Copyright 2016 Michaela Lafferty
Published by Michaela Lafferty at Shakespir
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Time waits for no man, and I’m no expectation. As the dials hit midnight the chimes ring out as the sound bounces off the glass walls as if it’s taunting me. It was now June 14th, the day of my birth and I, Lily Danvers was officially thirty years old.
The chime of my phone brings me back to reality, plucking it from the wooden desk I slide my thumb across the screen and scan the text. A smile tugs at the corner of my mouth as my thumb glides across the keypad.
Every year without fail my brother, Michael stopped whatever he was doing to wish me a happy birthday. It was the sad truth that out of my three siblings Michael was the only one I still talked to on a daily basis and my father’s favourite child. Sighing, I filed the distaste for my father away in hopes that I won’t have to think about the wretched man until next year. My mother on the other hand was ten times worse as she had made it perfectly clear what her beliefs for a women where when it came to marriage and while my older sisters where open to accepting their fate, I wasn’t.
Finishing off the remnants of my wine glass, I leave it stranded on my office desk before grabbing my handbag and coat. My foot taps rhythmically against the marble floor as I wait patiently for the elevator to arrive. The ringing of my phone snaps me from my daydream, dropping my gaze to the caller ID I let out a groan disturbing the silence within the hallway.
Hitting the decline button I step into the elevator and tap on the ground floor. Today wasn’t the day in which I wanted to tackle the puzzle that was my mother. Exiting the elevator I make my way towards the exit and I’m greeted by the sight of my brother.
“Michael?” Raising an eyebrow, I give the blonde whose draped over his arm a once over.
“Lil.” His voice sounding slightly slurred.
“What are you doing here?” I ask before sliding my coat on.
“Mother called, she’s insisting that you’re avoiding her and I know for a fact you are but…”
“No, whatever you’re going to ask me to do the answer is no.” I cut him off before he can continue.
Michael untangled himself from the pretty blonde before stumbling in my direction.
“Come on, Lil’s I’m only asking you this one favour. I’ll never ask anything of you again, please?” He pleaded as he blocked my path to the car.
“I need for you to be at the Plaza tomorrow, at noon.” He grinned sheepishly.
“Why?” I asked cautiously.
“Just be there, please!” He pleaded once again.
“I suppose so, but you owe me!” I pointed in his direction before side stepping him and sliding into the back seat of the town car.
“I’ll text you the info.” He called out just as the door closed.
As I sat there I couldn’t help but pray that Michael would forget about the situation and I could avoid this whole thing all together. It didn’t matter how I looked at it I was royally screwed and all because I couldn’t say no to my younger brother.
The sun streamed through the blinds causing me to bury my head further in to the depths of my cushion. Groaning, I allowed my hand to wander the bedside table in search of my phone, grasping onto the cold metal I squint my eyes and discover it’s nine am. The screen before me indicates that I have four missed calls and three text messages.
Scrolling through the logs I notice that Mia, my assistant has tried to contact me multiple times. Sitting up I hit the dial button and patiently await for the dial tone.
“Miss Danvers, its Mia.” Her voice sounding laboured.
“Yes, I know Miss Wells. What seems to be the problem?” I ask curtly as I make my way towards the kitchen.
“You’re nine o’clock appointment has arrived and well you’re not here.” Her voice sounds frantic.
“I’m well aware of that however if you could cancel all my appointments for today and schedule them at a more appropriate time in the near future.” I declared before pouring my morning coffee.
“But Miss Danvers…” She trailed off.
“Is there a problem Miss Wells?”
“Not at all, no.” She spluttered out.
“Good, once you cancel my appointments you can have the day off. I expect to see you on Monday morning at eight sharp.” I reported before hanging up.
The third text I received was from Michael and unfortunately he hadn’t forgotten today’s lunch. Slumping against the counter I prepare myself to answer the following questions; do you have a boyfriend? Why don’t you have a boyfriend? When are you going to get a boyfriend? All topics that revolve around my non-existent love life. These will surely be followed by the inevitable topic of children and how my internal clock is ticking.
My only logical response to the following questions was that the timing isn’t right and my mother would poke holes through that straight away. The truth was that for the last several years work had become one of the only constants in my life. I had boyfriends on and off over the years but when it came to a certain point in the relationship the inevitable always happened, the question of marriage leered its ugly head.
The marriage part didn’t baffle me it was the expectations that followed the proposal. There was no question about it when the time did roll around and children were an option I wanted to be there for them fully but I also wanted a partner that would put just as much time into the raising of the children than I do.
Downing the remaining drabbles of coffee I drop the mug into the sink before heading towards the bathroom in preparation for the lunch from hell.
