She's In Control: Part I

"Here," he said handing her the simple blue toothbrush.

"Blue today, huh?"

"What's wrong with blue?" he asked.

"Nothing, I just think it's cute."

"What is?"

"Well, I've been fucking you for about six months now. You'd think I could have my own toothbrush here but every morning, you pull out a new one. Always disposable, always a different color. Like the only stability you want from me is my pussy."

"And you find that...cute?"

"I do," she said with a smile. "The way you try so hard to keep the boundaries clear. It's endearing."

"You don't have to do that," he said, putting his strong hand on her waist's soft skin, pulling her closer.

"What?" she inquired.

"Try so hard to pretend."

"What do you mean?"

"You don't have to pretend to be the 'cool girl'. Women only bring up boundaries because they have a problem with the rules."

"You think I have a problem with the rules...that we established together?"

"That's what always happens eventually, isn't it?"

"You have a point. That's what usually happens. Just, not with me."

"Oh, really?" he doubted. 

"Really. I can have a toothbrush, a phone charger and a damn cat at your place and I still wouldn't expect or want commitment."

He laughed, "Yeah, okay."

"I'd stay longer and try to prove how many fucks I don't give but I should go, have a packed day. Let me just brush my teeth with blue and I'll be on my way."

Michaela turned away from Jerome, bent over slightly and brushed her teeth. 

Her bare ass grazed against his bare groin. 

She ignored his light, simulated thrusts and brushed, rinsed and spat. 

With a clean mouth, she dried her lips then threw the blue toothbrush in the empty trash can that sat conveniently next to the sink. 

"All set," she said looking at him through the mirror, refusing to turn and remove her body from his tumescent girth.

"All set, huh? Sure you're not forgetting something?" Jerome asked, moving himself deeper into her skin.

"What would I be forgetting?"

"You don't know?"

"Well, I know it's not my toothbrush," she replied, a sly smile caressing her face.

"You got jokes," he said, lifting his dick, using it to play between her pussy lips.

"Let me show you," he continued.

Michaela gripped the thick granite countertop, holding on for balance and bracing herself as Jerome pushed his way inside of her. 

His thickness never got easier to take but somehow was better every time. 

He fucked her to her core. The pleasurable pain vibrated through all vaginal walls, pounding its way up her thighs and throughout her insides. Her jaw dropped and she released the pain with a low groan. 

She could feel his pace increasing, his orgasm rising alongside her own. His grip on her waist deepening, her grip on the counter tightening. 

Before her next breath, he exploded.

She squirted.

He immediately caught her fluids, cupped his hand under the juices, collected them then spread them on her ass, an action that only excited her more, only made her squirt again. 

"Fuck," they released in unison. 

"Shower?" she asked.

"Quickly. I have an interview in a couple hours. Gotta prepare."

"That's right, for the Director of Sales position over at Prime Consulting?"

"Did I tell you about that?"

"You did."

"Weird."

Michaela rolled her eyes.

"Not too hot," Jerome requested as his lover turned the shower knob. 

"But, I like it hot," she responded. 

"I know you do. But, not too hot, please. For me?"

He placed a gentle kiss on her cheek and ran his fingers down her back. 

"Don't try to get cute with me, mister. No kissing allowed, remember?"

They stepped into the steamy shower. Hot, but not too hot.

"You really trying to tell me you never thought about breaking the rules?" Jerome asked her while lathering her back. 

"I never should have said anything about that damn toothbrush."

"I just want to know, want to make sure we're on the same page."

She turned and faced him.

"Trust me, you have nothing to worry about."

"Alright. Just checking."

He handed her the wash cloth then grabbed another for himself. He washed his body quickly, turned the water dial a bit closer to the red "H" and stepped out of the shower.

"You okay?" Michaela asked.

"Yeah, just, you know, gotta get ready, like I said."

"Alright. Just checking."

Michaela finished soon after, exited the shower, covered herself in Cocoa Butter Jergens then got dressed in the pants suit she'd brought in her modest overnight bag. 

"You going into the office?" Jerome asked.

"Yeah, have some early appointments today. I'll see you soon?"

"You know you will," he responded with an involuntary smile. 

"Good," she replied with a voluntary smirk. 

And she was gone. 

 

 

Lashings

She fell to the ground and the water crashed over her back. Each drop a lashing she deserved. 

Jealousy invaded her body. Jealous of her once Heavenly Father. Jealous of her mother. They would have his embrace now. They would have his life. His love. 

Jealousy grew to vitriolic rage. His absence birthing pain ten times greater than the tears he ever caused her to cry when he was here. 

She wept until her body was spent. Until her body was numb. Then she wept more. 

She wouldn't move. She couldn't get up. She cursed her prayer for death knowing it wouldn't work. 

Why did she ever yell at him? Why did she ever scream? 

Why didn't she swallow her pride, her pain, her desire, her fatigue and just hold him? Just hug him and kiss him and let him into her bed? 

She loved him. More than she herself ever knew. 

And now he was gone. 

Now he was freed of her, of the pain she caused him, perceived or real, it didn't matter. He felt it and now he felt nothing but his freedom. 

She felt nothing but regret and despair. A regret darker and closer than any shadow, unable to leave her side. A despair, indescribable. 

He was free and she, the living dead. Longing to cross over knowing the peace would never come. 

She got exactly what she deserved. 

She should have done better when he was here. She should have done so much better. 

Now she lie drowning in the shower of her own choices. 

Letting each drop whip her with the pain she deserved. 

God, how she missed him. 

Accomplish

I'm inebriated and don't know what to write about. Someone reminded me that I did some pretty great things recently and I should reflect. Thank you, person ;) But, like I said, I'm inebriated and don't know how to humble brag or write coherently right now (sorry) so what I'm going to do is TRY ANYWAY because you have to try in life and I don't know what to write about. Did this paragraph make any sense?

Here are my recent accomplishments: 

1. I'm watching Hook, the movie, with my six year old son. We come up on the part where aged and forgetful Peter Pan gets some nice mouth to mouth action from three supes cute mermaids. My son says, "Ahhhh, mommy go back so I can see that part again!" I say, "hahahahahahahaha okay." I rewind and let the little perv watch again...THEN he says, "Excuse me mommy, I have to go to my room and do something private." I say, "Okay," and die internally. But I'm proud of myself because I was the one who taught him that certain things are to be done in private, in your room, by yourself. So, at least I'm raising a responsible horn ball (or maybe not a horn ball and this is all completely normal. I hear it's normal. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, TELL ME IT'S NORMAL). 

2. I had an incident with a certified fuckboy recently which is RARE for me. I usually date insanely nice men (That might show in my blogs. I'm usually the asshole. Le Sigh) and I truly have little to no experience with these douche bag, asshole, fuckboy, normal guys these days that all of my friends cry about. Usually, I can smell an asshole a mile away (wait, what?) and I avoid that mess wit' a quickness because ain't nobody named Marissa got time for punk ass dudes. Still inebriated. Sorry, mom. Okay, so. I come across one such jerkface and long story short, he does what assholes do. Tried to stink up my life. I could have/should have written something better than that last sentence. Anyway, y'all wanna know what I did!?! I dealt with the situation like an adult! I politely went off on his ass through Facebook Messenger and let him know I am not the one. I am not that girl. No sir, not today!  I may have written a mutha luvin poem about it. See number 3.

3. I wrote a poem about fuckboys (in a like cool, good, slam poetry, talented kind of way, nothing like what's happening currently in this blog). I wrote a poem, signed up for an open mic, and performed said poem. I accomplished my fear of spoken word, bore a part of my soul, didn't die, and the dopest poet I've ever met told ME I was dope af. Such good shit. And yes, fuckboy referenced in number 2 was in attendance of my dope af performance. *Hair mutha fuckin flip* Accomplished. 

4. I got my first writing job!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm officially a contributor for a fun website. I get to write about adorable animals and ya know what? The whole situation makes me smile. Getting paid for my writing feels way better than that old Master's Degree (no, seriously). 

5. I put out into the Universe that I NEEDED a vacation (I don't even believe in stuff like that but I don't know how else to word it currently. INEBRIATION!) and guess what? My cousin invited me onto a cruise!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I could afford it (crazy discount) and had the time to get away. So, I somehow used the law of something or another (shit I don't really believe in...or I think I can just describe it in a more concrete/scientific way rather than romanticize it) and attracted what I wanted from the Universe! I set sail on a cruise in four days! How ya like me now, fellas!?

That's it. Those are all of my accomplishments lately. That and my fro is on point. Okay no, that's just a straight up blessing not an accomplishment. Idk, I don't really believe in blessings either. Except my kids, awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!

Okay, that's all. 

The Waiter

Imagine pure strength dipped in chocolate. His hands could crush me. And I would let them. His eyes pierced like the sun. I could never look for long. I longed for him to touch me. For his mass to cover me like an eclipse. No escape. I needed no escape. Just complete submission to his reign. In my mind, thick fingers graze my neck, lightly at first before he deepens his push digit by digit. My breath thins and I welcome it.  My body is his to take, gently, roughly, I give it to him. 

Imagine the sweetest song, composed just for you. Its rhythms matching the beat of your heart, its melodies humming the secrets no one knows. But he knows. He knows and he sings you to you, just for you. Others may hear but only you understand and he knows this. A secret between the two of you. He walks towards you and the harmonies grow louder between your thighs.

Imagine the face of an angel and the body of a god. Imagine the deepest, finest, richest mahogany rubbing against your wanting skin. He has no regard for the others in the room. He looks at only me. He leans over me, runs his massive hands through my hair and tugs. I do not flinch. I ask for more. He leans closer, pushes the table in front of me away. Stands over my body completely, his girth magnetic to my core. I do not flinch. I ask for more. He bends now, looks me square in the eyes, grabs my face when I instinctively attempt to look away. 

"Don't," he says. 

