A Work of Art

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Curvy Rachel and Mekhi are new roommates and old friends. Rachel has wanted him for as long as she’s known him, but he only dates women of his own race. She settles for fantasies and friendship, longing for more.

Mekhi never saw Rachel as anything more than a friend, but that changes when they become roommates. Her curvy body haunts his nighttime fantasies, and he wants more than just friendship with the luscious beauty. Can he convince her to share a bed, not just an apartment?

SpicyShorts are compact tales that can be read in a brief amount of time with no cliffhanger endings or multiple parts.

Excerpt

“No, the room doesn’t come with fringe benefits.” Rachel pressed the End button on her cell phone and muttered under her breath about the latest reply to her advertisement for a roommate. What was with these men? Had she accidentally put something strange in the ad?

Perhaps she had just erred by advertising for a female or male roommate. She had simply wanted to add to her options, since she needed a new roommate PDQ. Did every man in Seattle think she really wanted a sex partner, even though her ad wasn’t at all sexual? Just to confirm, she opened the paper to the classifieds and re-read her advertisement.

Seeking dependable M or F roommate. Clean, quiet, non-smoking. First and last month, plus $600 deposit, $600/month.

There definitely wasn’t anything kinky about that, was there? So why had she had three calls this morning alone from men who wanted to know what kind of extras came with the apartment?

Was she ever going to find a replacement for Gina? Once more, she bemoaned losing the perfect housemate. As a flight attendant, Gina had rarely been home. When she was, she spent most of her time sleeping. She always picked up after herself, bought her own food, and paid her share of the rent and utilities promptly. Why did she have to marry and move in with her husband?

Rachel stirred the dregs of her Macchiato, facing the grim reality of needing to get a full-time job or move to a cheaper place. Her parents couldn’t afford to pay more than her share of the rent and her tuition to Seattle Institute of Fashion Arts. It wouldn’t be a picnic going to school full-time and working full-time, but she was close to graduation. She could manage for a few months.

Her dour mood improved considerably when she saw Mekhi walk into Starbucks. Her heart pitter-pattered at the luscious view of him in that crisp white shirt. He must be on his way to his part-time job. Not for the first time, she imagined unbuttoning each one of those buttons and caressing the rich brown skin underneath. Her fingers itched to trail across his chest and down his stomach.

She sighed, attempting to push aside her sexual thoughts. She only knew Mekhi from having been a patron at the same Starbucks for the last year, but had never seen him with anyone but slender African-American women. She was too pale, too curvy, and with too much red hair to ever catch his eye. She found a smile for him as he neared her table. “Hi.”

“Hello, Rachel.” His voice was a husky purr, no matter what he said. He could be discussing the NYSE, and it caused her heart to speed up.

She was nearly finished with her coffee, but decided she could nurse it a bit longer. She glanced at her watch, finding she had ten minutes before she had to leave for class, and wasn’t surprised when Mekhi brought his coffee to her table. It had become habit for them to sit together if they came to Starbucks alone—though she was alone a lot more than he was.

“You cut your hair,” she blurted. The last time she had seen Mekhi, his hair had been thick and tall. Now, the springy curls were tamed, buzzed close to his head.

He ran a hand through the short cut. “Yeah. Ma thought I should look more professional now that I’m working at an architect’s office.”

She tilted her head, evaluating his appearance. “I like it.” It revealed the planes of his face and chocolate eyes. She sighed softly, knowing she would never know how it would have felt to run her fingers through his Afro.

“Thanks.”

Silence fell between them when Mekhi picked up a section of the Seattle Times, but it wasn’t awkward. They had a casual friendship. It didn’t require much from either of them. Rachel cursed it under her breath, wishing she had the kind of personality that would let her flirt with him and babble on adorably. She was more inclined to retrospective silences, as he seemed to be. It was nice to be comfortable with him, but she longed for some way to draw him into a meaningful conversation.

Her cell phone rang, interrupting her musing. “Hello? Yes, the apartment is still available. What? Yes, you can have a pussycat…” Rachel trailed off, not quite certain she had heard what the man asked. “I’m sorry, what did you say? No, the apartment doesn’t come with free pussy.” She hung up, only then realizing Mekhi had been on the receiving end of her side of the conversation. Her cheeks flamed, though she tried for a cool smile. “Another asshole.”

His full lips formed a frown. “Are you looking for a roommate?”

She nodded. “I have been forever, it seems. I had the perfect roommate, but she got married last month. I have to find someone this month or get a full-time job.”

“Hmm.” He drew out the sound and absently stroked his goatee. “I had a roommate until last week. He moved out without notice and left me with his share of two months’ rent in arrears.”

She felt a stir of excitement. “Are you interested in the apartment?”

“I might be. I hate where I’m living now. It’s in a bad neighborhood.” He frowned. “I won’t have much left after I pay his share of the rent though.”

She frowned, remembering her father’s stipulation that her new roommate pay the first and last month’s rent, plus a deposit. But Dad had paid the deposit for her when she moved in, and it sounded as though Mekhi was reliable. After all, he was paying his roommate’s share of the rent. “Can you have your share by the fifth of next month?”

“Yes.”

She nodded. “Why don’t you drop by and look at the apartment? If it suits you, we’ll work out something.” She dug in her purse for a pen and wrote down her address on a napkin, including her phone number. They had never had reason to exchange numbers in the past. She slid it across the table toward him.  “Call me to arrange a convenient time.”

Rachel stood up, trying to force down her enthusiasm. It wasn’t just the possibility that her problem might be solved that had her so thrilled. A large share of her excitement came from the thought of living in close quarters with Mekhi. She might get a chance to make reality some of those fantasies he starred in on lonely nights.

