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One night in August when the bar exam was two weeks off, he invited Pam to meet his sister Imani Hardway-Lee and her husband Anthony for dinner at Bombay Royale. He suggested that he stop by her apartment first, intent to find out what went on inside. He rang her buzzer five minutes before he was due, but instead of asking him up, Pam told him through the intercom that she was on her way down, making a mystery of how her bedroom was decorated, whether the apartment was neat or sloppy, whether she had a cat. He watched her come down the stairs with strappy sandals and muscular, shapely legs. Leaning against the banister with one foot on a limestone step and the other on the sidewalk, Kofi knew hed lost all restraint and was about to become her bitch. You know what? she said once she pulled the outer door closed and looked down the steps at Kofi. I forgot to shave my legs. I took a bath with skin softener and everything. She frowned. Ive got at least a half inch of hair here . . . can we go back up? Ill be really fast. Imanis husband, Accountant Anthony as Kofi called him, was the most uptight black man he knew, and if that night was like the others, he would have a few choice words for them if they showed up at Bombay Royale more than five minutes late. But Kofi was weakened by Pams light coating of plum lipstick, her short blue-green tie-dyed dress and the unshaven hair on her calves. Plus, going upstairs and waiting while she shaved would get him inside. As they walked four flights up a winding staircase to her apartment, the want to touch her calf overtook him like the need to use the bathroom. She unlocked the apartment door, which opened onto a living room/kitchen with wall hangings, furniture and posters in hues of gypsy red. Across her crimson couch were pillows that looked Southeast Asian, some with tiny circular mirrors sewn in. In the kitchen he saw a clean porcelain sink, half a dozen walnut cabinets smudged with flour fingerprints, a green plastic garbage pail with a foot pedal and a bag folded over the edges, a microwave with the revolving plate. Pam sat down on the couch, her amused eyes watching him looking around. He sat beside her and asked: You want me to shave your legs for you? Kofi could gauge her hesitation by the way her jaws struggled to spread apart before she said yes. He rustled in the bathroom for razors and lotion and poked around her kitchen for an empty yogurt container he filled with warm water. Then he set everything on the coffee table and sank onto the couch beside her. She extended her hairy leg, taut yet buoyant with flesh, and he draped it onto his lap. Her shin rippled as he slid a finger from her knee to her sandal strings. He wanted to bend over and taste her skin, but instead he pumped lotion in his hand and spread it in swirls, reminded of when hed stepped on her foot at the Indian restaurant and seen her nipples harden. He wet the razor and shook it off, then dragged it down her calf, his lips parted in concentration. He was systematic about it, working in curving lines. There you go, Pam. He liked using her name in conversation. When he switched legs, her lips parted as she looked up at him.
Published: iUniverseBooks on
ISBN: 9781450201421
List price: $9.99
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