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Excerpt from Loose Ends

PROLOGUE

I had the dream, or should I say nightmare, again last night. It was terrifying as usual.  I awoke with my thin, white top drenched in sweat with my heart pounding away a mile a minute. In the dream, I was fast asleep, lying on my back, totally nude, and HE was straddling me.

When HE awakened me from my sleep by roughly kissing me on my partially open lips and placing his hot, urgent tongue inside my mouth, I realized HE was someone I should fear.  At first I opened my mouth to scream, but then I looked into his brown eyes and his eyes possessed me; hypnotized me with their power.  It was as if he was looking into my soul---and I was lost.

I couldn’t fight him.  I slowly opened my trembling legs and HE entered me with a savage fury.  It was as if his very existence depended upon conquering my womanhood. Unbelievably, I wanted him desperately inside me and my already moist walls eagerly accepted his ever-expanding manhood.  His hungry mouth devoured my throbbing nipples, right as I was on the brink of sheer ecstasy, as HE pounded away at a frantic pace, his large hands encircled my neck and squeezed with all his might as HE cried out, “Why, tell me why did you betray me?”  Then I woke up. . .gasping for breath.


MIA

I believe -
That no matter how bad your heart is broken, the world doesn’t stop for your grief.

Author Unknown


The nightmares, they have started again; it has been almost a year since the last one.  Twelve peaceful months in which I almost, just almost, forgot the sheer terror of seeing HIM towering over me like some unstoppable, superhuman force.  One year in which I felt normal and whole again because I had finally cleansed him from my system, from my soul.

Him, being my ex-husband, Brice.  It’s still hard to get my mouth and mind to speak his name again.  Speaking his name brings up too many memories, memories that I don’t want to deal with, memories that I can’t deal with yet.  And it has been five years.  Brice, the man I thought was my soul mate in life, my black knight in shining armor, the love of my life, the man of my dreams.  The man I gave my heart, mind and body to, willingly and unselfishly.  Brice soon became more like the man of my nightmares.

The nightmares are so real, for a few minutes when I’m between being asleep and waking up, I think I’m still with him.  I think that he still possesses me, and it scares me to death. You see, Brice used to beat the shit out of me, whenever he wanted to, just because he could. Brice controlled me, totally.  Brice was a man who would lay down the law, his law, and expect me to follow it. . . or else.

I’m embarrassed to say that it took me a while to end it.  No, I didn’t enjoy getting my butt beat or being treated like a child by a man who screwed me whenever and however he wanted to after he beat my ass.  I stayed because I thought he would change, I thought my love would make him change.  And yes, I loved him with all my heart and soul.  It took me ending up in the hospital for me to wake up, literally, and see the light before it was too late.  Still, he took a part of me that I can never get back. You see, he took my heart.

They say life is full of paradoxes.  How can you both love and hate someone?  I don’t know, but I do.  As crazy as it may sound, a part of me will always love him.  A part of me will always belong to Brice. That’s sick, isn’t it?

I couldn’t ask for a better life now.  In fact, I have been blessed with a wonderful husband, Christian, who adores me; I know that for a fact.  You see, Christian was Brice’s best friend.  Actually, they were more like brothers.  It’s all so complicated.  The ties that bind. Christian gave up everything for me.  I know, my life read like a soap opera. Now, I’m mostly drama free.

Anyway, Christian and I have been married for three and a half, almost four years.  It’s been wonderful; our marriage is everything I never had with Brice.  I love my husband so much! When Christian makes love to me, I feel it in his touch, his eyes and his soft, whispered words.  We have a beautiful, two year old daughter named Lyric.  We named her Lyric because she brings joy and harmony into our lives. She has a head full of hair and green eyes just like her daddy.  Yeah, life couldn’t be better; this is the family I have dreamed of all my life.

If only the nightmares would stop.  That way I wouldn’t have to see HIM again.  And then I could forget.

As I laid on my back, stared at the cream-colored ceiling and made a mental checklist of the things I needed to do around the house the next day, I turned over to my left side and smiled at my husband, Christian, asleep with not a care in the world.  I could watch him sleep all night.  Christian is such a handsome man and he’s all mine.  I’m not being boastful; I’m just keeping it real.

He’s paper bag brown, a few inches over six feet tall and roughly 225 pounds of pure man.  Christian has the sexiest pair of green eyes; bedroom eyes.  With his broad shoulders, iron-board stomach, for a man thirty-eight years old, his body could easily pass for a twenty-eight year old. His looks aren’t why I love him so; I love him because of his heart.  It’s wide open for me.

