Maya wouldn’t exactly call it boredom, but young adult life was getting to be a bit stale. At first, being able to sleep in, watch TV all day and staying out all night sounded like a dream. But after a week of that, she desired a bit more in her life. One day, she decided to get out and went to San Myshuno to see if it lived up to the hype. She heard about the karaoke bars and all the things you could see and do on just about every corner; it sounded like her kind of place.
The street performers were so cool–especially the living statue. She didn’t know why, but she couldn’t stop watching him. Every now and then she would make faces and even flirt to see if he would flinch or even blink. But, this guy was good. So good, she gave him a handsome tip.
Of course, meeting new people was pretty high on her agenda, and she made a few new friends.
After a few hours of mingling, and watching the statue guy, she was a little thirsty and went inside Planet Honey Pop for a drink. When she crossed the threshold, a man dressed in dark clothing caught her eye. She wasn’t expecting anyone to be standing at the entrance like that and was startled. But once she got over the initial shock, she looked at his face and saw how attractive he was. He was staring at her intently like he wanted her attention. She gladly gave it when she noticed those luscious, pouty lips.
He was so gorgeous, she forgot what she came inside for. She stood there grinning like tween crushing on the latest pop star. This guy nailed the sexy stare. From the angle he arched his brows to the way he pursed his cute lips, it was hard not to get tangled up in his spell.
“Hi,” she finally said.
He gave her a “wassup” nod.
She couldn’t stop smiling and had no idea what to do. This dude completely threw off her game. She thought perhaps if she went to the bar he would follow her and tried to slip past him, but he stood in her way.
“Whoa now. Where do you think you’re going?”
His voice. It was so clear and deep, and it had a certain quality in it. She couldn’t put her finger on what it was, but somehow she imagined he could probably sing well. She wanted to listen to him talk all afternoon.
“I…was just going to the bar. Would you like a drink?”
He snorted. “You wanna buy me a drink? That’s new.”
A young lady with pink hair and a deplorable outfit walked in and didn’t appear pleased to see him speaking with Maya.
She stood in between them sizing her up. Whatever trouble this woman wanted to start, Maya wasn’t concerned. Anyone crazy enough to wear a tacky outfit like that in public couldn’t be taken seriously. She was probably all bark and no bite.
“Is this your new toy, Akira?”
He burned a hole in the back of her head with a stare that probably should have been menacing, but Maya still thought it was sexy.
She liked the sound of his name. It sounded exotic, worldly. She wondered how worldly he was. Both of them ignored the interloper, and he returned his attention to Maya with his sexy stare.
“Weren’t you gonna buy me a drink?”
She smirked at the poorly dressed woman and walked to the bar. He followed her. His gaze from behind was very apparent; she could feel it, and it made her feel tingly inside. Wooing guys was not foreign to her, and it brought a certain level of pleasure to her. However, the feeling of being pursued was even more pleasurable.
“Two Dim & Gustys, please,” she said.
“Mmmm. I like a woman who can handle strong drink.”
She giggled nervously.
“You got a name?”
The bartender placed the drinks in front of them. He picked up his glass and took a long swig. The liquid vanished in three gulps before he slammed the glass down with an authoritative thud and continued his sexy stare. Everything inside her was getting warmer.
She was so glued to the beautiful stranger’s face, she didn’t notice they were sitting next to her cousin, Mark. He cleared his throat, and they both turned toward him. Maya felt embarrassed and knew what he was getting at. Akira raised his eyebrow at Mark and turned his attention back to Maya.
“Who’s that little twerp? Jealous ex-boyfriend?”
She couldn’t help but laugh. “He’s my cousin.”
“Hmph. What’s his problem?”
“Uhhh…just…he doesn’t know you.” She wasn’t ready to confront her boyfriend problem yet.
Mark was still near, eavesdropping, and snorted even louder.
“Ay man…you got a problem? Say somethin,” Akira dared.
She had never met a guy like him before and wondered why she never hung out in the city. He had swagger and an attitude she had only experienced from watching TV. This Akira was quickly growing on her despite the fact she knew nothing about him.
Akira snorted as he watched Mark walk away. “Lil punk. Need to mind his own business.”
“He’s harmless. Do you want another drink?”
“Sure. But, I’ll take this one to go.”
Her face fell harder than she wanted it to. “You’re leaving so soon?”
