I found myself sitting at a table inside a restaurant’s basement in front of the kitchen. Sitting across from me was Jimmy. 5’9 and kinda fine. He wasn’t ugly but you could tell he didn’t take care of himself. His hair wasn’t combed, his V neck was wrinkled and his purple lips indicated to me that he was a smoker but one thing I knew from the minute I met him, he was very genuine. “Hey, I’m sorry if this really isn’t ideal” Jimmy tells me as he looks around the basement in his seat “Coupon says I was getting a $92 value but I forgot to make a reservation and this is the best they can do on short notice”.
“No, it’s alright. The food is great” I responded politely. At that moment, a waiter bursts out the kitchen, bumping right into my left shoulder.
“My bad” the waiter tells me as I rub my shoulder. This definitely was not alright. “Um, how much did you end up paying?” I asked Jimmy while wondering if I’m going to have to put an ice pack on my shoulder later. “Like $27” he responds. For a $92 meal? That’s not bad. “Too bad you didn’t reserve it on a better day to sit upstairs” I tell him while I continued to chew my food. I didn’t have food like this at home. I could hardly get the words out when speaking because I was too busy shoving food down my throat! I now understood the hype around soul food! I was so busy stuffing my face, I didn’t even realize I faded Jimmy voice out and barley heard a thing he was trying to tell me.
“…I was supposed to come here with my ex. Well ... I don’t even know if I can call her that...” he continued rambling “Technically we were just dating. No titles. We were dating for over a year but she had a problem making up her mind if she wanted to be in a relationship with me”.
I looked up realizing he may want a response or reaction from me.“Oh… sounds complicated”. That seemed to buy me time. “Yeah, I got tired of waiting for her to show me the affection I’ve been giving her, everything felt one sided so we called it quits” he explained.
“Oh, that sucks” I reply. “Eh, not really” he says smiling “Finally had the time to focus on myself for a change. I was trying to make a perfect situation with someone when I didn’t even have my life together on my own to begin with”. Wow. This guy is pretty deep.
“That makes sense” I agreed “So, you’re making changes that you couldn’t make before?”
“Yeah, I used to spend a lot of time and money on her but now I’m focus on myself” he tells me “Getting ready to fix my truck... there’s nothing wrong with it, just need to fix a few things...I also have an online business and working on moving out of my apartment, tired of my roommates... what about you? Any moves you’re trying to make in life?”
I hate when guys ask me what I do or what are my goals in life. Most of the time they are just trying to figure out what angle they need to come at me so they can sleep with me. There’s no way he can care about what I have to say or what’s on my mind, he just cares about what’s between my legs… but I can’t resist a moment to talk about myself.
“Yeah, I’m a store clerk at a spot called Kinky Candy. We sell women’s lingerie, shape wear, sex toys and other adult novelty items but I want to get my real estate license and be able to start fixing and flipping property”.
“That’s dope” he responds casually. I’m sure it went through one ear and out the other. “My grandfather taught me how to do it playing monopoly as a kid” I express to him as I continued to eat my food, “The goal is to get four green houses to get that big red hotel. Get enough residential properties that I can rent out and use the money to maybe become a Marriott franchisee or something, have my own hotel. I’m actually trying to find a limited-edition version of the game I use to play with him”.
“I never played Monopoly but I did play cashflow” he states, “Ever heard of Rich Dad, Poor Dad? I can’t vouch for his book on real estate or investing but he got great info on financial education and building wealth through passive income. I play that game religiously”.
I was shocked. Nothing about him said “entrepreneur”, he definitely doesn’t look like the men I’ve been meeting at business conferences, expos and seminars. He was…different.
“Oh! You didn’t strike me as a guy who would care about financial independence” I clarified. “Oh yeah! It’s bigger than me” he retorted, “I’m trying to create a legacy. Like Dame Dash said on the breakfast club, I do this for my last name. I want to make sure my kids don’t have to have a boss, that they can be their own boss. Instead of being on the streets like I did when I was younger with my friends, getting in trouble... that they will use their time and money better. Practice group economics and make difference in our community”.
“Oh, you have children?” He laughs. “Oh no, I’m speaking about my future children. The one that will continue the family name. I’m all about building a family empire. Being wealthy is the goal”. At that moment, I kinda started to feel turned on by Jimmy. I didn’t realize he was such a go getter, an intellectual or had any ambition in general. I started to get lost into his sweet brown eyes when the waiter walks up to us and hands Jimmy the bill. Jimmy looks at the bill confused and looks back at the waiter as if he made a mistake.
“What’s this?” He asks. “The bill” the waiter responds. “Oh, but I prepaid online!”
