“Of course I haven’t had you investigated.” Aisha spoke in a calm tone, despite her racing pulse. “But I have watched you closely in the short time we’ve been dating. You are a very loyal man, Greg, to your friends and to the businesses you patronize. When you mentioned owning a daycare center, I figured it had to somehow be connected to your friends. Otherwise why else would a man like you own such a business?”
“And the clothing store?” Bonz prodded, seemingly satisfied with her explanations so far.
“The clothing store was the easiest one to figure out. After all, most of the clothes you own come from Tops & Bottoms. Not to forget the outfits you bought me after my overnight stay.” Aisha put her drink down on the ground and stood to her feet. “Now if I’ve passed this particular trust test, I’d like to go have some fun in the pool.”
Bonz stared after Aisha in silence. He wasn’t sure if he’d hurt her feelings or not with his pointed questions. But he was sure of one thing – Aisha Norwood was the smartest, sexiest woman he’d ever known.
Putting his drink down as well, Bonz rose to follow Aisha to the pool. He couldn’t allow her to have fun without him.
* * *
An hour later, while everyone was enjoying a leisure meal on the grassy east side of the backyard, Alexis and Racker had two unexpected visitors. It was none other than Cami and her son.
It seems that Delia had made a discreet phone call to her cousin after getting fed up with watching Bonz and Aisha frolic in the pool. Seeing such happiness had reminded her of what she’d lost with E-Blade. Since Delia didn’t know what to do to fix her own romantic situation, she decided to help Cami with hers.
Incidentally, it would have been easier to fix Cami up before now if she would only settle for one of the captains or even a lieutenant in the game. But no, Cami had to have a general. In
Good. She remembered to wear that new swimsuit I bought her, Delia thought as Cami and Little Man came walking into the backyard area behind Alexis. At least she can do ‘something’ right, she mused, noting her cousin’s voluptuous figure in the red halter top and short sarong that barely hid Cami’s skimpy bikini bottom.
“Well, it looks like we have two more,” Alexis cheerfully announced to everyone as she escorted the latecomers to the table. Yet the way she kept nervously tugging on the bottom of her pink terrycloth pullover belied the calmness and joy of her words.
“Yeah, Delia forgot something at home and asked me to bring it over,” Cami casually replied. Then she promptly changed the subject altogether. “Oh, look, Little Man. Crab cakes!” She pointed to a round ceramic bowl on the table that housed the delicious appetizers.
The little boy’s eyes widened eagerly at the sight of his favorite food. “Me and Little Man love crab cakes,” Cami continued, addressing the adults again. If that wasn’t a blatant hint to get herself invited to the meal, then two plus two weren’t four.
“Both of you are welcome to have some,” Racker interjected hospitably. He rose to his feet to gather an extra chair. The long picnic table only had enough seating room for ten. With Cami and her son, the nine-member group jumped to eleven.
As Racker passed by Alexis, he gave her a knowing look. Both of them suspected that Delia’s little private phone call at the top of today’s meal had been to Cami. Now they had proof. The fact that Cami still hadn’t given Delia that forgotten something at home yet proved another thing - the two cousins were still scheming to break up Bonz and Aisha.
“Have a seat, Cami. I’ll fix you both plates of everything,” Alexis said, revealing her capacity to be flexible. Inside she was seething that Delia would pull something like this. She would have never done this kind of thing to her. Yet because they’d been homegirls for such a long time, Alexis would not end their friendship over it. However, it would definitely change the nature of that friendship now that a certain level of trust was gone.
Cami took the extra chair that Racker placed at the table and moved it all the way by Bonz. She didn’t seem to care that her son was sitting all the way on the opposite end of the table by Delia. Or that all the other mothers were sitting by their own offspring in order to be of assistance to the youngsters if needed. No, all Cami seemed to care about was gaining Bonz’s attention.
Bonz frowned when Cami inched her chair closer to him. On his other side, Aisha smiled at his reaction, receiving great pleasure from his open rejection of the other woman.
“Please pass me the salt, Bonz,” Cami said, once she had a plate of food in front of her. As she waited for him to do so, she made a show of adjusting her bosom in the halter top, clearly trying to get his attention to go there.
“Here you go,” Bonz said, passing the salt as requested, deliberately keeping his eyes above Cami’s neck. Though he might have a blind spot where Aisha was concerned, he could see clearly when it came to other women.
“Thanks, baby,” Cami purred, being deliberately disrespectful to Aisha. The fact that she touched Bonz’s hand longer than she should have when receiving the red salt shaker was a direct offense.
Bonz’s frown deepened. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Aisha’s eyes narrow. She obviously didn’t like this situation one bit. He didn’t, either.
“Perhaps you should let me pass you whatever you need from now on, Cami,” Aisha suggested, pasting a small smile on her face.
“No, only Bonz can give me what I need.” Cami smirked at the other woman.
“You think so, huh?” Challenge danced in Aisha’s eyes.
“I know so,” Cami countered with a saucy snap of her head and neck.
Aisha looked like she wanted to go off right then and there. Yet she paused for a moment, as if weighing the costs of blackening one of Cami’s eyes. After all, a fist swung forward was liable to get one swung backward.
Aisha couldn’t afford to get into fistfights. She couldn’t afford to allow anything to mar her body these days, especially her face. As jealous-hearted as Cami was, that’s exactly where she would strike Aisha first.
“I don’t know about everybody else, but I’m full,” Aisha finally said, closing the lid to her half-eaten container of food. “Racker and Alexis, you all really outdid yourselves with those side dishes. I can’t wait to eat the rest for leftovers.” She turned to Bonz and added, “Greg, I’ll be out by the pool, if you need me.” Then without another word to anyone, Aisha stood to her feet and made her way towards the opening in the tall wooden fence that separated the pool and patio area from the rest of the backyard.
All eyes turned to Bonz. Would he stay by Cami’s side? Or would he follow Aisha and risk losing cool points with his friends?
© 2005 by Suprina Frazier