You’ll never be him. 

It was their fifth date and she still didn’t feel all that comfortable with him. It was hard doing the things she used to do with her ex in a relationship this fresh. So far they kept it simple with coffee dates and a lunch in the park. Today he wanted to do lunch then visit a museum. She lingered behind him, watching him strut as he reached behind him to pull out his cellphone. She wondered what he was doing as she looked at his Vans roll over the pavement. 

“Want to look at the menu?” He looks over his shoulder at her, catching her checking him out. He grins, “What are you doing back there?”

“Nothing…” she chuckles, “yeah let me get a look at that menu.”

They were trecking through a small Montrose neighborhood, ducking and dodging low hanging tree branches and bushes that lined the sidewalks. She quickens her pace to walk beside him. She likes that he looks at menus before he ate like her. I mean she does like him, but he’ll never be him. No one will. The dudes before him she couldn’t connect with. No matter where they went or what they did, she couldn’t get past a few weeks with them. This dude is a little different. The brisk air whips around her face. It makes her shiver. Without a moments notice, he pulls her closer to him. She couldn’t resist to smile. Something else she liked about him. She scrolls up and down the menu, gawking at how pricey the plates were. 

“Are you sure about this place?”

He laughs lightly. “I knew you were going to ask. It’s fine; get whatever your stomach desires. No price too large today.”

She glares up at him, suspicious as to why he would spend this much money on a lunch. Maybe he is just trying to show off, which is unnecessary. She’s never been that type of girl. And it’s only their fifth date. 

“What are you doing dude?” She asks slowly, ready to interrogate. 

He shakes his head. “Nothing. I’m just treating you to lunch, no biggie. Don’t make this into a thing.”

You don’t know me.

She continues to glare at him. He cracks up as soon as he catches her glare. It comes from deep in his stomach. She liked the way he laughed. As he tries to catch his breath, they stop in front of a quaint building that technically looked like someone’s home. No name or address on the building. She continues to glare, lips pursed to hold back her own laughter, and he grabs her by the shoulders. 

“Look, if you want, we can go somewhere else. Although we’re right here. I mean we’ve walked a few blocks…and it’s a nice day out. I told you not to make anything out of it. But there you are, glaring at me like I’m about to take advantage of you. You’re so silly.” 

His laughter has finally subsided. She liked that he could see through her silliness. She also liked his caramel skin. In the sunlight, it glows, making him look majestic. Along with that smile, he dazzled. He runs his thumb along her jawline, knowing it would make her blush. No he wasn’t him but he made her feel good. She thought that she would never get that feeling again from someone. She liked that about him. 

“Okay,” she sighs, “let’s go inside and see if it’s worth the money yeah?” 

He smiles. “Good.”

He starts up the walkway and she follows behind him, watching him saunter up to the door. He glances back at her again, enjoying the fact that she watches him walk. And she does it so entitivley. What is she thinking about while she does that, he wonders. 

The lunch was magnificent, which she wasn’t expecting by the looks of the place. Where in the hell was the kitchen that produced these amazing plates in this tiny home? They were full to the brim and were questioning should they even bother walking back to the car, let alone walking the museum. He ordered more drinks and offered her desert. 

“Dude really? You honestly think that I could eat another bite of anything? I’m about to struggle with this glass of wine.”

“Hey I just wanted to throw it out there. They had a slice of cake that caught my eye…thought maybe you’d want to share. So how are you feeling about the museum?”

She takes a sip from her glass. “I don’t know. Can we not sit her for a moment and just chill? Oh and if you’re really about the cake order it. We can take our time…”

Shortly, a chunk of carrot cake appeared before them. With a sly smirk, he announces, “I already ordered it.”

They laugh as they reach for the desert forks that the waitress placed in front of them. He wasn’t like him, no. He could lie back and converse. And they had lovely conversations. They could talk about anything and he held such useless knowledge that she didn’t know about that she stayed intrigued. Between nibbles, bites and sips, they learned more about each other. Simple things like favorite colors, if they had one artist or musician they could be friends with who, personal goals, and argued about who the better boy band was. She always found herself beyond pleased with their conversations. She watched the way his mouth moved with certain words, how he would smile when she asked him a question he wasn’t expecting, how he gazed upon her when she spoke of something she cared about. God you’re not him…could you be better than him? But it was too soon for her to think about that. This was only date five…no telling what could happen within the next few weeks. They might not even make it to date six or seven. Just stop and enjoy the now. 

She took the fork to the plate to get the leftover icing and bits of cake. He smacked her hand as it went towards her mouth but she never lost her grip.

“Hey! Who said you could have the last bit of the cake?!” 

She giggled as she licked the cream cheese icing away from her lips. “Oh you wanted that?”

“That’s my favorite part.” He smacked her hand again. 

“Ow! Hey!” She smacked his hand in return. “You ate most of the cake anyways.”

“But you were too full remember?”

“Hence why I ate the scraps.”

