Could It Be? Ch. 02byzia27©
Firstly, thank you for your constructive feedback and encouragement. I apologize for the very long delay in writing the second part of my story. I know how frustrating it when writer takes forever to post.
When I started writing this story there are a few things that I never considered, which ended up counting against the progress of the story. It took me a while to plan the rest of the story. Then work, studies, life, etc happened and the story took a back seat.
Here's the second installment. Constructive criticism is welcome.
Five days. That's how long it took for Erik to muster enough courage to call Thina. In those five days he had come up with every reason in the universe not to call her -- mostly around the fact that (1) he had never paid much attention to or been drawn to black women before, (2) his upbringing didn't exactly allow for him to mix with other races and thus he couldn't imagine himself dating a black woman, (3) her age -- he was sure she was in her early 20s and (4) he really wasn't keen to get involved with anyone at the moment. His hands were full as it is.
With all the "cons" he came up with, there were only two "pros" to call her. He was attracted to her and he had a good feeling about her. Plain and simple.
Now that he'd made the call and she'd agreed to go out for dinner with him, he was left wondering why he tortured himself for five whole days. During their conversation, he hadn't been nervous (as he had thought he would be), and he definitely didn't make an utter fool of himself.
Thina, although attracted to Erik, was not keen really keen on seeing him again. Had Erik not been directly involved in the campaign and their meeting at the restaurant purely coincidental, she would have had less fears. But if anything were to develop and then go wrong between them the agency could end up losing the account and she, her job.
And so when he didn't contact her for the rest of the weekend, she thought that maybe it was for the best. Besides she wasn't looking to get involved with anyone at the moment, work and studies were her main priorities.
Then he called.
Though he'd given her his business card she never bothered to save his number. So when an unknown number showed up on her phone screen five days later, she simply answered the phone.
"Damn it," she silently exclaimed upon realizing who it was.
Their conversation was brief and to the point -- first he said he hoped he hadn't caught her at a bad time, then he asked her how she was, about her weekend and work. Thina, on the other hand, was tongue tied and said more "ahuhs" than actual words.
"So, I'll make reservations for Friday and let you know the time later today ok."
"Ahuh," Thina responded. Only to realize a second later that she'd just agreed to go to dinner with him. Another silent "Damn it."
"Great, I'm looking forward to seeing you again Thina."
Ok then, talk later."
"Ok, later," she responded.
For both of them the next two days were easy - until they started thinking about their pending dinner date. Erik, although usually very composed and in control would find himself unsure -- of whether asking her out was a good idea. He had the type of personality that disliked not being in control and being uncomfortable -- which is exactly how he felt about the Thina situation. He liked her but was unsure how things would turn out. By Thursday evening, he'd resolved to just have this one dinner and see how things went. It was just dinner and he definitely wasn't looking for get into anything serious.
Thina, on the other hand was stressing about what to wear, if she'd have enough time during the day to do her hair, whether Erik really liked her or was just curious, what would happen between them, how she would deal with him professionally if things turned out fine, or if things didn't turnout fine!! What would happen to her job?
As Thursday rolled by she had not only gotten more nervous but had also she realized that her Friday schedule was back-to-back meetings: she would not have time to do her hair but literally had 30 minutes between her last meeting and dinner! The headquarters of agency she worked were in the US, and because of the seven-hour time difference between the New York and South Africa, she often had tele- or video conference meetings early evening, her time.
Friday came and straight after her video conference meeting, Thina dashed to her car for her gym bag and then went back up to her office's women's toilets.
"What are you doing?"
"Haaaa -- Oh you gave me such a shock. Never heard you come in," Thina replied, heart beating fast due to adrenaline.
"Sorry, I didn't mean to frighten you. I though you heard me come in," Michelle replied while moving closer to where Thina was standing.
Thina quickly recovered, avoiding Michelle's raised eyebrows, and focusing back on her reflection in the mirror.
"What are you doing? Michelle's asked again, peeking into the toiletry bag in front of Thina. "Wait, are those wet wipes?" She added before peeking into the make up bag next to the toiletry bag...then noticing the pair of high heels on the floor.
She moved to stand closer to Thina.
Both of them were now facing the ladies toilet mirror -- looking at each other's reflections.
"Oh I was just freshening up," Thina finally replied while reaching for another wet-wipe.
Michelle stood half-confused as Thina delicately wiped her face and neck.
"Tee, you're going out tonight?"
Now Thina was dabbing moisturizer, priming her skin for make up "Uhuh", she replied.
Michelle slowly took another look at the entire set-up and Thina's attire -- she was still wearing the same black shift dress she had on during the day, there were high heels on the floor whilst she still had on the flat pumps she was running around in during the day, the make up bag, the earrings laid out, the tiny clutch bag, the...
