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Most corporations hand out bonus checks or gift certificates for Christmas, but Wolfe Industries hands out drama. Skyscraper chronicles the week before the annual Christmas party at Wolfe Industries, an African American-owned automobile manufacturer.
Chico, a nineteen-year-old mail-room clerk who still lives with his overprotective mother, is the typical young man when it comes to sex. He doesn't turn it down. So, when Zetta Wolfe, the wife of CEO Tomalis Wolfe, attempts to ...
Most corporations hand out bonus checks or gift certificates for Christmas, but Wolfe Industries hands out drama. Skyscraper chronicles the week before the annual Christmas party at Wolfe Industries, an African American-owned automobile manufacturer.
Chico, a nineteen-year-old mail-room clerk who still lives with his overprotective mother, is the typical young man when it comes to sex. He doesn't turn it down. So, when Zetta Wolfe, the wife of CEO Tomalis Wolfe, attempts to seduce him, he jumps at the opportunity. Meanwhile, Anastasia, a twenty-five-year-old secretary, along with her best friend and coworker, Shakia, spends her nights in the secret penthouse maintained by Wolfe executives for partying and wild sex. She has higher aspirations though — she wants to be the next wife of the CEO. Tomalis has never actually participated in the in-office sexual activities, but Anastasia plans to seduce him by the end of the year.
Diana, a thirty-five-year-old single mother is frustrated with her current position as an executive assistant. Every time she approaches her boss, Bradford, about the possibility of a promotion, he makes her promises that he never keeps. Meanwhile, Edmund, a parking-garage attendant, has the hots for her, but she won't give him the time of day. That is until two of her girlfriends drag her to a holiday cabaret and she discovers another sexier side to this blue-collar man.
The week leading up to the Wolfe Industries annual Christmas party is unforgettable, as the lives of four people who have barely interacted with one another in the past begin to cross paths in the most disturbing ways. By the time the party is over, they will be lucky if the skyscraper is still standing.
Friday, December 15th
"Chico, you better get your behind out that bed, boy!" Momma yelled through my bedroom door because she couldn't open it. I always kept it locked because I grew tired of her invading my room without a courtesy knock first. Besides, I was nineteen and that made me a man. Even though I was residing at her crib, a man is still a man. "Chico, do you hear me?"
"I hear you! Damn!" I yelled back at her.
I glanced at my alarm clock. Shit, it was after seven-thirty and I'd slept through the buzzer again.
"Chico, don't you dare curse me, boy! And you have the audacity to do it right here at Christmastime? Don't forget who brought your behind into this world. I brought you into it and — "
"I'll take you out," I said, finishing the tired ass sentence for her.
I hopped out of bed and yanked my door open. Momma took a step back like she'd seen a ghoul or goblin or something. There wasn't a doubt in my mind that I looked jacked up since I'd hung out the night before with Razor and Miceal. We'd kicked back watching a tape of the Felix Trinidad/Fernando Vargas fight. It was a great ass fight, too. Both of the brothers meant serious business. Talk about having heart; they had heart and then some. That tape is one of those things you can watch over and over again to get inspiration to do the damn thing with your own life. Too many people give up too quickly, but not the kid. I'm going to be somebody major and my word is my bond.
"You look horrendous," Momma told me like I wasn't aware of that already. "Chico, have you been drinking again?"
"What if I have? I'm over eighteen. Besides, like you said, it's Christmastime. It's a time for celebration."
"Last time I checked the drinking age in this country was twenty-one. You have no business breaking the law."
"Momma, it's a crying shame that I'm old enough to go to war and get my head blown off for this country but I can't go into a bar and order a beer. If downing a few with the boys is going to get me locked up, then so be it."
Momma smirked and then laughed. "Chico, you wouldn't last five minutes in jail."
I didn't like her implication that I was weak. I didn't like it at all.
Momma straightened up a couple of figures in a Nativity scene she had displayed on an antique table with three legs in the hall. I'd broken the fourth leg off — it was the first thing I could get my hands on — to chase off a bill collector who didn't understand that broke meant fucking broke. Thank goodness Momma had finally stopped mixing secular and religious decorations together. My friends would tease me mercilessly as a child when they'd visit and see a reindeer in the manger, elves chilling with the three wise men, or a statue of Santa seemingly in deep conversation with a statue of a black Jesus.
"God help me! What am I going to do with you? I didn't raise you to hang out at all hours of the night doing horrid things."
"Momma, drinking a beer or two isn't horrid. It's called being a man and relaxing. Going out and robbing banks and jacking cars is horrid. Do you really expect me to sit around acting like a punk while my boys do their thing? Huh? Do you?"
Momma stormed off down the hall toward the kitchen. "You need to start going back to church. That's what your behind needs to be doing. Reverend Stevens has been asking about you every week. I'm sick of making up excuses for your trifling behavior. I don't like nor appreciate having to form my mouth to speak lies to a man of the cloth."
"Then why don't you just tell him the truth?" I asked. "Tell him that I'm not in church because I have better things to do than put on pretenses like ninety percent of the other people there."
Momma looked like she wanted to slap me silly. Instead, she just turned her back to me.
I rolled my eyes at her back — I may be a man but I'm still not stupid enough to roll my eyes at her to her face — and headed into the bathroom. One glance in the mirror and I almost jumped myself. I looked like shit; literally. My curly, jet black hair was kinky as all get out and I was sporting a big ass pimple on my right cheek. That's the only thing I hate about being light-skinned — other than the fact that dark-skinned brothers have suddenly gone back in style. The slightest breakout and the entire world knows about it. I used to try to burst the pimples when I was in junior high but that was the absolute worst. The blotches on my face would run most of the sisters in the opposite direction when they spotted me and you could see the big ass marks they left behind a mile off.
I was attempting to take a dump in peace on my throne when Momma started banging on the door. She definitely had a door-banging fetish.
"Chico, you only have twenty minutes before you need to leave for work. Don't fool around and be late again. You need to keep that job; for both our sakes."
"Okay, Momma." I prairie-dogged a turd, hoping she would walk away so she couldn't hear me drop the bomb.
"I made you some breakfast. Brown sugar bacon, grits, and scrambled eggs. You have to make your own toast because I've gotta run. The elementary school kids are putting on a Christmas program at the nursing home and I promised your grandma I'd be there before it starts."
"Okay, Momma." I could hear her still standing outside the door. I knew what she was waiting on. "Thanks, Momma."
She finally made some moves and I was able to finish getting rid of the beer and buffalo wing mixture that was ripping up my stomach. I heard the front door slam a few minutes later while I was climbing into the shower. I didn't feel like going to work that day. Then again, I never did. The only thing righteous about working at Wolfe Industries was that Razor and Miceal worked there also. We had all gone down there six months prior and filled out the applications together. We had been there and done that fast-food gig and it was not the way to live. Shit, I got burned by the fry machine three times at Mickey D's and that crap hurt like all hell.
College was never an option for me. My grades weren't good enough for a scholarship, I was too lazy to play sports by the time I'd hit seventh grade, and Momma definitely couldn't afford tuition. I could've taken out a loan but I have some friends that will still be trying to pay their shit off when they're in their fifties. My grades were fucked up for all the wrong reasons. I was one of those kids who didn't feel challenged and so I didn't do the work; even though I'm smart as hell. As typical in the hood, my teachers didn't care enough to encourage me and I was rebellious against my mother. I wished that I could take it all back because I would have probably been in college on a full scholarship somewhere the hell away from D.C.