He kisses my cheek and I die. His inebriating scent gathers into a cloud that I mount and I float away. My eyes roll to the back of my head and he kisses my neck. My nipples awaken, hungry and jealous. He knows. He focuses on the buttons on my shirt. Undoes the top one slowly then rips the rest away in one aggressive swoop. I do not scream. I ask for more. 

I ask for more. 

"More?" he asks. 

"More," I beg. 

"I'm sorry, ma'am, what is it you want more of?"

My eyes roll forward and open. 

"Excuse me?" I ask. 

"I haven't taken your order yet so what do you want more of? Do you need more water?"

"Um, ahem, yes, please, thank you."

He leaves me. He leaves me devastated and thirsty. Water, the last thing on my mind. 

My husband's deep sigh carries across the table but doesn't touch me. I don't let it touch me. 

"Do you think we can come to this restaurant just once without you drooling over the waiter?" he asks. 

"No, my love, probably not."

 

Extra Credit: Part II

The sunlight flooding the room was welcome but it seemed to replace the pre-existing air. Suddenly, it was nearly impossible to breathe. 

He wasn't my professor any longer. He was a man, a man I wanted. 

I cleared my throat,"Well, I'm sorry that, um, situation didn't work out for you," I said.

"Please, don't be."

I cleared my throat again, "I'll do my best to get to class."

"I appreciate that. I think you'll really enjoy my presentation."

"Your presentation?" I asked, this time with a full-on cough.

"Are you alright?"

"Yes, ahem, excuse me, I'm fine."

"Let me get you some water."

"No, honestly, I'm fine."

"Don't be silly. It's no problem."

He got up from behind the desk and walked over to the small kitchen area of the apartment.

I stood but stayed by the desk, taking deep breaths. 

He returned, just as quickly as he walked away, with a tall glass of water.

"Thank you," I said.

"Of course."

I took one sip, then another, then five more, my body searching for help through hydration. 

"I made you uncomfortable," he said, his eyes remained steadfast on my own.

"What? No, really, you didn't. I'm just, um, really quite parched."

"Alright," he said, visibly trying to swallow a laugh.

"What? What's funny?"

"Nothing,. I just find it interesting. Big, tough athlete who takes more hits than I'd like to imagine out on the field, but the idea of his professor being gay makes him squirm."

"Well, if that were true, it wouldn't be funny, it would be shameful. A person's homosexuality shouldn't make anyone squirm."

"Well, then? Why are you suddenly so tense?"

I placed the empty glass down on the desk behind me and gripped onto the edges of the old wood for dear life as it bore into the back of my thighs.

"It's just..."

"Yes?"

"I'm sorry, do you think I could have another glass of water?"

"Don't deflect, young one. You can do it."

"Young one? You can't be that much older than me."

"Touche."

"How old are you exactly?"

"I'm thirty-one."

"Quite young to be a professor, no?"

"You're stalling."

I mustered my courage, looked deep in his eyes and bit the living shit out of my bottom lip.

"I'm also, you know..."

"A lover of Scandinavia?"

I shot him a look. 

"I'm joking with you. I know. You're homosexual. I'm guessing this isn't exactly public knowledge?"

"Wait, what do you mean you know?"

"A hunch I guess, mixed with a little wishful thinking."

My eyes bulged as I noticed how close he was standing to me. 

"Ahem, wishful thinking?"

"Sorry, I don't know why I just said that out loud."

He turned away from me, started eying the books on his massive wall of knowledge.

"It's alright," I told him, "But you're, right. It's not exactly public knowledge."

"You don't have to worry. I would never..."

"I know. I can tell."

I walked over to him, his back still to me. The cologne he wore was subtle but invigorating. He smelled like cedar and vanilla. Carefully, I held my breath. 

He turned, completely un-startled by my proximity. 

"I can keep a secret," he said.

"As can I."

"Is that so?"

"I mean, obviously."

We laughed together. 

The gap between us closed.

He pressed his right cheek against my left and whispered.

"Would you like a secret to keep?"

 

Ordinary

I am a daughter of God. I am a daughter of God that knows her worth. I am a daughter of God that knows what lies between her legs is a precious gift that, nigga, you can't just take.

I am mother Africa, the giver of all life. I am a black Queen. Call me by my name. The east, the west, the north and the south all come from my core. I decided to finally exhale and the Earth was created. All children are my children. 

You think you know who I am. You've painted me quite nicely in your writings of the black Black History. You've made me your queen. Your precious jewel to be protected but only theoretically. You still haven't learned to protect me but you will chant, march and protest for the idea of me, your idea of me.

You think you know who I am. You know nothing but who you want me to be.

Do you know me? 

I am a black girl reject. I am an outcast. I am not a precious jewel. I am a mind. I am a body. I can't say that I'm a spirit because I don't know what the fuck that means. I am a girl. I am not a daughter of God. 

I am the daughter of a man named Dick and a woman named Jane. I am perfectly ordinary. I am not a queen. I do not sit on a throne. I was born in the suburbs, feeling ordinary as fuck, probably because I was ordinary as fuck. And as much as I hated the feeling of mediocrity, my goodness, how I long for such privilege now, the privilege to not have to be more than just me.

If my skin were white, would you let me be?

My black is beautiful and I wear it with pride but I have no desire to be your queen. I have no desire to participate in the hotep orgy of theoretical, blanketed ideals that will never truly consider me, only my assigned race and sex. I have no time for the contradictions of the conscious brothas that will march for me, chant for me, protest in my name but still can't accept a black woman who doesn't believe in god, who isn't searching for her king, who doesn't give a fuck if you text her back or not. I am not in the business of finding a husband while cursing my ex for not seeing the majesty in the rise and fall of my ethereal, African bosom from which all life has come. No, sir. I have two kids and don't want more. 

I am no daughter of God.

Who is God?

What is God?

Is the idea of God the fabric that holds our community together? Are we really that fragile?

Is God the paradigm that keeps women safe under lock and key, longing to be free but fearful of what that freedom actually looks like...to herself...and more importantly to you because god forbid the black master disagrees?

Is the almighty creator the creator of this pressure to be pure? To be powerful? To be mother of the whole fucking Earth? Or is that just reactionary pride fighting against years of oppressive lies?

Do we still believe that sexual suppression is a woman's only ticket to validation? To love? I mean, god damn, can a nigga get her clit sucked without a tainting of her name?

Oh no, I am no daughter of God. 

I am the daughter of a man named Dick and a woman named Jane. 

I only have two kids and I don't want more. The Earth was not birthed by my womb alone. 

I am not your black queen, please remove this crown. I am not your black ho, please remove the disdain. I do not need you to teach me how to love myself when you clearly aren't equipped for the job your goddamn self. 

I am not Mary, the mother of God or Mary Magdalene, the sinner begging for the black man's blessing. You cannot paint me as a housewife or a ho. I've snatched that paintbrush and created a homeowner who fucks whomever she desires regardless of their race, class or sex. Discrimination is for the birds. 

And with that I am ordinary.

I am ordinary.

And I will fight for my right to remain ordinary, ordinarily me. 

Extra Credit: Part I

"Hey, Taylor!" I heard a perky voice call out from behind me.

I turned to see Danielle Something running towards me. 

"Hey Danielle," I said with an even tone, wanting to turn away from her and keep walking.

"Wait up!" 

She caught up to me, completely out of breath, and tried to stable the hot cup of Starbucks in her left hand. She wore tall, leather boots and a puffy vest, jacket, thingy. She looked like every other white woman in Princeton, New Jersey this time of year. 

The summer was a sweltering mess so when temperatures finally dropped and the leaves started their gorgeous display of oranges, yellows and reds, it was as if the entire campus exhaled, smiled and ran to the nearest Starbucks. I hated to admit that it was my favorite time of year as well. The thought alone reminded me of how insignificant human life could be, especially my own. 

"Great game, last weekend," she continued.

"Thanks. Yeah, it was tough one but we managed to pull it off."

"Totally. I was never really into lacrosse until I came here and well, until I saw you play."

"I'm flattered," I lied.

"You're really great out there."

"I really appreciate that. Look, I hate to run off but I'm running a bit behind schedule..."

"God, I just love how you say that, 'Sshedule'. You Brits are so adorable."

"Right. Well, it was nice to see you Danielle," I said, having about all I could take and stepping away.

"Call me!" she screamed out, "Let's get coffee some time!"

I raised a hand in lying agreement and was on my way. I really was running late and didn't have time for asinine chit chat with the likes of her. 

I originally planned on carrying out the family tradition of attending Cambridge but there comes a time in every man's life when he has to step out on his own. Besides, I wanted to see The States. North America and Antarctica were the only continents I'd never seen so I figured I'd study here opposed to with the penguins. I only had one year left at Princeton. After graduation, who knows, perhaps I'd visit the penguins. I was just fine with a four year lull in my love life. The Princeton demographic wasn't particularly my cup of tea. 

Checking the address again, I realized I was almost there. I'd missed my first Scandinavian History class for this semester, resulting in an email from the professor asking me to see him in his office, his home office.

Only in America.

After twenty minutes of crisp, apple-scented air, I'd arrived. The building was old and grey. One of those Victorians that looked like the insides would surprise you with gorgeous renovations or would match its outside and look like complete rubbish. Stepping inside, I found the latter to be the case. 

Professor Thompson lived right there on the first floor, second door on the left. My heart fluttered a bit. It'd been years since I felt like I was "in trouble". At twenty-one years old, I was wildly more responsible than my peers. I was here on a lacrosse scholarship, got straight As, held down a job at a bookstore and hated the taste of beer. As a star athlete with blonde hair, blue eyes, an extremely symmetrical face and a bright future ahead of me, I was used to praise and admiration. Suddenly, I felt like I was walking to my mother's room for a spanking after eating all of the biscuits or something. 

I took a deep breath and shook away the thought. 

