Chapter One- One Kiss (Kennedy)
One kiss for all my trust, one kiss for all my love
One kiss cause me to break, One kiss, I just hated
One kiss, one kiss, one kiss, that’s where I started feeling
One kiss felt so good, but I never should have had that kiss.
It was a kiss that could have been seen across the world and I wouldn’t have cared. Because all that mattered in those few seconds was that my lips were touching his, and his mine. I don’t think either of us saw it coming, but it just happened. We were old news Aubrey and I, a fling that happened years ago. There were no hard feelings, but there were still lingering feelings. As teenagers we’d dated in high school. He is my brother’s best friend, and the son to my mother’s best friend. None of that matter though, nothing from the past mattered, all that mattered was us.
I woke up this morning to my doorbell ringing like crazy. It could only be one person. I ignored him, put the cover over my head and tried to go back to sleep. I don’t even know why he bothered ringing the doorbell, he had a key to my house, but still the bell rang. Agitated, I got out of my comfortable spot in bed to answer the door for my brother, Robert.
“What the hell?” I asked opening the door to his smiling face. “Where’s your key?”
“I lost it.” he said coming into the apartment and shutting the door. “Which reminds me, I have to borrow your keys so I can make another set.”
“Robert, no.” I said going into the kitchen to make a pot of coffee. I could smell the liquor on his breath and I was sure he was going to need it. This always happened with us though, it’s what we do. I guess it was a twin thing. No matter what, we were always there for one another.
“Ken, I need a key.” he said in a pleading voice. “You think I like waking you up like this?”
“Yes, I really do think that you think it’s funny.” I said sitting down at my kitchen table. “But it’s not funny Rob, and the next time you pull this shit I’m leaving your ass outside.”
“No you wont.” he said chuckling. “You love me too much.”
“What does love have to do with anything?”
He smiled our father’s smile and I couldn’t help but smile back. My brother and I though twins, looked nothing alike. Except for our skin color we were complete opposites. Our mother was Puerto Rican and black but it barely showed on any of us. Robert, resembled my dad. Dark skinned, beautiful brown eyes and perfect smile.
As for me, I didn’t look like anyone. I was dark skinned, had eyes that changed colors with the season and an average smile. Yes I was beautiful, but any girl would say so. My untamable curly hair was always in a ponytail, it was the only thing I could really do with it. Then there was Taylor, our older sister. She and I shared the same curly mane, but she more resembled our mother. She was gorgeous, gray eyes, caramel skinned, the model type. Taylor had a pain of her own that we barely talked about, it was hard seeing her that way.
“Love has everything to do with everything.” Robert said chuckling. “I love you, you love me; we’re best friends like friends should be.”
“Really, it’s 3 o’clock in the morning and you’re quoting Barney to me?” I asked as the doorbell rang again. “What the hell, are you expecting someone?”
“Oh yeah.” he said going to the door. “I forgot about him.” he opened the door and Aubrey stumbled in laughing. “Sorry bro.”
“You left me outside.” he said. “It’s raining, and you left me outside.” his clothes were soaking wet.
“You have got to be kidding me.” I said shaking my head as the coffee pot beeped, signaling it was ready. “Do not sit on my furniture Aubrey, I swear to God.”
“Chill out Ken.” Robert said taking off his shoes. “We just need to sleep here for a little while, until we sober up enough to drive home.”
“How’d you get here?” I asked with my hand on my hip. They looked at each other, then laughed.
“Your house was the closest.” Aubrey said taking off his shoes as well, but sitting on the floor. “Aye I’m hungry, can you cook us something?”
“Why so you idiots can throw up all over my house, I don’t think so.” I said pouring each of them a cup of coffee. “This should help sober up a bit. I’m going back to bed, you fools can fight over who gets the couch and who gets the guest room.”
“It’s my room dude.” Robert said to Aubrey. “So I guess you get the couch.”
“How’s it your room?” Aubrey asked, I rolled my eyes and let them argue.
“Goodnight.” I said walking back to my room, then I heard steps behind me.
“How about I just sleep with you.” Aubrey said grabbing my waist and pulling me close. I backed away, putting space between us.
