Monday, April 20, 2015

The Sweetest Thing-Flash Fiction





Synopsis :Life is good for Lacy Moore. She's the owner of Classy Cutz Beauty Salon and met the man of her dreams in Max Redd, then her perfect world is turns upside down when Max confesses to a one night stand. The revelation leaves a strain on their relationship. When she runs into her old high school Aaron Temple, at a family reunion, things get more complicated. Lacy has to choose between a familiar love and the sweet thing that has come back into her life.




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I’m tired of arguing,” I said to my boyfriend, Max Reed. “I told you how I feel, but like always you’re not listening.” I attempted to get out of bed but was halted by an iron grip on my arm.

Max sighed. “Lacy, I hear what you’re saying. You’re not sure you want to marry me. After all we’ve been through, I can’t believe you are saying this.” He sat up straight in the bed. “For the past year, marriage is all you talked about and now you’re not sure.” He placed his hands on top of his head.

Max was right. For the past year, I wanted to get married. I sincerely believed it was time to take our relationship to the next level. From the moment I bumped my shopping cart into Max two years ago at the grocery store, I wanted him in my world.

I had just opened my beauty salon, Classy Cutz, the year before. Just getting my business off the ground didn’t leave much time for dating. I mean, I’ve been out on a few dates but nothing to write home about, but that changed when I met Max.

Max wasn’t the most handsome man in the world, but in the beginning he was kind, gentle, and so sweet to me. He was very supportive of my career. After the success of my beauty shop, he was behind me one hundred percent to open another shop. A Loan Officer at the bank, he was always giving financial advice helpful to expanding the business. Everything was going find until he confessed he had an affair with another woman.

He’d broken down in tear when he told me he’d had a little bit too much to drink while at his friend Ronald’s bachelor party and woke up in bed with one of the dancers. Of course he said it didn’t mean anything and begged for my forgiveness, but it didn’t ease the pain I felt and the fact that he’d been unfaithful.

In time, I forgave him and we’ve been trying to work through it, but I’m not sure I can trust him enough to become his wife—I’m just not there yet.

Now here we are with our lives on hold and me not sure if I want to stay in the relationship. “I did at one time,” I said, climbing out of bed.

“Now you don’t.” He shook his head from side-to-side. “I thought we worked through this.”

“I need more time. I want us to get married because it’s what we both want,” I said.

“I do want it.” Max jumped out of bed, naked. “Lacy, I love you. You love me.” He took me in his arms. “You do still love me, don’t you?”

I could feel his hardness pressed against my kitten. She began to purr. “Of course I do. Marriage is a big step; as you reminded me so many times.”

He rolled his eyes toward the ceiling when I reminded him of the words he kept telling me each time I bought up marriage in the past. It felt good to give him a taste of his own medicine.

“We have to be able to trust each other.” I had to get in that extra jab.

He dipped his head slightly. “Okay. I get it. You still don’t trust me.”

“I didn’t say that.”

“You didn’t have to. I messed up. I know that. You don’t have to keep throwing it up in my face.” He placed a hand to his chest. “I will earn your trust again.”

Max looked so sincere. I wanted to believe him. I wanted to trust him again. I just wasn’t so sure that I could.

“Well, you go ahead,” Max continued. “Take all the time you need. This brother isn’t going anywhere. No matter how long it takes. I’m going to earn your trust again.”

“I know you will.” I reached out and gently touch his smooth, caramel face. “Will you make it down to North Carolina this weekend for the family reunion?” I asked, changing the subject.

“I don’t think so. I have a ton of work that I have to catch up on.” He leaned down and pressed his lips on mine. I quivered at the sweetness of his lips. “But, uh,” he began. His breathing was uneven. I could tell he was fighting for composure. I loved it. He raised one of my legs. His long, hard shaft found itself between my thighs. “We do have time for a quickie.” This was definite a turn-on.

No matter what we were going through in our relationship, Max and I never had a problem in the bedroom.

A moment later, his five-eleven frame swept me up weightless into his arms and laid me in the middle of the king-size bed. He quickly undressed me. My heart was hammering in my chest in anticipation of him making love to me.

