Teegan’s steps faltered as he came closer to May’s front door the following afternoon. Even though last night had ended terribly, he had to see her again. After leaving her house, he drove around for hours thinking about what she said. On some level, he had to admit that maybe she was right.
May was perhaps the most beautiful woman he had ever met. Not just physically, but spiritually as well. It made him want to get to know her on so many levels. Still, he couldn’t deny the fact that he wanted her sexually. Everything about her intrigued him. She was driving him crazy and either she didn’t know or didn’t care. T.J. actually found himself daring to think about a future with someone special.
Although May would drive the most determined suitor away, T.J. had to admit he liked the challenge. He hadn’t felt so alive in a long time. He wasn’t prepared to let go of the feeling so easily. Somehow he had to make her believe that he didn’t think her morals were nonexistent because of her background. With that thought, he rang the doorbell.
May was dragging herself down the stairs when she heard the ringing bell. When she saw T.J. standing on the other side of the door, her face was a picture of total shock.
“What are you doing here?” She asked, her hands clenched tightly around the door.
“We have a party to go to remember?” He said matter-of -factly. Striding through the doorway, he left May staring at him with wide eyes.
“I thought…” She began, but faltered when he turned to stare at her.
“Thought what May?”
“I…after last night…”
“We’ll talk about it later okay? Right now we need to be heading to the party, my parents live in Forest Hills.” T.J. swept away all argument.
May was still confused, but nodded anyway and headed upstairs to get ready.
T.J. let out a sigh of relief and dropped to the couch.
Upstairs, May tried to make sense of T.J.’s behavior. He was acting like last night never happened. She knew he was murderously angry when he’d left. That left her wondering when he would snap. Brushing the thought away, she laid out a sleeveless, button-down coffee halter dress. A matching wide-brimmed hat completed the ensemble. Then, she headed to the shower.
A half hour later, May appeared in the living room. T.J. did a double take when he saw her.
“Beautiful.” Was all he could say.
“Thanks. Looks like we’re matching.” She replied, taking in his crème trousers, coffee colored shirt and shoes of the same color. They stood staring at each other as T.J.’s eyes gradually became a darker brown and the greenish flecks seem to sparkle more vibrantly, while May’s eyes took on a richer shade of her natural brown. “Maybe we should be going.” She finally said.
“Yeah.” Teegan agreed. A muscle in his jaw clenched wickedly as he headed towards the door.
If May was nervous about meeting T.J.’s parents before, she was even more nervous when she saw the size of their Forest Hills home. The massive brick house stood amidst countless trees and the windows on the front of the house had huge boxes of yellow roses in the sills. T.J. pulled into the long, wide curving driveway which seemed to hold every car imaginable.
“This is it!” He rushed from the car to come around and open her door. “You okay?” He asked, cupping her cheek.
“Uh-huh.” Was May’s uneasy reply.
T.J. laughed and placed his arm around her waist. “You’re gonna love my family.”
Yeah, but will they love me? She allowed him to lead her inside the house.
To May’s surprise, the house was very warm and it looked amazingly comfortable and lived in. The walls were filled with pictures of family as well as art by many well-known artists. T.J. and May walked quickly through the thickly carpeted hallway that led to the backyard.
“T.Jr.!” A deep, rough voice called.
Teegan and May turned to see a huge, dark man in a white T-shirt and overalls rush towards them and pull T.J. into a warm hug.
“Hey Uncle Fats.” T.J. said just as warmly. “Uncle Fats, this is Maybelline Anderson. Mabel, this is my Uncle Fats.”
“Pleased to meet you pretty lady, you keepin’ my nephew busy enough?” Uncle Fats said deviously. There was a twinkle in his eyes as he gave May a warm hug also.
“Uncle.” T.J. said in a warning tone. May just laughed.
“Hush up T.Jr. You see Miss Anderson, my nephew here is much too busy and serious to be so young. He needs someone to make him enjoy life more.”