My daddy ran off with one of our neighbors when I was eight. She was married also but the sex between them must have been off the chain. Daddy walked away from a wife and one kid, but Dena — the whore in question — walked away from a husband and four kids. Her husband moved away in embarrassment. The entire neighborhood knew the deal but Momma said she wasn't leaving her space. She said people were going to talk whether we left or stayed. She was struggling with this gig as a customer service rep for Amtrak. The pay was mediocre and that was not a good thing. The cost of living in D.C. is so high that most people have to end up living with their parents until they're in their thirties or forties. Shit, sometimes even their fifties.
Miceal, Razor, and I were all hired on the spot at Wolfe and started clocking hours as soon as we passed the required drug testing. Apparently, they had a high turnaround of clerks in the mail room so they were anxious to fill the positions. Two hours after we started on a Monday, it was clear why the turnaround was so high. The supervisor of the mail room, Donald Coleman, thought he was the CEO, COO, or HNIC or something. You ever work with someone that stresses over their job so much that you can see the veins popping around in their head half of the day? That's the way Donald rolled. Damn shame, too, because none of the higher-ups even paid attention to him. I had seen him try to do some serious ass-kissing when the real CEO, Tomalis Wolfe, strutted past us in his two-thousand-dollar suits. Mr. Wolfe just kind of waved Donald off every time. I didn't blame him either. Not only did Donald have a fucked-up attitude, he was also in dire need of a bar of soap. No, make that four bars of soap. His ass was just that stank. I mean, damn, soap is about the cheapest thing in a store. Razor, Miceal, and I always talked about his body odor. When he came into the mail room, it was like that movie Backdraft. All the air seemed to be sucked out of the room and all you inhaled is stench.
After my shower, I hauled ass down to the bus stop with a bacon and egg sandwich wrapped in a napkin. When I got there, the K-4 had just taken off. It was two blocks away but the exhaust fumes still kicked into my nostrils.
Damn, I missed it again!
I plopped down on the bench and glanced at my watch. Being on time was no longer a possibility. That meant going through some Donald drama. I dug into my sandwich — cold already because the wind was kicking ass that day — and winced when I bit down on something hard. It turned out to be part of an eggshell. Momma couldn't even scramble an egg right. Shame on it!
When I got to the office building, there was a stream of black company cars lined up out front dropping off executives. Those lucky motherfuckers were living too large. Too bad they didn't send a sedan to pick me up every morning. Too many damn freaks on the bus and besides, I could've clocked mad babes chilling in a ride like that.
I was in the mailroom all of two seconds when I smelt Donald behind me.
"Chico, you're late again."
I turned around and stared him in his beady eyes. "I missed my bus. My bad, Donald."
"Your bad? Your bad? What kind of English is that?"
"My kind of English."
"Humph, must be Thug English because it's surely not the kind I was taught in school. You young fools better learn how to speak properly or you'll never get promoted around here."
I wanted to tell him that some of us actually took the time out in the morning to wash our asses but I just ignored him instead and walked toward my station where a ton of mail was waiting to be sorted. I spotted Miceal on the other side of the room trying to push up on this honie named Keisha. She was straight-up hurt in the face but had body for days. I wanted to warn Miceal that I'd heard she preferred to bump coochies but I decided to let him waste his time trying to get up in some puddy that wanted to be licked and not dicked.
The men's room door swung open and Razor walked out with bloodshot eyes. Alcohol had never been good to him.
"What's up, Chico?" Razor asked, slapping me a high five.
Razor was a caramel motherfucker, about six feet, making him a couple inches taller than me. He was what sisters called a "pretty boy" but he wasn't as pretty as Miceal. At six-six, Miceal was damn near a tree. He was dark-skinned with dimples and had a smile that lit up the room whenever he entered. It could be dark as shit in a club but you could always see his bright ass teeth. Women loved his ass.
"Everything is everything," I responded to Razor. "Can't wait until Christmas vacation because I can sure use a few days away from this bullshit."
Razor glared over at Donald for a second and nodded. "You ain't never lied. What I can't wait for is the Christmas party next week. I hear that joint is off the fucking chain."
I couldn't imagine a corporate party being all that but I had heard the same thing from many people so I was curious my damn self.
"Got a hangover from last night?" Razor asked.
"Hell no, I can handle mine." I slapped him gently across the cheek. "But your eyes are redder than a hoe's tampon. You can't handle your shit like me."
Razor chuckled. "Fool, I can outdrink you any day."
"Yeah, right, whatever."
My nose started tightening up, which meant Donald was within breathing distance. I glanced over my shoulder and he was standing there like he was Donald Trump instead of Donald Coleman, raised in a Southeast, D.C., tenement. He didn't think I knew all of his business, but I did. I made it a point to know everyone's business. This honie, Riwanda, had an aunt that used to date him. I couldn't believe that shit when I heard it. Donald getting some ass? I would've believed in the Tooth Fairy before I believed that, but apparently at least one sister was hard up enough to spread them for him.
Let me explain something before you start thinking I'm ragging on Donald for no reason. Donald was about five-four, weighed in at a hundred pounds soaking wet, and was darker than midnight but had the nerve to stick emerald green contacts into his eyes every morning. That was some sick shit! Then there was the body odor problem — I hate to keep harboring on that shit but I might have ended up getting asthma if he didn't discover his bathtub soon — and the yellow teeth problem.
Even with his less than desirable looks — to put it kindly — I could still deal with Donald but his attitude just ruined everything. He talked down to people, particularly his own people like me, and then expected us to look up to and respect him. Please, that was just not happening. Not then. Not ever.
I started my delivery rounds about ten. Like everything else in and about Wolfe Industries, the Christmas decorations throughout the building were at the top of the game. The secretarial pool was always my first stop. That was where all the honies about my age pecked away on keyboards for hours at a time, which was amazing considering most of them had these long ass, fake fingernails. They spent half of the damn day singing along with one of those fools that sings like he has to beg to get the drawers off a woman. Women love it when men seem hard up about fucking them; even when it's imaginary fucking in songs.
I was shocked when they changed it up on me. Someone had the James Brown Funky Christmas CD pumping through the air. Now that's what I was talking about. That CD was one of my all-time favorites but it was difficult to find because it was an import. At least one sister in the pool had good taste.
I loved the secretarial pool. Anastasia and Shakia — I called them the "Boobalicious Twins" — both had boob jobs a couple months ago. How in the hell they presumed they could take a week off on sick leave and return with double D's when they left with single A's and not have everyone notice the difference was beyond me. Still, I liked it! They wore these low-cut booty dresses all the time, trying to show off their new bazookas. At some other corporations, they probably would've been fired with a quickness but the executives at Wolfe could appreciate admiring tits and ass more than most.
Without question, some of the other women in the secretarial pool — be they black, white, Latino, or Asian — weren't feeling Anastasia and Shakia right about then. Jealousy isn't just a bitch; it's a big bitch! I heard there was a meeting in the ladies room about the titty sisters that turned ugly. Apparently, there were even threats of bodily harm. I didn't know any of that to be fact but, generally, my sources were straight on the money.