An hour earlier, Christian had shown me how much he loved me in his own special way.  Just thinking about that gave me goose bumps up and down my arms and a familiar tingling between my legs.

Tonight was date night!  At least once a month, Christian and I set aside one night, a Friday or Saturday, to do something together, just the two of us.  We had Lyric early in our marriage; Christian and I had only been together a little over a year and a half.

Anyway, date night didn’t have to be anything extravagant; usually it was something simple like going to the movies.  I love horror flicks, there’s something about all that blood and gore.  I know, call me bizarre. So metimes we go dancing at one of the hot spots in Midtown or out for a nice dinner in Buckhead.

Christian and I take Lyric over to Mama’s house for the night where she is spoiled beyond reason.  Lyric loves her grandmother to death and vice versa.  I’m so proud of Mama and how she has gotten her life back on track after a bout with alcoholism that lasted for years.  That’s another story in itself.  AA, the Twelve Step Program and a strong will have made a big difference in Mama’s life.

This evening Christian had everything planned the minute I unlocked the door and walked into our stucco home from a hard day at work.  It had been a busy day, a busy week, at Fairfield Elementary School.  I was a third-grade schoolteacher to a bunch of hyperactive, rambunctious, but adorable students. . .my children.  However, at the end of the week, I was ready to relax and unwind with my handsome husband.  In our sunken living room, I was greeted with kisses by both Lyric and Christian.  Lyric was finishing up her snack of graham crackers and Christian was cleaning up the trail of crumbs that followed behind her.

As I slowly undressed and stepped into the fragrant, lilac scented bubble bath he had waiting for me in our garden tub, Christian drove Lyric over to Mama’s house about seven miles away.  He had candles strategically placed around the tub with light jazz playing softly in the background.  With a glass of my favorite white wine in hand, I laid back and closed my tired eyes as I immersed myself up to my neck in bubbles.  I could feel the tension drifting away inch by inch as I started to relax.  I was in seventh heaven and must have dozed off briefly because I suddenly awakened when I heard Christian moving around in our bedroom.  As I prepared myself to step out of the bathtub, Christian came in just in time with a big, white, fluffy bath towel and dried me off so erotically that I didn’t want him to stop.

As he slowly led me into our bedroom with passionate kisses, I noticed more candles had been lit in there as well. In fact, the glow of the candles was the only light illuminated in the room.  Christian placed me ever so gently on our king-sized bed with the burgundy comforter, and rubbed me down in my favorite Victoria’s Secret body oil.  In between his massage, we exchanged warm, deep-tongued kisses and loving caresses.  Christian and I didn’t take it any further; we had all night to savor each other.  The night was still young.

After I dressed in one of my sexy, see through black negligees that Christian simply adored, he brought in a small tray of fruit, cheese, crackers and more wine that had chilled in the refrigerator.  He took a quick, hot shower and we spent the remainder of the night watching old movies, rented from Blockbuster, snacking and cuddling.  I could watch Sparkle and Cooley High over and over again.  They are true classics.

We had dessert around midnight when he pulled off my gown with his teeth and ever so seductively kissed me from the top of my head to the bottom of my toes, taking his time to appreciate all of me, inch by inch.  Christian knew every mole, nook, and cranny on my body; he was entuned with my body.  The climax of the evening was when he buried his head between my parted thighs and feasted until I begged him to enter me.

I glanced over at the green numbers on the digital clock that sat on our cherry wood nightstand and noticed it was almost 2:00 a.m.  The last few nights I had had insomnia. I guess it was my body’s way of rebelling against the nightmares; I was too afraid to sleep.  Most evenings I watched Christian sleep, like tonight.

I reached over to caress his cheek and he turned in my direction. Instinctively, Christian pulled me into him in our spooning position.  As he held me in his semi-tight embrace, I could feel his love radiating warmth throughout my body.

"Mia, you still up,"  he asked in a sexy, sleepy voice, "what time is it?"

"Yes, I'm about to go to sleep.  I just finished reading my Essence magazine.  Go back to sleep, it’s almost 2:00."
I felt his warm hand as it traveled to my right breast and gently squeezed.  I let out a soft moan.  "First, tell me who’s the man?"  he asked.

"Boo, you know you are,"  I said as I smiled at this familiar game we always played.

As his hand slowly traced an imaginary line down my taut stomach, stopped and dipped between my thighs and gently rubbed, he said, "Let me hear you say it."

