“Who is that?”
“That is Natasha Edwards. And that, cuz, is her man she just sat down next to,” Paul said, putting his arm around me.
“Whose guest is she?” I asked, staring at her.
“Mine,” Vanessa said. “Natasha and I used to work together.”
“What about him?”
“He’s cool,” Vanessa said, and Paul cut his eyes at her. That let me know that I would hear a different story from Paul. “The four of us have gone out a few times.”
The deejay played Always and Forever by Heatwave.
“My wife loves this song. My wife . . . I like the way that sounds.” Paul grabbed his wife’s hand and started to lead Vanessa to the dance floor.
While they danced, I sat there listening to the music and couldn’t take my eyes off of her. The first thing I noticed about her was her eyes. They were exotic; wide and tilted at the corners of her small brown face. Her long, thick lashes framed them perfectly. Then my gaze moved to her berry tinted lips that looked so soft, and ready to be kissed. And we’re not even gonna talk about that body in that black and red dress that draped every curve the way I wanted my hands to. To say she was perfectly formed would have been an understatement, having high, ripe breasts, and a lush-rounded ass. Perfect. Now, if only her personality matched.
I had to meet her.
“She just may be the one.” I laughed out loud. Unlike Desiree; who was definitely not the one.
After Paul and Vanessa left the dance floor, she went to talk to some people while Paul headed back toward the bridal table.
“What’s really up with them?” I asked when he sat down.
“Natasha and whatever his name is.”
“Him and her are cool. But I get the impression that she doesn’t like the way he treats her.”
“How does he treat her?”
“Like he doesn’t respect her.”
I looked at him. He looked weak. “She looks like she is definitely more woman than he can handle.”
“But he’s paid.”
“What’s his name?”
“He is weak, Victor,” Paul said, like he was stating the obvious. “But like I said, he’s paid.”
“You think that’s what she’s all about?”
“No, she really is cool people; and she makes good money, too. But he sets it out for her. She says most men are intimidated by her ’cause she’s so fine.”
“That what she said?” I asked, glancing back over my shoulder to look at her.
“She referred to herself as attractive.”
“She is that.” I said, still looking back in her direction. Natasha was still watching me. “She got a good team, Paul, but she needs a new coach. Introduce me to her, Paul.” I started walking toward the table.
“Slow down, man Don’t be so obvious.”
Paul was able to slow me down long enough to introduce me to his boss Ralph, and his wife, Adrianna. In addition to working at Leimert Beckford Marketing, Ralph had a few other business interests he was pursuing. We talked awhile about me doing some freelance work for him. Ralph said it would be a couple of months before they would be ready to move. We exchanged cards, and Ralph asked me to give him a call in September. I looked at Natasha; she was still watching me. I quickly agreed, accepted his card, and promised to call in September.
Once I got finished talking with Ralph, Paul was nowhere in sight; so I begged Vanessa to walk me over to her beautiful friend. Since she had promised a group of her coworkers that Paul had plenty of single cousins for them to dance with, she willingly agreed.
“On one condition.”
“You really gotta dance with them.”
I looked at the single ladies at the table and then at Natasha. My heart beat just that much harder. “Deal,” I agreed—because at this point, I was desperate for an excuse to get close to her— and we headed for the table.
Not wanting to disrespect Lloyd when we got to the table, Vanessa introduced me to everybody at the table. With eyes focused on Natasha, I politely spoke to everyone, taking my eyes off her only briefly. Finally, Vanessa got to her.
“Natasha, Lloyd, this is Paul’s cousin, Victor. Victor, this is Lloyd Parker.”
I shook Lloyd’s hand. His handshake was as weak as I thought it would be.
“Nice to meet you, Lloyd,” I said with my eyes still focused on Natasha.
Once Vanessa had introduced us, Lloyd went back to talking to the man sitting next to him, so he couldn’t see the way I was looking at his woman. And more importantly, the way his woman was looking at me.
“Victor, this is Natasha Edwards.”
I reached for Natasha’s hand; it felt soft and warm. I bowed at the waist and kissed it. Our eyes locked and it was like the world stopped. For a second or two, it seemed that she and I were all that mattered in the world.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Natasha.”
Her facial expression told me nothing. She squeezed my hand. Although her expression didn’t change, her light squeeze to my hand confirmed what her eyes had already told me. She let go of my hand and I felt like all the energy had just left my body. I knew then that, despite the man sitting next to her and whatever was going on with them, this woman belonged with me. I knew then that I would do whatever I had to do to make this a reality.
I stood up straight and looked around to the other ladies at the table. “Perhaps each of you will do me the honor of dancing with me later.” And then I returned my gaze to Natasha.
“Why wait until later,” Robin, one of the women at the table asked and got up. “This is my jam!”
I smiled and took her hand. “Well then, let’s dance,” I said, but I didn’t stop looking at Natasha. I danced a couple of songs with Robin. She was kind of cute and she made a play, which I politely ignored, before I escorted her back to the table. When I got there, Lloyd was still deep into his conversation, and still ignoring Natasha. From where I was standing, it looked like she was only half into the conversation she was having with the woman sitting next to her.
I looked at her and gestured toward the floor. She smiled like she was considering accepting my offer to dance; then Natasha cut her beautiful eyes at Lloyd and she shook her head no. As if she was saying “I would but, the only reason I’m not, is out of respect for the man I’m with.”
I respected that.
It made me want her more.
“I’m ready for my dance now, Victor,” another of the women at the table said.
I leaned close to her. “I’m ready, too,” I said and hit the floor, because I really do love to dance.
But when I got back to the table Natasha was gone.
My heart began pumping hard in my chest.
After quickly promising to come back to dance with the rest of the ladies, I excused myself and went looking for her. I didn’t know what I would say or do, but I was driven to find her. Once I came to the conclusion that she had left for the night, I set out in search of Vanessa. She knew Natasha, they were friends. She could tell me everything I wanted to know about her. I didn’t find her either; and it left me feeling empty and I couldn’t understand why. I’ve been interested in plenty of women before, and it never had me feeling like this.
It was just then that my cousin, Sydney, walked up to me shaking her head. It was like she could see what I was feeling on my face and she was laughing at me.
“You need to go get your cousins,” Sydney said.
“Who?” I answered; happy that she was clueless about my anxiety.
“Desana and Dior.” They were my Aunt Anita and Uncle B’s twin girls. And those two are a trip!
“What they doing now?” I asked, because it was always something with those two.
She grabbed my hand and led me to the dance floor where a crowd had formed a circle. Sydney and I pushed our way to the front.
Sydney pointed. “See.”
I looked and saw Desana and Dior, our two baby cousins, twerking with some man.
“I mean, look at them! Squatting and thrusting their hips like that.”
Granted, Sydney is a bit of a prude, but I have to say that those two seventeen-year-olds were doing the most sexually provocative twerking I had ever seen.
“Where’s Uncle B and Aunt Anita?” I asked.
“Come on, Victor. You know Aunt Anita was feeling no pain before the wedding; so you know she was drunk and Uncle B got her up outta here.”
Sydney and I got the twins off the floor to a round of boos from the crowd that had formed around them. But once that minor crisis was averted, my mind returned to Natasha. Even though she was gone and I had no way of contacting her, I knew in my heart that I’d see her again. And you know what? I knew it wouldn’t be long before somehow, something would bring us together.
© Roy Glenn 2015
Find Chapter Two in next week’s edition on November 25th.
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