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For one reason
Oh my God ... this was not what we talked about. When my mother agreed to let me return to the Big Easy, without a chaperone, it was only after I promised her that I would be safe and there was nothing she needed to worry about.
"Save the airfare, Ma. Why pay for two tickets from Jersey when you can pay for one? Trust me. I got this," was exactly what I'd told her when I'd convinced her to let me go it alone.
Besides, I was eighteen now.
A sophomore at Stiles U.
My roommate Khya had a car and said that she would happily pick up me and my bestie, Shae, from the airport. So from where I stood, it was a win-win situation. And given the ride that Khya had described, I thought for sure we'd be ridin' around and gettin' it.
'Cause when Khya arrived at the airport, she rolled up in a what? An '85 Gremlin.
Let me say that again: a Grem. Lin. With purple tinted windows and the music blastin'.
My mouth fell open. "Shae, what is that?"
Shae blinked. And blinked again. "I have never seen anything like that before."
"That thing looks as old and as played as my sixty-something-year-old cousin Shake."
"And it's canary yellow." Shae curled her upper lip.
"With a rusted lime-green passenger-side door."
"Two hot-pink stripes down the middle of that rusted hood."
"And is that a Mercedes-Benz emblem?"
"Yup. And it's just sitting there. Looking pissed off and out of place."
"This girl is crazy."
Khya leaned over the passenger seat and rolled the window down like she was cracking machinery. She smiled and pulled her sunglasses midway down the bridge of her nose. "Lawdeee, roomies! It's me, bey'be! We 'bout to be the truth this year!"
"Oh no, we're not," I mumbled.
Khya continued, "Don't just stand there. Get in!"
Shae and I tossed our luggage into the hatchback and reluctantly slid in. Shae quickly sat in the back and scooted down, leaving the front seat on blast and open for me.
I looked back at Shae and rolled my eyes. Hard.
"Y'all like?" Khya asked as we took off.
"Huh?" I looked at Khya and struggled to smile. "Like what?"
"Da Bomb." She ran her hands across the dashboard.
"My car. I named her Da Bomb."
"Oh yeah, Khya." I shot her a quick smile. "This car is definitely a bomb."
"And you know, it—"
"Ahhhh!" I screamed. Suddenly, it was pitch-black.
"Khya! What is that? Did the ceiling just fall down on me?" "Relax, Seven," she said. "Yeah, that was the ceiling. My fault. I forgot to tell you. Whoever sits in the front seat has to hold it up."
Am I dreaming? 'Cause now I was holding up the ceiling.
Dear God, I know we're just starting this semester off, but I need a favor. Puhlease let us get to campus in one piece. And if You do, when I get out of this thing, I promise You that I, Seven McKnight, will never ever be caught in this thing again-unless somebody kidnaps me and forces me into it.
By the time we arrived on campus, I was so happy to be alive that I didn't even care that Da Bomb's ceiling had dropped specs of yellow foam all over me. 'Cause all I wanted to do was get my sophomore year poppin'.
First, we headed straight to the dorm, to our third-floor campus apartment, and chose our bedrooms. Then we went into the kitchen–living room combo to unpack dishes and our care packages.
Knock ... Knock ...
Instead of looking through the peephole, Khya grabbed her phone. "According to Twitter, the R.A. is not supposed to be making her rounds until tomorrow morning. So that heifer will not be gettin' up in here."
Knock ... Knock ...
"It must be someone else then," Shae said. "So answer it, Khya. You're the one who's closest to the door."
Reluctantly, Khya looked through the peephole. "Who in the hell left the gate open? Quick. Somebody give me my phone. I need to take a pic and Instagram this!"
"Instagram what?" I asked. "Who is that?"
"Lil Ratchet." She opened the door and smiled.
"Two snaps up and fruitloop!"
"I see nothing's changed with you, Seven," Courtney said, and I could've sworn he said it with an attitude. "Still poppin' off and tryin' to bring it."
Courtney stood with a hand up on his thin hip and a leopard boa over his glued-on leopard muscle shirt that was tucked into his skinny zebra jeans. He continued, "I've had a long morning. It's the first day back to school, and I didn't come for fever." He squinted his beady eyes and slowly looked me over. The pink sponge rollers in his hair shook as he spoke. "So don't bring none if you don't want none."
Oh no, he didn't!
"We've only been roommates for zero point five seconds and already you're tryna do me."
I looked at Shae and Khya and said, "Oh, he must be smokin' on that gas."
"Umm-hmm, Da Bomb's gas," Khya snapped.
I waved my hand dismissively and said, "You know what, Courtney? I don't even see you right now." I turned around and resumed unpacking my care package.
I had plans and none of them involved Courtney, his hair rollers, his sick animal prints, or his drama.
And yeah, Courtney was cool.
Especially since he threw himself on us all freshman year and we were forced to upgrade him from pest to friend.
I didn't do crunked; and him trying to dump his suitcases on us like he'd taken on freeloading as a major was a no go.
