“I thought you said you and Aisha didn’t have anything going on. What was that hug all about? The passing of the phone number?” Bonz demanded. Fortunately, he’d left his gun in the car. Unfortunately, he could still use his large fists to pound the much smaller man into the ground. Hopefully it wouldn’t come to that.
“Not that it’s any of your business, but that was a platonic hug between two new friends.” Jarrett might be a studious man, but he was definitely no punk. If he was, he would have never survived a full year working at a place like this.
Yet even though Jarrett had the heart of a lion, he knew he was no match for Bonz physically. He just hoped the end would be swift. He wasn’t a man that enjoyed suffering, his or anyone else’s.
“I will knock every teeth in your head out if you don’t watch your mouth, partner!” Bonz practically growled, clenching and unclenching his fists at his sides. His large chest seemed to swell too sizes bigger. Fortunately, common sense was able to prevail through his anger and the deep breath he took in helped to ventilate his temper.
Bonz knew that anger caused mistakes. He also knew that he couldn’t afford to have a murder rap on his record. He doubted that even the high-priced lawyer that he kept on retainer could get him out of something that grimy. Their lawyer was already struggling to make a few things E-Blade had done go quietly away.
“At the bar you told me that you wish Aisha was your lady,” Bonz reminded Jarrett in a much calmer tone. “Now you’re telling me that you’re just friends?”
“Exactly. Aisha and I both realized that we’re better off as friends than anything else. She seems to be looking for Mr. Right. I’m too interested in being Mr. Right Now, too busy with school for a serious relationship with any woman,” Jarrett replied. He ran his tongue across his teeth, as if he was grateful that all of them were still in his head. So far.
Bonz grew very quiet. He stared into the smaller man’s eyes, looking for any sign of dishonesty. When Jarrett continued to meet him eye to eye, he realized that the man had to be telling the truth. Not many men dared to stand up to Bonz. Not many lived to tell about it. As a result, respect soon replaced anger.
“All right, man. I believe you,” Bonz finally said. “But I still can’t let you leave here with what belongs to me. You see, Aisha is going to be my lady real soon and I can’t have other men calling her. So hand over the card, partner,” he continued, extending his large right hand towards Jarrett.
When the bartender hesitated, Bonz’s anger quickly flared up again. “If you want to avoid a trip to the emergency room tonight, you will do as I say.”
Jarrett’s eyes grew wide with amazement. “I can’t believe you’re actually jacking me for a woman’s phone number. Why, Bonz? Why Aisha when you have so many other women to choose from? All beautiful, all just as fine.”
Bonz shook his head, as if trying to clear the confusion he’d felt all night. “I don’t know myself,” he confessed, unexpectedly letting his guard down. “There’s just something different about her. Aisha makes me feel different just by looking at her.” Then catching himself revealing things that weren’t anybody’s business but his own, Bonz quickly brought his confessions to an end. “Never mind all that. Just hand over the card she gave you.”
Jarrett looked down at Aisha’s business card, using his photogenic memory to imprint the information listed there upon his brain. He sighed quietly in relief when he saw that she’d wisely used a P.O. Box and just her cell phone number. That way no one, especially Bonz, could get her home number or street address unless she wanted them to.
“This isn’t the way to go about getting a classy lady like her.” Jarrett slowly handed the card over to Bonz.
“Maybe not, but it is the most direct way for an impatient man like myself,” Bonz replied, practically snatching the card from him.
Then in order to silence the sliver of guilt that had crept into his heart on account of his bizarre behavior tonight, Bonz quickly reached into his wallet and retrieved another wad of bills. “Here’s something for your trouble,” he said, extending the roll of cash towards Jarrett.
Jarrett shook his head. “No thanks. My college fund is full,” he replied, keeping his hands at his sides. He would take no more money from the likes of Bonz.
Then without another word, Jarrett turned to swiftly walk away. Half of his haste was out of fear. The other half was out of a need to get to his cell phone. He’d forgotten and left it in his car earlier.
Having memorized Aisha’s number, Jarrett intended to call and warn her to be extra careful. Bonz was on the prowl and he was looking specifically for her.
© 2005 by Suprina Frazier