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Star and Kehlani finally arrive at the hotel that they will be staying in for the next two nights, feeling a little buzzed from the margaritas at Cedars.
"Alright, let's drop these heavy bags off at the room and hit the pool!"
"I agree, did you pack some champagne?" Kehlani asked.
Star pulled two bottles out of her overnight back, "you know it!!"
Star poured up some champagne in their metal travel wine glasses and added a splash of orange juice that she acquired from the mini-fridge in the hotel room and they headed to the pool area.
Star checked her phone as she laid in the poolside chairs of the fancy hotel. No message from Sean, she thought. Even though she was upset with him, she had every intention of making him chase her during the time he was away.
"Girl, stop checking that phone. I been watching you look at that phone every ten minutes for the last hour we’ve been at this pool. Enjoy yourself! This is the time you get to have away from that scumbag and actually focus on you and what you really want."
"Hey, hey now that is still my husband."
Kehlani rolled her eyes and used her hand as a sun blocker and gazed at the people that surrounded. the blue water that was being kissed by the sun.
"Star, just take a look. Put the phone down, take a look and tell me what you see. You wanna know what I see? I see a big beautiful world filled with a lot of love for a lot of people. I see people who are genuinely happy and are loving life. I want you to be one of those people, girl. I want you to truly be happy. Before today, I actually thought you were happy. Now I feel like a shitty ass person ‘cause I couldn’t even tell your ass been dealing with the worst. Just know I’ll always be here for you, I just want the best for you," Kehlani said with a tear coming down her eye.
"Oh, Kehlani, look at you girl. One too many drinks already," Star joked. "But no, on a real note, thank you Kehlani. I really need you this weekend. I’ll deal with Sean once this weekend is over, but for now it just needs to be you, me and some good drinks!"
Star ran her hand across Kehlani’s face and she smiled lightly. She couldn’t continue to fake happiness forever, but she rather Kehlani not feel the way she is feeling now, so that they can have a great weekend, then break down into tears like she wanted to. She had no idea what to do from this point on, but she knew that whatever she did, she had to keep her composure, at least for the weekend. It wasn’t like Star to place her burdens on other people, so she was not used to needing a warm shoulder to cry on. She had no idea what to do, but she knew that for now, it was not even worth her time to entertain the thought.
The sun was starting to set perfectly over the beautiful pool area of the hotel and Star began to let out a yawn.
"Man, what a day. It’s not even seven o clock yet, why am I feeling sleepy already?!" She said as she put her curly hair into a high bun and laid back down on the lawn chair.
"Girl, because of all that champagne!" Kehlani chuckled. They both laughed so hard they couldn’t compose themselves. They both were lightweights. Nothing could get them going like a good ‘ole mimosa and that is all they needed.
As they were laughing and trying to catch their breath, a tall, dark, handsome man walked into the pool area. He had on a black sports hat that was placed on his head backwards and swimming trunks that hugged him in all of the right places. He had a tattoo sleeve on his left arm and gorgeous hazel eyes. Star and Kehlani quickly stopped laughing and their eyes became wide in amazement at such a beautiful person coming into their presence.
"WOAH", Kehlani said with a whisper. Star on the other hand, could not even fix her mouth to say anything. She was so taken aback by what she was seeing, words could not even make it to the tip of her tongue. The man walked slowly past the women and kept his eyes on Star the entire time. They locked eyes quickly and just as quick as the sun was setting, Mr. Talk Dark and Handsome came into Star's line of sight, removing the view of the sunset.
"Hey there, gorgeous." He said as he continued to walk past their lawn chairs. He didn’t even double-back, he kept up his pace and disappeared onto the other side of the pool area that held a lounge and pool room.
"WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, and WHY," said Kehlani with a big obnoxious smile.
"STAR! Girl! Did you see that chocolate GOD walking through here? That man has the audacity to walk up in here looking that fine! STAR! Do you hear me? Hello?"
Kehlani said as she waved her hand back and forth in front of Star’s face.
Star began to blink as if she were a cartoon character on an old Disney classic.
"Huh?" Star said confusingly. Kehlani began to smile even brighter, "Oh you like what you saw huh girl?"
