Yes, Maybe, No
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In her thirties and still living with her roommate while her casual boyfriend Shane floats around her periphery, Ashley Callahan's life is one big mess that she doesn't have a clue how to fix. When a night out in town that Ashley didn't really want to go on in the first place leads her right to Trevor, a hot guy with a wide social circle and a prestigious career, she feels an instant connection with him. But is the feeling mutual? Ashley will surely explore but will their pasts haunt them both or will it be a new start with a shaky foundation?
Ashley didn't really want to be there. But Shane asked her and asked her for so long, so she finally gave in. Again.
"Remember to get dressed up babe,” he reminded her that rainy Friday morning while she was sipping her first cup of coffee in the living room.
Ashley pulled her legs to the couch and moaned on the phone.
"Do you need me to come? I mean, you can do this without me. I have so much work to do, babe.”
"Sweetheart, you know how agents look at musicians when they have their lady with them,” he replied.
"Then borrow such a lady for tonight,” Ashley laughed, but before he could answer, she added."Okay, okay babe. I'll be there. Dressed up, I guess. Don’t worry. Please, don't drink as much as last time, Shane. Julian will be pissed if he has to carry you back to our place again.
"I promise you, dear, I won’t tonight. I’ll text you the address. See you at sevenish. Love you.”
"Love you too, bye.”
Ashley put down the phone and took another sip. She didn't want to go anywhere, preferring to stay on this couch all day and night, but since she promised Shane... Her thoughts were snapped when she heard the bedroom door down the hall slam, as Julian came into the living room.
Her friends were jealous of her living with Julian even though he was gay. He was hot as heck and all Ashley’s friends just want a taste of him but Julian knew how to blow them off politely. Ashley and Julian knew each other since going to college in Boston and came to New York together five years ago. Julian was a part-time model and fitness coach presenter for Manhattan’s local NBC station, while Ashley worked as a freelance photographer, ran a six-figure lifestyle blog, and wrote columns for different magazines. They lived together because it was the cheapest option for living in the Big Apple. In addition, they were close, so much so that Julian comfortably walked around the house shirtless and in boxers. Ashley surely did not mind.
"Shane called already, huh? My God, it’s freakin’ early,” Julian said, taking Ashley’s cup of coffee from her and finishing the rest."I heard you talking on the phone.”
"I didn't want to wake you up, Jules. I’m so sorry...”
"Nah, you didn’t. I was already up.” Julian shook his head while ruffling his hair." Shane couldn’t wait for you to wake up and call him. You said he’s been talking about tonight’s gig for weeks.”
"I'm thirty-two...” Ashley said staring at Shane."—and my boyfriend tells me to remember how to dress. What is this world coming to...”
"I told you before that I don't like him. He’s so arrogant,” Julian said shrugging his shoulders as if it was obvious."After he got drunk at Allison’s party and I had to force him to go home...”
"It was an accident!”
"Yeah, and how did he pour beer on you at your birthday party? Damnit, that was a nice outfit...”
"I know, I know, I know...You already said that.” Ashley sank onto the couch. "My love life is one big mess...”
"Don't say that!” Julian said coming over to embrace Ashley. "For me, you’re the sexiest, smartest girlfriend ever!”
"Then why can't you be my boyfriend, Julian? We’d make a great couple. You already buy me tampons and you see me in underwear more often than Shane and likewise.”
"Hmm...because I like men. Not dicks like Shane.”
"But I promise! If I ever consider switching back, you'll be the first.”
"Thanks. Well at least, there’s still some hope.”
Julian then told Ashley that he had a workout session with a new client so he had to hurry.
Julian Collins was just like that. Great stuff for a boyfriend. Tall and well-built, well-groomed and funny. Dark cropped hair with blue eyes, the man that women around the world were looking for just to walk around their apartment in his boxers.
Ashley dragged herself off the couch and headed for her room, intending to start looking for something to wear for the evening.
"Text me if you want to meet up for brunch!” Julian shouted as he closed the front door behind him.
* * *
Ashley met her ambitious boyfriend Shane about six months earlier at a show Julian just like the one she was going to tonight. A lot of people from different professions, good vibes, interesting conversations, and of course, music and alcohol. Although Ashley never drank much, sometimes in difficult moments, she would overdo it. Her roomie, Julian mentioned that she had a very hard day that day, which is why Shane Reynolds had a chance with her. Because she was drunk.
But Ashley liked Shane. And it was probably the best and worst feeling. She did not know if she loved him even though "I love you" fell from her and his mouth many times.
“He’s an awesome guy,” Ashley whispered to herself pulling another dress from the closet.” he’s just trying to pursue his dreams, this is important to him. But he’s so focused on only that.”