“That was for the meal sir. That doesn’t include tax and gratuity”. The waiter walks away as Jimmy sighs and looks at the bill. “Well, isn’t this embarrassing…”
“What’s wrong?” I asked, fearing his response.
“I left my wallet at home” he replies.
Of course, he did! Mr. “I’m building an empire, I’m all about legacy” forgot his wallet at home! I should’ve known this was too good to be true. “Wow, you’re lucky you are cool Jimmy” I tell him as I begin searching through my purse “How much is it?”
“$25 tax, another $15 for tip. So, $40.”
$40 DOLLARS TO SIT IN THE GOT DAMN BASEMENT?!?!
“They can kiss my whole entire ass!” I conveyed to him as I put the money on the table, “I’ll put the $25 for the tax but that waiter can eat a dick if he thinks I’m going to give him a tip!” The waiter’s lucky I don’t sue him for this bruised shoulder! I was so upset, I stormed out without even saying goodbye to Jimmy. Before I knew it, I was already at my car, slamming the door and sitting in frustration. My phone goes off. I thought it would be Jimmy calling me but it was a text from Ashley. I called her immediately.
“Hey girl. How’s dinner going?”
“Horrible!” I shouted.
“Why? What happened now?”
“I get to the restaurant and it’s really nice but why is our table is in the basement next to the god damn kitchen?”
“Nah! No Way!”
“Yes. Almost got into it with one of the waiters for bumping me like a linebacker”.
“No, they didn’t?!?”
“Yes they did and then had the nerve to try and get a tip! I was about to give them the tip of my heel. They got the right one tonight!”
“They didn’t know who they were messing with... So, how was he? Did you see any potential growth?”.
“You mean Mr. I forgot my wallet? I ended up paying for tax, I left the restaurant and that’s the end of that”.
“Oh... So, you got that stack?”
“That’s not fair. It was a terrible date”.
“Yeah but was he terrible or the situation?”
I sat there and thought about it. As always, she was right but I didn’t want to admit it.
“Well he wasn’t the worst and I can tell he has ambition” I ended up thinking out loud.
“See he wasn’t that bad. You should give him another chance... or you could give me that stack!”.
Ugh. Why Me?!?!
“I don’t want to” I told her, “He doesn’t deserve another chance. He probably forgot his wallet on purpose”.
“You’re just making excuses” she tells me, “But cool. How about this? I get if you don’t think he deserves another chance but if he tries to make it up to you in the next 24 hours, you have to let him. Cause that would be a redeeming quality. Don’t you think?”
“Yeah but after that type of date he isn’t ever going to call me again.”
“Oh my God. You’re really going to die alone!” she squealed.
“No I’m not”.
“You right... You’ll have 9 cats with you when you go”.
“Don’t say that. I’m going to find someone who’s right for me”.
“Not the direction you are going in. All I see is bibles and kitty litter in your future. Jesus is going to be the only name you holler after midnight”.
“Ight, I got to go Miss Cleo. I’m going to get you a crystal ball for your birthday”.
“Well when you ready to take my advice and keep a man, call me now!” she tells me in a bad Jamaican accent.
“Bye girl” I tell her as I ended the call. I sat there and thought about it for a minute. I don’t even have a thousand dollars to give her.
Across the street, I see an elderly woman walking alone. Looking at her makes me think of what Ashley said what was in store for my future. Was she right about this? He said no strings attached and I ended up paying. He didn’t even chase me out the restaurant. Son of a bitch got a free meal!
BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!I jumped in my seat as someone begin banging on my hood out of nowhere.
“What the fuck?”
Jimmy put his hands up. “Hey! Sorry! Didn’t mean to scare you. You ran out so fast I didn’t have a chance to catch up...I got your change”.
I found myself rolling my eyes as I roll down my window half way. “Gee, thanks” I acknowledged him as I took the change. Half of the change fall out of his hands and spreads everywhere in my car.
Lord, why me?
“It’s fine” I told him.
“Look, I know I said tonight would be a free meal and I didn’t live up to that. I’m sorry. If you’re not busy tomorrow, maybe you can stop by my place. I’ll give you back the money!”
“You can’t chase quick pay, PayPal or cash app it?” I asked him looking to find a way out of this.
“Na” he quickly responds.
“Not even Venmo?”
“Na, I have the money in cash. Plus, this will give me a chance to show you how I make money online”.
I can see now he wasn’t taking no for an answer.
“Yeah, sure. Text me” I told him as I rolled up the window. Jimmy’s head goes up with the window until it reaches the top. He smiles and waves as I pull out of the parking lot.
