Chapter 7

    Later that evening, Leila's hands began to shake uncontrollably as she carried two plates into the dining room. She hadn't been feeling particularly well since returning home that afternoon. 

    Even though she was an emotional wreck over kissing Michael, she knew for sure that it had nothing to do with him but rather something she was missing. 

    Just as she was placing the plates on the table, she felt a strong jolt to her hand, causing her to drop them. 

    "Damn it!" She muttered under her breath as she dropped to the floor, rushing to clean the mess with her bare hands. 

   Not thinking clearly, she cut herself in the process. "Maybe Calvin was telling the truth? I can't do anything right."

    Getting up from the floor, she ran to the bathroom to care for the medium-sized gash in her hand. It didn't require stitches, but it looked awful. As for the pain, she didn't really feel it at the moment due to the other problems her body was experiencing. 

    In the nick of time, Leila cleaned up the mess and placed dinner on the dining room table just as Calvin was walking through the door. 

    "Hey-- um. I need to make a run to the store; I'll be back before 10:00 pm, Ok?" Leila blurted hastily. 

    "OK, Leila-- Whatever." 

Feeling thankful that he didn't have much to say to her, she dashed out of the door. 

   As Leila backed her car out of the garage, she breathed deeply and gripped the steering wheel firmly with her uninjured hand. She was still suffering severe muscle spasms and began to feel nauseous. The last thing she needed was to crash her car or get into an accident. 

    After making her way into town, she headed towards a small seedy neighborhood on the southside. 'God, I hate coming here.' She thought silently to herself as she parked her car in front of a run-down house. 

    "Hey this is L, I'm parked outside. I'm sorry that I didn't call before I came, but it's an emergency."

    "No problem. I got you. Be right out." The man replied. 

    Making sure that all of her car doors were locked, Leila kept a close watch on her surroundings. 

   When a man dressed in all black approached her car, she rolled down her window slightly. 

     "Here you go, hun."

     "Thanks. I'll make sure to call next time."

     "It's all good, L."

After the man left her car, Leila started her engine, getting out of the neighborhood as fast as she could. 

    On her drive home, she began to wonder what was wrong with Calvin. He usually questioned her when she left the house spontaneously, but tonight he barely spoke two words to her. It was always a mixed bag with him. 

    When Leila arrived back home, she sat in her car after parking it in the garage. Deciding to stay in the car for a bit, she turned the engine off but left the radio on. 

[I was wandering in the rain

Mask of life, feelin' insane

Swift and sudden fall from grace

Sunny days seem far away.] A familiar voice sang. She'd never heard the song before, but it was hauntingly beautiful. Though the song was not 100% relatable to her, specific lyrics were. She could relate to Michael's loneliness. 

    Before marrying Calvin, Leila was outgoing and wanted to do a lot of things with her life. But now she just felt sad and depressed most of the time. She had gotten into some things that weren't so good for her and felt trapped.


***

As Michael lie in his bed, he stared blankly at the ceiling. His brain kept replaying his kiss with Leila and her storming out of his condo. He didn't feel bad about kissing her; he just wished she would have stayed and talked to him. 

    Yes, he knew she was married and should be off-limits to him, but he also knew that she felt something for him as well. For the fact that her husband seemed to be a complete jerk towards her, it made him want to love her even more. 

   Leila was a beautiful woman that made his heart skip a beat every time he saw her. She was a lovely shade of 'Cafe con Leche' that he wanted to taste and sip every ounce of. 

    Letting out a long sigh, he picked up his cellphone. "Come on, Leila-- please answer," he whispered silently to himself. 

    After letting the phone ring repeatedly, he finally gave up when her voice-mail came on. 

   Tossing his cellphone across the room, he got out of bed, making his way towards the kitchen. 

    Since reconnecting with Leila, he hadn't drunk a single ounce of alcohol, but now that he was feeling frustrated, he needed a drink. 

    "How could someone cause him to both drink and not to?" He thought silently to himself as he filled a glass to the brim with vodka. 

    Tossing the drink back, he squinted his eyes. "Damn, that's strong-- I gotta stop taking shots to the head!" 

   Once his nightcap was finally over, he had downed the entire bottle of vodka in one sitting. 

    Returning sleepily to his bedroom, he cranked the air conditioning on the highest setting it would go. Due to the liquor coursing through his veins, his body literally felt like it was on fire.

     After stripping off all of his clothes for some relief, he crashed down into the bed face first.

    As he drifted off to sleep, he thought about Leila. He didn't know what he was going to do next, but he knew he wasn't ready to let her slip out of his life again. 

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