“Tomorrow is our two year anniversary,” Kayla Evans said with a sigh to her girlfriends. The four girls were having a “Girl’s Night” at Christie and Rachel’s luxurious apartment. They were all cozied up in blankets and pajama pants, lounging on the couches and chairs sipping coffee and chatting.
“You don’t sound too excited about it.” Rachel said.
“Well, I haven’t heard anything from James about any kind of plans.” Kayla said as she took a sip of her coffee.
“You think he remembered?” Nikki asked.
“Who knows?” Kayla shrugged, clearly discouraged.
“Kay, you know men like James don’t pay attention to things like that.” Rachel said.
“Girl, all men today don’t pay attention to things like that.” Nikki corrected. Unanimous agreement went across the room.
“Which is why WE have to train them. Everyone knows men need us. Even God said it. So we have to be the ones to teach them how to be good boyfriends and husbands.”
“What? Really?” Kayla asked.
“Yes. You have to train them girl. If he doesn’t know how to make you happy then you teach him how to make you happy. Like this situation, for example. You have a perfect opportunity to train him in how to make you happy by letting him know that you’re expecting to celebrate tomorrow for your two year anniversary.” Nikki said.
“What? How would I do that?”
“Okay,” Nikki began as she sat up right in her chair, “Text him right now. But don’t make it obvious that you’re dropping a hint. Give him a chance to be ‘the man’ and say it in a way that he can still take credit for it.”
“So like, ‘Hey babe. Can’t wait to celebrate our two year anniversary tomorrow.’?” Kayla asked.
“PERFECT! Exactly! Something like that.” Nikki screamed as she clapped her hands. The other girls grinned nervously, unsure of the ingenious theory. Kayla unfolded her legs on the couch and reached for her cell phone. She found James’s number and started to compose a text message.
HEY BABE. I CANNOT WAIT TO CELEBRATE OUR TWO YEAR ANNIVERSARY TOMORROW. IT’S BEEN AN INCREDIBLE TWO YEARS! I LOVE YOU SO MUCH FOR MAKING IT SO GREAT.
Kayla read the text out loud as she typed. She fiddled with her nails and bit her bottom lip before sending the text message.
“There you go girl. Train him.” Nikki said as Rachel and Christie just nodded and watched in suspense.
“Hehe,” Kayla giggled, “This is kind of fun. But feels a little risky though.” Kayla said as she sat her phone back down and looked at her girlfriends.
“It kind of is. But, risky is the game of love.” Nikki assured.
“Amen to that.” Rachel and Christie said almost in unison.
“Do you really think he didn’t remember?” Christie asked as she tied her blonde hair into a pony tail.
“I honestly don’t know.” Kayla answered. “I really have no faith in him though. But! He has learned to bring me cookie dough ice cream when I’m mad at him. Which is about every three weeks.”
“Wait. Cookie dough ice cream is a pacifier for you?” Christie asked.
“Well, I wouldn’t say a pacifier, I’d say more of a….” Kayla rolled her eyes to the top of her head in thought of a better word, until finally giving up the search and laughing. “Eh, you’re right. I guess that is what a pacifier is huh?”
“Yeahhhhhh. That’s sad Kayla.” Christie said while shaking her head.
“Shut up!” Kayla tossed a pillow across the room as they all shared a laugh. “Oh, this is him.” Kayla responded after her phone buzzed in her lap.
ME TOO. BE READY TOMORROW AT 6.
Kayla read the text out loud after reading it silently to herself.
“That’s it? No, I’ve had a great two years too? None of that? Ugh, he’s so unaffectionate.”
“Train him girl. Train him.” Repeated Nikki.
The next night, Nikki was at Kayla’s apartment to help her get ready for her anniversary date with James.
“Is it weird that I’m nervous?” Kayla asked Nikki while she was doing her hair and helping her with makeup.
“I don’t know. Why are you nervous?”
“I don’t know. That’s why I’m asking.” Kayla said. Nikki shook her head and looked at the clock.
“It’s almost 6. Are you ready?” Nikki asked as she sat down the hot comb and let Kayla look at the results of her hands.
“Yeah, I think so.” Kayla said as she stepped back in front of the mirror and looked herself over. She was wearing a clingy teal blue strapless dress that stopped mid-way down her thigh with tan tie up heels.
“You think I’m ready? What do you think? Is the dress too tight?”
“Girl, only you can pull that dress off. And it looks great on you. He’ll be drooling by the time drink orders come.” Nikki said as she looked at Kayla in the mirror.
