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Not In Her Storm
I couldn’t stop my teeth from chattering together as I stood in front of the frost bitten window, of the courthouse, looking out unto the snow covered street. My mind shook, wondering where it all had gone wrong. It had been three long months since I have seen daddy, ever since we had gotten into that big argument about Marcus. I had promised to never bring him in his home again but that only fell on deaf ears; I guess daddy had his own right to anger. Now today we stood a safe distance apart, emotionally at least because I was bound between the two of them.
Today I just felt like turning around saying this was too much too soon and that I could not -- no that I would not stand here and watch it all fall apart in front of me. Not what I had spent all this time molding into something good, something true and something healthy for me.
In the past couple of weeks the M.O.B had all been arrested at some time or another. For a crime that happened two years ago. Two years ago when my brother’s life was snatched from him, igniting the blaze to the largest drug war that the east side of Brooklyn has yet seen so far. Now the love of my life stands trial, wrapped up in charges that he did not commit but I guess you could say that he did not have to commit them. Across the room he stood talking to his lawyer, deep in conversation, with no sign or trouble in his eyes; it made my heart beat grow faster. How could he be so calm at a time like this? How could I not be? Surely they would find him innocent.
As my eyes surfaced the room they eventually landed on daddy. He was looking quite happy and I could not help but growl under my breath as I watched him laugh and shake hands with some random deputy. I felt nothing short of contempt for Joe Niles in that moment, he was ruining it all, and again he would destroy the one thing that kept me together.
"You love him."
I cringed at the only obvious answer to the fear that held my heart prisoner. I could hear my deceased boyfriends’ voice in my head reciting the words over and over again. He once told me that it was his worst fear for me to love another. But now it was my worst fear to lose another I loved.
"I love him." I thought aloud still looking out the window at the February snow that was turning the road white. Cars aligned on one side of the street blanketed with pure white snow.
"Who?" I heard someone ask approaching me from behind. I turned and met eyes with Marcus. He rubbed his hands together and tried to smile but nothing came of it. I wanted to hold out my arms to him but I was shaking so badly.
I looked him in the eyes intently leaning away from him. “What are you talking about?” I asked to his approaching question.
“Who do you love?” He inquired again.
“You.” I said quickly so that he would not hear the shakiness of my voice.
He did not return the sentiment, pulling me into his arms sighing wistfully. Nothing could compare to how much I wanted to walk away from all of this. But I knew he could not, his fate was sealed years before we met, the ironic thing was that I ended up being apart of his fate, too. “I told you not to worry.” He spoke to me like my father had when Anthony and James died. But just like then there was no point in listening.
I wrapped my arms around him breathing in his cologne wishing -- no praying that it wouldn't be the last time, "How can I not worry Marcus?"
"Everything is going to be fine," He said sternly trying to smile again but only receiving a disbelieving look from me. "I promise."
"Do not make promises you can't keep." I whispered pulling my arms away from his clutch only to get a look of pure sorrow form this man that I now loved so dearly and did not want to see hurt. I wish I could take it back. I didn’t want to send him in there with pain and despair in his heart.
"Sir, time is up." The Deputy who was talking to daddy said coming toward Marcus. “It’s time to face the beginning of the end.” The deputy snickered, making my stomach drop to the floor.
Daddy looked over to me and Marcus, "Sean you can give them a minute."
I threw a disdainful look at daddy before kissing Marcus, slowly, lovingly, saying all the things that I was too scared to speak on. I pulled him close to me and felt the tears slip down my cheeks as he pulled me closer to him, he kissed my hair then looked into my eyes. He went to kiss me again when daddy’s voice thundered through our moment.
"Minute's up." The deputy grabbed Marcus by the arms and dragged him into the court room. Daddy still stood there looking at me, watching me wipe the tears away and replacing them with a face of a woman scorned.
I briskly walked past him, straightening my skirt, and only muttering under my breath, "See you in the court room dad."
Daddy lead me into the meeting room inside the holding cell in which he had set up for the four new prisoners to have private conversations before they were locked away. This was the beginning of twenty years to life for Marcus and the end of a couple years that he shared with me. I did not want to come but Marcus had told daddy to bring me here before he was transferred. Even daddy believed that he deserved to see me before he meet those cold steel bars.
I looked at daddy as the guard opened the door, "Daddy no, I can't go in there."
