June 9, 2017
Sugar goes on her date with Chef.
Mood Music: Special Affair by The Internet
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
When Mallory sauntered into Sugar’s office announced, she didn’t pay him any mind as she was in the middle of working on the schedule for the week after next like she always did on Fridays. There were some changes that needed to be made. Two waiters wanted to switch shifts. One of her kitchen staff was taking an entire week off for a family reunion in Chicago. One of her evening receptionists now needed Mondays and Wednesday evenings off after deciding to go back to college. Scheduling was like putting mismatched pieces together to make a functioning puzzle. A task, in which, was very time consuming.
However, then Mallory did something surprisingly uncharacteristic by shutting the office door, which caused Sugar to lift her attention from the computer screen and arch an eyebrow at him for a moment. Her baby brother never shut the door by his own accord. Sugar always had to demand it from him and even then, there was no guarantee that he’d do it. She studiously eyed him for a moment, attempting to pinpoint any telltale signs of illness or alien abduction, but Mallory seemed like his normal pestering self so she went back to her original task.
He plopped down in one of the cushioned chairs in front of her office desk, leaned back comfortably, stretched his legs out, and intertwined his fingers, twiddling his thumbs. He gazed at her with a cheesy grin spread wide across his face. It was a grin she knew all too well. It was a perfect warning to her that Mallory had some juicy information about someone somewhere. He had always had that goofy grin on his face since he was a child when he discovered something that was probably none of his business. As a child, he snuck into Odette’s room to read her diary often, blackmailed Rochelle into doing his chores after he caught her sneaking out of the house to make out with some boy down the block, and he secretly picked up a phone somewhere in the house to listen in on Sugar’s phone conversations to her then-boyfriend Lance.
“Weren’t you supposed to leave an hour ago,” he asked, cocking his head to the side.
She was supposed to leave an hour and a half ago, but in between bringing different employees into her office and calling others from her phone to ask if they were willing to do different shifts, she had barely put a dent into creating a suitable schedule.
“I really need to finish this schedule,” Sugar answered.
She smoothly added, “Plus, I have plenty of time.”
That was a big fat lie.
Sugar had very little time to get ready for her thing with Chef. Yes, thing. It wasn’t a date. Labeling it as a date meant that she was potentially interested in future of dating him. She wasn’t. So, she labeled her outing with him as a thing—a very complicated thing.
Mallory untangled his fingers and reached into his pants pocket to pull out his cell. “What did you say you were doing tonight? I forgot.”
“I never said.”
“Hm,” Mallory hummed as he surfed through his phone before he said, “it must be mighty important for you to want to take off early on one of the busiest nights of the week.”
Sugar closed her eyes and sighed, slightly annoyed. “Is there a point to this conversation, Lory? If not, please go somewhere and make yourself useful.”
His goofy smile widened by a mile.
“The point is I know about your boyfriend, Shug,” he admitted calmly as if he had known about it for a while.
Sugar blinked in surprise for a moment at the allegation, but quickly recovered.
“I don’t have a boyfriend,” she assured.
It wasn’t a lie.
“Really?” Mallory lifted an eyebrow before he leaned forward, sliding his cell across the desk for her to take. “Then pray tell who is this?”
Sugar pursed her lips and narrowed her eyes at her baby brother, exhaling through her nostrils in frustration at his annoying presence as she picked up the offered device. The Friendb00k app was open with a someone’s profile plastered on the cell’s lit screen.
Her eyes slowly widened as she stared at a picture of said profile’s owner. It was an older picture having mostly been scanned and uploaded onto a computer. It was a bright summer day at a busy amusement park. A twenty-something-year-old Chef with an adorable toddler girl with the most infectious smile propped on his shoulders. The little girl had bone straight black girl with a blunt bang and wore an iconic Minnie Mouse ear headband. She could see tiny pieces of Chef in the toddler’s face and immediately realized that it was his daughter.
A pang of pain clenched her heart as she reminded herself that the girl in that photo was now dead. Unable to look at the photo, her eyes scanned Chef’s profile details.
Name: Miles Thibodeau
Age: 46 (11/8)
Occupation: Proud ex-Marine, owner of the Salty Marine
Relationship Status: Taken (last updated by user 5/26/17)
Her eyebrows scrunched together as she read his relationship status, focusing on the date in which he updated said status. Why in the hell did he put that he was taken? If he was taken, she surely wasn’t the one who took him. Why did he update that status on the very night he invited her to the Jazzmyne Garden Club? She couldn’t recall any indication she might have given him to assume such a thing so he could trot back home and change his relationship status to taken. On her profile page, her status was single!
However, Chef’s relationship status was the least of Sugar’s concerns now. Her nosy baby brother knew she had a thing with someone. There were only five women knew about it, but she didn’t think any of them would blab about it!
Sugar clenched her jaw. “Was it Odette that told you?”
Out of all the Hartwell siblings, Mallory had a strong bond to Odette. They were the babies of the group with Odette coming in at thirty-three and Mallory was twenty-nine. They were the last ones to leave the Hartwell household long after Sullivan, Sugar, and Rochelle moved out to begin their adult lives in the world. Therefore, it made sense that Odette would tell Mallory about what happened.
Sugar frowned. “What?”
“It wasn’t Ettie,” Mallory admitted.
She tossed out a far-fetched guess. “Rochelle?”
“Uh-uh,” Mallory replied, shaking his head.
She took an even wilder guess. “Katrina?”