“Yeah?” Kayla asked as she pulled on the dress. “Because I need to spice things up a little bit.”
“Yeah, as a matter of fact. You should walk to the bathroom right after you guys order your drinks so he can see you again in the dress. Here’s a secret about men. They get really excited when their girl is walking through a room in a dress like this because he knows other men are looking at you and they’ll be envious of him.”
“Okay.” Kayla said as she blankly stared in the mirror.
“And besides all of that. Just calm down. Tonight is going to be great. You’re going on a date with a man you love, celebrating your two year anniversary. That’s a big deal. Enjoy it!”
“Just calm down. Tonight is going to be great. You’re going on a date with a man you love, celebrating your two year anniversary. Enjoy it!” Kayla repeated out loud to herself in a monotone voice as she continued to stare at herself in the mirror.
“Remember to train him.”
“Remember to train him.” Kayla repeated out loud again in the same monotone voice.
“It feels like I’m programming you.”
“It feels like I’m programming you.” Kayla repeated in a robotic voice and started to laugh. Nikki slapped her on the arm and walked out of the bathroom. The laugh helped Kayla calm down a little as she walked out into the living room to wait for James to get there. As soon as she sat down, her phone buzzed. She picked it up off her coffee table.
HEY, I’M OUTSIDE. Kayla read the text out loud.
“He’s outside? What does that mean?”
“It means he’s outside Nikki. He’s texting me from the car outside in the parking lot.” Kayla said as she got up to grab her purse.
“No ma’am! You have to train him Kayla. Ya’ll are entering into a new season of your lives. Two years! Your relationship is on a whole new level. So he needs to bring his gentlemen game up to a new level. Make him come to the door. Train him.”
“Tell him that you’re not quite ready yet and he should come up here and wait for you.”
Kayla texted that verbatim and sat the phone back down on the coffee table. She sat on the edge of her couch to wait for his response.
“How long do we wait?”
“Make him wait. Train him.” Nikki kept saying. So Kayla and Nikki just stared at the phone for almost five minutes.
“Is he serious? Where is he?” Nikki asked.
“Told you. I’ll just go on down.”
“Kayla. Sit down and make him wait.” Nikki suggested again. So they both stared at the clock for another five minutes.
“Told you. I’m about to go.”
“Ok. He’s ridiculous. Well, have an attitude tonight. Bring it up that he didn’t come up to the door and then play hard to get all night. Make him work for it.” Nikki winked as she gave her final advice.
“Gotcha.” Kayla returned the gestured.
“Okay. Well have fun girl!” Nikki said as she followed behind her to head to her own apartment.
Kayla locked up her third floor apartment and walked down the stairs. When she got to the parking lot she saw James still sitting in his car, not moving.
Is he asleep? I knew I shouldn’t have had him wait that long. Kayla thought to herself as she approached the car. But as she got closer, she saw the glow from his cell phone on his face and a large grin plastered on his lips.
What is he doing? He better not be texting someone!?
Kayla softly walked up to the car and opened her door. It startled James a little bit when the car door so suddenly opened. And after seeing Kayla, he stopped in the middle of typing a text message and put his phone in his left pocket.
“Why didn’t you come up?” She asked.
“I never come up.”
“But I asked you to because I wasn’t done getting ready.”
“I know. I didn’t mind waiting in the car.”
“Did you even realize how long you were waiting?”
“Huh?” James said as he looked at the clock. “Oh.”
“Yeah. What were you doing? Who were you texting?”
“Nobody. What’s wrong with you? Why are you acting like that?”
“You didn’t come up to the door.”
“Kayla. I never do. That walk is too long.”
“Ugh. Whatever.” Kayla rolled her eyes and jerked her seatbelt around her body. She shoved the clip into the buckle and flopped back in her passenger seat.
“Why are you starting an argument on our two year anniversary about something as petty as me coming to the door? Can you chill out please? This is supposed to be----”
“Okay James! Sorry. Let’s just go!” Kayla interrupted him because she hates being called petty.
All I asked is for you to come up to the door. And I’m being petty. On our two year anniversary, you couldn’t come up to the door. Kayla thought to herself as she stared at the window.
The car was silent as James took her to a nice Italian restaurant in the downtown area. They were seated right away at a table in the middle of the restaurant.
Well this is nice. Kayla thought to herself as they sat down. The waiter promptly greeted them and asked for their drink orders. As soon as the drinks were ordered, Kayla executed what Nikki suggested.
“Where’s your restroom?” Kayla asked the waiter as he pointed across the restaurant.
