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This was not what she had in mind. Sitting in some cozy little Japanese spot across from Hiroto Iwase. Not what she had planned. Sighing, she couldn’t relax the purse her lips were in and she was starting to fidget a bit. Man this was uncomfortable. She tightened her fingers underneath the table and looked to the side, watching people walk to and fro past the window.
“Is there something you would like?” His voice brought her gaze away from the window and she twisted up her lips.
“I would like to go back to my house.”
“Not before you’ve eaten something. You’re cold and hungry. Not to mention the ordeal you just went through.”
“Man, you sure know how to read me huh?” She retorted sarcastically.
“I’m just concerned.”
“Keep your concern to yourself.” She caught his fingers tighten on his cup of coffee.
“Don’t. Just… don’t. Let me get something so I can get outta here.” She looked down at her menu and picked something random. Katsudon…. whatever that was, she hoped it was good as the waitress came to take her menu.
“Good choice.” Looking up, she found his eyes on her and felt her cheeks flush.
“Thank you.” She moved in her chair.
“Letting me have your time.” She swallowed.
“Well, you did save me so I guess you’re welcome.”
“Mm.” She licked her lips and looked around, away from him. Things were awkward and tense which made her even more uncomfortable.
“Was that man like that with you when you were together?” She turned her eyes on him, his expression serious.
“I want to know.”
“What would you do with such information Hiroto?”
“It’s important to me.”
“Mm.” Her face grew warm.
“Why?” She asked again, eying him. He leaned forward, his elbows on the table.
“You deserve the utmost respect and tenderness. Regardless of how you feel towards me, I do care for your well being. With or without me.”
“I don’t think you deserve an answer to something that ain’t your business. Since you askin questions…how was it with the girlfriend you never married?” She asked, her tone haughty.
“I didn’t do anything with her.”
“In ten years you’ve never touched the woman you supposed to love?”
“Who said I loved her?”
“Hm.” She let the subject drop and sucked her teeth.
“How long does this damn thing take to make?”
“This whole thing is making me mad uncomfortable.”
“May I ask why?”
“What you mean why?”
“What have I done?”
“Everything. Just… everything.” He grew quiet and lifted his cup. She observed him in that moment. Up close, his skin was a pale vanilla, the same beauty marks she’d once wanted to kiss still there, littered across his neck like dark tiny stars. She saw the shadow across his chin, some hair that was trying to come back. She couldn’t help herself as her eyes roamed him. His lips still so pouty and soft molded against the brim of the cup he held. His hair was short but still somehow, some strands fell away from the bang, going towards his eyes. His eyes turned down, a small trace of lively color in his cheeks. His shoulders were still broad and though he looked frail, she knew better. His once thin arms held some bulk to them, just right for his body. Bulk she knew was dangerous. He was still deadly. Still stoic. Still so beautiful.
“Your food is here.” He spoke quietly before their eyes met. She grew still, caught. He’d let her look… without so much as a word.
“Oh.” She looked down to find the plate had been placed in front of her. When had the waitress come by?
“I hope you like it. I’ll treat you.”
“I don’t want you to pay for me Hiroto.”
“I want to.” Her eyebrow twitched.
“I don’t want you to though.”
“Let me. I insist.”
“Whatever.” She rolled her eyes and grabbed the hashi next to her. Closing her eyes, she said a quick prayer and before she could catch herself, uttered a soft ‘itadakimasu’. Popping her eyes open, she looked up to find him looking at her.
“It just came out.” She interrupted with a sigh. He nod and cleared his throat. She began to eat and wiggled in her chair.
“It must be good.” He mused, leaning on his elbow, his palm pressed against his cheek. Ignoring him, she continued to eat and soon, finished the plate. Sighing, she sat back, gently rubbing her belly.
“That was good.”
“Glad you liked it.”
“It’s nothing.” She found his gaze on her and the softness within was too much to handle so she looked away.
“I should go.”
“Should I accompany you?”
“Do I need to list the many reasons?” He asked, his tone careful. The corner of her lip twitched.
“Fine but not all the way. Can’t have you knowing where I’m at.”
“Whatever makes you comfortable.” They got up and left after he paid at the front.
They walked in silence and he couldn’t help but smile to himself. She was purposely keeping her distance from him, her arms tightly wrapped around herself. Tsk, she was always cold.
