They Just Click Ch. 04-05byhugs_and_kisses©
Jake woke up the next morning with two things on his mind. First thing he thought of when he opened his eyes was Erikah; her smile, her voice, the feel of her hand in his when they had walked on the beach Saturday night. It all made him smile. It had been a long time since he'd had a woman affect him the way she already had. The not knowing of it made him a little nervous.
The other, his job; he hadn't really decided what he wanted to do, if he was going to stay in what seemed like a dead end job for the security of it or if he wanted to try it on his own. He believed if he could get a couple more jobs like Johnathan's gallery and establish a reputation he could make it work. Those thoughts and the realization of having to go to the office and face his boss took care of the smiles from thinking of her.
He went to his kitchen and started the coffee before he showered quickly. He had overslept a little so he didn't have time for the long shower he wanted. He dressed in his usual shirt and tie, filled a mug and grabbed his briefcase before heading out the door to the bus stop. His mind was so occupied with thinking about his career on the ride to the office that he almost missed getting off at his stop.
As he walked into the office, everyone was gathered around Mr. Anderson's secretary's desk with concerned looks on their faces. He walked up and listened to a portion of the conversation. Apparently the boss's wife had been in an accident over the weekend and she was laid up at home. The boss was taking a couple of days off to take care of her, which brought a small sigh of relief from Jake. The situation would give him an extra couple of days to think things over.
His relief was slightly short lived when he got to his desk and checked his voice mail. There was a message from his boss saying that he wanted to talk to him first thing Wednesday morning, along with a large stack of things that needed to be taken care of before then. More menial tasks that could easily be done by someone with less expertise but his boss thought was good enough for him to do.
He spent a large portion of his morning on the phone with customers who had been expecting a call from Mr. Anderson. Most were not happy that Jake was the one calling instead of Mr. Anderson so he was forced to take the verbal lashings and try to calm them down.
Just before lunch his phone rang. He looked at the display and saw it was Nina, Mr. Anderson's secretary. He paused for a moment before picking it up, knowing there was only one reason she'd be buzzing him.
"This is Jake," he said with some disgust when he finally picked it up.
"Mr. Anderson is on the line and asked to speak to you, and he sounds grumpy," Nina said with a little sympathy in her voice.
With that, the next thing he heard was a little beep and suddenly he was getting an ear full. Mr. Anderson had called to make sure he was doing what he had left for him to do and not spending the day working on his own stuff. Jake reassured him he was working his way through the call list and would be through it by mid-afternoon and then he was going to work on the paper work.
"Fine," was all Mr. Anderson said before hanging up.
"Asshole," Jake muttered as he stared at the phone before placing it not so gently in its cradle.
He took out his cell phone and had Erikah's number on the display ready to dial it before he knew what he was doing. He decided not to call her even though he knew the sound of her voice was all it would take to lighten his mood. He didn't want to seem pushy.
As soon as Erikah woke up she remembered the little message Jake had left on her answering machine the night before. She smiled as she cuddled into her pillow, holding it tight. She was a little unsure of where this new found friendship would lead, but she was sure she wanted to see it through. Yawning she glanced over at the clock and decided it was time to get up.
She got up, grabbed her robe and slipped it on. As she walked to her kitchen to start her coffee, she walked past her answering machine and before she knew it, had pushed the play button; again listening to his message as she kept walking.
Erikah headed back towards the shower and stopped by the machine again. Her hand instinctively went for the play button, but her mind caught up with her before she actually pushed it. "Come on girl, get it together," she said softly to herself as her finger rested lightly on the play button.
Then she headed to the bathroom. There were several hours before she had to meet a new client at her studio and decided a long bath was what she needed instead of a shower. She stripped off her soft satin robe and then removed her cute silk pj's. When the tub was full Erikah slowly lowered herself into the hot bubbly water. She laid her head back on her soft bath pillow and let her eyes drift closed.
