Pavi sat dazed for a moment. Finally she switched the car from park to drive and took off into the downtown traffic. Part of her wanted to see if she could seek out Vance’s car among the sea of cars before her but she stubbornly ignored that urge. Her purse was on the ground of the passenger side at the next stoplight Pavi reached over, picked up the purse and put it on the seat. When the light turned green and as she was getting on to the highway Pavi used her right hand to locate her cell phone in her purse.
She put the phone on her lap wondering who she would call and what she would say. Should she call Vance? Had she hurt him? He would answer. But what would she say? If she asked him if he was okay he would only say ‘I’m good’. She could call one of her friends but she wasn’t really in the mood for more opinions that she would have to sort through. What was Jalen doing? She could call him.She would call him. Jalen was her boyfriend. He was the one who was there for her now not Vance. Vance hadn’t been able to deal with all she was feeling but Jalen would. She decided she would tell Jalen everything. Pavi hit the number 5 on speed dial and heard the phone ringing. Jalen answered.
“Hi,” Pavi smiled weakly to herself.
“Yeah…no…what are you doing?”
“No? What’s wrong?”
“What are you doing? Are you busy?”
“I was only watching ESPN.”
“I’m stopping by.”
“See you in a few.”
A few exits and 15 minutes of lunch time traffic later Pavi was back at Jalen’s house. This time she used the key he had given her to unlock the door. Jalen got up of the couch and met her at the door.
“Hey,” he said.
“Hey.” Pavi took off her coat and Jalen hung it up in the closet.
“Don’t you look lovely.”
“Thank you.” Pavi made her way to the couch, plopped down, picked up the remote and turned off the television. Jalen sat down beside her on the couch and said
On the car ride over to Jalen’s place Pavi had decided to be direct.
“I went to lunch with Vance today.”
“Wow. I totally missed that. And you wore this?”
“Well how was it? You seem a little uneasy.”
Jalen’s tone was even. Pavi searched his face for a sign of his true feelings but finding none she asked,
“That”s it? You just want to know what happened? You’re not bothered by the fact that I went out with Vance?”
Jalen laughed. “Bothered? I’m not worried about Vance. I mean you do look nice – Really nice and sure that would make most other men uncomfortable but even if you went out in sweats and a hoodie you’d still look good. I’m not gonna trip. I just want to make sure you’re okay and that he didn’t disrespect you. If he did Then we have some problems.”
Pavi shook her head no. “He wants to be my friend.”
“I thought you two were friends.”
“We’re friendly enough I suppose but he’d like us to be really cool again.”
“Uh-huh. And what would you like?”
“I don’t know. I thought me and him were good and I don’t want to feel pressured into a bogus friendship.”
“And that’s what got you ruffled?’
“That’s part of it.”
“So what else is there?”
“He wanted to know about you.”
Jalen laughed again. “Oh really? Does he want to know about the boyfriends of all his female friends or are you the exception?”
“I really wouldn’t know.”
“Yo, from what I know Vance is a cool dude. I understand his interest in you because y’all do have history but he also needs to realize that you’re happy. You’re good. I’m not expecting you to defend our relationship to him but I do hope you at least let him know it’s all good in the hood this side. No disrespect to old boy but I’m definitely an upgrade compared to all the mess he would have been bringing you into. So what are we doing this evening?”
Pavi got up from the couch. “Actually I have to go.”
“What? You just got here.”
“Yeah. I know. But I told you earlier that I was staying home tonight.”
Pavi’s look told Jalen there was no room for discussion. “I’ll talk to you later.”
“Will you mind if I stop by?”
“Yes I’ll mind. Don’t do that. Besides I might have some of the girls over. Haven’t had any girl time in a while.”
“Oh boy. Definitely don’t want to be around for that.”
Pavi put on her coat and started out the front door to the car. Jalen stood on the steps.
“Wait no kiss?”
Pavi looked up at Jalen blew him a kiss, smiled, then got into her car and sped off.