Harvest of Wild Oats — 2

Mid-June, our move was completed; we were still unpacking and settling into our new home. I had not yet met LaShunda, because at the end of the semester she had an opportunity to travel through Europe with some friends. She was scheduled to be home by the end of June.

The upheaval of packing, moving and unpacking our belongings had exhausted us both. In addition to that turmoil of our lives, I had to complete three work projects during this time which only increased our sense of disruption . We were excited to be living in our new home, hoping to catch up on our rest quickly. We were anxious to settle into what would become our new normal.

Ruby quit her job as morning shift manager at ‘Huddle House’. As things worked out, I hired her to be my photographic assistant. She has a lot to learn but she had already been a big help to me on these jobs and my business was able to pay her significantly more than she was earning at the diner.

My anxiety over meeting LaShunda for the first time had escalated as that moment of truth drew ever closer, with her impending return home. Ruby talked to her on the phone every week and reported that she had been surprised by the news of our living together. If she had any serious objections, she had not mentioned them to her mother. I was more than ready to get our introduction over with to reduce my anxiety, but also to hopefully begin a relationship with my daughter.

She would be living with us through the remainder of the summer until her fall semester began. So, living with us, I hoped we could take that opportunity to establish a solid foundation to build upon. I couldn’t blame her if she was ambiguous about her feelings toward me. My hope and desire was to build a loving father/daughter bond. She was a grown woman and my biggest fear was that she would take a dislike to me and there would be no relationship.

Ruby assured me there was nothing to worry about. I hoped that was true.

For Ruby and me, our relationship was maturing as we came to know each other better, warts and all. We were happy and in love.

When I didn’t have a photo shoot for her to assist with, she was busy working in the yard. She had wholeheartedly embraced the work and was slowly getting the flower beds and lawn in shape.

I was happy with life again, much like I had been before my wife was diagnosed with leukemia. Ruby filled the empty void within my being that had formed after my wife passed away. We were not just lovers, we were friends and I relished having her with me. My life was rich again.

I was sitting at the kitchen table drinking a cold beer when she came in from working in the yard. She wore very short denim shorts with an old halter top that was too small for her boobs. She was sweaty, her hands dirty and wore a huge grin on her face.

“Baby, sit down, let me get you a cold brew to cool off. You’re making good progress getting the flower beds in shape; I appreciate your hard work.”

“I’m done for the day. A beer sounds like just what I need.” She flopped down in a chair at the table. Due to this hot weather she had begun wearing her hair up in ‘Bantu’ knots. She looked incredibly desirable, even dirty and sweaty.

I took a bottle of beer from the refrigerator, put it in a koozie, pried the cap off with a church key and handed it to her.

She turned the bottle up and took several long swallows, then she looked straight at me with a grin, opened her mouth wide and belched.

“Baby, that was just for you.” she guffawed.

I grinned. “Thanks so much, you are so kind.”

She reached for a napkin on the table and wiped the sweat from her face then smiled. “I’m on my way to take a bath, a long cool soak in the tub. You want to come?”

I chuckled, “You are so happy we brought that tub with us, aren’t you?”

“Damn straight! Lover play your cards right and I will let you soak with me. Are you up for that?”

I turned my bottle of beer up, chugged the remnant and looking right at her, released my own tremendous belch. “Right back atcha’, that one’s special just for you.” She laughed, tossing her head back, her mouth wide open as she guffawed. She was so sexy, my cock tingled just thinking about getting in the tub with her.

She stripped, then took a quick shower to rinse the dirt and sweat from her body, then filled the tub for soaking. She added lavender bath salts as the tub filled.

I had taken a shower earlier in the morning but I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to soak with her as these sessions always led to lovemaking.

She was in the tub and I was in the process of removing my clothes, when her cell phone rang in the bedroom. I ran to pick it up and delivered it to her; it was LaShunda calling.

I could only hear one side of the conversation which, by the tone of her voice, sounded like something significant was happening. Ruby’s body stiffened and her voice became stern as she conversed with her daughter. She ended the conversation and handed me her phone to put on a shelf.

“That girl, I ought to wring her neck!”

“Why? What’s up?”

Ruby’s face had turned ashen, leading me to believe something was terribly wrong.

