take notes. a short.

Take Notes

Guess who’s back with another “interesting” tale?

Our dear friend Amelia has found herself in yet another sticky situation, this time regarding one of her beloved employees.

You can read the short below or you can download Take Notes HERE!

And if you missed the first short, Take Flight, I’d advise you to check that out first!

(Note: This short is copyrighted with light edits.)


Amelia

“So you just out here lip-locking with random niggas on planes now, Amelia Bedelia?”

Hearing it out loud made me want to laugh, but I was far too embarrassed to do so as I refilled my coffee cup for the umpteenth time while also trying to justify why in the hell I had done exactly what my colleague, Shad, was talking about.

Shad was the first person I had hired on at my non-profit, and we had practically been inseparable ever since. Well… in the most professional while also – maybe – having a little crush way possible. I mean, it was difficult as hell to unsee how standardly fine he was; caramel skin, well-groomed facial hair, chiseled jaw line, and an athletic build with an eight-pack I only knew about thanks to the fitness Gods dragging me to the gym against my will. It was difficult as hell to unfeel the way his simple motions always managed to make me quiver, from the way he licked his lips to the weight of his gaze whenever he was really in tune with our conversations. And it was difficult as hell to not fall in love with the fact that we shared the same passion in fighting childhood obesity. But it wasn’t difficult at all to recognize that he had a girlfriend.

Still, he was my friend, a really good friend, and had been the first person on my mind to tell when I got back in town after my holiday adventures from hell. Though no matter how close we were, I still felt embarrassed, trying to play it off as I whined, “It wasn’t even like that, Shad. I mean, it was, but… he was cute. And even though Jeremy got on my damn nerves, seeing him had me…”

Horny? He had you horny, right?” he asked with a little chuckle, filling the blank I had clued him in on by the way I still had my bottom lip pulled between my teeth just thinking about how fine dumb ass Jeremy had gotten over the years.

It honestly wasn’t even fair that so much handsomeness could be wasted on someone so shallow, that fact made even more obvious when he decided to spend the majority of my first evening in town with my family and I talking about that sorry ass football career of his.

Same ol’ high school highlight reel, same ol’ glorified stories from college, and same ol’ could’ve would’ve should’ve’s when it came to the pros.

Annoying.

“I always vowed not to get close like this with any of my employees,” I replied over the rim of my coffee cup, rolling my eyes as I took a quick sip that I knew would burn my lips.

And Shad knew it too considering I did it multiple times a day, watching me cringe and then laughing at me again as he added, “Yet here you are. Tellin’ your business and lettin’ stranger danger niggas feel you up on planes like you ain’t got no home training. I should call Mrs. Hubert and put you on blast.”

While I knew my mother would’ve definitely had a fit if she knew what had happened before her and my father picked me up from the airport that day, I could only smack his perfectly-firm chest as I screeched, “Leave me alone! It was just a one-time thing. An experiment of sorts.”

Shad’s eyebrow piqued, his lips pulled into a teasing grin when he asked, “That’s what you’re gonna call it? An experiment? So what, you a scientist now?”

“I mean, we do conduct a lot of research that’s science-based…” I trailed, gnawing at my lip as I waited for him to judge me like he already had been.

But instead he only chuckled as he replied, “Anyway. I gotta go. Pickin’ up Callie so we can go to the movies.”

For whatever reason, hearing her name made me tense up, though I did my best not to let it show as I kept my cup near my lips and asked, “Yeah? What are you going to see?”

“Get Out.”

You would’ve thought Shad had given the punchline of the century considering how hard I was laughing in response to his answer, simmering down just enough to ask, “Wait… you’re taking your white girlfriend to see a movie about how real life crazy white people are?”

“She’s not white. She’s biracial,” he quickly defended.

But I could only brush him off as I fired back, “Boy, please. That one-sixteenth of black she found out she has doing that damn DNA ethnicity test through the mail does not mean she’s suddenly biracial. Homegirl has been checking the lily-white box for too many years to switch up now.”

