Sunday, July 31, 2011

Chapter 18-All Good Things...

"You scared me.  What are you doing here?  I thought you had finally left."
"Why would you think that?"
"Because that is what you do!"
"Come we need to talk and I don't want to wake the kids."  He grabbed my arm and started pulling me towards the living room.
"Ow, Mulo you're hurting me. Let go!"  he didn't release me until we got into the living room.
"Answer my question" he demanded.
"No, I don't have to answer to you!"  Being around Jesse seemed to give me the strength to stand up for myself a little.
"Why are you doing this?"
"Doing what exactly?"
"Him, why are you with him?"
"Mulo, it's late and I would like to go to bed.  I don't want to have this conversation with you."  I was tired and I wanted to go to bed with good thoughts.
"Are you in love with him?"
"It's a simple question Amari."
I didn't know if I was or not.  Mulo still had me so messed up that I wasn't sure if I could be in love with anyone else, not really.  I did know was that I wanted a chance to find out.
"Yes."  I saw a flash of pain go across his face before he walked out without speaking another word.

Mulo still didn't leave.  He and Bynni were becoming great friends.  I don't know why, but she never asked why he was always around. 
They played chess often, she was getting very good at the game. I was still spending lots of time with Jesse.  We would picnic in the park so he and Bynni could hang out.  I was always concerned she would say something about Mulo being at the house but she never did.  Jesse would occasionally talk about doing something at my house, but I would always give another option.  I still hadn't told him Mulo was staying there and I didn't want to have to deal with having to explain why.

Even though we were staying under the same roof, Mulo and I rarely saw each other.  We hadn't spoken since that first night I spent with Jesse.  I was hopeful again.  Things with Jesse and I were going well and I was spending a lot of nights with him, leaving early so I could be home before the kids got up.  I had just gotten them off to school when I started feeling sick.
I felt queasy the rest of the day and then the thought hit me.  All those nights with Jesse, I started to worry about how would he react.  I splashed some water on my face and brushed my teeth.  Mulo was standing at the door when I came out of the bathroom.
"Are you feeling ok?" he moved a stray hair out of my face.
"Yes I'm fine thank you."  We stood there not knowing what to say.  Things were still awkward between us and he knew I was spending a lot of time with Jesse.  I was about to say something but my phone rang.
"Hey babe" My face lit up, Mulo walked away.
"Look I hate to do this but I have to cancel tonight."  Jesse had told me he had a special evening planned for us and I was really looking forward to it especially now with my news.
"What, why?" not hiding the disappointment in my voice.
"Work.  Got a call from the board they have news they need to discuss."
"Oh, ok."
"Promise I'll call you tomorrow.  Love ya."
"I love you to."  that was the first time I said it to him.  I put my hand on my belly and smiled

