Chapter X: Unexpected Situations
Sunday Morning, September 26th, 8:03 a.m.
As soon as her feet hit the floor, Erica felt a sudden nauseating feeling hit her in the bottom of her stomach. She stood up and suddenly felt dizzy. She had to steady herself against the bed post. As she stood there, she could feel the vomit rising to her throat. She put her hand over her mouth and raced to the bathroom, barely making it to the toilet before she threw up. Her head felt dizzy and she became hot and sweaty. After she finished regurgitating, she slowly stood up and walked toward the sink to rinse her mouth. The night before, she had gone out to dinner with Jennifer and two of their co-workers. They had decided on a Mexican restaurant that their friend Paulena had suggested. Erica assumed that it was either the refried beans or the Mexican rice that had affected her stomach. She washed her face with cold water and looked at herself in the mirror. Her face looked a bit puffy; she hoped that she wasn’t coming down with anything. She knew that the magazine would be fine without her but she didn’t want to be sick. Her body had felt a bit off for a few weeks now; her last cycle was an odd one. Her cycles usually last around four or five days but this time, it lasted barely three days and it was light. She thought it was possibly stress; sometimes stress caused the body to do strange things. She shrugged it off and stepped into the shower. The steam from the shower caused her vision to become a bit blurry and she had to hold on to the wall to steady herself.
“God, please don’t let me get sick,” Erica prayed. “I can’t be sick right now.” She managed to finish her shower without passing out or feeling sick and she went into the room to dry off and lotion herself. After lotioning herself and sliding into her bra and panties, her phone rang. It was Bianca.
“Hey sis,” Bianca said.
“Hey Bibi,” Erica said, pressing the Speaker button while she finished dressing.
“How are you this morning?”
“Not too well I’m afraid; I got sick this morning,” Erica said.
“Sick? What did you have to eat yesterday?” Bianca said, sounding concerned.
“I went out to eat at a Mexican restaurant,” Erica said. Bianca laughed.
“That Mexican food will do it to you sometimes,” Bianca said. “That’s why I steer clear of them most times. I called you to ask you if you have plans this coming Saturday evening.”
“None that I know of,” Erica said, sitting on the edge of her bed. She had become dizzy again and needed to sit down.
“Ok great,” Bianca said. “I wanted to know if you wanted to come over for dinner.”
“Sounds good,” Erica said. “Just the three of us?”
“Well no,” Bianca hesitated. “We’re inviting Darren as well.” Erica’s stomach lurched and she suddenly felt sick again.
“I don’t know Bibi,” Erica said. She wished she hadn’t asked Bianca about the dinner guests.
“What do you mean, you don’t know? Is something going on with you and Darren? Dean told me that you and Darren aren’t hanging out anymore. What happened?”
“We just decided not to hang anymore,” Erica said. “Nothing personal.”
“Then why did you say you didn’t know about coming over? Are you hiding from him or something?” Bianca asked.
“I don’t have to hide from anyone,” Erica suddenly became irritated. She was determined more than ever to attend the dinner. “I’ll be there.”
“Ok good,” Bianca said. Erica suddenly had an idea.
“Remember I told you that Cash is in Chicago?” Erica said.
“Yes, I remember,” Bianca said. “Do you want to invite him to dinner as well? It would be nice to see him after all these years. I haven’t seen him since your high school graduation.”
“Yeah, I know,” Erica said. “I will call him up and invite him. I’m sure he’ll want to come.”
Saturday Evening, October 2nd, 5:46 p.m.
Erica sat in her apartment, waiting for Cash’s arrival. She had decided to ask Bianca to invite Cash, thinking that Darren wouldn’t act up in the presence of someone who wasn’t family. She had doubted that he would act up in front of Dean and Bianca but she didn’t want to take a chance. Her cell phone rang. It was Cash.
“Hi Cash,” Erica said. She had no idea why she felt butterflies every time she talked to him. It was almost as if she were in high school again. She had been feeling sick all week long and Cash and Jennifer had convinced her to see a doctor. Her appointment was set for that coming Monday. She prayed that she didn’t have some sort of serious illness and she wasn’t prepared to take an extended vacation from work.
“I’m in the hallway now, coming toward your door,” Cash said. Erica hopped up off the couch and walked to the door. She unlocked and opened her door.
