Alyssa knew Ryan wasn’t the typical guy, based on where he wanted to meet her for a date—a dive bar/restaurant.
The large bar was centered in the restaurant and was flanked by a number of pool tables. A dance floor, if Alyssa could call it that, was tucked away in a corner with a DJ behind it, spinning a variety of house, R&B, hip-hop and pop tunes. Patrons spread between tables eating food, shooting pool, and dancing on the floor.
It was typical Ryan.
He wasn’t the suit and tie type, she’d remembered. He only dealt with corporations out of necessity, and not want. He often went to business meetings wearing his best polo shirts and khakis—the closest he’d ever come to wearing anything professional. It obviously worked to his advantage—he was the co-owner of a very successful coffee shop and it was branching out. He also came from an equally wealthy family known for their philanthropy. He didn’t have to wear a suit for the rest of his life if he didn’t want to.
She briefly wondered if he would wear one on their wedding day.
Alyssa’s eyes widened and she softly shook her head to relieve the thoughts. She was making the mistake so many women did when they went out on a date with a man—already planning the future and deciding which children’s names would sound the best with his, wondering if she was going to be a Type-A mom or a crunchy, afro-centric hippie with a ‘go with the flow’ attitude. It was the same mistake she’d made in the past, thinking every man could be The One when really, she was just another one to him.
She took a place at the bar and waited for one of the bartenders to notice her. As she waited, she looked around the bar until her eyes landed on the couple grinding on the dance floor. The woman’s dress was hiked up a little, but nothing intimate was shown. A leg was wrapped around the waist of her paramour and their bodies moved in a perfect rhythm as they collided against each other. Back and forth. Up and down. Left and right. Push and pull.
Her thoughts were flooded with that lone night between them. He satisfied her without asking what she liked. He showed her what she could do, even when she was unsure. His long fingers played along her body, starting from her toes and walking up her thighs, cradling her breasts, and cupping the vee of her sex. He explored her, and she wanted him to.
All night. Forever.
As their tongues intertwined and fingers interlocked with each other when they moved in effortless union, it dawned on Alyssa that they made love that night. Not sex. Not fucking. But two souls coming together as one.
She felt flushed, queasy, and rubbed her neck to relieve pressure. It was one thing to like a guy and a different ball game altogether to be in love with him. She wasn’t afraid of being in love; she had been before, or at least thought it was love. But to succumb completely and willingly to someone… have someone to answer to… to be Mrs. So and So.
Even Alyssa had to admit, that was a foreign concept to her. She was happy to see her friends and family finding that everlasting love.
She just wished it would happen to her. What was worse was the thought of it never being attained.
She looked so beautiful from afar, it was painful to watch.
Ryan silently watched Alyssa from around the corner, amused by her wide range of emotions within a short timeframe. Hopeful, delighted, sad, then inexplicably angry. He wondered why she was angry, and if he had something to do with it. He’d certainly hoped not. Then again, he could never read women. He was always amused by his friends who claimed they could and the same ones were still single, bouncing from chick to chick, while claiming all of them were one and the same.
He was like that, at one point.
Love ’em and leave ’em. Fuck ’em and dump ’em. Hit it and quit it. Ryan could remember how one summer, he wanted to bag a woman of every different ethnic group because he could. He almost succeeded. He was an Asian short.
He didn’t have a sob story of love lost or someone woman crushing his heart and vowing to never love again. Sure, he’d been heartbroken but he was more career-oriented. A long-term relationship simply didn’t fit into the plans he wanted for Caffeinated. He saw the burgeoning chain at the Starbucks, Gloria Jean’s, and Peet’s level. Atlanta was only going to be the starting step into the conglomerate known as Ryan Jeffers, Inc.
I normally don’t drink that much.
It was that very bar where they both currently stood at opposite ends where the magic happened. Magic? Okay, maybe not magic, but something very special. It was a long day at Caffeinated; he just wanted to unwind and maybe have a beer and see who was up to play a game of naked Twister with him.
Alyssa was supposed to be another notch in his belt. Instead, he was another notch in her belt.
She was the only woman who was able to take what he gave her and throw it back to him for more. She begged, clawed, and dared him to fuck her harder, faster, any way he could do it, any way she could take it. Her body was willing, her mouth was hungry, and her fingers explored every crevice of his. He was getting hard just thinking about how her tongue wrapped around his cock, and her gag reflex.
Then she left. It was literally a ‘Fuck You’ followed by a ‘Fuck Off.’
Maybe that’s what really attracted him to her—the chase, and the fact she was a free spirit. Curly and kinky hair that was perfectly coiffed into a medium-sized Afro. Silver bangles clinking on her wrists and purple-framed glasses on her face. Alcohol and sex were her only vices and she didn’t indulge in either that much, he could tell. But when she did indulge, she was insatiable and couldn’t get enough.
Now his woman was sitting alone and he was watching from afar. Both things were wrong with that thought, but what troubled him was the term—his woman.
Brushing off thoughts of matching tuxedos with his groomsmen and an embarrassing Best Man speech from his best friend, Ryan sauntered over to Alyssa. They were going to have drinks, play pool, and if the mood permitted, have sex. They are going to end their faux relationship with closure for both parties and leave it be. Getting Alyssa into his bed was the perfect solution of getting her out of his head.
So he thought.
“Here you go, Miss…” A bartender handed Alyssa a drink.
“Thank you,” Alyssa crinkled her nose. She didn’t order a drink yet the bartender gave her one. She took a sip and was surprised to see it was her favorite—Malibu Bay Breeze. Only one person knew she liked that drink. “You are so slick, Ryan.” She turned around and was met with sparkling blue eyes and a dubious smile.
