“I’m In Love With The Girl Next Door”

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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.

All Rights Reserved ©2017 Marquessa Matthews. Save

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“Tuskeegee Chunk”

From the strong masculine knock at the door, I already knew who it was. For a split second, I considered pretending that I wasn’t back from the salon but I couldn’t do that.

Not to Jacob.

Never to Jacob.

What will he think when he sees me?

When Debbie had offered to transform me into a redhead for the holiday season by installing a long weave before my hair started to fall out, I had reluctantly agreed, going against my original plan of getting a pixie cut as a way to transition to shorter hair before attempting the next round of chemo. But since she had graciously offered to do it on the salon’s dime, I couldn’t refuse her kindness.

I steeled myself for Jacob’s reaction as I flung open the door. His eyes twinkled as he assessed my new look.

“Whoa! You went long instead of short? You look hot!”

Jacob had known about my plan to go short and had even offered to go with me but I had refused. He was a total sweetheart that had his heart on his sleeve and the woman who ended up with him would be one lucky girl. But if she turned out to be some kind of bitch, believe me, I would find a way to haunt her from my grave.

“Really? You like it?” I ran my hand gently through the lush locks, a little afraid that a small tug might make it all disengage.

“It’s sexy. Is it a wig?”

“No,” I shook the hair out to show him its flow. “It’s a weave.”

“Well, being a redhead suits you. Whatever it is, you better have it strapped on tight because I’m taking you for a ride.”

“A ride?”

“Yeah, a ride. Look…”

Jacob stepped out of the way and pointed at a shiny motorcycle sitting in my driveway. It was the kind of dream bike that he’d talked about buying if he beat his cancer. And now that he had been cleared, I was ecstatic to see that he had actually followed through. It was kind of funny how Jacob and I had quickly gone from being waiting room acquaintances at the hospital to good friends supporting each other in our respective fights against our mutual enemy.

“Oh my God! You actually bought it! Congrats! That’s an awesome way to celebrate!”

“Yes it is!  I’m going to ride this bike everywhere. And I’m going to take you around with me. As soon as you’re feeling better and the weather turns, we’ll take a ride down to that Ben & Jerry’s Flavor Graveyard in Vermont that you always wanted to go to. But for now, grab your hat and coat so that I can take you for a quick spin.”

I grabbed my coat, pulled on my winter hat and quietly shut the front door. I headed down the stairs to join him as he dusted some snow sprinklings from the bike seat.

I couldn’t help but smile at how optimistic Jacob was for my future.

But I knew better and had chosen not to tell him about the truth that coursed through my fragile veins.

He didn’t need to know that his plans for us would never see the light of day.

The only graveyard Jacob and I would ever visit together would have nothing to do with Vermont.

All Rights Reserved ©2017 Marquessa Matthews

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“No One In The World”

Brian was still on my mind.

I dropped my yoga gear onto the floor and slammed the front door behind me. I hadn’t been able to relax during yoga class after hanging up on Brian and now that I was home, all I wanted to do was order some greasy take-out and chill in front of the television. Without turning on the kitchen light, I washed my hands at the sink, opened the fridge and grabbed a bottle of soda.

“I thought you said that you are avoiding sugar from now on…”

Brian’s voice boomed from the corner of the room where he sat on my couch, looking totally annoyed. I surprised myself by not screaming out when I dropped the bottle directly onto my big toe. All 6 ft 4 of Brian rose up from from the couch and slowly approached me.

“What are you doing scaring me like that? How did you get in?”

As soon as I said it, I already knew the answer. He still had the emergency code to my door.

He remained silent as he stepped towards me. I outstretched my hand to stop him.

“You need to leave.”

Brian came even closer and then stopped a few feet away from me. I backed away to put more distance between us.

“No, I won’t leave. You hung up on me earlier and we weren’t done talking.”

I backed up to the door and opened it.

“There’s nothing more to talk about for now. I need space. We need space. Please just leave.”

But Brian didn’t budge.

“You can’t put all the blame on me for the other night. You were a willing participant. Instead of talking all of this out, why would you rather make this hard? You are making me crazy.”

“Brian, you made it very, very hard for me to think straight the other night. You just need to go, okay?”

A guilty look clouded his face but it quickly disappeared.

