Category Archives: Fiction

Hazy Pt 3

His lips grazed my collarbone. Biting on my bottom lip, I suppressed a moan. His hand had found its way underneath my skirt and with a slip of a finger, he began to make the motions of a guitarist gently strumming. I began to hum along to his melody.
Chad embraced me and I could smell the mixture of cigarettes and Calvin Klein on his shirt. I caught a few glares from both men and women.
“I almost didn’t recognize you standing there!  You look great!”
“Thank! So do you!”
We had to scream over the music. However, Chad’s baritone came through a lot clearer than my own voice. I wasn’t sure if it was the bass from the speakers that I felt, or the bass coming from Chad’s voice box. 
            “Tasha has done it again.”
            “Doesn’t she always?”
            “You’re right about that.”
We stopped for a moment and just stared at each other. I waited for him to ask about Juelz but he didn’t.
            “Still painting?”
            “Of course. Still writing?”
“Of course. When is your next art showing? I really enjoyed myself at the last one.”
“I’m not sure yet. I’m working on a piece now but it’s taking longer than expected. I’m at a sort of loss for inspiration.”
“Maybe you need some excitement.”
“Yeah, maybe. That’s why I came out. I’m hoping that the big rotten apple has something for me tonight.”
“Well, if it doesn’t, at least you still look great. What are you drinking?”
“Anything that will get me drunk.”
Chad turned to the bar and flagged down the bartender. She flirted with Chad as he ordered shots for the both of us and glared at me standing beside him. After about 4 shots I began to feel warm. I knew that pretty soon I’d be very drunk and so I should stick to beer for the rest of the night. 
            “Chad, I think you’ve done your duty.”
            “Drunk already? You used to be able to handle more than this.”
He laughed and ordered us two beers. The same bartender glared at me but with the liquid courage flowing through my veins I smiled and gave her the finger. She rolled her eyes and turned to retrieve our drinks.
            “Still a feisty drunk I see.”
            “Old habits die hard. I’ll be right back though. I have to go to the bathroom.”
“You’re breaking the seal already? Oh come on!  When did you become such a softy?”
I shrugged and smiled as I took off my jacket.
            “Keep this safe. I’ll be right back.”
I pushed my way through the crowd and towards the back of the club. I spotted Tasha in the VIP section sitting on some man’s lap. Same old Tasha. I made my way to the bathroom and was surprised that there wasn’t a line outside of the door. Was it out of order? Whatever. I just wanted to sprinkle some cool water on my neck. 
I walked inside and turned on the faucet. Just then I heard a knock at the door.
            “Busy!” I shouted.
There was another knock.
            “Hold on!”
I was rummaging through my purse when I heard the door open.
            “Jesus Christ! I said someone…”

Hazy Pt. 2

I felt his hand travel up my thigh, stopping at the seam of my skirt. I watched him examine my face. I felt the blood rushing to my head and there was a pulse between my thighs. He smirked and flashed his teeth a bit. What did he have in mind here? Where was I letting this lead? And why did I want it to lead anywhere at all?

