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The Cookout

“Who invited him?”

“Ask Mama.”

“Why would she invite Amir Sr. when she knew I was bringing Chaz with me?”

Candice shrugged her narrow shoulders and turned to Amber, who in turn, rolled her eyes. My sisters were still a little salty over Chaz because of the obvious. The man was fine and all mine. I kept waiting for them to be happy for me, but that would never happen, so I needed to get over it just like they needed to.

I turned to spot Chaz over by the grill with my uncle, and he turned to me as if he felt the caress of my eyes. He was the epitome of God’s creation. All man.

His face broke out into a sexy grin that made me remember his promise to make cum in the bedroom I slept in as a teenager. Only when Uncle Pete pointed down at the ribs he flipped, as if to share a secret of getting the meat to fall off the bone, did Chaz look away and released me from his magnetic pull.

I crossed my thighs and looked up at Candice, who watched me closely.

She placed her plastic cup down on the table that sat between us and asked me, “Are the two of you serious, or is this just some fling?”

Amber waited with curiosity because apparently, they both had the same question.

“Would it make a difference?”

“You have a son, so I would say yes.”

“And having a son means I can’t get none?”

Candice shook her head before saying, “That’s not what I’m saying, and you know it. You have this man here at Mama’s house in front of A.J.”

“Yes I do, and A.J. loves him.”

“That’s exactly why I’m asking.” Candice leveled me with a no-bullshit look.

I didn’t believe that, but since I was always about keeping the peace, I didn’t argue.

“Chaz and I seem to be getting serious, which is why I brought him around my family. I’ve been around his.”

Amber, who had been quiet for the entire exchange, finally spoke. “Mama seems to like him, that has to count for something.” Her head pointed over my shoulder, and with surprise, I watched as Chaz chatted with Mama as he helped her bring out some of the side dishes and placed them on the serving table. If I didn’t know better, I’d say my brownskin, shoot straight from the hip mother, was blushing, but that couldn’t be. And how had I missed the two of them getting together anyway? I’d been trying to keep up with all his movements, especially after Amir Sr. showed up. Now, because of my sisters’ inquisition, I lost track of him.

After being polite enough to speak to Amir Sr. when he first arrived, I let him go off with A.J. to play catch. After Chaz kissed my cheek and whispered for me not to worry, I relaxed just a bit and found my sisters to chat, which I was starting to regret … but Chaz insisted I let him move around alone. He was of the mindset that grown man shit dictated he and Amir Sr. be able to share space without getting into with each other. I was of the mindset that Amir Sr. being on his best behavior from now until eternity was nothing but a fool’s wish.

“Baby, he can’t be mad about you moving on with me forever.”

I twisted my lips because he didn’t know Amir like I did. That man could hold a grudge.

“Don’t look at me like that, Charlotte.”

“Like what?”

“Like you got it all figured out. Like you have it handled.”

“I do have it handled.”

“You do?”

“Yeah.”

“Can you handle me being a man?”

I paused, “I can.”

His eyes were amused as if he didn’t believe me. “Well, then let me be a man if you can handle it.”

One of the hardest things for some women, namely me, I’m learning, is letting a man be a man. Women have fought long and hard to be respected as women so that we can act on our own without male interference, and yet, we interfere in the ways of men at times. I know it’s not intentional most times, and it’s usually done out of love and protection, but it’s still interference. When it dawned on me that I was doing that to him, I looked at him, and his eyes, patient and kind, were waiting. That was how he shut me up before he started moving around the cookout without me holding his hand.

Though letting him handle it was uncomfortable with my ex being in such close proximity, I didn’t really have a choice but to suck it up and watch how it all went down.

Seeing him receive a pat on his cheek from my mother before she hoisted herself up on her toes just to give my giant a kiss made me understand where he was coming from. He wasn’t there for Amir Sr. He was there to get to know my family.

I turned back to my sisters who had watched the interaction as well, and when Amber said, “Well, he’s in like Flynn. You know if Mama likes him, Amir Sr. doesn’t stand a chance.”

Amber and Candice high fived each other, and I watched with confusion.

“We have been waiting for a man to come along and push Amir’s big head out the picture,” Amber explained.

“Then why have y’all been grilling me about Chaz?”

“Candice has been grilling you because she’s the oldest and thinks she knows what’s best, but I have been listening.” True.

Candice spoke up, “I do know what’s best, and Chaz looks like he is, but I want to be sure. Can’t have my baby sister crying every day.”

My mouth fell open.

“You better shut your mouth before a bug flies in,” Amber teased.

“You two are a trip.”

“The way your man looks right now walking over to you, says he’s about to take you on a trip,” Amber said before shaking her head and taking a sip of her lemonade.

