Not for publication. Unedited. Subject to change before publication.
“So, now that you know what we do on paper”—she flicked her neck to motion out on the floor—“let us show you what we do live and in action.”
Her crimson hued lips spread into a billboard quality smile. Rebecca had the palest skin I’d ever seen, but her makeup was remarkable. Her deep auburn hair was parted in the center and slicked back into a face-lifting ponytail. I watched as she stood from behind her glass-top desk, rounded it in her black fitted midi skirt and crisp white ruffled blouse. She stopped and waited for me to place my portfolio inside my briefcase.
I heard her howl, “Squeeeeee!” It was a non-projected one that didn’t reach beyond her glass encased office walls and was accompanied by clenched fists that shook mid-air. “I’m so happy my uncle has finally agreed to this. I’m not clueless on website building, but the maintenance of it can be a bitch when you have competing job roles.”
I smiled as I stood, smoothing down my dress. “I completely understand, which is why I’m the woman for the job. Based on what we’ve gone over so far, I can see a few changes I’ll be updating by the end of the night.”
Grabbing my portfolio, I followed behind her to the door. When we stepped out onto the floor, my phone rang. It was an unknown caller. Usually, I would never take a call while closing on a business deal, but now I was the emergency contact for an eight-year-old who couldn’t exactly fend for herself.
“Hey,” I called over to Rebecca just ahead of me. “You mind?” I pointed to my ringing phone.
“Oh, of course not. I’ll go to the ladies’ room and meet you over by the break room. It’s near where you came in.”
I nodded, answering my phone at the same time.
“Kennedi,” he sang in a manner I wasn’t accustomed to hearing from him.
Thick, sultry, longing…making my pulse beat effectively in my neck.
My eyes skirted around. “Uh… Hey, Isaak.”
Instinctively, my nose lifted in the air and nostrils widened at how formal that sounded. For a while he didn’t speak, making me feel he had a reaction to how sterile my greeting was, too.
“I ain’t heard from you in two weeks.” Even his voice sounded different now. My body certainly responded to it differently.
It was deeper, softer, more commanding, and…intimate.
I licked my lips, tortured by his throaty tenor. “You have too heard from me. I said thanks for the iPad Pro.” He’d, in fact, sent three of the devices to me. One for me, another for Joy, and the last for Martin and Shiya to share. It was a mark of his observant behavior while I was out there. Apparently, my old device didn’t fit the bill. And the one I’d purchased for Joy wasn’t his preferred Apple product.
“That was a text. A mad short one.”
Swallowing the lump in my throat, I muttered, “I know.” I chewed on my lip and rolled my eyes.
“I didn’t wanna wait for you to finally call or not call.” His voice was even, too calm.
There was no music or rumblings from tablemates in the background on his end, which let me know he was alone. For privacy.
That state made me think of all the…nasty things he’d done to me. My stomach churned in that manner again.
“Why would I not call, Isaak?” I actually sounded offended…argumentative.
“Cut the bullshit, Kenny. Something’s changed between us?”
I’d been an adulterer…with him. A willing one. And I’d do it again and again. I wanted to do it again and again. I just didn’t like the cheating or sharing aspect of it. But who was I to come into their game and dismiss the rest of the players? Besides, Isaak and I were friends. Best friends. It was silly of me to have such thoughts. I hadn’t worked it all out in my head yet, which was why I hadn’t called.
“No…” I gripped my face with my palm, squeezing my eyes in utter frustration with myself. “No. Of course, nothing has changed between us!” I made sure to keep my voice low in the middle of the open office.
I could hear Isaak take a deep breath. “Good ‘cause…” he hesitated. “Because you’re like family without the bloodline…like real special, Kennedi, and I don’t wanna fuck that up.”
Sucking in a breath, I immediately returned, “You won’t!” My eyes squeezed shut again. I was overly assuring him. Dweeb-like. I licked my lips, eyes cast to the floor. “We’re good.”
“Then can we talk about it?”
“Talk about what?” I breathed in a panic.
“Talk about me eating ya—”
“No!” My tone was alarmed at this point. “You don’t have to…”
My throat closed on me and I shifted in my stance, turning to face the few enclosed offices behind me with my palm to my face again.
“Okay.” I swallowed. “I don’t want to talk about it.”
“Because talking about it would do lots of things,” I whispered painfully. Already, I was being melodramatic, feeling that actually talking about it would reveal everything.
“Like what?” He sounded stressed.
“Like expose how sexually immature I am!” My left hand shot in the air. “I never knew what intelligence and emotions it took to be…sexual.” When he didn’t respond right away I let it rip. “There are so many things that happened that night I don’t understand. So many latent emotions and sensations I’ve been dealing with that’s driving me crazy.”
“Well, we can talk about them—”
“No!” I whispered. “It’s too embarrassing!”
“What’s so embarrassing about it?” he argued, telling of his short patience.
“Everything! Do you know it amazed me that you had pubic hairs?” I whispered hard into the phone. “Pubic hairs! Isaak, your pubic hairs fascinated me. That’s ridiculous!”
“We can talk about that, Kenny.”
“No, we can’t. Absolutely not interested in you knowing how much of a dweeb I am. I like you not knowing exactly where I land on the spectrum of underdeveloped.” I shook my head at the thought of that prospect. “Besides, I have friends.”
“I’m your friend.”
My face contorted again. “I know, but—”
“And I’m gonna always be your friend. That’s not changing, Kennedi!” he demanded—threatened.
“I didn’t say you wouldn’t be.”
My brows shot in the air. “Good?”
“Yeah. Now, if you wanna talk about the subject, talk to me. I can give you the best feedback ‘cause I was there.” I rolled my eyes. “And one last thing.”
“What?” I straightened.
“If you wanna do it again, call me. I wouldn’t mind being that person either.”
I sucked in a breath. “Isaak.”
“Bye, Sunset.” I could hear the chuckle in his words before he disconnected the call.
And there was that familiar roiling in my groin again. He made me unfairly feverish. After a long, dramatic sigh, I created a contact for Isaak in my phone. This would be the only true way to avoid my current adult issues.
© Love Belvin @ MKT Publishing