With the Advanced Placement exams coming up, Jayd can't afford any distractions. Enter Rah's baby mama, the master of stirring up trouble. Despite her best intentions, Jayd gets entangled in the drama and fails her pre-test exam. Knowing it's time to get her act together, she joins a study group on campus, sharpens her skills--and meets a whole new crew. Unfortunately, Jayd's the only one who's happy about her newfound study habits and newfound friends. Her old crew is suddenly full of haters--and even Mama's giving her a hard time. Just when it seems things can't get any worse, Misty starts talking smack, hoping to destroy Jayd once and for all.
Now Jayd's wondering if the real test is whether she's ready to say goodbye to the old and move on up and out. . .
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
COLD AS ICEDrama High, Vol. 11
By L. Divine
DAFINA BOOKSCopyright © 2010 L. Divine
All right reserved.
Chapter OneThe Ultimate Betrayal
"Yuh need fi check yuhself before yuh start kiss yuh teeth / Caw yuh nuh ready fi this yet, bwoy." -Tanya Stephens
Once all my chores were done at my mom's apartment, I gave my hair a quick wash and dry before flatironing it and packing my stuff. It's been a minute since I've had time to give my hair the proper love and care it deserves, but hopefully next weekend I'll have more time to pamper myself. I sent Mickey a text a few minutes ago, informing her I was on my way. I don't even know why I'm going to this session. I have schoolwork to catch up on, and there are always Mama's assignments to do. Will a sistah ever get a break?
When I pull up to Nigel's house in Lafayette Square, a stone's throw away from Crenshaw Blvd, I see all my friends are in attendance this sunny Sunday afternoon. I wish I were at the beach with Jeremy, as nice as the weather is. I park my mom's little gray ride behind Chance's Chevy and turn off the engine. Maybe I can take Chance's car around the block before we leave. I need to make it a habit to drive his and Jeremy's cars more often so I can sharpen my hot-rod driving skills. I wonder if girls ever race in their car crew?
"Sorry I'm late, y'all. What did I miss?" I ask, entering Nigel's foyer and greeting my friends chilling in the living room. They all look distracted by whatever's on the flat-screen television. I'm surprised Nigel's girlfriend, Mickey, would come back so soon after Mrs. Esop called her out last week about being unsure of the paternity of her unborn child. But I guess my girl's still hopeful she'll be accepted into the family. If there is ever an eternal optimist in the darkest of challenges, it's Mickey. She's dead set on marrying Nigel and becoming a housewife, even if his mama can't stand her.
"Damn, Jayd. You missed everything. Nellie and I are almost done with the registry and guest list," Mickey says, flipping through baby catalogs, which has been her and Nellie's favorite pastime lately. I'll be so glad when this baby is born, I don't know what to do. I walk into the living room and join the session in progress. I know they didn't smoke down here, but my boys are definitely floating high on cloud nine.
"You must've been real busy to be almost three hours late. Where were you?" Nellie asks, tagging several pages with pink Post-it notes. Party planning is definitely my girl's thing. Maybe she can plan a small birthday celebration for me this year. My birthdays are usually uneventful, but I wouldn't mind doing a little something on my special day. Nigel and Chance nod their greetings without looking away from the Chow Yun-Fat flick in front of them. Martial arts always mesmerizes my boys, and he is one of my favorite actors, too. Looks like I came just in time, no matter what Nellie and Mickey may think.
"She was with her boy toy," Rah says, taking his red eyes away from the fight scene on the big screen to glare at me. I knew he would be irritated about seeing Jeremy kiss me on Friday, but he really can't say shit. I have to endure not one but two of Rah's ex-heffas sniffing around him on the regular. Jeremy and I actually have a future together, unlike Rah and me.
"He's not my boy toy," I say, ready to defend Jeremy and me if need be. "I know you know me better than that, Rah." I roll my eyes at him and sit next to Nellie on the couch. Mickey and Nigel are cuddled up together on the love seat, and Chance is sitting on the floor in front of Nellie while she plays with his hair. Everyone's coupled off except for me and Rah, yet we're the two who brought them all together. Isn't this ironic?
