The Other Woman III
Published Jun 24, 2019

Written By



Page 1 / 53

Part III

Part III One month passes:

Nova adjusted the straps of her dress as she looked at the menu again. Most of the writing she could not understand and so she was scared to order the wrong thing. And there were no prices next to the description. She looked down and noticed she was showing a little more than she intended. Why did Sonja insist on letting her borrow this dress? She was fine with what she originally picked out.
Manuel: Are you okay?
Nova: Can I be honest?
Manuel: Yes.
Nova: I don't know what any of this stuff is.
Manuel smiled and called to the waiter. He began speaking to him in another language. The waiter smiled and took their menus.
Manuel: Don't worry. I think you'll like what I selected for you.
Nova: Show off.
Nova took another bite of her lobster. There was a small twinkle in her expression as the different flavors hit her tongue.
Manuel: I know you say it doesn't have to be expensive to be good. But sometimes...
Nova: I get it. This is really good. Almost up there with the hotdogs.
Manuel: Almost? (takes a sip of his wine)
Nova: So I thought this was supposed to be the hottest place in town to eat. Dj said the waiting list is for months. But there is no one here.
Manuel: I don't know. Maybe we picked a good night.
They continued to eat their dinner and talk.
Manuel: You really do look extra lovely tonight.
Nova: Thanks. The dress is on a loan so I have to be careful. I'm usually a little clumsy when I eat.
Manuel: I've noticed when we go out.
Nova: (laughing) Shut up.

Nova went back to her dish.

Nova: Are you sure you don't know why this is so empty.
Manuel: As I said, we picked a good night.
After dinner, he led her to the second floor where there was an empty dance floor.
Manuel: I figured from the way you moved on the rink, you can dance.
Nova: I can follow.

Manuel walked closer tucking his arm under her and placing his palm on her back. Although his hand was warm, she felt small chills ease up to the back of her neck.
He glided her across the floor with ease. She comfortably rested her head on his shoulder and let herself move with him. It was easy being in his arms. He held her tighter but still gentle and soon they could hear each other's heartbeat. She exhaled slowly. By now, Nova and Manuel were spending every free moment together. If they weren't texting each other silly messages they were hanging around the city exploring new and old places.
Manuel had never been with someone like Nova. She brought life to even the smallest thing. She opened his eyes to just having fun at the moment. For Nova, he showed her a world she may have never seen. He knew money did not amuse her, so he made sure to not flaunt as much as he had in the past relationships.
They alternated dates, letting the other choose their outing. Sometimes, Manuel let her pick more than once. Not because he was trying to be a gentleman but because he really liked the things Nova wanted to do. She catered to his competitive side by entering them in a Karaoke competition one evening. At first, he thought he was too cool to sing in front of a crowd. But the moment he heard the cheering he kicked his performance into high gear. He was going to win. And for the last round, they decided to sing a love ballad. He turned his charm on as he played to the females in the audience. The crowd gave a standing ovation. [laughing hysterically] Nova: I can't believe we won first place.
Manuel: Unlimited appetizers for the next two visits.
Nova: I'm going to hang this certificate on my wall.
Manuel: I said I was competitive.
Nova: Who knew you could hit a high note.
Manuel: I couldn't. I just screamed my way through that song.

Manuel: So this weekend I have a small surprise.
Nova: What is it!
Manuel: You'll see when you get there.
Nova arrived to the Penthouse in Emerald City. She was met at the door by Manuel.

Manuel: Did you find it okay?
Nova: Thanks for having a driver come get me. I didn't know you stayed here.
Manuel: This is a family friend's home. I'm just staying here until everything is finished at work. Come in.
Manuel gave her a tour of the home.