At dinner Bynni chatted about her day.  Mulo and Aric seemed to be having some sort of silent conversation.  It was a very strange family dinner.  The next morning the doorbell rang.  It was Jesse.
Dear God what was he doing here.  I wasn't sure if Mulo was here or not.  He would often go out late and would make an appearance until dinner.  I hoped that was the case today.
"Hey" I said as I opened the door.  "What are you doing here? I thought you were going to call me."  He gave me a quick peck.
"I know I'm sorry for showing up so early but I had to see you.  I almost came by last night but decided I could make myself wait til morning."
"What's up?"
"Well I have some news and I hope you think it will be good."  I was curious but nervously kept glancing at the stairs.
"Well I have some news too but you first."
"Ok well last night the board told me I was no longer needed.  They got a large private donation which should more than keep them going for a long time."
"What? you're leaving? how could that be good?"
"Well I'm getting to that..." he quit talking.  I turned and saw Mulo coming down the stairs shirtless.  This isn't happening, this isn't happening I started thinking to myself.
"What is he doing here?"  Then as if all the excuses I had made to keep him from the house hit him at once.
"Is he the reason you haven't wanted me at the house? Are you living with him?"
"No...well yes..well sorta, let me explain." 
"Explain what that you leave my bed to go to his?"  He was angry, and hurt.
"What! No, I haven't we haven't"  I couldn't get the words to come out right.
"You've been lying to me.  I thought we had gotten everything out in the open and you have been keeping the fact that you are living with your ex from me."
"No Jesse, it's not like that."
"Amari I have accepted that his treatment of you is an off limits topic.  I have accepted that you still do and probably always will have some feeling for him, but I can not accept that you would live with him and then not tell me about it."
"Jesse please."
"No Amari how am I expected to trust you if this is what you do."  his anger changed to sadness
"He said he wanted to stay a few days to be with his son.  I've asked him to leave but he hasn't."
"If it's your house he should leave when you ask him to, unless you really want him to stay."  I did want him to leave, but there were times it felt good to know he was still here.  I didn't know why this had to be so complicated.
I was trying to think of what to say when Mulo spoke.
"I paid for the house and I pay for everything she has."  After he spoke those words I knew it was over.  The joy the happiness, the hopefulness I had felt.  The possibility of a real and normal life, simple loving life.  Why why was I dealt such a cruel fate.  What I had I done to deserve this much pain and unhappiness.  First my sister is killed, then I wind up pregnant by a man who I love but I think is incapable of returning those feelings, and then pregnant again with all to painful memories of that night.  I thought my life was finally turning around when Jesse came into my life.  He was a ray of light in the darkness, now that light was fading.  At that moment I wanted to be anywhere but here.
"Amari...Amari" I heard him calling my name but it all seemed very unreal.
"Is it true?" I didn't answer him.  I couldn't.
"Well at least now I understand why he acts like he owns you."  he was harsh and I didn't blame him.
"You said you had more news."
"What?" hes asked confused
"When you arrived you said you had good news."
"Yeah, well I did until about 15 minutes ago."  He sounded defeated and it was killing me.  I had hurt the one good thing in my life and for what?  For a non existent relationship with a man who has hurt me more than anyone ever had in such a short period of time.
"It's clear to me that no matter how much I love you you are not ready to let go of whatever is between you two.  I can't wait until you are.  Take care Amari."  He gave me a kiss on the cheek and left.  I don't know how long I stood there after he left.  It was Mulo who led me out of the foyer and into the living room.  I still couldn't believe that I had just watched as my hopes and dreams were stomped, kicked, and then blown to bits.  He held me.

I didn't want his comfort, I didn't want him here this was his fault.  I let him however.  I let him hold me, I let him be there for me because at that moment I needed it, I needed him, I needed to not be alone.  He didn't say anything, he'd already said enough.
"I'm pregnant" I whispered finally
"I know." was his soft reply
Continue Reading: "Chapter 18-All Good Things..."

