“Are you cheating on me?”
Those words kept creeping into Destiny’s mind. She asked her husband Manny this question a few weeks ago and regretted the words as soon as they came out. She knew in her heart that he wasn’t cheating but she was so angry when she said it. All they’ve been doing lately is arguing. But that accusation was a low blow and she knew it. She knew how he felt about cheating. It was always a no-go in his book. So to accuse him of that? It definitely cut deep. They haven’t been able to bounce back from that argument and it’s been three weeks.
“Destiny, Destiny, Destiny,” Her co worker was trying to get her attention.
“Yes?” Destiny finally responded. “Sorry, I was in my own zone.”
“I see. You good?” Danny asked her.
“Yeah,” She smiled up at him charmingly. He gave her a cup of coffee like he has been doing for the past month. He knows exactly how she likes her coffee. “Thank you.”
“You sure you okay?”
“Yup, I’m good. How are sales looking?” She changed the subject to something work related. She listened to him ramble as her mind wandered to her husband. He hasn’t been the same since the night he came home drunk from Jeremy’s kickback. He’s been more distant but oddly more at peace. She’s been hoping he didn’t meet someone new at that party. She cursed herself for not going with him. It wasn’t her fault though that she hasn’t been in a social mood for months. The last miscarriage really broke her.
“Destiny, aye Destiny,” Danny waved his hand in front of her face.
“Yes. Sorry. What did you ask?”
“I asked if you completed all the paperwork for Intoner Mat’s Company.”
“Oh. Yeah, I did. I took it home to finish last night.” She rummaged through her briefcase to find it.
“Okay. Now tell me what’s going on with you.”
“It’s something. You’re distracted.”
“No, I’m just going through my errands after work in my head,” She lied.
“Oh alright. Well if you need me, you know where to find me.” Danny walked to his desk. Destiny knew he liked her. He started getting her coffee every morning, complimenting her attire, and going out of his way to help her with her work. It was her close co worker, Ashleigh, who noticed his particular behavior first.
“Girl aren’t you married?”
“Yeah, why you ask?”
“Cause all that smiling and flirting going on with you and Danny doesn’t seem like you’re married.”
“Girl what? I don’t flirt with him!” Destiny laughed it off.
“Uh huh sure,” Ashleigh turned her chair around and continued to mind her business. As in perfect timing, Danny walked back to their area.
“Hey, I’m trying this new spot for lunch. Want to come with me?”
“Oh I brought lunch from home,” Destiny put on her thinking face. “Oh wait, no, I forgot my lunch at home.”
“Okay cool, lunch on me,” Danny smiled and walked away.
“Hmm mmm” Ashleigh smacked her lips.
“It’s nothing!” Destiny said. Two minutes later, her phone vibrated.
Ashleigh had texted her a meme.
Destiny busted out laughing.
I’m not flirting, Destiny thought to herself. I wear my ring faithfully and he knows I’m married. She made it clear to Danny she was married. She even remembers the conversation they had about it. She had brought up her marriage in a nonchalant way to clarify things with him.
“What you doing this weekend?” Destiny asked, with hidden intentions to bring up her husband.
“I don’t know yet. Maybe see you?”
Destiny laughed it off.
“Nah, I already have plans with my husband.” She rubbed her ring.
“Oh okay cool. How long have you been married?”
“Two years now.”
“That’s great. How’s the marriage life?”
“It’s amazing. I wouldn’t even dream to be with anyone else.” Destiny hoped that was enough for Danny to not take any of their “flirtation” seriously.
But things were still the same between them after that conversation. He still brought her coffee almost every morning, sometimes even added a breakfast sandwich. Sometimes he would stay late and do work if she was doing the same. But it didn’t mean anything to Destiny. She was married to Manny. The love of her life. She couldn’t imagine life without Manny. Things have been rough between them for awhile but there’s no one else in the world she would rather go through rough times with. She prays every morning, every night, and throughout the day that things between them will get better. It was all on her though to fix it and she knew it. She just didn’t know how to let go of her pain.
“Destiny, Destinnnnny,” Ashleigh was calling her.
“Yeah, what’s up?” Destiny snapped back to reality.
“Are you good?”
“Yeah, I was just focused on this,” She held up a random paper.
“Well we have that meeting right now.”
