Erica rushed across the parking lot to the door of her townhouse. She was so excited about her loan approval and couldn't wait to tell Jonathan. As she walked through the
door, she heard a banging noise coming from upstairs. Her feet carried her to the spare bedroom, dread snaking around inside her with each step. Standing outside the door,
she heard a woman's voice. It was breathy and lustful. It was also very recognizable.
"Oh...yes...give it to me!"
She couldn't believe what she was hearing. The voice belonged to Jennifer, Jonathan's assistant and her co-worker. Erica slowly pushed the door open and confirmed what she already knew. There was Jennifer riding her boyfriend. His hands gripped her waist. Her blond hair swayed back and forth in rhythm to their rocking. Their moans were deafening and competed with the thumping of her heart. She felt her blood rushing through her veins. Watching them caused bile to rise in her throat.
"I HATE YOU!"
The vase of flowers sailed across the room, shattering when it collided with the headboard. Water and glass sprayed across the two "lovers", interrupting their special time together. Erica didn't usually condone violence, but she'd make an exception since Jonathan had his díck inside Jennifer! Jennifer shrieked from the surprise impact and Jonathan bucked so hard from the water and glass hitting him that he threw Jennifer off of him. She fell to the floor.
"You raggedy, no good, ass! Jennifer, if you don't want to die today, I suggest you get out!" Erica screamed at her.
"Erica! Please let me -"
Erica could feel the rage pushing full steam ahead. If Jennifer didn't get out of her home, she was going to jail tonight for murder. Well...maybe just aggravated assault.
Jonathan sat frozen in the bed. He hadn't moved or said anything since Erica walked in. His face was that of a man caught red-handed, eyes wide and frightened. Erica picked up Jennifer's clothes and threw them at her. Then she grabbed her arm and yanked her up from the floor. Jennifer stumbled as she was hauled toward the front door.
"At least let me get dressed!" she begged.
Erica's fingers dug into Jennifer's arm as she pulled her down the hall, then the stairs. "Be glad I haven't knocked your teeth down your throat!" She flung the door open and put Jennifer outside, naked in all her glory.
"Since you didn't care about the fact that he was taken and you have NO shame, I'm sure you don't care about the world seeing your tail! Stay the hell away from me or you won't like what happens!"
She slammed the door in Jennifer’s face. Her chest heaved as she turned to address the cause of the high blood pressure she was feeling. The headache that was storming in hadn't been there before. Her blood pounded in her ears, begging for release. Erica rushed back to the spare bedroom (at least he had the decency to do it there and not in her bed) and Jonathan was pulling on his boxers.
"Babe, just calm down. We can talk about this," he pleaded as soon as she walked in the room.
Erica stared at him incredulously and balked, "Babe? Calm down? Talk? You must be out your rabid ass mind! I don't want to hear ANYTHING from you. As a matter of fact, get dressed and get out!"
"You have to let me explain!"
"The only thing I have to do is stay black and die! Now, get the hell out before you see my other side."
He started to walk toward her and was made to regret it. The shoe flew past his head, narrowly missing him, and Jonathan flinched. His eyes burned with anger as he stared Erica down.
"I missed on purpose. Come any closer and my fist won't miss!"
Jonathan's anger transformed into shock. He knew she had a temper from stories she'd told, but he'd never seen it or been on the receiving end of it. Erica grabbed his shirt and jeans and threw them at him.
She stepped out of the way as she spoke, not wanting to be near him, "If you don't want to be embarrassed, I suggest you leave...NOW!"
He made his way toward the door, head hanging as if he was so ashamed. She followed behind him, breathing heavily, trying not to cry. She didn't want to give him the satisfaction of seeing her hurt by this. He opened the door and turned to her.
"I'm sorry. I'll call you." He sounded remorseful, but nothing could sway Erica.
"Don't!" She slammed the door for the second time that day and locked it. Before she got to her bedroom, she remembered he had a key. God, she didn't want to see his face again right now...or ever, but she didn't want to walk in one day to him sitting in her place. Erica raced outside and caught up to Jonathan in the parking lot and called to him.
He turned at the sound of his name, eyes dancing with hope. A wide smile spread across his face. Erica took him in for a second and realized that she wouldn't see that smile anymore. That smile that used to make her heart skip a beat. At this moment, it made her sick and she wanted to slap it off his face.
"Erica! I knew -"
"Give me my key."
She held out her hand and motioned for him to give it to her. His mouth fell open and he squinted in anger.
"Are you serious?!" he yelled back. Jonathan stood there, giving her the chance to change her mind.
Erica didn't answer. She just rolled her eyes and motioned for the key again. He dug in his front pocket and slowly twisted the key off the ring. Once removed, he chucked it a few feet away from them and walked off. It wasn't lost on Erica that those actions were exactly what he had done to their relationship. Jonathan had chucked her to the side and now she had to pick up the pieces and move on.