Now I could understand why some of the women were jealous. If I were female, I would've been hating on Shakia and Anastasia, too. Shakia was a petite sister. She was about five feet even with long braids that she switched the colors up in from time to time, skin the color of dark fudge, and a gorgeous smile. She had the tiniest waistline I had ever seen on a grown ass woman, which made her ass look huge. I had yet to meet a brother who could resist a big butt and a smile.
Anastasia was smoking. There was no other word to describe her. If she wasn't so ghetto, she might have been able to be a movie star. She could have definitely been a video whore. My eyes would have been glued to the screen; that's for damn sure. She was tall, around five-nine, honey brown with these dark, sexy eyes and a small gap in between her two front teeth. There's always been something sexy about women with gaps to me. Probably because I used to date
this sister named Monie and her gap used to turn me on
big time. I would have tried to push up on Anastasia but I'd had my share of ghetto girls and I was looking to expand my horizons.
I dropped off the mail in the secretarial pool and made my way over to the executive suites. The sisters in the pool would at least speak to you and even flirt a little from time to time. However, the executive assistants — as they called themselves — thought they were too damn good to even give you the time of day. In their mode of thinking, typing up the shit of one person instead of the shit of a bunch of people made them something special. Not the case, sisters, not even the fucking case.
The only one that was ever polite enough to speak to me was Diana. Now she was one hot babe. About five-eight, somewhere around one-forty, with more junk in her trunk than a station wagon headed to Disney World with a family of five inside, she was all that and then some. What I was really feeling was her intelligence. She was obviously smart and that made my dick hard.
Most of the other men in the building viewed Diana as a stuck-up floozy like the rest of the executive assistants. I kept telling them that Diana was mad cool with me. They always said that was only because she viewed me as a child and didn't acknowledge me as a threat or potential stalker. I say all of that was pure bullshit and Diana just saw me as the cool, laid-back brother that I was.
"Good morning, Diana," I said to her, having lingered a moment for her to finish up a phone call.
"Good morning, Chico. You all ready for Christmas?"
"As ready as I'll ever be."
She looked good as shit that morning. I could tell she'd just had her auburn hair permed. It matched her sienna skin and hazel eyes perfectly.
"I like your hair," I told her. "It's very becoming."
She ran her finely manicured fingers through it. "Thanks, Chico. I went to the salon this morning before I came in."
"Wow, hair salons open that early?" I asked in surprise.
"Chico, if a sister can make money doing some hair and nails, she'll work all night to make ends meet."
We both laughed.
"Well, whoever did it worked magic," I said. "Not that you need a hairstyle to make you beautiful. You've got it going on every day of the year."
Diana blushed. I liked that. She wasn't stuck up like the rest of the executive assistant bitches. I was allowed a bird's eye view of Diana's ass — that magnificent ass — when she got up from her desk. She was wearing a heather gray business suit with off-black stockings and black pumps. I could just imagine the heels of those pumps leaving scratches on my back while I buried my di —
"Chico, are you okay?"
She caught me daydreaming again. Damn!
"I'm fine, Diana. I better get going." I didn't want to leave but I was afraid Diana would spot the hard-on that had sprung up in my pants. Like I said, she always made my dick hard. "I still have a lot of mail to deliver so I'll catch you later."
She sat back down at her desk on that ass — that magnificent ass. "Okay, Chico. I'll see you tomorrow."
I hauled my behind out of there so fast that I catapulted right into Mrs. Wolfe. I didn't even see her before my cart caught her in a rib and left her doubled over in pain. I was scared shitless. Being fired was a given after hurting the wife of Tomalis Wolfe. I was just hoping she didn't press charges and have me carted off in handcuffs.
Having no clue what to do, I grabbed one of her elbows. "I'm so sorry, Mrs. Wolfe. It was an accident."
She giggled. I was stunned but happy as hell.
"I'm perfectly fine," she said, standing back up straight. "I'm sure it wasn't intentional."
I'd seen Zetta Wolfe from afar many times, but never close up. She was old enough to be my mother, but my mother doesn't make me almost cream in my pants when she looks at me. That's the effect Zetta had on me when she gazed into my eyes with her black, hypnotic ones. She had the smoothest chocolate skin and no wrinkles for a woman her age. She was definitely hitting somebody's gym on the regular because every inch of her five-seven frame was in shape. She was soft and muscular in all the right places.
She had on this really tight dress that day — really, really tight. I'll never forget it. It was cherry red with pearl buttons down the front. She was showing serious cleavage. She was not huge like Anastasia and Shakia. Zetta had the perfect mouthful. She had her hair pulled back in a bun all the time. It was dark brown with just the slightest hint of gray around the temple.
"What's your name?" Zetta asked me, staring down at my crotch. I'd completely forgotten about the Diana-induced hard-on.
Even in total embarrassment, I wasn't about to punk out and attempt to cover myself up. "My name's Chico. I work in the mail room."
Zetta fingered my cart. "I kind of assumed that. How long have you been working here?"
"About six months."
"That's funny." She played with the collar of my shirt. "I've never seen you before."
I shifted my weight from one leg to the other, willing my dick to lie down and play dead. It refused to cooperate. It was true that I'd never run into Zetta before but pictures of her and her husband were hanging throughout the building; including a huge portrait of them behind the guard's desk in the entry foyer.
"Well, Mrs. Wolfe, there are hundreds of people that work in this building. I doubt you've met them all."
"But you're so handsome." She pinched my cheeck; the one with the big ass pimple. She was fucking with my emotions — and my "dickmotions" — big time. "What time do you get off?"
"I said, what time do you get off?"
Was she for real?
"I get off at five, like just about everyone else," I responded, curious to see where she was going with it.
She licked her lips and winked. "At five exactly, there'll be a white limousine out front. Get in it."
"A white limousine out front?" I repeated hesitantly.
"That's what I said."
A few men from the accounting department brushed past us in the hallway, complimenting her on her outfit, trying to earn brownie points with the big man. That allowed me a couple of minutes to ponder over things. On one hand, there was me. Nineteen-going-on-twenty-year-old Chico, son of an overprotective religious mother, raised to know the difference between right and wrong, but willing to suck the ovaries out the woman standing in front of me if she'd let me. On the other hand, there was Zetta Wolfe, old enough to have birthed me, wife of a man that could afford to hire a hit man to take me out with a hollow point bullet, fine as hell, and telling me to get into a limousine after work so she could obviously fuck me. I mean, it wasn't like we had anything else to discuss, so fucking was a no-brainer. She wanted my dick; pure and simple.
"So," she said to me after the men had walked out of earshot. "Should I expect to see you at five o'clock or not?"
"Yea-yea-yeah, you'll see me," I stuttered.
"Wonderful. I'll see you then."
She glanced up and down the hall in both directions and then looked into Diana's office. It was empty. Diana must've been in the inner office with her boss, Bradford Haynes. When Zetta realized the coast was clear, she grabbed my dick like a vise.
"Um, nice size. I think I'm going to enjoy this."
She kissed me on my pimple-infested cheek and then freed my dick.
"I think I'm going to enjoy it also," I replied, getting bold enough to reach out and rub one of her nipples through her dress.
She didn't say another word. Just walked off leaving me there with a big ass grin on my face.
The remainder of my workday couldn't pass fast enough for me. I was glancing at my watch every thirty seconds. I cornered Razor and Miceal outside the loading dock while they were sharing a cigarette. I told them what had happened, about Zetta feeling me up and telling me to meet her later.
"Man, you're tripping," Miceal said, before letting out this horrendous chuckle. "Ain't no way a woman the likes of her is going to give up the drawers to a sucker like you."