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Chapter 17-Moving Forward

I kept waiting on him to leave but he didn't.  It had been almost a week since he came back.  I was still scared to be alone with him in the house and he knew it.  I found any excuse to be out of the house when the kids were gone.  I'd still not spoken to Jesse, but I kept leaving messages. "Jesse please call me back.  I need/want to speak with you.  I miss you."
"You never left me such heart felt messages."  I nearly jumped out of my skin at the sound of his voice.  I could have sworn I had locked my bedroom door.
"How'd you get in here?""Through the door, now back to the message."
"Why are you eaves dropping on my phone calls?"
"I wasn't, I came up here to speak to you."
I was very uncomfortable with him being in my room.  I spent so many months wanting him, needing him around and now I couldn't get away fast enough.
"How long are you going to try and keep avoiding me?" As he spoke he reached up to stroke my face.  I took a step back.
"Please don't." He pulled his hand away.  "How much longer are you going to stay?"
"Am I not welcomed in the house I paid for?"
"Of course, just do you have to.."My phone rang, it was Jesse.  Mulo saw the change in my face, he clenched his jaw then walked out.
"Hello" there was silence for a moment
"Hey babe." I sighed it was so good to hear his voice
"I'm sorry." we both said at the same time.
"I'm missed you and Bynni has been asking about you."
"I'm sorry for going MIA.  Look let me stop by after work and we'll talk."  He couldn't come here not with Mulo refusing to leave.
"Um...let me come to your place instead.  I would like to talk without the kids being around."
"Yeah sure I understand.  I can't wait to see you."
"I feel the same way."
"I felt better when I hung up the phone.  When Aric got home from school I told him dinner was in the fridge and to look after his sister.  Mulo had been gone when I got off the phone and hadn't returned.  As much as it unsettled me, I had mixed feelings about that.
I was nervous when I got the Jesse's.  He greeted me outside with a hug.  It felt good to be wrapped in his arms.
"How's work?" I asked as he lead me inside.
"It's going ok, but I don't see a fix anytime soon.  A lot of egos to deal with."  I smiled
"Well that's good for me.  Means you will be sticking around for a bit longer."
He smiled "Do you want me to stick around?"
"Very much." I took a glimpse around his place.
"Not what I imagined."
"It's corporate housing, I don't pick the decor, I just live in it."  I was trying to fill the space with small talk and Jesse knew it.
"How are you?"
"Better now that you finally called me back."
"I'm sorry about that but I was pretty pissed off.  I just needed time to calm down."  He had every right to be pissed at me.
"I know I owe you an explanation but I don't know where to begin."  He sat me on the couch.
"Start with why you let him treat you like he owns you."
"He doesn't" I began but in fact he did.  His requests always seemed like a command I was not able to disobey.  "It's know rock stars always seem arrogant."  I tried to sound convicing
"Rock star?" Jesse asked confused
"Mulo... as in Mulo Drakul."  I saw the lightbulb go off in his head.
" had a kid with him?  Were you a groupie?"  The last statement was meant to lighten the mood a bit.
"Groupie, no I was not a groupie.  I just..." I trailed off.  Did I really want to admit that I was a huge fan as a teen and when I met him I allowed him to take me back to his place.  Not only that but I willingly (at least according to Mulo) forgot my entire upbringing and my promise to myself to wait until marriage and slept with him which resulted in a child.
"You just what?" Jesse probed
"I met him and we hit it off.  I may have been a little star struck at the time.  You know having someone like him pay attention to someone like me."  Jesse was silent as he processed what I was saying.
"So how long did you two date?"  I didn't know how to answer that.  Would he understand that we technically never dated and we are more of a really long one night stand?  Would he understand that I allow him to just come in and out of my life when he feels like it?  Would he understand that even though his actions break my heart sometimes, I'm still ever so much in love with him?
"Not long" was my simple reply.
"If you didn't date long what does he have such an effect on you."  Oh God I never imagined trying to explain this would be so hard.  He was relentless and I know he just wanted answers, hell I wanted answers.
"Jesse,  I...I don't. Crap I suck at this."
"Do you still love him?"
"What? mean yes, but..." The truth was yes I do as much as I hated to admit it I do.
"He was my first and he's Aric's father so he will always be a part of my life."  This wasn't going as I had planned, well I hadn't planned anything but I didn't think talking to him about this would be so hard.  I had to pick and choose my words carefully.
"What makes him different from Bynni's father?"  WHY...WHY did I come, Why did I think trying to talk things out would be a good idea.  His opinion of me had already been altered since the night of Bynni's birthday.  It was only going to get worse when I told him about Bynni's father.  I started to tear up a bit.
"He doesn't know about her.  He...well he was a mover, the mover who was hired.  He showed up one night at my door and I don't know why I let him in...but I did and, well I love my daughter I really do in spite of it but she was the result of really bad judgement."  I didn't look at him when I spoke, I didn't want to face the shame I still had surrounding that night.  He didn't speak.
"Um..right well I'm going to go now.  I am sorry I brought you in to the craziness of my life.  Good luck with your job."  I got up to leave.  A quick retreat was the best option.  As I walked past him, he grabbed my hand.
"Don't go."  He stood up to face me.
"I know it wasn't easy for you to just tell me all of those things.  We all have things in our life we rather not have to talk about to anyone."  He wasn't upset, or disappointed.
"So is he in jail?"
"Bynni's father?"  I was confused for a minute the I realized what he thought.
"No"  I should have corrected him, cleared up the confusion but I just couldn't.
"I'm so sorry you have had to go through so much."
"So what now?" I questioned.
"This." He said before leaning down and kissing me.  He was so gentle I just wanted to stay in his arms forever.
"I love you Amari and if that means dealing with a little craziness, well I'm ok with that."  I was speechless.
"Well say something please."
I reached up and kissed him.
"Thank you."
"For what?"
"For loving me."
I started unbuttoning his shirt.  He stopped me. "Are you sure?"
"Yes."  He kissed me again before picking me up and carrying me to his room.
Afterwards we laid in bed talking and cuddling.  It was nice and I didn't want to leave but I knew I had to get home.
"I'll call you tomorrow." he said as he was walking me out to my car then gave me a quick kiss.  I watched him in my rear view mirror as I drove away.  It was around 1:30 in the morning when I got home.  The house was dark and quiet.  I locked the door then set the alarm.
"Where have you been?"
Continue Reading: "Chapter 17-Moving Forward"

