~~~unedited, copyrighted version, subjected to change prior to publication~~~
We arrived early, and thankfully, Trent offered to get a few practices in with me before his friends showed and I embarrassed myself. The place was the fanciest bowling alley I’d ever seen. It had chrome fixtures with dark wood flooring and paneling, neon colors lighting the place, and palatial white leather sofas. Our section was over to the end, next to the wall, and already loaded with bottles of wine, champagne, water, and food. Anxiety crept up my spine and tied itself around my neck. I chewed my lip as I watched Trent unpack his bag down in the lounge area where the game would be.
“C’mere. I need to see which ball is easier for you to work with.”
He was already out of his goose and on to business. I slowly peeled down the zipper of my coat and laid it on an available chair. As soon as I did, there was an older blonde haired woman there.
“Sorry about the delay, ma’am. Here are your shoes. Mr. Bailey said you’re a size seven?” she asked with professional courtesy.
I nodded. “Ye-yes. Thanks.” I took the bowling shoes that looked to be brand new from her.
“And I’ll take your coats. Is that okay?”
“Jade!” Trent called again. Then he glanced up to find me with the woman. “Oh. A’ight.” He turned for the score kiosk.
“Yes,” I answered the woman and sat down to change my shoes.
When I met him down on the floor, Trent had already changed into his shoes.
“Try this one.” He handed me a lime green ball that almost slipped from my grip the moment he let go of it. “Whoa! That won’t do. Try this one.” He handed me an ivory ball that was much more agreeable with my strength. “Okay. Good. Now, in bowling, one of the most important techniques is in your wrist, biceps, and hip alignment. They all need to be in great coordination and alignment to navigate the ball after it leaves your grip. Now, I don’t know about the rest, but your wrist and bicep coordination game is tight.”
I sucked in air. “No you didn’t!”
I slapped his arm. Trent let out a laugh that exposed all his teeth. He was really in a good mood. It warmed me at recognition. This was our second date in about a week. The first one didn’t go so well with two college girls staring at him the whole time we were in line for popcorn. It pissed me off when they headed to the same theater as us, but I let it all go in the name of behaving on my first ‘date.’ However, when it ended and I stopped at the bathroom before leaving and came out to them in his face, I lost it and went off on those thirsty broads. It was so bad, Trent had to physically carry me away. Needless to say, I didn’t score that night. I was also convinced I wouldn’t be getting in his pants any time soon.
“C’mon, man!” he laughed. “You have to relax. We’re out on a date. Isn’t that what we agreed to? Something normal. For us to act our age?”
“Yeah, but this ain’t no ordinary date.” I heard the intimidation in my chords. “This is with famous people. Celebrities!”
He straightened and stepped closer. “Yeah, well, let me tell you a secret about celebrities: they don’t like to be treated as such on their private time. Don’t trip. I can tell you now, StentRo has low key public paranoia off the courts. And his lady is the most down to earth woman you’ll ever meet in this game.” He lifted the ball in my grip, going back to the task at hand.
“And? They aren’t the only two coming.”
I was probably most nervous about meeting Tynisha Lang. It took days for me to select the right look for tonight. Although I thought jeans were the go-to gear for bowling, I couldn’t decide which would be best: fitted or boyfriend. That was a call Tynisha could write a book on. I didn’t know much about her husband.
And oh, my god! Would her camera crew be here?
Trent scratched his head, staring at the scoreboard. “Who, Alton Alston? He’s an ass. You ain’t gotta worry about him.”
My eyes went wide, and I stood stock still. Trent turned toward me after some time.
“Are you going to throw that thing anytime—Wait!” His face wrinkled. “You talking about Ty? Please tell me you’re not worried about her.”
Under normal circumstances I would be ashamed to admit feeling insecure about another woman to anyone, much less a man. But in this instance, this was no ordinary woman. She was a millionaire fashionista. A noted snob, at that. Of course my regular ass was intimidated.
“Oh,” he snorted, some sort of realization hitting him. “Is this why you made a big deal about what you’d wear? You’re fine. These are just people…like you and me. I swear, if you’d just relax and be the beauty on my arm, all will be well. You’ll like them and they’ll enjoy you. But first we need to get your hip game in alignment with your wrist and bicep. Okay?”
