Friday, October 14, 2011

"Sugah and Spice"

Chapter 9

                After a full day of classes, Sugah couldn’t wait to get home to relax. As she walked back toward her car, she noticed Coffee walking toward her. He was with another woman. The woman was very pretty, youthful and they seemed deep in conversation. Sugah didn’t know why she suddenly felt jealous but she didn’t like seeing him with another woman. He looked up and saw her. Sugah averted her eyes to keep from looking into his. She knew that if she looked into his eyes, she would lose it. When she passed by them, Sugah heard that the young woman alongside of Coffee was only a student, who hadn’t been in class that day and wanted to get the proper information from her professor, instead of someone else. Sugah forced a smile and never looked back. She couldn’t get to her car fast enough. Before she opened her car door, she heard her name being called. When she looked around, she saw Mark. Disappointed that it wasn’t Coffee, she let out a long sigh.

                “Hey Sugah, I wanted to catch up before you left. I saw the car and knew immediately that it belonged to you. It really works. It describes you to perfection.” Sugah looked at Mark. “Is that right? What exactly does it say about me, Mark?”

Mark stood back and admired the car again before he spoke. He chose his words carefully. “Well, it’s sexy, sassy and sleek. It’s sporty, yet elegance and classy. The leather is smooth, sophisticated. The black speaks boldness, while the red speaks confidence, fire and passion. You don’t have over the top wheels, which show poise and self-assurance. Your windows are tinted not too light or dark, and that tells me that you are open-minded without any thing to hide. That you don’t judge and really like to get to know someone before making assumptions based on outer appearance. And the convertible top shows that you are daring, fun, exciting and not afraid to take life by the horns and make the best out of any given situation. But with all that being said, it is a beauty! Just like you.” Sugah couldn’t close her mouth. She was more impressed with Mark. He didn’t know much about her but knew everything by the kind of car she drove. The only other person who said some of the same things was Espresso when she sat inside the car.

“Well, that sums me up completely. Mainly the reasons I bought this particular car instead of something else. The red packs a punch like me too, so don’t get it twisted. Are you sure you aren’t a Psych major? No one has ever analyzed me like that and gotten it right. Damn, I am going to have to be careful around you, Mark Prescott.” Mark flashed his million dollar smile. “Sugah, you are one of a kind. The car just goes hand in hand with you perfectly. I am just calling it like I see it. I was also wondering if you wanted to get together and study like we did last semester. I know that you have a full load, as do I, so maybe we can help each other out. What do you say,” he asked smiling. Sugah admitted for the first time that she was attracted to Mark. His smile was infectious, so she found herself smiling back at him. “Sure, why not! We do make a good team, don’t we? I will see you tomorrow and then we can come up with a schedule that works well for both of us.” Mark nodded in agreement. “Okay,” he said backing up to let her get into her car. “By the way, nice choice but you should have gotten a Mercedes.” He backed up still facing her. “I didn’t know you had it like that, girl. Maybe you can take me for a spin sometime?” Sugah looked at her new car. She had to agree, it was something else. “Sure,” she replied. Mark watched as she drove off. He couldn’t stop himself from thinking about her. Sugah had made a lasting impression on him from the first moment he met her and now he wanted more. As he walked in the direction of his own car, he didn’t see the jealous man watching him with clenched teeth. Coffee was furious. Who was this clown? Why was he all over Sugah? He would get to the bottom of it.

                The drive to her apartment was a breeze. Sugah loved having a car. She wondered how she made it through a year of school without one. Now all she needed was a new apartment. Although she would miss her first apartment, she knew that she needed more space. After she finished her first day assignments, grabbed a fresh bowl of fruit and sat in front of her computer, she allowed the words to pour out of her. When she realized it, she had written several pages, which she would later turn into her college Thesis. The piece of life’s lessons and making the best of harsh circumstances is well-executed, well-written and well underway to receiving countless recognition all over the country. Several hours had also passed. Sugah jumped into the shower to freshen up before her meeting with Coffee. She wondered if all the others would be attending. She thought of Espresso. She hadn’t been able to join him for lunch and wanted to call to apologize. Sugah wrapped her towel around her wet body, while putting a cotton t-shirt around her soaked hair. Sugah found that the only way to dry her hair without taking all day. It also kept down frizz to her curls. She didn’t have time to set under the dryer nor did she want to. As she lightly applied her makeup, she dialed Espresso’s office number. With the phone on speaker, Sugah was able to use her hands freely. “What up Sis,” he answered. “Oh I can’t call it. Sorry about today. School was more overwhelming than I thought, so I just grabbed something on campus. We can do lunch tomorrow. What’s going on with cha?”

