Life With: Kiana and Sawyer Ep. 12

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Age Difference

“Wake up, Papa.” Kiana said gently from his side of the bed. It was almost 5:30am. Sawyer needed to be at work within an hour and a half. Kiana envied his morning routines; he woke up, brushed his teeth and wore whatever he wanted. Kiana hated to wake him up so early; she would love to let him sleep another 45 minutes. But getting the girls ready took a lot less time with his help. Sawyer also needed to take the girls to daycare before work. If Kiana were to take them, she’d need to be up even earlier than 4:00 to accommodate for travel time. Sawyer offered to give her an extra half hour of rest and take the commute himself.

As both a news producer and executive director, most of his work consisted of being in the control room and commanding everyone else to do as he asked. He typically wore dark jeans and some kind of relaxed shirt. However, Kiana was dressed in tweed slacks, a black boat neck top and small heels. She’d put her blazer on later. She kept her look professional with stud earrings, a diamond necklace— a Christmas gift from Sawyer and her wedding ring, of course.

“Good morning, beautiful.” He groaned as he stretched in bed. Kiana sat beside him on the edge as he gradually awoke. She rubbed his arms and chest to keep him stimulated. He grew still again.

“Sawyer,” She called for him. She had stopped walking away from him after the first wakeup call many years ago. He could look her right in the face, acknowledge her words and fall back asleep within 4 seconds. She only stopped bothering him if he was up and walking.

He moaned and gripped her arm. He pulled her down onto his chest and she gasped a little at the force. Sawyer started kissing into the crook of her neck and she could feel his hands wandering to the front of her pants. She pushed against his chest to sit herself back up but he held her in place.

He’d managed to undo the button on her slacks and was in the midst of wriggling his hand into her panties.

“No, we need to go.” Kiana pushed harder and stood up entirely. She backed away from the bed; he would jerk her back given an opportunity. Sawyer looked at her from his pillow as if he were trying to see how serious she was. He looked for an opportunity in her expression but she looked pretty stern.

“You don’t want me to touch you before work?” Sawyer loved to ask rhetorical questions to get a banter going. He knew the answer to that question. Kiana gave him an exasperated look.

“You know I do. I just don’t want us to be late for work anymore.” Sawyer had a thing for morning sex. She would’ve been all for it if they didn’t have bigger responsibilities now. Sawyer had a hard time adopting their less-spontaneous life.

“I’ll be quick.” Kiana rolled her eyes. Sawyer had no idea what the concept of a quickie was. His quickies included foreplay, multiple positions and at least three orgasms.

“You always say that and then I end up cumming twice so then I want to make you cum at least once and then we can’t stop having sex.” She said it all within a breath. Sawyer laughed and got out of bed. He approached her lazily and kissed her temple.

“I guess you’re right.” He murmured.

*

Kiana brought her herbal tea up to her lips. The steam warmed her face and she appreciated the feeling. She’d been in her office since 12pm, after teaching three classes and giving out exams in two, she’d likely be on campus until 3.

Kiana was hard at work with grading the exams she had just administered. She glanced around her office. It was warm and she made it a point to bring her home concepts into her working space. She had the same candles lit as she did in her bedroom. The same tan, brown and burnt orange scheme in her living room and lots of photos of her family on her desk.

She glanced at a picture she’d taken with Sawyer. It was on their honeymoon in Paris. They were kissing right in front of the Eiffel Tower—Sawyer’s hand inappropriately gripping her bottom. She was fighting a smile against his lips but Sawyer was focused on swallowing her face.

The next frames were two pictures of Sydney and Savannah during their newborn photoshoot. She remembered the day they took those photos. Sawyer had been so angry with Kiana and her need for everything to be perfect. He swore the only reason she was being so particular about everything was because her husband was the photographer. Kiana knew that wasn’t true; she would’ve annoyed anyone.

She looked at a picture Sawyer took of her and Rochelle at Kiana’s baby shower. Rochelle was rubbing her belly and planting a peck on Kiana’s cheek. The picture reminded Kiana that she hadn’t seen her best friend in almost a week. She’d try to call her soon.

Kiana’s biggest picture was of her, her mother and her father. She picked that frame up and held it closer to her eyes. She unconsciously smiled. She was about 12 years old and she was sitting on her father’s lap. Her dad held her mother by the hip and they were all beaming at the camera.

