y noon it was hot and sticky outside. The temperature had soared to a miserable ninety-five degrees. All of the local news stations warned of the poor air quality and asked the public to go outside only if it was absolutely necessary. Not even the heat and humidity could tear Renee away from the hazy glass of Robert's bedroom window. She looked exhausted, and her body was drenched with sweat. She had been outside of Robert's house since eleven-thirty the previous night. Nothing mattered to her except exacting some sort of revenge for him dumping her so abruptly.
Renee had driven around for hours the night before, with nowhere to go and no one to see, until she happened to notice Robert and his new girlfriend, Tamara, coming out of the AMC movie theater in Owings Mills. They never saw Renee, and she ended up following them to Robert's house. He lived in a small two-bedroom ranch-style home located in the Woodlawn section of Baltimore County.
Renee stood between a water hose caddy and some overgrown hedges on a mound of fresh mulch, watching Robert and Tamara make love. While standing there, Renee came to the conclusion that Robert was the most unimaginative man she had ever been with when it came to sex. He proved it by going through the exact same lovemaking techniques he used with her.
Tamara and Robert lay on the same sheets that he and Renee lay on just a week ago. Renee figured that he probably didn't have the common decency to even wash those musty sex-stained sheets. The two of them looked like they were too much into the act of making love to even care about the condition of the sheets. More than anything Renee was a woman scorned and her mind was telling her all kinds of things regardless of whether they were true or not.
Renee had a flashback of the first day when things got a little heated and out of control between her and Robert. They had worked together for a couple of years and shared a mutual attraction. Renee considered him a hot prospect and often found herself fantasizing about him, especially on days she wasn't really feeling Joel.
Robert came into her office out of the blue and started some small talk, which led to them having lunch at a nearby restaurant. Actually he didn't come into her office out of the blue. He sensed her vulnerability a mile away. Robert was an extremely handsome, articulate and charismatic brotha on the surface. But beneath all that he was nothing more than a conceited, conniving and deceitful playa who loved to take advantage of unsuspecting women in unstable relationships. He used a calculated approach that totally blindsided Renee. She was completely taken by his alluring dark eyes. The subtle but unforgettable fragrance of his cologne captivated and delighted her sense of smell. The much needed friendly male-female conversation reminded Renee that she was desirable. Robert's ever-present boyish smile put her heart and mind at ease and paralyzed her defenses.
Eventually Robert got to the point. He told Renee how beautiful she was and confessed to being attracted to her since the first time they laid eyes on each other. Renee welcomed the attention from Robert and she fell right into his trap. She never wondered why it took him two years to confess to his instant attraction. The real reason was that it took a while for her turn to come around. He was only one man who had lots of women to serve.
Robert asked, “How are things at home?”
“Not good. I'm not happy.”
Renee had no reason to tell him what was going on at home, but she sold her man out in a matter of minutes and let her personal business out, without even thinking of the consequences. She automatically trusted a man who she knew very little about. Renee really only knew two things about Robert for sure: she liked him a lot, and where he worked. That was all it took.
Robert calmly replied, “You deserve better. If I was your man I'd keep you happy ... I'd provide pleasure like you've never known. You wouldn't have to ask for a thing because I'd make sure you had everything you've ever desired.”
By five-thirty that evening they were making love on top of Renee's desk.
Sweat poured from Renee's forehead and tears poured from her eyes. No matter how much it hurt to watch Robert and Tamara, she just couldn't take her eyes off of them. She tried to disconnect her personal feelings from the whole situation, but instead became mildly aroused by what she saw. Robert did something that was all too familiar to her. He put Tamara in a missionary position and covered her with his warm body while working his hips to her pleasure. Tamara put her legs together real tight and Robert rode a little higher so she could get the right amount of clitoral stimulation.
It was as if Renee could feel Robert inside of her, she knew that position and his motions so well. For a moment she found herself wishing that she was in Tamara's place, just to have someone to kiss and hold her that close while being deep inside of her.
Tamara had her eyes closed and whined strangely, like she was going through different stages of orgasmic pleasure. Robert was about to climax when he thought he saw a vague image in his window out of the corner of his eye. His concentration was thrown off and so was his rhythm. He thought his eyes were playing tricks on him. When he looked again he clearly saw the top of a woman's head in the bottom corner of his window. He instantly recognized the honey-blond hair, the forehead and the eyes. His body already shielded most of Tamara's body. He quickly covered his ass with a sheetâas if Renee hadn't already seen it.
Robert and Renee's eyes locked. He yelled, “Oh shit, Renee!”
Renee burst out laughing because it was so funny to hear him call out her name in the middle of making love to another woman. Renee didn't care that she was caught. She just stood where she was and gave him the finger.
Tamara yelled, “What did you say? I know you didn't just call me by that crazy bitch's name.”
Robert quickly replied, “No-no-no. There she is right there.”
“Where is she?” Tamara asked as she looked around the room and then out the window.
Renee smiled at her and gave her the double-whammyâtwo middle fingers. She banged the glass real hard with her hand, turned around and walked over to her Escalade.
Tamara yelled, “Call the police!”
