Chapitre Trentre Trois
Par Jolie Adam
“It’s ok Lau, there’s actually something I need to do…before we meet up.” Jen said. Lau was apologizing for having to cancel their date. They’d been back the previous night and the last show was in a couple of hours. Jen had forgotten she was supposed to meet with Lau upon his return – she’d been far too preoccupied with how to break the news to his brother, so it arranged her that Lau was cancelling. She’d already told Em by accident, the next person she was planning to tell was Larry and the last thing she needed was to blurt out her secrets to Laurent too. Perhaps you should start by telling him you were sleeping with his brother in the first place, her conscience nagged, rolling her eyes.
“Yeah, something’s wrong with Larry. I feel bad…this whole time, I wasn’t really there for him.” Lau exclaimed, piquing Jen’s interest.
“What’s wrong with Larry?” Jen questioned, her voice too anxious for comfort.
“I don’t know. He’s quiet and serious all the time now. We don’t really talk when we’re not performing.” Lau stated.
“Why is that?” Jen was getting worried. Why aren’t they talking? The twins didn’t need to talk, they had a silent connection that linked them to each other’s feelings and thoughts.
“Um, I’ve been busy –” Lau replied, embarrassed at the details of how he had been so busy lately.
“Then maybe you’re just overreacting?” Jen cut him off. This conversation was right on the edge of spiralling into uncharted territory. With Em in on her secret and Laurent questioning Larry’s recent mood changes, she was beginning to worry. Could she keep this to herself until Friday?
“No no no..” Lau stressed. “Jen, I found a necklace in his stuff. I think it’s for a girl.”
“Maybe it’s for your mom..” Suddenly, Jen was worried. What if he was seeing someone else? She wouldn’t be surprised given his reputation. He ‘cheated’ on Lola with her so the thought of someone else being in the picture was daunting.
“I don’t think so. I know my brother. That necklace is for a girl.”
“That’s what I need to know.”
Jen’s heart dropped to her stomach. If the necklace was for her, she’d be overjoyed but what if it wasn’t? The possibility was there and she suddenly felt nervous about seeing Larry. She wouldn’t really see him until Friday since she wasn’t planning on making herself seen at the tournament.
Wednesday morning sneaked up on everyone in production. One minute, they were preparing for the show, nervous directors swearing at everyone who crossed their paths, exuding stress and anticipation for a finished show…the next, the show was over and everyone was rejoicing at being able to really celebrate without worrying about practice or traveling the following morning. Lau was so exhausted that for the first time since the tour started, he actually went straight to his room after the concert and slept. No clubbing or distractions, no Susi or Ayara, no brotherly conversation with Larry. One tour, three stops, three concerts, three great cities – finally over. While most dancers would be traveling back home shortly, the twins were not only going home, they were preparing for another huge performance. In 24 hours, they would take the stage at the Paris Bercy stadium for an outstanding tournament with dancers from all over the world, competing for numerous dance genres. They had their Hip Hop choreography done and perfected before the Ayara tour even started yet that didn’t stop them from feeling nervous.
After saying goodbye to Noah and Susi, the twins hailed a cab to go home. Genevieve was waiting for her boys when they entered the house. They were greeted with hugs from their younger siblings and their mom. Larry scouted the living room in search of Jen, trying not to look so obvious and as if Lau was thinking the same thing, he asked,
“Elle est en vacance depuis Jeudi passé. Je pense que son ami est ici.” (She’s been off since last Thursday. Her friend is visiting.) Genevieve replied mindlessly, now scurrying back to the kitchen to resume her task. Larry recalled his phone conversation with Jen when she mentioned her ex was in town. He felt jealousy creeping under his skin and although he wanted to do nothing more but sleep and focus on tomorrow’s performance, decided that perhaps he could go see her before then. Lau stood there, joking around with his niece, wondering why Jen failed to mention she was on vacation. He turned to his brother who was going up the stairs with his luggage,
“On fait quoi?” (What are we doing?)
Larry was struck by the question as he was planning to stop by Jen’s to say hi and bring the book he’d gotten her. And the necklace.
“Je vais dormir. On peut pas parler plus tard? Y a plein de choses qui nous attendent demain.” (I’m going to bed. Can we talk later? Let’s get tomorrow over with first.) Larry replied in reference to the big day, also using it as an excuse to avoid having a heart-to-heart with his brother. He already felt out of control with everything he was feeling for Jen, he didn’t want to blurt out something that could hurt their relationship or their chemistry on stage. There had always been sibling rivalry between them but in regards to small, innocent things. Who could get the most cheers and applause on stage? Who could upstage the other? Which one was more popular? Got more girls? Won more votes? This surpassed anything they’d ever done to each other, the minute Larry crossed that line. And he was well aware of that.
