All of Me

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A (Not) Date

|||| Naomi Monroe ||||

I was anxious before interviewing Mr. Laurent and I knew it would be difficult, but goddamn was that something else. I don’t know if I paid more attention to his lips or what, but the man seemed to be constantly licking them. And when he got really thoughtful, he’d stroke his facial hair and clench his jaw and I was doing everything in my power not to drool on camera. My hands were shaking uncontrollably with nerves as I took notes and my stress about whether or not he would notice only made the shaking worse.

Even now, as I turn off the cameras to hand them over to Joseph, my hands are still shaky and it doesn’t help that I can feel Mr. Laurent’s eyes on me. The man is 39-years-old and he leaks pure sex appeal. Are men like him the reason we have the term ‘DILF’? But he doesn’t have any kids — the man is oddly single... And sexy. He’s probably a hoe, a very secretive hoe since there’s no info—

“Ms. Monroe?”

The man interrupts my thoughts of him. And when I turn to answer, I’m met with a warm smile.

“Yes, Mr. Laurent?”

“I know the startup scene here in Atlanta is up-and-coming and I’ve been considering spending more time here... So, I was wondering if you’d be willing to show me around?”

“Oh, um...” I’m a bit taken aback by his question considering that his own socialite nephew is just down the hall and could easily be his tour guide. “Nicolas isn’t showing you around?”

That’s when an awkward silence hits and he just looks at me like I’ve just asked him the dumbest question in the world. I mean, Nicolas is a tool, but considering Mr. Laurent came here for this interview at his nephew’s request, he must at least somewhat like him.

Finally the silence is broken when he speaks up. “Ms. Monroe, I’m asking you if you’d be willing to show me around. Are you done with work for the day?”

I hesitate when he asks. Technically, I am done with work since his interview was the only thing I had to do today, but I was planning to go over my notes as well as my copy of the video. However, after interviewing the man who has mostly eluded the public eye for so long, my curiosity is getting the best of me and I’d like to know even more about him. Not to mention that he is easy on the eyes and I wouldn’t mind spending more time looking at him. Fuck! Does that sound weird?

Anyway, my curiosity will always win. I mean... I am a journalist, after all.

“Sure, just let me drop off my things at my desk and I’ll meet you downstairs to show you around...” I look him up and down in his European cut suit and while he looks really good in it, it’s still not the ideal thing to be wearing in Atlanta in mid-September. “Er, actually... I’m not sure if you noticed since I imagine you came here by car, but it’s pretty hot outside. You might want to cha—” My throat goes dry for the umpteenth time today when Mr. Laurent removes his suit jacket and rolls up his sleeves before handing it to his assistant Joseph.

All bodies are good bodies; all bodies are sexy bodies, I tell myself as I try to resist lusting over this man’s muscular physique. I often pride myself on defying society’s bullshit beauty standards, but here I am internally salivating at the way this man’s button up hugs his biceps and firm chest as I imagine what might be going on underneath.

Breaking my trance, I tear my eyes away from him and head to the door. “I’ll meet you and Joseph downstairs, Mr. Laurent.”

###

|||| Sebastien Laurent ||||

I can’t help but smile at the reaction on Ms. Monroe’s face when she sees me remove my blazer and roll up my sleeves. That gorgeous woman is definitely attracted to me. I’m not sure if it’s as much as I am to her, but I’m hoping to find out while I spend more time with her today.

“Sir,” Joseph turns to me as we make our way downstairs to await Ms. Monroe. “You already hired someone to give you a tour of Atlanta today, remember? You’re supposed to meet with them in 30 minutes. Should I tell Ms. Monroe that—”

“No, Joseph,” I interrupt. “I’ll have Ms. Monroe show me around and you can go on the tour or cancel, but make sure the guide is well-compensated.”

“Ohhhh,” Joseph drags out. “I see. So, just you and Ms. Monroe,” he raises a curious brow with a smirk.

“That’s correct,” I respond flatly.

“I see...” Joseph ponders with a finger to his chin when we reach the lobby of the building. “Well, sir, make sure you’re on your best behavior and don’t put your foot in your mouth, eh?”