Chapter 16-The Morning After

When I woke up the next morning I hoped desperately that last night was all just a bad dream.  As I sat up a pain shot through my arm.
"Ow" I said rubbing it.  I was flooded with all the memories of last night, how tightly he held me how scared I was.  I put my hand to my lips they were sore and a little swollen from his kisses.
The house was quiet, I glanced at the clock.  The kids had already left for school.  What was I going to say to them when they got home?  I would imagine Bynni would have questions about who Mulo was which would in turn bring up questions about her father.  She'd never inquired about him and I always believed that was because Aric's father was absent as well.  I sighed, and then there was Aric.  How would I explain what he walked in on?  It was all too much to think about I got up to shower.
I threw on some sweats and a t-shirt then headed downstairs.  With all that had happened yesterday, the last thing I had eaten was a slice of birthday cake.  I was starving.  As I stood there trying to decide what to eat I felt arms wrap around me from behind.
"Did you sleep well?"
I don't know where he came from, the house was quiet and I never heard him approaching.  Panic set in, my heart started racing I was alone with him.  He spun me around, he was standing so close his face was nearly touching mine.
"Please leave." 
"You don't really want me to go." he said as he stroked my face.  I flinched  How could he be this way, acting as if last night didn't happen.
"Ah, yes well I would imagine you might be a little upset with me just showing up yesterday and not calling first."  How could he be so nonchalant?
"Please leave" I asked again.  I wanted to run but he was blocking the doorway.
"Amari" He reached out and touched my arm and I winced at the pain.  I looked up and caught a glimpse of Mulo I was in love with.
"You know I would never hurt you." he said softly
"No Mulo, I don't know that.  If Aric hadn't walked in..."  I trailed off not wanting to let my thoughts go there.
"I am sorry for my behavior last night."  he sounded sincere but I couldn't let myself believe it.  He turned and walked away.
I thought he was leaving but he didn't.  We didn't talk the rest of the day.  He filled the house with music playing his guitar for hours. 
I tried calling Jesse but his phone kept going to voice mail.  My mother had emailed me.  I had told her about Jesse and she was excited that I had met a nice guy and hoped to meet him soon.  It was almost 2, I was anxiously awaiting Aric's arrival from school.  I wanted to talk to him before Bynni got home.  I was trying to paint when he got home.  He didn't stop and say hello as usual, he walked into the living room.  I heard he and Mulo having a quiet but furied conversation.

"You do have a choice." I heard Aric say
"There is no other way." was Mulo's reponse
"She's my..." Aric didn't finish because I walked into the room.