Max entered me and I gasped as I welcomed the fullness of me. We began to match each other stroke for stroke. Passion pounded the blood through my heart, chest, and head. The lovemaking between us was so pure and explosive. I couldn’t control the outcry of delight. A moan of ecstasy slipped through my lips. I held on to him tight as my body shuddered with sweet desire.

****

Max jumped in the shower. Afterwards, he quickly dressed and headed off to work. A moment later, I followed in Max’s footsteps. The salon was due to open in thirty minutes.

The water felt good cascading over my body. I didn’t want to leave the invigorating feeling of the water sprout. It was relieving all of the emotional turmoil I was feeling at the moment about Max and our relationship. It didn’t help matters sleeping with, but I couldn’t help it. The man was in my system.

Twenty minutes later, I dressed and bolted out of the door. Running behind schedule, I placed a call to Tajir, the receptionist, to let him know I was on my way.

“Classy Cutz,” Tajir answered on the third ring. I could hear him eating on the other end.

“Tajir, I’ve told you a thousand times not to eat at the front desk and you have the nerve to answer the phone with food in your mouth,” I scolded.

“I’m sorry, Ms. Lacy,” he said in his sweet, subtle tone. “I didn’t get a chance to get—”

“I don’t want to hear it, Tajir,” I quipped. “The shop doesn’t open until 9:30. There’s a donut shop across the street. You had plenty of time to grab something on the way in.”

I worked to long and hard to build Classy Cutz into a professional and lucrative business. I wasn’t going to get there putting up with nonsense.

“This is the second warning, Tajir.” I made a left at the traffic light. “The third time and I will have to let you go.”

“I hear ya, Ms. Lacy,” Tajir said.

“Now the reason I phoned. Has Mrs. Simmons arrived yet?” According to the appointment book, her appointment for a wash and set was 9:45.

 “She just came through the door,” Tajir answered.

“Good. Let her know I’m on my way.”

I ended the call and popped Beyonce’s CD in the player. Now if only restoring the situation with Max could be so easy.

****
“You told Max you would think about marrying him, why?” Pamela Numan asked in surprise. Pamela was one of the top Stylist and my best friend. She was aware of the situation with Max. She knew how much his infidelity took an emotional toll on me.

Pamela and I grew up in Durham, NC. After graduating high school, I moved to D.C. Pam followed a year later. She was like family and would be attending my family reunion with me.

“I’m just not sure,” I answered.

“Then why are you still with him?” Pamela lowered her client in the shampoo bowl. “I keep telling you to drop that zero. Once they cheat, they will cheat again.”

“Oh sweetheart it’s not that easy,” Mrs. Simmons chimed in. “Matters of the heart never are. Where do you think the relationship is headed?” She refocused on me.

“I love Max. I’m hoping we can still work this thing through,” I replied. “But I can’t get it out of my mind that he was with another woman.”

Pam pointed the comb at me for emphasis. “That’s my point. Mrs. Simmons just said it. What kind of relationship do you have if you can’t trust him?”

I shrugged. I had some serious soul searching to do.

“You did say that you forgave him, right?” Mrs. Simmons asked.

“Yes. I did. I have several years invested in this relationship. I believe it’s worth saving,” I said. “I just can’t forget...” The rest of my sentence trailed off.

Mrs. Simmons turned around and looked at me with sympathy. She reached out and covered my hand with hers. “From what you told me, it’s only been six months. It takes time child. You shouldn’t forget. He lost your trust. He has to earn it back,” she further explained. “You just have to figure out if there’s enough trust to build a marriage on.” She stood. “Take your time. Don’t let him rush you. I was married almost 50 years to my beloved. I’m here to tell you that trust is a very important ingredient in a marriage.”

“I know, Mrs. Simmons. I know.”

 “You also don’t know how many other women he may have been with,” Pam chimed in.

“There haven’t been any other women,” I said in Max’s defense.

“That you know of,” Pam added. “Men are like dogs. You can’t trust them.”

Pam’s trust in men was shattered when she found her husband in bed with the mother of his son. Since then she’d pushed away every man that had come into her life. I couldn’t see myself going through that the rest of my life. I wanted love. I wanted to be in love.

