Authors: J. Lovelace
Alonzo always got the short end of my bad days and agitated nights, but my guilt remained lacking, along with his ability to understand when I didn't want to be bothered. I didn't feel bad for cursing him out a few times or slamming a couple doors in his face as long as he butted his nosey head in my business. I wondered what happened to the days where apartment neighbors gave a simple nod in the hallway and quickly escaped into the confines of
their apartment walls while remaining none the wiser to the body they may have stuffed under their floorboards. I'm not saying Alonzo had a dead body in his apartment, but I wouldn't expect him to keep a secret like that, or any of his business from me. If anything, Alonzo was the one who felt completely alone and wanted me to be the one to alleviate his loneliness. Too bad for him.
When my phone rang, I hadn't completely realized that I sat on the couch staring off into space and not watching TV while Joan and her friends went about their business on my TV screen. My hope of expecting Tariq's number to flash across my screen had disappeared. I emphasize number instead of name because I sho' 'nuff erased his number from my phone after I had to leave his damn condo out the fire escape like a criminal. Even though I had his number committed to memory, I felt empowered to clear his name from my call log and contact list. When I noticed Loraine's name flash across the screen, I reluctantly answered. “Hello.”
“Eww. Why do you sound like that?”
“I am having a rough night.”
“Girl, why not?”
Loraine snickered one of those fake laughs as if to tell me she didn't really care. “Well, whatever you're going through, shake it off. We're going out tonight.”
“Says meâ¦and my little sister who came in for summer break.”
“How old is your sister again?”
“Twenty. She'll be twenty-one next month, though.”
“Was that last lil' tidbit s'posed to ease my discomfort with the fact that she can't get in to any twenty-one-and-up clubs?”
I could see Loraine rolling her eyes through the phone. “We can
sneak her into a twenty-one-and-up club. She has a fake ID.” Now, I was the one rolling my eyes. “And don't roll your eyes either, Erin. You need to get out the house and stop stuffing your face with junk food and watching
I glanced over at the empty bag of Cheetos lying on my end table and winced at how well Loraine knew me. It was disgusting how open my life and mannerisms were to this woman. “I'm happy living my life this way, Loraine.”
“Please. I bet you broke Alonzo's heart again tonight. It's sick how in love with you that man is.”
“Okay, I've got to get new friends. Ones who don't know so much about me.”
Loraine laughed. “Whatever, girl. You love me. Now get dressed. We'll be there in thirty minutes.” The quick click and the homepage on my BlackBerry revealed that I had no real say in the matter. Loraine decided for me that I was going out tonight, and I'd be wise to take heed.
I let out an annoyed sigh and headed for my closet. Tonight was gonna be one of those nights.
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When we got to the club that night, I tried to conceal my disinterest in the event with a suitable coating of concealer, dark eyeshadow and red lip gloss. Loraine saw through my makeup, skinny jeans, and oversized halter top, though; I was dressed like a sexy mom lookin' for a night away from the kiddies. Didn't matter much. With Loraine's red locs pulled up and her donkey booty squeezed into her little black strapless dress, we still looked dressed to kill, and my poor attitude wasn't about to stop every Tom, Dick, and Raheem from stepping our way.
When I saw Loraine's sister, I expected to see an underage, overly accessorized, underdressed college student who was too excited to get into her first
club. But when I saw Teona with breasts bigger than mine and thighs thicker than peanut butter, wearing natural makeup that accented her sienna complexion, I couldn't help but envy how confident she was to wear her hair cut into a Mohawk. Her all-white bodycon dress barely covered her booty, but as she strolled up with her broad shoulders back and her glitter body butter gleamin' in the moonlight, she almost fooled me into believing that she was an older woman looking for a night out with her girls.
“The club is thick tonight,” Teona said as we walked toward the entrance. She spread her lips slowly and locked eyes with the bouncer guarding the door. With a lick of her lips, he stopped focusing on the crowd of people that swarmed the outside wall and focused all of his attention on us, or mainly her. I would be lying if I said I ain't strut a little harder, poke my chest out, and smack my lips a bit more to catch up with her. I was almost ashamed to be intimidated by her but impressed with how well she carried herself. She was a pro at the art of seduction, and she knew how to use it to her advantage.