“Yes I agree. He is very serious to be so young and please call me May.”
“And you will call me Uncle Fats.” The cheery man decided.
“Fats! Will you quit hoggin’ my son and his date? Other people want to talk to them too you know.” A melodious voice called. A stout, beautiful, dark woman came towards them and pulled T.J. into a tight embrace.
“Mama.” T.J. said affectionately as he placed a kiss on the woman’s mouth. “Ma, this is Maybelline Anderson. Mabel, this is my mother Janice James.”
“Pleased to meet you Mrs. James.” May extended her hand.
“Baby please call me Janice. Mrs. James makes me sound old.”
“You are old.” Fats said.
“Hush Fats.” Janice told her brother as she pulled May towards her for a hug. “Have you two eaten yet?” She asked T.J. and May who both shook their heads.
“Then I’ll fix you both a plate. Sugar would you mind helping me?” Janice said to May.
“Not at all, I’d be happy to.” May replied, taking Janice’s extended hand.
“What a beautiful girl.” Janice complimented May. “T.J. stop pouting she’ll be right back.”
In the next five hours, May had met just about everyone at the gathering, including Teegan’s father. The two handsome men were mirror images of each other and May finally discovered where T.J. got his extraordinary eyes. May also realized during the party, that Teegan’s family was really a very nice set of people. Although they had money, it affected them very casually. They were still very down to earth despite the fact.
T.J. found May around ten engrossed in conversation with his father. They were talking about the family business which manufactured security systems.
“‘Scuse me Pop, but I think we better hit the road.” T.J. said, placing his hands on May’s shoulders.
“Well, alright. You two are welcomed to stay you know.” Teegan James Sr. said in a friendly voice.
“That’s very nice of you Mr. James, but I do have to get up very early in the morning.” May said.
Teegan Sr. smiled down at May. “T.J., I think you better hold onto this one. I wouldn’t mind seeing her around here more often.”
“Right Pop, but now we’ve got to go.” T.J. said, hugging his father. “I’ll call.” He threw over his shoulder as he guided May through the patio doors.
“So were my people the ogres you expected them to be?” Teegan joked once they’d entered the car.
“Not even close. They’re really good people and very funny.” May said, laughing.
“Told you.” Teegan smugly replied, as he turned and started the car. “Oh listen, I need to stop by my house for something. It’ll only take a minute is that okay?”
May’s easy mood vanished in a matter of seconds. “Uh…yeah that’s…fine.” She managed. Everything she’d been trying not to think about resurfaced. Her heart began to pound and her hands were sweating. She just couldn’t be alone in his home. She just couldn’t. Maybe he wouldn’t even ask her inside.
Her hopes dashed away when T.J. pulled into his winding driveway.
“Come on in. I won’t be long.”
Rather than make a scene, May got out of the car and followed T.J, into the large house. When he turned on the lights, May thought that his home reminded her of his office. Every piece of furniture shrieked money and power. The stark environment only increased May’s quiet.
May was so caught up in her own thoughts that she didn’t notice T.J. staring at her. He had removed his glasses and was leaning against one wall, his gaze was guarded.
“What are you thinking about?” He questioned softly.
May shook herself back to reality as his deep voice caught her ears. “What?” She nervously asked.
“Looks like something heavy is on your mind.”
“Well I guess I was wondering what it was you had to pick up.”
“Yes pick up. What was so important that we had to stop by your house first?”
“Oh…well I’m afraid you caught me.”
“Mmm hmm…” She wasn’t surprised. “Why’d you have to do this today? Everything was going so good and I thought we had all this settled.”
“No,” T.J. corrected, “we just put it on the back burner for a while. Now it’s time we settled it.”
“I said everything I needed to last night.”
“Good. Then you won’t interrupt me while I talk, will you?”
May stared at him for a long while. Then, she raised her hands in defeat and took a seat on a suede chair.