“You’re drunk, and besides I don’t sleep with married men. Goodnight.“ I said again. I closed my bedroom door and got back into bed. I had to be up in a few hours to go to my bakery. It was a business I had started when I was fresh out of college. My parents had helped me buy it, because they knew more than anyone that baking and cooking was a passion of mine.
Three hours later I was up, showered, and heading out the door. My brother and Aubrey never managed to decide who got the room and who got the couch, instead one of passed out on the couch, the other on the loveseat. I reminded myself to call them later to make sure they were okay. They did this every weekend, sometimes it was just Robert, sometimes it was the both of them crashing at my house.
Aubrey and Robert had been best friends practically since birth. Our mother’s were best friends since high school, so it was only natural that we all were close, like family. It was hard to think of Aubrey as family though, simply because you don’t lose your virginity to family. He and I thought it was a good idea to date in high school. It lasted two years before we realized it wasn’t for us; we were sixteen.
I made it to my shop ten minutes later, traffic wasn’t bad which is a blessing considering I lived in one of the busiest cities in the United States, Dallas. When I got there Ashley and Carmen, two of my employees was standing outside waiting for me.
“Sorry I’m a little late guys.” I said unlocking the door and we trotted in.
“It’s okay.” Ashley said as we took off our jackets and headed straight to the kitchen to begin baking. Ashley and Carmen are two of my best employees, they were excellent bakers and we work well together. They always opened with me because the mornings were our busiest times of day. I didn’t expect to have much business today though, since it was New Years Eve, but I always planned ahead especially after last year we almost ran our of food.
Baking was my passion, and the reason why I wanted to open a bakery. I learned to cook from my dad who was a chef for the past 33 years. At the age of sixteen he lied about his age to a restaurant owner, he took a chance on my dad and he’s been cooking since then. I was the only one of my dad’s kids who cooked or baked. Robert was usually off running around with Aubrey or chasing girls and Taylor just wasn’t interested.
By nine o’clock we were opened and ready to go. We weren’t staying open for long today, since it was a holiday. We had a morning rush, people coming in for pastries, some people picking up cakes they had ordered for parties, but by four o’clock it was closing time and we were all exhausted. I cleaned my shop, said goodbye to the girls and headed back home. I had forgotten to call and check up on Aubrey and Robert, but I had the feeling they were still at my place. I used the Bluetooth in my car to call Robert’s number, after three rings he answered.
“Hello.” he said groggily.
“You still at my house?” I asked.
“Yeah.” he said.
“Well go wash your ass and tell Aubrey to do the same. I’m on my way, I have leftovers from the bakery.
“Good, I’m hungry and I don’t feel like cooking.”
“Bye Rob.” I said shaking my head. The call disconnected and I called my sister.
“Hey Ken.” she said answering the phone, sounding as if she was out of breath. “What’s up?”
“I just wanted to call and check on you and Mia.” I said. “What are you doing?”
“We had a dancing session.” she said. “Mia, me and Dora.”
“Sounds exciting.” I chuckled. “Are we meeting at your house to go to the club or do you want to meet at my house?”
“Mama and daddy will have a fit if we don’t stop by before going out.” she said.
“True.” I said. “Robert got a head start on the festivities.”
“He at your house?”
“Him and Aubrey both, drunk.”
“Have fun with that.” she laughed. “I have to go, Mia is having a fit.”
“You too ugly.” she said then the phone disconnected. This was Taylor on a good day. Last year she lost her husband in the war in Iraq. He was deployed in March, and died in August. Taylor’s way of dealing with it, drinking and partying. I honestly don’t think she’s properly grieved. Mia, my niece was my angel. I had offered to move in with Taylor to help her with Mia, but she refused, said something about not wanting to put that responsibility on me.
I made it back to my house, parked my car in the driveway and went in. Both Aubrey and Robert were sitting on the couch, watching TV. I put the leftover pastries and cookies on the kitchen counter, grabbed a water from the fridge, and went to sit on the arm of the couch.
“What time did you wake up?” I asked Robert.
“Just an hour ago.” he said putting his head on my arm. “I have the worst headache ever.”
