The kiss was meant as a means to an end, maybe if he kissed her without holding back it would quench the aching thirst that he had for her or at least that was what he told himself when he first started but yet here he was thirty minutes later about to take a step forward that he knew he couldn’t or wouldn’t take back and his hands shook from the intensity of his want of her. Her hair in disarray, her shirt and pants missing, she lay there so beautiful and he was bound to lose it. Maybe he was being selfish, because he knew that this was not the time for what was about to transpire between them but he was as helpless as a baby to stop it.
Malaya wondered how it was possible for her life to be on shambles all around her yet the troubled look she saw in his eyes was enough to make her want to reach out and heal him of whatever he struggled with. It was clear he was fighting himself from what he obviously wanted. She knew without a doubt in her mind that this whole situation was crazy and probably one of the many mistakes she was going to make yet she couldn’t stop herself from sitting up on bed and leaning towards him as he stopped almost in a trance. She wanted to take the shadows away from his beautiful eyes yet she knew she held no such power but maybe they could pretend in the brief time they are together that their coming together was a part of the healing process. His eyes searched her face for what she didn’t know but she knew he was waiting on her. Not taking her eyes off his face she reached behind her and unsnapped her bra and watched as his eyes slid closed as it loosened on her arms. It seemed as though things happened in slow motion from there. She reached out to touch his face at the same time he reached to pull her closer to him slowly pulling the loose garment from her body. Why this felt right she didn’t know but she knew that he needed this as much as he she wanted it. She watched after a few soft caresses and lustful kisses as he removed his clothes. She knew two things for certain as he drew near her quivering body that one he had a body created to love a woman and second she would never no matter how much she knew she needed to be able to forget him.
Chico knew that last night he should have never touched her, yet as he laid in the bed with curled securely against his side that he would do it all over again given the chance. He clenched his jaw at the thoughts running rapid in his mind. This is definitely not what he had in mind a week ago when he first saw her. Sleeping with her was one thing yet it was starting to get complicated. He knew he wasn’t the relationship type anymore, one time was enough for him, yet the thought of her being touched by someone else or someone mistreating her made him see red. What the hell was wrong with him? Sex them and leave them was what he did, when he made time for even that now here he was with this woman , this beautiful and her daughter wrecking havoc on his life and senses. He wanted to run away yet as she moved to roll away from him in her sleep he tightened his hold on her waist and was comforted by her sigh of contentment. That was it he thought he had completed gone and lost his damn mind. After she settle down and he was sure she was back to sleep, he slowly but efficiently left the bed taking his inner turmoil with him.
Something was wrong, she knew but she refused to let herself think about what that could possibly mean. Today was the big day and she needed all the wits and nerve she could summon. The way Chico kept looking at her would have to be examined later when Dominique was behind her once and for. The plan was for her to call him and go off on him telling him that she was happy and basically threaten him that he would never see his daughter if she ever saw or heard one of his boys looking for her again. Of course with his world size ego he would want to come to her himself and probably kill her with his bare hands. She refused to think of something going wrong because the list was way too long for her to even count.
She stepped back in to the bedroom and changed clothes into the ones she borrowed from Connie, nothing over the top but clean and well fitted to no doubt draw attention to herself. She was praying to herself and God in the mirror , when Chico walked in and closed the door behind him. Leaning against the door arms folded, scowl on his face he stared at her their eyes connected in the mirror before he spoke. “I’m going with you”
“As what my bodyguard” she said moving away from the mirror. She couldn’t stand there and look at him looking at her like that when she remembered all she gave and received from him only hours before.
“No as your boyfriend”
She snorted without thought.
“You disagree” he growled.
“Who would believe that you’re my boyfriend, all they have to do is look at your face and know that is a lie. I’ll be fine.”
“We didn’t have problem with that last night”
“I don’t have problem at all it’s you with the problem, but I don’t want to talk about last night! I need to get through today and I don’t that in my head right now.
