April 7, 2015

Tessa's Story

by Zahra Barnes

I stared at my phone screen, jaw hanging in a way that would have made my mom chide in her signature Southern lilt, Tessa, honey, close your mouth before the flies get in. I blinked hard, just making sure my eyes werent fooling me. The din of the coffee shop faded into white noise.

Helloooo?! Marley waved a hand in front of my face. You look about as spaced as Ryan Lochte on an average day. Whats up? She sucked down the last dregs of her iced coffee.

I turned my phone around and pointed at the offending email. I only needed one word to sum it up. Marian.

Marleys eyes grew saucer-like in disbelief. Wait, this witch is emailing you? She must have gotten hacked.

I swiveled my wrist so I was once again taking in an eyeful of my inbox, Marians name stamped across the top in bold. Considering that she didnt understand the point of having a password more secure than Password123, that wouldnt surprise me, I said. But my gut told me this was the real Marian deal, not some obscure hacker hiding out behind a screen. There was no subject line, and my finger hovered over the email. My nerves were twitching, but my hand was still. I tapped on the email and read, confused at first.

———————— Forwarded Message ————————
From: Imogen LifeIsBeautiful Thomas
Date: Monday, April 6, 2015
Subject: July Event
To: Melville, Marian

Yes, the July event is all set. My main question is whether you have a box big enough for me to fit into (ORGANICALLY SOURCED, please. That part is non-negotiable) or if I need to bring my own.

Marian, I have to ask, what happened to Tessa? I know things got hairy with the contract issue, but I always loved working with her. I was going through an episode and threw much more of a fit than necessary, but my chakras are all aligned now. I know she normally handles bookings, but I would love to see both of you there!

-I

That was it. Even though it was a forwarded message, everything between Marian and Imogen, the artist who had raised hell over my contract screwup, was gone. It was nice to know I was somewhat missed. My unceremonious firing had been so sudden that I hadnt had a chance to email people to let them know I was moving on. The longer I waited, the more embarrassed Id been to fill them in on what had happened, so I figured Id check in with them as soon as I got a job. I was such a fresh hire at Bloom, though, and things were so busy, that I hadnt gotten around to it yet.

I raced through the email again, new mysteries cropping up with each word. Why on earth had Marian emailed this to me? Was she having a fever dream? A wine-induced hallucination? Did she accidentally butt-email me? What was the point? Was I supposed to answer? How?

You are the worst multitasker, Marley said as she impatiently grabbed my phone. I asked you what it said twice.

Sorry. Its really bizarre, was all I could manage while my mind fired on all cylinders. What the actual fuck?

A self-satisfied grin crept across Marleys face. They always come back, dont they? she said while shaking her head.

What do you mean?

Marian didnt just fire you. She dumped you. And people like that always come to regret it, she said.

No. Theres no way. This woman was so proud that I wasnt supposed to make eye contact with her for the first three months I worked there. It has to be a mistake. Why wouldnt she explain herself?

Marley handed my phone back and arched an eyebrow. Come on, Tessa. Was Marian really ever one to explain anything?

She had a point.

Are you going to respond?

No! I mean, what would I say? Thanks? Did you tell him Im gone because you kicked me out on my ass? Even if she did mean to pay me some insanely weird compliment, she probably already regrets it and would say something vicious about how she assumed in my destitute state, I could use something emotionally uplifting.

Marley snorted. True. Cruella could learn a few lessons from her.

I pressed my phones lock button and flipped it facedown. Whatever. At least before, I was paid to deal with Marians mind games. Not dealing with that right now.

Onward and upward! Tell me everything about Bloom.

I couldnt help breaking out into a smile so sunny, Marley couldnt help but mimic it.

That good, huh?

Mar, its unreal. I have so much control in a way I never had with Marian. Savannah and Dee are letting me take the reins in a way that would have taken actual years if Id been with Grey & Boehm. Thats the benefit of working with a startup.

Right. And that big launch event is soon, right?

Yeah, but Im keeping the details a surprise. I want you to experience it like everyone else.

OK, at least tell me something. You know Im not good with waiting. She shook her ice-filled cup at me, green-grey iridescent nails catching the light.

