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Zola's Magic Touch
Glossophobia – the fear of public speaking. Shirou Tsubasa, a
glossophobic Japanese scientist, and Zola Simpson, a determined
plus-size African-American public affairs specialist, find themselves
immersed in a battle of wills. NASA needs their golden boy to perform
like a trick pony at an important convention in Atlanta to assure future
funding, but the thought of getting up in front of hundreds causes
Shirou such intense anxiety he flat-out refuses. Frustrated and at their
wits’ end, the bosses decide Zola’s magic touch is the only thing that
can snap their residential genius into shape for the big event. Zola is
resentful that she has to give up a planned weekend of sexual abandon
with her ex after a long dry spell. However, she’s never met a geek she
couldn’t crack, and Shirou Tsubasa will speak at that convention—even if
she has to seduce the egghead into it.
Zola's Magic Touch


“Zola, you are the only one who can help me out of this dilemma.”
The tall, thin man with salt-and-pepper hair and unassuming features
strolled into her office after only a brief knock.
Immediately she knew he had rehearsed everything he wanted to
say before he stepped inside, and he was about to ask her to do something
she didn’t want to do.
“How may I help you, Mr. Tate?” Zola Simpson asked, barely
glancing away from the computer screen as she typed up the next round of
speeches to be placed on the teleprompters for the public speakers who went
to selected conventions to be the voice for NASA.
Her highly capable fingers rippled tap...tap...tap...across the keys
with impressive lightning speed, not letting the temporary distraction
distract her.
“Err...Zola, listen here...I’ve been thinking about your request for
that long weekend off so you can visit your family in Atlanta—” he began. “I
have delegated your workload to Howard so you can fly out tonight.
Everything has been arranged—”
“That was three months ago, sir.” Zola’s eyebrow cocked. She
couldn’t believe the nerve. It had been her parents’ anniversary and she had
hoped to surprise them. Instead she ended up sending them a card and a
check because Mr. Tate couldn’t possibly do without her assistance at this
critical time when the economy was so bad.
“Yes.” The older man cleared his throat. “Well, I’m sure they would
be happy to see you. I know you’re probably ready for your mother’s home
cooking about now, huh?”
Her fingers paused over the keys as she bit back the smart-ass retort
that came to mind. Of course a “home-cooked meal” would be the only
reason a black woman who wore a size eighteen would want to drive from
Virginia to Georgia for a weekend.
Sigh. Why do people think big people think about food all the time?
Usually, the only time she thought about food all the time was when she was
dieting. So, she gave up dieting and became happy with her dangerous
Right now Tate was trying to look down the modest “V” of her
conservative, white silk blouse at the swell of her brown breasts. She also
knew if she were to get up and walk across the room to get a file, he would
stare at her ass.
“Yes, sir, there is nothing like a mother’s cooking,” Zola agreed as
expected. The only sign that his assumption irritated her was the
uncontrolled fluttering of her left eyelid. “However, I have enough work to
do to keep me busy until Christmas. Thank you, but that’s okay.”
When her boss released a loud sigh and stuffed his hands in his
pocket, Zola braced herself for what was to come next. Anytime Tate looked
like a puckish white man waiting to see if the black woman was amused or
pissed by his colorful racial joke, it meant he was about to ask her to do
something that wasn’t in her job description.
“Zola, we’ve got a major problem in Atlanta that only your magic
touch can handle. Of course you know under different circumstances I
would go myself, but I have no diplomacy when it comes to this young
gentleman. But I’m not a fool. This young man is a valued employee. We
can’t afford to piss him off. It took NASA four years to woo him from his
previous employer.”
“What makes this person so important?” Zola frowned in question.
“Does he work here in this building?”
“No, he’s not under our facility. He heads up the Energy Resource
Department in Coco Beach, Florida. However, it is our division that is
hosting this major fundraising event in Atlanta, and most of the people and
investors who paid a thousand dollars a plate came to hear Tsubasa speak
about renewable energy sources, agro-climatology, and see his latest solar
energy building designs.”
“Dr. Shirou Tsubasa,” she groaned. “I can’t believe he is doing this
Zola hadn’t met the man in person, but she had had her own run-in
with him over the telephone about his contracted required public speaking
appearances. He was heavily sought after, but getting him to do them was
impossible. Each time he was scheduled, he would back out at the last
minute, leaving her to scramble for his replacement and having to rewrite
the speeches.
“So you already know him,” the older man blurted. “That should
make things easier on you.”
“No, I don’t really know him,” Zola corrected. “I have spoken to his
assistant when she calls to inform me that he has more important things to
do than give speeches.” She mimicked the nasally Asian-accented tone of
Mr. Tsubasa’s assistant.
“Sounds just like her.” Mr. Tate chuckled.
“Sorry,” Zola apologized sheepishly. “I take it you want me to find a
replacement in Atlanta and e-mail an appropriate, well-researched speech
ready to go for the dinner banquet tomorrow night?”