“She’s in the Netherlands. She’s flying home from there tomorrow and she’s bringing her new boyfriend home with her. He’s white.”

I kinda chuckled, “What’s wrong with that?”

Her eyes brimmed with tears, “My worst nightmare has been that she wouldn’t finish school and earn her degree. There ain’t no bigger distraction than dick. She’s probably already planning to drop out of school to shack up with him. O God, why?” She held her hands to her face and sobbed.

I slipped in behind her in the tub and wrapped my arms around her to hold her close as she cried.

“She told you she’s dropping out of school?”

“No, but that’s what’s gonna happen with her fuckin’ around with that white boy.”

“So . . . you’re just assuming that will be the outcome of this relationship?”

“Lem, you don’t understand . . . I screwed up so much of my life, got pregnant, dropped out of school, years later got my GED. I’ve struggled my whole life because I was fuckin’ around instead of taking care of business and getting an education. I want so much more for her. I raised her to keep her nose to the grindstone and get that degree.”

I continued to hold her as she leaned back against my chest.

“Babe, I think you’ve jumped to the worst possible conclusion without any evidence. You’ve told me she has a good head on her shoulders, show a little faith. Please don’t get upset until all the evidence is in. This may be a really good guy. If he is, he’ll want her to finish her degree; I mean this is her senior year. Let’s meet him and talk to her to see what her plans are, alright?”

She took a couple of deep breaths and gathered her emotions. “You’re right. I’ve just wanted her to not get sidetracked from her goals. I’m scared to death of her getting pregnant and derailing all the hard work she’s done.”

“She’s on the pill, right? I thought you told me that.”

“Yes, but . . . “

“Well, let’s calm down. There will be plenty of time to be upset later. Alright?”

She took a couple more deep breaths, then smiled. “You’re right.” Then she leaned back against me and slowly began to relax.

It took a while for the tension in Ruby’s body to be released. I sensed her anxiety slowly fade as she lay against my chest. I was holding her, my arms wrapped around her body. When I knew her nerves had settled, my hands began to caress her firm breasts, tweaked her nipples and felt them stiffen and become hard as pebbles.

My hands roamed down across her belly and lower; I began to massage her clitoris, my fingers moving to her labia, slipping in and out of her vagina. She began to moan and spread her legs further apart granting me greater access.

“Let’s get dried off and take this to bed.” So we left the tub, toweled each other dry and got on our bed. As we lay together face to face, we kissed long slow kisses as we held onto each other. Our tongues explored.

I moved down to suckle at her breasts, her breathing quickened as her arousal grew. I slowly moved down her belly, licking and kissing her body on my way to her vulva. She gasped as my lips found her clit, her hand pressed against the back of my head, pulling me closer. Her breathing quickened as my tongue explored the depths of her vagina. She gasped and arched her back as I began to suck her clitoris. She moaned with the pleasure I was giving her as her body began to quiver, drawing closer to orgasm.

I moved up her body kissing and licking my way to her mouth to kiss her with passion, my cock found her gaped opening, dripping with her moisture. She flinched, then groaned as my bellend bumped her cervix. “Gotdamn baby! Oh fuck, you just can’t believe just how good that first stroke is. Oh . . . fuck I’m cumming already.”

Her body trembled, her face twisted into a grimace and she released a feral grunt as her orgasm took over. She was matching my thrusts as her hips responded in kind. I filled her with my sperm as I ejaculated in her depths. Her body continued to spasm in orgasm for a full minute before she was able to relax and catch her breath.

I continued to lay on top of her as we gazed into each other’s eyes. We made quick, tender little kisses and murmured sweet lovey-doveys to one another as we rested from our coitus.

As we lay there, Ruby’s phone rang. It was LaShunda again, this time to inform her that their flight would arrive at DFW airport at 6:30 pm tomorrow evening. Ruby’s tone was much more relaxed than during the first call.

Ruby spent most of the next day nervously cleaning our already clean home. She was anxious to see our daughter, meet the daughter’s new white Danish boyfriend, and introduce LaShunda to her new man friend/live-in lover/sperm provider who also happened to be the father LaShunda had never met. What could possibly go wrong?

Ruby and I left the truck in the north parking lot and caught a shuttle bus to Terminal D, which handled all foreign flights arriving in DFW airport.

