(Content is unedited and subject to change. Publishing date is still in God's hands...)
“Where are you?”
“I didn’t ask what you were doing, Sabre Lincoln Niles. I asked for your location. This virus is running rampant and I’m at work worried sick about you because despite the fact that you’re my one and only child, you’ve failed to call and let me know that you’re ok.”
I could’ve been in the next room over with the door open and a spotlight over my not-sick body, and this woman would still find a reason to worry because that’s what Teresa Neal did.
“It’s been a busy day, Mama. I’m sorry.” I carefully slipped Bre’s head off of my chest and onto a pillow and crawled out of the bed without waking her, a task that was usually easier said than done.
"You’re not sorry.” She fussed, the familiar sounds of the NICU beeping as she whizzed down the hallways of Phoebe Lee University Medical Center. “I didn’t raise a sorry son. Careless would be a better word.”
“Then I apologize for being careless.” I grabbed my jeans from their spot, draped over Bre's footboard. Not that I was ready to go. I just didn’t feel comfortable talking to my mother at two in the morning wearing a pair of boxer briefs.
“Am I good now?” I asked, sitting in one of the chairs beside Bre’s chest of drawers. Her room was pretty big and offered enough space for me to carry on a short conversation without disturbing her sleep.
I could hear the smile in my mother’s voice when she said, “I guess.”
“Good. So, is everything okay? At work, I mean?” The global pandemic had had her stretched too thin. With all the restrictions and everything, she’d been working seven days a week. And as the charge nurse on her unit, normal responsibilities, which were already challenging, had tripled.
“As good as can be expected.” She replied on a sigh. “I’ve been here twelve hours and forgot to eat because I was so worried about who’s coming and going.”
“Ma, you know you gotta eat. You won’t be any good to anybody if your sugar drops too low.”
“I know. And stop fussing. That’s my job.”
We both laughed before she said, “Anyway, I didn’t exactly call just to fuss this time.”
“What? Is something wrong? You sick? Do I need to come home?” I didn’t realize that I’d raised my voice until Bre shifted in the bed, smacking her lips and falling back to sleep.
“Calm down. I’m fine.” She laughed. “I just have something important to tell you and I need you to promise that you won’t freak out.”
“It’s kind of hard to make a promise when I don’t know what’s going on. So, how about you tell me and I react however I’m gonna react?”
After a brief pause and me saying “Hello?” She finally said what she had to say.
“Paul asked me to marry him.” I almost dropped my phone on the floor.
She’d been seeing Paul off and on since I was thirteen years old. And I didn’t exactly hate the dude, but nobody was good enough for my mother.
“You still there, son?” She asked after I’d gone speechless for damn near a minute.
“Yeah. I mean yes ma’am. I just—“
“I know. It’s unexpected.” She cut me off. “But we’re not getting any younger and it was only a matter of time.”
“But do you love him?”
“Do you love him, Ma? Like there has to be more to it than just doing it because it’s time.”
I didn’t know where those words came from and prayed she didn’t ask. I just didn’t want her settling, even if it wasn’t my business.
“I do love him, Sabre. And I’m surprised that you’d even ask me that.”
I was surprised too. But, apparently, sleep deprivation had taken away my ability to filter thoughts.
“I apologize.” I relaxed against the back of the chair. “I guess I just didn’t see this coming.”
“I understand.” She spoke softly as if I were a little boy and not a twenty five year old man. “I just wanted to get your blessing before we did anything. Paul feels the same way.”
“Yes, really.” She quickly returned. “He knows he’s not your father but he’s been a constant fixture in your life since you were in middle school. That has to count for something.”
And it did.
Paul Jackson had been my eighth grade basketball coach. And we were pretty cool until I came home one day after dinner at Chad’s and found him slow dancing to Marvin Gaye with my mama. I tried to take his ass out with a cast-iron skillet.
“Y’all are grown, Ma.” Was all I could say. I would never disrespect their relationship no matter how awkward the shit was and had been since its inception at perhaps the most pivotal stage of my life.
Imagine growing up without a father for thirteen years and then having the guy you looked up to as a father figure sleeping with your mom on a regular basis. It could’ve been puberty or any number of things that made the whole situation hard to stomach. I’d grown up since, obviously, but could never let go of the thought that this dude was only being kind to me as a means to get to my mom.
“I really wish you didn’t sound so dry about it, Sabre.” She said. And I could hear the frustration in her voice. “I know you and Paul have had issues in the past, but he’s been good to me. He’s been good to us. Can you just put all that behind you? For the wedding day, at least?”
“Wait, you’ve already chosen a wedding day?” Just when I thought I couldn’t be more shocked, I was.
“Of course, we have.” She replied, voice hiked. “We’re in our mid-forties, baby. What’s there to wait for?”