I heard a whistle from behind me and turned around to see Phil giving me a once over. 
“Isn’t it past your bedtime, Phillip?”
“You gonna tuck me in?”
“No. That’s your mommy’s job.”
Phil was a 21 year old that lived across the hall. He moved in a year ago with his girlfriend but she soon left when she caught him red handed with another woman in their living room. Phil didn’t seem too disappointed by the split. Now he could shuffle women in and out of his apartment without having to answer to anybody.  According to him, that was what being 21 was all about. Must be nice. 
“I’ll be home all night waiting for you.”
“Don’t hold your breath. Good night, Phil.”
I continued my trek down to the lobby where Juelz was waiting for me. 
“Look at you! Finally out of those filthy chucks and into some grown woman shoes! Bravo!”
“You and Tasha are paying my hospital bill when I break my ankle.”
“Oh hush.”
We walked outside and the brisk air smacked me right in the face. I had stopped going to clubs a year ago. I forgot how it felt to wear barely anything during February in New York. I was cold. I clutched my leather jacket closer to my body. It barely helped. The doorman hailed a yellow taxi for Juelz and I and within 5 minutes we were on our way. Juelz wasted no time taking out his black, sequenced flask and taking a swig. He swallowed hard and twisted his face. He handed me the flask and I followed suit, taking 3 shots of the mystery elixir. I wanted to be on the road to inebriation well before the party got to be too much. It was 12 midnight and I planned on sneaking out by 2:00 if I could shake Juelz and Tasha. 
            “Chad is coming.”
            “Oh?”
            “He sent me a text saying how he can’t wait to see me. Bitch.”
Chad was Juelz’s kryptonite. He would walk into a room and Juelz would turn into mush. Juelz put up a pretty good front to the untrained eye and ear about how much he hated the man, but I saw right through it. Besides, Chad made heterosexual women wish that they were homosexual men. Little did they know, penis or no penis, Chad only had eyes for Juelz. He, like many other men, gay or straight, just had a very fucked up way of showing it. 
The cab stopped in front a long line of people that seemed to stretch across the entire island of Manhattan. We didn’t do lines though. I stepped out of the backseat and stumbled a bit. Yup. The alcohol was starting to take effect. Juelz scanned the crowd at the front door and spotted Benny. Benny was a bouncer that had stopped a bar fight I was in once. Since then, he’s been like a big brother. And like an all access V.I.P pass to every event we ever wanted to go to in the city.
“Benny!”
“Va-va-voom! Check you out! Not your usual garb but I’m into it!”
I blushed and played with the hem of my skirt. I felt like everyone could see my ovaries.
            “Our names are on the list.”
Benny scanned his clipboard. Even if the names weren’t there, he had to put on a show for the crowd that he wasn’t letting just anyone inside. He nodded his head and stepped aside so that Juelz and I could enter. 
            “Stay outta trouble, Tyson.”
            “Haha. Very funny, Benny.”
The music was blaring and almost deafening. I needed another drink. Juelz and I separated and I made a beeline for the bar. I figured he was going to find Tasha. I’d find them eventually. I approached the bar and squeezed through the crowd. I glanced to my right and spotted Chad. He flashed his million dollar smile and made his was in my direction.

Beastly

I opened my eyes and forced them shut again. Was I even alive? I had to be. Either that or I was in hell and being forced to relive a hangover for all eternity. The air in the room was thick with the smell of the alcohol that I was sweating out through my pores. I surveyed the room, now illuminated by sunlight. What time was it? I sat up, searching for my cellphone that was undoubtably lost in a sea of blanks. On the nightstand was an empty cognac bottle. That explained the wicked headache I had. I cursed myself. I finally found my phone and tapped it’s home button to awaken it.
But before noticing the time, I noticed the green bubble next to a name I was all too familiar with seeing on my screen when nights like last night happen.I’d gone there again. I’d done it again. I’d opened that cage within me that was dead-bolted shut whenever I was in my sober, less impulsive frame of mind. Funny how alcohol made me forget everything else but where I’d hidden the keys that unlocked this kennel and let loose beastly urges and rabid emotions that liked to sink their teeth into victims and lock their jaws. The last time I unleashed these beasts, there wasn’t a survivor in sight.

What did you do? No. Don’t open it. Delete. Delete. Delete. You were drunk. You still kind of are. What are you doing? You’ll be sorry. Stop!

Swipe

I scrolled up. I cursed myself again. It’s also funny how hard liquor can make me so soft.

“I miss you”

“You must be drunk”

“Why I gotta be all that?”

“You’re only nice to me when you’re drunk.”

“Man whatever”

“That was fast”

“You miss me?”

“Lol”

“Don’t play with me”

“Who’s playing?”

“Fuck you”

“See this is why I can’t fucking stand you”

“Blah blah”

“Leave me alone. Bye”

“When am I going to see you?”

“Never.”

“Keep playing with me.”

“I’m not doing this with you.”

“Listen man”

“Door plz”

Huh? Did I miss something? I checked my call log. 3 outgoing calls had gone unanswered but the fourth and last must have been received. The call lasted 15 minutes. That was just enough time for those monsters to prepare to feast.

