Complicated [Part 2] (by Cortney Joseph)

ONE

 

It’d been a long late night and an even longer early morning. As always, we couldn’t keep our hands off of one another. We made love, and it seemed as if he was trying to make up for all the times he’d turned me down over the past few weeks.

Of course, when I woke up he was gone; already making his way around our city to check in on the many businesses and small hustles he had personal interest and money tied in.

I sat up in bed, grabbing my phone once it started ringing. Always the first person to call me in the morning, I answered and greeted my baby sister with a somewhat cheerful tone.

“Loni, you will not believe what’s playing at the drive-in today.”

“The drive-in? I thought they tore it down.”

“Nope. Some dude bought it and his family fixed it up. But listen, they’re playing Purple Rain and I know you wanna see yourself on screen.”

I shook my head and laughed, thinking about how I got my name. Our mother, being the huge Prince fan that she is, said I decided to make my debut on a night when she was watching Purple Rain. Since she had no name for me yet, she thought Apollonia was perfect. I beg to differ. “Haa, I wish I was as fine as the real Apollonia. Anyway, I’ll be at your house in about forty minutes Tommy, you can treat me to the movie and some food since you are so excited.”

“You’re the rich one, but I got you Loni. See you soon.” I blew her a kiss before hanging up, trying to decide if I should bother her with my latest issues.

 

Just like the rest of my family, my sister Tommy has never been a fan of my relationship with Cairo. I already know that if I tell her he’s cheating again, she’ll say that I shouldn’t whine because I’ve already shown him too many times that it’s okay for him to do. But I need to get this off my chest and she’s the only person I trust to give her opinion without dogging me.

I took an extra long shower to clear my mind; got dressed in a pair of ripped up jeans, a plain black t-shirt and my Timbs before taking my towel off my head. I grabbed my keys and headed out the door.

Even though she only lives about six streets over, I hopped in my Charger and drove to her house, parking in the grass on the side of her boyfriend’s Range Rover.

I knocked, waiting as one of their neighbors stared in my direction. An older white lady who has no problem expressing her dislike of black and biracial people. I threw a smile her way, laughing to myself as she flipped me off and went back to tending her garden.

A few minutes later the front door opened and I hugged Red, Tommy’s boyfriend. “What’s good with you Loni?”

“Nothing at all, Red. Where’s my sister?”

“Getting dressed. You know it takes her a lifetime.” I nodded and smiled before heading to their kitchen, already knowing they had a big ass breakfast laid out. They always had visitors, be it his family or me and her friends, someone was always visiting and my sister loved to cook for people. “Where’s Cairo? I’m surprised he didn’t come over with you today.”

“There’s no telling where he is. You know how he gets when it comes to his business.”

“Yeah. What about you, you good?” I looked at Red and smiled. No matter what was going on between him and my sister, together or apart, he still made it a point to look out for our family. If he even felt like something was wrong with any of us, he’d come in and try his best to help us through whatever was going on.

“I’m good Bro, I promise.”

“Aiight. You know I stay ready to beat a nigga’s ass behind you and your family.”

“I know, and we appreciate you.”

 

I fixed myself a plate, smiling when my sister trudged down the steps dressed in army fatigue with her boots in hand. “You joining, Tommy?”

She looked at me and smiled. “Shit nah, it just looks cute on me. I wish I could find a jacket to match. Morning Loni, where’s the jackass?”

I looked at her for half a second and rolled my eyes. “My man is handling his business, getting money.”

Red looked between the two of us before clearing his throat and walking out. “Please don’t start that today.”

“Don’t start? I already know you’ve got a lot to tell. I can see it all in your face and I know it has something to do with Cairo’s dirty ass. I swear Loni, I don’t know why you don’t just move on.”

“I love him.”

“Love has nothing to do with being dumb.”

“Oh, so I’m dumb?”

“When it comes to him, yes. Look, you’re my sister so I’m not afraid to tell you this to your face. Cairo ain’t shit, he’s never going to be shit, and you deserve better. If that upsets you, then it means I’m right. But you’re grown…”

“Yeah, I am grown.”

