Elliot & I [Part 2]

I hadn’t seen Elliot since our intimate moment on the balcony where we found ourselves confessing our love for each other one moment and then where I found myself being pulled away from him the next. I wasn’t sure what mother planned to do with me as she dragged me closer to the hall that evening. With tears streaming down my cheeks, I wasn’t even sure if she could do anything more to increase the pain I had begun feeling. But when she abruptly stopped near the rotating doors that led into the ceremonial hall and faced me and said,

“Love? You think you love him Alexandra? You no nothing of love, so get that out of your head.” It was then I realised that mother could actually somehow make this already bad situation worse. Even now as I lay on the bed thinking about that evening, I wouldn’t forget how she felt no sympathy towards my emotions. Instead she sent me to the toilet to get cleaned up (as she stood guard outside) and then told me to not utter a word throughout the rest of the night. Not as though I was planning to talk someone’s ear off anyway. It didn’t help that once we did return back to our seats, Elliot and his family had left. I couldn’t even have another chance to see Elliot and explain my love for him, explain to him how important his love is to me.

And here I lay, two weeks since I’d shared that passionate moment with him, I can’t help but find myself grow impatient. Every day grew more harder without speaking with him or seeing him. Not as though we saw each other frequently, but at least we had the opportunity to text. But ever since mother caught us, she made sure my phone was confiscated. Not only that she made it a necessity that anywhere I went I was to be guarded. I wasn’t under any threat, well – she’d say Elliot was enough to be a threat. But because of her lack of trust in me (I could only presume), the security men followed me wherever I went. I could barely leave my room without one of the guards trailing behind me, like an unwanted shadow. What still puzzled me was the fact my father hadn’t sat me down to discuss what had occurred. I was sure my mother would have instantly told my father as soon as we got into settled into the limo on our way home that night. But after he continuously spoke about business deals and future movements with other companies, I realised he knew nothing of my venture with Elliot on the balcony. Which surprised me as to why my mother would spare me? It’s almost to impossible to believe she would do anything to protect me, especially when it came to Elliot. But I knew she hadn’t told father, so I made sure I didn’t bring it up.

There was many times I thought about sneaking away from the guard that was allocated to watch over me. Last week I tried to lose Mr O’Neil in the hustle and bustle of the London streets. But after I believed to have gotten away, he showed up in front of me a few minutes later. These men were trained to follow orders and it was then I knew no amount of plotting or sneaking away would actually be successful. I sat up, tired of being caged away in my room with nothing other than my thoughts to keep me company. I was exhausted of thinking about how Elliot was or what he was getting up to. I didn’t want to think about how only two weeks ago did he confess his love to me and my mother and now I no nothing of how he currently feels. I had to do something to ease my anxiety. I slipped my feet into some casual slippers that were laid just near my wardrobe and opened my room door. I was done laying waiting for something to happen. I was going to make sure I saw Elliot today.

As I opened the door Fredrick stood firm, his gaze looking straight ahead, whilst his body remained upright and ready to defend. When he saw me walk out, he looked at me.
“Fredrick there’s somewhere I need you to drive me.”
“Miss Alexandra, I’ve received orders that you should remain at home whilst your mother and father attend their meal tonight.”
“Fredrick I understand you’ve taken orders, but there is somewhere I must desperately go. If you fail to take me, I will find my own way there. And there is nothing you can do to stop me.”
I looked at Fredrick’s build and slightly chuckled in my head. If Fredrick wanted me back in my room, there were more than ten ways he could do so without breaking a sweat. But I was determined to see Elliot today. Especially with my parents out having dinner, there wasn’t going to be an opportunity like this anytime soon. I had to seize the opportunity.
“And where would you be going Miss Alexandra?”
I hadn’t decided on the lie I was to tell Fredrick, but if I hesitated for just a second, he would know that I was planning on meeting Elliot.
“I’d prefer to direct you myself. It’s private.”

