What do you get with four young men, all searching to find their soul mate at the same time? Well, if its four men on the mother of all missions, then definitely expect the unexpected! Following a friendly wager at a nearby fitness center Jordan, Dale, Marcus, and, Tyrus set out on a desperate journey of life, love, and the pursuit of their Ms. Right at a time when men outnumber women 7-to-1!
For such a large office building the main lobby of the Hightower Building was a bit on the small side but was still laid out pretty decent. Smoke gray granite floors with speckles of silver and white reflected almost like mirrors and met you as soon as you stepped from the elevator. Six matching pillars surrounded the oval-shaped lobby and reached up to its three-story atrium ceiling. Crème-colored lounge chairs lined the walls in a connecting order and stopped at either side of the building's main entrance doors. In the center of the lobby was an island security station where two heavy-set brothers were watching and pointing at a set of security monitors. Approaching them I waited a bit before asking where conference room 'C' was.
"Yeah. That camera's been acting up for a while now. But anytime you see it doing that just let me or Captain Wilson know."
"Cool. Thanks, man."
That was when the G. Garvin-looking brother paused then turned his attention to me.
"Good morning, sir. Can I help you?"
"Yeah. I'm Jordan Banks. I'm here for the Commerce and Finance Seminar in conference room 'C'."
"No problem. I'll just need you to sign right here and I'll need to see your driver's license, sir."
Reaching back for my wallet I smiled and made a mental note to have big slim keep the sirs to a strict minimum. Hopefully the D.O.B. on my license would take care of that. As I handed him my ID my cell phone buzzed against my hip. The caller ID showed that it was Dale.
"Yeah. What's up, Dale?"
"Jordan, look. Do me a favor. I'm running a little behind this morning, so when you get to work can you call Mr. Jamison and let him know I still plan on making that interview?"
"Dude, don't you think you should be handling that yourself?"
"Yeah, but I can't find his number."
"Well, either way, you're still on your own. I'm in Rockville getting ready to head into a seminar that I'm running late for myself." By then Security was handing me back my license.
"Mr. Banks, you can either take this spiral staircase up to the second floor and follow the signs, or you can head this way, take the North wing elevator up and it'll put you right there." I gave what he said some thought.
"I'll take the stairs. Thanks."
"No problem. Just doing my job, sir." Okay, maybe I was wrong about the D.O.B. thing. I just smiled and headed for the stairs.
"Dale, the only thing I can tell you is to dial the front desk and leave a message with--"
"--I got it! I got it! It's right here." He said that like I was in the same room with him.
"Well handle your business then. And good luck with the interview. I'm out."
At the top of the stairs and to my right I could hear the chime of the elevators off in the distance. Coupling that with big boy's directions I knew I wasn't too far away.
Making my way toward the conference room I could see black-and-white portraits of men and women on either side of the hall. My guess was that they were pictures of past or even present board members in their youth. That was when a mild but intriguing scent drew my attention. An invigorating scent. A moving scent. A woman's scent. The soft, floral fragrance didn't get any stronger as I made my way toward the conference room doors. Neither did it dissipate. That much alone told me that a pleasant surprise waited for me somewhere on the other side.
Stepping through the double doors a rectangular-shaped table sat off to the left. A sign-in sheet, a cupful of number two pencils, several notepads and name tags were all out in plain view. Quickly I signed my name, took one of everything else and grabbed the first vacant seat I saw.
Glancing around the conference room it was easy to see that I wasn't the only one running behind. Out of thirty attendees, twenty-seven were already present. I made twenty-eight. And as usual, hardly any of them were women. Only four from what I could see.
Trying to get comfortable in a seat that was too hard to get comfortable in I slowly scanned the area for the source of that intoxicating fragrance. Together in the center of the room were two beautiful sisters who didn't seem to be too familiar with each other. At opposite corners of the front row were the other two, who were just as good-looking. All four of them were jotting down on their notepads like crazy. And judging from the way the brothers were sitting around them salivating, that had to be noticed by more than just me.
It didn't hit me until a few seconds later that a facilitator hadn't stepped in just yet. Then I remembered that I was one of a few who were several minutes late and that maybe the facilitator was waiting for people like me to show up before getting started. Never-the-less I made the most of the down time and continued to scope the potential of my surroundings. Two rows ahead of me one of the sisters sitting in the middle reached inside her purse to answer a phone that none of us heard ringing.
Michael. A man's name. And possibly a man who was calling to speak to his woman. Seconds later I smiled because it was obvious that I wasn't the only one who was thinking that. No sooner than she said 'Michael' the brother with the shoulder-length braids who was all but sitting in the child's lap suddenly remembered that he was in a seminar and turned his attention back to his empty notepad. The other three guys who had similar interests chilled out as well. Sitting there partially disappointed myself I smiled because, had I been sitting where they were, I probably would've met a similar fate. Thank goodness for the Beltway Faithful.