“Actually, I’m going to ask more of you, Zola,” Tate confessed. He
tugged at his tie and cleared his throat. “This is not a normal banquet
dinner. We need Tsubasa there convincing those investors to allow us to
keep our current funding, and that is where you come in.”
“Okay.” Zola giggled nervously. “I don’t get it.”
“The only way we can keep our current government funding for the
new year is the ‘young genius.’ Tsubasa needs to explain to the attending
governing bodies where all those millions he’s utilizing are going.”
“How will reduced funding in Florida affect us in Virginia?” Zola
“As long as Tsubasa continues his research, we will maintain a full
staff to garner the research information he needs to do his job. I promised
them in Coco Beach that you work magic with difficult NASA
“I appreciate your confidence in me, Mr. Tate, but I have no idea
how I’m supposed to get this man out on that stage tomorrow night to give a
speech I have yet to write, on a subject I have yet to research,” Zola
“Zola, I know you can get it together. I already gave you a head start
by informing Tsubasa that you will arrive tonight and work on the speech
with him.”
“And he’s all right with that?” She skeptically eyed her boss.
Tate shifted from one foot to the other and picked at an unseen
piece of lint on his expensive blue silk tie. “Of course, he believes he’s
helping you prepare the speech on his operations for someone else to give
the dialogue...”
“Geez,” Zola groaned. “Mr. Tate, you’re killing me here.”
“I know I’m asking a lot.” He nodded his head. "My expectation is
while you’re working on the speech with Tsubasa, you will be able to
convince him how important it is for him to be the one to give the speech.”
“ exactly am I to do that?”
“Find out what the hell his problem is and fix it!” Tate spouted.
With elbows propped atop the desk, Zola dropped her face into her
hands with a loud groan.
“Zola, come on, you’ve dealt with petulant scientists before. It’s
your specialty.” Tate reached out and touched a reassuring hand to her
shoulder. “I really don’t look forward to having to lay people off at the end
of the year if this doesn’t work.”
“I understand,” she murmured.
“Will you do this for me?” he asked.
“It sounds like I have no choice but to try and convince Mr. Tsubasa
how important tomorrow’s banquet is.” Zola released a long sigh. “When
do I leave?”
“Your plane is flying out in...” He looked at the watch on his wrist.
“Five hours and twenty minutes.”
“You’re kidding, right?”
He quirked his eyebrows at her and replied, “I’m serious enough to
tell you to pack only the necessities and use your company card for anything
else you need. If you miss that plane, the next one won’t fly out until in the
morning, and I assume the more time you get with Tsubasa, the better our
odds are.”
“You already purchased the plane ticket?” Zola scoffed, shaking her
head. “What if I had plans that I couldn’t break?”
Tate shook his head. “It would never happen. Not with you, Zola.
That’s why I gave you this position. I knew if you were an excellent
assistant, you would be just as capable at being NASA’s Public Affairs
“I should get a big bonus after this,” Zola muttered as she quickly
began scribbling notes to where she left off on the project she was currently
working on.
“You know the economy isn’t allowing us to issue a bonus this year;
however, I can give you an extra week off with pay. If you get this done for
me, you can stay in Atlanta next week and enjoy a visit with your family.”
“Yeah...yeah...yeah...” she groaned, burying her face in her hands.
“Thank you, Zola. I owe you.”
“Don’t worry. I’m going to get his butt on that platform tomorrow
night,” she said with more assurance than she felt. “I have received perfect
survey scores from each place I’ve sent public representatives. I’m not going
to allow one spoiled Mensa card-carrying member of the ‘geek squad’ to ruin
my stellar reputation.”
“I knew you would see it that way.” Tate chuckled. “Stop by my
office on the way out. I already have an expense check for you and the
agreed-upon additional vacation time in writing.”
Zola nodded. She pushed away from the desk. Rising, she waited a
moment until she heard the ding of the elevator doors opening, then shut
the door to her office and locked it before retrieving her cellular phone from
the soft, black leather, Juicy Couture freestyle hobo handbag.
Easing back into her seat, Zola speed-dialed her ex-boyfriend, now
best friend, Rick. He was number three on the speed dial after her parents
at number one and her baby sister’s cell phone number at number two.
Zola slipped the Bluetooth headset onto her ear and leaned back in
the high-backed burgundy leather executive chair. At the second ring, she
lifted her feet up to rest on the edge of her desk, and at the third ring she
closed her eyes.
On the fourth ring, he answered with a sarcastic, “Don’t tell’re not coming to dinner.”
“I’m afraid not. I’m practically out the door on my way to the
airport,” she explained in an apologetic tone.
“It’s been what, four months since we got our freak on?” Rick
sighed. “You know this phone sexing isn’t cutting it, don’t you?”
“Don’t even lie and say you’ve been waiting on me.” Zola laughed
softly. “It’s been four months since I got my freak on.”
“You know if you want to get back together, I’m right there,” he
replied sincerely. “When I’m with you, I’m with you.”
