I look away form my father’s pleading gaze as I stood with my packed bags next to Alonzo’s sleek, black Audi R8. How the hell can he afford this? I was a sucker for cars, especially Audis. I’ve always wanted one, and just looking at Alonzo’s was making me fight the urge to jump around and sequel like a school girl. There was just something about these kind of cars that did something to me...
After Alonzo dropped the bomb on me about staying at his place, he carefully and gently cleaned the small cut on my knee and waited for my answer, which, no doubt was a yes. What was I going to do anyway? I wasn’t going to stay there after my father gave me an ultimatum, one in which, wasn’t hard to pick the answer to. He made his choice now it was time for me to make mine. So, with not much deliberation on my part, I packed my things, ready to leave the negativity behind.
“Lani hun, please don’t do this.” The tears in my stepmom’s eyes almost made me change my mind, but the stubborn part of me wasn’t having it. For all the things that I’ve put up with from Georgia, I didn’t have the strength to go through it all over again. Especially with her rubbing the fact that she was getting married to Alonzo in my face.
“I’m sorry, ma,” I said, walking over to her and giving her a tight hug, “I just can’t do this anymore.” She pulled away, holding my cheeks in her warm hands, forcing me to look her in the eyes. “What can’t you do anymore, hun? Is this really about what happened all those years ago?” I shook my head and pulled her hands from my cheeks.
Yes, apart of it was about what happened seven years ago, but it wasn’t just that. I had to live in the shadow for that woman ever since she got here, and my father didn’t make it any better. He loved me and took care of me for sure, but the things that he should have took the time out to notice, he didn’t. Like the time when I was in the foods club and our team got selected to represent our school in a Culinary Arts Expo competition in Dallas.
He knew I had a passion for cooking, in fact, he was the one that inspired me to not just only love eating food, but to love preparing it as well. I’ve been saving up and telling him about that competition for months. He always gave me a smile and assured me that he would be there, but when the time came, he wasn’t.
It just had to be a fucking coincidence that on my competition day, Georgia needed the support for her cheerleading competition that she, mind you, didn’t tell anyone about until the actual day. Mom wasn’t there at the time to go with her, so the only other person that was left was dad. I pleaded for him to be there for me, but his response was that Georgia was now his new daughter, and he needed to be there for her like how he was always there for me.
So, I ended up going alone. No mom, no dad, no family, no support. We won, but the victory just didn’t feel the same without my father there. I cried that day till I was blue, and people thought it was tears of joy. If only they knew...
Sure he had been to a lot of my competitions through out the years, but this one was much more important, and he missed it because he wanted to win over Georgia and make her feel welcomed in our small family. A family she was tearing apart by being the selfish, brat that she is.
“No ma, its not about that. I just...” I trailed off looking at dad again, seeing how sorry he looked, but to me, there was just no coming back from that. Not after all that we’ve been through, “I just need some time to myself.”
“Are you sure this is what you want?”
I nod not feeling the slightest bit sorry about my decision. Gia and her wedding can go to hell. “Yeah, I’m sure.” She gives me a barely there smile and walked back over to where dad was by the front porch.
“Why does she have to stay with you!” The shout from Gia had everyone’s attention. Alonzo looks just about ready to burst with frustration, and the picture of pure fury on Gia’s face was making her look like a swollen tomato. Things didn’t look good to say the least.
“For the last time Gia, she doesn’t have anywhere else to go.”
“Then why can’t she just go to a hotel?”
Alonzo clamps his mouth shut at that, knowing full well that the reason for that was because I was broke. My cheeks burn in embarrassment. I definitely do not need Gia finding out about that for her to use against me. She had everything that I should have, and I don’t know whether to just break down and cry or laugh at how much of a fuck up my life really is.
I could feel the green monster rearing her ugly head.
I wasn’t jealous of Gia per say, at least, I don’t think I am. I just think that I shouldn’t have Georgia influence my life any further than she already had. Plus, my father put the icing on the cake with wanting me gone because I didn’t want to pretend I was happy for her when I knew deep inside I wasn’t. This just screamed Kemari all over again and that’s the last thing I needed right now.
