“How you mess that up?” Damon continued to ogle over her. I shrugged in response before taking a sip of my beer. I can’t front, Toni did look amazing tonight. Her hair was curly and wild like I liked it. Her skin glowed, which added to her peaceful aura. She just seemed different, and I couldn’t put my finger on why.
“You really dropped the ball,” he said while shaking his head.
Growing irritated with talking about her, I focused back on the game. Trying to keep her off my mind since she left was already hard enough. I put in overtime helping with the football camp and Denzel had become my unofficial mentee. Berkeley has been keeping me busy with flipping houses and contract work between flips. Even with all that I had going on Toni was still on my mind heavy. And all the pep talks I had with myself in preparation for when I would see her again didn’t help like I thought they would.
“If I had her fine lil’ ass...man,” he chuckled as I grilled him. “She’s coming over,” he said a little too giddy for my liking. Although we aren’t on speaking terms right now, everybody knew Toni was off limits.
“Hey Damon.” Toni’s soft airy voice still did something to me.
“Wassup, lil’ Toni,” he said with a wink. She laughed then eased into the space between Damon and me. Her naturally sweet scent of berries made me groan. It was frustrating how she was my weakness. Trying to stay unaffected by her presence was hard.
“Hey, Zig.” Her voice was so low that if she wasn’t standing beside me, I wouldn’t have heard her. She moved closer to me her arm brushing against mine.
“Hey, Toni,” I said in a cold detached tone. My feelings about being around her were still mixed, but the anger was slowly dissolving. I kept my attention on the screen. Afraid if I make eye contact with her I would forget how she played me.
“How you been?” She leaned on the bar; her gaze burning into my profile.
“I’ve been good,” I said while taking a quick look in her direction. When my eyes connected with hers, I regretted ever looking her way. Releasing a breath, I took another drink of my beer. My brows furrowed as I tried to focus on the game. She sat where Damon was previously seated and ordered a whiskey and ginger ale. I laughed quietly thinking about the first time she ever drank. Toni waited until the game ended before speaking to again.
“Can we...talk? Somewhere alone and quiet?” she asked before pulling her bottom lip between her teeth. She hopped down off the bar stool expecting me to say yes. I looked down at her left hand and noticed her ring was missing.
With a humorless chuckle, I responded, “There’s nothing to talk about.”
She really thought since she was back on the outs with ole’ boy I would be her rebound again? I stood from the bar stool, ignoring the pained look on her face. After finishing the last of my beer, I slammed the empty bottle on the bar and left the bartender a nice tip. Her shoulders dropped as she stepped aside allowing me the space I needed to move.