“I know, but nothing has changed.” It was her turn to sigh. “I’m
busier now with my current position than I was when we were dating. My
choosing to have a career over having children anytime soon ruined my
marriage, and after he cheated on me and got another woman pregnant, we
couldn’t even part as friends.”
“I know, sweetheart.”
“I don’t want to disappoint you and lose your friendship too,” she
“Just so you know, I’ve met someone,” Rick stated. “It’s not serious
yet, but I like her. You know once I do, or if I do get serious with her, these
ex-girlfriend-bootie calls ain’t happenin’, right?”
Zola laughed at his question. “I’m not that kind of woman. I love
me some sex, but there are too many available men in the world for me to
freak-up some other woman’s man. Besides, I wouldn’t want another
woman disrespecting me that way.”
“It’s a shame,” he clicked his tongue. “I picked up your favorites
from Farrelli’s Italian Eatery. I changed the bed and put on those expensive
high-count bed linens you like...”
“Stop it, boy. I’m already dying here.” She bit her lip in sexual
frustration. “If all goes well, I’ll be gone a week; if not, I’ll be back on
Monday. Either way I’ll call you when I get back in town.”
“Let me take you to the airport,” Rick offered. “What time is your
“Very soon,” she assured him, thinking it best not to give him any
hope that they could hook up before she left.
“Damn, it will be pushing it, but I think I can put a smile on your
face before you have to board the plane.”
Zola shook her head. She could picture him wiggling his eyebrows
in that silly suggestive way of his. She should have known he wouldn’t give
up easily. He’d obviously gone through a lot of trouble to get her in his bed
“Rick, I can hear that you’re about to start begging.” He laughed.
She smiled. “So, let me save you the effort. I’m leaving my car at the airport,
and you can’t change my mind because I have too much to do…I need to
print up some research material that I have to work on while on the plane.”
“So I have this huge hard-on and you’re going to let it go to waste?”
Rick asked bluntly.
“Please,” Zola moaned. A thrill of pleasure shot through her core.
“Don’t even get me started.”
“I know you. From the moment you called and made this date with
me for tonight, you’ve been horny as hell just from the anticipation.” His
voice deepened. “Touch yourself and tell me how wet that pussy is,” he
Zola’s tongue darted out to moisten her bottom lip that had
suddenly gone dry. She didn’t have to touch herself to know her pussy was
creaming. She could feel the wetness tickling at her naked waxed vaginal
“Rick,” Zola called softly.
“I‘m sitting on the sofa with my cock out of my pants and I’m
stroking my dick in that slow, torturing way you used to do.”
Flushing, she pushed aside the crotch of her black lace panties,
using her fingers to work her cunt.
“Are you doing it?”
“Yes.” She smiled.
“Really.” It came out breathy.
“I’m stroking the length of my cock really hard now,” he grunted.
“Good,” she moaned, her fingers brushing against her plumped
“If I was there, I would be stroking and licking your clit, sucking and
nibbling on those sexy fat pussy lips of yours,” he breathed.
Heat crept over her face, neck, and shoulders. Her thick thighs
trembled as she got close to coming. Dropping one black high-heeled foot to
the floor, her legs spread wider and she inserted two fingers in her wet
channel while circling her thumb against her clit.
Zola could feel her juices seeping between her butt cheeks each time
she inserted her fingers and withdrew them to the rim of her opening before
going deep again. Her efforts matched his heavy panting over the phone.
“I’m holding the head of my huge cock at your opening.” His husky
voice penetrated through her sex-muddled brain. “I’m pushing slowly
between those fucking wonderful pussy lips...can you feel me pushing inside
you? I’m almost there.”
“Yes! Yes! Me too,” she whimpered. “Just a little more...a little
The unexpected loud shrilling sound over the phone caused Zola to
jump, and with her foot braced against the desk, she nearly fell backwards in
her chair. What the fuck?!
“Shit... Damn...I got to go, Zola!” Rick yelled over the shrill
background noise. “My smoke alarm is going off! The lasagna I was keeping
heated in the oven for you is burning. Have a safe trip and call me when you
get back!”
The phone line went dead along with Zola’s unfinished orgasm. She
laid her head on her desk with a long, sexually frustrated grumble.
Chapter Two
“Hey Monica, it’s me,” Zola spoke into her cell phone.
“You made it into Atlanta already?” her best friend asked.
“Hell, no,” she responded bluntly.
“Uh oh, what happened?”
“The plane I was to take out of Virginia had some kind of technical
difficulties, and no more flights go out tonight.” She heaved a loud sigh. “I
had to switch to another airline only to find out they had no direct flights to
Atlanta. I had no choice but to fly here to Washington, D.C. and keep my
fingers crossed that it will leave on time with no other issues.”
“Both my fingers are crossed, girl.” Monica chuckled. “Weren’t you
and Rick supposed to have dinner tonight?”
