Decision Time

The diamond ring sparkled on her hand as she proudly showed it to her mother. “Oh, it is so beautiful, Kendra,” her mother, Tyra, told her. “Have you set a date yet? You know, there’s nothing wrong with a November wedding.”

“No, we haven’t set a date yet, but it won’t be in November. Besides, that is your wedding anniversary month, isn’t it?” Kendra laughed.

“Well, you can’t blame a mother for trying, right?” Tyra said as she kissed Kendra’s forehead.

Kendra went upstairs to begin getting ready for her dinner date. She and Terrance planned to have dinner with her best friend, Maria and her boyfriend, Sean. By the time she finished dressing; Terrance was walking up the front steps to escort her to his car.

When she opened the door, he greeted her with his brightest smile. “Kendra, you look fantastic! Are you ready?” He held out his arm for her to take.

“Thank you, Terrance. Yes, I’m ready. You’re looking quite dapper yourself, young man,” she replied as he escorted her to his car. She could see the faint blush in his cheeks from her comment.

When they entered the restaurant, they found Maria and Sean already seated with a third man with his back to them. Kendra didn’t have to see the face to know who it was. How can it be that the same man who broke her heart so many years ago is sitting at this table on this night with her best friend?

Maria saw them and waved them over to the table. She beamed as she began the introductions. “Guys, I would like for you to meet my brother, Christopher. Chris, this is my best friend, Kendra and her fiancÃ?©, Terrance.”

Christopher greeted Terrance with a firm handshake, but his eyes never left Kendra’s face. When it was her turn to greet Chris, he held her hand firmly and cooed at her, “Yes, Kendra, it’s been a long time, hasn’t it?”

“I’ve been fine, and it hasn’t been long enough!” she snapped through clenched teeth. She pulled her hand from his grip but couldn’t stop the warm feeling racing up her arm. Silently, she cursed herself. What is going on? I should not be reacting to his touch like that. I can’t let him get to me. He is nothing to me. He dumped me. I love Terrance! I am marrying Terrance! This is insane!

Kendra found it difficult to enjoy herself. Not even the two Scotch and sodas could ease her jangled nerves. She would have broken down at the table if she hadn’t excused herself to the ladies room. She locked herself in a stall and gave herself up to total wretchedness. Why am I still hurting over a relationship that ended years ago? Why is he here? So many questions flooded her mind until she came to the question that she didn’t want to ask or answer: Why didn’t my love for him die when our relationship died?

When she reached that question, she said aloud, “No, I am not going to do this. I am going back out there and have a good time anyway!” Kendra emerged from the stall with renewed confidence, splashed her face with cool water and reapplied her makeup, hoping that no one would notice her slightly pink eyes. She went back to the table smiling.

Kendra sat down, avoiding Christopher’s eyes. “Let’s order now. We’ve wasted enough time jabbering,” she said lightly to match the mood of the conversation at the table.

Christopher raised an eyebrow. “Yes, I can see the hunger in your eyes.” He cast a sidelong glance at Terrance and returned it meet Kendra’s eyes.

“I’m sure you do,” she shot back at him, still smiling. Those were the last words Christopher and Kendra exchanged during dinner. She ate her meal while sparingly participating in the lively discussion at the table. She sighed inwardly with relief that no one commented on her silence.

After dinner, Terrance drove Kendra home. He walked her to her door and gave her a gentle kiss on the forehead. “Kendra, I know something is on your mind. Why don’t you tell what it is? I know it has something to do with Chris.”

Kendra looked into his eyes and could no longer hold back the tears. “Well, I once dated Chris years ago. He was my first love and he turned out to be mean and disrespectful. I found out he was cheating on me and when I approached him about it, he broke up with me. It wasn’t the fact that he broke up with me that hurt; it was the way he did it. So coldly, like I was just some whore he was just stringing along,” she sobbed.

Terrance took her into his arms and held her close to him. She could feel the smooth texture of his Armani suit under her cheek getting damp from her tears. He rubbed her hair as he spoke, “Ah, first love. I understand. His being here has opened up some wounds. Maybe even stirred up some old feelings?” When he felt her body stiffen against him, he responded, “No, don’t worry, I’m not mad. First loves are hard to get over, but people do get over them.”

He cradled her face in his hands and kissed her lips. “You know that I love you. I know that you love me. I don’t fear him or your past with him. We can deal with this together. If you need time, I can give that to you. Now don’t get me wrong, I will fight for you, but I will respect your decision because above all, I want you to be happy. If you decide that you would be happy without me, then…No, I am not going to even think about that.”

Here it is, decision time. She stared into his brown eyes; she felt all her past feelings for Chris fade away. All of the love, the hurt, the anger, the bitterness melted away in an instant. “No, we don’t even have to go through all of that because I know who and what I want and that is you. Chris may have been my first love, but you are my one true love.” Her eyes glittered with tears as she kissed him.

From that moment, the date was set: November 11th, the same date that Kendra’s parents were married over 30 years ago.

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