She looked at me and nodded as she sat down and put her boots on. “Well, no need to talk out your issues with me. Are we going watch the movie, or what?”

 

We silently made our way towards downtown Seattle and I sat, nodding my head as we listened to Pac’s All Eyez On Me album.

Since neither of us had any weed or cigarettes, I stayed silent to keep myself calm. The tension between my sister and me was thick. I just know she has something negative to say. I may as well get this over with.

“He cheated again.”

I watched Tommy from the corner of my eye. Her face stayed calm but I could tell from the number of deep sighs she let out that she had a lot to say. “I just find it crazy.”

“What?”

“You used to tell me all the time that I should never let a nigga walk all over me, or play me. Yet, you, the older sister, let yourself get picked up and played with until this motherfucker gets tired. Let me guess, he dicked you down so it’s all good now and you’re sure that he won’t do it again?”

“No.”

She chuckled and shook her head. “What did he promise you this time? No, the question I’ve been dying to ask for years… does he hit you?”

“Cairo has never put his hands on me.” Because he knows our father will kill him.

“But he constantly puts you down. I don’t get it Loni. After ten years, he won’t marry you or settle down and let you have the kids that you want. He’s constantly cheating, getting other women pregnant.”

I looked out the window and shook my head. “Well, we’re engaged.”

“And what all did it take for you to get that damn ring? Hmm? It took his baby mama coming to you with a DNA test in hand. He apologizes and proposes in the same breath and you just let it go. Fast forward six years and you’re still engaged and that hoe pregnant again. Look Loni, I’m not trying to hurt your feelings but you’re too damn good for the shit this grimy motherfucker is putting you through.”

We finally pulled into the drive-in’s parking lot, finding a spot close to the screen. “Is this sermon over Minister Banner?” Tommy looked at me and sighed.

“Yeah, I’m done. Just, for once Sis, think about you. What does Apollonia Banner want for herself? Happiness, right?”

I nodded slowly as I looked at my baby sister. “Yeah.”

“You’ll never find it with Cairo. I’m not saying you have to jump into the next niggas bed so quickly, but you don’t have to sit around and wait. Explore a little, get out there. Find someone who loves and cherishes you. You deserve that.”

I took a deep breath and nodded, pulling my wallet out of my back pocket as I opened my door.

 

Walking up to the concession, I spoke to the few people I knew as they called out my name. The few dudes from high school that I’d cross paths with tried to step to me but I brushed them off, knowing damn well they couldn’t hold a candle to Cairo.

“Damn Loni, you still fine as shit.”

“Thanks Frankie.”

“Come holla at a real nigga. I know you’re tired of Cairo.”

I held up my hand, flashing my ring in his face. “No, I’m not. And weren’t y’all boys in school? How you gon’ disrespect him and try to step to me.”

“Fuck that bitch ass nigga.” I chuckled before rolling my eyes and continued on my way.

 

“Welcome to the Greater Seattle Drive-In. As the new owner, I am so glad to see such a great turn out at our re-opening. Today’s first feature is Purple Rain, followed by Poetic Justice and Jason’s Lyric.” I smiled, getting myself back in a good mood. “I’m King Dominic and I hope you all enjoy yourselves.”

I averted my attention to their price board, trying not to make it obvious that I’d been staring at this dude as he spoke. From the side he looked like he was kind of cute.

“Hello, what can I get you?”

“Um, give me one second.”

“Sure thing.” He leaned against the counter and I finally looked at him. Caught completely off guard. Cute? No, this dude is fine as fuck. Dark chocolate skin tone, tattoos covering his arms with the prettiest, almond shaped eyes that are the darkest shade of brown. He looked like he hadn’t cut his hair or shaved in a minute, but the rugged look was hot on him. I shamelessly looked at his full, pink lips. They didn’t look nasty or sloppy, they weren’t dry or crusty. From the looks of it, he works out faithfully; and if he doesn’t, then this nigga is just blessed.

Lawd, Loni get yourself together. I cleared my throat, trying to remember what I was about to order. “Ready?”

