“Don’t touch me, you, you, you . . .” I couldn’t even think of a word to fit the bill.
“What just happened between Diamond and I was a mistake,” he insisted. “It’s never happened before, and it’ll never happen again!”
He was not even fooling me! “Whatever! I don’t want to hear your pack of lies!” I banged on the elevator button again. “I just wish this damn elevator would hurry up!”
Do you know what that nucca did? He had the nerve to cop a ’tude with me! “Look, it’s not like you’re not fuckin’ married! You go home and lay up in the bed with him every night while I have to go to sleep alone!”
I held my hand up in his face so he could talk to it because I wasn’t listening.
“I asked you, hell, Ibeggedyour ass to be with me, Zoe!”
I knew he had a valid point, but I wasn’t going to allow him to turn the situation at hand around on me, so I asked him, “How long have you been fucking her?”
He just kept on his own rampage. “I wanted you to leave him and move in with me, but you treated our relationship like some sort of joke!”
I screamed it at the top of my lungs the second time around.“How long have you been fucking her?”
Quinton shook his head in dismay. “I just told you, this was the first and last time.”
He tried to reach for me again, but I backed away from him. Diamond poked her head out of the doorway. I yelled out, “Bitch!”
Quinton darted his eyes in her direction and waved her away. She went back inside her place and slammed the door. “Zoe, let’s just go in my place and talk this over,” he pleaded with me.
“Talk it over?Sheeeeeeit,there’s nothing to discuss.” I pointed down the hall. “Take your skank ass back in there with your skeezer. I’m going to take the stairs. This elevator’s taking too damn long.”
He grabbed for me one last time and hooked a finger on the back waistline of my skirt. I slapped his hand away and headed for the stairwell. “Get your fuckin’ hands off of me, Quinton! You smell like pussy and I hate you! I fuckin’ hate you!”
I took the steps two at a time on the way down, hearing the echoes of him screaming out my name until I got to the garage.
I wasn’t any good the rest of the weekend. On Sunday afternoon, I asked Jason to watch the kids so I could go visit Brina alone. He was down for that, since he had abunch of buddies over to watch a college football game anyway. He was probably glad to get the Mrs. out the house so boys could be boys. For a minute, I got offended; it was almost like he wanted me to be a ghost. I started to stay home out of spite, but I really needed to get away for a few hours, so I made some deli wraps and cocktail sausages for his crew before I went on my dreary way.
When I got to Brina’s place, I heard a bunch of clamor coming from inside her apartment and immediately wanted to find out what the hell was going on. I knocked on the door and as soon as she answered, I asked, “What the hell’s going on?”
“Hey, Sis! ’Sup? I didn’t know you were coming by.”
“I decided to surprise you, but I’m the one in shock.” I barged my way into her apartment, ready to kick someone’s ass if need be. “Why all the yelling? I could hear you as soon as I came in the front door of the building.”
“Oh, Dempsey and I were just having aslightdisagreement. It’s all cool now. He’s my baby boo.”
Before I could ask where the so-called romantic Dempsey I had heard so much about was, I noticed Brina had a black eye. I grabbed her by the cheek and held her head steady so I could get a better look. “What in the hell is that?”
“None of your fucking business, that’s what!” His trick ass came around the corner from the bathroom, talking trash and zipping up a pair of baggy jeans.
If he was going to come at me like that, I was damn sure going to reciprocate. “Hmm, your pathetic beanpole, anorexic ass must be Dempsey.”
“Who the fuck are you?” He darted his eyes at Brina. “Who the fuck is she?”
I decided to answer his question, since Brina seemed to have lost her tongue. “I’m her best friend, and the onesistah who’s going to ram her foot up your ass and cut off your dick if you ever lay another hand on Brina!”
He laughed like I was playing tiddly-winks with him. He must’ve missed the memo, because I was not the one. “Yeah, right, you trifling bitch! I’ll kick your little ass too!”
