Chapter 21, Kayla Loses Ground

A Better Pair of Shoes, a novel
Chapter 21

Kayla Loses Ground

I’d been thinking about what Wood had said to me, and it had me worried.  I didn’t want to ruin my marriage, nor did I want to let this “spirit” as he called it, control me any longer.  I called around until I landed at an office that seemed to resonate with me somehow.  I said nothing to Wood, because I didn’t want to disappoint him if I chose not to continue with the visits.  I made an appointment for first thing Monday morning.  I was terrified to open what could easily be called Pandora’s Box, but I was more terrified of losing Wood.  Certainly he was worth the trouble.  There was just one other thing I felt compelled to do.

I pulled up to Tony’s club where we had agreed to meet.   Inside, I took the stairs to the top.  I didn’t know what I would say or do, but I knew it probably wouldn’t be pretty.  The door to his office, one of two other rooms in the loft was open, and Tony signaled for me to come right in.  I followed his command and entered the regal room.  It hadn’t changed much since the last time I was in it.  The desk didn’t show one spic of dust. Everything was meticulously placed.  Tony stepped out from behind his desk, and sat on the front edge.  I saw how distraught he appeared, and thought maybe he did care.  I couldn’t tell if it was all an act, or if he was really hurting.
            “Hey Kayla.”
            “Hello Tony.”
            “You wanted to talk.”  Tony wasted no time.   It didn’t seem like he was even trying to evade the issue.  I rose from the seat I had taken without his direction, and tried to gather the words I planned on throwing sharply at him.
            “So what’s going on?  You told me you loved her…now you cheating and bringing home things you pick up in the streets.”
            “Kayla it was a mistake.  It’s not what it looks like. 
            “It looks pretty clear to me Tony.  This is right up you’re alley.”
            “Okay Kayla.  I’m sorry I can’t live up to your standards.”
            “My standards!  Isn’t it the standard of marriage?”
            “Look, I had a lot on my mind—I had a lot to drink and it happened.  I’m sorry.”
            “That’s it…I’m sorry?  That’s all you have to say?”
            “Yeah that’s it!”
I stood there completely out of words.  I couldn’t think of what else to say.  Tony’s expressions and his words were puzzling.  He looked to be torn up, yet his words were lacking a real sense of remorse.
            “So what did she say?  Is she staying?”  I asked, figuring maybe Tony had already won her back, and didn’t feel like he owed anybody any answers.
            “I really don’t know…I hope so.  Tell me something Kayla.  You slept with men for money too?”
            “Excuse me?”
            “You heard me?”  Tony was stern and hollow.  I felt like I was sixteen all over again.  I looked at him, but did not know what to say.
“Is that how you two met?”
I didn’t know what Aisha had said to Tony, but this was not something that I had planned to discuss.
            “I’ve never slept with a man for money.  There’ve been men who I used for money, but it wasn’t like a strait up exchange or anything.”  I confessed.
            “And do you still fell like you were the one doing the using?”  Tony looked at me from head to toe in what I was sure was disgust.
            “I don’t have to answer to you.”
            “Right, and I equally don’t answer to you.  So are we finished?”
            “What the hell does this have to do with anything anyway?”
            “A lot!  How can a man hold his head up when people are whispering about his wife?”  At that moment the whole picture became clear, and I got what Tony meant by “a lot on his mind”.  I began to recall my days at the club.  I suddenly remembered there were a group of girls that were rumored to be taking dates.   I never knew Aisha to be in the mix, but perhaps I had missed something.  I felt ashamed and embarrassed, both for her and myself.  I didn’t know that I could say anything to make the situation better, and I certainly didn’t want to make it worse.  I looked at Tony who now had his back turned to me and was looking out in the distance through the large window.  I couldn’t fully imagine how humiliated he must have been.  I offered the only thing I could.
            “I’m sorry.  I didn’t know.”  I quickly exited the room and the club in a state of pure panic.  I wondered, “What exactly was being said?”, “Who was saying it?”, and “Had I been mentioned in any of it?”  I thought to call Aisha.  I wanted to know why she had never said anything to me, but I thought some more and realized that I probably would have done the same thing.  I also wondered if Tony had purposely intended on embarrassing Aisha, but I didn’t get why he hadn’t seized to opportunity to clear his name.  All of a sudden, I lost my clear position on the matter.  That’s if the circumstances were as he had suggested. 

            I sat in my car wondering how everything had gotten to be such a mess.  Just then Camie called, and for the first time ever, I considered ignoring her call.  I just couldn’t absorb anymore drama!  But still I answered.
            “Hey Camie.  How are you?”  I tried to sound chipper.
            “Do you have a moment?”
            “Sure, what’s up?”
            “Girl you’re not going to believe what I did last night!”  I could tell from the sound of her voice that it was going to be a lighthearted conversation, and I was relieved.
            “You’re right, so tell me!”  I wasn’t quite up for the mystery of it all.
            “I went on a date with Derek…Hannah’s father.”
            “What?  Why?”
            “Well he sort of set me up, but in the end I decided to go along with it, and I actually had a great time.”  She was bubbling over, and her happiness had come to infect me at the right moment.
            “Please tell me that you didn’t sleep with the man.”
            “I didn’t.  It was like old times you know; innocent.”
            “Innocent?  Didn’t you two have a child?”  I teased.
            “You know what I mean—went it was innocent.  Camie giggled. 
            “Anyway, the reason I’m telling you this is because there were sparks, and I haven’t been able to get my mind off of him all day.”  I didn’t know this Camie.  A Camie who wore and shared her heart openly was new to me.  I thought maybe it was Jennifer because my Camie didn’t talk about sparks.
            “So what are you thinking?  You gonna pursue something?”
            “I don’t know.  I’m scared.  If we don’t get this right Hannah could suffer.  I need good clean lines of communication between us you know, and if it doesn’t….”
            “Do you even know if he felt the spark too?”  I wondered.
            “Well I woke up to a message from him this morning that pretty much said he did.  We’re actually set to meet again to discuss Hannah’s upcoming birthday.”
            “Wow!  I don’t know what to say.  I guess—just follow your heart.”
            “I’m trying, but I’m terrified.”
            “Well there’s only one way to find out you know.”  I encouraged.

            “I know.”  I sensed Camie’s caution.

A Better Pair of Shoes, a novel © Grace Call Communications, LLC Copyright ©2010, 2016, 2017 by Natisha Renee Williams All Rights Reserved