The nurse read the awkwardness in the room. She slowly left the room and shut the door behind her.
I could see through the blinds that the nurses in the hallway were eavesdropping. I’ve had pretty decent relationships with my care team during my time here; but at that moment, I wished they were all gone.
I slowly began to sit up and I looked at Denzel. He looked uneasy, sad.
“What do you mean that you don’t want to have kids Denzel?”
I asked first.
It was as if my question brought relief to him and then anger, he quickly replied and said,
“That’s what you’re more concerned about?”
It took me aback for a second. I repositioned and said,
“Well, no. But I guess it was so unexpected that I wondered how to even proceed. Sorry if that seemed insensitive. I just wondered if that’s something I should have known”
He seemed even more annoyed as he said,
“Leila, we have known each other for less than two months. The current state you are in spiraled from literally our first date. I am not sure when you expected me to slide in the fact that I don’t see children in my near future”
It was a sound point. Heck, I was the one who chose to nearly die on the night of probably my best date in half a decade.
I desperately wanted to understand him but also not be insensitive or rude. I was processing his words as he came up to me, pulled his chair close and sat down.
He took my left hand and said,
“Look Leila, I really like you. I understand feeling blindsided by this, but think about it; we are sitting here under circumstances that neither of us expected to be in.
I am more than willing to talk through anything. I am a pretty open book.”
“Why don’t you want to have kids?”
I asked immediately.
He smiled and then got serious again,
“For years, I stumbled through school tagged as the kid with behavioral problems. My family members said I had an evil spirit inside of me. I saw priests, imams, and even an online voodoo doctor.
It wasn’t until I wanted to join the army out of high school that I got a psych eval and found out that I had a bipolar disorder.
For a long time I hated myself, and I truly do not want to pass that on to my kids – genetics and such. The world is cruel and I guess the best chance I can give them is to not have them experience it at all.”
His eyes were watery. He was holding back the tears.
I got it. It made sense.
So why did I still want to say more? Ask more?
I wouldn’t need to, as he spoke again,
“I always considered adopting but I just felt that most women would want their own.
However, I decided that in the meantime, I would try to make sure the lives around me felt love and support. That is why I convinced my firm to partner with me and give hope to veterans and other people dealing with mental health issues.”
“So, you would like to adopt?”
He nodded and said,
“With the right woman.
I squeezed his hand tighter and said,
He stood up and planted the longest kiss we had ever shared on my lips.
A tear streamed down the right side of his face. I wiped it off and said,
“You chose to be here for me when you didn’t have to. I gotchu.”
Two days later, I was getting discharged.
My father came with Denzel to take me home.
Denzel drove and my dad was in the passenger seat. As we headed to my apartment, I couldn’t help but be thankful for life and the opportunity to live.
The surgery being abandoned still weighed on me. I kept feeling like there was a plot twist and something else would go wrong.
I guess that’s what happens when you reach the brink of life and get pulled back in.
When we got to my apartment, the place was clean.
It smelled so nice. Remember that I hadn’t seen the insides of my place since I stepped out for that date.
It was beautiful.
I was in love with the place. There was a bouquet of flowers on the kitchen island from my father’s wife with a “Get Well” card signed by Denzel and most of my friends.
My heart was so warm.
The first thing I did when I walked in was walk to the window. I looked outside, and there was a line outside the Denny’s.
Sunday brunch time.
Somehow, that sight truly warmed my heart.
I loved the way people just kept living their lives.
In a very weird way, it made me realize that I needed to keep living mine.
If I had died, beyond my clients and family, the world would have kept on moving for everybody.
Walking back towards the kitchen, Denzel had already put some food on fire.
Rice and stew with goat meat. My mouth was watering. I came up behind him and brushed his shoulder.
He laughed, and continued cheffing it up.
My dad had poured himself a glass of wine from my rack and was watching the Utah Jazz vs. Miami Heat game.
I opened up my fridge and it was perfectly arranged with water, gatorade and food. Lots of it.
I turned to Denzel and said,
“Did you cook all this?”
He turned and said with a smile,
“Most of it. Your dad got the water”
We both laughed and I just felt so grateful.
I walked into my room, closed the door behind me, and did a happy dance.
I knew he was a great man but seeing him in my home – felt A M A Z I N G!
The man just had a way!
It was a beautiful way and how naturally my dad took to him was a huge selling point.
And let’s not forget his cooking skills.
That alone had me considering feeding him. If you know what I mean!
I changed and took a shower.
The shower was everything. It felt so good to be home.
My water, perfect temperature, my own soap, and just my own everything. I hopped out of the shower and changed into an oversized shirt that my dad had given me and some comfortable silk shorts.