My right fist grazed the good lightly and a voice said, "Come in."

The inside of the apartment matched the rest of the building unsurprisingly. The light bulb in the one visible lamp flickered every few seconds, providing minimal lighting for the small living area that seemed trapped by heavy, dusty drawn drapes. The floor was covered in books that spilled over from a bookshelf that adorned an entire wall.

Smack dab in the middle of the mess stood a young, black man who looked only a few years older than myself. He had broad shoulders and clothes that looked much too stylish to belong in this apartment that was better suited for a seventy year old writer who refused to interact with humans or the sun. 

"Taylor?" he asked, looking up from a book.

"Yes, hello."

"You're right on time. Please have a seat."

He smiled at me, revealing perfectly white, movie star teeth. Again, nothing about him physically matched his surroundings. 

I looked around for a place to sit and came up short. 

"I'm sorry. This place is a dump. I'm in research mode so it's hard to focus on anything else."

"Like cleaning," I stated hastily, stupidly. 

He laughed, thank God.

"Yes, like cleaning."

"Professor Thompson, can I start by saying I'm truly sorry I missed the first session. Your class is the same time as lacrosse practice and I'm having a bit of trouble working out the schedule."

"Yes, you're quite the star on the field, I hear. Here, sit down."

He moved a stack of books from a chair in front of an old desk and motioned for me to sit. Probably noticing just how dark it was in the room, I could barely see him, he walked over to the window and pulled back the drapes. 

"Oh my, what a gorgeous day," he said, "Guess we don't need this."

To the relief of my eyes, he shut off the flickering light, letting the sun do the real work instead. Professor Thompson sat in a larger chair on the other side of the desk, sitting a bit taller than I.

I took another deep breath.

"So, there's a problem with your schedule?"

"Yes, it's just, um, practice. I have practice at the same time as your class."

"Then why sign up for the class?"

"It was the only history credit available at the time I registered and I was hoping, well, I was hoping..."

"You were hoping you could get by with watching the lectures online and just reading the assigned texts."

Shit. He saw right through me. 

"That's exactly why I asked you to come see me today, Taylor. Not many of my students fight for a seat in Scandinavian History so I usually end up with the ones that registered late once all the quote on quote fun classes are full. But Scandinavian History is enthralling! And challenging! It's not a course you can just sleep on. I know what you're thinking."

"You do?"

"Sure. You're looking at me like I'm nuts. So did the rest of the class when I gave them this speech during lecture, the lecture that you missed."

My eyes lowered. 

"But let me tell you, Scandinavian history is full of blood, sweat, tears and guts flying everywhere. You don't want to miss out."

His passion was almost comical. No one in their right mind could be this engrossed in the history of Scandinavia. He was endearing to watch though and I found my tense shoulders relaxing a bit.

"Professor Thompson, may I ask you something?"

"Please, call me Chris."

Only in America.

"Alright, Chris. How exactly did you get involved in this field?"

"Are you asking me that because I'm black?"

"What? No, of course not. I would never..."

"Relax," he said with a smile, "I'm just messing with you."

"Oh, alright," I replied.

"Love."

"Love?"

"Like most humans with open hearts walking this Earth, I made a choice because of love. It was only a few years ago that I was sitting right where you are. I was twenty years old, almost done with under grad, looking forward to law school. Then, I fell in love."

"With...a Scandinavian?"

"With a Scandinavian."

"Well, that's just absurd," I said, again, hastily, stupidly. 

"Taylor, you're absolutely correct," he said with a laugh. I joined him with a chuckle. 

"I fell in love with a Scandinavian who was studying the history of his country. I switched majors so I could take classes with him and never thought about becoming a lawyer again. Things didn't work out, or course, but luckily for me I also fell in love with the material, the research, the history. So to answer your question, that's how a thirty-five year old black man ends up as a professor of Scandinavian history. 

"I'm sorry, I don't mean to be rude or anything but did you say you switched majors so you could take classes with HIM?"

"Yes, I did."

"So, you're..."

"Yes, I am."

"I see."

"I'm sorry. That's not something I should discuss with a student but you'd be surprised how often I get that 'So, how exactly did you end up here?' question."

"It's fine. I don't mind and I apologize for prying."

"Not a problem, Taylor. I apologize if I made you uncomfortable."

"Not at all," I lied.

Yes, I was a grown man. Yes, I was living in a liberal city in a mostly liberal country but no, no I hadn't come to terms with my sexuality. I hadn't told anyone, friends or family or the sea of uniformed white women, that I was gay. 

And now, here I was, too afraid to admit that I was sitting across from the most beautiful man  I'd ever laid eyes on, listening to him tell a story of falling in love with a man that most likely looked like me. Uncomfortable didn't begin to describe the feeling. 

How I Fell in Love With Eric Jerome Dickey...Novels

This is the story of my life as a reader: When I was a child my father would instill "reading time" for my sister and I. Then he'd go off to church or meetings or something and my mother was left home to implement the required time of self-study. When you think of my father think of Barack Obama's mother...but a black man. He always wanted the best for us, always pushed us to succeed, especially academically. Although I was a rockstar student, the reading thing never really took. I found books boring and time consuming and I could be watching Looney Tunes instead!

Then there was high school: the land of required reading after required reading. It was pure hell. I hated all of the books. All of them. Ok, not all of them. I highly recommend Things Fall Apart, In Cold Blood, Crime and Punishment and Their Eyes Were Watching God. Those books are my jam. Did they turn me into an avid reader, though? Hell no. 

Then there was college. I was a film major so I  was ready for four years of pure visual stimulation which the least amount of reading possible for a non-math major.

Then it happened.

My sister changed my life and didn't even realize what the hell she was doing. She had a crush on a boy who's mother was a writer. So, in order to impress said boy, she bought one of his mother's books and got to reading! Luckily for her, this woman was a romance writer and her book was gooooooooooooooooooood. Luckily for ME, this woman had the same name as me, Marissa.

This prompted my sister to say, "Hey, Marissa, read this book! It's really good and the author has the same name as you! Hurray!" My response, "Ugh, books." Her response, "It's really steamy and she even writes about...you know, with, you know...detail." My response, "Say whaaaaaaaaaaaat!?!" I was eighteen years old and I knew romance novels were a thing in the world, I grew up with a Danielle Steel fan for a mother, but still, they were books and most of the times they were thick as hell so I'd never really required further. Plus I was eighteen, I was busy doin' my own romancing. Hey-oh! Ok, there was nothing romantic about that time. Remind me to write about the time a guy invited me to his dorm to watch movies...on his laptop on his bed...that had no sheets. Nevermind, I don't want to relive it.

ANYWAY. I took my sisters suggestion and read my first romance novel, Hot Boyz. Now if that doesn't scream Black People section of the bookstore, I don't know what does. That book I read in three days. Then IT.WAS.ON. I hit up my nearest bookstore and frantically searched for the actual Black People section that they politically correctly called "African American Literature".

I quickly came to find out that most of these Negroes loved to write about some bowchickawowwow. Girlfriend, Honey Chillllle, I felt like Columbus finding the New World (ew, gross, terrible analogy). Ok, I felt like Moses leading the people into the Promise Land (but wait, he never made it to the promise land. I think Joshua led them in). Anyway, you get the idea!!!! I felt like Michelle when she found Barack. Boom, okay that works. Phew! It was a magical experience. I bought five books based on back-cover synopses and went to town. 

Of those five, two of them were penned by the one, the only, mutha fuckin ERIC JEROME DICKEY. The first two of his books that I read were Friends and Lovers and Between Lovers

Bitches, let me tell you!!!! When I say, this man changed my life, this man CHANGED MY LIFE!

Eric Jerome DIckey is life.

It was a good thing I was a rockstar student, even in college because I would ditch class just to finish a chapter, or two...or all of them. Friends and Lovers was the first and only book to ever make me cry. It sneaks up on you. It's light, it's funny, it's sexy, then next thing you know you're a ball of mush, rocking back and forth in the corner. Soooooooooooooooooo many emotions. 

Between Lovers, look y'all, this book is the definition of when a man loves a woman. It taught me what love looks like before I was old enough to even truly understand. As a matter of fact, I should re-read that because lordy a refresher is in order. 

In a matter of weeks, maybe months, I've always been a slow reader, my life was transformed. I promptly took my black ass back to the black section in the bookstore and bought all the other books he's penned. At this point I've read them all, Between Lovers might still be my favorite. 

But.

If you ever want to have a self-induced heart attack because why not? You must read The Other Woman. The next time you go home and your spouse has cleaned the house you will know to turn your ass around and go back to wherever it is you came from. This book had my jaw on the floor for weeks, usually while riding around on public transportation with strangers looking at me like I was nuts. IF ONLY THEY KNEW THE SHIT GOING ON IN THIS FICTITIOUS WORLD!!!! Lord, Jesus. I can't even. 

Genvieve... a beautiful character study with one hellllll of a twist.

Pleasure... the title speaks for itself. All I can say is brace yourself... and your booty hole. So good. 

And there's Gideon. Oh my Gideon. Dickey stretches himself and supersedes his already established brilliance. How does he do it? I don't fucking know, but he does it. And oh, does he do it well!

I'm currently in a novel writing class and the instructor was asking us about our favorite authors. I mentioned EJD clearly and she had no idea who he is. I'm strongly considering changing classes...maybe I'll just make her read all of his books. Do that bitch a favor.

Eric Jerome Dickey novels are what made me think...hmmmm, maybe I can do this, maybe I WANT to do this, maybe I SHOULD BE doing this shit!!! If I ever wrote anything half as touching, half as intelligent and enthralling and sexy or challenging as Mr. EJD, just take me out back and shoot me because I could officially die a happy and accomplished being. 

Eric Jerome Dickey, I love you. I thank you. 

