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Authors: Carl Weber

Player Haters (6 page)

BOOK: Player Haters
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“I beg your pardon?”

“I asked if you cheat on your wife.” She looked me straight in the eye.

“No, I do not cheat on my wife, Mimi.” I put some attitude in my voice for emphasis. She didn’t know it, but after the incident with the stripper photos, cheating was a very sensitive subject in my marriage.

She lifted her hands passively. “Don’t get offended. I had to ask you that if I’m going to be an effective secretary. I got fired from my last job because I called the wife by the mistress’s name.”

“Well, you don’t have to worry about that, because I ain’t got no mistress.”

“Hmm, well I’m certainly glad to hear that.” Mimi smirked naughtily to herself as if she’d just heard a private joke. I was just hoping the joke wasn’t on me.

“Maxine! I knew that was you.” A short, stocky man with schoolboy glasses and a receding hairline was now standing next to our table. How he got that close without either of us noticing him is beyond me. I guess we both must have really been into our conversation.

“Antoine!” Mimi jumped up and wrapped her arms around the man. She kissed him flush on the lips, and I think I actually felt a momentary twinge of jealousy. “What are you doing here?”

“I was about to ask you the same thing. I told Keisha that was you sitting over here in the dark.”

“Keisha’s here?” Maxine’s smile became a look of concern.

“Yeah.” He pointed toward a woman headed our way. Whoever she was, she was definitely related to Maxine, because except for the fact that the woman was a couple of shades darker than Maxine, the family resemblance was unmistakable. Not to mention the fact that the woman had the same phenomenal full figure.

“Girl, what are you doin’ here? I thought you was supposed to start work today.” The woman, an obvious motormouth, glanced at her watch. “Lord, I hope you ain’t got fired on the first day because you was out here flirting with some man.” She glared at me as if she were Maxine’s mother.

“I ain’t got fired, Keisha. Matter of fact, I’m having lunch with my boss.” She turned her attention to me. “Wil Duncan, this my sister Keisha, who thinks she’s my momma. And this is my incredibly handsome brother-in-law, Antoine.”

“It’s nice to meet you,” I told them as we politely shook hands.

“It’s nice to meet you, too, Wil. So what’s up with you and my sister?”

Maxine gave her sister a don’t-go-there stare, but her sister ignored it. Keisha placed her hand on her hip and waited for my answer. When I made eye contact with Antoine, he just looked away.

“Nothing,” I replied, trying to remain polite. “This is your sister’s first day at work, and I asked her to lunch to discuss her responsibilities around the office. Completely professional, you see?”

“Yeah, but for how long? Handsome man like you. I bet she’ll have you in bed by the end of the night.”

“Keisha!” Antoine yelled, grabbing her by the arm. “Look, we need to go back to our table.”

I was in shock as I watched them hurry away from our table. I turned to Maxine and said, “I think it’s about time we got back to the office.”

Maxine glanced at me, then angrily in the direction of her sister. “I’m sorry, Wil. Sometimes my sister gets a little out of hand.”

“Don’t worry about it. I have a brother who acts the same way.”


Prince pulled in front of my building, and I reluctantly let go of his sculpted waist as I stepped down from his motorcycle. When we left Manhattan Proper we went and had a late-night breakfast at a diner. Then he took me on the most romantic ride down Ocean Parkway in Long Island. I hadn’t had that much fun since my high school prom. We sat and talked on the beach for what seemed like forever. I took my helmet off and set it on the back of his bike.

“Shit,” I cursed softly as I glanced at my watch.

“What’s wrong? You got a curfew or something?” He pulled his helmet back and flashed a gorgeous smile at me.

“No, I just never expected to get home at seven o’clock in the morning. I gotta be at work in two hours.”

“So take the day off. We can go back to my place. Spend the day together.” He smiled as he gestured for me to get back on the bike. “The night doesn’t have to end like this, Melanie.”