Six month later, I’m home alone on a Thursday night. Single, horny and bored. Laying my head on my pillow, I looked up at my phone searching through social media for an escape as I FaceTime my best friend Ashely on my laptop. “Men ain’t shit.” I continue to tell her.
“You don’t even give men a chance!” she responds.
“Every time I give them a chance, they prove they are shit.”
“It’s been 6 months since Bobby, you got to get back out there.”
Oh, but I have. I been on countless dates. Mostly guys who slides in my DMs. Recently I met with a personal trainer I met on Instagram. We met up in central park. He seemed pretty normal. He was handsome, well-built and had a smile that could melt the sun.
The only thing he wasn’t really good at was keeping a conversation. He had a lot to say when he was texting me but as we sat on a nearby bench and sip coffee, he seemed like he had nothing to say at all.
“It’s a beautiful day today, isn’t it?” he asked me as if we weren’t sitting together for the last 15 minutes.
Come on bruh! Come up with something a little more original!
“Yeah, it’s pretty nice out here” I respond.
He takes a sip of his coffee and begins to become extremely animated once he senses I was getting bored of him.
“YOU DAMN RIGHT ITS NICE!” He blares out “It’s an extremely beautiful day! You got to live life to the fullest even when you’re just sitting down!”
“I guess you are right. We should enjoy life as much as possible”
I had looked away seeing children being chased by ducks, wondering where their guardians were when I turned back to see him doing triceps dips on the bench.
“First rule to living life to the fullest is keep your heart rate high at all time” he grunts “Easiest way to do that is with quicks calisthenics!”
“That’s really good. You stay in great shape that way!” I retort hoping my encouragement would conceal my disgust for his “Macho Man/Beef Cake” attitude.
“Yeah, it’s the only way to live!” he says as he hops up and grabs two bottles. “All I drink is these smoothies. Here! I brought one for you.”
I take the smoothie and begin to examine it. If the media can persuade me to believe America’s favorite TV dad was slipping pills in girl’s drinks, I can’t take any chances. It seemed pretty harmless, so I took a sip.
“Hmmm... that’s pretty tasty” I tried to articulate to him as I continue drinking it. “What’s in it?”
“Some fruits, vegetables” ...
“Wow! All natural might be the way to go” I respond accidentally cutting him off. I had to hold my stomach as it begins to growl. Something wasn’t right.
“Are you ok?”
“No! What else is in that smoothie?”
“Nothing Just Fruits and Vegetables.”
He takes his smoothie and chugs it. His face becomes emotionless as he stares at the bottle.
“What’s wrong?” I ask him.
“That one is mine. It has laxative in it!”
Without hesitation, I begin running away. I must have been on the toilet for 2 hours that night. Since then I’ve stopped searching for dates on social media. I did try dating the guys I’ve worked with or thought I could of did work with. There was this photographer who started working at the event hall/photography studio I used to work at.
It was cool at first. We would hang out after hours, I would help him practice, testing out different lenses as I stroked different poses for him.
“You’re gorgeous!” he tells me as he takes my photos.
He comes over to me and sits beside me to show me the photos. He turns to me and I back look at him. Before I knew it, we begin to kiss. Just at that moment, I heard high heels stepping into the studio.
We both jump up.
“Who is Richie?” I thought to myself.
“I thought your name was Raul?” I questioned.
“Who the fuck is Raul?” the woman inquires, looking at me for answers. That dude was like the modelizer in the first season of “Sex in the city”. You know, the womanizers who only date models? I was starting to get tired of these New York City men. I even tried talking the guys who have the courage to walk up to me on the street and ask me out.
The other day, I found myself talking to a gentleman and we had trade numbers and smiles. He told me “I’ll def be in touch” and to be honest, I couldn’t wait for him to reach out to me. “I’ll be waiting” I told him as we walked the opposite direction. I felt good about the chance encounter. I couldn’t stop smiling...that was until my phone went off. I looked at screen of my smartphone and saw it was the guy I literally just met.
“Got nudes?” he texts me. My smile fades and I sucked my teeth. Another one bites the dust.
“Girl, I’m tired of the games” I tell my best friend Ashley over facetime. I don’t need a man. I got me, myself and I. I can have a fulfilling life with a career and adopt kids if I have to, what do I need a man for?”
“You don’t want a man holding you, keeping you warm at night?” Ashely pleads.
The thought of it makes me laugh. “I think they got sex dolls for that now” I responded.
“Sex dolls can’t hold you tight at night without you programming it...I think...and if they can...that’s creepy”.
“I’m just saying Men are a distraction right now. I’m trying to get my finance in order so I can get my real estate license, start selling enough homes until I have enough to flip them on my own.”
