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  • Writer's pictureelise

Chapter 16 - Was this too good to be true...

Updated: Mar 21, 2021

Like any reasonable girl in her late 30’s I started to have some suspicions. Was this too good to be true? Was HE too good to be true? Why was he really taking me to Chicago? Was I being lured to the middle of the country for a purpose other than a fabulous first date (a 5 day first date mind you).

I’ve always said that my imagination is both my best and worst quality. My angel and my demon. My imagination is what has allowed me to book incredible acting and hosting jobs, it’s what has allowed me to be the dreamer that I am, and to go after goals thought to be too lofty by others. My imagination has helped me shape the life I have in the most beautiful way, but it can also quickly turn and go down a deep, dark and too detailed path. Unfortunately, this is the direction it began to go. I got scared. I got doubtful, and I thought a lot about cancelling. In fact that’s all I thought about.

I never have trouble sleeping, but all of a sudden I was up until 2am, 3am, 4am, playing out all of the scenarios of what Chicago might bring. The musical Chicago kept playing over and over in head, as that’s all I know about the Windy City. Was it like that, was I going to have to be Roxy? I just couldn’t figure out why he would want to go somewhere so random, unless there was an ulterior motive. So…

I background checked him. Not once, not twice, not the free online one, but three times with full payment and a detailed search. In a way, I was determined to find something. Something to tell me that I didn’t have to go. My gut was saying don’t go, my heart was saying go, my head was saying don’t go, wait, was it my gut or my head? My gut is never wrong, but now my head was confusing my gut. OMG, that's it. I’m not going, it’s just all too much.

It’s 5am and I finally fall asleep. I wake up groggy and I wake up later than I would like. I turn over, check my phone and there it is, the consistent, “good morning beautiful.” Damn, I love that.

Someone that sweet, and that consistent couldn’t be plotting a massive scheme, right? Have I watched too many scary movies, have I lived alone as a woman in a big city for too long, have I read too many terrible news articles, because I am full-on freaking out.

He jokingly says, “Guess what? Someone from the “Philadelphia area” keeps background checking me.” As he laughs and makes light of the situation, I say with full conviction - ‘Yup, that’s me. I’ve done it three times and I’m not stopping until I find something.” (Also, thinking to myself, why in the F would the background check company notify him, rude and talk about defeating the purpose!)

I couldn’t find anything - clean as a whistle. Why did I feel slightly defeated? Why did I want to find something so badly?

He’s on the other hand is so lighthearted that he actually found humor in this and instead of getting upset with me or offended by my over-the-top actions, he simply said, ‘what would make you feel most comfortable?’

Oh, now this was nice. I could feel my anxiety reducing from a 10 to a 5 like that commercial where the guy pushes the redline of acid reflux down from his esophagus to his stomach. That was me, the anxiety was dissipating with the sound of his voice. Yet, my remaining angst said, ‘well, first of all I need to ask you a few questions.” “Ok, go on,” he said.

Me: 1. Why Chicago?

Him: Because I’ve never been and I’ve always wanted to go. Being from Cuba this is not a place I would have normally vacationed.

Me: Do you know anyone there?

Him: No

Me: Please explain why again, and with an alternate answer to the one above.

Him: (With incredible patience) It’s supposed to be beautiful in the summer. My friends went last year and loved it. There’s a lot to do, great food and some really fun exploring to be had.

Me: Hmmm.

Me: Are you a US citizen?

Him: Haha, yes, I’ll send you a pic of my passport

Me: I’d like that and I need to know the full story of how you immigrated.

Him: Done

Me: Will you be getting me my own hotel room or should I take care of that?

Him: I will get it for you.

Me: Do you understand why this is scary for a woman?

Him: Yes, I think so, but you don’t need to be scared. We can do whatever you want. I will come to Philly, if that is more comfortable for you and once you trust me, we can go to Chicago.

Me: Hmmm, ok. (Thinking…I’ve never known someone so excited about going to Chicago.)

A few hours pass. It’s very clear to me that I have officially shown my neurotic cards at this point. However, I really don’t care. My safety and well-being is my number one priority and if a guy doesn’t understand that, he can hit the road. There is a huge difference in being a single man and a single woman and I’m not quite sure a man will ever fully understand how we, as women, have to constantly watch our backs, but he was definitely empathetic and that I appreciated.

The phone rings. It’s his number, but a woman is on the line. I think to myself, ‘oh here we go, it’s probably the girlfriend or wife calling to tell me that he’s a scumbag and he in a relationship, has seven kids, blah blah, blah' and the imagination is off and running...

Nope - sure wasn’t. It was his co-worker, we’ll call her C. She says, ‘Hello, Elise. This is C and I’m one of the most beautiful man’s co-workers. I’ve been working with him for over five years and I can tell you woman to woman that he is a stand-up man, with a good character, and a gentle heart. You will be safe and you will have a really good time if you choose to go to Chicago.”

WOW - just wow. OK - now this is good stuff. C, I trust. She didn’t have to call me. She didn’t have to take time out of her work day to make me feel safe. What does it matter to her if the beautiful man and I meet in Chicago?

She hands the phone back to him. He says, “this was the only way I could think of to make you feel safe.” I hope it worked…

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