His Best Friend’s Woman

His Best Friend’s Woman

At first he thought that his mind was playing tricks but when she turned her head, he realized that it was Sharita. What was she doing there in Seattle? The last time they saw each other it was at Rashad’s funeral which was five years ago. He had been struck down in an intersection by a driver who had run the red light. Rashad had just left Spence Diamonds. An engagement ring was found in his breast pocket.

Guilt riddled him every time he thought about his childhood friend because of Sharita. The first time he met her, the attraction was strong and immediate. He tried to fight it because of Rashad. It wasn’t the first time they were both attracted to the same woman but this time it was different. Sharita was the woman Rashad planned to spend the rest of his life with.

To make matters worse, the attraction was mutual. When they were in public, Sharita and he exchanged glances–sometimes fleeting and sometimes lingering–even when she was with Rashad and he was with another woman. He tried to avoid being alone with her because he was afraid that something would happen between them. Then, one night, she showed up at his office and invited him to have dinner with her. He should have refused but he didn’t. They went to a Greek restaurant. It was a very pleasant experience. They chatted about all sorts of things and were relaxed with each other.

Then, he took her to her place. She invited him up and against his better judgment, he went. They barely made it inside her condo before they were kissing wildly and tugging at each other’s clothes. Breaking off the passionate kisses, she grabbed his hand and took him to her bedroom. They ended up making love on top of the quilt.

After their explosive love-making, they lay there for several minutes, trying to catch their breath and then, he rolled out of the bed. Standing with his back to her, he started to get dressed. She got up and went up behind him, wrapped her arms around him and buried her face in his back. He closed his eyes at the feel of her skin against his. It felt so good but it was wrong. He pulled her arms from about him and turning around, he muttered tightly, “This was a mistake.”

“I don’t think it was,” she said. “It’s something we both wanted.”

“Wanting it doesn’t make it right,” he retorted. “What about Rashad? He’s my best friend and you’re his woman.”

“Just now when you and I were making love, neither of us was thinking about Rashad.”

Mouth tightening, he grabbed his sweater and pulled it on. “This was a mistake which I don’t intend to happen again. Don’t bother seeing me off. I can let myself out. Goodbye, Sharita.”

“Jamel…”

He started when he realized that she was standing right in front of him. Stiffening, he asked, “What are you doing here in Seattle?”

“I live here now.”

“Since when?” He leaned away from the wall and stood straight with his arms folded, his eyes wary as they met hers. Nothing had changed. She was as stunning as ever. He remembered grasping a handful of those curls as she had lain on top of him, kissing him. He shifted uneasily as his body reacted to the memory.

“Since last year.” Her gaze ran eagerly over him. He looked as gorgeous as ever. How she longed to hug and kiss him but she knew he wouldn’t like that. “How have you been?”

“Fine. Why did you move from Atlanta to here, Sharita?”

“There was nothing left for me in Atlanta,” she replied as she sat down on the concrete seat. He remained standing.

“You mean because Rashad was dead.”

“Yes, but mainly because you had left soon after his funeral. You left without saying goodbye to me. I had to find out that you left from Kaira.” Kaira was Rashad’s younger sister.”

“I thought it was best if we didn’t see each other again.”

“Because of what happened between us at my apartment?”

“Yes.”

“Were you afraid that if you came by my apartment to say goodbye, I would have persuaded you to stay in Atlanta and that we would have ended up in my bed?”

“Yes.”

“You know I never meant to cheat on Rashad but I couldn’t fight my feelings for you.”

“He bought an engagement ring on the day he died. He was going to ask you to marry him.”

“I know and I would have had to tell him that I couldn’t marry him.”

“You would have turned down his proposal?”

“Yes. How could I marry him after what happened between you and me? We made love several times after that first time at my apartment. I couldn’t marry Rashad when I had feelings for you. I would have been unfaithful to him and I’m sure you wouldn’t have wanted that for him.”

“You and I would have ended what we had if you had married him. I draw the line at adultery.”

“I would have committed mental adultery because I would have been thinking about you–fantasizing about you, imagining that it was you in bed with me, making love to me and driving me wild. I would have hated seeing you with other women and wouldn’t have been able to hide my jealousy from Rashad. Is that what you would have wanted for him–for us?”

“All I wanted was for Rashad to be happy.”

“I wouldn’t have made him happy, Jamel because of you. He and I would have ended up breaking the engagement or getting a divorce.”

“I’m thankful that he never found out about you and me. It would have killed him.”

“I was devastated when I heard that he was dead. I cared very much for him.”

“He was more than a friend to me. He was like a brother. I hated what I was doing to him behind his back but I couldn’t fight my attraction for you no matter how hard I tried and believe me, I tried. I’m not the kind of guy who moves in on his friend’s woman.”

“I know that and I’m not the kind of woman who moves in on her boyfriend’s best friend.”

“Why did you have to come here, Sharita? I came here to forget about you and to move on.”

“Don’t you think I tried to do the same thing? I tried to forget about you and to move on with my life after you left but I couldn’t. That’s why I’m here.”

“And what you do you expect to happen now? That we would pick up where we left off because Rashad is dead?”

“I would be lying if I said that I didn’t want to be in relationship with you.”

“Well, sorry to disappoint you but it just so happens that I’m seeing someone.”

Sharita’s expression changed. “Is it serious.”

“Maybe.”

“Does this mean that you and I can’t be friends?”

“Friends?”

“Yes. It’s possible for a man and a woman to be friends, isn’t it?”

“I suppose so.”

“I was just on my way to pick up food. Would you join me for lunch instead? My treat.”

“I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

“It’s just lunch, Jamel. We’ll be in public and you don’t have to take me home afterwards.”

He thought about it for a moment and then, he said, “All right.”

She got up and they went for lunch.