A couple of hours later, Mrs. Simmons wash and set was done. As she prepared to leave, she pulled me aside. “I know you and Pam are close. I know she means well. But don’t allow what happened to her cloud your decision about Max. You know him better than anyone. Make your own decision.”

****
Friday morning came around and with it my excitement of heading home to see my family. I finished packing, loaded the car, then headed out to pick up Pam. Before we knew it we were cruising down the interstate. We laughed and talked about family members and friends we hoped to see and not see.
“Remember Aaron Temple?” Pam asked in a joking tone.



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My face split into a wide grin. “Of course, I remember Aaron. He was one of the most popular boys in high school. I had the biggest crush on him! He lived across the street from me but didn’t know I was alive.”

Aaron was on the debate team and played football. He also made the Dean’s list three years in a row. All of that hard work paid off when he earned a full academic scholarship to Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA.

The night before he left for college, I got up the nerve to tell him that I had a crush on him. I could still see the look on his face. He was surprised, speechless. Before he could say anything, I hightailed it back to my house, slamming the door behind me. Falling against the door, I felt like an idiot. How could I do it? I thought to myself.

Luckily, I never saw Aaron again after that. My mother kept tabs on him from his family. Through her, I found out he moved back to Durham a year ago after his mother died. He was still single, no children, and worked for a successful brokerage house.

“Yeah, you did have the biggest crush on him. Every time you saw him you would call him your baby daddy.” Pam chuckled. “Wouldn’t it be something if he showed up at the family reunion?”

“Aaron isn’t family. Why would he be at the reunion?”

“I’m not family and I’m going to be there. But I know if you had your way, he would be family.”

I glanced over at Pam. “That was years ago. Aaron didn’t even know I was alive.” I chuckled. “It was a high school crush. I’m over Aaron.”

“Hmmm,” Pam teased. “Sure you are. I don’t see how. He was so fine even then. I can only imagine what he looks like now.”

We both had to laugh. In the back of my mine, I had thought the same thing.

****
Later on that evening, I was settling in my old bedroom. As I glanced around, I realized Mama haven't changed a thing since the last time I was home over a year ago.

Mama came in and took a set at the foot of the bed. She was beaming from ear-to-ear.

“What are you grinning about?” I asked.

“I’m just glad you are home,” she said.

“I’m happy to be here,” I said as I continued to unpack.

“Is my future-son-in law coming later?” Mama asked.

“He said he’s going to try and make it later. He has some work to catch up on.”

“That man is always working,” Mama said. “I hope he can make it. I think he’s a great catch for you. I always prayed my only daughter would meet and marry someone like him. Yep. He’s a keeper.”

I didn’t respond. Mama liked Max from the first time I bought him home. I didn’t have the heart to tell her how he’d cheated on me, not yet.

“Your father would be so proud,” Mama said with a far away look in her eyes.

My father died of a heart attack when I was eleven. He was only 34-years-old. Mama never got over his death. I don’t think she ever will. A hospital administrator, she came in contact with numerous available suitors, but she chose to remain single.

“I guess,” I finally answered.

Mama crossed her arms across her chest. “What do you mean, you guess? What’s going on? Are you two having problems?”

Again, I didn’t respond.

“What did you do to him?”

“Me. Mama, nothing is going on,” I lied. “I just have something on my mind, that’s all.”

I crossed the room and pulled out the dresser drawer. Mama was hot on my trail.

“Is it something you want to talk about?”

I knew Mama was being helpful but I didn’t want to discuss Max.

“Not right now, Mama.”

“You know if you need to talk, I’m here.”

“I know, Mama.”

Mama opened her mouth to speak but thought better of it. Without another word, she patted me on the arm and headed out the door.

****
Saturday morning brought the Moore’s family reunion—always loads of fun. Relatives come from as far away as Europe every year to attend the festivities.

I was saying hello to my cousin Kerry and her husband, Thomas, when a voice behind me said, “Hello, Lacy.”

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I didn’t have to turn around. I’ve heard the voice in my sleep a thousand times. I couldn’t help but wonder if Aaron was still as handsome and luscious as the last time I confessed my feelings to him.
I turned around slowly. I wasn’t disappointed. He was even better looking, if that was possible. Gone was the bare face looking youth. In its place was a virile matured, captivating man, sporting a well-groomed beard and goatee. The years had been good to him.

