Detroit River

Untitled Fiction – Chapter 9

 

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Relaxing at home, Sharon walks around her condo living room, appreciating the view of the Detroit River and Windsor, Canada. She pours a glass of Viognier while listening to the velvety voice of Sachal Vasandani singing Storybook Fiction. Sharon places her wine glass on the side table next to the chaise lounge and prepares to make a call. She lies back on the chaise and dials William.

She takes a sip of wine while the phone rings. He answers during the third ring.
“Hello?” Sharon says.
“Hello,” says William.
“Well, how are you? This is Sharon. Café Noir Sharon.”
“No, you’re Sharon Sharon bo baron banna fanna mo maron.”
They both laugh.
“How’s your week so far?” Sharon asks.
“Just great and you?” William replies.
“Work and more work, Sharon answers.”
Beats of silence. Sharon stands up. Walks over to the window again.

“I’m calling not only to say hello, but to see if you’d be interested in going to dinner with me tomorrow night at the Rattlesnake?” “Then, thought we might take an after dinner stroll along the Riverwalk. I’m going to be out of the country next week and definitely would like to spend some time with you before I leave.”
Sharon holds her breath, hoping the proposal sounds appealing.

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“Look who’s here this evening. You’ve been deserting us.” Greg says as he bends down, picks up Sharon’s hand to hold while kissing her cheek without acknowledging William’s presence. Sharon blushes as Greg holds onto her hand. William watches and feels some type of energy between them.

“Greg, this is William. William – Greg.
Do you remember each other from Café Noir?
“Sorry, I don’t remember you,” Greg says sarcastically.
William, always one with a sharp tongue, refrains from lashing the guy because he is too easy. “Same here my man.”
William keeps his eyes on Sharon shooting her a look to suggest she take care of the interruption post haste.

“Um, Greg is there something you want?” Greg wants to climb the stairway to heaven with Sharon but he settles for requesting a phone call.
“Sure, I’ll give you a call soon Greg. Give the gang my love.”
Greg takes the sting of the dismissal well, leaving behind his scent like a lion on the Serengeti.

“Comedy, poker and blue.” Sharon’s quizzical look turns into an appreciative smile as she realizes William is answering the questions she asked just before the interruption.

“Say man, you need to take that shit outside!” Now, there’s a scuffle by the front door.

POP, POP, POP!

The couple look toward the commotion, but can’t see what is going on. Then gasps of horrors follow a loud crash.

“Call 911!”

William reaches over and grabs Sharon’s hand. Let’s just stay back here until whatever is going on out there is taken care of. He knew from experience that running toward a situation isn’t the thing to do unless you are prepared to help.

“Look out!”

The unmistakable sound of glass breaking signals something is still going on. Most of the club patrons flee through available exit doors as the sound of sirens get closer.

“Damn, don’t look like this dude gonna make it, looks like he’s bled out already.” William avoided the sight of blood and he didn’t get excitement from violence either.
“Listen, I have no medical skills whatsoever. I could pass out at the sight of blood,” William explains.

Sharon calculates the time between Greg leaving and the glass breaking and feels a horrible blow to her gut by the possibility the hurt guy may be Greg.

Sharon! I’m saying we should hang back here until that situation plays out. She says nothing aloud but thinks to herself, “Okay…I guess so…but what if….I mean it may be…no..he was probably gone by the time…damn…I don’t know.

William Stephenson and Rayne Showers

Feng Shui

Untitled Fiction – Chapter 8

 

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Her office decor is a modern Zen aesthetic with red accents throughout, Sharon’s Feng Shui color is red, which represents good luck as told to her by a Feng Shui Master. Sharon hired the Master to evaluate how to arrange the space and place her furniture to achieve harmony according to the ancient Chinese practice. While working for the wine import company, achieving a sense of balance in her life became a priority at home, and at the office.

Sharon hangs up the phone and says, “Yes, come in.” Donovan, a junior member of the business development team walks in. “Hey, you!” Donovan enters, heads directly for the luxurious, red leather sofa placed against the wall. “You dumped us last week for our cocktail so someone or something must have been pretty important, hmmm?” He nosily asked.