Nova: I can fit my house in here. And we have eight people living in my house. This looks like something right out of a fashion magazine.
Manuel: It was in an issue a while back. My uncle once dated a famous interior decorator.
Nova: And the view! This is amazing.
Manuel (watching her) It is. Are you ready for lunch?
Nova: You made this.
Manuel: Of course. I wanted to do something simple. It's about the company you keep not what you eat.
Nova: Thank you again for lunch. Where did you learn to cook like that?
Manuel: All my different nannies and guardians. They would bring me to their homes at night and I'd learn to cook from them.
Nova: You spent a lot of time with them.
Manuel: I did. But I learned many languages because of them. They always let me be apart of their families. Maybe because they felt sorry.
Nova: Or maybe cause they really cared about you.
Manuel placed his hand on her head and combed her hair.
Manuel: You are beautiful.
Nova adjusted herself under his hold.
Nova: You are such a dork.
Manuel: Why?
Nova: Cause you're always saying things like that.
Manuel: It's true. You are beautiful.
Month 2 passed:

Manuel holds her closely on the dance floor. He locks his eyes with her holding her gaze as if dared into a staring contest. At first, his look made her nervous, but she didn't want to look away. Instead, they let their eyes do the talking.
Moments later he broke the silence.

Manuel: Spend the night with me.
Nova stopped moving.
Nova: What?
Manuel: Sleepover.
Nova: I don't think I am ready to take it -
Manuel: And I am not trying to push you into that. I just want you to spend the night. That's it.
Nova: But
Manuel: Please. I don't want to be alone tonight.
He pulled her into a kiss.
They stopped at her apartment to get a few items for the night and returned to Emerald City. After watching a late movie, they retreated to the guest bedroom.
Nova: You were really serious about just sleeping over.
Manuel: I'm not going to force you to do anything you don't want to. I just got tired of being in the big house by myself. It's getting harder and harder to sleep now that work is picking up.
Nova: That stressful huh?
Manuel: More like pressure to do well if not better than my father. It's hard filling his shoes.
Nova: Is this something you always wanted to do?
Manuel: No. I never knew what I wanted to do. That's why I left after college. I had a degree but had no idea what to do with it. I didn't want to be like my parents. Always about the business, never making time for family. But I am happy you're here. Thank you.
Nova: No problem. I like this. I can get used to this.
Manuel: You're welcome to stay anytime.
Nova: Don't tease me.
Manuel: I am serious. I want you here. When you are with me I don't think about anything or anyone else. And I get anxious when I'm not with you.

There was a small silence.

Manuel: Sorry. I said too much.
Nova: No. It's okay.
Manuel woke in the middle of the night. He watched her sleeping. Her breathing heavy yet quiet. He smiled tracing the top of her forehead, down her nose to her lips. He kissed them softly before drifting back to sleep. By morning he was the first to wake. He leaned over to her ear and whispered to her.
Nova: Hmm [ her eyes barely open]
Manuel: I said good morning. Did you sleep well?
Nova: I did.
Manuel: Can I make you breakfast?
Nova: Yes, please.
He kissed her cheek and left for the kitchen.
Dj: So you just slept?
Nova: That's it. And he made me breakfast in the morning.
Dj: Hmm! Not even a little woohoo action?
Nova: Nope. Now I just need to figure out what to do for his birthday.
Dj: How about a party?
Nova: No. He doesn't really do much for his birthday so I don't want to make a big deal. Just something nice.
Dj: Well don't you always say it's about the company you keep. What does he like to do or has always wanted to do?
Nova: Dj! That's it!
Dj: What's it.
Nova: I know what to do for his birthday. Thanks girl!
Dj: You're welcome I guess.
Manuel: Okay. I know I promised I wouldn't ask questions until we reached the destination. But I have to ask. You're taking me into the middle of nowhere to kill me?
Nova: (laughing) Maybe.
Manuel: I'm too young and pretty.

Nova finally parked the car. She stepped out the jeep and sat on the hood.
Manuel followed her.
Manuel: I don't get it.
Nova: You said you never went camping before. Well, here we are.
Manuel: You are joking.
Nova: You don't like it.
Manuel: I LOVE it!
They sat on the jeep for a few moments more watching nature. She pointed out birds she recognized from all the family trips.
They drove a little further into the camping ground. Manuel's eyes beamed as he looked over the lot. It was better than he had imagined. Nova: So what do you think so far.
Manuel: I am so grateful. Thank you.
Nova: You're not just saying that to not hurt my feelings.
Manuel: I am very happy.
Nova: Happy Birthday.
By nightfall, they were invited by the campers to enjoy roasted hotdogs and hot chocolate. Manuel ate his first campfire s'mores.
Nova: What do you think?
Manuel: Better than the hotdogs.

