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"You need to stop this madness girl, you are LYING to me!"
The high-pitched, squealing voice blaring in my ear belongs to my best friend and confidante, Jasmine, currently having her usual reaction to another crazy story in my life.
"No, I'm not, Jazz. It was incredible. He is...wonderful." I can't help the smile. Even though my last encounter with Abram started off traumatic, it ended beautifully. Who would've known?
"I can't believe you took advantage of that man in his vulnerable emotional state like that. Shame on you!" She says jokingly. "Now if only I could find some fine man in need of 'comforting.'"
I know she is joking, but it still hits a sensitive spot with me. What if Abram is thinking the same thing? We haven't seen each other since that day, three days ago. When I moved closer to him on that couch, I had no idea there would be such a magnetism. No idea.
But man. It was. A shiver courses down my back at the recollection. Whew.
"Woman, shut up. I had no idea that was going to happen. It just....happened." I sigh.
So much for taking heed to Mrs. Montgomery's warning to not rush into things.
"Mmm hmm. If you say so." She says suspiciously.
I'm supposed to be working, but as usual, my mind is consumed with Abram. A busy schedule still awaits the rest of my day so I probably won't be seeing him, just like I haven't seen him for the last few days. It's decidedly not a bad thing. We both need to take this time to regroup our thoughts and figure out how in the world everything seems to be moving so fast with us...and if that's even a good idea.
I feel like I've known him forever, but I haven't. And as I found out those few nights ago, I don't even know a whole lot about him.
Whew. Those few nights ago.
It flutters in my memory like a love-struck butterfly, landing in the sweet spots of my subconsciousness.
Makes me sigh just at the thought. Whew.
"Ata, will you please show Sarah where our new collections go?" Sandra startles me. Harboring some unknown dislike against me, my manager is always lurking around, finding things to nitpick at. I mutter a quick, "Have a nice day" to Jasmine in my best customer service voice and hang up the phone. She is used to this, seeing as though she used to work here with me and was caught many a time on a personal call she was not supposed to be on.
I give her a friendly smile. One day my kindness will win her over. Or kill her.
"Sure. Come on Sarah."
My newest coworker at Victoria's Secret smiles at me, thankful to be released from the pinching talons of Sandra. We walk around the store, heading to the back where our newest shipment of lingerie is awaiting their new homes of hangers and shelves.
"Is she always like that? I thought I was going to go crazy if she said the word 'presentable' to me one more time!" She flicks her blond hair, adjusts the tight black blouse she has on.
She can't be any bigger than a size one. I wonder where she found a top to fit that tight?
"Yes, she is. So you may as well accept that now. You can, however, do like I do and just ignore her. The more you say to her, the more she has to use against you. Remember that." I say, picking up an incredibly cute pink lacy set. Looking at the tag, I see that it's my size. I think I'll set this one off to the side.
Sarah laughs. "Okay, I'm taking mental notes...like, if you see something cute in your size, put it away for later purchase?"
"Exactly." I say, pushing one her way.
Quick learner. Maybe she'll work out. Sandra's perfectionist attitude has led many new girls right back down the path of unemployment lately, so I hope Sarah can measure up.
"So, your hair, what do you do to it to make it look like that?"
Oh goodness. The classic 'how do you do that?' question. Must I educate every white woman on the wonders of kinky hair? It gets a little taxing at times, but I answer her honestly and without attitude, cause I like her.
"Um, nothing. I just wash it and shake it. Sometimes I put a headband on, but that's about it. I just don't straighten my hair with a perm."
"So you have like, a curly perm?" She asks, leaning in closer to get a good look.
"Um, no. I don't use chemicals in my hair period. I prefer it natural, that's all. This is how it looks when you don't straighten it and don't put chemicals in it."
We walk out of the storage room, armfuls of undergarments in tow.
"Well, it's pretty. It's so big too. I'm surprised Sandra lets you come to work with it like that, I mean, all wild and undone like that."
I halt. Feel a slight heat rising in my chest. Undone? What makes her think my hair is 'undone'?
"What do you mean undone? Does my hair look undone to you?" I say, my tone showing only a hint of irritation.
"You know, like wild and stuff. I think it's pretty, but you know...it's not exactly done per se."
She seems to be innocent enough with her words, but I seriously contemplate how much trouble I would get into if I tell her exactly what I'm thinking right now.
It's not worth it. I shrug it off. She can't be any more than 19 or 20. I'll give her a ignorance pass...this time.
"Sarah, you have a lot to learn about offending people. And I want you to know that I 'do' my hair every morning. There is nothing 'undone' about me. So I would appreciate if you kept those comments to yourself next time. Here, hang these up."
I push a box of bras her way and turn around, proud of myself that I handled that so well. She just stands there, a look of confusion on her face. She still doesn't know what she said wrong. Poor thing.
"Don't pay her any mind...she'll be gone within a week. All the hangers on the Body by Victoria bras are facing the wrong direction. I was gonna tell her, but then I heard what she was saying to you." My favorite work friend, Charlotte walks up beside me chuckling. I guess I wasn't speaking as low as I thought. Good thing they're aren't many customers in the store.
"Ah, the newbies." I say, exasperated. "Will they ever learn?"
We grin at each other and I return to my abandoned spot behind the counter. About ten minutes later, I hear a buzzing in my purse below, but that's all I need is for Sandra to see me checking my cell right now.
Again, it vibrates. I still can't answer. Our previously empty store is getting crowded by the minute.
Lunchtime. When all the women with dates later on swing by to get something 'more comfortable' to slip into.
I'm engrossed in organizing our stock sheet for next week when I glance up to give a few customers who have just walked in my commission-worthy smile. My irises are instantly snatched in another direction though.
Walking in behind them is none other than my chocolate prince himself, Abram. He looks wonderful. I adjust my black form-fitting blazer, make sure my pants leg isn't catching on the back of my new rsvp heels.
"Wow. If I knew you looked this good at work I would have been coming up here every day." He's beaming, holding a Mrs. Field's bag at his side.
When did I tell him I liked Mrs. Field's?
"Abram....hey. What a nice surprise." I utter, genuinely happy to see him.
"Hello sir, can I help you find something?" Sarah's blond voice interrupts me as she walks up to Abram. "Shopping for a special someone today?" She grins, looks him up and down, obviously impressed.
"Actually, I came to see someone special today." He says, smiling my way.
She knew he was talking to me. She had to have seen him talking to me. Just can't be nice to some people I see.
He politely turns his attention back to me and Sarah walks off with raised eyebrows. "So, can you go to lunch now? I've been wanting to see you. If this is the only time that's possible, that's cool with me. I just want to spend a few minutes with you. I have the day off."
He's so sweet. "That sounds wonderful, let's go."
I don't know why, but I feel a slight awkwardness creeping in between us. Maybe because I'm second guessing myself and how fast things progressed with us. His mother's advice has been playing over and over in my head like a flawed record for the last couple of days. "Don't let him pressure you, Ata." "Abram rushes things."
I need to breathe. Stop thinking so much about this and just let it be. I shoo those thoughts away and we hug. His vividly divine smell always makes me smile. He hands me my cookies and we walk past Sarah with my hand in his.
'Undone' my behind. I've got it all.