“I hear you girl but Tyrone and I are going on a cruise next summer and I want you to come but not as no third wheel. Double date on the Caribbean seas you feel me?”
“Girl, I just don’t see that happening. The coins and the man ain’t there.” I tell her as I look over to my desk to see unpaid bills and credit card debt in two piles. One that says paid. The other says past due. The paid pile is empty compared to the past due.
“Are you even looking?”
“I’m looking at a dating app as we speak!” “And you see no one you like?”
“They all look like bums or fuck boys...” I said speaking too soon. I come across a profile that catches my eye and sit up. “Oh, hold up wait a minute. I think I might have a contender”.
“Details! Details!” Ashley shrieks “Don’t horde the info!”.
“His name is Oshea...6’4. Works for an online media company, Drive a BMW. Lives in Williamsburg. In shape. 6 pack abs. No kids. Looking at his pictures, he seems to travel a lot too”.
“Girl, what are you waiting for?” “I ain’t waiting. Swipe right!”
As I swiped right, another profile comes up and I see these words written in caps that immediately gets my attention.
FREE FOOD. NO STRINGS ATTACHED. “What the...?” I begin questioning the profile.
“What’s up?” Ashely asks me, trying to see what I’m looking at through her computer screen.
“There’s this guy offering free food, no strings attached. His name is Jimmy”
Ugh, he already sounded like a loser.
“That’s random” Ashely replies.
I continued to read the description on his profile. “Says he prepaid for a dinner for two on one of those groupon/living social site and lost his date and don’t have the appetite to eat both meals on his own.” I laughed. At least he was funny.
“Is he cute?”
“Yeah he’s cute...Not much info about him though”.
I continued to swipe through his pictures. I couldn’t tell much about him based on his profile description and his photo album was filled with pictures of him playing games, reading books and dancing.
“All I can see is that he plays games, read books and dances a lot”.
“Sounds like he could be fun.” Ashley responded.
“He looks like he’s broke. Probably why he is paying for discount dates online.”
“Oh, come on! You already calling it quit and you haven’t even met him.” I hate when Ashely is right.
“If I meet a guy worth growing with, I won’t call it quits.” I tell her.
“I bet you call it quits within hours!” she retorts.
“How much you want to bet?”
“I bet you a stack you’ll find a reason to quit seeing a guy within 30 days”.
“Oh, you that confident that you can put a stack up? You got a bet! Now to find a guy to grow with”.
“What about the guy you’re looking at now? What restaurant did he pre-pay for? I bet it’s somewhere nice”
“It’s some soul food spot. Looks nice”.
“Take him up on that offer”.
I thought about it for a while. I wanted to back out of the bet before I shot myself in the foot but who could pass up a thousand dollars? I really needed the money... and all I got to do is deal with a guy for 30 days? We’re not even talking sex or kissing but just dating a guy. It’s a win-win situation.
“Alright. Fuck it. Why not?” I tell her, finally submitting myself to her plans. “It’s just one night. If I can see it grow, I’ll continue seeing him. If not, oh well. Free food. How bad can it be?”
I spoked too soon.
I walk out of the elevator and towards my apartment. As the bass of my favorite Janet Jackson song “Would you mind” fades out, I thought I heard moans I heard on the track before. Then I realize it’s not the song. Through my headphones, I can hear moaning nearby. As I take off my headphones, I look towards my neighbor’s door. “Is Carol finally getting some? It’s about time” I begin to tell myself. I mean it was “hump day”. Being nosey, I slowed down to listen in but the closer I got to her door, I realize it’s not coming from Carol’s apartment. “Wait? Where is that coming from?”
I turn around towards my apartment. Is that coming from my place? “AH Hell NO!” I ran towards my apartment door and searched for my keys in my purse. Getting frustrated, I just started grabbing things out of my bag to find space where my keys could be hidden. I finally find the keys and burst through my apartment door to find the last thing I needed to see; my boyfriend Bobby on the couch naked with another woman on top of him covered in cat make up with a camera positioned on a tripod sitting across from them.
“What the hell Bobby?” I screamed as I stood at the door irritated at the sight before my eyes. “Ginger! It’s not what it looks like!” Bobby responds as he looks over to the girl on top of him and tosses her to the side. “Na, baby” he points to the camera sitting across from them. “This a prank! See the camera? You’re on YouTube!” He jumps up in excitement. “Ha-ha! You’ve been pranked! I got you good baby. You should’ve seen your face!”
Bobby’s mystery woman sits up off the floor. “Oh, I must be getting punked too!” she says casually. Bobby turns to her. “Why would you say that?” he tries to ask her quietly.