“Nobody told you to start the festivities early.” I said. “I’m surprised Antoinette hasn’t called me looking for you yet.”
“She’s not going to call you anymore.” he said. “Apparently there was some words exchanged.”
“She got smart with me.” I said shrugging my shoulders.
“Yeah but your mouth is ridiculous.” he said. “I wish you would give her a break.”
“That’s a whole other story.” I mumbled. “What about you Aubrey, isn’t your fiance going to be upset you’re not home?”
“I’m a big boy.” he said smiling at me. “I can handle it.” I hated the way he looked at me, like he’d seen me naked. Only Aubrey and I knew that he was the one to deflower me. Robert was so over protective, he would have killed him. According to Robert I was still a virgin, like I said overprotective.
“Well I brought pastries.” I said. “I need a nap before we go out later.”
“I need to make another copy of your keys.” Robert said looking at me. “Please.”
“Rob this is the last time.” I said shaking my head, pulling the extra key I had on my key chain off and giving it to him. “I want this one back, make your copy and bring it back.”
“Yeah yeah.” he said waving me off.
“Lock the door behind you when you leave.” I kissed him on the forehead and walked to my bedroom to take a nap. A few moments later as I wrapped myself in my blanket, I felt a tap at my door. “Come in.”
“Hey.” Aubrey said closing the door and walking to get into bed with me.
“What’s up?” I asked wrapping the blanket tighter around me.
“I just wanted to come in here and chill with you for a minute.” he said turning to look at me.
“I can’t come chill with you?”
“What are you up to?”
“Nothing.” he chuckled. “I just was thinking about you the other day.”
“What about me?”
“Just that you’re you.” he said shrugging his shoulders. “I got some stuff going on, and just thinking about you gave me a little comfort.”
“What’s going on?”
“Ah, it’s nothing.” he said. “Nothing I can’t handle.”
“Are you okay?” I asked as he stared at me.
“Yeah.” he smiled, rubbing his fingers along the side of my face. “I’m good.”
“Why are you smiling at me like that?” I asked feeling the butterflies in my stomach.
“You’re something special you know that?”
“Aubrey, what’s going on?”
“I’m going to let you sleep.” he said kissing my forehead. “I’ll see you tonight.” he got up and walked out the door before I could utter any other words.
The best part about New Years, is that I usually got to be with my family out partying. I woke up from my nap two hours before we had to meet at my parent’s house. I showered, and got dressed in a black cocktail dress with red accessories including a pair of red Christian Dior heels I had gotten from Taylor for my birthday a few months back. My hair, usually unmanageable, seemed to want to cooperate. Instead of my usual ponytail, I let it hang loose, a little down my back. I looked good, it was a change from the baker with flour all over her clothes.
I made it to my parents house in Irving in twenty minutes, as I drove on the freeway I noticed there was already two accidents. I parked my car in the driveway, noticing that Taylor was already there. I got out, and walked into the house. My parents never left their door locked, especially when they knew we were coming over.
“Hello.” I called through the house. “Where is everybody?”
“Kitchen.” my mom yelled and I followed her voice there. My mom, Taylor, Mia and my dad were in the kitchen. The adults had glasses of wine in hand, and Mia a juice box.
“Mi-Mi.” I said hugging my niece and planting kisses on her face. “Best niece in the world.”
“I’m your only niece Auntie Kennedy.” she said and we laughed.
“Where’s Rob?” I asked accepting a glass from my dad, while planting kisses on both he and my mother’s cheeks.
“I spoke with him a few minutes ago.” Taylor said. “He’s bringing Antoinette.”
“Eww.” I said rolling my eyes.
“Leave her alone.” my mom said shaking her head. “It’s your brother’s choice, let him make it.”
“Mistake is more like it.” I mumbled and my dad chuckled.
“Kennedy.” my mom said “Sé amable. (Be nice)”
Sorry.” I said. We moved to the dining room and sat around the table. I checked my cell phone and was about to call Robert, when he and Antoinette walked through the door. “You’re late.”
“So.” he said holding her hand. “All that matters is that I’m here.”
“Don’t waste our time.” Taylor said. “The world doesn’t revolve around you Rob.”
