Chapter 14

       On his drive over to Symphony's home, Michael's thoughts drifted to two of his past failed relationships, one being of his ex-fiance, Mercedes. Like her name, she was luxurious and extravagant. While attending a private party hosted by hit producer, Rodney Jerkins in the year of 1997, Michael instantly fell in love when he first laid eyes on the stunning Mercedes Howard.

        After breaking up with his ex-wife, Cassandra, for a second time, Michael had been feeling a little lonely for the past couple of years and decided it was time for him to put the situation behind him. Mercedes wasn't a woman he'd usually date, but he was enthralled with her. But like Cassandra, the relationship had ended terribly, leaving him completely heart-broken.

       For four years after their divorce in 1993, Michael and Cassandra tried very hard to repair their relationship, as they were still in love with one another; but ultimately, things just didn't work-out. With Cassandra already having a daughter from a previous relationship, she wasn't in any rush to have another child so soon.

      And while Michael loved her daughter as if she were his own, it wasn't the same. He wanted to create a small life of his own with her⁠— he wanted her to have his baby.

        After some months of being married, Michael had discovered she had been taking contraceptives behind his back, And from there, that's when their relationship began to falter. He felt she had broken his trust. 

       Like Cassandra, Mercedes had also broken his trust. He could never forgive her for what she had done. Never in his life had he experienced such grief and pain. But to be fair, or at least in the case of his marriage to Cassandra, he too had made mistakes of his own. Mistakes he didn't own up to at the time. 

       As tears began to fill his eyes, he pulled over to the side of the road. The last thing he needed to do was get himself into an accident.

         "What are you doing, Michael? Aren't you tired of being hurt?" his brain shouted.

        "I am. But I want to see where this goes. I'm not planning to marry the woman... I just like her a lot. And who knows? Maybe this time, things will be different," he answered himself out-loud.


       ***

      While getting dressed, Symphony began to sing and dance around when Toni Braxton's, 'You're making me high' played on the radio.

[I'll always think of you

Inside of my private thoughts

I can imagine you

Touching my private parts

With just the thought of you

I can't help but touch myself

That's why I want you so bad

Just one night of

Moonlight with you there beside me

All night doin' it again and again

You know I want you so bad

Baby baby baby baby.]

      "How fitting?" she laughed as she adjusted her breast inside of her bra.

       As she twirled around in the mirror, she shook her head and grimaced. "Girl, what if he wants to slip you more than just some tongue? Those ugly ass granny panties are gonna make his ass head for the hills."

      "Ok, Symphony, I know you haven't had sex in three months, but you need to chill the fuck out! No need to try and break the man's dick so soon," she replied sarcastically to herself, "hmm... But still. What if he's the one that wants to do the breaking?" 

       After taking another glance at herself in the mirror, she stripped out of her mismatched underwear and retrieved a brand new bra and panty set that had been collecting dust in her closet. She had been waiting to wear it for the right guy, but sadly that guy never came. Or at least, not until Michael.

       After breaking up with her last boyfriend of five months, she had sworn off dating or sleeping with anyone until she deemed them worthy of her trust and affection. 

        But due to being hurt by far too many assholes, she had decided it was time to close-up the 'coochie shop' and be content in the enjoyment of her own company—

And vibrator. Who needed a man when happiness came in 12 different speeds, patterns, and intensities.

       And besides, at this point in her life

her main focus had been on obtaining her degree in music and figuring out the future of her band. Since she had enough going on already, she didn't need any distractions. But alas, she was human and was in desperate need of a good fucking by a hot-blooded male.


       ***

       As Michael arrived at Symphony's condo, he turned on the radio and began to hum along. While he instantly recognized the sultry voice being that of singer, Toni Braxton, he had never heard the song before. 

[Can't get my mind off you

I think I might be obsessed

The very thought of you

Makes me want to get undressed

I wanna be with you

In spite of that my heart says

I guess I want you too bad.]

       Michael sniggered. "Yeah, even the universe has jokes, I see. This is not the type of song I need to be listening to in this exact moment."

        With it now being 8 pm and no sign of Symphony, he parked his car and waited patiently for her. Not wanting to seem like a total prick, he decided to wait a few minutes before calling her. After growing up with three sisters, he knew all too well how long it could take some women to get ready.

         When Symphony finally appeared outside of her condo, he stepped out of the car to open the passenger door for her.

       "Are you always this chivalrous?" she said, as he removed two bags from her hand.

        "Always. And how much food did you cook? There's only two of us," he laughed. 

       "Ha-ha-ha! You're laughing now, but you won't be laughing later, Mr. KFC. And since you probably don't do too much cooking yourself, I wanted you to have something besides fried chicken for the week."