“Ok. Have it your way.”

Brian brushed past me and I moved away so that our bodies didn’t make contact. When the door slammed, I let out a loud exhale, finally feeling like I could breath deeply. Just the thought of the other night with him make my entire body hum. He had done things to me that made me blush just thinking about it.

I shook the sexy thoughts from my head and when I turned to lock the door, there Brian was, just standing there, watching me like he could eat me alive.

In one swift step, he narrowed the distance between us, took me in his arms and hovered his lips barely inches away from mine. I didn’t even have time to think about pushing him away. And even if I did, did I want to?

Brian and I stood there for the longest moment just inhaling each other’s breath. My eyes focused on lips, I felt myself propelling slowly forward towards him.

“There is no one in the world that I want more than you,” Brian whispered with expectant eyes. “If you blame me for the other night, then you’ll just have to forgive me twice.”

My brain couldn’t compute. “Twice?”

He pulled me even closer. “Yeah, for what I did that night and for what I want to do to you again right now.”

Oh, how I wanted to forget everything in that moment but I just couldn’t.

My body stiffened and I snapped out of my haze.

“No.”

The grin that had started to form at the corners of Brian’s mouth quickly turned into tensely set lips. Just as suddenly as he had taken me in his arms, he let me go and stepped away.  Again, he had managed to leave me breathless.

“I truly hate you,” I said.

“Don’t worry, I hate you too.” Brian opened the door and didn’t look back at me. “And when you finally come to your senses, it may be to late.”

©2016 Marquessa Matthews. All Rights Reserved.

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“Ghost of You and Me”

I sensed her presence before I saw her. I looked up from my coffee and saw her walking across the street.

Through the coffee shop window, I watched her stop and send a text. It would have been so easy to get up, call out her name and jog across to her.

But I didn’t and I couldn’t. My ass was firmly glued to my chair and that is here it was going to stay.

“What’s wrong with you?” Brian’s voice broke into my thoughts when he noticed my coffee cup stuck in mid-air.

I pointed to where Starr stood. Brian’s mouth formed an “O” when he saw her.

“She’s back?”

“Obviously.” I took a long sip of my black coffee, becoming more and more irritated at how she appeared to be fine with the world. She never took a glance at the coffee shop where I sat – the coffee shop where we first met.

“Did she tell you that she was back?”

“No.”

“Aren’t you going to go talk to her?”

“No.”

I’d allowed this girl get into my brain and mess with my head. It wasn’t a good feeling and I couldn’t shake the hold she had on me.

Sometimes, just sometimes I wished I’d never met her.

Brian didn’t press the issue and we both continued to observe her in silence.

“How many times have you been in love?”

Without thinking, I said, “Twice.”

“Really? Twice?”

Starr smiled and slipped her cell into her purse and I watched as she walked away and out of sight.

“Yeah, twice. And both times it’s been with her.”

©2016 Marquessa Matthews. All Rights Reserved.

You never really know, do you?

I usually live under a rock.

I mean, in the months that I was taking care of my Dad and since he’s been gone, I barely watch the news and I don’t keep up to date on current events. When I do watch tv or Netflix, it’s 99% on the weather network or Hallmark-type drivel as background noise.

Right now, I am perfectly happy being “Ignorant” with a capital “I”.

But, I did hear the sad news the other day about that celebrity who passed – the one who always appeared to be super happy, funny and light-hearted…When a friend texted me about it, I immediately thought it was a social media hoax because it sounded totally crazy.

But it wasn’t.

It is a sad reminder that looks can be deceiving.

…That you can never really know what someone is struggling with on the inside or the feelings of despair that overwhelms their soul.

…The despair that may be invisible to those in their closest of circles.

…The “playing happy” that has gone on so long that it has become second nature until you don’t have the energy to do it for one more day.

I have no clue about that celebrity’s life and situation but what I do know is that whenever I ask someone, “How are you?” and they are comfortable enough with me to say, “Not good”, I am prepared to stop and listen.

You never know how genuinely lending your ear to someone could affect a person’s day, hopefully for the better.

“San Juan”

A week from now, all of this would feel like a dream. Like it never happened.

The knot in my stomach ached at the thought of leaving. From the moment I had set foot out of the airport, it had felt like “home”.