Her baby brother gave her a ‘be serious, sis’ look. They both knew Katrina would take a secret to the grave.
Sugar jerked her head back slightly in shock, her face twisting in confusion. “Why would Helena tell you? As a matter of fact, why are you two even talking to each other?”
She would’ve never thought Mallory and Odette’s sister-in-law were that close. It was logical to assume that they were on friendly terms considering their familial relation to Odette, but Sugar would’ve never thought they were close enough to tell other folks’ secrets like they were schoolgirls at a slumber party.
“Me and Helena kick it at a club every sometimes,” Mallory admitted.
Of course, ya’ll do, Sugar thought sarcastically.
The two loved all that clubbing nonsense.
Sugar closed her eyes and pinched the bridge of her nose. “Please, don’t tell me that Helena is one of your little girlfriends, Lory. Please, tell me you got some common sense.”
“It’s not like that, Shug. We just chill, sip, and dance a little.”
She let out a disgusted gag as she knew exactly what it was like to watch Helena ‘dance a little’. That girl twerked, gyrated, and grinded on the dancefloor like she was in video vixen in a 2002 hip-hop video.
“It’s harmless fun,” Mallory assured with a roll of his eyes. “Helena’s cool to be around, but she’s too wild for me. Though once she settle herself down a bit, mayb—“
Sugar clamped her hands over her ears and chanted desperately, “Lalala! Can’t hear you.”
The very last thing she needed was to visualize Mallory and Helena together in that way. She shuddered in disgust.
Mallory closed his mouth, shaking his head slowly at her.
Sugar dropped her hands. “I don’t want or need to know that.”
“When she starts sipping on that Patron, she can’t hold water on a rainy day. I only asked her about that girls night was since I knew you got sick and couldn’t go. I didn’t think she’d tell me about you getting caught red-handed with your boyfriend.”
“He’s not my boyfriend!”
Mallory sighed heavily, unconvinced. “Then what is he then, Shug?”
“He’s just a friend, Lory. Nothing more, nothing less.”
He gave her a ‘yeah right’ look.
“Look, I ain’t gay or anything, but from ole dude’s pictures on that profile, he got that sexy dark mysterious shit going on with all the muscles and tattoos. No grown woman in her right mind would have him as just a friend, Shug,” Mallory said. “They’d climb on ole dude like a damn jungle gym and do acrobatic shit on his di—“
Immediately, Sugar cut him off. “We’re friends and nothing more, Mallory.”
“But you’re going on a date with him tonight?”
“It’s not a date. It’s just a…friendly meet-up.”
A friendly meet-up that—ten times out of nine—was going to end with her in his bed.
“Well, friend or boyfriend,” Mallory said. “I’m happy for you, Shug. Helena said he’s a cool dude. You deserve some fun, some happiness. There’s no need to be sneaking around everybody’s backs about this except for maybe…”
They shot each other a knowing look and said in unison, “Sully.”
“He can’t know, Lory,” Sugar urged, pointing a finger at him in warning.
Mallory lifted his hands up in defense. “I’m staying out of that one. I’ll cross state lines if I need to when that mess goes down, but videotape it for me, so I can put it on YouTube. I need to get some more followers.”
Sugar gave him an unimpressed look. “I need to get back to work, Lory.”
“You don’t have to do everything, Shug. You’re not Superwoman. I’ll be more than happy to do the schedule myself. I’ve watched you enough to know what to do.”
She bit her bottom lip, shifting hesitant glances between her computer and her baby brother. “Are you sure you can do it, Lory?”
“Absolutely positive,” he assured with a confident grin.
Sugar shot up from her office chair and grabbed her purse hurriedly. “I really, really appreciate it. After you finish the schedule, I need you to—“
“Text it to all the employees,” he finished for her, widening his grin. “Contrary to popular belief, I’m not just a handsome face.”
For once, she actually felt comfortable leaving Mallory in charge of her restaurant, but she still needed to lay down some ground rules. “Do not, I repeat, do not bring your little herd of girlfriends here anymore if you’re gonna give them free desserts and free cocktails until closing, Lory. My restaurant isn’t an all-you-can-eat buffet.”
He defended, “It was for a good cause, Shug. One of the ladies was celebrating her divorce. I was donating on behalf of Sugar Mama to the good cause.” ”
“Well, the only way to donate to a good cause is by giving money. So, I docked your generous donation from your paycheck,” she informed him with a bright smile while his grin diminished from his lips. “Don’t screw with my money and I won’t screw with yours, Lory. Got it?”
Mallory exhaled through his nostrils, annoyed. “Got it.”
“Good,” she said as she rounded her desk and moved towards the door in rushed steps. “I’ll try to call you later tonight.”
“If ole dude doing what he’s supposed to, you won’t be calling at all,” Mallory said in a low grumbly tone that Sugar didn’t hear as she hurried out the door and down the hallway.
She attempted to avoid freeway rush hour traffic by taking the city streets, but she always growled in frustration at getting caught at a red lights and heavy pockets of traffic. However, she did make it home about fifteen minutes sooner than if she had taken the freeway.
She slid her car into the garage and closed the garage door with a quick press of a button before she hopped out of her car and ran into the depths of her house. She quickly peeled off her dress and kicked off her high heels as she made her way to her master bathroom to turn on the shower. She smelled like work: chocolate, cinnamon, and cookie batter. She wanted to smell like a woman, not her restaurant kitchen. She hopped into the shower as the icy water transitioned into a bearable lukewarm temperature in the loosest sense. It took a minute or two for the water to heat up, but by then, she washed herself vigorously and hurriedly with mango-scented body wash. She finished showering in a record time of six minutes. An impressive feat for a woman who showered typically for thirty minutes or longer.
