Home > Mami

Author: J.C. Valentine



Only in my wildest imaginings would I have entertained the idea of seeing Alejandro standing outside my home, smiling as I opened the door. Waiting for me…to come outside and kiss him.

I shouldn’t give him the time of day. After his disappearing act, I should tell him to return to his life and forget about me as I will forget about him.

But that would be a lie, and it would go against everything now raging inside of me: hurt, excitement, desire. Love. The truth is, he’s burned himself into my soul. I feel it as an ache rooted deep down inside, and it tells me it’s not going to go away anytime soon. If ever.

How, in a matter of two short weeks, could he have managed such a feat? I don’t have an answer for that. I just know that’s what happened. He’s a part of me now, for better or worse.

It takes all the restraint I have not to rush down the steps and into his waiting arms. I have my pride, and I have my dignity. I won’t obliterate them both by making a fool of myself…even though that’s exactly what I want to do most.

Alejandro stands there, dressed simply in jeans and a long-sleeve shirt. Despite the frosty weather, he doesn’t wear a coat, and the mom in me notices immediately. Isn’t he cold? I am. All the more reason to seek shelter in his arms.

I pad down the sidewalk to the curb, folding my arms to stave off the chill as much as to hold myself together as I stop to stand in front of him. He’s all smiles. I’m all nerves. The kiss is imminent, I can feel it. But as much as I want it, I hold back.

“Mami, it’s so good to see you.”

God, it really is. His eyes are so expressive. Dark brown and filled with gentleness and affection—affection that I no longer fully trust. “Yeah, it is.” Holding back has never been so damn hard!

“I missed you.”

“I missed you too,” I parrot back. It’s honest, but I think we’re both aware that I’m not going to give him anything more than he gives me. Right now, vulnerability is something I’m not sure I can afford. “What are you doing here?”

He comes closer, stuffing his hands in his pockets. Vulnerability on his part helps me to feel more in control. “My boss sent me and the guys to drop off some equipment. When we passed Ohio, I thought of you. I had to see you.”

So I was a passing thought then? I wonder. “I’m glad you came,” I admit, because for some reason, looking into those eyes makes it impossible for me to lie. I’m an open book, whether I want to be or not.

His smile is as brilliant as the first time he laid it on me at the restaurant. My knees go weak, and my heart pitter-patters in my chest. I’m breathless, which is a problem, since I’m already struggling to hold it together.

“I need to kiss you, Mami. I missed those lips.”

I can’t hide my smile. It’s instantaneous, revealing my innermost thoughts and feelings. I’m suddenly aware that holding back was nothing more than a theory, a well-meaning, passing thought that never really had any base with which to stand on. My willpower is disturbingly pathetic. I barely recognize myself right now.

“Then what are you waiting for?”

My invitation is accepted immediately, and Alejandro swoops in. Just like the first time, there is no holding back, no hesitation. His mouth is on mine, his lips a perfect fit as he devours me like a starving man.

I’m no better. My arms are around his shoulders in the span of a heartbeat—my hands holding his head, my fingers in his hair. I breathe him in like my life depends on it. Absorb every sensation and memorize every second...because I’m starving too.

“Why did you disappear?” I ask breathlessly as we transition from kissing to clutching one another in a crushing hug. He smells so damn good, feels so damn good against me, I fight the urge to climb him like a ladder. As it is, I never want to let go.

“I didn’t disappear. I was reassigned. I didn’t know how to tell you.”

I want to buy it, every word, but I’m suspicious. How can I not be? The hug relaxes into a warm embrace, neither of us willing to step away just yet. “So, you just stopped talking to me?”

He releases my waist and takes hold of my face instead. The way he looks down at me, directly into my eyes, tears into me, stripping me bare. I’m fully exposed, vulnerable to him now.

I never really stood a chance.

“I never meant to hurt you, baby.”

I want to look away, but I can’t. I want to say something, but there are too many words, all vying to get out at once. My silence speaks for itself.

“I’m not here to break your heart, remember?”

I’m not so sure about that. I once told him that he had the power to hurt me. He already has once. If I’m not careful, my heart will get broken again, and I’m honestly not sure if it’s in any condition to survive another fall.

“Yeah, I remember,” I reply softly. This exchange is painful, yet it’s exactly what I want. My head tells me he’s just saying what he knows I want to hear. My heart is saying give it a chance. And if I’m honest with myself, I know I’m going to follow my heart. It might steer me wrong, and I can’t afford another heartbreak so soon after the last one…but I also can’t afford to walk away from this.

The fact of the matter is, I’m not done here. Alejandro is something I have to pursue, explore to my satisfaction. Otherwise, I’ll always look back on this time in my life with regret.

It’s a curious thing, to be aware that you’re likely signing your own death warrant and not even care, because the truth is, you can’t tell your heart not to feel just because you don’t want to feel it.

He kisses me, quick but sweet. “Do you remember what I told you before?”

“When?” We exchanged so many texts, it could be anything.

“The first day.”

“Uhhh, I’m not sure. Remind me.”

He smirks, and now I’m more curious than ever. My mind races through all the texts. I remember a lot, maybe everything, but I can’t settle on just one.

“It was love at first picture.”

Lifting onto my toes, I kiss him again. Alejandro is charming, through and through, and I love it. “You’re dangerous for my self-control,” I tease.

“That’s right, Mami. I’m a dangerous man.”

I don’t doubt it for a second. Now that the initial flare of excitement is beginning to wear off, I remember the time. I grimace. “I need to finish getting ready and get the kids off to school.” I’d invite him inside, but I’m not ready for my kids to meet him yet. Until I feel certain of this—whatever it is between us—they don’t need to be involved.

He smiles softly in understanding. “All right, Mami. You go take care of your kids.”

I hesitate, not wanting to leave his side in case I never see him again. “How long are you here?”

“Today. I’m just passing through, but I had to see you.”

I hate his answer. But I also kind of love it. “I’m glad you did.”

“Listen, go do what you got to do, then call me.”

I bite my lip, scraping my teeth across the kiss-tender flesh. “Okay.”

Clasping the back of my neck, he draws me in again and says, “I’ll see you soon, baby,” then kisses me until my toes curl.

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