Jamal’s stride had a little more pep in it as he walked the halls toward marketing class. Now that school was nearing to a close for the semester, he could almost smell graduation around the corner in May. An Associate’s degree was his first step to entrepreneurship and a part of his 6 year plan. Applications to St. John’s, NYU and Queensboro College were already filled out and awaiting references from his professors. After obtaining a four year degree, he planned to work like a slave for two years after school to save up the funds to start up his business. 

After marketing class ended Jamal followed Ms. Jones to her office. She had arranged a meeting with her lawyer friend to introduce the two together. When they arrived at the office the friend was already there waiting for them. “Hey girl, I wasn’t expecting you for another 20 minutes.” Ms. Jones stated as she gave her friend a warm sister girl hug. “Yeah I know girl, but I was already over on this side of town meeting with a client so I decided to just come over. Besides, I couldn’t wait to meet this young man that you bragged so much about. Ms. Jones turned toward Jamal and said, “Jamal I would like you to meet my long time friend, Ms. Leslie Smith.” 

“Nice to meet you Ms. Smith,” Jamal said assertively as he reached over to shake her hand. He tried not to look at her with lust because she was a strikingly beautiful woman. She had a smooth chestnut brown complexion with hazel eyes and thick long flowing hair that she wore in bouncing curls cascading past her shoulders. She must have been at least 5’9” because in 3 inch heels she was almost eye to eye with Jamal. Her designer suit fit her just right accentuating every womanly curve. Her blouse was cut just low enough to get a man drooling.

“Nice to finally meet you too, Jamal, and what a firm hand shake. That shows confidence and I like to see that in young people. Ms. Jones has told me so much about you. She really admires your work ethic and believe me Jamal when I say, that it’s hard to impress this lady. I’ve been knowing her for 20 years and she is a hard nut to crack if you know what I mean.”  

“Oh girl, stop filling that young man’s head up with a bunch a crap. Jamal don’t believe a word she says about me. If anyone is tough, it’s Leslie. She was always at the top of her class and I swear some of our college professors were scared of her. She had to become a lawyer because she was born a shark.” Ms. Jones responded playfully. 

Shifting the gears into serious mode Leslie invited the two of them to lunch. Ms. Jones stated that she had too much work to do but encouraged the both of them to go together and get acquainted. “Well Jamal, I guess it’s just you and me for lunch. Do you like Italian?” He responded that he loved it. “Great! Then we will hail a cab to one of my favorite restaurants in Little Italy. I can see that I like you already. Can you be a dear and wait outside for a second? It’s been a while since I’ve seen my old friend and I just wanted to spend a minute with her ok?” “No problem.” Jamal responded as he closed the door behind him. 

“Sheila, you did not tell me how fine that boy is. Mmh! He reminds me of Charles, (her college sweetheart) except finer. And he looks like he works out too.” 

“I know you playing right? Because he is just a boy. He can’t even buy you a drink. I think he’s still a teenager.” 

“If he’s over 18, he’s legal.” 

“Girl, if you don’t stop playing I will cut you myself. Now I am turning my prize student over to you for advice and guidance not to become your boy toy. What’s the matter, you can’t find anyone in that big old law firm to play with? Besides, he probably thinks your 35 year old behind is too old for him anyway. So don’t get your feelings hurt.” 

“Now you know that I am not serious. I was just making an observation. You know that I’ve always had a thing for fine men.” 

“Yeah, the operative word here is men. Jamal is still a young impressionable boy. Don’t forget it.” 

“Look, you are about to make me lose my appetite with your craziness. I am not about to seduce a barely legal youngster who still has breast milk on his breath. My name is not Stella and I have never lost my groove. You just finish up your work and I will call you later to let you know how things went between Jamal and I.” Before Sheila could get the accusatory words out of her mouth Leslie confirmed, “Business is all that we will discuss. Now stop playing mother hen and give me a hug goodbye.” The two friends hugged and said their goodbyes.  

