Posts Tagged ‘curiosity’

Once again I’d like to thank meanblackjack – he prefers BlackJack – for his help and guidance with translating this story from German into English. It’s actually the first story I ever published at Literotica.



This series consists of three parts, and will not be continued…



Don’t forget: Comments and feedback are not only appreciated but requested…



And the stars at the end are there for a reason!




*+*+*




If you are from a family like mine, the idea of intimate encounters between relatives isn’t that far off.



My family is insanely huge — like it was common with old families at the Balkan ever since. Just to start with the fact, my grandmother had 14 siblings, with each of them having at least four children of their own. These children again had at least three descendents which also already have their own kids and by now, some of them also have babies — leaving me and two of my female cousins the only ones in our family to be born as an only child for the last 200 years… And me and one female cousin of mine the only ones without children.



You can really say, my family is big.



Being sort of a family chronicler, it’s up to me, to keep an eye on the family, and to be informed about births, marriages and deaths.



A pretty hard task, considering that my relatives live all over the world.



Having my meshpoke living in all four corners of the world is also the reason for incidental — and sometimes even amatory — encounters every now and then.



The stories, I’ll present you in this line-up, have been told to me by several members of my closer or wider family, and were pretty much authentic — as far as I took the freedom to change minor details in order to protect the involved ones from being discovered.



This is one of these stories:




*+*+*+*




He’d been looking forward for this vacation for months already, and finally the time had come!



Alexander, Ace for short, couldn’t find any sleep the night before the departure. That’s the reason, he had stood up, went to the balcony in the middle of the night, and lit a joint to calm down. The chilling breeze helped, along with the weed, to relax and come down a little. Fortunately he didn’t have to drive — well at least not the first part of the way — so it wouldn’t be a problem, if he sleeps until Munich or even Graz.



He finally felt calmer and more relaxed after the doobie, and was sure, he would be able to sleep.



-~-~-~-




The reason for the 21 year old to be nervous, was quite simple: In about 24 hours, he’d see her again; the girl always showing up in his dreams.



Kristina, Tina for short, was the kind of girl or woman, a man could only dream about: Raven haired with piercing blue eyes, almost six foot tall, not too skinny, cup size 34B or 34C — depending on the type of bra — and a happy person, you would never find again. And she was the first girl he had ever slept with.



Her being his cousin, didn’t bother him in this context at all.



Tina and Ace had been inseparable since the earliest childhood, because her cousin Ace, who was two years younger than her, had been one heart and one soul since the boy was born, and if she have could, she would have cut the umbilical cord herself. So she “adopted” him, as soon as she could, and it was hard to convince her to give him back. Also Ace had totally fallen for his “big cousin”.



When they were little, they always pretended to be brother and sister. They were so close, despite the fact that both of them had step siblings of their own..



Even if separated — like, when he was back home in Germany — they actively stayed in touch: first via phone and mail, and later via Skype and e-mail.



As they grew over the years, their parent’s worries also grew because of them. Be it nightly excursions to the neighborhood, spontaneous trips to the baths of Belgrade without parental guidance or later — when puberty kicked in — tours through the nightlife of Belgrade. Whenever they got caught, they covered each others back and nothing ever could come between them…



So what eventually happened was only a logical consequence.



***




It actually started comparatively innocent, on this summer night four years ago. Tina, Ace and some of the kids from the neighborhood had gathered in a rec room, spinning the bottle, they had emptied before — along with some other bottles.



There was a lot of giggling, kissing, smooching and fondling involved, except for Tina and Ace. When their turns came, they had light dares respecting the impossibility of them making out.



They got a special status, although they weren’t really relatives by blood. Tina’s mother brought her from her first marriage into the marriage with Ace’s uncle, but this didn’t matter at all, because even such an relation wouldn’t have been considered appropriate.



In the course of the game, Ace had to confess being a virgin, and therefore the not-for-much-longer 16 years old had to suffer through a lot of jokes and malice. As the night went on, and the booze had been flowing a lot, Ace heard a very familiar — although now pretty tipsy — voice right at his ear. His beloved cousin’s voice, whispering: “If you’re a virgin next year at this time, I’ll take your cherry myself.”



Her grin made him believe, she’s only joking — he was just about to learn, how wrong he was. The night went on pretty civilized and without serious damages and both of them were still responsive and sane, when they fell into their beds… Right before their parents had returned from their tour to the nightlife of Belgrade.



***




When Ace arrived the next year, only a few days after his 18th birthday, she pulled him aside and whispered: “Now? Still using this cock of yours only for pissing?”



Her straight and pictographic language had always excited him, and it was Tina, from whom he had learned his first swear words.



When he answered her question with a confused “Yes”, she commented dead pan: “So you know what’s coming up. You won’t leave this town as a virgin anyway… Even if I have to pluck you myself.”



Ace must have looked quite dumbfounded because Tina burst into laughter and hugged him tightly. Then she became stern again and whispered: “I’m not joking.” hugging him some more and pulling him back to the family.



Tina didn’t act unselfish at all, because she knew his body, since he left his mother’s womb, had — like most of the children in the world — played “doctor” with him, and the — admittedly big (24 inches long and over eight pounds heavy) — newborn baby had over the years turned into a handsome and strong young man of over six feet and about 180 pounds; with broad shoulders a strong chest and powerful, lean runner’s legs.



Additionally she had lusted for him, since he had turned 15, and her yearning had become stronger every following year. Every time, she had seen him, her pussy started to tingle, and her juices started to flow. Tina now had the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone: Making her beloved cousin a real man — and finally be filled with his man-meat.



Because of her being two years older, it always was her “chore” to look after the “little one”, when the parental fraction was downtown. Some time ago Tina had started to intersperse ideas casually, where the parents could go for a couple of hours every now and then, and leaving the young folks on their own — with the possibility of making planes on their own.



Finally the special evening came, and Ace could hardly have known anything about his good luck at hand. He only knew, they will have the later afternoon and the evening for themselves — and most likely half of the night, because their parents trips to downtown Belgrade usually ended around three o’clock in the morning.



The old folks had hardly disappeared down the street, when Tina sent her cousin to the next kiosk to get them some cigarettes. She knew very well, he wouldn’t come back until he got the cigarettes, and the next stand, open at that time, was about twenty minutes away — enough time to shave properly.



She managed to be back dressed up and sitting in the living room, when he returned a little sweaty, triumphantly waving two boxes of cigarettes.



“Sweaty as you are, you should get your skinny ass under the shower, kid!” she said, faking seriousness.



“All right. So I also can shave — you don’t want to help me with that, maybe, do you?” Although they always used to fool around like this, her jaw dropped for an instant in surprise — maybe because his suggestion totally met her deeper thoughts.



‘You little devil! Oh… Just you wait, little smart-ass.’ went through her mind, but she just answered: “I think you’ll be able to do it on your own, don’t you? I don’t have to hold your hand all the time, do I?”



He laughed out in a pretty sassy way, indicating that she might even like it, and closed the bathroom door right the moment, Tina had thrown a pillow at him.



During the time, he occupied the bathroom, she prepared a meal for them and slipped into a beautiful dress — It paid off wearing the same size his mother did.



When he stepped out of the bathroom, he first registered the scent of the meal, and the blink of an eye later the perfume, Tina had put on — and then he saw her. He knew the dress, but his mother never looked that good in it, not like the way, Tina looked.



Tina stood there in a light, off-white cocktail dress, that, due to the back light, seemed transparent — transparent enough to show, she didn’t bother putting neither his mother’s nor her own underwear on — and was completed by a likewise off-white pair of peep-toed high heels.



Her blue eyes sparkled when she saw the towel around his hips definitely rising up front.



“You look at me like I’m some kind of candy you’d like to taste, bad boy.” she teased him.



He just nodded so hard, it almost looked like he wanted to shake his head off, when he continued the game from earlier.



“No way! We’ll behave and enjoy our meal, so you grow big and strong.”



At “big” and “strong” she involuntary grinned, but got herself together and served the dinner.



He sat down and ate his meal with dignity and style — of course exaggerating it to the max — and made her — also exaggerated — compliments. She had to laugh hard because of his silliness. It was one of his features, she loved the most. As long as she could remember, it has been his talent to make her laugh, no matter how dark the clouds ahead were.



She was now laughing too, but beneath the laughter a certain arousal grew, and she slid close to him, putting one hand on his lap. When he tried to turn to her with an puzzled look on the face, she pressed her lips on his and kissed him, purring: “I’ve promised you something, remember?”



He stopped short, and when it finally sunk in, he looked nervously at her, but it was too late: Their lips connected inseparable and she pushed her body against his. She reached down and pulled the towel away, cocky reaching for his dick and fondling it, while her tongue explored his mouth. The idea of doing something forbidden and immoral came to them, but rather boosted their passion. They have known each other all of their lives so this was almost a logic consequence.



Tina straddled his lap, and, due to the fact her pleasant anticipation had made her soaking wet, Ace slid perfectly and without any resistance inside her. She hugged him, kissing him breathlessly, while she moved on his lap and aroused him even more.



Ever faster and harder she rode him and felt, he didn’t had only energy reserves — his dick seemed to be stretching even more. She let him slip out — just for a sec — and looked keenly at his pole. He really grew bigger! Where after showering — and in her memory — “only” six and a half inches were standing, now almost nine inches plowed back into her pussy.



‘And he’s only like 2′ when he’s limp…’ went through her mind, but not for long, because his next stroke was quite hard — and deep.



“Oh my God!!! That’s so hot! You know how to fuck me!”



With a high pitched scream she came, and dragged the heavily moaning and hard panting Ace with her over the edge of the cliff into an overwhelming climax, able to white out every thought.



She collapsed in his embrace, and Ace listened stunned and with racing heart, how her heavy breathing slowed down and calmed under his caressing fingers and gentle touches.



After what seemed a small eternity she lifted her head, whispered: “How do you feel, honey?” and smiled lovingly and with sparkling blue eyes.



Instead of an answer, he just kissed her long and gentle and breathed: “It was incredible. How can I make this up to you?”



Tina smiled warm and tenderly, took his hand and with the other hand opened her dress.



“Help me with the dress please.”



She stepped out of her shoes and stood naked before him. Softly she pushed him on the bed, laid next to him, guiding his hand to her sex.



“Stroke me there gently.”



This hadn’t to be told him twice. He started to softly caress her lips with his fingertips.



After a while he became bolder, fondled her clit and inserted a finger inside, licking his finger clean afterward.



“There is even more, where this came from.” she purred, and after he realized her sly smile, something “clicked” in his mind and he finally got it.



He slid down on her body ’til he reached her thighs, and started licking her pussy first slowly and hesitantly, then swiftly and aptly. Gentle nibbles alternated with swift licks and deep tongue plunging, and he really started liking the taste of her. He also alternated between licking her clit and poking his tongue deep in her folds in an irregular pattern, purposefully driving her crazy.



After a while, literal screams of joy echoed through the apartment and slightly indicated to Ace that he might do something right.



He was obviously doing something right, because with a strong push she had thrown him on his back and was all over him devouring his best parts with untamed desire. She swallowed his dick in one single move, guiding his shaft with her wet and hot tongue, and every now and then flicking the tip of it over his bulbous head.



Ace had got blow jobs before, but her tongue-flicking blew his mind and he was hard as a steel rod in no time. When he felt his climax approaching, he gently pushed her back and almost ashamed, he came on her breasts.



Smiling indulgently at him, she pulled him into the bathroom, where they washed each other before they raided the fridge.



While they enjoyed their snacks, she softly whispered into his ear: “I would have swallowed, if you’d come in my mouth.” She lovingly smiled at him, while he even forgot to swallow his bite.



‘This can’t be real’ he thought, but he was up to learn, this actually was real.



A couple of hours later, after they had again made love twice, they dozed off uncovered, naked as they were, exhausted and cuddled into each others arms.



They were startled from their sleep in the middle of the night, when they heard their respective parents at the apartment’s door.



‘Shit! They’ll catch us.’ went through their minds, but fortunately the elders had met some neighbors downtown and were now heading to their place for a night cap.



Ace and Tina rose quickly, cleaned the place up, taking care of dishes and discarded clothes, and eventually returned to bed, covering up with the sheets.



As they had done so for the last 18 years, no-one would have wondered about them sleeping in the same bed — although them being stark naked beneath the sheets was something that didn’t happen for the last ten years, but no-one ever learned about it.



For the remainder of summer, they were, as usual, inseparable, and when the parental fraction wasn’t around, they behaved like the couple freshly in love they were. When the occasion rose, they even extensively shared their passion.



When his holiday’s end came closer, the two of them made a pact. When they meet, they belong to each other, except one of them is in a serious relationship. A pact, both paid tribute to dearly.



***




The next year, Ace was even more excited about the holiday than ever. Although his parents didn’t quite understand why, they were happy that a 19 year old still liked spending his holidays with his “boring” family.



Because he still had some work to do, he couldn’t drive with his parents, but that wasn’t a problem at all.



“You can torture yourself for 16 or 18 hours in the car, while I can jump into the plane from Zurich, when I’m done, and I’ll be there in about one hour. You can surely entertain yourself for a while without me, don’t you?”



No sooner said then done. 36 hours after his parents had started, his plane was landing at the airport Surćin in Belgrade.



He was surprised at first to see Tina standing at the gate, waiting for him, instead of his parents, but she explained:



“They had been on the road for more than 24 hours, getting from one jam to the next. They’re done, so I suggested, I could pick you up and they can rest.”



“Tina is such a practical person and so selfless…” he mocked his mother’s voice and burst into laughter, but then looked closer at her.



Adequate to the weather she had dressed light. Summerly strappy sandals with high heels — ‘If she can drive with that, who am I to complain?’ went through his mind, as he took in the sexy sight — a feathery mid-thigh skirt and a light and tight tie-waist shirt — with her nipples poking through like two bullets.



When she finally caught him staring, she posed with a wicked smile, showing off her beautiful long legs.



“Have you seen enough? Can we drive?” she laughed, pulling him with her out of the airport building.



It was just after they had stowed his stuff in the trunk and sat in the car, that she stomped onto the accelerator and he got pushed into his seat like sitting in a starting jet.



“Slow down! You aren’t usually that much into rushing, do you?” he bawled her out smiling. “Or do you have some urgent plans?”



She just smiled at him — definitely a smile to say she was up to no good.



So he wasn’t very surprised, when they left the city’s highway and drove through a park on the edge of the new town of Belgrade.



“You ARE up to something, aren’t you?” he asked.



Again she just smiled — almost grinning.



It drove him insane.



Eventually, she slowed down and turned onto a small, almost hidden, path, where she stopped, opened the windows and reached underneath her seat. He would have expected anything, but not this:



Tina pulled out a small, transparent plastic bag, and without any doubts he recognized the weed inside.



“Ever tried?” she asked, while she expertly rolled a joint.



“Yeah… Sure… Wasn’t bad…” He reluctantly admitted.



“But sure as hell you hadn’t had one like mine.” she answered, pulled her skirt up — of course without wearing anything underneath — and dragged the spliff through her wet folds. She stuck the doobie between his gaping lips and lit it up.



The scent of weed and the odor of her juices reached his nostrils, and he couldn’t have decided, which sensation flashed him more. While he enjoyed smoking his joint, she opened his pants, pulled his cock out and already had inhaled the whole length, before he even realized her hand nestling on his zipper.



She treated him, alternating between soft tongue batting and hungry sucking, while he took toke after toke from the spliff. Her lips and tongue were all over his bell-end, shaft and even balls while she pleased him and at the same time rubbed herself.



“Relax and enjoy the show, kid. It’s only a preview for what’s waiting for you.” she hummed around his dick.

Leaning back, he realized that he had both a good view down her cleavage and at her fingers, feverishly playing with her pussy. He decided to relax and just enjoy what’s happening.



Almost as if it was planed that way, he opulently came in her mouth when he took his last — very shivery toke, and released the smoke with a long, deep moan.



She licked her lips, scooped up a small remainder that had escaped from the corner of her mouth, purred with pleasure when she licked it up, put in a gear and drove off.



“That’s what I call a warm “well-come”.” Ace joked, leaned back and stuffed his semi-hard boner back in his pants.



For the next couple of weeks there were many opportunities for Tina and Ace to spend time together on their own, sometimes smoking weed, but more often having sex when ever an occasion rose.



Their agreement was fully valid, and with both being young and not interested in long term relationships anyway, the regulations of the arrangement weren’t a problem at all. A reason for their single status, that shouldn’t be underestimated, was their immense mutual attraction, so neither of them were actually looking for a partner but rather for some mates to bridge the time between the summer holidays.



The holiday ended about four weeks later and with a heavy heart they had to take a leave from each other, but not without renewing their promise to “come together” the next summer.



***




The next year, Ace’s physical attributes were requested, but not only in the way, he and Tina wanted and longed for.



Four weeks before the summer holiday, Tina had broke up with her boyfriend — it may not have been the one big love, but she could have imagined it becoming long-term. She could have imagined, but only until he showed his rude and jealous side.



Tina was pretty much the “happy-go-lucky” type of person, and following her lead, Ace also become such a person, more than glad to help his beloved cousin, when she asked for his assistance with her little revenge plot.



On an exceptional hot evening a party was set to take place at “Ada Ciganlija” — an artificial lake at the Sava river — and Tina knew very well, her ex would be there.



That night, Tina and Ace followed the motto “Dress to get laid”, and when they left the house, several approving wolf whistles from the adolescent kids in the neighborhood echoed through the nighty air.



Tina was wearing a breathtaking crimson red silken dress ending right above the knee — accentuated by four inch heeled peep-toe sandals — and, as she wanted to dance in public, a deep red nothing of a g-string. The jewelry was perfectly harmonized with the dress and consisted of a pair of garnet earrings and a two rowed garnet necklace, one row tight around the throat and the second hanging loosely, almost like showing the way down the cleavage, the dress’ neckline revealed. Even her nails followed the theme and were painted likewise crimson red.



Ace’s outfit was elegant, too, but not that spectacular. Jet black linen pants with a slim black leather belt, black leather shoes, a blazing red silken shirt with the first three buttons open, showing off his smooth and defined chest, and finally a jet black linen jacket.



When they entered the party, there were several admiring glares, and when their friends — who knew about the plan, but didn’t know about what went on between the two of them for the last three years — had spotted them, there were some more wolf whistles and cheers.



Immediately, some of them gathered around the young couple, making sure, Tina’s ex wouldn’t miss them.



Though the show wasn’t necessary at all, because the moment, the two entered the dance floor, the ex was there to confront Ace.



Ace and his cousin though ignored him totally, and pulled off a tantalizing show, making their audience’s blood boil. Deep and sensual kisses and sexy touches led to intense fondling and very intimate contacts on the dance floor, making not only few of the other guests yelling and demanding more.



Their friends, not aware of their intimate relationship, were amazed and fascinated by their “acting skills” and jeered the loudest.



Tina’s ex couldn’t hold back any longer, stomped onto the dance floor and with the words: “The bitch is mine, take your hands off her!” tried to yank Ace away from his cousin.



“First of all, she’s no bitch, second, she’s here with me and third and last; take your hands off me, as long as you still have hands.” Ace answered in an absolute calm tone.



Jovan, the ex’s name, was build like a boulder: almost six feet seven and massive; messing with him usually meant risking serious beating. That’s at least what the legend said.



But Ace had been doing Karate since he was nine, and a couple of years ago discovered several martial arts more for himself.



That’s the reason, Jovan only could land one single hit, catching Ace by surprise.



But less than two minutes later two guys had to help Jovan getting up from the floor and searching for the teeth he had lost in the fight.



With his tail tucked in, he sneaked away, and Tina hugged her “savior”, while others applauded and a girl said: “Finally he met his match.”



Unseen by the others, Tina whispered into Ace’s ear: “Talking ’bout a match… You’ve lit my fire, you know. I’ll have to make this up to you.”



Ace just nodded briefly, his wink only visible to Tina, and turned to the others. “Listen, we don’t want this asshole to have ruined our night, do we? He’s gone, we’re still here! Let’s have fun!”



He grabbed Tina and twirled her over the dance floor ’till she pleaded for a break, two hours later.



They took a walk along the beach of Ada, and found a quiet place behind some upturned canoes on freshly spread pea gravel next to a couple of freshly cleaned and dried pads. The young couple sat down on the pads to rest a bit, but resting was quite unlikely, because due to dancing — and each others presence — both were in heat and very much aroused.



“Incredible, how you kicked his ass. You’ve never told me, you’re such a good fighter.” she beamed at him.



“There wasn’t any need ’till now. We always got our ways out without it before, but when he called you a bitch, I had to rearrange his face.”



Tina chuckled. “How protective. One could think, you fell in love with me, kid.” She said, humming tunes resembling pretty much ABBA’s song “Does your mother know”.



“Twenty years ago.” he smiled and cut off her humming and every possible answer by kissing her deep and lovingly. His tongue explored the mouth he loved so much, be it when they kissed or when she discovered his body with her lips or engulfed his hard cock with hot and hungry greed, and caressed her body through the silky fabric of her dress.



Before they had realized doing it, they already had stripped each other’s clothes off and were laying next to each other leaning to the boat.



“Show me, loverboy.” she lewdly whispered in his ear.



Like in a dream, his cock found his way into her snatch on it’s own, the way he knew so well for so long, and every time enjoyed anew. He pulled her closer and onto his lap. She now actually sat on his lap, with his dick buried deep in her pussy.



The harder he thrust into her, the wilder she dug her crimson nails into his back, and her screams of lust rose to the nighty sky together with his groans of passion.



Suddenly, they heard voices nearby, coming closer. Anxiously, they stopped and listened. Soon it became evident that there was another couple up to have some fun and minutes later the air was filled with their sounds of joy.



Tina and Ace looked at each other with shit-eating grins, and it was clear what was on their mind: ‘We can do much better than them!’



Tina now started riding him in earnest, taking his cock deeper with every stroke. His lips were all over her tits and his tongue felt incredible on her nipples.



One of his hands sneaked between their bodies and he began rubbing her clit, boosting her passion and arousal.



After a while, the girls were moaning a duet, while the guys were groaning like belling stags, when they — upped by the sensation of experiencing and hearing it at the same time — opulently came with their respective partners.



Tina collapsed into a heap on Ace, breathing hard and with a radiant grin.



“I’d say, it’s a tie.” she whispered, casting her bright smile at him.



A couple of minutes later a female voice came from behind another boat.



“You don’t happen to have some spare cigarettes? We have left ours with our friends.”



“Sure, come over when you’re presentable again.” he answered, chuckling.



The couple, Sava and Diana, both in their mid-thirties, really came over a couple of minutes later, and they talked shop until Diana suggested them returning to the party before any of the friend groups starts a rescue mission.



As it turned out, while they walked and talked on the way back, Diana and her husband were looking for a young girl or a couple to have fun with, so they chatted about it and much more on their way — only Ace’s and Tina’s secret was still kept.



When Diana mentioned being really into anal, Tina pricked ears, especially since Ace seemed very interested in the topic.



As they returned to the party, their ways parted, but in Tina’s mind, an idea started to grow.



Around dawn the youngsters arrived home. They had left the party around three in the morning, but on their way back they passed an empty park with an inviting swing. An opportunity impossible to miss.



After a brief shower — each on his or her own, as the parents were sleeping next door and could wake up to any sound — they went to bed, sharing a sensuous and loving kiss good night.



The following weeks flew by and when Ace’s holiday was over, he and Tina had quite a lot of new and pleasing memories — and Ace a couple of new scratches and bite marks that won’t vanish until Christmas.



Due to urgent appointments, he had to leave for Germany three days before his parents, that’s why he took the plane and the whole family escorted him to the airport. While they waited for boarding, it accidentally happened that both Ace and Tina had to head to the restrooms within a couple of minutes of each other.



The restroom doors of both men’s and women’s restroom were opposing each other and were obscured by a screen, and the moment Ace approached the men’s room, the ladies’ restroom’s door opened, and Tina’s hand pulled him inside.



“It’s no one in here and I put an “out-of-order-sign” at the door, so we’ll have a couple of minutes.”



She pulled him with her to the sinks — in the ladies’ room connected by a vanity — turned around and bend over the vanity.



“Please one more time, so I won’t miss you so much.” she purred like a kitten in heat, looking at him in the mirror over the sinks.



Ace showed a broad grin, put her skirt up, pulled the string aside and impaled her with a long, strong stroke from behind.



“Yeesss… C’mon… Fuck me like this… That’s so hot!” she moaned. She knew pretty well how her talking like that would make him cum faster. Although she wanted to enjoy this for much longer, she knew well that their time was limited now.



Just when they came, the boarding of his plane was announced.



While she watched his plane disappear in the sky, she felt his cum dripping out of her and into her string.



She looked forward for the next year.



-~-~-~-




While he had let the gone years past his inner eye, Ace got more and more excited and aroused, and he couldn’t wait for their departure. He stood up and released his lust right there on the balcony — purposely praying his cum all over the roses in the garden.



‘And mom is wondering, why her roses grow so good’ he briefly thought and eventually returned to bed.



Less than two hours later the alarm on his clock went, and he and his parents packed the car.



They had just entered the federal motorway A8 towards Salzburg and left Munich behind, when his mother’s cell phone started ringing. It was Tina, telling them that she currently was job-related in Maribor, and they could meet there and drive to Belgrade together. All of them were game, and Ace was happy to spend some more time with his beloved one.



He forced himself to take a nap, and eventually slept almost through all of Austria, waking up only a couple of kilometers before they passed the Austrian-Slovenian border. Hastily, he straightened up, tried to fix his hair and make himself a little more presentable.



Soon they were in Maribor and easily had found Tina. They decided that Ace should drive with Tina, so in both cars would be two drivers who could take turns driving, if necessary.



Of course both were happy about this decision for many reasons — most of them unbeknownst to his parents. They even amused the two youngsters by remarking: “You’re such a cute couple. Even siblings aren’t as close as you are.”



Tina and Ace were laughing about the remark even after crossing the Slovenian-Croatian border and passing Zagreb. They had lost sight of his parents even before the border, but as all of the four knew the way, they would meet at the coffee table the latest.



Just before the Croatian-Serbian border, Tina took an exit leading to a tiny hotel in the woods. When Ace saw the hotel, he just smiled and said nothing.



They took a room for two hours — that would be the shortest it took to reduce their enjoyment of reunion to a family friendly level — and could hardly stifle a grin, when they saw the condemnatory look the hotel owner shot at them.



Sleeping with her was like coming home. He slid into her and knew every fold, every nook and cranny so well, he instinctively knew how to please her the way she liked it.



When they left the hotel about two hours later, he had to drive because she wasn’t capable of anything but a blissful smile.



Around evening — about one and a half hours after his parents — they arrived in Belgrade, and the reminder of the evening was spent with chatting and tittle-tattle.



Fortunately, Tina had recovered from the “reunion” and could participate in the talking and joking.



Every now and then the two would look at each other, and when the old folks announced they’ll retire, the young folks took their leave and headed downtown Belgrade to celebrate being back together.



“Did you know, our parents won’t be there the whole of next week?” Tina remarked.



“Yeah… Sure… Mom told me something like that. The four of them are flying to Montenegro, because your father wants to buy a house there. Why?” he asked, all innocence.



Tina just looked at him, her glare full of disbelieve about so much ignorance. Then he laughed out loud.



“You should see yourself right now! Of course I know, we’ll have run of the house the whole week.”



She elbowed him in the ribs. “Jackass!”



“I bet you’ve already made plans for that period, haven’t you?”



She indeed had planed something, but, as John Lennon had already stated decades ago, live is, what actually happens, while we are busy making plans.



She had planed for them to visit different tourist features every day and just to chill out, but no matter where they went to, it usually ended with her sucking him off, him eating her in a secluded corner or them just fucking right outside any tourist’s view.



So the time went by, and the parental fraction’s return dawned at the horizon.



Tina decided to turn what she had been thinking about for almost a whole year into action. It matched with her plans well so that Ace one morning announced: “Listen, I’ll need your car for a while today. I have to run some red tape stuff and you surely don’t want to be standing in waiting lines all day. You could make us a delicate and luring bite, couldn’t you?”



Tina called him a macho due to his tone, but basically agreed.



The moment Ace had steered the car out of sight, Tina rang at the neighbor’s door.



“Could I borrow your car, Gordana?” she asked her neighbor. “Ace got mine and I totally forgot to buy groceries.”



Of course the neighbor borrowed her the car as they were friends.



Five minutes later, Tina drove off the yard and really ran some errands for the evening. Less than an hour later she returned, carrying a sports bag.



While Ace struggled with bureaucracy, his sexy cousin treated herself to a day of wellness, shaved thoroughly, took a long hot bath, applied body lotion all over her body, made some snacks, putting them in the fridge, and rolled a couple of joints for her and Ace.



Afterwards she slowly started to get dressed for the night — not completely, but only what could be hidden beneath the comfy kimono, the rest would come later. Then she took a seat and waited for him to return soon, as she had calculated the waiting times he would be faced with.



Around seven in the evening he returned, in a good mood and broadly smiling.



“Greetings from our parents. They’ll be back the day after tomorrow and have some good news.”



“Did they call you?”



“No… They’ve sent a pigeon. Of course they had called… More precisely my dad called.”



“Fine… You’ll go now take a shower, you reek of waiting room!”



He raised his arms with ostentation and sniffed at his armpits, pretending to faint and stated: “Right… I stink. Take your time, I always need my time in the bath room.”



He didn’t hear her murmured comment: “During sex you don’t hurry either…” as he had disappeared into the tiled room already.



Telling by the sounds coming from the bath room, she knew he was going to shave his private parts, giving her plenty of time to get the snacks from the fridge, arrange them and complete her attire.



He came from the bath room about half an hour later, with wet hair and a towel wrapped around his hips, asking if he could help with something.



“You can lay the table.” Tina answered from behind the curtain to the kitchen, leaving ‘And afterwards me’ unsaid.



Minutes later, the meal was served and both grabbed some. Due to the long kimono and the table, Ace couldn’t really see that Tina had chosen some special outfit, but this was about to change soon.



After the dinner, he cleared the table, while she kept seated and just watched him. When he took the last few things to the kitchen, she stood up and slowly loosened the kimono’s belt.



The young man’s jaw dropped to the floor, when he returned from the kitchen and saw Tina:



Beneath the silky robe she wore a silky shining black corsage, black hold-up stockings and black shiny high heels.



“Remember the couple, we met last year on that party?” she asked almost shyly.



“Sure…” and after a pause: “But I’m not gonna share you, you know that.” he said low, but stern.



“You don’t have to.” she smiled and added: “But Diana gave me an idea… I’ve always wanted to have a cock up my ass, but I don’t trust any man to do it right — but you.”



Now she really seemed shy and vulnerable. “Have you ever…?” she asked, lowering her eyes.



“No, I haven’t… But I have quite a good idea how I would do it to you.” he smiled, took her in his arms and kissed her.



She let him lead her to the bed and lay her down, then he kneeled down, pleasing her thighs and pussy. He started with nibbling on her inner thighs and slowly moved closer her damp and hot pussy lips.



“Hmmm… That’s so good! You always had the best tongue in the world.” she moaned, while he made her juices flow.



Bit by bit, he slid a finger inside her and pleasured her sensitive spots arduously and intensely. So intense, that there was literally a puddle of her juices beneath her, pouring from her aroused sex, while her moaning and sighing turned deeper and more demanding.



“I want to feel him now… Please Ace… Fuck me!” she pleaded

I don’t know what changed only that I was happy and willing to explore a side of myself that I knew would always be there!



About five years ago I was going through a very harsh time in my life. Then only 25, I learned something I would always remember and value. I learned that life didn’t happen like the reality shows on television claimed it did. There were no rules in civilisation by which people truly lived. The world was always going to be a selfish place, whether I wanted to believe it or not!



Your best friends weren’t there for you when you needed them, problems couldn’t be solved by being honest and hard-working and trying to do the right thing was something that earned you a lot of enemies.



Without bothering you as to what my problems were, I can at least tell you two things. One, my problems up until that time weren’t regarding my sexuality and, Two, they were so impossible to deal with that to this day I still live in their shadow. My life was ruined already by that time and I was helpless to even find a way to begin again.



I sunk into a world of depression where I lost all control over my vices and I was drowning in alcohol and smoking as much weed as could keep me numb. I was “partying” at least four days a week and telling myself everything was going to be fine so long as I simply surrounded myself with people who did most of the same as I was doing all week round.



Not realising that I was doing too much of this, I had groups of friends here, there and everywhere; friends I’d smoke with, friends I’d drink with and friends that did both. My week was comprised of three separate weekends such was the extent of my bingeing.



And somewhere between blowing my brains out on drugs and drinking myself unconscious still linger the hazy memories of leaving the party, making the phone calls and going to meet anonymous men for sex of any kind.



Fragments of memories linger still of getting home just before sunrise, washing the smells off me — the smell of their breath, their sweat, their come and their piss — and brushing my teeth and the far back reaches of my tongue until I puked hard enough to purge the thought from my system.



When I had people to see, I didn’t want the thought of sucking dick and other things on my mind when I was with them. I felt like a freak and there’s no better way of saying it. I felt like I wanted it, like I deserved it and I felt that it was necessary for me to debauch myself if I was ever going to prove I could live with the horrific life left to me.



I didn’t believe I was gay then and I don’t fully believe I am now. I wouldn’t even accept the term bisexual even though my preference changes often. I see myself as just ‘sexually complete!’



But maybe if I hadn’t gone through that time in my life, I wouldn’t feel this way now. Back then, by day I was a raving homophobe, showing my disgust with anything to do with other men, but by night I was willing to do anything so long as I was fucked up enough.



By the next year, I fulfilled a new resolution to clean myself up, become and stay sober and to try to get my life back on track. Only the staying sober proved the successful resolution however and all that did was to cause all my friends to recede into the past. They were pissed off with me for having been the life of the party and then wanting to swap the party for my responsibilities.



They were right… but then they turned out to be pricks, every last one of them!



For the majority of the last four years, I let all those drunken memories fall behind, I guess, in a bid to clear my mind and try to get my life up and running again. The only thing that had changed was that I started regularly chatting to gay and bisexual men on the internet. I never did it in the hope of no-strings sex or relationships but at the same time, I fantasized a lot and found that indeed, men paid me more attention than women and seemed to be able to know how to give me a good mind-fuck when I needed one.



But I continued to have relationships with women and the internet chatting stopped when I was with them. Maybe because I was getting all the sex I needed. But whenever I went back to that old guilty pleasure, I started to realise it went deeper than men being able to figure me out better or knowing what I liked.



In the end, I discovered that not only did I want to explore my sexuality seriously with other men but that after everything I already had done — with men and women — the one territory I had yet to discover was not simply fucking someone of the same gender as me or finding new fetishes to explore with women.



I found myself being highly excited by the prospect of making love with a man, getting to know them, learning to trust them, submitting to them and enjoying what people enjoy most when they’re in love. I wanted to fall into an experience with a man just like I’d first fallen when I lost my virginity to a woman.



It didn’t have much chance of happening I thought because I never wanted to be gay or live with the label or stigma and both the negativity AND positivity that goes with the lifestyle. I was just me, no one who needed to be recognised for who or what I was.



Sometime after I came out of therapy, being given a clean bill of health and a life plan, my goal was simply to enjoy as much of life as I could, was it not? It was only eventual from there that I seriously sought after my desires, at least to put things right where I’d started off horribly wrong.



By the strangest of chances, I’d found myself striking up an online friendship with a transsexual by the name of Jasmine, who lived some hundred miles away from me. I originally thought her a born-female until I read her profile. Having explained to her that it was simply my goal to live with an open mind and to “never-say-never”, we became enduring chat-buddies quite quickly and for a long time.



We began swapping jokes, life experiences and small-talk in general about the working week and about relationships but when the subject of sex finally arose, I found I could never talk to her without getting rock hard with excitement. Here was a woman that had once been a man, who had learned for years to become the woman he/she always wanted to be. Most of all, she had perfected the art of seduction like I had never before witnessed and without ever having sex chat online or off, she got me fantasizing obsessively about all the things she said she liked to do with her men.



It was in the middle of the night, during last year’s summer that I awoke startled after the most erotic dream I’d ever had in my life- She was crawling up between my legs beneath the bedcovers, writhing like a snake. I remember not being able to see, but experiencing the most mind-blowing orgasm ever as she devoured my burning erection with her silky hot mouth, feeling her hands exploring my naked body.



She continued to make her way up the bed until our bodies locked in an embrace and we indulged in a slow and passionate kiss, deep and wet, tasting each other…



Before I knew it, my legs were aside me, bent at the knees. We were face to face and our roles as man and woman had swapped. She was inside me, driving home her hard cock as I felt it sliding deeper and deeper. I felt so much love for her and wanted her to come inside me and orgasm after orgasm coaxed my senses into submission. Just seeing her on top of me, our bodies joined at the middle, both of us sweating and breathing heavily, whispering beneath our breaths…



I told her about the dream and added that it was the most erotic thing I’d experienced in my own mind. I told her that I maybe even wanted it to come true some day and she suggested we meet for lunch one day… That never happened unfortunately as she found herself a boyfriend and as much as I thought he wouldn’t be, the guy became permanent to her.



We still stayed friends but after all this time, I realised I’d come to a turning point where anything was possible so long as I kept going. I started to chat to men again but found my reality turned upside down by the difference between these men and the ever seductive Jasmine. They didn’t have her nature, her passionate but caring nature that made me feel so open.



I became so frustrated that I did something I probably should have done so many years ago. I went online and ordered a realistic 7″ dildo and a bottle of lubricant. My point of reason for this being that if I ever truly wanted to go through with the experience that I should at least find out safely if I could ever enjoy it!



Did I?



I’d waited two weeks for my parcel to turn up in the post and when it did, I immediately took it upstairs and ran a bath. Just looking at the perfectly shaped dildo as I took it out of the box, I submitted to the urge to close my mouth around it and give it a long, slow sucking. Bad memories did not return but instead, I found myself wishing I was doing this to a real guy and thinking that after all the blowjobs I’d received in my life, I was probably miles better at it than any girlfriend I’d ever had.



I stripped down and climbed into the steaming hot water and began preparing myself, washing my body first before starting to pay attention to my anus. I soaped up liberally with a handful of shower gel and inserted a finger, then rinsed.



I repeated the process, realising that the sensations it caused were giving me one hell of a hard-on. I kept concentrating on my arsehole though, refusing to let my masculine urges get in the way that night. By the time I felt I was clean enough, I raised myself out of the water and rinsed off, then began saturating myself with the lubricant.



I resumed finger-fucking myself when I thought I was greased up enough and the sensations were out of this world, not only feeling the nerves inside responding to my touch, but noticing with the feeling in my fingertips how similarly deep inside my arse felt just like a woman’s pussy. I added another finger and found that I could easily reach in until my knuckles were touching my tailbone.



I looked over to the dildo and just knew that I was ready for this new experience but I got out of the bath and chose to move into the bedroom for this. Drying off, I took a clean towel with me along with my new friend and the bottle of lube.



I lay down on the bed, first on my back and spread my legs just like I remember in the dream where Jasmine was screwing me. Popping the lid on the lube bottle and placing the towel beneath my arse, I began to massage a handful of the stuff into myself, spreading it up the crack, over my balls and treating my cock to a brief, warm, slippery massage.



Again I took the rubber cock and began to suck on it, holding it steady by the balls, rolling my tongue around its head and deepthroating it until I was so horny that I couldn’t wait. But I knew I had to be patient.



Lubing up the dildo to completion, I shifted myself until I was comfortably ready and began to slide it up and down between my cheeks. With one hand, I fingered myself some more, feeling myself having loosened considerably. With the other, with dildo in hand, I found my anus — slippery wet and ready — and began to apply pressure gently, head first.



I’d read up on anal sex a lot over those past months and spoke a lot to Jasmine about it, so I was careful and knew what sensations to expect. The muscles contracted at the presence of this new creature, not knowing what to do, although I was relaxed enough to let it happen. I pushed carefully and felt myself widen but not painfully. At least not yet!



I knew that getting the whole thing in was going to make me feel like I was going to need the toilet but that since I’d cleaned myself out, the feeling was just going to have to be ignored. As I told myself this, pushing inwards and feeling the pain of stretching begin to take over, I slowed down, bracing myself. My toes cramped and I found myself making fists with my feet, gritting my teeth but not willing to stop.



I had come this far and I was damned if I was going to go no further without coming…



With a slip, the head pushed in and the pain resided. I knew that the base of the penis would easily follow behind now that the wider glans had made it inside me. I pushed all the way and to feel that cock, now hot thanks to my own body temperature, sliding effortlessly in and rubbing up against my pussy walls… I felt like a woman!



There was still some pain, obviously the confused sensation of blockage in an uncomfortable place that any straight man would understand without having a cock up his own arse. After some time spent ever so slowly plunging the cock into me and retracting it again, I found that I was too tight to go at much of a faster speed so I tried a different position and turned onto my side with one leg in the air. I felt like a porn star doing a solo feature. I felt it was a shame I wasn’t actually a woman and found myself laughing quietly as I carried on.



Now I was more relaxed and able to fuck myself a little faster. On my side I felt the pleasurable sensations work for me better and I was loose enough to really drill myself. I looked at my cock, rigid and standing out straight and was sure it had grown an extra inch. This was the hardest I’d been in years and that was when I came to the revelation that I really did want to be treated like a woman and fucked.



The feeling started deep within, that feeling you get when you’ve been having sex for hours, butterflies deep down in your stomach. My prostate was staring to respond pleasurably to the new feeling as I mercilessly rubbed up against it with the rubber cock. God, I loved it deep, I loved the feeling of the wetness running out of my stretched arsehole and I didn’t want to stop but I couldn’t take it anymore.



Possessed, I practically yanked the dildo back out with a loud wet pop. I jammed it back in, all the way in, wincing with the pain but loving it just as much as it hurt. I repeated the process and couldn’t get enough. With my free hand, I felt how my rectum had expanded and then took the open bottle, squirting lube straight into myself.



Sinking the dildo back deep into myself, I went at it full speed ahead, feeling this immense orgasm build up deep inside.



It wouldn’t come but I was moaning out loud so I followed my new found instinct. Tightening my muscles around the entire dildo buried inside me, I clenched my butt cheeks together and began to stroke my rock hard cock firmly. I couldn’t withstand the pleasure. Two separate orgasms building up all at once; I yelled out as the most intense climax rocked my body like a bomb had detonated.



Long squirts of ropy, white come shot out, one after the other but did not cease. I thrust and bucked back and forth, the motion sending my climax back and forth between both cocks like the ball in a pinball machine. One spurt of come led to five, which led to ten and then finally thirteen.



I collapsed, sweating copiously and out of breath, feeling the dildo being forced out of me by the inner muscles of my anus. It dropped onto the bed, resting hot and wet against my leg. I imagined how that would feel if it were attached to a warm human body; how I would react.



Of course, deep down inside me, beyond the warm, wet and worn out part of me; somewhere beyond the immediate desire that had now come to pass, I desired to know. I wanted to go looking, to find out what the real thing was like. I was going to go looking and I was going to get what I wanted, at least for just once in my life…



My fantasy would become a reality much more sooner than I could have expected!



(to be continued)

Author’s Note: Do not read further if it is illegal for you to do so. These stories contain consenting adults in sexual situations. If reading BDSM offends you, find something else to read.



Chapter 1 — Stability, Boredom & Curiosity



I looked around the bright room, but wasn’t impressed. A fortnight ago, I’d told Nik I wanted a new toy, so he’d hired a function room from a hotel in the city, and advertised to our small community that a gathering was being held, and all willing subs come forward for a night of surrender.



As our rules dictated, along with inhibitions, clothes were left in boxes at the door, but as the organiser I was entitled to clothes, and Nik had dressed me in a baby pink corset, skirt and white stilettos. Quite a few subs had turned up, as well as Doms, and a few new faces were mixed in amongst them. Some we’d played with before, and the brave ones had approached us already, but none had caught my interest, and everyone quickly fell into small orgies, toys and rope were littered everywhere. I released Nik from my side, and my dark haired lover was now whipping and slapping a young, hogtied blonde.



I sighed inwardly at the room and sat on an elevated chair, watching the young girl writhe, her squeals muffled behind a ballgag. Nik looked as bored as I felt. If he’d really wanted to, he could turn those squeals into screams, rip endless, unexpected orgasms from her body and leave her tied up on the floor. I loved watching his passion take hold of him like that, but we rarely found a sub so willing.



“Mistress?”



I turned to look at the only other fully dressed person in the room. The functions manager, a dedicated lifestyler hired us this room at a hefty fee for our regular gatherings.



“Yes?” I asked, raising an eyebrow.



“It’s nearly midnight,” he said nervously, and I nodded.



“Disband them then,” I said, dismissing him with a wave of my hand. “Nik?”



My lover immediately dropped the whip and walked away from the bound girl. He retrieved his shirt from the back of a chair and came to my side again.



“Are we taking anything home?” he asked, giving me a curious look.



I shook my head, and got to my feet.



“I’m sorry, darling, maybe another time,” he said, taking my hand and giving me a genuinely disappointed smile.



I shrugged.



“Maybe.”



I led us from the room, while the others started redressing.



“What I really want,” I said once we were out of earshot, “is something so new it doesn’t know what boundaries and safe words are. Something I can break and put back together perfectly,” I added as we walked through the hotel lobby.



Nik looked thoughtful as he held the door open for me.



“Male or female?”



“It doesn’t matter,” I replied smoothly, leading us back to the car.



Nik unlocked it and held the back door open for me. Giving the hotel a dark frown, I got in.



I didn’t speak the whole way home, I didn’t need to. Nik knew what I was thinking about, and left me to my thoughts. As soon as we arrived home, I let him hold the door for me, and walked silently to our bedroom.



He undressed quickly, and I let him undress me as well. He was always gentle, he loved pampering me, giving me everything so I’d never have to lift a finger. I let him tend to me, rubbing a lavender scented moisturiser over my body, from my toes, which he kissed individually, to my shoulders. When he was done, he kissed the backs of my hands.



“Cuffs,” I said, and he gave me that curious look again.



“There’s rope in the cupboard, the cuffs-”



“Bruise, and I want that,” I cut him off shortly.



Nik nodded and then disappeared. We kept a lot of toys in a particular bedside table drawer, but the cuffs were downstairs, and he’d have the walk to the basement dungeon to ponder the rest of the night. I opened the drawer, and pulled out a length of material. We were going to make noise, and Nik still hadn’t organised soundproofing for the bedroom.



Within moments, he was back, two pairs of metal handcuffs and the little key that belonged to them in hand. I motioned for him to turn around, and I wound the material in my hands around his head. He bit down on the cloth, and I tied it into a double knot behind his head.



“On the bed, on your back,” I said quietly, and Nik nodded once again before lying still on the bed.



My lover’s greatest gift to me wasn’t the dresses or the comfortable, lazy lifestyle I’d become accustomed to, it was his submission. Nikolai was well known and highly regarded in our circles as being a ruthless and commanding Dom, but when I walked off the street and into the world of kink, he’d gravitated to me like a magnet. Enclosing me in his arms, he’d claimed me then and there, and the backflip he made to move heaven and hell for me at my every whim still made even the most seasoned switchers shake their heads. Not that either of us were completely one or the other. Nik might give me everything I ask for, and everything I don’t ask for, but it’s always done with such a sense of possession. Yes, I am his Queen, his Goddess, but I am his only. I live in a cage; a golden, velvet lined cage, but still a cage.



I looked longingly at him, his long, lean form patiently waiting, his dark brown hair fanned out on the pillow. Still without words, I took the cuffs from him, and locked one pair around one of his wrists, linking the chain around the top of the bed-head, and then locked his other wrist in. He watched me move, he’d taught me everything I knew, and he once told me he’d never met someone with an appetite as big as his. I smiled at him then, relishing the sight of his relinquished control, and placed gentle kisses on his eyelids. Moving down his body, I pressed my lips against him, running my tongue a wet trail past his bellybutton to the short line of dark hair above his cock. I gave him a predatory grin, and licked the tip of his cock gently, before taking the entire head in my mouth, swirling my tongue around it. He closed his eyes, his breath coming in soft pants as I licked his engorged head, and as soon as I felt his body relax into the seduction, I grazed my teeth over his slit, making him gasp and tense sharply. Letting the head of his cock fall from my mouth, I blew cold air onto it, and he groaned behind the gag.



I smiled at his reaction, and leaned over him to re-open the bedside table drawer. I dug around for a moment, before my hands found the items I was looking for. Hiding the small clamps in my hands, I opened them both, and before he could blink, closed them over his pert nipples. Nik screamed against the gag, huffing out breath, and struggling not to twist against the handcuffs. I ran a length of chain between the clamps, and pulled on it, and he lifted himself off the bed slightly so the pain wouldn’t be as bad. Ignoring his attempt at lowering the pain I wanted to inflict, I returned my attention to the drawer, and took out his leather cockring, and another length of chain.



He watched, unable to speak, as I clasped the cockring around the base of his shaft. I gave the head of his cock another engulfing warm suckle while I clicked the chain in place, linking it with the chain between the nipple clamps. I pulled the curtain cord off the bed’s curtains, and linked it over one of the canopy beams. It fell to about a foot above his body, and I raised the chains to tie them to the cord. Nik was now at the mercy of the curtain cord, the chains from his nipples and cock raised up in a pyramid to meet it. Finally, I walked around the bed and admired my handy-work. I took a short crop from the drawer and closed it. Running my hands down the length of his body, I marvelled at his even breathing, and his warmth. His cock twitched but I ignored it, and lay the end of the crop next to his left nipple, tracing a line across his collarbone, and then down his side, making goosebumps raise. Without any warning, I raised the crop, and landed a bevy of strikes against his ribs, each harder than the last. The hits made his body jump, which pulled the curtain cord enough to straighten, pulling his nipples, and the base of his cock. Nik arched his back at the overwhelming sensations. Just as his panting raised to agonised moans, I stopped, moved over the other side of the bed, and laid into his other side, giving his right side the light taps that turned into heavy blows until his moans had become muffled cries. Tossing the crop aside, I pulled both nipple clamps off at the same time, and Nik screamed against the gag.



“Hush, love. You’ll scare the neighbours,” I cooed, rubbing his bruised nipples hard enough to make him whimper.



A lesser man would have begged me to stop, but Nik loved me with every ounce of his being, and would never stop giving me everything he had.



I turned back to his cock then, and wrapped my lips around the head, swirling my tongue over it, dipping into his slit, while my fingers manipulated his nipples. His head was thrown back, and the moans issuing from around the gag told me he was caught firmly between pleasure and pain. Mercifully, I drew my hands back from his nipples, and swallowed more of his length, giving him a few moments of sheer pleasure to cling to, until I took firm hold of his balls, and squeezed tightly around them and the base of his member. Another muffled cry reached my ears, and I straddled his hips, tantalising him with the closeness of my sexual heat. I teased him, kneeling so close to his rock hard cock that he could feel how wet he’d made me, but he didn’t dare move. His eyes shone with need, begging me silently while I kept one hand on his ball-sac, kneading his shaven balls painfully.



I hesitated then. I wanted to ride my lover hard, I needed it, but my need to inflict more pain was keeping me from lowering myself any further. I looked into his eyes again, and released his throbbing sac from my vice grip. He groaned as I raised my hand to the curtain cord, and pulled the clamps back down to his body. Shaking his head fervently, Nik’s experience told him this would hurt more than anything else, he knew that I knew that I shouldn’t re-attach the nipple clamps, but I wanted it. I wanted to see tears when I rode him.



His protesting muffles meant nothing to me, but he tried to lift his legs, and struggled more earnestly against the cuffs, making them cut into his wrists. Frowning, I held the clamps in one hand, and slapped his cock with the other, making his whole body jump.



“Be still,” I warned, glaring at him.



His eyes told me he was fighting the instinct to regain control, to put a stop to me, so I slapped his cock some more, and tugged his balls hard. Finally, he nodded, and lay his head back onto the pillow, his whole body relaxing in defeat. His erection had softened, something I would remedy once the clamps were secure. Very slowly, I closed them over his already over-sensitive, bruised nipples, so instead of a sharp sting, he felt only the burning throbbing. A strangled cry escaped him, and I relished it, taking his lax cock back into my mouth. I coaxed it awake, stroking with one hand while I sucked and licked at the head, and eventually he betrayed himself by moaning wantonly at my attentions.



Taking a gentle hand to the chain that ran over the bed’s canopy beam, I gave it a small tug as I took my mouth from his now re-hardened cock. Nik’s eyes flew open again, and he grunted at the pinching on his poor nipples.



“Look at me.”



He raised his eyes to meet mine as I lowered myself over his hard-on. He could barely keep them from fluttering as his throbbing member was encased in my tight heat. I pressed myself down onto him until he was completely inside me, and let my body become used to the invasion.



“Is that good?” I asked, tightening the muscles of my pussy around him.



Nik nodded quickly, and I started a slow, torturous rocking movement, raising and lowering myself on him, holding his hips down so he couldn’t thrust up into me. He got used to my slow rhythm, and I began tightening my muscles as I pulled myself off him, feeling his length leave my body and then pushed myself back down onto him, rubbing his cock against my G spot, sending sparks out to every nerve. I joined his moaning, my pace quickening as I rode him harder, making us bounce on the bed, tightening the slack on the curtain cord and forcing his nipples and the base of his cock to throb repeatedly. Soon the throbbing in his body became too much, and he fought to release himself from the gag, tossing his head from side to side. I watched intently, and, still rocking myself gently on his member, leaned forward and pulled the gag undone. Gasping, Nik fought to breathe and swallow as I leaned back again, and started to ride him hard again, his cock constantly pushing against my G spot.



“Please,” he gasped, “please, the clamps!”



I slowed my movements to a gentle rocking again, intent on making him suffer, and he moaned helplessly.



“What about them?”



“Please, I need them off,” he panted.



I pulled hard on the chain, and he cried out, the clamps pinching his nipples even more, making his cock jerk inside me.



“Miss, please!”



I wanted to sigh, but I didn’t, instead leaned close to him, covering his fevered skin with mine. If he hadn’t been cuffed to the bed-head, he’d clung to me desperately while my cool fingers teased the irritated nubs. Very quickly, I grasped both clamps, and released his nipples from them. Nik screamed out and arched his back, lifting me along with him. His cock, still rock hard, pulsed inside me, his body threatening to, but unable to topple over the brink because of his cockring.



“Give me your lips,” I said, and he whimpered into my mouth as I claimed his soft, trembling lips.



Trails of tears made their way to his temples, and I licked them tenderly, enjoying the salty moisture on my tongue before returning my lips to his, forcing him to part them so I could invade his mouth with my tongue. I fucked his mouth with my tongue, and he sucked greedily at me, sending the sensations straight to my pussy. Lifting myself up, I started rocking myself on his cock again, forcing his chin up to meet my eyes while I impaled myself on him again and again. The tension built inside me, my skin began to buzz and I began to shudder as I felt wave after wave of sweet rapture wash over me, my pussy clenching tightly around Nik as I rode my climax on him. Eventually, I came down from my euphoria, and slowly began rocking on him again, waiting for my body to join my mind back on earth. He was watching me, he loved watching my orgasms rip through me, loved being the one responsible for my passion.



Momentarily sated, I crawled off him, and pulled the covers up to our shoulders, lying so that he could rest his sweaty brow against my breast.



“Do you want me to take this off?” I asked, tugging the chain linked to his cockring.



Nik nodded.



“If it pleases you,” he answered quietly.



I smiled at him then, unclasped the leather strap at the base of his still hard cock, and then cradled his head against my chest before leaning back against the pillow.



“I want you to stay cuffed to the bed tonight,” I said, stifling a yawn.



“Of course.”



His quiet reply was automatic, and I gave him a curious look of my own, as he curled a cuffed hand through my ginger tresses. He was watching me out of concern, even though I’d spent the night tormenting him and still refused to release him. I smiled, but I didn’t feel like smiling; I didn’t feel satisfied, I was sure he’d seen me hesitate too often while he was at my mercy.



“Go to sleep, darling,” he whispered, finally. “I’ll find you a new toy, I promise.”

December 29th (Wednesday)



I’d just gotten home from work. I threw off my sweat stained uniform, tossed it in on the couch and made myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in my boxers.



“It’s too damn hot in this apartment.” I muttered to myself and cut on the central air. I usually hated using the AC, it always grew too cold too rapidly, but it was unseasonably warm in Houston, TX, especially for this time of year.



When I arrived home, the only thing I planned to do was sit down on the couch and watch sports highlights using the soundtrack of all the music I had downloaded illegally. To me, life didn’t get much better than this; free music, free food, freedom.



I was enjoying my solitude and was halfway done with my sandwich when the phone rang. I leaned over the arm of my couch and checked the ID on the phone to find out it was my future wife, Laela, calling from her job.



“Hello to the first and only future Mrs. James.”



She laughed and I loved it when she did. Even though I always teased her about her school girl laugh, I felt like I couldn’t do anything wrong when she was laughing. “I got the flowers you sent me at work, they’re really beautiful. All the other nurses on the unit were jealous.” She said.



I had sent her flowers earlier in the day with the knowledge that her friends might get jealous. I liked doing things like that, especially when Laela would tell me how they thought I was such a great guy and that she’d better hold onto a brother like me. Damn right she better hold onto me. Even though we’d been together for five years, there were still women knocking at the door to see if I could come out and play. I never cheated on Laela and I didn’t want her to have a doubt in her mind that I would, so I showed her how much I cared whenever I could. Women are so easy to please when you know how they think. “Well, I was just thinking about you and I wanted you to know that. They cost me a grip, but price is no object for my gal. How’s your day been?”



“It’s been okay; too long though. I wished I could come home and snuggle up with you. I know you’re probably eating PB & J while watching sports. I wish I was right there with you, fondling Pedro while we watched TV together.”



“No! I’m actually not doing what you just said. I’m doing the complete opposite as a matter of fact.”



“You’re a terrible liar.”



“I guess that’s a compliment, right?”



“Yes, it’s a very good compliment. I can’t wait to see you tonight. The girls up here have been talking about some things and it made me think about you, Pedro, and me. My favorite kind of threesome.”