“Well, that’s for me to know, isn’t it?” Sharon blushed while tapping her laptop keyboard. She rushed into another subject. “Did you send me the report we’re supposed to sign off on?” Sharon looks at him with a menacing glare. “Uhhh, that’s what I need to talk with you about. I need a bit more time. I’ll have it done by the beginning of next week. By Tuesday,” Donovan said nervously.

“Look, you know Tom will be on my back about that report. The new warehouse is supposed to be a go in a month, and we have one last supplier to firm up. I’ve got the buying trip to Tuscany next week, and that report has to be in before I leave. Pacing the floor, Sharon says, I’ll figure out something to tell him to give you more time, but Tuesday is it! I’ll check with you over the weekend to see how you’re progressing. You will be working on this over the weekend, right?” Sharon says in a tone more demanding than requesting. “Definitely Sharon,” Donovan answers.

“Say, is that a new vase?” Donovan asks. Ignoring his question Sharon states, “Let’s not get off topic. My head is on the chopping block, and if mine is, so is yours, is that understood?” “Yes, Sharon I get it. It’s done. It’s done.” Donovan answers sheepishly as he stands up. Sharon walks over to the door and opens it. “Fine, talk with you this weekend.”

She motions for Donovan to exit. Sharon closes the door in his face as he turns to say one last thing. She leans against the door and sighs. Then, walks over to the sofa, sits down and slips off her shoes. Sharon picks up the remote to the Bose radio on a table across the room, puts her feet up, lays her head back, and presses the remote button in time to hear playing, Do you promise to funk, the whole funk, nothin’ but the funk?, by the Funkadelics.

The song jolts her into sitting straight up, she jumps to her feet, and raises her right hand as if to swear in court. Sharon starts dancing while laughingly saying aloud, “Yes, I do promise to funk the whole funk, nothing, but the funk. A huge smile spreads across her face as she flashes back to the night at Café Noir on the dance floor with William.

William Stephenson and Rayne Showers

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Untitled Fiction – Chapter 7

. . . previous chapter 6

What Sharon didn’t know was that this was also his “jam.” One of those songs that you couldn’t help but get down to. He takes a last bracing sip of wine and joins Sharon already in the middle of the floor ready to go. Right back to one of those good ol’ basement house parties. The two of them respond to the funk well together. When William does one of those syncopated stops and starts, Sharon answers with a move of her own. Sharon smiles as her body sways, jerks, and generally gets down.

William laughs and feels absolutely no pain. The next song, Stevie Wonder’s I Wish, put them in a place where they know they aren’t going to leave anytime soon. Other couples filter the dance floor. Their moves are curtailed somewhat with less space, but that brings them even closer together. With the pulsing dance floor, the DJ went for it, one after another…

Flashlight

One Nation Under A Groove

Got To Give It Up

Do I Do

William almost doesn’t make it through You & I, the seven minute Rick James jam. Forty minutes of nonstop dancing had him sweating like Paris Hilton on Jeopardy. Collapsing into his chair, William looks at Sharon. “Who are you?”

“Sharon Sharon bo baron banna fanna mo maron…..”

“Who am I? That’s for you to discover,” she responds with a laugh. A man with a sense of humor and he can dance. He has some smooth moves, classy, and confident, I like that.

“Whew, that was a workout, huh?” Sharon asks William. Perspiration beads line her forehead, her cheeks appear rosy, and her hair style is undone from such intense dancing, but for the first time how her hair looks doesn’t matter. All the money she paid didn’t bother her. She was in the moment, enjoying herself and her dancing partner. Sharon loved to dance.

“William, please order me another Martini and water refill, Maurice knows how I like it.” Dabbing her forehead and sides of her face with a table napkin, she informs him, “I need to use the ladies’ room, be right back.” Sharon makes her way to freshen up, all the while smiling to herself about how William can hang on the dance floor. Not like some guys either too cool to dance or lack the ability to catch the beat, which usually thrrows her off-rhythm if she looks at them too long.