The guards had no right to intervene with our personal lives. They were there for a job and that job purpose only. Fredrick understood he had no right to question my privacy, which pained me to see him disobey his orders. But I had to start doing things for myself or else I’d never find happiness. He gave me a stern nod and walked me out of the house to the family car, ready for his directions. It took a while for us to arrive at Elliot’s house. I made sure the directions I gave Fredrick were beyond complicated so he couldn’t trace where exactly I was going. But as soon as he saw the road name, he parked the car and turned off the engine.
“Miss Alexandra –”
“Fredrick I won’t be a second. Please remain here whilst I just go and return something to someone.” Without another word, I left the car before he could stop me. My heart pounded against my chest as I grew excited knowing soon I’d see Elliot. Soon I’d be with him, in his embrace, digesting our newfound love for each other. I walked passed a few cars before getting to his property. Normally two or three cars would be parked in his driveway, however tonight, a row of cars were lined up, and even spilling to the street where other cars were parked. I quietly snuck passed the entrance and begun making my way to the back of his house, where a vine which clasped on tightly to the bricks of his home would be awaiting me to climb right into the window of his room. The vines were beside the kitchen window, where it seemed the event that must have been occurring at Elliot’s house was taking place. Different voices emerged from the kitchen, whilst cutleries were being played with constantly. Elliot could be amongst them and probably was, but I was willing to wait for him in his room, rather than check if he sat with the cluster that seemed to be going on in his kitchen.

After test a vine or two, I started to climb up when a voice from the kitchen stopped me in my tracks.
“That fucking Harold Bennett, you know what if I had the choice to build my business or kill him…I’d kill him.” The kitchen burst out into laughter, as the male voice choked on his own laughter and continued. “No that man is a bastard. I still don’t understand a nigger has managed to get what he’s got. Can you imagine Clifford is till this very day struggling on receiving clients for his upcoming technology program he’s starting. And there’s Harold Bennett, not even giving a fucking damn. I told him about Clifford and he said he’ll ‘sort something out’,” He huffed and continued. “Sort something out, the cheek like we need help from him, from people like him.”
“It’s ridiculous how things have changed.” A feminine voice spoke after the room had settled to listen to the mans story. Quickly climbing down from the vines, I slowly creep up to the window, just to see who was talking so poorly of my father. But recognised no one, just a room full of people in suits and dresses, eating a meal and bad mouthing my father.
“Don’t worry Jo, they always seem to fuck themselves up one way or the other. Am I right?”
The room fell into laughter again as these strangers mocked my family and my race. Stunned, I couldn’t find the energy to stop watching, to leave and tell Fredrick to drive me home. No, instead I looked around. Hoping to not see anyone I recognised, it was bad enough these people I knew nothing of was praying for my father to face a downfall, but if it was people I recognised I wouldn’t know what I’d do. But then I saw him. Elliot, sitting down with a plate full of food, chuckling with them. Finding the words that cut so deep to me amusing. I wasn’t sure I was seeing accurately. But the more I stared at him, the clearer everything became. He agreed with what they were saying. I shouldn’t be shocked, my father always made it obvious to him that he didn’t like Elliot. But I never assumed this would have had an affect on how he saw the rest of us. The scene that was before me was far too much for my brain and heart to comprehend. Who was Elliot? Elliot, the same man that I just recently confessed my love too, was the same man that sat amongst racists and found their disrespectful words amusing. Even as I stood there in what I can only assume was shock, I couldn’t help but remember my parents. Remember their own narrow mindset and how it discriminating it was at times. They never truly gave me a reason why they disliked Elliot so passionately, but it was obvious his skin colour was a factor. So did that mean I had a right to be angry? My parents were just as bad as the strangers in suits and dresses that sat around the table hoping for my father to fail and belittling my race?

With the pain, hurt and confusion slowly slipping its way into my muscles, I found the energy to turn away. Not aware of Elliot’s mum who stood a few steps away from me, watching me watch them talk about my father. With a pained look in her eye, she followed my previous gaze onto Elliot and then returned her gaze back to me. With no words to say that could possibly explain or reduce the shock I received, I walked passed her and back to Fredrick. Wishing I stayed in bed.

© All Rights Reserved by Sarah E. Balogun

Advertisements

The Caller

With the keys loose in my hands, I wonder whether unlocking the door and stepping inside is worth it or whether I should go with what my gut is saying and simply turn away. Recently, nothing had been drawing me back here, apart from the fact it’s a permanent place to sleep, but even that I’ve had to question whether it was really worth it? The flame that was once ignited and alight a few years back has most definitely died out. But yet we still smile, put a façade on, not only to others but also to ourselves. It doesn’t help the situation, and maybe in the back of my mind for some unbelievable reason, I feel as though it’s the easiest option; another action I’ve questioned myself on for several months now.

I sigh and put the key into the lock of the door. This had become a ritual; nearly every night after work, I’d find myself slumped and lethargic always questioning why I’m at this door every night. And every night I find myself unlocking the door and entering with a cheer in my voice that never was there previously, but all in an act that my wife and I had coaxed.

