America, Mid-February 2018
“What? No way is that him,” Kirby said, moving her gaze between the man standing at the bar and the picture on the cover of the current Field and Streammagazine she held in her hand. Dude was ordering a drink, what were the chances of him . . . she thought, glancing at the cover again. Yep, it was him alright. “I can’t believe it,” she said.
“Can’t believe what? Who is this him you’re going on about?” Nakia asked, cradling her drink in her hands as she stared into it, debating whether or not to order a fourth. Kirby, who could drink enough for five people, was on her sixth. No way could Nakia keep up with her. She would be weaving her way back to her room, an unsightly mess of drunkenness if she tried. Plus, she had a plane to catch in the morning, so how hungover did she want to be for that?
She and her younger sister Kirby were hanging out in the lobby of the resort where they’d spent the past week. Kirby was reading some magazine she’d picked up from the table in front of her, in between encouraging her sister to find some man to spend the night with.
“This him,” Kirby said, handing the magazine to Nakia. “Hurry up Nakia, or you’ll miss seeing him.”
“Him who?” Nakia said, refusing to let go of her drink to reach for it, which meant the magazine ended up in her lap, ‘cause of course Kirby threw it, `cause Kirby wanted what Kirby wanted and she wanted it now, damn it. She glanced at the cover and okay, yes, this man was fine, if she went for that type. Caleb Jones, the writing beside the cover picture proclaimed, was the featured story.
Okay, he was a wow, she thought, amending her initial assessment of the man as she looked over the cover again. Bearded, tall, muscular, with his hair pulled into a ponytail at the top of his head. His pretty grey-eyed self stared into the camera as he stood in the middle of a river somewhere, holding a fish in one hand and wearing what looked like low riding thigh-cut just above the thang-thang swim trunks.
“He’s where?” Nakia asked, scanning the immediate area, while trying to pretend she wasn’t.
“At the bar. Hurry up Nakia.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Nakia said, but moved her gaze to the bar in a hurry too, ‘cause her type or not, he was worth a second look. Yep, it was him alright, and he was staring back at her. Nice, she thought, holding his gaze, not sure why, but she wasn’t going to be the first to look away. No smiling between them, just straight up staring, checking each other out. He was the first to look away, to accept his drink from the bartender, some kind of dark liquid in a tumbler.
He took a sip and returned his gaze to hers. He smiled then, gave her slight nod of his head in acknowledgement, she guessed, before he moved away. Nakia continued to watch, following him as he made the left turn just past the bar that led to the entrance of one of the resort’s many night clubs.
“Let’s go,” Kirby said, gathering her purse, standing in a hurry. “We don’t want to lose him.”
“You heard me. I saw the way he looked at you. No way are you going to pass him up. Look at the picture. No way you passing that up tonight,” she said, her finger in the middle of the man’s groin.
“He’s not my type.”
“Screw that. Your ass is going to get you some, and he’s the one that’s going to give it to you. Now come on.”
“Nakia,” Kirby said, falling back into her chair, all dramatic, dragging her name out in the age-old whining little sister way at having her pick-up-a-man plan disrupted. Whining was pure Kirby when her way wasn’t forthcoming. Whine first, followed by high-tech demanding, and then if all that failed, she’d sing you a song. Nakia had learned to ignore Kirby long ago, plus the finding-a-man plan was more Kirby’s idea than hers anyway. She was content to skip anything and all that did not involve sleeping in her bed alone. Two months of working like a dog at their family’s resort could do that to a person.
“I’m here to rest and sleep, remember,” Nakia said, staring at the magazine, and trying to figure out how to read it without her sister noticing.
“Oh Nakia, don’t mess this up. You’ve slept enough for five people.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” she said, moving her gaze to the magazine cover again. “You think he caught that fish barehanded?”
“He could catch my fish barehanded,” Kirby said, meeting her sister’s gaze.
They burst into laughter.
“I know. I know,” Kirby said, when her chuckles subsided. “But really, Nakia. Are you going to pass him up?” she added, watching her sister fold back the front cover of the magazine, settling in as if to wait . . . what . . . Noooo, Kirby wanted to scream. “What are you doing?” she asked instead, sitting straight in her chair, serious now.
