When Leila arrived home, she was surprised to see Calvin waiting for her at the door. In addition to her having a curfew on Friday and Saturday nights, she had one for weeknights as well.
Leila emitted a long sigh as she entered the house, slamming the door hard behind her.
Calvin yelled, "where in the hell have you been, Leila?"
"Out with Zina, I'm sorry for getting home late," she lied.
As Leila began to walk away, He grabbed her by the arm roughly.
"You better be telling the Goddamn truth, Leila, or I swear to God."
"Stop it, Calvin! You're hurting me!"
Letting go of her arm, he glared at her menacingly. "Your curfew is 10 pm on weeknights, don't forget it again."
"I won't," she replied softly, holding her head down.
Later that night, Leila cried herself to sleep. Usually, when Calvin became angry with her, he was never physical. She then suddenly remembered what Zina said to her a few nights ago. "Yet... He hasn't yet."
Sneaking out of bed, Leila went out into the garage. If she planned to get any type of rest that night, she needed to calm her nerves.
As Leila performed her ritual, her eyes rolled to the back of her head. Within a few seconds, she felt her body go limp, causing her to slump against the wall.
After arriving at Michael's condo, Leila called his cellphone. "Hey, Michael! I'm here. Are you ready?"
"Yeah... I'll be out in a few minutes," he replied hastily.
When Michael got inside of Leila's car, he jumped at the sound of one of the growling puppies. "Stop that, Bo! Michael is a friend." She chuckled. "Wait-- are you afraid of dogs?"
Not wanting to answer the question, Michael laughed nervously.
"Nooo! Are you serious, Michael?"
"Look, Leila, they're little, but they bite."
"But you have an entire zoo and pet snakes?"
"And... I'm just surprised. That's all." She laughed.
"I'm going back inside." He sighed.
"Please, no-- I'm sorry, Michael."
"Oh, It's alright... I think." He replied grudgingly while playfully rolling his eyes. Ever since Elizabeth Taylor's dog took a small nip at him, he had been on edge around 'Man's best friend.'
"God! I can't wait to get some fresh air!" He expressed lively, lifting and dropping his shoulders.
Stroking Leila softly on the arm, he heard her wince. "Is everything OK?"
Leila gulped. "Yeah-- I um... Hit my arm against a wall yesterday."
Changing the subject quickly, Leila asked Michael to buckle up his seatbelt and proceeded to start up her engine. When they arrived at the park, it was completely empty. It was one of the very reasons she loved going so early in the morning. She enjoyed the peacefulness of it all without the hustle and bustle of people.
As they walked around the park, they continued catching up with one another. Michael had so many questions that he wanted to ask but didn't want to come off as intrusive. He knew how he felt when the media asked him too many questions, but there were some things he desperately wanted to know about her.
"So, if you don't mind me asking Ms. Leila, what do you do for a living?"
"I'm a stay at home wife."
"A stay at home wife? I've heard of a stay at home mom, but wife?"
"Yeah... My husband doesn't want me to work."
"Um-- wow! OK... So it's safe to assume that you don't have any kids, right?"
Hanging her head low, she whispered, "correct-- we don't have any kids."
"Do you want children?" he asked curiously.
"I used to. But I stopped trying," she spoke somberly.
Feeling the sudden change in her mood, he stopped walking and apologized for asking too many questions. "I'm sorry Leila, I didn't mean to--"
Cutting him off abruptly, she reached up and cupped his chin.
"It's alright, Michael. It's just a hard topic for me to discuss, but I don't mind discussing it with you. Basically... I stopped trying to conceive after suffering two miscarriages; I'm infertile."
Seeing the pained expression in her eyes made his heart weep. He knew how it felt to lose a baby but couldn't begin to imagine what that felt like as a woman.
As they both became silent, Bo started to bark profusely.
"It's time to feed them." She laughed.
After finding a nearby bench to sit on, she took out two bowls from her bag, filling them with Puppy Chow.
Seeing the sight of Leila caring for the puppies melted his heart. He felt terrible that she couldn't have children. She seemed to have a big heart and could see her being an excellent mother.
After feeding the puppies, Leila tied the puppies leash to the bench.
Noticing that she began to shiver, Michael took off his jacket, placing it around her.
"Awww, you didn't have to do that. I should have brought my jacket. I didn't expect it to be this chilly out."
"It's OK, Leila. I'm happy to be your Knight and Shining Armor." He chuckled.
"Well, thank you, 'Sir Jackson.' That's very noble of you." She blushed. "I wish that my husband was half the gentleman you are."
Eyeing her curiously, he sat up straight. "All men should be gentlemen, especially when they have such a beautiful woman like yourself."
"Tell that to my husband." She sighed.
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"Let's just say he's a jerk. But uh-- let's get off that subject."
No sooner than the words left her mouth, her cellphone rang. "Hello, Calvin... Yes, I'm at the park. Yes, I'm by myself... No, I won't speak to anyone."
As Leila continued to speak to her husband, Michael's eyebrows furrowed in surprise. The guy sounded like a complete asshole. Who tells their wife not to speak to anyone, he thought.
After hanging up the phone, Leila let out a frustrated scream. "What did I tell you? He's a jerk." She laughed.
Not wanting to overstep his boundaries, Michael just laughed along with her but did not comment on the matter.
He could sense that something much deeper was going on between Leila and her husband, but he decided not to pry and hoped that she would tell him in due time.
"I'm sorry about that, Michael. Please Forgive me for my outburst."
"Hey... It's alright, but are you OK?"
"Yeah... I just. It's hard for me to talk about."
Grasping her hand, he stroked it gently. "I understand, Leila. What are you doing after this?"
"Nothing much, why?"
"I've got an advance copy of "Dr. Doo Little. I'd love to have someone to watch it with."
"That sounds lovely, Michael, but I'll have to leave by 3 pm. I have to cook dinner before my husband get's home."
"We have enough time. It's only 10 am," he smiled.
Later that morning, after returning the puppies home to their owners, Michael and Leila went back to his place to watch the movie.
As Leila made herself comfortable on the sofa, Michael took a seat next to her. "Can I get you anything?" He offered kindly.
"No Thankyou Michael, but thanks for offering."
At some point during the movie, Leila had fallen asleep on Michael's shoulder. So that her neck wouldn't be sore when she awoke, he shifted his arm above her head, allowing for her to rest comfortably in his arms.
He knew that he might have been crossing the line, but he also didn't want to wake her.
As the movie played, he watched it absent-mindedly as the images became a blur.
"God, this feels so right," he whispered silently to himself, closing his eyes.
"But she's married, Michael!" His brain echoed loudly.
Towards the end of the movie, Leila began to awake. When she came to, she noticed that she was lying in Michael's arms.
Looking up towards him in a dream state, he returned her gaze without uttering a single word.
As she gently guided his face closer to hers, she ran her fingers delicately across his lips.
"Can I?" she whispered.
"Yes, Leila... you can," he uttered softly, gently grabbing the back of her neck.
As Leila placed a soft kiss on his lips, they moaned softly into each other's mouths.
When she began to pull away, Michael held her in place, kissing her more intensely.
"I'm sorry, Michael. But I have to go," she spoke quietly.
"I know Leila... When can I see you again?"
"I'm not sure." She breathed deep.
Hastily getting up from the sofa, Leila grabbed her purse off the table, as she dashed out of his condo at lightning speed.
Once inside of her car, she banged her head against the steering wheel and shouted, "damn it, Leila! You're married! This isn't 1984!"