Robert knew that he had to nip Renee's insane actions in the bud. He wasn't the type of person who tolerated anybody trespassing on his property or trying to stalk him. He was wild and crazy enough to put an end to it himself.
Without even thinking, Robert's response was, “Fuck the police. I got this.”
He jumped out of bed butt naked, slipped on a pair of beige see-through pajama pants and an old, worn-out Myrtle Beach T-shirt.
Tamara said, “Damn, do you have to put all that on? She'll be gone by the time your ass gets dressed.”
“Shut the hell up,” Robert said as he stepped into his flip flops and headed outside to confront Renee.
Robert knew that Renee had lost her mind because she was still parked a couple of doors down from his house. She sat in the driver's seat of her Escalade with the engine running, singing along with a new BeyoncÃ© song. She had the window up with the air conditioner running.
Robert yelled through the glass, “You need to leave right now, and don't ever come back around here again. If I see you around here again I'm gonna take it as a threat and I'm not sure what I might do to you.”
Renee saw and partially heard Robert, but she kept singing right along with the song. He knocked on the glass and Renee ignored him.
Tamara felt the need to come outside and let her presence be felt. She looked real special wearing Robert's oversized blue terrycloth robe and slippers. Renee noticed Tamara in her peripheral vision, but didn't react at all. Tamara marched right up to the driver's-side door, shoved Robert aside and opened it. Renee panicked when she looked down and saw Tamara standing there yelling obscenities.
Renee felt the need to defend herself. Her erratic behavior turned violent when she reached under her seat and pulled out an umbrella. All of a sudden she swooped down from her seat and started beating Tamara in the head and face with the umbrella's wooden and metal handle. The sight of blood didn't even make Renee stop. Robert's hand around Renee's wrist was the only thing that stopped her. Robert knew Tamara was wrong for confronting Renee and he kind of admired Renee's gangsta fighting skills. He felt that this was an ass-whipping Tamara brought on herself for opening Renee's door the way she did.
Within seconds Robert's neighbors came out of the woodwork to get an eyewitness account of the pure and unadulterated ass-whipping Renee put on Tamara.
Even though Robert found humor in the way Renee threw down on Tamara he was still pissed at her for bringing this kind of drama to his doorstep.
Robert said, “Renee, get away from here with all this. How could you embarrass me and yourself like this?”
“How could you embarrass yourself by putting on these nasty-ass see-through pajama pants?”
Little kids were outside eating ice cream and laughing at Robert's funny-shaped butt.
Robert ignored the fact that he was standing outside practically nude in front of his neighbors. He took off his T-shirt and applied it to Tamara's bloodied head and face. He didn't know what to say to Renee and just blurted out the first thing that came to mind.
He said, “Won't you go harass Joel and leave me and Tamara the hell alone? He's the one you're really mad at.”
It was as if Renee's mind was open for suggestions, because hearing Joel's name made her feel that he needed to feel some of her grief, too. She looked around at all of the neighbors. A few of them were on their cell phones. Renee assumed they were calling for an ambulance or the police. She hurried back inside her Escalade. She threw it into drive and peeled out of the parking space.
t's hard for most guys to go from store to store, rack to rack and then stand around for hours looking at women's fashions. Joel wasn't in the mood for holding pocketbooks while the girls tried on clothes. He knew the routine and decided to sit in the mall directly in front of Macy's entrance. The mall was bright and lively, with a whirlwind of different scents along with a kaleidoscope of colorful advertisements and displays. Joel adjusted to his surroundings and blocked out the obscure pop music that played softly in the background.
He planned to sit on the bench and play his NFL football game on his cell phone. Before he started playing his game, he did something completely out of the ordinary. He reached into his wallet, pulled out his rarely used Macy's card and told the girls to treat themselves to whatever they liked. He felt comfortable doing this because he knew they weren't the type to take advantage of his kindness. His gesture surprised the girls and made them smile.
Kenya asked, “Is this some kind of test to see where our heads are? I think you're trying to see whether we would take advantage of you or not.”
Joel laughed and said, “No. That's not what this is about. I already know that I can trust the two of you.”
Erin said, “You don't have to do this. We have our own money and credit cards.”
Joel said, “I know I don't have to do it, but I just wanna do something nice for the two of you.”
With laughter in her voice Kenya said, “Well, if you insist, I'll take it.”
Joel handed her the card and said, “Go ahead ... it's fine.”
Kenya asked, “Is there a limit to how much we can spend?”
He said, “Use your own discretion. I'm not worried.”
Kenya said, “All right, and you said pick out whatever we like, right?”
Erin said, “Yeah, he did say that. C'mon.”
“I'll be right here playing my game ... the Baltimore Ravens vs. the Cincinnati Bengals. See y'all in a little while.”
Erin and Kenya thanked Joel and they both gave him quick pecks on his lips.
Joel sat alone on a bench playing a serious but imaginary football match-up on his cell phone. Some older married men sat across from him on the benches that surrounded the indoor fountain. Some of the men looked numb and exhausted. They just sat there guarding their wives' shopping bags. Joel laughed to himself.
A young couple and their little boy walked over to one of the other benches. The mother asked her son, “Are you going with me or staying here with Daddy?”
