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Authors: Ruthie Robinson

Tags: #Fiction, #Romance, #African American

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BOOK: Reye's Gold
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They turned at the next corner and Stephen spotted
Reye’s truck. It sat next to a small brick house painted
grey, trimmed in white with a very red front door.
Plantation shutters covered the windows and the yard
was neatly trimmed with flowerbeds holding a profusion of yellow, blue, and pink flowers.

“Nice house,” Stephen said, looking at the huge tree
sitting in the middle of the yard, surrounded by flowers.

“It’s home,” Reye said, walking down the sidewalk
leading to the front door. “My dad preached financial
freedom to us beginning when I was in diapers. Save, own
your own home, yadda, yadda, yadda, be self-sufficient,
take care of what belongs to you. He purchased a fixer-
upper for each of us and taught us how to do the fixing up.
If my brothers could do something, I had to learn to do it, too.” Reye reached the front door and took her book bag from Stephen. She gave him her food order to hold so that
she could search for her key. Finding it, she unlocked the
door and pushed it open enough for her to drop her book
bag on the floor inside. She reached to take her meal from
Stephen’s hands. “Thanks for walking me home. ”

“You’re welcome.” He moved his hand holding her food out of her reach and looked into her eyes. “This is
the last time I’m going to ask you, Reye. Hang out with
me again?”

“Last time I’ll have to say it, then. No.”

“Bye,” he said tersely, handing her food over to her.

Chapter 4

Another Saturday night found Reye at home alone
watching a movie she’d rented. Her cell phone rang. It
was Sam, calling to remind her of the game tomorrow. As
if she could forget it, her team would play Stephen’s for
the first time. Surprise. He’d worn his jersey that day at
The Garden, the last time she’d seen him. The Wizards
logo was clearly displayed on the front of he and Henri’s
shirts.

“Hey, don’t forget the game tomorrow. I need you to
play forward for the whole game. I’ve done some
scouting, and I think you can beat at least one of their
defenders.”

Sam took this soccer business way too seriously.
Scouting an intramural game was taking things a bit far,
as far as she was concerned. “Sure, no worries, I’ll be there.”

“See you tomorrow.”

“Sam,” she said, “I know you’ve dated girls of other
races before. What was that like?”

“That was random, why do you ask?”

“I’m just curious.”

“I don’t date girls because of their color, and women
are basically the same, give or take some cultural differ
ences. You know how you women can be sometimes.

I
rritating comes in every color. What matters is that you
like the person and have something in common with them.”

“I know, but did you ever encounter other people’s
hostility?”

“Sometimes, but that’s why you have to be sure you
like the person, because in the end it has to be about the
two of you. Why, you meet someone?”

“Maybe, not sure if I like him enough, scratch that, I do like him, but I’m not sure he likes me. I don’t want to
be something different and new for him, you know,
another notch on his belt,” she said.

“Well, what do you want to do?”

“I’m trying to figure that out.”

“Well, sometimes you have to step out on faith, you
know. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I’m starting to
sound like your mother. So, on that note, let me know if
you need me. I could meet him, you know, use that big
brother-checking-out-little-sister’s-boyfriend routine.”

“No, thanks, and anyway, enough about me. I’ll see
you tomorrow at the game.”

Sitting here in the dark, alone she could be honest
with herself. She was anxious about seeing Stephen
tomorrow. He didn’t know that she played intramural
soccer at the university or that their two teams would
play each other. She hadn’t mentioned that to him on the
plane ride home, and, true to his word, he hadn’t called since he’d walked her home. Why was she being such a
hard ass? Because she’d gotten her feelings hurt. But so
what? Actually Joe was the one responsible for hurting h
er feelings, not Stephen. Stephen had seemed sincere in
his apologies and efforts to see her again. What other guy
had ever been that persistent?

The hard truth was that she was afraid. She was
feeling plain old simple fear of the unknown. Intuitively
she sensed that he could hurt her, really hurt her. She
wanted him more than anyone she’d met or gone out
with. What made him so different? Who knew? He rep
resented the standard definition of success that most
women wanted in their men. He was wealthy, great
looking, smart, and athletic, and that was just the funda
mental tally. Throw in his talented hands and mouth
attached to
that
body and he was
mind altering
.

She was confident in herself and her abilities, on most
days, anyway. Other days, though, she suffered doubts.
One part of her, the part she called her half empty self,
didn’t believe she would be of interest to a guy like
Stephen, and couldn’t understand why he had been so
persistent. His kind usually went for his beautiful coun
terparts. Why was he interested in her? Was she some
game? The other self, the half glass full self, said girl, what
are you waiting for? GO FOR IT! So what if he only
wanted sex, when was the last time she had some? She
could handle just sex. She was a big girl and crazy to
throw an opportunity like this away. And since when had
she become a quitter?

Enough already, she thought, she needed to get some
sleep, needed to be rested for tomorrow’s game. She
wanted to play really, really well.

