Authors: Ruthie Robinson
Tags: #Fiction, #Romance, #African American
“Yes, I do.”
“Could you start Monday?”
Yikes, so soon,
she thought. “Yes, I think so, but let me
double-check my schedule and call you,” Reye said. By
this time they had walked back to the front entrance of
“Thank you so much for your time, Reye, and I look
forward to working with you,” Dr. Houston said, moving
to engulf Reye in a hug.
“Thank you.” Surprised by the hug and the easy
camaraderie between them, Reye returned the embrace
* * *
Finally, the weekend had arrived, ending a very long
and demanding week for Stephen. His fraternity, Phi
Beta Nu, was preparing to host an end of the week party
and he had been toying with the idea of inviting Reye.
He hadn’t called her at all, but she’d been in his thoughts.
He remembered her smile and her laughing after her fall, but mostly he thought about that parting kiss and con
templated the potential for more. Maybe he just needed
to get laid.
e should invite her tonight and see if taking that kiss to its natural conclusion would loosen the hold it
had on his interest. What the hell, he thought, and,
locating her number in his cell, he called. She answered on the first ring.
“Hey, stranger, it’s Stephen. Remember me?”
“Sure,” she said. Her voice sounded cool. “I had given
up hearing from you.”
“School has been crazy busy, but I’m taking a break
tonight and I thought you might want to come over to the frat house for a party. Sorry for the short notice, but
I just decided to go myself,” he said.
“We don’t really have an official start time, but most
people get here by about 10:30.”
“Do you know how to get here?”
“I think so. Are you near all the other frat houses on
College Avenue? There’s a Starbucks nearby?”
“Yep, we are about three houses down from that
Starbucks. There is a sign in the yard, Phi Beta Nu,” he
“Okay, I think I can find it.”
“I’ll be at the house, just ask for me and someone will
find me. Okay?”
“Sure. See ya.”
* * *
Surprise, surprise, she’d given up on hearing from
him. She’d been kicking herself for kissing him and
maybe being a little too bold. How often had Sam told
her that she could be too aggressive? She’d never learned
how to play the demure, coy, pretending non-interest
game, refusing to relinquish the notion that she couldn’t
just be herself. Honestly, it seemed deceitful somehow to
hide, to pretend to be someone other than you. Although
sitting home alone on Friday and Saturday nights hadn’t
been her goal, either. She was excited about his call, and
she refused to consider the reasons behind it, late at
night, out of the blue. She really wanted to see him again. She’d been attracted to him from the start and she’d been
very much afraid she’d blown it.
* * *
Around seven that evening, Stephen pulled into the
driveway behind the fraternity house. He spotted his
roommate and best friend. “Henri, come give me a
hand,” he shouted, calling him over to help. He and
Henri had been friends since elementary school. They grew up in the same neighborhood, their parents hung out together. He trusted him.
“Dude,” Henri said by way of greeting. “You sure you’ve
got enough beer? Don’t we usually get kegs?” he asked.
“I’m just the delivery guy, I didn’t order anything.”
Each grabbing a case of beer, he and Henri walked to the back porch and set the first of several cases near the back
I’ve invited a friend over to the party tonight, and
since you’ve been assigned to the door, I thought you
could be on the lookout for her, point her in my direc
tion when she arrives. Her name is Reye,” Stephen said,
walking back to his car to grab more cases.
“Sure, what does she look like?”
“She’s a couple of inches shorter than me, African-
American, slim, long legs, nice smile, and short hair.”
“Oh,” Henri said, eyebrows shooting up. “Where did
you meet her?”
“On the trip back from Dallas two weekends ago,
remember? We sat next to each other on the plane ride
, Henri thought, picking up another case
and following Stephen back to the porch. “Sure, I’ll bring
her to you.” He couldn’t remember Stephen ever inviting
a girl to a party. Most women came by themselves and
they plucked one from the multitude, no strings and no
“That’s unusual for you, isn’t it?”
“Not really. She’s just a girl I wanted to see again,
“If you say so.” They made their last trip to the back
porch, depositing the last of the beer.
“I’ll see you later,” Stephen said, walking back to his car.
“No problem,” Henri said, watching him leave.
* * *
What to wear, Reye wondered as she stood in the
bedroom closet of her home trying to choose. Jeans and t-shirts comprised her usual attire, but the desire to feel soft and sexy tonight had her rummaging through her
closet and dresser for something more. After about ten
minutes, she decided on a dress, simple in form, white,
and great against her skin. It cinched underneath her
breasts and flared out, resting mid-thigh. She added a pair of matching flat sandals to her outfit and began scrounging around for earrings. She’d showered and
dressed, adding perfume, and now stood looking at her
self in her mirror. Pleased with her appearance she
grabbed her keys, locked her door, and headed for her
Most of the fraternity houses were located near the
university and she’d driven by them often, never going in.
