“You better have a good explanation for why I haven’t heard from you in days,” Sehjada chided as she threw her bag onto Marissa’s bed.
She was going to be staying over for the weekend. It was part of Marissa’s long apology. She had been a terrible best friend for the past few weeks since she was so caught up with Kaleb. It was unlike her, and she felt awful about it. So, as part of her “Forgive me” plea, she invited Jada over and made plans for them to just hang out; which in their case meant, lazing about the house, pigging out, and watching lifetime movies just so they could yell at the screen.
“How many times do I have to apologize before you forgive me?” Marissa whined and caught her friend in a tight hug.
“Until I say so. Now, explanation.” She managed to slip out of the hug and dove onto the bed. She made herself comfortable, lying on her stomach, elbows on the bed so she could rest her face in her palms. Her legs kicked back and forth while waiting for the details.
“I was busy with Kale. We’ve been hanging out a lot lately.”
“Kale? As in Kaleb? As in Kitchen Kaleb? Make you want to pull out your ovaries and hand them to him on a plate Kaleb?”
“I wish you would stop speaking.”
“The guy is gorgeous,” She rolled over onto her side to grab a pillow, “but I thought you had that thing with Jamoy?”
Marissa rolled her eyes and dropped on the bed beside her. “He has a girlfriend you know.”
Sehjada’s mouth formed an ‘O.’ “Wait, was that the girl you fought?”
“You knew about that?”
“Everyone knows about that. You’re a youtube favorite. The hair pulling was so girly, but the final kick, very nice touch.” She even nodded her head proudly.
“Well, yeah, she came after me ranting about him smelling like me and how that was her mate. It was so weird.”
“Huh, you don’t say.” She couldn’t read Sehjada’s expression. For some reason, she seemed oddly focused. “Mate: A pair of animals that associate in order to propagate. Human term is spouse.”
Marissa raised a brow. “O…Kay?”
“Ah,” she snapped out of it, “sorry, did I do something weird just now?”
“You used the word ‘propagate’. No one uses that word.”
She just laughed, but didn’t explain herself. “So you were the other woman. Wow, my best friend is a home wrecker. I’m not sure if to think this is cool or be concerned.”
“I am not a home wrecker. I didn’t even know there was a home to be wrecked.”
“Likely story,” Sehjada joked. “And what about Abdul?”
Marissa frowned then. Still no word from him. Had he and her sister run away together? They both disappeared around the same time. But as far as she knew they didn’t get along very well. In fact, she always thought they hated each other.
“Neither he nor my sister has turned up. No clues. Nothing.”
Her friend rose from her spot on the bed and wrapped her arms around her. “I’m sure they’ll come around soon.”
She didn’t respond, just sighed. She wasn’t sure how much faith she had in that. With all the craziness that happened, she was surprised she hadn’t lost her mind yet. More so, she hadn’t realized how out of the loop she had kept Sehjada. Guess it was time to explain everything.
“Did I ever tell you what really happened that night?”
After the hour-long explanation, Sehjada was fully caught up on her life.
She was sitting up on the bed, letting it all sink it. She told her about the felines she saw, about Shawn and how he held her at gun point; there was nothing she left untouched. Marissa wondered if it might have been too much. The only people that knew about Shawn was Jamoy and Abdul. If she told her parents, she might have been forced to drop out of school and quit her job. Knowing them, they would have placed her under complete lock down and she couldn’t allow that.
And then there was Kaleb and his sudden, or maybe not so sudden, interest in her. She told her about the fight between him and Jamoy. Jamoy hadn’t shown up since, but she and Kaleb were seeing each other quite often. It was strange getting back into the habit of dating and she made sure to take things slow. So far they were doing well, but anything could change.
“Wow,” was all the brunette could get out. “Just, wow.” Then, she sprang on Marissa and engulfed her into a stifling hug. “I’m so sorry.”
Sorry for what? There was nothing she could have done about the situation. It was a series of unfortunate events. A domino effect created by sleeping with a man she knew nothing of. Then again, she couldn’t prove Jamoy had anything to do with Shawn. All she had were the words Abdul left with her.
“He’s not who you think he is.”
“Yes sir, I understand.”
Jamoy hung up the phone, slumped into the couch, and then dropped his face into his hands. This was getting out of hand. His instructions were clear, he knew what he had to do, but he couldn’t, or rather, he wouldn’t.
“Why don’t you just do it and get it over with?” Salima sashayed over and forced herself into his lap. “It would be easier on all of us if you did.”
Jamoy only sighed. That response was what he expected to hear from her. He’d heard it from so many others too, but not in the same tone. They’d been hectic about it. He was pushing things. This situation was going to cause trouble for everyone. He was already in deep water for previous actions, but it just seemed wrong. They were asking too much of him. At first, he’d accepted his duties without hesitation. Now, he questioned if this was the right thing to do.
He groaned, unable to focus with Salima trying to devour his neck.
