Fool’s Paradise


Part 5

Matthew was exhausted. He couldn’t think about anything other than sleep as the driver pulled up to his sister’s house. He let out a soundless yawn before fishing his wallet out the back pocket of chinos. He handed over his credit card to the middle-age man that went on and on about his children since picking him up from the airport. He wished he had a quieter driver, one that would’ve allowed him to catch some Z’s before reaching his destination but the man’s adventures in fatherhood did supply him with a couple of laughs. Laughs that he probably wouldn’t have once he stepped foot in Mallory’s house.

“Do you want me to get the door,” The gray-haired, whisker face made twisted away from the steering wheel hand Matthew his card back. “I need a good rating.”

“I got you, man.” Matthew slid the card back in his wallet, lifted his hip and deposited his wallet back in the pocket then grabbed his suitcase. “But I can open my own door.”

They both chuckled at the candor as Matthew pulled the latch back, pushing the door open.

Another yawn widened his mouth as he stepped on the concrete. He’d been going nonstop since the morning, packing up the remainder of his belongings in Denver and overseeing the movers loaded his possessions in the back of the moving truck. He didn’t even have time for a nap on the plane. The hours on the flight were allocated to paperwork he needed to give a once over before his first day at the firm tomorrow.

“Long time no see,” Kazan shouted with his arms spread wide still leaning against the trunk of his two-door Mercedes coupe. In pristine condition, the red metallic paint shimmered under the evening sun. “What’s up?’

Matthew couldn’t help but grin as she walked up the driveway. Somethings never change. Kazan was still showing off, from his luxury car to the diamond stud in his ear. “Everything’s good, man. Can’t complain.” They locked hands then leaned in to bump shoulders and pulled back with bright smiles on both of their faces. “Glad to b back, miss these hot summer nights. A brotha’s been freezing in Denver.”

“Yeah, man I couldn’t do that.” Kazan shook his head with a shimmy of his shoulders as if just thinking of the frigid temperatures gave him a chill.

Matthew tipped his head to the red coupe, “You stole your mama’s car, again.”

“No. Not this time.” Kazan chuckled remembering the incident when he procured his mom’s car to take them to a concert in Houston. “I paid for this baby.” He patted the car’s trunk like it was the romp of a pony. “She’s all mine.”

“You finally got that raise.”

“Something like that.” He raked his hand through his silky, black tresses. “All the articles I write are on the cover and get nationwide attention.” He winked. “Just don’t talk about it around Jay.”

Matthew smirked. “She still can’t stand yo’ ass, huh.”

“Flowers and chocolate, still won’t get her to forgive me.” For the first time, a tinge of sadness marred Kazan’s eyes as gray sedan parks alongside the curb. “I don’t know what else to do.”

“You could say ‘sorry’.” Matthew rolled his suitcase back or forth by his side as a lanky woman climbed out of the car.

Kazan shook his head, lowering his eyes to his chiming phone. “That would mean I did something wrong and I didn’t.”

“You didn’t.”

“No.” His thumbs tapped briskly over the screen. “I secured my future.”

Matthew nodded even though he didn’t agree. Stealing someone’s story and reporting it as if it was your’s was a big deal. He just humped realizing two years may have passed but some people still stayed the same.

The woman from the car neared them, stalking up the driveway—her pink pumps clicking against the concrete. Gaunt cheeks, a distended collarbone underneath the strappy blouse and loose dark brown locks couldn’t disguise her the woman. Her radiant blue eyes gave her identity away.

“Hey, Erin!” Matthew’s mouth curved up in a smile that almost claimed his face. His sister’s friend was a fixture in their house—the one they shared when his sister was single after they were fresh out of college.

Erin’s azure eyes sat on him from the second it took her to walk by. Her mouth remained flat and unchanged as she glided by not slowing down as she strode to the front door.

The smile dropped from his face. “What’s up with her?”

“Man, that chick ain’t been right since the accident.” Kazan glance over his shoulder to see her rapping her knuckles against the front door. “I’m going in. It’s hot…” He tugged on the collar of his yellow polo shirt. “…and I’m hungry.”

Matthew nodded in agreement then followed him towards the house not remembering what accident he was referring too. But if Erin was a sign of how this ‘welcome back’ dinner was going to go he’d need more than a hot meal to get through it. 

What type of accident do you think happened?  And why doesn’t Matthew know about it?

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