IMMATURE

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The Morning After

“Morning you.” I awoke from my slumber on Gary’s chest.

“Good morning!” Gary replied, staring into my eyes adoringly.

“You wanna do something fun?” I inquired, wide-eyed, as my neurons filled with imaginative ideas.

“Last night was pretty fun!” Gary smirked. I sneered at him, proceeding to not-too hardly pillow him in the face.

“Y’know what, I dislike you sometimes!” I exclaimed, through a mouthful of laughter.

Gary laughed wholeheartedly, his face turning an amused shade of red.

“Not last night ya didn’t.” he winked, giving his trademark wide-tooth grin.

“Don’ get tackled, aight?” I squared up to him, speaking whisperingly.

“Aww, are you afraid to admit that you’re playfully annoyed with me darling?” Gary inquired, under the

guise of a terribly humorous British accent.

I eyed him amused at his antics, nodding my head from side to side.

“Go and brush ya teeth!” I demanded, through laughter.

“As you say boss!” he said in response, saluting me, proceeding to follow my previous command.

I laid back on the king size, white comforter covered bed sheets with a grin on my face, thinking about the events from the night before.

I proceeded to head downstairs, not before brushing my teeth and doing my hygiene and skin care routines and putting on one of my boyfriend’s satin red robes and rocking my messy shortcut.

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I didn’t have an issue with going down the steps as there were a lot of walls I could use for stability, not having to worry about my canes which we were too antsy last night to retrieve from out of the trunk of McKinnon’s car. I arrived downstairs to the kitchen, delighted by the smell of chocolate chip pancakes and crispy bacon, accented by freshly squeezed orange juice.

“He cooks too?!’ I asked, excitement pouring out of my vocal cords, walking towards Gary, too excitedly to be focused on my balance - or rather the lack thereof.

“He does!” Gary responded, trying to hide his anxiety as he rushed closer to me, to protect me in the event that I did lose my balance.

I could tell he was mesmerized at the idea that I was able to walk without holding onto anything for a few moments. My disability gave me a certain gait that distinguished me from able bodied people, but I was confident in it nonetheless.

“Impressed?” I inquired, a whimsical tone in my voice.

It took Gary a second to snap out of his trance before nodding his head from side to side, and closing his mouth.

“That you can still walk after last night, yes ma’am.” ’He said playfully, snapping out of his trance and nodding his head, grinning mischievously.

“Oh well I’m surprised you can walk into this kitchen wit’ ya lil fade messed up, lookin’ like a mop on yo’ head!” I teased.

“Oh, this?” He pointed to his hair. “You did this to me, I’m proud to say!”

“Y’see that? I said, hitting my fingers against my thumb. “Keep movin’ ya lips and it’s not gon’ happen again.” I laughed, with the knowledge that his talking was what got us into this in the first place.

“Okay, Ms. Chantelle.” He said, leaning his head to the side in an unfazed manner.

“Okay, Comb Over.” I said, teasingly, getting all in his face.

My knees began to buckle, Gary not missing a beat, hastingly catching me by the waist.

“Okay?” he asked, looking concerningly into my eyes, his brows furrowed.

“Mhm!” I nodded emphatically, a bit caught off guard that he actually caught me.

“I usually don’t have anyone around to catch me when these things happen ya know?”

“Well that’s going to change for the better. Okay sweetheart?” he said, eyeing me with understanding and assuredness.

“I’m not against that at all!” I said, leaning my body weight against his chest for stability.

I was impressed at how Gary was able to hold me and swiftly grab the chair from the dining table and sit me down.

I lost eye contact with him for a sec, a tad embarrassed by my little fumble.

“Hey.. it’s okay.” he said, caressing my face and staring into my eyes adoringly.

I nodded my head gently, still not looking up at him.

“You want some pancakes?” Gary inquired, the palm of his hand still resting on my cheekbone.

I made eye contact with him again, the orbits of my eyes lighting up and a smile curving my lip.

“I love how you think all of my problems can be solved with food.” I said, resting my fist on my chin.

