“Two Can Play That Game” – Part 2

[For the previous installment, please scroll back]

“Hey! This place is pretty crowded. Would you mind if I sit with you?”

She graced me with the warmest of warm dark brown eyes and her smile could have lit up the entire coffee shop.

“Be my guest. But you might regret it…”

She motioned for me to sit and I promptly accepted.

“With a smile that beautiful, regret would be impossible.”

I expected her to avert her eyes shyly or at least blush at my compliment but I got neither. She never even flinched.

I watched as she smoothed out the newspaper and folded it into four. As she did, she continued smiling and her eyes never left mine.

“So tell me, why would I regret sitting with you?”

“Well, I’m not that much of a conversationalist this early in the morning. And those girls over there seemed more than ready and willing to entertain a good-looking guy like you.”

She gestured behind me and when I turned, the three women were looking in our direction.

I couldn’t help but chuckle. I was impressed that she had observed that subtle exchange because it meant that she had been looking at me. Then, there was the fact that she had called me “good-looking”. Things were looking up so I cranked up the charm.

“You’ve been watching me? I’m flattered.”

“No, I wasn’t watching you. Let’s just say that I’m very aware of my surroundings and the people around me.”

She grinned and slipped the newspaper into her bag.

I laughed at how she skillfully skirted around my shameless flirtation.

“Maybe you should be a cop.”

“Who says that I’m not?”

I leaned in towards her across the table and whispered, “You’re too pretty to be a cop.”

She leaned in to match my action and whispered back, “That’s a bit insulting to all the female police officers in the world. Maybe…just maybe, I’m very aware of my surroundings because I’m…psychic.”

There was a long quiet moment as we simply looked at each other. This was getting more and more interesting by the second. I was enjoying this little banter between us, chatting like we already knew each other. At this rate and if I wasn’t careful, I would quickly go from being early for work to being late.

I studied her pretty face and wondered how her skin could look so smooth when she seemed to have absolutely no make-up on.  Her “Au Naturelle” T-shirt was definitely on point. There was a sense of familiarity about her which was a bit odd because we had just met.

“A psychic, you say? Okay then, “read” me. Tell me all about me.”

She took a long sip from her coffee mug. I, on the other hand, had completely forgotten that I’d even bought myself a coffee. I took a quick swig of mine and waited for her volley back. She outstretched her hand and showed me her palm. I frowned, a little confused.


She wiggled the fingers of her outstretched hand.

“Give me your hand. I’ll give you a …”reading”.

I laughed again as I gave her my hand.

“How much will it cost me?”

I had started this game and she wasn’t afraid to play. I was already hooked.

“Not one penny.”

Her hand was smooth and soft as she slid her palm across mine. When she simply held it in hers, I no longer cared about being late for work.

“Okay Ms. Psychic?” I teased, “Tell me about my future because I could definitely see you in it.”

Next installment: January 17

©2016 Marquessa Matthews. All Rights Reserved.

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“Two Can Play That Game” – The Beginning


A strong cup of hot black coffee was the only thing I wanted until I saw her.

Like everyone else standing in the queue, I needed my morning caffeine fix so I decided to stop at the first coffee shop on my way to the office.

For the first time that week, I was actually early for work. But that was only because Brittany had kept me up for most of the night and I had never really gone to bed. When I’d picked her up from the airport the night before, she had wanted to make up for lost time, lots of lost time. I was glad that I had no meetings that day because I knew that when the wave of tiredness eventually hit me, it would hit hard. Right then, all I wanted was to sit and enjoy my coffee in peace before starting my work day.

With my cup in hand, I scanned the coffee shop for an empty table but there were none to be found. If I really wanted to sit, I’d have to do it by joining someone at their table. I took a minute to assess my situation.

Two nerdy guys sitting in the far corner with their noses almost pressed against their laptop screens?

A gaggle of loud teenagers who looked too young to drink coffee?


And no.

Three cute but young twenty-something women in a corner booth giggling and giving me the flirting eyes?

I smiled at them and they all smiled back.

Yes, sitting with them was the only way to go.

Until my eyes landed on her.

Sitting alone at a table for two, dressed in black yoga pants, wearing a bright mauve T-shirt with “Au Naturelle” printed on the front and a black hoodie, she stood out among the business attire and teenage trendy school wear.

Her dark curls were in a messy ponytail, a pair of glasses dangled dangerously from just above her forehead and she was sipping from a large mug as she flipped through a newspaper. The way she slowly took her time to peruse the page and the fact that she had a mug instead of a to-go cup meant that she wasn’t going anywhere in a hurry.

I watched as a smile spread across her face at whatever it was that she was reading. When she picked up her cell to check the time, she glanced around just enough for me to get a perfect view of her face.

I immediately wanted to know what shade of brown her eyes were and what I would need to do to kiss her.

As I passed my “threesome” with a nod of acknowledgement, I noticed their looks of disappointment.

But I was on a mission.

I walked up to her table and positioned myself in such a way for her to notice me. But when she didn’t, I had no choice but to break the ice.

“Hey! This place is pretty crowded. Would you mind if I sit with you?”

She graced me with the warmest of warm dark brown eyes and her smile could have lit up the entire coffee shop.

“Be my guest. But you might regret it…”

She motioned for me to sit and I promptly accepted.

“With a smile that beautiful smile, regret would be impossible.”

Next installment: January 10

[Note: This is an excerpt of a larger story)

©2016 Marquessa Matthews. All Rights Reserved.

If you have enjoyed my writing, feel free to sign up for my mailing list here. I’ve been neglecting it and trying to get it up and running again. If you have any issues signing up, you can email me at simplymarquessa@gmail.com .

“Ripple Effect”

Repost – *Trigger warning – fiction alludes to sexual abuse/child abuse*



My younger brother, Jeff and I sat next to each other on the couch in our parent’s living room. It was their 55th wedding anniversary and the entire extended family had turned out for the casual BBQ party they had decided to throw themselves. People milled around, some catching up on the latest family news while others boasted about their fabulous accomplishments to make each other jealous.

I had been all around the world but whenever I visited my childhood house, the only place I wanted to be was away from here. That’s when I longed for the safe confines of my own peaceful and comforting home.

The entire gathering was ridiculously hypocritical seeing that our parent’s entire marriage had only been full of hateful tolerance instead of wedded bliss. Jeff and I had endured that charade our entire lives behind their closed doors and we knew their dirty secret.