Seconds later I heard the sounds of hallway voices diminishing as the conference room double doors slowly squeaked closed. By then two more brothers had walked in and were headed to claim the last two empty seats. Hmmph. Just what I needed: More competition. Before I even had a chance to size up their strengths and weaknesses I saw, walking a few steps behind them, one of the most beautiful women that ever lived.
Walking confident and secure in her femininity was an absolutely striking, satin-skinned sister standing about five-five, maybe a hundred-and-thirty pounds with honey-brown legs like you wouldn't believe. A turquoise business suit with matching bangles and heels gave her outfit a nice tropical appeal. And the sexy little haircut she wore did all kinds of wonders for her soft, penetrating eyes. And with all of that going for her she even had the nerve to have a smile that could light up Las Vegas all by itself.
As she made her way past me I soon found out who the owner of that arousing fragrance was. Man, she smelled good. Taking a quick glance at all the occupied seats it wasn't hard to tell that Miss Beautiful was none other than our facilitator. And judging from the way the room fell silent as she moved and maneuvered I could tell she met the other guys' approval just as well. Even the four sisters in the class sat up and took notice.
"Good morning, everybody. My name is Shandra, and I'll be conducting this morning's seminar." For some reason she seemed to be giving me direct eye contact when she said that. I took quick notice of that and proceeded to give her my undivided.
* * *
12:44pm. Although we were scheduled to wrap up at 1:00pm, pretty Miss Shandra decided to let us go early since there weren't a lot of questions being asked. Initially, I planned on grabbing a sandwich and heading back to the job after the seminar, but changed my mind after almost four hours of watching Shandra, well…facilitate. And after seeing the guys chase the other four sisters clear into the hallway I took that as fate working heavily in my favor. Slowly I made my way to the front of the conference room were Shandra was working on her laptop at a makeshift workstation.
"Yes?" She said that without looking up.
"I, uh…just wanted to say I like the way you ran this morning's session."
That little ice breaker managed to lift her pretty face toward me, complete with a smile and those hypnotic chocolate-brown eyes. It also might've come off a little lame, but hey, a brother had to keep his approach work-related.
"Thank you." I smiled. "What part did you like the most?"
Why did she have to ask me that? I mean, it was hard enough trying to keep my mind on the seminar, with her smiling and laughing and facilitating all lustful and seductive. Instantly my mind started flashing images of her toned legs, silken hair, gleaming teeth, endless curves. Basically, everything about her. And the source of those images was sitting right there in front of me.
"What do you mean?"
"Uh…you were talking about the seminar. I was asking what part did you like." Right then I started to wonder if I looked anywhere near as embarrassed as I felt. Her smile pretty much said that I did. All I could do was laugh.
"I am so sorry." That got a nice little smirk out her as well. "Look. I might as well be honest with you. I was just sitting back there wondering--"
Now, whoever it was that was sending me birthday greetings while I was jump-starting my 'mack' were either ten months early or two months late, depending on how they felt about me. In either case I thought their timing couldn't possibly have been worse. That was until I saw Shandra stand up, look around me, then burst into a chorus of thank-yous as some six-foot-five, Wesley Snipes-looking brother walked in with a friggin' rose garden in one arm and a silver gift-wrapped box in the other.
That was Shandra making a swift beeline past my failed attempt at asking her out, right into his full but open arms. I glanced at my watch to keep from seeing them kiss. Hearing it was even worse. After wiping her lipstick off of his lips they both headed my way.
"I'm sorry. Jordan, this is my fiancé, Calvin. Calvin, Jordan." I pretended like I was glad to meet him.
"Hey, Jordan." I made sure to shake his hand harder than he shook mine. "Jordan…you wouldn't by chance be in here pushin' up on my woman, now would you?"
What was he talking about? I mean, other than standing less than two feet from her, and then looking totally stunned when I turned and saw him, what could've given him that impression?
"Calvin!" He laughed. "Jordan, don't mind him. He's always playing like that."
"Oh. For a minute I thought he was serious."
"See what you did, Calvin?"
For the next few seconds the three of us just made small talk with Calvin saying how he would've been there sooner had it not been for traffic on the beltway and Rockville Pike. Hmmm. All the comforts of being me, except he had the woman. That was when Shandra broke our stride with a question I really wished she hadn't asked.
"So, Jordan, before Calvin came in, you were getting ready to say something. What was it?" Looking at nearly a million roses, a gift box that was certain to have old Calvin sleeping tonight with a smile on his face, and the glitz and glitter of an engagement ring I obviously was too caught up to notice, I smiled through my disappointment yet again and gave the only answer I could.