“Are you okay?” He asked, watching as she looked at him.
“Would you like my gloves?”
“Nope.” He grew quiet as they continued to walk. He gripped the inside of his pockets with his gloved fingers. Being with her again like this brought a warm feeling to his chest. Even though she was stiff and unmoving… he realized that any time with her was a gift. He could see the irritation and anger that tightened her body and facial features. Though he was happy to see her again, his heart was breaking. He’d caused this. He’d do anything to soothe the pain within her heart.
“Hey.” He looked down at her, who had stopped moving.
“What is it?”
“I can walk from here.” He looked around at the surrounding area, dark and quiet, white snow everywhere.
“Are you sure? I can go just a little bit more.”
“I said I’m cool.” He swallowed and sighed.
“Thanks for dinner.”
“See you.” He watched her walk off, his hands tightly in his pockets.
She buried her hands in her deep pockets and bit her lips which still tasted like the gravy from her meal. And that meal tasted like Hiroto’s money. Why’d she let him pay for her? She didn’t want him getting no ideas. It was good though. Sighing, she felt the irritation from this whole evening turn into anger when she thought about Kwasame. She had had enough of that man. To think she had put up with him for two years. She had tried to force herself to love him but it hadn’t been possible. But this was a whole new level of disrespect. The anger she felt almost glowed around her and she found her hands shaking. Who was he to pick her up like she was a rag doll and force her to go with him? She had made it clear she was done. Men don’t listen. They hear what they want to hear. They do what they want to do anyway. She’d handle this right now. Grabbing her phone, she called Tre.
“What’s up Nug?” His voice answered warmly.
“Tre, I got a problem I need you to handle.”
“Who is it?”
“I need you to keep an eye on ol dude I broke up with.”
“What he do?”
“If I tell you everything, you might kill him so I just want you to shake him up. Bruh might need some hands.”
“Rae, what did he do?” She sighed.
“He thought it was smart to follow me in public and damn near kidnap me. Like I said… he need them hands.”
“Oh he lost his mind…”
“I don’t know what’s wrong with him but I need that taken care of.”
“Don’t worry. I got you baby girl.”
“Don’t go crazy Tre. Just enough to get him to act right.”
“Don’t worry bout it.”
“Anytime Nug.” She hung up and sighed in relief. Dude needed to know she was the wrong one to mess with. If she had to make a second call, it would not be so nice. Coming to her apartment, she opened the door and got comfy. Once she was calmer, she laid back against her pillows. Now it was time to deal with the other problem. Hiroto. She felt like they had gone back to square one, numero uno. It was like they had regressed and the whole four year process they had endured had been for nothing. Ten years later, she felt as though she was just seeing and hearing him for the first time all over again. She felt as though her beautiful wings had been clipped and she had closed herself back into a cocoon, safe, warm and free from outside harm.
He could easily slide back into her life and with her emotions all thrown out of whack, she could let him. That was unacceptable. He needed to feel just how she felt all those years. If he felt miserable then good. While his life may have been bad… being with a woman he didn’t love… her life had been shit. She’d tried to pick up every single piece of herself he had shattered. Forgiveness would not come easy. He was such a warrior man…He’d have to fight for it. She’d make damn sure of that.
Taking a shaky breath, she felt angry tears well up in her eyes. She wasn’t prepared. How could she have known that he would wind up in the same damn city… how could she have known that time and time again, no matter how much she tried to avoid him… they would always come together? He was everywhere all at once and no matter where she went, he would be there. Not to mention the dreams she had started to have of him since that night at the gala. The dreams tormented her, provoked her. Times of a happy Rae. A happy Hiroto. Two beings deep in love’s throes. Deeply intertwined. She’d wake up crying. The visions of laughter, bare feet slapping upon the wet concrete and warm nights fluttering behind her eyelids. It would get worse. Moments she expected to have with him… only him. In her mind, different versions of the same thing happened over and over. She became him and he became her. They became one, their very breath conjoining. Skin hot and sticky, fingers tightly gripping each other, sheets, anything they could. His very presence had done something to her and now she was a mess. Late at night, she pushed away the yearning she felt for him. Only to be reminded in sleep. It made her sick. So sick.
“Rae?” The voice of Amee brought her to the present. It hadn't been too long since she had called her to come over. Tears streamed down her face and she sucked in a breath, turning her face away.