When Leslie left out of the office, Sheila couldn’t stop thinking about their conversation. She knew that Leslie could have any man that she wanted and always did. She never slummed, always dated the boys with the best pedigree from Morehouse while they attended Spelman College. They even discussed how the men at her firm often came on to her. When she started out after law school in the DA’s office, many of the male judges and some female, would summon her to chambers to allegedly discuss something about one of her cases appearing before them then casually ask her out to dinner. That’s part of the reason why she changed to tax law, less courtroom time. Sheila knew that Leslie had just broke it off with her boyfriend of three years because of his jealousy, but she seemed to be adjusting well to the breakup. Leslie was Sheila’s best friend and she never had a reason not to trust her so she decided that this time would be no different and put the crazy thoughts out of her head so that she could get back to work. 

Jamal and Leslie stood on the corner of Chambers Street and the West Side Highway trying to hail a cab. The drivers didn’t pay Jamal too much attention as he tried to do the chivalrous thing and hail the cab for them. Leslie stood back for a minute enjoying the fact that Jamal was trying to do a manly thing for her. She didn’t want to crush his ego, so she waited until the fifth cab rolled past him and then stood beside him and said, “Let me try.” She bent slightly forward and raised her hand at an approaching cab, allowing some of her leg to show through the slit in her skirt. He immediately pulled over to the curb thinking that she was getting in alone and smiling like a chesire cat as she entered the cab. His face sought of went sour when he noticed that she slid across the back seat to make room for Jamal.  

Jamal was the first to make conversation during the cab ride. “I just want to thank you again Ms. Smith for taking the time out to meet with me.” “First of all, call me Leslie. I’m not your professor so we don’t need any sterile titles between us. I want you to feel comfortable talking to me because I’ve decided to mentor you. Once we establish a working relationship you can call me to run by ideas or to answer questions. Just as long as you’re not calling me every five minutes. I’m a busy lady and I can’t cater to your every whim.” 

“No Ms. Smith, I mean Leslie, I would never bug you like that. I respect what you do and your time. I am honored just to be in your presence right now going to lunch. I didn’t expect this at all. When Ms. Jones told me that you were willing to meet with me I just thought that we would meet in her office for a couple of minutes and that would be it.” 

“Well Jamal, Leslie stated as she shifted her legs in a position that opened the slit in her skirt up to mid thigh, that was my intent at first, but when I met you I got a good vibe about you. So I decided to invite you to lunch to see exactly where your head is and what motivates you. Since Sheila spoke so highly of you I thought it only right that I took you under my wing.” 

The cab stopped in front of the restaurant. Leslie paid the driver and Jamal noticed that she gave him a nice tip. He thought to himself how he would be able to do the same one day. For now he will continue to take the poor man’s iron horse (subway) until his ship came in.  

Leslie convinced Jamal to try a new dish to get him acclimated to trying new things. She wanted to test him to see if he was honest so she told him that she was ordering a glass of wine and wanted to know if he wanted a drink as well. “No thanks, I don’t drink.” He replied. “Why not?” She asked. “Well for one thing I’m only 19 so I don’t want to get you into any legal trouble by ordering me a drink, for another, I work out a lot and all of the fitness magazines advise people not to drink alcohol.” Leslie thought to herself, “No wonder he is all buff. I bet he has a washboard stomach. Mmh, I’d love to wash my clothes on that.” 

The waiter took their orders and brought Leslie her wine. She was three quarters of the way finished when their meals came. Up to that point they had discussed Jamal’s business plan. Jamal did most of the talking while Leslie listened intently interjecting when needed. Jamal pretty much went through the business plan that he created for his project. Leslie was impressed that a young man his age could have such vision and drive. She gave him her card and put her home phone number and personal email address on the back so that he could have better access to her since she was always tied up at work. She had some ideas about how to approach his business and what connections that he needed to make. Leslie gave Jamal some homework to research and told him to call her at the end of the week with his findings. That ended the business part of their lunch, now Leslie wanted to move on to pleasure. 