“Ah, so you want Pedro to come out and play.” I didn’t know why I named my dick Pedro, but it was pretty catchy. Whenever my friends and I talked, it was always easier to say ‘Pedro beat it up’ or ‘They’re in love with the Pedro’ than it was to same the same thing with the word dick. “Pedro’s still recuperating from last night. If you take him off of life support, you may have to give him mouth to mouth.”



“I’ll give him some mouth to mouth, but if he spits at me, I may have to put him in the hole.”



“I see you’re getting better at innuendo.”



“I learned from a good teacher.” We both laughed at the conversation we’d just had. “Hey Quinton, when we first met at the DPS, what did you think about me?”



“Do you want the truth or a convincing lie?”



“You know what I want.”



“When I first saw you, um, you’re still going to marry me right?”



“Yes, I will still marry you. That is unless you make me really unhappy.”



“The impending threat of doom does nothing for my motivation, but I’ll tell you anyway. Okay,” I began, “when I first saw you, I wanted to get with Teniyah. It wasn’t because you weren’t pretty, it was because you had such a baby face that I thought you were her little sister. Then I saw she had a ring on her finger and I promised myself that I’d never get involved with a married woman. I was about to just walk away until you showed me your ID that I believed you were older. If you hadn’t shown me that ID, I can’t even tell you how awful my life would’ve been.” Teniyah was her best friend and had been for longer than I’d known Laela. Teniyah was a few inches taller than me, and I always said I couldn’t date anyone taller than myself, but when I first met her the first thought that came into my head was that we’d all be the same size lying down.



“Oh you say that now? Did you really want to get with Teniyah?”



“Not after I saw the ring and only after I thought you were her little sister. You have to admit, you still look young. Even when we go out to a club, you still get carded! I’ve never wanted to be with any other woman like I wanted to be with you, you know that.”



“I do, but I’m never going to tell Teniyah what you just said. So are there any more tidbits or any missing pieces of information that I should know?”



“Yes. I think we’re strong enough to make it now, but I wanted to let you know first.” I paused for dramatic effect. “I used to be a woman.” She was able to hold back her laughter, but I wasn’t.



“I see you’ve got jokes. I just wanted you to know that when I first met you, I was adamant against meeting men and it was Teniyah who told me to call you. I had just broken up with you-know-who and I was feeling a little sour about guys. After we went out, I thought about you all the time and after the first time we did it, you could’ve told me to rob a bank and I would’ve done it just to have sex again. Whew!” She suddenly exclaimed. “I’m still getting shudders thinking about it.”



“I’m glad we met Laela Booker. You mean the world to me and if anything were to happen to you, I wouldn’t know what to do to myself. Whenever you work nights and I don’t see you in the morning when I wake up, I get worried to the point I almost get sick. I would do anything for you and I hope you feel the same way about me. You know I love you, you know how I feel and I honestly can’t wait for you to be my wife.”



“I love you Quinton James and I’m not sharing you with anyone else, so you better not have a side girl on deck. I know you have your faults and I have mine, but I love you so much. Just saying it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy-like inside. Tonight when I get home, I’m going to show you how much. And I know you sent these flowers to make the other girls jealous, but that’s okay, you just succeeded in making my panties wet.”



“I do what I do whenever I can do it.”



“And tonight I’ll be doing you.”



Later that night when she arrived home, we had the most intense session we’d ever had since we’d been together. Damn that girl for knowing me so well.



*************




December 30 (Thursday)



“Damn, late for work.” I grumbled.



I was already pissed and I hadn’t even gotten to work yet. I could already tell that this was going to be a hellacious day and it was only 6:42 in the morning. Ordinarily I’d be at work by this time, but today I had to get a ‘before the job starts quickie’, which put me fifteen minutes behind schedule. I fumbled around the house looking for the short sleeved golf shirt and light brown khakis that I had ironed the previous night before running out of the house with my shirt off and chest exposed.



Most of the people in my neighborhood were also getting ready for work so I had no doubt that a few of them saw me running to my car with a flying shirt in tow. As I was pulling out of the parking lot, I could’ve sworn that our elderly neighbor, Ms. Jackson winked at me.



I weaved my gray Altima through traffic like a cop does when he sees the local Krispy Kreme ‘hot donut’ sign light up, trying to buy some extra minutes. I was almost pushing ninety on Highway 59, heading towards downtown Houston when the radar detector went off, alerting me of oncoming trouble. I slowed down to a meager 65 when I saw the all-black state police cruiser about a mile ahead. With his flashing lights glaring, the officer was pointing his radar gun towards oncoming traffic. I laughed at the thought that I somehow wished this upon myself and thanked the detector for small favors.



I pulled up to the parking lot of my job without much incident, but I knew the shit was going to hit the fan once I got in. I threw my shirt on, grabbed my briefcase out of the backseat, waved to everyone I knew as I walked in the building and went straight to my office. I looked at the clock: 6:56. Damn, nine minutes late, which in the business of package delivery, was a lifetime.



“Dawg. You know big lady came through lookin for you, man.” That was my co-worker/ employee, BJ talking. Being from Memphis, his ‘mans’ always sounded likes ‘mains’, but I stopped trying to correct him long ago and now I was used to it. “She know you late, so don’t try that smooth shit you usually be tryin, cuz it ain’t gone work.”



The southern, country accent was a dead giveaway, but still I jumped at the mention of ‘dawg’. But that was BJ, standing in the doorway to my office, giving me the heads up about our boss, Carmen, the reigning queen in hell.



Big Lady’ was a nickname for our direct supervisor, Carmen Lowell. It wasn’t something we used in her presence, but when it was said, everyone got the general idea. She was the shortest and meanest woman I’d ever met and it didn’t help that she was slightly overweight. No matter what she wore, she always looked like a pit bull in a dress suit and I’d be damned if that description didn’t fit her to a ‘T’. Her only saving grace was that she had the perfect rump that was, in my opinion, the only skill she had. Since I was a sucker for all great asses, I complemented it when I could.



Most of the people around the job believed that she’d slept her way to the top because she wasn’t that bright and very anti-social. I was one of those people who firmly believed that she was more the type who threatened management with impending physical pain and they buckled like a melting girder.



“Good lookin out, man. Thanks for the update, too.” BJ was a good person to be around and to have watching out for me. I was really thankful when he gave me the heads up, but BJ being at work before I had gotten there was a sure sign that was in trouble. I rushed to pull out some routine paperwork away for later and to grab some of the things that I knew I needed for the road. “Just let me put some of this stuff away so that we can get on the road.”



“Better hurry man. She’s on her way back around the offices to see who she can write up.” He said. He seemed as worried as I was about seeing her, but he really caught me of guard when he shouted, “Oh shit, Q! Here she comes!”



I rushed to get everything where it needed to be and in the process of running out of my office, stumbled over my chair. The quick surge of pain caused me to curse my shins and hobble out the office as fast as I could only to hear roaring laughter.



BJ fell over laughing at my misfortune and his bad attempt at a joke. “I’m just fuckin witchu, dawg. She ain’t comin.” I thought about whooping his ass something terrible, but he always played around and I didn’t know why I expected anything less of him today. “Hey Q, man, you know I’m just playin’ with you, right. But on the real, I got something that I really wanted to tell you.”



I glared at him after having calmed my throbbing shin down and finally let a word seethe trough my clenched teeth. “What?”



He solemnly looked at me, took a deep breath, and confessed. “I ain’t never told nobody this before, but me and you we cool, right.” I nodded, thinking that he had gotten himself into trouble again and wanted me to bail him out again. He continued, “I just wanted to let you know that…I take showers wit my daddy, man.” He held a straight face for a couple seconds before he fell over laughing. I wanted to hit him, but I was so caught off guard that I found myself laughing as well.



We both worked for EPD or Expedited Package Delivery. BJ’s was my road buddy and had been since he moved from Memphis, TN about two years ago, but his accent was still as distinct as it was the first time we spoke. I had the pleasure of meeting him on his first day at the job, and we’d been ever since.



If you were to see us from a distance, we’d mirrored each other, but up close, we’re completely different. We’re about the same height, and build, but that’s where the similarities end. He’s a dark skinned brother. Being in Memphis has given him the worn look of someone who’s been in the hood too long: wearing braids all the time, donning gold teeth, a thick beard and all types of jewelry when he’s off the job. He’s a practical joker by nature, but since he’s funny, he’s allowed to get away with a lot of things that I’d never be able to.



Me, on the other hand, people call me the token pretty boy. I have more of a caramel complexion, I like my hair cut low, my face neatly trimmed, and now that I’ve advanced at my job, I wear a dress shirt and khakis when I’m there because looking good makes me feel good. I try to work out as often as I can and I take pride in my appearance. Some people believe its conceit, but usually those are the ones who neglect their own hygiene. I do have my vices though. I have a more serious demeanor, than most and I don’t take to overbearing authority all that well.



A few weeks ago, I was promoted to manager, but I only have a semi-management position. Semi-management is just a fancy way of saying that I get to do the some of the courier job duties that I had before, but all of the paperwork that the managers don’t want to do, so I’m allowed my own “office”.



Hoping to avoid the queen of mean for a few hours, I was happy when we made it out to the truck without running into any trouble. Within five minutes, we were out on the road and heading towards downtown Houston.



*************




By the time we made it back to the EPD building, it had been about 5 hours. BJ jumped out the truck to get some lunch while I walked to my office to begin the day’s paperwork. When I arrived, I already had 3 messages on my desk, an annoying boss staring at me and ready to yell my ears off, and it was just after noon.



When I saw her sitting in my chair, I turned to walk away when she caught me. “Q, you come back here and listen to what I have to say God-dammit.” She had been fuming all morning about me being late and since she hadn’t been able to curse me out earlier, her fury had bubbled over. Since I didn’t particularly feel like hearing her shit today, I confessed all my wrong doings and promised to be a good little slave from now on. Content with my obedience, she left my office, and I was able to look over my messages.



My office wasn’t what you’d call an office in the traditional sense. It may have consisted of four walls, a desk, and a door, but that’s also where the misguiding term of ‘office’ ended as well. The door was consistently covered in some sort of unconquerable grime, so it always remained open, and I was surrounded by four bare turquoise walls. My desk sat in the middle of the room, and was barely six inches away from being the same sized desk I had in 8th grade. Since I didn’t have any college degrees like some of the managers, or even my own nuclear family like the others, I was reduced to letting people come in and draw the occasional stick person on my wall in place of my ‘pending’ accomplishments. Some of them signed their names to the decorative artwork, but most of them were signed with some sort of dirty joke. I managed to relax in my soft leather chair, one I’d brought from home, which was the only saving grace in this ‘office’ space.



Three little, yellow post-its decorated the calendar on top of my desk, but I didn’t need to see them. Being a master of predictability, I already knew who they were from. I closed my eyes, placed the cards to my forehead in the old Johnny Carson swami fashion, made my predictions.



“I see a mother, a fucker, and a motherfucker.” I opened my eyes and examined the little yellow notes. It wasn’t in the exact order I’d foreseen, but nevertheless, it was a perfect match. The first message I’d received came from my mother, the second from my fiancée Laela, and the final one was my best friend Andre. I smiled at the thought of me having some sort of ESP for phone messages and picked up the phone and dialed my mother, knowing that if she’d called the job, she probably wasn’t happy.



“Hey ma.”



“Do I know you?” She asked.



“C’mon ma, stop playing. You know it’s me.” She always did this when I hadn’t called in a while.



“Well, I had a son that sounded a lot like you, but he hasn’t called me or his father in a while, so we just assumed he either fell off the earth, into it, or got taken by the rapture. But seeing as he doesn’t go to church, and we’re still here, it couldn’t be the rapture. You’re still stuck in S-I-N, sin. Speaking of which, hurry up and get yourself married so I can get me some grandbabies?” She went on and on about other random things, but I had learned a long time ago to just pull the phone away from my ear and answer with the occasional ‘Yes ma’am’ and ‘I understand’ whenever she asked a question. “You hear what I’m telling you?!?” She always ended her soliloquy with the same question.



“Yes ma’am.” And as always, my timing was perfect.



“Well then, we’ll see at church tomorrow night. You need to bring in the New Year right. Are you bringing Laela with you or is she going to her own church?” She asked.



“Damn! ” I thought to myself. I had no idea that I had agreed to anything with my pre-rehearsed responses, but before I could answer her question, Leslie Watson, another one of my employees, ran into my office, crouched over, and began huffing and panting like the building was on fire. “Hey ma, one of my employees just ran in, I need to call you back.” She told me that she hadn’t finished, but as always, I told her I lover her again and stayed on the phone until she hung up. I didn’t know why I wanted to be the last to hang up, I just always did it.



As I looked her over, I noticed a few differences in her usually modest appearance. Her blue uniform shirt was hanging halfway off her frame; almost like she’d just got out of bed. Though she wasn’t the best at keeping her uniform in check, it’d never been this ruffled before. Her breasts bobbed as she leaned, mostly from all the running she’d been doing in the building, and I watched them like pendulums on a grandfather clock. However disheveled she looked this morning; she was still a stunning woman. I couldn’t help but question why’d she stopped in my office instead of getting to work, especially when she’d been way behind schedule.



“Uh, Leslie,” I began, “what’s with the track star routine? “I’d met Leslie on my first day of the job. She already had six months seniority, but was never a hard worker and that cost her in the form of advancement. When we were introduced about 5 years ago, I was single and hadn’t met Laela yet, but the word around the job was that she always had man problems and carried a serious chip on her shoulder in the form of psychological issues. Sometimes when we spoke, or when I accidentally overheard her conversation, it always eluded to “…some man did this so I had to stay on his lawn and scream his name out all night” or “that nigga did that so I had to put sugar in his gas tank”. If it was one thing she was good at, it was ruining my erections.



Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never been a player. Well, almost never. I’ve always felt that players tend to get their lies mixed up and in the end, the lies always caught up with them. I have slept with my share of women, but my father told me that the truth can sometimes be the most natural aphrodisiac and that was one piece of advice he hadn’t been wrong in administering. Sometimes I was too honest for my own damn good, and that also has its repercussions.

There’d always been some form of sexual chemistry between us, but I was the type who didn’t want it to explode in my face, or in my gas tank. Add in the fact that we worked with each other daily, and it was doomed before it even began. We did have some history though. We’d flirted on several occasions; kissed each other on selected holidays and in the past I’d even spent the night on her couch, but something about her just never sat right with me, so I never pursued it. The carnal side of me often had me daydreaming of what could’ve been, but the logic side of me begged me to stay back, and I usually listened to my brain more often than my heart.



“Hey boss,” she was still panting from her morning jog, “I wanted to talk to you about something right quick.”



I was still new to the “boss” thing, so it felt a little strange responding to it when we had such a history. “Leslie, I’m still Q, not boss man, ok. At least not until I begin subjugating you guys.” I mused, but she looked concerned, so I sat quietly at my desk, folded me hands and nodded.



“I want to get some things out on the table right now. ” It seemed serious, so I eased back in my chair and listened. “I went to the club last night, with a couple of my girls. Well, to make a long story short, I met up with this guy and I went home with him, that’s the reason why I’m so late.”



I wasn’t jealous, but my gut did wrench for a brief second. Maybe it was because I secretly fantasized that person could’ve been me, or maybe because I was sitting here listening to her spill her soul about letting some guy be up in her, I wasn’t sure, but I kept a stone face and remained un-phased.



“The reason I’m telling you this is because I feel like I can talk to you about things like this. And secondly,” she paused, “well, secondly is because the guy I went home with was your boy Dre. You know I met him when he came here before to pick you up, but I just wanted to make it alright with you before you found out some other way. It wasn’t an intentional thing, it just happened. You know? If you don’t want it to happen again, then it wont, because it might be uncomfortable since you know him and I know you guys talk.”



Hearing the name brought a little relief, but it also put a face on the other guy. It brought reprieve because now I could completely let go of my fantasy, but the knowledge was still a little raw. I knew that it was wrong for us to have a relationship, but my dick often had other ideas. Even though we weren’t together, it would take some time for me to get pass the fantasy.



“Are you okay?” She asked. She’d awakened me from my daydream, but I looked up at her, reassured her that I was okay, and laughed.



She looked confused, so I explained myself. “I just wanted to be the one who got the draws. Oh well. But keep quiet. I’ll just have to let that remain my secret fantasy.”



She smiled, came around to my side of the desk, and kissed me on my temple. “You’ve always had your chance; you just never took advantage of it.” And with that she began to seductively walk out of my office, wagging her behind like a stripper leaving the stage.



“You can’t be kissing on me like that.” I quietly shouted at her.



She turned around. “Why?”



“Because,” I answered, “First off, I’m almost married. Add in how you might make people jealous, and then well have rumors swirling around this place. Besides, you were with Dre last night! I don’t know where your lips have been!” She smiled and walked out.



I picked up the phone and called Dre just to find out exactly where her lips had been, but knowing Dre, I wasn’t going to like the answer.



*************




“Dawg, I been trying to call you all morning. I called you like five times.” He sounded as giddy as a newly deflowered virgin.



“You tried to call me once,” I retorted, “I got the post it right here.”



“What’s the difference, I’m not a female. Once is like five times to a guy. I can’t do the call you once an hour BS.” We both laughed before he continued. “Dawg, you wont believe what happened to me last night…”



I cut him off. He always starts with the same sentence when he gets laid, but he just never sounded this excited. “You got laid.”



“Right,” he answered, “but not just laid. Man this girl was incredible, a definite keeper. She gets five stars and a plus.”



“Five stars?!?!” I was shocked, and also a little upset. I wasn’t upset at Dre, just upset at the fact that I missed out on some five star sex.



Five stars were an extreme rarity and Dre’s world. It was based on a point scale that only he understood, almost like the college BCS, but from what I understood, it took into account a bunch of different categories, all based on five stars, and turned it into a rating system. The outcome was usually bleak for most women. There just weren’t that many girls who were good in every category that Dre’s twisted mind could conceive of, but if she met the criteria, she was in the chosen few and knowing Dre, you’d know that meant something.



“Look man, the pussy was so good that I just wrote a story about it. ” In my mind Dre was an author moonlighting as an investment banker. He specialized in short erotic stories, but the more he wrote, the more progressive he became. Hell, after reading a few of his experiences, I wanted to be in his shoes. He kept a journal about the best experiences as a keepsake, but it usually took some monumental, life-changing event to reach journal status. I often teased him about becoming a starving writer, but I always read any offering he provided.



“You wrote a what!?! ” I was shocked that the consummate womanizer had written something this soon about the girl he’d just met. It was like some sort of personal milestone for him, but like I said, some of the stories he had were pure gold. I often told him that he should be a writer, but he shook it off as he always had.



“I’m about to fax it to you, “He didn’t waste any time. Within a couple of minutes my fax machine was whirring and spitting out Dre’s story. I told him I’d call him back in a few minutes. After the machine stopped spitting out pages, I pulled them from the tray and began to read.



*************




Andre



“The sound of hail constantly rapping against my bedroom window, plus the sharp pain of a full bladder, had awakened me. It was still dark as hell outside and the only form of visible light came from the 2:47 a.m. that was being displayed on my alarm clock. I wanted to curse my bladder for not alerting me later that morning, but I was a little disoriented, a sure sign that I had been drinking, and an even surer sign that I didn’t have to be at work when the sun came up.



I threw my legs over the side of the bed and slowly brought the rest of myself up, still recovering from the dulling pain that was my bladder, but as I brought myself up, a new pain replaced the old one and this one was in my head. Damn liquor, damn hangover. It had been a while since I’d had one, but it had also been a while since I’d been drinking. I carefully stood up, holding onto whatever I could to keep my balance, and consciously telling myself not to throw up until I made it to the bathroom. Well, one out of two ain’t bad as I made it to my bathroom without falling. It really pissed me off that I’d be scrubbing my floors later on today. What good is a bachelor pad if it smells like Skid Row, right?



After feeling around and finally making it to my destination, the dummy in me turned on the light, nearly blinding myself. Even with the migraine reverberating through my head I refused to turn it off. I’d be damned if I was going to be cleaning up urine along with the vomit I had just expelled.



I lifted up the toilet seat with my eyes practically closed, but the bowl was too fuzzy to aim at, so I just let go, hoping for the best. It was then that I noticed that the sound of water hitting water wasn’t audible, but the feeling of warmth around my penis was increasing. As I looked down, I saw that a condom wrapped around my manhood was now swelling with urine and about to shoot of someplace other than the toilet. I tried to hold back to keep piss from re-painting my bathroom, but it was too late and the pee filled condom shot to the floor while I grabbed my dick and tried to control the rest of the damage. Too tired to clean up and too upset to care how I’d gotten a condom on, I washed my hands to get the pissy smell off, and stumbled back to my room. All I wanted to do was get back in the bed and forget that 2:47 am ever existed.



“You okay, baby?” I froze in the doorway to my room, not sure if the voice was real, but awake enough to know that the LCD display from my alarm clock outlined another body on my bed. It sounded feminine, and I prayed that it was. I didn’t want to relive my last drunken escapade.



“Huh?” Was all I could muster.



“Are you okay? I heard you stumbling around in the bathroom.” said the mystery voice.



“Yeah, I’m good…” I stopped. I was about to say her name, any name, but the truth was I couldn’t remember it. I didn’t know it. Hell, I didn’t even know she was here. She damn near gave me a heart attack when she spoke.



“I miss you. It’s cold in here without you, come lay next to me.”



I picked apart her words, listening for any masculinity in her voice before I treaded forward towards my bed.



Still not knowing who the mystery woman was, I hobbled back to the bed, made my way under the covers, and nestled up to her back and her warmth. I now understood the reason for the condom, and the way she smelled made me erect all over again. She also noticed my erection creeping up the underside of her thigh then asked me in a coy voice of little girl, “Is DJ hungry again?”



“Yeah baby, DJ’s still hungry. What you got to feed him with?” I eased my hand around to the front of her, hoping to feel something wet and warm. I closed my eyes and hit jackpot. No hidden erections.



“I put him down before, I’ll do it again.” My mystery woman declared.



This girl was pretentious, but she was also bold. I like that in a woman, but at one time or another all women make promises they can’t keep, and I doubted that she could deliver on this one. After all, I was drunk out of my mind the first time it all went down, so officially she had no claim check on this.



From time to time, I call my dick, DJ, or Dre junior. I don’t know why I chose that name, I just did. Hell, you named yours, right? I think every man names his shit and I just happened to name mine DJ. You find me a guy that doesn’t name his shit and you’ll probably be dealing with a guy who has a little one. Besides, when it comes to conversation, it’s better than calling your member “It”.



I reached over to my condom drawer to pull out another rubber, but she sank underneath the covers and placed DJ in her mouth. My hand shrank away from the drawer and I let out a small gasp.



Up and down she went, teasing my head with her tongue, while using her left hand to grind the shaft. After a few minutes, she came up from underneath the cover and tried to kiss me, so I gave her a cheek, hoping that she got the clue but didn’t stop giving me head. She got it and she didn’t stop. She went back down and began to lick on my two friends before placing DJ in her mouth again.



I was elated that she understood and after a few more minutes of fellatio, she came up again.



“I want to feel you inside of me.” I nodded that I understood and reached for the condom drawer. She grabbed my hand. “I’m on the pill and I’m a little allergic to latex. You dried me out when we did it before. Can’t we do it this time without it? Just this once? I’ll let you put it anywhere.”



Everything inside me was screaming, “No!”, but the offer to put it anywhere was enticing and completely obliterated any rational thought I was having. I said, “Yes.”



The light from the LCD display gave me a rough outline of her face, but the effects of the alcohol were still working and I couldn’t see her that clearly, but that didn’t matter. She mounted me around the hips, and then slowly slid what could only be nicknamed ‘Nirvana’ onto DJ.



Her timing was like watching the second hand on a watch move, it never wavered. She took all of me inside her on the way down and brought it back up to the head on the way up. She never moved her trunk at all, almost like a statue watching me, but managed to only move her ass and hips, breaking my resolve piece by piece. Between felt the softness of her bottom gliding across my thighs, the tightness of her Nirvana begging for my release, and the whisper of her voice, telling me that she wanted to taste me, it was too much for me to handle.



“Oh shit baby, I’m bout to cum.” I tried to be seductive and whisper it, but it was more like a bold statement. It was so bold, that I had to repeat it again. “Damn it baby, I’m coming! Stop! Oh my God!” She then dismounted, placed DJ into her mouth, and began to jerk on him until he had told her every last secret.



When he finally became quiet after spilling his guts, she swallowed everything he had to say and the pact was written. DJ’s secrets would forever be safe. As I convulsed on my bed before I fell asleep, all other thoughts I had suddenly became secondary. I was about to fall for a nameless, faceless woman.



*************




I called him back as soon as I finished reading. I had a completely different perspective on my employee. I was as hard as a diamond mountain, but I was still about to chew into Dre’s ass. “Man you raw dogged her? Ugh.” That was a serious no-no in my book. There were too many diseases going around, and some four letter ones you couldn’t get rid of, like kids. Even though I knew who the girl was, I was disappointed as hell in him.



“I know. I don’t need a lecture from Mr. Perfect. The pussy was great. If we got married, I’d take her last name. So what do you think?”



I couldn’t be angry. After reading it, I was horny as hell and really focused on not re-thinking my stance on inviting Leslie back to my office and locking the door. “I think you should know her name. That’s some shady shit. Did you even get a number?” I already knew what the answer would be. I knew Dre, but I asked anyway.



“I don’t know her name and she was gone before I woke up.” He answered. “Everything was a blur last night and she ran out the house before I could even get her name or phone number this morning. She looked familiar, but I can’t remember where I’ve seen her before.” He paused to reminisce. “Damn, that was some great pussy that I’m gonna be missing out on, dawg. I miss it already. Man Q, that girl had the GP.” He sounded like a boy who’s dog had just ran away.



I laughed at him. GP was a phrase that Dre and I used to say back in the day. It meant Golden Pussy, but I had long since abandoned the idea of a woman with sex that mythical. “Negro, you are whooped. And this was only the first taste.” I thought for a second before continuing. “What would you give me if I could find this mystery girl for you?”



“Dawg, are you serious!” His disheartened disposition vanished instantaneously. “Don’t mess around with me man. You know something, tell me.” He was truly whipped and I hadn’t seen him so anxious before. “C’mon man. Tell me you’re not pulling my chain.”



“What are you doing tonight?” I asked.



“Man, I got plans for the rest of the year. Tonight and tomorrow night are booked, but the whole first week of the New Year is free.”



“Okay. I’ll have her for you by then.” It was confirmed and then I added,” But lest we not forget what you owe me for doing you this favor.”



“Aw, c’mon. I got you. We boys. Whatever it is, name it.”



“I don’t need anything now, so I’ll just keep this one in my pocket.”



We agreed to have everything set up by the first week of the New Year and we hung up. He went to jump in the shower to get ready for his day; I ran to the men’s bathroom and went to wash my face.



*************




After getting out the bathroom, I called my fiancée. Ordinarily she wouldn’t be last, but during mornings like this one, she had to be put on hold, Dre had a story.



I called her at the hospital, knowing that she’d probably be busy running around like a chicken with no head, doing her typical nursing duties which often resulted in break-less days.



When I finally got through the hospitals automated switchboard, Natalie the secretary picked up. “Hello, Harris County Regional Medical Center, labor and delivery division.”



“Hello.” I responded. “May I speak to the sexiest nurse on the floor? Besides present company, of course.”



“Q is this you?” She knew the answer to her question before she even asked.



“Hey pretty lady. How are you doing today?”



“You better stop trying to get in my panties, or I might let you. Then your woman would kill the both of us.” We laughed together before she put me on hold and called Laela over the PA system. The next voice I heard sounded like honey over chocolate.



“Hello, lover.” She said.



“Hey sexy.” I replied. “You don’t have too sound like a 1-900 voice for me; I know what you look like.” She laughed. “Besides, Natalie already promised me her panties.” She laughed even harder upon hearing that. “So what are you crazy ladies doing today?”





“I was just talking to Teniyah about one of the patients on the floor.” Teniyah was her best friend and had been since I met Laela. Ever since I’d known Laela, she’d always found time to talk to me about Teniyah and her twins. “Nothing much going on here.”



“So I heard you called, what’s up?”



“I just wanted to know what we were doing for New Years. Simone called me this morning and asked me, and since I didn’t know, I asked you.”



“Well, what does she want to do? Club? Eat? Watch the New Years’Eve shows?”



“Nah. She says that she wants to get a hotel room, get drunk, and have sex.”



“With us?” I was confused. Her husband was Michael Hall who was one of my oldest friends. I’d met him when I met Laela, who then introduced me to Simone and Mike on our second date. “You know I cant down with my boy’s wife like that. If we’re gonna do a threesome, her ass has to be taken off the list.”



“No silly,” she answered, “She wants to get two beds, her and Mike in one, us in another.” I thought about it. She must’ve heard the gears grinding because then, “Look, it’s not like we never had sex in front of them or vice versa. I can’t count the number of times–.”



“Okay, okay,” I was ready to compromise; “we can get a room. But tell Mike if he wants to touch my butt, he has to buy me dinner first. I need to feel special.”



“You’re a disgusting man.” I could tell she wanted to laugh, but didn’t. “I forgot to thank you for the quickie this morning. I’m still quivering from the after effects.” She whispered it into the phone, and I could barely hear her, but I managed to piece it together after it was said.



“Anything for a woman in need. I aim to please.” I smiled, thinking about how I’d put it down this morning. I was a humble man, but it never hurt to feed my ego from time to time.



“Yeah well, I’m looking for more than a quickie later on.”



I thought about it. “How about we all just go out tomorrow night? I can give you what you need in front of an audience. That way people can cheer me on.” She liked hearing me talk dirty and I liked the way she responded when I did.



She agreed and we said a few more thing about who needs to buy what before we said ‘I love you’ to each other and hung up. Looks like I had some new plans for the New Year.



*************




Laela




I watched him complain about how late he was before rushing out of the apartment and almost forgetting to kiss me on his way out the door. I was on cloud nine. I had just had two orgasms and my day hadn’t even started yet.

I staggered from the front door to the bathroom, forgetting how weak I was after such a draining session. I turned on the shower and let the smoke fill the room before I took off my housecoat and stepped in. In my mind, there is nothing better than a hot shower after hot sex. My body still tingled from the after-effects and the steamy water only heightened the post orgasmic arousal.



I showered for about ten minutes before I stepped out, wiped the mist off my mirror, and examined how far I’d fallen off the wagon since I’d been in a serious relationship. My butterscotch complexion was complete contrast to my dark eyes and hair, but I still had my mothers figure; two handfuls of breast, small hips, and a round ass. I wasn’t chubby, but I’d been out of the gym for a while and I was starting to lose my definition. Solid is what brings them, solid is what was going to keep him. I patted on my stomach and smacked on my ass for good measure. Luckily they were both still firm, but that would change if I didn’t keep my focus.



I left the bathroom, walked into our bedroom to freshen up, and threw on my work scrubs. I was hoping to leave out early and avoid the awful Houston traffic, which would most certainly put a damper on my easy-going mood.



Right before I walked out the door, the phone rang. I wasn’t going to pick it up and be late, so I just glanced at the caller ID to see that my friend Simone was calling. I grabbed my purse and reminded myself to call her on my cell on the way to work.



I pulled out of the parking lot onto the street and turned right, driving my newly bought silver Honda Accord and feeling like a new woman. After a few minutes of driving south on Highway 6, I entered the on ramp of 59 North before I dialed up Simone.



“I just called you.” She sounded busy. Ever since she became a wife, she always sounded rushed and busy.



“Um, don’t most people answer their phones with hello? And a hello to you too.”



“Yeah, but I already knew it was you, so there wasn’t any need for formalities.” She snapped back.



“You are impossible.” Today wasn’t a day where I wanted to exchange quips; I was in a good mood.



“I was bored and I wanted someone to talk to. Michael just left and I don’t even think we have anything planned for the New Year.”



Michael was her husband and one of my fiancée’s closest friends. I met Simone in high school and though we best friends, I was disappointed in some of the choices she made. I love her to death, but she had so much potential in high school, and before she met her husband. Now she’s a wife and mother with a dead end job, complete with a husband whom I’ve always suspected of cheating. I’ve told her several times about my suspicions, but she always shrugged it off by telling me that there wasn’t any proof and a good woman stands by her man.



“Well, Q and I don’t have any plans yet. Did you have something in mind?” I was ducking through traffic, passing by police cruisers and trying to concentrate on driving while listening to her at the same time. I wasn’t a professional like some of these drivers, but I was pretty damn good when it came to dodging traffic. “I mean if you want, we can do something together.” I suggested.



“That’s sounds like a good idea. Why don’t we all get a hotel room and get drunk?” She seemed to have perked up a little at the mention of us doing something together.



“Well you know Q and I don’t drink. Do you have something else in mind?”



“It’s New Year’s!” She exclaimed. “You don’t have to be prudes all the time!”



“We’re not prudes,” I was almost on the defensive, “we’re just not fish like someone we all know.” She knew I was talking about her. Ever since she and Michael began having problems, Simone began to party more often and her drinking was noticeably heavier. Most of the drinking dealt with 100 proof and higher.



“Look Lae, I need to get out the house. I need to do something. I’m going crazy and I think Mike has some other plans. He hasn’t said anything yet, but I hear him on the phone talking with his boys, telling them that he doesn’t have anything planned. I would at least like to bring in this year with him. At least if Q is gonna be there, more than likely he’ll come.”



“I hear you.” She’d been so self-destructive lately that I figured one night out wouldn’t kill any of us. I’d hoped it might bring us a little closer than we’d been lately, especially since I hadn’t seen Simone in a few weeks. “I’ll talk to Quinton and see what he wants to do.”



“Thanks, girl.” She sounded genuinely appreciative.



“Anytime, but I need to get off this phone and pay more attention to the traffic. Anything else you wanna talk about?”



“Yeah, but I’ll talk to you about it later.” After we hung up, I searched for my Akilah Berry CD. She was one of my favorite soul artists and the music always mellowed me out before I reached my hectic working environment. I popped it into the CD player, and listened to for the rest of my morning commute. There’s nothing like some relaxing music to get me ready for a twelve hour shift.



*************




I pulled into the Harris County Regional Medical Center around fifteen minutes before my shift began, which was exactly the amount of time I needed to park, walk to the floor, and punch in. Since the garage was right across the street and the labor hall was on the second floor of a twenty story building, I didn’t have much traveling to do, but I was yearning for the breakfast I’d skipped because of the morning’s early workout.



When the elevator doors opened, it looked like a bomb had just exploded all over the floor. Nurses were running around with charts in hand, the some of the patients were walking up and down the halls complaining of their unbearable pains. The phones were lit up with physicians calling in their laboring patients, the biggest of the big ass babies. I hated working at this county hospital, but I loved the job, and even more so, I loved the pay.



I bumped into our morning charge nurse, Pat McMahon, on the way to the time clock.



“Put your game face on Lae.” she said. “It’s gonna be one of those mornings.” That was just a positive way of saying that we probably had double digit admissions and it was barely seven o’clock. I clocked in, received report from the night shift, hummed Akilah Berry’s song “Ain’t no turnin back”, and prepared for the onslaught.



*************




Work had let up and I was able to call Quinton when after was almost back to normal. It was pure hell when I first walked in and hadn’t let up until almost 11:30 am, which is earlier than normal, but I welcomed the reprieve. When I called into his office, one of his co-workers answered and told me that he was still on the road. I left a message for him to call and went back to work.



After the morning rush had died down, and there wasn’t much left to do, I walked down to the nurses lounge to catch a few minutes of rest. I could hardly wait to flop down on my most favorite sofa in the world, a furry blue couch we affectionately named, Cookie. It was named after the big blue monster that used to be on our favorite childhood show. My body was already longing for it’s soft cushions and I still had eight hours of work left for the day.



I went to the lounge to find Teniyah, one of my closest friends, already occupying most of Cookie, watching some talk show whose topic was paternity tests. She was wearing the same dark blue scrubs I wore and since I hadn’t seen her all morning, I suspected that she had only one patient, whereas I was stuck with double the workload; one of them a WBW, or whining black woman, here for a post-dates induction, which is a fancy way of saying she was being induced.



She kept her legs up and laid them across the cushions, almost daring me to move them, so I did. I grabbed her ankles and slid them off and placed my butt where her feet once laid.



“You lucky you my girl,” she warned, “or there would have been some serious drama. I didn’t feel like whooping up on you so early in the day.” I laughed and plopped down right beside her.



Teniyah had a sultry voice, but wasn’t soft spoken. Quinton often told us that we had the voices of sex operators, but I think she would have more men releasing themselves to the sound of hers and for her, it wouldn’t have been the first time either.



I’d known Teniyah for almost eight years. We’d been friends since our second year at nursing college. Since we met, we’d always been close and had a lot of history between us.



Back in college we were two of about a handful of black people going to the same nursing program so we clicked instantly. We lived in different dorms, she lived with her sorority and I stayed in the college provided one, but we stayed in each other’s room like we were sisters until our last year we finally moved in together.



We were kindred sprits; or rather I lived my crazy side vicariously through her. I was able to tell her some things that I hadn’t told anyone before and she’d confess to me the kinky things going down at fraternity parties, always noting when she was the kinky thing. There was almost nothing that we didn’t share with each other.



More often than not, we would be mistaken for sisters, but everyone always says that to women who travel together, even though we barely look anything alike. She’s was more like the caramel to my butterscotch complexion and she stands a good six inches taller than I. Her eyes are an auburn color and almond shaped, a shape similar to cat’s eyes, and she has the figure of a high school cheerleader despite giving birth to my two twin Godchildren, DeShawn and Brianna, both 5. She’d gotten pregnant in the last year of school and ended up marrying the man she suspected was babies’ father, but I knew she did it more out of obligation than love. He loved her, but I still think she wasn’t ready to settle down, though she’d never admit it to anyone.



As far as personalities, we couldn’t be more opposite. She was and had always been the aggressive type, confident, even demanding, while I’ve always been laid back and shy. If we were gay, she’d definitely be the butch one.



“Yeah, whatever. Why are you watching this crap?” I asked.



“Because it’s good. Women losing their damn minds, pinning their babies on a man who isn’t even the father, and then run off the stage crying because they’re nasty.”



“Uh-huh,” I mocked, “like you really know who you’re babies’ daddy is. And like you aren’t one of the nasty one’s? You should be right beside with your girl right there. Maybe you should call up the show and have a secret revealed.”



“Well,” she smiled sheepishly, “the likelihood that the kids are his is greater than the likelihood that they aren’t. I believe that theory doesn’t need to be tested.” She smiled, letting me know that she herself wasn’t sure, but unwilling to deviate from her belief.



“Why don’t you take him on this show? You know, just to be sure.” I mused. I knew she wouldn’t, but sometimes I have to say things to keep up with her wit.



“Now you’re talking crazy. Besides, we’re comfortable now. And I see no reason to mess that up.” She paused before making her next statement. She raised one eyebrow before asking, “So, have you thought about my proposition?” Teniyah looked me directly in the eye when she asked, knowing that I wouldn’t avert my gaze.



In what seemed like an eternity, I stared at the woman I’d known for the last eight years, but words wouldn’t come out of my mouth. Finally she took her eyes from me and went back to watching TV. I stood up and walked around the room, paranoid that there was some hidden camera or secret spy hidden in the crevices of one of the corners. I finally sat back down after I was sure that no one else was in the room. She laughed at my unease.



“You mean about the thing?” I was almost shaking.



“You know what I’m talking about Lae. Don’t do that. I hate it when you make me repeat myself. Yes, about the thing.”



“Niya, you know me. And you know that I’m a good girl and good girls don’t do things like that.” I was averting her stare, playing with my favorite black pen, a gift she had given me, another reminder of our eight year bond.



She seemed disappointed, but was too stubborn to show any emotion. “Is that a no?”



I didn’t want to rush my response, but I did. “It’s not a no.” I stopped myself. “I’m just saying that I’m not sure. Niya, you’re like on of my best friends and I don’t know how I’ll feel afterwards. What will I think of you? What will you think of me? What’ll happen if we both like it? I just don’t know how we’ll be affected if we do that.”



“There’s no reason to worry. Lae, you’re my best friend.” She was obviously agitated when she added, “And stop asking so many damn questions. I don’t know what the answers are. I don’t know what will become of it. I’d like to do it and you’re the only person I trust enough to do this with. It may be a little awkward. Hell, I’m nervous too and I’d rather just do it. You know I’ve been considering asking you for the longest time. So will you at least reconsider?”



I stalled for a few second, unsure of what I wanted to say next. “Give me until after the New Year and then I’ll give you an answer.” I hesitated before saying, “I promise.”



She seemed relieved at knowing that the answer was pending and that there was a deadline. “You know Lae; you don’t have to be so secretive. We aren’t spies and no one is taping what we’re saying. Truth is, I don’t want to scare you away, I just want to how caramel tastes like these days.” She smiled devilishly, then left me in the lounge with her last assertion echoing in my head.



*************




Immediately after she left the room, I received an announcement over the PA that I had a call waiting. I already knew who it was because our secretary, Natalie, wouldn’t let another call through.



“Hello, lover.” I said.



“Hey sexy.” He replied. “You don’t have too sound like a one nine hundred voice for me, I know what you look like.” I giggled, but laughed out loud when he told me that Natalie had already promised him her panties. She was as old as his grandmother and the thought of her giving him the panties was almost too unbearable to imagine. “So what are you crazy ladies doing today?”



I told him about the conversation with Simone, but not about what I had just shared with Teniyah. “I was just talking to Teniyah about one of the patients on the floor– nothing much going on here.”



Q and I share everything; more or less. We always manage to keep each other abreast our friends “issues”, but this particular situation was a bit different. Right now, I wasn’t willing to share it with him. Mostly because I didn’t know how he’d react. Replaying the whole conversation with Teniyah in my head even gave me butterflies when I thought about it, and I certainly didn’t want him thinking that Teniyah and I couldn’t be trusted around each other alone. Even more importantly, I didn’t know if I could be trusted around her.



“So I heard you called, what’s up?”



I ran Simone’s idea by him. He was a little apprehensive about the whole four people in one room thing, but finally he gave in and agreed. I also thanked him for the quickie this morning to boost his ego and get him away from thinking about tomorrow night before he had a chance to say no. It must’ve worked because when we hung up, he hadn’t cringed or argued about all the things I wanted him to buy for our hotel stay. I don’t usually try to manipulate him like that, but at times, men did need to be nudged in the right direction.



After hanging up with Quinton, I immediately called Simone to let her know that the plans were a go. I wasn’t sure if I’d have time later, so we chatted about all of the specifics before she thanked me, and hung up. I presumed she would take it from there.



I pushed open the door to the lounge to leave when Teniyah lightly grabbed my arm and pulled me back in.



“Um, you know one of my patients is probably having her baby in the bed right now. If she’s crowning, I’ll tell them that you tied me up.” I joked as she released me from her grasp.



“She can wait,” it was almost a whisper, but it held an undertone of seriousness. “I want to show you something.”



She seemed a little excited, so I knew it must be some new gossip. Working with an all woman crew, there’s always an endless supply. I walked back up to her, turning my back to the door.



“Turn around.” She demanded.



I wasn’t quite sure what she wanted, but I did as I was told. “I just wanted to give you an idea of what it would be like. She placed her hands on my shoulders and began to nibble on my ears, knowing they were my weak spot from our numerous past conversations.



I closed my eyes and listened to the sound of my breathing as my nipples instantly grew erect. She slid her tongue and up down my ear, hitting all the right spots and oblivious to all that could go wrong if someone walked in. She didn’t seem to care as she rubbed to tips of my breasts, then eased both hands inside my scrubs, down to my pyramid while still kissing the back of my neck.



I wanted to move. I wanted to scream. I wanted to ask her what she was doing, but I was weak and the words were lodged in my throat, unwilling to break themselves free.



She then rubbed my pleasure, and felt it throb with anticipation before she pulled her hands away, turned me around and softly kissed me one my lips. I returned her kiss with as much passion that flowed from her and threw my arms around her neck as if she were a man.



It was the most intense moment I’d ever had. For those few seconds, all time seemed to have stopped and we were the only two people in motion.



She quickly pulled back and I was startled by the return of bright fluorescent ceiling lights in our lounge. We were supposed to be working, but in actuality were committing the crime of foreplay at work.



“Good girls don’t do that.” She had mockingly repeated what I had told her. I was so horny that I paid no attention to the sarcasm, only to the wind that swept by me as she walked out the room. The kiss lingered on my lips; I licked them, hoping to rekindle the sensation, but it didn’t. My body craved the feeling she’d left. Good girls didn’t do that, but I did, and I’d be damned if I hadn’t liked it.



*************




Simone




I hate my life…and I’m lonely.



By definition, to be lonely means to be without companion; unfrequented by people, and yet, the statement I have just spoken is most likely the truest sentence I’ve ever uttered.



My aunt Ida tells me that it’s the greatest paradox ever told, seeing as how I have a young and very needy child, a nymphomaniac for a husband, friends who are constantly in my business, co-workers who gossip not only to me, but about me, family whose only purpose in life is to give me more bad news, and lest we not forget the proverbial partridge in a pear tree.



One could even argue that everything that I have is contradictory to what I have just revealed, but in order to understand me, I guess they’d have to walk a mile, hell, a few steps in my shoes. Lord knows anyone would have a hard time moving in these things.



On a visit to my doctor last week, I explained to her how I was feeling lately; hoping that she’d be able to shed some light on things. Perhaps she could explain to me how she was in the same situation, or reveal to me a similar story, but as all doctors seem to do nowadays, she prescribed an anti-depressant, thinking that I was suffering from post-partum depression brought on by my last pregnancy. I wanted to let her know that I’ve felt this way even before I was pregnant, but I didn’t challenge her professional opinion, and gave her a faux smile when she wrote the prescription. As I walked out of her office, I was almost convinced that she was an automaton, designed by the pharmaceutical company to randomly hand out prescriptions regardless of the diagnosis.

It’s the story of my life. I’ve come to the point where I despise waking up because I find myself trapped in the same situation that I said I’d never be trapped in, but I always find a way to smile, even though I feel like I’m shattered from the inside out. I guess at one time, I felt desirable, but that was so long ago I don’t think I can feel that way anymore. I always put on a happy face for others, even when my own world is going to shit in a tidy little hand-basket. I really didn’t know how I would cope with it anymore.



As a black woman, I’ve always felt that suicide was never an option, but I needed to feel happy, even if it was drug induced euphoria. I wondered what had happened to me. I used to be vibrant and I wanted to do all of the things that my parents never had a chance to do before they died. I wanted to become something, make a name for myself, be someone recognizable to more than just the people in my neighborhood. But my life was no where near my dreams. I was just another statistic for the drug companies. As I walked through the front door of the hospital, I looked at my doctor’s handwriting, and couldn’t help myself from bursting out into tears.



“Is there something wrong with me?” It was all that I could think about that day while driving home. The skies were cloudless for the last week of the year, and since it didn’t usually snow in Houston, the roads were pretty clear and void of any salt. I stopped at a red light before getting on the expressway, and then looked at the doctor’s stationary one last time before I balled it up, and buried it at the bottom of my purse. A new year was coming up and it was time for some changes. I wasn’t going to let a doctor make a depressed-happy patient out of me. Something in me wasn’t quite ready to give up yet.



Now that it’s the day before New Year’s Eve, I’m almost ready to become a post-partum statistic. My head was so full of needless, worthless shit that at this point, I’d try rose flavored piss, dipped in cow manure if it saved me from the repetition I go through everyday. Ok, not really, but I’d almost consider it just to keep myself from idly repeating this mindless repetition I go through daily.



My house is a model of tedious consistency. After just waking up, my morning migraine comes to me right on time, which coincidentally tends to be minutes before I wake my husband, Michael up and we begin our ritual of uninspired sex. Well, I guess it’s only uninspired for me because with all the grunting he usually does, you’d think I was actually screwing around with a little barnyard piggy.



As usual, at 6:00 am, I nudge him, letting him know that it’s time to get up. Then, just like clock-work, he rolls his half-naked 250 lb frame onto my 140 lb one, complete with stank ass morning breath, and grabs the lube that we keep by the bed. It amazes me how he moves that big ass gut around, especially when he’s only 5’9″, yet he still manages to take off his draws and lube up “Mandingo” all in the same motion, without even so much as a ‘Good morning, love of my life, mother of my child, apple of my eye’ to me. What the deal is with men naming their penises, I’ll never guess, but his dick looked more dingo than ‘man’ anyway, so I guess it was a correct assessment and knowing the morning routine by heart now, I never wear any panties before going to bed anymore. The lube allows some comfort, not much, but he still pushes inside of me, knowing that I am rarely wet enough for him to enter me without wincing in pain.



“You like that dick, don’t you girl. Tell big daddy you love this shit.” The words I despise hearing are usually the first words that come out of his mouth. “You love this shit dontcha, girl. Whose pussy is this?”



The devil in me wants to say, “I haven’t met him yet, but perhaps you can introduce me to him.” But before the mischievous phrase escapes me, I utter a soft, “Yours, baby. It’s yours.”



I’ve become such a good liar that I could be a great lawyer. I almost want to laugh, but I don’t, knowing that that type of outburst won’t go unpunished. He doesn’t hit me, he never has, and never will, but men have a way of pouting that gets on my last damn nerves, and I did not want to be part of the silent treatment on New Year’s. The sad thing is we’ve only been married 6 months and already the sex is becoming a nuisance.



We’d been together for almost six years. When we met, I wanted to follow him to the ends of the earth. How was my leader and I was his faithful follower. He made me happy. Whenever we were out, he’d make me smile, hold my hands, kiss me in public, and then we’d sneak off to the men’s room to have sex. Albeit he was never the best, he was adequate and I sincerely loved him which seemed to intensify any sessions we had.



While he satisfied himself, I began to daydream about the times when the sex was warm and loving, but now it’s as rigid as stone and he’s about as gentle as a hole puncher. He nearly suffocates me and my small frame when he is on top of me, but being his wife, I succumb to his needs. To accelerate his orgasm, I pretend to enjoy it with moans of pleasure and fallacies that no other is his equal. I grab his ass and push him deeper inside of me, hoping that this will finally end my morning torment, and within a few seconds, it’s over. Mission fucking accomplished.



“I love you.” He whispers to me as he rises out of bed, but the sentiment is more rehearsed than heartfelt.



“I love you, too.” It’s my deflated response. The truth is that I do love him. And at one time, I worshipped the ground he walked on but as he walks into the bathroom for his shower, and his love is still lingering between my legs, I wonder if he actually realizes how much I love him. He never seems to take into consideration that I bathe, feed and clothe our child without his assistance or appreciation, but when I used to bring it up, we’d always fight. He consistently tells me that he’s from an old household and feels that it’s the woman’s responsibility to take care of these things, which incidentally, are the same beliefs that his parents have passed down to him. So to be a good wife, I just don’t bring it up anymore, even though it only leaves me a 30 minute window to wash up and clock in at work.



After the morning ‘exercise’, I throw my legs over the side of the bed and pick up my satin purple kimono off the floor. It was a Christmas gift from my best friend, Laela and already it’s found it’s way towards the heap of clothes by the bed. I stand up with my back to the hallway so that all my husband can see is my bare ass before he walks into the bathroom and closes the door, and I wrap it around myself on my to fix breakfast.



In the kitchen, I cut on the light, grab a few headache pills that I’ve left on the counter for this particular occasion, and swallow them without even thinking about getting a glass of water to help wash them down. To keep myself from staring at my sullied reflection, in kitchen mirror, I put my head down and look at the sink while waiting for the aspirin to be shoved down my throat by an angry esophagus. It hurts like hell going down this time, but it’s not the worst it’s ever been. I then drudge over to the refrigerator to get breakfast ready for the family.



In the six years of relationship we’ve shared, Michael and I have 1 child together, MJ, who just turned 6 months ago last week. We were married a week before he was born because Mike didn’t want his child born out of wedlock. Sometimes I think that’s the only reason why he asked me to marry him. I love Michael and MJ is a blessing to have, but I’ll be damned if the both of them ain’t also a curse. Don’t get me wrong, I love them to death, but sometimes they can drive me up a wall.



After everyone ate, I washed MJ, clothed him, and bagged up his daily usage of the breast milk I pumped the night before. I placed the diapers, wipes, toys, and extra clothing, in a baby bag for my aunt, who usually does the babysitting. I took him downstairs to Michael who snatches him up, puts him in his car seat, backs up out of the driveway, makes a right turn onto the street and drives out of sight. No kisses, no goodbyes, no affection whatsoever. Damn, goodbye kisses are a scarcity these days.



With the wind reminding me that all I have on is a thin piece of silk cloth, I ran back upstairs to relax. With today being the day before New Year’s Eve, it was a holiday from the dead end secretary job I loathed and I believed in getting things done when I had the time and time was a precious commodity these days.



Not being accustomed to having all of this free time to myself, I’d almost completely forgotten about my migraine, which was but a headache now. I fixed myself a bowl of cereal, sat on the couch, and turned on the TV just in time to see the anchorman reporting about a standoff early this morning somewhere downtown.



“That’s a damn shame.” I thought to myself. “Nothing to do on New Year’s Eve, but rob a liquor store and take hostages”



In truth, I really didn’t have any plans either. Not that I’d rob a liquor store, which would certainly be a change from the norm, but after a while without fun, I needed to do something exciting, even unpredictable. The more I thought about it, the more my headache came back, so I let it go, and promised myself that I’d think about it later. No use stressing myself on a day when there wasn’t anyone around to stress me.



After I finished eating, I put the bowl in the sink and headed to the bathroom for a shower. I took off my kimono, and as I was about to jump in the shower, I looked at myself in the mirror, something that I had been afraid to do earlier. With it almost being the start of another year and all, I decided to try looking at my flaws and mentally make resolutions about my weight and dieting, like I do every year. I pinched my stomach a few times and stared at the mirror in front of me.



“What would I change about myself?” I’m talking to my reflection because I’m the only company I really have in this house. I sized myself up before continuing. “Hmm. I don’t think I look that bad. Need to get rid of this tummy….these flabby arms, maybe get a flatter stomach. I don’t see anything that a little exercise wouldn’t cure.”



After hearing myself talk about my reflection like we we’re two different people, I became a little more self-conscious. My mother always said that too much talking to yourself makes you crazy. Of course she said that while dying of brain cancer, so I cant say that she was really sane at the time, but it was an old wives tale, and I didn’t want to test that theory. So, I smiled. For the longest time, I thought I was an old maid, but looking at myself again through fresh eyes, I wasn’t half bad, almost sexy even. During the few minutes of staring, I begin to see the person I used to be instead of the self-doubting person I’ve become.



I’m still the same mahogany complexion that I was in grade school, with the same Asian eyes, and the same bulldog cheeks my momma grabbed when I was younger. I’m the same height as Michael, steady at 5’9″, but I think it looks better on me than it does on him. The stretch marks on my breasts and thighs are a little more pronounced with the new baby, but both are bigger than normal, giving my once stick-figure a lot more depth, a few more curves, with a few more miles to match. My stomach, of course, is still a little soft from the pregnancy, but for the first time in a long time, I’m actually proud of my body. After taking in all of my measurements, I wink at myself, put me hair up in a pony tail, and turn on the water for a relaxing bath instead of the shower I’d considered earlier.



I sat in the tub, and wondered if men realize how much of an aphrodisiac hot baths are. In my opinion, if they knew, women would lose their virginities a lot sooner. Obviously, my man didn’t know this well kept secret, or didn’t care, but as his essence was drained from mine, this morning seemed like a distant memory. Somehow, the warmth that had taken hold of me was slowly becoming a stimulant and my thoughts gradually became that of arousal and fantasy. My once flabby stomach was now tightening into small knots, and my clitoris growing with each passing idea. I didn’t know why, but it was begging to be caressed, my vagina, yearning for the orgasm that I hadn’t had in some time.



I stroked it, knowing that it will awaken the sleeping giant, and it doesn’t disappoint. Blood rushes to the tip, making it extremely sensitive to the touch, but when I consider stopping, I can’t. The aching is too great now, and so I need to finish. I rub a little deeper, a little harder, progressively searching for that perfect position until it all overwhelms me and I take my fingers and push them inside of me. Already, I’m convulsing, reaching a peak that I had yet to reached with my husband, but not yet quite ready to release. I push until it becomes a thrust, and that’s when I feel it all coming. I can feel my toes curl and the contractions of my walls as it all becomes unstoppable. My body is so in tune now that even my neck and shoulders are rhythmically moving forward to an unknown beat. Breathing is suddenly difficult and becoming increasingly harder until I stop breathing altogether.



I can hardly expel the words, “Oh shit!” right before my body explodes and I scream with all of the strength I can muster. Every negative feeling I had was pushed out of my body, if only for a few seconds, while ecstasy took over. My body convulsed for a few seconds afterwards, pushing all of that which was within me, out of me, and I collapsed onto the walls of the bathtub. I awoke to an idea that hit me like a ton of bricks, but I played it down because they likelihood of it happening was next to zero.



“Oh well, no point in entertaining it anymore.” I had already given up, but as I was thinking of not pursuing it, boldness came over me. Instead of always withdrawing, like I usually do, I jumped out of the tub, grabbed my towel, and rushed to the kitchen phone.



With the bathroom not being as chilly as the rest of the house because of the steam, the kitchen was the polar opposite, and I cursed myself for not drying off before I ran out. The droplets of water on my body were turning into ice cubes, but I needed to talk to someone before I lost my nerve and my idea would be carted off to ‘Never-heard-from-again-land’.



I dialed in the phone number of my girl, Laela, hoping that she would pick up on the first ring. Lately, she’d been the only person with whom I can talk about the personal things that go on in my life. I’d known her most almost half of my life, and met her when we were only two of the six black girls in an all-girl Catholic high school. She’d always been a good student and sometimes she’d help me out with my homework when I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. Since high school, she’s gone to college and become a nurse with a handsome pre-husband, and though I am envious of her, I’ve never been jealous.



The reason I can share my life with her is because she’s the only one who listens. Though she does have her prejudices, she gives me advice that I listen to, but don’t tend to follow. Whenever I ask for help, she’s always there. She does tend to scold me, like a mother, but I know it’s because she loves me.



She shares her own place in the suburbs with her fiancée, Quinton, but from time to time they spend the night here, helping me out at times with the kid, or with dinner. I think it’s mostly due to the fact that we live twenty minutes away from both of their jobs, and in the city of Houston, that’s a wonderful luxury.



My stomach was churning with anticipation. I wanted her to pick up, but if she didn’t maybe I could say it in her voicemail. But as I thought it over, if she didn’t pick up, there was no guarantee she’d call me back. I needed her to pick up the phone so I can convey my idea, but after all the worrying I’d done, she didn’t even answer.



Feeling defeated before the day even began, I put on an old sweat suit, after throwing on some panties, and commenced cleaning the house. After a few minutes of dusting, the phone rang , it was her.



The nausea comes back. I didn’t know exactly how I wanted to say things, so I beat around the bush before telling her my idea. She sounds skeptical, but tells me that she’ll do it and since she has always come through for me, I set everything in motion.



When she finally called back to confirm, it was already close to noon. I was so happy to hear the good news that I almost hung up the phone prematurely so that I could get everything finalized. My day hadn’t started off so great so anything positive at this point was good news.



Earlier in the day, I had called a few hotels, but most of them were either booked or their prices were so outrageous that I’d almost quit on finding a place. It took a few hours, but I was able to find an open room this close to New Years’. I settled on a hotel by Houston Hobby Airport, which was about a good fifteen minute drive from where we stayed, but it was cheap and it had four walls, so I reserved it.



I couldn’t wait until tomorrow came. I was so tired of doing the same old thing day in and day out that I wanted to scream. Relieved to finally relax after a morning filled with monotony, a few surprises and a little sex, I sat down to just exhale, and then I went back to the bathroom to put to sleep the monster I had awakened earlier.



*************




December 31st (Friday)



I spent all of yesterday wondering how I wanted to break the news to Michael. When 12:00 am came, I was still awake wondering how I’d let yesterday pass without saying a thing, but still guessing on how I was going to break the news today.



I quietly paced around the room, wearing nothing but one of his old football jerseys. The house was drafty and I thought about wearing some shorts, but I didn’t want him to have any reason to be mad at me the next morning. Easy access was probably my only saving grace in this instance. I rehearsed what I was going to say, never uttering a single word out loud, but simply ran all scenarios inside of my head. By 2:00, I was exhausted and all I could do to get any sleep was reassure myself that I’d let him know about what we had planned right before his shower, but immediately after he got his nut.



When I awoke, it seemed as if New Years Eve was not unlike any of the mornings that preceded it. I was the first to get up, Dingo was the second, and Michael was the third. But as I sat up, there was an obvious distinction though, I was actually wet. I was damp to the touch and aroused as hell. I guess I was a little more eager about the outcome because the sex didn’t seem half as bad, nor half as long. As expected, after our morning ‘ritual’ he went directly to the shower and I was right behind him.



I grabbed his bare ass and pushed my breasts up against his back before he had a chance to turn on the shower. When he turned to glance at me, I looked at him like I was a child asking their father for permission to watch the living room TV.



“Hey babe,” I almost swallowed my tongue, but I closed my eyes and finished off my rehearsed lines, “Laela and Q want to know if we’re going to kick it with them. They rented a hotel room and wanted us to bring in the New Year with them.” When in doubt, blame someone else.



He rolled his head up to the ceiling before bringing it back to down to look at me. I already knew that some excuse was brewing in his head. “Damn. I wish you would’ve told me earlier. I already made plans to go out drinkin’ with Pookie and the fellas.”



I was pissed. I could feel the moisture that was once between my legs dry instantaneously, even though the shower water was continually pouring over my middle section. “Well, do it with them next year. Spend this one with me, please.” I was almost begging. Almost–hell, I was begging; begging for my husband and I to spend our first married New Years together.

“Look, man. I made a promise to them and they asked me first.” He was nonchalant, turning the knob towards more heated water as we spoke.



My head began to pound as the lack of chivalry manifested itself from this man until my temper finally boiled over. “I’m your wife, Goddamit! Are you fucking Pookie? Do you have a child with Pookie? Are you even married to that nigga?” I don’t usually like to use the ‘N’ word, but I was heated.



“Get outta my face with that bullshit, man. If this shit would’ve been planned earlier, we wouldn’t be having this discussion, but it wasn’t, so don’t come at me acting like you asked first.” He put his face into the water, drowning his ears to avoid listening to me.



“Well then fuck you!” I screamed. “I’ll go by my damn self!” And with that I ran out of the bathroom, tears streaming down my face, hands balled into fists. I had never spoken to my husband like that, and according to my aunt, a good wife does as she’s told and never disrespects her husband by speaking back, but I intended for tonight to be special and it was ruined. If she were here, she’d probably slap me, and no doubt Michael was going to tell her what happened.



I ran to the kitchen, slamming doors along the way. I had slammed a few pots down on the stove when I heard MJ screaming at the top of his lungs. I ran to the room to find him crying in his bed, diaper soaked with urine. With the entire ruckus I’d caused, I’d scared him. I placed him close to my chest, kissed his forehead, and reassured him that everything would be alright.



After I got MJ ready and got his overnight bag prepared, I carried him into the kitchen. As I passed by the mirrors over the sink, I saw that my sullen face had returned. My eyes were swollen and bloodshot, and my features had once again returned to looking tired. I couldn’t believe it. I had just awakened and already I had nothing to look forward to.



*************




When Michael returned home that night, he entered and exited without a word. It seemed as he didn’t even acknowledge my existence and it hurt me so deeply I wanted to die. I grabbed his arm and sought forgiveness for the raucous I’d caused this morning, but he just brushed past me when he left, leaving me to cry for the second time today.



Laela and I had already spoken earlier about my husband not coming and even though she tried to lift my spirits, . I wanted to stay home. But being the person she is, she refused to allow me to succumb to self-pity and even offered to pick me up. Not really feeling up to it, but definitely wanting to get out of the house, I reluctantly said yes.



I felt awful, the furthest thing from being attractive, but I certainly didn’t want to look desperate either. Before she picked me up, I threw on a stylish gray sweat suit, some old tennis shoes, and did a quick make up job to hide the tears I’d been shedding. I also remembered to grab my toothbrush, and the new silk lavender Vicky’s Secret bra and panty set I’d bought. I saw it earlier in the day and I thought it’d add some spice to our sex life. I hadn’t planned on keeping it on, but the good news was that since it looked on me, I’d get to keep it on; the bad news was that it was going to stay on.



*************




Quinton, Laela, and I arrived at the hotel at 9:15 pm.



I’d called in and gotten room 1045, which was on the first floor of a three story building,. When we entered the room, it looked like something straight out of a low budget porno. The room had a severe reddish overtone. The carpet was made of a substance that could only be described as shaggy red wool, it contained a blood red bed that was dressed in a maroon comforter, auburn colored wallpaper, and the only window we had faced the airport and draped over them, dark red curtains.



“I see we have the Count Dracula suite.” Quinton mused, but he was as equally repulsed as I.



As we entered the room, all that I could think about was how I’d be spending my first married New Years alone. I was depressed and had been all day with the thought of Mike laughing and smiling with his friends. I really wanted to take the happy pills, but that would’ve been suicidal, seeing as I planned on drinking myself into a stupor and I didn’t want to scar my friends for the rest of their lives.



“Nothing left to do but to drink.” I said. The sooner we got to drinking, the quicker the pain would dull.



That’s when Laela spoke, “Monie, I know you’re upset, but we’re not gonna drink until you pass out. Tonight, you have to earn your right to drink. We’ve planned a few drinking games because I know what you’re trying to do.”



Drinking games? What kind of oxymoron was that? The last thing I wanted to do was to put a halt on my pain reliever, but nevertheless I entertained her idea, while still holding onto what I had planned to do anyway. All I would have to do is purposely sabotage whatever game we played.



“I’m game.” I said. “So what are we gonna do first?”



“Truth or dare.” Quinton answered. “But there is a catch. The only way you can drink is to tell the truth. If you lie, you automatically do the dare. And once you successfully complete the dare, you drink. Got it?”



I nodded, but wasn’t to enthused at having Quinton hear all my secrets before I got a drink. Perhaps afterwards, then I could always blame the alcohol. “Me first.” If they were going to make me tell all my secrets, I was definitely going to make them tell theirs. We got out all the bottles of liquor we’d brought into the room and immediately began the game.



I caught Laela off guard with the first question. “Who’s was the first girl you ever kissed?” Lae dropped her jaw upon hearing the question and Quinton’s eyebrow rose, anxiously awaiting the answer.



“You.” She shyly answered, and then slowly took her drink.



Quinton burst out laughing. “You guys kissed? Is there an encore in the future?”



We both glared at him. “Is that your question, Q?” I was going to be as devious as I possibly could tonight and I dared anyone to stop me.



“Nope, I can wait.” He looked at Laela. “She asked you a question; it’s your turn to ask.”



“Ok, Simone. You got me.” She stopped to drink her shot, then fired back. “Now answer this question. Who was the first girl you ever went down on?”



I had prepared for her to ask me this and I was ready to answer, “Dare.”



“I thought you’d say that.” She was getting me back, but I had no idea what she had in store until she marched over to one of the two big brown bags that we had carried into the room with us and pulled out a brand new vibrating bullet.



“You.” She began. She could hardly keep herself from smiling. You have to masturbate in front of us, and you only have five minutes to climax.” I looked at her like she was crazy, but she didn’t smile this time. She was actually serious.



“And if I don’t?” I really wanted to know the answer to that. What could she do to me that hadn’t been done already tonight? I’d already been dumped, I was about to be embarrassed, to me there wasn’t anything left.



“If you don’t then you’ll have another dare to do.” She smiled devilishly before the next few words poured from her mouth. “You have to go out in the hallway, in front of any captive audience, and masturbate for five more minutes.”



There was nothing left, except for that. The thought of masturbating in front of them was embarrassing; the thought of masturbating with another audience was traumatic. Then it hit me. The notion they had planned this ahead of time really pissed me off, but I’d be damned if I was going to get stuck in the hallway masturbating for complete strangers, so I took the bullet, unwrapped it, washed it off, and went to work.



I had trimmed my jungle the night before, anticipating my husbands tongue, but still relieved that I had thought ahead. My panties stayed on, but as the vibration of the bullet against my clitoris dampened my love, my anger began to dull, and the awareness I’d had turned to oblivion. I placed the toy inside my panties, only showing them the top of my waist.



At first, I didn’t want to give them the satisfaction of hearing me moan and gyrate all over the second bed, but the feeling of it pulsate against my body made me hot and tingly. I gasped and as I did so, my eyes rolled to the back of my head, but not before seeing the expression on Quinton’s face. Beneath his bedroom eyes was the undeniable look of yearning and lust.



Seeing the hunger behind his stare released something inside of me that hadn’t been unleashed before. I wasn’t completely unaware of how much time had passed, but it didn’t matter anymore. The monster from the other day came back with tremendous force. I wanted to scream, to yell, to breathe, but I couldn’t. I could only inhale. As I began convulsing and twitching, he finally let go, expelling from me an explosion that not only frightened and exhausted me, but had the hotel manager calling our room to make sure no one had been murdered.



After it was all over, I immediately ran to the bathroom to clean myself up. My panties were soaked, I was sweating profusely, and my first journey into voyeurism was more arousing than anything I’d ever been a part of. I heard the other two talking in the next room, but all I could think about were the eyes.



I came out of the bathroom wearing the same kimono that I’d received for Christmas. I didn’t put on panties this time, afraid of what else was planned, but I had to make sure I would be covered for whatever. I also hoped Quinton could catch a peek of my bareness, just in case he was curious. I sat down at the foot of the bed, split my legs so that only he could see, took my drink, and made damn sure that Laela would have to dare my next question.



“Are you okay?” Quinton appeared concerned. “I didn’t think you were going to come back out.”



He peeked. The glance was unmistakable and I liked being the bad girl who was wanted. “Oh, no. I’ve got more questions to ask. You guys got me, so it’s only fair I return the favor.” I hadn’t primed myself for all of this, but to tell the truth, I had forgotten about my problems at home. I then turned to Lae and challenged her. “You know what I’m going to ask, don’t you?”



She looked at me hesitantly. “No, I don’t. But just in case, I’ll take a dare.”



I was shocked. I didn’t even know what question I was going to ask, but the bluff had paid off, I wanted her to dare. I shook my head in disbelief. “Okay,” I began, “since I had to masturbate in front of you two, you have to give Quinton head until he climaxes. Oh, and let us not forget the time limit.”



I was being vindictive and I knew it, but there was an ulterior motive as well. Through the years, Lae and I had talked about our men’s sexual prowess and Q was obviously her best. I just wanted to see what the brother was working with for me, myself, and anyone who’d listen. Lord knows I’ve heard enough screaming and ooh-ing from her to last several lifetimes, but I’d never heard him at all.



“What’s the time limit?” Q was looking pretty agitated or was it fear, I didn’t know, didn’t care. But I was really hoping to see them end up in the hallway. That way I could get a free second showing.



“I’ll give you guys the same time limit you gave me. Fair is fair, right.” I was really enjoying this reversal of fortunes, but I was thoroughly unprepared for what I was about to see.



Q motioned for me to turn my head while Laela took down his pants but I steadfast, shook my head no, and returned with a ‘You should’ve known better than to ask me that’ look. As his boxers fell to the floor and Laela took his ‘Mandingo’ out, he was already fully erect, and had the thickest dick I had ever seen. It wasn’t the longest I’d ever witnessed, by a few inches, but Laela had to fully open her jaw to accept him into her.



She moved slowly up and down the shaft, never taking it all in her mouth, but using her hands to make up for whatever she didn’t. He’d obviously taught her how to please him because as she continued, he slowly began to lean forward and moan. I was instantly wet again and there was nothing to hold back my dam. Fantasizing about his ‘Man’ inside of my mouth, my vagina, even in my ass had me consciously pressing my legs together. I began breathing in through my nose and out my mouth, trying to hide any evidence of arousal.



I had lost all track of time, but I didn’t care. Watching him finally come in her mouth was addictive. She jerked up, swallowed his offering, and pulled his boxers back to their rightful position. I was jealous, even though I’d never let Michael do it in my mouth, no matter how much he pleaded.



We did several more crazy dares, told a few more truths, and did a great deal more drinking before they realized I was in a better mood. I was. Alcohol was the perfect solution, and sex was the best compound. Knowing that I was feeling a great deal better with all the laughter we were sharing that night, we all went crazy and began to drink and laugh uncontrollably. As the night progressed, Quinton questioned me several times about the only girl I ever went down on, but I was going to go to the grave with that secret.



As the ball dropped to end the previous year, we all made our New Years resolutions, cheered ourselves on for one final drink and then went to bed. Before I fell asleep, all I could think about was how lucky Lae was. She had a good job, a nice place to live, solid finances, and not to mention a good man with a nice, thick dick, who loved her. All I had was a shaky marriage and if I listened to Miss I’m Never Wrong, he was cheating on me. The more I thought about my life, the more disgusted I became. It was then that I told myself that if she ever messed up with him, I could and would willingly offer my bed and body to Quinton James.



*************




I awoke to discover him kissing on my neck. He then began to bite on it, not painfully, but forceful enough to fully awaken me. I wanted to ask what he was doing, but the truth is I didn’t care. After he realized I was awake, he threw away the covers and slid his hands up my thighs and under my kimono.



The belt I wore around my waist to keep my kimono from falling opening was torn off by his teeth, and thrown aside. As he looked at me with the same hunger that I had seen in his eyes before, I pushed him back until he stood straight up and I was kneeling before his throbbing penis.



I pushed down on it, not sure if it was real, but it bobbed back up, tapping me on the nose on the upswing. I cupped his genitals, opened my mouth as far as I could, and placed as much of him inside my mouth as my body would allow.



I wanted him. I wanted everything the he had offered Laela and more. I pushed my mouth down as far down his as I could before I began to gag, and then I retreated. Using my hands to massage what I had just lubricated, I sucked on the first two inches, while continually stroking the rest.



“Faster.” He demanded in a deep, guttural voice and faster I went. His moans thoroughly aroused me, sending electricity through me and I began to prepare myself to his inevitable plunge into my love. I was his to command tonight. Whatever demand he desired of me, I would most certainly obey.



He pulled me from my knees, disrobed me from the kimono I wore, and laid me down on my bed before he spoke. “I want to lick it. I’m going to taste you from your teacup to your C cup.”



Already laid down, I spread my legs for him so that he could sample all of me. He didn’t disappoint, gently sliding his tongue from inside me all the way up to my breasts, and then back down again. The feeling was unbearable and within seconds I ejaculated for the first time ever onto his face.



Smiling he mounted me. He pushed into me so quickly that I shrieked, and arched my back so that I could accept him without pain. He threw my legs around his waste and forced each thrust, dripping sweat as he pounded his thighs against mine. What was once pain was now insurmountable pleasure and I wasn’t about to be hushed, not even if it meant waking up Laela. The room was filled with the screams of my abrupt orgasm, combined with the sound of two bodies slapping against each other.



After my orgasm, he slowed down and pushed all of himself into me. I was amazed at how much more he had left and even more astonished that I could take it all, but there was a slow subtle rhythm while he stroked in and out of me. He placed his muscular arms on each side of my head and slowly pushed deeper into me. I sensed he was about to climax, but the expressions on his face showed that there was a definite internal struggle.



“Cum inside of me.” I whispered. “I want all of it. I want you to cum inside of me. Please baby.” I begged. I glanced over to the next bed to see if Laela was watching, but the darkness around the room prevented me from seeing anything further than two feet away. Even though I secretly hoped she was watching us, the pleasure reverberating through me weakened me, forcing me to fall back onto the bed.



I looked back into Quinton’s face to make sure that whatever struggle he had before, had left. I felt his fevered thrusting, before his member began pulsating inside of me; he was coming and I was too. I threw my legs up higher, and pulled him closer to me; feeling his penis jerking I grabbed onto his back and dug my fingernails into him as my orgasm preceded his.



“Say my name, baby.” I pleaded. “Say- my- name!”



“Simone!” He screamed. “Simone!”




*************




“Simone. Simone.” I woke to the sound of Quinton calling my name. He was a dark figure standing over me, but through the opaqueness, I saw his look of concern. “Are you okay? You were talking in your sleep.”



I rose up off the bed with sweat pouring from my head and Laela looking concerned in the other bed. I was dreaming, and I prayed that they I hadn’t been talking and that they hadn’t heard anything that was going on in my dream.



A little disoriented, I responded, “I’m okay. Just a crazy dream.” They both nodded and Q went back to lying down in his bed. As a gathered my bearings, I was in awe of the dream I just had. It was then that I noticed my bottom half was freezing. I peeled back the covers to find that I had a wet spot the size of my body underneath me.



Embarrassed, I ran to the bathroom once again to clean myself up. My heart was still racing from the discovery that I had soaked my bed with either cum or urine, but whatever happened, I couldn’t change it. Since I hadn’t brought any other change of clothing to sleep in, I put on my Victoria set, and snuck out of the bathroom, hoping that everyone was sleep so I didn’t have to explain why I wasn’t sleeping in my bed.



“Are you sure you’re ok?” Laela asked.



I wasn’t ok, and I knew it. “I think I had too much to drink. I, um, pee-peed in my bed.” I confessed. I wasn’t hoping for sympathy, just for an extra blanket.



“You can sleep with us.” She offered. “I’m not going to let you sleep over there. I’m not your husband.”



That last bit stung, but at that point I didn’t care. As she opened up the covers to allow me to sleep in her bed, I found myself sleeping in between Lae and Q, with my back to him. I just knew this wasn’t the position I wanted to be in and that it was going to be impossible to get back to sleep; until I felt an erection creeping up the underside of my leg. I smiled and went right to sleep.



*************




Quinton




January 1st (Saturday)



After we woke up and got ready to leave the hotel room, I struggled with the thought of me becoming erect after Simone slept next to me this morning. I just chalked it up to me not being accustomed to another woman being so close to me in bed and pushed it to the back of my mind, which was the best thing for me to do concerning my good friend’s wife, especially since I’d probably be seeing him today anyway.

Since Laela had picked up Simone the previous night, it was her job to take her home. I kissed her goodbye and prepared for The Fellas Only Annual Poker Game.



The poker game began six years ago as an annual event between Dre, his boy Coop, and myself, but over the years we picked up a few players. Outside of playing poker, it was a chance for a bunch of fellas to talk shit about a various range of topics, which usually only consisted of our last year’s conquests, and our New Year’s Resolution to add more conquests to the list. Occasionally, we had some pretty decent conversations, but I doubted that this would be one of those years, especially with BJ present.



Andre’s place had already been designated game central this year, so I jumped into my car, got on I-10, and headed and hour east to his suburban bachelor pad.



Traffic was light, especially after a weekend holiday, so I made it to his home in less time than usual, even though I’d made a pit stop on the way. He stayed in a secured subdivision in Katy, and since I was cool with Martha, the security lady, she let me in without me having to harass her again.



Five minutes later, I pulled up into the driveway of 4 year old traditional style house. I didn’t see either of his cars in the driveway, so I assumed either no one was home or he didn’t want anyone to know, so I grabbed my things out of my car and since I had a key I didn’t bother knocking.



His house was one of the biggest in the subdivision, which was saying a great deal for a neighborhood like his. His house sat on a ½ acre lot in size, with the house spanning an incredulous 8500 square feet. From the outside, his house looked like something from the “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous”. The outside was a beautiful two storied house made of marble colored stucco and lined with golden trim. The lawn was perfectly landscaped with animal shaped hedges and intricately designed flower bed mazes, which I considered an extreme waste of money, complete with the motion-sensored ground effect lighting that preceded every step on your way to the front door. A pool was installed in the back a few months ago when he bought this luxurious estate, but hardly ever used it, mostly because it was too cool during the winter.



I opened his front door and thought I heard voices emanating from the back of the house. I walked towards the noise and noticed some of the re-decoration he’d had done recently. All of his walls had been painted into an eggshell white, an upgrade from the tannish color they were before. Also, there was newly laid marble tile leading from his front door all the way to pool in the back of the house.



By the time I finished noticing the new additions and rearranged interior, I’d almost walked past the dining room, which was the second room on my left, when I thought I’d heard some noises before they suddenly stopped. I began to turn around and head back towards the kitchen when I heard it again and shouted out, “Dre where you at?”



There were a few seconds of silence and giggling before he yelled, “Back here.”



I followed his voice down the hallway, towards the back of the house and found him relaxing comfortably in the library. He sat on his black leather sofa, pant less, with a white lady between his legs focused on nothing but his pleasure stick, which never vacated her mouth.



I shook my head. “I don’t mean to bother you, your highness, but we have a game to prepare for.”



He seemed surprised to hear the news, but didn’t move from his position. The lady, whom I recognized as one of his neighbors from down the street, looked at me and smiled before going back to blowing his brains out. “That’s today? Damn. Give me a few minutes, dawg, I’m almost finished. You can finish, baby. He’s got a woman and he doesn’t get down like that–yet.”



She winked at me and I walked towards the kitchen to fix myself a sandwich. By the time I’d finished eating, he’d finished feeding her what he liked to call the “Dre Shake”. He jogged out of the library and hugged me, grinning like a schoolgirl, while his neighbor walked past the kitchen, smiled at me again, waved, and then let herself out the front door without saying a word.



“I take it she needed some protein.” I said smugly.



“Yes sir, and now her belly is full of it! Mmmmmm good! Women love the “Dre Shake!”



“You’s a nasty Negro.”



“Why? Because I got down with a white girl? I would’ve never pictured you on that racist shit with as many white girls you’ve gotten down with. We are family, son. What’s mine is yours. But since you wanna be like that, make sure to put ‘He was a nasty Negro who donated much protein’ on my headstone.”



“What the hell are you talking about? You had me walk in on you getting head! I didn’t need to see that crap this early in the damn day! We fam and all, but I don’t need to see another man’s dick–ever, and certainly not your crooked little thang. Besides, the headstone is bought and paid for already and I damn sure ain’t paying for extra words.” We both had a good laugh before setting up the card table and getting the snack trays out for the smorgasbord of free food.



Dre and I had been friends since junior high on that fateful bus ride to Atlanta. Through the years he and I had been through a lot together. We both grew up in the same suburb, where black people were few and hearing racial epitaphs whispered behind our backs were daily occurrences. We constantly had to watch each other’s back, which usually meant fighting the other kids; white or otherwise. Usually they weren’t ever said to our faces, but when people said them around us, we whooped some ass and were suspended just as harshly together too. Eventually Dre became so intolerant of the ‘N’ word that no one around him was allowed to even say it, black people included.



In 9th grade, when his aunt was accused of neglect and they were going to put him into a foster home, my parents filed an application for adoption of Dre and they were granted custody. My parents were aware of what happened to his parents, his aunt’s mistreatment of him, and his situation in school.



They were vigilant when he first arrived, striving to raise his grades in school. Once that was accomplished, they got on the both of us because we got in trouble so much together. To this day I still believe my parents officially adopted him so that they could beat his ass too. For the last three and a half years of high school, Dre and I were legally brothers.



In college we pledged the same fraternity, and though I never finished college with him, I had never been more proud of him when he had. He went on to get a Master’s in business and recently became a super-paid investment banker. He received all kinds of accolades from people around him, except me. I was the one who had to keep him grounded when his head began to float away, like today.



There wasn’t much I kept from him, so I told what had happened earlier this morning. I went over everything in detail, all the way to the point where I had to wake her up from shouting out my name and then sleeping next to me, but I did conveniently remember to leave out the part of me having an ‘erectional response’.



“Yo dick got hard when she got in the bed with you didn’t it? ” He chirped. Like I said, we knew each other too well.



“Nope, it didn’t. Is that all you think about? A hard dick? You sure you’re not gay? That’s some gay shit to say.”



“Don’t be a dumbass. You know that girl wants to jump your bones.”



“Who, Simone? Are you on crack? I can’t even allow myself to think like that. Have you forgotten that Mike is her husband? You know Mike, Mike Hall. The Mike that fixes your cars so that you don’t have to pay a grip to get those super expensive pieces of shit fixed. That Mike. And oh, lest we not forget, Mike is my friend!”



“No I haven’t forgotten, but you’re on that naïve ‘I’m trying to be a good friend bull. How many times does coochie have to fall out of the sky and onto your lap before you realize there are other women out there who are jones-ing for you? Man if I had whatever you’ve gotten a hold of, I’d be the Wilt Chamberlain of the banking world.” Everything was said with a bitter overtone. Not necessarily bitter in a bad sense, but because we’d had this conversation many times, I felt he was getting fed up at the fact that I didn’t seem to acknowledge anyone other than Laela, especially when he saw it and I didn’t.



“What the hell are you talking about? If you had what I had?” I was disgusted that he’d even said that. “Dre, I came into this house and you were getting your brains blown out by someone who didn’t care that I was watching! And then after she swallowed, she smiled and waved at me when she left! What do you call that shit? Does she win the good fuckin neighbor award or what?”



“Yeah, that was kind of nice, wasn’t it?” He tried to hide the smile, but we both fell over laughing. “All I’m saying Q, is that women are digging you. It may be because you don’t notice it, it may be because you have a woman, but don’t act like it ain’t there when you have two eyes just like me. Denying it only makes the problem grow until the dam bursts and the floodgates open, then you’ll be assed out and soaked in a pool of your own bullshit. It’s a new year, stop being the same old you. Ok, now its time to make some sandwiches.”



“I already ate. “



I smiled and shook my head. Dre was usually right about topics dealing with women. And sometimes he was right on with me, but it was inevitable that every time he had something important to say, he always added a smart remark or joke at the end to break the tension. I guess that’s why we got along so well. He knew how to soften up the blow of bad news by disguising it as humor.



With company coming in the next few hours, we began making sandwiches and opening up every bag of potato chips and pretzels we could find. Since I’d bought some soda on my way over, we were ready for any and all hungry Negroes with their free food appetites.



About an hour after he lent his neighbor his patented protein shake, and probably some sugar afterwards, the guests began arriving.



BJ was the first through the door, giving Dre and I head nods and hugs when he entered. “Wassup my n–.” He quieted right before saying what he knew was a term of banishment from Dre’s house. “I mean, what’s happnin fellas?”



“Glad you caught yourself. I’d hate to have to kick your ass before I tossed you out.” Dre smiled letting BJ know that he was off the hook.



Not long after BJ made himself comfortable eating up all the snacks in the kitchen, Dre received a call from the security at his gate that his other guests had arrived, all at the same time. He okayed their entry in within a few minutes they were all coming through the door.



We greeted the five others as they came in, handshakes and introductions went around as we comforted old friends and welcomed new ones. Among them, Michael, Simone’s husband, his friend Miles “Pookie” Johnson, my friend and another work buddy- Marcus Jackson, Teniyah’s husband -Franklin Oliver, and Darryl “Chicken” Cooper-Andre’s oldest friend.



After looking around in awe at Dre’s place, Mike said, “This yo new spot? Me likey. Damn Dre, you getting paid out the ass, dawg.”



“Yeah I manage.” He replied with a smug smile on his face.



“Yeah, you manage so well you better have some food up in this mofo.” We all laughed at Mike’s facetiousness and everyone left the entry way for the kitchen to load up on free food.



We directed them towards the game room, a massive room located next to his garage, which contained Dre’s monogrammed pool table and one of the three walkways to the upstairs. By the time we all sat at the poker table, we were all full, laughing, and talking so much crap about who was going to take home the trophy that we almost didn’t hear Dre shout out his version of the rules.



“Everybody listen. First of all, I want to thank you for eating all my food, now I don’t have to put any of it back up. Secondly, everyone who’s playing, will you kindly take your $50 in quarters and or dollars out of your pockets.” Every pocket jingled with change as we all took out our money and put it on the table. Marcus’s pile was the biggest, mostly because he had all quarters.



“Damn Marcus, what’d you do? Hold up a Laundromat?” BJ outburst has us all falling over laughing and cramping because of all the food we’d ate.



“Okay.” Dre stood up and raised his voice so that he could be heard above the chatter that had just been generated all over again. “Finally fellas, the name of the game is Texas hold ‘em. I’m the dealer, if you don’t like it, so what. We’re playing with three decks, $.50 is the minimum allowance per game , ante up after the flop, turn, and river cards have been shown, no wilds, no cheating, raises are encouraged, are we understood.” We all nodded in agreement and Dre dealt us each two cards.



Dre sat at the head of our octagonal table, with me sitting to his right and Pookie to his left. Franklin and Mike sat to my right, while Marcus and BJ sat to Pookie’s left. After the cards were in our hands, the cross table shit talking began:



Me: So Mike, what happened to you last night? You missed out on some funny shit, dawg.



Dre: A hotel room with two women and just funny shit happened? Not if it was me. It’d be some kinky things happening.



Q: It’s a good thing you weren’t there then. Cuz then me and Mike would have to kill you.



Mike: I was just kickin it. You know how it is.



Dre: Translation: ‘I’m getting up in some new pussy and I don’t want to talk about it.’



Mike: You funny Dre. Shut the hell up man before I have to take all the bankers money. Wouldn’t that be ironic?



Chicken: I fold. We can’t all be whooped like Q over there.



Me: Q ain’t whooped; I just got it like that. Don’t hate.



Marcus: Yeah, like he said, whooped. I’ll raise.



Me: Whooped my ass. Marcus, you can’t even talk shit. Your stock just fell to an all-time low. Just because you sleeping with all the chubby buddies don’t mean you’re a player. I’ll match.



BJ: Ooooooooh. Damn dawg, why you let him talk about your big girls like that? I had sex with a chubby alien. They got some tight coochie, but it got me pregnant, so I had an abortion, twice.



Dre: Man, you gotta cut that shit out or stand up and leave the table.



Franklin: I feel you, Q. Teniyah is the only one for me and I’m the only one for her. It’s not being whooped, it’s love.



Me: I don’t know Frankie; you got a wild child on your hands. I’m surprised yo girl don’t wear yo ass out. I hear she turns yo ass into a rag doll regularly, per Lae.



Franklin: Oh, ho. Is that what she’s saying? I’ll have to take care of that. But one of these days, you boys will understand.



Dre: Don’t you get all soft on me too, Frank.



Pookie: I feel y’all fellas on that, but I’m still bout to take your money. I’ll raise it another $1.



Me: Ooooh, big money. The only thinking you need to do is about taking a bath, cuz that hand can’t be a funky as this whooping you bout to catch.



Marcus: So what. I like them thick. Big girls need love too. And they aren’t my ‘chubby buddies’, it’s just more woman and more love.



Dre: The only thing they need more of is big clothes.



Marcus: That’s foul. You’re so damn simple. I bet y’all like them anorexic chicks with straws for necks who think celery, salt, and water is a three course meal. But that’s too rich for me, I fold.



Me: Not me. I like my women with some ass. Flat asses are just a travesty. A fat ass makes up for a jacked up face, sometimes.



Dre: My perfect woman would have to be Diamond from ‘Player’s Club’. I’d drink her bath water, even if she farted in it.



BJ: Hell yeah. Boy I’d drink her toilet water. Everyday. Forever. Speaking of which Dre, word around the station is you’re piping Leslie. That bitch is two things–fine and crazy, and dangerous combo. Be careful with her.



Dre: Stay out of grown folks business, boy. Q, what are you telling these subordinates?



Q: Not a damn thang. Wherever that came from, it ain’t come from me.



BJ: I would’ve gotten down on her a long time ago, but like I said, that bitch crazy as hell.



Dre: See now. I told you to stay out of grown folk’s bitness.



We continued with our discussion after Pookie won the first hand. While still talking, Dre dealt the next hand.



Me: Back to what we were talking about. Halle Berry is getting up there, but she’s still fine and she’s still the prototype.



Mike: Know who I’d like to get with? The Vivica Fox from ‘Independence Day’. Man her ass was fat as hell.



Franklin: Yeah, she was righteous. I don’t know about me. From Hollywood, I guess I’d choose Lynn Whitfield.



Pookie: Lynn Whitfield? Huh?



Franklin: Yeah. She’s sophisticated and crazy as hell. I like my women possessive. Shows me they care.



BJ: If a knife in a birthday cake shows you she cares, then my friend, it was nice knowing you.



Me: Crazy is obviously a necessity for you. You already got one crazy one.



Mike: What about you Pook?



Pookie: Steve Urkel’s girlfriend.



Marcus: Who Laura? You lost mad cool points with that, son.



Pookie: Naw, the other one. The one who was digging him at first, but he didn’t like her. The girl who died.



Dre: Yeah, she was fine as hell back in the day. She died? For real?



Me: Yup. It was a while back though.



Marcus: Queen Latifah is my dream girl.



Dre: How many times are you gonna tell us that? We already know about you and your Queen fetish.



Marcus: I don’t care what y’all say, she fine. All hail the queen. She couldn’t be named more perfectly. What about famous white girls?



Me: I’m not sure I could get down with a white girl like that.



Dre: Why? Let me guess, the black family mantra.



Franklin: What the hell is the black family mantra?



BJ: You ain’t heard about the Mantra? Now I know you a white boy.



Franklin: Well why don’t you clear it up for those of us who have a brain.



Me: Well, my pops told me, but it goes something like this, ‘It’s cool to make the rainbow moan, but you better bring the black one home.’



Dre: Yup, you said it perfectly. I heard that when I was younger.



Marcus: No see, that’s some petty shit. Love is love. Look at all these athletes with white girls. White women know how to take care of their men.



BJ: That’s cool and whatnot, but it’s way too many brothers out here selling out. We say we want a strong community, but people bail out as soon as they get some cash.



Pookie: I love everything about my black women, but if somebody else can treat me better, then I’m not gone walk pass them cuz they not the same color as me. That’s dumb.



Me: There’s nothing wrong with preference, my problem is when black men who’ve made it, give all credit to their non-black woman. What the hell is that? You can catch, dribble, and hit better because she’s white? That’s that mess that gets on my nerves. All these people call you ‘nigga’, excuse me Dre, when you grow up, so you get back at them by taking one of their women?



Dre: Women are women, but regardless, I just don’t like to see good pussy go to waste.



We all laughed.



Dre: Ok, I’m sick of this political shit, let’s play some cards. Now, since this is hypothetical, Q, who would you get down on and not claim she helped you be a better black man.



Me: Alyssa Milano. That girl’s still fine. I’ve been diggin her since back in the day.



Dre: She alright. I like Angelina Jolie. That girl got some black in her. Or she would if she returned my phone calls.



Franklin: Me too.



BJ: Me three. But Daphne from Scooby-Doo is a close second.



Mike: You talking about cartoon bitches now? What’s going on in that head of yours? The one on your shoulders. Anyway, gimme some of what you’re smoking, cuz it’s gotta be real good. Anyways, me four. She can have me anytime she wants.

Chicken: Me five. She can get it.



Marcus: I like–



Dre: Let me guess, Rosie O’Donnell.



Marcus: No dumbass. I was going to say Marisa Tomei. You always got jokes.



Dre: I’m shocked! I thought you loved them with a spare rib attached to their ears. And gravy bowls under their tits.



Me: Dre, that’s foul as hell. What about you Mr. Pookie?



Pookie: Yeah, I can dig Britney Spears.



Mike: Britney Spears?



Pookie: Yeah, that shit she was wearing in her first video was real tight. I like the innocent types.



Me: Hold up fellas. Gotta run to the big man’s room.



We’d played several rounds before I got up and ran to the bathroom. Since I hadn’t talked to Lae all day, I called her up, but her voice mail picked up. I left her a quick message and ran back to the table. By the time I’d gotten back, they were already onto old school wrestlers.



Dre: Hell naw. The Ultimate Warrior is the best wrestler there ever was. Hulk Hogan ain’t got shit on him.



Franklin: The Undertaker would whoop Ultimate Warrior’s ass.



BJ: Coco B. Ware would whoop all they asses and then fly around the ring.



Marcus: Coco B. Who? Who the hell is that?



BJ: A black wrestler that used to hang with Hulk and them. The dude with the parrot on his shoulder.



We all laughed at the fact that BJ was trying to lobby for poor Coco.



Pookie: I don’t remember that shit, but The Rock had all them beat.



Me: Movie star Rock? He done got soft. Maybe once upon a time he could’ve passed, but his time has left.



Marcus: Macho Man. He was raw. Then he had to snap into a Slim Jim.



In our best Macho Man voices we went around the table roaring ‘Can you dig it?’



Me: Best cartoon?



Dre: Need you ask? Transformers.



Me: My man. You feel me on that.



Mike: Thundercats. Lion-O was a dog. And Panthro was really black. Back in the day, Cheetarah was fine as hell too.



BJ: The Smurfs.



Marcus: Smurfs? Man, you need to get off that shit. G.I. Joe- The American Hero.



Me: Yeah it was so American that it was drawn by the Japanese.



Marcus: Say it ain’t so! Is there no justice! Mama No!



Franklin: Dragon Ball Z.



Me: I don’t know, man. It took 10 episodes for them to finish using the bathroom.



Pookie: I liked C.O.P.S. That show where they fought crime in a future time.



Me: Yeah that shit was cool. What about you Coop?



Chicken: I always liked the Looney Tunes.



Dre: Ah, the classics.



Chicken: Yeah. Nothing beats a classic. Those jokes are eternal.



By the time we’d finished talking about women, sex, sports, and cartoons three hours later, Franklin and Cooper were almost out of cash, I was in a distant second, BJ was third, while Marcus, Mike, and Dre had all been eliminated. Somehow the newcomer Pookie had blown us out. Damn beginners luck.



I was ready to take my money and leave, but everyone else had talked themselves up, hoping for an unlikely comeback. After Franklin and Cooper were eliminated, we all just gave up and took what we had, which ended up being $105 for me, $15 for BJ and $280 for Pookie.



I was putting my money away, mostly in quarters, when Mike walked up to me and tapped me on the shoulder. “Hey Q man, I need to holla at you.”



“That’s cool. Just let me get the rest of my money together.” I was a little apprehensive, wondering if Simone told him about my ‘erection mishap’, but I shook that idea out of my head. After I put away all my change, he pulled me into the library and closed the door. I became a little nervous at what he was going to say.



“What I say can’t leave this room, alright?” I nodded. He looked up at the ceiling, then at the floor and shook his head. For as long as I’d known Mike, every time he did the ceiling to floor thing, it was always followed by a blatant lie, but he appeared thoroughly distressed. I put my observations on hold and saw that he was obviously very disturbed by something. He looked like he was about to say something to me when he raised his head to the ceiling once more.



I grew irritated and felt compelled to say something or I figured he drag this out forever. “Mike, I know there’s something wrong, but the ceiling isn’t gonna help make it better. What’s the problem?”



“I don’t know, man. I just don’t know. It’s just this thing has been weighing on my mind and I don’t know what I’m gonna do about it.”



“We can figure out all the repercussions later, but you brought me in here to say something. What is it? What’s going on? Speak up, man. I can’t read minds.”



“Alright.” He took a deep breath before he confessed. “The reason I didn’t go with you guys last night is because I’m having an affair. Actually, I’ve been having one for a few months now. I didn’t want to, but the way she–the way she makes me feel is incredible. I can’t explain it. She makes me feel like a king. I mean I love Simone, but she’s just so inexperienced. Whenever we have sex, I’m left doing all the work and I’m tired of that shit. This girl, she does things that I haven’t even seen in a flick, you know what I’m saying.”



“What you’re saying is that you’re cheating on your wife; and it’s been for a few months!?! The worst part of it all is that I’m just now hearing about this! What’s her name? Where did you meet her? I need to hear it all.”



“Here name is Star, and I met her at her job. She was flirting with me, I flirted back and one thing led to another, next thing you know we’re screwing. She knows I’m married, but she doesn’t mind. She tells me that she’s just picking up where my wife leaves off, without the commitment. It was only supposed to be a one time thing, but then it became a weekend thing, then an everyday after work thing, and now it’s an all the time thing. I can’t control myself.”





“Star? What is she a stripper or something? “



“Yeah, something like that. “



“Okay, and what do you want me to do? You’re a newlywed and this shit is wrong, man. And you know it. I can’t give you cool points for that. If Monie was just your girl, well that’s different, but you need to make this right. She ain’t pregnant is she?”



“Hell naw, but I know you and I knew what you’d say. I just needed someone to tell who would be against it. That way I could always talk to you whenever I got the urge to be with her again.”



“So let me get this straight. You’re cheating on your wife and you’ve only been married six months. Damn Mike. Look, because we’re boys, I can swallow this one. But you gotta do right by your wife. Are you gonna tell her? You gonna come clean?”



“I can’t. I don’t want to lose her. I’m gonna make this right.” He was clearly upset and had tears welling in his eyes when he hugged me. “Thanks man.” He sobbed, “I needed to hear that. I’m not thinking right and I need support.” I hugged him back. He wiped the tears away from his face, stood upright, checked his clothing, then opened the door and we left out like nothing had happened.



After thanking everyone for contributing to the ‘Q needs a new TV fund’, I walked out to the car. Since I had to wait for everyone to back their cars out first, I stood outside and jiggled all the change I’d just won while I shook my head. I felt for Simone, but my promise wouldn’t allow me to say anything to her. Finally able to get on my way home, I replayed all of the day’s events in my head. It was certainly an interesting first day on the start of a new year.



When I arrived home, I didn’t see Laela’s car parked in the usual space and when I entered the apartment, it looked like she hadn’t been there all day, but after a day like today, I was too tired to care. I entered the apartment, walked down the hallway to our bedroom and before I fell asleep the only positive thought I had was how we’d be washing at the Laundromat for the next few years .



*************




Laela




Checkout was a half an hour away, but I washed up, threw on a white blouse and some blue jeans before we packed our things up and left.



When we made it to the parking lot, I gave Quinton a kiss before he jumped into his car and pulled away. All through the morning he had been trying to find out the answers to some of the questions we posed last night, but I didn’t reveal any secrets and so he left with a slight chip on his shoulder.



With both Quinton and Mike going to play their ‘holier than thou’ man game at Andre’s house, it was left up to me to drop off Simone at hers. As we eased through the light holiday traffic, we hadn’t spoken since we’d gotten in the car. I was still a little embarrassed from the previous night, but that could easily be blamed on the liquor and swept under the rug, but the peeing in bed thing was a little more than I was ready to tackle.



With everything that Simone had been through, I didn’t have a right to put Simone out like I did, but to my credit, she fought back just as hard. When I looked at her, she appeared lost in a daydream. I didn’t want to awaken her from one of the biggest smiles I’d seen her wear in a while, but someone had to break the deafening silence. There wasn’t any good reason I could think of why we shouldn’t be talking.



“Hey Monie.” She looked over her left shoulder looking surprised that I’d spoken. “Did you have fun last night?”



“Yeah, it was cool. Good thing I slept through my hangover, it’d been hell if I hadn’t. Besides, it was fun to get out of the house and away from the kids. “



I was about to remind her that she only had one kid, but then I understood. “I feel you girl. Sometimes you need time off to just deal with yourself. I think that’s the reason I’m everybody’s God-parent.” We giggled like were teenagers again.



Everything became serious again when she asked, “Lae, I know you don’t really like Mike that much, but do you really think he’s cheating on me?”



I didn’t know how I wanted to answer. With this being a new year, I hated reminiscing on last years problems, but Simone was my friend and I had to be truthful to her. “I’m not saying he is, I’m not saying he isn’t. But look at the facts Monie. He works a whole lot of overtime, but you guys are always struggling to pay the bills? Not only that, but he bowls enough to be on tour, yet when we play, he barely beats any of us. Monie, you know your routine better than I do, so I can’t answer that. But as women, we have an inbred intuition that we have to learn to trust because our intuition is rarely wrong.”



She hesitated a little before asking, “How did you know Q was the one?” We had come to a stoplight and she looked me in the eye, waiting for my answer.



“I didn’t. I had to groom him to be the respectable man that you have before you. I had to do a serious overhaul and it paid off. He’s not rich like the man I said I’d always marry, but he has a big heart– and the way he puts it down kinda makes staying mad at him worth the make up sex.” I couldn’t contain my laughter. I laughed until I began to cry and since it was so hard to drive with my eyes watering up, I stood where I was until the car behind me honked for the better part of 10 seconds.



Simone fell over laughing just as hard as I did and it was good to see her laughing again. No sooner than we caught our breath, my phone rang, it was Teniyah.



“Happy New Year.” She chimed. She was certainly in a good mood and with Franklin out playing cards with the rest of the guys; I figured she’d be calling sooner or later. With company next to me, I didn’t want her asking what I knew she’d called to ask about. So I cut her off.



“Happy New Year to you too. Simone and I were just talking about you.” It was the only lie I could think of on such short notice and Simone looked as if she were about to say ‘Who the hell is that?”



“Oh, so it’s a ladies day out. And you didn’t invite me? I’m hurt.”



“No, it’s not a ladies day out. We just left from the hotel.” There was no way I could’ve stuck my foot in my mouth any further than what I had just done. I hadn’t told Niya about New Years’ because I didn’t want her to know. Besides, Franklin was the straightest arrow I knew and I didn’t think he’d have much fun.



“Oh. And you spent the night with her did you? Interesting. Didn’t invite me to that one, did ya? Just giving the goods away when I asked first, huh?” She spoke as if she were interrogating me.



“Te he he. You’ve got jokes. No, we were just out kicking it. I figured you married folks were going to bring in the new years with some screaming and hollering, like you usually do.” At the mention of ‘married folks’ Simone figured out who it was and looked at me with a raised eyebrow.



“No, he fell asleep on me–again. But if he would’ve stayed up, I was gonna have to put it back down on him. You know, put him back to sleep like a playa do. You know how I roll.”



I couldn’t help but laugh at her silly ass. “So what’s up? Where are my God-kids?”



“Ah, nothing. The kids are with my momma and I’m at the house, bored as usual. I was just gonna see if you wanted to go out and um, eat, but I see you have company.” I was instantly flustered because I knew what she meant. “So what do you say Lae? You wanna grab something with me? You can bring a friend if you like. She can eat too. Course, she has to get her own stuff.”



I was trying not to stutter but I failed miserably when I spoke nervous gibberish when trying to tell her that we could meet her up somewhere. “Um–um–y-yeah, we could do that. W-w-where did you um-um want to meet at? “I had to get her off the phone before she had me saying something that shouldn’t have been said, especially with Simone looking at me like a curious parent.



“Let’s me at Chingas, that new Mexican restaurant I told you about. I feel like tasting something spicy.” She was trying to seduce me with innuendo and I new it.



“OK.” I told her. “We’ll meet you there in half an hour.” After she hung up, Simone looked at me strangely.



“Was that the ‘Raven’?” Raven was Teniyah’s given sorority name. Once I told Simone, it stuck and never called her anything else but Raven.



“Nevermore. She wants to meet at Chingas. You hungry?”



“Not really, besides, I’m broke.”



“I got you.” I wasn’t ready to make my decision concerning Teniyah yet, so I was going to need some backup to help me avoid the pressure.



“Nah, I’m cool. I gotta pick up my son and we’re already out by where I stay. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for you to drive back over here when we’re only 10 minutes away from the house as it is.”



“Okay.” I conceded. Maybe it was better off this way. Lately it seemed that Teniyah didn’t care who was watching–or listening. She was a flirt and when she had your attention, she poured it on, regardless of who was watching.



I dropped Simone off 10 minutes later and was right back on the freeway heading west on I-610 five minutes after that. I took 610 to I-10 and with the absence of a heavy traffic flow; I made it to the restaurant thirty minutes later. It was just off the freeway, a quick turn to the right after I’d made it to the State Highway 6 exit.



Had I not known where it was, it was still too hard a restaurant to miss. The fluorescent yellow stucco walls and bright orange top made for an interesting décor, but the parking lot was full of cars, a norm for Texas. I’d been fortunate to pull up when someone else was pulling out, so I didn’t have to walk far. I just hoped that Teniyah was here before me or she’d have hell finding a spot. She wasn’t.



The hostess smiled at me when I walked in. She was a young black girl, with beautiful hair that flowed down to her back. She was obviously mixed with something, but I couldn’t guess what. Looking at her reminded me a lot of myself, a teenager always trying to make some extra money on a holiday. “Welcome to Chingas. How many are in your party?” She asked?



“Well I’m waiting on a friend. How long is the wait?”



“Not long. Maybe ten minutes. Would you like to look at a menu while you wait?” I nodded at her suggestion, she handed me a menu the size of a pizza box and went on to greet the people behind me as I sat down on one of the hard wooden benches provided by the door.



I was so engrossed in reading the pages of food that I never saw her come in. She sat next to me, acted like she was about to whisper in my ear and subtly kissed me on the side of the neck as the menu kindly hid her indiscretion. “Hello stranger.”



I jumped up, surprised by her advance. “Don’t do that!” I shouted only audibly enough for her to hear me. “You almost got beat down. I thought you were some guy trying to get on.” She looked amazing, almost like a black Amazon. She wore a lacey black blouse that slightly showed her black sports bra, a black mini-skirt to show off her long legs, with black straps from her heels creeping halfway up her calf, and her hair pinned up with a black bow tying it all together. I wanted to comment, but thought better of it.



“A man with a woman’s voice?”



“Stranger things have happened.”



“Do tell.” She smiled when she said it, and I knew that she had to be talking about last night. “Anyways, you made it here pretty fast. I already called in and had a table set up for us.”



“You could’ve called and told me. That would’ve been nice.” I was a little upset after having sat on the bench long enough for my butt to hurt.



“Yeah, but that would’ve ruined the surprise. Oh yeah, surprise!”



“Ha. Ha.” It was a sarcastic laugh, but she got the idea. After she spoke to the hostess, a waiter came and guided us to our table. We sat in a booth near the back of Chingas. It must’ve been a private booth because there were only two other couples and twenty other tables. The windows were deeply tinted in our area, almost opaque, giving the lighting in our area more a romantic bistro feel. The waiter left and came back with two glasses of water with a lemon slice in the corner. After we ordered, he left us to talk.



She raised her right hand and placed it under her chin, letting me know I had her full attention. “So tell me about last night, in detail. I’d like to hear what happened with you, Q, and your guest.” I saw that she was anxious to hear what had happened, so I told her most of what I could remember. Before I’d even finished telling her about Truth or Dare, she blurted out, “So she masturbated in front of you and you sucked Q’s dick in front of her!?!” She was in awe. “You are a nasty whore!!! Holy Shit! How come I can’t ever get that kind of action?”



“Yes. It was truth or dare. We could never do that with you and Franklin because he’s a square and you’re some super freaky voyeur. I am not going to lead to the breakup of you two. Besides, you’ve never asked to play truth or are with us.”



“She-it. That’s what we’re gonna do next year, I promise you. I’ll start getting him ready now so he’ll be prepared.” She covered her mouth with the same hand before shaking her head and taking it off. Her left hand stayed on her lap. “Okay, you can finish.”



“You sure?” I asked. “I don’t want to impede you from writing your article.” She gave me a sarcastic grin and I continued the story until I didn’t have any more to tell.



“That bitch peed in her bed? Ewww. That’s nasty. It’d be different if she was in labor, but she just pissed all over a hotel room bed.”



“Stop being so judgmental. Don’t act like you ain’t never peed in somebody’s bed.”



“That was different.” She sang. “His dick was too big and my bladder was recovering from the trauma — while I slept. All that banging he did up in there loosened some things. In fact, I might still be recovering.”



This time I couldn’t help laughing. “You always have an excuse.”



“Not an excuse, a reason.” Teniyah rebutted. She then dug in her purse and pulled out a dark colored lipstick that I hadn’t seen her wear before. Digging in her purse to pull out her mirror, she dropped the lipstick on the floor, under the table. “Can you do me a favor and grab that lipstick?”

Already knowing that she was going to ask, I lifted up the tablecloth. In the dimly lit area, under an even darker tablecloth, I saw Raven masturbating, without any panties on. I raised my head, forgetting I was under the table and almost passed out from the pain.



“Do you see it?” She knew what I was seeing. I came up from under the table, forgetting her lipstick and breathing heavily.



“Yeah, I saw it. I also saw something else I shouldn’t have. Why didn’t you warn me?”



“If I did, you wouldn’t have gone down there and I’ve been doing it since you began your story.” She took her free hand and tapped me on the nose. “I didn’t feel like wearing any panties today because I felt like being careless today. I didn’t start getting hot until you told me about what happened last night. Not wearing panties only gave me more of an incentive to do it. Don’t be mad. I didn’t drop it on purpose, but since you were down there, I just thought–” She paused and switched to her 1-900 voice. “I just thought you should know what it’s like to be me when I’m around you.”



I opened my mouth to speak, but I was speechless. I tried to ask her questions, tell her how aroused I was when we she kissed me. I wanted to confess, but still nothing came out.



“You don’t have to say anything, your look says enough.” She excused herself and went to the bathroom. I stood up to go after her, but when the waiter arrived with our food, I felt that it would be best to sit and wait.



She returned five minutes later, eyes a little puffier than when she’d left. “Sorry it took me so long. Looks like the foods here, let’s eat.” She ate like she it was her first meal while I sat picking with my food.



“Niya, I have to say something to you.” I began.



She finished chewing on her fajita and interrupted before I got everything out. “Wait, before you do, I just need to say something. You know I love you to death and I would never do anything to jeopardize what we have, right?” I nodded. “Well, I’ve been forcing you to do stuff you don’t want to a putting my needs ahead of yours and that’s not a true friend. Lae, for the longest time I’ve had the biggest crush on you. In fact, it’s been since college. I didn’t know what it was at first, maybe I still don’t, but I love you. I never thought I was gay, but I knew I loved men and had this strange attraction towards women. The feel of good dick is unbelievable, but I want to know if I can make love to a woman the way I can to a man. I just know the more time I spend with Franklin, the more I wish I had told you before. He’s so dull and you make me so curious. I never wanted to rush you, I didn’t even want to try it with you, but I don’t trust anyone else but you. You. Laela. The person who was there to help me out from day one. The person who heard that I let a woman go down on my ass and was never judgmental. The person I’ve told every secret I have to. You.” She looked away and tears began to fall from her eyes.



“You don’t have to cry.” I got up from my side of the table and went to hers and hugged her. “Lately, every time you’ve touched me, it’s sent a shiver down my spine. And every time you kissed me, I’ve — I’ve been more aroused than I’ve been willing to admit. Seeing you masturbate was strange, but as ashamed as I am to admit it, it made me want to do it too. I never told you, but I’ve kissed a woman before and I’ve always had this attraction to some women, but I was unsure about going that route, especially with a friend. I debated over where this would take us, but I’m tired of thinking so much. If I was ever going to be with a woman, it might as well be with someone I trust.” I paused before I said it, but I said it. “Let’s do it. If we don’t do it now, it might never happen.” She stared into my eyes and I looked into hers. “The answer is yes. I would like for us to– to make love to each other.”



The smile she’d had earlier reappeared instantaneously. She turned and hugged me so forcefully that I didn’t have time to prepare and we both fell out of the booth. “Let’s go

! Let’s go now!” She blurted out excitedly.



“What about the food?” I asked. She ran into the main dining area, grabbed some Styrofoam boxes, and dragged our waiter back to the table to give us our check.



After the meal was paid for, I followed her to the parking lot. We got in her car and she drove me to mine, but not before ordering me to follow her. We made a left turn out of the parking lot and went down three lights on Highway 6 before making another right. One block away from the corner, she turned into a Comfort Inn Suites.



We found parking beside each other, but she didn’t wait for me to exit my car before she rushed into the hotel. She ran in and I slowly jogged in behind her. When the automatic doors opened, I caught her flirting with the man behind the counter, and watched as he let her pay for the room with cash rather than credit. She winked at him and he then gave her two key cards, she handed one to me, and we both rode the elevator to the second floor. It was funny to see her at work.



Butterflies ravaged my stomach and illicit thoughts ran through my head. I had so many questions. What did she want me to do? Would I be any good? Would she? What exactly did pussy taste like? What would Q do if he found out? Would he be pissed? Would he cancel the engagement? I was so confused and the butterflies only multiplied as we walked down the hall and opened the room.



