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23 August, 2008

Chronicles of a Lesser-Known Writer: Part Xa - "L-K" Inda Lauryn Guest Blogs

Hello Again, Everyone,

Inda Lauryn writers - "I am writing in response to [your query] "Are you a Lesser-Known Writer?" I am actually an unknown writer, so I don't know if your blog applies to me. If so, I am attaching an excerpt from my novel, In Time."


Well, Inda, part of being Lesser-Known is being unknown, so of course this blog series applies to you. Fellow Lesser-Knowns, have a look-see. Enjoy Inda Lauryn's piece and leave her some feedback, if you're so inclined.

In Time...an excerpt:

She liked the life she was forging. A steady job, a boyfriend and a female friend. Hell, her bosses were even kind. Her days were beginning to fill with more than her ever-present free time. Her sleep pattern was still off, so her after work ritual turned into a nap before dinner instead of a Haagan Daas. She never got to sleep before one anymore and never slept all the way through the entire night. Monique and Jason had grown accustomed to Amrita’s yawning just as she had. They never brought it up anymore.

Sometimes she could not believe how easily it had all fallen into place, like it was all too convenient. Everyone in her life was perfect for her. The only things to threaten her charmed existence were ghosts from the not-so-distant past. Amrita was so afraid they would eventually crash this life. She needed to control them.

That had to be the key. When she decided to make a new life for herself, things got so much better for Amrita. All because she took the initiative. No way could she allow Ingrid or Malik to take that from her. She would die before she let go…

Last time Amrita had a man in her life, it took her eight months to realize none of it had been real. Kevin did not call her everyday but certainly enough to show devotion. She had never called him. She could never find a reason. Her life was so devoid of excitement. But she had such a strong urge to call him now. She needed to speak to him. They had not talked since she spent the night at his place. Her crying kept him up most of the night. He eventually got to sleep. She skipped out on him. Amrita stopped thinking and started dialing.

“How’ve you been?”

“How’d you know it was me?”

“I know your number.”

Duh. “I’ve been okay. Same old, same old actually.”

“I’ve been waiting for you to call. I knew you would.”

“Really?”

“I knew you wouldn’t be so inconsiderate as to leave without saying goodbye.”

Shit. “Kevin, I really need to tell you how much I appreciate the other night. Most guys would have freaked out. I’m so sorry I ran out on you, but I couldn’t face you.”

“Can you now?”

“Huh?”

“I was about to get some takeout. I can get enough for two and swing by your place. We can talk.”

“You know what? I’d like that.”

“See you in a minute.”

Amrita took a quick shower and slipped into her favorite leopard-print lounger. Even with the heat on, she still tended to get cold. Her lounger was the only nighttime wear she had with long sleeves. She adored it. She was just about to finish cleaning the kitchen when Kevin arrived.

“Oooh, Chinese!”

“I hope you like hunan chicken.”

“Of course. You like peach tea?”

“Yeah.”

“Good.”

Conversation during dinner was pretty typical. Work, books, music. Their common ground instead of the big Dumbo in the room.

“I may be traveling to Cincinnati in a couple of weeks. A little business trip.”

“Ummm.” A nearly random thought occurred to Amrita. “Have you ever traveled out of the country?”

“Well, I’ve been to Canada a few times. I went to Italy on a class trip. Argentina on my honeymoon. Why?”

“I don’t know. The only time I lived away from the city I was born in was college. I went right there after it was over. I want to travel some day in the near future.”

“I still plan on going to India, but I’d like to take my parents. They haven’t been back there since I was born.”

“You know, I’ve thought about going to Africa, but the point of that would be to go home. Problem is I don’t know where home would be.”

“Interesting. Reminds me. I need to ask which city they’re from. Or cities.”

“At least they know. I can’t wait to save a nice little nest egg.”

“I’m glad you brought it up. I meant to ask what you’re doing for Thanksgiving.”

“I don’t know. I hadn’t even thought about it yet.”

“I always drive to Minneapolis to spend it with my family. I’d love you come with me.”

Amrita had never spent a holiday with a boyfriend. She rarely spent a holiday with anyone. She thought her heart stopped.

