You've Got Mail
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My laptop's screen lit up immediately, as I had set it so long ago, and it caught my attention even from the kitchen.
"I'll just meet you in the lobby," I quickly told the pizza man as I balanced my phone on my shoulder and started to pad towards the living room, where I had my office set up for now. The pizza man said something, but I really didn't pay attention.
Instead, I thanked him and hung up the phone as I typed my password into the laptop.
I pressed the button to bring me to my IM.
AtlanticBoy16: What time is it there?
I smiled as I typed back my response, tuning out a report on the news about some problem in the middle east.
WiseGirl210: Nine. Which means it's four where you are. Shouldn't you be at the beach by now?
AtlanticBoy16: It rained. How's the weather in Sunny California?
I had met AB three months ago.
Well, I hadn't met him.
We had met online when I had gone looking for a florist for my wedding. Though I had gone on the wrong site completely, I had started talking to AtlanticBoy16, and I had talked to him every day since (or almost every day).
AtlanticBoy16: Why are you online? I thought Henry had banned you from your laptop after eight thirty.
My fingers lingered on the letter 'N', and I hesitated.
Well, my ex-fiancé.
It hadn't really set in yet.
It had been a few days ago when I had been looking through the possible invites for our wedding and suddenly couldn't do it. Any of it. I couldn't pick out a font or correct color, and I definitely couldn't call up my overly-expensive wedding planner. But, more importantly, I just couldn't get married.
When Henry had gotten down on one knee and given me his grandmother's ring, I had gasped and hadn't been able to answer. When I had picked out my wedding dress, I had stared in disbelief. And, when we had chosen December 17th as the day that we would pledge our lives to the other, I had been so shocked that I didn't tell anyone for weeks.
I had thought it was joy from the wedding, but I suddenly saw what it really was.
Henry had come home from work, carrying a bag full of groceries to make the next amazing culinary creation in our specially made kitchen, and it was hard to miss the blonde staring at invitations on the hardwood floors.
He had come over to me, and I guess he just knew.
It was so…peaceful.
Like we had both seen this coming.
I don't even remember the break-up really. It was like we just knew to break up, and we began the arrangements for what we were going to do.
He left to think, and I packed.
I didn't know where I was going, but I suddenly didn't want to be there anymore. I cleared out my stuff and had him send the rest to my dad in San Francisco. But I didn't know if I was going there. Or if I was going to a friends. Or if I was just completely getting out of town.
Luckily, the apartment building that I had just built had a great opening, and I could come in right away.
It wasn't until that night, when I was sleeping in a hotel with the other side of the bed empty that it set in.
I suddenly thought about the life we had planned.
About how we would never find out if we got the good references to get a rescue Boston Terrier that we had wanted. How he would never marvel at my wedding dress. How we would never start a family together, which he had spent years trying to talk me into. How we would never get up on Saturday morning, and he would try to teach our children-and me- how to make pancakes.
I wasn't sure that I missed Henry. Or that I missed our constant talk of the wedding on December 17th even though it was months away. And I definitely knew that I didn't miss the way he looked at me every time I threw a Hotpocket in the microwave instead of cooking a healthy and delicious meal that my fiancé/personal five star chef had tried to teach me.
But I missed having him sleep beside me.
It had been so long since I had slept alone.
I had met Henry four years ago, and he had basically moved in with me after six months after we got together. We had bought an apartment precisely in between his restaurant and my office, and I had especially taken care to making him the kitchen that a chef of his status deserved and the office I needed. And, right as we finally got all of the renovations completed, Henry proposed to me at his first meal in the apartment.
So, for four years, I hadn't really slept alone.
And, before then, I had someone to love, too…
Another ding from my computer brought me back to the real world.
AtlanticBoy16: What happened?
I paused, trying to figure out the best way to put it.
WiseGirl210: We broke up.
AtlanticBoy16: Are you okay?
WiseGirl210: Yeah… our break-up went smoothly, I guess. And I still have that apartment that Malcolm was begging me to turn into an office.
AtlanticBoy16: What are you going to do now?
Now that was a good question.
I was thirty-years old, which I guess was ancient in LA, and I was newly single, not sure where to go next.
I had never really liked LA. When I came to LA, it was supposed to be for two months. But then I met and fell in love with Henry. So, I stayed around just to see where this could go.
In my head, I thought back to my offers from my company, Mt. Olympus Architectural Agency. As one of the three founders, with some of my Athenian and Minerva siblings, I could go anywhere in the worldwide company we had built together.
Washington DC (I hear there is a monument that Athena talked someone into that needs to be built).
I hadn't been back in so long.
My family now lived on the West Coast, and I hadn't been back to camp in who-knows-how-long. I hadn't gotten to see my great creation of Olympus in so long that I was actually begging to long to see it again. And it was all because of one man.
When we broke up six years ago, I didn't know what to do.
I had been with him since we were sixteen. We had been together for almost ten years when suddenly we had broken up. I don't know why, and I probably never will. All I know is that he moved out of our small apartment, and I never heard from him again.
Well, I never gave him a chance.
I got my stuff and, blurry-eyed, I caught a cab and bought a plane ticket.
