tagRomanceVane & Alex

Vane & Alex

byYvette1©

Friendship with a guy is a good thing. Actually, it's a wonderful thing, depending on the guy. Take my friend Alex, for example. I don't have to worry about him bothering me about borrowing my favorite shoes or dress and not returning it. I don't have to worry about competition with him about a man when we're in the clubs or the catty nonsense that sometimes springs up amongst women at the worst and most embarrassing times.

I've known Alex for several years now. We met one day when I came to pick my ex up from work. He needed a ride that day because his car was being repaired, so he asked my ex if we could drop him at home since we lived in the same area. At first glance, he appeared to be your average guy. At least until he opened his mouth. Then he became one of the funniest bastards you'll ever have the pleasure of meeting. On the way home, I found out that he was a bachelor by choice, due to a bad marriage. His 2 children were grown- one in college and the oldest working in New York.

After that day, he and my ex started hanging out on the weekends and it wasn't unusual to see him at our home more than twice a week. I thought nothing about setting an extra place for dinner if I knew he was coming by because he had become a part of the family. Kind of like a big brother.

Though Darius and I were having problems in our relationship, we still tried to make it work. But lately, he had started staying out later and later. Sometimes not coming home until the next morning. Then he started using Alex as his excuse for staying out late. I started to develop a dislike for Alex because I felt that he was interfering with the mending of our relationship by keeping Darius out late. That was when everything changed.

One Saturday morning, Alex came by to pick Darius up to go fishing. I had decided the next time I saw him, that I was going to confront him with what I was feeling about his interference in our relationship. When I opened the door, I was greeted with his usual lazy smile. I stepped back to allow him in.

Once we were in the den, I turned to him and said, "Darius went to the store and should be back in a few, but we need to talk."

He looked at me curiously but said nothing.

I took a deep breath then plunged in. "I don't like the fact that you're keeping Darius out so late. I know you're aware that we're having trouble in our relationship and we're trying to work things out. I understand you're a bachelor and if you want to hang out all night, that's your business. But Darius is in a relationship with me and I don't see how we're going to work things out if you're going to be dragging him all over town atall times of night."

I had to give it to him. I had expected to see him blow up and get defensive, but he did none of that.

Instead, he took a deep breath and looked at the floor. "First, I would never do anything to jeopardize your relationship. You're a great friend and I want to see you happy. But you have the wrong person."

Now it was my turn to look baffled. "What the hell are you talking about? He leaves here with you or he leaves here headed for your house almost every night. I'm pretty sure I have the right person."

"I don't like dishonesty, which is why I haven't been out with Darius in 2 weeks. I'm not going to be his scapegoat. And as far as me keeping him out all night, I've never been out with him past 11.I have to be at work too early for that. I didn't want to cause any more problems between you two than you already have, so I kept silent. But now he's using me as an excuse and that is where I draw the line."

I saw red. "Get the hell out of my house! Just because you want to live the rest of your life alone doesn't mean that everyone else has to. I trusted you as a friend just as Darius has and this is what you try to do??"

He stood up and started for the door. Then he paused and turned to look at me for a moment. "When you have time to sort through all this, and you see the truth in what I've told you, I'll still be here as your friend. You're a good woman and I know you're a loyal one. As a friend I'm telling you that you deserve better than this." With that, he turned and walked out the door. I stood there for what seemed like an eternity with tears of anger and doubt streaming down my face before I recalled where I was and closed the door.

Pulling myself together, I went to the bathroom to wash my face and to compose myself as best I could.

Not more than a half hour later, Darius returned. When he walked through the door, I was still unsure of what to believe and how to broach the subject. If Alex was lying, that would destroy what was left between us because Darius would take it as mistrust. If he was telling the truth, then not only would it destroy what was left of our relationship, but it would also mean that I've been played for a fool. Damned if I did, damned if I didn't.

Well, being played for a fool was one of the least desirable scenarios for me. If I had been screwed around prior to this, I could get over that. But I refused to continue in that vein if it was true.