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Returning to the table, she notices William appears refreshed. “So Mr. Dancing Machine, would you like to order something to nibble on, I’m starving? There are some great soul food tapas on the menu, we can share a few different ones, make it interesting?” She asked while handing him a menu placed on the table earlier. Never one to hide her appetite like most women in front of a new man on the landscape, Sharon enjoys letting him know that she possesses a healthy enthusiasm for appreciating good food. William thought to himself, she is a woman who wants to eat food, my kinda lady. Decisive, too. I can get used to this.

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Sitting at her desk at the office the next day, Sharon talks about William on the phone. “I’m telling you I haven’t felt this good about a guy in a while,” Sharon says to Kathleen, one of her three best, female friends. Kathleen questions in rapid fire, “Where did you meet him? What does he do for a living? Please tell me he has a job?” “Whoa, with all the questions–for now,” Sharon shoots back. “At this point, I’m not going to focus on what kind of work he does. I’ve learned that’s not the measure of a man. Didn’t Sidney Poitier write a book called, Measure of a Man? Anyway, look at all the so-called successful guys I’ve dated. Sure, they had the right job, right car, right house or apartment, right clothes…everything was perfect except them. This time, I’m taking a different approach. I want to know him before I know about him.” Sharon explains further, “I’m going with my instinct this time instead of a punch list.”

“You better keep that punch list,” Kathleen responds. “Look, we are going on a real date tomorrow night. Dinner downtown and then an after dinner walk at Hart Plaza. A romantic stroll along the riverwalk. At least that’s what I’m going to propose; I haven’t given him the details yet. I’ll call him when I get home this evening, ” says Sharon.

“You don’t think that’s too much too soon? Romance?” Kathleen jumps in. “Not really. This date will tell me how much distance he wants to keep from me. I do know two important things about him: one, he’s got some great moves on the dance floor and two, a wonderful sense of humor,” Sharon chuckles. Kathleen sarcastically strikes, “Dancing and laughter, that’s just great. Everyone knows those are the two most important factors for establishing a strong and lasting relationship.”

Sharon teases, “You’re jealous because hardly any of the guys you meet can dance. That’s if we don’t count Salsa nights.” “Leave our Salsa nights alone. You don’t seem to mind Salsa when dancing with Juan,” Kathleen says in a sexy manner.” “Ahhh…Si, Juan. Que hombre, he has 5 kids by 4 different women. I had to move on; the Latin lover is in the past. It’s a new day,” Sharon sighs. Kathleen snaps, “Oh really, at least I’m not embarrassed to say how I meet a man.”

Sharon states with slight irritation, “I’d rather not talk about how we met until I’m sure this is going somewhere. I’m not embarrassed. Suffice to say that I met him in the most unorthodox of situations, but the usual ways ain’t workin.” “You need to be careful,” Kathleen warns. “You know how you are.” Sharon closes her eyes to listen, then answers, “Yes, I will be careful, yes – I will look for warning signs.” She looks towards her office door. “Someone is knocking. Need to get back to work. I’ll keep you posted.”

Next Chapter 8 >>

Untitled Fiction – Chapter 6

. . . previous

 

Perhaps this was going to be a good evening after all. He could make it on time, but it would cost him a shave, so he opted for being on time. “10 buck tip if you get me to the Café Noir in 10 minutes.” He wanted to be there when he said he would arrive, and the cab driver cooperated, pulling up to the club with 2 minutes to spare. Yes, Sharon was there. He spotted her right away sitting at a large table with a group of people. Great. He had to wade through the crowd, and he was not feeling that at all. He stood there for a second, surveying the scene. The table was evenly populated with men and women, and they seemed to be enjoying themselves. Too late to turn back now. He summoned the beauty shop walk and strode over to the table.

Simultaneously, she waved in his direction, and he seemed to spot her right away. Glad that he recognized her without the beauty salon garb, she tried not to stare while he made his way to the table.
Demurely, she glanced down into her glass and prayed that the seconds would take forever until he reached the table. Sharon could feel her heart rapidly beat, and a little perspiration began to bead upon her brow. Her deodorant may have been failing. Thankfully, she was wearing her favorite black cocktail dress. William was dressed to impress in an understated way. Sharon stood up and shook his hand. It was smoother than silk and his nails manicured like a well kept lawn. Nothing worse than a man with rough hands and claws for nails. “Welcome,” she said. “I see you made it, and you’re on time. I like that.” She felt her neck muscles relax a bit at the sight of perspiration on his brow.