“Aaron,” I spoke. My voice was barely above a whisper.

“How are you doing, girl? Can a brother get a hug?” He spread his arms apart.

I stepped into his embrace. He hugged me tight. The tantalizing smell of his aftershave, mixed with the male essence of him, sparked the flame for him that never burned out. I subtly stepped out of his embrace. I couldn’t believe he held me in his arms. I’ve dreamed of this moment for so long.

“You’re looking good.” He smiled, displaying beautiful, straight white teeth. His eyes found mine.

“So are you, Aaron. I’m surprised to see you here,” I mumbled. At the moment, I didn’t know what I was saying.

“Your mother invited me,” Aaron said.

I have to thank Mama, I thought to myself.

“How long has it been?” He inquired.

“Nine years,” I answered immediately.

“Has it been that long?” Aaron said. His light brown dancing eyes continued to lock with mine. My heartbeat went into a full gallop. “The last time we spoke to each other was the night before I left for school.”

My cheeks burned in memory of that night. “I remember.” I was so embarrassed, I just wanted to crawl into a hole and die. I cleared my throat. I had to change the subject. “So, how have life been treating you?”

He licked his lips. “Life has been good. What about yourself?”

“Good. Good. I was sorry to hear about your mother,” I said.

He put his hands in his pocket, rocking slightly forward. “Thank you. She’s at peace now. The pancreatic cancer took her quickly.”

I reached out and touched him on the arm.

“I heard you moved back to Durham,” I said, changing the subject. “Do you miss Atlanta?”

“Atlanta was nice. I enjoyed my time there but this is home. I missed my family and friends.”

Unlike me, Aaron was from a family of five. He had two sisters and two brothers. He was the middle child.

“Have you seen any of the old group since you’ve been home?” Aaron inquired.

“I only got in last night,” I said. “If you mean that group of snobs you hung out with, then the answer is no.”

He dipped his head slightly and waved a hand in mid-air. “Okay. My bad. I just thought maybe you have seen them around. Let’s talk about something else. I heard you moved to D.C.”

“How did you know that?”

“Your mother told me,” he said.

As he spoke, I couldn’t help but watch his mouth move. I wondered if I’d ever get the chance to sample the taste of his lips.

“Pam and I moved there after graduation.”

“I have always wanted to visit D.C. I never got the chance. What do you do there?”

“You should visit sometimes. Lots of things to see,” I suggested.

His eyes took a slow gaze of my body up and down. “There can’t be anything in D.C. as beautiful as you are.”

I had to look away. His words were undoing me. I could feel my toes curling in my toes. Where was this coming from?

“Like the White House. The Mall. Lincoln Memorial,” I continued. I didn’t miss the smile on his face. He knew his response had gotten to me.

“And you still didn’t tell me what you do in D.C.”

“I own a beauty shop called Classy Cutz.”

He smiled. “A business woman. Go on gurl. I knew you would do well. We as a people of color need to own our own businesses. I’m planning to open an Accounting firm within the next year, so if you ever need an accountant let me know.”

I couldn’t help but return his smile. “Thanks. I’ll keep that in mind.”

“How do you like living in D.C.?”

“I like it. Nice city. Always something to do and go to.”

“And how does Lacy spend her free time?” he asked.

I shrugged. “What do you mean?” I could have slapped myself for asking such a dumb question.

“I mean what do you do when you’re not working?” Aaron explained.

“I work all of the time,” I boasted.

He grinned. “Okay. Let me ask it this way. When you go out, do you go out with someone special?”

“Aaron, are you flirting with me?” I felt a ripple of excitement push through me.

“Yes, I am, but I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes.”

I stuck a strand of hair behind my ear. “To be honest, Aaron, I’m not sure if you’re stepping on anyone’s toes or not. My boyfriend and I are going through a rough time in our relationship.”

He took a deep breath. “Relationships can be tough.”

“Tell me about it,” I said.

A few moments later, I looked up to see Pam waving us over.