“Along with little bites here and there.”

“You did say share.”

He went to smack her hand again but she moved it in time for him to miss. Soon they were in a full slap hand battle. They giggled and yelped as they smacked each others hands. It went on for about a minute before he was out of breath from laughter. Soon the waiteress came around the corner with the bill, as if she was done with their cute banter. She reached for her wallet but he stopped her. She then remembered he said that lunch was on him. Maybe she will buy him some drinks later. After he settled the check, he grabbed her hand to help her stand and escorted her out of the tiny restaurant with a gleeful smile. He was thoroughly enjoying her company and wasn’t afraid to show it. He wore his smile like a badge of honor. 

Once they approached The Menil, their atmosphere changed to more calm, relaxed. They walked towards the entrance side by side, his fingers gently tangling themselves into hers. Her fingertips tingled in excitement. The day that began mostly groggy turned into sunshine and beauty, the crisp wind still flowing through her hair. They decided to do a roundabout around the building. It made her think of him, all the times they just circled the building in the summer, talking and admiring each other. She rubs her right arm in comfort, thinking about what he could be doing right now in this moment. She missed him like crazy but he kept pushing her to do other things with other people. All he wanted for her was to live her life without him. She really tried but in most cases, she bailed, not ready. She hated for it being that way and no matter how hard she tried to fight, the ex kept her attention. She rubbed her arm in rememberance. And before she could fall in anymore, he swoops her up in a strong embrace. Sometimes she wondered if he could read her that well or if she was showing too much face. 

For some reason, The Menil was like a library, influencing you to whisper or to be silent. So they don’t speak as they voyage through the galleries, sheepishly smiling at each other and grazing each other as they past. She stood and watched him gaze upon a piece she was familiar with and wondered what he was thinking. She took in his stature and height, admiring his build. He stood at 6’4, not too skinny but not too muscular, long and thickish. He turned to the piece on the adjacent wall; her eyes follow. She wondered if she could really fall for someone without always comparing them to her past. It was an inner battle that she was constantly fighting. Never intentional…just hard to know something else. Eventually, he pulled himself from his thoughts from the art on the walls, feeling her eyes studying him. He wiggles his fingers down by his left side, anticipating hers. Soon, they’re about his and they navigate to the next room. She meekly blushes as he looks down upon her with admiration. He could voyage a museum with her for days on end. 

Was it possible to already like someone like this so soon? The things she was doing to his body, to his heart was so new to him that it felt damn near imaginary. As if he was dreaming or high. He was swelling up with infatuation and lust, any tiny touch could make him burst. That’s why he hasn’t kissed her yet. He knew once he did, he would explode into a blue cloud of magic. She made him feel dizzy on what love could feel like. It was all too brand new. He never knew a girl could make him feel this good. 

They jammed Sugarcult’s first album on the way back to her car. Not wanting to embarrass herself after such a nice outing, she just hummed along, proving that she knew this album like the back of her hand. He kept looking over to her, impressed that she even remembered this album let alone the band. He swells up even more. There’s a slight awkward moment once he’s pulled up behind her car. She unfastened her seatbelt and turns towards him, getting ready to hug him good bye. Arms ready, he wants to turn and kiss her on the cheek. She goes in, thanking him for the day. The timing is off and he ends up kissing her ear. She jumps to the unexpected attempt and ends up head butting him. They both his in pain. 

“Jeeeeesus. Sorry about that..” She runs the side of her head. “Did you mean to kiss my ear?”

Flushed, he mumbles, “No I was trying to kiss your cheek. Sorry…shitty timing…”

The pain subsides and she’s cracking up. He was still too embarrassed to find the humor in what happened. She notices and grabs him by the chin.

“Hey it’s ok. Look,” she turns his head slightly to the right and places a gentle kiss upon his cheek. “See how easy that is.” She smiles, stifling a snicker. He can’t hide behind his red cheeks any longer. He looks down at his lap, trying to escape the light behind her eyes but she doesn’t allow it. She lifts his head, making him stay eye to eye with her. Suddenly, tension was building in the car, making the air dense. A smile played about her lips as she inched closer to his mouth. “And this will be just as easy…” And with not with the slightest bit of hesitation, she kisses him. And he doesn’t explode into a blue cloud. 

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Separation Anxiety

She wasn’t ready to endure the next few months without him. She was about to enter a new phase of loneliness. She wasn’t prepared for this; she knew the day would eventually happen but not this soon. She spent most of the day holding back tears, hating herself for getting so upset over it but they don’t get it. This person made her feel so good, made her so happy and she was about to lose it. She was about to lose a bit of her happiness. 

“You just don’t know how much I’m going to miss you.” She mumbles loud enough for him to hear. 

She hears him smile as he says, “awww…stop it.” 