I put the phone down. There was the sound of bare feet padding against the hardwood floor in the hallway, heading in the direction of my bedroom door. I caught myself holding my breath as I waited for the doorknob to turn. In she walked. Without a word she climbed back into bed with me. Securing herself in my arms she planted a kiss on my lips. The beast salivated. She looked at me as if she already knew that she was now in the lion’s den. And while we both hoped that this time would be different we knew she would not leave here in one piece. Without intending to, I’d once again sink my teeth in and treat her heart like a chew toy. She looked away and sighed, ready to be eaten alive.

Hazy

We were nose to nose. Both of us breathing heavily. My skin felt as though it had been set ablaze. I inhaled. His cologne was intoxicating. He brushed a thumb across my bottom lip and gazed into my eyes intensely. I felt light-headed. I hadn’t even noticed him follow me into the bathroom.
Tasha was infamous for throwing the best parties. She was “close” with all of the popular club owners and they never had any objections when she asked to use their venues for her own personal gatherings at barely any price. At least not a price many self-respecting women would be willing to pay. But then again, who is anyone to say that Tasha had no self-respect. 
“No, Ramon! I said I wanted 50 bottles of your best champagne. Not 50 bottles of the cheap shit that nouveau riche, hip-hop artists waste by pouring on an underage hoodrat’s ass! Get me what I asked for!”
She tossed her cellular phone down on the couch and put her hands on her hips, looking flustered. She was such a drama queen. 
“I swear its like talking to a brick wall when I have to plan anything with that man.”
I continued to stare at my canvas. My blank canvas. Lately, inspiration had been hard to come by. I had hit a month long roadblock. Maybe if I sat in front of the canvas long enough, something would just happen. 
“You’re coming tonight right?”
“No. I have to paint.” I didn’t look away from the canvas.
“Paint like you’re doing now?”
I glared over my shoulder and sent imaginary knives straight for her.
“I’m just saying,” she responded when she noticed my death stare. 
“You’re always saying something. How about you shut up for once?”
I heard Tasha make a hissing noise at me as her heels clicked against my hardwood floor towards the kitchen. I went back to my canvas and back to trying to will something to happen. It was a failed attempt. I was beginning to get a headache. Closing my eyes and rubbing my temples, I got up from my stool and walked into the kitchen. Maybe I should eat something I thought. There I found Tasha picking at a bowl of grapes on the counter. 
“I’m coming to your stupid party.”
“Good. Now get dressed. We’re going shopping because I know that not a thing you own will do for this event.”

Out

“What are you doing?”
“Looking at porn.”
“As if you need more shoes.”
“It’s a coping mechanism.”
“You must’ve gone through a lot.”
“As my best friend of 10 years, you should know.”
“Hmm. You’re right. Oh! Those are cute!”
Jessie pointed a perfectly manicured finger at a pair of blue suede pumps on my computer screen. They were cute. And blue just happened to be my favorite color. With a few clicks, my 6 inch pain killers were in a virtual shopping cart, ready for purchase.
“But where the hell am I going in them anyway?!” I whined.
For the past six months, I’d been in a rut. Everything just felt so…so…blah. I felt unfulfilled professionally, socially, romantically and sexually. My life was fifty shades of grey. Except middle aged white women wouldn’t be flocking to their nearest Barnes and Noble to snatch a hardcover retelling of my life and discuss it in hushed tones at play dates and soccer games. Maybe they’d recommended it to one another as quality bird cage lining. I threw my head back and let out a sound that I imagined would come from a dying giraffe. Jessie laughed.
“So glad you think this is funny.”
“You’re so dramatic! Are you still upset about-”
“I’m upset about everything.”
“Welcome to life.”
I got up from my desk and began to pace around my room. Jessie planted herself on the edge of my bed next to my 6 month old dachshund, Frankie. He was keeping himself busy with a chew toy. Oh to live the simple life of a dog and be so easily entertained.
“I’m just bored. I’m bored with everything. Nothing is happening. I have nothing to look forward to. Nothing to be excited about. This is my fifth consecutive Saturday night at home. The only reason I’m not alone this time is because Mikey is out of town on business, so you’ve got free time.”
“It better be business.”
“The point is, nothing moves me. How am I supposed to write when nothing moves me to do so? Am I supposed to write about this white wall? Who am I? William Carlos Williams? Shit, even his white fence had a red wheel barrel and chickens to spice things up!”
“That’s it. Go shower.”
“Huh?”
I stopped on what must’ve been my fifth lap around the room. I’d forgotten for a second that I wasn’t talking to myself for once.
“Go take a shower.”
Jessie stood up and headed towards my closet.
“What are you looking for?”
She ignored me and I was back to feeling like I was having dialogue with myself again. I watched her rummage through my disorganized closet.
“Jessie. What are you doing?”
“I’m tired of your moping. We’re going out. Now go wash that depression and desperation off of you.”
“Going out where?”
“OUT!”
I immediately began to regret my rant. My regret grew when I saw Jessie staring at a sequenced cloth on a hanger a little too long.
“You’re still here.”
I looked at Frankie. He hadn’t looked up from his chew toy once. I headed for the bathroom while making a mental note to remember how shutting up was usually in my best interest.

