Authors: Allison Hobbs
Chanelle stopped mid-climb, struck suddenly by the knowledge that those two bitches had put something in her drink. It was probably Ecstasy—what else would cause her to act as wanton as she had? There was no other explanation for her behaving like such a happy hooker.
It took every bit of restraint not to run back down the stairs and kick some white ass—Mandy’s and Lexi’s as well as those of the bastards who’d disrespected her by dousing her with their drinks. But the desire to clean herself up had a more powerful pull. She’d deal with those two bitches later.
Oh God, she thought as she rushed up the stairs, besides allowing Mandy to slurp beer from her breasts, she’d even let that pumped-up muscular dude put his nasty fingers all up inside her pussy. She felt her heart pumping with rage. Damn, she wanted to fight everybody, but her biggest concerns at the moment were to take a shower, put on some clothes, and get the hell out of there.
Wiping muck from her hair and her face, she groped for the door handle of the changing room. But to her surprise, she quickly realized that she was in the wrong room, and was even more surprised to see that two men were together in bed! Her eyes blinked rapidly in disbelief.
The groom was wearing one of her prized costumes, a sheer one-piece micro-mini dress. He was lying on his back with both legs held up by the crook of his arms. “You like black bitches?” she heard the groom demand in a mean, raspy voice.
Sitting on his haunches, with his dick rubbing against Trevor’s ass, Brad hissed, “Shut up, Trevor; I was only fucking around. You’re the cheat who’s actually getting married. I can’t believe you’re gonna marry a goddamn cunt.” Brad’s final words were accompanied by a violent anal thrust, which caused Trevor to groan in what sounded more like pain than passion.
Chanelle shuddered at the sight of such debauchery. The male lovers seemed not to notice her standing there. She scurried from the raunchy scene and rushed into the dressing room where she snatched up her belongings. Fuck the sullied micro-mini. That bitch Trevor could have it as a wedding gift.
hat have I ever done to deserve such callous treatment?” Pamela Hinton asked her daughter through mournful sobs.
Before answering, Dayna took a moment to think about the situation. It was Mother’s Day; her father had invited her mother to brunch at the Four Seasons and then cancelled at the last minute. Dayna switched the phone to her other ear and then cleared her throat as she searched for a tactful response. “Well…Mom, you know…maybe it’s time to let go,” she advised meekly. “You’ve been divorced for years, yet you and Dad are still carrying on…I mean…it couldn’t be healthy to have to sneak around with your ex-husband.”
“I don’t consider myself sneaking around with the man I was married to for thirty years,” Pamela added petulantly.
Dayna’s parents didn’t seem to realize that it was very difficult for her to come to terms with their divorce and current torrid affair. She couldn’t quite define her own personal feelings, but if pressed to come up with a word to express how she felt, she’d have to admit she felt…
Her parents had raised her with a strong set of values, stressing that she must always conduct herself in a manner that would never cause them embarrassment. But their mid-life, socially unacceptable behavior seriously clashed with the morals they’d instilled in her. They were both hypocrites and having to view them through adult eyes was extremely painful.
“Mom,” Dayna said in a tone as gentle as she could manage considering her own conflicted emotions, “Dad’s remarried—”
“Oh, Dayna, please stop stating the obvious,” her mother cut in. “If you don’t have anything positive to add to this discussion, I might as well just hang up and wallow in my sorrow alone.”
Ugh! Dayna hated when her mother did the guilt-trip thing. As much as she tried not to, she always caved in. “Okay, Mom. I have an idea! Why don’t I take you to brunch?” Her mother stopped sniffling for a moment as she silently considered her daughter’s offer. When the sniffling resumed Dayna concluded that her mother had found the idea unappealing.
“Come on, Mom,” she persisted. “We’ll have a good time. Do you want to try that new place in Manayunk?”
“What new place? There’s always some new restaurant opening in Manayunk. You know I’m not impressed with those trendy places,” Pamela Hinton said curtly. “Your father was taking me to the Four Seasons. We always go to the Four Seasons on Mother’s Day. I can’t believe he would just stand me up like this.”
“He didn’t actually stand you up, Mom; he called and cancelled, right?” Dayna felt compelled to defend her father despite being annoyed with him for causing her mother such grief. In fact, she was annoyed with both parents and irked as hell by her forced participation in their illicit liaison.