“Yes, and he was a sweetheart. He picked up Italian and put the
good sheets on the bed.” Zola moaned. “I tell you, if this Shirou Tsubasa’s
nerd ass doesn’t agree to do this speech tomorrow night, I swear I’m going to
rip him a new asshole.”
Zola’s eyes were drawn to the man across from her who suddenly
laughed out loud and chuckled like a silly kid. Was he laughing at what
she’d said? She couldn’t tell if he was listening in on her call or not. All she
could see was short, black, textured hair that looked damp, as if he’d just
walked through a rain shower into the airport, over the oversized graphic
novel held practically up to his nose.
“Zoë, the only way I see you giving him a piece of your mind is if he’s
ugly or old as sin,” Monica said, drawing her attention back to their
conversation. “I know you have some odd fetish for those nerdy, brainy
types,” Monica pointed out. “I don’t get it. Shouldn’t we big girls stick to the
big, husky guys?”
“I’ve been there and done that with my exes because I thought the
average-to-thin guys wouldn’t be enough for me. But now, experience has
taught me that the small packages can hold some big...big...surprises, and
big packages sometimes hold a gag gift.” Zola laughed.
“Plus, the nerdy guys try so hard to please when they have a
girlfriend. They are more accommodating and respectful to the fact that I
have a career I love too.”
“Whatever! That just leaves more of the brawny, alpha types for
me.” Monica let out a soft laugh. “You know, occasionally I do luck up and
find a man that has a big, fine-ass body and a big dick.”
A frown puckered Zola’s brows. She would swear that man was
staring at her legs and heeled feet from behind the book. His head was
bowed so low it practically bobbed on his shoulders. The book started to dip
and he straightened, clearing his throat.
“Zola, are you listening to me?” Monica yelled in her ear.
“ said big men...big dicks, yaddah... yaddah...” She
grinned. “But tell me, what good is the outside wrapping if he’s an
inconsiderate lout who acts like you should feel blessed that he would even
date someone less than the ‘ideal, perfect’ standard men got going on in
Shiree McCarver
their heads?” Zola rolled her eyes and shook her head. “Don't even make me
remind you that the one you’re dating now likes to fuck you, but has yet to
introduce you to any of his friends or family. Haven’t you beendating for
six months?”
“Yeah, but—”
“Sorry, Monica, I don’t need a man who is all into hours at the gym
and flexing in every mirror he passes. I don’t miss the dude who looks all
delicious, yet gets you in the sheets, takes all the loving you got to give, and
when it’s your turn, skims over the good parts just to quickly shoot his load
and have to leave because he has to get up early to go to the gym.”
“It’s not always like that,” Monica argued.
“You know what I learned? I was lonelier having to masturbate and
get myself off after that fucker left than I am getting myself off alone. Being
a successful woman alone in this world isn’t as bad as our mothers and
girlfriends lead us to believe.”
“Geez, just so fucked up,” the man across from her muttered from
behind a book that looked similar to a small and considerably thicker-sized
comic book.
“I knew it,” Zola murmured into the phone. “This man is listening
to my conversation.”
Monica laughed into her ear. “Girl, you’re crazy. What man is
“Hey,” Zola whispered in hushed tones.
“What?” Monica whispered back. “Why are we whispering?”
Mocha Memoirs Presents…Beauty & the Geek: Zola’s Magic Touch
“There’s this nosy ass man sitting across from me pretending to
read, but he’s actually all up in ya girl’s business,” Zola murmured into the
“Huh? How can you tell?”
“I’m about to give him something worth listening to,” she spoke
softly into the phone with her hand over her mouth and the phone.
“Zola, don’t you even think about it or I’ll disconnect this call!”
Her friend yelled at her, but her laughter bespoke any seriousness in
her threat.
She dropped her hand and said, “Oh, baby, you know I’m thinking
about it. I’m thinking about it all the time. I’m so horny now even making
out with you sounds good to me.”
Zola looked up again at the man across from her. The book started
to lower once more, and he jumped as if he’d been startled. He turned a
page with long, sexy fingers and cleared his throat. Was she wrong?
“Stop it, Zola Simpson, or I’m going to dial up your mom and do a
three-way call,” Monica threatened.
“You want a threesome? I’ll think about it.” She giggled. “But that
third person just won’t do. Maybe you should let me choose.”
“Okay, yuck! Are you kidding me? It would be like sleeping with
my sister.” Monica made gagging noises over the phone.
Zola giggled, shaking her head. “Hmm… I can’t even imagine it, baby.”
“You know you do have a sexy phone voice, though,” Monica teased.
“Get out of here.” Zola snorted out a laugh.
“No, really.” Monica laughed too. “When Rick always jokes that you
should do phone sex for a living I thought he was talking out of his eternal
hard-on for you; but seriously, girl, you could retire early with that sexy
voice of yours.”
“Stop it.”
“No, seriously, you could seduce a nun into divorcing Jesus.”
“Now you’re just being a smartass.” Zola shook her head with a
lingering smile on her lips.
