Later that night, Aisha awakened to the sound of loud shouting and banging. She didn’t have to open her door to know that something was terribly wrong. The smoke filtering in underneath and through the sides of the door seals told her that the building was on fire.
Acting quickly, Aisha grabbed her purse from one of the wooden hooks by the door. Then she opened the door and ran outside to an awaiting fireman who quickly led her to safety.
Unfortunately, Aisha’s key ring was not in her purse. It was still on top of her bedroom dresser. Which meant she had to stay at the scene until someone decided to transport her somewhere else.
Truthfully, Aisha didn’t want to leave yet anyway. Not until she knew if she was going to lose the things that were near and dear to her heart. Things like her mother’s photo albums, which contained countless pictures of their family. Things like the baby shoes her mother bronzed from when Aisha and Dominic were babies. Things that were irreplaceable.
Fortunately, Aisha had the good sense to put her parents’ wedding rings in a safe deposit box. If those other treasures survived the night, she would make sure to put them there, as well.
Looking around the parking lot, Aisha saw other equally worried people. Most were white and elderly. Some were young couples clenching at one another in quiet desperation as the firemen fought the blaze and continued to evacuate more residents. Camera crews and reporters started to appear on the scene.
Wishing she had somebody to hold her or even to talk to right now, Aisha sniffed back a tear of sadness. Suddenly she remembered that she had her cell phone with her. If she wasn’t still so mad with God, she might have thanked Him for such providence.
Pulling the phone from her purse, Aisha called Laquetta to let her know she was safe so that her stepsister wouldn’t worry once she saw the news report. Her fingers shook on the keypad, but through sheer determination she got those eleven numbers punched in and pressed send.
As expected, Laquetta was overjoyed to know that Aisha was alive and well. She was especially overjoyed to know that her prayers were already being answered. God protecting Aisha from tonight’s fire confirmed that. Now Laquetta just had to continue standing in faith for all her other prayer requests to come to pass.
* * *
Across town, Bonz lounged on his lonely bed and continued to flip through Aisha’s portfolio. His television sat was on in the background. Yet he didn’t pay any attention to what was on the screen. His eyes were glued to the glossy photos of the beautiful woman he almost had.
With each page he turned, Bonz felt regret that things hadn’t turned out differently between them. No woman had responded to him so hungrily before. And the fact that Aisha hadn’t asked him for a thing yet, didn’t even let him pay for dinner tonight, highly impressed him. It most definitely set her apart from all his other women, as if she wasn’t already in a category by herself.
Face it, man. You blew it, Bonz thought, despising his impatient nature for the first time in his life.
Suddenly he was pulled from his thoughts by something on the television. There was a breaking news report about a large fire in town. Bonz became extra alert for two reasons. One, he had people that he cared about all over
Bonz breathed a sigh of relief when he learned that the fire was on the northwest side of
Yet when the camera panned to the left and revealed some of the residents who’d been affected by this fire, Bonz inhaled sharply in recognition.
There she stood in a cream-colored satin nightgown with a black blanket draped around her shoulders. On her feet were a pair of soft cotton emergency slippers. Her eyes were fixed straight ahead, anxiously watching the firemen try to put out the blaze. A cell phone was up to her right ear.
Unknown agony gripped Bonz’s heart at the sight of Aisha looking so vulnerable. So sad. He could care less that he’d finally discovered where she lived. All he cared about was her safely.
Noting Aisha’s cell phone again before the cameraman panned away to the right, Bonz suddenly felt something else – jealousy. He didn’t know who she was talking to right now, but it definitely wasn’t him.
Wanting it to be him, Bonz immediately reached for the black phone on the nightstand. “Please pick up, baby,” he said, willing Aisha to answer her other line. He sighed in relief when she picked up a few seconds later.
“I’m coming to get you right now,” Bonz said resolutely. “Not for sex, but for safety. I don’t want you to be alone after that fire,” he added, letting her know that he’d seen the news report.
To his extreme relief, Aisha soon whispered, “Okay.”
© 2005 by Suprina Frazier