Teegan gave a satisfied nod. “Last night you said I was after one thing. How the hell do you know what I’m after when you don’t know a damn thing about me? I try to get close to you and you push me away. Fast.” He raised both hands when May opened her mouth to disagree. “I’ll admit I want to get close to you physically, but hell I’m a man. I won’t deny that I want you in my bed, but that’s not all I want.” He firmly assured her. Walking over to where she sat, he leaned forward and braced his hands on either side of the chair. “Now the next time you go off on somebody the way you did last night, have your facts together.”
At first, all May could do was watch him in stunned amazement. Very slowly, she regained her vocal skills and rose from the chair. “So I guess I’m just supposed to undress and get into bed now, right?”
“Did I say that?”
“You didn’t have too.”
“You didn’t hear a thing I said, did you?” Teegan asked, his voice soft, but raspy with anger.
“I heard alright…” She breathed. “It’s all just the same-saying whatever it takes to get what you want.”
“Watch it May.” He warned.
Unfortunately, she was too far-gone to hear the deadly tone in T.J. words. She knew she was being unfair, but couldn’t allow herself to relax and trust him. “I can’t believe I find myself attracted to you.” She went on, relying on anger to keep herself from softening towards him. “You think because you’ve got looks and money anyone is yours for the taking. Let me tell you something, I can’t be bought. Others have tried and failed. I think you’d be wise to quit now or you may regret it.”
“Threats Mabel?” T.J. queried. A wolfish grin began to spread across his handsome face.
“Not threats Tee, guarantees. I grew up tough and I know all about the games men play, so don’t even try it.” May told him with the utmost confidence.
“Very sure of yourself for someone in your present position,” he noted, stepping close to her.
May however, was too caught up in her anger to notice. “What position?” She asked.
May found her arms behind her back as T.J. brought his mouth to the side of her neck.
She resisted for all the good it did her. T.J. wasn’t hearing her though. He let go of her arms and lifted her effortlessly across his shoulder.
May’s blows against his back gradually lost steam. Closing her eyes, she willed her body not to respond to his. It was useless but she still fought against it.
Teegan climbed the long, winding carpeted staircase. The second floor appeared to be nothing more than one huge bedroom. He tossed May onto the king-sized bed.
“T.J. if you do this I’ll never forgive you.” She tried to reason with him knowing she couldn’t resist him for long. A part of her hoped he wouldn’t listen. He didn’t. Taking both her wrists in one hand he held them over her head. The other unbuttoned the front of her dress. He lowered his lips to the side of her neck and began to press hot, wet open-mouthed kisses to the side of it.
May sighed, losing the small grip she had on her sanity. T.J. soon had the dress undone and was caressing her breasts through the black lace of her bra. He lowered his head to press his lips through the gauzy material while he slid his hand beneath her to undo the hook. The bra loosened, allowing him to slip his hand under the edge. T.J. took full advantage as he manipulated May’s nipple between his thumb and forefinger.
The pleasure that shot through May was almost unbearable.
T.J. knew that night she wouldn’t stop him. He released her wrists, groaning when her hands roamed his back.
May’s fingers trembled as she undid the buttons of his shirt and tugged it free of his trousers. She pushed the shirt away from his broad shoulders and pressed tiny kisses to his chest soothing his nipples with her tongue.
The effect on T.J. was instant and he’d soon stripped her of her dress and under things. His lips trailed a blazing path down her flat stomach until he stopped to probe her bellybutton with his tongue. He continued to press leisurely kisses to her body, while moving upwards to her breasts. He tugged on one nipple with his teeth before soothing it with his tongue. His hand trailed a possessive path to the center of her. His fingers caressed the outside of her womanhood before delving further.
May could only cling to his shoulders in a daze. Her body arched slightly with each movement of his fingers. In the next second, she was snapping her eyes open to see him strip off the remainder of his clothes. As he took care of protection, her exotic gaze nearly fluttered shut as she took in the size and build of his sex.