He laughed again, deep and hearty in a way that always managed to make me shiver as he said, “You crazy as hell, Lia. But for your information, she wants to see the movie just as much as I do.”

“Probably to get some new ideas…” I muttered, taking another quick sip that burned my lips like an immediate punishment from God for talking crap.

But my punishment didn’t last long as I was also rewarded with Shad licking his lips before bringing his hand to his chin to stare at me, my eyes trying to find every distraction possible so I wouldn’t get too wrapped up in the fact that my kitty was already beginning to throb in response.

“Jesus, it’s been way too long…” I thought to myself, relieved when he finally broke his staring to toss his leather workbag over his shoulder before heading towards the exit while suggesting, “You soundin’ a little haterish, boss lady, dontcha think?”

My face scrunched as I waved a hand to brush him off, following behind him with my cup in hand as I insisted, “I’m only messing with you. But also, turn your location on on your phone. You know, just in case she kidnaps your black ass and tries to auction off your body parts. Oops. I told you the movie. Guess you don’t need to go see it after all.”

Instead of being mad at me, Shad only shook his head, holding the edge of the door as he turned back my way to say, “I’ll see you in the morning.”

I gave him a nod as I leaned against the door to catch it, admiring his confident stroll into the parking lot when I remembered, “Don’t forget we have an early start tomorrow for that conference! And it’s your turn to drive!”

“Bye Lia,” he shouted from a distance before disappearing between the cars. And even though he was gone, I still stared into the same spot he had been as if he was magically going to reappear to entertain me. But once again, I was forced to remind myself that he was completely off-limits no matter how much my mind wanted otherwise.

It was honestly ridiculous that I had already created some fantasized idea of what kind of companion Shad would be in my head. In fact, I was sure my fantasy-version was skewed so far that I’d be disappointed if he ever happened to be single again and asked me out. But since it didn’t seem as if that would be the case anytime soon, I released a heavy sigh before heading back into the building with plans of burying myself in work since I wouldn’t be able to do much tomorrow.

Of course once I was there, my thoughts went back to Shad, my eyes flashing over to the desk he often occupied clear across the room. It was the perfect location for us to be able to yell ideas and other meaningful information back and forth to each other whenever we were collaborating on a project, but it didn’t exactly serve me well since I’d often catch myself just staring at him when he wasn’t looking, admiring his commitment to our work efforts along with his natural charm from a distance whenever he used it.

“I’ve gotta move it,” I said out loud as I stood up from my desk and headed towards his, using a newfound strength to shove it against the wall in a way that would put his back towards me. And the second I stood up to dust my hands off, a framed picture of him and Callie sitting in the corner caught my attention.

Damn, they’re already couple pictures at the workplace serious?” I thought to myself as I picked it up to take a closer look, immediately noticing how enamored Callie looked; like a woman who was truly in love.

Or maybe she was just getting some good dick.

Of course it’s the dick.

I shook my head, setting the picture back down before heading over to where I should’ve stayed all along, making myself extra comfortable in my office chair. And thankfully getting back into the groove of work came easy, especially once I turned on my “Grind Harder Bish” playlist; one that was filled with all explicit songs by women that usually made Shad uncomfortable which meant I could only play it when I was here alone unless I was purposely trying to tease him. But that playlist along with an extra cup of coffee was the recipe for getting me through a few extra hours of paperwork until I accomplished enough to earn myself a real drink on my way home.

I walked into the bar and immediately spotted my favorite bartender, Mikey, giving him a wave to confirm I wanted my usual before I dipped off into the bathroom to check myself in the mirror just in case a potential happened to show up. But the only person I saw sitting at the bar once I came out was…

“Shad, what are you doing here? I thought you were taking Callie to the movies.”

He peeked over his shoulder at me with a grin, looking even better than usual in his casualwear as he replied, “I did. And now we’re done.”