Old money and legacies lived in those houses. The uni
versity was where old money sent its best and brightest to
be educated. Reye used to hold a minor grudge against
the school, as it was the last school in the school’s athletic
conference to play African-American football players.
She always pulled for the other side, her personal form of
The fraternity was located on a street that ran parallel
to the main drag, and it was not known for its parking
availability. She ended up parking at a lot about two
blocks over and walking the remaining distance. The fra
ternity houses sat next to each other, covering the next
two blocks. Most were two stories high, with old-school
porches arranged around them. She passed two homes belonging to other fraternities before spotting the Phi Beta Nu sign in the yard. Lots of people were hanging out on the steps, mostly tanned and white with a few brown spots of Asian, Indian, and African-American
sprinkled in. A couple of heads turned her way. With her
height, she was usually not hard to miss and received
more than her share of second glances. Taking the stairs,
she approached the front door where a young man
appeared to be the ticket agent or keeper of the door. He
was tall, tanned, and even in his careless style of dress,
gorgeous. Apparently only the good looking needed to apply to this fraternity. A head full of thick, wavy blond
hair graced his head and he gave her the once-over. He
was slick about it, but she still caught him looking.
“May I help you?”
“Sure. I am looking for a guy named Stephen, do you
“Sure, I know Stephen. He was in the kitchen the last
I saw him. It’s in the back of the house. Lucky for you,
he asked me to look out for you. You’re Reye, right?”
“Yes,” she said.
“I’m Henri. Stephen and I are old friends, we grew up
together in Dallas and went to elementary, middle, and
high school together. Follow me, and I’ll take you to
him,” he said, turning to lead her through the living
room, which was currently serving as the dance floor, to
the back of the house. They entered a small kitchen
jammed with men and women sitting and standing.
Stephen stood with his back leaning against the counter
surrounded by males and females who were listening
intently to something he said. He was dressed in worn
jeans that hugged him in all the right places and a t-shirt, his feet in flip-flops.
The golden one, her nickname for him was an apt
description. He appeared to have it all, golden in wealth, looks, brains, and brawn. He held a beer in his hand and
talked to the group. Several heads turned as she and
Henri entered. His eyes found hers and he smiled.
“Reye, glad you could make it,” he said, all smooth
and relaxed. The sound of his voice seeped into her skin,
traveling straight to her insides, turning them to syrup. It
was frightening, this reaction to him. He waved the arm
holding the beer to encompass all who were in the
kitchen, and said, “Everybody, this is Reye. Reye, every
body.” Reye took note of the look of surprise found on
some of the women’s faces, certainly understanding their
reactions. She was surprised, too.
Stephen then proceeded to tell the story of their
meeting, hilariously describing her run through the airport and subsequent fall. Everyone laughed and Reye
walked over to stand next to his side. He turned his head
to her. “Glad you could make it,” he said again, more
intimately this time. “Want anything to drink?” His eye
lids were lowered, a sure sign that the beer he’d been
drinking was working its magic. He seemed looser, more
relaxed than on the airplane.
“I’ll take a beer,” she said.
He pulled one from the sink, which had been turned
into a makeshift cooler. He handed her the beer and,
grabbing her hand, pulled her behind him, walking them
hrough the back door and out into the night. A few cou
ples sat deep in conversation. They didn’t look up.
He led her toward two lounge chairs located at the far
end of the porch away from the others, in the shadows.
He sat in the first lounger, stretching his feet out before
him, and she did the same in its twin. It was quieter here
and starting to get dark out. They sat quietly for a while,
drinking their beer. He had yet to release her hand, and
it felt nice being here with him like this. She glanced over
at him and he was exactly as she remembered, strong,
lean, muscular, but not overly so, beautiful in a very mas
culine way, with lips that were just the right size and
shape. He seemed so sure of himself, like he was used to getting his way in life. He caught her looking at him and smiled. His eyes and mouth were a study in smooth and
sensuous. “I’m really glad you came,” he said, not
breaking the connection of their hands.
“I’m glad I came, too. I’ve driven by here a thousand
times, but this is my first trip inside. I like the architec
ture of these old houses.”
Reye offered to him what she’d been thinking pri
vately. “It took you a while to call me. I didn’t expect to
hear from you again,” she said.
“I didn’t expect to call you, either, to be honest.” He
paused for a second, taking a deep breath. “Truthfully, you’re not my type.”
“Ouch,” she said, trying to hide her shock. “Then
what am I doing here?”
Don’t get mad. I can tell that you’re one of those
women who require a lot of work. More than I’m willing to give right now.”