This was a campus apartment for three. Translation: three closet-sized bedrooms, a super-tight jail-cell bathroom, and a kitchenette with an unexplainable stained, funky, and vile blue tweed couch—that looked dead. So whatever Courtney was trying to pull wouldn't be happening. At least not today.
I took out a set of new dishes from their box, set them on the counter, and said, "Wassup with that nasty couch?"
"I don't know." Shae frowned. "What should we do with it?"
"Let me sleep on it," Courtney interjected, forcing us to acknowledge that he was still in the room. "Right after Seven apologizes for calling me ratchet, I will happily call it home."
"First of all," I snapped, "what are you talking about?"
"Don't lie, Seven." Courtney twisted his lips.
"I don't have to lie to you. I did call you ratchet. In my head, though. Khya is the one who said it out loud!"
"Yup, sho' did," Khya interjected in her thick bayou accent. "'Cause I wanna know why you'd walk up in here lookin' like crazy fried twice. Zebra and leopard mixed! Who does that? I could see if you had on tiger print. But leopard, homie?"
"And bigger than what you have on," Shae added, "what do you mean, let you sleep on our couch?"
"You can't stay up in here!" I shook my head. "Hell to the no!"
"And there you have it!" Khya pointed her hands like guns and pulled the triggers.
"Then where am I supposed to stay?" Courtney asked as if we were obligated to give him an answer.
Khya popped her lips. "All wild beasts belong in the zoo."
Courtney dropped the two suitcases he'd held in his hands. "I'm not leaving."
Khya reached for her purse. "You don't have to go home. But you will be skippin' up outta here! And if you don't leave on your own, the voodoo doll I have in my bag will make you do it!"
Courtney walked over to Khya, pulled her by the waist into his chest, and said, "Stop fighting the feeling."
Khya quickly knocked Courtney's hands down. But that didn't stop him from running his mouth. "You know you want me." He arched a brow. "And I know you don't want me to leave."
"You are high as a kite," Khya said in disbelief.
Courtney carried on. "I know that all summer long you three have been missing you some Courtney—that's what all this aggression is about."
"Boy, please." I flicked my wrist.
"Look, I'm sorry I didn't call any of you," Courtney pleaded. "I am. But I've been doing some things. Discovering me and handling myself." He pointed to his chest. "Do you know that I prayed for a boo-thang? Somebody to rub all over ... I mean ... love all over Courtney. So I decided to go to church. Where all the women are sexy, desperate, and available."
"And?" Shae pressed, as if she really cared.
"I found a boo." Courtney smiled. "Well ... right after I ran up on the choir director and told him that if he winked at me again I was gon' meet 'im in the parking lot and bust 'im down to the white meat!"
"What in the ... ?" I blinked.
"That freaky director messed. Me. Up. Making eyes at me like I rolled the rainbow way. I could see if it was Saturday. 'Cause on Saturdays and every third Friday I will dip to the left a lil bit." Courtney smiled. "You know I am free-spirited. But when it comes to Sunday, I am Nate the straight."
I looked over at Shae and Khya. They were dead too.
Courtney carried on. "I'm so straight, I can't even see crooked." He switched over to the sofa, flopped down, kicked his shoes off, and crossed his legs. "So, yeah, this is where I'll be sleeping." He patted the empty cushion next to him. "Or can I sleep with you, Khya?"
Khya's eyes bucked. "You nasty lil freak! Hell nawl! You won't be passin' no good time ova here! You must be lookin' for me to take this voodoo doll and cut out the crotch! How you just gon' ask to sleep with me, yat? I don't do that! Whatchu think I am? Some kind of slut-bucket-prostitute? Didn't your mama teach you that crack kills?"
"I meant sleep in your room with you. Not pop-pop-getit-get-it-let-me-push-all-up-in-it." He paused. "Unless your body's calling me." He paused again. "And, no, I don't consider you to be a slut-bucket-prostitute. You have more class than that. I consider you to be a dollar-menu ho!"
"You know what?" Khya rummaged through her purse again. "I got just the right gris-gris for you! You gon' be looking like Flavor Flav in a minute—"
"Flavor Flav!" Courtney screamed. "You don't threaten my face!"
"Enough!" Shae screamed. "Let's bring this back. Courtney, why don't you have a room?"
"Good question." I eyed Courtney.
"Don't be looking at me like that, Seven."
"Get to the point," I snapped. "And hurry up."
He hesitated. "See umm ... what had happened was ... my FBM."
"What is an FBM?"
Courtney looked at me like I was insane. "It's Future. Baby. Mama." He paused. "And we spent all summer gettin' our backs cracked. And we said good-bye and everything. And then I told my mama I'd see her around Thanksgiving. 'Cause I'm not going back to jail with you or your thug anymore, Seven."
He continued, "So you know I got on the plane and flew from Brick City to the Big Easy. And then I caught the dollar Chinese bus to campus. It was all hot up in there. Half-dead cats everywhere. So anyway, when I got here, I went to the housing office to find out where my dorm was, only for some lil bobblehead girl to smack her gums and tell me I didn't have a room. And that's when it hit me: I'd been so busy busting Slowreeka out that I forgot to apply for housing. And now I'm on the waiting list until January.
