“Okay, now, I know you ain’t doing it like you used to but just ’cause you one step away from being in the welfare line don’t mean we have to starve to death,” Tee-Tee complained as soon as his cousin Dylan sat down for breakfast at The City Diner.
Dylan loved going to The City Diner. Coupled with their wide variety of comfort foods, she thoroughly enjoyed the whimsical way in which it was designed. The diner was filled with old movie and music memorabilia, the 1950s-style booths, tables, and a jukebox.
“Tee-Tee, shut up. I got enough going on to be dealing wit’ you and your nonsense. It’s too damn early.” Dylan took off her purse and set it down in the empty seat next to her.
“Uh, ah, did slumdog just read me?” Tee-Tee looked at his and Dylan’s best friend Billie, appalled.
“Yeah, honey, you just got served,” Billie nodded, tryin’ to be hip. “Does anybody still say that?”
“No,” Dylan shook her head.
“Anyway,” Tee-Tee flicked his wrist, “Miss Unfashionably Late, I know you’re a recessionista now, but I know you
shoppin’ in the Miley Cyrus collection at Wal-Mart.” He curled up his lip and looked Dylan up and down.
“What?” Dylan gazed over her outfit which she thought was cute. She wore a black fitted fake leather jacket from Forever 21, wife beater, white jeans, and motorcycle boots. Her accessories consisted of a green scarf, gold watch, skull ring, and a black hobo-style purse.
“You are such a hater, but anyway, how are you, my love?” Dylan turned her attention to Billie and patted her on the arm.
“Good,” she cooed. “I am so excited to go on my honeymoon,” Billie clapped enthusiastically.
“I know you are. Where are y’all going again?”
“India, Italy, Japan, and Rome. We’ll be gone a month.”
“Can I come too?” Dylan half joked.
“Nigga, no.” Billie laughed. “I have been married to my husband for two months, and we have yet to spend a moment alone. I can’t wait to get the hell up outta here.”
“Them li’l critters you call kids gon’ have a fit. You know they can’t live without they mama,” Tee-Tee took a sip from his glass.
“They will be all right.” Billie crossed her legs. “Their father is watching them and say something else about my kids and see don’t I reach across this table and stab you in the neck with this fork.” She held it up.
“And I thought marriage would soften you,” Tee-Tee said, then chuckled.
“Actually it has,” Billie smiled. “Guess who I invited over for New Year’s Eve?”
“Fantasia’s brother Teeny?” Tee-Tee exclaimed over the moon.
“No.” Billie looked at him as if he were crazy.
“Don’t be lookin’ at me like that. If I wasn’t married, Teeny could get it.”
“Oh my God, I can’t. It’s too early in the morning for your foolishness.” Billie hung her head and laughed.
“Well, who is it?” Dylan asked.
“Cain and Becky,” Billie replied.
“What the fuck was on yo’ mind?” Tee-Tee drew back. “Bitch, was you high? We don’t like them.”
“I know, but the kids want they daddy there, so I couldn’t just invite him and not her,” she explained.
“Shit, why not? I would’ve,” he countered.
“That’s ’cause you’re ignorant,” Dylan chimed in.
“You damn right I am,” Tee-Tee shot sternly. “That skank wouldn’t be up in my house. I mean, c’mon. Am I the only one that remembers Becky was your husband’s mistress while y’all was married?” He looked back and forth between Dylan and Billie.
“Hell, naw, I haven’t forgotten,” Billie replied. “I’m just over being mad, besides, I gotta new man. I ain’t trippin’ off Cain and his floozy.”
“Yous a good one, honey, ’cause er’time I see ha we’d be fightin’.” Tee-Tee bobbed his head like a ghetto girl.
“Me and you gon’ be fightin’ if you don’t leave my friend alone,” Dylan warned.
“Well, ain’t you feisty this morning.” Tee-Tee gave her a sly grin.
“I swear to God I can’t stand you,” Dylan laughed.
“Well, you know y’all are invited,” Billie continued on.
