Crosses to Bear
I sighed as I sat on my old bed in Momma’s house. Then I hit ignore on my cell phone again after seeing David’s number on the screen for the third time that day and about the billionth time since I’d left home a week ago. I hadn’t spoken a word to him since that night in the studio. I was still so pissed. I even made myself scarce when he picked up the boys that Monday morning. I closed my notebook and wished that I was scheduled to work. If it wasn’t for my kids, I’d have been on the phone with the label arranging shit as we speak. I stood up and stretched, too wired to sit in the house again. I put on a black tee and a pair of black workout pants with my red and black New Balances.
I grabbed my purse before I walked down the hall toward the kitchen. Momma was sitting at the table sippin’ on coffee and watchin’ one of those entertainment shows on the small TV on the counter. She was wearing her hair natural, dred-locks now long enough to put her hair up into a ponytail and her nails were done. I smiled, happy that I’d become so successful that she no longer had to work. She now had the freedom to do whatever she wanted to do. A few months ago she started to compile recipes for a cookbook and now she was ready to pitch her ideas.
I kissed her cheek. “Hey, baby,” she said with a smile. “How you feelin’ today?”
I shrugged. “The same.”
“Have you talked to David?” I shook my head with a frown and she raised her eyebrows, worried wrinkles on her forehead. “How long do you plan on stayin’ over here, sweetie?”
I folded my arms across my chest. “I’m not sure.”
“You should at least talk to him, Chunky.”
I shook my head and happened to look over at the TV as the Insider came back on. They were doing one of those rumor mill segments.
“Looks like trouble for the second time in the marriage of rapper BK and his wife, singer Kia Haughton,” the reporter said.
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” I breathed with a smirk and me and Momma watched as they played out the current troubles in my life. They showed pictures of a tearful me running from the hotel. David running out after the fact. Then the reporter spoke of speculations of him going to see his ex-wife and our reps voicing the usual “no comment”, which inevitably only adds fuel to the fire. I’d never had a real big problem with paparazzi. They were always respectful and kept their distance, especially when I was with my children, but looked like after this story I’d have to call my label anyway, about upping my security. The days of going out by myself were few and far between, but they’d be no more now. I’d better enjoy the calm while it lasts. Angry thoughts toward Christina and David immediately entered my mind and I looked at Momma when the report was over.
“Still think I should just talk to him?” I asked with attitude. She exhaled loudly and rolled her eyes. “I’ll be back,” I called as I walked out the backdoor.
I put a mix CD in the stereo and drove toward my old dance studio. I figured, I couldn’t work at the moment, so maybe I could do the next best thing. I missed teaching my kids all the time. It’d be nice to pop in and see how they all were.
“Hey, girl,” Corri said with a smile from behind her desk in the lobby. Her blue eyes were shinin’ and her dirty blond hair was cut in layers. She pushed it behind both of her ears and I smiled back. It was so nice to see things hadn’t changed much. She stood up. “How’ve you been?”
We embraced. “You must not watch E.T. or read tabloids,” I said with a laugh.
She giggled, too. “Don’t even worry about it,” she told me with a wave her hand. “One of your old classes is about to start.”
I grinned again and walked into the dance studio. The kids practically rushed me when I walked in.
“Hey guys,” I said with a chuckle. I felt two more arms throw themselves around me and looked back to see my cousin Tasha. She was taller than me now. I hugged her solo when the others let go. “How are you?”
Jaynie walked in and smiled at me. Her deep chocolate skin was radiant and her black hair was up in a messy ponytail. She wore a T-shirt and baggy jeans with dance sneakers. She was now the owner of our old dance studio while still doing choreography for other hott recording artists.
“Hey, pregnant lady,” I said as I was hugged her, too. “How are things going?”
She rubbed her stomach. “We’re good. I been seein’ some crazy reports about you and Dave though. Things OK?”
I sighed with a shake of my head. A motion that she knew meant I’d tell her everything after class was over.
“Feel like hangin’ wit’ us for a little while? Like old times?” she asked, knowing me well.