She hopped out of the shower and toweled herself off quickly before she sat down on her bed to lotion herself. Once she was finished, she scurried over to her dresser to retrieve sheer pink lingerie that she had bought earlier in the week specifically for tonight. She enjoyed getting a heated reaction out of Chef. How he looked at her in those moments always warmed her up and made her soaking wet.
After slipping the bra-panty set on, she moved over to the closet and searched through a mountain of stacked shoe boxes for a pair of five-inch chunky-heeled black leather boots. She called them her “spunky” boots. A few years back when one of Lance’s old college buddies had their thirtieth biker-themed surprise birthday party. She painstakingly bought an entire outfit to fit the theme, dolled herself up to look like a chic biker chick, and went to the party, which was a dingy bar. Lance was tasked with the responsibility of deceiving the birthday boy by occupied throughout the day before leading the clueless man into the bar.
The moment Lance laid eyes upon her at the party, he had an absolute fit. According to him, her “spunky” boots were “whore” boots. She didn’t look like a chic biker chick. She looked like a whore that hung out around a biker bar. His comments hurt her terribly even though nearly every single person at the party showered her in compliments and told Lance that he was a lucky man to have her. Back then, she was dumb enough to convince herself that Lance wasn’t the lucky one, she was.
Now, she knew her true worth.
After finishing her boots with a relieved sigh, she escaped the closet with the shoe box and tossed it onto the bed before she resumed the task of getting dressed.
She shimmed into cuffed denim shorts she had borrowed from Helena that fitted her nicely. She slipped on plain tuba socks on her feet before yanking on her spunky boots. She put on a soft pink-and-white striped halter midriff top. She shrugged on an old leather jacket that she used to wear when she first dated motorcycle-riding Lance before rushing to the bathroom. She managed to apply a touch of makeup, but she painted her lips with matte black lipstick.
Then the doorbell echoed throughout the house and her heart stopped.
“Stick to the plan, Sugar,” she told herself in the mirror after taking a deep breath to still her nerves. “No emotions, no romance, just pure fun.”
Making her way to the front door, she unlocked it and opened it slowly.
She opened her mouth to speak, but the words died in her throat as she drunk in the sight of him drinking in the sight of her. His gray eyes started from her spunky boots, traveling up her bare calves and thighs, her shorts that accented her womanly curves and ass, the few inches of bare belly that the pink midriff top allotted, and then her face. He bit on his bottom lip and cocked his head slightly as he swept his eyes over her once more, much slower the second time around—more appreciatively.
Being trapped by his intense gaze was equivalent to having a hot bucket of water dumped over her head.
“Good evening,” she finally said.
“Evenin’,” he returned, slight grin at his lips.
A lengthy moment of silence lingered between them as they stared at each other. A pair of brown eyes glistened with anxiousness while a pair of stormy gray eyes brewed with tempting certainty. She nervously tucked a piece of hair behind her ear. She had given her signature bun a day off and now her hair was loose about her shoulders in wavy curls.
She stepped onto the porch, shutting the door behind her. She reached into her purse to get to her keys, but her fingers lost their grip and they fell to the ground with a jingle, landing at her feet.
Sugar started to bend at the waist to retrieve them, but Chef’s voice made her stop.
“Allow me,” he said, his grin widening a margin more as he squat down to get the recover the fallen keys. He gazed up at her and jiggled the keys a little with playful intent before he rose back up, somehow someway incredibly closer to her than he was before.
“Are you always such a gentleman,” Sugar teased as he handed the keys back to her.
“My grandmama and granddaddy raised me right,” he answered. “It’s a part of who I am.”
She arched an eyebrow at his comment, questions filling her mind. What happened to his parents? Did his parents die when he was young? What was his childhood like in Louisiana? What were his grandparents like? Did he have any other family? Reid had asked him if he had a brother and he said no, but did he have a sister out there somewhere?
“They did a fine job,” she complimented.
“I’m glad you approve,” he said with a slight chuckle.
Sugar turned around to lock the front door. After sliding the key into the key, she froze as she felt Chef’s head dip down and bury his nose into her hair, inhaling deep.
“Mm, you smell good enough to eat,” he said. “Mango?”
She closed her eyes, shuddering.
“Mm hm,” she hummed.
“I like it,” he said huskily.
She gulped, “I’m glad you approve.”
He let out a short but rumbly chuckle at her answer that she had stolen from him. “I gotta be honest with you, Sugar. I’m very mad at you.”
His voice didn’t indicate any sign of anger or displeasure, but after being in an eighteen-year marriage with a man who was volatile but knew how to contain his anger towards her quite well out the world while laughing and smiling charmingly, Sugar immediately became worried.
Sugar opened her eyes, blinking in confusion. “W-what? Why?”
“I don’t know how you expect me to keep my hands to myself all night while you look so perfect.”
Immediately, her worry melted away and a heavy spike of arousal took its place.
“Who says you have to,” she asked, finally locking the door with a twist of a key. Slipping the key out, she turned to face him again.
Chef arched an eyebrow. “You givin’ me permission then?”
She smiled teasingly. “I thought I already gave you permission on the phone.”
“You sure did, didn’t you,” he replied, his grin widening even more but there was a smug sexiness to it this time around that made her knees weak. She could see his playful mischievousness dancing in his gray eyes.