T.J. thought he’d explode at the feel of May’s satiny body beneath his. He pulled her closer to him. She responded by pressing soft, wet kisses to the side of his neck. The only sound that could be heard in the spacious bedroom were their gasping breaths. May cried out several times as he filled her completely.
T.J. groaned as the exquisite sensations gripped his body.
May was speechless as she moved beautifully to each of T.J.’s heated thrusts. Their movements quickened as they neared climax. Her nails sank into his back as wave after wave of sensual pleasure overtook them.
Each time they made love that night only seemed better. When they finally drifted off to sleep, May wished she could stay in his arms forever.
She awoke around eight-thirty the following morning, thinking that it must’ve been a dream. One look at T.J. however, changed all that. Relaxed in sleep, his face resembled that of a satisfied babe’s. Although May desperately wanted to stay, she knew that it would never work. Unable to keep her thoughts out of the past, she couldn’t allow herself to trust what T.J. was offering. She was too afraid to even try. Quietly, she gathered her things and left the bedroom before calling a taxi and leaving.
“You did what?” Tara said in disbelief as she stared at May.
“You heard me. I left before he woke up.”
“Why?” Tara asked, clearly confused.
“It just wouldn’t work T.”
“I ask again, why?”
May shook her head. “He’s way too old for me.” She said the first thing that came to mind.
“May. The truth please.”
May wearily dropped to the sofa in Tara’s office. “I just can’t go through what I went through with Dennel again. Ever.” She said in a sad voice.
“T.J. isn’t Dennel.”
“What if it ends up like it did with Dennel?”
“Girl, basing your life on ifs is risky. And only leaves you one place, alone.”
“I know what I’m doing.”
“Alright, alright. Just let me say that if a man like Teegan James came into my life, and it was lonely like yours, I wouldn’t waste any time snapping him up.”
“Yeah, well you know what you said about ifs, they can be risky.”
“You know what I mean.”
“T I don’t…I don’t want to talk about this anymore okay?” May went to stand by the large windows in Tara’s office overlooking Manhattan.
“Fine. Then let’s get to business.” Tara said, opening a leather embossed folder. “You’ve got a ten-thirty flight to St. Croix leaving tomorrow morning. You’ll be there a week. Arrive on time and smiling.'” She handed May a folder which contained an airline ticket, information on the hotel, car keys and a credit card.
“As always.” May said, taking the folder. “I’ll call you when I get there.”
“Well where are you going now?”
“Home I suggest you don’t call or come by ’cause I don’t want to see anybody.”
May simply shrugged her shoulders giving Tara a weak smile before she left.
The next afternoon, May was on her way to her hotel in St. Croix. She decided to drive, from the airport, hoping it would ease some of her tension. In no time at all, she was pulling into the massive curving driveway of Croix’s Crossing Hotel.
The clerk handed her the card key and May turned from the desk to admire the plush beauty of the hotel. The place made an impression on her each time she visited. Perhaps this trip was exactly what she needed to keep her mind off T.J. Then again, maybe it wasn’t. No matter how hard she tried, her thoughts kept straying back to the night they made love. The way his hands felt on her body, the way he felt inside her….
May shook herself back to reality and turned to face Jonas Randall. Jonas was in charge of the shoot she had for Natural Cosmetics.
“I’m sorry Jonas, what?”
“I was just letting you know that we’re going to start shooting at seven-thirty.”
“Good. I’m gonna go get settled into bed and I’ll see you in the morning.”
“Yeah, you do look a little tired. Just get some rest and we’ll see you at seven-thirty.” Jonas patted her arm before walking away.
May let out a sigh and headed towards the elevator. In a matter of seconds, she was stepping out onto the thickly carpeted hallway leading to her suite. She’d harbored that strangest feeling since she’d arrived in St. Croix, the upset with T.J. was affecting her more than she’d expected. She hoped, with any luck, a full week of work would get her mind back on track- for a while at least.
