There are some songs out there that touch our souls. I grew up with the most amazing awareness of music, the deeper meanings behind them, why we all have different interpretations. Tonight I am listening to Savage Garden "Truly, Madly, Deeply".
The morning after I met Hugh, I woke up thinking that I must have overthought what had actually happened and that it had to have been an unrequited feeling...What made me so special to have received that kind of attention from such a powerful man?
I showered and dressed for work. As I was heading out the door I grabbed my phone and saw I had a message from Hugh.
I opened it cautiously with a racing heart and saw six words that made my heart race and I actually dropped my bag... "I NEED to see you again". It had been sent at 2 am that morning.
As I bent down to pick up my bag I stopped as my eyes filled with tears. All I could think was...was this some kind of sick joke that the universe was playing on me? I had not long ago broken up with a guy who had said to me that he was intimidated by my industry and couldn't see how it could work because I was so career-driven.
I picked myself up and headed to work.
The entire way there I tried to think of the best way to respond to Hugh's message but every time I wrote something I ended up deleting it.
I REALLY wanted to keep our relationship professional, so I responded by saying that he would need to email me when the event was on and that I would see if I could make it.
Within 20 minutes I received a call. I answered keeping myself calm and casual and he asked me if I would meet him for dinner that night. I gracefully declined and he kept asking me the same question.
After he finally got the message that I wanted to keep things professional he stopped trying to get me to go to dinner and said he would send me an email.
I arrived at work 30 minutes later and opened my email to find his email waiting for me, I looked at my schedule and agreed to go with him.
For the next 2 weeks he messaged me every single day and I really couldn't get rid of him.
I stopped myself from responding what I wanted to until in a moment of weakness I asked him the question I was dying to know. I asked him at the restaurant that night when he stopped me before I was leaving....what was he going to say to me?
His response was unexpected.
"I was going to ask you to stay and have a drink with me, I wanted to be near you, find out more about you and I didn't just want you to stay...I needed you to stay. Your mystery intrigues me and you didn't kiss my ass like most people. I was so confused and intrigued by you from the moment that you called that I knew I had to know more about you. I just wanted to be near you...your innocence is so refreshing".
I could barely believe my eyes, I responded with a "Thank you" and left it at that.
As the next 2 weeks of messaging back and forth kept me occupied and I kept denying him the chance to meet with me he started sharing more and more about himself. I was terrified, excited and also extremely wary. I didn't tell a soul about our exchanges and the night before I was to meet with him again I attended a race day event where I met one of my best friends for the first time. We will call her Rhi.
I met Rhi and we immediately hit it off. We started talking about the industry and all the people that we knew. Hugh's name popped up during the conversation and I relayed the incident with "Pain". She laughed and said to me "He got to you didn't he?". I brushed her comment off as just that comment and changed the subject.
I made an excuse that I needed to go to the bathroom and on my way out I called him.
It turns out that Rhi knew Hugh's son's girlfriend and she had let a few things slip about Hugh that I had wanted to talk to him about.
When I called him he was in the middle of a board meeting and yet he took my call. We talked for 20 minutes about my new friend Rhi and the end of the conversation ended up with him asking me out again. Once again I declined and kept the conversation light-hearted.
The following night Hugh called me to confirm that I would attend the cocktail party with him. He advised that my father's all-time favourite football player would be attending and I asked if I could bring him. a) to protect me and b) because it was my father's idol!
Hugh loved the idea and could wait. Later that night I was running late (which is very unusual for me) and I was bombarded with text messages and calls asking where I was and if I was really going to go. I kept a level head and promised that I would be there soon.
When I arrived there were over 100 people sitting in the hotel lobby bar at the grandest hotel in the city. I entered with my $700 heels on, a black satin top and a pair of skinny jeans. With my confidence soaring I entered the "Boys Club".
I looked around and 2 other women were there with their cleavage hanging out and all over Hugh like a rash.
I smiled, shook his hand and introduced him to my father. They ended up getting on like a house on fire. Hugh shook the women off and introduced my father to his idol where they remained for the rest of the evening locked in conversation. They became instant friends!
Hugh requested that I sit next to him and I did. I engaged in conversation with another well-known celebrity to my right who after an hour said to me "So YOU are AVA!" As Hugh went to the bar to get more drinks (of which I kept declining but he kept ordering...I really wasn't a wine drinker then.) The man to my right who we will call Adam pulled me closer and said to me..."You know he wouldn't shut up about you all friggen day. He kept saying, when is she coming, she should have been here by now and everything to that effect.....I have never seen him like this before...He REALLY likes you". I was completely shocked but responded to Adam with "sure he does" and laughed it off.
The entire night Hugh wouldn't take his eyes off me as I mingled and even as Adam and I ended up singing Bryan Adams "Everything I Do" as we shared similar taste in music.
Later I was introduced to a gentleman when I switched seats who turned out to be a very famous footballer. We talked for over an hour and he began telling me about his life before football and it was gut-wrenching. At that time I could feel Hugh's eyes burning into me from across the circle of chairs and my phone would not stop vibrating.
He kept texting me asking if I was ok and if he could steal me away to talk. I responded that I was fine and left it at that.
My father took the seat next to the footballer and we all started talking. The seat next to me on the right had become vacant while I was engaged in conversation and I hadn't even noticed that Hugh had taken it. My hand was on the armrest but I was leaning into the footballer closer and closer to hear what he was saying as he was lowering his voice as he talked about his life.
In a split second my hand lit on fire as I felt Hugh brush his hand past mine.
I winced as I felt him grab my hand and squeeze it before he pulled me closer to him and placed my hand on his lap while he drew on my palm with his finger.
It felt so right but I wasn't going to let him see that.
He began texting me while I was sitting right next to him and his messages were begging me to walk away so he could talk to me.
All I could think was that my father was RIGHT NEXT TO US!
I didn't respond to his messages or the pain shooting through my arm as his touch was electrifying.
After an hour Hugh tapped me on the shoulder and I looked straight into his beautiful eyes. I leaned in closer and he whispered in my ear so silently in a loud and crowded room...before he had the chance to say anything I looked straight at him and said...I know.
It escaped my mouth before I could stop it and I felt so stupid...How could you fall for someone so quickly and yet not know all that much about them and have barely spent time with them? It was crazy!
He pulled me closer and whispered "I don't care how long it takes, one of these days I will make you see that I am good for you. I am a good person and I have never felt like this before...and I barely even know you!" With that he got up and asked my father if he wanted another drink...I didn't think he had witnessed this exchange but later I found out that he had...more on that later.
My father declined and we agreed to leave.
The look in Hugh's eyes was promising....he promised what he had said and he really did mean it...The problem was...how was I going to escape it? How was I going to maintain a professional relationship and how was I going to fight the feelings that were growing so rapidly inside me? I knew it was going to be a challenge but I have never been one to back down from a fight....and I knew I had to fight this!