As we mingled with everyone, I found myself having a good time. The music was blaring and laughter from kids filled the air. Aaron and I played volleyball. Later Pam talked us into participating in the sack race. Aaron and I were partners. Though we didn’t win, I couldn’t remember the last time I had so much fun. I didn’t think of Max once.

After the games, Aaron and I ate until we were full as ticks. The conversation continued to flow easily between us. We gossiped about former classmates, teachers, relatives, and significant others.
I found out he and his girlfriend recently broke up. He woke up one day and realized that their lives was going in different directions. She liked to party all of the time. Aaron was the opposite. He was a homebody, focused on saving and planning to open his business. She wasn’t supportive of what he was trying to do.

I proceeded to tell Aaron about Max, his infidelity, and the marriage proposal.

“Only you can make that decision,” Aaron said. “You know how much the relationship means to you.”

“That’s what everyone keeps telling me,” I confessed.

Hours later, Aaron and I stood on the front porch of my mother’s house. I had butterflies in my stomach. I felt like I was back in high school on a first date.

“I really had a good time,” Aaron said. “It was good to see you and catch up on old times.”

“Same here, Aaron. It really was nice.”

Aaron stuffed his hands in his pockets, rocking on his heels. “Uh, I remember what you told me the night before I left for college.”

I dropped my eyes. “I was hoping you would have forgotten.”

“Not a chance. I was flattered. I had a secret crush on you, too, but I wondered why a beautiful woman like you would be interested in someone like me.”

“Are you serious? You were one of the most popular guys in school. I mean, you were a football star, on the debate team, and on the dean’s list. You hung around with the ‘in crowd’ and had to beat the girls off with a stick.”

Aaron blushed. “You give me w-a-a-a-y to much credit. I did well in school because it was expected of me. My parents would have whipped my butt if I didn’t. I love sports. I love to debate. No good grades, no sports.” He chuckled. “The crowd hung around me because I was considered a jock. As far as the girls, I only had eyes for one girl, but she didn’t give me the time of day.”

My mouth dropped. “What?”

Aaron tilted his head to one side. “I wanted to tell you that I liked you too, but you did a Flo-Jo on me that night. I didn’t get the chance to tell—until now.”

He reached out taking my hand in his.

“I felt so foolish,” I said.

He squeezed my hand. “Believe it or not I was kind of shy back then. Over the years, I’ve learned to be more open, not let opportunities pass me by.” Aaron’s eyes held mine. I looked away. He lifted my chin and looked into my eyes again.

If someone would have told me that one day Aaron Temple would be standing in front of me, on my porch, and revealing his feelings to me, I would have never believed it.

At his revelation, I didn’t know how to react. I’ve replayed the scene over and over so many times in my head but now that it was real, I didn’t know what to do. I’m still attracted to Aaron, there’s no doubt about that, but my feelings for Max were still very much alive.

“Aaron, I don’t know what to say,” I found myself saying.

“You don’t have to say anything,” Aaron said. “I wasn’t trying to put you on the spot. I know you are with Max. But that doesn’t mean we can’t be friends.”

“I don’t have a problem with that.”

“And friends do hang out, right?” Aaron replied.

“Right.”

“When are you leaving?” he asked.

“Day after tomorrow,” I answered. “Why?”

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“If you’re not busy tomorrow, I’d like to stop by. Maybe we can go to Fantasy World.”

I beamed from ear-to-ear. Fantasy World was the city’s local version of Six Flags. It had been several years since I’d been to the park. I couldn’t wait.

“Great. I’ll give you a call in the morning,” Aaron said, taking my broad smile as a ‘yes’ to his question.

A perfect gentleman, Aaron leaned down and kissed me on the cheek. “Good night, Lacy.”

“Night,” I said barely above a whisper as I watched him stroll down the sidewalk. He settled behind the wheel of his car. He threw one last wave before driving off.

I entered the house on an emotional high, looking forward to see Aaron tomorrow. Mama was waiting up for me. “Max cheated on you, am I right?"

The smile on my face vanished. How did she find out?

“How did you find out?”

“Pam told me,” Mama folded her arms across her ample chest with attitude. “That’s why you’re not sure about him.”

