Jessica didn’t know much about Eartha Kitt—only that she played Catwoman in the Batman television series and had an affair with Eddie Murphy in Boomerang—but she would’ve done anything to get out of her dismantled apartment. Her grandmother’s shattered china on the kitchen floor. The hole in the wall next to the photo of her mother in Mariah’s arms. The front door, almost completely off its hinges after Whitmore slammed it behind him and kicked it with all his strength before finally leaving.
When Bruce called in the aftermath, Jessica had said yes before he could ask the question, and now, as she sat at the table in the dimly lit restaurant, listening to the jazz musicians’ tribute to the late singer, she couldn’t help but feel intoxicated. Transcending the problems of her current relationship, she snapped her fingers, rolled her neck, and let out a deep moan.
“I knew you would like it,” Bruce whispered in her ear. He was suddenly standing behind her, massaging her shoulders. She hadn’t noticed him leave his seat across from her.
“You’re trying to seduce me,” Jessica said. “You know I have a man.”
“A man?” There was a hint of sarcasm in his voice. Jessica tried to laugh, but her weak chuckle pained her abdomen. She knew this blissful moment couldn’t last. Even as she yearned for Bruce to wrap his arms around her and move her body with the soothing notes of the trombone, saxophone, and trumpet in harmony, every other man in the restaurant resembled Whitmore. She felt trapped, the walls closing in, the airways to her lungs blocked.
As if reading her mind, Bruce placed a hand on Jessica’s cheek. He wiped away invisible tears with his thumb. He nuzzled her neck and inhaled her perfume. “Lilacs,” he said smiling.
Jessica pursed her lips. “Dance with me.”
Bruce took her hand and together they glided to the dance floor just below the stage. The music had stopped, replaced with a rhythmic beat on a djembe drum. Jessica lifted the hem of her skirt, bounced and rocked her hips as the woman on stage sang into the microphone deep from the back of her throat.
“Come oooonnnn-a my house . . .”
Jessica danced and spun and let Bruce take her by the hips and pull her into him, his lips grazing behind her ear. She forgot about Whitmore. His unreasonable requests. The tantrum he threw after she’d declined his third proposal. She threw her head back, wrapped her arms around the back of Bruce’s neck, pulling him closer to her. They danced for what seemed like hours.
The final beat on the drum sounded, and the piano, bass, and horns returned.
“Oooooh, John, pleeease don’t kiss me. Ooooh, John, pleeeease . . .”
Jessica rubbed her cheek against the coarse stubble on Bruce’s chin.
“Oooooh, Bruce,” she echoed. “Pleeease . . .”
And he kissed her.
I’ve added a new character to the Jessica and Whitmore story arc. Hmm what’s going to happen next . . .