Joseph has been my assistant for going on six years now and he’s gotten comfortable enough to tease me about my social skills. It’s not that I’m particularly bad at engaging with people — Joseph himself has called me ‘charismatic’. However, I at times can end up a bit blunt with my opinions of people to their face, which is why I try to limit my participation in social events. The last one I went to, I may have offended the CEO of some e-commerce company because who the hell needs over $100 billion in assets and why accumulate that much in the first place when you could invest it in people who are trying to change the world?

“Yes, yes,” I respond, waving him off. “Just enjoy the rest of your day before we have to fly back tomorrow?”

“You mean we’re not staying through the weekend?” he pouts.

“No, there is a pitch this weekend I need to attend, remember?”

“Of course! I’m your assistant,” he says before turning away and walking out the door.

“Mr. Laurent,” I hear her voice calling to me. Ms. Monroe makes her way over with a natural sway to her hips as she approaches and I am mesmerized by the way that her body moves. Trying not to be obvious in my gawking, I allow my eyes to glide back up to her face just in time to see her breathtaking smile.

“Are you ready?” she asks.

“I absolutely am.”

###

“Please, call me Sebastien,” I tell her before I take a sip of iced coffee from the first place she took me to — the cafe right across from the building where she works. We’re walking down the street as she begins our tour of the downtown area.

“Okay, in that case, please call me Naomi. No reason to say Ms. Monroe, especially considering I’m much younger than you,” she giggles.

“Which reminds me... How old are you, exactly?”

“Oh, I just turned 23 last week.”

“Happy belated birthday, Naomi. Did you do anything special?”

“Yeah, I went to see my family in Augusta and we had a cookout. I’ve gotten so tied up in my life here in Atlanta that it had been months since I last saw them, so it was really nice.”

“That sounds wonderful. And did you do anything with your— erm... boyfriend?” I hope my attempt at getting to the point is subtle enough.

She lets out an entertained chuckle. “I don’t have a boyfriend, Mr. Lau— Sebastien.”

I don’t hide the smile that comes to my face at her response and we continue with the tour. She takes me around the city, passing through a number of historical and cultural sites, as well as museums.

She asks me questions that feel like more follow ups to the interview we had earlier — mostly about my work and philanthropic efforts. Meanwhile, I continue to ask her more questions about herself because this woman is as fascinating as she is beautiful.

In her free time, she codes for fun. And she’s spent the past three years developing an app that connects people with their local homeless shelters and community organizers so that they can easily donate supplies, funds, or volunteer hours — and she did it all on her own. That type of app is right up the alley of something I would absolutely invest in. She seems skeptical of the idea of expanding beyond Atlanta, which is already a large market, but I wonder if it’d be such a hard decision if she had the funds and resources to do so.

Before we know it, night has come and I can feel my stomach grumbling. I imagine it’s the same for her.

“Are there any places around here where you like to eat?” I ask and she stops to think about it.

“Hm... Well, the spot we just passed is my favorite place for brunch, though I’m not too confident about their dinner... Oh yeah! I know this spot right around the corner that has really good ramen. Are you good with ramen?”

“Yeah, ramen would be great!” I exclaim as I begin to calculate in my head how long it might take for them to make the ramen and how long it’ll take for us to eat it so I can maximize my time with her.

She pulls out her phone for the first time since we started our tour and her eyes go wide at the screen. “Oh my god! I didn’t realize I had you out this long, Mr. Laurent! I’m sure you’re busy with a tone of things, I didn’t mean to—”

“Call me Sebastien,” I interrupt to remind her. “And it’s not a problem. My evening is wide open otherwise, I wouldn’t have asked you out.”

Her head jerks in confusion. “You asked me ou—” she stops herself and shakes her head. “Oh, you mean for your tour... Well, this spot has mastered the art of perfectly packaging ramen. So we can just get something to go so you can go back to your hotel.”

Shit. I was really hoping to sit down with her, but she already looks nervous. Perhaps I shouldn’t test my luck just yet...

###

|||| Naomi Monroe ||||

If I didn’t know any better, I’d say Sebastien was interested in me. He’s asked me personal questions about my favorite colors, food, flowers, and movies. It’s not that I don’t think I’m attractive, but as a plus-sized Black woman, I don’t exactly fall into the category of ‘types’ for rich white men... Unless he’s like Nicolas who sees me more as an experiment than human being and just wants to try me out. In which case, he’s getting a knee to the balls, a major cussing out, and a very nasty exposé article that will probably cause me to lose my job, but will be worth it.

