“Listen, I don't want to be there.”
Rubbing his face as he washes off the dirt, Aaron stares himself on the mirror. Small bags under his eyes, skin flushed from the heat, he disgustingly walks out of the small bathroom. Watching his men work putting the pipes in place, making sure that the tenants has hot water for the night, Aaron continues to keep himself busy.
“Yo! My brother, I think you should go.”
“Nah, man. I'm needed here.”
Raphael looks down at Aaron, while he continues to avoid his look. Pats Aaron on his shoulder and pulls him away from the gauge pushing him out the door.
The cold air blasts his face, waking him up. Aaron pulls away from Raphael, angrily yanks his jacket out of his hands. Raphael looks down knowing that he was doing the right thing.
“I'm sorry bro. But she needs you more than we do. We got this.”
Tears sting his eyes knowing that Raphael is right and slowly walks to his car. Looking back, his men stood outside of the apartment building complex, pushing him to leave. Aaron sniffs and holds back his tears as he took his keys out and got into his car. Staring at the wheel, tears fall.
I don't want to go, but I have to face my fears.
Hearing the tap on the window, Aaron rolls it down watching Raphael lean over and pats his shoulder. Giving him the strength and courage to turn on the engine. Planting a smile on his face Aaron breathed in some of the cold air and let out a puff of air. His heart squeezed as he looked at Raphael.
“It's going to be ok, we will all pray for you and your family. “
Nodding, Aaron squeezed Raphael's hand and slowly stepped on the gas, gearing the car out of the parking lot of the complex onto the highway. Keeping his eyes on the road, he looked up into the sky watching the sun set on the Hudson River, casting a calm glow over New Jersey. The tools clattered then rustled in the back of his van as he hit pot holes on the Hudson River highway.
Erica, oh Erica. I'm coming.
A soft giggle escaped her throat as he climbed on top of her. Her once red lipstick worn out by his kisses, showing a beautiful smile across her light brown skin. Her dark hair fanned around her head on the pillow, and her dark brown eyes looked mischievously at him. His heart pounded as she removed his shirt and kissed his chest lightly with her soft warm lips. Groaning in submission, pulls her hair and kisses her, moving his lips soft down her chin to her neck. Knowing that she is ready he slid deep into her feeling her body squirm as he continued to prod and push deeper, making her squirm more until her body finally relaxed under him. Biting his bottom lip and squeezing his butt guiding him to go deeper.
Feeling her body shake and her groans become louder, Aaron covered her mouth with his, and continued to penetrate until he felt his body tense up then suddenly release. Falling on top of her, she breathed out and kissed his ear.
Giggling she pushed his heavy body off of her. Letting out a groan, Aaron threw his arm and leg on top of Erica as she tried to get up and was pushed back down.
“You're so silly”, Erica giggled some more as Aaron groaned and climbed back on top of her.
“I am so happy that you're not bigger than me.”
“And if I was, I'll be your big fluffy blanket”
“That sounds better than a sheet of bones.”
Aaron got up, grabbed the pillow under her head and shoved it in her face. “How do you like pillows now huh?”
Laughing, Erica tries to push him off as he continues to hold the pillow over her face, Aaron rolled over her and stood up. Grabbing his robe and covering himself quickly as he walked out of their bedroom and passes Ariel’s partially closed bedroom door, walking into the kitchen. Opening the refrigerator door, he takes out an almost finished bottle of soda. Looking around the kitchen, Aaron rips a paper towel and plants a chocolate donut on the napkin, and carries it back into the bedroom. Erica looks up at him then rolls her eyes as she watches him enjoy his late night snack.
“Really, a chocolate donut and coke?”
Taking a bite of the donut, Aaron grinned and patted his flat stomach. “Hey I have to gain my energy back for round two.”
Stretching her naked body, goosebumps rose on her skin, grabbing the blanket and covering herself, Erica rolled onto her stomach, “Round two with me or two in the bathroom?”
Sitting on the edge of the bed, Aaron let out a mocking laugh, “Hey, I have a figure to watch, at least I’m looking out for you and Ariel.”
Giggling, Erica pulled on the blanket more to cover her butt. “True, but where do you pack all of that food? The more I feed you the more you stay skinny. Compared to the less I eat the more I exercise to lose it.”
“But you gain the weight in that perfect place.” Aaron reaches over and smacks Erica on her butt. “And I love it!”
“Ouch!” cried Erica as she playfully swipes at his hand and missing it. Fluffing up the pillow that Aaron used to cover her face with, she slowly put her head down and closes her eyes. A soft giggle escapes her throat feeling the stinging on her rear. “I love you daddy.”
Sliding into bed next to her he wrapped his arms around her waist, and brushes his lips against her neck and behind her ear, “I love you too baby.”
