Love's Truth Sample Sunday
Unedited and Subject to change. No release date scheduled yet. It's just vibes at this point, sis. Enjoy!
“You look good.”
A familiar tenor greeted me when I opened my front door, immediately causing a tightening in my chest. The three words were accompanied by a slow caress of russet brown eyes brushing over me from head to toe.
His voice lacked its usual roughness. Though the tone was still impossibly deep, its normal edginess was missing.
I pressed my tips together, flashing a tight smile and squirming at his refusal to break eye contact. It was too much.
It was always too much.
Despite a divorce legally separating us, somehow this man still inspired the same giddy anxiousness I’d first felt for him at fourteen years old. Our time apart was deceiving, making me believe that I’d finally started getting over it. When days or weeks passed without laying eyes on him, I foolishly believed my heart was ready to move on.
But then he’d reappear and all the lies I’d chosen to believe blew up in my face faster than I could hold onto them.
Another cursory glance swept over my frame as he shifted in the open door and shoved his hands deep in his pockets. I fought the urge to shiver from its intensity, hating how one look from him made me feel as if I was dressed for a red-carpet event rather than in biker shorts and a comfortable, oversized hoodie. His old hoodie, to be exact.
After completing my normal three-mile run, I’d tossed on the casual fit after showering and hadn’t given it a second thought.
Not until I’d found him on the other side of my door, eyeing me like I was his next meal.
I scoffed to play off the emotions he evoked in me, finally responding to his original greeting. “I always look good, Truth.”
A wry smirk lifted his lips and he looked away, rubbing at his chin. My stomach foolishly dropped from the loss of his attention before it clenched painfully when he returned his hand to his pocket at the same time his eyes swung back to mine. “Yeah, you’re right about that.”
I ping-ponged my gaze between his broad chest and full lips, avoiding direct eye contact with him. Familiar anxiousness washed over me in relentless waves, completely contradicting the relaxed state I’d been in prior to his arrival.
Every time I laid eyes on him, I prayed this tight hold he had on my emotions would fade with time. Moving on would be impossible if my breath hitched each time he was in my presence, or if he called me, or even sent a text.
Just the sight of his name could inspire feelings I’d thought were absent the last few months of our marriage.
Before I’d packed my things and moved out.
“How was your trip?” I asked, finally stepping back to let him inside. He’d been gone for two weeks… finalizing plans for the grand opening of his cannabis dispensary. Finding the property and plants had been the easiest part of the endeavor. It was the other legal stuff that took up so much of his time before his grand opening next month.
A warm, citrusy scent wafted past my nose as he passed. He always smelled good and I hated it. I hated every part of him that I still found attractive because it made it that much harder to move on.
“It was good. Productive. I finally got that vendor in LA on board so other than one last trip to Miami in a few weeks, we’re all set for the opening.”
I flashed another smile. A genuine one this time. I was truly happy for him. I’d had a front row seat to how hard he’d worked to open up his own dispensary. He’d stayed up all night studying and completing college courses before getting up early the next morning to report to his job as a grower at a local, much smaller dispensary.
He’d sacrificed a lot to achieve his dreams, including parts of our marriage, but I wouldn’t dwell on that. The past was the past and I wanted to leave it there.
“Can I get a hug this morning?” When I tensed, he sucked his teeth. “Come on, Pri. We’re friends again, right?” At my nod, his tongue darted out to coat his lips. Though the action was completely innocent, my body didn’t get the memo. “A’ight then, a hug should be nothing.”
I cursed under my breath then braced myself before stepping into his arms. When his arms linked together at the small of my back, my shoulders dipped and relaxed. Hugging him was no longer as awkward as it once was. Not like it’d been when the tension had still been high right after the divorce.
This embrace between us today was warm, comfortable, and familiar like it used to be.
When he finally released me after a light squeeze, I stepped back and immediately ran my hand over the short, damp curls I sported. Though it shouldn’t matter, I still couldn’t help but worry over his opinion about the cut even after having it for nearly a year. Truth had known me since we were teenagers, back when my hair stretched well past my shoulders. I’d never cut my hair, other than getting it trimmed over the years, until our divorce was finalized.
It was cliché as hell, chopping off your hair after a bad breakup, but I’d needed the change. Something that wouldn’t remind me of him. I’d been with this man since I was fifteen years old so nearly every part of me still felt connected to him and I had no idea how to begin forming a new life outside of that.