“I blame you David.”

My plate of homemade macaroni and cheese and barbecue ribs sitting precariously on my lap almost fell between my knees at Jeff’s angry voice.

“Blame me? For what? What did I ever do to you?!”

Over the years, we had rarely seen each other but it wasn’t for my lack of trying to make an effort. Jeff had been the one to distance himself and his family away from me. Our disconnect had slowly started after I had eloped at eighteen to marry my first wife, a calculated move far out of state that had more to do with escaping the smothering environment than being head over heels in love. Unfortunately, leaving town had also meant leaving Jeff behind to fend for himself.

“I blame you for her.”

Jeff pointed to the bay window to where Uncle Alonso and Aunt Beatrice stood in the front garden area chatting up a storm with our parents. My blood ran cold with nausea.

“What are they doing here?” I found myself saying much too loud.

How dare they have the audacity to even show their faces here?

The urge to run to the bathroom and throw up quickly turned into an overwhelming desire to jump into my car and run them both over.

No, maybe run all four of them over.

Deader than dead.

“If you had spoken up back then, she never would have come after me after you left. My life would have been so different if you had just fought back. But you were always the selfish one, weren’t you?”

Jeff pushed himself up from the couch and walked away, leaving me to deal with the fallout of the bomb he had dropped.

She had done things to him too?

Cold sweat racked my body as my soul emptied itself onto the carpet alongside the contents of my plate. My soul hadn’t felt so empty since the first time Uncle Alonso had begged me not to tell on Aunt Bea, almost as empty as when my parents had refused to believe me when I had finally spoken my truth.

I could still almost feel the pain of the beating I had received for it.

Bloody little liar! That’s my sister you’re talking about! Bea would never do such a thing! Don’t you ever say anything like that again!

Oblivious to the frenzied scene of aunts and girl cousins trying to clean up the ribs and macaroni decorating my mother’s precious Siberian white rug, I was on my feet in an instant.

As I barreled my way out of the front door to where they stood jabbering away, my hand searched frantically in the depths of my pockets for my car keys.

There was no time like the present…

All Rights Reserved ©2017 Marquessa Matthews.








“Hate Floats”

I wonder how cold the water would be if I accidentally push her overboard…

Her gold scarf whips around her face in the wind as I watch her lean against the rail and peer down into the blackness of the water. She is completely hypnotized by the cresting white foam that trails alongside the ship as it barrels its way to the next port.

How much would it hurt when she hits the water? Would death be instant? Would her screams go unheard?

These aren’t supposed to be the thoughts of a formerly happy husband on a Christmas anniversary cruise vacation.

But they are.

I’m tired of her hollow commitments and the talk of “The Baby” to mask the lies she’s been spinning. I’m tired of working to exist and existing to work because she’s taken away everything worthwhile in my life and bled my bank accounts dry. Most of all, I’m tired of pretending that I can make things work with a baby she doesn’t realize that I know is not mine.

A man can only take so much of an evil woman but I still hate myself for having gruesome thoughts of her drowning in the middle of nowhere.

There are only four days before this cruise ends and we go home. Four more days before I tell her that this charade is over.

She turns to me with a blank expression as if she’s been reading my thoughts. Suddenly, four days feels like an eternity and I can’t hold myself back.

“I can’t do this anymore. We’re done,” I blurt out. “I can’t stand the sight of you.”

She says nothing for a minute and then says,God knows I never meant to hurt you. I never meant to take it that far…”

But then a smile spreads across her thin red lips.

“Then again, maybe I haven’t taken it far enough,” she whispers.

She turns her back to me, takes a deep breath, throws a leg over the rail and vanishes into the dark.

I don’t move.

I can’t move.

What is happening?

All I remember is the ocean air taking hold of my wife’s gold scarf and gently placing it at my feet.

©2016 Marquessa Matthews. All Rights Reserved. Save
















“If They Take Dogs and Jews, They’ll Probably Take You…”


Inspired by true events…

Montreal, 1963.

“Sorry, we do have apartments for rent but we can’t risk having other tenants move out if you move in.”

I stood there with the baby sleeping in my arms while my other son peeked out from behind my skirt. He gave the middle-aged woman the same blank look that I was giving her. My husband was registering at the university so we were on our own to apartment hunt that day. It was cold and the excitement of witnessing my first snowfall was long gone.

This was the third visit we had made in response to For Rent ads and it would be the third time we were turned away. It hadn’t dawned on me to warn landlords that we were Black but I guess that I should have – it would have saved my time and my little one’s feet in this eye-opening cold.

Three times was not a charm.

Seeing the look of despair on my face, the woman tried to be helpful.

“Why don’t you try the building across the street, dear? They always have availability. If they take dogs and Jews, they’ll probably take you. Merry Christmas!

And with that, the woman quietly shut her door.

©2017 Marquessa Matthews. All Rights Reserved.

“Tainted Love”


“All I Want To Do Is Make Love To You” – Part 1

A hot bead of sweat rolled down the back of my neck as I watched the snow dance outside the café where I should not have been sitting.

Yeah, I should not be sitting here.

It was almost 9:00pm and throngs of people whizzed past the café near Central Park where he had asked me to meet him.


The very thought of him made me squirm in my seat and squeeze my thighs together.

I blame this crazy city for taking a chance like this. What am I doing meeting a man I really don’t know in the middle of New York City the day before I have to fly back home?

The moment he had said hello and had sat down next to me on the plane ride here, something in me had ignited. Not simple sparks but a scorching fire.

His cute crooked smile had taken me totally off guard. And when he had seen the tattered copy of Stephen King’s “Needful Things” on my lap, he had pulled a copy of “Misery” from his bag and complimented me on my great taste in authors.

Like that famous line from that stupid movie I hated, I had to admit that he had me at hello.

Fuck. What the hell is wrong with me? He could be some kind of serial killer or a rapist.

For the entire six-hour flight, our conversation had flowed like we had known each other forever. Handsome, intellectual, funny and unafraid to challenge me on my thoughts when the conversation turned to the current political events, I was intrigued and attracted when I should not have been.

I should get up and leave right now.

The chemistry between us had been undeniable and when he asked for my number, I should have thought twice but I couldn’t resist, even though I was only in town for two days and the likelyhood of him calling was slim to none.