He walked into the bedroom and put his arms around my waist from behind, kissing me on the neck. I pulled slightly away, turning in his arms to really look into his eyes, trying to see what was there. If there was any love for me there.

He looked at me with a frown. "Have you been crying? Is there something wrong?"

I felt my eyes narrow. "I don't know, Darius, is there?"

He looked away for a second, then back at me. "Vane, I'm not a mind reader. Tell me what's wrong."

He looked so innocent. Still looking into his eyes, I said, "Alex came by while you were gone."

I saw a flash in his eyes. "What did he say to you?"

"He said that he hasn't been out with you in 2 weeks. Why would he say that Darius? He also said that he's never been out with you past 11." I stopped because I could feel my control slipping.

Darius released me and began pacing. "You know he's lying. He probably just wants to break us up because he wants you for himself. You know that I would never do anything to hurt you, Vane."

I felt my fists clench as I continued to struggle for control. "Do I really look that stupid?"

I stalked over to him, "You jackass! If you even had a hint that he was up to something like that, you would never allow him here with me alone. Try the truth this time!"

He sat down on the bed and put his head in his hands. When he finally looked up he said, "I love you Vanessa, and I don't want to lose you. I've just been seeing someone on the side from time to time. Just hanging out with a friend. That's all."

"Just a friend. I've never known you to hang out with any of your male friends til 6. This shit is the reason we're having problems to begin with. You want me here for you, but you can't seem to keep your dick in your pants any longer than it takes for you to walk out the door. Well, guess what, Darius! Fuck whoever you want, as often as you want, so long as it isn't me!!" I stormed out of the bedroom. I could hear him pursuing me.

He grabbed my arm as I entered the living room. "Look, Vane, we can get through this, like last time..."

I took a deep breath. "There's nothing else to get through. I'm done with trying to be what you want me to be, I'm done with trying to make things work, and I'm done with you." I shook my arm free and walked over to the table, grabbing my keys. "I'm going out for a while to cool off. When I get back, I want you out of here."

I made it to my car, started it and just drove. After a while, it started getting dark. There was no one that I could think of to talk to at the moment. My Aunt Lil was away on her honeymoon and I had no other relatives living in this town.

'...I'll still be here as your friend...' I could hear Alex's words in my mind. Making a U turn, I drove to his house, the need to be comforted stronger at the moment than common sense.

When I reached his house, I turned off the car and just sat there thinking. Thinking about every time I had been lied to by the man I loved and trusted. Thinking about how I really should have known better. He did it to me once, why did I think he would do the right thing this time?

I was so wrapped up in my thoughts, I didn't hear the tapping on my window. When the sound finally registered, I looked up to see Alex standing there. He didn't say anything. He just opened the door, took my hand and pulled me out of the car. He didn't let go as he walked me up the sidewalk, through the front door and into his home.

He led me to a cute little beige loveseat and made me sit. Kneeling in front of me, he took my hands in his and asked, "How can I make it better?"

I saw the honesty in his eyes and it was as if a dam had been released in me. I started bawling like a baby. He came up beside me and took me into his arms. "It's okay. Let it all out."

After several minutes, I realized I had soaked the front of his shirt. Embarrassed, I pulled away. He let me go.

I couldn't quite meet his eyes. "I'm so sorry for what I said to you this morning, Alex. I just didn't want to believe that he would do that to me...again."

He took my chin and raised my face so that our eyes met. "It's water under the bridge, Vane. I'm just glad you came here. I meant what I said when I told you I would always be your friend and I will continue to be. Darius just called to give me a piece of his mind. I told him that he was a damned fool and it was his own fault for losing you. He got mad and hung up on me."

He got up to bring me tissue. "Here you go, lady. Dry up."

I took the tissue, thanking him. I dried my eyes and blew my nose. I was already starting to feel a little better. Now able to breathe a little more clearly, I could smell something wonderful coming from the kitchen. My traitorous stomach growled loudly.

"Would you like some dinner? I just grilled a steak and made a salad. I'd be more than happy to share it with you."

I started to refuse when my stomach rumbled again. Laughing for the first time that day, I told him, "Yes."