Soon her mind was wandering down a path filled with images of Jake. Her hands started to move over her body. Slowly they slid up her sides and up her neck, down her chest, cupping a breast in each, toying with her nipples as she imagined that touch being his. That it was his strong hands cupping her, toying with her hardened nipples. She traced light lines down her tummy with her manicured finger nails to the soft folds of her pussy.
It was then her eyes snapped open as she let out a little whimper of pleasure. Had she just been, with thoughts of Jake? Her body cried out its protest as she stopped her touch with this realization. Her hands quickly covered her face. "Oh my god, what is wrong with you?" she said to herself as her head slipped under the water.
She stepped from the tub and dried herself before going to her bedroom to dress. She picked out a pink lace bra and matching thong. Slipped them on and put on her usual low rise jeans and a soft red t-shirt over them, and finished the look with her suede boots. She pulled her hair back into a pony tail before heading to the kitchen for her coffee and then out the door.
Her first client of the day was a young mother named Debbie. It seemed Debbie wanted pictures of her toddler for the little girls first birthday. Erikah was a little hesitant to even do the sitting.
"I don't see many children's portraits," the woman said as she looked at some of the portraits and candid photos hanging on the walls of the studio after Erikah introduced herself and told her to take a look around.
"I don't do a ton of photos of children, most of my portraits are of adults," Erikah said a little sheepishly hoping it wouldn't turn the woman away.
"Can I see some of the ones you have done, or maybe some more of your adult work?" she asked with a smile
Erikah brought out a couple of her portfolio books letting the woman thumb through them. "These are amazing," she said softly. It was obvious there was more on the woman's mind than just having her daughter's picture taken.
"Um, I don't know exactly how to ask you this," the woman said trying to avoid making eye contact. "Well since I had Jen, I haven't exactly felt attractive. Do you do, um, any adult portraits? Ones that might show me off in a more attractive manner, help me to get my confidence back?" she asked as her cheeks matched the color of Erikah's t-shirt.
Erikah smiled at the woman, she understood that feeling as she had many clients that felt that way. She stood, holding her hand out to her. "Come with me," she said leading the woman into another room. "I don't display these for obvious reasons," she said laying a couple of portfolios in front of her. As she thumbed trough the books, the woman's face changed expressions several times from smiles to what appeared to be embarrassment. She knew some of the photos were more risqué but they still had the class of her other photographs.
"These are amazing Erikah. This is exactly what I was thinking of," she said with a smile as she was finally able to make eye contact. "What does something like this cost?"
"It varies Debbie. Depending on how many outfits you want and what kind of prints you want. If you're really interested, I can set up some sort of package deal for you. Work something out with pictures of Jen and what you want," Erikah said with a smile as they went back to her office to discuss the pricing. They worked out all the details and got an appointment set just in time for Erikah's next client.
She had two other appointments for the day. Once they were finished, mid afternoon, she grabbed her camera bag and headed out. She had decided it was too beautiful of a day to not take some pictures of the city.
Jake's afternoon was very similar to his morning, including the phone call from his boss checking up on him. He couldn't remember a day when he was so glad for it to be over. As he headed out of the building, he called his college friend Alex and told him, not asked him, to meet him at the quiet pub around the corner. He even warned him that it was going to be a venting situation with the day he'd had.
They sat a corner table and before they could even order their first drinks, Jake started venting about his day and how much of an ass his boss was. There seemed to be no end for the use of words Jake was using.
"You need to make the break," Alex said encouraging Jake to go on his own. Of all Jake's friends, Alex was the most supportive of the idea and didn't hide how he felt about it. He had the right, Mr. Anderson was his uncle and he knew what kind of man he was.
"I know, but it's not easy to give up the guaranteed income and the benefits. After today, I've pretty much decided I'm at the very least going to look for a different job. This one's going to give me ulcers or something," Jake said with a chuckle at the last part.
Erikah spent the remainder of her day taking some pictures of the people and the scenery in Central Park. It was a beautiful day which brought out a lot of people. Mothers with their children, business people with their laptops or blackberries, lovers strolling on the paths, the usual crowds. The sunlight filtering through the trees made some great photo opportunities.
