Kyra lugged the heavy wash basket all the way from the laundry room to the living room and set it down by the couch. She wiped the sweat from her brow and inhaled the fresh scent of fabric softener as she sat down for what felt like the first time that day. Kyra had just finished the last load of laundry and was busy folding clothes, while Cincere was sitting on the floor next to her, tapping the red and green buttons on the X-Box controller furiously. Dinner was on the stove.
It was a typical night at home. Kyra should’ve been relaxing, but thoughts of Justin kept her on her toes. She couldn’t stop thinking about him and what he said to her at lunch the one day. It wasn’t so much what he said it was how he said it. Beneath his friendly tone was this layer of protectiveness that hadn’t gone away.
Justin had this habit of doing things that lead Kyra to believe he still cared about her, but with all the mixed signals he was sending, it made it harder for her to interpret his true feelings, let alone figure out her own. Kyra agreed to meet with him thinking maybe she might be able to accept the new terms of their friendship once they talked about it. The problem was, after having the chance to spend a little more time with him, Kyra wasn’t sure she was ready to give up on Justin just yet.
Kyra wasn’t about to be the crazy ex-girlfriend who comes busting in when the preacher asks if anyone objects, but she wasn’t about to stand by and do nothing either. Her pride wouldn’t allow it. If Justin went through with marrying Eden he would be making the biggest mistake of his life – Kyra just had to figure out a way to make him realize it.
Up until now, Kyra had never been afraid to say how she felt, especially when it came to Justin, but she knew in order for her plan to be effective, she was going to have to take a more subtle approach. With their “friendship” still so fragile, Kyra had to be particularly careful when dealing with Justin. She didn’t want to do anything that might offend him or make him stop talking to her altogether . . . Like blow off his engagement party.
Kyra rolled her eyes at the thought. She didn’t even want to share the same air as Eden, let alone the man she loved. The only reason Kyra was even considering going was because she knew it would make Justin happy. Because while Justin tried to make it seem like she had a choice, Kyra knew the truth. Underneath it all, she and Justin were friends first, and if she had any desire to keep it that way, then she had to show her support.
The first time Justin mentioned it to her, Kyra thought he was doing it just to be nice, but when he brought it up again at lunch, it was clear he expected her to be there. Of course, Kyra’s first instinct screamed not to go, but now that he asked, she felt obligated to make an appearance. Either way, Kyra had a feeling she was going to regret it.
And while Kyra didn’t like the idea of having to contend with another woman for his love and affection, her curiosity was growing in regards to Justin’s fiancé, Eden. As much as she despised her existence, Kyra was eager to size up the competition. She also wanted to let Eden know that not only did she love Justin; she was fully prepared to fight for him. Kyra was determined to win Justin back, no matter the cost.
As she sat there plotting her next move, Kyra deflated in a hopeless sigh. If she was going to go, she couldn’t go alone. It was crucial she have a date. Kyra thought about asking Meeka if she wanted to go, but that would defeat the purpose. Kyra already told Justin she had a boyfriend. Now she just needed for him to see her with him.
Kyra still didn’t know whether she was crazy or genius for what she was about to do, but with little over a month until the wedding she was willing to try anything. She felt bad about using Cincere, but bringing a girl just wouldn’t have the same effect, and there was no point in going if she didn’t have anyone to go with her. Cincere’s cooperation was critical to her plan’s success, but getting Cincere to agree was going to be tricky. He was the only person she knew who probably didn’t want go more than her.
“Cincere . . .” Kyra tapped him on the shoulder to get his attention.
“One second, Babe,” Cincere signaled her to stop talking. He hated to be interrupted while playing Call of Duty: Black Ops.
“Cincere, I need to talk to you.” Kyra continued to pester him anyway.
“What is it?” Cincere pretended to be interested, but he was so absorbed by his mission, Kyra could’ve been trying to tell him the place was burning down and he wouldn’t have realized what was going on until he smelled the smoke.
“Can you stop for one second and look at me?” Kyra huffed in annoyance.
“Yeah, yeah go ahead. I’m listening. . .” Cincere continued tapping away at his controller.
“Okay. Promise you won’t be mad at me but. . . I talked to Justin and . . .” Kyra stumbled through the rest of her confession, scared to disclose all the details. Based on Cincere’s opinion of Justin and their relationship, she knew it wouldn’t be smart to tell him she spoke with him in person.
“Justin?” Cincere pressed Pause and sounds of gunfire and explosions stopped immediately. “When was this?” He twisted around to look at her.
“The other day. . .” Kyra kept her answers vague, almost ashamed to admit she was with Justin just a few days ago.
“What the hell, Kyra? I thought I already told you I didn’t want you seeing him.” Cincere got up, threw the controller down, and cut the system off. His sudden change in mood let Kyra know he wasn’t playing when it came to the boundaries set within their relationship. As his girl, Cincere expected nothing less than loyalty, and lately, she’s been falling short.
“I know. But Cincere, you don’t understand. . .” Kyra vented in the form of a sigh. She was getting tired of having the same conversation with him over and over again. Kyra didn’t need for Cincere to like the fact she was still friends with Justin. Life would be so much easier if he would just accept it, even though, she knew he probably never would.