He leaned his head down a few inches, his face hovering over hers.
In that moment, she thought he was going to kiss her.
She thought he was going to let her experience their first proper kiss.
“We best be on our way before we’re late,” he then said, backing away from her.
Disappointment was a bucket of cold water on her head at the lost opportunity, but she nodded her head as if she agreed with him and took a step forward to leave. However, he grabbed a hold of her hand, which caught her off-guard. Like a gentleman, he escorted her to his Mustang and opened the front passenger door for her.
“Ladies first,” he said, gesturing to the inside of the vehicle.
He helped her inside the Mustang, her hand still in his. Before he let her hand go to close the door, he kissed the back of it and winked at her. She closed her eyes, biting back a sigh. Her heart throbbed violently in her chest as she watched him round the front of the car and slip into the driver’s seat. Soon, the Mustang revved to life and he backed it out of her driveway.
Halfway down the street, his heavy calloused hand found its way to her left knee and cupped it as he stroked back and forth. Goosebumps prickled onto her skin and heat spread across her flesh like wildfire.
She looked over at him.
His attention was locked on the road ahead, but deep down, she knew he was watching her.
A question now burned at the tip of her tongue. “Why didn’t you kiss me at the front door?”
There was a moment of silence. He cocked his head briefly, a thoughtful expression on his face.
“I thought about it,” he admitted.
“I saw you thinking about it,” she returned, “but you didn’t. Why?”
“’Cause if I kissed you, Sugar, I don’t think I would’ve been able to stop myself. Control myself. I would’ve unlocked that damn door myself and carried you back inside, so I can have you all to myself,” he replied, his eyes snapped to hers as he uttered the last word in his statement, his hand inched a little higher.
Breath hitched in her throat before she gulped.
She then said softly, “That would’ve been…interesting.”
“The thought of me makin’ love to you is only interestin’?” There was a pinch of amusal in his voice.
“First off, it wouldn’t be making love. It would be just sex,” she corrected him. “And secondly, yes, it would’ve been very, um…interesting.”
He chuckled for a moment, shaking his head but said nothing.
Deciding to change the subject, she then said, “My younger brother knows about you.”
He arched an eyebrow. “You told him?”
“No, Helena did,” Sugar snorted, rolling her eyes. “He even found your Friendb00k profile and showed me it.”
“And what did you think about it?”
“It was,” she trailed off, searching for a word.
“Interesting,” they both said in eerily unison. She shot him a glare and he shot her back a playful grin.
“There was one thing that stood out to me,” she admitted.
“And what was that?”
“Your relationship status,” she answered. “Apparently, you changed your relationship status to taken on the very night you invited me to that jazz club. Care to explain?”
“I am taken,” he replied.
Sugar blinked. “By who?”
“By you, Sugar Magnolia Wallace.”
“We’re not in a relationship, Miles Thibodeau. We have a thing.”
He arched an eyebrow once more. “A thang?”
“Yes, a thing.”
Chef grew quiet for a moment.
“Fine, we have a thang,” he said, his southern voice emphasizing the final word. “Therefore, my relationship status is still accurate.”
Sugar’s brows scrunched. “What? How?”
“Like you said, there’s a thing goin’ on between us. That night at the jazz club you promised me that I’d be the only man in your life and you know that you’re the only woman in mine. Therefore, I’m taken by you as you are by me.”
Sugar opened her mouth to speak, but she didn’t know what to say.
There was undeniable logic to his reasoning, which allowed her to see the flaws of their agreement—of her conditions.
“I suppose in a way,” she trailed off.
As the Mustang eased to a full stop at a red traffic light, then she added matter-of-factly, “For the time being, of course.”
Chef looked over to her with an unreadable expression claiming every inch of his face, but his eyes burned into hers. She shuddered at how he stared at her. For some odd reason, she felt as if there was an unspoken challenge simmering in his gray depths.
In that moment, she realized her words sounded like a threat to a man such as him.
Her heart raced in her chest and she could hear the drumming of her heartbeat in her ears against the terrible silence that loomed into the car.
She cut her eyes away from him, pretending to be interested in the world that thrived outside the confinements of the car. His hand, however, was still on her thigh. A constant reminder of his dominant presence. Soon, the light changed green and the car was set into motion again. She watched the city bathed in night slither by her window, noting familiar street names and various landmarks that gave her a telltale sign of what side of town he was driving to.
They drove through grim streets of the Docks. As they passed side streets, Sugar could see bits and pieces of the river from a few blocks away. Eventually, they drove down a street and turned into a loading area behind a boarded-up warehouse that looked like it had better years. There were lots and lots of cars parked all over the place. There were people of all kinds migrating towards a rusted entrance door elevated on a set of concrete steps.
“This is it,” she asked with scrunched eyebrows.
He said nothing as he got out the car and went around to open hers, offering his hand. She hesitantly took it and stepped out of the car. Was he angry or upset at her for what she said? Why did she feel so guilty?
She waited for him as he retrieved a duffel bag from his trunk.
“Do you come here often,” she asked, desperately wanting to break the silence.
“Not as often as I used to,” he answered as he shut the trunk hood.
She nearly sighed in relief when he willingly spoke to her. Maybe, she was overreacted. Maybe, he wasn’t mad at her after all.
“Can you help me understand why people like getting beat up for fun,” she asked teasingly with a weak smile, trying to lighten the mood.
“That ain’t the reason why folks box,” he replied as they slowly made their way across the loading area and towards the warehouse.
