This couldn’t be real; he had to be imagining things. There was no way that after all of this time, out of all the places in the entire country, Juliette was seated only a few short inches away from him. There were a million things that could have been going through his mind but there was nothing. Everything was just blank. All he could do was stand here, looking at her in disbelief. He couldn’t even make out if she was planning on saying anything either, she seemed to be completely frozen as well. One of them was going to have to say something sooner or later though but right now Derek was sure it wasn’t going to be him. What could he even say to her? It had been too long since they had any contact. The last person that he had contact with was Sloane but that had been well over a year ago. He had never come up with the courage to give her a call either, he felt like he couldn’t. After all of the time that had passed he felt as if he was in no position to just call. For all he knew she could’ve completely forgotten that he even existed. She would have asked why he called after all that time and he wouldn’t have had a good made up story to tell her. All he would be able to say was Hey I know it’s been a long time but I can’t stop thinking about you and the reason I basically have no life outside of this stupid job is because it keeps me busy long enough to actually function. Instead he just…never called. Finally after she spoke he found words but he wasn’t even sure what they were. “I’ll get you that drink,” he said and quickly turned around and stared at all of the glasses for a few moments, unable to do anything. Forcing himself to get her what she ordered he grabbed a napkin and placed it in front of her before placing the glass on it. “Enjoy.”
Once the words escaped her mouth, Juliette immediately regretted them. After not seeing someone so important in her life for five to six years, what better way to greet them then yelling ‘surprise’, right? Of course, it was the genius thought that came across Julie’s mind to say that, instead of blurting out the real reason she’d traveled all around looking for this son of a bitch. It became almost a burning desire, trying to find him. As if he would fill a void in her seemingly perfect life.
Juliette had a career starting in medicine, she had a great university education, a loving and now stable family, and a wealthy suitor lined up to marry her.. yet something was missing. The radiance in her life was slowly disappearing into thin air, no matter how hard she tried to keep it in her grasp and never let go. Her life became a routine, and it was beginning to scare her. Even the man she claimed she loved… wasn’t the one. She’d been a helpless romantic her whole life, and once the opportunity of fulfilling ever dream of a perfect proposal came to be, Juliette began to doubt whether she was truly happy or not. She began to think back to a time where she was genuinely and completely happy with her life, and no matter how she’d try to put it, she’d come back to the same time.. and the same person. Derek. After he left, nothing was the same again.
After an awkward but brief silence hung in the air, Juliette took the glass that Derek placed on the counter and took a sip, letting the harsh liquor wash down her now accustomed throat. Avoiding eye contact showed the uncomfortable vibe that passed through the two of them so obviously, so she made sure not to make it seem worse than it already was. She lifted her head to look up at him, keeping a simple expression on her face. “You still have the magic touch. Your drinks are better than ever,” she responded with a meek smile, searching for some kind of response of her sudden arrival in his eyes. “So.. how’ve you been?”
“Fuck,” he mumbled to himself as he looked at the time on his watch, grabbing his vest from an armchair in the living room as he hurried out the door. He was running late despite there still being at least half an hour before his shift at work started. Still, he knew that it would be impossible to get there on time. The hotel wasn’t exactly as close as he’d like it to be and he had overslept a bit longer than he should have. Derek had never been the worker to care about actually being on time because he was always the one in charge. This job was different though. It wasn’t at any club or bar where he could easily sway the owner into putting him in charge. Hotels just worked differently or else there was some stick stuck way too far up his boss’ ass for Derek to even get good shift hours. It didn’t really matter at the end of the day though. His life wasn’t what it used to be and working had become his number one priority. He didn’t go out as much and he certainly didn’t have as much time for women. It wasn’t because he was always busy on this one thing, it was almost impossible for him to look at any woman the way that he used to. He knew the reason for it and for the past few years he had been trying to get that reason out of his mind. Nothing seemed to work though and the only thing he could do was keep himself busy every day for as long as possible until he got home and had no energy left for anything other than sleep. After forty-five minutes, fifteen longer than he thought he’d take to get there and seven after his shift started, he was finally at the hotel. Putting on the nametag he had hated since the first day, he greeted the guy from the shift before his. “I’ll take it from here,” he said to his coworker who seemed to be relieved that his shift was finally over. Looking down at his vest he began to button it up as a woman at the bar ordered. The voice sounded a bit familiar but he didn’t give it too much attention as he finished with the buttons. “Coming right-” he began, but stopped as soon as he saw who it was. His mouth dried up and his hands went cold, unable to finish the sentence. “Juliette?” he asked with astonishment lingering in his voice half hoping that he was mistaken.
