-A Beautiful Dream (Part 3)-
Leo's Point of View
Two months before Leo and Cassandra's Wedding
It was a usual afternoon. The sun was out and shining, the temperature was warm, and the warm breeze coming up the shoreline, from the Gulf, kept everything in balance. The day was perfect. Even though the day was perfect, my attitude wasn't. I walked out of a privately owned car parts shop, and began heading towards the garage that lay on the beach. Wearing just my ball cap, wife beater, and jeans, my arms, neck and face were blacked by motor oil. Behind me, a friend of mine, Eric Mason, ran up to me.
"Did you hear?" Eric said as he placed his hand on my shoulder.
I stopped and turned around. "Did I hear what?"
"Fifty-five hundred dollars!" He exclaims. I roll my eyes and continue walking. "I'm guessing you already know?" He adds.
"Yeah, I already know."
"And how do you feel about it?"
"I don't feel anything. I couldn't care any less."
"I don't believe you."
"You don't have to believe me." I say as I continue walking, not turning around.
"Mother fucker." He says.
"What?" I say as I stop and turn around.
"I can't believe you're letting this get to you."
"It's not getting to me!"
"Then why are you so hostile to the subject?" I don't answer, just stare at him. "You feel out done, don't you?" He asks.
"No, it's not that."
"You're realizing you're never going to have that again?"
"Definitely not that, I'm beyond over it."
"Bullshit! You'll never be over it. Seriously, what's the deal?" I walk up to him, face to face, and remain quiet. I stare at him for a few seconds before turning around and walking away. "Come on man! Don't do me like that." Eric yells out.
"Well don't get involved into my private life." I respond.
I make it to the garage and start to look over the cars being worked on. I walk up to the first of three, and begin looking under the hood. As I'm inspecting the engine, Eric approaches me. "Is it because he has money to waste?" He asks.
"Nigga, we all got money to waste. It all depends on how we choose to waste it, and who we choose to waste it on."
"So is that the problem? He chose to waste it on someone you didn't?" He asks as he rubs the back of his neck.
I pick my head up out the hood, and give him the look I've been giving him. I turn to the mechanic working on the car and say "This is good work, keep it up." I walk over to the second car. I lie back on a skateboard, and slide under the car. "I invested more than just money into that." I reply
"So I am right. You're mad that he's doing less than you did, and he's still out doing you."
"Like I said, I couldn't care any less about what he's doing."
"You say that now, but in a week you'll be waiting for the nigga, outside where he works, at night, with a blue bandana around your face, and a baseball bat."
I roll out from under the car. "I only did that once." I say.
"That we know of. That guy tried to show you up in front of your girl, right?"
"He blatantly handed her the keys to his Escalade and said, "This is just a welcoming gift, for leaving this loser, and coming with me."
"So it comes back to the flash, the flare, the money." Eric continues.
I roll my eyes again and stand up. I walk pass Eric, and to the third car. "It's not about the money." I reply. "I'm wearing one hundred-twenty dollar shoes, eighty dollar glasses, and a three hundred dollar watch. Money is not an issue! Do I have to show you, again, what I drive?" I step aside and point to the car behind me.
"What, the redone, tuned up, '69 Camero that I hate you for?" He asks.
"Yeah, that one."
"Ok, then what's the problem? I know there is one."
"Dannika came by the shop last night, as I was closing up. She wanted to "talk"."
"Oh, so we're actually saying her name now? You can handle that?"
"No, say her name again. Dannika Santos, damn, that's a sexy ass name."
"Are you done yet?" I ask, slightly pissed off.
"You said "talk". Let me guess, you two…"
"No we didn't. She seriously came by to talk. With Dannika, on the other hand, talking can easily end up with her without a bra, and on top of me."
"Why can't I find someone like that? I know she's with another dude, but you think I could…"
"I thought you said you were done? You're starting to piss me off."
"I'm done. Go on, continue."
I walk into the empty office, Eric follows. "She told me that her boyfriend proposed to her, and that she hadn't given an answer yet."
"Why'd she come tell you that?" Eric asked as he entered the office.
"According to you, and everybody here, it's obvious that I'm not over her."
"Even though you got someone just as hot, if not hotter, I still don't see why you're tripping over Dannika."
"It's not all about that." I say as I sit on the desk.
"So you're telling me that you've never woke up next to Cassandra, and thought about, mistaken, or visualized her as Dannika?" I sigh. "I'll take that as confirmation of me being right." He adds.
"Speaking about Cassie, Dannika also told me she knows about Cassie being pregnant."
"How'd she know that?"
