Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Bittersweet Interruptions - Ch. 6

The Three-To-One entourage finally arrived at the restaurant around 2pm. Alandria and Talethia both quickly claimed seats next Kirk again. Being the odd woman out was now a familiar thing for Nyla, so she set out to just enjoy her meal with as much dignity as she could muster on such an unusual group date.

Kirk certainly seems to be enjoying ‘his’ meal, Nyla mused as she watched him dive heartily into the peppercorn steak and two-cheese linguine on his oval-shaped white plate.

Halfway through the meal, Talethia leaned in closer to Kirk’s right ear and whispered something that made him chuckle. Alandria immediately protested. “Hey! No whispering here. You have to tell us what you said.”

Talethia smiled secretively. “Kirk can tell you if he wants to.” Her mocha cheeks flushed with excited color. It was clear that she wanted them all to know her dirty little secret.

Kirk looked reluctant, as if he really didn’t want to repeat Talethia’s words. And from the way his dark eyes turned to stare at Nyla, it was obvious that she was the reason for his reluctance. Did Kirk suddenly care too much about Nyla’s feelings to repeat what nasty thing some other woman had whispered in his ear? Was that why his eyes searched her face as if he was trying to discern what was going through her mind right now?

“Will you tell us, Kirk?” Alandria asked, trying to regain his attention from Nyla.

“No, Talethia can spill the beans if she so desires,” Kirk replied, his eyes once again drawn to Nyla’s face like magnets. Oh how he wished that it was just the two of them on this date and no others.

Talethia couldn’t have been happier to tell her secret. “I told Kirk that the steak was excellent, but that I bet his lips tasted better.” She grinned triumphantly at the other two women, pleased that she had thought of something so original.

“Let’s see,” Alandria said, eager to prove herself superior in this area, too. Many of the guys she dated had deemed her to be a great kisser. She wanted to add Kirk to that list. “C’mon, Kirk. How about a little taste for your ladies?” She ran a pair of manicured hands across the exposed portion of his left arm.

“Whoa! Stop right there. I am not kissing him. As a rule, I never kiss a guy on the first date,” Nyla said quickly, anxiously, bringing all eyes abruptly her way. She couldn’t kiss Kirk. Doing that might make her reconsider her decision to wait for the right man to come into her life.

Although Nyla had legitimate reasons for not wanting to kiss Kirk, as soon as she saw the flash of pain flicker in his eyes, she instantly regretted ever saying anything. Even though she’d spoken truth, she hadn’t meant to hurt him by doing so. Nyla would never want to do that.

Feeling an unexpected blow of rejection hit him and thinking of his younger brother at home, along with all the other men wishing they were in his shoes today; Kirk turned to Talethia and planted a big wet one on her lips. After leaving her breathless and panting for more, he turned to Alandria and did the same.

Nyla forced herself not to react as she lowered her gaze to her plate. She couldn’t understand why Kirk’s actions felt so personal just then. And why she suddenly felt punished. Not knowing what else to do, Nyla began to push the remainder of the pasta primavera around on her plate with her fork, putting small bites of it into her mouth. She pretended to enjoy it, even though her appetite was long gone. Nyla would not give the three other people at the round table the satisfaction of knowing how they’d affected her.

When the kisses were finally over, Alandria turned to Nyla and said, “Girl, you don’t know what you’re missing.”

“Yeah, you should have thrown your little rule book out the window for this one,” Talethia added, her body still singing from the affect of Kirk’s kiss. The current state of her body made her more determined than ever to get this man.

“I’ll take your word on that,” Nyla said nonchalantly, picking up her glass to quench her suddenly dry throat. She couldn’t wait for this date to be over. She wished she could leave now, but contest rules dictated that she stay until the bitter end. Oh how she regretted ever letting Asia and Onesha talk her into this.

Not getting as much satisfaction as he thought he would out of the kisses or out of Nyla’s reaction, Kirk promptly endeavored to change the subject. “Hypothetical question, ladies,” he said, pushing his plate forward and clasping his hands together on the table. “If you were my woman and I told you that money was no object, what would you like for me to give you?” Whether they knew it or not, this was a test and their answers would help determine Kirk’s final decision at the end of the evening.

Talethia immediately answered. “A trip to Paris. That way I can take you to all the finest restaurants and introduce you to the finest cuisine before taking you back to our hotel room to make the finest love you’ve ever had.”