The room was a great deal better than the one we had the previous night. There was a stove, a fridge, a 26′ TV, and two beds with tan comforters. Nothing red was anywhere in the room.



Teniyah closed the door behind us and smiled before kissing me on the forehead. “I don’t want you to do this because you feel obligated. Do it because you’re curious like me. If you want to back out, just let me know and we can just chill.”



I took a deep breath to calm my nerves. I closed my eyes, quieted the butterflies, and made my decision. “I’m ready.”



She bent over and kissed me softly on my lips. The tingle surged through me once again. The pecks that she’d given me before we only teasers to the kisses we gave each other now.



I’d kissed only one other woman before, and that was Monie, but it was always closed mouth. It was more for learning than anything else. I didn’t know how to kiss boys, she didn’t either. So we used each other so that we wouldn’t be terrible when we finally got the chance. But with Niya, it was different. We did it for lust.



She opened her mouth and I filled it with my tongue, truly exploring another woman for the first time in my life. I began to feel myself grow wet.



We suddenly stopped when she pulled away and began to unbutton my blouse. As she descended down my body, she started kissing my neck, then in between my breasts, down to my navel. She unhooked my bra once she’d finished with the blouse, and continued with my seduction by sucking on my nipples, then gently nibbling on them while she unbuttoned my pants and allowed them fall to my ankles. Gliding her tongue upwards, she bit on my neck, and with the same hand she masturbated with, crept her hand inside of my panties and did the same to me.



Moans oozed out of my mouth and over my lips. Drunken passion drove me to lick my fingers, lift up her mini-skirt and return the favor. I massaged her hairless temple the same way I’d done myself in private and she emoted the same response as I had.



We were still standing and her fingers masterfully danced all over my private parts. My body tensed, while hers jerked, but we were both fighting the urge to release first. We were cooing when she whispered her confession. “I’m coming, baby.”



Hearing her admission excited me, causing my heart to race and initiated the first steps towards my first orgasm. The wall I had put up to keep myself from climaxing came crashing down and within seconds, we were cursing our weakness, shaking and twitching with each rush that emanated from our centers and coursed throughout the rest of us, all the way to the tips of our fingers and toes.



I collapsed onto the floor and she wasn’t far behind. Breathless from the ordeal, I spoke first. “That — was –nice.”



She smiled back at me and using her dominant voice told me, “I’m not finished. From now on, I do all the work. I don’t want you to do anything.” She stood up, lifted me from the floor, took my hand, and led me towards the bed.



She was still wearing her heels when we arrived at the bed, steadfast on being the dominant one as she towered over me. She squatted to kiss my navel again and then bent down to remove my panties, the last piece of clothing I had left.



I stepped out of my underwear. “Lie down and spread your legs.” I did as I was demanded, without question or rebellion.



She came to me, leaned over, and for the first time, I allowed a woman to taste my essence. Her tongue on my clitoris was such a unfamiliar sensation for me. With no facial hair, it felt as if she had barely touched me, but when she flickered her tongue across my spot, the feeling became so intense that I began to feel the thunder between my legs all over again. I involuntarily jumped back and a thousand questions began to race through my head. I didn’t have the answer for any of them, except for one — No; I didn’t want her to stop.



I was already soaked and as she continued tasting me, all I could do was dwell on how immeasurable the ecstasy was. She’d hit all my spots as perfectly as if she knew what I liked and was once a part of me, hell, like she was me.



She gently moved from north to south, her tongue softly caressing my throbbing peak. Sensing my oncoming orgasms she then began to rotate her tongue clockwise around my spot, cautiously moving her fingers in and out of me, teasing me with her eyes as she looked at my crunched up face.



It usually takes me a few minutes to warm up with my Quinton, but with her, the orgasm was immediate. I was barely able to utter a word as the impending onslaught came over me, but as the pinnacle of my wonderful torture approached, I screamed out her name, and begged for her not to stop, yet she paid me no mind, continuing to elongate my pleasure. She then grabbed my legs tighter, pushing me further into her mouth, never stopping, until my body tensed so hard, I held my breath and froze.



The shutters that ran through me and the orgasm that preceded them came with magnificent force. I screamed a thousand curses, but she didn’t budge; tasting my bitterness for the first time; never stopping to notice my eyes rolling into the back of my head and my body going into mini convulsions. I couldn’t breathe and desperately needed air, so I grabbed a handful of her hair and pulled her away from me so that I wouldn’t pass out. She didn’t want to stop, but when she finally lifted and looked at me, I saw how my love was spread all across the bottom of her face. Realizing what donned her chin; she licked my love off her lips as effortlessly as she would a milk moustache and winked at me. The sight of her tasting my lust and enjoying every minute reawakened the butterflies that had seemed to pass with the orgasm I’d just had. I ached for more.



“Flip over.” Teniyah commanded. Again I put up no defense and conceded to her will. She disrobed, threw them to the floor, and mounted me from behind. Her bare breasts caressed my backside and I felt the wetness from her temple dampen my behind. I laid with my face in the pillows, muffling my shouts, while she kissed the back of my neck and shoulders. She then sat up and straddled me, and began messaging me from my back down to the apex of my behind. She stood up once again so that she could massage my legs and when she finished, slapped me softly on the behind before laying back down on me.



I was stupefied. I’d never thought about being with Teniyah before and now that I was, I could hardly get enough of her. If she’d had a penis, I would have gladly let her enter me, and though I secretly wished she did have one, I shook with the same anticipation I had when I had lost my virginity. I wasn’t sure if the shaking was because I was nervous or because of the orgasms I had, but being with Niya was a rush for me. A rush I hadn’t ever experienced before.



Unaware of what I was thinking, she then slid her left hand around and cupped my throat as she nibbled on my ears from behind and slowly went back down from there; continuing to kiss me in the folds of my back.



Her dampness grew and she began to slowly grind her wetness on me, laboring for every breath with each stroke. Her hand was still cupped around my throat, not painfully, but forcefully as she whispered to me, “Tell me you want me, baby. Tell me to come for you.”



Intrigued by the role reversal, I gave her the order. “Come for me, baby. Don’t stop. Don’t you dare stop, come all over me. I want it so badly. Give it to me. Do it now.” I couldn’t believe the words had actually escaped my mouth. I wanted to be embarrassed, but the more erratic her grinding became, the less I cared.



“Lae.” She screamed.



“Yeah baby.” I whispered.



“I’m coming for you, baby. Oh shit, dammit. I’m — I’m” She couldn’t speak as her hotness spread all over my backside. It was warm and cool at the same time, but that didn’t stop it’s excitement. She had finally orgasmed again. I had actually allowed a woman to climax on me and Teniyah was that woman.



Courage and elation spread throughout me and without thinking I pushed her off onto the bed. She collapsed and landed on her back, breathing heavily, and still immobile from the experience.



My backside was still dampened by her climax. I thought about toweling off, but seeing her in her weakened state made me bolder than I had previously been. “I want to taste it.” I demanded. I didn’t wait for her response and I dug headfirst into her love. I lifted her legs as high as they would go and feasted on her. Her legs wobbled back and forth as she tried to curl her toes, but couldn’t because of the heels she still wore.



“I love it, Lae. Don’t stop.” She pushed me further into her and I ravaged what I could, tasting every part of her for the first time, knowing that another orgasm was inevitable. Soon Teniyah became motionless and the room became eerily silent. I wasn’t sure if I was doing it to her correctly until all of a sudden she shouted, “Fuck! Here comes another one!”



I sucked rapidly on her clitoris, seeing that what she’d professed to me was true. Her peak seemed to swell to twice its size within seconds. As I continued with my escapade, I peeked to see her mouth opening, but no screams coming out. For a brief second, it appeared as if she were frozen in time.



Catching me off guard and breaking my momentum, my cell phone rang. The jolt of reality brought me back from the fantasy, throwing of my concentration, but not before Teniyah grabbed my head, pushed me further into her love and forcefully came all over my face.



When she had finally released me from her grasp, I pulled back and wiped off my face, which was now engulfed in her wetness, with the back of my hand. With the exception of her heavy breathing, the room was silent.



After it was all over, I needed to say something. I couldn’t believe what I’d just done. What we’d just done. I wasn’t ashamed, just intrigued. “Are you okay? You sound like you just gave birth.”



Her breathing slowed, but she remained sprawled across the bed when she answered. “I think I just had the biggest orgasm I’ve ever had. Ever! In my fucking life!”



I blushed; I hadn’t ever been complimented often about my sexual prowess. “Thank you. Do you feel any differently now that we’ve done it?” I needed to know. I felt exhilarated, but I was also confused. I had finally been with a woman, something Q and I had talked about, but never actually pursued. Yet here I was with another woman. I had cheated on him and in the depths of my person, knew I loved every minute of it.



“I feel like — I feel like I wanna do it again. That was such a fuckin rush!”



“Are you serious?”



“Yeah, I’m serious. This time though, you can’t touch me. I want you to feel like you made me feel.” And with those words, I let her seduce me — again.



After our indiscretion had ended and we were once again laid out over the bed, she spoke after having relaxed for a few minutes. “I don’t know what it is about you Lae, but that was some of the best sex I’ve ever had.”



I stared up at the ceiling, exhausted. I didn’t want to answer because of all the guilt I felt, but I did. “Yeah, it was pretty intense.”



“So that leads me to my next question.”



“What’s that?”



“Can we do it again?”



“Damn Niya, you’re insatiable. I’m too tired to do it anymore.”



“Not today.” She let the phrase linger before she spoke again. “In the future. Franklin has never tired me out the way I feel right now. This is fatigue! This is what I needed!”



“I — just let me think about it. I feel like — like we’re different now.”



“That’s your problem, you think too much. I’m clean, you’re clean, and no one has to know. Besides, eatin’ ain’t cheatin’, it’s just a recreational activity; like going to the gym. Something we girls need to do more often anyway.”



I was certainly tired from the ‘workout’ she’d just given me, but then my conscience kicked in: I wasn’t sure I wanted to risk everything I had on something that was just new to me. The little angel in me had spoken, but the little devil also needed his turn: The sex was incredible, right up there with Q, and I couldn’t get pregnant. Besides, this might be my opportunity to give Quinton the threesome he’s always wanted. I was just testing the goods, which is what and good entrepreneur would do.



The decision had been made. “Yes, we can do it again, but not regularly. This is just temporary. I like it, you like it, but we each have our own lives, okay? Like you said, it’s just like going to the gym.”



She sat up and looked at me. Her eyes carried the joy of a child on Christmas and the glow she had surrounding her was unmistakable; or maybe it was just me seeing her in a different light. Perhaps after doing what I’d done, what we’d done, I somehow viewed her differently now. It no longer seemed like she was Niya — my best friend; to me she became Teniyah Sahara Oliver, husband of Franklin, mother of my Godchildren, sister, soror, nurse, the first woman I’d ever had sex with, and the only person I desired as much as my man.



It was getting late and I needed to leave, but she wanted to stay behind. She told me that she wanted to masturbate one last time, with the memory of me going down on her. After telling her how much of a horn dog she was, I laughed, threw on my clothes, watched her go at it, then left and drove home.



The apartment was only a ten minutes drive south on Highway 6. When I arrived, all of the lights in the apartment were off, but the bedroom TV was left on, meaning that Q had fallen asleep watching TV again. I walked to the back of the apartment to find Quinton curled up in a little ball with the television watching him. Riddled with guilt, but still tingling from the sex, I pulled the covers over him and kissed him on the cheek. I’d forgotten that I still had Teniyah on my lips, so for now, this was a close to the threesome as he was going to get.



I took off my clothes, let them drop on the bedroom floor and jumped in the shower. As the hot water poured down on my and washed away all evidence of my sin, I wondered how Niya could make my body respond so quickly to her touches.



“I’m not gay, it was just an experiment. ” I said it ten times to myself as I showered. I continued to whisper it to myself when I left the bathroom and headed to the bedroom to grab some clothes. It was all that I could do to convince myself that it was for experience, and not because I was becoming a lesbian. I mean being a black woman was hard enough without the addition of another label.

I did feel strange though. After it was all over, I wasn’t ashamed. I hadn’t regretted at all being with her, just that I had to hide the secret from Q. Did that make me a lesbian? Is this how coming out of the closet started off? The more I thought about it, the more anxious I became until I went to the kitchen to fix myself tea which helped calm me down.



“Lae, you’re not gay. Lae, you’re not gay.” A catchy tune, but it didn’t help me to relax. I’d forgotten about finishing the tea and watched Q as he slept. Suddenly, all the love I had for him came rushing to the surface and it was all I needed to reassure myself I wasn’t gay.



I went back into the kitchen and cut the light off. When I walked back to the room, I took off all my clothing, laid on the bed next to him, wrapped myself under his arms, and as I was fell asleep by the light of the TV, I caught a flashback of Niya going down on me. Damn that girl knew how to eat some pussy.



*************




Quinton




January 5th (Thursday)



It wasn’t even noon yet and it was hot as hell.



I’d been driving around the city with BJ all day, in a truck with no A/C, wearing a long sleeve dress shirt and dark colored khakis, made me very unhappy, thoroughly unpleasant, and a little stinky. Damn deodorant. I was the first week of the year and the near 90 degree weather not only made what I wore unbearable, but I was sweating in places that I never knew sweat could come from. BJ, on the other hand, was dressed in shorts and a uniformed t-shirt, perfect for the early year heat wave.



“See, dawg. I know you hotter than a motha. Yo ass needs to watch the news, like me. Cliff on channel 5 said it was going to be a beautiful day with no precipitation.”



He said precipitation. The man with the tiniest vocabulary in the world was trying to educate me about precipitation. I knew I was gonna hear his mouth and being a roasting black man cramped in a hot ass, little truck, I couldn’t control my temper and went off. “BJ cut that shit out and shut the hell up man. I ain’t tryin to hear that shit today, alright. It’s so fuckin blistering in this truck, even my eyeballs are sweatin. Add in the fact that these fuckin pedestrians take there sweet ass time crossing the streets and I’m ready to jump out this bitch and stab one of them. Really? Is it hot? I mean my balls are about to die of heatstroke and my dick just inverted just to stay cool. Can we talk about something else, please?”



When I was young and my family first moved to the city from the Midwest, someone had told us that Houston had three temperatures: hot, very hot, and don’t come out. A truer statement had never been uttered by anyone, ever. Today was one of the hellacious days when I shouldn’t have come out, especially since I was wearing what I was.



“Damn, dawg. You ain’t gotta jump all down a nigga throat like that. Just cuz yo nut sack feels like tea bags, don’t mean you gotta blow steam this way, dawg.”



I felt a little bad about blowing up, but the heat was too overwhelming to be cordial. “Yeah, alright. I’ll apologize. And don’t tell anyone I did. I have a reputation to maintain. But also I don’t wanna hear the “N” word come out of your mouth at work. Not only is it unprofessional, but it’s a new year, a time to look forward. That shit just throws us 100 years back.”



Today was the perfect day to test the theory of silence being golden–and it was. No other words were spoken for the rest of the drive back to the stationhouse.



We backed up into one of the open parking spots at the station a few minutes before noon. BJ grabbed his belongings and ran out the truck. I wasn’t far behind him. I grabbed my clipboard and paperwork and rushed into the building towards the cool breeze in my office.



The worst thing about sweating all day is that when I arrived in my new, air-conditioned office, all of the sweat on my body instantly froze. I went from being drenched in my own sweat to being bathed in mini-icicles, neither one at all providing any comfort. I longed to sit in my chair, but that would’ve meant having my sweat soaked pants, now starched by air-conditioning, touching everything below my belt. Since that wasn’t going to happen, I stayed standing, stuffing loose paper towels into my pants to absorb the extra moisture.



By the time Leslie walked in, I had stuffed half of the roll between the front and back side, causing her to immediately turn around a walk back to wherever she’d come from.



A few seconds after she’d left, BJ peeked his head through the door to see me struggling to sit down. Chuckling at my misfortune, he spoke. “Damn you look like you got a weenie-do.”



“A what?” I had no idea what the hell he was talking about. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized who I was talking to.



“A weenie-do. That’s when yo belly stick out further than yo weenie do.”



I thought about smiling just to try it, but I didn’t. “Te he he. Not funny.”



“Well anyway, I saw Leslie leave and I thought maybe you got a quickie in.”



“She left after five seconds. What would make you think it was that quick?”



“When me and my gal first got together we used to get down like that. Five seconds is two seconds too long; three good strokes and I’m done. That’s that good stuff.”



“See, that’s too much info, man.”



“Anyway man,” which sounded more like ‘main, “that hoe fine. If she wasn’t so damn crazy I’d bite that bitch on the booty cheek, twice. You know she wanna give it to you right. I know yo boy done hit it, she told me, but she wants me and you to get on.”



I’d comfortably sat down and all coolness had seemed to disappear as BJ spoke. I wasn’t concentrating on his conversation so much as I was focused on not feeling the icicles clinging to pants on my testes.



“Look. Me and Leslie, we’re just friends. She works for me, I can’t even get down like that.”



“So what if she came in here and kissed you?.”



“I ain’t kissing her back.” The thought of kissing her after what she’d done to Dre made my skin crawl.



“What if she gave you a massage?”



“A massage? She’d have to keep it above the shoulder blades.”



“What if she came in and started sucking on ya balls?”



“Then she’d better finish cuz that is some wonderful shit.” We both laughed.



“Look man, I just came to apologize for earlier. I knew it was hot, but man, you always right about everything. Sometimes it does my heart proud to know that you fuck up like the rest of us.” Since I couldn’t move, he came over, pushed my icicle-laden shirt into my chest, rubbed the top of my head and ran out. After the initial shock of the cool sweat began to dissipate, I began to plot out his unfortunate, unsolvable murder.



After about an hour of doing paperwork and answering phones, Carmen walked into my office, wearing a smile that wet her ears.



“You’re in a good mood.” I said, though I really didn’t care.



“No shit. You have what we in the business world call ‘a knack for the obvious’.” Nice to know that no matter what she wore on the outside, she was still the same on the inside.



“Ah, I see you’re full of pleasantries. Could it also be that you’re full of something else too?” I smiled back. This morning was already bad enough. Today was not the day where I was going to let her get under my skin.



“I just came by to tell you that you have management training next week. The class is a week long and it’s very important that you attend. You’ll be tested on everything you learned, so any missed days, and you may lose your position if you don’t pass.”



I was slow in responding. Management training? They had classes for that? “Thanks for the update.” I said sarcastically. “Is that all? I do have a lot of work.” She turned around and walked out. “Damn.” I thought to myself. I hated seeing her coming, but with a big ass like that, I always loved to see her go.



*************




After probably the longest day I’d ever had at work, I was driving home when my cell phone rang. Usually Laela called to see how my day was and I welcomed the interruption. When I answered, I was surprised to hear a man’s voice after I spoke. “Hello?”



“You know I’ve been trying to reach you for that last couple of days. Why are you avoiding me?” It was my father.



“I’m not avoiding you, pop; I’ve just had a lot to do in the last week.” I replied.



“Too much to talk to your family, huh? Sorry, I didn’t think it took that long to dial a couple of numbers. Forgive me for being so insensitive to your arthritis.”



“I’m sorry. I mean to call you back, but things just keep happening and I forget.”



“Ain’t that much stuff to do in the world that you can’t call your family back. That should always be top on your priority list. You never know when you might get the last call. You understand me boy?”



“Yes, sir.” I knew what was about to come, especially after I’d just done something wrong. He might as well have sent me a text message that read ‘Enter lecture here’ before he called.



“So what happened to you all at church on Sunday? Your mother was really looking forward to seeing you. Even set aside space in a crowded church, turning people away because she said her son was coming. You really hurt her. What happened?”



He knew how to get to me, but I couldn’t tell him that I was drinking and slept in the bed with two women. That would’ve been very bad for my father to hear, but I couldn’t lie to my father either, so I had to be vague. “Lae planned something for us to do. I didn’t know it was going to be an all night thing.”



“So, what you’re telling me is that you fornicated when you should have been thanking the Lord for another year of life.”



He didn’t beat around the bush. “Yes, sir.”



He was silent for a few seconds and then let out a long sigh before he spoke again. “Listen Quinton. There are two ways to do things in this world, the easy way and the right way. What is right will become easy if you follow the path and stay vigilant, but what is easy will slowly lead you to the path of uncertainty and certain failure.



Look at your life now. You have never taken the righteous route and have paid for it. You have all the brains in the world, but you dropped out of college. You have the heart of a competitor, but you only use that when playing video games. You have the character and poise of a great man, but instead you decide to deliver packages. That says a great deal about you. People don’t care what you’ve almost done; they only care about what’s tangible, like a degree. When you gone learn that lesson?



Laela’s a great woman, and she may love you, but what happens if you all don’t make it? Cuz I sure as hell ain’t letting you live back here. Can you support yourself? What, will you ask for alimony because of what you’re ‘accustomed’ to with her around?



What about you job, boy? What happens if and when they shut down? That ain’t guaranteed. They may not close in the near future, but what about 10, 15, or 20 years from now when you aren’t qualified to do anything else. All you’ll be to the world is an overage delivery boy who had some college, but let life pass him by because he chose to quit instead.



At what point do you get your shit together? At what point do you realize that if you keep giving up, people will give up on you. At what point do you stand for and apply what me and your momma taught you? You know like I know that since you black, you have to work twice as hard just to be considered half as equal. You know like I know that because we are people of color that we are born into the curse which makes it infinitely harder to succeed in life, but that much more rewarding when we do.



As black folk, we love to blame someone else, because it’s easier than admitting our own downfalls. There is no ‘man’ keeping us down, we’re doing that well enough on our own, and you’re becoming one of those people that have every opportunity and squander it because you don’t know what it’s like to struggle. Barely keeping ya head above water, but that’s ok to your generation. You like to see others swim by you and take what you should have. Dre, for instance. Though he’s not the smartest man I’ve ever met, he has struggled and now look at him, making six figures a year, a pretty ass house in the suburbs, and a good head on his shoulders. Though I believe fornicating is probably a routine thing for him. But, I’m sure his mama is looking down on him and is proud of what he’s become. You’ll be lucky to make 10% of what he does this year and that’s because you chose to quit.



This isn’t a comparison between you and him because I got on his ass earlier about not showing up, but throughout the years, all you’ve gotten is praise from people. Now look at you, just a cog in the system, when you could’ve created your own network. I’m proud of you boy, but just so damn disappointed that you’re letting your potential go to the crapper. Wake up before you find out that life has passed you by and you’re greeting people at a supermarket when you’re sixty-five, just to make ends meet. You understand?”



“Yes, sir.”



“So what are you going to do about it?”



I was ready to listen, but I was unprepared for the Q & A session. I honestly didn’t know what I was going to do. My father was right, but I had grown comfortable in my routine and I didn’t see a time where this epiphany could take place. “Soon. I need to get some thing in order first.”



“See that you do. You’re my only son and I love you, but don’t think that I settle because you do. So can I expect to see you at church this Sunday?”



“Yes, sir.” And with that he hung up. I didn’t and help the phone to my ear for a few minutes afterwards.



*************




When I arrived home, it was almost dusk. The house was silent and though Lae’s car was outside I couldn’t find her anywhere. After a day like today, I needed to vent. It seemed like the whole world was riding me. My employees, my boss, even my family had a turn at getting on my nerves today and I needed to relax.



Sometimes, when Lae was here, she’d calm me down by teasing my release valve, but no such luck today. I wanted to crash on the couch, but my stomach knew better. I dropped all the paperwork I’d carried into the house on the kitchen table and made me a grilled cheese sandwich before calling Dre.



“Hello?”



“What’s going on man? I just had the day from hell.”



“You think you had a bad day, one of my clients just lost damn near half-a-mil investing in shit that I told him he had no business investing in. Now he wants to leave the firm. Dumb asses. They never listen until it’s too late. But enough about me, let me hear of your woes.”



I explained everything that happened during my day and he silently listened. I guess that’s what I liked most about Dre, he usually had a soapbox to stand on, but when you asked him to shut the hell up, he did.



“Damn. You know how to alleviate all this bad crap you’re going through?”



“How?” I asked.



“Get a new job. But before you say anything, just listen. A new job would stop everybody’s griping and you could live in peace.”



“Not you too.”



“You know me, Q. I don’t say it unless it needs to be said.” I couldn’t argue with him there, but I really wanted to. “Besides, you got enough time to change shit around. I mean it ain’t like you got anybody pregnant yet.”



“True.”



“So all you have to do is progress in steps. Sign up for a class or two. Then start working on a degree, you know. I know you’re proud, but if you need the money, holla at me. We’re brothers and that’s what brothers do.”



Though I wanted to, I couldn’t disagree with him anymore than I could my father. “Alright. Let me think about it.” Dre knew like I knew, I wasn’t about to borrow any money from him. I was too proud.



“Ok, with that in the bag, let me tell you about this new girl I got lined up for tomorrow. Man her ass is so nice. And her titties sit up like a couple of ‘A’ students and–.”



“And if she let’s you get it in the first night, you’re gonna throw her back like all the rest.”



“Well we can’t all be like you, Q. The man who has wives fawning all over him. Don’t think I forgot about the Simone thing. You know Mike called me and told me he’s fooling around. I mean you’re foot is in the door already and Simone does look nice for a married chick.”



“Ewww. Would you get the Simone thing out of your head? “



“Dawg, I’d hit it if she let me, even with Mike watching. That’s yo boy. But I don’t see them lasting too much longer either. You can tell they’re unhappy. See, that’s why men don’t need to be married, we just mess it up for everyone.”



“You truly are the pimp of pessimistic prognostication.”



“See, that’s what I’m talking about. You say shit like that and I know for a fact that you’d be better off with some sheepskin nailed to your wall. I’m for real man, you could be the best at whatever you chose to do. I mean, Q, you are the smartest motherfucker I have ever met without a degree.”



“So you’re saying that there are people you know, who have a degree, who are smarter than me?”



“Truthfully, I don’t know anyone smarter than my ass at the job, but I’m pretty sure they exist. So, by default, if they’re smarter than me, then they gotta be smarter than you.”



“If I remember correctly, you copied off of my homework and my tests? It’s a shame how soon we forget.”



“I don’t forget. I just have a creative memory. Look man, I love you and I wouldn’t be saying this if it weren’t true, but you need to get ya ass back in school. It’s time for you to start being a man and to stop running away from adulthood and responsibility.”



“How did we get back on this? I thought we were talking abut women? You’re starting to sound like my mother.”



“Yeah, I know. She called me after I talked to your father and told me to say that. I hope I didn’t overdo it. I wanted it to be sincere, yet firm, but not overbearing.”



“No, you did good. I was thoroughly intrigued by how much thought you put into the presentation. The changes in inflection were so masterfully done that I would have never known it was rehearsed. I was moved. Can I cry now?”



“Funny, funny, funny. But when you report back to your mom, let her know I said it. Do not, I repeat, do not tell her that I told you that she wanted me to say it.”



“Sounds complicated, but will do.” We spoke for a few more minutes about his love life until Laela walked in looking exhausted and I got off the phone to help her out. “Are you okay?”



“Yeah, I was with Teniyah and she tired me out.”



“What y’all went shopping again?” She leaned against me and looked as if she’d just finished running a marathon.



“Yeah. And then we went to the gym. That girl has incredible stamina.” She kissed me on the forehead. “Thanks for the help, but I need to take a shower.”



“I’ll jump in with you.” I suggested.



“No that’s okay. I smell funky and I don’t want you commenting on how manly I smell.”



I gave her a reluctant, “Okay”, and watched from the couch as she dragged herself into the bathroom. “Damn Teniyah. “, I thought, “What have you been doing to my baby to have her so tired lately?”



*************




Simone




January 8th (Sunday)



The headaches that were plaguing me were becoming almost unbearable. My head constantly pounded and I needed at least three aspirins to make them go away. But for the most part, the aspirin only gave me temporary reprieve, masturbating worked far better.





Ever since the night I spent with Q and Lae in the hotel, I’d been chronically masturbating. The release that an orgasm gave me kept the migraines away much longer than the aspirin. Often I found myself masturbating either at work, at home, even in the car. The cars windows were tinted enough so that no one could see me, but whenever I was stuck in traffic on the way to or from work, I’d slide my panties down and go to work. After a couple days, I just learned to put my panties on when I got into work.

It’d been a week since the New Year’s argument and it was still uneasy in the house. I didn’t give Mike any sex and he didn’t ask. We walked around the house, rarely speaking, barely existing. I continued to fulfill my wifely obligations by taking care of the house, while he usually went out immediately after coming home from work and wouldn’t come back until late in the night. When he wasn’t around, and after I put MJ to sleep, I cried because were seemed more like roommates than a family.



We still went to church every Sunday together and with the exception of us using driving our own cars there, today was no different, During service, I sat right next to Mike with MJ on my lap, but I felt no warmth towards him or from him. The preacher spoke of miracles, but I was in such a daze that I only caught the sermon in spurts. One thing did stick with me though. During his speech, he revealed “Miracles only require the improbable, not the impossible. Impossible is a word man created to limit himself, so we will un-limit ourselves by asking for the improbable.”



After benediction, I put on my phony smile and greeted everyone I knew and even some that I didn’t. It was a welcome release to finally have interpersonal contact again, but when I looked around for Michael, he was no where to be found. During my exit, some of the ushers began to ask where he was. I lied and told them that he had to go to work. I felt bad for lying, but I didn’t want to share the details of my life, especially not with church folks.



On the drive home, I considered calling Laela, but I didn’t feel like hearing her chastisement, so I rode home in silence, with MJ in his car seat, sleeping. Not hearing him cry at all day was a blessing in itself. I guess it’s true that children do sense when something’s wrong.



When I returned to the house, it was exactly as we left it, quiet. I put MJ in his crib and felt the migraine working its way to the front of my skull. I walked down the hall to the bathroom, lifted up my skirt, took down my panties, and delayed it for a few more hours.



After I’d finished, I was in a much better mood and began to start on Sunday dinner. My aunt always said that no matter how mad you are at your husband, it a wife’s duty to keep food in his belly. I hated how traditional she was, but even though I was mad as hell, I was still a wife.



I couldn’t understand him. How could he do that to me? To us? The more I thought about it, the more my brow furrowed and the more my head began to ache again.



“Ok Simone, stay cool.” I said to myself. “No need to ruin a perfectly good orgasm.”



I calmed down a grabbed the chicken legs out the refrigerator, then grabbed some vegetables out the freezer, and skinned the potatoes to make my mother’s home-made mashed potatoes.



While I cooked, I noticed how alone I was. I wanted to start crying all over again, but decided that I’d rather be talking to someone whose verbal abuse I was used to rather than not have anyone to talk to, so I called Lae, but Q picked up.



“Hello?”



“Hey Q, is Laela there?”



“Hey Monie. No, she went somewhere with Niya.”



“Damn. They’ve been spending a lot of time together lately. Is that her new best friend? Have I been replaced?”



He laughed. It was good to hear someone laugh. “Nah, you’ll always be number one. Have you tried her cell?”



“No. Not yet.” Knowing that we were both alone was arousing, my nipples grew sensitive.



“You okay Monie? You sound kinda down.”



I was okay, but I needed some company. If Niya and Lae were together, maybe I could speak to Q, if only for a few minutes. “I don’t know. Can I tell you something? And if I tell you, do you promise to never say anything about it?”



“Yeah, I promise. What’s going on Monie? Are you okay? Did something happen?”



“I think Mike is cheating on me.” I said. “He hasn’t even tried to have sex with me in over a week. I know he has to be getting it from somewhere. Did he tell you anything?”



He paused. “No, he hasn’t said anything to me.”



He was lying, but I didn’t want to argue with him. I wanted to forget about Mike and talk about something entirely different. “Oh well. I guess I’ll find out eventually.” No sense in being shy now, so I blurted it all out in one quick sentence. “SowhatdidyouthinkaboutNewYears?”



“Huh?”



“I said what-did-you-think-about-New-Years?”



“Oh,” he laughed again, “it was cool. It was definitely an experience. So, um, who was the first girl you ever went down on?”



“Oh, I see you didn’t forget that.” I was hoping he’d mention something about sex. I turned to make sure the food wasn’t burning and as I did, my nipples brushed against my shirt, getting me hot all over again.



“So, you want to know? Well, I’ll tell you. But you have to answer a question of mine first.”



“Okay.”



“When I got into the bed with you and Lae, you erection poked me. What were you thinking, and what did you want to do?”



“You go right for the jugular, huh?” He chuckled. “I didn’t think you noticed that. The truth is I was in one bed with two beautiful women, every straight man’s fantasy. It’s not hard to imagine what I was thinking.”



“It might not be, but I want you to tell me anyway. I can’t read your mind. I was thinking you maybe wanted to get it from the back. Am I right? Did you?” Hearing my boldness sent a wave of excitement over me. My heart began to beat rapidly, waiting to explode at the first syllable of his answer.



“I, um, I don’t know if we should be having this conversation. What if your husband heard this? He’d probably kill me–a lot. Speaking of him, where’s he at?”



I was upset, almost wounded at what had come out of his mouth. Here I was offering him some insight into my life, and all he said to me was that. “It’s just a question. We’re two adults talking on the telephone and I was just curious about what you were thinking. Nothing was going to happen. Nothing is going to happen. I’m married; you’re practically married; I thought I was just having a conversation with a friend. But Mike isn’t here, and I would never try to put you out like that if he were.”



“Look, I like you Simone, but we can’t continue to talk like this. Too many people could get hurt if they knew you and I were talking about the other weekend. You want an answer? If you need the finality well then, yes. I wanted to get it from behind. I thought about screwing your brains out for a few seconds and what it’d be like. I mean you’re a very sexy girl, but it was just a fantasy that was spawned from my brain at that very moment in time and that’s how long the offer lasted, a moment. I can’t allow myself to cheat on my girl verbally, physically, or otherwise. You get me?”



He’d answered my question and that was all that I needed. He said. “Yes.” Though everything after that was a blur, I could remember hearing that I was sexy. “One last question and then we wont have to talk about things like this anymore. Since we’re good friends, would you tell me if my husband was cheating on me?”



He allowed a few seconds to pass again before he answered. He was either going to tell me a lie or rationalize the truth as men usually do when they have to think that fast. “Simone, if your husband ever told me he was cheating, my loyalty is with him. Just like if Lae were to cheat on me, yours would be with her. I’m not saying that I’d let it continue to happen under your nose because I wouldn’t. If he said something to me about it, I’d advise him against it. If he continued to break his oath of fidelity, then I might share the information with Laela, who by chance may give the information to you. Okay?”



“Okay.” I whispered, “I’m glad you have standards.” I was lying. It hurt to know that the only person in my corner was me. It seemed no matter how much good I’d done or how right I was, just because he was a man he’d be given preference.



“Anything else?” He asked.



“Not unless you want to say something else.”



“I’ll talk to you later Simone.”



After we hung up, my chest was heavy, and I could feel myself being drained of whatever energy I had left. I walked to the bathroom and pulled out the pills my doctor prescribed a few weeks ago. I threw two of them down my throat, drunk some water from the sink faucet, and went back to the kitchen to finish cooking.



“Maybe the doctor was right after all. Hell, must be since I’m always wrong.” I said to myself. The crying I heard was the sound of MJ waking up. Damn my life.



*************




Michael walked into the house 3 hours after I’d finished cooking dinner. Between the medicine and MJ crying, most of it had burned, or “been caju-fied” as Mike liked to call it.



He caught me sitting on the living room couch, staring blankly at the TV, with MJ sleeping on my lap.



“How long has he been sleep?” He asked.



“Why do you care?” I snapped. You weren’t around to help. “Dinner’s in the kitchen.”



“It smells more like it’s on the pot.” He smiled, but his attempt at humor didn’t crack the stone face I was giving him. “Look, I’m sorry I’m home so late. I had to take care of some things.”



“Some things.” I laughed. “It seems like everyone knows what that something is but me. Look, Mike, I know you’re cheating. Why don’t you just be a man and admit it so that we can all get along with the rest of our lives. All of your friends know, they just won’t tell me. Funny how we’re supposed to let each other be the first to know things, but here I am the laughing stock because you don’t want to tell your wife that your dick has been up in something else, cause it sure as hell hasn’t been me for the last week. Try this, be a man, admit it, and maybe we can salvage what little this relationship is worth these days.” I wasn’t sure if it was me talking or the medicine, but I was glad it was one of us.



He looked up at the ceiling, then back to the floor, his usual lie pose. “I’m not cheating on you. I really thought about it. Hell, I met someone, but I haven’t done what you think I’ve done. We’ve kissed, but that’s it. I’m sorry I’ve treated you so bad, I’m sorry that I haven’t been the husband you’ve wanted me to be. I’m sorry that I haven’t been the father I know I can be. Today I stayed after at church to talk to pastor and ask him for help. I want to get on the right path, but I’m going to need your help, not your criticism.”



“You want me help? Well then prove to me that you want to change. You can say all these pretty words, and I want to believe you, but I don’t know if I can. I am willing to try if– if you’re serious about changing. If you’re not, then me and MJ can leave right now.”



“I am. I really want to change. For real. From now on, I’m gonna try to be home more often. I’m not going to hang out with the fellas as much. I’m going to be the father to MJ that my father was to me. I’m going to take care of the bills first before spending any money on anything else. Is there anything that I’m lacking in that you’d like me to do? Or is there anything that I’ve forgotten that you want me to take care of?”



“Sex!” My brain shouted to me,”Sex! Sex! Sex! SEX! Tell him about the sex! “But the thoughts never congealed into words and the words never made it to my mouth. “No. Nothing I can think of.”



He came over and kissed me on the lips, the same lips he kissed the other woman with. A shudder ran through me knowing that his mouth had been another person, but the truth is, had he known what really went down on New Years’, I’d be the one kissing his ass. “I really am sorry and I’d like to make it up to you.” He thought hard about what he was going to say next. “How about we go out to eat?”



It was impossible to gauge how disappointed I was. Why was eating food the first thing to come out of his mouth after an apology? He just spoke about how we were going to try and save and then he suggests we go out to eat. Instead of turning him down outright and slapping him for saying something so stupid, I looked down at the sleeping baby and then looked at him. Enough said.



“Okay then. How about we take the baby to your aunts, and I take care of you?” Now we were getting somewhere. I couldn’t remember the last time he pampered me and I became incredibly wet reminiscing about it. Finally, a cost effective, rational idea.



It didn’t take us long to get call my aunt to make the arrangements and get the baby ready to go. Thinking about tonight had my stomach in bunches and my underwear becoming increasingly more damp. It’d been a while since I actually looked forward to makeup sex.



For the first time in a while, we shared the same car. On the way to my aunt’s house, which was only a five minute drive, we talked about some of the things going on at our jobs, a rarity between us. It seemed as if he was really trying to turn over a new leaf and I desperately wanted him to.



After dropping off MJ, was rushed back home, ripping each others clothes off after we shut the door. “Let’s take a bath together.” He suggested. With my marriage not being all that great, it was good to have the old Michael returning for a visit. How long he’d stay I wasn’t quite sure.



I didn’t want to think about anything, I just wanted my husband to screw my brains out, to make the pain of the last week go away, but there were nagging thoughts that I couldn’t get out of my head.



We made it all the way to the bathroom before I spoke up. His hand was cupping my breast and his lips were working my neck when I asked. “What’s her name?”



“Aw, Simone. Okay, fine. Her name is Star.”



“Is she pretty?”



His uneasiness showed on his face. “Not really. She was just someone to talk to and I needed someone to talk to because of the tension in here since the New Year.”



“If she wasn’t pretty, then why wouldn’t you just talk to me about it? Why go somewhere else? Why kiss someone else?”



“Simone, I don’t know. Sometimes when you feel alone, it helps to have someone to talk to that’s not the same sex. You think Pookie or Quinton would understand what I’m feeling? The only other woman I know is Laela, and since she doesn’t like me that much anyway, talking to her wouldn’t be a very good idea. I just had all this shit inside me that was eating me up and it felt good to not think about it.”



“We are married, Michael. Shouldn’t I have been the first person you came to?” I wanted to have sex so badly it hurt, but I needed to know the answers. “Aren’t we the one’s who are married? Is there something wrong with me?”



“It’s me. I just don’t know how to think about other people’s feeling. Yes we’re married and yes I should have come to you, but it’s easier to say that in hindsight. If you remember, you weren’t saying much to me either. How do you speak to someone who you know doesn’t want to speak back? I’m sorry, Mo. If I could do it all again and do it right, I would. But we have to deal with what’s happened and not what should have happened. Can we move on from here? I married you and I love you.”



“You didn’t answer my last question. Is there something wrong with me?” I didn’t want to hear that there was, but deep inside I knew it was me.



“Yes. There is something wrong with you.” I wanted to cry. My mouth dried up at the same time my eyes began to well up with tears. He continued. “There’s something wrong with the both of us, but I should’ve trusted that we could work through it. I love you because of all the good things you’re about. I love you because of all the bad things I see. I love you as a whole and not as a part.”



“Nice save.” I laughed out as I began to cry. Not necessarily the tears of grief that I’d had lately, but at the joy of reconciling with my husband. He came over and kissed me on my lips, and licked my tears with his tongue.



“Let’s get in the tub.” He suggested. I did as ordered, my clothes still hanging from my frame.



We ran the water until the tub was half-full before we jumped in. It wasn’t as romantic as I would’ve liked it to be; no music, or candles, not even bubbles, but it was still nice to not be in here alone. Though the tub wasn’t wide enough for the both of us, but we found a way to be comfortable, like we used to do in the days before we were married.



I relaxed in between his legs, feeling Dingo repeatedly tap me on the back as if he were trying to pass me a message in Morse code. We sat silently in the hot water, letting the water drain us of any energy we had left and watching the steam disappear into oblivion as it rose off the water.



We sat and laughed about the old times as they heat permeated our skin. “Remember when we went to that seafood restaurant, and Laela had to hula dance on her birthday in the coconut bikini’s and grass skirt?”



I laughed hysterically. “Remember,” I said, “when you went to the bank in your boxers and your car was stolen! Quinton laughed at your ass for days when he had to pick you up from the corner in your draws!” We laughed for about ten minutes, but not long after the steam left, the heat followed suit. Michael stood up, went to the linen closet and grabbed two towels for us to dry off in. Instead of me toweling myself, he wrapped it around me like a blanket and carried me to our room.



He laid me down on the bed, grabbed the baby oil from our dresser, opened up my towel to expose my nude flesh and commenced with the full body massage.



With his rough hands, it felt more like he was tenderizing me than massaging me, but I learned long time ago to never look a gift horse in the mouth. I winced occasionally, but never long enough for him to see anything but pleasure.



After the massage, he parted my thighs and tasted me for the first time since our wedding night. I was caught so off-guard that I gasped and accidentally clasped my thighs around his head. He looked up at me, smiled and pushed my legs down onto the bed to finish his feasting. Though he still had a lot to learn about eating, he was still my husband, and I loved him for trying. I laid my head on the pillow, relaxed, focused on what he was doing, and relived my masturbatory fantasy with Q. The orgasm came quicker than I had anticipated.



After my climax he mounted me, ready for his orgasm, and for the first time in what seemed like years, I was ready to allow him to have one. He’d allowed me to be first to the finish line, so I could allow him to cross with me. I was still shivering from excitement as he penetrated me. Still sensitive and damp from the oral sex, my body received him without hesitation or pain. And as I climaxed again a few minutes later, this time I came in unison with him.



We lay breathless on the bed, no words spoken during the entire ordeal. Our escapade had only taken fifteen minutes, but it seemed longer. My body felt as light as a cloud me as I lay still shuddering from the best sex I’d had in a while.



“I love you. ” He said to me.



“I love you, too. ” This time I meant it. I wanted to say more, to release my soul to him. I needed to confess about how lonely I’d been feeling and how he contributed. I even wanted to share the conversation I’d had with Quinton, but I was too fatigued to even speak. And as the darkness took a hold of me, I could remember one thing: I was glad to have my boyfriend back.



*************




January 9th (Monday)



When I awoke, Michael was already in the shower and the baby was smacking my in the face, fully clothed and smelling like babies should smell. I was amazed. All it took was a night of incredible sex to wipe the rust off of our relationship. I smiled, which was unusual for a morning, and caused me to feel all of the dry spots on my face.



I picked the baby up off the bed a walked to the kitchen to make some breakfast. I was still nude, but I didn’t think the baby would mind. I placed him in his high chair, gave him a few toys to play with and began pulling out all the pots and pans I’d need.

I cooked a breakfast feast before Michael even got out the shower: pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, and I’d even made some coffee; black with three sugars, exactly how he liked it.



He came out of the bathroom, fully clothed. Too bad, I thought, As good as I’m feeling, he could’ve gotten some head while he ate.



“Good morning!” He chirped. “Breakfast smells good.” He came over kissed me on the cheek, and smacked my bare bottom. “I hope you didn’t mind. I woke up early and went to get MJ from your aunt’s. I took the day off of work so that he and I could spend it together. You know, go to the zoo or something.”



This certainly didn’t sound like the man I’d married, but it was a welcome addition to the household. I felt like someone had come along, kidnapped my husband and somehow replaced him with the perfect robot. “Wow, that’s good to hear.” I contemplated calling off work, but I didn’t have any days left after I used them all up to either take care of MJ or pace myself from having a breakdown. “I wish I could go, but I’ve taken too many days off of work already.” I looked around the table at all the food I’d cooked and then remembered I didn’t put on any clothes. “Will you guys be okay because I have to get ready to go to work.



He picked up MJ from his high chair, smacked me on my bare ass again and told me, “You go to work. I’ll hold everything down on this end.”



I got some work clothes together and hurried to put them on. After cooking the monumental breakfast, I’d set myself back and I needed to rush so that I could make it to work on time. Before I left, I kissed Mike and MJ, wished them luck and ran off to work. It was a wonderful night and the day after was already better than it had been in some time. I felt like my life had finally made a turn for the best. If there was someone out there who was feeling more confident than I was today, I was sure it’d have to be chemically induced. Yes sir that was the spark I needed to feel like I was in love all over again.



As I drove down the street and watched them fade from my sight, I remembered what pastor said and he was right. Miracles don’t require the impossible, just the improbable.



*************




Michael




I watched her drive away with MJ and I waving bye before I went back into the house.



The weather had cooled down considerably since last week. The weatherman had predicted cooler weather, but it was still a little warmish outside to me. I grabbed a light jacket for myself as well as MJ just in case, and bagged up a few things for our trip.



“Ok, buddy.” I said to my son. “Me and you, we’re gonna have a day full of fun and excitement. I can’t wait til you grow up, I’m going to have so many thing to teach you.” He looked at me as if he was clueless as to what I’d just said, but I didn’t care. I kissed him on his forehead. Okay champ, let daddy make one phone call before we go.” He clapped at me as I held him, so I sat him on my lap as I sat down on the couch and dialed the number that I’d dialed so many times before.



The phone was picked up on the second ring. “Hey boo, did it work?” Caller ID was a pain in the ass sometimes.



“Yeah.” I responded. “I told her what she wanted to hear and then screwed her brains out. She told me she suspected something, but she’s cool now. It worked like we planned, but don’t ever call me that boo shit no more.”



“Well excuse me for being affectionate. That’s a damn shame, though. I feel bad about doing this shit. Maybe we should slow down a little before we get caught up.” She said.



“Awww, not this shit again. C’mon man, are we gonna go through this again? We both like it, that’s why you picked up the phone when I called.”



“I knew it was you.” Quipped the other voice on the line. “You’re the only one who calls this early. Is she still there? She’s not in the bathroom while we’re phone sexin is she?”



“She’s already left to go to work for the day.” There was no need for formalities anymore. “I’ll meet you at your place at one o’clock. You still have the condoms I left over there, right?”



“Hell yeah. You think I’m trying to catch something from you? You’ve probably seen more ass than a toilet seat at a truck stop and I’ve got my own problems to deal with right now. I’ve gotta a show tonight and these bills don’t pay themselves.”



“Ha. Ha. Very funny. Just have the stuff ready. I’m feeling horny as hell today.”



“Horny like what? Like when I let you hit me in the ass? Or kinky like when I swallow it all.”



“See, you on that nasty shit again. Why do we have to talk about it? My son is right here and he don’t need to be hearing this.”



“Alright. One o’clock. You lucky I ain’t got shit else to do. I’ll be here.” Then she hung up.



I grabbed my son of my lap, and got him ready to spend the day with his old man. “C’mon Jr. Let’s go see some animals.”



*************




Quinton




January 13th (Friday)



In my opinion, the management training class was a complete waste of time up to this point. Everything we had done to this point seemed to be aimed at the dumbest of people and most of us had been invited along to join the ride.



For the last week, we’d all sat in a cramped classroom, on the 27th floor of the Edison Building in downtown Houston. The room was as sterile as a doctor’s office, with no pictures anywhere and a dull off-white paint job that tried to lull us into a false sense of security, but failed miserably. Knowing that our futures hung on the passing of this class was not very reassuring. As if that weren’t bad enough, we’d all been forced to beat horrific morning traffic, sit through 8 ½ hours of lecture, class work, and listen to the most awful business humor known to man. All of this while wearing black pants, white shirts, and dark ties per the dress code.



Our proctor was a man named Pete Stottlemeyer, a heavy set, balding white man in his mid 40′s. Everyday he faithfully wore three things: black floods, a red tie no matter what color the shirt was, and his thick ass I-fry-bugs-on-the-sidewalk-with-my-super-bottle-sized-glasses. Numerous jokes went around, but all of them I was sure he’d heard. Hell, he would’ve had to. He was the ideal stereotypical nerd.



He wasn’t a funny man, nor was he very interesting which always made us wonder how in the hell he got this job. Most of us believed it was a conspiracy. I personally believed he was put here to either give us inclination to stand up and quit or to bore us until we died. He was nearly successful in the latter.



They say that misery enjoys company and whoever they are, they hit the nail right on the head. There was nothing more gratifying about this class than knowing that seven other souls were trapped with me. We were on the 27th floor of a downtown office building and had I been alone, wouldn’t have hesitated to plunge twenty-six stories towards my death.



We sat two to a table, my table being the second from the front of the classroom. I sat with Steve, a rather decent Asian guy who was probably the blackest non-black guy I’d ever met. If he were white, he’d most certainly be a ‘wigger’, but since I didn’t really have a name for anyone other than white, he was just ‘honorary’. We liked the same music, the same foods, the same movies, and even the same things about black women. In my experience, it seemed to me that a lot of other races try to mimic us, but Steve was the only guy I’d ever met who truly hit the bull’s-eye when it came to black people.



The thing I enjoyed most about him was that he didn’t take anything too seriously. We were able to poke fun at one another without offending each other. Though if some of the other people in the class would’ve overheard him, I’d be scraping his 140 lb frame off of their new and nicely polished Stacey Adams.



Steve was one of two Asians in the class, the other was a man named Kim. I was one of four black people: Dante, Keisha, and Cliff were the others. The two remaining students were a young Indian man, and an older white guy, though I never quite remembered their names.



With today being the final day, we all slouched lazily in our chairs, desperately wanting to leave downtown and get our weekends started. It was almost noon when Peter had left the room for a phone call and we’d all began chattering amongst each other.



“So what are you going to do this weekend, Q?”



“Well Steve, I’m going to hang out with some of my friends, maybe see some tits wiggle in my face and then I’ll do lots and lots of nothing. Which mean I’ll probably end up playing video games. What about you?”



“Well unlike you lazy black folks, I have loads of work to do. I’ll probably be stuck in the house working. You know how we Asians love to work.”



“What kinda work would that be? Have to make that big pot of rice and whittle chopsticks by hand from the sacred bamboo tree.”



“You know where I’m from; black people aren’t allowed to speak like that. If they do, they’s catch a beatin’ with the whippin’ stick and have all their fried chicken and Kool-Aid privileges revoked.”



“Ouch. I guess since I can’t get any fried chicken, I’ll just have to call your sister and reschedule my Toyota tune-up. And while she’s there, I can get her to make me some beef fried rice, right before my happy ending and directly after ‘loving me long time’.”



He laughed loud enough that everyone in the classroom turned to look at him. “You got me on that one, dog. That was actually pretty funny. Almost as funny as your lopsided fade.”



“See. You were cool when you talked about me, but now you done gone and started talking about my hair. That’s war.”



No sooner than we had finished our stereotypical rant, Peter hurriedly walked into the room and made an announcement to the class. “Um, class. I’m sorry, but I have to leave for a family emergency. As far as your tests go, someone else will be here after you come back from lunch to administer the exam. Since I won’t see most of you again, I wish you luck. You’re free to go to lunch.” And with that he darted out of the room.



*************




Lunch was uneventful. As usual, Dante, Keisha, Cliff, and I ate lunch together at a restaurant near the building and speculated about what happened to Pete.



“Before I left the building, I heard that Pete’s mother fell down some stairs.” whispered Keisha.



“Damn, that’s messed up. So, I wonder who’s going to give us the test, and most importantly, will they let us cheat.” Cliff looked around the table at us seeing who’d be the culprit to help him pass.



“Clifford J. Sampson!” scolded Keisha, “is that all you think about? Cheating? See that’s the problem with men now, always cheatin. Just can’t get it out of your heads–either one.”



Dante put his hand over his face and shook his head. “Women. Y’all and the drama, drama, drama. If drama were cookies, women would die of diabetes.”



“So is that why you do men?” asked Keisha. “Cuz you’re waiting for us to die from diabetes?”



“Yup, Boo. That and women don’t have the equipment I like.” Dante retorted.



“Okay!” I shouted. “T.M.I. I ain’t trying to hear about man on man while I’m eating. Dookie surprise is not on the menu.”



“Oh, but you’ll listen to a conversation about two women.” Dante’s head rolled around his neck waiting for a response.



“Yes. The idea of two women is more aesthetically pleasing to my fantasy. Forgive my erection for preferring that.” He rolled his eyes at me, but I didn’t care. He knew that I was indifferent about him being gay, but I certainly didn’t want a mental picture of it while I ate.



After we finished eating, only five minutes left to get black to class. We hurriedly left the restaurant and ran across Louisiana Street to get back into the building. Unfortunately it seemed the whole building had also chosen to get back from lunch at that time because the lobby was full of people waiting to get onto the elevator. As soon as the door opened, we rushed past everyone waiting and stuffed ourselves onto elevator. When the doors closed behind us, we had all made it, but the elevator was cramped with people that I prayed we didn’t exceed the weight limit.



When we arrived back at the classroom, all of the other students were there, but no one had showed up yet to replace Pete. Grateful that we hadn’t missed anything, we walked over to our seats.



“So if the teacher doesn’t show up for 15 minutes after class starts, does that mean we get to go home?” Everyone looked at Cliff and shook their heads.



“Yes, Cliff. That means we get to go home and you can be the first to leave.” I mused.



We all stood around the classroom, talking and laughing, waiting for the last day of our class to end. On the outside we all appeared calm, but I knew that underneath it all, everyone’s stomach was probably doing the same twists and turns as mine.



When the classroom door opened, we all turned our heads to the back of the room to see her come in. The room fell eerily silent as she strode past us towards the front, only focusing on the chalkboard, never turning her gaze towards anyone in the class.



If there were a word to describe her, I couldn’t find it. She was absolutely breathtaking. Clearly older than me, she carried herself with all the grace of a dancer and the poise of royalty.



She reminded me of the prototypical model with her pretty face and shapely figure. Wearing very little make-up, a low cut auburn colored bob, with big hoop earrings, and a gold cross around her neck, she sashayed right by me, reminiscent of models on a runway. I noticed two things as she passed. The first was that she smelled wonderfully. I didn’t know what she wore, but it was hypnotic. The second was that even though she wore a silk red pants suit, she had the kind of ass that even made the strongest man cry. I was probably the most perfect one I’d ever seen, far surpassing Carmen’s claim to glory. Steve and I looked at each other and bit our knuckles in silent agreement.



She strode all the way past the desk and began writing her name on the board, speaking to us while she wrote. “Good afternoon, class. I am Mrs. Cheyenne Glenn and I’ll be the instructor giving you your test.” You could almost hear the whole room deflate after she revealed her name, but no one spoke a word. “Some of you may have already heard, but Mr. Stottlemeyer had to tend to a personal emergency, and I am filling in for him. Are there any questions?” With the exception of our gay friend Dante, every jaw in the room was still dropped. Since it’s incredibly hard to speak without one’s jaw no one said a thing, not even Cliff. “Some rules before we begin. No talking, walking, or peeing while the test in progress. If you have to go, go now or forfeit your privileges. Do we understand each other?” Again, no response. “Okay, let’s begin.”



She individually passed out our tests and for the next three hours, not even a yawn was heard in the classroom.



*************




I was the first to finish my test, not only content that this class would forever be behind me, but also happy that I’d be the first to speak to her, but when I reached the desk I was speechless. I opened my mouth to say hello, but nothing came out. I handed her my test and started walking back towards my seat when she spoke.



“So you’re, Quinton James?”



She caught me off guard by knowing my name, but then common sense kicked in and I remembered I’d put my name at the top of my test. “Yes.” I whispered back. “Is there something wrong?”



She smiled. “No, but I’ve heard about you.” I tried to think of anyone who’d say something about me, but the only person that came to mind was Pete. “No, it wasn’t Pete.” This woman was not only gorgeous, but she was a mind reader. If she was, it’d be very bad. Especially with the thoughts that had been lingering in my head since she’d came into the room. “Carmen Lowell. You know her, right? She’s a friend of mine.”



Shit. Shit. Shit. I thought to myself. I figured there had to be something wrong. If she and Carmen were friends, she would most certainly fail me, just to help me from being a pain in Carmen’s side.



“I know what you’re thinking, but she really likes you. She just enjoys busting your balls from time to time.”



“Are you reading my mind?” I asked. “Every question I thought about, you answered with out me even asking.”



She covered her mouth when she laughed. “My husband says the same thing. But men are easily read.” I smiled as well. After finishing her giggling, she asked, “Did you want the score to your test now, or did you want to wait until Monday?”