In the terminal, waiting, we were both struggling to keep our anxiety in check. Ruby, wearing a nice sundress and sandals, paced back and forth as I sat and watched.

I was filled with apprehension, concerned with how LaShunda would respond to me, the father she had never met.

“They’ll probably be hungry. Do you have any ideas of where to take them?”

Ruby paused her pacing, “What about the Burgundy Tree? We haven’t been there since our first date.”

“That will work. I want to make a good impression on them both. I guess if they’re too tired we can just take them home and put ’em to bed.”

“Oh, lordy, I’m too nervous to think about it. They’ll be sleeping together under our roof . . . I don’t know why that bothers me so much. I’ve got no room to judge . . . I pray he’s a good person. He better be good to her . . . “

“Sweetheart, try to calm down. You’re blood pressure’s gettin’ up.”

She stopped pacing and took a couple of deep breaths then sat down beside me and clutched my hand.

“Baby, it’s gonna be good. She’s intelligent with a big dose of common sense. She is not gonna bring some drug addled bum home for us to meet. I’m worried she’s not going like me; I don’t know what to say to her . . . ‘Hi, I’m your dad that hasn’t been in your life, ever.’ She may resent my presence. Shit, look at my hands, they’re trembling.” I held them out for her to see.

Reassuring me, she encouraged, “Honey, she’s gonna love you, don’t you worry, just stay calm, it’s all gonna work out.”

With that said the luggage carousel cranked up and soon bags began circling. Still fretting, we both stood, held hands and watched as the passengers from their flight began arriving to gather their luggage.

As we waited, Ruby pointed and declared, “There they are!”

I spotted a tall, blonde, viking looking young man, walking beside LaShunda. I recognized her from the photo album and those images did not do her justice. She was stunning. My heart skipped a beat as a big smile spread across my face and my stomach began doing somersaults.

He wore jeans, a dark green tee shirt and flip flops on his feet. His long blonde hair gathered in a ponytail. She wore the same except for a tan tee shirt. Her hair gathered in two large afro puffs.

A huge grin transformed her face when she saw Ruby and she jogged across the open space and embraced her mother. Tears were on both their faces.

When he approached, he smiled and held out his hand to me, “Hello, I’m Noah.”

“Howdy, I’m Lemuel, welcome to Texas.”

Ruby released LaShunda and said, “Baby girl, this is Lemuel, your father.”

She gave a wan smile and shook my hand. My desire was to pull her close for a hug. My heart and mind instantly flooded with love for this beautiful young woman, but I didn’t move and neither did she. This is going to take a while.

Ruby shook Noah’s hand giving him a huge smile. We stood for a long awkward moment, feeling uneasy not knowing just how to move forward at the present.

Noah said, “I’ll get the luggage.”

He retrieved two large rolling suitcases and then the four of us walked out to the pick up spot to catch the shuttle back to the north parking lot.

Ruby and LaShunda chatted as we rode to the lot. Noah and I were silent, both of us timid.

I took the opportunity to take a long look at LaShunda. She was ‘take your breath away’ beautiful. She was the same height as her mother but not as curvy in body. Her eyes sparkled as she talked, her hands were in constant motion. I fell in love right then and there. I was stupefied that my DNA combined with Ruby’s had produced such a beautiful young woman.

Once we were off the shuttle in the parking lot, I opened the rear hatch to stow their luggage and we were ready to drive west to Fort Worth and home.

Ruby asked, “Are y’all hungry? We’ve got a very nice restaurant where we can stop by for a meal.”

“Mama, it was a long flight and we are exhausted. Could we just pick up a pizza or some burgers?”

I stopped at a ‘Little Caesars’ that was a quarter mile from our home located in an old shopping strip and bought a couple of pizzas.

When we turned into our drive, LaShunda exclaimed, “This house is so beautiful! Mama, I’m so glad you got out of that crummy little apartment. Lemuel do you own this place.”

“Yes, I do. It’s newly remodeled, we’ve only been here a month. Your mom has done a great job getting everything in tip top shape.”

As I turned into our driveway, I noticed in the rear view mirror that Noah was yawning, struggling to stay awake.

“We’ve got your bedroom ready for you. I know y’all are tired, so feel free to hit the sack any time. We’ll have enough time to visit and catch up tomorrow.”

