Posted in Short Story

Please Don’t Go (Part 2) by Cortney Joseph

September 25, 1996 (Three Weeks Later) :

 

Tani –

 

Losing myself in the beat of a dope, new song, I disregarded the fact that the lyrics of the song was some shit that kind of reflected Keith and I. Since the fallout, he’d made many attempts to get us back on speaking terms, but I just couldn’t go back as quickly as I normally would.

While our relationship had never been physically violent, the verbal arguments finally hit me. Every last one and I became angry with myself for tolerating it, and letting myself continue to go back and forth when I could have easily moved on after our first  major fight.

 

Baby we can try again… if you’re ready. Maybe we can take it slow… if you’re ready. I’ve been around, you know the things I used to do. Girl I never thought, never thought I’d find someone like you Babe. Girl, I need you in my life.

 

Since it was the first chance we had to kick it in a while and the wedding, scheduled for last week, had been called off, I jumped at the first chance to go out with my girls. I needed it. All I’d done for the last three weeks was sit around my house, moping and eating because I’d cleared out my touring schedule.

I grabbed Shana, dancing against her on purpose just to annoy her. “You ain’t shit Tani. You know I’m up here missin’ my current boo, and you wanna rub on me and shit. I’m not playing the bi games tonight.” I laughed, hugging her before I backed away, dancing with Vita and Danika since they were more relaxed. Soon the drinks were flowing and before the night was over, we’d danced to damn near every song the DJ played.

Once Shana got the page she was waiting on, she ducked out and that just left me with Danika and Vita, chilling in the VIP section since none of us were ready to go home.

I was bobbing my head to the beat of some Pac song playing over the speakers. “I ain’t wanna ask with Shana’s ass around, know how judgemental she can get. But um, how are you really feeling Tani?”

I looked at Vita and shrugged. How was I supposed to feel? I fucked around and caused the end of my relationship ‘cause I wanted to be real about problems for a change. “I’ll get over it. I always do.”

“No you don’t.” We both looked at Danika and she took a sip of her drink. “You don’t get over anything, you internalize.”

“How are you going to tell me what I do?”

“Because, it’s the truth.”

 

I cleared my throat. I’m not really in a mood to fuss so I just let her go on believing that. “I cope and deal with what needs to be dealt with. Obviously, trying to talk about all I had ‘internalized’ backfired on me, so what else is there for me to do but move on and get over it? I’ll be fine.”

“I swear fo’ Lawd, you and Keith irk me. Y’all are the most backwards ass couple ever. Have nothing to fight about, but fight about every damn thing. What for?”

I dropped my head, trying to tune Denika out. She was playing Shana’s role of calling people out. “Why are we talking about this? Let’s go and eat something.”

“You’re becoming a chubby bitch like us.”

“And, so what Denika? I don’t have a man to keep myself up for anymore. And we all know my fans aren’t here for my looks. Shit, let me be the female Heavy D if I wanna be.”

Vita shook her head. “You’d have to stop cursing first. And learn how to dance.”

“Know what, goodnight y’all. I came out to get away from my problems, not have them thrown in my face. If I wanted to be bothered with the truth of this shittiness that is my life, I would have gone to my mama. Bye.”

 

 

Once I stopped to get myself something to eat, I headed straight home. Showered to clear my mind, got dressed in nothing but some boxers and a sports bra and set up camp in the center of my bed.

Covers pulled to my chin, surrounded by all of my favorite snacks. My phone rang a couple of times but I knew it was the girls, and the last thing I wanted was to hear more of their sermons on what to do with my life and relationship. I mean, so what if I bury my feelings and my problems? I made it through the first twenty-two years of my life without sharing my feelings and until I came across Keith’s ass, I was just fine.

 

My phone rang again and I sighed, reaching over and picking up the receiver without checking my caller ID. “What?”

“Tanisha, please talk to me.” I sighed, shaking my head as I mentally cursed myself out. “Baby, you know damn well I didn’t mean what I said.”