NotAPsycho.com

“Hello, and welcome to NotAPsycho.com. We’ve already established that your future partner is not mentally unstable, not dangerous and will not harm you in any way. Would you like to proceed?” the automated, female voice asked.

“Yes,” she said, without stroking one key on the unnecessary board in front of her. She stared at the screen with wide eyes. She almost wished there was something to click so she could feel more proactive; but, she wouldn’t complain. There was nothing to complain about these days. She sat on her fidgety fingers and listened for the next prompt.

“Tell me a bit about yourself. What is your name?” the monotone voice continued.

“Olive.”

“Age?”

“Twenty-five.”

“Sex?”

“Female.”

“Sexual Orientation?”

“Bisexual.”

“Does your bisexual orientation extend to transgender women?”

“No.”

“Does your bisexual orientation extend to transgender men?”

“Yes.”

“Height?”

“Five feet, six inches.”

“Shoe size.”

“U.S. size seven, women’s.”

“Religion?”

“Buddhism.”

“Geographic location?”

“St. Louis, Missouri.”

“Occupation?”

“Computer Software Developer.”

“Chocolate or Vanilla?”

“Vanilla.”

“Which receives precedence, the peanut butter or the jelly?”

“The jelly.”

“Ethnicity?”

“Um, mixed?”

“Please specify.”

“Well, I’m…”

“Please refrain from using utterings like ‘Um’ and ‘Well’.”

“Half Irish, Half Kenyan.”

“An African American specifically known as ‘mixed’ referring to having one white parent and one black parent.”

“Yes.”

“Three favorite hobbies?”

“Tennis, Drawing, Watching Movies.”

“Allergies?”

“None.”

“Thank you, Olive. Now let’s talk about your desired preferences in a partner.”

“Alright.”

“Male or female?”

“No preference.”

“We are here to create your perfect match, ‘No preference’ is not an available option.”

“Male.”

“Cisgender or transgender?”

“Cisgender.”

“Religion?”

“No pref… um, oh shit, sorry, all religions may apply?”

“All religions. Again, please refrain from using utterings like ‘Um’.”

“Sorry.”

“We are here for you. There is never a need for you to apologize.”

“Understood.”

“Height preference?”

“Six feet tall.”

“Ethnicity?”

“African American.”

“Light-skinned or Dark-skinned?”

Olive hated that she had to pick. Again, she wouldn’t complain.

“Dark-skinned.”

“Mocha, chestnut or charcoal? Please refer to the examples on your screen.”

“Chestnut.”

“Lean, muscular or a perfect mix of the two?”

“Perfect mix.”

“Unique name or simple to pronounce?”

“Simple to pronounce.”

“We are calculating your perfect match. Please stand by.”

Olive watched the screen. Her fidgety fingers freed themselves from under her bottom and twirled through her hair.

The screen read, “Loading.”

Ten long seconds later a smiley face emoji appeared, written underneath: CONGRATULATIONS!

“Olive,” the voice returned, “Out of the options that will now appear on your screen, what is your ideal first date.”

She took a moment to read through her options.

“I would say, B. SIT ON THE COUCH IN OUR PAJAMAS AND WATCH MOVIES.”

“Olive, are your living quarters clean, currently?”

“Yes, they are.”

“Are you menstruating?”

“Yes, I am.”

“Would you like to meet your future partner?”

“Now?”

“Yes, now. We do not like to waste time here at NotAPsycho.com.”

Olive looked around her small, studio apartment. She walked away from the screen in front of her and headed to the mirror in the bathroom. Did she look okay? Okay enough to meet her future partner? She grabbed her toothbrush and scurried around her cluttered counter in search for the paste. She found it under a hair bonnet and twisted the cap open as fast as she could.

As she brushed she heard the automated, female voice return, in what sounded like a louder volume.

“Olive? Olive are you still there?”

“Coming!” Olive struggled to return through frantic brush strokes.

She spit and rinsed. She ran to her closet, ripped off the old, tattered t-shirt she wore and short shorts covered in white paint, threw on a flowy, pink sundress and some deodorant and returned to her seat in front of the screen.

“Olive, is that you?” the voice asked.

“Yes, I’m here.”

“That wasn’t necessary, Olive.”

“What do you mean?”

“The clothes, the teeth brushing. There is no need to worry, your future partner accepts you just the way you are.”

“Sorry.”

“Olive.”

“Right. I understand.”

“Would you like to go on your first date now?”

“Yes, I would.”

“What is your exact address?”

“391 Sherman Street. Apartment 3F. St. Louis, Missouri 63199.”

“Please change into whatever pajamas you wore last night.”

Olive walked to her closet slowly and tried to steady her heart. She retrieved the tossed t-shirt and shorts and changed before returning to her seat.

 “Thank you, Olive.”

“Thank you.”

The screen went black and almost instantly there was a knock at the door.

He was six feet tall exactly with warm brown skin, a rich and even tone. He wore a white tank top that pronounced his acceptable physique and gray sweat pants. He flashed a surprising smile. Olive was surprised perfect teeth didn’t include an upcharge.

“Wow,” he said instantly.

“Excuse me?” Olivia asked.

“You’re perfect, more than I could have asked for. Sorry, I just, I, um, didn’t think this site would actually work.”

“The site is here for you. There is never a need for you to apologize.”

They laughed together.

“That’s right. I forgot,” he said.

“Would you like to come in?” she asked.

“Please.”

Olive closed the door behind him and caught a whiff of his scent. He smelled like Irish Spring soap and Old Spice deodorant.

“What’s your name?” he asked.

“Olive. You?”

“David.”

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, David.”

“The pleasure is all mine, I assure you.”

“What’s that?” Olive asked, gesturing to a DVD case in David’s hand.

The Bridges of Madison County,” he said, holding up the movie. “I thought we could watch it tonight, if that’s alright with you?”

“It’s my favorite.”

He smiled that perfect smile.

“Good, I’m glad.”

For a process that was so smoothly orchestrated, Olive felt nervous. The butterflies bombarded her stomach but she didn’t mind. She welcomed the reminder that she was alive.

“Would you like some popcorn?” she asked her guest that was undoubtedly not mentally unstable, dangerous or a harm to her in any way.

“Sounds great, I’ll put the DVD in while it pops.”

“Thank you.”

Olive and David sat on the couch with no inches between them. He put his arm around her and she rested her bent knee on his thigh.

The butterflies persisted but after a little red wine, the flutters succumbed.

After the movie David looked deep into Olive’s eyes.

“I’m glad I’m here,” he said. “I’m glad it’s you.”

Olive smiled and bit her bottom lip, a physical warning to her tear ducts to keep in control.

“I’m glad it’s you too, so very glad,” she said.

They moved to her bed and climbed under her covers.

He lied behind her and scooped her close.

She was safe and warm.

He told her about his parents, his sisters and his nephew.

She told him about her boring job, her dashed dreams of being a tennis star and her desire to travel more.

He promised he’d take her wherever she wanted to go.

Eventually, they drifted off to sleep, staying in each other’s arms, separating only when he needed to stretch his arm. Then they would separate but somehow always managing to find each other again. They both slept soundly, dreaming peaceful dreams neither would remember in the morning.

The first date was a success, like they always were once two individuals were ready. Tomorrow, they would worry about the future, but for tonight, they would rest.

Spoken Word: Part III

Correction, to that, there was absolutely nothing to say. 

I looked down into the eyes of the man I knew would be mine and mustered every drop of confidence I possessed as a sea of knowing suddenly washed over me. I gave Kevin Lowe a peek of devilish grin, stood in front of him and pulled him up to stand on his feet and meet me toe to toe, eye to eye. 

I wouldn't let him buy me a drink. We didn't have time.

Throwing inhibitions to the wind, I tossed my arms around him and kissed his perfectly waiting lips. 

Yep.

One kiss was all I needed to know he was the one.

We ignored the roaring crowd around us. I may have heard Trina "whoop whoop whooping" like Arsenio Hall but I couldn't be entirely sure.

This didn't make any kind of sense but I was smart enough to not question. 

I kissed the man I knew would be mine, giving him every part of myself in that moment, receiving every inch he gave in return.

Every inch.

Every inch?

It hit me. We had to leave. We had to leave, NOW.

Instinctively, he read my mind. Kevin Lowe tore his lips away from mine and I cursed the air that took their place.

Without a word he marched towards the door, his grip still firmly wrapped around my hand.

I looked back only momentarily to grab my purse and mouth, "holy shit!" to a bug-eyed Trina and we were on our way.

We stepped out into the cold air and were all over each other once again. We passionately kissed to his car, annoyingly separated, climbed in the vehicle then made out some more.

The shit was bananas.

Somehow we made it to his place without causing a five-car pile up on the way. I refused to keep my hands to myself. He refused to stop me.

Under any other circumstances, I would have inspected his apartment, checked out how a potential boo lived. Did he own a vacuum? Were the dishes done? Was there a dog? Tonight there was no time for any of that shit.

We banged. 

We banged right there in front of the door. 

We banged on the kitchen table.

We banged on the couch.

We banged on the treadmill! He had a treadmill. 

We banged in bed until the sun started to rise. UNTIL THE SUN STARTED TO RISE.

We finally slept for a few hours, something I've never done comfortably after an initial encounter, then woke up starving. 

This nigga fed me some left over brisket and mashed potatoes and put some cream on my rug burn. Apparently we banged on the carpet too. 

Fifteen hours after I first laid eyes on him, Kevin Lowe dressed me in one of his white cotton t-shirts, looked deep into my eyes and asked, "So, what is your name?"

"Mrs. Lowe," I informed him as if he didn't already know. 

 

Spoken Word: Part II

"Good Evening, I'm Kevin Lowe."

One sentence and I don't know how the microphone in front of him didn't melt right there and then. Lord knows, every pair of panties in the place did. 

He continued as the crowd attempted to regain composure.