His voice was rough, but soft… if that makes sense. I bet he’s the type of dude that knows what to say, how to say it, and when to say it to get a bitch out her panties and in his bed.

“Shit, I forgot what I wanted.”

“Oh, well maybe it was something sweet that you wanted. Maybe some candy?”

“Yeah. Um, let me get some skittles and two bags of popcorn.”

“That’s all?”

I nodded and he turned away, allowing me to finally catch my breath and control myself.

I swear, I’ve never come across anyone, man or woman, that’s made me lose my train of thought like that, not since I met Cairo. And I’ve seen some fine bitches and niggas in my twenty-six years.

 

“Here you go. Listen, I feel like I’m going to see you often. What’s your name?” I handed him the money I owed and grabbed my stuff.

“Why you wanna know my name?”

“Aside from you being drop dead gorgeous? I wanna know your name so that when I see you again, I can say what’s up.”

“You can do that without knowing my name.”

“Okay. I want to know your name because I think that one day you and I can get to know one another. I might end up being your man.”

“I doubt that.”

“Why?”

“I got a man already.” I held up my hand and he looked at my engagement ring, nodding with a smirk on his face.

“I gotta respect that then. But in case he ever slips up and lets you go, I’d love to know your name.” He extended his hand and smiled as I shook his hand.

“Apollonia.”

“Apollonia? Okay, and I’m The Kid.”

“Nice to meet you, Kid.”

“Oh, you’re serious?”

“Yes, that’s my name. You can call me Loni though.”

“Nice to meet you Loni, I’m King.”

“Is King your real name?”

“Yes it is.”

“Cool. Well, I gotta get back to my sister.”

“Enjoy the movie.”

“I will.” I turned and finally walked away before heading back towards my sister’s Camaro.

“See you around.”

I looked over my shoulder and shrugged. “Maybe, King.”

Hmm, I highly doubt I’ll see him again but I admit that it was kind of nice talking to him. I’d just opened the passenger door and handed Tommy our stuff when my phone rang. “Who’s calling you Sis? You gave somebody your number?”

“You wish I would.” She nodded and I shook my head before pulling my phone out, sighing a little when Cairo’s name and picture popped up.

 

TWO

We sat through the first two movies before I finally got tired of Cairo calling and interrupting us. The one day he decides to act as if I’m top priority is the day I decide to take some time for myself, just to chill with my sister. Go figure.

I left Tommy’s house and went to grab something to eat before heading back to my own house. Turning my alarm on, I turned the volume on my phone up as I walked inside. “Then I let the alpine play. Bumpin’ new shit by N.W.A., it was Gangsta Gangsta at the top of the list. Then I played my old shit, it went something like this; cruisin’ down the street in my six-fo’. Jockin’ the bitches, slappin’ the hoes.

 

Walking through my living room, I noticed that it’d been cleaned. Spotless. There was a vase full of fresh flowers; dandelions, my favorite. On the couch sat two wrapped boxes. Next to those was this gorgeous bar-back, leopard body-con dress by Charlotte Russe, with a hot pair of heels to match and accessories sitting nearby. And lastly, I saw this great Michael Kors bag I’d been eyeing for a few weeks.

The strong scent of food led me to the kitchen, and that’s where I found Cairo standing over the stove. Substituting his usual Jay-Z and Kanye anthems, I heard a Babyface song playing lowly and that prompted me to ask the question sitting at the tip of my tongue.

“What’s all of this?”

He looked at me and smiled, I got caught up in his hazel eyes for a moment before I asked again. “I, uh, I owe you a big apology for last night.”

“Apology for what.” I sat at the kitchen table and put my head down. “You’re just going to do it again. Then you’re going to follow it up by reminding me that I’m not going anywhere.”

“Loni…”

“I can’t be bought, Cairo. If you think that I’ve given you ten years of my life for some shoes and shit you’re mistaken.”

“Did I say that you could be bought?”

“No. But every time you do wrong and I find out or you tell me you think that you can make me forget by buying me something.”

“Man, Loni, all you do is complain. Just accept the shit and move on. Can’t even be happy that a nigga is trying to do something nice for you.”

