Aborted Take Off
When Amanda was about to turn into her driveway, she noticed an unfamiliar car parked next to the curb in front of her house. Cautiously, she pulled up next to it and was shocked to see who it was. She frantically pressed the button to lower her window some.
“Rickey, what are you doing here?”
“I had to see, you Amanda,” he said, cutting her off.
“Rickey, have you lost all of your senses? Showing up here like this?”
“Maybe,” he said, as he got out of the car and leaned in her passenger window.
“Well, maybe you have a death wish, because if Melvin sees you, he is going to kill you!”
Rickey laughed. “I'm not afraid of Melvin.”
“Well, you should be!”
Rickey shook his head and laughed. “Listen, it sounds like you've got a helluva lot more to lose than I do,” he said, eyeing her engagement ring as her fingers gripped the steering wheel.
Amanda took her hand off the wheel and pointed her finger in his face, speaking in a low tone. She looked around to see if anyone was watching her. “Rickey, I'm not going to discuss this with you out here.”
“Good. Then let's go in the house and talk.”
“In my house? You've got to be on something! I just told you…”
“I know you keep talking about Melvin, but I think you're using him as an excuse.”
“Really, now, and why would I do that?”
“Because you won't be able to control yourself if you're alone with me.”
“Rickey! Stop it!” Although she knew he was telling the truth, she still had a strong desire to slap him. Amanda tried to push the memories of their one-night stand out of her mind.
Rickey knew he had struck a chord and he intended to play it as long and as hard as he could. “Listen, since you won't let me in your house, will you at least pull over?”
Amanda's gray eyes were now seething. She didn't know if she was angrier with him for being so presumptuous, or herself for being so weak around him.
“Now, don't look at me like that,” Rickey teased.
“Rickey, you need to go home.”
“Just give me a minute. And pull the car over to the curb, will you?”
Amanda reluctantly pulled her car in front of his. He darted toward the side of her car and got in on the passenger side. Her heart was pounding in double-time. Why did her stomach still flutter when he was near her? Damn you, Rickey. Why now? Why did he come back in her life and complicate matters?
“Look at you; I'm making you nervous, aren't I?”
“Rickey, don't flatter yourself,” Amanda mumbled. “I already told you, I'm en—”
“I know, I know. Engaged to Melvin.”
Amanda nodded. “That's right.”
“But you said you loved me.”
Amanda shook her head. “I know I did Rickey, and I do, but it's a different kind of love,” she said, wishing she had never told him that.
Amanda sighed heavily. “We will always have a bond because of Tracey. I know that's a huge part of it. And even though I still look at the old picture of us in my wallet just about every day, I know in my heart that my life is meant to be spent with Melvin.”
“See, that says a lot about how you feel about us. How can you say that your life is meant to be spent with Melvin after what we shared?”
“Because I can feel it every time he looks at me. And I don't have to wonder if he's telling me the truth. But, with you, there will always be something standing between us. I don't know; maybe just too much time has passed. We've grown our separate ways and, well, Melvin and I have grown together.”
“But, Amanda, I can make up for that time. Let me prove it to you. What happened with us losing contact wasn't my fault.”
“I know it wasn't all of your fault.”
“Oh, so now you're going to make it sound like some of it was?”
“Listen, all I know is that for all of these years I raised our daughter without a father. You had a choice, Rickey.”
“What choice? Mama didn't allow me to have any. She made them for me. I told you that! That's how we lost contact, that's how I lost you…and Tracey.”
Amanda took in a deep breath. She was unprepared to tell Rickey this to his face. “Rickey, I've thought about this every hour since you and I first saw each other again.” Amanda paused. “I know that your mother was sabotaging your efforts, but you could have worked harder to find us and have a relationship with your daughter.”
Rickey grabbed her hand. His touch was making her so warm that she had to roll her window down further.
“Amanda, Let me make it up to you and Tracey. Tracey is willing to forgive me. Why can't you?”
“I do, I really do forgive you, Rickey. We were both so young. And young people do foolish things. But as much as I would like to, I can't go back in time. Too much has happened.”
