Tasha set her glass back down on the coffee table and glanced up at the clock above the front door. It was already 9:00 and she was starting to get restless. She got up and went to the mirror in the hallway to give herself yet another once over. Her curly brown hair was wild, but still in its place. Her red lipstick matched her jewelry. Her stilettos made her already seemingly tall 5’8” frame compete with that of a supermodel. The black cocktail dress she wore accentuated every curve and playfully showed off her healthy breasts.
Finally she heard a tap on her front door, then the doorbell. Since she already knew who it was and didn’t want to seem anxious, she walked back over to the coffee table to retrieve her almost empty glass of vodka cranberry.
“Coming,” she said, as she downed the last of her drink, sucking the sour tang from the lime on the rim, before going to unbolt the door.
As she pulled back the door, there he stood, almost tropical in his tan khaki pants and loose cream button up shirt. His dreadlocks, more tame than her curly ringlets, were slightly pulled back in a loose ponytail. He smiled, sending shivers up her spine. It had been a long time since she had seen Dameon.
“Come here you,” she breathed, pulling him close. She could feel the vodka starting to make her feel good already.
“I see you got started without me,” he said.
“You want a drink?” she asked. “I can make you one.”
“No,” he said. “Let’s go, we’re going to be late.”
Dameon held the door open for her as she slid into his Charger. They had late night dinner plans with a few of his friends, whom she had never met. On the way over to the restaurant the HD satellite playing some reggae music mostly made up their conversation.
“You look nice,” he said staring straight ahead.
“You don’t look so bad yourself,” she commented back, smiling, but Dameon seemed to be focused on the road.
Tasha looked over at Dameon, he seemed so familiar yet so distant. She didn’t ask any questions, she figured there would be time for that later.
When they walked into the restaurant, a light-skinned woman with bone straight hair and a really tight pencil skirt, motioned for the two of them to join the table. Sitting at the table was, what seemed like two other couples.
“Hi, I’m Joyce,” said the light-skinned girl, sizing up Tasha. “This is Marv, Vicki and John she said, pointing to each person around the table introducing them to Tasha.
Tasha smiled, but felt out of place. These people seemed out of her league and Dameon’s. She wondered why he had brought her here. When the waiter came around she ordered a glass of wine and hoped this would be a quick meal, because she wanted to let loose and enjoy herself tonight.
The two couples were in the middle of talking business when she and Dameon sat down. They didn’t feel the need to switch up the conversation on her behalf and Dameon seemed to jump right in, so she sat there, sipping her wine in silence. She noticed Joyce had a huge rock on her finger, which indicated Marv might be her husband. But when she looked over at Marv, his hand was empty. After about 30 minutes of pointless observations and conversation, the couples still had not ordered anything. They all sat around sipping, when Joyce turned to her and said, “So, how do you know our Dameon here?”
“Our?” she thought to herself.
“Oh we go way back,” she said, forcing a smile. She set her glass back down on the table and gave Dameon a look like, “let’s get the f*ck out of her!”
He smiled back at her meekly.
“Excuse me,” she said, turning to Dameon. “Can I talk to you in private for a second?”
She snatched his arm, practically dragging him from the table.
“What is it?” he said, sounding just as irritated as she felt.
“When you called me and asked if I wanted to “get together”, she said. “This is not what I had in mind.”
“Maybe you should slow down on those cocktails,” he said in response.
“You heard me,” he said. “Even before we got here you were sucking them down.”
She stuck her arm out to swing at him, but missed and he grabbed her arm, pulling her close. Then for the first time, in a long time, they caught each other’s eyes.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “I don’t know why I brought you here. Let’s go.”
They walked back towards the table and Joyce got up from her chair, “is everything alright?” she asked.
“Yes, we’re fine, but I think we’re gonna take off,” he told her.
Back in the car, again, the only conversation was coming from the HD satellite radio. When he pulled up to her apartment complex Tasha hesitated in getting out.
“I’ve missed you,” she said softly.
“Get out,” he said. “This was a mistake.”
“Then why did you call me,” she asked, feelings of anger making her body begin to tremble. “Why did you tell me you wanted to see me?! Why did you have me get all dressed up so I could sit there and look stupid in front of your “friends”, she screamed as she made fake quotation marks in the air.
“You know what, forget it!” Tasha swung the car door open hastily slamming it shut behind her. Tears were streaming down her face. She was so confused. When she started looking for her purse to get her keys out she realized she'd left her purse in the car.
She turned around and there was Dameon, standing right in her path. He always seemed to be in her way. Never moving. Always just there taking up space never giving her answers, never making her feel any better about any situation. Usually when she broke it off with an ex, that was it, there was no turning back. With Dameon things were somehow different. He was strong, motivated, yet such a man, which she believed always made it harder for him to express himself. And therefore she had a tendency to excuse his behavior and continue to love him no matter what.
“What?!” she said, her voice cracking.
He handed Tasha her purse. Then he leaned in and wiped the mess of tears from her face, kissing her chin, then her cheek, and then her forehead. Tasha pulled back shaking her head “no” turning towards her front door. As she started walking, from behind her she could hear Dameon call out, “I’ve missed you too.”
It was the same routine. The games he played would never change. She sighed heavily turning her key in the door.
“Come on,” she said. “I’ll make you a drink”…