The Love We Choose

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Chapter 4

Several hours later, Lynne woke from her slumber to something warm trailing down her neck. Slowly, her eyes fluttered open and her fuzzy, sleep-addled brain focused on the familiar, light blue walls. I know these walls. Hmm? Huan has blue walls. Right. Reaching up a hand to figure out what was on her neck, she froze when she pulled back her fingers covered in saliva. She shuddered in disgust before her rage took over.

“Dammit Huan! Wake up! You’re drooling on me!”

“Shh.....speak lower, too loud!” He replied softly, removing his arms from her waist, covering his ears, and burrowing further down under the covers.

“Whatever; control your saliva man!” She snapped, annoyed at him, hopping off the bed, heading into his bathroom to wipe off her shoulder. When she looked at herself in the mirror she saw that the saliva wasn’t only on the skin of her cinnamon-brown shoulder, but trailed down the front of her dress from her shoulder as well. “What the fuck?! Is there any liquid left in your mouth this morning?” She screamed at him from the bathroom. A muffled response of unintelligible nonsense was all she got in return. Grabbing a washcloth from the rack, she cleaned off her shoulder and neck, then took her dress off, taking care to spot the areas with the drool stains on them, and walked back into his bedroom, aiming for his dresser.

Grabbing one of his smallest t-shirts and a pair of his basketball shorts, she put them on, tightening the strings on the shorts around her trim waist to fit her, and walked into the living room to check her phone. She had missed the texts from Ava signifying that she and Keith had made it safely home. Shooting off a reply that she had only made it as far as Huan’s place due to his inebriation she noticed the time, 12:15pm. “Hmm. Guess I was more exhausted than I thought I was.” Undoing the elastic band that was holding her braids back from her face, she let them fall to her shoulders, and massaged her scalp.

After turning her morning energizing playlist on her phone and raising the volume, she slipped the device into the pocket of the shorts and headed to the kitchen. “Valery” by Mark Ronson, featuring Amy Winehouse was the first song up and she swung her hips to it and started singing along as she walked. She was hungry and needed a recovery breakfast.

Filling the teapot with water, Lynne set it to boil on the stove, then filled Huan’s French Press with the necessary amount of grounds for the cup of coffee he would need when he finally left his room. Retrieving the box of lychee-flavored green tea she had hidden in his cabinets, she dropped a tea bag into a mug for herself. Rifling through his refrigerator she found a half-full carton of eggs, some mushrooms, leftover cooked bok choy, a packet of sausage, a bruised avocado, and some bread. “Perfect.” Taking these items out and putting them on the counter, she grabbed the necessary cookware and spices then got to work on veggie-omelets with a side of sausage with toast.

The sound of shuffling feet in the bedroom was quickly followed by the closing of a door. After a flush from the toilet, the unmistakable sound of running water could be heard. Estimating his average shower time and adding time for the time he would probably fall asleep under the water due to his probable hangover, Lynne set a mental clock for thirty-five, maybe forty minutes to get food ready before he came out. More ample time than she needed.

Soon the apartment was filled with the enticing aromas of fresh coffee and breakfast foods. About thirty minutes into her cooking there was a knock on the door. Turning the pan with the first omelet in it down low, Lynne answered the door, singing along to “Queen of the Night” by Whitney Houston. Taking a look through the peep-hole she could not believe who was standing on the other side and cracked the door open with a groan.

So much for 48 hours Veronica-free. “Veronica, what are you doing here?” Lynne only half-opened the door, keeping a strong grip on the knob.

Veronica Cozzetti was a statuesque, bottle-blonde, Italian-American that Huan had met through a mutual med-school friend two years ago. An undeniably intelligent CPA for a local firm who could hold her own with colleagues who had twice her experience, but none of her gusto. On the surface she and Huan had had a picture-perfect relationship, but a week and a half ago when Huan had broached the subject of moving in together she revealed to him that she thought they were in a casual relationship and that she couldn’t see herself committing to him for life. She thought they were just having fun and he was planning for a life with her. She had ripped out and stomped over his heart and Lynne would never forgive her for it.