As we’re walking over to the ramen spot I told him about, I suddenly no longer notice him beside me and realize he’s stopped in his tracks in front of SkyView Atlanta, an overpriced Ferris wheel here in downtown.

He looks up at it with a wide grin on his face and this 39-year-old man looks downright giddy as a child staring up at the ride before he turns to me, still with teeth on full display.

“Can we go for a ride?” he asks excitedly.

I raise a skeptical brow, surprised that a man of his position looks so pumped about a Ferris wheel and wondering if he’s seriously asked me to get on with him.

Before I know it, he’s walked up to me and grabbed my hand to lead us over to the booth to buy tickets.

“Two tickets, please,” he says to the man at the counter who gives the two of us a deeply confused look, probably thinking we’re on a date. I have the slight urge to tell him that this is not a date because I know exactly what he’s thinking behind that bewilderment in his eyes. But instead, I allow him to sit in his confusion and Sebastien and I walk up to the passenger car to get in.

He sits across from me and I try my best not to stare, but this man’s eyes are still on me and he has a subtle smirk on his face. It’s probably the ongoing excitement he seemed to have about getting on this ride. Admittedly, the city is beautiful at night, especially from the top where we’ll eventually be. Though, it feels a bit awkward with just the two of us in this small cart — kind of intimate for a man and the journalist who just interviewed him a few hours ago.

“You’re a very interesting woman, Naomi,” he says, breaking the silence.

His statement feels slightly random, yet my cheeks still warm when he says it. “Oh, um... thanks, I guess?”

“I mean it,” he says with a smile. “You’re a young, rising journalist and you build apps that help people in your free time when you’re not at the shelters yourself volunteering.” He lets out a small chuckle. “I’m surprised you had time to show me around today... I greatly appreciate it.”

I can’t help the way I feel my lips pulling at each side to his words. “That’s so nice of you to sa—” I’m cut off when we finally stop at the top of the Ferris wheel and I’m met with a beautiful view of the Atlanta skyline, my breath taken away by the site. I haven’t been on this thing in years — probably since before college — and I sometimes forget how incredible this city looks from high up.

Sebastien seems to notice my gawking and turns to look behind himself at the view. I see that he’s straining a bit and invite him to sit next to me. “Here, it’s easier to see from my side.”

When he comes to squeeze in next to me with his large frame, I feel his hard body against my soft one and he stretches his arm behind me rather than awkwardly having his shoulder in my chin.

“Absolutely breathtaking,” he says.

However, when I turn to look at his reaction to the skyline, I realize that he’s not even facing it. Instead, his eyes are set on me and I feel a heat come over myself and I just know my cheeks would be red if I weren’t blessed with this melanin. He licks his lips and looks at mine and I have to clench my thighs together. I let out a sharp breath when I feel his hand gently caress my face and he slightly tilts his head to the side before beginning to close the distance between us.

It’s not until our lips have already met that reality hits me and I realize this man and I are kissing. I feel his hand holding my face as his lips gently massage mine and mine his before he lightly taps me with his tongue and I open my mouth to accept it. I hear his breathing intensify along with mine and my god this man can kiss. The way his tongue feels against mine as it explores my mouth should be criminal with the heat I feel rushing between my legs. I want this man in my—

Wait!

A second wave of reality hits me and I push him away.

“What the hell are you doing, Mr. Laurent?”

+++

A/N: Thanks for reading the second (long) chapter of my latest experiment!

This shit bout to be hella mushy if you can’t already tell.

Where Don’t Touch and The Last Petal are MFM stories that have larger plots with the romantic portions being secondary (but still important), this one will be monogamous and focused on the romance. Also, this one should be shorter since I’m not tryna have anything too complex going on.

I don’t see enough Black woman BBW romances that don’t involve the lead going through a shit ton of trauma and disrespect (usually from the love interest???) before she can be loved on as she deserves. So, here’s my attempt at giving a BBW main character the same care/gentleness that’s given to other lead characters (but there will obvi still be encounters with/themes touching on fatphobia in this book because: society).

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