"Then what is he, Jayd?" Rah asks, turning his body to face me completely. "You're usually not late to a session, and you didn't answer my calls or texts. Naturally, I got worried and went by to check on you. Before I could get out of the car, I saw your boy, Jeremy, leaving your mom's apartment, and he looked very happy," Rah says, waiting for my confession, but from where I'm sitting I don't owe him an explanation.
"Oooo, a midafternoon make-out session. I love it," Nellie says, taking her hands out of Chance's head and clapping. "Details, please." Nellie is a bit too excited for the heaviness of the situation between me and Rah. I'll fill her in on the encounter, kiss by kiss, another time. Right now I need to check my boy before he goes too far.
"Rah, Jeremy and I are friends, and you've known that all along. Besides, you don't see me spying on your ass when you don't answer my calls, which is quite often now that Sandy's back in your life," I say, sucking my teeth at him. He's got nerve enough for the both of us, with the way he carries on with his daughter's mother.
"Jayd, you can say whatever you like, but you know you're wrong to be dealing with that punk again. He shouldn't even be touching you," Rah says, his high cheekbones flexing at the very thought of Jeremy and me kissing. I didn't mean for him to ever witness Jeremy and me being affectionate, but it happened and there's no going back.
"Hey, that punk is my friend, and he helped you win that basketball game against KJ, don't forget," Chance says, having Jeremy's back like a true homie. Nigel has Jeremy's back, too, but he's Rah's homie first, so he's silent, for the time being. But I know if Rah gets too carried away, Nigel will step in. We all know Rah's not really pissed at Jeremy; he's just jealous because I'm doing my own thing.
"Whatever, man," Rah says, calming down for the time being, or so I think. After a few minutes of silence, Rah comes back at me. Am I going to get to watch the movie in peace or what?
"Just admit that the shit was disrespectful, Jayd, and I'll let it go." Mickey and Nellie look at Rah and then back at me. Nigel feels the gravity of the situation and turns the volume down on the surround-sound system his dad hooked up in here. The entertainment system in the game room is even tighter than this one, and I already feel like I'm at one of Magic Johnson's theaters. But Rah's drama is distracting us all from watching the movie.
"I'm not admitting a damn thing," I say, now just as irritated as Rah. This fool is really tripping and messing up my vibe. I was feeling good when I left my mom's house, especially after Jeremy told me he loved me. Now I feel like kicking Rah's ass. "Can you please shut up so we can enjoy the movie? We'll talk about it later." If I were a dude, Rah would've socked me in my mouth for telling him to be quiet. He looks like he's going to hit something, and I feel him.
"You've lost your damn mind, you know that?" Rah says, standing up from his seat and towering over me. "Do you really think I'm stupid, Jayd? I know you and that punk-ass white boy are more than friends-no offense, man," Rah says to Chance, who looks like he wants to jump in but chooses against it. When Rah gets this angry, there's no reasoning with him. Nigel gets up from his cozy spot next to Mickey just in case he needs to cool Rah down.
"Come on, man. Let's take a walk," Nigel says, trying to distract him. But Rah's eyes are set on me, and mine on him. Nellie scoots over, putting more space between her leg and mine. Chance scoots over on the floor just in case Rah takes another step and accidentally crushes Chance's fingers underneath his new Jordans.
"You betrayed me, Jayd. You betrayed us," Rah says between his teeth before storming out of the living room and through the front door, passing Mr. and Mrs. Esop on his way down the porch steps. Nigel looks down at me and shrugs his shoulders before following his boy. I haven't seen Rah this angry with me in a long time.
"Rah, wait a minute. It's not that serious," I say, rising to follow them out. He can be so dramatic sometimes.
"Hello, Jayd," Mrs. Esop says, leading her husband through the open door. I smile at Nigel's mom and dad before walking through the foyer. They look stunning in their Sunday best, fresh from church.
