Imperfect Timing

Imperfect Timing Imperfect Timing

Status: Finished

Genre: Romance

Details

Status: Finished

Genre: Romance

Summary

Andrea has it all -- a perfect husband, beautiful teenager daughter and the career of her dreams. But when she coincidentally runs into Jackson, her college flame, after five years, she's not so sure what she wants anymore. Jackson's spontaneity has turned Andrea's predictable world upside down, and put her in a precarious position, forcing her to face her past.

Summary

Andrea has it all -- a perfect husband, beautiful teenager daughter and the career of her dreams. But when she coincidentally runs into Jackson, her college flame, after five years, she's not so sure what she wants anymore. Jackson's spontaneity has turned Andrea's predictable world upside down, and put her in a precarious position, forcing her to face her past.

Chapter1 (v.1) - Imperfect Timing

Author Chapter Note

Andrea has it all -- a perfect husband, beautiful teenage daughter and the career of her dreams. But when she coincidentally runs into Jackson, her college flame, after five years, she's not so sure what she wants anymore. Jackson's spontaneity has turned Andrea's predictable world upside down, and put her in a precarious position, forcing her to face her past.

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: April 25, 2014

Reads: 1252

Comments: 3

A A A | A A A

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: April 25, 2014

A A A

A A A

Where the hell am I?

The words pierced her brain, and she looked up at the ceiling, staring up until her eyes focused on the textured balls decorating the wall. Realizing she was naked, she wrapped herself in the sheets. The soft-sheets. The hotel.

Regret washed over her, and she turned on her side. His chocolate, strong arms wrapped around her torso, under the sheets. She shivered, and closed her eyes, but leaned into him.

“Good morning, Andrea.” His scratchy voice filled her body with a deep sigh, and goosebumps prickled all over her body as his lips brushed her neck.

She smiled. “Hi.”

He pulled away from her and laid on his back, looking up at the ceiling, playing the same game Andrea had played earlier. “How’d you sleep?”

She turned to face him, making sure to keep her naked body covered. “I had enough to drink. I slept so good, I forgot where I was.”

He laughed, and his eyes darkened with his desire. “I put that ass to bed too.” A wry grin crept across his face and he grabbed her thighs.

“Stop!” She blushed and sat up in the bed, trying to wrap the sheets around her back.

He propped himself up on his elbows, his perfect lips again curling up into a mischievous smile. “Why are you hiding from me, baby? You act like I’ve never seen you before.”

She turned to look down at him. He was right. They had a history that went back almost 10 years. She was a senior in college and he was a graduate assistant coach for the football team at the rival university down the road. He had seen her at her best and her worst – fully clothed, naked, happy, sad, angry, hurt. He knew her inside and out, and there was nothing she could do to deny it, especially after the chemistry sizzled between them as it never left before.

“I don’t know,” Andrea looked down sheepishly. “I just feel like …”

“So how long do I have you?” He interrupted. He knew exactly what she was talking about, but he didn’t want to think about it.

“Well, what time is your game?”

“6.”

“OK.”

“OK, what? You wanna have breakfast at least before you have to go?”

“We could do that, Jackson.”

He smiled at the sound of his name rolling off her tongue. God, she was beautiful. She had grown up from the last time he saw her. She was so different, and he almost didn’t recognize her when she walked into the hotel lobby. Not that he was paying attention. He was too busy finagling with the clerk at the front desk, nevermind the college he coached for was paying for the room. When the clerk stuck her nose in the computer to find a better room at the same rate, Jackson turned to lean against the counter, facing the sliding doors of the large hotel, watching the guests drag their large and small carryons around them. He couldn’t help but watch for attractive women, it was something he had done since he noticed Kara Young’s developing breasts in the fifth grade, but to his dismay, the Tempe Grand hotel wasn’t showcasing their finest specimens. Blond, white women weren’t really his type anyway. He smiled to himself, thinking of the curvy women back in Baton Rouge.  Their small waists, wide hips and apple-shaped backsides. Their smooth skin.

