**Unedited & subject to change before publication**
Over the next couple of days, Mark and I kept in contact and it was like old times again. He called me every evening after I got off from work, and we’d talk for hours about any and everything, just like we used to do in high school. I’d gotten comfortable on my favorite spot on the couch when he’d called me two hours ago, and I still wasn’t tired of talking to him.
“I can’t wait to see you on Saturday,” he said Tuesday night as we talked.
“I can’t wait to see you, either,” I blushed and giggled. Mark always did have the ability to make me feel like a teenage girl.
“What are you wearing right now? I’m visualizing you in some sexy lingerie, or a cute little nightie,” Mark said.
“Ooh, you naughty boy.” I looked down at my blue Betty Boop pajamas- the material worn out and torn due to the friction caused by my inner thighs rubbing together- and faded due to repeated washing and drying, and my baggy t-shirt- my usual lounge around the house attire. Completing the look were my pink house shoes, and the black, satin bonnet I wore at night to protect my hair from breakage as I slept.
“I hate to ruin your visual, but what I’m wearing right now isn’t sexy at all.”
I made a mental note to upgrade my nighttime wardrobe as soon as possible. Being married to Chauncey, I got comfortable wearing my ratty pj’s around him. He’d made a comment one night a while back that he wasn’t turned on by my bed clothes. I’d told him that if I could deal with his old, holey draws, he didn’t have a thing to say to me about my sleepwear. And anyway, I wasn’t trying to turn him on…that was the whole point of wearing the most unsexiest garments I could find to wear to bed at night. Now that I’m single, maybe it’s time add a few slinky nightgowns or something to my wardrobe.
“Anything you wear is sexy,” Mark said.
Before I could respond to him, I heard Bryceson calling my name loudly as he entered the front door, and I was annoyed to see that he wasn’t alone.
What is he doing here, now? “Uh, Mark, can I call you back, or we can just talk tomorrow? Bryceson just walked in.” I purposely left out the fact that my ex-husband had walked in behind him.
“Sure, babe. I’ll talk to you later. Have a good night.”
We ended our call, and I immediately wished that I wasn’t sitting around in my raggedy pj’s. Even though Chauncey has seen me wearing this many times before, I don’t want him to think that I’m sitting around like an old maid who’s content with the fact that she has no dating prospects lined up.
“Why are you here now, Chauncey?” I asked, not bothering to hide my annoyance at his presence. Bryce had sent me a text earlier saying that Chauncey had picked him up from school and they’d gone to shoot basketball and to the gym. However, he didn’t need to get out of the car and come inside just to drop him off at home.
“Well, I uh…I have a big problem,” Chauncey began.
“What’s your problems got to do with me?”
“Well, uh, after we got done at the gym, we went back to my house for a little while, just to hang out because Bryce wasn’t ready to come home yet. We were in the living room when we heard this loud noise. Turns out, my hot water heater busted and now water is all over the place.” He paused, as if he expected me to say something.
Sounds like a personal problem to me, I thought. I remained silent while Chauncey finished telling me about his heater bursting. I wonder if my facial expression is showing how truly uninterested I am in what he’s talking about right now. I’ve almost learned how to keep my mouth under control, and not say any and everything that comes to mind; but my facial expressions…that’s another story.
“Oh; well thanks for bringing Bryce home. Bryce, lock the door behind Chauncey when he leaves,” I said after he’d finished talking, not the least bit sympathetic to his situation.
“That’s just it. I won’t be able to stay in my place for a while, so…it looks like I’ll have to stay over here for a few days, until I get everything cleaned up and get a new heater.”
“Like hell you will!” I responded. It was then that I noticed that Chauncey was carrying a suitcase and a duffle bag over his shoulder. “I know you don’t think you’re staying over here?”
“I don’t got nowhere else to go, Simone.”
“Uh, what about your child’s mother?” I asked, trying to refrain from referring to her as his baby’s mama. Even though she looks like a little hoodrat, I’ve never liked the terms baby mama/baby daddy.
“Uh, she uh…don’t got her own place. She’s living with her mama. And anyway, I’m not even sure that baby is mine.”
“Humph! Well again, that has nothing to do with me. There are plenty of hotels, motels, and Holiday Inn’s around here…take your pick.”
“Simone, I don’t have money to stay in no motel, and it might be a few days before I can get back into my place.”
“Don’t you have a mama? Go stay with her.”
“You know my mama lives over an hour away from here…that long commute will make getting to and from work everyday hard on me. Please, Simone, I just need to stay here for a few days.”
“Ma, don’t be like that…he has nowhere else to go,” Bryce decided to add his little two cents in.
I slanted my eyes at him. Traitor. He knows how I feel about Chauncey…we just had a talk about him being around me a few days ago. But if I don’t let my ex-husband stay here, I’ll look like the bad guy in Bryce’s eyes. I wouldn’t put it past Chauncey if he didn’t cause the damage to the hot water heater himself. He’s a sneaky little devil, and ever since he snooped through my emails that day and found out about my tryst with Mark in Vegas, he’s probably trying to find a way to mess things up for me.
Both Bryce and Chauncey stood there watching me with pleading eyes. I sighed heavily before I spoke my next words. “Fine, you can stay here for one week. That should give you enough time to get the heater fixed or find somewhere else to stay.”
Chauncey smiled and headed down the hallway, towards the bedroom.
“Ummm, hold up…pump your brakes,” I said when I saw him getting ready to walk into my room. “You’ll be sleeping on the couch, and you can keep your things in Bryce’s room.” The devil is a bold-faced lie if he thinks Chauncey will climb his butt back up in my bed. Hell to the nah!