Noah perked up a little and said, “That sounds so good, I am so tired.”

I parked and then got their luggage out of the back. Noah helped. Ruby and Lashunda walked into the house arm in arm.

As I entered, I heard LaShunda exclaim, “Oh Mama, this is so nice!”

That made me feel good. She could see her mother was well cared for and had a nice home.

I led Noah to the bedroom and we placed their luggage to one side. I pointed out the bathroom and he expressed wonder at our huge cast iron bathtub.

“Shunda, come look at this tub. It’s amazing.”

LaShunda moved under his arm to look through the doorway. “Oh, my. That is awesome. We can have some fun in that!”

I looked at Ruby and noticed her left eye twitching in response to that statement. I smiled at her, she returned my smile with a pained expression on her face.

After pizza, the youngsters each took a shower and went to bed.

Ruby and I sat on the sofa and watched television until we went to bed at our normal time. We left a note on the kitchen counter to tell them the coffee was in the freezer, with instructions for the French press. We guessed with the time difference they might arise much earlier than we would.

When we were undressed and in bed with the door closed, Ruby commented, “I thought that went rather well, didn’t you?”

“I was pleased. I was afraid she’d reject me upon first sight, but I think that went about as well as I could expect, didn’t you?”

She responded, “I was pleased. He seems nice but very quiet. He didn’t say much. I hope he’s more talkative after they’re rested.”

“Yeah. We’ll all get more comfortable with each other. It’ll take a day or two, I reckon.”

“Listen! Do you hear that? Oh my god . . . that’s the bed frame squeaking in there. Oh, lordy they’re fuckin’ already, aren’t they?”

I snickered, “Sure sounds like they’re getting it on.”

She groaned, “I knew it was coming. I just thought it would be tomorrow, not an hour after arriving in our home. Lord knows I’m not the one to be judging others for that but . . .”

The next morning I woke up at six, put on a tee shirt and shorts, then went to the kitchen to make coffee.

Coffee poured, I was sitting at the kitchen table when LaShunda sauntered in wearing an oversized tee shirt and white panties. Her hair was a messy case of ‘bedhead’; she took a seat at the table and yawned.

Wonder why she doesn’t wear a satin hair bonnet like her mom does?

I asked, “Ready for coffee?”

“Yes, please.”

“Do you take your’s black or add something to it?”

“Oh, I only drink it black.”

She sat quietly as I loaded the french press with fresh grounds, poured the hot water and set the timer for five minutes of brewing.

I sat at the table waiting for the timer to go off. She was barely awake so I didn’t try to start any conversation.

The coffee ready, I poured her a cup and placed it in front of her on the table.

She took a sip and smiled, “Thank you, this is good coffee.”

“You’re welcome.”

“Lemuel, do you mind if I ask you some questions?”

“Ask away.”

“Why did you want to take back up with Mom after all these years? She said you just came into the diner one morning by chance.”

“Well, in hindsight, I don’t . . . we don’t believe it was just happenstance. I stopped in for breakfast that morning and your mom recognized me. I did not recognize her. She asked if I was who I was, when I answered yes, she asked to talk to me once she finished her shift.”

“To be honest, I was a lowlife sumbitch back in the day, a heavy drinker who smoked a lot of weed and tried to dip my wick in any female that was under forty; I was not a nice person. I had the chance to hook up with your mom and I did. I never saw her again until I walked into that diner twenty some odd years later. She told me who she was and I remembered that event. She asked if we could talk when her shift was over so we did.”

“She told me about you. That was the first time I had any knowledge that she had been pregnant and had a baby.”

“What would you have done if you had known?”

“She and I have discussed this. I was completely honest with her; I was not a nice guy at all back then. Just being honest here, I would probably have told her to fuck off. I’m not proud of the man I was, I was an asshole. I’m not going to sugarcoat it for you. You deserve the truth.”

She took another sip of her coffee and I noticed a tear welling in her eye.

“I am not that man anymore, and haven’t been for many years. It took a long time but I finally grew up.”

“Why now? I mean why do you want a relationship now, after all these years?”

“I don’t know that I have a clear answer for that. We talked once she was off work and we discussed that incident from both our viewpoints and kinda fleshed both sides of the story out, so we both know the other’s perceptions of that situation.”