Razor chimed in. "Hold up now, Miceal. Why would Chico make some shit like that up?"
Miceal shrugged. "Who knows? Doing horse, maybe."
"I don't do drugs!" I had to resist the urge to pop Miceal in his pretty ass mouth. "I'm telling you that I'm meeting her out front at five. If you don't believe me, walk out with me and watch me get into her whip."
They eyed each other and then all eyes were back on me. They guffawed.
"Damn, Zetta Wolfe!" Miceal exclaimed. "That's almost up there with fucking Toni Braxton or Janet Jackson or some shit like that!"
"Yeah, but they're not on Geritol," Razor chided.
"Fine as Zetta is, I doubt she's senile yet," Miceal retorted. "Hell, I wish she'd come on to me. Chico, you might have to let me make deliveries for you from now on."
"No way, man." I grinned. "There's no way Chico's coming off boob and ass patrol. I get to see the Boobalicious Twins and Diana every day and now this added bonus feature. Hell no, Chico is the man and he's not going anywhere."
The three of us tore out of the building like it was on fire at five on the dot. There was this old dude standing out front ringing a bell to collect monetary donations for the Salvation Army. Miceal almost knocked him flat on the ass, trying not to miss a beat of the action. It was mayhem as always. People were scrambling to get the hell away from there. I quickly scanned the street but didn't see a white limousine, which should've been easy to spot amongst the sea of black sedans and yellow cabs.
Miceal poked me in the arm and went to teasing. "Uh-huh, she's a no-show."
Razor couldn't help but to add insult to injury. "Damn, Chico, she played you."
Pissed and disappointed; that was me. Fucking an older woman had long been one of my biggest fantasies — right behind the threesome — and now it appeared the shit wasn't going to happen.
Razor shoved his hands in his pockets, looking as let down as me. "You might as well just walk to the bus stop with us. The only pussy you're getting today will be between the pages of one of those magazines you're always jacking off with. What's it called? Black Tail?"
Miceal and Razor both fell out laughing. I refused to give up so easily. Besides, I wanted to tell them that I didn't use Black Tail to jack off; I used Black Booty. Zetta had to show. She just had to.
While the two of them continued trying to humiliate me with their comments, I clamped my eyes shut and said a silent prayer. Amazingly, there was a white stretch limo right in front of me when I opened them. It had just pulled up.
Miceal and Razor stopped laughing and stood there with their mouths hanging open as the uniformed driver got out, walked around the car, and opened the back door.
"Time to go to work," I said to them over my shoulder. "Chico has to go lay down some pipe." I waved them off. "You little ones have fun on the bus ride home."
Razor snarled at me and Miceal eyed me with admiration. Yes, I was about to get busy with a rich freak and they were taking their asses home to play video games.
I speed-walked over to the limo and climbed inside. It suddenly hit me that it was the busiest time of the day and I was out in the wide open where anyone could bust me; namely Tomalis Wolfe or one of his cronies. Zetta had a lot of nerve doing that. She should've told me to meet her around the corner.
Speaking of corners, we didn't even make it to the first corner before she was all over me. There was a tinted window so the driver couldn't see us, but I was still ill at ease.
I came up for air, after tonguing the living daylights out of her, and asked, "Are you sure about this, Mrs. Wolfe?"
"Chico, you can call me Zetta now. After all, I'm about to fuck you."
I guess she was sure!
She had my dick out of my pants before I could blink twice and was going down on me. I tried to grab hold of something. I settled on her hair with my left hand and the door handle with my right. I considered the blow jobs I'd had before to be great but I was wrong. The other sisters were mere amateurs.
One thing was crystal clear. I was in for the time of my life. I liked that.
I wouldn't call what Shakia and I did whoring exactly because most whores don't get paid like we did. Shakia and I were Entertainment Consultants. All whores get are slaps on the ass, an occasional dinner at a cheap restaurant, and sometimes a broken heart if they are stupid enough to get feelings for the suckers. That's right, I said suckers. That's what most of the men around my way were. They only cared about their cars and jewelry. The only exceptions were street pharmacists; they cared about their dope.
I was not about to end up like my mother, still sitting around the projects when I was forty-five without a pot to piss in or a man to curl up to at night. That's why I didn't hesitate when Bradford Haynes asked me if I might be interested in making a little extra spending money. I'll never forget the conversation.
I was standing by the water cooler getting my gossip on and speculating about which heifer was the probable culprit when it came to the disappearing air freshener from the ladies room. I made it a point to bring in the nice stuff. Not the fifty-nine-cents-make-you-want-to-breathe-through-
your-mouth-because-it-smells-too-damn-strong stuff, but the good stuff. Someone was taking it the second I left it in there and I was determined to find out who.
I couldn't stand it when I went in there to brush my teeth after lunch or check my fine ass out in the mirror and it smelled funky, so I brought it in. A few times it was so foul I would've sworn that Donald bastard from the mail room had been in there; if I hadn't known better. Somebody needed to discover the meaning of Summer's Eve. If not that, then that generic Sweet Love they sell at all the dollar stores.
Anyway, I was standing there with Shakia and a couple others when Bradford walked over and tapped me on the shoulder.
"Good afternoon, Anastasia."
"Sup, Bradford?" I answered back.
Even though he was an executive, I knew I could keep it real with him. I'd run into him a few times at Uranus, a strip joint where I used to wait tables. We'd only said hello to each other but he knew I knew the deal with his mere presence. Men that frequented the place had a fetish for looking at women's you know what, which was obvious from the name of the club. I still hung out in there from time to time. I had a lot of friends there and that was the only place I could catch up to them since the majority of them slept all day.
"You have a minute?" Bradford asked.
"Sure." I glanced at Shakia. She was giving me the eye, letting me know she'd be all up in my business later. "I'll be back, ladies."
I strutted off with Bradford, inhaling his expensive cologne and checking out his gold Rolex. While Bradford wasn't the finest thing in the world, he was attractive enough. Early forties, bald head, a little under six feet, mocha skin, and light brown eyes. I couldn't imagine why he was leading me into his office but curiosity can be a motherfucker.
His assistant, Diana, was at her desk. She eyed me with disdain as we walked by. She was such a bitch. Always looking down on me and the rest of the sisters in the secretarial pool like she was a queen or some shit. I wondered if Bradford was about to kick her ass to the curb and select me as a replacement. After all, I typed more than a hundred words a minute plus I was fine. I knew better though. I'd heard that Human Resources required at least an undergraduate degree for that position and I only had my GED. I also had my DhP; the opposite of a PhD. My Dick Healing Pussy did the job every time.
Bradford shut the door behind us and pointed toward a fine Italian leather sofa against his left wall. I sat down and he did the same, getting so close to me that I could see his tonsils when he spoke.
"Anastasia, you're looking awfully lovely today."
I blushed. Rich men telling me that I look good could never bruise my ego.
"Why, thank you, Bradford."
"My pleasure. Can I get you a drink or something?"
"No, thanks." I thought about taking that back for a second; even though I wasn't thirsty. I imagined him calling Diana in and ordering her to fetch me a cup of coffee. That would've made my day, but I wanted to know what was up with him so I said, "Why'd you ask me in here?"
He cleared his throat and loosened his tie. "I'll be frank. Some associates and I have this penthouse located here in the city where we often hang out."
