ANS- Episode Eighteen

I Need You

It was 8:52 as Safiya sat in Dawn Ryse watching the cars stream by as she sipped on the straw pulling the mint chocolate milkshake down her throat. Once the cars stopped at the red light on the streetlight cloaked night her gaze shift back to Carter pacing in front of the diner’s window on his cell. Who was he talking to? His wife wondering where he was at this ungodly hour. His child anxiously anticipating its father’s return so it could be treated to that long awaited bedtime story.

Safiya pushed the straw out of her mouth with her tongue. Her hand found its way to her seemingly flat stomach. Other than and upset stomach and an insatiable appetite she hadn’t felt different but the doctor told her something was there. Something was going inside her. Something she created with the man she loves. Yeah, unfortunately, she still loved him. She clenched her eyes wondering what was wrong with her. Why did she still love him? Number one he lied to her. Tangling her in a web of deceit. Number two he wanted to her have an abortion. He just wanted to erase the creation they had together. Number three he wasn’t hers. He was married. She hit her hand onto her forehead. A MARRIED MAN! She hit her forehead again. OF ALL THE GUYS SHE HOOKED-UP WITH SHE GETS HUNG UP ON A MARRIED MAN! She hit herself on the forehead once more.

“What the hell’s wrong with you!” Carter question stopped her arm from moving.

Safiya opened her eyes seeing him frowning down at her. His warm hand on her wrist starting picking the lock, the lock to the door she trapped her passion for Carter. Safiya pulled her arm away from him.

What’s wrong with me?” Safiya watched as he glided his tempestuous body into the chocolate booth, opposite her. His knees knocked against hers and she almost melting into a pool of Jell-O left to long in a hot car. She scooted herself closer to the window, away from him. “You!” Her yell brought the eyes of the other diners scattered about in booths and at the counter even a waitress or two. “You are what’s wrong with me. I shouldn’t even be here.”

Carter reached for her hand resting on the cold silver table. Safiya swiftly pulled her hand away and placed it on her lap. “I’m sorry.” He pulled his hand back on his side of the table. “That’s what I wanted to tell you. I shouldn’t have told you to get an abortion. I didn’t tell that to Sylvan years ago and I shouldn’t have done that to you.” He removed his black-framed glasses and rubbed his eyes. What was he trying to rub out; strain, stress, or regret.

“Maybe because Sylvan’s your wife…” Safiya learned her name when Alyssa dropped it in the car on the way to the Stallion. “ You love her and I’m just—”

“Just what?” Carter asked with his hand still lingering at his eyes.

Safiya drunk in his presence as his eyes remain closed. What was she to him? She quickly asked herself before opening her mouth “A home wrecking slut that got knocked up.” She turned her head back to the window, looking out into the night just as a couple walked by hand and hand. Carter didn’t display the symptoms of a cheating married man. They didn’t hide out. They went places; museums, clubs, plays, ate out at fine restaurants.

Carter stopped rubbing his eyes and dropped his hand, “You’re not a home wrecking slut…” He stopped as the waitress in the red dress with a nametag that read Opal lowered Carter’s burger and fries in front of him. Before Opal dashed away she flashed a quick smile that Safiya didn’t see. “Why are you thinking so lowly of yourself?”

Maybe it was Carter’s words that made Safiya look away from the window or the intoxicating smell of crispy salt dosed fires and grilled sirloin, “I screwed a married man and got knocked up.” She whispered this time. “Um…pretty low.”

“I wish you stop saying that.” Carter shook black pepper on the golden potatoes.

Safiya folded her arms leaning back against the booth, “What…the screwed a married man or the knocked up part.” She bit her lip trying to stop her mouth from watering over the burger.

Carter stopped as he clinched the steak knife in his hands and locked eyes with Safiya. “Both.” He sniffed flexing his shoulders. “You’re not a slut that got knocked.” He seethed than quickly looked behind him. “You’re a woman that I love that’s caring my child.”

Safiya dropped her head into her head and emitted a low laugh. “Now, you love me!” She looked up with a condescending smile.

“Yes.” Carter cut his burger in half. “And it’s not just now that I know this.” He sat half of the burger on a napkin. “I’ve known this after our…. rendezvous in our room at The Foster.” He slid the plate over to Safiya. “Eat.”

“I’m not hungry.” She pushed the plate away.

“Don’t lie to me.” He pushed it back. “You’re practically drooling.”

Safiya rolled her eyes and picked up a fry.

Silence shrouded the booth as they each ate their half of burger.

Carter drug the napkin over his mouth, “I could get a divorce.”

“No.” Safiya uttered over the beef in her mouth. She quickly swallowed trying not to choke. “I’m not breaking up a family.”

“Then what do you want?” Carter balled the napkin in his hand. “For us to go back to what we were.”

“I don’t want that either.” She took a sip of her milkshake to push down the lump of bread and meat in her throat. “I’m an only child. I didn’t learn the art of sharing. It annoys me to all damn when Alyssa borrows my shoes or jacket so I’m for sure as hell not going to share my man.”

Now, Carter turned his gaze out the window balling the hand the sat in his lap into a tight fist, “So what now?”

“Now, you ask for the check.” Safiya dabbed the sides of her mouth with the napkin. “Give me a kiss goodnight and don’t call me again.” She scooted out the booth.

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