They stayed up until the late hours talking.
In the morning they swam in the lake. And he went fishing for the first time. Although he was a novice he was able to catch a few items. Unfortunately, none of them were fish. Nova held her prize high in the air.
Manuel: Show off!
On their last night, Nova rented a cabin. And after watching the sunset with the other campers, they said their farewells before heading to the front porch.
Nova: So you ready to go back to big city life.
Manuel: Not at all. But I will keep this memory all my life. Best birthday gift ever.
Nova: I'm happy you liked it.
Manuel: I loved it. Most importantly, I spent it with you.
Nova: You know just what to say to make me blush. You have no problem speaking your truth.
Manuel: I don't like to live regretting moments. Thinking about what I could have done or said. But you bring it out of me more. I've told you more in the past months than I have to anyone I've known for years. You have that effect on me Nova.
Manuel: Thank you again.
Three months passed:

Dj: So what exactly are you two?
Nova: What do you mean?
Sonja: Are you a couple, are you something else?
Nova: We never made a label on what we are. We just spend time together.
Dj: But how does he feel about you, how do you feel about him?
Nova: Why is this a conversation anyway?
Dj: We just don't want you to get mixed messages. You said he's leaving in a month and then what? Are you just going to be friends? Are you going to continue the relationship?
Nova: I don't know. We don't talk about that far in the future.
Dj: Well I think you should.
Nova: I'm fine with what we have.
Dj: We just don't want to see you get hurt.
Nova: Get hurt.
Sonja: Remember Will.
Nova: That was last year. And this is different. Will was too busy trying to make himself into this big shot and forgot about everyone else when he succeeded.
Sonja: Yes. But you spent two years supporting him just to be dumped when he wanted something different.
Nova: That's why I'm taking things different with Manuel. He's different. We're different. You both don't have to worry. Really you don't.
Manuel: I'm going to be leaving sooner than I thought.
Nova: How soon?
Manuel: In a few days. I have to go back home for a little while. Some things came up. But I will be back to finish my work here.
Nova: And then what...
Manuel: What do you mean?
Nova: When you're finished? What then? You go back home and I go back...
Manuel: Are you asking me about us?
Nova: Well yes. I don't know. It's just we've spent all this time with each other and you're about to go back home. What then? Are we going to keep this up or just say goodbye afterward?
Manuel: What do you want?
Nova: I don't know.
Nova: How do you feel about me?
Manuel's throat clenched as he tried to say the first words. He took a hard swallow.
Manuel: I like you. I like spending time with you. I like what we have. What about you?
Nova: Me too. But. Just forget it. Nevermind. I don't know why I started talking about this in the first place. Let's just make the most of the next few days we have.
Manuel: Are you sure you're okay.
Nova: I am. I'm just being silly. We're good. We're good.
She eventually fell asleep but he still could not. Manuel kept thinking about their conversation. Why couldn't he tell her the truth? What was he so afraid of?
He kissed her forehead and whispered to her as he had before.
Over the last days, they spent almost every night together. He was beginning to miss her more and didn't want to leave. But he had a duty to his family and he knew he had to go. He would miss the little things about her. The smile that drew him to her the first day they met. Her tenderness and care. The quiet moments when they didn't speak but there was still a genuine connection within the silence. The day before his flight:

Nova: What's wrong?
Manuel: I need to tell you something.
Nova: What is it?
Manuel: I lied to you. The other night.
Manuel: I'm in love with you.
Nova: Manuel
Manuel: And every night that we spent together I would whisper I love you. I never said anything because I didn't know how you would react. The truth is I don't know what we are going to do after I get back because I want to be here with you. But I don't know how. I just know that right now, I want to be with you.
Nova: I love you too.
Manuel: You do?
Nova: Yes. I just thought we were moving so fast and you didn't feel the same way.
Manuel: I love you, Nova.
Nova: Tell me again.
Manuel: I love you.
Present day

She looked over the store one last time. The employees had left and she was the last to leave as always. Business was good today.
She went to lock the rest of the doors when the front door opened up. She rolled her eyes that she forgot to lock it first
Nova: Sorry we're closed.
Manuel: Nova?
Her heart sunk to her belly.

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#1ksmommaSep 2, 2019

OH my, I really hope he did not leave her in the lurch ugh....on to the next chapter

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