Jonathan wasn’t quite sure what to do with the way Nicolette approached him, he thought he saw a smile on her face, but that couldn’t be; he had to be wishful thinking. Nicolette just watched Jonathan’s reaction to her being in his presence, but neither of them could find a way to speak.
“Ah, could I have a moment alone with Nicolette, please?” Jonathan finally said, and gave his boys a quick glance—they knew what to do. No one said a word, they all backed away from the two, as Jonathan stepped closer to Nicolette. He forgot her beauty for just a moment, and knew that everything he had replayed in his mind, since the store, was true about her.
Nicolette’s breathing picked up, she, honestly, looked like she was about to have a panic attack. Jonathan reached for her, but she didn’t move; he became increasingly concerned because her face went completely red and she started to sweat, but then he had to remind himself that they’re in the park, everyone was red and sweating—at least he wanted that to be true.
“Do you need to sit down?”
Nicolette nodded no.
“Ah, umm, some water, I could get…” and before Jonathan could finish his question Nicolette kissed him. For the first time ever in her life her bravado was quenched by a man she knew nothing about.
“Oh, shit,” DeWayne said hitting Robert in the arm.
“What the hell,” Robert said.
“I knew it,” Yelena said and held her husband’s hand.
“Who is that kissing like that…is that Nicolette…she needs to…” Cassandra said trying to head over where the two were kissing.
Senior held his wife back and said, “No Cass, she’s right where she’s supposed to be—that’s Jonathan,” Senior whispered to his wife who was in complete shock. “Be cool, my love!”
After what felt like an eternity, Nicolette broke off the kiss leaving Jonathan smiling at her knowing her lips would be like that. He knew when he saw her climbing the store shelves that there would be no other place he’d ever want to be.
“I’m sorry, I, ah, I don’t know what came over me. I’m supposed to be mad at you. I’m supposed to be telling you where to go fly a kite right about now. Please excuse me,” Nicolette said and began walking to her car. She was embarrassed that she so publicly kissed Jonathan, but she was happy that she kissed him; her goal, right now, was to be free of the 100 eyes staring at her—some in shock because they knew Nicolette wasn’t seeing anyone, while others were happy past elation.
Nicolette got to her car, and stopped once she realized that Jonathan was standing behind her; her emotions took over and she said, “When I saw you in the grocery store, just standing there, I didn’t know I could be both angry and turned on at someone quite the way I was with you. I, of course, know all about love at first sight, but that never happens to me. I’m not the one to have the great love affair, and here you are…wait, how are you here?” She said, turned around, wiped her tears, and looked at Jonathan.
“We should sit down,” Jonathan said and motions to a nearby bench; Nicolette moved towards the bench and sat down, her legs began shaking as Jonathan joined her. “To your first question, your brother, cousin, and I became friends at the gym. Second question…”
“I only asked you one question,” Nicolette said now staring at the grassy area surrounding them.
“Please let me finish…now to your second question, that day at the store, when I saw you, I’ve never seen a woman like you—I knew at that moment I had to know who you were. Few days later, I met the guys at the gym and I told them about you and then I remembered you were wearing a Nana’s t-shirt and next I knew the guys said you were you.”
“They knew and didn’t tell me about you, I mean I’ve been going on and on about you, the least they could’ve done was tell me.”
“That’s also my fault, all I remembered was how angry you were and if they told you about me without meeting you officially, I didn’t want to poison you any further than I already have. I needed to give you a different impression of me,” he said and stood up. “Hello, my name is Jonathan Samuels; I am a trauma surgeon at St. Vincent’s, and I love fried chicken especially the way your family prepares it. And I would like it if you would join me for lunch,” he finished saying and stretched his hand out for Nicolette.
“Hello,” she said standing up, taking his hand, “my name is Nicolette Anderson; I am a Marketing Director for Eli Lilly and for Nana’s restaurants, and I love fried chicken too…” she said holding Jonathan’s hand as he led her to tent with all the food.
They walked in silence as heads turned giving this family reunion a real thrill. The music was just loud enough to be heard, but not loud of enough that Nicolette could hear her mother’s thoughts.
“Is this really happening?” Cassandra said out loud, but no one was paying her attention because they all headed away from where they were standing. DeWayne and Robert went to the basketball courts, while Yelena went with the other ladies to play volleyball.
“Senior, where are you going?”
“To eat, I’m hungry; plus, I figured that you’d be hungry too and this way you can check on your daughter and her new, ah, friend.”
“Oh, yes, I do need to eat,” Cassandra said and took her husband’s hand. Once they got to the food tent, they grabbed plates and utensils and filled their plates with many wonderful delights. “Well, hello, Nicolette, and,” she said and batted her eyes at Jonathan.
“Oh, mom, this is Dr. Jonathan Samuels, the grocery guy…” Jonathan smiled at the way Nicolette said his name. After that, Nicolette didn’t say anything further; she did however start piling the food on her plate; she added fried chicken, mac n’ cheese, a few pieces of corn bread muffins, corn, and BBQ brisket.
