She showed her heart, he showed his cruelty.
As the founder of the Melanin Movement, a popular social networking site, Yiannis Graham is at the top of his game. The renowned bachelor is much too busy building his empire to commit to one relationship. However, when Yiannis spots Corrine Michaels while celebrating his thirty-fifth birthday, he can't explain why he’s so enamored by her. The attraction is so intense, he’s shaken to the core, and he vows that she would be his. After spending many years reinventing herself, Corrine Michaels is at the height of her career. She’s focus driven, successful, and beautiful. Long gone was the shy girl from The Bronx with the crooked smile. Now a nationally sought after fashion designer, she’s the object of several men’s affections.
When Corrine is reunited with Yiannis, she’s taken back to a time when the last thing anybody called her was beautiful. She’d always adored Yani, but he hadn’t reciprocated those feelings. His rejection of her was harsh and unkind, leaving permanent scars. Corrine is unimpressed by Yani’s sudden interest in her until she realizes he doesn’t know who she is. She vows it’s time to give him a taste of his own medicine.
When I see you...
I pressed Corrine into the door as her hands rested within the waistband of my jeans, pulling me to her. I kissed her as she teased me with those long slender fingers. One inch closer, and I was going to have her right in the hallway of my condo. Neither of us giving a damn as to who was watching. It had been three weeks since we’d last touched each other, and I, for one, needed her. She was in DC for the night, and we both planned to take full advantage of every second we had together. I turned the doorknob and allowed my foot to come in contact with the door kicking it open. Corrine stumbled backward, landing on the floor of my entryway. I fell on top of her using my foot to shut the door behind us. Corrine squealed with laughter as I nuzzled her neck. “I can’t believe you flew all the way here to spend the night with me.”
“You made me some promises that I fully intend for you to keep.”
I nodded my head between nibbles as I tasted every inch of bare skin that wasn’t covered by the short overcoat she wore.
“I’m a man of my word,” I mumbled between nibbles. “And I won’t pretend like the thought of what’s under this coat isn’t driving me crazy.”
“You want to see what’s under the coat,” she teased. “But, we have all night.”
“And yet, that’s not nearly enough.” I sat up on my knees, straddling her. She smiled shyly and looked away. It still amazed me that she had those insecurities. She certainly didn’t have any reason for them. I placed my hand under her chin, forcing her to look at me. “I’m right here,” I whispered. She sucked her bottom lip into her mouth. The subtle movement only fueled my already burning fire. I slowly lowered the zipper on her coat, revealing the thin lacy material below. The bodysuit was all black lace, cut high on each side, giving me a magnificent view of shapely hips. She wore thigh-high stockings that attached with straps that looked like miniature suspenders. I bit my lip, imagining her sauntering through the airport with nothing on but this coat and the thin lacy material. The view was too mesmerizing to think of anything other than devouring her right there.
“I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve this, but I’m grateful.”
“You deserve everything that you’re going to get,” she said in a way that made me tilt my head slightly.
I stood and reached my hand to her pulling her to her feet. She shrugged out of the coat, allowing me a full view of her fantastic body. She turned, revealing that the one piece was a thong as she tiptoed toward the kitchen. I licked my lips in anticipation. “Can I get you anything?” She tossed back at me.
“The only thing I want right now is you,” I growled following close behind her. My eyes stayed glued to her backside.
“Your wish is my command.”
Snaking my arms around her waist, I led her to my bedroom. I allowed my hands to explore every inch of her. We wasted little time removing my clothing and tossing them aimlessly around the room.
“I’ve been dreaming of this moment,” she said, pushing me back onto the bed and climbing on top. “I think that you are simply amazing, Yiannis Graham,” she whispered. She said it with such conviction I pulled her face to mine kissing her frantically. It was a little rushed and all over the place, but she was intoxicating, and I soon started to feel the effects of our kiss. I wasn’t myself when we kissed.
“It’s Ya,” I reminded her. I loved that it was her name for me.
“Hmm? I murmured too distracted by the heat generating from our two bodies merged only inches from becoming one.
“Ya, we need to talk.”
I shook my head too far gone for whatever she wanted to discuss. I only wanted to indulge in the satisfaction that I knew her body would bring. The sweetness that I’d begun to crave. She’d become the only one that could satisfy me in this state.
She pulled her mouth from mine, and I held her bottom lip between my own, causing a loud sucking sound to escape. Corrine smiled as I released her, but her eyes held an uncertainty that wasn’t there before. Something was bothering her. I was unnerved by the thought that my perfect Corrine was about to disappoint me. I wasn’t sure why the thought crossed my mind, but I sensed something was about to change between us. My feelings for Corrine had invaded my rib cage and was slowly making its way into my heart. The scent of her filled my lungs soothing me like aromatherapy; she was therapeutic. She was everything a man like me needed.
I pushed her hair away from her face and searched her eyes. I wanted her to be able to talk to me. I wanted her to believe in what we had discovered in each other. No games. She didn’t speak as I sensed the internal struggle she was having within herself. I licked my lips suggestively still feeling a little playful. I knew she found it distracting, but she didn’t waver, not even a smile. Instead, the tiny hint of a tear looked back, throwing me. I searched her eyes for understanding as to what had just happened. We were moments from taking each other to ecstasy, and now she was in tears. “Talk to me, baby.” She swiped at a fallen tear, and I thumbed away the rest. Her eyes were sad and almost lonely.