“Evening Martha!” I loosened my tie and placed my briefcase on the ground near the umbrella stand and hung my key onto the key holder, placed just beside the coat hangers. I shrugged my coat off of my shoulders whilst using my ears to predict where she was. There were no footsteps in the front room; neither was any sound coming from upstairs, so with that in mind I made my way into the kitchen. It was only until I started making my way towards the corridor, did the aroma of mince and meatballs make its way into my nostrils. I lingered just a little longer, remembering how hungry I was until I got to the kitchen.

There she stood, in a big T-shirt that I used to wear until she’d claimed it, with headphones on, swaying her hips to the music. It took a while for me to comprehend what I was witnessing. It had been months since I last saw my wife this way, and it felt odd. Maybe the love that should have been there from the start was making a way back into my system, and that feeling was beyond foreign. The way she stirred the mince with not only her hands but also her hips had me itching to run towards her and shake her asking her what went wrong between us. I took a step further into the kitchen, with my eyes fixed on her and unfastened my shirt button. Seeing my wife like this, in a light I was so sure had died, began to make the impossible possible in my mind. So what if things hadn’t been going right these last couple months isn’t that what was meant to occur in normal marriages? There wasn’t a manual to the perfect marriage or a strict guideline we had to follow in order to ensure our marriage was crystal clear, and thinking about it now, I don’t understand why I panicked so much when things took a turn for the worse. Maybe I should have tried. Maybe I shouldn’t have given up so quickly. Lost in thought, I hadn’t notice she’d turned around, stunned to see me there.

“You nearly scared me half to death!” She said, clutching her chest with one hand whilst the other removed the headphones from her head. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah, sorry about scaring you, I was just lost in thought.” She smiled and turned around resuming her cooking, with her music still audible from the headphones. I walked behind her, and gave her a hug. Something I hadn’t done in such a long while, show affection towards her. Even the act was strange to me, but soon enough that feeling dissipated and before I knew it, I’d put my head to her neck and drank her scent in. At first her body was stiff, also aware of the strange notion that I showed her, but sooner or later she stopped mixing the mince and meatballs and rested her head on mine. With no words shared between us, we both knew that whatever was occurring was something to cherish, whether it was something temporarily or going to last, we both knew that enjoying this current feeling was most important. Soon after what seemed like a long amount of time, she turned around and sighed, with her eyes closed.

“Richard, what happened?” She didn’t even need to complete her question because I knew instantly what she was addressing. With her hand on each of my cheeks, I take a deep breath and try to conjure up the best answer to explain our situation.

“I don’t know Martha.” I watched her bite her lip nervously, with her nostrils flaring and her eyelashes slowly turning moist. I hadn’t planned on her crying, I was never too sure what to do when I was faced with an emotional woman, but tonight everything seemed to just fall in place, almost like the gods has finally pitied us and allowed all the pieces to fall, so that our incomplete puzzle could get solved. I wrapped my arms around her waist and placed my forehead on hers.

“It’ll get better Martha, I don’t know why things have gone the way they have, but it’s not the end. I’m willing, I never thought I would be, but I am, and I really hope you are too.” Her eyes opened, allowing a couple of tears to escape. She nodded and sniffed back more tears that threatened to show.

“Will it Richard? Because I’ve been asking myself this question for months now and it never did.”

“I can’t promise you anything Martha, but I will try and that’s more than what I’ve been doing these last few months. If you’re willing to try, then so will I.” With the cards in her hands, she took a deep breath and nodded.

“I don’t mind. I’ve missed you…us.” With tears on her cheek and a sob close to her mouth, I embrace her fully, trying to prove my change. Because I have to be honest with myself, I hadn’t been the best husband, intentionally working late just to avoid Martha, lying about business trips just to get a few days to myself and that’s not even considering the other lies. But, in hope that’s all behind me, I focus on Martha. I pull away from her and wipe her stray tears.