The effects of the wine were starting to kick in and Leslie was feeling more relaxed and ordered another glass. “So Jamal tell me, what does a handsome young man like you do for fun?” 

“Well, unfortunately I don’t get out as much as I used to because of school and work. So I mostly use my free time to work out.” 

“Oh, that’s not good for a young man your age. Life is not all work and business. You’ve got to get out there and enjoy it before time passes you by and you become old and bitter. Where do you work and what are your hours?” 

“I do administrative work at a warehouse in midtown. I work the night shift so that I can attend school during the day. It’s a full time job. I just got a raise.” He said proudly trying to show Leslie that he is a good worker as well as a good student. 

“Congratulations! That sounds pretty good, but those hours are atrocious. How do you manage to stay awake during the day? Do you have a girlfriend?” She pried trying to sound concerned but really wanted to know if there were any obstacles in her way. It really didn’t matter because eventually she got what she wanted when it came to men. However, she needed to know how to pursue things with him and without Sheila finding out.  

“I manage my time around my work schedule. It’s just that I am usually sleep when others are awake. My family and girlfriend call me a vampire.” 

“I’m surprised that you even manage to maintain a girlfriend with those hours. She must be very special or cheating on you.” 

“Nah, Lela would never cheat on me. We’ve been friends for two years. She understands my work ethic and has been by my side as my girlfriend for the past 6 months.” He said almost as if he were trying to convince himself. He never gave any thought to Lela cheating on him when he was neglecting her for his school work. With all of the complaining that she did he figured that she had to be faithful. Leslie saw that hint of doubt in his eyes when she mentioned that Lela probably cheated on him. She knew that she threw the right curve ball over the plate that time. This was going to be her angle. 

“You’re probably right. If I had a handsome boyfriend like you, I would stick by your side as well. Just don’t let her get too lonely now. Every girl needs a little reassurance from time to time. Hey, I have a great idea! There is an internship program at my firm. I’m quite sure that I can get you into the program for next semester. It’s actually a paying internship. You get all of the perks of working during normal hours and getting hands on experience. You’ll just have to adjust your schedule to take evening classes your last semester. It will allow you more time with your family and girlfriend. What do you say, are you interested?” 

“It sounds great but I’m not sure. I hope you don’t take this as being ungrateful, but I feel like I would be betraying the people at my job especially after they just gave me a raise.” 

“No, you’re not being ungrateful. I understand your loyalty and appreciate it because there are definitely very few loyal people out there today. However, I want you to think about what this internship has to offer you for your future. I can guarantee you that the pay is more than what you make at your current job and you will probably never have to spend your own money on lunch. The lawyers are always ordering out and they treat the interns because they know that they are broke and just starting out. In fact that’s how I got started. Well, think it over and get back to me soon because the applications are due this Friday and the interviews will be held next week. So don’t sleep on this. It’s a great opportunity for someone of your caliber.” Then I can see you everyday and precious Lela won’t have to know a thing, Leslie thought to herself as she gazed longingly at Jamal. The waiter interrupted her train of thought when he brought the check to the table. She whisked out her credit card and excused herself to the restroom. 

Jamal noticed Leslie staring at him but paid it no attention. A beautiful and successful woman like her could not possibly want him is what he was thinking. He was still in awe of Leslie and the fact that she wanted to mentor him. The internship was just the icing on the cake. He knew that it was probably better for his career than working as a stock boy. He already decided to ask Leslie for an application when she returned from the bathroom but he would definitely discuss the internship with his parents and Lela before he made a final decision. 

Leslie returned from the restroom and signed for the bill. Jamal informed her that he wanted an internship application and she gave him directions to her office so that he could pick it up the following day. Leslie had another appointment before she went back to the office so they said their goodbyes and went their separate ways. Jamal was on cloud nine because he saw his dreams beginning to come into fruition. Leslie was a little giddy from the two glasses of wine and was thinking about how to implement her plan to seduce Jamal. She would make sure that he took notice of her when he came to pick up his intern application.