My face scrunched instantly as I climbed onto the bar stool next to his just as Mikey slid my drink in front of me. And after taking a quick sip for approval though Mikey always got it right, I gave him a nod before turning to Shad to ask, “What do you mean, you’re done?”

Instead of answering me right away, he took a sip from his beer, swallowing hard before he finally replied, “We’re done seeing the movie. I dropped her back off at home. Then I came here to have a drink.”

“Well, why didn’t you bring her with you? That doesn’t seem strange to you?” I asked, watching him intently for any signs that I might’ve thought his singlehood into existence.

Somehow his answer managed to crush my shallow hopes and intrigue me all at once when he said, “I mean… Callie is cool. But I don’t know if she’s bring her to a place like this cool quite yet.”

“So you’re afraid to show her off to your black friends?” I asked teasingly, taking the shadiest sip from my straw that I could as I side-eyed him.

But instead of being offended, he only chuckled like usual, turning towards me on his stool with a smile as he said, “She’s not some damn carnival prize, Lia. I ain’t gotta show her off.”

I nodded at what was actually a decent answer, though now that the topic had been established, I couldn’t help but ask, “Have you met her friends?”

“Every last one of them. Even the ones she hasn’t talked to since fuckin’ high school,” he replied with a hint of amusement as if he already knew what was coming next.

And I honestly couldn’t help myself, almost feeling arrogant as I leaned into the bar and fired back, “So you’re her prize then?”

He fell back against his seat with a laugh, one that encouraged me to keep going as I put a hand to his forearm and added, “Or no… she’s colorblind, right? Love is love, kumbaya, and all love lives matter?”

That made him laugh even harder and I joined in, releasing his arm and resting my own against the bar. It wasn’t that I really had an issue with Shad dating a mostly white woman, or an issue with interracial dating in general. Truth be told, I had my own short list of non-black men that I’d give a chance if the opportunity came up. But I wasn’t going to let Shad, my friend, be treated like some token to prove racism was dead, just like I wasn’t going to let him use dating a white woman as some weird and twisted fuck you to black women.

In fact, just the thought forced me to ask, “You really like her, don’t you? Like you’re not just dating her out of spite? I mean, I know you respect me as a black woman. But that extends to all black women, right?”

Shad immediately shook his head as he groaned, “Fuckkk, Amelia Bedelia. I’m not even tryna think about her like that right now. I’m just tryna chill and have a little drink. And what you doin’ here anyway, Ms. Early Start?”

I shrugged, taking another sip of my drink before I told him, “I don’t need a reason, Shad. I’m black. This is my territory.”

“Well let me buy you another drink so you can stop getting on my damn nerves with your black ass,” he replied with a chuckle, turning towards the bar to wave Mikey down.

But I caught his arm, pulling it back down as I told him, “Save your money. This one is plenty, and I’m really just getting you back for pickin’ on me earlier about that whole kiss situation.”

While the fine details of the flight still lingered in my mind along with the fact that I probably shouldn’t have tossed ol’ boy’s phone number in the trash without at least giving him a chance to explain himself, my heart damn near skipped a beat when Shad leaned in a little closer to me to say, “Ain’t my fault you lettin’ random niggas get at them lips before you even gave me a chance to.”

My skin instantly became heated as a million different thoughts ran through my head.

“I know he didn’t just…”

“He actually wanted to…?”
“Why’d that have to come off so sexy?”

I suppose the liquid courage made me feel bold enough to actually turn his way, though he was so close that I had to pull my head back when I asked, “Gave you a chance? You and Callie have been dating for as long as I’ve known you which… not a long time, but still. Taken men don’t get chances with me.”

“You sure about that?” he asked, leaning in even more to brush his lips just slightly against my bare shoulder.

I thought to say, “Shit…”, but it came out as, “Shad…

He pulled away to meet my eyes, his pupils already darkened with a passion I had never seen before when he said, “What? I’m just askin’. I mean, we’re friends, right? I can be real with you, can’t I?”