“Don’t cry,” I look towards the food, “it smells good.” Then it hit me, she looks good, more than just the average good, for some months now she hadn’t enticed me, her appearance had merged with the annoying personality I’d seen and everything had blurred. But now, with things becoming slightly clearer, I could take in her beauty. Her chestnut hair fell passed her shoulders, a sharp contrast to her somewhat pale skin that I always enjoyed watch turn pink or red. Her freckles lightly decorating her nose and cheeks accompanied by a rosy colour, made me smile, it surprises me how long it’s taken me to truly observe and admire my wife. Her plump peach lips, swollen only just a little due to her biting it previously, had all those reasons I married her rush back at me full force. It was too late to right my former wrongs, but at least this was a start. With no hesitation I bent down, only being taller than her by a few inches, give it four of five and kissed her. Eyes closed and heart beating, I grabbed a handful of her hair enjoying the feel of her hair in my hands, the softness between my fingers was like no other. She, reacting in sync with me, grabs my shirt and pulls me closer towards her. Almost as though the proximity between us wasn’t enough, the time we’d wasted wasn’t something we could get back in reality. But between us, we know we had to make up for lost time. Now switching fluids, remembering her taste, I made sure it my personal duty to not let any go to waste. Everything I received was never going to be enough, her scent, her touch, her taste, it wouldn’t amount to the months of separation, but I was sure to make her forget about those years. It was the least I could do and it was written in my vows, so I had to abide by my words and fulfil my promises.

Even air was something I was prepared to sacrifice, just to get more time with her. She pulled away with the only noise being made between us was our attempt in catching our breaths.

“God I’ve missed you.” She said through breaths. Releasing my embrace, I kiss her once more remembering the sharp pain in my stomach.

“I’ve missed you more than you can imagine, and I could take you away here and now, but I want to be sure that when I do make up for loss time, I go for hours and right now I need to restore my energy.” With my eyes fixed on the spaghetti, letting her subliminally know that I’m hungry, she smiles and playfully hits me.

“Go get changed and I’ll make you a plate.” I give her another kiss, which takes longer than planned, but eventually stops as I pull away and dash upstairs, with a newfound hope in my mind. I get to the room and begin to change. Things would have to change, that I’m prepared to do. To be fair, I have to be prepared. This is my marriage on the line and with sense more apparent in my mind; nothing is worth putting my marriage at risk. I can’t actually define when things went wrong between Martha and I, her mother is a little intrusive and it doesn’t help that she involves her in every one of our issues, but that’s a hurdle I’m prepared to address and overcome when the time comes. Right now all that’s on my mind is how I’m about to devour my meal and then my wife.

Buzz Buzz

I reach for my phone in my suit jacket and unlock it, seeing that I have a missed call and a message. I open the message and there, Jennifer’s name pops up. I had a few lies during the months Martha and I were on a break, some worse than others. Jennifer being one of the ones I planned to bury deep in the ground with me. I wasn’t planning to read the message, but as soon as I was about to disregard it another came through, more alerting than the previous one.

Jennifer:

First message: ‘Baby I miss you and I can’t stop thinking about you.’

Second message: ‘I’m not sure with what’s been going on between us recently, but I hope tonight we could rekindle some of our love? Get back at me soon.’

Jennifer was one of my employees whom I worked with on a frequent basis. She just seemed to perfectly fit into my schedule. If she wasn’t working with me constantly, she was asking whether she needed my assistance and as you could imagine I grew very fond of her. Not only was she there, she was something I needed at that time, she enticed me in every way…or so I thought. Day by day her shirt became tighter and her trousers became skirts, which eventually became shorter. The first night I fully noticed her and acted upon it, I was physically drained with the problems at home with Martha, so I decided to stay at work late that night. I had no work to do, but the comfort of my office was better than home. I wasn’t aware that Jennifer had also stayed late, it was only until a knock was at my door and her head poked through the tiny gap between the door and the wall, was when I knew she was still there.

“You alright Richard you seem a little stressed?” I could barely merit a response, I thought I was alone and to find out I wasn’t was a shock. But I told her I was fine, of course that wasn’t enough for her, so she invited herself in my office and decided I talk about my issue. It was the first time I spoke to anyone about Martha, I’m usually the type to keep my own issues to myself, but that night, I guess I was stressed beyond reasoning. Eventually, she offered a back massage.

“Trust me Richard, if I wasn’t working here, I’d earn a good living off being a masseuse.” I chuckled and allowed her to massage me. At first her hands remained on my shoulders, then my chest and slowly my thighs. I couldn’t find it in myself to stop her, it was the first time in a while my penis had awakened, by someone other than porn. One thing led to another and that night I buried myself deep with Jennifer. After that night, I continued to bury myself deep within Jennifer, it was a place of solace and my escapism, I didn’t have to think about work, home or my failing marriage, instead I could just think about how her walls convulsed around me and had me shivering. I knew the risks, not only about my marriage but having frequent sex with a employee was dangerous, but Jennifer seemed to be understanding to those boundaries, so I continued. Before I knew it, I needed Jennifer more and more; I’d call her to meet me in various locations, just to escape again. To think about her had me involuntarily smiling; she was something to remember, but never something to keep. It was only recently, the place I used to go to for solitude began to lose it’s meaning. I could no longer escape in the clasp of Jennifer’s love; instead it was another place of strangulation. She began demanding, requesting for things she had no need in worrying about. Eventually, I grew distant and resumed my position of being stressed and tense, until tonight. Things are starting to work and I’d be damned if a pothole in the road is going to stop me from getting to my destination.

