It pained Erica to leave Kim the next morning. It wasn’t even until she cut her phone back on around six am that she remembered she had a business trip to prepare for.
“Baby, I have to go out of town tomorrow afternoon. Will you be okay?” Erica asked Kim as she kissed her forehead.
“I’ll be fine hunnie. Just hurry back…please,” Kim answered as she kissed her cheek.
“My flight leaves at two tomorrow afternoon and I’ll be back in two days.” Erica thought for a moment and then continued, “Are you sure you don’t just want me to get you a ticket and come with me?”
“No Erica. Handle your business and I’ll be here when you come back.” Kim responded as she smiled to herself. Erica was giving her all the affection and attention she could ever wish for.
Erica wished she didn’t have to go. However, this meeting would be brief and it would also give her a chance to catch up with her mentee, whom she affectionately referred to as her little sister.
She hadn’t heard from Jesse in awhile, so while she was in town she would stop by the university and surprise her.
Erica spent all day in her office with her boss, going over the advertisement layout for their new client. She texted and called Kim every chance she got. She thought about Karen for a second and wanted to call and check on her as well, but for once, Kim had to come first.
Erica boarded her plane the next afternoon and five hours later she gathered her luggage and hailed a taxi to take her straight to the university. It wasn’t hard to find the gym and all she would have to do was find the coach and inquire about Jesse’s dorm. It was just her luck; they were having practice when she walked in.
At the blow of a whistle all the players stopped their drills for a water break. She quickly got Jesse’s attention. Jesse ran over to the stands where they shared an extremely long hug. Neither of them wanted to let go.
When the hug was over, Jesse smiled big, “What are you doing here?”
“I’m in town for a couple of days on business and I haven’t heard from you in awhile. So I thought I’d stop by and make sure you’re not getting into trouble,” Erica smiles at the younger girl. When Jesse doesn’t immediately respond, she gently presses, “You are okay, aren’t you? If I have to put one of these young girls over my knee, I will.”
“Yeah,” Jesse shrugs and chuckles lightly, “It’s just a long way from home. I miss things like stores that stay open all night and Starbucks that let you skate in the parking lot.”
Erica laughs, “You know good and well Starbucks does not let you skate in their parking lot. That just never stopped you.” Erica paused seeing obvious pain and affliction in her eyes, “Well, we’ll have to save you from this Hell hole then.”
“I’m not saying it’s Hell necessarily,” her eyes drift to the court and she watches Sara for a moment before speaking again. “There are things to distract me here.”
Erica’s eyes follow Jesse’s line of sight and she chuckles low, “Sara Mayze, huh? Yeah, she’s a distraction for sure.” She watches as the girl dribbles the ball and laughs with a team member. When Sara and Darcy start dancing on the sidelines, Erica groans, “Oh lord, sexy young girls grinding on each other. I can’t handle this. How the hell do you play on this team?”
Jesse laughs loudly, “I barely do, to be honest.” She watches Darcy spoon Sara as they dance to a slow R&B hit, “That girl’s gonna steal everything I got, Erica-Rose.”
“Don’t play with me, Jess, you and I both know you’ll willingly give her whatever she wants.”
“She already had everything she wants from me,” Jesse says almost in a whisper as she averts her eyes.
Erica’s head tilts, “What do you mean?”
Jesse makes eye contact with Erica now, “I mean that all she wanted was sex.”
“And she’s alrea…” Erica finally understands, “Ah. That was fast, Jess.”
“Don’t you dare judge me, Erica-Rose.”
The older woman laughs loudly, “I didn’t say a word, did I? I haven’t uttered one syllable!”
“But you were thinking it,” Jesse points, “I know you.” They laugh together for a moment.
As the laughter dies, Erica speaks, “I just didn’t know you were ready to go there yet. Then again, you have come a long way from the young and emotional girl I met at the center a few years ago.”
Jesse grins, realizing she has grown and remembers being such a wreck when she first met with Erica for the counseling about her rape. “I’m so glad you’re still in my life, I’ll always need your guidance,” Jesse said, pulling her mentor into a half hug.
“You won’t always need me,” Erica responded, “But I’ll be here until it’s time to clip your wings hun.”
Jesse grabs Erica’s shoulders, “Please..do..not..clip my wings.” They both burst out laughing.
Erica get serious for a moment, looks her mentee in her eye and says, “You are growing into a beautiful woman little sister, and you already know the secrets to life.” She ignores Jesse’s raised eyebrow and continues, “One, love yourself. Two, love women and three, ignore all things that bring negativity into your life.”
Jesse thinks a moment, “Is that what I should do with Sara? Just ignore her and she’ll go away?”
“No,” Erica picks up on the sarcasm, “that will not work for you. She’s going to be a team member for at least three more years. Ignoring her would be counterproductive.”
“Then maybe that’s not one of the secrets in life!” Jesse yells sarcastically at Erica as her lips curve into a smirk, “Yeah. That’s what I thought.”
“Jerk,” Erica jabs, even though she’s grinning.
“Asshole,” Jesse counters with a smile.
They hug once more, “Ok,” Erica says, “let’s hurry this up so we can go out to dinner.”
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