Thina saw the glimmer in Michelle's eyes in the mirror and silently asked God why Michelle of all people had to walk in on her. She was as curious as they come and was sure to be asking a lot of questions.
"You going on a date!" Michelle screamed, stopping herself from jumping up and down.
"No, I'm going out for dinner."
"Oh really? Is that why you're in the ladies toilet wiping yourself down with wet wipes, changing shoes and bags, and putting on make up?"
"Shhh not so loud Michelle. Geez, and they say black people are loud," Thina smiled.
"Tee, you didn't say you had a date," Michelle screamed again. Then added in rapid succession: "I could have handled the video conference meeting without you. Who are you going out with? Wait let me help you with your make up and you can tell me about this guy you're meeting. You are on your own with the hair though, can't help you there. So what's his name? Where did you meet him?"
Thina had never been to Chez Michel before. She had read about the restaurant but had never been "moved" - to her it was simply one of those places that the rich spend their money on delicate little pieces of food, the not-so-rich went to be seen, and the lucky ones were taken to for special occasions. She didn't' fall into any of these categories. Yes, she was impressed when Erik confirmed their reservation and time. But she took it in her stride. She had been more impressed when he offered to pick her up from her house. Given her busy day, it's a good thing she had opted to drive herself there.
Michelle, while continuously quizzing her and barely waiting for responses had assured her that her frame sculpting black shift dress, deep purple leather clutch and black high heels were perfect attire for such an establishment -- formal and classy.
But now, as she sat in her car in the restaurant parking lot, checking her make up in the rear-view mirror two things made her nervous: the delicate tiny piece of food she might encounter (she was way too hungry) and Erik.
Erik was already seated when Thina was led to their table. As he stood to give her a peck on the check and pull out her chair her nerves were at boiling point. Not long after they were seated and exchanged brief details of how their respective days were, a waiter appeared offering them something to drink.
"Wine?" Erik asked.
"Yes, wine is fine. Red please."
"Fancy anything in particular?"
"Red, cabernet sauvignon or merlot please. I'll let you decide which one."
After going through the wine list Erik informed the waiter of their choice. As soon as the waiter turned his back. "So you like-" he said.
And Thina simultaneously also said. "I'm curious, how-"
Realizing that they'd both spoken at the same time, Erik said "Ladies first."
"I was just going to ask how you managed to get a reservation here on such short notice. After your initial call, barely an hour had passed when you called again to confirm the time," Thina stated.
Smiling, Erik replied "Let's just say I come here often. This is one of my favorite restaurants. The food is great and the wine selection is outstanding. Same goes for the service."
"I take it you're a fan of French cuisine then?" Thina enquired.
"Yes, as matter of fact I am. Not to say I eat here all the time. A lot but not all the time. I work just up the road so it's also perfect for meetings with clients."
"What's funny?" asked Eric.
"The business meetings here would be just before hitting the strip clubs right....where the other client 'meetings' take place?"
It was Erik's turn to chuckle, "Hey, who told you about that?"
"Erik, I've been working with your company for years, I know how you boys play."
"Well, honestly...yes, that does happen but not all the time. Sometimes." Quickly changing the subject Erik added "Seriously you'll love the food here. And if you ever need an 'urgent' reservation here, let me know. I'll organize. Same if you want a tour of the underground wine cellar...only for special customers."
"Impressive," said Thina.
Eric winked, tilted his head back and with a satisfied grin blurted "Who's your daddy?" They both burst out laughing as the same time. Thina was in stitches.
"Oh my word, did you really just say that? Are you like stuck in 1998 or something? Very corny Erik."
"Terrible, I know," Erik replied.
A few heads around them turned in their direction. After trying her best to settle down and failing, Thina replied "Denny. Crane."
It took Erik only a second to catch up -- she was replying to his 'who's your daddy.'
"Aha, so you're a Denny Crane fan. Great character, superb show."
"I'm a big fan," Thina replied. "I have the entire series on DVD."
"Confess, how many times have you watched them?"
"Actually...promise you won't laugh..." Thina said slowly.
"I promise I wont laugh Thina."
"Ok, I just can't force myself to watch the last disc. It's like I don't want the show to end...I've been putting it off for almost a month now."
"Really? Wow, that's..." Erik burst out laughing.
"Ok, ok, ok I know it's stupid but I just can't. Hey, you said you wouldn't laugh at me."
"No, it's not stupid. It's natural not to want a good thing to end. Happens all the time. Like I don't want tonight to end."
He realized what he'd just said and was going to change the topic when the waiter appeared.
Dinner was going well for both of them. The anxieties that both had before were gone.
Erik was at ease around her and she seemed to be the same. She laughed at his silly jokes, and would occasionally lean over the table just a bit when she has something equally silly to say. Thina was having a ball. Underneath all that 'serious banker' exterior was a man who was funny, not afraid to laugh at his own expense, loved movies and books as much as she did, was a gentleman, was proud of his roots, a keen biker and traveler. Plus the food was not so itsy bitty after all. At least not what she'd ordered.