“I don’t know. To see if I’m available, maybe?” Now I was sitting back up, and Bre was stirring again which meant that she could hear me and I was disturbing her sleep.
“Ma, I gotta go.” I rushed, annoyed.
“Okay. Well, I’ll text you the details. Maybe you can bring Bre.” She sounded way too excited when she said Bre’s name. She always sounded too excited when she said Bre’s name. And not because she looked at her as a potential daughter-in-law, which was true. But because she was a fan. Yes, my forty six year old mother was a fan of the most vulgar, foul mouthed female emcee to grace the hip hop charts this decade.
“Alright. I love you.” I was being short and I know she noticed.
“I love you too, baby.” She kissed the receiver and ended the call.
“Who was that?” Bre squinted, stretching her arms up over her head, causing a set of full round breasts to bounce under her t-shirt.
I ignored that shit.
“My mama.” I rubbed a hand over my face, kicking out of my jeans and climbing back into bed beside her. “She’s getting married.”
“For real?!” Her voice was groggy but excited, and a pretty smile curled her lips that was almost childlike. Bre was rarely every like this outside of our little secret slumber parties.
I nodded but didn’t speak.
“Why are you salty?” She noticed and asked, rolling over on her side to face me.
“I’m not. It’s just… it’s complicated, alright? And I don’t really wanna talk about.” I lay flat on my back and tucked a hand under my head.
“I don’t really wanna talk about it.” She mocked me, flicking out her tongue before resting her head on my chest, the soft, familiar scent of her shampoo finding its way to my nostrils and damn near lulling me to sleep.
“Your mama’s a good woman.”
“And she deserves to be happy, even if your spoiled ass throws a fit because you want her all to yourself.” She continued against my wishes because Bre’s sole purpose in life was to get on my damned nerves.
“You know what might help you to deal with this?” She asked though I hadn’t indicated that I wanted or needed help dealing with the fact that my mama was marrying my middle school basketball coach.
“Did I ask you for help?” I slanted my eyes downward to find hers up and on me, absent of fake lashes but still pretty with the natural ones that were long and curly.
“Has that ever stopped me before?” She smirked, and all I could do was lay there and wait.
“Exactly.” She thumped my chest with a long, bright pink fingernail. “Maybe you need somebody.”
The suggestion surprised me. Bre had never spoken on my relationship status or lack thereof and I just assumed it was because she didn’t give a fuck.
“Bre, if you wanna take this cuddling shit a step further, just say that.” I teased and her head instantly popped up of my chest.
“Sabre, I will punch your long ass head into the bottom of this mattress. Don’t play with me.” She fumed. And I laughed because seeing her upset was amusing.
“I’m just saying, I’m not opposed to loaning you some dick if you need it. I mean, on the low of course, because I can’t stand your ass.”
“And I can’t stand yours either.”
“You don’t mean that.” I ducked her as she poked me in the side, and we both laughed until the laughing subsided.
“But seriously, if there ever comes a time when you do decide to entertain some raggedy female, let me know and we can cut this off.”
“Wait, what? Where did that come from?” I sat up, bringing her with me as I pressed my back against the headboard.
“Come on, now. Don’t play stupid.” She blew out a breath and sat up beside me. “I know this whole thing is silly and maybe even childish. You lying beside me every night without the promise of more than body heat and a beard massage. You get on my nerves. Like all my fucking nerves. But at the end of the day, you’re a good dude. I wouldna came at you with this proposition if I didn’t think so.”
“Thanks, I think.” I slanted my eyes to the side at her. “But what does that have to do with me seeing somebody else—I mean somebody? This is completely innocent. You and I both know it ain’t going no further.”
“And that’s the point.” She looked up at me, suddenly tensing when being relaxed around each other had literally become our norm.
“I don’t get it.” I said, because I didn’t.
“I know.” She returned. “And I don’t expect you too because you’re a man. And aside from that, you’re weird as fuck.”
“I’d be offended if you hadn’t already told me that shit a hundred times.” My phone chimed on the nightstand but I ignored it. Nobody important would be hitting me up at this hour except my mom, and we’d already talked.
“You’re not gonna get that?” Bre asked, eyes jotting from my phone back to me.
“I don’t know. Do you want me to?” My tone changed and my chest heated. I didn’t know where I was going with this but I knew that Bre wasn’t bringing up this relationship shit for no reason.
“Do you wanna answer it?” She answered my question with a question. And that was all the validation I needed.
Bre’s ass wanted to do more than cuddle.