“Kids, your daddy’s here!” I yelled towards the stairs, hoping their presence would dissipate this stifling tension.
Savannah, who at fourteen was now eye to eye with me, came down first. Her expression softened, smile slowly spreading across her pretty face once she laid eyes on him.
She was a daddy’s girl, through and through.
The phone that seemed permanently attached to her hands disappeared in her back pocket seconds before she leapt in Truth’s arms. He caught her and kissed the top of her head just as our nine-year old’s feet thundered down the steps.
My baby boy, Zaire or Ziggy as we called him, flew past me, running full speed into his sister’s back.
“Ow, Zig!” she complained, stepping out of her daddy’s embrace and shoving her brother before Truth lifted him above his head. Z’s infections giggles filled the air as his dad pressed his back flush across the ceiling.
While his focus was on the kids, I took that opportunity to eagerly drink in his appearance without the pressure of having his eyes on me. Truth was tall and well-built, no longer sporting the long, lanky frame of his youth. He was dressed in his favorite color – black – from head to toe. It was rare to see him wear any other color, probably because it was obvious how much it flattered his dark- espresso hued skin.
His eyes flashed to mine as he lowered Ziggy back to the floor and I flushed, dropping my gaze to his big hand that settled on top of our son’s head as he spoke with him. With all the parts of him that turned me on, his hands were my favorite. They were strong, veiny, and extremely capable.
At one point, they’d cupped my cheek lovingly, wiped my tears when I was sad, held my hand when in labor, wrapped around my waist when he wanted to show affection, and teased between my legs to bring me pleasure.
“Your son needs home training,” Vann quipped next to me, bringing a smile to my face.
I looked over at her, feeling like I was looking in a mirror fifteen years ago. It was crazy that my first born was around the same age I’d been when I’d gotten pregnant with her. Which further proved that my ass had no business even thinking about sex back then.
But I’d been addicted to her father, doing any and everything to keep him near to feed that addiction, even before I could recognize what it was.
“You all packed up, little girl?” I asked instead, smirking at her eye roll. She even had my damn attitude.
“Go get your stuff,” Truth ordered Ziggy once their play fight came to an end. Like always, Ziggy took off, ignoring the scolding from his sister who followed at a much slower pace, face once again buried in her phone.
Once they were gone, I felt that tension return. It tripled when he abandoned his spot near the door, venturing further into the rental, looking at the few decorations I’d put up.
After nearly a year, it still didn’t quiet feel like home and at the rate I was going, I wondered if it ever would.
“What do you have planned since the kids will be gone tonight?” He stopped his perusal to face me and like always, his eye contact was firm and direct. The thumb of his right hand swiped back and forth across the inside of his left wrist, a habit I’d witnessed for nearly two decades.
I finally shrugged in response to his question. “Getting wine drunk. Maybe watch some tv.”
A rare slow smile built and transformed his handsome face. Intense Truth was something to marvel at but a smiling Truth?
It was as beautiful as the sun peeking through storm clouds after a rainy day.
“Nobody coming through to break you off?”
My neck jerked back, lids narrowing in irritation. More at myself than him because I didn’t have a single soul I could call to break me off. I was in a serious dry spell and didn’t need his fine ass to remind me of that fact.
“How is that any of that your business?”
“It’s not,” he said simply, sending another of those head-to-toe, stomach-quiver inducing glances my way, “I’m asking as your friend, Pri.”
“Well, I’m telling my friend to mind his damn business.”
Another rare smile stretched his lips but the kids coming downstairs robbed him of a response. Again, a sigh of relief rushed out of me when their presence caused him to dial back the intensity radiating from him. I didn’t know how much more of it I’d be able to take if he kept it up.
His eyes remained on me as I said goodbye to the kids, watching as they left out the front door and climbed in Truth’s waiting truck.
“We’ll be back sometime tomorrow. Probably around four.”
I nodded and waved off his words. I didn’t need him to check in or give an update of his plans with the kids. He’d been an active father in their life since day one so I trusted him just as much as I trusted myself when it came to them.
“Bye,” I said softly, waving at the truck again before leaning against the open door as he strolled through. To my surprise, he stopped and cupped the back of my neck, caressing the side of my throat with his thumb as his lips pressed against my forehead.
“Enjoy your day, Pri.” He walked out without a backward glance. I closed the door behind him and damn near melted to the floor. The tension between us today was on another level, leaving me unsettled and confused.
How could the man who’d been the cause of so much pain still hold my heart and soul hostage?