The Dinner Double-date

The Dinner Double-date

Anaya was waiting for Jamel. They were going out for dinner with Sharita his late best friend’s girlfriend and her date. Anaya wasn’t really looking forward to it. She would have preferred to have Jamel all to herself. And there was something about Sharita that made her uneasy. That was why she had instinctively held on to Jamel, sending out the message that he was her man. Whether Sharita got the message, she would know soon enough.

Just then, Jamel arrived and she waited until he stopped the car and got out before she walked over to him. “Hey, Baby,” she said when she reached him. “You look gorgeous, as usual.”

“Thank you,” he said smiling. “And you look sexy.” They kissed and then, he opened the door for her to get in. She got in and his eyes dropped to her legs before he closed the door.

“I wish that it were just the two of us having dinner,” she said when he got into the car.

“Me too,” he said.

“Have you met this guy she’s bringing?”

“No.”

“Was it serious between your friend and her?”

“He was going to propose to her on the day he died.”

“Wow. That’s crazy.”

“Yes.” He wondered what she would say if she only knew that Sharita and he had been lovers while she was dating his best friend. He tried not to think about it or about the man Sharita was bringing to dinner. He just wanted to get through the evening and hope that neither Anaya nor Sharita’s date suspected that there was anything between them.

“She’s pretty,” Anaya acknowledged grudgingly.

“She said the same thing about you.”

“Really!”

“Yes.”

“Did you like her for your friend?”

“I did,” he lied. How could he tell her that he did like her but not because of Rashad?

Anaya changed the topic. When they got to the restaurant, Sharita was already there, waiting. She was sitting on a stone ledge. She looked stunning. Anaya immediately clutched Jamel’s hand.

Jamel’s eyes traveled over Sharita. She looked absolutely beautiful and those lovely legs of hers…He grimaced as he became aroused. He quickly averted his gaze.

Sharita smiled although she was seething with jealousy. It drove her crazy to see Jamel with another woman. “Hello, you two,” she greeted them.

“Hello,” Jamel said quietly.

“Hello,” Anaya said. “Where’s your date?”

“He’ll be here shortly,” Sharita assured her before her gaze shifted to Jamel who was watching her. Was he jealous? She hoped he was. She wanted him to be jealous of her date as she was jealous of his girlfriend.

“Do you want us to wait for him out here?” Jamel asked tautly.

Sharita glanced at her watch. “He’ll be here any time now. If you would prefer to wait inside, that’s fine. The reservation is in my name.”

“We’ll wait inside,” Anaya said. “Let’s go, Baby,” she said to Jamel who would have preferred to stay and see Sharita’s date. His eyes lingered on Sharita before he turned and walked away.

Sharita watched them go. She glanced at her watch again. If Sadiq didn’t show up in five minutes, she would call him again. He had better not back out now. She had called him the same day she had arranged to have dinner with Jamel and his girlfriend and begged him to be her date. “You must make them believe that we’re dating.”

“You mean we act like we’re a couple.”

“Yes.”

“All right.”

The five minutes were up and she was about to call him when she saw him walking towards her. Relieved, she stood up. “Hi,” she said. “I was beginning to think that you weren’t going to come.”

“I promised that I would be here and here I am. You look lovely as usual.”

“Thank you. They’re waiting for us inside.”

“Let the show begin.” He grabbed her hand and they went inside the restaurant. They walked over to the table. As he unbuttoned and removed his jacket to put it over the back of his chair, Sharita introduced them.

“Nice to meet you both,” Sadiq said as he shook Jamel’s hand first and then, Anaya. He held the chair out for Sharita to sit down before he sat down next to her.

“Nice to meet you too,” Anaya said, smiling politely.

“Likewise,” Jamal said, his expression inscrutable. Underneath the surface, he was jealous as hell. His eyes shifted to Sharita who was watching him. Then, he stiffened when she ran her fingers through Sadiq’s hair. “I love your haircut,” she remarked. “It suits you.”

Sadiq smiled. “Thank you.” Then, to her surprise, he leaned over and kissed her on the lips.

Sharita resisted the urge to punch him in the arm and instead, smiling brightly, she picked up the menu and suggested, “Why don’t we order now?”

Jamel wanted to punch him too but he had to remind himself that he was her boyfriend and Anaya was his girlfriend. He was tempted to get up and leave with Anaya. Instead, he picked up the menu and tried to read it. He could feel Anaya’s eyes on him. Did she sense that he was jealous of Sadiq?

For one maddening moment, he wanted to grab Sharita and take her outside so that he could chew her out. He must have been out of his mind to agree to this dinner double-date. How on earth was he going to get through it? How was he going to sit there and watch her all lovey- dovey with another guy and hide his jealousy?

“Baby, what’s wrong?” Anaya asked, touching his arm.

“Nothing,” he said. “I’m ready to order.” He ordered the Sweet Pea soup and the Buttermilk Fried Half Chicken.”