“Hi beautiful.” Cash greeted her. Erica knew she still had some feelings for Cash but she was determined to stay single for as long as she needed to. She not only had her new business to contend with, but now she was dealing with this mystery illness. It was too much to take and she didn’t want to add another situation to her life. She knew that Cash had those same feelings for her but unlike Darren, he didn’t push the issue. He was still reeling from his divorce and dealing with the fact that his son lived in another city. However, he enjoyed Erica’s company and it was good to reminisce about the good old days.
“You look very handsome tonight,” Erica said. She had told Cash about her situation with Darren but didn’t delve into it much. She simply told him that she had dated someone but it didn’t work out. She also didn’t tell him that the guy she dated was Bianca’s brother-in-law. Tonight, the two men would come face to face. Erica was suddenly unsure about inviting Cash but it was too late to renege.
“Thanks,” Cash said, flashing his big white smile. “You look great as well.” He leaned in for a hug and Erica breathed in his scent. They pulled away from each other and looked deep into each other’s eyes. It was then that Cash leaned down and planted a kiss on Erica’s lips. Erica was surprised but pleased. The kiss took her back to high school: the first kiss they shared was on the activity bus, coming home from football and cheerleading practice, respectively. She remembered how warm her body was, how her body tingled from his simple touch. He didn’t disrespect her; he held her hands in his and kept them in her lap.
Erica looked into Cash’s eyes and felt a bit of nostalgia. She stood on her tiptoes and planted a kiss on his lips. Cash welcomed her lips and slid his tongue inside her mouth. His hands snaked around her waist and he pulled her closer to him. She felt his manhood through his pants and her vagina tingled. She wrapped her hands around his neck and they let their tongues wrestle. Suddenly, Erica remembered that they were due at Bianca’s at 6:30.
“We better go,” Erica said softly. “They’re expecting us.” She didn’t want to let him go but she didn’t want to end up in another sexual dilemma.
“You’re right,” Cash whispered, resting his forehead on hers. He was breathing softly with his eyes closed. His breath smelled minty fresh. Erica was tempted to kiss him again but she slowly pulled away. There was no way in the world that she would let herself fall into yet another man trap. She grabbed her coat and purse and they left the apartment.
They arrived at Dean and Bianca’s a little over three minutes late in Cash’s Infiniti. As they approached the house, Erica spotted Darren’s Escalade. She suddenly became sick.
“Cash, pull over,” she moaned.
“What’s wrong?” Cash asked.
“Just pull over…I’m feeling sick,” Erica said, trying desperately to hold the vomit in. “Please, pull over.” Just as Cash pulled over to the side of a house a few yards away from Dean and Bianca’s, Erica flung the passenger door open and threw up near a gutter. After she finished throwing up, she pulled herself back inside the car, sweating profusely.
“Are you alright?” Cash asked. “Do you need some water?”
“Yes, please,” Erica said, trying to catch her breath. She became worried; why was she constantly getting sick all of a sudden? Cash put the car into park, walked back to the trunk and retrieved a bottle of water. The water was cool, being that it was October. He also retrieved a paper towel. Erica took both the water and the paper towel from him and opened the water bottle. She poured a bit of water onto the paper towel.
“Let me do that,” Cash said. Erica settled back into the seat and closed her eyes as the cool paper towel was rubbed on her forehead, then her face and neck. The cool air from the outside also helped to cool her off. She opened her eyes and opened the bottle again and took a swig from it. She closed her eyes again and tried to control her breathing.
“I’m okay now,” Erica said after a few minutes.
“You sure? Do you need to go to the hospital?” Cash asked with a concerned look on his face.
“I’m sure,” Erica assured him. “It comes and goes. I’ll be fine. Let’s just get to my sister’s before she gets worried.” Cash got back into the driver’s seat and they drove the few feet to the house. He helped Erica out of the car and they both walked up the stairs to the door. Erica rang the doorbell. She took a deep breath as she heard the lock click.
“Hey you! I didn’t think you were coming,” Bianca joked.
“You know I never cancel anything,” Erica said, giving her sister a hug. “You remember Cash, don’t you?”
“Yes, I remember little Cash Dash from down the street,” Bianca laughed. They all laughed together. “You used to chase Erica with that Wolfman mask.”
“That was my way of letting her know I liked her,” Cash said. “It’s good to see you Bianca. You’re still just as pretty as ever.” He gave Bianca a big hug.
