said when she straightened up. “I want to believe that we will see each other again. Good night, Justus.” And she was gone.
I lay there for a long time, feeling guilty. It wasn’t until after one that I finally drifted off to sleep. It was a beautiful, sunny day but I felt awful inside. I showered, trying to wash away the sin I had committed with a beautiful woman but even as I tried I couldn’t wash away the desire I felt for her. Before I left the suite and headed to the airport, I had decided that I would return to Chicago in a couple of weeks’ time. I knew where to find Angel. She had left a business card with her address and number written on the back. It was in my wallet.
The second time I visited Chicago on the pretext of being there on business, after I checked into the hotel, called Zoe to let her know that I had arrived safely, I went to Angel and spent the rest of the day with her. She was thrilled to see me and the door was barely closed behind me before we were all over each other. We spent two weeks together, mostly in bed but there were the odd occasions when she took me sightseeing and we had dinner at one of the restaurants near Riverwalk. We even went back to the bar where we met and spent a couple of hours there before we went back to her place. I was hardly at the hotel, except to shower and change my clothes.
When I was with Angel, I hardly thought about Zoe but when I was with Zoe, I couldn’t stop thinking about Angel. When we were apart, I missed her like crazy and couldn’t wait to see her again. Zoe didn’t suspect anything and I felt like a heel. I kept telling myself that I had to end my affair with Angel but whenever I was with her, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. And the last time we were together, after we had made love, she whispered in my ear, “I love you, Justus.”
I closed my eyes. It was on the tip of my tongue to say, “I love you too.” but I couldn’t. Instead, I got up and got dressed. We met that night for dinner. Two days later, I returned to Seattle.
And now, I’m sitting at a restaurant, having lunch with a good buddy of mine, Keith. I told him everything, including when Angel and I first met. He whistled. “Wow. You have a big problem, my friend.”
“I know. What on earth am I going to do?”
“Well, it’s simple. You have to make a choice. Either you go to Chicago or you stay here. You can’t continue juggling two women. You have to decide which one you want to be with and let the other one go. Do you still think that Angel isn’t good for you?”
“I never really believed that. I guess I wanted to find a reason to end my relationship with her. So much has changed these past several months. Now, I can’t imagine my life without her in it.”
“Do you love her?”
“What about Zoe? Do you love her too?”
I shook my head. “No. It’s funny. When Angel and I first met, she asked me that question too and I got defensive. If I were to be completely honest with myself, I will admit that I asked Zoe to marry me because she was available, we have a long history together and it felt right at the time.”
“You were friends before you became a couple but are you sexually attracted to her?”
“She’s a beautiful woman but she doesn’t excite me the way Angel does.”
“So, based on what you’re telling me, it seems like Angel is the one you want to be with.”
“Then, go back to Chicago and tell her.”
I sighed. “I feel badly about Zoe.”
“It will take a long time but she will eventually get over it. A broken engagement is better than a broken marriage.”
“Thanks, for everything, Keith. I appreciate it.”
“Don’t mention it, Man. I wish you all the best.”
After we finished lunch and parted company, I called Angel and told her that I would be flying to Chicago on the weekend. Then, I went to see Zoe. On Saturday morning when I landed at the airport, Angel was there to meet me. She ran to me, I picked her up and in between kisses, I told her that I loved her. We didn’t care that we were drawing attention. Afterwards, we left the airport and went straight to her place. Hours later, we left the apartment and went for dinner followed by a long walk. It felt great, liberating to be back in Chicago and with Angel.
Five years later, Angel and I are married and living in Park Ridge, just 14 miles northwest of downtown Chicago. I left my job and life in Seattle but I know in my heart that I made the right choice. Angel is the right woman for me.
Don’t settle for what is convenient. You owe it to yourself and to that person to be true to your heart.