My whole life I was brought up to believe that good girls just didn't do certain things. I grew up in the Church of Memphis, and in accordance with church protocol, at the onset of adolescence all the girls were sent to a summer camp for a week to teach them all about how to be good young women. The main lesson was that you did not open your legs for anyone but your husband. Most of us laughed it off after the classes. We were at that age where the only things we thought about were celebrities and boys. Mostly celebrity boys. We dreamed of who we were going to marry when we grew up. For me, it was Ginuwine, while my friends concentrated on members of Immature, Boyz II Men, and Usher.
I knew at that point I was going to have it a little harder than my church friends. I had never been petite or even average. Although I was very cute in the face, I had always been a big girl. My size sixteen at sixteen years of age didn't make the boys run to try to hump me under the bleachers. So I developed a hard outer shell. I focused on school and graduation, and I conveyed the attitude that I had better things to do than to think about boys. My plan worked.
Even though I grew up in the church and loved it, I wouldn't call myself a “church girl.” I enjoyed things outside of church, from music to movies, and I spent a lot of time traveling. Being the Cancer woman that I was, I was very observant. By my junior year in high school, the majority of the girls I grew up with in the church had their first babies, and by my freshman year of college, I was the only one who was not only without kids but was also still a virgin. I watched the other girls' stressed-out faces as they struggled to get their kids to act right, after they had had to deal with the early childhood stages of diapers, poop, and crying. I realized quickly that kids were something I had no interest in.
Luckily, I had decided early on that I wasn't going to partake in sexual activities until I was ready and had accomplished the goals I had set for myself. Out of the entire group of girls, I was the only one to go to college right after high school. I got to study abroad in Europe, I did a semester at sea, and I got my master's degree in business and finance. I bought and owned two of the most sought after wedding venues and a nice rental facility in the city. It was mostly used for private events, open mic nights, and salsa dancing.
Things in my life were going great until a bad bout with fibroids caused me to need a hysterectomy a few months after my twenty-ninth birthday. It started out as a blessing; I could finally not worry about birthing anyone's babies. I remembered the doctors asking me over and over if I was sure that I was all right with never having children. My answer was always the same. I didn't want any children, and if, by some miracle, I woke up one day wanting a child, I could always adopt.
The day of the surgery, I remembered feeling nervous, but I went through with what I thought was a simple operation. I woke up twenty-four hours later, strapped down to a bed, with a tube down my throat. Seems my simple operation had turned into a six-hour process.
Things only got worse from there. Three days after I got home from the hospital, I woke up in bed, filled with infection. Luckily, my housekeeper was able to get me back to the hospital. I stayed there for another week, only for them to send me home again against my better judgment. When the home health nurse arrived to check my wounds, she found
infection. I was rushed back to the hospital, where I endured another painful operation that ended with three months of healing and a scar that will never go away.
I had a lot of time to think during those months. While my housekeeper helped take care of me and a church friend or two stopped by, I didn't have anyone special to be with me. There were lots of late nights when I wished I had someone to help me to the bathroom or just hold me when the pain was more than I wanted to handle on my own. Although I had experienced a lot of amazing things in my life, I realized then that I could have died without ever experiencing true love or intimacy. I could have died alone.
I didn't want my life to turn into a cheesy movie; I didn't want to be the thirty-year-old virgin. About two months before my thirtieth birthday, it hit me that I didn't want to spend another birthday with people who worked for me or went to my church, with people who I just so happened to have known my whole life.
I just wanted something
and I was going to get it.
The manager of my club called and informed me that he had the flu and couldn't open up the club. I figured that between myself and Honey, the long-running host of open mic and poetry night, we'd be okay. The night had become the biggest open mic night in Memphis, where poets and artist came to recite their pieces or debut new music or art. Honey texted me when she arrived at the club, and I headed over to open the door for her. She was an earthy chick with a thick Afro. She always smelled like incense with a small hint of weed.
“Coral, peace and blessings to you, sista,” she said with a slight bow of her head when I opened the door.