I took my phone and replied back to her text,

‘I think we need to talk, not tonight but later on in the week.’

It didn’t take her long to reply, she was always so responsive.

‘What’s this about Richard? You’re giving me this bullshit line that people throw around when things are coming to an end…’

This wasn’t something I could do over text, it wasn’t even something I wanted to do now, but with the way Jennifer was reacting, had me wondering how bad this could get if I didn’t defuse the situation asap. I went by the staircase and called out to Martha.

“Yeah?”

“I’ll be a few minutes, I have a business call, I won’t be too long, keep my plate warm for me.”

“Sure!” With that I walked back into the bedroom, closing the door behind me and called Jennifer.

“Well Richard?”

“Jennifer relax,” I whispered, “I just wanted to speak with you, I’d prefer to do this on a more personal level, but I could sense you getting agitated via text.”

“Fuck this business like shit Richard, what are you saying?” I could tell this conversation wasn’t going to go anywhere, no matter what direction I tried to attack this matter, the outcome proved to be the same.

“I think, with the way things are going between us-”

“And how’s that Richard, explain that to me? Because in my eyes, you were the one who changed, everything was great…that’s what I thought. And then one day you just lost your spark, so you tell me how things are going, because I was beyond eager to hear your side.”

With a sigh, I continued. “I think we should stick to a platonic relationship.”

“Bullshit Richard! What changed? You wasn’t talking about platonic when we were fucking, you weren’t complaining when I couldn’t speak because I was filled with your-”

“Okay! I understand Jennifer. Things have changed, but they changed even before things got better.”

“What are you referring too when you say ‘things got better’? What with you and Martha huh?” Damn, I didn’t want to bring Martha into this, because I knew that’d just anger her more. I lay on the bed and rolled my eyes, trying to find the words to explain what was inevitably happen between Jennifer and I but I just kept quiet, words failing me.

“So you have nothing to say huh? Well I have loads to say. How dare you do this to me? Do you understand how much I gave you and how much I did for you to use me and throw me aside like a rag doll? I will not be treated like this Richard, I won’t be kept in the dark like a damn secret, I will not! I am worth more than that and you treated me as though I was worth more than that, so I know you love and if it’s fucking Martha that’s got your mind clustered, then we can just clear that by simply telling her about us.”

“What?”

“You heard me, why not let her know about us, because what we have is far more valuable than that shamble of a marriage you were close in ending last month.” I told her far too much during our time together, which is evident now, but making her more angry is not going to help anything. I take a deep breath and try from another angle.

“Okay baby, maybe I was acting irrational, maybe this is just a phase with me and Martha and I don’t want you to feel used, so why not I take you out this Friday after work and we can work on us.”

“No Richard, let her know. It’s about time she knew, what’s the point in hiding anymore – tell Martha you’re done or I will.”

“Jennifer you will not get involved in my marriage, you’ve said enough tonight. Not only have you crossed a line tonight, but you continue to persist with this attitude that you must have assumed I’d take? I don’t, so while I spend tonight with my wife, I want you to relax and tomorrow when I see you at work I want you to speak nothing of this until we’re alone, where I can find a solution.” With that I dropped the phone and sighed in exasperation. I’d let that line of lover and boss get far too clouded and for that reason I had to cut our relationship off. Even though that wasn’t the main reason as to why I wanted to terminate our relationship, it was reason enough for me to tell her, she was beginning to turn into a nuisance, something that she didn’t normally do. However, I’m glad she’s an issue for another day and for now I can focus on the future between my wife and me.

© All Rights Reserved by Sarah E. Balogun

New Woman

The only thought that kept running through my mind was why did I come here? If Eileen hadn’t pestered me to come, I know I would have stayed at home and made up a lame excuse for my absence if people asked. But there I sat, amongst colleagues I barely knew and in a bar that wasn’t my style. To make matters worse, Vicky walked in. Vicky Parsons, the editor-in-chief of ‘New Women’, and also my boss. We barely saw eye-to-eye. She’d send me on ridiculous errands throughout the day, stopping me from completing my work and then check up on me at the end of the day to see if my work was completed. It was a catch-22 situation with her.

