A week later
The sun was still bright despite it being thirty minutes passed eight O’clock in the evening. But the shine made going to work a little more reasonable. And for the first time in a long while – although I was limping – ball practice didn’t kill me entirely. I hoped that was because I was getting better, but I didn’t want to push myself too hard. If I did, I risked pulling a muscle in my leg again, and after the accident, I was lucky to even be walking. I received pains every now and then - some worse than others, but couch didn’t put me on the bench often so I didn’t have much to complain about.
I looked in the mirror once and pulled a face at my stupid freckles, which made me feel bummy. It seemed as if they became more noticeable day by day, and I knew I couldn’t do anything about them. But as I got over it, I thought about getting a new tattoo somewhere. I didn’t know what of yet but it won’t take long to come to me.
Before I left, I called my Mom and we caught up for an hour or two. It was hard hearing her voice because she sounded weak – so different to how balanced and healthy she was when I was growing up. But I tried to keep a good vibe, hoping that it would somehow give her energy.
I told her about the line-up for my games, but that was a mistake. She got upset about not being able to watch them live, but I was smiling like a fool once she began praising God about Nea and I. In fact, that was the only reason I told her – to make her smile.
They’ve met before, a few times actually, but I haven’t told Neavana about her being ill.
I think that’s because I don’t want to repeat it, believe it, or have people feel sorry for me.
On days when I couldn’t be bothered to go to work or practice, I remembered that I was doing it for my Mom, and not me.
As soon as Rae got back from her shift at Urban Outfitters, I had to work mine at the tattoo shop tonight, so she decided to stay in her room instead of mine. I guess I was cool with that, but the way things were falling into their places led me to wonder how our relationship would turn out in a month or so. I’m not the type of person to plan ahead – or plan at all. I usual let things flow and wherever a situation presents itself, is how I’ll pick it up and deal with it. Sort of like “I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.” But Nea had me thinking. Over the week she had become more secretive, and always seemed to want to tell me something, but she never did.
I didn’t know whether she was talking to other people or not, and I hate that fact that I cared so much. It was an awkward position, but I guess I’d have to roll with it for now.
The next night
“Why’s it so quiet in here?”
We were in Nea’s room – on her bed while the TV was on, but we weren’t paying much attention to what was on. Its only purpose was to create noise in the background.
“‘Cause ain’t nobody here,” I responded, messing with my phone.
“Hmm, that’s weird,” she sighed before yawning.
“Not really. Sade at her parent’s right?” I asked looking up at Nea and smiling at her freckles.
“Yeah,” she answered simply, raising her hand and messing with my face. I moved back but she didn’t stop, so I licked her hand causing her to whine while I laughed.
“Ewww.” Nea screwed up her face and wiped her hand on her clothes.
“Mijo’s ass took Robyn on a date—”
“Ha! I’m gonna grill her about it!” Nea beamed. I shook my head and looked at my phone again.
Rae was lying on her side with her head in the pillows behind her while I laid a little lower so that I was facing her stomach. My body stretched out diagonally, but I was still facing her.
“Bow at some club with Raheem and them, and Julian gone on holiday or some shit,” I continued.
“What? When’d he leave?” Neavana looked down at me, shock painted on her face.
“Like two days ago. He ain’t tell you?”
“Nah. I swear that boy doesn’t like me,” she huffed. I only chuckled at how her cheeks blew out, and what she said next.
“I’m awesome as fuck! Why is he always so cold to me?” She questioned, holding back her own smile.
“He probably do. Don’t sweat it. And what happened to the “no fucks given” Nea?”
“Shit, I don’t know… she left up when your big head showed up. But I’ma get her back, don’t worry.”
I gave her a look and shook my head, laughing.
“You really feeling a nigga, huh?” My voice came out raspy and I smiled toothy so I knew she could see my dimples. I didn’t do it on purpose, but I won’t lie… she made me happy. Even if Nea tired to play it off, I knew she liked me, and at the moment, that was enough.
