Chapter 1: The Beginning
Terry (Terise) Griffin:
I felt like such a fool lying here in this hospital bed, weeks away from my 27th birthday. I had gone downtown to the shopping mall to pick up my dress for my birthday party. As I was about to leave an excruciatingly unforgivable pain knocked me to the floor of the quaint little shopping mall.
The security guards were so involved with chasing some thugs across the mall that it took the kindness of a stranger to assist me. He was tall with cornrows, had gold teeth and more than willing to call the paramedics on his Iphone. He passionately gave me his number but I quickly told him I was painfully not interested.
This party was not just for me it would be a chance to shine for my best friend Ronah. Somehow, someway she always manages to find the time and means to swindle money out of her former lover Harim. He was once the biggest drug trafficker in Missouri, but after a few attempts on his life and a slight brush with prison, he decided to turn it around.
He took his money, graduated from real estate school, and invested his time and money into his parents’ mortgage brokerage firm in Chicago, where he now lives. The brother still sends Ronah plenty of cash and she stated that she was not dropping the panties.
However, I knew my girl all too well, her 30th birthday is two weeks before mines, and I am too sure that she would be going to Chicago to party with Harim and empty his wallet all at the same time.
It was cool, just recently he was here last week to collect a check for 90 grand after selling four run down houses that he had renovated. Money meant nothing to Harim, I am not going to lie, I thought about getting a piece of his action. However, Harim was too short and acne prone for me.
He did not seem like Ronah’s type either when they had first met 11 years ago. She was my bootlegging hairdresser and Harim was my late boyfriend David’s partner in the dope game. Ronah liked her men tall, sexy with muscles and big sticks.
Here comes that nosey ass nurse again, she keeps peeping in on me like some lesbian. I know my cover girl image was far and in between, with my nappy ponytail and my nails needing a manicure. Nevertheless, I loved the men and not the women.
Speaking of men, my ex- Donnell came by to see me, begging to get back into the picture.I played him to the left because he has caused me so much pain and loss. A few years back he was heavy on the drugs and unemployed; I was pregnant with his twins.
We were at my baby shower over Jeremy’s, Donnell was so drunk and mad because I found out about his drug habits and wouldn’t sponsor him any cash. He claimed he was bored with the party and was not having any fun. I was not trying to hear anymore of his excuses and lies, so I rushed out of the bathroom. Then going back downstairs to the party, I missed a step and fell. Jeremy, Bryna’s man and an old friend of Harim’s was the first to rush to his stairway.
I could still hear my mother Carol screaming and punching at Donnell as Ronah called the paramedics. After terminating my pregnancy, I immediately explained to my mother that it was not entirely all Donnell’s fault. However, she was not hearing me and still held a grudge with men after my father left her and my baby brother with his buy-out money from Chrysler Motors where he used to work.
I was at the River West/ St. Louis Medical Center being treated for complications of sickle cell anemia like symptoms. A condition that I have been battling with for over 10 years and the doctor told me that I would have the pain until I was 30 years old. I felt sorry for the people who had to live a lifetime suffering from the disease, because the little pain that I have is so unforgivable.
With a fabulous view of the famous and historic awards winning Forest Park across from me. I didn't think I ever wanted to leave here. Nevertheless, I was truly happy to be able to relax in the hospital after witnessing the worse display of the male’s anatomy.
I am talking about Ronah’s new beau Damon Ready’s exotic dance team. We were at the Indiscretion, a secular nightclub across the river in East St. Louis, trying very hard to get through 2 hours of funk and failure. Damon’s performance and exotic dance style was very exciting, but his 6-team members were stinking up the stage with pubic hair flying everywhere.
Damon was a fine muscular brother that Ronah met at the gym where we used to work out. I would have loved to get a piece of his action, but he only has eyes for light-complexion Ronah. Here comes that fine ass doctor from India, he always has a hard on in those damn scrubs.
He checked my vitals and I could have sworn he had touched my left nipple. Unfortunately, it was just my imagination running wild with me again; he smiled and left me dripping wet. I then started thinking about my beloved late boyfriend David, he was only 19, when he was shot and killed as we approached Harim’s Delta 88.
