I’d just breezed through the doorjamb when a distinct scent tickled my nostrils, and a zapping energy awakened in me. A shiver coursed the back of my neck and head, leaving me vulnerable. I glanced up, hyper-self-aware and there he stood. He leaned into the wall on his shoulder. One hand was pushed into his pocket, the other on a toothpick hanging from his mouth. And he looked damn good. Jeans, white cotton t-shirt, and blazer was a deliciously disarming costume on him tonight.
Bizarrely nervous, I swiped the back of my neck with my hand. “And you’re here,” I murmured dryly, unable to look him in the face while saying it.
“You look beautiful, Witherspoon.”
My inspection rolled down my body. “That was the intent. Bad bitch status.”
“Forever that.” He nodded.
When I had to move to make way for a woman leaving the ladies room, he reached for me, enlivening goosebumps all over. “Look.” I swallowed. “I need to go. They’re waiting on me.”
“Hold up a minute.” His touch on my arm was electrifying. I peered down at our connection with disdain. “I wanna be cool with you.”
“For what? To continue to play on my naïveté?” I snorted. “I have real friends. They don’t do that.”
Beneath the mocha shell, the full pillowy lips, the naturally dark shaded beard, and bushy brows was a fire peeking through his irises. It felt dangerous. It was narrowly specific and exclusively for me. The magnetic pull was cove-molded and akin to what I felt last weekend at his place. My emotions suddenly shot to my throat, threatening to spill. The shit made me weak in the knees, hella vulnerable.
I needed to go. Jas didn’t deserve my nakedness—in bed or in emotion. But the way he pinned me with that searing gaze made it hard to speak. Jas felt determined and anything but indifferent, something I’d never seen from him. I tried thinking of my escape route.
“What’s your name?” my chords so deep, they hurt. My nostrils spread as the disgusting feelings I left his place with resurfaced, eclipsing the vulnerability. “Your full birth name. What’s your name?”
His spirit deflated visibly. I saw it in the narrowing of his eyes and the slight dipping of his shoulders. “Say less, Witherspoon.”
The waitress who served our table drinks was headed toward us. “You’ve done enough of that already. Excuse me.” I pivoted to get her attention. “Could you send the entire bill for my table to this gentleman here? He’s seated over there, just over the plant display.” I pointed.
With a faint smile, she peered over to Jas for clarity or direction.
“You read the letter yet?”
I shrugged. “It’s in the purse I wore yesterday. Bad bitch move.”
Jas pushed, “Could you at least just read the letter?”
“The entire bill,” I repeated to the waitress.
Jas’ eyes swung from her to me and before a while, he nodded softly. That’s when I took off.
Angry, I kept my head down, struggling to switch out of the nasty mood he’d just put me in. When I arrived back at the table, it was quiet.
“Well, damn,” Corinne scoffed. “I thought I’d have to come snatch you from that passionate conversation. Peach told me to chill.”
My attention went to Peach. Her brows were peaked, head cocked to the side, and she slowly peered down at her phone.
“Yeah. What was that about?” Shizu asked.
I cleared my throat. “I was securing the tab. Eat up, ladies. Order whatever you want. Try as much shit as you want on the menu—hell, get an extra meal for lunch tomorrow. We’ve secured the bag for this culinary excursion.”
Corinne grabbed her glass and turned around. She raised it to Jas as just sitting back in his seat. She giggled, with Frenchie and Toya following her. Jas’ piercing gaze was on me when he lifted his glass of water in return.
✍🏽️ #PenningWithoutParameters ✍🏽️
💜 #ImGonnaMakeYouLoveMe 💜