I took a step toward him, then stopped dead in my tracks. His words, although enticing, had just made this the most awkward moment of the night. Awkward because for the entire night, we hadn’t so much as kissed. Now was the moment I had to decide whether I was gonna be a lady and take my ass upstairs to my apartment, or be a slut and go home with him. I was seriously leaning toward the slut scenario, especially after snuggling up next to him on that vibrating motorcycle for five hours. The only problem was, I liked Prince. I liked him a lot. He was funny and smart. He was the kind of guy I wanted to be with five years down the road. So acting like a slut was probably not the best way to guarantee a long-term relationship with him.

“Maybe some other time, Prince. I really need to get to work.” I held my breath as I stepped back.

“You sure? I was thinking we could ride down to Atlantic City. A friend of mine works at Bally’s Grand. I could get us a room overlooking the ocean.”

“That sounds great, but I think I better take a rain check.”
I also better take my ass upstairs before I change my mind,
I thought.

“Aw’ight.” He sighed. I could see the disappointment on his face. “So what’s up? You think I can get your number?”

“I’d be disappointed if you didn’t.” I reached in my bag for a pen and paper, then I jotted down my cell phone number for him. When I handed it to him, he leaned over and kissed me. No tongue, just a kiss. But what a kiss it was. I felt like I was floating. He had the most incredibly soft lips I’d ever felt, and by the time our lips parted, I was inches away from jumping back on that motorcycle.

“I’ll call you,” he whispered.

“Okay,” I replied with a sigh, hoping it would be soon. I watched as he slid his helmet down over his head, then forced myself to head toward my building. I could almost feel his eyes staring at my hips as I walked the fifteen feet to the doors. So of course you know I swayed those hips enough to keep him hypnotized. I concentrated on my movements to keep myself from thinking about the horizontal movements I really wanted to be doing.

Calm down girl,
I kept repeating in my head.
You’re doing the right thing. He’s not gonna wanna buy the cow if he’s gettin’ the milk for free.


I slid my key into my door and prayed that my best friend and roommate, Desiree, had already left for work. The last thing I wanted was for her to see me sneaking in the house at this time of the morning. Especially since I was still a little confused about why I was coming in at that hour myself. Unfortunately, just as my luck would have it, Desiree was dressed in her waitress uniform sitting at the kitchen table, smoking a cigarette and writing in her journal. I’m sure if I’d waited ten more minutes, I would’ve missed her. Then again, if I had waited another ten minutes I doubt I would’ve been heading into my apartment at all.

“Well, well, well. Look what the cat done dragged home. Where you been? I thought your ass was in bed.” Desiree gave me a devilish grin as she closed her journal. I didn’t even bother to respond. I just walked over to the kitchen counter and poured myself a cup of coffee, yawning the whole time.

“What’s wrong, hooker? Tired from a long night out on the track?” Desiree laughed teasingly.

All I could do was suck my teeth as I playfully snapped back, “Who you callin’ a hooker, ho?”

I grabbed a cigarette from her pack, lit it, and took a long drag.

“I’m calling you a hooker. You the one who ain’t come home last night. And don’t be tryin’ to play like you was baby-sitting for your brother Wil, ’cause he called here last night lookin’ for you.” She took a drag of her cigarette, leaning forward as she released the smoke. “So where were you last night?”

I so wanted to tell Desiree where I was or what happened last night. I wanted to tell her every detail. I mean, she’s my best friend, and that’s what we do, share our most intimate secrets. But I knew if I told her about what a good time I had with Prince, we’d both be late for work. I couldn’t afford that, ’cause today was payday, and a sister was broke.

“Look, Dez, we’ll talk tonight, okay? I promise, I just have to get outta these soaking wet panties and take a shower, or I’m gonna be late for work.”

“Wait a minute! Soaking wet panties?” Desiree screamed. “Ah, hell no, Melanie. You ain’t leaving me hanging!”

I took a sip of my coffee, then headed to my room with a sigh. I should’ve known the second I said anything about wet panties that Desiree was gonna be right on my heels. I could hear her rush out of her chair as I entered my room. I slipped out of my wet panties and the rest of my clothes and tossed them in the hamper. By the time I turned around, Desiree was standing in my doorway lighting another cigarette.

“All right, who is he and what’s he look like? And don’t you leave out one detail. I ain’t had a man in three months, and I’m living my sex life through you until I find one.” She sat on my bed.