“William, I’d like to introduce you to my peoples. We have been gathering at the Café for about 3 years now. Meet, Wanda, Lynne, Roxanne, Jerry, Alfred, and Greg. We all went to school together.” “Great, what school?” “Cass Tech.” “Damn. I went to Northwestern, so…who do I have to fight first?,” William asked. Luckily, they all got the joke and the ice was smashed to smithereens.

After the intros, Sharon led me to another part of the club, to a table for two. This area of the Café Noir was set up for dancing, but the DJ hadn’t started yet. Sharon and William sat there for a good while, exchanging basic information and sipping their martinis, which William didn’t care much for, but he imbibed right along with her. When her friends were ready to leave, she went back to say goodbye.

William resisted the urge to follow her and ordered another round. Their conversation seemed to be too much like right. They both had never married for the same reason; never found somebody whom they felt would make it over the long haul. They figured out a long time ago that great sex wasn’t a reason to get married. Looks and sex appeal fade with time so for them getting married was always about character, soul, and spirit.

The DJ was setting up, and the other tables were beginning to get populated. When Sharon returned the DJ started playing Back in Love Again by LTD. “Come on, that’s my jam!” William was somewhat startled by a woman asking him to dance, when no other couple was on the floor yet. Most women would look at him like he was crazy if he had done that. He shrugged it off because he was beginning to believe that this was no ordinary woman. I get mixed emotions it’s the way my feelings flow, excuse me I’m only human. Sometimes..I just don’t know.

 

next . . .

Untitled Fiction – Chapter 5

. . . previous

 

“Shit! I can’t even call her to tell her I’m running late. Not good. Punctuality was another thing he was big on. William had no use for late folk, fashionably or otherwise. She arrived at Café Noir, 20 minutes early on purpose. She wanted to be the first one there so she could calm her nerves. Andre greeted her as she entered and walked her to a table while the violin playing of Regina Carter permeated the air. Sharon looked at her watch. 15 minutes to countdown. Her favorite waiter Maurice came to the table. She pondered what to order while waiting for him to arrive. She decided on a classic Martini – 007 style, shaken not stirred made with gin
not vodka.

Café Noir is one of the hot spots in a revitalized, Midtown Detroit. Diverse crowds are on the scene each night, and the food is to die for. One of the top African American chefs in the country creates meals to satisfy either a gourmet palette or soul food purist. Although she ordered a Martini, typically she leaned towards a selection from their wine cellar; however, tonight called for something with a bit more heft. The place reminded her of the pictures she’d seen and stories heard about the lounges from back in the day where her parents and grandparents used to hang out on Hastings Street, Detroit’s Eastside in an area called Black Bottom.

However, for the 21st century it was modern, upscale but comfortable and unpretentious. Ten minutes to countdown. So, what should be her demeanor? She had doubts about this so-called date. She shouldn’t think of it as a date, just a getting-to-know-you session. The first reveal of his persona, other than a crazy man standing in a beauty salon announcing a challenge for a trustworthy woman. Hell, she must be just as crazy. Anyway, Sharon was so tired of the same ol’ guys who talk loudly but carry small sticks, meaning their brains. Maybe, this guy is different. He at least used his imagination, and that was more than she could say for many a man she’d recently met.

Sharon fidgeted with her hair and clothes. Broke out the compact mirror to check her makeup and decided to apply a bit more lipstick. She didn’t want to look made-up but just highlight her features in a way that looked like she didn’t spend much time doing so. Was he coming at all? Was she going to end up feeling foolish by thinking this was actually about to happen? Midway through her last sip, she looked up from her glass towards the entrance and there he stood. For a few seconds, Sharon didn’t know whether she would quickly swallow or spit everywhere.
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