The little boy looked about three years old. He clearly stated, “I wanna stay with Daddy.” As soon as his mother walked away he took off running behind her yelling, “I go with you.”
Joel admired their little family. He found himself thinking about having a family quite a bit lately. He hoped to have kids one day. He always dreamed of having a Joel Davis Jr. who closely resembled him. He imagined having kids with Erin and Kenya. He imagined how they would look. He tried to figure out how the three of them would even integrate kids into their current relationship. He knew that people had done it, but deep down he knew that it would be confusing, weird, uncomfortable and possibly disastrous for a child to be raised in a poly relationship. His thoughts quickly shifted back to his game.
A few minutes later he was so engrossed in his game that it appeared as if he hardly noticed a steady stream of attractive women who walked by. He definitely noticed them, but didn't feel the need to acknowledge them with anything more than his usual brief eye contact and a subtle smile. Although Joel was into the game, he was well aware of everybody around him. As a matter of fact, he felt someone staring at him. He looked up and saw two guys who looked a whole lot like the rappers Baby and Lil Wayne staring at him from the opposite side of the mall. They walked by Joel without saying a word. A few seconds later he felt the same strange feeling. When he looked up he saw the same two guys again. This time he kept his eyes on the two of them. When they realized he was watching them, one of the guys headed toward Joel.
Joel was calm and took a couple of seconds to select the
mode on his game.
The guy who looked like Lil Wayne approached Joel and said, “Yo, ain't you the dude who beat Spanky's ass last night at the club?”
Joel felt an instant adrenaline rush. His heart started beating out of his chest. Retaliation and bloodshed was all he could think of for the moment. He played dumb at first and said, “Huh?”
The guy nodded and said, “Yeah, you are the one. I remember you.”
Joel was ready to take on whatever came his way. He stood up boldly and looked like he was ready to defend himself. With an intense look in his eyes he said, “Yeah, it was me. Why? What you want?”
The guy laughed and said, “Nah, I'm not trying to step to you like that. I just want you to know that the streets is lovin' you right about now. That nigga Spanky gonna be away for a while. He was on probation and I know they gonna make him serve out the last seven years he had left on his sentence.”
Joel had a nonchalant expression on his face. “That's kind of messed up, but he brought that on himself.”
“You don't even feel bad about that, do you?”
“Nope, I don't. Why should I?”
“Nah, you shouldn't. He wasn't a friend of mine. Me and my people hate him. You did him a favor and added a few more days to his life 'cause everybody was after that boy. They just gonna get him on the inside now. What was y'all fighting about anyway?”
“I used to mess with his cousin, and Spanky was mouthing off about stuff he didn't know nothing about. And then he put his hands on my girlfriend.”
“I don't blame you for doing what you did. I would have knocked his ass out too, if he had touched my girl.” The guy paused for a moment, gave Joel a look of respect, threw his hands up and said, “Aw-ight, that's it. I just wanted you to know what was going on.”
The two guys walked away, but Joel didn't trust them. He sat back down and felt like a stationary target sitting there. He continued sitting there, playing his game until it was interrupted by an incoming text message.
The text message was from Erin. It read,
I miss you!
Within a few seconds another text message came through, but this time it was an
I miss you
Joel replied to both messages,
I miss you, too!
Forty-five minutes later, Joel saw Erin and Kenya walking toward him, each carrying two medium-sized shopping bags.
Kenya handed Joel his Macy's card and said, “Thank you. We didn't use your card. They had a nice sale going on and we decided to pay for our own clothes. We treated you to a couple of nice things ... just to show you how much we appreciate you.”
“You're both appreciated and that is why I offered to pay for your clothes. Now I definitely have to do something special for the two of you.”
Erin said, “You've already done enough.”
Kenya said, “Speak for yourself.” Then in a sexy tone she said, “I know a few things you can do.”
They all laughed.
Joel asked, “Did y'all get what you wanted ... from the store?”
Erin said, “Yeah.” She handed him one of the shopping bags and said, “This is for you from me and Kenya.”
“What is it?”
Kenya said, “The simplest thing to do is to just look inside the bag.”
Joel said, “I knew you were gonna say that.”
Kenya said, “Just look inside, please.”
Joel opened the bag and found two striped Ralph Lauren Polo shirts that were different from any of his others. He said, “Thanks. I love these. Just what I needed, a couple more to add to my collection.” He paused for a moment and then asked, “So, what did y'all treat yourselves to?”
Before Erin and Kenya answered they were distracted by the little boy Joel had noticed earlier. He had returned with his mother. He walked up to his father and said, “We back, Daddy.”
Erin and Kenya thought that the little boy was cute, but quickly turned the conversation back to shopping. They showed Joel their clothes. After that the girls wanted to go to Victoria's Secret and insisted that Joel come along to help them pick out something sexy. He agreed, because he loved looking at Victoria's Secret lingerieâwhat he considered gift wrap for breasts and ass.
The young married couple overheard Joel, Erin and Kenya's Victoria's Secret conversation. The husband envied Joel's situation with the girls and wished he could have traded places with him. The wife just stood still with a puzzled look on her face. She didn't know what to think of the threesome.