But she looked different tonight. Her auburn hair wasn’t tied up in a tight ponytail, it fell loosely pass her shoulders and had a slight wave to it. And replacing her constant work suits was a silk sleeveless blouse and denim jeans. She greeted everyone with smiles, gave out a few hugs and then it was my turn. I wasn’t expecting anything, so I was surprised when I received a brief smile. She took a seat opposite me, and very quickly slipped into conversations that surrounded her.

Time was passing and cups were never empty. I made sure I kept my cup always half full so that I wasn’t forced to order another round. I didn’t mind drinking, but with people I was so unfamiliar with, made me feel uncomfortable. The DJ began playing his 80’s playlist, which caused everyone at the table to get excited, making them eager to get onto the dance floor. After declining for yet another time, they let me be and made their way onto the dance floor, leaving me alone with Vicky. She noticed me and gave me an awkward smile.

“It’s…”

“Rebecca.” I spoke loudly enough for her to hear.

“That’s it, Rebecca. Why aren’t you dancing?” She leaned forward.

“Not really my thing.” I lied.

“Dancing isn’t your thing and you’re only…twenty?”

“Twenty-one.”

“Exactly you’re young. You should enjoy dancing before you get too old to do it. Fine, if dancing isn’t your thing then what is?”

“Writing.” She rolled her eyes and waved her arm in the air, dismissing my comment whilst taking a gulp of her drink.

“Of course writing, you wouldn’t be working for me if you weren’t interested in writing, but what does Rebecca love doing?”

I took a sip of my drink and shrugged, “Drawing.”

“There you go, that’s the Rebecca I was asking for,” She chuckled and then moved to sit beside me. “What do you like to draw?”

“People.”

“Really? Wow, I’d like to see a drawing one day. Promise me you’ll show me one?”

I nodded, chuckling lightly as she stuck her pinkie out in front of me for me to wrap my own pinkie around. I did so and she smiled, making me feel more comfortable. I could tell the drink had made its way into her system as her movements and speech became more muddled, but it showed me a side to Vicky that I never knew was there. After we finished our drinks and ordered for another round, we fell back into conversation.

“So does your boyfriend live with you?”

“Oh, I don’t have one.”

“A pretty girl like you doesn’t have a boyfriend?”

“Well I didn’t want anything interrupting my goals.”

That was a lie. Jonathon and I were in a serious relationship for a year, until I was accepted in working for the company. Everyone in my family was excited I was accepted into one of the top five major women’s magazine companies in America, apart from Jonathon. He decided that if I left, I was leaving the relationship too. I tried calling, messaging and emailing, but with no response I decided it was time to focus on myself.

“Oh I understand, it’s almost as though men get threatened by a woman who has goals, it’s ridiculous. That’s why I always say screw men, they aren’t worth our time and we women should stick together.”

“I agree!”

“You see Rebecca,” she shuffled closer to me. “I don’t bother with men anymore. They think we need them for everything, for money, for love, for sex, but we don’t and neither do you. Because I’ve got you Rebecca and if you need anyone I’m always there for you.”

Her comment warmed my heart, it was nice to know someone was looking out for me and wanted the best for me. Especially when I found it difficult being in New York by myself away from my family, hearing that someone was there for me brought a smile to my face. She grinned back at me and stroked my cheek gently.

“You’re so pretty, no man is worth your time.”

“But then who is?”

My words came out slurred, the only evidence that I’d drank far too much than I could handle. Her eyes shone under the strobe lights of the club as she watched me. She shrugged at my question and then chuckled.

“I am.”

It took me longer than normal to digest her words. But once it finally sunk in, I still found it hard to grasp. The alcohol was making me hear things that wasn’t said, because if I believed for a second that Vicky had just said she was a worthy partner for me, I’m sure I would have panicked.

“What?”

Still confused, I question her response for some clarity, but everyone had began making their way back to the table, screaming for more drinks. And during their return, Vicky sat quietly drinking her drink and watching her feet, whilst my brain raced wondering whether she meant what I thought she meant, or maybe I’d jumped further than I could and I just misheard her.

 

 

 

* * * * * * * * *

 

 

Time had passed and I’d consumed more alcohol than I should have, but it was never enough to have made me forget what Vicky had said to me earlier and I guess with that on my mind, I needed something to settle my nerves. She hadn’t spoken to me much after her confession and it surprised me when I felt bothered by her actions. I felt as though she believed she had the ability to decide when I was worthy to be spoken to and when I wasn’t and that was what frustrated me throughout the night. I knew tonight wasn’t worth the journey. With that in mind, I gulped my drink and gathered my things, ready to put an end to this night and strictly keep my relationship with these people work-related only.

