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He's Just A Friend
By Mary B. Morrison
Dafina BooksCopyright © 2003 Mary B. Morrison
All right reserved.
Chapter One"How could you be so stupid?!" Fancy yelled in the mirror at her reflection. Swish. Swish. Swish! Her fists chased the July summer night's breeze blowing through the patio screen into her lonely bedroom. How could she have not known that Byron Van Lee was a married man? A man she'd done everything with. A man she was willing to do anything for. What was she going to do? Fancy swiftly turned, landing three blows against her shadow. Mimicking Laila Ali she struck faster. Harder. Swish! Swish! Swish! Long strands of black hair whipped around her neck and clung to her sweaty face.
Fancy massaged her heaving breastbone in an attempt to give her aching heart relief. Maybe if that were the first time a man had lied to her about his marital status, she'd forgive him. Not this time. Not this one. This kind of shit was supposed to happen to other women.
"Why me? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why me?" Fancy questioned herself repeatedly. Why was it so difficult for her to find an honest man? Byron would definitely regret playing with her emotions.
Perspiration beads gathered on her feverish forehead. The salty streams burned her cheeks. White lines remained where tears once flowed. The angrier she became the more she perspired. The more she cried. New salty lines replaced old ones as Fancy recalled the lies Byron had told on their very first date.
Byron had unmistakably said, "Actually, I'm happily single. Thirty going on thirty-one. Never married. Would love to have two kids, a boy and a girl, but I hardly have time for myself."
That night over dinner his roaming brown eyes traveled from her face down to her cleavage and back to her glowing smile. Then he had proclaimed, "And so far I love what I see, Ms. Taylor." Following his statement, Byron gradually fed her a large chocolate-dipped strawberry. Setting the green stem aside, Byron eased his manicured nail between her lips.
Fancy shivered at the memory. She felt foolish as she visualized sucking the juices off Byron's finger, pretending it was his dick. "Fuck you, Byron! I hate you! I hate your lying ass!" Fancy hugged herself so tight the only thing missing was a straightjacket.
Maybe if Byron hadn't lavished her with everything she wanted. Maybe if he hadn't spoken all the right words. Maybe if he hadn't spanked her with his colossal dick. Maybe. Just maybe she could think straight and delete his phone numbers from her cell phone book like the rest of her rejects. Tears flowed. The red squiggly veins in her eyes doubled. Tripled. Quadrupled. She hated the thought of letting Byron go, but did she hate Byron enough to let him go?
Rocking back and forth on the gold padded stool, Fancy snatched the red washcloth from her vanity and vigorously dried her tears. Sniffles accompanied short quick breaths that escaped her runny nose. Byron had recently dropped her off after another one of their sizzling dates in the city. Again, he'd taken care of her, showing her off to his rich male friends. And in return-just moments ago-Fancy leaned in Byron's lap while he drove across the San Rafael Bridge, en route to her apartment in Oakland. She sucked his head, because that was all she desired to fit into her mouth. Fancy stroked Byron's shaft long and hard until his cum became hers. With each suck, she'd hoped Byron would change his mind and spend the night at her place, but the screeching sound of his tires as he pulled out of the circular driveway still echoed in her ears.
Removing her tan designer minidress, she tossed it across the foot of her bed. Fancy enjoyed prancing around her apartment in the nude and as soon as she made it home, her clothes made it to the bed. This time all except her neutral-colored thigh-high stockings, a thong, and a garter belt. She forced her fingernails inside the runs she'd created shuffling back and forth on the white carpet and ripped a larger hole.
"Why couldn't he just tell me the truth?"
Even if Byron had told Fancy he had a wife, she still would've fucked him. But she wouldn't have fallen madly in love with him.
Snatching the cordless phone from the charger, Fancy punched in the home number she'd memorized earlier from Byron's cellular ID. After he'd hung up from that call, suddenly their night, which was just getting started, was over. "We've gotta go," was all he said, because Byron never offered an explanation or an excuse. He wasn't slick. He was the one who was stupid! Not her. If he lived alone, who'd call him from home?
Shaking Byron from her thoughts, Fancy dialed the number. A woman's voice muttered, "Hel-lo," as though she'd been awakened.
