That night I wanted to talk to Zeal. But since he didn’t take my number, I would have to take the initiative to page him and then wait for him to call. The next night after being completely embarrassed by Patrick tucking his napkin in shirt collar like a bib right before sticking a whole rack of ribs in his mouth and seconds later pulling out cleaned bones, I paged Zeal once. No return call. I just couldn’t see myself dealing with Patrick much longer even if I was getting free meals and movies. My sanity was worth more than forcing myself to be in the presence of a barbaric Neanderthal man and his Triablidite parents. Plus, I could feed my self and the movies we went to see were elementary just like him. The only other man I knew was Zeal whom was married with children. I needed to stay as far away from him as I could. Never once did I call Patrick, but he didn’t miss a beat calling me offering lunches, dinners, and movies, which I declined. I didn’t want Patrick and I didn’t need Zeal, but I paged the latter on the third night and vowed not to try again. I didn’t get a call.
On the forth day I didn’t worry over either of the men and went on with my life. That meant I would be spending time with my female friends such as Melinda, a high school friend that I hadn’t kept good contact. Melinda happened to be one of the coolest people that I knew. We took together in high school because we knew that the grades we made then would set the foundation for our adult lives. It was do or die and we’d meet and cry at the community locker. I never knew whose locker it was, but four people shared that locker since it was third on the main hall. The following year as a senior, I got a locker in the middle of the hall with three other people knowing the combination to the lock. Melinda was the all American student. Black in the Kiwanis club, one of us few on in the Honors Club, a flag girl for the marching band, in ROTC, in the school’s gospel choir, and in every upper level class offered. I’m sure she did more than that, but I had a life to maintain too. Melinda called me like a good neighbor when no one else seemed to realize that little ol’ me was still existing in the world.
“Hey girl, I got your number from your dad.”
“When, he didn’t even tell me.”
“I told him not to, I wanted to surprise you.” It must be killing my dad not to have called me. He can’t keep a secret.
“What are you doing later on today? Like right now.” I be damned. I remember now what I didn’t like about her, she was a goody two shoe that imposed on my time.
“Nothing.” I hope she couldn’t hear the damn could you give me some time in advanced to get prepared for a day of being chastised for every little thing that I do. I forgot that she was a mother figure and moral and ethics bloodhound. And this was making me feel extremely guilty about lusting over a married man. I knew that if she saw me that all of my nasty immoral thoughts and actions would seep from my body like the stench of stale alcohol from the pores of a drunk.
“Good, I’m guess I’m not far from you. I’m right on VCU’s campus.” She’s probably right outside my apartment.
“You’re not far at all. If you tell me where you are, I can probably walk to there and then have you drive back.”
“How about you just meet me at Ruby Tuesdays on Broad Street.” Why is she bypassing my apartment?
“OK. How about 2pm.”
“I was thinking more of…NOW!”
The phone was dead.
We met at the café to catch up on the events in each other’s lives. Just as I pull into the restaurant parking lot the phone rings. It was a 474 prefix and I knew it had to be Zeal. “Hello?” I didn’t want to sound too anxious or too nonchalant.
“You know I was going to ride the bike out tonight guess I could come out that way,” with a soliloquy tone it. “If that’s all right with you.”
“That’s fine. What time were you thinking about dropping by?”
“It’ll be after seven. That’ll be a nice ride; all highway ain’t it, not that many lights. Just straight highway. That’ll be smooth riding.”
“Ummm, there just two turns and one light after you get off the highway. Zeal, you know, 10:30, twelve-o-clock are both after seven,” I wanted him to know that I would not be accepting company at that time. Plus, I would have had an anxiety attack waiting on him that long.
“Naw, it won’t be that late. I gotta be at work early.” We both listened to the voices in the background. “Well, Sweetie, I gotta go.”
“OK.” I looked at the phone about to close the flip when I heard a faint voice. “Did you say something?”
“Do you want anything?” he yelled into the phone and decided that I couldn’t hear him over the engines of the motorcycles. “Do you need anything?”
“A grape soda. Welch’s grape soda.”
“Alright baby girl.” He called me baby girl and sweetie. I don’t know him like that, but I liked it anyway.
“He called.” I had to call Tanisha.
“No!” My skin crawled at the mention of his name. Almost covered up the giggly feeling I had from my previous conversation.
“Zeal???” Her voice pitched up several octaves.”
“Yes. He’s coming over after seven but before 10:30.”
“Ten-thirty?” She waited for my explanation of importance of ten-thirty. “So you gonna do him this time?”
“I don’t know.” I really don’t remember her being that a friends for her to ask me that. Since she didn’t hesitate asking such personal question, I gave her an answer with not the least bit of attitude. I was over the shock of the blunt question, but was shocked at the answer I gave her.
“Are you going out?”
“I don’t think so.”
“Get him to order in or have him pick up something.”
“I told him to bring me a Welch’s grape soda.”
“That was all you could think of, hugh? Figures. Well have fun. Tell me what happens.”
I stared at the phone like a crystal ball wondering what I should do after seven. I went through my closet to see what I had that looked causal enough for lounging close and dressy enough to still be considered sexy. I choose a short a-line jean skirt and a fitted red v-neck t-shirt. The red Hilfiger flip-flops would finish the look. Underwear was the next task on the fashion list. Everything that matched was dirty, had thongs from the bottoms, or just looked too kinky like I was expecting to freaky. I picked out a sheer baby blue set and laid it out on the bed. On the way to the shower I read the latest entries in the journal and rediscover that I wanted this man bad.