African American Romance Black

“Keep drooling like that and the levees gon break”


“I see you seeing sitting over there seeing what you seeing.”

“Shut up Kendra.” I laughed. “Ain’t he fine?”

“Girl that man is delicious, but according to the street committee he’s got his hooks in Robyn. Or Robyn’s got her hooks in him.” Kendra shrugged.

“Robyn who?”

“HR on the third floor, first office to the left, Robyn.”


“Yeah girl. They be trying to keep things professional down at the office but me and Leroy saw them all hugged up, lovey dovey, and whatnot down at the in Saks day before yesterday.”

“Tuh. It’s just as well. She’s more his type anyway. Besides, ain’t nobody checking for me.”

“All the more reason to like you.”

“What does that mean, Kendra?”

“Ivy, you’re beautiful, professional, and extremely well kept. People don’t always like you because of the way you carry yourself. Hell, when I first met you, I was intimidated. But then, I got to know you and realized that you weren’t the snooty wench everybody pegged you to be. You came in here, held your own, and gave every one of us the respect that you wanted in return. That’s why you’re Ms. Head of Accounting.” Kendra laughed. Now Miss Thang Robyn? She’s a horse of a different color. She’s what I call sophista-ratchet.”


“Ratchet. She can code switch with the best of them, answering the phone like she’s working for a 900 number. How do you think she got her job? She’s a corner rat who got lucky enough to snag somebody’s rich son, he put her onto some corporate game, then she slithered her butt right on up in here. But you, you’re naturally everything she pretends to be. Brains and beauty always win Ma. You can only go so far on store bought, lace front wig wearing beauty.”

“I hear you, Kendra. I don’t buy it, but I hear you.”

“Just keep doing you. You’re good at that. He will notice you in due time, that is, if you want to be noticed.” Kendra giggled.

“Get out!”

* * * * *

“Beautiful morning Ivy.”

I froze. Was he talking to me? I placed my coffee mug on the breakroom table and turned around. “Oh, Good Morning Mr. Decuir.”

“No need to be so formal, call me August.”

“Ok, Mr. August.”

“Just August.” He smiled and I could see myself in his pearly white reflection.


“So how long have you been working here?” He poured himself a cup of the Community Coffee Dark Roast and began to sip without adding a drop of cream or sugar.

        “'l’ll have been with Hawthorne and Bourgeois for ten years on the sixth of June.”


" Yes really.” I said coyly "And you?"

"About the same. I transferred here from..."

"The Shreveport Office."

"Oh, so we've done our homework I see?”

"If you call reading the interoffice memo doing your homework. You know the one that's sent out to notify employees about the irrelevance of this or that. I usually trash them as soon as they invade my screen, but the latest edition lead with your photo, credentials, and something about you being the Chief Financial Officer so, it kind of sort of piqued my interest. I mean, who wouldn’t want to know more about their new boss.”

"I see." He could have been sold for a penny.

“Well, I've only been in Baton Rouge a few weeks..." Long enough for Robyn to get her talons on you. “...and I'd like to get a feel for the city. You know, see what the locals do. Any recommendations?”

"I could show you... uh, yeah, there's a few places I can recommend."

"Great. Can I meet you in the cafeteria for lunch to discuss?"

If I’m seen in the cafeteria with him, the gossip about us will make it to heaven before I do.

"Um, yeah I guess."

" You guess?"

"Don't mind me. Sure. Yes, is 12:15 ok?"

"12:15 is perfect."

* * * * *

What was I thinking agreeing to meet him down here on Fried Fish Friday? I rushed over to the salad bar to pick up the Sensation Salad I preordered, grabbed a bottle of Fiji and chose the cleanest table I could find. I opened the salad and did my usual assessment before adding the extra dressing I always order then closed the lid for a good shake to evenly distribute. I hated a dry salad.

“Is this seat taken.” August approached with a fried fish plate.

“Not at all. Please. Sit.”

“No fish?”

“I don’t eat seafood.”

“How can anyone be from Louisiana and not eat seafood.”

“There’s always an exception to the rule.”


“So, I took the liberty of jotting down a few places here you might be interested in.” I took the folded list from my pocket and handed it to him.”

“I’ve got fish grease on my hands.”

“Oh. Well, um . . .”

“Relax love. I’ll have plenty of time to look at the list when I’m done. In the meantime, tell me a little about you.”

“I mean, what is there to know? I’ve been working here for almost . . .”

“I know your work history.  I knew that before I had the opportunity to formally meet you.”

I flatlined. “How?”

“I mean every boss wants to know about his team. Your credentials are quite impressive Ms. Hill. But like I said, tell me about you. Tell me about Ivy.”

“No one has ever asked me that before. Um. . .” I cleared my throat. “Well, um, let’s see. I’m forty. I love music.  I love to read. I have a completed novel; I write poetry and I someday I hope to publish my book and a collection of poetry.”