                “Oh Nothing just chilling, getting ready to finish up some last minute paperwork before I can leave, I will be glad when I can get my drink on.  Don’t worry about it. How did it go today? Did you get all the classes you wanted?” Sugah smiled. Espresso was really a sweetheart, although he pretended to be hard in front of everyone else. “Yep and I got all the professors I wanted, except one. Why didn’t you tell me that Coffee taught at my school?” Espresso was suddenly caught off guard. “It never crossed my mind. I wasn’t trying to keep anything from you. Why, what happened?” Sugah tried to hear of any sign that he was lying to her but didn’t get any. “Well, I was shocked when he walked into my Statistics class and started lecturing. I wanted to say something but didn’t, besides, what could I say? No one is even supposed to know that we all know and associate with each other, right. I don’t know if I am even going to stay in his class. Although I really need the class, I just don’t think it will be good. What would you do?”

                “Girl, Coff is a great professor. He has received several awards and is good at Statistics. Hell, he helped us all when we took it in school. Even though he is young, hell we are all young, doesn’t mean that he cannot distinguish teaching from all of his other activities. Don’t take it personal. Just go in there, do your best and get that a, girl. Chill the hell out! It will be fine.” Sugah felt at ease. “Thanks. I guess that because of what happened between us, it’s just weird.” Just as the words slipped out of her mouth, she regretted saying them. She hadn’t mentioned any of what happened to Espresso and now she had to. “Whoa, what do you mean, what happened between the two of you?” She could tell from his change in tone that he wasn’t happy hearing what she had just said. Sugah remained silent. “Oh don’t get all quiet on me now and shit. I asked you a question and I expect an answer. Sugah, are you listening to me? Don’t make me come over there and put my foot in ya ass, girl.”

                “Yes, I’m listening. Don’t get all demanding and shit, So.” So, was the nickname that Sugah had started calling Espresso, after he called her a few times to check on her and see if she needed anything. After that, it just stuck and he didn’t seem to mind it. “I know you want what’s best for me but I don’t owe you any explanation.” Sugah’s voice raised an octave. She didn’t like when people demanded things from her. It made her feel inferior. She took a deep breath and remembered that she was talking to Espresso. He didn’t want anything but the best for her. She apologized and calmed down.  “So, I really like Coffee. He makes me feel like no other. Whenever I am around him, my heart skips a beat. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what it is about him. I have only had one boyfriend and he betrayed me with someone way younger than me. I haven’t allowed anyone to get as close as I let Coffee. He is different and I find myself drawn to him for some strange reason.” Sugah allowed her tears to kiss her cheeks. She didn’t like the way her emotions were betraying her and certainly not to Espresso. Being weak wasn’t an option for her. No one would ever make her feel weak again.  

“Shh, calm down. It will be okay. Coff is a good dude and he hasn’t shown interest in anyone since his last relationship, years ago. I see the way he looks at you. Hell, Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder can see that. Those mugs can write a song about it and win a Grammy. Just take one day at a time. I care about the both of you and I don’t want to have to choose. Are you like a little sister to me and Coffee is like a brother, so if whatever going on between you two doesn’t work out, I don’t want to have to be put in an awkward position. I don’t even what to know all that did or didn’t happen. Be sure before you tell anyone else, okay. And Sugah, never mix business with pleasure, it never works out good. Trust me, I have been there and done that and sometimes I am still recovering from that shit.” Sugah nodded, blowing her nose. She could tell that pain was still there in whatever went down between Espresso and whomever. She wanted to know more but didn’t push the issue. If he wanted to share, he would.

                “Thanks, So. I am glad to have you in my life. I have to finish getting dressed. Will you be at the meeting tonight?”