"I came in here tonight with the intention to recite my piece In The Rain---"

Three women down front exploded in cheer.

"Yes, daddy, in the rain, give it to me in the rain!" one pleaded. 

"In the rain!" another cried in orgasmic agreement.

Kevin Lowe flashed them a perfectly pristine, white smile.

"I'm sorry, ladies. I truly do apologize but my mind is preoccupied. You see, I didn't think this would happen to me ever again but, I think I just fell in love."

His eyes were glued to my own as we both blocked out the gasps engulfing us. 

"I've never been one to believe in love at first sight and I promise you this was not my intention but will you permit me the space to speak freely?"

The audience clapped and snapped and nodded in allowance. 

He looked around the room, made eye contact with more than just one, more than just me.

"Like I said, I never believed in love at first sight. Love at first sight was a fairy tale, a legend for teenagers and sad singles, a myth that traps you. Because if you've ever been in love, like I have, you would know that love is patient. Love is time. Love is a choice. Love is dedication. You see, I'm a man. I'm a grown man and these are things I know. I am not bamboozled on the fourteenth of February yet know how to participate in the act of loving a women with all of my self, three hundred and sixty five days a year. I know how to cherish that love, preserve it, mold it, water it, finesse it and above all else, never forsake it. I'm a man. I'm a grown man and these are the things I know. Love does not come over night. Love takes time.

But when I say I think I just fell in love please believe that it is true. One look was all it took but best believe I stole two. She caught me by complete surprise as lovers often do. Her hair swept up, her face hidden, her body turned away. I couldn't see her eyes but my heart sensed her soul was here to stay. 

I hate to sound corny. I hate to sound cliche. But when she finally turned and faced me, she took my breath away. 

Could one woman possess such absolute beauty?

My mind began to race.

I saw her in a home we shared. I saw her climbing into bed next to me, on top of me, me inside of her. I heard her moan and I felt her grab my hand. I saw myself take that hand and guide her in our dance. I saw our children. Three in all. One had my eyes, another her smile, the baby, a precious little girl, replicating her mother's kind soul. 

I took one look at the curve of her hips, the joy in her smile and the light in her eyes and my future became clear. 

This wasn't my choice, y'all. Like I said, I never believed in love at first sight."

Kevin Lowe freed the microphone from its stand, walked off the stage and made his way towards the crowd. He continued to ration out eye contact among the room of starving women, desperate for a taste. He walked to the left and right, made his way through his admirers. Made his way towards me.

"Now, I don't know if it was love at first sight for her. She didn't notice me when I first saw her."

The crowd scoffed in disbelief.

"It's alright though. I enjoyed that moment on my own. That moment of total peace and clarity. That moment of falling in love. Would she love me back? I had no idea. In that moment it didn't matter to me. She didn't need to. I would just be grateful for that space and time. I felt no fear, no nerves. I just looked at her and thanked God for letting me know what irrational love felt like.

I was thankful for the wave of nonsensical certainty that tingled in my toes, snaked up my legs, pulsed through my groin and melted in my heart. If she didn't feel the same, if all I ever had was that one moment of true and ridiculous love, well, I could die a happy man, a man who'd experienced something most never knew existed. If I live the rest of my life with the simple memory of her in that dress and that smile, well, shit, what else is there, right?

But you know what, y'all? I'm a greedy mother fucker. I can't even lie. So before I leave here tonight, before I hand over this mic, there's something I just have to know---"

Kevin Lowe stood directly in front of me. I tried to steady my quivering legs to no avail, praying the dozens of eyes on me didn't notice. 

He lowered his body down to bended knee, took my left hand with his right and steadied the microphone in front of parted lips.

There was only one unified gasp this time, an audible expression on behalf of my speechless self. 

"To the woman who stopped me in my tracks and left me breathless before I even learned her name," he continued, "May I buy you a drink?"

To that, I only had one thing to say. 

Women's March

It must feel so good to have so many allies. 

I know your struggle. Hell, I live your struggle. 

I am a woman.

And it's hard to write this. It feels divisive because please believe me when I say I appreciate every pair of feet that marched today.

Unfortunately, it's hard for my heart to not hurt just a little.

When I was crying at work after the umpteenth shooting and you couldn't REALLY understand why. 

When you gave me an awkward pat on the back and didn't know what to say.

When you told me my Facebook posts about equality were pointless "white noise" but today my feed is flooded with pictures of white women taking a stand for themselves "and others".

When you ignorantly displayed micro-aggression after micro-aggression towards me then cried when Trump was elected. 

When you gently asked me if I perhaps misunderstood when I told you my interactions with police but today the entire fucking world stands with you. 

Millions marching for the precious white female. 

Yes, I know it was done for more than just that demographic. 

Yes, I know a lot of these people that marched today also take a stand for others, have been a part of the struggle since before I was born.

But when I see the protests for those young black boys, I can't help but notice the crowds are overwhelmingly brown.

Now, this orange man threatens the privileges of our precious white queens and they fear they will receive the same treatment we've endured for centuries?  

Now the world must stand? 

Now we must make noise?

I hate to sound divisive. 

We have the common goal of equality and freedom. 

We absolutely have the same enemy of the white supremacist patriarchy.

But why weren't you outraged when it was just me and my black boys at risk?

Why were you awkwardly supportive but unsure of what to say?

Why were my tears nothing but white noise that clearly made you uncomfortable but you can't stop screaming about the rights of your pussy today?

My heart can't help but hurt a little.

Even in our solidarity, you make my place clear.

My life is my problem. Your reproductive health is our problem, the world's problem.

I appreciate you coming along. I appreciate you standing up. I hate that you had to be personally threatened to get the fucking message. I hate that that's how it works nine times our of ten.

I stand with you.

I love your tenacity and strength. I love your solidarity that I know for many of you has always been there.

But when I see the millions, when I see the sea of people marching now that they've been touched personally, now that their white mothers and wives and daughters have experienced a mere fragment of our reality...

Well, I hate to be divisive but...

My heart can't help but hurt a little. 

Spoken Word: Part I

"I think about death all the time.

I think about death all the time.

I would jump.

On a gorgeous, clear sky, sunny, hot day in the city. I would make love to the ledge with my eyes, my last love, before stepping onto its weak embrace. I would smell the air, feel the sun, hear the bustle of the city I love, call myself crazy, tell myself no, don't.

I would repeat this cycle again and again.

I would block out anyone who called out to me.

I would feel the hot metal press into my thighs as I sat there. I would let go with one hand, let it float through the air. I would smell the concrete, the grit and grime, even from up there.

The heat would remind me of first days of school, basking in the sun, waiting for the bright, yellow bus.

I would distract myself on purpose. I would repeat the mental cycle.

And then as if by accident my other hand would let go, joining the first. My heart would instantly drop, the first feelings of regret rushing in. As if it weren't my choice, as if someone pushed me, my body would lunge forward."

"Bitch, what the hell did you get me into?" I leaned over and asked Trina accusingly.

When she suggested we hit up Spoken Word Night at Mango Cafe, I didn't think I'd be sitting here, contemplating whether or not I needed to call the Suicide Hotline on this Negro's behalf. 

"Girl, I don't even know. Maggie at work said this place was crawling with fine, sophisticated brothas on Thursday nights."

"Yeah, well I have a feeling Maggie lied to you. So far we've seen a wanna-be Maxwell who just can't sing. I don't know why he was even singing at a spoken word night in the first place. And this dude who clearly needs to call on Jesus or his momma or goddamn, the hospital. I don't think we'll be seeing any Darius Lovehalls tonight."

"Bitch, why you gotta be so negative?"

I just gave her a look, letting her know that I knew that she knew damn well why I was being so negative.

She got the hint.

"Let me get us two more drinks. You just keep your fine little self here and try to smile."

I flipped her off lovingly and watched her walk away.

Trina wore a skintight, floral print, mini dress with six inch purple pumps. If it weren't for her two-a-day workouts, she'd look a hot mess but her body was perfect and she was far from afraid to show it off. She could throw on anything and look flawless. I wished I had her courage. Hell, I wished I had the body that came with that confidence. Don't get me wrong, I kept it tight. My weightlifting three times a week was enough to keep me in a comfortable size six. Just don't expect me to enter any of the fitness competitions my best friend did twice a year. 

Surveying the room, I clearly realized I didn't care what I looked like at the moment. I'd met Trina here right after leaving the office so my hair was still swept up in a bun, black-rim, hipster glasses adorned the bridge of my nose and my modest yet sleek black heels matched my tailored black blazer and cream-colored dress. My outfit was the perfect mix of "sexy librarian" and "go the fuck away". Perfect for this evening.

Mango Cafe was dimly lit and intimate. There were about fifty people in the room, cozily gathered in front of a simple, black stage. The decor was Moroccan inspired with colorful throw pillows casually tossed on each love seat that matched the same tile patterns on the walls. The cafe would actually be perfect for a romantic night despite the fact that there was absolutely no talent in the room. 

"Don't look now," Trina whispered loudly, interrupting my exasperated exhale. 

"Okay," I said while impetuously starting to scan the room.

"Nigress, I said, 'Don't look!'"

"Calm yourself! What exactly is it that I'm not looking at?"

We huddled our heads together as Trina began in an actual whisper.

"At the bar, nine o'clock, the finest man you've ever seen in your life. I tried to lean in, show him the cleavage. He wasn't having it. No ring and my gaydar didn't go off so, fuck him for dissing me but still, we officially have our eye candy for the night."

Our heads parted as we sat back in our seats simultaneously as if some imaginary sports coach yelled, "Break".

I sipped my vodka tonic and looked to my right, away from the bar. Letting my eyes linger on that side of the room for a bit, I slowly swiveled my head towards the left, hoping Trina wouldn't disappoint. We didn't usually have the same type in men so my hopes weren't too high. 

