“So,” Yolanda said as she and Layla sipped peach martinis, “how did you get into writing about hip-hop? I read your book and it was amazing.”
Layla smiled. “Well, I thought when I retired from journalism it was out of my system, but it wasn’t and so I decided to freelance.”
“Writer for hire, huh?” Yolanda said.
Layla took another sip of her drink and nodded. “It pays the bills while waiting for royalty checks. So, how did you get hooked up with Reed and his company?”
“Well, I worked with Universal and I could see that he was going places and I wanted to make sure he had the right people around him,” she said. “He said you two know each other.”
“College. We attended college together,” Layla said.
“Oh,” she said then waved for the waitress. “So, was he always so driven?”
Layla nodded. “And he’s getting married. Good for him.”
Yolanda rolled her eyes slightly, but Layla saw it. “Yes, he seems very excited about it. Zora Daniels.”
Layla choked on her drink. “The model?”
“One in the same,” she said. “And he doesn’t mind if you ask him about their relationship, however I hope that your story isn’t going to focus simply on that.”
“No,” she said as she picked up a tortilla chip and dipped it in the spinach dip that she’d said she wasn’t going to indulge in. “We’re going keep the focus on the deal he just signed, the artists he’s working with and his magic touch with folks.”
Yolanda clasped her hands together and smiled. “Great,” she said. “Reed said you’re a fair journalist.”
“He said that?”
“And I meant it,” Reed said from behind her. Layla turned around and tried to keep her face neutral. She hadn’t wanted to show him how his presence had touched her. Good God, he was finer than she’d remembered. The dreds were gone, replaced with Maxwell like afro that she wanted to run her fingers through. He wore a pair of black framed glasses that made him look like a sexy version of Clark Kent.
“Hello, Reed,” Layla said.
“Hello, Reed? Girl, if you don’t get up and give me a hug,” he said. Layla rose to her feet and gave him a hug usually reserved for strangers. He held her out and gave her a slow once over. How had Layla gotten even more beautiful? She had a Coca-Cola shaped body, her breasts – which he used to love kiss, lick and suck – were just as perky and appealing as ever. The smoothness of peanut butter colored skin looked so lickable and he wanted to get lost in her chestnut brown eyes. And her hair, which he assumed wasn’t a weave like Zora’s locks, was all natural. He liked the curly style she wore and the auburn color she’d dyed her hair. It gave her a youthful look.
“I’m surprised to see you here, Reed,” Yolanda said. “I thought you had a session with Debony?”
He glanced in Yolanda’s direction, remembering she was there and smiled. “Just stopped by to grab some lunch,” he said, finally releasing Layla. “It’s good to see you. I guess we’ll get talk more at six.”
“Yes,” Layla said when she found her voice. God, he smelled good. Patchouli and Irish Spring – some things never changed. “Oh, by the way, congratulations on the engagement.”
Her words stopped him cold. Of course she knew he was engaged, but hearing her say it made him feel as if he’d never have a chance to explain his feelings to her. Tell her that he loved her and if he had his way, she’d be the one wearing his ring.
“Thanks,” he said flatly.
Layla raised her right eyebrow at his tone, but didn’t press further. Why didn’t he seem excited about his upcoming nuptials? After all, he was marrying a model – the biggest cliché in hip-hop.