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Chapter 1: Under Pressure
"I don't know what to do."
That's what she told me. This was several years ago in the prime of my modeling career. I was twenty-seven years old and on a break at a photo shoot in Cancun, Mexico. We were relaxing at the beach on a beautiful late afternoon right before the sun had gone down over the Gulf of Mexico. The sky was light blue mixed with fluffy gray clouds and a fading orange sunlight. The sand was warm, and the slight breeze was just enough to get your attention but not enough to cause a chill. The entire scene was as beautiful as a naked girl in a perfect picture. And I was loving every minute of it.
"Did you hear me?"
Of course I heard her. But at the moment, I was busy framing the sandy brown skin of the local Mexican mommies against that beautiful backdrop. They continued to walk by and sneak peeks at me under our oversized umbrella. They were more interested in me than the white boy models. Ten of us were there for a summer swimsuit issue of Fabulous magazine, and I was the only black man. I guess you could call me the token sex god.
"Terrance, I'm talking to you."
No, it was more like she was bothering me, and I didn't feel like dealing with her conversation. I was taking a much-needed break from my hustle, and I planned on enjoying it. Talking about the future of a tug-of-war relationship was work. Now why would any guy want to work in such beautiful surroundings unless he absolutely had to?
"This is what I'm talking about. You never acknowledge me when I'm trying to talk to you. You're so fucking rude. You know that?"
She was being rude to me. I had been working my tail off down there in the baking heat of Mexico. But did she care? Evidently not. She only wanted to address her issues. I was rarely the type to argue, but that never stopped her from trying to provoke me.
"Hello? Is anyone home? Earth to Terrance."
I finally looked into her Gucci sunshades, under her straw sombrero, and asked her, "Andrea, what do you want me to say? I'm not gonna tell you what to do. I thought you told me you were a grown woman. Well, you make your own decisions then."
As much as I was paying attention to the local girls, who were shaking their tail feathers with purpose and flirting all around us, Andrea's beauty was stunning. There's nothing like a fine black woman with a history of strong mixed genes. Everything about her look was perfect; five-nine, one twenty-five, flat stomach, strong thighs, pretty feet, luscious lips, long, thick hair, flawless skin, photogenic like a baby, and curved like sculpture. But none of that mattered to me. I wasn't going to allow her looks and insatiable attitude to hold my emotions hostage.
"I'm not asking you to tell me what to do. I know I make my own decisions. I just want to discuss things with you."
She paused to see if I would respond to her, but I wasn't up to it. Discussing things with women took a lot out of a guy, especially when those things involved relationships. It wasn't the kind of shoot-from-the-hip discussions I would have with guys about our feelings for a woman. You said what you felt and moved on. But discussing relationships with a woman held infinite consequences. Every single word you used was a trap. So I learned to use my words sparingly with most women.
"Do you want me in your life or not?" Andrea asked me. "Just let me know something."
I turned away from her. I liked the girl, I really did. But I didn't want to be bonded to her. We were doing just fine with our loose arrangement. I go on a job, take her with me, love her down, and keep it simple. Then another guy came along and started putting pressures on her, which she in turn passed on to me. Only I wasn't up for playing that game. I refused to compete with another guy over a woman. There were too many women out there for that. So I pleaded the Fifth Amendment and remained silent. I knew that anything I said to her could be held against me.
Instead of answering her question, I thought about the other guy she had started dating on the side. I hated jealous guys. If the girl wasn't into you, then let her be. It's that simple. But this guy Jayson Walker, one of those briefcase-carrying number crunchers, had made it his personal mission to try and take her from me. There were plenty of other fine women out there to choose from, but he just had to chase after her.
Guys who live and die for the dollar swear that everything, including every woman, has a price tag. So I blamed Andrea for even getting involved with the guy. Then again, a girl had to eat, and I was not offering her free access to my bank account, like he was. But even with all his money, I held the keys to her heart. That only made him chase her harder, and I wanted no part of that game.
Andrea finally lost her patience with me. She stood up to leave and I didn't plan on stopping her.
"You know what? I don't even know why I'm trying so hard with you."
Once she climbed to her feet, she looked down and noticed my lack of urgency. "So, you're not even gonna try and stop me. Like, you don't even care."
Actually, I did care. I just wasn't willing to allow my feelings for her to get in the way of what I wanted for myself. I loved my freedom, and I wasn't willing to sacrifice it to make permanent room for her.
Despite Andrea's beauty, the girl was struggling to launch her modeling career next to mine, and she hadn't been successful at it yet. What can I say? Modeling was a tough business, not everyone could create a solid living from it. I was one of the fortunate few who could. Nevertheless, I couldn't stand the pressure that she was putting on me because of Jayson Walker and his income. But how could I tell a woman that I didn't want to afford her? I mean, I could. With my five-figure-a-day rate for modeling jobs, I definitely had enough in the bank to carry her for a while. I just didn't want to.
Why should it be necessary for a guy to economically provide for a woman? She needed to find a regular job to hold her over until she could catch her break. She had plenty of time on her hands. She was only twenty.