“Look, Dez, aren’t you gonna be late for work?”

Desiree glanced at her watch, then sucked her teeth. “Yeah, and? Don’t worry about me. I’ll get to work when I get there. Now stop playin’ and tell me about last night.”

Her eyes never left mine.

“You’re really not gonna let me get outta here unless I tell you, are you?”

“No.” She crossed her legs and smiled at me.

Ah, what the hell,
I thought. I was gonna be thinking about it all day, anyway. I took my robe off the back of my closet door and slipped into it. Then I sat on the bed next to my friend.

“Okay, what you wanna know? And don’t be writing this shit in any of those damn journals of yours.” My voice was full of the excitement I felt, and so were Desiree’s eyes as she leaned closer.

“Who was he, and where were you last night? Oh, yeah, and did you get some?”

“Gurrrrlll, his name is Prince. And he is so fine!” I had to take a deep breath as I reminisced. “He’s the kinda brother a sister could take home on a cold winter’s night and never need a blanket.”

“For real! What’s he look like?” Desiree got all up in my face. I closed my eyes and an image of Prince standing in front of me, wearing his motorcycle jacket, appeared in my head. Just thinking about him made me squirm around in my seat.

“Come on, Melanie. Stop playing!” Desiree’s agitated voice interrupted my little fantasy. “What does he look like?”

“Oh, I’m sorry, Dez.” I opened my eyes. “He’s about six-one, with these broad, sexy shoulders. You know who he reminds me of?” I sat back, smiling, because I knew she was gonna flip when I told her.

“Who? Who?”

“Morris Chestnut.”

“Morris Chestnut?” Her eyes got real wide. “You lying…”

I shook my head. “No, I ain’t. He could be his brother.”

Desiree got real quiet for a few seconds. I wasn’t sure if she believed me or not, but just the chance that Prince might look like Morris Chestnut must have been eating away at her. She thought Morris Chestnut was the finest man in the world, and jealousy was written all over her face as she fell backward onto my bed.

“Damn. So where’d you find him?” she finally asked. “This the first I’m hearing about this Morris Chestnut look-alike.”

“Believe it or not, he’s one of my brother Trent’s friends. I met him last night at Manhattan Proper.”

“Trent introduced you to one his friends?” Desiree sat back up skeptically. She knew my brother.

“Well, sorta. He introduced us, but he told Prince to stay away from me.”

“So how’d y’all hook up?”

“When I was leaving the club, he offered to give me a ride home on his

“He’s got a motorcycle?” That was another detail that was sure to make her envious. “Wait a minute. Manhattan Proper closes at three o’clock. It’s quarter to eight. Where the hell y’all been for five hours?” She stared at me for a few seconds, putting together the pieces of what she believed. “Oh, Melanie, you fucked him, didn’t you? That’s why you in here changing your panties!”

“No, Desiree, we didn’t. But I had a mind to. It was just too soon.”

“Too soon? Please, it’s not like you ain’t never gave a man some on the first night.”

“I know, but this guy’s special.”

“He’s that special?” She sounded skeptical, and I couldn’t really blame her, with the kind of losers we’d been meeting lately.

“Desiree, do you believe in love at first sight?”

“I guess…I never really gave it much thought.”

“Well, I have, and the minute I saw Prince, I knew he was the guy I wanted to have kids with.”

Desiree looked like she couldn’t believe what I was saying, and I could barely believe it myself. I wasn’t the kind of woman to fall head over heels, especially on the first night. But there was something about Prince that left me wanting all of him, forever.


I pulled in front of the shabby-looking storefront bar on Merrick Boulevard and smiled. As Ice Cube would say, “Today was a good day.” I had my car back, I’d just gotten five hundred dollars and my dick sucked by this stupid ass chick who thought I was a stockbroker. To top that off, I was about to get paid again, because I was picking up Indigo and we were headed to Atlantic City. I was paying for the hotel room, but I’m sure once I pretended to lose all my money at the tables she’d pick up the slack and hand over a couple’a grand so I could continue to have fun. So yeah, today was a good day.

Knock! Knock! Knock!