“Really Bobby? I’m standing right here!” I impatiently told him as I folded my arms, waiting on his response. The mystery woman stands up, proudly showing off her summer ready body. “I’m so sorry, I’m being rude,” she tells me as she walks up to me nonchalant letting it all hang out, like she’s not naked in my living room. “I’m Justine!” she introduces herself as she reaches her hand out to me. Bobby slaps it.
“You’re doing too much!” he screams “What’s the matter with you?”
“Well, this is her apartment, might as well let her know who’s in here.” Justine responds.
“You’re not even supposed to be in here!” Bobby painfully remarks.
“Exactly!” I screamed growing impatient. “So, can someone explain to me what’s going on or ya’ll gonna keep talking to each other like I’m not here?”
“I’m trying to explain to you if you would let me talk!” Bobby stalls as he takes a deep breath.
I stand there with my arms folded. “I got the time today. Ok let’s hear it.” I said to him.
“The reason she is here is...” he slowly begins to say “because she’s a present to us! She’s a professional dancer!”
“Dancer?... Ok… then why is she naked on top of you?”
“She’s an Exotic Dancer and she was warming up for you!” he responds with a straight face. The nerve of this man!
“Exotic huh?... Warming up?... Ok”
I point to Bobby. “But why are you naked?” I then point to the camera, “and why is there a camera recording?”
I feel someone coming up behind me. I jump back and see a man I’ve never seen before also in cat make up and fake cat ears coming out the bathroom.
“I’m ready!” he screams gleefully with both arms in the air, loud and proud! I look over at the man as he stands there lost and confused.
I couldn’t register what was going on right in front of me. “What the fuck Bobby?” I screamed as I begin to lose my cool.
“Hey, I thought this was a three way... I mean if she wants to join it’s cool but she needs to put on the cat costume or I can’t get into it”
I felt my neck turned around 360 degrees like I was starring in “The Exorcist”. I guess I didn’t have the time today.
Marvin and Ray walk out of the dirty, dark and damp staircase and walked into the 5th floor hallway noticing men standing at T's apartment door. Ray, in his black and red hoody carrying his Jansport book bag looks devious but confident doesn't think twice of it. Marvin, a little shorter and nervous in his V neck and ripped up jeans worries if they will be a problem. Ray walks towards them. "Tell T Im here" he demands as if he has a right to be here. The men stare at him for a minute. One of the thugs pull out his phone and send two emojis to T. A man and a door. T opens the door and smiles when he realizes who it is. "What up y'all?" he says as he embraces them at the door. "Chillin, chillin" Ray responses giving him a hand shake. T looks over to Marvin. Marvin nods his head and says "What's Good?". T moves aside and signals them to walk in. "Come on in" he tells them.
The guys walk into his apartment. "Y'all thirsty or something?" he ask them as he close the door. "Na, we not here to stay long" Ray responds "Just need to re-up". T folds his head and nods. "Okay, okay" he says "Got the bread?". Ray goes into his book bag, pulls out and throws him a stack of cash. "That's what I like to see!" T says as he catches it "that's why I fuck with y'all. An once right?" Ray nods. "Ight. Let me fetch that for you" T responds as he walks towards the back. Marvin and Ray stand around. Marvin looks around and notice how well T is living. The nice furniture, the beautiful paintings, the sculptures and chandeliers. Even the floor was redone with tiles. He was not imagining this when he walked into this building in his ghetto. He must be getting paid he thought. "How much do you think he has back there?" Marvin ask Ray. Ray pulls out his gun "I don't know" he says as he cocks it "lets go find out!".
Marvin tries to stand in his way "Whoa, Ray!" he tries to say but Ray pushes him aside and rushes towards the back. Marvin quickly follows. They walk into T's room. As soon as T turns around, Ray pistol whips him. Knocking him unconscious. "Dude what the fuck?" Marvin screams. "Nigga you want to make some money right? Wanna go legit right?" he ask him repeatedly "Lets take all his shit and go while we have the chance". Marvin begins to walk back shaking his head "I don't know man" he tells him. Ray points the gun at him. "Nigga you better pick up that cash and drugs" he screams at him "we don't have time". T moan and groan on the floor. Ray kicks him several times then puts his gun back to Marvin. "You want to end up like him?"
Marvin looks down at T. They grab two duffel bags and grab any drugs or dollar bills they can find. They run out the apartment passed the men. The men look confused. Seth runs out with a bleeding head.
The staircase door bust wide open as Marvin and Ray comes through running downstairs of the ghetto apartment building. The men start shooting after them. Marvin and Ray shoot back, trying not to get caught up in each others cross fire. T runs out his apartment door. "Get them niggas!" he scream as he points to the stair case. Marvin and Ray continue to run down the stairs as T's thugs chase them.
