He Loved Me Not
"What's the difference between having sex and making love?"
"Huh?" he mumbled groggily. "What was that, baby?"
I repeated my question as I traced the tattoo on his right arm of his deceased mother with my finger.
"Well…" He moved slightly in the bed, but his eyes remained shut. "Having sex is a causal thing. It's something you do with a friend or even a strange you pick up at a club just to get some."
Intrigued, I removed myself from my sitting position to lie beside him. "Go on."
"Making love is something you do with someone you care deeply about. When you're inside this person, it's like paradise. You're giving your all to this person with hours and hours of sweating and heat and passion, different positions…" He abruptly stopped, probably because I wasn't the one becoming turned on by his explanation.
Silence filled the room save the sound of his breathing as I stared passed him at the digital clock on the nightstand.
"So do you make love to me or your wife?
"Tori, don't start."
"What? It's a simple question."
His gray eyes met my brown ones. "But I told you not to bring her up when I'm with you." His voice hinted signs of annoyance and aggression, so I didn't press the issue any further. He buried his face back into the pillow, and his back heaved up and down as he slowly drifted to sleep. I moved back to my sitting position in time to hear a baby commence to cry.
Sliding quietly out of bed, I retrieved my robe from the floor, draped it on, and padded into the next bedroom.
"Shhh. Mommy's here now." I picked my baby boy up from the basinet and sat in the rocking chair adjacent to it. I opened my robe, beginning to breast-feed him.
I had been secretly involved with Jeffery Townsend for two years. He was an attractive man – six feet two, one hundred and seventy pounds, lean, caramel complexion, just sexy as hell. He was the manager of several The Men's Wearhouse clothing stores in the metropolitan area, so he made a decent living.
Keeping our relationship on the down low for so long was nowhere near easy, and we almost had our slip-ups, but sometimes it also depressed me.
I gazed down at my baby as he sucked my nipple lazily since he was falling back to sleep.
Jeffery Townsend Junior.
Yeah, right. Jeff would killme if I named my, excuse me, our baby that, but he didn't understand that it was killing me that I couldn't disclose to anyone who the father of my child really was.
When I told my mother I was pregnant, she asked who was the father. I lied and said it was some guy I met at a party; we had a one-night stand; I never saw him again; I didn't remember his name, where he lived, or what school he went to. I believed that my family and friends thought I was a whore who didn't know where her baby's daddy was.
Jeremiah was now asleep in my arms. Jeremiah was the closest I could get to Jeff's name without sounds too suspicions. I wanted desperately to give my baby the last name Townsend, but I just settled with my last name, Monroe.
I admired the sleeping form in my arms. It was surprising that no had an inkling that this child was Jeff's because to me, my son looked just like his father.
I placed Jeremiah back inside his basinet and walked to the mirror on the dresser drawer. Haphazardly draping my robe down my arms, I glared at the image reflecting back at me.
At age thirteen, I had the body of an twenty-one year old woman. I was five feet one and one hundred and nineteen pounds. I had perky breasts, hips, round behind, and a flat tummy. I was doing the damn thing.
Now two years later, I had grown an inch or so and gain some weight. My body didn't look too dire, but my breasts were slightly saggy and my tummy was a little pudgy, decorated in stretch marks due to my second love.
Once upon a time, I didn't think I was capable of loving anyone. I would watch on television and experience in person people professing their love for one another.
"I love you, Mommy."
"I love you too, sweetie."
I knew my friends and family loved me, but I couldn't reciprocate that emotion. I felt that if I told them I loved them, it would be a lie, so when loved ones told me they loved me, I would muttered something that sounded like, "I love you too."
I probably had this problem because I felt depressed, like something was missing from my life. My religious best friend Paula suggested that it may be God, and I wished I had listened to her because that empty feeling drove me into the arms of Jeffery, my first love.
Almost a year into our relationship, I developed strangle feelings for him. When I was around him, I felt warm inside; I never wanted our time together to end; if I didn't see or talk to him at least one time a day, I felt weird; I found myself doing things for him that I wouldn't do for others.
It took me a while to figure out with it was, and I discussed my dilemma with Paula.
"Tori, you're in love!" Paula informed me. When asked who, I told her it was the boy who lived next door.
Once I discovered it was love, I professed it to Jeff like I saw it done on the movie The Rage: Carrie 2.
I told him one night after one of our sexual encounters. He was drifting off to sleep as usual, and I spoke softly, "I love you, Jeffery."
"Girl, what you talking about? You don't love me; you just love how I work that kitty cat."
"No, I really do love you."
"Shhh…go to sleep, Tori."
At first I believed what Jeff told me, but as time progressed, I knew in fact that I loved him because I found myself sobbing like Paula had died when I was aware that he was being intimate with his wife. I didn't need to pick petals off of a rose to tell me that he loved me not. There was only one woman other than his mother that he loved, and it would never be me.
Naturally, when Jeremiah was born looking just like his daddy, I instantly fell in love with him.
"Girl, are you being vain again?"