“Whatever.” Monica clucked her tongue. “Oh shit, I’m late! Sweets,
it’s been fun. But I, unlike you this evening, have a date to get me some real
sex. I’m not into this phone boning shit like you and Rick have been doing.”
Zola moaned her envy. “It’s not like I don’t want it. I’ve been so
busy lately. I’m too tired to make the effort. Tonight I was going to make
the effort,” she pouted. “Some real sex sounds so good right now. Phone
boning is good to get the juices flowing, but there’s nothing like my soft,
fleshy body rubbing up against a nice hard body. Hmm, to be buried twat
deep in cock...” Groan.
Monica laughingly said, “You’re one twisted puppy torturing that
poor man sitting across from you talking this sexy shit. I bet he’s squirming
in his seat.”
“Hell, no,” Zola cursed. “Girl, I think he’s gone to sleep. I’ve been
tripping all this time for nothing. That proves I need to get laid. I see
everything as sexual. I haven’t even seen this man’s face and he’s looking
very fuck worthy to me right now. Can you go crazy from being horny too
“Zola, girl, you have a safe flight and call me when you get to
Atlanta. If I’m otherwise detained, make sure you leave me a message and I
will call you back in the morning,” Monica stated.
“Okay, will do. Have fun and think of poor little me slaving away
kissing the ass of some genius in order to keep my job in the coming new
year,” Zola whined before saying her goodbyes and disconnecting the call.
She eased her cellular phone closed and slipped it back into the side pouch
of her purse.
The book was now over his face, as if to block out the bright
florescent lights. His hands were interlaced low on his stomach, and his legs
now extended before him and crossed at the ankles. It looked as if he had
settled in to nap the rest of the evening away in the airport. She couldn’t
think of a better way of telling people not to disturb him.
In her boredom, Zola started people watching. She would choose a
person and proceed to break them down. There was another man two seats
down from the one sitting across from her.
She glanced at the “napping” stranger and did a quick comparison
study of the way he dressed and lounged in his seat to the man two seats
down, sitting straight and erect with the ankle of one leg resting on the
opposite knee. His briefcase was balanced on his lap with the lid up.
This man was dressed in a single-breasted, dark blue suit, pale blue
button down with a baby blue silk tie, and a leather briefcase, which he
continuously leafed through as if he was searching for something important.
He seemed as intent on looking in his briefcase as Mr. Comic-Novel
Man had been reading his book, but she noted each subtle time his pale gaze
swept the airport terminal area to see who might be noticing him. She
looked away before the blond man caught her staring. He would be the type
to see eye contact as an invitation to be overly friendly and most likely
manage to get a seat next to her and talk her to death on the plane.
In Zola’s current profession, her old FBI training as a criminal
profiler came in handy. It made her number one in her field amongst all the
other Public Affairs Specialists at NASA. Her career in the FBI had been one
of the casualties of her failed marriage.
The man in the business suit she read as “a perpetrator of success.”
This man presented the “perfect idea” of a successful American
businessman. Only a keen eye would spot that the suit was purchased off
the rack and was ill fitted. There wasn’t anything important he needed out
of that briefcase. He just wanted people to believe he was someone
important with even more important things to do than sit in an airport
waiting for a plane.
Zola’s interest didn’t linger on the blond man. It was the lean and
mysterious one with the hands of an artistic man who had snared her
attention. She was amazed that without any effort on his part, he had
managed to make her fantasize about him. Once she saw his face, would he
be as attractive as his fit body bespoke, or would he be a disappointment to
the illusion of her own fantasies?
He slouched down in his seat as if he didn’t have a care. The reading
material he chose was lighthearted entertainment. His indifferent façade
was dangerously deceptive and oddly arousing.
“Hello, passengers of flight seventeen bound to Atlanta, Georgia,
your flight is now boarding.”
Zola looked at the man, who hadn’t moved at the sound of the
intercom. She gathered up her things and started for the line.
With a deep, resigned sigh, Zola turned on her heels and walked
back over to the napping man. Lifting the open paperback from his face, she
quietly spoke so as not to startle him out of his sleep.
“Excuse me, I don’t mean to bother you but if you’re flying to
Atlanta, they just called for passengers to start boarding.”
“Huh?” He stared up at her with confused, sleep-filled eyes through
round, black-framed spectacles. He sat up in the chair, arching his back and
stretching his arms over his head with a yawn.
It was infectious. “Oh, please don’t do that.” She chuckled, covering
her mouth with her hand. “You’re reminding me how tired I am, and I have
a long night ahead of me.”
“I do too,” he murmured. “Are they boarding for Atlanta?”
Zola didn’t detect an accent, so she assumed he was an Asian-
American. “Uh, yes, that’s why I bothered you.”
“Thank you.” He smiled and stood. She was momentarily
mesmerized by the dimples that appeared in his cheeks and his near perfect
smile. His bottom teeth were crooked, and she silently thanked God he had
a flaw. His features were symmetrically perfect. She would have hated him
for standing in the attractive line in Heaven too long if he hadn’t had at least
one thing about him that wasn’t physically pleasing.
