V is for Veronica Ch. 04
I twist the hem of my shirt around my finger and back. I’m agitated. Janessa is in one of her weird attention seeking moods. I hate when Janessa gets like this. It gets me confused and makes my stomach feel weird. And plus it makes me want to…
Well, it’s just confusing, so whatever.
I got here to find Janessa drunk. Mikey’s on his bullshit I guess.
“Let me see your tits,” Janessa demands from her bed. She’s laying across it the wrong way and has her head hanging off the edge to look at me. It sounds like a joke, but the way she stares at me when she drinks is hot and serious.
“No,” I raise my eyebrows and cross my arms.
I’m sitting on the floor because I know how she gets.
“You know que you wanna show me,” she drawls.
“Stop, or I’m going home,” I warn her.
A wicked grin crosses her face and her eyes lock on my face.
Please don’t do this today, please.
“Janessa, I’m hungry, did your dad cook?” I ask, hoping to redirect her.
“I’m hungry, too,” she rolls onto her belly, still looking at me. I can’t believe it doesn’t make her dizzy.
I am not hiding the flush in my face well at all. She props herself up on her folded arms, pressing her breasts together.
It’s not fair. I’ve been crushing on her since middle school, and she fucking knows it. I look away. I’ve worked hard to move past it, she shouldn’t get to be able to just…turn it around.
“Viiiiiviiiiii,” she singsongs and then snickers. She is beyond wasted. She’s going to feel like shit about this in the morning.
I feel like shit about this now, though. I don’t look at her.
She slithers like the snake from Eden off her bed and crawls towards me on all fours, and I don’t register what she’s doing until she’s almost on me.
“Janessa!” I yelp and try to scramble away, but she’s fast, and though she’s petite, she pins me anyway. “Janessa, please, you don’t want this.”
I don’t want this.
“Don’t fucking tell me what I want, puta,” she hisses, and I can smell the liquor on her breath. She straddles my waist and I can smell her perfume, flowery with notes of citrus and clove. I squeeze my thighs together and close my eyes.
…Do I want this? This is so fucked up.
Janessa pushes my shirt up but I catch her wrists.
“Please, Janessa,” I whisper. I hate this. I am so fucking wet and I want her on my face, but she doesn’t mean any of it. It’s all bullshit.
No, no. I don’t want it.
When I close my eyes, she takes the opportunity to reverse my grip so that she’s holding my wrists and she pins them next to my ears. I groan in spite of myself and she brings her full lips barely against mine.
“I can smell you,” she whispers and I exhale hard. Jesus, she’s never been this forward, and my body flushes with heat.
Fuck, I might want this.
“Janessa,” I warn but it comes out as a moan and it pisses me off. I can feel heat emanating through her leggings on my lower belly and it’s fucking with me.
I want her so fucking bad it’s overwhelming. I can feel the flood between my legs. She nibbles down my neck and I start to come back to my senses.
“Wait, Janessa, wait,” I gasp. She doesn’t. She kisses my neck now, letting go of my wrists and sliding her hands down my sides.
No, nope. Nope, nope, nope. I use the distraction to flip her onto her back and push myself to my feet.
“Fucking stop it!” I hiss. “You’re fucking drunk, and it’s not actually about me.” I can feel the burn in my eyes. I blink back tears of frustration.
She stares at the ceiling. Her eyes well up and all my anger just disappears. She looks away.
“I fucking hate…ugh,” she grits.
I look over at her face and… she is just so beautiful. This whole thing is annoying. She’s annoying.
“I wish I didn’t put myself in these situations,” she covers her face with her hands.
“What does he give you?” I can’t stand this dude.
She looks at me blankly like I have three heads.
“Mikey? What do you get from the relationship with Mikey?” I huff.
Mikey, she mouths to herself, confused. I squint at her. She’s being weird. Her eyes flick to mine and then away. A weird question knocks around in my brain as I stare at her.
“This…is about Mikey, right?” I murmur.
“What are you tryin to say?” She glares at me.
I hold my hands up defensively. “I’m trying to figure out why you’re all up in your feelings and all down a liquor bottle.”
Janessa rolls away putting her back to me. She mumbles something but it comes out garbled.
“It is much easier to understand you when you aren’t facing away from me,” I drawl.
She ignores me.
She mumbles a response.
I give up. “Ok well–“
“LÁRGATE!” she screams and I jump with my hand over my heart. I–she–she’s never made me leave before.
I stand there, stunned. What the fuck is going on? She curls up in a ball.
“GO!” she yells again.