Marvin spots someone's fresh urine on the floor. He tries to warn Ray. "Watch out!" he tells him but its too late. Ray falls down the stairs, pulling Marvin down with him. They get up off the floor and continue running out the building, wet, covered in piss. T's thugs continue to chase after them until they are no longer in sight. Seth catch up with his soldiers, holding on to his bleeding head. "Don't worry, we gonna get them" he tells them "Thats a must".
After a small lunch with her mother, Alexis leaves her mothers house. She turns around to say goodbye to her siblings and her mom. "Bye guys, I love you" she tells Alaina her little sister. "Love you too" she responds. Her little twin brothers stand there both looking shy. "You guys not going to say it?" she ask them. They look at each other and back at her and say "Like wise". Alexis smiles and give them all hugs. She look into her mothers eyes. "Now don't forget what I told you. Trust in God, not in man" she tells her "Faith without work is useless, God take care of those who take care of themselves. You have to be responsible for yourself" Alexis nods her head. "Yes mom I hear you" she responds. "I'll see you guys in church tomorrow". Alexis begins to walk away, waving goodbye. Alexis walks to the long island rail road station and gets on a train heading to locust manor. As she sits there, she begins to think about her life. She never planned on moving out of her mothers house before she got married but her fiancée Patrick convinced her it was time since they were about to get married but she's having a hard time making up her mind if that was her best decision. She loves Patrick and he supports her but at times she questions if he respects her. Looking at the time, Alexis surprises the train reaches her stop within 6 minutes of her boarding it.
She gets off the train. Her phone rings. She takes it out her purse and see its her fiancé Patrick. She answers the call quickly as if her life dependent on it. "Hello?" She answers. "Whats wrong with your phone?" Patrick responds angrily. "Nothing" she tells him. "So why didn't you answer when I called before?" he asks her. "My phone never rang, this is the first time it's ringing" she explains. Patrick seems to be upset "What do you mean it didn't ring before? I called you. What if there was something important going on?" he goes on. Alexis takes a deep breath. "My phone didn't ring Patrick" she responds "what do you want me to say? Its not my fault." Patrick sucks its teeth. "When I call your phone, answer that shit" he demands. "Okay Patrick" she accepts passively. "We have to meet with the wedding planner tomorrow" he continues. "On the sabbath?" she questions. "She's a busy woman" he responds "We're lucky she even considering seeing us on a weekend". Alexis tone of voice changes "I can't, you know I go to church with my mother on saturday" she tells him. "Cancel it, you can praise God on sunday" he responds. "No Patrick, I can't. You know I have to be there for my mother and spend some time with God" she argues. Patrick sits up at his desk. "Um, who has been taking care of you for the last six years?" he asks her. Alexis sighs. "You" she responds. "Who has been paying the bills, giving you money, buying you clothes, food and providing place over your head?" he continues to ask her. "You Patrick" she tells him routinely.
"We've been going to be married in six weeks, its time you start showing me the proper respect" he tells her. "Whatever Patrick" Alexis tells him under her breath. "Whatever?.. Woman..." Patrick says before he gets distracted by a knock at his office door. He looks up and sees a woman. He signals the woman to come in, looking at her long legs, thick thighs and juicy lips. The way her hips and curves fill out her dress, he can't keep his eyes off her. Still on the phone he asks "You cleaned up around the house yet?"
Alexis gets off the train platform and walk towards their apartment building. "Im heading home now" she tells him. "So I guess Dinner isn't ready yet either" he added as he gets up and walk towards the other woman. "I just told you Im on my way home" she pleads. "Alright, I will see you later" he tells her. "Alright. Love you" Alexis responds. Patrick hangs up, grabs the woman in front of him and starts ripping her clothes off, laying her on the desk behind her. Alexis walks into her building.
Back at his apartment, T is surrounded by his team of thugs, they all stand around him patiently waiting to hear the plan. "Put the word out on the street" he tells them "I want them niggas alive. They have something that belongs to me and I want it back. All of it. If anyone sees them, don't press them on it right away. I want em to call me and let me know where they are. No matter where you are, no matter how far. Aint no mountain high enough to keep me from getting them niggas".
As Alexis gets home. The home phone rings. She set her bags down and picks up the receiver. "Hello?" she answered. "What up Bestie" Wes responded. Alexis smiles. "Hey Wes, What's up?" she asks him. Wes sits in the break room of his job, warming up a meal in the microwave. "Oh nothing, was just thinking of you" he tells her. "Wanted to see how you were doing. Your mean ol' fiancé isn't there is he?" Alexis laughs "Na, he's at the office" she tells him "Probably won't be home til late tonight". Wes sits up in excitement "Oh word? That mean I can come through right?" he says. Alexis heart drops just thinking about it "You funny" she tells him You know that's not going to happen".