“Reading the article.”
“What! No, we don’t have time for that,” Kirby said, on a moan this time, which is not much different in sound from her whining.
“I don’t know about we, but I do. I’d like to know something about him before I spend time with him.”
“It doesn’t count as a one-night stand if you know him Nakia. That’s from the one-night stand rule book. Of course, you wouldn’t know that, `cause you never do anything,” she said, raising her voice at the end.
“Whatever,” Nakia said, rolling her eyes.
“Come on Nakia, really. By the time you’re done he won’t be around. He’s not your type, so at the most this could be a one-time deal. Come on Nakia, don’t mess this up,” she said, back to whining, reminding Nakia of when they were kids and she was the big sister denying Kirby whatever she wanted at the time. “See, this is why you don’t have a man in your life. You don’t take chances. He’s the one. I can feel it. And the way he looked at you? C’mon Nakia,” she said.
Nakia rolled her eyes and kept on reading while Kirby starting to sing her last resort, pulling out all the stops. “Some enchanted evening, you may see a stranger. You may see a stranger across a crowded room, and somehow you know, you’ll know even then, that somewhere you’ll see him, again and again,”Kirby sang softly as Nakia, holding back her laughter, continued to read.
A song always on the ready for just about any and every occasion or point in need of making. Which Nakia could admit was helpful sometimes. It didn’t hurt that her sister had the voice of an angel. Girl child could straight up sang, as the old folks used to say.
She knew the song, “Some Enchanted Evening,” from the musical South Pacific. Beautiful words that spoke of knowing at first glance that a person was the one for you. Ah . . . no. Not her. Nope. Her song was more, Dude there is something about you that intrigues, that I can’t explain—okay, I can explain. It’s your potential package that has me giving you a shot, despite you not being my type, which was more “Rude Boy”by Rihanna than “Some Enchanted Evening.” She continued to scan, almost at the end of the damn article. If Kirby would only shut up, she could concentrate enough to finish.
“It’s just for the night, Nakia, don’t over think,” Kirby said, done singing, sitting back in her chair, resigned.
“Maybe,” Nakia said, holding back her laughter again. She was a quick reader, or scanner, which was mostly what she’d done with the article, and she had moved on to considering him seriously. Yes, he was interesting, an entrepreneur, and an outdoorsman; an interesting combination if he was her long-term type. She was intrigued. The earlier staring contest had left her feeling some type of way, and it had been so long. She couldn’t remember; that’s how long it’d been, so maybe Kirby was on to something. She could let go of her rules this one time, just for one night, right? Yes, she could, she decided.
“So what’s the plan?” Kirby asked, reading her sister. Growing up she’d learned to gauge her sister’s moods, all of them. She knew Nakia better than Nakia knew Nakia, and Nakia was finally interested, she thought.
“To the club,” Nakia said, laughing at Kirby’s eye roll. “And hurry up,” she added.
“So now you want to hurry, Ms. I-need-to-know-everything-about-him. We’ve probably missed him with you screwing around out here, reading some damn article.”
“Did you read it?”
“Yeah, but he didn’t give me the eye like he did you. We’d be in a room by now if it had been me he’d stared at,” she said, standing now, running her lipstick over her lips.
“Find my phone. If you don’t hear from me, it’s ‘cause he’s killed me and disposed of my body in the dumpster out back or something,” Nakia said, ignoring Kirby’s words. “You good here alone?” Nakia asked, a wasted question. When was Kirby anything but good.
“You know me. See you in the morning unless he wants to use our room.”
“Nope, it’s his room or I’m not interested.”
“Good, I’ll use it then. I bet you won’t be disappointed. He looks like he knows what to do with you. Enough to see you through ’til morning. Have fun. I put a stash of condoms in your purse while you were busy reading the magazine,” she said, again, accompanied with a wink.
Nakia laughed, shaking her head. Only Kirby. “let’s go.”
“Yeah, yeah, I’m hurrying. I was never the problem. It’ll be your damn fault if you’ve blown this not mine. I told you to go, but no you had to read the damn article.” Kirby added again, handing Nakia’s phone to her. Done with venting her frustration, she started into her singing again, softy this time. It was “Some Enchanted Evening” again, and they were up and moving toward the club’s entrance, with Nakia falling in behind her sister.