"Baby, you the man!  You own my stuff; it has your name stamped all over it.  You have copyright papers,"  I said in the most serious tone I could manage.

"And you know that and don’t you ever forget it or I'll have to prove it to you, again,"  Christian stated as he snuggled closer to me and nuzzled my neck.

There was a comfortable silence as we appreciated the moment and our closeness in the early morning hours.
Christian said gently and seriously into the darkness, "I love you baby.  You and Lyric are my world."

"I love you more,"  I declared as I lifted my right hand to caress his cheek.

"Promise me you'll never leave me."  As his silliness returned, he stated,  "I love you so much, I'd drink your bath water,"  he shrieked in his best Chris Tucker imitation.

"Yeah, yeah, whatever man"”  I said as I giggled at our silliness.  As we laughed again, Christian pulled me closer into his safe embrace and we slowly drifted into our own separate slumbers.


CHRISTIAN

I believe -
That no matter how good a friend is, they’re going to hurt you every once in a while and you must forgive them for that.
Author Unknown

After sleeping in until nearly eleven, Mia and I had finally eaten a light brunch of ham and turkey sandwiches, fruit, chips and iced tea. I hadn’t slept in that late in awhile; I usually rose with the rising sun. It’s true what they say, old habits are hard to break. You see, I’m ex-military and rising early and putting in a few hours of hard work had been drilled into me at a very early age. I was discharged from the Marines a few months before I married Mia; my one true love. I didn’t want to bring her back into that environment again for various reasons.

Now, my fulltime occupation is being a loving and devoted husband, a doting father and working as Head of Security at a financial institution in Midtown. There, I work anywhere from first to third shift; usually rotating my schedule. I like a hands on approach, I like to know my staff and I found this way allowed me to accomplish that.

After I walked Mia out to her black Ford Explorer, opened the driver’s door for her, gave her a quick kiss on the cheek and watched as she drove off to pick up Lyric at her Moms, I silently wondered, again, what was bothering her. I know my wife all too well and something is definitely on Mia’s mind.

After sleeping in late this morning, she still had dark circles under her eyes like she didn’t sleep a wink. Mia did a lot of tossing and turning, again, last night. And a few times, I even heard her call out softly in a fretful sleep, but I couldn’t understand what she was saying. I wrapped my arms protectively around her and eventually she calmed back down.

These dreams have been going on for roughly two, three weeks at the most and Mia refused to talk about them. I’m positive I know the subject of her dreams---Brice, her ex-husband and my ex best friend. Mia hasn’t seen him in over five years. The last time Mia set eyes on him was in the midst of a violent fight when he was beating her ass and Mia ended up in the hospital.

Me, it's almost been that long as well. For me, it was a few months later when me and Brice had a confrontation right before he was going overseas with the Marines. I guess back then, we were both running from our own internal demons. Brice chose to run to another country, I chose to remove myself from the source of my pain and bittersweet memories. That timeframe and period in my life seems like light-years ago. It's like the person I was back then doesn't even exist anymore.

It's a long story the way Mia and I got together. My wife is a lovely, thirty-year-old lady with beautiful brown eyes, high cheekbones, a head of thick, black, wavy hair that she keeps short and a petite body that won't quit. I love her with all my heart and soul. I could be in a room full of supermodels or even Janet Jackson or Halle Berry and I'd still only have eyes for my Mia. Well, maybe I'd look, but I'd only have love for Mia. And that's saying a lot since I am a retired player.

A few years ago if someone told me I would be married with a two-year-old daughter, I would have laughed in their face. Back then, women had only one thing I needed. I'm the first one to admit, I loved myself some beautiful black women. God knew exactly what he was doing when he made these wonderful, sexy, sensual creatures He called women. Whisper a few sweet words in their ears; treat them like they’re special, even if only for that moment, and they take you to heaven and back.

Women don't realize just how much power they possess between their legs. Men don't want to admit it, but women have the power and some of these women have figured that truth out. There's nothing like the feel or touch of a woman's silky body against a masculine one and when a man takes them to ecstasy, makes them come, it's an amazing feeling. Men never get enough. Unfortunately for me, I was making the trip to heaven every opportunity I received from any and every driver I could find.

Then Mia came into my life via Brice and all that changed. Mia changed my world as I knew it. She has brought so much joy into my life; if only she would learn to trust and share her feelings and thoughts with me. Mia keeps everything bottled up so tightly it's amazing she doesn't explode. I understand some of her reasons because I know how she was raised and some of the things that have happened in her lifetime. But. . . I want Mia to know and believe that I'm not going to hurt her, mentally or physically. It saddens me to think that she would even doubt my love for her.

