Shereen McKellar
Center City


3


Cherish




Lance walked over to the booth and placed a glass of Sprite and a straw in front of me. “Here’s your Sprite, Cherish.”

“Thanks.” I smiled at the drink Lance treated me to and slid the wrapper down the straw. Lance was so sweet.

Drew settled inside the booth next to Lance and offered his drink. “Hey Cherish, taste some of this Blue Moon. I think you will like it.”

I grimaced at the glass of beer that rested on the table in front of Drew. “I think not. Didn’t I tell you I don’t like beer?”

“How you’re gonna knock something you haven’t tried before?” Drew questioned me with a set of raised eyebrows. Just because Drew was into alcohol doesn't mean I have to be into it as well. I still don't see how him, Nick and Lance can come to work the next day with hangovers.

“Look, I haven’t tried Pre-Calculus and Trigonometry, but I know I don’t like them either.” I said before I rolled my eyes and finished my third buffalo wing. I've never liked Math ever since elementary school. It was bad enough I had to take a couple of semesters of Algebra in college.

It was Thursday evening and Peyton, Lance, my other fellow EKG programming partner Drew and myself were talking, laughing and getting our drink on inside a booth at The Public House. Well, they were getting their drink on. I was enjoying a plate of hot, delicious, buffalo wings. After I was playing tug of war inside my cranium I decided to hang out with the guys. Although I liked all my co-workers and thought they were good people hanging out with them for happy hour isn't my idea of fun. Is going to an amusement park my idea of fun? It sure is. Is playing video games and roller skating ideas of fun? You betcha. Is going to a concert another one? Heck to the yeah. But happy hour and drinks? Absoulutely not. Besides, I wanted to spend that time shopping for Farrah’s birthday gift and surprise birthday celebration. But, then I decided what the heck? I got the weekend to shop and one time doing happy hour wouldn’t hurt especially since Lance and Peyton been begging for me to go.

“Oh, come on, just taste a little bit of it.” Drew slid his drink towards me.

My lips curled into a frown as I looked at the glass of Blue Moon. After 3.5 seconds of hesitation I took my straw out of my Sprite and placed it into Drew’s Blue Moon. I took a sip of his drink and was surprised at the taste. It had a slightly sweet, orangey taste to it.

“This is okay!” I commented and moved the drink across the table to Drew before I moved it back to me. “Oh, wait a minute! Let me have a couple of more sips.”

Broad grins appeared onto the guys’ faces when I took a long sip.

“Oh, Cherish, I see you’re feelin’ it! Drew, you done turned Miss Goody Goody into Miss Lushy Lushy!” Peyton’s eyes shimmered when he looked at me taking another long sip of Blue Moon.

Drew’s voice dripped with sarcasm. “I said taste a little bit of it not drink the whole damn glass.”

Lance suggested with a grin on his face. "Do you want me to get you your own drink, Cherish?"

“Your own drink? I know I don’t see you drinking any beer, girl.” A deep voice said from behind me. I turned around and found myself gazing into Kevin’s face. His lips split into a taunting schoolboy smile. Kevin worked in the Data Coordination department on the eighth floor as a second-level Data Coordinator. I actually met him from him being real cool with Peyton. If it wasn’t for that I wouldn’t have known a Kevin existed. Outside of the CEO, some of the project managers and the ladies in the Human Resources department I wouldn’t know anyone else from that floor.

“You sure do see me drinking beer. You have a problem with that?” My tone challenged him as I watched him sliding next to me inside the booth. His woodsy smelling cologne hit me like fresh air. Kevin is the epitome of tall, dark and handsome. He has to be an even six foot with the prettiest dark chocolate skin I've ever seen. His skin put me in the mind of a Milky Way Midnight Dark bar-smooth and velvety. His dark hair was cut low and in waves and a trimmed goatee that framed his mouth. Usually, I’m not a fan of facial hair like goatees and beards. I prefer a clean shaven look on guys, but Kevin's goatee was very nice.

“Ooooh,” The guys harmonized.