Part Eight

“Quinn?”

I’d know her anywhere. I was taken aback by how much she’d changed and yet remained the same. She had filled out a bit more. Her hair was longer. But when she turned and smiled, I saw the same woman I’d fallen in love with four years ago.

“Ryan!”

I moved closer to her and began to extend my arms to embrace her, but I stopped once I noticed her right hand was being occupied by a smaller one. The hand belonged to a little girl with wild, curly hair and bright brown eyes. My heart stopped. She was beautiful.

“So how are you? What are you even doing in this area?” she asked.

The little girl tugged on Quinn’s hand and gazed up at her. Quinn scooped the child up into her arms and rested her on her hip. I was mesmerized.

“Congratulations on the wedding.”

“Thanks. Had to grow up sooner or later, right?”

“I guess so. I know you made her so happy. She’s a great woman. Don’t goof.”

“I’m trying. How did you-?”

“I heard from a mutual friend of mine and her’s. Kelly.”

“Oh.”

I looked away for a moment. She knows Sam’s friends. I knew better than to have invited her to the wedding. Even if I could have found her. She moved out of the complex and quit her job at the restaurant. After the day I showed up at her apartment unannounced, we avoided each other for weeks. I wanted to talk to her but every time I’d see her, it was clear that she didn’t want to communicate with me any longer. Then one day, she was gone without a trace and I had no choice but to continue with my own life with Sam. I loved Sam and wanted to finally be who she deserved. Within the next two years, we moved in together, got engaged and got married. It all happened very suddenly but Sam was happy, so I was happy. Quinn was gone and I assumed she was moving on with her life just as I had. Three years passed since I’d seen her last.

My attention was drawn back to the child. I couldn’t help but stare. She peeked at me, then hid her face in her mother’s hair.

“She’s gorgeous.”

“Thank you. She’s all I’ve got.”

“What’s her name?”

“McKenzy. But we call her Mac.”

“Hey, Mac.”

“Hi,” she said in a small voice.

“How are you? Its nice to meet you.”

She stared at me. A thoughtful look spread across her face. She must have been about three years old. Just then, my heart stopped. Was I crazy?

“Quinn!”

Her name could barely escape my lips. She looked me in my eyes then looked away.

“Quinn!!”

“You have a wife.”

“Is this my child, Quinn!?! You’ve had me living my life in the complete dark for the past three years! I was thinking that you just wanted things between us to end, but you were running away with my flesh and blood?!”

“I didn’t run away. I found out after I decided to leave. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do.”

“Why didn’t you tell me?!”

“Because what good would it have done, Ryan? You weren’t leaving her. I didn’t want my child to be a scapegoat for a coward.”

“A coward?”

“Yes. If you weren’t afraid to be honest and to take a risk, you would’ve left her. But you were comfortable. You married her, Ryan! You made your choice.”

“You made it for me!”

“I just knew what would happen before you did. That’s all.”

