Early Evening, Thursday
HER PHONE RANG FOR A RECORD SEVENTH TIME. It was the longest she’d ever gone without answering her calls, the reason regardless. The constant buzzing irritated her; she ignored it–at least, she was trying to. She knew it couldn’t be work. She had taken care of her customers for the weekend. Those she couldn’t, she had handed their advertising businesses over to her direct subordinate while she would be away.
This was someone else.
Adjusting her sunglasses, she peeked at the touchscreen just as she felt the plane taxi on the tarmac to a grinding halt.
It was himagain.
Her fingers shook with palpable tremors as she reached for her cellphone. If she held the device in her hand a minute longer, she would likely drop it. With smoldering disdain, she gripped the phone, switched it off and flung it into a corner in her bag. Zipping her bag noisily and pushing it a few yards away from her, Chiya got to her feet, pulled down her gown and retrieved her luggage from the overhead bin. As she made her way down the flight of stairs, an unctuous smile plastered on her face as a male flight attendant politely nodded in her direction.
Then she felt low. It was disgusting how a simple smile from another man could make her so thirsty.
As Chiya felt her feet touch concrete, she clasped her eyes shut instinctively and wished it all away. For the hours that the flight had lasted, she had wished the sight of them from her mind. Perhaps, if she suffered some severe blow to the head, she could forget the whole scene. She could erase the memory. Only then would she continue to live like nothing had happened in Noah’s office.
The mere thought of his name and the vivid recollection of his face unmoved to the fact that she had caught him in the act, tore her up from the inside. Of all the words that she could describe him, only three rang loudest in her heart–selfish, obnoxious, evil-hearted.
A cheery and horny Chiya had dropped in unannounced at his office, hoping to get a quickie from her fiancé before her flight to Virginia to meet up with her old classmates for homecoming. She had worn his favorite lingerie beneath her gown and his favorite heels of hers. Chiya would brace herself with her heels and his desk while he plunged into the wetness between her thighs so deep, she wouldn’t miss him while she was away. That had been the plan. Noah had a plan of his own.
She had found him, pants down, shirt flying, his back turned to the door while his penetrative thrusts elicited sultry moans from Kimberly, his two-month-old secretary. In that moment, she had wanted to hit Noah’s head against the wall and be done with it. She considered the ricocheting effects of that, developed cold feet, and stormed out of the penthouse office instead. Halfway toward the elevator, with her mind still processing what she had seen moments earlier, she stopped and listened for rushing footsteps behind her. Instead, she overheard Kimberly’s voice, resonant more than before. He hadn’t given a fuck that Chiya had caught him. They had continued their sinful act like it was just another day at the office.
He had promised her that last time would be the last time he would ever cheat on her. That was just two short months ago. If only she knew he had given her his word with both sides of his mouth. To him, his words meant nothing.
Her heart sunk at the internal replay of events. Overshadowed by misery, like a sun, concealed in a cloudy sky, she wondered if life was even worth so much pain. Twice she had considered jumping out of the nearest window. Twice she had left her luggage in the hallway while she wandered aimlessly, unable to control her thoughts.
Her eyes were reddened, puffy bags decorated her brows: an apparent sign of sleep deprivation. She couldn’t tell whether she was strutting or dragging her feet. Her mind was in a haze, one that Noah had locked it in. A honk jolted her awake. She blinked nervously, wondering when she got to the road.
She wiped her face with the back of her hand, forcing back a sneeze. Just her luck, she was coming down with some flu, she thought.
Strange, she thought, arching her brows. Raising her hand to one of the fluorescent lights, she glanced at her fingers. Her gaze lingered on her solid-weighted, diamond-coated engagement ring. No doubt, everyone had been envious of the jewelry but she was a simple girl. The ring was a piece of finery that she could do without. Even with her swollen eyes, she could still read the letterings on the back: Noah and Chiya…forever.
She yanked it off her finger with fury. For a second, she rolled it about in her hand, gingerly, caught between flinging it as far as her anger would let her, or just for the benefit of an inexistent doubt, keep it, for a little longer.
She decided on the latter, sobbing softly, hiccups punctuating the flow of her silent, hurtful cry. A sniffle rippled through her nostrils as she flagged down a cab. Landing on the backseat, she buried her head in her hands, hot tears flowing freely down her cheeks, soaking her mascaraed face.
The unsuspicious driver, asked, peeping over his shoulder, ready to punch his next passenger’s destination into the meter.
She cleared her throat faintly, with a tear-stained face. “The Ragland,” she revealed, her voice apologetic.
The driver whistled; his eyes widened. “arite now girl, you the second person I’d drive there tonight,” he started delightedly, showing a large space where no fewer than four teeth once called their root.
“What y’all having over there? One of them college parties?”
Chiya raised her eyes to meet his, her face frozen in vicarious anguish. An observant driver would have minded his business. Not this one who didn’t care not one bit that Chiya was disinterested in his chit-chat or know her head was banging as if she had just received a series of heavy blows straight to the head.
The driver zoomed off toward the hotel, his tires screeched on the tarred road, splashing murky water on a homeless man who hurled an expletive after him. He only glanced and returned a loud laugh. Chiya couldn’t help but laugh herself.
In that moment, the whole night had faded into the background. Her world had just crumbled around her, and the pieces were
almost irrecoverable. For her, nothing existed, not even the feel of love, if she could even wrap her head around the true sense of the word.
Chiya felt a sense of realization dawn on her. The balloon inside her had filled with enough air; it would pop any moment. Still there was no reason to spend her homecoming trip wallowing in self-pity. The turn up begins tonight, as soon as she drop her bags. Tonight, damn the consequences, the balloon could burst. She had not a single care in the world.
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