Chapter 10

       "Shamone, Mike! Hehe! Let's go! I'm trying to get my groove on!" his good friend Chris Tucker shouted loudly, as he spun around on his heels into a circle.

        As Michael checked himself out in the mirror, an unamused expression came upon his face when he noticed Chris struggling to execute some of his most famous dance moves.

       "Still kicking with the wrong leg, I see," Michael snickered while adjusting his tie.

       "Shit! I probably do it better than you! When's the last time you've danced?" Chris bellowed, while playfully performing the choreography to 'Thriller.'

       As Michael sprayed on a bit of his favorite scent, 'Black Orchid,' he chuckled before turning serious, "You're so silly! But to answer your question, I dance every-day! Just as music means a lot to me, so does dance. It's the ultimate form of self-expression. When I dance, I feel free."

      "Well that's good to hear. You done moved out here to B-more and became Dr. Love. How are classes going?"

        Michael laughed. "Correction-- It's Dr. Black, and classes are going fine."

     "Well, everyone misses you, man! When's the next time you'll be visiting Cali?"

       "Maybe sometime next year. I can't stand being there for too long... But maybe I'll pop up to visit a few close family and friends when I can."

       After being satisfied with the way he looked, Michael tossed his car-keys to Chris. Since he didn't feel like going out in the first place, the last thing he felt like doing was driving to a crowded nightclub.

       Before becoming known as Dr. Black, whenever Michael would go out to a club, it would turn into a circus. The DJ would announce that 'Michael Jackson' was there and would proceed to play all of his songs. But since things were much different now, the experience wasn't so bad.

        While out on a date a few years prior, he had attended an upscale nightclub for the first time as Dr. Black. And to his surprise, barely anyone batted an eye. At first, it was shocking, but he was grateful. To be able to walk into a public place and not have photographers jumping out of the bushes or people clamoring all over him was a blessing. And though he genuinely enjoyed the none eventful experience, he still hated nightclubs.

       The only nightclub that he truly loved partying at was 'Studio 54'. A new nightclub located in NewYork that had opened in the year of 1977. Back in those days, he was a young and bubbly 19-year-old exploring the wild night-life like many others his age. The reason why he loved 'Studio 54' so much was because of its high energy, excitement, and props. There was no other discotech like it at the time. But things were much different now, and times had changed.

        It just wasn't a favorite past time of his, and if it weren't for Chris, he would have stayed at home.

       After a long day of teaching, giving lectures, and grading an insane amount of papers, he needed rest. But considering that Chris had paid him a special visit while filming a movie nearby, it was the least he could do.

         When they arrived at the club, Chris snagged a table in the VIP section with open bottle service, and seemingly within seconds, a small group of women flocked over to their table.

        "Fuck! I knew I should have stayed my ass at home," Michael mumbled under his breath. He knew that going out with Chris was never a dull occasion, but he was hoping once, at least just once, that Chris would have kept things low-key.


***

       "Damn! When did they close 'The Rose Room?" Roxanne said while parking her car.

       "Wow! We were just here like two Friday's ago?" Symphony replied disappointedly.

       "I know, right? All the chill spots keep closing. I only wanted a drink or two," Roxanne huffed, "is 'Nightclub in Baltimore' Ok with you?"

       Waving her hand casually, Symphony replied, "It's fine. Let's just wet our whistles and bounce. I'm not trying to deal with any knuckle-headed guys or get too drunk. I have to be in the studio by noon tomorrow, and I have a date later that night."

        What was to be a quick in and out wasn't seeming likely. As soon as they walked into the club, two guys approached them, offering to buy them drinks. Symphony had utterly ignored them but Roxanne accepted their proposal without hesitation.

       Noticing the irritation on Symphony's face, one of the guys chimed to Roxanne, "What's up with your friend?"

       Roxanne giggled flirtatiously. "Oh nothing. She's just tired from a long day at work."

       Rolling her eye's in annoyance, Symphony huffed before stopping mid-sentence. "Roxanne, just ring my cell when you're--,"

      "Is everything alright, girl? You look like you just saw a ghost," Roxanne asked in concern, noticing that Symphony seemed to be frozen in place.

       Shaking her head sideways, Symphony snapped out of her stupor. "Sorry... Yeah, girl, I'm fine. I'll catch up with you later if it's alright. I see that a good friend of mine is here tonight, and I'd like to catch up with him for a few."

         "Yeah, go ahead. I'll ring your cellphone if I need you. Have fun!"

        Symphony then looked between Roxanne and the two guys. "Are you sure?" she asked, feeling weary over leaving her alone with two strangers.

        "Girl, I'll be fine! You know my ass know how to fight!" Roxanne laughed just before making her way towards the bar.

       As Symphony walked towards the VIP area, she noticed the sour look on Michael's face. She could easily tell that he wasn't happy at all.

        When he noticed that she was making her way towards him, he blinked his eyes twice to make sure he wasn't imagining things. "Oh God, why me?" he thought silently to himself, knowing that his being flanked by a half-dozen women wasn't a good look.

       After excusing herself through the crowd of scantily clad women, she kissed him softly on the cheek when she reached him. "Sorry I'm late, baby. How are you?" she winked.

        "I'm so glad you're here. Let's go!" He sputtered as he stood from the sofa.

        As they were walking away, Chris screamed. "Mike! Hey Mike! Where you going, man?"

       "Have fun, Chris! A good friend of mine is here!" Michael yelled without looking back in Chris's direction.

       After taking Symphony to a secluded corner of the club, Michael let out a deep breath. "Thank you for saving me back there."

