“I love you.” he said.
Tarah, for whatever reason, just hummed softly while she cuddled up to him, as close as physically possible. Alex’s breathing began to even out, and the cloud of passion that hovered over them post orgasm, began to clear. She tried to stay present in the moment and not overthink anything beyond.
“Your mom saw us.” she whispered and giggled softly.
“Say what now?!”
She put her mouth right up to his ear and said slowly,
“When you were making love to me, your mom saw us. She came right to your bedroom door and closed it. I guess I didn’t shut it all the way when I came in.”
Alex was mortified, but all he could do was laugh a little. The thought of his mother seeing him in such a compromising position was not only horrific, but it made his heart stop a little. However, he’d waited what had felt like forever for what they’d just shared, and not even that cringe worthy event was going to shift his mood. He was a grown ass man, doing what a grown ass man should be doing with the woman he loves.
“Are you ok?” he asked.
“I am,” Tarah replied.
Alex and Tarah lay there looking up at the glowing artificial stars and he reached down and began rubbing her belly gently. All kinds of possible scenarios about their relationship were running through his mind, but he was not yet ready to put them out to the universe. They rested in each other’s arms, very uncertain about what was in store for them when they had to get up, leave the safety of his room and get back to reality. Plans needed to be changed and serious decisions needed to be made. However, all he wanted to do was make love to her again. The way his hands moved over her body told her his thoughts, and the way she caressed and nuzzled up to him showed that their thoughts were in sync.
The sound of thunder jolted Tarah out of her surprisingly sound sleep. She was engulfed by Alex’s arms and the warmth of his naked body. His even, heavy, breathing lead her to believe that he was very much sound asleep, so she slowly and gently tried to remove herself from his embrace so that she could get up. Just as she started to move away, his arm tensed and he pulled her back right into him, and his deep groggy voice startled her by saying,
“Where do you think you’re going?”
“I was going to the bathroom. Do I have your permission, sir?” she responded, cheekily.
“As long as you’re not leaving,” he replied.
She was going to go to the bathroom, but she had hoped to be able to sneak out and go back to her hotel room, to avoid any early morning awkward encounters with his parents. She snickered at the thought. Tarah shook her head, wondering how a grown woman, with her own home, who was a mother as well, ended up in a situation where she’d just made love to her boyfriend, in his bedroom, in the house where he grew up, hoping to sneak out, before either of his parents awakened. It seemed very much like some backward high school and young people shit. She was definitely unfamiliar with this type of situation. As his embrace relaxed allowing her to get up, she moved to the edge of his bed and sat still for a moment. Tarah looked back at his beautiful, partially covered, resting body and sat there pondering,
‘Are you my boyfriend? I don’t even know what the hell we are.’
Everything in her world was topsy turvy.
Tarah got up and went to the bathroom to pee. As she sat on the toilet, she recognized the small wet heap that consisted of her denim cut off shorts and a white t-shirt, drenched in a corner of the shower. She immediately had flash backs of when he’d yanked them off of her body and ravaged her like a starved lover, in that beautifully tiled oasis. Their first time had indeed been epic. Tarah had just assumed that all of her firsts were long behind her. Her last first touch, her last butterfly stomach due to the newness of a man, her last first kiss, her last first time. She was a person who embraced change in all aspects of her life, except love. She craved consistency and routine, but now that was all for shit. She sat there in the bathroom frozen by fear and uncertainty, having already peed, but just too overwhelmed to move. Her husband of 10 years and the father of her child had left her, and she was never more aware of how uncertain her direction in life was. Her entire body felt raw from Alex’s touch. It would be so easy just crawl back into his bed and try to forget about reality again.
Tarah got up and took up her soaking wet clothes, wrung them out, then hung them over a rod close to an opened window to start the drying process. She then turned on the shower and washed herself beneath the warm water. She was sticky from Alex and she could still feel him running out of her. After she dried herself, she looked through one of the drawers in the bathroom and took a pair of his boxer shorts and a t-shirt. Alex was still sound asleep, but she was very thirsty, so she decided to sneak into the kitchen to get something to drink. Tarah had made up her mind that she was going to leave before his parents woke up, but she was not going to sneak out like a coward while he was sleeping. Besides, she wanted to lie in his arms some more, so she resolved to make her exit just before sunrise. The reality of a confrontation punched her hard in the face like a skilled boxer however, when she tip-toed easily into the kitchen, only to see his mother sitting quietly at the small dining table. Tarah swallowed hard. The expression on the woman’s face made her feel more uneasy than a virgin at a prison dance.
“Come sit with me.” Mrs. Chambers beckoned.
Tarah felt frozen.
“Why you look so frighten? Come and sit with me. I don’t bite. At least not right away.” the other woman said.
Tarah cracked a half smile and shook her head. What else could she do besides accept the invitation. She pulled up a chair. Alex’s mother looked as intense as a police officer on one of those gritty television dramas, ready to interrogate a suspect. She wondered if she was going to get the good cop or bad. Tarah looked around the West Indian styled kitchen to distract herself from Mrs. Chambers’ menacing stare. She noticed yellow ceramic canisters with black palm trees painted on them and a giant wooden mortar on the counter. There was also decorative, festively painted china, that hung above the kitchen window and a beautiful red sea shell chandelier hanging above the butcher block island. It glowed softly, giving the kitchen a warm feel. Pictures of Alex and other family members were hung on the side of the stainless steel refrigerator with little Antigua shaped magnets.