“Yeah, I gotta problem with that.” Kevin countered, peering directly into my coffee brown eyes which caused my heart to flutter. “You’re not supposed to be drinking.”

“Why not?” I asked. “I’m grown and over the age of twenty-one.”

“And?” He draped his arm around me. He smells soooo good!

“And that means I can drink.” I took another sip of Drew’s Blue Moon before I stuck my tongue out at Kevin. “Now, what?”

Me and Kevin always messed with each other and besides Lance and Peyton he’s the only one I mess with like that on the job.

“Hey, what’s up, Kevin, man!” Peyton greeted after he took a sip of his watermelon jolly rancher.

“What up, PB!” Kevin called him by his first and last initial which stood for Peyton Browning as they did the man hug.

“What up, Drew! Lance!” He shook their hands.

We drank, laughed and talked about the goings on at the job. I even shared a couple of my buffalo wings with Kevin and teased Peyton about flirting with Simone. In typical Peyton fashion he's passing it off like he's being nice, but I don't care what he says. Something is going to happen with those two. We were having a good time cutting up and laughing in the booth until Lance, Peyton and Drew decided to join our supervisor Nick and some other people from ERT at the bar which left me and Kevin by ourselves. Before I could speak a sentence to Kevin my T-Mobile cell phone rang. I reached into my tan bag and saw my sister’s name written in diminutive white letters across the front of my phone.

I answered the phone on the third ring. “Yes, Farrah.”

Farrah replied. “It’s about time you answered your phone, girl. How come you don’t have your phone on?” Listen to her starting already.

“I don’t have my phone on cause I’m on the job.” Farrah knows the deal on these jobs. She knows how these jobs nowadays don’t like when employees take personal calls unless it’s on their breaks. As a matter of fact, I remember I called her on the job one time and she was quick to tell me she couldn’t take calls while on the job.

“Well, I call my friend Terry on her job and she always answers and be like, “Let me call you back cause I’m on a call.”

I wanted to say, “Well, that’s Terry, but that’s not me, but instead I replied. “Yeah, well I don’t know about Terry’s job, but we get reprimanded if we have our cell phones on.”

“Oh, where are you at, anyway?” Farrah asked with her nosey self.

“I’m hanging out with a few guys from work. Remember, I told you I didn't know I was going to be hanging out? Well, I decided to go after all so I’ll call you when I get home.”

“Oh, I see how it is. Now, you with your friends from work you gonna kick me to the curb. I’m writing this down.”

“Well, go ahead and write that down. I’ll call you when I get home. Bye.”

“Bye.” Farrah said with attitude before I heard a click on the other line. I just shrugged my shoulders and closed my cell phone. That's on Farrah if she thinks I'm always supposed to be available for her. It's not like we don't talk a few times out the week. I don't get an attitude when she has to hang up.

“That’s your boyfriend?” Kevin inquired after I placed my cell phone inside my bag. Now, he was getting in my business.

“My boyfriend?” I answered like I was a bougie chick. “How about my husband?”

He looked stunned. “You're married?. I thought you were single.”

“No, I’m married with two kids. My husband is actually an actor. I don’t know if you’ve heard of him, but his name is Channing Tatum.” I fell in love in with Channing Tatum ever since I've seen "Step It Up." And I must have seen "Magic Mike" a dozens of times. It's something about a hot, ripped guy that can move that does something to me. I must've had to use half a roll of Charmin because my va jay jay would be soaked.

“Oh girl, you crazy,” He grinned and shook his head while I fell out laughing. Dang, I crack myself up.

“But, I was about to say talkin’ about you have two kids.” Kevin took a sip of his Coke.

I lifted a plucked eyebrow at him. "What were you about to say?” I know he wasn't insinuating that there wasn't no way I could have kids like I wasn't good enough to be someone's mother.

“Because I didn’t think you had any kids.”

“So I’m not good enough to be somebody’s baby momma, Kevin?” I asked after I finished the rest of my Sprite.