Just then, I felt him at my back, and a moment later, he walked to my side and looked down as I looked up at him. His eyes said Amber was right.

“You got a minute?” he asked.

Nodding, I got up and followed him. I heard my sisters’ cackling behind us as he grabbed my hand and pulled me towards the house. I looked over at Mama, who stopped arranging the food just long enough to look up at me and smile, while Chaz continued to pull me into the cool house. He led me upstairs, and after navigating the hall for a few moments, he asked which was my bedroom, and I pointed to the door to the left.

Once inside, he looked around. He looked at the walls that held posters of Total, SWV, and Destiny’s Child and down to my nightstand that had a picture of my Daddy, may he rest in peace.

He walked over to it, and after picking it up with reverence and respect, he turned it over and placed it face down.

Oh boy…

“Don’t want him to see what I’m getting ready to do to his daughter.”

I gulped as my womb clenched.

He approached me, and his hand cupped my cheek and pulled me in. His kiss was next. The sweetness of it and his embrace as his arms wrapped around me consumed me with want. I’d wanted him from the moment he removed himself from my body in the shower this morning. I could never get enough of him.

The kiss grew more urgent as we both realized that there was little time for foreplay and buildup, not that either of us needed it. As I reached for his belt, I felt his bulging erection pressed so hard against the zipper that I had to be careful in extracting him from his pants.

He lifted my yellow summer dress and pulled my panties down before kicking them to the hardwood floor.  He looked around with urgency and noticing my bed was not made for the weight of him or for his thrusts, looked to my dresser and desk, both of which were now covered with some of my mother’s sewing supplies. Without a better choice, he hoisted my up in the air, and I immediately wrapped my legs around his trim waist.

Before I could wonder what would come next, he impaled me with his thickness. My slick body opened to him without hesitation. I was hot and ready. Our lips came back to each other as he took hold of the entire rhythm of our movements. My only job was to take it. He bounced me up and down, and I worked hard not to shriek, but when he began taunting me, I had no choice but to whimper.

“I thought you had it handled … had me handled, Charlotte.” The rumble of his voice was just as good as his thickness lodged deep inside of me.

“Ahhhhh.”

“What was that? Didn’t you say you could handle me … handle this?”

I did say that.

“Damn …”

“That’s not an answer.”

“Yes, yes, I said it … shhhhiiiit.”

“Mmmmmhmmmmn. Are you handling it?’

“Yeah … it’s so good, baby, don’t stop.”

“I’ll stop when I’m ready.”

The man wasn’t even sweating and had the nerve to speed up lifting and dropping me down on his wood like it was nothing. My shrieks were louder now, competing with the smack of my ass as it made contact with his body. I hoped like hell that the music was thumping from the speakers outside camouflaged what was happening up here in my room because I had no control. He tapped it hard three times, and I unraveled.

“Chazzzzz, babyyyyyy!” I screamed out.

“Yeah … Handle it, baby.”

His thrusts were slow now as if he was giving me a moment to compose myself, but when he started moving me back and forth like a piston, I knew he was cumming right behind me. He grunted out his release and whispered, “I love you,” in my ear.

We looked at each other. My body was shaking in his strong arms, his chest heaving from the strength of his release.

The moment was perfect or as perfect as possible as we snuck in sex at my parent’s house. The man admitted to loving me.

“I love you, Chaz.” 

“I know you do, Charlie.” He kissed me before setting me down on my feet. 

“Time to eat!” We heard my mom yelling from the yard, and I was sure she practically screamed it so that we could hear her.

“Let’s hurry up,” he said. “I’m starving all of a sudden.”

“Oh, is that right?”

“You’re not hungry?”

“I’m ravenous,” I admitted.

“That’s what I thought.”

“Oh hush.”

We rushed to the bathroom at the end of the hall and hurried to freshen up. We straightened our clothes and heading downstairs and out on the patio. Suddenly all eyes were on us, or that’s how it felt.

Amber, who looked to be holding back her laughter, walked over to me and whispered, “Sis, all outside heard you.”

I wanted to die. I swear, I wanted the earth to just open up and swallow me inside so that I could disappear from it.

Chaz, who stood beside me, only smiled and broke the ice by saying, “I promise that Charlie will be my wife, so let’s eat the good food. I’m ravenous,” he said, repeating my earlier words. They laughed while my face got warmer.

Just swallow me up, earth!

But did he man just say I would be his wife?

Before I could explore any of that though, A.J. and his father, who I only just noticed, walked over to me. A.J. snickered and offered to make me a plate so that I could sit down and rest as if Chaz had worn me out. Amir Sr. however, approached me with an attitude.