“Fine! Either I go or you don’t”
She opened her mouth to tell him what she thought of his ultimatum when he was up on her in on seconds of blinking with a fierce look on his face. “Before you think to tell me no, you need to remember that I will do what I want to do and that includes keeping you here until you come in contact with some damn sense. Because if you think I am letting you go out of my house without so much as an escort and risk your life you are mistaken.” He stepped closer to the point where her body was pressing against his and her breath that rushed out from all of her pent up emotions fanned his chin. He cupped her face gently showing her all the gentleness that he was capable of while leaning toward her face for a kiss yet diverted and nibbled on her ear for a bit before he whispered. “I can play the part, question is can you?”
Her body no doubt on the verge of betraying her, she turned her head in a bold move and kissed his lips softly mumbling, “I think I can”
He stepped back allowing her space and side stepped her in a grand sweep of his hand,
“I’m ready when you are”.
He watched as she walked out of the room her back straight, hair swaying with the motion of her hips and knew that he was going to regret every single day of his life over the past week because she was turning him inside out and didn’t even know it.
Three days later…..
Finally it was over! She didn’t know what true relief felt like until she saw Dominique laying in a pool of blood and his muscle heads in hand cuffs. As they thought Dominique was livid that this little poor bitch had the nerve to not only call him but talk to him any kind of way. The to make matters worse, she had the audacity to be seen hugging and kissing all over some man. He had his flunkies to follow her and her lover around but told them to remain out of sight and he would deal her and her lover personally. He saw her as his property and he felt that not only did she disrespect him first leaving him taking his child away after she found out what type of person he was but then again when she continued to dodge him and lastly allowing another man to touch her. Crazy was an understatement. He had completely lost it, and proved that when he showed up to a place that was crawling with undercover cops and tried to not only kill her but Chico too. He admitted he didn’t really want their daughter but he knew that if he had her he had complete control of her. He wouldn’t have killed her as she thought but he would made wish daily for death with the wicked plans he had for her and the use of her body. She still shook from the fury in his dark eyes and the sick twisted look he gave her as he looked at her body with want. Chico on the other hand played his part rather well and lost his cool towards the end when they were on the receiving end of a .38 The looks and kisses he gave her as a part of their act was enough to make her wish for the real thing, but she knew that it wasn’t going to happen, yet it didn’t stop her from making love with him again and again when it was all over. Yet now as she laid in his bed looking at his back she knew that reality was back and she had to face it head on. She swallowed what little pride she had left and opened her mouth.
“What are you so afraid of?”
“Trust me baby, I’m not afraid of anything” He said rolling his shoulders while walking away. He picked up his shirt from the floor and pulled it on over his head.
“That’s a lie. You’re afraid I’m going to confess some type of undying love for you. You won’t even look at me.” She said standing wearing nothing but a t shirt, while he purposely and meticulously dressed.
Chico was sitting on the edge of the bed putting on his shoes when she made the accusation. He looked up from what he was doing and looked into her flashing eyes. He sighed and finished tying his boots before he stood to his full height of six foot two and walked to pick up his jacket.
“You don’t have to confess anything Laya I can see it already in your eyes and I can tell you that it’s a mistake. You don’t love me and even if you thought you did, don’t.”
She looked like she wanted to say something but thought better for it and kept it locked behind her lips. She watched as he put on his jacket and grabbed his keys off the night stand. Her gaze strayed towards the bed that was still rumpled from their vigorous lovemaking. She knew it should have never happened but the fact remained that it did happen. She looked back at him, while he moved around the room totally ignoring her presence. She wanted to scream in frustration, but she didn’t. She couldn’t. Everything was messed up, and she knew it was somehow her fault thankfully Dominique was done for and she didn’t have to worry about that part of her life anymore but what did that mean. She knew Chico was probably right and she was more than likely confusing love for gratitude but he didn’t have to be such an ass about it.
“Get dressed so we can go, I’m sure you want to see your daughter. I’ll wait outside.” He said over his shoulder then walked out of the bedroom softly closing the door behind him.
She stood there for all of a minute before she snapped to and got dressed. After she got her life back on track she would have plenty of time to cry over yet another mistake she made but now was not the time. He was right, she hadn’t seen her daughter in a week and she missed her like crazy. She looked around the room after she dressed and made sure she didn’t leave anything behind, the last thing she needed was to leave something and have him think she did it on purpose. She knew very little about him and his life except for what little he told her about his wife. He wasn’t over her death or her and she needed to remember that. It was one thing trying to compete with another woman, but she was clueless as to how to compete with a dead woman and she didn’t have the strength to try and figure it out. She thought briefly about putting her hair up, but realized she had no reason to hide anymore and left the long heavy strands down. She picked up her backpack and walked out of the bedroom with a new resolve and her head held high.
