The Hidden Agenda
by Kourtney-Leigh Naki
The bell from the door rang, snapping me out of my day dream. All I do is sit at this desk working the counter while Zack takes patients in and out of the office. It’s easy for me to get distracted here. This small, boring clinic office is nothing compared to what lay outside. Easily looking out the window of the clinic the bright, blue sky blushing with impossibly white, wispy clouds capturing my hazel eyes. The wind, dancing in between the oak tree branches lined feet apart along the sidewalk makes me want to go outside with my towel and soak in the sun and let the fresh spring air replenish my skin. It is all so wonderful and simple. This is what I look forward to when coming to work. That’s sad, isn’t it? Gosh, this is what my life has come to. I go about my day unlocking the office, turning on the television to the Today Show, readjust the couch cushions and chairs around the waiting area, replace yesterday’s paper with today’s paper and brew a new batch of coffee. Then, my husband, Dr. Johnston strolls on in and starts work while I sit here at the front desk checking patients in and refilling prescriptions. The fabulous life of a pharmacist and her doctor husband. What. A. Life.
I should just quit and run away; escape this so called “way of living”. Imagine how that would be. But, of course, that would never happen. “What do you think the people at church would think of us if you up and quit your job? The job you have with me?” my husband would say with disappointment in his gray, judgmental eyes. He always put the church and the people of the church before anything. Since the day I met him that’s how it’s always been. In his eyes— it’s God, the church, work and finally me. . .I roll my eyes. . .I would have thought he’d grown out of this mentality that he had when we first met in college…I guess that hope is, well, hopeless.
“Umm…Excuse me, miss?” a tall man, not that much older than me asked, breaking my focus and complaining of my self-pity. He had blonde hair with beautiful, light blue eyes that almost mirror the beach at sunrise. I could go on for days about his eyes…but those eyes were set on me.
“Oh, yes? Sorry, I didn’t realize you came into the office. Can I help you?” I asked flustered and slightly embarrassed, why is he looking at me so closely? It’s as if he’s studying me. I could slowly feel my brown cheeks grow warmer as I began to blush as I fixed my hairs and quickly glanced at my desk mirror to see if my makeup liked good, “Stop it,” I told myself, “you’re married.”
“No, it’s fine,” he smiled with a chuckle escaping his lips, while his eyes stared into mine. “But, yes, you can. Is Dr. Johnston available?” he asked, peeking a look behind me, seeing if he could catch a glimpse of my husband.
“He’s with a patient right now. Is there anything I can help you with while you wait? Do you need me to check you in for an appointment or refill your prescription?
“Oh no, no, no,” he half smiled, which gave me a funny feeling in my stomach. He ran his fingers through his golden blonde hair, “I’m here to schedule my work days to start my job.”
“Wait, you’re working here?!” I exclaimed in confusion but it accidentally came out harsh.
“Hey, Damon! Welcome!” I hear my husband’s hefty voice boom from behind me-what perfect timing. He finally appears from behind the door, his tall and wide stature filling the doorframe.
“Hi, Zack, how are you doing?” Damon stuck out his hand as my husband stuck out his own for a firm hand shake.
“It’s nice to see you again. Honey, meet your new coworker. You two seem to be getting acquainted already but I’ll keep the introductions formal, Damon meet my wife, Michelle Johnston. You’ll be working with her at the desk and the pharmacy for a few weeks for some training and getting to know the ropes around here” he finishes, placing his hand at the small of my back. This is so Zack to do something like this. He seems to forget that aside from being a wife I am his coworker. It would be nice to know if I am working, let alone training, someone new.
“Yes, I just met your wife. She is very, very sweet,” Damon says, making sure he emphasized the second “very”. He kept his gaze as he gentle caresses my hand, carefully handling it as if it were an antique crystal finishing it off with a kiss on my hand. My heart drops. Oh goodness. I quickly retract my hand. Wow, this guy is gutsy! I try my best to hide my bright red cheeks.
“Um,” I hesitate, confused and a little pissed off at Zack; a little flustered with this wave of emotions coming over me. He did not say anything about hiring anyone. I stare at Zack’s wrinkled face and beaming smile lines with resentment, “Right,” I finished, realizing that I took too long of a pause.
“Well, I have an appointment at twelve coming up and I have a lunch to attend to,” he snickers as if it were the funniest thing he’s ever say, turning his gray eyes towards me, he pushed a piece of my brown hair back behind my ear, “Call me when my twelve ’o’clock gets here.”
“Always do, Dr. Johnston,” I say to him with a short, upset voice.
“Okidokie hun!” he says as he disappears behind the swinging doors and strutting off to his office as if he were still the all-American football player like he was in college.
I let out a long, sigh of frustration, “So, first things first: what did my husband hire you for because, honestly, I had no idea he hired you.”