My search led to the sinking feeling of familiarity that hit me like a ton of bricks, causing me to gasp for air. I was transported back to a moment in my past that I’d almost forgotten. I’d seen these eyes before. I’d seen these tears, and this hurt. It was all too familiar. I sat up abruptly, causing Corrine to do the same as she continued to straddle me. I kept searching her face with my eyes. My hands fingering each detail as the tears slowly escaped. “Corrie.” I thought. It couldn’t be her. She closed her eyes, and I wanted to yell at her to open them, but instead, I took that moment to take in every detail of her face. I had to be wrong. How could I have not recognized her until that moment? It was so obvious. She’d changed, but not so much that I shouldn’t have known right away.
“I um, ” she whispered.
I placed my finger on her lips. “It’s OK. You don’t have to say anything.”
I wasn’t sure if she was about to confess, but I wasn’t prepared for the disappointment. I wasn’t ready to hear that she was a liar or that she was using me. I wasn’t even sure how I would respond if she did. I was too far into this.
Corrine wrapped her arms around my neck and held me like she was afraid I would vanish if she didn’t. I held her as my mind raced with unanswered questions. I held her quietly in the darkness of my room, unnerved and afraid.
“I love you, Ya,” she whispered so low I was sure she hadn’t intended for me to hear, so I pretended not to. Where did love fit into the lie?
I eased her off my lap, and we lay in awkward silence, the matter of lovemaking of little importance. There was an unwritten conversation taking place between us under the heaviness that now filled the room. I didn’t move afraid to disrupt what wasn’t being said.
Over an hour past before, I glanced over at her, realizing that sleep had claimed her. I eased my arm from beneath her, slide out of bed and into my boxer briefs that lay abandoned on the floor. Corrine shifted slightly, causing me to pause and look back at her. She appeared to be still sleeping, so I tiptoed out of the bedroom and made my way to my office. I quickly powered on my laptop and went to the Melanin Movement site. It had always been a rule of mine never to use the site to research women I dated. Social media always created a false narrative about people, and It rarely showed who someone truly was. I typed in Corrine Michaels. Not to my surprise, nothing came up.
There were no mentions, no tags, nothing. Being in the fashion industry should lead to at least a mention on Melanin Movement. Corrine had to know about my involvement with Melanin Movement and had intentionally blocked me. I typed in Corrine Matthews, which was the name I knew her by in the Bronx. Again nothing came up. I backed out of the site and googled Corrine Michaels. Within seconds my screen held several images, websites, and articles of Corrine. I clicked the first site C by Corrine official site, and there she was. I didn’t know what to expect, but to see her face right under Designer, Founder, CEO stunned me. I clicked on the first story and began reading.
Don’t Call It a Comeback: With an Ethically-Based New Label, Designer Corrine Michaels Honors her Bronx Roots
Corrine Michaels was the first black female Designer to be recognized by the ever-exclusive fashion industry, and two decades after launching her eponymous label, Corrine Michaels continues to lead the charge. After taking the fashion industry by storm during the flurry of biannual Fashion Weeks the past few seasons, the Bronx-born Michaels has emerged—with a lesson in bringing sustainability home.
As reported by Urban Innovator, Michaels recently announced the launch of a new label, C by Corrine, he, building on her already diverse and size-inclusive platform with an issue that affects us all: Gender equality.
More lies. She’d lied to me about who she was and indirectly about her career in the fashion industry. I skimmed through pictures, multiple articles, and interviews all that boasted about not only her skills as a designer but claiming her place in the male-dominated business industry. How had I missed this? I was more confused than ever before. If this wasn’t about money, why had she lied?
“There you are.”
I looked up to see Corrine in the doorway now wearing my t-shirt gazing in at me. She looked gorgeous as she leaned lazily against the door frame, my shirt barely touching mid-thigh. I no longer saw the flawlessly put together woman I’d begun to fall for, but the girl with wide expressive eyes that would watch me from afar when she didn’t think I was looking. I shook my head, ridding myself of that image.
“I couldn’t sleep, so I decided to get some work done.” I lied, “Why are you up? Is everything OK?”
“It got cold and lonely without you.”
I patted my lap as I slowly closed my laptop on her smiling face. Corrine sauntered to me, sliding effortlessly onto my lap. I toyed with her fingers. “Before you fell asleep, something was bothering you. Want to talk about it?”
She shook her head as she linked her fingers into mine. “I was just overwhelmed with the feeling of being with you.” My eyes dropped to our hands, not wanting her to see the disappointment I was sure betrayed me, sitting within my eyes. “ Besides, I didn’t fly all this way to talk, she whispered.”
“No, you didn’t,” I countered, rubbing my hand over her bare thigh.
She pulled my face to her and placed a kiss as soft as air on my lips. “Now, where were we?”
Her deceit swirling around in my head had little effect on the desire I had for her; she had that effect on me. Knowing her true identity only intensified that desire.
There had always been something special about Corrine, something that made me want to protect her even back then. My feelings were caught somewhere between anger, confusion, and lust. I was allowing passion to take over for the night. I had to know why Corrine had gone through so much trouble to come back into my life secretly.
“You know you can tell me anything, right?” I asked.
“Yea,” she answered, gazing into my eyes.
Oh, how I wanted to believe in her. I wanted to think that this was all a big misunderstanding, but the reality was she’d intentionally been dishonest.
“Let’s head back to bed,” I said, leading her back to the bedroom.