But that wasn’t about to happen, because Bre’elle Nightingale wasn’t the type of woman you could fuck and move on from. I could tell by the way she conformed to my body every night that even if I didn’t want to, I’d be hooked. Hell, I already was. And it was stupid, because she was the one who’d reached out to me for help. She’d been the one suffering with sleeplessness because she’d never had her own room and found it hard to fall asleep without a body beside her. I’d suggested that she let Taya know what was up but for whatever reason, she felt too embarrassed to share that info with her friend and added that Taya was already dealing with enough after finding out the nature of her own conception. It had taken weeks after we’d settled into our homes after completing our first tour with Plus, but she finally convinced me that even though we fought like cats and dogs, my energy comforted her in a way that she needed. A way that was familiar to the back and forth between her and her sister. The shit sounded so toxic that I almost said no. But then she said something that stuck with me. Something I would’ve put into a song if it wasn’t so personal.
“The difference is intention.” She said. “We say foul shit to each other all the time, Sabe. But when it comes down to it, I’d never hurt you and I know that you would never hurt me.”
I was sold. Like all the lyrics in all the songs I’d ever sang, I fell for words too poetic to be ignored and agreed to lie in bed every night with a woman without the promise or necessity of any form of sexual activity.
“I don’t wanna answer it, but I want you to answer me.” I said, slipping my hand under hers as it rested on her thigh because the way Bre felt always trumped the words she said.
She questioned me without words, instead squinting those chocolate eyes, licking a set of beautiful, plump lips that I’d convinced myself I never wanted to kiss.
“Do you want more than this?” Fell from my mouth like liquid. I no longer cared about the boundaries set in place. All I wanted was the truth.
“You don’t have to answer right now.” I squeezed her hand because the answer was in the way she squeezed mine. “Let’s go to sleep.” I slid down under the covers and so did she. “We got another long one in a few hours.”
She rolled over on her side, laying her head on my chest, making it hard for me to mask the fact that my heart was beating like a bass drum. She yawned and stretched, tangling her soft fingers in my barely there beard, massaging my chin down to my neck, unintentionally exciting parts of me that typically lay dormant in the presence of a woman so close to my age. I snaked a finger under her bonnet to play with her weave and she slapped my hand away like always.
I should’ve saved us both while I could. Familiarity was the first sign of descension.
I awoke three hours later when I rolled over to an empty space next to me and blinked my eyes open to find him retrieving his jeans off the back of a chair. Sabre’s skin was at its best in the darkness of my room. Smooth, and black, and annoyingly perfect. I never told him that, of course, because it would go straight to his big ass head. And I couldn’t be weighing him down with misleading compliments.
“Where you goin’?” I asked, voice groggy and tired.
He slipped his long arms up into his t-shirt and replied, “Home before Taya gets here.”
“Taya won’t be back for two days. Come back to bed.” I rubbed the space beside me, holding my eyes open just wide enough to take in his chocolate abs before he rolled the shirt down over them.
“Bruh, we gotta be at the studio in less than four hours.” He footed into his jeans. “I need to shower.”
“You can shower here.”
“You have clothes hidden in my closet.” I interrupted. “Shave an hour off your commute and climb back in this bed with me. Please.” I was guilty of begging when I was sleepy. And typically, Sabre would fall for it.
But not this time.
This time he ignored my soft voice and continued to get dressed, lacing up his shoes right in front of my face and leaning over to kiss my forehead with those soft ass lips.
“So, you don’t wanna talk about what we were talking about?” I grabbed his hand before he stood up, catching his eyes as he rolled them up to the ceiling on a deep breath.
“I’on’t think we should do that.” He breathed out.
“Okay.” I didn’t mean it, but I said it, pulling my hand away.
“Can you not throw a tantrum?”
“I’m not throwing a tantrum.”
“You yanked your hand.”
“And I said okay. So, drop it.” I raised my voice, lifting my head from the pillow then dropping it back down.
“Man, look.” He stood at the foot of the bed, resting his palm on the footboard. “It’s not what you think, all right?”
“And how do you know what I think?”
“Because I know you. And you over analyze every damn thing.”
“And you don’t?” I pressed the side of my head deeper into the pillow.
“I agreed to be your grown ass cuddle buddy.” He turned to walk away. “I’d say I probably don’t analyze enough.”
“And what the hell is that supposed to mean?” I sat straight up in the bed as he grabbed his hoody off a hook on the back of my bedroom door.
“What it means is that this situation has expired and I’m out.” He chunked the deuce and gripped the doorknob. And that’s when I lost my shit.
“You know what, Sabre? Fuck you.” I hopped out of the bed and hurried over to, I don’t know, push his ass out the door. “You know what I’m dealing with. How hard it was for me to even think about asking you to do this shit and you just gon’ run off? I thought we were better than that.”
“Well I guess we—”
“Don’t you dare say we ain’t.” I slid myself between him and the door. “Look me in my eyes and try.”
“Say it.” I looked up into a set of dark mysterious orbs that held sincerity even when they were upset. And passion that could melt off the sturdiest of panties. “Say it and I’ll move outta your way.”
