“Cincere, come here!” Kyra came bursting into their apartment later that evening with several large bags weighing down each arm.
Once Justin gave her permission to use his credit card, Kyra wasted no time putting it to use. Still brimming with excitement in regards to her new position – as well as the fabulous perks that came with it – the fresh smell of retail gave her a high she had yet to come down from. Being able to shed her work clothes for the cute silk romper she wore out of the store was symbolic of her revival, and Kyra was more than ready to embrace the life she was always meant to lead.
“Hey, you’re home early. . . ” Cincere noticed the three hour difference before her new outfit. He came running in, looking startled by all the noise, but stopped short when he saw the living room floor littered with shopping bags. “What’s all this?” he asked.
“I went shoppin’.” Kyra stated the obvious as though it was some kind of accomplishment. Tired and out of breath, she took in the mess she made with great satisfaction.
“Damn girl! Did you have to buy the whole store?” Cincere laughed like he was joking with her however he seemed just as anxious to find out what was inside the bags as he was to find out who was footing the bill. “Since when do we have money for all this?” Cincere questioned one of the mile-long receipts, his forehead scrunched with worry.
“Babe, relax,” Kyra chuckled a bit. “Half this stuff isn’t even for me,” she admitted.
“Then who’s is it?” Cincere became agitated when he discovered that most of the bags contained men’s clothing – none of which were in his size.
“It’s for work. . .” Kyra slowly removed the Dior frames from her face and returned them to their case. Cincere let his suspicious glare speak for him.
“Baby, guess what?” Kyra bit her lip to keep from smiling too hard.
Cincere entertained her with a rather unenthused, “What?”
“Ya girl got a new job!” Kyra got hype again. It was hard not to be considering all the possibilities: the places she could go, the people she could meet. . .
“Congratulations. . . Where’s it at?” Cincere looked confused but that didn’t keep him from being supportive. When he opened his arms for a hug, Kyra gave him a peck on the lips.
“Baby, you are never goin’ to believe this! I was at work today when Justin came in-” Kyra started to tell him all about it, but Cincere shut her down before he got to hear the whole story.
“What was Justin doing at your job?” he investigated.
“He came up to the restaurant and offered me a chance to work for him,” Kyra explained.
“Doing what exactly?” Cincere stepped back to assess the situation.
“I know this might sound kind of crazy but . . . he asked me to be his stylist,” she continued.
“And you agreed?” Cincere huffed in disbelief.
“Well . . . yeah. I mean. . .” Kyra wrestled with her reply. His stale reaction made her wish she’d kept the good news to herself.
“But you already have a job.”
Kyra rolled her eyes at him for reminding her.
“Correction: I had a job,” she mumbled.
“So you quit? Is that what you’re telling me?” Cincere kept poking at her with his questions, still trying to grasp what she was saying. All Kyra had to do was nod, and that was all it took to set him off.
“What the fuck! You can’t just quit your job!” Cincere came down on her hard. He was so mad he started pacing back and forth, cursing up a storm. “Damn it, Kyra! I would have appreciated it if you had at least talked to me about it first!” he huffed some more.
“I’m sorry, baby, but I had to take it. If I didn’t take this job I wouldn’t have a job, period.” Kyra tried to be as gentle as she could when she approached him, but Cincere lashed out at her anyway.
“No. You didn’t have to. You wanted to! There’s a difference!” he hollered.
“Whateva, Cincere! You weren’t even there!” Kyra was trying to keep calm, but her bad attitude seeped through her voice.
“I don’t even care. Take this shit . . . all of it. Tell Justin we don’t need him – or his money.” Cincere balled up one of the shirts, stuffed it back in the bag, and shoved it out the way.
“What? I can’t take all this stuff back.” Kyra looked around and let out a weak laugh. They were practically swimming in new merchandise. Plus, she’d worked too hard to carry all them in just to turn around and carry them back out.
“I said take it back!” Cincere hurled one of the bags toward the door, scattering its contents. Kyra ducked just in time to avoid being hit.