I gestured at my clothing. “Since I’m already dressed for the occasion, why not?” I said with a giggle.
“Hey y’all!” Jaynie yelled to the class. “We gon’ do somethin’ a little different today. Kia’s gonna chill wit’ us.”
That caused the class to cheer. She walked over to the stereo and picked out a CD. I smiled when the track came on, one of my joints, “1, 2 step” by Ciara. I stood in front of the class.
“Alright,” I called, “we gon’ start it off like this. Bounce, two, and three….”
I felt so much better after class was over. I remember coming here after a stressful day and just dancing away all my tension. David used to come in and watch me when him and his mother visited from Brooklyn during vacations. I looked around the empty room. Then I sat down on the floor and let my back rest against the wall as I reminisced.
That boy used to walk in like he owned the place. All the girls were in love with him. He won us all over with his charm and smile. At sixteen and seventeen, I think we were both crushing on each other heavy, but neither of us would admit it. Especially him. I was chubby and he was popular; it was like against teenage law for us to be together.
I was dancing to “Pleasure Principle” that year.
“You swear you Janet,” I heard from the entryway. I looked to see David in basketball shorts and a T-shirt with Jordans on and ball in hand. His hair was faded low with two parts on the left side, a grin on his baby face. My hair was short, too. Halle Berry didn’t have nothin’ on me.
“Shut up,” I called over the music and went to turn the stereo off.
He chuckled and passed the ball to me. I dribbled and threw it back. “All that technical shit is cute, but I still like a girl who can just shake it.”
I grinned. “You sayin’ I can’t shake it?”
He put his hands up. “Your words not mine.”
“Boy please, you wouldn’t know what to do with yourself if I did back it up,” I told him, poppin’ and jiggling my booty a little to show him.
“Trust me, you don’t want it. I got skills.” I smirked as he put the ball down and did a little pop and lock move.
“What’re you even doing here?” I asked.
He shrugged and picked up his ball again. “I was at the park. Decided to drop by and walk you home.”
I crossed my arms. “Whatchu mean is, you got to my house and our mothers made you come back to pick me up.” He chuckled and I grabbed my hoody as we made our way out the door. “You didn’t have to. I could’ve taken the bus home.”
“I don’t mind,” he told me.
“Well, aren’tchu sweet?” I said sarcastically.
He smiled. “Hey, I’m just that kinda guy.”
I pursed my lips. “Whatever.”
We both chuckled and headed towards my house.
That was the kind of relationship we had. Crackin’ jokes and sarcastic remarks on the outside, but underneath it all, we cared for each other deeply. We always have.
I sighed and looked up as Jaynie sat down next to me. “Sometimes I long for days like this. When shit was simple, ya know?” I commented.
“I feel you,” she replied with a nod.
“It wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t have to see my drama showcased on television like a damn reality show.”
“I still can’t believe you caught them like that.”
“Girl, it still feels like some kinda nightmare.”
“Are you gonna try and work things out with him?”
I shook my head. “I don’t know yet,” I told her truthfully. I just knew I needed more time to think. The question is, would I get that? Or would things get worse before they got better?
I found myself taking the long drive to my father’s house afterwards. He was always good for male perspective whenever I was confused about anything and he always made me feel better when I was down. Once again, I was caught up in a sticky situation and needed his advice.
I parked in his driveway then walked up to the front door and rang the doorbell, crossing my arms as I waited. He opened the door with a smile, looking young in a pair of jeans and a black Jordan T-shirt.
“Well, this is a nice surprise,” he said.
I wanted to smile back but emotion filled my heart instead as I cried for the first time since that night, all my anger receding to sadness as I fell into Daddy’s arms.
“Chunky, what’s wrong?” he asked as he held me tight.
I shook my head as I looked up and tried to find the words to explain.
“Aw, baby girl,” Daddy said empathetically. “Come in and talk to me.”
I wiped my cheeks as we walked into his foyer.
“Russell?” I heard a woman’s voice call from the back of the house and I looked up at Daddy with a furrowed brow.
