“Auntie Ellie! Auntie Ellie!” The high-pitched voice of my niece woke me from my dreams. I peeked open an eye to see her bad ass jumping on the bed. I grabbed Nyla’s ankle and pulled her down, making her fall on her back. She giggled loudly as I sat up.
“What you want, bug-a-boo?”
“I’m ain’t no buggy boo, Auntie.” I laughed at her attempt of an attitude and her pronunciation. “And Mommy said that breakfast is ready.”
“Can you me a big girl favor first?”
Her eyes lit up and I chuckled. “Yeah, what is it?!”
“Can you go to my car and get my pink bag out of the front seat?” She nodded eagerly and I handed her my keys.
“I’ll be right back.”
“I’m not going anywhere.”
Picking up my phone, I seen I had Instagram notifications, six new texts, and a voicemail from Aiden. Sliding my finger across the screen, my phone called my voicemail.
Please enter your four-digit password followed by the pound key. I did as directed before Aiden’s voice filled my ears.
“Hey, baby. I’m calling you like I promised, but you’re probably busy with your family. Call me when you get a chance. Love you.”
Message marked for deletion. Hanging up the phone, I tapped on the green button that marked messages. Aiden sent me three: the voicemail that was transcribed to text, a goodnight text, and a good morning text.
Mornin babe 😘 I’m about to eat but I’ll call you as soon as I’m finished
I’d be lying if I said guilt was keeping me from calling. I haven’t decided if I should tell him, or just work through my feelings on my own.
“Here you go, Auntie.”
I gave her cheek a big sloppy kiss that she immediately wiped off. “Thank you, baby. And don’t be wipin’ off my kisses!”
“Well, it’s not nice to kiss people with dragon breath.”
My jaw dropped. Did this little girl just clown me? I playfully lunged at her, but she was already running away in giggles. Shaking my head, I walked to the bathroom with my bag in tow. I began brushing my teeth when my phone dinged.
You better call me or ima have to fly out there a lil early
Boy bye 👋✌️
Keep talkin shit…yo ass won’t be able to walk 😏
😩😩 byeeeeee Aiden
I shook my head and checked my other messages. One from an unknown number and two from my high school bestie, Kelly. I checked Kelly’s first.
Bitch you home and didn’t tell me?! I see how it is.
Wanna meet up sometime today?
Lol it was a surprise to everybody. And just text me the time & place
I opened my finally new message and was surprised by the text.
Good morning, beautiful.
😑 how’d you get my number Tremaine?
I got my ways 😏
*rolls eyes* do you think Sydney would approve of that good morning text
After hitting send, I rinsed out my toothpaste then ran washed my face. Ding.
*ignores you* wanna go out today?
Can’t, got plans. Didn’t I tell your ass to leave me alone anyways?
I’m wanna try this friend thing…
I ALSO told you I don’t wanna be friends
The hostility is uncalled for. Why u bein mean?
Why you on my dick?
Why you not on mine?
Just fuckin witchu 😂😂
But for real how long you stayin in town?
The whole summer
By the end of the summer, your opinion about me will be changed.
I’ll show you better than I can tell you. Be ready by 9pm
“Ellie, your breakfast is gonna get cold,” Natasha’s voice trailed off and her face contorted to concern. “What’s wrong?”
“Uhhhh…so Trey just texted me.”
“What did he say?”
“To be ready by seven…”
“How well did y’all’s talk go last night?”
“He kissed me,” I answered sheepishly.
Her eyes bulged at my revelation. “I—damn, Gabrielle.”
“I knoooow. And I sorta kinda kissed him back…” She punched my arm. “Ow, Natasha.” I rubbed the tender spot.
“Well I hope that knocked some sense into your ass.”
“I can’t escape him. My heart, body, and soul won’t allow it. He’s like a fucking addiction; right now I’m relapsing. I really thought I closed this chapter of my life. That’s why I was so apprehensive about coming back.”
“Maybe you never really closed it in the first place. Maybe your feelings were dormant this whole time.”
“Either way, I’m supposed to be getting married and I can’t have these feelings. What do I do?”
“Maybe this could be the closure you need.”
During breakfast, Kelly texted me back with a time and place, so now here I am waiting for her at this little burger joint we used to frequent. No, I didn’t call Aiden back like I promised. My mind was still clouded by last night’s events, and I’m hoping that tonight would clear some things up.
