The closer Bonz got to his mystery woman, the more excited he became. Yet he couldn’t show it. No, he was too cool for that. Too strong. Even if he wasn’t, there were too many witnesses around. And one thing Bonz cared a lot about was his reputation.
Sometimes a man’s reputation was all he had left in the world. Thus, it was a very valuable commodity, especially on the hard streets of
“What’s poppin’, Bonz?” an attractive female asked as he passed by. Open interest leaped in her eyes like salmons swimming upstream.
“Nothing much,” Bonz replied, barely looking over his shoulder at the woman. He didn’t have time to socialize. He was a man on a mission.
Ten more steps and I’m there, Bonz mused, estimating the distance left between him and…his destiny?
* * *
Aisha knew the moment Bonz came in their midst. Not only did Jarrett’s friendly eyes suddenly become unreadable, the hairs on the back of her neck stood up. Aisha thought it ironic to have captured her target’s attention when she hadn’t even been trying to at the time.
So he’s a thug with a library card, huh? Aisha mused, noting how articulate and polite Bonz sounded. It irritated her that he was not what she expected even in the tiniest way.
Wanting to make him pay for her irritation, Aisha pretended she hadn’t heard Bonz. Besides, she would not jump to any man’s attention, especially not this one.
That turned out to be a huge mistake on Aisha’s part. Her pretense caused Bonz to lean in closer. Soon her nostrils were filled with his tantalizing masculine scent. Now she wished she’d thought to bring along an extra pair of underwear. Who knew she’d be this attracted to her enemy?
“May I have the privilege of having your glass refilled?” Bonz asked, only inches away from her ear.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t know you were talking to me,” Aisha lied, turning her head slightly to face him. She took a deep breath to calm down her galloping heart, because the man was even more gorgeous at close range. It ought to be a crime to look that good.
Panning the faces of women around Aisha revealed disappointment and envy. They wished Bonz was talking to them. Yet it was obvious whom he was interested in. Ever since Bonz stepped up to the bar, he’d only had eyes for Aisha. Even before then.
Bonz issued Aisha a smile that lit up his whole face. “Of course, I’m talking to you. You’re the sexiest woman in this club tonight,” he said, still speaking at close range. He seemed reluctant to move away. “By the way, everybody calls me Bonz,” he added, finally standing upright again.
Aisha inhaled sharply at that smile, feeling as if she’d just been given a precious gift. She had. Bonz hardly ever smiled and when he did, it never quite reached his eyes. Tonight’s smile reached clear up to his forehead.
Aisha stilled herself against that potent beam and the fiery attraction that threatened to overtake her because of it. She hated herself for desiring Bonz, for wanting to see how that caramel skin of his tasted, for wanting to run her hands across his perfectly shaped head and trace his neatly trimmed sideburns with her fingertips. For throbbing with heat just from looking at him.
“Thanks for the compliment and the drink offer, Bonz,” Aisha finally said, withholding her name as she gave him a fierce, yet well-practiced smile of her own. “But you see, I’ve just met my limit. One glass of wine and I’m fine. Two, I forget where I left my shoes. And three…well, let’s just say that I forget all about my Christian upbringing after three drinks and leave it at that,” she concluded with a lighthearted chuckle that sounded amazingly genuine.
Aisha could have patted herself on the back for that last comment. What bad boy could resist a good Christian woman? Getting a lady like that made a man feel like his sins weren’t all that bad. That he wasn’t all that bad.
Yet Aisha being a Christian or even having a Christian upbringing was the farthest thing from the truth. Yes, she had a good upbringing, but it wasn’t necessarily a Christian one. Her parents hadn’t pushed religion on her nor wanted to.
After being married to a judgmental and often hypocritical Christian like Daddy Burgess, Aisha’s mother didn’t want anything to do with God for a very long while. However, during the days of her sickness Alyce seemed to have made peace with her Maker. At least that’s what Evander told Aisha before he died two years later.
Unlike her mother, Aisha wasn’t interested in making peace with anyone. In fact, she was trying her hardest to disturb a particular person’s peace tonight. Aisha planned to make Bonz want her so badly that he couldn’t sleep, eat, or think straight for years to come.
Perhaps he will even commit suicide and do the whole world a favor, Aisha mused. Her thoughts revealed the depths of her bitterness, despite the fact that her face remained neutral.
“Maybe next time then,” Bonz said, pushing past her rejection. A touch of resolution was in his voice, as if he was positive that there would be a next time between them.
“Maybe,” Aisha replied. She gave him the warmest smile she could summon up, considering the fact that he contributed to her brother’s death and possibly so many others before him.
The fact that Bonz was so devastatingly handsome still had Aisha unsettled. Things would have been a lot easier for her if he looked like the monster that he was on the inside. Shoot, the man didn’t even talk like a regular thug, much less acted like one.
Feeling the need to escape and regroup, Aisha turned to Jarrett. “Thanks for being such good company, but they’re playing my song right now and I must dance. After all, that’s one of the main reasons I came here tonight.”
“You’re going to dance alone, Aisha?” Jarrett looked thoroughly intrigued. He’d never seen a woman turn down anything from Bonz before.
“Yes, alone, Jarrett.” Aisha chuckled. “I don’t need a partner to have fun.” She rose from the stool with her purse in hand.
Then to prove her point, Aisha began to sway to the beat of the current song right where she stood. Bonz and Jarrett couldn’t help but smile at her boldness. At her ability to be that comfortable in her own skin no matter where she was. Bonz, in particular, looked like he wanted to sop her up with a biscuit.
Aisha continued to danced by herself from the bar area all the way to the dance floor on the northeast side of the room.
So her name is Aisha, huh? Aisha, Aisha, Aisha, Bonz mused, committing that name to memory. He would not soon forget it.
© 2005 by Suprina Frazier