Subject to change. Coming this Spring. Enjoy 🙂
“Where’s the good in your bestie sleeping with the owner’s son if I can’t drink as much as I want to?” I asked, rolling my eyes as the other bartender wouldn’t even look my way, for fear of stepping on Rob’s toes after he’d informed me I had enough to drink.
Laughing, Rob continued with the complicated ass steps of whatever drink he was making. “The good in it is that your bestie’s boyfriend can make sure you stay upright on that stool.”
“Upright is overrated,” I shot back, and Rob paused what he was doing, and turned around. Iris was always talking about his eyes, how they were so deep and soulful, the kind of eyes that saw right through you. I saw it. She loved it, but in that moment where he turned and looked at me, his expression marked with concern, I kinda hated it.
“What’s up with you?” he asked, hands pressed against the low counter behind the bar, as he leaned toward me so we could talk without yelling. “You got your promotion, Zion passed his test today, you look good. But you seem like something is… off.”
“I’m fine, Math Bae,” I teased, making him chuckle. “I’m good, seriously. Just tired. And tipsy. And tired,” I added again, as Iris and Gia came back to take the empty seats beside me at the bar.
“Y’all are right on time,” he said, switching gears. He’d probably mention his concern to Iris later, but I appreciated that even with his “emotional honesty” shtick, he knew when to drop a conversation.
“On time for what?” Gia asked, flipping a handful of her massive hair out of her face as Rob turned back to the drink he’d finally poured into the shaker.
“To toast our senior stylist,” he said, then pulled down six shot glasses just in time for Derrick and Kyle to return from the chicks they’d been flirting with across the bar. Kyle maneuvered into the space between my seat and the wall.
“Since you’re a senior stylist now, when are you gonna hook me up,” he asked. “I need somebody to touch up my locs for me.”
“What happened to whoever was doing it for you before?” Gia called, from a few seats down, and I sucked my teeth.
“His dick is what happened, most likely,” I said before he could answer, then turned to him, daring him to contradict it.
He sucked his teeth. “You just think I fuck every attractive woman I know, huh?”
I shook my head. “Of course not. I think you probably fuck every woman you know. That’s how being a hoe works.”
“Dammmmn,” he said, putting his fist to his mouth as he laughed. “You think I’m a hoe?”
“Are you… not?” Iris asked, completely serious, and Rob almost choked on his own tongue laughing.
“Wait a damn minute,” Kyle said, leaning back against the wall. “I know the – what did you call him, Iris, an Instagram honey? Yeah. – I know the Instagram Honey of the group isn’t acting like he wasn’t knocking ‘em down back in Cali before he moved here and Mrs. Black Iris came and settled him…”
I laughed. “Kyle, you’re an Instagram Honey too! And I mean… you’re a single man, I’m not judging you for being a hoe. Hell, I’ve had my turn at being that too.”
“As have I,” Iris added, shaking her head, and Gia chimed in the affirmative too, And Derrick chuckled.
“Let me come to my homeboy’s defense a little bit though – Don’t you think him being a former professional baller might affect your opinion of him? Like, women hear that you’re in a certain profession, and automatically put that “hoe” stamp on you, without really knowing.”
Gia shook her head. “No… we put the “hoe” stamp on men when they’re fine – not always because of the job. Hoe. Hoe. Hoe,” she said, pointing at Derrick, then Rob, then Kyle. “Don’t get me wrong – no one is saying you can’t be faithful, or couldn’t be a good partner. I am saying that when good looking men aren’t in committed relationships, they’re usually hoes. Which a single person is well within their rights to be, if that’s what they want to do.”
“But I am not,” Kyle interjected. “Yes, I enjoy the company of women, but contrary to what seems to be popular belief, I am not out here sticking my dick in everything that moves. And I don’t appreciate the implication, Brandi,” he said pointedly at me, poking me in the side to make me giggle.
“Fine, maybe not,” I laughed. “But, answer this… You screwed the woman who was retwisting your locs didn’t you?”
His lips pressed together as he gave me a blank face, and tried to keep from laughing, but he couldn’t. He covered his face with his hand as he groaned. “Man, it was one damn time.” And we all burst into laughter.
Shaking my head, I watched Rob pour a creamy-looking liquid between the six glasses, then start passing them out, hesitating when it came to me.
“Boy, give me that damn shot,” I laughed, reaching across the bar.
He held it just past my fingertips, with a stern expression. “I’m only giving you this cause it’s your night… after this, I’m forreal, no more.”
“Fine, dad!” I slurred, then quickly cleared my throat, hoping no one else had caught it. Maybe I had had a bit too much. “What is this anyway?” I asked slowly, carefully, and Iris chimed in.
“Yeah. It smells really sweet.”
Rob grinned. “Well, that’s cause it’s inspired by our girl Brandi’s favorite dessert – pecan pie,” he said, then held up his glass. The rest of us followed suit, clinking our glasses together, and I couldn’t help grinning hard as hell as they screamed “Congrats, B!” in unison at me before we all downed our shots.
“Oh my God,” I moaned, as the liquor slid down my throat.
“What the hell did you put in that? It’s amazing,” Iris asked him, and she wasn’t exaggerating at all. Perfectly smooth, warm, sweet, creamy… I wanted to order another one, but I knew I’d be pushing my luck.
“What you gone do for the bartender’s secret? It’s gonna cost you,” Rob flirted, and Iris pulled her lip between her teeth as she blushed. Kyle’s glass hitting the bartop beside me pulled my attention away from the lovebirds, and I looked at him just as he was turning to put his back to the bar.
Before tonight, I hadn’t seen Kyle since that day in the gym, almost a week and a half ago. It felt like longer though, especially since I’d been losing days to busyness with the details of my new title at the salon. But now that he was right beside me, looking good, and smelling good, and— “The shot was nice… but you taste better.” – Saying shit like that in my ear… my body was wide awake, and sending out signals that let me know it was time to go.
“I think that may have put me over the top,” I said, louder than intended, pulling myself down from my barstool. “I’m gonna head home.”