tagRomanceThey Just Click Ch. 02

They Just Click Ch. 02

byhugs_and_kisses©

Erikah walked into the gallery with her friends and couldn't help but look the place over. She had been there during the day to help hang the couple of pictures of hers that were on display, but the place looked completely different at night. The lighting was adjusted, falling on the various photographs just right. Plus, the place was now overflowing with people, which always helped.

"Erikah, why didn't you tell us?" Veronica said teasingly as she was the first to spot Erikah's pictures.

"What are you talking ... Wow! In such a high traffic spot too," said Cassie as she saw the pictures, her eyes widening a little at the location of them.

"That's wonderful," was all Natalie said as the all-girls group hugged before going over to the display.

Erikah smiled as she watched her three best friends admiring her work. They had been her biggest supporters through the rough times when she was first getting started with her art and now they were just as proud that she was finally getting the recognition she deserved. Sure, this was only the beginning, but it signaled so many wonderful new opportunities for her. Her friends knew that, too, and they were so happy for her.

"All right you three, lets look around. We've got to stop blocking everyone's view," Erikah said teasingly. She was trying to get her friends to stop making such a big deal about her pictures. Compliments about them always made her a little funny; she was just too shy about her photographs. Then she chuckled to herself as she noticed that there were only a couple of people looking at them anyway.

"You know I need to find one of those cute guys with the champagne," she said quietly to Veronica as they walked away.

***

Jake was wandering the gallery looking at the photographs, trying to find something for his apartment. He wanted something professional that he could proudly hang on the wall, not like the amateur pictures that he had taken.

He walked around a corner as four ladies walked away from a display giggling to each other. The giggling was with a dignified air, not the little school girl giggles he hated so much. Walking over he looked at the pictures they had just left. The first thing that went through his mind was how amazing they were. Something he could not pinpoint made them stand out far above the others he had seen.

"I'm going to have to ask Johnathan about these," he said to himself softly as he sipped his champagne, staring at the pictures.

"See anything you like gorgeous?" he heard just as he was about to walk away. Looking over his shoulder, he saw Johnathan.

"I was just thinking about you...," Jake said pausing for effect. "What can you tell me about these photos?" he asked, pointing to the pictures in front of them.

"And here I thought you were thinking about me, not just some silly pictures," Johnathan said with a mock hurt to his voice, knowing Jake was 100 percent straight. "What I can tell you is that you just missed the artist. Her and her wonderful friends were here not two minutes ago. She's new and I must say she has an amazing future ahead of her," Johnathan said, laying his hand lightly on Jakes arm "Would you like to meet her?"

Johnathan took Jake by the arm and started leading him through the gallery before Jake had a chance to agree or disagree.

***

"Erikah darling ..." Johnathan proclaimed as he walked up to the ladies, dropping Jake's arm and kissing a strikingly beautiful woman on the cheek. "I have someone you simply must meet," he said motioning to Jake. "This gorgeous man is Jake Roberts, he is the architect behind this behemoth of a gallery," he said teasing Jake as Erikah moved near him.

As Erikah turned, she gave the man a quick once over. He looked familiar, but she couldn't quite figure out why or where she might have seen him. There was just that something about him. It was something that seemed to pull to her and make her want to know more.

The first thing Jake noticed as she turned was her eyes. The color was unlike any he had seen before. They were dark and yet so full of life and beauty. They showed like emeralds in the gallery lighting. It reminded him of the Emerald City. He couldn't take his eyes from her. The woman's hair, her face, it was all pure beauty.

"Jake, this is Erikah James. She is the artist who took the pictures you were asking about," Johnathan said with a smile as he saw the look on Jake's face and knew what he was thinking.

The two shook hands politely and Jake felt a twinge run up his arm at the contact. It shook him out of his stupor enough he could actually talk. "Your pictures are amazing. Can I ask for details about them?" he inquired. It took that moment for him to compose himself. The biggest problem was that he knew he had blushed; a pretty woman did that to him and he had never seen one quite like her. In that moment he hoped to God she hadn't noticed.

"Of course you can," Erikah said with a smile. She noticed the slight change of color in his cheeks. It was nice to know she wasn't the only one affected by the meeting. She then proceeded to tell him a little bit about where they had been taken, what some of the surroundings were, nothing too detailed, just the basics.