They spoke about everything under the sun: starting by asking each other if the other was seeing anyone -- they both declared that they were single. They also spoke about their families, work, hobbies, childhood memories, bad habits, and friends. They both found out that they were both not originally from Johannesburg but had moved there for studying and thereafter, work.
Erik told Thina about his career in finance which started when he was twenty-one years old and how, after sixteen years in banking and investments he still loved what he did. He also told her funny and wonderful stories about his childhood on his parents' farm, where he and his two brothers were born and raised. And as he recalled to her how he was raised to be proud of his Afrikaaner heritage. Then silently thought of how both his parents would have heart attacks if they heard one of their sons was dating a black woman.
Thina told Erik about her family: her sisters, brother, niece, nephew and parents. She had grown up in the east coast of South Africa. Due to the past political system in South Africa, the environment Thina grew up in was practically foreign to Erik and his curiosity kept getting the better of him as he asked question after question about her upbringing. Growing up, the only black people he knew were the help on his parents' farm. As an adult, his entire team, which included a couple of black guys, went for drinks after work once in a while. And that was it if you didn't count the cleaning lady who cleaned his house twice a week.
Other than her upbringing Thina also told him how, during her last semester at university she had tried, unsuccessfully. to find part-time work in the advertising industry and had resorted to volunteering her services to a very small agency where she worked for three afternoons a week until two months later when she started earning a bit of money for her hard work. After graduating she had worked with another advertising agency for a year before moving to her current job. She also told him about her part-time post-grad studies.
Erik, who had been worried about her age, guessed her at about twenty-five from all the information she had shared. This made her a bit younger than the women he preferred to date.
As they sat across each other eating, talking and laughing, Thina could not help but notice things about Erik that she had missed the first time they'd met. She noted that they grey of his eyes was almost transparent, especially when he smiled or laughed. She also noticed that his upper body was quite well defined. Just remembering how it had felt when he held her in his arms brought a tingling feeling.
All along their conversation, Erik had to restrain himself from kissing her. Everything about her was sexy to him. She was also one of the most determined women he'd come across in a while and at the same time he sensed a certain vulnerability about her. Plus, he got hard just by looking at her - her full lips were begging to be kissed, her skin glowed under the lights and he was literally getting lost in thought in her dark brown eyes that seemed to change shape and dance when she got excited by conversation.
Eventually, not being able to contain himself any longer, as she leaned into the table a bit to tell him something funny, he also leaned in and kissed her. The kiss wasn't as hungry as their first kiss. It was quick yet more tender. As soon as their lips parted, they both knew they were in trouble. The way their bodies reacted to it was beyond anything they had expected. It awakened more desire in them. Erik no longer just itched to continue where they left off at the parking lot last week, but also felt an unfamiliar feeling; a need to take in more of her, to discover more.
Thina could literally feel her wetness seep out of her body onto her underwear with each passing second. Her knees got weak even though she was sitting down and she had to hold on tight to the sides of her chair to keep herself from sliding from it and ending up under the table. As Erik retracted to his seat Thina quickly glanced around, becoming aware that they'd attracted a few stares. She quickly recovered, smiled and said:
"This random kissing in public places is becoming a habit," she said.
With lust completely taken over him, he blurted: "We could kiss randomly elsewhere. I mean I...I enjoy your company and...I...I'd like-"
"Elsewhere sounds good. But honestly I think its best if we called it a night." Thina replied.
As much she really wanted to take their kissing elsewhere, she was not going to. Given the way things had happened tonight she didn't trust herself not to end up going beyond just kissing him. Too damn soon, she reasoned.
Eric wasn't expecting her to want to end their date at that particular moment but he agreed, so he asked to the bill.
Moments later, next to Thina's car, Erik had her in his arms for yet another kiss. This one wasn't random. It came and felt natural. It was the kiss of two people who liked each other, had a good time, had shared a bottle and half of wine, enjoyed each other's company and wanted to see more of each other. After what seemed like eternity they parted. After Thina fished out her car keys from her purse, Eric took them from her hand, disarmed the car alarm and opened the door fro her.
"Goodnight Thina. I reaaaaaaaally had a great time."
"Me too Eric."
"Call me when you get home ok. Want to know if you got home safely."
"Will do, goodnight."
With that Eric slowly closed her car door, watched her start her car and drive away.
Only when he couldn't see her car anymore did he start walking towards his own car.
Twenty minutes later, just as Eric was driving into his garage, his phone rang. Thinking it was Thina he smiled as he put the device to his ear.
"Erik, it's been three weeks. I miss you. Fancy some naughty fun tonight?" said a sultry voice.
"Fuck it!" Erik thought before actually he replied...