#46 An old acquaintance
The plan worked. I know it the moment Caroline walks back into her apartment with a huge grin on her face. There are four guys behind her: Nathan, Yord, and two guys I don’t really know yet: Ricardo and Stephen. That can only mean one thing… Annabel chose Aston to take her to her work event. The plan Caroline and I concocted worked, so she and Nathan are off the hook, and I owe Dshawn twenty bucks.
“Pay up,” he tells me with a sexy smirk. “I told you my boy was gonna drive this thing home, girl!”
I grunt in annoyance. “I was so certain she was sticking with Nathan!”
Caroline cries out in surprise and nudges me. “I thought you said it was a great plan!”
Rolling my eyes, I laugh at her. “And it turns out it was. I just didn’t actually expect it to work.”
“Thanks for the vote of confidence, friend,” Caroline shoots back, but she’s not really angry. She’s beyond excited that it seems like Annabel won’t snitch on her, and she didn’t even have to let Annabel borrow Nathan for the night. It’s a win-win.
I get a text from Aston then: I’m so fucking the cougar tonight. Laughing, I show Dshawn the text. He rolls his eyes and shows me his own phone: Fuck yeah! Don’t wait up, boy. We grin at how childish our friend is being, and I sober up a little when I think about how Francesca is still hurting. She hasn’t seen Aston since he broke things off, and now she’s at home by herself while he is out on date with a hot 38-year-old. Life is unfair.
We end up going out to a bar nearby where Caroline and her friend Tiffany hang out a lot at the end of a busy week teaching at the local elementary school. The night takes a surprising turn when Tiffany decides to come out to everyone. I had no idea she was gay, but it seems that all of her friends suspected that she was, so no one is really in shock about.
“You knew, didn’t you?” I ask Caroline, searching her face. Yeah, she definitely did.
“She already told me,” she says quietly. “She asked me not to tell anyone.”
I look at the usually pretty reserved blonde, jumping around the bar while she tells her friends she’s gay, and I can’t help but feel like I’m looking at a different person than I met weeks ago. Good for her.
We stay for a little while longer, but when Caroline decides to go home, Dshawn and I call it a night as well. We’re tired anyway, and I fall asleep the moment my head touches the pillow of Caroline’s extra bed. When I wake up on Saturday morning, Dshawn and Caroline are already sitting her the small garden, chatting about their lives and sipping their coffees.
“Food,” I say when I sink down in the chair next to Caroline. “And coffee. Please.”
She laughs at my desperation and the fact that I’m still in my pajamas. “And why do you think I’d be willing to make you breakfast?”
“Please?” I pout. “I’ll be your best friend if you make me some eggs.”
“You’ve been my best friend since we were playing in the sandbox,” she grins. “I don’t need no eggs for that.”
Dshawn gets up and gives me a quick kiss. “I’ll go get the precious little princess her eggs.”
Caroline shakes her head as she watches my boyfriend walk back into the apartment to do my bidding. “You’ve got that poor man wrapped around you finger, don’t you? Why am I even surprised? I always knew that when you’d find someone, they would worship the ground you walk you.”
“Actually, it’s pretty damn mutual,” I confess. “It’s hard not to be amazed by him.”
She rolls her eyes. “He’s alright, but I don’t remember him being amazing.”
“Then he must have never given you an orgasm that just never ends…” I close my eyes and think back to his tongue flicking over my center. “That man… he can make my toes curl with a single look.”
“I heard that,” Dshawn says.
I open my eyes to see him standing over me with a cup of coffee in his hands, holding it out to me. “It’s not a secret that you’re an amazing lover, right?”
He rolls his eyes. “I’d like to think that there’s more about me to like than just that tiny little fact.”
“There’s nothing tiny or little about you, baby,” I tease.
“You sound pretty damn awake already,” he replies, taking the coffee away from me. “You don’t need this.”
“Give it back!” I exclaim. “Dshawn! I need my caffeine!”
“Little kids, both of you,” Caroline mutters, shaking her head. “Thank God that I’m dating an older man. You act like you’re both still 16.”
I grumble and get up to get my coffee from Dshawn, who just walked back into the kitchen with my mug. He laughs when he sees me walking in with a pout.
“That’s what you get for talking about me with such utter disrespect,” he tells me sternly.
