CHERYL

July 2013

“Would you care for another martini, ma’am?”

Cheryl Blanton leaned her head slightly to the right, and gave a tiny pout, as if the tuxedo-clad drink waiter’s offer warranted serious thought. She finally gave a small one-shoulder shrug, and lifted a long-stemmed glass from the solid gold tray he carried.



“Thank you . . .” Cheryl quickly glanced at the metal nametag on his chest, “Henry.” She flashed a quick smile designed to make the older man’s heart flutter. “I probably shouldn’t, but I’m so bored I might as well get intoxicated.” She took a small sip from the glass before giving him a quick wink. “Don’t let me get to the point of having to be carried out, okay?”

“I’m sure you have nothing to worry about, ma’am.” Henry smiled, bowing his graying head as if she had bestowed a thousand-dollar tip upon him rather than a simple off-handed comment. “I can’t imagine anyone as beautiful as you being bored very long.” He gave another quick nod before backing away into the crowd.

Yeah, well, I hope you’re right, ’cause I don’t know how much more of this I can stand. Cheryl twirled the drink in her hand and watched the olive do a slow spin, then glanced at her watch. Twelve-thirty. She released a deep breath and looked over toward the corner where she’d last seen her escort. She hadn’t wanted to come to the baseball All-Star party at all, but Stephen had insisted.

“Come on . . . you never come out with me anymore,” he had whined. “And besides,” he added, when he saw Cheryl was still unmoved, “there’s going to be a lot of celebrities and millionaires there. You never know what you might catch. And wear that short, white lace number—show off those long cinnamon-colored stilts, honey.

Cheryl snorted remembering his words. Celebrities. Yeah, Alyssa Milano and one of the Russian chicks from Dancing with the Stars were the only personalities she’d spotted so far. As for millionaires, well, there were none there that she knew or recognized. Besides, there were probably two gold diggers for every possible-millionaire at the party—and she wasn’t in the mood to be pushing someone aside to get to a man whose wealth she wasn’t sure of.

Stephen was right about one thing, though: the white lace mini was certainly getting her a lot of attention. And it wasn’t only her legs that were getting admiring stares. There was something about the combination of the soft texture of her dress, the temperature in the room, and perhaps her naturally sexual nature . . . but even the slightest breeze made her nipples harden. Looking down, she carefully arranged her long brown hair to cover her 36-Ds.

The drink waiter, Henry, squeezed past her again, and she gifted him a full-tooth smile, and inwardly laughed when he almost bumped into someone because he was smiling back so hard.

Feeling a slight tap on the shoulder, Cheryl turned to face a tall, gorgeous woman wearing a low-cut, skin-tight, gold minidress that left nothing to the imagination. “Oh, de-year!” the woman said in a voice obviously meant to sound haughty. “Flirting with the hired help again, are we, dah-ling? But then class does always find its own class, doesn’t it?”

Cheryl struggled to keep a grimace off her face. “No harm in being pleasant, you know.” She paused and gave her adversary an up-and-down look. “But then, again, I’m sure you wouldn’t know, Sheila.”

“Shay-EE-lah.”

Cheryl let out a tingly laugh. “If it’s spelled Sheila, it’s pronounced SHEE-luh. Like a female kangaroo.” She looked down at Sheila’s midsection. “Which is kind of fitting, seeing how noticeable your pouch is in that dress.”

“Oh, puleeze! This dress is from Armani’s—”

“From Armani’s summer line,” Cheryl interrupted. “I know. I wore it for him at his runway show at Paris Fashion Week last September. But believe me, it doesn’t suit you at all.” She lightly tapped Sheila’s stomach with her Versace gold clutch bag. “So, I’m guessing the rumors I’ve been hearing about you moving over to plus-size modeling are true. I understand you can make quite a lot of money.” She slowly batted her almond-shaped eyes before adding, “And Lane Bryant is always looking for fresh faces, though I believe Ashley Stewart pays more.”

“Cheryl, you can be such a—”

Cheryl rolled her eyes and sighed. “Sheila, if I throw a stick, will you leave?”

Sheila kept a smile on her face as she looked Cheryl in the face and in a honey-coated voice said: “I’d love to continue this conversation, but I’ve actually spotted someone worth talking to. So, Cheryl, darling, f*ck you.”

“Of course, honey, and please do feel free to come back and kiss my pretty ass anytime,” Cheryl replied, just as pleasantly, twirling her fingers in a “bye-bye” fashion.

“Slut!” Sheila said, turning around to walk away.

“Ghetto-ass b*tch,” Cheryl said as she did.

She watched as Sheila sashayed across the room, stopping to strike what she probably thought was a provocative pose in front of a short, but dapper, man who looked to be in his sixties. Having overheard the man talking about the possible ramifications if Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez was suspended for steroid use, Cheryl knew he had some kind of professional connection with baseball. Probably a former player, she had figured. Okay, Cheryl thought, watching Sheila play with her hair, obviously she knows he’s a millionaire. She watched in amusement as the man glanced at Sheila, then turned and walked away without saying anything. She wanted to walk over and laugh out loud in the woman’s face, but looking at Sheila’s hurt expression, she couldn’t bring herself to upset her further.

Cheryl started scanning the room, looking for Stephen, wondering—again—how he could possibly think hobnobbing at one of the Major League Baseball’s All-Star parties was going to help him land the job interview he wanted. He needed to face the fact that while his family loved him, his friends adored him, and Cheryl, herself, simply cherished him, it would likely be a cold day in hell before he was hired as a press agent for a major sports franchise. And especially not a media-conscious team like the New York Yankees. Too bad they didn’t live in San Francisco, she thought as she started walking toward him. She shook her head. No, he wouldn’t even stand a chance of getting hired there.

Hittin’ It Out the Park, by Allison Hobbes and Karen E. Quinones Miller, is beavailable at Amazon and nationwide bookstores today.



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