"Aric, I would like to speak with you.  I should explain."
"There's no need mother."
"Son please, I really would like to speak with you."  I still wasn't sure what I was going to say but I needed to at least try.
"We have already discussed it Amari." Mulo began "There's no need for further explanation."  I just looked at him.  How could there not be a need for me to speak to my son about the situation.  What could Mulo have said that would make what he did ok?  I didn't get a chance to press the issue.
"Mom?" I heard Bynni call as she entered the house.  I looked at Mulo still not ready to have that conversation with my little girl.  I took a deep breath
"I'm in the living room honey."
She came bouncing into the room "Mom you won't believe what happened today." She stopped with she spotted Mulo.
"Who's that?"
"Honey..that's.."I couldn't get the words to come out.  Meanwhile a smile crept across Mulo's face as he stepped closer to her.
"I'm Mulo." he said reaching out to shake her hand.
She giggled "You have funny eyes like my brother."  Then she turned to Aric "I need help with my homework.  More stupid multiplication."
"Of course" then they both left the room.
"Why did you introduce yourself that way?" I asked wondering what he might be up to.
"In what way?"
"Without telling her who you really are?  Without telling her your Aric's father?"  Those funny eyes glimmered and he stepped closer to me.
"Because you didn't want me to." then he kissed me on the hand.  "I'm going out for a while but I will be back."
Continue Reading: "Chapter 16-The Morning After"

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Chapter 15-Mulo's Return

I stopped in my tracks.  He couldn't be here, not now.  I heard them talking about school and little things when I walked in.
"Hello Amari." so smooth as always
"What are you doing here?"
"I came to see you and Aric.  I also thought it was time I met your little girl." he said stepping closer to me.  He's gone for months and within a few moments he had me feeling weak.
"You should have called first." I said trying to resist the urge to give in to him.
"Aric please take your sister upstairs so your mother and I can talk." his gaze never left me as he spoke."Hey babe what's keeping you?" I heard Jesse saying as he came to find me.
Mulo's face hardened.  "Who's that?" he demanded.
"Hey buddy I don't know who you think you are but you can't speak to her that way!"  Jesse said as he walked closer to me.
I could see the anger growing on Mulo's face.  "This doesn't concern you.  You should leave now."  He spoke low and controlled but his face told a different story.  He had the same look now that he had at our last encounter.
"This isn't your house." Jesse continued refusing to back down.  "The only one who can ask me to leave is Amari."  Mulo turned his gaze to me.
"Amari my love ask your guest to go.  We have things to discuss."  I could tell it wasn't a request.  "I'm going to speak with my son, come find me once he's gone."

