Strings of Fate

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Chp 5

Chp 5

Aisha awoke with a runny nose and a headache. She had a stiff neck for sleeping in her loveseat and was still damp from yesterday. She got up and had a hot bath changing into warm clothes.

Despite being slightly sick she felt well enough to come to school so she dressed and picked up her tote bag. She looked at the periwinkle sky and took her umbrella for later. Not a cloud in the sky today. Jeremiah said it’s going to rain again. I need to get my things from my mom’s house before they’re ruined in the basement humidity.

She sighed and raked her hand through her long black hair she had pinned in a high ponytail today. She exited her apartment and found Jeremiah’s car in her drive but no Jeremiah. Then like an avalanche, the memory of yesterday hit and sent her mind tumbling. Jeremiah can teleport! Michael is my soulmate! I led him to Shayla! I…

Tears burst forth and she sobbed for a few minutes, her hands forming into fists. Her nails leaving sharp indents on her palms, but not enough for her to bleed. She wanted to scream, and kick, and bite, and tear into something, someone. Her suspicions were Shayla but that wouldn’t have been fair.

Her sister was innocent in this. Self-loathing built in the pit of her stomach instead. She turned her face to the car’s rear mirror and sighed. She was a fright. Hair all mussed, make up all over her eyes and face. She couldn’t go to school feeling like this but she was afraid she’d do something stupid if she stayed alone. Instead, she texted Jeremiah.

Can u help me today? I need to get my boxes before mom screws me over...yes I’m skipping school.

B right there.

“What’s up A?”

Aisha screamed and almost leaped into the air as Jeremiah blinked into reality before her. She saw it coming and it still freaked her out. She punched him. Hard. “Don’t do that!”

Jeremiah rubbed his shoulder and grinned. “Sorry, but you can do it too probably. Come on let’s get your boxes.”

Aisha nodded and handed his keys over to him before hopping in the small jeep. They rode to her mother’s in silence and Aisha took the time to decide what she was going to do. She decided to leave well alone.

She had pushed Shayla and Michael together at the beginning and now they fit like PB and J. She was the bologna in the middle. She’d let her sister be happy...even if she lost a piece of herself. Wasn’t that her promise anyway? For Shayla to never have a broken heart again?

Her sister’s car was parked outside and Jeremiah had to find other parking. I wonder why she’s here?

She opened the door to her sister screaming and pointing at her mother.

“Mother you can’t keep treating Aisha like this just because she chose to become something other than an accolade!”

“It’s a silly dream, Shayla! She’ll come to her senses this way.”

“You’re going to lose her this way!

“No daughter of mine is going to devalue herself for being an artist!”

“I’ll take my things then and you’ll never hear from me again,” Aisha said slamming the door. Both women jumped at her intrusion.

“Aisha! When did you arrive...sweetie?” Her mother said running a hand through her dyed blonde hair.

“A few minutes ago. I’ll take my things so I don’t devalue the family name. Jeremiah’s helping,” she said hands on her hips and face flushed in anger. There was a knock at the door and she huffed, stalking to the door and opening it. “Finally! Where did you park? Calcu..tta?”

Grey eyes glanced at her curiously. “Not who you were expecting?”

Aisha stared at his feet once more noting their bond. She looked up and shook her head mutely.

Shayla came to the door. Immediately her eyes lit from within. “Michael, Honey. What are you doing here?”

Gray eyes left hers and he moved inside the house with a folder in his hands. “You left this.”

“Oh! Thank you, honey! Why don’t you help my sister with her things? She needs some boxes moved.”

Michael turned to Aisha and nodded. “Are they the same boxes as last night?”

Aisha swallowed and nodded. “Yes the same four I pulled to the corners but I’m taking everything that’s mine,” she yelled and stomped to the basement with Michael following. She pulled open the door and hit the light switch. The same four boxes were back in their spots from yesterday and she growled.

She took an empty box and began piling her things like stuffed animals and knickknacks, those her mother stored on the shelves. It was mostly her art stuff that was in the boxes. I’ll show her! Devalue the family? Because I chose to follow my dreams? Bah!

“Where are my clothes?” Aisha screamed as she hauled a box up the stairs.

“You’re going to rip the box that way,” Michael muttered, setting down his box and picking up hers.

“I was doing just fine,” she huffed before turning to face her mother.

Jeremiah entered then and took a box. “This all the stuff?”

Aisha growled. “No. Where are my damn clothes?”

“We left them in the closet,” her mother muttered sighing.

Aisha stomped up the stairs to her room and took in how cramped the office was. Not the best idea you’ve had mom.

She rifled through it and began throwing her clothes onto the bed. She would pick and choose what stays and what went when she got everything into her apartment. Looks like I’m going to be living pretty cramped for a while.

She grabbed her clothes and stuck them in a large green army duffle bag in the corner. All her jeans, shirts, dresses, everything. It barely fit in the bag, and she had a devil of a time knotting, and rolling it to the stairs. Michael spotted her resting on the large duffle, and chuckled.