"What? Girl, I mean, yeah he was aight. You know I can’t be eyeing other men anyway".
"Mmhm, girl you ain’t fooling nobody. I seen how you were looking at Mr. Night. Like he was a full platter of chocolate delectables ready for you to sink your face into. It’s ok, you don’t gotta admit it, but I know one thing, I saw him looking at you the entire time. He even said “Hey, beautiful.” What do you make of that?! He was feeling you girl, we should go in there and see what he’s up to!" Kehlani screamed as she got up quickly and grabbed her pool towel and champagne glass.
"GIRL! I can’t be chasing after no man", Star said with a worried tone. "Besides, any man can see that I’m beautiful. It was just a compliment and it meant nothing."
Star rolled her eyes and laid back onto the lawn chair. She knew deep down that she felt every inch of electricity through her body when he walked into the area, let alone when he spoke to her. She thought he was the most beautiful man she’d ever seen, but she wasn’t going to let that be known to anybody but her.
"Girl, get your ass up!"
Kehlani snatched Star up from the chair and pointed her in the direction of her towel and glass, "let’s go! We aren’t tracking him down so you can sex him, just wanna see what he’s got going on! Hell, who knows what Sean’s ass is doing at this very moment! It won’t hurt to do some flirting and poking around. This weekend was supposed to be fun, let’s make the best of it, girl," Kehlani said with a very confident tone.
Kehlani was right, Star thought to herself. She didn’t know what Sean could be doing right now, but even though she knew that, she couldn’t imagine what he’d do to her if he found out she was poking around in another man’s business. Then again, it was time for her to venture out and have some fun. She was always so much up under Sean, she thought anything outside of what he wanted, was bad. She checked her phone again and realized Sean had not called or texted at all for hours. She knew her phone down in her bag and snatched her bag up off the ground.
"You know what Kehlani, you’re right. A little poking won’t hurt. Let’s go see what this fuss is about," Star said with confidence and a little liquid courage.
Kehlani smiled from ear to ear, "now that’s what I’m talking ‘bout."
They both grabbed their belongings, locked arms and headed towards the lounge area.
Cigar smoke and vapes filled the area of the lounge, but not enough to be overbearing. It was a wooden lounge that had a rustic look to it. It looked like a log cabin from the outside, but modern and industrial on the inside. There were so many sections to the lounge, it looked like a whole new world in there compared to the quiet pool area. Everyone was in their bathing suits and flip flops and no one was caring about being too perfect. There was a bar in the center and people everywhere dancing and having the time of their lives. There were men in the back beating each other in games of pool, but still having a great time. There were women up on the back bar dancing with their drinks in one hand, and a cigarette in the other. There “Pretty Young Thang” by Michael Jackson was playing and both Star and Kehlani forgot the entire reason they came into the lounge and began running to the dance floor with their bags, drinks and all.
“I want to love you, PYT, Pretty Young Thang” they both said in unison, raising their glasses. "This place is amazing," Kehlani shouted. "The most lively laid back place I’ve been to in a while! This is beautiful, girl. Thanks for suggesting we come in," Star yelled as she moved her hips and body out of rhythm.
"Wow, ain’t got no rhythm and still the prettiest young thang that has stepped foot in this building," a deep voice said in Star’s ear.
Star jumped and turned around at the same time, wasting the last of her peach and honey champagne on the tall man that stood at the back of her. Kehlani’s eyes widened again when she saw the man approach Star and she said not one word. Any man was a better fish to catch than Sean, so she had no intention of warning Star about the incoming man with a plan.
"Oh, shoot, is that my bladder acting crazy?! I think it is, I’ll be right back, gotta run to the ladies room," Kehlani said as she laughed and ran off into the crowd.
"Kehlani!? Come back here", Star shouted. Star turned back to the man behind her and apologized for the wasted drink.
"I am so sorry Mr, you scared me, that’s all! What are you even doing walking up behind a woman you don’t know in a place like this?!" Star said as she clutched onto her pool bag, making sure nobody tried any funny business.
The man smiled at Star and said, "Don’t sweat the champagne sweetie, I’ve been wet all day from swimming. It makes me never mind, could I buy you another?"
