OPUS Mag

Far from timid • Caveat Lector

Fiction Series: Heaven's Dew - Part 2

Fiction Series: Heaven's Dew - Part 2

Paxton continues to address his family and friends. He is too caught up to notice me drowning. “We have decided on a destination wedding. We’ll be married in Seoul upon the completion of our new building.” He appears to be very pleased with himself.

Big Pax looks at me then chuckles.

My head spins. My emotions rush through me so fast I am unable to name them. I drown out the congratulations and the hugs and watch as Cruz sinks back into the crowd. He disappears.

Hours Later…

It’s evening now. Paxton has gone to the office to meet with architects. Big Pax suggested he fly them in to draw up plans for the new location. Six months is an extremely tight schedule for remodeling. I am sitting on the floor in my closet wearing the fur Pax bought me. I take slow sips of the Old Fitzgerald he says we’re not allowed to drink outside of celebrations.

Every sip is smoother than the last.

I’ve been ignoring congratulatory text messages and calls all day. I unlock my phone and click through to my favorites.

 “Fuck you Noelani.” My best friend quickly answers the video call. “You missed my fucking birthday dinner. You were probably somewhere up Paxton’s ass. Your ass better be calling to apologize.” She pauses. “Bitch---are you on the floor---in a fur?” She bursts out laughing, dropping her phone.

She’s still speaking as I hear her fumbling to pick it up. “Lani, what the fuck are you doing?”

“Erin, can you come over here?” I ask her taking another shot of bourbon. Her smile disappears when she is finally looking at me again. She hesitates but only for a moment, “I’ll be there in twenty.”

She made it in fifteen.

I hear her running up the stairs and opening the bedroom door. Then, she’s next to me on the floor grabbing the bottle from my hand and throwing back a shot. She winces from the heat.

 “Bitch, are you naked under that fur?” She pulls back the coat and tumbles over in laughter, “You in here taking nudes without me?”

We’ve been best friends since 7th grade. My brother and I were sent to the city to live with our grandfather after my mother died. I still remember the day we met. We were the only girls at the bus stop on our block. When she saw me walk up with my brother she ran over to me like I was her saving grace. We’ve been inseparable ever since. After 16 years of friendship we’ve seen everything; heartbreaks, jail cells, graduations, and engagements. She stood with me when I buried my brother after he was shot at a party. I held her hand when she was married and divorced within the same year. Now, with my grandfather gone and Erin never really having a stable home life, we’re all the family we’ve got.

I roll my eyes. “Fuck you. Yo, remember white guy, Kevin? The sponsor who flew us out to Miami for my birthday that one year. God, we had such a good time.”

Erin takes another shot. “Bitch, did we? We were drunk off of our asses the entire time. As a matter of fact, we didn’t even see him for two days because we left his event with that producer.” We laugh. “We have been terrible human beings.”

 “We had fun. We have fun.” I take another shot.

Erin snatches the bottle back. “We had fun. Okay, tell me what’s up.” She takes another shot.

 “Paxton set a date.”

 “WHAT?” She takes a double shot. “Why am I just hearing this? Why haven’t you said anything until now?”

 “I didn’t find out until this morning in front of his people.” I shift forward and lay my head in her lap pulling my knees to my chest.

 “So, he surprised you with a date and didn’t invite me? Classic.” She strokes my hair.

 “It’s a destination wedding in Seoul.”

 “What the fuck?”

 “…At his new location.”

 “Asshole.”

 “I can’t bring myself to take off the charm bracelet Cruz gave me.”

 “Motherfucker.”

 “Erin.” I reach back and pop her hand.

She chuckles. “What? My emotions are valid.”

 “I just don’t know what happened. I thought I was over it. Then, last night he was standing there next to me and I could smell that cologne he always wears.”

 “The Margiela?”

 “Yes, bitch. The Margiela.” I sigh and turn to face her. “I had a dream about him this morning.”

 “Tell me more.” She smirks and slaps my ass.

 “Fuck, bitch.” I rub the spot she hit. “It was more of a flashback than a dream. You remember how I used to tell you how rough he could get but I loved it, right?” I groan.

 “Oh. Do you remember the time you called me after he flew you into George Town?” She rolls her eyes and shifts so that she’s lying next to me on the floor. “I should’ve fucked him when I had the chance.”

 “What?” I prop myself up with one arm.

 “Yes, Lani. I had a chance.”

 “No you didn’t. Shut up.” I lie back down. I sit back up. “When did you have a chance?”

 “Your birthday party when you and Pax first got together. We had a moment.”

