Part 11: Old Patterns and Fresh Starts
“I ought to come out there and whoop his ass.”
Katrina smirked at her Aunt Marie’s comment coming through her Airpods. The woman wasn’t her kin by blood but by bond. Marie was her mom’s best friend from college to adulthood. She was the one that held a sobbing Katrina as her mom’s casket was lowered to the ground. Katrina considered her more of a parent than her own father.
“There will be no ass-whoopin’.” Katrina chuckled knowing the woman stood wholeheartedly behind the words. She plucked a potted succulent from her desk and carefully placed it in the banker’s box sitting in the desk chair. Friday had been a busy one for her. She not only gave three lectures but three draining speeches informing her students that she was going on a sabbatical. The term was coming to an end in three weeks with the last assignment being a term paper. Papers she would read and grade but her TA would handle the classes for the next three weeks.
Could she have stayed and endured? Yes. But she was tired; physically, mentally, and emotionally. Her head was no longer in the place to stand in front of her students and orate wisdom, logic, and knowledge as if she was an expert. She needed a break and the Dean of Humanities approved her plea.
“You should come home.” Aunt Marie uttered. “This house is big enough for you and the butter bean.”
“I don’t want to impose.” She informed, flitting through a stack of paper on the corner of her desk determining what should be kept and what needed to be discarded.
“Isaiah won’t mind. He knows I come with a grown baby and he has a son of his own that stops by from time to time.”
“Visiting is different from moving in, Aunt Marie.” She tossed a paper filled with old notes for a lecture into the wastebasket. “Anyway, I just bought a house that needs to be turned into a home before the baby gets here.”
Aunt Marie humphed. “If you weren’t pregnant I’d whoop yo ass for not telling me about the debacle earlier.”
“I didn’t want to bother you with my drama.” She glanced down at her ring finger noticing the light hue where her wedding band used to be was darkening, catching up to the deep brown shade of the rest of her body.
“Hush with that.” Aunt Marie abruptly told. “You’re never a bother to me. You’re the child I could never have. You know that. I’m not your mom but I loved her and I love you.”
“I know that.” A small smile grew on her face. “I love you, too but this is some grown woman business I have to take care of but if I need you I’ll call you.”
The line went quiet for a while then Aunt Marie exhaled an audible breath and Katrina knew what was about to happen.
“Have you told your dad, yet?”
Katrina rested her hands on her waist peering ahead at the bookshelf on the other side of the room that held a few books by her favorite authors—Octavia Butler, Langston Hughes, Toni Morrison, and bell hooks along with her diploma and a few pictures one of which was her with the man her aunt asked her about. It was a lovely picture, which was why she placed it there. It was the only reason she had it there. She was in her wedding dress, the epitome of a princess with her arm linked with her dad’s before he walked her down the aisle. A duty he received because of tradition and not because they had a close bond.
“I don’t want to talk about that right now.” Katrina lowly told
“You’re gonna have to tell him before it’s time for you to push.”
“Aunt Marie…” Katrina’s words were stopped by knuckles rapping against her door. A disruption she was thankful for. “I have a visitor. I’ll call you back when I get home.”
Her aunt bid her ado and she ended their call striding to the door. It was probably a student even though it was well past office hours and the sun cast her office in an orangey-red glow. She swung open the door and her pleasant smile fell slightly. She studied the man in front of her, still as handsome as she remembered.
“Can we talk?” Keir asked, his eyes leaving her face and landing on her hand gripping the door. “Please.”
She peeked around his frame into the empty hallway. “There’s nothing to talk about.”
His thick eyebrows knitted, “So, we don’t need to talk about why you’re avoiding me.”
“My situation has drastically changed since the last time we…” She paused to think of a way to describe what they were. “Since we were in the company of each other.”
“Oh.” His eyes widened. “So you’re back with your husband.”
“No.” She shook her head.
He peered at her with confusion. “Then, what’s the problem?”
She let out a breath, shifting her weight from one side to the other. “The problem is I now have baggage. Something that will complicate a tryst with a twenty-six-year-old. This is too much for you to handle.”
“I didn’t know we were a tryst.” His head tilted to the side. “I thought we were friends. And yeah I’m twenty-six and you’re thirty. Who the fuck cares? I don’t.” He shrugged nonchalantly. “And let me determine what I can and can’t handle.”
His spiel birthed a warmth in her cheeks that prompted her to smirk. She gripped her waist. “I’m pregnant, Keir. Pregnant for my soon-to-be ex-husband.”
His head shot back and she knew her assumption was correct.
“Which means you’re eating for two.” He nodded to himself as if a genius idea illuminated his mind. “Let me cook for you.”
She blinked for a second, surprised he was still standing before her after what she had just told him. “Did you hear what I just said?”
He stepped closer to her, erasing the space between them. “Did you hear what I said?”
She felt heady from the heated energy wafting from his body an inch away from hers. She fought the urge to remove that space.
“Yes.” She whispered.
“Yes, what?” He lifted her chin ensuring all her attention stayed on him.
“Yes…you can cook for me.”
A smirk curved his lush lips, “Good.” His fingertips fell from her chin but his touch still lingered on her skin. “I’ll text you my address.” He stepped back. “And if you were wondering, I don’t have roommates.” His smirk grew more significant, “See you later.”
“See you.” She uttered before he headed back down the hallway. Her phone dinged as she closed her office door and she didn’t need to check. She knew it was his text. For some reason, she felt he was a man of his word.
Should Katrina accept her Aunt Marie’s offer to stay with her?
When do you think Katrina will tell her dad she’s pregnant and getting divorced?
Why do you think Keir let Katrina know he doesn’t have roommates?