Unedited Draft: WARNING: Intended for Mature audience

| Damsel's Tattooed Temptation 
CHAPTER 18: Girl Interrupted |

Damsel settled on the couch, legs crossed a bowl of popcorn in her lap. She placed her glasses on her face and opened her study guide where she left off a week ago now. She’d been spending as much time as she could with James, and now that he was out of town, she had to get some studying done. She only had a few months before her damned exam.
Damsel smiled when she thought about her very fruitful study session with James. She'd never forget organs and their functions. Her skin still tingled where his lips touched her.  She brought her attention back to her text.

Infection Prevention and Immunization. Oh she couldn’t wait. She stuffed a handful of popcorn in her mouth and started reading the thick volume.

Damsel frowned when she heard the doorbell ring. She certainly wasn't expecting any company. She pushed off the couch placing the popcorn bowl on the coffee table.

Damsel paused shaking her head when she got closer to the door and picked up Monet's voice distinctly.
"We know you're in there trick don't act like you don't know it's us."

"Got wine got food..." Demetria broke off when Monet hit her. "Ow what you do that for?"
"She's not going to open the door for that."

"Then what bitch? Damsel we've got elephant dicks out here..." another smack followed by uproarious laughter.

Damsel pulled the door open glaring at her friends. "Yall are just too much. Now get in here before you disturb my neighbors."

"And you wouldn't have us any other way." Monet said pushing past Damsel depositing her bags on the counter. "Oh, look she already made popcorn. Where your shot glasses at?"

"To the left of the stove." Cammie shouted to Monet pulling up the end of the friend train line.

Damsel glared at Cammie as the rest of the crew got comfortable in her living room. One was turning on the television putting in a movie the other pouring drinks into glasses. Demetria flopped on couch the popcorn bowl in her lap.

"What the hell just happened here?" Damsel grabbed Cammie's arm when she strolled inside. "You."

Cammie tossed an innocent look at Damsel.

"Don't look at me like that. You're the only one I told that I'd be home."

"Could have sworn you said girls night." Cammie cooed her voice too soft, too sweet.

“Cammie Leiann Haines, I specifically told you that James was going to be out of town this weekend and I'd be studying."

"Telling your best friend that your boyfriend is going to be out of town is code for a girl's night."

Damsel’s faulted. Her boyfriend. That had a strange ring to it, but she supposed it was accurate. They never had an official discussion about such a commitment, but she certainly had no desire, or time to date anyone else. "M-maybe,” Damsel found her train of thought again. “Unless it's followed by and I'll be studying."

"Look, we don't ever get to see you any more so..." Cammie trailed off heading toward the kitchen with the hot wings that Damsel could smell through the package.

"What you bring for me? You know I can't eat that hot stuff." Damsel slid on an island bar stool as Cammie unpacked the food.

"Don't worry miss picky. I brought you bar be que wings."

Damsel smiled  watching Cammie move around the kitchen gathering plates and ketchup for the fries. She looked back at the rambunctious crew chatting loud as the movie previews played in the background. There was no sense in fighting it so she might as well enjoy the company.

After "watching" two movies, and by watching it was Monet and Demetria talking through the whole thing and everyone else chiming in with a comment here or there and group laughter, there was music playing in the background and episodes of Living Single muted on behind it.

“This liquor is kicking in. I wanna find some muscles to wrap around me.”

“Ew Demetria. Too much information.” Marissa said texting away on her phone.

“Oh shut up!” Monet shouted over everyone. SHe turned the music off and turned the television up. “THis is my favorite episode!” Khadijah,  Synclaire, Maxine, and REgine were all in the bathroom getting ready for the day when “My Girl” comes on the radio. THe girls crowded into Damsel’s living room picking up remotes, and any other items to use as microphones and started belting the words along with the actresses.

THey collapsed on the couch when it ended laughing and chatting about other episodes that were their favorites. Someone turned the television back down and resumed the music. Demetria suggested they go to the club even though it was only ten.