“Well yeah, but… that still doesn’t make it alright. Callie may not be my first pick, but I still respect her existence,” I replied with the last shred of decency I had, my moral compass obviously needing a tune-up considering how much I had actually enjoyed his closeness.

And he didn’t exactly let up, putting his hand against my knee as he insisted, “We have an open relationship.”

“Why am I not surprised?” I asked, rolling my eyes as I finished my drink off with one long swig.

Shad watched me intently, waiting until I sat my glass back down to ask, “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It means I’m not surprised that you and Callie have an open relationship.”

His laugh vibrated through his hand that was still against my knee, reminding me that I should’ve moved him a long time ago. But before I could bring it up, he countered, “I feel like you’re judging me right now.”

I shrugged. “Maybe a little bit, but that’s irrelevant.”

“So what’s relevant then, Lia? This?” he asked, leaning in a little further as his hand began to glide up my thigh.

And once again, I didn’t stop him, choosing instead to sigh, “Shad… you’re buggin’.”

He licked his lips in the way that almost always seemed to make my panties wet, turning just slightly to check our surroundings before turning back to me to say, “I’m not buggin’. I’m for real. I mean, unless I’ve been misreading the vibes you’ve been sending my way since I started working for you.”

While I knew I had had plenty of inappropriate thoughts about him, I also knew for a fact that, “I’ve never sent any vibes your way. I’ve talked to you as a friend and as a respected colleague, but that’s about it.”

“So what if I was all the way single then? How far would that get me?” he asked, his hand settling on the skin just below the hem of my dress that was extra short since I was sitting down.

I was almost sure he could feel the heat radiating from my body, but somehow I stayed strong enough to reply, “It would get you as far as you already are. Nowhere.”

It sounded good coming off my lips, but Shad and I both knew it was far from the truth. And he took full advantage of that fact when he leaned in to say, “Now I know good and well I wasn’t imagining the shit, Lia. I mean, you ain’t got your badge on right now, and neither do I. So tell me how you really feel.”

Suddenly I wished I wouldn’t have turned down that second drink, knowing it would’ve been the perfect distraction from having to respond right away. But since I no longer had alcohol to rely on, I relied on ethics when I told him, “I feel like we shouldn’t be having this conversation right now.”

“Well can you pencil me in? Cause I have some questions.”

“Questions, such as…”

“Such as, when you gonna quit playin’ and let me hit that?” he asked so casually that I almost answered him as such.

But once I replayed his question in my head, the right response thankfully came out. “Shad, are you out of your mind? You’re my… and you have a… no. Just no.”

“Come on, Amelia. You can’t tell me you’ve never thought about me bending you over that desk of yours. Man, you be wearin’ the hell out of those pencil skirts,” he gushed with enough appreciation to make me blush, his imagination making me even wetter as the still shots of him doing just that flashed in my head.

It was so wrong, I knew it was wrong. But instead of scolding him on that fact, I only replied, “Thank you… I think?”

He pulled his lip between his teeth, his eyes taking an appreciative sweep of my body before he clarified, “Make no mistakes, sweetheart. It was definitely a compliment.”

It felt as if I had an angel and a devil on my shoulders, one telling me to say fuck it and take the bait and the other telling me to get the hell out of there. And I was grateful when the angel won out, prompting me to climb off the barstool as I told Shad, “Look… it’s late, later than either of us should be out. And I was just coming by to say what’s up and ended up with way more than I bargained for. So how about we just pretend like this conversation never happened.”

I fully expected Shad to agree, but instead he stood up to catch me around the waist, staring down at me with the most intense look in his eyes when he insisted, “You can pretend all you want to, but I know what I want.”

“You want Callie, remember? The girlfriend you took to the movies tonight?” I attempted to remind him, hoping the namedrop alone would be enough.

It wasn’t.

In fact, the namedrop only made him pull me in tighter as he replied, “Nah, she ain’t got it like you, Lia. Never have, and never will.”

“So why are you with her?” I asked, my face scrunched as I tried to make some sense of this madness.