“Really?”

“Yeah.”

“I, um, I need to think about it. I mean, I don’t know what my work schedule will be like or what days I have off or…”

“Rita! You don’t need to answer right now. Just think about it.”

“Okay.”

“Yes it would be an overnight trip, so I thought you might want to take a few days to make up your mind.”

“Do you want some ice cream?”

“What kind?”

“I’ve got some Dutch chocolate.”

“Sounds good.”

Amrita was not sure why she suddenly wanted ice cream. She was rather full from dinner, but she had not been getting her usual ration of ice cream lately, especially since she had taken to napping after work. She was starting to see some weight loss that concerned her.

“Who’s Ingrid?”

Amrita never knew what it meant for one’s blood to run cold, but right then she was overcome with an intense coldness that made her tremble all over. She managed not to drop the bowls, but they made a loud clatter as she placed them on the counter. She took a deep breath, consciously steadying her nerves before walking over to Kevin and gingerly taking the journal from his hands.

“No one. Some one I used to know.”

“Oh. Well, what happened to her?”

“She’s no longer here.”

“Did she d—…”

“Kevin!” Amrita snapped like a twig. “I don’t want to talk about it. Let’s just drop it. I’ll get the ice cream.”

Amrita turned away from him as quickly as she could she knew the anguish in his eyes perfectly reflected what she felt. She hated being this way with him, but she could not talk to Kevin about Ingrid. Not yet.

She absolutely could not turn to face him when he followed her into the kitchen. He took the bowls and placed them back into the cabinet. Then he put the ice cream back into the freezer.

“Sit down, Rita.”

Is he really ordering me to…

“Sit down, please.”

“Well, since you’re asking.”

“Please.”

They both sat down on the couch. Amrita still felt cold and wrapped herself with the throw. She tucked her feet under Kevin’s legs while avoiding eye contact but still hugged her knees to her chest. She tried not to anticipate his words but dreaded them all the same.

“Amrita, I know there are some things you haven’t told me. That’s fine. I hope you’ll learn to talk to me. We both have baggage, but we’re both adults. I want you to be able to open up to me…. I think something happened to you. That would explain the screaming and the nightmares and the obvious lack of sleep. You don’t have to tell me about it now. But you need to know, even if I didn’t have feelings for you, I’d never hurt you. That’s not me.”

She knew he meant it, but there was still something she needed to ask.

“Kevin, why me?”

“What do you mean?”

“You told me you were ready to be in a stable relationship again. Why did you choose me?”

Kevin thought a moment. Then he smiled. “Stupid reason, really.”

“I’d like to hear it.”

“That night you ran into me. I wasn’t in the best of moods. I’d seen Mira and for the first time I told her how I really felt about what she did. I lifted a burden off myself. I was out for a walk, thinking about how I’ve spent the last year. Downward spiral. I told you I had a few flings after my divorce, but I didn’t tell you haw badly I treated them. I wasn’t just angry with Mira. I hated all women. I knew I needed to come at peace with the situation. Then like a sign, I met you. I feel like meeting you was fate. We needed each other.”

“Can I ask you something else?”

“Go ahead.”

“What was your relationship with Mira like before… while you were married?”

“It was actually pretty good. We’ve known each other pretty much all of our lives. Our fathers are old friends. I did love her, but I know now I our relationship was more influenced by our parents than our own feelings for each other.”

“You know, I don’t think I even liked any of my exes. It’s like someone has a power over you and no matter how much you hate him, you can’t let him go. Start to hate myself pretty soon.”

“Sex.”

“What?”

“They were probably good in bed. Did something for you no one else did.”

“Only the last one, Ezekiel, did. That’s how he lived. I realized he would always try to touch me or kiss me to manipulate me. Now the thought of him putting his hands on me makes my skin crawl. I don’t know how it happened. I get the worthless jerk who doesn’t deserve anything I give, especially my body. I gave myself to that guy way too many times just so that I could feel like… so I wouldn’t feel invisible. So you have to forgive me if it takes me a little while to get it in my head that this,… you… we are the real thing.”

