EP 7: Tangled Web

It’s a week before the conference and Arianna still failed to tell Malachi about it. She had second, third, and fourth thoughts about going. It all came back to the fact that she really has feelings for Shane. It was something about him. It was everything about him that made Arianna’s whole mood change. He softened her.  He made her feel that there could actually be someone out there that could make her happy instead of being with someone

that should make her happy but is failing. She hadn’t noticed the difference until she’d met Shane.

They went to Pierre’s Chateau, a French restaurant in town and she loved it.

“I really enjoy the time we spend together Ari.”

“Me too,” Arianna whispered fighting the quiver he sent down her spine. She loved how he called her Ari. It was beautiful. It made her feel so special like she meant something to him. It was just a nickname but to her it meant so much more than that.

“So, I know I’m bringing this up pretty much every day but you have to tell him.”

“I know. I will.”

“Tonight. Please.” Shane begged. Who was he kidding? What was he thinking with her? Why did he want her so bad knowing that she had a man? A father for her son? This was bad. He couldn’t fight it though. She was the perfect amount of everything. Her Confidence, intelligence, style, and sexiness all made him feel as if she was too good to pass on. Sure she was taken but if her man was treating her right at home would she be out with another man almost every day?

At this point Shane knew he was justifying something inherently wrong. She was taken and he was actively volunteering to be her side piece. But he wanted her. Even though he shouldn’t.

“Ok Shane. I get your point.” Arianna looked at him, admiringly.

“You’re beautiful,” he said capturing her eyes with his.

“You’re not so bad to look at yourself.” She smiled and sipped her water. “I love this.”

“This place is beautiful. Only the best for a queen such as yourself.”

Arianna blushed, “Thank you, but I was referring to being with you.”

He licked his lips. “The first time I saw you, I knew you were special.”

“Oh yeah? How did you know that?” She asked with her eyes glued to his.

“Because, the first time I laid my eyes on you, everyone else in the room disappeared.” He grabbed her hand and kissed it.

“Seriously? You expect me to believe that? It sounds like a line.” She laughed.

“I’m a grown man. I don’t need lines.  I want something special with you. I know I’m a little older but I’m really hoping you decide to give me a chance.

“That’s why I’m being so honest with you.”

“I don’t know.”

He kissed her hand again sending a chill down her spine. “You’re in control.”

Arianna left that date feeling like she was dreaming.  She drove back to work in silence.  Shane and her always left separately and came back separately. They didn’t want to be part of the gossip.

She had never felt this way about anyone as far back as she could remember. It was strong and it was getting stronger by the day.

He was on her mind and she felt little guilt for the Shane fantasies that invaded her mind and left her body on the edge of an explosion. In one they were in a hotel and she had him handcuffed to the bed while she did very inappropriate things to him. In another she got married and lived in a mansion with him.

She stepped back into the office and Cayla greeted her at the door.

“Hey Cayla, what’s up?” Arianna asked

Cayla’s eyes bulged.

“What’s wrong with you girl?” Arianna asked.

“Um… Malachi came here looking for you.”

“Ok…? Why do you look like you’re about to have a heart attack?”

“I told him I thought the two of you were together.”

“What? Why would you think that?”

“The way you come back from those lunches I thought — but I understand now,” she said nonchalantly.

“Understand what?” Arianna asked puzzled.

“You’re having an affair.” She shrieked with laughter. “Ooh girl, with who?”

“Shh! Why would say that so loud? And it’s not true.”

“Well you should’ve told me, I would’ve covered for you but I didn’t know.”

Arianna shook it off. Damn she promised Shane she would tell Malachi about this conference. If he was already suspicious because she was missing for her lunch break, surely he wouldn’t believe the lies about the conference.

Arianna pulled into her driveway and sighed. She walked in the house cheerfully, smiling, hoping it hid her nervousness. She figured a little energy may help with the lie. “Malachi! Where are you? I have great news!” She closed the door behind her saying a quick prayer that this would work.

Malachi walked into the living room, “What news?” He asked curiously.

“I’m going to the Spring Conference. Somebody was fired and I’m the replacement. That’s nice right?”

Arianna asked trying hard not to break eye contact but remain sincere.

“When did you find this out?”

“Today. My boss called me into an emergency meeting today around 12 and asked if I would come with her.”

“Oh that’s nice babe. Congratulations.” He hugged her.

“Well that’s good news. I actually came by your job today to surprise you with lunch and Cayla, I think her name was, told me that you were out with me. I thought that seemed weird.”

“Yes, Cayla is not the smartest cookie. But we do normally have lunch together and I had to push my lunch back. I wish you would’ve waited I would’ve had a late lunch with you,” she lied.