When we reached the entrance, the doorman kept his eyes on her cleavage as his hand pulled back the ropes. No words were exchanged. Teona gave him a wink as she twisted her hips inside the club as we followed. I barely even noticed the pissed-off patrons standing outside in the humid Orlando weather.
When we hit the bar, Teona rested her breasts atop the counter and smiled at the helpless bartender. Within seconds, he ignored the customers that waved him down across the bar and damn near stumbled his way over to us. “Whatchu three PYTs drinking
tonight?” As he flashed his hollowed-out gold tooth and finger-combed his balding Jheri curl, I was surprised that men still used the term
Teona batted her long eyelashes as she primped her short tresses. “What's the special?”
The bartender smiled back and pulled out three wineglasses. Filling it with White Zin, he shrugged his shoulders and said, “It's on the house.”
Upon grabbing our drinks, Teona gave him a wink and walked away. At that point, I couldn't hold back. “How old are you again?”
“I thought this was your first time in a twenty-one-and-up club.”
Teona pursed her lips and then smirked. “My first in Orlando, maybe.”
We settled into a well-lit corner across from the bar and sipped our drinks. “How long have you been at this?”
“Playing with men's hearts like this.”
She chuckled. After slurping the rest of her drink, she set her glass down on the table behind us and licked her lips. “I don't play. I never insist or suggest. I'm my normal self. If men wanna buy me things, pay my way, or forget to check ID, that's on them.”
Although she was good at her game and made sure to look good doing it, her immaturity was still apparent. She played a dangerous game that would end badly if she played her cards wrong. Still, I had to give the girl her props. When I was twenty, I wasn't using my feminine wiles to get free drinks and skip lines.
“Teona's been this way since she turned sixteen,” Loraine chimed in. “She even had a man beg her to let him buy her a car. All he asked in return was the chance to get her name.”
“Did you give it to him?” I asked.
Teona smiled. “Not my real name. The car wasn't all that anyway.”
I cut my eyes at Loraine and gulped down the rest of my wine. “You let your little sister drive a car that some man gave her when she was sixteen?”
me do anything,” Teona interjected. “Loraine is not my mother. I could do what I damn well please. Besides, I gave it back.”
Loraine gave me a look that said,
I shook my head and smiled.
When Loraine finished sipping her drink, two men from the bar made their way in our direction. They were both well-groomed and prepped to pounce. They weren't the finest men to look at, but they still served as a healthy distraction from Tariq.
“Hey, beautifuls,” one man said. He had on denim jeans, a white T-shirt, and a gray sports jacket, very simple but pretty well put together. He had an air of unwarranted arrogance as his lightning bolt of gray hair pierced through his structured fade. He folded his arms across his chest and smirked while the incandescent lights illuminated his tree bark complexion. He had a square head and fade cut like Morris Chestnut from
The Best Man.
He definitely wasn't as fine as Morris Chestnut, but he was still someone I'd entertain for the night.
“Hello,” Loraine said. Teona avoided eye contact, and I smiled back.
“I'm Vince, and this is my man, Brad,” said the sports jacket.
“Hello, Brad and Vince,” Loraine responded.
“Only one of you talks,” said Brad. Brad's dark skin reminded me of the mahogany brown furniture that accented my living room. That was his good quality. His pimply face and narrow eyes chipped
away at the one good quality he had. And the other bad part of him consisted of the fact that he couldn't keep his eyes off of our breasts. If he let his tongue fall out his mouth, I'd have to complete his look with a leash and a collar. He was short and stocky like a buff teddy bear. I usually didn't like bald guys, especially since the look of dried sweat leading from the back of his neck to the center of his skull disgusted me. But on this crooked-tooth loser, his bald head and skin color were all he had going for him.
Teona pursed her lips.
I said, “I'm Erin.”
“And I'm Loraine.”
“Can we buy you three ladies a drink?”