I smiled and nodded as I opened the door wider and gave her room to walk in ahead of me. I turned on all the lights and dimmed them to create the mood that the patrons liked for the event. Within moments, the kitchen and bar staff came in. I made sure everything was set before I prepared to leave.
As I was walking out the door, I heard Honey call my name. I turned around to see her running toward me.
“Coral, why don't you stay for the night? We have a live band and everything. It's going to be really nice.”
I winced. “I don't know. I really have thingsâ”
“Oh, come on. I'd really like you to see what we have going on here.” Honey smiled.
I thought about it. I really had nothing to do besides go home and catch up on
The Walking Dead
“What the hell?” I smiled and headed over to the bar to take a seat.
Before long, members of a band started bringing their instruments into the building. They were setting up their equipment as early bird patrons started filing into the building. It didn't take long for the band to set up, and soon the sounds of instruments being tuned filled the room.
“Hey, can I get a water?” said a deep voice. The sound filled my ears. I turned to my left to see an attractive man standing next to me, talking to the bartender. He had an unusual accent, one I couldn't quite put my finger on. He looked up, and his eyes met mine. “Oh, hello. How are you, madam?”
“I'm fine.” My voice trembled. As I looked at his face, I realized just how gorgeous the man was. His dark brown skin was smooth, and he had a manicured beard. He had long locks that hung down his back, and they were just as neat as the beard on his face. His eyes were very dark brown, almost black, with a few lighter brown speckles. And he smelled
“My name is Onyx. Might I ask your name?” He held his hand out toward mine. I hesitated but soon put my hand in his. A wave of energy shot through my body the moment his hand touched mine.
“My name is Coral.”
“Coral. Nice. Well, it's a pleasure to meet you, Coral. I better get up there.” He flashed his pearly white smile at me. A strange feeling filled my stomach.
I watched him walk through the tables until he made it to the stage. Onyx took a seat at the black-and-silver drum set. I turned my chair around, suddenly glad that I had stayed.
As soon as Onyx set his water down next to him, the band began to play “Say Yes” by Floetry. I didn't know what had come over me, but I couldn't take my eyes off of the beautiful drummer. Even though the band was playing a slow song, he was intense. He closed his eyes, feeling every beat. I swear I could feel each beat he played too.
As the song continued, the band's volume grew in intensity. Onyx nodded his head, his locks flying, as he pounded the drums with so much force, I wondered if he was going to break his set. At one point he brought his hand down so hard that a stick broke. He casually tossed it aside and produced another stick from the side, not missing a beat. I held on to every note as he killed his drum solo. When it was over, the rousing applause from the crowd broke me out of whatever trance he'd had me in.
I looked down at my legs and noticed they were trembling. I didn't know what had just happened, but my body was shaken, and my panties were soaking wet. I wanted to run out of the room; I felt so exposed. Had anyone noticed the effect this man had on me? Could people tell that I had just had some strange reaction to someone I didn't know? I felt like I was standing in front of everyone completely naked.
I needed to get out of there.
“Isn't the band amazing?”
I turned around to see Honey standing behind me. I just knew I was busted. She had to have noticed my episode.
“They are . . . good,” I said cautiously.
“I know, right? Well, let me get up onstage.” She patted me on my back before she walked off through the crowd.
I watched as she introduced the band before calling the first poet onto the stage. I couldn't concentrate on the poems. My mind was still occupied with the drummer, who was now sitting casually at his drum set, laughing with his bandmates. He wasn't paying me any attention, so why was I so focused on him?
Because I was a moth and he was my flame. That was why. I couldn't leave, even though I knew I needed to. Nothing good could come from my random, embarrassment-laden new obsession. This man was gorgeous, and I knew I couldn't be the only woman he was having an effect on in the room. Or maybe I just wished it. He was a hot drummer in a popular band, and he was gorgeous.
There was no way I stood a chance.
Even if I were a size six, I doubted I'd have a shot. Clearly, he could have any woman he wanted. I could tell just by the smiling people who were looking at him in the room. I was punishing myself at this point, but I couldn't stop looking.
