Wednesday, January 18, 2006

...Ain't Gold (Part Nineteen)

Now that Nicole and Rich had become an item, she became well aware of the part she had to play. She spent as much time as she could getting to know him and vice versa. Even so, there are some things that slip through the nets in new relationships.
Returning home from a night out, the last thing Rich wanted to do was hear a phone ring. He wanted to smoke and sleep. He had just lit up when Nicole's cell rang. She looked at the CallerID and rolled her eyes.
“Hoodie hoo! Holla! What up, Cheeks?”
Oh Lord, Nikki thought. Rich watched her face closely, watching it change.
“What do you want, Stretch?”
He sat up straight. He knew weed was a hallucinogen, but he wasn’t stupid.
“How many times do I have to-No I don’t wanna talk to you. Look, I-” She turned around as he tapped her shoulder.
“Who is that?” he mouthed.
She covered the mouthpiece. “My ex-boyfriend,” she whispered.
Stretch was her ex? If this was the same Stretch he knew… “What he look like?”
Nicole shrugged, covering the mouth again. “Kinda short, pudgy.”
“He got a scar on his face?”
She nodded. “Why?”
He snatched the phone. “Nigga, don’t call her back. Don’t call this number again.”
“Who dis?” Stretch asked.
“You know who this is.”
Stretch laughed in nervous realization. “Nigga, you ain't gone do nothin about it. Take all that bass out your voice.”
“Don’t make me come see you, nigga.” He hung up the phone and flipped it on the bed, turning his attention to Nicole. “Why you ain't tell me you knew that nigga?”
Nicole gave him a quizzical look. “I didn’t think it was important who I dated before you.” She went back to taking off her clothes.
Rich wasn’t going to let this go without a fight. “Why you got that nigga callin you this early anyway? He always be callin this time?”
She looked at him. “Stretch does what he wants, always has. He calls whenever he feels like it.”
“Why you got your ex callin you, though? He don’t know you got a man?”
“He knew before. I just haven’t heard from him in a while.”
Rich sat on the edge of the bed pouting. “I don’t want no niggas callin you,” he said.
“Excuse me? Besides him, I have friends who are males, you know.”
“Tell them not to be callin you.” If she’d dated Stretch, whom else had she been with? He tried to get the picture of the two of them out of his head.
Nicole stood up and snatched his SideKick from where it was charging. “Let’s play a little game of pop-goes-the-hypocrite, shall we?” she asked.
Rich flicked his tongue ring out of his mouth and frowned as she scrolled down the list. “Adeena, Alexi, Andrea, Anisa, Bonnie, Brenda, hmm, gets even better, Elizabeth, Eneida, Eva, hmm, Farrah, Fatimah, Felicia, shall I go on, Rich?”
“That’s different, ma.”
“How? How is it different? Just like you had female friends when you met me, I had male friends when I met you. And since I’m not treating you any different, I wouldn't expect you to treat me any different.” Her mood soured. She looked at her watch, sure she had a party to plan in the morning.
“But if that nigga calls you at two in the morning, you obviously ain't never bothered to set him straight.”
“I told you before, Stretch does what he wants. Unlike you, I don’t have two hundred spare dollars to change my phone number. And while we’re on it, how do you know him?”
Rich was annoyed that he had lost this one. “Just forget it. I shoulda never brought it up.” He turned and walked into the bathroom, slamming the door behind him. Nicole rolled her eyes when the shower started.

When he returned, she was in the bed with her back turned to him. She was at the far end, hugging her pillow. Her actions were a sure sign there would be no boot knockin tonight. But it was still worth a shot. “Nik,” he whispered.
“You mad at me?” he kept whispering.
“Yes, Rich.”
He rolled over behind her, and followed the silhouette of her body to her butt and pinched slightly.
“Why you mad at me?”
Nicole rubbed her butt. “Because, Rich.”
“Because what?”
“Because I do not appreciate you trippin on me over somethin so stupid. I thought you were more mature than that.”
“I wasn’t tryna get you mad, Nik. I’m sorry, baby.”
That’s what she was waiting for. “Why are you whispering?”
“I don’t know!” He sat up then, pinching her butt again.
“Hey!” she rolled over and pinched him back. He lifted her into his lap. “I’m sorry, alright?”
“I know. And I also know that you're trying to get some.”
He chuckled, sucking her breast. “Is it working?”

“Yes it is.”

"I need to know what it's gone be Rich."
"Aw, come on, Toots don't do this to me. You my whole left side, now you let me go over some bullshit?"

"Fuck Cookie man! Ain't I always take care of you? Huh? What the fuck Cookie ever did for you? I need you, Toots!"
"She's my sister, Rich!"
Rich couldn't let her get away from him like that. He knew the past was the past and he needed her to be there. He put the beg on.
"Baby. I can't do this without you. I need you. What happened to me and Cookie happened to us. It was then. But this is now. I need you now, okay? I'm gettin hit from all sides and you my number one."
Toots bottom lip trembled. She knew he was right.
Rich looked into her eyes and knew he had broken her down. "Listen to me aight? I know what happened with me and Cookie was fucked up. I know that. I do. But it happened. Iw ish I could take it back but I can't. Aight? I would never doanything to hurt her like that again and I would never hurt you like that period. Aight?"
Toots pursed her lips. "Whatever."
He smiled.

“He's amazing. I am so in love with him.”
Chuchi stopped decorating long enough to put a hand on her hip. One brow raised she asked, “You love him or your pussy love him?”
Nicole slumped her shoulders and made a face at her friend. “Both of us.” Chuchi was raw and explicit but that’s why Nicole loved her.
“I’m just making sure. You remember you said the same thing about Stretch. And that nigga before him. What was his name? Taylor?”
Nicole rescued the bowl of leftover batter before Chuchi threw it in the sink. She sucked her finger clean before answering. “I didn’t really love them. I thought I did. And anyway that is ancient history.”
“So what?” Chuchi pointed at her with the icing bag. “You fall in love too fast, mi amor. Then you fuck yourself cuz you think you love the nigga, but they don’t want nothin but this.” She slapped her crotch.
“Rich isn’t like that.”
“Neither was Stretch.”
“You are such a hater.”
“I’m not hatin. I’m lookin out. You know I love you and I don’t wanna have to hurt none of these puntos if somethin happen to you, si? Use su cabeza, mi amor.”
“I know.” She watched Chuchi put the finishing touches on a birthday cake. Nicole had a party booked for the evening and she didn't trust anyone to make her deserts that wasn't Chuchi. The girl was better than the celebrity bakers.
“He loves you back?” Chuchi asked.
“Of course he loves me back.”
Chuchi put a hand on her hip. “Did he meet Miss Pearl yet?”
Nicole mumbled incoherently. Miss Pearl was everyone’s affectionate nickname for Nicole’s mother.
“Why not?”
“Because she won't like him, I know she won't.”
“How you know?”
“Mama has never liked any of my boyfriend's.”
Chuchi sat back on the stool and admired their work. “Maybe its cuz you insist on bringin home them ghetto ass, crack-slangin block-huggin, boot-wearin niggas.”
“Kiss my ass Chuchi. For real.” Deep inside she knew her friend was right.
© 2006


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