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In the Company of My Sistahs
By ANGIE DANIELS
Kensington Publishing Corp.Copyright © 2006 Angie Daniels
All right reserved.
"What the hell do you mean you can't find your birth certificate?"
"I thought it was in my desk drawer, but when I looked a few minutes ago, it wasn't there."
I took a deep breath, drawing on the lessons bestowed upon me. Patience is a virtue is right up there with do unto others as you want done unto you. Shit, I've been flunking both for years.
"Why the hell did you wait until it's time to leave to look for your damn birth certificate?"
"I thought I had it," Nadine mumbled.
See, this is a prime example as to why I have very few female friends-because they are either catty or doing some stupid shit, like losing a damn birth certificate.
I told my sister Lisa this wasn't going to work, but she refused to hear me. So listen to what I am about to tell you. Four women can't spend a week in Jamaica together.
Nadine, who I'm on the phone with now, is a notorious procrastinator. I've been telling her big titty behind for almost three months that she needed a birth certificate. I even went as far as to instruct her to put the damn thing in her suitcase so she wouldn't forget it. Now she wants to call me just as we're getting ready to roll down to St. Louis to say she can't find the damn thing.
"Renee, what am I going to do?" I heard her say.
"I don't know what you're going to do,'cause I told your ass!" What she needed was a miracle and my name sho' in the hell wasn't Helen Keller.
Glancing over at the digital clock on my nightstand, I noticed it was already after five and rolled my eyes. "If you had taken the time to look for it an hour ago you could've ran downtown to Vital Statistics and picked up another copy."
"What time they close?"
"They closed five minutes ago! See, that's why I don't fool with you." Breathing heavily into the receiver, I tried counting to five but that shit wasn't working. I had problems of my own. My ex-husband was supposed to have picked up his kids at one o'clock. As usual his tired ass was late.
You know what? I ain't got time for this shit.
"My advice to you is to keep looking and call me back." Without bothering to say good-bye, I punched END on the cordless phone, then tossed it onto my bed. I wasn't even about to worry about her right now.
Besides, Nadine ain't even my friend. She's my sister Lisa's homegirl.
It doesn't matter that Nadine and I used to blow spit bubbles together or the fact that her funky-ass feet used to be in my face when she slept at the bottom of my bed. So what if I used to fart and pin her ass to the mattress so she had no choice but to smell it. None of that shit counts. She's still Lisa's friend, not mine. I just hang with Nadine from time to time 'cause she doesn't have too many friends. After my sister moved to Texas her ass was acting all lonely and shit, so I felt sorry for her. But regardless of how you want to look at it, Nadine ain't my friend. She's Lisa's homegirl.
With her dilemma still fresh on the brain, I reached under my bed, pulled out my suitcase and decided that after all that ranting and raving I better make sure my passport hadn't expired. I believe it's good for ten years. My second husband was in the Army, and we lived overseas, but that's another story.
I found it between my vibrator and a box of magnum-size condoms (hey, a sistah's gotta be prepared) and just as I thought, my passport was still good for another two years. I tossed it into my purse and reached for my deodorant on the dresser.
Hearing footsteps coming down the hall, I looked up to find my thirteen-year-old daughter, Tamara, entering my room, followed by our schnauzer, Nikki.
"Mom, you need some help?" she asked me as she took a seat on my bed.
I shook my head. "No, Princess. Are you all packed?"
"You got your toothbrush?"
"Plenty of clean underwear?"
"Mom," she groaned, "you already asked me that this morning!"
"And I'm going to keep on asking, smart-ass," I retorted. Who the hell does she think she's talking to? I don't know what's wrong with kids today. If I had spoken to my mother that way she would've knocked my ass clear into next week.
Nikki jumped on top of my open suitcase. Spoiled-ass dog. "Get down, Nikki," I ordered. Luckily, she obeyed and jumped down, taking a seat near my daughter's feet; otherwise I would've thrown my shoe at her. Don't get me wrong. I love my dog. We all do. She's been in our family for almost nine years, and I consider her part of the family. Nevertheless, her ass is spoiled. Have you ever heard of a dog that sleeps in the bed under the covers with her head on a pillow? Rotten.
I looked over in time to see Tamara reach into my suitcase and pull out a size-ten bikini I found on clearance at Wal-Mart.
She turned up her nose. "Mom, I hope you ain't wearing this."
"Shoot! I don't know why not."
"'Cause, your stomach is too big."
"Whatever," I mumbled as I snatched it from her hand. I don't care how big my stomach is, not this week, anyway.
