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So the Kappa Alpha Psi pretty boy is late. Go figure I should have expected that from a Nupe!
Jasmine "Jazz" Stewart alternated between walking up and down the inside of the airport, checking and rechecking each luggage pickup location, and braving the cold Detroit weather outside. It had been over an hour since she had landed, and her ride was nowhere to be found. She was going to be late for her best friend's wedding rehearsal, all because some cane-swinging Kappa pretty boywhom she had never met, but she had seen pictures of and had to admit he was too handsome for wordshad no concept of time.
Her best friend, roommate and sorority sister was marrying the no-show's best friend and fraternity brother. She and Alicia were both members of Delta Sigma Theta and had pledged the Pi Iota city-wide chapter when they were sophomores in college. They were now seniors at Mount Holyoke College. From what she'd heard, Alicia's fiance, Darren, her cousin Kendrick and the tardy Troy had all pledged Kappa at Howard several years ago, Xi chapter.
Jazz knew that her friend Alicia probably had some hopes of her and Troy hitting it off and Jazz finally becoming serious about one guy instead of dating them and dropping them, as she was prone to do. But if Troy was always this late, he wouldn't stand a chance with her. She liked her conquests to be prompt.
She glanced at the Coach watch she'd gotten a good bargain on back home at Filene's Basement in Boston. An hour and twenty-five minutes late! She had never met Mr. Troy Singleton, but from what she'd heard, he thought he was some kind of God's gift to women. He was probably used to making women wait for him. After making the mad dash to catch her flight from Boston, suffering through the two-hour turbulence-filled flight and trekking through the unreasonably long Detroit airport to get to the luggage claim spot in a timely manner so that she wouldn't keep her ride waiting, she knew for sure she wouldn't be one of the many women to fall for his charms.
She walked outside again just as a humongous gas-guzzling bright red SUV pulled up. When she saw the tall, muscular frame stepping out and walking leisurely toward the entrance to the airport, she just watched him go. The jeans and thick leather jacket he wore gave him a rugged and almost dangerous appearance. If it weren't for the air of suaveness that seemed to radiate off of him like whatever the male equivalent to a siren's call would be, he would read bad-boy-all-the-way.
She decided she hated him on sight, every six-feet-plus muscle-bound caramel-hued bit of him.
She took her luggage and rolled it over to the SUV and patiently waited for him to come back outside when he saw she wasn't in the airport waiting like a dutiful twit with nothing better to do. The brittle Detroit air almost made her want to go inside and find him, but she braved it.
Oh, the things one would endure to prove a point
Twenty minutes later he came out talking on his cell phone. She leaned against his car with her arms crossed in front of her. He stared at her for a moment and walked over. His expression was a mixture of perplexed and inquisitive with a slight bit of interest.
"Jasmine?" His mouth tilted slightly in a soft, sexy half smile that would probably knock the average girl off her feet.
Jazz wasn't anybody's average.
"It's Jazz. Can you open the trunk and let me put my suitcase in? We're running late. Or should I say, you're incredibly late and we're going to miss the rehearsal."
He reared his head back as if offended before narrowing his eyes. "How did you know this was my car?"
The sexy little smile was gone and she kind of missed it.
"I watched you get out of it. Can you open the trunk? And can we get in? It's cold out here." She realized that she really was starting to freeze her very ample behind off.
The cream dress slacks she wore with a cute little sweater and lightweight leather jacket, both of which were more for style than warmth, were no match for Detroit's weather. It might have been close to spring in the rest of the world, but Detroit hadn't gotten the memo yet.
"Wait a minute, you saw me get out and go inside to look for you and it didn't occur to you to try and stop me? I wasted damn near twenty minutes in there looking for you." He just stood in front of her not opening the trunk with expectation written all over his face.
He was starting to work her nerves, and the Bajan always came out in her whenever someone worked her nerves. Even though she'd left the island when she was a toddler, she was her mother's child. And Carlyne Stewart had never lost her Barbadian dialect.
She narrowed her eyes and gave her teeth a slow, lyrical suck. "C'dear wha 'bout muh time, nuh? I wait and walk and wait and walk back and forth roun' dis godforsaken airport for I ain' no how long for yuh ta reach. We nowhere near even, yuh, but I ain' got time to waste belaboring the topic " She gave him a disgusted look. "Trunk? Door?"
He pressed the automatic lock, walked over to the driver's side, got in and started up the car. She lifted her suitcase as she cursed him out in her mind and then got in the SUV.
"Woulda killed yuh to be a gentleman after havin' muh here waiting all this time, huh?" It irritated her to no end that this fool had triggered her anger so quickly and had her channeling her mother's tongue. She took a deep breath and counted to ten.
He turned up his music to some loud hip-hop and started driving, effectively ignoring her.
That was all right with Jazz. He might have been the finest guy she had ever laid eyes on, but he was also an arrogant-late-no-manners-having jerk.
Jasmine. Man what an evil!
