I’m not sure if you saw my announcement, but I decided to make “The Love We Share” available as a paperback only. It’s now available for purchase! Here’s a look into the first chapter :)
Kai's goal has always been to protect and preserve his best friend's heart. When Roux decides she's ready for love, Kai takes it upon himself to find the perfect man for her. Never did he imagine he'd face that man when he looked in the mirror.
They were so happy and in love it made me sick to my stomach. Like I wanted to literally throw up as I watched them try to kiss each other through their smiles. Don’t get me wrong, I was happy to be a part of Sanchez’s New Year’s Eve proposal to my best friend, but their love was a loud reminder of how loveless my life was.
Well, I had love from my family and friends, but there was no love in my heart from and for a man. That wasn’t something I’d wanted like most women. Commitment, marriage, and babies weren’t anywhere in my plans for my life. Then I saw the happiness and peace that love gave Zion. And Kailor. And Frankie. And Sanchez. And Warren.
Me, Kai, and Destin were the only people in our mini family that were still single, and I was starting to hate being in that number. Don’t get me wrong, the single life was cool, but it was times like tonight that made me hate it. It was easy for Kai and Destin to pick a woman to have on their arm. Hell, their standards weren’t nearly as high as mine.
And that was part of the reason I remained single too.
Just didn’t feel like going through the hassle of having my expectations not met leading to disappointment.
I’d been spending most of my time at the bar taking pictures of everyone in attendance along with myself, and I knew that would be over when Kai slowly sauntered over to me. Kai was the kind of man that knew he looked good and used that to his advantage. He had cocoa brown skin that covered a tall, muscular build. I’d say he went to the gym around three times a week, and it definitely showed. His muscles were intentional, causing almost every woman he came in contact with to have to take a second look. His eyes were tight and dark, and he had that mustache goatee thing going on. Skin colored, medium sized lips covered a beautiful set of pearly whites. Most times, he was always in white like Kailor. And a baseball hat.
This was the third time he’d tried to pull me away, and every time I turned him down. His eyes were resting low and his smile was wide, letting me in on the fact that he had reached his alcohol limit for the night.
Kai sat next to me and exhaled a breath as he looked my body over. Even with the scent of alcohol tainting his breath, I could still smell the peppermint gum he must have recently spit out.
“Get your ass up and dance or some shit, Roux. The fuck you over here looking all sad for? Now is the time to celebrate. We ‘bout to bring in the new year together, The Wanderers are doing good as hell, and your best friend just said yes to marrying the man of her dreams.”
Before I could stop myself, my eyes were rolling as I turned away from the dancefloor and towards the wall that was covered with every liquor you could think of. I waved the bartender down and asked for another shot of Jose Cuervo.
Kai leaned back in the stool, stretching his arms across the top of the bar. “You gon’ act like you don’t hear me, Roux?”
Continuing to ignore him, I thanked the bartender after he placed the shot in front of me before knocking it back. Kai hadn’t even allowed me to put the shot glass back down on the bar before he was grabbing my hand and dragging me to the dancefloor. No lie, I was irritated at first, but the second he looked back at me and winked I fell into a fit of giggles. Kai was probably the only man I would ever let handle me this way, mainly because he was the only man I trusted fully, and he took full advantage of it.
Good thing about that was, most times I was the one who benefited from him taking advantage of my trust. Whether it was because he got me to face a fear, achieve a goal, do something risky… or… dance and enjoy myself at the party that was my idea to begin with.
“Stan” by 6LACK was playing since that was one of Frankie’s current favorites. Slow dancing with Kai wasn’t something I would have chosen to do, but I allowed him to wrap his arms around me anyway. Hopefully one dance would be enough to get him to leave my ass alone.
Keeping me snugly in the middle of his chest, Kai looked down at me with question in his eyes. Since I wasn’t sure I’d have the answer, I didn’t bother asking him what was on his mind.
“You want to talk about it, Roux?”