Almost as if he had dreamed her up, a woman stepped out of the airport shuttle bus, tugging at her black pencil skirt and purple blouse before she grabbed her designer luggage from the driver. Her shape was perfect, and dark, wavy hair cascaded over her shoulders, complementing her peanut butter complexion. Jackson’s eyes followed the curve of her back and settled on her round ass before she turned and headed to the check-in. She looked up toward the front desk and locked eyes with Jackson.

A smile crept across his face. “You’re kidding me,” he muttered and stood straight up. “Andrea?”

She didn’t return the smile, but smirked. “Jackson Perry. Wow.” She stopped in front of him, cursing the fact that this was the only place to check in to the hotel.

He looked her up and down while Andrea nervously avoided his eye contact. He couldn’t wipe the smile off of his face. “Look at you. So professional. What are you doing in Phoenix?”

“I have a meeting,” she said quickly, willing the questions to stop. “What are you doing here?”

He felt uneasy. She was obviously upset with him, but it had been at least five years since the last time they saw each other. “We’re playing Arizona State tomorrow.”

“Oh, so you got back into coaching,” she said, still refusing to make eye contact.

“Yeah.”

“Good for you,” she said, showing no sign of sincerity. “I’m exhausted, so I gotta check in.” She pursed her lips together as if she wanted to wish him well, but decided against it at the last minute. She forced a tight smile instead and turned her attention to the clerk.

“Reservation for Richards please.”

Richards? The last name intrigued Jackson. He hadn’t paid attention to her left hand. Was she married? Maybe someone reserved the room for her.

The clerk smiled at her. “Andrea Richards?”

Andrea nodded.

A pit formed in Jackson’s stomach. “You’re married now, huh?”

Andrea seemed to smile at his dismay. “Yes. I am married.”

“Congratulations.”

“Thanks.” She refused to look up and willed the clerk to hurry up.

After several minutes of awkward silence, the clerk smiled again. “OK, Mrs. Richards. You’re all set – room 1523. The elevators are down this hall and to the left. Enjoy your stay at the Grand.”

Ugh, Andrea didn’t think that was possible now. “Thanks,” she muttered. She finally turned to look at Jackson, who hadn’t stopped looking at her since she breezed her way through the front door. “Good luck at your game tomorrow,” she pulled the handle of the carryon. “Take care.”

He watched her walk away, her long, wavy hair bouncing against her shoulders. He turned back to the clerk. “Did you find me a room?”

The clerk smiled, but shook her head. “Sorry. We’re all booked up. Was that your ex?”

Jackson scoffed at the clerk’s boldness, but shrugged it off. “I guess you could say that.”

The clerk shook her head. “You must have hurt her pretty bad. She wouldn’t even look at you.”

Now she had crossed the line. “You pay attention to everything, don’t you? Can I have my room key?”

Andrea’s heart was racing as she walked to the elevator. That son of a bitch. Why did he have to be at the same hotel? Why can’t she just move on with her life? Why did he have to look at her like that?

She was grateful that she looked her best ever. Had lost about 30 pounds since the last time they were together. Let her hair grow out. Wore makeup. Became a true professional. He was still chiseled. And handsome. His chocolate skin. Square jawline. Perfectly shaped lips. He probably had the same strong arms he always had. The ones she would grab on to when she braced herself for his touch.

She shook her head, as if she was literally trying to get him out of her mind.

“Andrea,” Jackson called after her. Her shoulders sank, but she still stopped in her tracks to wait for him. She wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of turning around though.

He jogged up to her. “Can we have dinner? Something?” he asked, panting. “This has got to be fate. Venus is in my world, and I think we should make the most of it.”

She rolled her eyes, and walked to the elevator. “There’s always some planet jumping in your world,” she said, shaking her head. He blamed all of his mistakes on Saturn crashing through everything.

“Yeah, there is,” he said, hurrying after her. “I’m just saying we can’t ignore this.”

