I stepped out of the elevator on the 21st Floor of the Loomis Building. There lights in my office were on. I opened the door. J was sitting at her desk. Large, gold loop earrings hanging perfectly from each ear. Makeup, faultlessly applied matching her coffee with touch of cream skin. Her low cut button Henley clung to her body as if it were painted on. How I wished I was the artist for that painting.
J turned her head slightly toward me and said, “You gonna stand there looking like an ass or you gonna come in and get ready to go to work.”
“Huh?” I said.
“Up here,” she said pointing to her eyes. “You are late. Office hours are from 9 to 5. You showing up at 9:45 gives me a problem.”
“Yes, it does. Attorney Pettibone wants me to report any violations of the conditions your whacky grandmother set for you.”
“Prettybong wants you to be a mole? A snitch? Rat me out? Stab me in the back? Blow the whistle on me?”
J turned and gave me a full frontal. Should I tell her she forgot to button the buttons on her Henley? I think not. She’s in love with me. Why else would she wear something that turned my brain into overcooked grits.
“Didn’t your mama breast feed you? What is wrong with you? Up here,” she said pointing to her eyes.
“Please don’t report me. Please don’t file a sexual harassment lawsuit. I wasn’t breastfed by my mother. I’m fixated on women’s breasts. I’m immature. I’ve never matured emotionally. I’m so easy for any woman.”
J’s raven colored eyes looked at me the way Mother Teresa must have looked at an indigent, starving human being. Somewhere I heard Natalie and Nate King Cole singing Unforgettable.
J shook her head and said, “I better not tell Dante about you or you be in worse trouble than if I drop the dime on you and tell Pettibone everything. You be finished Trust fund baby. You have to wait for your filthy rich mommy and daddy to kick the bucket so you can inherit their wealth.”
“Who’s Dante? Your brother is a famous writer? I thought Dante died a few years ago.”
“Not that Dante. What did you do in college? Did you ever go to class?”
“Only if the teacher was eye candy for me.”
“You sound like a fourteen year old boy going through puberty, that’s what you sound like. Dante’s my big bro. I’m his baby sister and he won’t let anybody hurt me.”
“Where does Dante live?” I was hoping it was on the other side of the country.
J said, “Right now, he’s in cell block 11 in the state prison. But he got a long memory. If I tell him you hurt me, he gonna bust out and bust you across your head and knock it over the other side of the ocean.
“Why would I hurt you. I love you,” I said. I immediately realized I said the L word. It’s over. It’s all over. What is wrong with me. I thought work was hard. Love is even more difficult.
J slowly shook her head, rose from her chair, turned and took the two steps toward the door of my office. She opened the door and let it gracefully swing in its arc. She turned back to me and said, “It’s only infatuation. You are obsessed with my body and not my mind.”
“It’s a starting place,” I helplessly answered.
“Not with this girl. I was born on the weekend, but not last weekend. Get your white ass in your office before your group comes in here and gets the wrong impression.”
Before I took a step, I said in a voice a five year old uses to plead to his mom not to tell his dad he broke his dad’s iPhone, “What are you going to say to Politebin?”
J cocked her beautiful hips slightly to the right. She placed her right elbow in her left hand and put a forefinger on her lips. She raised her eyes as if she was asking an angel for advice. After a poignant pause, she said, “I never lie.”
As soon as she said she never lied, I realized my life was over and I’m only thirty-three years old. I’ll have to get by on a five thousand dollar weekly allowance until Mother and Father die. I’ll never be able to afford my own place.
“Listen up, filthy rich white boy. Pettibone gets nothing from me. I don’t like his uppity attitude. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t need to job to pay the rent, feed my dog, and pay tuition. I don’t rat out nobody. It’s the law of the hood.”
“The hood?” I asked. What is she talking about about?”
“The neighborhood. I’m gonna give you an education about the facts of life cause you don’t know nothing from nohow.”
“Can we start tonight after work? We’ll go out for dinner. After dinner I know a great bar where we can talk, and after …”
J cut me off quicker than I can switch channels with my remote. She said, “Stop right there. We are not going out for dinner. We are not going to a bar. Are you trying to hit on me?”
“Uh huh,” I said.
“That’s what I thought,” said J. “It didn’t work. I have your office all set up for group work. You don’t have a desk.”
“If I don’t have a desk, how do I work?”
“It’s group work. I saw this once on TV. All the chairs are in a circle and you sit in one of the chairs.”
“I have a question, J.”
“How about breakfast tomorrow?”
J came out from behind her desk. She walked around it and stepped behind me. She grabbed by my shoulders. Every cell in my body started singing alleluia. She turned me to the right and pushed me step by step into my office.”