“Not just any ol’ food - chocolate chip pancakes! Made from scratch.” Gary responded, a gentle grin forming on his face.

“I most definitely wanna try these shits! They sound bussin Mr. Rich Rich!” I said, before breaking into a quirky dance wherein I swayed my head and hips from side to side, while alternately placing my fists behind my head and snapping my fingers rhythmically. Gary silently stood there, eyeing me puzzly amused as he retrieved the pancakes from the stove and dressed both of our plates.

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“Mmm, these actually hit different!” I exclaimed whilst making brief eye contact with McKinnon as I cut into the side of my second pancake and placed a piece in my mouth. “Don’ even need syrup on ’em.” I said, while drizzling syrup onto my stack.

“Yet you’re still putting it on.” Gary chuckled, gazing at me with a puzzlingly amused expression.

Yeah!” I exclaimed, looking up at him, justification in my eyes. “Even though they don’t technically need it, it’s just like... Spongebob without Patrick. Like Sponge - he’s cool but ya know that’s the whole thing, they balance each other out. Na’mean? I said, genuinely invested in my comparison with a shrug of my left shoulder.

He silently glared at me amused for a minute, natural blush painting my cheeks due to the quiet.

“Uhhuh... “ He nodded his head in a mix of confusion and amusement.

“Oh, whatever!” I said emphatically, unintentionally hitting my fork against my plate.

“I quite enjoy flustering you! You look so adorable when you’re waiting for me to respond to your naively rooted revelations.” McKinnon nodded his head, pleased with himself.

I covered my face in my hands, only letting my eyes peek through, the natural blush on my face refusing to fade.

“I’m a child! Kay? I get that! I mean, you could place some orange juice in front of this absolutely unhealthy meal and I’d be convinced it’s well balanced! And you gotta be okay with that!” I stated, semi frustratingly.

“I’m really trying my best sweetheart but you are just so cute!” The way he looked at me I could tell he was being genuine, resting the ball of his fist on his chin.

“Thank you dahling!” I said, emphatically, under a not-half bad British accent while resting my fingers under my chin in a queenlike manner - looking off to the side. “Now that you’re done fondling me,” I began.

“Who said I was done?’” McKinnon interjected playfully. I eyed him piercingly.

“I’d really like it if you’d help me with this project I wanna work on.” I continued

“Of course sweetheart, I’d love to!”

“Yay! I figured you would be. There is one caveat I’m afraid.” I said, looking slightly smolderingly in his direction.

“Which is?” Gary furrowed his eyebrows, leaning forward.

“You’re gonna have to take me back home to get my supplies.”

“Are you sure you wanna leave?” He proceeded to stand up from his seat and walk over to me, planting a kiss on my forehead, standing me up and holding me by the waist.

Tempting.” I paused, taking a deep exhale. “But I promise it’s gon’ be fun!” I looked at him with pleading eyes.

“You know I can’t say no to that face.”

I grinned a wide tooth smile, staring at him endearingly before going upstairs to change into my neon green striped crop top and denim overalls. I went into the bathroom to find my boyfriend’s wave brush on the sink, which I used to shape up my low, lilac high top fade. I did not have access to my perfume as we were not at my apartment. In place of it, I sprayed some of his cologne before slipping on my off-white Nike Airforce 1’s and heading for the door.

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McKinnon held the door for me as I brushed past his shoulders. He kissed me gently, holding me at my side for stability. Still holding the door open, he leaned into my neck and gently bit it. Shortly after he began sniffing me.

“Havin’ fun there?” I asked playfully.

“Using my cologne are we?” he asked, gazing at me intensely.

“Oh, you’ll be fine!” I responded smirking at myself as I walked out the door and headed for the Prius.

As we reached the car, Gary held the passenger side door open for me. As I climbed in, he had his hands placed at the bottom of my sneakers as to support my feet.

“You, my lady,” Gary started, hand on my thigh as per usual. “are a pretty little piece of work!” he said emphatically.

