Chapter 7 “She is, but he ain’t” (A short Story by Dara Nichole)
The whole meeting I tried not to make eye contact with Ellington. He was so fine, sitting across the boardroom table. Smooth skin, nice suit, and clean haircut. Why was I tripping over Joshua again?
“Ms. Robinson, make sure you have that down in the notes ok?” oops, there I was daydreaming and not even realizing it.
“Not a problem.” I couldn’t believe he was in this meeting. We dismissed and I slowly gathered my things hoping he would walk over and speak, and of course, my prediction was correct.
“Surprised to see me?” Ellington leaned against the table and folded his arms.
“Actually I am, Ellington. Thank you for the card it was very nice.” He was so fine. I couldn’t help but smile every time I saw him.
“You’re welcome Bri. I’m sorry can I call you Bri?”
“Of course you can.” He walked me to my office and stood in front of the door.
“Before you get back to work, I was wondering if you wanted to grab some lunch?” He smiled that big, beautiful smile at me. I just wasn’t ready to totally be with someone else yet. Even though it was just lunch, I knew it would lead to more lunches, and then to dinners, and then to weekend trips, and I wasn’t ready.
“Sorry, Ellington, but I have a lot of work to do.” I sighed and slid past him to get into my office. He walked in behind me and followed me to my desk.
“Well, you are going to have to eat lunch today right?” He gently took the items out of my hand and laid them on the desk.
“Well, you might as well do me a favor and eat lunch with me, it’s the least you could do to thank me for the card.” He backed up and continued to smile at me. It was just something about him that was so comforting, and unsettling at the same time. I had never had a man to be so nice to me, and it made me think there was something wrong with him. I mean, he just seemed to be unreal, and I didn’t know if I could totally trust him.
“Look, Ellington, I will go with you today, but it has to be quick alright? I have a lot of work to do.”
“Not a problem Ms. Robinson.” He threw his hands up like he was surrendering and laughed.
“I’m going to pull my car around; I’ll meet you downstairs in ten minutes?”
“Ok.” I smiled as he walked out of the room. Wow, he seemed to be a decent man. I sighed and put on my coat. I had so many mixed emotions. On one hand I was feeling as if I should just leave any thoughts of Joshua behind and move on with Ellington, and on the other hand I was feeling that maybe Joshua and I just needed some space and that after he saw how great of a woman I was he would be back. I did like Ellington so far; he was so suave, and sweet, and such a gentlemen, but maybe not for me.
I got downstairs and Ellington was there waiting for me, He jumped out of the car and opened my door.
“So, where are you taking me for lunch?” I looked at him in his eyes and saw his gentleness.
“There is this great Italian restaurant right around the corner, and their fast too.”
At that moment my phone started to ring, when I looked down to see who it was I was glad that he was calling, but disappointed at the last time.
“Did you need to take that?” Ellington seemed concerned, or just nosy. I thought about if I let it just go to voicemail would he continue calling. I didn’t want to be rude and have my phone going off every five minutes, but I did want to eventually talk to Joshua, just not right now.
“Nope, I can call back later.” I smiled at him and relaxed in his car. We finally pulled up to the restaurant and walked in. It was a beautifully quaint restaurant. We walked to the booth in the back of the restaurant and started looking at the menu.
“So Bri, how long have you been dating that other guy?” I was so shocked he started out with a question like that.
“Oh, uh, Joshua? Well, I’ve known him since high school, but we have been on and off for about four years.” I started to think about what on and off meant, thinking back, it was really more off than on.
“Wow, really? Four years that’s a long time.” He never took his eyes off the menu.
“Yeah, and we’ve been through a lot. I have grown so much as a person over the last four years.”
He looked up from the menu.
“Really, from dealing with him?” I put my menu down and folded my arms in front of me.
“Yes Mr. Ellington, I have.” I said indignantly.
“He has shown me that no one is perfect, and every relationship has its ups and downs. It’s really just getting through and making it to the end.”
“So do you think you and him will make it to the end?” He looked me dead in the eyes. At this point I didn’t know how to answer. But I was going to take a shot at it anyway.
“Well, we could, we just both have to put in the effort, and really learn to re-trust each other again, but that takes time.” I looked down at my napkin hoping he didn’t have anything rude to say.
“oh, ok.” He started looking back at his menu.