"Sounds like a winner. You want me to hang out with you?" I asked jokingly.
"Actually, that's exactly what I'd like you to do."
"Word?" I was getting excited. My first high society party. "Can I invite some friends?"
"Only if they're down with the program."
"You see, Anastasia, I'm talking about special parties."
Bradford started stroking my hand and eyeing me seductively. That's when I knew the lowdown.
"So you want me to fuck somebody?"
He started laughing. "That's one way of putting it."
"What's another way? Fucking is fucking, right?"
"Yes, that it is."
I would be lying if I said I had never thought about getting with men that didn't mind paying for playing. After all, I did work at Uranus. I had never gone for it because the men down at the club were mostly winos and shit with bad hygiene or breath. Rich executives with fat bank accounts were another story.
"I assume there would be something in this for me."
He grinned, realizing I was considering jumping on his offer.
"Yes, there's a lot in it for you. Money. Nice clothing. A possible promotion."
"Tell me more about this money and nice clothing."
That was how it all started. I went to the penthouse alone the first time to scope things out. After being with Bradford and two other men in one night, I knew I needed back-up pussy to cover for me. That's when I pulled Shakia into the mix. I knew she would be down because she appreciated the finer things in life just like I did. The only problem was that we would spend the money as fast as we pulled it in, which was why we still trudged into work every day. At least we had our new bomb ass titties to show for it.
I had no intentions of being there forever. I had my sights set on the big catch: Tomalis Wolfe. I was just waiting for the space and opportunity to show him my skills. Tomalis was the finest older man that I had ever seen. In his early fifties, he had the body of a twenty-five-year-old. Every bit of six feet, he had a bald head and sported a goatee, which both complemented his almond-colored skin. His smile was perfect. Probably cost a mint, but it served him well. He always dressed nice and he always smelled so damn good. Personally, I think Bradford only went bald trying to emulate Tomalis. He could never be him though. Not in a million years.
Tomalis stopped by the penthouse every once in a blue moon, but never had sex with us. He just sat at the bar off the kitchen, drowned himself in Scotch, and left. Whenever I saw him in the hallways at work, he smiled and sometimes said hello. But fuck all that. I wanted the dick and I was going to get the dick, the money, and the name. Being a second wife was better in my book. You didn't have to be around when the man was struggling to make it. The second wife generally stepped in once the man had "arrived" and that was exactly what I planned to do. The annual Christmas party was coming up in a few days and I had a holly jolly treat for Tomalis Wolfe. One he would never, ever forget.
It all started with a thousand dollars. I wanted that thousand more than I wanted my next breath and it all stemmed from envy. My Uncle Clifford was a cool ass cat: cool house, cool women, and most importantly, cool cars. When he offered to sell me his 1950 cherry red Corvette for a thousand dollars, way below the blue book value, I knew I had to have it no matter what. The only problem was that my parents held true to form and refused to give me a dime. To this day, I believe it was never about the money for Uncle Clifford. He just didn't want to give me the car outright because he wanted to make me a man.
It was 1965 and I was fifteen years old. The car was the same age as me. I made a promise to myself that I would come up with the thousand and purchase the car on my sixteenth birthday. I took every odd job I could find: mowing lawns, cleaning pools, walking dogs. Eventually I wandered into Pop's Electronics and begged Pop — real name Edgar Lee — to let me be his apprentice. Mind you, I knew less about electronics than I knew about ballet dancing but the money was good, so I learned how to fix every single appliance, large or small, that people lugged into the shop.
After a while, my interest turned to more than money and I developed a love of the craft. I started keeping junk parts from various items and began to build things. Invent things. I ended up purchasing my dream car from Uncle Clifford. Even got personalized plates. Thank goodness Tomalis is only seven letters because that was the limit.
Even though I could pull up to the front of my high school at the end of the day and have beautiful girls — including the entire varsity cheerleading squad — vying to get a ride home, all of that became insignificant once I realized how much money I stood to make if I developed something no one else ever had. What I stood to gain if I was the first and the first I was. The first African American man to design and manufacture a line of luxury automobiles. Wolfe Auto is my brain child. I took the love I had of automobiles and the love I had for experimenting with parts all the way to the bank. The cheapest car we make is the GS2 model and it retails at 60K. I accomplished my dream without the benefit of a college education. Just a lot of hard work and a few financially set people that believed in my potential.
I had watched my father work himself to death helping someone else realize their dream and watched my mother die shortly after from the effects of the mental and physical abuse inflicted on her by him. He would bring his stress home and take it all out on her. I told myself that if I was going to work myself to death, it would be for my own corporation and not someone else's.
My parents were gone. My Uncle Clifford was gone. My only sibling, my sister Tamala, was killed in a plane crash when she was thirty-seven. The only things I had left of my childhood were my Corvette — which I still drove on occasion — and Barron, my best friend. Making all the money that I did, it was hard to trust people unless they had been there all along. Barron and I had been to hell and back together and I knew his love for me was as genuine as my love for him.
Like I said, it all started with a thousand dollars. That seemed like a ton of money to me back then. Now that I netted a hundred thousand dollars a week, I had what the deceased rapper used to talk about: mo money and mo problems. We lived on twenty-three acres on the water in Fort Washington, Maryland. Our twelve-thousand-square-foot home had nine bedrooms, ten bathrooms, indoor and outdoor pools, a cabana house, tennis and basketball courts, a home gym with a Jacuzzi and sauna, and a theater room that accommodated twenty. Rarely did I get to kick back and enjoy the amenities. I generally lived in five rooms: the family room, kitchen, master bedroom, office, and the master bathroom. I did get in my weekly swim every Saturday morning. That was the one luxury I demanded. It relieved a great amount of stress.
I had a twenty-three-year-old daughter that was doing great in medical school grade-wise, but emotionally, she was a basket case. Since Heather lived in Chicago, she didn't think I knew about her little recreational drug habit. That was where she underestimated me, where they all underestimated me. I was well aware of the comings and goings of my family.
That included my seventeen-year-old son, Jonah, who needed to stop having unprotected sex before he had fifteen children before he turned twenty-five. He already had two definites and one possible. Sure, I'd had the proverbial bird and bees chat with Jonah — at least a million times — but you could talk until you were blue in the face and Jonah still wouldn't hear you. Money and the wicked ways of his mother had destroyed Jonah's sense of principle. He thought that money, power, and respect were the only three things he needed to leave his mark on the world. I could bequeath him the first two when I died, but the third he would never have. How can others respect you when you don't respect yourself?
Speaking of respect — or the lack thereof — my wife Zetta regarded me as more of a fool than everyone else. She was the real fool if she thought I didn't know about her numerous affairs. I never confronted her about them because I didn't care. As long as one of her young studs was servicing her, I didn't have to be bothered with her overactive sex drive. If I could have just done something about her overactive mouth, life would have been a dream.
"Long day, Tomalis?" Zetta asked snidely as she whisked into the family room of our mansion. She collapsed into the armchair directly across from my favorite recliner where I was seated.
I was trying to enjoy my daily Wall Street Journal in peace and had been praying that Zetta would pull an all-nighter someplace else, anywhere else but home.
"Why do you ask that?" I finally replied after she'd taken about three heavy sighs, letting me know that she wasn't budging until I acknowledged her presence.
"Well, you look like shit and you're sitting there with an entire bottle of Scotch beside you."
"My day went okay. Longer than some. Shorter than some. How about yours?"
