Authors: Tiffany L. Warren
Lies and Alibis
Tiffany L. Warren
“Lies and Alibis” copyright © 2011 Tiffany L. Warren
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means without prior consent of the Publisher, excepting brief quotes used in reviews.
This is a work of fiction. Any references or similarities to actual events, real people, living or dead, or to real locales are intended to give the novel a sense of reality. Any similarity in other names, characters, places, and incidents is entirely coincidental.
“Oh, no he didn't!”
I am alone in my serenity room, so no one hears my tortured outburst. Anger and frustration ricochet off of the mint green walls like stray New Year's Eve bullet
s. My hands tremble as the tears flow, making salty rivers in my Chanel bronzing foundation.
This serenity room is anything but serene.
I stare at the computer screen; blink to adjust my vision. Maybe astigmatism has me reading words that aren't really there. Perhaps if I blink a few times, the headline will change and the picture of the man with a half-naked stripper in his lap won't be my husband.
But all the blinking and focusing in the world doesn't change what I see.
DOES DIONNE KNIGHT KNOW ABOUT THIS?
I detest this particular blog - trueblackgossip.com. They seem to be obsessed with me. So much so, that
there is a whole category of posts dedicated to me - all about the adulterous exploits of my husband, multi-platinum music producer Rod Knight.
The article goes into great detail about how my husband canoodled with the tramp all night long at some strip club in Birmingham, Alabama. He was then seen escorting her to his hotel suite. Another picture shows them leaving the hotel, hand in hand, supposedly the next morning.
A wave of nausea envelops me like a blanket, as the sadness comes. Even though I know Rod has been cheating on me since we first got together, this hurts like hell. I keep thinking I’ll get numb to the feeling, but I never do. I swallow hard and blink back tears. Not going to break down.
I narrow my eyes and examine the photograph, trying to identify the hoochie. Can't see her face, though, because the blog owners blurred out her features. I need to understand why she gets the benefit of anonymity when th
is tacky little blog puts me on blast all day every day. A stripper grinding in the lap of a married man is nowhere near an innocent victim. The heffa probably would've enjoyed the attention anyway. Probably would've used it to kick off her career as a video vixen.
Every cutie with a booty is trying to be in one of Rod's videos.
When I met Rod at nineteen, I was an aspiring rapper. Was planning on being the next Lil' Kim, but not as trashy. I wanted to bring some sexiness and class to the game. I spent hundreds of my mother's hard earned dollars in Rod's start-up studio.
Unfortunately, my rhyming skills didn't live up to the hype.
Rod and I fell in love over an 8-track sound board. He told me how he was going to blow up. We were going to be the king and queen of hip-hop and populate the planet with miniature emcees. I was gonna be Peaches and he was gonna be Herb.
That was before he started making
Now I'm just the
“wifey”, and that is not a term of endearment. The word makes me cringe every time I hear it uttered from Rod’s lips.
Sometimes I feel like he keeps me around just so he won't have to pay alimony. And all that talk about reproduction went out the window once he made his first million.
is not what I signed up for.
I glare at the headline staring me in the face - another judgment on my pitiful marriage. Another reminder that vows taken before God don't mean spit if one party doesn't care what God or anyone else thinks.
After the sadness has settled in like sand on the ocean floor, the fury rolls in like a flood.
A growl escapes my throat as I yell at the screen.
“Dionne Knight did NOT know about this and I sure didn't need to know! Not today!”
Choked sobs disrupt my breathing and leave me gasping for air. I should’ve never gotten on the internet today. My best friend Hailey tells me all the time to stay far, far, away from the blogs. She says it's the only way she stays married to her husband, NFL star, Rory Claiborne.
Rory is featured on trueblackgossip.com at least once a week. They seem to think it's amusing that Rory is married to a white woman but is notorious for his long string of black mistresses. The Rory post of the day shows him “making it rain” in a popular Miami strip club.
The cursor on my computer screen hovers over the little X in the corner. I linger for a moment, then click, removing the picture from the screen, but not erasing the ache in my heart.
I keep thinking I should be used to this by now - the discovery of Rod’s infidelity and its accompanying pain. But who could get used to this?
My cell phone rings. The ringtone is
by Mary Mary, so I know it's my oldest almost-happily-married sister Camille. I am so not in the mood for her chipper, holy behind.
I'm so sorry,” she says right after my hello. I assume she's heard or read about Rod.
A long pause.
“Oh. You don't know?”
I don't know about what?” I yawn and roll my eyes. We can do this all afternoon if she wants.
Well you can't just start something like that and then not finish.”
t’s so annoying when Camille is in a hurry to discuss my bad news, because her drama is always top secret. I didn't see her blowing up my phone when her house went into foreclosure for the fourth time. Nor did I get a text message when her husband got slapped with a paternity lawsuit by that crazy teen girl in his youth choir. The baby wasn't his, but that's beside the point. Camille's nosy tail kept all of
Well, there's a blog post about Rod on the internet and they've got a picture of him and some trollop.”
