#39 You’re welcome, Carebear
I’m more than a little excited when Caroline arrives at Dshawn’s place on Saturday, ready for a nice night out with friends. Francesca, Aston and some other friends will be joining us later at the club, but for now it’s just the three of us. Dshawn insists on making us his famous chicken risotto, but just like I predicted, he fails spectacularly.
“What’s so famous about your chicken?” I tease him while we wait for the pizza to arrive. Thank God for take-out as a back-up. “Was the chicken itself a famous singer before you slaughtered it and burnt it to a crisp? Or is it the fact that it’s burned that makes it famous, yet also inedible?”
He shoves me lightly and rolls his eyes. “You’re so mean.”
“Yeah she is!” Caroline agrees from her place on the couch. “Just like you deserve. I told you I should do the cooking, but did you listen? No, you didn’t. This is instant karma.”
“Karma may be a bitch, but she’s got nothing on the two of you,” he mumbles before throwing himself down on the couch and grabbing the remote.
“Is it a special remote?” I tease him as he turns on the TV. “Should it go in your collection?”
Last night I finally asked him about all the remotes in his bedroom and it turns out he collects rare old remotes. I didn’t even know that was a thing. It doesn’t look like much of a collection, al thrown on windowsills and shelves like they’re nothing but clutter, but they’re apparently worth a lot of money. Yeah, my boyfriend is a huge nerd.
“Shut up,” he grumbles, but I know he doesn’t really mind us teasing him.
Caroline laughs and puts her feet up on the coffee table while she sips her wine. “This is exactly what I needed after this horrible week. Thanks for having me over.”
“Always,” Dshawn says immediately, reaching out to squeeze her leg for a moment. “Men can be real assholes sometimes.”
Caroline and I laugh at his remark, and she smacks his arm gently. I sit down on Caroline’s other side, pulling her in for a short hug. She’s been a little off tonight, which is exactly why she came over, of course.
“Nathan will come around,” I promise her. “Trust me.”
His ex-wife discovered that he is dating someone and even told their daughter Rose about it, so now Nathan is freaking out. I bet he’s feeling guilty about the fact that Caroline might lose her job if they don’t find out who told Elise and shut that person up. My money is on Caroline’s neighbor Annabel. Stupid bitch.
“I just want him to talk to me,” she complains, sinking into the cushions with a sigh. “He’s being such a…”
“He’s being a man,” Dshawn says, flipping through the channels until he finds a romcom that just started. “We don’t talk about our feelings. We just drink beer, grunt and ignore our girlfriends until we’ve calmed down from whatever stupid thing we’ve been messed up about.”
Caroline and I roll our eyes at each other. If there is one man who is pretty damn good about owning up to his emotions, it would be Dshawn. He’s better at it than me, for sure. It’s one of the many things that surprise me about him, in the best way possible.
We watch the horrible romantic comedy for a while, making fun of the horrible acting and the cheesy plotline. When the movie is over, Caroline and I head over to my place, since most of my dresses and make-up are at my place still, even though I have been bringing more and more of my stuff over to Dsahwn’s apartment the past weeks. In fact, even some of my frying pans and my favorite coffee mug are in his kitchen at the moment, since I hardly ever spend the night at my place anymore.
“Things are going good between you and Dshawn, huh?” Caroline asks while I work on her make-up, trying to make her look sexy as fuck so she’ll feel more confident than she’s been feeling all week. It’s one of the many reasons I love dressing up and going out. When you look and act like your best self long enough, you slowly start feeling like it too, even if you felt like crap when the night started.
“Yeah, it’s great, actually,” I tell her, smiling just thinking about him. “It just so nice to have someone to talk to after a day at work, someone who actually listens. And we’re getting to know each other better each day, talking about even the less fun stuff, like my parents’ divorce and his relationship with his family.”
“Oh yeah, is he still awkward around them?” Caroline asks. “I remember going with him for his stepdad’s birthday once and he was holding his baby brother Pierre like he had never seen the kid before.”
