CHAPTER TWO

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"What do you want?" I asked with venom in my tone so he would know just how annoyed I was to see him. Annoyed was an understatement for how I felt about seeing him. I wanted to pretend he never existed but with him standing in front of me it made it hard to forget.

Staring up at Tyreke I immediately bombarded with all the bad memories he and I shared. Bad memories that he created over months of torment and disappointment. I remembered the heavy scent of alcohol that followed him like a shadow. The scent of beer and cognac seeped from his pores and clung to his clothing. I never borrowed his things out of fear my parents would think I had been drinking.

He stared at me with bleeding eye. He loved to use emotions as a scalpel to carve his way into my heart and mind. He was a handsome man with peanut butter skin and dreads that rested on his shoulder but some things had changed. Though he always looked tired but kept a smile on his face, which I knew was from him being in an impaired state. Time and the damage he was doing to his body was quickly catching up to him. It was clear in the way his eyes sank into his skull in and the wrinkles on his forehead. Tyreke could pass for someone in his late twenties when he was only a year older than I was.

"I just want to talk to you alone," he said. I could tell from the way his voice wavered that he was not expecting me to be anything but kind to him as I had been in the past. He looked around at my friends who knew of our past. I was sure that they hated him more than I did.

"He doesn't want to talk to you and it's obvious so run along," Nala said as she switched into boxer mode as she stared down Tyreke and his two buddies standing at his side. I could tell from the way she tapped her hands she was ready to attack. I would never consider Nala to be a shrinking violet. She spoke her mind and meant what she said and would defend that point by any means necessary.

"Stop being so aggressive Queen, it's not a good look," Tyreke's friend said to her. He wore lots of kente printed clothing and smelled of scented oils. I rolled my eyes at what he said but didn't respond in defense of Nala who would rage if I stepped in for her. The tension was getting to me; I could feel my heart race.

"I speak how I want to speak, and if you have a problem with it, you can walk the hell away. Actually, Joelle let me out of this booth so I can show him some real aggression," she threatened while trying to push her way past both Joelle and Sonny.

"Definitely let her out so she can get embarrassed in front of all these people," Tyreke's second friend said. He smelled like a dispensary and talked in a thick southern drawl. I looked around and noticed that people in the dining area had taken notice of our interaction and wanted to end this before we gave them a real show to gawk at.

My hands went to cover my face. I hated being in the middle of commotion and I hated being the focus of strangers. I wished nothing more than to become a turtle so I could hide in my shell.

"Who's going to embarrass her?" Caspian asked him I could see the veins bulging under his brown skin. I looked over and before noticing Caspian I noticed how tense Eon looked. Eon had been the person I called after I got beaten on the street. Tyreke had one too many the day before my graduation and I had taken his keys so he wouldn't kill himself or someone else on the road which led to him attacking me like I was a stranger.

"How about we all calm down," Sonny said. I looked over at him and nodded, thankful that he was trying to defuse the situation. He was just like me because we hated when things got loud. It was the reason that we became friendly. His attention went back to Joelle who looked at Tyreke with murderous intent.

"Yo Cy come on and talk with me for a minute. We have some things to work out between just the two of us." Tyreke asked. It had been well over a year since our last contact which I thought would clue him into the fact that there was nothing to talk about. There weren't enough apologize in the world to make me forgive him.

"He has nothing to say to you," Eon finally spoke up, which got everyone's attention. The look he was giving Tyreke let me know that he was ready to fight. Eon was controlling himself well, but I knew he could not maintain his composure for much longer.

"So the Asian speaks for you now?" Tyreke asked me. He pointed at Eon with an irritated expression. They stared at each other in a way that scared me. They both had done things to me that were wrong, but I found no joy in seeing either of them hurt.

"Nobody speaks for me, not anymore, but he is right. There is nothing we need to talk about ever. You lost the chance to have any contact with me the moment you did what you did. Just leave me alone," I replied. I was not looking for closure on the situation because nothing he planned to say would change what happened.

Tyreke's face contorted into one filled with rage before he patted his boys on the shoulder and walked away. He turned to look at me again but I turned away before our eyes could meet. The moment he was out of sight, I felt my whole body release a load of tension. As we got up to leave, I found it hard to want to respond to questions, so I remained silent.

I couldn't believe that off all the colleges he picked the one I had settled at. Actually, I could believe he would intrude on a place that I considered safe. It was completely in his nature to bring me discomfort. And as embarrassing as it was to admit he succeeded.

My friends refused to let me walk off alone, and I did not want to talk so they wake me to my place. They talked about Tyreke and his friends going on and on about how they would have fought him if he would have tried something. I loved how defensive they were towards me but I wanted nothing more than to be alone.

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