“I take it, that’s going too,” he said, pointing to the duffle.

“Yup,” she said, stepping aside to let him take the duffle.

He chuckled and made his way towards her. She stood shakily when Popo suddenly ran into her. She slipped off the step she was on.

Strong arms encircled her waist and her cheeks flushed.

“Clumsy?” asked Michael.

“Popo did it.” She said staring at the dog who was lazily chewing on the ties of the duffle bag. Popo stared at her with liquid eyes and lay back thrusting a leg in the air and rolling over.

“You do not deserve a belly rub, mister,” muttered Aisha as she walked up the steps and gave Popo just that.

“Naughty dog. Come on off the duffle. Popo! Off!”

Michael chuckled and bent down to pet Popo who thumped his tail. “Ok. Popo I need the duffle.”

Popo whined but moved his leg from the duffle which sent it rolling down the steps. It opened and sent clothes everywhere including embarrassing clothes like silk negligees and a floral bra and panties set. Aisha blushed and ran down the stairs, picking up her clothes.

“Popo! Bad dog,” she muttered as she picked up her bra and panties from the floor. Michael came and helped, holding out a black negligee.

“Do you really fit inside this thing?” he said, quirking his eyebrow.

“Yep. Once upon a time anyway,” she muttered stuffing the negligee into the duffle.

Michael chuckled again and helped her pick up the rest of her clothes from the floor. A light went off and Aisha gasped at her smiling mother.

“You did not just take a picture of me scraping my clothes off the floor!”

“It’ll make a great collection for your scrapbook.”

“My big behind was in the air!”

Michael choked on his chuckle so it came out more like a snort. Aisha turned to him, eyes narrowed. “Were you going to say something?” She asked.

He shook his head, smirking. She hmphed and closed the duffle making sure to double knot it this time.

“All yours,” she said pointing to the duffle and smiling. Michael picked up the duffle and slung it over his shoulders. She walked in front, unnerved by those grey eyes. Jeremiah was surreptitiously absent again. Either he’s loading the car or he’s looking for another punch. What the heck is he thinking of letting Michael help me completely? I thought he said not to get too close?. Unless he’s already working against me?

She felt anger coil like a snake within her veins but worse was the sense of betrayal she felt at thinking that her best friend was going against her because he was ordered to. Because of the stupid strings she saw, they saw.

Jeremiah walked in then. “I parked beside your sister. I had to move the car since it was a few blocks away and those boxes weigh quite a bit,” he said, shaking her out of her thoughts.

She grit her teeth. “Thanks.”

Maybe I’m being paranoid?

Michael followed her out the porch to the small jeep and she opened the backseat for him. He placed the duffle at the end of the seat. She got a nice view of his posterior and blushed. He stood and she began to walk back inside. He grabbed her hand freezing her movements. She turned to him in question.

“Are you feeling better from yesterday?” he asked, his fingers trailing along her palm.

“Um yes. Much,” Aisha answered, gulping as she felt tingles up her arms.

Jeremiah sent her an amused look as he loaded the boxes in his car.

“Good. So can you help me this weekend?”

“With?”

Michael rolled his eyes. “The ring?”

“Oh.”. OH!

“Yeah, how’s Saturday sound?”

“It sounds great. Thanks, I really need the help,” he said his fingers brushing hers.

“No problem. Can you let my hand go now?”

“Hmm?” He looked down and his eyes widened. His hand had been rubbing her fingers. He snatched his hand away. “Sorry don’t know what came over me.”

Jeremiah came down with a box of things and loaded it into the car then clicked his tongue.

“How many more boxes do you have,” he asked.

“Three more,” said Aisha.

“I can fit maybe one more. Looks like you’ll have to do this in rounds.”

“I can fit the other three boxes in my car,” Michael said.

Aisha thought about having Michael in her apartment and blushed. Well he’s already seen my panties and I don’t have any of those lying around the apartment but compared to Shayla’s calm decor, mine’s going to look like a clown’s! What if he doesn’t like orange or art or….Jeremiah cleared his throat.

“We do have lives A,” he muttered glancing at his wristwatch then at her grinning.

She glared at him and turned to Michael. “It won’t coincide with your work? You do enter in what an hour?”

“Not today. I have a meeting with the executives but It’s not till five and only for an hour. They’re finally starting construction on the building in a month’s time.”

Aisha squealed and hugged him. “Congrats Michael! This is your project, isn’t it? The building you and your team put together in the architectural program?”

“Yeah,” he said his arms curling around her waist. She hugged him again then stepped back smiling. “I hope everything works out for you.”

Jeremiah chuckled as he passed by. “Be careful A,” he whispered and Aisha quickly let go of Michael.

Michael sighed. “Me too. Let’s grab your stuff.” He let her go and followed her to the front door, a strange feeling of longing remaining long after they had parted.

They loaded the rest of the boxes in Michael’s Ford Explorer and they headed to her apartment not ten minutes away by car. She clicked on the beeper letting both cars through and they found parking beside each other since her neighbors were not home yet. She opened her apartment for them to set her things down.

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