May threw herself into the week-long photo session. Everyone said that they thought it was some of her best work. If only they’d known she was running on empty, they would’ve been shocked because she’d never looked better. In fact, she was so absorbed in her work that she didn’t notice how quickly the week went. She decided to forgo the usual dinner with the crew and eat on the beachfront patio of her room. As she sat looking out over the waves, she discovered the reason for that strange feeling she’d felt plagued by.
T.J. was standing before her on the patio. He was wearing a pair of lightweight gray slacks, matching loafers and a finely crafted cream shirt. His eyes held a wildness she’d never seen before and May thought he’d never looked sexier. Clearing her throat softly, May smoothed down the almost transparent white chiffon lounging gown. “What…what are you doing here?”
“I think you know what.” He quietly replied.
“If this is about me leaving-”
“Mmm hmm that’s what it’s about alright.”
“Tee you know this won’t work.”
“It just wouldn’t…we’re too different.”
T.J. pushed his hands through his hair. “I thought after you met my family-hell after we slept together we could get past these hang-ups you have.” He said, slowly walking towards her.
“Tee your family is one of the best. They remind me of my own.” She assured him, unconsciously backing away as she spoke.
“So what’s the problem?”
“Tee, you’re the one I’m seeing, the one I’ve slept with…I just can’t” She finished, still moving until her back touched the patio railing.
“And you’re positive about this?” He said softly, placing his hands on the railing trapping her.
“Positive.” She stated, almost melting beneath his stare.
“Mmm hmm.” Was T.J.’s only reply as he touched his lips to the base of her throat and kissed her lightly.
“Don’t.” May moaned, even as she brought her hands to his shoulders.
He didn’t listen. He continued his light caress and his hands lowered to press her more intimately against him.
“Just tell me what you want.” He taunted.
Again, she moaned. “I want this….you.” She admitted.
That was all Teegan wanted to hear. He easily lifted her into his arms and carried them through the spacious suite to one of the bedrooms.
In a matter of seconds their clothing was cast aside and they fell into the cushiony bed. T.J.’s fingers probed her gently. He then focused on her breasts, favoring each nipple with erotic kisses. May delved her hands into his soft, curly hair while her hips moved seductively beneath the expert flexing of his fingers.
Suddenly, T.J. rolled onto his back taking May with him. Kissing her hungrily, he took a fistful of her hair to hold her head to his. May tore her lips away and began to kiss his neck and further down to his chest. The heat of the caress almost drove T.J. crazy. Grabbing her hips in his large hands, he lifted May over him and slowly settled her onto his throbbing manhood.
“Tee…” May groaned. She began to move over his body, staring at him with her exquisite gaze. Their movements increased until they reached the crest of mutual satisfaction.
When T.J. awoke from the incredible dream he was having about May, he reached for her. A fierce frown clouded his face when he discovered she wasn’t there.
He found her minutes later, on the patio. She was looking out over the ocean. Although her long hair was curtaining her face, he could still tell that she was in deep thought.
“What’s wrong?” He asked, coming up beside her and placing his hand on her head.
May shook her head, but Teegan wouldn’t let it go at that. He dropped to his knees and pushed her hair away so he could look into her eyes. “Don’t do this May. Talk to me.”
“I don’t want to get hurt.” She whispered.
T.J. bowed his head. “I don’t either, but I can’t promise that it won’t happen.”
“I know, I guess that’s why I still can’t do this. We can’t.”
“Can’t what?” T.J. asked slowly becoming agitated.
May, still unable to confide in him about her past, the hurt, just shook her head. She knew she was being very unfair but fear of the future and ghosts from the past got the best of her.
“What the hell is this all about May?” T.J. shook his head as he stared at her coldly.
“I don’t want to talk about it alright!” May snapped, standing from the chair.
Teegan stood as well, kicking the chair May had just vacated. “I can’t believe you still won’t trust me. I follow you all the way to St. Croix and you still can’t believe I’m serious about us!” He yelled, looking at her like she was crazy.
“Yeah, well I always have been a pushover for the dramatic stuff.”