“What’s wrong Ebbie?” She asked, sitting down on her bed next to her.
“Nothin. I-I’ll be al-alright.”
“Ebere,” Gripping her covers tightly underneath her, emotion spilled forth like the ink of a fountain pen and from there it could not stop flowing. Cries deep and raw exhaled on her breaths and big tears splashed her legs.
“Ebbie…” Amee pulled her closer against her. She gripped her sister, her body shaking.
“I…I can’t do this…”
“Do what?” Her sister was soft and gentle…slowly massaging her scalp.
“I can’t do this. With Hi-Hiroto…I can’t.” She pressed her face against her sister, the tears soaking her shirt.
“I…I love him Amee….I fucking love him…”
“I know babe…I know.” She shook her head, more coming up from her belly. Amee began to rock her and after a while she grew tired. She pressed her lips against her forehead.
“It hurts right now… I know Ebbs. But…”
“No. I hate him. I love him. But I hate him.”
“You sure it’s hate?” She slowly lifted and pushed some hair that had gotten stuck on her face out of the way.
“All I know is that when I see him… I wanna beat his ass. I wanna make him hurt just like he hurt me. But I wanna kiss him and let him make me whole again.”
“You weren’t whole before?” She took a deep breath, tears refilling her eyes.
“I was empty for a long time. Instead of letting the right thing fill me, I looked for it other ways…”
“Kwasame…” Her sister voiced.
“And others. I thought maybe if they filled me, it would fill my heart. But… I’m just as empty…” Amee took a deep breath.
“Ebbie, the only one who can fill you like you need…”
“I know. I been neglecting Him. I got so out of touch with my faith. I stopped talking about Him. I stopped spending time with Him. I just left Him and tried to do it my own way…” She bit her lip, regret hitting her in the chest.
“The good thing about Jesus is that even when we treat Him like dirt… even we turn our backs and try to do it our way… He still loves us. He still wants us. Jesus has his arms wide open…He’ll take us just as we are, as dirty and messed up as we are. Let Him make you whole. Let Him show you how to forgive.”
“It’s time you really decided for yourself Ebbie. What will you do? Who will you become?”
“I need to get back to-”
“Being you! Who you are at your core. Find her and bring her back.” Amee dapped at her nose and smiled as she got up from her bed.
“I feel like busting this guy in his mouth. Look how he got my sister. He dry and look like bland spaghetti noodles. Is he really this great Ebere?”
“You did not just call him bland spaghetti noodles. I am all the way done with you Amee.” She pursed her lips.
“Well. Bruh has has your heart for over ten years so I guess he must be something. But, you do need to do like Lee suggested. Make that nigga suffa honey. Make him sweat till he can’t sweat no more. Don’t make it easy for him.” She grinned.
“You soundin more like her the more y’all hang out.”
“Thanks to you.” Her grin grew wider.
“Well.” Amee sucked her teeth.
“What you gon do about Hiroto?” She felt a flare of anger flash in her chest but inhaled deeply.
“I’m gon stunt on him too shid.”
“Make him wish he’d never let you go Ebbie.”
“Oh I plan to.”
“There we go.” She got up and stretched.
“I’m going to get myself together. And I’ll be okay.”
“Yes you will.”
“I feel better now that I don cried…”
“Good! If you have to cry in front of him…do it. Let him see just how miserable he made you.” She bit her lip.
“Now, I’m gonna pop us some popcorn. And we are gonna have us a movie night.”
“Cheer up Ebbie. It’ll be all right. Someday soon, you’ll be with your man again.”
“Okay enough talk about him and love. Let’s watch some movies about femme fatales or something.” She playfully shoved her sister out of her room.
“I’m done with you. Gon get that popcorn started.”
A/N: This chapter was emotive for me :) Rae's emotions are so raw y'all. She loves him so much. But the feelings of anger and bitterness has took the place of warm love. In life, we go through seasons. We all at some point drift away from Christ. This also is Rae's story of finding herself again and coming back as a prodigal daughter. <3 She's done wrong. Experienced wrong in her life. And she will get the ending she deserves. <3 My baby! <3 I had a dream today y'all about Transcendence and in the dream... Rae's emotions were seen by Hiroto and it was so moving and powerful. I was just like wow. I have to put that in the story lol. So, it's gonna get real with them. <3 I hope you enjoyed!
Take care and God bless!