Three more seconds of swiveling and our eyes found each other's. My brain screamed, "Bitch, keep swiveling!" But, I could not look away. 

He exposed an enchanting smile while I licked an uncontrollable grin off of my lips. I took another sip of my drink. 

"Mmhmm, I told you," Trina said, surreptitiously surveying my surveillance. 

"God damn," I released.

"Mmhmm," she repeated. 

In a place like this, I expected brothers to be well-dressed but quirky with full-beards, glasses and clad in dashikis while they stepped to the mic and "dropped some knowledge" on their "simple-minded" audience. I expected educated pretentiousness dripping from every pore. This was spoken word, after all. The skinny brotha with a Ph.D. was exactly my type so I could take a little arrogance as long as it came with brains the size of Russia. 

"My type" was exactly NOT what I saw over at the bar. My mind would usually protest but the sudden moistness between my legs informed me that my body argued otherwise. 

His skin was the deepest, smoothest, richest looking chocolate. Hair cut close to his head, his waves tapered neatly off into that jaw-dropping dark sea of skin. While he did indeed have a beard, it was short, not protruding further than the skin on his face, well maintained and sexy as hell. He wore a suit that I could instantly tell was tailored specifically for his body and a five hundred dollar watch. The same one my boss sported when his boss was in town. 

Jesus help me. 

"Well?" Trina asked.

"Well, what?"

"You gonna sit there and pretend you're not undressing him with your eyes or are you going to go over there and say something?"

"Girl, please. You know that is not my style. If he's interested, he can come to me. You know the deal."

"Mmhmm, I know you're bougie as all hell."

"Bingo."

I finished my drink and contemplated getting another. I could use some more liquid aide to get through the rest of these "performers" if they were going to be anything like the crazies that already spoke. I didn't want to walk over to the bar though. I didn't want Mr. Perfect thinking I was anything more than physically thirsty. 

"Hope you're ready," Trina said slyly through the corner of her mouth.

"Ready for what?"

"He's coming," she informed without ever parting her teeth. 

Shit. Why the hell didn't I go home and change first? Why was I still wearing these dorky glasses? Should I quickly do the slow motion, shampoo commercial, take off my glasses and release my hair move? No. Too obvious. Shit. What do I do? Sip your drink and relax. Fuck, it's already done. Fuuuuuck. Breathe, bitch, just breathe.

He took a roundabout way and was now directly behind us. I could feel him. I could smell him and Lord Jesus, did he smell good. Maybe he was trying to sneak up behind me? Maybe he planned to confidently whisper some sweet nothing in my ear. I wouldn't jump. I'd be ready. I could feel him.

I waited. 

I waited.

I waited.

And nothing. 

Damn, maybe he was gay. 

The ice in my glass had to absorb my frustration as I demolished a piece between my teeth. This night was back to being a bust.

The host returned to the stage, pulled his wack ass fedora lower over his eyes and massaged the microphone stand. It was quite uncomfortable.

"Ladies and gentlemen," he said in his worst Barry White impression, "Please welcome to the stage, a man that needs no introduction, a man we all know and love, our featured artist of the night, Mr. Kevin Lowe."

The crowd erupted for a man that clearly did require an introduction because I had no idea who Kevin Lowe was.

"Excuse me," I heard from behind.

Trina's head whipped around simultaneously with my own. 

Holy shit.

Clean cut, Mr. CEO was a well-known, well-loved artist? Could have fooled me. 

He walked between our chairs, closer than needed. He definitely could have gone around. He looked over his shoulder as he approached the stage, unapologetic and comfortable, he rested his gaze on mine and licked his lips.

"Holy shit," Trina released, again through unparted teeth.

I tried to keep my cool as Kevin Lowe finally turned and took the stage.

Now this I had to hear. 

 

On Being a Teen Mom...at 30.

When you're a teen mom at thirty, you feel like a teen mom again: completely out of place. Your friends are now catching up and having babies of their own but they're not really "catching up", are they? They're doing it at the right time. You were the one who clearly got it wrong.

Your friends talk about formula and breast feeding and what stroller to buy while you research "How to Get a 12 Year Old Through Puberty" on your own. 

You realize this will always be the case. You will always be the odd mom out. Hell, you always have been. You will always be at the wrong stage of your own goddamn life. 

Your pregnant friends will ask you if it's weird to have a different last name than your child's. They ask because they are beautiful, bad ass feminists that never took their husband's last name. Clearly, not the reason why my child and I do not have the same last name. His was never offered to me with a promise and a ring. 

I tell them not to worry about it. They are married. They belong to a family unit. Their different last name is a minor detail that doesn't take from the legitimacy of their family. Alright, so I just say, "No, it's not weird".

When you're a teen mom at thirty, you're reminded that you did it wrong, out of order, too quickly. Your friends are engaged married, expecting, mothers of toddlers and you're still trying to survive, trying to fit in, knowing you never will. 

Am I grateful to not be changing diapers? Absolutely. I am looking to get married and start all over the "right way"? Hell to the no. I love my child. I realize my blessings but there's just something about being a teen mom at thirty that makes you feel well, like a teen mom again. You watch them do it the right way, unable to stop the thoughts that you clearly did it wrong. 

Catch Me When I Fall: Preview

My laptop would have to absorb my thoughts while I waited for my wife to come home. I threw on some clothes and headed back downstairs to my office. A piano bench sat behind my desk in substitute for a chair. When Jessie was a little girl, she would always sit on my lap, wanting to write stories and poems with me. After a while I figured I would replace my solo seat for something to accommodate the two of us.

Short stories were usually hard for me to write, even harder to finish but I was feeling inspired. My fingers hit the keyboard and began a journey through the world of a young girl falling in love for the first time, her parents forbidding it, her heart demanding it. My protagonist was three pages into her tale when I finally heard the garage door open. Joyce and Jessie’s voices carried through the hallway, their rare but infectious laughter pleasing my ears. My girls were in a good mood tonight. Thank the Lord. I could see them through the glass double doors of my office but they didn’t notice me. They were finishing up ice-cream cones, the reason for their delay, I gathered. Jessie gave her mother a hug, a gesture I hadn’t witnessed in far too long, and headed upstairs. It would be a good night. Joyce turned and headed back towards the kitchen but stopped suddenly as if some outside force tugged at her. She turned quickly away from the direction of the kitchen and headed towards the room where I sat. When she saw me by the light of my computer she smiled her perfect smile. I smiled back.

“What are you doing in here?” she asked, walking towards me.

“Waiting for you.”

She looked over my shoulder, tried to catch up with the dream world I was creating.

“You’re a great writer.”

“I’m a lazy writer.”

 “What do you mean?”

“I don’t write enough, when I do, I never finish.”

“When you do, it’s beautiful. It’s poetry.”

She sat down besides me and took my hand, placed it on top of hers.

“You know I love you?” she asked.

I looked down at my wife as she buried her head perfectly in my chest, in its place, in the place it had rested for years. I stroked her hair like I had done for years.

 “Yes, I know. I love you too.”

I leaned down to kiss her at the same time she tilted her head up to kiss me.

“That was a beautiful party, wasn’t it?” she asked, once our lips parted.

“Definitely.”

“I didn’t know Malik had such a way with words.”

“That’s what love will do to you, I suppose.”

“Do you love me like that?”

“And so much more.”

The corner of my eye caught the corner of her smile.

“Ready for bed?” I asked.

“You have no idea.”

“Come on.”

My arm wrapped around Joyce’s waist and guided her up the stairs. She stepped out of her heels when we reached the top.

“Can you help me with this?” she asked, motioning to the zipper that divided her back.

She must have been anxious to get undressed. We hadn’t even reached our bedroom yet. The index finger and thumb on my right hand firmly gripped that zipper, slid it down her back in willing anticipation. I wanted her.

“Thank you,” she said softly.

My hand snaked its way underneath the open garment and rested on top of her hip. As we moved closer to our bedroom, my hand explored her southern hemisphere. Squeezed her thighs, caressed her behind. I was ready.

With all of my might, I removed my grasp from her skin and stood to the side so she could open the door to our bedroom. So I could see her face when she discovered my romantic surprise. The door swung open and my face lit up as hers fell to the ground. Joyce looked around the room, took in the candles, took in the fruit and cream on the bed. Took it all in and began to cry.

“What’s wrong?”

She didn’t respond. Just threw her arms around me swiftly, the way Simone had done to Malik only a few hours ago.

She let out a hushed, “I love you.”

“I love you too, baby.”

“This is just what I need after being on my feet all day.”

“I bet. I’m sure Simone put you to work.”

“You know it. That woman is my dearest friend but these wedding preparations are exhausting!”

“Come here,” I said.

I took my wife’s hand, locked our bedroom door and then walked her over to the bed. I took her dress off completely, doing my best to ignore the plain, tan bra and larger-than-life matching panties.

“Lie down,” I instructed, moving over the bowl of sexual dessert to make room for her.

She obliged.

Seated beside my wife, I lifted her left foot, silky smooth from the sheer tights she still had on and kneaded the delicate flesh. She moaned. I was sure to be thorough, wanted to relieve her of any pain and any stress. Once I molded both of her feet into complete relaxation, I crawled to the top of the bed, straddled her body and kissed her neck. She was still.

I asked, “Do you want some strawberries?”

“Yes, please.”

I fed her and she smiled. She fed me in return. When I’d had my full, I gently placed the bowl on the floor and approached my wife again. She initiated a kiss this time. Grabbed my head and intertwined her tongue with my own. Kissed me long and hard. We pulled back the plush comforter and scurried underneath the sheets.

I straddled her once again and let my hands enjoy the body she promised would be mine forever. My hands removed the god-awful undergarments as quickly as possible, leaving behind the woman I loved in her purest form. My left hand cupped her right breast as the fingers on my right hand swam in her wetness. She wiggled beneath me but pushed my hand away. I squeezed her thighs, rubbed her stomach and then tried again, moving my hand back to her opening. The rejection came quicker this time. She grabbed my hand and turned to her side. Joyce moved her body back into mine, creating our usual spooning position.