"What's wrong with Rah?" Mr. Esop asks, turning his head to watch Rah start his car while Nigel tries to reason with him. Then Mr. Esop heads to the game room next to the living room. Mrs. Esop takes off her large white hat and smoothes down her hair while looking in the antique mirror hanging in the entryway.
"Oh, the usual," I say, looking back at my crew, who are looking at us instead of the muted screen in front of them. A live show is always more interesting. "I'll be right back," I say, adjusting my purse on my shoulder and walking down the steps. I'm so sick of doing damage control, but it's an unavoidable part of maintaining friendships. And sometimes boys can be more difficult to deal with than girls when it comes to matters of the heart.
"Jayd, I'm looking forward to continuing our discussion about you becoming a debutante soon," Mrs. Esop says. I thought I was out of that deal when she went off on Mickey the other day.
"But I just assumed you wouldn't be interested in coming to the shower anymore," I say, trying to speak low so Mickey doesn't hear. I haven't told Mickey about my deal with Mrs. Esop yet. But from the look on her crooked face, I'd say Mickey has heard the entire conversation. Shit. Now I'll have to deal with her drama, too.
"Just because it's not my grandchild doesn't mean I can't enjoy the festivities," she says with a cunning smile. "And I am nothing if not a woman of my word. Besides, a deal's a deal," Mrs. Esop says, waving to Mickey, Nellie, and Chance before walking up the stairs. Mickey looks at me like she's going to explode, she's so pissed, but I'll have to deal with her later. Why does my life have to include all this bull? Right now I have to catch Rah before he does something stupid, which is the usual when his head gets this hot.
"Yes, ma'am," I say, making my way out the front door. I guess I'll have to catch up with Rah later because he's already gone, and I'm in no mood to pick out baby clothes or to be grilled by Mickey. All that will have to wait until tomorrow. I just want to live a little longer in the moment Jeremy and I had earlier. I should've stayed right where we were-damn reality. But, in reality, shit happens, and my friends always seem to be in the thick of it.
Whether it's the weekend or a school day, there's never a boring moment in my life. Luckily, I had plenty of school and spirit work to distract me from yesterday's argument with Rah and impending debate with Mickey. So far it's been a relatively quiet morning. I made it through Spanish and English class without running into Misty or Mickey. It's a shame that one of my best homegirls gives me the same feeling of dread as does my worst enemy, but only when Mickey's in rare form like I'm sure she is today. Mickey's had all night to think about it, and, hopefully, she came up with the reasonable solution-that I, as her friend, would never do anything to intentionally hurt her. But judging by the way she's storming down the main hall, I'd say she's thinking just the opposite.
"So when were you going to tell me you were trying to get in good with Mrs. Esop for your own benefit?" Mickey says, fronting me at my locker like she's going to beat my ass. What the hell? Chance and Nellie are right behind her.
"Mickey, I don't know what you're talking about," I say, opening the long metal door and almost hitting her in the face. She'd better back up before I lose my patience. Rah's been working my nerves since last night, and I'm in no mood for any more drama, hormonally driven or otherwise.
"You know exactly what I'm talking about. You're using my baby shower to get closer to Nigel's mama so you can join her little sorority and be all uppity and shit," she says, rubbing her bulging belly like it's a golden crown. I'll be so glad when she finally has that baby, I don't know what to do.
"That's some cold shit right there, Mickey," I say, looking at my girl in disbelief. How could she think I would do something like that to her? I never wanted to be a debutante, let alone one involved with Nigel's mom. She has to know I would never betray her trust, and for what, a night as the black Cinderella? Please. I'm not Nellie. This shit is right up her alley. I half wish Nellie had been asked instead of me, but I already know Nellie doesn't have the grades to participate. Otherwise, I'm sure she would jump at the chance to be in a cotillion.