“He made those reservations for Mother’s Day brunch months ago,” Pamela Hinton fumed. “
the mother of his
child and he’d rather spend Mother’s Day with that bitch!” Anger and indignation strengthened her mother’s voice. “If I find out he took her to The Four Seasons on
day, I’m going to—” Her mother paused abruptly.
Curious, Dayna waited for her mother to finish the sentence. Divorcing her father was no longer an option, so what would she do? What
she do? Absolutely nothing!
Her mother gave a huge sigh when the futility of her threat sank in. In a choked and anguished tone, she said, “Honey, I know you’re trying to help, but honestly, I don’t feel like going out. I’d rather stay home.”
“Mom, please don’t sit home alone on Mother’s Day. Let’s go out and have some fun.”
A tense silence hung in the air. “No thanks, baby,” her mother finally said. “I know you’re trying to help and I apologize for bothering you with my problems.”
“You’re not bothering me,” Dayna began to protest. “I don’t mind—”
“It’s just so hard to accept that the man I spent my life with could turn out to be such a liar.” Her mother spat out the words as she revved up for another tirade. “I know that bitch is responsible for this. She knows we spend every Mother’s Day together. Why wouldn’t we?” Pamela Hinton asked, incredulously. “Your father is just despicable. Such a lying, spineless, and poor excuse of a man.”
It hurt to hear her father so badly maligned. However, her father’s mistreatment of her mother also hurt. They were both breaking Dayna’s heart.
The uncomfortable lull in the conversation pulled Dayna away from her thoughts. She quickly shifted into pacifier mode. “I know you’re going to get hungry later on; I can bring something over. How about your favorite? Do you want some seafood lasagna?” Dayna spoke gaily, with a forced upbeat lilt in her voice.
“Honey, I don’t have an appetite. I’m gonna hang up now; I’ll talk to you later.”
“I’m here if you need me, Mom.”
“Thanks, sweetheart. I’ll be all right.” Her mother’s words caught in her throat, a clear warning to Dayna that she would not be all right.
The click on the line terminated the conversation. Dayna’s face crumpled into a frown as she tried to think of a solution. However, there was none. Wasn’t it painful enough that her parents had divorced? The agony of the day her father dropped the bomb on her mother, telling her that he was leaving her after thirty years, was still a strong memory. Dayna had shared her mother’s emotions; they both felt frightened, abandoned, and betrayed.
Her father tried to convince Dayna that the divorce had nothing to do with his love for her. His words were not comforting. She still felt unloved.
Rushing into marriage with Reed had been a distraction from the pain—a bandage over her lacerated heart. The bandage, however, had slipped off, exposing her marriage as a sham. Dayna cupped her face with both hands and solemnly shook her head. Reed didn’t love her either; she realized that now.
Finally seeing the light, Dayna realized that she had tried to get from Reed the love her father had abruptly withdrawn. How sick was that? Still, she had treated Reed with warmth and all the love she was able to give and had received nothing in return.
As badly as she wanted to have a child with her husband, she had to face the reality that bringing a child into an unhappy marriage was not the answer. She had to take the advice she’d offered her mother only a few moments ago:
It’s time to let go
Dayna drew in a deep breath as if preparing herself for the lifestyle change that would soon occur. She actually felt good and wanted to tell her mother. Then, she realized that her mother would not be happy to learn that her daughter’s marriage had failed. There was a strong possibility that her mother might even take Dayna’s failed marriage personally—as if she’d passed on to Dayna some mutant gene.
So Dayna decided to handle her situation privately—in her own way and in her own good time.
’m out with Cecily. Be home around nine
Reed snatched the Post-it off the refrigerator, crumpled it, and pitched it into the waste can. Narrowed eyes fixed upon the gleaming chrome stove, where not a pot or pan was in sight. He quickly shifted his gaze to the microwave, approached it with suspicion, and snapped the door open. The sparkling clean oven was empty. There was no dinner plate waiting to be zapped. No Post-it with further instructions on where to find his dinner. Nothing! Bewildered, he wondered what was going on with Dayna. Where the hell was his dinner?