“I have nothing but respect for your amazing skills in the bedroom,” I argue while I pick up the mug on the counter. “Now please make me some eggs, servant.”
“Love you!” he calls after me when I head back out to Caroline.
“Love you too!” I yell back, grinning.
“Ahw, cute,” Caroline comments, sipping her own cup of coffee. “Never thought I’d ever hear you say those words without wincing.”
“Same here,” I agree immediately. “It’s nice, though. Who would have thought that it would take your ex-boyfriend to melt this ice queen?”
Caroline put a hand on my knee and squeezes. “You, my dear friend, are a lot of things, but an ice queen is not one of them. Never.”
Back at our place, Dshawn and I decide to work on the business plan on our last day off together. Next week will be filled with work for both of us, and since he’s got another appointment to try and get a loan on Friday, we know that we need to finetune the presentation.
“Come with me,” Dshawn says when I’m showing him some new research.
“Come where?” I ask confused.
“To the bank,” he verifies. “You’re the one who made the business plan, or at least most of it. You also did almost all the research, and you went to college for all of this. I totally spaced at the first appointment at that other place. Come with me. Blow their socks off.”
“But…” I hesitate. I don’t want to take over his dream. “This is your plan, even if I wrote most of it. They are your ideas.”
“Come on, we both know that this whole plan is ours,” he insists. “I never could have done any of this without you. I could really use your help Friday. Please, baby, join me.”
“Okay,” I decide. “I’ll come.”
He’s right, we’ve both been calling it our business plan from the start, even though it will be his name on the loan if we manage to get it. And if he gets this off the ground… I already know that as long as he wants me as his girlfriend, I will be involved. I won’t be able to help myself. Even if it’s just to help him get things off the ground or to fill in for a bartender or something, but I will be a part of his future business. It’s nice to know that he feels the same way.
The rest of the week, we work our butts of at work and at home, so by the time we’re standing in the entrance hall of the bank, we’re both exhausted. Dshawn looks dashing and very professional in his suit, and I’m wearing a long blue dress with long sleeves and only the tiniest little amount of cleavage. I borrowed some jewelry from Francesca and my hair is in a tight bun that hopefully makes me look less like a fun blonde and more like… well, like a professional and trustworthy blonde.
“Ready?” Dshawn asks, holding his leather bag with all the documents and his laptop in it.
“Yes,” I say, trying to sound convincing. “Let’s do this.”
We walk up to the reception desk where a black woman with glasses is frowning at her computer screen. “Yes?” she asks without looking up. “Names?”
“Dshawn Davis and Shaughna Elmore,” my boyfriend says, his voice deep and with a nervous edge to it. “We’re here to see-”
“Mr. McCoy,” the woman finishes for him. “Yes, he’s ready for you.” She’s still looking at her screen. “Down the hall, second door on your left. Coffee?”
“Coffee?” Dshawn repeats, sounding dazed.
“She’s asking if you want coffee,” I hiss. “Thank you, miss, that would be nice. Two sugars for me, black for Mr. Davis.”
“I’ll be in with your beverages shortly. Walk on through.” She points to the hallway behind her.
I pull Dshawn around the reception desk and stride through the hallway like I belong here. Or well, that’s what I’m trying to do until I stumble right in front of the second door – our door, Mr. McCoy’s door – and fall right into it. The door wasn’t closed properly, apparently, since it swings open, which leads to me sprawling on the soft blue carpet of the office floor.
“Oh my,” a deep male voice says above me. “That’s quite an entrance.”
“Fuck these stupid heels,” I mumble to myself. As I push myself up, I see a hand in front of me and I grab it, allowing the man to pull me to my feet. “Sorry about that, sir.”
“I believe this is more or less how we met a year ago, Miss Elmore,” the man says with a smile in his voice. “Quite nice to reminisce, isn’t it?”
For the first time since I came falling into the office, I look up at the man in front of me. Crisp black suit, white button-up shirt, dark red tie, and a handsome face with a five o’clock shadow that draws attention to his strong jawline. His blue eyes are sparkling through his black-rimmed glasses, and he’s got neatly slicked back brown hair.
“Oh fuck,” I say under my breath. “Finn.”
Finn McCoy laughs loudly. “I see you still have that foul mouth on you, Shaughna. I have to admit I liked it better in my bedroom than I do in my office.”
Author’s note: could you hit the little heart if you like the book? It keeps me motivated :)
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