I stood at the edge of the curb as my eyes locked onto the main entrance of the Plaza hotel. The cold air nipped at my bare skin as I moved from foot-to-foot in order to generate some heat. Behind me I could sense the confusion coming from the driver as my unease rushed off me in waves.
When it came to problems within my life I usually faced them head on but when it comes to the topic of my family, I usually avoid it in hopes of the issue disappearing all together. I chew nervously on my bottom lip as I weigh out the pros and cons of entering the hotel entrance and facing the judgemental gaze of my parents. Shaking my head I swiftly turn on my heel as my hand reaches out for the car handle.
The booming voice of my younger brother stops me from entering the vehicle and avoiding the situation all together. Straightening my spine I plaster a false grin onto my face as I turn in the direction of Michael and my elder sister, Andrea who stands to his left.
Taking a deep breath I cautiously make my way towards them and I’m greeted with an awkward grin and hug from Michael while Andrea drops her gaze.
“I’m going to kill you.” I mutter into his shoulder.
The clearing of someone’s throat draws us apart as Andrea utters one word and sends a nod in my direction.
“Lily.” Her voice sounds almost clinical causing a wave of hurt to run through me.
“Andrea.” My voice mirroring her own.
“Shall we.” His voice rising an octave as he reaches his arm out.
A smile tugs at the corner of my mouth as I loop my arm in his own and turn in the direction of the main entrance.
Entering the hotel we’re greeted by the manager who insists we have been given the best seats in the facility. From behind me I can hear my sister giving the poor man a list of her dietary requirements that he insists he will deal with personally. Michael and I excuse ourselves as we are guided into the large restaurant. Our coats are taken away while my eyes dance across the large room in search of my parents. They occupy the centre of the room with my father chatting animatedly to the man to his left while my mother securitizes the menu.
Andrea is the first to be acknowledged followed by Michael then myself. My mother gives me a once over while my father gives me a stiff hug. The waiter gestures towards the chair, thanking him quietly I notice that my mother has placed me near the stranger.
“Oh, how rude of me. Children this is Matthew Holt, his father used to work at Lemingtons’.” My mother chimed.
My eyes dropped onto the man before me who smiled pleasantly at my mother. He was certainly handsome, with a strong jaw and well-built frame.
As far as I could remember Lemingtons’ was an attorney office where my father worked a few decades past. It was then that it clicked together, this was a setup, a blind date of sorts and to make matters worse my mother had set it up. To confirm my superstitions my father continued to move his gaze between myself and Michael.
“Nice too meet you.” Michael smiled as he outstretched his hand.
It had always been like this ever since we were kids, Michael felt the urge to always lighten the mood when tensions were high. I remained silent as the chatter began to pick up around the table. Each time a new subject was brought up my mother tried to coax me into the conversation. All topics seemed to revolve around marriage, the future and children.
“Lily’s still waiting for the right man. Isn’t that right dear?” my mother’s voice cuts through my train of thought.
“Finding the right one can take years.” Matthew declared.
Raising an eyebrow my gaze returned to the figure to my left who sent me a reassuring smile. Shock ran through me at his kindness in backing me up, something that seemed absurd coming from a man of his standing. It had always occurred to me that my father’s associates shared the same morals of his own: marry young and have children. However it seemed Matthew shared similar ideas of my own.
“I think it’s absurd to wait so long to marry, it’s better to get a jump on things when you’re younger. Isn’t that right honey?” My father asks, breaking the silence.
Rolling my eyes, I guzzle down the rest of the glass and gesture for the waiter to refill my wine glass.
“Is that a smart idea, dear?” My mother asked.
“We’ll soon find out.” I grin taking another sip of wine.
It was the mention of my oldest sister, Julie that brought me over the edge. In my parents eyes Julie was the perfect child and it had been made clear that she was the example to follow. Andrea followed suit, I on the other hand chosen my career instead.
The antagonising tone of my mother began to make my blood rise.
“Enough.” The word fumbled from my mouth before I could stop it.
All eyes moved in my direction, my mother’s expression was that of disbelief while my sister looked generally shocked.
“I know how you feel about my life choices mother and if I wanted a lecture I would have visited you sooner now excuse me.” Standing up I made my way towards the exit as a member of staff handed over my belongs.
Taking a deep breath I stepped into the cold air of New York while my driver hastily made his way towards the passenger door. Just as I was making my way towards the car I was stopped mid-stride by Michael.
“She never meant it.” He said sheepishly.
“You and I both know that’s a lie. I’m not against women staying home and raising their kids, I’m for it in fact, but I also believe that it’ll happen when I’m ready and when it does I want someone who understands the importance of two parents raising their children.”