I force out a fake laugh. Somehow hearing Camille say it makes it more real.
“Honestly, Cami, you don't believe everything you see on the internet do you?”
But there's a picture.”
Do you know how easy it is to doctor a photograph? It's called Photoshop.” I hope I sound convincing.
Well...okay. I just wanted to see if you wanted me to pray about it.”
Camille, sweetie, it's all good over here.”
You know that I'm here for you if you need me.”
I know. I'll call you later. We have to figure out where we're having sister talk.”
“Is that this Friday?”
The third Friday of every month I have lunch with my sisters
, Camille and Sydney. It's when we catch up on our lives...or what we're willing to share about our lives.
Yep. We had Italian the last time. I think I want some soul food. What about Paschal’s?”
Camille makes a gagging sound.
“I’m on a diet. Really, Dionne, you need to start taking better care of yourself.”
The sigh is automatic.
“I know, but I want some macaroni and cheese, so sue me.”
Your body is your temple and it's not godly to...”
Oops! Did I just press the 'end' button on my phone?
She won't call back, because she knows I'll press ignore. I always do when she goes into her Christian lecture mode. Seriously, we all went to Sunday School together when we were little. I know the Bible just as well as she does.
I shut down my laptop and call my baby sister Sydney.
“Did you see that bull?” I ask instead
of saying hello.
I saw it,” Sydney replies in her husky voice. “Rod is trifling as what. I do not like him.”
One tear trickles down my face.
What are you gonna do? When are you gonna leave him?”
I can't yet. You know why.”
I hear Sydney suck her teeth.
“Yeah, gotta have some offspring.”
Right. This body won't pay for itself.”
I stand up and examine my body in the mirror that covers one wall in my serenity room.
I’ve got the best body a thirty-two year old woman can buy. Flat stomach - not a six pack, but definitely bikini worthy. Nice rack – saline implants of course. Long, thick black girl hair that grows right out of my head even though it looks like two tons of premium weave. Stripper worthy, round pop out booty, courtesy of a Brazilian butt fill. My face looks great and I wouldn't dream of touching it now, but as soon as I even think I see a crow's foot, I'm going straight to the Botox clinic - not passing go, not collecting two hundred dollars, because my husband is a millionaire.
And a cheater. How could he be cheating when he’s got the best of the best? I slide back down onto the couch – my legs can no longer seem to support my body weight.
“I honestly don't see how you have unprotected sex with him, Dee. He's got to have a Petri dish full of pathogens raging through his man parts.”
Pathogens? Why can't you just say germs like everybody else? “
Ha! Sorry. I'm a physician, Dee, that's just how I speak. I didn't mean to make you feel inferior.”
Sydney’s laughter is real, mine is fake. Today is not a day of laughter for me – it’s a day of crying and lamentations. I’m proud of my baby sister, the doctor, and our ongoing joke about her being a genius is usually enough to break me out of a funky mood. Not today. The funk is here to stay.
“Lunch, this Friday at Paschal’s, and don't tell me you can't make it.”
Sydney chuckles softly.
“I'll be there. I know you need me to hold you up right now...even if you won't admit it.”
Nothing gets by Sydney.
“Good, because I don't know if I can take a whole three hours alone with chicken-soup-fo-yo-soul spittin' Camille.”
She just wants the best for you, Dee. We both do.”
I appreciate everyone's concern. But for real. I got this.”
We say our goodbyes and disconnect the call. I wait for the melancholy to set in; know it's coming because it always does.
The worst thing is that I love Rod. I love his dirty drawers. But there comes a time when a grown woman's got to put on her big girl panties and face the facts.
Fact. Rod Knight is an unapologetic, freak of a man
Fact. I've grown accustomed to the lifestyle of the rich and famous.
Fact. One day I will ask him for a divorce.
I wipe the tears from my eyes, put on my Donna Karan shades and my stiletto heels. Time for a little shopping expedition to Victoria's Secret. Rod will be home tonight, and I'd like to start working on my relationship parting gift.
I hate working the evening shift. Nothing rolls up in the emergency room after hours except insane accidents, drug overdoses, and addicts looking for a pain medication fix. Plus, all the doctors and nurses are cranky from sleep deprivation.
It's going to be a boring twelve hours.
I'm chilling at the nurse's station, eating a cup of strawberry yogurt and listening to them cackle. No matter what any of the well-paid doctors think, the nurses run this place. And they have the best gossip.
The nurse supervisor and ringleader, Connie, turns to me and says, “Hey, Syd, I heard that fling Lucas was having with Ming Nah in Pediatrics is over. Her brother flew in from China and told him in no uncertain terms that she was not gonna be popping out any bi-racial babies.”