“Now.” I replied. I couldn’t go through the whole weekend without knowing if I had a job. I believed that I had passed the test, but believing and knowing are two different things, so I watched her as she pulled out her red marker and began scratching out incorrect answers and writing little notes on my test papers .



When she finished, she looked up at me, extended her hand, and was the first to welcome me as an EPD Certified Manager. “Congratulations.” She said. “I’m very happy for you.”



“Thank you.” I lightly grasped her hand and followed her lead. “It’s a great weight that’s now off my chest.”



“Well now that you’re a part of the family, allow me to give you this.” She reached inside her purse, pulled out a tan card, wrote on the back of it, and handed it to me. As I looked at the business card side, I saw all of her contact numbers, with the exception of her home phone. “Call me anytime I can help you with something.”



I took the card, smiled, and thanked her as Keisha ran up to the front desk and dropped off her test before grabbing her stuff and running out the class. I tucked the card in my pocket, forgetting to look over the writing and scooped up all of my belongings to rush after Keisha, hoping to catch her by the elevator. When I caught up to her, I spoke. “Why’d you rush out like that? She graded my test right in front of me so I didn’t have to wait til Monday.”



“Yeah I know, but I was just ready to get the hell out of there. I can wait. I already know I passed it wasn’t hat hard of a test.”



I was puzzled. “So why’d you rush out?”



“Just gotta take care of some things at the house, you know.”



She didn’t seem to convincing, but I wasn’t going to pry. “So what’re you going to be doing this weekend?”



“S.O.S.” I already knew what he meant since this was an acronym for ‘same old shit’. “Nothing planned. I’ll just chill.”



The elevator came and we rode it all the way down to the ground floor in silence. We were almost to the building entrance when Keisha spoke. “Hey Quinton, what did you think about Mrs. Glenn.”



“I thought she was righteous as hell. Why?”



“I don’t know. I don’t want you to think I’m gay or nothing, but that woman is beautiful. I mean if I were a man, I’d be all on her. Might not even let her leave the house.”



I laughed but said nothing and suddenly remembered the card in my pocket. I said my goodbyes to Keisha and walked to my car, trying to get the card out of my breast pocket. When I finally yanked it free, it turned it to the back to read: Call me! (281) 555-8078…. (Home). I had to lean against a Cadillac to keep from passing out, incidentally tripping the car alarm. I sped walked to my car and zoomed off.



*************




I arrived home to find that the house was empty for the fourth time this week. Though I didn’t mind my solitude, coming home and being welcomed by my echo was becoming a little agitating. I missed Laela, but my ego would never allow me to admit to it.



I took Mrs. Glenn’s card out of my pocket and programmed the number into my phone before throwing the card in the garbage. I didn’t want to have to explain to Laela why ‘Call me!’ was on the back, even if she was only my teacher.

It had been another hot day outside, and sitting in all that traffic on the way home made me want to take a long shower and concentrate on just kickin it with the fellas tonight. With thoughts of Mrs. Cheyenne floating through my head I intentionally turned the water cold to rid myself of my forbidden thoughts and rising member.



Nearly freezing myself to death, I jumped out the shower with my erection undaunted by my frostbite. “I knew that shit didn’t really work. ” I mumbled to myself. “That’s what I get for watching too much TV.” I dried myself off, threw on my towel, and went to the closet to pick out something to wear.



After a few minutes of searching, I found some black slacks to go with my red silk shirt and black shoes. I didn’t know what kind of club Dre was going to take us to, but I figured I’d rather be overdressed than underdressed. I threw my clothes on the bed, put on some deodorant, powdered my genitals, and sat down to watch some TV before I called Dre to tell him about my day.



*************




“You shittin me, right? She can’t be as old as you say and be that fine. That’s gotta be some sort of oxymoron.” He sounded surprised.



“Man, I bullshit you not. She is absolutely gorgeous. I know her husband is happy to be hittin that. Dammit, I know I would.”



“A husband ain’t nothing but a boyfriend with rules. And we all know rules are made to be broken, just like wives are meant to be broken into.” He laughed at his own joke.



“You always have some colorful anecdote for any given situation. I could write a book full of the crap that comes out your mouth. Anyway, did I tell you she gave me her card? And she wrote ‘Call me’ on the back of it. I don’t know exactly what that means, but I was thinking about calling her. I just don’t want her husband thinking I’m trying to get down on his wife, even though I would’ve tried once upon a time.”



“You are trying to get down on his wife! Don’t get it twisted and don’t lie to yourself! If she gave you the chance, you’d hit it, old pussy and all. Knock the dust of that junk. You need to call her ass, Negro. You ain’t married–yet. How much damage can a conversation do? What was her name again? Hell, it doesn’t matter. You need to get on that, real quick. Remind me again, how fine did you say she was?”



I figured telling Dre would be a bad idea, but I didn’t have anyone else to tell it to. Truth was, I didn’t really have many male friends that I could confide in and I knew Dre for most of my life. It wasn’t like he was my friend by default, but his advice usually ended up as a bad thing for me. “Her name is Cheyenne Glenn. Man, I’m telling you that she gotta be hitting almost 40, but I swear to you, she is finer than a little bit.”



“Whatever, Negro. Like I said before, I know you ain’t gone call her so you might as well just give me the number and I’ll make good use of it. How old you say she was? Almost 40? That’s still just aged to perfection.”



“I’m not sure, but she looks like she’s early to mid 30′s. At the most, she’s probably ten years older than me. Anyway, I can’t get with her. First off, she’s one of my superiors and I learned a long time ago to never meet your honey where you make that money. Secondly, we’re both involved with other people. It would be too hard to mess around and I don’t feel like working out a schedule. Lastly, people would say she’s rocking the cradle if the saw us together.”



“Good points, but no, Negro. They wouldn’t say she was rocking the cradle, they’d say you were rockin the damn casket, and I’d be inclined to believe them. But me on the other hand, I like all sorts.”



I had to laugh at that one. “Oh, so you got jokes, now. Okay. I see how it is. You got me on that one.”



He covered the phone as if he were talking to someone before he spoke up again. “Anyway, you coming out with us tonight, right?”



“Who you got there?”



“Who me?”



“No, not you. The ugly Negro on the phone who’s doing a terrible job trying to give me advice.”



“Oh, him. He’s busy. Where’s Laela at? Is she coming with you?”



“Naw, she and Niya spent the day together and then they have to work tonight.”



“Ooooh.” It was the kind of ‘Ooooh’ that we used to give kids in the cafeteria after they’d broken a plate, so I knew Dre was about to say something certifiably stupid. “They’ve been spending a lot of time together. Probably getting down on each other on the low. You know how women can be–claiming that some guy is the daddy and he ain’t, or doing the nasty behind our backs.” Then out of nowhere, he yelled. “Ow! What the hell? I oughta kick yo ass for that one.”



“Who you got there man?” All the asking was starting to get on my nerve.



“I’m doing the company thing. I have company and my company is keeping me company.”



“With who, man? Will you quit with the bullshit? Who you got there?”



“Um, Leslie, can you grab me a wine cooler please? All that sex has parched my throat.”



“You got Leslie there!?! I thought we told you already that she wasn’t screwed on right? And you got her in you house? Man, don’t let her burn yo shit down like that girl who burnt up her shit a few years back in Atlanta.”



“That’ll never happen. I’ve got a better fire alarm system. Besides, this girl gives some righteous head. Best I’ve ever had. It’s so good it make me want to cry, but I don’t, cuz men don’t do that shit. What do you think she’s been doing since I’ve been on the phone with you? The only thing keeping me from filling up her body with skeet is that I’m talking to you and a mental picture of you before I nut is way past my comfort threshold.”



“That’s twice man. Keep me out of your personal shit. Damn you are nasty as hell. Were you born with a nasty gene or what?”



“Why count? You know I love you man. That’s why I include you on this part of my life.”



“If you loved me, then you wouldn’t keep contacting me when you’ve got your dick down someone’s throat. And on that note, I’ll meet up with you guys at The Spot.”



“Alright man, don’t be late. I’m for real, don’t be late.”



*************




I was late.



It wasn’t intentional, but shit happens. Shit happens, the there’s Murphy’s Law and then traffic adds to that.



The Spot was a newly opened 25-and-over club in southwest Houston and Dre knew the owner personally, but trying to locate it caused me to be half an hour later than I’d planned. The main entrance didn’t face the street, but instead was in an alley that I’d passed by a few times. I’d seen a crown by the door, but there were crowds everywhere and I was looking for a sign.



After finally finding a parking space, I walked past the mile long line and straight up to the entrance. People glared and stared as I walked by, but that didn’t stop me. The bouncer that stood at the front entrance happened to be a ton of black man named Block, which was probably the amount of city space he engulfed. II knew this because I’d been looking for him and Dre had told me to expect him to be at the door. He also gave me a password to recite. A password. I almost felt like James Bond.



“Out of the night that covers me–” I whispered in his ear. It was the first verse of the poem ‘Invictus’, written by William Ernest Henley. I found it odd that the password was this particular poem, but it probably meant the owner had some fraternity connections.



Block gripped my hand, gave me a faux hug, and pointed to the place in the club where I’d probably find Dre. As I walked through the entrance, the music became increasingly louder and the second set of security walked up to me.



“He’s cool.” Block yelled. “He’s with Kootie.” One of the security guards gave me a head nod, pointed towards an area in the back of the club and told me I’d find the guys in the MVP area.



I walked past security into the club. The Spot was virtually dark everywhere but the bartender’s table, with black light illuminating the dance floor and walls around the room. It had more of a warehouse feel than a club with its high ceilings and lack of carpet, but I guess the addition of the disco ball in the middle of the room qualified it for club status.



Though I couldn’t really see most of the patrons, I did notice there were significantly more women than men. Most of the women were either dancing or flirting, while most of the men were either drinking, holding up the wall, or both. The boldest women walked around the floor half-naked, seemingly to garner attention from potential piggy banks.



“Kootie.” I mumbled under my breath as I walked through the crowds of people, most of whom had a drink in their hand. “What kind of man names himself Kootie?” The answer became very apparent a few moments later, when I saw everyone I knew sitting at a table near the back of the club.



Apparently, a very big man names himself Kootie. What Block was in girth, Kootie was in strength. Looking at his size, he had to have been a professional body builder at one time. One of his arms was equal in size to my torso. But Kootie wasn’t without style. For a big man, the suit he wore was a silky dark blue and tailor perfect. He had a jewelry hanging all over his frame, including a ring on every finger which boasted diamonds in the form of letters. What they spelled I couldn’t exactly see, but I could tell that if he ever punched me, the letters would be forever tattooed across my chest.



I found everyone in a drunken daze with five empty bottles of whatever they were drinking scattered around the table. Along with Dre and Kootie were Darryl, Michael, Pookie, Marcus, BJ, and Kenny, another friend of Michael’s, all who were either drunk, or very close to it.



I introduced myself to Kootie, who stood up and towered above all of us, then to Kenny. After bumping fists with everyone else at the table, I sat down.



The layout of the club was well set up. The DJ had his own booth and played the latest R&B without anything to raunchy or too loud and that didn’t happen all too often in Houston. Usually the music is so loud that I couldn’t speak to the person next to me without screaming, but tonight it wasn’t as bad as I’d been subjected to before.



With all the expensive liquor that had been passed around at the table, it was inevitable that one of the gold-diggers would approach to inquire about out personal party, especially when they noticed we were with the owner. I only took a few minutes before my theory was proven and as soon as I sat down, a group of ladies eased there way to our table. One of them stopped just short of me and spoke to Dre, who sat to my right and happened to be drunk out of his gourd.



“Hey Papi, how you doing tonight?” She asked. She was a pretty Latina girl. I called her a girl because she didn’t look near 25, but as I looked around I guessed that was the norm around here. Looking her over, she wore a skimpy halter top without a bra and even skimpier shorts. If I hadn’t known any better I would’ve thought her shorts were her draws, but the camel hump suggested she might not be wearing those either.



He was clearly inebriated and wasted no time leering at her breasts, bypassing her face in the process. “Damn girl, you got some big ole titties. Can I see one? Just a quick peek for me and my boys?”



She thought about it, but at the mention of others watching, she declined. “No, papi. I no roll like that. I no from Missouri.” Even her accent was sexy. Dre might’ve gotten lucky with this one, but being drunk screwed with his brain and I could already tell he was about to completely mess this one up.



“Well you gone have to Missouri some Arizona, Oklahoma, or you might catch an Ohio and be like North Carolina.



She looked around the table to see if we understood, but mostly everyone was too drunk to care. “I no understand. What do this mean?” She finally asked.



“I said that you gone have to Show Me some Grand Canyon, Sooner, or you might catch a Buckeye and be the First in Flight.”



Everyone fell over in drunken laughter and she stormed away after giving him the finger and the dirtiest look I’d ever seen.



“Hey dumbass,” I said to Dre, “North Carolina is the Tar Heel State, not first in flight.”



“Well if she would’ve known that shit, she might’ve had a chance with me.” He was already pretty bad when he was drinking, but he an even bigger asshole when he was drunk.



Michael offered me a drink, but seeing how intoxicated everyone else was, I declined. I figured someone had to drive us home, and if it was going to be me, it didn’t want to put everyone’s lives in jeopardy like that. Besides, if it got too bad, I’d be dropping everyone off at Dre’s house.



Dre stood up and dragged himself over to me, breathing heavily in my face when he arrived. I could smell what he was drinking even before he spoke. “So, you gone call that nice ass teacher of yours?”



“Not tonight. Why?”



“Cuzz. I just want to make sure my bro keeps all of his options open. It’s too early in life to be focused on what might be. I love you, Q. You’re my only family and I hate for you to pass up life for what ain’t promised. Who’s going to tell? Me? Naw never. We ride like soldiers! I love you, man! Carpe diem! Seize the day!” Even though she shouted everything her said, his words were slurred and he could barely keep his eyes open.



“Damn it Dre, you’re drunk.” I told him. “Why don’t you lay off the liquor for a while. It might be time to take yo ass home and I just got here.”



“It’s too late for me, man! Save yourself!” He shouted. The table was once again engulfed with laughter, this time I didn’t crack a smile.



I hated seeing everyone drunk. I didn’t mind a buzz from time to time, but I hated seeing my friends drink themselves into a stupor, so I stood up to leave when Dre grabbed my hand.



“Hey man, I’m sorry. I was just playing. I was just messin with you. Can I use your phone? I wanna call someone to come pick me up.” I gave him my phone, but not before asking who he intended to call. “I’m going to call Leslie. I left my phone at the house.”



I left him my phone and went to the dance floor to get away from my drunken friends. I needed a release and maybe dancing would help, but by the time I made it to the dance floor, the DJ began playing songs for couples only. I turned around to go outside and get some air when I felt a tug on my hand.



I turned back to find that I’d been detained by a sexy chocolate lady with a beautiful smile, wearing a silver dress that barely covered the top of her thighs. We were equal in height, and I was usually turned off by women as tall as me, but it was her almond shaped eyes that had me completely entranced.



“Are you going to dance with me tonight or will I have to admire you from across the room?” She asked.



I laughed. “So I have an admirer? You want to know a secret, so do you. I would love to dance with the most beautiful woman here.”



She smiled and blushed. “Thank you.” She said softly.



We danced together for three songs, learning each other’s first name, occupations, and about who we’d come with that night. After it was all over, she kissed me on the cheek and pulled me towards the front doors of the club, where the music wasn’t playing as loudly.



“I had a lot of fun with you, Q. You’re a nice guy to be around and you didn’t even try to grab my ass.”



I was amused. “You sound upset?”



“I am!” She exclaimed. “I was hoping you got a feel so that I could get one too! “



We both laughed. It felt good to laugh with her. “I had fun with you too, Sakilah.” That was her name. I’d found out near the end of the second song, which ended up being the last thing I found out about her.



She took out a pen and began writing on my hand as she spoke. “I’m not one to beat around the bush, so here goes. I know you have a woman, you’d have to. Don’t insult me by telling me you don’t either. But anytime you’d like to talk, I’d like to be the one you speak to. You don’t have to worry about me taking you from your woman or even trying, because I’m not that kind of girl, but I get a vibe from you that I haven’t gotten before. So, before I invite you over to my house and get shot down, I’m leaving my number on your hand. You can wash it off, let it fade, or put it where you feel it should be, but hopefully this wont be the last time we speak.” After her soliloquy, she didn’t wait for a response then walked away.



I walked back to my table, stunned, but invigorated. If we had met under different circumstances who knows what would’ve happened, but it wasn’t different and my parents had taught me better than that. I was going to remain the faithful type. When I got back, I found everyone in the same position as when I left; glass on the lips, with the exception of Dre, who was confessing his love to whoever was on the other end of my phone.



“Damn, girl. I love you. Can’t you feel it to? I love you. I want to be with you, and only you. The way you make love to DJ is amazing. That special thing you do with you’re tongue is incredible. You make me cry, girl. Can I sing you a song?”



I snatched my phone away from Dre before he embarrassed himself any further. “What the hell are you doing, man? Do that shit on your free night and weekends.” He looked upset that I didn’t let him sing, but the frown faded and he came back to what was left of his senses.



I put my ear to the phone to apologize for my friend’s behavior when I heard her voice. “Hello? Quinton are you still there?”



“Mrs. Glenn?!?” I was in shock. Her voice was unmistakable, but I ran to the bathroom anyway so that I could hear better and make sure.



“Yes. Yes it is. You were about to serenade me. Why didn’t you finish? It’s been a long time since I’ve had a suitor confess his love form me.” She mused.



“I am so sorry. I let my friend borrow my phone and–and I don’t know what happened. I am so so sorry. Is there anything I can do to make it up? Mr. Glenn isn’t mad at me is he? Shit! I mean… ‘shoot!’ I’m going to–.”



“Quinton, it’s alright. Mr. Glenn is out of town working, and I was having a hard time sleeping. I thought it was you, but your friend’s call was a good laugh. It was just what I needed.”



“Mrs. Glenn I’m so sorry, still. How did you know it was me?”



“Caller ID. You’re name came up. I thought you called to ask me why I left that note on the back of my card. But when you or rather your friend started confessing your love for me, and talking about my sexual prowess, I thought it would be wise to listen.” She laughed hysterically at her own joke, while I was still paralyzed with fear.



“Hopefully he didn’t offend you too much. Did I mention how sorry I was?”



“Mr. Quinton James.” She sounded like my mother. “If you don’t stop apologizing not only am I going to fail you, I’ll make sure Carmen knows about the secret feelings you have for her.” She laughed again and I nervously laughed so that she couldn’t hear how embarrassed I was. “Are you busy now?”



Relieved that she had a sense of humor, I calmed down. “No, not really. I’m just at a club where I’m guessing I’ll be the designated driver. I hope you don’t mind me asking, but what was with the note on the back of the card.” I gulped, hoping that she didn’t say it was something personal.



“Well, I wanted to help you out. I know how much of a crazy girl Carmen can be, believe me. We were hired on the same day and worked together for the first couple of years together, so I know her inside out. How did you think we got to be such good friends? Well anyway, like I said, she likes you as a person, but she won’t admit it because she figures you’re one of those pretty boys out to take her position.”



“And what makes you so sure she likes me. The only vibe I’ve ever gotten from her is the one where she would squat and piss on my grave.”



“Quinton, I’ve known about you before you even heard of me, that’s how I know. Trust me. I can get you in her good graces. Or at least I can help her to be nicer.”

“Thank you.” I wanted to be thankful, but the conspiracy side of me needed to be taken care of. “Why are you doing this?”



“From what I hear, you’re a good guy. Since we have too many assholes in power already, it’d be nice to have someone with their head on straight for a change. My philosophy has always been that the higher you go up the ladder, then thinner the air gets, but with a good head on your shoulders, you won’t forget the people who work for you are also the people you work for.”



“What about you? You’re already in upper management. You don’t need to groom me because you’re shaking and moving things right now.”



“That’s true, but this is still the good ole boys network. They’ll never let a woman higher than where we are now. And most of them are so far removed from what they used to do that they’ve lost touch and the company will fail because they’re making the expectations too high for the workers to achieve.”



“I never thought about that.” I paused to think about what she’d said. Though I’d never thought about it before, she was right. As long as I’d been working, I’d never seen any woman in a higher position than associate director of anything. I didn’t like being brought into a war between the sexes, but being brought up to believe in equality, I couldn’t turn my head and look the other way either. “Okay, so how can I contribute? What is it that you’d like me to do?”



“It’s late and we can talk about business later. Your friend gave me some good laughs and now I can finally grab some sleep. We’ll talk later and I’ll fill you in on all I know. Goodnight, Mr. James.”



“Goodnight, Mrs. Glenn.”



“Call me, Cheyenne. Even though I am older, we’re co-workers now. Good night Mr. James, we’ll talk later.” And then she hung up.





Cheyenne. I didn’t know it this was going to benefit me or end up disastrous, but one thing was for certain. On Tuesday, I was going to sign up for some night classes and the community college.



*************




I left the bathroom and headed back to the table. When I found they guys again, Dre grabbed my wrist and leaned on me. I didn’t know if he was too drunk to stand or if he just wanted me to smell his awful breath, but he got his point across without saying a word.



I took everyone’s car keys and called for five taxis, one for each one of them. I didn’t feel like arguing, so I just took them away and told them to pick them up at my house later on today. Since I didn’t know where Kenny stayed, I figured that I’d just sent him home with Mike.



The taxi’s all arrived at the same time. Since I was pretty sure the guys didn’t have the money to get home, I took the ‘just in case’$200 dollars out of Andre’s wallet and dispersed it amongst the taxi drivers after they gave me a rough estimate of how much the trip would cost. I didn’t too much care if they were lying because it wasn’t really my money, so I sent each of them on their way. I then threw Dre into the back of my car with his head facing the back of the passenger’s seat. If he threw up, at least he wouldn’t choke himself and I drove us to his house in record time.



When we arrived, he was dead to the world. I picked him up out of the car, lugged him through his front door, turned off his alarm, and then continued carrying him towards his bed.



In his bedroom, I laid him on his stomach making sure to lay his head in a way where he wouldn’t suffocate himself. After making sure he was secure, I walked into the living room, crashed on his couch, grabbed one of the remotes and turned on the TV.



Nothing on was worth watching so I cut off the television, turned on the radio with the same remote and just listened to music. Listening made me think about the night’s events and I began to look over my life as objectively as I could..



The women in my life had me confused. Simone, my best friend’s wife, wanted to screw me; Cheyenne and Carmen wanted to make me a working martyr; Laela was becoming more and more like my college roommate than my fiancée; and Sakilah was just the latest addition to the ever-growing library, but I didn’t quite know where she fit in. The way I saw things was that if I called her, I’d be inviting trouble to my door, but if I didn’t, I’d be forever left with the ‘what if’. What if she ended up truly being a good friend? What if she only wanted dick? What if I gave it to her? I didn’t know how that last thought crept into my head, but being with Laela left me without any female friends and I couldn’t always tell the fellas how I felt about certain things. I couldn’t’ blame Laela for the lack of female friends though, that was my fault. I had too many to count and I had slept with most of them at one time or another, so it seemed sensible to exclude myself from temptation. I learned a long time ago that the best way to keep myself out of trouble was to never invite it in the first place; my father taught me that.



I couldn’t control all of my thoughts, though. I contemplated what it’d be like to have sex with each one. The ideas were intriguing, but the person I was most curious about was Mrs. Glenn. The thought of calling her that during my fantasy was arousing enough, but I’d never been with anyone older than myself and I’d heard older women had skills, or so that was the myth.



“Why am I thinking about these things?” I thought to myself. “I have someone and I’m going to be faithful. I don’t want to be a statistic and I certainly don’t want to end up on a talk show, jockeying for some woman’s affection or worried about some damn paternity test.”



For one of the few moments in my life, I was unsure about how I wanted things to go. I missed seeing my fiancée. I missed being able to go to her and complain when my day was bad. I missed talking about how good we had it when our friends’ lives were in such disarray, but she hadn’t been around for the last two weeks and I didn’t want to turn her into a homebody all over again; especially when I was the one who suggested that she spend more time with her friends– though I certainly missed being alone with her, not to mention the occasional blow job she provided. In truth, it was my fault that I didn’t see her anymore. I wanted to speak up, but I was never one to go back on my word.



Frustration gripped my brain and the more I thought about it, the more I wondered why I had appealed to all these women, yet at home I barely received any notice lately from my soon to be wife. I loved Laela, and I didn’t want the relationship to end, but the temptation was becoming great and I didn’t have anyone to help me hold back the levee.



*************




Laela




January 15th (Sunday)



3:00 am




There were two things that I hated more than anything in the world: a slow shift and a long night. I was having a long night and unfortunately, you couldn’t have one without the other. With hardly any laboring patients, the clock moved as slowly as frozen molasses.



Ordinarily I hated day/night shift scheduling, but knowing that Niya and a few of the other nurses were similarly suffering made my burden seem a little less heavy to carry.



When we all arrived at around 7:00 pm, the floor was chaotic as usual. Even though the board was moderately heavy, reading only 12 patients on the floor, — with 4 more coming during the night, most of the nurses were ready to give report and leave. I received report from Sandra, a nurse I knew from days, and began writing down all the things I needed for my two patients and began my shift.



Before midnight had arrived, half of the patients had gone to postpartum, and with two out of the four incoming being redirected to others hospitals, we were left with 6 working nurses to take care of the six remaining patients. As fate would have it, neither of my patients was discharged, but Shanti Patel, the night charge nurse, gave one of them to Michelle Harris, one of the three black nurses working tonight who was lucky enough to have lost both her patients.



By 2:30 am, the last of the triage patients were discharged, and with the rest of them sleeping, the only sounds that could be heard were that of the sanitation crew mopping the floor. With the night being so slow, Shanti allowed us to chat around the nurses’ desk, which was usually against the rules; especially with the things we talked about.



Michelle started it off. She was a few years older than I, but she had more experience with life than I’d ever had. She wasn’t a beautiful woman, but she was full of life and lust, which I believed offset any physical beauty she lacked. When we listened to her stories, she always tried to whisper, but she was as ghetto as they come, which usually made her stories all that more interesting. We always sat around and listened to her like children at a campfire, and we’d hang onto every word she spoke because she was by far one of the wildest people any of us had ever met. Plus she had the luxury of being single and the only one of the floor who openly admitted bisexuality, so her escapades were usually recent and raunchy, whereas most of ours usually came from memory. “– so he went down on me right and I was loving it, right. This man ate pussy like it was the last scrap of food on the planet. I mean he almost made me cringe it was so good. So now I’m hot and bothered, I want some dick. I tell him to take of his pants and when he does, out plops the smallest thing I’ve ever seen!” We all erupt in laughter, but Shanti looked over to let us know that she wouldn’t tolerate anymore outbursts, but Michelle continued like she either hadn’t seen or didn’t care. “So I’m like what you gone do with that? It ain’t even large enough to spread on my crackers!”



“You did not say that!” Dawn exclaimed. She was one of the two white nurses in the group and was also very single. From her long blond hair and green eyes, to her country accent and her inability to talk about life like we did, she carried her own personal halo. To me, she was the embodiment of the wholesome, southern belle, but when it came to sex, she listened more intently than the rest of us.



“I sure as hell did. Told him he could eat it, but he couldn’t beat it. Not tonight.” She snapped her fingers and started us up all over again. We all snickered, trying to hold back the laughter or risk losing our privileges. I wasn’t sure I could hold back, so I bit on my finger. “He knows what it is. Nothing less than the lucky number seven can satisfy this.”



“I know what you mean, girl.” Teniyah interjected. “I had the same thing happen to me in college. I loved the guy, and he put so much effort into it that I tried to come, but it just didn’t happen.”



“So, you married him.” I blurted out and fell over, quietly laughing on my way to the ground. The other girls covered their mouths, but laughed just as hard as I did.



“Aw, see. Why you gotta go there. See, now I’m gonna have to go in my purse and get my knife out. I didn’t want to cutcha, but now I have to. And I’m telling Franklin what you said. We’re gonna cutcha together, do it family style.”



“That’s funny. I always heard black guys had humongous dicks. Is that true or just a stereotype?” Terra said. Like Dawn, she was white, but she was far from single and within a few months of working here, found herself a doctor. They were engaged six months after they met, and with the size of the rock she had on her finger, I was surprised she didn’t always come to work wearing a sling.



Michelle spoke up. “Let me tell you something sweetie. I’ve slept with men all over the spectrum and as a whole, black guys have most of them beat. But that don’t mean nothin. I could say that based on my experiences that Hawaiian guys have them all beat. The only Hawaiian guy that I’d ever been with had a dick so big and thick that I think he broke both of my fallopian tubes and maybe cracked an ovary, okay!?!? But I won’t say that because then I’d be stereotyping. I love my black men, but GOD didn’t bless everyone just because of their skin color.”



That’s when Kim Huang, our only Asian nurse, finally spoke up in her perfectly annunciated way, “I have only been with one person in my life and that is my husband. In my country, being with anyone outside your race is usually considered disrespectful, but being in this country has made me a little curious to what is out there.”



“Wow.” I said. “The only man you’ve ever been with you’ve married? I don’t think I like those odds.” We all looked around and agreed, even Dawn, who I swore was a virgin.



“Aw, Poo-Poo,” Michelle said. Poo-poo was Michelle’s nickname for Kim, though I don’t know where she got it from. “Do you want to know what it’s like to be with a black man? I’m gonna hook you up.” Without waiting for an answer, she got up from the station and told us to meet her in the nurse’s lounge.



As the five of us began walking, we all looked at each other, curious about what Michelle was up to. I knew Michelle, but I never knew quite what she’s do next. Teniyah was just as curious as the rest of us. She tried to look undaunted, but she couldn’t help whispering to me. “What do you think Michelle’s about to do?”



I had no idea, but in dealing with Michelle through the years, nothing was too farfetched. “Michelle? I can’t say. I think she’s gonna go get her a black man and– and well teach us something.” As luck would have it, I wasn’t that far off. A couple of minutes after Teniyah, Dawn, and I got comfortable on Cookie, the big blue couch, Michelle came in with a nameless DVD in hand, which I knew had to be something that either began with a triple ‘X’ or had a double digit number in the title.



Teniyah looked shocked, which was a surprise in itself because Teniyah usually does the shocking. “You keep a flick at work?” She asked incredulously. “You are something else.”



Michelle just smiled and put the DVD into the player. We watched in awe as a man whose erect penis stood halfway up his abdomen began punishing the black girl underneath him. She cried in ecstasy or pain, I’m not sure which, at his constant barrage of dick missiles.



I looked over at Dawn, who looked longingly at the screen, then at Kim who seemed completely mortified, but Michelle was enjoying every moment of it, practically clapping to the soundtrack of her own movie.



“Hey girls, I was just wondering what you were–” Shanti never finished the sentence as she came into the room and saw what we’d all been watching. She stood staring at the television a few moments before speaking. “Oh my. Oh dear. Um Terra, I, uh, just wanted you to know your patient needs to go to the bathroom. Um, can you help her to the bathroom?” But at no time did Shanti take her eyes away from the screen. I wanted to tell her that she’d repeated herself, but I decided to leave it alone. After Terra left, the room was once again left only to the sounds of two bodies slapping forcefully together, porn influenced music, and the occasional grunts and moans that movies like this provided.



Twenty-one minutes later, the presentation ended. We stopped it short of ‘our hero’ expelling his unborn children all over one of her orifices, but everyone already understood what was about to happen.



Shanti was the first to leave the room, looking a little flustered as she breezed by me. It was the first time I’d ever witnessed an Indian woman as red as Shanti was.



Kim was the first to speak up. “So, are all black guys that large?”



“Just the lucky ones.” Michelle chirped.



“It ain’t lucky to have a dick that big. I tell you what, if my man was that big, he wouldn’t be hittin this. He’d have to be a porn star to get some.” Terra said.



“It was very interesting.” said Dawn. “I think it’s time for me to go on break.” And she rushed off.



Kim then turned to Michelle. “Thank you for showing me. I now know I am much safer where I am.”



Michelle laughed. “Sex Ed 101 has now concluded. Ladies, it’s been a pleasure.” She then disappeared with the DVD. I’d hoped she let me borrow it, but I wasn’t about to say anything in front of this crowd. I looked over at Teniyah and she smiled back at me.



“Are you okay?” I asked.



“I’m horny.” She whispered back into my ear. “I want you to meet me in room 16. We’re going to take our break together.” The butterflies were back.



*************




Forty-five minutes later, we were in room 16 — taking our break.



Besides New Years’, I’d only had sex with Teniyah one other time and since that was also spur of the moment it didn’t really count. We went shopping and ended up at another hotel. I wanted to plan these escapades out, but Niya was too spontaneous and I enjoyed the sex more than I’d lead her to believe.



“If we–get caught–, we’ll–lose our–jobs.” I finally managed to get out the whole sentence between our lips smashing against each other’s face. “I like–this–job.”



She pulled back. “We won’t get caught if you learn to be quiet.”



Room 16 was one of the seventeen rooms in another wing of the hospital on a floor that was hardly used at all. The wing itself had been rumored to have had more sex in it than the Playboy Mansion, but no one had ever been caught. At least no one I’d ever met.



The floor was often where sanitation did most of it’s smoking and drinking, plus it was the furthest room from the front desk on the floor, which made it the safest choice. There were four ways off the floor, so just in case things went bad, there was an escape route and it was so quiet that you could always hear people coming. Occasionally a resident would use the floor to get some sleep on, but it was probably the hospital’s best kept naughty secret.



We’d entered the room, kept the lights off, locked the door and the kissing began immediately after that. We kissed all the way to the electric bed, which was raised to its highest level, per hospital rules.



“I’ll let the bed down.” I was breathing heavily with anticipation and pulled my lips away from her invading tongue to let her know what I wanted to do.



“Don’t waste your time.” She hoisted me up onto the bed and yanked my scrub pants down to my ankles. “No panties?” She looked at me and I smiled shyly.



“Needed to wash.” I admitted, but that didn’t stop her from pulling my bound legs up over the bed and dining on my nectar.



She held my legs in place with her left hand while fingering me with her right middle and ring fingers and also tasting my temple all in the same fluid motion. Between the first time we’d been together and this one, she’s gotten supremely better. She made no mistakes, rhythmically fingering me, and continuing her taste testing. I wanted to scream, to shout to the world how much I loved what she was doing to me, but my torture was kept in complete silence until I began grabbing the covers off the bed and whispered, “Niya, I love it. I love it, baby. Here I come, dammit. HERE–I–COME!”



I tried to keep silence, but the pressure was too unbearable to keep silent. As my vagina throbbed to release my torment, she quickly moved her tongue from my clitoris, to flickering on my perineum, the soft spot between they top of my anus and the bottom of my vagina. What was once torment soon became an eruption of curses.



My head curled up to me knees and a lion’s roar was released from the depths of my body. “FUCK!” I screamed. “FUCK ME!” I couldn’t hold back. The stunt she had pulled increased my orgasm what seemed like ten fold and I couldn’t control what came out of my mouth. I pulled in as much air as I could after having expelled so much so quickly.



“You like?” She asked.



“Where did you learn that from?” I was still trying to catch my breath. “Where the hell did you learn that from?”



She smiled. “I’m not telling. Okay, pull your pants up. After a scream like that, security might be coming.”

I rapidly pulled my pants up and as we snuck out the room, we saw and heard no one. “I don’t see anything, do you?”



“Nope.” She responded.



“Well then this isn’t over.” I pulled her back into the room, locked the door, and told her to disrobe.



“Whatever you say, mistress.” She did as she was told, taking off both her scrub bottoms and her underwear.



She went to sit back on the bed, but it was covered with a wet spot, which I immediately knew was my fault.



“I had that much!” I exclaimed.



“Yeah, and I think I swallowed most of it. That’s just what I couldn’t take.” She joked.



“Well now it’s my turn.” I took the old sheets off and put the on the floor, careful to remember to take them when I left, and placed and unused sheet under Niya. I had no doubt that she had beaten me this time, but I wasn’t going down without a fight either.



One thing I knew about Niya was that she was very sensual and liked to be seduced, so I laid her down and mounted her. I kissed her from her neck down both of her arms. She tried several times to kiss my lips, but I wouldn’t let her. I took her hands and used hospital sheets to bind them together. I did the same to her legs. This time I was in control.



Since she was much taller than me, I had to swing myself to the left side of her body, where I was able to lift up her shirt and bra to suck on both her nipples while fingering her. As if on cue, she began to gyrate her hips to the motion of my fingers, allowing me deeper entry into her.



It was only a few minutes before she was close to climax and I once again mounted her, this time my head facing her temple and my tongue massaging her clitoris. We were in 69, but her bound hands and legs didn’t allow her to touch me.



She refused to scream and I didn’t force her to, but as I began to suck on her clitoris, he orgasm followed. She broke her arms free of my makeshift chains, wrapped her arms around my back and squeezed me as hard as she could, almost causing me to black out. I didn’t, but she dug her face into my vagina, muffling her scream.



We both laid there for a few minutes, me still on top of her, and said nothing. But our break was almost up and I spoke up to let her know what time it was. “It’s time for us to get back to the unit.”



“Can’t we just stay here for a few more minutes and kiss?” I thought she was joking, but something in her voice alerted me that she was serious.



“Nope. We have to go. You know, get rid of the evidence.”



She sounded defeated, but agreed. We both put or clothes back on, picked up the DNA filled sheets and re-made the bed, all in the moonlight. We then took the sheets, snuck off the floor, and threw the evidence in one of the laundry receptacles on our way back to the floor.



Before we got to the floor, Niya spoke up. “Lae, you know I love you right.”



I didn’t know where this was going, but I was worried. “Yeah, I know. What’s up?”



She paused. “I don’t know. I’ve really enjoyed the time we’ve spent together, lately. I mean other than the sex. I just wanted to thank you for you know, trying this with me.” Se gave me a hug, which brought back the butterflies all over again.



I hugged her back. “We’re girls. We’re supposed to support each other; though if the guys found out, I don’t think they’d approve.” We laughed. “But it’s a trial. If it hadn’t been for you, I might’ve never found out some of the things about myself that I know now.”



“Yeah, me too.”



“So this is our learning experience, our self-education class.”



She then kissed me on my forehead. “Thanks. Thanks for being a good friend.”



For a brief second, I wanted to tell her how I really felt. I wished I could’ve told her how the sex was probably the best thing to happen to me in a long time. I could’ve told her about these ‘feelings’ I’d been having around her, but the time had passed and now it was time for us to get back to the floor. “Oh well,” I thought to myself, “it’ll probably pass.” And I followed her back to the floor.



12:45 pm



I was so tired that I could barely keep my eyes open while driving to Mr. & Mrs. James house to get everything ready for the party. I didn’t want to leave my bed, but Mrs. James insisted that since I wasn’t in church I was the only one who could get everything ready in time, so I didn’t argue. Or rather I couldn’t argue because I was truly afraid of the woman.



Every year on the Sunday before MLK Jr. Day, Quinton’s family had a MLK Day, family barbecue blow-out, in which the more than the whole family actually came. Friends were also welcome, but usually the new ones had to bring something to the party or be subject to some sort of public humiliation. I’d never seen it happen, but from the stories I was told, I didn’t think I wanted to either. I usually enjoyed going, but this was the first year that I had to work the night before and it made a considerable difference in my usually positive disposition.



I was awakened at 12:30 in the afternoon, meaning I’d only gotten 3 ½ hours of sleep after pulling a 12 hour shift the previous night. I would’ve gotten more rest, but after such a long night, I found it hard to sleep, so I had to break out my buzzing tools to finally get me to dreamland.



By the time I reached the James’ house in Missouri City, it was almost 1:00 and my car reeked from the smell of 22 pounds of raw pork. I took my time dragging it all into the house. Before I began cleaning it, I heard cars pulling up in the driveway.



Thrilled to hear the sounds of my freedom, I walked upstairs and crashed in one of the spare bedrooms. It didn’t care whose, just as long as the best was soft. It wasn’t, but damn the formalities.



*************




When I awoke, the sun was still shining brightly and someone’s child was standing right above my head as I laid on the floor. My vision was still a little unclear and I couldn’t quite recognize who it was until he spoke up.



“Hey Auntie Laela.”



Since only one person I knew called me auntie, I knew it had to be DeShawn, Brianna’s twin brother and Niya’s son.



“Hey Shawn!” I reached up and gave him a lazy woman’s hug. “How are you?”



“I’m fine.” He smiled and hugged my back.



“Where are your mommy, daddy, and sister at?”



“Downstairs. Daddy’s at work and mommy’s with the grown-ups. Bri’s playing with the other kids. ”



“Who told you to wake me up?”



He blushed and swayed from side to side before giving up his secret. “My mommy.”



“Tell your mommy I’ll be right down.”



“Okay.” He turned around and rushed back down the stairs to tell his mother what he’d heard. As I watched him walk down the stairs, I chuckled and thought ‘Kids are so cute at that age– especially when they aren’t yours.”



I walked into the upstairs bathroom, threw some cold water on my face to help wake me up, and headed towards the smell of barbecue.



The downstairs was as crowded as a bus station on Christmas. I walked right into the kitchen from the stairs and was greeted by a cheerful Mr. James.



I loved Mr. And Mrs. James like my own parents, and I assumed they loved me, but Mrs. James and I bumped heads a few times in the past, doubly so when it came to the subject of children. Her beliefs were that she deserved to be a grandparent before she died and mine were that I’d have children when I was ready. Since we couldn’t come to a happy medium, we agreed to disagree, which meant that she’d treat me like a step-child until we had kids.



“Good afternoon, sleepyhead. You’ve been sleep for so long that I thought you were going to miss out on all the festivities.”



“The smell was too good to keep me sleep.” I joked.



“That’s good to hear. I think I did my best work this year and from all the full mouths around here, it looks like they agree.” He pointed to the kitchen table where Mrs. James, Teniyah, and Andre sat, all smacking their lips on ribs bathed in Mr. James “special” barbecue sauce.



Niya was the first to acknowledge me with a wink, a gesture that reminded me of the unsaid things we did last night, while the rest followed with grunts and ‘heys’. “Where’s Quinton?” I asked, wondering why he hadn’t awakened me when everyone began eating.



Dre spoke up after swallowing a mouthful of food. “He’s outside playing cards with some cousins of his. Those guys out there are the fiercest spades players I’ve ever met. Almost bit my arms off for accidentally cutting my partner out, and neither one of them was my on my team.” This time it was my turn to laugh. Being around Q longer than I had, he should’ve known the competitive spirit than ran through Quinton had to be genetic.



“We don’t raise losing card players in this house. We all play to win.” Mrs. James shouted. “Speaking of which, Laela, how come you’re not out their cheering your man on? Go out there and show him some support. Maybe we can get some grandbabies out the deal.”



“Yeah, go show some support, girl.” Niya reiterated, but as she spoke, she made sure to stick two of her fingers in her mouth and pull them back out slowly with her tongue squarely in the middle. I shook my head at her boldness. I wanted to say something about the grandbaby quip, but thought better of it. Instead I went outside to see how Quinton was faring.



I walked down another half-flight of stairs, past numerous family members who I spoke and acknowledged, and out the side door towards where I knew they always played cards. By the time I reached the table, they were already getting up and the crowd around them was dissipating.



“Who won?” I asked, but the look on Quinton’s face said it all.



“They’re some cheaters in this family. I won’t say who, but I will point fingers.” He pointed at his two younger cousins, Martell and Dontae, who were home from college for the weekend. After the accusations, he kissed me on the cheek. “How was your sleep?”



“It was cool.” I answered. “But how come you didn’t wake me up?”



“Because I heard how loud you were snoring. It sounded like your mouth was farting.”



I slapped him on the arm. “I don’t ever talk about you when you snore.”



“Well then you shouldn’t ask questions you don’t want to know the answer to.” He laughingly said. He opened the door for me and we walked into the house when he spoke up again. “I’m hungry. Did you want me to fix your plate?”



“No, that’s okay. I’ll fix my own.” When we entered the kitchen, Q’s parents were nowhere to be found, but Niya and Dre were still at the table, talking amongst each other.



Quinton walked over to Niya, gave her a hug and kissed her on top of her head. “Where’s your man at? What? He doesn’t like me anymore?”



“At work.” She replied nonchalantly. “You know his job has him working these crazy ass hours.” She looked around and saw kids sitting under the table between her legs and I could already see the scolding looks on their faces when she cursed. “I mean crazy butt hours.”



Quinton nodded and turned to Dre. “Where did moms and my father go?”



“They said they were going to the store to get something. I didn’t pay too much attention to what they said they were going to get.”



While they talked, the pan full of hot barbecued ribs, burgers, fish, and chicken that sat on the stove made my mouth water. I went to the counter, grabbed a plate and began to rummage though the meat, looking for some smaller pieces of meat than what I saw on the top.



Quinton looked at me, then at the meat and finally at my sauce covered fingers. “C’mon Laela, don’t put your hand all over the meat. That’s so freaking unsanitary.” He scorned.



I was too hungry to care, but since his parents weren’t around, I decided to act a little crazy. I walked away from the stove and over to him. I kissed him on his cheek and spoke, “You never say that when I have my hands on your meat.” Everybody at the table began to snicker at what I’d said, knowing what I was hinting at.



He looked me squarely in the eyes when he spoke again. “That’s because I know it’s not going to be in anyone else’s mouth.” The whole room burst into laughter with Niya’s laughter engulfing and permeating the room.



Mrs. James came out of nowhere and slapped Quinton in the back of the head. “I will not have that kind of talk in my house. Don’t y’all know there are children present! Y’all are not old enough for a butt whoopin.” She warned. Andre began to laugh so hard he fell out his chair until a look from Mrs. James not only had him sit back up in the chair with perfect posture, but immediately stopped him from laughing as well. “Now, we’re about to go to the store and I don’t want no more talk like that, ya hear.”



“Yes ma’am.” We answered in unison.



She walked down the stairs and out the house before Mr. James walked up to Quinton and started laughing. “That was funny, boy. I like that quick wit.” He turned around and gave everyone the ‘thumbs up’ before he left. No one talked until the car backed out of the driveway, drove down the street and Niya sent the kids out of the kitchen to play with some of the other children outside.



“Damn, Q!” Dre shouted out with laughter, “I know your head is hurtin! Why you let her do you like that?” We all began to giggle.



“Hell yeah it hurt! And whatchu mean why did I let her? You would’ve let her too! And she punked yo ass. She didn’t even say anything and she set yo ass straight. And you talked about me being punked?”



We all had to cover our mouths to keep everyone else in the house from hearing us laugh again, but I knew Q was very prideful and had to save face in front of everyone, so I kept my laughter short.



Quinton walked off with a frown on his face and I knew he was still upset, so I followed him upstairs to his old room, the one I’d slept in earlier. He walked in and sat on his old bed and faced the wall containing pictures of groups of half-naked women.



He spoke to me in a monotone voice. “You didn’t have to follow me. I’ll be okay.”



“Quinton, I wouldn’t be your woman if I knew so little about you. What’s going on? Tell me of your woes.” I wanted to make light of the moment, but I could see that he wasn’t in the mood.



“It’s nothing. I’m cool. I just have a headache.”



I didn’t know why men had to put on such a facade when it came to their feelings. They were like big babies who needed constant attention and a necessity to be nurtured. I hated playing the mind reader, but it was the only way to get around the wall. It was my duty and I didn’t take it lightly, so I asked him “Can you tell me what’s wrong sweetie? I promise to do whatever I can to make it better.”



He turned to look at me. “It’s nothing, I’m cool.” He shrugged. “I don’t know how else to tell you that I’m okay.”



I knew what that meant. “I’m sorry. I haven’t been taking care of Pedro have I? You know I’ve been busy with work and Niya wants to spend all this time shopping, but I’ll make it right.”



I began to unbuckle his pants and he did nothing to stop it. I knew I’d been ignoring him for the last few weeks, but being with Niya and having sex with her last night was so raw and intense that after it was over, all I wanted to do was sleep. I knew it wasn’t right to be with her, but the more in tune we became with each other, the better the sex became, and it was becoming increasingly harder to give up such great sex.



Then there were the feelings. I didn’t know what to make of them. All I knew was whenever Niya and I parted; I could hardly wait to see her again. While Quinton slept, I secretly watched his flicks to get some new ideas on what women do, but most of it wasn’t anything new. Most of what we did was inherent knowledge. I knew how I wanted to be touched and kissed, and she was the perfect canvas to test all the ideas I’d been having. The thing she’d done to me last night was so unexpected and so crazy that I loved every minute of it. My heart began racing, my body trembling, and my underwear dampening from the brief reverie.



Shit. Shit. Shit. What was I thinking? Here I was, supposedly giving my man the ‘make up’ blow-job and all I could think about was my best friend eating me out.



It was then that the realization hit me all over again. “Oh God”, I thought, “I’m gay. But how can I be gay? All the years I’ve loved dick, I can’t be gay. I can’t. I can’t. I can’t.” I tried to convince myself, but the feelings I’d been having for Niya, coupled with the displeasure I had anticipating Quinton’s climax said all that it needed to. I tried to convince myself otherwise, but the knots in my stomach kept my nerves on edge and the lingering in my vagina had me vacillating.



“Lae,” Quinton had spoken up and awakened me from my daydream, “why’d you stop?” He looked concerned. “What’s going on? You look like you’re thinking about something.”



He’d nailed it on the first try. “Just reminiscing about the last time we had sex.” I lied. It became a lot easier to lie lately. If Quinton ever knew the truth he’d be crushed, but the honest truth was that I didn’t know if what I was doing was to spare him or to find myself.



Whatever he’d been thinking, he seemed to like the answer I gave him because he wasted no time taking his pants off and laying down on the bed. His manhood rested on his thigh, leaning towards his left leg, looking as deflated as I felt. I looked it over and smiled when I thought back to last night. He wasn’t as big as the guy in the flick, but I was happy that he wasn’t the size of Michelle’s latest conquest either.



I walked towards his door and closed it, but since there wasn’t a lock, we’d have to listen out for people coming up the stairs; something we’d almost perfected over the years while listening out for his parents. We’d almost gotten caught several times, but that was one of the things I liked best, the almost part of it.



*************




Through the years, I’d perfected the art of oral love to Quinton. I was a virgin to oral sex and he was still the only man I’d ever done it with. When I first felt I loved him enough to begin began experimenting with it, my jaws would quickly become tired, we’d both get frustrated, and I’d give up vowing to never do it again. He was adamant about never climaxing in my mouth, but as time went on, I became bolder. The bolder I became, the more stamina I built up. With my increased stamina, his wall of resolve began to diminish, and he finally came in my mouth.



I parted his legs and slowly rose up between them like a cobra stalking it’s prey before the strike. It was no secret that he liked me to tickle his scrotum with my tongue, so I obliged him. It was then I had a revelation. I’d never been conscious of it before, but I’d never really tasted Quinton. I’d put my tongue on him numerous times, but I’d never tasted him. Not like I’d done to Niya. For the first time, I actually tasted him. I didn’t know what prompted it, but I wanted to compare his taste to hers.



I slid my tongue around, going past the salt and the sweat, trying to taste him, but his erection was almost immediate, so I gave up on my science experiment and slid him into my mouth.



His luggage rested in my left palm while I grasped the base of his monument with my right, bobbing slowly around the tip to help heighten his sensitivity. I relaxed my jaw and inserted him deeper until I felt him tap the back of my throat. Feeling his penis throb and pulsate, and knowing he was already near climax. I rapidly bobbed up and back down, careful to keep my tongue on the underside of his shaft where he liked it.



After such a long time without any sex, I figured his climax would come hard and fast and he didn’t disappoint. I peeked up at him and watched him grab a white, down pillow from the bed and cover his face. He was coming and getting ready to scream, but I didn’t let up. I massaged only the top quarter of his shaft with my mouth and tongue, but the suction I used became stronger, knowing that near the end he liked it a little rougher when he was about to cum.

It didn’t take him long after that. His back arched and he began vehemently screaming curses which were muffled by the pillow. Then without warning, he shot into my mouth and then again, several times over, with each wave forcing itself out like blood through an open artery. I’d half expected it, but the amount he expelled always caught me off guard. I consumed it all, thinking one thing as his seed slid down my throat, “Pineapple juice.”



Just as I had finished ingesting his honey, the door silently cracked open and Niya peeked her head through. I was scared to death, scurrying to hide everything when it opened, but then I saw her face and quickly gave her the finger.



“Damn!” She mimed when she saw that Quinton was still mostly erect and covered her mouth to keep herself from laughing. “That’s all you?” I thought about covering Quinton up, but with his head still covered by the pillow and I didn’t want to alarm him.



I nodded in agreement. Trying not to laugh out loud and let him know that we had company.



She gave me the thumbs up and mimed “Call me.” Again I nodded, but as she turned to leave, she turned back and pointed at me, herself, and then Quinton, and imitated riding a horse.



I shrugged. Even though I was confused about what I really wanted, sharing then right now wasn’t an option for me. I wanted what I wanted and though I knew that was wrong, I enjoyed having my double life. She smiled, gave me the sign for ‘shame on you’, and then wiped her chin off. I touched my chin where she had touched hers and found that I hadn’t completely taken all of Q’s seed. I wiped it off my face and slid it in my mouth.



Awed by what I’d just done. she tip-toed into the room, bent down over me, licked my fingers, and then licked my tongue before tip-toeing back out, leaving the door opened behind her.



I turned my attention back to Quinton and began to kiss the tip of his now flaccid monster, but when I got no response, I lifted up the pillow to find that he’d fallen asleep. I wanted to curse him out for having predicted what I was going to do today. The fact that his cum was sweet wasn’t by accident and I knew that. Instead of waking him, I threw a blanket over his bottom half and snuck out the room. If only he wouldn’t have been sleep, he might’ve gotten the threesome he always wanted right here and now. I wondered if I should tell him how close he was, but thought better of it.



I walked downstairs to see the rest of the family unsure if they were aware of what happened upstairs, or just didn’t care, but I knew the issues I’d been having upstairs weren’t just going to stay in the back of my mind and I needed to do something about them and soon. I needed to talk to someone and soon or else I was going to explode.



*************




Simone




January 19th (Thursday)



For the last two weeks, my life had been like a dream. Michael became the husband I always wanted him to be. He called my job daily to tell me how much he loved me, helped me more around the house, and even remembered what foreplay was before we had sex. With all of the good things that had happened lately, my orgasm had come back and my anti-depressants I’d been eating like vitamins, had not.



Everyone knew about the changes, I’d told everyone who’d listen about how perfect my husband was much to the dismay of Laela. She was the only person who still believed the change was temporary, but since I didn’t want her raining on my parade, I chose not to speak to her for a few days. I had to get away from all the pessimism and all that negative influences that surrounded me, especially my aunt, who constantly reminded me of what I was doing wrong as a wife. Even if it was only temporary, I deserved to have a few days of joy in my life without someone bringing me down.



I didn’t know how long my joy would last, but I was happy. I woke up headache free. Whenever I went to work or came home, it was always with a smile. The expiration date on happiness came sooner than I had expected.



It was Thursday afternoon. I had done most of my work during the earlier part of the week so that I could just relax on Friday, but my boss felt I needed some time to myself, so he let me off for half the day. I phoned my husband before I left to see if he wanted too have lunch together, but his boss picked up and told me that he had to take care of some personal business.



Since Mike hadn’t called me, I knew it couldn’t be anything wrong with MJ, but I called my aunt just to make sure.



As soon as she answered, I asked her how MJ was doing and that’s when she began her rant. “Child, this boy is fine. He eats too damn much if you ask me. If you was a good momma, you’d–.” The last thing I wanted to hear was a lecture on how much of a bad parent I was so I hung up.



It was a beautiful 80 degree day, without a cloud in the sky. At first I was nervous about what might have happened, but the weather was so nice that I put any paranoid thoughts I had to the back of my brain. I walked out to my car, took two deep breaths before I opened the door, and calmed myself before I sat down. After the anxiety was gone, I started up the car and began driving home.



Traffic was heavy on I-10. Lunch time was always pretty bad, but I was stuck in bumper to bumper traffic, which probably meant there was an accident of some sort up ahead. With the sun beaming down, I rolled up my windows and turned on the AC to keep myself from passing out. Since I wasn’t going to be moving anywhere anytime soon, I began to look at other people’s license plates, trying to make words out of the letters I saw. In the lane to my left, traffic was moving moderately faster, so it was hard to look at their license plates, but with more people trying to get in that lane from this one, I chose to stay where I was and hope for the best.



After a few minutes of being sedentary, a man in a black Trans Am with tinted windows, pulled up to my left, rolled down his windows and honked at me. I’d thought about masturbating, but I rolled down my windows to see what he had to say, just in case it was something important.



For me to say this man was hideous would be and understatement. I could see why he kept his windows tinted. He was a dark skinned man and he didn’t take care of himself by any means. His hair looked like it hadn’t seen a comb in a few years, his face was covered with multiple bumps and bruises, and his top row of gold teeth didn’t hide his bottom, which looked like he’d just smeared a whole candy bar all over them.



“Hey girl.” He said.



“Is there something wrong?” I asked, afraid of what he might say.



“Naw, girl. I just wanted to tell you how beautiful you were.”



Even though he wasn’t attractive at all, it was still a nice gesture and I was flattered by it. “Thank you.” I said, but I made sure to show him my ring. “I’m married though.”



“That’s cool, but how would you feel if I just ate you out. We ain’t even gotta do it.”



I immediately rolled up my window and prayed that one of our lanes would move. Looking for a way out, I saw an opening in the lane to my right. I jumped in front of the slower cars, stayed with the moving traffic and within a few minutes I’d gotten past the accident and was on my way home.



When I pulled into the driveway of the duplex, Mike’s car was already there and I was surprised to see it there so early in the day. Since I was home early, I figured I’d surprise him and make our half a day off remembering. I grabbed my purse out of the car and looked for my keys on the way up the back stairs.



With the bottom door lock being broken for the second week in a row, I walked up the through the hallway, bumping into the landlord as he opened his door and tried to take out the trash. With all the ruckus he was making, I half expected Mike to come out and ruin my surprise, but he didn’t. I took my heels off and crept up the stairs, careful to miss the stairs I knew would creak.