“FINE, CABRONA,” I yell back reflexively and storm out, slamming her door behind me.
In the kitchen I’m not so bold. london escorts In the kitchen I stand here trembling not really sure what just happened.
Janessa was coming on so fucking strong and then she was so fuckin mad…I don’t know what the hell is going on. I blow a curl out of my face and pull out my phone.
Me: j just threw me out
Rakeem: That’s not typical for you two, is it? Anything I can do for you?
Me: no and ur doin it
Rakeem: I’m sorry babygirl.
He’s always right there. My heart flutters.
Me: she going thru a breakup I think but shes bein weird
Rakeem: In what way?
I hesitate, not sure if I should mention the way she came onto me. I swallow. Why would I care? Why would he care?
Now I’m being weird.
Me: can I come over?
Rakeem: Of course. Your face makes my day.
I laugh a little and then I realize I’m crying from the stress. I wipe at my face. I hate it. I cry when I’m mad, too.
Rakeem: it’s Jasmine’s birthday, btw
Rakeem: So, if you still want to come, we’re having dinner. But I won’t be hurt if you don’t want to ha it’s rowdy
Me: is it really ok
Rakeem: yea I’ll just see you another time
Me: no i need to see u now is it ok to come
He’s typing. Typing. I feel anxious.
Rakeem: Of course.
Rakeem: As often as possible.
Rakeem sends a pig emoji. I roll my eyes but my cheeks hurt from smiling.
Rakeem: Are you here yet? I might stand on the porch and wait.
Me: if I could fly I would fly to u
No big deal. Normal stuff. Super normal.
I take a few minutes to ugly cry in my car, though.
While he doesn’t greet me on the porch, his face lights up when he opens the door. I see him move toward me, stop, and think better of it.
“Ey, you made it,” his eyes crinkle in the corners and I want to fall into his arms. “Come in. It’s a zoo.”
Rakeem’s house isn’t nearly the chaos he thinks it is. Just wait until all 46 of us in my family get together. That’s a crowd.
I find a seat at the table next to his grandmother, a stately woman in her early seventies with a mischievous look in her eye. I’ve met her a few times before and she’s the freaking best.
Rakeem’s Granny talks to me about Rakeem like he’s the sun in the sky. Explains that he’s a good boy and the man of the house and that he’d be an incredible husband. I’d say this is awkward, but from what I understand she does this all the time and I find it funny as hell.
Key’s eyes round and his ordinarily stoic face cracks into a broad smile, which I realize he only does when he’s embarrassed or when we’re fucking around. I feel a twang in my heart. Mmm, I ignore it.
“And he’s real strong too, he’ll make strong babies,” she advises.
My gaze drifts to him with a smirk. Key looks like he’s about to take a literal shit in his pants, and he sputters, “Granny! Veronica is just a friend!”
I feel a different sort of twang. Like a nauseous twist. I ignore that, too.
“I’m not even talking’ to you anyway, I’m talkin to this nice young lady here,” comes her haughty response and then she turns her back to him. “Anyway, I just love him to pieces, give him a chance.”
I choke on a laugh. “You have a super great marketing team, Key.”
“Key? That’s cute!” Jasmine clasps her hands. She’s the younger of his sisters, and Rakeem gives her an easy smile that melts my heart. The affection in his eyes that he has for his sibs is hitting me in the ‘strong baby’ maker.
Malia, who is fuckin’ pissed as hell at the world, glares at me.
“Don’t mind her, sweetie, she’s going through some troubles but that’s all of us innit,” Granny reassures me. And then in an elevated voice she says, “I’m sure Malia don’t mean to be rude.”
I hide a smile.
Dinner is nice. Devante’s pushing for brainstorming ideas for his school’s egg drop challenge. Apparently the kids need to build something out of household stuff to protect the egg when it’s dropped and the entire table devolves into everyone talking about their ideas at the same time.
“We could put it in a balloon filled with Jell-O,” Devante suggests.
“How do you get the egg in or out of the balloon?” Malia snarks.
“Okay, the issue here is shock absorption,” Key adds, and it makes me smile. When he gets animated he talks with his hands. “Something to contain the vibrations.”
“So like a pair of Jordans,” Jasmine responds with a grin.
Rakeem lifts his chin at the dig, “I like my Jordans thank you very much.”
“Old-head,” she giggles.
“Bubble wrap might be a little easier,” Denise, london escort Key’s mom, responds.
I smile, watching. I don’t have anything to offer; I have no idea how to stop a raw egg breaking from a 20 foot drop.