He pointed me in the direction of the bathroom while he set the table. After cleaning up, I went to the dining room to find him again. On the way, I noticed how unexpectedly beautiful his choice of furnishings were. His house felt like a well lived in home. Not to much or too little of anything. And if I hadn't known he was a devout bachelor, I would have sworn that it had been decorated with a woman's touch.

I voiced my thoughts to him as he seated me at the table. "You have a lovely home. Did you do all this yourself?"

He smiled. "Yep. I'm the only son my parents had. I have 3 sisters and a mother that made sure I was able to take care of even the simplest of tasks within a home." He left to bring the food to the table. He returned with 2 plates, each with a half of a T-bone steak. Then he left to get the salad.

After seating himself at the table he asked, "Would you like to say grace?"

I did and we began to eat in silence for the first few minutes. He broke it by saying, "I finally heard what I needed about the other job I was applying for."

After swallowing my wine, I asked, "Really?" He had mentioned at dinner one night that he was going after a job paying more as an architect for a major firm. For the time being he had been working on a construction site as a foreman with Darius.

"I'm so happy for you," I told him. "So when do you start?"

"Next week. I talked to my boss yesterday to let him know I would be leaving. He was happy for me too. I told him when I first started what my plans were and that I would only be there until I got the green light at this firm."

I was silent for a moment. He looked at me as if trying to gauge my mood. "Are you okay?"

I gave him a half smile. "Sure. Just relaxed. I was thinking about getting another apartment uptown, even though the rent in that area is outrageous. It'll be closer to my job, but I don't want to have to work overtime every week just to pay for it."

"Seriously?" he asked.

"Yes."

"Tell me how this sounds to you, then." He sat forward with an eager look. "I'm about to move uptown myself for the same reason. It's closer to work. I already own this house, so I'm going to rent it out to a friend of mine who's dying for some privacy. How about becoming roommates?"

His question took me by surprise. "You want me for a roommate?"

"Sure. For one thing, I know that you're responsible and trustworthy. And don't worry, I don't have nefarious designs on you. I consider you to be a great friend and I wouldn't ruin that for anything."

I knew I wasn't ready to be living with a man again this soon after what I has just gone through with Darius. Then again, he wasn't asking me to be his girlfriend, just his roommate. It would be something convenient for both of us...

His voice interrupted my thoughts. "You don't have to answer immediately. Take some time to think about it. I know you've been through a lot in the last few hours and have a lot on your mind. I don't want to add to what you're already trying to deal with. Just know that the offer's on the table."

With that, he stood up and began clearing the table. I watched as he took our plates to the kitchen. I never noticed before, but he had a very nice body. Well muscled from hard work, smooth brown skin and eyes only a shade darker. He kept his hair cut low and always looked comfortable in his clothes, whether he wore a suit or a pair of jeans, which he was wearing very well at the moment. He was only a few inches taller than me, but then again, I was considered tall for a woman.

Why was I noticing things like that about him? I wondered. Shaking my head, I stood up and started helping him clear the table in silence.

A little later, after the last dish was put away, we went to the living room to have another glass of wine. The events of the day had exhausted me and I started to doze as Alex told me about the apartment he had chosen. I felt someone caressing my hair and it felt so good.

"Vane."

"Mmmm..."

"Vane...wake up." I opened my eyes to see Alex standing over me.

"What time is it?" I asked, sitting up on the couch.

"It's 1:30 in the morning. You can take the guest bedroom. You've had a bit to drink and you're tired. I don't want you driving."

I started to protest, but he was right. No sense in endangering my life and someone else's. Besides, I really had nothing to go home to.

"Okay, but do you have something that I can sleep in? I'd really like to shower before going to bed."

He grinned and grabbed my hand, pulling me to my feet. "I'm glad you didn't put up too much of a fight." He led me to the guest bedroom. "It has an adjoining bath, so you'll have all the privacy you need. If you want, I'll pull your car into the driveway after I get you something to sleep in." He flipped on the light. The room was done in dark colors. Dark blue and burgundy.

