Monday, September 10, 2007

Enticing Mr. Wrong - Ch. 10.1

Aisha hadn't been in her apartment ten minutes before her cell phone started to ring. Although she was surprised to hear from Jarrett so soon, she was even more surprised to learn why he’d called so late at night.

Sitting down on the gold chaise lounge in her living room, Aisha listened intently to every word Jarrett said. Each word increased her ire, her need for revenge against Bonz.

“Don’t worry about me, Jarrett. I can handle myself,” Aisha said in a confident tone. “I have all kinds of martial arts training and I am a registered gun owner. I will pop a cap in Bonz so quick he won’t know what hit him,” she added coldly.

Jarrett actually shuddered upon hearing those chilling words. Aisha sounded like a completely different person just then. Not at all like the classy lady he’d met earlier tonight. She sounded so cold and heartless that Jarrett wondered if maybe Bonz was the one that needed protecting. Was Aisha a fierce lioness after all? And what prompted her to buy a gun in the first place?

Aisha purchased a gun a few years back after being attacked in a California grocery store parking lot. Though one of the baggers scared off her would-be rapist upon coming out to collect wayward carts, Aisha never forgot that experience. Determined not to be caught that vulnerable again, she took various self-defense classes, registered for a gun, and learned to shoot it well. Aisha also carried mace in her purse when she went places where her gun wasn’t allowed.

“Besides, I’m leaving the states for three weeks on an assignment in London. By then Bonz would have forgotten all about me,” Aisha continued, starting to sound more like herself now.

She got up from the chaise lounge and padded towards the kitchen in her bare feet. As usual, she’d discarded her heels as soon as she walked in the apartment.

As Aisha made her way to the kitchen, she started to wonder if Bonz really would forget about her so quickly. If maybe she hadn’t done enough to pique his interest tonight. If maybe she should have taken that drink he offered. Or at least had one sensual dance with the man so that his interest wouldn’t fade over the next three weeks.

Shrugging, Aisha deemed it too late now either way. If Bonz’s interest shriveled up in her long absence, she’d just have to saturate it again when she returned stateside. She had a plethora of tricks that were sure to keep him good and interested next time. For a very long time.

Jarrett relaxed a bit at Aisha’s change in tone, though not completely. She still had a hard edge to her voice that disturbed him. Matter of fact, Aisha was starting to remind him of another actress now, except not in appearance, but in behavior.

Lynn Whitfield’s character in A Thin Line Between Love & Hate sprung to Jarrett’s mind. She was the beautiful realtor with the hard outer shell and soft center. Lynn’s character had been viciously betrayed by the man she loved. Who had hurt Aisha?

“Maybe we can have lunch when you get back,” Jarrett suggested, trying to lighten the mood even more in an effort to get back to Aisha’s soft center.

“I’d like that.” Aisha’s voice softened all the way now. “You know, you remind me a lot of my brother.” She opened the white fridge door and looked inside for something quick to eat.

“I do? How so?” Jarrett replied, wanting to keep her in this softer frame of mind. There was no need to keep discussing Bonz. As far as Jarrett was concerned, the man had never had any real place in their lives anyway.

“Well, you certainly don’t remind me of him in the flamboyant gay sort of way,” Aisha said, perusing the contents of her refrigerator. Needing some comfort food, she took out a slice of leftover pizza. She was about to cheat on her pre-photo shoot ritual. But since it was a very thin slice, it wouldn’t throw her weight off too much.

“Thank you…I think.” Jarrett chuckled, stretching out on his pine sleigh bed. He reached for a big black medical book on the nightstand to his right.

Aisha laughed. “I know you’re not gay, Jarrett. But you are kind-hearted. Plus you genuinely care about people. Dominic…” She paused, suddenly feeling on the verge of tears. “…my brother had those qualities, too.”

“Had? Did you recently lose your brother?”

“Yes.” Aisha wiped a lone tear away.

“I’m sorry to hear that. If you want to talk about it, I’m willing to listen,” Jarrett said gently, his heart swelling with compassion for her.

Aisha sniffed, trying to hold back the rest of her tears. For some reason she found it hard to pretend around Jarrett. Plus his voice was very soothing to her. It had a calming effect on her soul.

“What about your studies? I thought you had to hit the books tonight,” Aisha said. Her hands returned to her pizza. Covering it thoroughly with a napkin, she put it in the white microwave on the counter. The timer was set for thirty seconds.

“I can miss one night of study. I am an ‘A’ student, you know,” Jarrett reassured her as he returned the book to the nightstand.

“Thanks. I think I do have a few things to get off my chest,” Aisha replied, after a brief moment of silence to collect herself.

Then for the next two hours, Jarrett listened as Aisha shared happy stories about her older brother. He held the phone tighter when she finally broke down in sobs upon talking about the secret drug problem that ultimately led to his death.

Aisha mentioned nothing about knowing who had been Dominic’s supplier. Or about that supplier poisoning her brother’s stash. Doing so would come too close to revealing her plan of revenge. Aisha wasn’t letting anybody in on that. Not even Berry knew why she wanted so much information about Bonz. The less people aware of her plans, the less people to try to talk her out of those plans.

Not knowing what to say to some of the things Aisha told him, Jarrett did the only thing he could think of at the time – he prayed. Although he hadn’t been to church in years, he remembered that God liked heartfelt prayers. So that’s the way he prayed tonight.

Even though Aisha was currently mad at God for allowing Dominic to leave so soon, she didn’t protest Jarrett’s soothing prayer. Her soul seemed to need it. It also seemed to need that long cry she engaged in before, during, and afterwards.

That night, Aisha went to bed feeling lighter than she had in weeks. She would get a new cell phone number in the morning. She wasn’t ready for Bonz to call her just yet. No, when it was time for them to make contact again, it would be on her terms, not his.

© 2005 by Suprina Frazier

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