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Why do boys lie so much? Why won't they listen, be attentive and above all, be truthful to their girlfriends? Why do they continually do idiotic things that ruin great relationships and then deny the truth when they get busted? I wish someone could explain the male ego to me, because I'd certainly like to know the answers to my questions. I swear I don't understand why or how boys can be jackasses and egotistical all at the same time and think there is nothing wrong with that. Is that just the way it is with guys, or does their stupidity disappear as they get older? I briefly thought about Beyoncé's song "If I Were A Boy" and the truthfulness of the words she sang.
I searched my mind for answers to my questions while sitting on a soft brown leather sofa in the lobby of the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place hotel. With my face buried in the palms of my hands, masking my humiliation, I thought about how I'd gone to great lengths to find the perfect prom dress and matching accessories for what was supposed to be one of the best moments of my life. I'd even slept in an upright position so I wouldn't wreck my hair. Needless to say, when morning came I had a nasty muscle cramp in my neck. I did all that only to have my jerk of a boyfriend and his needy ex-girlfriend screw it all up. For a moment I felt as if I were about to have an anxiety attack, but I held my emotions in check. Then I smeared away the angry tears streaming down my cheeks, smudging my makeup in the process. I thought about mean-spirited ways to get even with Antonio and Priscilla, his ex. I thought about posting my angry thoughts about him all over the Internet. I'd let everybody know just how much of a jerk he is. As much as I wanted to let go of my rage, I couldn't, at least not just yet. I closed my eyes and allowed my mind to replay what had happened a few minutes ago.
My best friend, Maya, and I had just set foot back inside the ballroom, where Thornwood High School students were jamming to the rhythm of the music. Across the crowded room, I spotted my boyfriend, Antonio, talking to his ex-girlfriend Priscilla. I rushed over to see why she was chatting with him. If truth be told, I thought she was trying to make him an offer he just couldn't refuse. Boy, was I way off on that one. By the time I arrived, Priscilla was going off on him, so I stepped between them and confronted her. I asked her what the hell was her problem. Even though it was prom night and I had on an expensive dress, I was all set to kick her butt for old and new if she wanted to throw down. All during the school year she'd been on my back about my relationship with Antonio. At one point I seriously thought we were competing for the attention and affections of the same guy. But it was clear I'd won—Antonio was at prom with me and not her. I believed Priscilla was just a sore loser who couldn't get over the fact that Antonio had chosen me over her. At that moment I was intent on setting things straight. Then Priscilla dropped a bomb.
"I'm pregnant with your baby, Antonio!" she screamed. Everyone near us stopped what they were doing and focused on the argument that I'd walked in the middle of. Honestly, when Pricilla first made the announcement I thought I didn't hear her correctly, but then she repeated herself.
"Oh, damn, Antonio! You're a straight-up player. You've got one girl loaded and another chickenhead ready to beat her down," some boy who was standing nearby said, as if Antonio was supermacho. I was so shocked and appalled by the announcement of the pregnancy that I ran out of the ballroom.
I opened my small purse and searched for some tissues to dry my cheeks and blow my nose. I rose to my feet and headed toward the front door so I could step outside and get some fresh air. As soon as I stepped out of the air-conditioned hotel and into the warm night air, Maya seemed to appear out of nowhere.
"Are you okay?" She moved around in front of me, then embraced me. I placed my forehead on her shoulder and sobbed.
"It's okay. Please don't cry, Keysha. He isn't worth the salt in your tears."
"Why do I have the worst luck with guys? Why do I keep falling for the jackasses and jerks?" I asked, not really expecting Maya to give me an answer.
"My mom says that's why it's called dating. You meet someone and get to know them. If it works out, cool, but if it doesn't you have the option of moving on," Maya explained.
"Well, I suck at dating, that's for doggone sure," I stated as I pushed away from her. "I'm going to ruin your pretty dress with my tears and slobber." I inspected her dress, making sure I hadn't left any wet spots on her.