But once again, Shad only made my heart skip a beat when he answered, “Because you won’t let me have you.”

“Well what if I… let you have me?”

Heavy knocks against the door in combination with my phone vibrating incessantly against my desk woke me up as I pulled my arm from its comfortable place under my head to feel around for my phone so that I could check the time. I didn’t remember falling asleep at the office, had no idea how long I had even been asleep. But a shot of panicky adrenaline ran through me once I realized the “Grind Harder Bish” playlist had never even been turned on and it was already well into the morning.

Shit,” I hissed as the knocks returned, knocks I could assume belonged to Shad according to the missed calls I had from him. But knowing he was on the other side of the door only made me cringe as I thought about how vivid my dream about him had been.

The conversation, the touching, the… oh my God, this is bad.

Since I knew we had somewhere to be and I couldn’t exactly leave him waiting without explanation, I made my way to the door, releasing a heavy sigh before unlocking it and pulling it open to find his face tight with concern. His shoulders sank once he laid eyes on me, releasing a breath of his own as he said, “Man, you scared the shit out of me, Lia. Thought I was about to have to call the police to come bust in here. But wait… why do you look like yesterday?”

I gnawed at my lip, torn between embarrassment and… more embarrassment as I confessed, “I uh… fell asleep here. On accident.”

While burning the midnight oil at the office wasn’t out of the norm for me, it wasn’t like me at all to be so off my game that I made an unplanned overnight stay. And it was clear Shad felt the same way, his expression empathetic when he replied, “Damn. I guess I can just go to the conference by myself then. I’ll just bring you back the notes or somethin’.”

No!” I yelled, catching myself when his face twisted with confusion and lowering my tone to explain, “I mean, I still want to go. But you can go ahead without me. I just need to run home and change clothes really quick, then I’ll meet you there.”

“Or we can just swing by your crib on our way to the conference. The building isn’t too far from your place and we still have time,” he suggested in such a no-brainer way that I felt silly for even having an alternative idea.

But my dream still felt fresh enough for me to insist, “I don’t want you to miss anything on my behalf. You go ahead. I won’t be too far behind you.”

I thought I had won the exchange until he grabbed me squarely on the shoulders, looking me dead on as he replied, “Lia, we’re a team. I ain’t gonna miss anything that damn important, and you don’t look coherent enough to be driving anywhere quite yet. So let me take you home.”

His words were innocent enough, and should’ve been treated as such. But of course my mind rebelled as I thought about those words being music to my ears under any other circumstances, particularly under the circumstances of that damn dream.

Stop it, Lia,” I whispered to myself, earning myself another look of confusion before I pulled away, heading to my desk to grab my purse, phone, and keys to lock up my office. Then I followed him out to his car, caught off-guard by what should’ve been considered pure gentleman-instinct when he opened the door for me and helped me inside. But everything about him and his actions had me antsy, reading into things way too deeply.

It was just a dream, Amelia,” I whispered to myself as he made his way to his side of the car, getting himself settled in before pulling off towards my apartment, a place we had spent enough nights working in for him to feel comfortable visiting on the fly. But that didn’t mean I was comfortable with the idea of him being there now, or being around him period, as I tried to distract myself with my phone, scrolling through the mix of notifications I had missed from the night before.

“We’ll probably have to sit in the back of the room, though with you looking all disheveled, that’s probably the best idea anyway,” he teased in a way that he’d always do.

But instead of firing back some snarky response, I kept my eyes on my phone as I told him, “That’s fine. It’ll be fine.”

My shortness was alarming enough for him to take a peek at me to see what was wrong, but I refused to give him my eyes, knowing he’d probably be able to see right through whatever explanation I came up with. And before I could do anything about it, he asked, “You sure you’re alright to go? You seem kind of out of it, boss lady. Maybe you should stay back.”

“I said I’m fine, alright?” I snapped, releasing a heavy sigh once I realized how ridiculous I probably sounded getting upset with him for no real reason. And since I knew I wasn’t able to explain, I decided to change the subject. “So… how was your movie date?”