But he did call and when he asked me to meet him for coffee, I agreed.

Now, second thoughts were whirling around my head.

I should be back at the hotel, reviewing the notes from the conference that had brought me to this city in the first place. I should be thinking about getting a good night’s sleep after indulging on ridiculously expensive room service because . But here I am, waiting for a handsome stranger who will probably not turn up. Hot or not,what the hell am I thinking? 

Just as I was about to put my tuque on and abandon my coffee to leave, he walked through the door.


Scared, excited but mostly nervous, it quickly hit me that I didn’t even know his name.

“Hey…” He sat down across from me, looked around and then smiled nervously.

Oh…that cute crooked smile.


Though the chemistry between us was palpable, we sat in silence for a very long moment before he reached across the table and took my hand.

“This is crazy. Absolutely crazy. I feel like I’ve known you forever which is totally nuts. And I don’t even know your name. ”

I knew exactly what he meant. Crazy was definitely the way I was feeling.

“Isn’t that what New York is all about? Being a little crazy? Taking chances?” I laughed nervously and squeezed his hand. He shook his head and suddenly looked sad.

“Yeah, that’s what people say about New York. But I really shouldn’t be here with you. I’m…married,” he whispered and looked away ashamed through the café window.

I took a deep breath and held onto his hand a little tighter.

“Well, to be honest, I shouldn’t be here either. I’m…I’m married too.”

His head snapped back with surprise. Though nothing about the situation was funny, we broke out in laughter.

“We’re going to burn in hell for doing what we’re doing right now,” he said quietly. His lips were hypnotizing me and all I could think about was tasting them.

Hell might not be such a bad place right about now.

“No we won’t. We’re only talking and having coffee…at least, for now.”

I leaned across the table and kissed him. My entire body was on a slow burn for much more than a kiss.

I have lost my mind.

“My God,” he muttered against my lips before kissing me again. “You taste like a hazelnut latté.” He glanced down at my mug of coffee and smiled.

“Is that a bad thing?” I flirted, savoring the moment. I had missed the easiness of just “being” myself with someone who I actually had chemistry with.

“No, I love hazelnut. But from your lips, it could become…dangerous.”

He kissed me again before leaning away. He cleared his throat, gave me that crooked smile and then extended his hand for a handshake.

“My name is…Harry.”

I looked him, to his hand and then back at him. I cocked my head to the side, smiled and took the hand that he offered.

“Nice to meet you…Harry. I’m…Meghan.”

He raised his eyebrows and took me in with those soft brown eyes of him. Harry leaned in and said against my lips. “Meghan? Seriously? Hmm, somehow I don’t believe you.”

“Well, you could call me Princess instead if you like,” I teased. “And somehow, I don’t believe you either…Harry.” Giving him my real name seemed fitting for his choice of  fake names and I didn’t care whether he believed me or not because it was the truth.

It was as truthful as my desire to leave the cafe to go somewhere, anywhere and make the most this snowy night with this stranger.

All Rights Reserved©2016 Marquessa Matthews.

“Magnets” – Part 2

couple kissing

The massive snowstorm hit the city sooner than the city expected and I was secretly happy when both of our flights were cancelled and rescheduled.

Whether it was divine intervention or a helping hand from the devil, something in the universe was giving me permission to spend extra time with Harry. I was just thankful for an alibi that required no lies on my part for not getting home on time. There were a lot of things I had been faking lately but the weather was out of my control.

From the warmth of the King bed, Harry and I watched the snow swirling around outside the window. It was the perfect evening to simply escape under the covers, cuddle, dine on grossly overpriced room service and feast on each other for dessert.

Harry kissed my forehead and cradled me tight in his arms. I knew from the way his fingers caressed my shoulder that we wouldn’t be leaving this bed anytime soon.

It felt so right when it should have felt so so wrong.

“So…what do you want for Christmas?”

His voice was a low whisper, as if he didn’t want to disturb the falling snow. I barely knew him but something deep inside of me wanted to say ‘you’.

“For you to keep me warm, right here, right now,” I whispered back.

“I think that I could arrange that,” he laughed, kissing the top of my head. “You know, we’re like hot cocoa and marshmallows.”

I glanced at him, gathering the duvet closer around our naked bodies.


“You’re hot and I just want to be on top of you,” he laughed, shifting his weight to lay his face on my chest.

I smiled and shook my head as I ran my fingers through his tousled hair.

“That’s the worst line I have ever heard. Where did you pick that up?”

Harry’s lips pressed into mine with a gentle force that took my breath away. I felt drunk on his kiss, a feeling I wanted to bottle up and take home with me in my suitcase. Somehow Harry knew how to draw out my deepest need.

“Do you really want to talk about my lack of witty lines when we could be doing much more interesting things Meghan?”

Every time he said my name, I felt dangerous and naughty, knowing that he thought it wasn’t true. My name tumbled from his lips as effortlessly as his did from mine.

Harry, Harry, Harry…

I closed my eyes and inhaled the scent of his cologne that lingered in the air along with the remnants of the room service tray that lay on the floor next to our clothes.

Harry. It didn’t matter that it wasn’t his real name.

I shook my head, unable to keep a sinful smile from spreading across my face. He hadn’t touched me again yet but I could already feel the imprint of his warm fingers where I wanted them to be for a third time.

“Just shut up and kiss me.”

As the storm blew through the empty streets of New York and we made love, I already missed the times we would never share.

All Rights Reserved©2016 Marquessa Matthews.

“Neither One Of Us” – Part 3

Today was end of the road for us and now it was back to reality.

The bed shook gently as Harry shifted next to me. I kept my eyes closed when I felt his lips on my bare shoulder.


I breathed deeply and pretended to be asleep. I heard him get up, gather his clothes from the floor and make his way around to my side of the bed. When I felt his fingers caress my hair, it took all my strength not to open my eyes. Harry tiptoed to the bathroom and quietly shut the door. Then I heard the shower running.

It was the end of a perfect weekend with a perfect stranger. And by tonight, I’d be back in my own little world, dealing with the harsh realities of my dismal life. My stomach tensed at the thought of it all.

Smart, bookish, geeky and funny, I wanted to know more about Harry beyond our pillow talk and that plane ride conversation to New York.

I noticed his wallet on the bedside table and had the urge to take a peek at his real name and where he was from. Cheating wasn’t in my wheelhouse, well not usually, and though my fingers itched with curiosity, I resisted.

