Page 52 of The Dancer

I heard her footsteps behind me and closed the cupboard door before taking the cups in hand and moving to the coffee machine.

“I’m not sure how you take yours…” I held out the cup that I’d poured her. “Black.” I made a face at her choice. Black coffee no sugar has got to be one of the nastiest things I’ve ever tasted.

She gulped hers down almost as fast as I did mine before we headed for the door. She’d dressed in jeans and a pullover and shoved her feet in a pair of those ugly shoes all young girls seem to favor.

She looked cute as hell. Until she grabbed that ugly ass jacket and pulled it on. “Exactly where did you find that abomination?” I tugged at the too big collar teasingly.

She didn’t bother to answer but took the stairs down two at a time as if trying to evade me. I won’t put it past her to try making a run for it once we got outside, so I caught up and grabbed her hand. She hissed but kept her ass quiet. Probably didn’t want the neighbors to see her in a tussle.

Tony got out of the car when he saw us coming, and since Dapper Don was wearing the same clothes from the night before, I had my answer as to whether or not he’d slept here.

Once we were seated in the back I started to give him directions to Colombia, but she interrupted me. “Lincoln Center.” I looked at her puzzled, but she was ignoring me.

“I thought you had class?”

“I do, Monday to Thursday I attend Colombia, on Fridays I have classes at Juilliard. I’m not even going to ask how you know that I attend Colombia University. Stalker much?”

She had a point so I left it alone. My mind was still stuck on the two schools thing and I tried to figure that shit out in my head, but to no avail. Of course it’s her, why would it make any damn sense?

The two schools are so completely different and offers completely different curriculums. There was a story there I was sure. Knowing this nut it was going to be a whopper. Then it dawned on me, Juilliard.

“Is that where you dance?” It made sense now. The way she moves like she’d had years of training and the reason she thought she could dance on stage. All I got was a look of annoyance. I guess she’d used up her niceness quotient back at her place.

“You care to explain?”

“Not really.” Pain in the ass.

“Wait a minute, you have class everyday of the week, study group on Saturday, and you work fulltime?” How the fuck was she surviving?

“Dancing isn’t so much a class for me as it is a release.” She didn’t say any more and I figured that was all I was going to get out of her for now.

It was too much though, and something else I had to worry about. Classes everyday and a full time job. No wonder I’d zoned in on her. She was mom all over. Thank fuck I’m in a position to make her life easier.

I was feeling good about that until I remembered just who it is I’m dealing with. After all these years I still don’t know how to handle mom and it was a safe bet this one might be the same. Fuck me!

We pulled up to the school and she jumped out of the damn car before I could get my door open. “What time are you done?” I could only ask across the top of the car.

“Don’t worry about it, I’ll find my own way home.” She headed off before I could stop her. Damn girl!

“I thought I told you to go home.” I grumbled at Tony as soon as I got back in the car. Might as well since I couldn’t grumble at her.

“I don’t take orders from you. I’m more afraid of Aunt Sophie.”

“What’s she got to do with it?” He’s called my mother aunty since we were both kids, same as I did with his mom. It made for a lot of confusing looks when we were younger.

We used to love fucking with people with that shit, the little white boy calling the beautiful black

woman aunty and vice versa. Or when one or the other of the mothers lit into our ass in public for misbehaving. Good times.

“She warned me before she left, to take care of you. She’d have my ass if she knew I left you in a place like that.”

“We grew up in a place like that.” I looked back out the window but she was long gone. I missed her already. I must be a glutton for punishment.

“Exactly, so we both know how dangerous that shit is. Speaking of which, how long you plan on leaving her there?” he watched me in the rearview mirror.