Here is another snippet from my upcoming project. These words are unedited and subject to change. And mine. Enjoy!
“So since you’re single now are you going to give me a chance?”
Shanice was so busy watching the way his lips formed words that she almost missed what he said. She shook her head to clear it of her lust for this infant.
“I’m sorry, what?”
“I said ‘sinc—”
Shanice held a hand up. “I heard what you said Junior, I’m just confused by what you’re talking about. One, what do you know about me to even speak on my relationship status? Two, why would you assume said status had anything to do with me telling you no?”
“One, when you want to know something, you do your research. Two, I’m not making assumptions, I’m making an educated guess. I know that you want me but don’t want to admit it. You’re involved with someone and are using that to avoid your feelings for me.”
Shanice’s eyebrows leapt toward the ceiling. Who the hell did this teenager think he was, talking to her like this? Boys were just bold as hell these days. Unable to formulate a rebuttal that didn’t involve cursing out a minor she turned her head away from him and muttered, “Yeah, whatever.”
“Like I said, since you’re single now, are you going to give me a chance?”
Her head whipped back in his direction. The grin on his face could rival a Cheshire cats.
“What shady source of yours is telling you that I’m single?”
He shook his head. “Nah, I came to that conclusion all on my own when I saw you get out of that car.”
Her brows met in confusion. “Twenty minutes ago?”
She gaped at him.
He shrugged nonchalantly. “Why else would you be bringing your own car to the car wash if not because you don’t have a man to do it for you?”
Shanice stared at him for a minute trying to gauge if he was serious. He didn’t crack a smile or wink to indicate he was joking. She rolled her eyes and shook her head both disappointed and relieved. From the handful of conversations they’d had she never picked up on the vibe from him and never would have guessed. On the other hand, his misogyny makes it very easy to shut him down. Don’t they teach feminism in schools now?
“Wow. It’s 2017 and you still don’t think a woman is capable of doing anything for herself.”
He looked at her like she was crazy. “Whoa! What? That’s not what I meant at all. All I’m saying is even though I know you are more than capable of doing things for yourself like washing your car, gassing it up and even getting the oil changed, you shouldn’t have to. To be honest with you, no one who calls them self a man would have his woman out here doing any of that on her own anyway.”
“Okay, look. While I can see how your antiquated 1950s belief that a man is supposed to “take care of his woman” has merit. Can you also see why it’s problematic? It assumes that women who do for themselves must not be in relationships and completely diminishes a woman’s autonomy.”
His eyes bored into hers as his fingers came up to stroke his hairless chin. With a nod, he shrugged. “I can see that.”
She sighed. “Great. I thought I might have used too many SAT words for you.”
Instantly the contemplative look on Byron’s face disappeared. “Hold up. How can you come at me on some feminism type ish when you’re displaying ageism?”
“What? I’m not—” She thought about what she’d just said. She chuckled. “That’s real smooth but no dice.”
“You just implied that I’m in high school and therefore wouldn’t understand what you said. Ageist.” He shook his head in disgust.
Shanice frowned. “Boy, if you don’t—”
“There you go again. Calling me a boy when you know that I’m not. You’re such an ageist. It’s sad. This is 2017 and we have made so many strides in combating discrimination against one another and yet here you are.” He stood.
Was he being serious? Shanice couldn’t tell. She didn’t think so but his somber tone was pretty convincing and she didn’t want to assume he wasn’t and come off as an even bigger jerk than she apparently already was. Before she knew what was happening she’d reached out a placed a hand on his arm.
He looked down at her expectantly and she didn’t want to admit it, even to herself, but she hated how his hazel eyes stared back at her blankly. She licked her lips and opened her mouth to speak.\
“I’m back! Niecy, look who I ran into.” Shanice quickly pulled her hand away as Nedra returned. She looked past her friend and smile when she saw who it was.
“Marcus!” She stood and was pulled into a hug by her old high school classmate.
“Hey, Niecy!” He stood back and gave her a once over. “You’re looking good girl.”
“Thanks, Marcus. You’re looking pretty fine yourself. Like a snack.” She winked at him and he laughed.
Marcus turned to Byron. “You good man?”
Byron nodded. “Yea. I think I’m gonna scoop Jada and we’re gonna bounce.”
“That’s cool, but I meant…” He nodded toward Shanice who looked back and forth between the two men.
Byron looked at Shanice for a moment then back at Marcus. “Doesn’t seem like it, bro. But that’s life, right?” He stepped out of the crop of chairs and threw a hand up. “You ladies enjoy the rest of your day.” Shanice watched as he walked off. She was glad that he seemed to have finally gotten her point but it didn’t feel like a sweet victory. What did that say about her that she was mad her teen aged admirer would no longer pursue her? It said she was a pervert, that’s what.
