Jasmine had the most irritated expression on her face as she tapped her fore-finger on the table, as if she had a nervous tic. You have to understand, Jasmine is a very impatient person. And if there is one thing that she hates more than waiting for anything or anybody, it’s not knowing the latest gossip. I think of her as an investigative journalist. Oh no, you can’t just give her a brief headline and keep on moving, Jasmine needs the entire story from conception to birth. So, I am taking my sweet time with the waiter and it is driving her insane. I know she is probably the last person I want to tell my business to; but the fact was I needed a friend in this moment. William was being pretty conservative about our relationship at work, and I was following his lead. She let out a sigh of relief when I finally decided for him just bring me out a glass of water for now, and I will order a drink with my entrée later. “Okay girl where were we?” As if I didn’t know, I thought to myself.
Without any hesitation, Jasmine quickly recapped as if she were an auctioneer, “you was about to tell me how you a William got together. Now you already told me you was upstairs at the job and you was all teary-eyed over your aunt passing and the fact that you have been feeling lonely and just craving a man’s touch; but you was not calling your ex cause that shit was out of the question!”
I stared at her in awe just waiting for her to pass out from lack of oxygen, “Damn girl… Breathe!”
With a shy look and an elevated tone, she added, “I just didn’t want you to have to say that part all over again, cause I got it.” Then the look morphed to hunger, “so what happen next?”
“Okay well I was sitting in the little lounge area across from the elevators”
Jasmine presses, “yeah yeah Monica, get to the good stuff!”
If the heifer interrupts me one more time I swear I’m going to smack the hell out of her. “Okay, so William got off the elevator cash in hand and went into the break-room which you know is right next to the area I was sitting it. He was in there all of 2 mins and walked back out with a bottle of cranberry juice. He walked back over to the elevator and pressed the down button. I’m guessing her turned and saw me sitting there and he walked over. My first thought when I saw him approaching was I do not feel like being bothered; but I really didn’t care to let someone see me crying either. I tried to discreetly wipe the tears and keep my head turned in the opposite direction. Then in the sweetest tone he called out, “Monica are you okay?”
“I’m fine”, I answered without turning to face him.
“If that were true you would not be sitting here in tears.”
“I said I’m fine.”
“Girl, I shot him a look that was sure to send any man running off. But I got to give it to him, he held his ground. He pulled up a chair and sat directly in front of me and said, “Well if you don’t mind I’ll keep you company”
“Actually, I rather be left alone”
“Monica, you say that but I know, nobody wants to truly be left alone”
“Are you seriously telling me you won’t leave me alone”
“I will not leave you alone, and I won’t want ask what bothering you either. But if you will let me, I want to help you take your mind off your troubles?”
Jasmine interrupted, “Awe shit, now it about to get good. So what did his fine ass do to get your mind off your troubles?” She laughed as she damn near made love to her chair gyrating her hips.
I shared a laugh with her as we exchanged high fives but told her, “Naw, it wasn’t even like that. Anyway let me get back to the story”
Although I was agitated I looked up into his eyes and was shocked to see he really looked genuinely concerned for my well-being. It really started to soften my mood. Now, you know me; I usually don’t go for the pretty boy type because they come with their own set of issues. Not to mention i have heard rumors about him being a so-called playa. But Lord knows when he put William together he gave it to him in all the right places; milk chocolate skin, pretty light brown eyes, body chiseled to perfection, even all over haircut and waves for days. Umph!
He glanced down at my hands the made a gesture reaching his hands out towards mines. As our eyes reconnected he spoke, “May I.” Again the look in this man’s eyes told me that he could do no harm and at this point I was kind of curious anyhow. I held out my hands and he grabbed them ever so gently. He stood up lightly tugging at my hands signifying he wanted me to join him. Once standing he cleared his throat; but to my surprise he began to pray.