He reaches around her shoulders to embrace her. His fragrance fills her nostrils and she inhales deeply. As he pressed his cold lips to her forehead, she sighs with a smile. She loved it the most when he kissed her forehead. Things were about to change, hopefully for the better. But she knew that maybe if things changed for the bad that he will, somehow, still be around. At least that’s what she had to tell herself to prevent from breaking down. 

First line prompt #2

“It would only be a fling – she wasn’t about to break up the happy home…”

It would only be a fling – she wasn’t about to break up the happy home. She knew exactly what she was getting herself into when she noticed his ring, hand wrapped around a beer bottle. She was bored; her friends left her sitting at the bar all alone. They told her to come out then bailed due to work early in the morning. Besides, she needed some entertainment. And he was entertaining her back. His grey lumberjack beard made her fantasize about pulling it in a dark alleyway as they made out. He seemed way out of her league. Dressed like a GQ model, he couldn’t be someone’s dad and/or husband. He had a level of sophistication about him…like a CEO or owner of a kickstart that soared within a couple of weeks. Maybe it was just the three piece, slim cut tailored suit he wore. She admired him as he took a swig from the Shiner bottle, little drops of beer still about his lips. She licked her own in anticipation. She knew going to a lounge in town would get her more sophisticated men, some that could be in shit marriages or just recently divorced. Or her favorite: the husbands who have permission to go outside of their marriage. She figured with her new found age, she needed a new group of men to be interested in.

“How old are you anyway?” A quizzitive brow asked her.

“How old do you think I am?” She usually hates such a dumb and corny line but again, she was bored. He smirked either in humor or annoyance.

“Don’t you hate when people respond with that question?”

She scoffs out of slight embarrassment, “Of course. I was just being funny,” she swirls the ice around in her empty glass, “I’m thirty. A fresh thirty years…like my birthday was last week. Celebrating a little later than I wanted.”

“How come?” Beer bottle back at his lips.

“Didn’t want to turn thirty. I was living in a state of denial.” She shrugs, remembering her day of tears and loneliness. Her friends and family were begging her to escape her apartment, that turning thirty wasn’t the beginning of the end but in her mind, it was the worst.

“Well how old do you think I am? You may be surprised.”

She was starting to love that silly grin about his mouth the more they talked. Is it wrong I want you to be thirty and single like me? She thought to herself. She giggled.

“How old do I go before you feel insulted?”

“Your cut off is fifty…but only because I often get mistaken for fifty. Apparently grey hair ages you.”

“Ah I see. Well if I have to guess…under fifty…I’ll say you’re…thirty-six…?” She studies him over once more, considering his skin, the lines around his eyes, his hands that laid on the bar.

“Hmm…pretty close.”

“Higher?”

“Just a smidgen.”

“Okay. Thirty-niiiiine-ish?”

It really doesn’t matter. She’s ok with the end game no matter his age. She was going to ride him til the wheels fall off then leave him with a drunken memory. She was imagining him undressing slowly, showing her that he still had it. That his careless wife at home wasn’t going to appreciate him like this. That she doesn’t like to watch him get undress. That she doesn’t like that once he’s down to his boxer briefs he grabs her tightly by the wrists before shoving his tongue inbetween her lips.

“Bingo.” He points to the bartender and orders another Shiner. “Does that bother you?”

“Thirty-nine? No, no…why the grey beard?”

“I’ve been greying since I was twenty-three. It’s a natural thing. I’m salt and pepper up here,” he points to his perfectly sculpted hair that’s been gelled back, “and here,” points to her future pull toy, “but won’t lie I dye the beard. I tried it once just to see what it would look like and fell in love with it. It gives me a…sort of look.”

So he knows what he’s doing. It’s not necessarily a ploy or gimmick…he just knows it can get him what he wants on occasion. He knows women will stare and wonder and the intrigue will pull them in. It made her wonder how many times has he done this. How many times has he returned late to his home. His wife is an idiot.

“Would you like another gin and tonic?” He points over to the bartender again. Why not, she thinks, I can’t wait to tug on that beard while you pound me.  

“Yeah that’s fine. Thank you. Well now that we know how old each other are, where are we doing this? Hotel? My place?”

He choked on the abbrasivness of her question. “Get to the point don’t we?” He takes the napkin is bottle was resting on to cover his coughs.

“Just want to be sure we’re on the same page here. You caught my interest when you sauntered in, tailored and tall, knowing every woman in the room was breaking their necks to see you. And once my friends all dispersed, I saw you point me out by shyly looking over your shoulder towards me. You knew you were about to break every lady’s heart once I sat next to you here. You had just as much as a plan as I did tonight. Fate? I don’t know…maybe I just got lucky. So answer the question: my place or not?”

Around 3:36 a.m., she was awoken to him trying to slip out of her bed. With her being a light sleeper, it was impossible for her one night stands to leave without waking her. If she liked them, she would offer a late night/early morning breakfast at a diner she likes to go to. If not, she would watch them get dress and leave, locking the door once they were out on the street or in their car. But this guy, she liked. And the sex was just like she imagined while they spoke at the bar. It was just what she needed to usher in thirty. He put every piece of the suit back on. Not one wrinkle or piece of out of place as he looked himself over in the mirror. He reaches in his coat pocket for a small container of beard balm. He strokes it over the grey hairs, looks over at her in the mirror and with that goofy grin of his, tugs on it. She laughs.