“Is this what the fuck you’re exposing our son to?” I hear Mama gasp, and the rest of my family started murmuring.

Chaz, who had been focused on the food, came over to stand by me.

“What did you just say to Charlie?”

“I said, the two of you motherfuckers got a lot of nerve carrying on like that around my son.”

“You need to lower your voice when speaking to my woman before I lay you out on the grass and embarrass you.”

“Stop talking and do it then …”

My heart raced … it was all happening so fast.

I watched in horror as Chaz started to snatch up Amir Sr. and Amir reaching in with his fist. I couldn’t be sure who would win this fight, but this was not how it was supposed to go down.

“Knock it out NOW!” My mother’s voice cracked the air like a shotgun.

Everyone stopped. My cousins, who were primed to jump into the fight, waited. My sisters who were reaching in to grab me and A.J. and get us out of the melee became still.

Mama walked in between the two giants and pushed them apart.

“Amir, I invited you to my home this last time out of respect for my grandson and his love for you. You are his father, even though you’ve not always done a great job in showing it. I didn’t invite you here for Charlie because she has the love of her life already. You are a grown man, and most of us here are grown, and the children here have been created in love, which means they know the birds and the bees are a natural occurrence in life. A.J. I’m sure heard the two of you before, but now he is hearing his mother be loved by a man that honors and respects her and has asked me for her hand in marriage.”

I looked over at Chaz, who looked to be trying to release his anger. His nostrils were still flared, but he had enough sense to give me his attention long enough to nod and confirm he had sought my mom’s approval. My heart leaped at the thought.

“So with that said, you need to get over it. Get over yourself. You messed that up. A.J. is not horrified. The boy is about to scarf down two plates of food without blinking. He won’t think anything less of his mother because Charlie has always put his needs first before everyone and everything else and raised him right. That’s why when Chaz asked A.J. if he could marry his mother, A.J. said yes. Isn’t that right, A.J.?”

I turned to my son, who was piling food on his plate as the adults seemed to be hashing out this drama.

“Yes, ma’am,” he said and turned back to fixing his hamburger. Everyone laughed, including my Mama.

“So what you gonna do, Amir? Stay here in anger, or stay here and support and love your son? Because that is why you’re here. Or are you gonna leave?”

Amir, now beet red, eyed A.J. like he was a traitor, bit out, “I’m leaving.

All twenty-five of my family members watched him go, and when we heard the sound of his engine, we knew he wasn’t coming back and the music started up again.

It took me a moment to get back into a festive mood. I wasn’t worried about me, but I was concerned about A.J, but I didn’t need to be because he piped up, “Can we focus on eating now?”

Chaz rumbled, “I’m in agreement. I really need to eat now.”

Chaz walked over to A.J. and pat his head, and my son looked up and him and smiled. Both of them proceeded to grab their food as I looked on. Once I realized they were both okay, I let go of the breath I was holding. I had been waiting for Amir to burst.He had not been okay with Chaz being in my life from the jump, but I didn’t want to alienate him by bringing it up when I saw him. As upset as his outburst made me, the fact that my mother settled it in front of everyone made me feel better. Amir had no choice but to move the hell on. I didn’t even want to think about how bad it would have been if the two had actually fought.

Mama walked over to me. “It’s going to be alright. You’ll see. You’ve got a man right there who is ready to fight for you, not fight you.”

“I see that, Mama.”

“Good, now fix yourself a plate and eat.”

My family was resilient and not prone to a ton of drama, which meant they had already moved on past the event and were back to having a good time though I imagined it would be talked about on separate phone calls for awhile.

The meal finished, people started to disperse, and I got up to help my sisters clean up before going home with my boys. Just as I was on my way into the house, I felt a tap at my shoulder and turned to find him, the man who looked ready to slay an army for me, looking down at me with tenderness.

“What’s up with you?” I asked him.

“You, Charlotte. You’re what’s up with me.” I watched as this big man, knelt down in front of me and offered a ring in his large palm. The ring with the sparkling diamond lay in the middle for me to take, and when I picked it up, I looked to him. My eyes were filled with tears, but nothing could blur the love reflected in his eyes.

“Charlotte Marie, I want you to be my wife and sit at the table with me making decisions and loving each other from now until forever. Will you be mine?”

I didn’t even have to think of my answer. I knew I wanted to say yes, had been wondering for a couple hours when he would actually ask me for my hand.

“I’ll be your wife, Chaz. I love you.”

The Cookout

Aja

She Loves Words Publishing, LLC

© Aja Graves 2024

All rights reserved.

No part of this story may be reproduced in any form or by any means without prior consent of the publisher.

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