“Excuse me? Oh, so let me guess what happened this time. After you pulled out of me, you left and went and fucked your other bitch? What happened? Is she pregnant now too?! I swear I am so tired of your doggish ass. I don’t know what the fuck I even see in you!”

“Oh you don’t? So you just forget the fact that I’m a good ass man that handles his business?”

“Your business isn’t me! I can’t do shit for you like the streets can so…”

“Girl, shut the fuck up. Like I said, all you do is complain and when a nigga speak up about it you wanna play victim. Talking about a nigga don’t respect you.”

“You don’t! I deserve respect Cairo. All of the shit that I put up with day in and day out; your lies, the other bitches, playing step-mama to kids you got by these other bitches… you NEED to respect me.”

“I don’t need to respect you. Who the fuck are you?”

 

I jerked my head up and looked him dead in his eyes, fuming. I didn’t even realize I was crying until one tear hit my arm as I swung at him. “Who am I? I’m the dumbest bitch in the world, standing by a motherfucker than could give two shits about a real woman like me. Fuck you, I don’t need you and I don’t want you. YOU can get the fuck out of my house and take your shit with you!”

“Girl, you done lost your fucking mind talking to me like that.”

He stood there as if he was about to hit me but I folded my arms, standing my ground. “You’re always going to need me Apollonia Banner, remember that.”

He knocked over one of the bottles of wine he had sitting on the counter and walked out, calling me out of my name.

 

As soon as I heard the front door slam shut I started throwing things, wrecked the kitchen. The flowers, I let the disposal chew those up. Knowing his petty ass would take everything back; I cut the dress up, broke the heels on the shoes after smashing in some of our framed pictures with them, and melted down the gold jewelry before setting it all in a pile in the middle of the living room. Everything he cooked, I put it into one giant mixing bowl and took it outside to his dog. I hope he eats it all, chokes, and dies.

Cairo has four really pretty glass MVP trophies sitting in his personal room. I picked the lock, knocked some of his shit over and grabbed the trophies before going back into the kitchen. I sat on the table and played with each of them for a few minutes before letting them drop to the floor, one by one, watching as they broke into multiple pieces.

Since I still had my Timbs on, I simply walked over the shards and thought for a few minutes. Heading back into his room, I grabbed a few bags of his best weed and flushed the rest, dumping all of the other drugs he sold right after that. The pictures of his sons, I ripped those up before burning the one picture of their mom that he kept.

“Wanna talk big shit Nigga; you must have forgotten how crazy I am.” I knocked over his desk and broke more shit before finally walking out and closing the door behind me. Making it back to the kitchen, out of breath, I grabbed a glass from one of the top cabinets. I grabbed one of the bottles he didn’t break and poured myself a glass of wine, sitting on top of my counter with my knees to my chest as I cried.

 

The next morning I was a complete mess. In between drinks I’d come out of my clothes and managed to eat something. I heard my phone ringing. Grabbing it, I took another sip of wine before I opened my messages.

Loni, were you drunk texting?

Trying to focus clearly, I took a deep breath before replying back to Tommy that I probably did.

What happened this time?

Before I could reply my phone rang and her pretty ass picture popped up. “Westside is the best siiiiiide, wassup Thomasina?”

“Loni, why are you drunk at eight in the morning?”

“Is that what time it is? Go figure.” I giggled before taking another sip. I wanted to get the last bottle but I was too scared I’d fall on my face if I tried to jump down from my spot.

“Loni, what’s going on?”

“Nothing Tommy, I’m just chillin’. I got my t-shirt and my panties oooon. Hehe, I mean my bra and my panties.”

She took a deep breath and I heard her moving around, asking Red to reach her the keys to her car. “I’ll be over there in a few minutes.”

“Great!!”

I hung up and laughed to myself before letting my hair down, singing along with the Toni Braxton song playing on the radio.

I rather be on my own, yes. On my own.

 

I’d gotten all into my personal performance of Seven Whole Days by the time my baby sister walked in, shaking her head as she looked at the mess I’d made. “I should take a picture just so you can see how fucked up you and this house looks. Where is he?”