“Would you like a late dinner? Or early breakfast? Whichever.”

Slipping on his coat he says, “I wish I could but I’m avoiding a ‘Where are you?’ phone call. Thanks for offering. You didn’t have to.”

“It’s part of my system. I liked you. The ones I like I take them out for breakfast.”

“Don’t cook?”

“No…too intimate.”

They laugh as he walks to her side of the bed. “Thanks for the fun. If you find any loose grey hairs about you know why.” He kisses her slowly. “Maybe I’ll see you around?”

She shrugs. “You never know. I may be in another crowded bar of women begging for your attention.”

“And I may pick you again. You never know.”

“Are you scared?”

“Of what?”

“You know…of everything.”

He glances over to her, puzzled. She grins and shrugs as the wind throws her hair about. They were on one of their whims trips. “Hey do you know what we should do right now?” They have a lot of those…what we should eat right now…what we should listen to right now…where we should go right now. As long as someone said “ok.” They were traveling down the freeway, decided to hop to another city. She loved being his passenger; something about sitting beside him always soothed her. She felt as if it was somewhere she belonged. A band played quietly, the sound of the fury wind almost made it seem nonexistent. Texas highways always made trips seem longer with its fields, trees, and endless skies and clouds. Sparatic houses lined country roads. It was steady. Calm. She looks him over. He lightly drums the steering wheel with his finger tips. He glances over to her again.

“What are you thinking about over there?”

She shrugs, “A lot. How I get scared sometimes.”

“Of what hun? Tell me.”

She didn’t know where to begin. Life in general. Her future. His future. Their future together. Are they going to make it to this city safely…the list goes on. Her mind moved so quickly. But really, she was scared of their future. Which was silly of her to tie the two of them together…I mean they weren’t a “they” but in a way they were. 

“Scared of losing you is one thing.”

“What?! What do you mean?”

She shakes her head, feeling stupid for saying anything about this but she can tell him anything. It’s just that easy. And it was true. With the way time moves, anything could happen.

“You know…you not being around. In my present…you making an exit…in any way possible.” She turns to look out the window. “Like it’s hard to imagine you not around…and when I think about that time, it scares me. Makes me sad…” 

It was a series of broken thoughts. She left out a lot of what she wanted to say because in a way, she felt weird expressing this to him. It was never anything she really wanted to say aloud. Just shit she thought about when she was living in her head. He rests his hand on her thigh. It was his small gesture to show his feelings. Each time it meant something a little different. It made her tingle. 

“I know it sounds silly –”

“No I get it.” He grins. “I feel the same way too. I’m lucky to have you in my life.”

When he says shit like that she fights back a big smile. To hear him say things like that made her feel particularly special. But it was only like that with him, no one else. He made her feel like the exception. 

“It’s just…well –” she chuckles, “I don’t know how to really explain it.”

He laughs along with her. “No need.” 

He squeezes her, gently, expressing understanding and longing. She bit her bottom lip, holding back her cheese. For a moment, they just looked at each other, smiling and giggling. Just the two of them on this Texas highway made everything seem so perfect. And right. And that’s all they needed. 

Off the dome #3

“Are you sure we have time for this?” He speaks up to her. He knelt before her, her fingers locked into his tresses, with her dress pushed to the right. The slit was designed for frolic. The party was in full swing downstairs; Why not try to get off while people were occupied? 

“You are asking a stupid question at a very inappropriate time.” She tugs at his roots in frustration. She had been thinking about this days leading up to this party. Plotted? Possibly. Did he need to know? No. She could feel the warmth of his breath about her thighs. She quivered anxiously. “Are you seriously trying to get out of this?” You better not say no you shithead. 

He pushed his nose into her crouch. With a deep breath he exhales, “God no…”

With a coy smirk, she pushes his head further into her. She can feel his lips part slightly, the tip of his tongue danced lightly on her moist skin. Her knees grew weak to the teasing, ready for him to dive right in. The wait was killing her. She gripped his hair tighter as he initiated the warm up: spreading her legs a little wider for more room to work with, using his forefinger and thumb to expose her lips, nibbling on them gently then long licks up each side, leaning back to enjoy watching her get wetter. She fought to focus on keeping her strength in her legs that shook as if they were in the blistering cold. When he kissed her right inner thigh, the knee buckled but he caught her. He shifted her from off the wall to the edge of a bed in one of the many rooms that filled the stranger’s home. She gathers the dress and flips over to her left side as he forces her legs open once more. He smiles at her wet pussy, glorifying his work. He takes a thumb and runs it along her clit.

“Hey.” 

She laughs, “Hey there.”

