Fade2Black, Part I
by Tha Soul Aflame
I kissed her. Parted her lips with my tongue and got enwrapped in the passion she emanated back. I tasted peppermint on her lips. That was how she started every morning: with a Peppermint White Mocha from Starbucks, and somehow the remnants of the coffee stayed with her all day long. She had one hand holding my face in place and the other unbuttoning my shirt, sliding it open and letting her nails claw at my bare chest, making her intentions known. I moved away from her lips, began to kiss my way down her neck and shoulders, inhaling the scent of the Victoria's Secret body spray she always wore. She shivered slightly, and then her face sunk an inch or two below mine as she kicked off the heels she wore to work.
She was always on her game. ALWAYS. She was one of those good girls, always seemed so shy and innocent around people, carried a sort of quiet respect wherever she went. But I always managed to bring out her bad side. And those two forces in that one heavenly body, that shy outer shell and that ravenous woman within, that light and that darkness...was a volatile combination waiting to explode.
She bit gently but hungrily at my lower lip, unzipped her skirt at the back and let it collapse in a heap upon her recently pedicured feet. I felt something within my body (and something outside of it) start to rise up in me like the sun, ascending with the potential of creating something beautiful when it had reached its destination. My hands made their way up above her waist, and it was just as I began fondling her breasts through the somewhat loose material of her lace bra, that she suddenly backed away and shoved me playfully yet with enough force to cause me to fall back onto the hotel bed. Then she began to dance, her eyes all but saying everything her body could not as she seductively lifted her sports top up and over her head. And then she leaned forward, climbed onto the bed on all fours, and positioned herself on top of me, one lone hand heading in the direction of my jeans. And it was at that point that one of my heads basically said to the other, We're screwed. Indeed we were...
I slowly creaked open the bedroom door, being as careful as possible so as not to wake Rebecca. I looked at her peaceful sleeping face as I lowered my shoes on the side of the bed. I almost thought that maybe, just maybe, even though I had left my clothes in the car, my guilt might be scent enough to rouse her. I lifted the covers and slowly slid between them, lying down on my side looking at the bedside alarm clock. 3:45. I had thought I was home free to repent in my dreams for what I had done... until I felt Rebecca's arm wrap itself around my body, felt that arm squeeze up against me so she could press herself up close to my back. I looked back pensively, unsure what to expect; but her eyes were still closed, her breathing still soft and regular. All I knew, was that I didn't know if she was awake. But I rolled over onto my back, her arm still limp around me, and I cuddled her close until I felt secure enough to go to sleep.
"So, what'd you think of Pastor Gaines's message, Ty?" my friend Lionel asked. Rebecca and I had hit up the 10 AM service that following morning. I don't know how I pulled it off. But somehow, in spite of how late I had gone to bed the night before, I was still able to stay awake throughout mass even though I felt dog-tired. Anyway, we'd run into Lionel, my friend since middle school, outside of the church after the service, and he suggested that we all go out and grab a post-church brunch. Rebecca and I were all too familiar with Lionel's ways. He had a bad habit of bringing the woman he was dating at a given time to church not to find Jesus, but to find out if people at church 'approved' of her. Brunch, therefore, was just a venue at which we were expected to evaluate Lionel's current girlfriend. She had gone off to the bathroom with Rebecca for the time being.
"It was... interesting," I replied. And it had been. I had almost laughed nervously at the irony of Pastor Gaines's sermon, which had talked about Proverbs 7 & 8 in the Holy Bible. Let wisdom protect you from an affair with an immoral woman... for she has been the ruin of many; many men have been her victims. Her house is the road to the grave. Her bedroom is the den of death. And she had looked up, looked up in my direction when that 'she has been the ruin of many' line was said. There were no facial expressions changed, nothing telling in our physical reactions; we'd mastered that, being able to talk to each other with our eyes when words were not necessary or, rather, potentially damaging. But that was in essence the very thing that made me dismiss the Pastor's message. After all, she had never made any man a victim, and even those who might dance with her devilish charms were too afraid or perhaps too much right in their mind to act on such an impulse.
"Yeah, it really was," Lionel chimed in. I started fondling the white gold engagement band on my left ring finger. "I felt every bit of what he was saying. Like, man... some of the women I've messed with in the past, real talk, if I had just asked them about their personal or sexual history prior to, I'd have been in a much better position, if you know what I mean. 'Many men have been their victims,' indeed. They don't know how to treat a do-right Brother."
"And since when have you ever been a 'do-right Brother'?" Rebecca had snuck up on us, or maybe just me, causing me to jump a bit. I joined in nervously with Rebecca and Lionel's laughter, then regained my senses and lightly pulled out Rebecca's chair so she could sit down. She looked at me and smiled. I loved that smile. It was like whenever I was able to see Rebecca's lips part and show those pearly whites of hers, complete with paper thin gap between the two front teeth... whenever Rebecca smiled, it made me feel like no matter what I was going through at the time, for that moment, at that time, in her smile, I was at peace and just knew I was going to be okay. I winked at her and returned the smile.