Raising a recently threaded brow in Lynne’s direction she countered, “one could ask you the same thing. Is Huan home?” Veronica snorted, taking in her appearance. Her eyes widened when she realized Lynne was wearing her ex-boyfriend’s shorts and college t-shirt. “I need to get some things I left here.”

“I think you should come back at another time.” Lynne responded, her tone was flat and calm.

“I don’t care what you think Lynne. I came here for Huan.”

“When you broke up with him, you lost all privileges to come around here when you felt like it. So as I said, you should probably-”

“Lynne! Where are you? Whatever you’re cooking on the stove smells like it needs to be turned off. Lyndy! Who’s at the-oh. Hey Veronica.” Pulling the door all the way open, Huan stood behind Lynne, his almond-shaped, caramel brown eyes narrowing in Veronica’s direction. “What do you want?” He was standing there with only a towel slung over his hips, beads of moisture falling down from his damp hair onto his chiseled chest.

Veronica inhaled sharply as she took in his form. “As I was telling your rottweiler of a gatekeeper, I need to pick up some of the things I left here. If you could call her off, I’d like to come in.”

“Trick, don’t start with me!” Lynne’s native Jersey spitfire appeared at the dig the other woman had taken at her. She started to launch herself at her, but was prevented by Huan’s hands on her shoulders holding her in place. “You know what? I ain’t got the energy for the likes of you today.” Turning on the spot and she looked up into her best friend’s eyes, “I’m gonna go finish making brunch. If you need me...” She gave him a knowing nod and squeezed his shoulder as she walked by.

Huan focused on the woman in front of him who until recently had been the center of his world. “First of all, calling her names was rude and you should apologize. However, I highly doubt she would receive it. Second of all, what is it you left here that you didn’t already take Veronica?”

Veronica rolled her eyes at his first statement and answered his question instead. “I left my black trench coat and a red pair of Jimmy Choo pumps. They are either in your closet or the hall closet. Unless someone took them.”

He let out a long sigh and extended an arm to invite her in,“come on in.” She slowly entered the apartment, making sure to brush up against his naked skin as she walked past him. His body flushed a light pink as she walked to the open closet next to the front door and bent over, shaking her hips, making a show of looking for her shoes. He couldn’t control his body as the blood flow to his dick caused it to swell and twitch, hidden beneath his towel. Although she had shown him that she hadn’t thought of him as anything other than a good lay, he still was very much physically attracted to her.

“Found them.” She said as she held her shoes in her hand, turning around to face him. “My jacket’s not in here though. Can I check your closet to see if they’re there?” She took a step closer to him, her citrus and honey scent filled his nasal passages and brought back a slew of positive memories.

“I don’t think-” he cleared his throat. “I’ll check; you can wait here.” He disappeared into his room to check his closet for her coat.

Veronica stood in the living room and spotted the pillow and sheet on the couch. A smirk played on her lips as she realized that Lynne had spent the night sleeping there. Huan walked back out to the living room with her coat hanging over his forearm. “Here you go.” He handed it to her. She took it, letting her fingers linger over his for longer than need be.

“We sure had some good times on that couch didn’t we?” She asked him, her eyes darkening as she placed a hand on his chest. Taking a step forward, she tipped her head up, slowly closing the space between them.

All the air in his lungs caught in his chest and his heartbeat was steadily increasing. As if drawn to her lips by the pull of an invisible magnet he bent his head down to meet hers with his own. His breath had just fanned over her cheek when “I DON’T FUCK WITH YOU” by “Big Sean” came blasting over the wireless speakers in the living room, pulling Huan out of his stupor, stopping him from pulling her close to his body. He stepped back from her and shook his head. “YOU LITTLE STUPID ASS BITCH I AIN’T FUCKING WITH YOU!” The song continued to play over the speaker filling the air between the two of them.

A shocked look crossed her face that was immediately replaced with a steel resolve as she looked at him. “Thanks for letting me get my stuff. I’m going to go now. See you around Huan.” With a flip of her hair over her shoulder, she walked out the door.

Huan closed it and leaned heavily against it, letting out a breath he didn’t realize he was holding.

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