I think sometimes Mia is looking for the moment when I will hit her. That will never happen. Mia is very headstrong and we've had some pretty heated arguments, but that will never happen. I'd cut off my right arm before I'd strike her.

I know these nightmares are all stemming from what I made the mistake of telling her about a month ago. It was a lazy Sunday afternoon, Mia and I were stretched out, as usual, on the sofa in the living room half watching some old western movie on TV. Lyric was fast asleep, into her mid-day nap, with her favorite baby doll and stuffed bear nearby.

Mia had her arms wrapped around my waist, her head on my chest, half dozing. As I looked down at her for a moment and caressed her face, I said, "Baby, you're not going to believe who wrote me the other day?"

"Who?" she asked sleepily as she re-adjusted her head on my chest.

"You'll never guess in your wildest dreams."

"I don't know, who? I give up," she asked again.

I paused for only a second. I knew this was going to be a shock for Mia as it had been for me as well.

"Brice, Brice Matthew."

Mia didn’t say anything at first, but I felt her body stiffen beside me and now she was fully awake. She finally spoke with a slight shakiness to her voice. "What do you mean he wrote you? How did he get our address?"

"He wrote me in care of his cousin Reggie. You know I run into Reggie now and then over at the gym where he works part-time. Don't worry, Brice doesn't know where we live, baby."

Mia didn't say anything as she stared into space with a strange expression. She had raised herself up from my embrace and was glaring down at me. I continued on.

"In the letter Brice was talking about letting bygones be bygones and righting his wrongs. To make a long story short, Brice wants to meet with us. Him and his wife, Kree, returned to the States about three months ago."

Mia pulled herself up further with one elbow and was looking down at me with this frantic, scared expression on her face.

"Mia, I don't know. I would like for us to meet . . ."

"What do you mean? You mean you are considering it?" she asked in an urgent, frightened tone.

"Mia, listen, I know you don't like to think about Brice and that time in your life. But baby, you need to put closure, final closure, to that"” I said as I softly rubbed her back over and over. Up and down. We sat in complete silence for a few seconds. I witnessed the mixed emotions in her facial expressions.

"I've put closure to that period. I don’t want to see him OR his new wife. And I don't understand why you would either, Christian. You know all the shit that man put me through. I don’t need your Psychology 101 speech and analysis."

"Baby, he can’t hurt you now. You've got me; I got your back. Mia, don't you see this could be a way for you. . . "

"Christian, I'm absolutely not going to meet with him and you can't make me. I can't believe you’d ask me to. I can’t believe this. . . You do what you want to, but he’d better not come near me or Lyric” she screamed as she jumped up, ran into our bedroom and slammed the door so hard that one of our framed prints fell off the wall in the hallway.

I thought to myself, a silent storm was approaching.

BRICE

I believe -
That it isn’t always enough to be forgiven by others.
Sometimes you have to learn to forgive yourself.
Author Unknown

As I absently rubbed Kree’s ass that was exposed in all its glory, I pulled the navy, satin sheet down, she continued to sleep peacefully. Good sex always put her to sleep afterwards, and I always gave her good loving. The more I leaned back against my pillow, absently caressed her between her legs and stared at Kree sleep, the more aroused I became. Kree at twenty-five years old was a stunning woman with long, thick, black hair, big light-brown eyes with long eyelashes, high cheekbones with glowing, medium-brown skin, long legs and full kissable lips.

I met Kree my second year in Germany. We met at a club I had heard great things about and was checking out for the first time. She was on the lit dance floor strutting her stuff to the music when I arrived. After ordering a beer, I walked away from the crowded bar and sat down at a vacant table that gave me a great view of her.

I watched Kree from a short distance as she appeared to get lost in the song. She was a great dancer. Kree was so sensual and sexy; it was like she was making love to the music. The way she would close her eyes for a few seconds, lick her full lips, and throw her head back was erotic. Kree had on a sexy black dress that fit every curve, no accessories except for a pair of diamond-stud earrings and a pair of black, spike heeled shoes. I didn’t see a panty line, so I was pretty sure she didn’t have on any underwear.

At one point, when she glanced towards the bar, our eyes met and locked on each other. I smiled. Kree smiled a shy smile in my direction and quickly turned away. Afterwards, I saw her glance back at me once or twice.