“I’m not having dinner with you.” She pushed the button and folded her arms across her chest.

Jackson almost laughed. She was still a stubborn bitch. “What’s with all the animosity? Dre. I haven’t seen you in at least five years. And the first time I see you is in a hotel lobby. Neither of us live here. This is crazy. I’m just asking for us to have dinner and talk. You obviously need some closure.”

“Fine.” She sighed, defeated. “What time?

“Meet me at 9.”

“9? I don’t eat after 7.”

“Well, you’re going to make an exception for me. Actually, meet me in the lobby at 7:30.”

“Fine.” The elevator bell dinged and they both headed in, alone in the car. Andrea leaned against the wall. This was almost too much.

Jackson broke the ice again. “Did you end up marrying the dude from New York?”

“I did. September 16th.”

“Your dad’s birthday.”

She nodded slowly. “Yup.”

“How’s Adrianna?”

“She’s good. An angry teenager, but you know.”

Jackson prayed she would look up and talk to him. Ask him how he was doing. What he had been up to since the last time they spoke. But she didn’t say a word. “Yeah, I know.”

She smirked. “You don’t know. But you will, once your kids get to be Adrianna’s age. And you’ll have to deal with three at the same time.”

She might as well have kicked him in the balls. That was the sore spot with her. His kids – or the fact that he didn’t tell her he was having them. When they reconnected on the East Coast after college, he told her about the baby he had with his girlfriend while he was coaching at a Division 2 school in Washington State. An earthy African girl who fled the country with his son, and he was doing everything he could to find him. She felt bad for him that night. She saw the pain in his face when he talked about it. But she was so excited to see him.

He left coaching and earned a federal contract in Alexandria, Virginia, and had just flown into town when she gave him a call announcing that she was headed up there from North Carolina. He was so excited to see her that he stared down from his hotel room and watched her walk into the lobby.

She had gained about 15 pounds since he had seen her last when she was a senior in college. But she still had that beautiful smile, with straight white teeth. A chin-length bob and almond-shaped brown eyes that seemed to stare into his soul unintentionally.

“Damn, it’s been a minute!” he exclaimed, smothering her in a bear hug when she showed up at his door.

She laughed and melted into him. He was still at least a foot taller than her 5-foot-3 frame.

“I bought you some Riesling – it’s your favorite, right?”

She nodded. “I’m impressed, Mr. Perry.”

She watched him pour her a glass. He was different. He had lost weight and cut the dreds that had grown past his shoulders. They used to hit her in the face when they would make love, and she hated it. “You cut your hair.”

“Shit, you have to if you want to work for the man,” he said.

She laughed and sipped her wine. “You gonna show me DC? I’ve never been here before.”

“Of course I am.” He grabbed his fifth of whatever dark liquor he was drinking. “Let’s go. I got a rental.”

She sighed heavily. He was always so reckless.

He sped through the city with the windows down. It was a wintry February night, but Andrea didn’t feel too cold. All the monuments were lit up, and she felt like she was in a romantic drama. She couldn’t stop smiling.

She was ready to start her life in Philly and grateful for a friend. He didn’t know anyone in the DC area, and she knew even less people in Philadelphia. But they weren’t exactly just friends.

When they came back to the hotel room, liquor had influence on both of their minds, and their chemistry was the only thing they felt in the room.

He looked down at her as she took off her pea coat. “Did I ever tell you you have beautiful teeth?”

She smiled. “No, you never complimented me.”

“Oh, you know that’s bullshit!” he exclaimed. He stepped closer to her, his face inches from hers. “Well, Andrea. You have beautiful teeth.”

As she fixed her lips to say thank you, his mouth was on hers, his hands on her waist. It was only a matter of seconds before their clothes were off their bodies and strewn about the hotel room. In a whirlwind – Jackson’s signature move – he lifted Andrea onto the bed, forcing her legs apart with his knees.

“No, no, no, you don’t have a condom,” she said.

