Chapter 9: Spare Me The Drama

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       Neon Strike was packed with twenty-somethings. Fried wings and hot sauce filled the air as hip-hop vibrated off the electric blue illuminated walls. No one can hear the blonde behind the counter popping her bubble gum as she slides Samuel's card for the second time.

Harmony threw her hands up as she sat one of the many square metal tables, "What's up?" She yelled in Samuel's direction.

Sam pointed to the girl, who started examining the black strip on the back of his card, "She don't know what she's doing." He mouthed than smiled coyly as the girl looked at him.

"You should've told me Daniel's back in town." Lela slapped her hand on the table shaking the ice in the glass of black cherry lemonade.

Alyssa stopped singing along to Rihanna's chorus but still danced along with the beat, "Oh." She shimmied towards the table. "Daniel's back." A smile crossed her face. "Is that a problem for ya and the fiancée?"

"No." Lela drug her sweating glass closer to her. "Everything's good in my hood." She looked over at the line and counted the loud chatting individuals. "This place is going to be packed. I wish Fiya was here."

"The cost of motherhood." Harmony declared digging her debit card out of her wallet. "He's probably overdraft, again." She nodded to Samuel in the line then pushed her chair back.

"Big sister to the rescue," Lela shouted cupping her hands around her mouth.

Harmony cut passed the girl with the pierced nose that tried to stuff her six ten feet in a pair of sevens and coughed her way through the cloud of Lysol the boy accumulated from spraying the bowling shoe.

"Try this one." Harmony handed the girl her card.

The bubble gum girl popped a bubble with sharp eyes up to Samuel as she took the card from Harmony.

"I have money." He affirmed plucking his card off the counter.

The girl swiped the card and the card reader ignited a green light.

"You had money. Yeah, right." The blonde croaked giving Harmony her card back. "Next." She gestured for the group behind Sam.

Sam moved out the way as he slid his card back into his tattered leather wallet, "I have money." He repeated with a little more vigor.

"Did you buy your books already?" Harmony asked waving to Chris at the bar.

Samuel twisted his face as he stuffed her wallet back in his jeans' pocket, "Yes, mother I did."

"Is that all you got." Harmony folded her arms and jutted out her hip. "You didn't get anything else.

"The line was Black Friday long...so I got a drink." He shrugged nonchalantly. "Then..." He rubbed his hand over his ivy league cut hair. "I was hungry...so...I filled up Wes' car so we could go get some tacos from Toro Fuego."

"You filled up Wes' Dodge Ram." She slapped his arm. "That's like—what." She did the mental math as he looked at her with tight lips. "Seventy-something dollars."

"Seventy-two." Samuel corrected. "I was trying to lift his spirits after you dumped 'em." He bumped his shoulder into hers as he walked passed her.

She pushed him in the back and he doubled over, "Don't meddle in my love life." She jumped back, almost knocking over a girl with a cup full of Pepsi, as he reached for her. "I don't ticker in your little random hookups."

Samuel faked a right then pounced on her, locking her in a headlock. "You broke my roommate's heart dude."

"I'm sorry." She slapped his arm.

"Hey, man!" The voice of a deep southern gentleman boomed over Harmony's head. She tried to look up but the position Samuel had her in, forbid it. She only saw his shoes and she wondered who wears oxfords at a bowling alley.

"Let her go!" The unfamiliar male shouted.

"Hey, man!" Samuel loosened his hold of Harmony. "Chill."

Harmony pushed her hair out her face as she straightened up and placed eyed on the male in front of them.

He placed his hand gently on her shoulder leaning over a bit, "Are you okay?"

"I'm fine." She glanced at his hand upon her shoulder a little too close to her chest. "Just a little horseplay with big head." She slapped Samuel's arm. "He's my brother."

Samuel waved at the man then cocked his head towards Harmony, "New Friend?"

"Sam, this is Sinclair Abernathy." She shot her thumb towards Sam. "Abernathy this is Sam."

"Hmm." Sinclair held out his hand. "Nice to meet you, Sam."

"Same to you," Samuel said with a pat on Sinclair's shoulder then he stepped around him, yelled out a girl's name and trotted off in her direction.

"You have a brother." Sinclair rested his hand on the back of his neck as his lips ticked up.

"I have a sister, too." Harmony uttered twisting on her heels. "She's a redhead." Harmony scanned the crowded then pointed at the girl in the too tight sweater dress doing a dance of celebration as the screen behind her displayed the word strike. "She's right there."

"She's your sister." He looked back and forth from Harmony and to Ariel. "Her."

"Yes." Harmony frowned. "What's so confusing?" She sat her hands on her waist.

"Nothing." He shook his head. "Two beautiful sisters. Damn." His hand shot to his mouth. "Sorry."

Harmony smirked. "Don't be...but this sister." She placed her hand to her chest. "You don't have a chance with...but Ariel, might like you."

"Really." He bit his lip as he stared at Ariel.

Harmony clapped her hands loudly in his face drawing his attention back to her.

"She's my sister, not a blow-up doll so dial back the lust."

Sinclair held up his hands, "Only good intentions."

"Better be." She pointed at him sternly and then an infectious laugh called to her like a siren to a ship of soldiers in the Aegean Sea.

A loud clap pulled her sight away from the face she knew for years but just admitted she loved. She loved everything about his bushy eyebrows, sleepy eyes, broad nose and pillowy lips.

"What!" She shouted Sinclair fanning his hands away from her.

"Erase the lust from your eyes." He snickered as he repeated her words.

"I'm not lusting." She waved off his words. "Cairo's my friend."

"A friend." Sinclair huffed comically. "Okay...whatever." He bumped Harmony with his shoulder. "Who's the pretty lady with him?"

Harmony twisted her mouth as she narrowed her eyes, "Heaven Stevens." She spoke her name as if it made her want to spit.

"That's Heaven." He gushed then eradicated his fondness for the girl when Harmony rolled her eyes at him. "I got a plan." He added.

"What?"

"You wanna make him jealous." Sinclair winked.


Should Harmony take Sinclair's offer?


Should Harmony take Sinclair's offer?

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