"I don't care about the dress. I care about you," Maya said as she rubbed my back in an effort to comfort me.
"I'm cool," I said. "But I don't think I can go back in there. Not after what just happened."
"You shouldn't let this ruin your evening, Keysha," Maya said.
"Are you serious? I know you're not trying to say I should go back in there and give him another chance." I searched Maya's eyes for an answer.
"All I'm saying is you should try to make the best of it. You can hang out with Misalo and me. I'll even let you dance with him," Maya said jokingly.
"I do not want to dance with Misalo." I glanced at traffic moving along Dr. Martin Luther King Drive.
"What did Antonio say after I left?" I asked.
"He said he wasn't the father of Priscilla's child. Then she slapped him and he was about to swing on her until some other guys started pulling him away."
"Where is he now?" I asked.
"I don't know, probably somewhere inside trying to figure out what to do next. Once Antonio was pulled away, I came out here to look for you."
"Well, I don't want to go back in there. I just want to go home and sit in my room," I said as I pulled out my cell phone and called the limousine driver. When he answered I told him to drive around to the front of the hotel so he could pick me up.
"You're serious, aren't you. Are you sure you just want to leave? I mean, can't you just put this behind you and let it go? After all, you're not the one who's expecting a baby."
"Do you think I'm making too much of a big deal out of this?" I asked. "I want your honest opinion."
"I can understand you being angry, but have you considered that Priscilla may be lying? Maybe she just did all this to be dramatic."
"Well, if she did, she should get an Oscar for her performance," I snapped.
"Speaking of drama, here comes Antonio." Maya nodded in his direction. I turned and saw Antonio glance at me and then quicken his pace to reach me.
"There you are," he said as he tried to embrace me, but I moved away.
He seemed exasperated by the fact that I'd pulled away from him. "I know you're not going to let Pricilla's crazy outburst screw up the night." Antonio wasn't taking my feelings about what had just happened seriously.
"Antonio," I said, making sure I held his gaze. "I'm going to ask you one question, and I want an honest answer from you."
"Come on, baby. Let's just go back inside, have some fun and slow dance," Antonio pleaded with me. He pouted as he tried to take my hand and lead me back into the ballroom, but I wasn't about to budge. "No. Not until you answer my question." I stood firm on my position.
"I'll give you guys a minute to talk this over." Maya stepped away to give us a little privacy.
"You don't have to leave, Maya," I assured her.
"I'll just be right over there," Maya said, pointing to a nearby bench outside one of the hotel doors.
"Keysha, stop tripping. Priscilla has mental issues. Everyone in the school knows that." Antonio rubbed the palms of his hands up and down my arms. "Are you cold?" he asked.
"No," I said, as I tried to figure out what to do.
"Come on. You know you're my boo." Antonio kissed me on the cheek and for a moment, like a lovesick fool, I allowed myself to forget everything that had just happened.
"You can have him, Keysha! Because he's nothing but a musty-smelling, double-crossing dirty dog!" Priscilla screeched as she exited the hotel.
"Get your crazy butt away from us!" Antonio turned his attention to Priscilla.
"I hate you, Antonio!" Priscilla screamed. "I can't believe that you don't even care about our baby!" All the tears that fell down her twisted face and even the veins that popped up in her neck convinced me she was emotionally wounded and possibly telling the truth about being pregnant.
"You're a liar. I don't believe that's my baby," Antonio shouted.
"It's the truth and you know it." The raw emotion in Priscilla's voice was unmistakable and powerful. She shot Antonio a hateful look before running off.
"I'm glad she's gone," Antonio said. I could tell he was extremely annoyed as he tugged at my arm to get me to come back inside with him.
"Come on," he insisted. When I didn't budge, he turned to me, placed my cheeks in the palms of his hands and kissed me. "You're my girl, Keysha. I've got so much love inside of me that's just waiting for you and only you. Whatever you need or want me to do in order to prove it, I will."
"Antonio," I whispered softly.
