I felt primed to continue this, and if you missed part 1 this is my contemporary romance starring Roman and Jamie. Just a straight-forward modern day story without any magic or sci-fi. Enjoy.
Roman, Part 2 — A Turn of Fate.
My first day of work ends up painless. Chuck pays me under the table, so it made the illusion he hired me like any normal person would. Though it’s probably because he thinks I won’t last. Truth be told, it turned out fun.
I know music like the back of my hand, and day-dreaming of my impending date with Jamie made the day fly by. I flip through the crisp twenties I got for the day’s work and grind in my head the battle plan. How many beers would that score? Or maybe roll with some good stuff and live a little?
“So Roman, where we going?” Jamie says, leaning her cheek on a hand at the counter.
I hesitate, but there’s only one answer worth saying. “Deeks, if you don’t mind the noise.”
Deeks is the only club that has halfway decent music. The owner’s a tool, and I’ve been thrown out twice, but both times it was because I didn’t have green. Today? No problem.
“The place on fifth, huh?”
Chuck steps between us. “Already planning the wedding, huh?”
“Nah. I’m not a marriage type,” Jamie says. “We’re just hanging out. Maybe sex afterwards.”
I raise a brow. Chuck laughs.
“I’m just kidding,” Jamie says.
About what part? I stash the cash into my wallet and stow it away. “I’m fine with whatever, you know? I’m cool with going in there with a fine looking girl like you any day.”
Jamie smirks. “Aren’t you sweet. Keep that up and I might have to take back my joke.”
I only smile back. Which one?
“Go on you two,” Chuck says. “I’ll close up. You did good today.”
I assume he’s being straight with me. He gave me a hundred bucks for barely a full day of work. “Thanks Chuck, when you need me back in here?”
“Monday,” he says. “I can man the fort solo on the weekends.”
Jamie looks surprised. “You don’t need me either?”
Chuck shakes his head. “Maybe, eventually, but I don’t know you well enough to run the shop on your own. No offense.”
“None taken,” Jamie steps out from the counter, looks me over. “You need to change? Or we going now?”
“Now’s good,” I say. “Place don’t open till 8, so let’s grab some food.”
She grabs my arm and drags me out the shop. “Great. I’m starving.” She breaks out a phone as she walks dials and waits for the ring. “Oh, hey Rito.”
I listen carefully, but the phone is on too low for me to hear. I only catch her end.
“See that’s the thing. I’m dumping you, so it works out.”
I hear the next part.
“You’re shitting me?” The guy’s voice sounded tough. He just sounded big as hell.
“Don’t think I didn’t know you’ve been playing girls on the side,” Jamie says. She wears a smile, not upset one bit. “If I wasn’t holding your interest why you upset?”
Silence. We stop walking. The burger place a few doors down is right in front of us.
She pockets her phone. “Hung up. Knew he’s a punk.”
“Seriously? He cheated on you?”
“Yeah.” Jamie slips her arm from mine and looks in the window. “Happens a lot.”
Not gonna lie, I find that suspicious. A good looking girl like Jamie, cool as hell, and she has a streak of guys cheating on her? A part of me just thinks, why would I ever cheat on her? Assuming I took the step of being that to her.
“It wouldn’t happen with me,” I say. Straight up honesty there.
“They all say that.” Jamie says, keeping her eyes on the people inside.
I step even with her and slip my hands in my pockets. “Well I mean it. You’re out of my league as it is. It would take a hell of a reason for me to break it off with you.”
Jamie turns to me, confused. “Out of your league?”
“Yeah. I’m nothing special, you know. Chuck wasn’t lying about me being a loser.”
Jamie smirked. “Not like I’m any better. I dropped out of college first semester, said I was going back. Never did.”
“Least you went. I didn’t set foot in college.” I shrug. “Nothing came to mind. Seems like a waste of money.”
Jamie sizes me up, considering. “And that makes you a loser, huh?”
I push my luck. “Well. You’re also smokin’ hot.”
“Thanks. You’re not bad looking yourself. Never dated a black guy before though.”
“You plan on starting?” I say.
“Yeah, why not,” Jamie says. “You paying?”
I open the door, waving her inside. She orders a triple hamburger, I order a single. Not being cheap or anything, I just don’t eat too much. Jamie packs away the food like a champ and we eat our first meal together as a ‘couple’. But it doesn’t feel like a commitment or anything. Feels more like something a couple of wide eyed teens would do.