“Okay girl so it’s safe to say that I didn’t see this coming; so I closed my eyes and listened so I could receive this prayer. First he started giving praises to God for all that he does for us. Then he moved on and started to ask that my pain be removed and replaced with joy. He went on to talk about how God can do all things, and I must say I was really taken aback. I opened my eyes and I don’t know why. But I began to so size him up, looking him over from head to toe and back up again. I focused in on his lips which looked so sexy all of a sudden. I know this man is praying right now and I should not be feeling this way but there was a warm sensation generating in my southern region.”
“He finished his prayer with an “Amen” and instead of just releasing my hands. He pulled me in for a hug. And this was no quick release hug, he really held on to me and it was just the touch my body had been craving. Wrapped in his arms I felt so warm, so secure, so loved and protected. I almost didn’t want him to let me go. For a moment he made me forget I was at work. Once he disengaged the hug his hands traveled down my arms and back to my hands. He tilted his head as if he had to make himself my height to speak to me. His eyes began to speak to me before he opened his mouth to uttered a word. Those eyes were saying he was concerned and he is sincere. Then he vocalized “You are going to be just fine and I know it.” He released my hands reached down and grabbed his bottle of cranberry juice, then headed back to the elevator. He pressed the down button once again to return to the office.”
“Now you gotta understand to this point, I still hadn’t uttered a word to him since I asked him to leave me alone. The elevator doors opened and he entered. He pushed the button to go back to his floor and we made eye contact; as a last-ditch effort to make conversation I called out to him”
“Yes,” he answered while placing his hand on the door to stop it from closing.
“I thought you said you would NOT leave me alone.”
“He flashed those pretty whites at me and said, “but I didn’t.” Then I looked confused and threw my hand up at as if to say you’re not here. Just then he spoke again “I told you I would not leave you alone and I didn’t. I left you with God.” He removed his hand and allowed the elevator door to closed.”
Jasmine raised her hand fist to her mouth and bellowed “Daaaaaammmmmnnn!” She then elevated the other hand as if she was testifying in church, “that was some playa shit right there girl.”
“Girl, who you telling? But that right there did it for me. And from the moment that elevator door closed I knew I had to make him mine. That was almost seven weeks ago and things have been going great.” I couldn’t help it but just at the moment my eyes dropped and my smile morphed into frown. I felt scared; weak even. “We have gone out a dozen times and every date seem just a little bit better than the last. I really feel like I am falling in love with him.”
“So, this all good news. Why the frown?”
I managed to raise my head and make eye contact with Jasmine. She started to look around as if she didn’t want people to see me this way. The tears started to freely fall from my eyes. “I have not felt this way about another person in such a long time and now I fear that it is all about to come crashing down before my eyes.”
“But why?” Jasmine got up and took the chair closest to mine. She placed her hand atop my hand and said, “Monica whatever is going on I’m sure you can get through it.”
“Jasmine. I went to the doctor yesterday for my routine check-up…” It was as if I lost the words or maybe I didn’t want to believe the words. How could I let this happen? How stupid of me to let this happen. I had a plan for my life and this is not supposed to be happening yet. There is a certain order that I want for my life. Milestones that happen at a certain time that are yet to be predetermined and now this.
“Hello?” Jasmine interrupted my thoughts. “You were saying.” She looked very concerned. As bad as I wanted to tell her, I also had to remember she was the worst keeping secrets. She is like the town gossip and telling her would be like telling everybody. But against my better judgement. I just need a friend and I need to release this on some one.
“Jasmine, I’m going to tell you something and you better not open your mouth to anybody. You are the only one that knows so if my business is out there I know you are the cause of it.”
“First of all, I resent that statement. I can keep a secret.” She looked like she wanted to say a whole lot more but held back and simply said, “I’m your girl and you can trust me.” I don’t know why, but I actually believed her. She looked sincere.
“Okay here goes.” She leaned in closer and never broke eye contact. I finally had the courage to just say it. “I’m pregnant.”