I looked out my car window and my contented smile disappeared at the sight of Jasper’s toothless grin. Jasper was the right-hand man to my mentor, Big Mike Wilson. Mike owned 718, the small lounge I was parked in front of. Jasper ran the bar while Mike, a former member of the early eighties one-hit-wonder rap group called the Supreme Team, ran a rinky-dink music studio in the basement. He tried to make it seem like he was helping struggling rappers get a break, but Mike wasn’t fooling me. He might have helped a few brothers break into the industry, but the truth was that Mike wasn’t doing anything different from me. He was beating people out of their money. Almost everyone who came in there couldn’t rap or sing worth shit, but Mike would take their money and encourage them to make as many demos as possible. Mike’s famous line was, “I can make you famous.”

“Yo, Trent! Mike wants to see you inside. He just finished that girl’s demo.”

“Yeah, aw’ight. Tell ’im I’ll be right there.” Jasper stepped away from the car, and I took a few seconds to get myself together. I had to make sure my clothes and hair were right. Image is everything, especially when you’re gonna be around a guy like Big Mike Wilson. When I stepped out the car, Jasper was waiting for me by the entrance to the bar like I was some little kid who might get lost. I ignored him and walked inside where I was greeted by Indigo and Big Mike’s new flavor of the month, Beverly, sitting at the bar.

“Trent!” Indigo shouted.

She jumped up from her seat and ran over to me, wrapping her arms around my neck before kissing me square on the lips.

“Thank you!” Kiss. “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!” Kiss, kiss, kiss.

“Wow, I guess things musta went pretty well, huh?”

“Did they.” She sighed. “You gotta hear my demo. I sound better than Alicia Keys. Beverly thinks we should cancel our trip to A.C. and go meet with Russell Simmons this week.”

“Is that what Beverly thinks?” I glanced over at Beverly and rolled my eyes. She was always getting into shit that was none of her business. I, for one, was gonna be glad when Big Mike found another piece of ass.

“Uh-huh, what do you think?” Indigo gave me this pleading look, and I knew that after we returned from Atlantic City I was gonna have to cut her loose. Not that I wanted to. She was actually a pretty decent girl and way more generous than I would have expected. And by the way she was falling for me, I could probably milk her for another five or ten grand. It’s just that she was so damn worrisome and now that her demo was finished it was obvious she was gonna drive me crazy about meeting Russell Simmons. Shit, the only thing Russell and I had in common was that we were both from Queens.

“I think it’s a great idea, only I just found out Russell’s out of town till next week. Besides, I wanted to let some other people listen to your demo while we were out of town. See if they can write some songs that’ll fit your range.”

“Big Mike said I had better range than anyone he’s ever worked with. He said I was the type of singer he’d love to work with. That he could make me famous. Didn’t he, Beverly?” She looked over at a smiling Beverly, who nodded.

Oh, great. That was all I needed. I was trying to figure out ways to tell her I was wrong, that she doesn’t have a career, while Mike and Beverly were telling her she’s the next Whitney Houston. What the fuck was their problem, anyway?

“Big Mike said that, huh?”

“Uh-huh.” She smiled.

“Well, that’s great. Where is Big Mike, anyway?” Indigo shrugged her shoulders, and I glanced at Beverly.

“He’s in his office. He’s waiting for you,” Beverly replied.

“I’m sure he is.” I walked to Mike’s office door and opened it. Big Mike, a handsome, clean-shaved, brown-skinned man, was sitting behind an old metal desk, talking on a cell phone. He gestured for me to sit down, but the empty chairs were covered with electronics and paperwork.

“Just move some of that shit, Trent. I’ll be right with you,” he told me as he continued his conversation. My eyes traveled around the shabby room while he finished his call.

“Hey, Trent. Sorry about that.” We stood and grabbed each other’s hands in a brotherly hug, then sat back down. Mike offered me a cigar, which I gladly took. He only smoked expensive cigars. “So what’s up? You got something for me?”

I tossed an envelope on his desk. He opened it and counted the contents with a smile. “Five hundred, just as we agreed.”

He picked up a manila envelope from his desk and handed it to me. “There’s two demos in there.”

“Cool,” I told him as I stood.

“Hey, Trent. You got a minute? I wanna talk to you about a couple of things.”