I jumped, startled. I realized that I was still standing in front of the mirror with my robe hanging off. I quickly slipped it back up and tied the belt.
"Jeff, I thought your were sleeping."
"I couldn't sleep on an empty stomach. I'm aware that it's four-thirty in the afternoon, but I had a craving for an omelet. You want one?"
He left to go into the kitchen while I went back to the master bedroom. I grabbed my clothes off of the floor.
Earlier today I was looking good. I had my weave hooked-up, my makeup did, got some acrylic nails, had a pedicure, wore a new fit along with my match thong and bra set, and was smelling fruity with my peach fragrance on. Even my braces seemed to shimmer. I hadn't the time or money for my much needed pampering until Jeff generously supplied me with money and offered to watch Jeremiah. The last time I was that hot was early in my pregnancy, before I gained twenty-three pounds.
Hours later, the curls had fallen out of my hair, my make-up was smeared, a nail was broken, the fragrance had worn off, my clothes were disheveled, and my thong…was nowhere to be found.
Oh, wait. There it was on the radio antenna.
Placing my attire back on, I sauntered into the kitchen. "Tori, I hope you have been taking your pills. I love my son, but I got enough kids as it is. Don't need no more."
He was right about that. He had four kids with his ex-wife, and two other ones with two different women prior to her.
Jeff was not a fan of condoms, and when we would have sex, he would just withdraw before he came. Obviously one time he didn't pull out fast enough, and the result was the union of the both of us.
After I gave birth, my mother took me to the doctor to get on the Pill.
"I am." I sat at the breakfast nook as I eyed Jeff with his back turned preparing our meal. Jeff had once disclosed something to me about his ex-wife. He never really loved her and only married her because she was a convenience.
"What are your plans for the evening?"
"Well, my father was going to stop by for a moment because he wanted to see Jeremiah. Then I was going to the show with a friend."
He faced me, an eyebrow raised. "Does this friend have a name?"
I was tired of sneaking around, having sex when his wife wasn't at home or at motels, and when we weren't having sex, we had to go out in the boondocks to spend time together.
Plenty of guys had asked to go out with me, but I refused because Jeff was a very jealous person and didn't want me to associate with them. Even if I would remain friends with them, he still had a problem with it.
So why did I love this cheating, jealous-hearted, controlling, thirty-eight year old pedophile?
The answer was cliché:
No had ever treated me so nicely and so caring as he did. He made me feel beautiful and cheered me up when I felt low. He bought me things, and the sex was the best…
Wait, that was not fair for me to say since he was the first and only guy I had been intimate with.
"Lamont? Isn't that Mrs. O'Neal's grandson?"
"Isn't he older?"
Jeff almost dropped the skillet. "Eighteen?"
I rolled my eyes. "Wow…three years. (Versus twenty-three, I thought.) Actually, it would only be two since my birthday is in two weeks."
Jeff turned the stove off. "It doesn't matter. What does he want from you?" He took two plates out of the cabinet. "I seriously doubt he just wants to be your friend. He's only going to end up hurting you in the end. I don't want you to see him."
Did he recite that from a tacky movie script?
I was indignant. "I'm tired of sneaking around and keeping our relationship secret, and I'm tired of you trying to dictate who I can and cannot see. You're not my daddy. You can't tell me what to do."
He set a plate in front of me. "I bet you wish I was your daddy." Jeff had a smirk on his face that I wished I could just burn off.
"Fuck you!" I screamed.
"Already did, remember?" He handed me a fork. "Now, stop all this nonsense Tori, and eat your food. What do you want to drink?"
"Why is it okay that you are sleeping with more than one person, but I am forbidden just to talk to someone else? Why are you still with her because if you're messing around with me, you obviously don't love her. You said it yourself that she doesn't suck you off the way that I do. Let me ask you this: do you kiss her what those same lips you go down on me with?"
Almost catlike, he smoothly but quickly marched away from the refrigerator and slapped the hell out of me. I burst into tears.
"Shit, baby. Why did you have to say that? Now look at what you made me do." He went to go obtain an icepack out of the freezer.
"I love you so much," I muttered in the midst of my tears. "You make me feel like crap sometimes."
He placed the coldness to my left cheek. Eyeing me closely, he spoke: "I know you love me, and I care about you a lot. I can never love you like I love my wife, Tori. You're just a child." He moved a tendril of hair that had fallen in front of my face. "As far as me not wanting you to date other people, you're a beautiful girl, and niggas out there will just use and abuse you."
Like you're using and abusing me, I thought bitterly but didn't say out loud because I didn't fancy getting slapped again.
My first love kissed me on my forehead and grabbed my hand to place it over the icepack so that I could hold it. He ventured back to the refrigerator and pulled out a beer and a Sunkist. He set the pop next to my plate and the beer next to his, and we ate in silence.
I wished I had fallen in love with God instead.
I noticed his eyes began to focus toward the living room. He jumped up and hurried into the living room and out of the front door. I followed his lead except I went to the window.
Oh, his wife was home from work.
I witnessed as my stepfather passionately kissed my mother.