Since Lau had cancelled their dinner plans, Jen used the chance to catch up on sleep. She failed to mention to Em that her plans had changed for the night, giving him the chance to go out and explore Paris at night on his own. She felt a little overwhelmed by his proximity but kept reminding herself that he’d be leaving Friday therefore to practice any patience she had. Em had been so supportive and an incremental influence in her deciding to tell Larry about her impending pregnancy however he was being so nice that she couldn’t help but be a little wary at times. She brushed it off as her common paranoia and tried to embrace having a friend present. Waking up well-rested for the first time since that morning she’d discovered the news, she took the time to pamper herself with an extensive breakfast in bed. Em would be there by noon so she had plenty of time to get ready.
When Larry finished his shower, he was surprised to find Lau still at home, sleeping. He used the opportunity to slip out of the house and make his way to Jen’s place. Awkwardly holding the book in one hand and a box in his jeans’ pocket, he exited Tolbiac metro station and waited for the light to turn green. Making his way through the familiar old building, he dialled the code for Jen’s apartment and waited for her to pick up. Drying off from her shower, Jen hit her toes against her small bed post in a rush to answer the phone. Crawling in agony, she wasn’t able to reach it in time to buzz Em in.
Larry stood back looking at the building, wondering if she was home when an elder man came out. Holding the heavy ancient door for the senior citizen, Larry waited for him to exit before entering and running up the stairs to Jen’s place. Excitement pulsed through him as he was barely out of breath upon reaching her door.
“You’re way too early..” Jen yelled through the door as she approached to open it after massaging her sore toes. “I’m not even dresset y— ”She stopped in her tracks when she opened the door to a smiling Larry. Without exchanging words, she lunged herself at him, enveloping him in a tight hug. He stood there, grinning and relieved, tilting his head into her neck.
“Come in.” Jen let go, allowing Larry in.
“So you’re happy to see me?” Larry asked incredulously.
“Of course. I’ve never been happier.” She was gushing and couldn’t help it. So much had changed since he’d left. Her feelings for him intensified, multiplied and magnified. Looking at him, she never felt more at peace or in love. He seemed to happy to see her too that keeping her secret –their secret – from him gripped her heart.
“Here’s your book!” He handed her the novel. Taking it out of the plastic shopping bag, Jen lifted her eyebrows at the title.
“Gold diggers…Subtle..” She smiled at him, putting the book on her bed. She was still in her towel, having interrupted her lotion application when he knocked. He approached her and lowered his lips to hers. She welcomed the intrusion of his tongue in her mouth, taking in everything about the moment, the smell, his touch, his furious kiss. Larry submerged himself in her freshly-washed dewy skin, devouring her lips feverishly, letting her warmth increase his own body temperature. He had no idea how much he’d missed this, missed her until this moment but he never wanted to let go. Ripping her towel off her in one swift move, he was hungry for her sex. His erection rose quickly, reminding him of how long it had really been since he last fulfilled his need. Backing her into the bed, he carefully positioned himself on top of her, grinding himself into her.
“Ow!” Jen pushed him softly. “Your buttons are poking me.” His jeans’ jacket was causing friction – and not the right kind – against Jen’s naked skin.
He kissed the spots where the buttons left a red mark on her skin before removing his jacket impatiently. Drunk with lust, he took off his jeans and shirt leaving his boxers on. Jen carefully caressed his erection, causing him to release a guttural noise that almost sounded painful. He lifted himself up slightly allowing Jen to take off his boxers. Driven by his recent dry spell, Larry was too eager to bother with foreplay. He wanted her so badly, it ached and now having her beneath him, he couldn’t wait to find his release. Biting her bottom lip gently with his teeth, he gazed into her dark eyes and eased himself into her. She was ready for him, wet and warm throwing him off balance. He snaked an arm behind her back and into her hair, using his other hand to grab her hips to leverage his pelvis control. With a handful of hair tightly gripped in his right palm, he arched his back inward, curving it forward following his pure instinct to thrust his pelvis for maximum penetration. A choreographed rhythm of steady friction led Jen to emulate his movement, finding her right hand in his twists and her left grabbing his toned butt. The sweat accumulated between their bodies making them stick together in uncomfortable heat, panting in harmony. Larry couldn’t last for much longer, being celibate for three weeks was impacting his endurance but not his stamina as he bit the flesh above Jen’s collarbone, leaving behind a reddish mark of the formation of his teeth. Drowning himself deep inside her, he invaded her mouth once again with his ardent tongue as he found his release. His heart pounding against her naked chest, Larry didn’t remove himself out of her, instead resting his body on top of her, burning her lips with his smouldering kisses. He grabbed both of her hands and raised it above her head, holding them there to admire her face amidst the glimmer and sheen of dew on her skin due to the steamy nature of the recent events.
