Insecure at Heart (Flash Fiction)

Lady In Red

© Bobby Deal | Dreamstime Stock Photos

© 2015 Pamela Jones. All rights reserved.

Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Summary: Tara Evans is meeting her boyfriend’s parents for the first time. When she learns that they are good friends with her lover’s ex-girlfriend’s parents, insecurity arises in her.

Allen curled his arm affectionately around Tara’s shoulder as they sat on his parents’ black sofa. They were at the Winbushes’ Richmond, Virginia home waiting for dinner to be served.

“Dinner will be ready in twenty minutes,” Clarice Winbush announced after entering the family room. She sat across from the young couple, never taking her observant eyes off them. “It’s nice to finally meet you, Tara. Ever since you and Allen started dating three months ago, we’ve been anxious to meet the woman who’s stolen his heart.”

“She stole my heart indeed,” Allen confessed, looking deep into his lover’s brown eyes. “I knew when I saw this woman I had to make her mine.”

“I’m glad I ran out of detergent that day,” Tara admitted. “Otherwise, I wouldn’t have gone to the store, and I wouldn’t have met you.” Their warm lips engaged in a slow kiss.

Clarice smiled with admiration. “Oh, young love. It’s so beautiful. I remember when your father and I were young and in love.”

“We were much younger,” Steven Winbush added, sitting beside his wife. “Allen’s thirty years old. It’s about time he starts settling down.”

Clarice patted Steven’s knee. “Now, Steven, don’t go talking about settling down. Let them make that decision. Speaking of that, Donna and Davis invited us to Felicia’s wedding.”

“Who is Felicia?” Tara asked.

“Felicia is my ex-girlfriend,” Allen casually explained. Our parents became good friends while we dated.”

“Is that so?” Tara rubbed the back of her tensed neck. “So does that mean you socialize with Felicia too?”

“No, just her parents,” Clarice answered.

“So, you don’t socialize with Felicia, yet you’re going to her wedding?”

“We’re going because her parents invited us. They know we like Felicia.”

“She’s a sweet young lady,” Steven added.

Having heard enough about Allen’s ex, Tara shifted out of his arm. She roughly pushed her short, wavy hair aside and cleared her throat. “Mr. and Mrs. Winbush,” she began with a boldness as strong as the wind.

“Please, call us Clarice and Steven,” Clarice insisted. Seeing how fond her only child was of his girlfriend, she wanted to make Tara feel comfortable.

“Okay … Clarice and Steven, I don’t think you should socialize with Felicia’s parents anymore.”

The Winbushes eyed Tara like she was a lunatic. “Excuse me?” Clarice snapped.

“I said I don’t think –”

“I heard what you said,” Clarice interrupted, her elegant voice rising in anger, “what I don’t understand is why you said it.”

“Tara, why would you say something like that to my parents?” Allen demanded to know. With his eyes fixed on her, he wondered who this woman, whom he thought he knew, was.

“Your parents should respect our relationship.”

“How are we disrespecting your relationship?” Steven questioned, his forehead wrinkled in puzzlement.

“By socializing with Allen’s ex-girlfriend’s parents. Allen and I are a couple now, so you shouldn’t deal with his ex-girlfriend’s parents.”

Clarice tossed her head back in laughter. “Honey, Felicia has moved on; she’s getting married. And Allen has moved on with you.  Our friendship with the Walkers doesn’t affect you and Allen’s relationship.”

Tara’s fiery, big eyes intruded as she yelled, “yes it does!”

“Young lady, you need to watch your tone with my wife,” Steven warned, moving closer to the edge of the sofa. His eyes just as fiery as Tara’s, he continued, “you respect us in our home!”

“You have no right to tell us who to socialize with!” Clarice chided. “Who do you think you are?”

“I’m your son’s girlfriend, and I want the same respect you’re demanding in your home.”

Allen grabbed Tara’s arm. “Tara, I love you, but you’ve got to show my parents respect. You’re out of line here with this ridiculous demand!”

“Ridiculous demand?” Tara jerked her arm away. “Maybe if my mother had demanded my father stop communicating with his ex-girlfriend’s family, they’d still be married!”

“I’m not your father. Felicia and I haven’t communicated in two years.”

“Maybe not now, but someday, you could. Who’s to say your parents won’t play a part in it, especially since they’re friends with your ex’s parents?”

Steven slammed his fist against the sofa arm. “This is crazy talk!” he exclaimed.

Tara stood up. “No, it’s sensible talk to me, Steven!”

“Don’t you dare call me by my first name! You haven’t earned the right to do that. You come in here disrespecting my home with your outrageous demand.”

“You’re an insecure woman,” Clarice said, her head cocked one-sided while analyzing Tara like a psychiatrist. “You’re insecure over a relationship that doesn’t exist anymore.”

“I’m not insecure! I’m just not going to repeat my mother’s mistake.”

“And I’m not going to have you disrespecting my parents!” Allen retorted, standing beside Tara.

“And we’re not going to stop being friends with the Walkers because of your insecurities,” Clarice added. “Good friends are hard to find these days, and they’re good friends.”

With the wrathful faces staring back at her, Tara suddenly felt as victimized as a law abiding citizen being attacked by street thugs. However, refusing to back down, she hollered, “go to hell … all of you!”

Tara grabbed her purse from the sofa and stormed out the two-story house.

Steaming deeper in rage, Allen hurried behind her.  Not wanting her son to gain a criminal record, Clarice rushed up from the sofa and blocked him at the front door.

“Let her go,” she ordered in a motherly tone. “She’s not worth it. Consider yourself lucky for having dodged the bullet of an insecure woman.”

“A crazy woman!” Steven corrected, standing nearby.

Allen hugged his mother; thankful for her wise advice.

Meanwhile, Tara waited under the hot sun for the slow city bus. As she seethed over yet another failed relationship, she believed she was right in her demand. However, she also wondered was Clarice right in her observation about her. I’m not insecure … I’m just protecting my heart by not repeating mama’s mistake, she concluded.

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