“Are you hungry?” Jonathan said after looking at all the food on Nicolette’s plate; he followed her step for step, he was determined not to let out of her out of his sight until he at least got her contact information.
“I probably won’t eat all of this anyway, but it looks so good, soooo…” she said to Jonathan who couldn’t care less how much she ate, he cared that she wasn’t yelling at him. “Let’s sit here, in the shade, is that, ah, fine with you?”
“Yes, yes it is.”
“So, ah, I want to apologize again for kissing you like that.”
“Nicolette,” Jonathan said and as he tried to keep talking she cuts him off and says.
“Nikki, people I like, call me Nikki,” Jonathan blinked so much he scared himself. “Listen, I know this is unusual and I’m sure women don’t go off on you one moment to saying they like you the next.
“No that doesn’t happen to me, but I am glad that you’re not upset with me as much,” he quickly added because Nicolette gave him a look like don’t go too far here.
“I’m not as upset, true, but why did you just stand there?”
“I was in shock. I couldn’t believe you were real, and then when I saw you up close, I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to kiss you, make love with you, and marry you all in one breath—I’m very taken with you.”
“Even without knowing me?”
“Even without knowing you, but I’ve heard of you, and when I put two and two together, I realize you’re someone worth knowing.”
“Well, thank you, but you have me at a disadvantage, I…” Jonathan was going to add this speech about his good judge of character and all that, but then he saw Nikki’s parents and decided he be better off not saying anything further.
“Maybe we should leave them alone, Cass. I think this was a mistake.”
“No, no it’s fine…” she said and went to sit down. In her mind, she knew that the only way to get the answers she sought was to find out first hand. “Can we join you,” Cassandra said without giving either Jonathan or Nicolette a moment to respond before they sat down. Senior just looked at Jonathan and Cassandra said, “So, Jonathan tell me about you.”
“Cass, leave the man alone…let him eat,” Senior said and looked at Nicolette. “Pretty good food, huh, baby girl?”
Nicolette looked at her father like why say that, it’s the restaurants food why wouldn’t it be good, “Come on dad, you know it’s good, stop being silly.”
“Yeah, I needed something to say,” he added because the outdoor, open, space just got really closed off and tight. She looked at her father understanding why he said that, but Jonathan kept on eating. Not only did everyone become uncomfortable, but no matter how much Jonathan ate, he knew that Mrs. Anderson wasn’t going to let him off any hooks.
“Jonathan is it?”
“Do you normally make it a habit of kissing women you don’t know?”
“Mom, you’re way out of line…”
“Am I? He doesn’t know you from anywhere, except the grocery store, and I saw him kissing you, Nicolette.”
“You’re unbelievable…Jonathan, I’m very sorry. Here’s my card, let’s have dinner soon,” Nicolette said and got up ready to leave. “And for the record, mom, I kissed him—he only kissed me back because he likes me and you know what, I like him too. Dad, I’ll see you later. Jonathan call me,” she added and left.
“Sometimes Cass, less is truly more,” Senior said and got up with his plate. “Jonathan, nice to meet you, finally, don’t be a stranger.”
“Sir, yes, sir,” Jonathan said and kept eating; he waited for an apology from Mrs. Anderson, but he knew she wasn’t going to give it him. She was embarrassed about assuming that he kissed Nicolette rather than it being the other way around—he got Nicolette’s information and that was good enough for him. “Mrs. Anderson, thank you for the delicious meal, but I should get going; it’s a pleasure meeting you,” he said and left Cassandra holding her fork in the air wondering when she’s ever going to shut up long enough to get the story straight.
Jonathan cleaned up his area and headed where Robert was sitting, took a deep breath, and sat down; he looked at Robert and gave him a slight smile, but he didn’t say anything.
“So, you and Nikki, huh?” Robert said breaking the silence.
“I guess, I don’t know, yet, but I do know your mother doesn’t like me.”
“Yeah, she never likes anyone we’ve ever dated—it’s a miracle she loves Yelena!”
“It’s because Yelena is a wonderful person, you’re a lucky man.”
“Yes, I am!”
“Hello, sorry man; yes, this is Dr. Samuels, that’s correct Riverside Park—ok, thank you.”
“So you out?”
“Yeah, I’m on-call tonight, and I need to get some rest; it’s too bad your mom ticked off Nikki, I could’ve gotten a ride home.”
“Right, wayment,” Robert said and stood up, “She kissed you, and let you call her Nikki?”
“And admitted that she likes me to your mom!”
“That’s interesting, it may be true that she likes you, but that may also be to piss mom off even further because she’s confused about what is going on between you two.”
“Hell, she’s not the only one that’s confused,” he said and headed towards his car service. “I’ll see ya soon, Rob; tell D, I’ll call him later.”
Shaking his head to Jonathan’s request, Robert didn’t think any more about what was happening between Jonathan and his sister—he wasn’t confused by any of what was going on between Nikki and Jonathan especially the way they were kissing each other.