 “Mama, I wanted to tell you. I couldn’t.”

“When did it happen?”

“About six months ago. He went to a friend’s party and woke up in bed with another woman.”

“Typical,” Mama said.

“We’ve been trying to work through it,” I explained, plopping down in a chair. “But I can’t seem to get it out of my head that he was with that woman.”

Mama took a seat across from me on the sofa. “Work through? Love is not a math problem, there isn’t only one answer. The man cheated on you. Get rid of him."

I chuckled. I moved over taking a seat next to Mama. I laid my head on her shoulder. “I know I should. It's just not easy."

Mama patted my arm. “ It’s going to be alright.”

“I don’t know. Max proposed again. Things are complicated.”

“Well, you sure didn’t make it easier by going out with Aaron.”

I looked up at Mama. “Aaron is a friend.”

Mama stood. She gave me a give-me-a-break look. “Tell that to someone who doesn’t know any better. You have always had a thing for that boy,” she said. “I know Max did you wrong but going out with Aaron right now may not be the best way to handle it.”

“Mama I’m not doing anything wrong,” I said.

“What if Max drives up and you’re out with Aaron, then what?”

“Well Mama, since I have been here, I haven’t heard from Max. So, if he comes while I’m out then just tell him I’m out with a friend.”

I stormed to my bedroom. It would serve him right, I thought to myself.


****
Early the next morning, I thought about what Mama said and phoned Max. The call went straight to his voicemail. I left a message. No response. After waiting for an hour, I sent him a text message. Still nothing.

Around 11:00 a.m., I heard from Aaron as promised. We made arrangements for him to pick me up around one o’clock.

When we arrived at the park, I couldn’t help but notice numerous rides and attractions had been added since my last visit several years ago.

We rode on everything from the roller coasters to the bumper cars. During the rides, I held onto Aaron laughing and screaming my head off.

Later, we strolled around the park eating ice cream and deciding what to tackle next. I glanced over to find Aaron staring at me. “Is there something on my face?”

“Just beauty. It’s good to see you smiling.”

“This weekend is what I really needed. It has helped me to see a lot of things more clearly,” I said.

“Good. I’m glad to hear that. I wanted to take you someplace to take your mind off things, even if it’s just for one day.”

“Well, you succeeded.” I giggled.

“What do you want to take on next?” he asked, standing in front of the Haunted House.

“I’m not going in there,” I whined, turning in the opposite direction.

“Come on, this is going to be fun,” he said, grabbing me by the hand. I felt the warm feeling in my stomach again. “There’s nothing to be scared about. I’ll protect you.”

My eyes were closed during the ride. I held on tight to Aaron’s arm. I have to admit it felt good being this close to him and to top the evening off, he won a large Teddy Bear for me by tossing rings around bottles.

Later, Aaron parked in front of the house and cut the engine. He turned to face me. “I hate to sound like a broken record but I haven’t had this much fun in a long time.”

“Me neither,” I said.

“Are you still leaving in the morning?” Aaron asked.

“Yes,” I said in a sad tone. “I have a business to get back to.”

“When will you be this away again?” he inquired.

“I don’t know, but we have to keep in touch,” I replied. “If you’re ever in D.C….”

“I will look you up.”

“You better.”

We exchanged phone numbers. As I began to exit the vehicle, Aaron grabbed me by the wrist. “Lacy, let me give you something to remember be by.” Before I knew it, he pressed his lips to mine. The touch of his lips on mine was the sweetest thing I’d ever tasted. I tilted my head to receive all that he was giving me.

“I couldn’t help myself,” Aaron said once we finally parted. “I’ve wanted to do that since I saw you yesterday.”

The blood was pounding in my head. “I’m glad you did. I was thinking the same thing.”

He smiled that beautiful smile of his and touched a finger to my nose. “I don’t want to keep you much longer because if I do I won’t let you leave.”

Aaron walked around the vehicle and opened the door for me. “I hope to hear from you soon,” he said as we strolled up the sidewalk.

“You will, I promise.”

A moment later he walked back to his car with a spring in his step.