“Is my favorite customer back in town?” My face immediately lit up at the sound of the older man’s voice. He greeted me with a wide smile and opened arms that I didn’t hesitate to walk in to.
“Hey, Mr. Roy,” I spoke once out of our embrace.
“Well look at you all grown up, lookin’ just like yo momma.”
“Why thank you. You don’t look too bad yourself.” The gray hairs were the only telltale sign of time passing since the last time I saw him.
“Well you know.” I shook my head laughing. “What you doin’ here by ya’self.”
“Waiting on your niece, actually.”
“Kelly? That girl will be late to her own funeral.” He shook his head while I giggled. Some things never change. “What you want while you wait on her?”
“One of your Oreo milkshakes, if you don’t mind.”
“Coming right up.”
I gave a small smile in thanks before drifting my gaze out the window. It was going on one o’clock so the streets were busy with people trying to get back from lunch break on time. A group of teens walked by and reminded me of my little crew. It wasn’t a lot of us. Just me, Kelly, Tasha, Trey, Jay, and Chris…and Sydney before all the drama happened. Our summers together were full of laughter and fun, they shaped who I am today, and gave me memories I’d never forget.
“There you go, baby.”
“Heeeey, Uncle Roy,” Kelly greeted lively. Lively perfectly described her. Outspoken and outgoing, she demanded attention and never held back her tongue. I never realized how much I missed her until now.
He kissed her cheek after a deep chuckle. “How’s my baby girl?”
“Great! I’d be even better if you got me a strawberry milkshake.”
“Asking wouldn’t hurt.”
“You know I love you.” I giggled at their exchange.
“Girl, if you don’t get yo ass up and give me a hug.” Did I mention that she was loud?
“Oh, Ellie, I missed you so much.”
“I missed you too, girl.” Pulling away, we complimented each other on how good the years had been to us. We sat down and ordered when Mr. Roy came back with Kelly’s milkshake.
“Soooo,” she started with a teasing grin. “I see Aiden finally put a ring on it.”
“Yeah,” I said smiling faintly. “Two weeks ago.”
She frowned. “One, why didn’t you tell me? Two, why don’t you sound happy about it?”
“The only other person who knows is Tasha and I didn’t tell her, she seen my ring. And I am happy, it’s just—” I peered around the diner before leaning across the table then whispered, “I kissed Trey.”
“Kelendria, lower ya damn voice,” I gritted, looking around again to see a few eyes on us.
“I’m sorry,” she whispered. “But when, where, why, and how?”
“Me and Tasha were sitting on the porch last night and the arrogant bastard just walks up to me like we cool or some shit.”
“Here you go, ladies. Enjoy.” A waitress sat down our meal and we thanked her. Dressing my bacon cheeseburger and fries with ketchup, I took a big bite out of my burger and moaned.
“I forgot how good these burgers were.”
“If you came home more often…”
I snickered. “Shut up.”
“Whatever. Now continue.”
Swallowing my fry, I wiped my hands off and continued. “So Tasha leaves us alone. And Tremaine being Tremaine said some stupid shit so I smacked him.”
She laughed loudly. “I wish I was there to see that shit.” She wiped at her eyes. “Whooo! Okay, continue.”
“After I slapped him, he just stared at me. Next thing I know he was kissing me and I was kissing him back.”
She simply blinked. “Wow.”
“Never thought anything would make you speechless.”
She laughed loudly. “Bitch!” Upon calming down she asked, “How do you feel?”
“Confused. I love Aiden, but I still love Trey, too. No matter what I do, I can’t seem to escape him.”
“Honestly, you need to leave Trey alone. How many years have you dealt with his bullshit, Gabrielle? How many times have you came crying to me? On top of that, he’s still with Sydney and it don’t look like he’s leaving her ass anytime soon. You tryna be the side bitch again?”
I swallowed back my tears. “Damn, Kelly, you really think of me that way? I’m just some hoe?”
“Of course not, Ellie. I’m just telling it how it is. You deserve better than Trey.”
“So I assume you’re opposed to me going out with him tonight.”
“Duh, bitch. What good will come of it? You need to get over him, not go on dates and get further attached.”
“It’s easier said than done.”