“Drew I don’t know how I can thank you and Connie for watching over Meesha”
“There is no need, she is a precious little girl and we were glad to help.” Drew said as he watched Malaya wrapped her arms around her baby and inhale her scent.
“Plus its good practice” Connie said rubbing her flat stomach.
“As soon as I get settled in I’m going to pay you back.”
“No ma’am you will not, there is no need.”
She quickly hugged them both fiercely then grabbed her baby’s bags and headed for the door. She needed to get a move on or she knew she would think of a reason to stay and that wasn’t going to happen. She kept her gaze ahead and refused to look at the silent Chico who set off to the side. They hadn’t spoken since they left his apartment and she didn’t see a need to say anything more. She doubted her frazzled emotions could take much more. One more rejection from him either by word or a look and she would likely crumble.
“You sure we can’t take you to the airport? It’s not that much trouble.”
“I’m sure, you’ve done enough. The cab should be here in a few minutes. I think I hear them pulling up now. Thanks again.” She said and started towards the door when she was quickly grabbed in another hug by Connie who whispered in her ear “It will all work out” She didn’t want to speculate what she meant but she had a good idea and realized her throat had closed up stopping her from responding. Before she made it to the door, unable to help herself she look over her shoulder and sought him out for the last time. To her delight and dismay he was looking at her also. She stared briefly then cleared the doorway stepping out of his world and back into hers, all the while fighting the tears that were standing in her eyes.
“I knew you were a lot of things but I never knew stupid was one of them.” Drew said as soon as the cab pulled away from the curb taking Malaya and Meesha away.
“Leave it alone Drew”
“Hell naw, that girl left here looking more down than she did when she came. Hell no I ain’t letting it go.
“I said leave it” Chico said through clenched teeth. He saw her face as well as her body language and he didn’t need his boy telling him about it. He may have not said anything but his eyes didn’t stray from her.
“What the hell is wrong with you? It’s not every day that a man gets a second chance at love and then you just piss it away.
“I already had the love I needed, I don’t need anymore.”
“When are you going to let it go man? It’s been three years already you have got to move on.”
“Fuck off Drew, I know what I need and a woman ain’t it.”
“Janice was my sister so I know better than anyone what you feel, but she is dead and she’s not coming back.”
“I’m not having this conversation” He said unfolding himself from the chair standing to his feet. He didn’t want to have this conversation, because he already knew where it was going. He was married to a great woman and he had her for five years until breast cancer consumed her body and she lost the fight. Every since then, he had been living in hell. Yes he slept with few women since then but he never felt anything. He spent the last three years drinking himself into oblivion and trying to forget the previous five years ever happened. Malaya was different; she made him feel things that he didn’t want to feel. He felt possessive, protective and complete and he wasn’t ready for that. He knew he was cruel to her after the beautiful night they shared but he wasn’t completely wrong, she didn’t really love him, she felt only gratitude for him. And he definitely didn’t love her. He had no heart to love with, everything within him died when his wife died.
“You have spent the last three years of your life pissing it away, with a surly attitude and liquor.”
“She doesn’t need me, she and her daughter are safe. That was all she needed from me and I did that, what else do you want from me?”
Drew looked at him and shook his head. He knew his brother in law was still hurting from his sister’s fight with cancer because he obviously couldn’t see that he loved Malaya and was losing her.
“I’m on my way to the club, I’ll see you later”
“For what so you can lose yourself in yet another bottle? When you wake up in the morning you will still feel the same way about her and she will still be gone. Now think on that.” Drew said then walked away mumbling under his breath about how stupid he was.
