Tuesday, March 28, 2006

...Ain't Gold (Part Thirty) Grand Finale

"If you don't put that cigarette out, I swear to God, voy a matarle. Cual es su problema? What the hell?" Chuchi snatched the cigarette from a visibly shaky Nicole. Why did she have to get cold feet now? Nicole reached out for her smoke but Chuchi hissed and dropped it into an empty bottle of Poland Spring. "Here, chew this."
Chuchi popped a Listerine Breath Strip and an Altoid and shoved them in Nikki's mouth. She winced as the strong combination of breath mints stung her tongue. She was standing in her hotel room with her arms out as her family and friends flitted around her, preparing her. Toots stood behind her, foot in her back, tightening the bustier she was to wear under her gown. When that was done, Cora and Chuchi carried out her gown: a hundred thousand dollar white Vera Wang, dripping in diamonds. Nicole closed her eyes and the two slid the dress on her. It fell perfectly. Lani passed her the tiara. When she turned around there was a collective gasp. She was indeed a bad ass bride.

Rich cut quite a picture in his custom made Enzo tuxedo. Fresh hair cut, clean face and two diamonds blinged in each ear. He smiled at himself, like a kid on his way to senior prom. Not that he had made it to his senior prom but if he had, then he was sure he would have looked just as good then as he did now. Looks like his took time to cultivate. Fortunately, he was born fine.
He wondered what Nikki's gown looked like. He had tried to sneak up there and check them out a little while ago but the girls had all but chased him out, throwing things and giggling. He slammed the door shut and bolted before they could chase him. Mookie had one job: get the tuxes, and he did it well.
"You ready for that journey to forever, patna?" Mookie called from behind him. "Here. I figured you'd want one." He handed Rich a shot of something dark and Rich identified it as he knocked it back. Tequila.
"Make it three and I'll meet you downstairs." He hated to admit his hands were shaking on his special day, hated it that Cool Hand Rich was nervous, but he knew the alcohol would shut him right on down. He'd feel much better. He winked at Nikki in his mind and put his jacket over his shoulder.

"Everything is in order, I trust?"
"We all set. We just waitin on the show to begin."
"Alright." There was a pause. "No fucking mistakes this time."
"Don't worry about it. There ain't gone be no mistakes."
"How does she look?"
Another pause, this one in the final trimester of its pregnancy.
"She looks good."

"Now, steady, everyone, do you remember your places? I want you to remember your places!" Cynthia shouted at the men milling around the suite. She had gone from upscale weding planner to royal pain in the ass. Mookie was smoking and she promptly grabbed his cigar and broke it in half, stomping over to the toilet and tossing it inside. "Yo, Rich, tell this-"
"Ah ah ah ah," Rich interrupted. He knew Mookie was going to say "bitch" but he couldn't let him do that. He waved at Cynthia to continue.
"No smoking!" she growled. "I am going to go check on the bride's progress, in that time, I want you all dressed and downstairs in the limo's!"
"Aight, we heard you," Cris said. This uppity broad was annoying him and he knew that he wasn't the only one. Why couldn't Nikki hire a sista?
Mookie shook his head and made sure Cynthia was gone. Then he removed a bottle of Chris Brothers from an undisclosed location and walked around so everyone (Rich, Cris, Tony B., and Ice) could tap the bottle. They did, and he poured a little poison for everyone.
"I never thought it could happen," he started sarcastically. "I always thought his royal pimpness would be single to the day he died, poppin his collar and shit."
"So did I," Ice shouted from where he perched rolling a joint.
"So when this nigga looked me in the eye and said, 'yo check it, I'ma marry her', ya'll know I had to clown a nigga. But you a better man than me, nigga. Just think: the same pussy for the rest of your life."
There were groans from all his boys at the thought of giving up their philandering. Rich smiled goodnaturedly and laughed right along with them. They could say what they wanted, but he was glad they were on his side. He looked around the room at the family that had held him down while he got established, loved him and all his flaws. They weren't just business partners, they were his brothers. Each and every last one of them.
Then Cris broke the mood into laughter by adding, "Just make sure you keep her and Shadow away from each other. We don't want no more bullets flyin."
Speaking of... Rich smiled and pointed, standing to find his phone. It was laying on the counter by the door; he grabbed it and went into the hallway. It rang twice before being picked up.
Silence, the same as always, greeted him.
"You know the drill."
He heard a button.
"You are coming, right?"
Another button.
"Can you tell me where you are?" Someone tapped his shoulder and he whirled around, phone still glued to his ear. He hung up when he saw who it was. "How the hell do you do that?" He knew she wouldn't answer but he had been asking her rhetorical questions for years. Why stop now?
He fought the urge to hug her, instead taking a step back and looking at her in her halting beauty. She looked so different outside of her usual darkness. Instead of black, she wore the exact opposite, an all white tighter than tight leather suit and four and a half inch red fuck me pumps. Her black eye patch had been replaced with a white one and her cleavage threatened to revolt against her with each movement.
Richard was speechless. He knew she looked good but he didn't know she looked this good. He choked trying to find the words. "Ah-you-uh-well. You look really good."
She nodded an I know and reached into the matching white clutch in her hand. He knew she had a weapon in there, knives today, and wondered where her gun was. Probably hidden away somewhere on her body. She was good for that. She found what she was looking for and tossed it at Rich.
It was a bullet.
Not just any; the one the doctors had extracted after Nicole shot her. Rich wasn't sure he was going to see her again after that and this was the first time he had seen her since the frantic wedding planning began. She tossed the bullet at him and he caught it, understanding the gesture. It meant she was back. No hard feelings, don't sweat it, everything's a go. He nodded and smiled, she nodded as well and turned on her heel.