“Maybe next time,” Malachi offered. “How long will you be gone?”

“Four days and I’ll be back. It’s next Thursday. I’m excited. This could be my chance to network with other lawyers and maybe even get a raise.”

“Ok.” He sounded suspicious to Arianna but he didn’t say anything so she let it go. Lying was hard. It took a lot out of her.

Temptation and Betrayal

EP 6: Past Lives

It’s been two days since Jordan heard from Danielle. She really didn’t know how to feel about it but assumed that maybe she was busy. Or scared. Either way Jordan was not feeling good about the situation at all.

There were a lot of things that the two of them hadn’t talked about. Like whether they were single. How could she forget to ask? Danielle was so interested in her that it had to be real. But what if she has someone at home.

“Mom can you take me to school today?” Her 12-year-old daughter, Kiyah, asked from the bathroom.

“Are your legs broken?”

“C’mon mom please?”

“Ok girl, hurry up then.”

“Can you take me to McDonald’s too?” Kiyah asked smiling.

“I knew this was a set up. I can’t trust you,” Jordan said laughing and shaking her head. “Sure.”

Kiyah ran to finish getting ready.

She talked Jordan’s ear off the entire time they were in the car together. Jordan kept thinking about how Kiyah will be starting Middle School this coming school year. It was hard to believe. It seemed like just yesterday she was telling her mom that she was pregnant.

As Jordan headed to work she thought about Danielle again. What was keeping her?

She texted her again, Where are you? and still didn’t get a response. She was feeling a little disappointed because they really hit it off the other night. They exchanged messages all day and then it’s like Danielle disappeared.

What was going on?

Her phone rang. She got excited hoping it was Danielle. But it was Ken, Kiyah’s father.

“What’s up?” Jordan answered.

“Ugh, why you always trying to sound like a man?” He said disgusted.

“Why can’t you ever be a man?” Jordan retorted.

“I’ll always be more man than you.”

“That’s debatable,” She countered rolling her eyes. “What do you want?”

“To take my daughter away from you. That dike shit is nasty and she should know.”

She slammed the phone down. She hated giving him the time of day with an argument. Ken really was a piece of work. He has always been the biggest asshole ever.  Jordan couldn’t really understand how she let it get so far with him.

She was young and he was the quarterback at the time. All the girls wanted him and since rumors always surrounded her sexuality growing up, she wanted to do something to stop them. So she dated a guy. She tried to date a guy would be more accurate. They had sex and she got pregnant.

After a long day at work Jordan liked to come home and relax. She owns five car wash and detail shops. She likes to visit one or two every day for a few hours. It’s always unannounced and chosen randomly unless there’s a complaint. Her partner fills in for her from time to time.

When Jordan pulled up she could see that Kiyah was home because the lights were on. Jordan didn’t directly give her a baby sitter but she has her neighbor Ms. Margaret check on her every couple of hours. She even does a walk through for Jordan to make sure Kiyah is safe and alone.

Jordan grabbed the mail as she headed to her condo on the top floor. Downtown Manhattan was expensive living but Jordan loved it.

She called Ms. Margaret on the way up to let her know she was home. The elevator beeped on every floor, almost as quickly as Jordan sifted through the mail.

The elevator doors opened to Jordan’s floor but she stood there staring at the familiar handwriting on the envelope addressed to her at the bottom of the stack. Jordan felt her World tumbling down around her. The color drained from her face and her eyes widened.

“Mom.” Kiyah said meeting her at the elevator.

“Yes baby,” Jordan said snapping back to reality while her heart raced with fear.

“What’s wrong? You look like you saw a ghost,” Kiyah asked worried about her mom. She glanced at the stack of mail.

“Nothing.” Jordan put the letter back on the bottom quickly so Kiyah couldn’t see it, then took the envelope directly to her room.

Kiyah stood there. She didn’t understand her mom’s strange behavior but she brushed it off.

Jordan emerged from her bedroom with a fake smile on her face, “What do you want for dinner?”

“McDonald’s!” Kiyah said with no hesitation.

“No McDonald’s, your fast food quota for the week is maxed out.”

“Well, next time can I get a warning before my last meal?” She smiled.

“How about you stop wasting it on nasty McDonald’s,” Jordan laughed. “What do you want that we have here?”

“Mom, it’s not funny,” Kiyah said laughing, “Just make whatever.”

“Ok, remember you said that. Give me 30 minutes, and dinner should be ready.”

“Alright.” Kiyah kissed her mom on the cheek and left her alone to cook dinner.

