When I get to Ryan’s house, I just sat in my car; I almost went back home, but I saw Paul in my rear view mirror. “It’s all right babe; he’s the one you should be with and you know that, now get out this car and go be loved,” Paul said to me. Now, I’ve really lost it.
I shake that away from me and stare at Ryan’s house. I thought we needed to hire Ryan’s landscaper; the flowers and his lawn should be in magazines. I wondered if the inside was any better, but from the little windows on the side of the front door I can see the pool; it looks like it is in the middle of the house—nice, I thought.
“Hi,” he said standing like he’s about to model the new collection from Tom Ford; “You’re stunning,” Ryan said, and kisses my cheek. He moves out the way so I can go further into the house. “Look around,” he said and I did gladly. I thought if Stacie decorated this place. There was a lot of black with hints of red, black leather sofas, art on the walls—not replicas, and on and on. Ryan’s home looked like something out of Architectural Digest. Usher’s Here I Stand was playing in the background. I love that song.
“Hey, your house is beautiful, did you decorate it,” I ask thinking there’s no way; he had to pay top dollar for this.
“Yes, I did; it took a while, but I’m glad you like it.”
“I do like it, and I love that song playing,” wondering if he’s trying to say something to me.
“I was feeling that way all day today so it’s appropriate,” I did not respond.
“So, ah, what’s for dinner?” I said finally breathing.
“I took out some steaks; I’ll grill, and you can dazzle me with your side dishes.” I wash my hands and made twice baked potatoes and some deep fried asparagus. Ryan had Yarnell’s Real Vanilla Ice Cream. I looked at him, “what?” he said. I just shook my head wondering how he got this ice cream; since the last I checked it wasn’t sold in Dallas. I found a few strawberries and sliced them up; so, we could have strawberries and cream for dessert. Ryan’s kitchen is very well stocked, no wonder he didn’t eat out much, no need. His kitchen reminded me of Tyler’s Ultimate from Food Network.
Our dinner was absolutely delicious, then we went out on his deck looking at the stars; and for the first time in a long time, I can look at them and not hear Paul’s voice. We had a wonderful evening.
“So you can cook that’s a plus for you.”
“What?” Does he have a check list too?
“I have things that I look for in women I date, and cooking is a plus, but not a requirement. As you can see, I can take care of myself,” he said as he stands like he’s a modeling for real now, honestly, he could be.
“Oh, I didn’t realize that you dated a lot,” I say trying to change the subject—trying to distract myself from jumping on him.
“Not as much as I use too, no need, I found what I want.” He leans into me and asks me if I like Star Wars; there was a marathon on SpikeTV. I just looked at him remembering the article about him trying to not inhale him in to me. “Come on.” He takes me into his media room and the screen drops like we’re at the damn movies. He turns on the TV and asks if I wanted anything? I told him no. I almost said, I got all I need right here with you, but I didn’t dare. He sits next to me and asks me about my love of SciFi movies.
I tell him, “I have brothers you can thank them,” he only smiles.
“This is great look how cool Billy Dee is right here, I mean, he’s the man.”
“Yes, he is; nice on the eyes too,” I say.
“Hmmm,” is all Ryan says. As I sit there nervous, butterflies, new ones, oh, God!
“So, where’s the bathroom?”
“Oh, there is one outside this room to your left, you all right?”
“Yes, be right back.” I needed to get away from him. I’m feeling light headed thinking of ways to just rip his clothes off. I needed to get a hold of myself, but I finally find the strength to go back in the room.
“You good,” he asks me.
“Yeah, what did I miss?”
“Nothing much they’re about to freeze Han Solo.”
“Oh, here comes my favorite part. I love how Leia tells Han she loves him and all he says is I know, it’s just perfect.” He doesn’t say anything, and I start to relax and lean my head on his shoulder. He puts his arm around me; this feels good, making new memories. He turns off the TV. “Did I miss something?” I ask him looking up at him.
“Yes, I, ah, need to,” he lifts my head higher and kisses me. I shiver, and kiss him back. “I couldn’t hold back any longer, I hope you didn’t mind.”
“Not at all,” he puts his hands on my face, cupping it, I disappear in his hands, and he kisses me harder like he’d die if he didn’t do it. I pull away from him and stare at the floor.
“I just don’t know what to do here. I mean, I know what I want to do, but I’m scared. Every time I love someone, I lose them, they use me, or they…and I just can’t go through that again.” I get up and look out the sliding patio doors. Ryan comes and turns me to him. Angela is right I will have to tippy toe to kiss him; he’s as tall as Paul was.
“Carmen,” he says in that Dion Graham melting chocolate voice. “I only want you to be happy; we cannot predict what the future holds for either one of us, but I know you are here right now and I’m here and I want you, and there is no one else I want.” He says in a whisper. He sits on the arm of a chair and pulls me to him. We’re kissing hard, it’s getting hot. His lips are soft and hot, and I’m losing control. “Do you understand what I’m saying?”
“Yes. I understand.” He kisses me. He’s putting his tongue down my throat. I’m kissing him back and melting into his arms. His hands are on my hips. He’s kissing my neck, his mouth is so wet. I’m scared. He loosens the ties of my blouse and he kisses my shoulders. He comes back to my mouth and takes off his shirt, his muscles are everywhere. I hold his shoulders. I love his shoulders broad and strong. He looks at me, and he lifts me up and takes me to his bedroom.
We lay together in his bed. I’m lying on his chest, and I’m crying. “Carmen, what’s the matter, why are you crying?”
“I love you. I’ve fallen in love with my best friend.” He does not respond. I sit up. We’re both searching for the words.
“Are you not supposed to love me?”
“Ryan, I know, I shouldn’t so soon after Paul, but…there are things I need to say.”
“It was last year, I was going to Beaverton for my Nike meetings and I saw you. I thought I know him and then I remembered the first time I ever saw you. This is going to sound so strange. I read an article about you and how you love Star Wars and you love Han Solo and you thought it would be great to find someone who loved the things you did and understood why football was important to you.”
“Then I started having dreams about a man his face was always blurry. When I saw his smile, I thought it was Dexter; we went to school together, and I had the biggest crush on him. Then I saw you at the airport and I thought it was him, but it was you.”
“Then the night of the Christmas party, I told Micah you were familiar. I had forgotten about the article, but by then we ran into each other at the Sinclair building and the dreams became more vivid, more in depth, but I didn’t know it was you.”
He’s catching on. He sits up rubbing my back.
“Then Tasha introduced you and you said it’s a pleasure to finally meet you; then that night after you yelled at me and you were going to throw me into the lake, I dreamt of you. The blurs were still there. Then I finally started to listen to music again, and I played Brian McKnight’s More and More and I figured it out and then last night you ordered me a Coke the same way you did in my dreams.”
“Carmen…” he says, but I cut him off.
“Please, let me finish,” I say and turn to face him. “And, then, tonight Star Wars, in my dream my man always makes some reference to Star Wars. And, now, the way you made love to me, they way you held me…you love me the way he does. You want my world to revolve around only you. Ryan, I loved you the moment I met you, and you tell me you love my music and you love hearing me sing. For whatever reasons you love me, you treat me like a woman not some fragile doll, you are my friend, we love the same things—I…I only want you like I only want my dream man.”
“I love you, Carmen Sinclair,” he says holding my face.
“I love you more.”
“I know,” he says.
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