| “Wow. I didn’t know he was so… arrogant,” Derek said to Marissa.
“Unbelievably arrogant,” said Marissa. She got another pillow to sit on and handed Derek more fried rice. They had ordered Chinese take-out. “He was just so… pushy and… then he was nice, and then he was a jerk,” she said.
Derek masterfully used his chop sticks to scoop some more rice and then said, “Well it’s all over now and you came out alive.” After eating some more rice, he put the chop sticks down and started poking Marissa’s arms and legs. “All limbs seem to be attached properly, so we know there’s no physical damage from your encounter with him. Now I just need to know if there’s any mental or emotional damage I should be worried about.”
“I don’t know. I’m sure I’m fine.” She stuffed her mouth with more noodles.
“Yes, because you’re always perfectly fine when you stuff yourself that much.”
With her mouth full, she said, “You don’t think this is attractive? I thought you liked everything about me?”
“I love everything about you, Babe, especially when you have sexy noodles falling out of your amazing mouth.” He pecked her on the lips even though she wasn’t done chewing.
“You’re so sweet. And you know, sometimes I stuff myself when I’m really happy, so it could be that.”
“Let me think about this,” Derek said as he put his hand to his chin and stared off into space, “You just saw the man you love who you were with for four years, and you haven’t seen him in five years, and you need him to sign a contract so that you can give your fiancÚ your heart. Happy? That’s not really the first emotion that comes to mind. I’ll go with not fine.”
“Speaking of contracts, did he sign it?” Derek looked semi-hopeful and Marissa didn’t know how to answer him.
“You’re starting a sentence with well?” He looked down and stopped eating. “He didn’t sign it.”
“No. I’m so sorry, Derek, but he wouldn’t. I asked him, pleaded, told him to, but he wouldn’t. He said he won’t.”
Derek got up angrily and started pacing, “Why does he still have it? Does he even care about you at all? If he does care about you, he’ll understand that you care about me and want to marry me, so he should be more than willing to sign it. If he doesn’t care about you, then he has no reason to keep it. He can’t be that bad if you love him.”
“He’s – he’s not that bad. Don’t you want to sit down? Here, you can take my pillow. It’s bigger and more comfortable.”
Derek saw the timid look on Marissa’s face. “I’m sorry, Babe. I didn’t mean to get mad. It’s just that I love you so much and I want all of you. I want all of your contracts. And the most important one is the contract to your heart and you want to give it to me, but he won’t let you.”
Marissa put her hand on his leg when he sat down. “You have most of me. You have my mind and my body. I want to give you my heart, so I’ll do all that I can to get it for you.”
Faye barged into the apartment just then and saw all the take-out. “Chinese food! I love Chinese food. Did you get egg rolls? You know those are my fave.”
Marissa handed her a small box. “We got some just for you. Derek took one.”
“I took one?” he asked while raising an eyebrow.
Faye started eating and then realized she might be interrupting. “Oh, how oblivious of me. Were you two having a moment? Cause, I can leave. I’ll happily take these egg rolls to my room. And maybe some of that fried rice. Ooh, and hand me some noodles.”
“It’s no problem, Faye. You weren’t interrupting. You can eat with us.”
“Good, because I had such a long day and I just need someone to talk to. Two people to talk to is better. It’s about Eddie. He’s just been so distant lately, and you know, I try calling him and texting him and I don’t know what his problem is, but he’s not answering or replying to my texts.”
Derek put his food down. “Oh wow, it’s this late already? I told a friend I would have to meet up with him and I think I’m late. So, I would love to hear you rant about your boyfriend, but maybe next time I stop by.”
Marissa questioned him, “But you said you had all night to hangout with me?”
“No. I mentioned that one friend who wants to hangout. The game you know.”
“But, there’s no game on –”
“Nice seeing you, Faye.” He kissed Marissa on the cheek. “Talk to you later, Babe. Bye”
“Nice seeing you too, and thanks for the food,” Faye shouted at the closed door. “Anyways, as I was saying. Hun. Hun, what’s wrong?”
Marissa’s face was streaked in tears.
“Hun, sweetie. Why are you crying?”
She cried even more at the mention of the word ‘crying’ and then put her face down in her arms. Faye rubbed her back and let her cry for a while. She got up and made some hot chocolate and got some chocolate muffins she had bought earlier. “Here. Now tell me why you’re crying, Honey.”
“I saw Josh today.”
“Oh, that’s right. I forgot. I should’ve had this stuff already prepared. Should I get some chocolate bars from the stash on the fridge?”
“No. This is fine. Thank you.” Marissa got herself some tissue and blew her nose loudly. She took several bites of her muffin and then began, “I still love him. I’m still crazy about him. He was such a jerk, but even when he was being an arrogant jerk, I couldn’t stop the tingling in my stomach. And his eyes are still so gorgeous. That man is gorgeous.”
“So is your fiancÚ.”
“I know. But Josh… Oh I shouldn’t be talking about him like that.” She blew her nose some more and it seemed like she would stop crying. “The worst part about seeing him today is that now I’m not even sure I want him to sign the contract.” She started bawling all over again.
