“Hey, Tiffany,” I said. “How was your day?”
“It was fine,” she said. She sounded distant, like something was bothering her. This was very different from the Tiffany that I’d left this morning. I thought we had made some progress.
“What did you do?” I asked, trying to get her into the conversation.
“There was a Kardashian marathon on,” she said. “I felt like having a lazy day.”
“I don’t blame you. I actually came home from work and fell asleep until a few minutes ago. You wore me out.”
Oh? I wasn’t sure what was going on with her, but I did not like it. I missed the bubbly, talkative Tiffany. Was that person just the wine talking?
“What’s wrong?” I asked. Obviously, something was bothering her, and she wasn’t trying to hide it from me. Did she not think last night went as well as I did?
“It’s just… is this all a joke?” she asked. I was taken aback by her question. A joke?
“Is all what a joke?” I questioned, not fully understanding what she was asking. She sighed.
“This, whatever we are. Are you just using me to win a bet or something?”
I could not believe she was asking such questions. Did she really not believe that I could care about her without it being a joke or a bet?
“Tiffany,” I said. “I swear to you, it’s not a joke or a bet. What will it take for you to realize that I really am into you?”
She didn’t answer, but I could still hear her breathing on the phone, so I knew she was still there.
“Can’t you just accept the fact that I like you for you? I think you’re gorgeous and smart and…”
She interrupted me.
“No one has said those things to me in a long time,” she said. “It scares the shit out of me, if we are being honest.”
Things suddenly started to make sense. No wonder she didn’t have any confidence in herself. I was constantly praised for my looks or my work ethic. I would imagine if no one gave you compliments, you would start to doubt yourself. I wanted to change that. I wanted her to feel as beautiful and talented as I thought she was.
“Tiffany, please just believe me,” I said.
“I do now,” she replied, but I knew she didn’t.
“I’ll see you in the morning?” she said, obviously wanting to end the conversation.
“Sure. Have a good night, Tiffany.”
“Goodnight.” She hung up the phone, leaving me more confused than ever before. I thought after two dates and our time together last night, that she would have no doubts about my feelings. I’d tried to show her that I was a gentleman, and I took her to one of the fanciest restaurants in the city. I was flabbergasted and unsure of what to do next. How could I show her that I really cared about her?
I walked into work the next morning and hoped I would not run into Cayden. Part of me wanted to see him, but the other half was embarrassed after our conversation last night. I hadn’t wanted to admit what was bothering me, but I couldn’t hide it anymore. Even after our romantic dinner and sex, I still felt like something was off. I could not accept the fact that someone like Cayden was interested in someone like me.
I still couldn’t believe we had sex on Saturday night. I flat out told Mandy that I would not give it up that easily. All it took was two dates and a fancy dinner to get in my pants. I didn’t even make him try! I’d to blame it on the wine.
As I entered the building, I noticed that it had been decorated for the holidays. There were multiple decorated trees, garlands, and silver stars hanging from the ceiling. While others were commenting on how great it looked, I could only fake a smile. Everyone was excited about the holidays except for me.
Once I walked into my office, I saw a huge bouquet of pink roses and a cup of coffee sitting on my desk.
“Are those mine?” I asked Nikki. She was sitting at her desk with a grin on her face.
“I believe so,” she said. “The florist just dropped them off and was looking for you. The coffee was already there when I came in, so you may want to warm it up.” I was baffled. This surely was a mistake. No one had ever sent me flowers before.
“Is there a card?” Nikki asked. I walked closer to the flowers. I always loved the smell of fresh flowers, but Brad never got them for me. I would always buy my own at the local farmer’s market. I looked around, but there was no sign of who they were from.
“No card,” I said. Weird.
“Are you sure they were for me?” I asked Nikki. She nodded.
“He asked for Tiffany Martin,” she responded. “They are definitely for you.”
“Odd,” I said. I took a sip of the coffee. It was a little cool, but still good. I’d actually overslept that morning and had been unable to grab a cup of coffee on the way in.
“Well, you’re one lucky girl,” Nikki said. “I spent all weekend with Maurice and I didn’t get shit this morning.” We laughed.
“You have no idea who those are from?” she asked, turning the attention back to the flowers. I shook my head. Of course, I’d some idea. There were only two men in my life that they could be from. One was a longshot, and one was the better possibility.
When I first saw the flowers, I instantly thought they were from Brad. Even after all that had happened with Cayden, I was still secretly thinking about Brad. Ever since I thought I saw Jessica on Saturday, Brad had been on my mind. What if they broke up and they both came back to town? What if the flowers were a way to win me back and apologize for how we ended things?
It took me a minute to come back to reality. Of course, they weren’t from Brad. He didn’t know where I worked, plus if he did, I highly doubted he would ever do something like this. Toward the end of our relationship, he couldn’t even pick up my dry cleaning for me, let alone pay for flower delivery.
Chances were high they were from Cayden, but why did I want them to be from Brad? What was wrong with me? Brad had cheated on me. He constantly put down my appearance and told me my dreams of being a reporter were stupid. He was part of the reason that my self-esteem was so shattered.
Cayden, on the other hand, was always supportive and was always complimenting me. He was obviously a much better man for me. Why could I not let Brad go? It had been over a year. He had moved on with someone else and seemed much happier. Why could I not let myself do the same thing with a great guy?
“Tiffany,” Nikki said. “You over there dreaming about your mystery man or what?”
I blushed, embarrassed that I’d been caught in a daze.
“Sorry,” I apologized.
“So, I was asking if they were from Cayden,” Nikki said. “They have to be, right? Maurice told me that Cayden is majorly sweating you. Did you hear from him at all this weekend?”
I debated telling Nikki the truth. If I told her about Saturday night, she would tell Maurice and then the rest of the office might find out. I didn’t even know what I wanted from Cayden. I couldn’t let the rest of our co-workers know that we had slept together.
“No,” I lied. “He must have been busy.”
Nikki rolled her eyes.
“Figures,” she said. “Typical man wants a girl but doesn’t want to put in any work. I would offer to hook you up with Maurice’s brother, but it appears that you already have someone in your life.”
I shrugged and changed the topic of the conversation. I didn’t want to talk about the flowers or Cayden anymore. I was beginning to get a headache. This was getting to be too much. I couldn’t let myself fall further for Cayden. I needed to stop this before it had a chance to really get started.
The morning went by quickly without a Cayden Lewis sighting. He was usually tied up in meetings on Monday mornings, and I was glad. I still wasn’t sure what to say to him, especially after the flowers and coffee on my desk. While I was flattered, it also added another layer of confusion to the equation.
“Do you want to grab lunch?” Nikki asked me, shutting her laptop.
“No thanks,” I responded. I wasn’t feeling hungry and I knew she would want to talk more about the flowers and the mystery man.