I have a confession…
I haven’t been writing.
With everything going on in the world, it has been EXTREMELY difficult for me to focus on any particular project.
However, today I woke up with a story on my mind, and I made it my mission to see it into existence. So here we are, with another super short that has all the summer vibes I pray we can safely get a taste of this year <3.
(note: this was something super quick, and fun, and free for me to do that is only lightly edited, so please don’t hold grammatical errors against me lol.)
I could’ve fought her.
When my little sister Naomi begged me to join her in attending a pool party, it took a lot for me to say yes since this past week had been one of the worst as far as my existence went.
Being let go from my job.
The car accident.
Yeah, I shouldn’t have been saying yes to anything but the weighted blanket that would ease my anxiety about those three things in particular. But instead, I’d let my sister convince me I should accompany her for some fun to take my mind off of everything, and now I wanted to fight her because…what the fuck is this?
The assumptions that came to mind when she said we were going to a pool party weren’t things I believed to be farfetched.
Everyone in swimsuits.
Some sort of food.
An actual pool.
But when we showed up to the beach house that was already packed with people, I realized how far off I was since it was mostly just the women who were dressed in swimsuits, there was no food, only liquor, and the pool I envisioned myself lounging at while Naomi did her thing was actually just the ocean that wasn’t even equipped for me to take advantage of unless I planned on burning my ass in the sand.
This was bullshit.
But somehow, it was also very on track as far as the trajectory of my week was concerned. I mean, everything – literally everything – had gone to shit, so why would this be any different?
Releasing a heavy sigh, I followed Naomi through the crowd of people towards the kitchen area where there were liquor bottles and red cups scattered across the kitchen island, a sight that made me wonder whose party – whose house– this even was since it was clear no one was on host duty. And I was just getting ready to ask my sister about it until she said what sounded like, “That nigga know he fine.”
Because of the speaker system that was a bit much for this relatively small space, it was hard for me to know if I’d caught everything she’d said. But when I leaned in closer to her with plans of asking her to repeat herself, she was already giving a little nod towards the entrance, non-verbally directing me to see for myself as I turned and realized I’d heard correctly.
Whoever he was definitely knew he was fine.
It was all in his energy as he smiled, and dapped people up, and gave hugs to all the women who seemed to be extra familiar with him. It was also in the way he caught me staring and just smirked instead of wondering why I was looking so hard, his coolness only making me more embarrassed as I turned back towards Naomi and was greeted with a drink.
“Thirsty much?” she laughed, handing me the cup I could only hope was clean before she’d used it. Then she grabbed the drink she’d made for herself and offered up a cheers, the cool liquid rushing down my throat quenching the thirst I’d already shown for the man my sister had only acknowledged for his looks, not by name.
Not that I needed to know his name.
Really, after having three different men show their sympathy for my totaled car by offering to massage my back – a.k.a trying to ease their way into some pussy– the plan was to be off of niggas entirely for at least a month. But here I was, being distracted by the popular guy at the party like this was some teenage romcom on Netflix and I was the shy girl with no friends who suddenly didn’t know why she was even here to begin with.
That’s actually kinda accurate.
I mean, of course I was no one’s teenager. And I didn’t consider myself to be shy. I also had friends even though it didn’t look like it once Naomi left me to go say hello to someone. But as for the whole not knowing why I was at this damn… ocean-adjacent gathering to begin with?
Yeah, that was me all the way, a frown on my face as I felt a heavy hand at my waist and then heard a slightly southern, “Excuse me, baby. Lemme get past you right quick.”
The voice made me want to forgive him for putting his hands on me unnecessarily. But because it was typical nigga at a party behavior and niggas were on my bad side indefinitely, I turned around to snap, “Don’t touch me.”
Holding his hands up, he smirked, halfway laughing as he said, “Damn. My bad. I just wasn’t sure if you’d be able to hear me over the music.”
I guess that made sense.
Or was I making it make sense because it was the guy who I’d been staring at earlier who was saying it? The guy who was much, muchfiner up close?
Strangely enough, it was his nose that got my attention. In comparison to the rest of his facial features, it stood out in a prominent, masculine way that had me wondering what else Naomi had put in my drink because… since when am I attracted to noses?
I was processing that thought as the stranger continued to smirk before asking, “So can I get past you, or you keepin’ all the liquor for yourself?”
“Oh,” I groaned, stepping aside to answer his question that I was, in fact, not on guard of the liquor. But instead of going on about his business of getting a drink, he took a moment to ogle me in a way that had my heart beating a little faster by the time he asked, “What’s your name, baby? Or you holdin’ that hostage too?”
“First of all, I just happened to be standing here,” I defended, getting ready to make a second point until he interrupted with another laugh.
“I’m just messin’ with you, baby.”
“Stacy,” I corrected, or just answered depending on how you looked at it. “My name is Stacy.”
Finally pouring himself a drink, he asked, “Why haven’t we met before, Stacy?”
“That’s a weird thing to ask a total stranger.”
“Is it?” he questioned, taking a quick sip from his cup and watching me nod before he pressed, “Even one that’s at my birthday party?”
“Wait. This is your birthday party? Your house?”
Suddenly, I wished I would’ve gotten around to asking Naomi for more details, a proud smile on F.N.’s face as he answered, “My birthday party, yes. My house, no. Just rented it out for the occasion so I wouldn’t have people tearin’ shit up at my real crib.”
