Cuffing season: A short story by Shubricca L Bell. (Part 5)

Loni couldn’t deny her feelings for Teddy. All this time they’d been spending together made her want to be more than just friends. She wanted Teddy to be her man, but she didn’t know if he felt the same way. She was afraid to admit her feelings to him, because she didn’t want to cross that friendship line, but then again, that line had been crossed with a special kiss. Still, she had no idea what that kiss meant. Was it something that was done because the two of them got caught up in the moment? It had been a week, and neither of them had talked about the kiss, or their friendship progressing into a monogamous relationship. “Sis, stop wrecking your brain, and just tell Teddy how you feel,” Erica said, to a stressed out Loni on the other end of the phone. “Don’t call or text him, because this is a serious matter. Talk to him face to face,” Erica said, as she went through her walk in closet, trying to find something to wear. “I just don’t want to mess this up, Erica. We basically made an agreement to keep each other company through cuffing season, so that neither of us would be alone, and to keep our parents off our backs. What if he doesn’t want a relationship with me?” Loni said. “Loni, you have to put yourself out there for the right one, and Teddy’s a goodun, as pops say,” Erica said, before her and Loni shared a laugh. “Yes, he is,” Loni said. “And, if he turns you down, you can’t really be mad, because you both had an agreement. So, if he rejects you, don’t let it come between your friendship,” Erica said. “I don’t know sis. It’s going to be hard for me to only be friends with him, now. I think that I love him. I know that I love him,” Loni said. “Well, the two of you need to talk. He’s probably afraid to tell you how he feels because he thinks you’ll reject him,” Erica said, still going through her closet full of clothes. “I can’t find anything to wear,” Erica said. “Erica, it’s choir rehearsal, not a ball. Throw on something casual before you’re late. You know how Teddy is when someone’s late. He makes us start all over, and the next thing you know, we’re in rehearsal two hours longer than we should be,” Loni said. “Yeah, you’re right. That’s the only thing I don’t like about Teddy. If one person is late, he makes us all stay late,” Erica said. “I know, so, you better throw on a jogging suit and some sneakers and get your butt down here, because I’m pulling up now,” Loni said. Erica looked at her watch. “Loni, you’re thirty minutes early,” Erica said. “I know. I was already in the area, remember? We were filming the reality show fifteen minutes away, today. It didn’t make sense for me to go home, then I would’ve been late. Anyway, there’s no one here right now. I’m going to take a power nap in my car. I’ll see you in a minute,” Loni said. “Okay, bye,” Erica said. “Bye,” Loni said, before ending the call. After choir rehearsal, Loni asked Teddy if she could talk to him. “Sure,” let me just lock up right quick,” he said. “Okay, I’ll be in my car,” Loni said. “Cool. I’ll be right there,” Teddy said, as he gave Loni a peck on the cheek. After he locked up, he came and sat in the front passenger seat of Loni’s car. Before they began their conversation, one of the choir members named Felicity, tapped on Loni’s front passenger window. Teddy rolled the window down. “Hey, um. Can I borrow Teddy for a minute?” Felicity said. “Sure, what’s up?” Teddy said, still sitting in the seat. “I think my car may need a jump off. Do you have a jumper cable?” “Yeah,” Teddy said. “I’m going to help her out right quick, but I’ll be right back,” Teddy said, before rolling the window up and getting out to help the woman in distress. After a few minutes, Loni noticed Felicity was doing more flirting than trying to get her car fixed. She was rubbing Teddy on the back, and the two of them were smiling and giggling. She wondered, what they were talking about. So, she rolled her front windows down, to see if she could hear. “So, are you and Loni a thing now? The two of you are always flirting, but I’ve noticed you’ve been extra close lately?” Felicity said. Teddy laughed, “We’re just really good friends, that’s all,” Teddy said. It felt as if Loni’s heart sink into her stomach. Where was the lie though? They hadn’t discussed a relationship. Still, Loni expected Teddy to say that they were dating. “Oh, yeah. ‘Friend outing.’ Guess they wasn’t dates. Ugh, he still sees me as his friend,” Loni thought. She was upset with herself for even making the stupid agreement, knowing that she really wanted a relationship. She never thought in a million years, she’d fall in love with her friend, but she did. “I guess I’ll have to ride this friendship thing out, until cuffing season’s over. That was the agreement,” she said, sadly to herself. “Hey, Teddy. I’ll call you later, I actually just got a call from my mom, it’s important, so I’ll talk to you later,” Loni said. She’d lied about her mother calling. “Wait,” Teddy said as he walked to the front passenger window of her car. “Are you sure? We’re almost done here,” Teddy said, before turning to tell Felicity to try cranking her car, again. “Yes, I’m sure. I’ll call you later,” Loni said with a smile. “Okay, talk to you soon,” Teddy said with a hand tap on the door. “Goodnight,” Loni said. “Goodnight,” Teddy said. Loni drove off. “So, since the two of you are just friends, does that mean you’re on the market?” Felicity said. Teddy removed the cables and closed the hood of Felicity’s car. “Actually, I’m currently off the market,” Teddy said, before putting the jumper cables on the back of his truck. “Um, lucky lady,” Felicity said. “Good night, Felicity,” Teddy said, before getting into his truck. “Night,” Felicity said, with a sexy wave. Then she got into her car and drove off. Teddy left behind her, and they went opposite ways.