"Yeah, with his insecure over protective ass" Wes responds "I told you, you shouldn't have gotten engaged right out of high school". Alexis rolls her eyes "Well I don't need you being here for him to think there's something going on" she explains. "Oh please, there hasn't been anything going on with us since we were freshmen" he reminds her. "Does he even know that we used to be more than friends back in the day?" Alexis sits up and looks into a photo of Patrick and herself. "No and he doesn't need to" she tells him "Last thing I need is for him to tell me who I can and can't be friends with. So what are you up to?" Wes sits down with his meal and flips through some pages of a book. "Well right now Im doing some reading. Reading about entrepreneurs that aspire me and their success stories" he tells her. "I wish you never dropped out of school" she tells him "You ever thought about going back?". Wes closes his book. "I don't have the money for that" he responds. "All I have is time and Im using this time to build my company. Thats the whole reason why I dropped out of school, to start my business." Alexis sighs. "You didn't even invest in your LLC yet" she tells him.
"But I will" he tells her "Copyrights, trademarks and all. School is not an option. Giving in papers won't get me paid. I got to prove it was the right decision. Did you know Walt Disney was sleeping in a studio he worked at when he went bankrupt before he started his company with his brother?" Alexis continue to listen to him talk as she put her things away and makes herself more comfortable.
"...and Russell Simmons started Def Jam for $5,000 using Rick Rubins dorm room as an office. Berry Gordy had to borrow $700 from his sister to start his studio. The way I see it...I just got to save my money. Keep Learning, mastering and creating. Every big business started off small. Business is an adventure, a process of discovery and Im just developing my unique knowledge of it all."
Alexis takes a sip of water. "Im glad to hear you are still focused" she responds. "Now if you can stay away from them hood rats you hang with, you'll be where you need to be in no time".
Wes gets lost, not knowing where the conversation is heading. "Who? Marvin and Ray? They are harmless". Alexis sucks her teeth "They're thugs. They are bad influence" she tells him.
Wes shakes his head. "Oh come on, they didn't have the same childhood as us" he reminds her "They were raised in that environment, they didn't have a chance. They are a product of their environment". Alexis gets frustrated with him "Last time I check, we all came from the same side of Jamaica Queens and you and I don't behave like animals" she tells him. "No, you're from rosedale, you're not from the hood" he reminds her. "Yeah but you are and you know better. Way more responsible." she argues. "Yeah but I live with a purpose, I always knew what I want do do while Im on this earth. They don't" Wes tells her. "You want to help our community those guys don't want to do anything but drink, smoke and have sex" she tells him "You're better than those guys, you need to take more responsibility for your own life and stop letting those guys bring you down with them". Wes laughs. "Look who's talking! You barley take care of yourself" he tells her. "I take care of myself!" she proclaim. "No, Patrick take cares of what you need. You spend your days living like he owns you. You're growing too dependent on him" he tells her. "I depend on no man, only God" she tells him "Well Patrick thinks he is your God.." he says looking at his watch, realizing he has to clock back in "look, I got to go. Me and the guys are going clubbing later. Want to come?"
Alexis looks at the phone as if he can see her reaction on her face "Now you know that is not my scene" she tells him "Need I remind you about Franz Anton Mesmer and the sanctuary?". Wes throws his hands in the air "Ah here we go with the conspiracy theories". Alexis gets defensive "You're the conspiracy theorist, Im speaking facts" she responds "The club is a place to captivate and manipulate you, opening yourself up spiritually, subliminally and subconsciously with those degrading music lyrics, flashing lights and booming beats. Its mind control. You're exposing yourself to demonic infestation. They steal your consciousness and you're ability to reason". Wes sucks his teeth "Oh please, It's just mindless fun".
"Its all fun and games until you wake up and catch something from a one night stand or get her pregnant..". she responds. Alexis sighs. "Well Im bout to do my chores and cook before the new year. Do some praying and read my bible while listening to some music"
Wes smiles at the fact she' so predictable. "Let me guess, Gospel?" he ask. "You know me well. I got to keep the faith" she tells him "In order to be where you want to be, you have to be the person God wants you to be.You should come with me to church tomorrow." He sighs. "Now you know how I feel about religion" he reminds her "I believe if someone thinks they can keep God's law, then they don't understand the depth and magnitude of their inborn sinful nature. Jesus taught to pray daily for God's forgiveness and thats the one thing I still do since I gave up religion. I don't have to be in church for that". Alexis usually disagrees with him but she's not in the mood to go back into that debate. "Okay Wes. At least stay out of trouble okay? Call me. You're in my prayers. Much Love, God bless." She tells him. He responds "One". They hang up. She sits there for a little bit, in idle thought. She looks around her surroundings, sighs and gets up.