I took a deep breath as her body settled into mine. She raised my hand and rested it on her heart. Its pace slowed steadily, the complete opposite of my own frantic rhythm. We lied there for a moment in silence. For a moment I imagined her turning towards me, climbing on top of my body and forcing me inside of her with no regard for my own desires. I imagined her unable to stop herself, unable to control her raw, carnal urges that arose simply from lying next to me. For a moment I imagined her wanting me.

I moved my hand from her heart and tickled my fingers up and down her spine, blew a cool stream of air on the back of her neck. That was bound to do the trick. Her body began its dance that I was all too familiar with. The gyration lived in her hips but reverberated throughout her body. I kissed the back of her neck then moved to her shoulder. The kisses flowed down her spine, following the invisible trail left by my fingers. My right hand palmed her ass as my kisses turned into nibbles. Her body’s vibrations increased, accelerating to a pace that matched my own unsatisfied hunger.

Grabbing her waist, I ground my girth against her ass. Just one graze against that juicy ass and my mind was gone. My dick rose to power, a complete dictatorship over my entire body. He poked her ass like a neighbor at the back door, desperate for some sugar.

Joyce moaned and turned over quickly. She wrapped her arm around my back and held on to me with a firm grip. She looked up at me and smiled, gave me a peck on the lips and nuzzled her head into my chest, all the while refusing to ease up on that grip. Her wiggle ceased as her body lied stiff next to mine. My moans decreased along with hers and we were covered in silence. I waited and waited for the sexual lioness attack that I knew wasn’t coming.

Her grip released slightly from behind my back. Her body inched away from me, creating a small space between us that, from my side of the bed, looked like miles.

“Joyce,” I stated plainly.

“Yes?” she responded with closed eyes, a slight foolish grin on her face, a weak facade that pretended it didn’t know what was actually going on here.

“Joyce,” I repeated.

She took a hard breath and opened her eyes, eyes that never met my own, just stayed focused on my chest.

“I thought you said you just wanted to do something nice for me,” she whispered.

“I did, but does that mean I can’t make love to my own wife?”

“I’m just so damn tired.”

“Joyce…”

“Michael, could you please just hold me? Please.”

I lied there, silent.

“I love you,” she said. “I just wish I didn’t always have worry about the ulterior motive.”

“Do you hear your…” I took a deep breath, "wanting to make love to my wife isn’t an ulterior motive. It’s wanting to make love to my wife.”

“Please, just hold me. Let me know its okay for you to hold me and love me like this, with me in your arms. Let your tired wife rest without feeling guilty about it or like she owes you something.”

Without another word I pulled her close to me. She turned and melted back into the little spoon. I held her tightly in my arms. Made her feel as safe and comfortable as possible. Pushed my rage deep down into my chest as there was nowhere to displace it, told my wife that I loved her and tried to breathe. 

The Fool

I was the fool. 

I was the fool that said we could still be friends. 

She invites me to the movies. Foolishly I oblige. 

She smiles that smile so sweet. The one strangers can't help but comment on. Compliments that ignite the sparkle in her eye. The blush in her cheek. 

Little does she know, it's that very smile that tightens my chest, that twists the knife.

But I can't blame her.

I was the fool.

I was the fool that said we could still be friends.

We sit close. We have no choice. 

In the darkness I smell the lavender and orange in her hair. I hear the song of her breath. I feel the warmth of her presence. 

Little does she know, it's that very smell of lavender and orange that causes my tears, it's that poetic rise and fall of her breath that rebuilds my wall. It's that exact warm presence that ignites the match that inflames my courage to love again. 

But I can't blame her. 

I was the fool.

I was the fool that said we could still be friends. 

We walk out together, not hand in hand, not side by side. The streets are busy and she's a little ahead. 

We stop at her car and she hugs me.

She's a villainous murderer. Me, her latest victim. How could she intend to do anything but kill me? 

Doesn't she know what a hug does to me? A mere brush of her skin against mine sends me spiraling down into anxious despair, so why the fuck would she hug me?

She knows better. 

I can blame her.

I do blame her.

I was the fool that said we could still be friends but she should fucking know better. She should know that shit ain't possible. She should know better than to smile like that and smell like that and breathe like that and emit that goddamn, fucking glow. 

No.

No.

I can't blame her. God, how I want to blame her but I can't.

It's not her fault. 

I was the fool.

I was the fool that said we could still be friends. 

I was the fool that fell. 

An Open Letter...

 I've seriously considered breaking up with you at least three times. My friends tell me to relax, take my time, give it a chance. 

I thought about the things I don't like about you. It's so new; they're things I couldn't possibly be sure of. Maybe you're unreliable. Maybe you're not successful enough. Maybe you won't make enough money. Maybe you'll leave. Maybe you're the lie. Maybe you'll stay until you can't handle the crazy in my life. Maybe you'll stay. 

Look how you try. Look how you push through. Look how you promise. Look how you hold the potential to quell each of my fears. 

But still I doubt. 

I'm afraid of you. 

Maybe I like you only because you like me. Maybe I only love the love I feel from you, the admiration, the adoration. Maybe I'm just a narcissist. Maybe I find you valuable because you see greatness in me. Maybe there's nothing more. 

I told my friends about you. I told my cousin, my uncle and my sister. Why am I telling people? Why is my face lighting up when I do? 

Maybe I like you. 

You scare me. 

When I think of the fantasies, the mansion in Beverly Hills, the farm house on Long Island, I see you there. It's easy to see. 

Maybe I'm just scared you're it. 

I hate to doubt...

It's never a good sign with me. 

Maybe no one will ever make me feel as comfortable and at home as you do. Maybe they won't accept me like you do, like he didn't before you. I'm completely unaware of my body when I'm with you. As if I've never had an imperfection, an insecure thought. I'm your goddess and you my king. Your body is perfection. Maybe it's all I love, the intrigue and excitement it carries. 

I'm afraid of you. Afraid that you'll hurt me. Worse, that I'll hurt you. I'm terrified of myself much more than I am of you. 

But then I see you. But then I feel you and it can all melt away. I feel you and I want to stay there forever.

You carry my heart so well. My mind and my body too. I’m not sure you realize just how well you see me.

Can I stay forever? Will you have me? Will you have us? Can my crazy come too? 

Maybe I just love you. 

Hold me and tell me it will be okay. Can you do that? Can I accept that? 

I want to see you fly. I'll be your biggest support. 

Maybe I need time. 

Maybe I love you.

Maybe I just love you. 

My Married Neighbor: Part III

The front door knob turned slowly. The hinges creaked as the door swung open. The footsteps were heavy and deliberate. 

Two minutes ago I was ready. Now, my heart beat visibly through my chest.

I heard him walk straight to my staircase and begin his ascent. 

I'd left the door unlocked, hoping he wouldn't knock, hoping he'd just come in and find me in my assigned position. 

He didn't disappoint.

The footsteps continued. He was at the top of the stairs. 

I licked my lips and took a deep breath. 

My back faced my rooms opening. I could feel him behind me.

"Perfect," he uttered, deep and smooth.

From across the room, his single word covered my body in chills. 

I turned and looked over my shoulder, garnering all the sex appeal I could muster. I wanted him to want me as much as I desperately wanted him.

"Hello," I said.

He responded by lifting his black tank top over his head and letting it fall to the ground. 

His eyes stayed on mine as he silently stepped out of his boots, unbuckled his jeans and slowly walked towards me.

My body began to follow my eyes and turn towards him.

"Stay put," he said.

I obeyed, turning both my body and sight away from him. 

I heard him push his pants to the ground. I wondered if his boxers or briefs were included in the removal. 

A moment passed and I heard nothing. 

I almost turned around to check but was careful to follow instructions. 

He didn't keep me waiting long.

Before I could exhale my held breath, he climbed onto my bed behind me, his completely bare body pressed against mine. He buried his face in my hair and inhaled deeply. 

"Damn," he exhaled, "You smell good."

I attempted to swallow my girly, flattered smile. 

He moved my hair to one side and kissed my neck, slowly moving his lips down to my shoulder. 

Looking down, I saw his hands draped over my arms. His skin was darker than my own. It was rougher, stronger. He squeezed my arms as he continued to caress my shoulder with his lips.

"Lie down," he instructed. 

Without a word, I extended my body, stomach flat on my sheets, arms resting at my sides. He straddled my body and kneaded my skin, gently starting at my shoulders, his touch firming as he descended down my back.

Magically, his hands massaged every ounce of nerves out of my body.

I so desperately wanted to turn over, to grab his face, to kiss him passionately and ease him inside of me.

But I didn't move.

His hands reached my behind, massaged my cheeks with the perfect pressure. 

Then he kissed them, gave each cheek a peck, then a nibble, then a lick, then a bite. 

My body spontaneously wiggled as he blew a breeze of cool breath across my back. I moaned into my pillow and could feel my pussy start to drip. 

He laid his body on top of mine. Unapologetically, his manhood grazed against my backside. My legs instinctively spread. 

"Dallas..." I started.

"Don't worry," he said, apparently reading my mind. 

He reached down to the ground, retrieved a condom from his pants pockets and was back on top of me once again. Sliding on the protection only made me want him more. There was nothing in my way of abandoning this game of domination and just taking control my damn self. 

My thoughts were quickly interrupted. His tongue was back but this time not on my ass. 

Dallas shifted off of me and lifted my hips, propping my knees up on the bed, turned himself over to lie on his back, his face directly underneath my opening and slowly lowered my body down onto his face.

"Oh," I moaned repeatedly, uncontrollably. 

I balanced my weight to rest between my knees and my hands. I had more control that way. 

