She was going to take the train home, but instead decided on a cab. She was tired after all. She ignored the cab's tv that flashed snippets of the news stating that the world leaders were meeting up somewhere. She didn't know, nor did she care. It crossed her mind that she should, but to her, the government was being lead by a gaggle of kakistocracies so why bother? She ignored the screen and listened more closely to her mom update her on the latest family drama. This week’s production was about cousin Pat's (soon to be) ex husband's mawkish plea, to inveigled himself into her heart, after she walked into their bedroom and found him having sex with...another man. SCAN-DA-LOUS! Jo could sympathize with what her cousin was going through. Her mom was such a good story teller, that she couldn't help but laugh at her commentary of the tale. Laughter was good medicine right? Scuttlebutt is so much the norm in her family, that she could only imagine how the story was being twisted by others by now.
As she approached her building on 2nd Street and East Houston, she interrupted her mom, told her she loved her and bid her a good night. Jo knew if she entered the building while still talking to her mom, she wouldn't be off the phone any time soon. Even though she may not answer her calls immediately, it's these simple conversations that kept her grounded.
She paid the cab driver and exited. Walking the little distance from the street to her building, the doorman had the door already opened, he greeted her with a smile.
"Good evening Ms. J."
"Good evening Dave and thank you. How are you? How are the girls?
He beamed. "They're well. I'm well. Thanks for asking."
"Was it Samantha who had the spelling bee competition coming up?"
His smile brighten even more. "Yes, yes it was. It was yesterday and she came in second place!"
"That's our girl!" She was elated. There's nothing wrong with coming in second place. She did well.
"Thanks for remembering Ms. J."
"Of course, of course."
"You have a wonderful evening now, Ms. J."
"You too. Be safe. Kiss the girls for me and say hello to your wife for me."
Continuing on into the lobby, the grey walls gave the entrance a clean, crisp look. The security desk, manned at all times by two guards was a mixture of stainless steel and wood. There was also a seating area for guests and residents. She waved hello to the two security guards, one of whom opened the turnstile for her so she wouldn't have to use her building id card. Stepping into the elevator, she pressed the top floor for her condo. Once the doors opened up, she exited, disarmed the alarm and let herself in. She loved that she was the only person on the floor. Even though the floor boasted another apartment, she owned that one also. That apartment was for when she privately saw clients.
She breathed a sigh of relief and thanked God for arriving home safely. Kicking off her shoes, she picked them up with one hand and walked bare feet to her huge walk in closet and turned on the light. Every time she walked in she remembered living in her studio apartment, having on her vision board a picture of a large closet, à la Carrie Bradshaw's in the Sex and the City movie. Actually, only a stone throw away from where she currently lived. It may seem so mundane, or materialistic, but it's something she had always wanted. She too had hers built to her specifications just like Mr. Big did for Carrie. Jo had her own Mr. Big. It was her ex actually and people called him Biggs. He owns his own construction company and she had called him up for the job. There was a little bit of a snag with the building manager, but Biggs' business savvy made her dream happen. Ever other place she resided in contained a miniscule cupboard that was meant for a closet. The price, she guessed, you had to pay for living in New York. This closet was a treat for herself. She didn't need a car or expensive jewelry, she just wanted a huge closet, and he built it for her.
The closet was actually a team effort involving herself, Mellissa and Biggs. Jo explained what she wanted and Mellissa (self-proclaimed queen of DIY, directing/ordering people and spending other people’s money) complied a few ideas and Jo then signed off on what she liked. Biggs added his own additions and built it. She wanted to walk in the closet and feel as though she was swept away to an oasis. Mellissa decided to incorporate a small boutique look, something that you may pass in SoHo; definitely a success. All her things were on display and there was a place for everything; her clothes, her different coats and dresses, bags, shoes, jewelry, scarves, and even her perfumes. It even featured clear draw dividers so her sunglasses, gloves, belts and the sorts lived in perfect harmony in their own separate compartments. The vastness of that closet was one of the greatest luxury for her. All her beautiful belongings were behind glass doors, allowing her favorite pieces to be visible. The added barrier exuded a lavish feel, which accented the boutique theme. Mell also included canvas storage bins to store out of season clothing and to keep the closet clutter free. The closet even boasted a window, built with the thought in mind to keep the clothes out of direct sunlight. The window was a very nice touch, she loved it. The closet was expansive enough to have room for everything. Biggs added gold accents, which looked marvelous against the creamy-white furnishings. The curtains, white with gold trimmings tied the entire room together.
