Money is the Motto: "Do I Make You Nervous?"
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Portions of copyrighted content
I felt like I needed a do over. I have a lot of regrets in my writing career and I’m not ashamed to admit that. They nearly put me out of commission, but I refuse to allow them to handicap me. I won’t call this my comeback, but I will claim it to be my rebirth. I’m giving myself permission to begin, again. If you’re on this road with me, buckle up. It’s going to be a hell of a ride.
This book doesn’t need an explanation. All that you don’t receive through samples and such, you will receive when you open the book. No release date has been given. But, this book will be available this Summer.
“O, this is my girl, Malaya. Malaya, O.” Lala introduced the two.
“Anything I can get you two? A flute of champagne? A bottle of bubbly? Something brown? Something…”
“Directions to the ladies’ room will be fine for now, then I’ll have a bottle of something bubbly.”
Malaya’s lips curved on either side, forming a genuine smile. Her nerves were getting the best of her and she was wondering if she’d charged her extrovert batteries long enough to pretend that her introvert characteristics didn’t exist. She watched as O began demonstrating the path she must take with his hands. By the time he was done, she’d remembered every turn but the last. Figuring she could find her way from the point she’d tuned him out, Malaya clutched her bag under her arm and turned to Lala, who was demanding her attention.
“Come on, I need to…”
“I’m fine, Lala. I need a minute or two. That’s it.”
Malaya knew the rules. They traveled as a duo. Bathroom runs were made together. However, there didn’t seem to be an immediate threat in Malaya’s opinion and the fact that she wanted complete silence as she got herself together caused her to feel the need to make the run alone. Though Lala wasn’t feeling the idea, she allowed her friend to have her way.
“Alright, well… meet me back here when you finish up in there.”
“I will.” Malaya responded as she twirled on her heels to head in the direction she’d been advised of.
A full minute had passed and Malaya didn’t seem any closer to her destination. The directions she’d been given seemed to have gotten jumbled and she found herself venturing away from the loud music and faint chatter amongst the party-goers. They’d come just an hour before the party was set to end and there was still a house full of people. Yet, the path that Malaya had journeyed on didn’t showcase a single shadow or human scent.
This can’t be the right way.
Two minutes later and she still hadn’t come upon the guest bath that she’d been told about. However, she wasn’t exactly upset about the fact, either. The silence was welcoming. Being alone was her favorite and there wasn’t any place in the world she’d rather be than enjoying herself.
The inspiration spread throughout the mansion in the form of art, statues, high ceilings and marbled-flooring was enough to help her forget the place she’d began searching for in the beginning. Every piece of the place seemed to fit perfectly like a well thought-out puzzle. There wasn’t a single particle of dust anywhere in sight. She’d checked several surfaces to be sure. That fact alone calmed her. Cleanliness was next to Godliness and Malaya had lived by the rules her adoptive mother, Annalise, had taught her.
Instantly, Malaya’s head rose and fingers fell from the gold vase that she’d been admiring for the last few seconds. So wrapped up in her own thoughts, she hadn’t heard anyone approach. But, at the sound of the octave, she had no choice other than to acknowledge the potent presence that had joined her in the large breezeway of the home that she had no business snooping around. Immediately, her hands clamped together behind her back and the lump of air that formed in her throat was forced down into her stomach where the rest of the contents were threatening to spill. Malaya’s nerves were her worst enemies.
Silence provoked the long, thick stranger that was stationed at the far end of the walkway. With each emerging second, he etched away at the distance that separated the two. Long before he reached Malaya – physically – he’d captured her mental space, filling it to capacity and allowing the overflow to began imprisoning what was available of her emotionally.
Mother of God. Malaya thought as she felt the strings around her heart constricting the bloody red vessel. Unintentionally, she brought her right hand up to her chest as if it would reduce the physical pain that she felt, but there was no use.
The intensity of his stare had captivated her dark eyes, keeping her locked in on his chestnut rounds. Seconds felt like minutes as he dragged his feet across the floor, in no rush to get where he was going as if he knew she’d still be waiting for his arrival when he finally made it. And, he was right. By the time he was close enough to Malaya for her to recognize the Bond cologne that he wore on his skin, her limbs failed her. Incoherent and immobile, she was paralyzed in place. The only working pieces on her entire body were her eyes. Still, they were glued to his. The thought of removing them was much too difficult, so she kept them there.
“You lost?” His words awakened her limps, filled her lungs with the oxygen she’d been deprived of and watered her drying mouth.
Swallowing saliva instead of air – this time – Malaya nodded in response, voice deciding to show up a bit late to the party. Follow the leader seemed to be the game that was played, because the second his eyes dropped, so did hers. They hadn’t gone very far, though, marveling over the long, never-ending scar that ran the length of his face, starting from his bald head.
Somewhere in the hair of his beard, it became lost and never reappeared. Malaya searched his neck area, but it was free of evidence of the pain he must’ve suffered from such a serious injury. Grinding her teeth together, Malaya winced at the tingling sensation that she felt along her own face, where his had been decorated with a war wound.
“It’s impolite to stare,” he whispered, leaning closer to her face and causing a disturbance in her body.
“So… Sorry,” Malaya was proud that her voice had returned, but shameful of the blatant glaring she had done.
“Huh?” Her face was mounded with confusion.
“You looking for the guest bath?” He clarified, crossing one hand over the other and holding them both in front of him.
“Y… Yeah. I –uh. I lost my way.”
“And, you don’t seem like you’re in a hurry to find it, either.”
He’d called her bluff. Instead of responding, verbally, Malaya’s cheeks burned and face reddened. She was crimson when she felt her lips curving to form a sly smile. She expected some level of leniency to be granted and a smile to be returned, but she received nothing of the sort. She was met with an even more serious stance and the rising of a single brow as if she had more explaining to do.
“I –I should get going. Maybe I’ll just find my way to the bathroom. I. I think I –uh remember where… Yeah, I’ll just find my way,” Nervously, Malaya began to step backward while stammering over her words, placing distance between she and the stranger she’d grown compassion for in a matter of seconds who could reciprocate the feeling.
“Or, you could just ask.” He stood still, watching as Malaya backed into the gold globe that was behind her.
“Shi- I mean, shoot.”
“Do I make you nervous?” He questioned, catching Malaya off guard just as the globe had. Before she could bend to pick it up, he was upon her.
“What?” Shot from her mouth, immediately.
Removing the globe from the floor as they both came up together, he stated with confidence, “It seems as if I make you nervous.” Even-toned and smooth as a baby’s skin, he revealed.
“I don’t even know you,” Malaya reasoned as she watched him replace the globe.
“All the more reason to be nervous.”
“The guest bath. Can you tell me where it is from here?” She deflected.