Sample Sunday: Lunch

Photo by Katherine Chase on Unsplash

Hey there. Below is a teeny tiny snippet from my upcoming project, The Color Spectrum – a Duet in collaboration with Sabrina ELB Scales. It’s releasing bright and early (knock on wood) September 25th. These words are mine, unedited, and subject to change. Enjoy!

He was standing maybe about six tables away, facing in my direction. I bit my lip at the beauty that was him. He wore a slim, lavender suit with a muted orange shirt reminiscent of sherbet peeking through the lapels of the jacket. In place of those shiny brown curls was a pair of French braids that somehow enhanced his masculinity instead of taking away from it.

His lips moved as he tossed words I couldn’t make out over his left shoulder, then he laughed as that same shoulder lurched forward as if it had been hit from behind. He slid to his right a la James Brown, in a move so smooth I was sure it was practiced. My heart rate sped up and I tried to peel my eyes away from his enticing form to no avail. I watched as he unfastened the two buttons of his jacket and slid into a seat at the table.

Instantly, my gape hardened as a woman came into view. She looked to be about my height, with caramel brown skin and a big healthy looking, red-dyed Afro. Her mouth was running a mile a minute but he seemed to be heavily engaged in conversation with her. She was…cute, and my vision tinted green.

“Ooh, Eb! Is that him? He is fine!”

Shit. I had gotten so caught up in the sight of ole Pretty Boy, that I had forgotten all about Vee sitting right across from me. I shook my head and shoved more salad into my mouth, refusing to give a verbal response.

Vee chuckled. “Aww, that’s cute.”

Mouth full, I raised my brows. “Huh?”

She smirked. “You like him.”

I rolled my eyes back down to my almost completely devoured salad and wished that I could go back in time to when I mentioned him to Vee and slap myself across the face before I uttered a word. “Whatever, Vee.”

At the sound of her gasp, I gave her a sharp look of warning. She was about to be on that bull, I could feel it. Her mouth hung open.

“Oh shit. You really, like him!”

I groaned. “No, Vee, I really like this salad. Actually, I love it. In fact, I might marry it.”

“Eb, you’ll be shitting that salad out in the next six hours. That ain’t love. Mr. Fine over there, though? He got you over here zoning out on me and drooling into your romaine.”

Hastily, I swiped at my chin, glaring at my sister when I found it free of slobber. I can’t believe I let her get my ass like that. Putting down my fork, I attempted to nip this thing in a bud before her imagination went haywire.

“So what, Vee? I can begrudgingly admit that the nigga makes my titties tingle. That doesn’t mean that I like him.”

That smirk returned and she shrugged nonchalantly. “You’re right, Eb, physical attraction doesn’t mean that emotions are involved. That mug that appeared on your face as soon as you saw his lunch companion does, in fact, mean just that.”
And, well…she had me there. She knew it, I knew it, and she knew that I knew that she knew. Still, she’d have to pry a confirmation out of my shadow because I was done with this conversation. Just thinking about him beyond admiring his good looks pissed me off. I slid out of the booth and stood up. Reaching into the pocket of my jacket, I pulled a twenty out of my wallet and dropped it on the table.

“Really, Eb? You’re just going to leave? All because you don’t like what I said?” She sat back against the booth, a look of disbelief on her face.

Her expression brought me a tendril of guilt, so I knelt onto the bench on her side of the table and hugged her tight.

“Nooo. It’s not like that, Vee.” She harrumphed and I squeezed her tighter. “You know that I only get thirty minutes for lunch. The walk here and back is ten minutes in total. I’m cutting it close as it is.”

I waited for the tension to leave her shoulders on a sigh before I let her go and stood straight. She pulled cash out of her purse, tossing three tens next to her plate, which was more than enough to cover the Marsala chicken and single glass of wine she had ordered.

As we walked toward the front of the restaurant, I tried so hard to keep my eyes from drifting toward that table, intent on pretending that I didn’t see him sitting there looking delicious and sharing a plate of samosas with some random woman who had the nerve to be…cute, and not me. Due to the narrow layout of the restaurant, we would have to walk right past him to get to the exit and as we got closer to his table, Ivory stepped on the back of my shoe, causing me to stumble.

Though I was in no danger of actually hitting the ground, he jumped out of his seat with his arms outstretched, as if he planned to catch me. I caught my balance before he got to me but that didn’t stop him from grabbing my arms. I saw the recognition in his eyes and flushed with embarrassment. Without a doubt, I knew my face was as red as the flesh of a ripened strawberry, and I swore to get my revenge on Ivory Celeste Devareaux.