“You’re still in love with your ex, Kyra. I think you’ve made that quite clear, don’t you?” Cincere shot her a nasty look that evoked her attitude.
“Did I say that?” Kyra snapped.
“No, but you didn’t have to,” he replied. “It’s pretty fucking obvious.”
“Look, like I said before, there is nothin’ goin’ on between me and Justin. The only reason he called was to see if we wanted to come to his engagement party.” Kyra answered all snotty.
“We?” Cincere had to question if he heard her correctly.
“I know you probably don’t want to go, but I figured. . .” Kyra stopped there, unsure whether she should continue or if she was just making things worse.
“Okay, Kyra. Now you’re pushing it.” Cincere’s stale laughter did nothing to dilute his anger towards her. Cincere was pissed, and he wanted to make sure Kyra knew it.
“Cincere, it’s only for one night. I really don’t see why you’re makin’ this such a big deal,” she argued.
“Man, fuck Justin and that party! This is about my respect!” He hit his chest as he yelled, as if that would somehow help prove his point.
“So I don’t respect you now? Is that it?” Kyra shifted her weight to one side, but kept both hands propped on her hips. It wasn’t as though their relationship was always this turbulent.
“Nah, you’re right. I’m trippin’. Now that I think about it maybe I’ll call up my ex and see what she’s doing this weekend. Yeah, that sounds like a good idea.” Cincere cut their conversation with sarcasm as though he was trying to hurt her feelings on purpose. And it worked.
“Cincere . . . Don’t do that.” Instead of yelling back at him, Kyra lowered her voice. As much as she loved Justin, it still bothered her to picture Cincere with someone else. Just the thought of him being with another woman made her want to cry.
“I mean, why not? There’s nothing wrong with it, right? You do it.” Cincere followed up with another not-so-nice remark.
“Whateva, Cincere. Do you want to go to this party with me or not?” Kyra repeated the question; her irritation high and her patience wearing dangerously thin. She was growing tired of the constant bickering and the frequent headaches. All the arguing was pointless.
“That depends. Do you want me to go?” Cincere flipped the question back on her which only added to her frustration.
“Of course I want you to go or else I wouldn’t have asked!” Kyra had to get up and walk away for a minute. She was going to snap if Cincere didn’t give her an answer – and soon.
“I don’t know, Kyra. Give me some time to think about it.” Cincere reached for the remote as his way of saying he didn’t want to talk about it anymore, and Kyra stepped in front of him to block the TV. Their discussion was far from over.
“Well I need to know so I can RSVP. The party is comin’ up and I need to tell him if we’re comin’,” she stressed.
“When is it?” Cincere continued to stare past her looking all grumpy.
“Saturday I believe,” Kyra mumbled; her way of playing it off like she didn’t know all the dates off the top of her head. It wasn’t like she could just come out and say that every day they got closer to July 16th she could feel her anxiety building. Kyra couldn’t tell him that when Justin told her that was the day he was getting married he might as well have been telling her how many days she had left to live.
“Wait . . . this Saturday?” Cincere’s eyes popped open in surprise. Kyra simply nodded.
“Alright I’ll go,” Cincere exhaled heavily after weighing his options and outcomes. “But that’s only because I don’t want you going by yourself.” He scolded her with a wary look. “I think it’s about time I met this little ‘friend’ of yours,” he added.
“Thank you!” Kyra dangled her arms around his neck as she kissed Cincere on the cheek. Cincere snuck in a kiss on the lips before she could let go, but he didn’t say anything. The serious look on his face said enough. Because little did Kyra know, when it came to her and Justin, Cincere was working on a plan of his own. . .
After they ate, Kyra left it to Cincere to clean up while she headed straight for her closet. Now that she confirmed they were going, the next most important thing for Kyra to do was figure out what she was going to wear. Just knowing Justin was going to be there meant Kyra was going to have to bring her “A” game. However, after sorting through the hangers, nothing really caught her eye.
Kyra sucked her teeth. Either she was just being picky, or everything she owned was a little too short or a little too tight for the occasion. Kyra already knew she had to be extra careful about how she presented herself, but all the added pressure of being Justin’s ex-girlfriend made it nearly impossible to choose. As his ex, she didn’t want to come off as desperate or make it seem like she was trying too hard. This time, Kyra wanted make sure she was going to be remembered for all the right reasons.
As she compared different options in the mirror, Kyra held up the third and final dress. She’d already passed on the pink hi-low dress with the ruffles at the bottom, as well as a coral peplum dress she bought from H&M, but as she pressed the white, sparkly sequins against her body, Kyra couldn’t help but smile. Out of all the dresses she owned, she thought the white one looked the best. The low-cut backless design was simple yet elegant with a high slit that let her leg peek out when she walked. All she had to do now was find the right heels to go with it and she would be all set.
It wasn’t until Kyra was in the middle of assessing her shoe collection that she actually began to feel any sort of excitement. She had been dreading going to Justin’s engagement party ever since she found out about it, but now, she couldn’t wait to strut up in there and show him what he was missing. Kyra couldn’t remember who told her that looking good was the best revenge, but if that was true, then she knew the perfect way to make Justin and his girl jealous.