She crossed her arms, intrigued to learn more. “Then what is the reason?”
“Boxin’ ain’t just about two people punchin’ each other until somebody falls. Boxin’ requires strategy, thought, and plannin’. It’s almost like chess. You always gotta try be one step ahead of your opponent. You gotta find their strengths and weak spots. Boxin’ exercises you physically and mentally,” he said. “That’s why folks love it.”
He added with a slight grin, “Beatin’ them up is just a nice bonus.”
Sugar couldn’t help but giggle.
They walked up the steps and Chef opened the creaking rusted metal door for her. She walked in first, immediately in awe at what she saw. At the center of the hollowed warehouse was an elevated spacious boxing ring with thick crowd of rowdy people surrounding it, cheering and booing as two men battled it out. An industrial spotlight shined upon the boxing ring for everyone to see the violence. Whoever owned the warehouse took it upon themselves to station a functional and fully stocked bar against a far concrete wall.
“You thirsty,” Chef shouted to her over the roar of the crowd.
Sugar nodded. “A drink would be nice!”
Chef took ahold of her hand, leading her through the crowd and toward the bar. There were three bartenders manning the counter and one of them was a familiar face.
“Ain’t this a surprise,” Gizzard shouted with a grin as he approached them from the other side of the counter. “It’s good to see you again, Ms. Sugar!”
She smiled at him. “It’s good to see you too, Mister…Gizzard!”
Gizzard nodded to Chef in acknowledge. “Boss!”
“Anything she wants, put it on my tab,” Chef replied loudly.
Gizzard winked. “Absolutely and I’ll be sure to add a thirty or forty percent tip to that total. I’ll let you decide.”
Chef smirked at the older man’s words before he leaned down to speak in Sugar’s ear. “Gizz’ll take good care of you. I gotta go suit up. I’m up after this match.”
When he pulled back, she kissed him on the cheek. “A kiss for good luck!”
He gave her one last look before he left, disappearing into the crowd.
She returned her attention back to Gizzard, who eyed her with amusement and intrigue. He was probably wondering how in the hell did she and his boss end up together.
“What would you like, Ms. Sugar,” he questioned.
“I’ll take a Sex on the Beach,” she ordered.
“Comin’ right up,” Gizzard said with a nod and turned to make a drink.
Someone shoved their way between Sugar and a man who was standing beside her at the counter. It was an impatient woman who clapped her hands rudely to get Gizzard’s attention.
“Excuse me, I need a Vegas Bomb! Scale back the ice and heavy on the whisky. Top shelf only,” the woman ordered, “and I’ll know if you try can skim me on the whisky.”
“I’ll be right with you after I finish this order, ma’am,” Gizzard said though his face was twisted sourly at the woman’s impolite attitude.
“Then maybe you should get to that order instead of wasting your time staring at me with your beady damn eyes,” the woman hissed.
Sugar dropped her jaw at the woman’s audacity and took a good look at her. The familiarity of the woman’s face was too strong to ignore even if a poorly lit place like this. She cocked her head in confusion before she widened her eyes as she finally recognized the woman.
Mariah jerked her head in Sugar’s direction with a look of surprise on her face.
“Wh-wh-what are you doing here,” Mariah demanded to know, frantically glancing around their surroundings as if she were on the lookout for any other witnesses with familiar faces.
“I’m here with a friend,” Sugar answered, arching an eyebrow at the woman’s odd behavior that could only be described as guilty.
Though already knowing the answer, she still asked, “Is Lance here too?”
This place was not Lance’s cup of tea. He loved glitz and glam and this place was most certainly neither of those things. She thought Mariah lived by the same standards, but apparently not.
“No, I’m with a friend myself,” Mariah replied, shaking her head before she slapped her hand on the counter impatiently multiple times to get Gizzard’s attention. “Hurry the fuck up!”
Sugar narrowed her eyes at Mariah. “Stop talking to him like that. He’s going as fast as he can.”
Mariah scoffed, rolling her eyes. “I can do or say whatever I want to whoever I want and no one, including your pathetic ass, is going to stop me.”
Then a tall buff dark-skinned man approached Mariah from behind, wrapping his arms around her waist. “What’s taking so long, babe?”
Mariah stiffened, horror drenching her beautiful face.
Sugar’s eyes flickered between her ex-husband’s young wife and the woman’s ‘friend’, a smile spreading across her lips. The irony in this whole situation was both sad and utterly delicious to consume.
“Aren’t you going to introduce me to your friend, Mariah,” Sugar asked, batting her eyelashes innocently. When the young woman didn’t respond right away, Sugar immediately extended her hand for the handsome football-player-looking man to accept in a handshake. The man looked so familiar, but she couldn’t for the life of her pinpoint where she had seen him before.
“I’m Sugar. Mariah and I know each other quite well,” she introduced proudly with a beaming smile. “And you are?”
The man’s eyes widened slightly, overtly uncomfortable by the whole situation.
“Erm, Renard,” he introduced, uncurling an arm around Mariah’s waist and shaking Sugar’s hand hesitantly.
Another clue of familiarity that sent her brain scrambling for explanation.
Where did she hear that name from?
As she shook his hand, she immediately noticed an engraved wedding band on his ring finger. Her delight in the situation crumbled now that she knew there was a wife somewhere at home, wondering and worrying where her husband was. Even after homewrecking a marriage to get married herself, Mariah was still chasing after married men.
Gizzard put her drink on the counter.
