I wasn’t planning on meeting anyone, and I wasn’t planning on liking him.
It was late last summer in New York City. I had come for a work event, and ended up with some extra time on my hands in the city.
I should have been on a plane on my way back home to Los Angeles, but the way my airline was set up, they overbooked the flight and offered me a travel voucher plus a hotel room for the night if I took a flight the next day instead.
My girlfriend and I were having a light dinner and drinks at a bar in midtown. We’d consumed plenty of tequila and were laughing and talking when I saw him out of the corner of my eye.
You can always tell when someone is sizing you up—at least, I can. I could feel him looking at me even before I turned to see who it was. His silhouette was already commanding a presence in my peripheral.
I turned, ever so slightly, to glance at him. He was looking right back at me. I flashed my cutest and slyest smize before returning my attention to my drink.
He made his way over to us, and I pretended not to notice him as I laughed at something my friend said that wasn’t even that funny. Corny, I know, but that worked, too.
He leaned toward me and said, “Excuse me.”
His voice was deep and smooth. I turned toward him and took a good look at him.
“Hi,” I said and gave him a once-over.
Tall—over 6 feet. Thick, full beard. Bald head. Chocolate skin. A suit that looked like it was made specially for him. A matching pocket square and tie. Nice shoes. An air of confidence that was noticeable but not put on.
“I had to come over here because I spotted you and that lipstick from all the way across the room,” he said, smiling. His teeth were perfect.
I smiled but said nothing.
He leaned a little closer, his voice lower this time.
“I’m not trying to be funny, but you looking like a whole snack. Can I eat you?” he asked.
I laughed and said “Sir” loudly.
My girl laughed. He turned, unshaken, to look at her. He flashed a grin at her, then turned back toward me and looked expectantly.
“I’m the most expensive dish on the menu, sir,” I said. My girl laughed again. This time, I joined her.
Without missing a beat, he said, “It ain’t tricking if you got it.”
The next giggle caught in my throat.
Listen. If you are quick on your feet with the witty comebacks, you are well on your way to winning with me.
He had my attention.
We bantered back and forth for a few minutes. I signaled the bartender for my check as he flirted with me.
He was smooth, and the lines he came with after that first one were clever and flattering. He never took his eyes off me, even when his friend walked up and stood just off to the side of us.
When the bartender put my check down, he immediately snatched it up.
“I got it,” he said. He took out an American Express card and slipped it inside without even looking at the bill.
Me and my girl looked at each other and smirked.
It was a player move. He wanted us to know that the amount of the bill was of no consequence to him; he carries no balances.
We see you, sir, I thought to myself.
“We can pay for our own check,” I said.
“No, please,” he said. “Let me.”
More banter. As we talked, I had my phone in my hand because I was live-tweeting everything that was happening. In that moment, everything is funny.
“Are you texting your boyfriend?” he asked.
I laughed and looked back at my girl again, who was giving me the look. She slowly rolled her eyes to the left, and I took in his homeboy for the first time.
He. Was. Not. Cute.
My girl could tell I was warming up to my guy, and she gave me the look, like, Bitch, you better not.
At the same time, Mr. Man had signed the bill and was already asking me what we were planning to do next.
I made up some vague story about us having another spot to hit, and he continued smooth-talking me and my girl until we were convinced to go along with them to another bar, where we were joined by his brother.
In an effort to both give me and my girl a moment to ourselves and not look like a creep, he arranged for us to ride in two separate Lyfts.
My girl was only slightly annoyed, but she warned me that if his brother wasn’t cute, we were leaving the next bar as soon as we walked in.
His brother was very cute.
We hung out with the three of them until very late, drinking, laughing, listening to music and having a good time.
Mr. Man and his brother invited us back to their hotel suite. It’s cliché and probably a little dangerous, but we went anyway because it was summertime in New York City; we were buzzed off of alcohol, laughter and good vibes; and the mood was right.
We started out sitting in the living area as a group, but slowly broke off into pairs.
We lay side by side on his bed talking about everything from my career as a writer to his lifestyle as a lawyer in Miami.
He massaged my scalp, gave me a back rub and played with my feet.
I licked his lips, got high off of his scent and fell asleep with my face smushed into his chest.
And I didn’t drool once, thankfully.
The next day, as we parted ways, we exchanged phone numbers.
He saved me as “To Be Continued” in his phone.
I saved him as “He Did That” in mine—because he did, in fact, do that.
But it would take an entirely new column just to explain how ...
To be continued next Friday.