All of Me

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Not a Chance

|||| Sebastien Laurent ||||

Her lips tasted better than her name rolling off my tongue and now I want more.

I know it sounds cliche, but there was a spark when our lips met and I knew she felt it too with the way her lips moved in sync with mine. I hadn’t planned to kiss Naomi… While I of course was enjoying my time with her and wanted more of it, I genuinely wanted to see the Atlanta skyline. But when she invited me to sit next to her and I was the closest to her I’d been all day, I was captivated. Then, when she turned to me with that look on her face, and I just knew she’d be blushing if it weren’t hidden by her beautiful brown skin, kissing her felt natural. And she accepted it, kissing me back… until she wasn’t.

“What the hell are you doing, Mr. Laurent?” she blurts out after pushing me away.

“Kissing you,” I respond plainly. It felt like she was enjoying it too and I felt the warmness of her checks while I held her face. “Were you not kissing me back?” I raise a brow.

“I mean, I was, but er— I didn’t realize— I wasn’t thinking…” she averts her gaze. “Please go back to your seat, and… don’t do that again.”

My brows furrow in confusion because she seemed to be enjoying it as well, but I respect her wishes and return to my spot across from her, though my eyes remain on her as I attempt to analyze the indecipherable look on her face. “Did you not like it, Naomi?” I ask. “Because to me, it felt like you were enjoying it just as much as I was.”

Her eyes finally return to mine, but this time she does so with a glare. “No,” she responds curtly. “That was a mistake and it shouldn’t have happened.”

“I don’t think it was a mistake,” I retort with a smirk. “I think you’re attracted to me as much as I am to you and you enjoyed that kiss as much as I did.”

Naomi’s eyes go wide and she opens her mouth as if to speak before closing it tight and tensing her jaw. She looks away out the window of the cart and leans her head on her hand as we start our descent.

“The tour is over, Mr. Laurent,” she says coldly without looking at me. “I’m sure you can find your way back to your hotel… alone.

I sigh and relax back in my seat, not bothering to protest.

###

|||| Naomi Monroe ||||

I can’t believe I kissed Sebas— No! Mr. Laurent. I am a professional and that was very unprofessional. However, it was probably one of, if not the best kiss I’ve ever experienced. There was a spark there, as cliche as that sounds, but it was probably just because I’m attracted to him and the man is easy to like. I mean, he dedicates his life to investing in and supporting underserved people and sharing his wealth. What’s not to like about that?

Whatever. None of what I’m thinking about right now matters because it was wildly inappropriate considering I’m the journalist who interviewed him, plus, I’m not interested in being his Atlanta bootycall-slash-adventure, or whatever the fuck he would consider me. And that will never happen again because I will never see Mr. Laurent in person again. I’ll just coordinate with his team on the interview film.

As soon as I cross the door into our apartment, my roommate Gianni rushes up to me.

“Mimi!” she shouts as if she’s not just 10 feet away from me. “Please, can you help me with my hair for tonight?!”

Other than my family, Gianni is the only other person I’m cool with calling me Mimi. We’ve been friends since first grade and she’s practically like my sister. After finishing undergrad, we decided to get an apartment together here in Atlanta. At first, I was hesitant about rooming with my best friend of over 15 years, but it all worked out and only proved the fact that we are meant to be considering we haven’t killed each other yet. Though, it works out that we barely have much overlap in the apartment most of the time. She sleeps through most of the day while I’m away at work before she goes to evening classes for her MBA program and a few late nights out of the week and through most of the weekend, she’s out stripping.

So, admittedly yes, she is making the most bank in this apartment, but she wanted to live in this bougie ass building. I do try to compensate for the fact that I pay less than half the rent by helping her with her hair and occasionally cooking.

“Damn, I can’t even get a ‘hello’?” I quip as I put my things down and follow her into her room.

“I’m sorry, girl! My hair is such a mess and you know I need to make sure it stays the whole night. Even with the high ass A/C, I still end up sweaty as fuck,” she says with rushed speech, sitting in the chair in front of her mirror.

“It’s all good. I gotchu.” I look at the situation on her head with slight bewilderment in my eyes as I try to figure out exactly what she was trying to do here. The woman can beat her face to the gods, but she can’t do hair for shit. She seems to have two buns…? Or ponytails…?

Gianni must notice me trying to figure out what the hell she was trying to do because she finally speaks up. “Can you do braids in the back that feed into space buns?”

“Ohhhhhh, that’s what this was supposed to be?” I tease as I take her attempt at the style out and pick up a comb from the dresser.

“Whatever,” she grumbles. “You’re home later than usual. Did you guys have a long happy hour or something like that?”

“Nah… You know how I told you I was interviewing that should-be-billionaire guy? Well, I ended up showing him around the city for a few hours.”

“Isn’t that creep Nicolas that you work with his nephew? He didn’t wanna show him around?”

“I expressed a similar sentiment to the man himself and he looked at me like I had two heads and proceeded to say ’Ms. Monroe, I’m asking you.’ And so I obliged.”

“Humph,” Gianni purses her lips with a huff. “Sounds like he probably wanted a tour of more than just the city.”

I burst out laughing as I part down the middle of her hair and push her head down to begin braiding one side. “Whatever, the man was way too fine to be interested in me for anything beyond a quick fuck— Ow!” I’m cut off when Gianni punches my leg. “Bitch, what was that for?”

