Erica-Rose felt her knees begin to buckle. She locked her eyes on Karen’s lips as her hand felt around for the nearest seat. When Erica finally sat down she allowed her eye lids to blink. Did she just say she was on the phone with her daughter, Erica asked herself.
“Did you just say you were on the phone with your daughter?” Erica asked out loud.
“Yes, I did E.” Karen answered, sitting down on the couch and placing her hand on top of Erica’s. “I was going to tell you at the park. I was even going to tell you the first day I ran into you and we came here to the house.” Karen looked away for a moment and then brought her gaze back to Erica’s eyes. “Every time I tried…you were always leaving.”
Erica felt a little light headed. What did this mean? Had Karen been with a man while she was gone? Was she bi now? Ugh…Karen please don’t be bi, Erica pleaded to herself.
“So that’s who you went in the room to talk to that day?” Erica asked, already knowing the answer and feeling terrible for running out on her.
“Yes.” Karen replied with a smile. Finally, Erica knew everything. Finally, the weight Karen was carrying felt a little lighter. Karen closed her eyes for a second and sighed deeply.
“Karen….how…I mean…when…..” Erica didn’t know what to ask first.
“Relax E.” Karen interrupted her, bringing her index finger to Erica’s lips. “Just listen.”
Erica sat back into the couch and Karen swung her legs over Erica’s knees where they hung close. She slid her body closer with intentions to lean into Erica but she hesitated. Sensing the hesitation, Erica let her hand fall to Karen’s shoulder and pulled her the rest of the way.
“Jasmine is four years old E.” Karen began. “She is the product of my rape.”
Of course, Erica thought to herself. Of course she had been with a man. You’re so stupid Erica.
“A month after the rape, I went to the doctors because I had been feeling ill.” Karen explained. “It’s funny how being pregnant and having a stomach virus feel similar. The pregnancy test the doctor gave me confirmed my morning sickness. I didn’t know what to do. I have never been a fan of abortion and I was not ready for a child. Finally, one day I decided I would give her up for adoption. I was afraid to tell you. I would have to tell you the whole story and I was not ready.” Karen took a deep breath. “When you proposed that night…I was so happy….but you didn’t know what you were getting yourself into. So….I left. I left to have the baby, with every intention of coming back, but……..I’m so sorry Erica.”
There was silence for a while. Karen knew Erica was just processing the information. Karen leaned into Erica’s chest and let her head rise and fall with E’s every breath.
“Karen, I would have been there for you. I wanted you….all of you. I would’ve wanted your child too.” Erica finally spoke. “So you two have a relationship?”
“I found a couple in Texas, where I’ve been the whole time. However, they changed their mind at the last minute.” Stupid jerks, Karen thought for a second. She still felt some kind of way about that.
“So she ended up in the system and was placed in a foster home. I couldn’t leave until I knew she was safe and with a good family.” Karen continued. “But that time never came. I went to see her every week. Every week turned into every other day. I found a job, and an apartment nearby. She doesn’t know that I’m her mother, just a close friend that cares about her. Parents would be interested in her but when they saw how involved the birth mother was, they would never commit to her. They feared I would change my mind. I started visiting less but pretty soon I just gave her my phone number to call anytime, and I moved back to California. I want her to be happy.”
“Wow babe, I can’t believe you’re someone’s mom.” Erica said with a half chuckle and smile.
“I’m not a mom E. Definitely not a good one.” Karen replied.
“Hey, don’t say that.” Erica said lifting Karen’s head to look in her eyes. “You put her welfare before yours. In my book that makes you a great mom. If you ask me, you would have given her a perfect home.”
“I’m so glad you finally know everything.” Karen said, sitting up so Erica could see her smile.
“Me too.” Erica responded. “Are you sure that’s everything? You don’t have a wife somewhere do you?” Erica asked laughing out loud.
“No E. I don’t. But something tells me you do.” Karen’s statement changed the entire mood again.
Erica wasn’t surprised that Karen finally called her out. That was why she came over here anyway, right? Erica couldn’t help but feel differently now though. Every reason that caused her to pull away from Karen was false. Was Kim really the one for her? Or was her vulnerability the only reason Erica wanted to be around?
“She’s not my wife Karen.” Erica said, lifting Karen’s legs off of her own and folding her hands across her knees. “But I care bout her a lot. She has been there for me for awhile.”
“Do you love her?” Karen asked.
Erica didn’t answer.
“Erica, do you love her?” Karen asked again.
“I think I do, but I’m not sure.” Erica finally answered. “She has given me everything I could ask for…I should love her. I’ve even said it…..but…” Erica paused.
“But what?” Karen asked, urging Erica to speak her mind. “But what?”
“But you Karen!” Erica said louder than the tone they had been using and staring at Karen with watery eyes. “But you popped back in my life and so did every feeling I ever had for you.” Erica took a deep breath. “I never stopped loving you. We never stopped. We…”
Karen interrupted Erica’s sentence and kissed her softly on her lips. She pulled back, placing her hand on Erica’s cheek and looking into her eyes. If Karen’s eyes said anything at all, they said I Love You. “I love you.” Karen allowed her mouth to say.
Erica pulled Karen back to her mouth and hungrily but softly kissed her deep and long. Karen’s lips fit so well connected to Erica’s. If Erica could kiss her forever, she would. When they finally parted, Erica let the reality of Karen’s danger hit her.
“You can’t stay here babe. It’s not safe.” Erica said as she stood and pulled Karen to her feet. “Pack a bag, you’re going to stay with me until we figure this thing out.”
“I can’t ask you to do that Erica. I don’t want to involve you any more than I have to.” Karen argued. “Besides, you’re involved or something and you need to figure that out first.” Karen raised her eyebrow.” I know you don’t think I’m going to be the other woman.”
Erica laughed at Karen’s attitude, but she knew she was serious. “I know Kare…I know. But please, I will lose my mind worrying about you if you don’t come with me.” Erica pleaded. “Please, just come. I’ll figure this love thing out soon. But let me keep you safe.”
Karen knew Erica meant her words and as selfish as this may sound, she didn’t really care about this other woman. “Okay Erica, give me a minute while I pack.”
Karen walked to her bedroom to pack and Erica took a seat back on the couch. “We should go get something to eat on the way home.” Erica shouted at Karen.
“That would be nice, I’m starving.” Karen yelled back, smiling at Erica saying ‘home’.
Erica pulled out her phone and scrolled down to Kim’s number. If they didn’t talk soon this situation would get entirely out of hand. Erica knew how she felt for Kim. She also knew what she felt for Karen. This stalker business was serious though. She couldn’t let Karen down again.
Erica sent a text to Kim, saying that they needed to talk. Seconds later Kim replied, that yes…they did need to talk.
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