Well, remember how I told you that amazing artist, Tamiko Mori, agreed to help out when I was pitching that mock campaign? Shes officially agreed to help us advertise the launch party, so my ideas a go. She started creating the art today. I turned my phone over to show Marley the images, half-hoping that Marian would have followed up her cryptic message with an explanation of some sort. Nothing. Mentally shaking it off, I paged through my photos to find what Tamiko had sent me. Even seeing the beginnings of her floral watercolors, all dabbed and dipped onto canvas, was arresting.

Marley alternated from exclamations and sighs as she went through the photos.

Thats the general effect Im going for, I admitted.

This artist is cool as hell. I want to meet her.

You will, shell definitely be at the launch.

Marley nodded, pleased, then gave back my phone. Her face shifted into an expression that was foreign for her pretty features. It took a beat for me to realize the pursed lips and shifty eyes were her way of expressing discomfort.

So, have you talked to Finn? she asked.

A little. I texted him that everything was fine, I said, twirling an empty straw wrapper. I just want everything to go back to normal. Which will all be blown up, Im sure, the second we see each other.

About that…” Marley dragged the phrase out, clearly hoping Id take the bait.

I did. Marley, I said in a warning tone. I knew her too well and could tell she was up to something. About what?

I met him for a drink last night and he stupidly left his wallet with me. Well, I kind of stupidly took it.

I was immediately suspicious. Howd that happen?

You see this huge scarf? She tugged on the monstrous oatmeal-colored number that was looped around her neck. His wallet must have been on the table, and I put my scarf down, and I think I scooped it up when I left. He decided to walk home because it was close, so he didnt realize he was missing it until this morning. And you know my bag is a shitshow, so I didnt see it until he asked me.

So, go give it to him.

I cant! My moms picking me up to head to our house upstate in a few hours. If Im not ready, shell draw and quarter me.

I groaned, knowing what was coming.

Pleaseee, Tessa? Just drop it off with him? The poor guy cant be without his wallet.

Then maybe he should have checked for it before he left!

Marley leveled me with a look. Really, says the girl who had to get her New York ID replaced twice before shed made it to her second anniversary in the city?
Dammit.

Marley, come on, you forcing me into an awkward run-in with Finn isnt going to work. As youve mentioned, my life is about the opposite of a Katherine Heigl movie. Why cant he pick it up?

You know he has his apprenticeship. His boss is riding him and saying he has to finish all these pieces before he can leave. Its like a Whiplash situation, I think.

Speaking of Whiplash, I said, trying to change the topic, Did I tell you about the Miles Teller dream I had? We were dating. Normally he doesnt do it for me, but he was such a turn-on that it carried over into real life. I want him.

Marley waved a hand. Youre not going to distract me. This has all of Finns important things in it, including his metro card. Please imagine him walking 30 blocks from his apprenticeship to his place because he cant take a subway or pay for a cab. He already had to do it on the way there.

Right in the heart. I may have bitchy tendencies, but Im not made of stone. Fine. Ill take it to him, but you owe me.

Yes! Ill cook for you as repayment.

Deal. So, wait, did you guys talk about me?

Marleys eyes darted away again, and I immediately regretted the question.

You know what? Forget it, I said. Im probably better off not knowing.

Are you sure?

Yes. Im just going to pretend everythings normal, and I dont want to know anything thatll make me feel otherwise. Will it be weird if I show up instead of you?

No, because I told him youre dropping it off. She held the worn leather wallet in her outstretched hand

Of course you did. You have to go?

Yeah. Marley glanced at her phone. Im running late as it is. Let me know that he gets it?

Will do, if I dont pull an Alex Mack and melt into nothingness just to escape the situation.

She rolled her eyes. In your next life, remember that you should probably go into acting, drama queen.

I laughed. Yeah, yeah. Ill let you know how it goes.