I looked at the child again. My daughter. She was a spitting image of Quinn. But I could see myself in that face. How could Quinn possibly think that what she’d done was okay?! To just vanish and have my child without me ever knowing? I wanted to scream. I wanted to cause a scene. I wanted to take my daughter into my arms and cry. I looked back at Quinn and tried to keep my emotions in order. I noticed a locket hanging from her chain. I’d given it to her as a gift on her birthday years ago. I hadn’t thought much of it and it was the only gift I’d ever gotten her. She never wore it when we were still speaking. She had said she was trying to find a picture to put in it. She noticed where my attention had gone and opened the locket to reveal what she had finally put in there. There was a photograph of she and Mac on the right side and on the left a photo of she and I. We didn’t take many pictures together. In fact, we didn’t take any at all except for that one photograph. She’d found one of those disposable cameras laying around her mother’s house and brought it home to finish whatever film was left over. She said she didn’t have enough real pictures and she wanted to start a photo album that wasn’t only accessible through Facebook. But I never knew if she got the picture developed or not. That day was the happiest we’d ever been. We spent the whole day laughing. That was the day I knew I loved her. That’s when it wasn’t just an affair anymore. I felt myself getting chocked up. This was all too much.

“I won’t ask for anything from you. We’re fine. No money is needed. I just want you to be happy. That’s all I ever wanted for you. And you are. One day, when she’s older, I’ll tell her everything about us. How her mother and father made some mistakes but in the end there was a beautiful product of those mistakes. If she wants to find you and have a relationship with you, and vice versa, then I will not be in the way of that. But right now, I don’t want her to be the reason that your life possibly falls out of place. “

“Sam can’t have children.”

“Oh my God, Ryan.”

“We found out a few months ago.”

I touched the little girl’s hair. I fucked up.

“I never stopped loving you, Quinn.”

“Maybe if you hadn’t started at all, you’d be better off.”

Part Seven

This couldn’t have been my life. Of course this was my life! Things like this only happen in television series, movies and to me! Where was the camera? Where was Ashton? Did Ryan really show up at my door? Unannounced? While Kyle was here? I held my breath waiting for someone to react. What must’ve been only 30 seconds, felt like 30 years. I could’ve sworn that I felt 5 grey hairs sprout from my scalp the very second I spotted Ryan in my doorway.
“Is Quinn home?”
“Yeah. She’s here.”
I guessed that that was my cue to show myself and come out from hiding in the corner. I stepped into Ryan’s view behind Kyle and forced a smile. His expression looked confused, hurt and pissed off.
“Hi!”
“Hey”
“What’s up?”
Ryan looked over at Kyle who was still standing in the doorway. Why couldn’t there have been a fire or something? Three was most certainly not company.
“I’m just gonna go. I came by to say hi but you’ve got company and I don’t want to bother you.”
I wanted to tell him to stay but I stopped myself. I began to think about all of my unanswered texts and phone calls. The times when I needed Ryan and he wasn’t there. Not just because he was with Sam, but because he didn’t want to be there. I was never a priority. I would never be a priority. I thought of all these things and felt the tips of my ears get hot. Now I was pissed.
“Alright”
Ryan must have expected me to have begged him to stay because his face dropped. This got to me even more. Of course that’s what he expected of you Quinn! After showing up unannounced and ignoring you countless times, of course be excepts you to ditch whatever you’re doing to cater it him. It’s because you always have before. You accepted that treatment. You accepted being second rate to him. I scolded myself. Ryan was still staring at me in disbelief. I figured he was waiting for me to tell him that I would call him later or something. I wouldn’t though. I couldn’t. I told myself as well as him that this was over and I meant it. When he finally realized that I wasn’t going to say anything more, he looked from me to Kyle once more. He nodded his head as if to say that he understood and turned to walk back down the hall towards the elevator. Kyle shut the door. I felt nauseous. I ran into the bathroom, leaned over the toilet seat and vomited. In all of the excitement, I’d forgotten about being ill for the past couple of days. Or at least I was trying to convince myself that thats what it was. After taking a moment to freshen up, I joined Kyle in the living room again. He was on the couch, staring into space. When he finally noticed that I’d come back, he motioned for me to come join him. I smiled and obliged, resting my head in his lap and allowing him to run his fingers through my curls.
“You okay?”
“I’m fine.”
At least I thought I was fine. I thought I’d feel good after ending things with Ryan but I missed him already. Despite how fucked up our relationship with one another was, I loved him. Even if it was one sided. Even if he’d never leave Sam to be with me. I was irrationally in love with him. But it didn’t matter anymore. It was time to stop being irrational.
“So that was him?”
“Huh?” Kyle’s voice snapped me out of my thoughts.
“That’s him.”
“Him who?”
“Him.”
I didn’t say anything. Kyle knew who and what that was. It hurt more because he seemed to still care about me in spite of everything. Before Ryan’s visit, I’d spent an hour spilling my guts to Kyle. I told him everything. If he wanted me to feel about him the way that he felt about me, I warned him that he would only end up hurt. But if his friendship was what he was willing to give in exchange for mine, then we would be fine. He said he needed time to think about it and I understood that. But for now, I was grateful that he at least stayed awhile longer. I felt him put his lips to my forehead and exhaled.