“It’s not that serious.” He looked to the right at my empty bed. Then to the left at my vanity table. Then to the ceiling and then the floor, trying his best not to look into my eyes though I was following his everywhere they went.
“You can’t say it because it’s not true.” I tugged his chin, forcing him to look at me. “If you don’t wanna take it there I understand. But can you at least tell me why?”
Sabre’s shoulders sank, warm breath bathing the tip of my nose when he exhaled and stared at me, sending chills down my spine. Never had I ever imagined standing in this space in front of this man feeling these things. But there he was and there I was, fearing his rejection like a desperate ass fan.
“It’s not that I don’t want to.” He finally spoke and I didn’t realize I’d stopped breathing until his voice gave me permission to exhale. “It’s just…”
“Just say it, Sabre. Damn.” I rushed. Too impatient to wait for whatever he needed to say.
“I like different shit. And I don’t know if you can handle it.”
“What, you like frozen vegetables up your ass or somethin’?” I pressed a hand to my chest, dipping my head back.
“What? No. Hell no!” His deep voice went up an octave. “And why the hell would you ask that?”
“It’s a long story that I don’t care to revisit. Now focus.” I snapped my fingers in his face. “You a big ole freak? Is that what you’re hiding under those tight ass jeans?”
“First of all, my shit ain’t that tight. And second, yes, I’m a freak. And I’m not talking about no boring ass reverse cowgirl shit that you probably did with the prison nigga.”
“Fuck you.” I pushed him away and headed off toward the restroom to relieve my bladder. “Reverse cowgirl is retro as fuck. Don’t act like you know me, nigga.”
He chuckled. “I’m just sayin’.”
“I hear you loud and clear.” I wiped, flushed, and washed my hands before returning to the bedroom to find him still standing there, looking like he didn’t want to leave while knowing that staying would change everything. “You should know me well enough to know that my heart don’t pump no Koolaid.” I dropped down on the bed and crossed my legs Indian style.
“You can chill with the ghetto participation trophies.” He teased, stepping up in front of me, crowding my space with his dark comfort. “The whole reason I’m here is because you’re afraid to sleep alone. And I know you hate being told no, but it’s for your own good. Trust me on this one.”
I leaned back, planting both my palms flat on the mattress as I looked up at a man who apparently assumed he was running things, but had forgotten one thing. Nobody, and I do mean nobody, ran Bre but Bre.
“How about I keep being an adult like I have been sense I turned eighteen and decide what the fuck I want, when the fuck I want it, and who the fuck I want it from?”
If my words weren’t enough, the uncrossing and spreading of my legs should have been. Exposing the heated center that lie behind a pair of boy-shorts that could barely be considered a barrier, was my final pitch to get Sabre out of those jeans and on top of me. Inside of me. All fucking over me. I felt like being reckless and I needed him to feel reckless too. Because what good was a bad decision if you were making it alone?
“You didn’t hear me at all, did you?” This nigga’s eyes slid up from the shorts that were wedged in my pussy, licking his lips because apparently, I made his mouth water.
But he still wasn’t on me. What was the fucking hold up? Did I need to stand up and rope my legs around his waist?
“Oh, I heard you.” I smirked. “The question is, did you hear me?”
He rubbed his fingers down the stubble on his chin and said, “Loud and clear. And I damn sure see you. But if we’re gonna do this—and we definitely are because after tonight, there’s no way in the world I’m ever gonna look at you without imagining the spread of your pussy lips under those shorts—we gotta get one thing understood.”
“And that is?” My already steaming pussy heated a few more degrees at the mention of my pussy coming from Sabre’s mouth.
“Control. I gotta have it.”
“But, what if—“
“No buts.” He cut me off, taking a step forward and pressing his pointer finger to my lips. I wanted to suck it so bad, finally admitting to myself that the scent of Sabre was fucking intoxicating.
“Fine.” I managed to breathe a single word. “Can we start now?” I couldn’t mask my desperation.
All this ripping and running and dream chasing was exhausting and the only thing that could rejuvenate me at this point was some top tier penis. And I knew Sabre had it. He sang too well. Played instruments too well. Walked with steps too heavy to not have a gold mine in his pants. I’d been dumping all of that shit in the recess of my mind, following some old rule laid down by women of lesser caliber who couldn’t boss up and keep their hearts out of it, reciting their mantra that you don’t eat where you shit. But I wasn’t like them. My pussy and my heart were two separate organs. One needed love while the other needed sex. And one of those mother fuckers was about to get served.
“No.” He answered swiftly with the tip of his finger still resting on my lip, sending blood rushing between my legs. “Not yet. I’ll see you at the studio.” He leaned in and placed a kiss on my forehead, leaving me there to rub one out against my body pillow before sitting up the rest of the night, writing lyrics about sexual frustration.
The rest is coming soon. Until then, keep reading this excerpt!!!