Chico wasn’t in the mood for anything. If possible his mood has worsened since he walked out of his brother in laws house over two months ago. Every time he would see him, the same conversation would begin leaving Chico with a burning urge to break Drew’s jaw but he knew he wouldn’t. He tried his hardest not to think about her, but it seemed the harder he tried the more she would surface on his mind. He could remember her brief smiles when she finally realized she was safe. He could still see the change in her eyes when she reached the peak, her contentment while she laid in his arms. All of it was a brutal reminder one that he wished he could forget. It seemed everyday though as much as the memories grew stronger her smile he remembered faded leaving him with the memory of their last encounter with tears standing in her beautiful eyes all because of him. To say he felt like shit would be a piss poor understatement. Then to make matters worse his memory of Janice was fading leaving him confused as to the direction he needed to go. Over the last few years he used the memories of his wife’s struggle and ultimately her death to keep him from getting in a relationship again. Now all he was left with was the memory of her smiles and her strength. She would definitely have been upset with him if she saw the way he treated Malaya. What would she say if she knew how he felt about her? She had loved him so completely he didn’t know if he could take the chance to love another. Did he love Malaya? He wasn’t sure but he was sure that he had to see her again or he would probably go out of his mind. He didn’t plan on telling Drew because he would of course read more into it that was necessary and he doubted he would be able to resist the urge to hit him. Maybe if now that he has given her time to think things clearly she would realize that she didn’t really love him as she thought but as he said was just grateful for his help and mixed up the two emotions. He could say that he hoped that was the case but he wasn’t sure that would the truth. He had been lying to himself for so long that the lines of truth were a blurred and he wasn’t sure where to begin. But he knew he wouldn’t find the answers here alone. He needed to see her and then he would know. With that thought firmly in place he started a few things in motion.
“Malaya someone is here to see you” Johnna said leaning in the door of the home economics room.
Leaning over a changing table Malaya was fastening a diaper on Lindsey’s baby doll who stood steadfast right beside the table as a devoted mother or at least as much as one could at the tender age of five.
“Ok Johnna thanks I’ll be there in just a second.”
All done she lifted the baby cradle like in her arms and then very gently placed her back in Lindsey’s waiting arms. “Now she’s all clean. Feeling better?”
Not one to say much she supplied Malaya with a bright smile and nodded her head and bounced away. Much improved, Malaya thought. A couple of weeks ago she would burst into tears if someone looked at her too long let alone talked to her. Remembering her waiting guest, she quickly washed her hands, praying it was the investor she had to all but beg to come for a visit. The center desperately needed funding or soon they would not be able to stay open and assist needy families. Refusing to think of that possibility she put on her best face and walked out of the classroom. She saw Johnna smiling all goofy like giving her a thumbs up sign and was all smiles too until she turned to see who her visitor was. Time stopped, all noises quit and all she could see was Chico’s shade shrouded face standing just inside her rec center walking towards her with purpose and intent in his stride. Try as she might the smile on her face was lost. How could this be happening to her, not here not now. She had all but convinced herself that her time with him was a mirage and he really didn’t exist at least not in the capacity she wanted him to exist in. Which in truth was the truth, what she wanted from him at the time he couldn’t or wouldn’t give and he dismissed her. He may have been right and what she felt for him was partly gratitude but she was old enough to know which emotions where which and when they transpired into something else. It took her three months to come to terms with the idea that whatever she felt for him was sorely misplaced and needed revamping. Now after she had managed to pull the scraps of her life back together here he comes. As he neared she put on a resemblance of a smile and stayed her ground, find out what he wants and then get rid of him. Simple
He could see the brittle smile on her face and the light go out of her eyes as soon as she saw him. To a lesser man that may have sent him packing but Chico was far from a punk and he didn’t come this far away from home to leave without a fight. As soon as he made the decision to look for her, It seemed as if things moved in a tailspin for him. Drew and Connie knew exactly where she was and it was as if he was trying to take Fort Knox when he asked where she was. Connie who had formed a friendship with her refused to divulge the information for fear of him upsetting her more than he did when she was with him. To say he was pissed was an understatement, but he understood her feelings and he couldn’t blame her. If he did manage to find her would she be willing to listen to him was she even available to be with him and why would she waste her time on a nobody like him. After much convincing and pleading on his part he managed to wrangle the address of her work place out of them, with the threat if he hurt her again it would be his last. He didn’t take it lightly. Now as he was striding towards her he couldn’t help but appreciate everything about her. From her thick swinging mane to her smooth peanut butter complexion to her bright expressive gaze that now showed truly how wary she was of him. When he stopped in front of her, she still hadn’t acknowledged him, she just kept staring in confusion.