“What the hell, Cincere? You are really fuckin’ trippin’ right now!” Kyra screamed at him as her eyes welled with tears. As her boyfriend, she expected him to offer his love and support, but Cincere refused to give her either.
“No. The only person who’s trippin’ right now is you!” he yelled over her. “You think I’m fucking stupid, Kyra? You don’t even know the first thing about being a stylist!”
“Damn, my bad. I thought you would’ve been happy for me.” Kyra put one hand on her hip and let the other one hang. “Do you know how much more money I’ll be makin’? This will be good for the both of us!” she argued.
“And besides, it’s not like I’ll be workin’ for just him. I’ll work for other people too . . . As a matter of fact, I’m scheduled to meet with one of my other clients tomorrow,” Kyra pointed out. Meanwhile, Cincere stared her down as he ran his tongue along the inside of his lip.
“Oh. You don’t believe me?” Kyra scrambled to find her purse amongst the many bags. She pulled out what was left of her bankroll, fanning the hundred dollar bills out for him to see, but Cincere’s expression never changed. He turned his back to her and put his phone to his ear.
“Um, excuse me, but . . . who the hell are you callin’?” Kyra shifted her weight in offense. She was baffled at how he could just start a new conversation without finishing theirs first.
“I’m calling Chris,” Cincere was firm in his announcement. “You need to talk to him, Kyra. Tell him you’re sorry for what happened and you want your job back.” Cincere held the phone out for her. The timer had started already which meant it was ringing. The pressure was on.
“Now you and I both know I’m not about to do that.” Kyra took the phone from him and put an end to the call, as well as his idea. Now that Justin had put her on, Kyra couldn’t even think about going back to bi-weekly paychecks that didn’t even last a full two weeks. Not even for Cincere.
“I swear, I’m starting to think you be trying to make me mad on purpose! Like the shit is funny!” Cincere shared his speculations out loud. “Keep thinking this shit is a fucking joke, Kyra!”
“Whateva, Cincere. I don’t know what your problem is. You’re always mad at me about something.” Kyra sucked her teeth as she tossed the phone aside. With the way he was acting, she couldn’t even take him seriously.
“No. I am not always mad. You just do shit to piss me off!” Cincere raised his voice again. Kyra slowly counted to five before she got ready to speak.
“Look, Cincere this is the one thing I might actually be good at in life. If it wasn’t for Justin, I’d probably be stuck at that damn restaurant forever. At least this is an opportunity-”
“Don’t you see what’s going on, Kyra?” Cincere cut her off mid-sentence. “This isn’t about you. This is about Justin! This is just his way of keeping you close to him!” he claimed.
“Come on now, Cincere. I thought we were past this.” Kyra leaned against the back of the couch as she let out a heavy sigh.
“Yeah. . . So did I.” Cincere went cold as he retreated to their bedroom. Kyra tensed up when he slammed the door.
As she sat there in silence reflecting on what just happened, warm tears started to flow down her pretty face. Kyra looked over at the unopened bottle of wine sitting on the coffee table, and didn’t know whether to celebrate or drown her sorrows. Because at the end of the day, all she had left to hold onto was hope for a better tomorrow.
With yesterday’s drama behind her, Kyra got up early the next morning to put herself together. She knew if she was going to go around telling people she was a stylist, then it was important she look like one. From now on, she would be required to put much more effort into her everyday appearance: otherwise no one was going to take her advice.
And although, Kyra never quite pictured herself in the position of fashion stylist, the more she thought about it, the more it started to make sense. Sure, the fact that she’d been thrust into her new role without any warning or preparation, no one to observe or learn from, and practically no schooling, was a little nerve-racking to say the least, but Kyra was confident in her ability to put together a showstopper. She’d done it before and under the right conditions, she knew she could pull it off again. All the reassurance she needed was in the mirror.
Looking good and feeling good had always been synonymous for Kyra, and today, she felt unstoppable. After yet another lengthy internal debate, she decided to wear a belted, raspberry-colored pencil skirt, with a sleeveless, cream-colored satin top, and a metallic gold Michael Kors tote to set it all off. The metallic T-strap sandals she wore were also made by Michael Kors – minus the MK monogram.
