Unedited. Subject to change. Please enjoy 😉
I giggled at Blake’s words, and then pressed my head against the back of the high-backed chair as people began to sit down at the table. I ducked my head to dab at my eyes again, grateful for the dim lighting in the restaurant. When I looked up, my eyes fell on Steph, who was still standing. Flirting actually, with two women – probably random fans of his – as they practically swooned under his attention.
My eyes were still on him when he suddenly looked up, and his gaze met mine. I lifted an eyebrow as one of the women put a hand on his chest, then turned my attention back to my phone.
“Will report back.”
“HELL YES! – B. Hollis.”
“Don’t hurt him, LMAO! – K. Oliver.”
I smiled, then shook my head as I tucked my phone back in my purse. I already felt about a million pounds lighter after that conversation, even if it was through text messages.
“What was that look about? You aren’t jealous, are you?”
I looked up as Steph took the empty seat beside me, leaning much closer to me that he need to be. I smirked. “You’d love that, wouldn’t you?”
“What man wouldn’t?”
“One with a less inflated ego.”
Once again, he grabbed at his chest like I’d wounded him, even though his mouth was pulled into a smile. “Why do you treat me so bad, Nubia?”
“Because you make it so easy. Didn’t I tell you not to talk to me?”
“Actually, you told me to try not to talk to you, and I did. Didn’t work. Too much effort.”
Subtly, but purposely, I leaned forward, propping my elbows on the table, and my chin on my elevated hands. “Is that right?”
Stephen’s eyes dropped to my arched form, in obvious appreciation of the way my dress dipped low to showcase bare skin all the way to the small of my back. His gaze lingered there, then came back to my face as he leaned in, draping his arm across the top of my chair. “Yes,” he said, dropping his voice, and leaning in to avoid any listening ears. “Hard not to talk to you with that pretty pussy of yours embedded in my memory… and on my tongue.”
My heart skipped a beat or two at the sound of a familiar voice behind me. I turned and looked up, into deep brown eyes I hadn’t seen in a long time. His mouth spread into a smile, and I stood up, wrapping him in a warm hug. I could feel Steph’s eyes burning a hole into my back, but I didn’t turn around as Brandon pulled me off to the side.
“Brandon Jensen, boy you know you are still fine as ever?”
“Just trying to keep up with you,” he laughed. “How are you?”
“I’m good,” I nodded. “How are you and Nadia? I haven’t seen you guys in years!”
“We’re great. I’m actually just getting out of business dinner, about to head home to Nadia and the baby now.”
I narrowed my eyes. “Wait a minute… baby?”
Brandon smiled, bigger than I’d ever seen him smile, and that man lived with a smile on his face. He worked in mergers and acquisitions, which was how I’d met him. I’d wanted to get into the beauty product industry, and he’d made that happen for me.
“Yeah. You know Avery Anderson, right?”
I nodded. “Yeah. Ignition, those auto service places, right?”
“Yep. Well, we’re all good friends, and his wife, Tori… she was a surrogate for us. Cause you know Nadia…”
“Yeah. I know. That’s… that’s amazing.”
He smiled again. “Yeah. Bella is two months old. Or… Izzy is two months old. Her name is Isabella, and we’re still figuring the nickname thing out. But she’s amazing.”
“I’m so happy for you guys. Now, go. Go to your wife, and your baby. Love on them for me, and you tell Nadia I said hello.”
Brandon nodded. “Will do. Why is Stephen Foster mean-mugging me right now?” he asked, chuckling. “Y’all an item or something?”
“No,” I shook my head. “But… you may have cock-blocked a little bit when you came up. Perfect timing for me.”
Brandon laughed. “Same Nubia, driving a man crazy.”
“You know it.”
We exchanged another hug, and then he was gone, leaving me with a million thoughts swirling in my head. The loudest among them? Everybody getting their baby except me.
“Who was that?” Steph asked, when I went back to the table. “That hugged looked real familiar.”
I smirked, pushing aside those unhappy thoughts. “Now who’s jealous?”
He sucked his teeth. “Ain’t nobody jealous. I just want to know why I don’t get hugs.”
“Because I don’t like you.”
“You liked me enough to let me—”
“Kiss my ass, Stephen.”
“Yes,” he said, scooting his chair close enough that our legs touched. “With enthusiasm. Fervor. When? I mean, you keep offering it to me without making any plans to actually make it happen. And you know I’m a man of action, Ms. Perry. So what’s up?”
“If you don’t get the hell away from me,” I laughed, covering my face to keep attention away from us. The last thing I needed was somebody snapping a picture of me looking a little too interested in him.
“And leave you at this boring ass dinner by yourself?”
I sucked my teeth. “Boring?”
“Hell yeah. Earlier you said it was going to be a good time, but I’m looking around and… where are the strippers, damn?”
“What?! Not that kind of good time, Steph.”
He wiggled his eyebrows at me, which despite my efforts against it, made me giggle. “What other kind of good time is there, Ms. Perry?”
“The kind where you don’t look at naked ass, and you have intelligent conversation, and drink good liquor, and then leave, and get into your bed – alone – so you can be ready for work the next day.”
Steph scowled. “I’m about to start snoring.”
I rolled my eyes. “I swear, just when I –”
“Chill.” Stephen put his hand on my leg – too high on my thigh – and squeezed, and the same overwhelming arousal from the plane swept over me. Then, I’d just been trying to distract myself by engaging him, and ended up falling into the trap he’d laid. This time I had no excuse for giving in to his attention, only Kora’s words in my head.
Live your life and stop thinking about it so hard. Do what you really want to do.
I sucked in a breath when his hand inched up a little further, and he squeezed again. “I’m just playing with you, before you get all riled up to tell me about myself. What you wanna talk about, hmm? Politics, pop culture, travel–”
“Don’t nobody wanna talk to you,” I said, cutting my eyes away from him. His hand moved up again, but I was saved by the arrival of the server, finally making it to our side of the table.