“Who’s that?” I mouthed as the lady’s footsteps drew near.
My father opened his mouth with a caught-out expression, but the woman was within earshot before he could tell me anything. Then she stood before me, a slim lady in khakis, flip flops and a light blue blouse. Her skin was ivory, like porcelain. Her hair was dark brown and wavy, tousled like they’d been play-fighting or god knows what else before I arrived. And her hazel eyes sparkled and smiled at me before her full lips did. She didn’t look to be more than forty. My Daddy is well into his fifties.
“I’m sorry,” she said. “I didn’t realize we had company.” A slight southern drawl coated each word.
“No, it’s completely my fault,” I said placing my hand over my chest. “I didn’t mean to interrupt anything. I should’ve called before I dropped by.”
We both looked at Daddy and he chuckled before he made introductions.
“Tammy, this is my youngest daughter, Kia,” he told her as he gestured at me.
“Nice to finally meet you,” she told me as we shook hands. “Your father talks about you and your sister all the time.”
“Oh, does he now?” I asked with a smile as I glanced up at him. He smiled back at me.
She nodded. “Well, I better get going.” She looked at Daddy and then kissed his lips lightly. “I will call you later.”
He nodded and we both watched her walk out of the front door.
“I didn’t know you were into white women,” I said with a grin. I’d gotten my own chocolate hue from my mother. The brown skin tones ranged in the other women I’d seen Daddy with over the years, too. He laughed again. “And she’s from the south?” He nodded. “Have you told Momma you’re seeing someone new yet?”
“No, I haven’t spoken to your mother in a few weeks,” he told me as he gestured at the couch in the living room.
“So you haven’t heard about what’s happened between me and David then,” I assumed as we sat down.
He looked at me with concern in his eyes. “No. What happened?”
“God, where do I begin?” I sat Indian-style and turned to face him. Then I ran down all the sordid details of the goings-on in the past week.
“Wow,” he said when I was through. “What’re you going to do?”
I shrugged. “That’s why I’m here.”
He smiled. “In need of Daddy’s insight.”
I smiled back. “Exactly. So? What do you think about everything I just told you?”
“Well, when you married him, you made a promise to uphold your vows.”
I nodded. “I know and I don’t plan on divorcing him. I bet Christina would just love it if I did though.”
“You can’t let her be the deciding factor in this. That’s exactly what she wants, to come in and tear you guys apart.”
“I know,” I said again, “but I can’t let David disrespect me on account of her either.”
“From what you told me, it sounds like he was kind of set up.”
“That doesn’t excuse what happened.”
“But I’m sure he didn’t go there to blatantly disrespect you. And it’s not like you caught them in bed, it was just a kiss. When a man is put in a compromising position—”
“He can only do so much to resist,” I finished the statement that I’d heard so much with a sigh. “Maybe if this was some random chick, things wouldn’t matter so much. It’s the fact that he let her get that close after all the crap we went through that really bothers me.”
“I understand,” Daddy said with a nod. “But the reality is, men slip up. I’m sure he’s learning a real harsh lesson right now with you gone.”
“So I should give him another chance,” I concluded. “But how do I keep this from happening again?”
“There’s no way you can, sweetheart. You just have to trust your husband and believe that his love is strong enough not to mess up a good thing.”
I exhaled, but knew that my father was right. It was time to let go of my anger.
My cell rang as soon as I finished that thought. It was a number I didn’t recognize, but something told me to pick up anyway. “Hello?”
“Hey, baby,” I heard on the other end.
“David? Where are you calling from?”
“Weeeell, see that’s the thing. I know you’re pissed at me, but I really need you right now.”
“What are you talking about?”
“I’m kinda in jail.”
I stood up abruptly and Daddy looked at me in surprise. “You’re where?!”
So, Kia hasn’t been gone that long, but I have a brand new appreciation for what she does around our house. Between the cooking, cleaning, the baby, and tryna keep up with Jeremiah, I was exhausted. Without my wife there as backup and no baby-sitter, I even had to take a small break from workin’ on the album. I don’t know how she did this shit by herself when I left for tour. She was my partner, my teammate and I was at a loss on how to get her back.