She filled memory card after memory card through the day and was shocked when she filled the last one she had with her. She was in a zone and the pictures almost took themselves. It was when she was in these zones that some of her best work appeared, including the pictures that Jake had bought.
Erikah smiled as she thought of him. She had really been so consumed today she hadn't given him too much thought. She found an empty bench and sat so she could pack her camera and organize the memory sticks before heading back to her studio to see what was on them.
As if it was some sort of signal, a couple walked past her holding hands and laughing with each other. As they passed, the girl's eyes caught Erikah's; the girl bent her head slightly with a big smile as they both blushed. For some reason Erikah was happy for them, and she couldn't lie to herself, she wanted the same thing.
She smiled, seeming to be lost in her little day dream before shaking it off and finishing packing away her camera. She stood and walked back towards her studio, stopping to get a cup of coffee on her way. She walked in and couldn't help but smile when she saw Cassie in line at the counter.
She walked up to her quietly, knowing how ticklish her friends was, began tickling her ribs. Cassie let out a squeak and laughter soon followed as she turned around.
"Hey Cass, what brings you to this part of town?" she asked as they hugged.
"Hey girl, I'm just running a couple of errands for the boss. You know how that goes, oh wait, no you don't." Cassie said teasing Erikah about being her own boss.
"Got time to sit, or are you in a rush?" Erikah asked as they got to the counter and got their coffee.
"Sorry girl, I gotta keep going. But hey, if you're up to it, Roni and I are going out for a little while tonight, why don't you come along?" Cassie said really wanting her to go along.
"I don't know. I have a bunch of pictures to look at; I filled like eight memory sticks this afternoon. You know me; I can't just leave 'em sit. Next time though I definitely will go with you," Erikah said as they walked out the door and hugged goodbye.
After a couple of Jack on the rocks the two of them decided they needed some food. As their waitress brought their food, Jake heard the door open and looked up noticing Veronica and Cassie walk in and head to the bar. As they were waiting for their drinks, Cassie looked around the bar and caught Jake's eye, smiled and waved.
Knowing that Alex didn't know about his meeting Erikah, Jake smiled. "I'll make a bet with you," he said. "See those two women at the bar?" Alex looked up and just nodded. "I'll bet you the next round of drinks I can get them to sit with us."
"You're on buddy," Alex said with a smile, knowing Jake wasn't usual the ladies man. "I'll even make it more interesting, if you're up to it, the first one to get one of their phone numbers gets treated to dinner by the other." he said with a wink.
Jake chuckled. "Deal," was all he said as he stood and walked to the bar.
He walked up between Roni and Cassie. "Fancy seeing you two here," he said softly with a smile as he put an arm around each.
"Hey Jake, what're you doing here?" Roni asked with a smile.
"I'm just having dinner with a friend. Actually, we just made a little bet, and I'll buy your drinks for the night if you guys are willing to play along," he said with a devilish grin.
"Depends on the bet," Cassie said teasing him.
"Well, first off, we bet a round of drinks that I could get the two of you to come and sit with us, and then he upped the bet by challenging me to get your phone numbers. The winner gets treated to dinner by the loser. You game," he said with a wink.
Cassie looked at Roni and they both agreed to it. They took their drinks and followed Jake to the table, sitting in the two empty chairs and introduced themselves to Alex.
"Looks like I owe you a drink," Alex said with a questioning glance, wondering what Jake could have said to get them to come to the table.
The conversation was light as the girls did a wonderful job acting like they had never met Jake. They talked about what they did for a living, what they liked to do in their spare time, lightly touched on relationships, the usual small talk like four people who had just met. A couple of times, Alex tried to get their numbers, and the girls politely ignored his requests.
"Well ladies, I have a long day tomorrow and the Jack is starting to hit me," Jake said a little sheepishly when the evening appeared to winding down.
"That's too bad. We'd really like to get together with you again sometime Jake," Roni said with a wink as she took out a pen and a piece of paper. She wrote down her number and handed it to Cassie to do the same, which she did before handing it to Jake.