Kevin leaned over to Amrita. He unwrapped her from the throw and straightened her legs so that they laid across his and pulled her into his lap. Amrita made no pretense of a fight. No point in that. She savored every second of this kiss, even the few disconnects they used to catch their breath. Kevin spoke first.

“I’ve been waiting for that one for a long time.”

“This is sad. I don’t even remember the last time I made out with somebody like that.”

“Then I’ve done my job.”

“You’re done?”

Amrita loved Kevin’s smile. It reminded her of the brother in the Crest commercial getting shushed in the movie theater until the sister sees just how fine he is. It was beautiful.

“I still got some time.”

They were at it for a while. They had kissed before, but never so intensely. Kevin was always a perfect gentleman. He had never so much as copped a feel of her ass. He was definitely taking advantage of their newfound intimacy now. As much as Amrita was enjoying the moment, she knew it had to stop. She could feel Kevin getting aroused.

“I have to work in the morning.”

“So do I.”

“We should probably call it a night.”

“It’s not too late. We could still get some sleep.”

Amrita looked at the clock. Kevin was right. She was never asleep this early. What the hell? She was ready.

“Did you bring any protection?”

“Just in case.”

“Give me a minute to turn out the lights and things. I’ll meet you in the bedroom.”

Amrita turned out all the downstairs lights like she systematically did every night. So many things went through her head as she tried to keep one naughty thought away. She was all nerves. She wondered what she would do if Kevin indeed turned out to be in proportion. The thought made her blush, but she was willing to find out. Besides, there was a more pressing thought that threatened to ruin this for her. She had never had sex with a man she was truly in love with. She had convinced herself for the time about others like Ezekiel, but right afterward, she always wished she were somewhere else. She knew it would not be this way with Kevin. Something about him felt different all over. Her desire to be with outweighed all other doubts.

He was only in his pants when Amrita sauntered into the bedroom. Although he was slightly bent over as he sat on the bed, she could see the nearly washboard abs. For the first time since they met, Amrita worried Kevin might not like her protruding belly, her thick thighs or her still short, nappy hair. She turned out the light and went over to the other side of the bed. When Kevin touched her shoulder, he felt her trembling.

“You don’t have to if you’re not ready.”

“You don’t understand. I do want to. I am ready…”

“Come here.”

By the time it was over, Amrita knew he did not simply like her belly and thighs, he appreciated her very being. Every nail, every follicle, every skin cell. There was not a millimeter of her that felt unloved. And as tired as they both were, neither of them was late for work the next morning.

---------------

He knew her body would be soft. Every curve, every vein, every joint and muscle. Even her goosebumps felt like feathery clouds. That first night, Kevin took his time. He had not meant to at first, but he got such a thrill from pleasuring Amrita. His lightest touch sent her into uncontrollable convulsions that vibrated into his own inner core. His kisses all over her body sent her into an absolute frenzy of writhing. He even enjoyed the obvious embarrassment she tried to hide because she liked the way it felt. He wanted her to know how good it could be. More than that, he wanted her to know how good it could be with him. He alone would lift her to heights that would make them both dizzy. He would seduce her.

She had fallen asleep before he had. He wanted so much to tell her he loved her at that moment, but he felt the tears that came when she lost control of her will as sleep overcame her. He held her in the dark contemplating the point of no return. He had already known he was in love with her before then. He only held back because of her fragility. Not fragile like some of the unstable women he had used in the past but a fragility caused by a real and extraordinary pain he could not fathom. Even though he still had not known then what it was, he knew that if he took the next step with her, it had to be for keeps. He wanted it that way for her as much as he wanted it for himself. Amrita belonged to an exclusive population of women that Kevin had feelings for before he took her to bed. Not even Mira belonged in that group.

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About the Author: Inda Lauryn is constantly changing the soundtrack of her life. Although she has been writing since her childhood, she only recently decided to pursue her first love as a professional endeavor. A lifelong music and movie lover, she frequently cites her favorite artists and films in her work, drawing inspiration as well as exploring their effect on society. She is currently working on a collection of multi-genre short stories, hoping to contribute to the ever-expanding representations of African-American women in literature.

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