Their conversation continued as they sipped champagne, finally agreeing on a price and that she would deliver them the following Tuesday. Jake had mentioned plans with some friends and Erikah had her own plans that weekend. It just worked out better for them both.

Jake took out one of his cards and wrote his address on the back and handed it to her. "Let me know what time you can deliver them. Any time after six is the best for me with work and all. I hope that isn't a problem."

"No, it's not a problem at all. Shall we say seven, just to be safe?" she replied as she noticed the address on the card. "Manhattan," she thought, "He must be doing okay," and tucked the card into her purse and the group parted ways.

***

Jake wandered around for the remainder of the evening, occasionally seeing Erikah and her friends, chatting lightly with them as they looked at some of the same artwork. Much to Johnathan's disappointment, though, he skipped the after party. He knew he had to work the next day and didn't want to go in with any kind of hangover.

When he got home he couldn't help but think about her, the woman from whom he bought the photographs. He knew he wouldn't be able to sleep right away, so he looked around his apartment and tried to figure out the best places to hang the pictures. When he had decided, he went to bed. He was pleased to have finally found the exact pieces he had been seeking.

The next morning when he arrived at work, he was called into his boss's office. His boss told him to sit and simply pointed to a chair. Jake could tell by the look in his eyes that he was not happy. He never understood his boss or anything the old man did.

"I'd like to hear your explanation for this," Mr. Anderson said gruffly as he flipped a portion of the days' Times at him.

Jake picked it up and looked. His jaw almost dropped to the floor when he saw a picture of himself with Johnathan at last nights opening, the caption proclaiming him as the brilliant up and coming architect behind the new gallery. He hadn't even realized anyone was going to be there from the paper. Yet the more he thought about the more he smiled to himself. Perhaps this was the push he needed.

"Well sir, I think it pretty much explains itself. Yes, I did design Johnathan's new gallery," Jake said defiantly. He was getting more and more tired of being treated like an educated flunky every day. It was time he stood his ground.

"Jake, I think you need to take a serious look at your future, whether you want to work here or not. I expect your complete attention when you are in this office. If you are trying to do work on your own, then I don't think I'm getting everything I need from you. Now if you would please go try to accomplish something useful for the company," Mr. Anderson said abruptly, ending the conversation.

Jake fumed as he walked back to his desk. He didn't stop to chat with anyone like he normally did. Right now, he was glad his Fridays work day ended at noon. He sat for a moment, thinking, when an idea came to him. He called one of his friends he was supposed to hang out with and take photos of the city and told him he was going to get out of town for the weekend. Then he called his friend with the place in the Hamptons to make sure the open invitation to his beach house was still good.

The morning seemed to drag on as he couldn't wait to get out of the hell that his job had become. When noon finally rolled around he almost ran from the building to the bus stop, timing it perfectly. He never drove his car to work because parking was atrocious and the bus dropped him off about a block from his apartment building. Besides all of that, he enjoyed walking and the fresh air.

As soon as he got in the door he quickly threw some clothes in a bag, changed into a light shirt and khaki shorts, and headed to the parking garage. Jake was barely able to control his excitement of getting away for the weekend. Heading from the garage he turned on his Sirius and settled into the soft leather seat for the drive heading down the 495.

When he saw the signs for Hampton Bays, he decided he needed a cup of coffee and pulled over in front of a little shop. He stopped there quite often and everyone seemed to know him. They made a great latte and weren't overly expensive like some places.

***

Erikah and her friends decided to go to the after party and she was slightly disappointed that Jake wasn't there. She was hoping to talk to him in a little more relaxed environment to try to figure out where she might have seen him before. At least that way she could maybe understand her draw to the man.

She had a few drinks and graciously accepted the compliments she received from some of the people who had been at the opening. They commented not only on the quality of her work but also on how fast they had sold. The night went quickly and she soon found herself walking into her apartment well into the wee hours of the morning. It was a good thing she didn't have to work. Her friends had convinced her to celebrate by taking the weekend off and go with them to the Hamptons.

She quickly undressed and slipped into bed. Erikah drifted off to sleep thinking about her weekend in the sun and for some reason thinking about the man who had bought her pictures. Both thoughts brought a small smile to her lips as she faded off into a peaceful abyss.

