Swirl Love is Not Forbidden(9)By: Tamara Black
My plan shaped up as I finished the dough and washed out the mixer to move onto grinding the cheese for the day. While I didn’t make a lot of money as an assistant manager, the extra money helped considerably – especially since I still spent so much at the casino and on scratch-off tickets. Kendrick paid his support every week, but it never seemed to be enough. What if Tony isn’t in to me? I thought. Am I jeopardizing my job? Is he worth it?
I heard a knock at the front door just before I began to grind the cheese. The drivers are early, I thought, walking to the front of the shop. Outside the door, wearing a long, knit scarf, Tony stood with his hand to his forehead as he peered in. I waved a hand and rushed to the front to let him in. Just before I arrived, he used his key.
“I just didn’t want to scare you,” he said.
I smiled. “Thanks. Has Bullet still been stalking you?”
“Yeah, but I told him not to show up here anymore.”
He nodded. “I’m not coming in tonight, so I just thought I’d stop in and check on you.”
“Aww, you’re so sweet.” I paused. “Unless you don’t think I have what it takes to open the store.”
“Haha, no, not at all. In fact, if I’m honest, I just kind of miss working with you in the mornings. You made the time go by so fast.”
“I was thinking that this morning too.”
Our eyes met. Neither of us looked away.
“I’m about to cut the cheese…” My eyes widened in horror as I realized what I’d just said.
He laughed. “I know what you mean. I’ll get out of your way.”
“Hey,” I said. “I was going to call you, but since you’re here, I was wondering…”
“Yeah?” he asked as I paused.
“Would you like to come over tonight and hangout, watch a movie or something?”
A smile spread over his face. “I’d like that. What time?”
“Maybe around seven or so?”
“That works for me. Just text me your address, and I’ll send you a text before I come.”
“Sweet,” I said. “See you later tonight, Tony.”
He waved, turned and left the store. I locked the door behind him and returned to the back to finish up with the prep work for lunch and dinner. Does he accept invites to hang out with any of his other employees? I wondered. Questions assaulted my mind all morning as I worked hard to keep the shop running smoothly. Samantha and some of the others hated me for some reason, but I didn’t care.
By the time my shift ended and I left to pick up the children from school, my mood had changed from doubts and fear to excitement. Tony, one of the hottest and coolest guys I’d ever met, was coming over to my apartment to hang out and watch a movie. I spent the majority of my time making sure Destiny and Michael had everything they needed, and it had been a while since I’d found myself attracted to anyone, let alone a hot Italian guy.
♥ ♥ ♥
Sitting on my couch, I read the text from him again. “I’ll be over in about five minutes.” He must live close, I thought. The children were at their father’s house for the week, so we had the entire apartment to ourselves. While I didn’t think I would jump his bones the first time we hung out, I wasn’t entirely sure I could control my hormones once he showed up. You got this, I told myself as I heard a knock at the door.
I stood and walked over. Before I opened the door, I pulled up my flannel pajama pants. I should have worn something else, I thought. This tee-shirt is too tight. He knocked again.
“Hold on,” I called.
After a deep breath, I put on a smile.
“Hey, Tanesha,” he said.
“Come in. I love that scarf of yours.”
“Thanks. My grandma made it for me. It’s my favorite.”
“Aww, that’s sweet.”
“Nice apartment,” he said, glancing around.
“Thanks. It’s small, but it does us for now.”
“Are the kids here?” he asked, taking off his coat.
“No, they’re with their father this week. We alternate back and forth.”
He nodded. I took his coat from him.
“You have any kids?”
“No, not yet.” He grinned. “I like them, but I haven’t ever found the right woman.”
“I see.” I smiled as he handed me his scarf.
“I’ll put these in the closet for you. Have a seat.”
After putting away his coat, I turned and saw him already sitting in middle of the couch.
“You want something to drink?”
“No, I’m fine. Thanks. I smoked a bit before I came over.”
“It’s legal. Well, the smoking it anyway.”
“I’ve never seen the point,” I said.
“Have you ever tried it?”
“Once, but I was so drunk I don’t really remember a lot of details.”
“I won’t hold it against you as long as you don’t try to say I can’t smoke.”
“As long as you’re not doing it around me or my kids, I don’t care.”
“Fair enough.” He patted the couch next to him. “Join me?”