She dropped down into her seat, suddenly anxious for the day to be over.
“Damn, what did you say to him? He looked like someone stole his best friend.” Nedra shook her head and took a seat as well.
“Yeah. What you say to my mans?” Marcus stood over Shanice and frowned. “Dude is never not smiling. How did you break his spirit in ten minutes?”
“Wait a damn minute, the both of y’all are being extra dramatic.” Shanice flicked her fingers at them.
Marcus shook his head. “Nah, dude came into my office and announced that his future wife was waiting for him in the lounge and I could find him inside if I needed him.”
Nedra’d eyes bugged. “He said that?” Her eyes swung to Shanice and she raised an eyebrow.
Nope. Noooooope. Not taking that bait. “Well if I were interested in taking a child bride I’d go for it.”
A shriek came out of Nedra’s mouth followed by loud laughter that caused a few patrons to look their way curiously. Marcus brought his fist to his mouth.
“Yoooo! Why are you trying to play my mans?”
“How am I playing him? By telling the truth?”
“I never knew dude to be young-actin’. Did he say some slick shit to you or something?”
“Okay. So what’s the problem? I know it’s not ‘cause of ole boy.”
“His name is Jeremy, Marcus.” Although they’d only met a couple of times over the years, Marcus was not fond of Jeremy and he had no problems making it known. When Shanice asked him why after that first meeting Marcus replied that “ole boy look like a liar”. He had no proof other than his gut and in three years Jeremy had never lied to her so Shanice just rolled her eyes and let it be. That was part of the reason that Shanice brought her own car to the car wash. Jeremy didn’t see the point in going where he wasn’t welcome.
“Like I said, I know it’s not ‘cause of him.”
Shanice smacked her lips. “Would it really be so crazy for me to turn a guy down because I have a man?”
Marcus eyed her suspiciously. “So you and ole boy are no longer doing the Will and Jada?”
Nedra joined in. “Exactly! That would be expected for us regular folk but you and Jeremy have an “agreement”.
Shanice popped up out of her seat more than ready to end this conversation. “Oop, I think my car is ready! Let’s go Nedra.” Her back was facing the wall of glass so she didn’t know if her car was truly ready but she had no other excuse to get up. She didn’t want to talk about Byron with Marcus’ ass. He was a man and a serial bachelor. He wouldn’t understand her dilemma.
Marcus stood up as well. “Damn Niecy you just gon’ run off like that? That’s a’ight though. Imma see you in two weeks. We can talk then.”
“Yeah, okay. We can talk about your employee who stops working so he can flirt with women. Right. Well if you haven’t fired him by then, we’ll see. How’s that?” She slung her unopened messenger bag over her head and rested it against her hip.
Marcus cocked his head as a slow smile spread across his face. “That’s cool how you not feeling dude but worried about him losing his job. Well let me gon’ ease your mind. Byron isn’t one of my employees. He’s a financial adviser. We had a meeting this morning to go over my investment options and afterward I suggested he hit the line for a little bit.” He gave her a mock frown. “So what, your shallow ass gon’ give him some pussy now?”
Shanice shoved his arm but Marcus was all muscle and didn’t even flinch.” Nig—” She stopped herself. She promised Jeremy she wouldn’t say that word so much.
He nodded, grinning. “Uh huh, uh huh. Gon’ say it.”
“Marcus,” She emphasized his name. “You know damn well that I am not shallow.”
He shrugged. “I don’t know anything. You never gave me the time of day back in high school and I’m pretty sure it’s because I wasn’t pushing a Benz.”
“Stop tripping. “Nah, it’s because you were too busy sniffing behind light skinned Samantha and wasn’t checking for us dark skinned girls.”
“Nah, now you tripping. Your ass ain’t dark, you’s a redbone.”
“Whatever nig— ninja.”
He laughed. “Gon’ drop that n-bomb Niecy. You know you want to.”
“Bye Niecy, see you in two weeks. Nedra, tell Chris to holla at me. I ain’t heard from him in a lil minute.”
They both nodded and exchanged hugs then the two of them exited the building just in time to see her car roll out of the wash. They watched from a covered patio as two men attacked the vehicle with microfiber cloths. Minutes later they were in the car and on the road. Shanice let out a sigh.
Nedra clicked her tongue. “You might be able to fool Marcus but I hope you know me better than that. Something is up with your ass and when we get to your place you are going to spill all the muthafuckin tea. Iced, with sugar ‘cause this is the South and if the shit ain’t sweet then it ain’t for me.”