“Tissues smushed in a shoebox–“
“No, an old tee shirt-“
“We could tape a bunch of straws into a frame-“
“Oh, okay, okay, hold up, we got an engineer in the hous-“
“Straws are bad for the environment.”
“Good for the egg though!”
“I still don’t understand what we wastin’ eggs for?”
My gaze keeps wandering back to Rakeem. A couple of times he catches me and my stomach dips. I always look away first, I can’t handle the way he looks at me; it gets hard to breathe.
Granny hooks her arm in mine.
“Look at him, isn’t he handsome?” She whispers to me gesturing to Key with her chin. I can’t resist and he’s carefully avoiding my face under Granny’s watchful eye.
He’s fine as fuck. He’s still in his beat up, paint stained, spackle smeared work clothes and he’s still fine as hell. Mans can wear dirt and still I’d come begging.
Every time he smiles I want to kiss him. Every time he looks at me my heart rate picks up. Every time a slender braid swings into his face and he sweeps it back, I have to stop myself from touching him.
He catches me looking again and this time I can’t look away. A slow smile spreads across his face, starting a fire deep in my belly and I want to take him and ravage him.
I try not to squirm. Or pant. Or jump him. Whew get your shit together, Peña.
I focus intensely on my–my phone buzzes.
Rakeem: Are your panties as hot as that look you just gave me?
Coño, me muero. That text hits me right in the twat.
Okay, be cool, Vivi. You’re not gonna die. I type my response.
Me: cum find out
Yeah, boy, super cool, heh. I flick my eyes up at him briefly, hiding behind a curtain of my hair to watch him.
He doesn’t disappoint. His jaw slackens a little and he shifts in his chair. I drop my gaze quickly to avoid eye contact.
Rakeem: And if I do? What will I find?
A bitch in heat.
Me: something wet and hot
Rakeem: something I can take off with my teeth?
Me: and something else u can take with ur tongue
I risk another glance up; his cheeks are slightly darker and shiny. I watch him work his throat, his Adam’s apple bobbing. His eyes flick to mine, smoldering.
Me: ur blushing
Rakeem: Not as much as you’ll be when you’re under me making those pretty sounds I fuck out of you.
Jesus. I actually place my hand on my chest.
Rakeem: You’ll be pretty pink and shaking when I taste you from the inside.
Rakeem: I’m taking you for mine one way or the other, so when I ruin you for any other dick and you can’t stand, remember you wanted it.
I can’t breathe. When I look up this time, he’s waiting for me and his gaze burns into mine. I bite my lip so hard I taste pennies.
Me: promises promises
I have to calm down. I clear my throat.
I ignore any more texts from him and clear my place instead. I take Granny’s too. I debate taking his because I know damn well he can’t stand up, but I choose to instead clear everyone else’s first.
“Oh, thank you, sweetie!” Denise smiles gratefully at me.
“This one’s good, Rakeem, I hope you’re paying attention,” Granny cracks.
Everyone bursts into laughter barring Malia and Rakeem. Rakeem opens his mouth but before he can say anything I step in, clearing the rest of the dinner table, too.
“I appreciate that, Granny, but Rakeem and I are just good friends, nothing more,” I offer cheerfully and I think I do a pretty good job of hiding the literal chest pain that hits as I say it.
“Mom, behave,” chides Denise but Granny rolls her eyes.
“You need someone family oriented, Rakeem,” she scolds like his nuts are going to shrivel up this afternoon without a wife. I grin.
This is amazing. I thought this was just a Latine thing.
I glance at Rakeem but his eyes are downcast. My smile falls off when I realize. Is that shame?
“He just broke up with Audra!” Malia bursts out. “Like five minutes ago? What is wrong with y’all? She might not be important to anyone in this room but she is to me!!” Malia snaps.
The whole room goes silent. Rakeem’s face is completely blank and my heart aches for him.
Oh, baby. You’ve done nothing wrong.
Family is the biggest cockblock of all time.
Apparently, Malia’s outbursts happen often enough that the vibe bounces right back. We sing and do cake, and Malia joins in like she ain’t just pitched a fit and eventually I slip out the back door to sit in the backyard.
I love their backyard. It’s nothing big or particularly fancy, and there’s no garden. Instead there’s an old shed and clumpy grass and a tire swing london escort agency made with a real tire. It has a dope view of town and killer sunsets because they live up the hill and when Key lights a fire pit and we chill in the evenings, it looks like the stars fell out of the sky on the city below.