“Here’s your Sex on the Beach,” he said before turning his attention to Mariah. “Your Vegas Bomb is up next.”
“Forget it,” Mariah said, shaking her head frantically. “I changed my mind. Let’s go.”
Then Mariah dragged the man into the crowd.
Sugar turned around to face Gizzard, shaking her head as she took a deep gulp of her mixed drink.
A drunk man beside Sugar asked Gizzard. “Hey, Gizz! Was that Renard Edwards I just saw with that hottie?”
Gizzard nodded. “Sure was.”
Sugar scrunched her eyebrows together. “Who is Renard Edwards?”
The drunk man looked at her in shock as if she asked him to sacrifice his firstborn son. “Renard Edwards is a wide receiver for the River City Serpents.”
Sugar blinked. “He’s a professional football player?”
“One of the best wide receivers in the league. Just re-signed a contract last year that put seventeen cool mil in his wallet,” Gizzard informed.
Mariah got what she wanted after all. A football player with a bigger dick than Lance’s and an astronomically bigger wallet.
She sipped on her drink, attempting to find an ounce of sympathy for Lance, but she couldn’t find none. The only one she felt sorry for was Lance and Mariah’s son, who was no doubt already suffering from having two selfish arrogant parents. However, if Lance and Mariah were to divorce once the truth came out then that poor child would be nothing more than a trophy to be won. If the truth came out, but it wouldn’t be by her lips. Trotting around the city with a pro football player would eventually gather the attention of someone wielding a smartphone.
After Sugar finished her mixed drink, she ordered another one and sipped at it, lingering near the bar as she observed the eighth and final round of the match from a safe distance. The round ended with clean forceful punch from a Hispanic man that knocked the other opponent, a white man, out. The referee did a mandatory eight count before declaring the standing boxer as a winner.
Once the boxing ring was cleared, the names of the next boxers were announced and the crowd roared and cheered terribly loud that Sugar’s ears began to ring, but her heart pounded violently at the mention of Chef’s name. A few pockets of people scattered about the warehouse chanted his name and others chanted the name of his opponent, Filthy Rich.
She squeezed her way through the massive crowd, slowly journeying closer and closer towards the boxing ring for a better view as the two men entered the ring and stationed themselves in their designated corners. Chef rolled his shoulders and craned his neck from left to right. He was bare-chested with royal blue boxing shorts and black gloves on his hands. Even from a distance, Sugar could tell he was ready for battle.
Filthy Rich, a light-skinned buff black man that was most definitely twenty years Chef’s junior, knocked his gloves together and shouted something tauntingly that couldn’t be heard over the sea of cheering people. Chef wasn’t fazed by it. When the boxers were called to the center of the ring, they put their stances.
When the first round began with a ring of a bell, they circled each other like predators until Filthy delivered the first hit. Chef dodged smoothly and took the opportunity to develop a clean jab to the face that knocked Filthy’s head backwards from the pure force. Filthy stumbled, but recovered with ease. They punished each other with brutal punches that made Sugar wince every single time, but Chef did a lot of dodging and blocking. He was holding back, but she couldn't for the life of her understand why. She inched closer and closer to the boxing ring, but the crowd was massive and thick, it wasn’t until the fourth round did she manage to get to a good spot. She decided not to move any further. There were about ten people between her and the fight now.
Filthy gave Chef a forceful punch that sent him against the ropes, but Chef bounced back with impressive timing and a cold hardened expression that she witnessed from where she stood. It frightened and thrilled her all at once. To return the kindness, Chef awarded his opponent with four deep hits in the gut, which made Filthy hunch over for a moment. Chef took a step backwards as if he were allowing his opponent to recover. In moments, Filthy was back upright and ready for war.
Watching Chef box was like watching art in motion. Pale tattooed flesh glistening under the harsh spotlight. Toned muscles flexing and rippling with every powerful hit he delivered and received. He absorbed violence inflicted on him well and barely reacted to it. There wasn’t much thought behind Filthy Rich’s method. He attacked when he saw any opening, but he didn’t think ahead like he was supposed to. He was opportunist, not a strategist like Chef and it showed it.
Filthy used brute force every single time, which was effective strategy during the beginning rounds, but Sugar could tell that as the rounds wore on, Filthy was tiring himself out. A boxer like him probably won fought in the beginning rounds using his brutal force, but paired with an opponent like Chef, his fighting philosophy was to be his ultimate downfall and Sugar had a strong suspicion that Chef sniffed out Filthy’s weakness from the very beginning.
Sugar smiled as Chef rained precise hard punches on Filthy who in turn attempted to return the favor, but his delivery was desperate and sloppy the more he struggled on.
Barely a minute into the fight the seventh round, Chef hurled a nasty blow to the face that caused Filthy to collapse. The referee did an eight count, but Filthy laid on the ground in utter defeat. When the referee declared a panting Chef the winner, there was a thunderous mix of cheers and disapproval. Sugar’s excited scream blended seamlessly into the masses. She jumped up and down, completely ecstatic by his victory.
Once Chef left the ring, Sugar decided to go to the restroom to pee. Fighting her way through the rowdy crowd, she managed to find the restroom after asking someone to point her in the right direction. Eventually, she made it to the restroom and when she was finished, she washed her hands. In the mirror, she saw another restroom stall door open and Mariah emerge from it.
Her ex-husband’s wife walked up to the sinks and turned on the faucet. “Look, Sugar. This whole situation is compli—“
“Don’t,” Sugar cut her off. “I don’t need or want to know. It’s none of my business and I don’t want it to be my business. Alright?”