She does her chores one by one. She begin to prepare the meals. Using the stove and the oven. After cooking over a hot stove, she place the food in plates on the table and in the microwave. She put the left overs in tupperware. She puts on her rubber gloves, grab her spray and other cleaning products and cleans up the kitchen and then the bathroom. Toilet, shower, mirror and sink. She then takes a shower and watches TV. Moments later she looks at the the time and stops watching TV to open the sabbath and pray peacefully. After praying, she sits down on the couch and reads her bible.
It begins raining heavy outside, with no signs of stopping. Alexis sits on the couch listening to gospel music, reading her bible. The house phone rings. She reaches for the phone and answers it.
"Hey girl!" her best friend Vicki says on the other end. "Hey Vicki, Whats up?" she responds. "Oh nothing, just got home from work" she tells her. "Oh yeah, you're officially a registered nurse right?" Alexis asks "Congratulations. I knew you was graduating when I heard the band rehearsing the mission impossible theme song". Vicki sarcastically laughs. "At least I don't have to put up with Patrick to live my life" she tells her "What are you still doing with him? You guys been engaged for six years! He's not ready to take the next step. You need to go do your own thing honey" Alexis sits down "Oh come on, thats not fair" she tells her in his defense "We were going to get married sooner but he got that promotion at his firm and he wants to start a family and have the whole nine yard. House, backyard, pool, somewhere deep into long island like Baldwin or something. He's trying to get us finically stable to get to where we're going to be. The bible says Love is patient"
"And it also says Love is kind which Patrick is not! He is so rude. It's like he always have an attitude problem" Vicki quickly snaps.
"He's the ruthless business type" Alexis tells her in his defense". Vicki sucks her teeth.
"Ruthless my ass" she responds "He need to take a chill pill. Girl you can do so much better. What happened to the restaurant you wanted to start? Did you ever look back into culinary arts?"
"I did but Patrick keeps talking me out of it" alexis tells her "He thinks I should hold on to the money I inherited from my grandmother instead of investing it into a business"
Vicki sighs "But you would be investing into your future. Trust me girl, it has to be better than what Im doing. Feeding old people, wiping their ass, giving them showers....and thats just my night job. My day job, I got to deal with stab wounds, gun shots, this one damn fool came with a hamster up his ass. I don't understand it sometimes"
Alexis laughs. "Yeah, that doesn't sound fun" she responds. "Don't live your life living for Patrick" Vicki pleads "He doesn't deserve you. It's time for you to take control." There's several loud bangs at the door. Alexis jump. "Lord have mercy." Alexis scream. "What happened?" Vicki asks. Alexis rushes over to the door. "Who is it?" Alexis ask as she tries to look into the peephole. The banging continues. Alexis jumps back. "Vicki, let me call you back" she tells her as hangs up. "Man, it's us. Open the door! "
Alexis automatically recognizes the voice. Was that Marvin? Wes's Friend? Alexis opens the door. She finds Marvin and Ray outside holding onto to Wes. They are all wet but Wes is covered in blood. "Whoa, what happened? " she ask. The boys walk in, holding on to Wes. "We was at a party and everything was cool for a minute" Ray begins. They place the drunken wet Wes in a chair. "Man, everything was poppin!" he begins to scream "The drinks were poppin, the girls was poppin then niggas came in hatin, so we had to do what we do!" Alexis stands there lost and confused. "So what happened? " she ask again. "I got shot!" he screams. Alexis panics! "So what are you guys doing here? " she screams. "We got to take the bullet out" Marvin tells her calmly.
Alexis has a quick anxiety attack. "What? Why here? Why not a hospital? " she ask trying to stop her voice from cracking up. "You know damn well we can't go to no hospital" Ray tells her "They'll call the cops".
"And I got warrants" Marvin add on top of that."You can't be serious guys, a bullet wound is a very serious thing" Alexis tries to reason with them. "I really do think we should get someone who has experience in this".
"Man, we can't go anywhere else" Wes tells her. "We need to get this out of me. Look online and find out how to do this". Alexis has heard Wes say some stupid things before but this one took the cake. "You really expect to find out how to treat a bullet wound online?". Marvin goes online and searches for it. "Found it!" he screams. "See we can do this!" Wes tells her. Alexis looks at the time. She got an hour before Patrick comes home. Maybe they can quickly get it out the way, clean up and get them out before he comes home. She sighs. "Alright. So what we doing?"
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