* * *

 

Sunday was the perfect day of the week for Stephen.
Usually this day remained free from scheduled obligations, and most times he slept in. Saturday nights could
last until the next morning if he found a willing woman,
but that rarely occurred at his apartment. If he met
someone the night before, they went back to her place. If
she didn’t have a place, he moved on. Hassle free was the
goal, didn’t want the worry of having to relocate Saturday
night’s leftovers from his place Sunday morning. They almost always didn’t want to leave.

He shared an apartment with Henri, who had similar standards. Although Henri was much more circumspect
regarding potential bed partners, but they both respected each other’s privacy.

As Stephen lay in bed this Sunday morning, as usual his thoughts turned to Reye. He promised himself he
wouldn’t call her, and he hadn’t. It didn’t make sense to
work that hard when there were willing women available.
The problem was he didn’t want others, at least for now.
For some reason he had yet to wrap his head around, it
had to be her. He had always been able to move on from
a girl. Yet, here he was. The mere thought of Reye had
him getting hard. He could remember vividly how her
body had felt and how it had fit so snugly on his. If they could generate that amount of heat with clothes on, he
couldn’t bear to imagine the heat that they would create
with her naked skin touching his.

Up, he had to get up and get some lunch and then head over to the fields. The game started at three. He
stood up, grabbed his t-shirt, and walked to the kitchen.
His mother’s monthly food service delivery kept the
kitchen stocked with minimal help from Stephen and
Henri. Having an overindulgent mother worked for him
most times. The food service delivered staples—bacon,
eggs, and bread, as well as things he and Henri could cook
in between eating out or ordering take out—once a
month. Usually, his school schedule was way too hectic
for culinary treats, but today he would treat himself to a
home-cooked breakfast, or brunch, whatever it was called.

He was one of the last of his team to arrive at the
fields. The day was perfect for a game. He loved the fall,
clear crisp days, lots of sun. Baseball, basketball, and
tennis were some of the sports he sampled in high school,
but soccer would always be his love. All over the world,
people regardless of race, sex, wealth, or age played. No
pads, no helmets, just your body and skills pitted against
another. Defender was his position of choice and he glo
ried in his ability to shut down the other team’s offense.
Most dudes wanted to play the forward position,
achieving status by scoring, but not him. He wanted to stop those guys, send them back home crying to their
mamas. He loved the chance to match abilities with
anyone who thought to run by or over him.

He was looking forward to this game. This was sup
posed to be a fairly good team with a record that was
identical to his team’s. They had to play each team twice
during the regular season, and it would be nice to beat t
his team today. If they could win both times, they would
be the outright winners of this division, avoiding a
playoff game. They’d come in first in this division last
year, second the year before that.

Most of his team members were already on the field
warming up. Standing near his sideline bench, he took
the opportunity to size up the opponent. Hard to tell
anything from looking at them, he had learned long ago
that outward appearances were deceiving. There were
four girls, the requirement that allowed a team to be con
sidered co-ed, the same number as his team. It is difficult
to recruit women, most preferring to play against other
women. He observed the women as they stood in a small
circle passing the ball between them. A blonde, some
what attractive, athletic looking; so was the brunette
standing next to her. An African-American girl with short
locks stood with her back to him. He knew that hair, that
body, she was tall. “Turn around,” he whispered to no
one. She did, leaving the circle to retrieve a ball. His eyes
roamed her face. Reye. Racking his brain, he tried to
remember their prior conversations. Did she tell him she
played soccer? He would have remembered that. Yep, it
was her all right. Long legs he would recognize anywhere,
encased in shorts that weren’t designed for soccer, or at
least not when playing against men. His eyes traveled
over breasts tucked into a snug t-shirt, remembering the feel of those, too, and up to her face. She stood staring
back at him.

He was surprised, pleased, and slightly turned on. His
body was particularly pleased at seeing her in shorts. She
p
eeled away from the circle of girls and walked slowly
toward him, hips swinging slowly from side to side. He watched her walk to him, not moving to meet her. It was
nice to have her come to him for a change, and pure
pleasure to watch those hips sway.

“You play soccer for this team?”

“Yeah. I’m surprised to see you, too. You didn’t tell me
you played.”

“I play with my brother Sam, actually this is his
team.”

“You must be good if you’re playing in this division.”

“Not really, he just needed another female.”

“What position do you play?”

“Forward. You?”

“I usually play halfback.”

“Well, good luck,” she said, turning to walk back to
her side of the field.

“Yeah. You, too.”

The referees had arrived and had taken their positions
on the field. Reye lined up against the left defender on
Stephen’s team. She overheard someone mention that the
defender’s name was Frank. Stephen would play right
defender. Scoring against Frank was like taking candy from a baby. She was much more skilled than he, and
faster, quickly scoring two goals for her team.

BOOK: Reye's Gold
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ads

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