Story Trippin’: Champagne Johnny, Part 2

{Missed part one? Catch up here.}

kymani_cherine2Sweat poured from Jaylah’s head as she and Jourdan shook and shimmied on the dance floor. Faceless partners came and went, all trying to strike up a conversation with Jaylah while she pretended not to hear them above the music. Her mind was firmly set on Champagne Johnny, but an hour into her romp on the crowded dance floor he was still nowhere to be found.

For a moment, Jaylah thought about calling him. After all, he’d scribbled his number into “The Book” she lugged around to write down addresses, bus directions, and a string of men’s numbers. But that seemed silly, and a little desperate. Besides, he said he would come.

If it was meant to be, if she was meant to see him again before she left London, he would come.

A voice behind Jaylah broke her train of thought. “Excuse me, love.”

She turned around expecting to see Champagne Johnny’s beautiful blueblack face. Instead a halfway handsome tawny dread was standing behind her.

“Holding court I see.”

“What?” Jaylah tried to mask her disappointment.

“All that dancing. You must be on fire. Can I get you a drink?”

“Sure. I’ll take a Stella.”

Letting strangers buy her drinks wasn’t usually how Jaylah rolled, but it was her last night in the city and she was determined to have a good time.

Jaylah scanned the room for Jourdan who was wrapped in a seductive slow wine on the far side of the dance floor. While the dread was at the bar, her eyes swept the room–just in case.

No Champagne Johnny.

“Here you go, love,” the dread handed her the ice cold bottle. Jaylah put it to her head to cool off. “I’m Ivan. And you?”

“Jaylah,” she said before taking a long swig of her beer.

“Jaaaylaaaaah,” he nearly sang, “You’re American, innit?”

“That obvious?” she grinned.

Back home she would have never called herself simply American, full stop. Always black, African-American, hell, even negro. But the more she traveled, the more she realized that once she opened her mouth, her Americanness trumped all else and nobody seemed to be as quite hung up on race as folks were back home.

“You live here or just visiting?” he asked, giving Jaylah his undivided attention.

“Visiting. Actually, I’m heading back home tomorrow.”

Ivan sucked his teeth hard, “What a shame. I coulda showed you around.”

“Maybe next time,” she smiled.

“Yeah. Right now, though, let’s dance.”

Before Jaylah could object, he grabbed her and gently pulled her toward the dance floor.

Ivan knew how to move. He rested a hand on Jaylah’s hip and swayed smoothly. Jah Cure’s “Searching For A Girl” came pouring through the sound-system, and the crowd slapped the walls of the club.

“Pull uuuuuuuup,” they yelled, demanding the DJ start the tune again. He obliged, firing an air horn that tore through the basement like a rocket.

None of it seemed to phase Ivan, though. He wrapped his arms around Jaylah’s waist and started singing.

“Girl I got a message for you….deep in my heart it’s so true. Don’t play with my love…” he crooned in her ear.

Jaylah closed her eyes and lost herself in Ivan’s raspy baritone.

“I’m not your toy boy….I came to bring you joy…”

Ivan nuzzled his face in the crook of Jaylah’s neck and hummed.

Although she would never dance this close with a man she just met back home, something about Ivan made Jaylah feel at ease. He was easy-going and confident, but not pushy. And although he wasn’t the most handsome man she’d ever laid eyes on, his smile was so earnest it pierced her.

Jaylah leaned further into him and rested her head on his chest and decided to put Champagne Johnny out of her mind.

She slid her hand up Ivan’s sturdy chest and ran her fingers through his long locks. He brushed his lips across her shoulder. Not quite a kiss, but definitely an invitation. There was more if she wanted it.

Jaylah suddenly felt light headed. She couldn’t be tipsy, not from a few beers. This was something different. Happiness? Fun? Comfort?

“Relax girl. Stop thinking, just dance,” she whispered to herself.

She looked up at Ivan and rested her hand over his heart. He smiled and kissed her forehead. She blushed and kissed his cheek. They continued to dance for what seemed like hours until he grabbed her hand, put it to his lips, and led her to the back of the club. Jaylah leaned against the wall, and Ivan pressed his body so close, she couldn’t tell whether she was still standing or he was holding her up.

Still, he waited. He wanted to kiss her, to taste the inside of her mouth, but he also wanted her to give him permission. Jaylah knew this. She watched his eyes fill with longing. She noticed his body tense and begin to expand with every second she withheld her touch. They stood, looking but not quite touching, waiting for someone to make a move.

His restraint amused her. She thought it sexy. While he waited for her permission, most men she knew would just move in for a sloppy, awkward kiss. Ivan wanted her to make the first move. He wanted her to confirm he wasn’t the only one aching to be consumed.

Ivan wanted her to unlock the craving he felt, but couldn’t quite explain. Sure Jaylah was pretty, but he’d been with a lot of pretty girls. But when he saw her on the dance floor moving like nothing else mattered in the world except her body and the beat, he knew he wanted to taste her…for as long as she’d let him.

Jaylah put her thumb to Ivan’s lips, parting them slightly. He pressed closer, almost unable to wait any longer.

As Jaylah moved in to kiss him she heard Jourdan call her name.

She looked around for her friend who feverishly pointed toward the bar. Jaylah strained to see what was so important that Jourdan felt the need to wreck her flow.

