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Authors: Kiki Leach

Miss Independent (6 page)

BOOK: Miss Independent
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              Vanessa soured. “She’s had an apple in her mouth the entire time you’ve been down here?”

              He nodded.

              “Oh! I get it! Nikki’s not the actor,
you
are. This whole thing is just a big audition for the role of a Sexist Pig in the play, ‘I’m an Asshole! Get Me Out of Here!’ Is that on Broadway, or off? I’m going to need tickets either way.”

“I’ll be sure to let you know.”

“Great. In the meantime, could you please do the world a favor and release that girl back into the wild and put on some damn clothes?”

              Nikki came back down and leaned over the railing, placing her hand over her face. “There are some strange noises coming from your bedroom,” she said to Maurice. “I’d check it out, but I’ve already seen too much as it is. And I’m in the process of bleaching my corneas while simultaneously using Q-tips to keep the wax in my ear so that I don’t have to hear any more of that.”

              She whipped her head around fast and raced back upstairs.

              Maurice whistled. “Whoo-eee! That means she’s in heat!” He bypassed Vanessa and headed for the stairs with the bottle of water in his hand. “Another quick round of ring around the cock, and --”

              Vanessa wrapped a hand around his arm and pulled him back. “Just a second, I don’t think so,” she said. “You get her ass out of here,
now,
or it’ll be wring around the
neck
.”

He stood back and glanced at her with a satisfied smirk. “You’re gettin’ kinky, V.”

“Shut up.”

“Why do you want this girl gone so badly? Are you jealous?”

Her eyes widened and she scoffed. “Are you
kidding
?”

“You’re too anxious for me to get her out of here. You’re angry, you’re saying things you wouldn’t normally say.”

“That’s because most of the girls that you bring over here don’t know how to muzzle themselves even with your dick in their mouths, and I’m not in the mood to listen to any of that right now. I just want a little peace and quiet.”

“Peace and quiet.” He nodded, slightly disbelieving. “You never said what
you
were doing at home in the middle of the day, Miss Brown.”

              “Well, it’s certainly not you, Mr. Livingston, because that position is currently occupied.”

              “I’m always open for business, Vanessa. Especially for you.”

              He playfully winked.

              It had been a long time. She hadn’t had sex in about six months and definitely not with anyone who made her remember it the next morning. Or at least made her legs shake and toes curl all within the same night. And Maurice
was
sexy, and available to her whenever she wanted. She knew she could have him at any time, just as he said. All he needed was the ticket for admission to remain for the entire ride. But she wasn’t that desperate. At least not this time, when he had another girl upstairs still waiting on his imminent return.

              She swallowed hard and breathed out, looking away.

              “No thanks,” she stated. “But next time I’m in need of a good belly laugh, you can tell me that again. Same clown suit.”

              She removed her coat and returned to the foyer, placing her coat inside the walk-in closet near the front door.

              He followed after. “Hey, wait a minute,” he said, his tone turning sympathetic and concerned. “What really brought you home at this time of the day, V? All joking aside, you’re never home early unless you’re all caught up in work, and that’s rare.”

              She rested a hand on the closet door and noticed his suddenly engorged penis. She never knew that’s what he had to work with, but she couldn’t say much about it, considering.

“I can’t take you seriously until you cover up the tree trunk that’s grown between your legs with something wider than a fig leaf.”

              He looked around and grabbed Nikki’s jacket as it was close by, tying it around his waist to cover the front, though his ass was still out for all the world to see.

              “Now,” he began, “talk to me.”

              She sighed. “I got the invitation first thing this morning. I hadn’t even sat down at my desk before it was in my hands. I didn’t know anything before then, and I was frankly too damn stunned to call you or Nikki to tell you about it. She came home during lunch and saw hers.”

              “I thought I heard someone walking around down here earlier, but I was too preoccupied upstairs to come and check it out.”

              “I’m so very sure. Anyway, I had somewhat of a fit at work over it and took the rest of the day off. Now, what’s your excuse? And don’t tell me it was because of that girl.”

“Our office lost power so they sent everyone home. Can’t create ads in the dark.”

              “Hmm.” She waited a moment and then turned her head. “Did you meet this girl on the way home?”

              He grinned and took a gulp of water. “Indeed I did. Between the office and the subway.”

              “You are sick.”

              “Two perfectly healthy adults doing exactly what God intended with our bodies is far from sick, V. It’s the healthiest thing two people can do with and for one another.”

              “Whatever you need to justify this behavior. This is exactly why I never slept with you when we were together.”

“You never slept with me because you knew I’d rock your world.” He stepped in closer. His breath hit her face and she stiffened as his dick brushed between her thighs. “I love you in this dress.” He looked her over as a small smile came across his lips. “It accentuates every curve on your body.”

“Maurice --”

She looked up at him and he placed his finger at the edge of her throat, sliding it down until he hit her breasts.

“I’d have taken you for a ride, Vanessa Brown,” he whispered, “and sent you home with a sore back.”

He dropped his hand from her, the back of his fingers brushing against her nipple, down to her stomach.

She gulped and stepped back, nibbling her lips as she glanced at his abs.

She fiercely rattled her head.

“No. No! I’m not going to let this get to me. You always do this,” she mumbled. “As if I’m suddenly going to--”

“You’ve thought about it at least once or twice since then.”

