I told you I’d have more of Stacey L. Moor’s debut novel It’s Me Again. This pics up right where we left off, so ENJOY!
Across the room, against the brick faced wall that Billy Holiday sang in picture perfect positioning above the fireplace and walking slowly down the first fourteen stairs of the railed stairway, I feel their eyes on me. They were here.
“Well it’s good to know that Starr wasn’t lying about knowing you. Now I can say that I’ve met Q, too.”
“It’s nice to meet you ladies as well. Starr is cool peoples. You can always count on her to tell you the truth.”
“Whether you want to hear it or not,” the Godiva Diva says as she takes a drink.
I can’t remember their names. I want to, but they are not on the agenda. The only reason I came here was to get a few things off of my chest and to show and prove. This was the day I could finally get everything out of my system and stop wondering if they read the emails I sent, or if texts sent to old numbers made it through to the right recipient.
“‘Countdown’ is just so sexy to me,” Golden Girl in purple says without the playful tone. Her voice sounds something between a soft scream and a raspy whisper. I smile to myself thinking yeah she would be the one to get me in trouble. “How’d you come up with that one?”
The smirk that slinks across her lips adds to the excitement in her eyes. She wants to know… The freckles dotting her nose betrayed her regal bone structure giving her face a playful side. A picnic for a queen, something different from what she was used to that could uncannily make her happy. I wondered if she had freckles anywhere else. We could play connect the dots and ride the rollercoaster the lines could create. I had to write that down. I could use that.
The melody comes to me in my head as she puts her purse between her arm and her small but perky breasts.
“It just sort of happened. I was at a show and in the front row was a woman that looked like she stepped right out of someone’s fantasy. She was dancing against a speaker and everyone was paying attention to her and before I did my set, I asked one of the crew to bring her up. Decided to do something new and play what I was thinking on stage. Turns out she was deaf and heard the song through the vibrations. Set a speaker on its side, sat her on top of it and started singing. It was an interesting night.”
“That’s so hot,” See-Through says.
“That’s real cute,” the Godiva Diva added.
“So what happened after the song?” Golden Girl in purple asks.
“Let’s just say I thought of a whole album after we left.”
“Lucky girl, but I’m sure if you had a new subject, you might get even deeper…”
Remember why you’re here I thought. Remember why you’re here. But damn she was bad and she was a troublemaker! I think I’m in love… again.
The tension a little too thick in the silence, another of her sorrors joins our round table discussion minus the round table. Where the hell did they find these women? And how come they never looked like this when I was in college?
“I love your whole album. Particularly ‘No Other.’ I must have played that song until I wore a hole in the CD.” She looked Spanish with Egyptian eyes and black girl thighs. The jeans she had had to have been tailored for her because there was no way in hell all that a- “I’m Marissa.”
I can see why. She was built like a monster and I bet she was part vampire.
The girls don’t greet her the way I expected them to. No side eyes or sucking their teeth or clearing their throats. They are cordial asking her ‘when did she get here’ and the usual rhetoric that comes with these parties.
“The food’s on the patio, just in case you were hungry.” That was See-Through. Her face not playing along with the other two women’s faces she had to be the hood chick of the group. Drop the smile and pull out the Vaseline and a blade from her purse in a heartbeat type of chic.
I had to write a song for that type of woman. Maybe make it an up tempo song, or get a rapper on it or something. But it would have to be street. Mix a little sweet talk-shit with a little bit of love and fast money or fast cars or a getaway driver dodging his ex while his new woman was straddling him. Yeah, I think to myself that would work out cool.
I introduced myself formally to the Liberian Girl that was part Dirty Diana but gorgeous none the less. Took her hand unlike the way I had with the three in front of her. Made it known that we were talking about favorites and why that was hers.
“The words, love the words. Remember freshman year had a man sing that to me with the cherry blossoms falling on the far side of campus. Sweetest thing ever.”
“Mmm…” that was See-Through again.
“You Ok, Toni? Need another drink?” Marissa the man stealer says it with sarcasm seeping through the secret punch. Toni, that was her name. I knew it was something with a ‘T’, crooks her head as she raises her cup and stares up and to the right.
“No I’m fine, I only keep one in my hand at a time. I’m not as big as you. I don’t want to get overwhelmed and have to have someone’s man carry me out.”
“So, uh… let me get this straight,” I said trying to stop a potential problem before it starts between these fine, young ladies and they ruin my plan. I touch their hands when I try to remember their favorites. Didn’t help that I only knew two of them. Damn I should have been listening.
“Toni, what was your favorite?” Her hand was across her body so I touched the bare of her upper arm. My hand almost the length of her shoulder to her elbow, she almost immediately gets a little color when she turns to me. Noticeably enough that her cohorts start smiling hard, all except Marissa the man stealer.
“Uhm… ‘Sideways’ is probably mine,” she says.
“‘Sideways’? Really? Didn’t think anybody knew about that.”