Erica had changed into black sweatpants and a black tank top. Her hair was pulled back into a ponytail, out of her way while she cleaned. She had texted her best friend to come through.
Those letters stood for "Red light go". It meant stop what you're doing and come now. Erica and Maya had been friends since they were children. They developed this code for emergencies from when they were children playing "Red Light, Green Light." Maya always moved on the red light because she liked to "be different" as she put it. She’s always been extra and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
While she waited for Maya, Erica stripped the sheets off the bed in the spare bedroom and threw them in the washer. She thought about just throwing them away, but decided Jonathan's cheating tail wasn't going to cost her money and a broken heart. She walked in the kitchen and pulled out her Crown Apple Whiskey from the bottom cabinet. Her phone vibrated on the counter and she picked it up, reading the text.
She walked to the front door and eyed her best friend. The whiskey bottle was still in her hand and Maya noticed.
"Hmm...whiskey...what happened?" Maya placed her hands on Erica's shoulders and squeezed them as she moved her toward the living room. "Sit. Talk, " she said.
Erica sat on the couch and passed Maya the whiskey when she reached for it. Maya went to the kitchen and mixed the apple flavored liquor with some cranberry juice. Erica started talking as Maya made her way back into the living room. She waited until Maya had given her one of the drinks and sat in the chair across from her before she hit her with the whammy!
"I walked in on Jonathan with Jennifer."
Maya quickly covered her mouth to keep from spitting out the drink she'd just taken. She swallowed it quickly and fanned herself.
"Walked in on them where?"
"He was shtupping her in the spare bedroom." Erica picked up her drink and took a long swallow. She watched Maya open her mouth to speak, then close it again. Her head was tilted back and she seemed lost in thought.
"That sorry sack of -"
"Mm hmm, " Erica replied.
Maya crossed to the couch and sat next to Erica. Her hand reached out and gave Erica’s a comforting squeeze. Her next words were low and gentle.
"I know some people that know some people that can take care of him. Say the word and he's gone!"
Erica chuckled at her friend's willingness and readiness to defend her honor. That's how it had always been between them. In school, if anyone was messing with Erica (though she could take care of herself), Maya never let her. She jumped in to defend her with the fierceness of a lioness. They'd been inseparable since they were five years old and had ridden the peaks and valleys of life together.
Maya's parents had dropped her off at her aunt's house on June 6, 1985 and never came back. Erica's family had just moved into the house across the street a few days before. She'd been staring out the window at the butterflies in her mom's flowers when she saw Maya tear out of the house like a quick shot! A boy, bigger than her, came running out behind her smiling brightly. They were loudly talking about going to the park down the street.
Erica had run to the kitchen and begged her parents to take her to the park. They finally relented when the tears began to fall. She beat them to the front porch and chastised them for moving so slow. They laughed and grabbed her hands, walking down the street. When they'd arrived at the park, Maya was on the swings and the boy, later introduced as her cousin Clark, was working the monkey bars.
Maya saw Erica and jumped off the swing. They ran to each other, giggling at seeing someone new and maybe making a new friend. It was right there that the friendship was cemented and since then, they’d celebrated victories and mourned losses together.
"Naw. Though we'd look good in orange, I'm not trying to rock that outfit daily, " Erica replied.
Maya pulled Erica in for a hug and that was all she needed to let down the wall and cry.
"I gave that bastard three years of my life. How could he do this to me?"
Her words were choppy, being mixed with tears. Maya rubbed her back and spoke soothing words.
"He's an idiot. He just lost the best thing ever. You will get past this and be a better woman for it. Cry now, smile later!"
"What would I do without you?"
Maya placed a finger on her chin and pretended to be in deep thought before she said, "Be boring."
Erica pulled out of the hug, holding her stomach from laughter.
"Hey! I'm not boring!"
"True, but still!" Maya took a sip of her drink and leaned back onto the couch. "So we having Chinese or Mexican tonight?"
"Chinese. I'm craving duck."
"You place the order and I'll go get it."
Erica scrolled through her contacts until she found the chop suey she wanted. She placed the order and was told it would be ready in 15 minutes.
"When I get back we'll pack up anything he has here. Then we'll burn it!" Maya shouted. She grabbed her keys and headed toward the door. Erica hopped up and walked toward the kitchen for another drink.
"Girl, you're crazy!"
"We won't really burn it, but we can make him think we did." Maya opened the door and stepped out. She turned back before she closed it. "Hey, you'll get through this. He will regret this. Your best revenge for him is moving on to bigger and better. And I'm gonna be right here with you."
Erica smiled as her best friend closed the door. Her heart felt a little lighter knowing she wasn't as alone as she felt.