"You have to Brittney because once he's locked up; you will never get the nerve to see him. I know you." Daddy replied holding me by the arm to keep me from turning and walking away.
"Are we going to be alone?" I asked as I looked at the floor, I wanted to see him but in the back of my mind I knew what he'd say, I knew in my heart what would happen.
"Yes, just this once." He replied hesitantly leading me into the cold room where Marcus sat, his arms in chains and his eyes on the wall to the side of me.
I closed my eyes, silent, watching his face show a little light as he watched me walk over to him. The guard closed the door behind me with a quick word of, "Twenty minutes."
"Nicole." Marcus whispered standing as I sat down, he watched my eyes, leaned back in his seat evaluating my body language.
"Marcus." I replied folding my hands over the table, trying my best not look in his eyes.
Marcus took my hand in his own staring at them intertwined. "We won't be seeing each other again for along time.” He paused for a moment and then suddenly looked up into my eyes. “And so I have one thing to tell you."
I looked into his eyes knowing what was to come next, "Marcus, I refuse stay away from you." He sighed and lowered his eyes.
"I won't let my mistakes ruin your life Nicole. So...let me say this," He whispered staring down at my hands trying to fight his own tears, "I love you. That's important to me, it's important to me to know that you know that I love you."
"I do know that Marcus, but I refuse not to see you. You could be out in a while or even less Marcus, then everything will be fine, I promise." I replied as a tear fell down my cheek, I couldn't lose him, not now and not like this.
"No, things will not be fine, if I get out in ten years I will not come back. Ba –Nicole-- I -- I won't see you anymore after this." He whispered, still holding my hand like it was the last time. Maybe he loved me more than he should have but that did not take away from his common sense.
"No -- no, Marcus this is one time you are wrong. I'm not giving up on you now -- or ever. I refuse to -- because I can't -- and I won't." I whispered pulling my hands away from his, shaking my head in determination.
Marcus shook his head looking down at my hands that were now trembling in fear and pain, "I'm not asking you to give up on me, no baby I could never -- baby never, I'm just asking -- no, I'm just trying to...tell you that this is the end...for us."
I fought the tears but gave up as he spoke the 'end', "Why Marcus? Why? I've -- we've -- had so much!"
He squeezed his eyes together tight as I struggled to speak, his own voice became thick, "Brittney...we can't be together...now...or ever. I love you -- and you love me...but WE aren't meant to be...well -- maybe we are...just not now. I -- you can't stay with me baby...it's not going to work."
I stood up, wiped the tears from my eyes, leaned over the table and kissed him on the cheek, "Then...goodbye...Marcus."
He stopped fighting tears the moment my lips touched his cheek. He caught my hand as I pulled away, held it firmly in front of his face and kissed it. "Good-bye Nicole....you gotta know...no -- you gotta see Brittney you my heart. No matter where I go, who I see, what I do, who you are with, nothing can change that, you will always...ALWAYS...ALWAYS, be my heart. Till the day I die."
I looked at him through bloodshot eyes and pulled my hand away. I felt like someone was twisting a knife through my heart, "No, I can't be."
Marcus nodded his head, wiping the tears away as I opened the door. Then he stopped me, "Nicole."
"Yea?" I replied looking up into his eyes wishing this was not reality, that I really was not about to walk away from him.
"I hope you have the happiest life." Marcus whispered looking me over once more. I tried desperately to erase the memory of the feeling of his skin against mines, his voice, and his touch; wishing this was a nightmare.
"You too Marcus, you too." I replied softly as I closed the door and headed straight into my father’s open arms.
It was over and now I had to start over, again. We both did. Just like a soft summer breeze our love had came and ended and neither of us could catch it. Like the melody of a love song it just faded into a memory. It was over...
As daddy opened the door to let me into the car, I found myself looking back over my shoulder. Then there was something that even I had not expected. There was something that caused my eyes to crease and the edges of my mouth to fold. A smile had made its way across my lips contradicting the tears that still ran down my cheeks. Marcus had done for me what no amount of therapy, happiness or freedom could have done for me. He loved me and I loved him back. He gave me the ability to love again. So I smile because I refuse to feel pain at the mere memory of him. Though my tears will continue to contradict, I will smile.
“Let’s go home baby girl.” My father’s voice melted over me, causing me to turn around and to never look back.