“I knew it! I knew that’s what you was go say.” She sat back in her with a huge grin on her face. Then her face contorted. “Wait a minute. You said you really feeling this dude and that he feels the same way. So, why would this news have you all upset and crying and shit. I mean the only way he would be mad is if the baby ain’t… Ooooooooohhhh!”
There she is, I thought to myself. That’s the investigative reporter I’ve come to know and love and hate. “You can’t say anything to anybody until I have a chance to tell him.”
She leaned in close again and whispered, “so you been cheating on him.”
“No! Listen. I found out yesterday at my appointment that I was two months pregnant.”
“So. How you know it ain’t his. Them timelines be off sometimes.”
“Not in this case. I just gave him the goodies less than two weeks ago. Up to that point there had only been kissing and foreplay.”
She threw her hands up in desperation, “so who’s the father?”
“It had to be that one night stand I had a couple months ago at Gina’s party in Atlanta.”
“So you telling me, yo goody two shoe ass just let some random nigga run up in you raw?”
“No!” I swiftly turned toward her and put my finger in her face. “I was there and drunk just like everybody else. I was horny and he was attractive. I was on vacation and am a grown ass woman.” I felt so heated I wanted to slap her. “Of’ course I made him wear a condom, but it broke before we finished. And I don’t know how long before we caught it.” We were starting to get stares from other tables. I pulled my finger back from her face, lowered my voice and told her, “I don’t need no judgement from you. Don’t you think I feel bad enough?”
Jasmine dropped her head. Her remorse was written all over her face. She placed her hand back on mine and said, “I’m sorry girl. You know I how I can get at times. But William seems like a great guy. I say just tell him the truth. Let him know exactly what’s going on.
Later that evening Jasmine’s words were still lingering in my head. He’s a great guy. Tell him the truth. The reality of the situation is this. No man wants to raise another man’s baby. Especially when he don’t have kids of his own yet. Plus it’s too early in our relationship for so much drama. I mean it’s not like I can tell the father. I don’t even remember that guy or his name nor have I thought much about that night in Atlanta since I left Atlanta. Then if I do tell him the truth he going to want to know who the father is and I can’t tell him that story. He would then have all these preconceived thoughts about who I am and judging my character. Fuck it. I’ve made my decision and I need to act on it right now while I have the courage.
The following morning, I knew I’d made a mistake when I woke up to 6 voicemails and 8 text messages from William. You see I made a decision to end our relationship before things got too far and complicated. It’s only been 7 weeks and I figured it would be the safest thing. So I sent him a couple text messages late last night explaining that we should see other people and how he does not have himself to blame for this decision. I explained that it was all me and something about how I didn’t want to complicate his life. Well, apparently he didn’t take any of that too well.
I let Saturday pass me by and Sunday also. I did a good job of deflecting Williams attempts to contact me. But now it’s Monday morning and we work in the same building, but different departments. My plan is to go to work just in enough time to clock in. This way I can be sure that he and everyone else are already in their cubicles and working. Nobody will even notice me slide in. Wrong! When I arrived at my cubicle my boss was there and he said, “you’re late. We have a staff meeting this morning on the 4th floor. Get yourself clocked in and get upstairs.” So I did just that.
When I arrive I see the room has been setup with tables and chairs to form the letter U. this way the speaker can stand in the middle and see all faces and be heard just as well by everyone. The seat that was available was near the front row. I get myself situated and I’m sitting now looking at the speaker. He was talking about ways to make the customer service experience more efficient. As he shifts his weight to his left foot to walk over and arrow to the next slide. I see, seated directly across from me, William and his eyes are piercing daggers at me. Me mouthed the words we need to talk. Even though I read his lips clearly. I open my mouth to make the “huh” face; as if I didn’t know what we wanted. All I wanted to do was get on with my day. But it seems fate is dead set on us having an encounter later on today. I dropped my head because I could not bear to make eye contact with him. This could work. I will just sit here and keep my head down and take n… Buzz Buzz. My thoughts were interrupted by a text message.
