We ended up walking into Joseph's without a reservation or so much as a "by your leave" and plopping down at an upstairs table next to three older women, classic New Yorker widows I suspect in their 60s or even 70s who looked to be well on their way to being seriously sauced. The annual meeting of the spinster society.
By contrast, our "meeting" immediately turned weird. Very weird. Laura and Nicholas were constantly locking eyes and having this strange exchange which excluded me entirely. By the third time they connected like this, and all the while debt-speak was pouring out of Nicholas' mouth, I was beyond unnerved. I was certain they knew each other and that there was some deep secret event or happening they needed to discuss without cluing me in. If their goal was to keep me from noticing, their efforts were a total failure.
If I was in shock before, I slipped into near heart failure when first Nicholas and then Laura, without hesitation, ordered vodka martinis like they were club sodas. Suddenly, it felt like the 80s again.
It was just as my frustration and curiosity was at its peak when something clued me in. The formerly constant chatter from the spinster table, which was behind me, had fallen silent. I hadn't seen them pass by, and since our table was between them and the door I figured something unusual had passed. Over the course of 4 minutes I engineered to drop a piece of silverware behind me so I could turn around and determine what had stifled them. They were all staring, rapt, at our table. Or more directly, at Laura and Nicholas. It hit me.
Who better to detect lust vicariously than these three? Nicholas and Laura weren't hiding some critical business deal from me, afraid I would take the credit or something. Laura was just trying to avoid being labeled a slut on her first full day with the New Vice President. When I looked at her again I could see it. Lightening had struck her. She was screwed. Or rather, about to be. They just wanted me to leave so they could go somewhere and fuck. I almost laughed out loud on the spot.
The best excuse I could come up with was that I had forgotten I had to finish up a model and could Laura handle the next meeting and meet me back at the office? Of course she could.
Somehow I suspect Nicholas has never been so eager to see a potential client leave in his entire life.
What has happened to my psyche that such blatant sexual tension is totally lost on me even when it's slapping me in the face for 45 minutes?
Laura didn't make it back to the office that afternoon. Nor the next day.