First, catch up on the jump off…
He puts his hand on my back to guide me through the mash of tables and patrons in the crowded room until we get to our table. He’s close to my back, speaking intimately into my ear as I slightly turn my head to respond. His big hands lift the chair easily from the floor, pulling it out for me, then scooting in back up to the table when I sit down. He takes his place across from me, passing me a menu and as I look up to address him, I catch eyes on mine from a couple tables away. There he is.
KB. KB and… Barbie?
We sit for the longest time, held transfixed by the absolute absurdity of this moment, and at the same time, both of the occupants at our respective tables feel our gaze focused beyond them and turn to see what is holding our attention. The man at my table looks to KB, slides his eyes up and down his heavy frame and then puts his eyes back to the menu almost as quickly as they left. Conversely, Barbie eyes me, a flash of recognition in her light blue eyes, slowly taking me all in head to toe. I lean back so she can get a better look, my lips curl up at the edges in what might look like a smile to an observer but I know she feels my sneer. He says something to get her attention and her eyes snap back to him, but I can tell from the goosebumps that have risen on her skin that she’s shook.
Oh, yes. I’m THAT close.
We order drinks and settle in, our laughter rising high above the table, losing ourselves in conversation and thoroughly enjoying each others company. He covers my hand with his and I smile at what he’s saying, so big I’m sure you can see every last tooth and bracket in my head. We dissolve into laughter again and I feel my phone vibrate in my purse on my lap. I send a quick message back to the East Coast, one that has made me smile even larger and before I can put my phone away it vibrates again. This time from much closer. A few feet away even.
aren’t you going to introduce me to your date?
I look up and catch KB watching me, make a point of giving him a raised eyebrow and showing him that I’m putting my phone back in my purse. I feel it vibrate again.
Our entrees come and I go to wash my hands. When I come back out from the bathroom, there is KB, leaning against the far wall in front of the door like a scene from an awful C-list gangster movie, a designer imposterTony Montana with his tie losened around his neck and the shirt sleeves on his button down rolled up.
“He’s like damn near triple your size La.”
“They do say everything is bigger in Texas.”
“Is it true?”
“I dunno, text me around 2am after a couple more cocktails and I’ll let you know. If I’m not asleep that is.” He laughs at me. “I didn’t know Barbie was allowed to drive her dream car to see anyone but Ken,” I say to him in reference to the mound of plastic at the table with him.
“You calling her Barbie because she’s white?”
“No I’m calling her Barbie because if she gets too close to the candles on the table, it’s quite likely she’ll melt.”
“Are you hating Lala?” I look down into the recesses of my low cut dress. “Naw baby, I’m good.” We burst into loud laughter. He wraps his arms around me, hugging me so tight he lifts me off the floor.
“How have you been girl? I know you’re busy as hell with the new job.”
“Good, good. Just running, getting my life in order, trying my hardest to balance work and play. You know how it goes.”
“Man do I? I’ve been all over the place. I think I’m gonna be spending alot more time in and out of San Francisco.”
“So that went well?”
“Yeah man. My boss is very happy with me right now.”
“Oooh that sounds good. How happy?”
“Happy enough to give me that promotion I’ve been gunning for along with the ridiculous raise that comes with it.” Our laughter lifts over us, loud and wrong in comparison to the ambiance of the resturant.
“That’s good KB. I’m happy for you.”
“I have to admit part of it was because I stole part of your idea.”
“Then when you get that raise I will be expecting something shiny with a ribbon on it to thank me. Preferably something that comes in a blue box.” He chuckles at me.
“Done.” He pauses. “You look gorgeous as usual.”
“I DO, don’t I?”
“Jesus La.” More laughter.
“Thank you, I mean. I’ll work on it.”
“I should get back.”
“Yeah me too. And tell Barbie once she hits puberty she’ll totally grow into those things.”
“You are just awful girl.”
“Seriously, what is she, 12?”
“Hush woman,” he says, giving me another quick hug and kissing my cheek. “Buy you lunch next week?”
“Yeah, call me in my office.” He walks away and I smile at his back, still softly chuckling to myself at our conversation. I reach my table and sit down. My date eyes me suspiciously.
“Girl I thought you had fallen in.”
“Nah was just touching up my makeup.”
“Mmhmm. And your delay didn’t have anything to do with that big beautiful man who damn near broke his neck to run down that hallway after you when you got up to go?”
“No child. Well… aiight a little.”
“Giiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiirl,” he draws out better than any of my girlfriends, “who IS that man? He is like the freshest melted chocolate in Gucci loafers I’ve ever seen in. my. LIFE.”
“That’s KB honey.”
“THAT’S him? Girl are you HIGH?!?!?!?! I’d be going out of my way to turn that man out so I could spend the rest of my fabulous life with him.” He pauses. “You sure he isn’t the least bit… curious?” I raise my eyebrow at him. “I’m just sayin’! You turned him down. Don’t hate on the rest of us,” he chuckles, trying to discreetly position himself to get a better look. I kick him hard under the table.
“If I bruise from them damn stilettos when you know I’m wearing shorts to the club tonight, that’s your ass bitch.”
We whisper about KB like we’re in middle school, trading conspiratory giggles and trying not to make eye contact.
Of course my date was gay.
My life isn’t that perfect.