I nearly choke on my yogurt
. Laughter causes some of it to shoot right out of my nose. “That's what he gets.”
All four of the nurses join me in laughing at Lucas Jeffries. He is my arch enemy, has been since medical school at Emory. We dated for our entire first year of medical school. He was my first, and so unworthy. I never forgave myself for losing my virginity to him. The thought of it makes my stomach churn even now, almost eight years later.
“Stop laughing,” Nurse Leah says. “He's coming, and he's gonna think we're talking about him.”
talking about him! Who cares if he knows it?”
I do,” Leah replies as she fluffs her blonde bob and dabs on some lip gloss. “He’s hot and now he’s available.”
I honestly don't care what I look like when Lucas sees me. I've got my thick hair pulled into a high ponytail on the top of my head. I'm not wearing makeup,
and I wouldn’t for him. As far as I'm concerned, Lucas can see me with an eyeball in the center of my forehead and a booger hanging out of my nose. I feel my face twist into the angry frown I always get when he’s within fifteen feet of me.
Lucas takes long, authoritative strides down the hall, as if he's filming an emergency room commercial. Looks like he's gonna say something like,
“Bring us your broken bones, your itches and burns! Atlanta General cares about the total you!” Or some crap like that.
He totally works my nerves with his unreasonable perfection.
Lucas could've been a model. He's the perfect height for it, and his olive colored skin is culturally ambiguous. His most delicious features, in my opinion, are his almond-shaped gray eyes, and his thick smoky black eyelashes. He makes all the women here swoon, with the exception of me. Been there, done that. I don't swoon over the past.
He makes it to the station and plops a stack of manila folders on the counter.
“Could I trouble any of you ladies to file these for me? It's been a long night, and I've got a surgery in two hours. I was hoping I could take a nap before I go to work saving a life.”
Of course, Dr. Jeffries,” Leah gushes. “It would be my pleasure.”
I glance at the surgery board. Lucas
have a surgery in two hours, but it's an appendectomy. He could do that in his sleep, with a hangover, with one hand tied behind his back. .
Lucas nods in my direction.
Lucas.” I don't even look up and make eye contact with him. Don't feel like looking into his smug face tonight.
Anything interesting tonight?”
I shake my head, still not looking at him.
“Ridiculous case of crabs on a fifteen year old girl. Asthma attack. Chemical burn from some drain opener.”
Pretty standard Wednesday night stuff, huh?”
I nod and scrape the bottom of my empty yogurt container just to look occupied.
Why does he insist on trying to talk to me? If I never have another conversation with him it would be perfectly fine with me. He can take all of his good looks and kick rocks, because I know what he's like inside. He's a cheater, and cheaters never change. My sister’s raggedy husband proves that point.
Your birthday is coming up, do you have any plans?” Lucas asks.
“He remembered your birthday!”
He remembers my birthday, because it's June 5th, the same as his mama's,” I quickly retort, before anybody starts getting any ideas.
Lucas laughs out loud.
“It is the same as my mother's, and she's having a huge sixtieth party this year. You want to go? She always liked you.”
I look directly into his sexy eyes.
“What about Ming Nah? Sure she wouldn't want to meet your family?”
I just love reminding Lucas where he comes from. His family is straight countrified-ghetto. All his clipped speaking and a penthouse in Buckhead
don’t change the fact that he came from hood folk. They'd probably give poor Ming Nah a nervous breakdown.
always like me though, because I can cook biscuits from scratch and make a peach cobbler that makes you wanna slap somebody. I like her too. Her name is Brenda Mae, and she is all the way real. Don't even think of calling her Brenda without the Mae either. The mention of Ming Nah seems to have put a chink in Lucas's swagger armor. Awww...too bad.
Ming Nah and I aren’t together,” Lucas says.
Guess you’re going stag.”
Are you going to hold that grudge forever?” Lucas asks.
He always puts me on blast
, as if embarrassing me in front of the nurses is going to make me any more likely to accept his advances. It has the opposite effect. Gives him a snowball's chance in Hades - a place his devilish self can rot for all I care.
It's only been eight years, Lucas. Not forever.”
Well, you're about to be thirty. Grow up a little. Let a grown man take you out sometime.”
He doesn't have to remind me that I'm turning thirty on my birthday. No wedding dress or babies in my immediate future. No warm body to snuggle up to at night. My stomach feels like he landed a body blow.
I stand and walk from behind the nurse's station until I'm toe to toe with Lucas. I'd love for it to be nose to nose, but he's a foot taller than me.
When a grown man asks me out, then maybe I'll say yes.”
I march away from him, pull the rubber band out of my hair and shake my hair down my back for a dramatic effect.
The nurses roar with laughter. I don't look back to confirm, but I'm sure Lucas is picking his face up off the floor.
I hope he doesn’t consider this a challenge. I am so not in the mood.