Kirk smiled. His mahogany face was lit with humor. “Good answer, Talethia. I like that.” Kirk especially liked how well Talethia played along. He could see them having lots of fun together.

Alandria decided to go deeper. “I’d like a shopping trip to the jewelers for the best engagement ring money can buy,” she said, hinting at the fact that one day she’d want their relationship to go beyond dating. “Then I’d like to go shopping for a new house. A house that we’d furnish with the best of everything from the best stores. A house that we’d spend our waking hours making love in from top to bottom.”

Kirk didn’t bat an eye at Alandria’s response as he suddenly realized an important truth about her - she was materialistic. Why else would her answer focus so much on shopping? Sadly, that negative trait reminded Kirk too much of someone from his past and he instantly began to fight not to frown.

When Kirk finally replied, his tone was polite, yet very dry. “From top to bottom, huh?”

“From top to bottom,” Alandria reiterated, licking her lips suggestively.

Kirk ignored that last comment and turned to the last woman at the table. “What about you, Nyla?” His voice became unusually soft, as if he was somehow trying to communicate that he’d forgiven her and hoped that she’d forgiven him for the unspoken things that transpired between them only minutes earlier.

Since this was something Nyla felt that she could participate in, she came right out with her statement. “Kirk, since you said that money was no object, and since I’m assuming that if I was your woman I’d already have your love, I’d tell you to continue giving me that good love - which shouldn’t cost a thing. Then I’d tell you to use the money you would have spent on me to impact our community for good. Maybe send a worthy poor student to college. I think that would be a better investment of your time and money than any trip or any amount jewelry could ever be.”

Kirk was floored by that answer. It was so unexpected and so effective. But most of all, it instantly provoked him to start thinking about how he’d been spending his earnings lately. On his substantial salary, Kirk could afford to live lavishly. Very lavishly. But what about those who couldn’t? What about those who couldn’t even afford to buy the necessities in life?

As Kirk thought more about Nyla’s words, he felt himself changing inside as the philanthropist within him arose as if awakening out of a deep sleep. He’d longed to add purpose to his giving and now Nyla’s suggestion had shown him how.

Seeing the intense look on Kirk’s face, Nyla added, “Furthermore, if I was your woman, you’d already know that all I ever really wanted from you anyway was your complete, unadulterated love.”

That last part had come from a deep place in her heart. And even though she’d spoken it to Kirk, Nyla felt as if that statement could have also been directed at Antwon. For some reason, he’d never been totally convinced of her unconditional love for him. In hard times, he’d doubted it even more.

Kirk blinked and nodded his approval. Nyla’s lengthy answer had affected him deeply. Deeper than he ever imagined it would. It had also left him speechless, unable to say a thing.

But Alandria had plenty of words to say. “Oh that’s so sweet. I can almost hear the violins playing now.” She smirked and pretended to play an imaginary violin. “Girl, that’s what UNCF is about and I’m sure Kirk gives generously to them every year.”

Mindful of the cameras, Kirk held his tongue. He resented every foul word that had donned the doors of Alandria’s lips. If ever a mouth needed a padlock it was hers. Consequently, Kirk found himself disliking Alandria more and more by the moment. How was it possible for all that beauty to be wasted on such a selfish soul?

“As he should give to such worthy causes,” Nyla countered, keeping her gaze steady on Kirk. “But think of how much more powerful your contribution would be if you were also helping someone in your own community, your very own city. Someone that, once they get their education, can come back and do the same thing for someone else. Pretty soon, your whole community is uplifted and enriched with strong, educated leaders and professionals.”

Being raised in a community oriented family was evident in Nyla’s speech. In fact, among other charitable acts, her family often spent every Thanksgiving feeding the poor at their church. During her teen summers they used to take a month off to help build homes for the needy. The fact that Nyla grew up to inspire people to give for a living was of no surprise to anyone. She’d been groomed for such a thing all of her life.

Having gotten his emotions back in check and feeling the need to cut this cat fighting short, Kirk intervened just as Alandria and Talethia were about to verbally double team Nyla with smart retorts. “Ladies, ladies, let’s not spoil our appetites for dessert,” he said, motioning for the waitress to come over.

By the time dessert arrived, Nyla wasn’t sure if it was safe to even ride to the next destination with Alandria and Talethia. The menacing glances they gave her reeked of green venom.

© 2006 Suprina Frazier

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