Forgotten Love

By: Cher Etan

Matters came to a head when Kristen reached a point where she felt comfortable enough to issue an ultimatum. Frances or her. She accused Allen of wanting his cake and eating it too; implying that the reason he wanted Frances around was because he was sleeping with her. He assured her that wasn’t the case and that was when she said, “Choose between us.”

She was very surprised when Allen chose Frances. She was even more surprised that it was not an agonizing decision; as soon as the ultimatum was issued, Allen and Kristen were done.

Chapter 2

“Kristen and I are done,” Allen said the next day at breakfast.

“Aww, why?” Frances fake whined as she stuffed sausage and mushrooms into her mouth.

“She was getting a little too big for her boots. She actually told me to get rid of you.”

“I’m touched. I didn’t know you cared.”

“Well I do. Plus I need to prepare for finals, I don’t have time for shenanigans,” he said.

Frances laughed, “That’s the Allen I know and love; practical to the end of time.”

“Mostly it was her asking me to choose between her and you though,” he qualified smiling as he forked his eggs into his mouth.

“I think she was just threatened. You’re living with a girl who isn’t related to you; there’s no girlfriend who would like that.”

“Are you defending her?”

“No. I’m just seeing the other side. I get it. I wouldn’t want some hot black girl living with my boyfriend either.”

Allen laughed, “Hot black girl…Jesus Frances, you have jokes.”

“That’s not nice,” Frances protested.

“But it's true,” he said. Frances flashed him the finger but kept eating. Allen stared speculatively at her.

“So…about college…” he said.

“Yeah?” Frances replied spinning her bacon onto a fork.

“Are you going to apply?”

Frances laughed from her belly. “What? Me?” she asked incredulously. “I just learned how to read.”

Allen was silent for a while, pondering the best way to tell her she had everything it took to succeed as a college student or life in general.

“What?” Frances demanded.

“You put yourself down a little too much for my taste,” Allen replied.

“Well, I’m sorry I’m such a disappointment to you,” Frances said, she actually sounded hurt.

Allen sighed. “You’re not a disappointment, don’t be an idiot. You just put yourself down so much. See? Like now,” he said anticipating her snarky reply.

Frances made a face at him, “Well there’s one way to sort this shit out; I’ll apply and then you can read through all the rejection letters and burn them.”

“Deal,” Allen replied.

Frances stared at him, as if waiting for the punch line. Allen continued to eat his breakfast unperturbed, however so, she went back to her own and decided to ignore him.


They both got into the University of Minnesota; it was the only campus they both applied to that they both got into. Frances was in shock that she got more than one acceptance letter so she was quite willing to let Allen guide her as to which to choose. He was legal now and able to take charge of his parents’ fortune. He paid his uncle the money he promised and then sold the house. He didn’t want any reminders of his childhood; the death of his parents weighed heavily on that house, and the abuse his uncle had subjected him to. The only good memories the house had was after Frances came to live with them. He was ready to let it go. Let the whole town go in fact and start fresh. His administrators were opposed to such drastic changes and did their best to dissuade him. He only convinced them by pointing out the financial impracticality of maintaining a house in Prosperity, Indiana when he was going to spend the majority of the next four years in St. Paul Minnesota. It made more economic sense simply to get an apartment in Falcon Heights; after all it wasn’t like he had relatives to come back to in Prosperity. The administrators agreed that this was a plan and Allen and Frances packed up the house.

Frances was very insecure about her suitability to be a college student but Allen rode roughshod all over her objections and signed her up for whatever classes he thought might interest her. This included linguistics, French, literature and history. At that point, Frances took over and chose her own classes. Freshman year of college was a period of adjustment; the freedom was intoxicating for Allen; but Frances had always been unencumbered by adult supervision so it was par for the course for her. Allen tried everything on offer from LSD to sky diving. He spent the minimum time he could actually in class that would enable him to pass his exams. Frances on the other hand, spent all her time in class, or at the library catching up on the quieter side of growing up. They still lived together at an apartment off campus but somehow, they rarely saw each other.

Frances met a guy in the library in the beginning of sophomore year. He was intense in a way that fascinated her; his ambitions were boundless and he came from a poor background too. He was only able to study at the U of M because of a scholarship and financial aid. He wanted to get his degree and go home to change his neighborhood. Frances fell in love with his passion and he fell in love with her brain and her sass. Allen was against it. He did everything he could to dissuade Frances from going out with him.

“Look at him with those dreadlocks. Its so pretentious; who does he think he is? Bob Marley?” Allen said sneering derisively at Kareem who was checking out some books as Frances and Allen waited.

“Don’t be jealous,” Frances said amused. “I still love you.”

Allen slapped at her arm with the back of his hand, “I’m being serious.”

“So am I!” she protested.

“What is it anyway? You lookin’ to get laid or something? Because I’m pretty sure I know a few guys who are more experienced than that Sean Paul wannabe you hangin’ with.”

Frances laughed. “Have you been taking surveys?” she asked amused. “Or are you relying on locker room boasts; because you might not know this man, but boys lie. All the time.”

Allen glared at her, “I know that chica; I’m trying to help you here.”

Frances turned to face him, “Allen, I like him okay? Do I try to get between you and your girlfriends?”

“Ha! What about Kristen?”

“What about her? I didn’t tell you to get rid of her; you did that all by your damn self.”

“Yeah but it was coz of you,” Allen said.

“Fine. But Kareem’s not asking me to choose between you and him so you can just step off Allen. Green is not a good look on you.”

Allen snorted, “As if. I’m not jealous.”

“Whatever you say slugger,” Frances said smiling as Kareem came up to them.

“Got the books,” he said. “Can’t wait to debate the merits and demerits of Homer with you.”

He was grinning at Frances which annoyed Allen to no end. He pulled her away from Kareem as they were walking to the car.

“You know I can debate Homer just as good as he can,” he hissed at her.

She just laughed and pulled her hand out of his grip, hurrying forward to walk with Kareem. Allen had a date that night but he blew it off to lounge in the study watching Frances and Kareem read and talk about The Odyssey. He was pretending to study as he did it but Frances wasn’t fooled. He was seriously cock blocking her.

“You want to like, take this to my room?” she asked Kareem. Allen took a very deep breath and seemed like he was about to stand up and maybe block the door.

“Sure I do,” Kareem replied face brightening visibly. He glanced at Allen as if aware of his cock blocking intentions and then stood up, holding out his hand to help Frances up. Allen stood too, wanting to stall with something but not thinking of something in time. Frances and Kareem strode past him, headed toward her room. Allen followed them with his narrowed eyes. He was surprised at how much he wanted to ram the switch blade he always carried on his person into Kareem’s heart. He hadn’t experienced such violent thoughts since a random druggie had almost knifed Frances for the money she was carrying when they were still living on the street. Allen wondered at it; maybe he’d developed a paternal complex and was treating Frances as if she was his daughter? Somehow, Allen didn’t think so…

He waited twenty minutes and then strode over to Frances’ door, knocking loudly. There was silence from inside which was making Allen feel like breaking down the door to see what they were up to. He was just assessing it for sturdiness when it opened suddenly.

“What?” Frances asked irritably.

“I need to talk to you,” he said to her.

She lifted up her eyebrow in inquiry.

“In private,” he said.

Frances sighed, looked into the room with an, “Excuse me”, and then stepped out and shut the door behind her.

“What’s going on Allen?” she asked.

He leaned down and put his lips on hers. She stiffened in surprise and he was just as surprised as she was. It hadn’t been his intention to do that. He hadn’t known what his intentions were but they weren’t that. Still, now that his lips were on hers, he found himself wanting to explore the inside of her mouth, taste her, know the texture and softness of her lips. He was surprised how soft her lips were; she was such a hard ass on the outside, he expected them to be more chapped, not so plush and soft; tempting a body to lean in and squash them against his own lips; suck them open and insert his tongue inside her mouth. And she was letting him; he wondered if she was still in shock or if she wanted to kiss him back.

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