A Necessary Struggle

Part 1: Early Morning Sleeping Arrangements

In Trevor’s bed was the last place Lela Emery should’ve been but that’s where the espresso beauty was. She slept peacefully as Trevor’s arm lazily draped over her hip with their hands interlocked. Streams of light shone through the white blinds bouncing off the taupe walls as their chest rose, breathing in unison. They’d been that way since midnight, dead to the world.

Fire truck sirens squealed in the air. Lela popped up like a rocket ready for liftoff. She flipped back the green silk sheets and dove to her purse at the edge of the bed. She dug deep in the brown satchel until her hand reached the vibrating device. Her eardrums quaked as she tapped in her passcode, tapped the clock icon, and switched the alarm clock off.

“I can’t believe I fell asleep.” Lela yanked her red skinny jeans off the floor. “I wasn’t supposed to fall asleep. I told you not to let me fall asleep.”

Trevor sat up with his flaxen locks splayed over his head, “You did a little more than sleep.” He watched her scavenge through his minimalistic room picking up every article of clothing she stripped off last night.

“It’s 6:30!” She buttoned her yellow frill blouse, ” I’m going to be late! I have to go home, shower, get dressed, and get to work all before 7:45″ Lela tucked the shirt in her jeans showing off her wickedly tiny waist and sinfully curved hips.

“You should’ve just brought your clothes.” Trevor got out the bed. “You already have an armoire.” He shook the top sheet casting it up and removing every wrinkle and crease as it floated down to the bed.

Lela looked at the stained and varnished dresser with scowling eyes, then dropped them looking at the tan rug in the drably decorated room that would greatly benefit from her much-needed feminine touch.

“I can’t bring my clothes here.” She looked at him fluffing a pillow and wearing only his black boxers.

Who would say no to a face so ruggedly handsome? He was the perfect amalgamation of a lumberjack and a GQ model with his scruffy stubble and abs that could break bricks. Trevor dropped the pillow on the bed as he grabbed the other pillow; half lumpy, half flat.

Lela pulled up her long Senegalese twist into a ponytail, “That would mean we’re in a relationship and I can’t be in a relationship with you.” She wrapped the hair tie around the thick mass of coils.

He threw the pillow on the other side of the bed. The side he designated for her. The pillow smacked the headboard rattling the thick slab of furniture. He huffed like a dog stuck in the yard.

She witnessed his sullen demeanor as she pushed a gaggle of bangles over her hand. “I can’t be in a relationship with my friend slash roommate’s ex-boyfriend.” She took a breath after the mouthful.

“We’ve been playing this little game since July. Cairo and Harmony already know.” He collapsed at the foot of the bed. “Anyways, Alyssa and I were freshmen. It was a week of fighting and hooking up. I wouldn’t call it a relationship. It’s forgotten history…. old news.”

“Forgotten history to you, old news to me but… Alyssa’s bitchy, dramatic, and a stickler for the rules. She’ll care and she’ll make us pay; all of us.” Lela slipped into her black pumps elevating her five foot four frames to five foot eight. “I’ll find the right time but, now ain’t it.”

“If you say.” Trevor lay flat on the bed staring up at the vaulted ceiling and slow-circulating fan.

Lela grabbed her purse off her empty armoire, strutted to the bed, and leaned over him. She looked into his timid blue eyes searching into hers for validation; validation that she cared for him as intensely as he cared for her.

She caressed his high-boned cheek and touched her heavenly soft lips onto his. He could taste the remnants of her mango-pineapple lip gloss as her lips merged with his. It lasted a few seconds but it was what he needed to fuel him as he played the role of just Lela’s friend all day in the sight of mixed company.

Lela rose up and pushed her hair over her shoulder. “Don’t you have class?”

“Not ’til ten.” Trevor reached for the remote on the nightstand.

She backed up to the door, “Meet me after.”

“You know it.” He pressed down the green button at the top of the remote sprawled across the bed.

Lela jogged down the stairs mentally scolding herself. This was not supposed to be a long-term thing. A summer hookup was morphing into something serious. She loved how his skin smelled like warm, maple sugar after his morning shower or how his stubble tickled her neck. Most of all she loved the way she didn’t have to worry about the secrets she kept or the lies she told when she was with him. She felt like the Lela she was meant to be…carefree. She silently shut the front door behind her letting the radiant sun sting her face.

“Breath…Lela. Breath.” She inhaled the aroma of freshly mowed grass then hopped in her car and drove off.

Should Lela be dating her friend’s ex-boyfriend?

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