Jesse looked at me and then back towards Mulo who had already started up the stairs.
"Amari what's going on?"  I was silent not sure where to begin
"He's Aric's father."
"But not Bynni's?"  I shook my head.  He'd never asked if they had the same father or not and by the look on his face I could see he assumed they did.
"That still doesn't explain why he just showed up here.  Did you know he was coming?"  I could tell he was confused and frustrated.
"I thought he was still in France.  I haven't been in contact with him."  Jesse could see the pain on my face.
"Why do you let him talk to you that way?"
"It's complicated." I mumbled.  How could I explain it to him if I didn't even fully understand the dynamics of our relationship.  If you could call it that.
"It's not complicated.  That guy is an ass and you shouldn't let him treat you that way."  he reached out and hugged me.
"Jesse please, you don't understand."
"Then explain it to me." he said getting frustrated again.
"I can't.  please, I'm sorry."
"Are you asking me to leave?"  I didn't say anything.
"Fine."  he turned to go
"Jesse please don't be angry."  He kept walking and didn't look back.  I wanted to run after him, I should have run after him but instead I went upstairs.
I found them in Aric's room.  As I approached I could hear them talking.
"She's happy." I heard Aric say.  "You don't know how sad she has been.  She tried to hide it, but I could see."
I walked out onto the balcony and they quit talking.
"Aric would you please read a story to Bynni?" he looked at his dad for a moment then answered "Yes mother."  I turned and headed upstairs to my room.  Mulo followed.  My heart and thoughts were racing.  I didn't know what to say.  We didn't speak right away.  I didn't want to look at him because I knew if I did I would be lost as I always was.
"Your friend seems to be quite fond of you and very protective.  How noble of him."  I still didn't speak.  He had left me, cut off all communication unless it suited him.  I was hurting for so long and finally I was beginning to heal and he comes back.
"Jesse is good to me, he's good for me." I said finally but still not meeting his gaze.
"Did Aric know you were coming back?
"No, last time we spoke I hadn't made any definite plans.  I just decided it was time"
"Why now?"
"Isn't it obvious?" he said with a smile before pulling me into an embrace.
He started kissing my neck and I felt myself melting. Oh how I've wanted this waited for this for so long.  There were so many nights I dreamt about being back in his embrace.  How I have wanted the feeling of his hands caressing me.  He began kissing me ever so softly yet so full of passion and desire.
I felt him moving me towards the bed.  No, I can't I thought. I pulled away from him.  It took all of my will to do that and I could see he was not happy about my refusal.
"This isn't right. I...I..."
"You what Amari?" he hissed not even trying to hide the anger in his voice.  I thought about what Jesse has said and about how disappointed he looked when I asked him to go.
"I deserve better." I tried to sound strong but it was hard.
"Better?" He spat "I've given you a beautiful place to live and money to keep you comfortable!"
"You left me, you didn't call me.  You could call and speak to your son but not me?"
"He needed me."
The tears were streaming down my face.
"I needed you!" I screamed "Instead you were off, out of the country with HER!"
Mulo was silent, his face void of any emotions as I unloaded all of mine.  For so long I had been holding in all this hurt and pain.  I tried to remain strong for my children but as evident from the conversation I overheard I failed.
"Yes well I am sorry.  It was not my intention to cause you this level of distress."
"Please just let me be.  Why did you come back?"  I was tired now.  I as if trying to remain strong against his charm was draining me of all my energy.
"I have a chance" I whispered "A real chance to be happy, a chance at something real."
He started laughing "You can't be serious...with him?"
"Why is that so hard to imagine?" I asked getting angry at his laughter
He stepped closer to me "Because there will only ever be one man you will love" then he started kissing me again.  I tried to resist, I tried to pull away but he was too strong.  His kiss was hard and demanding.
"You need to remember who's in control." he said as he picked me up and carried me towards my bed.
"Mulo! NO PLEASE!" I begged.  When we got to the bed he kissed me again.  I felt as though I was being crushed under his weight
"Let her go."  I heard Aric's voice calm and controlled as always.  He was standing in the doorway.
Mulo looked down at me "You are only as free as I allow." he whispered before releasing me.  He got up and started walking out of the room.  "I think I'll stay here for a few days." he said before exiting.  Aric briefly looked at me then shut the door behind him as he left the room without speaking a word to me.

I could hear them talking but couldn't make out what they were saying.  I was too shocked to move.  I couldn't even process what had just happened.  I could only curl up on my bed, eventually I fell asleep.
Continue Reading: "Chapter 15-Mulo's Return"