“That’s all fine and good babe.” I said, adjusting myself into my seat. “ May I use your aux?” I asked, attempting to seem unbothered as my facade cracked and I began laughing hysterically not too long after.

He nodded his head, smirking at me, practically slamming the van’s door. I belted out laughing as he came around to the driver’s seat door and adjusted himself into the car. Gary patted my femur twice, buckling himself in.

“Seatbelt.” He commanded, in a gentle yet overprotective manner.

“Feeling demanding today are we?” I inquired teasingly.

Y’know- I shoulda never told you about how much I like to fluster you, you didn’t play along with me just now. Gary remarked, over-exaggeratingly pouting his lower labium.

“Aww is my little baby-waby upset ’cause I didn’t play into his flirtation earlier? Naww.” tsking with the tip of my tongue. Whatcha gon’ do about that Gar, huh, huh, huh, huh?” I said playfully, getting all up in his face for the second time that day.

Gary narrowed his eyes, proceeding to unbuckle his seatbelt and cross over to my side, tickling me at my sides with his fingertips.

“You done?” he asked, semi annoyed, enjoying my laughter.

“Yes baby, I’m done, I’m done!” I insisted. He kissed me passionately before pulling away.

“Good. Now seatbelt.” Gary buckled me in before ducking back into his seat, satisfied with himself.

“Imma get you back!” I buckled myself in, smiling in his direction before looking out the window, semifrsutatedly.

“Not exactly sure how you’re gonna do that love.” he replied, smirkingly.

“Jus’ you wait.” I said, eyeing him smolderingly. “Now let’s get dis’ aux jumpin’!” I said, excitedly. I opened my YouTube app and located the song “Whe Ya Want?” by Destra Garcia while singing the lyrics to Gary tauntingly.

“As soon as yuh pass di door/Is me that yuh looking for/Meet me by de bar for sure /Right by de bar/Right by de bar/Yuh looking meh in meh eye/Yuh talk to me with ya smile Baby , but yuh look so shy,/ Doh look so shy, doh look so shy/I know yuh like me /But yuh cyah tell me/Is that yuh story baby?/Maybe I want yuh/But I cyah show you, unless you let me know/Whe yuh want?/ Whe yuh want, whe yuh want, whe yuh want wit me….”

I sang as I caressed his face, him staring at the road and occasionally glancing at me in return, until we reached my apartment complex.

“Such a beautiful distraction you are..” he said, admiring me wholeheartedly.

“If you keep staring at me like that I’m not gon’ be able to get outta the van!” I stamped my foot in semi frustration that I’d have to leave his side a moment.

“Aww you don’t have to miss me too much sweetheart, I am gonna be right here.”

“That’s true.” I said, pretending to look distraught.

Gary tapped my thigh lighty, before stepping out of the car and walking in a half semicircle around the trunk, holding the passenger door open before facing the canes wrist-towards me.

“Thank you baby.” I said, looking up in Gary’s direction as I placed my wrists into their respective lofstrand canes.

“It’s no problem love.” he said warmly, as I stood up giving a gentle smile and caressing his face before walking up to my quaint apartment building.

Third time he’s said that. I thought, smirking to myself as my apartment door grew closer and closer.

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“Time for an outfit change.” I said, nodding my head at my reflection confidently staring back at me in the mirror.

I opened my closet, not too shortly after locating my solid black Nirvana crop top and my comfortable fitting and booty-hugging mom jeans from FashionNova.

I eyed myself, pleased with what I saw. No lipstick today, I think my natural lip color will mesh with this ’fit better. I thought, nodding my head in conformation, proceeding to exfoliate and apply Blistex instead.

I then began packing my black Under Armour backpack with my HP mini digital printer and canvas paper, cardstock and my 13 inch MacBook - a highschool graduation gift that my grandma chipped in on last summer. Lastly, I retrieved all of the unused photos scattered around my desk and gathered them all into a manilla folder, also grabbing a few magazines and my plastic chest filled with Copic and Sharpie alcohol markers as well as my trusty lefty-safe scissors. I proceedingly grabbed my canes and headed downstairs for the door.