"Okay, ladies. Let's take a step back for a min," Chance says, trying to lighten the mood, but it's no use. Mickey's gone off the deep end and is determined to take everyone with her.
"Take a step back for what? So Jayd can twist the knife she planted in my back a little deeper? I don't think so, white boy," Mickey says, drawing more attention from the majority of white students walking through the hall on their way to class-which is also what we should be doing. Mickey's already on academic probation for ditching school on the regular. The last thing she needs is another incident on her record.
"Okay, there's no need to go off on my man, Mickey," Nellie says, stepping between us. "He's just trying to help."
Mickey looks from Nellie to me and then back at Nellie. I hope she doesn't think Nellie's taking sides, because we're all in this together whether Mickey likes it or not.
"Mickey, let's take a walk," Nigel says, taking his girl's right hand and attempting to lead her away, but she's not budging, no matter how wrong she is right now.
"Not until Jayd admits she was in the wrong for accepting your mom's invitation when she knew it belonged to me." Even Nigel has to smile at his girl's twisted logic.
"Mickey, you can't be serious," I say, shaking my head at my girl's overactive imagination. She can blame it on pregnancy all she wants, but I know better. This girl's just straight tripping off some jealousy bull, and I'm not hearing it, especially after all I've done for her lately.
"I am serious, Jayd. This is my family, not yours, so butt out."
Without saying a word, I slam my locker door shut, zip up my backpack, and throw it over my shoulder. I then look my livid girl dead in her eyes, thinking of a way to respond without making her cry, but thankfully Nigel steps in.
"Babe, Jayd's not trying to take anything from you. The truth is, my mom asked her because she's known Jayd for years and respects her stride. It has nothing to do with you."
"The hell it doesn't," Mickey says. "And whose side are you on anyway, Nigel?"
"Mickey, you make everything so damned difficult," I say. I'm trying to spare my girl's feelings, but it's not worth it. "Nigel's mom said if I participate in the ball, she'll come to your shower. That's why I'm doing this-for you, not me." The bell for third period rings in the now still air, causing everyone around us to stir, but we remain at a standstill. For a moment I think Mickey's coming to her senses, but then she opens her mouth.
"Whatever, Jayd. You can't stand the fact that you're not the only girl in your little boy crew anymore, and I'm not falling for it." This girl needs to get over herself, but that'll never happen. Mickey's nothing if not the truth about her shit. "You can go ahead and have your little ball, but I've got the real deal right here, and you can't take this away from us. Rah's right: You're nothing but a traitor." And with that final verbal blow, Mickey holds on to her baby bump and struts down the hall. That girl is unbelievable.
"Jayd, I'll talk to you later," Nigel says, following Mickey out of the building. Chance and Nellie head out, too, after apologizing for the stupid scene. It's cool-I'm not going to let Mickey get to me, especially when I know how ignorant her ass is going to feel once she realizes how wrong she is. There's nothing I can do about it now, and we all need to get on with our day.
Unfortunately it's already been a long week and it's only Monday. Not only is Mickey tripping way too hard for me to deal with-and also try to help her pregnant ass at the same time-but Mrs. Bennett dropped a bomb of her own today, announcing that the mandatory Tuesday and Thursday AP meetings were over. Instead, we will have practice AP exams twice a week until the actual exams a few weeks from now. A bitch is a bitch and then some. At least Mickey left a half-assed apology on my voice mail for going off on me earlier, but it wasn't that genuine, in my opinion, and was probably prompted by Nigel, I'm sure. I didn't make a big deal out of it, but as far as I'm concerned, she still owes me a real one.
When I made it home this evening, the house was quiet. I didn't check the spirit room to see if Mama was here, because, honestly, I just wanted a moment to myself before everyone else got home. With my four uncles, grandparents, and cousin Jay all living under one roof, it gets pretty crowded around here. It's days like this that I miss the weekends I spend at my mom's apartment.
Excerpted from COLD AS ICE by L. Divine Copyright © 2010 by L. Divine. Excerpted by permission.
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.