I wanted to show off my legs but I realized that I hadn’t shaved in a bit.
Too lazy to run back, I braved the living room.
I could hear my dad and Denzel going at it.
They were arguing and laughing about the game.
The previous game had ended. The 76ers and Bucks were playing now.
Denzel looked at me and asked,
“Would you like me to dish your food now?”
I nodded and said,
He got up and kept talking to my dad,
“Mark my words, Giannis is going to be a multiple season MVP winner – before Embid wins anything. He has no heart”
My dad wanted to clap back but he got distracted by my shirt.
“You still have this???
How many years has it been?”
I laughed shyly and said,
He scoffed and said,
“Well, you know I always told you my style was timeless.”
We both laughed as I sat on the couch. He was sitting on the single recliner to my right and backing the window.
Denzel brought our plates to us with drinks and water.
Rice, goat meat stew and plantains. After weeks of hospital food, this felt like heaven.
Denzel sat next to me while we ate and watched the game.
I don’t remember falling asleep, but all I heard was my dad laughing and teasing Denzel.
The 76ers won.
Giannis had a great game but it appeared my dad was vindicated.
He got up and took all our plates to the kitchen.
He placed them in the sink and began putting on his coat. Denzel said,
“Sir, you’re leaving? I can drop you off.”
My dad said,
“No, don’t worry about it. I’ll Uber.
Let me leave you two; keep her company while she rests. It’s good for her.”
He reluctantly agreed. My dad came over to the couch, kissed my forehead and shook Denzel’s hand.
The door shut behind him a few moments later.
I looked over to him and said,
“Thank you for today and thank you for everything – this was really nice, and the food was so good!
You need to give me all your recipes.”
He laughed and said,
“Nope! I need to have something that makes you keep coming back to me.”
Laughing I said,
“Oh wow, so you are trying to trap me with food?”
“Is it working?”
I smiled and replied,
“Let’s just say you keep going like this and I’m the one that will be proposing to you.”
We both laughed.
I was laying next to him on the other side of the couch.
He picked my feet up and began to massage them.
Gently caressing and loving on them, I was drifting away.
He did that for a little while before he stopped.
He poured himself some more wine and we picked a movie – The Highwaymen on Netflix.
I got up and snuggled on him.
My head was on his lap as we watched the movie. He stroked my hair and minutes later, I was sleeping again.
Frankly, I think it was the medication I was on.
There was a shooting scene in the movie that woke me up. I looked up at Denzel.
He was wide awake and thoroughly enjoying the movie.
He looked down at me and said,
He reached for the remote control, paused the movie and said,
“Can I ask you something?”
I wasn’t sure where this was going but I said,
“Yes, of course.”
“Will you be my girlfriend?”
The words sounded like they came from a megaphone.
I don’t think I have heard anything louder. Not even Jesus.
I sat up straight and looked at him.
“Are you serious?”
He smiled and replied,
I was blushing but I forced the words out and said,
“I would love to.”
He smiled and said,
“Whew! I’m glad you said yes ‘cos I wasn’t sure how I would follow up if you didn’t.”
We both laughed and I said,
“Technically, you knew I was going to say yes.
I mean you fried me plantain and gave me a foot massage. I stand by the fact that you set me up.”
He unpaused the movie and it continued playing.
I didn’t lay back down. I just stared at him.
The room was dark but also perfectly lit with the Denny’s sign across the street and the television.
I did not wait for him to turn.
I grabbed his face and kissed him hard.
I hadn’t felt butterflies like these in forever.
My soul cherished it, my heart liked it, my pussy loved it.
As we broke away, he looked at me.
He was searching for confirmation but I could sense his hesitation.
I pulled him and said,
He leaned in and kissed me.
And then kissed me again. Our lips locked as our tongues communicated what our hearts felt.
The he abruptly stopped and said,
“Wait, are you sure about this? You are still healing.”
I said to him,
“I feel fine.
Just be gentle.”
Minutes later, my shorts were on the floor and I was trying to take his off.
He helped me pull them down and I leaned back onto the couch.
He kissed on me a bit more but my body yearned for him to fill me up.
I could feel my wet dripping down my thigh and towards my ass, and then he slid in.
My eyes closed as I felt every vein on his hard member as he filled my walls.
His thrusts were shallow but intentional. I knew what he was doing and I loved how gentle he was being.
Our eyes opened and he looked me dead in mine.
In and out, slow and controlled without missing a beat.
We were like dance partners at the Rodeo. It was as if our bodies had done this before.
There wasn’t much noise.
It wasn’t like a porn clip on Twitter. Nothing dramatic.
Just simple, sensual and sexy love making.
