“Take these off for me, baby,” he said in the softest, deepest voice.

I was only too happy to oblige. My fingers clasped around the band and the boxers began their travel downward.

The house phone rang. Fuck, I thought, then stopped the boxers’ descent right at the glory mark. I unplugged the phone, smiled at Kenneth, and went back to the most important work in the world—getting Kenneth naked.

As the boxers found the floor, I pretended to not be impressed. Kenneth had a magnificent body. I crawled backward onto the bed and leaned toward my nightstand. I pulled out a box of condoms and sat them on the stand. After taking out one, I faced Kenneth and asked, “May I have the pleasure of putting this on?”

He said, “Yes” as someone began pounding on the door. I fell back onto the bed and groaned. I couldn’t ignore the loud bangs, and if it were Rico or Vince, I needed to get to the door and quickly. Both had keys.

I slid out the bed and said, “I’m so sorry. Let me get rid of whoever it is.”

Kenneth pulled me to him and the feel of our naked bodies meshed together made me release. He kissed my neck and said, “Hurry back.”

I snatched my silk blue robe from off the vanity’s chair, shut the bedroom door behind me, and rushed to the front door.

Vince was on the other side. His eyes were huge and moving quickly around what he could see inside.

He looked at me and asked, “What are you doing?”

I threw my hands on my hips. “What do you mean?”

“Don’t start that shit, Carter. I know Kenneth’s here.”

“So what? The case is closed. He can do whatever he wants, and so can I.”

“May I come in?”

I lifted a brow and responded, “Um, no, I don’t think so.”

“Why are you doing this, Carter?” Vince asked in a strained voice.

“Because I like him. Because I want to.”

“But you don’t love him.”

“And how do you know?”

“I just do.”

I shut the front door a bit and stepped onto the porch. “And why do I have to love him, Vince?” I asked.

“Because you never slept with anyone that you didn’t love,” he answered simply.

Desperate times, called for desperate measures, I thought.

“Why are you here, Vince?” I asked.

“Because you don’t know everything.”

“What’s everything?” Vince stood there staring at me as if trying to sway me with the sadness in his eyes. “What is everything, Vince?”

“Kenneth is not a victim here,” he said.

I laughed. “Are you serious?” I asked. “Not the victim? His wife was cheating on him, Vince.”

“Was she?”

I shook my head. “We have tape of her kissing someone,” I said. “He told me that she told him the truth. He left her. I know what I know.”

Vince opened his mouth, and I placed my hand over it. “He’s a good guy. Don’t be mad because you lost your shot.”

Vince’s eyes narrowed. When I removed my hand, he asked, “What shot?”

“You’re mad because Kenneth is getting what you want,” I said. “Me. You say you love me…”

“I do love you, Carter.”

“Yeah, to have you tell it. Everyone else is telling me that you’re in love with me. They tell me that you want to be with me.”

Vince didn’t respond. Not like I expected him to.

“You and I kissed,” I continued, “and I liked it. I thought there was something. I felt like there was something, and you’re like ‘let’s forget this happened’.”

I began crying, and I let out a string of profanity because I felt so damn stupid. Never, ever let a man see you cry. That was one of my mottos.

“I thought I was feeling something for you, Vince,” I whispered. “Something more than the love of our friendship. I opened myself up to a what if. You know I don’t do that.”

“Please don’t go back in there with him,” Vince said. “I never meant to hurt you, Carter.”

“The sad thing is I know you didn’t mean to hurt me. But these are the consequences to me being hurt. We have to deal with them. Goodnight.”

I turned to go in, and Vince grabbed my arm and spun me around. Before I could protest, he had me in his arms, and his mouth joined to mine. In the weakest attempt ever known to man, I tried to get out of Vince’s grasp, but he wasn’t having it. His hands moved down my back, and when they reached my backside, Vince moaned against my mouth. Involuntarily, my fingers inched into his crinkly, thick hair.

The kiss ended, and I stepped back on shaky legs. Vince’s eyes were flashing green like new money. I didn’t know how I was feeling or how I was supposed to feel.

“Goodnight, Vince,” I managed to get out before a sob escaped me.

I quickly went in and shut the door. I stayed there, listening for him to drive off. He did—five minutes later. My tears had still not stopped.