Clenching his fist, T.J. took a step towards her, but stopped himself. Uttering a soft curse, he went to the bedroom for his clothes. The room door closed with a hard slam moments later.
“Girl get a hold of yourself. You look like death!”
“Thanks Marsha. At this point, that’s exactly what I need to hear.” May said wearily as she idly flicked the buttons on the remote control.
A worried frown creased Marsha Sykes round face as she stared at her cousin. May told her about T.J. and what happened. Marsha had been berating her cousin about letting such a good man slip through her fingers.
“I don’t get it, from everything you’ve told me, Teegan James sounds like the perfect man.”
“Then you didn’t hear everything I said.”
“What you need to do is stop thinking about the past.”
“It’s the past that’s keeping me from making a mistake in my future.”
“What future?” Marsha challenged, watching May roll her eyes. “Just let me say this,” she continued, “stop comparing these guys. If you don’t, you’re gonna forget what a great guy T.J. is remembering what a jerk Dennel was.”
May just stared at her cousin.
“Do you love him?” Marsha asked.
“Yes. Yes I love him.” May said. “Damn I don’t know how I let this happen.” She groaned, angry with herself.
“Girl, you’re human. So you got dogged out once. Does that mean that your feelings automatically shut down?”
“No buts. Now I could understand if T.J. reminded you of Dennel, but he doesn’t does he?”
“No. Hell no. Tee can be aggravating and bullying but…he’s sweet, you know? He’s gorgeous and he cares. He cares about me. And every time I’m around him I think how lucky I am that I found him.”
“So what’s the problem sweetie?” Marsha questioned as she sat beside May on the sofa.
“I’m just scared that we’re going to have problems we can’t solve.”
“Newsflash cousin. All relationships have problems you know that. There’s always a risk. You just have to decide how badly you want to be with T.J.”
May started to respond, but thought better of it as she considered Marsha’s advice.
Marsha patted her cousin’s knee. “Look, I’ll be back later.” She said, grabbing her purse and heading out the door leaving May to her thoughts.
After the door shut behind her cousin, May let out a frustrated sigh. Since her week in St. Croix, she wasn’t in much of a mood to go home. She decided to visit Marsha who lived in Brooklyn. Although they were the same age, Marsha had a wisdom beyond her years and May thought she was right. Perhaps she had been too caught up over the disaster with Dennel to give T.J. a fair chance.
Well, it didn’t matter now. She’d taken care of that in St. Croix. She knew Teegan was hurt and confused and would probably never speak to her again.
“Damn,” She said to the empty apartment, “I finally really fall in love and it’s over before it ever begins.”
T.J. rested his head against the steering wheel. He hadn’t felt like doing much of anything lately. Tara had called and asked him to meet her for lunch. He figured she wanted to talk to him about May. May…He hadn’t talked to her since St. Croix. After the disastrous trip, he didn’t even want to think about her. Still, he wanted to know what she was doing and how she was doing.
Male pride wouldn’t let him admit it, but she’d hurt him like hell refusing to even give him a chance. He’d fallen for her and she wouldn’t give him the opportunity to show her how much. Pushing those thoughts aside, he got out of his car and headed into the restaurant.
“Thanks for meeting me T.J.” Tara was saying as he walked up and gave her a hug in ‘The Tavern’ restaurant.
“No problem Tara, what’s up?” He asked, as he sat down.
“May.” Tara said, watching the dark look fall over the handsome face in front of her.
“What about her?”
“You need to talk to her.”
“We did talk, in St. Croix. Didn’t she tell you?” He asked, massaging the bridge of his nose under his glasses.
“She told me, but she’s not being honest. Not to you or herself.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Listen T.J., you need to get May to tell you what the real problem is because it goes a lot deeper than you coming from a wealthy background.”
“You sound like you know why she’s acting this way.”
“I do. But you need to hear it from her. I don’t have to tell you how stubborn she is and she’s letting this thing affect her far more than it ever should have. So talk to her, if you haven’t given up on her yet.”
