Rowena cuddled on my shoulder, her hand on my chest. We sat like that a few minutes, her hand caressing me absently. Whether by instinct, or design, it moved lower until it reached very near the danger zone. Tipping her head, she touched my cheek with the tip of her nose, asking me to turn my head. Happy to comply, I did so. Her hand moved even further down, resting on my belt buckle. Despite all the action, I was real careful to behave myself. I could hear my sisters’ voices in my head, urging caution. But when Rowena’s fingers rested on my fly, drawing circles on the fabric, caution was the last thing on my mind.
With a shuddering sigh, I intensified my kisses, eating at her face. I’d reached the threshold. If she told me no, in the next three seconds, I’d be able to stop. If she didn’t, I was going to be extremely inappropriate right here on the couch. Hungry hands clutched at me, rubbing firmly, tugging on my belt and fly. I was done. One hand went under her top, delighted to find that she wasn’t wearing a bra. The other slid between her legs, finding her hot and wet. In heaven, I became aware of knocking on her door. A voice rose in the hallway and the thumping continued.
Rowena sprang away from me like I was suddenly on fire. Disheveled, wide eyed, she caught details of my disarray. The thumping intensified.
“What?” she called.
“I need to talk to you.”
I recognized that shrill, obstreperous tone. “Bernie?” I whispered. “How the hell does she know where you live?”
“No idea. Go in the kitchen. Shut the door. I’ll get rid of her.”
“She’s gonna know something’s up. You look like hell.”
Making a face at me, she pointed. Shutting the louvered doors, she scurried toward the door. I imagined her trying to put herself to rights before opening the door. It wasn’t going to work. She had whisker burns on her chin, and her makeup was smeared. Her hair, which had been up in a ponytail, straggled around her face. My ex was going to know there was a man here. I hoped she wouldn’t figure out it was me.
The front door opened. I kept my ear to the kitchen door, trying to hear. Bernie burst in, bellowing. There weren’t words at first, but it was apparent she’d seen the evidence of dessert dishes on the table. It was obvious there were two sets, and she was furious about that.
“So, you stood me up for this?”
“Stood you up? What are you talking about?”
“I invited you for drinks after work, instead you’re here with someone else!”
“I told you I had plans. I never promised to meet you. Just because we’re working together, doesn’t mean I want to spend my off time with you, too.”
“Oh, why’s that?”
“Cause you’re kind of a bitch, Bernadette. You talk trash about everyone, and won’t leave me alone long enough to get any work done. Pretty much the last thing I want to do is spend all day with you, then spend my free time with you, too.”
“Well, I never! After I was so nice to you!”
“You weren’t nice. You weren’t even polite. Every word out of your mouth is mean and ugly. Only reason I put up with you, is my mama raised me to be a lady. You might have the parts, but you’re no lady.”
I was stunned that Rowena was so full of anger. I know Bernie’s difficult, but this went way beyond anything I’d ever heard. There was obviously a whole lot of resentment on Rowena’s part. I wondered what all she’d had to endure. I’d gotten the impression this had been her first day here, but based on what she was saying, it had been longer.
“You whore!” Bernie screeched. Something crashed. Rowena screamed.
I rushed out the door to find Bernie holding Rowena by the hair. She’d knocked the cups and plates off the table, the silverware scattered. Having been attacked by Bernie, I know how strong she is. Rowena tried to disentangle herself, but the grip on her hair was too tight. Swinging her in an arc, Bernie intended to sling her across the room. Entering the fray, I grabbed Bernie in an unyielding grip, halting her momentum. A squeeze at a pressure point on her wrist made her let Rowena go.
“Call the cops,” I told her, as Bernie struggled against me.
“You bastard!” Bernie screeched. “I knew it was you, trying to steal her from me!”
Rowena dialed the phone, connecting immediately. Giving her name and address, she gave a brief recap of our current situation.
“Are you in a safe place?” the dispatcher asked.
“Not exactly. My boyfriend has her in a half Nelson, but she’s trying to kick his balls.”
“An officer will be there in two minutes, Miss Tynan.”
“Thank you. It’s a security building. He’ll have to buzz apartment four A.”
“I’ll tell him.”
Moments later, her buzzer sounded.
“Metro Police, Officer Pete Ruiz.”
Rowena buzzed him up. Bernie was trying to bite me. I’d taken the kicking in hand, weaving my leg between hers, as I held her from behind. She couldn’t get the leverage to nail my nuts. I hoped Ruiz was quick, because she could get his. Entering swiftly, Ruiz had the sense to approach with caution, staying out of nut crunching range.
“Miss, you need to calm down now.”
“She stole my boyfriend!” Bernie screeched. “And she told me she was going to go out with me!”
©2021 Dellani Oakes