“Pierre is four now,” I say, “and he’s got one more sibling now, little baby Aliyah. He’s pretty good with the baby, but yeah, he’s still awkward around the lot of them. Although I actually convinced him to hang out with Marcus, the oldest boy, one on one. They met up a few days ago to watch a movie and have some pizza, and they actually had a really nice time together. They already set a date for their next man date. Although they both get mad if you call it that.”
Caroline looks in the mirror to admire the smokey eyes I just gave her. “That’s so nice, that you help him to fix his relationship with them. He’s lucky to have you.”
“Nah, I’m the lucky one.”
“Trust me,” Caroline tells me with a knowing look, “he’s thanking his lucky stars that you’re his girl.”
“Shut up, or you’ll make me cry,” I tease, although I have to admit that it’s nice to hear. I know that Dshawn and Caroline text and call each other sometimes, but I don’t want to pry about what they talk about when I’m not in the mix. Their friendship is separate from my relationship with him. I’m curious as fuck, though.
“He’s mad about you,” Caroline insists. “He’s always texting me when he’s worried that he’s doing something wrong, and it’s just so damn cute how much he worries that he will end up pushing you away by showing you how much he really likes you.”
“He’s worried about that?” I ask, prying after all. At least Car was the one to start talking about him, not me. Not that I mind. “Why? Did I do something to make him think that?”
“He obviously knows that you’ve got commitment issues,” she explains, her eyes meeting mine in the mirror while I curl her hair. “And from what I gather, you’ve been very open with him about what happened with Melchior. He’s just trying not to trigger you, because he doesn’t want you to get scared and run away from him.”
“That’s pretty sweet,” I say with a little smile. Dshawn may be a confident, sexy, motorcycle owning, muscular and dirty talking king of… well everything from oral sex to giving a great foot massage, but he is also really sweet, considerate, and little insecure sometimes. “I wish he’d talk to me about that, though.”
“He tries to, doesn’t he? He told me that the two of you actually talk about stuff like that a lot. He just needs to let off some steam sometimes, talk things through with someone who knows both of you. And his best friend is Aston Johnson, so I guess I’m his only option.”
We both laugh at the idea of Aston and Dshawn sitting down to have a serious in-depth conversation about how he can deepen his relationship with me. Aston would probably make some dirty joke about a certain sex position that’s just right for taken a girl as deep as possible and then they would drink beer and watch Die Hard or something. It’s a good thing he and Caroline rekindled their friendship around the same time that Dshawn and I started dating.
“Shaughna…” Caroline hesitated. “Dshawn said that there have been a few moments where he felt like you were about to tell him that you love him, but that you always brush over it just when he thinks that the moment may have arrived. Is that… is that true?”
I inhale sharply. So he knows. He noticed. Of course he did. He’s not stupid.
“It is!” my best friend exclaims the moment she sees my expression. “Oh Shaughna, that’s great! Why don’t you tell him? He didn’t say it in so many words, but I’m pretty sure that he feels the same way about you. I think he’s just waiting for you to be the first to say it, because he doesn’t want to push you to say it back to him before you’re ready.”
“I’m just not there yet.” I finish curling her hair and sit down so she can do mine now. “It’s too soon. It’s not something I just want to blurt out.” Even though I did accidentally tell Marcus, but that was a stupid mistake. “And I’m not sure… I mean, most relationships end eventually, even if they start out great. I don’t want to use big words like that until I’m sure that this is the real deal.”
“Does it feel like it’s going to end?” she asks softly.
I take a deep breath. If I’m ever going to admit how I really feel, Caroline is the only person I feel comfortable talking to about this. “No, it doesn’t, and that scares me.”
She nods and twirls a strand of my hair around the curling iron. “I understand. Or well, I’m trying to. I think that Nathan feels that way too. You know me, I just throw myself into things and forget to take a step back and think, but he is constantly trying to hit pause, just like he’s doing this week. As long as you keep talking to Dshawn about it, I’m sure you will be fine. Because Nathan isn’t doing that right now, he’s just ignoring me, and that hurts. Don’t do that to Dshawn, okay?”