The innocent look on his face while he pseudo flirted was the most adorable thing in the world. I held my belly with my left hand and tumbled over in laughter. I couldn’t believe his brazenness tonight.
“You know what!” I screamed. “If this is how you get down in front of your friends, I’m gonna need a drink to keep up with you.”
As I tried to straighten, I caught the gorgeous and carefree smile that crested his face. Trent was damn it beautiful. My attraction to him had to be unnatural; it was dizzying and hard to ignore that when he unleashed smiles like that without warning. Needing to leave that head space, I walked up to the floor and bowled the ball. It was a gutter.
“Let’s try again,” Trent coached behind me. “Remember, bicep: you have to put some muscle in your toss. Wrist: you have to flick it with power. And hips: you have to center yourself to push your strength off of. You can do it. Let me show you.”
The ball shot from the dispenser, and I eased up to the alley next to him. Trent stood over me, flooding my nostrils with his infuriatingly delicious scent. He positioned my body and rolled my arm to align with the lane.
“Like that. Okay?”
I nodded my head and went for it. I didn’t get a strike, but did take out almost half the pins.
“See, you can do it. Let’s get a few more in.”
I took his advice and continued practicing. With every other attempt, it seemed I got better at it. I didn’t have enough to beat anyone, but it certainly boosted my confidence to play with others. At some point, Trent left my side for drinks. Well into my second cocktail, a name he wouldn’t share with me for some reason, I loosened up. Trent never asked for a turn. He closely watched and coached me to correct my mediocre game.
“Double A’s in the muthafuckin’ building!” someone shouted from behind me.
It was her and her husband, the basketball player. I watched as Trent’s long legs hovered over the guy, and broad shoulders curled over the shorter frame in front of him. Tynisha tapped away on her phone, never looking up. And I’ll be damned if she didn’t wear black leather pants with thigh high leather boots, making it impossible to see where one stopped and the other began. She topped it with a black turtle neck, faux fur vest, and wide brim brown hat. Dang. My eyes fell to my distressed boyfriend jeans and I sulked.
“She here, huhn?” the short guy asked as he rounded Trent, who made his way to a lagging Tynisha.
My heart beat hard, ready to fall into my stomach. Alton approached me as his eyes swept my entire body from head to toe. My eyes squinted. He had the nerve to lick his lips and grab his crotch. He flicked a quick eye over his shoulder en route to me.
“So, you Jada, huhn?”
“Jade,” I corrected before taking his hand, giving it a firm shake: I wanted no misunderstandings.
“Yeah, you tiny like her, too. My man treatin’ you right, Jada?” he repeated the wrong name, eyes still roving over me appreciatively.
Don’t be a creep. I don’t need the trouble tonight.
“The hell you mean, am I treating her right?” Trent boomed into the conversation, blasting a bright smile. “The fuck my name is?” He took me at the waist.
“Uhn-huhn… Pretty eyes.” Alton continued with the eye-hustling. “You let me know if this dude gets outta pocket. We SoJo brothers. He may reign from Camden, but I got the ‘Bridge on my back, and we eat niggas alive.” He puffed out his lips. “And beautiful women, too.”
“Ahhh…,” Trent cried. “C’mon with the bullshit. Ty is in the building. You don’t wanna find yourself in jail behind your antics tonight, bruh.”
Alton’s eyes whipped from my body up to Trent’s face. “Bruh? There you go with that North Jersey shit. You may live across the street from a Brick City nigga, but you down with the Philly tri-state, bro.”
“Speaking of him,” Trent noted and flipped his chin back toward the bar.
I followed his line of sight and saw a tall figure coming in: impossibly taller than Trent. He strolled in with his arm on an average height woman, who seemed to have a nice balance with his weight on her. They ‘fit.’
Dag, Stenton Rogers is tall!
“Alton!” Tynisha yelled from the sofa, unzipping her boots. “Come help me take these things off!”
