Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Hump Day - Ch. 3

When class was over, Sebastian noticed how many of the single men, and that’s single men in all colors, immediately flocked to the beautiful blond woman in their midst. Not only was Tabitha the best-looking female there, she was the only female there since women were still under-represented in this field like so many others.

On top of all that, not only had Tabitha enthralled her male counterparts with her intelligence by asking so many pertinent questions during class, she’d wowed them with her friendly personality. Incidentally, that sociable side of her could only be seen outside the line of duty. As soon as Tabitha adorned her uniform, she’d be strictly business again, possibly not even crack a smile even at the funniest joke.

Fighting against the twinges of jealousy that attacked his belly at the sight of so many men scrambling for Tabitha’s attention, Sebastian tried to focus on the fact that he already had a woman in his life. A good woman. A woman that brought a sense of balance to his life with her compliant nature. A woman that was going to be here any second now to take him to an early dinner.

Aww…I forgot all about dinner, Sebastian mused, wishing that he’d thought to cancel that dinner date during one of his breaks. Especially since it was obvious that he couldn’t leave this room without knowing what would happen to Tabitha.

Oh, Sebastian wasn’t worried that she couldn’t handle herself. Tabitha could hold her own in any situation. No, his area of concern revolved around her possibly hooking up with one of the men there. Just the thought of another man touching Tabitha in any way sent jealousy coursing through Sebastian’s body like no other.

Just then, Alzora Bracewell entered into the classroom. She brought with her a cool breeze of expensive floral-scented perfume and a smile as bright as sunshine.

Alzora was the half-Hispanic/half-Caucasian niece of Pavilion City’s wealthy second-term mayor. She was a true socialite in every sense of the word and never tired of parties. Alzora was also Sebastian’s girlfriend of four months.

Things had suddenly gotten even more interesting today.

* * *

“Are you ready for dinner, darling? I’m sure you must be famished,” Alzora said in her usual sultry voice. A voice that brought instant attention to her.

Tabitha and her admirers looked towards the woman in the white shawl blouse, wine-colored skirt suit, and matching suede pumps. They watched as the dark-haired woman gave them a quick nod before going over to affectionately hug Sebastian and give him a warm smack on the lips.

When the men in the group realized that the Selma Hayek look-alike was already taken by their instructor, they returned their attention to their blond classmate. Some did, because they preferred blonds over brunettes. Others, because they knew they stood a better chance of getting Tabitha since Alzora seemed to only have eyes for Sebastian.

Tabitha used every ounce of restraint she had to focus on the conversations around her after that. That kiss she’d witnessed, that hug, almost caused jealousy to choke her like an assailant’s hands about the throat. The reality of Sebastian being romantically connected to this woman or any other woman just downright hurt.

Realizing that the sooner she got out of here, the better, Tabitha began to pack up her things. The whole time she continued to force out polite responses to her classmates. When her laptop was securely in her backpack, she easily positioned the whole thing upon her shoulders. She was used to the extra weight already. All that was left for her to do now was make a courteous exit.

“Well, boys, I guess I’ll see you next Wednesday. I’m going to grab a quick bite to eat and hit the highway. I have a long ride ahead of me this evening,” Tabitha said, bringing her time with them to a close. She chuckled when a few of the men actually groaned with disappointment. She’d needed that shot in the ego right now.

“Oh, you guys are so sweet,” Tabitha said, smiling appreciatively at each adorable groaner.

However, one of the men did more than groan. In fact, Brennan Depp outright asked Tabitha out to dinner tonight. Incidentally, he was a part of the group that preferred blonds over brunettes.

“Let me buy you dinner tonight, Tabitha. I know just the place, too. We can even wear our jeans there,” Brennan said, being the boldest of the four men still surrounding her desk. He was also the cutest with his gray eyes, dark brown hair, and Kurt Douglas cleft chin.

Before Tabitha could respond, a male voice near the teacher’s desk answered for her. “Sorry, Detective Depp. My ex-partner is having dinner with me tonight.” When all eyes snapped to Sebastian with surprise and curiosity, he quickly added, “And my girlfriend, of course.”

Alzora’s arched brows rose slightly in shock. This was the first she’d heard of a female ex-partner. Why was this the first she’d heard of Sebastian having a female ex-partner?

Alzora’s eyes narrowed just briefly as she looked from Sebastian to Tabitha and back again. Then she forced a smile upon her face. “Of course your ex-partner should join us tonight, darling. And I’m sure that jeans will be welcome where we’re going, as well,” she lied.

Alzora knew full well that jeans were not welcome at the exclusive restaurant she’d made reservations for tonight. As it stands now, she would have to cancel those reservations and come up with another plan. Yet she was willing to do anything to please the man she adored.

Still making decisions without consulting others I see, Tabitha mused hotly, convinced that Sebastian had sprung this dinner thing on his girlfriend, too. She’d seen the look of surprise upon Alzora’s face and the slight narrowing of the eyes. That woman had had no clue that someone else would be joining them tonight.

Although Alzora seemed to be able to accept Sebastian as the primary decision maker in their relationship, even at a moment’s notice like this, Tabitha had hated that side of him. Being able to make quick decisions without consulting others was an excellent trait for any detective to have. Yet it had proven to be disastrous in Sebastian’s personal life. In fact, it had been the downfall of his relationship with Tabitha.

Though it was on the tip of her tongue to adamantly refuse Sebastian’s dinner request, Tabitha already knew that she wouldn’t. Whatever her problem was or still is with Sebastian she would not air it in front of others. Especially not in front of her classmates and doubly not in front of his girlfriend.

“I’ll be glad to join you two for dinner,” Tabitha finally replied in an even tone. Then she turned to Brennan with an apology. “Sorry, maybe some other time.”

“How about next Wednesday?” Brennan said, putting in his rain check early as he masked his jealousy of their instructor. How many men wouldn’t be envious of a guy that was privy to two beautiful women at one time? Brennan could only hope that Sebastian would throw back the blonde when he was through with her. But then again, what man in his right mind would ever throw back a perfectly good blond?

Tabitha gave Brennan the best smile she would muster. “Next Wednesday is fine.” Take that, you jerk, she mused, sending a subliminal message to her meddling instructor. That message - all future Wednesday dinners are off limits to you!

Brennan smiled wide, glad to still be in the running for Tabitha’s affection. “Great. I look forward to it,” he replied. Then he turned to depart with the rest of his male classmates, leaving Sebastian and the two women behind.

“I’m cooking at Sebastian’s tonight, so that should give us plenty of time to talk and get to know one another better,” Alzora said, coming closer to Tabitha with that same forced smile upon her face. If only the blond woman wasn’t so good looking, she might have been able to relax more.

“Right.” Tabitha smiled back. Her smile was also forced. Inwardly, she was convinced that this was going to be the most awkward night of her life.

I owe you a swift kick in the forehead for this one, Seb, Tabitha mused, cutting her eyes at Sebastian. And another one in the you-know-where, she added hotly, after catching a quick gleam of triumph in his eyes.

There was no doubt about it now. Tabitha would have to spend extra time in prayer tonight about that fiery temper of hers. Although she’d worked and prayed long and hard to get her temper under control over the years, being around Sebastian threatened to make her lose it time and time again. Tabitha couldn’t allow that. Too much was riding on her.

© 2006 by Suprina Frazier

No comments: