Manhattan Lovers / edited

November 4, 2008

Juliana lay awake in the dark, on a bed so heavenly, next to a man who she thought must be an angel sent directly to her from heaven, but her thoughts were keeping her awake.

She was in New York again, determined to “make it” – for the third time in her life. Only this time, she had found love. A love that made her believe that she and New York were meant to be after all.

Trevor was a writer who she had met at the Starbucks on the corner, between their two buildings.

He would go there to write, and watch people, and get inspired – inspiration which he was constantly lacking.

Juliana would go there for the free WiFi, since she couldn’t afford it after charging her new MAC Airbook to her sole Visa card. She would go to Starbucks and look at celeb gossip, checking out Gawker and what else there was to do in the seemingly busy city.

This time she had been in Manhattan for no more than two months, working as a shop girl at an independent clothing designer’s boutique. The city seemed to swirl like crazy all around her, but she had yet to be sucked in – instead she watched stolen cable on her 27″ flat screen, set up crazy outfits for work the following day, and went to Starbucks, which was, ironically, consistently packed with people, all who said not more than two words to each other – “Seat taken?” – and even that was sometimes drowned out by the incessant ‘klickey-klack’ of keyboards on laptops.

To be so entirely surrounded and yet feel so disturbingly displaced from it all made Juliana a little angry and a little hopeless.

When she finished reading the latest gossip, checking the latest fashion shows on Style.com, and even reading random blogs from old classmates on Facebook – she would people watch. Juliana often sat there, waiting for life to happen, and then it just did.

She saw Trevor. A dark-haired, blue-eyed man, who kept glimpsing over his laptop to look at her.

At first she was freaked out, imagining a stalker-like scenario, but then he lifted his head, smiling at her, showing off his perfect teeth and chiseled features. After a few minutes of stealing glances, he closed his computer and left when she wasn’t looking.

She considered jumping out of her seat and chasing after him, but didn’t want to appear desperate. A tap on her shoulder brought her back to reality and a ‘Seat taken?’ took her right back up to the heavens.

Trevor bought them another round of coffees – his a Tall Americano, her a Skinny Vanilla Latte – and she suddenly felt alive. She felt a connection with someone other than a computer screen and it was exhilirating.

He was 28, a published author working on his second book, raised in New York – Upper East Side, but needed to a find a more ‘real’ scene, so he moved down to Greenwich Village. He used to play piano, doesn’t watch much TV, and spends his weekends walking in the city, discovering places.

Juliana knew it was love at first sight. And although she didn’t confess her TV-obsessed, non-reading, hermit-like ways to this sexy artist, she did tell him about her job and her two previous apartments in New York. And when she started ranting about something irrelevant, which is what she did when she was nervous, he touched her hand ever so softly and asked if she wanted to go somewhere to eat.

They walked half a block with their cute messenger bags in tow – his a beaten up brown leather, hers was a pink Juicy Couture – and she thought they must have looked like a real couple to the strangers around them.

They arrived at a shabby chic Mexican place that Juliana passed on her way to work. During the day the noticeably peeling paint, mismatched colorful furniture and broken door looked downright gringy and ghetto. But at night, with colorful string lights, candles scattered on all the tables, and the smell of good cooking in the air, the Mexican place looked cute, romantic and cozy.

Sharing nachos, fajitas and a pitcher of sangria, Juliana swore to Trevor that she would read his book, her first in 3 years, and he swore he would start watching MTV – just to stay pop-culturally current, for his “material”.

The drunken sloppy kisses started when the check arrived, her Juicy bag felt so heavy she made him carry both their bags while he groped her walking down the sidewalk to his building. The building was two blocks away from hers, a five story walk-up of which they climbed to the fourth floor.

He fumbled with his keys while she kissed him as passionately as she could. When he finally got his door unlocked they fell into his apartment – dark, and smelling of coffee, chinese food and vanilla (thanks to Glade Plug-ins found throughout the place she would later discover).

They eventually made it to his bed, which was surprisingly comfortable, with a mountain of pillows and a cozy duvet which landed on the floor. Their lovemaking was passionate, lengthy, and very satisfying. Liliana hadn’t made love in ages, and this made the wait worthwhile. Trevor was attentive, intuitive, and made her orgasm four times.

They fell asleep all over each other, literally a tangle of limbs, sweaty and exhausted.

When she awoke she felt enlightened. This only happens in the movies, she thought to herself with a smile. Meeting in a coffee shop, a lovers tryst, one that you could only dream about in Paris, a city full of romance, and not in New York, a city full of cynicism, failed idealism, and those drifting, like herself, waiting to be found.

Now awake, she heard the shower running and she was alone in bed. She suddenly felt shy – she was nude, and the large windows all through his apartment let in so much daylight she felt exposed, as if people could be watching from the outside.

She scrambled around his apartment trying to find her clothes, her bra was hanging gleefully off of a lamp in the corner, her pants were found scrunched up on the sofa, and she mistook her sweater for a sweet little area rug by the doorway. When she gathered up her clothes and quickly threw them on, she noticed there was a sudden quiet in the apartment, and she realised that the shower had stopped running.

And then there he was. Trevor was in the doorway, his hair wet, a towel wrapped around his waist and a smirk on his face.

“Did you find your clothes alright?”

Juliana nodded, and noticed a weird feeling creeping up behind her, an uneasy feeling that she attempted to shake off, even just temporarily. Trevor made her coffee, he actually used a coffee grinder and the glossy high-tech machine and made her the best tasting latte she’d ever had. And then she realized what that feeling was.

She suddenly felt like this was all too good to be true. She’d been in New York twice before this, her last sexual encounter was with a busboy at an Italian restaurant in Brooklyn, and she heard so many stories about love in New York – most specifically that it doesn’t exist. In one single night she had fallen for a man so amazing, so romantic, so sexy, but what if it was all fluff? A dream? What if when she goes back to her apartment and her heart gets broken again and she’s left alone, again?

She shrugged away the feeling yet again and put down her latte. Trevor walked her two and a half blocks to her apartment, and she was surprisingly calm. They held hands, he even kissed her before she went up to her place.

She wasn’t sure what this would lead to. She wasn’t sure about Trevor or the future or love. She looked in the mirror with happiness, and walked to work with a kick in her step. All she knew was that she didn’t feel alone anymore. Someone had found her.

And that was the only sure thing that mattered.

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