“Oh right. Thanks.” Destiny gathered up her folder for the meeting and her laptop then walked with Ashleigh to the conference room.
Destiny was zoned out throughout the meeting. Her mind ventured to her childhood of how great her mother was with her and her siblings. She thought her mother had such great parenting skills. There were so many family routines her mother implemented into their home that Destiny couldn’t wait to incorporate into her own family. She thought about the many princesses birthday parties she had when she was younger. Growing up, she played house with her best friend all the time. She always played the role of the mother. Destiny has always wanted to be a mother. She used to also help her mother out so much that all her mother’s friends called her Lil Mama. She just knew she would be good at it. And now, knowing she can’t have kids, it kills her. Every chance she gets her heart cries and mourns for her lost children.
“Destiny, Destiny,” Ashleigh nudged her out of her thoughts.
“You’re not paying attention. What’s wrong with you today?”
“Nothing, I’m just tired.” Destiny whispered back to her.
“Did you hear what Marcus said? You’re assigned to a project.” Destiny looked up at the projector. Indeed, she was assigned to a project with Danny along with a few others.
Her phone vibrated. It was a text from Manny, “Hey babe, how you holding up today?”
Tears welled up in Destiny’s eyes and she rolled them back. She didn’t respond to the text. She put her phone away and decided to try her best to focus on her work for the rest of the day. After the meeting Danny walked over to Ashleigh’s desk.
“What’s wrong with Destiny today?”
“I don’t know. Let’s just leave her alone.”
When it was finally time to go home Destiny didn’t say goodbye to anyone. She just packed up her things and left. Instead of going straight home she drove to the park and sat on the swings. She looked all around the park and smiled at the sight of children running, playing on their scooters, playing basketball, riding their bikes, walking up the slides, and just having fun. After an hour or so she went home.
“Hey where have you been? I texted you and been calling you.” Manny said when she got home.
“I’m sorry. Work was busy today and I left my phone in the car when I went to the park after work.”
“How was the park?”
“Full of kids.” She said sadly. Manny walked over to her and hugged her.
“Why did you do that to yourself alone? You know I would’ve came with you.”
“I know,” she laid her head on his shoulder.
“Today’s a rough day. That’s why I texted you to see how you were doing.”
“I don’t know how to feel,” a tear rolled down her eyes. She was so relieved to have him there. There was no one else she wanted to unload to. Today would’ve been their son’s first birthday if the miscarriage hadn’t taken place. That’s why the day had been so distracting for Destiny.
“Well I got you. No matter how you feel, I got you.” He held her and let her cry. They haven’t been able to be this vulnerable in weeks. It made her feel good. The next day she was ready for work with a better attitude.
“Someone seems better today!” Danny said as he handed her a cup of coffee.
“It’s a great day to be happy!” She smiled.
“I missed that smile yesterday.”
Destiny could feel Ashleigh giving her an ‘I told you so’ look.
Around lunch time Danny dropped a chipotle bag on Destiny’s desk.
“Thank you but I ate already.”
“It’s chips and salsa. I need a favor please.”
“You don’t need to get me anything to ask for a favor.”
“I know but I was getting Chipotle and figured I’d get you something.”
“Oh okay, thanks. So what’s up? What’s the favor?”
“My car is in the shop. I took the train here this morning. Can you drop me home?”
“Yeah, of course.”
On the ride to Danny’s house they talked about the project they’ve been assigned to, co workers, and random things. They finally reached his place which actually wasn’t far from Destiny’s house.
“You’re welcome. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“Want to come in?” He gave her a sly look.
“Danny, you know I’m married.”
He laughed. “Damn girl, I didn’t say come in and sleep with me. All I said was come in.”
“Nah, I’m good. I have to head home.”
“To be miserable?”
“No disrespect. It’s just I know how it is to go home to a place you’re not completely happy in.”
“Who says I’m not happy?”
“I pay attention to you. You haven’t been happy for awhile.”
“That’s none of your business.”
“I know. But I want you to know that if you ever need a shoulder to cry on-”
“I have my husband. Thank you.”
Danny nodded his head. “Like I said, no disrespect. I just care about you. I think you should be happy every day. That beautiful smile of yours should be seen every day.”
Destiny didn’t say anything. She didn’t even look at him.