WiseGirl210: I don't know. I think I'm going to move. I don't know where, but I'm definitely getting out of here.
AtlanticBoy16: Good luck with that, Wise. Moving can be hard... Not that I've moved since College.
I was about to respond when my intercom beeped.
"Miss Chase, the pizza you ordered is here."
WiseGirl210: Gotta go. Pizza's here, and I still have all this work to finish. I'll talk to you tomorrow?
I smiled to myself as I replied, and I logged off for the day.
I didn't know who she was, or if it was even a 'she' instead of some creepy perv out there. But, whoever this person was, I liked them. Even with the sudden trivia facts coming out with just about every subject I bring up.
I was brought back to the rainy New York day, where I was impatiently sitting at an ice cream shop.
I looked over to see my son, Noah, smiling up at me.
I closed the laptop and swooped my five year old son into a hug.
"I missed you so much, buddy," I kissed his cheek, despite how he had told me so long that he was too grown up for that. But he was still my baby, no matter how old he got.
When Noah had been born, it had been a battle to get his mother to let him have my last name, and I couldn't even imagine battling for custody. So, I got my occasional weekend and bit my tongue no matter how much I missed my son. But, when he was three and started telling me about mommy's new boyfriend and about how he screamed all the time at night, I immediately went to court.
What I got was main custody.
She got a month during summer and the occasional weekend, and sometimes I feel like I shouldn't of even let her have that.
"Thanks for letting me take him to soccer practice today, Percy," JoJo pushed her golden blonde hair behind her ear and nervously tugged at her tee shirt.
When JoJo had custody of our son, she had been awful about it. She would barely let me take him to get an ice cream on Saturday without acting like I owed her something for getting to spend time with my child. Which is why she couldn't handle it when I was nice about our custody agreement. She kept waiting for me to be as evil as she had been.
As she had always been…
"I'm sure Noah had fun, right, Kiddo?" I ruffled his hair as I set him back on his feet.
Noah nodded quickly.
"We had a lot of fun, Daddy! And Coach told me that he wanted me to be the big star at the next game!" Noah smiled proudly.
"And he should. You're the best soccer player out there, Noah," JoJo smiled.
She had been evil in every other way, but I had to admit that she was good to her child.
Suddenly, JoJo's phone rang with an inappropriate song that reminded me why I had taken back custody.
"That reminds me. I've got to get going. I love you, Noah," JoJo leaned down to kiss the top of our son's head and quickly scurried out of the ice cream shop, which was precisely in between both of our apartments.
It was like a small town shop, the kind that I would have wanted to raise my child in.
"Want an ice cream, buddy?" I smiled down at him, knowing how he got sad every time his mother just left like that.
Like she always seemed to…
"Superman Ice Cream!" Noah smiled happily as he pulled himself up to sit in a 50's style chair, and I ordered two blue and red ice creams, making sure that they drowned Noah's in sprinkles and chocolate sauce.
And you should have seen his face when I handed him the ice cream.
"Thanks, Daddy," Noah began to dig into the ice cream, getting his little face covered.
It was these little moments that made up for it.
As you can probably guess, JoJo and I were never really together.
No, she was just an old college acquaintance that I would stop to talk to if I ran into her in the grocery store or something.
I was in love with Annabeth Chase, still kind of am.
And one night, six years ago, Annabeth had completely freaked out. She left me for maybe a little under a month. So, I moped and I moped. Finally, Grover got me up and took me to some bar to cheer me up again. I got drunk almost immediately, and I made a big mistake almost immediately.
Two months later, everything was fine again. Everything was like it was supposed to be with people who just moved into together. Annabeth and I screamed over things like breaking a plate, saying that it was only broken because it belonged to one of us before instead of both of us, and we would passionately make-up two minutes later. But something had put a blip in my plan.
One day, JoJo called. I had almost forgotten who Johanna Harriet was since she had been known as JoJo for as long as I had known her. But, when I answered the phone, I knew that creaky voice anywhere.
I didn't know what to do.
I couldn't face Annabeth, so I left.
By the time I realized that I had to go back and talk to her because I couldn't live without her, Annabeth was gone.
…And I haven't heard from her since.
"Yeah, Noah?" I continued to eat my ice cream.
"Mommy has a boyfriend."
"Yes?" I mentally crossed my fingers that she hadn't brought our son around some hot-headed drunk like in the past.
"Why don't you have a girlfriend, Daddy?"
"I just haven't met someone, Noah."
"What ever happened to Sarah?"
"It didn't work out," I shrugged, wishing this conversation would end.
"I heard Mommy talking to her friends about how you're still in love with Anna-Bef. Who is Anna-Bef? And why did Mommy say that she ruined it?"
Because she's got a big mouth…
"Mommy didn't ruin it, Noah. I ruined it," I turned to look at him, "And Annabeth was my best friend when I was a kid, and I fell in love with her as we grew up. It didn't work out, and Annabeth moved to California."
Or was it the Caribbean?
Grover never really talked about it. He always changed the subject.
"That's pretty far away."
"Yeah, I know, Kiddo. I know."