In my grand scheme of things, since I knew she liked me so much, I figured I would allow Mr. Walker to continue to provide for her while she snuck off for rendezvous around the world with me. Crazy, ain't it? But that's what I was thinking at the time. I was young and very cocky.
I was so cocky that I didn't believe she had the courage to leave me. She had tried to leave me several times in the past year, but she always came crawling back. I guess she was hooked on my stroke and my character.
Yeah, she wasn't going anywhere. She was only bluffing.
Before she strutted away from me, she said, "You know, he asked me to marry him. He even bought me a ring."
That got my attention. I looked up into her sunshades. "He did what?"
I didn't believe her.
Instead of her trying to convince me, she dug inside her beach bag and pulled out a black ring case to hand over to me.
You believe that shit? She must have had it all planned out to surprise my ass with. I was afraid to even touch the thing. But I was curious.
I opened the case and found a nice-size diamond engagement ring. It was all round and raised like a dome. It looked expensive as hell, too. That changed everything for me. The shit was serious!
I looked up and asked her, "So what did you say to him?"
She continued to stare at me through her sunshades.
"What do you want me to say?"
It was another trap.
I said, "He didn't ask me to marry him. What are you talking about?"
She wasn't going to get me that easily.
She said, "Well, you know I don't want to do that, but . . ."
She was still undecided.
I said, "But what?"
She shrugged her shoulders and looked away.
She looked back at me and said, "I've just been thinking about this modeling and stuff lately and . . . these racist people just won't let me in. I mean, they know I have the look. It's like they only let two or three black girls in at a time. And while Naomi and Tyra's still around . . ."
I had been around plenty of black women who called themselves models, but I couldn't really say that many of them made a solid living from it. Modeling was still an aspiration for most of them, and a part-time high. Then again . . .
"And please don't start talking to me about that music video shit and all of these freaky men's magazines, because I'm not interested."
They say beggars can't be choosers, but Andrea was one choosy broad.
I chuckled and said, "Look, we both know that you can work if you really wanted to. What's wrong with showing a little bit of your ass? It's a nice ass, and if they're willing to pay you to show it . . ."
"Whatever," she said and cut me off. "You want everybody seeing what you get?"
I shrugged. "Everybody sees what you get."
I was practically naked in some of those swimsuit shots. But I didn't mind it. It was my body to show off, and if they wanted me naked, then so be it, as long as it was a straight magazine. I didn't go the other way. That was about my only limit. I didn't need any extra bullshit coming my way on account of a few thousand dollars. I made enough money not to have to bend.
"Anyway, so what do you want me to say to him?"
We were back at square one, talking about her ring and marriage proposal from another man.
"Look, if you don't like this guy like that, then tell him no. You're not ready to get married. You got a whole life in front of you. You're not even legal to drink yet," I told her.
I was only telling her the truth.
She said, "I know."
"There's no more to talk about then."
The shit was obvious to me. This numbers cruncher was crazy. He was really getting under my skin. I swear, he was doing it all for spite, just to get to me. I even asked her about it.
"Does he still talk about me all the time?"
She smiled. "Of course he does. He said your pretty ass needs to get a real job. He said you probably can't keep a real job because you're too much of a faggot for real work."
Shit like that made me want to kick Jayson Walker's ass. I knew he couldn't beat me. That skinny motherfucker looked like the type who would pay someone else to fight for him. But allowing that asshole to talk about me like that made me pissed off at her as well.
"And what do you say when he talks about me like that?" I asked her.
She still thought it all was a joke and had a locked smile on her face.
"He knows you're not gay. He's just jealous of you."
"But how do you just let him talk about me like that?"
She shook her head. "It means nothing to me. I know when a man is jealous of another man."
I said, "Yeah, but it means something to me. You let this guy continue to disrespect me like that, and you think it's all a game. Looks to me like you still got a lot of growing up to do," I told her.
"You still got a lot of growing up to do," she snapped at me. "I mean, here I am all the way the fuck out in Mexico, trying to get you to see that I still love you, and all you can think about is these beach bitches walking around, and how you don't want him to have me, but then you won't lock me down."
Then she snatched the ring case away from me.
I asked her, "Why should I lock you down? If you say you love me, then you lock yourself down."
"That's what I'm here trying to do."
"Well then, do it!"
People were starting to stare at us. I wasn't the type to argue with a woman. I usually stated my position and moved on. But when a woman gets to you . . . That's when I realized how dangerous Andrea was. I couldn't have her even if I wanted to. She could mess up my whole career worrying about her. I had a carefree lifestyle with no dependents. Even my family knew to leave me alone. I was out there on my own island.
She glared at me and said, "You are such a coward. If you want a woman, then get a woman. At least he's real about it."
"Real about what?" I snapped at her. I don't even know why I asked her that. I didn't care anything about that guy. She had me reacting impulsively instead of thinking things through.
"He shows that he's serious about me. You're just out here fuckin' around with me. This ring is real. So don't talk about somebody needing to grow up!"