This time it was him releasing a heavy sigh, whipping around the corner as he replied, “Man, I can’t even fake with you. That movie got me paranoid as fuck. You know Callie’s parents live way out in no man’s land too.”

I couldn’t help but chuckle, giving much needed relief that allowed me to tease, “I guess that means no more holidays for you.”

“Yep. And since you probably aren’t trying to get home for the holidays again anytime soon, we might just be stuck together next go-round,” he insisted with a grin, though his words only made me cringe.

“No! I mean… maybe. I don’t know. We’ll see. Maybe I’ll actually have a man by then,” I replied as confidently as I could, though I knew it was a long shot considering my singlehood was beginning to feel chronic.

And that must have been apparent to Shad as well, a thick silence building between us before he finally asked, “Why are you single, Amelia? I’ve never understood it. I mean, you’re smart, silly, ambitious with a heart of gold. And you’re beautiful, like pretty as fuck. What am I missing?”

“I have a tail growing out of my ass and a third nipple? I don’t know,” I answered with a shrug, peeking out of the window so he wouldn’t catch me blushing at what I was taking as a compliment whether he meant it as one or not.

He brought my attention back his way when he put a gentle hand against my knee, giving it a few reassuring pats as he said, “I’m sure somebody is scoping you out, ready to snatch that ass up.”

“Well if you know him, tell him I’m ready when he is.”

“I think I do. Know ‘em quite well actually,” he replied, and it wasn’t until then that I realized his hand was still resting comfortably as hell on my leg.

And just like in the dream, I didn’t move him when I asked, “Oh yeah? Uh… tell me more about him.”

His smile seemed to be on full tilt as he listed, “Well, he’s about my height. Shit, my weight too. Handsome, smooth as hell, has a good ass job working for the coolest boss on the planet…”

“I like you too, Shad,” I blurted as if it was bile I had no control of.

And you would’ve thought it was actual bile the way Shad’s face scrunched when he replied, “What? I mean… I wasn’t talking about me. I was talking about my cousin Leon. But…”

“So I just embarrassed the shit out of myself for no reason? Great. Just another thing to add on top of my already shitty morning,” I told him as I sank into the passenger seat, wishing I could just hop out onto safe grounds while the car was still in motion.

But since that wasn’t an option, I was forced to endure more shame as Shad said, “Look, Lia. I’m sorry if I gave you the wrong impression. And I do like you, in a… highly respected boss, extraordinarily fine ass homegirl kind of way. But Callie has my heart, even if holidays are a little sketchy.”

I released another sigh, one that seemed to at least stabilize me as I replied, “I suppose I can appreciate that.”

“And besides, you’re way out of my league, baby. I mean, have you seen you? Do you know who you are? I’m just lucky to call your fine ass a friend,” he added with another one of his warm chuckles.

One that made me crack the slightest smile when I teased, “Let me down easy, Shad. You’re doing amazing, sweetie.”

He laughed again as he pulled into a spot in front of my building and put the car in park. Then he turned my way, his face wearing the most earnest expression as he said, “I’m serious, Lia. If you and Leon really hit it off, I’ll definitely be a little jealous that he gets a chance to get at them lips before I could.”

My hand went to cover my mouth as if I had slipped out a cuss word in front of my parents, but I knew my actions were more out of shock as I thought of his words being almost exactly like what he had said in my dream. But this time, instead of staying put and playing into what he was saying, my morals decided to show up when I told him, “On second thought, how about you go to the conference without me? Just make sure you take really good notes, not that chicken scratch bullshit I can never understand.”

His eyebrow piqued as he asked, “You sure, Lia? I mean, I can wait out here if that makes you more comfortable.”