She cleared her throat, nervous. “
Here
is what I think in this very moment, that you don’t even know that girl’s name.”

“What girl?”

“The one you have upstairs roasting on your bed like a potbellied pig being served for Thanksgiving dinner.”

He laughed to himself. “Right. Um.” He waited a moment. “Her name’s Virginia.” And then he thought. “Or maybe it’s Shaleesha and Virginia was the friend she kept telling me about that could join us later.”

              Vanessa lifted a brow and cocked her head.

“You can’t remember if it was her or the friend you’ve never even met? That’s convenient. Because I’m sure she knows not only your name and address, but your birthdate and social security number by now as well.”

              She headed back for the kitchen.

              “She’s tied up,” he replied in a smug tone.

              Vanessa turned back to him and wrinkled her nose. “Is she?
Really
?”

              He looked toward the stairs and appeared hesitant. Then he ran up, hopping over every other one before reaching his bedroom.

              Later in the evening, Vanessa found herself alone in their large townhome, which is what she enjoyed most. After taking one of the longest showers of her life in hopes of scrubbing away her anger, she had emerged from her bedroom only to find a few well-placed sticky notes on her door. One was from Maurice, informing her that he had gone to a late dinner with some friends he knew from his modeling days. The other was from Nicole, telling her that she had opted to attend another acting workshop before her latest audition.

And her mother called.

              Again.

              It was urgent this time.

              Being alone gave Vanessa time to reflect, and think; think about what her life would’ve been like with Sheila still in it, what it would’ve been like had
she
been the one to marry Nathan instead of her former best friend.

              She walked all over her spacious home, taking in everything from the off-white walls and marbled frames, to the Vincent Van Gogh paintings hanging in her foyer, and wondered if Nathan would’ve appreciated her sense of style if this was his home too. And then she realized he wouldn’t have cared as long as they were together. At least that’s the person he used to be. She didn’t know who he was anymore. And as much as she wished she didn’t care, she couldn’t help but.

After taking time to reminisce, she went to the kitchen and pulled a tub of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream from the freezer. She slammed the door shut and noticed Maurice’s invitation still laying on the table. No one had taken the time to throw it away.

Maybe they forgot
, she wondered.
Or maybe they felt I needed to see it and stare at it long and hard until I finally moved past it.

She picked it up by the corner as if she were carrying a dirty diaper to the trash bin and moved over to the stove, tossing it down on the edge.

              “This should’ve been my wedding,” she said to herself as she jabbed the spoon into the middle of the carton, digging out a large scoop. “But you chose a slut over me.”

              As she looked around, she noticed the knobs on the stove and thought about turning one of them on the highest number it would go, wishing to burn the invitation to a crisp. If
it
didn’t exist,
they
didn’t exist. She picked it up and stared at it, shaking her head at the blue cursive lettering and ribbon embroidery. The card itself was light pink, which had always been Sheila’s favorite color. His was yellow. And she realized in that moment that he was nowhere near this wedding. Aside from possibly showing up on the day of, he was nowhere to be found in any of Sheila’s decisions. There were no personal touches, nothing that said he was eager for this wedding to happen in a few months, if at all. A part of her felt bad that he was essentially on the outside looking in on one of the most important days of his life. But then a bigger part of her felt it was karma for choosing someone so selfish to begin with.

              She stepped back a few feet and placed a hand on her waist. Just as she was deciding what to do with the invite, her cell phone rang. She went over to her purse, pulling it out and scrunched her face when she saw the name. It was her mother, calling her for the seventeenth time in just the last few hours. She took a deep breath and pushed the green button, forcing a smile as she set the phone on speaker.

              “Hello, Mother.”

              “My God, Vanessa!” Alexis hollered. “Girl, where in the hell have you
been
? I’ve been calling you since this morning, worried you had tossed yourself into the East River when you never called me back!”

              “What?”

              “I can’t imagine that you haven’t seen it. Have you seen it?”

              Vanessa went back to her ice cream and licked the cookie dough sitting at the edge of her spoon.

              “Have I seen
what
?” she asked, her mouth full of dough.

              “The infamous invitation.”

“Oh, yeah. To the wedding from hell? I’ve seen it.”

“I had been trying to call you about it.”

              “That’s what all the missed calls were about? Why were you so desperate to tell me about this, Mother, to rub my face in it?”

              “No, Vanessa, I would never do such a thing. Especially not when it came to those two.”

              Vanessa rolled her eyes.

              “
Right.
Then why were you calling me?”

              “To warn you. I was hoping you wouldn’t read through it when you noticed it was from Sheila.”

“It would’ve made no difference. Had I not gotten the invitation, it would’ve been in the papers or on the internet and local news.”

“Not for at least another two weeks.”

“And how do you know that?”

“Sheila’s mother called me last month when I was in the office to inform me of the wedding as well as when they had planned to announce it to the press and send the invitations to everyone.”

She tossed her spoon on the counter and knit her brows in fury.

              “Last month -- Are you kidding me?! Mother, why the hell wouldn’t you tell me about this if you had known long before now? And not only that, why wouldn’t you tell Veronica that there was no way in hell I was actually showing up to her demon seed’s ceremony? If she told you of the invitations that means you knew damn well I was invited!”

BOOK: Miss Independent
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