It was finally Friday and Dominic was glad to be off work. He was at his favorite bar watching a YouTube video on his phone. He sat on his bar stool with his head slightly tilted down, a glass that used to be full of whiskey was seated to his right, and his apple earbuds were secure in his ears as he listened to the preacher, preach.
“Demons! Everybody has demons! You aren’t free of them! I’m not free of them! And neither is your neighbor! All of us have demons! Things we must fight against daily. And the sooner you accept these demons, the sooner you’ll break free of them.”
Dominic shook his head in agreement with what the pastor was saying. For a moment, it felt like he was talking directly to Dominic. But how could that be possible? The preacher had no way of knowing that Dominic’s past was about to make an appearance in his present. Nor could he know that Dominic feared that the colliding of his past and present would be catastrophic and that he and Jade might not survive it. Dominic shuttered at the thought of losing everything.
“Ey, Man. You alright? You look a little out of it today?” Phoenix asked.
“Oh, I’m good, Bruh. Just thinking about the wife,” Dominic said as he hit the home button on his iPhone and turned the pastor’s sermon off.
“Oh, yeah?” Phoenix asked as he poured Dom another drink.
“Yeah,” Dominic took a huge sip of his whiskey before continuing to talk, “she’s ready to have a baby.”
“Oh, wow! And you don’t want kids?”
“No, I do. It’s just…just complicated.”
Dominic touched his forehead and then reached for his drink. Phoenix leaned back against the bar and crossed his arms. Dominic sensed that Phoenix could tell that he was really stressed. He had gotten to know Phoenix pretty well over the last six months. Phoenix’s bar opened eight months ago, right around the corner from Dominic’s office. Ever since Dominic discovered A Place in Phoenix, he’d been a regular there every day after work. Phoenix and the girls had learned to expect him around 5:45 each day. Phoenix had also learned that Dominic loved his wife. He could tell by the way he ignored the thirsty women that tried to hit on him. Some of them were gorgeous faces, built with the silhouettes that shadows dream of, and Dominic still ignored them. So, Phoenix knew that Dominic must truly love Jade.
“Man, Dom. I don’t see the problem. You love Jade. She’s your wife and yall have been together for like five forevers. So, I’m saying just give the lady a baby already.”
“It’s more complicated than that, Bruh.”
“What is? The process? Shit, the way I see it, it’s easy. You wine and dine her. Play a little Sade` and 12-play and then BOOM! Yall, making babies.”
Dominic couldn’t help but laugh. Phoenix always saw the world in the most simplistic way.
“So, you think it’s just that simple?”
“I mean it would be that simple for me. If I had a woman that wanted to share her life with me, for better or worse, I’d be willing to give her a baby. Shit, better her than some thot that’s trying to give it to everybody. At least you know she’ll do right by you and your kid.”
Dominic nodded. Phoenix is right, he thought. Jade is a wonderful woman. She is supportive, strong, independent, and she’d be a great mom.
“She’s not the problem,” Dominic shook his head, “I am.”
“What? Your soldiers can’t make it to the battlefield no more or something?”
“My soldiers can make it to the battlefield just fine. Your Mama can confirm that for you.”
Dominic and Phoenix both laughed.
“Dom, Man. I think whatever it is, you just tell her. Shit, Man! She’s been with you from the beginning. That’s the type of woman you trust.”
Again, Dom knew Phoenix was right, but he couldn’t help thinking Jade would be worried or scared off by his past. It could make her change her mind altogether.
“I hear you, Bruh. But I don’t know. I’m going to have to give it a little more thought.”
“Okay, Man. But you know women are impatient. You’ll make things worse if you keep her waiting too long. Take it from someone who knows.”
“Alright, I’ll keep that in mind.”
Dominic reached in his wallet and handed Phoenix a fifty dollar bill.
“Keep the change and thanks for the advice.”
“Man, you know your drinks were only like 15 bucks, right?”
“Yeah, I know.”
Dominic’s phone starts ringing as he exits the bar. It’s the same 310 area code that he’s been ignoring all day. Why won’t she just stop calling…
On the way home, he envisioned himself telling Jade the truth and her saying it was all okay and that they could get through anything. He felt a little bit of relief just from the idea of her accepting his truth. He wanted to confide in her. Explain himself and why he’d been so distant. But he didn’t know how. Maybe he would just blurt it out at dinner. Sure, she’d be shocked but at least it would be out there.
Buzz, Buzz, Buzz…The 310 phone number expanded across the screen of his BMW’s radio. Quickly, he pressed the reject button on the steering wheel and continued to drive home. Not even two minutes later, his phone was ringing again. Finally, he answered it.
“Stop calling me!”
“Well, then be a man and answer the first time I call. Then I won’t have to keep calling your ass back,” snapped the sexy female on the other end.