“Whatever,” she said rolling her eyes and smacking her lips to prevent a smile that I could clearly see creeping through. But I didn’t push it. UI was satisfied with that.
I scratched my chin roughly, my nails running over and through my facial hair. I thought for a moment, then asked: “How’s sex like with girls?” I finished by licking my lips.
“Le sigh. I knew you were going to ask that shit.”
I chuckled. “Nah, forreal. Like, I know what y’all do and shit, but you ever feel like you missing something?”
She shrugged. “Well, I don’t really like dildos ‘cause I feel like they’re too hard…”
I reached into Nea’s sweet draw and pulled out random candy and cookies, waiting less than a second before I opened them.
“What you mean hard? That’s what it suppose to be like, girl. Better educate yoself,” I said with a mouthful.
“Shutup,” she giggled. I smiled ‘cause there was something cute about the way she did that. “Yeah nigga, I know, but like, it’s stiff… and you gotta warm it up yourself.” Towards the end of that sentence, the both of us burst out laughing super hard.
“How you gon’ say that?” I said almost choking. “Man, that sound sad as fuck!” I yelled trying to speak as I laughed.
“Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do. But that’s why I don’t really fuck with them,” she shrugged again, smiling.
”So what you tryna say is that real dick is better,” I stated.
“I’m not trying to say it, I am.”
“Alright, alright. So you ever gotten head from someone that aint a girl,” I mumbled, wanting the answer but disliking the fact that I asked.
Rae looked around the room, then start down at me. “No. Have you?”
“Shutup,” I mumbled looking at her funny. “Serious though?”
“Yeah… why?” Nea asked quietly while reaching for some sweets.
“Nun… just asking. A nigga can ask, right”
Putting her relatively small hand on me again, she shook my head ‘til I felt dizzy.
“You, my friend, are an idiot,” she giggled, amused by her actions.
Taking hold of her wrist, I looked at her sternly, and Nea being Nea, she simply laughed at me while my eye lid hung lowly.
I let her wrist down slowly and while staring up at her, I bit my bottom lip, feeling another sting of words making up a question sitting on the back of my tongue. It was almost burning my throat, urging me to ask.
For some reason, the TV quietened even more, and all I could focus on was Rae. And she was staring back at me, her cheeks glowing a soft pink.
I put my phone down and sat up, moving my back so that it rested against the head board.
Touching her thighs, I held onto Nea and pulled her on top of me. She didn’t fuss, but she was slow about it – maybe because I was making her shy.
Once she was on my lap, she devoted her attention to her fiddling fingers so she didn’t have to look up at me, but I made her.
Rae’s been my best friend for years, and for most of those I’ve wanted more. I always thought that the feelings would leave in their own time and that I’d never have to deal with them again, but I was so wrong. And as if to punish me, since we’ve been at College, the feelings I have inside have more than doubled. I can’t escape them, and I don’t think I want to.
“Hey” I mumbled softly, “look, can we do this properly?” I asked while looking at her, but she didn’t answer.
I cleared my throat a little even though I knew she heard me clearly the first time. “Neavana,” I ducked my head so that I could meet her eyes directly, and stop her from looking downwards instead of up. Slowly, I set my head up straight, successful keeping her much need eye contact. “…will… will you be my girlfriend?” My voice was low and raspy – maybe even shaky. Not from nerves, but more from anticipation.
I couldn’t stop myself from smiling, and before I knew it, she was, too. I began to rub her thighs and the skin on the small of her back gently, pulling her body closer to mine and generating more heat between the two of us.
Biting my lip wildly, I waited.
She nodded, blushing and fiddling nervously with anything she could. Her brown eyes bounced around the room because she couldn’t look at me. She rocked on my lap too, unable to stay still. Rae always moved around a lot when she felt nervous, and that made everything feel so much more real.
I raised my eyebrows, wanting to actually hear her. My smile never left, but nerves sneaked into my system.
Nea giggled again and bit her bottom lip before smiling. “Yeah,” she nodded, falling back in laughter. And for some reason, I laughed, too.