She said she was outside of my building. I didn’t have time for this. Not today. Not now. Elle always picked the wrong times to pop up to see me. Then again, I always made it the right time. We went all the way back to band camp in high school and twenty years later she was still tooting her own horn.
“Are you busy?” she asked her voice sounding a bit weak.
“I’m never too busy for you.” I lied while scrambling around for my notepad. I had the worst habit of taking any opportunity to flirt, even at my own detriment.
“I need to see you Danita.” She whispered. Something was wrong. Any other time I was simply her ‘Dani’.
“Elle I love you to pieces but —-
“You’ve got a fitting, right? Fine I’ll come with you.” She said. She’d come with me? Of all the times she’s interrupted my schedule, she’s never volunteered to come with me to work. Something was wrong.
“The car should be out front. Have Quincy let you in. I’ll be down in a minute.” I mumbled before walking away from my phone without hanging up. I figured she could at least do that part for me.
I was in my brown stone studio finishing the final touches on a look I’d put together for a client. Although this meeting wasn’t landing major funds, the potential future clientele was compensation enough.
“Is Elle in the car?” I asked Quincy walking through the foyer one last time accounting for all of my garment bags.
This year would mark the twelfth year of friendship. We had been through everything from blind dates to joint birthday parties —- hung over church services and coming out experiences. She had been my best friend ever since graduation. Although my mother was iffy about my sexuality, she could even attest that Elle was it. Even my big brother Kwame vouched for how fine she was, and boy was he picky. So you know she was fine, but I’d known that since high school. She was it. The numero uno. After all, I didn’t do much a good job proving that her wrong. Despite my efforts to give Elle a hard time and instill the importance of time and patience, I always made time for her. Always.
I had to admit there was irony laced throughout her visit. I had been thinking about us. Yes we were friends. We were best friends. Best friends who had sex. Best friends, who had amazing, mind blowing, planet rearranging and renaming sex. Yes. But we were more. There was something in her that put the rhythm to my heartbeat when we were together. I never let on; I merely entertained the idea that we were close as she called it. It was time to do more. I’d had the ring for the last two years of our friendship. Perhaps today was the day I needed to put it in my pocket and take it along for the ride.
“Hey Sugah.” I said promptly as I slid in to the pilot seat to her right in the back of the SUV headed down town before kissing her cheek.
She smiled slightly. The tinted windows in the backseat dimmed the sunlight trying to get in. Satellite television was merely a blur. My mind was all over the place. I could hear Elle speaking, but as she always told me, I wasn’t listening. I always managed to counter by telling her I always got the message sooner or later. Right now, all I was concerned with was what other possible options I could strum up for my client. Granted I came with trousers, shirts, blazers, neck and bow ties —- there was always a new way to wear something.
“Right here is good Quincy.” I managed to hear Elle say seconds before the car stopped.
I just couldn’t seem to pry my eyes off of my laptop. One more second before I would feel Elle’s lips pressed firmly against my cheek, against my lips. Another second before her eyes would pierce mine, briefly. She laid a package the size of a bracelet box in my lap and smoothly exited the car. Driving away from the airport it dawned on me we never spoke. Or did we?
“Quincy did she make arrangements with you to take her somewhere?” I asked puzzled as to what just happened. I had been zoned out for what felt like five seconds but what was really twenty minutes.
“Well, yes. She also said to tell you that she loves you and she’s sorry. She knows how little you listen to her.” I heard him say as I started unwrapping the package in my lap.
“She’s sorry? Sorry for what? Making me late? Now I’ll have to explain to the client why—-” I said before trailing off as I tried to take in the words on the note attached to the outside of the box that read:
For someone so punctual about every other aspect of your life—-so attentive—-it’s unfortunate this was the one time you were late and oblivious. Well, I guess we were both late.
I sat there stiff. There were no questions to be asked. I was pretty sure it was safe to say the two lines on the pregnancy test in the box meant she was pregnant. There was a sliver of paper the size of a fortune in a fortune cookie scribbled with:
"You’re an aunt. If it’s a girl, I’ll name her after you, my first love. If it’s a boy, I’ll name him after his father—-Kwame—-my second."