I drank a few more beers and mostly people watched. No other woman captured my attention the way the lady in black had. I’m sure I could have talked to any woman in the dark club the way I kept getting the eye from several of them. Back then, after thirty-four years of living, I knew when a woman was attracted to me and that night I was getting vibes left and right.

I was dressed casually, not in Marine gear and I noticed the women checking me out. Some boldly and some on the down low. There were several pretty women in the club that wouldn’t have objected to leaving with me for a night of dancing between the sheets. But, I was interested in the lady in black, she reminded me of someone. I couldn’t put my finger on it. Kree appeared so innocent, yet sexy and so beautiful.

Finally, a slow song came on. I placed my beer on the table and made my way through the crowd of people exiting the dance floor. I located Kree attempting to leave as well. I walked up to her, took her hand and told her to dance with me. She did.

Hours later, tucked away in our own private booth, I had discovered that Kree was a twenty-one year old, American-born college student. Kree was an Army brat. Her parents had traveled all over the world thanks to the United States Army. Her last year in high school, Kree’s father had been transferred to Germany. She had fallen in love with the city, and when they left she stayed behind to attend college.

Kree and I talked for most of that night, early into the next morning. I remember, we were one of the last to leave the club. Her girlfriend had left long ago after I promised to get Kree safely home after assuring them that I wasn’t a rapist or on America’s Most Wanted list.

I decided Kree was actually kinda shy. I think I intimidated her a little. However, I was getting strong vibes that she was attracted to me. I decided to see how far I could go with her. At one point, I reached under the table and caressed her thigh through the sheer, flimsy fabric of her black dress. Kree looked at me with those big eyes, but she didn’t protest. I kept looking into her eyes, telling her how beautiful she was. She smiled. The entire time I was pulling the hem of her dress up to reach under with my hand.

Just like I thought, Kree didn’t have on any underwear as I rubbed my hand up and down her smooth leg. I decided to back off, take it slow and the remainder of the night we were lost in good conversation.

As they say, the rest is history. Kree made my tour in Germany quite memorable. At some point, I’m not sure when it happened, I realized I couldn’t live without her. We’ve been married for almost three years. Kree is a good wife; she does what I tell her to and knows I’m the man of our house. She thoroughly understands that.

Tonight, I was frustrated. Usually after round two, I leave Kree alone. But tonight, I was seriously thinking about waking her up, as I did so often, to have her go down on me. Sometimes she would protest, but usually she gave in. Kree could do that shit all too good. Or sometimes by the time she woke up, I was already inside her grinding away. Eventually she would wrap her long legs around my waist and give into the good feelings. I’d look down at her and she’d be all into us.

Tonight, my attention was focused elsewhere. I had talked to my cousin, Reggie, and I knew Christian received the short letter I had wrote him weeks earlier. It took me a week to finish that letter and now I was anxiously waiting for a response. True friendship, true brotherhood is not something to be taken lightly. I had learned that. I know I did a lot of stupid shit in my past; things I did when I was younger and dumber. . .things I truly regretted. I wanted to right my mistakes, my regrets.

Hopefully, Christian would call me soon; I had put our phone number in the letter. I admit it, I missed him. I couldn’t wait to see the man who was once like a blood brother to me. . . and the lady who was my everything. At some point in your life, every man has one, the one woman who you love with everything you have. The one woman who makes you say and do shit you’d never think of doing for anyone else. Stuff you can’t even believe you’re doing. For me, that was Mia. No, I never forgot Mia. I still see her face in my dreams.

KREE

I believe -
That your life can be changed in a matter of hours by people who don’t even know you.
Author Unknown

"Hello?"

"Where have you been?"

"Oh, hey sweetie. What's up?"  I asked as I attempted to balance the cordless phone to my right ear as I opened the oven to check on dinner.

Brice said, "Hey baby, I’m on my way home.  Where have you been?"

"Well, hello to you too"  I said in mock indignation.
"Where have you been?"  He impatiently asked again.
"Nowhere baby, why?"  I've been here all day cleaning up, washing and preparing your favorite meal,” I stated nervously into the phone.

“Well, I called earlier, around 2:00, and you didn’t answer. The phone rang about eight times and the answering machine wasn’t on.  You never picked up.  Where were you?”

“I was probably in the shower and just didn’t hear the phone ringing.  Baby, I have steak, well done just like you love it. Baked potatoes with sour cream and chives, a garden salad, all your favorites.  Hurry home before it gets cold”  I stated to change the subject.

“Sounds good,” he said absently.  “Did I get any phone calls?”

“No, none baby.”