“Why thank you!” Bianca said. “Just for that, you can have seconds, even thirds.” They all laughed. “Come on in here; we’re just standing out here like it’s 70 degrees out.” Erica’s stomach started fluttering again and she grasped Cash’s hand. Cash squeezed her hand back and gave her a wink. Just as they walked in, Dean came from the dining room with a shocked look on his face. Apparently, Bianca hadn’t told him that Erica’s old friend was a guy.
“Dean, this is Cash Turner; he is my and Erica’s childhood neighbor and friend,” Bianca said with a smile. “Cash, this is my husband Dean Sharp.” Dean quickly smiled and extended a hand.
“It’s nice to meet you Cash,” Dean said.
“Same here,” Cash said, looking around the living room. “This is some place you have here; very nice.”
“Thanks man,” Dean said. “Why don’t you guys come on in the dining room? We’re about to set the table now.” Dean and Bianca walked toward the dining room with Erica and Cash following close behind. As soon as she walked into the dining room, Erica’s eyes landed on Darren. She felt like fainting dead away.
If looks could kill, Erica thought to herself as she sat across from Darren, I’d be one dead woman. Dean was busy fixing plates while Cash chatted with Bianca, catching up on old times. Erica placed her hands in her lap, trying to avoid eye contact with Darren. She knew he was upset that she had brought Cash with her but what he didn’t realize is that she and Cash weren’t a couple; they were friends and also, Bianca had wanted to see him. Erica had wanted to see where things went with Darren but after he disrespected her, she couldn’t see herself with him. She didn’t owe Darren anything; they were never a couple. They dated and had sex but that was it. Darren’s large eyes bore a hole through her. She was glad when Dean finally set everyone’s plates in front of them so they could eat.
“So Cash, what do you do for a living?” Dean was the first to ask.
“I’m in Information Technology,” Cash said.
“Oh, an IT man huh?” Dean said, impressed. “If it weren’t for you guys, our entire company would be lost.” Everyone laughed except Darren.
“Information technology is so important nowadays, especially since everything is computerized,” Bianca said, slicing a piece of turkey breast.
“That’s true,” Cash said. “I’ve always been interested in technology. When Erica and I were in high school, I took all kinds of elective classes for it. Erica was always into fashion and stuff. She took all the design classes.”
“Oh…so you and Erica went to high school together huh?” Darren finally spoke up. He eyeballed Cash and Cash was a bit confused.
“Yes, as a matter of fact we did,” Cash said, not sure why Dean’s brother seemed to have an issue with him. He noticed it from the first time they were introduced. Darren had hesitated to shake hands with him and when Cash greeted him, Darren simply grunted. “We were high school sweethearts.” Erica closed her eyes and prayed that Darren wouldn’t act a fool.
“High school sweethearts huh?” Darren asked, taking a sip of his lemonade. “So y’all just happened to connect after all these years?” Dean gave Darren the eye but Darren ignored it. Bianca was confused and looked at Erica for an answer. Erica simply shook her head.
“Yes, we did,” Cash said. “I just moved to Chicago last year and I ran into Erica at the bank a few weeks ago. I had heard that she lived here but we never bumped into each other.” Cash wondered why he felt like he had to explain himself to this guy. It was obvious that Darren seemed jealous and angry at him for some reason.
“Wow…so I guess it was good ol’ fate huh?” Darren said.
“Apparently, it was,” Erica finally spoke up. “Maybe it was meant for us to connect again.” Take that asshole, Erica thought to herself.
“Yeah, maybe it was,” Darren said. “Two peas in a pod.”
“What is that supposed to mean?” Erica asked, getting angry. Cash reached under the table and squeezed her hand. She willed herself not to act up in her sister’s home, especially in front of Cash.
“What is going on with you two?” Bianca asked.
“Nothing at all,” Erica said. “We just found out that we have nothing in common. It seems like Darren is taking it personally. I have nothing against you, Darren. We hung out, we had fun but that’s all it was.” Darren was so tempted to bust Erica about their sexual escapades but one look at Bianca’s beautiful but confused face made him stop in his tracks.
“You’re right Erica,” Darren said. “I’m glad I didn’t waste any more time where I wasn’t appreciated. Now I can hang out with a real, down to earth, ride-or-die chick.” He smirked at her as her face dropped. Now you take that you stuck up bitch, Darren thought to himself.
“Okay Darren, that’s enough,” Dean said, his face turning a bit red. “It’s obvious that you guys are different as night and day. We get it. All Bianca and I were trying to do was get you to be friends but I see that didn’t work out. You guys can go your separate ways with no hard feelings.”