She placed her sandals where they belonged and left her bag on the chaise and sat down. It was a very, very long day. At least she had finally decided on the paint colors for the studio, now, all she needed to do was get her hands dirty and get it painted. There is, always the option to hire professionals to accomplish this, but she wanted to be very much a part of this project and, if in the process she could save some hard earned money, she will. Renji, of course, offered to help. After making certain he understood that he would not be paid, she graciously accepted his offer. He just laughed and replied “okay”. She smiled remembering his laugh. He had such a sexy laugh, actually, everything about him was so damn sexy. And even though they were working, time seemed to pass quickly and effortlessly when they were together. It made her wonder if they weren't discussing work if the same thing would occur. Would time just...pass on by?
She eventually stood and began removing her clothes. Oops there goes her shirt up over her head, oh my. She remembered that 2002 Tweet song and decided it needed to be played. She took her cell from the bag and walked to the living room to her music system and brought the song up, put it on replay and tossed the cell on the couch. As the song came on, she started swaying her hips to the music. Tweet's voice came on: "I'll tell ya what I did last night
I came home, say around a quarter to three;
Still so high, hypnotized;
In a trance, from his body;
So buttery brown and tantalizing;
You would have thought I needed help with the feeling that I felt
So shook I had to catch my breath"
She was imagining Renji as she swayed her hips to the beat. It was as if Tweet was singing directly to her. She sang along with Tweet.
" Oops! There goes my shirt up over my head, oh my
Oops! There goes my skirt droppin' to my feet, oh my
Oh! Some kind of touch caressing my legs, oh my
Oh! I'm turnin' red who could this be"
She was disrobing slowly to the beat and words of the song. Her plain blue shirt was already on the floor and so were her leggings. She slowly bent forward to pick up her clothes, while wining her butt sensually as if Renji was behind her and was giving him a show. Still in time with the beat, she walked over to the laundry cabinet inside the closet. The laundry cabinet was a good way to hide dirty clothes because nothing kills a good spacious, clean organized closet better than a pile of dirty clothes. Her laundry cabinet also came with an easy to remove basket to make laundry simple. She walked back to the mirror and caught sight of her red bra and pink g string. She definitely wasn't the type to ensure her under matched. She wore whatever color she felt like wearing that day, matching underwear was just too stifling. She liked things in order but matching underwear? That's just taking it too far, in her humble opinion. She was still dancing to the song, while walking throughout the condo, catching her reflection now and then. Hmmm, could this song be considered a dithyramb? Wouldn't all songs be? She decided to look that definition up later to be sure. She giggled to herself at her random thought. The chorus was playing again by the time she walked into the master bedroom. She waved to Jeffrey, her oversized stuff teddy bear and he greeted her with a smile. Yeah she's 34, with a teddy bear. So what? She has been teased about it for years now but has paid it no mind.
Missy's part came on: (I looked over to the left)
Umm I was looking so good I couldn't reject myself - Jo looked in the mirror, body still seductively swaying and winked at herself.
(I looked over to the left)
Umm I was feeling so good I had to touch myself- She started caressing herself from her navel to her breasts.
(I looked over to the left)
Umm I was eyein my thighs butter pecan brown - "Yes Missy!!" She bellowed. Her thighs were indeed butter pecan brown and thick. She stuck a leg out and gave a slow grind, hands loosely on her waist.
