I turned away from him on a deep sigh, shoving my key in the lock and trying my best to suppress the urge to turn around and look at his fine ass just one more time. He had to know that showing up at my door was a bad idea. All we’d end up doing is having another disagreement that ended in him leaving without either of us being better off. And I didn’t have the energy for that. In fact, all I did have energy for was falling in my bed and sleeping until the sun came up.
“I don’t know why you’re here, but I’m tired.” I said without looking back, afraid that he might hypnotize me with those eyes. “Whatever it is, just save it.”
“I’m tired too.” He said, stepping up behind me, so close that I could smell the sweetness of a day in the bakery on his shirt. “But I’m not gonna get any sleep tonight knowing you’re mad at me. I doubt you’ll get any either.”
“I’ll sleep fine.” I turned the key. “And don’t act like you know me.” I still wouldn’t look back. “If you knew me, you’d know that it was a terrible idea, showing up at my place in the middle of the night uninvited like I’m some kinda—“
“Vee, I'm not tryna hear that shit!” He grabbed me by the arm and turned me around, backing me against the door, and feverishly staring down into my eyes.
“I don’t know what you expect from me.” He continued, loosening the grip on my arm, not that it hurt at all. “I don’t know what you’re tryna do, or how you expect me to react. But I’m not a robot. You can’t just sit on my lap and expect me to pour out all my troubles in the damn loading area of your store.”
“What about my bedroom?” I returned, warmth pooling at my core, heart racing without knowing what was coming next.
“What?” He squeaked.
“Or in my car, or on a plane, or in a got damned park? You tell me when and where to meet you when you’re ready to open up and let me in. We can schedule it.” I crossed my arms and shifted my weight to one hip.
“It’s not that easy and you know it.” He breathed in, hands tucked in the pockets of his khakis.
“And why not?” I asked. “What’s your reason for holding back?”
“I’m not holding back.” He returned with an even temper.
“Then what do you call it?” I so wished I’d have kept my heels on. Staring up at Remy was becoming a chore. With damn near a foot of height difference, I was gonna need a step ladder before I sprained my damn neck.
“I don’t know, but not that.” He replied. “You just… you gotta let things flow, Vee. I don’t understand why you’re in such a rush to get to the hard stuff. Where do you think I’m going?”
“Where do I… tuh. Where do I think you’re going?” I huffed, squinting my eyes at him. “Do you know how old I am?” I asked. “I’m thirty-two years old. I don’t have time to wait for the hard stuff. I don’t have time to waste a year, or two, or three with you, only to find that you’ve been in love with another woman the whole time and your mother doesn’t want brown skinned grandbabies. That’s what I don’t have time for!”
I quickly turned around, twisted the doorknob, and pushed the door open. My face was hot with anger, anger that I thought I’d let go. This shit came completely out of the blue. Remy was literally an innocent bystander of the feelings I’d suppressed. I was so glad Mommy and Ebony weren’t close by, or they’d surely have me admitted into a psych ward.
“I’m not him.” Remy stepped into the door behind me. I placed my purse on the entry table and dropped my shoes on the floor, reaching back to unclasp my top, needing to rid myself of the weight of everything, starting with my clothes.
“Whoever he was, whoever hurt you—“
“You don’t know me!” I snapped. “So don’t pretend you do.”
“But ain't that the point?” He wasn’t put off by my words. Instead, stepping in closer, and helping me unhook the back of my top. “You want me to open up, want us to get to know each other. Yet here you are, holding onto your own shit. This is why I’m hesitant, Vee.”
“Don’t try to turn this on me.” I grabbed the front of my top in the cups of my hands, and held it against my breast, turning around to face Remy. “This ain’t about me or my shit. This is about you leaving me, twice, because you didn’t wanna be here.”
“Then why am I here now?” He asked.
“Why don’t you tell me?” I snapped.
“Because… because I—“
“You can’t even say it.” I interrupted, turning on my heels, heading directly to my bedroom. “Just do us both a favor and leave for good this time!” I yelled, thinking he’d stayed behind in the living room. “What’s the fucking point of all this back and forth if ultimately, it’ll all be in vain?”
I stormed into my closet and peeled off my pants, then commenced to raking through a neatly folded stack of t-shirts that I'd left sitting in a chair, in search of one suitable for sobbing into that night. I was exhausted, mentally and physically. Couldn’t imagine standing in a shower or climbing in and out of a bath tub.
Finally locating a shirt long enough to double as a nightgown, I unfolded it and dropped it on over my head. I took a deep breath, certain that Remy had left by now, since that was apparently his go-to when things got too heated. Thoughts of having my thigh draped across his abs almost took me to the floor. Thoughts of his locs twisted between my fingers literally syphoned the breath from my lungs. So deep in thoughts of him, I could feel and smell his presence, so wrapped up and confused I didn’t know if I was coming or going. I tugged at the front of the t-shirt, wishing it was his I was wearing instead of Winston’s. What the hell had this man done to me and why couldn’t I reverse it?
“You should burn that.” Remy’s voice sounded over my shoulder and I jumped right where I stood.
“I thought you left.” I swallowed the lump that had built in my throat during the few minutes I’d spent in the closet coming unglued.
“Well, I didn’t.” He said, joining me in the tight closet. “And I think you should burn that shirt.”
“Why?” I peered up at him.
“Cause, you don’t need it.” He reached down and grabbed the hem of the t-shirt that fell just above my knees. “Or anything else he left behind.” He rolled the shirt up to my waist, then over my belly, up to my breasts, then up and over my kinky crown.
“I can’t guarantee your desired rate of speed in this, Vee.” He said without hesitance, face softened by what must’ve been a desperate plea for understanding. “And I can’t guarantee that this’ll be the last time you want me to get the hell outta your face.” He flung the t-shirt out of my closet as if Winston was still in it. “But what I can guarantee is that I want you right now, and I don’t see that changing any time soon.”
“But what if it does?” I asked on bated breath. There was no way a woman could stand this close to Remy Fontenot without feeling like she might collapse.
"Things change all the time. People change all the time.”
“Is that how you wanna live your life?” Remy asked, peeling off his Polo and dropping it on the floor. “Basing every decision you make on things from the past that you can’t change?” He pulled off a clean white t-shirt, then slipped it down over my head, eyes never leaving me as I pushed my arms up and through the sleeves.
“Cause that sounds crazy. And you deserve better than that.” He stroked his hand down my cheek.
“I don’t wanna leave here tonight.” Remy’s glossy eyes stayed on me. “I wanna take my time, and be with you. But if that’s not what you want…”
“Stay!” I closed my eyes then opened them, unable to articulate how happy I was to have him there.
He placed his hands at my waist, pulling me in tight against him, then leaned in and took me into his mouth, swallowing me up into a kiss that made the whole closet turn into fuzziness. My nipples beaded beneath his t-shirt, pressing against the warmth of his solid abs. I could feel heat circling between my legs. Neither of us would be abandoning this space anytime soon.