My mouth hangs loose when I take in the man joining me for dinner. If this were happening in a movie, I’ll have screamed “cliché”, but it was happening and all I wanted to do as memories of him flood back with a vengeance was clunk him over the head with crutches. Angered at his audacity, I reflexively slam my palm on the table drawing attention to us. “You cannot waltz back into my life whenever it pleases you, Hamza. I have adjusted to a new life without you in it. Get out.”
My father did the unthinkable to me as a child. He was my worst nightmare, the kind that made my skin crawl with dread, and my scream dies unheard. He tore my life apart and scarred me for life. I ran, but now, I’m back with a bloodlust for vengeance.
Jade's trembling hands reach up to cup my face, her fingers stalling my ravenous onslaught on her exposed skin. “Seth,” she murmurs, willing me to look at her. I rebel against the loss of her warm body pressed tightly against mine, yet apprehensive of the worry I sense in her warm brown eyes while trying hard not to combust from the amounts of restraint I've had to exercise from the first minute she walked into the studio.
Malik wraps his arms gently around my waist, pulling my back flush against his on the thin bed. He cradles my head on his arm, ensuring my oxygen tube flows freely and unhindered with our new sleeping arrangements. The bed dips as he lowered himself behind me, placing a soft kiss on my bald head, behind my ears, and on my neck, just the way I like it. A soft sigh escapes my lips, and I snuggle closer to him, winching when it hurt like hell. “Are you all right?” he asks, raising himself on an elbow, his warm breath fanning the side of my face. “l’m used to it, Malik. But I do want to see your face. I don’t want our time together to end with me facing away from you.”
We stood inches apart, surrounded by the well-tended wildflowers on his dad's back porch, his eyes focused on every inch of my face as he had done eight years ago when he said those words to me. Eight years felt like a long time ago, yet it felt like only a moment ago when he shattered my life and walked away without a backward glance. "You came?" My eyes fluttered. Hearing his voice again after so long made my heart leap. Tried as I may, I couldn't stop myself from sniffing the air in search of his favorite Cologne. "Yes. Your father was a great man and an excellent confidant. He stood by me even when you didn't."
The door to my office burst open, and in stormed the last person on earth I wanted to see before my big day. His nose flared, and determination gleamed in his eyes as he cornered me unexpectedly, and pinned me to my seat. I watched the tremors course through my body in ardent fascination - like I used to whenever things got heated between us and he was trying to be reasonable - mentally kicking myself for allowing him this close to me.
I looked up, and there was that fleeting smile again. The kind that said - I'm slowly undressing you with my eyes, but I'm too shy to say it out loud. She longingly looked away, giggling lightly with her friend, while I laid back and observed silently from my booth, watching her every move.
If I could commit murder and get away with it, I’d have killed this spineless sonofabitch eons ago, dragged his body to the wild, and leave his worthless carcass for the vultures, but I couldn’t, and he knows it too.
He knows if I had wanted him dead, I’d have done it years ago. “Protecting my past and marriage is the reason you’re still alive.
I died a thousand deaths, watching him twitch and bleed out on the cold, tiled floor. The shattered fragments of the bed lamp gripped tightly in my hands dropped and clattered to the floor as Laila wailed in excruciating pain on the bed.