“James, I’ll be right back.” Kayla said as she got up and walked away from the table. As she walked with great posture and grace towards the restroom, she cut her eyes across the room and noticed a few guys were checking her out. When she got to the restroom, she sat her purse on the sink and looked in the mirror and started to check her hair and makeup.
Nikki does such a good job with my hair and makeup. Kayla said to herself as she sighed. But why don’t I feel right? I don’t feel special at all right now. Kayla thought to herself as she pulled on her dress. Kayla. Stop being petty. You know James love you. Let go of all of that stuff from earlier and enjoy dinner with the man you love. She said to herself as she grabbed her purse and left the restroom with a fixed attitude.
As soon as she turned the corner, she looked at her table. James was texting someone again.
Are you kidding me? Who could he possibly be texting right now? Ugh! Kayla said to herself as she prepared to unleash some rage when she returned to the table. But when she was a few feet from the table, he looked up at her. He looked as if he had just seen her for the first time as high eyes bulged out of his head and a huge smile arose on his face.
“What?” Kayla asked now confused.
“You look so amazing tonight.” James said, and instantly her anger went away.
“Thank you.” She blushed. I can’t believe that worked.
After she sat down, the night took a turn towards perfection. They share a lovely dinner and great laughs. James knows how to make Kayla laugh, which is one of the things she loves about him. After dinner, they went for a walk up to the park that had a scenic trial with great views of downtown and the river that flowed through the city. They held hands and shared sweet sentiments until Kayla started to get cold so they headed back to his apartment.
“So, what are you thinking we close the night with?” James asked as they drove through town towards his apartment.
“You have some ice cream and a movie we can watch?”
“I have Netflix. And, I’m pretty sure there’s some ice cream in there.”
“Okay, we can do that.”
“Any toppings?” James asked with a wink.
“Maybe.” Kayla teased. James grinned back at her as he turned into his apartment complex. I really don’t want to have sex tonight. I’m enjoying how special I feel right now. Kayla said to herself as they parked. She felt a tightness in her stomach growing but she ignored it.
Kayla had noticed that every time they have sex, she has a hard time of not thinking about all the other girls he has had sex with. But in that moment, she was the only one being treated like a girlfriend, and she didn’t want to lose how special that made her feel. In that moment, he was all hers.
They entered into his apartment and James immediately flipped on his PS3 and loaded up Netflix while Kayla fixed two bowls of chocolate ice cream. James walked up behind Kayla in the kitchen and wrapped his arms around her. She loved when their bodies touched. His strong arms and 6’3 frame always comforted her. His cell phone that was lying on the counter on silent notified him that he had just received a text message. He quickly picked it up and put it back into his back pocket.
“Who was that?” Kayla asked over her shoulder.
“Um, just Jeff.”
“You didn’t even look at the phone.”
“I know. But I know its Jeff. I asked him something earlier.”
Kayla just stared back at him. She was not liking how distracting his cell phone had been all night. Anger began to rise up in her stomach again because she could tell he was hiding something.
“James, who was that?” She sternly asked as she wiggled out of his grip.
“Baby. Chill out okay? Don’t ruin this moment with fighting.” James said as he stepped towards her.
“Whatever.” Kayla said as she pushed away from him and grabbed her bowl of ice cream and walked into the living room. She sat on the couch and started to flip through Netflix’s movie choices. James followed behind her and sat right next to her on the couch.
“Why are you all on me?” Kayla asked as she continued to flip through the movie selections.
“Because I want you.” James was rubbing his hands down her revealing leg.
“Well I want to watch a movie.”
“But you’re looking so nice in that dress. I don’t want to watch a movie anymore.” James said as he tried to remove the controller from her hand.
“James, look. Didn’t you want to see that movie?” Kayla tried to redirect his attention.
“Kayla, tonight is our special night. A movie would ruin this moment.” James said as he leaned on her and started to kiss her on her neck.
“James. I really want to watch a movie.” Kayla continued to squirm away from his efforts.
“Come on Kayla.”
“James, seriously. Stop.” Kayla pushed away from him; but he was relentless.
“Kayla, I love you.” James said as he leaned on top of her again and started to kiss her. His hands were already reaching to unzip her dress.
“James, seriously. I really want to watch a movie.” Kayla kept trying to redirect his attention.
“Kayla, come on.”
“James! I want to watch a movie!”
“Kayla, stop fighting it. You know you want this.”
Immediately, Kayla had a flashback of a tragic incident that happened in her past. That sentence was a trigger to a dungeon full of suppressed fears and emotions. Kayla started to hyperventilate.