I could definitely understand him choosing a neutral location instead of using his actual home since, well, someone like me who he didn’t even know had managed to show up to the function. And now that I knew what it was, his grand entrance made a lot more sense, a bit of a smile on my lips as I politely told him, “Well Happy Birthday.”
“If you mean it, take a shot wit’ me,” he challenged, already reaching for the only organized stack of plastic shot glasses on the kitchen island until I stopped him with a very necessary hand to his elbow.
“Actually, I don’t drink with strangers.”
“I respect that,” he nodded, stepping closer to add, “But I’m not a stranger, Stacy. At least, I ain’t tryna be.”
Why I thought the whole “off niggas” thing was going to be simple, I wasn’t sure. But as I watched F.N. finish off his first drink in a few easy gulps, I realized I was up against a force, my mind and body struggling to fall back into sync until I heard a woman sing, “Happy Birthday, Aaronnnn!”
Like all of the women had done when he first showed up, she pulled him into that same familiar embrace before frowning to ask, “Why is your cup empty, sir?”
“Just emptied it,” F.N., who I only now knew was named Aaron, replied with a shake of his cup and a grin. “But you know I’m down for whatever. Stacy, you in?”
He was being friendly about it, but his homegirl wasn’t impressed by him trying to include me, the frown that was once directed at him now directed at me as I told him, “Actually, I’m gonna go find my sister.” And before he could say anything more about it, I dipped off into the crowd with no real direction since I hadn’t seen Naomi in a hot minute, the fact that she’d abandoned me tempting me to abandon her by leaving the party altogether.
I couldn’t do that.
If our roles were reversed and she was the big sister, maybe. But it was my natural instinct to be protective of her which meant I was roaming the crowd aimlessly until I saw her ducked off in the corner talking to some guy who looked like he wasn’t about shit.
Honestly, I had a radar for it, making note of the fact that it hadn’t really gone off during my brief interaction with Aaron before I approached Naomi who excused herself just as I asked, “What happened to you going to give a quick hello?”
“I was on my way back until I saw you on your love at second sight shit with the birthday boy,” she teased. “Didn’t wanna interrupt your moment unlike somepeople.”
With a quick roll of my eyes, I replied, “Sis, I love you enough to tell you that dude is not it. And secondly, Aaron just wanted a drink and I was in the way.”
To me, it sounded like a reasonable-enough explanation for our short conversation until Naomi frowned and asked, “Well did you bring all the liquor over here with you or somethin’? Cause he keeps looking this way like you stole his bottle.”
Peeking over my shoulder, I found Aaron eying me intently while homegirl from before was steady in his face trying to get his attention, a reminder for me not to give in to whatever this was as I turned back and told my sister, “You know I didn’t come here for that.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah. Anti-niggas for the rest of eternity. I remember,” she groaned. “But in reality, we don’t have any control over when someone, our person, shows up in our life. It just happens, Stacy. And as far as I know, you don’t have any reason to play Aaron off just for the sake of sticking to your little made-up rule. I mean, if he wasn’t good peoples, do you think all of these folks would’ve shown up to celebrate his existence?”
“What?” I whined, tempted to give her examples of awful people who got birthday parties but instead suggesting, “And who’s to say everyone else in here isn’t like me, the mothafucka who didn’t even know who he was nor that it was his birthday?”
That made Naomi laugh as she said more to herself than me, “I could’ve sworn I told you that.”
Shaking my head, I assured her, “You didn’t. And I looked stupid as hell acting like he didn’t have a right to know who I was as an attendee of his birthday party.”
“I done already forgave you for that, baby,” I heard from behind me, damn near jumping out of the cover-up I had on over my one-piece in response to Aaron being a lot closer than I expected him to be. And I don’t know if it was the drink Naomi had made me earlier or whatever he was sippin’ on that made him look even finer than he had a few minutes ago, his eyes low and his smirk crooked as he gently grabbed my hand to ask, “What’s up wit’ you, baby? Why you run off like that?”
The hint of southern in his tone was now coated with liquor in a way that made it hit even deeper, my lower belly coiling as I told him, “You were occupied. And I needed to check on my little sister.”
“I’m fine. Y’all have fun!” Naomi blurted before rushing off to find the ain’t shit I’d already warned her about. But considering what was in my face right now, she’d have to learn that lesson on her own, the way Aaron was looking at me making me dizzy as he brushed his thumb against my hand before he spoke.
“You got one more time to use your sister as an excuse before my feelings get hurt,” he insisted, pausing to lick his lips before he asked, “You wouldn’t wanna do that, would you?”
“Any other day, after the niggas I’ve dealt with recently, I’d absolutely want to hurt your feelings,” I teased. “But since it’s your birthday, I suppose I can spare them.”
“I appreciate it,” he drawled, sipping from the cup in his free hand before asking, “Now can I finally get to know you over a drink, or are we still strangers?”
Considering how the liquor already had me feeling, how healready had me feeling, getting to know Aaron over a drink was honestly a risk I wasn’t sure if I was ready to take. I mean, it had already been a long ass week. The last thing I wanted to do was add another bullet point to my list of failures.
But there was also the other side, the possibility, the “what if” of this being the thing that turned everything around for me. And with my sister’s words in my head about not having any control over when we met our person, I decided not to let this moment pass without at least dipping my toes in the water, the hopeful look in Aaron’s eyes making it easier for me to answer, “We’re still strangers. But I’m thirsty.”
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