Jordan sautéed some shrimp then steamed some rice and mixed vegetables for dinner. Her mind immediately went back to the letter. How did she find her again?

She texted her brother Omar, She’s back.

EP 5: Love is With Whom we Make It

Arianna watched the sunset, indulging in the moment. She realized that she and Shane shared more than just lunch. They shared an interest in people, politics, and much of the World. Sure he was fine but he was so much more than just his looks. They shared common goals and pasts. He was a companion intellectually. He was really something special.

“So I’ve been thinking. The conference is coming up and I wanted to know if you would go with me?” Shane blurted out uncomfortably.

“What? A conference?” Arianna panicked. She had known the attraction was mutual but they had never crossed the line. This would definitely change things between them. Was she ready for that next step? Was she really ready to get rid of Malachi and try to be happy with someone else?

“Yeah, with some partners. It’s a couple hundred miles away. I really mean no disrespect by it. I just want to get to know you better.”

“You’re serious?” Arianna looked alarmed, “You know I can’t just spend a week with you, I have a kid, and a boyfriend, whom I live with!”

“Why are you angry with me? I’m just trying to give us some time to see if we should pursue what’s between us.”

“Us? That’s ridiculous.” Arianna lied.

“You can’t deny that you feel it too.”

“You don’t know what I’m capable of feeling.” She was stubborn.

He really wanted her to reconsider. “Just take a couple days to think about it.”

“No. I’m not easy. You can’t just tell me you’re interested then ask me to sleep with you in the next sentence.”

“I never said we would sleep together. It’s a two bedroom suite. I just want to get to know you. I swear.”

“Swearing? Quite the gentleman’s promise.” She couldn’t help but to laugh, lightening the mood between them.

He laughed too, then grabbed her hands and stared into her eyes. Arianna’s body was convincing her that she was close to fulfilling her desires of Shane and everything that would come along with that.

“Give me a couple days to think about it.”

“Ok,” he answered sincerely.

Arianna considered going to the conference with him. He was right. There are many things they can’t do because she has to come home every night. The conference is for four days and will be out of town. It’s perfect.

On the way home from work she stopped to see her parents.

“So what is this conference for?” Her mother asked suspiciously.

“It’s for the partners. My boss invited me last minute. Someone else was supposed to go but they were fired. I can’t say I feel bad for them.”

“And why isn’t Malachi coming with you?”

“He has to work.”

“What are you going to tell him when he asks you?”

“Spouses aren’t invited and he does have to work.”

“Girl who do you think you’re fooling? You’re lying through your teeth and to your mom? Shame on you.”

“Mom, I’m not lying.”

“Mm hm,” Her mom appeared doubtful.

“Can you watch Carter?”

“So you can cheat on your little boyfriend?”

“Mom, it’s not cheating. It’s work.”

“You’re really sticking to that story? Sure, I’ll watch my grandbaby. You need to remember that whatever’s done in the dark will come to light.”

“Thank you mama and I know.”

“If you knew, you wouldn’t be doing this. You better hope Malachi believe it more than me.”

“Thanks mama. I’ll call you with the details.”

Her mom’s warning bothered her deep down. I mean she could always stick with the lie no matter what but she wasn’t good at lying and she really didn’t know where she stood with Malachi. Their relationship was rocky. The jealousy was becoming too much for Arianna. It’s crazy.

She wanted out. She wanted Malachi to care about her happiness instead of only his. He had some great qualities but all in all, she didn’t like the way he treated her.

She grabbed Carter from daycare and the weight of it felt confining. She and Malachi have been together for a little over three years. Carter’s only five and the weight of leaving the only father he’s ever really had, made her feel she was two tons.

It was definitely something to think about. It isn’t like she’s never cheated before. She just hadn’t considered leaving before.

The thought of being able to date who she wanted and have weekends of peace where she doesn’t have to fight with Malachi.

The last thing Arianna had to do was tell Malachi about the last minute trip and that Carter would not be staying with him but she really wanted to go.

She was excited by everything. She felt bad for spending a week with another man. Especially since she definitely wanted to do some very physical things to him.

He made her feel things that Malachi had been lacking for some time now.

She pulled into the driveway hesitantly. She was trying to prepare herself to lie better than she did to her mom.

EP 4: What a difference a day makes

Stacey stared as Danielle walked in the house. She could feel her blood boiling. “I called you like 20 times, did you turn your phone off?”
 
“Actually it was 15 times and I had my phone in my purse. I didn’t hear it. I’m going to bed though,” Danielle said brushing past her and into the bathroom.
 
Stacey realized that Danielle didn’t care that she came in late and probably did it to get back at her. So she pretended not to care.
 
