Tuesday, March 07, 2006

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

Nicole, gently as she could, lifted the diamond tiara out of its place in the velvet box. The feminine population of the room oohed and ahhed, while the men conversed over their heads about when and where they were going to smoke the weed Rich had brought along. Chuchi had thrown them an impromptu wedding shower since there wasn't much else going on. The tiara was a gift from Rich, like most of everything in the room.
Toots narrowed her eyes to slits as she watched Cookie enter the room and slink over to her. She was in no mood to see her, as their last meet had not gone well.
"What's good, baby sis?" Cookie asked. "Ya'll ain't send me no invite. I'm hurt."
Toots didn't let her guard down. Her sister was as slick now as she had been seven years ago. "You don't even know her."
"So? You my sister, Rich my brother, it's all good. Where is the broad anyway?" Cookie leaned against the bar, taking in the scene. She knew exactly where Nicole was and exactly what she looked like but she couldn't let that on. Not yet.
"Over there." Toots nodded her head in Nikki's direction. Cookie followed her eyes and sized the girl up. She aight. She ain't me, but she aight, she thought. Presently, Rich and his entourage headed in their direction. Cookie half smiled and turned around, motioning for a drink from the bartender. He served her and she sipped the burning liquid as she heard Toots and Rich conversing. He doesn't even fucking know I'm standing here. Bastard.
She felt a hand in her back. "What the hell are you doing here?" Cookie turned right into Rich's arms.
"Baby boy! I was just telling baby sis here how hurt my feelings are. Ya'll forgot about Cooks?"
"Ain't nobody forget about you," Mookie said from behind Rich. His eyes screamed the same question Rich's had just asked. Cookie winked at him.
"Word," Rich agreed. "How could we?"
Cookie leaned in close, taking in his smell. She closed her eyes and pulled him next to her. "You tell her about me yet?"
"No. And I don't plan to."
"That's fucked up, fam. Real fucked up."
Rich frowned and pulled away from her. He straightened his jacket before turning on his heel, preparing to leave. "I've moved on, Cookie. I suggest you do the same." Their eyes lingered for just a second before he walked away, the crew directly behind him. Mookie silently warned her before following.
"What the hell is wrong with you?" Toots asked, smacking Cookie in the arm.
"Ow, bitch," she snarled. "He fucked me over anmd expects me to let it go like that. I ain't gonna let it go."
"So what you gonna do about it? It's Rich. Once he's done with you, he's done. Can't nothing stop him.
Yeah, we'll see. I got a trick for his ass.

Rich looked around the apartment, already bored. He didn't want to be here, but he promised he would come and he made good on it. He could count a hundred other palces he would rather be but Nicole was adamant about him meeting her mother, so he was forced to oblige.
Cora placed a glass of iced tea in front of him. He thanked her and took a sip. Not bad, he thought. And homemade. Cora sat down across the table and folded her hands. Lani joined them a few minutes later, face in an Essence magazine.
There was over five minutes of uncomfortable silence before anyone could figure out what to say. Rich adjusted his slacks more than once, taking notice that Cora had neither stopped staring nor blinked the whole time.
"So Rich, did your sister have the baby yet?"
"Yeah, she did, matter of fact."
"For real? Boy or girl?"
"Girl. Six pounds, seven ounces."
"Aww. What did she name her?"
"Janet Marie."
"That's pretty. Tell her I said hi."
"I will."
More silence.
Even more silence.
And then...
"Oh-kay, since we're all here, let's say something, huh?" Lani asked, looking around.
"I already said what I had to say," Cora answered.
"And what was that?" Rich inquired.
Cora was taken aback. She hadn't expected him to say anything to her. "Nicole can fill you in." He looked over at her.
"What?" Nikki asked.
"She said fill me in."
"Ma! Richard, it was nothing."
"I said that the boy don't care about you but for what he can get from you and I know you can do better."
Rich didn't bother weighing his words before he spoke. "With all due respect, Mrs-"
"Mrs. Cora, number one, ma'am, I'm a grown ass man. I haven't been a boy for a long time. Number two, I do care about Nicole, more than myself. I love her. Very much. Number three, maybe she can do better, but if doing better means looking for someone that will love her as much if not more than I do, I think she'll be hard pressed to find him."
Lani's face was the perfect picture of shock as she hid her face behind the Essence.
Cora narrowed her eyes and leaned forward. "You think you're something special, don't you? Let me tell you something. My child worked hard to get where she is now. She is a college graduate. Any and everything she wants she can get for herself. She does not need you for that."
"You're very right. She does get whatever she wants." Rich stood up . "And I'm so sorry that it's killing you that she wants me." He looked down. "Alanis, it was lovely to see you again, kiddo. Mrs. Cora, thanks for the tea." He left without another word.
Rich was on his third cigarette when Nicole opened her door and got in. He thought she was going to slap him, or curse him out, so he braced his face and ears for a good lashing. You could just imagine his surprise when she leaned over the seat and wrapped her arms around him, planting a big wet one on his lips. When she pulled her tonuge out of his mouth and sat back, breathless, Rich wiped his face and looked at her.
"What was that for?"
"No one - and I do mean no one - has ever been to shut that woman up. I have never witnessed someone shut my mother down like that. You," she pointed at him, "You are my God."
Rich flashed his dimples in a wide grin as he pulled away from the curb.

2006 (c) Jacki Simmons
All rights reserved.


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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