Good Morning Everyone,
As promised, please find the next installment of Model Intentions. Included for your reading pleasure this week are Chapters 4-6. Enjoy! AlTonya
As May sat in the comfortably furnished living room of her loft, her thoughts kept straying back to her horrible behavior at Uptown Publishing. It had been three days since the whole mess happened and she still couldn’t believe it. She was also dodging Tara’s phone calls, not quite ready to face her. May always had a temper and she’d always been tough, given her childhood. Still she managed to keep a tight rein on it where her professional life was concerned. Well, so much for that, she thought. Closing her eyes, she remembered the insults that flew inside that office. Teegan James just brings out the wolf in me, she said to herself conjuring up the man’s image in her mind. He was fine no doubt about it. All that wavy hair and those dark brownish green or greenish brown eyes… Wonder where those came from? She figured he must stand well over six feet and had the kind of lean muscular body that would look good in anything…or nothing. Unfortunately, all those good looks went down the drain when he opened his mouth.
The insistent ringing of the doorbell broke into May’s train of thought. When she opened the door, all other thoughts flew from her head as well.
“What took you so long?” Teegan asked, a frown darkening his handsome features.
“Well good afternoon to you too Mr. James.” May said, crossing her arms as she gave him a disgusted look.
“Sorry. Good Afternoon.” He said politely, taking in her hair which was braided and wrapped around her head. His breath stopped briefly, as his gaze wandered down to take in her full breasts pressing enticingly against the short-sleeved body shirt she wore. Her very short cut-offs emphasized the sexy length of her shapely legs. Then his gaze went back to her bedroom eyes which were shooting him an angry stare.
“Are you finished?” She politely asked.
“Are you going to let me in?” He challenged.
May felt her temper slowly rising but she calmed herself as she stepped aside to let him pass. The scent of his subtle cologne drifted over her as she admired how good he looked in the light-weight beige suit. Shaking away the thought, she slammed the door and watched him study one of the framed posters of herself.
“To what do I owe the honor of this visit, Mr. James?” She asked.
“If you’ll turn down the radio, I’ll tell you Mabel.” T.J. replied, without looking away from the posters.
May stared at him for a moment, and then picked up the remote laying on a nearby shelf. With one quick movement, she reduced the volume of the popular single.
“Alright.” May said, placing her hands on her hips.
Sighing heavily, T.J. pushed at his glasses. “First of all, I’d like to apologize for my behavior a few days ago. I don’t know what got into me.”
“Mmm hmm.” May replied, her eyes telling him that he was going to have to say a lot more to convince her.
“I was rude and unprofessional…Well?…Say something?”
May was silent a moment longer, before responding. “Apology accepted.” Was her simple reply. She sat in a cushioned chair and propped up her feet.
“That’s it? Don’t you have some apologizing to do too?”
“No. You started the whole mess when you came in on your high horse.” May raised her eyes daring him to deny it.
T.J. ran his hand across the back of his neck as he tried to get a grip on his heating temper. “Look Mabel, forget what happened three days ago, I still want you to do the interview.”
“Do you? Hmph, it sure is funny how money can make people forget things isn’t it?” She snidely remarked.
“It sure is,” He replied, just as snidely, “’cause I bet you’re gonna forget when I tell you what I’m prepared to pay.”
“Oh?” May queried, pretending to be disinterested. “How much is that?”
“Hmph.” T.J. grunted, seeing right through her. “Look I’d prefer to finish this over lunch, I haven’t eaten all day. So if you’d go and change…” He looked pointedly at her clothes.
“What’s wrong with this?” She asked defensively.
“Nothing, if you’re going to sit on the stoop, but if you’re going to ‘The Tavern’, I think it’s probably a bit too…” He paused, trying to find the right word.
“What?” May snapped, jumping from her chair.
“Round the way”. He innocently replied.
“How dare you…forget it.” May said, holding up one hand. “Just give me a few minutes to change.” She said, giving him a phony smile before heading upstairs.
After May left the room, T.J. lowered his athletic frame onto one of the sofas. Running one hand across his face, he let out a long sigh. What was it about that woman? He asked himself, picking up one of the magazines with her face on the front. How could such a beauty be such an ass? He guessed beauty really was only skin deep. Still, he had to admit that he couldn’t remember when he’d laughed so much, or at all for that matter. She was something else when she was mad. It had almost been worth that fight to see her eyes light up in anger. He still didn’t know what had gotten into him; he always prided himself on being a calm-natured person. He never had a problem with his temper, especially where women were concerned. The more he thought about it though, the more he wanted her to do the interview. He figured that the best way to convince her would be to talk on neutral territory. Unfortunately, he wasn’t sure if The Tavern was her idea of neutral territory. He walked over to the sound system and found numerous CDs and vinyls ranging from Billie Holliday and Fattburger to Tribe Called Quest and Drake. Yes, Maybelline Anderson was certainly a multi-faceted woman.