Lionel's date returned from the bathroom just as the waitress was taking our orders. Delilah, as Lionel had introduced her, looked like she had just come back from a fight, as her hair was disheveled in too many places. I noticed Rebecca staring intently at Delilah's face, and when I followed her eyes with my own, I saw what had so desperately demanded my fiancÚ's attention: Delilah had about two or three small pink chunks of something on her cheeks and chin, with one particularly big chunk of the pink stuff dangling from her bottom lip. The young girl wiped her mouth area with the back of her hand, then smiled at everyone.
"I'm sorry, y'all," she said. "Is it my turn to order?" The waitress nodded at Delilah, and she picked up the menu.
"She'll have the Big Breakfast... hold the Breakfast," I muttered under my breath. Lionel glared at me from across the table, and Rebecca nudged me with an elbow, her face contorting slightly in an effort to suppress the laughter that was bubbling up in her throat.
"I'm sorry, did you say something?" Delilah asked, looking up from her menu. The young girl's face was a dead giveaway of her obliviousness to my joke, and that just made Rebecca cough out her laugh.
"Oh, no, I was just talking to myself, trying to figure out what to order," I replied with a smile, and when Delilah looked back down at her menu, I gave Lionel a look that said (or, at least, I hoped it said), Damn, brother, she's NOT a good look at all.
When the waitress had taken everyone else's orders and left, Rebecca tried to start up some friendly conversation. She asked Delilah what she did for a living.
"I'm a third-year at Clark," she said, referring to THE Clark Atlanta University. Unknowingly, Delilah had just gained some serious ground in Rebecca's ground, seeing as how that was where my fiancÚ had not only completed her first degree, but also the campus upon which she had pledged her sorority. Rebecca beamed at the girl.
"And what are you majoring in?" Rebecca continued.
"Well, that's the thing. I started out thinking I wanted to major in Business, but now I'm seriously considering a career in Journalism." And just like that the young girl's stock fell in my fiancÚ's eyes; Rebecca had zero tolerance for writers, especially journalists, whom she felt were confined in their art and form to following publisher's guidelines as opposed to their passion.
"I see," Rebecca replied quietly, and she went back to sipping her water. I put a hand on the small of Rebecca's back and couldn't help but smile as I noticed Lionel sigh deeply and look away hopelessly. Just then, my phone went off. I pulled out my BlackBerry and brought it up to my ear.
"Yeah, it's Ty," I said.
"It's me." I jumped slightly in my seat, then looked at Rebecca not because I wanted to, but out of habit.
"I'm kind of in the middle of Sunday brunch with friends of the family."
"I need you." The sultry voice was laced with the kind of tone that just wasn't appropriate for Sunday after church. And then she said my name, "Tyree. I need you so bad right now, Tyree." She did that on purpose. Knew that I appreciated the way my name rolled off her tongue, knew it would get me to imagining her lips, wet and beckoning. I had to get out of the booth. I looked at Rebecca apologetically.
"It's work, I have to take this." I saw the disappointment on Rebecca's face; she forced a smile and moved out of the booth so that I could make my way out. I lowered the BlackBerry from my ear and strategically placed it in front of my britches to hide what the voice on the phone was threatening to break out of me as I made my way to the bathroom area.
"This ain't cool," I said into the phone, looking back in the direction of our table to make sure no one had spotted me. "Like, seriously, you're calling me at Sunday brunch when I'm with my fiancÚ."
"I'm sorry," she seemed to whisper. "But we just finished with the last service. And I couldn't stop thinking about you. And then as I was driving home, I was just thinking to myself... especially with John Lee still back at the church helping them to prepare for the revival... damn... I need you right now." She said with that urgency in her voice, that undeniable quality that stirred something inside me, set my soul (and my loins) on fire. And at this point, I was craving her too. There was no stopping it now.
"Where you want me to meet you?" I looked back at our table; the group was happily laughing amongst themselves. She gave me her instructions, I catalogued them in my mind. Then I hung up, calmed myself down, and went back to the table to deliver the news.
"Hey, y'all, sorry to interrupt everything, but I just got called in to work. It is Spring, and the firm does tend to get real backed up around this time of year." I gave Rebecca a look that said, 'I apologize,' and she returned the favor with a look that said, 'It's okay.' She got up out of the chair and kissed me lightly on the lips. It was all part of the routine. By now, Rebecca knew the procedure: I got that call, had to leave abruptly, she had to be one person playing what was supposed to be two people's parts. I felt damn bad doing that to her. I hoped Rebecca knew that, that I felt bad and guilty and all that rolled into one whenever I had to leave her.