And don’t even get me started on the fireflies in the summer–it’s just magic back here.
Spring is in full swing now, but for New Jersey that just means the mornings and evenings are cold and the middle of the day is either hot, temperate, or stormy. You never know. Tonight it’s cool, but not too cold. My hoodie is almost too much. I drink a coffee and watch the sunset leaving the circus of Harris-Millers inside. I hit my vape.
Rakeem: Where you at?
I smile. I’ve only been gone ten minutes.
Me: the backyard
Me: come to me
Rakeem: I gotta finish cleaning up but you chill.
Me: want help?
Rakeem: Nah, I got it. Relax reina
Ugh, I love it when he uses Spanish. He really does treat me like a queen.
After a minute, Malia comes outside. She pauses and looks at me. She frowns. “What are you doing here?”
I offer my vape.
She looks at it, then to me and back.
“Indica heavy hybrid,” I inform her. She stares me down like I’m not a boricua who uses staring as a weapon. I’m careful to keep my expression neutral, but I hold her gaze.
After a moment, she glances at my vape pen with interest.
Hesitantly, she accepts my pen and takes a delicate hit. She looks at me like she wants to say something but doesn’t.
“Take another hit,” I tell her and then take a sip of coffee.
I glance at Malia. I see the hint of a smile and it reminds me of Rakeem. I give her a little smile back.
Malia gives me back my pen. I take a hit and pocket it.
We sit in silence for a bit, she on her phone and me watching the day end and thinking.
“Are you really just friends?” Malia says after a long period of silence. The sun is almost all the way down.
The thought of saying yes hurts more than I’m willing to admit, so instead I say, “I also just went through a breakup.”
“Oh, dang,” Malia mutters.
“And if that wasn’t enough, the next time my aunts are together they’re all gonna come for me and my ‘dying’ eggs,” I pull out the vape to take another hit. I pass it to Malia.
Malia laughs a little, and it’s the first time I hear it all night. She’s got a beautiful smile and a gorgeous laugh. It makes me a little sad.
“I would hate that,” she shakes her head. She puffs thoughtfully and returns the pen.
“Yea, no, not a good time, I’d much rather watch Granny make Rakeem feel uncomfortable, feel me?” I grin.
She’s quiet a moment. Then she says, “How do you know my brother?”
I whip my head around and squint at her. How much damn weed did she smoke?
“Girl, I’m Jonny’s sister,” I exclaim. “I’ve known you since you were three, Malia!” Has it really been that long since I’ve come around?
I study her and puff, calculating her age. It makes sense, I guess. Actually no, that’s ridiculous.
Malia’s attention snaps to me immediately, and sudden recognition lights in her eyes. “Oh, dang, I didn’t even recognize you!”
“Who did you think I was??”
“Just some new hot piece of ass Rakeem brought in, my bad!” she says laughing holding her hands up. “I haven’t seen you in forever!”
“I was here a couple weeks back!”
“I mean before that!”
“I don’t know. I thought you were mad at me!” I exclaim. “Also, you really think I’m a hot piece of ass?” I ask, shifting tone and raising an eyebrow.
She snorts. “You know what I mean.”
I offer the vape. She declines.
“I do not, please explain to me how I’m a hot piece of ass in my Elmo hoodie and sweats. No, for real–I’m really ready to hear it, it’s been a week,” I say, tugging on Elmo’s eye. “Talk to me about this hotness.” I sweep my arm down my front. “Go on.”
“Stop!” she’s caught the giggles from the weed, and her eyes are half lidded.
“I even got this hole in my sock, but it’s on the bottom so you can’t see,” I slip my socked foot out of my slide and show her the hole in the center of my sole.
“Wear different socks!” she hoots.
“But look at how freaking cute these are– they have frogs!” I have both feet up and out trying to impress upon her the gravity of my situation. “I’m Puerto Rican, I can’t get rid of my frog socks!”
Malia is breathless with laughter and her laugh is so infectious I can’t help but laugh, too.
The sliding door opens and Key steps outside, and immediately Malia sobers, but at least doesn’t glare.
He pauses, looking at me with my legs up. “I do have to say I have a few questions.”
Malia busts up laughing again while I angle myself weird on the chair to stick my feet out towards him.
“I have a hole!” I explain. “And it feels weird.”
“Mom wants you,” he says to Malia after studying her for a minute with a little smile.
Malia huffs, but it lacks bite. She gets up and heads inside. “Bye, Vivi.”
“Night Malia,” I grin. I drop my legs over the arm of the chair.