“Yeah I’m sure. My neck is stiff as hell, and I honestly don’t think I’d be able to pay attention if I wanted to,” I told him, leaning my head towards my shoulder for a good crack, hoping that would help sell my excuse. But the truth was, being around Shad right now just wasn’t a good idea. I needed some space to get my bearings right, some space to collect myself, and some space to get over the fact that I was officially breaking up with my work husband in my head.

Thankfully he nodded, accepting my reasoning as he said, “I hear you. Well you want me to swoop back by here when it’s over so you can get your car?”

I was already climbing out of his car when I told him, “Yeah, that’d be great. Thanks, Shad.”

“Anything for you, boss lady,” he practically – and maybe purposely – gushed, giving me the shivers that would probably never go away. But I was okay with that, I’d have to be okay with that, because Shad was too much of an asset to get rid of on account of my shallow attraction to him. I’d just have to… suppress it while constantly reminding myself that he could never be mine.

So pretty much what you’ve always done,” I thought to myself with a laugh as I made my way into my apartment, opting to take a long, hot bath now that I had made the time.

The water leant itself well to some closed-eyes relaxation, though that also meant Shad coming to mind as usual. But this time, instead of being alone at a bar with me, I was watching like a fly on the wall as he spent time with Callie. They were happy, and actually kind of cute together, Callie’s one-sixteenth looking more like one-eighth thanks to a vacation tan. And… oh shit, is that a baby bump?

“Okay, this is getting a little too real,” I said out loud as I opened my eyes to find the bubbles from my bath had disappeared meaning I had been in the tub longer than I thought. But as I climbed out, I realized those few extra minutes had been exactly what I needed to jumpstart my new beginning with my… employee.

Yes, my employee.

The employee who was also a handsome friend and nothing more. Ever.

I smiled at what felt like a weight being lifted from my shoulders as I snuggled into the covers for an impromptu nap, turning my volume up on my phone just in case I slept too long or the conference ran shorter than planned and Shad was coming back earlier than expected.

When my phone buzzed just a few hours later, I assumed it was the latter. But when I finally picked it up, I saw it was only a text message with a phone number followed by another message, both unrelated to the conference.

“Leon told me to give you his number, boss lady. Hit him up when you get a chance.” – Future Baby Zaddy

Shit. Definitely need to change that contact name now,” I thought to myself as I clicked over to my Facebook app, planning to do a little research on Leon before I committed to anything.

Since I only had his first name, I went to Shad’s Facebook page to search Leon’s name in his friends list. And it was just my luck that he came right up, looking… damn, he’s fine as hell.

While Shad had been right about them being around the same weight and height, he had totally played down his cousin with the “handsome” mention considering he looked like the man of every girl’s wet dreams, a few notches better than Shad if I was being honest. He was a shade darker which was more my preference, a little more built which seemed impossible considering Shad’s body was everything, and he had an assortment of drool-worthy tattoos, giving him more of an edge than Shad had. He was also a personal trainer to plenty of “body-goals” celebrities, meaning that cool ass boss comment was a severe understatement.

“Is Shad the bae plug or what?” I asked out loud as I continued my quick scroll of his profile that was mostly public and didn’t spot any immediate red flags, another good sign. And then I landed on a link he had shared about a free fitness bootcamp he was hosting this weekend, one that already had over one hundred people marked “attending”.

My eyes flashed to the top of the screen on my phone as it buzzed again, this time with the message I expected from Shad saying he was on his way back to pick me up. And while it would’ve usually been him making my heart race, somehow that reaction had already transferred to his cousin, my heart pounding as I made the impulsive decision to add myself to the “attending” list.

I had already failed at my New Year’s Resolution goal of losing ten pounds, but I was still in decent shape. And maybe Leon was exactly who I needed to give myself a kick in the butt… and maybe something else in my…

Chill Lia,” I thought to myself with a sneaky grin as I scrolled through the assortment of advertisement pictures with Leon at the forefront, each one making him look even more attractive than the last. And while I knew I had already fantasized my way into a complete disaster with Shad, this time there was no girlfriend standing in the way of me… getting in shape.

The end… for now.

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