“What are you doing with my son?”
“I’m not sure what you mean.” Tarah replied.
“You know exactly what I mean.”
Tarah swallowed hard.
“You know, I promised myself that I wouldn’t do this…exactly what I’m doing right now. Trying to extract information from you, meddle in Alex’s life, but he’s my child.”
“He’s not a child, Mrs. Chambers. Of that I can assure you.”
“Clearly he’s not a child. He’s certainly grown enough to have you under all that pressure. But he is my child no matter how old he is, and how good he can screw his girlfriend.”
Tarah was embarrassed and surprised by her bluntness.
“Call me Marilyn..”
“ Uhm..Marilyn..I’m not comfortable talking about this.”
“I’m not trying to make you comfortable, I’m trying to get answers.”
“Marilyn, I don’t know what I can tell you. Honestly, I don’t think I can answer most of the questions you’re gonna ask me, because I don’t know the answers myself.”
“I’m not gonna ask you if you love him, cause I can see it in your face. But you come with soo much baggage and experience…. I don’t want that for Alex.”
“Mrs. Chambers…Marilyn, even though your son may be younger, he’s way more experienced than I am in many ways.”
“Maybe in some, and I know you mean sexually, but you are still more worldly. You’ve lived; you have a career, a house, a child, and, you seem to have forgotten, a husband. You’ve done so many things with your life, don’t you think he should experience those things with someone who hasn’t already? I mean, other than making you cum 20 times in a night, what can Alex offer you at this stage in his life? He’s still trying to figure himself out. You’ll just complicate things. Good sex will not sustain your relationship.
The older woman took a breath… “Look, Tarah, honestly, I wanted to hate you, but shockingly, I’ve only heard positive things about you. You know how small Antigua is. There’s nothing you cannot find out about anybody if you try hard enough. I know my son, and I know he made this happen, so I’m not blaming you. I know how he gets when he wants something. I know what he saw in you. I know what he sees in you now, but I don’t see this working for either of you in the long run.”
Tarah smiled sadly at the wisdom being thrown at her. It would have been easier to think that Alex’s mother was a meddling old biddy, but she was a mother herself, and would probably do exactly what Marilyn was doing for her own son. But she knew there was far more to her relationship with Alex than a strong physical connection.
“You know something…I’ve always been the girl to do everything right. Shun the bullshit, protect my reputation, work hard, fall in love, get married, have a beautiful baby, make a good life, and that didn’t stop my husband from cheating on me. We tried to work it out, but I guess I couldn’t get past it… and then I met Alex… and things just … I dunno…”
“Do you think you could’ve worked things out with your husband if you hadn’t met Alex?”
“I dunno. I can’t even think that way…because I did meet him. It’s different with Alex. He brings out a different side of me. When I’m not around him I miss him until I ache. It’s like he fills me up and empties me all at the same time. I go against every bit of common sense that I’ve consistently used to navigate my life when it comes to him. I mean, I thought I was doing everything right, and it didn’t stop my marriage from falling apart. There are no guarantees regardless of what we think we’re doing right. I don’t know what I can say to reassure you, there probably isn’t anything I can say…just know that I’m in no rush to for him to make any permanent decisions where our relationship is concerned. I want to take things slowly and he doesn’t have to make me any promises.”
Tarah saw Marilyn’s gaze shif from her and when she turned around, Alex was there leaning on the wall at the entrance to the kitchen. He was shirtless, but wearing a pair of blue pyjama bottoms with geometric patterns.
“Are you guys alright?” He asked.
“Yes we are,” Mrs. Chambers answered.
She gently rubbed the back of Tarah’s hand that had been resting on the table, then got up and left them alone. Tarah sighed heavily then rested her head on the table. She then felt Alex’s large palm rubbing her back.
“You okay, baby?” he asked, not quite sure how to read what he’d walked in on.
“Yeah, I’m fine. Can I get something to drink please?”
Suddenly her thirst came back with a vengeance. He poured her a tall glass of his mom’s homemade tamarind juice and one for himself. He sat quietly beside her, drinking, staring and thinking.
“My shirt looks good on you. I thought you snuck out and left me.” He said.
“I thought about it,” Tarah said, smiling.
“Soooo…you gonna tell me what you and my mom were talking about?”
“Ooohh Kay. Can we go back to bed?” Alex asked.
“Absolutely,” She whispered, rubbing her hand across the small of his back.
•••Tameka Jarvis-George is an Antiguan writer, who currently resides on the island. She published her first novel, UNEXPECTED in 2010, but has been writing creatively for 20 years, publishing 3 books of poetry, which were all positively received and reviewed. Two (of them) Thoughts from the Pharcyde in 1999 and I Am in 2005, were published by Hidden Brook Press in Toronto Canada. The third, I Am that I Am, was published in 2002 by Watermark Press in Washington D.C, and was the result of winning a publishing contract through a poetry competition they hosted the previous year. She is also an avid blogger at bak2moi.wordpress.com.