“Babe?” James said as he climbed off of her.
“James. Just. Just. Take me home. Please.” Kayla said in between deep gasps of breath. James couldn’t help but stare at her as her breathing got heavier.
“JAMES! TAKE ME HOME!” Kayla let out a piercing scream and violently pushed him. She jumped off the couch and ran to the front door. Her breathing had gotten worse as she tried to remove the chain lock from the door. Her quivering hands couldn’t steady enough to precisely remove the chain properly, so she punched the door with her hand and fell to the ground.
“Kayla? What did I…” James asked.
“JAMES! TAKE ME HOME!” Kayla screamed again with tears streaming from her eyes. She was violently shaking with terror in her eyes. James walked over to the door, unchained the lock, and tried to pick her up off the ground. As soon as James reached for her, Kayla started to punch at him.
“STOP! GET OFF OF ME!” Kayla screamed. Her eyes were closed and her breathing was getting worst. When she felt the draft from the outside sweep up her legs, she jumped up and ran out the door. She skipped steps as she ran down the two flights of stairs. Her breathing was heavier as she ran through the parking lot. She sprinted until one of her heels broke in a sewage drain, causing her to fall to the ground right in front of James’s apartment complex. She crawled over to the curb and sobbed for 15 minutes as memories from her past resurfaced and started to haunt her again. She couldn’t shake the image of her uncle that had sexually abused her when she was 14 years old, which had happened only 6 years before that night. That man had removed her innocence on his account and for his own pleasure. He had taken her virginity and left her broken and shamed.
Kayla sat on the curb at the entrance of the apartment complex and wept there until she could get herself together.
Kayla, be strong. James is not that man. You’re okay. He’s not here. You’re okay. She finally started to tell herself as she felt herself still shaking. Kayla got up off the street and started to head towards her apartment. The dark shadows on the street were terrifying her as she walked down the quiet street. She somehow was still holding James’s PS3 controller.
Ugh. I wish this was my cell phone. I want a ride home. Kayla thought to herself as she walked. Even though she lived in a reasonably safe town, Kayla was looking over her shoulder every few seconds. But when she was halfway to her apartment, she felt a raindrop hit her on her hand.
Oh! Please no! She said to herself as she looked up to the sky. And as soon as she thought that, the bottom fell out and it started to pour down raining. She sprinted towards a bus stop awning that was about 50 yards away. She sat down on the bench, already drenched from the rain.
No no no! Kayla screamed to herself. My shoes are ruined! My dress is ruined! My hair is ruined! My makeup is ruined! And I don’t have my cell phone to call for a ride, or a friend, or James! Ugh!! And then suddenly, an overwhelming feeling of loneliness gripped her soul deeply, and she started to weep again.
How do I manage to get myself into these crazy situations?
The next morning Kayla was sitting in her apartment when a knock came at her door. She sat down her journal and walked over to see who was at the door. She looked through the peephole and was surprised at who was standing on the other side. Kayla immediately blushed as she opened the door.
“Hi.” Kayla shamefully greeted.
“What’s up?” James nervously asked.
“I, um, brought your cell phone.”
“Oh yeah. Thanks. I have your controller.” Kayla said as she grabbed it from her coffee table.
“Thanks.” James said as he looked around the apartment. Kayla was trying to read him but he looked completely emotionless.
“So? You okay?” James asked.
“Yeah. I’m so sorry if I freaked you out or anything last night.”
“Yeah. I didn’t know what to do.”
“Nothing. Just….” Kayla hated to tell people about her past. It always makes her feel dirty. And she hated when people pitied her; she wasn’t in the mood for that today.
“Just, some things from my past.”
“Kayla. What happened?”
“I really don’t like telling people about it. It’s nothing. Please. I don’t want to bother you with it. I’m fine.” Kayla said.
I was honest about it with my last boyfriend, and it scared him away. I’m helping you James, trust me. I’m helping us. It’s for the best.
“Okay.” James said. His facial expression changed. He seemed extremely uncomfortable. “Well, I have to get going. I’ll hit you up later.”
“Ok.” Kayla said as she watched him mentally debate whether to hug her or not. He gave up and headed towards the door.
No, please stay. I don’t want to ask but I would love it if you stayed and just held me all day. I’m still hurting. Kayla thought to herself as she followed him to the door and watched him leave. He didn’t even turn around when he left.
Oh no. This is about to become an issue. Kayla thought to herself as tears started to roll down her face. Here we go again. I’ll never escape this.