“But you said it Keith, and you got what you wanted so now you have to accept it.”

“I don’t have to accept shit.”

“Ugh, why won’t you just leave me alone? You said that you were tired of me acting petty and childish, right? You said us going back and forth is annoying as fuck, right? You said that you’re over it, we’re over, right? Leave me alone and let me move on.”

“Hell no. You said you wanted to talk, right? Let’s talk, right now.”

“I don’t have anything to say.”

He cleared his throat. “Looks like we’re about to be on this phone all night then until you say something.”

I pulled the receiver from my ear and looked at it for all of two seconds. “Nah, you’re about to be holding the phone to your ear, listening to a dial tone all night.” I hung up, sinking lower under my covers after grabbing one of the snickers I had sitting beside me. My phone rang repeatedly, but I ignored it as I watched the various shows playing on FOX.

 

That lasted for a couple of hours. I was just getting into an episode of Mad About You when I heard a loud series of knocks at my door. Grabbing my bat from the corner near my closet, I quickly threw on a t-shirt I had laying on my nightstand and went to my front door. At four in the morning, I don’t give a damn who it is; they gon’ get swung on.

Lowering my voice, I finally spoke up. “Who is it?”

“Tani, I told you last time we went through this that your dude voice is weak. Open the door.”

I kept my chain on, opening the door just enough for him to see my eyes. “What?”

“Please talk to me.”

“We’re talking right now, Keith, what do you want?”

“I want you. You know this. Let me in before that old cop next door tries to tase me again.”

“Nah, I can hear you just fine, right here.”

Keith sighed, zipping his jacket up as he tried to give me puppy dog eyes. “Look, you know I’m not one for soft shit, but if I have to, I will sing outside of your door or next to your window all morning until you let me in. Do you want me to embarrass you; one of the only three black people in this whole damn neighborhood? I’ll do it.”

“I don’t believe yo ass.”

He looked at me before stepping back. I closed my door, turning on my heel until I heard the first note. It stopped me dead in my tracks. And no, not because his ass sounded good. He sounded HORRIBLE.

 

But I was caught up in physical attraction, but to my satisfaction, Baby you were more than just a face. And if I ever…. ever fall in love agaaaaain…

 

I got fed up quickly, opened my door, pulled his dumb ass inside and slammed my door. After I locked it, I turned to face Keith. Irritated to the max. “What the fuck is your problem!?”

“I do stupid shit like this when I don’t have you in my life. Is that what you want to hear? Are you happy?”

“No Keith, I’m not!” I sighed, shaking my head. “I’m miserable and I’m mad because this could have been avoided if I’d just kept my fucking mouth shut. Right now could have been avoided if you’d just accepted that you got what you asked for.”

“I didn’t ever ask to be away from you. If I was truly done with us and our relationship, I would have never proposed. And I damn sure wouldn’t have gone through three years of highs and lows with you. I care! I love you! I just don’t know why you felt that we needed to postpone or stop to talk about shit we already know. Yes, we fight. Who doesn’t? We talk mad shit, that’s what got us caught up in one another in the first place. If you didn’t have this hard ass demeanor, slick mouth, and crazy ass attitude, I wouldn’t have anything to look forward to when I see you. I never said I wanted an easy relationship. I like a challenge, I love to have my opinion and authority tested. I love what we had, why do we have to change just because it seems like shit is wrong?”

“Because it was wrong. I don’t like fighting when I don’t have a real reason to, Keith. Getting mad because you didn’t put the cap back on my toothpaste or because you kicked the damn rug away from the tub, that’s so damn stupid to me. And I get mad over small shit like that all of the time, for nothing. I nitpick because I have issues but don’t talk about them, and I’m stupid and…”

“Shut up.”

 

I cut my eyes and he grabbed me, rubbing the side of my face. “Don’t tell me what to do.”