I buried myself a little deeper into the lounge chair and stared out into the darkness. I was close enough to watch the white foamy crests of the waves as they lapped in time with their gentle whooshing onto the beach. The night sky was clear and filled with so many stars, something I rarely noticed at home among a sea of concrete high-rise buildings.

Was this the same sky or had I been magically transported into another dimension?

One more week.

The constant moistness of humidity on my skin, the left-over grittiness of sand buried between the crevices of my toes from my daily walk on the beach, the headiness of the salt air lingering in my chest that made me feel free and happy – I would miss it all. I had sat outside many evenings like this one, just curled up in a chair, enjoying the warm soothing breeze with some kind of cool drink in hand. And every night, the ocean never failed to wash away the day and grant me a fresh new one after I closed my eyes for the night.

Who in their right mind could ever get tired of all of this?

But tonight was a little different. I wasn’t on my own outdoor lounge chair. I was enjoying a better view from someone else’s rooftop.

I took a last sip of my mint tea, unfolded myself out of my chair and went over to lean against the railing. Was it past 9:00 pm already?

Time crept so slowly down here – I wasn’t sure of how long I had been staring up the stars. But what I did know was that I should have headed back to my place a long time ago, before I got myself into a situation I would probably not regret.

“Where did I leave my purse?” I muttered to myself and then my mind immediately went blank when I felt the warmth of his body behind me.

Alejandro.

His strong hands circled my waist and he nestled his lips into the oh-so sensitive spot of my neck. He had excused himself to take a phone call and from the dampness of his hair against my ear, he had obviously also taken a shower.

“Since you aren’t working tomorrow, you could stay here tonight…”

I smiled. I had to hand it to him, Alejandro was smooth.

I turned around, slow enough as to not lose contact, his chest just inches away from mine, his hands still around my waist. He smelled so clean and so fresh. I tried to make a mental note to ask him about the brand of shower gel he used but my mind wouldn’t connect the dots when I realized that the only things between us were my sundress and the bath towel wrapped loosely around his waist.

My lips could do nothing but smile as a wave of heat spread from the top of my head all the way down to my toes. His statement didn’t make me uncomfortable but being this close took me off guard enough for my mind to go completely blank.

Blank as in blankety blank blank.

The urge to run my hands through the wet curls that dripped onto his forehead was overwhelming but I managed to keep my hands to myself, totally uncertain as to where else they may glide if I reached out. He grinned even wider and I almost hated him for it.

Those dark eyes, that chiseled chest and such a wicked smile – I knew that he knew exactly what I was thinking.

“We could watch a movie. Listen to some music. Sit out here and watch the stars. Have a little late night dessert. Anything you want. Or I can take you back to your place. It’s up to you… Though you know what my preference would be.”

My mind searched for reasons to leave but the rest of my body refused to cooperate. From the deep well of excuses I was usually able to muster up, I was coming up dry though I was quickly becoming wetter than the ocean making music in the background.

How many other women had he graced with those words? And should I even care when I had T minus 7 to go? 

I gathered my thoughts, pulled myself together as best as I could and leaned in close enough for my lips to brush against his ear.

I inhaled deeply, trying not to think of what would happen if that bath towel accidentally fell to the ground.

“Okay,” I whispered into his ear.

He tilted his head and frowned at me, clearly unsure as to what I meant.

Alejandro cupped my face within his hands, trying to read my eyes. “Okay, what sweetheart?”

“Okay,” I repeated, sliding my hands down his chest.

Content ©2015 Marquessa Matthews. All Rights Reserved.

Still surprised…

It’s been about 7 years but I’m still surprised that people actually read what I post here.

What surprises me even more is when someone takes the time to DM or email me with a suggestion that makes absolute sense.

A long time ago, I had said that I would no longer post fiction on this blog and took down most of my fiction, mainly because not every one likes fiction and because it didn’t really generate many comments (and I enjoy chatting).

But a lovely reader suggested that if I want folks to be interested in reading my fiction, I should post a few fiction pieces back on the blog as a sample to those who have never read any.

That suggestion made total sense to me and so I have decided that here and there, I will post some previously posted fiction.

For those of you who have already read some of them – sorry. 🙂

And for those of you who read them as “new”, I hope you enjoy.