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Author's Chapter Notes:

“I am not eccentric. It's just that I am more alive than most people. I am an unpopular electric eel set in a pond of catfish.” 
—Edith Sitwell

“Just say it.”

Jasmine groaned. The obnoxious look on Denice’s face was painful enough, but she knew that look alone was only the tip of the iceberg. After twenty minutes of sharing the details of her disaster evening with the no-show date, Denice looked ready to pop. She was practically beaming in sheer delight over her friend’s misery. So much for sympathy, but what did she expect? After weeks of warning Jasmine of this very possibility, this was her opportunity to metaphorically ‘dance on her grave’.

“No, I need to relish … in this … moment,” said Denice, her lips curled into a delicious grin that seemed to reach her ears. After sharing the details of the disaster date, Jasmine was forced to endure the smug look of satisfaction so clearly written on her friend’s face. Denice pulled her legs into a lotus position on the sofa, straightened her spine, dropped her chin, and then closed her eyes. Jasmine watched with an arched brow as her friend went into a meditated trance state complete with gibberish chanting just for added measure.


“Hold on, girl, hold on. I need to enter my zone. My good, good zone.” Said Denice, the mock meditation ending with palms met together in a bow of Namaste. Then came a long inhale as she needed every bit of oxygen to say what Jasmine already knew was coming.

“I TOLD you, girl.” There it was. “I told you, I told you. I. TOLD. YOU! Didn’t I tell you? Yes, I did tell you. And when did I tell you? SO many times I told you. That’s what you GET—HA, HAAAA!” With that, Denice erupted into a fit of laughter, much to Jasmine’s chagrin.

“All I said was that he didn’t show up!” snapped Jasmine, “You're the one that made it out like he was going to murder me!”

“But think about it and hear me out for a second,” pleaded Denice. “All he had to do was wait for your little prissy butt to walk outside defeated and then follow you home—BAM! The next day, you would be all over the news.”

Jasmine shook her head and simply fell back against the white sofa, a glass of wine in tow. Tonight was supposed to be a chance to unwind with a bit of wine and a good friend. Sadly, it ended up being a night of ridicule and humiliation, though part of her wondered if she deserved it.

“Yeah, well … you can relax, I haven’t heard from him in two days.” Said Jasmine with a note of sadness. That part she hoped her friend would not kick her down on. “I’ll just … go to the club with you this Friday.”

Denice beamed brightly and applauded. “Finally! That’s what I’m talking about, girl. We gonna go out, get drunk, an’ meet some REAL men!”

“Yeah, sure. Real men …or in your case as real rich.” Chuckled Jasmine.

“Hey, I got standards, boo. They gotta come looking good, and they gotta know how to keep me styliiiish.”

It was no wonder her friend was still single. After several men and one woman, she was still searching for Mr. Right yet with too many expectations. Being rich was certainly a plus but not a requirement. Sadly, her friend simply wouldn’t have it any other way. She smiled and slowly shook her head, how could she really blame her? If she was to settle down then there was no reason to settle for less. Even if she couldn’t be supportive of her choices, she would at least do that much for her. “You right, girl,” said Jasmine, “But uh, let’s hope he can keep you under control as well as stylish. You’re too wild.”

“And if he can’t handle that, then he can’t handle all of this.” To which she gestured to herself, thick frame and all. A laugh erupted between them both as they brought their wine glasses together and clinked in cheers.


But their laughter was interrupted seconds later as her phone lit up with a notification for a text. She had set a special sound notification for whenever Damien messaged her, and to her surprise she knew immediately it was him. Jasmine grimaced, just when she had thought she could get over this, it appeared her evening was just beginning. Denice looked between both her and the phone, quick to figure out just what had her friend in such a state of alarm.

“That’s him, isn’t it?” she asked. Without bothering to wait for confirmation, a hand whipped out to collect the phone which instantly sent Jasmine into a frenzy to retrieve it.

“Wait—No!” She exclaimed, but the cry went unheeded as Denice was already off the couch and speeding off towards the kitchen to read the received text like the nosy friend that she was. Jasmine could only watch from her sofa, conflicted between letting her read now that things were done or fighting to maintain her privacy. Then again, there really wasn’t much between them she could consider private. It was likely the third glass of wine that made her so reluctant to pursue her, so a part of her was curious how her friend would react. With a groan, she dropped her head face first into the cushions of the pillow in hopes that whatever was reported back to her went unheard.

Oooo, he think he’s SLICK!” shouted Denice. “Those pretty words he gives you must be why you were chasing him to begin with! Listen, listen…”

Unwilling to do just that, Jasmine reached to fetch one of her throw pillows and held it over her head in hopes of muffling out whatever else she had to say.

“Jasmine, I hope you are not too mad at me – insert a sad face – but I had something come up. Please talk to me. I will make it up to you. I miss you, girl. Period. Another Sad face.”

She snorted into the pillow. Try as she did to ignore it, the side of her that wanted to know what the man had to say made her hear every word. Then there was silence. Well, not complete silence, but the sound of someone fiercely using her phone.

“What are you doing?!” shouted Jasmine as she suddenly leapt up from the couch to look for her friends whereabouts. To her horror, she watched as Denice stood a few feet away, a wicked grin on her face with her tongue half out, her fingers flying over the keyboards to. Even the quiet release of a cackle told her that her friend was clearly up to no good.

“She … don’t want … you no mo’ … Mr. Freak. You … need … to get … gone.”

Oh hell. Leaping to her feet, Jasmine quickly made a mad scramble to retrieve her phone before the damage could be done. “DENICE!” But it was too late. The notification of a message sent sounded off, and with that went whatever chances she had in preserving her friendship with her no-show guy friend. That single act alone was enough to reveal how much didn't quite get over him. There was a small part of her ( or perhaps large ) that still had hope. Just a small one.