“So you don’t have anything to say now?” I chuckled.
“Did you want me to say something?”
“No Bri, do you really want me to say something?”
“Ellington, I’m telling you, tell me what you think.” I smiled and scooted closer to him. He put his menu down, fixed his suit jacket and then placed his hands in his lap.
“Well, really I think that Joshua is a clown. Sorry I had to say it, but he doesn’t want to be in a committed relationship. Don’t take it personal, it’s not just with you, it’s with any woman. He’s just not ready to commit fully.” I sat back in the booth and folded my arms. He was right, and maybe I just needed to hear it from someone else.
“But people change Ellington, why does he keep calling me to apologize if he doesn’t want to be with me?” I had to stop talking before the tears started to flow.
“Well, sometimes men want you to be exclusive, but they want to be free themselves. So what they do is try to set it up where they can meet and mingle with other women, and call and check on you every now and then.”
A tear rolled down my face and I grabbed it right before it got to my mouth. How embarrassing to be crying about another man on a date with a new guy.
“Look, I’m sorry Bri, but I just don’t want your expectations to be so high for this guy. You are worth so much more than what he is giving you.” He put his hand on my back and handed me a napkin to wipe away the many tears I couldn’t catch from falling. I pulled away slightly and blotted the tears away.
“Thank you Ellington, I appreciate your honesty, but it’s easier said than done. When you love someone, you can’t just walk away.” Ellington paused, right before he was about to say something.
“What, say what you were going to say.” I looked at him sternly, knowing that it was going to cut, but believing that whatever he said would be beneficial for me in the long run.
“Bri, just remember to love yourself more, ok.” He patted my knee and gently scooted away from me. Somehow he knew how to counteract my emotions. Even though I had just met Ellington, his wisdom was much needed, and I appreciated that.
I got home and immediately opened up the fridge. I was starving. I grabbed a yogurt and an apple and ran upstairs to get on the computer. As I sat down I thought about lunch with Ellington today, and how his words really put everything in perspective. Did I really want to deal with the possibility of going back to Joshua, and him cheating again, or did I want to just start over? No matter how brutal that seemed, at least the slate would be clean for both me, and whomever I decided to date next.
“Ring, ring.” It was Joshua, for the fifth time today. He had texted me a few times, called five times and left three voicemail messages. I was getting stronger and stronger as time was passing.
“Ring, Ring.” I looked at the phone and thought about his possible response to everything that had happened recently. I knew it was going to be a load of bull. Frankly, I didn’t want to even be bothered, or even filled with the idea that he was going to be faithful. Ellington was right, he just wanted to keep me single, so that when he decided he was ready to be in a relationship, I would be there, not gonna happen buddy.
“Hey, Abrielle, come here for a second.” My mom yelled from the basement. What did she want? I was hoping it wasn’t a pack of cigarettes or a Pepsi, I was comfortable and really didn’t feel like leaving the house. I walked down the steps to the basement and my mom was sitting in front of the television with her legs propped up watching a preacher on television.
“Hey mom, did you need something?” I walked downstairs surprised she was watching anything but a soap opera.
“I’m good hun, you got this in the mail from the church up the street, thought you may want to attend.” She handed me a flyer for a “Young professionals” meeting. The flyer talked about how they were going to have a person talking to the attendees about business skills, how to get a job, how to get a raise, how to start your own business and how to stay professional in the workplace.
“But mom, I love my job, I don’t want to leave.” I handed the flyer back to her.
“But baby, you never know; that lady might know something you don’t. And if she doesn’t maybe you could help teach the class.” She handed the flyer right back to me, and smiled.
“Yeah you’re right, maybe Jasmine and I could check it out,” I put it in my pocket.
“Yeah baby, never limit yourself and think you know everything, this lady could help you get to the next level. Or better yet, help you network with other professionals who will be there, you know that church is pretty big, you could meet a lot of people there.”
“That’s true.” I actually started to think that it was a good idea. “When is this mom?”
“Tomorrow night, oh and tell Pastor Wilkins I said hello and thank you for the card. It’s been two years since your father died and they still check on us, great church.
“Alright mom, I will.” I decided to get on the phone and call Jasmine to tell her about the event, you never know, it could be fun.
“Ring, ring.” It was Joshua again. I turned my phone off and threw it on the bed.
“Guess I’ll use the house phone to call Jasmine.”