Ronah had taken me out to celebrate my graduation from high school and then in a few days, it would have been my 18th birthday. They had speculated that the shooter was actually trying to target Harim, but David had it in for so many thugs.
After David’s death, I did not understand why Ronah stop dating him, but it seemed that when he came into 100 dollars she had half of that. I did not know if he was paying her to cover up something or just simply to keep her in his life. I could care less because she was my girl and love to spend the money.
Here comes that peeping Florence Nightingale with my medications, I then gave her a very proper smile and was happy that she left my space so quickly. I was a catering manager at a West County hotel restaurant and my boss has called me a thousand times. He wanted to make sure that I was well by the weekend because of a big Solutia’s convention. I told him I would make it work to please his accommodations, and he was indeed satisfied. In a month, my party will be here and I wanted to get rid of the doctors, nurses and bears.
2 weeks later in Chicago, Illinois
That damn Terry knows she is crazy, it is my 30th birthday and she is worrying me about skipping out on her. I told that girl that I would be home in a few days to get ready for her party. The party was not just for her birthday; it would give me a great opportunity to promote my gift shop and drum up some clients for my bootlegging hairdressing venture. I need to keep my sagging business floating, just in case I decided to go on my own without Harim’s ‘hush’ cash. I did hair in the back of the bead shop, something that I felt so uncomfortable doing. There were always some player haters waiting around to snitch, finishing cosmetology school years ago, it was now time to go to Kansas City to take the practical and get my license.
In the meantime, Harim got me by with the slumping economy and numerous debts. He knew why he was giving me the money, a secret so shocking not even his wealth could save him from the truth. Leaving him was for the best, but I could not let the money go.
I was in the shower at a luxurious Hyatt Regency Mc Cormick, getting all sexy for him. After the birthday song and dance was over, I was jet setting back to the gateway city, pay some bills and meet with the band that will be performing at the party for Terry. The party will be at the stunningly beautiful Millennium Hotel overlooking the Gateway Arch downtown. I loved Chicago beautiful big downtown, but nothing compares to the elegance of St. Louis’ famed architecture. I knew my “boo” Damon was back home pouting but he knew I must keep the kiss of passion with Harim.
I am not talking about $10, 20, 50’s get my nails, hair and feet done money, this man made over four hundred thousand dollars in real estate investments last year. I would be a fool not to pop it to him every now and then. We both are truly aware of the main reason why he is carrying a guilty shoulder and his needs for me to keep quiet about the events surrounding David’s death. Nevertheless, I still have feelings for Harim and I am here in Chicago to act out on those feelings.
Later that evening we met down near the Navy Pier, at Piccoladi’s Italian restaurant. He decided to go all out for me, with 3-dozen white roses, candlelight, a lousy saxophonist, a bottle of Moet and a velvet box with a sparkling emerald/ diamond pendant inside.
We were seated on the patio across from a table full of fine Fortune 500 black brothers.I tried hard not to stare as Harim placed a jealous fork of blackened smoke salmon in my mouth. However, the joke was on me, because these men were out celebrating a domestic partnership among them, and I almost threw up my salad in disgust. I was not a hater, it’s just that I felt they should have taken their gay business elsewhere.
We finished our dinner, enjoyed the rest of Chicago, went dancing at Michael Jordan’s nightclub and later enjoyed a night of uninhibited sexual passion at Harim’s condominium near Lake Shore Drive. Two days later, I was a paid Princess and on a flight back home.
Bryna (Sabrina) Driver:
Hot damn, this scale must be broke, I cannot believe I have lost 10 pounds in three weeks. Even though my hips still feel like the Gibraltar. It was all-good, I finally found a man who appreciate my plus size and pretty face. I had met Jeremy through Harim, when he used to work on Harim’s properties. He still owned a little real estate of his own, which was tied up in a divorce battle with his deranged wife Shirley.
After we have gotten very close in our relationship, I had made him the manager of my kitchen at the restaurant. My restaurant called “U Can Eat Here” Soul food; I was the co-owner with a lazy white business partner who was once my boss. I had graduated the top of my class at University of Missouri Saint Louis receiving first an associate degree in culinary art and later an associate degree in business administration.