I think I orgasmed on the feels alone that night. He pulled out and spurted his seed on my inner right thigh.
We both giggled as he wiped me clean with the paper towel I didn’t use from dinner.
He slumped next to me and we slept.
I would get up later in the middle of the night to pee and that was when I put my shorts back on and pulled him to the bedroom.
He held onto me like a prize.
But I was the one who felt like the winner.
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I woke up early.
A little before my beside alarm that never failed to go off at the unforgiving 6:30am.
As we lay there with his hands across my chest as he quietly snored, my heart was racing.
I woke up that morning with an incredible conviction – tell him.
I knew exactly why. I may never had gotten to that point in the natural progression of things but frankly, there we were.
As he woke up some twelve to fifteen minutes later, he said,
“Good morning beautiful.”
With my head turned away from his face, I smiled and said,
“Good morning handsome.”
He was not getting a whiff of this morning breath so early in our relationship.
There it was. Eating at me.
I had always been the blunt type and with my performance at the hospital, it was only right.
“Denzel, I have something to tell you.”
He immediately moved back and sat straight.
Before I could speak, he said,
“If it was because of last night, I am sorry. I wanted to take it slow, I didn’t want you to feel pressured.”
I smiled and said,
“Sshhhh. No Denzel, yesterday was perfect. You are perfect. This feels perfect and that’s why I have to tell you this.”
There was a pensive look across his face as I said,
“You trusted me with so much over the last few days, and your dedication to standing by me, a woman you hardly knew is a true reflection of the man you are. So, I have something to tell you.”
I paused and then said,
“A few years back, about 4 years ago to be exact, I had an abortion.”
His eyes grew big – he jumped in his skin.
“I was dating a man, an older man. He lived in Houston. We were together for over a year and he promised to marry me.
I got pregnant and told him; he asked me to keep it and he was hoping we would have a boy.
A few weeks after I found out I was pregnant, I was contacted by a woman who said she was his wife of 3years.
She told me he had a habit of leading women on and since they have three girls already, he was basically out searching for a boy.
I couldn’t believe it and I was so heartbroken, so I told my dad and we decided not to keep the pregnancy.
I was not going to raise a child by myself, yet alone a child born out of lies and deceit.
I know it is a lot but I felt you should know.”
Minutes that felt like forever passed, and then he said,
“I am going to leave if that’s okay.”
You’re leaving? Just like that?”
“Just like that? Did you hear all you dumped on me?
It’s a lot. I need to process things.”
“Dumped on you?”
I snarled back, then said,
“I just felt you should know”
“…and I appreciate that but it’s just a lot. A lot has happened so fast.
I need to think and breathe.”
It was as if my insecurities kicked in as the next set of words left my mouth; I would regret and still regret till this day.
“So you’re just going to leave?
Is that what you do when you have problems? You run???”
I could tell he felt disrespected. I could see the anger in his eyes.
I have stayed with you through so much, what many would have run from.
Literally most people would have just dropped you at the ER and dipped.
How dare you say that to me?
Man, fuck this.”
“Denzel, why are you yelling at me?”
I chimed back.
He snarled back,
“Because I am upset. Okay?!
I am allowed to be fucking upset! What the fuck?”
And then I said it, I don’t know why but I did,
“You sound really angry. Maybe you should take some time, take your meds and think.”
His face dropped.
All the rage disappeared and seemed to be replaced with regret.
He didn’t say a single word.
He turned and headed out of the room and I heard the front door slam.
Just like that, he was gone.
I cried so much for weeks.
Every single time I remembered him. I would feel a sinking pain in my belly.
I fucked up.
I left so many voicemails, called so many times.
I had never been to his place, so I couldn’t show up even though I wanted to. So badly.
Three weeks went by, not a single word.
It was Saturday morning and I was in my living room. The first time since the night before I saw him last.
I was playing Snoh Alegra’s album and working out on my yoga mat with the windows open when I heard a knock.
I wasn’t sure I heard it right at first, so I turned off the music and walked to the door.
Looking through the peephole, I couldn’t see anyone.
I twisted open the door lock and swung the door open.
At the foot of the door was a bouquet of flowers.
I bent down and picked up the flowers with the base. I looked down the hallways to see if anyone was there.
No one, so I turned back in and placed them on the kitchen counter.
I searched inside for a note. It was tucked in the corner.
I pulled it out and opened it up. It said,
“I hope you are feeling better. Thinking of you.”
A part of me thought it was Denzel.
I really wanted it to be Denzel. I walked over to the coffee table and picked up my phone.
I went to his name and began the call.
It didn’t even ring.
It went straight to voicemail. I was blocked.
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