“You need to try harder, ‘cause you’re risking everything for a man who’s willing to risk nothing for you. Aiden will be gone and he’ll still be with Sydney while you have no one. Ain’t you tired of the same old shit?”
“I think it may give me the closure I need.” I sounded so pitiful and small, like I was trying to convince myself more than her.
“Well do what you think is best for you.”
Lunch with Kelly ended on a sour note, which I felt shitty for. I didn’t want Trey to come between our friendship again. It just wasn’t worth it. And while initially I was hurt over her words, I realized that she was saying all the shit my conscious was screaming at me. Hell, I said half of that shit last night. Yet here I am in spite of my better judgment, getting ready for my outing with Trey.
“Where you running off to now?” Momma asked from the bathroom doorway as I straightened the last blow-dried section of my hair. She’s been up under me all day and I didn’t mind at first, but now she’d become too overbearing.
“With a friend, momma.”
“Don’t act like I wasn’t the one who invented that look and take that tone out ya voice.”
“I’m sorry for being down your back. Maybe if you didn’t wait six years to come visit, I wouldn’t have to be.”
“When are you gonna stop holding that over my head?”
“When I finally get over it. So who’s this friend?”
“Be careful, baby. Don’t let what you think you feel mess up what you have.”
Did she…nah, impossible. “We’re just going as friends.”
“Same thing yo daddy told me and next think I know—”
She was cackling while I was mortified. This woman has no chill. “Okay, okay. I’ll leave you alone. You look nice by the way.”
“Thank you,” I smiled at her through the mirror. I didn’t go all out, just jeans and a crop top and a few pieces to accessorize my look. I wanted to portray: ‘yeah, we chilling, but look at what you missed out on.’ The doorbell rang throughout the house, and I found myself simultaneously smiling. “That must be him.”
“Look at me.” I turned to see a solemn face, causing me to frown. “Don’t get caught up in something that’s temporary, okay? Don’t be blinded by what you feel, either. Use that brain and that commonsense I gave you.” I didn’t know how to take what she just said. She had to know, right? Did she look at me differently for sleeping with a taken man? Were we that obvious?
“Ellie!” my dad yelled, breaking the tense silence. “Trey’s out here waiting for you.”
My eyes moved from the floor back to Momma’s face. She gently grabbed my chin between her fingers, smiling weakly at me. “Just remember what I said, baby girl.” She kissed my forehead. “I’ll tell Trey you’ll be out in minute.” I simply nodded, not knowing any other way to respond. I was speechless by the truth in her words of wisdom and the origin behind them. There was no way she didn’t know. I don’t think I wanna go on this outing anymore.
“You want anything?” Mr. T asked after he yelled for Gabrielle.
“Nah, I’m good Mr. T.”
“Have a seat, she’ll probably be a while.”
I chuckled, taking a seat on the couch. Some things never change. Mr. T dismissed himself before reappearing shortly after with a Bud Light. He took a seat on the opposite side of the couch, opened his beer then took a swig. “What you been up to, Trey? Feels like I haven’t seen you in forever when there was a time I couldn’t get you out my house.”
I laughed at that. Me and G were thick as thieves growing up. Ripping and running around the neighborhood and getting into all kinds of trouble. “Just focusing on expanding the studio and the brand. And trying to find talent that’s also willing to work hard.” Me and my boys, Jay and Chris, owned our own recording studio. It took a lot of hard work, effort, and late nights to have our own shit by the age of twenty three.
“I hear ya, man. People don’t wanna get they hands dirty. They want it quick and now without putting in much effort.”
I stood up and greeted Mrs. Loretta with a hug. “Hey, Mrs. Loretta. You lookin’ beautiful as always.”
“Forever the charmer,” she grinned with a shake of her head. “How’s your momma?”
“She’s doin’ good, told me to tell you hi. Grumma asked about you too.”
“Tell ‘em that I’ll stop by tomorrow.”
“Will do.” I sat back down in my previous spot while she set on the couch’s arm beside her husband.
“Where y’all going?” Mr. T asked.
“Just out to eat. Whatever else is up to her.”
Mrs. Loretta grunted. What that mean? “Tremaine, I need you to be honest. What are your intentions with my daughter?”