Nicole wrang her hands as she fought the urge to say fuck you Chuchi! and get another cigarette. She and Rich had picked-okay she had picked-Boyz II Men's That's Why I Love You to walk to. Here it was time to go and she was sick to her stomach. Her mother had already gone down and it was time for Lani to go.
"You're gonna be fine, mama! Just go out there and get married!" She kissed her sister's cheek, granned her bouquet and ran out to meet Cris. They walked and then it was Chuchi's turn.
"I love you sis. Now get it together and get out there." Toots blew her a kiss as well and disappeared.
She had opted to walk down the aisle on her own and now that all eyes were on her, she wished to God that she hadn't. Her stomach was working overtime against her and she dry heaved. Cynthia rushed behind, just in time. She had a WetNap in one hand and a bottle of Evian spray in the other.
"No no no no, no fainting today." She sprayed the water in Nikki's face. "Get out there, my dear and get married!" The spritz made her feel better. She nodded towards Cynthia and took her bouquet in her hands. Cynthia gave her a slight push. Nicole took a deep breath and walked out.
When he saw his future wife, Richard thought he would be the one to faint. She looked like an angel. He hated terrible cliches, but she really looked like she had floated down from heaven. He saw the corners of her eyes misting up and smiled at her. Just make it to the altar baby, then we a go from there.
Nikki made it to the altar.
Reverend Donavan McNeil opened his mouth after the two stood before him, hands joined. "Brothers and sisters, we are gathered here today to join the union of Richard Knightley and Nicole Baisden." By the time he got to the "If there is anyone here that objects to this union," part, they were both ready for this to be over. They wanted to be back in the hotel suite, ripping each others clothes off. It was in their eyes.
"By the power veted in me by the state of New York, I now pronounce you man and wife. You may kiss your bride."
Rich smiled and pulled Nicole into a deep kiss that lasted several seconds. The crowd of about two hundred and fifty erupted into hoot and hollers of surprise and joy. The happily married couple turned around and prepared to face the world for the first time as man and wife. Cora smiled happily, Toots pumped her fist in the air and Lani clapped happily. Even Shadow managed to crack a smile from where she sat in the back.
And then all hell broke loose.
She didn't know what went wrong exactly, but there were loud popping noises and screams. She saw Shadow panic and move forward, a gun in each hand. Shadow was shooting at someone close to her, but she couldn't see who. Something sharp hit her in the stomach and Nikki knew the nervous cramps had returned. Where had Rich gotten the gun from? Shadow turned and threw something and someone fell.
Her mother and sister had ducked for cover and were one of the few people trying to get up on stage and get Nikki to safety. Toots, Rich, Shadow and Cris were firing away like there was no tomorrow. They were shooting at...Cookie? What the hell was she doing here? And Mookie? What was going on? Before she knew what had gone terribly wrong, four very well placed shots met their mark. Shadow saw where they were going and tried to get there first.
She shouted, and shocked everyone as she did. No one cared though. They cared about the dive she made. Toots saw what she had seen and shouted as well. She laid Mookie down before she did though, and Cris managed to get Cookie in the leg before she hit him in the shoulder. The next few moments went by like slow motion in a bad movie.
Rich stumbled into Nicole and dragged her down with him. Shadow was a pro in her pumps and dropped to her knees by their sides. She ripped open Rich's tux and her worst fears were confirmed. His eyes were open, staring at her. He smiled as she put her mouth to his to perform CPR. In her heart of heart's, she knew it was too late.
Toots put her finger in Nicole's neck. "She can't be hit, you can't be hit, ma." She rolled Rich to the side gently. The bullet had passed through him and hit her square in the chest. The perfection of the dress they had raved over a few short hours ago was marred by the flower of blood spreading across her chest. She gasped out a cry, less than a shriek, something like a scream. Toots grabbed her gun and checked the chamber. Her sister lay fifty feet away, writhing in pain from her wound.
She stood over her body and spoke to her for the last time.
"Toots, let me explain, chica."
"Explain what?" she said in a voice calmer than the fire raging inside of her. "Hay un lugar especial en el infierno para usted, puta." She emptied the clip into her sister and walked away.
The police were going to surround the place any second now and they couldn't get caught with all these guns around them. They had to get out. "Shadow, come on. Help me get Cris." The two girls dragged their wounded friend out the back of the church, kicking the carnage out of their way as they went. Ice was outside, Lani and Cora in his car. He had herded them out when the first shots were fired so he had no idea what went on in there.