I’d never see him again so it made no sense to have his information.

When the shower stopped, I shut my eyes. I listened to him getting himself together and the jingling of his belt signaled that he was almost fully dressed. I felt the bed sink where he sat down next to me. I stirred when he ran his fingers along my face and through my hair.

“Meghan, open your eyes. I know that you’re not asleep.”

Surprised, I did as he told. “How did you know?”

He leaned in and kissed me. “After these past few days, I know your breathing…” A wicked smile spread across his face. “And the fact that you’re not snoring is a dead give-away.”

I grabbed a pillow and knocked him over with it. Laughing, Harry took it away and hit me right back. Then I abruptly stopped,remembering that this was the end of the line. “Sorry, I just wanted…I was thinking…I’m going to miss…whatever this is.”

Harry nodded, letting me know that he understood. “Don’t be sorry, I’ve been thinking about that since last night too.”

He ran his thumb along my lower lip and then cradled my cheek in his palm. Fully dressed, he lay down, cuddled with me and intertwined his fingers with mine.

“Where do we go from here Meghan?”

I shook my head and tried to be as matter-of-fact as I could. “Home.”

Harry’s face fell. “Oh, okay. So…you’ve done this before…”

My face flushed with heat and my body bristled from the insult. “What?! No, I’ve never done anything like this before!”

“But you said…” Harry held me tighter and stroked my arm. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I just thought…I don’t know what I thought. Look, neither have I.”

In the dimness of the room, we were quiet until Harry broke our silence.

“Is Meghan really your name?” Harry whispered into my hair.

His soft strokes along my arm were hypnotizing, almost coaxing me to say spill how I was really feeling but I didn’t. I couldn’t. I shook my head.

“Harry, it doesn’t matter. Don’t do that. There’s no point in us going there now. We both have to go home to our lives and to fix whatever it is that is broken. “Broken” is  the reason we are here together right now….”

He nodded halfheartedly in agreement. “There’s still so much that I want to know about you. Like your favorite color, the type of flowers you like, your favorite dessert, what you really like for breakfast beyond hotel room service …”

Is this how cheating works? Does he need to feign interest before getting the hell out of my hotel room?

My gut told me to give Harry the benefit of the doubt. Soon it wouldn’t matter anyways.

“I love purple, any kind of roses and anything chocolate, hazelnut or cinnamon,” I sighed. “And a simple breakfast of strong coffee and hot bagels with cream cheese always hits the spot for me.”

He glanced over to the clock on the nightstand and my eyes followed his. I knew that he had to leave but neither one of us wanted to say goodbye first. “Why couldn’t I have met you 2 years ago?” It was more of a statement than a question.

I gave him a blank look.

“Two years ago before I married Monique,” Harry explained to answer my frown.

Strangely enough, Tom and I had gotten married two years ago too. “Oh, that’s your wife’s name?”

Harry nodded. “What’s your husband’s name?”


Harry glanced at the clock again and shook his head.

“I need to get to my hotel, pack my things and head to the airport. But I don’t want to say goodbye…”

I cut him off. “Well, don’t say goodbye. Just leave.”

I got up, forcing him off the bed to stand with me. Harry gave me an odd look.

“Just leave? Is it that simple for you?” Now Harry was the one that sounded insulted.

“I didn’t mean it like that…”

To shut me up, he kissed me. We held each other for what seemed like an eternity and then I forced myself to let go. Harry leaned to kiss me one last time but I quickly backed away.

He shook his head in defeat and scooped up the express hotel check out bill that had been slipped under my door. As Harry placed it on the nightstand next to my swipe card and cell, I couldn’t take watching him leave. I rushed into the bathroom and shut the door.

“Meghan,” Harry said through the door, “Open the door.” When I didn’t, I heard him sigh. “I don’t regret what happened. Believe me, this meant something to me. It wasn’t wrong for us to do what we did.”

“Goodbye Harry,” I whispered through the door.

When I heard him leave, my cell pinged in the distance as I went back over to the bed. I grabbed it, sat on the edge of the bed and checked my messages. Three missed messages from Tom, the last one telling me that he would pick me up when I landed. I texted him back.

I’ll take a taxi home.

I tossed my cell behind me. I hadn’t been in touch with him since texting him about the flight cancellation. For the first time in a long time, Tom wasn’t taking up valuable real estate in my head.

I took a long hot bath until the water ran cold, thinking that I could soak the pleasures Harry had given me out of my system. But no matter how much I tried, I couldn’t erase the imprint of his touch on my skin.

I still had hours to go before heading to the airport but I wanted to check out as soon as possible. The sooner I left, the faster I could out the memories of what Harry and I had done out of my present and into my past.

I wrapped myself up in the hotel robe and headed out of the bathroom. The scent of hot coffee, fresh bagels and cinnamon hit me as soon as I re-entered the room, making my stomach growl with hunger.

That’s when I noticed that my swipe card and hotel check-out bill were both now laying on the bed. In its place on the nightstand was a large to-go cup of coffee and a brown paper bag with two bagels, cream cheese and sticky cinnamon bun. I took a sip of what I discovered to be a hazelnut latte which had the perfect sprinkling of extra sugar.


Next to my cell and scribbled on a paper napkin in the absolute worst handwriting ever was a note:

As you can see, I borrowed your room key. No flowers, no chocolate but I hope you enjoy these. Have a safe flight and text me when you land. I put my number in your cell. Love, Harry. P.S. You should really lock your cell. P.P.S. My name really is Harry xoxo

Wanting to cry, I crawled back under the covers and hugged the pillow he’d slept on to inhale the scent of him for the last time.

The irony of it all…

I just let a man I barely know and want walk away from me so that I can home to Tom, a man I no longer wanted…

All Rights Reserved ©2017 Marquessa Matthews.

“Back 2 Life” – Part 4

The flight home was the longest hour of my life.

For the first time ever, I looked forward to taking a taxi because it would give me more time to think. But Tom ruined it by popping up out of nowhere when I found myself outside at the ground transportation area. Tom radiated with eagerness as he pushed through the small crowd to get me.

“Meghan! Over here! Did you have a good flight?”

I bristled at his kiss and promptly wiped the feeling away from my cheek without answering. Tom took my luggage and pointed off into the distance.

“The car is over there in the short term parking.”

