Updated: Nov 6
I woke up the next morning feeling refreshed convinced that all are needed with little bit of rest. Luckily, I was off work this weekend so was going to be a pjs and Grey's type of day.
I could not help but wonder, who was Jo Bae? I pulled out my computer and did a brief Facebook search. There weren't many Jo Bae's which made it relatively easy. His profile picture
was a picture of a happy,round baby on a tricycle. Was this an adorable pastime picture or did he have a child? I scanned his page and pictures without so much as an inkling to him having a child. I figured if there was a child there would most certainly be a baby mama to tag him in photos. I'm sure not even asian cultures are immune to the baby mama. I hadn't ever known a man to have a kid an no baby mama drama, unless she was dead of course. Anyway, I had resolved to believe that it was a picture of him and continued my Facebook snooping.
Jo Bae, he was 34, from Austin, Texas and graduated from the University of Texas with a degree in business. One sister, a brother and Cai, my Cai was his mother. There were several photos
of them together. I had been going to Nu Nails for 2 years and had never known that Cai even had a child. I realized that I didn't know much about Cai at all. Wow, how self absorbed was I that I had seen Cai every two weeks for 2 years and never bothered to ask her about herself. Well, I would do better with that too. Jo Bae however, was off limits and would just be a
kind stranger who helped out a damsel in distress.
I spent most of the day doing online shopping and binge watching Grey's anatomy. I was comfortable in my pj's sipping my wine when I heard a knock at the door. I walked over to the door and looked through the peep hole and there he was, Jo Bae. I spun around and put my back to the door as if to keep him out. What was he doing here? I looked a mess I couldn't let him see me like this. What was I talking about? It's Cai's son and he was off limits. I was just going to open the door and see what he wanted. I felt my heart begin to race a tad. I pressed my button to record the event, quickly ran my fingers through my hair, straightened my clothes, and opened the door.
He spun around an smiled flashing those perfectly white teeth that made me weak. He removed his sunglasses and said, "Hey, it is you. I'm glad to see I got the right place. When it started to get late I figured you wouldn't actually call to let me know if you were ok so I thought I would stop by and check on you and bring you this." He lifted a bag and a coffee carrier with two cups. He wore a white wife beater underneath a blue Hawaiian print shirt, paired with khaki pants and brown leather slides.
"Well, that was nice of you and not at all creepy come inside," I said. He stepped in.
"Yeah, after we spoke on the phone I realized that was a bit creepy, he said with a light laugh. I just got a bit carried away and wanted to make sure that you got home ok. How are you feeling?"
"Much better thank you. I have just been working a lot and over did it that's all. What's that you have there?" I said gesturing towards the bag in his hand.
"Oh, yes! It's some soup and ginger tea. I wasn't sure how you would be feeling so I thought tea and soup would be safe."
"Thank you, that is very sweet of you. Creepy still, but sweet," I said with a smirk.
"Yes, I guess when you think about it this makes what I did yesterday seem normal. It's all about perspective. I'm sorry again for the intrusion. I really did just want to know that you were ok."
"Why are you so interested in my well being and you don't even know me?"
"I don't know. When you walked into the salon yesterday you had a look on your face. You looked tired."
"Wow, you sure do know how to sweet talk a lady. You try working a 12 hour night shift as a nurse and see how perky you look."
"No, no, I don't mean like that. It wasn't that type of tired. There was a look in your eye like your soul was tired. Then, when you passed out in the salon I knew I had it wrong because I thought, that is a lady who knows how to take a quick nap" he joked. By the way, I think you are beautiful."
He looked me directly in the eye when he spoke. When he called me beautiful I felt myself start to perspire and those darn palpitations came back. I swallowed hard and pressed the button on my monitor.
"What's that? he asked."
"It's a heart monitor. Some nice gentleman insisted that I go to the hospital and the nice people in the emergency room insisted that I wear it until my appointment with the heart doctor next week. I guess I have you to thank for that."