“You know you don’t have to always be the one who has to play neutral. It’s difficult to be in the middle, Michael and I get that you want us to all be a happy family but I don’t want any part of it.” I continue before turning on my heel and stepping closer to the car.
“I don’t expect us to be on the best of terms but it would be nice if we could at least sit through a meal without a war breaking out.” Michael muttered.
With my back faced to him I shake my head once more before stepping into the car and avoiding Michael’s pained expression.
The weekend past in a blur as I avoided any phone calls from my mother. It also seemed as if my eldest sister, Julie, had heard through the grapevine, Andrea, what had went down at the lunch and took it upon herself to phone me also. That conversation had ended with me hanging up.
Entering the office earlier that morning I was surprised to find a bouquet of flowers laid on my desk. Within the bouquet is a folded letter that I hastily removed and I’m shocked to discover they are from Matthew who is enquiring about a second chance at a proper date without the scrutiny of my parents.
Dropping into my office chair I sip at my coffee as I go over my morning plans.
“Miss Danvers, your mothers on line one.” Mia calls from the entrance of my office.
“Tell her I’m busy and if she calls again continue doing so.” Dropping my eyes to the document before me as Mia takes that as her queue to leave.
My mind wanders back to when I first clapped eyes on Matthew, I thought he’d been another Wall Street businessman with the same twisted perceptions of the world like my father but he’d backed me up.
“You can’t go in there.” Mia repeated over and over again causing my gaze to move in the direction of the doorway.
“I’m her mother.” Her voice sounding agitated.
“That’s okay, Mia. Close the door, please.” I smiled in her direction.
A wave of relief washed over her face as she nodded and hastily made her way towards the exit.
“Is everything okay?” I question, hoping that I’s nothing serious.
“Yes, I came here to apologize.” Her tone sounded curt as she flinched at the word apologize.
My expression was that of confusion as my mother seemed flustered at her declaration. Her hands danced from her greying hair to her Gucci bag.
“What for?” I pretended to play dumb.
“You know why, don’t play dumb dear it doesn’t suit you. I didn’t mean to overstep and critique your life choices, no matter how bizarre they are.”
A chuckle emanated from my lips as I shook my head in disbelief.
“Oh mother, you’re the only one who could pull off both an apology and insult at the same time.”
An awkward silence fell over the room as my mother shifted in her spot and seemed to cower under my scrutiny. I swore I spotted a flash of guilt in her expression.
“I’m truly sorry, Lily. Your father and I worry about you. We don’t want you to be alone or to find yourself twenty years into the future with nothing but a job to keep you company.” Her voice no longer held any bitterness.
“Thank you.” Was my only response.
She nodded curtly before standing up and making her way towards the exit. Stopping in her tracks she hesitated as if she was contemplating her next move.
“I don’t mean to impose but Matthew is a good man, he shares your ideals so don’t let the fact that we introduced him to you be the reason you never see him again.” She pleaded.
Shock reverberated through me as it was bizarre to witness my mother being so open. Smiling, she turned on her heel and hastily exited the office.
A wave of relief washed over me at the sudden openness of my mother, it felt like a weight had been lifted and I could breathe again. I knew that our issues were nowhere close to resolved but it was nice to know that my mother was taking the steps to do so.
My mind wandered back to what my mother had said before she exited. Matthew seemed like a nice enough guy but I wasn’t sure if it would be a good fit. I had always been big on timing and meeting someone while trying to avoid my parents prying eyes wasn’t one of them.
I promised myself one thing in that moment. When it came to social conventions and major commitments within the relationship I would always make it clear that I was never going to be a stay at home mother. I would learn from my parent’s mistakes and be clear with my partner.
Rummaging around in my handbag I scooped out my phone and begun to dial the number printed on the paper.
“Matthew.” I began.
I stood at the entrance of my apartment building as I clung to my shawl that was wrapped around my shoulders. I began to grow anxious as the minutes past by and my nerves seemed to be getting the better of me. Just as I was about to turn towards the apartment entrance the voice of Matthew called.
A smile fell onto my lips as I turned around to face him. I was slightly taken aback at his handsome appearance.
“You look beautiful.” His voice was gentle.
Heat rose to my face as I smiled at him and as the night engulfed us I couldn’t help but think that our timing was perfect.
About The Author
Michaela Lafferty is a full time student from Scotland who is currently studying the media industry in hopes of achieving a career within publishing.
When she’s not studying she likes to spend her days reading and writing. From a young age she has always longed to write a novel of her very own. At age nineteen she hopes to one day publish a book of her very own.
In terms of the future she would like to gain her diploma within the media industry and hopefully go on to attend university to study either English literature or the publishing industry.