by Dee Dawning
New Dawning International Bookfair
Ebook ISBN: 978-1-4524-0266-6
[ Contemporary Romance, MF ]
Having never considered interracial dating, Keli, reluctantly accompanies Ty’s handsome cousin, out on the town in a limo, and enjoys the most wonderful date of her life.
With the stars aligned, inevitably drawing this unlikely pair together, passion ignites and burns hot. But will it evolve into true love or burn out and fade away?
Dang! With her hands full of grocery bags, Rhianna’s latest hit blasted from her cell phone at a most inopportune time. She hurried up the last few stairs, unlocked the door and rushed into the kitchen. Setting the bags on the counter, she reached into her handbag for the phone just as it stopped ringing. Double dang! Checking the missed calls, she discovered the call had been from her best friend and business partner, Ty, short for Tya, so she rang her back.
“Keli. What a surprise, I just called you.”
Forgetting for a split second that her number was programmed into Ty’s phone, she wondered how she knew it was her.
“I know, I just missed you, so I’m calling you back.”
“Thanks, we haven’t talked for a while and I just wanted to chat. So how’ve you been?”
“Ty, we see each other every day at the store. What did you call about?”
“Saw right through me, huh?”
“You’re an open book.”
“Hmm. Well, Kel, a situation has developed and I need your help.”
When Keli didn’t bite she went on. “The company my cousin works for is transferring him to Chicago.”
Keli pictured Tya’s cousin, whom she met a couple years ago. “That’s nice.”
He was good looking enough, but had average abilities and a bland personality.
“It is. I haven’t seen him for ages, but we’re very close so that’s why I said I’d get him a date with you.”
“Me?” Keli couldn’t believe her ears “A date with me? You told him I’d go out with him?”
“I’m afraid so. Please don’t hate me, but I told him it was all set.”
Keli felt her jaw muscles tighten, but she put her best foot forward. “I could never hate you, Ty, but why me?”
“It’s my fault. I kept bragging about you, how fabulous looking you are and what a darling shape you have and…two weeks ago he asked for a photo, so I emailed him some pictures.”
This wasn’t making sense. “But why would he need pictures, he met me two years ago?”
“Oh, you’re thinking of Cousin Antoine. This is another cousin, great looking and smart as a whip.”
“And he wants to go out with me?”
“Yes, He kept pestering me to get a date with you and I kept putting it off. Four days ago, I…ah, told him the date was a done deal and you were looking forward to it.”
All of a sudden, feeling faint, she pulled a chair out from the table, sat and paraphrased what Ty had said, very slowly, “Let me get this straight, you told him I…really…looked…forward…to…our…date?”
“Unfortunately, and he made reservations at a fancy restaurant and bought tickets for an expensive play. He wants to make an impression. I wanted to call and tell you, but I knew what I did was wrong and by then I became scarred shitless to tell you. Until now…now I’m out of time.”
Her heart jumped into her throat. At least it felt like it did. “Hold on! Wait a minute, what does ‘out of time’ mean—?”
“Your dinner reservation is for six-thirty.”
Panic struck. “Six-thirty!” She glanced at her watch—a quarter to five. “Tonight!” she screamed, “Girl, how could you do this to me? Maybe I can hate you after all.”
Ty began to blubber. “I’m sorry, sob, I know I shouldn’t have done it, sob, but it was one of those things. I can’t, sob, explain it.”
“If dinner is at six thirty, what time will he be here?”
“I don’t know, but it’s downtown so I suppose forty-five minutes to an hour ahead of time.”
Absolute terror replaced her panic. A strange man would be here in less than an hour to take her out. Calm down and think. “Ty, I don’t hate you, but I am really, really pissed at you. I don’t have much time, since I have to get ready, give me the condensed version. Tell me everything about your cousin you can think of in two minutes, starting with his name.”
“His name is Phillip Gordon, but he goes by Gordy. He’s two years older than us, stands a shade over six feet, and like you, he has a glorious bod and…let’s just say you won’t be disappointed. He attended UCLA on a football scholarship, received a Bachelor of Science degree, is supposed to be some kind of wizard and works his wizardry in the research and development department of some avant garde, hi techie company.”
When Ty paused to catch her breath, Keli said, “Sounds impressive. I need to get ready now. Just tell me, is he nice?”
“Oh yes. Gordy is the warmest, sweetest person. I adore him.”
“Okay, good. I gotta go.”
“There’s one more thing I should tell you.”
“I’m listening. Hurry please.”
“Gordy is light skinned.”