“Its complicated.” Gia gave him a look, one I knew meant that things were gonna blow, and boy did she let it blow. “I’m your fiancée Alonzo,” she said exasperated, like that was all the answers he needed to not let me stay with him, “I shouldn’t be begging you to tell me what’s going on with her,” she spat the words looking at me with a glare. I felt like a deer caught in headlights with everyone looking at me. “I don’t want her living with you.”
Alonzo sucks in a deep breath and takes a look around. He notices that everyone was staring and listening to their not so private conversation. “Not here, Gia.”
“Just tell me why...” She stares up at him pleadingly, looking all doe eyed, like a toddler would her dad when she wanted something. Was this twenty-five year old woman pouting? He sighs and takes hold of her elbow and pushes her more over to the side, and whispers in her ear.
I did feel slightly guilty about the unwanted trouble I was causing, but what choice did I have? I was already having trouble making up a solid proof plan to not attend the wedding, which was already painful as it is, watching the man I still cared for prance around with my bitch of a sister, and now I had to play kiss and make up as a maid of honor? Fuck no.
They finally seem to be on some level ground, because Gia nods and gives him a hug, before making her way over to me, looking slightly red in the face, “I don’t know what the fuck your up to, but stay away from my fiancé, or things might just be hell for you. Sister or not.”
“Get the fuck out my face.”
“Or what, Lani? Your gonna fuck my fiancé behind my back? You weren’t even here a day and you were already up in his face. You think I don’t know what happened up the stairs before breakfast?” All the color drained from my face. She laughed humorlessly, “You might think in that little brain of yours that Alonzo still has those old feelings for you, but he doesn’t. Just like highschool, they always come running back to me. Just remember that when your fucking him in our bed.”
My hands balled into fists at my sides. Her words rendered my speechless and I couldn’t deny that it hurt. You will not cry, Lani. Your better than this, than her...
“Hey, everything okay?” I blink a couple times and look up to see Alonzo towering over us. Gia pipes up with an excuse, “Yeah, everything’s fine. I was just saying my goodbyes.” He shoots me a quick concerned look and focuses back to a grinning Gia. My insides burn as I watch her lean up to him, putting her hands around his neck and step up on her tippy toes for a kiss. I look away before I could see what I knew was going to happen. Why did I think that it was a good idea to move back here?
“Break it up you two.” I look up to see mom and dad approaching us with soft smiles on their faces. Gia blushes bashfully, and Alonzo grins down at her. I felt sick. He clears his throat and looks at me, “You ready to go?”
“Yes,” my voice is clipped and cold, and I see him frown at me. Good. I can’t believe I gave in to my desires and let him touch me. Despite how awful Georgia is, its wrong and it shouldn’t have happened. I wouldn’t want my sister messing around my fiancé too. Finding out about that would destroy me. Yet, Gia didn’t seem at all fazed, in fact, it was like she welcomed the fact that I might end up sleeping with Alonzo.
If she knew about what happened this morning, why wasn’t she upset? Even now, why let me stay with your fiancé when you knew I had feelings for him? One minute she was all against me staying with him and now she wants me to?
Something wasn’t adding up, and I felt like there was a big missing piece to this puzzle that only Gia seemed to know about.
I snapped out of my thoughts when I felt my bag being moved. I gaze at Alonzo as he puts my bags in the trunk of his car and I take that as my cue to get in. Everyone already went back inside and I took the little silent moments to say a silent prayer for strength, because as tempting as Alonzo might be, Gia’s words hit too close to home, and I really didn’t know what was up her sleeve.
The best, logical thing to do would to avoid him at all costs. I wasn’t going to let Gia’s words ring true and let her be right about my life again.
So many things worked in her favor when it came to me, and I’m not gonna let her win this time. All I have to do is get a job and when I do, I’ll be out of his house and out of this town as fast as I got back here, and that’s a damn promise.