I picked up my clutch bag, along with my denim jacket and slid past two colleagues having a conversation.

“You’re leaving so soon?” Eileen said standing up, tugging me to sit down again.

“Yeah, it’s late and I’m in early tomorrow, so I’m heading off now.”

I moved her hand gently whilst saying my farewells to everyone. Vicky didn’t respond, but through my peripheral vision I noticed that she hadn’t stopped looking in my direction since I first stood up. Whilst I walked to the exit, I decided to forget about the conversation Vicky and I had, because if she felt she could be one way with me one minute and then the next the other, then I was prepared to keep my distance from her. I pushed the doors open, welcoming the cool air that graced my face. I slipped on my denim jacket, and began walking until I could haul a taxi to take home. All the while, my attempts of blocking Vicky from my thoughts failed. There was something about the way she’d approached me, was completely different to the woman I worked for in the office. She wasn’t uptight and strict. In fact, she could actually be interesting enough to converse with, what I couldn’t grasp was why she had constant changes in her personality? I understand when at work, one must be authoritative, but in the club she went from reserved, to friendly and then straight back to withdrawn before I even had a chance to understand what was going on.

Being deep in thought, I luckily managed to notice the yellow taxi parked on the curb opposite from me, with an old man leaning on the driver’s door, slightly hunched reading the New York Times. I jogged across the road and hesitantly tapped his shoulder. He peeked over his paper, squinting his eyes in confusion.

“Is that your taxi sir?” He turned to look at his taxi and then back at me.

“Well I am leaning on it, so I suppose so.”

I inwardly rolled my eyes, knowing I had no time for any sass, as I was already annoyed with the way Vicky had treated me.

“Are you on your break or are you working?” He folded his paper and opened the driver’s door. After a few moments of silence and him stepping inside the cab, I figured he was working, so I walked to the passenger’s door, waiting for him to unlock it.

“Where are you looking to go?”

“46th–”

“Rebecca!”

I turned around to see Vicky running towards me. I let go of the passenger door handle, wondering whether that was really Vicky running towards me, or whether I should enter the taxi and ignore the little voice in my head that told me to see what she had to say.

“Rebecca…”
“What are you doing here?” I asked folding my arms across my chest, shifting my weight onto one leg.

She slightly chuckled, “I’m not entirely sure. I waited in the club after you’d gone, but then I just kept thinking about you, so I literally got up and then went to find you.”

“Find me? I’m going home, you didn’t need to find me Vicky.”

“Hey lady, are you getting in or not?” The old man asked, peeping his head through his opened window. I turned around giving him a signal to wait and turned back to Vicky.

“I just wanted to speak with you.”

“If you wanted to speak with me, then why did you ignore me when we weren’t alone?”

“I don’t know.”

“Lady! Are you in or not?”

“I’m coming.”

I spoke with a hint of annoyance in my voice. I wasn’t annoyed at the taxi man; it was Vicky and her indecisive behaviour that had led to my frustration. She hadn’t batted an eye when I’d left, but there she stood, in front of me wanting to talk.

“Rebecca, I’ve been very odd with you, but that’s because I’m not sure how to behave with you. My feelings have me behaving in one way, whilst my mind is telling me to stay away from you.”

“Feelings, what feelings?”

“Okay lady, this is the last time I’m asking, are you getting in or are you going to stand out there?” I looked towards the cab and then back at Vicky, contemplating my options and realised that going home was best. I wasn’t sure what Vicky wanted to tell me, but there wasn’t a point in knowing, nothing would change between the two of us. I opened the door to enter the car, when Vicky grabbed my hand.

“What are you doing?”

“I need to talk to you.”

I pulled my hand from hers, but her grip remained firm. “Vicky, I need to go home.”

“I’ll drop you home if that’s the issue, but I really need to talk to you.”

“About what Vicky? You ignore me at work, you ignore me in the club and now you want me to listen to what you have to say?”

The driver got out the car, annoyed and resumed his previous position in reading his newspaper. I rolled my eyes and shut the passenger door then faced Vicky. She waved a black vehicle towards us and then opened the door for me to enter. Reluctantly I got in, waiting for her to explain herself.

“Lincoln could you drop us at…?” She faced me, waiting for me to fill the gap.