I dragged my feet to the car where he popped the trunk and threw my bags in. Then, like the gentleman I never knew him to be, Tom opened the passenger door for me to slide in.

Since when did he have manners?

“I told you that I was going to take a cab,” I said as I clicked myself into my seat belt.

“I don’t mind picking you up. I know that you’ve had a long and hard weekend, especially missing my family’s pre-Christmas dinner and all. You must have been bored to tears getting snowed in like that.”

Long and hard ? What a choice of words. Bored to tears? If you only knew Tom.

“Actually, I enjoyed it.”

I turned on the radio louder than it needed to be and stared out the window, watching the lights in the distance whizz by in a blur. I felt Tom’s eyes boring holes into me. He turned the radio down.

“Uh…because taking a bunch of short business trips right before the holidays was your way of getting away from me?”

Tom’s sad voice was barely audible but I didn’t care. He didn’t deserve my sympathy or a response. The car fell into an awkward silence that he tried to break and failed miserably.

“My family kept asking for you at the dinner. They really missed you. Especially Mom. You know how she adores you.”

I couldn’t help but snicker at his forced attempt at a normal conversation.

Gloves off.

“Maybe you should have taken her to the family dinner. She could have kept my seat warm for me, just like what she was doing in our bed.”

Tom didn’t say another word until we pulled up into our driveway. When I attempted to exit the car, he held me back.

“Meghan, I want us to start over. I want to make us work again. I was thinking that we could maybe try therapy like what you had suggested.”

The regret in Tom’s voice surprised me but I wasn’t a foolish anymore. Tom was giving an Oscar-worthy performance, crocodile tears and all.

I knew better. Tom only did things that benefited one person – Tom.

“I suggested that before I realized you were a repeat offender.”

With the same whore…In my house…In our bed…Fucking liar.

Like a lightening bolt, the reason behind his eagerness to fix things hit me like a ton of bricks. I started to laugh uncontrollably and Tom frowned, looking all confused.

“What’s so funny? You’re the one who suggested therapy!”

I unhooked my seat belt and shook my head. “Pop the trunk so I can get my things,” I ordered, stepping out of the car.

He fidgeted with the key, popped the trunk and hurried out behind me. I grabbed my stuff and rushed inside. I dropped my bags in the front entrance and stormed straight to our bedroom, where I hadn’t stepped foot in months.

“Whoa Meg! Where are you going?”

Tom yelled after me, tripping over my bags. I swung open the bedroom door and Tom was at my heels.

“What are you doing, Meg?!” Tom couldn’t hide the worry in his voice.

I scanned the bedroom like a hawk. The room was so spotless that I could have eaten off the floor. Tom had never been a clean husband. The bed was made and the pillows properly fluffed and placed just the way I would have done it…with a woman’s touch. Tom had never made the bed in the four years we’d been together.

The window was slightly ajar even though it was cold outside, quite strange for a man who used to consistently complain that I was wasting heat whenever I wanted to air out the bedroom.

But the pièce de resistance was that my favorite candles on the dresser were burnt much lower than how I had left them before moving into the guest room 6 weeks before.

I shook my head in disgust and went into what used to be our bathroom. I kicked over the laundry hamper and tumbled its contents onto the floor.

“Meghan! What the fuck are you doing?!”

Staring back at me from the floor were towels with traces of foundation and lipstick. I picked them up and realizing that they were freshly wet, I threw them at his face and stormed past him to the kitchen.

Tom finally realized what was happening and chased after me.

“Wait! It’s not what you think!”

I felt my throat constricting with anger. I grabbed a glass from the cabinet  and drew myself some water before I started to spit fire. I leaned against the kitchen counter and listened to him babble with lies as I gulped away, wishing that my glass of water was a bottle of red wine.

“Are you serious? Wet towels with make-up on them in the laundry basket..No, of course it’s not what I think. It never is.”

Out of habit, I opened the dishwasher to put my glass in and noticed dirty wine glasses. The trace of bright red lipstick on one of them caught my eye.  Before my mind knew what my hand was doing, I pulled it out and threw the glass at his head. Tom’s hands flew up to protect his face in panic. The glass shattered into a million little pieces all over the kitchen floor.

Cheap Drugstore Red was not my lipstick color of choice.

“I can explain…She turned up here and we only talked!”

“You mean, you had a little wine, some candlelight, fucked her in my house again and then did a shitty job covering it up.”

“Meg…” Tom looked like a deer caught in the headlights of a car.

“Tom, you’ve got one week to pack your shit and leave my house! You heard me, MY house! When I get back, you need to be gone.” I grabbed my bags and headed to my own car.

“Don’t do this Meg! I can fix this.”

“You can’t fix what I have no interest in repairing! And the past couple of days have opened my eyes. There are plenty of better men out there and you’re definitely not one of them!” I tossed my bags into the backseat and jumped into my car. Tom stood with his hands on his head, at a loss about what to do.

“What are you talking about “the past couple of days”? ”

I revved the car and rolled down the window. “I tore a page out of your playbook and you know what? It felt fucking awesome!”

Tom’s face lit up and not in a good way. “You didn’t Meg!” It was clear that he understood what I meant. “You would never do that. You’re not that kind of person.”

“Be out of my house in one week Tom! ” I left him standing in the middle of the driveway looking crazy and lost.

As I headed down to the highway, my cell immediately started blowing up and I ignored it. I checked into one of the nicer hotels in the city. My cell kept ringing nonstop and I shut off the ringer.

I plopped myself down onto the bed, exhausted and wondering how one man could cause me so much grief.

I wanted to be back in Harry’s arms, locked in that New York hotel room away from the rest of the world again, just the two of us. I closed my eyes, imagining his fingers intertwined with mine when my cell buzzed with a text. I wasn’t going to look but something told me to.

My heart stopped when I realized that the text wasn’t from Tom at all.

Let me know that you arrived safely. Harry

My smile was instant and I was eager to respond but my fingers were frozen. Tom I might have been “over” the day I found out the day he cheated but sweet Harry still had a chance with his wife. Maybe Harry could get his marriage back on track. Who was I to get in the way of that possibility for him?

If I texted him back, I’d only be making the situation worse for him, right?

I turned off my cell completely, peeled off my clothes and crawled into the not-so-heavenly hotel bed.

All Rights Reserved ©2017 Marquessa Matthews.