Upstairs, May debated over what to wear. She couldn’t understand why she was making such a fuss, she certainly wasn’t trying to impress him. Teegan James really got to her. In more ways than one. She selected a gray V-necked suit with a short tight-fitting tapered skirt. The outfit was a cross between businesswoman and seductress. He wanted her to change clothes? So be it. She was still checking her make-up, when she heard him yelling.
“Mabel what are you doin’? I got reservations for today!”
“Aggravating, just plain aggravating,” May grumbled, heading down the stairs.
When she finally got back to the living room, the look T.J. gave her was a mix between aggravation and sensual shock.
“I hope this is appropriate enough. I mean, I wouldn’t sit on the stoop in it or anything.” May sighed, as she preceded him out the front door.
After fifteen minutes of riding in silence, T.J. was parking his gray Cadillac in front of The Tavern. May didn’t wait for T.J. to open her door, but got out on her own and stood on the sidewalk as she waited for him to come around the car.
“I’m sorry, were you going to open my door?” May innocently asked, taking in Teegan’s disdainful look.
“No. I knew you could manage. I know what a tough lady you are.” He replied, just as innocently.
May’s eyes narrowed to brown slits as she followed him into the restaurant.
The Tavern served some of the best ethnic cuisine in the city and it was always packed. Many heads turned as the tall couple entered the restaurant. May received dozens of appreciative male glances while T.J. garnered his fair share of feminine swooning.
“Doesn’t that ever bother you?” Teegan asked, as they were seated.
May lifted her menu. “What?” She replied.
“Men staring…drooling over you?”
“Well, it can get sickening, but when I first started getting noticed I thought it was fun,” she remembered, “but guys tend to get real stupid though, all that asking for my phone number and stuff is kind of overdone now.”
“I see. Well, has anybody been lucky enough to get that number?” T.J. asked, trying to hide his interest.
May eyed him suspiciously, “Is this for the interview or do you really want to know?”
“I really want to know.” He answered in a quiet voice.
“Well…I haven’t been involved for a few years now.” She lightly replied.
“Because of work?”
“Because of choice. What about you? Is there someone special?” May asked, not wanting to discuss herself.
“Mmm hmm my firm.” He proudly announced.
“Tee! How boring.”
A dark scowl clouded his face. “Don’t call me that.”
“Now Tee don’t get mad at me because I’m not addicted to my work.” She laughed.
“I can’t stand that name Mabel.”
“Listen, you stop calling me Mabel and I’ll stop calling you Tee.” May proposed.
A grin spread across Teegan’s face. “Well then I’ll just have to grin and bear it won’t I?”
May decided that she’d had enough. “Can we get down to business?” She asked, through clenched teeth.
“Certainly. As I said earlier, I still want you for the interview and I’m prepared to pay you very well for it.” He said, pinning her with his gaze.
“And what is very well?”
T.J. wrote down a figure on a napkin and pushed it across to her. He watched her eyes widen to brown saucers as she failed to hide her shock.
“Well I guess that’s not bad for my first interview.” She said.
“Mmmm, I agree.” T.J. tried to hide a smile as he watched her. “So does this mean you’ll do it?”
“Uh…yes, I think I’ll do it.” She said, trying not to sound enthusiastic.
“You know Mabel, you were right.” T.J. said as he signaled for the waiter. “It sure is funny how money can make people forget things. Isn’t it?” He noted, almost bursting into laughter at her murderous look.
As usual, Hendrix Modeling Agency was in an uproar. There was always someone running here or there. Agent or model. May loved coming there, because it reminded her of the craziness of her own home. The mahogany paneled walls were lined with large framed posters of their top models. May felt a rush of pride as she stopped to look at her own picture before moving on. Her feet slowed as she came closer to Tara’s office. May had been avoiding her ever since the meeting with T.J. Some of her courage was returning since she’d agreed to do the interview.
“What’s up Coco, is she in?” May softly asked Tara’s secretary.
The short, slender woman rolled her black eyes. “She’s in, but she’s in a bad mood and I do mean bad.”
“Oh brother.” May sighed as she headed to Tara’s door and knocked lightly.
“What?!” A voice thundered.
Looking back at Coco, May braced herself before going in.
“Well, well look who’s here. Where the hell have you been?!”
“T, I’m sorry, but I couldn’t talk to you after what happened at Uptown.” May explained, raising her hands defensively.
“I see…and you can talk to me now?” Tara calmly asked. “I don’t know why, I’m still pissed off!”
“I decided to do the interview.” May quietly interjected.
“I left messages.” Tara continued. “In my condition, it’s hard to get around to people’s houses but-you what?” Tara interrupted herself to stare at May.
“I’m doing the interview.”
“Why’d you change your mind?”
“Tee made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.”
“Tee? I see. And what else didn’t you refuse?” Tara asked suggestively.
“Nothing, but I thought it’d be good for my career and the money wasn’t bad either.” May pointed out.
“Mmm hmm.” Tara wasn’t convinced.