“If that's okay with you, miss.” Brad reached for Teona's arm. When she politely snatched it back, Brad's smile dropped from a bruised ego.
“My name is Dana,” said Teona. “â¦not Miss. And yes, you can buy me a drink.”
A smarter man would've taken Teona's attitude as his cue to move on to the next, but it was pathetic how easily men went for the chase. Teona's flip sense of self was enough incentive for Brad to grin widely in an attempt to make Teona his prey. Unluckily for him, he was already Teona's.
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The night was was over. Teona was already halfway drunk from the slew of drinks Brad showered upon her seemingly insurmountable thirst. Eventually, Vince and Brad realized the game Teona was playing and decided to spend the little money they had left on women they could actually get into bed that night. As we left the club and entered the parking lot, we all stopped in our
tracks as a tall, caramel brotha with eyes the color of a sunset stepped in front of us. His honey-blond dreads rested between his shoulder blades as he sucked on his bottom lip and kept his eyes on Teona. Usually, I didn't hate on any female when another man was checking her out, but when he flashed a set of perfect white teeth, and the club lights changed his eye color from sunset to Pacific Ocean blue, I couldn't help but clear my throat and step up a little to get noticed.
“Teâ” The letters dripped off his heart-shaped lips. Then he ran his tongue across his lips and made my panties more moist than the color of his eyes. “Where you been?”
Teona fronted as if the depth in his voice didn't make her knees weak like it did me. I had to hold on to Loraine's shoulder to keep my balance. “C'mon, let's go.” Teona grabbed Loraine's hand and attempted to drag her past the Mandingo warrior dressed in a black V-neck sweater and jeans that cupped his butt and crotch in all the perfect places.
I hadn't even realized I was holding Loraine back until Teona swirled around to see why Loraine wasn't moving as fast as she wanted. The gentleman wrapped his arm around Teona's waist and held her back. “Where you goin'?”
Teona rolled her eyes so hard I thought she lost them in the back of her head. “Get your hands off me, Dre.”
Dre threw his hands up and then finally gave Loraine and me some attention. “I'm sorry. My name is Andre. To whom do I owe the pleasure?”
Andre put his hand out for Loraine and me to shake. Loraine hesitated but I gladly took the opportunity to feel his hands. My fantasies wanted a better understanding of how his hands would feel wrapped around my waist. “Erin.”
Andre licked his lips and winked before turning his attention to Loraine.
“Loraine.” Loraine shook his hand like she was doing him a favor.
Teona yanked Loraine's hand from Andre's grasp and then yanked her away.
“Can you please leave?” Teona demanded.
“I've been callin' you.” Andre's smooth demeanor slightly shifted as his intrigue turned to irritation. “Where have you been?”
“Mindin' my damn business.”
Teona kept walking as Andre followed. Loraine and I followed after them as we watched the spectacle. Tired of chasing after Teona, Andre circled around her and turned his heavenly smile into a menacing frown. “Where's my watch, Te?”
“I dunno what you're talkin' 'bout.”
“Don't play stupid wit' me, Te.”
Teona turned around. Loraine sensed trouble and put some pep in her step as we headed in the opposite direction. “Who is that man, Teona?” Loraine asked.
Teona huffed an annoyed breath. “Some lil' boy who's apparently following me.”
Andre grabbed Teona's arm and swung her around. Putting his finger in her face, he clenched his jaw and squeezed her wrist. “I'm not playin', Te. My granddaddy gave me that watch. You think I'ma let you take it?”
Teona wrenched her arm back and twirled her neck. “Don't you put yo' hands on me.”
Loraine got in between them and pushed Teona back. “Excuse you. Don't put your hands on my lil' sister.”
“Well, your lil' sis is goin' 'round stealin' my shit. She lucky she suck dick good o' I woulda came for her a long time ago.”
Andre was quickly transforming into a menace as opposed to a Mandingo. “Teona, what's goin' on here?” Loraine asked.
Teona sucked the enamel off her teeth as she folded her arms over her chest. “Dre, you need to go.”