My head shook as I lowered my arms from around his neck. I slid my hands down his arms, resting them at his wrists. It was taking all I had to not push his arms down from me and take off to cry in the bathroom. He wouldn’t understand.
None of them would.
“Talk to me, baby doll.”
Kai’s hand went to my cheek, and he used it to lift my head. I closed my eyes, not wanting them to leak in front of him. Somehow, I was in the middle of Frankie and Kailor – not hiding my emotions but not crying at the drop of a dime either. Even though I was fairly free with my emotions, this was too vulnerable of a topic to discuss with someone. Including my best friend.
“I’m good,” I lied, inhaling deeply as I opened my eyes.
That was a lot easier than trying to explain why I was jealous of my best friend finally getting the proposal she most definitely deserved. It was a lot easier than trying to figure out why I wanted something I’d avoided for so many years. Why I was all of a sudden looking at wedding dresses on Pinterest when there wasn’t even a guy worth a second date in my life right now.
“No, you’re not, but I ain’t gon’ force you to talk about it if you don’t want to.”
Again, Kai got a genuine smile out of me as I nodded my head.
“You swear you know me so well,” slipped through my smile, causing him to share one of his own, but it didn’t last long.
He nodded himself as he ground his teeth and looked me over intently. “You wanna get out of here? I got a blunt in the car.”
“That’s cool. Let me say goodbye to Frankie first.”
I watched as Kai made his way out of the ballroom, nodding and throwing up the peace sign to a few people. Hugging a few others. By the time he made it to the front door, the song had changed and switched to something more upbeat. Turning, I looked around the floor to see where Frankie and Sanchez had gone. They were on their way to the bar, hand in hand. Smiling from ear to ear.
Unable to stop myself, I rolled my eyes and groaned as I walked over to them. I definitely needed to get my shit together because this was so not like me. Shaking thoughts of what I lacked and feelings of what I wanted away from me, I hugged Frankie from the side as I told her, “I’m about to head out, baby. Congratulations again.”
Frankie turned and gave me a full hug, making me feel even worse than I already did for feeling what I was feeling. “Okay. Thank you. I’m going to his house tonight, but I’ll be home tomorrow. You’re going to help me get everything together right?”
“Absolutely,” I replied honestly before kissing her cheek. My attention turned to Sanchez as I released her. “Take care of my sister, Chez. You fuck up this time…”
“I won’t. I give you my word.”
Sanchez pulled me into his arms, giving me one of those hugs that always made sure Frankie felt safe and secure. Afterwards, I said my goodbyes to the people I knew and headed out of the ballroom. When I made it outside, I was surprised to see Dray standing directly across from Kai. He appeared to be trying to enter the party, but Kai’s hand was up as if in protest.
Dray was, in a sense, the one that got away. He was the only guy I’d ever truly cared about on a romantic level. If I could go back, I would have put more effort into our relationship. At the time, The Wanderers was my main priority. All I had to offer Dray was sex and the occasional date here and there.
In the beginning, he was cool with that, but eventually he started catching feelings. Only thing was, it took him leaving for me to come to grips with mine, and by that time, it was too late.
“What are you doing here?” I asked, gaining both his and Kai’s attention.
His eyes smiled before his mouth did, but when it did, I mirrored it. Dray was still just as handsome… in a pretty boy kind of way. He was the total and complete opposite of Kai and every other guy in and associated with the band. A part of me felt like that’s what attracted me to him, but that was also why I felt no surge to remain connected to him.
There was nothing about him that soaked my panties. That made me all hot and bothered. That made me want to surrender and say yes.
“I was hoping to end the year right. With you. Can we talk?”
For some reason, my eyes went to Kai for permission. I guess because Kai was the one that always had to hear about my failed attempts at this thing called life and love. He was the one I went to when Dray left me, so it only seemed fair that he be the one I talk to now that he’d returned.
Kai’s head shook as he walked over to me. Completely blocking my view of Dray, Kai looked down at me and sighed. He ran his hand down his face as his head shook again.