Pressed for time, Kyra hurried up and finished by tying her hair up in a top knot. She would have to apply her lipgloss in the car.
In her rush to make her very first consultation, Kyra couldn’t help but think about how happy she was to leave Cincere and their drama at home. It hadn’t even occurred to her that she was speeding. The faster Kyra got away from Cincere, the faster she could get to Justin’s. And when it came to her success, she wasn’t about to let anyone slow her down.
After last night, Kyra had really been looking forward to meeting with Justin – which would help explain why she was so disappointed when she saw who he brought with him. Having Eden around always made for an awkward situation. When it came to their chemistry, it was clear that Eden didn’t mix.
For one, Kyra hated having to censor herself just because Eden felt like she had to be right there to monitor their whole conversation. Not to mention, this time, Eden seemed to be staring harder at her then she was at Justin. Kyra caught more than a few dirty looks while she and Justin were in the midst of discussing the season’s hottest trends. It didn’t surprise Kyra that Eden managed to point out something wrong with each one of her selections. Unlike Justin, Eden was mean, demanding, and almost impossible to please.
Thankfully, Kyra only had to put up with her for a few minutes before it was time for her to make her way to her next appointment. Her heart was still beating a mile a minute when she pulled up at the Black Pearl Hotel around 11:30 A.M. A thousand scenarios were running through her mind as she made her way across the lobby. She was looking for Suite 717.
The longer Kyra had to wait for someone to answer, the more anxious she became. It was then that she realized, other than the time and location Justin provided, the man behind the door was a total mystery.
“Oh, hello, you must be Kyra.” An older gentleman came to greet her not long after she knocked. He was short and stocky, so much so that Kyra could see that he was balding. What little hair he had left had turned white, but the light in his eyes remained bright and youthful.
“Yes, hi,” Kyra perked up all of a sudden, but the only reason she held her smile for so long was to hide how shocked she was. Is this the man I’m supposed to meet? She wondered.
“Ah, yes. Right this way, Madam.” The butler ushered her in and Kyra let out a sigh of relief. She followed him through the opulent, two-story suite to an infinity pool outside.
“Thank you,” Kyra stopped near the water’s edge. The butler bowed before leaving.
Kyra was slow in making her way over to the much younger looking brother on the other side of the pool. She couldn’t see his face from where she was standing, but from what she could tell he was built like a God. He made doing push-ups look easy.
“Dominic.” The click-clack of Kyra’s heels against the pavement stopped at his head. Dominic traced her lovely stems all the way up to the frown on her face.
“Woo-Woo,” he whistled.
“Save your compliments, Dominic. What do you want?” Kyra asked.
Once he reached two hundred, Dominic hopped up to retrieve his water bottle, lifted it to his mouth and proceeded to suck it down. Dressed in nothing but a pair of white boxer shorts, the tattoos on his arms and neck were merely an extension of the artwork adorning his upper body. His sweaty chest was gleaming. His breathing was just beginning to slow down.
Kyra got hot just looking at him. The fact it was 87 degrees and sunny had nothing to do with it. Not only did he know how to identify her weaknesses, Dominic was an expert when it came to playing upon her vulnerabilities. Kyra didn’t even have to tell him about how she and Cincere got into it last night. It was like he already knew.
“Oh, hi, Kyra, nice to see you, too,” Dominic flashed his signature smile.
“How can I help you Dominic?” Kyra loaded her question with sarcasm. Had she known he was the person she was supposed to be meeting with, she definitely would have cancelled.
“Justin referred you to me. Said you’re one of the hottest stylists around. . . Is that true?” Dominic wandered over to one of the lounge chairs. Kyra opted to stand.
“Your sources would be correct.” Kyra smiled proudly. “But since when do you need a stylist, Dominic? It’s not like you don’t know how to dress,” she added.
“I am pretty fly huh?” Dominic held his chin up. Kyra sucked her teeth at him and laughed.
“You a’ight,” she joked.