He chuckled, gazing at me like I was a little girl, or maybe I was just imagining it, “Oh well, sorry, Michelle, I didn’t mean to intrude,” he ended with a half-smile. He has amazingly, bright teeth. But those eyes…why does he keep on staring at me? Wait, Michelle? He remembers my name? Fuck, I don’t even remember his. Okay, I need to stop.
“No, I don’t mean it like that”, I need to back off. I’ll save this anger for later, with my discussion with my husband, “I’m just saying I was caught off guard. Ya know, you’d think we’d talk about this at breakfast before we would come into work but nope, nothing.”
“Well, what is between you and your husband…is between you and your husband. Just know that I’ll be the best employee you could ask for,” he winks, “I’m guna do my best not give you a reason to fire me, Michelle. For the how ever long I’m here I am your servant” he chuckled with a smile that could melt an ice cream cone on a summer’s day. What am I getting myself into?
He is looking at me, like no one has ever before. He is looking at me with love in his eyes; my heart racing at an impossible speed. Without a break in his gaze he slowly brushed his lips upon mine. I abruptly sat up with such urgency I woke up Zack.
“In God’s name, what is the matter this time? Bad dream?” He asked with obvious irritation in his voice. He looked over at me with his grey eyes, his dark, thick hair messy from sleep.
“No sweetie, I just remember something I had to do.” I close my eyes with frustration, knowing what’s about to come out of Zack’s mouth.
“Really?” still frustrated, “This has been happening way too frequently. I need my rest. I can’t have you constantly waking me up at different times of the night, especially with this nonsense. I have been working around the clock at the clinic. So, you either figure out what the heck you need to “do” or you can sleep in the guest room.”
“Yes, I know. I am sorry. It won’t happen again.” He was right. Ever since I met Damon 4 months ago, my mind has been uneasy. I couldn’t get him out of my head. It is like he entered my life and chained himself to me, refusing to let go. Damon. Damon. Damon. It never stops. Since the day we met there has been a connection; a strong one. It first started when he kissed my hand and with each day passing things progressed; whether it be sharing a kiss in the bathroom or meeting each other outside in the parking lot for a quick make out session. It’s not cheating, right? I mean, we haven’t had sex and haven’t really discussed it.
I gently push the covers off of me, with as much ease as my already racing heart could handle and swing my legs off the bed and stood up; careful not to wake my sleeping husband. I looked over to my mahogany night stand at my digital clock that rested upon the smooth surface that read five-thirty in the morning- just in time for my run…great. I think my dream gave me enough cardio for the rest of the week. I chuckled, not because of my humorless joke but because for the first time in a while…I have butterflies. I shouldn’t though. Just thinking about him alone is bad enough, I definitely shouldn’t be having dreams about him.
I walk across the bedroom towards the bathroom to wash my face and brush my teeth. I run the cold water, slowly wetting my hands, shape them into a cup and wet my face. I let the cold water relax my cheating, black soul. I keep on splashing cold water on my face, hoping it would rid me of all the worry and confusion; cleansing myself from my lust for another man. The guilt is becoming too much to bare, the worse part about it all is Zack. He is completely and utterly oblivious to anything. But there’s no surprise there. If it’s not about him or the church he doesn’t really give a damn.
I can’t believe this is happening. I love my husband. I LOVE MY HUSBAND…right? I look at myself in the mirror, staring straight into my reflection. I stand there, still and motionless, while I am internally at war with myself. There has to be a reason why I married him. It has to be because I loved him…loved. I just said loved, as in the past tense form of love. I can’t believe I said loved. LOVE, I do love him. I guess it makes sense to slowly fall out of love for my husband while I am quickly falling in love with Damon.
“Ugh,” I sigh with frustration. I just want to scream and pull my hair out but no, I can’t be too loud, I can’t wake up my husband “The Doctor”. I can’t think about this right now. It’s all just too ridiculous.
I quietly leave the bathroom and walk into my walk-in closet and put on my usual workout clothes and in fifteen minutes I am outside on the pavement gradually quickening my pace; already starting my usual route through the neighborhood. You can see a glimmer of orange and red blending with the dark night sky as the sun kisses the moon away; and a new day begins. The fresh breeze tingles all over my body as sweat starts to bead from my pores. This is exactly what I needed. No stress; just me, the open road and fresh morning Texas air. The smell of spring refreshes my mind, just as spring refreshes life after a long winter.
I approach the end of my route, with just a few minutes to spare. Not too shabby. My blood is pumping through my veins, my hearts rhythmically beating like a drum and sweats oozing off my body. That’s a result of a quality workout. All I have to do is turn down one more block and I am home free. I stop for a minute to take a drink of water from my water bottle. I look around the beautiful mansions that surround my neighborhood. I look at the street signs: Smith’s and Lawrence Dr. Why does that sound familiar? My eyes widen, “Oh gosh,” I say with in astonishment, yet slightly excited, “Damon lives down this street.” He has told me this a few times before. I have run down this road about a million times and I knew he lived a few minutes away but I didn’t think he was this close.