"I don't know. Maybe someone I know has a big ass mouth, and can't keep it shut."
"Who'd that be?" I stare at Eric. "Me? No, I haven't told anyone…that knows Dannika." He informed me.
"See, I can't trust you with shit."
"What else did she say?"
"She went on about she knows I'm not over her, and that she was worried how I was taking not being with her anymore."
"That's a little conceded of her."
"Yeah, just a little."
"But she knows you're with Cassandra. She even said she knew about the pregnancy. Why would she say all of that, knowing you're involved with someone already?" Eric asked.
"She's not entirely over me."
One of the mechanics enters the office. "Leo, what you want to do with the RX-7?" The mechanic asks.
"Have you started on it?" I reply.
"No. We're waiting for you."
"Give me thirty minutes, and I'll jump on it with you."
"Alright, also, Dannika is out front looking for you."
I look at Eric as he says, "Dude, handle your shit." I nod my head and leave the office. I see Dannika and slowly walk up to her.
"What you doing here, again?" I ask.
"I came to get your answer."
"Answer on what?" I ask, playing dumb in the process.
"About what we talked about."
"Oh, about how I've been tripping over you ever since our break up, and now with your "perfect" timing, you tell me you've been missing me?"
"Yeah Leo, I have." She says.
"So even though your new man threw an eighty thousand dollar car at you, you were still all about me? When he bought you that waterfront bungalow, you were still missing me in your bed?"
"Leo I…" She tried to interrupt.
"When he got down on one knee and presented to you a fifty-five hundred dollar engagement ring, you were picturing me doing that?" She lowered her head. "It seems you've been enjoying all this shit this nigga's been giving you, but don't want to settle down. I think you see me as the way out."
"That's not how it is."
"Dannika, I'm not going to lie, I still have mad feelings for you, but I've been with Cassie for a hot minute, not to mention we're going to have a kid."
"But Leo, let's be real, you're not the "father" type." Dannika adds.
"We've talked about this before. You don't even like kids."
"This is different. This is going to be my kid. All the other nappy headed, nugget dome, project kids is a different story."
"Do you really want to have a kid? Do you really want that responsibility?" She asks as she walks closer to me.
"I don't think that's the question you're asking me."
"What do you think I'm asking?"
"You're asking me to leave my situation, and run away."
"Yes, because I know you still want me."
"You're making this sound like you're doing a favor for me. Really, you don't want to be in a commitment, so you're asking me to bail out on mine. That's not right."
"This Cassandra, she's in Brazil. She won't even know."
"Ok, one, I don't know how you know that, but I'm not shady like that. I don't just up and leave without saying a word, like you did to me. Two, Cassie is getting things ready on her end to move here."
"Why is she moving here?"
"Because…" I paused and thought hard about what I was going to say. It flashed in my head, but I felt what I was going to say was the truth. "…we're getting married."
"What! When did you propose to her?" Dannika asks while trying to catch her breath.
"I haven't, but I plan to."
"You're not "marriage" material."
"Stop telling me what type of person I am. You're saying I'm not the "father" type, or the "husband" type, I'm saying I think I can be. You saying all of this is causing me to wonder if you were ever right for me in the first place."
"Leo…" She started.
"Listen. I may not be able to give Cassie a crazy expensive wedding band. All this that I have now will go away when she gets here. No more driving different stylish cars every weekend. No more excessive amounts of money to throw around for my own enjoyment. My life's going to change. That's going to be a good thing."
She instantly takes an attitude. "So what you going to do now that you're going to leave "your life"? Don't forget that I was here when this all started. Do you really think it's going to be that easy to just leave it all? Mister I have a family and a house with the white picket fence. How do you think you're going to get all of that, without what you're doing now?"
"I don't think you've asked me once what I did when I left at night."
"Let me guess, you're going to tell me some random girl, or my cousin?"
"No. I was taking courses at the college."
She laughs as she says, "You, college, yeah right!"
"You laugh now, but I'm trying to become a lawyer."
"Well you know what; you're not going to make it. I know you, and school is not you."
"Show's how much you actually know me. I'm already working on my second Associates."
"But we broke up…"
"Yeah, I've been at this for a while. Actually, I started two weeks before we started dating."
"Oh…" She quietly says she her face changes.
I look at my watch and realize I got to go work on the RX-7. "I have to go. I got important things to take care of." I say.
I begin walking away, but I hear Dannika yell out, "You're not the type! You'll fuck it up. It's just a matter of time." As she said that, I already had the doubt in my head. Could I really be a husband, even further, could I really be a father?