I’m fine with that.
The whole time we talk about music and things we share in common. She knows a few chords on guitar, and I get a taste of her singing voice. It’s not bad. She reminds me of the head vocalist of Bloodskin, and Jamie blows her out of the water.
She just spits some lyrics from a song she says she wrote. Sounds familiar, but I don’t point that out.
Jamie licks her fingers on the last bite of her burger. “So you play an instrument?”
“Nope,” I say. “I know all the chords and positions, but I don’t play.”
“Isn’t that the hard part of playing?”
I frown, it’s the first thing she says that pisses me off. “No way. You need soul to rock. That’s just the motions.”
“I guess so.” She leans on her hand, smiling coyly. “You play other instruments?”
I open my mouth to talk, but I catch her meaning. I force back a blush and finish off my soda with a noisy slurp. Not like I’ve had much practice with that.
“So that’s a yes.” Jamie reaches out and runs a finger over my outstretched hand. Her nail leaves a dry scratch.
“Jamie,” I say. “Let’s just take this slow a’ight?”
She looks surprised.
I take a deep breath. Just let it flow Roman. “You’re gorgeous. And you tell me you have issues with guys playing you. I get that. But I don’t roll like that. If I got an issue with you, I’ll tell you up front. And talking with you here, we’re gonna be tight no matter what.”
“So you’re friendin’ me? Just like that?” Jamie frowned.
“No way.” I turn my hand over and give hers a squeeze. “I’m saying that I laid eyes on you and I was bubbling inside. I sit her with you for a chat and I forgot all that. That’s telling me I shouldn’t treat you like some sort of conquest.”
Jamie fell silent, she searches my eyes.
I’m talking nonsense. I should just go for it and party with her. If something comes up, face it. I’m never gonna get another chance to be with a girl like her.
She pulls her hand away and stands, slamming her hands on the table. The restaurant falls silent. Tension sits on her face. “So just like that huh? You’re gonna puss out cause you’re scared? Cause you don’t think It’ll work if you go headlong? You’re right about being a loser if that’s the case.”
I get angry. I stand up to her. “No. I’m saying you deserve better than that. Or is that what you want? You want an excuse? I ain’t playin’ that game, Jamie. All the fuck ups I’ve done? I’m not letting this be one of them.”
“So I’m just a fuck up?” Jamie clenched her hands into fists.
“No. I’m saying I don’t want this to be one.”
“We’ll it is one. You’re fucking up now.” Jamie slammed her hands on the table again.
A manager walks over to us, scowling. “Take it outside. You’re scaring the—“
Jamie rounds on him and punches the shit out of the dude. The manager tumbles backwards and slides across the floor. Fire bubbles in Jamie’s eyes. She doesn’t regret a damn thing.
“Whoa,” I say. I run around the table and grab her from behind. She doesn’t struggle.
The manager sits up, rubbing his cheek. He’s an older guy, pushing forty and just doing his job. He doesn’t deserve this.
“Sorry, man. I’ll get her out of here,” I say, pulling her away.
Everyone in the burger place is staring at us. A lady is on her cellphone, dialing 911. The manager gives me a slow nod. He’s just gonna let it slide? OR no– he recognizes me. I pull her out of the burger place and urge her to run. We do.
After five blocks we hit a corner and tear down an empty street. Sirens blare in my ears, but they’re from a fire-truck. No way would the cops be on to us that fast. I’m leading our run, or at least I think I am, but I’m out of shape and tired.
She pushes me into an alleyway and behind some piled boxes. I curl over breathing heavy and pray no one saw us.
“Sorry,” she says.
I’m in no mood to lecture. Now that I think about it, I’ve wanted to punch that manager before. But never did so. Because— well— it’s wrong.
“It’s cool,” I say.
“You could’ve ditched me.”
“I didn’t want to.”
Jamie narrows her eyes at me. “You meant what you were saying, right?”
“Yeah,” I say, straightening.
“You want this to be real then.” Jamie raised a brow. “To be honest. I just wanted an escape.”
Confidence swells inside of me. My breathing steadies. “I’m the wrong dude for that.”
“Cool,” she says. Jamie slips her hand into mine, giving a small squeeze. “We might need to put off that club date though.”
I smirk and squeeze her hand back. “Maybe for a few nights.”