****
I managed to grab a couple of hours sleep before heading home. Thoughts of Aaron accompanied me throughout the night and on the trip. I thought about what our relationship would be like if Aaron and I were together. Would I be living in North Carolina?  Children? Living in a nice home surrounded by a white picket fence? Why did we have to meet again now and under these circumstances? I guess life was funny like that.

“I didn’t see much of you this weekend,” Pam said out of the blue. “Aaron kept you busy.”

My face broke into a wide grin. “Yes, he did. We had a good time.”

“Good for you. I thought you said you were over him,” she teased.

“I thought I was,” I admitted.

I told Pam my true feelings about Aaron. “I still feel the same way about him as I did in high school. Nothing has changed.”

“What are you going to do?” Pam inquired.

“I don’t know.”

Several hours later, I dropped Pam off then traveled the twenty minutes across town. I was anxious to get home and get some rest. The shop was closed today. I can catch up on sleep.

I took a quick shower and placed another call to Max. No response. I left another message. I couldn’t ignore the fact that something was going on. I haven’t heard from him the entire weekend.

The next morning, Aaron phoned to make sure I arrived home safely. We spoke for about an hour. It was good to hear his voice. I missed him. I wanted to see him again. Now more than ever, I needed to speak with Max to find out where this relationship was headed—if anywhere.

Since I couldn’t get Max on the phone, I decided to pay him a visit at work. It was nothing for me to drop in unexpectedly for lunch.

I arrived to find out that Max had already left for lunch. I walked along the busy streets of outdoor cafes and restaurants, when I spotted Max and a young woman having lunch. They were holding hands and affectionately looking at each other.

I stood immobile for a moment to collect my thoughts before I approached them. I took a deep breath, put on a fake smile, and waltzed over to their table.

“Hello, Max.” His eyes stretched as big as a bow dollar. He looked from me to the other woman, then refocused on me. He was struggling for something to say.

“Lacy, you’re back,” he managed to stammer out.

“Yes, I made it back,” I said with my chin held high. I wasn’t about to let this clown know how much I was hurting right now. “I got back last night. I phoned you when I made it in.”

“I didn’t get any messages from you.”

“You’re lying.” My voice raised an octave. “I have been calling you all weekend.” I glanced over at the other woman who looked like a deer caught in a headlight. “But I can see you were busy.”

“It’s not like that,” Max began to explain.

I put my hands on m my hips. “Oh really. It looks that way to me. Who are you?” I asked the woman.

“Her name is—” Max volunteered.

“I wasn’t talking to you,” I fired at Max.

“Lindsey,” the woman said. “I work with Max at the bank.”

“What else do you do with Max?” I asked, looking back at Max.

“Nothing,” Max jumped in.

 I thought about what Pam said. What my mother said. Max wasn’t going to change. Then my mind switched to Aaron.  If I would have known Max was getting his swerve on, I would have gotten busy with Aaron.

I turned back to Lindsey. “Woman to woman, Lindsey. Are you sleeping with Max?”

Lindsey looked at Max for help. He looked nervous.

 “Yes,” she finally said. “We are in love and we’re going to get married.”

Max jumped up. “She’s lying, Lacy. We’re just friends/co-workers. I love you.”

Lindsey stood. “What are you talking about, Max? We spent the weekend together,” she admitted.

“She’s delusional. Crazy!” Max yelled.

“Who’s crazy? You told me you loved me!” Lindsey screamed at Max.

Patrons outside the restaurants were beginning to whisper and stare at the spectacle. I had heard enough. There was nothing left to say. The relationship was over.

I waved a hand in mid-air to Lindsey. “Girlfriend, he’s all yours. I hope you two will be happy together.” I walked away with my head held high.

“Lacy!” Max was yelling behind me. “Lacy!”

Dreamstime
I headed home, threw fresh clothes in the suitcase, and headed back to North Carolina. I had one person in mind—Aaron.

When I arrived, I didn’t bother to stop at Mama’s. I headed straight to Aaron’s.

Aaron opened the door with a look of surprise on his face.

“You said if I need you to call,” I explained.

He smiled. “Yes, I did. What do you need?” he asked, taking me in his arms.

“You,” I whispered, capturing his lips, over and over. "I just need you."




-The End-


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