I met Aubry after signing up for one of those “Lunch meet up” websites.
We agreed to meet at a little cafe in the city that was close to both of our jobs. My matchmaker, Jan, gave me a little bit of background on Aubry. She was twenty-nine, worked not far from my office, and was in marketing. Who wasn’t in marketing these days?
I stood by the door to the cafe and waited for her to arrive. At twelve o’clock precisely she walked into the cafe and I immediately felt attracted to her. Aubry was a tall, athletic, blonde with green eyes. She had flawless skin that was tanned to a perfect glow. I felt like I was being pranked when she and her supermodel looks walked over to me and introduced herself.
“Hello, you must be Max.” She smiled.
“Yes, um, it’s very nice to meet you,” I said, trying to appear more outgoing than I usually was.
I was in my late thirties and standing at five feet ten inches, I was just a bit shorter than she was in her heels. I felt a bit plain and straightforward around her. I wished I had stuck to that diet over the holidays. I felt myself sucking in a bit in front of her.
Aubry held out her hand, and I took it in mine. She smiled, showing off her pouty mouth and perfect white teeth. We got a table near a window overlooking the busy city street.
The waiter came over and took our orders, she had a salad, and I ordered only a coffee. No time like the present to start that diet back up. I’d be at the gym later today.
“So, Max, tell me about yourself.” She smiled, and when she did, she played with a long gold necklace that disappeared into her cleavage. I tried not to stare.
“I work in finance over at Blakely.”
“That’s very close to me. I’m just up the block at Gammel. Too bad, we never met on our own. Instead, we had to hire matchmakers.” She smiled, tossing back her long blonde hair and blowing her bangs out of her eyes.
“Um, yeah, you seem perfectly adequate to find a date on your own. Not like me – I’m a bit chubby and too many lines around my face now.” I joked.
Aubry laughed and shook her head. “Oh, you aren’t chubby or old looking. I’d say rugged, in a good way.” she winked at me.
“Is this the first time you have tried to find romance using a matchmaker?” I asked, trying to make small talk.
“Well, I used one several years ago, but I recently got back on the market after my fiancé, Pete, and I called off our wedding. How about you?”
“Oh, you might say I’ve tried everything. Tinder, Twitter, Facebook, OK CUPID, uh, what’s the one with the fish?”
“Plenty of Fish.” She laughed
“Oh, and Christian Mingle too,” I said now full-on red-faced.
“Religious?” Aubry asked
“Yeah, not at all. Trying something different. I’m a bit embarrassed about it now.” I said sheepishly.
“No need to be. I’ve found you, so now you can relax.” She winked again and giggled.
She was flirting with me. With me! I had hit the lottery with her. I hoped that I’d make a good enough impression that we’d turn our lunch into a dinner date.
Aubry and I spent forty-five minutes talking over lunch, and then we both had to get back to our offices.
I got back to my office and saw I had a missed call from the matchmaker, Jan. I didn’t want to talk right then. I’d follow up later. After each date, I had to check-in, and Jan would tell me what my date thought of me and if we would be setting up a second date.
It was then, and there I realized that I didn’t plan on complying. I was going to cheat and ask Aubry out myself. Only thing I stupidly forgot to get her number.
I stopped what I was doing and looked up the name of the marketing firm she worked at.
Grimm, was it? No, that wasn’t it. I did a search for names in a five-mile radius. GAMMEL MARKETING & ADVERTISING.
“Yes! I’ve got you now.” I said to myself.
I picked up my phone and called.
A receptionist answered in an unfriendly manner.
“Gammel Marketing and finance how can I direct your call?”
“I need to speak with Aubry Matthews, but I’m sorry to say that I don’t have her extension.”
The phone clicked and then began to ring. I expected the receptionist to say “one moment” or “be right with you.” Instead, she simply put me through.
“Aubry speaking, how may I help you?”
Her voice was as beautiful over the phone as it had been two hours ago in person. Could it be possible that I was already falling in love with her?
“Aubry, this is Max from lunch. I know we said that we’d go through Jan, but I thought we really connected and well – what the Hell-would you like to have dinner with me?”
There was a sigh, and I began to think she was going to say no, but then she surprised me.
“Oh my gosh, absolutely. I’d love to go to dinner. I can’t see you tonight. I’m meeting some friends. How about Friday?”
Aubry has accepted, and I was ecstatic.
I even bought a new shirt and tie for the occasion. We agreed to meet at a beautiful Italian place around the corner.
After we ate dinner, we ended up back at her place. I won’t get into details, but she was everything I ever wanted in a woman. She was vibrant, sexy, we made passionate love like there was nothing else in the world that mattered besides us.
I’d say about four weeks I was when something changed.
Aubry has stayed the night at my house, which at this point was pretty standard. She went into work before me, and my apartment was closer to her office.
I rolled over and got up shortly after she left. I showered and then grabbed my bagel she made me before she left. I dressed in a hurry and took a taxi to my office.
When I arrived at work, my boss met me at the door. He looked angry, but I wasn’t entirely sure why.
“I need you to come with me.”