     Symphony laughed. "I saw the gloomy expression on your face and figured I'd come to your rescue. But please forgive me if you didn't need saving."

       "No, I definitely needed saving. I'm only here because of my friend Chris."

       "Good, now I don't feel so bad. I would have felt terrible if I broke up your little party back there."

       Michael rolled his eyes. "For Chris, Yes. That was a party. But for me? No."

        "I understand, Michael. The only reason that I'm here myself is because I usually go out to happy hour with a co-worker friend of mine on Friday nights. When we got down here, we found our regular spot had gone out of business, so we looked for a new spot and found this place."

       "Hmm... So where is your friend? I don't want to keep you from him or her," he asked curiously, trying to figure out if her co-worker was male or female.

       "It's all good. She's having drinks at the bar with two guys we met earlier.

       "Interesting... So how come you didn't stay with her?"

       Symphony sighed. "I just wanted a couple of drinks only. I'm not trying to deal with any guys tonight."

       "Soooo, does that include me?" Michael spoke low, moving closer to her.

       "Champagne?" A waiter asked, appearing out of nowhere, causing Symphony to jump into Michael's arms.

       "Would you like a drink?" Michael chuckled, instinctively placing his arms around her.

       "Yes. That would be nice right about now," she blushed.

        Feeling embarrassed for being an utter scaredy-cat, she apologized as she eased out of his grasp.

       "It's alright, Symphony. And by the way, you look very nice," he chimed, as he admired the way her black pants-suit hugged every curve of her body.

      "Thank-you. 'Ross'-- dress for less," she laughed shyly.

       "Nothing wrong with that. My favorite place is the Salvation Army. I love a good deal," he bantered in return.

       When the waiter came back with their drinks, Michael whispered something to him and then led Symphony to a cozy table for two.

       "Aww, Michael... This is very sweet of you, but you didn't have to get us a table."


       "Oh, It's ok and besides-- I'm super tired. I had a long day and needed to sit down for a bit."


       "You know, Michael-- if you're not feeling up to it, we can always reschedule our date tomorrow. Maybe you should get some rest instead?

     

       "No-no, I'll be alright. I'm looking forward to our date."

       After having a few extra drinks than anticipated, they snuggled close together on the sofa, as they felt the buzz from the alcohol begin to settle in.

      As they tried to carry-out a proper conversation, the music began to blare so loudly that neither could hear what the other said; forcing them to speak directly into each others ear. Everytime that Symphony spoke, her mouth brushed lightly against Michael's earlobe, causing his body to shiver in response.

       Feeling her body become flushed as well, Symphony jumped up when one of her favorite songs began to play. If she had stayed seated any longer, her body would have melted from all of the heat between them.

        As Symphony danced in front of Michael, he placed his hands gently on her hips. His hands were huge but delicate, encompassing every inch of her frame. 

        Taking Symphony by complete surprise, Michael stood up and began dancing with her. When he pressed his body against hers, she moaned softly and said, "Mmm... I thought you were tired?"


       "I am... But I can never turn down a good beat. What's the name of this song?"


      "It's called 'After-party' by Koffee Brown."


      When Symphony began to sing along, he licked his lips slowly and thought, "was she merely singing the lyrics, or was it an invitation?"


[After the party

Let's go somewhere and finish

What we started

Cause right from the beginning

I was on it

I know you felt these thighs

You know I felt you rise

So why don't we slide

Up off the dance floor

You and me

Cause I want to know

Just how deep

Does your lovin' go

So tell your boys "good night"

Cause we're going right.]


       "Oh, God... What is she trying to do to me?" he thought.

       "Michael! Symphony!" Two voices yelled their names simultaneously.

       Turning around towards the familiar voices, they immediately separated from each other's arms.

       "I've been looking all over for you! What's up? You alright?" Chris said while giving Symphony the once over.

       "Yeah, I'm alright," Michael spoke sheepishly.

      "I see Mike! Whew! I see... Who's your friend?"

      Reluctantly wanting to introduce Symphony to Chris, Michael muttered. "Symphony, this is Chris... Chris, this is Symphony."

      "Hello, Symphony, nice to meet you. Michael has told me so much about you," Chris spoke sarcastically as he shook her hand.

       Looking back at Michael with a perplexed expression, she raised an eyebrow at him before returning her attention to Chris. "Nice to meet you, Chris... I hope what you've heard has been only good things."

      Shaking his head sideways, Michael removed Symphony's hand from Chris's. "Don't listen to him... He's got jokes," he spoke in annoyance.

      "Ahem!" Roxanne coughed loudly, making herself known.

      "Forgive me! Where are my manners," Symphony chuckled nervously, having forgotten that Roxanne was standing there the entire time. "This is my co-worker and friend, Roxanne."

      "Nice to meet you, Roxanne," Michael spoke politely, with Chris chiming in soon after, as they both took turns shaking her hand.

       "Nice to meet you both," she greeted them kindly in return.

      Turning back to look at Symphony, Roxanne chuckled lightly and said, "I guess I wasn't too far off the mark! He most certainly has five brothers."

       Looking towards Symphony in utter confusion, Michael mouthed, "huh?"

       "Wow! Look at the time. I think we should get going," Symphony laughed nervously.

       As Symphony began to walk away, Michael gently grabbed her by the waist, turning her around to face him. "I'll see you tomorrow. Thanks for keeping me company tonight."

       "No problem... Anytime. See you tomorrow," she spoke quietly, completely transfixed by his intense gaze.

      As Symphony and Roxanne departed the club, Michael's eye's followed Symphony until she was entirely out of his sight. He was completely smitten with her.

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