"Sounds great, I'll definitely give you a call," Jake said as he tucked the paper into his shirt pocket, noticing the look on Alex's face. "Sorry buddy," he said with a chuckle.
"Jake, could you walk us to a taxi?" Cassie asked as he stood.
"It would be my pleasure," he said and held a hand to each of them. They each took an arm and the three of them walked out the door leaving the check for their dinner to Alex.
"That was evil ... I like that side of you," Roni said to him as they hit the sidewalk.
"I'll email him tomorrow and explain it to him," Jake said with a laugh as he flagged down a taxi for the girls. Before they got in, they each gave him a kiss on the cheek for effect.
As the taxi pulled away, Cassie pulled out her phone. "I absolutely have to call Erikah," she said as the phone dialed. The phone rang several times and Cassie was about to leave a cryptic voice mail when Erikah finally answered.
"Hey Cass, I thought you and Roni were out terrorizing all the single men in New York," Erikah teased.
"We are, well, were. We're calling it a night. I hope you're having fun with your pictures, because you just missed one of the most interesting nights in a long time," Cass said.
After several back and forth's between them and Erikah finally almost begging Cassie to tell her about it, Cassie spilled her story about their evening. "One of these times you'll learn to come out with us, even if it is a week night," she said teasing Erikah.
The little recap of the night brought up a ton of questions in Erikah's mind. Did Jake hit on either of them? How much did he flirt with them? What he was like when he was with his friends? The list went on and on. Cassie put her phone on speaker much to the annoyance of the driver so Roni could help her field Erikah's barrage of questions.
"Sweetie, don't worry, he was a perfect gentleman. All he did was set his friend up. A little flirting was needed to do it, but we all knew it was for show. You know which one of us he wants to get to know better," Roni said playfully.
Erikah let out a small sigh as she hung up the phone and went back to her pictures. She soon realized though that the act was pointless. All she could think about was Jake. She was a little surprised at herself as she realized part of what she was thinking and feeling was envy. She was really wishing she had gone with the girls and had waited with her pictures.
She turned on her TV and started watching an episode of her favorite paranormal show and realized it was one she hadn't seen yet. After watching back to back episodes, she decided a long soak in the tub was in order. Her feet were a little tired from the afternoon journey in Central Park.
She walked to her bedroom and slowly undressed, wrapping herself in her soft satin robe that was like a second skin and headed for her tub. Erikah started the water and dumped in some bath beads before turning to the mirror to pull her hair up. She then reached for her radio and turned on some soft music to help her relax. Turning off the water, she undid her robe and was about to take it off when she heard her phone ring.
She debated about answering it, but she decided she had better and retied her robe. Quickly she walked down the hall to her phone. She didn't even bother to check the caller id, just answered the call.
After getting the girls into the taxi, Jake turned to start towards his apartment. Alex was just leaving the restaurant.
"Alright, how did you pull that one off?" Alex asked with a chuckle.
"I was going to wait until tomorrow to tell you, but since you asked, I knew them before they walked in the pub. I met them at the gallery opening Thursday night. They are friends of an artist I bought some work from," Jake said with a smile big enough and bright enough to light the world.
"There's something you're not telling me. I know you to well not to see it," Alex said.
"Well, this time you're wrong," Jake said, wanting to tell him everything, but not sure exactly how to explain Erikah. There was still too much of that relationship he didn't understand himself.
"I'm parked in here," Alex said as they walked to the front of the parking garage Alex's car was in.
"Cool. Sorry about tricking you like that, but you started it with upping the bet. I owe you a dinner," Jake said as he waved goodbye and kept heading toward the bus stop to take him home.
He rounded the corner in time to see the bus pulling away from the stop and looked at his watch. He stopped on the street for a moment as he realized how late it actually was. He looked around for a taxi, not seeing one he started walking. "Good thing it's a beautiful night," he thought to himself.
Jake walked a few blocks before a taxi happened by. He flagged it down, got in, gave his address and settled in for the ride home. He stared out the window as he rode, thinking about her ... her smile, her voice, her hair, everything about her.