“That’s all right. I have to go. Goodbye.
* * * *
After a two minute shower and a half hour make-up session, she donned a strapless gold lame evening gown and matching Manolo three inch heels. Gazing in the mirror adjusting a couple wayward locks of her straightened hair, she scrutinized her appearance. Tya was right, she could look fabulous when she felt like it and right now she looked good—damned good.
Calm down girl, remember what Daddy said, “Your looks are not an accomplishment. You didn’t earn them. Nature or a higher power gave them to you, so get your head out of the clouds.” Maybe, but I can sure appreciate and enjoy them. She smiled and hitched her head.
The door bell interrupted her reverie. Her stomach lurched. It’s him—don’t panic. Tya said he’s very nice.
Calmly, she went to the front door and peeked through the peep hole. There stood Phillip—or Gordy, if she could get used to it—but something seemed out of place and it wasn’t the tux he wore. Hurriedly, she undid the safety locks and swung the door open. Phillip—Gordy stared at her wide eyed. His gaze dropped to her open toed, high heeled sandals with languor, then rose back to her eyes. She watched opened mouth while the corners of his thin lips curled into an effusive white smile. “Hi…you look fabulous. I’m Phil, but friends call me Gordy.”
She stepped out of the way. “Come in, won’t you,” she planned on saying Gordy, but she couldn’t do it, “Phillip?”
Bowing his head, he stepped in and gave her light kiss on the cheek. He held out a plastic container. “I have a corsage for you. Would you like me to pin in on or would you prefer to do it?”
He held a lavender and white orchid. She shut and locked the door and took the corsage. “I’ll do it.”
She couldn’t help but notice how damned handsome he looked. He grinned. “Just as well, my hands are probably shaking too much. I wouldn’t want to stick you on our first date.” Realizing the double entendre of what he’d said his skin tone reddened. “I mean with the pin…”
Well at least he’s nervous, too! She laughed. “I knew what you meant. Have a seat. I have a couple things to do and I’ll be right back. Can I get you something?”
His head shook. “No, I’m fine.”
She waltzed into her bedroom over to the nightstand, grasped her phone, scrolled down to Tya Jackson and pushed call. In seconds, Ty’s cheerful voice penetrated her left ear.
“Hi Ty. Your cousin is here.”
She heard an eek, then Ty asked, “What do you think?”
“He’s very handsome, just like you said.”
“I told you so, babe, I wouldn’t steer you wrong.”
“No, you told the truth. You also didn’t lie when you said he was light skinned, but silly me, I thought you meant light skinned brother, not a blond haired blue eyed Cau…Cau…Caucasian.”
“Let me finish. Explain to me how you, a black woman, can have a cousin who’s almost white as snow?”
“He’s actually my step cousin. We’re related by marriage. After Uncle Chester died, Aunt Yvette married Ken, Gordy’s father, though he’s a little darker than Gordy. His mother must be Swedish or something. Is there a problem?”
“Of course there is. He’s white. In fact he’s white on white. I’ve never been out with a white man and never even thought about it. Ty, he scares me.”
“You’re frightened of Gordy?”
“Yes, no. Please don’t call him Gordy. Of course I’m not afraid of him. It’s just that he’s so damn good looking. I’m afraid of liking him.”
“What’s wrong with liking him?”
“Romantically. Jesus, I keep saying the wrong thing. Besides, I probably wouldn’t know what to say to him. He and I come from different worlds. Other than at the store, I rarely have more than a cursory exchange with a white person.”
“What do you mean?”
“You know, small talk, chit chat. Hi, how are you? Gonna be a hot one today.”
“Well, here’s your opportunity. I’ve had dozens of meaningful conversations with Gordy.”
“That’s great. I’m glad you have such good rapport with him. I wouldn’t know where to start.”
“Just think of something you have in common.”
“Like what. What does a black woman and a white man, strangers no less, have in common?”
“Hmmm. Let me think about that a second. I know. Sex!”
“Are you out of your mind? How could I talk about sex to a perfect stranger on a first date? What could I possibly say?”
“How much you like sex?”
Instantaneously, she replied, “You are out of your mind! He’d think I was a tramp. Hell, I’d think I was a tramp” She thought about what Ty’d said. “How would you know if I like sex? I never talk about it?”
“Well, do you?”
“I thought so. Little things, movements, things said and left unsaid. I just picked it up.”
“I might like sex, but I’m certainly not going to discuss it with Phillip. You’re no help. I’ll just go out with him and see what happens.”
“Now, you’re talking. Have fun.”