“Really,” she reiterates. “Kept me up through a lot of late study sessions.”
“You were in accounting, anatomy doesn’t count Toni.” The man stealer strikes again.
“You know what?” See-Through, I mean Toni, starts in but I cut her off.
“Think you must have great taste if you got what that song was really about. Remind me to update it before I leave, please.”
“Sure,” she says. She switches the weight on her feet by popping her dominant leg back as far as she could… she was bow-legged. And tiny.
The old me would have had fun with her and her man had to have been a fool to cheat on her.
Then I think about who was standing to my right and I remember why.
Wasn’t right, but I understand.
I look to Golden Girl in purple and touch her hand asking her, “‘Countdown’ was your favorite, right?” Her head is held high as she smiles above her drink, sipping it as she stares at me.
Godiva Diva… What was her name? I don’t remember. Damn.
“I’m sorry, you have such a dope complexion, do you mind if I tell you what your favorite song should be?”
The girls look at her before she answers, “No, go right ahead.”
My Godi-va Di-va
Sweet-er than chocolates underneeeeeath the
Sheeeeeeets on a warm day,
Sweeeeeeet is all I’m gonna say
‘Bout my Godi-va Di-va
And you can’t haaaaave none- eeeeeiiiiiitha
They all looked shocked as do some of the guests that were standing in earshot of us. The look on their faces telling me they thought about just wiggling out of their panties and putting them inside my jacket pocket.
That song would definitely have to make the album, couldn’t wait to perform that one. Pick a dope berry out the crowd and pull her up on stage and we can sell the new CD to the crowd wanting to relive the performance.
“I’ve… I’ve never-” the Godiva Diva stutters. “That was beautiful but I’ve never heard it before.”
“Just thought of it while we were standing here. Have to jot a couple of things down before I forget them so if you’ll excuse me, ladies…”
I make my way through the growing crowd, away from the four young ladies watching me walk to the kitchen table and pull a chair out. They look back and forth to each other, mouths open and expressions still looking like they finally realized it was a man’s world. We could turn the table on y’all women at any given moment. ‘Cause we’re men, that’s what we do.
I hum the words to Godiva’s song, jotting it down phonetically so I could remember the melody later back at home. I did the same for the other three women, wrote down the songs that clung in my head for each. This was going to be a very, very sexy album. And I wasn’t even having sex. Go figure.
I smiled my way back through the nodding heads and shallow smiles to place Starr’s housewarming gift that I left on the counter when she swept me away, along with the rest of the gifts. There wasn’t much room on the table so I put it on the floor at the end of the row of gifts placed along the stairwell. I could feel my leg shaking but that soon stopped with arms wrapping around me from behind.
She placed her head between my shoulder blades and let a sound that I couldn’t tell if it was a moan or a sigh.
I turned to see if it was a fan that had grabbed me or one of the four women that had just had my attention but before I could, and to my surprise…
She says, “You smell so good, Spiv,” before I make it all the way around.
Nobody calls me that but them.
“Uh, thanks?” I said. What else was I supposed to say? I couldn’t talk shit to her because I didn’t know which one it was. And I’d be damned to give in to them like I wanted to with a big cheesy smile. That would only mean that they’d won. But fuck… I was already here! Bearing gifts and shit! But I didn’t make the first move, so technically, I won.
I put my hands on hers, freed myself from the grip of a knowing stranger and turned to her. At first I didn’t recognize her.
At first, I thought she couldn’t have been real. At first…
Elyse looks up at me and smiles like the best friend of my ex-best friend used to smile at me. She has that winning smile that you see on flyers, posters and commercials during halftime. Her lips marked with some shade of carmine, still look as tempting and suckable as ever. Her eyes are bright and fixed like the money in the Geico commercials. This is what a million bucks looked like.
“Long time no see stranger.”
“Look who’s talking,” I tell her. “Look at you.”
I hold her hand above her head as she twirls in a circle for me to get a nice full view of her and the woman she has grown into. She points out the shoes that she just bought that were to die for. Literally. Someone got their ass handed to them when they tried to jack her for them. Some little punk-ass purse snatcher tried to snatch them as soon as she walked out the store with the bag in her hand. Too bad they didn’t know she had a kung-fu grip or notice the steel tipped heels on her stilettos.
Damn, I just fell for it.
Those damn diversionary tactics that these women play. She was the decoy to size me up. The untouchable one turning the tables on me in front of them for everyone to see. It was plain as day. I could see what was coming and I walked right into that mine field.
“Elyse, Elyse, Elyse… How have you been? You look-”
She cuts me off. Talks fasts and smiles wide as she says, “Go ahead and say it. Everyone either says I look crazy or-”
It’s my turn to cut in, “I was going to say, amazing.”
“Yeah,” she says smiling up at me, “how did you know?”
Come back next week for the 3rd installment. And definitely support by picking it up in your bookstores. I firmly support new literary talent when they work as hard as this man.