He leaned down to pick up his dropped novel and stood again, but
oddly he seemed to be standing closer than before, and once more she
inhaled his wonderful scent. Zola thought it cool and refreshing, like he’d
just walked out of the shower.
Zola wondered if he would be a good lover or if all the things she had
heard about Asian men were true. From what she’d gleaned when she stared
at his crotch earlier, he didn’t look small down there at all. She mentally
shook her head. What was she thinking? Even if this man was physically
her type in his stature and nerdy sex appeal, she dated black men and she
dated Caucasian men and it didn’t work out.
She’d had enough with the complicated relationships. They both
thought they were so different from one another, but after dating them, she
realized they weren’t all that different. A cheating motherfucker came in all
races, and they all sang the same “no one understands how hard it is for a
man in this world” tune. She didn’t need to add the Asian man blues to her
growing list of failed affairs. Oh, well, he was a nice fantasy while it lasted.
“Uh, no problem.” She took a step back. “I guess I’ll go and get in
“Thank you again,” he stalled her. “I haven’t been sleeping well
lately, and one moment I was reading and the next I was having the best
dream.” He dazzled her with another smile in his otherwise contemplative
expression. “It’s been a long day.”
“Yes, it has been a long day,” she found herself agreeing with a nod.
“I flew here from Virginia. Where did you fly in from?”
“Atlanta,” he answered. “I arrived only a few hours ago, although I
have a meeting to pull an all-nighter tonight back in Atlanta. You know
when I got news that a specialist here could see me, I thought it was a sign of
something miraculous about to happen,” he confided.
“Miraculous? How?” Zola could read the abjectness in his
expression, the slumping of his shoulders as he spoke, and the strain in his
deep voice—all tell-tale signs that whatever it was that brought him here
must have been serious.
“I had hoped that this time...this person would...” His voice cracked
with tearful emotion and trailed off.
“What?” Zola didn’t know why she should care, but his bereaved
expression tugged at her heart and drew her in like an emotional magnet.
She wanted to know what he was going through and—to her surprise—she
wanted to help if she could.
The Asian man’s face became ruddy and his expression sheepish.
“Oh geez, I’m sorry. I don’t know why I’m going on like this. You don’t
know me and I’m taking up your time.”
His face flustered. Zola watched him turn away from her concerned
eyes to shove the graphic novel that had been crushed between his fingers
into the brown shoulder satchel resting on one of the terminal chairs.
She normally would have walked away, but for some reason she
couldn’t. His pained expression gripped at her heart. She didn’t know what
had him in such turmoil, but she had been there herself a time or two, and
the loneliness she felt during those times was what she remembered most.
He shouldn’t be alone, whatever he was going through.
When he turned back to her and slid the shoulder strap of the
satchel onto the opposite shoulder, she caught his eyes with hers. “It’s all
right. Really,” Zola empathized. She reached out to touch his shoulder in
some capacity of comfort but ended up taking his warm, dry hand in hers.
From this simple touch, she deduced the man wasn’t a manual
laborer. He didn’t have a single callous on his hands.
“I feel embarrassed,” he confessed. The way that line formed
between his eyes, indexing his emotions, made her squeeze his fingers
“When I was going through stuff of my own,” Zola began, “I had
this huge support team of my family and friends that I could speak to, but I
just couldn’t talk to them. I guess I didn’t want them to worry about me, or
maybe I just didn’t know if I could be completely honest with them about
how worried I was at that time. I went out to a bar and met a woman who
did something for me no one else could. She listened, and you know what?
It was what I needed; no less.”
He was silent, but his face reacted to all she was saying, and it gave
her the assurance to continue.
“I found out I didn’t need advice or help to fix my problem. I just
needed to say it aloud so I could put my situation in perspective and start
getting beyond it. I was the better for it.” Zola gave him a smile she used
when she was being particularly gracious to a distraught business associate.
She saw his eyes drop to his hand resting in hers. The contrast of
their skin pigmentation was greatly discernible but oddly harmonizing, like
two coordinated pieces of an outfit; her skin a tobacco brown and his a
creamy French vanilla.
He kept his gaze unblinking. “You would to that for me? A man you
don’t know.”
With a half smile on her lips, she said, “If you need someone to talk
to during the flight...” Zola drifted into silence and lowered her hand. She
didn’t know what else to say or why she was opening herself to this man.
“Thank you.” He nodded.
Zola was so mesmerized by his intense gaze into her eyes. He gave a
great stare. She cleared her throat, and the color deepened in her cheeks.
Smoothing her sweating palms against the length of her skirt, she turned
away to board the awaiting airplane, not waiting to see if he followed.