"Nice," I said on a yawn.

"Thank you. I'll be right back."

When he left to go get the clothes, I walked over to the bed and took my shoes off. After placing them beside the bed, I pulled the covers back and laid back for a moment, or so I thought.

When I woke up again, sunlight was streaming through the curtains where they met in the middle and I tried to figure out where the hell I was. The details from yesterday came flooding back and I felt a tightness in my chest. I had better get used to waking up alone, I thought.

As I sat up on the side of the bed, I heard a knock at the door. Alex. He had taken care of me through all of this. "Come in," I called.

He came into the room balancing a tray of food on his left arm and a dark green robe draped across the other. . "How are you feeling this morning?"

I grinned a little sheepishly. "Aside from looking a mess, I'm fine. That smells good!"

He sat the food on the nightstand and laid the robe at the end of the bed. "I talked you to sleep last night and I thought you might want need the rest, so I didn't wake you up when I got up. And you look fine."

Whoever he was married to had to be a fool not to appreciate a man like this.

He interrupted my thoughts by saying, "Darius came by this morning."

I stared at him. "Why?"

"Apparently, he drove by last night and saw your car here. He asked if there was anything going on between us. I told him no and that you needed a friend with what he had just put you through. He said that he understood and that when you're ready, he wanted to talk to you. Do you intend to go back there until you decide to move?"

I was silent while I picked up my thoughts where they left off last night. "No, I don't. It hurts too much to live there with him until I can move out. I don't want any memories of him right now and being there would only remind me of him whether he was there or not. I intend to find a hotel until I move out completely."

He cocked a brow at me. "You're dense, woman. Stay here until you've made up your mind. As you saw last night, I won't take advantage of you. As a matter of fact, you can use this time as a trial run to see if we're compatible as roommates."

"Are you always this open with your home?" I asked bewilderdly.

"Only with my friends," he said. "Do want me to go pick up some of your things?"

I felt as I had been quite neatly manuevered and didn't have a damned thing to say about it. "I accept, but you really have to stop doing that."

He gave me an innocent look. "What?"

"You know what! Maneuvering me. I appreciate everything you've done. But let me make some of my own decisions, sir."

He laughed. "Yes, ma'am. Go ahead and eat your breakfast before it gets cold. There's an extra toothbrush in the bathroom. Everything you need for your, um, morning constitutional is there." With that he rose to leave. Before he got to the door, he turned. "You never gave me an answer."

"What...oh, yes, I'd appreciate it if you would bring some of my things."

"Okay." He smiled and left.

After finishing off the delicious breakfast of pancakes, sausage and orange juice, I got up and took the dishes back to the kitchen. When I was done there, I took some time to roam around the house, trying to get the feel of the man that called this place his home. He had wonderful taste, in fact it coincided with mine in a lot of areas. I saw family pictures on the mantle above the fireplace of his parents and sisters with their husbands and children. The most interesting one was the one of him with 2 young girls that could only be his daughters. They both had his soft brown eyes, but the youngest was stamped with all of his features, including the mischievous look I'd seen on more than one occasion.

I smiled to myself. There was so much more to this man than met the eye. I had never thought much about him aside from his visits to the house for Darius or the occasional dinner. I had pictured him as a bachelor disenchanted with the thought of family and love. The pictures on the mantle spoke of a man who very much loved his family and the way he had treated me spoke of a man full compassion for those he considered friends.

Though I knew we weren't yet well acquainted, I knew in my heart that I could trust him at his word. He'd had plenty opportunity to take advantage of me if he really wanted to, but he remained the gentleman throughout our encounter. That fact piqued me for some reason. Oh well. I didn't exactly need that kind of attention at the moment anyway.

I heard the key turn in the lock. I turned in the direction of the sound to see him coming through the door with two large suitcases. I made my way to him to try to lighten his burden.

"Goodness, man. I thought you were only going after a few things!" I said as I grabbed one of the suitcases. He only smiled and continued until he reached the guest bedroom I had used the night before.

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byYvette1© 9 comments/ 28584 views/ 10 favorites

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