Authors: LaNayia Cribbs
His eyes narrowed and he folded his arms across his chest. “And what is so magical about next week?”
“Nothing.” she lied. Next week could be the week he decided it was time to move on. Other than Lauren she didn’t remember him dating the same girl for more than a month or two. They’d been seeing each other for over a month now and she struggled not to think about the giant imaginary clock hanging over their heads reminding her that their time together was due to expire any day now.
They’d been spending time at her apartment a lot over the past month but she tried to stay away from anything romantic. That was the reason she avoided seeing his home with him. It would hurt too much to walk down halls knowing that she wouldn’t ever live there with him. Look at bedrooms and foolishly imagine them in pretty pinks and pastel blues of a nursery. It wouldn’t be their master bedroom. So she didn’t want to go. She knew she was headed for heartbreak but she was hoping she if she kept her imagination under control she could at least enjoy the time that they were together. If she could just stop picturing that clock counting down the hours until he got bored with her and left.
She sighed and rinsed off the corn before dropping it in the pot.
“I’ve known you since we were kids. You think I can’t tell when you are lying?”
Angela placed the now seasoned pork chops in the pan to cook. She turned and looked at Isaac. Yes, he certainly looked angry. He had already fixed the buttons on his shirt, probably done it as she stood cooking dinner.
“Do you want beer, soda or wine with dinner tonight?” she offered hoping to change the subject.
“Have you told your Aunt about us?” he asked.
“Damn, Isaac!” he was like a dog with a bone today! She stomped her foot in frustration. “Where is all this coming from? No, I haven’t talked to my Aunt about anything, I didn’t really think there was a reason to.” she sputtered. The moment the words left her mouth she wished she could reel them back in. If only she could grab world’s largest eraser and scrub the words from history. Judging by the thunderous look on his face he had taken the ill chosen words exactly as predicted.
"Why do you refuse to see me as someone you can be together with? What is so wrong with me that you aren't even really willing to give me a serious chance to have a relationship with you, outside of fucking you senseless every night?" he spat out bitterly.
"Why can't we just do what we've been doing?" she asked helplessly.
“Cause it's not enough!” he thundered.
“You have got to be kidding me! You used to change women as often as you changed your socks. Now because I'm not trying to make a big deal out of what’s going on between us, you’re freaking out on me?”
“Key words there Angie, Used to.”
Her movements were jerky, her agitation obvious as she spun around and picked up the chopped veggies and tossed them in the pan with the almost finished pork chops. “I'm just... I don't want to. I'm sorry.” Angela walked over to the sink and began washing her hands. She felt the warmth of his chest as he pressed against her before his arms circled her body.
“Why? Baby why?” His deep baritone voice whispered, his warm breath tickling the back of her neck. “Do you know how crazy this is driving me? We spent so much time writing to each. We talked about so many things that I’ve never told another person before. I feel like I know everything there is to know about you, but the reality is I don’t know very much at all. I can’t figure out what is going on inside of that head of yours right now. It feels like I’m constantly fighting to break down some wall you are determined to keep between us. Until you decided to stop writing me four months ago, I would’ve said that we could tell each other anything.”
His words felt like a dagger in her chest.
“You have always been so strong and so brave. How can you suddenly be some completely different person right now?” he asked softly.
“I don't want to get hurt.” She whispered. She was embarrassed to hear the words aloud. Horrified that such cowardice would fall from her lips, but it was the truth nonetheless. “You’re family has been an important part of my life. I don’t know how to be involved with you knowing that it could shatter so many other relationships too. It’s driving me crazy knowing that a person I care about so much, that has been there for me through so much in my life, might not be there anymore.”
“Maybe we should have talked more, or started things differently. I don’t know. I just don’t want this to blown up in our faces.” She shook her head and wiped the escape tear from her cheek. Honesty forced her to admit her darkest fear, “I don't think I could bear it you ever cheated on me.”