“I’ll see you tomorrow.” Danny got the hint that it was time for him to get out the car. After he got out, not wasting a minute, Destiny sped off. She was enraged. She thought she had been holding it together very well, not letting anyone but her husband know how miserable she’s been.
A week later and the work project really kicked off. On top of the project, the team still had their personal work load to take care of. Destiny was spending an extreme amount of hours at work now, which of course Manny didn’t like.
The progress in the project was slower than the team anticipated so a few of them decided to put in extra hours and stay late. Things with Manny were back to rocky anyway so Destiny didn’t feel like going home to deal with his new drinking habit. After an hour or so everyone left except Destiny and Danny. He ordered them dinner since it was getting so late. He also offered her wine that he kept by his desk.
“No thank you. I don’t drink.”
“Really? You’ve never had alcohol?”
“I tried it a few times in college but I didn’t like it. It’s not my thing.”
“Not even wine?”
“Nope.” Destiny laughed at his appalled facial expression. “I don’t think I’m missing anything.”
“Does your husband drink?”
“He didn’t use to drink much but now it’s,” she spaced out. “It’s a lot,” she said with a changed tone.
“What made him start drinking so much?”
“I don’t want to talk about it. Let’s get back to work.”
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to make you uneasy.”
“I know. It’s not your fault.” She smiled at him.
They continued their work.
“What did you mean when you said you know what it feels like to go home to a place you’re not completely happy at?”
“My ex girlfriend, Jasmine. I didn’t live with her but I went there almost every day.”
“What was the problem, if you don’t mind me asking?”
“Depression. She fought with depression.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry.”
“It’s not your fault,” he repeated her words to her and smiled. “It’s funny, ya know. She wouldn’t call it depression. She felt more comfortable calling it sadness.”
“Understandable. How was that for you though?”
“Hard. Knowing I couldn’t do anything for her ‘sadness’ killed me. I couldn’t stop it. I couldn’t save her.”
“You couldn’t save her from depression. She has to save herself.” Destiny grabbed his hand to give him comfort.
“But that’s the thing. Depression isn’t a phase. There’s no saving. It’s just something you deal with.”
“Do you miss her?”
“Every day. But I can’t go back. It was draining me.”
“I bet. But I’m sure she misses you too,”
“Yeah. We had great times together.” Danny drifted away, “But most times when we were having a great time I could see her slipping away. Back to that sadness.”
“I wouldn’t know how to support someone going through that.”
“It’s one of the hardest things in the world. But I loved her so I had to support her.”
“I’m sure she appreciated it.”
“Yeah. She always thanked me for sticking with her, and by her, through the mood swings.”
Destiny felt better after hearing about Danny’s situation. It distracted her from her own life. When they saw the janitor making his rounds they took it as their cue to wrap it up. They were the last two in the building.
“We got a lot done. I’m glad.”
“Yeah me too. It’s so late though. I’m sure your husband doesn’t like when you come in late.”
Danny walked her to her car, “Well I’ll see you tomorrow. Get home safely.” He gave her a hug. As she was getting ready to let him go he pulled her in closer.
“Danny,” she said sternly.
He let go of her. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to.”
“It’s okay. Get home safely.”
Destiny was late to work the next day. After she got home, she couldn’t sleep. The image of half a tequila bottle sitting on the kitchen counter was all she could think about. Manny’s drinking was getting out of hand. Also Manny’s excessive snoring, which only happens when he drinks too much, was keeping her up.
“Hey, your work hubby was looking for you.” Ashleigh said. “He was worried about your lateness.” No, he probably just wanted to make sure everything was okay between us after he tried something inappropriate and failed, Destiny thought.
“I don’t have a work hubby,” was all she said.
“Girl just embrace it. I wish I had a work hubby to get me coffee every morning.”
“You just want coffee? I got you. I can do that for you.”
“Danny also asks you about your weekend and attentive to every word you say.”
“What are your plans this weekend Ashleigh? I’m listening.” Destiny placed a hand under her chin and looked at her intently.”
‘Ew not like that,” they laughed.
“Hey, we have a meeting for the project.” Danny walked by.
“Okay. I’m coming.” Destiny looked in her briefcase for the papers related to the project.
“Damnit! I left it on my counter this morning. I was rushing. Can you ask Marcus if he can push the meeting back an hour?”
