Hearing the same question echoed from two different sources, Kylisha turned to face her admirers. To her left was Arnaz, looking just as friendly as ever with his easy smile and perfect teeth. To her right was Gene, looking more debonair than ever in his black designer suit and fresh haircut. Both men had open interest in their eyes. Both had expectant looks upon their faces.
Feeling breathless from all this unexpected male attention, Kylisha pulled a deep breath into her lungs. She slowly released it, claiming whatever peace she could from the action.
Though very interested in whom Kylisha would choose, the other women in her group reluctantly filed away. They had a fashion show to get ready for. And with Deshawn motioning to them from a side door, they had to hurry.
Turning to the man on her left, Kylisha said, “I’ll be glad to dance with you, Arnaz, after I dance with Mr. Waldenhall. After all, he did ask me first.”
Blinking the shock out of his eyes, Arnaz cleared his throat. “He asked you first? Seems to me like we asked you at the same time.”
Kylisha gave her bold coworker a warm smile. “Actually, Mr. Waldenhall asked me for this dance before we left work today.”
“Oh. In that case, I guess I’ll take the second dance then,” Arnaz conceded, though he still didn’t look too pleased about the issue. How could he be pleased when Gene was standing across from him smugly brushing imaginary lint off his jacket? If Arnaz didn’t need his job so badly or wasn’t a Christian, it would be on between the two of them.
“Dance number two is all yours, Arnaz.” Kylisha smiled wider, hoping that would be enough to soothe his disappointment and help hold his peace. “And thanks for being so understanding.”
“No problem,” Arnaz replied, shooting Gene a sideways glance. Then after giving Kylisha a brief nod, he walked away before his tongue and temper got the best of him.
Meanwhile Gene proceeded to brush the last of the faux lint off his jacket. He didn’t even bother to look up at Arnaz’s departure. Why should he? Arnaz had no business going after the same woman as him. He didn’t deserve regard.
“Are you ready for me, Kylisha?” Gene asked when they were finally alone.
No! Not in a million years, Kylisha shouted on the inside. On the outside, she said, “Of course, Mr. Waldenhall.”
Gene gave her a charming smile. “Good. I hope you like dancing to Christmas music because that’s the only kind they play at these things.” He extended his right arm towards her in true gentleman style.
“Christmas music is fine,” Kylisha replied, looping her arm through his. “In fact, the Temptations’ Silent Night is one of my favorite holiday tunes,” she said, referring to the current song being cued up.
“Mine, too,” Gene replied as he ushered her towards the middle of the dance floor.
Surrounded by couples on every side, Gene held Kylisha in a respectful embrace and began to slowly sway. She tried to follow his lead, but her body just couldn’t seem to relax in his arms. As a result, her movements were as stiff as a board.
Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all, Kylisha mused, barely one minute into the dance. Heat radiated from wherever Gene’s hands touched her. Soon it attacked her spine, causing delicious warmth to spread to the rest of her body.
Kylisha began to tingle all over. Tremors quickly followed. What was going on here?
Feeling her trembling against him, Gene leaned down to her ear. “What’s the matter, Kylisha? Are you cold?” he whispered. His breath was warm against the side of her face.
Unable to lie, she said, “No, just nervous about dancing with the boss I guess.” Yes, that had to be it. Right?
“I’m just a man, Kylisha. A flesh and blood man,” Gene said.
I know and that’s the other thing that’s got me all nervous, Kylisha mused, keeping those thoughts to herself. Aloud she said, “I’ll try to relax, Mr. Waldenhall.” She took a deep breath to speed up the process.
“It might help if you called me Gene,” he suggested. “After all, we’re not at the office now.”
“All right, G…Gene,” Kylisha replied hesitantly.
Bad move. The tremors returned in full force as soon as her tongue tasted the sweetness of his given name for the first time.
Gene shuddered this time. A low moan vibrated in his throat at the sound of his name upon Kylisha’s lips. It was the greatest aphrodisiac. He held her closer, causing Kylisha to moan so softly that if his ear hadn’t been near her mouth he would have missed it.
Just then, someone tapped Gene on the shoulder. “My turn now,” Arnaz said, letting them know that the song and their dance were over.
Gene suppressed a scowl at the interruption. He felt a stab in the gut when Kylisha readily went into Arnaz’s arms, as if what just transpired between them had never happened. Though Gene maintained a calm demeanor through it all, he walked away from them with a storm cloud over his head.
© 2006 by Suprina Frazier
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