And I still hadn’t figured out what I was gonna do about the Christina/Lily situation. Luckily, my mother had agreed to watch the boys today so I could go deal with that. I would’ve brought them to their mother except she hadn’t answered her phone all day.
“Hi, honey,” Mom said with a smile when I walked through the backdoor of her house. She stroked J.D.’s hair as he walked past her and went to sit on the living room couch. She took Kyle from my arms and kissed his cheek then she kissed mine. “How are you? You don’t look like you’ve been getting much sleep.”
I sighed and shook my head. “I haven’t.”
“Well, stay a while, sweetie. Relax a bit.”
“I can’t. I got some things to handle while you’re watching the rugrats.” She nodded. “Fair warning, Jeremiah’s been acting up all morning.” Mom chuckled and nodded again. I walked into the living room. “Ay,” I called to my son and he looked up at me as I stood over him. “I’ll be back lata. Be good. Do not lemme hear that you’ve been over here terrorizing your grandmother or it’s gonna be me and you, aight?”
“OK,” he said with a nod.
I said my goodbyes to my mother then I was on my way. I dialed Christina’s number from my cell. She didn’t pick up but I decided to drive over to her house anyway. She’d given me the address earlier in the week.
I noticed it was a pretty decent-sized house when I drove up and parked across the street. Brick with a wrap-around porch.
I walked up onto the front porch then knocked on the door and rang the bell. I was surprised to see a light-skinned man answer it in just his boxers. He had a doo-rag on his head and was muscle-bound.
I furrowed my brow. “Who are you?” I asked.
“You knocked on my front door,” he said as he glowered at me.
“Your front door?” I said with a grimace as I shook my head. I wanted to say that if anything this house was more mine than his seein’ as how I was payin’ alimony and shit, but I decided to make sure I had the right house. “I’m here to see Christina,” I told him instead. “Is this the right address?”
“Yeah, but you still ain’t say who you are.”
“I’m Lily’s father.”
His expression immediately softened. “Oh shit, you’re BK?” I nodded, still glaring at him. “I’m sorry, man, I didn’t recognize you,” he said as he finally let me in. I nodded and he held out his hand. “Roger.”
“No disrespect, dawg,” I said without giving him dap, “but I just came to talk to Chrissy. Where is she?”
Christina came down before he could answer. She had on short shorts and a sports bra. Her hair was tied up underneath a scarf.
“David?” she said. “What are you doing here and unannounced at that?”
“I called, but you didn’t pick up and I was already on my way over. I just wanted to talk about everything since we haven’t really gotten a chance to.”
“Well, this is kind of a bad time.”
“It’s cool, baby,” dude spoke up. “I’ll just go get something to eat while y’all two do your thang.”
She smiled and nodded as he made his way to the kitchen.
“You got some strange nigga around my daughter?” were the first words out of my mouth when he left the room.
“Lower your voice,” Christina hissed.
“No, I don’t give a fuck about him. Where the hell was Lily while you were getting some?”
She glared at me. “Hold on a second, it’s not even like that.”
“Oh? What’s it like then?”
“Hold up! You have no right to come here and accuse me of shit! You have no idea what’s goin’ on!”
“I think I’ve got a pretty damn good idea!”
“Everything good out here?” dude asked as he came back into the living room.
He walked up behind Christina and looked as though he was sizing me up. His muscles may have been bigger than mine, but I ain’t no punk. Growin’ up in Brooklyn, I had to know how to defend myself.
“Naw, shit is far from good,” I said.
He stepped to me. “Maybe you should leave then.”
I glared past him at Chrissy. “You betta tell ya man to step off,” I told her.
“Why don’t you tell me?” dude said.
I smirked and looked into his eyes as I said, “Christina, tell ya boy to back the fuck up, I’m serious.”
She stepped between us. “Both of y’all need to calm down.”
