A special sneak peek into a portion of the new edition of Fifty Shades of Jungle Fever . . .
“Fifty Shades meets Keisha from the block.”
Keisha Beale and her roommate Jada Jameson have half the money they need to start their dream business. A hookup from Jada’s well-connected father gets them a meeting with the elusive venture capitalist Tristan White. The only time slot he has available is the close of business on a Friday afternoon when Jada has a nonrefundable ticket for a sorority week in Sin City.
Keisha goes to the meeting alone and almost flubs their chance at getting the much-needed start-up capital they require. During this one chance meeting venture capitalist Tristan White discovers he wants a little coffee in his cream. Thus begins his pursuit of Keisha Beale, the only woman who can quench his raging case of Jungle Fever!
Saturday morning after breakfast, we have the first of many fencing lessons in Tristan’s gym. Once again, he’s well-prepared. Tristan’s gone overboard in my opinion and bought me three sets of fencing whites. I dress in my knickers, plastron, chest protector, jacket, socks, trainers, and glove and then carry my mask and foil out of the dressing room with me. I meet Tristan out on the floor. He’s already dressed and practicing. He stops when I enter the room, and his eyes rake over me with the same appreciation mine are showing him.
Damn! He’s fine in that getup, especially the tight breeches! my Fairy Hoochie Mama says. Triple-G even lets loose the type of whistle that men usually use on women when they’re making catcalls. I execute an extended mental eye roll at them.
“Seeing you dressed out gives me ideas, Ms. Beale,” Tristan says, his eyes bright.
“What if I don’t like fencing? Then these cute little outfits you bought will go to waste.”
“They’re not just cute little outfits, and believe me, once you get into it you’ll love it.”
“Says the man who’s probably been doing this since he could walk.”
He looks thoughtful. “Our mother did begin to teach us when we were five.”
Every so often, I learn something new about Tristan that underscores the differences in our upbringings. This is one of those moments. When I was that age, my mama was teaching me nursery rhymes, reading, and singing. However, knowing that his mother fenced makes me feel like I can do this.
“Then, in homage to the late Mrs. White, I’ll give it a good old college try.”
“Oh you’ll give it more than that.”
“How can you be so certain?”
“Physical fitness is part of your contract, and it will go a long way in helping you endure the rigors of our role-play weekends. I can tell from your muscle tone you haven’t been sedentary, and your lines suggest you could be really good at this. What sports did you enjoy in school?”
“I did track and field in high school. And even though my music major didn’t allow me to continue in college, I used DePaul’s track and gym whenever I could.”
“I’m impressed and happy to be the beneficiary of your diligence.”
“You have a weird way of giving compliments.”
“You’ll undoubtedly find many things weird about me, but I prefer the term eccentric.”
“Eccentric is more pleasing to the ear.”
Tristan brings me a shiny silver jacket that matches my mask perfectly. “Here, put this on.”
“What’d you do; rob Michael Jackson’s wardrobe?”
He tries to resist smiling but fails. “Funny. The answer is no. It’s an electric lamé or over-jacket. When our body cords are attached to it and plugged into the reel on either end of the fencing strip, it will register electronic scoring as targets on our bodies are hit.”
“So, this is kinda like what you like to do with the whips, crops, and floggers in the grotto?”
He pauses for a second. “Now you mention it. Yes.” His eyes shine with an elation that wasn’t there before, and he finishes getting us both outfitted with the equipment and in position. “The first thing you do is salute your opponent as a sign of respect.” He closes his mask. “Mask down, Ms. Beale.”
I feel like he’s ordering me around in a scene. He moves into a posture and stands still. “This is the en garde position. Front foot facing forward, and then your back foot at a ninety degree angle with your front foot, your feet are shoulder width apart and your knees are bent. Like so.”
I follow his instructions and manage to mirror his stance exactly after a few seconds.
I grin. How ridiculous is it that I crave his approval so much?
He points at the line next to him on the strip. “Don’t cross that line until you’ve been signaled to engage after completing the en garde stance.”
