Brian shoveled fingers through unruly auburn curls. She couldn’t help smiling. He reminded her of Ron Howard of Happy Days fame, back in the day when Ron had hair. That familiar ping in her stomach told her the attraction between them hadn’t waned, making it even more puzzling. Those blue eyes now held hers, confirming this thing they’d always had was real. Brian was clearly conflicted. It must be the black and white thing that caused him to rethink. He’d once told her his family would welcome her with open arms. Then again, she’d yet to meet his family.
Keisha sipped on her Delight, waiting for him to speak.
“I love you, Keisha,” Brian eventually said, his fingers pleating the paper placemat in front of him.
Such foolishness. You didn’t dump someone you loved. His declaration only served to irritate her. Now she definitely wasn’t about to cut him slack. “You have a funny way of showing it,” she said.
“I never wanted to hurt you.”
“But you did.” They were going around and around in circles and getting no place. Every muscle in Keisha’s body hurt, including her heart. She’d had enough of this merry-go-round. Grabbing her purse, she threw some dollars on the table and left. It was impossible to be in Brian’s company for one more minute. She was way too hurt.
Brian followed her out.
“Go away,” Keisha hissed, flailing her arms at him as he attempted to flag down a cab. She moved out of his reach. He followed, reaching for her again. If he laid his hands on her that would be all it would take to make her crumble.
A police cruiser pulled up, siren shrieking. The officer lowered his window. “Problem?”
“Just a lover’s spat,” Brian said quickly.
The cop eyed them suspiciously. “If you say so.”
Brian’s arm circled Keisha’s shoulders. He kissed the top of her head. “I love this woman.”
“What was that all about?” Keisha asked, when the skeptical cop took off and his taillights were in the distance. “Men don’t break things off with a woman they love.”
“I couldn’t think of anything else to do or say,” he admitted. “The last thing I need is to get hauled off on charges of battery.” He sounded so despondent she wondered if he had lost his mind.
“I would never let that happen.”
She wouldn’t, no matter how badly he hurt her. When Brian squeezed her hand, those fluttery feelings started all over again. Then he said, “Does that mean you still care about me?”
Keisha choked back a sob. This conversation was getting crazier. She wouldn’t play games. “There’s never been a question about me loving you.”
“Come home with me then.”
And then, lord help her, she heard herself saying, “Yes.” Brian’s love language had always been sex.