Dude reached over her and shoved my shoulder. “Back me up then.”
“Don’t touch me, man,” I said, pushing him back as Christina ducked outta the way.
“Wait! Wait!” Chrissy shouted. “You don’t understand!”
By that point neither of us was even paying attention to her. Punches were thrown and before I knew it, the police were called and I was being hauled away to a holding cell. The press and paparazzi were having a field day. I hated to do it, but when I got my chance to make a phone call, I had to call my wife. It was either that or call my mother. I figured Kia was the lesser of two evils.
“You’re where?!” she shouted into the phone.
“I got into a fight. A very long story that I promise to explain later. Right now, I need you to come get me out.”
“Where are you?” she asked.
I told her. Less than a couple hours later, I was looking into her disapproving eyes as she shook her head at me. I hung my head low as we walked out past the press and over to her car.
The buzzing sound from my vibrating cell phone woke me up. I sat up in bed and grabbed it from off my nightstand, clicking it on.
“Good morning,” I said, even though it was well after twelve O’clock.
“I bet it is a good morning and I’m sure you had an even better night, too,” Tonya said on the other side.
I giggled. “Yeah, my night was cool.”
I smiled. “OK, more like orgasmic.”
“Mm, orgasmic is good. Where is he now?”
I listened. “Sounds like he’s in the bathroom. He wasn’t next to me when I woke up.”
“Aren’t you glad your girl hooked you up?”
“Yeah, Tee, you did good this time.” I laid back and propped one of my pillows behind my head. “Last night was just what I needed.”
“Cleaned the cobwebs out your cootchie,” she said, causing us both to laugh. “So, what’s gonna happen with you two now?”
“Not sure. I don’t think I’m ready for a relationship, but you know I’ve never been opposed to friends with benefits. Every woman needs a maintenance man.”
“Very true,” Tonya said just as Roger walked into my bedroom.
We smiled at each other. “Aight girl, I’m gonna call you a little later.”
I hung up as he stood over me. We kissed each other’s lips.
“Tee calling to check up on us, huh?” he guessed.
I giggled again. “Yeah. You ‘bout to leave?”
He smiled as he stood upright. “Damn, tired of me already?”
I grinned. “Not at all. Honestly, I was hoping the answer was no.”
“Really?” I nodded and my phone vibrated again.
I looked at the I.D. “It’s my mother,” I said just as I heard the doorbell, too. “Can you get the door while I answer this?” He nodded and walked out. “Hi, Mom,” I said into the phone.
“Hey. How was your night?”
I lay back again and smiled. “Relaxing. I just woke up actually. How’s my baby doing?” I could hear Lily doing what sounded like singing in the background.
“She’s just fine. She’s in front of the TV watching one of those Disney shows.”
“Good. Thank you so much for taking her.” I definitely wasn’t one of those mothers who was nervous about leaving her child. I loved my baby girl, but sometimes it was nice to just be a woman and not a mother.
“Well, I came out here to help and I knew you could use a break with the move and everything. Hopefully you’ll get more of that when you talk to David. Have you gotten a chance to do that yet?”
“No, things have been kinda nuts.” I had to hold in my laugh as I thought about the way Kia had caught me and Dave in my hotel room. I couldn’t have planned things better if I tried. There was no way she’d take him back now. Things had gone so well, I almost didn’t know what to do with myself. “What time are you bringing Lily home?”
“Some time in the evening. I was hoping we could do some more unpacking and then cook dinner together.”
“Sounds good, Mommy.” I stood up and stretched. “Alright, I need to get up and about. Call me before you come over.”
I hung up and put some clothes on then wrapped a scarf around my hair before I went downstairs to see who the visitor was. I was shocked to see David standing at the door when I got to the living room.
“What are you doing here?” I asked. “And unannounced at that?”
He looked at me as I stood next to Roger. “I called,” he told me, “but you didn’t pick up and I was already on my way over. I just wanted to talk about everything since we haven’t really gotten a chance to.”