Danielle emerged from the bathroom a couple minutes later in her pajamas.
 
“Did you have a good time?” Stacey asked trying to sound just as nonchalant.
 
“I had a great time, probably going out again this weekend.” Danielle said in a matter-of-fact tone, sliding into bed. “It’s better than staying in the house and sleeping alone.”
 
“You don’t sleep alone,” Stacey claimed as she slipped under the covers, wrapping her arm around Danielle, “You sleep with me.”
 
“Actually, we don’t sleep together at all,” Danielle said moving Stacey’s arm off of her. “And I don’t plan on sleeping with you now.” She got up and went to sleep on the couch.
 
The apartment was a one bedroom so they had a pull-out sofa in the living room for guests. She was exhausted so she just grabbed a blanket and wasn’t going to bother making the bed.
 
“You can sleep in the bed. I’ll sleep on the couch,” Stacey said feeling guilty.
 
“Fine with me.” Danielle left the blanket there, “Good night.” She climbed into her soft bed embracing her blanket and pillows. Some nights it was all she had to hold.  
 
How could she sleep after such a night?  First of all, Jordan. Yes Jordan. She blew her mind in a couple hours. Damn she was sexy. Really sexy. And smart. And so sweet. It’s rare that people have these qualities let alone a potential mate that was also interested in her. She was a little excited.
 
Then there’s Stacey. Danielle couldn’t believe that Stacey didn’t care about her calls being ignored. Why didn’t it matter to Stacey? Maybe it was really the end. The lease will expire in a couple months, she could stick it out and get her own place.
 
Danielle finally dozed off with two women on her mind.
 

Beep, beep, beep. Beep, beep, beep, the alarm clock on her phone was relentless. Didn’t it know she’d only gotten three hours of sleep? She rolled over tapping the snooze button. She repeated this process for about two hours. “Ok, No more partying during the week,” she chastised as she stumbled out of bed and into the shower. She didn’t hear Stacey so she figured she’d left for work already.

She looked down at the stamp on her hand and last night’s memories rushed back to her. Jordan rushed back to her. Jordan. The connection they shared last night was amazing. They had one incredible conversation that lasted for hours and she was hooked. Jordan was an addiction that she was completely willing to partake in.

Stacey knocked on the bathroom door as Danielle was getting out of the shower.

“What? I thought you left?” Danielle answered.

“We need to talk about last night,” Stacey pleaded.

“Talk? There is really nothing to talk about.” Danielle opened the door, partially clothed.

Stacey stared at her body as she brushed past her. She was suddenly regretful of everything she risked losing just because she found other women attractive. “I disagree,” she argued.

“No, you just don’t like the taste of your own medicine.” Danielle smirked.

“I don’t. But that’s not the reason I want to talk.”

Danielle frowned her face in disbelief.

“It’s not the only reason Danielle damn, can I have two minutes? You slept all morning, I’m sure you could spare two minutes!”

“You’re wrong,” She said looking Stacey in the eyes, “I actually have no more time for you.” She walked out the door not waiting for Stacey’s response.

Stacey stared, watching her girlfriend walking away. She no longer recognized Danielle. What happened at that club last night? Did she cheat? Did she meet someone new? Had she been cheating all along? Dozens of questions raced through her mind.
 
Stacey had cheated so many times without getting caught that she had almost no boundaries. She didn’t care who she cheated with or how close they were to Danielle.
 
What happened last night? It was clear to Stacey that something changed. The thought of Danielle leaving her finally crossed her mind. She thought of what she normally does when she doesn’t come home all night. She panicked. She could hear her heart pounding in her chest. Danielle is going to leave.
 

Danielle drove to work feeling good. She was gaining control of her life again. That one little assertion of power made her feel as if she could conquer anything.

As soon as Danielle began working her phone rang, she was hoping it was Jordan.

“Hello,” Danielle answered sweetly. 

“Good morning, this is Jordan. Is this Danielle?”

“Yes,” Danielle smiled.

“I knew it, my heart skipped a beat when you spoke.”

“Did it?” She asked curiously as her heart fluttered.

“Yes” Jordan answered.

“Good morning Jordan.” Danielle said as a smile formed across her lips. She was blushing! Jordan thought about her continuously and threw her normal rules out of the window. She was different from any woman Jordan had ever run across.

“Save my number please.”

“Of course.” Danielle said getting goosebumps.  

Jordan didn’t want the conversation to end but had to get back to work. “Well, I’m working so give me a call a little later or text me.”

“Maybe, I’ll do both,” Danielle offered.

Jordan smiled again, blushing, “Maybe, I’ll hold you to that.”