All four of us agreed that whatever happens in Jamaica, stays in Jamaica. So if I want to wear a bikini and show my childbearing stretch marks, then that's my damn business. I will never see any of those people again. Besides, my stomach ain't that bad. I'm the stomach-crunch queen. I just have a little pooch, nothing more ... well, maybe a little more, but not that much. Nevertheless, after two kids, I still look good. Smooth caramel skin, hazel eyes, small firm breasts (my shit don't sag), big legs, and a phat ass-ssshittt, you better ask somebody.
I put the bikini back in my suitcase and took a quick inventory of its contents. I had a swimsuit for all five days with flip-flops and butt wraps to match. There were also sundresses, tops, and shorts. Yes, you better believe this sistah was prepared. "Princess, can you go get my blue-jean shorts out the dryer?"
"Aw'ight." She slid off the bed. "Come on, Nikki." On command, her dog rose and happily followed her down the hall.
Before she got too far, I called after her. "Before you do that, go call your dad." The sorry bastard.
I'm sorry. I'm probably coming off as a bitch and I apologize. I just have a lot on my mind these days. A great deal of stress. When I get back from Jamaica, I have to make what I consider one of the biggest decisions of my life. I have been putting it off for months and time has finally run out.
By the time I inventoried my suitcase, my phone rang. I looked down at my caller ID and saw it was my girl Kayla Sparks.
"Whassup," I greeted.
She smacked her lips as she spoke. "Gurl, Nadine says she can't find her birth certificate."
"I know, she already called and told me."
"What's she going to do?"
"I don't know what she's gonna do. I've been telling her the same damn thing for weeks and it went in one ear and out the other."
I clicked my tongue. "Tell me something I don't already know."
Obviously there wasn't shit else she could tell me that I didn't already know, because she changed the subject.
"I've already dropped Kenya and Asia off at my mom's. My bags are packed and I'm ready to go."
"So am I. That is, as soon as Mario's sorry ass gets here."
"How much spending money you taking?" Kayla asked.
"Not much. My car insurance was due. I got enough to cover my half of the room and buy everyone a gift."
Kayla paused a second too long. "I thought you were paying for our rooms with your credit card," she finally said.
"Excuse me? I reserved our rooms on my credit card. You need to pay for your half of the room when you get there." My statement was followed by another long pause. Uh-oh, not another one. I lowered onto the bed. "You do have money for your room, right?"
"No-o-o. I thought you were paying for them and we were paying you back later."
"Y'all are fucked up! I'm not First National Bank. I specifically said I would hold the rooms on my card. I never said shit about paying for them."
"You're silly." Kayla had the nerve to sound appalled.
"No, y'all bitches are crazy," I spat. My other line beeped. "Hold on." I clicked over. My older sister Lisa was calling me from her cell phone. She and her husband Michael arrived from Texas last week and have been staying with his parents.
"Hey, you ready?" she asked.
"Almost. I got Kayla on the other line, but check this shit out. Nadine called; she can't find her birth certificate."
"What?" Lisa screamed. "Just the other day she told me she had it."
"Well, she lost it. The way her house looks I ain't the least bit surprised." It was no secret Nadine's house was a damn pig sty. She saves every doggone thing she gets her hands on because she's afraid to throw anything away. I tried once to help her organize her shit. Even brought over a paper shredder, but she refused to part with anything. Which was fine with me because I don't have to sleep there. However, I did tell her nasty ass not to even think about inviting me over again until she cleaned her damn house.
"Man, this is unbelievable," I heard Lisa say.
"You right. She called right after Vital Statistics closed."
"If she had bothered to look yesterday, she could have gone down with me."
"I know. To top it off, Kayla thought I was paying for both rooms with my credit card and y'all were paying me back at a later date."
"Damn, both my girls are trippin'."
"Hell yeah, they're trippin'." Especially since my credit card was maxed out. Shit, I couldn't even use it to pay for my own half of the room. "You ready to roll?"
Lisa cleared her throat. "Actually, I was calling 'cause Michael wants me to spend the evening with him. I'ma go to the boat tonight."
"Bitch, whatever! You gonna end up missing the plane."
"No, I won't. You know I get up that early anyway."
"Uh-huh," I returned with straight attitude. My sister owns a bakery in San Antonio and yeah, she does get up early, but that's beside the point. The four of us had made plans for the evening that obviously now had changed. Leave it to some damn man to rain on my parade. "Yeah, whatever."
"What's wrong with you?" Lisa asked.
"I need some dick. I'll call you back." I clicked back over to the other line in time to hear Kayla's pissed-off sigh through the receiver. "Ho, don't even try to get no attitude, 'cause you're always putting me on hold." Returning to the problem at hand, I asked, "So, do you have money or what?"
She sighed again. "Yeah, I just got paid. I was going to put my house note in the mail before we left but I guess it can wait until I get back."