"I'm exhausted. Julia and I went to Arundell Mills this afternoon to do some last-minute Christmas shopping. I picked you up some wonderful neckties."
I wondered when Zetta had possibly had time to shop, being that she had stopped by my office earlier. Thank goodness I was in a board meeting because I didn't want to be bothered. It was bad enough that I would have to see her at home. Then there was her little sexcapade with her latest victim from the mail room. Zetta didn't think I knew her whereabouts but I always did. She forgot that her chauffeur Phil was on my damn payroll; not hers. He had phoned me while she was inside her little apartment on Wisconsin Avenue. Something else she didn't think I knew about. She would often threaten Phil with being fired if he told her business, but Phil knew which side his toast was buttered on. Phil and Barron were about the only two men on the planet Zetta could never seduce; they both knew they were risking having their dicks fall off if they boned her. Zetta didn't realize the amount of ammunition I had against her, but she would when the time was right. There was just one last missing piece to the puzzle. Besides, as long as she was fuck-
ing someone else, I didn't have to worry about her trying to fuck me.
I was sitting there wondering if one of the ties she had bought me could be used as a strangulation device when Zetta continued to get on my nerves.
"By the way, that fool called here earlier."
"You mean Barron?"
"How many fools do you know?"
"Barron isn't a fool."
"Humph, that's debatable. Case in point. You have an office, a cell phone, a pager, parachutes falling from the sky with messages on them, and he calls here: the one place you're least likely to be on a weekday morning. What kind of sense does that make?"
So Zetta wanted to get nasty. Two could play that.
"Just so you know, Zetta, I've invited Barron to spend the holidays. It'll be just like old times."
For a moment, you could have heard a piece of toilet tissue falling in the toilet three flights up if you had listened hard enough. Zetta took about three deep breaths and asked, "Here?"
"No, I invited him over someone else's house for the holidays," I said defiantly.
"You don't have to be so nasty, Tomalis."
"You don't have to be..."
I was going to tell her that she didn't have to be such a skank ass hoe, but it wasn't even worth the aggravation. Besides, I wasn't ready to spill all the beans and show my trump card just yet.
"Tomalis, I wish you'd be more considerate and discuss these things with me beforehand. Momma's flying in from France and you know she can't stand Barron."
Zetta's mother, Zora Mason, was the biggest bitch in the world. I gave her a quarter of a million a year just so she would travel the majority of the time and leave me the hell alone. She came from the ghetto and to the ghetto both she and her daughter would return before I was through with them. She could not stand Barron, but that was a personal problem. I could not stand her. Barron was welcome into my home before she was any damn day.
"That's unfortunate," I said with disdain. "However, as long as I can stand Barron, he can come and go as he pleases."
"But Momma's family. She's blood."
"Your blood." I downed my glass of Scotch in one gulp and poured myself another one. "Barron's family to me. He's all the family I have left. If Barron wants to move in here, he can. If he wants a job at Wolfe, he can be the vice president. Barron's welcome to anything and everything I have. I'd advise you to remember that."
"Don't you dare talk down to me like I'm one of your subordinates, Tomalis. I won't allow it."
"Allow?" I chuckled. "Zetta, I think you're the one who needs a drink. Why don't you grab a glass and share this bottle of Scotch with me?"
"I never drink before dinner, you know that."
No, you only suck other men's dicks before dinner, I thought to myself.
The phone started ringing and neither one of us moved a muscle to get it. Zetta was too busy rolling her eyes at me and I was too busy formulating my escape plan for the night. There was no way I was staying there with her and had hoped she'd stay out with her young stud until the wee hours of the morning. He probably had to get home to Momma or something. I couldn't help but laugh at the thought.
Our housekeeper, Marguerite, entered the room. "Mr. Wolfe, Heather is on line three."
"Thanks, Marguerite," I said. Marguerite had been with us for more than a decade and was the only person in the house I felt had my best interests in mind at all times.
Before I could make it out of my chair and over to the phone, Zetta had pounced onto it.
"Heather! Darling!" Zetta glared at me like she would have wrestled me down to the ground to get the phone if she'd had to. "How are things in Chicago?" She paused and rolled her eyes. Obviously Heather wasn't elated that she'd picked up. "I realize you called to speak to your father, but..."
I could hear Heather's voice from three feet away. She must have been laying into Zetta something fierce. My daughter and wife didn't get along. Mostly because Heather had long been aware that her mother was a whore. Both of my kids recognized that fact. Jonah pulled me aside when he was ten and asked if he was really my biological son. I assured him that he was, but to this day, I honestly don't know.
"Fine, I'll give the phone to your father but it would be nice if you would call here and ask for me every once in awhile."
Zetta handed me the phone; more like tossed it at me. I told Heather to give me a moment, put her on hold, and retreated into my study so I could talk to her in peace.
"So what did Heather say?" Zetta asked me after I reluctantly joined her at the dinner table half an hour later.
"About anything. About everything. The two of you were on the phone for quite some time."
"Heather's fine, Zetta. She just needed to discuss something personal."
"She needs money, doesn't she?"
That was a stupid ass question in the first place considering that Heather had a twenty-five-thousand-dollar-monthly trust fund. It didn't surprise me, though. Zetta was infamous for asking stupid questions.
"No, she doesn't need money."
"Is Heather coming home for Christmas?"
Not if she has a lick of sense, I thought to myself.
"She's not sure yet. She's dating a bit seriously right now and she's thinking about going home to Arkansas with the young man. Homer, I believe."
"Homer from Arkansas? You can't be serious." Zetta tossed her fork on her plate of beef Wellington, egg noodles, and asparagus and pushed it away. "My appetite is ruined. He sounds like trailer park trash. Please tell me he's at least in medical school with her."
That did it. I'd had enough of Zetta's attitude for one day. Jonah wasn't at the table so I assumed he was out utilizing his sex organ. Like mother, like son.
I took the napkin off my lap and placed it back on the table. The beef Wellington looked great, but Zetta had managed to spoil my damn appetite as well.
I stood up. "I'll be back."
"Tomalis, where do you think you're going?" Zetta jumped up from the table like she was contemplating blocking the door.
"I'm going out."
"Zetta, I'm fifty years old and I'll do as I damn please."
Zetta looked like she had been slapped. She did not realize how close she was to the real thing. I went into the foyer, opened the key compartment hidden in the wood panel underneath the staircase, and got the keys to my baby: my Corvette.
Another late night. I was sick to death of working overtime. Bradford Haynes had no concept of family life. He had no wife. He had no kids. I had a set of rambunctious, demanding twin boys: Darren and Dean. They had just turned thirteen in November and while I spoiled them rotten because it was such a landmark, I still wanted to give them an extra special Christmas. That was the least I could do, considering their daddy had pulled a disappearing act shortly after I had gone through the labor from hell to bring them into this world. Dean was breeched and Darren had the umbilical cord tied around his neck so there was no question that they were cutting me open to get them out. Every time I looked at them, I appreciated the C-section because they both had perfectly shaped heads, unlike some kids that have to struggle to get down the birth canal.