Damsel pushed up off the couch a smile still on her face and she started cleaning things up. SHe was happy the girls came over to check on her, bring her life a little insanity.  Cammie joined her in the kitchen.

“Hey girl look at your daredevil." Cammie had a video of a man racing a motor bike through a city bounding over clay tiled roof tops with other bikes on his heels.
Damsel frowned her attention brought to the title of the video:

"James Stevenson, the world’s gravity defying extreme sport guru, wins by leaps and bounds in Rio"

Damsel frowned. "He said he was going out of town.” She turned toward the sink a strange feeling wrapping itself around her.

“You didn’t know where he was?”

“No, in all fairness, I didn't ask either."

Cammie nodded. "Look, I saw you looking all sad in the face. Just wanted you to know that you can still be connected to James even when you're spending time with your girls."

Damsel smiled pressing a kiss to Cammie's temple. "Point taken. I've been neglecting you and you're putting me in my place."

Cammie nodded. "That's exactly what's happening. Now, I'm going to wrangled the hyenas so you can get some studying done." Cammie kissed Damsel on the cheek before pushing off the counter and addressing the other ladies. "Let's hit Delfie’s and pick up some young meat."

The other girls laughed an agreement standing to their feet making their way to the door.

Damsel said her goodbyes and closed the door when they all left.

Damsel smiled as the wine relaxed her mind and the last few hours washed through her. Eventually her thoughts drifted to James and the video Cammie showed her. Damsel plopped on the couch and pulled the video up on her phone. She paused it when James was in mid air his body contorted so he was completely off the bike.

She cocked her head to the side. The possibility of injury was high. It was risky to say the very least and for what? The thrill? To say you did it? She didn't understand why he would put himself into harms way voluntarily it didn't make sense to her rational mind. She should be appalled. She wanted to think what he did was childish, foolish, and perhaps it was. She certainly, if asked two weeks ago, would never think someone that she was genuinely interested in would be doing anything like this. Dinner parties, golfing, box seats at sporting events, those were activities that she was used to.

Safe, ordinary, and... boring.

It bothered her that he didn’t volunteer his whereabouts. She honestly had no idea where he was going, what he was doing, and with whom. She wasn’t the jealous type, but if he was with Roger, Damsel shivered, she feared the worst. She only needed to be around that man for a few minutes to know he was no good. As horrible as Roger might be, he knew a side to James that Damsel didn’t and that James didn’t share with her.

“You'll only see the part he wants his sweet Nurse Kane to see.” Roger’s voice echoed through her mind. “James needs freedom. Needs the rush, the high of life. And guys like James, always find it.”

The last of Roger’s words kept repeating until they disappeared into silence.  “And guys like James, always find it….. Guys like James... Always… Always find it….”


Damsel traced the outline of his silhouette on the screen. What high are you chasing down there in Rio James? She thought.

Why didn’t she ask? Should she have to ask? The men that she dated before didn’t do anything nearly as wild. Going to another country with parties and exotic women probably surplus of drugs, and other manner of foolery. She didn’t have to think about these things before that’s why she didn't ask. She didn’t have to care because these other men were safe, stuck to rigorous routines and schedules. She understood them. She already knew what they were going to be doing when they got to their destination, how long they’d be gone, and who they were with.

She played the video again noticing several other video from the race in the suggested videos section. She watched his skill as he jumped from building top to building top with expertise, precision. She couldn't help but be in awe of him. Despite herself she wanted more than ever to peel his clothes off and have him pour all his attention on her body.

Damsel put her phone down and paced the living room trying to get her head back into a  study headspace.

Study.

Yes that's what she needed to do. Lots and lots of studying.

She stopped pacing and stared at the phone face down on the arm of the couch. She tapped her chin.

Oh, what the hell one more video couldn’t hurt!
Continue to Part 19...