I took the train to Providence to spend Christmas with Ashlyn’s family. I didn’t invite Josh this time—actually, I have been avoiding him. Talking to Art about Josh really put things in perspective for me. Josh is in love with Ashlyn, and for the moment I am Ashlyn and I don’t feel the same. I feel bad about the situation, Josh is a good guy. He deserves a girl that would love him back. So I’ve decided to hang out with him less—if not at all. I probably can’t totally avoid him; he’s friends with my roommates.
Relationships seem to be more complicated as a girl. I’m used to chasing the pretty girl that won’t give me the time of day—not the reverse. The hard part is I totally understand what Josh is going through, and I feel for the guy.
A couple of days before Christmas, I mentioned my relationship problem to Logan, one of my roommates, as we were doing one of our early morning workouts at the fire station gym.
“You’ve got a problem then.” Logan says to me as he bench presses an ungodly amount of weight, “He’s going to ask you out to some sort of New Years Eve gala. He said it would be very romantic.”
“I don’t know what I am going to do. I don’t what to hurt him.” I meant it.
My New Years Eve problem was solved for me later that same day.
My little pink cell phone rang. It was a number I didn’t recognize, but it had a 514 area code. I did recognize the area code as a Montreal number—and the only people I know in Montreal are the original Ashlyn and Liz.
I took the call. “Hello, this is Ashlyn.”
“It is so weird to hear you say that. Hi. This is Ashlyn—or I used to be.” It was a man’s voice.
I was stunned. “Wow. Hello.” I didn’t know what to say.
“I can’t talk long. I only have a few minutes that it is safe to talk. I’m calling to see if you would come up to Montreal for New Years. There’s a big party here, and I’m expected to have a serious piece of arm candy. I thought of you. It would give us a chance to meet, and exchange information—plus it’s sure to be an incredible party. I’ll handle all of your traveling expenses. What do you say?”
It was a lot to assimilate. I didn’t know a whole lot about Ashlyn’s and Liz situation, but I did know it involved organized crime. “Um, would it be safe?” Geez. I sounded like a scared little girl asking that.
“Absolutely.” The voice assured me. “I’ll take really good care of you, and wouldn’t let you get into anything dangerous.”
Art is always telling me that I always leap before I look—I guess he is right. “Okay. I’ll come.”
“Great!” There was a pause, “You were a guy before, right? Are you going to be able to put on a little black dress and be convincing as someone Jean-Michel would be dating?”
“I’ve gotten the hang of your clothes; a little black dress won’t be a problem.”
“It will take more than just wearing the dress, you’ll need to act the part—be sexy, girly and affectionate. People will be watching, and I don’t want you to seem out of place.”
“I can do it.” I said.
“Cool. Then I am going to call you again later today and ask you out again—but this time I will be calling as Jean-Michel, and people might be listening. Be sure to act the part.” He tells me.
“One last thing before I go. You’ll need a passport. In my closet—I mean your closet—some of the flooring is loose. Underneath the flooring are some of your more important papers, including your passport and some cash.”
“That would’ve been nice to know before now.” I was annoyed. When I took over Ashlyn’s life she was really broke—it would’ve been nice to know about a secret stash of money.
“Sorry. I was hoping to get my life back; it didn’t make sense to tell you everything.” He sounded sincere.
“Oh, I have news on the whole getting your life back situation—“I start to tell him.
“I’m out of time. Tell me when you see me. Remember when I call to act like you are happy to hear from an old boyfriend! I gotta go.” The line went dead.
A few hours later my phone rang again.
“Hello, this is Ashlyn.”
“Hi baby, this is Jean-Michel.”
“Well hi yourself. You naughty boy, you haven’t called me in a while.” I tried to sound all sexy when I said it.
He asks me to come up to Montreal to spend the New Years with him. I say yes, and we make plans. He said he would buy me a roundtrip airline ticket, and I should expect to stay a few days. ”I’m looking forward to seeing you again.” I say.
“Me too. Bye baby, see you soon.”
I hung up and immediately made an appointment with a salon to get my hair done—I needed to look my best.
Tired now—I’ll have to finish the holiday recap tomorrow.