(I looked over to the left)
Umm comin outta my shirt and then the skirt came down. - She watched herself in the mirror and seductively took off her thong. Yikes! She needed to shave. She laughed to, and at, herself. Finally, the day started to drain away from her.
Tweet and Missy were still keeping her company as she shaved Ms. Lady. Once completed, she went back to the living room and temporarily turned off the music. It was time to shower and she liked silence while showering. Yes, you're getting clean, but it felt almost spiritual, almost as though she was washing away all the lower vibrational energies from her aura. It was also a time where her brain sometimes replayed little things that she may have missed, or ideas may just crop up in her head. She walked into the simple, but cozy master bath and unhooked her brasserie and her DD breasts followed the law of gravity. "Ahhhh" She said aloud. It was such a relief to free them. The walls were pale blue, just a bit lighter than the blue in her bedroom. The Japanese shoji glass screens separated the tub and stall from the dressing area. The rain shower head along with the Carrara marble blue hue of the shower and floor tiles made her feel as if she was near a beach or swimming in one. She set the temperature of the water, covered her hair with a shower cap and got in.
She took this time to mentally commune with God. She thanked him for this condo. She remembered vividly living in a studio prior to the condo, and prior to that, a room in a basement, which she shared with four men. It was in this residence that one of the men pulled a gun on her that was all impetuous she needed to vacate that room. She was very grateful for where she was now. She's a writer! A WRITER! Her name was on the cover of books! Each of her books has made its way on the New York Times Bestseller list. She couldn't believe it! She went from never imagining she had any talent to learning that writing was a talent. It was a past regressionist who told her this. She felt useless as if she had no purpose in the world. People were making money from their talent and was contributing to the world and she was doing nothing, she felt so lost that year. Did she have any talent at all? She couldn't sing, play an instrument or anything artistic. She sought out a reader, some and the reader, who offers information on future events and spiritual guidance, told her that her talent was writing. Writing? How is writing a talent? Writing is something that she easily accomplished. She always wrote her essays/papers for school a few hours prior to class and always received an 'A'. English was her favorite subject, not for learning grammar, she hated grammar, but for reading the books and discussing it after. She disliked writing about it but for some reason her teachers loved it. She communicated all this to the reader and the reader gently explained that not everyone can do that and because it's so effortless to Jo why it's a talent. Look at the many writers out there. That's talent. She was so naive in her thinking that she thought everyone loved writing. Not long after that reading she was encouraged by a cousin to start a blog. The thought frightened her but with encouragement from her cousin, she asked her closest friends and they agreed that it was a good idea. She did not begin right away, turning the idea over in her head. It actually wasn't until she came across the 'Dog with a Blog' show on the Disney channel did she say, “Enough was enough”. Yes, she knew it was a program, and therefore not real, but she felt if a fake dog could have a blog then her, a real live person could. The rest is history, the blog is still going strong. After people began reading the blog, she was constantly encouraged to write a book on her life, but the thought was petrified her. Once she got over that fear, the rest is what they say was history.
So yes, lots to be thankful to God for. She was finished bathing but stayed in the shower, allowing the water to continue washing over her as she continued counting her many blessings. She was not only a writer but also a licensed massage therapist, an energy healer and owns a few businesses, but writing? Writing was her number one passion. She was able to inspire and motivate with her words and thus fulfilling part of her life purpose. Writing her books landed her this condo. It was the stepping stone that funded her other thriving businesses. She has done rather well for herself but she hasn't forgotten the journey it took to get there. Her journey still wasn't complete. Eyes closed, she lifted her chin to the ceiling and was about to mouth 'thank you Jesus' when water got into her nose and she started coughing. She once again laughed at herself. She took that as a sign to get out, she needed off her feet anyway.