Removing his glasses for a moment, he wiped at his tired, burning
eyes. He needed to get new spectacles again, and it had not been long since
he’d purchased the pair he was wearing now. He leaned back against the
headrest of his chair. His head lolled as the feelings of self-pity
overwhelmed him. Why me? Why me? he cried to himself.
“Here you are. Up here in first class.”
Her sexy, husky voice whispered close to his ear. His eyes snapped
open, startled by the woman’s sudden appearance just when he needed to be
rescued from the depression of his own thoughts. She was a blur, but he
knew that voice; it was the woman from the airport.
Clumsily, he perched his glasses on his nose and pushed them into
place with a finger, bringing her pretty, smiling face into focus.
He gazed directly up at her standing next to him, sunning himself in
the presence of her genuine smile.
“Mmm, here I was back there in the hell section, sausaged between
two other people worried about you, and here you are up here in the heavens
in this big luxurious chair, resting like the beautiful angel you are,” she said
in a pouting, teasing tone. “You rent out the entire joint for yourself?”
He laughed out loud at her euphemisms. “I got my usual two seats.
I imagine not many people are flying first class these days. Unless...”
“Unless what?”
“If you get tired of all the airline bullshit...”
“Then take a bus?” she finished for him.
“Hell, no. Who takes a bus anymore?” He shook his head. “You rent
your own plane and make your own rules.”
“Oh, please.” She rolled her eyes. “That must be a jest wealthy
people tell over champagne and caviar.” Her brown eyes twinkled. “My
Greyhound Bus crowd wouldn’t get it.”
“Champagne and sushi,” he corrected and spoke in his most preppy
tone, “Caviar is so de passé.”
She laughed as he’d hoped his attempt at humor would make her do.
His breath caught in his throat. She had a sensual way of
uncovering her teeth when her wide mouth parted into a smile.
“Unlike you, mister, I never get to travel first class. It’s not in my
travel budget. At least not this year, and if a certain pompous scientist gets
his way, I may be jobless next year,” she muttered.
“What is this about a pompous scientist?” he asked with his
curiosity piqued. “Is it someone well known in the field? What is it you do,
“Nope.” She shook her head. “I’m not going to ruin the little time I
have left to myself feeling anxious over what I have to do when I get to
Atlanta. I hiked up here risking a beat down with the flight attendant to see
for myself if you were feeling better. are you feeling?”
“I’m feeling better by the minute.” Her show of concern warmed
him. “They’ll be serving dinner in a little bit. I paid for an extra seat, so they
can’t complain. Would you care to join me?”
“Oh, because I’m a big woman you think you can seduce me by
feeding me, huh?”
She laughed. “I was just playing with you. Sorry.” She shrugged
her shoulders. His eyes went to the “V” in her white button-down blouse,
displaying plump mounds of creamy brown flesh. He was beginning to see
some advantages to being with a voluptuous woman. Tits a man could bury
his face in and drown.
“Why do you do that?” he asked. She cocked a questioning
eyebrow. “Joke about yourself. I think your body is perfect.”
She looked surprised by his words. He was surprised also. He never
thought much about what he preferred physically in a woman. He never
really felt he had a choice in the matter. However, now that he saw he could
be comfortable around a woman outside his culture, his taste was
“You must really like my body and face too. You’re staring,” she
commented with a playful wink.
“I won’t apologize for it,” he said stubbornly.
“I won’t ask you to. You see, I think my body is perfect too. It's
perfect for me and as long as I am happy with it, who else has the right to tell
me otherwise?”
He’d never thought about it that way, but it was true. “I’m just
discovering I find self-assurance in a woman sexy.” He leaned back to
regard her speculatively and stared up at her with unblinking eyes.
“I get the impression there’s still a lot more for you to discover about
women—especially African-American women,” she said. She added in a
more serious tone, “The medical profession goes on and on about how much
a healthy person should weigh, giving merit to others that it’s okay to be
rude and ugly to people different than themselves and make claims it was for
their own good. I personally think doctors know this is a great business
opportunity, and the more fear they put into people, the more patients they
get. More patients mean a bigger payday.” She shrugged her shoulder.
“It is a billion-dollar business.” He nodded. “We trust them. They
sell it and we buy it because there is an element of trust until they give you
reasons not to.”
She leaned down closer, giving him a great view of the breasts he’d
been admiring since he first saw her walk into the terminal and take a seat.
It was also why he chose to sit down across from her to read his book.
The physical attraction he felt the moment he saw her was
immediate and surprising. He had heard about such things happening to
others. Yet, with no adequate scientific deductions to assure him of the
theory, he still wasn’t willing to call what he felt “love at first sight.”
He personally concluded it had more to do with no physical contact
with a woman for months, being tired, and seeing this curvy woman dressed
in a black, slim-fitted skirt, a snow-white blouse that molded her breasts to
perfection, and a pair of pointed-toed black stilettos that set his pulse racing.
“Weight reduction is a billion-dollar franchise. Who is going to
admit they’re wrong when they’re raking in all that dough? That’s just bad
business,” he found her saying once he was able to focus on more than her
breasts going up and down each time she breathed.