“I’m going over there.” He nodded in the direction of the plush bench in the corner. “These chairs aren’t good for our backs.”
He leaned in close to her face when he arose from the stool. She inhaled his woodsy cologne and thought about stealing a kiss. His lips were so plump and pouty; they begged to be kissed.
She felt tingly all over and her heart raced. He took one last look at her and smirked before he found his new seat.
Once the drinks were ready, she brought them over to him.
“So…was that your jealous ex?”
He snorted again. “Heh, I bet she wish she could be anything close to an ex.”
“Ohhh. Fan club manager then.”
“Ha! You got jokes.”
He finally cracked a smile. She didn’t think his face could get any more beautiful, but she had never been more wrong in all her young life.
“She’s one of my roommates.”
“So she knows things, hmmm?”
He sucked his teeth. “She don’t know nothin. I don’t wanna talk about her. I wanna talk about you. What’s up? You got a man?”
“Uhhh…” That was a complicated question. She had a boyfriend, and Anthony was exactly that for the moment: a boy who was her friend. He was not a man yet. Could she get away with saying no? It was worth a shot. “No?”
He raised his eyebrow.
The truth couldn’t hurt either. She didn’t even know this guy and had nothing to lose. But, she hoped it wouldn’t scare him away.
She sighed. “I have a boyfriend, but he’s still in school.”
“Pfffft.” He swatted at her. “He’s a baby. Forget him. I bet he don’t know what to do with you anyway.”
She wanted to take offense to his forwardness and disrespect for her relationship, but he was right and she couldn’t deny it. Anthony had been slow to recognize her feelings, and when they did get together, they still went at a snail’s pace. He was always nervous and afraid of getting caught; it frustrated her. Now she was in limbo. Perhaps this was a good time to test the waters and see what other fish were out there.
“Maybe,” she said.
He huffed and appeared like he was offended. “Here’s my number. Call me when you decide you want a real man.”
He walked away, and she enjoyed the view. She watched him leave, and when he left the building, she fell back into the seat and began fanning herself.
That night, she took dinner in her room. Jonathan was at the restaurant and Aubrey was out with friends. Skyla was winding down for the evening and joined her. She began yammering on about Juliette’s grandbaby. Well, Juliette’s step-granddaughter, but she claimed her as her first grandchild. Mark married a woman named Sarah who had children. He was so smitten by her and glad to find someone who also had aspirations to take down the government and expose its secrets. They were instant partners in crime. He didn’t blink an eye at the fact that she had one child and was pregnant with another. He wanted her, and if having an instant family and being a dad came with that package, he was ready to sign for it. He adopted her children, Sarai and Scarlett, so they could be part of the evil Pruett empire they wanted to build. None of that really mattered to Juliette. She had given up reasoning with her son a long time ago and accepted the fact that he would never have conventional views on anything. They lived with her still, and she was excited about having a baby in the house. Skyla told Maya this story with the same enthusiasm, but Maya’s mind was elsewhere.
“Are you listening to me?”
Skyla stifled a few giggles. “Where are you?”
“Huh? I-I’m ok.”
She didn’t hide the laughter anymore. “That’s not what I asked you. What’s going on? You’re so far away.”
“Maya… Don’t lie to me,” she said in that tone.
Maybe it wouldn’t be a big deal. She may as well tell her. “I, uhhh…” The tension that grew across her mother’s face made her nervous. “I…I met someone.”
Skyla breathed a sigh of relief. Maya wondered what she thought she was going to say.
“Oh. So…what about Anthony?”
“I don’t know yet. I only met him this afternoon.”
They sat in silence for a moment, each with their own thoughts.
“I can’t say I’m surprised,” Skyla said. “I mean, you’re in an odd position right now. I think it would be healthy for you to date men your own age, but I think you should let Anthony know.”
“But, mom…I don’t want to break his heart. Especially after I worked so hard to get him to like me!”
“So, wait for him.”
Maya groaned as she thought about Akira’s luscious lips. “But…”
“I know this is difficult, but you’re in a relationship with Anthony. He deserves a say in whether it can continue or not. Don’t let this new guy sabotage what you already have.”
“I know. Ugh. Why does this have to be so hard?” she whined.
Skyla snickered. “Welcome to adult life, pumpkin.”
“Thanks for not freaking out, mom.”
“Thanks for not giving me things to freak out over.”