Chapter 12 Date Night
He hadn’t seen her since the community meeting and with all the crazy shit going on with the detective he had forgotten exactly how and why even, Khia had stolen his heart. Now it was all coming back to him, as she sashayed herself confidently up to the limo window, wearing a black sleeveless tunic that read “Paris” across the front with paired with black lacy leggings. The back of the flat black studded Chanel sandals slapped across the heels of her feet as she neared the car. Her hair, tightly spiral curled, bounced on her shoulders.
Manny found it hard to look at her for too long and simultaneously keep his composure. He looked away, pretending to need to check something on his phone. The closer she came, the footsteps got louder and his breathing faster. Manny inhaled the warm night air and pushed it, along with some of his nervousness, back out threw his nostrils. When he looked up Ritz was looking at him through the rear-view mirror. They both looked away. Both caught, both slightly embarrassed, but both not really giving a fuck.
“Sir, if you don’t mind me butting in, it’s good etiquette to get out of the car and open the door for the young lady.” Ritz said respectably.
“Oh yeah,” Manny said as if he had only forgotten.
Manny opened the door, but to his surprise Khia wasn’t impressed. In fact, she seemed to be slightly disappointed as she stepped into the back seat. Manny scrunched his face and looked at Ritz, who was now back to minding his own business.
Manny shook his head, thinking, What I look like taking advice from this old motherfucker. He probably ain’t had no drawers since the 80’s!
Khia was cool though. She was excited to see what Manny had in store for their night out on the town.
He wore his dreads in two thick flat twists parted down the middle. A dark gray CK tank top worked off its weighty price tag by showing off the cuts in his slim but muscular neck, shoulders and arms. The black pair of shorts with gray huaraches on his feet made him look sporty but the expensive gold watch and chain he wore said he was able to fit in anywhere. Let alone he was in the back of a limo with the baddest shorty, in the land, on his arm. Well, she wasn’t holding on to his arm yet but the night was young and Manny was prepared to see where it would take him.
“So where you like to kick it?” he asked Khia. The first words spoken between the two, in hours, sounded awkward to Manny. He had to find his chill. He thought back on Mrs. Lemon’s words from earlier and in Manny’s mind they equated to “You’re not good enough.” He had fought with that haunting idea all day and finally, just an hour before it was time to meet up with Khia, Manny had recounted the cash in the duffel bag. Reminded himself he was not the same broke ass chump he was when he came to Westerlynne. He could show Khia a good time. He was good enough.
“Oh, it’s super boring if you plan on staying around here. Nothing but a bunch of clubs filled with lames popping bottles and showing off for thirsty ass half-naked whores,” Khia said.
Manny had to use context clues to conclude that this was a bad thing, because from the description she gave, it sounded like the place to be!
“I’m trying to see how the real niggas kick it.” Khia said grinning.
Manny assumed that the “real niggas” Khia was referring to were all back in his old neighborhood. He knew some real niggas there, alright. Real whack and real broke.
Why is she so obsessed with the hood, he thought?
“I can make some calls, see if anything’s popping” Manny said, pulling out his cellular, all important-like.
He called Brandon.
“What up, Boy…I knew you wouldn’t forget about me when you made it out the hood,” Brandon answered the call. Manny could hear Brandon’s cheese smile through the phone.
“What’s up, B…what’s good?” Manny laughed. He was happy to hear from his boy.
“You trying to kick it”
“Hell, yeah! Come grab me. Show me what it do in Westerlynne.”
Khia was singing along with the soft music Ritz had playing in the car. Something new by Solange.
“Actually, we were going to just slide through.”
“Nigga? I know you don’t have a car full of honey dips. Who’s that singing and shit in the background? Come grab ya’ boy!”
“It ain’t even like that, B” Manny said laughing. Then he lowered his voice, while keeping a watchful eye on Khia to make sure she wasn’t paying attention.
He whispered, “Only one.”
“Is she bad as fuck? I know they got some bad bitches out there, bro.”
“Nigga, you wouldn’t even believe it” Manny answered, still talking low, almost mumbling now. Khia was still singing. Her eyes were closed. Neck rolling.
“Oh, shit! See if she got a friend.”
“What?” Manny asked.
“You heard me. Tell her I got some fire,” Brandon attempted.
“Nigga she don’t burn?” Manny whispered.
“Yes, I do” Khia said without even looking at Manny. Not even opening her eyes. He wondered how long her ass had been listening and how much of the conversation had she pieced together.
“You got a friend we could pick up…um, for my boy” Manny asked, figuring she probably heard that too, so, he might as well.
Khia rolled her eyes and pushed her mouth over to one side of her face, “Yeah, I have a friend. What does your boy look like?”
“Um, I don’t know. He’s cool,” Manny said. He had never assessed his homeboy that way. All he knew was that his homey was loyal, funny, and could hoop.
“Nigga…what? Let me talk to her,” Brandon’s tiny voice screamed through the speaker of the device in Manny’s hand.
Manny and Khia both laughed and he handed Khia the phone. With Manny’s phone, up to her ear, Khia was now laughing even harder.
“Um hmm. Umm hmm” Khia said playfully. Almost as playfully as she was when her and Manny had first met. Manny wondered if he had made a mistake by letting them talk. Just now, Manny suddenly realized that Brandon’s swag and game had always been one hundred percent.
She better not try and holler at my boy.
“No reaaally. She’s cute!” Khia blurted out. Brandon had flipped it and now had Khia trying to convince him that her girl was good enough for his hood ass.
Khia handed Manny his phone back then pulled out her own. A grin still plastered across her chocolate face.
Manny finished making plans with Brandon and Khia called her girl. Manny sat far away from Khia in the extra wide backseat, wishing he had the courage to pull her closer. After making her call to her girl, she used her phone to check her makeup.
“This is it,” Khia said, pointing at her friend’s house.
The limo pulled up in front of a house not too far from the Hines’ residence. A quaint home. Not too impressive compared to some of the others. The curvy curly-haired girl Manny had met at the country club, the same day he had been beaten horribly in basketball, came strutting up to the limo. She paused at the door. Manny wondered if she had just remembered she had left something. Her purse, maybe. Ritz, who was already outside the limo, reached over and opened the door. He kindly gestured for her to get in.
“Hey Emmanuel,” Dominique waved. Her smile, pretty and genuine. She sat in the seat across Khia. Scooted up so there knees touched.
“Hi Dominique,” Manny said back. He smiled back but she had already started whispering and giggling with Khia. She was trying to get as much information as possible about who this stranger was she was being set up with.
Manny, too, was caught up in thought about a strange person. As Ritz slowly drove away from the curb, Manny had turned around and looked through the back window. He could see the detectives home in the distance . A slender shadow of a woman was leaving the yard. From the angle and the pace that she moved in, Manny could tell she didn’t have the protruding bulge at her stomach. It wasn’t the slow, wide-legged gait of Mrs. Hines. The shadow tossed long flowing locks away from her face and pranced towards the car parked in the driveway. The fancy round streetlights in front of the home, shown only enough light to cast shadow and doubt. To the unbeknown, it was nothing, but from what Manny had went through these past few days, it had caught his attention. He wondered if the woman was a wanted or unwanted guest. If she was there leaving another unwanted package. If she was Borgella affiliated.