I exhaled and opened the teal-blue box. Nothing.
“Really?” I yelled as I threw the ring box across the room. Where was the ring? Better yet where was he? Craig had been in and out of the house at odd hours lately.
“I’ve been with his ass for five years, Simone. I’m tired of just being a girlfriend. I’m getting too old for this.”
“I know, Cherry.” Simone dropped her head. “I know.”
I shook my head and tapped my foot on the hardwood floor. I paced back and forth and fiddled with the ends of my hair.
“I put a tracker on his phone. And car, ” I whispered.
“What?” Simone said. “Why girl? You think he’s up to something? You think he’s cheating?”
“Maybe. Let’s go see if he is,” I said. I pulled up his location and we got in the car to drive to where he was.
“I don’t know about this, Cherry. You sure that’s his car?” Simone eyed a black Mercedes.
This neighborhood made my heart ache. I placed my right hand to my chest and stared at the back of the black Mercedes, which was parked a few cars ahead of us in the cul-de-sac.
“I don’t know girl, but we ‘bout to find out,” I said.
We both got out of my car and walked over to what I was sure was his Mercedes. I squinted and noticed the license plates were missing. Why? I folded my arms and walked around the car a few times.
“He’s not in here, but it’s definitely his car,” I said as I studied the ‘Black Ice’ Little Tree air freshener.
Leaves crunched in the woods next to us. We heard what sounded like footsteps, followed by sensual moans. I slanted my eyes at Simone.
“What the fuck was that? I said.
“I don’t know, Cherry,” Simone studdered. “Maybe we shouldn’t be out here though. Shits getting weird.”
Typical Simone shit. She never wanted to take action to find out the truth. She’d rather be somewhere organizing a damn sock drawer.
“Well where the fuck is Craig though? Why is his car here? I have to know,” I said.
Simone gasped as she looked around. “Hey isn’t this Craig’s ex’s neighborhood?”
Furious, I surveyed the area. I knew something didn’t sit right about this place. I gripped my house key and forced it into the side of his car. Simone covered her ears.
She shrieked. “Oh my God, girl!”
“Fuck it,” I said as I continued scraping those exact words into his car.
More moans sounded from the wooded area. I froze then looked towards the woods again. Heat built in my stomach as I stared at the trees. I stood and walked in the direction of the noise.
“Y-You ready to go girl?” Simone said.
“No. I’m gonna see if he’s out here fuckin a bitch in the woods. I knew I couldn’t trust him.”
Simone chewed on her acrylics. “Sis, come on now, would he really do that?”
“Never ‘sis’ an angry woman, sis. It’s patronizing as hell. You can sit in my car if you want; I’m going to look.”
Simone rolled her eyes and went to sit in my car.
I walked out into the woods and for the longest heard nothing but silence. In the distance, I saw a figure that looked just like Craig. I marched towards him and stomped harder with each step.
“Craig!” I called. I walked faster towards him.
I watched him turn around, but as he did his chiseled brown body morphed into that of a burnt orange, furry beast. He tore out of his Morehouse t-shirt while his chest heaved up and down. He stared at me as drool cascaded down his mouth. His fangs-for-teeth hung out of his mouth and made me take multiple steps back.
“Ahhhh!” I yelled.
Once my state of shock ran out I booked it as fast as I could towards the car, but he was faster. He clawed at one of my heels and before I fell to the ground, his strong claws caught me.
I looked up at him while I trembled, and I noticed that he still had human legs. On the bottom, he still looked exactly like Craig. Like my normal boyfriend. The top half of his body was that of a hairy ass beast that looked like a fox. He had the pointy ears and everything. Tears streamed down my face. My lips shook as I tried to pull away from him.
“Cherry,” he said. He flashed his teeth at me again and I shivered, but he still clutched me.
He got down on one knee.
“Look, Cherry. I knew how to get you here because I love you, and I know what motivates you. You’re my little investigator, and I wanted this proposal to be magical. But I knew I couldn’t do it without being completely honest with you.”
”S-so you’re a fucking fox, Craig? Is that what you’re telling me?”
“Sometimes. Only when I wanna be. It’s a long story I can fill you in on later.” He pulled a diamond ring out of his pocket.
I could still see his human side, even through the fox coat and the scary ass persona. It was a hell of a distraction, though.
“Why are we in your ex’s neighborhood, Craig?” I demanded, still in disbelief that I was talking to a damn fox. Well, half-fox.
“Because, Cherry. I knew you’d be mad. I knew you would come looking for me. I knew you were following me and everything. I wanted this to be memorable. I wanted you to be stirred up. And pleasantly surprised once you realize you are the only woman I want.”
“Mm, hmm. Why did you take your plates off?” I said.
“Added to the mystery of it all. The moans in the woods—everything was fake. You found me didn’t you?”
He grabbed my hand and kissed it. I could feel all of those thick ass animal teeth through his lips.
“Cherry. I want to marry you because I love who you are. I love how investigative you can be, and how you don’t take any shit. You make me want to be a better man. I never want to let you down.”
I stared at him and bit my bottom lip.
“So will you marry me, even if this,” he said with a finger on his chest, “is who I really am?”
I stood there, speechless. He slipped the ring onto my finger and I leaned into him. We locked eyes and then he wrapped his hairy body around me. As I hugged him back, waves of calm washed over me. I pulled him closer and whispered yes in his ear.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Simone filming us. A single tear trickled down her face as she smiled.
Copyright 2020 by Nia Venus
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