“The fuck she wear heels to the damn bowling alley for?!” Alton hissed underneath his breath, but it was loud enough for us to hear. He shifted toward her, but whispered to Trent. “You know what this shit is all about, right? How the shit is gonna go down?” He gestured to me with his eyes before walking off.
“He doesn’t look that tall on TV,” I whispered.
“Dude is almost seven feet,” Trent replied, his eyes on the incoming party, too.
The woman on his arm was pretty. Pretty in the sense of a natural beauty with a friendly spark in her eyes. She had thick hair that was pushed from her face, falling past her shoulders. It was undoubtedly all hers. She wore next to no makeup, an ivory knitted turtleneck sweater, blue fitted jeans, and cognac knee boots with block heels. She smiled kindly as they approached us.
“Peace and blessings,” Stenton greeted, removing his limb from the woman’s shoulders. “What’s good, bruh.”
“Peace and blessings,” Trent returned as they embraced.
“Don’t start that church brotherhood shit!” Alton shouted from feet away.
No one seemed to be moved by that comment. Was I the only one sensitive to this guy’s antics?
“You ready for this whoopin’ I’m about to put on you?” Trent asked.
“Ready to send you home embarrassed in front of the lady.” He extended his hand to me. “Stenton.”
I accepted it. “Jade. Nice to meet you, StentRo.”
His lady sputtered a laugh, her neck extended to face him. “I like her already.”
“Yeah, yeah.” Stenton smirked as he shook his head. “TB, check that, man. I may need to find a private corner somewhere to toss this one over my knee.” He gestured to the woman. They all laughed at that. I couldn’t stop my thoughts of that threat to concentrate. “Anyway, Jade, this naughty girl is my wife, Zoey.”
“Hi, Zoey. Nice to meet you, too.”
“Hey, Jade.” She shook my hand. “It’s great to see Trent off the block and outside of church.”
“Dang, Zo. Church is the best place to be,” Stenton playfully argued as he hugged her.
“I don’t even think Ezra would agree with that in technical terms,” Zoey returned.
“Your nasty ass, Niña!” Stenton busted out laughing. Trent followed.
“Well,” Zoey replied casually with hiked brows.
“Yo, man. Y’all over there huddled on y’all kumbaya shit. We ain’t come here for communion. I came to beat some ass. Let’s get this started, yo!” Alton yelled over.
“C’mon,” Trent advised. “I already got the game set up.”
On our way over, Zoey tapped me from under her husband’s arm. “It’s good to see another woman so tiny under her man’s arm. This guy looks like he could crush me.”
“I do crush you,” Stenton murmured over her head with slanted eyes.
Zoey shook her head at that.
“If you haven’t noticed, everybody looks to be able to crush me,” I joked in response.
“Not Alton,” Trent spoke loud.
“Not Alton, what the fuck?” Alton asked sincerely, going for a bowling ball.
This time, the four of us laughed at the private joke. For once, someone found this guy to be a natural comedian. We took our seats around the kiosk where Alton and Tynisha went first and Trent and I went last. The guys had constant banter playing while we drank and nibbled on finger foods. There was continuous laughter and joke throwing. I learned Stenton was just okay at bowling; Zoey was a bit better. Tynisha wasn’t so bad herself, and Alton was a constant scorer. However, Trent was leading on the scoreboard with most of his attempts ending in strikes.
We were on our third game when I realized Tynisha had been speaking to everyone but me. She barely spoke to Trent. It made me wonder what was her problem. She would joke with Zoey a lot. I could tell they were friends. But when Zoey would talk with me, Tynisha had nothing to offer. Trent had just sat back down from getting us another round of drinks. I noticed he was liberal with his intake, something unusual for him. I’d never seen him kick his feet up with other people, and throw back a few. It was good to witness.
“You okay?” he asked, using his body to shield my view from everyone else.
“Yeah. Everybody’s cool except for Tynisha,” I whispered. “She seems to be throwing you shade, too.”
Trent rolled his eyes. “Don’t sweat that. Ty always tight about one thing or another. This is what we do. As long as she doesn’t antagonize you, I’m good. Here.” He handed me another tumbler. “This is your last one for the night. I don’t want to be an irresponsible date.”