“Now, it’s your turn.” Larry smiled as he grazed her nipple, ever so lightly with the tip of his tongue. Repeating it with the right side of her breast, he absorbed the entire breast into his warm mouth, letting his tongue massage the top once again. Jen smiled back at him, feeling her heart beat satisfactorily and completely. She loved him irrevocably, and there was no running away from that fact. Tears of joy begin to sprout at the corner of her eyes, feeling at peace. Larry looked up at her face and stopped in his tracks.
“What’s wrong?” He rose back up to her face, concern written all over his features.
“Nothing.” She smiled, unable to stop the tears.
“You’re crying.” He mused, brushing away her tears with his back of his long fingers.
“I missed you so much.” She said, embarrassed at her revelation and its truth. “I have to tell you something.” She couldn’t wait anymore, there wouldn’t be a better time to tell him she was carrying his child. He’d never been more affectionate, caring or doting and she wanted to grasp the moment to tell him the truth.
“What? Tell me.” He replied softly, leaving a soft kiss on her shoulder. At that moment, she didn’t care about anything else, not Lau, not the tournament, not what her mother would say, not how she’d manage taking care of a child, or whether she was even keeping it. She simply wanted the courage to say the words, to tell him what had been on her mind. An obnoxious knock disturbed her thoughts and grabbed Larry’s attention. Remembering that she was expecting Em, Jen absentmindedly covered herself with her hands as if he could see them through the door.
“It’s my friend.” She gave Larry as way of explanation. He casually put his boxers and t-shirt back on, deliberately letting his jeans hang loosely at his waist. Picking up Jen’s towel, he handed it to her but she shook her head indicating that she was going to put something more appropriate on.
“COMING!!!” Jen yelled as she struggled to slip a dress over her head. Once it was on, Larry walked over to open the door. He wanted to send a clear message to this guy that there was no more room for any other guy in Jen’s life. Em was taken back at the lanky man standing before him and thought for a moment he’d gotten the wrong apartment until realization set it. Jen rushed over to invite Em in.
“Don’t just stand there.” She smirked, “Em, this is Larry. Larry, Em.”
“Hey man, what’s up?” Larry asked with a quick head tilt.
“Nice to meet you.” Em responded taking Larry off guard. The guy seemed rather friendly and he suddenly felt like a jerk for trying to make what he and Jen just finished doing so obvious. He buttoned his jeans coolly which made Jen blush. Em wasn’t stupid, between their messy appearance and the misplaced items on the floor, he did the math. “Is this a bad time?”
“No, come in.” Jen answered, quickly revoking her invitation after a second look of her place. “Actually, just give us a minute. I’ll be out in a sec.”
“Sure.” Em nodded with a grim look on his face.
“Thanks Em. Sorry.” She mouthed, smiling at him as she closed the door.
Turning back to Larry who was putting his shoes back on,
“Sorry but we had plans for today and he’s leaving after tomorrow so I’d feel bad if I cancelled. Plus he’s already here.” She offered.
“Don’t worry,” He began, a little disappointed but understanding, “After Friday, no more excuses.”
“No more excuses. I’m all yours.” She boasted happily, feeling a little ditzy for saying the last part out loud. She was all his, in her heart but they hadn’t quite established anything yet.
“Good. Tell your friend. I don’t want to share.” He exclaimed, referring to Em.
“Em? I told you he’s a friend.”
“No. He’s an ex. There is a difference.”, commented Larry staring at her. “You were going to tell me something.”
“It can wait.” Jen brushed it off.
A few minutes later, they were both fully dressed and about to exit when Larry realized he still had the necklace on him. Removing the box now fitting a little too smug in his pocket, he approached Jen feeling surprisingly timid. This was his first time giving a woman a gift of such importance.
“I got you something.” He handed her the gift, shoving his hands in his pockets, feeling shy. Jen grabbed the tiny square box, full of anticipation and opened it. Laying on soft, white cushion was a beautiful necklace with three circles within each other, ranging in sizes and different types of gold. She was in awe of the simple yet flawless item of jewelry, glimmering in her hands. “Do you like it?”
“I love it.” She replied, finally finding the words. Larry moved behind her to put it on her neck. Suddenly remembering Lau’s curiosity about the necklace, she felt nervous but much more excited about the fact that it had been for her. “Larry, I love it. It’s beautiful.” He blushed as he turned her around to plant a wet one on her.