“What’s up? Why you look so serious?” I sat back down, giving him my full attention.

“I didn’t wanna tell you this earlier in front of Indigo, but Beverly and I seen your girl Michelle at IHOP this morning.”

“Jesus, not you too, Mike. What the fuck is it about this fucking girl? Does she have everyone under a spell? Look, Mike, I don’t fuck with Michelle no more, okay?”

“Please, man, you know you love that girl. Trent, I been knowing you for most of your adult life. I’ve never seen you as happy as when you’re around Michelle. You can’t see it, but she the one.”

“No, Mike, Indigo’s the one. She’s the one with the money, remember.”

“Well, you might wanna rethink that, ’cause, man, Michelle was looking good as shit when I saw her. And believe me, money can’t buy you love. Besides, what you gonna do, run out on your kid? You might have everyone else fooled but I know you better than that. You love kids, Trent, and that little boy of yours is cute as hell. You can’t deny that one, can you?” Mike laughed but I didn’t join in.

“Yeah, I can. ’Cause he ain’t mine.”

Mike leaned back in his chair, eyeing me strangely. “Please, Trent, I don’t know who you think you foolin’, ’cause that boy looks just like you. You both got them round Charlie Brown heads.” His comment pissed me off and I leaned forward, pointing my cigar at his face as I stared him dead in the eyes.

“Yo, Mike, let’s get something straight. That’s not my baby, aw’ight. I don’t know what the fuck Michelle told you, but that bitch is lying.”

“Hold up, man.” Mike sat back in his chair, the expression on his face very serious. “There ain’t no need to call the sister a bitch. She ain’t even tell me that was your baby. I came up with that assumption on my own.”

“Well, then you need to stop assuming shit.”

“You’re right, I should.” He hesitated, smiling as he sucked on his cigar. “Besides, it’s probably that guy she was with anyway. He sure was acting like he was the baby’s daddy.”

“Guy? What guy?” Mike’s words hit me like a ton of bricks. Could Michelle be seeing someone? I know it seems selfish but I never even imagined her messing with another guy. Not this soon. Damn, she’d only had the baby eight months ago. “What guy, Mike?”

“You know who I’m talking about. That guy.” Mike snapped his fingers like the person’s name was right on the tip of his tongue. “That pretty boy nigga who had a baby with LaTisha Jones. Damn, what’s his name? Ron, Rich or Raymond…damn, I know it starts with an ‘R.’”

“You mean Ray? Ray Jenkins!” My eyes bugged outta my head.

Mike smiled, nodding. “Yeah, that’s him. That pretty Ray.”

I took a deep breath, trying to hold back my emotions. The thought of Ray Jenkins fucking Michelle made every muscle in my body tense up like a rubber band. Ray was one of Wil’s best friends and probably the biggest player in town. I hated him with a passion. Ever since we were kids, every woman that I ever wanted seemed to want Ray. Every woman except for Michelle. And now if Mike was right, he’d gotten her, too.

“What the fuck she hanging around that nigga for? He’s a player!”

“And you’re not a player?” Mike laughed. “I think I’ve heard it all.”

“I’m sayin’, though. That nigga Ray’s just gonna hurt her.”

“And you didn’t? You just denied the girl’s baby, Trent.”

“That’s ’cause the baby ain’t mine. I didn’t mean to hurt her. She was just trying to cramp my style.”

“Oh, so walking out on a sister when giving birth, that’s not gonna hurt her? That’s just cramping your style.”

“Don’t try to make this about me, Mike. This is about Michelle hanging out with Ray and being a ho. She needs to keep her ass home and take care of that baby. I know she don’t want me to come over there.”

“Come over there and do what? You just said you don’t fuck with her no more. What you gonna do?”

“Look, Mike, I was with that girl for ten years. I’m not gonna just let a guy like Ray fuck her over.”

“Look at you, man. You’re jealous. You still feelin’ her, ain’t you?” I shook my head, but Mike wasn’t having it. “Yeah, you do. But I think you’re right. I think you need to go over there and talk to her before it’s too late. Before your son is calling that brotha ‘Daddy.’”

BOOK: Player Haters
5.23Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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