Poor girl. She’s really hurting. “He’ll come around, Car. I actually understand where he’s coming from. My past with Melchior is not the same as his with his ex-wife, but from what you told me about that bitch, she put him through a lot of trauma. A relationship like that leaves scars, even if you don’t want it to. You saw how I was when Melchior left me. Now imagine Nathan in that very same state when he finally left Elise.”
“I never really thought about it like that,” she muses. “Well, a little, I guess, because I know what he’s been through, but knowing and really getting it are different things. I’ll keep your advice in mind. Hopefully he’ll call me soon, or show up at my place, because I’m ready to just get mad at him and let out all this frustration. He needs to see how badly it hurts when he just cuts me out of his life and makes me wait for him to come to his senses.”
“Good,” I say, smiling at her. “Get mad at him. Make him see your hurt and anger. Just be honest like you always are. I bet he’ll be over at your place tomorrow, explaining himself and begging for forgiveness.” In fact, I have the perfect plan to push Nathan in the right direction in a very effective albeit juvenile way. Caroline won’t even know it was me who gave him the nudge he needed.
“Now back to you and Dshawn,” Caroline says, shrugging off her weird mood. “If you don’t want to tell him yet, then don’t. He’s not going anywhere. But don’t wait until you know it’s the real deal, because you’ll never truly know that for sure. There is no guarantee that you and him will last forever. No one can ever know that for sure, no matter how good a relationship seems. If you want to be sure about something, go read a shitty romance novel where the girl and the boy always end up together. Life isn’t like that. Life is messy and all we can do is just be honest about how we feel to the people we love, so that we can at least make the most of the time we have with them, whether that is until they break up with us or until they die when they’re a hundred years old.”
We’re both silent for a moment, our gazes locked in the mirror. And then, at the exact same time, we burst out laughing.
“Okay, Dr. Phil,” I tell her, wiping tears from my eyes.
“I prefer Oprah,” she giggles.
“Where did that all come from?” I ask, still grinning. “That was some deep shit, Carebear.”
She rolls her eyes at me. “I’m right and you know it.”
She is, but that doesn’t mean I’m suddenly no longer scared and that I will stop having panic attacks when things become too real. I vow to myself to make sure that I make Dshawn feel special and loved, even if I don’t actually utter the magical words to him quite yet. He makes me happier than I’ve been in a long time and I can’t stand the idea of him not knowing how important he is to me. That time that he told me that he was afraid that I might value sex more than I value him… I don’t think I’ll ever forget the look on his face. He should never feel like that again. Not if I have anything to say about it.
Speaking of the devil, Dshawn is texting me to tell us that he’s already at Rock Paper Scissors with Aston. Caroline and I are done anyway – she looks so good that it should be illegal – and we snap a quick picture in the living room before heading out and sliding into the uber we ordered. I post the picture on social media, making sure to accidentally tag Nathan in the picture, even though he’s not in it. I’d bet anything that his eyes will pop out of his ancient head when he sees his girlfriend in that tight red dress. I add some hashtags to the picture like #ontheprowl and #lookingforhotmen, knowing that it will drive him crazy. He’s going to be scrolling through my socials all night, unable to help himself. All I have to do it post as many pictures of Caroline as possible, preferable with some hot men around her. I’m sure that if I tell Aston to dance with Caroline and put on his most sexy smolder while I snap pictures, he’ll be happy to oblige.
Mark my words… Nathan will be showing up at her place ready to admit that he’s jealous as fuck, apologizing to her for the past week for fear of losing her.
Like I said, the plan is juvenile, but it doesn’t matter whether your man is 16 or 41. In the end they all get jealous and sometimes you need to show them that their dick is not the only one their girl can get, so they will try harder to keep you. I’ve done stuff like this a thousand times before for all my friends and it always works.
Poor Nathan. He won’t know what hit him.