“I know what the lady likes,” he took a seat at the bar and the bartender handed him a beer, “and I have a pretty strong memory.”
Alyssa glanced at the bartender and then back at Ryan. “Friend of yours?”
“I own the place,” Ryan admitted. “I’m a silent partner.”
“Ah,” Alyssa took another sip of her drink, “it makes sense. I wondered why you chose this place.”
“It has a vegan-friendly menu.” He nodded. “I figured that would be more to your liking.”
“For someone who claims not to be that interested, you act pretty interested.” Alyssa mentioned.
“I never said that,” he countered, “however, I could say that about you and be spot on.”
Alyssa’s eyes glittered with intrigue and she tightened her lips. Ryan was correct. If she didn’t care, she most certainly wouldn’t be there. “So…”
“So…” He repeated.
“You took care of me, bought me a drink, and brought me to a place that has a vegan-friendly menu,” Alyssa ignored the singing in her heart and the tingling building between her thighs, “now what?”
Ryan took a sip of beer and nodded over to the pool tables. “Let’s play.”
“I don’t know how to play,” Alyssa shook her head.
“Good,” Ryan stood up, “easier to beat you, then.”
Alyssa knew better than to play pool with Ryan. Oh, it started out friendly and unassuming, but a few more cocktails and the sudden feeling that her clothing was too tight and restricting on her, she found herself nursing a virgin lemonade wearing her cami tank top and slightly unbuttoned jeans.
Deliciously wasted on alcohol, Alyssa was still coherent enough to know she was having the time of her life with Ryan. His promise of a vegan-friendly menu was true when the server came with vegan nachos and tempeh tacos. She was impressed that he cared about her lifestyle. Maybe, just maybe, he wasn’t full of it.
That would be the excuse she’d use when it became clear Ryan was a small-level pool shark. Oh, he pretended to suck at pool during the first game, deliberating missing the ball and not knowing how to use the stick. By the fourth game, it was clear he was letting her win. No man played that awful and was equally clueless.
“How long have you been a pool shark?” She asked.
“Off and on since I was a teen.” He smiled as he grabbed a taco. “I snuck into a pool hall one night when I was 16 and was fortunate enough to have someone teach me pool…” he paused briefly and winked. “…and how to scam people.”
“Ah, the truth comes out,” Alyssa chuckled.
“Made a few enemies throughout the years but also managed to pay for tuition and textbooks so it wasn’t all for naught.” He shrugged. “Studied business in college and when I graduated, my dad gifted me a generous amount of money to start up Caffeinated. I’m still in the process of repaying him. He doesn’t need the money but I don’t feel right just taking it like that. My mother prefers the repayment in the form of coffee.”
Alyssa’s heart warmed. She’d never known a man who was so in love with his parents as Ryan was. “I know you didn’t just come up with a random vegan menu,” Alyssa said between bites, “what’s the deal?”
“One of the chefs I interviewed is vegan; pretty hardcore about it as well. She said she’ll work for me only on the condition there was going to be a substantial vegan offering and the freedom to switch up the menu every so often,” Ryan shrugged as he took a bite of his tempeh taco, “I probably won’t be switching to veganism anytime soon, but I can’t knock baby girl’s cooking. She makes some slamming tempeh tacos.”
“She does,” Alyssa took a sip of her virgin lemonade and wiped her mouth. Ryan was refreshingly honest and didn’t beat around the bush with everything. It was a sharp change from what she was used to.
“Your mind is going a mile a minute, Alyssa.” He commented.
She really hated how he read her. “Why did you take care of me that night?”
“I wanted to.” He casually shrugged.
“That’s it.” Ryan took a sip of his Guinness.
“Believe it or not, Alyssa, not every man who takes care of you is trying to sleep with you.” He stated.
Damn. Alyssa was used to being the one with the sharp tongue and even sharper bite. Ryan’s comment stung more than it should. “So why are we here?”
“We’re here so you can make up for the date that wasn’t.” His smile was full of the right amount of charm and panty-wetting scheme. “Now that you’ve repaid your debt, we’re even.”
Ryan turned to her. “Listen, I know what this is and I know what you are…”
Alyssa’s eyes burned with rage. “What the hell does that supposed to…”
Ryan placed two fingers on Alyssa nude lips. “I’m only going to pursue you if you want me to. If you don’t want me to, we’re done here. I only chase if there is a prize. No prize, no race.”
Alyssa pushed Ryan’s fingers away from her face. It was mainly to keep her from opening her mouth and sucking on his fingers, pretending it was his cock. “You drive a hard bargain.”
Ryan leaned over and crushed his lips against Alyssa’s. His lips melted onto hers and she parted her mouth to make room for his tongue. Her thighs tingled with excitement and warmth spread to her sex.
His lips moved to her jawline and he lightly nibbled on it before making his way to her neck, where he lightly sucked on it. He was greedy, his lips were demanding, and Alyssa’s pulse was off the charts. Her body heat rose to match his and the once-tingle between her thighs became a pulsating beat in tune with a current hip-hop record the DJ spun. Her heart raced through her and she had to calm herself before she became delirious.
She was getting drunk off Ryan.
When Ryan pulled away from her, his lips crinkled into a delicious smile. “I’m not going to promise you anything that you don’t want.” His voice had the right hint of sex and heat.
“What does that mean?”
“If you don’t want to pursue anything further, we stop here and tonight.”
“And if I do?”
“You say I drive a hard bargain…”
“I would like to drive something else into you.” His blue eyes sparkled with lust.
Wait for Love is available in e-book form on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, All Romance, and Smashwords.