“46th street please.” The driver nodded and began driving.

“Thank you Lincoln.”

I faced the window closest to me, not wanting to face Vicky.

“I’m sorry Rebecca, I haven’t been fair to you. I shouldn’t have acted one way and then another, I wasn’t considering your feelings.”

“I don’t even understand why you bother with me so much, I’m just your employee.”

“There’s something about you that’s why.”

“You keep saying things like that. What do you mean? What is it about me that has you so conflicted Vicky?”

I faced her, with annoyance in my voice. Knowing I was probably pushing the boundaries with the way I spoke to her. Not only was she my boss, but also she was a few years older than I, and I wasn’t raised to be disrespectful. But at that time I didn’t care. I’d lost my ride home from a sassy driver, drank too much that I’d started to feel car sick and now I had to endure a ride home with Vicky. I could gladly say I was pushed over the edge tonight. She moved closer to me and shrugged.

“I think I’m attracted to you Rebecca.”

Staring blankly at her face, I wasn’t sure how to react. Earlier on I assumed I heard her proclaim her attraction to me in the club. But now with the words ringing loudly in my ears, my body froze as I tried to digest her confession. Vicky was attracted to me? That meant she was a lesbian. Why hadn’t I seen the signs before? It’s not like ladies who are attracted to other ladies, walk around with a sign on their foreheads proclaiming their sexuality. But, something in my body felt like I should have known this revelation before now. She was always distant at work and never tried to engage in a conversation with me. However, it was the way she looked at me when we did managed to speak, was what always had me thinking of her. Not like I’d imagined pursuing anything with her, but I always wondered what her issue was with me. But it made sense. Her cold demeanour and then the warmth she showed me, was all because she liked me.

With my mind failing to form any words, silence filled the car. It seemed as though my heartbeat that thudded hard against my chest, was loud enough for Vicky to hear. It almost felt like we’d been sitting facing each other for hours, when she began shuffling closer to me. Her movements were slow and I wasn’t sure if that was the effect of the alcohol or her actual movements. But I sat watching, as her frame filled my gaze and eventually left us inches away from each other. We were so close that I felt her breath caress my skin every time she exhaled. My core clenched in anticipation, aware of what was to come next. Vicky moved closer to me, heat radiating off her skin and enveloping me. She stared at my parted lips and then pressed her soft lips against mine before I could react. I sat motionless, not sure if it was confusion that hadn’t made me push her away, or whether it was the feeling I felt as her lips moved against mine. I hadn’t felt like this when I’d kissed Jonathon. My body had never vibrated with need when my lips connected with his. Neither did my skin become so sensitive when he touched me during our intimate moments. Yet here I sat, feeling a wave of emotions my body had never felt before. It was almost too much for my body, let alone my mind, to handle. The more our lips moved in sync with each other, the more my body tensed in excitement. Her chest brushed against my own, causing my nipples to harden in pleasure. A small moan escaped my lips, echoing through the car. It was then I realised what I was doing. Hearing my own voice woke up the more conscious side of myself. What was I doing kissing Vicky? It’s bad enough that I’ve never been with a woman, yet after kissing Vicky my body reacted in ways I never thought it could. But, she was my boss and I wasn’t attracted to women. With a shock I pushed her away from me as the car came to a halt.

Wide eyed with a hint of desire, Vicky stared at me. Her chest rising and falling in short breaths with her lips plump from our intimacy. I wasn’t sure what had come over me, but I needed space. Space to think, space to understand what had just happened. I reached for the door when Vicky grabbed my arm.

“Rebecca wait –”

Too stunned to comprehend the kiss, I lightly pulled her off of me. Afraid I’d be drawn back into her embrace and that my body would react to her in ways it shouldn’t. Once her grip loosened on my jacket, I rushed out of the car. Hearing not only the slam of my car door, but also Vicky’s. I picked up my stride, in fear of Vicky catching up with me. Once I’d reached my apartment door, my nerves took control making my fingers fumble with my keys. Aware of the footsteps behind me that increased every second, fear clawed at my throat as I imagined having to speak with Vicky after the moment we’d shared. Finding the key, I rushed inside before Vicky had the chance to reach me. My heart crashed against my chest, whilst my mind played images of us kissing. I backed away from the door as Vicky’s frame emerged with a handprint lightly pressed against the glass. I needed time away from Vicky. Everything was happening so fast and if I wasn’t careful this could end badly for both of us.

© All Rights Reserved by Sarah E. Balogun