“This nigga tryna get some pussy, Roux. Don’t fall for it.”
Rolling my eyes, I tried to push Kai away from me, but my hand was no match for his rock hard eight pack. His hand wrapped around my wrist and he used it to keep me in place. The last thing I felt like hearing was a lecture on why I shouldn’t hear Dray out. For all I knew, he could be my temporary fix. A fix that would get me through the night and this random desire for something I’d promised my heart I would steer away from.
Dray was safe.
There was no way I’d end my night wanting anything more than conversation and sex from him, and I had to remind my heart and my mind that that’s all we had time for these days.
“Don’t start, Kai. I’m not trying to hear all that tonight.”
“All of what? The truth?” Kai paused, loosening his grip on my wrist. Still wasn’t loose enough for me to pull away though. “You haven’t heard from him in how long, Roux? You don’t think it’s ironic that he shows up after you post pictures of yourself in lingerie?”
Well, maybe, but I was trying to give Dray the benefit of the doubt. I’d become a brand ambassador for this new and upcoming black owned lingerie company, and they started their Valentine’s day promo on Christmas. My spread went live on their website and social media this afternoon, and admittedly, my inboxes and email were booming like crazy ever since.
But Dray wasn’t on that type of creep shit.
Or at least he hadn’t been.
I wouldn’t know until I actually heard him out.
“I’m good, Kai. You said you want me to celebrate, right?” Kai released his grip on my wrist, but he didn’t do so happily. “I can take care of myself, best friend. I know what I’m getting myself into.”
Kai took a step away from me as he pulled his keys out of his pocket. “That’s not the point, but you got it, Roux.”
“Wha– wait.” Kai hadn’t even given me time to get my question out before he was walking away to his car. I excused myself from Dray to follow behind Kai as quickly as my heels would allow me to. “What is your problem, Kai? What’s the point?”
Kai remained silent until he got to his car. He kept his back to me as he mumbled, “We always spend the holidays together. Always.”
Shit. I’d forgotten all about his thing with holidays. Every other day, he was the lovable, annoying asshole that I’d immediately clung to the day we met years ago. But on holidays… holidays made him soft. And vulnerable. And distant – seeking only to be close to those he was closest to. At the top of the list… me and The Wanderers.
Now I felt like shit.
“Let me just tell him we can talk later,” I offered, turning without waiting for Kai to agree.
“Nah. You good. I want you to be happy tonight. If hearing him out is going to do that, so be it. You deserve it.”
Kai opened the driver’s door and got inside as I turned to face him. His nonchalant expression told me loud and clear that he was done with this conversation, but that didn’t stop me from walking back over to him. Giving my calf muscles a good workout, I squatted, keeping my legs together since I had on a dress. We’d seen each other’s bodies before, but the wind was howling, and it was cold as hell outside.
Even the coldest of winds wouldn’t keep me from seeing to Kai, though.
I placed both of my hands on his knees, squeezing them gently until he looked at me.
“What about what you deserve?” Kai shrugged, lifting his right leg and placing it in the car. He pressed down on the break while simultaneously shoving his pointing finger against the start button. The engine of his Mustang began to purr, ending our conversation since he wasn’t going to. “Kai.”
“I’m good, baby doll.” He looked down at me briefly. “Happy New Year, Roux.”
I stood, not knowing what to say or do. Of course I wanted to be with my best friend, but I had needs that a blunt and a night of joking with Kai couldn’t fill. I wanted a man to look at me like he wanted me. Tell me I was beautiful. Touch me like he wanted to possess me. Even if it was just for one night. None of that could happen with Kai, and that was the reason I allowed him to push me away gently so he could close his car door.
After waiting until after Kai was out of the parking lot, I met back up with Dray, hoping whatever he had to say would be well worth the disappointed look on Kai’s face.
If you would like to purchase a copy, it’s now available on my website!
Until next time,