"What?" he asked, removing a strand of my hair away from my eye.
"I need the answer to my question," I said.
"If I answer it, will you come back inside?" he asked.
"Yes," I replied, not fully sure if I would go back with him.
"Then what is it?" Antonio stepped back, folded his arms across his chest and waited for the question.
I cut straight to the chase. "Have you had unprotected sex with Priscilla?"
Antonio looked deep into my eyes and with a straight face answered, "No. I've never even had protected sex with Priscilla. She's not my type and never has been. She's been trying to hook up with me for as long as I can remember. She just can't stand the fact that I like you instead of her."
"Really?" I asked, desperately wanting to believe every word that passed through his lips.
"Yes. That's the truth. You can't let every crazy girl who has a thing for me try to tear us apart. Priscilla is a certified nutcase."
"Okay. I believe you." I was torn, but gave in to my heart instead of the logic in my mind. I searched my purse once again for my cell phone. I was about to call the driver back and tell him I'd be staying a little longer after all. Just as I flipped up the phone and was about to press Redial, Priscilla ran toward us with a large crystal bowl filled with fruit punch and slung it at us.
"I hate both of you!" she yelled, then dropped the bowl, which shattered into large pieces. As Priscilla rushed off, I was completely stunned. Most of the fruit punch had landed on me, ruining my hair, my dress and my expensive shoes. Fruit punch dripped from Antonio's face. I think he'd seen Priscilla charging toward us and moved in the nick of time.
"I don't believe she just did that!" Maya said, rushing over to me in a panic. "I'm beating her down just for you the next time I see her." A few adults exiting the hotel asked if I was all right, but all I felt was total humiliation.
"I'm going to go and ask the front desk clerk for a few towels," Antonio announced before rushing off.
"Which way did she go, Maya?" I said, removing my shoes and glancing around the hotel lobby. I was about to chase her down. I didn't even care about drying off first.
"There she goes, right over there!" Maya pointed to Priscilla, who was running down the sidewalk toward the exit ramp of the parking garage.
"Priscilla! Priscilla!" I shouted angrily. She stopped briefly to look back at me. At that very moment a speeding car came zooming out of the garage, narrowly missing her. The driver jammed on the brakes, then made a sharp turn onto King Drive and sped away. "Oh my God, Maya! That was Lori driving like a lunatic." By the time I turned my attention back toward Priscilla, she was gone.
"Damn! Can you believe that, Keysha?" Maya's voice had risen to a high pitch.
"Lori almost ran Priscilla down. That just goes to show you that God don't like ugly," I uttered. I knew my alcohol-addicted ex-boyfriend, Wesley, had to be in the car with her. Lori was another psychopath who went to my school. I'd seen both Wesley and Lori earlier—smelled them, too— they both reeked of alcohol.
"I think you just saved Priscilla's life. If she hadn't stopped to look at you, she would've been a stain on the concrete."
"I saved more than Priscilla's neck just now. I also just gave Wesley and Lori another chance. I hope I don't hear about them on the news tomorrow morning," I said sympathetically.
"Come on. We're not going to stand here so that everyone can stare at us like an accident on the freeway. There's a bathroom right over there. Let's go get you cleaned up." Maya tugged on my arm and rushed me off to the ladies' room. I wiped myself off with some hotel towels that were hanging on the rack. Every now and again I glanced at my reflection in the mirror.
"It's not that bad." Maya tried to lie to me, but it was useless. I was a mess. I looked like a sad version of Cinderella with a big red stain on her dress.
"I'm going home, Maya. I'll call you tomorrow," I said, rushing out of the restroom and back outside.
"Wait. What about Antonio? If you leave now, how will he get home?" Maya asked, chasing after me.
"Screw Antonio. I never want to see him again," I said tearfully as I ducked inside the waiting car. The driver shut the door and I let down the window.
"I feel like I should come with you," Maya said.
"I just don't see how I can go back inside looking like this. I look like a train wreck. I just want to go home."