To Catch a Cheat: Episode #17

In episode #16, Carter, after drop-kicking a would-be assailant, found herself face-to-face with someone she had to apologize to. Her apology led to a new adventure with a sexy man…but was it Kenneth or Vince?

In this episode, Carter finds herself on the job, sharing kisses with someone of the same persuasion. When she goes home afterward, will she be alone?

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I sat at a table toward the front of The Book Bin, waiting for Francine. I e-mailed and told her I would be wearing jeans and a turquoise tie-front blouse. My cute, little floral ballerina slippers finished off the outfit. All my silver: bangles, watch, hoop earrings, rings, and my loose mane, and I was ready for my blind date.

Francine e-mailed me a picture; she didn’t like having her image on the Internet for all to see. She was cute with her long curly brown hair, bright blue eyes and sweet smile–not what I was picturing for her. She almost looked too wholesome to be online cheating on her mate.

I sipped my latte and looked around the bookstore. Rico gave me the thumbs up from the Sci-Fi section. I rolled my eyes and laughed. My Cassie phone rang, and I answered, “Hello.”

“Are you the Cassie that works at ONE BODY?”

I tried not to, but I smiled.

“Yes, I am she,” I said, “but I am at work.”

“I know,” Kenneth said. “Can I tell you something?”

“And what is that?”

Rico frowned and asked through gestures who was on the phone.

I shrugged.

“The color of your blouse really brightens your face.”

I let out a long breath and began darting my eyes in every corner of the store.

“How did you know I was here?” I asked.

I heard a soft tapping and looked toward the front of the store. Kenneth smiled and waved. The sight of him in his black suit, crisp white shirt and red tie instantly made my skin prickly. His hair hung a bit ruffled over his forehead. I watched him enter the bookstore and sit on the other side of the small café.

“Come now, Miss Devlin,” he answered. “Surely you having a date with another woman might alert me to follow you and see you…in action.”

I prayed that Rico wouldn’t cause a scene. He couldn’t take his eyes off Kenneth. I couldn’t either, but I was sure our reasons were totally different.

“I love your hair out like that,” Kenneth said. “Wild and loose.”

“You shouldn’t be here,” I whispered, more because of my inability to catch my breath than because of my attempt to be discreet.

“Why not?” he asked. “I’m going to get some coffee and leaf through a book or magazine.”

“Okay.”

“I’ll let you go because I know you’re about to be on your date.”

“How kind of you.”

“Oh, one more thing.”

I sighed, gave her a half-ass scowl and said, “Yes?”

“You look so sexy in your glasses. What they say isn’t true.”

“What do they say?”

“Well, what they don’t say is boys do make passes at girls with sexy glasses.”

“That is so corny,” I said chuckling. “Goodbye.” I hung up the phone just as Francine came into the bookstore. She spotted me and waved.

I fluttered my fingers at her and gave her the once over. She went the casual route, too, in jeans and ballerina slippers and a black camisole. A funky black-red shawl hung loosely over her bare shoulders. Her hair had a messy look, with long brown curls falling every which way. She wore black-rimmed glasses like mine that seemed appropriate to her vibe.

She stopped at the table and smiled.

“Hi there,” she said.

“Hey.” I pointed to the chair. “Have a seat, missy.”

She sat and placed her small black purse on the table.

“You are way cuter than your picture,” she said, then smiled. She pushed masses of curls behind her ears.

“Same to you.” I grinned.

“Lemme get a drink, and then we can hang out,” she said. “Cool?”

“Definitely.”

She hopped up from the table and bounded over to the counter. My focus went from an attentive Kenneth who gave me chills as he watched me with such an intense stare, to Rico who hadn’t blinked or moved his vision from Kenneth since the man stepped into the bookstore.

I took gulps of my latte, hoping to squelch the anxiety that built inside me. Kenneth watching me gave me a slight thrill. It was as if he was expecting me to do the unexpected, and there was a slight part of me that wanted to do something just to blow his head off. On the other hand, I could feel the anger popping off Rico’s face. I was going to hear it from him later, and then I would hear it tenfold from Vince. All this tension and excitement was bubbling under the surface, waiting for anything to provoke. Francine almost did when she gently rubbed my back as she came back to the table.

When she sat down, she took a sip of her frappe before reaching out a hand and laying it upon one of mine.

“So,” she began, “tell me all about you, Cassie.”

She rubbed the top of my hand and gave me her full attention.

I wouldn’t shirk my hand away because I didn’t want to alienate Francine. I wouldn’t do it because Rico needed the footage so that we could present it to the boyfriend. I wouldn’t do it because out the corner of my eye, I saw Kenneth sit back and cross his ankles. He wanted a bit of a show, and feeling brazen, I wanted to give him one.

||||||||||

I would be a liar if I didn’t admit that I had a great time with Francine. She was funny. She was smart. She was sarcastic. She was the type of chick I would be friends with; she could have been a potential chick for the band of merry misfits that I hung out with. Unfortunately, she liked me; she thought I was sexy and funny, and she wanted to see me again in a more intimate setting. She wouldn’t become my friend because I would be the girl who would cause her to lose her current boyfriend. Of course, she would never know I had anything to do with it, but I couldn’t help but feel somehow saddened by that. I mean she was trying to get hers and that was wrong, but that didn’t take away from the fact that she was not that bad of a person.

I saw Kenneth stand as Francine and I rose from our seats. We all made it to the entrance at the same time. Kenneth slipped, or pretended to slip and bump into Francine and me. His right hand grazed my ass.

“Excuse me,” he said. “I’m so sorry.”

Francine quickly grabbed me with one hand and placed the other against my back.

I looked up at Kenneth. His face said ‘want’.