He scowled in thought. Unwilling to believe his wife would behave so irresponsibly, he backtracked to the double-door refrigerator. Smiling in anticipation, he opened one of the doors. But to his dismay, there was no carefully covered plate filled with heaping portions of his favorite foods. There was nothing for him. The only thing in the refrigerator was rabbit food: carrots, cucumbers, mushrooms, tomatoes, and three bags of shredded lettuce.
He slammed the refrigerator door and opened the freezer. Maybe she decided to freeze his plate. Again, there was nothing for him, just boxes of more diet shit. Reed perused the labels on the boxes: Weight Watchers, Lean Cuisine, Healthy Choice. Nothing in there but a bunch of inedible bullshit.
Reed felt a storm rising inside, but subdued by hunger and with no available target, he calmed himself and scanned the frozen choices again. Just about everything in the freezer boasted
low calorie, low carbs, low fat, low sugar
, so he begrudgingly selected a small box of frozen turkey with a miniscule portion of stuffing and gravy. He ripped open the cardboard top and stuck the meager meal into the microwave.
Muttering obscenities, he abruptly changed his mind, yanked open the micro-wave oven door, and tossed the frozen dinner in the trash. He’d stop and get something more filling and more appealing while he was on his way to the PBP meeting.
He made a mental note to have a serious discussion with Dayna later that night regarding his dinner expectations. Then he let out a crude chortle. Shit, Dayna didn’t have the resolve to stick to a diet; she’d be back to frying chicken and pork chops in no time. Knowing her, she’d probably already admitted diet defeat and more than likely was chillin’ with Cecily at The Olive Garden stuffing her fat face at that very moment.
Starvin’ like Marvin, with his stomach on dead E, Reed did not enjoy the mental image of Dayna sitting up in a restaurant somewhere sticking her fork into an enormous platter of colorfully arranged, aromatic, steaming cuisine. Seething, he raced up the stairs. Without caring where it landed, he flung his leather briefcase, which was more for show than necessity, and changed from his monkey suit into casual gear.
“You’re kidding?” Cecily turned her drink up to her lips and took a quick swig.
“No, I’m very serious. I’m going to ask Reed for a divorce.” Dayna let the statement hang in the air for a few seconds. “The house, however, is in both our names; I’m sure that’s going to present a problem.” Dayna swallowed. “I should have listened to my mother; she warned me not to include his name on the deed. But I was so in love. I never dreamed it would come to this.”
“What happened? How do you go from marital bliss to divorce court in a couple of days? Last I heard, you were talking to your travel agent about a cruise.”
Dayna laughed sardonically. “Yeah, I thought a cruise would rekindle the old flame. But how can you rekindle something that was never there?”
“Oh, Dayna, I’m so sorry,” Cecily said, getting out of her seat to give Dayna a hug.
“Girl, please.” Dayna motioned for her friend to sit back down. “I’m fine. I swear…I’m fine.” She gazed out into the moonlit night and briefly enjoyed the view. She and Cecily were sitting outside at a small table on the upper deck at one of Dayna’s favorite restaurants. Cecily was having the Finlandia vodka special as Dayna sipped water that cost seven dollars a bottle. The bottle was tall and beautiful with an unusual shape; it looked like hand-blown glass. Dayna decided to get her money’s worth by taking the bottle home to use as a vase.
She turned back to Cecily, prepared to tell her friend that observing her parents’ dysfunctional relationship had opened her eyes, but out of respect for her mother, she changed her mind. Her mother would be mortified to know that Dayna was airing the family’s dirty laundry. She said instead, “Reed’s been getting a free ride throughout our marriage. His only responsibility is the monthly note on his Lexus and his car insurance.”
“You deal with the mortgage payments by yourself?”
Dayna nodded. “And everything else.”
“Well, how did you allow things to get so…” Cecily searched for the right word. “So inequitable?”
“I don’t know. There’s something in a black woman’s nature that makes us try to be the champion of our men. Reed could never get ahead on his job, which of course, he blamed on everyone but himself. He didn’t make enough money to drive the Lexus and help with household expenses. I tried to be understanding. I thought I was helping him to maintain his self-respect. Now I realize that trying to help him caused me to lose my self-esteem.” Dayna gave Cecily a sad smile. “Anyway, it’s over now. I just have to figure out how to get him out of the house and get his name off the deed.”
“Have you seen an attorney?”