Faster than a Polaroid snapshot sliding out of a camera, a million thoughts flashed in Fancy's mind. The sun rays peeping through her vertical blinds were fading. Fading right along with her undeveloped hopes and dreams for a future she'd fantasized about for well over six months, with Byron. Friday night happy hour at the Pacific Heights members only club that Byron had taken her to wasn't over until eight and according to her clock it wasn't quite seven. Maybe his conniving ass had returned without her so he could fuck the black Amazon goddess with the London accent all the other men were idiotically hounding and drooling over. Beads of sweat resumed popping out on her forehead. Fancy watched as a thin liquid necklace formed in the crevices above her collarbone.
"Hello?" the woman's voice repeated.
Sitting quietly at her vanity, Fancy pressed the mute button, then rocked back and forth, staring at her reflection in the oval-shaped mirror. "Why do you keep choosing the wrong man?" She rocked faster. Not adoring herself at the moment, Fancy rolled her eyes so hard her green contacts shifted, revealing her natural brown eyes. Green. Gray. Hazel. Violet. Fancy owned a pair of lenses in every color except blue. She flipped the swivel mirror horizontally so she could no longer see how pitiful she looked.
This was insane. What was she going to do if the woman was his wife? Stalk her? Harass her? Make her divorce Byron? Shoot her? Maybe Fancy could beat the woman with the belt she used to spank Byron with during role-play.
"Hello? Is anybody there?" the woman asked with a tone indicating if someone didn't speak up this time, she would hang up.
Suddenly Fancy stopped rocking, pressed the mute button again, and delightfully said, "Hi! Is this the lady of the house?"
Fancy wondered many things about the woman on the other end of the line. Was she the same woman who was with Byron the night they'd met? Was she Byron's wife? If so, how long had they been married? Did the woman have a nine-to-five job? Maybe they weren't married. Maybe they were separated. And in the process of getting a divorce. That's probably why Byron hadn't mention he had a wife.
"Yes, this is Mrs. Lee." Mrs. Lee's voice was choppy and faint, like she should have cleared her throat but she didn't.
Fancy spoke happily. "I'm calling from the Chronicle Tribune. We have an introductory special that your family is guaranteed to enjoy. We're combining the best articles and advertisements, and we have a fabulous sports edition I'm sure the man of the house would love! Instead of ordering two papers or missing out on both, your family can be among the first Bay Area residents to get all the news in one paper! Delivered to your front door! For an unbelievable price of twenty-nine ninety-nine for an entire year."
"Really?" Mrs. Lee spoke slightly louder. "I'm sure my husband would love that. But then again ..." she hesitated. "We-"
"Your husband is a sports fan, isn't he?" Fancy asked, already knowing Byron sat on the Board of Directors for the Oakland Coliseum. Byron had suite tickets for the Warriors, Raiders, and the A's games. He also had season tickets for the Sacramento Kings. He'd taken Fancy to enough games for her to know if she ever met Chris Webber face-to-face again she'd become Mrs. Webber. What sense did it make for her to be loyal to Byron's lying ass?
"He's the biggest sports fan. Okay, why not. It's only thirty dollars." Mrs. Lee had finally spoken in a normal tone. "We'll sign up."
Nervous, still wondering if Byron would arrive home soon, Fancy said, "Wonderful! All I need is your name, delivery address, phone number, and credit card number with the expiration date. And you'll start receiving the paper in three to five days."
"Can you hold for a moment?" Mrs. Lee asked. "I was trying not to wake the baby but he's crying."
Fancy pressed her ear to the phone and listened carefully.
"Waa. Waa." She heard crying in the background.
Oh, hell no! Fancy jumped up from her vanity stool and began pacing the floor. What baby? How old was this wailing kid that sounded like a lamb? Byron was a father, too! Maybe Mrs. Lee was baby-sitting. Or the bitch had Byron's baby, trying to trap him so he wouldn't divorce her ass.
"Hello. Are you there?" Mrs. Lee questioned.
"Of course I'll hold." Fancy smiled to brighten up her voice, then said, "After all, we are a family oriented newspaper group." Fancy hit the mute button and screamed, "Hurry the fuck up!" then pressed the same button again.
When she reached the patio door, Fancy turned around. This time she was too angry to cry. When she reached the bedroom door she turned back around. Too pissed off to sweat. She turned back around again. Too upset to stop moving. She turned again.
"Thanks for waiting. Here's our information."
Racing to the stool, Fancy grabbed her pen. Her naked shoulder pressed the phone to her ear while she listened carefully. She drew a bold letter X across the front of one of her business cards, then wrote Mrs. Lee's information on the back.
