Authors: S. W. Frank
Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #United States, #African American, #Romance, #Anthologies
New York City and the lights of Lincoln Center are something to behold at night. The building is one glow of
sophistication complimented by the pristine architecture surrounding the
expansive building. The limos and medallion cabs streamed to the front of the structure and door were held ajar by suited chauffeurs or gallant men.
The well-dressed couples floated through the doors, images of style and class unimaginable by those without. The rich have tastes which set them apart from the poorer men. Illusions of sophistication exists, when some were once poor and acquired certain loves simply to fit in.
Alfonzo held Selange’s waist proudly, she was far classier than the women. Her love of the opera was not
she enjoyed the horrible music as a project girl from Brooklyn. The money only gave her access to experience its effect in places like these, where the acoustics are superb and her ass isn’t chafed by uncomfortable seats.
He promised to smile and enjoy the screeching sounds. They had a dinner reservation at eight at the Russian Tea Room he’d heavily greased two palms for and later…hopefully…she’d take pity on his dick.
In their private booth overlooking the stage they sat and throughout the performance the sheer pleasure on her face for the wailing climatic music never ceased to amaze him. Oh, he tried to love it as much but it wasn’t happening. This was her thing, solely hers.
He scanned the booths with discretion, making sport at the stiff postures and wrinkled faces of some who
were so enthralled with the high pitched shrieks they appeared about to convulse. He gazed down and right and the amusement wore off.
There in the velvet red seats sat Bruno Demarco and his mom.
After the sighting he watched them all evening, his jaw clenched and anxious to intercept the bastard once the performance was done. It took forever for the show to conclude. If he were asked about the costumes or the lead, he’d have no answer because he didn’t see or hear anything other than the murderous howl in his head and the color red.
With fast paced steps he maneuvered through the sea of black and pale faces
anxious to get to the mezzanine. Selange’s eyes were questioning but she didn’t ask the nature of the emergency as he moved her along. She had no idea his mood change and the urgency had nothing to do with physical danger but were actions of an overzealous son.
They were out of the crowd, on the wide stairs leading to the main street when he slowed and he stepped aside with her watching the doors.
She spoke, “What’s up, who are you looking for?”
Before he answered a
emerged from the polished glass
doors, arm and arm
and she got her answer.
entrenched in conversation
did not spot Alfonzo and Selange until Alfonzo blocked their path and said, “Holá mama.”
“Alfonzo hi,” she smiled then greeted Selange, “hello Sela, you two look very nice.”
“So do you Maria. Wow
Alfonzo’s mom looked
“How are you young man?” Bruno asked.
“I’m good and you
man?” Alfonzo retorted.
“Alfonzo!” His mother admonished.
“No, it’s okay Maria. I am not offended by your brash son. I have young sons who at times lack manners.”
Selange grimaced. This entire scene was awkward.
“Except I am not your son.”
“True.” Bruno’s teeth glistened under the lights and people walking
ouples smiling as if they were celebrities out for the night.
Maria tightened her cashmere wrap around her shoulders to ward off the chill and with disappointment addressed Alfonzo. “I
you better than your manners reflect hijo.
Do not sour my evening with your
Bruno and I would like to continue to enjoy our evening, if you don’t mind.”
Selange’s eyes widened a tad. Oh, shucks. Maria was about to get her groove on. Hot damn!
The chivalrous Bruno extended an invitation, “Please why don’t you two join us. I have a table reserved at The Companiero downtown. There’s a performance by José Guetta. I will love for you to join us.”
Selange gripped Alfonzo’s hand and was about to decline, “Thanks, but…”
“We’d love to. I know where it is, we’ll meet you there.” He said cutting her off.
“Alfonzo, what about our dinner plans?”
“Change of plans babe.”
“We shouldn’t go. Let your mom enjoy her date. Don’t you want her to be happy?”
Lou held open the door and they slid in the car. “Seven
hree, Third Avenue!” Alfonzo recited to the driver as Lou settled upfront in the passenger seat.
Selange turned to gaze out the window. The evening had
from a ten to a zero. When it came to
mother, he was worse than a father protecting his daughter’s virtue. She prayed he didn’t start a commotion.
Dinner was uncomfortable. The
looks from Alfonzo to Bruno, the tongue in cheek conversation
for Maria. Selange managed to intermediate like a pro but
was unrelenting. Finally,
had enough, “Come Bruno, let’s dance!”