Of course, it didn’t take them long to find him. Kirby spotted him right off. He stood at the bar, not that far from the entrance, as if he’d been waiting for them. He looked the same good, Nakia thought, catching his gaze again.
He nodded his head toward the back of the club; the bar at back, probably. . Okay, she could do that.
“Fuck, it should not be this easy for you,” Milo said, hitting his boss Caleb with his elbow.
Caleb shrugged, unable to disagree. Yes, he was well aware of the glances he received from women; some subtle, others not so much. Some he pursued, others not so much.
The most recent article in Field and Stream had pushed women to him in numbers unprecedented, which took some getting used to. He hadn’t realized so many people read the magazine or he might not have agreed to that photo shoot in the first place. He wasn’t famous or anything—okay, he was, in some circles, business tech circles, but even then, not in some big-ass way. He didn’t do all out and in front of everybody, like it was his first time with success and he needed the world to see it. He didn’t.
He saw interest in the gaze of the woman in the white dress the first time their gazes connected in the hotel lobby outside. Lots of connection in her gaze to match his. Not that she needed to go out of her way to snag his attention. She had it the moment he saw her. He noticed the shape of her right off, a slender, curvy combination of hips, ass, and breasts, all of which he was good with. She was tall like him—well, probably not as tall, but tall enough with those heels on her feet. She wore her hair short, natural cut in an odd shape on her head, but it worked with the rest of her. She had captured his focus, for sure. He couldn’t seem to move his thoughts past the I wantthat had settled into his brain and thankfully luck was on his side, as he was headed back to the bar to get what he wanted.
“Caleb Jones,” he said, holding out his hand. They arrived at the back end of the bar at the same time.
“The dude on the cover of this month’s Field and Stream, conquering the business world and catching fish barehanded. I know. Nakia Noble,” she said, her hand in his. Calloused and firm, with the requisite long phalanges, she noted. “Nice to meet you.”
“The same,” he said, his smile quite sexy. Thank you baby sister, Nakia thought, for pushing her toward this scrumptious man standing beside her.
They stood side by side for a bit after the introductions, leaning on their elbows, drinks in hands, taking in the serious vibes coursing between them. Vibes filled with the desire to do nothing but touch, taste, and fuck.
“So,” they both said, together, chuckling.
“Are you ready to leave?” he asked.
“Yep. You?” she said.
“Yep. You hungry?” he asked.
“Nope, you?” she said, not taking any offense that he was here for the same reasons as she.
“Nope. I’m at the Azteca Villas. They are within walking distance if we take the beach,” he said, reaching for her hand.
“Sounds good,” she said, surprised that she willingly placed her hand in his, but she did, and followed him out some secret back way that spit them out onto the beach. She knew the villas. Private, expensive, with one’s very own slice of beach and over her self-imposed budget.
They continued on in silence, hand in hand, through the throng of people just outside the bar. The crowd gave way to a fewer and fewer people until it was just them.
“It’s peaceful here,” he said, breaking the silence, nodding at the night sky and the ocean in the distance.
“Yes, it is,” she said.
“How long have you been here?”
“My sister and I checked in Sunday. So far all I’ve done is sleep.”
“Yep, or maybe listening to the ocean does that to a person. Or me. Anyway, it’s heaven falling asleep to the sounds of the ocean.”
He was a handsome dude, she thought once more, a gift of a man and all hers for a bit. There were worse problems to have than this.
“We’re here,” he said stopping outside the front door of a one-story house. He leaned in and kissed her then. He’d had been wanting to do that for a while, so he gave into it. She was of like mind apparently, as their tongues met in the middle and spent a few seconds locked in battle. Someone moaned, or maybe they both did, but whatever, it felt some kind of good.
Thank you Kirby, she thought again, the first to pull away. His hands were just under her breasts, by the time they separated, a perfect fit for his hands he thought.
“You sure about this?” he whispered.
“You can’t tell?” she said, chuckling. “I am, but thanks for asking.”
“You’re welcome. Let’s go then,” he said, unlocking the front door. He held it open for her to enter first. He smiled and followed her inside.