Riana awoke that morning to the sound of her stomach rumbling. The wins had been slow due to the crumbling economy, and she was having to go hungry more often as the money she’d won began to run out.
Then she remembered her discussion with Stacey yesterday.
“I am not going to go running over there simply because I’m hungry,” she said to herself. “She needs to learn I’m not some toy she can pull out and play with anytime she feels like it.”
Then she found herself amused, realizing that once upon a time this would have been an honor she couldn’t have passed up.
She swam some laps in the pool, took her shower, and began entering sweeps. She was still hungry but was trying to make what little food she had last until she could get more. She knew she had a small check coming any time now, but that was it as far as she knew.
By noon she was famished. She was so hungry she could barely concentrate on what she was writing and reading on the journal site she was visiting.
When 3:00 rolled around she was bombarded with teasing images of wonton soup, pork fried rice, barbecued ribs, crab puffs, and sweet-n-sour chicken.
Just before 6:00, she was asking herself what was more important, her teaching Stacey a lesson or curbing her hunger? Deciding to feed her hunger, she waited until a few minutes after 6:00 to let Stacey wonder if she was going to show up or not, then she slowly trudged towards the house, feeling even more like Stacey had her wrapped around her finger. Maybe Jessie was right about that one!
She went to open the door and it wouldn’t open right away, making her think Stacey was going to be the one to bail on their little date, but she got it open after the second try. It had only hesitated due to swelling from the humidity brought on by the monsoons.
She stepped into the kitchen. The smell of food made her stomach flip-flop in anticipation and her mouth began to water.
Stacey entered the kitchen just as she closed the door behind her.
“Hi,” she said with a smile, not saying anything about her being late if she even noticed at all.
“Hi,” Riana said softly, glancing at the cartons of food laid out on the kitchen table.
Stacey was wearing only a sleeveless shirt that barely reached her thighs. She came over to Riana and said, “I got all your favorites.”
“A hug?” Stacey asked, widening her arms.
Riana glanced at Stacey and thought of the wonderful feast that lay before them. Maybe she wasn’t so bad after all. “Sure,” she said, allowing herself to be held.
Stacey gazed down at her with a serious expression that Riana couldn’t quite read. Was it affection? Something else?
“I really do care about you, you know,” Stacey told her. “You’ve really come to be this amazing little person. I had no idea how smart you were and all that.”
“You didn’t exactly give me a chance years ago, although I can’t blame you. You weren’t really in the position to get to know me until I came here.”
“That’s true,” Stacey said, now seeming to be more relaxed. “Okay, let’s dig in.”
“Yes, boss,” Riana said with a smile.
They sat at the table and Riana couldn’t hide her eagerness to satiate her hunger.
“My, my, I guess you were hungry.”
Riana nodded. “I’m sorry if I’m making such a pig of myself.”
“No, no, don’t be. It’s here to be eaten.”
They didn’t talk much while they ate. Riana ate until she felt as if she would burst. She tried not to wonder when the next time would be that she could eat enough to satisfy her half as much. “That was damn good,” she finally said. “Thank you very much.”
“Oh, you’re quite welcome,” said Stacey, who was just finishing up as well, even though she hadn’t eaten nearly as fast or as much as Riana had.
“Would you believe me if I said I only came over because I was starving?”
“I don’t know. Is that the case?”
Riana nodded. “The sweeps have been bad, and I’ve been broke.”
Stacey looked directly at Riana, expression serious again, even a touch sad. “Well, Riana, I can’t make you stay. It’s strictly up to you.”
Riana put down her crumpled napkin and stood up, the chair sliding back behind her.
Stacey almost froze, perhaps expecting her to leave. Yet, Riana simply gathered up their dirty plates, rinsed them, then placed them in the dishwasher. Next, she sealed the leftovers in their cartons.
“Can I make us coffee?” Riana asked.
“I’ll wipe down the table while it’s brewing.”
“Okay. I’ll be in the living room waiting. Oh, and you can take the leftovers back with you.”
Now it was Riana’s turn to nearly freeze. “Seriously?”
“Wow, thanks,” Riana said gratefully. At least she wouldn’t go hungry for the next couple of days.
With the kitchen now in order and the coffee made, she carried the two steaming mugs into the living room where Stacey waited on the couch. She was lying on her back, one arm casually tossed over her head. The lighting was low and sensual.
“You can just put them on the table to cool,” Stacey said.
Riana placed them on coasters that were on the coffee table and sat on the edge of the couch by Stacey’s hip.
Stacey eyed Riana and said, “Cute little shorts.”
Riana glanced down at her purple denim shorts trimmed with pink lace. “They’re comfortable.”
They drank their coffee in silence and then Stacey pulled Riana on top of her. Riana was tense at first and then she began to relax as Stacey massaged her back.
“Wanna play?” Stacey asked a few minutes later.
Riana nodded, head still upon Stacey’s chest. “You’re a hard one to resist.”