Clearing her throat, “She told me she tried to talk to you a day or so after y’all had hooked up but you refused to talk to her.”

“Yeah, that’s basically true. I was drunk or high when she called. I had been told just a few hours earlier, during a doctor’s visit, that she had given me the clap. I was kinda upset about that.”

“Oh . . . I didn’t know that part.”

“Listen, I’m not gonna try to shift any blame onto your mother. We were both young and dumb, that’s as honest as I can say it. We don’t have any animosity toward each other over how things worked out. We were both stupid with risky behavior on both our parts.”

“The morning we talked, I had to leave so I asked to take her to dinner so we could continue that conversation. I took her to a nice restaurant and for both of us, things just fell into place and we’ve been together ever since. That’s the story. Any other questions feel free to ask me. I’ll answer as honestly as I can.”

“The truth is . . . I love your mother tremendously. What has happened, happened. Neither of us can go back in time to change anything. What’s past is past.”

She stared at the coffee cup held between her hands.

“What do you expect from me?”

“LaShunda, I hope we can have a good relationship with each other. At this late date, I don’t expect you to call me Dad or even have a normal father/daughter relationship. I hope we can at least have a friendly relationship; that would make your mother happy. Your mother and I both have experienced great loss in our lives and ended up lonely and alone. I just want to love her and make her happy; whatever that takes.”

A wan smile appeared on her face. “Thank you, that’s what I needed to hear.”

“I will say this, the thought that came into my mind as your mother and I first made love this time around was that this love could have been mine twenty years ago if I’d just pulled my head out of my ass.”

She grinned big in response. “I think you’re a good guy, Lemuel. I know Mom is completely in love with you and I am so grateful that she is happy now after all the shit she’s been through.”

“I am glad of that; she deserves a good life and I’m doing my best to give her that.”

“How about you? Are things serious between you and your Viking?”

She snickered, “Yeah, pretty much. We have a long way to go before we make a real commitment but he is a great guy. We’re in love, but time will tell if it’s long term.”

“Well I hope and pray the best for you and him. Your mother is extremely proud of you and your accomplishments. She has a real concern that you might quit school to run off with him.”

“No, not a chance. I’m getting that degree. I’ve worked too long and hard not to finish the job.”

“I’m glad. She is worried and it would go a long way to ease her mind if you’d tell her that.”

“Thanks, Lemuel.”

I brewed myself another coffee and just as I sat down at the table, Ruby came in the kitchen and from behind wrapped her arms around LaShunda and kissed her cheek.

I asked, “Babe, you want me to make your coffee?”

“Oh, I’ll do it, you just sit.”

“Mom.”

“Yes, baby girl.”

“Lemuel mentioned that you were anxious I might drop out of college and run off with Noah.”

“Honey, that is my concern. You’ve worked so hard to get to this place and you’ve only one more year to do.”

“Mama, don’t be worried. I am going to finish this year and graduate next Spring. Please, please don’t worry about that.”

Ruby grinned big and moved back to the table and hugged LaShunda with tears welling in her eyes. She held her tight and then kissed her forehead. “Baby, I’m so proud of you. I made so many bad choices when I was young and I didn’t get an education, that was my biggest fear for you. I didn’t want you to end up like me.”

“Oh, Mama. I’m so close to graduation, there’s no way I’d quit now. I don’t know yet if Noah and I are long term or not but there is no way I’d not finish.”

“Whew, child you make me so proud and I love you so much.”

“Good morning everyone.” Noah had entered the kitchen.

“Mama, can I borrow your car today. I want to drive around and show Noah the sights. He’s never been to Texas.”

“You sure can. I would appreciate it if you would be back no later than six, I want us to go eat at ‘The Burgundy Tree’. That’s where we went on our first date.”

“I like that. We’ll be back in time. Thank you.”

I was glad to have the house to ourselves for the majority of the day. I’m an introvert so having too many people around, especially people I don’t know well, makes me even more withdrawn than I usually am.

That evening we turned into the parking lot at the “Burgundy Tree” for a nice family meal. We were in good spirits and even Noah was talkative and cracking jokes. I was feeling more comfortable around him and was grateful for that.

We ordered a bottle of wine and sipped that as we perused the menu.