Troy shook his head as he made haste driving them to the small chapel where Alicia and Darren were having their wedding rehearsal. The sooner he got Ms. Jasmine Stewart out of his ride the better.
And what is with the Miss Cleo routine?
She hadn't sounded like she was from the islands at first, but then all of a sudden she went full-blown come-back-to-Jamaica on him. He didn't have the time or the patience for this crap. Not after just finding out that his parents were going to end their almost thirty-year marriage because they had supposedly "grown apart."
He chanced a glance at Jasmine. She was as pretty as her picture, even though her hair was different. Instead of the wild and free natural style from the picture, it looked like her auburn hair had been straightened somehow and it was in one of those fancy pinned-up styles with rings of curls placed strategically. She must've gotten it done like that for the wedding.
Yeah, she was gorgeous. Too bad she was such a ball buster.
And to think, he had even planned to let her be the woman he kicked it with this weekend. Everyone knew that weddings were the perfect venues for hit-it-and-quit-it hookups. He'd seen Jasmine's picture when Alicia asked him to pick up her up from the airport and he hadn't been able to get her out of his mind. He had all kinds of lines ready to woo her.
Yeah, he'd been a little late picking her up. So what? He'd gotten there. And after getting the news he'd just received, news that totally messed with his mind in ways he wasn't ready to address, she was lucky he even showed up at all.
And she played him by watching him go in the airport looking for her like a fool. Well, her loss, there would be plenty of women at the wedding looking for Mr. Right. He might not be Mr. Right, but he was for damn sure Mr. Right Now, and he wasn't going to let Jasmine ruin his plans.
He never remembered women's names. But he couldn't seem to forget hers, or anything about her, from her pretty cinnamon face to her fierce auburn natural. And her body.
Voluptuous came to mind Her body was definitely a throwback to the Marilyn Monroe days, when real women had curves.
He turned, looked at her and frowned.
"Keep your eyes on the road, Stud. Get us there in one piece, it's bad enough we're going to be late."
"Stud?" He couldn't help the smile that came over his face. Maybe this weekend wasn't a total loss after all.
"Yeah, if you won't call me Jazz, as I prefer, I'll just call you Stud, you know because you think you're such hot stuff, but you're really not all that. It's like a play on words Instead of 'dud,' I'll call you 'stud.'"
He gritted his teeth. If she wasn't so fine and if he had a little less respect for women he would call her a long list of names. But instead he called her the one thing he knew she would hate.
"Cute, Jasmine. You made that up all by yourself?" He chuckled in a sarcastic manner and he could feel her bristling beside him.
The rehearsal dinner had been interesting, to say the least. Alicia must have been really trying to do the matchmaking thing because she even sat Jazz by Troy at dinner and they were paired together as bridesmaid and groomsman. If it weren't for the buffer that Troy's sister and brother-in-law provided, things wouldn't have gone well.
"So, Troy picked you up from the airport? How did that go?" Sonya asked. "I'm not supposed to be saying anything But Alicia was kind of hoping that the two of you would hit it off."
"Nice way not to say anything, babe," Kendrick said with a shake of his head.
Jazz let out an exaggerated laugh. "Alicia can just forget about that " She looked at Troy and shook her head. "It'll never happen. Never."
Troy offered a sarcastic chuckle. "Yeah, I like my women a little less high-maintenance and a lot less crazy."
She could feel the heat rising in her neck and covering her cheeks. She did not need a repeat of her episode with Troy earlier. It was a nice upscale restaurant, and if she started cussing him out in her Bajan dialect, it probably wouldn't look good. So she smiled at him instead, a smile that probably appeared just shy of crazed.
He offered that lazy half smile, half smirk of his that she quickly came to realize worked her last good nerve and made her want to smack him. She wasn't used to these kinds of things. Guys usually didn't faze her at all. She could take them or leave them, and nine times out of ten she was leaving them. And none had never ever gotten under her skin so intensely and so quickly.
"Excuse me." She stood up and walked away from the table. She needed to go to the restroom to compose herself before she did or said something she would regret later.
After some breathing exercises and telling herself repeatedly that he was not all that, Jazz exited the restroom a newly composed woman. Until she saw Troy standing there.
"Look, before you blow up and start acting all psycho again, I just thought I'd check on you and apologize. I have no idea what I'm apologizing for, but whatever has your panties in a bunch that you perceive I am at fault for, I'm sorry."
Is my eye twitching? My eye is twitching. This She closed her eyes, took a deep breath and willed him to be gone when she opened them.
She opened her eyes. The left one twitched. No such luck.
"Go away, Stud. No need to apologize. Clearly you can't help being just what you are, a jerk."
"I'm not going away. We need to find a way to call a truce or something. Like it or not, our best friends are about to get married and that means we are going to be seeing a lot of each other through the years. Unless of course you and Alicia grow apart after college One can only hope " He let his words trail off and gave her a cocky grin. "I'm kidding. I'm kidding. Lighten up, will you?"
"Alicia and I will always be close. And as for you and me running into each other in the future "