He gazed directly into my eyes again and put his hand on top of mine which sent a chill down my spine. Kevin musn't do that. “No, Cherish, you’re good enough to be somebody’s wife and mother of their children.”

I really liked that response. I could feel myself blushing and laid my head briefly on Kevin's shoulder. “Aww, thanks, Kevin.”

Suddenly my favorite song “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke with Pharrell and T.I. blared throughout the place.

“Oh yeah, this is my jam!” I started dancing inside the booth. “Hey, hey, hey!”

“Awww, shucks, now!” He grinned from cheek to cheek. “Look at you! I didn’t even think you had some pep in your step.”

“Are you serious? I got more than some pep in my step." I get semi-offended when people think I didn't have any rhythm. I guess because I have an innocent, wholesome, girl next door look to me people assumed I couldn't dance. I remember how shocked Peyton looked when I served him with some dance moves several months ago. "Cherish, I didn't think you could dance." He told me. That's why you can't judge a book by its' cover. You have to read the chapters. "If anything, it looks like YOU can't dance." I decided to mess with Kevin and pointed my index finger at him. "Because you look like a pretty boy and pretty boys rarely can dance."

"Oh, I can dance now. I mean, I’m no Chris Brown, but I can move a little somethin’.” He started dancing in the booth which made me giggle. Kevin was hilarious!

“So do you like music? Cause usually people who like to dance enjoy music.”

“Like music? I looooove music! Every year I have to go to at least one concert.” I held up my left index finger.

"Really? Concerts are my thing too although the last concert I've been too was Jay-Z about two years ago so me blasting music in my crib is like having a private concert."

"See, that's too long for me. I think I would have to be in rehab if I didn't go to a concert within two years." Kevin laughed.

For the next several minutes me and Kevin talked about the different concerts we’ve attended and our concert experiences. I had no idea he was into music like that or concerts, but then again I didn’t know that much about him except that he was very handsome, polite and kept himself together like today he had on a short-sleeved purple and black striped v-neck shirt that revealed his dark chocolate-covered biceps, crisp grayish black jeans and a purple cap turned to the side. Him and Lance are the only ones I have yet to see look a hot mess.

“Why don’t you give me your number?” suggested Kevin. “Maybe we can go to a concert together.”

“That's fine with me just as long as can I get yours.” I pulled out my black Bic crystal pen and mini-sized tablet from my bag. If me and Kevin did attend a concert together that would be really nice. Although I had no problem going to concerts by myself, sometimes I wished I had someone to go with. And it definitely didn’t hurt with Kevin being a beautiful man. But, I wasn't going to get my hopes up that I had a concert buddy because there's been a few times where someone suggested that we could attend a concert together, but when the time came to go there was always some lame excuse like, "My body is tired!," "I don't have the money," or "It's too cold outside." That's why unless Farrah goes with me I usually attend concerts solo.

“All right.” Kevin said when I wrote my name and cell number down on a piece of paper.

After we exchanged cell phone numbers I noticed the time in tiny, blue letters. It read 6:45 pm. Oh crap! I have to get out of here. I’m not trying to be walking home in the dark. And I live in wooded area where someone can jump out the bushes on me too.

“Let me get out of here.” I slung my bag over my shoulder and slid out the booth.

He slid his frame out the booth. “Yeah, let me get out of here as well.”

Kevin and I approached the bar where Peyton, Lance and Drew were still drinking and carrying on at the bar. "All right, guys, I'm gonna head on out of here." I announced.

"You're leaving?" asked Lance. I bobbed my head up and down.

"Well, have a good one." Lance told me when we bumped fists.

"I'm gonna bounce out of here, too." Kevin told them.

"See y'all at work tomorrow." Peyton said to us before he brought his glass to his lips.

After we said our goodbyes we headed towards the revolving doors to leave. I looked over my shoulder one more time and caught Lance’s eyes following me and Kevin. And maybe the few sips of Blue Moon had my eyes playing tricks on me, but I could’ve sworn I saw Lance's mouth clashed to the floor. A baffled look crossed my face when I stepped onto the sidewalk outside the Public House. What was that look about?

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