He said he didn’t believe in soulmates. The more she thought about it, the more sense it made. He didn’t appear to have had a soul. How could someone that found great pleasure in inflicting pain on others have a soul? Their first encounter together was all but animalistic. It was to be expected. Their exchange began online. The stage had been set. He’d gone through her pictures. In his eyes, she was perfect and it was easy to want her. Her smile, bright and inviting. Her eyes, warm and loving. Her body, an open canvas ready to be painted with everything he had to give. Everyone in the group sensed the chemistry between them. He’d say something along the lines of putting her in her place. And she’d fire right back at him with some smart remark. “I’ve never come across a man that could handle me.” His response was simply “just wait.” Some even commented “to be a fly on the wall when these two get together.” She’d just laugh as they typed away, back and forth.
It was easy to do… go back and forth with a complete stranger online. You could be whomever you wanted. No holds barred, so to speak. And Lela had created this online persona, trying to escape the frustrations of home. She enjoyed the vacillate dance with H.I.M. She loved the energy he exhibited. She felt his presence through the virtual exchange. He matched her every move. But little did she know, Damon was going to challenge her in more ways than she’d ever imagined. He would become her drug. Her cravings. Her habit that would be hard to kick.
Late one Friday evening, I received a text from an unknown number. “The St. Regis, Caroline Astor Suite, 1hr.” Five o’ clock on a Friday evening, going downtown was going to be a bitch! I had literally just walked in the house from work. I needed to shower. Fix my hair. Pull up the directions. While deep in my thoughts, another text came through. “Don’t worry, come as you are.” Jesus, this you? No sooner than the thought escaped my mind did another text come through. It was the devil’s emoji. What the hell, was he that deep in tuned with me that he could read my thoughts from afar.
I had no time, if I wanted to get through Atlanta’s traffic downtown and to The St. Regis, I needed to be out the door forty minutes ago. Bobbing and weaving through traffic, radio blasting to keep my nerves at bay, I couldn’t help but to wonder what was in store for the evening. One, I’d never stepped foot in any hotel in the Buckhead area. Two, I looked a whole hot ass mess, there was no way he was going to like what he saw when I walked through the doors. Oh shit! The doors. How was I supposed to blend in with the ‘boujee’ that walk through the doors of such a fine establishment every single day? You never know when a spare would be needed. And I wasn’t talking about a tire. I remembered the few pairs of heels I kept in my car at all times. Right along side an overnight bag “in case of an emergency.” But all I needed were the heels to complement the outfit I’d worn to work. Thankfully it was Casual Friday, so the skinny jeans I wore worked perfectly. All that thinking, I didn’t realize that I’d made it to my destination. Valet was pretty easy to get through, my car had already been registered. This guy thought of everything. I did a quick switcheroo of the shoes and grabbed my emergency bag. There was no need in looking like a hired hoochie. Besides, it had my toiletries. I was in need of a shower after working for eight hours.
Walking through the doors of the lobby, I felt like I’d stepped into Cinderella’s castle in search of my deviant Prince Charming. You could tell there was no shabby clientele stepping foot in the building. There was marble and glass everything, everywhere. The Swarovski Crystal chandelier looked like it cost more than I made in a year. Hell, maybe I was hired hoochie. If not, I definitely needed to be. A girl could get used to this. The smells of hope and dreams and good eating permeated the place. The bar was full of patrons enjoying the foolishness the weekend was about to bring. The well off and established definitely unwound a bit different than the rest of us regular working class. But you could tell by the drunken laughter that it was about to be lit. And class wouldn’t matter. By the end of the night, we would probably all look the same. Properly fucked. And if they were anything like me, they were all in dire need of an escape. After a week of arguing over the phone, there was nothing I needed more. Taking in the ambiance of the hotel, I forgot to be nervous until I started walking towards the desk to ask where the Caroline Astor Suite was. He must have seen me because right when the receptionist called next, a text came through. “Take the stairs to the right, 2nd floor, elevator is on the left, 25th level, 1st suite” Why couldn’t I just take the elevator on the 1st floor. Another text, “I want to see that ass sashay up the stairs.” My heart thumped with each step I took up. I was beginning to regret the smart remarks I’d made online. Now I was about to be face to face with a man that would probably lick the tears off my face if I cried in pain.
I knocked on the door, but no one answered. As I was turning around to leave, the most amazing looking woman I’d ever seen was walking towards me. In a matter of seconds, I’d taken in her natural beauty. Her ebony goddess locs with hints of red cascaded down her body. She had a smooth, creamy chocolate complexion with notes of gold. Her waist… Snatched as it was being hugged by a pair of ripped low rise skinny jeans. Perfectly shaped as proven by the beads she wore. But her eyes stood out the most. Forest green, almond shaped, and mysterious as if she held the secrets of everything waiting behind the door. She smiled, “You’ll need this.” Handing me the key card, she turned and walked away. Entering the room, I could smell patchouli candles burning. The deep musky, earthy aroma all but swallowed me whole. What ever anxiety I was feeling fled like lightening escaping the clouds on a dreary day. I could hear Massive Attack’s Angel playing in the background. The suite was even more extravagant than downstairs. The living room exhibited a blend of classic and contemporary decor. Textured walls showed natural tones of gold, bronze, crimson, and indigo. I walked towards the bedroom, noticing that the window spanned across the whole length of the room. The view was breathtaking. The bedroom even more so. Marble topped night stands positioned on the outside of a king-sized bed I could only hope to break in. I wasn’t sure what my next step was, so I walked into the bathroom to give myself a full tour. Even the bathroom was marble. With a television. Why people wanted a television in the bathroom was beyond me. Turning towards the mirror, I noticed a piece of paper taped to it. “Shower, shave, be sexy upon my return.”