 “What kind of moment?”

She trembles with laughter. “Calm down. Damn. It’s a joke.”

I hit her again. “I just don’t know. Cruz is… Cruz.” I relax resting my head on her shoulder. “I don’t know. I love Paxton. God, I love Paxton. You know I love Paxton but...”

 “I love you, too.” Paxton steps into the closet.

My heart stops. I’m sure we look ridiculous.

 “Hello, Erin.” He sits down beside us on the floor and stretches his legs across us. “Is this from my special collection?” He grabs the Old Fitzgerald bottle and assesses how much we’ve had.

I’m freaking out on the inside. Did he hear what I said? Why is he so comfortable right now?  He never sits with us. As a matter of fact, since he proposed two years ago he and Erin haven’t been the best of friends. I assume this is what the twilight zone feels like.

 “Paxton Camren. Congratulations on finally setting a date.” I can hear the irritation dripping from Erin’s voice.

 “Thank you, Erin. We’re excited.” Paxton raises an eyebrow and takes a drink. He’s too arrogant to realize he infuriates her.

An awkward silence passes over the space we’re in. “Alright, I actually need to see about dinner. I’m going to change and head down to the kitchen. Erin, join me?”

 “Of course.” She gets up off of the floor pushing Paxton’s legs to the side forcefully. “I’ll be in the kitchen.”  She grabs the Old Fitzgerald bottle out of Pax’s hand and quickly leaves the closet.

I shift onto all fours and crawl over to him. “Lani, are you naked under there?”

 “I am.” I straddle him and kiss his lips. “You know, it’s always been you for me.”

He runs his hands through my hair, looks at me as if analyzing the words I’ve said in an attempt to see if the words match my body language. He pulls the coat off of my shoulder and kisses the skin that is uncovered. “I know.”

 “What are you thinking for dinner?” I bite his jaw and massage the back of his ears.

He glides his hands up and down my back. I can tell he’s enjoying the position we’re in as my favorite part of him pulses into his favorite part of me. “Go downstairs before I take you right here on the floor.”

I roll my hips teasing his patience. “What do you want for dinner?”

He grabs my ass with both hands pressing me down into his lap. “Get up. Erin’s downstairs.” His breathing is short and shallow. He digs his teeth into my shoulder rocking me back and forth in his lap, never letting go of my ass. “I am not interested in anything you can cook. Eat with Erin. Then, come back upstairs and I’ll show you what I want.” He lets my ass go and cups my face, overpoweringly kissing my lips. “I’ll be in my office.”

I kiss him again and nibble on his bottom lip for a moment. “Okay.” I move to stand and he slides his hand in between my legs and up to the moisture he’s created. A quake shoots through my body and I let out a light moan.

 “Shit, Lani. Go.”

I giggle looking back at him. I grab a dress on my way out of the closet and make my way to the bathroom to wash up.

Erin’s sitting at the island in the kitchen when I finally make it downstairs. She’s holding Franklin in her lap with one hand and texting with the other.

 “Bitch. That was interesting. Your husband seems to be in a good mood.” She puts her phone down and flips through a magazine set on the counter before her.

I’m not sure how to respond so I change the subject. “Who are you texting? New sponsor?”

She ignores my question. “I’m going to go. Some of the girls are meeting for drinks.”

I’m standing in the refrigerator now. “You didn’t ask if I wanted to go.”

 “Yeah, right.” She throws down the magazine and stands up.

 “I’m serious. I’ll go.”

 “Paxton, is going to let you go?” She folds her arms across her chest.

“First, I don’t need permission. Second, it’ll be like old times. I haven’t seen the girls in forever.” I walk over to her and place my hands on her shoulders. “It’ll be fun.”

She brushes my hands off of her. “Sure it will.”

Before she can say anything else I run upstairs to talk to Paxton and grab what I need to jump in the car with her.

In the bar…

I hold on to Erin’s hand as she leads me through a small crowd up to the bar. This is the first time I’ve been out without Paxton in a very long while. Erin yells for the bartender by his name. He waves and makes his way towards us.

 “Gavin, this is Lani. Lani, Gavin. Two double shots of Evan Williams and two your choice.”

 “Whatever you want, E.” He reaches behind him and grabs the shot glasses. I look around the bar, mostly college students. Many of them look underage and we’re a bit overdressed. Erin taps me on the shoulder and hands me one of the shots. “To a night full of surprises.”

 “To surprises.” We tap the glasses together, to the table, and then throw the shots back. I reach for the mixed drink to chase and begin to move to the music.