Before I realized it, the night was over and the crowd was starting to disburse. I didn't know where the time had gone. It was like I had been in a time warp or the time had sped up. No, wait. I knew where the time had gone. With every song that was played, the man on the drums had affected me more. Each stroke of the drumsticks had sent more chills down my spine and had formed more butterflies in my stomach.
I watched from afar as he packed up his drum set while meeting and greeting different people. Fans. From my corner of the room, I watched as girls batted their eyelashes at him and flashed their smiles, each wanting to be the girl whom he took home for the night. To my surprise, he didn't seem interested in
of them. Still, he hugged each one the same way and laughed and joked with them before continuing to pack up his things.
“Hey, Coral. Do you need me to stay and lock up?” Dave, my head bartender, asked me after closing his register.
“No. I can do it. Not a problem at all,” I said as I finally stood up from my chair. I noticed Honey walking toward me.
“So, what did you think?” She smiled.
“It was wonderful. I had a great time.” I smiled, hoping she didn't ask any follow-up questions. There was nothing I could say about the night besides the fact that the drummer had made me moist.
“Good. We really love the spot and hope it can become a permanent place for us.”
“I'm sure we can work on that,” I said as I watched the drummer walk back inside to continue dismantling his drum set. His eyes met mine, but I quickly diverted my eyes back to Honey. I knew I was busted. I could feel his energy growing closer to me. Before I could figure out an exit strategy, he was standing right next to Honey, putting his arm around her.
“Coral, this is Onyx, the drummer of the band. Onyx, this is Coral. She actually owns this place,” Honey said.
, damn. Really?” Onyx nodded his head, obviously impressed. “Your spot is great. The acoustics in this place are spot on.”
I still couldn't place his accent, and it was driving me crazy. I wanted to ask him, but I couldn't make any words come out of my mouth. I just stood there with a goofy grin on my face.
“Well, I need to get out of here. Long day tomorrow. Onyx, you got all your things so Coral can close up?” Honey said.
“Yeah. Let me grab my last drum.” He turned to me. “Wait, are you here alone?”
I nodded in response.
Onyx shook his head. “No way I'm letting you close up this late by yourself. Do what you have to do, and I will wait with you.”
My heart skipped a beat. “I should be okay.” My voice trembled again.
“No exceptions. Honey, you need me to walk you to your car?”
Honey shook her head. “I'm right out front. See you guys later.”
Before he could object, she was out the front door.
The room was quiet. It was just me and the man who had mind fucked me with his drumming skills all night long. I had never felt this feeling before. Vivid images of him screwing me in the middle of my establishment flashed through my head. I tried to shake them off, but it wasn't working. The man had me gone.
“So this is really your spot? That is very cool,” Onyx said as he grabbed his final bag.
I turned off the back lights and walked to the front of the building. He stood there, with just a single light illuminating his skin, giving him this ethereal glow.
“Yes, I own this and a couple of wedding spots.”
“An entrepreneur. Very nice,” he said, clearly impressed.
“Thank you.” I blushed and felt my heart racing.
I turned the rest of the lights out, and we walked out the back door. I could feel his eyes on me. Why did he have to keep looking at me?
“Well, it was a pleasure meeting you, Ms. Coral. I hope this won't be our last time,” he said when we reached my car.
“I'm sure it won't.”
“Good. Make sure of that.” Onyx winked his right eye as he opened my car door for me.
Once I was safely behind the wheel, he headed to his own car. I watched as he got in his car, and I let out a deep sigh. My womanhood was throbbing. I wanted him more than I had ever wanted anything before in my life. Why did I have to want someone so unobtainable? I decided to put him in my memory bank as a man to pleasure myself to in my dreams.
Suddenly, I noticed his car door open. He came rushing back over to my car. I rolled down my window, wondering what was wrong.
“So this might be a little forward of me, and you might want to curse me out since I'm some nigga you don't know, but I'm heading over to Denny's for some late-night breakfast. Would you like to join me?”
Was he serious? I let the words replay in my mind, because I knew I had to be dreaming. This gorgeous man didn't just ask me to go eat with him. Maybe he was just being nice, figuring the fat chick was probably hungry. I didn't really care about the reason, though.
I knew what my answer was going to be.