“Never.” Was the deep reply.
“Good.” Tara said, more than satisfied. “Then I have a plan.”
“Man it’s good to be home!” May exclaimed as she stepped from Marsha’s red Mercury Topaz. The sun was beaming hotly over the two-story Queens home that seemed to be swelling with people. The first person May sought out was her mother. She found her in the front yard reprimanding a small boy covered in dirt.
“Girl where have you been. You too busy to call your Mama?” Benita Anderson said in mock anger. She frowned at the daughter who was the image of her at that age.
May just ignored the stunning woman’s tirade, giving her a tight hug anyway. “Oh Mama.” She sighed.
“Ya’ll come on in the house. I’ll fix you something to eat. May you’re as skinny as a pole.” Benita added, frowning at May.
“She’s supposed to be skinny Aunt Bennie.” Marsha said, kissing her aunt’s cheek.
“Hmph.” Was the reply as the three women made their way into the house. Although Joe and Benita Anderson never had a lot of money, one could never tell by the looks of their home. The Andersons had refused to take anything from their successful children. The house was bought from the combined efforts of the two hardworking people. The two-story brick house was comfortably furnished and meticulously clean,
At that moment, however, the cleanliness of the house was hard to see. The entire place was crowded with people. As May followed her mom through the house, speaking to relatives young and old, she couldn’t help but feel a rush of happiness at seeing her people. After all she’d been through, it was nice to forget all that and concentrate on her family.
They finally made it to the kitchen where May got caught up in conversation with two of her older sisters.
“May! Lookin’ good girl!” Exclaimed May’s oldest sister Lena.
“Well you ain’t lookin’ too bad ya self.” May said, smiling back at her sister.
“So who’d you bring to the reunion May?” Her sister Maxine asked.
The easy mood May had been in, began to diminish at the turn the conversation was surely taking.
“Don’t start Maxi.” May quietly asked.
“What? I’m just asking a question.”
“Okay. No, I didn’t bring anybody. There is nobody.”
“Alright, alright. Damn you don’t have to get upset. I was just interested.”
Maxine hesitated a minute before she spoke. “I had somebody I wanted you to meet.” She simply stated.
“I knew it.” May said, clearly irritated.
“May for real I think he’s one of the best ones I’ve come across.”
“Why don’t I believe you?”
“I don’t know but I think you should meet him.” Maxi suggested.
“Me too.” Lena contributed.
“Lena, not you too?”
“What can I say?”
“I don’t know, but I know what I can say. Goodbye.”
May strode away, leaving her sisters staring at her. In the next minute she was sitting down to the best meal she’d had in a long time. There was soft, golden corn bread. A wide array of meats including roast beef, chicken and turkey, a huge selection of vegetables and much more.
“I know you want some more?” Joe Anderson asked as he watched May clean her plate.
May looked at her father’s handsome face adorningly. What a lucky woman her mother was to have a man like that. They could both be gruff when they wanted, but they were made for each other.
“No, Daddy I had enough.”
“Bull. It’s that job. They won’t let you eat.” Joe said, pretending to be angry.
“That’s not it. I just don’t want anything else. The food is the best,” she said looking over at her mother,” but I just don’t have a big appetite today.”
“I know what it is.” Benita confidently stated. At May’s inquisitive gaze, she continued, “You’re in love baby.”
“Mama please. I don’t need this from you and Daddy too.” May miserably replied.
“I didn’t say anything.” Joe said defensively. “But, I’ll bet it’s true.”
May just stared at her parents in disbelief.
“Who is he?”
“No one Daddy.”
“Well at any rate, we’ve got someone we want you to meet.”
“No. I’m through being set up by everybody. I’m not meeting anyone.”
“Yes you will ’cause he’s in the living room.” Her mother said.
“Go and see.”
May knew she was defeated as she rose from the table and headed to the living room. When she got there, May thought she’d drop through the floor.
“Hello Mabel. You wouldn’t come to me so I had to come to you.” T.J. said, watching her with his intense eyes.