Too many shots later, Erin’s sitting at the bar watching as I dance to Silk. There were only a few people left in the bar and the DJ was taking requests. I swayed back and forth, smiling as she finished her drink. I signal for her to come over to me.

She rolls her eyes, sets her glass down, and makes her way. When she’s close enough I reach for her hand, interlocking our fingers. I sing to her, spinning her around so that her back is pressed against me.

 “Please, just a little bit more…” The words from my lips are barely audible. “I like the way you touch me.” Erin giggles.

She turns around. “Baby face, you are really drunk.” I keep dancing and singing, slowly rolling my body into hers. “It’s time to go.” She grabs my hand and I follow her towards the front door.

We ride with the windows down. Erin is texting so I just keep my eyes closed until we roll to a stop. I open them to realize we’re back at my house. “Why didn’t we just go to yours?”

 “I have something to take care of,” She says as she unbuckles her seatbelt and climbs out. “Come on. Let me take you upstairs.”

I sigh as I get out of the car. The lights glow as we make our way. I trip over myself and stop to take my shoes off. Erin pushes the door open. Paxton never locks the front door. I guess there isn’t really a need to. I continue to trip over myself, barely making it inside the door. I realize I’ve had way too much to drink today.

Erin helps me up the stairs to my bedroom. Paxton isn’t in bed.

 “Where’s my phone? Erin, call Pax.”

 “I’m not calling him. Just get in the bed.”

I don’t argue with her, “Will you stay with me? I don’t want to be alone.”

 “I need to be somewhere Lani.” She tells me as she pulls my dress over my head.

 “Please.”

She’s frustrated. “Fine. Until you fall asleep.” She climbs in the bed next to me.

 “Hold my hand.” I whisper as I turn towards her.

She moves closer and takes my hand in both of hers simultaneously kissing my forehead. We’re both silent. Her breathing becomes even.

 “Erin.”

 “Yes, Lani…”

 “I missed us.”

She doesn’t say anything. I open my eyes in an attempt to look at her face. The full moon is shining into the room. Paxton never pulls the shades. Her eyes are closed and her lips are slightly parted. I sigh heavily.

 “What, Lani?” Her question is of annoyance but her tone is gentle. As if I can’t control my instinct. I take my hand from hers and touch her face, allow my thumb to graze over her bottom lip. She doesn’t move.

I wrap my hand around the back of her neck allowing my fingers to get lost in her mane and with a slight shift of my head our lips find their places. She doesn’t make a sound until my other hand makes its way up her leg and across her stomach.

 “Lani. Please.” She objects but she doesn’t pull away.

 “Why?”

 “You’re drunk.”

 “I’m fine.”

 “You’re engaged.”

 “Really?” I pull away.

 “Don’t pull away from me like I changed the plan.”

 “Are you kidding me?”

 “Like, I said. You’re drunk. Please, just go to sleep.”

“No. You said it. Let’s talk about it.”

“You don’t want to do this.” Erin turns her back to me.

“Yes, I do. Say what’s on your mind.”

She turns around suddenly and the moonlight on her face shows the rage in her eyes. “You. Changed the plan. This thing with Paxton was supposed to be temporary. It was supposed to be a job. You, fell in love. You, left me. You are letting him erase me.” Her expression doesn’t change.

Now, I am completely sober, “Erin.”

“Don’t, Lani. Go to sleep.” She lays back. “Please.”

I begin to say something and change my mind. I lay back but I don’t touch her. Neither of us speaks until I can’t take it anymore. “You don’t have to stay.”

“Yes, I do.”

Again, silence. It’s been awhile and I assumed she had fallen asleep until I feel the bed shift. I listen as Erin makes her way into the hallway. She stops just outside the door and I hear her begin to whisper. I assumed her to be on the phone until I hear a second voice. I ease out of the bed. I can’t let her and Paxton have an exchange without me.

I stop short of the door to listen.

“You were supposed to bring her to me.” He is angry.

 “She was really drunk. I was going to call you but she asked me to stay.” Erin defends herself.

 “She asked you to stay or you insisted you stay?”

 “She asked me. What the fuck is with you and her?”

 “Fuck. Erin, this really frustrates things!”

 “You think I don’t know that?”

 “We’re out of time to get this shit done.”

I move so that I can see through the small crack in the door.

Cruz?

Black History Month 20 for 20: Black Twitter - Digital Revolution

Black History Month 20 for 20: Black Twitter - Digital Revolution

Photo Series: 92 Bricks - 50th Brick

Photo Series: 92 Bricks - 50th Brick