“Probably with his other bitch. One bitch or two bitches. An old bitch, maybe a new bitch. Ha!! I should write for Dr. Seuss. What’s a girl to doooo?” Tommy sighed and cleared her throat before walking over and grabbing my arm.

“Come on here Loni Drunk-ton.” I giggled as she helped me down. “Watch your step, dumbass left glass on your floor.”

“I did all of this. Fuck him and his precious MVP trophies. Fuck his kids, the bitches that had ‘em. Fuck his… fuck his drugs, his money.”

“Shhh.”

I stumbled over my own foot as she helped me into my bathroom. She was trying to make me sit on the side of the tub but I climbed in and sat down. “Stand up please so I can help you undress and get you showered.”

“Just turn the water on Tommy, I’ll sober up quick.”

“You reek of wine and vomit. Get up so I can help you wash your ass. Damn shame, you let this nigga take you to this point.”

“I d-don’t wanna talk about Cairo.”

“Acting like this now but y’all gon’ be back together by Friday. I don’t know why y’all even bother going through the break-up stage.” She shook her head and I rolled my eyes as I took my bra off, standing under the hot water as she turned it on. “You fight, he dogs you and you fuck up some of his shit. Y’all drink or smoke together and then y’all are good again. Stupid as fuck.”

“I’m not in the mood for church this morning Pastor Thomasina Banner.”

“Well damnit, you’re going to hear it anyway! I am so sick and tired of coming to your rescue when you deal with this sorry ass nigga. Either y’all give up for good or go through y’all shit alone!”

“No one comes to you. I don’t come to you with my problems!”

She looked at me before pushing me back and threw the towel at me. “Every time I turn around, it’s something new with you. You are twenty-six years old. You’re always walking around, singing gangsta songs and acting as if you’re so damn tough but you let one dude bring you down to your lowest point. And yes, you do call me. Every single time y’all go through it you call me as if I’m automatically supposed to be your voice of reason.”

“I don’t need your help!”

“Evidently, because you never listen to my advice anyway! You know what, I don’t want to fight or argue with you. Clean yourself up and get dressed so I can get some type of food in your system. Over here downing bottles of wine as if you don’t have a liver. Ugh.”

Tommy stormed out and slammed the door behind her.

 

By ten we were cruising down the highway, heading towards Tacoma to eat at one of our favorite family diners. After she parked in our usual spot next to this huge, mock willow tree, I put my shades on and followed behind her. Usually I’d go all out and dress up but today I wasn’t feeling it. I threw on a pair of gray sweat pants and a white tank with a pair of Doc Martens. I threw my hair into a messy ponytail. “You still look like shit.”

“Thank you so much Tommy.”

We sat in our regular seats and I thanked our waitress for the coffee I’d asked for when I walked in. I ordered my regular, an omelet with a side of grits and orange juice and she got an order of pancakes. Before long we were eating in silence and I was texting back and forth with Cairo. Apparently, during my drunken text session, I hit his ass up calling him every foul name imaginable before telling him that I hope he gets tested soon.

Well, let him take that however he wants.

 

“Excuse me, Apollonia, right?”

I looked up over the rim of my glasses before lifting my head, surprised to see dude from the drive-in. “Not to be rude, but who are you? And why are you approaching my sister.”

I gave a small smile and cleared my throat. He turned to Tommy and apologized. “I’m sorry, she and I met yesterday but I didn’t think I’d see her again. My name is King Dominic.”

“Oh, your family just reopened the drive-in, right?”

“Yeah.”

“Good looking out. I love that place. You may continue.”

He chuckled and I shook my head. “Nice to see you again. Um, I don’t mean to be rude but my sister and I are…” Tommy kicked me under the table and readjusted herself in her seat as she picked up her phone.

“I’m texting my fiancé. You’re free to talk Loni. In fact, let me go outside and call him.” That wench walked away and I shook my head as King apologized.

“I’m sorry if I’m interrupting you.”

“No, it’s fine. Have a seat.”

“Thank you. So, can I ask why you just walked away without saying goodbye to me yesterday?”