Mariah clenched her jaw, eying Sugar as if she were trying to sniff an ill intent or truth. “Fine with me.”
“Good,” Sugar said, giving a curt nod. “Enjoy the rest of your evening.”
She went to the restroom door and opened it, but paused for a moment, looking over her shoulder. “By the way, Mariah, if I see you disrespect someone else in front of me again like you did, your pathetic ass will be unconscious on the ground. So, you better watch your mouth.”
Then Sugar left the young woman alone in the restroom to contemplate her words.
She decided to return the very place Chef had left her, so he could find her easily when he was ready. She sparked up good lengthy conversation with Gizzard centering around her parents while he served up drinks to thirsty patrons.
“Here comes the man of the hour,” Gizzard suddenly announced with a proud grin.
Sugar looked over her shoulder to see fully dressed Chef make his way towards the bar with his duffel bag. Gizzard offered him a glass bottle of beer.
“On the house from yours truly,” Gizzard said with a wink.
“Appreciate the thought, but I’d rather crack a cold one at home with good company,” Chef said, eying Sugar intently as he spoke. She bit down on her bottom lip, trying her absolute hardest to be unaffected by his words while her brain made a list of what being ‘good company’ would mean on this night.
Gizzard nodded with a grin and a wink. “Sounds like a plan. You two enjoy yourself then.”
Then the older man walked off to tend to some customers.
They made their way outside. The air was thick with humidity and very hot. An annoying ring echoed in Sugar’s ears from being exposed to continuous screaming. She crossed her arms over her chest as they walked side-by-side.
“Congratulations on your victory,” she commended, unable to hold back a smile. “Color me very impressed.”
“I’ve won plenty of matches over the years, but impressin’ you is a victory I’m most proud of,” Chef said as he shot her sexy grin before licking his lips.
Sugar giggled, shaking her head.
She felt warm and fuzzy at his words.
“Thank you for inviting me tonight,” she replied. “It was fun.”
“You talkin’ like the night is over and it’s time to say goodbye. It’s not,” Chef replied. “The night is far from over, Sugar. You know that right?”
Her heart raced with statement.
“I know,” she admitted.
“Good ‘cause I’m gonna take you home,” he replied.
The Mustang cruised down a lonely county highway that weaved and slithered through the countryside. They were ten minutes from the city limits and thirty minutes from the Docks. There were country homes, farms, and thick acres of woods all along the landscape bathed in moonlight. Sugar had always wondered what kind of home did a man like Chef go to each night and though she hadn’t seen his house yet, the area in which they were driving through was another piece to a puzzle centering entirely around him. It made sense that he’d live in the country. Though she knew very little about his past, she could tell he was a southern country boy and raised as such since the day he was born.
Eventually, he slowed the car down and turned onto a gravel driveway that led into a small patch of woods. At the end of the driveway was a beautiful one-story ranch house resting on an impressive piece of cleared land that spanned for acres and acres.
“You live here all by yourself?” She blinked, absolutely in awe.
The car eased to a stop in front of the house. “For the most part, but not entirely. I get visits from old friends and family a lot. Most of the time, they’re just passin’ through and visit for a day or two. My two goddaughters in college and their little friends come here for mini getaways all the time. They make good use of the pool and jacuzzi in the back.”
“Sounds like a revolving door,” Sugar said.
“It can be,” he admitted, “but I don’t mind it much. It’s nice not havin’ to walk into an empty home all the time.”
Sugar bit her bottom lip for a moment before she said softly, “Well, your home won’t be empty tonight.”
His gray eyes locked on hers. “You’re right. It won’t.”
About seven minutes later, Sugar was sitting on a comfortable couch in Chef’s family room while he was in the kitchen fixing them some drinks. He returned into the room with a glass of white wine, offering it to her.
“Thanks,” she said with a weak smile as she accepted it.
She cocked her head at him when she noticed he didn’t have a drink for himself. “Nothing for you?”
“I’m gonna go take a quick shower,” he replied with a slight grin.
Can I come too, she asked mentally.
“In the meanwhile, feel free make yourself at home,” he encouraged.
Sugar nodded. “Thanks.”
When he left the room, she gulped down the wine quickly and shot up from the couch to go into the kitchen to pour herself another glass.
Once her wine glass was refilled, she wandered about the front of the house drinking in the clues and details of Chef’s life. There were pictures all over the walls. A rich mixture of old and new.
As she stood in the hallway outside the kitchen, she cocked her head as she looked at an aged photo of a cheerful curly black-haired young boy with his hands in the air while he sat on a diner counter with a chef hat cocked on his head. Another older man, most likely his grandfather, grinned proudly behind the counter. On the man’s crisp white apron was a massive bold black cursive logo that read Thibodeau’s.
Then the realization hit her.
The child in the photo was Chef. He couldn’t’ve been no more than four or five years old at best. Not only that, but being a restaurant owner was in his blood.
She turned her attention to another picture, sipping on her wine. It was a professional photo of thirty-something-year-old Chef in his formal Marine uniform with a perfected stony expression.
Another photo that caught her interest was one of a twenty-something-year-old Chef kissing the forehead of a gorgeous but exhausted-looking redhead woman who laid in a hospital bed cradling a newborn baby.
“Alicia was in labor for 47 hours.”
Sugar nearly jumped out of her skin at the fact that Chef was directly behind her and she didn’t even notice his arrival. “That’s a very long time.”