Her nipples were hard, and he would have sworn if he stared hard
enough, he could make out the areola through her shirt. Then again, it
might just be wishful thinking on his part.
“A person should lose weight for her health, hah! I work out four
times a week. I don’t smoke or do drugs. I have a physical every year. I can
prove that I am healthier than some who have never been over a size six.”
“That’s commendable in these days and times,” he commented.
“I think so.” She nodded. “Except for my doctor making me feel like
an alien creature by deeming me one of the obese— it sounds like some
creature, doesn’t it? I am a healthy thirty-two-year-old woman. I—I’m
ranting,” she ended on a chuckle. She fingered her short hair behind her
ear. “Sorry.”
Feeling her apology was unnecessary, he remarked, “I never would
have thought you were five years older than I am. Not by looking at you.”
He regarded her from head to toe speculatively, liking more and more what
he saw.
“You are just too sweet.” She gave him a knowing smirk when he
lingered on her breasts longer than necessary. Embarrassed to get caught
staring, he cleared his throat and looked away. “You like my tits? They’re
real. Do you want to touch them?”
“Do you always say what you’re thinking?”
“Always, except when I sense honesty won’t be appreciated. I have
this gauge that tells me how much of my personality to reveal and how much
to hold back. You know, my specialty is reading people,” she answered
“Like a psychic.” He looked at her skeptically. This was an argument
he wasn’t going to get into. He absolutely did not believe in such things.
“No, like a person who has spent hours in a rigorous training
program to be able to detect signs that others don’t know they are
projecting,” she confessed.
Studying to take your mental capacity to a higher level was
something he believed in. “You’re saying you picked up fromme in the little
time we have spoken that I’m a man who appreciates directness?”
“Do you have time for anything else?” she asked, raking her eyes
over his face. “You try hard to appear relaxed, but you’re chomping at the
bit to find your next mental stimulation. You are a no- nonsense person,”
she stated. “You appreciate directness in others because you are direct to
the point of unintentional rudeness when you’re distracted by something
you decide is of less importance than whatever you’re focused on.”
“True.” His eyes narrowed on her face. “I’m sure my assistant would
vouch for that.”
“You think too much. It’s exhausting.” Her eyebrow cocked
knowingly at him. “You want me and instead of going for it, you’re
overthinking the situation.”
“Am I?” He fingered his chin thoughtfully.
“Aren’t you?” she spoke slowly. Then with a curling little smile, she
added, “Or am I projecting what I want onto you?”
“Maybe I’m hoping the want is mutual,” he admitted since she’d
opened the door for him. “I find you interesting,” he admitted with his own
boldness. She was right about him being blunt and direct, but it was only in
business. He would have never had the nerve to be so approachable to her if
she hadn’t made the first move. It would have remained his personal
unrequited lust.
“And I find myself interested,” she said. “So the next question is,
what do we do about it?”
“I think I can get used to this.” His grin spread wide.
“Used to what?”
“A woman who says exactly what she means.”
“It makes things less complicated.” She disarmed him again with
her beautiful smile and sudden change of topics. “What are we having for
She was staying. It took him a moment for his sex-numbed brain to
remember what the flight attendant had told him once the plane had taken
off. “ rib or chicken?”
“How about we get one of each and we try a little of both, and for
dessert we sign up for the ‘mile-high’ club.”
It was on his list of experiences he would like to have. “I would like
that,” he replied. His headache had practically faded with the extra push of
testosterone circulating the blood to his hardening cock.
“Good.” The pink dart of her tongue grazed her bottom lip. “I’ll go
and get my things and freshen up for dinner.”
“You drink wine?”
“Damn, you get wine too? You are living large up in here.” Her eyes
grew round. “All I got was iced-down cola, and she wouldn’t even leave what
was left in the can. I was offered a snack of two packets of peanuts—regular
ones for dinner and honey-covered ones for dessert.”
He didn’t think he’d ever find a woman he would enjoy speaking
about such trivial things with until now. He also couldn’t remember the last
time he’d laughed this much.
“To celebrate our meeting, why don’t we pull out the big guns and
order glasses of champagne?” he asked with a twinkling in his eyes. “But
don’t get overly excited. It’s probably that cheap stuff hotels send
complimentary served in plastic champagne glasses.”
“Oh, my, you got hotels kissing your ass too?” She winked at him
and clucked her tongue. “I’ll be back.”
He moved, turned, and half stood to look at her bottom wiggling as
she walked and blushed a shade of red when the airline associate caught
him. He quickly gave her his order for dinner and settled back down in his
The muscles in his stomach tightened in anticipation at what was to
come. Damn, he didn’t have any condoms. Wait, he shouldn’t assume she
meant fucking in the bathroom. It could be a simple make-out session with
no penetrating of any orifices.
He couldn’t believe he was about to do this. He was nervous. What
If she found him lacking? Would that put an end to the comfortable banter
they were enjoying now?