Continued from #RelationshipGoals: He Was Starting A Family Without Me
So there I was, stuck between a rock and a hard place. Do I lie (or withhold the truth) to protect Abdul’s feelings or do I tell him the truth and risk losing him?
I wasn’t sure what to do with my mind and heart fixated on what used to be mine and what will never be mine again: Jackson.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: Ugh, Danielle is so annoying. Here she is with the perfect guy in the palm of her hand and she’s worried about someone who has moved on.
First thing’s first: Abdul was not perfect and Jackson and I were (and still are) soul mates, so if you could take off your judgmental cap and realize that the heart wants what the heart wants for a second — my heart wanted Jackson.
Jackson’s kiss and promise of a friendship plagued my life, plagued my happiness, plagued my future with Abdul. I wasn’t sure if I was holding on to Jackson because I couldn’t have him anymore (and we always want what we can’t have, right?) or if I was holding on because, despite all the obstacles (he’d created), we were supposed to be together.
I decided that I needed to see Jackson. But as quickly as that thought ran to the front of my brain, I was able to squash it even quicker. The last time Jackson and I met up, we were playing tongue wars with each other. I didn’t think I’d be able to handle another kiss with Jackson.
And then, it happened. I saw him. Correction, I saw them.
I was going to Abdul’s restaurant one night to have a couple of drinks before he clocked out. I was going to spend the night at his place.
As soon as I walked in, Abdul looked up, smiled at me like I was a first place blue ribbon prize and kept working. I watched the girls follow him around the room with their eyes as I went to the bar. I made one turn and then glanced to my right before sliding onto the bar stool. My heart stopped.
It was Jackson, tucked away at a table in the corner of the restaurant, sitting across from a svelte woman with dark, wild curls atop her head and a smile that even warmed my jealous soul. She was unmistakably beautiful. I fought back my tears all while trying to swallow the giant lump in my throat.
Neither of them could see me staring. They enjoyed their dinner and they enjoyed each other. Jackson would brush the curls from her face after she hid her face in her hands, laughing at something he’d said. I used to courtesy laugh at all of Jackson’s corny jokes too. I wondered if her giggles were genuine.
“Danielle?” I was shaken from my fixation by Kes, the bartender who always works on the nights I wait for Abdul. He wanted to take my order.
“Dark and stormy, extra ginger, please,” I forced a smile at the bartender. As soon as he turned around, I focused my attention right back on Jackson and his beautiful soon-to-be wife. Her glow annoyed me. There she was, growing a life inside of her that she and Jackson created. I wanted them to see me, but I didn’t. Who was I kidding—I’d be terrified if Jackson saw me and she didn’t even know who I was, even though she should. She was marrying my leftovers, that wench.
“Dark and stormy, extra ginger,” the bartender’s voice was much deeper than before. I recognized the baritone. It was Abdul. My smile was instant.
He slid the drink into my hand and let his fingers linger on mine as he squeezed my pinky, “What are you looking at nosey?” He laughed.
I tried to play it off, AKA, I lied, “That lady’s hair is beautiful. I’m thinking about doing mine like that.”
“Cute, I’ll be right back,” Abdul took off in the direction of Jackson’s table. I could hear ringing in my ears. The Abdul I knew would go right over there and tell Jackson’s baby momma that I loved her hair and he’d point me out. I turned away from the train wreck before he could get it on the track.
But when I glanced over, I saw him refilling their waters. He said something to Jackson and Jackson laughed and said something back and then they shook hands and Abdul walked away smiling.
Crisis averted, I hoped. Abdul continued working. Jackson and his woman kept eating and flirting and I kept stalking them. During my third dark and stormy, Jackson and his wild and curly girl got up to leave and I watched him pull her chair out and help her up. Her bump protruded proudly and he rubbed it. He allowed her to walk in front of him as he guided her with one hand in the small of her back. And just like that, they were gone. I was able to breathe again, but it didn’t feel good.
“I need a shot,” I told Kes.
“You got it,” Kes poured me a shot of whiskey and then poured one for himself. “Cheers.” We took the shot.
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