 “Missing You Now” – Part 5

credit to and found at: https://giphy.com/gifs/the-vampire-diaries-tvd-party-onyerAi0IasDK

“Oh my God! Mr. New York has been sexting you everyday?”

I polished off the red wine in my glass and shook my head in disbelief, something I often did when Mariah was around.

My sister was visiting from New York for the weekend and Abby, our little sister had dropped by to hang out. Whenever Mariah was in town, we all usually had lunch at Mariah’s favorite restaurant but I wasn’t in the mood to get dolled up and go anywhere that Saturday. Then again, I hadn’t been in the mood to do much of anything except go to work since I’d thrown Tom out and I had the house to myself.

“Don’t you ever listen Mariah? Mr. New York has been “texting“, not “sexting” her. And she said a few times a week, not everyday.” Abby rolled her eyes at her and took a sip from her glass.

“What I’d really like is for the two of you to stop calling him Mr. New York.” They were both getting on my last nerve.

Abby giggled. “Well, you refuse to tell us his name so we’ve got to call him something. If you want, we could call him the hottie with the big…”

“Abby!” Prim and prissy Mariah cut her off before she could finish what we both knew she was about to say.

“If he’s been texting you a few times a week for the past few months, that shows persistence and absolutely no guilt about what the two of you did. This guy definitely wants to continue cheating with you Meg. Just let it die – he’s married and you are too.”

“Mariah, Tom is out of the picture now and Meghan is only married on paper. The day Tom the asshole cheated, it was game over – all bets were off. It was just a matter of time before Meg told him it was over.”

“And what would you know, Abby? You’ve never been married and with that kind of attitude, you never will be.”

Abby scoffed. “Unlike you, I don’t think that marriage is the end all and be all of life! I’m not interested in complications and compromising about what I want in my life. And in any case, I’ve seen too many women lose their freaking minds as soon as the ink dries on their marriage certificates. I don’t need to be married to know about human nature. The heart wants what the heart wants. Tom’s heart didn’t want Meg and he cheated on her first. He basically pushed Meg into Mr. New York’s arms. Her heart and spirit were free the weekend they were together – it wasn’t cheating for her.”

“Look, even if your immature reasoning was somehow correct, Mr. New York was and is still married so no matter how you try to spin your PR crap Abby, it was still cheating. Meg knew that he was married and shouldn’t have slept with him. All three of them are cheats…I mean four, if you count Tom’s bitch. No offense Meg.”

I sipped my wine and watched them argue with each other like they always did since we were kids, going at it like I wasn’t even sitting with them in my own kitchen. Complete and total opposites – high and mighty Mariah versus the all hearts and go with the flow hippie Abby…Oil and water. I was somewhere in between.

I thanked my lucky stars that I hadn’t told them that Tom had brought that woman into my house. Only God knew what Abby would do to Tom if she found out.

Mariah snapped me out of my thoughts. “I hope that you haven’t been texting him back… Have you been texting him back?”

Before I could think about answering, Abby grabbed my cell and scurried across the room with it.

“Abby!” Both Mariah and I yelled after her. But I had no energy to bother fighting her for it. We both watched as Abby scrolled through my texts, shaking her head while she invaded my privacy.

“Wow, you’ve really got some great willpower Meghan. All these texts from him and you’ve never answered back? Impressive.”

Abby started reading some of the texts out loud.

Are you okay? I miss you.

Missing you. Please text me back. I need to know that you’re okay.

I can’t stop thinking about you.

We need to talk. Text me back. Please?

I really, really need to talk to you. Is it okay if I call you?

“What Meg should do right this minute is send him a text telling him to stop contacting her. He sounds like a stalker,” Mariah said.

“Or he’s a man in love,” Abby countered. “No, she should definitely NOT tell him that! If he’s still trying to get in touch like this, she’s heavy on his mind. What if he’s really her soulmate? Or “The One”?”

“He can’t be “The One” when he’s still married you idiot, just like Meghan is still married until her divorce is final. And if this guy cheated so easily on his wife, he would eventually cheat on Meg too.”

When I saw Abby’s mouth fall open, I knew that she had accessed my call log.

Here we go…

“Fuck! Mr. New York tried to call you last week! Did you talk to him? Did he leave a message?”

Abby sat back down and slid my cell across the table to me. They both looked at me with expectant eyes. Their constant harping had given me a headache so instead of answering, I played the voice mail Harry had left for me.

‘Meghan, I really need to talk to you. No, I need to see you, face to face. Please meet with me. Just say the time and place, I’ll be there. If you don’t want to hear from me after that, I’ll respect that. But I really need to see you even if it could be for the last time. Please call me back.’

Abby and Mariah first looked at each other and then stared at me. I could have sworn that I saw a softening of Mariah’s attitude for a split second.

“Are you going to call him back?” Abby asked excitedly, placing her hand on mine. I shook my head. “You should at least hear him out, see what he has to say. And you should tell him that you’re getting a divorce Meg. I know that’s what you want to do…”

“How do you know what she wants to do? Not everyone likes to play with fire like you Abby!” Mariah yelled.

“If Meg had really wanted to wash her hands of this dude, she would have blocked his number weeks ago,” Abby snapped back at Mariah. “What if he and his wife aren’t together anymore too? I can see it all over your face Meg. You miss him. That weekend must really have been…epic.”

Abby was spot on but I remained quiet.

“Meg, don’t listen to her…” Mariah started.

“Shut up!” Abby barked and then placed her full attention on me. “Listen, don’t listen to either of us, okay? Just follow your gut.”

“Your gut should tell you to text him and say that he should never contact you again,” Mariah chimed in, pouring the last of the bottle into her glass.

“And if your gut tells you to meet him, even if it’s just one last time, do it. Just don’t drag your feet. Where does he live?

“I don’t know, probably New York. It’s not like we exchanged our addresses Abby.”

I was annoyed at both of them for pushing me and for knowing that they were both right about one thing. Whatever I decided to do, I needed to pull the trigger and get it over with. A day hadn’t gone by without having Harry on my mind but I needed to do something for both of our sakes.

“Well, if he’s willing to travel to see you and he doesn’t even know where you live, he seriously wants to see you.”

“Or he takes his bootie calls very seriously,” Mariah muttered under her breath.

“Listen to your gut Meghan.” Abby pushed. She got up, took a bottle of Jack Daniels from the shelf. When she tried to fill our glasses, we both refused. I listened to my gut, took my cell and started typing up a text to Harry.

