Authors: Tracy Brown
Tags: #Fiction, #Anthologies (Multiple Authors), #Urban, #African American
“Okay, I’m not gonna tell them what’s going on, but something has got to be done,” she said.
“I know, Gina, but my head is so screwed up right now. I just need a minute to think.”
“Listen, why don’t you come meet me for drinks and we can talk about it,” she offered.
I would’ve loved to go out, but Slim didn’t leave me any money. “I ain’t really got—”
“I didn’t ask you what you had, Princess. This is on me. Give me your address and get yourself dressed, and I’ll come and get you.”
“No,” I blurted out. “I mean, I wanna come, but we can’t meet here. I don’t know when Slim is coming back, and I don’t want him to catch me creeping out of here.”
“Okay, then this is what we’ll do. Throw on some sweats and hop in a cab to Macy’s on Thirty-fourth Street. I’ll be there in fifteen minutes to pay for it. After that, we can do some shopping and stuff our faces while we talk about the sorry-ass men in our lives.”
“Gina, you don’t have to—”
“Princess, I know that all I have to do in life is stay black and die; I
to do this for you. Just come on, girl.”
I took a few minutes to think about it. I wasn’t doing anything but sitting in the house and licking my wounds, so why not go out. Slim would probably flip and give me another beating, but who the hell cared? “Okay, Gina, I’ll see you in a few.” Five minutes after I ended the call, I had on a pair of faded jeans and a tank top and was out the door to make it to my rendezvous.
hen Princess stepped out of the taxi, my heart sank. Her lip was swollen, and I could see the bruising around her eye, even behind the dime-store sunglasses. She opened her mouth to speak, but I silenced her with a hug. I knew she needed it because she immediately began sobbing into my chest. While we enjoyed each other’s embrace, I whispered to her that it was going to be all right.
After our moment on the corner, I took her inside Macy’s and proceeded to spend up Jackie’s money. I brought Princess a pretty violet sundress and some sandals to change into and a
few outfits just to take with her. For myself, I bought the most high-end pieces I could find and bought three bed-in-a-bags for one hundred dollars apiece. When I got outside, I gave two of them away to homeless people who were sleeping on the streets and kept one for myself for the bed in the guest room, where I planned to spend the next few nights. After leaving Macy’s, we decided to get a room at the Hotel New York and burn up one of Jackie’s credit cards on room service.
The room was small, but it didn’t matter. We came there to drink and think, not sleep. I ordered a bottle of Alizé Red Passion and Rémy Martin from the bar downstairs and two dinner platters. Princess declined the Alizé, saying it reminded her too much of Slim. I could totally understand that, because Jackie was the reason I couldn’t stand cherry smoothies. Princess cracked the bottle of Rémy and attacked it with vigor. She had already taken three shots when I was still on my first. My girl had a lot on her mind.
We sat and did shots of Rémy while I listened to Princess bring me up to speed on her situation. She told me about how she’d robbed Slim, which is what led to her getting beat up in the club. She tried to blame herself for the whole thing, but I wasn’t having that.
“Princess, this ain’t none of your fault.” I patted her on the back of her hand. “I don’t care what goes on between y’all—Slim has no right to put his hands on you.” I felt like a hypocrite as the words left my mouth.
“Gina, I don’t know how I’ve gotten to this point,” Princess told me with her head in her hands. “It used to be so good between
us, but lately it’s been like World War fucking Three. I know that there’s a good man somewhere inside him, but I just can’t seem to bring it out.”
I tossed back my shot and looked at her. “Baby, the devil is a liar and can’t no good ever come out of his mouth. The Slim who wooed you is the mask, but the nigga you bumped into at the club the other night is his
“I’m starting to see that, but my heart tells me that there’s still hope for him . . . hope for us.”
“I know, Princess, but sometimes you gotta look at the writing on the wall. It started with a slap and escalated to a punch, the next thing you know you’ll be collecting frequent-flyer miles at the local emergency rooms and learning how to do tricks with makeup to hide your shame and his madness.”
Princess looked up at me quizzically. “Gina, I hear what you’re saying, but it isn’t as cut-and-dry as you make it sound. I know it might sound foolish, but I love him. You just don’t understand.”