“What are you doing here? I thought we finished everything in St. Croix?”
“Mabel once again you didn’t give me the chance to have my say.”
At the confused look on her face, Teegan continued. “I wanted to say that I love you. I want you with me all the time. I would’ve told you that, but you wouldn’t hear it.”
“What do you want me to say?” May asked, still not believing he was standing there in her parent’s living room.
“I want the truth.” T.J. told her.
“You heard me. Tell me the real reason you won’t give us a chance.”
“What real reason?”
T.J. swore softly under his breath, his patience coming to an end. “Would you stop hiding and tell me about Dennel?!”
At the mention of Dennel’s name, May sat to the sofa. Her mind wandered as she stared at the plush fabric of the chair. “T.J. please…”
“May…” T.J. warned.
May tried to think of some excuse to avoid opening the can of worms she’d been trying to hide. The determined look in Teegan’s eyes told her to forget it.
“T.J., Dennel and I met after I’d done my first modeling job.” She began. “In fact, it was his company, well his father’s company that I had the shoot for. Anyway, Dennel and I got real close real fast. I guess I was more caught up in him than he was in me. It didn’t help that our backgrounds were different either. The life I lead now was so unfamiliar to me and I felt very out of place. Dennel knew that, so whenever I ‘forgot my place’ as he liked to say, he’d embarrass me in front of whoever we were with. They were always little comments, nothing too harsh but harsh enough for me to get the message. Until the very last time. There was this party at Dennel’s parent’s home. Well, Dennel started drinking and joking. As usual, I was the brunt of the jokes. He started calling me all sorts of names. Project ho, welfare bitch…” May stopped talking as her eyes filled with tears, she blinked them back. “I couldn’t believe he was doing that, you know. I mean, I loved him.”
“Bastard.” T.J. murderously grumbled.
“The worst thing though, was that the other people at the party were actually laughing. Tee I never felt so low in my life. …Anyway, that was finally it for me. I cursed that jackass out, dumped a platter of caviar on him and I haven’t seen him since. ”
“So that’s why you’ve been so scared to give the relationship a chance?”
“Tee I love you, but I couldn’t go through that again. Especially not with you.”
“Why not with me?”
“Because I love you so much. I love you much more than I ever loved or thought I loved Dennel.”
“Listen to me May, Dennel was a sick bastard and for you to put your life on hold because of that is crazy. I can’t believe you think I’d ever treat you that way.”
May opened her mouth to respond, but T.J. raised his hands.
“Because of you May, I actually look forward to the time I spend away from the office. I don’t want to lock myself away. I want to enjoy myself.”
T.J. kneeled before her and smiled at the look of disbelief in her lovely slanting eyes. “May I enjoy every minute I spend with you. Good or bad surprising as it sounds. In fact, the first time we argued, I never felt so good. I guess that’s why I kept pushing you to fight with me.”
“Tee.” May breathed, her chest tightening with emotion.
“Mabel, I love you and Lord help me but I want you to be my wife. Will you?”
May’s eyes widened to huge brown pools. “Are you serious?”
“Baby, you don’t know how serious I am.”
“But it’s so soon…”
“We’ll have a long engagement…but not that long.” T.J. assured her.
May’s exotic eyes filled with happiness and tears as she knelt beside him and brought her arms around his neck. “Well I might just have to take you up on your offer.” She said, just before kissing him. “Yes Tee I’ll marry you. I will.” She finished.
“That’s my girl.” T.J. breathed as they hugged.
Outside, most of the family had gotten wind of what was going on. The hallway outside the living room was packed as they all eavesdropped on the newly engaged couple.
Joe and Benita Anderson gave each other high fives. “That’s our girl!” They happily exclaimed.
Thanks so much to everyone for their great emails and kind words about one of my earliest romantic efforts. When I first started writing I was so thrilled by the motivation I had to create, the ability I was being blessed with. Thanks so my readers for allowing me to share that blessing!