“I’m ready,” Gabrielle, thankfully, broke the tense air. I don’t know where that was leading to.
“Got everything?” I asked while standing and looking over at her by the door. Gaaaahdamn. Shawty looked good as fuck. The way them jeans cupped that fat ass of hers…there ain’t no way I won’t be touching and loving on that tonight.
“You don’t got enough covering you up,” Mr. T interjected, getting a groan from G.
“Seriously, daddy? I’m almost twenty four.”
“You’re still under my roof.” If this wasn’t high school all over again.
“Momma,” she said pleadingly.
“Baby, leave her alone.”
“Terrence.” Her tight lipped warning stopped him from further saying anything else. “You take care of my baby girl, Tremaine.” Mrs. Loretta said in the same tone she gave her husband. She was coming for me, for reasons unbeknownst to myself.
“I promise she’s in good hands.”
“You better keep them hands to yourself, young man.”
“Momma!” Her momma had proposed a hard feat.
“Baby, leave them kids alone,” Mr. T mocked, causing her to glare at him. He shrugged it off, dapped me up, then kissed Gabrielle on her cheek. “Alright, baby girl. Y’all be safe.”
“Okay, daddy. See y’all later.”
“See ya, Mrs. Loretta, Mr. T.”
“Bye, Ellie,” she hugged her while I got a mean mug. “Remember what I said boy!”
“Yes ma’am.” I felt a ton of weight lifted off my chest once I closed the door behind us. After all that a nigga needed a blunt.
“You ain’t go see Grumma Rose?” She must’ve asked because of my black Mercedes Benz being parked in her driveway.
“Nah, she had bingo tonight.” Once I unlocked the door we slid inside. I opted for rolling down the windows since it was a fairly cool night.
“Where we going?”
“I don’t even know.” I backed out with ease then looked over at her. “This whole thing was kinda spare of the moment so I didn’t have a specific place in mind. McDonald’s good?”
She cut her eyes at me. “Nigga, I’m at least worthy of Popeye’s.”
I laughed when it was obvious that she didn’t it amusing. “Chill, I’m just fuckin’ witchu, shawty.” It was too easy to get this girl wired up. “We going to this li’l spot in Richmond.”
“Why we going out to Richmond? We can eat here.”
“If yo’ ungrateful ass don’t sit back and ride.”
“Whatever,” she mumbled. “You paying, right?”
Briefly stopping at the stop sign, I side-eyed her. “Why you askin’ dumb shit?”
She patted my cheek, smiling sarcastically. “There’s no such thing as a dumb question, silly.” I shook my head with a chuckle. “But aye, lighten up. Why you seem so tense?”
I glanced over at her. “You think your momma knows about us?”
“She seemed a little off to you too? She told me some very…interesting choice of words. What she say to you?”
“She asked what my intentions with you were.”
The low sounds of a commercial temporarily took over in our silence. Looking over at her, she seemed to be in thought. “Well what are they?” she asked softly after some minutes had passed since I last spoke.
“What are what?”
The red light permitted me to look at her, to show my sincerity. “I wanna be friends.”
“Be honest with me, Trey. Because I don’t see how you came up with the bright idea that we can be friends after all that we’ve been through. I don’t even know how I’m even riding in this car with you and being civil.”
“I am being honest, G.” Seeing the light was green, I pressed on the gas, entering the highway.
“I think she knows that I have—had feelings for you. I’m not sure if she knows the extent of those feelings, though.”
“You mean she doesn’t know we had sex.”
“You say it like it was once or a few times. What we had was an affair.”
After safely merging into the left lane, I glanced at her. “I don’t regret it, you know. I don’t regret us.”
“Why you telling me this? You’re still with Sydney and I’m—”
“Of what exactly? What y’all got is surrounded by lies, lies that were told because of what we did. I’m good where I’m at, thank you.”
I felt the tightening in my knuckles as I gripped the wheel harder. “Speaking of lies,” I glanced at her, a smirk etched on my face. “You tell ya nigga how good it felt to kiss me again?”
“You know what? Take me home right fuckin’ now. I’m serious, Tremaine! If you gon’ keep throwin’ shit in my face, then I can’t get down wit that friend bullshit.” Her accent was all in her words and it sounded sexy as hell.
“It’s okay for you to do it, but as soon as the shoes on the other foot, you wanna cop an attitude?”