The sunlight streaming through her window woke her and she was glad she hadn't drunk too much the night before. Sitting up, she stretched and realized how tired she was when she got home. She hadn't even bothered to change from her lace panties and bra into a nightie. Not that it was a big deal, it just surprised her and she chuckled.

Erikah went into her kitchen and turned on the coffee pot before jumping into the shower while it brewed. The hot water did an amazing job of washing away the lack of sleep. She started to think about what to pack for the weekend. There was the new hot pink bikini that had been delivered the day before; it was a definite take-along piece. The rest, she thought, would just fall into place.

She pulled her hair back into a ponytail and dressed in a light green sundress before packing her clothes, finishing just as her cell phone rang. It was Veronica announcing they were there to pick her up. It was just like her friends to give her a second's notice. She threw the strap of her bag over her shoulder and headed down to the car.

The four girls talked and joked on their drive, enjoying the sunshine with the top to Veronica's convertible down. The trip seemed to fly by and soon they were pulling over in front of the little coffee shop that seemed to be a staple of their trips before heading to the beach house.

***

When Jake stepped to the counter, he heard a woman's laugh that sounded familiar. He wasn't quite sure why, it just struck his mind and lingered there making him search out its source. He placed his order and then turned slightly looking around the little shop. That's when he saw her.

Her back was to him, but he knew. She was already burned into his brain and he'd only met her briefly. It could have been her hair or even because he recognized her friends. Jake seemed to think it was something else, well hell, he hoped there was something else.

"Don't look now hun, but I think your newest customer is on his way to our table," Veronica said softly to Erikah with a devilish grin on her face.

"Erikah, what a surprise to see you here," Jake said politely as she turned, hoping he wasn't interrupting their conversation.

"Hi Jake, I didn't know the Hamptons were your plans for the weekend," she said in reply as she offered him a seat.

They talked for a little bit about how Jake's original plans had changed and how they were both staying at friends' beach houses for the weekend. It was just general light conversation until Jake looked at his watch. He had to get moving if he wanted to be there at his expected arrival time.

"Well, I really need to get going, my friends are expecting me and they hate it when I'm late," he said as he stood and took her hand in his. "Maybe we'll see each other sometime over the weekend." A smile crossed his lips and his eyes met hers.

"Let's hope so," she said softly, returning the smile.

***

Jake left the shop with that smile permanently burned into his mind once again. He knew he wouldn't be able to get her out of his head, but also knew he had to, at least for a little while, so he could think about work and what he wanted to do. He needed to remain level-headed about his future. He wanted to go off on his own but there was always that fear. He hoped this weekend would help him decide.

He drove down the highway, happy to be free of the worries of his job. The fresh air would really do his mind some good. His hands gripped the steering wheel and he thought of the beautiful photographer. Jake really hoped he would see more of her during his time here. The beach was huge but the thought of bumping into her was perfect.

In quick order, he arrived at his friends' house. They were hanging out and greeted him with high fives and hellos. It hadn't been that long since he'd hung out with the guys but it seemed like an eternity. They laughed and joked as Jake got his things from the car. He was taking his usual room just off the beach, doors opening to it so he could come and go easily.

"Hey Jake we are going to have a cookout later. Make yourself at home while we run up to get a few things. Beers in the fridge," Devon said before leaving the room.

He put some stuff away and grabbed a much needed beer. There was a hammock on the porch and he decided to take advantage of it. He had turned on some music and sunk into the hammock, just enjoying the quiet time. He let his eyes close for a moment and thought of the girl with a beautiful smile.

***

Erikah sat and watched him leave amid the teasing from her friends. Her only reply to them was, "Oh be quiet, he is cute after all."

She didn't want to admit anything right now. She had only met him and he really was just a guy that bought some photos, a client. Sure, she felt there might be more but right now it was a simple attraction. Erikah silently hoped that she would see him this weekend. It would make for an added bonus. She enjoyed talking with him, learning things.

Soon the girls decided to head to the house. It wasn't much farther and so the trip was quick. The girls piled out of the convertible and into the house. Soon there was music and a nice breeze blowing in as Erikah hung up her things in the bedroom.

"So you ready for the beach there girlie," asked Cassie, eying the bikini.

"Let me change and we'll go," she said and then they were all on their way to stick their toes in the sand.

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