It’s 9am when I wake up. Steve is making noise in the kitchen, the radio is playing rap music and I hear the faint clinking of dishes.
“What are you doing boy?” I call out and wipe the drool from my cheek.
“I know you don’t like eggs,” he says. “So I made myself an omelet and I made you some pancakes and sausage. Come eat. It’s ready.”
I go into the bathroom to freshen up and by the time I get to the kitchen table he has it set up so nicely. There’s even a single daisy sitting in a glass vase next to my food.
“Who taught you to do all this?” I ask him as I sit down.
He smiles, “I’m…I’m experimenting with you,” he explains.
“What do you mean?” I ask.
He sits down to join me after pouring orange juice for us both. He cuts his omelet into small pieces and places his left hand in his lap, while he eats with his right hand. The look he gives me in between bites is thoughtful, yet expectant.
“Tee,” he says. “How long have we known each other?”
“Um..a little over two months,” I reply as I devour the soft pancakes. “Why?”
“Well, I hope you understand that I’m not in the game anymore, I’m done with the hit and runs and the playa lifestyle. It’s time to get serious about life.”
“What’s that got to do with you cooking such a wonderful breakfast?”
“Chill out…I’m gonna explain,” he says and stares into my eyes for a few seconds. “Ok. Tee. As much as we talk, I’m sure by now you see that I’m straight up about mine. And as much as I know you, I can see that you are honest about who you are and what you want. You’ll meet a dude and within one conversation you can tell if he’s right for you or not and you act accordingly by deciding what role, if any, this dude will play in your life.”
“Damn…you’re good,” I say.
“Yeah. I pick up on things,” he continues. “Anyway, it’s obvious that you’re feeling me because of the fact that we’re still talking after two months. To some women that may not be a big deal, but for you, who runs at the slightest sign of real attraction, it means a lot. I can understand why you’re afraid, relationships are a big risk. But you won’t ever reap the benefit if you don’t take the risk.”
Um..WHy is this dude preaching to me? What is he getting at?
“Ok, tell me if you understand where I’m coming from on this or if I need to break it down any further for you,” he says firmly and drops his fork on his plate. “When I first saw you I wanted you and I did what I had to do to get you. Now that you’re here with me, I want to keep you but I need to know if you want to be here with me too.”
I gulp. What the fuck? Am I mutherfucking dreaming this shit? Who the hell is he talking to?
As he gazes at me, waiting for a response I begin to feel nauseaus. I then hear Tamara’s voice in my head, “Tee, this is exactly what you always said you wanted. You said you wanted a man who would make an executive decision about being with you and be quick about it. You said you wanted it to be like a business decision. He just did that. Don’t trip. You always get what you ask for girl….”
I’m still blinking as he gazes at me, his head leaning slighly to the left.
Before I can catch myself, the tears are flowing down my cheeks. I wipe them away with the back of my hand and use my napkin to dry my nose. I’m not bawling, the silence in the room is overwhelming. I can’t believe he said that.
“Tee,” he says and pulls his chair next to mine. His knee is touching mine and he drapes his arm across the back of my chair. “I’m nto trying to scare you. I know what your past relationships have been like.”
I turn away from his face. This is way too much.
“Look at me,” he says. “I want you to feel me when I say this.”
I turn back toward him, still drying my nose with the napkin.
“I do not want you to be afraid of me. I am not anything like any of those dudes who came into your life before you met me. I want nothing from you except to see you grow into the beautiful, superstar that you are destined to become. I see you. I see how all those past experiences have made you think you are less than the queen you are.”
“Steve,” I manage to squeak out. “Why are you so wonderful?”
He sighs. “I’m not wonderful, Tee. I’m selfish. All you get is this nerdy looking dude who thinks you’re the shit and will worship your dirty draws. But guess what I get?”
“What?” I say and shake my head.
“I get this creative ass, intelligent ass, charming ass, brilliant ass, FINE ASS, SEXY ASS, redbone, dime piece with green eyes!” he exclaims. “Hell yeah! You’re a bad bitch. Every dude you were with knew it. You were the only one who didn’t.”
“Damn,” I whisper.
“Look,” he says and pulls me out of my chair and onto his lap, facing him. “We can make the decision right now that we’re going to see what’s up with us. For real. Just me and you…no bullshit. No games. I don’t know about you but it’s time for me to start the next phase of my life.”
I shrug. “How do you know you want to do this? How do I know you’re ready? I don’t even know if I’m ready. You make it sound so serious.”
“It IS serious,” he says and rolls his eyes. “I’m sitting here telling you that i want to work through whatever issues you got and I want you to help me get through mine too. And I know you’re ready. Wanna know why?”
“I peeped your resume. You haven’t had any kind of stability in your life. You’ve been hopping from city to city, job to job, dude to dude. That’s not you. That used to be you, but that’s not you anymore. You’re ready to prove to yourself that you can be grown up about shit and plant some real roots and really expand as a writer, a leader and a woman. The next job you get, you’re not going to run away when things get rough. The next place you get you’re going to make it into a real home for you and your sons. And the next man you meet who treats you the way you KNOW you deserve to be treated, you’re gonna soften up, open up and you’re gonna let all that love you’ve been holding back, you’re gonna let it out.”
“Damn Steve. That’s all that’s been on my mind.”
“I know girl. I know. But shit..I wanna get some of that overdue love. I’ve done a lot in life Tee. I’m ready for the next big thing. I’m ready to chill out and just be in this…whatever it’s going to be it’s going to be, you know. But damn..I would really like to be there with you while you grow into that stunning ass lady. I get to walk around and be like, ‘Yes sir! That’s ME! MINE! I’m hitting that erry night!”
I laugh. “You’re dumb,” I say and rub my fingers over the waves in his hair.
“I know but, you’re here with me so what does that say about you?”
“Yeah but that’s what turns you on soo….”
“You said you wanted me to help you get through your issues. What issues do you have?”
He laughs. “It’s that right there. I don’t let anyone see them. I’m too afraid to admit that I have issues. I show no emotions. Never let’em see me sweat. That’s why you fascinate me. You’ll tell the whole world that your cootchie is sweating and you don’t give a damn!”
“Yeah but…I don’t really care what people think and that’s cuz I know the majority of people are hiding their real selves trying to front like they got it together and they don’t. I wish I could make it cool to be real about yours. It’s so much more…authentic.”
“And that’s what I like about you,” Steve says. “You’re gonna make me look good, help me to grow AND we’re gonna make some mad money together’son!”
“Steve,” I say as I stare him in the eyes. I stand up from my seated position on his lap and keep his gaze as I slowly kneel on the wood floor in front of him.
Two minutes later I hop up and kiss him on the cheek. His head is hanging back and his eyes are closed. His entire body is limp.
“Hell nawww….” he mutters and a smile spreads across his face. “Like that?”
“You ain’t ready,” I say. “But get ready. I am going to be so good to you.”