“Damn.  Okay, I’m on my way.  I’ll be there in about twenty minutes if this traffic isn’t too bad.  But rush hour traffic being horrible is always something you can count on in Atlanta.”

“I’m starting to realize that.”

“I have a real good feeling about this meeting I just left.  The loan officer, Mr. Petty, was pretty cool; I think I may get the small business loan after all. Listen, go ahead and fix my plate, I’m starving.  And change into something sexy for me.”

“Okay, I’ll see you soon.  Bye,”  I said as I placed the phone back on the hook and hurried into the bathroom to take a quick shower, lotion my body all over with lavender flowers Bath and Body Work’s cream and put on my hot-red lingerie that Brice loved to see me in.  I knew it wouldn’t stay on long past dinner.  I knew my husband.

After I dressed and quickly gave myself the once over in front of my floor length mirror, I quickly brushed my thick hair, pulled it into a French knot and finished setting the dinner table with red candles to give a romantic, intimate setting.  Brice still hadn’t arrived home yet and the steaks needed a few more minutes to cook, so I sat on our black, leather sofa to wait and think.

I truly hated to lie to my husband, but sometimes that was necessary in order to keep the peace.  Mother always told me that a man doesn’t have to know everything.  Keep some secrets.  Today, I had gone to check out a help wanted ad I had seen in the classified section of the Atlanta-Journal and Constitution.

I loved to dance and a Boys and Girl’s Club near Midtown was looking for dance instructors to teach modern dance in an after school program they offered. T he pay wasn’t that great, but at least it involved dancing and I had to start somewhere.  Unfortunately, I was too late because the position had already been filled.

It was probably for the best. Brice didn’t want me to work anyway which was fine with me.  I was happy being a traditional wife.  As long as I could pamper myself with manicures, pedicures and salon appointments every other week, I was fine.

Brice had recently gotten an honorable discharge from the Marines and we had been in Atlanta for a little over three months now.  It was different, in a good way, living in Atlanta because I had never lived in the South before.  I was originally from Philadelphia, although I had traveled all over the world with my family.  My mother was back in Philly and my older brother, Miles, lived out in California with his second wife, Vanessa, and new daughter, Taylor.

Hotlanta, however, was home for Brice.  He was excited about being near his aging parents, Vivica and Robert, and they were pleased to have him near again.  I looked forward to the opportunity to get to know them better, especially his mother, Vivica.  Whenever we talked, she was always so nice to me.  She welcomed me into the fold with open arms and a big smile.

Yeah, Brice was definitely in his element.  If things went as planned, he would start a small security-consulting business soon.  Yes, things were going well for us.  We couldn’t complain, I couldn’t complain.  Brice was good to me.  Most of the time.  I pretty much received anything I asked for as long as I pleased him.

It didn’t take long to discover that to make Brice happy I had to do what he wanted me to do, stroke his ego, prepare him good meals and act like a whore in bed. In return, I received a man who loved me, protected me, made me feel like a woman and gave me a good, secure life.  I think that was an even trade.  So no, I couldn’t complain most of the time.

The only glitch in moving to Atlanta was this Christian person.  Why is there always a glitch? I never really heard the entire story from start to finish.  Brice is so secretive about it and I don’t push him for info.  But from what I could piece together, Brice and Christian were like brothers years ago until Brice got a messy divorce from Mia and Christian ended up marrying Mia.  What kind of woman marries her ex-husband’s best friend?  That’s too close to being incestuous.  Anyway, there was a lot of in-between that I missed.

And now Brice wanted Christian. . . and Mia back in his life, our lives.  I wasn’t too thrilled about that, but Brice usually got what Brice wanted.  I knew he missed Christian because he was always talking about the good old days, but Mia came with Christian.  You couldn’t get one without the other.  Mia and Christian were a package deal.

Mia.  I don’t know how I felt about her, jealousy perhaps.  I had seen photos of Mia and she was a beautiful woman.  I’m keeping it real.  She was.  I could never understand why Brice never destroyed his pictures of her, after all they were divorced.  Why hold on to those memories?  But it didn’t matter, I have him now.  He’s in my bed every night.

I remember once when we had just started dating, back in Germany, I had spent the night, for the first time, with Brice. In the early morning hours, after we had made love, twice, and fallen fast asleep, a sleepy Brice reached out for me, pulled me close and called me Mia.  It upset me, but I never mentioned it to him.  It was only later that I determined, much to my dismay, Mia was his ex-wife.  No, I definitely wasn’t looking forward to this little reunion.