                “I will be there but I will probably be late. I still have a lot of things to do before I can leave the office. Save me a seat next to you and please order me a glass of goose and cranberry, hold the cranberry.” Sugah laughed. “You got it.” They said their goodbyes and Sugah finished getting dressed. When she was sure she looked her best, she checked herself one last time in the mirror and grabbed her keys. Before she reached the door, her home phone rang. Annoyed, she quickly picked up the phone. “Hello?” she spoke in a frustrated tone. “Is that any way to talk to your mother?” Sugah corrected herself, apologizing to her mother. “Mom, I was on my way out. I didn’t think you would be calling. Sorry! What is it? Is something wrong?”  

                “Why would something be wrong? Can’t I call my own daughter? What’s going on with you, Sugah?” Charlotte wasn’t used to hearing her only child sound so frustrated. She knew that something was up but she wouldn’t pry. If Sugah wanted her to know, she would tell you on her own terms. She knew that school began, so she was probably just stressed. “Mom, I’m fine. As I said, I was about to head out. Do you mind if I call you back later? I shouldn’t be out late.”

                “Oh, no problem, I was just calling to tell you that I am in town. Richard sent for me a few days early, claiming he couldn’t wait any longer to see me. You can call me at his house. I will be staying here while I’m in town instead of at your place.” Sugah was saddened and outraged. Why hadn’t she been involved in the decision making regarding her mother? “Oh…okay. I will call you there then. Talk to you later and tell Richard hello for me.” Sugah hung up the phone feeling like she was about to lose her mother. Sure she wanted her to be happy but at what expense? Mr. Blakemore was a great man and would make her mother extremely happy but Sugah wanted to make sure that her mother wasn’t hurt by moving too fast. If anything happened to hurt her, Sugah wouldn’t be responsible for all the pain and suffering she would bring to anyone who was at fault. Right now she couldn’t focus on that. She was almost late. She ran out the door.

                When she arrived at the restaurant the only people there were Latte and Cap. Everyone else was running late. She greeted them and took a seat. They had been deep in conversation when she arrived, so she allowed them to continue. It appeared that they were discussing a business deal from the weekend before, which had been a great success from what Sugah could gather. As everyone else began to join them, Sugah felt better. Java sat next to her. “Are you okay Sugah? I can sense some tension between you and my brother. Whatever it is, let it go tonight. Don’t let the others know anything is up. They will become uncomfortable and that could mean trouble for you being the new girl and all. Trust me! I know all too well about this kind of stuff. I was once the new girl and the same thing happened to me. I just didn’t have anyone to tell me what to do along the way, which made a few situations belong my journey, complicated.” Sugah forced a smiled. She was happy that Java understood her dilemma. “Thanks. It means a lot to have someone looking out for you instead of trying to take advantage of you all the time.” Java nodded in agreement. By that time, everyone was there and their meeting began.  

                Coffee called the meeting to order. Being in the back on the establishment, in a secluded conference room provided them great privacy from the other patrons. There wouldn’t be any raised eyebrows or unwanted chatter as to what was going on with them. Sugah sipped on her water. Her throat had gotten extremely dry once Coffee walked into the space. She wanted to say something to him, even touch him but she couldn’t. She was still upset with him. Sugah also wanted something stronger than water but she was underage and had school tomorrow. Suddenly a picture of them making love ran through her mind. She shifted in her seat to keep her pussy from jumping. “Hey, you okay,” Espresso whispered to her. Sugah nodded her head up and down. “Chill the fuck out, girl,” he said sipping his second drink. He wasn’t driving because Mocha had stopped at his office and they rode together. The last time he drove with a little too much in his system, he had nearly killed someone he loved dearly. The image of Mya clouded his mind. Espresso quickly shook the thoughts from his mind and tried to focus of whatever Coffee was talking about. He wanted to go home and relax.  

                “So, last week we had several successful events and created quite a buzz about our organization. I have received calls requesting everything we provide, plus some. Java and I will be coming up with a few proposals for introducing new services and have them available at our next meeting, back at the office. If anyone has any suggestions, please feel free to write up a proposal and give it to me or Java before the next meeting. Anything you can bring to the table to produce revenue is much welcomed. I wanted everyone here this evening to show support to Sugah. She will be working her second assignment this coming weekend and I just wanted everyone to offer any advice or any other information she might need. Now with that being said, Sugah, here are all the details you will need. If there are any questions or concerns, call me or anyone else you feel comfortable talking with.” Coffee handed over the secured folder of information to her. His hand lightly brushed hers, sending an electrical current threw her entire body. She wanted to make love to him right there, on the long table, in front of everyone. “Thank you Coffee. Thank you so much for believing in me. Thank you everyone,” Sugah said looking around the table at each person. She really did appreciate them. “I won’t let you guys down.”