He grabbed my ass as I grinded forwards and backwards, to the right and left, making a million circles on his face. He followed my rhythm, squeezed my behind and went with my flow, let my body move wherever it needed to go.  

His tongue on the other hand needed no direction at all. He licked and sucked and tickled and teased and ate and drank and ate some more.

I wouldn't be able to handle it much longer.

My body tilted forward in a desperate attempt to escape but he wouldn't allow it. His grip tightened as he held me in place. 

I shuddered and tightened the muscles in my thighs around his face until that rare wave of ultimate bliss rose from my toes and exploded through every cell in my body. 

I panted and moaned as my body finally relaxed, melting further into him. My body felt heavy under the weight of release but Dallas didn't seem to mind. He held me up, licked me clean, placed kisses delicately across my opening from one thigh to the other.

After one last kiss goodbye, Dallas removed his head and readjusted to hover over me. He finally turned me over, allowing me to lie down on my back. 

"How do you feel?" he asked.

"There are no words."

He smiled. 

"Good."

There wasn't much time to rest. He started kissing my collarbone as his fingertips grazed my stomach. His hands moved down to my thigh as his lips moved up to my mouth.

He turned me onto my side and we lied there face to face, his hand now planted firmly on my ass. 

His eyes were deep and dark. I was lost instantly. In that moment I didn't care that he was married. I didn't care that his lovemaking was so powerful I was bound to fall for him, bound to get hurt. I just stared into his eyes and let it happen, welcomed any foreseen danger with an accepting smile. 

I moved closer to him. His hand moved up to my face, his fingers now running through my hair.  

Unable to resist, I closed my eyes and kissed him, long and hard. I was hungry to taste him. We had just been quite intimate but I needed to kiss him, to feel truly close to him. He reciprocated. 

His grip in my hair tightened slightly and he devoured me. He made me feel like the only woman on the planet, the only woman he could ever possibly want. Holding eachother's faces, we melted deeper into each other. We were hungry, the other the only possible food source. 

We turned and I was again on my back. He, finally, on top of me. I grabbed his back and pulled him lower. I needed to feel him, all of him.

Without breaking our rhythm or missing a beat, I felt his hardness enter me, finally. Our hips joined the dance our mouths already began. 

He moved deep within me and I dwelled in his presence, pleased with the pain. 

My mouth moved to his chest to his arms and back to his lips. 

I pulled his hair as he furthered his exploration inside of my body.  

Nothing in this world had ever felt better. 

His movements increased and I felt it coming again, the wave of pleasure. I tried to fight it, tried to slow down and resist it but again, he wouldn't let me. He pinned my arms above my head with one hand and grabbed my hip with the other. He took control completely and I was powerless. 

My eyes closed and I let it happen. I had no choice. I was pinned to my bed not only by my lover's grip but by a blanket of pure ecstasy. 

I moaned and Dallas joined me. A two-man choir singing the most heavenly hymn.

The wave was back, this time rushing over the both of us. In perfect unison, our bodies exploded euphorically, then settled. 

He stayed inside of me. He stayed on top of me. I hoped he'd never leave. I knew he would. 

His head rested on my chest and I played with his hair in the silence. 

"Where did you come from?" he eventually asked.

"Clearly, I should be asking you that question."

"I've never...No one's ever made me act this way before," he said.

"I thought you had an open marriage."

"I do, we do. But, I've never just connected with anyone this quickly, not even my wife."

"Careful."

"You're right. I'm probably saying too much."

"Yeah, don't want to get a poor girl's hopes up."

"Is that what's happening?" he said, his eye contact returning to its usual intensity.

"I plead the fifth," I said with a coy smile.

"I like you."

"I'm afraid of you."

He kissed me. He kissed me long and hard and I prayed he'd never leave. 

 

 

My Married Neighbor: Part II

That damn superwoman complex got me again. I stood behind my car in the blazing July heat, both arms covered from elbows to wrists in sweltering plastic as I successfully loaded all of my grocery bags onto my arms, refusing to make multiple trips. I smiled at my brawn for a full three seconds before looking up and noticing my car's tailgate high in the sky, gleaming in the brazen sun. My right hand began to raise but stopped at my wrist. The left was the same. Loading the bags onto my arms was doable but lifting even one to close my trunk required the strength of ten men.

"Shit," I murmured in defeat. 

I looked around me and considered putting the bags on the ground but my stupid stubborn pride just wouldn't let me. Okay, a bit of pride mixed with a bit of laziness as I had no intentions of unloading all of these bags off of myself only to load them back on again after closing the truck.

"Shit." I murmured again. 

I was stuck. 

For half a second I lifted my foot in the air, delusionally believing I could possibly reach the top of the trunk with my toes and slam it shut. With my tennis shoe only half a foot off of the ground, I quickly realized what an idiotic idea that was.

That's when I heard the laughter. 

I swung around to find its source with all intentions to scold my mocker but when I saw his face all hope for speech was lost.

He was sweatier than I was under this sun. He wore black basketball shorts, blue running shoes and nothing else but a string of ear buds that rested around his neck. His sweaty, olive-colored skin called out to me with each reflective glisten in the sun. His hair was thick, a beautiful black and his face was almost as blinding as his body.

"Do you need some help?" he asked with an amused smile. 

"Excuse me?" 

"With your tailgate, I could get that for you."

"Oh, um..." I stuttered, completely lost for words. What was a tailgate? What was help? What were words? What?

"Here, let me."

Penetrating my bubble ever so slightly, he reached his hand in the air and closed the trunk with ease. My eyes stayed fixed on his pulsating bicep. 

A faint, "thanks," escaped my lips, or at least I think it did. It was hard to know anything for sure in this moment.

"Where are my manors?" he asked himself, "Let me take these bags for you."

One moment my arms carried the weight of the world and the next I felt as light and free as a bird.

"Lead the way?" he asked, with no regard for the fact that we were strangers and he was asking for directions to my townhouse, my home, where I live, where he should not be aware of because he's a complete stranger.

"Right this way," I responded without hesitation. 

Pulling my keys out of my pocket, I led him to my unit and thanked God I decided not to be lazy this morning and cleaned up. The air should still smell like the vanilla candle I was burning this morning too. 

We stepped inside and I was right, the room's aroma was warm and inviting. 

This sexy, half-dressed stranger walked straight into my kitchen and placed the grocery bags down on the table with ease. 

"This is the same one we have?"

"Same what?"

"My wife and I, this is the same layout of our townhouse."

"Oh," I replied, desperately attempting to mask my crushed soul. 

He didn't have a ring on. I guess a lot of people took those off while jogging. Damn, jogging!

"Don't do that," he said.

"Excuse me?"

"No need for your face to drop."

"I don't know what you're talking about."

"I don't mean to be so forward but, hell, maybe I do. You should know that my wife and I, we have an open marriage."

Instead of my face dropping, this latest revelation almost led to my eyes bulging out of my head and skipping out the room. I tried to keep my cool.

"Well, that's great for you and your wife and all but I, um, I..."

"Find me attractive?"

"Excuse me? I don't even know you!"

"My name is Dallas and you are?" he asked extending his right hand out to me.

I looked down at it hesitantly before offering up my own. 

"Claire, I'm Claire."

"It's very nice to meet you, Claire."

"Likewise, I suppose."

"Now that we know each other, may I be frank?"

"I get the feeling that's the only way you operate."

He smiled.

"I promise you, I'm not usually this brash but when I saw you outside, I knew I had to meet you."

I had to look away from him as the blood flooded my reddening cheeks. 

"Why is that?"

"You're beautiful, Claire, but you must know that."

"I do. I didn't know I was beautiful enough to make strangers want to cheat on their wives but I guess this information is good to know."

"It's open. It wouldn't be cheating."

"What exactly wouldn't be cheating?" I asked coyly, knowing exactly to what he was referring. 

This was wrong. This was all wrong. This man was probably a rapist and a killer and I'd just led him into my home freely! What was wrong with me?! This was wrong. But God, did it feel so right. It was like a fantasy. Granted, the men in my fantasies usually weren't married neighbors of mine but mphf, the way he looked at me. He had me powerless. Even if I did feel power in this moment, I'd hand it over to him willingly. God damn, what was happening?

"If I came back here," he started, answering my question while capturing my eye contact, refusing to let it go, "with your permission of course, and made love to you. That would not be cheating on my wife. That would be me making love to you. She wouldn't have a problem with that."

"How do I know that?"

"Would you like to ask her? You can. She's at home right now, not too far away."

"No, thank you."

"Well then, Claire, if you'd let me, I'd ask if I could come back here. I'd ask you to wait for me with all of your clothes off, seated on your bed, feet tucked under your behind, waiting for me to come find you and make love to you. We live in the same home, I'd find your bedroom easily."

"And...make love to me?"

"That's right."

"Not fuck? You wouldn't fuck me?" I asked.

"Would you like me to?"

I didn't know what to say. I liked being the one asking the questions. I was too afraid to admit how much I wanted all of this just yet. Maybe I'd wake up from this dream before having to. 

"I'm not sure."

"I don't want to fuck you. I want to come back here and make love to you."

"And if I were to allow this, when exactly would you come back here?"

"Tomorrow, at this exact time."

I looked over at the clock on the wall and made a mental note while his eyes remained steadfast on mine.  

"Alright," I whispered in silent terror. 

I had no idea what I was doing or saying or thinking or feeling.

"Alright?"

I nodded my head.

"You'll wait for me? Exactly as I asked you to?"

"I will," I said louder.

He was powerful and I wanted to match his energy as much as I could, whether I was believable or not, I couldn't know but figured I'd try. 

"I very much look forward to seeing you tomorrow, Claire."

"Likewise."

He took my hand, kissed it simply like a gentleman, a grand juxtaposition against the bold, dominant aggressor I'd just met. 

"Until tomorrow."

"Until tomorrow."

And he was gone.