He resumes. Devouring every bit of her, she groans out, and fastens her hands to the about to be ruined comforter. She can’t take her eyes off him; watching him enjoy her pleases her. The way he used his whole mouth…

There’s a knock at the door. “Is someone in there? We can’t find the groom and…” There’s whispering on the other side. She cocks her head back in anger but he doesn’t stop. A man on a mission. But she is now out of the moment. The whispering has turned into shouting that’s echoing down the hallway. 

“They’re looking for you…we should stop…” She gasps as he does this thing with his tongue that he knows drives her crazy. 

“Fuck no,” is muffled. 

She wasn’t about to argue. She stood urgently, checking her dress for any stains that would give them away. He sat, Indian style, sulking on the hardwood floor. She squats down to be in his eyeline. It was hard to resist those soft brown eyes. 

“You have to get back. They’re on the hunt,” she pushes his hair off his forehead. “This is what you chose. Now go clean your face…you smell like pussy.” 

Off the dome #2

“I had this dream once, I don’t remember when exactly but um…it was the kind of dream someone never wants to have. Anyway, I had this dream once that I was just going day to day, checking my phone every once in a while, just living…wondering why I hadn’t heard from you. I would always get that tiny twinge of fear in the base of my heart that something has happened to you when I don’t hear from you. But yeah so I don’t know I think a week goes by, you know there’s no real time in a dream…a week goes by and I decide to be like fuck it I’ll go by his house and see if he’s there. And your car is outside and I ring the doorbell. Your brother comes to the door all red and puffy eyed, surprised to see me. So I ask him if you’re home. He was so confused, asked if I was fucking with him and I was like what no where’s your brother I haven’t heard from him in a week. Then he looked crushed. Looked down at his feet and mumbled, he’s gone he died. Then I woke up. I woke up and cried and cried…couldn’t go back to sleep for like an hour because…that’s a real fear of mine. I’m afraid that if something detrimental happened to you that I wouldn’t know…that scares the living shit out of me…”

