better bridgeport

Devin: Where are we going?

Kasim: Right here.

Devin: The beach? It’s not hot enough to swim and I don’t have a bathing suit.

Kasim: We don’t have to swim. It’s just a nice place to chill. I always come here when I want to get away or just to think.

Despite saying she didn’t have a bathing suit, Devin couldn’t resist kicking off her boots and wading in the surf.

Kasim went to sit down and when she looked back, she saw him watching her with a smile.

Devin: What are you smiling at?

Kasim: You. You look like you’re having fun.

Devin: I am. I wish I had brought my bathing suit now.

Kasim: You don’t need a bathing suit. You never skinny dipped before?

She burst out laughing.

Devin: You would suggest some shit like that. I’ve skinny dipped before, but I’m not doing it now.

Kasim: Why not? I thought you were adventurous.

Devin: You be adventurous first. Get undressed, go in the water and I’ll come in after you.

He knew when he was being hustled.

Kasim: You’re not gonna do it.

Devin: I damn sure ain’t, but I’ll have a good time watching you. You should be ashamed of yourself, trying to get me naked on the first date.

Kasim: You can’t blame a brotha for trying.

After she had her fill of playing in the water, she joined Kasim on the blanket.

Maybe it was the liquor or maybe they were just that comfortable with each other, but it wasn’t long before they were both sharing things about themselves and getting much deeper than either intended. Although she felt like Kasim had judged her about her children, Devin opened up and told him about their father, Jay, who had been her childhood sweetheart. She told him how she ended up pregnant in her senior year of high school and how Jay had promised to marry her. The second baby got her a proposal, but by the third baby, Devin wasn't  any closer to getting married and Jay wasn’t any closer to growing up or settling down. Running behind his friends was Jay’s priority, and with 3 small children and a fiancee, his priorities became a major problem. Never one to want to punch a time clock, Jay always preferred making his own money. Unfortunately, with the company he kept, his entrepreneurial spirit eventually turned into petty hustling and other illegal activities. A year after their last child was born, he was locked up for conspiracy to commit armed robbery.  It never occurred to his simple ass that the getaway driver would get nearly as much time as the person holding the gun. Not long after Jay was sentenced, Devin packed up her kids and left Bridgeport for St. Claire. Although Bridgeport was home, there was a lot of family drama and unpleasant memories there, and with Jay locked up there wasn’t much reason for her to stay. She chose St. Claire because of its thriving art scene. She figured pursuing her passion in St. Claire was better than staying in Bridgeport with three kids, no man and a dead-end job.

Kasim listened attentively as she shared her story and gained a newfound respect for her. He thought it was courageous for her to pick up and move to a new city with three kids in search of a better life. Of course he thought her taste in men left a lot to be desired, but figured her taste couldn’t be all bad since she was chilling with him. He could tell from her conversation that she was smart and he liked that. Although a fat ass and a tiny waist was always nice, a girl with a brain turned him on even more. It was one of the many things that had also attracted him to Angel. He was feeling mellow and took another swig of his drink, when Devin looked over at him expectantly.

Devin: So what about you? What’s your story? Why is someone as fine as you still single? Who broke your heart?

Kasim looked at Devin through narrowed eyes wondering if he wanted to go there with her or if he should avoid the question and let her continue to do all the talking.

Kasim: What makes you think my heart’s been broken?

Devin: Everyone’s had their heart broken at least once.

He hesitated and then the words spilled from his lips as if his mouth had a mind of its own.

Kasim: She left.

Devin: Why?

Kasim: Because I was an asshole. I fucked everything up.

Devin: What did you do to fuck it up? What happened?

He was surprisingly candid or at least as candid as he could be with a woman. He told Devin most of what happened including the part he played in convincing Angel to get an abortion and his change of heart after he met little Diamond. He admitted how good Angel had been to him and most of the lying and cheating he’d done during the relationship. He was tempted to tell Devin everything, but he didn’t want to completely turn her off, so he left out his more heinous acts, like sleeping with Dylan and Gabrielle. Although he didn’t tell it all, he told enough of the truth to express his regrets. It was a relief to get some of the guilt he’d been carrying of his chest, without the macho facade he always felt he had to maintain with his boys. It was also nice to get a woman’s perspective and some insight on Angel’s point of view.