By the time I made it to the top, I pulled out my keys and was about to open the door when I heard him walk into the kitchen, talking to someone on either the house phone or his cell. He sounded upset and I stopped to listen why.



I couldn’t hear the other person, but I could hear his responses to whatever they were saying:



“Why you on that bullshit again? I told you that I’d take care of it!” He paused.



“Look, like I said, she don’t know shit and she ain’t gone know shit. You keep yo motherfuckin mouth shut and we won’t have any problems. I don’t want to hear shit about you callin here no more. If you still want it, respect my rules.” Another pause.



“What? You sorry? Yeah, you sorry alright. Aw, there you go again. I already told you. What? You want me to say it again?” I chewed on my nails, hoping it wasn’t what I thought it was. I closed my eyes and sent him mental messages I prayed he received, but he didn’t. The next words he spoke tore through my soul and ripped my heart apart.



“Okay, I’ll say it again. I love you. You happy? You want big daddy to come over and beat it up again? Yeah, you like that nasty shit, huh. You lucky you can suck a dick or else I’d throw yo ass back where I found you.”



I gagged, ready to throw up all over the back hallway. But instead I covered my mouth and tip-toed my way back down the stairs as quietly as I went up. I ran back to my car, shoeless and emotionally destroyed.



I scratched all over the driver’s side door of my Oldsmobile 88, tearing away the blue paint as I tried to get the key into the door. After finally getting in, I angrily turned the key, causing a scratching sound in the engine. I took two breaths, closed my eyes, started the car again, and pulled out of my driveway.



I didn’t know where I was driving, nor did I care. I just wanted to be away from him. Away from that house. I needed to distance myself from all the lies and betrayals. Tears streamed down my face, partially blinding me, but I didn’t care. I drove like an angry woman, possessed by despair, barely dodging traffic, considering taking my life by ramming my car into another car–no, a semi. Maybe that would end the pain. Perhaps it was time I stopped hurting myself and began to let others feel what it was like to be me. That’s what I’d do. Everyone else would finally feel the pain I was going through.



Memories from when Mike and I met started to fill my head. I began to dwell on how we met in the Galleria a few weeks after the colleges had let out and during one of the hottest summers in recent memory. The mall was full of people I hadn’t seen all year, most of them because of school, some because of their military furlough.



He was in the food court with some of his friends; I was with 3 of mine: Laela, Teniyah, and April- a childhood friend with whom I later fell out of favor with. I was looking at his friend Thomas, but as they approached us, I could see Thomas’ eye was on Lae. Mike was the first to reach our group and walked up to me first. I’d never been approached with such interest, so I clung onto every word he spoke.



We talked on the phone for hours. I’d call him and not long after we met, I felt I could tell him anything. I could remember laughing at his jokes, our first kiss, even sneaking into his parent’s house to have sex when they weren’t home. Two weeks into knowing each other, we’d slept together for the first time. It wasn’t the mind-blowing sex he’d promised, but the passion behind it was just what I’d needed after some of the boys I dated previously.



After a five years of dating, he proposed, but only because I’d gotten pregnant. We didn’t even have a wedding; we just went downtown and were married by a judge who had a long list of potentially happy couples behind us. It was after the wedding that I noticed dramatic changes in his personality. Once upon a time he was gentle, funny, even spontaneous, but now he was nothing like that. He became just a cold and indifferent as the men I’d dated in my youth and I hated that part of him.



The sound of a blaring horn brought me back to the present. I turned left onto 610, heading west towards downtown and thinking and looking for something that could end the pain. Anger and frustration filled me up once again, but as quick as the feeling came, it disappeared, and now I was left with nothing but loathing. I hated myself. I allowed myself to become what I said I’d never be. I got pregnant and destroyed the Michael I loved. I was the one who drove him to cheating. It was really me all along.



The tears streamed from my eyes. “Maybe it’s time you go.” A voice in my head began whispering to me and it grew louder and louder until it became a megaphone in my head. “DO IT! DO IT! They don’t want you here! The only way to end the pain is to be in blissful purgatory! Make them pay! They don’t care, but they will when you’re not here for them to push around! That will teach them!”



The voice was right! Finally, I’d have peace of mind! They would miss me when I was gone, all of them. No one could boss me around anymore! I would finally be away from all the shit that I brought on myself! I began swerving through cars, looking for the quickest way to end it all. I didn’t care about rational thought, I needed out!



A couple hundred feet in front of me I saw a truck carrying heavy construction equipment, with a ‘wide load’ sign dancing on the rear fender. The sign waved in the wind, egging me on, daring me to stop its mindless dancing. “Bet you can’t stop me from waving!” It sang.



“Yes, I can! ” I screamed. “Damn fuckin signs and their damn dancing! ” I had to stop their carefree writhing. I needed to stop it. It was the only way to stop Mike’s voice from reverberating through my head, telling her he loved her.



I pressed on the gas until I couldn’t push it down any further and sped towards the passing lane, ahead of the truck. If I stopped the front sign, the back would surely cease as well. I was going to stop it. I was going to let the front ram my car so the back flag would stop and then it’d all be over and it would finally put an end to my misery. I looked in my rearview and picked a spot between the last “E” in oversize and the “L” in load. That’s where I’d let it hit me, right in the middle. I had it all figured out, now it was time for action.



I took a deep breath, placed both hands on my steering wheel, closed my eyes and pressed on the brake. “Forgive me, Lord.” Flashes of my life blurred through my mind, until the last picture came. It was MJ.



I threw my eyes open and pressed the gas as hard as I could. The trucks horn blared as he tried to avoid me, almost swerving into the divider to our left. I pressed my gas pedal as hard as I could, and my car responded instantly. The pressure I’d placed on the gas pedal caused my car to lurch forward and I sped off. Somehow I barely missed the truck, and nearly ended my life.



I took the first exit I could find, hoping that no one was able to write down my license plate number, and pulled into the first restaurant I could find, a twenty-four hour diner.



I pulled into a parking spot, turned the car off and collapsed from crying. I cried so hard and long that my head throbbed; my chest hurt, and became increasingly harder to breathe.



“Why? WHY? WHY? WHY!?! “I hurt. From the tips of my fingers to the depth of my person, I ached. I couldn’t do anything right, at least not the way it should’ve been done. I couldn’t live right, I couldn’t even fucking die right. I was no good to anyone and a complete wreck.



I dug into my purse and found the happy pills my doctor had prescribed. Still crying, I somehow managed to swallow four of them, even though I was only supposed to take two, but these were dire times and I needed something to work quickly. I pulled some tissue out of my purse, began wiping away the tears and calming myself down.



Half an hour after pulling into the parking spot, I looked into my rearview, gave myself some eye drops for the puffiness, and stepped out of my car. Standing up, I straightened out my clothes, checked for any traffic and walked into the restaurant.



There were only a few people in at this time of day, so I sat at the bar with my head down. The waitress, and older white haired lady, who’d watched me come in, walked over to me to take my order. “Coffee.” I uttered. “Black.” She walked away, looking at me as if she knew something was wrong, but I didn’t care. I just wanted to be left alone.



When she came back thirty seconds later, she placed the cup by the top of my head and spoke. “You okay, sweetie?”



“I’m fine.” I responded callously. “I just need coffee.”



“Sugar, you’ll never see me again and old as I am, it might be my last few days. I’m not asking you to spill your guts, just wondering what that man has done to ya.”



I lifted my head up from the counter; it was my turn to look confused. “How did–”



“Shhh.” She said. “Just drink your coffee, I’ll be back.” She walked away and returned several minutes later after I’d drunken half my coffee. It was then that I realized I hated dark coffee. I didn’t know how people did when it tasted like shit. I needed my sugar and creamer. “So sweetie, what’s the deal?”



“May I have some sugar and cream, first?” I asked.



She smiled and winked at me. “Sure you can. I thought you might be too young to be drinking Devil’s Coal.” She reached under the counter and pulled up two creamers and a handful of real sugars. “So who ya running from?”



I shook as I put the creamers and sugar into my coffee and looked up at her big brown eyes staring down on me. She reminded me of my grandmother, but since I’d never met mine, I guess she reminded me of her picture. “Um, it’s nothing. I just need a break, a break from the norm.”



“You don’t look like the type who gets physically abused, and you certainly don’t look like a professional man pleaser, so my guess is that you’re the other woman.”



I thought against saying anything, but I didn’t want to disrespect her by not answering. “You’re very observant. What makes you so sure?”



“Sweetie. Do you see how old I am? I was in here when Lincoln himself freed the slaves! Just because my wrinkles have wrinkles don’t make me an old fool. Wisdom comes with experience and boy do I have a lot of wisdom to share.”



“Really. You’re that old?”



“Yep. But this conversation ain’t bout me, it’s bout you. What happened to make you so sad?”



I had half a mind to get up, pay for the coffee and leave, but I didn’t. Here I was, sitting in a foreign diner; with a woman I didn’t know, thinking about confessing my soul. I’d always said I needed someone to talk to who wouldn’t be judgmental and who wouldn’t try to tell me what I was doing wrong, but now that I had her, I was about to walk away. I took a sip of my coffee and began my story.



“I met my husband in the Galleria–” I told her as much as I could remember. From the time we met, until the conversation I’d been unfortunate enough to hear, but I purposely left out the attempted suicide. The drugs I’d taken had my memory a little foggy, but I told her as much as I could before my head began to ache again and I just wanted to lie down.



“Damn, girlie. That’s pretty bad. What are you going to do about it?”



“I don’t know. I thought you were going to provide some free advice. Or give me some miracle cure all. I mean if you’ve been alive since the end of slavery, I’m pretty sure that you have something important to relay.”



“Nope. I don’t do advice. Too many people do the complete opposite of what you tell them and get themselves stuck in a worse predicament. No ma’am. Nowadays, I just listen. But I will tell you this; the only decision that matters is yours. You’re the only person in your position and therefore you’ll be the only person who can determine the outcome. There is no miracle advice, no easy road to go down. Either you make it right, or you don’t.

You look like a smart girl, but if you depend on others to make choices for you, then you’ve lost one of the most important freedoms God has given to us, the ability to choose your own path. That, of all things, you should always hold sacred. People can only tell you what they’ve gone through in their experiences, but those aren’t your experiences and may not hold the same end result you’re looking for. Don’t get me wrong, there is no one problem that you have that someone else before you hasn’t gone through and someone after you will face, but you must go about it your own way. Only then will you be able to see the correct path. I met a famous man who said it best, “Without struggle, there is no progress.” This is your struggle; now find a way to progress.”



Either it was the happy pills or something she’d said had truly lifted my spirits. The thought of being the master of my life, regardless of the obstacles, filled me with a new hope and a different outlook on things. I smirked and the right side of my face felt like it was cracking. All the crying I’d done dried my face out, but that didn’t matter. The renewal of life had consumed me.



“Excuse me,” I looked at her name tag, “Liz? I just wanted to thank you for everything you’ve done for me today.”



“Like I said, you’re a smart girl. You just choose not to use it, or show it. When you’re a black woman that screams that you’ve given up. Never give up, never lose hope, and never die without a smile.”



I smiled. As she began to walk away, I called her name again. “Hey Liz.”



“Yeah sugar?” She asked.



“I just wanted to say two things to you before you left.” She walked back up the counter to my stool and focused her eyes on me. “The first thing is the famous man you met who said, ‘Without struggle, there is no progress’, his name was Frederick Douglass. The second thing was Lincoln didn’t really want to free the slaves. His aim was to simply undermine the South’s army by freeing the slaves when the South tried to secede. When he signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, he still permitted indentured slavery, even in the North, until 1865 and after the Civil War was already won by the North. The North winning the Civil War actually freed the slaves, the Emancipation Proclamation just made it illegal to be a slave in the territories the North had taken over.”



“See, I knew you were a smart girl.” She winked at me and walked down the counter to pour another older gentleman some coffee. It was a good thing I stayed up in history class.



The pills I’d taken said for me not to drive for a few hours after taking and now I could see why. I was a little lethargic, but I felt I could manage. I stayed at the diner for another forty-five minutes, gathering my thoughts and trying to gather some focus. Unsure about what to do next, but happy to be alive, I left $5 on the counter and walked out to my car.



I sat in my car for another five minutes before I started it up and pulled out onto the street. I decided to take the street route back home since getting on the expressway wasn’t an option. I turned on the radio and tried to solve the riddle of my life.



“What I am going to do? Better yet, how am I going to do what I know I should do?” It was time for me to become the aggressor and stop playing victim. That’s the message I ended up taking from Liz. It wasn’t often that I played the dominant role, but usually when I did, things went the way they should, even if it was temporary.



By the time I arrived home, Mike’s car was still in the driveway and I felt invigorated. I marched up the front steps, stomping my way up, making sure he heard me. I wanted to make sure he was by the door when I came in.



Before I made it to the top of the stairs, he opened the door, and with a beaming smile, he said “Hey honey! You’re home early. Is everything okay at the office?”



“It’s fine.” I graciously answered. When I made it to the top and entered my home, he kissed me on the cheek. I looked at him with a raised eyebrow and walked past him. “I need to speak with you about something.”



He looked concerned, but didn’t flinch a muscle, making sure to falsify his look of innocence. “About what?” He asked.



I walked through the living room, past the dining room, and straight into the kitchen before I answered. “I want you, Michael Hall, to get the fuck up out my house.”



“What the fuck is wrong with you and what the hell are you talking about? This is my shit and you’ll be leaving before I do.”



I reached into my kitchen drawer and picked out the biggest knife I could find. I wasn’t going to use it, but if he put his hands on me, I’d be forced to cut him all the way from his ass to his appetite. I was as serious as I’d ever been. “So, Mike. Who do you love, besides me, of course. And really, who are you fucking? Since you can lie to me with a straight face, try lying to Mr. Knife.” I pulled the knife and tossed it around in my hand. He looked mortified. It was the first time I’d seen a black man turn snow white. “Don’t lie to me, Mike. Please don’t do it. I came home earlier and heard you. Now, either you can talk, you can lie, or you can take your shit and get the fuck out. I am so tired of your crap. You can leave on either your feet or with some paramedics, but don’t talk and you will be leaving.” He stared at me without uttering a word. “Speak up!”



The yell seemed to snap him back into reality. “I’m leaving, but when you calm down, we can talk.” He walked back to the living room and I followed.



He made me laugh. “Mike, I am calm. This is my calm look.” I frowned at him as he sat on the couch and stopped moving. “I don’t see you leaving, nigga.” He put on his shoes, threw on his jacket, and grabbed his keys.”



“Uh-uh.” I said to him as he picked up his keys. “I pay for it, I keep it.”



“But what about my house keys? I’m going to need to get my stuff.”



“Call me when I get home tomorrow and we’ll work something out. I mean you weren’t at work very long today, so I’m sure they won’t notice that you’re wearing the same thing.”



He gave me a nasty look and walked out the house without saying another word, but made sure to slam the door upon his exit.



After I heard the bottom door slam, I locked the top door, put down the knife, collapsed on my couch and cried myself to sleep.



*************




I was awakened by the sound of my phone ringing. At first I thought it was a dream, but when it didn’t stop, I knew that it had to be my aunt.



“Hello?” I was still half sleep.



“Lord have mercy, girl! What is your problem? Mike done called me crying and told me you done kicked him out! And you was waving around a knife! Haven’t I taught you better than that? What’s wrong with you? I should call the police, but I don’t want MJ without no mother! You need a man in yo house and your husband is that man!”



“Aunt Ida, I’m tired and I don’t feel like hearing this now. While you’re taking his side, did he tell you that he’s been sleeping with someone else?”



“Well a man wouldn’t have to go nowhere if his woman was taking care of him at home! That’s yo fault! Waving knives around like you– like you, what’s that boy’s name? Like you Freddie Krueger! Y’all need to talk and get past this. Marriage is forever!”



“Auntie, you’ll never understand. You’re still stuck in that old world thinking where it’s okay for your man to be a man, as long as he comes home. I want respect. I want to be treated like a woman, not a slave. Is that so wrong? Why do I have to be less than I am, just so that he can feel like a man? If he wants to run this house, he needs to act like a man. He should take care of his responsibilities. I don’t ask for much, but I’ll be damned if I get treated like crap.” Before she had a chance to say anything else, I told her that I’d be by in ten minutes to pick up MJ and I hung up.



*************




Fifteen minutes later I was at my aunt’s house. I left the Olds at the house and took the Maxima. I figured my car had enough excitement for the day and I felt riding in Mike’s car would help me to feel independent, but it didn’t. At least not like I thought it would.



My aunt was already sitting on the porch of her sixty year old house, a brown and white colonial style home, which she’d owned for fifty out of its sixty year of existence. The same house I’d been raised in since I was 12, right after my mother’s admittance into the hospital and untimely death.



My aunt was an older woman, 74 and counting. She was my father’s eldest sister and I was the only family I had left on this side of the Mississippi after both my parents died, so I was left to her care. Growing up, she was the strictest woman I’d ever met and as I grew older, the person I came to sincerely resent.



She was from another age and we lived in two different worlds. Whenever I was in grade school, she made sure I left the house in a skirt that reached well past my ankles, but when the school closed, she immediately sent me to a Catholic school. Since we had uniforms, fashion wasn’t a concern, but when I wanted to go to a movie, my aunt made sure that the long skirts were with me. Luckily, Lae and I were about the same size and she always brought me another set of her clothes or else I might have never dated.



After high school, my aunt wanted to enroll me in college, but I could never focus on doing the schoolwork, so I dropped out, much to her dismay. I got a temp job as a secretary, which lead me to office manager, but that still wasn’t enough for her, so when I met Mike, we moved in together after only six months of dating.



I walked up the stairs and past my aunt who under her breath gave me a “Humph.”. I opened her front door, grabbed all of MJ’s bags that were sitting by the television, and picked him up out of the playpen where he’d been sleeping.



I walked out the same door I came in, loaded the car with the baby bags, put MJ in his car seat and drove off without so much as a ‘thank you’.



It felt good to be separated. I could do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, without Michael’s supervision or permission. I thought about calling Lae, but a sudden rush of fatigue caused me to scratch that idea.



“I’ll call her tomorrow.” I said to myself and continued driving MJ and myself home.



*************




After cooking dinner for myself and finally putting a teething MJ to sleep, it was almost midnight. I found it funny that I could be tired earlier when I’d gotten home, but restless now that it was time to sleep. I considered masturbating, but I wasn’t in the mood, so I sat on my bed and watched a late night movie.



January 20th (Friday)



It was 3:30 am and I was still awake. No matter how dark the room became, sleep had escaped me and I knew why–I had returned to being alone.



The bed seemed so much bigger now that I laid in it by myself. There was no Michael to nudge me to the end, no snoring, no grunting, no anything. Every time I closed my eyes, I’d see him, Michael. He was smiling in my head, oblivious to what our future was to become.



I wondered what he was doing. I figured he’d probably call his parents, turn them against me too, and sleep in their house for the night. Perhaps, he was in her bed. The woman who loved him and his damn ‘Dingo’. I could see him fucking her in my head. Rubbing her, touching her, feeling–feeling her. He probably said the same things to her that he said to me when he came. She was probably some 5’7″, 130 lbs, big tittied, long-legged goddess, who moonlighted as a porn star. Star. That whore! Fuckin Star! How could she do this to me? How could he?



My stomach twisted around in knots. I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep, so I turned the TV back on, tried to watch the 10 o’clock news reruns and focused on erasing all thoughts of Michael and Star out of my head.



*************




After a long night without any sleep, I jumped in the shower, making sure to run mostly cold water. I left the bathroom door open to hear if MJ was crying while I washed up and brushed my teeth. After getting him ready and throwing on blue jeans and a red blouse for myself, I made breakfast for the both of us and we returned to the house of my thoroughly biased aunt.



I decided to take Mike’s car, since it had more gas and I was still a little shaky from what I’d done in mine the previous day. I was at my aunt’s house a few minutes later and having received the same treatment from her as I had the day before, I quickly departed after making sure the baby was okay and drove myself to work. I pulled out from her driveway, rolled down all the windows to keep myself from falling asleep as I drove, and turned on the radio as loud as it would go.



Due to the lack of sleep from the previous night, everything at work began to irritate me. My head was pounding, my eyes were extremely sensitive to any changes in light and the fuse on my temper was extremely shortened. I didn’t want to deal with anyone, but it seemed as if there wasn’t an end to the people who came by my desk to gossip. As cordially as I could, I told most of them to “Go away!”, but the truly persistent offenders got told to “Fuck off.”



By lunch, everyone had learned to stay away and I was ready to break down all over again. I sat in the break room, alone, which was the one thing in this world I hated being. I grabbed my overstuffed purse from out of my tiny locker, searched for the pills my doctor prescribed, and pushed four of them down my throat before picking up the phone and calling Michael’s job.



I dialed the number and then put in his extension. I didn’t know what I was going to say when he answered, but I figured something would come to me.



“Electronics, this is Mike Hall speaking, may I help you?” I froze up. “Hello? Anybody there?”



“Mike, this is Simone.”



“Man, what do you want? Forget it, I already know. I’ll be by the house at six to pick up my shit.”



“That isn’t why I called. I just wanted to talk. If you’re busy, we can just talk later.”



“I ain’t got time for this. What? What do you want Simone?”



“I just wanted to know how you were doing. Are you okay? Where did you sleep last night?”



“I slept at my parent’s house if that’s what you wanted to know. I’m not dumb, Monie, I know what you’re getting at. Why don’t you just cut the bullshit and say what it is you wanna say.”



“I—I want you to come back.” When he didn’t say anything, I decided to explain. “We’re married Michael. MJ deserves a father and I deserve a husband. What you did was wrong, but we can make this work. I can be a better wife.” I couldn’t hold back the tears any longer and began sobbing uncontrollably. “We can make it work. I know we can.”



“I don’t know if I want to come back. You got some things you really need to deal with and I don’t have the time to deal with a wife who acts like a child. I know things ain’t been great between us, but the last few weeks were good, right? I was doing what I was supposed to be, but you couldn’t help fuckin it up, huh?”



“Yes and I’m sorry. What do I need to do to make it better?”



“How bout we move on from there? I don’t want to hear about none of this shit no more. Maybe I’ll be by tomorrow or something and we can talk, but I gotta work right now.”



“Okay. Tomorrow? You said tomorrow, right?”



“Yeah.”



“I love you, Mike.”



“Yup.” He hung up without returning my declaration, but it was something I was already used to.



Since I really didn’t feel like eating, I sat back at the table and just watched the clock until my break was over. I then walked back to my desk amid awkward glances from most of my co-workers, but still too emotional to speak, I just sat down.



Everything seemed surreal. It was as if everything that had happened the last couple of days wasn’t real and somehow I’d wake up and laugh at how insane this nightmare was, but when I pinched myself, nothing changed. I was still fatigued at work, my face was still dry from all the tears I’d let go of earlier and everyone was still whispering behind my back. Determined to get out of work as soon as I could, I rushed through my work and completed the rest of my day without incident.



*************




I needed a few hours of sleep before picking up MJ, so I drove home first. When I arrived, I pulled Mike’s car into the driveway behind my car and walked up the back stairs to get some much needed rest.



I opened the door to find Mike sitting on the kitchen table, still in his work uniform. I thought about asking how he got home, but I didn’t care, he was back and I’d never been so happy to see anyone in my life.



“Welcome home.” He said. I ran over to him and collapsed in his arms. He kissed me on the forehead and I sobbed all over his work shirt. Everything that had culminated in me for the past two days had come pouring out of my body and onto his shirt. I cried so hard I could hardly breathe and began hyperventilating. I wanted to say something, but every time I tried, more tears came out. “Whoa girl, it’s gonna be okay. Big daddy’s here.”



It stung to hear him say ‘Big Daddy’ after hearing him say the same thing to another woman a little more than twenty-four hours ago. I wanted to speak, to curse him for how he made me feel, but nothing mattered anymore; he was here and I was in his arms. I didn’t care if I wasn’t a strong woman, nor did I care if I was a smart one, but regardless of it all, I’d gotten him, Star had not and it was going to stay that way.



*************




Laela




January 30th (Monday)



“I love you Lae.”



“I love you, Quinton.”



The first time I’d ever confessed my love to Quinton, we were on the phone at 4:00 am after our second date. It was a Friday morning in July and even though we both had to be to work in a few hours, we stayed up all night and talked about everything. I’d never been so confident in admitting some of the things I told him, but it felt so natural when we conversed. I was as comfortable as I was when I spoke to Niya, but whenever Quinton and I were alone, it was if no one else in the world existed and the butterflies that were confined in my stomach had escaped and spread throughout the rest of my body.



I asked him to sing me a song and after a little coercing he chose one of his favorites; a rap by MC Lyte called ‘Poor Georgie’. The song was about a man who died too early, but in the end, the most tragic thing was that MC Lyte never had the chance to tell Georgie how much she cared about him. After hearing the song, an overwhelming rush of emotion came over me and I began to cry.



“What’s wrong Laela? I didn’t think my singing was that bad.”



He had a crazy sense of humor, but hat was another thing I loved about him. “It’s not that, your singing was pretty good. It’s just that–.” I wasn’t sure I was ready to admit to him how I felt.



“Laela, we’ve talked about any and everything tonight. If you tell me, I promise to keep it between us. Ordinarily if I met a woman who cried on the phone, I’d just give you time for yourself and that’d be the end of it. But there’s something special about you. I really like you Laela Booker.



The dam had broken with the last statement he made and I quietly whispered it into the phone. “I love you.”



There was a pause and then he whispered back, “I love you, too.”



In the course of a week, we went from meeting at the DPS, to our first date at the dollar show and from there we went on our second date to a late night declaration of our love for each other. The only thing left to do was meet my parents.



I hadn’t told my family anything about Quinton and I already knew how each one of them would react. David, my younger brother and Quinton would instantly become friends because of my brother’s fondness for video games and they both had serious competitive streaks. My mother would be as she has always been, confident with letting me make my own decisions, but my father was the ‘ball buster’. At least that’s what my brother and I liked to call him when he wasn’t listening.

My father was always stern about us meeting the opposite sex, even when we were younger. He wasn’t a believer in love at first sight, nor was he the type to believe in the best intentions of anything with a penis. Whenever I brought a date to the house, he’d always ask him the big three questions: Where do you see yourself in ten years? What college do you plan on attending? What are your intentions towards my daughter? He even interviewed my prom date, who I made sure to keep away from him because of his questionable criminal past.



I could remember almost all of the speeches our father gave us through the years. The speech I always remembered was the one he gave my brother and I on my thirteenth birthday. My brother was ten when he took us into the living room, sat my brother and me down and taught us about love and friendship:




“Lae,” he said in his deep rich voice, “love is a word used all too commonly in this day. If you ask every person on this planet what love is, you will get several billion different answers, but there is only one answer. Love is about sacrifice and not about emotion. If any man loves you, then he will most certainly die for you. Not because he says he will, but because he confesses he will. If a man ever tells you he loves you, ask him why. If he cannot tell you that it is because he will die for you, then that is not love. That may be ‘like’, it may even be infatuation, more than likely it will be lust, but it ain’t love. To love someone means that you would rather sacrifice your own life to save people you may or may not know—that is true love and there is no other definition; no other hidden meaning. Anyone can say that they love you, or they may even say that they’re in love with you, but unless they’re ready to give their most precious gift of life for you, do not believe them because they don’t know what it means to love someone. One last thing, love should always be reciprocal. If you ever feel that you love a man more than he loves you, then you’re probably right and it’s time for you and him to part ways. If you aren’t giving him the love he deserves or he isn’t giving you the love you feel you need, then you are both wasting each other’s time.”



He then turned to my brother. “David, you are still young, but never let youth be a crutch for ignorance. A friend is someone who loves you unconditionally. They aren’t there to judge us, but will offer and give you advice whenever you need it. They are there to help you smile, even when their world is falling apart. Even when they do wrong, they won’t allow you to do it because they know that your friendship is worth more than their indiscretion. They might only have ten dollars to their name, but will give you eleven. That is a friend. Don’t make the mistake of meeting someone and calling them your friend when you don’t know anything about them. A friend will put you ahead of all else because they know that you would do it in return. That is a friend. A friend will never help get you into trouble, but they will do whatever it takes to get you out, even if it means their freedom, you hear me boy?”



We both nodded. He hugged each one of us with his monumental bear hugs and kissed us both on our foreheads before walking into his bedroom. I never forgot that conversation and managed to hang onto my virginity until I was already in college. After meeting my parents and having gotten approval from my father, I slept with Quinton that same night.



I was living alone at the time, not that far from where my parents lived and only a few minutes drive away from my job. Quinton and I walked through the front door as if nothing were about to happen, but once the door closed, we were throwing our clothes off on the way to the bedroom.



I had never seen his full body until then, but it was as chiseled as form as I’d ever see. With hardly any baby fat to hang onto, he looked like a black Adonis. Immediately after seeing him, I was instantly ashamed of my own form and how far I was removed from a gym, but he didn’t seem to mind as he slapped my ass several times while we walked through the hallway to my bedroom.



We both flopped down on the bed, naked and grinding against each other. Even though I was ready for him to be inside me, after feeling how large his pulsating member had become, I winced at how painful this ordeal might become.



“Don’t worry about the size.” He said. “I’m going to make it wet enough for me to enter.” He spread my legs apart and was ready to dive.



“Wait a second. I think I should tell you something.” Quinton looked confused, but he immediately stopped and sat upright. “I have another confession. I don’t want you getting mad or frustrated, but I can’t climax.”



“So you’ve never climaxed before? You’ve never had an orgasm?”



“No, I don’t think so. I mean it always feels really, really good, but I’ve never had what my friend Niya talks about. I mean with the screaming and the shivering, I’ve never had that.”



He smiled. “That’s okay. If you’re not ready, just let me know. I really–”



“Yes, I’m ready! I haven’t been this horny in a long, long time.”



“Well then, just sit back, relax, and let me take care of everything.” Quinton went over to my stereo system and pushed play. Music filled the room and he return to the bed. “Close you eyes.”



I did ask I was told and felt his mouth and tongue all over my toes before he slowly began moving upwards. “Take slower breaths. Breath in slowly, then out slowly.” Once again, I followed his instructions. He tongue had finally reached the center point of my excitement, French kissing my clitoris and sucking on the inside of my thighs. Soon it became increasingly harder to control my breathing and I began to moan. “Continue breathing slowly.” He demanded.



“It’s so hard. I’m trying.”



“Try harder.” The seriousness in his voice alarmed me, but the forcefulness of his direction aroused me.



My body began react to each touch and every kiss until I became so damp that I wanted him to enter me. “Put it in–please. Put it in.” I had never wanted anything so badly as I wanted him inside me that night.



“Keep your eyes closed.” He leaned over towards the night stand and the unmistakable sound of a condom wrapper had my stomach turning in knots. “Are you ready?” He asked.



I had never been so ready for anything in my life. I grabbed his hips and pulled him towards me, anxiously wanting him to fill my vacancy.



“Slowly.” He warned and he cautiously entered me. I felt every inch of him. Whenever he retreated, I begged him to attack and whenever he attacked, I tried to pull him further inside me. He never deviated from the rhythm of the music.



He was true to his word and slowly made love to me. After a few minutes of teasing, he pushed all of himself into me. I grabbed him as tight as I could and dug my nails into wherever they’d fit, trying to prolong the feelings he brought with every stroke.





He became the most persistent man I’d ever met. He contorted me into every position I’d ever seen, even some I hadn’t. An hour later, he placed me in a scissor position and touched a spot that had never been reached.



“Quinton, baby, this is it baby!”



“Shhh.” He said. “Let it come by itself.”



For the first time, my stomach started turning in knots and the pulsating from inside began to take over. “Fuck me! Fuck–fuck–fuck—-FUCK!” My body wasn’t mine anymore. I convulsed, expelling love all over Quinton’s penis. I tried to take in as much air as I could, but it never seemed like enough as Quinton wouldn’t stop hitting the spot. “Fuck Quinton! Dammit, here comes another one!” The sudden rush of built up cum came like a tidal wave over a small island and I collapsed onto the bed. “No more. I don’t have anymore.”



“That’s good, because I’m tired as hell.” And he collapsed onto the bed next to me.



I didn’t know what Quinton had done, but if the sex was going to be like this, I wasn’t going to let him go anywhere.



*************




During the first few months, Quinton and I hardly had any arguments and we became the best of friends. We had our struggles at the beginning with Quinton’s hidden past and phone book of female friends, but once I found his list of girl’s he’d actually slept with, he opened up and everything began moving more smoothly. As I grew more sure of how committed he was to the relationship, my jealousy began to subside.



Throughout the years, we outlasted most of our friends’ relationships, but every time we were at a gathering together, the same question would always be asked, “So when are you guys going to get married?” I’d always look at Quinton for an answer because I wasn’t ready for marriage yet and it seemed easier for him to say.



It wasn’t until my family had a moving party that I undoubtedly believed Quinton’s love. We’d been together for four years and had been living together for thirteen months when we were all invited to my family’s house for a cookout. My father’s job had promoted him to regional engineering director, so he, my mother, and my lazy brother were moving up to Cleveland, Ohio. I hated that they had to go, but there was such a big turnout for the party that I knew they were loved.



There were so many people that I wasn’t even sure if we had enough food to feed them all. Everyone who Quinton had invited had come including: his parents, Dre, his new lady friend Tiesha, Niya and Franklin, Mike, Simone, Aunt Ida, and even MJ, Simone’s newborn.



After everyone had eaten, Dre stood up and thanked everyone for comin, like it was his party. He went around the table and spoke to almost every adult the before coming back to my parents. “Mr. and Mrs. Booker, you know I love you guys and I wish you the very best on your future endeavors. If you ever need some financial planning, you know I got you.” Everyone laughed before he continued. “I know you guys are tired of hearing me talk, so I’m going to hand this over to Quinton, who also wants to say a few words.” Dre then handed him some roses, whispered in his ear and sat down.



“Mr. Booker, you didn’t like me that much when you met me and I’m not even sure that you like me that much now, but through it all, you allowed me to date your daughter and fall in love with her. You could’ve shot me at any time, but you didn’t and I thank you for that. Mrs. Booker, thank you for hiding the bullets.” Uproar filled the backyard and Quinton let go of a few giggles before continuing. “Mrs. Booker, you have the biggest heart of anyone I know besides my mother. Thank you for supporting us and always being in our corner.” My mother stood up crying and hugged Quinton. “There comes a time in a man’s life when he has to stop acting like a child and face his fears. We all have our fears, but I’ve learned that only be facing these fears will I ever gather the wisdom to help me conquer them no longer fear them. I fear what my life would be without Laela.” He turned to me and bent down on one knee before handing me the roses. “Laela Booker, will you do me the honor of forever becoming Mrs. Laela James. Laela, will you marry me?”



I was in such shock that I stared at him with my mouth wide open. Everyone around the table jumped up and cheered and a single tear fell down my face. Quinton then opened the box to reveal a 2 carat, princess cut, diamond engagement ring. He slid the monument on my finger before I had a chance to say anything at all. “Can I take that as a yes?” He asked.



The tears began to stream down my face. “Yes Quinton. Yes I accept your proposal.”



Everyone at the house cheered and it became and engagement party instead of a moving one.



“Let me get some champagne!” Yelled my father.



“That’s my sister!” David came over and hugged Quinton before hugging me for a minute. Hey dad!” He shouted. “Does this mean I can get a drink?”



“Get a damn job!” My father yelled back.



I kissed Quinton over and over again, elated that I was going to be married to him. He hugged me and we walked around the room showing off the ring he’d bought. All of my friends came up to admire it while the guys carried Q off to plan his bachelor party.



Quinton and I had spent the last four years of our lives together and we shared the most wonderful experiences I’d ever had. As long as I was with him, I never looked nor cared about another ma. He was the first and only man that I pledged my life to and now he had pledged his to me. I loved Quinton James wholeheartedly, without condition, and the thought of being his wife made me light-headed and indescribably excited. There was nothing I wouldn’t give to walk down the church aisle and accept his last name as my own. Quinton James had made me the happiest woman on the planet and solidified today as the happiest day of my entire life.




*************




“Laela, are you still awake?” I was lying on my side when she pressed her breasts against my back and stroked my arm with her left hand. I tilted my head to the side just enough to see her wedding ring glimmer against the street light that peeked into our room. She softly kissed the back of my neck and spoke again. “I saw you turn your head, so I know you’re not sleeping. Did I say something wrong?” She kissed me again. “Laela, did you hear me? I said that I loved you.”



She’d repeated precisely what I thought I’d heard and it did nothing to quell the uneasiness in my stomach. What I felt for Teniyah I couldn’t put a word to, but I wasn’t sure if it was love. How could I possibly love two people? How could I share the feelings I had for a man with another woman? I didn’t know what to say to her. I was so overwhelmed by what she’d confessed that I wished I could’ve just sunk into the bed and had time stand still until I knew what to do.



I’d lied to Quinton about where I was; something that I had become good at in the last few weeks. When my phone rang, I told him that the hospital had called me in because they needed help when the truth was that I’d snuck off with Teniyah for another hotel rendezvous. My body still glistened with sweat from the intense session that drained me of any fluids that I had left after having made love to him earlier in the night.



“Lae, I’m not asking you to leave Quinton for me, but the last month we’ve spent together has helped me realize how much of a façade my relationship is. I wanted someone who was independent and dominant, someone who I could feel would protect me, but Franklin’s always underneath me, like he can’t exist without me telling him what to do. I hate that he’s exactly what I didn’t want in a husband, but yet I managed to end up with him. To be honest, I haven’t slept with him since last year. I’ve been saving myself for the times like these because I like being with you and I like all the ways you make me feel. I can be who I am whenever I’m with you instead of putting up a bullshit front. I like going down on you out and watching you climax; when you do me, it’s like nothing else in the world matters–except you. I’ve been struggling with telling you any of this, but you know me, I can’t keep things in.”



I turned to face her so that I could see how she reacted to what she’d just said. The light that had shone into the room from outside had disappeared, leaving us in complete darkness. With the only source of illumination gone, I could barely see the outline of her face, but anything past her naked flesh was completely out of focus. It was then I noticed that tears began to flood my eyes, but after blinking several times, I was able to keep them at bay.



“So how do you know it’s love? How can you be sure?” I was so nervous that I began to shake. It may have been because of nerves, possibly because the AC was working overtime and my sweat began to freeze, but I felt like I had just gotten out of a swimming pool when a cool breeze blew by. “I thought you wanted to stick it out with Franklin. I thought this was only supposed to happen a few times, an experiment we called it, but we can’t even stop ourselves from sneaking off and screwing each other’s brains out. Teniyah, this is new ground for me and I need to see where I’m stepping. I’m engaged and you’re married; where is there a future in this for us? Do you want to be known by all of your family–by both of our families as lesbians? I don’t think I could. My father would never forgive me and I would have essentially burned any bridge with Quinton’s family. I don’t know if I’m ready for that.”



“I like to live in the here and now.” She said. “Every hurdle needs to be faced as it approaches. We can’t jump before it’s time or we’ll stumble before we even start. Look Lae, you know how I feel; you know that I won’t try to pull you away from Quinton and you know that I’m not having sex with Franklin. The ball is in your court. If you want to be with me and Quinton, then so be it; I can live with that, but if that’s what’s going to happen, I would like to start being a part of your life on a regular basis. Can we at least try that? It doesn’t have to be an experiment because we both know how we feel about each other.”



“Niya–I don’t know. I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t love the sex. I’d even be lying if I said that I didn’t feel the same way about you, but it’s not right. The difference is I love Quinton, but I feel myself wanting to be with you every time we’re around each other. All you need to do is look at me to make me wet, but he’s who I promised myself to first and that counts for something. In the last month, you’ve made me climax more times than I can count, but can we build a relationship off of that? I’m not even sure if I can survive without a dick. Maybe you can, but I know I cant.”



“Truthfully, I don’t think I can survive without dick either, but it’s been a while since I’ve had anything worth mentioning. But at least think about it.”



I opened my mouth to speak but she placed a finger over my lips. “Laela, you think too damn much. I’ve told you before that it’s your biggest fault. Sometimes you talk yourself out of things just because it’s easier than facing it. I need you to be in this with me. I won’t go anywhere without you. Just tell me once. If you really believe it, I want you to say it. I love you Laela Booker and my heart is yours if you want it.” She kissed my forehead and then focused her sexy brown eyes on mine. “I love you.” She silently cried out.



“I love you too, Teniyah Oliver.” Tears began to flow from my eyes. A sudden rush of emotion overtook me and my whole body became as weightless as a man in space after my confession to her. I became light-headed and indescribably excited, something that had only happened to me once before. For the first time in my life I was scared to death, but I didn’t know which scared me more; that I’d admitted loving another woman or that I truly believed it. Teniyah grabbed my hand, mounted me and we made love as a couple for the first time.



January 31st (Tuesday)



“This is kind of spur of the moment don’t you think?” Quinton asked as we turned off of 59 North and headed towards Bush Airport.



“I miss my family. It’s about time I visited them since I didn’t get to do it for Christmas.” I said.



“I’m just saying, you call your dad this morning and he puts you on a flight? No one’s died–have they?



“No, he just wants to see his baby girl. Besides, I need some time away from the city. I love Houston, but once you’ve seen everything, how much more can you see?”



“Anyway, I was watching the news. You know how cold it is up there? I don’t think your delicate southern skin can handle the Midwest. I’m from the Frost Belt; I know how harsh it can be up there. I hope you brought every sweater you have, you’re going to need them.”



“Spoken like a true Midwesterner.”



“Well how else am I supposed to speak? I still call a soda, a ‘pop’. C’mon now, what’s my name? Anyways, you didn’t forget anything did you?” I nodded as Quinton pulled onto the departure ramp of Bush Airport. “So how long will you be gone?”

“I have the email conformation in my purse. I don’t know the exact time, but I know it’ll be Sunday evening.”



We pulled in front of the skycap area and he ran to my side to open the door. “For Madame.”



I smiled and stepped out. I didn’t have much to carry, but Quinton walked me to the curb anyway. “What would I do without you?”



“Well, I could always let another woman take me away and we could find out.”



I laughed. “No, I don’t think that’ll be happening. I thought I gave you enough last night to hold you for the rest of the week.”



This time he smiled as he walked back to the car. “I’ll try to hold back. You just make sure to be careful, have fun, tell your parents I said ‘hello’ and tell your brother that I miss kicking his ass in Madden. And Lae, I love you.”



Suddenly it felt as if my stomach had become a bottomless pit. I wanted to return the sentiment, but my mouth seemed to dry up the instant my lips moved. So I had to mime it and cover my indiscretion with a wave as he drove off.



I walked up to the ticket counter; half asleep from the lack of rest I had last night after being with both Quinton and Teniyah, but I managed to get everything checked in and passed through security without the infidelity detector going haywire. I reached the ‘A’ terminal an hour before my flight and took a brief nap before boarding. Five minutes before my plane boarded, my phone vibrated; it was a text message from Niya. It read:



Last night was gr8! Quinton told me you were flying home. Runnin away from me? LOL. Wanted to wish you luck. I luv u. Really. Me.



I boarded the plane feeling more nauseous about my problems between Niya and Quinton than I did for my first flight.



*************




When I stepped off the plane, a blast of cold air was ready to greet me in the gateway. I pulled my coat out of my carry-on bag and put it on as I marched up the jet way from the plane to the terminal, bypassing the people who congregated at the top to make sure they had all of their belongings.



“Remember to pick your bags up at carousel 8!” Shouted one of our overly excited flight attendants and I began looking for sign that would lead me to baggage claim.



After only three hours of rest, most of them interrupted by my loudly snoring neighbor, I was still fatigued and very agitated as I looked for directions towards baggage claim. As I looked through the windows of the airport, everything I could see was covered with a blanket of snow. The sky was so gray and cloudy that it reminded me of my mood and I’d wished my parents moved closer to home, where it was sunny.



On our descent, the pilot had warned us that it was going to be a mild 24 degrees, with a very small chance of snow flurries, but even I knew that mild and 24 degrees didn’t belong in the same sentence.



I walked through Cleveland Hopkins’ Airport; seeing signs everywhere that welcomed me to Cleveland. After finding signs that pointed downstairs towards our carousel, I easily found my way towards baggage claim. Compared to Bush Intercontinental, the airport was considerably smaller and much easier to get around. I took the escalator downstairs and found carousel 8 directly to my right, with my mother already standing beside it, waiting for me.



“How’s my Boo-Boo?” She shouted in a nearly silent airport, hugging me around the neck and almost cutting off all circulation.



“Can’t–breathe!” I exclaimed, hoping that she’d lighten her grip around my neck.



“I’m glad you called to let us know you were coming, but a little more notice would’ve been appreciated. Your father almost had a heart attack when you called so early in the morning. He thought that something had gone wrong as he was ready to drive back to Houston if necessary. But he was more than happy to buy the tickets for his little girl to come see him. I may be old, but I’m not naïve Laela. Is everything alright with you and Quinton?”



“Yes mommy, everything is okay. I just missed you guys and I wanted to get out of Houston for a little while. Besides, I wanted to see what the big deal about airplanes was.”



“Uh-huh.” My mother was not one to usually fall for my brand of bull and I didn’t expect her to now, but I was too tired to come up with a better lie. Even after all these years, I still couldn’t lie to her and get away with it. “Well, we’ll talk later, the conveyer belt is about to move.”



After fifty years of life, Lashae Booker still had the radiance of a miniature sun when she smiled. My mother still looked younger than her age would suggest and she such a beautiful woman and that I was glad to see the cold weather didn’t do anything to take away from her natural glow. She was still the golden complexioned queen I’d grown up with and though we shared a lot of the same features, I hoped that I would look as good as her at her age, especially after having two children. In the last few years, either she’d shrunk in stature or I’d finally grown taller than her, but she still stood with her head up and shoulders back; my mother- the runway model.



“It’s nice to know that the cold weather isn’t treating you too badly. With all this snow around, I thought you’d probably be frowning more often.” I said.



“Actually, it’s better for me than the burning sun being out all day and melting my face away.” We laughed. “Besides, I love snow. Maybe it’s because of the newness of seeing it all the time, but I still enjoy seeing it.”



“So how is it up here? How are the people? Are they as nice as the people in back home?”



“Well, we really don’t have that many neighbors. In Houston, everything was a subdivision, but here there’s farmland everywhere. The people are pretty nice and we don’t have to deal with that awful Houston traffic.”



“That’s good to hear.” I didn’t care too much for the snow or the city so far. I grabbed my garment bag and suitcase from the carousel and we walked over to short term parking. We took the escalator up to the second floor where she took out her keys, pushed on the alarm button and a shiny red, BMW Z3 Roadster lit up. “I see daddy bought you another car.”



“You know how your father is about cars. He sold the other two cars and replaced them with three new ones. He says they’re for business, but you know your father, as soon as a new model comes out, he’s drooling all over it.”



“What about David? Did daddy buy him a car?” David was my younger brother, but only younger by three years and had lived with my parents for all twenty-four years of his life. He was deemed the black sheep of the family due to his inability to keep a job or a relationship. For as long as I could remember, he didn’t know what to do with his life and that really got under my father’s skin; but whenever my father wanted to kick him out, he always ran to my mother and she always shielded him. It was no secret, David and I both knew that my mother would protect us from any ill will my father had towards us. “Is he still making him work at the flower shop?”



She raised her eyebrow. “Think about that one Laela. Has it been that long since you’ve been around your father? Do you even remember your father’s philosophy; the one he’s had since before he could work?”



“Yes mommy, I remember. ‘Me no workie, me no eatie’.”



She began giggling. “It’s always funnier when you say it, but your father is making him pay rent now.”



“It’s about time. You need to stop babying David or else he’ll always cling onto you guys.” I loved my brother, but it was too obvious how much they still catered to him. “I can’t believe it. You guys are actually making David become an adult. This is a big step for you mom. What’s next? Are you going to stop cutting his waffles into teddy bear shapes?”



“You’re not too old for me to take my belt off, young lady!”



“See, you guys are harsh on me, but when was the last time Tank got a good whippin?”



“Why do you still call him that? Tank? You’re the only one that says that like it’s a term of endearment.” When my brother was younger, he had a problem with bed wetting, so my cousins and I gave him the nickname of ‘Tinkle King’. As he grew older, and the peeing in the bed grew further apart, the name shortened and he just became ‘Tink’. Once he was in high school, we had called him Tink so often that when his friends overheard us call him ‘Tink’; they thought we had said ‘Tank’ and the name stuck.



I didn’t answer my mother’s question, I just looked out the window and the snow and ice covered ground. The roads were so full of salt that not they looked almost as white as the snow covered ground. I began to follow the highway signs so that I could remember how to return to the airport if anyone was to busy to bring me back. We took I-480 East all the way to the Solon exit. After a few turns we were on Aurora Road, heading towards the country. According to my mother, the drive usually took twenty-minutes, but due to the foul weather, it ended up being almost twice as long.



When we arrived at the driveway of my parent’s new house, it was a little after 5 0′clock, and the sun began to set. The view that I had made the sun seem like it was hiding behind my parent’s home and reminded me of an old painting I saw at an art museum. It was bigger than the house we had in Houston, though not as large as Dre’s mansion; but it was a farmhouse styled and my father’s company had the house built to my father’s specifications. The whole house was made of red brick, with the exception of the porch and the patio, which were both enclosed and both were made of wood. The backyard went on as far as I could see and when the garage door opened, I saw two of the other three cars my mother had told me about; a new silver Cadillac Escalade and a pine green Mercedes S-500, all newly polished.



“I see what you mean about his cars. It’s like a car show in here.”



“Well now that your father has the money, he really indulges. Cars are his only vice, but they’re very expensive vices. He took the Hummer to work. It’s like his third child, but it cost more than both of you put together.”



“So if all the cars are here, Tank must be here too.”



“No, your brother catches the bus to work. And then after work, he has his new girlfriend bring him home. You know your brother has a new girlfriend. I kinda like this one; she’s a big step up from the last one.”



“That’s the tenth one since he’s been here, isn’t it?”



“Yeah well, I’ll let him tell you about it. He seems to really like this one.” We exited the car at the same time and the trunk automatically opened. “We have your room already set up.” My mother said as she walked towards the trunk. We took my belongings in to find the house devoid of any other human life.



“I’m going to start dinner. I figured you’d want to see your brother, especially since he doesn’t know you’re here, so I left directions to his job on the kitchen in your room. Just go upstairs to the right.”



The inside of the house certainly had a country kitchen appeal to it. The floor, the walls, and even the staircase were all made from wood. I walked upstairs to my room and found that my parents had it designed in the exact way I’d had it before I went to college; from the canopy bed, to the Bell Biv Devoe poster, everything was in the same place it’d been in my old room with the exception of a brand new computer on my desk.



“You guys just don’t quit!” I yelled to my mom. I heard her laughing all the way from downstairs and just as she said; the directions to my brother’s job were on the bed.



“Take the truck when you go to see your brother!”



I hung up all of the clothes in my garment bag before heading to the kitchen, grabbing the keys from my mother, kissing her on the cheek and jogging out to the garage. Since the garage was attached to the house, I was thankful that I didn’t have to brave the cold weather with the sun going down and jumped into my dad’s Escalade.



I pulled out of the driveway and onto the dirt covered road, making sure to drive slowly so that I didn’t end up in a ditch on either side of the road. After some slow turns and a few miles, I found myself back on Aurora Road and headed north towards the flower shop where I’d find my little brother.



I was on the border of Bedford Heights and Solon by the time I saw Mr. Johns’ Exotic Flowers for Showers Etc. I parked the truck in the small parking area that was on the side of the building and ran from the truck to the store. I opened the door to find a short, elderly, black man, spraying flowers down with a bottle of something that had his shop smelling wonderfully.



The chime at the front door alerted him of my presence and he slowly turned around. “Hello! It’s not often I get such beautiful customers. How may I help you?”



I blushed. “I’m here to see David Booker.”



The old man instantly frowned. “Oh, you want him. Why you young ladies ogle over that nothing of a man confounds me.” He turned away from me and walked to the back of his shop. “David! I done told you about having these young women come to my shop, even when they’re cute! I’ll tell you this young lady, if his father wasn’t one of my best patrons, David would be very unemployed. Is that what you’re looking for in a man? All you young girls wanting these so called thugs and such.”



I wanted to chuckle, but I pinched my lips. A few seconds later, my brother came out wearing a smock covered in fertilizer. “Lae!” He shouted and ran to hug me, forgetting he smelled like a barn.



“Three feet please!” I shouted, slowing his advance.



“I forgot I was wearing this.” He took off his outer garment and tightly squeezed me. “How are you, sis? Why are you here? How’s it going back home? Why hasn’t Quinton been online to get his butt kicked in Madden?”



“You hug like mom. Y’all try to squeeze the life out of people.” He let go, but the old man didn’t seem too happy to see such affection. “I’m okay, I just missed you guys.” I hit him in his stomach as payback for the hug.



“Ouch! You still hurt like a girl!” He yelled, but he made sure to cover up the rest of his chest. “Hey Mr. John, this is my sister from Houston, Laela Booker; nurse extraordinaire and soon to be married–just so you don’t get any ideas.”



“A nurse? That’s a good job to have. It’s a good thing too, because you’re making my heart beat real fast.” He smiled and then disappeared into the back of the shop.



“Don’t mind him; he’s a dirty old man.” My brother whispered. “When he’s not upfront, all he does is look at old Playboy magazines in his office. So how’s my boy Quinton! I ain’t talked to him since we moved.”



“Quinton is cool. He enrolled in some classes so he’s not online as much anymore. But according to him, he’s tired of kicking your ass anyway.”



“Damn! The blows just keep coming! Anyway, he got me when I was a rookie, but I’m ready for him now. I gotta test my skills out on someone good. These Cleveland folks ain’t no competition for me!”



“Who do you play that’s no competition?”



“My girlfriend, but that’s beside the point. She represents Cleveland, so if I beat her, it’s like beating Cleveland.”



I shook my head. “So, I hear you got a new girl bringing you home. Tank, Tank, Tank, why are you still on the same old crap? I love you, but you gotta get your head on straight. Why don’t you get your money together and buy a car instead of preying on the helpless girls.”



“It’s too far to walk home and its fucking cold up here to keeping waiting on the bus. I practically freeze my ass off just waiting on the damn RTA. By the time I get my money together and buy a car, mom and dad will have already died and what would be the point? Just last week, I caught what they call frostbite and your parents thought it would be funny to pull a prank on me. After I tell them I can’t feel my fingertips, they tell me to run my hands under warm water. Lae, I swear it felt like my fingers were about to explode. Obviously, they knew it would happen because they fell over laughing. Did they tell you they’re making me pay rent and they make me pay for every meal I eat? It’s like living in a damn hotel! They’re sadists, Lae, pure and simple. And for your information, I don’t prey on women, they offer things and I have a problem saying no. I’m not using them if they offer it right?”



“Wrong. Using is using regardless of what pretty face you put on it. Do you even like this girl or are you just using this one too?”



The room fell silent. My brother smirked at me and said, “Lae, I haven’t felt this way about another woman, ever. Every time I’m around her I get butterflies in my stomach. Now that you’re here, big sis, I can take the rest of the day off and introduce you to my new girlfriend.”



“There are two things wrong with that, Tank. Um, in case you just forgot, you have a job. That’s number one. Number two is that I don’t want to meet your new girl. I know you too well to even get to know any of them that well. You get all involved, then two weeks later, you see something better and then she becomes the new girl, the new flavor of the week, the new Mrs. Booker.”



“Lae, when I say I haven’t felt this way before I mean it. I would literally be heartbroken if she and I were to break up. Just meet her once, for me. That’s not asking too much is it?”



I sighed. I hated when he made me feel bad and he was the only one who could do it so well. “Okay, we can meet her, but that doesn’t take away from point number one.”



Tank pulled out his cell phone and dialed the phone number for the shop. The phone rang several times until Mr. Johns picked it up. “John’s Flowers for Showers, how may I help you?”



“Hey Mr. Johns, my sister doesn’t know how to get back home so I’m going to leave a couple of minutes early. I just wanted to let you know.”



“Whatever. You couldn’t just come back here and tell me? You lazy ass, good for nothing–.” He hung up before finishing the rest of his criticism.



“Let’s go!” My brother said and grabbed his coat.



“What’s her name?” I asked as we ran to the car. I used the remote to open unlock the doors and we both jumped in and blew on our fingers to bring back the warmth.



“Oh, her name? It’s Janette. Janette Booker.” I punched him in the stomach for the second time. “I’m just kidding! It’s Janette Jordan.”



*************




Janette lived in Euclid, another suburb of Cleveland. With Tank directing me, we took I-271 North to I-90 West and got off on E.260th. We made a right at the bottom of the off ramp and drove all the way down until we saw Lakeshore Boulevard. We made a left at the turn signal, then after driving for fifteen more seconds, we made another left and went down another numbered street to a green and white house; where we pulled into the driveway.



“She lives all the way over here? This is a long way to go to pick you up from work and then turn around and drive home. Janette must really love your crazy ass.”



“What can I say? I’m lovable.” He pulled his cell phone out of his pocket and dialed another number. “I’m outside.” He said and hung up.



When the front door to the single story house opened, my brother zipped his coat back to its very top, opened the door and ran up the stone steps into the house.



It was a decent looking community of all single storied houses and looking at the condition of some of the cars, I was a little worried about leaving my father’s Escalade unattended, but there were several Cadillac trucks parked on the street, already covered with snow, which helped to calm my nerves. I got out of the car, set the alarm, and inched my way up the house’s frozen steps.



By the time I made it into the house, Janette and my brother were already kissing intimately. “I didn’t mean to interrupt.” I said as I covered my eyes.



She pulled away from him. “I’m sorry, he attacked me. It’s nice to finally meet you Laela. I’ve heard a lot of good things about you.” She came over and hugged me while Tank disappeared into the kitchen.

“From Tank? Wow, will wonders never cease?”



She laughed. “You’d be surprised. All he ever talks about is his big sister, the super nurse.”