Someone Betturkey rapped on the front door and she put the photo down. She checked her wristwatch and noticed her office hours were starting. She put the exams in her desk drawer and shut it lightly.

“Come in.” She called. She sat back in her chair and took another sip of tea.

A student from her 500 level psychology course walked in. Kiana had no idea what her name was. She had blunt shoulder cut blonde hair and was dressed in the campus regular; yoga pants and sweatshirt.

“Good afternoon, Dr. Wolfe.” The student greeted with a light smile.

“Good afternoon—do you want any tea? There is water in the kettle.” Kiana offered. She gestured toward the corner near the door with a kettle on a hotplate. The station was a must-have for her office.

“No, thank you.” The student declined politely. She took a seat in one of the armchairs on the other side of Kiana’s desk and reached into her book bag for her notepad.

“What is your name again?” Kiana asked as she stirred her tea a little more. Kiana had tried her hardest to guess what it was but kept coming up short. She’d had more than 400 students; if they weren’t active in class, she didn’t know them.

“Erin.” She said.

“Okay, Erin. What can I help you with today? What did you think about the exam?” Kiana asked courteously.

“That’s actually why I’m here. I know that it’s a long-shot but I wanted to ask if I could retake it.”

Kiana nearly choked on her tea. She abruptly lowered her mug from her lips and wiped the liquid from the corners of her mouth. She really hoped this girl had some extraordinary circumstances that would warrant her walking into her office asking for such a favor.

Kiana often had to deal with a lot of barriers at work. She had students who questioned her intelligence, who questioned her authority, who thought they were her friends or simply expected more from her than she was required to give. Students and faculty were quickly learning that Kiana was not tolerating any of it.

She was young—one of the youngest in her department but she was likely the meanest too. Her personality acted as a shield from all of those who sought to take advantage of her. She was glad of her ability to easily, and eagerly tell someone no.

Kiana reached for a napkin in her drawer while trying to regain her composure. She wiped the corners of her mouth and tried to lighten her demeanor.

“And,” She paused. For the first time in a few seconds, she looked Erin in the face. “Why on Earth would I do something like that?” She asked with a solemn expression. She clasped her hands around her mug tightly and leaned her forearms on the desk. Erin swallowed roughly as her cheeks turned flush.

“W—well,” Her confidence was dwindling and Kiana was content. She’d had too much walking in; Kiana was glad to have knocked her down a few pegs. “I wasn’t in the right place this morning. I’d only had a few hours of sleep. My mother is sick and I had been with her in the hospital most of the night. I had to work this morning and I missed the bus from the city. So I was late and I didn’t get to finish the last page.” Erin took another breath and interjected her own sentence. “Professor Wolfe, I wouldn’t be here asking for extra treatment if I didn’t know the material. I study hard and I know the work. I just have a lot going on—I didn’t perform my best.”

Kiana sighed. She remembered those days. She was 20 years old working 40 hours a week, taking 16 credits, dancing twice a week and taking care of a brain-dead father all on her own. She was constantly working and trying to figure out a way to keep moving forward.

But she’d done it.

She had done it without asking a single person to go out of their way for her. She’d made everything happen on her own. Erin needed to figure out a way to do the same.

Kiana opened her mouth again to tell her just as much.

She looked at the young girl’s face once more and her heart softened. Kiana would have loved it if a woman had been there to cut her slack when she needed it most. It wouldn’t have undermined her integrity but it simply would have been a weight off her back when she was so close to breaking in half. Kiana didn’t think that giving this young girl a break would do any more harm than good.

“Look,” Kiana sighed. “I can’t let you retake the exam. It’s unfair to the rest of my students.” Erin deflated a little in her seat. “I will offer you an alternative essay – write this down,” Kiana sat back in her seat.

“Give me a second.” She had to make up an impromptu assignment on the spot. She’d give her entire class the opportunity to gain extra points. “I want a 12 page analytical paper, 1.15 spacing.” Kiana looked her head-on.

Erin tried not to look surprised by the 12 page request. She looked up from her notepad and quickly looked back down.

“You need to tie at least 5 concepts from the class together Betturkey Giriş into a cohesive thought. Theories, brain functionalities—all of it needs to be fluent. I will add up to 10 points to your exam.” Erin thought a 12 page, single spaced paper for 10 points on the exam was a little modest. Kiana saw her expression and it conveyed as much. “You thought the 10 points would come easy?” Kiana smirked. That genuinely humored her.

