By the time Percy made it to the hospital with Panera Bread and a bag of my clothes, I spent the latter part of my time here assuring my parents I would be fine. Ironically, I just wanted to be around him for once and not the chaos of our parents at the hospital fighting over my lifeless body. Didn’t call or text Tallulah because we left on bad terms and I wasn’t sure how she was going to react to me now. If we were even friends at this point.
All I know is I needed to stay hydrated and keep food in my system and keep stress free. My parents bickering and fussing at Percy’s parents is the last place I wanted to be. Ironically the main person who I’ve been dreading for years was the only one I wanted to be around at this point.
“Are you able to sit down?” Percy asked with my hand in his hand as he tried to help guide me into his car.
“I’m not handicap---”
“I know that Jasmine but I want you to take it easy,” he snapped before placing his hand on my head, “don’t hit your head trying to get in.”
I sat down in the familiar plush leather seats of his car before relaxing with the bag of food in my lap as he walked around the car to get in. Our family was right behind us to trail us home just in case something else happened. Percy looked so disheveled, I never thought I would picture him in such a rugged state. The facial hair lining his face, the wrinkled shirt with the worn slacks. Ash slashed across his knuckles like he hadn’t used lotion in years, I never thought I would see him look so…. So….
Like he hadn’t slept in ages.
Now as we pulled into traffic on the interstate early in the afternoon due to unnecessary road work, I dug into the bag seeing the sandwich and chips with greed.
“Thank you Percy,” I said with a mouth full, breaking the silence as he glanced at his rearview mirror to change lanes before looking over at me.
“Your parents put me and mine out of your room so I couldn’t be there when you woke up,” he started as his hands gripped the wheel tighter. “They kept questioning me along with the doctor. Trying to find out how you got to this point and what I had to do with it. When did you get back from Africa and why didn’t I allow you to call your family. They have it in their mind that I’m the one that caused you to become dehydrated.”
“What did you tell them?” I asked with my eyes on my sandwich.
“I should have told them the truth is what I should have done,” he muttered with a scratch of his arm as he looked out the window, “they’re following us home now to question me even more. It's why I left. I told them you weren’t feeling good and I came and got you from South Carolina because you weren’t feeling good, and you were ready to come home. I told my parents separately that you came back to the states a week ago but decided to visit a friend in South Carolina. Your father thinks I tried to kill you over money and your mother thinks I poisoned you to keep you in check. That I have a history of being violent towards you due to whatever you may have told her. If that was the case, you wouldn’t have let me marry your daughter in the first place. Once I said that, the gloves were off. My mother was shoved by your mother. My father was barked at by your father. We were kicked out because I threatened your parents to leave mine alone. Police were called, the situation died down and I haven’t returned since. Here we are,” he tossed with his hand in the air.
I poked around at the chips before taking a bite, mulling over everything he said as the rest of the ride was driven in silence. As mad as he is about me lying, and me just showing up in Atlanta, sick as a dog, he could have easily just told the truth to make it easier on him, but he didn’t.
“They’re not going to leave unless I give them answers,” I muttered, looking at the rearview mirror after we pulled into our driveway.
“I can lock them out of the house,” Percy said as he opened the garage door with a push of the button. “Sure your father would know how to break in.”
“He would,” I smiled, waiting for our parents to come following like a parade. “I can feel the tension already, and I know telling them to leave, won’t work.”
“Well what do you suggest Jasmine because they have questions. I have questions myself but I’m not going to be the one to fuss at your parents this time. I’m already seen as a murderer in your father’s eyes over money I don’t need.”
I cut my eyes at Percy as we both stepped out with me pulling my dark grey sweats up and tugging my hoodie down. His parents were the first to pull up behind our cars in the driveway while mine came trailing behind with tinted windows. Just seeing his mother’s steamy mad expression get out of the car with the door slamming shut and her eyes hot on me, made my weary.
“Percy?” I called out, “kiss me.”
“Do what?” he asked incredulously, looking over his shoulder with confusion as he pushed the door to the house open.
“I need you to kiss me. Put on a show so they’ll leave. Hurry up. I don’t want our parents to have any reason to---”
“Jasmine, sweetie! I’m so glad you’re doing better!” Elizabeth Milton let out, “so many questions---”
I stepped into the house seeing Percy was shutting the alarm off and tossing his keys on the counter. Before he could have a chance to turn around fully, I wrapped my arms around his neck. Body nearly leaped against his with my feet pointed on my toes as my lips landed on his. His body pushed back against the counter in shock, lips stuck open as I shoved my tongue into his mouth, feeling the sharp hairs prick and rub against my skin until his arms came around my waist to pull me closer. I pulled his body back down to my level as I gripped the back of his neck and deepened the strange kiss. Percy was hesitant at first but it only took a second for him to find his rhythm and take control of the kiss.