Although he was pouring his heart out over another woman, Devin was happy to get a glimpse of his sensitive side. In spite of his admission that he was a womanizer, Devin still felt drawn to him. He looked so sad, she wanted to hug him, but instead she gently stroked his arm. It was the simplest of gestures, but it struck a chord with him. He looked over at her and when their eyes met they both felt a connection that didn’t require words.

Kasim: Can we change the subject?

Devin: Yeah. Let’s stop talking about them. Tonight’s supposed to be about us, right?

The conversation took a much lighter turn as they focused on themselves and shared funny, random stories from their pasts. Kasim was in the middle of telling Devin about the time he and a group of his 5th grade classmates had cut school, how he’d almost drowned when they all fell in a swamp and the dread he felt going home to explain the smelly, slimey condition he was in to his mother, when he noticed that Devin had snuggled up against him and fallen asleep. When he called her name and she didn’t respond, he laid back and looked at the stars, which were bright, clear and plentiful in the sky that night. It was the most relaxed he’d felt in a minute and it wasn’t long before he fell asleep too.

Devin: Oh nooooo! Kasim wake up!

Kasim: Damn. We stayed out here all night.

Devin: Trina? Girl, I’m so sorry. Are the kids ok?……  We came to the beach and I fell asleep…… I’ll explain everything when I see you. I should be at the house in about 20 minutes…… Ok…… I know. I just feel terrible about this. I’m so sorry…… Ok, I’ll be there in a minute.

When she hung up Kasim asked if everything was alright.

Devin: Yeah, everything is ok. Trina’s cool, but I don’t want her to think I’m taking advantage. We’re neighbors and our kids are playmates, so we always babysit for each other. The kids are fine and they love spending the night at her house. It’s just the principle. I didn’t tell her I was spending the night out.

Kasim: Come on then. Let me get you home.

During the drive, Devin looked over at Kasim and smiled.

Devin: Did we just spend our first night together?

Kasim: Nah, baby. This doesn’t count. When we spend the night together, you gonna know we spent the night together.

Devin: Oh really?

Kasim: Really.

She knew he was talking shit, but it didn’t stop her from squeezing her legs together to quell the tingling she got from his promise of what was to come. Devin already knew she was gonna give it to him, it was just a matter of deciding how long she’d make him wait to cash in his coochie coupon. It had been so long since she’d been with anyone that she wasn’t sure how much resistance she’d be able to put up if he pushed  the right buttons. Something about Kasim made her think he had the art of pushing the right buttons down to a science.

When they pulled up to her building, he got out to walk her to the door.

Kasim: Did you have a good time?

Devin: Yes, even though you got me coming in with the sun. Did you?

Kasim: Yeah. We gonna do it again?

Devin: If you want to.

Kasim: I want to. I’m gonna call you later, alright?

Devin: Ok.

There was an awkward, expectant silence as they stood staring at each other.

Devin: So?

Kasim: So what?

He couldn’t believe he was actually nervous and unsure about kissing this chick. He laughed, leaned in and brushed his cheek against hers before turning his head and planting a soft full lipped kiss on the side of her face.

Kasim: Bye, pretty girl. I’m gonna call you later.

He was headed down the stairs before she could respond. When he got to the sidewalk he looked back up at her.

Devin: That’s it?!

Kasim: What are you talking about?

He knew exactly what she was talking about.

Devin: That’s the kiss I get?

He considered going back up the stairs and kissing her the way he really wanted to kiss her, but he knew kissing her wouldn’t do anything but leave him with a raging case of blue balls. And since he wasn’t in the mood for that…

Kasim: I thought you wanted to take it slow. Didn’t you tell me you didn’t want me acting like Don Juan?

Devin: Well if that kiss on the cheek wasn’t a Don Juan move, then I don’t know what is.

He smiled and winked at her.

Kasim: I’m gonna call you later.

She stood at the top of the stairs with moist panties as she watched him get in his truck and drive away. He didn’t know it, but that non-kiss and the fact that he wasn’t acting thirsty earned him another coochie coupon.

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