“What are you doing?” Mariah said in a semi-panic. I ignored her, continued typing and then pressed “Send”.

I handed my cell to Abby who was more than eager to take it. As she read my text, her eyes grew big.

“What did she write, Abby?” Mariah’s was full of worry. Without saying a word, Abby handed Mariah my phone. I watched her eyes grow just as wide as she read the text for herself. She tried to keep her poker face on.

“Well, I guess that you are following your gut Meg…” Mariah said, sliding the cell back to me.

“Yes, she sure is,” Abby agreed. “And now we need some real food to go with this liquid lunch of ours. Where are your take-out menus?”

I pointed to the kitchen junk drawer and Abby started sifting through the pile of menus I always kept. After she made a call for some Chinese take-out, she tuned her cell onto a rock internet station, put the bottle of Jack straight to her lips and started dancing around the kitchen. Abby pulled me out of my chair and started to dance around me.

“Come on, let’s dance this out while we wait and see if Mr. New York responds.”

The situation was too serious to dance the stress out. I just couldn’t do it. Any appetite I might have had was replaced with a tight knot in the pit of my stomach.

The trigger I had just pulled could possibly change the rest of my life.

All Rights Reserved ©2017 Marquessa Matthews.

I Knew I Loved You” – Part 6 (The End…For now)

Nervous sweat trickled down my spine and the tightness in my chest was unbearable. The same feeling I had in the coffee shop in New York.

I spun my coffee cup around and around and around, unable to stop fidgeting.

Twelve weeks since I had seen Harry.

Eight weeks since I had started divorce proceedings against Tom.

Four weeks since I had texted Harry, agreeing to meet in person.

Two weeks spent rehearsing what I was going to say.

Harry, what we did in New York was wrong and should not have happened Harry.

Harry, we were both feeling unhappy and it wasn’t a real love connection.

Harry, you need to stop texting me and work on your marriage.

I had already decided to keep quiet about divorcing Tom. That information would only muddy the waters and it wouldn’t change much of anything. Breaking things off with Harry in person would kill any false hopes of anything he had in mind. Ending things this way was the only way to go. Cheaters like us could never have a happy ending.

But a deep corner of my heart wanted to see him – to see if the spark was still there, if it had even been real.

Four weeks was plenty of time for Harry to make arrangements to meet me in person. I had no clue what excuse he would have to make to his wife to come and see me. For all I knew, Harry might have lost interest and not even show up. It felt like déjà vu all over again as I reminisced back to waiting for him at the coffee shop near Central Park.

Every time a client pulled open the coffee shop door, my heart raced so I changed seats to sit with my back to the door. Before I knew it, I felt a warm hand squeeze my shoulder through the coat I hadn’t taken off.


Harry’s soft deep voice gave me goosebumps in all the right places.

I peered up at that adorable crooked smile and my heart skipped a beat. Harry’s hair had gotten quite long and he looked even cuter than I remembered. I quickly stood up to face him but then I didn’t know what to do.

Were we supposed to shake hands, hug or kiss? What was the appropriate protocol for cheaters who had spent almost 96 hours, most of it in bed, together?

Harry gave me a warm hug that wasn’t close to long enough. I was fooling myself to think that our chemistry wasn’t real – it was still off the chain. He motioned for me to sit back down and when I did, so did he.

“You look amazing Meg.” Harry smiled, searching my face. “Thanks for seeing me.”

That’s when I noticed the bouquet of purple roses in his hands. He extended them but I refused to take them.

“Harry, you shouldn’t have. We can’t…”

The earnest look he gave me stopped from finishing my sentence. From the look in his eyes, I knew that he was thinking back to New York.

I was primed to tell him all the things I had rehearsed but then he shut me down with three little words I never expected him to say.

“Are you happy?”

My mind went blank and everything that had happened over the past months ran like a slideshow through my head.

Tom moving out and his pleas for me to take him back and try therapy…Tom’s family trying to play mediator because I’d been in and out of the family for so many years…Me trying to keep my personal life problems away from my work life all the while trying not to think of what could have been with Harry if circumstances had been different…

Am I happy?

Being happy was the least of my problems. I just had to keep moving forward. I was tempted to spill my guts but I held back. I avoided the question that I couldn’t answer.

“How was your trip here?”

“My trip?” Harry gave me a blank look and then a light bulb seemed to go off for him. “Oh, all I needed to do was jump in my car and drive here.”

“Drive?” I was confused. “Drive from where?”

“Across town. I live here.”

“What?” I was speechless. “You live…here?!”

Harry nodded not giving me a chance to have that information sink in. “I do. And I know that Meghan really is your name too and that you live nearby.”

Oh God, maybe Mariah was right about Harry being some kind of crazy stalker. How the hell did he know that?

Harry must have seen that I was on the verge of a freak out. He quickly reached out for my hand but I pulled it away before he could touch me.

“How do you know that?!”

Harry gave me a sheepish smile but worry clouded his face. “The hotel invoice that was on the floor the day I left.”

I flashed back to when Harry had scooped up the hotel bill and placed it on the side table next to the bed.

“When I came back with the coffee and bagels, curiosity got the better of me. I’m sorry that I crossed the line in doing that.”

“Wait. You knew that we lived in the same city for months and didn’t say anything?”

“I tried to tell you but you wouldn’t answer my texts or my call.”

This was absolutely crazy. Was this even happening? Was this some kind of prank being pulled on me? I could no longer gather my thoughts.

“Meg, if I had told you that I was always here, what would you have done?” Harry’s eyes pleaded with me. “Please say something.”

“I… I…don’t know…”

“Then I’ll bring this all back to the question I asked you. Are you happy Meg?”

“Being happy has nothing to do with any of this. Being married and doing what we did is the issue here.”

I tried to calm my nerves and brought myself back to why I had agreed to see him face to face.

“Well, I haven’t been happy since I left you that day at the hotel. You were my only happy in a long time.”

No, no, no…I can’t let sweet words sway me from doing the right thing for his sake.

“It’s been so difficult staying away from you Meghan, knowing that you were within reach. I wake up thinking about you, I go to bed wondering how you spent your day, if you and your husband are back on track, if you told him about us…”

“Harry, what we did was wrong. How can you say these things when you should be thinking about your wife?”