Mamma’s Boy Chapter One

     My track history when it came to relationships was never great. Mostly had relationships last a couple of weeks or months before they would collapse due to unstable foundation. Each time I would fool myself into believing, “Hey this dude…is legit.” But reality would set in and burn it down in a fiery haze. I would get up, dust away the ashes and give it another go. Relationships that is. I really felt like I had it in the bag when I met him. Xavier. Beautiful brown eyes, very built body and always brought me a huge package, if you know what I’m sayin. He was also very witty, charming, clever and sarcastic. He was into a lot of punk but was also into heavy metal and was very outdoorsy. My kind of guy. Un problemo: MAMMA’S BOY! To the T and it drove me mad. No matter the day or the time, he couldn’t make time for me. The beginning of our relationship was strictly through the phone, no dates. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t pry him away from his house. I could be stark naked, talking the best dirty talk I could imagine and he wouldn’t budge. I’d call him and say:
     “How about a movie?”
     “No mom is making me a sweater.”
     Dead silence. No words could form from the bit of shock I was put into. I tried to make sure he couldn’t hear me gag by pushing the receiver away from my face. Eventually I had to pull myself together.
     “Oh? Erm…wow uh…what does that have to do with the movies kiddo?”
     “Well I want to be here when she finishes. She’s just about done. How about a little later?”
Really? I had to wait for his mom to get done knitting a damn sweater?! Wasn’t he my boyfriend? Couldn’t I get some damn alone time for fucksake? No of course not. I would just have to wait like always.
     “…later?”
     “Yeah, later.”
     Grunt. “If you insist.” I slammed my phone onto my desk.
     Exactly. Things like that attached him to his mom. The sweaters she would make him were always nice and cute like the ones you’d buy from Express or see in a damn department store…I don’t know how she does it…but that’s not the point though. The point is he ditches me so his mom can make him sweaters. I have a job, a good one at that. I can buy him sweaters. Wait a minute. Why am I trippin? It’s a damn sweater. Ugh. Mamma’s boy. For Mother’s Day, he sings “Mamma” by Boys II Men for her and the whole family. It’s a tradition. There are at least ten VHS tapes from over the years of him singing the same damn song. Let me tell ya, when you look like Xavier, big, thick and fine, you couldn’t even imagine he was a mamma’s boy.
     I met Xavier Hernandez at Warped Tour when The Sounds were up on stage jammin out. I was dancing with some girls in the pit, singing along to her sweet voice, when he came along trying to dance with us. As he approached, he blocked out the sun. I shaded my eyes as I looked over at this statuesque man. About six foot three, he wore a very vintage Blink 182 shirt and cargo shorts. He couldn’t dance for shit. If I had to describe what I was seeing, it was an offbeat skip hop jump knee slapping maneuver. To stop the embarrassment he was enduring, I grabbed his hips and made him gyrate with the beat.
     “Like this kiddo.” I laugh.
     When I knew he had gotten it down to a science, I let him go and danced with my friends again. I clearly didn’t have the time to “talk” to a boy who could not find a simple beat, although he was insanely hot. One of the girls pushed me and said,
     “You were totally groovin with that dude.” “Groovin” was the new word for flirt.
     I burrowed my eyebrows. “Shutup! I was not!” Even though I sort of was…
     “Gah! You totally were!” said the girl to my right.
     I smiled, busted. “Hm, ok maybe I was. But he couldn’t dance! It drove me nuts how his hips were totally off with the music.”
     The other girls looked at each other from the corner of their eyes.
     “Girlie, you’re weird…but great at the same time.”
     “Hm, I think I’ll take that as a compliment.” We all laughed and danced until their set was over.
     While I had a small window until the next band came on, I stood along the back fence that separates the bands on tour from the festival, trying to sneak a peek at Steve, the guitarist from New Found Glory. I thought maybe if I flashed him, I could hang out with him. Call it typical groupie shit if you want but I knew what I had to do to have a real conversation with someone I adored. No sex was going to happen. There were tons of guys wearing black backward caps, but none of them looked like Steve. I wasn’t going to give up until I spotted him.
     “Hey!” someone shouted from a distance. “Hey!” I didn’t turn because I figured they were calling for someone else.
     “Hey!” the voice was getting closer. “What are you doing?”
     Uh oh! I figured it was security. I backed away from the fence with my hands up, as if the police was going to arrest me.
     “Ah I’m doing nothing.” I turn, ready to be busted but it was him, the kid who couldn’t dance.
     “Oi…,” I sighed as I put my hand over my heart, “I thought you were security.”
     “So you were doing something bad? Like I expected.”
     “Well, nooo–I was trying to see Steve of New Found Glory.”
     “So?”
     I looked at him skeptically. “So what?”
     “Well as we guy bands know, girls hang around after the set to kiss ass so they can hang with the band or get laid. Now what’s your story Dancing Queen?”
     I smirked. Dancing Queen?
     “Ok so the plan was to look for Steve, get his attention, give him a look at the goods and hopefully hear him say, ‘Wanna chill wit me?’ and I’ll say, very nonchalant, ‘Sure.’ The end.”
      He applauded my story as I took a bow. “Nice plan. How would you like it if I told you I know an easier way to get backstage?”
     Was he expecting me to flash him? I barely knew the kid. All I know is he can’t dance!
     “Woah dude, I’m not flashing you.”
     He suddenly pulled out a backstage pass from behind his back and dangled it before my eyes. My jaw dropped and my stomach swallowed my heart.
     “Get out!” I punched his arm. “Get out!”
     He cracked up. “C’mon. I’ll introduce you to some bands you might like.”
     We hung out the rest of the day, backstage with all sorts of bands and I didn’t have to flash or kiss anyone. It was great. The conversations were real. The kid would tell everyone the story of him busting me by the fence, trying to sleaze my way in. The guys thought it was hilarious but brave I would go to such lengths just to chit chat with the bands at Warped Tour. I would shrug it off like it was nothing while giving him the skank eye for blabbing. We walked Reliant Park until dark. All of the excitement had died and was gone with the wind. Reliant Park was completely empty. The only noises were the cars zooming by on 610.
