Home > Nothing Personal (Karina Halle)

Nothing Personal (Karina Halle)
Author: Karina Halle

Chapter One

Nova

Seinfeld.

My life has officially turned into an episode of Seinfeld.

To be specific, the “Vegetable Lasagna” one where Elaine and Puddy go to Europe, break up, get back together on the plane and then break up again.

That awkward plane ride full of bickering, all to the discomfort of the passenger next to them (aka Vegetable Lasagna), is pretty much what I’m going through right now as we come back from our Vegas vacation.

Except Roger doesn’t really bicker, which is a good thing since he has this problem controlling the volume of his voice. We might be at a romantic restaurant and he’ll say, “you look ravishing tonight” (yeah, he uses ravishing, which should have been a red flag), and someone across the restaurant will say, “thank you.” That’s how loud he is. Even when he whispers, he’s trying to rupture your eardrum.

No, Roger doesn’t bicker but he also doesn’t do much of anything.

Everyone was surprised when we started dating five months ago. Roger is very much the opposite of the guys I usually date and I figured that was a good thing since the guys I usually date are rat-bastards. Handsome rat-bastards, but rat-bastards all the same.

Turns out Roger is a rat-bastard too, and one I didn’t see coming, which has really given my pride a kick in the ass. I went out with Roger because he was a supposed nice guy. I went out with him because he was a dependable and financially stable banker. I went out with him because he looked like a potato with long legs. All of those things were supposed to mean that Roger was a safe choice.

It turns out that when a guy refers to himself as “a nice guy,” they usually aren’t. That when they have a boring job and dull attitude, they might go looking for excitement elsewhere. And just because they have a big fat balding potato head and tend to shout lyrics to songs instead of singing them, doesn’t mean they won’t think they’re god’s gift to women.

I found that out two days ago when I decided I’d had enough and went to bed early, and he went out to get a lap dance on the Strip and well, I guess those dancers can spot a sucker a mile away, because a lap dance led to a blow job, and a blow job led to who knows what else was on the menu and that dancer turned out to be a hooker.

And how do I know all of this?

Because at four a.m. he came stumbling into the room and went straight to the shower, crying his damn eyes out. When I asked him what was wrong (I thought maybe he was mugged at gunpoint) he told me everything that happened. Okay, not everything—I stopped him at the blow job part.

I appreciated his honesty and all, but that was officially the end of us.

Then the next day, when he’d sobered up and slept off the skank and the shame, he acted like nothing happened. Back to yelling (“I didn’t know she was a prostitute! I thought she was being nice!”) over coffee and wondering if I wanted to see David Copperfield (yet another red flag).

I did what any sensible person would do—I got another room.

In another hotel.

Immediately.

Then I proceeded to get drunk.

By myself.

Immediately.

The only thing I couldn’t fix were the flights back to Honolulu. They were all booked solid which isn’t surprising for November. If you’ve ever wondered where the people who live in Hawaii go on vacation, it’s Las Vegas. The money, the glamour, the lights, the chaos, the dry, desert air—it’s pretty much everything you start craving when you’ve been in Hawaii too long.

Which is why Roger and I decided to go to Vegas, taking our first vacation together.

Of course, it also ended up being our last.

The most annoying thing about all of this isn’t that we couldn’t find anyone to switch seats with us for this six-hour plane ride from hell, but I’d specifically chosen Roger to date to avoid all this sort of stupidity.

Roger is currently trying to adjust his seat-back, much to the annoyance of the person behind him. He can’t even do anything subtly or gently, he’s just this long-legged, potato-headed clumsy oaf who sleeps with hookers and cries about it. You can how imagine how the sex between us was. I’d felt like I was being mauled by a mule, lots of accidental kicking, big teeth where there shouldn’t be big teeth, and the occasional braying noise.

I look at him, fixing him with a hard stare, both hating him for being such a loser and myself for dating him to begin with. I need to get my high standards back.

“What?” he asks defensively, after I’ve been glaring at him for a good minute. Did I mention he’s also kind of dense?

“Do you mind not doing that?” I tell him.

“My back hurts,” he grumbles, loud enough for everyone on the plane to hear. “And these seats are made for children. Why didn’t we fly first class again?”

Seat goes back, seat goes up, seat goes back.

“Because you wanted to save your money…probably so you could spend it all on that hooker.”