I managed to reach the 3rd flight of stairs before my knees started to wobble and ache a bit. Push through it Chanti, you’re a boss. I thought to myself. I grinned at the sight of Gary peeking through the window slit in the door of my apartment’s entrance - making silly faces at me. Caught in his adorableness, I put one of my canes too far out of proximity with the other, causing myself to make a misstep. I was able to hastingly catch myself in the split of a second by placing my non-dominant hand on the railing. Gary saw this through the door window, therefore not hesitating to dash inside, took hold of my waist to stabilize me just as he’d done earlier that morning.

“Shi-” A cusd almost passed my lips out of fear, sighing in relief as I settled into his side.

“I got you, Ren.” he spoke, softly, making my tight fitting trousers tighten noticeably against my groin.

“Thank you baby.” I looked at Gary with adoration filling my orbits as I gently caressed his malar bone with the ball of my thumb.

“Of course my sweetheart.” Gary stared reassuringly back into my honey brown spheres. “I’m gonna carry this to the van for you, okay?”

“Okay... I replied lowly, looking down at the white tile floor, my voice trailing off in embarrassment.

“I don’ like when it’s like this.” I paused, looking at him, a tinge of sadness in my eyes.

“Elaborate sweetie.” He said, anticipating more about how I was feeling, concern in his eyes.

“ I just don’t want you to feel like I’m depending too much on you to help me and I get used to it. Then, if we -” My voice trailed off, a pang of sadness traveling through the pit of my stomach and my eyes glancing back at the floor - tears forming in them.

“I don’t want you to worry your pretty little head about that anymore. Look at me.” Gary paused, giving me the opportunity to lock my eyes with his. “Does it look like I’m going anywhere?” Gary inquired.

I nodded my head from left to right, my eyes not leaving his. I muttered a low, but confident “no”.

“Can you try and do one thing for me in future for me, gorgeous?” Gary inquired, softly

“What’s that babe?” I asked with reciprocated gentleness.

“Can you please.start being more gentle with yourself? I’m right here for you. You’re a strong independent woman -”

“Period.” I interjected in agreeance.

Gary chuckled, nodding his head in further agreement.

“No one is taking that away from you, especially not me. It’s okay to ask me for help, sweetheart.”

“Like how I leaned on you this morning? I hope it didn’t bother you.” I said, reflecting on events from earlier.

“Of course it didn't honey! I promise, I won’t assist you with anything you don’t ask me for help with. But, I do have to step in in the event you’re going to fall, with what happened to you just now barring as an example. I just want to be there for you Chanti.”

I made eye contact with Gary, adoration seeping through my hazelnut colored orbits in complete belief and understanding.

“Like the song!” I beamed.

“Are you gonna start singi-”

“Gotta be there, be there - in the morning! When she says hello!” I grinned from ear to ear, singing the infamous heartthrob tune “Gotta Be There” by the Jackson 5.

We both laughed hysterically for what seemed like a blissful eternity, shortly locking eyes with one another as we sat in silence for a few moments.

“I heard you and I believe you.” I paused, a look of pure adoration filling my sockets, McKinnon not breaking his infallible charming smirk. “ Which is why I’ll start implementing those changes right here, right now.” I said, a determined mug grazing my face, as I simultaneously hit the side of my left fist into the palm of my right hand.

“Babe, may you take my backpack please? I would carry it the rest of the way to the van but my back is biting right now, and my legs are already mad tired.” I exclaimed, referring to the sharp aching sensation in my back and rubbing it with my hand.

McKinnon proceeded to grin wholeheartedly, tilting his head a bit.

“You know what Chanti? I’ll do you one better.” Comb-Over responded, slinging my backpack over his shoulders,

“Ho-?” I began to inquire, as I was hoisted up by the waist, McKinnon holding me close to his chest and us kissing as we inched closer and closer to the Prius.

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