“Nothing, but I’ve seen pictures of Mr. Teegan James and the brother is fine. Excuse me, did I say fine? The brother is beyond fine. That’s why you agreed to do the interview.” Tara finished in a smug tone.
“Whatever.” May gave a flippant wave of her hand while shaking her head. “Look I know you’ve probably been craving something, wanna go get lunch?”
“Yeah I’m starving.”
“Then we better find a buffet.” May teased, grinning at her pregnant friend.
“Funny.” Was the reply.
“Seriously,” Tara said, as she bit into a piece of crunchy chicken, “you cannot look me in the eyes and tell me that Teegan James is not the most gorgeous man you’ve ever seen.”
“I haven’t denied the fact that he’s good-looking T, but I’m not ready to get involved with another Bouji prince.”
“Well, having been called a Bouji princess, I’ll tell you this-every black man with money doesn’t act like that jerk Dennel you got yourself involved with, Bell.” Tara firmly noted.
“I’m sorry T,” May said, knowing she’d offended her friend, “it’s just that I never fit into Dennel’s world and he never let me forget it. I can’t take that again.” She said, running both hands through her hair.
“Understood. Now be quiet so I can eat.” Tara ordered, digging into her zesty chicken again.
May nodded. “Okay. As soon as you tell me why you’re in such a bad mood?”
“I’m pregnant,” was the sarcastic response.
“And that’s it?”
Tara rolled her eyes and threw down the chicken. “Yeah, that’s it. Plus the fact that I’m behind in my work and trying to help Max get this party together. You’re coming right?” Tara asked, looking at May expectantly.
“When is it?”
“Damn… T. I honestly forgot all about it.”
“You don’t even have a date do you?”
“No and I’ll be there just the same. Don’t think about setting me up either.” May warned.
Tara gave May a hard stare, but said nothing, watching as the young woman turned her attention to her salad.
Unbeknownst to May, she was the object on an intense appraisal. T.J. hadn’t been able to take his eyes off her since she had entered the restaurant. He still couldn’t get over how beautiful she was. She’d never worn her hair loose when she was around him. She had today, and he still couldn’t get over the beauty of it or how sexy she looked when she used both hands to push the thick mane away from her face. He’d told himself before that beauty was only skin deep and that Maybelline Anderson was too nerve-wracking and arrogant for him. Still, there was something…he couldn’t quite put his finger on. It was as if behind all that toughness, she was hiding something, perhaps her vulnerability. He was becoming more and more determined to find out whatever it was. The spark that lit up her eyes when he said something that got under her skin, made him feel something he hadn’t felt in a long time-if ever. He just didn’t know which it was. Suddenly the need to hear her voice overcame him and he got up to head to her table.
May rolled her eyes when she saw T.J. heading towards her table. “Oh no…What’s he doing here?”
Tara’s head turned and she saw T.J., then she looked back at May. “Like I said, that’s one fine brother.” A devious smile played around her lips.
May just rolled her eyes at Tara before returning her gaze to Teegan as he slowly walked across the dining room. Yes, he was most certainly that, she agreed, watching the determined glint in his uncommon eyes and the firm set of the strong jaw, as he reached their table.
“Good afternoon ladies.”
“Hello Tee,” May irritably replied while Tara smiled brightly. “Tara, this is Teegan James. Tee, this is my agent and good friend Tara Davis.”
“Mr. James it’s truly a pleasure to finally meet you.” Tara happily replied.
“Please call me T.J. and the pleasure is mine.”
“Then you have to call me Tara.”
And somebody’s gonna have to call me a doctor, May said to herself as she watched T.J. and Tara behave like old friends.
“You know T.J., I feel like I already know you after speaking so often on the phone.” Tara was saying.
“I know, crazy huh?” Teegan laughed.
“Mmm hmm, but how’d you get May to do the interview? I understand it’s tomorrow?”
“Yeah at eleven a.m. We came to a mutual agreement.” T.J. replied, looking directly at May.
“I see. Must’ve been some agreement. She can be as stubborn as a pit bull.”
“I know and about as mean too.” Teegan remarked.
As the two burst in to laughter, May looked ready to spit fire as she leaned back in her chair and watched them both.
Tara wiped at the tears in her eyes, before she spoke. “Listen T.J., my husband Max and I are having a party to celebrate his new store opening. Why don’t you come and bring May, she was just telling me she didn’t have a date.”
“Tara!” May gripped the edge of her seat.
May was completely ignored as Tara and T.J. carried on the conversation as if she weren’t there.
“I’d like that Tara, when is it?”
“Okay. I’ll be there and so will Mabel.” T.J. said assuredly.
“You’re not coming?” Tara looked hurt.
“I didn’t say that but-”
“Alright then, we’ll be there,” Teegan cut in, “I’ve really got to get back to my table now, but I’ll see you tomorrow night.” He promised, smiling at Tara. “Mabel I’ll see you in the morning.”
Tara watched Teegan as he walked away. “He’s so gorgeous and charming.” She noted, turning to see the fierce scowl on May’s face. “What?” She innocently asked.
THE END…FOR NOW…