John Updike -
"We are fated to love one another; we hardly exist outside our love, we are just animals without it, with a birth and a death and constant fear between. Our love has lifted us up, out of the dreadfulness of merely living."
The clock struck midnight but the night was still young. Leila and her friends were leaving the club when they ran into a bunch of guys from the university. One of them, whom Leila had a crush on, was named Ike.
Ike, a recent transfer, became popular very quickly because he was uber-smart and very fine. He had skin like the finest of imported chocolates and a smile was bright it could melt butter. The rugged good looks of Idris Elba and the brain of Mark Zuckerberg made him a hot commodity around campus and Leila wanted him like a bad habit. Leila however, was too shy, self-conscious, and disinterested in college hookups to get her fix.
Leila was a very pretty girl. Curvier than a cheerleader, she was smart, bookish, and driven as the day is long. Guys on campus were attracted to her but they had about as much depth as a shallow pond. She just wasn’t interested in them. Often, they treated her like an afterthought because Leila wasn’t the type to put out. It wasn’t like Leila was a virgin; she simply was a hopeless romantic who was over how guys on campus treated women after being with them. She wanted something more tangible in her relationships. Leila was pretty aware that she was not built for that kind of heartbreak and decided early on that she wanted no parts of the mental torture. As the girls chatted up the guys, Leila comfortably melted into the background. She was completely unaware that someone in the group was not falling for her shenanigans. Leila did not know, such was her beguiling naïve beauty, that Ike clocked her from the moment she first crossed his path and he wanted Leila just as bad, if not more.
The guys asked the girls what they were getting into for the rest of the night. One of the Greek organizations on campus was having a house party so they invited Leila and her friends to join them. The girls were headed to a bar for last call, but an invite by hotties to a party with free drinks seemed like a much better alternative. The girls, having taken an Uber to the club, were offered a ride by the guys. While Leila liked Ike, she was not thrilled with the notion of getting into a car with a bunch of strangers who had been drinking half the night. Leila said she would catch up with them at the party but Ike who had not yet exchanged words with Leila at that point, offered to call an Uber and ride with her just to be safe. Ike really did not want Leila to suddenly change her mind and go home but Leila was none the wiser. Leila was too busy body-rolling in her mind to Wild Thoughts at the prospect of being alone with him so she said “Okay.”
After everyone had dispersed, and while Leila and Ike were waiting for the Uber, she blurted out shyly, “You didn’t have to stick around. I would have been fine on my own.” Ike smirked and shook his head. He felt lucky to be alone with her. Ike was completely aware of his appeal to women and sometimes he indulged. But he was over the mindless assignations and ready for something special, like his parents’ love. Ike’s folks met in college and knew that they were right for each other. Through thick and thin, sickness & health, fights etc., not a day went by where his parents ever regretted a single year of a single day together. Ike’s parents taught him everything good and hard about what love meant, what it could be, and what he could make it and he wanted that kind of love for himself. He was just as much of a romantic as Leila, the good kind.
Shaking himself out of his reverie, Ike realized that Leila was still muttering about “inconveniencing him.” He would’ve kissed her to cut off her ramblings but knew the importance of waiting and not crossing her boundaries. If he wanted any chance of getting close to Leila’s heart, and staying there, it had to be on her own terms. Ike, ever a patient man, told Leila it was cool and that he was happy to wait with her. Once the Uber pulled up he held open the door so Leila could get inside. Leila then slid across the seat so he could have room. After thanking Ike for the Uber and holding the door, Leila turned nervously and looked out the window. The two reached the party very quickly and were greeted by their friends at the entrance. Afterwards, Leila and Ike were separated.
Leila’s friends pushed her straight for the bathroom launching a million and one questions. Leila reminded them that she had only been gone for 10 minutes, was on a public street with Ike, and also accompanied by an Uber driver. She assured them that there was not nearly enough time to get knocked up and engaged. Leila’s friends rolled their eyes at her because they knew that Leila was clueless about Ike’s interest in her. After touching up their makeup in the bathroom, the girls returned to the party.
Thirty minutes passed before Leila and Ike’s paths crossed, well until Ike orchestrated their next interaction. He waited close by for a song that Leila responded to so he could ask her to dance. The DJ found his groove and Leila after having a drink, was now loose enough to get on the dance floor to move her body. The next song in the lineup by Tory Lanez was clearly her song because Leila began sensually whining her hips:
We ah sip the Henny for the day baby
Bad man, we no stray baby
Oops I done fell for your way baby
I know girl but, everyone falls…
At that moment, Ike walked up to Leila and slowly started to dance with her face to face to make sure she was okay with it first. Leila was very okay with it and wrapped her arms around his neck while he placed his palms on her waist:
Everyone falls in love sometimes
I don’t know ‘bout you but it ain’t a crime
Neefi let me love you, love you love you for long time baby
Neefi let me touch you, neefi let me love you ‘till the morning, oh…
Mmm, ah, mmm, ah, mmm, if you let me love you…
We ah sip that Henny for the day baby
Come my, my way baby
Top down on the highway baby
And if you let me love you, wait
Shawty she ain’t even got a visa
Out of town, one night teaser
Need to tell them other…ease up
I’m falling but everyone falls…
The two moving like they were made for each other danced in tandem to the song. Some partygoers equally feeling the groove started grinding to the music, while others watched Ike and Leila danced. They sensed something special, different, and beautiful between the two and were unable to tear their eyes away. One partygoer, hidden in the shadows, was not so enchanted by their magnetic pairing and seethed with a dark energy that promised pain. Their furious gaze and intense gaze was focused entirely on the couple.
TO BE CONTINUED.
bitter Chocolat (2017)
Don't leave before reading the next installments in the bitter Chocolat series.