Read an Excerpt
A Taste of Honey
From Hailey to Honey
This nervousness was different from what I felt the day when I'd let J.D. stick his hands inside my panties while we rode the Metro bus home from school down Georgia Avenue through the heart of the nation's capital. J.D. had been my first boyfriend and for as much as I could at that point in my life, I loved him. I'd been willing to let him explore my body bit by bit until the day when we went all the way on the top bunk in his bedroom. He was my first. I was his third, but his inexperience left me with no real clue as to why sex was so damned important. Even after a year of sexing every chance we got I was still looking for the fireworks, wondering why J.D. could never last for more than two minutes. I'd actually wondered what I was doing wrong.
At the hands of the man standing a few feet away from me, finally I was feeling something. Just watching Manny take his shirt off I could feel my temperature rising. I truly had knots in my stomach as my heart fluttered like a butterfly on speed.
"Fine-ass" Manny, as me and my girlfriends called him, lived with Cheron in the apartment across the hall. Cheron was like a glamour girl to me, which made it understandable why she barely spoke to any of us young girls who routinely camped out in front of the building. She moved in a rush it seemed whenever she went out in her red Camry coupe. Stealing glimpses of her was like a major event, since she was always dressed in the latest fashion, rocking seven-hundred-dollar purses, diamonds in her ears and on her wrist. It was easy to see why she'd landed a guylike Manny. She was beautiful, hip, and fly. If for no other reason than the fact that she was always so well put together, she was like a hero to me. Even still, one glance at him and you knew that he could have had any girl he wanted, including Cheron. He looked like he'd crawled out the pages of a magazine with his bronze skin, chiseled chest, and curly hair.
I figured he was at least twenty, too old for me to be looking at him the way I did but I couldn't help myself. None of my friends could. Usually, I'd come home from school and he'd be home out front wiping down his car, which was a brand-new Benz. Sometimes he'd be sitting on his porch reading a Final Call or a Vibe magazine while listening to music through the screen door. The entire year that they'd lived there, all he did was smile at me until the day he saw me in a miniskirt I'd borrowed from my best friend, Rorrie.
That was the day he'd looked down at me from his balcony as I headed up the short walk to the door and asked, "Shorty, what's your name?"
A part of me was so shocked that he'd actually spoken to me that I nearly ignored him and headed into the building, up the steps and into my apartment. The other part of me was hoping that this man had really graced me with his voice, so I answered in a near whisper, "Hailey."
"Hailey," he said as he took a huge gulp from a Styrofoam cup he'd placed on the porch next to his chair. "What time your mother come home from work?"
"She'll be here about six," I answered, wondering why he wanted to know.
He nodded and a slight grin appeared on his face. "Come up here for a second," he commanded as if I'd truly known him or had some type of relationship with him. He'd beckoned me to his apartment and there was not a hint of doubt in his voice that I'd come.
I'd climbed those stairs nervously and now here I was. From the moment I walked through the door it had felt like I'd stepped into the Twilight Zone. Briefly I had admired their apartment. It wasn't plain like ours. I thought the black carpet and white leather couches looked rich. The walls were painted in oranges, reds, and yellows, and they even had a big-screen television that was showing videos on BET, with a stereo on top of it that was blasting Jodeci's latest, "Feenin'."
Manny had sat me on that couch long enough to break down for me what was about to happen. "Hailey, I see how you and your friends look at me. I also know you're still in high school. I was going to wait until you graduated, but looking at you I can tell that you're ready to become a woman. I've also seen your little boyfriend sneak in and out of your house so I know you ain't no virgin."
His words were so silky-smooth but it didn't even matter. The entire time I only watched his face as he spoke, the sounds that came out of it were irrelevant until he leaned in and kissed me for the first time.
Fifteen minutes later the room was spinning as my clothes came flying off. I knew I had to be crazy up in the bed that they slept in, but where he led, I was willing to follow.
I wasn't a freak, a whore, or even a sex fiend like so many of the girls I knew, but I had given in to Manny so easily that I didn't understand it. He'd pulled the curtains in the room so that it had darkened to the point where I could only see shadows of him. He told me to relax and I tried. His kisses felt good on my neck and his massaging of my breast had my body on fire. Then he did something that was unexpected.A Taste of Honey
A Novel. Copyright © by Darren Coleman. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.