“Trent, you don’t always have to be the responsible party, you know. I’m someone’s mother, and sometimes even I get tired of always overseeing. I can take the shift sometimes.” God knows I would feel less rejection from you if you shared the role.
“Just enjoy yourself, shawtie.” He winked.
“What y’all love birds over there talking about? Who gonna do the next load of laundry?” Alton asked. “‘Memba we used to get excited over petty shit like that when we was new to living with our ladies, StentRo?”
Stenton scratched his eyebrow, eyes lined with humor. “Nah, bruh. Never negotiated that.”
“Please. Me either.” Tynisha snorted. “That may be true for one person here, but I see money everywhere else.” Was that jab meant for me? “I remember I had to beg Zoey to get a damn maid. You can tell when people new money. They don’t know how to use it.”
“And how old exactly is your money, Ty?” Zoey asked with a lifted brow. “Because if I’m not mistaken, you just came into some within the past ten years or so. And you never told me your parents had money.”
“You know what I mean,” Tynisha fired back; her wings had been clipped.
“You knew what you meant. Not me, Ty. Be nice. Nobody like snobs.” She issued her friend a cautious glare as Alton laughed.
My eyes shot to Trent, whose wink confirmed Zoey’s jab was for me. She was taking up for me.
“And when did yo’ ass ever offer to do more than sit your lil ass down with your feet up, Al?” Tynisha turned her wrath to her husband. “I wish I ain’t have to pay so much for the help we got!”
Alton’s head snapped back and his face wrinkled. “You paying? What?” He raised his upturned palms in the air. “Like I bring in pennies or some shit. You ain’t the only one the network cutting a check for! I ‘on’t work, Nisha?”
Tynisha was done with the topic. She rolled her eyes under the brim of her hat and went back to her cell phone.
“You’re up, J,” Trent kneed me. “You want me to come with you?”
I shook my head, went up for my turn, and bowled my first strike. I couldn’t contain my excitement as I turned to look for Trent. He was right there, just a few feet away. I ran and jumped on him.
“Congrats, little one.” He spun me in his arms.
“I see you get your practice in, in that installed alley at the crib, Jada!” Alton spoke over the music.
My eyes flew to Trent once on my feet. His regard went elsewhere.
“That shit is lit! I remember when he first got it built. Yo, the wild shit we got into in them days, yo.” I could see Stenton slap his forehead, bracing himself. “Remember when you and Johnson threw that party when everybody had to wear only G-strings? Yo, on the way over I asked StentRo, ‘What type of gay shit is this?’ Bro! When I stepped in that bitch and saw all them damn titties and asses, I was blind to the niggas’ asses. That party was off the damn chain!”
I turned to face Trent. His face was to the ground as he shook his head, denying Alton’s claims. Stenton basically followed suit, hiding his smile. Zoey’s eyes were big as she followed the story.
“When was this party—” Tyisha tried asking.
“That ain’t the point!”—Alton quickly brushed past that setup question—“Yo! Remember the other one they had when TB had it decorated like a strip club with poles and shit? And when he came out dancing, I fell the fuck out! ‘Dem bitches was on line to ride that damn bull! I pulled up a chair right next to his, sat my ass down, and motioned for them to form a line to come get this, man! Then Jordan started shooting crisp dollar bills from that blow machine. Them bitches went cur-aye-zee!” he sang. “That shit didn’t end till the next night. ‘Memba that, StentRo?”
“Again I ask: when the hell was this?” Tynisha demanded.
She and Alton began going back and forth about the subject while Zoey and Stenton snickered on the sideline. I knew they were older than Trent, but in that moment, Alton’s pint size frame appeared as a teen, trying to hang with his big brothers. He couldn’t filter what was appropriate to discuss in front of the ladies. Trent bowled his turn and when he returned to his seat, he placed his head on my neck. As soon as I was comfortable with the idea of him finally being true to form and getting sleepy, Alton called him out.
“Nah! Don’t try that innocent church boy act now, nigga! Yo, Jada, did you know TB a stripper, too?”