“Is there somewhere we can talk?” he asked
She snapped out of it quickly, pushing some get right into her spine and led him to her office and closed the door after he was inside. She stood facing the door for a second longer than necessary trying to get her wits about her but it was all useless for the moment she turned around to face him, he had removed his sunglasses blasting her with his mesmerizing blue gaze.
“Chico” she whispered unknowingly.
He stepped towards her invading her space cupping the back of her head through her mass of hair and aimed for her mouth. It happened so fast she didn’t see it coming and after it started he was relentless to let up until she was clinging to him losing herself. Not a moment too soon he slowly released her mouth.
Now maybe that was not the way he should have started off but he couldn’t seem to resist. He hadn’t seen nor touched her in three long months and the wait was killing him.
“What are you doing here, Chico?” she said softly after she finally recovered. Finally lifting her gaze back up to meet his. To ask him the purpose of the kiss would be pointless, it was because he wanted to. He always did what he wanted to, regardless of the cost to everyone else.
“I needed to see you. I need to apologize for how I treated you”
She was quiet for a moment unable to comprehend the motive behind his visit. When she last saw him, he all but told her that to get lost, her battling tears the whole nine, now he wants to apologize. For what?
“There’s no need to apologize, you said how you felt and I accepted that.” She said walking around him to stand behind her desk. She needed the added buffer afraid if she stood too close she may launch herself into his arms like an idiot and never let go of him come hell or high water.
“No I wasn’t, I just didn’t know what I wanted at the time.”
“It’s ok you don’t have to spare my feelings I’m a big girl and as I said I accepted it. Maybe you were right it was gratitude for all that you did for me.”
He had a sinking feeling in his stomach but he refused to acknowledge it. He had thought of several scenarios in his mind all ending with her telling him what he could do and where he could go but yet here he was and he refused to not try.
“Malaya baby look at me” he said softly pleading in his voice.
She looked at him warily on guard no doubt for the next bomb he would drop on her.
“When we made love that night that was not gratitude. Not for me, not for you it was love.
She started shaking her head in denial, yet her eyes were starting to get shiny. He knew he had to get this out or he never would.
“Yes, baby you loved me enough to give yourself to me and in return I took all you had not knowing what lay in my heart. I swore I would never get close to another woman, yet there you were in my space in my arms, in my heart and I wasn’t ready for it so I lashed out at you out of fear.”
“Chico please don’t do this to me”
“No listen. You asked me what I was afraid of remember? Remember?” he said looking into her eyes willing her to remember those painful moments.
“Yes I remember” she mumbled.
“You were right I was afraid, of you loving me because I don’t deserve your love Malaya especially after all you have been through but I found myself wanting it like I want air to breathe. I wanted you in my life, you, me, your daughter. I wanted it all and that scared me. I told you only bits and pieces about my wife. But to make a long story short, I loved her more than I think I have loved anybody and she loved me and I lost her, but the more I was around you my feelings for you and your daughter overshadowed any thoughts of love I previously had and that put me on dangerous ground if something happened to you or you walked away I would not be able to survive it.”
Tears were now streaming down her downcast face. She slowly sat in her chair and silently cried. Unable to bear it, he walked over to her and kneeled in from of her. Lifting her chin and brushing her hair out of the way he kissed her tears away.
“I need you by my side baby. I know I am a little rough around the edges but your love soothes me to my heart and I can’t lose you.”
She was crying in earnest now, clutching her chair trying her hardest not to grab him but then he had to go and say it.
“I love you”
She lost the battle and launched herself at him holding on for dear life. All the while he kept repeating that phrase in her ear as he placed kisses to her face. He wiped away her tears staring at her with such love in his eyes that she was sure she was going to drown.
“I love you too”
“I know baby” he smiling a smile that she had only seen on rare occasions and her heart blossomed from the shine of it. She shook her head at his arrogance yet she knew she would love him anyway. Her knight in shining army that took the time to heal her heart by allowing her to heal his and all it took was a simple yet complicated game of hide and seek.
The End! Hope you enjoyed Chico and Malaya's game to fine love. Until Next time