“Well, this is kind of a bad time,” I said, surprisingly feeling uncomfortable with the fact that my ex-husband and the man I’d boned just last night were standing not four feet away from each other. This must be how Dave feels when me and Kia are together, I thought.
Roger was actually nonchalant about things though, he just went into the kitchen to get something to eat. David, on the other hand, well, I’d never seen him so irrational. He started accusing me of all kinds of crazy shit before I had the chance to tell him that Lily wasn’t even in the house. It got a bit loud causing Roger to come out and check on me. I appreciated the gesture, but I knew how bad things could get if I didn’t get both of them to chill out so I could explain.
I looked on worriedly as Roger got into David’s face.
“You betta tell ya man to step off,” David said to me with a glance into my eyes.
“Why don’t you tell me?” Roger said boldly.
They glared inches away from each other’s face. “Christina, tell ya boy to back the fuck up, I’m serious,” Dave told me again.
I wedged my way between them in attempt to create some distance amid the two saying, “Both of y’all need to calm down.”
I realized that neither of them was even listening to me when Roger shoved David’s shoulder. Oh shit, I thought as I ducked out of the way.
I could barely get the word “wait” out before things escalated. I backed up even more as they threw punches and wrestled.
“Stop!!” I yelled. “You’re killing one another!!”
I knew I had to do something before they destroyed my house as well as each other, so I did the only thing I could think of, I called the cops. I ran upstairs to my bedroom to grab the phone.
The police got there in record time, thank god. I honestly didn’t intend for either of the guys to get arrested, I just wanted someone to break them up, but the officers told me it was procedure.
I was ready to bail the both of them out when Kia unexpectedly walked into the station. She was so angry, she didn’t even notice me standing across the room. I watched as David walked towards her with his head hung low like a sad puppy dog. Kia glared at him and shook her head before the both of them walked out. I shook my own head. Guess I was wrong about the two of them not being together. Sorrow flooded my heart and I realized I wasn’t ready for any new man in my life even if it was just friends with benefits.
I sighed as I went up to the desk and used my ATM card to bail Roger out.
We walked out as photographers clicked away on their cameras.
“Your ex is a piece of work,” Roger said when we got into my car. I just drove off as he pulled the visor down to examine his face.
“I think he chipped my tooth,” he said when I finally parked in my driveway.
“Do me a favor,” I said as I pulled my keys out of the ignition. “Go inside and get the rest of your things.” I handed the keys to him.
“Am I gonna see you again?” he asked with hope in his eyes.
I looked away from him. “I don’t think so.”
“Let’s not make this complicated, aight? Just get your shit. I got somethin’ to do.”
He glared at me, but got out of the car.
He came out the house five minutes later and handed me my keys. I backed out of the driveway and left him there lookin’ as pitiful as can be.
All kinds of scenarios were running through my head as I drove over to the address that David gave me. I shook my head at the numerous reporters and photographers that stood outside the building when I parked in the parking lot.
Things are already getting ridiculous, I thought.
I got out of the car and decided to keep my cool, the last thing we needed was the paparazzi catching me as I cussed David out.
“Kia! Kia! Over here!” they called as I walked past like this was some kind of photo opportunity and I should take advantage. It was insane.
I looked at David crossly once I paid bail and held my tongue as he walked up to me. He had a black eye and a busted lip. I clenched and unclenched my jaw as we walked out to my Lex.
“I need to pick up my car,” he told me when I started the engine.
“Where?” I asked simply. He hesitated for a moment and I looked at him curiously.
“Christina’s house,” he said softly.
I gripped the steering wheel tighter as I pulled off and shook my head again. “Should’ve known.”
The ride to get his car was a silent one. Then he followed me home.
I shoved a bag of ice onto his eye while he sat in front of me at the kitchen table.
“Ow, baby. That hurts,” he said as he glared up at me holding the ice to his eye.
I glared right back. “Serves you right. Wanna tell me what happened now?”
“Chrissy had some dude over there. We kinda got into it.”
“You were fighting over Christina?”