“What do you want, LJ?”
“To meet in person?”
“What?! No! Tell me what you want NOW or I’m hanging up!”
“I found it.”
Dom paused for a minute. He was aggravated. Could she be telling the truth? Could she really have found it after he worked so hard to make sure it was never found?
“There’s no way you found it?”
“Yes, there is, and I’ll tell you all about it. In person.”
“Just tell me now. You know I don’t want to see you.”
“But you need too. Ma Mary has requested your presence.”
“Really? Ignore me and see.”
Dom wanted to hang up and block her number, but he knew she’d only find another way to contact him. Especially if Ma Mary had truly requested a meeting. It had been almost two decades since he’d talked to her. They were long overdue for a meeting. And ignoring her meant she might possibly show up at his dinner table after befriending Jade somehow. That was exactly what he didn’t need. The truth would be twice as hard to explain with her sitting there. Dom had no other choice but to agree to a meeting.
“When do you want to meet?”
“I will contact you in a few with the details.”
Dom pressed the reject call button on the steering wheel as he pulled into his driveway. Kenya’s car was there which meant he had a valid reason for not discussing his past with Jade tonight. He definitely couldn’t discuss it with her while Kenya’s nosey butt was around. The whole family would then know his secret. Oh God! Jade’s parents. Dom wondered if they would still accept him after they learned the truth. Would they order him to divorce their daughter? They are so elegant, classy. They will surely be appalled, he thought. But he couldn’t think about that now. He had to put all these worries out of his mind. He had to go in the house and play make believe happy with his wife. One day it won’t be make believe…Jade and I will be happy again.
Dominic walked into the living room where Jade and Kenya were seated. He took a deep breath and prepared to put on their usual show, but before he could even say hello he heard Jade talking to someone.
“Oh, my gosh, Melle! Thank you so much for the consult. I’m excited to get started.”
“Good, that’s what I like to hear. I’m excited for you! Now, is your sister around so I can go ahead and speak with her too?”
“Yes, she’s here. Can you hold for one moment, she’s in the restroom,” Jade said before pressing the mute button and yelling for Kenya to hurry-up. Dom made his way over to his wife just as Kenya re-entered the room.
“Hey, Baby,” Dom whispered walking over to Jade and kissing her gently on the lips, “how was your day?”
“Hey, Love. My day was good, “Jade whispered, “we’re doing our consults for the fitness program I told you about.”
“That’s good, Baby.”
“I think so, my consult went pretty well. Hopefully, Kenya’s will too.”
“My consult will go fine, as long as she knows what she’s doing.”
Jade rolled her eyes at her sister and handed her the phone. Kenya pressed the mute button and began to talk.
“Jade said you can help me build a bigger booty. Is that true?” Kenya asked
“Yes, said Fitmelle, but first let’s talk about your body type. Based on your body type quiz you’re 85% ectomorph which means building lean muscle mass is really hard for you but cutting body fat is easy for you. Your sister who is more mesomorph, endomorph has a harder time cutting body fat, but it’s easier for her to build muscle. Which means you guys will not have the same macros. And whoever your personal trainer is, needs to train you guys accordingly.
“So, you said all that to say what?”
“(Sigh) It’s Kenya, right?”
Dom shook his head at Kenya. She can’t take anything seriously, he thought. Kenya saw him shaking his head at her and rolled her eyes before returning to her conversation with Fitmelle.
“Yes, I’m Kenya Monroe, the one and only.”
“Kenya, I’m the same body type as you, and I’ve done what you’re trying to do. So, I’m explaining the process to you, so you’ll know what to expect. Now, if you’re not serious about this please let me know now, cause I have other clients that are serious and devoted to my process.”
“I never said I wasn’t serious. I’m just making sure you’re not about to waste my time.”
“Okay, good because I don’t need you wasting my time either. So, now that we’ve established that we’re good to work together, how tall are you and how much do you weigh?”
Dom laughed out loud at Fitmelle’s directness and caused Jade and Kenya to turn around and look at him. He kissed Jade on her cheek and whispered in her ear that he was going in the kitchen to start dinner. She nodded in agreement and Dominic made his way to the kitchen rolling his eyes at Kenya on his way out. She returned the same kind gesture.
He used to try and figure out why Kenya acted the way she did but now he just figured it was her immaturity, insecurity, and jealousy that made her constantly act like a fool. But whatever it was, he wasn’t in the mood for it tonight. He had other things to think about—like the phone in his pocket that was currently vibrating.
Oh, how Dom wished it would stop. But he knew it wouldn’t. Not until he responded. He grabbed the bottle of whiskey and a shot glass out the cabinet. A little liquid companionship was exactly what he needed right now. He took out his phone and began reading his texts.