After towel drying herself, she wrapped it around her and headed to the bedroom. As she walked in, her eyes caught a frame photo on the wall. It was actually the only photograph on her wall, everything else were various artworks. The photograph was of her nephew Chakeef in his Navy uniform. He was an E-4 Petty Officer Third Class (PO3). He wanted to go up the ranks to an E-6 Petty Officer First Class but once he found out he could leave the Navy early they were both for it. So he was due to come home this year and she had a bedroom designated just for him if he needed a place to crash while he situated himself back to civilian life or a place to live permanently or whatever. Mi casa es su casa. She missed him terribly and was so excited to see him! Yeah they messaged each other as much as they could but she missed having him around. He was like a son to her. A son. She suddenly became a bit saddened at the thought. She's 34 and still no signs of becoming a mom. She didn't give into the whole clock ticking thing as her family has a history of women who in their mid to late 40s have healthy children. So she wasn't worried about becoming pregnant. It was the whole finding a guy thing. Some men are so insecure these days. Place a strong, successful woman in front of them and they become threatened. She wanted someone that would understand her current financial position and not feel challenged. She needed a Stedman or Jay Z in her life, and since she was already asking for so much, she wanted him to be sexy too. Fit, not too muscular with dark brown, smooth skin. Dark mysterious eyes. Tattoos. Oh yea, tattoos are a nice bonus. Her bravery failed her anytime she even thought about getting one herself, but she admired people who did possess tattoos. To her it's art. She wanted him to have a natural scent, deep voice, taller than her. Why are you describing Renji in a roundabout way? The voice in her head asked. What? I'm not! she responded. She closed the drawer, she was rummaging in for clothes, a bit harder than necessary. She had taken out the first shirt her hands had laid on and put it on. She then walked to her fully stocked wine cooler in the kitchen and took out her favorite bottle, Asconi, and poured herself a glass. It was times like these that she wished she had her convive Mellissa. Her, Mellissa and Natasha have been a tight cliché for twenty years. Twenty years! Gosh. But she missed Mell right this second, they could be curled up drinking wine and eating Cheetos, while Mell mined for details of her day with Renji. Natasha doesn't drink so that was a bit of a bummer so she wasn't invited to wine and Cheetos night. Mell and Natasha's vote were for her and Renji to just have sex and get it over with. Jo had a better idea. She could fire him and then fuck his brains out after. She smiled coyly at the thought. She was about to call Mell when she remembered that she was probably still on the plane. Being a nurse consultant kept her busy and traveling a lot. Jo was not even sure which city Mell would be landing in tonight. She was so proud of the three of them, not just them, but all her closest friends. Each and every one of them were fuglemen in their own right.
Jo walked to her favorite couch. She's not sure if it's because it was bought by them with love or if it was the plushness. It was the plushness. Definitely the plushness. She could almost hear Natasha's fine high pitched voice vehemently denying it. But she cherished every item received from them. Others find it weird that they buy each other nontraditional gifts such as the couch, luggage, and car parts. Yes, car parts. Speaking of cars, Mellissa again reminded them she had yet to receive a Range Rover and her birthday was upcoming. It would stand to reason after asking for that vehicle for 15 years, that she would give up, but that is not Mell. It will be something she'll ask for when they were in rocking chairs because that's one gift Natasha and Jo knew she wouldn't be getting. There has to be a limit on how they spoil each other damnit!