*****

“Is that the last of it?” asked Rachel as Mekhi brought up another box. Her heart fluttered when she saw the way the red muscle shirt clung to his chest. Perspiration from the exertion of moving had lent his skin a sexy glow. She unconsciously licked her lips.

He wiped his forehead with his forearm. “Yeah. It shouldn’t take long for me to get settled, now that everything is in the apartment.”

She leaned against the hallway near the entryway to the kitchen, hoping she had her body draped in at least a semblance of a sexy pose. “I’m making fajitas for dinner. You want some?” She held her breath, but her anticipation fled when he shook his head.

“Thanks, but I have just enough time to unpack my clothes and take a shower.”

She forced a smile. “Oh. You have plans?” Discreetly crossing her fingers, she hoped he wasn’t going on a date.

“Mm hmm. I’ve been trying to get this girl to go out with me for at least a month. She’s a receptionist at Barstow & Whitney.” He grinned, revealing perfect white teeth. “She doesn’t usually date the interns.”

Rachel’s smile felt brittle, but she hoped he didn’t notice anything amiss. “Well, have fun.” She slipped into the kitchen, letting the smile fade when she was out of his sight. Why was she torturing herself like this? It was clear he wasn’t interested. If he had ever been, he would have given some indication during the year they had been friends.

She walked to the refrigerator and opened the freezer door. She hoped the cold air would relieve the sticky heat clinging to her skin, while also clearing her thoughts. The open window provided a sluggish breeze. It was unseasonably hot for April, making her almost wish for rain. Better yet, a blizzard that snowed her in with Mekhi.

She sighed and forced her attention to dinner. It was too hot to make fajitas. Her plan to wow him with her culinary talents was shot, so she took a frozen dinner from the back of the nearly empty freezer. Before closing the door, she made a mental note to go shopping sometime this week. Hadn’t she reminded herself to do that for the last week?

She opened the box and peeled off the wrapper before putting the tray in the microwave. Rachel leaned against the counter, propping her chin on her hands, and watched the timer count down from five minutes. Oh, yes, another exciting Saturday loomed ahead of her. It was going to be a long night.

*****

Mekhi stumbled to a halt in the doorway of the kitchen. For the life of him, he couldn’t remember why he had come looking for Rachel, but was glad to have found her. She must have chosen shorts because of the unexpected heat, and what a pair they were. They clung to her ass perfectly, revealing her rounded buttocks and an intoxicating amount of curvy leg. They were a healthy cream color—the kind of legs a man wanted wrapped around his waist.

He held his breath when she straightened. He had to bite his lip when she raised her arms to her head, gathering the thick auburn curls into a knot at the nape of her neck. She held it there with one hand, while fanning herself with the other. From this angle, he could see the gentle movements of her unfettered breasts. He wondered what he would find beneath that blue tank top if he walked boldly into the kitchen and stripped it from her.

The timer on the microwave caused him to jump, and he was able to compose himself while she removed her dinner. By the time she turned to him, he hoped his expression didn’t betray a hint of what he’d been thinking. He certainly hoped the loose cut of his khaki shorts hid the bulge of his cock.

She froze when she saw him standing there. A frown marred her brow.

He rushed to speak, hoping he sounded natural. “What happened to fajitas?”

She shrugged. “It was too hot. Did you need something?”

Was it his imagination, or was she nervous? He wondered if she had picked up on a trace of the wayward thoughts he had entertained since viewing the apartment a few days ago. If so, no wonder she was nervous. He already knew she wasn’t looking for a sexual partner. Rachel only wanted a reliable roommate. He would have to remind himself of that any time his cock led his thoughts astray. He cleared his throat. “I just wondered if it’s okay to put some stuff in the left drawer in the bathroom?”

She nodded. “Sure. You can stick your stuff anywhere that’s free.”

He silently groaned at the double entendre he read in her words. Judging from her wide-eyed expression, she hadn’t meant to imply anything sexual. With a nod, he turned away, wincing at the hardness of his cock as he walked down the hallway to his bedroom. He closed the door behind him and immediately opened his zipper, freeing his cock. It seemed like he had been in a constant state of arousal since she showed him around the apartment Monday.

He couldn’t believe he hadn’t noticed how sexy Rachel was until he saw her in her home. He might not have ever seen her in that light, if not for the silk robe that had been hanging over the shower stall the day he had taken his first tour. The minute he laid eyes on it, still damp from her body, his mind had conjured up an image of her in the thin silk, with her wet skin turning the white material translucent and revealing every luscious curve.

Just imagining how pink her areolas would be through the fabric could make him so hard he couldn’t sit. Picturing the two of them together, with him soaping her body while the shower rained down on them, forced him to find immediate satisfaction. He had spent a lot of quality time with his hand the past few days.

He tried to thrust the image from his mind and focus on his upcoming date with Natasha. He had pursued her so industriously since starting his internship, but now couldn’t remember why he had bothered. Even summoning a mental image of her full lips, always outlined in fuchsia, mocha skin, and silky dark hair, worn straight, didn’t bring a shred of excitement.

He’d much rather stay in and have fajitas with his new roommate than take this girl for Italian on the Pier. It was pathetic, but he was eager just to get the date over with so he could come back to the apartment. He might be able to find an excuse to spend some time with Rachel if he got home early enough. Of course, he would have to extricate himself gracefully from any involvement with Natasha, since they had to work together. If he didn’t have to worry about maintaining a business relationship with her, he would probably pick up the phone and cancel right now.

Yes, it was going to be a long night.

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