“Shhh,” he kissed her again. Impulsive son of a bitch. She didn’t know if it was his dominance or the alcohol in her system, but she gave in and let him have all of her. No guards up, not physically and definitely not emotionally. They made love twice that night. Andrea drifted off long before Jackson, the night owl.

He watched her sleep. Her smooth eyelids. Her lips slightly parted. The peaceful look on her face. Her smooth caramel complexion. She was amazing. He had always thought so, from the first time they hung out when she was in college and he was a grad assistant. They laughed at the same things, and she had a great smile.

Instead of just using her for sex like he originally planned, Jackson found himself talking to Andrea for hours, hurrying to meet her after work, even if he got off after 1 a.m. She would leave the door unlocked for him, and he would slide in the bed, where she would be asleep in her birthday suit. He could never stay for long. Andrea had to get up for class, and she didn’t want Jackson to meet her 5-year-old daughter. Their schedules were just too different, and Andrea could barely handle it herself. Knowing that he just came around during booty call hours was enough for her, and she got tired of it. Fast.

But that wasn’t it at all. Jackson had fallen for her harder than he wanted to. He was embarrassed. He hated himself for it. And she wouldn’t let him in .It was only a matter of time before one of their arguments turned into Andrea telling him to never speak to her again. And she meant it. She cut him off instantly, as if nothing even mattered.

She called a couple years later, but disappeared again when he told her he had moved to take a coaching job in Washington State. When he got the contract in D.C., he gave her a call.

“Move here,” he blurted randomly.

“What?!” she asked in disbelief. “You can’t be serious. When was the last time we even spoke? Or saw each other?"

He laughed it off. “Yeah, you’re right.” He was disappointed. It was the first time his heart was broken. They lost touch again, until a week before she called him to tell him she was moving to Philadelphia.

Here they were. Together in person for the first time in almost three years. All of the same feelings he had buried for her came back in a wave. He smiled to himself. Happy that she was back in his life.

When Andrea opened her eyes the next morning, Jackson had fallen asleep. She didn’t want to wake him, so she tried to slide out of the bed.

“Happy Valentine’s day,” he whispered.

Shocked, she turned back to him and smiled. “Happy Valentine’s Day.”

“Come here,” he said. “It’s Sunday. You don’t have anywhere to go.”

She sighed and crawled back in the bed. “You’re right.” She rested her head on his chest. “What are you doing today?”

“I gotta find an apartment,” he said. “Wanna come with me?”

“Sure.” It would be the first day they actually hung out in public. She didn’t know what to expect. That Sunday turned into every weekend and hours-long conversations on the telephone. They were back to normal – until Andrea picked another fight with him and told him that she couldn’t talk to him anymore.

“You never come to see me in Philly,” she complained. “I can’t keep coming to see you.”

“Andrea, where is this coming from?” he asked. He was so confused. “All you had to do was ask me to come visit. I haven’t heard from you in like a week, and you give me this?”

“You and me – it just doesn’t make sense.” She sniffled.

“Wait, are you crying? What’s going on over there?”

She sniffled again. “Just forget it.” She hung up again and disappeared from his life.

A month later, he called her phone, but a man answered.

“Yo.” He had a thick New York accent. “Andrea’s with me now, and I would appreciate it if you never called this number again.”

Jackson was pissed. He hung up the phone and took the next exit to turn around and head back down I-95. He was on his way to see her. To tell her that they did make sense. But obviously she wanted someone else, and he had waited too long. But he was done with her.

Until today, when he was standing here in the elevator with her, in a city they had never planned to be in. Their past was too complex to ignore this moment. The elevator came to a gentle stop on the fifteenth floor, and Andrea headed out the door to her room.

“I’ll see you at 7:30,” Jackson called after her.

She rolled her eyes. How did she get here? She had to talk about it. Should she stand him up? “Oh God,” she said out loud when she noticed her hands were shaking so badly that she couldn’t get the card key in the door. Why does he get the best of me?


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