She got me to thinking. J. Walker had two kids with two different women, and he still didn't have his act together. He was already paying a truckload of child support, and both of these other women were in their early twenties, like Andrea. What made it worse was that she knew about them. She told me everything.
This numbers cruncher had screwed up a couple of young women's lives, and he was ready to screw up hers right along with them. But I was the bad guy. I was the one who wasn't doing the right thing. At least I knew I wasn't ready to be serious.
That girl was out of her mind to deal with this guy. He must have been a part of her game plan to get me to do what she wanted. But I wasn't going for it. So I gathered my emotions back into my bottle, and I told her to kiss off.
I said, "You know what? I don't think it would be a bad idea for you to settle down. I mean, you're definitely gorgeous, but like you said, this modeling game is a hard one. So if you think this guy is gonna give you a better life and a chance to breathe while you try to establish your career, then go for it."
That was some cold shit for me to say to a young woman who was extending herself to me like she was. Andrea was the type of girl who would put everything on the line, and she had been doing that with me and her modeling aspirations, it just hadn't paid off for her yet, the steady modeling jobs or me.
I was doing her the same way the industry was doing her. Wait, wait, wait, and I may have something for you next season. Possibly.
After my line of truth mixed with bullshit, instead of going through another round of arguing, Andrea said "Fuck you" and got to stepping. I guess she finally said to hell with it then.
Her exit was so abrupt that it didn't register with me right away. I was still waiting for her to hang around and argue her point until the sun went down, but she didn't. At first, I felt this big relief in her absence. Then, all of a sudden, I became paranoid.
What if she actually marries this asshole? What would I do then? I asked myself. Nah, she wouldn't do that. She'll come to her senses. Marrying that guy would be crazy. And I went back to enjoying my perfect view of the ocean. It may have been a boring life to some, but I liked keeping things simple. Peace, quiet, and independence was what I liked . . . I just didn't know what I had just lost.
Copyright ©2006 by Omar Tyree
Posted September 15, 2006
Getting to know Terrance requires that you take the ride while he dips, double dips, and dives. Some of the dips are steep and cause you to catch your breath. But the the craftsmen ship of Omar will ease you to a place of normalcy after each dip. Then about halfway through when you can almost see the forest through all the trees, the picture becomes clear and bright. Terrance is clearly a self centered, sexy, chauvanist. Terrance's escapades with women are tantalizing, and telling. Terrance's relationship to his mother and sister are just as telling and at first confusing. One thing for sure, Omar made sure that the girl that Terrance selected was the good girl. The girl who had it together. Food for thought, right ladies. This book was a great read. This book invoked anger, lust, more anger, and hope. I loved it. Omar has given us another book to be proud of!
2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
this is a great book for a man or woman to read. it keeps you wanting more, i loved this book form beginning to end....if you do decide to read this book i do recommend that you pay real close to the names of the women in this book because just when you think their not coming back...you see them.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 21, 2008
I am a big fan of Omar Tyree but this book was not worth the time we spent picking it out. The book club agreed the best part was definitely close to the end, don't want to give it away. If you must read it I would suggest you get it on CD and take it on your errands in your car or CD player.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 11, 2008
I have read quite A few books by Omar Tyree. Leslie, Just say no, Fly Girl A Do Right Man, Cold Blooded,Single Mom and the list goes on but never have I been so dissapointed this book had no direction and a somewhat boring story line. I felt this book came nowhere close to the page turner cant put it down type of book I'm used to reading from him at times I lost my motivation to continue reading the story.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 31, 2007
Posted September 23, 2007
Posted August 19, 2007
Posted October 15, 2007
This book had a great story line and alot of suspense. It showed women and men at their 'secretive' or 'bedroom' appearance. But, the ending killed me. I think that there should have been just a tad better ending this to book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 20, 2006
Posted August 14, 2006
The book was ok. Sometimes I found myself getting confused with all the female names that were being thrown around...he just had way too many women in his life for me. The ending wasn't all that great, fairly predictable. I really didn't feel like there was a point in even finishing the last few pages because I knew how things would end. Overall though it was an ok book to read if you have a lot of spare time.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 16, 2006
I ENJOYED OT'S LATEST NOVEL AFTER I FINISHED IT BUT AT TIMES I GOT CONFUSED AND ANNOYED WITH TRYING TO KEEP UP WITH ALL THE WOMEN TERRANCE WAS INVOLVED WITH... I WAS GLAD TO SEE THAT HE SETTLED DOWN BUT ONCE HE RECEIVED THE PHONE CALL FROM MICHELLE I KNEW HOW THINGS WERE GONNA TURN OUT...Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 22, 2006
This book was extremely boring and I merely forced myself to continue to read it in hopes that it would get better. I have read much better from Omar Tyree and expected so much more for 418 pages.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 17, 2006
I would recommend this book,it was good from the beginning to the very end.I can't say that about most of Omar Tyree's books.So if you want a good read this summer go purchase this book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 8, 2006
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