Part Six

I hadn’t heard from Quinn in a few weeks. It wasn’t unusual for us to go this long without speaking, but the nature of her last call told me that this time was different. I hadn’t meant to stand her up, but Sam was beginning to act strangely. The night Quinn called me, I was supposed to be going to see her but Sam had come over unannounced with a list of things she needed to talk about. She’d been doing it for weeks now and I didn’t know how to blow her off if I wasn’t prepared.
“You’re always out somewhere,” she’d whine whenever I parted my lips to protest against another night of talking or sitting in my living room pretending to listen to her talk. And when she wasn’t sure if I was really listening, I’d get showered with a million and one questions about where I went, what I did and how many breaths did I take that day. She was never this smothering before and we always allowed each other space and time alone or with our friends. Now it was like I couldn’t sneeze without Sam asking me why.
I finally was granted a pardon when Sam told me she would be hanging out with her mother and sister. Some spa day or whatever. All I knew was that I was happy to have her out of my hair for the day.
After hitting the gym and showering, I collapsed on my living room couch. I turned on the television and began to mindlessly surf through channels. I’m not a big TV watcher aside from sporting events and the occasional weather report. I landed on one of the movie channels my cable service provided and noticed that one of Quinn’s favorite movies was on. I couldn’t tell you much about the plot. I only remembered the way Quinn would laugh hysterically when the main character told a joke or found herself in an awkward situation. I missed her laugh. I missed her.
I reached for my cellphone and scrolled through my contacts. Landing on her name, I hit “call” and waited to her her usual greeting for me. “Hey loser!” she’d say. But there was no such greeting this time. I was met with the automated voicemail telling me to leave a message after the tone. Maybe she’s taking a nap. I thought as I hung up the phone. She could always nap over here. Or maybe she’s still mad at me.
I was never the type to pop up on people at their homes but all of a sudden, I was overcome with a feeling of urgency. I needed her around right that minute. I grabbed my keys to my apartment and hurried out the door. I usually made this trip when I needed an escape. When Sam and I were fighting. Or when I was lonely or needed a laugh. I found myself in front of her door, a little short of breath. I didn’t realize that I practically sprinted up the two flights of stairs that separated our floors. I heard voices coming from inside the apartment and assumed her TV was on. I pounded my fist on her door. As soon as my knocking stopped, so did the voices.
“Who is banging on my door like they’re the police??? Is that the delivery guy??”
I smiled and prepared a witty response for when she would open the door. But before I could get a word out and then scoop her into my arms, a pair of unfamiliar eyes met my confused glare.
“Can I help you?” he asked.

