Far from timid • Caveat Lector

Fiction Series: Playing With Fire - Chapter 5

Fiction Series: Playing With Fire - Chapter 5

I’m waiting on Gabriela in my favorite coffee shop. She’s late. I’ve refilled my coffee twice. “You should switch to tea.” A sweet voice falls over me. I look up to see a beautiful woman looking down at me. I was so lost in my book I hadn’t noticed her approaching. “Excuse me?”

She pulls a clip from her curls releasing her mane. It’s breathtaking. She fluffs it as she sits across from me making herself comfortable. “You should switch to tea.” Her skin is perfectly sun kissed. I watch as she crosses her legs. 

I peel my eyes away, shrinking under her presence. I look at the empty tables around the tiny shop. “I like coffee.” I look back down at my book trying my best not to meet her eyes. 

“Tea is much better for you.” I look up. I watch as she reaches into her bag. I don’t recognize the designer but I can tell it’s expensive. I close my book and set it on the table. The bracelet on her wrist catches my eye. She smiles softly. “It was a gift from my brother-in-law.” She offers me her hand. I play with the bracelet for a moment and sit back in my chair. 

“Do we know each other?”

“No, we don’t.” She replies seemingly unbothered. I look out of the window hoping to see Gabriela. 

“Waiting on someone?” She inquires. 

My throat is suddenly dry. I feel like a child under the heaviness of her aura. “Umm---no. I mean, yes. Yes, my best friend.” I sip my coffee. 

“Oh, love.” She extends her hand once again. “Give that to me.”


She brings her eyes to mine and as if under a spell I hand her the coffee. “Thank you, Love.” She sets it on the table and signals toward the girl resting behind the counter. “Two cups of oolong tea.”

“Of what?” I question her. 

“You’ll love it. If you don’t, you’ll drink it.” 

I check my phone. I consider all of the ways I’m going to make Gabriela’s life hell when she finally arrives. The coffee shop girl brings the tea over. 

“Go ahead, Love. Try it.” She sips her tea.

“I’m sorry. What is this?” 

“What do you mean?”

“Why did you sit here? This entire place is empty. Are you into women or something?” 

She throws her head back in laughter. “Love, you never know what you’re into until you try it.”

“Excuse me? Yeah, no…” I push the tea away and begin packing up my books. I stand as she begins to laugh again. “Relax. I saw that you were reading Anaïs. I was intrigued.” She motions towards my empty seat. I think for a moment and sit back down. I look at the woman across from me. “I read her when I need a break from my school work.” 

“I see.” Her phone captures her attention. She looks from me to her phone. “Love, are you going to at least… try the tea?” She looks back down at her phone. I reach for the tea and take a sip. “Okay, I’ve tried your tea. May I ask your name?”

“Love, so polite. Yes, I am Noelani or Mrs. Camren depending on who you ask.” She smiles that soft smile. She’s intoxicating. I can’t tell if I’m attracted to or simply fascinated by her.

“I’m Novia.” I whisper sipping the tea again. “Are you familiar with Anaïs?”

“Very.” She’s short, continuing to look at her phone.

I sip the tea again. 

“Are you okay?” She doesn’t look up when she asks.

“Yeah… I… Yes.” I sip the tea again. The room begins to spin around me. “I suddenly feel… dehydrated…”

“Do you need…?” Her voice fades and the room goes dark.


I stand in the hallway peering into the room where Novia sleeps. Suddenly, there’s a hand to my back. “She is quite the innocent girl, Enrique. Nuri should be calling soon. My security detail took out two of his men at the coffee shop.” Mrs. Camren moves closer to me. She breathes me in. “What are you wearing?”

I take a step back attempting to create a distance. “Uh-some shit Novia likes.” 

“Interesting.” She closes the space pushing me against the wall. “Black looks good on you.” 

“Paxton---uh, yeah---Paxton called in his tailor.” My heart begins to race as she runs her hands down my arms. She leans into me pressing her chest against my stomach as I tower over her. “My Paxton… loves appearances.”

The sweet smell of her hair overwhelms my senses. “Uhh---Mrs. Camren.” Her hands find mine and she grabs hold. I look down at her. “What you doing?”

“I’m admiring my husband’s work.” She whispers. Suddenly, she turns so that I can feel the fullness of her ass. She laughs. “There he is.”

“Mrs. Camren… please…” My head rests on the wall as she moves her body as if listening to a song only she can hear. She turns to face me again, unbuttoning my jacket. “Mrs. Camren, you---chill…”

The warmth of her hand finds its way inside my pants. “Mrs. Camren…” I let out a breath.

“Rique…?” The familiar voice startles me from the trance I’m in. Mrs. Camren pulls her hand away and turns to face Novia who’s sitting up in the bed. “Love, you’re awake.” She looks back at me. “Gather yourself and bring her downstairs.” She smiles softly and makes her way down the hallway. She stops for a moment. I meet her eyes. “Enrique, don’t keep me waiting.”

Hollywood's Invisible Black Women Characters

Hollywood's Invisible Black Women Characters

Photo Series: 92 Bricks - 88th Brick

Photo Series: 92 Bricks - 88th Brick