Stephen, the sorry ass babies' daddy in question, and I were undergrads together at the University of Maryland. I saw his eyes before I saw anything else. They were simply divine; as black as pure diamonds and just as mesmerizing. From the second I laid eyes on him in the student union, I knew we would end up making love. At least, that was what I called it and Stephen called it that for two years until I turned up pregnant three months before our graduation. Then what we had been doing all that time suddenly switched to "knocking boots" and "slapping skins." Stephen started ignoring me and treated me like shit. I would call and he would hang up. I would approach him on campus and he would curse me out in front of his frat brothers. I would go over to his dormitory and he would toss water balloons from his window so they would splatter all over me. Stephen went from what I viewed as a mature, driven gentleman to an immature, complete asshole.
I won't even attempt to sugarcoat the facts. I considered all options including adoption and abortion but, in the end, I couldn't live with the repercussions of either. Thus, I swallowed my pride and drove home to Philadelphia to tell my parents about my disappointing behavior face-to-face. I just knew they would be heartbroken but, surprisingly, they were extremely loving and helpful. My mother wept at first but later convinced me they were tears of joy and not dismay. She had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer and becoming a grandmother before He called her home was a blessing in her eyes. My father told me how proud he was of me for being the first member of the Cannon family to get a college education. Since my graduation was already a done deal, he didn't stress over it.
I promised both of them, right there on the spot, that I would do right by my child and wouldn't allow motherhood to negatively affect my career goals. That much was true. Even after I got the results of the sonogram revealing twins, my determination never failed. If anything, I became even more career driven. My only regret was that I wouldn't be able to attend graduate school as I had planned.
Mommy lived long enough to see my sons celebrate their third birthday and then she succumbed to the excruciating pain. I missed her terribly but I realized that she was in a better place. I often talked to her late at night when the boys were sleeping and I was lying in bed alone.
Daddy moved to South Carolina, the state of his birth, to spend his golden years fly-fishing. The twins and I visited him four times a year but he had made plans to spend Christmas in the Bahamas with his new soul mate. Personally, I did have a problem with it, but Pearl seemed like a sincere woman and who was I to begrudge my father his happiness. It was bad enough that I didn't have any of my own. I take that back. My boys made me happy but it still would have been nice to have a warm body to curl up next to from time to time.
Most of the men at Wolfe considered me to be a bitch. The bitch, in fact. That was because I got sick and tired of men trying to draw me into their sex games. Professionalism was extremely important to me. Whenever I attempted to explain that to Bradford — who definitely wanted to jump my bones — he ended up piling more and more paperwork into my in-box. Some of the things I didn't even know how to do and most of them weren't in my job description.
Bradford thought that if he pestered me enough, I would either have sex with him or quit. I didn't plan to do either. For the past four months, I had been secretly recording conversations between Bradford and me. I was seriously contemplating bringing him up on harassment charges. I hated to use the term because it was so unladylike but Bradford didn't realize who he was fucking with. He was about to find out, though.
Edmund was another one. He worked in the parking garage and never missed out on the opportunity to comment about my looks. While I could appreciate compliments just as much as the next woman, hearing the same thing from the same man on a daily basis became a source of major irritation. Don't get me wrong. Edmund was quite handsome but after struggling to make ends meet the way I had and relying on my education to get me that far, I could not afford to mess things up by dating below the standards I had set for myself.
A man that directed people where to park and kept an eye on vehicles — mostly Wolfe vehicles since we got a major discount — was not the type of man I wanted my sons to have as a role model. They needed a man of substance to spend quality time with. A man who would take them to the real theater instead of these mindless and trifling films that were hitting movie theaters lately. How much martial arts and gun violence did they need to display across the screens to realize that violence begets violence and sexual promiscuity does the same? We were living in an age when more rappers were movie stars than professionally trained actors. That in itself spoke volumes.
I'm not trying to come off as a virgin or anything with the promiscuity comment; even if I was a recycled one. That's a term I made up. A recycled virgin is a woman that realizes that sex isn't worth the drama or the trauma; especially in such a disease-ridden age, unless a man is about more than just getting his rocks off. If, and this is a big if, I met a man that could truly spark my interest and he already had his career and future on the right track, I could envision myself taking the risk to see what could develop. Stephen had truly hurt me and while I realized that I shouldn't spend the rest of my life trying to figure out what I had done wrong and dreading the prospect of opening my heart to someone else, that was easier said than done. I used to be offended by those shirts and key chains that said "I wasn't born a bitch! Men like you made me this way!" Now I was truly digging the statement and owned two of each.
I was so startled by Edmund's stealth tactics that I dropped my purse and the contents tumbled to the asphalt of the parking garage.
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to surprise you," he said, bending down to pick up the items.
"That's okay, Edmund. I've got it." I gently pushed him out the way so I could collect the remaining items. While I was not feeling Edmund in a romantic sense, I definitely didn't want him to see the tampon and feminine spray I kept in my purse in case Aunt Flo paid a surprise visit while I was out and about. I had one of those strange cycles; her ass showed up whenever. Sometimes, even twice a month.
"You look great, Diana." Edmund licked his lips and eyed my cleavage; even though it was completely covered.
I suppressed a laugh because Edmund reminded me so much of Chico, this little fellow from the mail room that was always complimenting me and lingering around my office a little longer than necessary when he dropped off Bradford's mail. Chico had it bad for me but hopefully he knew better than to ever make a serious play. Edmund had no qualms about it.
"How old did you say you were again?" Edmund asked me after I'd recovered everything and unlocked my car door.
I giggled. "I've never told you how old I am."
"Okay, then how old are you?"
"Don't you know it's impolite to ask a lady her age?"
"Hmm, but if I don't ask, how will I find out?"
He did have a valid point.
"I'm thirty-five, Edmund, and you?"
"Aw, you're just a baby," I stated teasingly.
"Twenty-nine isn't a baby." I could tell by the expression on his face that he was offended or embarrassed; possibly both. "I'll be thirty on February twelfth and, besides, I'm very mature for my age."
I wondered how many times I had heard that same tired line since I had turned thirty. As soon as I hit the magic
three-o, the only men attracted to me were three or more years younger and that was still the case. The only exception was Bradford and that was a joke.
"February twelfth. Lincoln's birthday."
"My birthday. I'm still alive and kicking so it's my birthday."
Another valid point.
"Well, in case I don't get around to it when the time comes, happy birthday."
"Are you going to the Christmas party, Diana?"
"The one here?"
"Yes, the corporate one next Friday."
"Of course; I always go. It's the only opportunity to get to break bread and hold conversations with the crème de la crème who strut past me like I don't exist the other three hundred sixty-four days a year."
I laughed. He didn't.
"Kind of the way you strut past me like I don't exist, huh?"
What nerve! I couldn't believe Edmund went there with me.
"Edmund, I always talk to you whenever you speak. I can't understand you insulting me that way."
"Sure, you speak, but you don't feel I'm good enough for you. Just because I don't come to work in Brooks Brothers suits doesn't mean that I'm any less of a man."
I took a good look at Edmund, standing there with his hands pressed inside the pockets of his polyester uniform, and felt guilty for some reason.
"Edmund, it has nothing to do with you being good enough for me."
"Then what does it have to do with? I'm extremely attracted to you, Diana, and I know you're single."
"How do you know that?"
He shrugged. "Okay, maybe I don't know it for a fact but I get that impression."
I really didn't want to hurt his feelings but saw no other options. "It sounds like you're making another assumption as well; that the attraction you feel for me is mutual."