“What are you waiting for? You can’t figure this legal mess out on your own. You need to let your father know you’re in trouble; he can solve this problem quickly.”
Dayna ignored the mention of her father. “It’s going to be a bitter battle and I’m just not up for it yet.” Dayna sighed and then suddenly brightened. Changing the subject, Dayna said, “In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve lost three pounds.”
Cecily, who’d been a size six her entire adult life and couldn’t fathom being encumbered by a weight problem, gave Dayna a blank look. “Good for you,” she said with a shrug and then leaned in close. “Walk to the restroom with me; I want to check out that hottie sitting at the bar.”
Dayna turned her head in the direction of the bar.
“Don’t be obvious!” Cecily scolded as she slid out of her seat. “Come on, you can get a look at him on the way to the restroom.”
Somewhere along the walk from their table to the restroom, Cecily trailed off into another direction without giving Dayna any warning. Dayna spotted Cecily smiling into the face of the hottie. Cecily didn’t play when she was on a manhunt. Social amenities went out the window. Dayna shrugged and went to the restroom alone.
She left the stall and peered into the lighted mirror as she washed her hands. Her face looked smaller. The three-pound loss really made a difference. All the green salads she’d consumed and the gallons of water she’d drunk during the past two weeks was finally paying off.
Dayna left the bathroom beaming, walking with the confidence she’d had when she was a size eight. She cut her eye toward the bar looking for Cecily.
Now seated on the bar stool next to Mr. Hottie, Cecily was in full-flirtation mode, chatting enthusiastically, fingers fluttering to her exposed cleavage and lashes batting away like crazy. Dayna smiled and shook her head. Cecily was seriously putting her thing down.
Despite all the light-hearted fun she seemed to be having, Dayna knew Cecily was desperate for a committed relationship. She hoped this encounter worked out for her.
As she approached the bar with the intention of discreetly telling Cecily she was going to head on home, Dayna had the distinct impression that someone was watching her. Her eyes darted away from Cecily and locked on to the hazel eyes of a brown-skinned man standing behind the bar. Whoa! She felt herself flush. Bronze-colored skin contrasted with hazel-colored eyes was an unusual, and well…lethal combination.
Beautiful locks brushed his shoulders and added to his physical attractiveness. Dayna felt slightly woozy and gripped the side of the bar as she quickly averted her gaze. She inched up to Cecily, who didn’t see her coming, and placed a hand on her shoulder.
“Sorry to interrupt,” Dayna said breathlessly.
“Hey,” Cecily said, twirling around on the barstool. “I want you to meet my new friend, Kendrick. Dayna, this is Kendrick.”
“Hi. Nice meeting you, Kendrick,” Dayna said politely, and then addressed Cecily. “Look, I’m going to head home; I totally forgot I have to grade some papers. Oh, and I have to work on an IEP for one of my students. It feels like our workload has doubled since the state took over the school district, don’t you think?” Dayna rambled. The handsome bartender had rattled her nerves and she couldn’t understand why she felt the urge to run away. It wasn’t as if he’d spoken to her. They’d simply shared a moment; eye contact, that’s all.
Unable to figure out why Dayna was going on and on about nothing in the midst of her love connection, Cecily began a series of rapid head nods, nonverbally communicating,
Dag, can’t you see I’m busy? Go ahead, leave! Roll out!
Flustered by the eye contact with the bartender, Dayna didn’t pick up Cecily’s signal; she continued to ramble until she caught a glimpse of Cecily’s strained smile. She bade Cecily and Kendrick a speedy good-bye, gave Cecily two quick air kisses, and fled the restaurant as well as the penetrating eyes of the devastatingly handsome bartender.
She immediately spotted her Chrysler in the well-lit parking lot, disarmed it, and slid inside. As she mentally reviewed the highly intense connection with the bartender, Dayna could feel a bright shade of pink rising from beneath her honey-toned skin. With all those pretty, slender chicks surrounding him, she wondered how he even noticed her. Maybe she just imagined the whole thing. It didn’t matter anyway. Ending her marriage to Reed was going to deplete all her energy; it would be a long time before she had the strength to get back into the dating game.
Dayna started her car and then remembered the pretty bottle of water she’d left at the table. She shook her head at her forgetfulness, but after locking eyes with a black Adonis, it’s a wonder she remembered her own name.