A notification sound went off signaling his reply.


9:31pm: Who is this?


Denice sneered. “Who is this? Oh I’ll tell him who this is—“

But before Denice could respond, the phone was quickly swiped away, back to its owner’s rightful grip. “I’ll take care of that!” said Jasmine as she wandered off to a remote area of her apartment.

“We just sat here for an hour talking about this guy and now you wanna talk to him?”

As much as she hated to defy her friend, she couldn’t help the aching curiosity to try and understand the reason behind the lack of appearance for the dinner. She deserved an explanation, one that would be met with closure. Maybe. Perhaps.


9:35pm: y didn’t u come? |:

9:36pm: I had reasons. I don’t know if I can explain.

9:36pm: Try me.

9:36pm: I’m really sorry, Jasmine. You went out of your way for me and I blew it. I’ll pay back whatever you charged. I’m sure you were beautiful, too.


“What’s he over there telling you?” Denice shouted from the sofa. having returned to it now that she no longer had reason to stand. She had returned to refill her glass with another helping of wine and grab a mouth full of crackers and cheese. “Don’t you start that mess up again! Remember what you told me!” she added, crumbs sputtering from her mouth.

But it was hard not to feel somewhat tickled by his last words. She did look good. He would have known that if he was there.


9:37pm: I wanted to see u. Im mad as hell at u. Who do u think you are?

9:38pm: You have every right to be mad. I still want to see you. Know you. Need you. Please stay. I can fix this. :(


“I see you over there getting all fluttery.”

She couldn’t help it. For a few words on a screen, they still managed to send her stomach into knots. Maybe it was her wild and vivid imagination that was helping this along. She could see it clearly; standing before her with a look that could melt a woman like a chocolate bar on a pickup truck dashboard in the middle of August.  Speaking of heat, that image alone made her skin flushed with fever.


9:39pm: I don’t know. What are you going to do?

9:40pm: I have something for you.

9:40pm: For me?

9:41pm: Yes. At your door. ;)


A short, sharp set of four hard knocks rapped on her door causing both Denice and Jasmine to jump. Startled by the unannounced arrival, a look of panic crossed their face as they both looked to each other in a state of shock.

Denice scowled as she silently mouthed the words ‘I told you' with a look of utter disgust. This was it. They were going to die tonight and it was entirely her fault. Who knew that her friend was right all this time and twice in one night? The messenger behind that door had followed her home and now they were going to meet their end. Ducking behind the counter in her kitchen, she quickly dug into a drawer and retrieved a butcher knife.

Being the braver of the two, Denice armed herself with a broom then cautiously made her way over to the door, yet not without sending another scathing look over to her friend. If this was to be her last moment on earth, she wanted to make sure Jasmine knew how angry she was over this. Once there, she slowly leaned forward to peer out the peephole first.

"Who is it? Ya'll better be ready! We ain't in here alone!" She yelled. No answer. "Wait a minute," she murmured as she looked out the peephole again. Jasmine watched in horror as he friend began to unlock all the locks to the door then immediately swung to open.

“What the hell?

Curious as to what hade her friend in such shock, Jasmine quietly made her way over to the door to peep behind her friend. Her eyes widened as a hand rose to cover her lips at the sight of what littered the hallway of her apartment complex. From her front of her door leading all the way towards the elevator were a series of various flower arrangements in crystal vases. Some vases were roses, others were daffodils or posies. Each one unique and with a card of some sort for her to read. Unfortunately, the cards were not to be read by Jasmine herself first as Denice had already begun to filter through each one.

Her phone went off again, a new message received.


9:48pm: Do you like it?


Unable to contain her joy, her lips slowly blossomed into a smile while her fingers quickly began to write up a response.


9:49pm: you did all this?

9:49pm: I have my ways. Don’t be creeped out. I said I would make it up to you.


“I’m not carrying all this into your apartment, by the way,” bellowed Denice from outside the doorway. “They could have done that!”

It was a bit odd and somewhat daunting knowing that he may or may not have delivered the items himself. Then again, being able to pull off such a feat so quickly was likely not done alone. Straight out of a novel, he had redeemed himself and then some by surprising her with an elaborate gift. While there was still no sign of him, which would have been a far better prize, the fact that he had went through such great lengths to do this did not go unappreciated. She couldn't stop from smiling. It was like being seventeen all over again.


9:50pm: I know you like flowers. So I gave them to you. Ten times.


“And how does he have your address? You mean to tell me he has your address?!”

It was easy to tune out Denice by this point. She was too far gone, floating about on some cloud marked nine. The fact that he had her address didn’t bother her either as she recalled giving her address before for letters they exchanged purely so that both of them had something tangible in their hands that came from the other. So it was no surprise that this form of apology was met with open arms.


9:50pm I love it thank u

9:50pm: You’re welcome, Wendy. I will make it up to you okay? :)


“Is that chocolate? Oh lord, that’s chocolate, girl. Let me break into this.”


9:51pm: I promise to fix this. I will. Don’t end our friendship, please. Forgive me?


. . .


A small grin began to grow on Michael’s lips as he read off the response.


One simple word somehow made his day. It wasn’t a lot, but it was definitely progress in his effort to rectify a situation he was having trouble trying to fix.

The gentle foot falls of shoes upon floor announced the return of one of his own and forced him to tuck his phone away for later. The unnamed man nodded to confirm what Michael appeared to be waiting to hear.

“It’s done.”

“All of it?”

“I’m sure whoever that was for will certainly appreciate it, Michael.”


Michael nodded, satisfied with the answer. “Well, that’s one step down, “He murmured as he raised his brows. “Now on to the next.”

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