Ashley had just had her third cup of coffee when she realized that she still didn't have an idea what she should wear for Shane’s performance that very evening.
Her Shane dreamed of being a big-time rockstar. He played in small bars, recording and publishing his band’s songs on Youtube, Spotify, and SoundCloud, but it was not their time yet. Tonight, however, Shane was going to play in his biggest venue yet in downtown Brooklyn where music producers often came. It may finally be the break he needed.
"Make sure you don't wear the same black dress. You looked like an Amish lady the last time we went out…” An incoming text came in from Julian who was not optimistic, to say the least.
“Oh, fucking hell!” Ashley replied.
“Wanna meet up for brunch?” Julian texted.
“Nope, I need to find something to wear. Operation: OCCUPIED!”
“LOL!” Julian replied. “I’ll be home soon.”
Two hours later
Ashley’s room looked like a hurricane hit and she was growing more and more desperate. Finally, Julian returned home. He threw his gym bag into the corner and entered Ashley’s room with a pizza and a six-pack of IPAs.
"You look terrible,” he laughed when he saw Ashley sitting on her bed in her cropped top and sweats looking bewildered. Ashley’s hair was one big mess, glasses slipped off her nose, and her eyes indicated that she had given up hope.
"I don’t understand what’s the deal.” Julian sighed brushing some of the clothes off the floor with his foot. "You're a model in the making, and you don’t know how to show it. Oh please help her, God!”
"Hmm, I’m such a mess,” Ashley murmured, reaching for a slice of pizza."You remember in college when Dexter told Susan not to take any clothes from me because I dress like a hippie?”
"Dex is an asshole!”
"Maybe—but he might have been right all along.”
"Those were hard times, my dear! Our lives were just beginning,” Julian laughed, reaching for a beer.”Okay! Let’s start over. Show me what you got to wear in here.”
The day had been completely rained out. Clouds hung over the city, and even the fact that Julian had finally found something for Ashley to wear did not fill her with much joy. They got out of the Uber a block away from the venue. Julian opened the umbrella for Ashley after she told him she wanted to walk a bit to get used to walking in heels. Ashley then straightened herself and started down the pavement seeing her reflection in the shop windows, admitting that she looked pretty damn good. Julian beforehand had talked her into wearing some black leather pants (the ones Ashley had bought on sale last year and still had on its price tag when he took them out), a black blouse with straps, and a big dark gray sweater that kept falling from her shoulders.
“I look nice, Julian but don't I look like a walking nightgown?
"You look stunning, woman! Just stop it, will you!”
"All right, I’m going to be on my best behavior. I think—” Ashley sighed.
Before they left out, Julian persuaded Ashley to do her hair in curls and put on some makeup.
Now, they were in front of the venue and Ashley was gasping heavily.
* * *
Ashley showed the bouncer their invitations and they were led inside. The venue had a nice, little, dim atmosphere with many tables and a stage at its rear. Small cubicles on the sides gave privacy to guests if needed, and the dance floor in the middle was the only area that was lit up. There were quite a few people inside as Ashley looked nervously at her Apple Watch. No, I’m not late.
She saw her boyfriend Shane by the stage looking handsome in his denim jacket with his hair pretending to be artistic disorder while he was tuning his guitar."Go ahead, girl. The big Shane is waiting for you,” whispered Julian."I’ll be somewhere in here making new friends.”
"Okay! Don’t be too far away. I might need you.”
“Girl, you’ll be fine! Relax…”
Julian walked off and when Ashley looked back at Shane, he was now talking to a few people including a woman with reddish hair. Ashley walked over calmly making Shane almost jump when he felt her hand on his shoulder.
"Sweetheart, you were about to give me a heart attack,” he said kissing Ashley on the cheek."Wow, you look stunning, baby!”
"Thanks,” Ashley blushed.
"Wanna have a drink?”
Before Ashley could answer, Shane gestured to a waiter, then turned back to his conversers. "And this is my lovely girlfriend and fiancé, Ashley.”
"Hi.” Ashley waved to the group.
"Honey, this is Eileen, the owner of the place. You’ve already heard of Barry and Randy. And this here is Trevor who’s partnering with Eileen on some ventures,” Shane introduced.
"Nice to meet you.” Trevor was the last to shake Ashley’s hand. “Shane here didn't say he had a fiancé.”
Ashley looked confused and started playing with her hair.” I—I’m not his—” she began, but Shane quickly interrupted her grabbing her arm."Honey, won’t you go over there and wait for me? Thanks.”
Trevor watched Ashley who nodded okay but left not looking pleased. Maybe she was smiling, but her eyes screamed HELP.