“Oh! They’ve got escargot! That’s what I’m having. Mom, when we were traveling through France, I ate this and it was awesome. You’ve got to try one.”

“Nope, Lemuel told me what that was when we were here before and no, nope and hell no . . . I’m not eating snails. Not gonna do it!”

“Mama, please try just one. You’ll be glad you did, I swear!”

“Baby girl, I don’t eat bugs, worms, snakes or anything else crawling around on the ground. Nope! Not doin’ it.”

We all laughed. This was going to be an enjoyable evening that I hoped would bind us together as a family.

As we ate, I noticed that Noah was constantly checking out other women in the restaurant. Not just glancing around the room but outright staring at attractive women. I sensed the first little inkling that maybe this guy isn’t all he seems to be. Now, I confess to looking around the room and checking out attractive women, but I don’t stop and stare and I don’t do it when I’m out with my lover.

It was hard to miss Noah’s behavior but Ruby and LaShunda didn’t seem to notice.

I began watching him closely and observed that on the ring finger of his right hand there was a slight strip of lighter skin, as if he had recently removed a ring that had been worn on that finger.

That triggered all my red flags as I recalled that many Europeans wear their wedding bands on the right hand, not the left as we do in the West. The warning sirens were going off in my mind as the hinky feeling I had ignored was blowing up into a three alarm fire.

I wasn’t going to say anything as I have been wrong before, but not often.

I prayed I was wrong as Shunda seemed to be so in love but for the first time the instinct to protect my daughter kicked in, big time.

I asked him, “Shunda said that you’re a teacher. What do you teach?”

“I am. I teach history, Danish and World in the upper grades. What you call High School here, we call ‘Gymnasium’ in Denmark.”

“So you’re mainly working with older teenagers?”

“Yes, that is correct. I enjoy helping them navigate through a difficult age.”

“Well, you’re a good looking guy. Do girls ever develop crushes on you?”
Shunda gave me a puzzled look as if to question, ‘where are you going with this?’

He gave a quiet chuckle, “Yes, it happens. It goes with the territory, the same as boys developing a crush on a female instructor. You don’t respond to it; one must maintain a high degree of professionalism. It just goes with the job.”

“Is there a problem with teachers having sex with students? We have some of that over here not much, but any is too much.”

“Oh, it happens occasionally, why are you asking?”

“Just curious. It happens here and I just didn’t know if that was a flaw in our character or was it happening in other countries as well. That’s all.”

“It makes me uncomfortable to talk about.”

“I apologize. I didn’t intend to make you uncomfortable. I was just curious about other countries and how things are there. I’ll change the subject.”

Back home and undressing for bed, Ruby asked, “At the restaurant, what was that all about?”

“I’m not sure. The longer he is here . . . I just don’t think he’s a good guy. I’ve got a hinky feeling about him that is only growing stronger. There’s something not right about him; I just don’t know what it is yet.”

As we lay in bed almost asleep. From the other bedroom the bed frame began to creak rhythmically.

Ruby complained, “There they go again. Is that gonna be an every night thing while they’re here? I know they’re grown and that’s what couples do. But, that’s my baby girl and I just really don’t want to hear it. That’s all.”

I chuckled, “Yeah, it’s the same for me.”

I looked at the glowing red numbers of the digital alarm clock on the nightstand on my side of the bed; 2:31am. My bladder was full and in need of relief. I got out of bed and slipped into my boxer drawers and shuffled my way to the bathroom.

As I was leaning over the toilet with one arm extended to brace myself against the wall, my other hand directed my stream, I heard a phone ring. I didn’t know if it was Shunda’s or Noah’s. I wondered who would be calling at this time of night then realized it was probably his phone; maybe someone calling from Denmark.

I shuffled my way back to bed and just as I drifted back to sleep, Ruby and I were ripped from our slumber by a terrifying scream.

Ruby had grabbed my arm, “What the hell was that?”

Then came yelling, “You son of a bitch! You lied to me! You motherfucker; you sorry fucking bastard, you lied!”

Ruby slipped on her cotton robe and knocked on their door. “What’s wrong?”

Shunda, wearing only a tee shirt, jerked the door open, “Oh . . . Mama. That son of a bitch lied to me . . . he’s married!” She fell into her mother’s arms and sobbed.