A few brief moments away from giving up, fate, luck, or a combination of both stopped her on the path of failure. Her head shot up at a wholesomely familiar and comforting voice, which only caused her own voice to get caught in her throat. There he was, low and behold, the man she’d spent days upon days searching for. It took her a few moments to process that she’d actually found him, at her own hotel of all places, and that he was directly in front of her, seemingly as shocked as she was. Her lips parted slightly, as if to speak, but only empty air escaped her mouth. Juliette’s heart thumped blissfully and heavily in her chest, so aggressively that she was afraid everyone in the nearby area could have heard it. Once she caught herself nearly staring at Derek in awe, Julie shook her head gently in disbelief and finally responded back. “Derek… I..” What was she to say? I’ve been searching for you for the past week? I’m having second thoughts about my engagement, because I can’t stop thinking about you? I traveled all this way, just because I wanted to see you again? There was nothing to tell him, that wouldn’t make her seem like a complete psychopath, so she stuck with the first word that came to mind. “Surprise..,” She smiled meekly, brushing hair out of her face with her right hand, making sure she avoided bringing out her left hand, that was shimmering with a high carat-ed Harry Winston attached to it. She knew she shouldn’t have put it on this morning.
Days. Hours. Minutes. They all were a waste. Juliette had ultimately stopped counting how long she’d been searching around for Derek Spencer in the great land of the United States. She’d gotten word from her father on where he supposedly worked now, but the last he’d even heard from Derek was more than a year ago. He could very well have been out of the country, in a rock and roll band in Switzerland, for all she knew. It was a failed attempt really, looking for a man she hadn’t spoken to in years and had no reason to be. Juliette should be back home with James, a flawless man who offered her a very promising engagement proposal. But something stopped her from giving a definite answer to him. Something unexpected, in the back of her mind. Or someone, would be more specific. She’d traveled to more than thirty clubs, bars, and hotel lounges in the past week alone, trying to track down Derek, finally beginning to feel as if it was time to give up. Juliette settled down on the bar which was located in the hotel she was staying at, exhausted from her tireless search. The bar was nearly empty during the wee hours of the morning, only a barkeep or two in sight. She took a seat by the counter, and ordered a drink of whatever was most expensive on the menu. She could tell it was far too strong her normal taste, but the sting would easily be welcomed by her throat, which had become accustomed to strong drinks in the past few days she’d visited bars. “Whatever strongest drink you have, and the biggest glass of it.. please.” She murmured, with her head held down.
It’s not a bad thing.
If you say so… Just don’t make the same mistakes I did with my mom. Don’t shut her out of your life.
Don’t worry about that, I know I am all that special even if you don’t admit that I am.
Only you would say so.
Oh.., I’m sorry. I didn’t think about how fresh this topic is. I won’t..
And there’s the cocky asshole I remember meeting. 7:30 at my apartment, tomorrow night. You do remember my apartment, right Spencer?
I said when…not what. But we can let that go for now.
You’re mom’s probably still upset over stuff. Since I’m the only one that knows I’ll keep it to myself. It’s not like I have anyone to tell anyway.
Have you? Am I getting yet another chance to be the first to hear this?
At least we know one thing that hasn’t changed.. is my blonde-ness.
Possibly. It’s hard to tell when she’s not even around. Whatever. Doesn’t matter.
Mhm. Yes you will. Don’t be getting big head now, you’re not all that special.
It depends on when you’re referring to..
Wow, I had no idea. It makes sense though since he has just been protective of you for no specific reason.. You seem to be happy with this though so congratulations.
My confidence, of course. What else were you thinking of?
Well, now you know the reason. He’s more of a parent to me than my mother is at this point, so I’ll take what I have. Thank you Derek. You’re the only one who knows right now.
By the way, have to share my newest songs with you. I finally finished the one I wrote with you..