“It’s okay,” Francine said for the both of us. She escorted me out the door, her hand still on my back.

Rico had dipped a few minutes beforehand, and knowing him, was probably in the van, camera ready, audio up.

Francine walked me to the Trailblazer. Kenneth walked to his car, which was conveniently a few spaces down from mine.

I leaned against the door. Francine stood a few inches in front of me.

“I really enjoyed tonight,” she said, smiling.

“I have to admit, I enjoyed myself, too.”

She crossed her arms over her small chest. “What, did you think you were going to hate me or something?”

I laughed. “No, it’s like I said, this was my first time really meeting someone online. I wasn’t sure what to expect.”

She gave me the high brow then smiled. “Okay,” she said. “Do you think we could do this again?”

I nodded. “I think we could definitely do this again.”

She smiled and with the gleam of parking lot lights, I could see her blushing.

“Why the blush?” I asked.

She hid her face with her shawl. “I was going to ask you something.”

I had a feeling I knew what she wanted. A kiss. It was kinda expected. You have a first date. It goes well. You think you really like the person. Then will you kiss the other goodnight. It was the same for everyone.

“Ask me,” I said.

She lowered the shawl until her eyes were visible. “May I kiss you goodnight?” she asked.

I braced myself. Outside of the cheeks of female relatives and my friends, I had never kissed a woman. I wasn’t scared like ooh, now everyone will think I’m a lesbian; in fact, I was more nervous that I would suck at kissing her and she would laugh at me.

“Let’s see,” I said, prolonging the obvious. I knew that somewhere out in this parking lot, two men—one ready to take me and the other probably ready to throttle me—were ready to see some girl-on-girl action. “We had a nice date, right?”

“A great date,” she emphasized.

“And people do tend to share kisses after great dates,” I added.

“They do.” Francine grinned.

“Well, then, I guess it would be rude if I told you no kiss.”

“Ignorant and rude.”

We laughed.

Francine stepped closer, and I smelt the vanilla frappe on her breath. I blinked my eyes and when they reopened, Francine’s mouth was upon mine. The fingers of her right hand were in my hair.

My hands were stiff beside me. What should I do, thought. Do I touch her hips? Her back? I opted to hug her to me as she deepened the kiss. She didn’t try to dip her tongue into my mouth, but before she broke the kiss, she did nip my bottom lip.

Her eyes were glassy and I suppose mine were, too. I didn’t know what a kiss from a woman was supposed to feel like, but this felt like a “kiss,” a good kiss.

“Goodnight, Cassie,” Francine whispered before she released my hair from her hand.

“Night,” I said. I watched her walk two aisles over and get into her purple PT cruiser. When she drove off, I got into my ride and sat back in the seat.

Francine’s kiss left me flushed, and I felt awfully naughty when I thought about Kenneth kissing Francine’s kiss right off my lips. I stuck my key in the ignition and revved the engine.

My cell phone rang. It was Rico.

“Yeah, babe,” I answered.

“Got some great stuff,” he said. “Boyfriend will be pissed, but you gave a helluva performance tonight. Almost have me questioning your…”

“Shut that shit up, Rico. It was a kiss. She was a cool person. Enough said.”

“Okay.” He chuckled.

I sat, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

“Oh, yeah,” he said. “I almost forgot something.”

“Yes?” I said, bracing myself.

“What the hell was Kenneth doing here tonight?”

“I don’t know, Rico.”

“Is he following you?”

I shook my head. “I don’t think so.”

“Did you tell him about tonight?”

I closed my eyes, trying to figure out something to say. He would know if I were lying.

“Carter,” he yelled just as my Cassie phone rang. “Don’t answer it.”

I grabbed the phone and looked at the Caller ID. It was Kenneth.

“It’s him, isn’t it?” he asked.

When I didn’t answer, he said, “Don’t answer it.”

“He’ll want to know why I didn’t answer it, Rico.” The phone stopped ringing.

“Is all of this some kind of juego to you, chica?” Rico asked. “Did you invite him so he could get off on watching?”

“No, Rico,” I yelled. “I didn’t know…I didn’t think…”

“That’s right. You haven’t been thinking, Carter. I told you to be careful with him.”

“He hasn’t done anything wrong.”

“And you know this because?”

“I would sense it, and because he wasn’t the cheater. His wife was, remember?”

“Carter…”

“Rico, leave me alone. I did my job tonight. I did it well. I’m going home.”

“Alone?”

“I don’t think that’s any of your business. Goodnight, Rico. See you in the morning.”

I turned off my phone and backed out of the parking spot. When I reached the interstate, the Cassie phone rang again.

I hit speakerphone and answered, “Hello, Kenneth.”

“I want you,” he said.

I pushed my arms straight in front of me as I gripped the wheel. My back was pressed tight against the seat. I blinked several times in order to clear my mind and keep my focus on the road.

“You do, do you?” I asked.

“Yes.”

After a pause, he asked, “Did you like it?”

I played along. “Did I like what?”

Kenneth’s car, a silver-blue mustang, pulled alongside me on the interstate and then slid right behind me. His bumper was dangerously close to mine.

“Kissing her.”

“It was a kiss, Kenneth,” I said, sounding as bored as I possibly could despite my growing excitement.

He laughed. “You enjoyed it.”

“How do you know?”

“I can hear it in the soft pants of breath,” he replied. “The way the word kiss was almost a hiss coming from your mouth. I want to kiss you and make you feel that way.”

Oh, you have, I thought.

“Follow me home,” I said.

“Was there any other place I would go,” he whispered before hanging up.

I hit the gas and drove as fast as I legally could. Clothing needed to be removed immediately, and Kenneth’s hands had to be caressing my naked body within the next ten minutes.

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