She sat down and quickly gulped down whatever the waiter brought over to her. Shane then came over and they were talking for a bit. Meanwhile, Trevor smiled, glancing over at Ashley as if she was an interesting specimen. She crossed her legs, and while doing so, Trevor noticed part of her foot tattoo which was a black rose. As Shane talked, Ashley wasn’t paying attention to him, ordering a second drink and looking distraught. Shane, in the meantime, went back to his band so they could rehearse for one final round. Briefly, Trevor and Ashley’s eyes met. Trevor smiled, slightly lifting his beer to acknowledge Ashley’s presence. Ashley’s smiled back and both were feeling each other out.
Suddenly, the lights dimmed and Trevor and his band took the stage.
* * *
“Do you mind if I get closer to the action?” Trevor said approaching Ashley’s table as soon as the show started. Shane and the band performed their hit song, Radical.
Ashley nodded, turning her glass in her hands, sighing to herself that she heard this song for the millionth time.
"Nice place,” Trevor began the conversation, seeing Ashley's eyes wandering around.”Do you come here often?”
"First time,” Ashley replied. "I didn't feel like coming at all.”
"Your fiancé has a show today and you didn't want to come?” Trevor seemed surprised.
Ashley's eyebrows raised and she grinned.
"Shane is not my fiancé,” Ashley countered. ”And I think it scares me to death that you think so. Whatever your name is…”
"Trevor,” he added.”Trevor Baker.”
"Nice to meet you. So by the way, I'm not Shane's fiancée either.”
Ashley laughed as she downed her drink.
"Do you know how this conversation will end?” Ashley waved towards the waiter and gestured for another drink."I will be sitting here the entire time dressed as if I’m on a date, and my rockstar boyfriend won’t even glance at me. By midnight, he’ll be so drunk that my roommate will have to carry him home.”
"I can’t believe a night could end so badly.”
Ashley stared at Trevor lost in his response momentarily.
Trevor could have been a few years older than her. His skin was tanned, and his dark eyes looked at her curiously, along with a seductive smile that wandered on his lips. Trevor had dark, curly hair with light facial hair which only gave him more of an appealing charm.
* * *
"Why do I think I've seen you before?” Ashley said after a long pause.
"Maybe you have in another lifetime? In another dimension?”
The waiter came back putting another drink in front of Ashley which was her fourth. She decided that this would be her last, knowing that a fifth would stop her from going home. She glanced at the stage again as Shane and the band played their hearts out.
"Your girlfriend—I hope she won't be upset that you're sitting here with me tonight?” Ashley joked, now a little tipsy while glancing around.”
"I'm all by myself this evening…”
"That’s too bad,” Ashley slurred, now looking back."We’re two adults sitting here alone drinking, but in fact, we could be somewhere else...”
“Hmm… where would you like to be right now?”
Ashley's eyes sparkled. A sly smile appeared.
"Hmm…I’d like to eat something,” she said resting her head on her hands."And you know what, Trevor? I'm going to do just that.”
“Now? During your boyfriend’s show?”
Ashley started looking for something in her handbag. Moments later, she pulled out her sneakers. Trevor laughed when he saw her toss her heels, put on her sneakers, and quickly down her drink.
"Nice meeting you Trevor. A lady has a craving for something,” Ashley said getting up."Maybe we’ll meet again someday.”
“Well for now, would you mind if I join you?” Trevor asked sarcastically while getting up with Ashley.
“Hmm… so are you sure that you can leave your girlfriend behind?”
"Haha—I told you that I’m alone tonight. By the way, it wouldn't be safe for you to walk around these parts of Manhattan alone, at this time of night.
“Perhaps but I must confess you are—Hey, just know that I won't sleep with you tonight?” Ashley slurred tipsy.
"I’m not asking you to do that—” Trevor joked.
“All right! Let’s go get something to eat, my guardian angel for tonight!”
* * *
Nobody noticed Ashley and Trevor leaving as Trevor paid the waiter for their drinks on the way out. Trevor helped Ashley put on her coat at the front entrance as they went out into the cold night’s air. The wind sobered them up pretty quickly as they sighed about the freezing wind. Meanwhile, Ashley was fiddling with her handbag trying to get her high heels which were sticking out to cooperate. She all but forgot about Trevor as well as her roomie, Julian whom she left behind.
"What would you like to eat?” Trevor asked.
"Something unhealthy with a lot of carbs and gluten,” Ashley joked.
Before Trevor could say something else, Ashley grabbed him by the arm and led him down the block. "I know a nice fast food place close by,” she said. "If I have to eat something gross, this place hits the spot.”
* * *
Neon lights reflected off large puddles under their feet as they walked side by side, passing people who, like them, were grateful that the rain did not ruin their nights. Minutes later, they stopped at a restaurant called Bob’s and Ashley stepped inside confidently. They were seated at a table in the middle and Ashley placed their orders.
