As the women conversed quietly with each other in the smaller room, they had no idea that they were being watched through a two-way mirror. Kirk Russo was on the other side of the mirror in an adjoining room, observing them and making comments about his first impressions of them. One of the show’s producers was in there with him along with a cameraman.
“All of the women are gorgeous,” Kirk said into the camera. “I’m very pleased with the three that were chosen for me. I’m also very intrigued by them, particularly because they’re so different from each other.” He’d already seen pictures of his dates and had been given a brief bio of each of them, so he knew exactly which lady was which. Kirk walked closer to the mirror and pointed at the first woman.
“Talethia has that beautiful mocha skin that looks almost as soft as a baby’s. But that bold nose-ring tells me that she is far from juvenile. The fact that she owns her own restaurant also tells me that this lady is about taking chances. I like that in a woman,” Kirk said, also noticing how fit Talethia looked in the short, black sleeveless mock-neck dress she wore.
She must work out, he mused, keeping certain thoughts to himself. He wasn’t about to tell the camera everything. As a rule, Kirk made it a point to keep most of his personal feelings to himself.
Then Kirk pointed to the second woman. “I wasn’t surprised to learn that Alandria was a model. With her beautiful face and tall, slender body, I imagine she’s probably very successful at what she does.”
And the way she keeps cutting her eyes at Talethia and Nyla when they’re not looking tells me that Alandria can’t be trusted, Kirk silently observed. But then again, what woman can be trusted? he added from a bitter emotional place.
When Kirk finally looked at the third woman, he shuddered unexpectedly. Even though he knew that there was a thick mirrored wall between them, it was as if Nyla was staring right back at him. And what was even stranger was the fact that it was as if some of her very essence was actually penetrating through the glass and seeping directly into his pores. As if part of her was trying to find its way into his heart. And it felt good, too. So good.
Kirk rapidly blinked to refocus his thoughts. Then clearing his throat, he continued with his verbal assessments. “Nyla seems fiery to me. Definitely confident. I can tell by that hot outfit she’s wearing that she’s a woman comfortable in her own skin. And her hair is just fantastic,” Kirk said as he quickly concluded his statements.
Kirk didn’t want to say anything else about Nyla right now. With a flood of unexpected emotions bombarding his mind, he didn’t trust himself not to say the wrong thing. Especially since he couldn’t stop thinking about Nyla’s voluptuous figure in that outfit.
I wonder what size she wears, Kirk mused, suddenly determined to find out as an idea formed in his mind. Checking his platinum diamond-dial watch for the time, he discovered that it was already noon.
Then after the cameras were off, Kirk turned to the producer and said, “Instead of going to the restaurant first, I’d like to take the women shopping.” Then he added, “On me, of course. I’ll pay for everything.”
The middle-aged male producer smiled and nodded. “That’s fine, Dr. Russo.” Carter Lepton had been in this field long enough to know that last minute changes in a script sometimes made for the best material. “Just tell me which store. We’ll need to call ahead and let them know we’re coming.”
In the other room, Nyla slowly lowered her eyes from the mirror. She’d had the strangest feeling that she was being watched and not from the visible cameras across the room from her, either. Those, they were instructed to ignore. No, this was surveillance of a different kind, of a secret kind, and Nyla didn’t know how to feel about that.
With the continental breakfast now over and everyone properly introduced, they all awaited the moment when Kirk Russo would grace them with his presence. The three women had all been told basic things about him, like the fact that he was single, lived in Florida, and at twenty-nine was already a prestigious anesthesiologist with his own company.
Alandria and Talethia seemed very impressed with the fact that Kirk was a doctor. Alandria even whispered under her breath that he was probably making just under half a million dollars a year.
Nyla knew for a fact that many anesthesiologists, who had good general and OB skills, started off making $300,000 a year. As a professional fundraiser, it was a large part of her job to converse with high-salaried people like that on a regular basis. As a matter of fact, the companies Nyla represented required her to obtain and maintain such lucrative contacts in order to raise funds for their worthy causes.
Yet even though Nyla knew what tax bracket Kirk abided in, she was not overly impressed by it. She’d dated doctors before and found most of them to be a bit on the pompous side. Suddenly, Antwon’s face flashed across her mind. As a highly paid sportscaster, he’d been a bit on the pompous side, too.
Maybe it really isn’t time for me to be with a man right now. Maybe I do need some time to myself, Nyla mused, remembering the female minister’s words from the wee hours of this morning. That would certainly account for her sudden disinterest in men, particularly in a man she hadn’t even seen yet.
Just then, a gorgeous African-American prince walked into the room. It was Kirk Russo. The tall, muscular man looked like he just stepped off the cover of a magazine in the sporty gray knit shirt and navy slacks he wore. He had deep mahogany skin, dark eyes, thick brows and thick black hair cut close to his head. A trim mustache sat above brown kissable lips. And when Kirk smiled, it was as if the room had suddenly gotten brighter.
Nyla almost forgot to breathe for looking at him. No doubt about it, this man personifies the word ‘hunk’, she mused, thinking that perhaps she wasn’t completely disinterested in men after all.
