Tuesday, March 21, 2006

...Ain't Gold (Part Twenty-Nine)

"The rings?"
"Marriage license?"
Nicole moved a couple of papers out of the way from where she sat on the living room floor. "Uh huh, check." Rich sat across from her going over their checklist for the third time.
"Are we paying these people before or after the ceremony?"
"Who, baby?"
"The, um, the pastor and shit."
"Oh. You pay them after the wedding. It's like gratuity, you know? Thanks for giving us your blessing kind of thing."
"And what about Cynthia?"
"I paid her already." She handed him a lengthy receipt. Rich reached out for it with his eyes closed.
"Oh Jesus. Let's see how far in debt we gone be before we even get married." Nicole giggled.
"Hey, you're the one that said I could have whatever I wanted. And it is not that bad."
Rich looked for himself and choked. "You gave this broad ten grand for what? Nikki are you crazy?"
"For eveything! She made all the arrangements and everything. And besides, that's cheap."
"You really tryna kill me, ain't you?"
Nicole put on her poutiest face, the one she knew would get her whatever she wanted. "Baby, I just want everything to be perfect. You're not mad at me are you?"
It worked like a charm every time. He took one look at her big brown eyes, now droopy, and how could he be mad? He knew she was playing him but the girl had mastered the game and he couldn't be mad at her.
"Nah I ain't mad. I just know my ass gotta watch you as soon as you got my last name. I'm changin all my credt card numbers."
That made Nicole laugh. She knew his pockets and wallet were just as much hers as he was. Rich had never ceased to let her have whatever she wanted and that was just fine with her.
"What time is your party?"
Nicole looked up. How could he have known? "What party?"
"Your bachelorette party."
Rich chuckled. "Baby, I've known bout it longer than you have. Chuchi can't keep a secret for shit."
"Damn. I'm gonna kill her. Well, anyway, it's at eight."
Rich looked down at his Ice-Tek. "You better get goin. I gotta be downtown in a lil bit." They stood from the floor, coming together in a tight long hug before they parted.
"The next time I see you, you're gonna be my wife. Nikki Knightley," he said into her hair.
"I know. I feel like I'm dreaming."
"Want me to wake you up?"
"Ill," she giggled, "You are so nasty."
"I love you, Nikki."
She looked up and into his eyes before answering. "I love you back Richard."

Rich stood in front of the window, one hand in his pocket, the other wrapped around the fifth Newport in twenty minutes. His homies had long since fallen asleep, the worn out stripped laid right out with them. He turned around to look at them, smiled and turned back to the window. The full moon was high in the sky and crisp as a bleached dress shirt. He stared at it, as if it would hold the answer to his restlessness.
He was deep in thouht and as the cigarette burned down to the filter he racked his brain as to why. He was flicking the butt out the window when the light changed. He held his hand out and was greeted with a fresh smoke.
"Brick for your thoughts."
"I wish I knew."
Mookie leaned on the wall beside his friend. "Cold feet?"
"No, not at all. It's not the wedding."
Richard shook his head. "I don't know. I got this thing hangin over my head and I can't seem to shake it. It's like-I don't even know. Al I know is that for the past few days my mental's been all fucked up, you feel me?"
Mookie nodded, though Rich couldn't see. "I feel you. It'll pass."
"I guess."
"You guess? Nigga please. You got all the money you need, no heat from the 'hood, and you bout to marry the flyest broad this side of the river. You ain't got shit to worry about. Now get some sleep for them bags fuck up the pictures and Nikki never forgive you."
Rich laughed aloud at Mookie's soothing humor. He turned to him and pulled him into a hug from a friend and brother. "I love you man. Straight from the heart."
Mookie felt a twinge in his heart. "Same here, fam."

Uptown, neither could his fiancee sleep. Nicole sat cross legged on the floor as Toots flat twisted her hair into design impossible to duplicate. She had grown close to the girl since Rich brought her around, and was now fiercely protective of her. She was practically Nikki's bodyguard.
"I met him when he was sixteen. We was both in school then, as you can see that shit ain't last. Mookie and him been friends since God knows when. But anyway, we used-the three of us-we used to sit in the back of the class and cut the fool like you wouldn't believe. We stayed gettin kicked out."
Nicole covered her mouth. The stories Toots had been telling her all night kept her in stitches. She wasn't sure how much longer she could take it.
Toots saw the effect this was having and smiled. "True story, ma. That nigga is a clown."
Nicole thought for a few mintues as Toots twisted behind her. She waited a long time before speaking. "Is he like that because-well, his life?"
"That's exactly it. He laughs and smiles to hide the pain. There's a lot of shit going on behind them hazel eyes and them pretty dimples. He ain't all fun and games. Rich got a dark side." She was afraid she had scared the girl, so she backed it up quickly with some postivity.
"But you'll never see it. He loves you more than he loves the air he breathes. And that is sayin somethin."
Tha reassureance was all Nikki needed. She fell asleep with her head in Toots lap, so her hair woud stay. Toots watched over her charge until she was sure she was asleep, then nodded off on her own. Tomorrow was a big day, undoubtedly the most important day of either of their lives. Things would change for better or for worse in just twelve short hours.
Toots last thought before drifting off was of Rich.

(c) 2006 Jacki Simmons


Blogger Greeneyedrican said...

Need more.
What's about to pop Mami? Come on with it.

12:28 PM  
Anonymous Monica said...

Ok so like if you get a bunch of emails clamoring for the last part of Ain't Gold you gotta post it right?! I mean isn't that what it's about pleasing your audience...I THINK SO!! So post please.

7:42 PM  

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