His body stiffened behind her. She could hear the anger in his tone when he asked "Why would you think I was capable of breaking your trust in that way. Is that really what you think of me?”
She pushed his arms from her body and turned off the stove. Frustrated she spun around and looked him straight in the eyes. “Then why did you and Laura split up?”
Isaac laughed, and the bitter sound seemed to bounce off the walls of the small kitchen. “Laura. That’s the reason you can’t take me seriously? Wow.” He exclaimed as he ran his fingers through his hair and paced restlessly through her kitchen.
Angela crossed her arms over her chest. “Marcie told me that she spoke with Lauren and that she thought you were seeing someone else.” she admitted tensely.
“You remember when your Aunt Dorothy was diagnosed with Breast Cancer.” he asked his piercing gaze on her.
“Of course, that was more than six months ago.” she answered. Her auntie complained one evening of having chest pains. She quickly gave her auntie an aspirin and drove her to the nearest hospital. While being treated for a heart attack they diagnosed her aunt with stage II breast cancer.
Angela was a wreck when she found out. It was bad enough that she’d already lost both of her parents in a collision with a drunk driver but when she faced losing her beloved Auntie, she was so deeply wounded she could still barely remember what happened during that time.
“You were a mess. You spent most of the night crying and you refused to leave the hospital. You wouldn’t eat. Everyone was worried.” he reminded her.
“What does any of that have to do with Laura.” she asked confused.
“Laura broke up with me soon after. She knew that I’d been emailing a friend but she didn’t know who it was. She started getting upset because she said it was interfering with our relationship. When your aunt was in the hospital, I knew Marcella was in Italy. I dropped everything to come down here.”
Angela could only gape at him. How could she be the reason for their break up? “That doesn’t make sense. Laura met me. She knew we were just friends. Why would she feel that you were cheating with me? I know you stayed for a week, but nothing happened!”
“I told her that but she didn’t like the way I dropped everything to be there for you. When she went through my emails she said it was more than just friends. She didn’t want you around. She gave me an ultimatum and when I didn’t immediately toss you out of my life she packed her bags and left.” he told her. “She said that she didn’t want to waste her time only to find something happening between us later. So long as you remained in my life she would always worry.”
“That’s crazy!” exclaimed Angela.
“Is it?” he asked moving closer.
“Of course it is.” She whispered.
“I never said anything because she was right.”
Angela stared as Isaac moved closer until his forehead touched hers and she could feel each breath across the bridge of her nose. “What are you saying?”
“She was right. I wanted you when you were 15 and I knew that I couldn’t do anything about it. I forgot everything I when I kissed you. If Marcella hadn’t come,” he trailed off. “When we started emailing, it seemed like the perfect solution. Then we started telling each other such intimate details ourselves. The more I knew the more that I wanted to know. I was happy whenever I got an email from you and disappointed whenever I didn’t.
“I knew I’d opened the door on all of those old feelings but by then I was already with Lauren. She was a nice girl and she cared about me. I figured we could be happy with each other, so why not? Then she asked me to end it I realized I couldn’t picture my life without you in it.” He whispered.
Angela felt like a complete fool. This whole time she was afraid to trust Isaac with her heart fearing that one day she wouldn’t be enough for him; that he would find someone else. It turns out that the only ‘other woman’ was her! She would never have intentionally come between them or stood in the way of their relationship. Yet, if she’d had any clue that Isaac wanted to be with her, would she truly have sat back and given up her chance at happiness?
“You have to decide Angie. I don’t want half of you. I’m not interested in any kind of friends with benefits relationship with you. I love you, and I want a chance to have something real with you, but you are fighting me every step of the way. I can’t make you love me and I can’t make you trust me. I can’t make you stay with me either.” he kissed her on the forehead and stepped away.