Tears were in my eyes when I looked into hers. “Baby, I understand better than you think.” I dug in my pocket for a wipe and rubbed the makeup off the side of my face so that she could see the slightly healed bruise. “If you’re a fool, then I must be the village idiot, because I was dumb enough to marry my tormentor.”
“I had no idea,” Princess whispered, with her eyes still glued to my cheek. She reached out and brushed my cheek tenderly. It stung a bit, but I didn’t pull away. Her probing fingers were soft, kind of like someone running a feather along the side of
my face. I momentarily closed my eyes to compose myself, and when I opened them, Princess was staring at me sadly. At that moment, something passed between us. I’m still not sure what it was, but it was powerful.
“Most people don’t.” I reluctantly pulled away. “On the outside, it’s all good, but there are fires raging in my home, too. Sister girl, let me give you a little bit of my truth.” I don’t know if it was the alcohol or the sense of familiarity I had with Princess, but I opened up to her in a way that I hadn’t even done with Randy. I told her Jackie’s and my story from start to finish, not leaving out one detail. By then we’d gotten halfway through the bottles; we were both drunk and crying on each other’s shoulders.
“Gina, what happened to us?” Princess slurred. “I mean, my mother raised me and Audrey better than that, and I know your mom didn’t play when it came to y’all, so how did we get to this point?”
“Because we’re stupid,” I said, barely understanding my own drunken drawl. “We spend our whole lives building ourselves up, just to let these sorry-ass Negroes tear us down. Ain’t none of them worth the sperm it took to make them. Sometimes I wish Jackie’s ass would drop dead, so I can collect the insurance and keep going with my life.”
“I’ll drink to that.” Princess threw back her shot. “These Ike Turner–ass niggaz are like sick-ass diseases that need to be vaccinated.”
“Preach, girl!” I tossed back my shot, spilling some of the liquor down my chin and onto my shirt. “I say to hell with all of
them.” I reached for my glass of water and ended up knocking it over. We were both feeling nice, but Princess’s next statement would sober me right up.
“You know what I think,” she leaned in to whisper, “I think that they all deserve to die for what they’re doing to the black woman. Let’s do it, Gina.”
“Do what?” I asked, knowing damn well I didn’t want to know the answer.
“We should kill them.” She rocked on the bed. “Me and you should knock off Jackie and Slim.”
I sat bolt upright in my chair and gave Princess my most serious stare. “Princess, you’re tripping. I mean, I might talk a lot of shit, but I can’t kill Jackie. For as much of an ass as he is, he’s still my husband and a sick part of me still loves him.”
“I’d do it,” she blurted out.
“I’d kill Jackie for you, ma.”
“Princess, I think you’ve had enough.”
“Yeah, I’ve had enough, all right, enough of these no-good dogs walking all over us. Fuck Slim and fuck Jackie with his nasty-dick ass. You might wanna go get checked out when you get a chance, too.”
“What do you mean by that?” I asked. Princess told me what had happened the other night with Jackie and Kim. In my heart, I’d always known that he was fucking her, but to hear it actually being confirmed was like a slap in the face. The thought of him doing someone else was enough to make me gag, but knowing that he’d put my life at risk sent me to the bathroom to throw
up. By the time I came out, Princess was sipping a glass of water and looking slightly more sober than she had been.
“I’m sorry I waited so long to tell you, Gina.” Princess told me.
“It’s okay, better late than never,” I was a little uptight with Princess for not bringing it to me immediately, but she wasn’t the one at fault; I was. It was my choice to stay with Jackie, and because of his infidelities, that choice might’ve cost me my life. I tried to hold it together, but ended up breaking down. “I can’t fucking believe him!” I threw my glass into the wall and bawled.
“It’s okay, Gina. We’re strong and we’ll make it through this.” Princess stroked my back. Her touch was soothing to me. As she hugged me, a strand of her hair fell in my face and I breathed in the sweet scent of coconut. She began running her fingers along the back of my neck, causing me to shiver.
“I’m sorry,” she said, scooting back a little but still stroking my back.