“Why? Were you looking for a goodbye from me?” King licked his lips and nodded.

“I was, and I wanted to see that pretty face again.” He attempted to touch me but I moved quickly.

“I have a man.”

“You told me that. But I don’t see him here.”

“Aha, a cocky bastard. And just how do you figure that he’s not in the restroom or simply waiting in the car for me.”

“I mean, if you were my woman…”

“But I’m not. I’m his.”

King nodded again and took my hand in his. “You didn’t sound too happy saying that. Look, I’m not trying to overstep any boundaries, but I’d be lying if I said that I don’t want to keep in contact with you and maybe build a little friendship or something. You can have friends, can’t you?”

“Yeah, I can.”

“So may I please have your number, or may I give you mine?”

“Nah.” He smiled and nodded his head before asking a waitress passing by to use her pen. He wrote something on a napkin and handed it to me before returning the pen and saying goodbye as he walked away.”

As if on cue, my conniving ass sister came back and sat down. “You know I hate people sitting over my food, but he was fine as shit. I’ll let it slide.”

“Why did you get up?”

“Are you serious? Bitch, I know you’re hung-over but you know that man was fine. I hope you gave him your number.”

“No Tommy, I didn’t.”

I finally opened the napkin and read it, shaking my head. “He gave me his.”

She danced in her seat as she started eating again and I rolled my eyes. Ain’t nobody got time.

 

THREE

And through all the motherfuckin’ pain they done drove my moms insane. So I guess I gotta do work, so I ain’t finished. I grow up to be a straight up menace.” I laid still, stretched out across my couch as I smoked and listened to the Menace II Society soundtrack.

It’s been almost two weeks and I’ve pretty much isolated myself from everyone. Tommy felt the need to go to our father and tell him my business and that pissed me off more than her preaching. I swear, if she wasn’t the only one of my siblings that I actually give a damn about, I’d cut contact with her completely.

I reached over to my coffee table and grabbed another cigarette, my fourth one today. I swear, if I didn’t have this upcoming drug test, a bitch would be faded.

 

I was just getting into my little rendition of Honey Love when I heard my doorbell, followed by loud and persistent knocks.

I sat up but took my time walking to the door, already knowing it was nobody but Cairo’s ignorant ass. I changed my locks, left his shit outside in the rain, and kicked his motorcycle over in the ditch in front of my house.

I opened my door and sighed as I looked into his eyes. I’d forgotten that I was only wearing a bra and panties until the wind hit my stomach. “What?”

“You’ve really lost your fucking mind this time, you know that right?”

I blew smoke in his face before folding my arms. I leaned against the door. “What do you want?”

“Man, why the fuck you trippin’ Loni? You know damn well we go through our problems but you’re my number one.”

“I don’t want to be your number one. I want to be the ONLY one.”

“You already knew about the way I roll.”

“Yeah, stupid me for thinking you’d change in ten years. I should have never assumed that you’d be mature by the time you turned thirty. You’re thirty-four now and you act like you’re eighteen. I’m over it.”

Cairo rubbed my cheek but I pushed his hand away. “Come on Loni, we fuss and we fight. And then we make up. Let’s just make up.”

“Get out my face Cairo. I’m over you.”

 

He took the cigarette from my hand and took a drag before putting it out. “Come on Loni, you know damn well that I wouldn’t still be around if I didn’t care.”

“Oh, that’s supposed to make me feel better? I’m so glad that you care.”

Cairo smiled and I took a deep breath, fighting the urge to punch him in his throat. He gently pushed me inside and closed the door behind him.

“What’s that song you’re always singing? Hmm?”

He started kissing along my neck but I stood still, not saying anything. “Why the hell we breakup if we always make up? Is that how it goes?”

“You’re an asshole.” Cairo’s hands traveled down my ass, finding their way inside my panties as he pushed me against the wall next to my staircase.

“You love me though.”

“I hate you.”

I exhaled as he pulled my body close to his. “I know you miss me.”

“No Nigga, I don’t.”