“I almost lost them both. Alicia went into cardiac arrest. I was right there in the room when it happened. They kicked me out and I was scared out of my mind, but they were to stabilize her. Then they did to do an emergency C-section ‘cause Melina’s heartbeat was too weak from all the stress. Alicia hated my guts for a while. Then again, she hated me the whole pregnancy,” Chef said, rubbing the back of his neck with a thoughtful look on his face.
Sugar turned her attention back to the photo. “Why was that?”
“We were newlyweds goin’ through a rough patch. Alicia was always homesick, but we moved often. We were on the verge of splittin’ for good by her goin’ back stateside, but she thought she came down with a bad stomach bug and went to the doctor. Found out then and there she was pregnant. The problem was Melina wasn’t planned. Alicia didn’t want kids and took birth control religiously, but when her mother died in a terrible car accident around that time, takin’ the pills weren’t on the forefront of her mind,” Chef explained. “We made up like most couples do ‘cause I knew we couldn’t split when she was sufferin’ through a tragedy.”
“I hope I ain’t borin’ you with my stories,” he then added, a pinch of amusal in his voice.
“You’re not boring me at all,” she admitted, shooting him a warm smile over her shoulder.
It was nice learning more about him and his past.
Mallory was right.
Chef seemed had a mysterious air to him and yet as she truly got to know him, she soon realized that he was an open book. Or at least, he trusted her enough to want to open up.
He shared a few more stories about various pictures on his wall. They laughed a few smiles and laughs with each other, but eventually found themselves back in the family room. This time around Chef did have a cold bottle of beer in his hand. He watched her intently from the other side of the couch, a small sea of space between them. Sugar sipped on her wine as she watched him right back.
The sexual tension between them was incredibly palpable. She could feel it in the air like a steady current of electricity and it made her tiny hairs all over her body stand on end.
“When are you gonna let me taste you, Sugar?”
Sugar nearly choked on her wine.
“I’m sorry?” Maybe, she misheard him.
“I asked when are you gonna let me taste you,” he repeated smoothly before he brought the bottle of beer to his lips. The ball was in her court now and they both knew that.
Now, her body hummed through and through with excitement. “You can do it right now. I’m not going to stop you.”
He chuckled throatily at her words, leaning forward to place his beer on the coffee table in front of the couch. She took two big gulps of wine, draining the glass before she put it down on the coffee table as well.
Chef closed the distance between them, resting his arm along the back of the couch. He dipped his head down and she tilted her head up to meet him halfway, screwing her eyelids shut. Chef pressed his lips against hers, eagerly sliding his tongue into her parted lips. She moaned at the invasion, greeting his tongue with her own. At first, the kiss was soft and tender, but soon, it became more passionate and hungry. Sugar reached up, cupping the side of his bearded face as their mouths and tongues worked together in a feverish tempo.
Sugar didn’t want it to end, but Chef pulled back slightly, so they could breathe.
Her eyes were half-closed and she was completely hypnotized by what transpired.
Already addicted to kissing him, she boldly straddled him, raised up on her knees to tower over him, and grabbed a possessive hold of his chin as she dominated his mouth with her own. Sugar had no idea where the burst of uncharacteristic courage came from, but she embraced it as she kissed him roughly. A groan rumbled in his chest and he slid his calloused hands along the backside of her bare thighs and upwards the curve of her ass.
She needed him bad and it made her feel so good to know he felt the exact same way.
Finally, they broke the kiss to catch their breath.
Now very thirsty, she looked over her shoulder to the coffee table, pouting when she realized she had downed every last drop of her wine. She reached out and retrieved Chef’s beer bottle, sitting herself fully on his lap as she took a very generous gulp.
Chef chuckled slightly. “I thought you were a beer kind of gal.”
She put the beer down where it was and turned her full attention back to where it needed to be: on him. She leaned forward, brushing her lips against his teasingly.
“Tonight, I’m anything I want to be.”
A beer kind of gal.
A bold confident woman.
A woman hungry for all he had to offer.
“And what do you want to be tonight, Sugar?”
She gave him a soft closed-mouth kiss, just wanting to savor the closeness of him and how good his lips felt against hers. She wanted to thrust her tongue into his mouth for another taste, for another frenzy moment of passion to succumb to, but it took every ounce of her to hold back.
“Yours, Chef, yours,” she whispered in a near-desperate tone.
She wanted him so badly, her entire body was throbbing and aching.
Chef let out a gruff growl and quickly stood up from the couch, anchoring her against him with a strong grip of her thighs’ undersides. She squealed at the suddenness of it all, immediately wrapping her arms around his neck and her legs around his waist. Unable to wait any longer, she smashed her lips into his and plunged her tongue into the warm depths of his mouth, twirling it around his tongue hungrily while he marched them into the depths of his house.
Final destination: his bed.
Look, ya'll. Don't get mad. I had to stop it there 'cause this update is nearly 9K! That's like two updates in one! If I continued their first time together, that would've been like 11k-12k all together. So, there is a part 2 to this special affair. It will be raunchy as hell. I ain't gonna lie. Sugar is gonna be a different person in that next chapter and Chef is going to show A LOT more of his dominant side too.
I wanted to give a nice big update before the first day of school starts tomorrow. My final salute to the end of summer for me.
I am surprised that I wrote so much between these last three days because it's been ABSOLUTE drama at my school regarding that heifer.
Anyways, feedback is greatly appreciated.
Have a wonderful Sunday and keep an eye out for Hot Affair Pt. 2! :D
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