"Sorry? I guess if they gave it to you they must have thought you needed it."
"No, it's just a precaution since they couldn't find an obvious reason for me passing out. I'm tired is just not a good enough excuse for some people."
"Well, it's better to be careful than sorry."
"Sometimes complex problems have simple solutions."
"Well Mo, if you think that you are just tired what do you plan to do to relax?
"Mo? I guess we are on nickname terms now. Well, Jo if you must know I plan to do just what I am doing, nothing."
"Good, then that means you have time to meet me tonight."
"I don't think you understand how to relax. Doing something with you would be the opposite of relaxing"
"No, I don't think YOU understand how to relax. I'm going to show you. Meet me at Nu Nails tonight at 7pm."
"I'm going to help you relax. Trust me," he said flashing that smile again.
"I'm sorry, I can't."
"First of all, I hardly know you and secondly you are Cai's son and that would be weird."
"What? Cai isn't my mother. Cai is my aunt. Cai came to help me out when I opened the salon a few years ago. She was only going to stay a few months until we got the salon fully staffed
but she liked it so much here she decided to stay so I let her run the day-to-day for me.
"Oh, I just thought..I just saw..."
"You saw what?"
"Well, now I'm embarrassed."
"Don't be embarrassed. At least not without telling me why."
"Ugh...well... I kind of looked you up on Facebook and I saw the pictures of you and your family and Cai and just thought that she was your mom."
"Oh, so you were stalking me."
"Oh please, don't flatter yourself. When someone forces you to go to the hospital, then sends a driver to take you to your home because they stole your car and towed it to your home
a girl gets curious."
"Touche'. So now that you have stalked me and know that I am not a serial killer and Cai is not my mother you can meet me tonight." He began walking towards the door. I tried thinking
of an excuse but was drawing a blank.
"What are we doing?"
"That is for me to know and you to find out."
"You don't know this about me because we just met two seconds ago but I am not big on surprises."
"Well at least give me a hint or tell me what to wear."
"Wear something comfortable." He opened the door and walked out towards his car but not before he shot me a wink and a smile. He put his sunglasses on and I watched him walk up
to the black Audi he had parked in my driveway.
I closed the door,walked to my bedroom, and threw myself across the bed. How did I manage to get myself into these things? What did he mean I didn't know how to relax? How is doing nothing not relaxing?Why wouldn't he tell me what he had planned? I shouldn't go I thought but there was something about the way he spoke and looked at me intently when I spoke that made me very interested to see him again.
Somehow Cai being his aunt and not his mother made it more acceptable to date him in my mind. Molia, stop! There I was again overthinking things. This was not a date. A guy shows a little interest and I'm thinking right down the aisle. He just wants to help me. No big deal, just a guy being nice. Guys are never nice for no reason though, and he did tell me he thought I was beautiful. I wrestled with myself before finally deciding to go. I didn't want to look like a bum in sweatpants in case he did think it was a date, but I didn't want to overdress in case it wasn't and have it look like I thought it was. I settled on an over-sized sweater and a pair of leather jeggings that more than accented very curvy lower half. I often joked with people that when I made it to the front of the assembly line in heaven that God told me I could have either big boobs or a big butt and that is how I ended up so unbalanced.I wore my hair down and paired my outfit with a pair of leather ballerina flats.
I arrived to the salon at 5 minutes til 7 and the lights were off in the salon. I contemplated leaving. If you were going to invite someone to your place, the least you could do was be on time. I decided to wait until 7:05 and then I would leave. At 7pm exactly a dim light came on in the studio. Then, the door opened and Jo popped his head around the door and beckoned me to come inside. Nervous, I got out and walked to the door. He opened the door and took my hand to lead me inside. As we walked me through the salon, he held his other hand behind his back. Lights lined the floor and lit a path that led to a door that said, "staff only". He turned to look at me.
"You look very nice but not comfortable."