Byron could be replaced, perhaps by her boss, Harry, but definitely not by her friend Desmond. Finding a man of Byron's caliber, great looks, and dick stature would be virtually impossible. Byron's six-foot four-inch, two-hundred-thirty-pound frame appeared to have zero-percent body fat. His dark brown skin was smooth. Each time Byron came to her apartment he drove a Benz, a BMW, a Cadillac, or he was escorted by a driver. Whenever he opened his wallet, all Fancy saw were Benjamins and platinum credit cards.
Begrudging Mrs. Lee, Fancy said, "Thanks for your subscription." Fancy gazed at the address so long that her vision blurred. Byron's address in Oakland Hills-the house he'd given her keys to, the house where they had spent many nights and almost every weekend together, the house she'd partially decorated-was different from the one she'd written down. Mrs. Lee lived in one of the most prestigious areas in Northern California. Cupertino.
"Excuse me, but isn't a supervisor supposed to call me back to-"
Fancy's inner voice yelled inside her head, Fuck you! right before she hung up the phone. If Fancy had had an ounce of religion, between Byron and Mrs. Lee, she would have truly lost it instead of losing her mind. Fancy ruled out killing Mrs. Lee because of the baby. The Nanny Diaries would read completely different if Fancy Taylor had to care for another woman's kid. Fancy loved Byron too much to just let him go. But another woman was living under her future roof, married to her future husband. One way or another that bitch had to go!
Chapter TwoFancy sat on the edge of her bed staring out her patio window at two Canadian geese flying over Lake Merritt. Her friends thought she was strange because she used her sunken living room as her bedroom. Fancy seldom cared about what other people thought. Both bedrooms combined were smaller than her living room and each bedroom had a morbid view of the Scottish Rite Temple's asphalt parking lot.
Mounted next to Fancy's bed was a silver pole wrapped in red velvet. Fancy had danced on that pole countless times. Sometimes for her male friends. At other times she practiced new moves or simply entertained herself. Fancy taught herself to dance and move like women in the music videos on BET's 106th and Park because rich men-the only kind she'd date-became bored a lot faster than the men who lived paycheck to paycheck.
Ruffling her down-feather comforter, Fancy scurried across her king-size bed in search of her ringing phone. One more ring and her voice mail would turn on. SaVoy's name registered on the display so Fancy quickly answered, "Hey, girl! What's up?"
"Just called to see what you're doing tonight." SaVoy always sounded happy. Fancy could picture her best friend's bright smile.
"Going out. To a gala at the Ritz. With Desmond."
"You really need to quit using Desmond. One of these days he's going to get tired of you playing with his emotions and God only knows what will happen. He's so nice to you, Fancy. And he's perfect marrying material-for somebody else-so you should quit before you ruin him. Besides," SaVoy pleaded, "you've partied with the pagans three hundred and sixty-four days this year. Surely you can give one day to the Lord. Forget the gala. Come go with me to church tonight and praise God."
Since Fancy didn't go to church any other time of year, New Year's Eve was definitely not the time to start. And as far as Desmond was concerned, the way Fancy saw it, she couldn't use anyone who didn't want to be used.
"Girlfriend, you know I love you but this is New Year's Eve. And from now on, remember this. You've only got one life to live. So stop wasting yours trying to live mine. Gotta go. Bye. Call me tomorrow. After three. Oh, yeah. Say a prayer for me."
"I always do. By-"
Fancy hung up the phone and rubbed her growling stomach. There was still enough time to order delivery service on-line from ezdineinn.com so Fancy raced up seven steps-into the should-have-been bedroom that was her office-over to her laptop and charged one dozen oysters on the half shell from Spenger's to her boss's American Express card.
Fancy didn't cook or sew but her apartment was immaculate. Making her way to the adjacent bedroom that she'd converted into a closet, Fancy stood inside a space that resembled a miniature Saks store. Roll-away racks filled with expensive clothing were scattered about the room.
Name brand shoes were stacked high on shelves. Fancy removed the frequently used stepladder from behind the door, and scanned the photos stapled to the front of each shoe box. "Ah, there you are. Come to Mama," she said, choosing her designer stilettos with the rhinestone-covered heels.
More shoes-jogging, hiking, aerobic, cross-country-and her Roller Blades, lined the floor, neatly flush against the baseboard, sorted by color. The two thousand dollars for her rent was paid. This month. Her hair weave and nails were freshly done, and her car was tuned up.
Excerpted from He's Just A Friend by Mary B. Morrison Copyright © 2003 by Mary B. Morrison. Excerpted by permission.
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