“I’m just statin’ facts.”
“And I’m not?!”
“Whatever, Tremaine. You might wanna get over, your exit is coming up on the right.”
“Nah, we almost there now.”
“Expect to get hit the next time you say some of-the-wall shit.”
“The only time you puttin’ ya hands on me is when you touchin’ this dick. Til then, shut that shit up.” I looked over at her out the corner of my eye to see her glaring at me. She wasn’t saying shit, though. Good, I shut her ass up. I still felt her eyes on me, but looking over at her, her face was softer. “What you starin’ at?”
“Thought I seen something on your face but I realized it was just ugliness.” Her laughter, so loud and apologetic, filled the car and I couldn’t help but laugh along with her.
“You think you funny.”
“You laughin’ ain’t you?”
“Yeah, yeah, whatever,” I dismissed and merged to the right; our exit was coming up. The rest of the car ride to the diner was a comfortable silence between us, while hip-hop and R&B’s latest hits played softly. It wasn’t too busy being that it was a Monday night, so I parked in one of the closest spots that weren’t designated for the handicapped. Gabrielle ducked her head a bit, looking out of the windshield. “Aunt Sarah’s Pancake House?”
“That what it say don’t it?”
“Stop being a smart ass.”
“You said you want me to touch your ass? I mean I can’t cop a feel while you sittin’ on it, shawty.”
She rolled her eyes, whole time she was smiling. “Nigga, you wish.” She got out the car and I followed suit, locking my doors afterward.
“I did, I can, and I shall.” I slapped the hell out that thang and watched in delight as it jiggled. I been wanting to do that sense I seen her ass sitting perfectly in them jeans. She turned to me “mortified,” but I seen right past that bullshit.
“Tremaine,” she exclaimed, swinging at me.
I quickly grabbed her wrist, putting it on my dick. “What I say?” Hesitantly, she tried to push me away with her other hand, but I grabbed that too, pulling her closer her to me. “I wanna say that them jeans lookin’ good, fittin’ right. Baby, damn those jeans,” I sung the Ginuwine classic into her ear. I felt the shiver running down her spin. Still got it. Letting go of her arms, I pulled her to me by the waist and leaned against the hood of the Benz, next to the mirror. My arms at the small of her back, I placed a kiss on her neck, just above the base of her neck. Another shiver and what sounded like a whimper. This felt too good to be true, for her to be back in my arms again, for that perfume enticing my nose. “You feel what you do to me, G?” I asked against her neck. She gulped. Shawty soaked, wetter than a fucking fountain.
“Trey.” She finally found her voice. “This—” I let her go, putting a stop to her sentence. I didn’t need to be reminded.
I threw her a smirk and winked at her. “Bet ya ass won’t lay hands on me again.” A lazy smile found its way across her beautiful face. “You swear you so tough, but you all talk.”
“Stop it, Trey. You know I’ve punked ya ass out on plenty occasions.”
“Psssht! Name one.”
“When you gave me the nickname ‘G.’”
I kissed my teeth. “That don’t count.”
“Like hell. I had you laid out, my nigga.” Here she go. When we were nine, G Chan (which eventually shortened to G) did some shit to piss me off and I called her a bitch. She did some Tae Kwon Do shit that she learned from a summer program and fucked my little ass up. “You never called me one again.”
“’Cause you ain’t one.”
“That and you know better.” Alright, I ain’t even gon’ front. I was super nice to her for a whole month after that. Whenever we did start play fighting, I would throw in the towel with a quickness. She wasn’t about to break my arm again.
“Whatever,” I mumbled, pushing myself off the car. I held out my hand for here and she simply looked at it. Like it was diseased or something.
“Friends don’t hold hands.”
“Friends don’t—” I stopped myself before her glare could even begin to appear. “You right, friend.” She smirked at me shaking her head and began walking towards the door. “So can friends complement each other?”
“Go right ahead,” she answered while she walked through the door I opened.
“Ya ass look—” she stopped me with her death glare. “I mean…you look gorgeous tonight. Fa’ real, G.”
I watched as she tried to fight the beam making its way across her face, but finally gave in. “Thank you, Tremaine.”
I put her in a light headlock and kissed her forehead. “No problem.”