Disco lights began flashing and the man in front of Star began to look even more heavenly to her. He flashed his pearly white teeth and put his hand out so that Star could take it.
"I walk my self, thank you", Star said aggressively as she headed towards the bar area.
Kehlani was in the background watching everything from afar. She was crazy, but not stupid. She knew the rules of never going to the bathroom without your girlfriend and also watched one too many episodes of dateline. She knew better than to leave Star completely unattended. She just wanted her to put herself out there to meet new people, so she backed off a little, but still kept all eyes on Star and the mystery man.
Hip-hop music filled the air and disco lights were going nonstop. Star was sitting at the bar still clutched to her bag and feeling extremely nervous to be sitting next to such a handsome man.
"Excuse me, can I get a bottle of your best champagne please, keep the change."
The bartender shook his head and headed towards the back room where they kept all of their expensive wines and champagnes. Only someone who came here often would know about the backroom. Star still was not impressed by the slick move of him trying to order the best in front of her. She already had everything that was considered the best. The mystery man turned and looked at Star, "so what’s your name beautiful", he said.
"You know," Star began to say, "I ain’t impressed by your expensive taste. Just so you know, my husband could buy every drink in this bar three times over if he wanted to."
She flipped her hair back and scaled the room looking for Kehlani while also trying to look uninterested in the man in front of her. All the while, she was as nervous as a catholic school girl during her first sexual encounter. Just as the man was about to speak, the bartender walked up and handed him the bottle with two beautiful champagne glasses.
"You guys enjoy Mr. Lauderdale, thanks for the tip." He winked, nodded, and headed down the bar to the next customer.
"Okay, so I see you come here a lot, don’t you? What am I supposed to be, another one of your quests for the night?" Star said sarcastically. She grabbed the bottle, popped it open, and quickly poured her a nice-sized glass. They locked eyes as she slowly took the bottle and reached over him to pour him a glass as well without taking her eyes off of him. "So, tell me something Mr. Lauderdale, why am I sitting at this bar next to you, other than the fact that you owed me this glass?"
"Well, miss lady, you tell me. Oh, wait, I’m sorry, Mrs. is it?" He said with a grin. "I only brought you over here to buy you another drink, nothing is stopping you from going about your way. You could at least tell me your name", he said. Star felt butterflies crack from their cocoon in her stomach and she had no idea why she was getting tingly sensations all over. She looked at him with what seemed to be a confused, but seductive look. She felt electricity being near him and although she didn’t enjoy feeling this way about someone other than her husband, she was curious to understand this undeniable attraction to this man she’d never met before. She took the rest of her champagne to the head quickly and said, "my name is Star. I’m sorry, I have to go. You have a great night Mr. Lauderdale, thanks for the drink."
She sat her glass on the wooden bar and scurried off into the crowd to look for Kehlani.
Star ran to the bathroom with an adrenaline rush she hadn’t felt in ages. Butterflies were running wild in her stomach and she couldn’t shake the feeling that she did something wrong just by having a drink with a random stranger. Pull it together Star, she said out loud as she paced the red tile floors in the women's bathroom that smelled of smoke and a hint of urine. Star? Kehlani said from the stalls as she stumbled over her feet trying to hurry out to see what was going on. "Girl, what’s up? Why aren’t you dancing all over that mystery man right now! That’s a fine piece of ass girl," she said fixing her lipstick in the cracked mirror.
"Kehlani! You just ran off and left me with this guy that I don’t even know. What happened to girl code, huh?" Star said, squinting her eyes with one hand on her hip.
"Star, girl, I was right there in the crowd looking at you and making sure Mr. Handsome didn’t try any funny shit. I was not going to truly leave you alone, you know that" Kehlani said rolling her eyes, fluffing her hair and gazing at herself in the mirror with the buzzed-girl look.
"Come on, Kehlani, girl. I’m ready to get another drink and head up to the room and watch some Criminal Minds, what do ya say?"
I'm all the way down for that! Kehlani shouted and smiled.
Star didn't know what she was feeling, but all she knew was that at this moment, her man was probably out doing the unthinkable. And even though she was playing hard to get, she was preparing her mind to take off on a ride if she ran into Mr. Lauderdale again.
To Be Continued...