Before Lucky (Page 11)

Before Lucky (Forever Love #2.5)(11)
Author: J.S. Cooper

I decided to go through Noah’s stuff in his room instead of going back to bed after my shower. I knew there might be some clues in there, and I also wanted to avoid having any more dreams. It was better for me to do something productive right now. I needed to think that I was doing something that was actually helping. I walked into Noah’s room hesitantly. I hadn’t really been in it since he passed away. It was as messy as he had left it when he had moved out and gone to stay with Braydon after we had argued. I took a deep breath and looked around at the unmade bed and at all the papers strewn on the table by the window. I was embarrassed to admit to myself that I had no idea why he had so many papers on his desk. I wasn’t really sure what he had been working on in his last days. I picked up a random piece of paper and saw a bunch of notes that didn’t make much sense to me: 1954, Alabama, The Great Migration, de jure vs. de facto, Thurgood Marshall, jobs, housing, education, freedom rides. At the bottom page there was a phone number, or what I assumed to be a phone number, but I wasn’t sure whose number it was. I kept that page in my hand and continued looking through the pieces of paper: there were a lot of quotes from Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X, and some people whose names I didn’t recognize like Stokely Carmichael and Huey Newton. There were a lot of quotes that pertained to black power, and I wondered what Noah had been working on. I knew he cared about equality, but I hadn’t realized he was so actively involved in this stuff. I grabbed some more papers and sat on the bed to go through them. This time all of the information seemed to pertain to a couple named Sidney and Betty Johnson. And there was a lot of information. From what I could tell, Noah had been in contact with them during the last few months of his life. Maybe they had some insight into what had been going on. I bit my lip as I realized that there was no email address or phone number on any of the pages, and I had no idea where they lived. I sighed and was about to drop all of the papers back on the table and go back to bed when I realized that I did have a phone number on the first piece of paper. I wasn’t sure if it was the Johnsons’ number, but it was worth a shot to call it. I realized that the area code was a California number, so it was way too early to call. I would call later when I knew that there was no possibility that I would be waking the Johnsons up.

***

I couldn’t hide my excitement from myself as I got to the diner. My heart was racing, and I was glad that I was a good poker player. My exterior certainly didn’t match the emotions coursing through me. I walked through the diner doors by myself, as I had told my date to meet me there. She had sounded a bit surprised at my request, and normally the chivalrous man inside of me would never let that happen but I wanted an opportunity to see and talk to Lucky without being with someone else the whole time.

“Welcome to Lou’s,” Lucky smiled at me widely, and her eyes looked surprised as she looked behind me to see who I was with.

“She’s meeting me here.” I laughed, wanting her to know that someone was coming eventually.

“Brigetta?” She questioned and she laughed as I shook my head. “Oh, okay, I see.”

I winked at her and shrugged my shoulders. She didn’t really see, but I didn’t want and couldn’t really afford to go into detail as to what was going on. I had convinced myself that it was okay to get to know Lucky, so I could get her off of my mind, but I still couldn’t do anything to compromise the case. I would never forgive myself if something went wrong because I was trying to get a girl into my bed.

“Do you think I’m a player?” I asked her as we walked to a booth.

“I, uh…” Her blush answered my question, and I laughed.

“I personally think it’s better for me to date multiple girls to see which one is right for me, as opposed to leading one girl on.”

“You haven’t found one that is right for you yet?”

“Maybe,” I smiled coyly. “But not really.”

“Maybe you should date outside of the modeling world then, that might help.” Lucky looked slightly embarrassed at her words, but she stared at me defiantly.

“But models are so hot.” I licked my lips and tried not to laugh as her face went red. “Why would I want to date a girl that isn’t hot?”

“If all you care about is them being hot, then I feel sorry for you.” She glared at me then, turned around. “I’ll be back to take your drink order when your date arrives.” And then she walked away. To say I was disappointed at the end of our bantering was an understatement. I loved how she was able to challenge and question me without backing down. I’d never had anyone in my life like that before, well, besides Noah. Noah had told me all sorts of truths about myself that I hadn’t wanted to acknowledge. But I was glad that he had spoken his truth.

“Hi, welcome to Lou’s. Is a booth okay?” I looked up and saw Lucky escorting two college guys to the empty booth next to mine. Lucky avoided my stare as she walked toward me, and I watched as one of the guys studied Lucky’s body with his eyes. He looked up at me before getting into the booth and grinned, and I glared at him. What an ass**le. Who did he think he was to objectify Lucky like that?

“Can I start you guys off with drinks or any appetizers?” Lucky went into her reel, but I noticed that she was smiling widely at them. I frowned as I realized how sweet and open she was being to them. Why was she encouraging that guy? Didn’t she realize that he had just been staring her down, and could possibly be a psychopath?

“How about your number?” The guy I had made eye contact with went in for the kill right away, and my breath caught as I waited to see what Lucky would do. He was a handsome guy, too preppy for my taste, but perhaps Lucky would like him.

“Ha ha, funny guys.” She dismissed the question without answering. “I’ll bring two waters while you guys decide.”

“Aw, so I take it that’s a no?” The guy pouted and I rolled my eyes, still listening to the conversation but feeling more at ease.

“I’m sorry, but between work and school, I don’t really have any free time to talk on the phone.”

“Where do you go?” The other guy looked up at her curiously, and I strained my ears to listen as well.

“I’m at the University of Miami,” she smiled. “I’m a history major, so lots of reading, writing, and research.”

“History is boring.” The guy laughed. “We’re both at UM law school.”