“Thank you!” When he walked away she told Ashleigh, “Yeah I guess he does make my work a little easier.”
“Uh huh,” Ashleigh rolled her eyes.
Lucky for Destiny, Manny was off from work today.
She called him, “Hey babe, I left some work papers on the counter, can you please drop it off for me?”
“Of course. I’ll see you soon.”
“Okay, my husband’s going to drop off the papers.” She told Ashleigh. She gave me a funny look. I rolled my eyes at her. In less than five minutes, she sent me two memes.
She laughed hysterically.
“And just so you know my husband is more Drake.” I flipped my hair.
Half an hour later, Manny called me to come outside to get the papers because he couldn’t find parking.
“Well aren’t you lucky,”
“Ashleigh shut it!”
That Friday, Manny decided to go out with his boys.
“Hey can I use your car for the night? It’s hard to find parking for my car in the city.”
“Yeah,” Destiny passed him her keys. A few minutes later Manny was back in the house.
“Yo who was driving in your car?” He barked.
“What are you talking about?”
Manny threw a sweater on the couch.
“Whose shirt is that? And why your passenger seat so leaned back?”
“Oh, it must be Danny’s.” Destiny waved it off. “I drove him home from work today. He must’ve forgotten it. No biggie.”
“No biggie? He feels comfortable leaving his shit in your car and it’s no biggie?”
“You’re over reacting. His car has been in the shop for a little while now and I was just being nice taking him home.”
“Has he been in your car before?”
“This is the second time I’ve driven him home. It’s nothing.”
“Is this the dude you took leftovers to?”
Destiny thought back to that argument they had last week.
“Babe what happened to the leftovers from last night?”
“I gave some to my co worker cause he gets me lunch once in awhile.”
“Yeah, his name is Danny”
“What he buying you lunch for? And why you cooking for him?
“I didn’t cook for him. I cooked for us. But there was so much left over. You know cooking for two is a struggle for me. I come from a big family so I make big portions.”
“Why he buying you lunch Des?” His phone rang and he picked it up. “We’re not done with this.”
I guess he was right; we’re not done with this, Destiny thought to herself.
“Destiny! You here? I’m talking to you,” Manny said.
“Yeah, I’m here.” She said exasperated.
“You got this dude in your car and you cooking for him?”
“I didn’t cook for him! There was extra food and I figured I’d be nice. We went over this already.”
“I would’ve eaten the damn food Des! We would’ve ate it! It’s not the first thing you’ve cooked madd food before! Do we not eat it every time you overcook?!”
“Nah, you got me fucked up Des.”
“Manny, I swear it’s nothing.”
“What else is happening between y’all Des?”
“What, you tell him our business too?”
“No! You’re really bugging right now.”
“Am I? What is he? A work husband?”
Destiny laughed sarcastically. “Yeah, you’re really tripping.”
“He be flirting with you?”
“You heard me. Does he flirt with you?”
“He flirts here and there. But he knows I’m with you. He knows I’m married.”
“You flirt back? You be entertaining his shit?” He asked disgustingly.
Destiny’s phone rang.
“Is that him? He be calling you too?”
“Manny that’s enough. Go out with your boys.”
“Is that him calling you Des?”
“Does he have your number?”
“Oh so you be calling that nigga.” He stated.
“No! Omg I have a lot of my co workers numbers. It’s nothing. We don’t call each other.”
“But he text you”
“Only if its work related.”
“I can’t believe this shit,”
“Can’t believe what? It’s absolutely nothing. You’re worked up over nothing. He just gets me coffee and we have lunch sometimes. That’s it!”
“Why you eating with him? You want to have lunch with somebody, you call me!” He yelled. “I don’t care if I’m at work or what time it is. You call me!”
Destiny let out a sigh.
“When you work late, you be with him?”
“I don’t have a choice! We work together. And we’re working on a project right now.”
“I understand,” Manny said sarcastically. “You spend at least 40 hours a week with him. You see him more than you see me.” He rationalized sarcastically.
“Stop it!” Destiny said frustrated.
“You cook for him, he hit your phone up, you drive him around, he flirts. He’s your work hubby. You forget you’re actually married. Got it,” he went on.