“Shut the hell up, Tanisha. I know that you are not easy to get along with, and I know that you have issues. You and I, we’re not talkers. We could just lie in bed and never say a word, just lay there in silence and be so content. And that is okay with me because we say what needs to be said, when it needs to be said. We’re not the emotional type, we’re not out there or extra with our shit. It’s easy ‘cause we just go with the flow. If we fight, we fight and we make up when we’re ready. I don’t mind that. At the end of the day, I know you love me. And you know I love you more than anything. It’s a lot of shit I would do for you, give up for you. What we got, it’s perfect to me.”

“But it’s so pointless, and it’s not healthy.”

And he knows I’m right.

Keith started rubbing my shoulders. “So what are we going to do? I don’t care how much you yell or curse me out, but I’m not giving up on us. I don’t want to be with anyone but you.”

“You need somebody that won’t get on your damn nerves.”

He groaned, pulling me closer as he pressed his lips to mine. Wrapping my arms around him, I smiled, leaning into the kiss for a few minutes before he finally pulled away. “I’m going to tell your stubborn ass one last time; I don’t want anyone but you, Tanisha Harrison. Whatever you’re feeling, I promise that we’ll work on it together as we go along, but I am not giving up. Now please stop this madness so I can stop acting like a bitch.”

I fell out laughing, hugging him tightly.

 

I took a deep breath, smiling as he pulled my ring out of his pocket and quietly slipped it back on my finger. “I don’t think we should rush back into planning or going through with the wedding.”

“That’s fine. Just please don’t ever leave me, don’t give up on me or us again. Don’t go, don’t take your love away.” I continued holding on to Keith as he swayed me back and forth, kissing all over my face and neck as he spoke. “Whether you believe it or not, I need you just as much as you need me. Don’t go, because ain’t nobody else in this world gonna put up with our shit.” I nodded. “Please don’t ever go anywhere; as your number one fan, I need to know that I’ll always have a place in your life to cheer you on. I’m sorry for everything; old shit, new shit, future shit. I’m sorry about it all and I’ll keep apologizing, just please don’t leave me.” He sighed. “Lord, Woman, you’ve got me out here crying and sniveling like a hoe. Baby, this is real love.”

“You love me enough to sit in therapy?”

“Yes Tani. I love you so much that I will go and talk about my feelings, if it would make you happy. Just tell me that you’re mine, and that you’ll always be mine.”

I smiled, nodding as he picked me up. I wrapped my legs around his waist, giggling when he began to palm my ass. “Chill out Keith. Even though I want to, sex is not something we need to involve ourselves in right now.”

“That’s cool Tani. Long as I can hold you, I don’t care what else happens. Now tell me you’re never going anywhere.”

“Don’t tell me what to do.”

“Just say it, Damnit.”

I rolled my eyes. “I’m not going anywhere, Keith. And when we’re ready again, I can’t wait to be your wife.”

“Good, with your rough ass.”

“Ugh, can we at least wait a couple hours before we start fussing again?”

“Sorry; that was the ‘no sex’ revelation registering. I was trying to start some shit just to makeup the right way.”

This fool here.

 

************

 

December 2014 :

 

Kendall finally took a deep breath and shook her head. “So basically, years of therapy kept you two together?”

“Nope. Your dad lied, he never went to any of those sessions.”

Keith cleared his throat, smiling. “And she never forced me to go, but I spent so many nights on the couch behind that, but everything else I said was the truth. The point is we both had our issues. While Tani cared and they affected her, I wasn’t really bothered by my own. I knew our personalities, and that’s why we clicked eventually. I fell in love with her when she was as tough as nails, cussing me out just as quickly as she said a sweet hello. I never told her, or anyone for that matter, but I didn’t like women who were just willing to do whatever was expected or what they were told. I did and said things just because I knew it would upset Tani. I liked seeing her short ass get riled up, still do.”

“So why was that specific moment so big? Why was that the time you were willing to give up, Mama?”