I followed him feeling confused as to why all the seriousness. Then I saw it. All over my door, my walls, my desk were photos of Aubry in multiple compromising positions. I laughed.
“What is this?” I asked him.
“That’s what I’d like to know.”
“Sir, I have no idea how these got here.”
“Clean it up, Max, and make sure this little practical joke doesn’t happen again.”
I pulled out my phone and texted Aubry.
THANKS, BABE, BUT I THINK ONE PHOTO WOULD HAVE BEEN ENOUGH. MY BOSS SAW AND DIDN’T APPRECIATE IT.
I received a response back.
IT WAS ONE LITTLE PHOTO, YOUR INTERN LET ME IN.
I chuckled to myself.
ONE PHOTO COPIED AND HUNG LIKE WALLPAPER. CUTE AND I APPRECIATE IT BUT I DON’T WANT TO GET FIRED.
I ONLY LEFT ONE PHOTO ON YOUR DESK WITH A BOXED LUNCH.
I texted her the photo of my office.
I DIDN’T DO THAT!
I laughed to myself.
IT’S ALL GOOD. I’M NOT MAD
When I got home from work, Aubry was at my place in a panic trying to explain she didn’t make all those copies of that photo even going so far as to say how embarrassing it was.
I reassured her that it was okay that someone at the office was probably just playing a prank on me.
I dropped it.
All was forgotten, and then a week later I was home alone, Aubry was out of town supposedly with friends at a wine retreat, when I heard something outside. Getting up off my sofa, I peered out my patio doors and looked over my balcony to see my neighbor’s trash can had been knocked over.
Figuring it must be raccoons, I went back to my spot on the couch, thinking nothing of it. Eventually, I began to doze off, so I turned off my television and retired to my bed.
At some point, I woke in the middle of the night to something moving around my bedroom. I sat up, turned on my bedroom light, but nothing was there so, I rolled over and fell back to sleep.
The next morning I woke up and that’s when I noticed something strange.
On my kitchen counter was one of Aubry’s hair scrunchies. I know this sounds mild, but my house was clean, and there was absolutely nothing on my kitchen counter the night before. Not to mention, Aubry never even left even a toothbrush in my apartment in the month we had been dating.
It was a minute detail, but one I noticed.
The following Monday, Aubry spent the night, and we watched movies. We always had a great time, and I had fallen rather quickly for her. There was nothing about her that made me feel uneasy.
Tuesday rolled around, and I had to meet a client, Jolene Somerville, at my home. It was perfectly innocent in the ten years she had been my client. Nothing other than a handshake had ever come between us. We went over paperwork, and she had signed some legal documents. Pretty boring stuff. I usually didn’t entertain clients in my home, but as I said, she was a client I had known for ten years. She didn’t have time to go into the office because she worked long hours, so I offered to see her at my place.
We were sitting on my sofa when my sliding glass door shattered into a million pieces. The glass had shattered so hard that we both had shards of glass all over us.
I stood up to see why it had happened as I leaned over my balcony. I saw someone running away, I couldn’t make out who it was.
I filed a police report that night, and poor Mrs. Sommerville had to stay for questioning.
Did I know who may have done it?
Had I pissed someone off lately?
The police gathered it was most likely kids messing around.
The next morning I was walking to my car, and I happened to notice a photograph lying next to my neighbor’s trash can.
I picked it up and realized it was a photo of Aubry. I thought it was strange that it was on the ground outside my apartment. Something didn’t feel right suddenly where she was concerned.
First, there was the office incident with the photos, then her pink scrunchie on my counter, then when I was with a “female” client the brick through my window.
It had to be Aubry doing all of these things. Why?
I didn’t have the answers, but I confronted her with everything that had happened since we started dating.
I asked Aubry to meet me, ironically, in the same cafe we met the first time. She sat across from me wearing a long white dress and long brown boots. Her hair had just been highlighted recently, so it had a certain golden glow that she knew I loved.
Aubry looked at me with her serious green eyes, and I tried to find the words even to confront her.
I mustered up the courage and came out with everything that happened over the last five weeks or so. I told Aubry about the weird hair scrunchie I found in my kitchen when no one had been there the night before, the brick and the uneasy feeling I had when I saw her photo the morning after the brick incident.
“Max, how can you even suggest such a crazy thing? I can assure you that I had absolutely nothing to do with any of those things. I still hold to the truth that the morning I left you a surprise photo in your office, it was just that one photo. I realize that was stupid of me, but I was trying to be sexy and flirty. I wasn’t home the weekend you said you found my hair scrunchie! I’d have had to break into your house! Not to mention, I trust you and would never become so jealous that I’d throw a brick through your window. That is insane. I don’t know why you found my photo outside your door. I don’t know why any of this is happening.”
“I’m not crazy either. I really don’t think we should see each other any longer.” my word was crushing and yet final.
I could see the hurt and the anger in her face. She stood up, threw a small box on the table. “This was your Valentine’s Day gift. Take it anyhow. It will remind you what a crazy jerk you are.”