“Nurse, yes. Super, occasionally.” We both giggled like school girls. That was the first time I got a good look at Janette. She was the color of brown sugar and very pretty, completely opposite of my brother who was high yellow. She wasn’t very tall, about 3-4 inches shorter than I was, which put her at about 5’3″ and she wore micro-braids which looked really nice on her. She wore a large green sweater with blue jeans and open toed slippers that revealed a beautiful pedicure on some cute feet. I was instantly jealous of how nice her feet looked.



“I’m in school to be a nurse, too. This is my last semester. I’m getting my clinicals out the way now and I’ve already applied at some of the major hospitals around here. Right now they have me doing rotating in onco/gyno, but I’ve already fallen in love with L & D.”



I was impressed. Usually my brother went for the pretty girl with no brains, but Janette actually had some substance. “My brother has finally found someone with a plan. I’m so proud of you Tank!” I shouted into the kitchen.



“Bite me!” He yelled back.



I turned back to Janette. “Well, if you ever need some help, be sure to call me. I can help you get ready for your NCLEX.”



While Tank stayed in the kitchen to feed his face, Janette and I sat in her living room conversing about the joys and pains of being a nurse. She was easy to talk to and I knew why my brother had been so infatuated with her. Already in her last year, that meant thirty hour weeks for clinicals, so it really didn’t leave her time to do anything else. I wondered how she was able to pick up and drop off my brother and pay for the house, but since it was none of my business I didn’t ask.



“I just finished up on of my 8-hour clinical shifts and it was hell. I emptied more JP drains and colostomy bags than I care to remember. Not only that, but we had to lift and ambulate a 500 pound lady who was wasting away with pressure ulcers, Stage 3 and 4. Horrific to look at. I can’t imagine it being that hard all the time. After all these years of being a nurse, do you still feel the same?”



“Well,” I began, “there are some days that you’re happy to be there and other days you just want to hit a patient in the mouth. But more that anything, it’s the people you work with that determine what kind of day you’ll have. If you have a good crew, then you won’t mind.”



“Well, enough about that. How long are you here and what do you plan on doing while you visit our frosty city?”



“Well the truth is I have a lot on my mind and I planned on lounging. Lately I’ve been torn in so many directions that I just wanted to give my mind a chance to think.”



Tank reappeared out of this kitchen with a mustard stain on his black shirt. “And you won’t get a chance to do it here. I want you guys to get a chance to know each other. I don’t know the next time Laela will visit us up here, so I want you two to have some fun. Since Janette doesn’t have school tomorrow, why don’t you ladies go to the Flats or something?”



“I don’t know, Dave. What if your sister wants to relax?”



“She can relax tomorrow because nothing goes down on Wednesday. I would go, but I have to be at the flower shop at 8 o’clock, so that means I have to catch the 6:55 bus. Lae, that’s cool with you, right?”



I was tired as hell, but I didn’t have the heart to say no. “Yeah, I’ll go if Janette goes.”



“We can do that. ” She said. “Let me grab some clothes from my room. I already know what we can do tonight.”



When she vanished into her bedroom, Tank loudly whispered, “Isn’t she great?”



“She’s not your speed. You actually picked up someone with a future.”



“You just won’t leave me alone about that, will you?”



“Well, you make it so easy. Janette’s really a good fit for you.” I wasn’t sure, but there was something definitely familiar about Janette. In some ways, she reminded me a lot of myself and that made me a little uneasy.



*************




We arrived back home an hour later, with Janette driving her Chevy Cavalier behind us. Driving home in the dark with snow all over the ground wasn’t my forte, so Tank drove. If my father would’ve seen him, we’d both be dead, but luckily no one looked out the window when we pulled up and my father’s truck was snug in its own area of the garage.



We walked into the house from the garage and the first person I saw was my father, who was in the kitchen receiving instruction from my mom.



“Daddy!” I yelled and ran over to hug him.



“How’s my little girl?” He extended his arms and hugged me back after I ran into him. “It’s good to see you, little lady. Kinda spur of the moment calling here and telling me you’re coming, don’t you think?”



“Yes, but I missed you guys. Houston is a big place to live in with no family.”



“Yes it is.” He lifted his head and saw that we had company. “Hello Janette, how’s school?”



“Everything’s going well Mr. Booker. School is fine.”



He then looked at my brother who was sneaking up the stairs. “Boy!” He bellowed. “Rent is due this week.”



“I know.” He said and continued moving up the stairs with Janette not too far behind.



“I don’t see how that girl got hooked up with that boy. Anyway sweetie, how was the flight and how’s your husband-to-be?”



“The flight was fine and he told me to tell the both of you hello and before you ask, daddy, we’re doing fine. I would love to stay and talk, but I need to jump in the shower. It’s been a long day and I’m supposed to be going out with Janette tonight.”



“Already?” My mother asked.



“Well you know how Tank, um David is. He wants us to get to know each other.”



My father shook his head and I ran upstairs. My parents were good at reading me and I didn’t want them to get the chance to see that I was lying about my relationship. I wasn’t even sure how it was going myself.



In the room, I took off all of my clothes, put on my bathrobe and walked into the bathroom adjacent to my bedroom. The bathroom was about as big as the one Quinton and I shared, but everything in the bathroom was blue, including the tub and toilet.



After washing up, I dried off, wrapped the towel around myself and checked my email. I had seven total messages, but only one was from Niya. I was hesitant about opening it up, but I double clicked on the subject line, which read: Me and You.



Subject: Me and You



Hey girl, just thinking about us. I just wanted you to know about how I feel.



When we first had sex, I was really curious. I found myself aroused at seeing two women together on movies and just wondered what it would be like. The roughness of a man’s hands are great and all, but soft hands–mmm. When I touch myself, my hands are so soft and glide so easily over my nipples, over my thighs, over my clit. I wanted the same thing just not my own hands, but some just as soft though.



I know you may be wondering if you’re gay, I was too, but the lure of good dick is too great for me to be gay. If I don’t get some soon I may die from an under used pussy. I’m sorry if I scared you by telling you I loved you, but I do things in my life because I desire to do so not because I want to bring chaos into our lives. Tasting you is one of my greatest pleasures and seeing you climax is one of my greatest conquests and what you do to me–it makes me shiver at the computer thinking about it. I’m even masturbating while I type, thinking about you.



Franklin doesn’t understand, nor has he ever. My man needs to have an independence of his own. Being manly is very important I need to feel like I am in protective company, not like I have to make all the decisions and take care of all the business, making me the man of the house. I don’t think I even love him. Not that I ever have, but I always felt that it would come eventually. Just to keep him happy though, I do give him head from time to time so he doesn’t want any pussy. I wanted you to know that. I didn’t want you fell like you taste Franklin even though I know I’ve tasted Quinton. I’m thinking of telling him everything about us (you and me) being together and how I don’t think the twins are his. I might as well come fully clean so that he understands why I don’t love him and why we can’t be together. I know that we raised the kids together, but I don’t think I can stay with him because of them any longer. I love my kids more than anything, but I can’t keep being miserable in the same house with a man I have absolutely no feelings for. I may just run away with my kids. It’s tearing me apart inside. I’m not sure what to do. Maybe we can move in with you and Quinton–wink, wink.



Lae, I really want to be with you and if that means being with Quinton as well, I’d do it. I’ll let him put it anywhere you ask. I want you to be happy and I don’t want you to have to make a choice. You make me happy. You make me horny and the only reason I continue working at that hospital is so we can visit ‘the room’ and screw each others brains out. I’m torn and don’t know what to do. Let me know how you feel. W/B/S



NiYa




Reading the email forged a lump into the back of my throat. I knew how I felt about Teniyah and Quinton, but if she told Franklin, it wouldn’t be long before it got back to Quinton. Not long after that, it would be told to his parents and eventually mine. My stomach began to turn. I stood up, letting my towel fall to the ground and began to pace around the room. I thought about calling Teniyah but I needed to speak to her without anyone around.



“If I email it to her, she may not get it until too late.” I thought to myself.



“Laela are you ready–” Janette had walked into my room unannounced and saw me naked.



I tried to cover as best I could, folding my arms over my breasts and bending over, but she stared in awe with her jaw dropped. “I’m so sorry!” She blurted out and closed the door as fast as she came in.



I found my towel on the floor and put it on as fast as I could. “Why me?” I thought. “Why did this have to happen to me?” Not only had my brother’s girlfriend seen me naked, but Niya’s impending confession had my stomach doing flips, a significant upgrade from the turns they were doing a few minutes ago.



“I’m going to have to email her and pray that she gets it.” I sat back down at the computer and began to type as fast as I could.



Re: Subject: Me and You



Niya, you mean so much to me.



I guess the reason why I’ve fallen for you so fast is that I’ve cared for you for so long and I know you would never do me wrong. There are so many things that I’ve shared with you and through it all; you’ve always been trustworthy and in my corner, even when I was clearly wrong.



To be honest with you, I wanted to be with you before you even suggested it. I’ve always been curious and when we met, I knew you’d be my first. When you told me about the guys you’d mess around with, the reason I listened is because I secretly fantasized that they were me. I would dream that it was me on top of you and you’d scream my name over and over again. Almost every night, when you slept, I would masturbate to the thoughts of you making love to me. When you decided to marry Franklin, I gave up all hope of us getting together for that crazy fling, but when you approached me after Thanksgiving, the burning in my belly had been re-ignited.



The reason I was so nervous was because we both had lives. You were married and I was engaged. I wasn’t sure if you just wanted to do it with me out of convenience or if you were prepping me for a threesome with Franklin, but I was afraid of what the outcome would be. What if I liked it? What if I didn’t want to give it up? I know the answers to both of these questions. I do like it and I don’t want to give it up. What I don’t know is how long this will last or even if it will last at all.



I have a sure thing with Quinton and I love him as well. You and I don’t even know what we want out of this. I know it’s not about the sex, no matter how earth-shattering it is, but what I do wonder is what future do we have? I know you’re unhappy with Franklin, but I don’t want you to jump from one boat to another just because it looks great over here. I would do anything to make you happy, including living with us, but I can’t be the next failed relationship with you. You are my friend, my first female crush, and my secret lover, but you can’t be my boyfriend, or my husband.



Our friendship has gone beyond those borders of a common friendship and I am willing to sail those waters with you, but I’m not ready for the only crew to be me and you. I love you, Niya. I really, really do, but we both need to take some time and think this out before it moves too fast. If we make it in a relationship it will be because we took the time to make it work, not because we jumped in with our hearts and never took the time to rationalize it with our brains.



As far as the threesome, I like being stingy with you. I don’t want to have to share you right now, but I don’t want to share Quinton either. I know that’s being selfish, but like you, I LOVE my good dick and Quinton has that. Maybe we’ll see if he can let you borrow some–LOL. I saw the way you were gawking at his parent’s house.



All I’m saying is that maybe you should hold off on announcing how we feel to the world. I don’t want to be rash. If this makes you not want to be with me anymore, I’d love to change your mind, but I have to be sure. I hope you understand. I do love you.



Lae




I sent the email and prayed she received it I time, but the anxiety I was feeling was doing a number on my digestive system. After reading her email, I wasn’t feeling too sexy. I went through the closet and picked out a pair of brown jeans and a tan blouse. I then put on my brown boots and left my room to find Janette.



My parents had already gone to their room for the evening and I found Janette sitting on the couch in my parent’s downstairs living room. She looked completely different from when I’d seen her earlier. She’d traded in her slippers for sandals and when I’d seen her before, she’s worn clothes that seemed oversized for her small frame. But as she stood up off the couch to greet me, she wore black dress pants, with a matching black vest and a stain tube top. The outfit made her breasts appear huge, much larger than mine, and flaunted the muscular contours she had in her arms.



“Laela, I am so, so sorry. I didn’t mean to barge in. I just thought that you were ready and I just made a mistake.”



“It’s okay.” I lied. I was only used to one woman seeing me naked. “I should’ve locked the door. What’s done it done, so let’s go have some fun. You’re driving.”



She pulled the keys out of her purse and we began walking to the car when my father called out.



“Laela! Laela! Come here.”



Janette turned around to come with me, but I suggested that she warm up the car and I walked over to see my father. “Yes daddy?”



“I just wanted to give you this, just in case.” He handed me his platinum MasterCard. “If anything goes wrong, just use this. Don’t tell your mom.” He kissed me on the cheek and walked back to his room.



“Thank you!” I loudly whispered. He turned, smirked and walked into his room.



*************




Janette apologized a second time when I got into the car, but I quickly reminded her of how everyone makes mistakes.



After twenty minutes of driving and talking, I decided to ask her where we were going.



“A friend of mine told me how they’re having an all male review down at The Tropolis and I thought that since we’re two ladies, we should go.”



“That’s not a bad idea. Nothing like some guys hot, sweaty, glistening python in our faces to forget about what a crazy day we’ve had.”



She smiled at me and within a few minutes, we were in Downtown Cleveland. We stooped at an ATM, took out some cash and found a parking spot. It didn’t take long for us to get into the club and everywhere we went, exquisitely defined men were bobbing their members all over the room and being handsomely paid.



One dancer named Sexual Chizz-Noklate was my personal favorite. He was by far the most ripped and reminded me of Quinton; if Quinton had put on twenty pounds of muscle and shaved himself bald. Janette’s favorite was Taj, another dancer who was as bright as the sun was yellow.



In the midst of all the partying, Janette tapped me on the shoulder, breathless from all her screaming. “I think it’s time to go! I used up my whole wad on Taj’s whole wad. Besides, I think I’ve rubbed up on enough penises for tonight.”



I was kind of disappointed. For the first time since I’d been in Cleveland, I’d forgotten about all of my problems. Niya and Quinton were whispers in the wind and I was actually enjoying myself. But I didn’t want Janette to feel left out with all of her money gone, so I waved good bye to ‘Chizz’, as the DJ called him, and he returned the favor, without using his hands.



“Where to now?” I asked as we exited the club and ran to the car. The wind had picked up and the breeze was much cooler downtown than it was in the suburbs. “Damn, the chill has picked up.”



“That’s the lake effect. Any winds or precipitation that come off of Lake Erie are cooled. The result is called the lake effect. It’s a pain in the ass on winter nights. Anyways, we’re going to a bar in the Flats to relax from this whole ordeal.”



The more I thought about it, the more I believed I needed a strong drink to help take the anxiety away. At this point, I didn’t want to dull the thoughts of Q and Niya; I wanted to completely annihilate them. “Let’s go.” I said.



The Flats were less than a five minute drive away from the club. The Flats was a nightclub area that sat under a bridge on the Cuyahoga River. It was lively enough, for an early Wednesday morning, but I didn’t care about the atmosphere, all I cared about was getting something stronger than water in my system.



There were no shortage of bars and we picked the one that had the least amount of light emanating through the windows. We walked in without having to show any ID and sat at a table only a few feet away from the bar.



The bar was warm and diverse enough for us to take off our coats. I was happy to hear R&B music playing; it meant that we weren’t in the middle of a country crowd. Since we were in the midst of a couple handfuls of patrons, I was glad we didn’t have to worry about them closing anytime soon either. Not long after we sat down, a handsome white guy, with dark brown hair and a pretty smile, came over to our table.



“Hello, I’m Matt and I’ll be your server. What are you lovely ladies having tonight?” He asked.



I looked at Janette and read her ‘I’ll have a Matt-to-go face’ and we both laughed like we’d been thinking the same thing. Matt never got the joke, but then again, he wasn’t supposed to.



“I’ll have a VD.”



“Make that two.” I added.



“Two VD’s coming up.” Matt repeated and walked away.



“What the hell is a VD?” I asked. “Well, I know what a VD is, but I’ve never thought about drinking one.”



“VD means Virgin Daiquiri. We both ordered an alcohol free drink.”



“Alcohol free? I want to change my order.” I was upset that I hadn’t updated my alcohol lingo in a few years, but I wasn’t about to drink kiddie drinks all night either. “Look, this is the ladies night out. It’s just you and me. Me brother’s not here. Whatever we do, he doesn’t have to know about, unless of course you tell him. When Matt comes back, we’re drinking Tequila.”



When Matt returned, we thanked him for the drinks and then requested a round of Tequila shots and two glasses of Sex on the Beach.



“You must be a heavy drinker.” Janette looked worried.



“Nope, I hardly drink at all. But tonight is a night to experiment. I’m out of town and I just want to try something new.”

“You’re right. You’re my guest and I should be having fun with you instead of slowing you down. It’s just I can get a little crazy when I drink. I tend to talk too much and sometimes I can’t shut up.”



“Don’t worry about it. If you start to talk too much, I’ll just get you a muzzle.” She smiled and we drunk our VD’s until Matt came back with the good stuff.



When he came back, he brought us two glasses of SOTB, four Tequila shot glasses, four lime wedges, and two salt shakers.



We finished or VD’s and began drinking our Sex on the Beaches. After we’d finished our mild drinks, I had to educate Janette on how to take a Tequila shot, something Niya had taught me in college.



“Okay, first you lick a spot between your forefinger and thumb, then you dash salt on that wet spot. After that you lick the salt up, pour the drink down your throat and suck on the lime, got it?”



“I think so.” She set everything up just like I’d instructed her. We looked at each other, smiled, took our shots. “Wow!” Janette explained. “That’s strong stuff and it burns on the way down.” Her face was balled up like a little kid who didn’t want to eat his vegetables.



“Are you ready for the second one?” I asked. She nodded and we repeated the process with the remaining shot glasses.



After the first three, the world began to tip slowly sideways for me and poor Janette just went into an uncontrollable rant about her life. She kept talking about how someone named Nicole was just a bad friend. I tried to get her to change subjects, but Nicole became the central figure of her conversation. The fourth went down pretty hard for me, causing me to squint and burning my throat in the process; even Janette was affected by the extra alcohol, her speech began slurring and she began holding and rubbing my hand. By the fifth, I could barely hang onto the table and I decided to slow down before I passed out, but Janette’s eyelids were getting heavy and instead of rants, she began confessing.



“You–know–Laela, I—care—I care for your—your um, brother– but he—he just– doesn’t know–anything–nothing about–me. You know what–you know what I’m–what I’m saying–Laela. Jeez, you are–you are so–fucking sexy–to me. I’ve–dammit, I’ve wanted to have sex–don’t laugh –I wanted to with–to have sex with you–since I saw your– your um– picture. Forget about–um–Nicole. She wasn’t any good for–me. I don’t love her–no–no more.”



I began to laugh. “You’re too–too–too late.” I stuttered out. “I already have–a–um-a girlfriend.” I couldn’t control my laughing nor what I was saying. You shoulda–been there. I slept with her last night and it was so–so-goooooooood.”



“You have a girlfriends too?” She began to rub her eyebrows. “Me too! What a co-inkey-dink! But see,” She began, “. I’m not–gay. I just like–I like to um–to ah–sleep with women–sometimes. I’m bi–bipolar.” She fell out of her chair, laughing hysterically.



When she picked herself off the floor, I continued with the questioning. “So, you eat pussy? Join the frickin club. That’s why I’m here. Too much eating–too much sucking. I can’t decide.”



She styled her hands like they were scales and would move them from side to side while she spoke. “Pussy–dick. Dick–pussy. They both balance out nice.” She began to snicker. “Well I haven’t eaten pussy. At least not since–not since the last time I did it!” She began to giggle uncontrollably but she still continued. “”Not since I met–your brother. But before–before I met–him–I was in–in an exclusive–relationship with another woman. I loved her. I-I-really really did. But no more about–um-Nicole! I just–I get a vibe–from you. And I would–I would do anything–that–that you asked–me to do. And I would do it so good to you. I would–I would.” Her bottom lip was hanging from her mouth and her eyes were almost closed.



“Yup. I’m drunk, you’re drunk. It’s time–time for us to go.”



“I’m sorry–Laela. I–um–I didn’t mean–to offend you.”



“Girl, you ain’t offend–me. You haven’t–offended me. I’ve been with a woman before, so the hell what. I’ve just never had a woman try–try to pick me up before. You know what I’m saying?”



She laughed louder than I had heard her during the entire night. “See! See! I–know these–these thing.” She opened her eyes, looked around them room and said, “We’re not gonna–gonna make it–make it home. Should–we get a hotel room?”



“Yeah, we might have to? Can you–can you drive? If you can, yo ass ain’t driving me home. I’ll take Rita home first! Rita–that’s a funny name for public transportation.” I began to giggle but my head also began to ache. I lifted my hand in the air to get Matt’s attention, but it looked more like I was answering my teacher’s question.



“Hey Matt! Matt! Matt! Matt!” Janette yelled. “We need you! Help, we’re drunk and we can’t stand up!” We both began laughing all over again.



Matt came over as soon as he heard Janette’s drunken statement and told us that he’d already called a cab. “Hey Matt?” I asked. “We need a hotel.”



“A hotel or motel?” He asked.



“Ho-ho-tel. We need a hotel. Where is a good one at?”



“They’ve got a nice one just down the street at E. 18th and Euclid. That would be you best bet.”



Five minutes later, our cab pulled up and Matt helped us in. “Good night, ladies.” He said and closed the door.



“Good night, Matt.” We both screamed in unison. He waved and Janette rolled down the window as Matt began to walk back into the bar. “I love you Matt!” She shouted out and I rolled up the window as quickly as I could.



Our ride ended not even five minutes later. “Cleveland isn’t the best city, but you sure get to where you’re going quickly.” I thought to myself as the cab driver alerted me that we’d arrived. I shoved Janette, who had already fallen asleep and helped get her out of the car. She was still half sleep when we walked into the hotel, slumping on me for support even though my legs were about to collapse as well.



The inside of the hotel was probably one of the nicest I’d ever seen, but since my vision was still blurry, I thought it better to admire the architecture less and focus on getting a room. The bellhop had helped us up the first set of stairs and after I gave them my father’s credit card, the concierge was keen enough to give us a dual occupancy on the first floor. Janette had a little time to let the alcohol work its way through her system and as she became a little more alert of her surroundings, she was finally able to stand with using me as her crutch. Once we had our keycards, he made sure to tell us that checkout was 3:00 pm, any toiletries that we needed were in the bathroom and that he hoped we had a great night.



We made it to the room without falling on the hotel floor, but once we were inside we cut on the lights and the both of us collapsed onto our beds.



“Light–too bright.” Janette muttered.



“The light is giving me a fucking headache.” I mumbled. Since her bed was closer to the light switch, I figured it’d be easier for her to cut it off than it would be for me. “Hey Janette, you still alive?”



“I’m sick. My tummy hurts.”



“Damn. Can you cut off the light?”



“I need your help.”



I stood up and grabbed the ice bucket off the nightstand. “Here.” I dropped the bucket on her bed. “Just in case you feel the need.” And I fell on her bed right next to her without turning off the lights. “You suck.”



“Why do I suck?” She asked. “You got me drunk.”



“Yeah well I can’t blame myself. I have to blame you.”



“Gotta point the finger. But remember, when you point your finger, four more are pointing back at you.”



“Where the hell did you hear that crap?” I asked.



“Fortune cookie. It was tasty.” She smiled with her eyes still closed. “I can smell your breath over here; it’s stinky.”



“Yeah, well, yo momma.”



“It’s so hot in here Laela. Is the A/C on?”



“It’s all the way on the other side of the room. I’m too tired to check.”



Janette began rolling around until she sat up. “It’s too hot. I need some air.” She then began to take off her vest, followed by her top. Her exposed breasts bounced after being released from the prison of her top and her abs were as defined as a Miss Fitness contestant. The sweat from her body highlighted her beautiful form and I could feel my panties begin to dampen.



After her top came off, she lied back down, lifted her hips and slid her pants off. Her legs were just as perfect as the rest. The only things she had left on were her panties and her sandals, which laced all the way up to her calves.



I rolled over to be next to her and whispered in her ear. “You are perfect. You are so–so beautiful.”



She turned so that we were face to face. “Thank you.” She softly whispered and kissed me.



A fire began to burn inside of me and my body reacted as if this was what it had wanted all evening; I wasn’t in control anymore. My vagina and clit throbbed with anticipation and my nipples became sensitive to every touch of Janette’s hand. While we kissed, my hand ran over her arms, her waist, her legs and then inside of her underwear. She turned her hips away from me and allowed my fingers safe passage into her temple.



“Oh shit, Laela. That’s my spot, baby.” Her body moved to the movement of my fingers inside of her, but she pressed her lips back to mine and continued kissing me.



“Go deeper.” She demanded. “Deeper–yeah—fuck–yeah. I love it, baby. I love it.” She stopped kissing me, wrapped her hands around the back of my neck and began to bite my chest. Her hips began to move faster, thrusting towards me and I fingered her faster, complimenting her speed. Suddenly she stopped moving. All of her muscles bulged as she tensed and she squeezed her eyes tightly shut. I continued turning my fingers until she grabbed my wrist. “Take off you pants.”



I commenced taking off my pants, but Janette didn’t wait for me to finish. She grabbed the heels of my pants and yanked them off with one solid tug, taking my panties with them. Next, she sat me at the edge of the bed and kneeled between my legs, kissing me on both thighs before she softly tickled my clit with her tongue.



My body trembled with excitement and the sensation of her tongue on my already sensitive body had me ready to climax. “Oh shit Niya, I’m about to come.”



Janette stood up and began looking for her clothes. “This is wrong. This is so so wrong.”



I was dumbfounded. “I was so close! I’m sorry! What did I do?”



She looked at me with the saddest face I’d ever seen, with tears already falling from her eyes. “You called me Niya. You called me someone else. That–that happened with Nicole and now I’m screwing my own boyfriend’s sister.”



The reality of it all had finally hit me. I was making love to my brother’s girlfriend. I stood up off of her bed and put my pants on before walking back to mine. As Janette put her clothes back on, there was an awkward silence in the room until she turned the lights off.



“Good night, Laela.”



“Good night–Janette.”



I couldn’t get to sleep though. “What the fuck is wrong with me?” I quietly whispered to myself. I began to grind my fist into my head, trying to figure out what was wrong with me and I continued whispering to myself in the dark. “I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing. What am I doing? I’m screwing everyone’s life up, even my family! All these years I’ve turned down dozens of dick, but offer me pussy and I can’t so no! Everyone I touch, I taint. I don’t know if I can do it anymore! Maybe I deserve to be alone. Maybe I am gay and I’m just lying to myself. I need some fucking help. I need to come to some sort of conclusion or else I’m gonna go crazy.” With everything that had happened, I began to cry.



“Laela?” Janette was still awake.



“Yes?” I answered through my sobs.



“Can I lie next to you?” I couldn’t answer, I was crying too forcefully. Janette left her bed, lied down on mine and put her arm around me. “Don’t worry; I’ve been through this, too. The answer will come, but you can’t force it. You can’t force it.” She kissed me on the back of the head and squeezed me tighter.



With tears still falling, I curled up into a little ball, grabbed her hand, and a few minutes later, fell soundly asleep.



*************




February 1st (Wednesday)



We woke up the next afternoon with serious headaches and only fifteen minutes before checkout time. I checked my cell phone and saw that I missed four calls: two from my parent’s house, two from Quinton. Damn, that meant that Niya hadn’t gotten my message.



After checking out, we caught a cab back to the Flats, picked up Janette’s car and she drove me home. We didn’t speak any of the way home, but there was a silent bond between us. I wasn’t sure if she could remember last night, nor did I want to bring it up, but she had helped me more than she knew.



When we arrived at the house, no one was there and Janette waved at me as I entered the house. With no one home and my headache still pounding, I went upstairs and crashed on the bed.



*************




“Laela, get up.” My brother shook me like I was a bag of microwave popcorn. “Yoo-hoo Laela, we need to talk.”



I opened my eyes to find my brother sitting over me. “What?” I asked sleepily. I thought about rolling over and going back to sleep, but the alarm clock by my bed read 7:30 p.m.



“What the fuck? What the fuck? How come you didn’t tell me about this shit earlier?”



My stomach began doing somersaults all over again. “Did Janette tell him what happened?” I didn’t want to say anything just in case he was talking about something different. “What are you talking about? Why didn’t I tell you what earlier?”



“Lae, you’re fucking Teniyah.” My heart froze. How did he know? He couldn’t have talked to Niya, she hadn’t called me. I just looked at him like he didn’t know what the hell he was talking about. “Don’t give me that look Lae; I saw it on the computer.”



“Why the fuck are you going through my stuff!” I threw my fists out, trying to hit him with one of my punches, but he was ready and all it hit was air. He jumped off of the bed and out of my reach. “I should kick your ass for looking at my stuff!”



“Whoa, calm yo ass down before your parent’s hear you.” I lied back down on the bed. “Okay, so what’s going on, Lae? You never shut me out before, why now?”



“First off, tell me why you went through my shit. Why are you checking my emails?” I was beyond pissed at this point. My brother had gone behind my back and stuck his nose where it didn’t belong. I wanted to cry because of how betrayed I felt, but my pride wouldn’t allow it. “Tell me dammit!”



“First off, I didn’t go through your stuff. You left the fuckin computer on when you went downtown with Janette. You never even logged out and your response was on the screen. You thought you sent it, but you didn’t. You didn’t even check to make sure. I can’t imagine what your parents would’ve said if they came to cut the computer off and read what I read. The fact that I know is because of you, not because I was snooping around. If I wanted to snoop around I could, but I’m not like that and you know it.”





The thought of Niya not receiving the email had my brother not sent it brought me back to reality. I was still angry, but he was right, it was my fault that it was still on the screen when I left. “You still didn’t have to read it.”



He looked at me incredulously with his eyes wide open and his jaw dropped. “Laela Marie Booker, have you read the email. The subject was called me and you and in the first line you talk about falling for a woman. If I would’ve left some shit like that on the computer, tell me you wouldn’t have read it!” He was right, so I kept my mouth shut. “I thought so!” He exclaimed.



“So now what? What do you think about me now? That’ I’m some freak who can’t decide what she wants? You gonna tell mommy? What? Let me know.”



“Lae, you’re my sister and I wouldn’t think anything like that about you. Regardless of what choices you make, I love you. Just like when I make bad choices, you talk your shit, but you don’t think any differently about me. I just wondered why you ain’t say nothing to me.”



“How was I supposed to say it? Was I supposed to come up to you and say, ‘Hey Tank, I eat pussy now.’ Or maybe, ‘Hey Tank, better watch out for your girlfriends.’ How do you tell someone that?”



“I don’t know how you could’ve said it, but it’s still me man. I’m still Tank and I would’ve still taken this to my grave if you wanted me to. I guess you underestimated me on this one.” He looked like a wounded dog as he walked towards my bedroom door. “I know that Quinton is clueless. He’s gonna be real hurt when he finds out you know? I hope he finds out from you.”



I shook my head. “I don’t want him to know right now. I just need more time to think.”



“That’s my boy, but you’re my sister; he’ll never hear it from me, but that’s still some foul shit, man. You can’t continue on this path. Like daddy said, you can’t be in love with two people and continually keep both of them happy.”



“I know, Tank. I just needed some time away from the Bayou City so I could figure out how I wanted to proceed.”



“So, are you going to give Quinton a threesome? After how wrong y’all been doing him, he at least deserves that. You need to stop been so damn selfish.”



“I’ll think about it.”



“Think about it? Man if my girl did me like that, I would think the least she could do was make it up to me; especially if she wants me to come back. But then again, maybe not. I’m the jealous type, like you Lae. One some level I’d feel that they were screwing still, but just with me in the room. Do you know that in the month since we’ve been dating, we’ve never had sex?”



I thought about Janette and the night we shared together. In the last twenty-four hours we’d shared a car, some laughter, secrets and eventually a bed. I now knew why Janette hadn’t slept with him and was so ready to be with me; she’d been afraid that my brother may hurt her like Nicole did–like I did. As I listened to Tank ramble on, but I wondered if he’d ever really know Janette. At least understand her like I did.



“Hello? Did you hear me? I said we haven’t even had sex.”



“Well if you base all of your relationships on your sex time frame, they’ll always fail. Why don’t you try asking her what she likes? You never know, you might find out she likes the same things you do.”



His eyes lit up again. “You talked to her! What did she say? Is she going to give me some soon? I’m dying here Lae. My dick is going to dry up and then my new name will be Dusty, Dusty Dicks. C’mon Lae, tell me please!”



He began to grab on my shoulder, then he stuck his tongue out and licked the whole left side of my face. “See, I was about to tell you, now I’m gonna fucking kill you–a lot.”



He grabbed both my arms in a bear hug. “Lae, I’m sorry. Tell me please! I need to know!”



“I’ll let her tell you. It’s not my place to say anything.”



Defeated, he let me go and walked over to my bedroom door. “Next time you talk to her, tell her that if she wants to do a threesome, I’ll reluctantly say yes.”



“What makes you think we talk? What makes you even think she’ll say anything to me? And I thought you said you didn’t want a threesome because you’d feel left out.”



“You actually believe that politically correct BS I just spouted out? Anyway, I know you guys are gonna talk. You just spent the night together; you must’ve had something to talk about!”



“We were drunk! And if we would’ve driven home, they would’ve still been scraping us off of 480!”



He turned to grab my doorknob and let himself out. Since I hadn’t washed up in almost a day, I began taking off my clothes and preparing myself for a shower.



I just took off my blouse when my brother burst back into the room and I jumped back in alarm. He was breathless; like he’d run upstairs to tell me the house was on fire. After panting like a dog for a few seconds, he managed to spit out what he was trying to say. “You didn’t try to screw my girl did you?” I gave him a nasty look. “I just wanted to be sure. I know my girl ain’t into all of that, but y’all did get drunk and y’all was gone the whole night.” He lingered on the word night before he backed off. “I know you wouldn’t do me like that, right?”

“No David, your girlfriend and I did not screw. Now get out.”



“Did y’all kiss? A peck or something? I can take it if you just let me know–.”



“Get out!” I jumped up off of my bed and ran towards my bedroom door before he could finish his sentence. He quickly slammed the door in my face and ran down the hall to his room. I walked over to the computer and checked my email; still nothing. Next, I disrobed; got into my shower and hoped Janette wouldn’t confess our secret to David–ever.



*************




February 2nd (Thursday)



I awoke feeling a great weight lifted off of my chest and I somehow seemed lighter after confessing to Tank what he had already found out. It was still pretty early in the morning, but since the sun wasn’t up yet, I figured I’d eat breakfast and watch some television.



I went downstairs and saw David leaving for work. He couldn’t say much with biscuits attached to his mouth, so he just grunted and waved.



I made myself a bowl of cereal and sat down in the living room to watch TV. I didn’t care much for any of the local channels. The only topics of discussion were about a personified, fuzzy, brown mitten, which happened to see his shadow today. For some reason, they trusted this mitten to be a prognosticator of early sunsets, future snowstorms, and government reform, but I didn’t understand it and I really didn’t want to. So I turned to a cable channel and saw one of my favorite movies of all time, ‘New Jack City’ on.



About an hour later, my father walked out of his bedroom and into the living room. “All those damn gunshots woke me up. What are you watching?”



“Good morning, daddy. I was watching ‘New Jack City’.”



He rolled his eyes and walked into the kitchen. “You want some breakfast?” He yelled.



“Are you cooking?”



“Of course!”



“No thanks.”



“Lae, I’ve gotten better since we moved.”



I walked to kitchen and found him cracking eggs. “I had cereal this morning.”



“That’s a likely story.” I showed him my bowl. “I see you made sure to bring the evidence. Is my cooking really that bad?”



“No, it’s not that bad. But remember that meatloaf you made at the engagement party?”



“Yes, I remember. That was some good stuff; perfectly seasoned.”



“I think I’m still trying to pass it.”



“That’s a low blow, Laela. Anyways, your mom and I are going shopping today. Did you want to come?”



“Food or clothes?”



“Well, a little of both. Your mom is really becoming fashion conscious now and she wants to pick up a few things. I stink at trying to give her advice in the style department, so maybe you can help her in that area.”



“I can do that. When are you goys leaving?”



“In about an hour.”



I turned to run upstairs so that I could get ready, but I had one last question to ask my father. “Hey daddy, what’s so big about a groundhog that see its shadow?”



“Sweetie, I’m still trying to figure that one out myself.”



*************




After a full day of window shopping, buying, laughing and eating at Beachwood Mall, my feet needed to relax. Beachwood Mall wasn’t unlike the Galleria as far as stores were concerned, but the Galleria was probably three of four times its size. We had an allotted time for each store because of my father’s growing intolerance, but my parents had spoiled me by not allowing me to use my own money and not once did they ask about Quinton and I. I was very grateful.



We started our day a little past 9 am, but it was almost four in the afternoon when we left and traffic on Cedar Rd was backed up due to all the construction. My mother kept shouting out directions at the last second to my father on how to get home, that must’ve been where I got it from. By the time we reached my parent’s house, Janette’s car was in the driveway, which meant my brother was home.



I was still apprehensive about Janette. I wasn’t that I didn’t like her, I just didn’t know if I could trust her to keep our secret. I hadn’t known her that long, but I didn’t know if she was trustworthy and I certainly knew where her loyalties were.



My mother, father, and I were all still in the car when my phone rang; it was Niya. “Hello?”



“Hey boo.” She said. “I read your message. You’re right. We have been having a lot of fun and nothing is promised.”



“Uh huh.” I interjected. I needed her to know I was with my parents without actually telling her.



She understood. “Someone’s with you?”



“Yeah girl, that happened to you too!” I faked a laugh so that my parents would stop eavesdropping.



“Tell your parents I said ‘hi’.”



“Mom, Dad, Teniyah says hi.”



“Hello!” They both chimed in unison. “How are the kids and the hubby?” My father asked.



“They’re fine. Getting bigger everyday!”



I repeated what she’d said to my parents and stepped out of the car as soon as we parked. I pushed my face as close to the phone as I could and began whispering. “I’ve been waiting on you to call. You didn’t tell anyone yet did you?”



“No, not yet. I really thought about it, but after I read what you wrote, I figured it was a little too early to be jumping into a new situation. I want to give it some time. But, I need to be honest with you, I need some dick. I just thought you should know that I’m going to let Franklin hit today. My Rabbit just ain’t doing it for me no more.”



I was a little upset at hearing it, but I understood. I wasn’t jealous about her sleeping with him, but I did get used to having her for myself. “Tank knows.” I mumbled so that she could barely hear me.



“Excuse me? I know you did not just say what I think you did. After begging me not to confess, I know you did not tell you little brother!”



“No, I didn’t tell him! He read my email!”



“Aw shit, Lae. How could you be so irresponsible like that? Is he going to say anything?”



“No, no he’s not. I trust my brother.”



“Well, now that one guy knows, shall we go for two? Have you thought about inviting Quinton in?”



“What’s with the sudden interest in Quinton?” I tried to hide my jealousy, but I failed miserably.



“Don’t get mad at me! You get what you want, but I need some dick too. What, you think I’m going to leave you for Quinton? Haven’t I already proved to you how much I care? I haven’t asked you for anything but this one favor and you act like I’m a Benedict Arnold! Like I’ve committed mutiny on the S.S. Laela!”



I was fuming and I couldn’t believe she put me in this position. I didn’t ask to sleep with Franklin, so why did she want to be with Quinton? I didn’t like where this conversation was going. “What happened to ‘You can be with me and Quinton…? I you want, I just want you to be happy??’ You said that, not me. If that wasn’t what you wanted, all you had to do was let me know.”



“Laela, I don’t know what the chip on your shoulder is, but the lack of penetration is driving me crazy. I’m not asking you to leave Quinton and I’m not asking him to leave you for me. All I’m asking is can I be with you, in his presence, while we allow him to watch, and maybe let him hit from behind while I go down on you? Can I have that one request? You’ve never thought about a threesome? You’ve never even wanted to try?”



“That’s not the point. I just thought you were joking when we were at the party. I’m not against it, but I’m selfish. I don’t want to keep him out the loop, but–”The mental picture she had provided didn’t seem near as harsh as what I’d been picturing. The thought of Quinton climaxing inside of Niya was all that I could imagine and made my gut wrench. But I would have to be the first to admit that what Niya had suggested was arousing. “Okay, okay, I’m tired of arguing. We can try it, but I want to make sure there are some limits. And if we’re going to do it, it has to be on his birthday. He’s never said directly that he wanted to do a threesome, always joking about it, but he’s still a man.”



“That’s cool with me. So, shall I get the whip cream or you? When’s his birthday?”



“March 31st.”



“March 31st!?! That’s at the end of next month! Why so long from now? Why can’t we do it when you get back in town? Or maybe next week or something.”



“Like I said, I want him to think it’s a surprise for him. If we do this just out of the blue, he’ll know that we planned it without him.”



“So, you want to do it as a surprise for him? I like that. I can buy some handcuffs, a blindfold, and some other things. Yes, I can certainly do that. I’m getting excited just thinking about it, but I’m not gonna hold out any longer from Franklin.”



“Okay, we can talk more about everything else later. Where are the kids?”



“They’re at their grandmother’s house. They’re going to be spending the night so I can get some. Girl, would I be talking about needing dick if they were here? I’m not that kind of mother.”



“Yeah, but you’re the type of mother who may be hiding in the bathroom or reading emails while masturbating. You know how you do it.” I began laughing.



“Oh, so you got jokes. I see how it is. Well anyway girl, I gotta get off this phone. Since I’m gonna give Franklin some tonight, I might as well wash up and get started on the cooking. I’ll talk to you later. Love ya.”



“Smooches.” By the time I pushed the off button on my cell and walked in the house, my mother had already begun cooking and my father was just coming out of the downstairs bathroom, spraying air freshener as he closed the door to combat the smell.



“You and Niya must’ve had a lot to talk about.” My mother shouted from the kitchen.



“She was telling me about some of the drama going down at the hospital.” I lied. “Where’s my brother?”



“He’s upstairs with Janette. They’ve been upstairs for a while; ever since we came in.”



I walked up the all too familiar wooden stairs, turned left and knocked on my brother’s door.



“Come in.” He said. I walked in to find him playing video games, but I didn’t see Janette anywhere.



“Where’s Janette?”





“She’s in the bathroom talking to her friend Nicole. Once upon a time they were roommates, but they’ve got some drama going down and I don’t even want to be a part of that.”



“Where’s she at?” He pointed to the area behind him, his bathroom. I walked over to the bathroom door and knocked twice. “Janette, you in there?”



“Wait a sec!” I heard some movement and when she opened the door; her cell phone was attached to her ear. I then watched her as she wiped her eyes with her sweater sleeve; both eyes were red and swollen.



I hurried inside the bathroom and closed the door. “Are you okay?” I whispered and put my arm around her as she sat on the toilet.



She was hiccupping as she spoke. “No–I’m not–okay. Nicole–knows that I haven’t–told David–about us. She’s threatening to–tell–him. She has his–number because she–got it out–my phone. I can’t tell David–now! We haven’t slept–together and–he–he might think–that I’m sleeping–with her. She–just won’t leave me–alone.”



With all the muscles that Janette had, it was her heart that was her weak point. She was too good a person to be taken advantage of and I grabbed the phone from her. “Nicole, is it? I’m going to say this once, if you don’t stop calling Janette, I’m going to fuck you up something terrible. Do you hear me?”



“Who is this, her new bitch? I will fucking cut you, you don’t know me! Get off the phone and put Nette back on!”



“Listen here you low class dyke. You must not know me because I’m a crazy bitch. You big and bad on the phone, then bring yo ass. I’m from Texas and down there; we fight like women, with our hands. Yo punk ass ain’t even woman enough to fight without a weapon and that shows how pathetic you are. Don’t call her anymore or you’ll be dealing with the both of us.” And I pushed the power button. I looked at Janette who looked like a wounded puppy. “Janette, you need to tell him about Nicole. If that’s the only leverage she has, then take it away from her. My brother won’t be as mad as you think. Something tells me that he may be a little excited about it. Also it’s not your responsibility to offer yourself to him if you’re not ready to have sex with a man again, but help him to understand why.”



“Should I tell him everything?”



“Yes. Well as long as you don’t tell him about the other night. I think that’s something we should keep between us.” She gave me a half smile and I wiped some of the loose tears with my sweater. “I think he needs to know. If it’s tearing you apart that badly, you should tell him.”



“I’m glad you came here Laela. Thanks for, well thanks for everything.”



“I’m glad I came too. I learned a lot more coming here than I would have if I stayed in Texas. You taught me more than you know. I think you and my brother were made for each other.”



She hugged me and I returned her affection. After Janette let go, she ran some cold water, threw it on her face, and opened the bathroom door. I stayed in the bathroom so that I could think.



“Hey baby, you’re out of the bathroom.” He turned to look at her. “What’s wrong? Why are your eyes so red? Why have you been crying?”



“David, can you cut off the game? I need to say something.”



David did as he was told and listened intently on what Janette had to say to him. As I watched their reactions I wondered what Quinton would do if he ever found out. I knew one thing for certain; I didn’t ever want him to find out from someone else. I had all the advice in the world when it came to other peoples’ lives, but when it came to my own; I was as dumbfounded as a deer in headlights.



*************




Quinton




February 3rd (Friday)



“Good afternoon, Quinton. Sorry, we haven’t spoken in a while; I’ve been so busy holding things together over here. I’d love to hear how things are going over there and especially how Carmen’s treating you. I wanted to set up a meeting with you tomorrow night. It’s nothing formal; just want to exchange ideas with you about what we talked about a few weeks ago. This is Cheyenne. Call me when you get this message.”



“Main Q, that broad even sound sexy on the phone. I wonder if that ho will let me poke her.”



“BJ, get off my phone and come help me set up this shit for the meeting. I need your help carrying all of these papers and docs to the meeting.”



“Alright dawg, but what that girl Cheyenne look like? How old is she?”



“Don’t you have someone already? Is there ever a time when you’re not thinking about new pussy? Stop worrying about the voicemail and grab this.” I handed him the heaviest load of paperwork I had. “Now take this to the conference room.”



“Damn main. Alright, since you tryin to get rid of me, I’m leaving! And I ain’t comin back! And yo momma feet so stinky she got exhausts on the side of her sneakers!”



I shook my head at BJ, but the message I had him play for me on the speakerphone while I got ready for the meeting made me a little nervous. I hadn’t even thought about any way that I could help, I was just along for the ride.



I carried the rest of the paperwork myself and walked into the conference room to see the rest of my team goofing off. BJ, Marcus, and Leslie were crowded around the stack of booklets I gave BJ and going through them, looking for their names. Brian and Chico, both Latino guys I’ve known for a few years, were looking at motorcycle magazines and ogling at the pictures like they were naked women. And a recent addition, a young mocha colored lady named Toni, had a yellow Post-It note on her back that read: Toni Licks Clicks; a sure sign that she’d met BJ.



“Okay people this meeting won’t take long. I just wanted to go over procedure, give some of you your evaluations, and have a rap session on how I can be a better manager.”



Chico was the first to raise his hand. “Chico,” I said. “You don’t have to raise your hand. We’re not in school.”



“Okay, that’s cool. I just wanted to say you’re the coolest manager we have. I been here for seven years and you’re the only one I like.”



I smiled. “Thanks Chico, I’m glad to hear that. I turned to everyone else. Any other comments? Any criticisms?”



“Yeah, you suck.” BJ shouted out.



“Anyone besides BJ? Who coincidentally, I may have to write up for not only his foul treatment of his teammates, but for his awful spelling.” I walked over to Toni and took the note off of her back. She instantly went from a mocha color to the most flourished red I’d seen on a black woman. “BJ, what the hell is a click?”



“You know dawg. Girls have them? The little man in the boat? Duh.”



“That just shows how simple you are BJ. Women have clits, not clicks. I can see now your woman is faking any and everything when it comes to you.” Leslie sarcastically said.



“Anyway, we’re getting away from what we need to be talking about. I just wanted you guys to know that last month we were the best in the building as far as time on the routes, package on-time percentages, and customer satisfaction. I’m proud of you all. Since you guys busted your asses, I’m going to take you all out to dinner, my treat, except BJ, who needs to know the difference between a click and a clit.”



Everyone began to laugh and some pointed at BJ, who was not pleased at my suggestion. “That’s foul, Q main. I thought we was boys.”



After I finished laughing I told him, “We are, but you gotta learn to stop being a practical joker. I tell you what, I’ll pay for your dinner, but if I catch you chastising our new recruit again, you’ll pay me back for your dinner and hers. Is it a deal?”





“Yeah main, it’s a deal.”



“Okay BJ, hand out the booklets.” He did as he was asked, but he made sure to throw a look of contempt in my direction. “Each of these booklets lists where you are in each statistical category for not only this group, but for the station. Also, it explains about your benefits, policies, and all regulations. If you turn to the back, there’s a page for you to put your signature saying that you received this booklet. I want all of you to turn to that page and sign.” The ruffling and tearing of papers was almost immediate. Within seconds, everyone had signed and dated each copy before handing it in to me.



“Are we finished?” Marcus asked.



“Yup, we’re done here. Are there any questions?” The room was full of the sound of people getting up and leaving, but no one said anything. “This meeting is over and you kids have a great weekend.”



I was the second person to leave out the door, after Toni, but Leslie caught me on my way back to the office. “Hey Q, I can’t get in touch with your friend Dre. Have you seen or maybe talked to him lately?”



“Nope, I haven’t, Leslie. But the truth is that piece of business is between you and him. I have absolutely nothing to do with that and I don’t want to get involved. If you want to call me after work and deal with this, that’s fine, but as long as we’re here, we are not to do shit about it. I saw your numbers for this week and you need to pick it up. You gotta stop letting the outside mess with what’s inside these walls. Got me?”



“I got it. Oh, and Q,” she began as she walked towards the parking lot, “thanks for not putting my business out. You’re a good man.”



I walked back to my office, feeling good about a free weekend and also having been told I was one of the best managers when the phone rang and interrupted my personal high.



“Hello?”



“Hello, lover.” Laela sang.



“So she calls? The voice sounds familiar, but it’s been a while since I’ve heard it. Hello Laela. I thought you might’ve run away and even thought about the possibility of you never coming back.”



“What do you mean, I called earlier this week, but I forgot you had class. And you know there’s an hour time difference up here. It’s too cold, I could never stay here. I just called to say that I miss you, I love you, and I have a pleasant surprise for you.”



“Ooooh! Can I skip the formalities and ask about the surprise?”

“No! So you go straight for the secret? I see how it is now that I’ve left! I can’t get any love back?”



“I love you and I miss you. So what’s the surprise?”



“You’ll find out on your birthday.”



“Why even dangle the bait if you didn’t plan on giving it to the fish?”



“All I wanted to do was get you hooked and I did. What can I say, but I got it like that. Anyways, I just wanted to hear your voice. It’ll give me something to masturbate to tonight. I gotta go; Tank and Janette are waiting for me.”



“Who’s Janette?”



“Tell ya later. I love you, bye-bye.” As quickly as she’d called, she’d hung up.



I was bored as hell at home and she left me alone all over again. I hated when she did that. I needed a conversation with some substance and Lae was the only person who could provide me with that regularly. For the whole week, the only people I could talk to about work were Mrs. Cheyenne Glenn, my teacher from management class, and my reflection. Since she’d been gone, I hadn’t spoken to anyone outside of class or work.



Every Tuesday and Thursday I had an Organic Chemistry class at the local community college to get a foothold back in school so I could graduate. I hated having to start all over, but it was the only science class that I had avoided in the four year college. I didn’t too much care for the teacher or any of my classmates, but between class and work I hadn’t had the time to talk to anyone even if they had called. The crazy thing was even though Lae was on vacation; we still didn’t have the time to talk. She was with her family now, and Janette, and somehow we just kept missing each other. I needed someone to talk to before I went crazy from boredom.



I dug my cell phone out of the top drawer of my desk and dialed a number that I had gotten a few weeks ago. I didn’t think I’d ever call her. Hell, I thought about giving the number to Dre a few times, yet here I was dialing her up while my woman was away. It was a little nervous about doing it and I just hoped that Laela would never catch wind of this. The more I thought about it, the more knotted up my stomach became. As it began to ring, I contemplated hanging up, but as soon as I came to a decision, the voice on the other line answered.



“Hello?” She said.



“Hello, may I speak to uh, Sakilah?”



“This is she. Hello Quinton, I’m glad you called.”



“How did you know it was me?”



“I can’t forget a sexy voice like yours; not even if I tried. I didn’t think you were going to call; it’s been a few weeks. Where ya been?”



It was pleasantly surprised when she told me that she hadn’t forgotten me. It was a complete change from what I’d felt when Lae called. It was as if I was the last thing on Laela’s mind, but the first on Sakilah’s; I liked being remembered and was instantly invigorated by the confession. “I didn’t think I was going to call either, but you were honest and I liked that. Most women that I meet nowadays settle for less than their own, ready to take someone else’s at the drop of a dime, but you told me what it was without all the bullshit and mind games.”



“See, you’re making me blush. Watch out though, too much and I might like it. So how’s the little lady?”



“She’s doing okay. She’s out of town visiting her family.”



“Oh, so that’s why you called! I hope you’re not the type to play around when the kitty’s not in town. Did she just leave?”



“For your information, I’m not that type and she’s been gone since Tuesday morning.”



“And you’re just now calling? Where have you been? I know we all have our jobs, but I’ve always been here. You could have called earlier. We could’ve been getting to know each other a little better. One thing though, I know you ain’t trying to get no booty!”



“Why you playin me like that? You already know I’m not that type of guy.”



“Damn, too bad!” She began laughing at her own joke. “I mean I know. I was just playing with you. Don’t take me too seriously Mr. Quinton, I like to joke. If that’s one thing you’ll learn about me, it’s that I like to be a kidder.”



I smiled. It was good to just have a silly conversation with someone. Whenever I talked to someone this week, it was usually about work, which is inevitably boring. I had a conversation or two with Mrs. Glenn and we chatted, even flirted, but it’s hard to speak to anyone on a personal level whenever people at your job are always calling your name. “So how have you been?” I asked.



“Well, the truth is I’d be better if I had something to do tonight. It’s just me and Mr. TV and suddenly Friday line-ups are pretty awful. What happened to quality TV on Friday’s? Anyways, why don’t you swing by and take me to a movie, I’ll pay.”



The knots in my stomach returned and brought along a few of their friends. I opened my mouth to speak, but nothing came out. I didn’t want to turn her down, but I’d been alone for the whole week and taking someone out on a Friday night when you’re a little horny wasn’t an ideal situation. “I–I don’t know about tonight. It’s been a long week and I was thinking about getting some rest.” I hated that I stuttered in front of her. To me it was like waving a giant poster board sign that read ‘Weak!’ in red letters written in all capitals.



“Quinton, I don’t bite and I’m single. All I was suggesting was that the both of us got out of the house. I know you’ve been working. You’ve been alone all week and I know you’re lonely, especially with your girl gone. I’ve been workin’ a lot, too. The way I see it, we can go out this once. If you find out that you like it, you can bring your girl and we’ll make it a threesome.”



“You might want to reword that one. With me being a man, the double meaning leads to wayward thoughts.”



“Take it how you want to, but pick me up by 7 o’clock and don’t be late. The movie theatre is a fifteen minute drive and if you’re late, we’ll miss it. I stay at Bellaire and Highway 6, it’s in Sugar Land.”



“I know that area, I stay near Highway 6 and West Airport. We’re practically neighbors.”



“Well then there’s no reason you should be late. I look forward to meeting you again.”



“You don’t give people a chance to say no, do you?”



“You don’t know the half of it. See ya in a few hours. I gotta get all gussied up and smell real ‘purty’.” She hung up without giving me a chance to say bye, or no.



The thought of a threesome with Sakilah was pretty arousing, but I knew Lae wouldn’t go for it. According to Laela’s rules about potentials threesome partners, Sakilah was someone I’d met and that was against the ‘guidelines’ Laela and I agreed on. We’d always said to each other that if we were going to do a threesome, Laela would have to find the girl. That way we could be sure that the woman we chose had one main objective: pleasure, instead of a hidden agenda of trying to get me into the sack with Laela watching.



I pressed the off button on my end and got ready to leave when my office phone rang again. I thought about answering it, but my shift was over and I wasn’t getting paid any overtime. I needed to get out of this place and have some fun.



*************




“See, that’s that shit I’m talking about! My dawg finally broke out his shell and is on the prowl for some new pussy! I think I’m gonna drop a tear. You said it was the girl you met in the club a few weeks back? What’s her name and why didn’t I meet her?” Andre was practically falling over himself after I told him that I was going out. I’d thought about not telling him, but I had to after he threatened to pick me up and take me out himself after my week of solitude.



“First off, I’m not out for new pussy. We’re just going out for a movie and probably something to eat. Secondly, her name is Sakilah and the reason you didn’t meet her is because you were pissy drunk. Even if you had met her, you were so far gone that you wouldn’t have remembered. Take for example, do you remember calling one of my co-workers and professing your love? Speaking of which, you need to talk to yo girl Leslie. She’s on some shit and I think you need to deal with it before it blows up in my face.”



“Man, that bitch is off. Did I tell you that she just shows up here now? She doesn’t call, she just shows up, like we’re exclusive or something. I hate that more than anything. She came knocking on the door and peeking through the window while I had company. Truth be told dog, I was about to shoot her ass in the toe or something. Yeah, the coochie is top-notch, but it ain’t worth my freedom.



Also, what kind of name is Sakilah? You can tell that’s a black girl just by her name. What is it with black folks giving these kids these fucked up names? Like they’re not already screwed in life, but now you gotta give them a ball and chain too? What’s wrong with out people, man? What happened to names with purpose or meaning? Guess we fell off the wagon of with a belief system a long time ago.



Anyways, onto good news, I got the promotion I put in for. It’s not official until Monday, but they told me today. Instead of just being the super investment banker I once was, I’m now Senior Advisor to the COO of the company and I run my floor. That’s fifty-three employees under me! My base pay starts at 300k and I still make commission off of all my customers and employees. This shit is so lovely. I can see it now, my name in gold, a secretary, an expense account, and two months of paid vacation. Life is good.”



“Damn Dre, that’s good. Congratulations! I’m proud of you. Now let me borrow $100. I’ll give it back to you on April 31st.”



“That’s two months from now.”



“No, it’s longer than that. Believe me; it’s much longer than that.” I knew he’d understand it eventually, but I liked playing with his head; ‘Andre Townes, the super smart investment banker who didn’t know how to read a calendar’. I couldn’t wait to put that on a plaque and put it in his new office.