Huffing once she escaped, she started fixing her frizzy hair. “Asshole,” she grumbled. I chortled, making my way into the diner and out of the vestibule. Before I sat down in the vacant booth, Gabrielle flicked me. “Li’l bitch.” She gracefully slid into the booth and smirked up at me.
I glared at her and slid in across from her. “You ain’t learned the second time? Guess third time’s the charm, right?”
She smiled at me sarcastically. “Really cute, Trey.”
“Heeeey, Trey.” Fuck. Just my luck for Felicia’s ass to be working tonight so she can go run her mouth. “You think Syd would like to know that you lied about visiting yo momma AND brought the next hoe to her spot?” I wanted to slap that shit-eating grin off her face.
“Aye, don’t call her outta her name, a’ight?” I warned through clenched teeth. “And it ain’t none of yo damn bidness to go tell Sydney shit.”
“Don’t cop an attitude with me ‘cause ya dumb ass got caught.”
“Caught doin’ what? Havin’ dinner wit a old FRIEND?! Miss me with the bullshit, shawty, and go get us anotha waitress.”
“Mmmhm. I was leaving anyways, nigga.”
“Skit-fuckin’-daddle, bitch!” G spoke up, and I fucking died at the Vine reference.
“Is there a problem here, Felicia?”
Felicia’s face turned white as cotton then. “No ma’am,” she immediately responded.
“You good, Trey?” the manager, Tiffany, asked us.
“Everything sure will be once we get anotha waitress.”
The manager cut her eyes over to Felicia. “What you doing to upset my favorite customer? Sorry for the inconvenience, y’all. I’ll have a waiter right with y’all.”
“Thanks,” we said simultaneously.
“Hope I didn’t get her fired.”
“If she does, it won’t yo fault. Bitch shouldn’t’ve came at me reckless.”
“She was right, though.” My head snapped in her direction. “Why the fuck would you bring me to her favorite diner, Tremaine?” Her voice was low and calm. That only meant she was about to explode. “You ever think that I’m tired of sharing with her?”
Fuck. I never thought of it that way. Sighing, I reached out to grab the hand on the table but she pulled away. “I wasn’t tryna sneak diss you or nothin’ like that, Gabrielle. I brought you here because I know how much you love breakfast and I think they serve the best breakfast. This spot just so happens to be Sydney’s favorite too. Look, we can leave if you want to.”
She heaved a sigh. “No, it’s okay.” She smiled lightly at me.
I spotted Roxanne coming towards us and I grinned at her. Being that I came to this place often, I had my favorites in food and waitresses; Roxy was one of them. “Hey, Roxy.”
“Hey Trey!” She turned to Gabrielle with a shocked expression. “You don’t have that thang attached to yo hip?” She didn’t fuck with Syd. Ever chance she got, she reminded me she was a snobby, rude ass bitch. “Hey, girl, how you doin’?”
“Hey,” G genuinely smiled at her, shaking Roxy’s outstretched hand.
“G, this is Roxanne, Roxy this is an old friend of mine, Gabrielle.”
“You finally let go of that girl?”
I chuckled. “No, Roxy.”
She grunted and I heard G giggling. “Anyways. I’ll be your server tonight. What can I start y’all off with?”
“I’ll take a coke.”
“Y’all got grape juice?”
“Nope, I’m sorry. We got apple juice, orange juice, and cranberry juice.”
“Only yo old ass drinks grape juice like it’s kool-aid.”
“Shut ya ass up, Tremaine. I’ll have apple juice, please.”
“Alright. I’ll be back shortly.”
“She seems nice, I like her.”
“Yeah, that’s my dawg.” She went to look over her menu, but stopped when I called her name. “I think we should start this thang all over. I’m s’posed to be showing you that I’ve changed, when I only been acting like the same asshole. I’m sorry.”
She nodded. “I agree.”
Smiling, I got up with open arms. She shook her head, but stood up to hug me. “Hey, G. You lookin’ good, girl.” She blushed like I didn’t give her the comment earlier.
“Thank you, Trey. You don’t look too bad yourself.”
“Sheeeeeiiiit, I look good as hell.” She chortled as we slid back into the booth.
“You just wearing khakis and a white tee.”
“And I’m looking good as hell in this jawn, too. You be frontin’ a nigga, bruh.”