“I want it 10 days from today.” She stated.

Erin thanked her for her generosity.

*

“Lira,” Kiana sighed in defeat. She couldn’t wait for her babies to get older so she could play with them the way she played with Janelle’s daughter. She was only two years old but she always had Kiana on her feet and eating out of her palm. The little girl had tricked Kiana into chasing her around the house after working all day and dancing afterwards.

“She will have you 3 pounds lighter by the end of the night, I swear.” Janelle called from the living room. She laid the twins on her loveseat and sat on the floor right in front of their faces, just cooing to them. Kiana put her hands against her lower back and tried to catch her breath.

“Lee-Lee,” Kiana could hear the ice cream truck outside Janelle’s front door from where she stood. She and Lira looked at each other with wide eyes. Kiana was so grateful to have an excuse to stop chasing the energizer bunny around. The little girl screamed senselessly as excitement consumed her. She stomped her feet and her arms flailed around.

Janelle turned around sharply from her place on the floor. Her eyes were cut for Lira and Kiana knew she was about to tear into her for screaming in the house the way she had. The chocolate brown girl wrung her hands nervously while making eye contact with her mama from across the room. Kiana swiftly swept the little girl over her hip and shielded her from her mother’s stare.

“Don’t look at my baby like that.” Kiana grumbled to her best friend with a smile. Janelle turned her sharp eyes to Kiana instead. “She’s just excited we’re going to get ice cream.” Kiana snatched her wallet off the corner table in the foyer and rushed down the driveway with Lira bouncing in her arms.

“Get me a Klondike bar!” Janelle called after her.

Kids in the neighborhood had lined up for the truck and Kiana figured they’d be waiting their turn for at least 5 minutes. Kiana didn’t mind the wait. She knew her girls were well taken care of and the weather was beautiful. After being locked inside buildings all day, the evening sun was welcoming.

“A—A untie Key,” Lira started up with her breathy toddler voice right beside Kiana’s ear.

“Yes, baby.” Kiana coaxed her on. Lira always had so much to say; it could take a bit for her to gather her words.

“I want ice cream.” Kiana chuckled and looked over her shoulder to see the girl’s eyes transfixed on the truck.

“I’m sure you do but what kind do you want?” Kiana pointed to some of the pictures on the truck. “They have chocolate—I know you like chocolate. But you also like strawberry.”

“I like strawberry, too!” Kiana heard someone’s child behind them bellow. Kiana smirked to herself as she turned around to see which cutie had interjected into their conversation. Kids were so blunt and nosey—it was hilarious.

“Marquise, she wasn’t talking to you, bud.” His father tried to chastise him lightly. The respondent was a tall little boy who was almost as excited about his ice cream as Lira. He was around 8 years old with dark chocolate skin that mimicked his father’s. Kiana ignored his father’s words and smiled at the kid. Why not pass the waiting time talking about ice cream with the world’s most innocent age group?

“Lira loves strawberry ice cream but she doesn’t like strawberries.” Kiana told him in an animated voice. He seemed annoyed with that confession and Kiana nodded to confirm it. “Crazy right?”

“Hey Lira,” The father waved. He was a handsome, well-built man. He was dressed as if he’d just gotten out of the office. “Is your daddy home?” He asked, signaling he was a friend of Janelle’s family. As if more than by coincidence, Janelle’s husband Dante pulled into the driveway across the street. He hopped out his brown coupe with his briefcase in hand and an urgent pep in his step.

“Daddy!” Lira called for her father with a cute wave. He whirled around with a quickness at the sound of his daughter’s precious voice. When he saw her with Kiana, he relaxed visibly.

“Hey, Lee-Lee!” He hustled over to them from across the street with a smile plastered on his face. Kiana smiled; men and their daughters. Sawyer was the same way about his girls. Kiana gave Lira up to her father for a deep embrace.

He kissed all over her cheeks and face while she squealed in delight. Once his kisses were over, he turned to everyone else.

“Hey, Key.” He greeted. He kissed Kiana on her cheek and gave her a light hug. Dante greeted Marquise and his father, Nasir. He joined them in line and chatted with Nasir while they waited. Within a few seconds, they were at the front of the line. Kiana ordered a chocolate ice cream cone in a bowl, two Klondike bards for Janelle and Dante and an ice cream sandwich for her.