Half an hour later, I emerged from a subway stop into Soho, breathing in the grime and street meat. Ah, New York City. I walked along, eyes trained on Google Maps, and almost tripped over a teeny yappy dog on the way. After a ten-minute walk and a pit stop to examine whether a vendor hawking bags had anything that looked remotely legitimate (he didnt), I found myself in front of the shop, labeled with a sign that said Armins Furniture. I jiggled the handle of a wrought iron door adorned with swoops and curlicues that protected the actual glass door of the place, but it was locked. I put my hands around my eyes to better see inside the shops window, but it was too dark to make out much beyond hulking shapes. I called Finn but went to voicemail. Frustrated, I jabbed the doorbell a few times. The buzz rang out, surely loud enough that he could hear.

Within minutes, Finn appeared in a simple white T-shirt and jeans. We locked eyes, but his expression was as passive as it would be for a stranger. He pushed the door open, then used his wrist to push his glasses up and brush a lock of hair from his face. Sweat dotted his brow, and his hands were covered in sawdust. We both looked at each other, not knowing where to start in the aftermath of our kiss and the ensuing unease.

Hi, he finally said. Do you want to come in?




23 comments:

  1. When Finn was originally introduced I thought they'd be a great couple despite their current significant others. Hope something good comes from that kiss!

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    Replies
    1. I totally agree! I always wanted the story to wrap back around to him. Grant and Jack were good learning experiences for her. Now I think she's gonna see its good to be with that guy that really knows you.

      Delete
  2. Chris - @nylonlover69 on IG/TwitterApril 7, 2015 at 3:19 PM

    Sure, why not. I'd love to see some of the beautiful furniture you're hand crafting! Maybe I can work some of it into my new launch. And then leave without causing any drama!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm so sad that Jack ended up being a douche... But Finn as cute when the story first started, so please see where that leads!

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  4. This post added nothing to the story. Fluff piece. Blah.

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  5. Nothing happened last week and this week, again, nothing happened. Boring.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Everyone is so hateful. I love Tessa's story. Normally don't comment but just wanted to let you know I think its great. And I'm pretty picky about my reading material...keep it up!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hateful because they don't share your opinion? You think the blog is great but others don't. That is their right. I want to like this blog but honestly most of the time it is a drag. The sentences are too long and cumbersome. Sometimes I have to read them multiple times. The storylines are dragging and nothing exciting happens.

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    2. Then stop reading it...

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  7. Alex Mack?? Zahra, umm, I love you lol. Talk about nostalgia, didn't think anyone knew about that show!

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    Replies
    1. I thought I had lost my mind when I saw that lol! I had to reread! I absolutely LOVED that show! :)

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  8. Reminds me of "He's Making Furniture Now" from Portlandia hahaha

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  9. I just love this story. Zahra keep it coming.... Am on team Finn. I just wish we all just enjoy or move on. This is fiction and not real life... All you Grammer teachers back to your students

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    قصص سكس و نيك


    صور سكس و نيك

    نيك اختي .... و لا اروع


    قبول اختي سهام في الجامعة /محارم

    الولد الشقى واخته وهى نايمه (احلى سكس )

    عهد و اخيها انس قصة اخ واخته فى بلاد الغربة

    هيثم وريم اختة

    قصة الجناينى وست البيت

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    قصص سكس و صور نيك

    قصص سكس و نيك


    صور سكس و نيك

    نيك اختي .... و لا اروع


    قبول اختي سهام في الجامعة /محارم

    الولد الشقى واخته وهى نايمه (احلى سكس )

    عهد و اخيها انس قصة اخ واخته فى بلاد الغربة

    هيثم وريم اختة

    قصة الجناينى وست البيت

    قصة اللص الذي سرق البيت واغتصب المرأه المتزوجه


    ناك حبيبته المتزوجه فوق السطح


    قصص سكس و صور نيك

    قصص سكس و نيك


    صور سكس و نيك

    نيك اختي .... و لا اروع


    قبول اختي سهام في الجامعة /محارم

    الولد الشقى واخته وهى نايمه (احلى سكس )

    عهد و اخيها انس قصة اخ واخته فى بلاد الغربة

    هيثم وريم اختة

    قصة الجناينى وست البيت

    قصة اللص الذي سرق البيت واغتصب المرأه المتزوجه


    ناك حبيبته المتزوجه فوق السطح

    ReplyDelete