Chapter 14-A Nice Change

A few days later my doorbell rang.  Standing at my door was a nice looking man.
"May I help you?"
"Hi, I'm Jesse, I think this was delivered to the wrong address."  He pulled in a large box.  There wasn't a return address but it was for Aric.  The telescope.
"Thank you." I said  The box was heavy.
"Here let me help you." He smiled, he had a kind face.  Aric came downstairs, he stopped and I could have sworn his eyes started glowing.
"Aric dear this is...I'm sorry what was your name again?"
"Your telescope was delivered to his house by mistake." 
He kept staring at Jesse for a while before looking over at the box.  Then he walked off to go open it without speaking a word to Jesse.
"I'm sorry, he doesn't talk much." I said embarrassed that he didn't even mumble a thank you.  "May I offer you something to drink?"
"No thank you, I really should get back to unpacking."
"Just moving in?"
"Yes, I just took an assignment at the hospital."  He smiled.  Bynni started crying.
"She's just getting up from a nap, I need to go attend to her."  Thank you again for bringing the package."
"My pleasure Mrs?"
I smiled "It's just Ms. and you can call me Amari."
"Right Amari, it was a pleasure meeting you."  He turned and left after closing the door behind him I saw Aric staring at me.  He didn't say anything but as I went upstairs I could feel his eyes burning into my back.
Jesse came back a few days later. "Did something else get delivered to your home for us?
"No I just wanted to take you up on that drink you offered last time." he smiled I instantly started thinking about the last guy who just showed up at my door.
"Um..this isn't a good time."
"Oh, I'm sorry" he said turning to leave.  He looked a little disappointed.
"Wait." I said stopping him. "I have a few minutes to talk while the baby is napping."

It was nice to just sit and talk to someone.  He started coming around more and more and we would just sit and talk about a little of everything.  He told me about his job.  He comes in when a hospital is having a serious financial crisis.  He takes over the books and works with the board to figure out solutions before the hospital ends up in bankruptcy. 

Months passed and we were really becoming close.  He was easy to talk to and I felt good when I was around him.  He was great with Bynni and Aric was even warming up to him a little.
He never questioned me about the kid's fathers or why I was a single mother.  Things were going well and our relationship was progressing slowly.  He didn't pressure me for more.
We were watching TV one day "Babe, as much as I enjoy being here and hanging out with you and the kids I would like to take you out."
"Jesse, I don't know."  The fact was I felt safe at home.  Having the kids around sort of insured I would not act inappropriately and lose control of my senses again.
"Amari you are a great mother and you devote all your time to taking care of Aric and Bynni.  Let me take care of you."
"Ok." how could I resist?
He showed up the next evening with flowers and loads of charm.  We saw a great movie, then ate dinner at the bistro.  We finished the evening with a late night stroll on the beach.
"You're so beautiful" he whispered
"Jesse, don't""Why do you do that?" he asked "You never seem comfortable when I compliment you."  I wouldn't meet his gaze.
"Amari look at me." he said lifting my chin "I know you've been hurt.  I never ask you about it, I just figure when you're ready you'll tell me."  He was so sweet "Just give me a chance.  I'm not him."
 "Who?" I asked suddenly worried.

"The man you has hurt you this way and left you unable to trust."
He pulled me into a kiss.  This one was more passionate than the ones we'd shared before.  It was like he was trying to show me how much he meant the words he spoke.  I pulled away.
"I'm sorry.  I don't know if I can."  I could see the hurt on his face.  He didn't say anything, he gave me a hug, took me home and kissed me goodnight.

He was busy at work the next few days but when he did come over he never mentioned the beach.  When we had moments alone he would kiss me and they were like the one we had shared that night.
I wanted to let him in completely.  I enjoyed being around him but more importantly I enjoyed who I was, who I was becoming from being with him.  We were playing chess when I brought it up.
"Jesse I've been thinking."
"About what?" he replied not looking up from the table
"What you said on the beach."  That got his attention.
"And you're right.  You're not him and I shouldn't make you pay for it." he started smiling
"Thank you, and check mate."
The days passed and although I still hadn't opened up to him completely we were making progress.  He came over after work to celebrate Bynni's birthday.  Neither of us could believe she was growing up already.  It was hard enough knowing that Aric was now a teen but Bynni was no longer my baby but a sweet little girl.
We were hanging out in the kitchen after cutting the cake.  Bynni was opening her gifts.  Jesse had gotten her a new doll house she was so excited about.  The doorbell rang.
"I'll get it" Aric said I left Jesse and Bynni playing in the kitchen and walked towards the foyer to see who was at the door.  Before I got there I hear Aric's voice.
"Hello Dad."

***sorry the beach pictures are so dark. the location didn't have any lights and I am not good with photo shop*****
Continue Reading: "Chapter 14-A Nice Change"