Em was getting tired of waiting and was just about to leave when the door opened with a glowing, happy Jen and a relaxed Larry exiting. The attraction between them was too magnetic for anyone near them to be oblivious. He felt uncomfortable just witnessing it, she was truly radiating and seeing the sated look on his face, it was obvious she hadn’t told him yet. He felt the urge to burst their bubble, to break the news right then and there. He’d only been there for a grand total of about 15 minutes and was already feeling like the unwanted, uncared for 3rd wheel.
“Nice to meet you man.” Larry addressed Em.
“Yeah. We’ll see you tomorrow.” Em slipped, catching Larry off-guard. Looking back at Jen who was rolling her eyes, he replied,
“You’re coming tomorrow?”
“Yeah. I was going to take Em with you to check it out.”
“You got tickets? It sold out last week.” Larry said, surprised.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” Larry was still looking at Jen who just shrugged her shoulders. “Come say Hi.”
“Of course.” Em stepped in, replying. Before Larry walked away, he turned back to Jen and kissed her again making even Em blush. Larry was acting like he wasn’t even there. As Larry walked away, Em’s territorial pheromones kicked in as he sized the lone twin up.
“Don’t do that. You’ll lose.” Jen said to Em once Larry was out of earshot.
“I saw that. You were assessing him but this isn’t a competition.”
“Nice necklace.” Em said, changing the subject. She touched her neck remembering her gift and smiled.
The semi-finals were brutal, the competition fierce and the judges cut-throat yet the twins managed to win over the 10,000+ people in the crowds and receive appraisal so far. They were battling a Norwegian and Black duo with great ability but lack of originality in their moves. Every time the music switched, someone else took to the center of the podium to demonstrate their skill and the twins had never been more in sync. Their choreo was untouchable, their dance symmetry incomparable. Every once in a while, they’d bust a brand new delectable move and the crowd would be inflamed with uproars. They were attention-seekers and fearless with their performances, they’d managed to wow the judges to grant them entry into the tight, and extremely competitive semi-finals. Em and Jen sat mid-way in the vast stadium, but they were able to see thanks to the sizeable TVs posted all around the stage to capture every move, every twist and every error. Em was compulsively biting his tongue in jealousy, Larry was really really good. He was fine being Jennifer’s little confidant until he practically walked in on them post-coitus.
UN….DEUX…TROIS. All four judges pointed their arm in Les Twins’ direction indicating that they were going to Finals. The crowd, Jen included, stood and cheered ferociously for the addictive dancers as they hugged their opponents and walked off the stage.
“Let’s go say Hi!” Em interrupted Jen’s silent, reassured bliss.
“I’d rather wait until they’re done their set.”
“It might be late by then.” Em pressured.
“Late for what? I don’t want to disturb them when they’re in their zone.” Jen stated assertively. Since meeting Larry yesterday, Em had been acting like an annoying, jealous ex the entire day and if she hadn’t already bought the tickets and was dying to be there for this tournament, she would’ve cancelled on him and stayed home. Thank Gosh he’s leaving tomorrow.
After a few more sets, two black, robust men from Brooklyn were also granted entry into the Finals for the Hip Hop category. Jen had rushed to the washroom and only came back when they were being cheered on for winning the last round. Once the losing team exited the stage, the presenter announced the Hip Hop Finals and invited Les Twins back to the stage. Jen hurried back to her seat, anxious for the battle to start.
“TOUT LE MONDE EST PRET? HIP HOP FINALS 2012. LET’S GO!” The enthusiastic, bilingual presenter shouted into the mic before letting the two duos take the stage. A blend of hip hop music blasted from the speakers and the opposing team began their synchronous choreography, landing on every beat, hitting every note with their air-cutting moves. Wow, they are good! Les Twins were roaming around their end of the stages, not even paying attention to their competition. When it was their turn, they quickly took over the entire stage by dancing their way into their rivals’ part of the circular stage. The other team was good but they melted to the music, moving limblessly to every single high and low to the song, impossible for anyone to catch up with except for each other. They were incredible to watch and it was hard to do so with your mouth closed. This battle lasted about ten minutes before the twins stomped the stage with their show-closer. Larry manoeuvred around Lau to position himself over his brother, and then together they mimicked an ill-functioning robot with sharp stops and continuous redundancy. The crowd went wild with applause as the presenter found the words to end the battle.
“OK OK OK!!!!!!!! WOW! WOW! INCROYABLE! AND THE WINNER OF 2012 HIP HOP FINALS’ BATTLE IS…”
Three judges directed their arms in one direction and the other judge in another but luckily, the majority was for the twins.