From: 310-555-8813 6:20 pm Do you know where the bar A Spot In Phoenix is? LJ Kisses To: 310-555-8813 6:25 pm Yeah, I can meet you there tomorrow at 7:30 pm.
Dom laid his phone down on the kitchen table and took a shot of whiskey. He hoped he wasn’t going to regret his meeting although he already knew that he would. But again, not going and Ma Mary showing up here was not a risk he was willing to take.
Dominic jumped at the sound of Kenya’s voice.
“Yeah, Kenya. What’s up?”
“Did I scare you?” She asked giving him a puzzled look.
“No, no. I was just lost in my thoughts, crunching the numbers about an assignment I’m working on at work.”
“Okaayyy, sounds boring. Well, Jade said you probably had something in your toolbox that I could use to patch up a hole in my wall. My purse rack fell down and ripped a hole in the sheetrock”
“Yeah, I’m sure I have something. But are you sure you can do it yourself?”
“Dang, Brother-in-law! I thought you had more faith in me than that. Yes, I can do it. I know how to Google a YouTube video.”
“Alright, then,” Dominic chuckled, “I’ll go get you what you need. Be right back.”
Kenya was waiting patiently for his return when his phone began to vibrate. The 310 number crept across the screen beckoning Kenya’s attention. She quickly peeked around the corner to see if Dominic was on his way back. She saw the door to the basement stairs open and the light on. Jade was still seated on the couch watching TV. Kenya quickly hit the home button on Dom’s iPhone. To her surprise there was no passcode, so the phone opened up to the text message he had just received.
From: 310-555-8813 6:31pm Cool. See you then. DO NOT STAND ME UP! L.J Kisses
Kenya read the text message and wondered who it was. She decided that the best thing for her to do was to keep reading.
To: 310-555-8813 6:25pm Yeah, I can meet you there tomorrow at 7:30pm L.J Kisses From: 310-555-8813 6:13pm Do you know where the bar A Spot In Phoenix is? L.J Kisses From: 310-555-8813 5:29 PM If you don’t stop avoiding me, I’ll be forced to make my own moves. You won’t see me coming… And you won’t like the result. CALL ME ASAP!!!!!!!! L.J Kisses
From: 310-555-8813 5:25 PM We need to meet soon. L.J Kisses From: 310-555-8813 5:18 PM We can’t ignore this forever. The time is approaching. L.J Kisses From: 310-555-8813 5:14 PM Why are you ignoring me?!?! L.J Kisses From: 310-555-8813 5:08 PM You haven’t returned my calls in days! L.J Kisses
“Oh, my God! Dom is cheating on my sister!” Kenya mumbled out loud to herself,
“He has to be, cause no man is signing his texts with the word ‘kisses’ behind his name unless he’s gay. Oh Shit! What if Dom is on the DL?”
Kenya realized that she may be talking loudly and turned around to see if Jade heard her, but she appeared to be all into some documentary she was watching. Kenya quickly airdropped the messages from Dom’s iPhone to her own,
“Maybe Jade’s life isn’t as delectable as I thought!” Kenya smiled as her newly gained information appeared on her phone.
“What’d you say?” Dominic asked, reentering the kitchen, with spackle and plaster in hand, just as Kenya was placing his phone back on the kitchen table.
“Oh, I was just singing a song.”
“Oh, okay. Well, here you go,” he said startling her this time.
“Oh, thanks,” she grabbed the spackle and glanced down at Dom’s phone, “ I like your phone case. Where’d you get it? It’s time for me to get a new one.”
Kenya held her phone up, so Dom could see all the little cracks on her screen. She knew she had to alleviate any suspicion he may have of her going through his phone. She couldn’t have him canceling his meeting before she had the chance to get all the details.
“Yeah, you definitely need a new case. But I don’t remember where I got mine. I think Jade ordered it for me.”
“Oh, okay. Well, I’ll ask her then. Thanks again for this stuff.”
“You’re welcome. That’s what family is for.”
Kenya smiled a cryptic smile and then headed back into the family room with Jade. Dom listened from the kitchen to see what she was saying. He was relieved to hear that she was discussing their gym date for tomorrow. He could have sworn she was going through his phone. But maybe she wasn’t. Besides, if she had seen something, she’d surely be telling Jade right now. Wouldn’t she?
Dom checked his phone and noticed that the latest text message from LJ had been read. He saw that she was good with 7:30 and wondered if Kenya had seen it too. He knew that the only way to find out was to ask her, and he also knew that he couldn’t do that. He would just have to hope she didn’t see anything and be more careful about leaving his phone unlocked. After all, his instincts are correct. His past is about to collide with his present and it is most definitely going to be a catastrophic collision.