Before she could answer him, a knock came to the door, interrupting them. Pari came into the room, “I’m sorry. Was I interrupting something?”
Tanner remembered they were in a mid embrace and she moved away from Devlin and faced her roommate, moving in front of him as if her small body could hide his massive frame.
Devlin put back on his cap and turned partially away to hide his own upset.
“If you’re going on the low down out of here, we need to get you a fix,” Pari said evasively to Tanner.
Checking the time on her watch, she hadn’t realized how much time had gone by. “Yeah, but do we have any stuff here we can use to straighten me out?”
“Of course. Nina always keeps it around. She told me she still uses it and does others,” Pari said as if Tanner should have known this. “The girl could make a lot of money if she got away from Donetello’s trifling ass.”
“Is Nina okay to help because we’d go twice as fast,” Tanner asked.
“Nina insisted. She’s mixing it up now as we speak.”
“Okay, I’ll be there in a minute,” Tanner promised.
Pari nodded and left.
Turning back to Devlin, she saw the confused expression on his face. “What?” she questioned.
“You are on drugs?” he asked appalled.
“I should be asking you that,” she teased, but his serious face demanded she answer his question. “No, I’m not on drugs, but these braids have to go.” She touched her head. “It’s late, but it’ll take two hours since my braids aren’t that thick and then I can take you out of here.”
Devlin sighed in relief. He knew of braiding very well and how African-American women many times had placed extensions in their hair to make it seem longer than what it really was. He would miss her hair being this long, but he felt he could get use to a short style as well. With her hair in braids at this time, he could not predict exactly how short it would be, but as long as she wasn’t bald headed he would still feel she was beautiful. “What about my offer?”
Tanner was speechless again because he was still pressuring her about this.
When she didn’t speak, Devlin gently held her chin after closing her mouth that had fallen open.
“Why don’t you do what you have to do and answer me when you’re done,” he suggested. “The worst you could say is no, right?” This was said with teasing that made his green eyes dance. “I will stay right here.”
Tanner nodded and left him alone closing the door after she had gone out the room. Taking a moment to father her thoughts, she leaned against the wall beside the door.
It was even crazy to even think about contemplating his offer.
‘You rocked his universe; he had said it himself. Obviously there’s something there for him.’
That was most likely the problem. Staying around him would increase the complexity of emotions already building for him and the last thing Tanner needed to do was fall in love. There would be nothing worse than giving up her dreams of what she wanted to do, by giving her heart to a man, who was even better than any Donetello in the world.
Yet, his soliloquy had been so honest and passionate. Something Tanner had not expected from a man like him. Was he really that honest? Or was this some type of mind game he was planning.
To test him, she opened the door abruptly. He faced her with a questioning look in his eyes.
“What did you mean when you said my body is luscious?”
“I meant that you are beautiful. Your curves, your color your character,” he said as if it was obvious.
She started to close the door fighting the urge to run to him and kiss him for that complimented and proving her wrong about him playing mind games. He was just too honest for words. ‘What rock did this guy crawl from under?’
“Wait,” he said.
It was her turn to have inquiry in her eyes.
“I need to ask you two questions, but I don’t want to offend you.”
“When did you have your last client before me?”
“Five years ago.”
“Are you really clean and healthy?”
They were valid questions and Tanner didn’t take offense to them. “My last check up was mandated by my internship two months ago. I passed all test with a healthy clean bill. Would you like references?”
The last question was filled with sarcasm, but he shook his head to let her know he trusted her.
She was about to leave again, before again he said, “Wait.”
“What’s your real name?”
Tanner frowned. The man was really insane. Should she point out that he had just asked her to marry him and did not know her entire name. “Tanner,” she answered.
“No, I mean your first name.”
“That is my first name.”
“What’s your last name?”
He frowned confused.
“It’s a long story. I don’t have a middle name and I don’t have time right now.”
He walked to the door and leaned down until his face was centimeters from hers. “Hopefully, once you accept my offer I can enjoy you telling me why you are named Tanner Tanner.”
She quickly closed the door on him trying to control her erratic breathing and she wanted to hide the flush enveloping her. ‘Do you know you were two seconds away from kissing him on the lips?!’ she reprimanded herself. ‘When had the sound of her name became so erotic or was that just the way it sounded?’
Tanner’s Devil 9.3 (c) 2006 Sylvia Hubbard