“There y’all go.” Roxy placed our respective drinks in front of us. “Y’all ready to order?”
“Give us a few more minutes.” She mumbled an “alright” and walked off to tend to other tables. Finally, picking up our menus, we stayed quiet as we scanned them.
“I think I’m in love already, Tremaine.”
“Damn, G. I don’t know what to say.” I laughed at the straight face she was giving me.
“I’m talkin’ ‘bout the menu, fool. They have everything I love and more.”
“I’m tryna told ya.”
“Yeah, yeah,” she dismissed with a wave of her hand. “You know what you gettin’?”
“What I always get: big stuff omlette with a short stack of pancakes.”
“That sounds good. Think I’m gettin’ the waffle platter. You gon’ lemme get some of your omlette?” I ignored her, sipping my pop and letting my eyes wonder. “Treeeey.”
Kissing my teeth, I shook my head. “A’ight, damn.” Her pretty brown eyes peeked up at me through those long eyelashes of her, smiling at me. I am in awe of her beauty; both externally and internally. What did I do to deserve her in my life? Especially when I fucked it up on multiple occasions.
“I can see all thirty-two of your teeth. What you over there thinkin’ ‘bout?”
“Just wondering what I did right to have you in my life again.”
Her hands went over her face. “Tremiane, stop makin’ me blush,” she mumbled through her hands and a giggle.
“Just statin’ facts,” I mocked her.
“Y’all ready to order?”
“Just gimme the usual, please.”
“Alright. And for you miss ma’am?”
“Ummmm…I’ll have the waffle platter with bacon and, uh, home fries.”
“Alright. I’ll be back to check on y’all in a few.” And she was on her way.
“Aye, G.” Gabrielle looked up from playing with her fingers. “Where’s ya ring?”
“Oh, uh, I took it off. It didn’t really go with the outfit.”
“Thought diamonds was a woman’s best accessory?”
“Can we not talk about my relationship?”
I surrendered with my hands up and switched the topic. “How was your day?”
“It was nice for the most part. Spent a few hours with my sister and her family, had a nice time with momma, and I had lunch with Kelly. But that didn’t end so well.”
“Y’all was talkin’ ‘bout me, huh?”
She stirred her straw around absentmindedly. “Yeah. I told her we kissed.” I sighed. I don’t know she tells that girl anything. Kelly was cool til she decided to stick her nose in business that wasn’t hers.
“What she say?”
“What exactly is the truth. Gabirelle?”
“I don’t wanna talk about it,” she dismissed then chirped up. “How was your day?”
“Played ball with Chris then I chilled it wit Mumma and Forrest.”
“Awww how’s Forrest?! I bet he’s gotten so big.”
“He ain’t a damn baby, G.”
“So! He’s still my baby. He probably got all the hoes.”
“Hell yeah, more than my scrawny ass did back in the day. A nigga done bulked up, though!” I showed her the guns.
She rolled her eyes. “I’ma hafta visit them soon, I missed them.”
“Mumma been askin’ ‘bout you, Grumma too. Auntie havin’ a barbeque Saturday, you should come through.”
“I definitely will,” she accepted with a grin. Our food came out minutes later and we both dived in. Sometime between bits we talked about our careers and I love the way her eyes lit up and the passion in her voice when she talked. I’m sure my same passion was reflected when I talked about the studio. It was a great feeling knowing that all of our hard work paid off. Those classes, the hours spent studying, the tests, they were all paying off now.
“I know you don’t think I forgot about my omelette.” I stopped in motion; the fork inched from my mouth. She lifted a perfectly arched eyebrow and I groaned.
“Take it or leave it.” She hesitantly opened her mouth. I inched the omlette-filled fork close to her mouth and just when she was about to close her mouth, I pulled it away. “Ooo, you gotta be quicker than that!” I mimicked the old man from the AllState commercial. Realization set upon her face before she busted out into a loud and obnoxious laugh that I joined in on. I coulda swore I heard her snort too.
“Whyyyyyy do you play?!” She wiped away her tears from her eyes and I wasn’t far behind. “You sir, are childish.” She threw the balled up straw paper at me. I threw a piece of ham from my omelette at her and her jaw dropped. “Don’t start no shit, won’t be none.”