“$13.00” The man inside the truck said.

Kiana went to grab some cash from her wallet.

“We all know you making Brown money now—you don’t need to brag.” Dante joked beside her with faux annoyance. Kiana looked up into his profile on a laugh to find him slipping the truck owner a 20 from his pocket.

“I had it.” Kiana said quickly. Dante chuckled as she unknowingly played into her joke about her salary at Brown University. Dante faded back behind her to continue talking with Nasir. Kiana grabbed all of their treats from the man’s hand overhead.

“Thank you.” She replied once she’d reached for the last item.

“No problem—next.” Kiana turned around and tucked her receipt in her pocked.

“You see that?” Dante boomed to Nasir. Dante reached to grab Kiana’s left hand. Her hefty wedding ring and band glimmered from the sun’s rays. Nasir smirked.

“I can’t say I’m surprised.” Nasir replied. Kiana smiled modestly.

“Thank you though.” Kiana replied as she headed back to Janelle’s house. Even though she was married, it was still kind of flattering to know she still had “it”. Entering such a committed relationship so early in her life often made her question what “it” even was. But over time, she’d learned it was something she had always harbored but didn’t entirely need anymore.

Janelle was focused on bouncing both Sydney and Savannah at the same time. She paced around the living room while they whined. Kiana walked quickly into the kitchen to give Lira her ice cream. She grabbed a plastic bib from behind the highchair and placed it around the girl’s neck. She was then able to let her indulge in her chocolate ice cream at her own discretion.

“They’re hungry.” Janelle stated. “Let them thangs loose.” She snapped for emphasis. Janelle and Kiana laughed heartily.

“She looks good with two babies, right Key?” Dante said, entering the room from the bathroom. His eyes were transfixed on his wife. Janelle ignored him entirely and Kiana awkwardly looked between the two. She didn’t want to throw her best friend under the bus by agreeing but Kiana would be lying if she said she didn’t want her to have another baby soon.

“No comment.” Kiana said quietly. She wiped the corners of Lira’s mouth with her knuckle. “Is it good, baby?” Kiana asked Lira on a laugh. The little girl was focused on putting the ice cream everywhere but in her mouth.

*

“You need to get Sawyer and Xavier over there to talk to him.” Kiana had just told Janelle about Allison and Declan. Kiana could still barely get the thought out of her mind.

“I want to but she wants to handle it herself. You know I would’ve walked up to Declan myself.” And she absolutely would’ve.

“How does she expect him to listen to her when he doesn’t have any respect for her as a person? As a wife and mother? That makes no sense to me.” Kiana looked over to the car seats where the twins were sleeping for a moment. “Kiana,” Janelle turned to her from her seat on the couch. “If something serious happens to her or one of her kids, you’re going to feel guilty. Because you are the only one who knew and you let it continue.”

“What the hell do you want me to do? Get him arrested?” Kiana knew what she meant but Janelle didn’t understand her position. She wished she could just call the police and make sure she was safe but she didn’t want to do anything Allison didn’t want. Even if her wellbeing was at risk. It just wasn’t her place.

“Richard needs to get involved. He needs to fight the demon he created. It isn’t fair that the women in these men’s lives have to do all the work. You, Allison and whoever Xavier ends up with—all breaking down broken men.”

“Sawyer will kill me.”

“And Declan will kill her.” Kiana swallowed roughly. “You can choose which one is more important to you. That woman needs help and she doesn’t know it. She loves her man so much, she isn’t worried about loving herself. You need to help her, Key.”

“I can’t—”What was she really scared of? She couldn’t vocalize it but there was something there she knew made it impossible.

“You can’t fuck up the only family your girls will have by becoming the bad guy?” Janelle looked disgusted and Kiana felt disgusting. That was exactly it and it was the most selfish thing she’d ever heard. No wonder she couldn’t identify it; she was embarrassed she felt that way. “You know better. That is ridiculously vain.”

“I think—” Kiana shook her head lightly. “I think Sawyer might side with him.” Janelle was wide-eyed. “Not side with him!” She corrected. “I think he’ll stick by his brother much more than I’d be comfortable with. I don’t want to be divided. It could be a situation where he is more aligned with Declan’s rehabilitation than protecting and defending Allison.”

“I get it. But you know what the right thing to do is. You’re strong and Allison needs you to make the right choice.”

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