“There are no hard feelings on my part,” Erica said. “It is what it is. I appreciate you guys trying to get us to become friends but sometimes, just because a man and woman are married doesn’t mean their family members will be best buddies.”
“You’re right about that,” Bianca said. She looked a bit shaken and Erica felt sorry for her. “Well…let’s just enjoy the rest of the meal. Is everything squashed?”
“Yeah, I’m good,” Darren said, eyeballing Erica. You’re not off the hook yet, he thought to himself.
Saturday Night, October 2nd, 7:51 p.m.
Darren sat in the family room with Dean and Cash, watching a college football game. He kept his eyes on the dining room, waiting. He pretended to be cool with Cash after the quarrel between him and Erica but he still wasn’t feeling him. It seemed to Darren that Cash was a braggart; talking about his childhood with Erica, his college years at Morehouse and his job. He was surprised to find out that Cash had been married and had a son. She don’t want to be with me, a guy with no ex-wife or kid, but she wants this dude? Darren thought to himself. His blood boiled but he had a plan. A few minutes later, Bianca walked into the family room.
“Oh no, college football again,” she pretended to grumble.
“Yes, college football,” Dean teased. “I found yet another partner in crime; my man Cash here is big on football like me and Darren.”
“So everything is good?” Bianca asked, looking at Darren. It pained her to find out that Erica and Darren’s friendship had crumbled. She knew she had no other choice but to accept it.
“Yeah, we’re good…ain’t we Cash?” Darren said in an extra happy tone.
“Yeah, we’re good,” Cash said. He knew that Darren didn’t like him and that suited him fine; he wasn’t too cool with him either, especially since finding out that Darren was the guy that Erica had told him about. For Bianca’s sake though, he’d go along with the façade. Just then, Bianca’s phone rang: it was her best friend Lydia.
“I’ll take this in the other room,” Bianca said.
“Hi Lydia!” Dean sang out. Dean and Cash laughed. Bianca stuck her tongue out at him and walked into the kitchen. Darren noticed that Erica had disappeared. He decided to see where she was. He had a plan.
“Ay yo, I need to go out to my truck for a minute; I’ll be right back,” Darren said, picking up his coat.
“Alright man,” Dean said, not taking his eyes off the game. Darren walked toward the front door and looked behind him. The family room faced the front door but from where Dean and Cash sat, they couldn’t see the front door. Bianca was in the back of the house in the kitchen so she couldn’t see the front door either. Erica was nowhere in sight. She has to be upstairs, Darren thought. He opened and closed the door as if he had walked outside. He quickly slipped up the stairs and stood in the hallway, listening for Erica’s voice. He wasn’t sure if she was in the guest bedroom or in the bathroom. The guest bedroom door was open but it was dark inside. He peeked inside anyway but she wasn’t there. Just as he stepped out of the room, he heard a toilet flush. He tiptoed toward the front of the bathroom door and waited for her to open the door. He heard the water flowing from the sink; she was washing her hands. The water shut off and the door unlocked from the inside. As soon as Erica opened the door, Darren was standing there. He shoved her back into the bathroom. He closed the door and locked it, pushing her against the wall and placing his hand over her mouth.
“If you scream, I will fuckin’ hurt you,” Darren whispered in an angry tone. “Don’t make me hurt you Erica.” Erica began whimpering and her eyes filled with tears. Erica’s tears didn’t move Darren though. He was too angry with her to feel pity.
“You thought you were smart down there didn’t you, bringing that pretty muthafucka up in my brother’s house. Rubbing that shit in my face,” Darren growled in a low tone, standing nose to nose with her. Erica flinched. “But we both know that I gave you the best sex you’ve had in a long while. I know it and you know it. That’s why you kept coming back. I bet that nigga Cash can’t please you like I can.” Erica continued whimpering and a tear slid from her face to his hand. “As a matter of fact…I haven’t had any of that sweet pussy in a while now. How about I get a little taste right now?” Before Erica could react, Darren had spun her around. He yanked her skirt up and yanked her panties down to her ankles.
“Please Darren…don’t do this…” Erica whined. Her tears fell into the sink. Darren unfastened his jeans and let them drop to his ankles. He bent her over and stroked his dick, which wasn’t quite hard yet. He planned to do her the way he did Crystal; fuck her with an angry passion.