“We better,” Tee-Tee shot. “If Pam and Tommy Lee can come, I know we invited.”
“You are a damn coon.” Billie playfully pushed him in the arm.
“I’m pregnant!” Dylan blurted out, unable to keep it bottled in anymore.
“Oh my goodness.” Tee-Tee placed his hands in front of him as if to say “freeze.” “Oh my gooooooodness. We having a baby!”
to be kidding me.” Billie rolled her neck and folded her arms across her chest.
“What?” Dylan looked at her perplexed.
“You know you really had me fooled. I’m up here thinking you have changed, and you pregnant by State.”
Dylan rolled her eyes to the ceiling. Billie was always jumping to conclusions. She never took the time to learn all of the details before reacting. Little did she know but Dylan and Billie’s brother, Angel, had slept together the night of Billie’s wedding.
“And you think it’s funny? Bitch, you must have me fucked up. Let me go before I have to choke the shit outta this ho.” Billie grabbed her purse, scooted back her hair, and stood up.
“Billie, sit yo’ ass down,” Dylan demanded from across the table. “I am
pregnant by State.”
“Well, who, then?” Billie retook her seat.
Dylan licked her lips nervously and swallowed.
“Oh, hell to the no!” Tee-Tee wagged his finger. “You done stole my man, and you gettin’ ready to have a baby by him. Just shoot me now!” He pounded his fist on the table.
“You are so dramatic.” Dylan rolled her eyes.
“Hold up,” Billie jumped in. “So you mean to tell me you pregnant by my brother, Angel?”
“Yes.” Dylan closed her eyes and nodded.
“And can’t nobody else be the daddy?” Billie questioned, still skeptical.
“No.” Dylan shook her head.
“No!” Dylan shrieked.
“Okay.” Billie put her hands up. “I believe you.”
“Damn, was I that much of a ho?” Dylan looked at both Billie and Tee-Tee.
“Yes!” they both exclaimed in unison.
“Y’all ass ain’t shit.” She shot them both an angry look.
“No, we speaks the truth,” Tee-Tee objected. “Shit, yo’ ass was about to be the female Wilt Chamberlin.”
“Fuck you.” Dylan gave him the middle finger.
“No, thanks. My man already did this morning.” He batted his eyes.
“Ugh, don’t make me throw up again. I already have twice this morning.” Dylan smacked her lips together as if she had a bad taste in her mouth.
“Okay, let’s get focused here,” Billie interjected. “How far along are you?”
“Two months,” Dylan answered.
“Whoa.” Billie’s eyes grew wide. “So that means that you and Angel did the oochie wally oochie bang bang during the weekend of my wedding.”
“Actually, the night of,” Dylan responded.
“Wow.” Billie shook her head dazed.
“So the million-dollar question is ...” Tee-Tee placed his right elbow on the table and leaned forward, “does he know?”
Dylan winced. “No.”
“Ooooooh, scandalous,” Tee-Tee snapped his fingers.
“Why haven’t you told him?” Billie asked.
“’Cause it’s already weird between us,” Dylan said after a pause. “I mean, after we smashed—”
“Speak English,” Billie waved her hand cutting her off.
“Fucked, made love, had sex,” Dylan said loudly. “He basically told me it was a wrap, and that we would never be, so what do I do? Call him and say, ‘Hey, how you doing? Did you hear Heidi from the Hills had ten surgeries in one day, and oh, by the way, I’m pregnant’?”
“Girl, don’t she look faaaaaaaaabulous,” Tee-Tee added.
“No, more like a hot mess,” Dylan disagreed.
“Fuck all of that.” Billie waved her hands. “When are you going to tell him?”
“Soon, of course. I’m just tryin’ to find the right time,” Dylan responded hesitantly.
“Girl, you better tell that man. Nothin’ good ever came from keeping something a secret. I learned that from watching
Days of Our Lives
. Especially not no shit about no baby,” Tee-Tee cautioned.
“Okay . . . you just got really deep,” Dylan said in a
“I know, and now I have a headache.” He massaged his forehead.
