Chapitre Vingt Cinq
Par Jo Lee
“Why didn’t you just talk to me about what was going on?” Jen was sitting adjacent to Lau on his bed. After seeing him standing outside the elevator, she didn’t even try to attempt ignoring him. She was dreading what he was had to say and ask but more so, she was tired of running around in circles in her own head with the recent admission of Larry’s feelings for her.
“I didn’t think there was anything to talk about.” Lau answered, tired and relieved. Finally, he could tell his part of the story and clear the air. Jennifer waited a beat and had to admit that his flirtations were nothing new but things had been going so well between them that she didn’t foresee herself spending the night the way she had.
“I was standing outside your door,” She admitted, which grabbed Lau’s attention. He was looking at her and instead of feeling reassured, she felt unease crawling all over her like the blanket of omissions she’d orchestrated. “I heard you and Ayara talking. I wasn’t stalking you or anything..” She continued, “It’s just you left me all alone for an hour. I didn’t know where you were and you didn’t even say anything before you left so I started looking for you and I found you.”
“How did you get in?” Lau asked.
“Larry asked the security guard to let me in.”
“Jen, I had a surprise for you. You see that?” He pointed to a corner where there was a bag of rose stems sticking out the top. Upon entering the room, she smelled a bland of lavender and vanilla, assuming it was probably Ayara’s female touch still lingering around. “I was going to make it nice,” Lau motioned to the room and the bed, “Romantic…I just wanted you to have a good night. I’m sorry if you didn’t.”
“It’s alright… So what happened when Ayara followed you here?” It might have been too late for roses and romance but she still wanted answers. If only to alleviate the guilt she felt about sleeping with Larry again. And this time, willingly and consciously.
“Um she wanted to …” Lau left his sentence imcomplete yet Jen knew exactly what he was referring to.
“And you didn’t?” She asked him mouth agape. After little of she’d managed to hear, she was certain it had led to the inevitable. Hearing Lau confess that nothing happened was just another blow to her already lowered esteem due to her recent actions.
“Did you want to?”
“So why didn’t you?” She wasn’t even sure why she was asking him that but it poured out of her mouth before it dawned on her that it may not have been the most suitable question.
“Because of you. I don’t want to cheat. Then we lose the trust we have, and maybe even our relationship. If I’m going to be with you then I want to be with you only. Anything I want to do, I want to do with you. Or what is the point of this?” He moved closer to her and the proximity between them was terrifying in that moment.
“I don’t want you to miss out because of me.” Jen retorted. Even she didn’t understand why she was being so impassive toward Lau when all he was trying to do was talk things out.
“What do you mean?” Lau said quizzically. “I’m not missing out on anything.”
“How do you know?” Jen was desperately trying to justify to herself what happened between her and Larry.
“I don’t think I understand you.” Lau was becoming flustered with the direction of this conversation.
“I think we need to take a break.” Jen mumbled, avoiding his eye contact.
“What?” Lau’s worry lines were visible in his creased forehead as he was trying to figure out what had caused this large shift between them. He swiftly rose to his feet to face her as she hung her head lower to avoid his gaze.
“I want to break up.”
“Jen….are you really mad about that? I told you nothing happened.” Even though his voice was low, his baritone stood clear and firm.
“I just need some time to think Lau. It doesn’t have anything to do with you.” Yes, tell him the truth! Disgust quickly rose inside her and for the first time, Jen could admit that she didn’t deserve Lau. He had the chance to sleep with a beautiful, internationally-known superstar and turned it down, she had no excuse for cheating on him.
“Right! Okay!” He said sarcastically, “Because so many things changed between last night and this morning?” He scoffed.
“Actually, they did. I don’t want to hurt you and I don’t want to lie to you so please…just give me some time to figure things out.” Her eyes finally met his in a silent plea to drop the topic.
“Okay.” Lau said, shaking his head, swaying his afro lightly. This conversation had completely flown over his head and he was frustrated not only with himself but with Jen as well. Sure, he was far from an exemplary boyfriend but he had done nothing wrong.
“Lau?” Jen whispered.
“What?” He replied impatiently.
“Can I sleep here tonight? I’m so tired.”
“Why do you ask me that? Of course, you will sleep here tonight. It’s almost 3AM!” Jen blushed at her stupidity. Even if he was mad at her, he was cordial enough to let her stay in his room for the night. She clumsily got up from the bed and made her way to the bathroom. Lau was sitting in the couch facing his bed, deep in thought.
The water descended down abundantly and Jen felt as if she was standing under a warm waterfall. It was massaging and soothing away all of the hurt, excitement and discoveries of the last few hours. Lau waited until he heard Jen enter the shower to rush over to her clutch. Smoothly unclicking the lock of the small purse, his fingers grabbed at her phone to begin searching for anything suspicious. All she had on there were missed calls and messages from him — no one else. He smiled when he saw that she’d nicknamed him “LauLove” in her phone and let that serve as a reminder that their relationship was special. That small yet meaningful reassurance that there was no one else in the picture but him was all Lau needed to keep trusting her. For a brief moment, he had been certain that she was cheating or at least interested in someone else. She’d been so vague during that conversation and didn’t ask him anything he’d expected her to ask. Instead, he almost felt as if she had been pushing him to commit adultery, with her inquisitive tone and disappointed answers. He got the feeling that she’d have felt relieved if he’d admitted that he slept with Ayara and he momentarily felt guilty about leaving out the part where he’d kissed her. She initiated the kiss but he didn’t stop or deter from it so he was equally guilty.
Lau: Allo? toi aussi tu me parles plus? (Hello? what — don’t tell me you’re also not talking to me)
Larry: Non, je suis la. Mais j’attendais que tu me dises pkoi elle se casse. (Nah, I’m here. I was just waiting to hear why she broke up with you)
Lau: Elle dit qu’elle a besoin de penser! (She said she needed to think) Au faite, tu l’as vu ce soir..pkoi t’as pas repondu a mon texto. Je l’a cherchais partout! (Actually, you saw her tonight…why didn’t you reply to my text? I was looking for her everywhere.)
Larry: C’est pas ma faute si tu laisses ta copine toute seule (Not my fault you left your girl alone)
Lau: Ca veut dire quoi? (What are you trying to say?)