Fortunately for Nyla, Kirk started greeting the women from the opposite side first, saving her for last. This gave her a chance to recover, a chance to pull herself together. Even as she prepared for his approach, Nyla couldn’t help but notice how affectionately Alandria and Talethia hugged him. The two women acted as if they already knew Kirk intimately. And from the wide smile on his face, he didn’t seem to mind. For some reason that bothered Nyla.
When it was finally her turn to greet him, Nyla gave Kirk a light, chaste hug, barely brushing against him. But that was obviously enough to electrically charge the space between them for Nyla immediately felt a surge of fiery attraction flow through her body. And for a moment, she thought she felt Kirk shudder.
No, that must be my imagination, Nyla reasoned, promptly moving a safe distance away from him. She was fast starting to wish that she’d never agreed to come on this date after all. But then if she hadn’t come, she would have never gotten saved in that hotel room, either. Especially since that husband and wife ministry team was on a local broadcasting station, one that Nyla couldn’t get in Dapper City. Thus, another bittersweet moment.
But Kirk’s shudder hadn’t been a figment of Nyla’s imagination. His body had reacted to her touch, in more ways than one. And he hadn’t been nearly as close to her as he’d been to the other two women. Swallowing the excess liquid collecting in his mouth from the excitement of meeting this gorgeous woman in person, Kirk decided to erect that familiar shield of cynicism concerning females in his mind. He had to do something to protect himself from any further emotional damage. After all, Nyla was a woman and experience had taught him that the only woman he could ever trust was his mother.
Then forcing his smile to remain, Kirk made an announcement. “Let’s go shopping, ladies!”
At La’Joya’s Exclusive Boutique, Alandria and Talethia enthusiastically squealed with delight as they browsed through the various selections the boutique had to offer. The fact that Kirk insisted upon them getting what they wanted no matter how much it cost only added to the excitement.
Nyla was excited, too, but she kept her emotions under wraps. She wanted to see where this little shopping excursion was going. In short, she wanted to know what it actually meant for Kirk and what it would mean for them later. From her past experiences, Nyla found that most men only took women they barely knew shopping when they expected something in return.
What does Kirk want? Nyla mused, opening the last dressing room door by the wall with the garment she’d chosen in hand. She was going to try on a brown, animal print tank dress. A dress, that if push came to shove, she would pay for herself. Nyla would not be beholden to any man. Not anymore.
Antwon Harrison, with all of his gifts and compliments, had spoiled Nyla while they were together and made her think that she was a treasured commodity in his life. But when his contract with the television station didn’t get renewed, he’d grown bitter, even to the point of accusing her of only wanting him for his money.
Antwon didn’t even give Nyla a chance to prove to him that those gifts were just things to her. That her love for him was real, able to withstand this trial or any other trial. No, he’d simply handed her a weak excuse for his desertion, packed his clothes, and left.
Suddenly, Alandria’s loud voice snapped Nyla from her thoughts. “I love shopping for clothes, Kirk. But I especially love shopping for lingerie.” Her voice was deliberately sensual as she brushed her black, halter dress clad body up against Kirk.
The narrow aisle between the rectangular-shaped clothes racks left Kirk little room to move away from the forward woman. A large part of him didn’t want to move away. After all, Kirk wasn’t looking for anything serious and Alandria’s idea of fun suited him just fine right now.
In the dressing room, Nyla shook her head with disapproval and stopped undressing as she listened to see how Kirk would respond to the other woman’s attempt at seduction.
Like a typical male, he chuckled. “Oh really? Well, why don’t you pick some out and model them for me then.” His dark eyes twinkled with humor as Alandria brushed up against him again on her way towards the round lingerie racks by the large panoramic mirror on the right.
In the dressing room, Nyla frowned and sucked her teeth in disgust. That figures, she mused, rolling her eyes upwards towards the ceiling. Then she started back undressing, only to pause again when Talethia decided to have her say.
Not to be outdone, Talethia immediately stood in front of Kirk, eager to join in the merriment. “That sounds like fun. I’ll game for that, too,” she said, staring intently into his eyes as she traced his strong jaw line with her right index finger. “I have a good idea what a quality man such as yourself likes.”
Kirk smiled with satisfaction as he watched Talethia sensually away. That wide smile made it clear how much he relished the female attention he’d received thus far. He really looked forward to more of the same from all the women.
Back inside the dressing room, Nyla’s eyes continued to roll. They are just going all out, she mused. Now that Alandria and Talethia’s true colors were coming out, she decided to proceed with caution around them. Suddenly Nyla came to another decision. She was not going to model lingerie for Kirk and he better not ask her to, either. It didn’t take a Bible scholar to know that God definitely wouldn’t like that.
Nyla took so long getting into her dress that Alandria and Talethia had already began to model the first set of lingerie for Kirk. The half-dressed women shamelessly vied for Kirk’s attention as they pranced sensually in front of him. His many compliments and whistles only seemed to egg them on.
By the time Nyla finally stepped out of the dressing room, Alandria and Talethia were striking poses, prompting even more compliments from Kirk’s lips. Nyla did everything she could to keep her face neutral and her mouth shut as she silently watched the two women make fools of themselves over a man.
Meanwhile, the cameras were steadily rolling, capturing all of this on tape. The two cameramen and the single male shop employee were all smiling at the bountiful sight before them. It was a good thing the female owner closed the store down during their visit, otherwise Alandria and Talethia's little peep show would have created an even bigger stir.
© 2006 Suprina Frazier