“Yes, you can, baby. You did the other night when you let me make love to you. I want you back, Amanda. I love you and I want the three of us to be a real family.” He let go of her hands and cuddled her face. He kissed her with such intensity that she had chills. “Now, look at me and tell me again that you can't go back.”
Before Amanda could finish saying his name, her panties became moist as Rickey pulled her toward him. He playfully sucked her bottom lip and penetrated her mouth with an erotic slip of his tongue. “I love you, Amanda,” he repeated as Amanda tried to catch her breath.
“Please stop. Rickey—no!” she said, trying to gain control. “You've got to stop this now, Rickey. I mean it!” she cried out, raising her hands at him.
Suddenly out of nowhere, a red pick-up truck spun in front of them. The slamming of the brakes made a loud screeching noise. Amanda nervously squirmed around in her seat and immediately started shoving Rickey toward the door. “Oh my God! Get out! Get out now! It's Melvin!”
“Damn, what's this dude got? Radar?”
Rickey barely stepped out of her car when he felt a sharp blow to the left side of his jaw. Melvin pulled his fist back to punch him again on the other side.
“Stop it! Melvin! Stop it,” Amanda screamed jumping from the car.
Rickey barely had time to react as he saw Amanda jump on Melvin's back, trying to prevent him from lunging at Rickey again.
“What the hell is he doing here?” Melvin yelled.
Rickey rubbed his jaw, moving it a little to make sure it wasn't broken. “Amanda, do you want to tell him or should I?”
“Tell me what?” Melvin looked at Amanda scornfully.
“Melvin—please, honey, I can explain!”
“Explain what? That you're still in love with this no-good nigga who abandoned you and Tracey for all of these years!” Melvin's words cut through Amanda's heart like a hot razor blade. Why would he say something like that to her? Melvin would never talk to her like that unless he had good reason.
“Hey, man, why don't you get your facts right before you start accusing somebody?” Rickey looked at him as if he wanted to take a few jabs at Melvin.
“I ain't accusin' somebody, I'm accusin' you, punk!”
“Punk?” Rickey said, loosening his tie and shrugging off his blazer.
“Rickey, PLEASE!” Amanda shouted.
“Naw, nigga, show me what you got. Gone take off that $2000 suit; we wouldn't want yo' pretty-boy ass to get dirty.”
“Melvin, just come on in the house. I'm warning both of you. I will call the police. The two of you are acting like juvenile delinquents!”
“Him, more so than me!” Rickey said pompously.
“Why, I'll take that silk tie and tie a noose around your over steroid sized neck!” Melvin said, trying to take another swing at him. As Rickey ducked, Amanda found herself right in the middle of them.
“Rickey, GO HOME, NOW!” she shouted, looking around, hoping none of her neighbors were looking out of their window. She grabbed Melvin by the hand. Finally, he paused when Rickey jumped in his car and sped away. Amanda hurried Melvin into the house.
“Here, take this,” she said, opening the freezer and handing him an ice pack for the bruise that was forming around his knuckles. Melvin flinched as it gradually numbed his sore hand.
“So why didn't you tell me that jackass was in town? Huh? Why you tryin' to hide him from me?”
“It's a long story, Melvin.”
“Well, spare me the details and give me the abbreviated version! As a matter of fact, why don't we start with the conversation you had on the phone with him this morning.”
Amanda was stunned. “How did you know I was on the phone this morning?”
“Cause I came back to get my wallet and I overheard you talkin' to that jerk of a Daddy with the big bucks. So, now, are you gon' tell me what the hell is goin' on, or am I going to have to get it from him?”
Amanda sat down next to him and told him about their coincidental meeting at the airport, and the conversation they had about Tracey over dinner. She could hardly bring herself to meet his deep disapproving gaze.
“So you mean to tell me that you've waited all this time to tell me this?”
“Yes, because I knew you would react just like you did. And I was right, wasn't I?”
Melvin got up and pushed his chair back with such force that it fell over backwards on the floor. He slammed the ice pack on top of the table and the loud thud made Amanda jump. In all of the years she had known Melvin, she had never seen him filled with so much fury.