Five weeks later, it was Valentine’s Day. Loni and Teddy hadn’t been spending much time together because Loni was busy filming two shows, one in which she starred in. Not only that, but she decided it was best to distance herself, because her feelings were beginning to get the best of her, and she had to stay focused. The last thing she wanted to do was act out of her emotions. Loni had done a lot of growing with Teddy though. Maybe, it’s because they were already friends. In the past she wasn’t the most patient person to deal with in a relationship, and she didn’t have a problem cutting people off with the quickness if she thought the relationship wasn’t going anywhere, but not with Teddy. She knew it was a possibility that he’d want to remain friends, and as hard as that would be for her, she’d understand and be cool with that. There’s no doubt though, the past fall and winter months with Teddy would remain special and Teddy would always be dear to her heart. “Tell him how you feel,” a voice said in Loni’s heard. Loni was scared to tell Teddy how she felt. “Why haven’t he said anything to me?” she thought. “If a man is interested, he’ll say something first, right?” “He did, ding bat,” Loni said to herself. “When he approached you about this whole agreement, he really wanted a relationship with you, but he thought that this was what you wanted,” a voice in her head said. “Okay, I have to stop talking to myself before I go crazy, and I’m going to talk to Teddy, tonight. “God, give me the words to say,” Loni thought to herself. “Loni. Um, helloo,” her friends on the other end of the call were saying. “I’m so sorry y’all. My mind was elsewhere, but I don’t know where he’s taking me. He said, it’s a surprise. Look, I’ll call the two of you later. I think that’s him at the door,” Loni said, to both of her best friends on the other ends of the call. “Okay, bye,” they both said, before hanging up. There were a second round of three knocks at her door. “Coming,” Loni said grabbing her purse and coat. She opened her door. “Madam, your carriage awaits you,” a stout coachman in neat attire, said. The coachman motioned his hand towards a gold pumpkin Cinderella style carriage, where Teddy stood outside the carriage door, and two Clydesdale horses stood in front. Teddy wore a pale pink blazer, a pearl white shirt, classic blue jeans that were cuffed at the bottom to show off his Chucks, a light blue flat cap and matching bow tie. Loni, wore an elegant Maya blue colored, long sleeves satin evening gown, and silver tassel detailed pumps. She greeted Teddy with a hug and kiss. The coachman opened the door and Teddy helped Loni inside the carriage, before climbing in himself. It was a warm and cozy, intimate setting on the inside. Loni felt like a princess. Everything felt so magical. They arrived at an upscale restaurant, where Teddy’s band members met him to play. Teddy pulled out Loni’s seat, and took off her coat and placed it on the back of her chair. Then a waitress came and took their drink orders, before he went on stage to perform. The owner introduced Teddy’s band, “Everyone, please give a warm welcome to our special guests, here to perform the song off their upcoming single, ‘Like a smooth drink’, which will be available tomorrow, on all streaming platforms. Ladies and gentlemen, ‘The Smooth T Experience’.” The crowd applauded as the band began to play. Smooth jazz filled the air with rhythmic sounds of lite funk, bass, elastic guitar and soprano saxophone. The crowd loved it, as they grooved to the hypnotizing melodies. Loni and Teddy spent the rest of the evening enjoying mentally stimulating conversation over a five course meal, before the going back to Loni’s place. Teddy sat on Loni’s couch, as she went to make them a cup of coffee. I’ve been meaning to talk to you about something,” she said, from the kitchen. “Me too,” he said. “I haven’t been completely honest with you,” Teddy said, as he walked towards the kitchen. “Okay,” Loni said, with a subtle laugh, as she handed Teddy his coffee. They sat down at the breakfast table. “Loni, I’ve loved you for a long time. Not just as a friend, but I’ve always pictured you someday being my wife. I never approached you in that way, because I knew you only seen me as a friend, but spending the last three months with you, has been amazing. That kiss was everything, but I didn’t know if I’d gone too far, so I kind of backed off for a while, but I think tonight’s a great night to let you know that, I love you and I want to make us official. We can take our time if you want, but someday, I want you to be my wife,” Teddy said. “Now, What was it you wanted to talk about?” he asked. Loni was emotional, “What you said,” she said, with tears of joy coming down her face. “It’s like you read my mind, and said everything I’ve been wanting to say,” Loni said. They both laughed, and stood up and hugged, and then she looked him in the eyes and said, “I love you, Teddy Bear. Teddy said, “I love you too,” before they shared a passionate kiss, goodnight. The End. ❤️

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