“….LES TWINS!!!! GIVE IT UP FOR LES TWINS!”
The crowd erupted over the music as the twins hugged each other, taking in their victory. In this loud, vivid moment, they almost seemed to be tuning everyone out to praise each other. The opponents rushed to congratulate them and they exchanged quick, respectful hugs and daps. It had been a great battle and there were no losers, just two strong teams of amazing dancers. Jen jumped up and down in her seat along with thousands of other strangers, ecstatic at their win. They won, I knew they’d win. After the amazing albeit brief time she spent with Larry yesterday, his present, and now this – she was confident she’d find the courage to tell him tomorrow. They looked so happy that she was certain regardless of how he felt; he’d take the news in stride.
“Alright, let’s go congratulate them now!” Em reiterated once more.
“Fine.” Jen wasn’t quite in the mood to be overbearing. There were enough people doing that, photographers were snapping a hundred pictures per minute of the glorious twins, the crowd was still boisterous, and there were representatives for numerous sponsors already lined up to make their offers while the win was fresh and the guys were still joyous.
The descent to the stage was a workout in itself with numerous people sitting on the stairs leading down due to lack of seating elsewhere. Finally arriving at the VIP area, Jen waved at Lau who was facing the open area where they were standing. He rushed over to her to give her a hug before asking the guard to let her pass through.
“Hi Baby, we won!!!” Lau exclaimed cheerfully grabbing Jen, taking Em by surprise. Before Jen even had the chance to introduce him, Em pushed Lau back forcefully.
“Don’t touch her.” He commanded aggressively.
“Who is this guy?” Lau asked Jen, in too much of a good mood to make anything of it.
“You think this is funny? I said DON’T TOUCH HER.” Em shoved Lau this time, catching Larry’s attention.
“Em, what the fuck are you doing?” Jen yelled at him, shocked. Everyone was watching them. Before she could even get a response, Lau got in Em’s face,
“Relax man, you don’t know me!”
With that, Em slapped the side of Lau’s head which he dodged gracefully. Larry was now at his brother’s side.
“HEY DON’T TOUCH HIM.” Larry asserted.
“TELL HIM NOT TO TOUCH HER. KEEP YOUR HANDS TO YOURSELF.”
What was Em doing?
“Mind your own business!” Laurent spat in his face, causing Em to tackle him. He was the football star in high school and obviously hadn’t lost his touch. Jen stood back, watching mouth agape at the fight unravelling before her.
Larry grabbed Em off his brother and threw one punch. Security rushed to the VIP area to break up the fight.
“WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” Jen was shouting and she didn’t care.
Em said nothing as his furious gaze set over Jen’s. He couldn’t believe the girl he used to know was so deceiving. Now he understood why she couldn’t tell the father of the child she was pregnant. She didn’t know who it was…she was sleeping with both twins. It was evident the way Lau looked at her and touched her. He was disgusted with her, with them, with himself for ever thinking he could love her again. She was a changed girl – changed for the worst.
He walked away, anger steaming, blood racing. Lau was looking at him walk away, confused as he watched Jen follow him. He didn’t want Jen anywhere near that lunatic but had to stay near the stage – they’d just won, they had to wait around for the trophy above everything else. Larry no longer cared about the trophy as he set out to follow Jen, adamant about making sure she’d be safe. If Em could snap that easily, who knew what else he was capable of.
“LARRY, REVIENS!” (LARRY, COME BACK!) Lau ordered to no avail. Now he really had to stay around because one of them needed to collect that trophy.
Jen was outside the Paris Bercy stadium looking around, trying to locate her madman of an ex. What was that all about? She wondered. She was mortified.
Em was in the narrow hallway cooling off, and trying to calm himself down. That bitch isn’t worth it, he told himself as she exited the corridor and continued towards the exit to find him. She hadn’t seen him because he was on the other side of the door and she probably thought he’d left. A few minutes later, he saw Larry come out and followed him.
“SHE’S FUCKING YOUR BROTHER.” He yelled brazenly at him.
“We already told you to mind your business.” Larry turned around and commanded.
“YOU CAN HAVE HER.” Em shook his head, feeling ridiculous at Larry’s nonchalant reply.
“I ALREADY HAVE HER, MAN. LET IT GO!” Larry said comically as Em approached. Forgetting he was at the edge of the stairs, Larry lost balance when Em shoved him but luckily landed on his right foot, twisting his ankle on his way down. Em ran off to the other exit, leaving Larry crouching at the bottom of the stairs, holding his foot in excruciating pain.