The woman next to me stiffens. That’s our Vegetable Lasagna. She’s been trapped here with us for five hours now, pressed up against the window as if she’s wiling it to suck her out. This is the first time I’ve brought up the hooker.

It won’t be the last.

“Don’t you dare mention her in public again,” he says, shoving up his glasses. “I told you, I thought she was just a stripper.”

And of course, because he’s so damn dense, he has no idea that the whole plane can hear him talking about this now, too.

But as much as I would love to argue loudly with him about the blow jobs, and the fact that it doesn’t even matter if she was a hooker or not—hello, he cheated on me—I decide it’s not worth it. He’s embarrassing himself enough as it is.

The only silver lining in this whole thing is that I didn’t love him.

I liked him but I convinced myself I liked him more than I did.

That was it.

So my heart is staying intact, it’s only my pride that’s taken a tumble, and the fact that I feel like I’ve wasted months of my life sleeping with a mule (who was definitely not hung like one).

On the heartbreak scale, Roger is about a one.

And believe me, I’ve had my heart broken at level-ten on the scale before, so anything less than ten is a blessing. That’s something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.

It’s ironic that my worst enemy is the man who did that level ten heartbreak.

I sigh, partly in relief that I can feel the plane start to descend, partly because even though bygones are bygones, some people can really do a number on you.

Thank god Roger won’t be one of them.

There’s something strangely intimidating about your first day back at work after a vacation. Even though I’d only been gone for just over a week, and I’ve been working at my job for five years, I still feel like I’m the new kid during first day of high school. Even the commute from my house, over the Koolau Mountains to downtown Honolulu, feels like I’m going a new route and my fingers can’t stop tapping anxiously on the steering wheel.

It probably has a lot to do with the fact that I haven’t taken a vacation in a really long time. I visited my parents in Washington state for Christmas last year, but that was anything but relaxing. Before that, I was in Seattle for my sister’s funeral. As you can imagine, that wasn’t a vacation either.

I shake the thought out of my head—despite the familiar pang in my chest, like a septic wound that will never actually heal—and stay focused on the day ahead.

Even when I pull into my reserved parking spot, something I’d fought hard for when I became the Brand Marketing Director for Kahuna Hotels, I still feel like it belongs to someone else.

I turn off the car and rest my head on the steering wheel. When I left for Vegas, everyone told me to go completely off the grid, to enjoy being with Roger (insert eye roll here). To get drunk, have fun, let loose. I was forbidden from checking my emails and, even though I did check my emails nearly every day anyway, no one sent me anything. It’s like the whole office conspired to let me take a break.

Now it feels like I didn’t take a break at all, I was just on sabbatical, forced to let the rest of the world do my job.

But when the elevator pops me out on the tenth floor and I stride into the lobby, I feel like I’m shrugging on my armor again, ready to battle. It feels good to be back.

“Welcome back,” Kate, the receptionist, says, as I stroll over to her desk. “You look well-rested.” She’s a recent transplant from the island of Kauai after her old workplace, a hotel, closed due to the massive flooding they’ve had. She’s sarcastic, honest and fun—my kind of people.

Except, despite the cheery greeting, there’s a look of trepidation on her well-groomed brows.

“You know, when you go to Vegas, the whole point is to not rest,” I remind her, leaning on the edge of her station. Her computer screen is showing Facebook, which she knows to not bother hiding from me.

“So, it was a good trip?” she asks, uneasily tucking her straight black hair behind her ear.

“Actually it was the trip from hell, but I won’t get into that right now,” I tell her. “Are you okay? You seem a bit…cagey.”

Her eyes dart over to the rest of the office. Since we take up the whole floor, it’s a circular design with the reception area and lobby, elevators, break room and washrooms all in the center, cubicles fanning out in a radius toward the windows where the executive offices and boardrooms are. I’m early for work—I usually am—so the office is still a bit quiet.

“We all promised we wouldn’t tell you,” she says in a hush. “I mean, I wanted to text you, but Desiree said she’d have my head on a stick, and I believe her. Did you know she teaches Tae Kwon Do on the weekends?”

“Tell me what?” I ask. Oh my god, did they find someone better to do my job while I was gone? Is it my assistant, Mahina? She’s always so nice and such a go-getter, but I knew she was secretly gunning for my position.

“Mike is gone,” she says.

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