Brian came through the door as a force; the knob hit the wall, marking his anger. His hard voice erupted through her heart, causing Serena to recoil in her chair. “Serena, get yo ass over here now!”
Chills rolled down her arms and back, making the thin hair stand as if she touched a static ball. Frozen in place, the only thing she could think about was what did she do now, and how would he choose to punish her this time. Brian took three giant steps and now was on top of Serena. Huffing, and puffing, “You not listening now, huh?” His deep voice slurred, “Why would you call her?” He grabbed the collar of her shirt and swung her on the floor. She tried to answer but his perversity was up now. The physical violation made his adrenaline spike. Brian swung his fist in her side several times while repeating, “You don’t know how to listen do you? You want me to do this, huh?”
They had this conversation numerous times. He thought they came to the understanding that under no circumstances was she to contact Bianca. He had already been through the cycle of the two ladies fighting over him physically and in cyber space. Enough was enough. Now he would have to deal with pacifying his girlfriend. They were just getting back to a good space, and he didn’t want Serena to mess all that up because he wasn’t giving her enough attention.
The beatings stopped as fast as they began, with spit, blood, tears. Chests heaving in and out, trying to consume the smallest outbursts of oxygen. Serena didn’t have the energy to fight back this time. She thought about screaming, but she noticed the more she screamed the crazier he became. So, in silence Serena took the hits to the face and the scratches on her body. In silence, her eyes pleading with him to stop and come back to reality; think clearly. When he went into these bits of rage he didn’t realize who Serena was, he envisioned his mother. During these times Serena’s stressed hazel eyes resembled the bloodshot red tear stricken eyes of his mother, dragging him back to the times he often tried to forget, or wouldn’t even admit to having.
Minutes after the assault ended, the air was sharp but eerily calm. Brian went outside for a smoke, while Serena lay on the floor, wondering where their relationship stood and whether he would leave her.
Serena, Carmella, and an awkward silence sat in bumper to bumper traffic. The gray thick clouds covered the sky, leaving rain drops as big as quarters in its aftermath. February’s cold front, along with the torrent of wind and rain made the day’s task for the two young women even more daunting.
“Take the next exit, and then make the first right.” Serena’s voice cut through the mutual silence. Carmella flicked her blinker on, waiting to get in the right lane to exit the expressway. She glanced at the clock and then checked to see if she could squeeze in between two cars. When her eyes landed on Serena she rolled them, and wondered why she even agreed to take her anywhere. This was the second time in six months she had to call out for one of Ms. Drama Queen’s emergencies.
Despite the inconvenience, she was excited to be around Serena. She missed seeing her caramel skin and teasing her about her boring hairstyles. They used to be together all the time, but for the past two years their friendship had changed. Now it was just a relationship where Serena asked, and Carmella gave. It had been months since the last time they really spoke. Serena didn’t even know that her friend had decided to become a full lesbian and got a new job at a salon. Serena seemed to always be so busy whenever she called or wanted to hang out; and only called her when she needed a favor, support, money, or to talk about Brian.
Serena sat in the passenger’s seat furiously texting Brian, oblivious to her friend’s salty disposition. All she could think about was Brian. Why he wasn’t here? Why didn’t he text her back? He knew about this day, even pressured her to be here. She just spoke to him the night prior, and he promised he would wake up early to take her. She went to sleep feeling like they were making progress in their relationship, but woke up to another disappointment. He always had this way of getting her hopes up, and collapsing them with his blatant absence. She wondered what excuse he would come up with this time, or if he would even bother to make up something. Lately his attitude was becoming worse. She was hesitant to even ask him where he was; she wanted to choose her battles wisely. Plus, she was already on her way, it wasn’t like he stopped anything. She just wanted him there for emotional support, but she had other, more serious things to pick him apart about.
Carmella got off the exit and eased to a stop sign. “What do I do next? I forgot which street we turn on.” Serena’s attention finally turned to her friend, she noticed that she was in one of her moods again. She tried to act as if she wasn’t jealous, or feeling neglected, but it was written on her face. Her poker face was see-through. Serena knew her friend had deep feelings for her, and thought it was cute how protective she acted over her. To lighten the thick air, she leaned over to kiss her on the neck. She put her left hand on her thigh, and rubbed it up and down until Carmella began to relax.
“Thank you for being here for me.” Serena said in her sweet tone. “I don’t know what I would do without you.”
She looked over at her friend, this time with a menacing smile. “I will always be here for you, you know you my baby. Now where do I turn? I forgot.”
“At the next light make a left on Burnt Mill Road.”
“Ahh, yeah. Then make that sharp right and not the far right.”
“Yup,” Serena said unenthusiastically.