I sighed and glanced at my watch. It was almost nine and I needed to get home before the twins went to bed. I hated the fact that they came home to an empty house every day; at least they had each other. The last thing I wanted was a set of latchkey kids but I had no choice but to work. Maybe one day I would get the type of job — or better yet start my own business — that would allow me to be there when they got home so I could cook a healthy meal, help them with homework, and spend more quality time. Plus, they were at such an impressionable age where their hormones were jumping off and I dreaded them having sex with fast ass girls in my home. One of my neighbors even warned me that her teenaged daughter and her friends had the hots for my sons.
"Well?" Edmund asked.
"Is the attraction mutual?"
"No, it isn't," I responded and got into my cherry red Wolfe coupe. "I really have to go, Edmund."
I tried to shut my door but he held it open. "One last question."
My eyes had already reflexively rolled before I could prevent them from doing so. "Yes, Edmund?"
"Would you like to go to the party with me?"
That was one laugh I didn't even attempt to suppress. After I'd had a good chuckle, I replied, "Didn't you just hear me say that I'm not attracted to you? I'm sorry, Edmund, but you're not my type."
"Fine. Whatever." Edmund slammed my car door so hard that I was surprised the window didn't break.
He stomped away with his hands balled into fists. I started my car and exited the garage as fast as possible.
I got home to find Darren and Dean glued to the usual: Darren to the music videos on BET and Dean to his computer monitor, checking out the latest ridiculously priced athletic shoes to hit the market.
Dean was the first to actually acknowledge my presence. "What's up, Momma?" he asked, glancing away from the screen just long enough to see how downtrodden I appeared. "Momma, you look tired. Why don't you go take a long, hot bath?"
"I have to get you boys some dinner first." The volume on the television was up way too high and the last thing I felt like dealing with was loud, gold-toothed rappers on a Friday evening. "Darren, can you please turn that racket down?"
My sons were gorgeous and that was not just my biased opinion. Everyone said so. They were tall for their age and had been playing basketball since third grade. We wouldn't find out for sure until the next month, but I was hoping they would both get full athletic scholarships to St. Vincent's High School. I wanted them to have the best education, but I couldn't afford private school unless they got financial aid. I might have been able to come up with the money for one of them but I could have never made such a choice. I could barely afford my mortgage most months. I was purchasing my three-bedroom house, which was more financially savvy than throwing away thousands on rent every year. It was a huge sacrifice to scrape together enough money for the down payment and closing costs but I somehow managed and I was five years into my thirty-year loan. Thirty years is a long damn time.
Dean got up and hugged me. He was always the loving one. Darren tended to be withdrawn and didn't let me kiss him or hug him in front of his friends. He got the most evil look on his face. I knew both my babies loved me, though. They just expressed it in different ways. Every once in a while — when no one else was looking — Darren would cuddle up underneath me like a baby craving attention.
I returned Dean's hug. "So, what do you feel like for dinner?"
"We're cool, Momma. I already made us some grilled cheese sandwiches and we had a few chips left."
A twinge of guilt shot up the middle of my spine. This wasn't the way it was supposed to be. I should have had salads and fresh vegetables on the table every night. Instead, they were using a plug-in sandwich maker to eat greasy grilled cheese sandwiches. Somehow, I was going to find a way to be a better mother. Somehow.
I promised the boys I would take them to the mall the following day. We would hang out at the mall most weekends, even though I couldn't afford to splurge on them like I would have liked. All of the malls would be packed, considering it was ten days before Christmas, but I needed to pick up something for my father and ship it to him before he left for the Bahamas. I would buy the boys' things at the last minute and I already had several things on layaway at Wal-Mart. I just hoped they liked the clothes I had picked out. They were not designer by far, but they were neat and that was what counted. At least, that was what should have counted. That was one reason why they needed to attend private school so they could wear uniforms instead of trying to keep up with their peers.
We had the worst water pressure, which was my only gripe about my house. I think it had something to do with the development because we were set off by ourselves and I was not sure how many pipes were servicing the more than a hundred homes. It took me about fifteen minutes to run a tub of water and while I sat there flipping through the pages of my latest issue of Today's Black Woman magazine, my mind wandered to Edmund. I still couldn't believe he had accused me of being stuck-up. He was one of the few men I actually talked to at Wolfe, with his fine self. Yes, hell yes, I was attracted to him but he would never know it.
The majority of employees at Wolfe came to work, minded their own business, and went home. All they wanted were paychecks. However, there was some downright trifling behavior going on behind closed doors around there. I didn't know the exact names of all those involved — I had my suspicions — but I was convinced that Bradford was dead center in the middle of it.
The mysterious phone calls that would come in forcing him to close his office door so he could engage in hush-hush conversations. The continuous references to some penthouse that I had heard Bradford and a handful of other executives mention. Then there was Anastasia and her sidekick Shakia. I didn't know what the hell was up with them. All I knew was that they — Anastasia in particular — needed to cover up their behinds before they showed up at work in the mornings.
I took my bath, surrounded by the cheap scented candles I always purchased from the dollar store since I couldn't afford the good stuff, crawled into bed, and passed out as soon as my head hit the pillow.
Copyright © 2003 by Zane
Posted January 31, 2004
Oh Boy Readers, Hold On To Your Seats For This One.This Book Was A Hot One Let Me Tell You.. I Couldnt Turn The Pages Fast Enough, Because I So Full of Excitement Wondering What Was Going Happen From One Chapter To The Next. Readers, After Reading This One, Get Ready For A Cold Shower.. I Loved Every Page Of This Book, From Start To Finish.Hail To The Queen Of Erotic Story Telling.. The One & Only Zane...
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Posted February 16, 2004
Posted December 15, 2003
I read 'Addicted' earlier this year and have been hooked on Zane books ever since. She is such an extraordinary author. The way she is so creative with what she writes makes her one in a million. 'Skyscraper' was fantastic and I would recommand this book to anyone. The plot of the story really has a person going and wanting to see what is going to happen next. I read this book in two days and was upset when it ended (yes it was that good). Keep them coming Zane!!!!!
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Posted December 4, 2003
I am Zane's #1 fan. I wonder if she could write books as fast as I could read them? I've read this book within 1 day. This is book is fanatasic (obviously, it's Zane). The story starts off great and has a lot of twists and turns. The ending is hilarious and surprising. She also put a treat at the end. There is two short stories that I love but my favority was 'Tattoo'. Buy this book and you'll see what I mean. You will enjoy it. Happy Holidays!
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Posted October 11, 2012
Posted January 6, 2012
Posted August 25, 2011
Its not often you read a tale about a handsome, successful, AND faithful Black man. This one did it for me. I couldnt put it down. I fell head over heels for Tomalis Wolfe. There is so much drama in this one its crazy!!!! I say YES to adding it to your collection. Very entertaining.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 23, 2011
Posted May 14, 2011
Posted May 6, 2011
Posted December 22, 2010
this book is recomended to all fans who love DRAMA. this book is full of drama and exictment. I love this book and i would recomend it to all my friends. zane is a awsome author and i enjoy her talent.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 12, 2009
Posted October 6, 2009
Posted January 30, 2009
Posted June 7, 2009
I Also Recommend:
Oh boy! Zane has done it again! I was so there with her writing. I was in those scenes, I was everywhere! Such effortless writing. I plan to read everything she has written!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 22, 2008
Posted September 19, 2008
Posted March 21, 2008
This book starts out slow in building up the characters and you find yourself waiting for something to happen. This is my first Zane book and I would recommend it to those that have patience.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.