“So then why did you try to play me like that at the engagement party?” Dominic got all serious all of a sudden. His eyes locked on hers.
“I didn’t play you, Dom. You played yaself.” Kyra snapped. “I told you what it was. You knew I had a boyfriend from the beginnin’,” she said.
“Nah, you were trying to show out.” Dominic shook his finger at her.
“Look. . . Dominic, I came here to work. If the only reason you hired me is because you thought you were about to get some ass, you can forget it,” she warned.
“No, that’s not the only reason. . . I wanted to see you . . . But since you wanted to be difficult. . .” He sighed.
“Ugh. Whateva, Dominic. Just for that, I should walk out of here right now.” Kyra glanced back at the entrance to the suite.
“You could. . . But that wouldn’t be smart.” Dominic squinted when he looked up at her. His remark made her sit.
“Dominic, I really don’t have time for this. . .” Kyra sighed to show her irritation.
“I don’t know if Justin told you or not, but my birthday is coming up next month.” Dominic blotted the beads of sweat on his forehead with a towel. “I’m going to be 27 this year, and I think it’s about time to start making some changes in my life – starting with my wardrobe,” he said.
“Okay, well since I’m here do you think you can you give me a general description of your style preference? Oh and I’ll also need to know your sizes.” Kyra leaned forward, ready to take notes on her tablet.
“Well I guess you could say I’m looking for something that stands out.
Something different . . . Something hot. . . Something real . . . grown and sexy you feel me?” Dominic licked his lips in a provocative manner.
“Umm, let’s try to stick to the subject, please. We’re supposed to be talkin’ about fashion, remember?” Kyra could feel her lust for him creeping up her spine again. The tingling sensation between her legs made her squeeze her thighs together. Her body was desperate for a release.
“Yeah. . . What else did you think I was talking about?” Dominic replied with a sly grin that told her he was the furthest thing from innocent.
“Mmm, hmm, just makin’ sure,” Kyra hummed pleasantly. There was slight pause in conversation as she finished up on her iPad and put it away.
“Alright, unless you have any questions for me I think I have everythin’ I need. If not, I’ll call you.” Kyra stood up, ready to head out. Dominic followed close behind her.
“I gotta go to this stupid rehearsal dinner tomorrow, but feel free to hit me up.” Dominic handed her a check for $1,500 once they were at the door. “Here you go: this should cover it for today,” he concluded.
“Thanks.” Kyra quickly zipped it away in her bag. Her next stop was the bank.
“Hey. . . Before you go. . . I was also hoping you might be able to help me sort through my closet sometime this week? I need to get rid of some stuff. If I don’t, it’s going to be hell when it comes time to pack,” he complained.
“Sure, I can do that.” Kyra agreed in hopes Dominic would finally let her leave, but he just kept on talking.
“Oh, and Kyra, if you don’t mind I have a couple items at the dry cleaners that need to be picked up,” he added.
“Anything else?” Kyra wasn’t afraid to get smart with Dominic. She didn’t care if he was a client. She was his stylist, not his personal assistant, and she needed him to respect that.
“Actually. . . Yeah there is. . .” Dominic moved fast in his attempt to kiss her, but Kyra knew better than to let him do it. It was already hard enough not to succumb to his passion, and those delectable lips. Just one taste was dangerous.
“You just love teasing me don’t you, baby?” Dominic sounded frustrated and turned on all at the same time. Kyra was up against the door, and he was up against her, holding himself up while caging her in with his arms.
“C’mon. When you gon’ stop teasing me mami. Give me what I want,” Dominic was breathing heavy. The tip of his nose grazed Kyra’s ear, before his lips settled on her neck.
“Uh, uh, Dominic. . . Nice try, but this is strictly business.” Kyra grabbed Dominic by the face and forced him to look her in the eye. Her free hand found the handle, allowing her to slip out.
While waiting for the elevator to take her back to the ground floor, Kyra looked back to see Dominic was still posted in the doorway, looking puzzled. Not only did Kyra know how to keep him guessing, she always found a way to keep him wanting more.