"Well, when people don't tell you what you are doing it's hard to know what is an appropriate outfit," I said.
"I figured this might happen so I came prepared. He reached removed a hand from behind his back to unveil a black terry cloth robe. Take this and I will show you to a bathroom where you can change. You can leave your clothes in the bathroom and once you are settled
I will put them in a locker for you."
He guided me to the bathroom and I changed. He was waiting for me when I finished changing and we walked down the hall together. The salon was a lot different. It didn't smell of acetone and nail polish. It smelled clean and the faint smell of bleach and a sweet peach scented candle hung in the air.
As we walked down the hall we came to a door that didn't not have a label. He turned to me and asked, "Are you ready?" Before I knew it I heard the words leave my mouth,"yes!"
He opened the door to reveal a moderate sized room with walls lined in black crushed velvet. Lights lined the upper and lower wall the room but were dimly lit. Smooth Jazz played softly in the background, and in the center of the room was a large throne like pedicure chair. He led me to the chair and I sat down.
Oh...my...God... When I sat down the chair all but swallowed me. It was possibly the softest, most comfortable chair I had ever sat in. I felt my body instantly give in to it. He disappeared for a moment and came back with a bottle of wine. He poured me a glass of wine, set the massage on the chair and dashed out of the room again. When he returned he had pedicure supplies. I had never had a pedicure before.
"Is this the part where I pick a color?"
He looked up at me and said, "No, tonight I'm going to pick" and winked at me.
"Is this where you bring all of your women? Wait...is this one of those places where everybody leaves happy wink, wink?"
"No, I have never brought a woman here before that I was interested in or otherwise. This is where I service all of my VIP clients who enjoy their privacy and work erratic hours. Now that we have that out of the way, shhhh...."
He turned on the water and threw in a tablet that smelled of apples. As the tablet fizzed the water began to change to contain small gel like beads that felt amazing on my feet. He used a remote to illuminate the pedicure bowl. He scrolled through several colors before he picked a golden light that made the water look like liquid gold. As I sat with my feet in the warm water he moved to the side of the chair and reclined the chair back until it was almost flat. He arranged my hair around the headrest and placed an eye mask over me. He stood to walk back to his stool but not before he leaned down to whisper in my ear, "relax...."
He was just close enough that I could feel his warm breath against my ear and the scent of his cologne filled my nostrils placing me in almost a trance like state. I gave into it all and laid there listening to the sweet sounds of a saxophone lull me into complete relaxation. I had never felt so at peace in my life.
I heard him sit down and he gently picked up my right foot. He began my tending to my toe nails and I could feel him clipping and filing. He returned my foot to the warm water and repeated the process on my left foot. Next, he began rubbing my foot and lower leg with something that was slightly gritty. After he scrubbed both feet, he rinsed my legs and feet smooth. It all felt amazing. I could hear him shaking the nail polish to paint my toes. I attempted to sit up to sneak a peek at what he was doing. When he saw me, he covered my foot and gestured at me to lay back and joked that he was going to spank me if I continued to misbehave. I was such a rule follower in real life that I secretly loved the idea of being a rebel. I imagined him putting me over his knee and punishing me for being a bad girl. SNAP OUT OF IT! I tried to tell myself, but I couldn't.
When he'd finished painting he asked permission to massage my legs. I agreed and he began rubbing warmed lotion on my right leg. His hands were soft but strong. He gingerly rubbed my feet and massaged each and every toe. He moved up from my toes, to my foot, then ankle and lower leg. He rubbed my leg in soft, slow strokes kneading all my muscles limp as he moved his hand closer and closer to my thigh
As his hands moved towards my thigh I waited eagerly. I felt my back involuntarily arch to encourage him to move his hands higher. When I was almost to the point of begging he switched to my other leg. What was I doing I thought to myself? I sat up and felt very confused. I didn't know if he had really been making a move on me or if I had imagined it all.
All of a sudden my heart began to race and the room went from dim to dark.