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Teenage Love Affair
By Ni-Ni Simone
DAFINA BOOKSCopyright © 2010 Ni-Ni Simone
All right reserved.
Chapter OneDaydreamin' 'bout you all day in school, can't concentrate ... -Alicia Keys, "Teenage Love Affair"
Five Years Later, 2009
"Can't wait to get home, baby, dial your number ..."
My Armani stilettos clicked against the tile floor as I placed my hands on my curvaceous hips and Naomi Campbelled to the front of the classroom. I was due to give a report on self-esteem, but after a week of sneaking out of the house and spending nights with my boo, Ameen, I had nothing prepared but my hair, nails, and fresh gear. So, I figured I would wing it. When I applied myself I got all As anyway, so why not apply myself now? Besides, I wasn't beat to argue with this old chick; I rolled my eyes toward my health teacher and shot her a fake smile.
The drama of getting Saturday detention for lack of preparation simply wasn't worth it.
"Miss Fields." My teacher, Ms. Raymond, sat behind her desk and called my name. "Where is your paper?"
"I don't need it," was my attempt to play it off. "I can recite my report from memory."
Ms. Raymond's eyes narrowed. "Now, Miss Fields, if you have memorized a report I will be quite impressed. So please, proceed."
"Alright." I cleared my throat, pushed my gum to the side of my mouth, and popped my MAC-covered lips. "My report on self-esteem." I looked to one side of the classroom and then to the other. "Do you all know what it means to have a positive self-image?" I asked the class, only to receive blank stares and dumb looks.
But I would bet my last dollar if I asked them if they knew how to do the Pop-Lock-and-Drop-It or the Stanky Leg they would all be at military attention.
I sighed loudly. And to think this was Science High. "Listen, in order to get anywhere in life you have to be comfortable with who you are and know where you are going."
I looked around the classroom and everyone was obviously bored. Even my homeboy, Courtney, was yawning. So, I had to bring it to 'em in the only way they would understand. "Excuse me." I snapped my fingers. "Do y'all birds even know what self-esteem is?"
Seeing no response, I continued on. "Well, self-esteem is like ... when you got it like that. Like, when you know that deep down inside you're really fly and it's not just a front for the cats around you. Dig?"
"Oh," one of my classmates yelled, sounding proud of himself. "It's when you got it goin' on."
"Exactly, you feel me?"
"Yeah, I feel you, Zsa," Courtney agreed.
"See, Courtney, we here." I pointed from my eyes to his and back again. "But understand we as young women and li'l dudes don't need to be playin' ourselves for these li'l ghetto hoods around here. We need to have dreams, explore our talents, and be determined to go to college. Plus these hoods around here, they don't have no money."
"For real," my newly emerged amen choir in the back of the room said.
I snapped my fingers. "They have no style."
"Umm ..." the amen choir carried on.
"No fly gear."
"Tell it now!"
"And for real." I was so into my report I had to stop myself from getting the Holy Ghost. "They can't do nothin' for you. So what's the use of wasting time on them when it's more important things in life to attend to? Don't be gettin' fooled by these donkeys lookin' to trick you outta ya li'l Burger King dough. Don't even do it to yourself."
"Miss Fields," Ms. Raymond interrupted, "this sounds like a sermon from the church of slang. What does this have to do with your report on self-esteem?"
"Ms. Raymond, we need to speak to each other in a language that we understand. All I just said to them was believe in yourself and don't let anyone use you."
"You just said that?" she said in shock.
"If you would listen and stop interrupting her," Asha commented. "God-lee."
"She always interrupting people, too," somebody in the back of the room added.
"Continue," Ms. Raymond said, "and class"-she eyed Asha-"last warning, watch your tone. Next step is out the door and Saturday detention."
"Okay." I popped my lips. "See y'all need to grow up and be like me. Understand this, my boo, Ameen, is the truth." I hit 'em off with a moment of silence, and then I went on. "He's nineteen and his pockets are always fat." I opened my arms wide and pointed my hands like guns, and said, "Boom. Now peep this, 'cause this is some real ish, I'm his number one friend on MySpace."
"That ... is ... so ... sick...." Courtney drooled while snapping his fingers in a Z motion. "Oh, my God."
"You haven't heard a thing. I'm the screen saver on his iPhone and when it rings, it's my voice saying, 'It's me, li'l daddy, pick up the phone.'"
A series of dangs rang throughout the room.
"That's my homegirl right there!" Courtney said in a proud excitement.
"Now, don't you think that means something?" I tapped the ball of my foot and placed my hands on my size 10 hips. "Of course it does, and if you don't agree, you're a hater. And you know what I say to haters? Hi, hater." I waved. "Bye, hater." I hit 'em with a salute. "See, my mother raised me to know that I'ma leader, not a follower, which is why I recited my report from memory, 'cause I know that all y'all wannabes gon' try and copy that.