“You sure you want to go through with this again?”
She removed her hand quickly, and gave her friend a side-eyed glare. “What the hell am I going to do if I don’t? All I need to do is…get this over with.” Serena’s voice cracked with anger, regret, and failure as she looked down at her stomach. Tears surrounded the perimeter of her eyes, waiting to be released when the gravity of the situation settled. She wanted to have the baby. But in Brian’s eyes, Serena wasn’t ready to be a mother. He didn’t want to have a family with her, and really dealt with her out of convenience, and the fact that she had some good pussy. But to her naïve mind, this was love, and she wanted to prove to him that she could be a better mother than Bianca. That’s why she made sure to stop taking her birth control two months ago, when he reentered her life.
Serena thought despite what he voiced, that if she got pregnant again, he would want to keep it, since they had been in a good place in their relationship. Unlike before, they weren’t arguing as much, and he didn’t hit her as much, even though he backhanded her when she told him she was pregnant and wanted to keep the baby.
“I mean, you have other options if you don’t want to get it. I can turn around right now. We both know I will be here to help you anyway I can. Your mom could get better and be there for you too. Maybe. Or you could give it up for adoption.”
“Yeah right. I don’t want to have it, unless Brian stays with me. I can’t be a single mom. And adoption? I wouldn’t do that. He doesn’t have respect for mothers that give their kid up. He would hate me forever if I even thought about it…I rather this option, than that.”
Her remark stung Carmella with offense. “Where’s Brian at anyway?”
After a minute Serena lied, “He just texted me saying he had to stay late at work. His relief is late again…I hate his job sometimes.” She made a sound of annoyance.
“What time was he supposed to get off?”
“Because he should be here regardless.”
“Oh my god. La, chill with all that bullshit. If he could be here, he would be. For sure. I know you don’t like him, but I don’t feel like hearing all that noise right now.”
“MMM HMMM.” La said in a defeated tone, knowing any conversation that had to do with Brian was like talking to a brick wall when it came to Serena. “Do you need me to stay with you?”
“No. By the time it’s over he will be on his way here.” The car turned into the parking lot, but was caused to abruptly stop. Through the windshield wipers they could only see a man holding up a sign facing them. It seemed like he was yelling something but they couldn’t make it out.
“Not this again. Don’t these people ever get tired of telling other people what to do with their lives?” The first time she took Serena here, the protesters blocked the entry into the clinic. They had formed a prayer chain around the entrance of the building, that went all the way to the parking lot. The clinic had to call the police to get them to leave. Ten were even arrested, before the daily activities could take place. Carmella hoped there wouldn’t be a similar ordeal as she turned the steering wheel to move around the crazy man, almost smashing into a small crowd of 10-12 men and women. They were all holding up signs and chanting something. Serena rolled down her window to yell some profanity at the group but when her window was half way down a middle-aged woman appeared out of nowhere and screamed at her. Her message was crystal. “Get out of here! Murderer! Baby killer!” She squirmed in her skin, then reached out to touch her stomach.
Why would she say that? I’m not a murder…I don’t even want to be here. Feelings of various degrees came and left within seconds of Serena’s mind: relief, regret, sadness, fear, anxiety, anger. Questions without answers caused a collision in her heart. Should she go through with this again? Where was Brian really? Would she be a good mom if she had this baby, without him? Would God forgive her if she went through with it? Would her father? Sweat coated her forehead and nose, as her anxiety rose. She was overwhelmed as she contemplated if this was really the right thing to do. But she knew Brian would stop talking to her if she even thought about keeping it.
In a daze Serena gave the receptionist her insurance card and ID. She was handed a thick stack of forms to fill out. Once she turned the completed forms in she was escorted to a room while Carmella stayed in the waiting area. She was just going to stay for a few minutes, just in case she would be needed, but knew she better stay and wait until it was over. Brian was nowhere to be found, and she knew her girl was in denial about her relationship.
The procedure took three hours. Serena asked the nurse to get Brian, but was devastated when only Carmella walked in. She tried to think positively, at least she wouldn’t have to change any stinkin’ ass diapers, and it was good that she didn’t have a baby by Brian. Even though it would have been cute, because Brian was so physically perfect, she didn’t want to be tied to him for the rest of her life. This is what she told herself, and usually there would be relief that followed, but this time she just felt empty. Not the kind of empty she was already accustomed to, this was a new bottom. Carmella stood in front of the door. She gave a light smile to Serena, who lay there as if all the life had been sucked out of her.
“Hey Ree” she said carefully. “How are you feeling boo?”