     As we strolled along, I say, “All of this and I don’t even know your name.”
     He looks down at his feet as he kicks paper cups on the ground. “Should I tell you? Maybe you should tell me yours first.”
     I roll my eyes. “My name is Persephone. Friends call me Pony.” I held out my hand, “Nice to meet you, ‘your name here’.”
     “Xavier. Friends call me a lot of things. Some nice, some mean but you can call me whatever you want.”
     There was a light twinkle in his eye as if he met the girl of his dreams. I hope she isn’t like me because I can be a nightmare. I couldn’t help but be drawn into him.
     “Alright kiddo. I’ll remember that.” We shake. His grip is firm. I bite my lip.
     We had a good thing. Three years. A fun and loving three years. Even though his mamma got in the way, always dissing me in Spanish. Negrà niña this. Negrà niña that. Xavier always told me to ignore it but the parents have to like me. It was hard but I put up with it anyway just because I loved Xavier a lot. I put a lot into the relationship and so did he. But his mom always tried to poison him with bullshit. I remember when:
     “Come inside and chill for a while.”
     We stood on his Spanish style porch. I hesitated a bit because I knew his madre couldn’t stand me. I wasn’t ready to walk into the lion’s den, especially when this wasn’t on the itinerary for the day. He extended his hand, asking me to take it. All I could focus on was all the noise coming from the windows. Her voice was the loudest…
     “I don’t know kiddo. Your mamma…”
     “Don’t worry about her. I just want to enjoy your company. You’re here for me, not my mamma.”
     He flurried his fingers, asking again for my hand. We locked knuckles tightly as we went inside. His house was decorated in paper flowers and little ladies with floral skirts. I could smell fajitas cooking from the backyard. The paint was soft with brown and beige and the furniture seemed like no other antique. I ran my fingers over the soft wood of the table, making waves. I had never been inside his home before. I tried to observe as much as possible, like his baby pictures along the mantle of their fire place, how warm the room felt, and the smell of antique furniture that had been passed down.
     “Xavier, Xavier!” shouted a little girl with a sea of midnight hair flowing down her back. Her skin was like bronze and the short white summer dress made her glow. She flew into the room on air, like a tiny angle.
     “Good evening.” He greeted to her as he swept her into his embrace. They held a short conversation amongst each other in Spanish, talking about how their days went and such. He noticed her looking over his shoulder at me. “Daniella, this is Persephone. You can call her Pony if you like.”
     She giggled, “Pony,” with delight. She was as precious as a doll. Her energy was contagious with a smile that could burn out the sun. I shook her little hand.
     “Hi Daniella. I’m Pony.”
     She giggled again. “Hi Pony.”
     “Xavier!” boomed his mother from the kitchen. Daniella’s spirit washed away as a lump developed in my throat. It was like she had a sixth sense; she always knew when I was close. It made her spidey senses tingle. We all looked towards the kitchen to see a few cousins peak down the hall, mumbling about my presence in the house.
     “Watch Daniella for me.” he rested his brown hand on my shoulder. The lump dissolved away.
     I looked down at his sweet baby sister who was staring up at with her cat-like eyes. They were wide and light brown. I love that she and X had similar facial features. I adored their eyes, round with long lashes…she was waiting for me to make my move but I felt too awkward in the house. “So Daniella, what do you want to do?”
     She shrugged shyly. “I don’t know. Do you wanna go outside and meet my abuelo? He’d like you.”
     “Oh you think so? This I gotta see.”
     She took my hand and led me through a white sheet that took us to a small backyard. They covered a small picnic table with a hot red table cloth, lined with red pepper lights. On top, it was covered with all sorts of Hispanic plates. Some I recognized and some I didn’t. All of Xavier’s little cousins were running around, laughing and playing tag. It was like a breath of fresh air, watching Xavier’s large family. I had never seen so much love and goodness, not even in my own family. It absolutely made my heart soar.
     “Persephone.” Daniella called. I looked over to see this handsome, youthful man sitting at the head of all the organized chaos that was this party. When he smiled, he looked twenty-two. He was about as dark as me, like milk chocolate, with dark brown curls gelled on his head. He wore a black short sleeved silk button shirt. He even has a small diamond stud in his left ear. No greys. He left a few top buttons undone to show a little chest. Xavier’s abuelo was too fly…and he knew it.
     “Abuelo, this is Persephone.” She introduced me to her grandfather. I was in complete awe. Grandfather? No way… His wrinkly hand reached over to touch mine and when our palms met, it was like shaking hands full of rose petals.
     “Hello. How are you? Are you Daniella’s babysitter?” he chuckled with a thick Spanish accent.
     “No,” I laugh, “I’m Xavier’s girlfriend.”
     He then patted my hand, in a comforting way but also supporting as if he knew everything from that one sentence.
     “Hey, you ready to go?”
     Xavier looked as if he had just got into a fight. His cheeks were a little pink with his hair tussled about. He narrowed his eyes back towards the house. I’m sure she laid into him quite nicely about me being amongst her family. I wasn’t ready to leave yet we just got to the good part. His abuelo still held my hand and I wanted to meet more of his family.
     “Are you ok?”
     I knew he got into it real bad with his mom because he’s never brought me to his house and the woman couldn’t stand me. I knew this was a bad idea but he was so determined to bring me here. He clearly paid the price.
     He rolled his eyes. “Yeah. C’mon.”
     But I couldn’t pry myself away from his abuelo but he looked terrible and needed some sort of comfort. Daniella whispered something in his ear. He nodded, kissed my hand with a smile and said,
     “Persephone, Ud. es una señora muy bonìta. Xavier es afortunado tenerle .”
     I smiled from ear to ear. Thank God my dad made me learn Spanish or I would’ve never known that his grandfather paid me a compliment. I wanted to blush. It made my night.