“This is February, right. April is only two months away. Let me look at my calendar.” He began to rustle through his paperwork until he found a calendar. “It says right here, April 31st, wait–there is no April 31st! There are only thirty days in April. You’re an asshole, Q.”



“I know, but I gotta get off this phone. I just made it home and I need to get ready for tonight.”



“So why wash up if you don’t plan on beating it up tonight? Hmmm? Are you going to powder your nuts too? Because you know Pedro gotta have fresh nuts whenever he plans on making an appearance on a hot date. Inquiring minds do want to know.”



“There’s this thing called hygiene. It’s a radical concept, but the results are miraculous. Perhaps I should send you a pamphlet on it.”



“Ha, ha. Alright man, even if you don’t get any, I’ll get some for the both of us.”



“Thanks, I didn’t know you cared.” I hung up and wondered who I had helped to create the sex monster that was Andre Xavier Townes.



*************




It was wintertime in Houston, which meant at 5 o’clock the sun was already setting and the moon was already on its way out of hiding. By the time I left my apartment and walked to my car, the street lights began to flicker on and I became noticeably aware of the chill the followed sunset.



I already had on my black leather jacket, but I brought an extra one and laid it on my back seat. I always had the misfortune of meeting women who were notorious for leaving behind jackets and other piece of necessary clothing. I didn’t know if I’d like Sakilah or not, but I’d be damned if I froze for chivalry tonight.



I called her on my cell phone when I left my apartment and I still had her on the phone when I pulled in front of her apartment complex at 6:50 pm. I was ten minutes ahead of schedule, but experience taught me that women are often rushing at the last second, so I wanted to give her some motivation to move faster. One thing I always hated was being late.



“I’m outside your building, are you ready yet?”



“I told you to pick me up at 7 o’clock. You getting here early just messes up my procrastination.”



“No, you said I was supposed to be here by seven and I’m here. Don’t hate me because I listen. So are you ready?”



“Yeah–well almost. Come on in, its apartment 107.”



“If it’ll help you move faster.” I turned off my car and walked down the only sidewalk provided. The sun had finished its job for the day and had gone down already as I walked through Sakilah’s complex. It wasn’t a gated community, but it was still well taken care of. The sidewalk was clean, the grass was cut recently and free of litter and the willow trees that stood next to the buildings had some of their lower braches removed.



All of the buildings were two stories and her apartment was the first one to the right in an ‘L’ shaped building, almost hidden by one of the willow trees. Her door had a wreath on it, but the 107 was still visible through it. I walked up to the door and was about to knock when I saw the mat in front of her door read ‘James Gang’.



She opened the door before I had a chance to knock and welcomed me in. She only had on jeans and a t-shirt, but she was still as beautiful as the night we’d been introduced her and her almond shaped eyes were as entrancing as the first time we’d met.



“So are you gonna stand in the doorway or will you come in?” She asked.



“You know us vampires have to be invited in.”



“If that were true, you would’ve already tried to seduce me. Vampires are good for that; salutations, seductions, and exsanguinations. Speaking of which, if you want something to drink, grab a juice from the fridge.” She disappeared into the back and I was left alone in the living room to admire the girlish nature of her decorations.



The whole house smelled like vanilla and almost everywhere I looked, there were plants and pictures in fluorescent colored frames. I sat down on her tan colored couch, which was still in its original shrink wrap, and grabbed a Jet magazine off of her coffee table. No sooner than I became comfortable, she appeared behind me.



“Looking for the Jet beauty?”



“Of course not, I read it for the articles.”



“I take it that you mean the articles with the tits showing, right?” She peeked over my shoulder and found that I was actually reading the articles. “You got lucky this time. Are you ready?” I looked her over and noticed that she had changed from jeans and a t-shirt to a black, spaghetti strapped cocktail dress with black heals that helped accentuate her legs and her backside. I tried grasping for words when her grandfather clock began chiming. “Well it’s seven, time for us to go.”



While we walked to the car, I finally choked out what I wanted to say. “You look very–very nice, but aren’t you a bit overdressed? I mean all I have on is khakis and a sweater.”



“Like I said, I don’t get a chance to go out that often, so when I do, I wear the new stuff. I ordered this for myself, it was a Christmas gift, but this is the first time I’ve gotten to wear it.”



“Wow! It looks really, really nice. You said ordered? So what, you bought it online or in a catalog?”



“I bought it online. Yeah, I found this nice little store on eBay. I even liked the name. It was pretty catchy; Sinofmen and Spice Fashion Unlimited.”



“Sinofmen? What people won’t do these days to grab your attention.”



Once we arrived at the car, I opened her door as she continued on about the selection at her new favorite online store. I didn’t particularly care, but as revealing as the dress was, I was glad I brought an extra jacket.



*************




We bought the tickets and slipped into the theatre with a bucket full of popcorn and with the previews glaring above our heads. I looked around to see that there weren’t many people sitting watching the movie. We climbed up the stairs to the last row and sat down and the middle, right under the projector.



“Thanks for the extra jacket, the movie theatre is freezing!” She whispered.



“I always come prepared.” I whispered back. In truth, the temptation to touch her was a lot less great when she was covered. She wrapped the jacket around her little tighter and laid her head on my shoulder. I looked her over once again and shook my head. “Damn she even smells good.” I thought.



“Hey Quinton, what’s your last name?”



“James. Quinton James.”



“You’ve got to be kidding me! My last name is James!” She began laughing and I smiled at her. “I knew there was some sort of a connection between us.” She took a handful of popcorn out of the bucket she held with her head still on my shoulder. “You don’t mind do you?”



“No, I’m cool.” But I wasn’t. My heart was racing and I slowly took in some deep breaths to try and calm myself.



When the movie began, she slipped her fingers in between mine and whispered into my ear. “It keeps them from wandering.” With her head on my shoulder and her fingers intertwined with mine, the lump in my pants became a bulge. I had hoped that Sakilah hadn’t seen it and after a few minutes of receiving not attention, the bulge receded back into its hiding place.



“Don’t think I didn’t see that.”



“Saw what?” I asked already knowing the answer.



“You know what I’m talking about, but I have something that going to take your mind off of sex.” She lifted up the divider between our two chairs and began sucking on my neck, then went to nibbling on my ears. I tried to move either of my hands, but my free one didn’t want to budge and the one she held onto she grabbed tighter.



“How is this supposed to help me forget?” I asked.



“Did I say forget? I meant remember. But don’t worry; this is where it will end. I just wanted to see what would happen if it did it and now I know.” She withdrew herself from my neck, put the divider back down.



“You can’t mess with me without payback.” I lifted up the divider and proceeded to do to her what she’d done to me. After a few minutes of returning her torture, I put the divider back down and focused all of my attention on the movie.



“You are a devil Quinton James. If you weren’t such a good boy and I wasn’t a good girl, I would lift my dress up right here and ride you.”



I swallowed, almost choking as I tried to speak before I completely finished. “But since we are good, we can’t do that. Besides, there are two problems. The first is that other people will see us. The second is that you’re wearing panties. How can you take them off and put them back on without being noticed?”



“I’ll answer both of those questions. The first is that people won’t pay attention to what we’re doing because they’re too busy looking forward. Secondly, who told you I was wearing panties?”



Pedro stayed awake to watch whole movie with us.



*************




When the movie had ended, we debated between each other whether or not we liked the movie and how the director could’ve made it better.



“Okay, I’m hungry now. Where are we going to eat at?”



“Well since you paying, there’s this Mexican restaurant on Westheimer that’s still open. But first, I’m gonna take you home so you can get some draws on.”



“I have panties on, see?” She lifted up her dress to show off her lace underwear. “Like I told you before, I like to joke.”



“You had me actually believing you were panty-less.” I admitted. “You got me. You got me.” I breathed a sigh of relief knowing that the fantasies I’d been having in the movie would never be fulfilled.



“Didn’t I tell you I was a good girl? You men and your listening skills leave a lot to be desired. Anyway, let’s get something to eat.” Twenty minutes later, we pulled into the parking lot to find the line out the door. I looked at her and she shook her head. “You know what; let’s go back to my place. I’ll whip us up something.” I turned my car around and drove us in the same direction that we had just come from on the way to her house.



We made it back to her apartment in near record time. All of the stoplights on Westheimer seemed to turn green for us and because we were so hungry, we needed them too. I had hardly eaten the popcorn at the movie theatre and my stomach began to growl after seeing the long line at the restaurant we were about to go into.

It had gotten cooler since we’d first left her home, but Sakilah left my jacket in the car and walked to her apartment just as she had walked out of it; half-naked.



We entered her apartment and I welcomed the warmth. She walked to the back of her apartment again and I sat myself on her couch again.



“It’s okay for you to turn on the TV. I’m just getting changed. It’s hard to cook in a party dress.” She shouted from her room.



I grabbed the remote, and began clicking through the channels. It didn’t take her long to change. Before I’d even found a channel to settle on, she whizzed past me wearing a lacey t-shirt and female boxers. The hump I’d seen earlier on her backside was clearly more pronounced and infinitely more accessible.



I returned my focus towards the TV, refusing to be seduced by her rear. “You get comfortable with people really quickly.” I said.



“I don’t have anything to fear, do I? You’re not some crazed stalker and I’m pretty sure you’ve seen a woman before.”



“Yes, I’ve seen women, just not so much of them unless we were dating.”



“Well, you’re man enough to hold back those primal instincts.” The pots and pans clanking in her kitchen awakened me from the daydream I’d been having since she came out half-dressed–again. “I’m making burgers. You’re not a Vegan are you?”



“No.”



“Good. Are fries okay too?”



“That sounds good. What perfume are you wearing, you smelled nice tonight.”



“Why? Would you like to buy some for your girl?”



“Not particularly. I moonlight as a cross-dresser prostitute and wondered if it would bring in more business if I wore it.”



“You’d make an ugly hooker. That goatee you’re wearing is utterly horrible for a woman to have and your muscles are too big.”



“I take it you know some?”



“Yeah, I hang out with the cross-dressing kind all the time. We were supposed to have a fun party tonight, but you ruined it. Close the shades. If they see you here, they may find your street corner and kick your ass.”



I laughed harder than I had all week. “You’re pretty good. I see you can keep up with me.”



She walked out of the kitchen and looked at me with one hand on her hip and the other with a flailing spatula. “You’d be surprised how I can work my mouthpiece. I’m no rookie.”



“You spit more innuendo than a lil’ bit. Has anyone ever told you that?”



“Nope, they usually say I flirt too much.”



“Same thing,” I spouted as she walked back into the kitchen to finish cooking. I continued flipping through the channels.



She brought both of our plates out at the same time. After sitting them on her coffee table, she went back into the kitchen and brought out two wine coolers. We sat by each other as we ate, talking about high school, our friends and love lives. After we finished, she took our plates into the kitchen, grabbed our empty bottles and walked back out a few moments later.



“Ready for some desert?” She asked.



“I don’t think I can eat any more. I’m stuffed.” She came to where I sat, straddled me and began nibbling on my neck. “So,” I whispered out, “was this dessert?”



“No, it’s improvisation. If you wanted some dessert, I could let you have some of my brown sugar. All you have to do is want it.” My leg began to tremble at the prospect of being inside her sugar.



“How about this,” she whispered into my ear, “you don’t have to ask, I’m not going to sleep with you. But I’ll give you something that you can leave with and feel better about.” She started grinding on me and I could feel her wetness through my pants.



“What?” I asked, genuinely concerned with what she was about to say next. My brain screamed ‘Stop!’, but Pedro bobbed up and down inside of my pants, begging for her to tell me my options. I wanted to listen to reason, but Pedro’s argument was too damn convincing.



“I can either ride you with your clothes on, or I can give you a hand job.” She opened a drawer on her coffee table and pulled out a bottle of lotion. “Or I can do both.”



I was at a crossroad. I could do this and never tell anyone what had happened tonight or I could walk away. My body and brain clashed with thoughts and memories flowing through my brain. I wanted to be strong and walk away, but I couldn’t. With Laela around, I could be strong for her. It was her love for me that kept me in line, but with her gone, I had no resolve of my own and all transgressions were just between me and the walls.



All along, I knew why I had called Sakilah. I secretly wanted her to seduce me tonight almost as much as she wanted to. I just pretended that I was strong enough to resist her, hoping that she made it through the façade and she had. The fantasies I had in the movie theatre returned as she stood up and slid down her boxers, revealing a hairless temple and a tattoo that warned me that she was ‘slippery when wet’ on the inside of her right thigh.



I hadn’t said a word when she sat back down and began unzipping my pants and fondling Pedro with her tongue. “Do you want me to stop?”



“I–want–you.”



“I want you, too. I want to feel you.” She replied and stood up, never letting go of my manhood as Sakilah slid herself on me and began to ride.



I loved every second of her and after a few seconds, she began cooing. I had tuned everything out, simply focusing on how tight her love became as it grasped and massaged Pedro. My eyes rolled up into my head and Sakilah began whispering into my ear, asking my to come for her when the TV volume suddenly increased, causing the reporter to blurt out the word ‘Statistic’ louder than I’d ever heard it.



The word began reverberating through my head for the next ten seconds and I didn’t know why, until I suddenly remembered what I said about why I had never cheated on Lae. “I didn’t want to become a statistic.” I mumbled to myself. I looked at Sakilah, her eyes were closed and her breasts still bobbed up and down while she still rode me. “Stop!” I shouted and pushed her off of me. “I gotta go. I have to go.” I pulled my underwear and pants up and ran out of her apartment, grabbing my jacket on the way out.



“Quinton, I’m sorry!” She ran to the door, still bottomless and watched as I ran to the car and closed the front door behind me when she saw that I’d made it. I entered my car quickly, unable to get comfortable due to Pedro’s nosiness. As I sat in the car, I noticed that Sakilah hadn’t followed me and all of the lights in her apartment had been turned off. I drove away from Sakilah’s apartment cursing myself for my weakness.



*************




February 4th (Saturday)



“So wait, I wanna get this story straight. The girl with the ghetto name told you, not hinted, not inferred, not even suggested– that she wanted you to hit it and you turned it down? Awww, what the fuck, Q? Tell me now if you’re gay. I can take it. You take trips down the Hershey Highway every now and then, so what, we’re brothers, I can deal with that. Even if this relationship with Laela is a façade, just let me know, dawg! Please just tell me that you don’t receive!”



“Dre’, why are you acting this shit happened to you! You weren’t even there! Why are you acting like what I did was so fucking wrong?”



“Why wouldn’t I act like that, Q! I live my life vicariously through you man! When you have sex, it’s like me having sex and we need some new pussy dammit!”



“We need some new pussy? Sorry brother man, that’s not my hang up, it’s yours and I still don’t get why you’re upset.” I tried being calm, but Dre wasn’t trying to hear anything I said.



“I don’t either, man. I forgot who I was talking to. You are so fuckin whooped that even if Laela told you she was with another man, you’d probably want to be with him too, just so y’all could stay together. What is it with you man? Is the pussy that great?”



“See, I wasn’t gonna say anything when you were talking shit, but you just disrespected my relationship. I don’t talk about none of your hoes, because that’s what they are, hoes. A woman would know how to take care of her man in private, not suck his dick in front of company. But then again, what would you know about women? You can’t even fucking keep one! You wouldn’t even know what to do with one if you stopped trying to run bullshit game on each one of them. You lie and tell each one how you love them, but hell every time you meet one, she already has a fucking timer on her head, counting down until she expires and you’re on to the next one. What, you can’t get a girl without lying to her? That’s the mark of a true man. Only punks gotta lie to get what they want. A real man would tell a woman what the deal is and if she goes for it, that’s hustle. You spout so much bullshit about being a ‘good black man’, but you degrade and soil every woman you touch! Yeah, maybe I do like being with one woman for once in my life, but that’s a sign of maturity, not weakness. I have my faults, just like everyone else and maybe I hang onto the ideal that Laela is the perfect woman, but until someone proves different, then that’s what she’ll be. I’m tired of this shit. I’ll talk to you later.” I slammed the phone down on the receiver even though it was a cordless, but it made me feel better.



It was still early in the morning and I hadn’t even washed up yet. I didn’t even know why I called Dre. I needed someone to talk to, to help me get rid of the guilt, but I should’ve known better than to reach out to him. I was ready to jump in the shower when the phone rang again.



“It’s probably Dre calling back to apologize.” I muttered to myself, but when I looked at the phone number on the caller ID display, I saw that it was Mrs. Glenn. “Hello?”



“Good morning, Quinton. How are things going with you?”



“Mrs. Glenn? Hello. I didn’t know you had my home phone number.”



She laughed. “We’ve had how many conversations and you still call me Mrs. Glenn? I’m Cheyenne and I didn’t have your home number. I had to call the station to get it. I wasn’t sure if you got the message I’d sent yesterday and I just wanted to make sure you had time tonight. I called you right before you left, Carmen told me that much, but you didn’t pick up.”



“Sorry–Cheyenne. My mother just taught me to respect my–other people in higher positions. And sorry about not picking up. I got the message, but at then end of the day I didn’t feel like answering. If I would’ve known it was you, I would’ve dropped everything to talk.”



“Nice save. Carmen told me that you had a smooth tongue and now I’ve heard it for myself. So will you have time?”



“Yeah, I have all the time in the world. I’m alone in the house and my fiancée won’t be home until tomorrow afternoon. For today, I’m a bachelor so I use some extra work to help me get my mind of things. I could even get some extra work done if need be.”



“Great, so I’ll speak to you tonight a 7. Will you be at home or should I call you on your cell?”



“I’ll be here; I just have some early errands to run.”



“Well, I’ll speak to you later, Mr. James.”



I hung up with Cheyenne and jumped in the shower. I’d lied to her. The truth of the matter was that I didn’t have a clue what I was going to do today, but I needed to get out of the house and I wasn’t about to go to Dre’s house. I didn’t know what had happened to him last night to get on my case, but something we both needed was time to wind down.



In the shower, I thought about calling Mike, but I didn’t care if he was home or not, the drive over to his house would do me some good. As soon as I threw on some jeans and a long sleeved t-shirt, I jumped into my Gray Altima and rode West Airport down all the way onto the on ramp for 59 North. After about twenty minutes on 59, I followed 610 South to 610 East and exited right before the Hobby exit.



Traffic was light for a Saturday morning, but it gave me a chance to just listen to the radio and drive. I pulled up to their duplex thirty-five minutes after I’d left the house, but Mike’s brick colored Maxima was gone. I got out of the car and knocked on the front door just in case it was in the shop.



The chains and locks on the door rattled with a reminiscent charm and Simone opened the door. “Hey Quinton, long time no see!” Simone was still pretty, but the black rings staring to form under her eyes made her look tired, and her small frame appeared withered.



I kissed her on her eyebrow. “Are you okay? You look like you haven’t eaten in days.”



“I’m okay, just tired. I’ve been doing a lot with the baby and keeping the house clean. I really don’t have time for anything else anymore. After work, I come home and take care of the family. Mike’s been–um–busy too.”



“Is that why we haven’t heard from you? It’s like you guys have fallen off the face of the planet. Is something wrong?”



“No, nothing’s wrong.” She tried to smile, but I could see it was forced. “If you’re looking for Mike, he’s not here. He went to help someone with their car. You know how he loves to tinker with them.”



I looked over her Olds which was falling apart. “He likes to tinker alright.” I thought to myself. “Well I guess I’ll be–”



She grabbed my arm and pulled me into the house. Her exaggerated front began falling to pieces as she hugged me and cried on my shoulder. I held her and let her cry before helping her back up the stairs to her apartment.



When we made it into the apartment, I closed the door and directed her towards the couch where she collapsed. “I’m so sorry for crying on your shirt, I just don’t know how much more I can take Quinton. I don’t know how much longer I can do this!”



“Do what?” I knew exactly what she was talking about, but it was my responsibility to play dumb so that she wouldn’t suspect that I knew anything.



“Quinton, I admire your loyalty, but I know about Star. I know that he’s probably with her right now. I know that he’s slept with her–on several occasions.” She sobbed. “I even know that he doesn’t even really love me and the only reason he even comes home is to visit his son.”



I sat down on the couch next to her. The guilt I’d been feeling suddenly overwhelmed me and I began confessing everything I knew. I knew Mike had slept with Star before, but since he hadn’t said anything recently, I thought it was over. I’d tried to cover for him before, but to me, this was unforgivable. This was his family and his priority. “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you, but he asked me not to. It’s like Lae confiding something in you and asking you not to tell me. I wanted to tell you, but I couldn’t. It wasn’t anything against you, he told me that it was a one time thing and it wasn’t gong to happen anymore. I mean he’s my boy and I believed him. I’m sorry Simone; I really am.”



“I know Quinton. I know how honorable of a person you are and I was hoping that you’d rub off on him somehow. I know Mike is a good man, but I honestly don’t know where we went wrong.” She leaned on my shoulder and allowed her to cry on me until the baby began crying from another room. I felt awful when she told me how honorable I was and wished that it had never been said. “I’m sorry, Quinton, but I’m glad you were here. I thought I was going to go crazy. I thought about calling Lae for the last week, but I didn’t want feel like hearing her say ‘I toldja so’. Can you please just stay here with me for a while?” I nodded. She wiped the excess tears from her face and went to calm the baby down.



When she came back, she was bouncing MJ in her arm as he studied my face. “I don’t think he recognizes me.” I told Simone as MJ continued staring at me.



“Say hello to your God-daddy, MJ. Say hi, God-daddy.” She waved his hand at me and I waved back. “Quinton, can you hold him while I fix him a bottle?”



I held my arms out and she placed him on my lap and she turned back around and went into the kitchen. While she was gone, I blew on MJ’s belly and tickled his sides causing him to giggle uncontrollably. “Simone, how old is he now?”



“Seven months.” She hollered back.



“Oh, you’re the big seven,” I said to MJ, still tickling him as I spoke. When Simone returned from the kitchen, I didn’t see a bottle in her hand. “Where’s the bottle?”



“I can’t find any milk. It looks like we’re all out.” She sat on the couch next to me and pulled up her t-shirt and bra and exposed her right breast before placing it in MJ’s mouth.



“Whoa, whoa!” I shouted. “You could’ve given me some warning!”



“You act like you’ve never seen a nipple before. Grow up; it’s a part of life.”



“Yeah, just not part of mine yet.”



“Can you do me a favor then? Can you take me to the store so that I can pick up some milk and some other things for the baby?”



“No problem, just as long as you keep those things under wraps.” I said, pointing at her breasts.



She laughed and the withered look on her face seemed to let up for only a brief moment. “I’ll see what I can do.”



After Simone washed her face and got the baby ready, I went down to my car to clean it up, while she took the car seat out of her Olds and put it into my Altima so that the baby could come with us. Since the store was only right down the street, it was a shorter drive than I’d expected.



We shopped for ten minutes, making sure the baby had everything he needed for the time being and by the time we’d gotten to the register, I’d volunteered to pay for everything. The cashier, a young black girl, looked at MJ, then Simone, and finally me before telling us the baby looked just like me. I smiled and didn’t do anything to dispute her, then grabbed the bags with the baby’s groceries and took them out to the car. On the way to the parking lot, Simone and I laughed about the cashier and her powers of perception.



We made it back to the house a few minutes after exiting the store. Immediately Simone took MJ’s car seat back to her Olds, while I grabbed MJ and the groceries and headed upstairs through the unlocked front door.



I made it to the kitchen before my arms gave out and I dropped the baby’s stuff all over the floor. I heard Simone trudging up the stairs behind me and handed MJ to her when she reached the top.



She took him from me and kissed me on the cheek.



“What was that for?” I asked.



“It was because you’re you.”



She walked past me and sat down on the couch. I closed her door and sat between her and the baby.



“So how’s Lae? I haven’t heard from her in a while.”



“She went home this past Tuesday to be with her parents. She’s homesick, but in a warped way. She went up north to be with her family, even though it’s nice and warm down here–go figure.”



“Yeah, that’s your fiancée, stranger than strange. How are you guys doing? She didn’t leave to get away from you, did she?”



“I hope not. I have a lot invested in us.”



“What does that mean?”



“It means that I she’s the one I want to be with and if she dumps her share, that’s me, I’ll be all alone.”



“Well you won’t be alone for too long. You’re a good man.”



“And you’re a good woman. Especially to go through what you do. I couldn’t take it.”



“But that’s all part of being a woman. I guess there are still sometimes when you have to lose a part of identity to be happy, especially when you’re a black woman.”



“I don’t know how you do it, but you have a strength I will never have. Truth be told, I don’t even know what I’d do if me and Lae fell out.”



“You’ll bounce back, just like you’ve always done and you’ll find someone to love you just as equally.”



“Yeah, but enough about theories, it’s time for me to go. I have a few more things I want to take care of.” I stood up off the couch and started walking to the door.



“Hey Quinton,” I turned around to see what Simone wanted to say. “I don’t know if you remember the last time we talked, but you asked me a question and I didn’t answer.”



I had no idea what she was talking about. “You lost me, Simone.”



“Remember when you asked who the woman that I’d slept with was? Well, we got off the phone before you found out, but I promised to tell you, so I will. I just wanted to tell you that, well, the first woman I ever had sex with was a girl named April. We did it several times, even right before I got married. She’s married now, to a lawyer, and they’re swingers. They’ve asked me to join several times and I’ve turned them down each time. The reason I didn’t tell you before was because I didn’t want you to think I was that type of person. Besides, I think this life is my punishment for doing what I did before Mike and I were married. Now that you know, do you feel different about me?”

I had completely forgotten that I’d asked her about that, but I felt no different with her confession that I had before. “No Simone, no I don’t. You’re no different than you were thirty seconds ago and I don’t believe in karma. We all have made mistakes. The only thing we can do is keep living and hope that we make up for them in time.”



“Promise me you won’t tell anyone else.”



“I promise.” She followed me down the stairs carrying MJ in her arms and waved as I drove off. Simone was the last person I would’ve ever suspected of carrying on a relationship with another woman, let alone have sex with her friend right before she was married. But then again, she’d called me honorable; if she only knew my biggest secrets I doubt she would call me the man she thinks I am. I guess it’s true that you never really know people.



*************




I made it back to the house at 6:00 after having visited Simone, then BJ, and finally Marcus. All BJ and I did was play each other in Madden while his girl complained about the amount of time grown men can spend playing games instead of taking care of things around the house. Marcus’s apartment had a lot less drama, but also a lot less room with his 430 pound chubby buddy visiting from out of state, so I stayed for the dinner she cooked before I left to go back home.



While I drove home, all I could think about was what Cheyenne wanted to talk to me about. We’d talked a few times a week since I graduated from class, but mostly that was to talk about Carmen’s treatment and how I was fitting in. During our first conversation, we’d talked about how the company was run by sexists and she wanted my input on how we could change that, but since then it hadn’t been mentioned again.



The more we spoke, the more comfortable I became with her. She became easy to talk to and my admiration for her began to grow. We always talked about the job, but it never seemed like a professional conversation. There were even times where I sat at my desk and willed for her to call, but something about her always made me shy and if she didn’t call, I couldn’t call her. I didn’t know why, but hearing her voice again suddenly became a priority with Laela gone and everything that happened yesterday.



I made in back to the apartment with an hour left before Cheyenne’s call. I threw my shirt on the couch and I knew the musty smell was coming from me. After a long day on the road, going in and out of friend’s houses, my deodorant had finally given up. I stripped down to my boxers and started the shower when the phone rang. I walked back to the living room, picked up the phone and answered it after already knowing who it was.



“Hello?”



“What happening man? It’s me, Dre.”



“I know it’s you man. I’m about to get in the shower, what do you want?”



“I called to apologize. Before you say anything, I just want to explain myself. I miss how we used to be. We used to go out all the time, hoe stroll on the regular, but now it’s like you don’t have time for me anymore.



I know what I said was wrong and I would take all of it back if I could. I never meant to disrespect you and Lae’s relationship, but I never thought there would be a time where you would be so far gone that you’d rather stay home and wait for her to come back then be with your peoples. This whole week she’s been gone and you haven’t even picked up the phone to see how the rest of us are doing. Doesn’t that say anything to you?



In all honesty, I don’t want you to cheat. I really don’t. I love Lae like a sister, but I can’t stand it when women throw themselves at you and you act like it doesn’t affect you! Hell, I got money and it’s still hard to pull a woman, but you get them to fall at your feet and you act like they’re not even there! We all fall short and you ain’t no different, I just wished you would stop playing the ‘holier than thou’ role and come clean with me. I know you! I know that there’s pussy out there that you want to get into, but you’re so damn condescending when we do it or when we talk about it. You didn’t used to be like that; all closed up. You used to trip out with us, laughing and shit. Hell you had some of the best stories ever. You used to listen without judgment, but now you’ve got a righteous opinion for everything.



Q, I love you man, I really do. This may not sound like an apology, but it’s the best I can do. I do what I do, but at least I’m semi-honest with it. You’re just fooling yourself. I know you love Lae, but you need to get out there and have fun. At what point did I lose the right to be wrong? I make mistakes too–sometimes! The wedding ain’t til next year and you need to live a little. Carpe diem! Seize the fucking day, dammit! Oh yeah, I don’t sully every woman I meet, for your information. I lightly taint them and bless them with my presence. An even trade if you ask me.



I didn’t mean to talk about your ghetto girl either, but c’mon man, Sakilah? What were her parents thinking? I hate it when parents subject there children to a lifetime of ridicule and make black kids lives already harder than they already are because of these ghetto-fied names. Damn that gets under my skin.”



“Are you done with your life changing speech?” I asked after he’d finished.



“Yeah, I’m done. And Negro, I don’t lie; I lightly coat the truth with a sugar frosting of ambiguity.”



“Look Dre, you’re talking about the old me and I’ve grown. If I go out with a woman it’s to have fun, not sex. Like my father said, the best way to avoid trouble is to never put yourself in it in the first place. If I don’t acknowledge what women think, then I can’t create a ‘what if’ scenario in my head. You feel me? I’m not naïve, just cautious. I love Laela, but as long as I allow other pussy to invade my thoughts, it just moves me one step closer to being another statistic and I damn sure don’t wanna be a statistic.” I couldn’t believe I had outright lied to Dre, but one thing that I did know was that the fewer the people with the knowledge; the less likely it would be that it got back to your home.



“I feel you, dawg and I’m sorry,” Dre continued. ” I know how you feel, but don’t condescend on us, we’re your friends. I may live life on the edge, but you’re not living at all and that’s a shame. If you and Lae don’t work out, and I’m not saying you won’t, but if you don’t then you can at least say I’m able to bounce back. Don’t turn into that suicidal person who put all of his eggs in one basket and the basket gets crushed, you feel me?”



Every blue moon Dre says something that hit home. I had put everything I had into Laela and I didn’t leave anything for myself or the people around me, but isn’t that what you’re supposed to do in a relationship? I wasn’t sure anymore. I’d already overstepped the boundaries of our relationship, but the more I tried to convince myself that it wouldn’t happen again, the more unsure I became.



Laela was my first serious relationship and I honestly didn’t know how to deal with other women outside of my relationship. Women were constantly trying to get me into bed and with Laela around, the walls I had to keep them out were fortified; but when she was left, the temptation was almost greater than I could handle, as was the case last night. If Sakilah had chased after me, there was no doubt in my mind that I would have returned and slept with her.



“I feel you. Dre, you’re my brother and I should be able to confide in you. I’m sorry that I haven’t and I apologize for my superiority complex.”



“It’s cool, Q. I love you man. We’re brothers til the end. I would take a bullet for you, I really would and I might take several knife stabs, but you better jump in and take the rest, dammit.” We laughed. “Well now that we have that cleared out the way, let’s say we go out tonight. I’ll come pick you up and–”



“I can’t. I have a business call in less than an hour.”



“Tell them to call you on your cell.”



“I can’t, I may have to write down some notes. Besides, it’s Cheyenne calling and I’d like to be here when she calls.”



“Cheyenne–wait, that’s that fine teacher you were talking about, right? Hell naw! You’re trying to get on with a teacher? Oh shit! Teacher’s pet! Damn dawg, what did I tell you about rocking the casket? Do we have to have this conversation again?”



“Calm the hell down man; it’s not what you think. We talk a lot at work and she wants me to help her out with getting more women into some higher positions.”



“What higher position is there when you’re on top? So be honest with me, Q. You don’t feel anything, nothing, for this woman?”



“You want the truth?”



“That’d be helpful.”



“The truth is that she would probably be the only woman who’d have to suggest to me that she wanted it for me to drop everything I was doing to possibly get it.”



“You mean you’d get down on Ole Dusty Puss?”



“In a heartbeat. She may be a little older, but she’s classy, sophisticated, intelligent, and she’s got an ass that would make some of these Hollywood hoes look like flat bootied white girls. I don’t know what it is about her, Dre. She’s special, but I cant put my finger on why. Well, how’s that for the truth?”



“Dawg, this woman must be something spectacular for you to drop everything. Yo girl Leslie used to be like that, now she just won’t leave me alone. I think that bitch is getting to be too much. She won’t stop calling and haven’t I told you she keeps showing up here unannounced. She did it again earlier today.”



“We warned you, but you didn’t listen. Anyway, I need to jump in the shower. If the call doesn’t take too long, I’ll call you and we can hit up something tonight.”



“Alright man, I’ll talk to you later. I knew you were human.” He hung up before I had a chance to say anything else.



I walked to the bathroom with Pedro testing the strength of my boxers. The way I’d described Cheyenne had awakened him and I need the shower to help put him back down.



I briefly showered, rubbed on some lotion and walked back to the bedroom with only my towel on. I dried off in front of the dresser mirror and in front of everything that reminded me of Lae. I hadn’t noticed it earlier, but the room smelled like her; her perfumes, lotions, hair sprays, and powders were all present and sitting in front of me.



I picked up her purple, nameless bottle of perfume. Even though she wouldn’t tell me what it was, it was my favorite. I grabbed one of her shirts out of the closet and sprayed it with the nameless perfume, pressed it against my nose and inhaled. Damn it smelled good. It was just like if she were here. I knew I was going overboard, but I just needed to feel like Lae was next to me if only for that brief second. I needed to remind myself who and what was important.



With still a half an hour to go before Cheyenne called I decided to play a quick online game of Madden. I was usually forced to play in the living room, but with Laela gone, I grabbed everything from up front, hooked everything up the 32-inch LCD TV in our bedroom and was amazed by how good it looked on LCD versus stereo. The TV was an engagement gift from Lae’s parents, but I could never use it to its full potential until now.



I switched on my bedroom light so that I could make sure I plugged everything in the correct place. After getting through the game’s intro, I entered the Madden lounge eager for a challenge. I was looking to play against some the toughest players they had to offer in a random game when a message came through from Laela’s brother, David. I shook my head and when I entered his room, the trash talking IM’s began:



David: Ready to get whooped???



Me: Bring it.



David: I owe you. Cant wait to beat you. Youll beg 4 mercy.



Me: Who is Janette?



Dave: My gal. Why?



Me: Laela told me yall kicked it. Didn’t know who she was.



Dave: Both right here. Lae sends love, Nette says kick your ass.



Me: Let’s do this. Gotta take care of bitness in a few.



Dave: Game time.



The first quarter was pretty close, but after I figured out his scheme, he wasn’t any competition. Ordinarily I’d implement a 35 point rule, but Laela’s little brother talked too much shit for me to let him walk away without feeling some shame. I continued looking at the clock throughout the game, but we managed to finish three minutes before I expected my business call. The final score of the game was David: 13, me: 67. As soon as the game ended, David started up again:



Dave: You cheated



Me: Game was over b4 it began



Dave: U didn’t have to be so brutal



Me: Wanted u to feel it in your soul



Dave: Another game?



Me: Can’t…have business to take care of



Dave: Maybe next time. Lae says she loves you. Holla



But before I could type to David that I loved her back, his icon showed he was offline and my phone rang; it was Cheyenne.



*************




“It’s 7 on the dot. I guess you don’t mess around when you’re talking about being on time.”



She laughed for a few seconds, but even her laugh sounded sophisticated. “Hello Quinton, how was your day? I take it you were able to do everything that you put your mind to?”



“Well, I was able to do a few more things than I thought I would.”



“Is that because you like to stay active or is it because there’s no one there and you have a lot of pinned up energy?”



“I think it’s kinda both. With Laela gone, I have a lot more motivation and energy to do a lot more things.”



“Really? Like what? What did you do today?”



“Today, I just cleaned, picked up a few things from the store, and visited a few people I work with. I didn’t do anything too out of the ordinary, but I should have since I’m like a bachelor now. Why, what did you do today?”



“I–,” she paused, “I did a lot of thinking today. I have some things on my mind that I really want to do, but trying to fit them in my schedule is really hard. I’m pretty sure that they won’t wait around to get done, but timing is everything. Don’t you agree?”



“Yeah, I know what you mean.” But I truly had no idea what the hell she was talking about. Her voice was so seductive that I would’ve agreed to anything she said, even if she asked me to stab myself. I wished I could Dre on conference so that he could hear her voice when he was actually sober.



“I know we have some things to talk about concerning the job, but I just don’t want to talk about work right now. I just want to have a nice conversation if that’s okay with you?” She asked.



“I thought that’s what we were doing. I wouldn’t have minded some work, but it’s okay. I was hoping to keep you from talking about work by just throwing topics out, but now that I don’t have to do it intentionally, I feel a lot better.”



“So what did you want to talk about Mr. James?”



I didn’t think it was possible to make my name sound as sexy as she had done, but I wasn’t the only one who’d noticed. Pedro was aware of it too. “We’ve never talked about your family. Tell me about them. What does your husband do? Do you have any children? How are your parents?” I walked over to the light switch, cut the light off and walked back to my bed. Since the sun had gone down, the only light left in my room was the bluish glow of the LCD TV.



“My parents are both deceased; both of old age. My husband is a traveling preacher. He used to be an architect, but after he got his seminary degree, he went on the road preaching and helping to rebuild run down churches. I used to really miss him, but I’ve gotten so used to him not being here that even when we’re in the same house, I call his cell. And yes I do have children, three of them. My eldest son followed in his father’s footsteps and is also an architect. My youngest son is teacher for HISD, and my daughter is a CPA.”



“Wow, you have a whole family of professionals. You ‘done good’.”



“Momma raised them well.”



“If you’re youngest son is already a teacher–I hope you don’t mind me asking–but how young does that make you?”



“I’m not afraid to answer that, but you’re one of the few who’ve asked. I’ll be forty-five years old this October.”



“You’re joking, right? You can’t be forty-five. You’re not just BS-ing me right?”



“I bullshit you not, Mr. James, I will be forty-five this year. What number did you put your money on in the betting pool?”



“I would’ve said early to mid-thirtyish at the oldest. Mrs. Glenn, believe me when I tell you that you’re the nicest looking forty-five year old lady that I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.”



“I’m not forty-five yet!” We laughed together. “You really made me blush with that one. Thank you. And stop calling me Mrs. Glenn! You know what to call me. Next time you call me Mrs. Glenn, I’m going to write you up.”



“I’ll make a deal with you. If you stop calling me Mr. James, I’ll stop calling you Mrs. Glenn.”



“Deal.”



“So Cheyenne, what’s on your mind?”



“You are, Quinton.”



She surprised me with her response and a wave of nervousness came over me. I suddenly became a little light-headed and aware of my heart beating like a drum inside my chest. “Me? What about me?”



“Just you. I don’t want to seem like I’m sneaking around behind you back, but Carmen has been giving me updates on how you’ve been handling your new position. You know she really likes you, but she puts on the biggest front of any woman I’ve ever met. I know I’ve told you that before, but if you could listen to some of the things she’s said about you, you’d understand.”



“Like what?” My curiosity had been piqued. “We can’t possibly be talking about the same Carmen. I’m talking about Carmen Lowell, my boss; the lady who makes it a point everyday to try and mount my nuts onto a plaque on her wall with the others? That Carmen?”



“She only does that because she likes you. Before you and I even met, she’d told me that you were very handsome, but that you were also cocky about it. For instance, she’s the person who told me to look out for you when you came to class. I know she got on you about failing, she told me as much, but she really wanted me to help you pass. Even if you hadn’t gotten a perfect score on the test, she wanted me to put you through. I didn’t think I was going to get the chance, but when Pete had his emergency, it opened the door.”



“How long has she been saying these things about me?”



“I’ve known Carmen for almost twelve years. She started of by calling you ‘that damned Q’, that was two years ago, but now she hardly utters a negative word about you. You have a list of admirers, you know.”



“I’m flattered.” I turned my face away from the phone and smiled, even though there wasn’t anyone who could see me. “So wait, back up. Are you telling me that I really didn’t pass the test?” The thought of me not passing a test as easy as the one they’d provided was about to crush my pride, but I wasn’t sure that my convictions were strong enough to walk away from the salary either.



“No sweetie, you are as smart as you are handsome.”



It was my turn to blush. “Be careful with the compliments,” I joked, “if you don’t stop, I may just follow you home.”



“Is that a promise?”



“Is that an offer?” Flirting with her helped me to forget all about the mishap of the previous night and focus completely on every word she spoke. I didn’t know why I liked flirting with Cheyenne, but the more we spoke, the more I was drawn into her. At first we were just co-workers having a casual conversation, but now everything was full of sexual innuendo.



“Quinton, what did you think when you first saw me?”



“The truth? I thought you were sexy as hell–especially now that I know your age.”



“Be honest with me. Did you ever think you’d be flirting with an older woman while your fiancée was away?



“No, it wasn’t something that I planned on, but I’m glad we’re talking now. I haven’t planned my day on making sure that you and I flirt, but it’s always a nice surprise. I like flirting with you. With no one here, I’m pretty lonely. I guess I’m getting a little taste of what you feel regularly; lonely I mean.”

“Believe me, I know about loneliness. I’ve been by myself for almost twenty years. My husband hasn’t really been around since my youngest was about 3. He would come home from a job, we’d have sex, and I’d get pregnant. He’d make sure to take about 12-18 months off, but once our kids were walkin’ around the house, he’d go on another job. As time went on, I’d gotten used to the idea that my husband an I had become roommates. I used to think that the only reason we stayed together was for the kids, but they’re grown and gone and I still haven’t made any time for myself. He’s off running around the country, but here I am, still doing nothing but going to work and living alone.”



“Why do you stay in a loveless relationship? Don’t your children come to visit?”



“The reason I stay is because I don’t have the heart or finances to leave. Everyone paints us as the perfect family and it’s so hard to walk away and disappoint everyone that looks up to us. Not only that, but this job doesn’t pay much and I’m used to living comfortably. I still love him, but I need to feel alive again. You know what I’m saying? As far as the kids, yes, they still visit, but I need a man’s company. Sometimes, I feel so unwanted and neglected. To be honest with you Quinton, you’re the only man I’ve spoken to like this in a long time. I’d be lying to you if I told you I wasn’t another one of your admirers. Since the class where we met, I’ve gotten to see for myself the type of person you are. Brother, you are fine and I love your intelligence and wit. I’m not saying I want to take you from your fiancée, but–.” I waited for her to finish.



“But what?” I couldn’t believe she’d left me hanging like that. “How come you didn’t finish?”



“Because you don’t need to know everything all at once. I believe that everything should be done in moderation.”



“Why? We were both so open until you stopped.”



Her voice became slow and seductive when she spoke and the pounding that was confined to my chest began pumping a rush of blood to all the extremities of my body. “No Quinton, I was being open. You were only responding to the things I said or asked. If you want to be open, tell me what you think about when we talk. I don’t just want to know what’s on the surface. Tell me what you think about and tell me what you feel inside when we talk.”



“I–” My bedroom seemed to be getting warmer and Laela’s perfume which was so prevalent a few moments ago seemed to evaporate. The shirt I had sprayed was still on the bed next to me, but no reminder of Lae emanated from it. I couldn’t smell any of the nameless perfume I smelled. It was if it just vanished.



I stood up and began to walk around; first into the hallway, then through the living room and kitchen, before I settled on the bathroom. Even though I knew I was alone, I couldn’t shake the feeling that Laela might still hear what I was about to confess.





“Quinton, are you still there?”



“Yes, I am. I was just getting a little hot in my room so I needed to get some air.” I sat down on top of the toilet. “Cheyenne,” I whispered, “are you trying to seduce me?”



“Not yet, Quinton. If I were, you’d know it.” She whispered back.



A chill ran through my body about what she’d just said and the statement I’d made to Dre about me dropping everything to be with her if she asked re-entered my head. I was afraid that if she asked me to come over, I wouldn’t be able to turn her down. After a few seconds of though, I finally spoke. “Cheyenne, promise me something. I would like it if what we said tonight stayed between us.”



“I won’t tell if you won’t, but Quinton, you still haven’t told me what you thought or how you felt. If you don’t want to say anything or if this conversation is making you nervous, just let me know.”



“No, I’m going to tell you.” An enormous feeling of guilt began to wash over me. I couldn’t see how I could love Lae, but so easily offer myself other women. There wasn’t much of a history between Cheyenne and I, but the longer I stayed on the phone, the more the guilt dissipated and was replaced by an insatiable urge of lust. “When I first saw you in class, all I could think about was how beautiful you were. I mean you were absolutely amazing. I wouldn’t be telling you the whole truth if I neglected to mention that I fantasized about us during the test. I shook it out of my head and did the work, but it wasn’t easy. How open is that for you?”



“A little, but I want to know more. What were we doing in your fantasy, or should I ask what were you doing to me?”



I grinned in the darkness of the bathroom and was glad she wasn’t there to witness it. “I’m not sure I should tell you. Why should I confess when you’re the one who tells me that I shouldn’t know everything? I’ll tell you if you tell me something. Why did you tell me that you didn’t want to take me away from my fiancée, but–? But what? What do you want?”



“I want you to come over tonight and find out, but only if you want to. It’s a lot easier to show you than to tell you.” The air in my lungs seemed to disappear and all I was left with were gasps. I knew this couldn’t be right and that it was another one of my waking daydreams. The sound of something splashing on the other end brought me back to reality. “Better yet, you stay there. I’m not in a rush to get to know you, besides, I have a surprise. I called you tonight to tell you a secret. But I hope there’s nothing wrong with us continuing to flirt is there?”



“No.” I knew the flirting between us was harmless, but intent was something else altogether. It was the first time I began to understand the type of impression I’d made on her and the type that she’d put on me. Since I’d been with Laela I had never even come close to cheating. She’s gone to visit her family, and I’ve surpassed ‘coming close’. I was close to coming and I knew it wasn’t Lae’s fault, but my own. I wanted to do what I did; I lusted for it, just as I was lusting for Cheyenne now. I was glad that she’d recanted on asking me to come over there or else something may have happened that the both of us may have regretted.



“I answered your question, now it’s time for you to answer mine. What happened in your daydream?”



“In my daydream–in my daydream, you danced for me; it was more like a striptease though. The striptease turned into a lap dance and while you danced for me, our clothes disappeared. When I saw you naked, I couldn’t move. All I could do was admire your perfect form. After we didn’t find our clothes, you just started riding me.” I felt so exhilarated when I told her. It was like I was falling through the sky without any ground to stop me.



“What did I look like naked? How much did it excite you to see me nude?”



“You were flawless. Your skin was still the color of caramel maple, your eyes dark with mischief, and you figure the perfect hourglass. Your 32 DD breasts were perfectly round and your nipples were as dark as your eyes, erect like little chocolate peaks atop your mountains. Your legs and calves were tensed and defined, flaunting your athleticism.



Touching you was like rubbing my fingers through velvet and you body smelled like–I don’t know what it smelled like, but damn it kept me aroused.” I closed my eyes and could smell her scent through the phone.



“So this perfect person is how you picture me?”



“Yes. In my fantasy its how I see you.”



“Let’s see if we can complete the fantasy. So would you like me to ride you now?” Her voice grew softer with every word.



“More than anything.” I whispered. I didn’t want her to know how greatly I lusted for her, but I could neither stop confessing nor control Pedro as he helped to knock off my towel off. With Pedro’s help, I sat in the bathroom completely naked. The butterflies in my stomach seemed to grow exponentially with every second I was on the phone with her. I was anxiously anticipating every word she spoke.



“I want–to ride you, Quinton. But I want you to do something for me.”



“What do you want me to do?”



“Will you try something with me? I want us to have phone sex.”



I paused before answering. The thought of having phone sex was a foreign concept to me, reserved only for nerds and perverts who had high credit limits and named their lotions after fantasy women. I wasn’t sure I was comfortable with the idea, but I was intrigued by her and her proposal. Since I didn’t have to pay and I was already very attracted to her, I responded with a quiet, “Yes.”



“I want us to try it tonight, okay? I want you to take all of your clothes off. Then I want you to think about how I was riding you and I want you to play with it.”



“I’m already naked.”



“I am too. I’m wet thinking about your fantasy. I’m in my bathtub and I’m fingering myself to your voice and a picture in my head of your fantasy. Are you ready yet?” She asked seductively.



I’d never been seduced over the phone and with Cheyenne on the end; it quickly surpassed being aroused by someone who was next to me. Cheyenne had me completely enthralled and I didn’t want to stop, nor did I want her to. I closed my bathroom door and since there were no windows, it soon became pitch black.



I felt around for the lotion I used earlier and once I found it, I greased my hand and began to lubricate Pedro. The coolness against my warm flesh was a little uncomfortable at first, but after a few seconds became tolerable. Pedro was sensitive to the touch and tingling from excitement.



“Quinton, are you still there? I’ve already started. You hear the splashing? I’m naked in my bathtub, thinking about riding you.” She whispered.



“I’ve started too.” I tried to talk and masturbate at the same time, but it was almost impossible to do, so I put the phone on speaker and listened to the water from her bathtub splash around.



“I want to be in control tonight and I want you to listen to me. Next time we do it, you get to be in control, but tonight is mine.”



I was locked into the sound of her voice and I didn’t want her to stop talking. “Yes, don’t stop.” I begged.



“Quinton, I’m already fantasizing about you inside me. ” She began. “We’re on your bed, in your apartment, with no one watching. The only light in the room are the candles and I want you to hurt me. Can you hurt me, daddy?”



“Yes.” I was struggling to speak while I stroked, but with every word she spoke, I was closer to climax.



“I can feel you pushing deep inside, hurting me, and I like it. I like the way you feel inside of me. I want you to put it in my mouth next; take it out and put it in my mouth. Push it in as deep as you want, I can take it all. How big is it? How much do you want me to take, daddy?”



“All of it. I want you to take all of it.” Every time she spoke a new, more arousing mental picture replaced the previous one. I didn’t want to open my eyes and not see her with me. I wanted to keep my eyes clothes and pretend like we were in bed together.



“Well then grab my hair and force me to take it. Make me swallow it. Make me take it.” I could tell that she was as turned on as I was by her heavy breathing.



“You like that don’t you. You like when I force it, don’t you.”



“Yes daddy, I like it when you make me want it. Can I get on top now? I’m wet and I want to slide it on you.”



“No. It’s my turn. I want you to lay flatly on my bed and raised one leg up. I want to go as deep as I can inside you. Can I suck on your toes as I fuck you? Can I?” I was close and I knew it so I began to slow down to keep my explosion from preceding hers.



“Yes, do it.” She was losing her calm and I knew it. “Quinton, I’m going to cum. Let me ride it.”



“Ride it then, come for me sexy. I want you to let it go slowly, don’t rush it. It’s just you and me and I don’t want you to rush it.”



In my fantasy, I imagined her flipping me over, never letting go of Pedro. She then placed Pedro back inside of her as she began grinding herself onto him and gripping him with her internal musculature as she rode me.



“I’m not rushing, but I’m coming Quinton. Let me come, baby.” She begged.



“No, don’t you dare come. I want a big one and if it ain’t big you better hold out until it is.”



“It’s big! Dammit it’s big! I’m going to come for you, but I want you to hold back.” She was silent for a few seconds, but the rapidly splashing water made up for her silence. She was fixated in my thoughts and every word she uttered, I imagined in my head during her climax. “Ooooh, yeah–yeah–I’m coming on it Quinton! Here it is, dammit. Give it to me! Ooooh–yeah–” A brief silence was replaced by the sounds of water splashing. I could hear the water from her bathtub splashing faster than it had before and then a scream echoed through the receiver of my phone. “Dammit, Quinton. Shit, baby, shit!”



It took everything I had to hold back from my climax, but after what I’d heard, I wanted another one. “Don’t you give up on me, give me another one.”



“It’s already— it’s already coming baby.” The furious splashing of the water backed her statement and another ear shattering scream echoed through the phone once again. The sloshing of water had stopped and all I could hear was her gasping for breath. Breathing heavily, she still tried to speak. I could barely understand her as she spoke, but she finally made sense on the third try. “Come for me.” She demanded.



“Come for me one more time; then I’ll come. Give me an orgasm this time. I want to hear the ultimate one from you.” I began masturbating furiously, knowing that I didn’t have much time before my climax came. I wanted to slow down, but the feeling in the pit of my stomach alerted me of the enormity of my oncoming orgasm.



Water sounds from her bathtub started up all over again. “Talk dirty to me. I need you to talk dirty to me.”



I didn’t care how embarrassing I sounded, Pedro was yearning for an explosion and I wanted it too. “Dammit baby, who do you wanna give that pussy to?”



“I want you to take it, Quinton. I want you to take it. It’s yours if you want it, daddy.”



“Whose pussy is it then?”



“It’s yours.” She repeated several time before stopping.



I stroked faster and faster with the chants of ‘It’s yours’ going through my head until I couldn’t beat any faster. “Oh shit, Mrs. Glenn. Oh shit, here it comes.” I ejaculated all over the inside of my bathroom, but as I did, the sounds or her orgasm came through the telephone, causing me to beat faster as I shuttered from the expulsion and collapse on my sink with Pedro still in my grasp.



She was the first to speak up after the ordeal. “Quinton, that was wonderful. We’ll have to do that again.”



I was still shaking, but I was sure about one thing, as powerful as my climax was, I wanted to do it again. “That was a first for me, I’ve never had phone sex, but it was very, very intense. Thank you, Cheyenne.”



“It’s Cheyenne again, is it?” We laughed. “But I wanted to thank you, Quinton, I’d like to relax with a hot shower after an orgasm that intense.” She chuckled at herself. “When can we talk again?”



“I don’t know. Will we talk about the same thing? How often do you do this?”



“This is the first time I’ve done it with anyone other than my husband if that’s what you mean.”



“I was just curious, that’s all.”



“To ease your guilty conscience Quinton, and mine for that matter, I need to say something. We haven’t cheated. We used the sounds of our voices and our imaginations to bring each other to climax. We didn’t physically have sex, so you can feel better about what we’ve done. I know I feel plenty good after it.”



“I’m not saying we cheated, I just–”



“Quinton, don’t worry about it. If I wanted to seduce you, I would’ve brought the work over there. Lucky for you that I didn’t know your fiancée was gone or I might have. What we shared tonight was intense and I personally don’t want it to stop, but if you do, then there’s nothing I can do about that. Maybe I fantasize about you, maybe you fantasize about me, but tonight we enjoyed each other’s company and even screwed each other’s brains out without even touching. That says a lot. If we ever got together, I’m afraid that I wouldn’t be able to let you go. But on that note, I have to turn this bath into a shower.”



“Cheyenne, I really had fun. It’s a new experience for me and I’m still kind of horny. I just wanted to let you know that I hadn’t ever experienced anything like that and I wanted to thank you for opening my eyes.”



“Quinton, you’re welcome. And I like when you added the Mrs. Glenn near the end. It’s what helped me get my orgasm–daddy; on that note, good night Mr. James.”



“Good night Miss Cheyenne.”



“You know I’m married, right.”



“Not if it belongs to me.”



We said our goodbyes and she hung up. I wasn’t one to usually masturbate, but something about Cheyenne caused me to throw all of my inhibitions out the window. I felt around for the sink and when I found it, I washed my hands and turned off the phone. It wasn’t until after I turned off the faucet that the perfume I sprayed crept back into my senses and the guilt rushed back over me.



I cracked the door open just to make sure it was the perfume and not Laela standing outside the door. The house was just as empty as it had been before. I walked into my bedroom and the perfume was just as strong as it had been when I first sprayed it. I didn’t know how it could be so strong when just a few moments ago I couldn’t smell a thing. Was it me? Had I completely blocked out Laela when I was on the phone with Cheyenne? In the back of my mind, I secretly wondered if Lae’s spirit allowed me to have a little phone sex without interference, but knowing the real Lae completely shut down that idea.



I walked into the bedroom and found my cell phone flashing with one new message on it. I opened it up to find that Laela had sent me a text message that read: ‘I luv u’. I looked at the time it came through and I realized that it had been only been sent a few minutes ago; while I was in the bathroom with the thoughts of making love to another woman. I closed the phone and sat at the edge of my bed to ponder what I had gone through this weekend.



I knew with Laela gone I was weak, but even as I tried to convince myself that this weekend was only a one weekend thing, I knew there would be more. I knew that it would probably be best for me to get rid of Sakilah’s number, but I just couldn’t delete it. It wasn’t her fault that things happened they way they had, it was mine. If I were stronger, I would’ve been able to resist her passes and we could’ve been friends, but instead I allowed her to get too close because I needed some attention. In time I’d call her back and apologize, but everything was too fresh and we needed some time to think about what had happened.



I didn’t send a text back that night as thoughts of Cheyenne flooded my head. I had never desired anyone as much as I had Cheyenne and I couldn’t keep myself from wondering when the next time we’d have phone sex. I wasn’t sure if we were ever going to have sex, but I new that we’d be back on the phone with our fantasies within a week. I didn’t know if it was right to be screwing someone I’d never touched, but there was something about Cheyenne that pulled me away from everything that I had grown comfortable with and I yearned for another rendezvous with Miss Cheyenne Glenn.



*************




Simone




February 10th (Friday)



“Where are you going?”



“I told you already, Lae and I are just hanging out. I haven’t seen her since New Years and we’re going out to enjoy each other’s company.”



“Why don’t you ask Quinton to come, that way we can bring the baby and all of us go out to eat?”



He was doing again and I was easily becoming more agitated with every word that came out of his mouth. Whenever he went out, I was expected to sit at home, watch the baby and to never question where he went; yet when I wanted to go out with my friends, he always wanted a detailed description of who, what, when, where and how.

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