“I’m impressed.”

“What’s so impressive? I am as basic as they come. You know, a simple girl who’s not hard to please.”

“Um humm.” August smiled. “So, who’s your favorite artist and what do you write about?”

“Anita Baker hands down. And when I write its mostly about love and heartbreak.”

“Who hurt you?” August got defensive.

“Let’s just say the art of matrimony ain’t what it’s cracked up to be. You live, you love, you get your heart broke, then somehow you manage to pick up what’s left of the pieces and even tally move on.”


“So anyway, do you want this list or not? I have a meeting in fifteen minutes.”

“What’s first on your list, Ivy?”

“This local spot I love called The Showroom. Every First Friday a friend of mine plays there with his band from about nine until midnight. It’s a throwback old school kinda party vibe for sure. I go every chance I get.”

“Are you going there tonight?”

“I don’t really have anyone to go with tonight. All my girls are . .”

“Meet me there.”


“Do I need to sign it for you?”

“You got jokes huh.”

“Nah. But I’ve got a beautiful lady to hang out with tonight if she’ll agree to meet me there.”

I felt tingly in places that had been dormant for years. “Ok, August. I’ll meet you there, but this is not a date.”

“Who said anything about a date Ivy? I’m just trying to catch a vibe.”


* * * * *

The band was indeed a vibe. I could hear them performing Frankie Beverly and Maze’s “We the One” from the parking lot. I found parking for the Audi then sent August a text to let him know I had arrived. Within seconds he confirmed that he’d arrived too and asked where I’d parked so he could escort me inside.

" You look amazing."

I was wearing a white tank top with a pair of distressed blue jeans, gold accessories, and tan Michael Kors stilettoes.

"I am as basic as they come.” I blushed.

“Well basic is beautiful."

"Thanks.” I blushed.

We approached the door, I requested my VIP passes, got our wrist bands, and headed to our table.

"August?" A voice came out of nowhere.

"What the hell are you doing here?" If he could have died with a heart attack right then and there he would have.

"Robyn. Hey. Um, this is..."

"Ivy." I cut him off. "Umm humm." Robyn looked me up and down.

"Ok, well I was good seeing you, Robyn. We’ll catch up soon.

We made it to our table, ordered some wings, fries and a picture of Rum Punch. The band started to play the intro for Anita Baker’s Rapture, and I started to sway. 

“So, what was that about?" I was feeling myself, my body in tune

with the beat.

"What was what about?" August feigned innocence.

"Look August. I don't have time and will not tolerate any funny business. You and Robyn obviously know one another because she specifically asked you what you were doing here. Are you two seeing each other? And before you fix your mouth to lie to me the street committee has already spotted the two of you down at the Saks, “Mr. I don't know the city,” so choose your lies wisely. And keep in mind before you open your mouth that you don't owe me anything beyond the truth. If you're seeing her, cool. Just tell me and we can end this right here and now.

" You need some water?"


" You never came up for air. Are you good?” August tried not to laugh.

“I knew this was a mistake. I’m leaving.”

"Ivy, wait. Where are you going?”

"Good night, August." I was pissed.

“Ok. Ok. I know her. She and I hung out a few times when I first arrived here, and she did invite me to accompany her shopping the other day but I'm not feeling her."

"Have you told her?" I sat back down.

“I plan to, but I don't want to hurt her feelings.”

"You're not very smart, are you?”

"Excuse me?”

“Why would you even consider going out with her in the first place knowing her position in the company? Why would you consider going out with me when I’m your employee?”

“You agreed.”

I did agree. “So.”

“So, it’s obvious that you’re attracted to me.”

He’s a cocky sapsucker. “I’ll be honest, I am. But, no worries, I’m not looking for anything more than friendship. I’ve been down the relationship road before and it’s not a road I’m looking to travel again anytime soon. Now is not the right time anyway. All I want to do is focus on my writing career so I can eventually get published.”

“Bad break up or divorce?”

“Divorce.” I threw up my hands with praise.

“How long?”

“Five years.”



“Wanna dance?” I needed to change the subject. When parts of you die there is reason to go digging them up.

“I don’t dance but I am feeling this music.” 

The band switched to what they called “The B Side” and started to sing Keith Sweats Right and Wrong Way.

“Oh ok.” I got up and started my own sultry slow grind. I could feel him undressing me with his eyes. I wanted him and he didn’t even know.

“Hey.” August dabbed at the drool seeping from his lips.

“Sup.” I continued to grind.

“Wanna go back to my place?”

“It’s almost midnight and I need to get home.”

“Ok. Can I follow you to make sure you get there safe?”

“I could just text you when I get there.”

“Yeah, but its late and I wouldn’t’ be a gentleman if I didn’t make sure.”

