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The Waiters Note
He held her in his strong muscular arms and kissed her under the stars. Music started to play, but it wasn't the right music. It sounded like a fire alarm or a car alarm, or any obnoxious alarm she had ever heard, but it was worse. It struck dread into her heart, the type of dread that felt like something terrible was coming, something… It was her alarm clock, of course it was just a dream...Again. Bright light filled the room and blinded her just opened eyes. She rubbed her eyes and the room turned into a fuzzy mix of bright colors. When her eyes finally came into focus, she limped over to her closet and tried to pick an outfit, but her brain couldn't focus and she decided that she should probably shower before getting dressed. Logic just wasn't an option for her in the morning. The warm shower woke her up and made her not want to leave her paradise. She knew her water bill would suffer for it, but she told herself just a few more minutes. Her lack of paying the water bill cut those few minutes short and cold water stung her face. She accidentally screamed from the abrupt and brutal coldness. A few minutes later while still recovering from the cold, she heard a knock at the door.
“Sage? I heard you scream, are you okay?”.
It was Owen, of course it was Owen, the one guy she dreamed about every night, and he heard her scream. Well, that's embarrassing.
“Yeah, sorry, the water turned cold on me. I should probably pay the water bill, haha”
“Hah yeah, well I should go now. Do you need anything else?”
“I don't think so but....”
“Yeah I'm still here, listen this is a weird question but can you come inside...please?”
“Um… sure, whats up”
She was going to tell him about her feelings, she could do it. But she didn't. She didn't think it was the right moment, it needed to be more romantic.
“Uh, can you grab me a towel from the closet in the hallway, I forgot mine”
“Oh yeah, of course”
“Thank you so much”
“Anytime, I'm always next door if you need me” She smiled knowing that she did need him, but not in a way that she thought he could imagine. You see Owen is engaged and happy, or so she thought. But he just thought of her as a friend.
Whether she liked it or not, she had to go to work today because it was probably the biggest day of the year, which was sad because it wasn't really that big. It was presentation day, and she wasn't happy about either. Presentation day was the one day of the year where everyone in the office created a fantasy story and presented it to everyone, including her boss whom she was terrified of. Anyways, whoever’s story the boss thought was the best would get their story in the New York times and a free trip to Cancun… She never won. But she was hoping that this year would be different. She had stayed up almost all night for the past month working on her story, and she thought it was pretty great.
She was convinced that the past few years she hadn't been personal enough and that's why she lost. So can you guess what she did? Yup that's right. She wrote about her dreams about Owen. There was one little problem, though. Owen’s fiance was her co-worker, and even though she didn't use Owen’s name, she had a feeling Emily, his fiance, would know who she was talking about. Enough worrying, she had to get to work before she was late and really screwed up the presentation for herself. She got to work and found her desk covered in inspirational quotes from all her friends in the office. She felt like crying; she really had the best friends ever. She looked over all the names on the post-its to find that most of them were from Emily, which she felt terrible about.
“Surprise!” all her friends came out from behind her desk...including Emily.
“Thank you all so much, you really didn't have to do this...Really” she glanced at Emily with a guilty look.
“Of course we did, because all you have ever been to us is kind and generous. Now we owe our kindness back to you.” Crap, why did Emily have to be so nice, if only she knew why Sage had been so kind all these years.
“Everyone! Quit the chit chat and get your butts into the conference room, now!”
Her boss's booming voice made her jump and drop her papers. Great, now she would be the last one in the conference room, and that meant she had to go first.
“Sage! Hurry up and get in here! You don't get special treatment for being slow!”
Everyone laughed, and she closed her eyes and thought, if she tried hard enough, she could just disappear.
“Ah, look who finally decided to join us, Sage, you'll be the first to go since you obviously like the attention” She felt dead inside and the day hadn't even started yet.
“Ok… Once upon a time…”
She began her story, and as she read she could feel herself becoming the characters and living in the made up fantasy world that had started in her own living room.
She looked up to see her boss crying in front of everyone; her boss, crying! She felt a knot twist inside her stomach.
“Was it really that bad?”