He was clearly drunk. He was staggering, not to mention reeking of alcohol. I reached into my coat pocket and pulled the switchblade I kept
there for protection when I was walking from the office to Quinton’s or wherever else downtown, popped the blade open, and pushed it up against his throat, forcing him back up against the wall.
I don’t know what came over me, but I was prepared to open a can of whup-ass and take it to the bridge if need be. “Looka here, trick! Don’t try to play with me, and if you ever touch Brina again, I’ll slit your fuckin’ throat! Now get your shit and get the hell out!”
“Damn, sistah, chill!” He threw his hands up in the air, not willing to find out if I was frontin’ or not, and slowly moved sideways away from the blade. “I’m going! I’ll leave right now!”
I put my knife away and went to hold the door open for him. “I know your ass is leaving! Get out!”
He put his cheap, bama tennis shoes on, got his coat, and left without saying another word. Brina sat in the fetal position in a corner, crying her eyes out. After he was gone, I put the double lock on the door and turned on her. “Are you crazy?”
She used the sleeve of her nightgown to wipe the mucus from her nose and tears from her eyes. “Zoe, I don’t need this right now. I really don’t.”
“Well, you’re going to getthisright now! How in the hell are you gonna let that man beat on you like a punching bag?”
“Dempsey’s been having a lot of problems at work and with his family back in Alabama.” She got up from the corner and went into the kitchen to get a cold glass of water from the faucet. I followed her.
“And? I fail to see what any of that has to do with him beating up on you. Lots of people have problems. They don’t beat their woman to relieve their stress.”
“Look, Zoe, I love Dempsey! That mess you just pulled was wrong! Pulling a blade on him like that!” She slammed the glass down on the counter, almost breaking it.
I lowered my voice, trying not to let my true emotions show because part of me wanted to slap the shit out of her for being so damn ignorant. “Brina, I love you, but I’m leaving. I refuse to stand here and listen to you defend that ignorant bastard.”
“You’re so wrong! You just don’t understand!”
“Whatever. You want your ass beat, so be it. Women always say people don’t understand, but unless you have an awakening, he’ll continue to beat up on you. I can’t help you until you’re ready to help your damn self.” I gave her a hug and a kiss, grabbed her by the chin so I could take another look at the shiner he gave her, shook my head in disgust, and left.
I didn’t feel like going back home so soon. Most of the malls were closed already, being it was Sunday, so I decided to just drive around for a while. My life had been really traumatic the past few days. First catching Quinton banging the hell out that ho and now finding out Brina was letting some bama pulverize her. I wasn’t paying attention to the road and almost crashed a red light. I slammed on the brakes, and the tires screeched to a halt mere inches from the pedestrian walkway.
My glove compartment popped open. Everything in itflew all over the front seat and floor of the car. I pulled over to the curb, turned on the interior light because the sun was setting, and started picking up the mess.
Somewhere in between the tube of dried-up lipstick that had probably been in there since Peter was a baby and the car’s registration certificate, I ran across the matchbook with Tyson’s number inside the cover.
I contemplated things and decided since Quinton was fucking that hoochie, bringing my benched player into the game might not be such a bad idea. I knew my ass was wrong, but I pulled out my cell phone and dialed the number anyway. He answered on the third ring, sounding like he was half asleep. He perked up when I told him who was calling and rushed to give me the directions to his place before I could even dig a pen out my purse to write them down.
I arrived at his apartment complex about twenty minutes later and realized straight off the bat I had no business driving, rather less parking, a Mercedes anywhere near it. However, he lived on the bottom level, and I was able to find a space right in front of his door, so I took the risk.
Tyson answered the door after I barely tapped on it. He was obviously looking out the peephole awaiting my arrival. His one-bedroom apartment was cozy and nicely decorated. I could tell he was a man who took care of himself and his belongings. He was wet, barefoot, and in a pair of jeans only. I was flattered he had gone through the trouble of taking a shower before I showed up. We both knew I was making a booty call, and I’ll take a pair of fresh, clean balls over sweaty ones any damn day.