I gasped, but found it funny.
“Yo, chill, Al,” Stenton tried. “This is a real date for them.”
Alton laughed. “Fuck that! Did you know his stage name is Shoot ‘Em Up, sweetheart?”
My eyes shot over to Trent, though his head was on my shoulder and I couldn’t see his. All of a sudden he’d convinced me.
“See! See! She ain’t know! C’mon, son-son, you rolling out your talents slowly? That’s one of them traits you should give first. Like: Shit, I can fuck!” Alton slapped his palms together and cracked up.
“You were a stripper?” I spoke low for privacy. Trent shook his head, but didn’t speak. “Wait! Are you being shy?”
“Like hell he is. Trust me, bands’ll make this dude dance. Ask StentRo.”
I glanced over to Stenton. He pinched the bridge of his nose, trying to hide his amusement, too. “Shoot ‘Em Up!” he shouted Trent out. “It’s the CMD way!”
I didn’t know what that meant. I’d seen Trent move a little in victory when he’d win a PlayStation game against Kyree. He had some swag with his movements, but so did lots of athletes. A stripper is a different type of dancer.
“You don’t have to be embarrassed about not knowing how to dance,” I whispered.
“Hold up.” Alton jumped to his feet. “You got her staying with you rent free and you ain’t getting the ass, man!” he charged rather than asked.
Trent sat up and raised his index finger. “First, mind your damn business, shorts,” he spoke to Alton. “Second,” He raised his other to me, “Shoot ‘Em Up has absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about. My shit correct, little one.”
“Ah, shit!” Alton jumped up and down. He looked frantically across the place. “Where the people? We need the D.J. and a chair.” He scurried off.
“You done got him started,” Stenton warned, laughing.
“Which one?” Zoey echoed the question.
“Both,” he replied.
Alton came back with a chair, placing it just before the runway. The music died around us.
“Ah, man.” Trent exhaled. “This guy’s serious.”
“You should’ve known,” Tynisha grumbled.
Luke’s “I Wanna Rock” began to stream from the speakers.
“Hell no!” Alton yelled into the air. The track dropped. “I said something sexy for a stripper. We don’t want that predictable shit for Shoot ‘Em Up!”
Stenton and Trent laughed senselessly. Stenton’s long frame lay out over his wife. Trent sat up and started unlacing his bowling shoes.
“This dude…,” he mumbled, gaiting over toward his Timbs. “Always starting shit.”
“Come sit, Jada,” Alton demanded, still using the wrong name, I was sure purposely at this point. Alton Alston didn’t give a shit about anything. “I’mma show you who that church boy really is.” I hopped down the platform steps and sat in the chair. “Aye, TB,” he shouted loud over to Trent, “you gonna thank me later, man!”
It was still quiet when Trent came down and stood a few feet away from me. A trace of hesitation on his face, yet he was going for it. So why was I so nervous? Alton’s little arms reached up and rubbed Trent’s round shoulders, mimicking a trainer. He whispered something to him that Trent fought against laughing.
“Aye, yo, D.J.!” Alton shouted. “Something now!”
Stenton and Zoey laughed mindlessly from their seats. Tynisha sat with her fist propped under her chin, looking bored and annoyed. I was too anxious to be put off.
I heard what resembled underwater sounds, of what I wasn’t sure. Alton was still whispering in Trent’s ear as he watched me. Then the beat dropped. A strange changing of his pupils began taking place: they were darkening. All humor was gone. My heart pounded, I was sure out loud. I’d never heard the song, but I recognized R. Kelly’s vocals. Trent’s lips parted as his eyes bore into me. To be a good sport, I motioned with my index finger for him to come.
Out of nowhere, Trent dropped to the floor and slid fluidly over to me on only one knee. He landed at my lap and stretched my thighs open at the knees. The movement so quick, it scared the living shit out of me.
“That’s right!” I could hear Alton shout. “Magic Mike her lil’ ass, TB!”
