When Love Came Knocking: Part 2

You and Ruby became best friends, and she introduced you to a community of other amazing women who happily accepted you into the fold and encouraged you, helping you to build your confidence and discover yourself without external influences and forced acquiescence. Your distrust and hatred of men had worsened after your divorce, especially since your ex-husband had spread rumours that he was the one who divorced you for being an immoral, serial cheat.

You were thirty-five when love came knocking. You had never known love, so when it came, you were confused and afraid, and you almost gave it up. It showed up in the form of a tall, gentle giant who was as handsome as he was funny. His name was Jerome, and he was an old friend of Ruby’s who had been out of the country for years. 

You kept him at arm’s length because of your distrust of men, but he kept showing up with his gentle smile and funny nature, and you couldn’t help but like him. He was respectful of your boundaries and persistent but not pushy. When you were speaking to Jerome, his eyes were focused on you, and not on the swell of your breasts. He asked you questions about yourself and wanted to know the things that interested you. He did not make inappropriate remarks about your body, so you finally decided to give him a chance.

The first time he asked if he could kiss you, you were confused. Nobody had ever asked for your consent before kissing you. They just moved in and continued when you didn’t complain. Jerome waited until you said yes, and he gave you the best kiss you had ever had. You didn’t notice it then, but your heart had begun to thaw.

When after the third date he still hadn’t made a sexual move, you were confused. Was he not attracted to you? Did he not find you beautiful? Logically, you knew he did, because he often told you how beautiful you were, and you sometimes felt his hardness when he kissed you. But you were not used to men treating you as more than a body, and you were scared. It was unfamiliar territory, and as much as the way he treated you made you feel seen and respected, his lack of proper attention to your body distressed you. Your friends would be scandalised to hear it, but somehow, even though you hated your body, your self-worth had been linked to it, so you needed him to want you physically to be sure of him. For the first time, you actually wanted a man to touch you, but he was respectful, and for three months, he didn’t do much except kiss and hug you. 

You enjoyed his kisses and warm hugs, but it was not enough. And you began to doubt if he wanted you at all.

One day, frustrated and scared of what he was making you feel, you planned a seduction and invited him over. His reaction when he saw you gave you hope. You needed him to enjoy your body to be sure of his affection for you. At the back of your mind, you knew better, but you couldn’t stop yourself from having those thoughts. 

To your surprise, he stopped you when you tried to touch him. Feeling humiliated and bewildered, you asked him what he wanted from you then if he wasn’t interested in your body. 

“I want your body too, Araba,” he answered, “but I want more than your body. I want all the best parts of you too.”

Genuinely perplexed, you told him, “But this is the best part of me, and all I have to offer.”

He looked almost sad as he shook his head and took your hand. “You have an amazing body, and I won’t lie and say that I’m not interested in it, but that is not the part of you that fascinates me the most. I don’t know who made you believe that your body is all that you have to offer, but I hope to make you comfortable enough to share all the other parts of you with me as well.”

You didn’t know what to say, because your brain couldn’t tell you what else you could possibly give such an accomplished and well-to-do man that he didn’t already have.

“Like what?” you asked, your voice barely a whisper.

He brushed the hair away from your face so that he could stare into your eyes and answer, “Like your intelligence. You’re often the most knowledgeable person in the room, but you rarely show it unless you’re with your girls. You sometimes let me see it when we’re alone, but you stop when you remember the negative image you have of yourself. You don’t have to hide your intelligence from me, Araba. I love that about you. I love how animated you are when you’re talking about a subject you really care about, and how excited you become when someone relates to what you’re saying.”

You watched him, stunned, as another problem you didn’t realise you had, came to light. You were so used to your mind being dismissed, or in your ex-husband’s case, disapproved of, that you were afraid to show your intelligence in a man’s company. 

While you were still reeling from that information, he continued, “I’m fascinated by how your mind works, and how you seem to know something about every subject. I also love your heart; you’re so generous and helpful to everyone around you. You’re the first person your girls go to when they need help because even if you can’t help them, you help them find a solution. I love the way you bring joy to everyone around you, and the way you don’t only smile with your lips but with your eyes too. You have so much to offer beyond your body, and I want to deserve those parts of you too. If I take what you’re offering now, you may never see me differently from everyone else, and you may never trust me with all of you.”

You had been seeing each other for three months, but he was right that although you had strong feelings for him and wanted to keep him longer in your life, you hadn’t seen him differently. He had just been another man to you, albeit one you liked. But right then, as you listened to him talk about all the parts of you other men had ignored or rubbished, you saw him for the first time. Staring back into his eyes that shone with so much sincerity, you saw an emotion you had never seen directed at you before. You saw love, and it unlocked a part of you that had been forgotten by your consciousness, but kept safe by your subconscious. 

So, in that safe space created by unexpected love, you told him about everything you had been through, and about how you had sworn off men until he came around. And when you ended in a broken whisper that you didn’t think you could ever be what he wanted, he assured you that you were already everything he wanted. 

“I’m broken,” you whispered again, trying to find your voice in the face of the strong emotions engulfing you. “I was broken a long time ago, and I don’t think the pieces can ever fit together again.”

“I don’t need the pieces to fit perfectly together again,” he answered, causing the lump that had wedged in your throat to grow bigger. 

“I like where the pieces are now, but what is important is that you like it too. I don’t want to fix you, because I don’t think you’re broken. I think you were forced through a furnace, and you became a new, beautiful treasure. The pieces may not be the same as they were before, but they fit into this new amazing form that you are now. You only need to see yourself as this new treasure, stronger after being in the furnace, and more valuable after surviving it, not less. Don’t get me wrong, you would have still been perfect if you never passed through that furnace, but I appreciate the woman you are now, and I hope to be able to show you that. Other men put you through the furnace, but I hope to be the one who gets to treasure you, love you, and give you the home you’ve always deserved.”

Too overcome by emotions, you wept in his arms, crying for the young girl who was violated and the young woman who was turned into a shell of herself. He held you while you wept, letting you feel the love you hadn’t noticed had grown between you until now. You knew it would not be easy, but you were willing to answer love’s knock and give it entry. 

“It might take me a while to trust you,” you told him hoarsely, “but I’m willing to try.”

Face shining with happiness as if you had just given him a treasure, he kissed your forehead and vowed to never make you regret your faith in him. 

And later, when you finally consummated your love, you were shocked by how tightly he had held on to his control all along to win your heart first. You learned how amazing sex could be when you wanted it too, and when the man prioritised your pleasure as much or even more than his.

You had spent your earlier years knowing only pain from men, but now love has knocked on your door, and you are going to let it in and enjoy it for the rest of your life.

1 comments On When Love Came Knocking: Part 2

  • This story began with SO much sadness! I was really glad she got her happy ending. I want to note that as a fiction writer, you have the liberty to craft the characters lives any way you deem fit. I’m grateful that “You” did not end up in a relationship with Ruby as a result of trauma. There’s a narrative going around in the culture that says that if men were kinder, there would be fewer lesbians, which of course is bullocks.

    Thank you again for a beautiful story, Duchess!

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