“I’ll get the stash.” When she came, she asked, “Honey, why did you two break up? It was love and it was real. What happened?”
Marissa finished off her muffin and drank some hot chocolate to wash it down. Then she took a Kit Kat. “It’s a long story, but I’ll give you the trailer version.” She took some more bites. “We met our freshman year of high school and got together when we were juniors. He was sweet and a gentleman. Mature for his age and the best guy I’d ever known. A year into our relationship I gave my heart to him. A few years later we broke up and haven’t talked since. He – he kinda had this control over me. He chose things for me. At first it was small and I didn’t mind it, but then the things got bigger. He was kind of controlling, but not in the way you think. He didn’t keep me on a leash and not let me see my friends or anything like that. He was never the jealous type.
“But… when we were in college, he had no idea what he wanted for his future. He lost all motivation by our second year there. I didn’t have a clue about my future either, but I didn’t give up like he did. No college sophomore knows what their future holds. I still don’t know what mine holds. Anyways, he wanted to drop out and travel, find himself. He wanted me to join. I couldn’t. School was just too important to me and I couldn’t throw away my future for him… Even though back then I knew he was my future.”
“So you broke up because he dropped out of college?”
“No, not just that. As I said, he was controlling and he’s always had this kind of control over me. Well, when he decided to drop out, he made me drop out too. It was only for a summer. Before we left, I changed my mind and reapplied and got back in. I guess he never made me drop out, but he told me to. He didn’t ask. He just said, ‘drop out with me.’ So I did for a summer. It took me all summer, but after I realized how much control he had over me, over my life, I knew I couldn’t keep simply doing whatever he told me to. I needed my own life. It was the first time I told him no. So, he left and traveled I guess. I stayed and finished school. I met Derek a little after I graduated and here I am.”
“You did the right thing. I would never let a man have so much power over me. If he wanted me to just up and leave everything for him, I’d be like ‘bye.’ And that’s what you did. I’m proud of you.”
Marissa started tearing up again and reached for a Hershey’s bar this time. “I never stopped looking back at that day I decided to go back to college. I still wonder if I made the right choice. What if I should’ve gone with him? I loved him. I loved him so much.”
“No. Listen to me, Honey. You did the right thing. If you two were meant to be, he should’ve stayed in college for you.”
“Maybe you’re right. I’m just so confused. I never wanted to leave him… I just knew I had to.”
“Well, good riddance to him. I’m glad you two are over. He’s not the man for you, but Derek. Now there’s a man, unlike my Eddie. Did I tell you he hasn’t texted or called me back all day?”
“Maybe his phone died.”
“Oh that would be a good one. There’s such a thing called a charger.” They repositioned themselves on their big pillows and Faye spilled all the details of the problems she’d been having with Eddie.
“So why don’t you break up with him?”
Faye looked at her like she was crazy, “Cause then I’d be alone. I have to find another man before I break up with him. And I just have to make sure to string him along so he doesn’t break up with me.”
Marissa didn’t know what to say to that. She got up to throw away all of her used tissues and told Faye, “It must be amazing to be you. So unattached.”
Faye weakly responded, “Yeah. Being unattached is great. For a while.”
“What’s wrong?” Marissa asked.
“It’s just that here you are with two guys who are madly in love with you. Fighting for you. Trying to win you heart. And I still haven’t been in love. Like real deal love, not that cheesy high school stuff.”
Marissa handed her a Snickers, “I guess we’re both in not so great situations. Love sucks. Having it. Not having it. It sucks.” They ate their chocolate and she continued, “But I know you’ll find that one you’ll fall in love with. Maybe he’ll be the one to the sign the contract to your heart before he signs it to your body.”
“It just seems so impossible.”
“What? Have you looked in the mirror? A gorgeous, hott, sexy woman like you, who has a really big booty. C’mon. You have great style, a great smile. And your booty is huge.” They both laughed a little. “You’ll find someone. You just need to open up your heart, and maybe keep your legs closed for a while.”
Faye hit her with a pillow. They had a small pillow fight while laughing, and they Faye finally said, “Thanks, Hun. You really do add sweetness to my life.”
“And you were definitely right about one thing.”
“My booty is huge. Have you seen it lately? It’s hard to find any jeans to fit into. And I try to wear long dresses, you know those cute African looking ones, but it just sticks out more. Nothing can hide that thing.”
“You’re trying to hide it?”
Faye slyly smiled, “No.”
They laughed some more, and then Marissa said, “I need to get Josh to sign that contract.”
Faye asked, “How you gonna do that?”
“Well… he called me after our lunch and we’re supposed to meet tomorrow for dinner.”
“Does the fiancÚ know about this?”
“I couldn’t tell him. He was so mad when I told him that Josh didn’t sign the contract that I was afraid to tell him I’m meeting him again. Besides, if I convince Josh to sign it tomorrow, then Derek will be too happy to be mad about me not telling him about the meeting.”
“Dinner with your ex? Sounds like a date instead of a meeting.”
“I know, but it really isn’t. Casual dinner. That’s it.”
“Good luck with that.”