"Needless to say, I believe that I can accomplish anything I want in life, 'cause I'm too fly not to succeed. I don't look like Ciara for nothin'." I did a booty drop and popped back up. "So, just look at me and see what it means to have self-esteem."
I looked at Courtney and we popped our lips, gave each other fist bumps, and I sat down.
Just as everyone started telling me how good my report was, the bell rang. Forty-five more minutes and I'ma be like deuce-deuce baby.
"Miss Fields." Ms. Raymond called me on my way out the door. "On Monday, I expect a written and less creative report."
This chick knew she was trippin'. I didn't even respond to that. Instead I headed to honors algebra and allowed my teacher, Mr. Watson, to bore the heck outta me.
After three pages of mixing my first name with Ameen's last name with hearts, clouds, and bubbles around it, class had finally ended and I was on my way to fulfill my destiny.
I walked down the hall, mixed in with the first-period lunch students, walked out the side door of the school, and there was my baby sitting in my black '97 Honda Accord. He crashed his onyx Escalade last month, so being the caring and supportive woman that I am, I let him stunt in mine.
My man's whole presence was fiyah: Five foot eleven, a muscular build that put 50 Cent to sleep-scratch that, it put 50 in a coma-he had a fresh Caesar with thousands of brushed-in waves, and his swagger was so serious that anybody looking at him knew he was nothing to play with.
Lil' Wayne's throwback "Lollipop" was bumpin' so loud inside the car, it looked as if the tinted windows were jumping. I slid in and Ameen looked at me with a sexy glare on his face. "You're late." He tapped the digital clock on the dashboard.
"I had to go to algebra, baby. That was the only way I could cut without anyone noticing I was gone." I reached over to kiss him and he pushed me back.
"So what you sayin'?" he asked seriously.
"I'm sayin' I had to go to school." I couldn't believe he refused my kiss.
"So school comes before me, that's what you sayin'?"
"No." I hesitated. "Nothing comes before you."
"It better not, either." He ice grilled me and pointed his finger in my face.
"Don't be mad." I pecked the tip of his finger and he twisted his lips. "You know I love you," I said.
"Yeah, ai'ight," he said as we pulled off. My baby was always jealous. Sometimes it was scary as hell, but cute. I eased back into the smooth black leather of my worn seats, and out the corner of the rearview mirror I spotted a shopping bag with Gucci written on it. It couldn't be. I turned around in my seat and oh ... my ... God! The boots I wanted. I threw my arms across Ameen's chest and started hugging him.
"Slow down, Zsa." He laughed as he swerved across the yellow line. "I'm driving."
"I can't believe you bought them!" I screamed, holding one of the candy apple red wedged heel boots in my hand.
"Yeah," he said as I hugged the boots. "I felt bad for the misunderstanding we had the other day when I thought you were letting that dude kick it to you."
"I don't wanna talk about that." I quickly swallowed the lump in my throat, as the thought of how he yoked me by my collar flooded my mind.
The last thing I wanted to think about was how frightened I felt with my collar in his hands and the look of rage in his eyes. I mean ... I knew I had no business talking to that dude, although I didn't know him and all he did was ask me for directions to Springfield Avenue. But still, I knew Ameen had had a bad day and all I did was aggravate it. So ... in a way ... I guess I asked for it. But my baby made my day once again with these thousand dollar kicks. "I swear you the truth." I planted a wet one on his lips as we headed to his spot.
Ameen lived with his mother, her boyfriend, his sister, and her baby. His house was ran nothing like mine. For one, he paid rent. Rent, can you believe it? Your mother taking money from you. Now, what kinda bullshit is that?
Wait, that's not all of it. You know I can chill in his room, right? Door closed, slow jams playing and everything, and Ameen's mother has never knocked on the door or asked what we were doing. She really didn't seem to care. As a matter of fact I don't even think she knew my name. I would always speak and ask everyone how they were and they would respond by looking at me like I was stupid. Whatever.
I walked behind Ameen into his room and before long we were doing things that I knew my mother would've had me drowning in holy water for.
Two hours later I was showered, dressed, and ready to go to work. I grabbed my car keys off of Ameen's nightstand. "Call me later."
"Where are you going?" He hopped out the bed. "Hol' up, wait for me."
"I have to go and pick up my little sister."
"So, what? I can't use your car?"
"I didn't say that." I hesitated. Lately, Ameen had been using my car a little more than I really wanted him to, but then again, he was my man. "We have to hurry, Ameen. She doesn't like being at the neighbor's too long."
He smiled. "You know I got you."
As we drove down Clinton Avenue toward Highway 78 West, I swear this mofo had stopped at least a hundred different times to speak to just about every dude he knew on the street. If he wasn't blowing the horn like crazy, he was slowing down to kick it with someone. I was getting pissed by the minute.