Angela dropped her face into her hands. How could she be so stupid? Over the years she had trusted him with so much but when it mattered most she’d taken the words of someone else to mean more than the actions of the person she knew so well. She’d let someone else inspire so much fear in her and for that she was so ashamed! She’d almost let the words of someone else come between her and the man she loved. Remorse and shame filled her. Those emotions quickly gave way to a new fear when she heard the click of her front door closing.
Angela rushed to the living room only to see the slight swinging of the small curtain over the window on the door. Her only thoughts were of Isaac as she rushed barefoot out of the house.
“Please. Don’t leave.” she called out to his retreating form as he reached his truck; his jacket gripped between tight fingers. His footsteps paused and he tightened his grip on the jacket. “I’m sorry, Isaac. I really am. Please. Please don’t leave.” she begged.
He turned around and faster than she thought possible his powerful arms were wrapped around her body lifting her into the air. She knew he would be able to feel her shaking in his arms but she couldn’t find the will to care. She’d come closer to losing him than she’d ever imaged and it wasn’t because of something he’d done. Rather it had been her lack of trust in him that was driving a wedge between them. She was just grateful that he was there with her in that moment.
He lifted her onto the hood of the truck. Her legs wrapped around his body and his lips descended over hers. His tongue dueled with her and arousal curled in her belly as warm fingers grasped her hips pulling her body into his hardness. Her fingers pushed their way into his wavy hair and tugged on the strands.
A loud wolf whistle ripped through the air followed by chuckling. Angela looked up to see a group of six people walking down the street.
“Get’em girl!” called a female from the moving group.
“Looks like you have an audience” laughed Isaac setting her back onto her feet. His tone was serious as he said, “Come home with me.”
Angela looked up into intense eyes. “Ok.”
Twenty minutes later he was showing her through the 3 bedroom home. The spacious kitchen with the granite countertops and the stainless steel appliances made her hands itch for the chance to bake something in the beauteous kitchen.
“Give me five minutes?” he asked.
“Making sure you didn’t leave any clothes on the floor?” she teased gently.
“Something like that. Five minutes ok?”
Angela watched as he mounted the steps and disappeared upstairs. He’d shown her through the main floor of the house but he hadn’t shown her the rooms upstairs. She doubted there could be that much cleaning to do. This was probably the first time she’d been inside of a man’s house and it didn’t smell like feet and didn’t have video games scattered all over the floor. She didn’t doubt that if she searched through the entertainment set, she would find a video game system hidden.
With that thought in mind she walked over to the TV and routed through the basket sitting on the table and quickly located a video game controller she was about to see what games were hidden underneath the TV when she heard movement behind her and found Isaac leaning against the door jamb smiling.
“Come here.” He said softly.
Angela smiled and walked over to him taking the hand he held out. She was surprised how nervous she felt. He was showing her his home, he wasn’t proposing, so why was did she have butterflies in her stomach.
He showed her an empty bedroom and a partially filled office before finally reaching the master bedroom. When the room swung open she let out a gasp of surprise.
No wonder he’d been asking her to his home she thought. Walking further into the room she looked around. Candles of different heights were placed around the nightstands and scattered over the dresser and TV stand. There was an electric fireplace on and casting its soft glow over the bed that had flower petals strewn across the top. The heady fragrance of roses filled the air. Angela stood frozen in the middle of the room unable to believe what she was seeing.
Hands fell on her hips, and reminded of his presence behind her, she spun in his arms. His intense gaze met hers and she felt breathless all over again.
When his lips caught hers in a passionate kiss she met each thrust of his tongue with one of her own. Shirts and jeans disappeared as though by magic. Quick hands undid the clasp on her back and before long she felt the press of the bed behind her legs.
Isaac halted the kiss and with a grin he shoved her shoulder and she tumbled on top of the bed.
“Hey,” she protested weakly. The words had barely left her mouth when she caught the blaze of fire in his eyes. She automatically scrambled backward on the bed but Isaac grabbed onto her foot and stopped her from moving any further away. He slowly kneeled onto the bed. He released her foot but quickly trapped her hands in his as he covered her body.