“What the hell, it’s not like I’m going to run into him or anything” I said, while shrugging my shoulder I rerouted and went down Smith St. . . .
Why am I doing this? This is crazy. I have to go back home, cook breakfast for Zack and get ready for work. Plus Zack is going to be up soon; he’s going to be up soon, he’s going to be wondering where I am. I don’t need to give his any reason to be suspicious. I should go back. Just turn around and go straight home. This is a waste of time.
I reach the end of the street which turned out to be a cul-de-sac. Each house with a BMW or Range Rover parked in from of it, alongside perfectly mowed lawns and carefully trimmed bushes separating each house from the other, the usual for my neighborhood. Everyone who lives in Riverside County is either wealthy from their self or come from a family of money. In Damon’s case, a pharmacist with a billion dollar mansion…please. He obviously comes from a family with money.
I’m a little disappointed for some odd reason that I didn’t “just so happen to run into” Damon but what was I expecting to happen. This is some teenager bullshit. I am a grown, married woman…who’s in love with another man.
“Well, that’s that.” I conclude to myself, “Time to go back to my pathetic life.” Gosh, that was completely pointless. This is what my life has come to-a feisty love life with a man and he’s not even my husband but a coworker. I need to get over this…
“Michelle? What are you doing here?” Damon questions, slightly surprised to even see me.
I felt my heart stop and panicked for a second, was I imagining this? I turn and look around and there he was, standing in his driveway about to climb into his car. Was it his golden blond hair, his tall, six foot five stature or was it his muscular built body? Whatever it was it sent butterflies fluttering in my stomach.
“Umm…” I was speechless. As much as I hoped to see him I didn’t really want to see him. This is embarrassing.
He chuckled, walking toward me and grabbed my waist, “I was on my way to open up the clinic but that can wait. Do you want to come in, beautiful?” he asked flashing that handsome half smile that he knows makes me melt.
Not giving me anytime to answer he turned away from me, guiding me towards the entrance of his house; his arm still around my waist. . .
As Damon led the way to his house I couldn’t help but get distracted by his magnificent house. I’ve seen his type of house tons of times, but his house was something else. The house was an old, two story Victorian home, with a walk around porch. It was a nice shade of beige and a dark charcoal colored roof. And the windows, my favorite part of the place, were so big and grand, I wonder how he found such big and beautiful curtains for their windows.
Once we walked up Damon’s paved driveway and stepped onto his porch steps, he turned towards me and said, “So how’s your day going?” as he opened the gigantic, oak wood door, revealing the family living room.
“My day is pretty good. When you ran into me I just finished my morning jog before work,” I responded as I followed Damon to the couch, motioning me to sit down.
He chuckled, giving me that killer, shy smile he always gave me, giving her chills down my spine. All he did was stare, waiting.
“Yeah,” I said quickly changing the subject, “The doctor is at home resting for his busy day at the office.” Although it seemed harmless, I somehow had a feeling that I shouldn’t have said anything at all…I sound like such a terrible wife, but while laughing, I continued, “But you see him in action, he has a patient every two seconds.”
Not seeming to hear what I last said Damon went on, “Oh so you’re just by yourself?” Ignoring the strange feeling I got from his question I answered, “Yeah, just me,” but ended it there. The feeling I had in my gut was bothering me, but I wanted it to go away. I didn’t get why I had this strange feeling. It was probably all the guilt I had stored away finally make its way out.
“Oh, that’s great. For you I mean,” Damon said, while looking at her, smiling. It made me feel uncomfortable and so out of place, not like how I usually feel when I’m with him. I think I’m am slowly coming to the realization of what I am doing to Zack. Not only to Zack, I’m leading on Damon too. He was a harmless, nice guy that she worked with. Ugh, exactly… someone that I worked with. I, a married woman, shouldn’t be over a male, coworker’s house alone for no reason.
“Umm, yeah. I guess. Hey, Damon, do you think you could let me borrow one of your shirts? It’s kind of cold in here and I’m super sweaty from my run,” I said, remembering that I was only in short shorts and a tightly fitted tank top.
“Oh, sure I’ll go get one,” he said, nodding his head at the same time, but with no intention of leaving to go and get a shirt. I knew exactly what he wanted and it was something that I thought I wanted too.
Feeling the weird vibe, I just decided, “You know what, actually I’ll just go home, I need to take a shower anyways and I have to get Zack up for work and start making his breakfast,” standing up and starting towards the door. While doing so, Damon stood up, grabbed her arm and violently pushed me back down on the couch, looked at me and said, “You’re not going anywhere.”
He pulled my legs and wrapped them around his waist. Everything that I was worried about before completely melted away. I let my mind wander off and our two bodies became one.