“A’ight, a’ight,” I held my hands up. “I’m done fuckin’ witchu, fa’ real.”
“Y’all want anything else?” Roxy asked once she came up to us.
I looked over at Gabrielle and she shook her head. “Nah, baby. Can you bring out the check?”
“Yup, I’ll be right back.”
“What you wanna do after this?”
I swallowed the last of my drink then looked at her skeptically. “You wanna do sumthin’?”
“Yeah, the night’s still young.”
“Welcome to Dollar and a Dream Studioz,” I announced after unlocking the door to one of the recording rooms. Her eyes darted every which way as she walked inside, causing a sense of pride to rush through me.
“Wow…” she breathed. “This is so nice.” Her hand reached out for the soundboard before she snatched it back, looking over at me with wide eyes. “Can I touch it?”
I snickered at her child-like behavior. “Yeah, G, go ‘head.” Her fingertips lightly ran across the equipment. “I can show you a thang or two.”
Her eyes were bright with excitement. She’s too adorable, man. “For real?”
I nodded, sitting in my chair. “Come sit down.” I patted my lap. Her eyes met mine, full of hesitation. “I ain’t gon’ bite, shawty.” She sat down, and I securely wrapped an arm around her waist as I pushed us closer to the soundboard. I gave her a little tour of what buttons did what, all that. I even pulled up some new shit I was working on to show her how it worked.
“I like this,” she said bobbing her head to the beat I produced. I felt an immense sense of pride. There was something about sharing what you love with someone you love.
“Do you ever record yourself?”
“I have, but not really.”
“You ever think about being a singer? You used to talk about it all the time when we were younger.”
“I prefer being behind the scenes. I think producing and writing is more of my calling.”
She frowned slightly. “Too bad, ‘cause I love hearing you sing. Them old church ladies would swoon over you whenever you hadda solo. Them li’l fast-tailed girls, too.”
“Like you wasn’t one of ‘em.”
“Stop with your delusions, Tremaine.”
“So we just gon’ pretend we didn’t kiss in the closet during that lock-in? Okay.” She put her hands over her face; blushing, no doubt. She mumbled something. “Huh?”
“I said,” she lifted her head, “why you bringin’ up old shit?”
“Just had to remind you, ya know.”
“Anyways,” Gabrielle dismissed while rolling her eyes. “Did something inspire you when you made that beat? Or did it just come to you?”
“I was just playin’ around on my keyboard with this one. Sometimes I gotta mediate, other times they come to me in the shower. It really just depends.”
“I really love it; it’s so…sensual.” With her eyes closed, he began moving her body to the beat while snapping along. I watched in amusement at her being in her zone. Soon, her sensual movements had me biting my bottom lip. Damn she looked sexy. I lifted my eyebrow at her humming.
“What you hummin’?”
G looked up at me with wide eyes and pink cheeks. “I, uh—it was nothing.”
Gently grabbing her chin, I looked into her sparking brown eyes. “Don’t be shy now.” Her eyes seemed to be searching mine. “I ain’t gon’ laugh or nothin’. I just wanna hear what you got; you might be sittin’ on gold.”
“Uh, rewind it a little bit.” I did as she requested. “I maybe a little rusty.” We let out a chuckle then she cleared her throat. “Lovin’ you is really all that’s on my mind. It’s the only thing I thought about tonight. Let’s make it like old times again, when we were more than friends. Tonight I wanna dance for you. Tonight I’m wanna dance for you. Tonight I wanna feel you real deep, deep inside me. Wh-whoa oh.” She opened her eyes slowly. Bruh. “How was that?”
“Um.” I gulped. “Those were some interesting choice in words. What you tryna say, G?”
She peered at me, her eyes both timid and bold. “I wanna fuck.” And just like that, my dick was full up for the task.
“You sure?” I asked, searching for any signs of doubt. Why did I even ask? I shouldn’t be entertaining this. I said I wanted to be friends and I meant that. But temptation was calling my name. “Gabrielle—” She cut me off with a kiss. A kiss filled with hunger, longing, and fulfillment. She moved from my thigh and straddled me. I wasted no time to secure my arms around, my hands finding comfort in gripping her ass. This was really happening. …And it would be my luck for her to pull away when I finally accepted reality.
Through hooded eyes, she gazed at me, licking over her lips. “One last time?”