“Bitch! Stop doubting yourself. I thought you were supposed to be confident and shit.”

“I’m not saying I’m ugly, I’m just saying that when we look at societal beauty standards, I literally do not fit.”

“Sounds like bullshit to me all around… Are you sure that shit that happened when we were freshmen isn’t still—”

“No!” I cut her off as I finish the first side of her hair and start on the other. “I’m just not about to be this man’s bootycall, okay?”

“Would it be so wrong for you to get some dick? How long has it been? I’ve never seen you bring anyone home here. Has it been since college?”

“Two years,” I mumble. I had an epiphany two years ago that my desire for sex wasn’t so much horniness as much as it was a desire for affection or the feeling of being wanted. The discovery pretty much fucked up my sex life because it was also around the time that I gave up on finding love. Yes, it was a young age, but I was developing my app and preparing for a career as a journalist, so I’ll continue to allow those things to occupy my mind.

“Two years?!!” Gianni exclaims and turns to look up at me.

“Yes. Now, put your head back down,” I snip as I finish up the other half of her hair.

“But seriously? Two years untouched?! Have you at least kissed anyone?”

“Well…” I hesitate. I’m not uncomfortable with telling Gianni about my kiss with Mr. Laurent, but I’m afraid to say it aloud because something about that makes it feel even more real. That, in turn, would probably make it harder to convince myself that the kiss was nothing as I work on getting over the fact that it’ll never happen again and he probably just did it thinking I’d easily become his latest conquest. Whatever, I’ll just tell her. She usually knows when I’m lying anyway. “That was the case until Mr. Laurent kissed me on the SkyView tonight.”

Her head is lifted at this point while I finish the final space bun and she holds me by my wrist to stop me as she looks at me through the mirror. “Bitch! This man kissed you on a Ferris wheel and you’re acting like it’s nothing. You mean to tell me that you’re not interested?”

I shake my head as I get a brush and gel to start on her edges. “Girl, the man is attractive and philanthropic. I already know my feelings would get involved and I can’t risk it if I’m just gonna be his bootycall. So, it’s better if I let it go now.” The man would actually be perfect if there was a chance of him being genuinely interested in me.

“I guess…” she surrenders with a sigh. “But I wish you’d stop acting like the idea of someone wanting you is so farfetched.”

I love Gianni to death and she’s always encouraging me, but she’s never lived life as a fat woman and therefore doesn’t know just how shallow men can truly be. It’s not something I bother talking to her about either — it’s already depressing enough to live through it, I don’t need to talk about it too. “I know,” I respond. “In brighter news, your hair looks good and I know you’re gonna make bank tonight.”

She looks at herself in the mirror with a big smile. “Thanks girl.”

###

|||| Sebastien Laurent ||||

“You took her on the Ferris wheel and kissed her? Without an NDA?!” Joseph says in disbelief, eyes wide as he speaks to me. “What if she tells people? What if she writes some expose on you?”

“Why should I care if she told people that I kissed her?” I raise a curious brow.

“Okay, Mr. Laurent… Men like you typically have their flings sign NDAs so that they don’t go blabbing around about whatever weird fetishes or… tastes that you have.”

“I’m not interested in a fling with Naomi, Joseph.”

“What?! Then why would you kiss her?”

“Because she’s an attractive and interesting woman and I’d like to take her out… Though, I’ll confess that the kiss was impulsive.”

Joseph is taken aback, bewilderment clear in his face. “Sorry, Mr. Laurent, I’m not sure I understand what you’re saying. Are you telling me that you’re actually interested in that? I just thought you wanted time with her because you needed some relief for the pent up nerves you had and you thought she’d be an easy lay.”

You mean her?” I correct him. “Yes, of course I am. Why wouldn’t I be?” I feel my nostrils flare, annoyed at the language he’s used to describe her, the tone in his voice, and the look on his face. I’ve never seen Joseph behave in this way.

“I mean… I wouldn’t say that she’s ugly, exactly, but you could do much, much better, Mr. Laurent… You know, like maybe with a woman who’s about half her size.”

Now I see. Naomi isn’t a small woman, but why should that matter? I’ve always found the idea of size being used as a factor for someone’s attractiveness as wildly ludicrous and in either case, I like Naomi at just the size she is.

“Interesting…” I ponder aloud.

“What?”

“You’ve been my assistant for going on six years and I never thought of you as foolish until right now.”

“Sir! I didn’t mean to offend—“

“That’s enough, Joseph,” I interrupt. “Let’s just focus on your job as my assistant. I’ll be spending the next week in Atlanta to see if it’s worth getting involved with some of the startups here, so cancel my flight for tomorrow and get us one for the following week. Find a temporary office space I can use while I’m here and convert all my California meetings to virtual formats.”

“Y-yes, sir. Of course. But, I can’t stay in Atlanta the full week. I have a few commitments back home that I need to make—“

“Then go home, Joseph. Your job can be done virtually. That’ll be all,” I say before dismissing him.

+++

A/N: Thank you for reading! Since this is my first short story, I’m going for a faster pace than the others, but am also hoping that this won’t be half-assed either... Anyway, things are gonna pick up from here!

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