“Monique is happy, very happy. Actually, she’s happier than I have ever seen in years.”

Harry’s hand disappeared into his jacket pocket and slid a picture across the table to me. It was a picture of two gorgeous brunettes holding wine glasses in a toast, laughing and making duck faces for the camera. One of those gorgeous brunettes had to be his wife Monique.

“Which one is she?” I felt a twinge of jealousy at how attractive both women were.

“She’s the one on the left.”

I slid the photo back to him, a little annoyed. If there was a point to this, I was definitely missing it.

“Why are you showing me this?”

“To show you how happy she is. This was taken a few days ago.”

Okay and...?”

H slid the photo back to me, his finger pointing to the face of the other woman.

“And this is Monique’s girlfriend.” Harry eyed me, waiting for a reaction. When I didn’t give him one, he coughed and tapped on the photo. “I said that that’s her girlfriend, as in her new significant other, her lover…”

It took me a minute to understand. “Oh? Oh! Are you telling me that she’s…”

“Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying.”

I stared at him for the longest time and took a sip of my now very cold coffee. “Uh…since when?”

“Probably since always but she had to come terms with it for herself first. We were best friends for years and I guess that’s where our love for each other came from. To be honest, we do love each other but I don’t think that we were ever in love with each other. Marrying my best friend felt like the natural thing to do.”

Harry was killing me with all of this information that I couldn’t fully process.

“When did she tell you?” I whispered.

“About six months after our wedding. For a while, she thought that we could work it out but you can’t deny who you are and what makes you happy.”

I took a deep breath at the emotion in his voice. “Why didn’t you get divorced after she told you?”

“There was no rush and I wanted to support her. Monique was and still is like a best friend to me. Signing off on divorce papers was more about waiting on her to come to that decision for herself. And this woman has turned out to be the love of her life.”

My heart ached as he told me how they had talked everything over and how he had told her all about me.

“And divorcing wasn’t important for me until I met you.” Harry extended his hand towards mine and I let him hold it. “The heart wants what the heart wants…and mine wants you, even if I can’t have you.”

The same words that Abby had said…..

“Hold on…did you say that you signed off on divorce papers?”

Harry nodded and squeezed my hand. “The papers were prepared a long time ago. Meg, I’m not here to convince you to leave your husband or to cheat on him with me. I wouldn’t do that. But I needed to tell you all of this in person to be truthful with you.” Harry pushed back from the table and let go of my hand.

“I know that you wanted me to work on my marriage so I can only assume that you want to do the same. But I wanted to tell you the entire truth before saying goodbye. I didn’t want our story to end like this, especially when you have managed to divide my world into two – my world before you and my life after you.”

My heart melted on the spot.

Harry stood up and pulled me to my feet. Before I knew it, Harry was taking my breath away with the most tender of kisses in the middle of the café. I felt my knees buckle as my body melted into his. We kissed and kissed until we could kiss no more. I didn’t care who was watching us.

“I’m sorry. I couldn’t leave without kissing you again. I honestly think I loved you before I met you on that plane…”

He picked up the bouquet of flowers, placed them in my arms and kissed me one last time.

“I wish you all the best Meghan.”

When Harry turned to walk away, I held him back by the arm.

This isn’t how our story was going to end…Hell no.

Note: I was thinking about expanding this into a bigger story. What do you think?

All Rights Reserved ©2017 Marquessa Matthews.

“I’m In Love With The Girl Next Door”



Please don’t think I’m creepy but I can’t help it.

She moved in last week and I have been watching her almost every single morning. It’s not like I go out of my way to do it. Her bedroom window and balcony is directly in line with my French doors and even though there is quite a distance between the two houses, I still have a good view from the kitchen island as I drink my coffee.

She has wrecked my morning routine. After having breakfast with Nate and then sending him off to get ready for the day with niñera Alma, I used to spend that time meditating.  But instead, I am observing her, wondering where she comes from and for how long she will stay at the Wilson’s rental home. I am intrigued and not just because she is cute. And curvy in all the right places. There is just something different about her.

In the morning, her black curls suffer from a serious case of bedhead and she glides around barefoot in some kind of over-sized T-shirt, starting her day with a large mug of coffee on her balcony and looking out into the distance until it is empty.  What she doesn’t realize is that we are having coffee together.

When she is through with her coffee, she disappears for a while and reappears with a towel wrapped around her wet hair, a bathrobe hugging her body. She turns on some music but never loud enough for me to decipher what is actually playing. A smile on her face, I can see her dancing and twirling, from her bedroom to the balcony and back. I chuckle as she brushes her teeth and suddenly stops to use her toothbrush as a microphone mid-balcony. She never glances around to see if anyone is watching her and even at the odd occasion when joggers pass by at that early hour, she doesn’t miss a beat. She waves, they wave back and she continues dancing.

She doesn’t seem to have a care in the world. And just watching her somehow makes me happy. I am more than intrigued and haven’t felt that way for a long time, probably since being with Nate’s mother.

I know that she isn’t a regular tourist or vacationer.  Dressed quite chic and her wild curls tamed into a tight bun, she would disappear into the back of a black town car at 8am and resurface around 4pm.

Where is she going with nothing more than a fashionable purse everyday?

Since I have been spending full days in the studio on the east side of the house, I see the same town car pull up to the main community gate and so that’s how I know she gets back around 4pm…It’s not like I am some creepy dude with no life next door. But that’s what you were thinking, right?

From the heavenly scents coming from the Wilson’s house around 5pm everyday, I know that she is a good cook.  Concoctions that required buttery fried onions, freshly diced tomatoes, pungent herbs…Definitely a  woman who can handle herself in a kitchen and likes real food. And from the healthy curves she has in all the right places (I said that before, didn’t I?), I can tell that she appreciates a good meal. She isn’t one of those I-will-just-have-a-salad kind of girls, she is a meat and potatoes/rice and beans type of woman. A woman after my own heart.

I noticed a few days ago that she takes walks on the beach at sunset, adorned in workout clothes and ear plugged into her cell phone tight within her grasp.

I need to meet her and somehow invite her over for Christmas dinner with us.

And that’s when I decide to take Nate for a walk before his bedtime to accidentally on purpose bump into her.

[Note: This is part of a larger unfinished story.]

I hope that you enjoyed it.   

All Rights Reserved ©2017 Marquessa Matthews. Save