He shook his head innocently. “It wasn’t about her. I was concerned about Lily. That’s a fucked up situation. She’s getting hers with some random guy while my daughter is in the next room, so I was pissed. Dude got real bold and got in my face when I confronted Christina about it. She had to call the cops to break us up.”
I put my head in my hands and rubbed my eyes. “What the hell are you gonna tell your sons, David?” I asked when I looked back at him. “Did you even think of that before you lost it?” He just stared at me helplessly. “Where are they anyway?”
“With my mother. I was calling you all morning ‘cuz I wanted to drop them off. What if it had been an emergency?”
“You could have easily called my mother if that was the case.”
The doorbell rang then and I walked through the living room to answer it. Christina stood there in jeans and a black wife-beater, hair in a ponytail.
“What’re you doing here?” I snapped.
“Easy,” she said and held her hands in the air. “I come in peace. I just wanna talk to Dave real quick if that’s alright.”
I stepped back with a sigh and gestured into the kitchen. She walked towards it as I closed the door and then followed her.
“Wassup?” he said when she walked in. I walked past her and leaned with my back against the counter, arms crossed.
“I wanted to tell you that Lily wasn’t in the house while Roger was.”
“She wasn’t?” he said in surprise.
“Of course not. I just met the guy. I wouldn’t put her danger like that. My mother is down here helping me move in and she offered to take Lily for the night.”
David smiled a little. “Well… I feel like an idiot.”
I smirked from my spot across the room thinkin’, You should. He always used to get on me about my hot temper.
Christina was surprisingly cool about it though. “No, it’s OK. I can understand how things must’ve looked.”
“Was anything damaged?”
“My screen door got a little fucked up, but it’s not that big of deal. Fortunately, most of my things are still in boxes and there isn’t much furniture in the living room.”
“I’m really sorry.”
She waved it off. “Don’t worry about it. Can I see your eye?”
He took the ice off and she took his chin in her hand turning his eye toward the light so she could examine it.
She dropped her hand. “You should go see a doctor, make sure you didn’t break any bones or anything.”
“I’m straight. Your boy seemed to be in worse shape.”
“He said you chipped one of his teeth,” she said with a giggle.
David chuckled, too. “He didn’t know who he was fuckin’ wit’.”
It was at this moment that I realized what he could’ve possibly seen in her when they were together. I’d always wondered because I’d only seen the bitchy side of her. But it seemed like no matter how tense things got between them, there was a connection there. That scared me. It also made me sick to my stomach.
“I’m sorry,” I said, glowering at the both of them, “do you two want to be left alone? I can easily leave.”
“Don’t bother,” Christina said casually as if this wasn’t my damn house and he wasn’t my husband. “I’m out.” She looked at David again. “I think we should let the courts handle custody. We don’t seem to be havin’ much luck with this on our own.”
He nodded and she walked out closing the front door behind her as a tear ran down my cheek.
“Y’all two seem awfully comfy,” I commented.
He sighed. “I was with her for almost five years, Kia. There is a comfort level with us.”
“That’s what worries me and that’s the reason I left in the first place. There’s no way you can guarantee that what happened between you guys at the hotel won’t happen again, is there?”
“Baby, I don’t love her anymore,” he said, but that wasn’t exactly the answer I was looking for.
“But obviously you’re still attracted to her and there is a, what did you call it? A comfort level between y’all, right?” He shook his head and I wiped more tears. “And I was so ready to come home today.”
He raised his eyebrows. “You were?”
I nodded. “I went over to Daddy’s. He was telling me that men make mistakes and I should give you another chance, so before you called me, I was gonna swallow my pride.” I looked down at the floor. “But now….”
It was silent between us for a few moments. I guess David didn’t know what to say.
“I’m gonna go,” I told him.
He nodded crossly. “What should we do about the boys?”
“I can swing by your mother’s and pick them up on the way to Momma’s house.”
He nodded again, but this time he looked over at me sullenly, it was like his eyes were begging me to stay. And I looked back with an expression that said, “You have no idea how hard this is on me,” before I grabbed my purse and walked out the door.
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