Torn Between Two Lovers

BOOK: Torn Between Two Lovers
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Torn Between Two Lovers
Books by Carl Weber

Big Girls Do Cry

Up to No Good

Something on the Side

The First Lady

So You Call Yourself a Man

The Preacher's Son

Player Haters

Lookin' for Luv

Married Men

Baby Momma Drama

She Ain't the One
(with Mary B. Morrison)

Torn Between Two Lovers
CARL WEBER

KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.

http://www.kensingtonbooks.com

This book is dedicated to Walter, Natalie, Denard, and Martha, the people who keep it together for me at Urban Books and made it possible for me to write two books this year. Thanks guys. I guess I owe you all a vacation.

Prologue

“Wow! Move over, Oprah!” my good friend Egypt shouted, placing a hand on her hip as she strutted into my bedroom, carrying a beautiful bouquet of white lilies and yellow roses. I stood up from my chair in front of my makeup table, spinning around so my matron of honor could get a good look at my yellow-and-white ensemble. “Damn, you look so good I'm thinking about marrying you myself. I don't even know if you need these flowers.”

“You know, Egypt, you say the nicest things in the weirdest way sometimes.” We both laughed as she handed me the bouquet. “So, how is it downstairs? Is everyone here?” I hated that they had me locked upstairs until the ceremony. I'm a hands-on person, and this was my party.

“I think so. Mayor Wilder and his wife just showed up. At least we know we have someone to officiate the ceremony. So, my guess is it shouldn't be long now before they come looking for us.”

I walked over to my bedroom window, peeking through the curtain so that I could see the crowd forming in my backyard. Everything looked in order: The band was starting to play, and most of the people were seated or were being seated. There was literally a who's who of Richmond's African American elite, and all of them were there to pay homage to Leon and me as we renewed our wedding vows after ten years of marriage. By Monday morning, our pictures would be splashed all over page six of the
Richmond Times Dispatch
and Richmond.com as the weekend's most talked-about event. For the next two weeks, I wouldn't be able to go anywhere without someone being all up in my face.

I frowned at the thought—or rather, at the idea that things weren't as rosy as all of my guests assumed. Leon and I were renewing our vows, but it wasn't too long ago that we had been on the brink of divorce. We had been through some pretty difficult times, and this ceremony was our way of committing to the work it took to repair our marriage. So, no matter how romantic the ceremony seemed on the surface, things were still pretty complicated; but I had made a promise to myself to make a total commitment to our relationship, and that was exactly what I was going to do.

I turned and walked back over to my makeup table. I sat down, placed my bouquet on the table, and mindlessly applied some blush.

“You okay?” Egypt asked. “All of a sudden you look kinda sad.”

“I'm all right. Just thinking about life.” I put down the blush and picked up my hairbrush. Egypt took it from me and gently turned me toward the makeup table mirror.

“Here, let me do that.” She began to brush my hair softly. “Don't think too hard about life, girl. Life's a bitch, and the last thing you want is for that bitch to slap you.”

“I think she already has, Egypt. I'm just trying to figure out the best way to lessen the sting of the blow.” I'm sure Egypt was curious about my choice of words, but she didn't comment any further. I didn't get along with too many females, but one of the reasons Egypt and I got along was because she knew how to mind her business.

“You ever been in love with anyone other than Rashad?” I asked.

“Who, me?” She stopped brushing my hair, as if the question caught her off guard, or perhaps she was thinking about some past love.

“Yeah, you. You're the only other person in the room,” I joked.

“Uh-huh, I was in love once before.” She sighed. “Lord knows I loved me some Monster Calhoun.”

“Monster Calhoun? You were in love with a man named Monster Calhoun?” I couldn't help but laugh. I wasn't trying to make her mad, but that shit was funny.

“I sure was. That was during my bad-boy phase, when I dated nothing but thugs. And he was as thuggish as they come.”

“I guess you learn something new about somebody every day, 'cause I couldn't begin to picture you with a thug, Ms. I-Don't-Do-South-Side-'Cause-It's-too-Ghetto. So, whatever happened to this Monster Calhoun? How come you ended up with a corporate guy like Rashad and not him?”