My man Jeremy was undeniably a damn good cook in and out of the bedroom. My sorry ass ex-husband Benny decided that he did not want me anymore because I had gained so much weight a few years back. Benny was a friend of Terry’s first, I do believe she and Ronah had gotten a piece of his action.
Nevertheless, that was water under a broke bridge, I now was happily engaged to Jeremy, who divorce was about to become a reality. He was fine to me, brown skinned, 6’5, 220 (tight stomach) pounds, goatee and packing the ‘mojo’ to keep us together until the next three millenniums. I had to go shopping today to find a dress to accentuate my fabulous weigh loss.
I truly was not feeling Ronah’s flashy ass party for Terry. If it was not a birthday party, it was a baby shower. She always found time to flash her ex- dope man’s cash. I still could not place my finger on it and I was not into that Law and Order shit, but I did not understand why she loved lavishing everybody with Harim’s cash. Hell, she did not make that much money running the bead shop and bootlegging four hair clients every now and then.
2 days before my big party
I had to fire two bitches at work today; why in the hell did they promote me into management? I hated that I’d gotten my sanitation license and culinary management certification. I guess they felt I truly deserved it considering I have been at the hotel restaurant for almost four years. I thought I would never get another job after being fired from Applebee's, for fighting with my ex- Robert’s trifling wife. I will never forget how that trick had the audacity to come up to my place of employment threatening me about her husband’s infidelity.
I had only slept with him a dozen times; hell I did not want him to leave her. In my defense, I did try to leave him, but he reminded that I would have to pay him back for some college courses he had paid for. Therefore, I digress and did his bidding, because I need the certification to get the promotion that I now enjoy. His wife had been following us around like something out of the reality show 'Cheaters' and decided to come up to my old job and have it out with me. I collectively whipped her ass and was granted walking papers.
Men came in and out of my life, but as I laid here naked in a small hotel near the airport, I could not wait to feel passion again. I needed some action and Donnell was the only player willing to come up to bat. My pager was going off big time, it was my nosey mother Carol, and I was not ready to talk to my 47-year-old nag piece. She and Ronah would be the last two to know about my reconnection with Donnell.
Earlier today, I had received a birthday card from George Compton, damn straight, he was a nice fine black six-figured executive. Ronah tried to warn me about him, but I was a fool for the ‘hook’. He was in town on the night of my 21st birthday party, and of course, Ronah was throwing me a nice soiree at a simple Clayton hotel.
George was standing at his room door in some tight spandex shorts, and he sported a tank top showing off his muscular build. He stated that he was just about to go back to the hotel gym. I was trying to find my way back to the suite where my party was jumping off after meeting my younger cousins Linda and Tracy in the lobby.
He was 5 years older and was an account executive at a Houston ad firm, in town to assist a local business tycoon with a crucial ad campaign. After the party was over, I went to his room and had a wonderful night of unbridled passion.
We then carried on for about two months while he was in and out of town. Envied with jealousy Ronah started saying that he saw vulnerability in me and was just using me for inner-city pussy. She was truly right on the money because once his assignment was over, he jet speeded his ass back to Texas. He still tried to keep in touch through emails and letters that I have stored in my shoebox. Here comes Donnell, let the games begin.
Where is that Terry? Every since she has been in contact with Donnell, she has been distant. With the party in two days, I know she do not want to clown with me. I am not stupid at my tender 30 years; I knew she was messing around with Donnell again. I hope she was not setting herself up for another fall after what he had done to her life. I know my girl was not the brightest considering she was a catering manager at a two-star hotel restaurant.
Damon’s friend Lorenzo Romeless was staying in town from Atlanta and needed a date. I was trying to complete a love connection, because this exotic dancer was fine ass hell. And if she did not come and put out his fire, he was sure to flip flop and find himself a nice sissy somewhere. I just hate for good meat to spoil, after all I have done for her. I wish she would just answer the damn pager. I am going to make sure I get her a cellular phone for her birthday. My goodness, I could be stuck on a lonely highway with a crowbar up my ass.