“Yeah, Amanda, you was right! You always are though, ain't you? You was right when you thought that cocky bastard was going to marry you when you got pregnant by him! And you was right when you decided to let him send only money to Tracey, for seventeen years! And you was right when you let him seduce you after seventeen years and worm his worthless way back into Tracey's life!”
“Melvin, I didn't let him se—”
“Who you think you dealin' with, Amanda? I didn't just wake up and meet you yesterday. You've been hung up on Rickey for as long as I've known you. Hell, you been carryin' that old ass picture of you and him in your wallet since the day I met you! Bet you didn't think I knew that did you? Damn, you even startin' to get his stench!” Melvin rudely wiped his nose with his hand to show his disgust with her.
Amanda's mouth hung open from shock. “How can you talk to me like that?”
“How can you tell that classless son-of-a-bitch you love him? How do you think that makes me feel, huh? You wearin' my ring, and tellin' him that you love him! You are so caught up in Rickey's past. Mr. Big Time Football Player. Mr. Suave. Mr. GQ. Mr. Daddy Big Bucks. He sends ya' checks here and there, and you're able to lead the kind of lifestyle you want to!” He waved his hands wildly in the air. “You're okay with a check from him because he can't give you nothin' else. Well, I tell you what, Amanda, you and Rickey do as you please! I just don't want to see Tracey hurt!”
“Melvin, what are you saying?”
“All I know is that right now I don't even want to look at you. I need some space,” he said as he walked to the door.
“I'll call you in a few days, and in the meantime, maybe you and Mr. Heisman Trophy can get together and work out a way not to ruin Tracey's life!” He stormed out of the house.
Amanda thought she was coming home to relax from her first day back at work, and just as she didn't think her evening could get any worse, the doorbell rang.
“Melvin?” she cried out, hoping he'd had a change of heart and came back to resolve their differences. “I'm so glad you came back!”
When she opened the door, she couldn't believe who was on the other side. She immediately flung the door, but Pam caught the handle of the door before it could close all the way.
“Amanda, please. We need to talk.”
“This is the worst time you could have shown up. I don't have anything to say to you. Please let go of my door and leave.”
“Okay, that's fair. I know my timing is not the best. I just saw Melvin speed out of here like a bat out of a hell, with a swollen hand that was the size of a football. I know it's none of my business, but—”
“No, it isn't! Just go away. Get out of my door before it ends up knocking you in the face, okay? I have nothing to say to you!”
“Okay, then don't say anything. Just let me talk. Will you PLEASE let me in?”
“All right, I promise I can say what I have to say in three minutes. I'm not leaving until you let me say what I came by to say. I can stay out here all day and wait. I've got plenty of time on my hands. So, it's up to you.”
Amanda did not want to create a scene in her neighborhood. She knew Pam well enough to know that she would not leave until she had her say. She reluctantly pulled the door open and waited for the second hand on her watch to hit number 12 so she could start the count. “You have three minutes. Start.”
Pam took a deep breath. “Amanda, I was so wrong to treat you the way I did.” She paused and looked at Amanda, but she had no reaction. “I had no right to make your work life a living hell. You see, I have been living in hell for quite some time now, and I guess subconsciously I wanted to take you there with me. I didn't realize, nor did I care about how unhappy I was making you and the other employees.”
She took another deep breath and looked at Amanda again, hoping she would give her some eye contact. “I am turning over a new leaf starting today, and I want to make amends. I know it cannot happen overnight, but I will work at it until I can make it right.”
“Are you through?”
“Yes,” Pam said exhaling.
“Good. Because there are about 30 seconds left, which gives me just enough time for you to get up out of my house and shut the door behind you!”
“I understand,” Pam said despairingly.
“I'm glad you do. Now, GET OUT and don't ever show up at my door step unannounced again!”
Pam started to walk back toward her car, but suddenly turned back to Amanda and whispered, “I'm so sorry. I hope that one day you can forgive me.”
Amanda slammed the door, leaned up against it, and cried until there were no more tears left.
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