“Just feeling like I didn’t deserve it all, outside of my career. Not knowing if that was what I really wanted because that was my first time really being in love. Having never gone through that, not knowing myself the way I should have.”

“I thought you were pretty confident from all the other stories I’ve heard.”

I shook my head. “Always overcompensating with a bad ass attitude, only toning down when it came to my career. Years of letting things build up… in those three weeks, I was willing to let go of Keith and my career. I was fed up with a lot.”

“Wow. Would you have been happy if you gave up both?”

I shook my head. “Nope. I’d have been depressed for real then.”

“Why’d you keep trying to push Dad away though? I rarely even see his soft side and you broke him down. Dad was begging harder than Keith Sweat.”

 

Keith laughed shaking his head while I played with his curly hair. “I felt like he deserved better than my unstable ass. But like he said, he was my number one fan and he meant that, and eventually I learned to appreciate that. And I was his number one fan as well.”

“Y’all still supported one another after the break up.”

I shook my head, hating to admit this. “No, I had my claws out. Ready to talk bad. I’d done this one media interview for some award show and they asked if I hoped he’d win…”

“She said ‘No’.”

Kendall gasped. “I was in my feelings, okay. That was like three days after I gave the ring back. But anyway, I had said that and when they asked him the same question, Keith said he hoped I won everything I was nominated for. Said I deserved it all.”

“Dang.” She sighed, turning her camera off. “Y’all got some serious issues. Now I’m gonna be slightly concerned when y’all argue.”

“Concerned for what? Those are all fake arguments, most of them are anyway. The rest are never that serious. Just your mama being her usual, petty self.” I nodded, cosigning Keith.

“When was the last real, serious one?”

Keith didn’t remember so I had to sit and think about it for a few seconds. “Oh, the night I went into labor with you. Hell, that’s a story in itself.”

“Y’all got stories for everything.”

Keith got up, nodding his head as he stretched. “We’ve had crazy ass, amazing lives. Now we’re in our forties, and still got more to live. This was real nice though Kendall, and I really hope this project comes out the way you want it to. I’m gonna call up a few of my old friends, see if they want in on it.”

“Yaaas, thanks Dad! Oh, and I am so glad y’all worked it out. I could have used the sugar coated version but I’ve gotten pretty good at editing.”

I shook my head. “You know good and well that your dad and I can’t sugar coat anything, even if we tried.”

“And still, I’ve managed to avoid having a foul mouth.”

“In front of us; you know better.” She smirked before gathering up her things and headed to her bedroom.

 

Keith looked at me and smiled. “What about you? Are you glad we worked it out?”

“Yes. I got a little sad thinking about that time though.”

“You good? Want me to help you feel better?” He winked his eye and I rolled mine.

“No Keith, I will be just fine without the type of help you’re trying to offer.”

“You’re just trying to avoid giving me my Jr.”

“Um, Sir, don’t you think we’re a bit too old for another baby?”

I stood up, brushing past him. Slapping him when he popped my ass. “You are shit out of luck. This is the one thing I am never compromising on.”

“Yeah, we’ll see about that Tani. I know your weakness, a nice glass of wine and your little fight is over.”

I groaned, finally remembering the reason I said I was going to stop drinking. “Goodbye Keith. Merry Christmas. Come back when you’ve stopped tripping, and have my gift in hand.”

“Oh, it’s gon’ be a very merry Christmas.”

“I can’t stand you!”

“Bet you won’t leave though.”

 

I’d just made it into the kitchen but I peeked around the corner, smiling wide. “If it wouldn’t result in you sniveling like a hoe again, I would. Whipped ass.”

“You’re whipped too. You haven’t gone anywhere since then.”

“Can I have my roughneck back? Damn.”

“He’ll be waiting in the bedroom.” Keith smirked before blowing me a kiss and walked out.

This dude here. I love him.

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Author:

Creative Soul. Artist. Perfectionist. Virgo.

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