The view inside The K Club could only be described as opulent. The ambiance was dark and lush. The seating was minimal, all semi-private booths. The tables were covered in chic but simple tablecloths. The walls boasted a few simple pieces of art, done in rich medium tones and an avant-garde style.
I preferred a simpler aesthetic, normally. Ok, I preferred to be home. However, for an evening out, the space was gorgeous. It was enthralling being around the other patrons, beautiful in their own right, talking and laughing in hushed tones as they ate or waited for their meals. Even still, I knew who he was as soon as he walked into the lounge.
Tall, easily six-foot-five, putting him at minimum a foot taller than me when barefoot.
Dark, that deep rich umber brown somewhere between Omari Hardwick and Idris Elba.
Handsome, features full of ruggedly chiseled angles, and the perfect amount of facial hair to accent the skin-tight bald look I hadn’t realized I loved, until just that moment.
My inner desire licked her lips as I observed the way the suit jacket and slacks adorned his sculpted physique, fitting him perfectly. The man looked like he walked around with a professional tailor in his pocket.
He wasn’t a god or even Adonis, but handsome would not cover the image he presented. Fine. Yes, fine was definitely the descriptor.
Tall. Dark. Fine.
I frowned. That was unexpected. This could be a problem.
I watched as he spoke to the hostess, all charm, full smile, and ease. She turned towards my booth, basically a walking blush as she ushered him my way.
As they neared, I stood. My hand partially extended. My fake-ish, but bright, smile became closer to genuine as I took in the ease of his gait and the calmness of his energy. I wore a black wrap dress, and it hugged all the right spots on my toned five-foot-five frame, so I allowed it to handle my initial greeting.
They arrived at the table, and his eyes lit up as he took me in. Bingo.
“It’s nice to finally meet the beautiful miss Dikê,” he offered, taking my hand and flashing a brilliant smile that made me tingle almost as much as hearing my name on his lips.
And he’d pronounced it correctly. “Dee-Kay,” which, you know, give the man bonus points when they’re due.
Definitely going to be a problem.
Anthony Bell. Professor at Georgetown University. Son of a Congressman (father) and Senator (mother). Born and raised in DC. Destined for politics all of his life. Until he decided to throw his parents a curveball and go into academia instead. He was on the tenure track, probably due more to proximity to his parents than he’d like to admit.
Proximity can be a gift in so many ways.
I listened to the details flow from his beautiful full lips, and it was a gift. Sure, they were details I already knew, but he sounded so very delicious saying them. Mr. Anthony Bell was getting under my skin, and I had no idea why.
I was the goddess here; he was the mortal. Yet, I was woozy with desire, like the script was reversed, or I’d been hit with an arrow.
My smile slipped a bit.
I hadn’t answered the stupid summons to come home. No one knew I was back. Hijinks and arrows were highly unlikely. I closed my eyes briefly and controlled my breathing. Taking a quick self-assessment, I could feel all was well. I was fully in balance. No arrows had been deployed from the family…matchmaker.
Apparently, tertiary persuasion couldn’t be blamed. I just really wanted to jump Anthony Bell.
Totally going to be a problem.
He smiled, wide and bright, leaning slightly forward to clasp my hand across the table. “I’ve been hogging this whole conversation, pardon my horrible manners. My mother would be horrified. Dikê, please tell me all about you.”
My name rolling across his tongue again sent another tremor traipsing down my spine as I contemplated what exactly to tell him.
It wasn’t like I could just throw out: Well, I’m Dikê. Goddess of Justice. Yes, a real goddess. What am I doing here? Well, my current agenda is to take down your whole family and help balance the scales they’ve unbalanced with their prison-for-profit scheme.
Oh—you’re probably shocked about the goddess part. I hadn’t mentioned that, huh? Well…ok.
I guess introductions are really in order.
Yes, that’s right, these words stem from the supple lips of a true Goddess. There are quite a few of us running around. The title is a bit overused, in my opinion.
However, it is what it is. I am what I am.
Dikê. Goddess of Justice.
Yes, the chick with the scales. I’m around to make sure mortals play fair with one another according to the rules and lawful decrees. When they don’t, I step in and handle the situation. Yes, that could involve making it messy, aka bloody.
Equity comes at a price.
Balance is worth the cost.
Anthony Bell, handsome or not, was about to help his family cash out their tab.
Lowering my eyes to look down at the table, I played it a bit coy as a shy smile curved my lips. “I loved hearing about you, your work, and your family. I can’t imagine coming from such a large and important family.”
I felt the tremor as the obvious, but minor, lies lay the weight of their imbalances within me. Your family doesn’t get any larger or more important than when Big Daddy Zeus is your sire. This lie, however, was worth the cost.
“All families are important. It’s the nature of the family unit itself. Tell me about yours. Are you close?” He leaned back, taking a slow sip from his drink. I fought the urge to vomit in my mouth after hearing the family ties spiel he’d just thrown my way.
I pondered for a moment. “Large-ish. Poppa was a rolling stone, a god even. Close? Not so much. There was a lot of,” I paused, contemplating this semantics well I had waddled into, “family in-fighting and discord. Now we’re spread all over.”
“Wow, that sounds difficult.”
I shrugged, leaning back and bringing my glass of water to my lips. After taking a sip, I smiled. “I prefer having a separate life all my own.”
His eyes sparkled, taking me in as I drank. I had no powers in the arena of love and sex, but his desire was dripping off of him. I wasn’t sure, but I felt I was casting the same type of aura.
“Independent woman, eh?” he asked, a devilish smile on his lips.
“All the way, especially when it comes to work and my beliefs. But,” here I licked my lips, my fingers tracing across the tablecloth, “I’ve been known to share the weight…give in, when…convinced.”
He chuckled, nodding, taking another sip of his drink. “What line of work are you in?”
I smiled broadly, knowing this was the moment. “Prison reform.”
His smile tightened. “Prison reform, really?”
I nodded. “Yes. Specifically, laws created that enhance the inequalities within the sentence structure.”
He sat up straight, his demeanor still charming but now hidden behind a guarded weariness. “Are you a reporter?”
I shook my head. “No, I am not.”
“Are you here because of my parents?”
I frowned, trying to decide if semantics were necessary again. “No, I’m here for you. You…are intriguing.”
My smile that time bore no semantic undertones as my eyes traveled his body. “You make me forget myself. Also, you fought against your daddy’s expectations. I…identify. But also, I wonder if we share a similar dissatisfaction with your daddy’s actions.”
“You want to turn me against my father?”
I thought of BDZ. I considered how I’d react if I thought anyone was trying to use me against him. Sighing, I offered Anthony the only balanced truth I had. “I’m trying to balance the world. I’m starting here. That doesn’t mean turning you against your father. It means seeing if you are better than him…than his choices.”
He sighed, taking a long sip from his drink.
Our eyes locked across the table. “Trust me, I understand you more than you think.”