He approaches me in a sexy swagger made more pronounced by his fencing shoes, a literal rolling from his heels to the balls of his feet.
“This is a classic lunge.” He executes one. “It is how you attack your opponent.”
I mimic his movement until he deems I’ve done it right.
“You always want to block your target areas from your opponent during a lunge.” Tristan uses the foil to point to the areas he describes. “The arms, chest and head are targets, and there are three parries designed to block these targets.” He holds the foil horizontally at his shoulder. “This is the three parry to block your flank.” He moves the foil diagonally across his chest. “This is the four parry to block your chest.” Finally, the foil is horizontal at head level. “And this, is the five parry to block your head. There’s also a two and a one, but those aren’t used quite as often as the ones I’ve just shown you. As we progress and you have need of the others, we’ll learn them.”
“Now, for a bit of footwork,” he says. “I’ll show you advancing and retreating today. I’ll save some of the fancier stuff for later.”
He moves into en garde position. “Okay, here’s the advance. Watch my feet.” He does something that looks like a shuffling hip-hop dance move; he executes it with such lightning speed. “To slow it down for you, the advance is done in three distinct steps. Your feet should remain shoulder width apart at all times. The front foot moves first, beginning by lifting the toes. Straighten the leg at the knee, pushing the heel out in front. Land on the heel, and then bring the back foot up to en garde stance again.”
Tristan shows me again several times until I get it. Then I execute several advances until the movement feels natural to me.
“The final movement I’m going to show you today is the retreat, which is sort of a reverse of the advance. It’s a three-step process also. Back foot first to the ball of the foot. Down with the heel and then on the ball of the foot. Like so.” He retreats, advances, and then retreats until I’m able to follow him without a misstep.
We go through the parries, slowly again and again, all while advancing and retreating until I’m well familiar with them. “Now, these will be executed very quickly, but we’ll go slow until you get the hang of it,” Tristan assures me.
I find myself enjoying figuring out how to block his attacks. They are slow in the beginning so I’m able to think fast and position my foil so he doesn’t hit me every time. As he gathers speed, even though I parry to block, he hits my targets, particularly my chest. So much so, if I weren’t wearing the chest plate, I’m sure my breasts would be stinging right about now.
I see him smile when he gets three successive points against me, and I feel powerless against his lunges because they are executed so flawlessly. I retreat all the way off the strip.
“No fair! You have me at a complete disadvantage.”
Tristan stops, flips his hood back, folds his arms, and crosses a long leg at the ankle. He holds his foil in one hand and beckons me Mortal Kombat style with the other hand.
I push my hood back and shake my head. “You’ve got to be crazy if you think I’m lunging at you again right now.”
“You were doing well for a beginner if we discount the odd moments when you were whacking at me like you were trying to chop vegetables on a cutting board.”
“I’m a girl. We always resort to flailing when fighting, didn’t you know this?”
“I’ve seen you hit someone, remember? You don’t flail when you fight, so don’t do it while fencing. In fact, if you treat fencing the same way you do boxing, you’ll do fine. If you practice the moves enough, they’ll become second nature to you. Use the gym when you’re here and in a few months, you’ll be fencing like an amateur.” He grins at his own attempt at a joke.
I don a fake smile then show him my serious face. “Funny, White.”
“Okay, I’m going to use my left hand during this final bout. This should give you some advantage.” He moves to his place on the strip, and I do the same.
“En garde,” he says.
“En garde,” I respond, and we fight a near equal match, but he still gets the better of me in the end. In fact, he presses toward me, using some fancy sword play reminiscent of The Legend of Zorro. Then he makes a series of scores, all in the vicinity of my breasts and finally he relieves me of my foil and touches near the vee of my legs with his.
“I don’t recall that being a target area,” I say, my voice husky.
“It’s always a target for me,” he replies and drops his foil, pulls me into his arms, and kisses me till my knees get weak. Our tongues lunge and parry like they’re fencing and hitting all our target areas. We rack up so many points the bout is tied when we come up for air. The next to attack will score the winning touch, and it’s safe to say neither of us is concerned about who will come out on top.