       Knowing she was somewhat right, Michael decided to stay quiet. Asides from the soup Symphony had prepared for him a few weeks ago, it had been a long time since he had a proper home-cooked meal.

       When they arrived at Michael's home, Symphony fell in love with the warm decor. With its many antique furnishings, high ceilings, chandeliers, and classic artwork adorning the walls, his home gave off a modern 'Victorian' vibe. 

       As they sat at his dining room table, Symphony unveiled what she had prepared for dinner. Baked salmon, roasted vegetables, and banana cream pie.

      "Wow! This looks amazing," he spoke excitedly as he pulled the 'banana cream' pie towards him.

       "Michael! No! she yelped, slapping his hand away from the pie. "No dessert until we've had dinner."

        Pulling her into his lap, he kissed her deep and said. "Mmm... So does that mean I can't have you either? I consider you dessert as well."

       Symphony giggled. "Come on, Michael! The food is getting cold."

      "I have a microwave," he groaned as he kissed her neck.

      "Michael!" she shouted, jumping off of his lap.

      "Alright, alright," he huffed, "But when we're done eating, we're picking back up where we left off."

      "Eh! No. We're supposed to be coming up with ideas for the school recital, Dr. Black," she laughed, "see! I knew it was just a ploy to get me over here."

      "Ok! Well, let's make a compromise... We'll come up with a few ideas and then relax for a bit."

      Several times throughout dinner, Michael had complimented Symphony on her cooking. It had been a long time since a woman made him feel cared for. Besides his good friend, Elizabeth Taylor, the only woman that had ever cooked for him was, Cassandra. Since Mercedes was a busy aspiring model, she never made the time nor wanted to.

       But to give credit where it was due, Raven did take care of him when he had the flu— eventually. And though taking care of him or cooking for him weren't deal breakers in a relationship, he appreciated it. He was a bit of a traditionalist and old fashioned in some ways.

       "Come on, Michael! We're supposed to be going over ideas for the recital," Symphony giggled while sitting on his lap.

       "We are! Our kissing inspires me greatly," he teased, just before slipping his tongue inside of her mouth.

       "Mmm... Michael, please. I need to breathe for a second, and I have something important to ask you."

       "Sure. What is it?"

       "Besides me... Why is it that you haven't kissed a woman in four years?"

       "Symphony, why are you asking me this?

       "I'm just curious, that's all."

       "I'm sorry, but I don't want to talk about this right now."

       As Symphony readjusted herself in his lap, she accidentally spilled a glass of red wine on herself.

        "Damn it! Oh my gosh. I hope I didn't get it on your couch!" she screamed as she jumped out of his lap.

        "Calm down, sweetheart. It's alright. Stay here while I go and grab a towel."

      When Michael returned, he also brought Symphony one of his shirts to wear. "Here. Put this on while I go and toss your clothes into the washer.

       "No-no, maybe I should go home. I've already ruined tonight."

      "How so? Tonight has been lovely. You even cooked for me. It's been a long time since anyone's done something so special for me," he smiled.

       Symphony sighed. "Yes, and I shouldn't have ruined it by asking you such a personal question."

       "It's alright, Symphony. And why shouldn't you ask? Kissing is a form of intimacy. An intimacy I don't take lightly. I'm sorry, but it's too much of a sensitive topic for me to discuss right now. Please understand me on--

      Just as Symphony was about to reply, the doorbell rang. "Phew! Saved by the bell," Michael thought. While he wanted to be more open with her, he didn't feel like discussing his past. Some things were just too painful for him to talk about, and he rather forget them altogether.

     Walking towards the door, Michael looked back at Symphony and said, "hold on while I get that. It's probably my ninety-year-old neighbor. Sometimes his cat gets stuck in the tree, and I climb up there to get her down for him."

     Symphony gushed. "Aww! That's so sweet of you. I'm sure he appreciates it. Well, while you're doing that, I'm going to go change."

      Not bothering to look through the door's peephole, Michael automatically assumed it was his neighbor and swung the door open. 

      "Raven! What are you doing here?" he spoke in surprise.

      "Michael, we need to talk," she spoke sadly, as she tried to push herself past him into his home.

      Placing his hand against the frame of the door, he blocked her from entering and said, "I'm sorry, Raven, but now is not a good time."

      "Look, Michael! I'm sorry for not calling before coming over, and that I have broken one of your many cardinal rules, but please... this is important."

As Michael closed the door behind him, Raven had just so happened to catch a quick glimpse of Symphony as she was returning to the living-room. 

       "You bastard!" Raven hissed, slapping him hard across the face. "What is she doing here? Why is she wearing your shirt?"

      Michael growled. "Raven! What the fuck is your problem?" 

         "You! You're my fucking problem!" she scoffed," but not anymore. Have a goodnight, Dr. Black."

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