I was beside Ruby and told her, “Get her away from here, take her into our room.”

I stood in the doorway as Noah sat on the edge of the bed naked, his head hanging in shame. I reckoned the only shame he was experiencing was the shame of getting caught.

“What’s happened? What was that phone call?”

“It was my father calling. My wife has attempted suicide.”

“Your wife? Listen to me, get your sorry ass dressed and your shit packed. You are not welcome in our home any longer.”

“But . . . where will I go? My return flight is not until the day after tomorrow?”

“I’ll drive you to the airport or drop you off at a hotel, but you ain’t staying here. Comprende amigo?”

“What?”

“Do you understand? Get your shit together. You can not stay here another minute. You can walk, you can run or I’ll drive you, but your welcome here has expired. I noticed at the restaurant that you had a ring mark on your right hand and I suspected then that you were married and lying to take advantage of our daughter. Get a move on; let’s get you the fuck out of here!”

I continued to stand in the doorway and watched as he got dressed and packed his belongings.

“Can’t I at least have a word with her to explain?”

“Ain’t nothin’ to explain. You don’t speak another word to her you understand? You hurt her deeply and that is unforgivable in my book. No fuckin’ excuses, no second chances.”

As he finished packing and stood holding the handle of his luggage, his face contorted and turned dark, “I was weary of her anyway. I just wanted to fuck a nigger and it turns out she’s a lousy fuck.”

My fist smashed his beak, the blood flowed. I grabbed him by his blonde ponytail and dragged him out to the front yard. He was on his knees, moaning, holding his broken nose with both hands. I threw his luggage into the back of my truck and pulled out a dirty, oily rag I use to check my engine oil.

“Here. Hold that against your nose. Don’t you bleed on my upholstery. You savvy?”

“What?”

“Motherfucker don’t bleed on my fuckin’ truck. Out of the kindness of my heart and American hospitality, I’m driving you to a motel. Do you understand?”

“Yeah.”

“Get in the fuckin’ truck, let’s go!”

I don’t have a quick temper and it takes a lot to set it off but that blonde bastard was lucky I didn’t own a gun because if I did, I would’ve been sorely tempted to shoot that lying, cheating son of a bitch in his balls.

I pulled out onto the street and drove to a rundown motel less than a mile away; blinking in the office window was a neon vacancy sign turning the night mist scarlet. I parked in front of the office, took his suitcase and chucked it out on the cratered parking lot. Went to the passenger door, drug his sorry ass out and let him fall to the ground.

Returning home, I smelled weed in the air as soon as I stepped into the house. Ruby and Shunda were sitting side by side on the sofa, giggling.

“What?”

Ruby snickered and said, “We had to medicate.”

“Any left in that bowl? I need to calm the fuck down.”

Shunda asked, “What did you do to him, Pop?”

Damn, that hit me hard, but in the best way and caused me to stammer, “I, I dumped him out at that shitty ‘Starliner’ motel. If he stays there, the bed bugs will feast on his ass.”

They both guffawed.

The cannabis enabled us to calm down and chill out, so we were able to get a little more sleep.

At 7:00am, I was up drinking coffee at the kitchen table as Shunda came shuffling in, covered with only a tee shirt and furry, pink bunny slippers on her feet. She bent down to give me a hug and let me tell you that was the best hug I had ever experienced.

“Thanks for running him off, Pop.”

“You’re welcome. That’s my job.”

She moved to the counter, brewed her coffee and then sat across from me at the table.

“What was that phone call about?”

“Oh, apparently, someone in his family called and said his wife had found out he was committing adultery with me and she attempted suicide. It was serious enough, she was hospitalized.”

“Let me ask, how did y’all meet and get together?”

“My friends and I were staying at a youth hostel in the Netherlands. We had already traveled through France and Belgium. We were at a club, partying; he and I met and hooked up. He never mentioned a wife. I feel foolish, I left my friends behind to be with him. I’m so embarrassed now.”

“You’ll be fine. Your mother and I have made worse mistakes than that in our younger days. It hurts now but you’ll heal just fine. It’ll be just an embarrassing memory before long.”

“Thanks Pop. Is it alright if I call you Pop.”

“You damn right it is, thank you.”

--

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