"Unless somebody doesn't pay their tuition and gets kicked out." He side-eyed Khya and then looked back toward Shae and me. "Now if y'all don't mind, I need to unpack my suitcases and unload my care package in the refrigerator."
I couldn't believe this. Who forgets to apply for housing? "Well, maybe you can arrange something down at the men's shelter," I suggested and continued unpacking.
"Eww. I'm too pretty for the men's shelter!" Courtney squealed.
"Then try the women's shelter," Khya added. "And the park bench is always available. But you can't stay here."
"Shae," Courtney begged. "Come on now. It's me. Courtney. And I know that freshman year there was a rumor about me being nosy. People said that I was always telling somebody's business. But most of that business fell into my lap. What else was I supposed to do with it? I didn't want it on me. And besides, I've changed. I've matured. And except for that mishap with my housing, I'm responsible."
"Shae, you're the most sensible—"
"No, you mean sympathetic," I said. "And the answer is still no. We don't have the space."
"Well, we can't just toss him on the streets." Shae looked at me and then over to Khya. "I mean, he is our friend. Kinda. Sorta."
"He used to be okay," I said. "Until he walked in here droppin' drama."
"I can't stand him." Khya twisted her lips. "Never liked him."
"So y'all just gon' talk about me like I'm not even here, right?" Courtney spewed in disbelief. "You know what? I don't have to take this. Maybe the men's shelter isn't so bad after all."
"See ya!" Khya and I sang in unison as Courtney picked up his suitcases and stormed out the door. I happily slammed it behind him.
"You'd better not start feeling sorry for him, Shae," I insisted. "You have to—"
Knock ... Knock ...
I rolled my eyes to the ceiling. He hadn't even been gone for two seconds.
Knock ... Knock ...
"Shhh," I whispered. "Don't say a word. Maybe he'll think we left."
We all stood like mannequins.
"I know y'all are in there!" Courtney's voice harassed us from the hallway.
Knock ... Knock ...
"Nobody's home!" Khya yelled, and I could've slapped her.
I popped my eyes and gave her a twisted stare.
"What?" She looked confused. "Somebody had to tell him something. We couldn't just stand here."
Shaking my head ...
Knock ... Knock ...
"It's me. Courtney."
"We know that already!" I yelled.
"Cool. So I don't have to reintroduce myself. Now, I hate to bother y'all and everything—"
"But you are." I snatched the door open.
"And we got things to do and a party to get to." Khya smacked her lips. She was now standing in the doorway next to me.
"Two snaps up and fruitloop, that's what I've been saying," Courtney insisted. "We finally agree on something. Big Country is throwing his annual partay in the Dip-Threw, bay'bay, and I gotz to be in the building. Okay? So what y'all say? Let me stay one, two nights. Tops?"
Khya glanced over at me. "I got this." She turned back to Courtney. "You betta two snap that homeless ish to the park bench."
Khya and I slapped a high five with one hand and slammed the door in Courtney's face with the other. "See ya. Wouldn't wanna be ya!"CHAPTER 2
"I see dollar signs ..."
Meek Mill was on blast and everybody who was anybody was here in the one room concrete club, better known as the Dip-Threw; where all that mattered was what you had on, the music and how you were dancing to it! Some were sweepin' the floor with it, some were embraced in a booty-clap-to-crotch dance. Others were breakin' down the art of the New Orleans bounce. And if you were reppin' for the ratchet clique, then you were where? Over there, posted against the wall.
There were Greeks who catcalled to the beat of the music and others who stepped alongside it.
Food lined the bar: shrimp and crawfish po'boys, dirty rice, gumbo, and all the pop and spiked punch one could drink.
For real, for real, from the moment my girls and I walked in here, I felt like Meek Mill was rapping our theme song!
'Cause I just knew we was gettin' it.
For starters, I was a curvaceously hot brick-house.
And, yeah, I'd gained the infamous freshman five, courtesy of too many po'boys and soul-food Sundays at my boyfriend's big ma's house. But, magically, the five pounds dove straight for my behind and upgraded my booty to the University of Pow!
Not that I'm bragging or anything, but my booty has swag ... for days.
And I love it.
After all, I've struggled with the never-ending thought of, Am I too fat? for way too long. And, no, being a size fourteen (and sometimes sixteen) doesn't make me the biggest in the world, but it makes me the biggest one in my crew.
My twin sister, Toi, is the skinny one; and skinny and me never got along. Why? Because after the hot dog diet, the hamburger diet, the lemonade and cayenne pepper one, the Atkins diet, Slim-Fast, and a slew of other starve-today-just-so-you-can-binge-tomorrow concoctions, skinny always fled the scene. Always. Secretly leaving my self-esteem walking a tightrope.
When I decided that meat on my bones was not a crime and that I didn't have body regrets. I had assets.
Excerpted from True Story by NI-NI SIMONE. Copyright © 2013 Ni-Ni Simone. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Posted December 26, 2013
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Just like all the rest of NI-NI Simone's books, this book was great!!!! I wish it could have been a little longer, but it was still a great book.
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