I smiled at her but shook my head. “Can’t,” I told her. “Something’s up with my faucet, the office hasn’t returned my calls and I really need Derek to look at it. Is he around?”
I sensed movement at my side and LaTanya did too. We both looked that way to see Detective Mitch Lawson walking up the stairs carrying four plastic grocery bags.
If I was a Seven to Ten and in his zone which could mean in his life, I would lecture him about plastic grocery bags. Considering the state of the environment, no one should use plastic grocery bags, not even hot guys who could get away with practically anything. Since I was not and I didn’t know him and couldn’t know him for fear of expiring from pleasure should he, say, speak more than a few words to me, I’d never get the chance to lecture him about plastic grocery bags.
“Yo Mitch!” LaTanya greeted him loudly with Delight.
“Hey LaTanya,” Mitch greeted back then his beautiful eyes skimmed to me and his lips tipped up further, “Hey.”
“Hey,” I replied, locked my legs, ignored the whoosh I felt in my belly and looked back at LaTanya. She was checking out Detective Mitch Lawson as any woman should or she would be immediately reported to then thrown out of the Woman Club. I heard the rustling of bags but I ignored it and called her name to get her attention. When I got it, I repeated, “Is Derek around? I wouldn’t bother him but my faucet won’t turn off and I really need someone to look at it.”
“He’s not here, Mara, sorry, babe,” LaTanya replied. “You say the office hasn’t called you back?”
“No,” I told her and was about to ask her if she would send Derek over when he got home when I heard from my side:
“You want me to look at it?”
This came from Detective Mitch Lawson and I sucked in breath and twisted my neck so only my head was facing him. He was standing outside his open apartment door still carrying his bags and his eyes were on me.
My mind went blank. I lost the lock on my legs and my knees wobbled.
God, he was beautiful.
“Mara,” I heard from far away and even though I heard it and it was my name, I didn’t respond. “Mara!” I heard again. This time louder and sharper, my body jolted and I turned to LaTanya.
“What?” I asked.
“Mitch’ll look at it, that cool with you?” she asked me.
I blinked at her.
No. No it was not cool with me.
What did I do?
I couldn’t have him in my apartment walking through my bedroom to look at my faucet. That would mean he’d be in my apartment. That would mean he’d walk through my bedroom. And that would mean I’d have to speak more than one word to him.
I looked to Detective Mitch Lawson and said the only thing I could say.
“That would be really kind.”
He stared at me a second then lifted the bags an inch and muttered, “Let me get rid of these and I’ll be over.”
I swallowed then called, “Okay,” to his closing door.
I watched his door close and then I kept watching his closed door wondering if the weird feeling I was having was just panic or a precursor to a heart attack. Then LaTanya called my name again so I looked at her.
“You okay?” she asked, studying me closely.
I had not, incidentally, shared my love for Detective Mitch Lawson with LaTanya, Derek, Brent, Bradon or anyone. This was because I thought they’d think I was a little insane (or a stalker). They often invited him to parties and such and if he came, I would usually make my excuses and leave. They’d never cottoned on. I figured mostly because he didn’t often attend their parties due to his being a police officer with long hours but also because he had his buds over for games and his babes over for other things. He wasn’t the type of man who went to gay men’s parties or LaTanya’s cocktail extravaganzas. The ones he went to I suspected he did just to be neighborly. Though Derek, more often than not, went to his place to watch games. Usually in order to escape LaTanya’s cocktail extravaganzas which were frequent occasions.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” I lied to her. “Just had a tough day at work,” I continued lying. “And I’m not happy the Management Office didn’t call me back. They don’t pay my water bill.” I wasn’t lying about that.
“I hear you,” LaTanya agreed. “Service around here has taken a turn for the worse even though they upped our rent three months ago. You remember our fridge went out last month?”
I remembered. I also remembered it took three weeks to get it replaced. Derek had been none-too-happy and LaTanya had been loudly none-too-happy.
“Yeah, I remember. That sucked.”