“You’re too tense baby. Relax a little.” Her hands, he was too aware of them. They lingered on his chest, and then dropped to the hem of his pants. She tugged a little, before returning to them upwards. Then she did it again, undid the button, managed to slip her hand inside, and pulled it back out without doing anything.
Her lips found his for a brief moment, then she was gone again, back at his neck, hand inside his jeans again.
“Salima…” He growled softly.
“Shh.” She adjusted herself so she was straddling him better. The subtle movement was torture. Her body was flushed against his, devious hands at work, lips nibbling on his own, sucking on his neck, then she bit him.
And that was it.
He scooped her up and disappeared into the bedroom.
Jamoy was staring at the ceiling. Once again he found himself lost in his thoughts. Salima was fast asleep, worn out from their shenanigans. Did he love her? Did questioning if he did mean that he didn’t? It’s not like he asked her to go out with him. It was decided by the clan. They agreed out of obligations. Maybe she had fallen for him. Or maybe she just wanted to look the part to avoid any trouble. He was tired of the act.
No. He didn’t love her he decided. Even the sex was mundane at best. But he was a man, and he had needs. He was turned on earlier, but now he felt unsatisfied.
With Marissa it was different. He regretted that it was just once. How many times had he fallen asleep wishing the body next to him was hers? How many restless nights had he endured? Too many times did he find himself reliving the moment, satisfying himself, only to finish and feel completely hollow inside.
This wouldn’t do. He had to have her. It wasn’t just the sex. He missed her presence entirely. Too often he found himself stalking her classroom. He’d watch her at work like the lunatic he feared he was, and that one time he took Salima to dinner just to shut her up and also get to see Marissa. He’d taken Salima home that night only to return to speak with the cause of his distress, but she was with someone else.
He growled then, digging his fingers into the sheets. He had already put his claim on her. He’d expected to scare Kaleb off, but he fought back. And he wanted Marissa as badly as Jamoy did. It drove him insane to think of her with someone else; allowing them to touch her the way he had.
The sheet was tossed aside as he hurriedly left the bed. Seconds were all it took for him to get dressed and leave the house.
Marissa was not his to have.
“Bet she asks ‘Who’s there’” Sehjada muttered, stuffing her face with a spoonful of ice cream.
“She’s been smart the entire movie, I doubt—”
“Is someone there?” The woman on the screen asked as she traveled down the pitch black hallway of her home.
“I stand corrected.”
They were lazing about watching Lifetime Movies and eating ice cream. Neither girls liked them; they only watched them to criticize the situations people were in. The crazy ex, the deranged husband, the homicidal boyfriend, it never got old. The best ones were with the insane women. You could never tell what those women will do to get their way. She could see Jamoy’s girlfriend starring in one. And as quickly as he came to mind she shoved him away.
Faintly, she swore she heard music playing. “Is your phone ringing?” She asked Jada who shook her head “no” in response.
The sound gradually grew louder until she could make out what the song was. It was Luther Vandross’ “Take you out.” But who was playing it?
She opened her window and the sound was much clearer. She couldn’t help but smile at the sight below her window. Kaleb was there, holding an outdated radio above his head.
“Really? Is this how you usually woo girls?”
He laughed, “Is it working?”
“It’s corny as hell.”
“Listen, I saw this in two movies and it worked both times.”
“My father is going to kill you.”
“Let him try!” He dared, but still took a glance around. “Come down Rapunzel!”
“My hair is neither blond nor long enough.”
He groaned, “Sleeping beauty then.”
“Wide awake,” she mused.
“You’re killing me here. Just come out. Don’t make me have to climb up there.”
Marissa laughed at him then returned to her place on the bed. Sehjada had a big stupid grin on her face that left much to be questioned. “What?”
“That is so cute.” She cooed and even pinched Marissa’s cheeks. “Are you not going outside? He might actually climb the wall.”
“Nope, I promised to spend the day with you and that’s what I’m going to do.” As for climbing the wall, she wouldn’t put it past him to do such a thing.
There was some jostling outside, followed by a soft “ow.” No doubt, he was climbing. The Fool. It was sweet what he tried to do, but calling would have saved him the trouble.
When she didn’t hear any more sounds, she assumed he gave up. Later, she would apologize for leaving him hanging. But not now. This was girl time.
Maybe he left. The music had stopped as well.
No, she wouldn’t check. She refused to look.
Then she was at the window, peering outside for him.
The sun was fading over the horizon, but still provided enough light for her to see. Kaleb was still outside, but something had his attention.
He cast a worrisome glance at her.
“I don’t think you should date him.” Sehajada said out the blue, pulling Marissa’s attention.
“Weren’t you happy for me a minute ago?”
“I’m glad you’re dating again, but I just suddenly had a bad feeling.”
When Marissa looked back outside, Kaleb was long gone.
“I’m just saying,” Sehjada continued. “He might not be who you think he is.”