Life After Dark
Chapter 8

Keesha rushed back into her apartment. Talking Gina through her various outfits and hairstyles had taken her more time than she had anticipated and now, Keesha was running late. She glanced at her bedside clock and silently cursed. AJ would be there in less than thirty minutes and she hadn't even showered, yet.

Keesha moved to her closet and pulled out the dress she bought a few weeks ago when she first learned of the club's opening. Before the abduction, she would have never considered buying herself such an expensive dress, but not now. Keesha knew from firsthand experience that she had to live for the day because tomorrow was not a given. Never again would she ever deny herself something she really wanted.

She smiled as she held the dress to her body. The plum color looked good against her dark brown skin. She carefully placed the dress on the bed and went to her drawer to select her stockings. She decided on a pair which matched her skin tone and set them next to her dress. She went back to her dresser and searched through her lingerie drawer for the perfect under garments. She grabbed a pair of plum colored laced panties from the drawer and slammed it shut. A bra wasnít necessary because from the cut of the dress, a bra would be impossible to conceal. And tonight, she didnít want to conceal a thing.

She chuckled to herself as she thought of AJ's reaction to her in the dress. He would be shocked into silence. He had never seen her wear anything that was so blatantly sexy before. Well, there's a first time for everything, Keesha thought, as she went into the bathroom.

Lathering herself in her favorite jasmine-scented bath gel, Keesha made a decision. Tonight would be a night of new beginnings. Tonight, she would make an effort to repair the damage that had been done to her relationship with AJ. Whatever happened between her and Jason was in the past and should be left there. Her present was her new lease on life and reconnecting to AJ.

After toweling herself dry and pulling on her panties, she grabbed her towel and wrapped it around her. Walking back into her bedroom, she was surprised by who sat waiting on her bed.

"AJ. I didn't even hear you," Keesha said.

"I know. I let myself in. That was okay, right?" AJ asked, moving to stand before her.

"Of course," Keesha smiled. She tilted her head for AJ's kiss. She returned the embrace and quickly moved away from him to pick up her dress and stockings.

AJ was stung by the abrupt ending of the kiss. He sighed and watched as she made her way back to the bathroom. He said, "You donít have to go in there on my account. You know I like to watch you dress."

Keesha stopped as she reached the doorway. She took a deep breath and mentally shook herself. Remember, tonight was a new beginning, she reminded herself. Turning to look over her shoulder at him, she smiled and said, "I know, but I want tonight to be special. I'll be right back."

Special. AJ smiled at her use of the word. Maybe things were looking up he thought as he moved to sit on her bed.

~*~

Robin paced back and forth on the balcony of the penthouse apartment. She heard the chiming of the clock as it indicated the passing of another hour. Another hour when Jason still hadn't shown up. As she continued to pace, she didnít know if she should be worried or angry. So far, she decided to be neither. She would just be.

The air grew chilly and she went back into the penthouse. She closed the sliding doors and as she entered the room, she reveled at how quiet everything was without Jason or Michael there. And lonely, too. Oh, how she missed Jason, she thought, as she wrapped her arms around herself.

She didnít want to, but without her permission her thoughts drifted back to the last time she was there in the penthouse with Jason. It was the night he left. Six weeks ago.

Six weeks since she'd seen him, touched him and tasted him.

The night he left they argued and he shut her out. Thinking back, she decided that it was her fault. She had mistakenly accused him of selling guns when in reality he had been behind the rescue of Simone, Gina, Keesha and the others.

My God, she thought, no wonder he was mad at me. Jason's organizational activities may extend to a lot of things, but she should have known that Jason would never do anything as despicable as selling guns.

Well, tonight would be different, she concluded. Tonight, they would work out their differences. She would apologize for wrongfully accusing him and they would be fine again.

Her heart leapt to her throat when she heard the door open. Jason, carrying Michael in his arms, walked into the room, but stopped when he saw Robin. He dropped the bags he had been holding and just stared at her.

After countless seconds, he said, "Why are you so dressed up?"

"Because we're going out," she said, smiling as she moved to give him a hug. She wanted to kiss his lips, but when he didn't move she opted for his cheek. She took Michael from him and cooed, "Hi, there, sweetie pie. Did you miss me? I missed you. Wow, look how big you are."

Jason moved further into the room. He took a deep breath and said, "Robin, I don't want to go out. I told you before, when we spoke on the phone, that I wanted talk."

Robin glanced at Jason and said, "I know, but I thought we could go the opening of Jacks. We don't have to stay long. Besides, I told Brenda we'd be there. She's expecting us."

Jason ran his fingers through his hair. After dealing with a delayed flight and a fussy baby, he didn't want to deal with Robin and her plans. He wanted to tell her everything now and get it over with so they could both move on. Deciding to do just that, he began to speak, "Robin, I don't want to go to a club and I donít care who you pro-"

The ringing phone silenced him in mid-sentence and he grabbed the cordless. "Yes?"

"Jason?" came the female voice on the other end.

"Yeah, who is this?" he asked, not bothering to mask the irritation he felt at the interruption of the caller.

"This is Brenda. Is Robin there? I really need to speak to her."

Jason held the phone out to Robin and took Michael from her. Graciela entered the room as Robin moved away to hear the caller. Graciela took Michael from Jason and went upstairs. Jason grabbed the bags he dropped in the doorway and placed them at the bottom of the stairs. He would take them up later, he decided, as he came further into the room to listen to Robin's half of the conversation.

"Okay, I will! Don't worry! Everything will be just fine. See you soon," Robin said before she ended the call.

"What was all that about?" Jason asked, placing his hands on his hips.

"Brenda's having a crisis. She needs us to come earlier than I expected. Are you ready? I told her that we would come right away," Robin said, as she set the phone on the table.

"I told you before that I didnít want to go. We have some things we need to talk about," Jason said, his blue eyes unwavering from her brown ones.

Robin turned away from his piercing gaze and moved to grab her matching red shawl from the sofa. She said, "I know, Jason, but can't we please just put it on hold until later tonight. Brenda needs me right now, and I really donít want to let her down."

Jason sighed and bowed his head. He came back with the intention that he would end their relationship that night and he was determined to follow through with his plan. Later. He decided to grant her this one request and then no more.

He raised his head and looked at her, "Okay, Robin. Let's go, but when we come back, we have a few things to discuss."

Robin brightened and moved to wrap her arms around him in a quick hug. She released him when she noticed that he didnít put as much effort into the hug as she did. She moved to the door and opened it. Jason followed her as she went into the hallway. As they waited for the elevator, his thoughts jumped ahead to later that night when they came back. Then, he would end it. Then, he would be free to start over. Again.

Chapter 9

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