You can’t ignore me all day. We might as well be mature and get this out and over with. Meet me for lunch today on 5. I will c u @ 1pm
I felt defeated. I didn’t even bother responding. I just looked up and nodded my agreement. The meeting lasted two hours. By eleven I was back at my desk taking inbound calls from customers. Time seem to fly by today as if each minute was only 30 seconds. I felt as if my body and mind were on autopilot. I was completely checked out until my clock read 12:55pm. I knew I would have to face him at some point, but this was not the day it was supposed to happen. What the hell am I going to tell this man. Jasmines words are still in my head. He’s a great guy. Tell him the truth. Somehow I don’t see things working out in my favor. So I will do the next best thing. Lie.
Due to our call centers being open Sunday through Saturday, the 5th floor cafeteria is a full scale restaurant open for breakfast and lunch every day of the week. William was seated at a table in the rear of the room away from the crowds. That’s great because I don’t need everyone in my business. When I got to the table I saw that he ordered my food already. It was kind. He knows I order the same thing every Monday. Damn, this is gonna hurt. He wasted no time at all. The moment I sat down he started in on me.
“What have I done to make you feel that you can’t trust me?”
“But I do trust you.” Okay, I’m sure the look on my face did not match my words.
I know he was not convinced by look on his face. “But not enough to tell me that your pregnant.”
“What! Wait I… What! How..” I sat there with the dumbest look on my face. How the hell did he guess that? I just found out Thursday. There’s no way in hell he could… “That Bitch!” That big mouth bitch betrayed my trust.
“Hold on Monica. Don’t get mad at Jasmine. She was really worried about you.”
“When did you see her?!”
“As luck would have it I ran into her at Rivers Mall on Sunday afternoon. She tried her best to avoid me but I caught up to her.” William sat back in his chair and pulled his glasses off. As he folded them and place them in his shirt pocket he said, “I asked her, being your friend and all, what did I do so bad to make you want to end our relationship out of the blue. Wouldn’t you know it, the look on her face told it all. She had no earthly clue as to what I was talking about. I was about to let her go and as I turn to walk away I heard he softly say, she gonna do it all on her own. I turned back and grabbed Jasmine’s arm and asked do what on her own?” He started to smile at this point in his story. “She knew she’d fucked up because she was wearing the “oh shit” face.”
I crossed my arms defensively, “oh shit face or not, she had no business telling my business.”
“Well give her a little credit, I had to follow and hound her for almost 25 mins before she finally spilled her guts. Then she told me everything.
I exhaled, “so then you know why we can’t stay together. I can’t ask you to stay with me knowing that I’m carrying a baby that not yours.”
Listen the fact that you wanted to end our relationship to shield me from what was going on speaks to your character and the type of woman you are. The fact that I won’t allow you to shield me from it and go through this alone, should reveal more of my character to you. I haven’t said this to you yet but I believe now is as good a time as any. It’s been almost two months and I have no plans to go anywhere. Sure, I got my flaws just like the next man. I still can’t quit smoking no matter how many patches I wear. I often say stupid things without thinking. I also have a crazy ex that won’t stop sending me emails about any and everything. But Monica, I feel that I am falling in love with you. And I want to raise this child with you and a couple more, if you will have me.”
My body just melted into the seat. I could hardly move my mouth to form words. I just stared at him and smiled. He interrupted my thoughts asking, “so are you gonna take me back or what?”
I thought to myself, God I love this man. And although I want to slap the shit out of Jasmine, I gotta go thank her and act nice. That trifling bitch probably saved my relationship. I reached out for both of his hands and pulled him across the table for a kiss. “Thank you for loving me, and I love you too.” I released him and we sat back down. “But… Um…”
He sat back as I playfully crossed my arms. “Oh shit. What now?!”
“Who is this crazy ex that I’m just hearing about?”
He chuckled, “Hey, hey, hey. One scare at a time. We can talk about that another day.”
—MORE TO COME