Monday, March 14, 2016

Guest Fiction Series: I Used To Love Her, Part 7

For a few months, will be taking four guest authors #fromblogtobook. Each week you'll be able to read a new installment from unique aspiring authors. This tale is from Angelica Bryant. Enjoy!
To catch up on all parts click here

How could I not have guessed?  Chase had JUST told me about his opening the last time we spoke (click here for the tea). I'd spent the last few weeks trying to forget this man; now here I am at his event!

I quickly weighed my escape options. Chase had a clear view of the door from where he stood, and Hasaan hadn't taken his eyes off of me once. There was no way I'd be able to slip out unnoticed; I'd have to bear it, just long enough for people to disperse and both of them to get distracted. I slowly moved back, allowing other guests to gather in front of me, hoping to hide from his view.

How did I get myself into this?

Out of all the galleries, Hasaan chose to showcase here!? 

Hold on. How did he end up here?

Just as I began to move on and put Chase out of my head, he pops back into my life. I knew that I shouldn't have come -- I should have listened to my first mind and spent my Friday evening at home with a glass of red and Ms. Nina Simone. Or at the least dragged Amali along.

What are the odds that I'd run into the snarky-guy from the restaurant at Chase's grand opening... and HE'S the featured artist? It was too weird to wrap my head around.

Chase began to wrap up his speech, and  I knew that my window was near. I edged past the onlookers, eager to congratulate the director/artist, and made my way towards the door. I breathed a sigh of relief as my hand pushed open the glass --


Not so fast...

He'd seen me.

OK, no time for games, no time for nerves.  Face him, slay and get out of here.

"Hey.. great space, the gallery is lovely," I said as I turned around. Chase smiled. I braced myself for the rush of emotion I'd learned to expect whenever our paths crossed.  I breathed in deeply, hoping to calm my heart which I knew would be all but bursting out of my chest in 3, 2....

And then, I  came to the most bizarre realization; there was nothing.  I felt nothing.

Chase began to walk towards me, eyes shinning like the sun, a grin spread wide across his face. He looked different than before. I tried to place my finger on what was so strikingly different about him as he pulled me in for a closer than wanted embrace.

"I didn't think you'd come after. I mean. Well, I'm really happy to see you." He reached for my hand holding it briefly before letting it drop.

"Well, honestly I didn't know that I would. The station is covering the event, so..." I paused. I looked over to see Hasaan making his way toward where we stood.  He moved confident and curious... he actually looked amused.

What the hell is going on?

"How did you find your artist?"

I couldn't beat around the bush, and this was far too ironic for me to brush off as a mere coincidence.

"He's dope right? I just asked around, I wanted someone who was fairly new; wanted to bring something fresh to the art community.  You know that's my angle, giving new artists the chance to get their stuff seen. Listen Chlo,.."

Our conversation was interrupted by a guest asking for pricing on one of the pieces.

His eyes pleaded, begging for more time.

"Work the room Chase. Congrats again, this is amazing, " I reassured him. I had to admit; I was proud of him. Seeing him in his element gave me a new appreciation for my... old friend. I motioned for him to go ahead when he grabbed my hand -- again.

"Wait for me."

He turned to address his guests when it hit me:

He wasn't wearing a ring.

I got out of there as fast as I could. I didn't have time to fall down the rabbit hole of "where the hell is his ring --  hold up he's still single." I JUST and I mean just got centered with myself, just got that old vibe back, I can't afford to relapse!

Like really.

Hasaan caught up with me halfway to my car. "You were going to leave without saying goodbye?"

I laughed "What are you doing leaving your own event?"

"Stopping you! You can't leave yet.”

“I’m so sorry, something came up,” I explained, “But I would like to talk more about tonight and your work.  I'd like to pick you brain a little more for the story.” I opened my clutch & grabbed a card to hand him.

“Call me and let me know what your schedule is like for the next couple of days.  We can meet and talk more.”

“Are you always so professional Ms. Chloe?” he asked.

“I try to be,” I answered.  I couldn’t fight the unexpected smile I felt plastered on my face.

"Well, would you mind if I used the number on this card for more personal reasons? You know once we wrap up business."

He was cute, talented, and clearly went after what he wanted. I caved... but I wouldn't let him know that just yet.

There I go.. butterflies and batting eyelashes; OK I wasn't that bad, but still...

I shrugged, "Call me. Have a good night Hasaan."

I got into my car still reeling from the evenings events.

Where. Was. The. Ring????

Let's try to digest this. Chase didn't seem to have any inside knowledge of Hasaan... which was a relief. Maybe this was just coincidence. Hasaan seemed interesting; I had to admit I was looking forward to meeting with him, and yes for reasons that had nothing to do with journalism. Yeah I know, I know. But why not? Plus, he looked at me in a way that no one had in a long time.

Like he sought me out and wanted to pull me in.

I dialed Amali. No answer.

That night I found myself thinking about Chase even though I tried my hardest not to.  I contemplated calling to see how the event ended (since I had run out like my Audi would turn into a pumpkin at the strike of midnight).

I didn't.

Mostly because I figured Chase would reach out. Wishful thinking.

He didn't... that night.

The next morning I awoke to the ringer of my phone blaring in my ear. I couldn't wait to tell Amali what had happened, but I quickly realized that I'd have to because...

It was him.

I couldn't believe she came.

After everything that happened, I wrote it off as too little too late. Even when I ended things with Jessica, I couldn't bring myself to reach out. Chloe made it clear that there was no possibility of us.

There she was, standing in my gallery, looking more beautiful than my memory gave credit for.

She managed to slip out before I could say more than "Thanks for coming"; typical Chloe.

It might have been the fact that for the first time since I'd run into her that I was able to look at her through the eyes of a single man; it may have been the way the chiffon hugged her body perfectly, hitting every curve just right.

Maybe it was because every woman I'd come across after her had only reminded me of how much I missed her; how much I loved her.

I don't know what it is about her, and that's the thing.

It's just her.  It has only been her. Always

I tapped the green icon and prepared myself to be sent to voicemail.

"Chase?" she answered.


Angelica is a creator/writer living & loving in Atlanta, GA.

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