She was curled up in the couch, in just the t-shirt, which would be coming off shortly once she hit the bed. She sipped the wine and listened to India Ire's "I am ready for love" playing softly through the speakers. The only illumination in the room came from the stress relief eucalyptus spearmint candles and the city lights peering through her ceiling to floor windows. She had a rather nice view of the Williamsburg bridge directly in front of her and to her left a view of the FDR. Her bedroom also had a view of the water and she loved just staring out the window just watching the water. She took another sip of the wine and enjoyed how the sweetness of the scent tickled her nostrils before it hit her tongue and how smoothly it went down. The warmth passed her chest and went straight to her groin. She ignored that last particular sensation. Or maybe she shouldn't. Regardless, she started to feel her shoulders relax even more. The tension of the day exiting her body. She closed her eyes and tried to just...be. To be in this moment right now. Suddenly, her phone started to sing that Drake 2015 classic Hotline Bling, "You used to call me on my cell phone; Late night when you need my love; Call me on my cell phone; Late night when you need my love; And I know when that hotline bling; That can only mean one thing; I know when that hotline bling; That can only mean one thing." What the-? Rats! She thought she had silenced the phone. She has got to change the ringtone on that. It was pure accident that that song got assigned to this particular caller. The name Venom flashed across the screen and she felt her lips curl into a smile. Mr. Renji Tafari Risbrooke. She loved his name. She learned that his friends calls him Venom and she assumed it's from the tat of a rather large snake on his upper right shoulder, but she didn't like to assume things. She's been meaning to ask him. She has never called him by that name as it was a secret only to her and her phone.
"Hey. What's up?" She glanced up at the time. It was 10:10pm. He doesn't call pass 10. Something must be up.
"Hey. I'm on my way over." What!
"Ahhh. Why?" She asked.
"You forgot to sign the contracts that's needed for tomorrow."
He was coming here? He's never been to her place. Well, of course he's been to the building but never upstairs. Her heart began to race.
"It's okay, I'll pick them up tomorrow." She did not want him in her personal space.
"That doesn't make sense Jo. The car is picking you up at 6am. You have to be up at least an hour and half before then. So unless you decide to go back to the office at 3:30 am..." His voice trailed off. She was thinking of a way around this. He continued. "Plus I have it on me and I'm already on my way. I'll see you soon." The call ended. This son of a beeswax! Did he just hang up on her? She stared at her home screen incredulously. Yes. Yes he did. Why did that turn her on?
She had no idea how far away he was. Was he coming from the office? If so, at this hour, she had about 10 minutes, even less. What if he was closer than that? Grrrr. She did not want him there. This was her private space. This was her sanctuary. This was her haven. This was a good place to ride him on the couch and have him scream her name over and over. Ugghh. She shook her head to clear her thoughts. She heard the ding of the elevator that came directly to her condo. Her heart rate sped up. Then the bell rang. Damn it! Where was he when he called because that was hella quick. She quickly turned off the music and turned the lights on. She took a moment for her eyes to adjust to the brightness. The bell buzzed again. She quickly walked to the door and then remembered she had no bottoms on. She ran to the closet and with tremulous hands grabbed the first thing her hands landed on: a pair of short shorts. Ahh well, it'll have to do. The bell rang again. "Coming!" She yelled. Once at the door she took a deep breath to steady her heartbeat and then opened it.
"Hey! Sorry about that." She said.
"It's o-kay." She felt his eyes taking her in. He looked her up and down...slowly. Was that heat she felt radiating off him? She was pretty sensitive to energy but maybe the wine had her off? Maybe. His gaze made its way back up but stopped at her chest then a soft chuckle escaped him.
"Nice shirt" he said. She glanced down and felt her cheeks get warmer. Her shirt read 'Sex instructor, first lesson free.' It was a gift from Natasha, back when she was doing a tour in Germany while in the Army. She was going to KILL her!
"Thanks for dropping off the contracts."
"Right. Contracts." He bent his head to reach into his leather messenger bag. He lifted the flap-did that say Burberry?! As he looked in his bag she noticed that there were a few locs loose in the front. He had his hair pulled back in a simple knot, just the way she liked it. She wanted to reach up and tuck the loose ones slowly behind his ear. No she didn't. She actually wanted to reach behind him and untie the simple knot and watch with appreciation as it fell around his face. Instead, one hand remained on the door knob and the other firmly at her side. But she wondered what it would feel like to have those long locs that reached his lower back against her bare skin.
"Ah. Here we are." He pulled out a stack of papers. "We need to go over some things before you sign." There was a pause as he looked expectantly at her. "Are you going to let me in?"