That’s when she saw him. And her heart caught in her throat.

Story Trippin’: ‘Champagne Johnny’

Fiction Friday Britni Danielle

I’ve been wanting to use some of my travels as a springboard for writing for some time now, but I just haven’t. Last night, I just couldn’t shake the idea for Champagne Johnny, so I started writing. Let me know what you think of this & if you’d like me to continue. I’m going to pop in…weekly(?)…to either extend this story, or share another. Enjoy & please leave a comment!
~~

Champagne Johnny

Flirting in London was so much easier than in the States. Perhaps it was because she was only in town for a month and eager to scotch-tape enough memories together to hold her over until her next excursion. Or maybe it was because it was easier being a whore on the road. Either way, it was her last night in the Queen’s city and she was ready to burn a hole in her brain.

Jaylah ran around her hotel room trying to decided between the fuschia dress that showed off the creamy tops of her ample breasts, or the short black mini that exposed a dangerous amount of leg.

After remembering she planned on dancing like a wild 23-year-old dropping an obscene amount of E, she picked the pink number, brushed her hair into a lazy topknot, smeared on her lipstick, and ran out of the door.

After all, Jourdan–Jaylah’s new bestie–was waiting and she didn’t want to waste another minute of her last night in London on minor details like clothes; they were hopefully coming off anyway.

There were more important things she needed to tend to, namely Champagne Johnny, the beautiful man she was pressed up against on a dance floor the night before.

Like all of the other men she met in London, Champagne Johnny was slightly taken aback, but extremely intrigued by her forwardness. He had no choice.

When she asked him, “So do all of the black men in the city love white women or what?” instead of just saying hello, he knew she was unlike any woman he’d ever met before.

“Excuse me?” he said, completely caught off guard.

“Well,  I’ve been here a month and I’ve seen y’all with everybody but black women. What’s up with that?”

Champagne Johnny chortled, “No…not all of us,” he said extending an easy smile. “I’m Johnny, what’s your name, love?”

She noticed the sharp angle of his nose then, causing her to stop and take him in. His eyes were disarmingly generous, the lights in the Mau Mau bar seemed to glide across his sable skin, and the hint of a decidedly un-British accent danced on the tip of his tongue.

“I’m Jaylah. Where are you from?”

“Peckham.”

“No, no. Before. Were you born in London?”

“No. Moved here from Ghana when I was four,” he pointed to her empty beer bottle, “Want another?”

“Sure.”

As he walked away, Jaylah noticed the outline of his strong, sleek back and footballer’s body. She thought his arms were easily sturdy enough to lift her, and he moved with a quiet confidence that said he could own any room if he wanted.

In that moment Jaylah knew: she had to see him naked.

* * *

Jaylah’s heels clicked as she ran down Great Eastern Street to meet up with Jourdan before she got too pissed for having to wait. Although she journeyed to London alone to escape her mess of a life after she was unceremoniously “let go” (that’s how they put it anyway) from her writing gig at the LA Weekly and broke up with her vexingly bland boyfriend all in the same week, she was happy to meet Jourdan in line at the Pret.

Since their chance meeting, the two had become fast friends and had hit up every bar, lounge, museum, bashment, and flea market their too-tight budgets would allow.

“About time you got here,” Jourdan said with a wicked grin. “I was about to freeze to death waiting for your ass. Cute dress!”

“Sorry I’m late,” Jaylah kissed her friend’s perfectly polished cheek, “I was trying to sort out my outfit. You know, decide between showing the legs or the tits?”

“Uh huh, you’re trying to look cute for your man,” Jourdan teased.

An image of Champagne Johnny hungrily kissing her neck flashed through her mind causing Jaylah to smile in spite of herself. “My what?” she held up her left hand, “I don’t see any rings on these fingers.”

“Please. You know he’s coming. I thought I was going to have to pry him off you last night. I’m surprised he didn’t try to get you back to his flat.”

“He tried,” Jaylah smirked, “It might just work tonight, too.”

The pair laughed as they descended the stairs into Plastic People, a basement club known for its dim lights, tight corners, and massive soundsystem. A soulful house remix of Nina Simone’s “See Line Woman” was blaring through the speakers, and Jaylah quickly scanned the room for Champagne Johnny. No luck.

She was disappointed, but she knew he would show. At least she hoped so.

Although Jaylah wasn’t looking for anything serious, especially since she had just disentangled herself from boring-ass Marco, she ached to see Champagne Johnny with an urgency that surprised her.

Girl, chill, she commanded. He’s fine, but damn. Chill!

Jaylah was trying to stop herself from spinning into Crazy Town and creating an entire narrative about how Champagne Johnny was the one , and how years from now they will recount the story of their meeting. Calling it kismet and wondering what would have happened had she and Jourdan kept walking past the bar that night.

“Can you imagine?” she’d say to their friends over dinner, with Champagne Johnny’s arm comfortably draped around her shoulders.

“We could have missed each other. But look at us now!” he’d chime in right on time.

Jourdan tapped Jaylah on the shoulder, snapping her out of her daydream. “Ready to hit the floor?”

“Always!” Jaylah responded, a little too excitedly.

Just have fun, Jay, she thought to herself. You came to dance….not to fall in love.

~~

Want to know what happens next? Read part 2 here!