She lifted herself up on her elbows and swung her legs over the side of the bed. “I’m tired as hell, and hungry.” She replied. “They need to hurry up with the water and animal crackers.” She wanted to place her attention on anything but the fact that Brian wasn’t there. “Can you pass me my hoodie from over there?” Carmella obliged and when she returned with her hoodie she caught a quick glimpse of Serena’s purple and red back and left side. Her eyes widened at the dreadful sight, and her heart bled for her friend. He was getting worse.
She dropped Serena off at her house, and decided to go to the mall. Buying new clothes and shoes always made her feel better. She really felt for Serena, and wondered when she would ever let this man go. She was being so dumb, holding on to him, when it was clear to everyone around that he didn’t love her. She was wasting her potential being sucked up in his trenches. It was as if she turned into a different person when he was around, and when he left she was nothing. Carmella insisted on coming inside to help her the entire ride home, but she steadily declined. She reassured her that Brian would be there later to take care of her. Maybe if she said it aloud, it would be true right? Carmella rolled her eyes.
“Why you do that?”
“Nothin’, no reason at all,” she said sarcastically. She put the car in park and turned to face Serena, who had been too busy taking her phone off the charger and grabbing her bag to notice the caring sentiment marked on her face“You know I’m always here for you.” Carmella leaned forward for a kiss, and Serena allowed her lips to grace her cheek.
“I’ll call you later girl. Thanks again.”
Carmella exhaled, once the door slammed shut. Serena rushed inside the house, probably calling Brian. She hadn’t even looked back to wave goodbye. It was like once they weren’t together, Carmella was forgotten about. The mission was accomplished, so there was no room for small talk on Serena’s end. The rejection frustrated her. She turned the corner, shaking her head; she hated
She remembered when she used to beg for her lips to touch her. Before Serena’s mom came home early, and caught them grinding between each other’s legs in the living room, they used to play in each other’s flowers almost every day after school. This was their little secret. Serena made Carmella pinky swear to never utter a word to anyone, and she obliged her request, yet it didn’t matter to her who knew.
They were thirteen when the innocent touches turned into sexual strokes. Carmella was over Serena’s house, crying about the latest break up she had. This one was particularly hurtful because she gave him her virginity. She had been sad, and teary-eyed for a week straight. Serena played in Carmella’s curly burgundy hair, while she lay in her lap, grabbing a fistful of tears as she mumbled she was done with boys forever. Serena noticed how pretty her yellow legs were, and the fact that she ran track was written all over her young, perky body.
Serena began to caress her leg. Carmella sobered up from her tears a little bit when she felt a tickling feeling on her thigh.
“I know a way to make you feel better,” she whispered in her ear. “Can I show you?” Carmella sat up and leaned her back on the couch with her legs crossed. Her face was beat red from the intense crying, and her face held this look that told deeper pain than what she was saying.
“Nothing will make me feel better,” she said through sniffles. “Who’s going to love me now?” She began crying again.
“La, c’mon. Lay down, please, stop crying. You going to make me cry. I love you.”
“But not like he didddd,” she wailed as she lay back down on the cushions.
Serena got on top of her friend and gave her a big hug. “Do you want to feel better or not? This girl at church told me what to do.”
Serena took that as a yes so, she kissed her on the lips quickly. Carmella pushed her off, and wiped her mouth. “What the fuck girl. What are you doing?”
“I’m trying to make you feel better. Lay back down.”
“I’m not into that stuff.”
“Whatever you trying to do.” Carmella got up from the couch, feeling confused, but Serena grabbed her hand before she could walk by.
“Please. I promise it will make you feel better. And it’s fun, plus it will be better than Kai doing it trust me.”
“Uhhh, don’t say his name I will cry.”
“OK, I’m sorry.”
After a little more convincing Serena laid Carmella down, and made her feel the best sensation she ever felt. She was right, this was way better than, whatever his name was.
Carmella didn’t know she could be turned out, and fall in love with a woman, but that was almost nine years ago, and she still loved her the same. That’s why it had been so difficult to see her getting played out by Brian. But Serena loved him, and that made her hate him even more.
Carmella went through a few stores in the Cherry Hill Mall, but nothing really suited her fancy, so instead of shopping she indulged herself to a Cinnabon and coffee. She found a table in the food court to sit, and took out her iPad to look on Pinterest for inspiration for a new wig she wanted to make. She was so enthralled in what she was doing, she didn’t notice someone had approached her until they were standing directly over her.
“So wassup? You called. I’m here.”
She put her iPad down, sipped her coffee, and gestured for him to have a seat. “Can I get a hi? Hello? How you doin’?” He just glared at her, tapping his fingers on the table, obviously ready to leave. “No? OK. Did you do what I asked you to do?”
Thanks for reading the first chapter of my series Only Human.
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