Brian waited for Carol in the lobby by the bellhop station. He and Carol always had their smoke breaks at 10:15 every morning for the last two years. It was the highlight of Brian’s day really. He was completely in love with her, although he hadn’t told her.
Brian loved her frosty blue eyes, her dark brown hair and her dimples. She had the most adorable dimples and it made Brian blush to think about how much he wished he could kiss them every time she smiled. She had pretty lips too. Brian wasn’t really a fan of women that had no upper lip or showed too much gum when they smiled. Brian liked when Carol smiled, it was in his estimation, the perfect smile.
It was 10:18 and it was the latest Carol had been since they started smoking together. Brian really wasn’t much of a smoker until the day Carol asked him if he’d like to join her for one. He jumped at the chance because it meant he could get to know her better instead of pining away at her from afar. They worked together at the front desk of the hotel for a while before she got promoted to the reservations office a floor above. So the only time Brian could see her now was on their smoke break.
There were a few occasions where the company crew, Jerry, Laura, Jim, Dennis, Dave, Mary and Kathy, with Brian and Carol, would go out after work to the hotel bar and tie it on. Brian liked having drinks with Carol; she was so lively and fun and always had an interesting story to tell. She recently told a story about her dog that ate a plastic shopping bag and somehow didn’t digest it so when the dog crapped it out, it got stuck in mostly bag form so her dog was running around with a plastic bag hanging out of its ass. She told the story so well and Brian really couldn’t duplicate it but it was still very funny. She had a beautiful laugh.
Brian checked his cell phone for the time and it was 10:22 now. They only had until 10:30 to get their cigarette break in so he was starting to get worried. Since being in the reservations office she had gotten a lot busier and maybe she was stuck on the phone or something. Brian considered going to smoke without her but he was compelled to stay. He never wanted her to think that he ditched her.
Finally the elevator opened and Carol came out. She looked upset and Brian went to her.
“Are you alright?”
“I’m fine”, said Carol wiping her nose.
“What happened”, asked Brian.
“Let’s go outside”, she said.
They went out to the driveway under the large Intercontinental Hotel awning and lit their cigarettes. Carol took a long drag and exhaled dramatically. Brian looked at her, with as much love as he could, hoping that she would see it in his eyes and know that he would always be there for her.
“My effing boyfriend is a dick”, said Carol.
“Oh, what did Roger do now”, said Brian.
Carol had told Brian all about her boyfriend Roger since they had started smoking together. They were always on again and off again. There was always something. Brian knew that Roger was a complete asshole and would never treat Carol the way he wanted like to treat her. He hated Roger, but he was too polite to do anything more than listen to Carol talk about him.
“He promised to take me to the basketball game tomorrow, but now he backed out saying he has to work late, but I know that’s bull because he never has to work late when it’s something he wants to do, like go to his stupid brother’s bar every stupid night”, said Carol as she aggressively flicked the ashes from her smoldering cigarette.
Brian nodded and thought about how awesome it would be to go to a basketball game with Carol, maybe hold her hand.
“He’s just a selfish jerk and I think we should really break up this time. I mean, he makes all these promises but he never goes through with them and then he say’s he’ll make it up to me. I mean, sometimes he does make it up to me, like the time we went to Miami, but that was almost like, too little, too late”, said Carol.
“You did stay with him after that though”, said Brian.
“I know”, said Carol.
Carol took another long pull from her cigarette and then snubbed it out in the ashtray. Brian was still smoking his.
“I have to get back upstairs. I spent the last hour fighting with Roger and got no work done. I’ll see you later”, said Carol and she turned and went back into the hotel.
Brian said that he’d see her later and continued smoking. He watched her go back to the elevator and wondered if she saw how much he loved her in his eyes and gentle listening face.