                “We know that, Shawty. Now, can we eat up in this joint or what? I am hungry as hell. My stomach is touching my back. I skipped lunch today,” Espresso said in his usual humorous way. Everyone at the table laughed, agreeing with him. “Right,” Cap seconded. Latte, Mocha and Java nodded in agreement too. Coffee didn’t have much of an appetite for food but he was staring straight into the eyes of what he wanted to have for dinner. Sugah watched him watching her. He licked his lips, sending another wave of desire to her hidden jewel. He saw the way she moved in her seat. Coffee knew that she was on fire. He knew that she wanted him just as much if not more, than he wanted her.

                After their orders had been taken and drinks were being sipped, everyone talked amongst themselves. Java pulled Sugah aside. She wanted to know what the tension was all about between her and Coffee. The organization had once been jeopardized by too much personal involvement between the founder and employee and she wanted to nip that in the bud before things really got out of hand. Sure she admired, was even intrigued by Sugah but business was business. Java, as well as the others had too much invested in their organization to lose it. The way Coffee looked at Sugah told Java all she needed to know. They had been sexually involved. Maybe if she spoke openly and honestly with Sugah before anything else happened between them, she could stop it from going any further.

                “What’s going on between the two of you,” Java asked looking from Sugah to Coffee. “Don’t give me some bullshit answer. I can see the way you look at him and the way he looks at you, that the two of you have crossed the line. Sugah, this isn’t smart for business. I know that my brother can be very charming but please keep a leveled head. You are young and I see a lot of myself in you. Don’t ruin your future because you think you know what love is. I am only trying to help. I have also been there and done that. I have seen this type of thing happen many times and nothing good ever comes from it. I love my brother deeply but he isn’t the type to just be with one woman, especially someone as young as you, Sugah. You are about to turn 19 and he is almost 25. Not too much of an age difference, but it can be difficult.” Sugah listened to Java’s every word. She saw the pain and hurt in the woman’s face. Something dark was there. Sugah wanted to ask questions of her own but didn’t. She knew when to listen and when to speak and now wasn’t the time to. “Sugah, I love my family. When I love, I love hard. I will do everything within my power to keep them safe, and now that includes you. Don’t make me chose.” That was the second time Sugah heard those words in a matter of hours. First from Espresso and now from Java, so she knew that whatever had happened was serious.

                “Java, I appreciate you talking with me. I am not here to cause any trouble. I admire your brother for starting such a great organization. I just found out today that he is one of my professors. What happened between us should not have happened, but it did. I just want to do a great job while I’m with the organization and make everyone proud. I didn’t pursue your brother, he pursued me and I allowed it to happen. When I look at him, I see kindness, pride, and sometimes when he looks at me, I see love. But from this day forward, our relationship is strictly business related. Java, I can tell that something happened to you, something horrible and I don’t know if your brother had anything to do with it or not. Don’t let your past keep you from your future. You are a great, amazing woman, who deserves happiness. Any man would be blessed to have you as his. Don’t sale yourself short. You are wonderful and beautiful both inside and out. If you don’t believe that, no one else will. Whoever broke your heart, you need to stop giving him power over you by holding on to it. Let it go! If you knew only half of what I have been through, you wouldn’t believe it. Thanks again for giving faith in me. I promise. I won’t like you down!”

                Java couldn’t move. She couldn’t see anything. All she was able to do was, pull Sugah into her arms and embrace her. The others in the room watched in disbelief. Java never showed affection after what she had gone through with Mr. X. Espresso wondered what was so special about Sugah. It seemed as if everyone was opening up their hearts to her, letting her inside them. If she was able to do the same thing with Java, he knew that Coffee couldn’t stand a chance. Maybe it was time his friend settled down. A different woman in his bed every night was cool, but it got old. If he could have Mya back, he would give all of that up. Coffee was no exception. He was a playa and sometimes even playas needed to turn in their playa card.

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