“Twenty-five-to-life is what happened,” she answered without a trace of humor. “He got twenty-five years in the big house, and I grew the fuck up. If I had left my house ten minutes earlier the day he got arrested, I would have been sitting right next to him with a kilo of coke in the fridge when the DEA busted down his door.”

“You lying!” I turned my head to look her directly in the face.

“Do I look like I'm lying?” Her dead-serious expression answered that question for me. “What about you? You ever been in love with anyone other than Leon?”

There was a knock on the door, and then, as if he'd heard his name being mentioned, my husband walked into the room wearing a designer suit and looking like something out of
GQ
magazine. I had to give it to him: My husband was fine. He was tall, well built, and chocolate all over. If marriages were based solely on looks, then there would be no need to ask why I was renewing my vows with this gorgeous man. If only life were that simple.

“Great-goog-a-moog-a. Damn, Big Sexy, you look good as a mo-fo! I feel like throwing your fine ass on the bed and wearing your ass out right in front of your friend.”

Sure, he put it on thick, and that wasn't the way to talk in front of my friend, but if there was one thing about Leon I'd always loved, it was that he sure knew how to make me feel good about myself.

“Leon, hush your mouth! I can't believe you just said that in front of Egypt,” I scolded, even though I loved hearing his compliments.

“Sorry about that, Egypt, but my wife looks beautiful.” He eyed me suggestively. “
Very
beautiful.”

“You ain't got to get all G-rated for me,” Egypt replied. “I got eyes, and she does look good.”

Egypt stepped away, and Leon swaggered over, kissing me so passionately he took my breath away.

“How long you gonna be?” he whispered in my ear. “They're about ready to start the ceremony. And I wanna get you back up here to this room as fast as I can. Girl, you got my shit rock hard.” He rubbed himself against me, and all I could think was I was glad I was wearing a panty liner. I know I'm a little old to be thinking like this, but that man sure knew how to get my juices flowing.

“I'm just about ready. Give me about ten minutes and we'll be right down.”

“All right, then. I'll see you in a few.” He kissed me again, and I watched him walk out the door as horny as a rabbit in heat. He didn't have to worry about throwing me on the bed later, 'cause it was him that might be landing on his back.

“Somebody's excited,” Egypt chimed in. “I think your husband's looking forward to some alone time with you.”

“I'm rather looking forward to it myself.” I fanned myself with my hand.

“Now that's what I'm talking about. I hope me and Rashad are still all over each other after ten years,” Egypt added.

“You will be,” I said as I turned to her. “Just remember to always respect him, even when he's at his lowest, and don't let nobody in between your marriage.”

“I know that's right.”

“That shit Jerome pulled last year almost cost me my marriage.” I was referring to my ex–best friend. We were no longer speaking, because he did his best to sabotage my marriage.

It's not what you might think, though. He didn't do it because he wanted me for himself. No, definitely not that. Jerome is strictly dickly now. Years ago we had a relationship in college, but that was before he came out of the closet. Then we became best friends—until he took it upon himself to “save me” from my husband.

I'm a go-getter. I own my own successful business and have a level of respect within the community. Leon, on the other hand, has gone through periods of unemployment, during which I was the breadwinner. This didn't do much for his self-esteem, and he took to staying in the house most of the time. Of course, my life didn't slow down, and Leon ended up getting jealous every time I went to a social function without him, or even when I went to have a few drinks after work with Jerome. Things got pretty bad for a while, and there were even a few punches thrown by him—though I have to admit the first punch was usually thrown by me.

Still, I loved Leon and was willing to put up with the fighting because I was convinced that better days were ahead. Jerome thought I was crazy to stay, so he took matters into his own hands. He planted in my house some incriminating evidence that made me believe Leon was having an affair. It was so convincing that Leon and I eventually separated, although he'd sworn up and down that he had never cheated on me.

We were apart for about six months, and during that time I started dating a really great guy named Michael. We were happy together, and I thought I was moving forward with my life, until I learned the truth about what Jerome had done. Leon was innocent, and deep down I still loved him, despite my feelings for Michael; so I made the decision to give my marriage another try. Having to tell Michael that I was going back to my husband really turned my life upside down. It was all Jerome's fault, and to make him pay for it, I fired him from my company and stopped speaking to him.

