Chapter Excerpt from Basketball & Ballet
Turning to retrace my steps, I nearly screamed, encountering a mountain. “Tavares! Are you part ninja or something?”
“Sorry for startling you,” he apologized, after laughing.
“Can I help you with anything?”
He didn’t miss a beat. “Why’re you invested in running from me?”
Because you’re fertile and I have Fallopian tubes.
He need not know my craziness, so I left that there and walked around it. “Nice glasses.” I’d noticed them earlier but had kept the compliment. My off-timing was evident in his expression politely transmitting “disinterested in foolishness.”
“Yeah…that right there, Miss Williams? Avoidance.” I had to respect the man for being blunt. “That’s sketchy and less than one hundred.”
“I’ll walk you to your car for your own safety’s sake,” he interrupted, done with my craziness. “Is that okay?”
Being man-less three years—and after marriage to the dumb-and-dim who wasn’t demonstrative, just possessive—I’d obviously forgotten chivalry existed. “Yes.”
Walking in silence, I felt his Black Man Magic with every step. It was insidious as smoke, and equally dangerous. While I respected his directness, it didn’t feel good being called on the carpet for all the ditching and dodging. I needed the man to understand that being around him had me feeling deeply needy, like I could give him access to things better left under lock and key. And not just my body. Truthfully? That, too, was hollering. I wanted to back him onto a car hood and get to lap-straddling. Reaching my Honda CRV, I breathed with relief that I still had my virtue and my panties. “Thanks for being a gentleman.”
“I do my best.”
Unlocking my vehicle, I was caught off guard when he reached forward and opened my door for me. I didn’t enter for standing there, staring.
“Is there a problem?”
“How’d you end up at India’s?”
“You don’t believe in coincidence?”
“Not where you’re concerned. I’m just saying,” I added when he laughed. “First, it was church. Now, here?”
That toothpaste smile was bright against the night. “And my being at LaVelle’s party was also contrived so I could be heel-crushed by one particularly lovely lady, right?”
My smile was automatic. “Maybe. So…do you plan on satisfying my curiosity?”
“Only if you satisfy me.”
I had instant images involving moaning, groaning, butt-naked booty and edible, lubricating jelly. Saying nothing, my eyebrow got to arching.
“I need to settle a double debt. One: per your sister, Sasha, I owe you for that introduction to her Essentials. Two: you stepped in and helped with my daughter’s hair…but I sense that if I tried to pay you, you wouldn’t accept. That’s much for my conscience. So, let’s level this. May I take you to dinner, Yazmeen?”
Baby Boy, may you say my name never ever again.
From his lips it was too sensuous—inviting, exciting.
“Thanks, but…” Floundering for a concrete objection, I stood in silence, prompting him to hold up his hands in surrender.
“Tavares, really. I’m not running from you. I’m running from me.”
“Holla when you finish that jogging.”
Allowing me to settle into the driver’s seat, he closed my door as I started the engine and lowered my window. “Good night, Miss Williams.”
That was that. He turned and left, gifting me the backend of his magnificence.
Instead of being glad at getting what I wanted, I felt abandoned by potential and a good man.
Stop acting like a cowardly little lion cub.
I’d never been in-your-face feisty, just quietly confident and willing to take risks. But some contrarian streak had me ignoring the idea that these meet-ups with this man might’ve been God-intended.
Self had better sense and wasn’t having it.
Yazmeen Renee, I will kick me in my own throat if you don’t get him.
But dinner with Sir Sexy?
Is a meal with a man!
So self said when the man was beyond basic.
Talk yourself out of this attraction if you want. Don’t go crying to God when His Fineness disappears.