Part Five

You have to stop. You have to stop making yourself so available.
The hot water streaming from the showerhead, beat against my shoulders. I closed my eyes as I took a deep breath and tried to imagine how it would feel to have every trouble be scrubbed away and vanish forever down the drain. Unfortunately, no matter how hard I scrubbed, buffed, exfoliated and cleansed my body, my heart still wore the wear and tear of it all. Skid marks and footprints. Bruises and cuts. Battered and beaten. But, not all these wounds were caused by another. Most of them were self-inflicted.
I hadn’t spoken to Ryan in a week. He hadn’t tried to speak to me much either. He stood me up tonight. It wasn’t uncommon, but it was always disappointing. I was that stupid puppy that sat waiting at the door for her little boy to come home from school to play with her. But the little boy was more interested in other things. There was no need for him to rush “home.”
Do you know how stupid you look? Can never learn your lesson, huh? He does this because you make him think its okay to.
I cared more than I should have. This was not supposed to happen and yet it always did. It was like driving drunk and waiting to cause an accident. A 5 car pile-up on a busy expressway. Eventually I’ll crash. A few innocent bystanders will be caught in the chaos. Perhaps there’ll be a gas leak and an engine will explode, causing an inferno that will incinerate everything and everyone involved except for me. I’ll live to do it to myself all over again. Stupid. Careless.
I got out of the shower. The only light in my bedroom came from the yellow glow of the streetlights outside. I picked up my phone. My cheeks wet. In three rings I heard his voice on the other end.
“Hello?”
“I’m finished.”
Click.

Part Four

“Quit it!”
“Nope! You started it so now you have to pay.”
“Okay! Okay! I’m sorry!”
I tried to wriggle free but his grip was too strong. I could barely breathe because I was laughing so hard. He’d discovered how sensitive my sides were a long time ago and I was paying for my comments about his “cooking.” He’d never been much of a cook. The proof was in the pudding. And the pudding was what was supposed to be his mother’s famous porridge. Instead it was more like liquid cement.
“Say it again!”
“I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I’m sorry!”
“Say you’ll eat the porridge.”
“Never! It tastes like glue!”
I managed to get out of his grasp and ran away from him to the other side of the kitchen but he was too fast. He got ahold of me once more and this time picked me up and threw me over his shoulder.
“Me, Tarzan! You, Jane! Jane no eat breakfast, Jane must pay price!”
“Oh yeah? And what are you going to do about it?”
He marched towards the bedroom. The curtains did pirouettes in the breeze that was coming in through the opened window and sunlight warmed the room. Our clothes littered the floor and I smiled to myself while remembering what happened here the night before. I landed on the bed with a soft thud. We paused for a moment. That smile. His smile. It was contagious.
“I love you, Quinn.”
My smile disappeared and I looked away.
“Don’t freak out. You know what I mean. I just love being around you and spending time with you.”
I sat up and pressed my knees to my chest. How could I be so selfish?
Kyle had come into my life unexpectedly and I thought that our friendship would be innocent enough. From the beginning it was clear that he was a good fit for me. And once we started dating, it felt nice to be treated how I had always hoped to be. I loved Ryan, but he had a girlfriend. He was in a relationship. We were wrong for seeing each other and it was time that I went out and found someone of my own. I knew he was beginning to care about me. I was even growing a soft spot for him as well. But I was holding back. As soon as Kyle started to open up, I began to shut down. Was I really ready to date anyone else? Was I ready to date at all? It wasn’t fair to use Kyle like a security blanket. When Ryan chose to participate in his actual relationship and I was left alone, I’d call Kyle. No, it wasn’t fair at all. And here this man was, deserving of a woman better than the one I was, and he couldn’t see it.
Maybe if I could convince him that he didn’t care as much as he thought he did, I could also convince myself that I wasn’t totally fucked up and I could stop feeling as low as I did. I was becoming one of those people that my friends and I always said we hated.
“I love everything about you. I love your sense of humor. I love your free spirit. I love how you squint your eyes, knowing you need your glasses but you insist that its only a habit. I love that you yell at the television when you’re favorite show is on. I love when you make me grilled cheese sandwiches with bacon and then eat some of mine as well as all of your’s. I love your laugh. I love how you’re still gorgeous even when you do your ugly cry. I love that you’re a nerd and you want to be married in a library. I know you’re afraid of something. I’m not sure what it is and when you’re ready to tell me, I’ll listen.”
I wanted to tell him everything. How I didn’t deserve him and how I’d spent the past 3 years as someone’s secret. I wanted to tell him about how selfish I was for what I was doing to him and to Sam. I wanted to say that as wrong as I knew it was, I couldn’t stop. In some ways I didn’t want to. I was a terrible person and Kyle should run away as fast as he could because I would only hurt him too. But instead I said nothing at all. I touched his cheek. My chest felt heavy. My phone rang and I glanced over at the caller I.D.
Ryan.