"Shane won't be upset if he sees you left?” Trevor said as he unbuttoned his sleeves and rolled them up.
“He won't even notice me gone, believe me. That’s not the first time I ran off.”
“So you always running off with a stranger in the middle of his shows?”
"You’re not a stranger. I do know you and so does everyone around at the performance. I saw by the way they were staring at you.”
Trevor didn’t know how but in some strange way, Ashley held his attraction. He only met her tonight, and they were already on what seemed to be their first date at midnight eating burgers and fries.
"One thing that puzzles me,” Ashley said reaching for the basket of fries in their center.”Where do I know you from? Because I’ve seen you before…”
Trevor chuckled as he reached for one.
“Well, let’s start with you telling me more about yourself. Maybe we can figure things out from there…”
* * *
Ashley and Trevor were silent for the most part as they continued eating their meal. It wasn't a bothersome silence, but more natural.
”Let me tell you a secret,” Ashley said.
“I’m a good keeper of secrets.” Trevor chuckled.
"I'm kind of a weirdo.”
“I don’t believe you.” Trevor wiped his hands on the handkerchiefs and pushed his plate away. ”Funny that my girlfriend said the same thing when I first met her.”
"Oh, you have a girlfriend?” Ashley sighed.
Disappointment flooded Ashley’s eyes as she finished her drink and then reached for her handkerchief.
“My God, I wish you would have said something earlier,” Ashley said. ”I wouldn't have brought you here knowing that someone is at home waiting for you. I’m so sorry.”
"Ashley, I did mention that I was alone this evening. I chose to go with you, so you have nothing to apologize for.”
“Hmm, I guess but you know what? I should probably go. It's getting late.”
Before Trevor could object, Ashley had her coat on and her purse in her hand. She walked off to the cashier and paid for their meals.
"Wait a minute please,” Trevor said seeing Ashley visibly upset. Ashley paid him no mind as she left the restaurant, nearly slamming the door in Trevor’s face.
When Trevor got outside, Ashley was staring up at the flashing billboards radiating the street.
"I don’t want the night to end like this,” Trevor said reaching for Ashley’s hand. "You’re such a wonderful woman. I knew that from the moment I laid eyes on you.”
"Doesn't matter now...” Ashley sighed. ”I had a good evening regardless...”
* * *
A moment of silence drew long while Ashley thought about how she had reacted so badly to the news that Trevor had a girlfriend. In all, she should have expected it. Trevor was a hot cute guy who looked like he could have any woman he desired. His cute smile said a whole lot.
"I should be getting back to Shane’s—” Ashley said, staring towards a taxi stand fifty yards away. “The show’s probably done now.”
“Well before you leave me, I’ll need your number,” said Trevor.
Ashley’s face beamed momentarily, but as fast as it had done so, it quickly faded away.
“I think that’s a bad idea,” Ashley stated.
“Well, what if I don’t see you again?”
“Haha, Trevor,” Ashley laughed. ”If you want something, you’ll find out. I think you'll find me. We’re in the same circles somewhat.”
“I wouldn’t know where to start?”
“Trevor, you’re a smart guy. I have to go. Good evening.”
* * *
On the way back to the venue, Ashley thought about her evening from beginning to end whereas Trevor had done the same on his way back to his place.
To Ashley, Trevor was a cool guy, and cool guys were never single. The hottest guy she might have dated could have been Shane but he was so stuck in his dream of being a musician and getting a record label that his hotness was slowly turning icy.
Ashley’s intoxicated state slowly started fading as the taxi whisked through the wet streets of Manhattan. When Ashley passed by the venue and unfortunately, it was closed. She told the driver about a change of plans and to take her home.
Ashley was outside the door of her condo, looking at her phone for the first time in hours seeing that both Shane and Julian had texted and called her.
"Fuck, I should have stayed in tonight,” she blurted as she punched in the keycode for her condo. The door beeped and Ashley sighed believing that it might even be a very long night ahead.
Monday never sounded good. Although Ashley spent most of the rest of the weekend at home, she felt drained. Julian was happy to hear that she had left Shane's show with someone else, but his face quickly changed expression when she told him that the guy was already seeing someone.
"I didn't mean to pick him up," Ashley said as she put their dirty dishes in the dishwasher. He was a cool guy, I drank a little and Shane was busy doing what he does. I was hungry and decided to get something. Trevor only joined me.
“I wouldn’t worry too much about Shane. He’s happy that the owner invited him and the band again for a show next week, I heard,” Julian said as he packed his things for the day. He glanced at his Apple watch and said, “we have to leave. The Uber is six minutes away.”
“Okay!” sighed Ashley as she pressed the button on the dishwasher.
“By the way, did you finish the column for me?”
"Almost, I’ll work on it as soon as I
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