"It's gonna have to. I'll have a check waiting for me when I get back. So, if you need me to spot you a few bucks then, I can help you out. I just don't have it this week."
"Cool." Kayla sounded pleased by my offer. I don't have a problem loaning her money as long as her broke ass remembers to pay me back.
I heard my kids fighting in the other room. "Girl, I'll call you when I'm on my way. In the meantime, see if you can help Nadine."
I hung up and made it down the hall and into the living room in time to catch my sixteen-year-old son hitting his sister upside the head with a pillow. "Y'all are trippin'! You know this room is off limits."
"Mom, Quinton started it!" Tamara screamed.
"No, I didn't!" he countered.
"I don't care who started it. Just get out of my living room. Now!" My kids know when I ain't playing, because they scrambled down the hall to their rooms. I picked the throw pillows off the floor and put them back on my cream-colored Italian leather couch.
I love my living room set. It took every dime of my income tax return but it was worth it. With beige carpeting on the floor and runners to protect it, my children knew the living room was for company only.
I was checking my plants to make sure they had enough water, when I heard a car pull up in my driveway. Peeking through taupe mini blinds, I saw my ex-husband Mario's raggedy blue Cavalier. About damn time.
"Mama, Daddy's here!" Tamara screamed from her room.
"I know," I returned. I waited until he knocked before I opened the door and gave him my best negro-you're-late stare.
"Sorry, I had car trouble." He was dressed in his faded blue jeans and a white t-shirt, smelling like motor oil.
I stepped aside so he could enter. He moved over to the couch I just fluffed, and-oh no he didn't-dropped his funky ass onto my cushions.
His eyes traveled around the room. "I see you've been decorating."
He draped his arm across the back of my couch. "Yeah, I miss this old house. We should still be doin' all this together."
Oh, Lord, here we go again. Mario and I have been divorced for almost twelve years but every time he comes around he wants to talk about what we coulda, shoulda been if we had stayed together. I don't feel like hearing that shit today.
"Hey, Dad." My daughter came bouncing into the living room, flopped down on my couch next to him, and planted a kiss on his cheek.
"Hey, girl." He smiled down at her.
Tamara's a daddy's girl. She sees him only one weekend a month but to her, he does no wrong. They look just alike. They have the same dark eyes covered by thick bushy eyebrows and long black lashes. Mario was a tenderoni back in the day. He's just short as hell. I don't know why I used to have a thing for short men.
Quinton came into the living room, carrying a tote bag over his shoulder. I smiled because my son is handsome and destined to be a heartbreaker. Already six feet, he got his height from my side of the family. He is always dressed nicely. If it doesn't have a designer label, he ain't wearing it, which is why I made his spoiled ass get a job this summer. As I said before, my name ain't First National Bank.
"Look at them gym shoes." My ex-husband was referring to my son's one-hundred-dollar Nikes.
"We put your child support to good use," I snorted.
"Must be nice. I can only afford Wal-Mart. I ain't got it like that."
"Whatever," I mumbled under my breath. He was about to go into his long spiel about how poor he was.
"Shoot, I ain't got a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of."
What did I tell you? Mario's got my daughter feeling so sorry for him she asked me to give him back his child support. Has she lost her damn mind?
Mario rose. "Let's go, kids. Renee, make sure you bring me back some of that Jamaican rum."
Yeah, whatever. I gave both of my kids a hug and a kiss, made sure Mario had the number to the hotel in case of an emergency, then pushed them and Nikki out the door.
I straightened the couch again, then moved to the bathroom. After a quick shower, I was ready to get my vacation started. Tamara never did bring me my shorts. I went down to the basement and pulled them out the dryer. I double checked the doors and windows to make sure they were secure, then raced back up the steps to grab the phone.
It was Nadine.
"Did you find it?" I asked.
"No. I must have thrown it away when I cleaned my room last week." She sounded frustrated, but I didn't have time to be feeling sorry for her. Nadine ain't never bothered to clean her house before, so why start now?
"I don't know what to tell you," I said with probably a little less feeling than I should have. Hey, it's been a long day and my ass is horny.
"I think I might have one at my parents' house."
"In Kansas City?" That was almost a two-hour drive.
"Yeah, I'm waiting for them to call me back. If so, I guess I'll drive there and back tonight and leave for St. Louis in the morning."
"That's fine. Lisa and Michael are spending the night at the boat. She's getting dicked tonight, so I won't see her until the morning either. Just meet us at the Waffle House." I hung up and went to my room to get dressed. Getting some dick didn't sound like a bad idea.
Excerpted from In the Company of My Sistahs by ANGIE DANIELS Copyright © 2006 by Angie Daniels. Excerpted by permission.
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