Trent rolled his head in between my thighs suggestively, managing not to touch me. He leaned back to sit on his heels and held his palms facing up. That’s when his long and wide tongue flipped out and his neck rolled in a rapid swooping motion, mimicking him eating… Me? He jumped to his feet on beat and with flash quickness. His waist began to roll as he thrust his pelvis in the air. Trent slowly pulled up his thermal shirt from over his head and used it to mimic his penis before tossing it in my face. I snatched it down quickly, realizing he was going for his t-shirt next. That’s when I realized this was a real stripper’s dance. I wanted to see it all.
When that came off, he tossed it to the side and gyrated low to the floor, his abs rolling like a mechanical machine on the way down. He ended up with one hand on the floor and the other on his raised knee cap as he gyrated his pelvis in the air again. Oh! My! God! Trent’s waist seemed to be a totally detached body part, that’s how sinuously it rolled in the air. He leaped to his feet and encouraged the audience to clap at the rhythm of the pre-chorus. Once the beat dropped, he leaped into the air and literally floated onto the back of my chair where he balanced himself on the back handle, swung his crotch in my face, and pumped. I mean, in my face. He was so close I could feel his erection against my nose.
He swung his body in the air until his pelvis was square in my face and rubbed against it as he descended onto my lap. That’s when I got my first lap dance. His pelvis, abs, and chest rolled vertically between my face, breasts, and lap. My temperature spiked, and I could feel the glop of desire as it left my sex. Trent’s face was hard and blank as he rolled back on my lap, using my weave as anchor. He clutched my hair as he grinded backward with his head and back leaning toward the floor, but his hard dick rolled in my face, breasts, and lap. The song went to climax and that’s when everything sped up.
One second I was in my seat, carefully trying to follow his every rapid and high sensual movements. And the next, I was up on my feet, bent over the chair with my hips spread wide as Trent pelted into me. My spine held against the heavy successions, but my eyes collapsed at the implication.
Trent could fuck if his technique was anything like this.
R. Kelly sang, “Murder, murder!” rapidly and rhythmically, and I fought to keep the top of my head from beating into the back of the chair. Trent impaled my ass that strongly and quickly. It was as though he was shooting damn bombs from his cock. My spine shivered. I couldn’t believe I was so wrapped up in eroticism with people watching. I was definitely aware. Nonetheless, my body’s reaction was so unexpected and inclined to meld into Trent’s every maneuver. Each move he made was lewd and so was my body’s reception to it. At one point, my feet were off the floor and my hands gripping the seat of the chair.
He flipped me onto the floor and I landed on my back. My legs were pushed into the air and his body rolled gracefully from my head to pelvis, in between my thighs. I slapped my hands over my eyes when I realized he was mimicking eating and fucking me. Damn, Trent! This went on until the track ended.
Trent helped me to my feet, his eyes examining me from head to toe while his face was contorted, channeling something unknown. Then his regard went up over my head. My hands patted my hair.
The screams and applause from the small group made me want to crawl into a hole. I was publicly aroused and sure everyone in the building knew. It was a man down situation. I wanted him now more than ever. I knew from the moment this was over until we came to some type of agreement, I was in trouble.
New music began streaming out of nowhere. The guys rushed the floor to Trent in boisterous affirmation. He received them somehow as he went about picking up his shirts. I turned, ashamed of my ruffled appearance.
“Holy mother of Joseph!” I heard from behind me. “Are you okay?” Zoey wrapped her arm around me. Her cheeks heated and smile was bright, showing the same excitement as the guys.
I tried to nod.
“Yeah…you gonna need this.” I felt a poke at my shoulder. It was Tynisha handing me a wide-tooth comb before turning right back around and strutting to the sofa. “Alton, bring your ass. I gotta get up early for hair and makeup. We shoot in the morning!”
“She’s going home to let off the steam you and Trent built down here,” Zoey whispered. I couldn’t help a sheepish giggle. “Girl, no need to be prudish, I’m going home to let it rip after that! That was hot! Who knew?”
I sure as hell didn’t, and I live with the man.
“That was insane,” I murmured while trying to comb my hair into a decent style. “That’s all I know!”
Zoey laughed. “Come on. They’re going to kick us out. Our time is up now.”
Coming This Summer