“Oh, now you want me to feel pity for your ass? Just like you hurt me, I’m gonna hurt you,” Darren said. He rubbed Erica’s vagina with one hand and held her over the sink with the other.
“Darren please…I’m…sick…I’m really sick,” Erica cried.
“Now all of a sudden you’re sick? You’re really a piece of work, Ms. Parker,” Darren said with venom in his voice. His dick suddenly grew hard and all at once, he slid it inside her. Erica yelped. “Take it girl…take it like you used to. I bet Mr. IT Pretty Boy doesn’t fuck you like this, now does he?” Darren pounded in and out of Erica, her vagina growing more and more slippery. Her mind may not have wanted it but Darren knew that her body did. He became more and more turned on. He had to admit that he missed the way she felt.
“I’m not having sex with him; he’s not my boyfriend!” Erica said, her voice growing louder.
“Oh, is that right? So you telling me that he’s not hitting it on the regular?”
“No,” Erica cries became harder. “I promise I’m not having sex with him.” Just then, Bianca’s voice echoed from the hallway.
“Erica, you okay? You feeling sick again?” Darren looked down at Erica and he realized that Erica wasn’t lying about being sick. His manhood went limp at the sound of Bianca’s voice and he slowly slid out of Erica.
“Tell her you’re okay,” Darren whispered in her ear.
“I’m okay Bibi,” Erica said, trying to sound normal. “I’ll be down in a second.” She looked back at Darren and prayed that he would stop.
“Okay…I need a woman to chat with; the guys are watching football but I don’t know where Darren went to. He said he was going to his truck but I don’t see him out there. I’ll see you downstairs.” When Darren heard Bianca’s footsteps descend down the stairs, he stood back against the wall, his limp manhood dangling between his legs.
“So you’re really sick huh? What’s wrong with you?”
“Why do you care?” Erica asked angrily, turning around and pulling her panties up. “I told you I was sick and you still did what you did. Fuck you Darren.”
“You already did Baby Girl,” Darren laughed. “Clean yourself up. You better not say shit to anybody about what happened in here. Remember, I know where you live.”
Darren was having mixed feelings about what happened at Dean and Bianca’s earlier. A part of him was worried about Erica, finding out that something was physically wrong with her. He had thought she was lying to him because he was having his way with her. Yet, another part of him was angry with her. She had the nerve to bring that nigga Cash to his brother’s home. There were a few times that Darren was tempted to reach over the table and punch him in his pretty face.
As Darren flipped through his Netflix movie choices, he knew things had to change within him. Erica had turned him into that young D-boy he had been before he went to jail: reckless, unfeeling and uncaring. He still got attention from the ladies but none of them were on Erica’s level. He tried taking a few out on the town but he always found himself thinking about the times he spent with Erica: at the movies, clubs, dining out, bowling and even staying home enjoying movies and music. Erica had even convinced him to attend a play, which he surprisingly enjoyed. He wished he could just go back and do things over. He wouldn’t have taken Dean up on his offer to come over that fateful Saturday night to meet Erica. He wouldn’t have taken the initiative to ask her out, to go back to her place in his tipsy state, to have his way with her physically. His life was seemingly perfect before Erica Parker showed up and showed out.
“Dammit, I hate her ass!” Darren suddenly yelled out. He flung the remote control on the bed and flopped back on the bed. He hated her for making him fall in love with her and then cutting him off because of a slip of the tongue. If anyone should have been angry, it should have been him. She was the one who was ashamed to let people know how she felt about him. He was so tempted to call her phone and cuss her out, but then that would have made it seem like he wasn’t over her. Actually, he wasn’t over her but it was obvious that she had moved on. Although she had told him that nothing physical was going on between her and Cash, he knew it was a matter of time before something more developed. After all, they had grown up together and had been high school sweethearts. It was obvious that the love was still there.
Darren knew it was wrong of him to take advantage of her in Dean’s bathroom but he knew no other way to get her alone, to see if there were some sexual feelings still in the air. The way Erica’s body responded to him, despite being ill, was evidence enough that her body still craved him. She felt so good, so wet, so tight. A part of him liked seeing her cry; he wanted her to feel how he had been feeling since he left her apartment a few weeks back. Another part of him, however, wanted to take her in his arms and hug her tight. He wanted to show her that he could be compassionate and loving, the same Darren that she’d met on that warm spring night in April.