“I’m here, shut up.” he snapped.
“Don’t yell at me.” Taylor said. “I’ll embarrass you in front of your little girlfriend.”
“Don’t argue in front of Mia.” my dad said before anyone could say anything else. “Robert, your glasses are in the kitchen go grab them so we can toast and you can go.”
“Yes sir.” Robert said dropping Antoinette’s hand and walking into the kitchen.
“You look beautiful.” my mom said to Antoinette.
“Thank you Mrs. Holloway.” she responded smiling. “Rob picked this out for me.”
“Figures.” I mumbled to Taylor who snickered. Antoinette looked a hot mess,, dressed in barely anything, I knew my mother was just being polite. Rob came back in handing her a drink.
“Okay, let’s toast to a new year.” my dad said standing up. “To my beautiful family, a beautiful wife, I love you all dearly. Be safe, and have a happy New Year.”
“Happy New Year.” we all chimed in, then took sips from our glasses.
“Let’s go.” I said a few minutes later. We‘re going to be late. “See you guys later.” I kissed my parents.
“Mia don’t keep Nana and Papa up late.” Taylor said kissing her daughter.
“Be safe.” my mom said to each of us. “Please be safe.”
“I’ll be back later, don’t wait up though.” Taylor said. We walked out of the house and got into my car.
“You coming back to mama and daddy’s?” I asked.
“Yeah I’m going to spend the night here after the club.” she said as we drove away from the house, Robert and Antoinette in the car behind us. “I told mama I would help her make breakfast in the morning. You should come too.”
“I’ll have to stop by the house and get extra clothes.” I said. “But we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. Who knows I might find a boo and end up going home with him tonight.”
“Sure.” Taylor laughed. “Like you’ll ever take that chance.”
“Whatever.” I laughed, excited about my night.
Aubrey and his little brother Christian met us at the club. Since he and Robert both worked at the radio station we had VIP seating. As always the Adams brothers looked amazing. Aubrey’s gray eyes locked on mine throughout the night. I didn’t mind though, he was nice to look at.
I was having a great time. My family was always fun to be with. My brother and sister were my world. We danced and drank the night away. It wasn’t until almost midnight when Aubrey came up to me and asked if I wanted to dance.
“You want to dance?” he asked holding his hand out to me. I accepted his hand, and we went to the dance floor. It was almost midnight and I was having a blast.
“Where’s your girl?” I asked over the loud music. I was several drinks into the night, but not enough to fully inebriate me.
“She went out with her sisters.” he said.
“But you’re supposed to share a kiss at midnight.” I said. “It’s tradition.”
“Where’s your dude?” he asked me. “Elijah right?”
“He’s not my dude.”
“What, not this week?”
“Just saying.” he said moving closer to me.
“Just saying what Aubrey?” I asked feeling his breath on my neck.
“Nothing.” he licked his lips and smiled. “You look good tonight.”
“You act like this is a surprise.” I said. “We’ve known each other long enough to know better.”
“Just accept your compliment woman.” he laughed.
“Thank you.” I mumbled as the song changed to a slow song. “And thanks for the dance.”
“One more.” he said grabbing my waist and pulling me close to his body. I wrapped my arms around his neck and we looked at each other. “Why did we never work out again?”
“We were young and you were stupid.” I said laughing. “I was a catch.”
“June 24th 2001.” he whispered in my ear. “I still remember.”
“I hope you don’t forget.” I smiled. “You were my first.”
“Was it any good?”
“Not at first, but we got better.” I said. “Then we broke up.”
“Right.” he said tracing my back with his fingers. I put my head on his shoulders and we moved with the music, ending our conversation. I breathed his scent in, caressing his head, feeling the heat building between my legs. Aubrey, he had that affect on me. Feelings just don’t die the way we want them to. They certainly never did for me anyway.
“10, 9, 8, 7, 6” the countdown began signaling the new year was about to start. “5, 4, 3, 2, 1, HAPPY NEW YEAR!” They say to make sure you kiss the one you love on New Years at midnight, whoever you kiss is who you’ll end up with. It was a magical kiss.