He slowed down for the umpteenth time and yelled across the street at a guy standing there. "Yo, come 'mere!"
After a few minutes of Ameen kicking it with his friend, a guy pulled up next to us on the flyest 2009 royal blue and white Suzuki motorcycle I'd ever seen in my life. I waited for him to pull off since the light had turned green, but he didn't. Instead he took his helmet off.
Damn! Can you say fine?
Imagine Idris Elba at seventeen, or better yet, Souljah Boy completely muscled out and looking like a man. Six feet tall with toasted almond colored skin, a crazy nice build, muscles everywhere, tattoos in all the right places, sexy dreads that hung midway down his back, and a shadow beard and mustache that would make the saneness chick hurt somebody. I hoped like hell that Ameen didn't notice me starin', because if he did, he would see that for a split second I was in love with somebody else.
"Hey, yo." The guy on the motorcycle called for my attention.
Hey, yo? Last I checked, my birth certificate said Zsa-Zsa La-Shae Fields, not "Hey, yo." So I turned around and looked at Ameen, because just that fast I'd been turned off.
"You know him?" Ameen asked as his chiseled jaw clinched tightly.
Before I could say no, the guy on the motorcycle said, "Zsa-Zsa." I turned back around and this cat had the nerve to be smiling, and that's when it came to me, exactly who this was. I hopped out the car. Tears of joy filled my eyes and my heart raced in my chest. "Malachi?!"
"Yeah, it's me, ma. What's good? I been looking for you since I got back in town," he said, hugging me tightly. The ring he'd given me years ago hung around my neck and pressed against his chest. "I missed you so much," he said.
"I missed you, too!" I couldn't help the tears falling down my face. I felt like such a dork. "I can't believe you're here!"
"Yeah, I'm back here for good." He wiped my eyes and continued to hold my hand. I knew for sure that Ameen was probably pissed. "You look beautiful."
"Pardon me," interrupted our moment. "You wanna introduce me to your friend?" Ameen said as he leaned over the middle console.
"I was waiting for an introduction myself," a pissed female voice chimed in. I looked up and a chick that I knew from school was standing there. I just hoped this wasn't his girl.
I turned to Ameen and said, "Ameen, this is Malachi, and Malachi, this is my boyfriend, Ameen." They gave each other a fist bump and I turned to the girl Malachi was with and said, "Don't I know you? What, are you two related?"
"This is Staci," Malachi said. "My girl."
I felt like I'd been stabbed. I swallowed, and Staci rolled her eyes at me. "Whatever," she snapped. "Can we leave now?" She hopped on the back of Malachi's bike.
"Yeah, whatever," I said, getting back into the car.
Malachi looked at me and his eyes seemed to apologize. Suddenly I remembered how it felt when he'd left the first time.
"So I'll see you around," Malachi said.
"Yeah," I said dryly, watching them take off and head down the street. "You do that."
I turned to Ameen and was greeted by the palm of his hand. I tried to move, but Ameen palmed the entire side of my face and pressed it against the window. "You gon' disrespect me!" Ameen screamed.
"Get off of me!" I tried to swat his hands, but he grabbed my wrist with his free hand and said, "I dare you to move. Move." He paused and looked at me. "Do it and see don't I pimp smack you!"
"What are you doing?" I screamed again.
"You cheating on me with that dude? Huh? You cheating on me?"
"Would you chill, Ameen?" I can't believe this.
"Who the hell was that?"
"Malachi!" I screamed. "He was my best friend."
"Oh, now you got best friends? So what am I? Nothing? You have to be crazy disrespecting me!"
"We were best friends when I was a kid!"
"And here I bought you a thousand dollar pair of boots trying to make up with you!" he screamed toward my ear. "And you gon' disrespect me? This is the same thing you did the other day when that dude asked you for directions." He mushed me again before letting me go. "As a matter of fact"-he grabbed the Gucci shopping bag-"these are going back." He opened the car door.
"Don't be calling me now." He took my car keys and tossed them toward me. "Call me when you know how to act!" He slammed the door behind him and disappeared up the street.
Tears filled my eyes, and all I could do was hold my hand over my mouth and cry silently.
A few minutes later I started my engine and placed the car in drive. I felt like my heart was underneath my back tires. I hated that my mind kept rewinding what had just happened, but I couldn't help it.
Everything inside of me said I was stupid for taking this. I knew I needed to walk away, especially since I grew up on my father's saying boys not 'spose to hit girls. The problem was I also grew up on, don't do what I do, do what I tell you, because every Friday night, before my father died from cancer, he would beat my mother like she stole something.
Excerpted from Teenage Love Affair by Ni-Ni Simone Copyright © 2010 by Ni-Ni Simone. Excerpted by permission.
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