"Toots! What the fuck, ma! What happened?" He took one look at Shadow's bloodstained suit and opened his mouth in horror. Cora saw the suit as well and passed out. Lani banged her hand against the back window. Toots refused to answer her. She slapped the back of Ice's truck and told him to get the hell out of there. She and Shadow disappeared into teh day that had become the blackest either of them had ever known.
She didn't even have a plan. She didn't know where to go. Shadow was strangely composed as she navigated her way through the city streets. She took her back to her place, a place no one, not even Rich, knew about. Shadow undressed Toots and wrapped her in a blanket. She was numb to everything and knew she would have to wake up soon. But not now. Not now. At eight o'clock that night, she and Shadow sat together silently and held hands as they watched the news.

Maxell watched the same report from his swank digs upstate. If everythign went well, they would be the headline news. He turned up the volume.
"A wedding turns into the scene of a violent massacre today and both the bride and groom are gunned down. Richard Knightley and his wife, Nicole Knightley, had literally just been pronounced man and wife when they were gunned down in front of a church full of guests. Police are not sure if this is a gang related shooting. An unidentified man and woman were also found dead. There are no details at this time. Anyone with information to this hideous crime in advised to please call 1800 876 TIPS at this time."
Maxell leaned his head back, opened his mouth and laughed. He laughed hard and long, as if he were watching some sort of a comedy marathon. His greatest enemy and threat was now dead. He could go back to ruling his city with an iron fist. The man had crossed him, and now he had returned the favor.
And that felt damn good.

2006 (c) Jacki Simmons
All rights reserved.


Blogger PEPSI LOVER said...

NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO....walking away from the blogger neva coming back again.... hope to the heavens you lie, and this becomes a dream that Rich has.... and all is good...send me a message via yahoo messenger that you have revamped your story.... NNNNNNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOO , not the bride too.... damn... just made me co-worker read all your shorts... andshe to is upset... shame on you *shaking my fist in anger*

9:02 PM  

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Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take and may this song play all the way, through. And if it skip a beat, hit repeat, this the realest shit I ever wrote, this is me. If it skip a beat, hit repeat, This the realest shit I ever wrote, this is me. -Juelz Sanatana, This Is Me, What The Game's Been Missing