     “Gracìas señor. Ud. es un hombre muy hermoso. Reunion do Niza ud. Bueños noches .”
     Xavier jerked me away in a hurry to leave. There was urgency in his movements and before we could hit the door, his mom bellowed again. His arms dropped with a groan.
     “What?” he asked while turning.
     “Y dondé usted le píensa va?”
     “I’m taking Persephone home, mamma.”
     Defiantly, she turned back into the kitchen, saying stuff about me under her breath. Xavier mumbled “give me a break” under his.
     Once we were at my house, I asked, “Why keep this up if it stresses you so?”
     He was exhausted, trying to keep his eyes open. He’ll drive himself off the road in this condition.
     “Because I love you so much and I’m not going to let her get in between us. She tries to control everything I do but this, I won’t let her control.”
     I reached for X’s hand. “Kiddo, come stay the night. You can’t drive home like this. Look at you, you’re sleeping.”
     “I’m not sleeping Pony. I just need to rest a bit.” But of course his eyes are closed.
     “Please come lay down inside. Just for a few minutes, por favor?”
     He thought it was cute when I spoke Spanish to him. He turned to look deeply into my eyes. He knew they meant please.
     “Fine mi amor. If you insist.”
     What I loved the most about my dad is when he knows that Xavier needs to stay a while, he knows it’s because of his mother. I let Xavier sleep for a couple hours while I sat in the closet to write. It was the greatest place to do so and I could always get it done there. I wrote about Xavier and his skin color. It was so beautiful. It was the color of fall, when everything is golden and copper. That’s what his color reminded me of. When I got done, I turned on a little Bright Eyes and watched him sleep for a few minutes. I couldn’t believe I fell in love with a nondancer. I love to dance. Dancing was my thing and I dance everywhere but here is this great guy and I’m dead crazy in love with him. I ran my fingers over his lips. His eyes fluttered open like new birth.
     “What time is it?” he moaned into the pillow.
     I glanced over towards the clock. “Eleven. You need to go huh?”
     The bed groaned as he sat up. “Yeah. Mi madre will kill me if I don’t.”
     I sighed. I wish his mom wouldn’t hold such a grudge. I absolutely did nothing to that woman. When I think how much she hates me, I get so enraged. I was always so nice to her and I got diddly squat in return. What did I do to deserve this? Be black? I walked him to the car, watching him yawn and rub his eyes. I took his hand from his eye and began to kiss his knuckles. I hated to see him leave. I wish he could stay with me forever so I could just look at his gorgeous self.
     “Night Pony. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
     “Ok kiddo. I love you with all my corazon.”
     Xavier’s smile twinkled like the night sky. “I love you too. More than the stars.” We kissed each other silly.
     But that was then. Then when everything was fresh. Here it is, present day. Another boring day in Economics. All the memories did come flowing back like birds flying in from the north. And to make matters worse, he sat behind me, where he worked. Of course I did not. I couldn’t block feelings and thoughts by working. A lot of the time they took over. I would excuse myself to the bathroom and sob in the stall. Sometimes someone will come check on me. I’d let them comfort me. A lot of the time I’d tell them to leave me alone. When I came back to class, he’d look at me with those beautiful brown eyes. They spoke something different every day in Spanish. I blink, understanding. Those were the only words exchanged. Xavier always stayed clear of me. His wind smelled of his sweet cologne every time he walked by. It made me ache. Ache everyday.
     The class was uber quiet today. I tapped a beat on my desk to annoy the teacher. After a few minutes or so, a few people were bobbin their heads along to it. Someone started humming a song that went along to the beat. The whole class was rockin, except Xavier.
     “Excuse me but I’m trying to work.”
     The jam session came to a halt. I looked over my shoulder and shot him a smug look.
     “Oh! Excuse me!”
     That was how he treated me now. Absolute crap. The next day at school, we had an assembly. I wandered behind the group of mindless idiots as we walked to the auditorium. Xavier and his friends weren’t too far ahead. Occasionally their necks would turn to look at me and laugh. And each time they did, my heart sunk lower and lower into my soul. Sade’s “Cherry Pie” began to play loudly in my head. I felt bold to say something but just when I was about to open my mouth, Xavier turned and looked me over longer than usual.
     I mouthed, “What?”
     He shook his head sadly and turned away.
     “Ugh damn.” I stomped. Here came another memory:
     Xavier and I had been dating for a couple months. He was in his prime of being a mamma’s boy. We went to a party a friend of his was throwing and they were playing some bangin music. Completely off the hook. As soon as we hit the door, I was swept onto the dance floor by some friends. The whole night I shook my thang until it was impossible to shake it anymore than I already had. A dude I had never seen before danced behind me the entire time. I didn’t pay him any mind because the floor was pretty packed so I figured he was just there. I continued to dance. So did he. Little did I know, the guy was trying to groove with me and someone ran off to tell Xavier. He watched and was pretty well convinced. I felt him looking at me so I returned the favor by looking back. He was very disappointed. “What?” I lipped. He shook his head and walked away. He never told me what happened so I asked the host. When I heard what people were telling Xavier, I began to understand the situation and why he could be upset but why couldn’t he just tell me himself? I went to ask Xavier again but he wouldn’t answer. Just shook his head. He still, to this day, remembers the party.
The assembly turned out to be a perfect waste of the period. I picked and bit at my nails as I watched Xavier joke with his friends. The more I watched, the colder and lonelier I felt. Nothing felt right anymore. I felt as if I was drifting off in space while Xavier was partying up on Earth, being all warm and happy. “Whoohoo! Party over here ain’t nothin over there!” Yeah that’s where I am, “over there.”

 

NOTE: I used google translate for the Spanish which I know isn’t probably perfect.