“No, no, it was amazing. I felt like I was in the story, feeling what the characters were feeling,. I haven't heard a story like that in...A very long time”
He dried his eyes and returned to the cold and stern face he always had on.
“Anyways, we should move on now”
The next story was extremely boring, so she let her eyes drift around the room until they landed on Emily. She was looking straight at Sage like she wanted to shoot her right then and there. She knew.
She looked up at the dark, bare ceiling. She couldn't sleep. What was Emily going to do? She wasn't looking forward to going to work in a few hours. Emily had the platform to make her life a living hell. She couldn't take it anymore. She needed to go on a walk. The fresh air helped, but she still couldn't get her mind off of Emily. She still loved Owen, of course, how could she stop? Everytime she talked to him he seemed more perfect. She thought she could hear his voice now. No, it was just her imagination. Wait, no it wasn't. That was actually his voice. She looked up to realize she was standing three stories under Owen and Emily’s apartment. She heard his voice because they were yelling...Very loudly. “I should go,,” she thought to herself, but as she began to walk away she couldn't help but hear her name. She turned around and tried to piece the conversation together.
“It's not my fault she’s in love with me!” It was Owen.
“But I'm asking if you are in love with her!”. I had never heard Emily so furious.
“I- I don't know anymore Emily.”
She couldn't believe it. She ran away, faster than she had run in a while. She ran into her apartment, locked the door and dove into bed. A few minutes later, she heard a knock at the door. It was three in the morning,. Who would be knocking at her door? She got up quietly, making sure that the person on the other side of the door thought she was asleep. She looked through the eyehole. It was Emily. Her eyes were puffy and mascara was stained on her face… She was holding a knife. Sage gasped and pulled away. Why was she holding a knife; what was happening? She snuck back to bed and tried to sleep, but she knew that wasn't going to happen anytime soon.
The next day she sat at her desk zoned out, trying her best to take her mind off the night before, but the knife, the argument, the knocking at her door, she couldn't help but piece it together, was Emily trying to-. She was interrupted by a tap on her shoulder. She jumped and turned around to see Emily smiling at her with a sweet, but obviously fake smile.
“Hey Sage! How are you?”
“That's great, how would you like to go to dinner with me tonight, just the two of us”
“Actually I can-”
“Great, I'll see you at Marci’s at six-thirty sharp”
“But”. She was already around the corner.
The day zipped by after that and she was getting ready for dinner with Emily. Marci’s was probably the fanciest restaurant on her side of town, so she had to dress nice unless she wanted everyone around her to look at her weirdly. She wore the nicest dress she had and had just finished her makeup when she heard a knock at the door. She opened it to find Owen, who hugged her the second she opened the door.
“Thank God you're ok. I know how mad Emily was last night, and when she left the house with a knife- why are you so dressed up?”
“Oh I'm going out to dinner with Emily. You didn't know?”
“No, she left last night and hasn't been back since then. Are you sure dinner is the best idea after what happened last night?”
“What happened last night?” She tried to act oblivious.
“Sage, we saw you run away outside last night. We know you know”
“...Ok, I get what you mean, but I think she just wants to talk to me”
“Ok keep your phone on you though. I want you to be able to reach me if you need to.”
“I'll be fine Owen, I promise”. He kissed her. It was better than in the dreams.
“Don't make a promise you can't keep”.
Sage got to the restaurant where she met Emily and was seated. They talked and joked, but
The whole time Emily seemed really off and the waiter kept trying to get Sage’s attention, but Sage ignored her. She didn't know why, but she did. The night was coming to an end and the waiter brought the check.
“Oh my goodness, I forgot my wallet, I'm sorry can you get this one, Sage?”
“Oh yeah, of course.”. The waiter quickly wrote something on the check. I didn't think Emily noticed. I looked around the restaurant for the first time all night, and noticed that almost everyone had left, and the ones that were left in the restaurant were staring at them with horrified expressions. She looked down at the check and read the waiters note.
“The woman you are with has had a gun pointed at you underneath the table all night”
Her phone rang, and she picked it up carefully.
“Sage! You need to get out of there! Now!”