Alfonzo frowned, “I’ll dance with you mama.”
Maria cut him an angry look, “Sit and eat. Silencio!”
Bruno smirked at Alfonzo and pushed back from his seat and in exaggerated manners held Maria
chair, extended his arm and gestured toward the dance floor.
Alfonzo stopped eating, “Do you see that shit babe?”
Selange’s questioning brow as she poured another glass of champagne indicated he was acting a fool. “See what?”
“That motherfucking player is hitting on my mom!”
“Ummm.” She emptied her glass
“I should bust his ass.”
, Alfonzo, k
ick his ass for liking your mom
ill her happiness. Freddie
ook my mom and
with a bullet
and I was selfish and petty just like you hours before he did it
So, go ahead…do what the hell you want!
Taken aback by the terse remark his eyes
flicked from her face to the half empty bottle. “You alright babe?”
I was until you started sulking and ruining everything
Maria looks soooo pretty and she’s smiling goddammit but you-”
Alfonzo threw up his hands in mock surrender, “Whoa, chill out babe. I get what you’re saying…I’ll back off…don’t go there mujer…don’t bring that shit up.”
ge abruptly pushed back her seat
stood. She marched straight to the bar
leaving her purse
and Alfonzo at
He sighed as he stared after the woman, damn she was right. He was behaving like an ass.
Selange at the bar
and placed her gem studded
the smooth wood surface. She didn’t look at him. Her thoughts were far away in the distant past
n her mother and Al.
This was the broken Selange, the person he sometimes forgot lie
beneath the sweet
shell. The girl
for help existed
with the strong woman
. He felt bad and tried to salvage the night.
His voice was tender, drawing her out like she’d done for him on numerous occasions. He kept his tone light,
“You’re going to need money if you plan on buying a drink.”
idn’t bring any money.”
“How do you expect to pay the bar tab?”
“That’s why I haven’t ordered.”
“Then you’re taking up stool space.”
She sighed, “I don’t care.”
“Did you want a drink?”
“I want a tattoo.”
The famous Latin crooner continued belting his slow romantic ballad and Alfonzo couldn’t help but glance over at his mother who was being tightly held by the Italian Don Juan.
“I’m going for it.” She
slapped the bar, “Liquid courage. There’s
tattoo parlor a few blocks away. We passed it on the way here. I’m doing it
, I always wanted one
Alfonzo peered over her shoulder. Bruno was caressing his mother’s arm.
, right near my pussy.”
at her announcement, totally shocked,
A chuckle emanated
from his throat
and his mood
That’s going to be one painful tattoo, babe.”
“I won’t feel a thin
when I’m drunk.”
Oh yes, yo
. It’s a
with lots of nerve endings
, it’ll be on the side, real close to the inner thigh and not on it.
“Oh sí, mujer you’ll
feel that shit.”
“Let’s make a bet that it won’t hurt and if
you have to stay out of your mom’s love-life.”
“And if you lose?”
“You still have to butt-out, but
she giggled and it was cute, “I’ll butter you up real good
“Ah shit, it’s on.”
“First I have to numb myself. You’re paying.”
“Don’t I always?”
“Ha…ha…funny.” She nudged him with her shoulder, “
o, you don’t
type of tattoo are you getting
“It’s a surprise.” Then she slapped the bar again,
Entertained by the display of bad etiquette from Miss Manners, he waited for the bartender. He liked women mixologists and this one looked like she knew her shit and that’s a plus. “What’s your name?” Alfonzo asked.
“Hi Cynthia, this here
“My name’s Selange
Cynthia and I need you to give me two shot glasses and your best
getting a tattoo later and I don’t want to feel anything but good.
a grin. The handsome couple on a date. How cute
on the rocks or not
reached in his pocket, unclipped two large bills and slid them across the shiny counter, “Let’s go easy. A bottle of your
Zacapa. One bottle, no chasers. No shot glass, tumblers, por favore.”
, the woman’s date was smart, he opted to give her rum, much sweeter on the palette. Hot guy, too.
She liked gentlemen and that one was
one hundred percent
bottle and returned in less than a minute
atop thin bamboo coasters,
opened the bottle then
o their drinks
other customers bellying up to the bar.