“It’s okay,” I said, trying to hide the shakiness in my voice. I looked up at Princess and the drunken glare in her eyes was gone, replaced by one of naked hunger. I knew what she wanted, and as embarrassed as I was about it, a part of me wanted it, too. I turned to Princess and positioned myself so that our knees were touching on the bed. Timidly, I ran my hands through her thick hair, massaging her scalp. She rolled her head back, exposing her smooth brown throat. I don’t know what prompted it, but I reached over and kissed her softly on the neck. Everything after that was a blur.
hen her lips touched my throat, a jolt shot through my body. I wanted it, but didn’t expect it. I looked into her eyes and saw that she was afraid, so I ran my hands along the sides of her face softly. “Gina, we don’t have to do this if you don’t want to.”
Gina’s brow furrowed, and for a minute I thought that I’d probably chased away the only real friend I had in the world. To my surprise, Gina leaned and planted her rose-colored lips over mine. “I want to.”
“So do I, probably more than I can even explain,” I said, meaning every word of it. Moving to a kneeling position, I kissed Gina
back. I could taste the alcohol on her breath as we shared a deep, passionate kiss. The reluctance in her body began to fall away with each article of clothing I removed from her. When I had stripped her down to just her panties, I laid her on the bed and admired her body. Gina was just short of a goddess. The skin on her almost perfectly proportioned body was smooth and blemish free, save for the bruise on her side. I leaned in and kissed the bruise tenderly.
“It feels good,” Gina whispered.
“It’ll feel better in a minute,” I said devilishly. From her side I moved to her healthy breasts, planting soft kisses on each caramel nipple. Gina moaned softly as my lips left a trail down her stomach, stopping just above the line of her neatly trimmed pubic hairs. When my tongue entered Gina, she was already wet, but as I explored her sex, the moisture increased. When she came in my mouth, it tasted like honey. I slid back up the length of her body, letting my tongue and my wet pussy brush against her in various spots. When our lips met, she sucked my tongue so that she could taste herself.
“Let me do you,” she breathed into my ear.
I gladly squatted over her face while she spread my ass cheeks so that she could taste every inch of me. She was a little rough with it at first, but with practice she got better. Gina licked me from my clit to my ass and back again, digging her nails into my ass cheeks. I shivered when I felt myself starting to come, and this only made her dig deeper. I looked down to see my juices saturating her face, but this didn’t slow her down. Gina kept
lapping out my pussy until I jumped off her and we got into a sixty-nine. I don’t know how many times we came, but it had to be a lot because when it was over, all we could do was lay on the bed, smoking a joint, and looking up at the ceiling.
couldn’t believe I’d done it. I knew that the feelings I was having when I’d seen Princess naked at the club weren’t natural, but I never thought I’d act on them. We lay next to each other, smoking a joint I’d stolen from Jackie’s stash, both lost in our own thoughts. I could’ve lay there in that blissful silence forever, but Princess had something she needed to get off her chest.
“You know I was serious, right?” she asked.
“About wanting me? Yeah, I know.”
“That and the other thing,” she said. I propped myself on my elbows and looked at her. She was as serious as a heart attack.
“I could knock Jackie off for you, and you could kill Slim—this way, there’ll be no feelings getting in the way for either of us.”
I mulled it over. How would I feel if Jackie were dead? It’s no secret that I’d have been happier with him out of my life, but murder? “Princess, I don’t know if I’m ready to kill someone.”
“Gina, you know just as well as I do that Jackie would no sooner let you leave than Slim would me. They act like they don’t want us, but they don’t want anybody else to have us,” she reasoned. “What are we gonna do, wait around for them to accidentally kill us? Gina, I’m too young and too pretty to die early, especially at the hands of some nigga.”
Princess was starting to make a lot of sense, but I still wasn’t ready to entertain it. “Murder is a serious thing, Princess. It ain’t like robbing somebody. You can give money back, but there’s no restitution for a life.”
Princess flipped over on her stomach and looked me in the eyes. “Gina, Jackie didn’t give a fuck about your life or his own when he ran up Kim and God only know whoever else without a condom, so why should you give a fuck about his?” She was starting to make more and more sense. “I ain’t no killer either, but it doesn’t seem like we have a choice. Even if nothing comes of what happened between us today, we deserve a chance at being happy.”