He smirked before he felt between my legs, pissing me off when I realized a simple ass touch could get me excited and hot as hell.  “I haven’t even done anything yet and you’re already wet…”

“And you’re not about to do anything.” I finally pushed his ass off of me and pulled my panties back up before heading up to my room. If he’s smart, he’ll leave before I get out of this shower.

 

I paced back and forth, trying to figure out why the fuck I can’t get over his ass. It never fails. He does me wrong, we fight, and I forgive him thinking that he’ll change. And he never does.

Instead, Cairo comes back and each fuck up is worse than the one before. I love him, and I hate myself for even giving a damn.

“Loni.”

I turned towards my door and mugged Cairo, wishing he’d just leave me alone. “What?”

“Look, I know you don’t deserve none of what I put you through. I don’t deserve you, I know that.”

“You sure don’t.”

“But I need you. You’re right, okay, nobody else is going to hold me down the way that you do. I’m sorry. I really am.”

“I don’t believe you.”

Cairo kneeled down in front of me, taking my hand in his. “Please baby, I’ll do anything you want me to. Just don’t leave me, don’t leave my side.”

“I want you to leave these other bitches alone but I know you’re not. And I want you to love me, but I know you don’t.”

“Come on Baby…”

I tried to push him away but it was pointless. “I’ll try, okay. I’ll give it an honest try. Just don’t leave me, I need you.”

“Fine.” He wrapped his arms around me, hugging me tightly.

 

By the time it got dark I’d said fuck taking that drug test and rolled myself a blunt or two before heading over to my family’s vacation home. My nerves were shot and the last thing I wanted to do was deal with happy people while sober.

Of course, as soon as I walked in all eyes were on me and my father demanded an explanation for my disappearance. He’d never gotten used to the moods I got in where I just had to separate myself from everything and everybody.

“If your other daughter would stop telling my business, I wouldn’t have to disappear.”

“If you would get your shit together and stop letting a loser walk all over you.” I cut Tommy a look and she folded her arms before continuing with her unwarranted advice.

“Well, we can’t all have a good old, ass kissing nerd like Reginald, now can we?” Red looked at me for a moment before adjusting his glasses and focusing back on whatever he was doing on his laptop.

“Perhaps if you got your life together you could have a decent relationship like your sister.”

“Oh God! You know what Father, I am so sorry that I couldn’t be the well-behaved and well-mannered and well-respected woman that Thomasina is. I just had to be the fuck up, the loser, the stupid bitch. I am so sorry!”

They all looked at me and I took a deep breath before sitting back. “Apollonia, you know better than to ever raise your voice at me. I don’t give a damn how old you are, I will slap the shit out of you. You will respect me. I’m the parent, not you.”

My father stormed out and I took a deep breath, wiping away the few tears that fell. He’s a short and quiet man, but he could always strike some type of fear in you if you crossed him the wrong way. Red went into the living room and Tommy started in on me.

“What the hell is your problem?!”

“Don’t worry about it.”

“No, tell me right now?”

“For what? You ain’t gon’ do shit but run your mouth to your father and quite frankly, I’m tired of hearing sermons from the both of you. Just stay out of my life, and don’t worry about me or what I do.”

 

Tommy nodded slowly before chuckling. “You took him back, didn’t you? Well you know what, Big Sister, I hope it works out. Don’t call me the next time you walk in on him. In fact, don’t call me… ever.”

She walked out and I took a deep breath, throwing the glass I saw sitting beside me.

 

Instead of going home, I hit up every bar that I could think of. I saw people that I knew here and there, but none of them held my attention long enough for me to want to be bothered with their presence.

“You know, it’s not good to drink alone.”

I looked at Nicola, a former classmate of mine and shrugged as she poured me another shot. “Just keep ‘em coming.”

“You got a ride?”

“Driving myself.”

She looked at me, concerned, and I shrugged. “I’m not letting you drive Loni. You’ll fuck around and kill yourself.”

“Well, maybe the afterlife will treat me kinder than this one.” I downed the vodka and took a deep breath, putting my head down. The room was spinning just a little bit.

 

I must have sat there for a good hour before I finally got up, stumbling as I walked out the door.