“Ok. I only live a few streets over. You can follow me to the corner of Plank and Clark, and I can make it from there.

“Ok. Cool.”

I watched him watching me in my rearview mirror. We were passing Poydras street, and my street was the next. When we approached the stop sign, I texted and said he could go on but as I made the right he followed. Where the hell is he going? Since I lived in the first set of condominiums on Poydras, so I pulled into my parking spot, put the Audi in park, and sat there. He pulled in behind me and got out.


“Didn’t I tell you I had it from here?”

“Yes, you did. But I’m a gentleman and a gentleman will always see a lady to her door.”

“Cut the crap August. You were hoping to get tonight.”

“Can’t blame a guy for trying.”

Touche. “Come on in.”

August Decuir had me crushing on him like I was sixteen. Sixteen, a helluva long way from forty and my Stella-go-lucky behind, all goo goo eyed, drooling, and swooning over him, was in pure lust. I’d barely gotten the key into the door before he was all over me. He kissed me hungrily and I hungrily retuned his purely unadulterated passion. I had formally known this man for sixteen hours and on the seventeenth, he was in my bed. I should have been ashamed, but I wasn’t. I hadn’t been touched by a man in five years and I intended to catch the groove that I my ex-husband murdered and buried long before the divorce. I needed to make up for lost time. And for the next few hours, August and I crushed our groove until we passed out.

* * * * *

        “Great morning, Ivy.”

        “Great morning indeed.” I gave him the side eye. Why was he still here? “What is that I smell?”


        “I’m impressed.”


        “No one has ever made breakfast for me before, especially beignets.”

        “Well, I hope you like them. I also have some fresh strawberries for you and a virgin mimosa.”

        “You mean orange juice.”

        He laughed. “I didn’t know what kind or even if you liked champagne. Besides, where was I going to find it this time of morning.”

        “Ok. Ok.” I conceded and started shoveling the beignets in. August sat in a preoccupied stupor.”

        “Penny for your thoughts?”

        “Huh. Oh um, I was just thinking about the wonderful time you and I had last night and was wondering when we can do it again.”

        I stuffed a whole beignet in my mouth. “August, I really had a nice time with you but like I told you last night, I’m not looking for anything serious. Plus, we work together. How would that look?”

        “Why would I care?”

        “Precisely. You don’t but I do. And let’s not forget you’ve been dating Robyn. I know you said you’re not serious about her but how does it make me look when my boss is dating me and another one of my colleagues? I think it best for us to maintain a friendly professional relationship. We can still hang out occasionally and maybe do a few other things but that’s the best I can offer you for now. Maybe in a few years when I’ve become grounded in my newfound independence things will change.”

        “A few years? I could be dead by then?”

        “You could also be somebody’s CEO.”

        “But what about last night? I felt something with you. Something that I haven’t felt in a long while. It felt good Ivy. It felt pure and genuine and well, it just felt right.”

        I knew it was a bad idea to sleep with him. Now he’s gonna be like a roach infested apartment in the projects, always crawling around.

        “August. Please let’s not make this any harder than it has to be. I really just need to be friends right now. Can we agree on that?”

        “I guess I have no choice.” I broke his heart. “Let me just say this and I’ll be on my way.”

        “What’s that love?”

        “Your ex-husband is a fool. He was a stupid fool to have broken your heart. And now you’re too guarded to let anyone else get close.

        “What makes you think we were close at all? Honestly, he and I were two ships passing in the night. We were young dumb and at sixteen, thought we in love. Now did he have just cause to cheat? No. But we did grow apart, and I think we had grown apart long before he cheated. He was just too selfish to let me go.”

        “I wouldn’t have let you go either?”

        “And that my love is the reason why we can’t be together.”

July 16, 2022 03:24

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Etya Krichmar
17:09 Jul 22, 2022

Mahogany, I loved this story. So well-written, especially the dialog. You have a talent for expressing it so well. I have two suggestions for you in the last paragraphs. “What makes you think we were close at all? Honestly, he and I were two ships passing in the night. We were young dumb and at sixteen, thought we (were) in love. Now(,) did he have just cause to cheat? No. But we did grow apart, and I think we had grown apart long before he cheated. He was just too selfish to let me go.” “I wouldn’t have let you go either?” ...


Mahogany Ree
15:32 Jul 25, 2022

Thank you!!! I appreciate you reading this. And thank you for your suggestions. Sometimes when you write, it helps to have others help you read and re-read. I appreciate this a lot.


Etya Krichmar
20:19 Jul 25, 2022

My pleasure. Please feel free to do the same with my stories. I appreciate every feedback, especially, considering that English is my second language.


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Amanda Fox
15:17 Jul 19, 2022

I like Ivy a lot as the protagonist. Get that man and set those boundaries! This was a very fun read - thanks for sharing!


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