Aaron steers to the right quickly almost missing his exit. Shaking his head he rubs his eyes and focuses back on the road. Damn it! Focus, Aaron focus. You don’t want to get into a fender bender. His heart stopped racing as he starting taking deep breaths. Where’s my cig? Turning the corner, the car slowly approaches the parking lot of New York Presbyterian Hospital. Turning into the lot he searched for an empty space and finally finding one. Pulling his van into the spot, Aaron reached for his cigarette in the passenger seat and slips it between his lips. He looks at his rearview mirror, his light brown eyes were partially red, and showed a lot of stress with no sleep. Pulling the cigarette off his lips, Aaron threw it to the passenger seat side. You’re staying there until later.
The elevator opens and Aaron steps out into a waiting area. Kids playing quietly in the corners while parents sit and talk while watching their children play. Old folks asking questions to the nurses of the unit. Aaron walk passed them and continued to walk towards the Hematology and Medical Oncology Department of Medicine, he walks into another waiting room, where his step daughter, Ariel sits. Her dark curly hair covers her face as she stares at the floor, not noticing that Aaron was there until he stood above her. She looked up, her eyes puffy from crying, lets out an angry cry jumps up and wraps her arms around his waist. He holds her tightly, and kisses the top of her head. A sudden feeling of anger and sadness grows within him, swallowing back his tears, Aaron sits Ariel back down on the chair.
“Mmmm.. Mom is terminal and now they have her in shock position. I.. I .. don’t kkn. Know what to do!”
Holding his breath, and knowing that there was very little time left, Aaron held Ariel in his arms and rocked her for a bit. Hearing some chattering in the hallway, he peeped out and saw Ariel’s father standing in the hallway with her grandparents and two men dressed in suits. They were in a very heated conversation, when Erica’s mother turned and looked back where Ariel sat. Her eyes were puffy, she looked tired, and she seemed as if she aged more within the past couple of months. Aaron gently pulled away from Ariel, and kisses her forehead.
“Give me a minute sweetie. I want to see what is going on.”
Ariel looked at him with her eyes wide with fear and watched him walk towards the heated conversation with her grandmother, Madeline. As soon as Aaron approaches, one of the men in the suit stopped him.
“This is a private conversation, you will have to go back into the waiting area.”
Aaron looked down at the man’s hand and gritted his teeth. Feeling his blood boil as he looked up to see Ariel’s father, Mark staring coldly back. “Anything that has to do with my wife, I will have to know!”
“Well Mr. Ramirez, this has nothing to do with your wife since she is terminally ill now, and cannot make any legal decisions over anything.” A tall dark male stood next to Mark.
Aaron looked down at the man’s hand again and let out a harsh growl, making the man jump back. “What type of legal decisions has to be made?”
“I get legal rights over Ariel.”
Feeling a stab through his chest, the man blocking his way put his hand down and took a step back. Swallowing, he took a deep breath and in a calming tone said, “There’s nothing that we can do now.”
“What do you mean? What do you mean that there is nothing that we can do?” Seeing the look on the man’s face, Aaron angrily pushes him to the side and walked towards Mark, grabbing his shirt and slamming him on the wall. “You’re not taking Ariel away!” Feeling hands pull him off of Mark, Aaron pushes the two security guards off of him. “You are not taking Ariel away from me.”
“You are not her father!” Mark sneered as he pushes Aaron away from him. His head shined in the fluorescent lights, from the beads of sweat. “You are not her father. You are just a piece of shit that put lies into my daughters head.”
“Please. Ariel is too damn smart for that. I will never go as low as you and put nonsense in her head.” Aaron snorted as Erica’s father, Joseph put a hand on his wrist to calm him down. Feeling the heat rise for every second he looks at Mark, the more he would want to pummel his face into the wall.
A soothing voice coming from a tiny nurse walks into view. Her white blouse and black slacks and tiny black shoes, presented a small dark skinned and grey haired woman. The wrinkles on her face shows years of smiles and sadness, seeing patients recover and others who have not. Her lips pressed together in concern as she briefly looks at all of the faces in the hallway.
“Gentlemen. You have to take into consideration of not only our patient’s quality of life, but also their atmosphere. If you feel that you need to talk to one another, then I ask for all of you to leave the premises.”
“Well I wasn’t…” Mark said objectively, as the nurse puts her hand up to silence him. Hearing his mouth snap shut, she continued to look at everyone.
“Do I make myself clear?”
Taking a deep breath as she watches everyone nod in agreement, the nurse walks back into her office. Calming down a bit, Aaron tapped Josephs hand not noticing that he was holding onto him tightly, and loosens his grip returning the color back into his dark knuckles. Mark started to walk down the hallway to the elevators and continues the conversation with the man in the suit, possibly his lawyer. Glaring at him until they turned to the elevators, Aaron, turns his attention to his in laws, Madeline and Joseph.
“Who the hell were those men? His lawyers?”
Madeline nodded her head and lowered her voice, “One of them is his lawyer, the other one is Ariel’s Child Advocate.”
“What was it about? Did the advocate, advocate for Ariel?”
Madeline’s brow wrinkled as she rolled her eyes, “Mr. Berkowitz did what he can. This is not good at all.”