Accidentally bumping into someone, I apologized before searching my pocket for my keys. “Loni?”

I looked behind me, only to see King. “You s-s-stalking me or something?”

“Or something. Nah, pure coincidence but then again, the SeaTac area is small.” I looked at him through lowered eyes and shook my head.

“Gotta go.”

“Wait, are you okay?”

“Nope. Bye.”

I stepped in a pothole, catching myself before I could fall flat on my face. “Loni, you’re drunk.”

“Drunk and high. Woo!”

“Let me drive you home.”

I patted his chest, liking the feel of his pecks beneath my fingertips. “That’s quite alright. I’m o-okay.”

“No you’re not. Please let me take you somewhere safe, I would feel terrible if something happened to you.”

“What do you care for? No one else does.” I pulled away from the grip he had on my arm and I made it to my own car. Getting in, I sat behind the wheel for a few minutes and closed my eyes.

 

There was a light knock on my window and I opened my eyes to see him standing there. “What do you want King? What?”

“Give me your keys.”

“No.”

He opened my door and pulled them out of the ignition. “The only thing I don’t like, women who put up a fight for no damn reason. Now I don’t know who’s got you out here drinking like this, but I’m not going to let you drive and hurt or kill yourself.”

I clapped, mocking his little speech before I burst out laughing in his face. “Are you done?”

“Scoot your ass over.”

“What?”

“Scoot over.”

I groaned to myself before climbing over into the passenger seat, calling King every name in the book.

“Call me whatever you want, but you’ll thank me when your crazy ass sobers up.”

“Don’t try no shit either. I’m drunk but if you touch me the wrong way I will beat your ass.”

“Or fall trying. Just calm your nerves.”

I rolled my eyes before closing my eyes, still giggling to myself.

 

 

 

I opened my eyes slowly, groaning as the sunlight and a headache hit me. I sat up and stretched, realizing I wasn’t in my own bed. “Where am I?”

“My house and we’re in Federal Way.”

I turned my head to see King’s ass walking in with a tray. “What’s that?”

“Food, coffee, and Advil. You’re welcome.”

I took a deep breath and thanked him, vaguely remembering how I even got here. “We didn’t fuck, did we?”

He looked at me and smiled before licking his lips. “No, we didn’t. Drunk or not, you’d remember it.”

I scoffed before drinking my coffee, glad he’d set some cream and sugar on the side.

“So what did happen?”

“You were pissy drunk, extremely violent, and I was genuinely worried about you.”

I looked at him for half a second before clearing my throat.

 

I looked around and spotted my phone on his nightstand. Twenty-eight missed calls, and none of them were from Cairo.

“Sorry. And what were you worried about me for?”

“You don’t remember attempting to drive drunk? You do know we live near mountains and they don’t have railings to prevent you from falling over, right? You could have killed yourself.”

“I wasn’t that drunk.”

“Yes Loni, you were. And you’ve got a mouth on you; I’ve never been called so many different variations of ‘motherfucker’ in my life.”

“Sorry. How is it that we end up in the same places now? I feel like you’re following me or something.”

“You asked me that last night, and no I’m not following you. I am glad I showed up at that bar when I did though.”

I looked down and took a deep breath, sending Tommy straight to voicemail once my phone started ringing. “Well, thank you. I appreciate you stopping me from driving.”

“You’re welcome. Just, don’t punch or kick me if I ever have to pick up on you again.”

“I did that?”

“Yes? Hitting like a man and shit.”

“I’m sorry.”

 

King gave a small smile before laughing. “It’s all good Beautiful. Um, there’s a bathroom right across the hall and there’s fresh towels, a spare toothbrush and whatever else you might need. You threw up so I washed your clothes.”

I hung my head low, finally noticing that I was wearing a t-shirt and a pair of boxers, feeling embarrassed. “I must have been a damn mess last night.”

“Yes. But, a cute mess. Enjoy your breakfast, and don’t worry about rushing. We can leave whenever you’re ready.”

I nodded and sighed, ignoring Tommy’s call when my phone rang again. I looked around King’s room for a few minutes before I finished up and started getting myself together.

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