“I’m not trying to hurt you, Aubry, but all this is kind of weird. Even you have to admit it. If you could prove to me in some way that you never did any of those things, I would feel better.”
“I shouldn’t have to prove shit to you, Max. You should know me well enough by now that I would never do any of those weird things. You know you sound exactly like my ex, Pete. Always accusing me of crazy shit. To think I settled for you.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“When I said you were ruggedly handsome, I was being nice. Let’s face it; you do need to work out more. It might help with your next blind date!”
Aubry stomped off, and as I watched her go, I felt a tinge of hurt and regret. It had to be done, though. The thing with the office photos should have been the first sign that she was “off.”
A week passed by, and I didn’t hear from Aubry. I don’t know why I expected to. I guess I thought she would find a way to prove to me she never did any of those weird things. I wanted it not to be true.
Friday night came, and some of the guys from work invited me out. I declined the invitation because I didn’t feel up to it. The thought of trying to find a date after Aubry was too much. Let’s face it. I’d never find anyone as good looking or as perfect as she was, well as perfect as I believed her to be.
Instead, I settled in for the night with a six-pack of beer and a Chicago pie pizza. As usual, I watched about an hour of television and then dozed off.
I woke up to the sound of my television. It was a scary movie there was screaming, and as I sat up to turn the volume down on my TV, I saw him.
My sliding glass door to my living room was directly across from my couch, and in the doorway of the sliding glass door was a figure. The person was at least six feet tall. Was wearing all black and the scariest part of all was that he was wearing an expressionless white mask, much like something in “Eyes Wide Shut.”
The figure held up their hand and waved to me slowly. The person slowly slid the sliding glass door open and then walked into my apartment. I never kept it locked because I was on the second story. Now I wished I had been smarter. The unmasked man was about four feet away from me when I saw him pull out a large butcher knife. I shot up like a bat out of hell and ran towards my bedroom.
I thought I could at least lock myself inside until I figured out what to do next. Before I could even reach the door to my bedroom, I felt the knife. I was stabbed in my back. I kept running as this stranger was trying to get the knife out of my back. I kept moving.
Blood was now everywhere. I could hear the sound of the knife leaving my flesh. Luckily for me, it was just under my right shoulder blade and nowhere near my spine.
I got to the door and managed to get inside my bedroom just as his head was coming through the door. I saw his mask fall off of his face, and there revealed the face of my assailant.
It was a younger guy, probably late twenties or so. He was a big man, and his large hands were now fighting to keep the door open. I was struggling with everything in me to try and close the door on him.
He was bigger than me, and I used every ounce of strength inside of me to fight him off me.
“How dare you!” he yelled at me as he struggled to get through.
I heard a phone ringing. It distracted us both suddenly because it was loud. I looked down and could see he had dropped his phone behind me. I mustered up enough courage to slam the door shut. I locked it as fast as I could, and he was still trying to get in. I quickly picked up the phone and dropped it. My hands were now covered in sticky blood from my wounds.
I picked up the phone just as I could see, the door was about to crack open. Cheap wooden frame!
He was screaming at me, “She loved you, and you hurt her. You will never see tomorrow after what you did to her!”
I ran towards my bathroom just as I reached a 9-1-1 operator. I quickly explained my situation, and luckily for me, the cops arrived quickly. He was just breaking past the door to my bedroom when I heard sirens. Then I heard cops outside my apartment door. I stood still afraid of leaving the bathroom, but I didn’t hear him outside the door screaming anymore.
Then I heard the door to my apartment open with a tremendous bang.
They apprehended the man quickly. I walked out into the living room to where I was met with two officers who helped me sit down. I heard more sirens, and soon an ambulance was inside my apartment. Neighbors were in the hallway watching everything that was going on.
As they took the man away, he was still shouting at me. “She loved you. She fucking loved you! She’s mine, and you can’t hurt her again.”
I learned the identity of the man was named Peter O’dell. Peter was Aubry’s ex-fiance. I learned that he had photos of us together. One chilling photo was of her and I in bed together sleeping.
Peter was the one that had been breaking into my apartment. He must have followed Aubry to my place as I learned she had a restraining order against him for stalking her. Funny that she didn’t seem to think that was important to mention to me. Even after I accused her of all those things, she never told me about their violent history. If I had known, we could have gone to the cops together. I could have gotten my locks changed.
I learned he had used one of my neighbor’s garbage cans to climb up to my apartment at some point and had entered that way.
Always lock your doors, kids. So I have learned.
I had to testify against Peter for attempted murder. That was the last time I saw Aubry too. She was called as a character witness because of the restraining order. His lawyer was trying to get a reduced sentence saying he had suffered from a mental breakdown after Aubry broke up with Peter. Aubry testified that Pete had always been violent, and that was why she called off the engagement. It worked and got him six years. Not nearly long enough for my peace of mind, but it was better than nothing.
I reached out to Aubry after, but I never got a response. If I learned anything from this, it is to be more open and a better communicator.
Now, if you will excuse me, I have another blind date tonight to get ready for. My date’s name is Susan, and Jan says she works in modeling.
Oh, and wish me luck.