“Look, there’s no time like the present. The longer you wait, the harder it’s gonna be,” Billie said.
Dylan took a deep breath.
“I guess. I just have never been this scared before in my life.” Dylan buried her face in her hands.
“Why?” Billie asked, concerned.
“’Cause I’m still in love with your brother, and what if he don’t want me to have it?” Dylan swallowed the tears that were rising in her throat. “Could you imagine anything worse?”
“Yep,” Tee-Tee nodded with a faraway look in his eyes. “A Coogi sweater with matching pants.”
“Anyway,” Billie tuned up her face, “if I know anything, I know my brother. He gon’ want you to keep it.”
“I hope so,” Dylan said optimistically.
“Look, quit stalling and call him,” Billie persisted.
“Okay.” Dylan dug into her purse and pulled out her phone. “I’ll be back.” She pushed her chair back.
Outside the restaurant, Dylan stood on the sidewalk. The chilly November air kissed her face as she held the phone in her hand. In a year’s time, life for Dylan Monroe had changed drastically. She’d gone from trips around the world, designer dresses straight from the runway, and A-List soirees, to weekly runs to Wal-Mart and clearance-rack clothes. She was now catering the parties she used to attend. She’d found the love of her life, heavyweight champion of the world, Angel Carter. But after having a torrid affair with her newly married, ex-fiancé State, she lost Angel.
After nearly a year apart, she and Angel rekindled their romance at Billie and Knox’s wedding. Dylan hoped that night would be their chance for a new beginning. But Angel still wasn’t able to forgive and forget, so he made it clear once and for all that what they once shared was a thing of the past. Heartbroken, Dylan accepted their fate but still held out hope for them in her heart. All the signs for their relationship pointed to over, but somehow, fate stepped in, and now, she was carrying his child.
Nervous as hell, Dylan looked over her shoulder to see if Billie and Tee-Tee were watching her. Of course they were. Turning her head, Dylan took a much-needed deep breath and found Angel’s number in her address book. Reluctantly, she pressed send. A second later, the phone began to ring.
Damn, why couldn’t his line be busy?
she thought, holding her breath.
Three rings later, her call was sent to voice mail. Knowing she would never build the courage to call him again, Dylan decided to give him the news via voice mail.
“Hey . . . it’s me, Dylan,” she spoke softly. “I know we haven’t spoken in a while, but I really need to talk to you.” Dylan paused and tried her best to swallow the baseball-sized lump in her throat. “Umm . . . I’m pregnant, and I’m scared. I just . . . really need to talk you, so call me as soon as you get this message.”
Dylan took the phone away from her ear and ended the call. She hadn’t realized it when she was on the phone, but her entire body was shaking. She prayed that Angel would call back soon, because if not, she knew that she would be on pins and needles for the rest of the day every time her phone rang.
One thousand, five hundred and ninety-three miles away in sunny Malibu, California, Angel sat on the side of his bed in nothing but a pair of Armani Exchange boxers. Exhausted, he yawned and rubbed his eyes, then picked up the X10 remote control which controlled almost everything in the house. Using the remote, he opened the curtains. The view of the Pacific Ocean was right before his eyes. Angel sat and watched as the waves crashed onto the shore, while reminiscing about the night before. He and his girlfriend of two months, Milania Fairchild, had made love in every position imaginable. They’d even made up a few of their own.
She was a little-known Victoria’s Secret model with no children and no hidden baggage. She was an allaround good girl with a heart of gold. He enjoyed her company tremendously, cherished the way she made him laugh, and the fact that she was able to take his mind off Dylan was an added bonus. They’d messed around a year and a half before but nothing serious ever popped off between them due to the fact that Angel couldn’t hide his true feelings for Dylan any longer.
But now they were officially a couple, and life for Angel was good. He’d finally come to terms that what he and Dylan shared was over. He could no longer dwell on the past and the moments they shared, although deep down inside, a corner of his heart still ached for her. Angel looked over his shoulder and found Milania, who he thought was asleep, staring back at him.