The stupid thing was, as I sat here ready to renew my vows, I missed that fool. If Jerome and I were still on speaking terms, I would have asked him to walk me down the aisle.

I got up and walked over to the full-length mirror, admiring myself. I absolutely loved the sunny yellow-and-white dress I was wearing. If only I felt as cheerful inside.

“You look beautiful, Loraine.”

“Yeah, I do, don't I?” I teased my hair with my hand. “Hey, Egypt, do you think I could get about five minutes to myself? I need to be alone for a little while.”

She nodded her head. “Sure. I'll be right outside.”

When she left and shut the door behind her, I took a deep breath in an effort to calm my nerves. There was something I had to do before I walked out that door and down those stairs to renew my vows. It was something I should have done a long time ago, before things got out of hand.

I picked up my cell phone and dialed a number I knew by heart.

The phone rang three times before I lost my nerve and hung up. Less than five seconds later, the same number was calling me back. I picked up on the first ring.

“Hello,” I said softly.

“Hey there, beautiful. I wasn't expecting you to call. I thought you said you had to attend a wedding with the old ball and chain.” He laughed. I'm sure he wouldn't be laughing if he knew the wedding I was attending was my own.

“Michael, I have to tell you something.”

“Sure, what's up? Everything okay?”

“I guess that depends on how you look at it.”

“What is it?” There was panic in his voice now. “He didn't hit you, did he?” Michael knew all about my past troubles with Leon.

“No, it's not that.”

“Then what?”

“Michael…I…We…” I couldn't formulate words; I could barely capture my breath.

“What's wrong? What do you have to tell me?” I was just about to try to tell him again when he blurted out, all excited, “Oh my God, you're not pregnant, are you?”

This time, I had no trouble speaking. “Hell no!” I was old enough to be preparing for menopause, and he was talking about pregnancy. Was he crazy?

“Loraine, what's going on?”

I felt my eyes start to tear up. “Michael, I can't do this anymore.” There, I'd done it. I'd broken up with him.

“Do what?” He wasn't going to make this easy.

“Us, Michael. I can't do us anymore.”

Yes, this was my dilemma, all put into motion by Jerome's meddling ass. When I told Michael I was going back to Leon, I wasn't lying—I did go back—but a few months later, I started seeing Michael again. I couldn't help it. I was truly torn between two lovers, because I loved both men—so much so that I couldn't find the strength to break up with Michael until mere minutes before I would walk down the aisle with Leon.

Now there was an eerie silence on the line. Had he hung up on me?

“Michael, are you there?”

“Yeah, I'm here.”

“Did you hear what I said?”

“Yeah, I heard you.”

“Well, say something.”

“What do you want me to say, Loraine?” His voice cracked. Was he crying? “I love you. I'm not gonna give up on us. I'm not going to let you end what we have.”

“Michael, you have to. I can't do this anymore. I love my husband.”

“Please,” he scoffed.

“I do love him.”

“Question is, Loraine, do you love me?”

I didn't answer.

“Say it, Loraine. Tell me to my face you don't love me and I'll walk away.” I was still silent. “You can't do it, can you?”

“I'm married. I have a husband. You know that.”

“You had a husband when we started our affair, but that didn't stop us.”

“Don't go there, Michael. You know Leon and I were separated when we first started.”

“Sure, the first time, but what about now? You weren't separated when you snuck out the house six months ago and ended up in my bed. You weren't separated the other night when I had you singing my name at the top of your lungs.”

I felt a stab of guilt at the reminder of my most recent infidelity. Right in the middle of finalizing plans for today's ceremony, I found an excuse to visit Michael and make love to him. I forced the images of our passion from my mind and resolved to stay strong this time. “Michael, I can't do this.”

“You can't do this? I've done everything you've asked of me. I haven't rocked the boat one time. All I want to do is love you. Why are you doing this to me?” His voice let me know how deeply this was wounding him.

“I don't want to do this to you. I'm just trying to do what's best for everyone before things get out of hand.”

“That's bull and you know it,” he insisted. “Things have been out of hand for a long time, Loraine. Answer my question. Do you love me or not?”

BOOK: Torn Between Two Lovers
4.96Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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