Noni Jones in Harlem #14: The Reunion

Caroline

Saturday was the first Saturday in a while that I didn’t get up and head to the office. Instead, I went to the gym. Lord. I’ve started going to this 24 hours place and I even found the nerve to get me a personal trainer. He’s fine too. I’m mad he started the session telling me how good I looked in my fitness gear. I was like, “Thanks. So let’s get started”. I wasn’t even trying to get side tracked. If he can work me out in bed like he did yesterday morning, hmph. Nonetheless, we did some intense rounds of circuit training, cardio, some crazy work with a medicine ball…Lately I’ve been on a fitness/health kick. We’ll see how long that lasts.

After I got home, took a shower and answered some emails. I had to focus on the night ahead. The last time I had seen Lance was maybe four summers ago. I was visiting some of my family in London and he and I connected. I remember he met me at my cousins house when no one was home, and let’s just say, we shamelessly made love on the floor of the guest room. Yes… this man has that effect on me. So I was scared. I had no idea what to expect. I mean, did he think he was just going to move to the states and take control over my life? Hell no. I have too much going on. But to be painfully honest, I know I have a weakness… and that weakness happens to be his strength. Lord give me the strength.

He called around 4 and let me know that he’d made dinner reservations at Smoke, a jazz club, that for me is just a quick subway ride away. I got myself together, eventually. Went into my closet, stood there for a good 5 minutes and eyed a chocolate brown off-the-shoulder number I’d never worn. Now was as good a time as ever. 

I decided I looked to damn good to ride the subway. I wasn’t trying to swear at every Tom, Dick and Harry that would take one good look at the West African figure in a skin tight dress and loose all sense that God gave them. I took a town car and as my driver swerved over toward the curb, there he was standing. Ready. I payed the driver, took my time doing so, and then I took a very deep breath. “Come on girl. Get it together. Caroline, this is just a- a date. A meeting of two old friends.”

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I opened the door. He rushed over gallantly and held it open. “There you are. I was hoping you wouldn’t chicken out on me.”

“Oh Lance,” I gushed. “I’m not that cold. You’d never recover.

“You’re right.”

I watched his floating gaze and he took me all in.

“Well come on, give the old man a hug.” He held his arms out and I fell inside.

Oooh. He felt so good. Smelled so good. He had a fresh hair cut, a tan blazer, dark of jeans and fine leather shoes. It was a young, very New York ensemble, but he still looked a bit older than I remembered. His cognac eyes were still capable of looking through me. I swear, as I took a step back and looked into them, he could read my thoughts. I looked away.

“Smoke,” I said, smoothing my dress. “Great choice, I love it here.”

“Yes, I uh… ” he held the door open for me. “I asked around, places a respectable man could take a smashing lady on a Saturday night. You been here before?”

“Yeah, my friends boyfriend, he plays jazz.” We were near the door of the dark, intimate club, waiting to be seated at one of the small tables. They were almost to capacity, even though the music wouldn’t start for another hour or so.

Nice dress,” he whispered and then boldly placed his arms around me, and pulled me toward him. “Thank you,” I called over my shoulder, a little flabbergasted. When the music began we were half way through our meal, and working on a second round of drinks. I needed that Sauvignon Blanc to chill. I still enjoyed his company and the quartet was slamming. I grew bold.

“So…”

“Yes…”

“What do you want to do?”

“Now… tonight, tomorrow?”

“You know what I mean.”

“With you.”

“I mean, yes. Lance, we haven’t dated in forever and I’m just thinking to myself, does he want to start where we left off or… You know, we’re in completely different places in our lives now.”

“I feel like with a busy woman like yourself, that’s not my decision to make. But honestly, I just want to take it easy. I’m not really looking for anything serious.”

I nearly spit out my drink. It was the last thing I expected to hear. Actually, my face was suddenly and unexpectedly- tight.I mean this is the man that practically kissed the ground I walked on when I was fresh, twenty-something older man, than pursued me when I left him. So now that he was in my back yard.. he wasn’t looking for anything serious. Let me not trip. “Yea…” I nodded. What was I supposed to say? But he continued.

“I just got here from London. I’m about to get my son. I’m trying to just enjoy the city… see whats out there. So… you don’t have to worry sweet heart. I’m not going to rain on your parade.”

I laughed… one of those luke-warm te-he’s you let out when you have no clue what to say. Was he serious? The band finished and the crowd erupted into applause. I was happy for the interruption.

When they resumed, I changed the subject to something more pleasant. Music. And as we discussed Maxwell and Sade’s rumored  I let his remarks slide to the back of my thoughts.  He asked if I was ready to go around 11. Not knowing what I was doing, I nodded. We stood outside looking at one another. Was he about to get one cab or two?

He shrugged. “I’d have you over, but my place is barely furnished. Is yours close to here?”

Not slick. “It is.” What was I doing? Thinking my damn vagina was what I was doing. “You want to have a night cap?”

He just smiled and stepped forward to hail a cab. The foreplay began during the ride home. There are some lovers with whom you will always have an instant rapport. You can spend years apart, but the moment you see each other it’s like those years collapse into a single day. He held me close, kissed my neck and nibbled on my ear. He told me how nice it was to see me and how he’d prayed for this day. I was the one he couldn’t shake. It was so romantic and left me feeling like the 21 year old junior that was sprung for this incredible older man.

 

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I turned the key, praying he didn’t notice them rattling between my shaky fingers.

“Nice place,”  he observed, after locking my door behind me.

My Harlem apartment was my second move since grad school, a one bedroom condo on the periphery of Hamilton Heights. We were standing in the foyer, where I had a modest living space set up, a flat screen, creme leather couch and a sleek glass coffee table. I hung a mask near the entrance, something I picked up while visiting family in Nigeria a couple years back. A black lacquer Chinese screen hand-painted with peonies and butterflies divided my living and work space that housed an over-sized desk, my Mac, and the collection of books I call my library.

“Can I offer you something to drink,” I said, remembering my manners.

“No, but you can come here.” 

I walked toward him, pressed my body into his. He ran his hands down my arms and looked deeply into my eyes. Finally, after what seemed liked minutes, he kissed me. He took his time, slowly moved his tongue, sucked on my bottom lip, ran his hands along my back and butt. And before I could wrap my mind around what was happening, he lifted me up and carried me into my small kitchen. It was there he hiked up my dress and placed me on the counter. He pulled my dress completely off, in between kisses. He unsnapped my bra and, took my breasts in each hand, and sucked them too. 

“I want to give you a massage,” he whispered.

“Now?” I was throbbing.

“Yeah… I want to rediscover all of this.” At that moment, he looked so gentle. So sober. So much like the man a put-together woman trying to have it all, dreams of. 

He found the lotion, and I layed across my bed. He took of his blazer, shirt and shoes, and started to rub my body, section by section. He had me lay on my back. He said nothing while his fingers moved expertly between my legs and inside me. The next thing I know, I’m calling out his name, begging for us to have sex, as mercilessly sucked my clit. We finally did, all night. It was slow… and magical. The next morning, I awoke before he. I turned over and watched that familiar back laying next to me. I wanted so hard to stay in control but in a matter of hours, somehow, I found myself– sprung.

 

-Caroline

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