“I wish you would’ve told me so I could’ve got a work wife. You know Lindsey right? She’d be a great work wife. Actually let me call her right now. And you can call Danny back and-”
“You’re being ridiculous!”
“I’m being real. You questioned ME if I was cheating. I should’ve asked you if you were cheating.”
“What?! Manny go before we say some things we don’t mean.”
“Nah say it!”
“No. I’m going to the room. You go out. Bye!” Destiny walked into their room and closed the door.
I’m not arguing over something that’s not even real. Work husband my ass. She thought to herself. I’m not even attracted to Danny.
They didn’t talk that whole weekend. Saturday night Destiny went out with her best friend, tired of the tension in the house. When she got home Manny was already asleep. She got ready for bed then leaned down to kiss him. She could smell the liquor from his breath. She decided enough was enough. She has to get her husband back.
Sunday afternoon, Destiny decided to change up her hair. She was going for ‘new hair, new attitude’. She was going to attempt to be her happy self again. Put an effort in fixing her marriage. She always did say when she has kids she would cut her long hair, but since she’s not having kids she decided to switch it up solely for her husband. In addition to the cut, she added hazelnut highlights. She fell asleep before Manny made it home that night and he was gone by the time she woke up. She was pissed. They knew to tell each other goodbye before the other left. Clearly, he was definitely still pissed as well.
Why didn’t you wake me up? She texted him.
Sorry babe, I was running late. I have an early meeting.
Were you drinking again?
Babe don’t start. Have a good day. Love you
Destiny didn’t respond. She was still upset. She got ready for work and headed out in a new dress.
“Yessssss girl. Loving this hair!” Ashleigh said.
“Thank you.” Destiny said with no enthusiasm.
“And your dress is cute.”
“Thanks.” Destiny said again with the same tone.
“What’s wrong with you?”
“Manny,” she grumbled.
“Hey,” Danny joined in. He took Destiny’s hand into his and turned her around. “Damn girl. Are you going on vaycay or something?”
“Nah, just wanted a change.”
“I love it. Beautiful,” Danny stared at her. Destiny started to feel awkward from his stare. She pulled her fresh manicure hands out of his grip and sat at her desk.
“Thank you guys.”
Danny gave her a cup of coffee and walked away.
“Danny is going to kidnap you one day,” Ashleigh said.
“It’s all friendly.” Destiny said irritated. “I wish people would understand that.”
Her phone vibrated. Ashleigh texted her a meme.
Destiny laughed at this one. She tried her best to stay in a good mood for the rest of the day. Soon enough it was finally time to go home and put her plan to win her husband back in action. She made dinner before Manny got home. She changed into an enticing outfit and set a red tablecloth on the dining table along with candles. Manny finally got in.
“Something smells good.”
“I made your favorite.” She walked over to him.
“Well damn.” He turned her around. “My God you are gorgeous.” He kissed her. “I love the hair.” He kissed her again.
“Thank you,” Destiny smiled and took off his blazer for him.
“I think I might just have you for dinner.” He kissed her again and they laughed.
Destiny took his hand and walked him to the dining table. She had already dished out their food.
“It looks amazing.”
“I have champagne. Let me get it.” Manny attempted to get up.
“Can you do without alcohol today?”
“Whatever you want babe,”
Destiny sat and reached across the table for his hands. Manny looked surprised. They haven’t prayed together in awhile. They haven’t even eaten together in awhile. Manny smiled up at God. Maybe his prayers are starting to get answered after all. For the first time in awhile, they enjoyed each other’s company without arguing. They cleaned up the kitchen together and got ready for bed.
“I’ve missed you,” Manny said
“What do you mean? I see you every day.”
“Yeah but I’ve missed you.” He stressed again. “Missed this. Tonight. The love. The laughs.”
“I’ve missed you too.”
“I’ve felt like I’ve been walking on eggshells trying not to upset you.”
“I’m sorry. I want us to get back to how we use to be.” Destiny admitted.
Destiny raised her head from his chest.
“Can you do something for me?”
“Cut down on your drinking? It’s getting crazy.”
“I know, I know. I’m going to do better. For me, for you, for us.”
Destiny laid her head back on his chest and they were silent for a few minutes.
“Can you do something for me?” Manny asked.
“Think about adopting again.”
“I don’t have to think about it. Let’s do it!”