NOTE: if you missed any chapters, please click on the chapters/installments on the left to catch up! thanks!
This is all too much.
Jaylen standing here in front of me after abandoning me without a word, note, or kiss-my-ass one year ago is just too much.
I look up at that devilish smirk that used to make me weak. Just incites vomiting reflexes now.
Something about the way he said "I'm back." caused my mind to freeze. Travel back to a year ago when he stood in the doorway of my mother's modest brick home, kissed me softly and said, "sweetie, I'll be right back."
This is the first time I've seen him since then. I guess this is his 'right back.'
I will myself to speak, to say all the malicious things I have been rehearsing since he left in the event that I was to ever cross paths with him again.
Now that this moment is here, I am frozen. My heartbeat steadily increases until its thump becomes so thunderous it's slamming is all I can hear.
I do notice Abram stand up and introduce himself to Jaylen, give him a firm, warning handshake. I also catch the 'don't start none won't be none' look that he is giving him. This snaps me out of my shock and I finally breathe again. I have Abram now. Jaylen is a mere figment of my imagination now. He doesn't even exist as far as I am concerned.
Unless he's here to repay me the three-thousand, six-hundred, thirteen dollars and ninety-six cents that he owes me. That was every penny that inhabited my bank account when he drained it and disappeared. I had a mind to pay someone to find him and do some serious damage, but I was broke, seeing as though he took every dollar I had to my name. I had to learn the hard way that unless I am the Mrs, there is to be no sharing of bills or bank accounts.
I thought I was at peace with it now. Apparently not.
"So how you been girl? What's wrong, can't kick it with an old friend? Why does it have to be 'not long enough?'"
"As you can see, I've been better. Much better. And do you really want to revisit the reasons why it hasn't been long enough?" I'm irritated already, a rush of angry emotions flooding my bloodstream as I speak. The nerve of this man to be standing here in front of me acting like everything is cool. We are not cool.
Abram wrinkles his brow in irritated confusion, notices the stress marring my previously happy face. He reaches his hand to mine and instantly I am calmer. That ever-present soothing balm that is his touch smooths over me.
Once again, Jaylen cuts his eyes Abram's way.
"Well, you still look good I see. But then again, you always did know how to take care of your body. Mmm mmm." He says, totally disregarding my obvious irritation with his intrusion on my quiet evening.
He gives that smirk again. My reflex to reach up and smack it off almost gets the best of me. Almost. He eyes me greedily, rubs his hands together like someone anticipating the first bite of a juicy steak.
I look across at Abram, can see from the way his jaw is twitching from him gritting his teeth that he's quietly getting pissed, but doesn't want to start a brawl at this classy restaurant.
"Alright. Excuse me man, but I came here to have a nice, private dinner with my woman, and you're clearly making her uncomfortable. So, it was..... interesting to meet you, but I think you need to be stepping now. Right now."
I am impressed. There are a lot of possible ways he could be handling this situation, and he is choosing the mature way. I give him a slight smile.
Jaylen raises a shocked eyebrow. Looks at Jaylen's beige-and-brown button-up shirt and khaki slacks, and releases another smirk. "Alright then brotha, I'm not one for confrontations, I was just saying hey to old Nafi here, cause you know, we go way back. But I'll let you two finish your dinner. Nafi, I'm sure I'll see you around."
A curvy, mocha-skinned woman with a horrible brown dress on that makes me question her taste gets up from her seat across the small room and walks over to Jaylen. It's no surprise that she is beautiful. Jaylen's smooth talk and Hershey's chocolate body has always afforded him his choice of almost any woman he desires. She glances my way, puts her hand in his, and they start to walk off.
"Don't count on it, brotha." Abram says, clearly still agitated. Jaylen responds with a slight wave of the back of his hand, doesn't turn around.
"I'm sorry. I'm really sorry. That's just someone... he's an ex." I say, glad that Jaylen's negative energy is no longer hovering over me, and hoping we can salvage the rest of our night together.
"What are you apologizing for? Dude was obviously trying to bring some drama over here. It's not your fault. That guy is a joke. You really dated him?"
"Whew. Yes. For two years. But that's a whole other conversation that we will have when we're at home lounging, not when we're out on a date, and you're looking so good and smelling so good. I want to talk about something else. Something uplifting."
He lets it go, eyes me naughtily. "What? Like how I'm going to 'uplift' you up the stairs and show you what happens when you come near me looking that good?" He winks.
He's so cute.
"Mmm. I like how that sounds. But first you've got to try this peach sorbet. It's heavenly." I say, scooping a spoonful out of the dessert glass in front of me and feeding it to him.
His eyebrows raise in delighted surprise. "This is good. But I know something else that tastes even more heavenly. Let's go and I'll show you."
I can't help but smile at where his mindset is. Feels good to be wanted. But first....
I touch his hands. "Abram, I just want to say thank you for not probing. I mean, about the whole Jaylen thing. I promise we will have that discussion. But, just thank you." For some reason, I felt like that needed to be said.
He shrugs. "No problem. We'll talk about that when you're ready. Right now, my mission is to make sure you have a wonderful evening."
I feel that all-too-familiar fluttering in my stomach. "Well, mission accomplished babe, mission accomplished."