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Authors: Carl Weber

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BOOK: Player Haters
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11
Trent

I walked into 718 around midnight and had to do a double take when I saw my brother Wil, Mr. Family Man, sitting at the bar. I was early for a meeting with Big Mike so I figured since he was there that I’d get him to buy me a drink. Hell, if he was drunk enough and his friends weren’t around, I might even try to get him to loan me a few dollars. Wil could be quite generous when he had a few drinks in him.

“What’s up, player? What you doin’ on this side of town?” He glanced my way and shook his head, giving me the impression that I was the last person he wanted to see.

“I’m drinkin’. What’s it look like I’m doing?” He threw back what was left of his drink, then glared at me with contempt. He musta been fighting with Diane ’cause that’s the only time I’ve ever seen him drink scotch. He’s usually a rum and Coke man.

“I thought Diane didn’t let you hang with the boys anymore.” I looked around for that little motley crew of his, but none of them were around.

“For your information, Diane doesn’t make decisions for me. What do you want, Trent? I’m fucking busy.” Yeah, he was fighting with Diane all right.

“Damn, what’s got your panties in a bunch? That wife of yours not giving you any?” I slid onto the bar stool but his ice-cold stare shut me up.

“What the fuck do you want, Trent?”

“Look, man, I just saw you sitting over here alone so I thought I’d come over and see what’s up. Have you seen Mel? I been tryin’ to get in touch with her all week.”

“Yeah, she’s been staying over my house the last couple’a days. She’s having another one of her crises over some guy.” He gestured for Jasper to refill his glass.

“Uh-huh, that’s what I wanna see her about.”

“What you drinkin’, Trent?” Jasper asked as he refilled Wil’s drink.

“Let me have a shot of Henny and a Corona. And put it on his tab.” I pointed at Wil with a grin.

“Don’t do that, ’cause I ain’t gonna pay it,” Wil snapped at Jasper before turning his attention to me. “I ain’t buying you shit till you pay me the three hundred and sixty dollars you owe me.”

“I’ma let you lovebirds figure this out.” Jasper nodded as he walked away.

“I want my money, Trent.”

“Well, um…” I had enough money in my pocket to pay Wil right then. It’s just I’d had my eye on these Italian loafers and this designer suit. And to be frank, me looking good was way more important than me paying Wil back. “I know I owe you a couple’a dollars but you don’t have to get indignant about it. I’ma get it to you.”

“Yeah, right. When?” He picked up his drink and glared at me. His glassy eyes looked like they could burn a hole right through me.

“Soon, real soon,” I told him confidently.

Wil gave me this smirk I was sure was going to be accompanied by sarcasm, but before he could speak we were interrupted by a woman’s voice.

“Excuse me. I think you’re in my seat.”

I turned toward the voice and there was this big, red-boned sister smiling at me like there was no tomorrow. I had no idea who she was, but for a big girl she was sexy as hell. She kinda reminded me of a larger version of Jackee when she was on
227
. Not only was she sexy, but she looked and carried herself like she might have money, too. A romp in the sack with her just might be worth my time. A brother did have to eat and pay his bills.

I eyed the sister from head to toe. All I had to do was figure out what type of man she’d be interested in and I’d be straight. Shit, I had a business card for every situation. I just needed to figure out if she was the doctor/dentist type, or did she want a self-employed man, like a contractor or a jeweler. From her looks, I figured she was probably the executive type, and that was a good thing, because I’d just put up my law degree plaques before I left the house.

“I’m sorry, good-lookin’. I didn’t know this was your seat. Why don’t you let me buy you a drink and make it up to you?” I slid off the stool and extended my hand, smiling like a Cheshire cat. “My name’s Trent. Trent Duncan,
Attorney at Law.
” I handed her a business card, then bent over to kiss her hand. Wil grabbed my arm and pulled me away from her.

“He ain’t no damn lawyer, Mimi. He ain’t even got a job.”

I wanted to smack Wil’s ass for hating, but then something occurred to me.

“How’d you know her name? Do you two know each other?” I straightened up, rotating my head back and forth between the two of them. It was obvious now that this Mimi woman hadn’t been smiling at me at all, but at my slick ass brother. “Well, do you two know each other?”

There was a silence between them. Finally the woman gave me this who-the-hell-are-you look.

“That’s your business because…?” she asked sarcastically.

“Because I’m his brother,” I answered back.

“His brother?” Her face became flush as she swallowed hard, glancing at Wil. Either I was imagining things or something was up between these two. Her reaction was too contrite. It also told me that she knew he was married. I must admit, though, I’m surprised Mr. Goody Two-Shoes would do something like this. I always thought he worshipped the ground Diane walked on. Not that I gave a shit. If he was getting a little on the side from Ms. Thing, then so be it. That bitch Diane had been hating on me for years so she deserved it. Besides, his little indiscretion could be my pot of gold.

“So, do you two know each other?” I repeated.

“Yeah,” Wil finally replied. “We know each other. We work together. Mimi’s my secretary.”

“Is that right?” I raised an eyebrow, grinning the entire time. “Y’all working mighty late, aren’t you?” Wil’s eyes got small. It was obvious he was worried about what I might say, and he was right. “What’s up, bro? You gonna give her a little
dick
-tation tonight?” I started to laugh until Wil put his finger in my face.

“Yo! You may not have any respect for me, Trent, but you’re gonna have some respect for my friend. You hear me?”

“Yeah, I hear you. Now get your hand out my face.” I pushed his hand aside.

“I think it’s time for us to go, Mimi. Why don’t you wait for me at the door? I wanna talk to my brother for a minute.”

“All right,” she told him in this overly concerned voice. She walked toward the door.

“You sure do like them big-boned ones, don’t you, player?”

“I keep telling you I’m not a player. And she’s just a friend, Trent. Do you understand, a friend?”

“Sure she is.” I sat back on my stool. “So, let me ask you a question. Does Diane know you’re out with this friend?”

He didn’t answer and I smiled.

“Look, man, you ain’t got anything to worry about from me. I can keep a secret. Shit, I get amnesia when I’m drunk. Think you could buy me a couple’a drinks before you and your
friend
leave? A couple’a drinks will go a long way toward my amnesia.” I leaned forward and smirked. Wil pulled out a twenty and placed it on the table. I cut my eyes at him, shaking my head. “Now, Wil, you know it takes a hell of a lot more than twenty dollars to get me drunk.”

Wil rolled his eyes as he pulled out a hundred dollar bill, slapping it on top of the twenty.

“That should be enough to make you forget you were even born.”

“You know what, Wil? I think you’re right. I can’t remember when my birthday is to save my life.” I laughed again as he walked away, then I shouted his name. “Hey, Wil!”

He looked back with a scowl. “What, Trent?”

I winked at him. “Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.”

 

Twenty minutes after Wil left I was sitting in front of Big Mike Wilson’s desk with my feet up, drinking cognac and smoking a cigar. I had no idea what I was doing there. I was just hoping it didn’t have to do with my ex, Michelle.

“So, Mike, what’s up? Why the cognac and the cigars? What you want, man?”

Mike puffed on his cigar twice. “Well, Trent, I wanna talk to you about a couple of things.”

“I hope it ain’t nothing to do with Michelle ’cause I’m about sick of her.”

“Look, you know I never try to get in your business, but Beverly and I was talking, and—” I cut him off. The last thing I wanted was to hear what Beverly had to say about anything. That wench never graduated from high school but was an authority on everything. If it wasn’t for that fine ass body of hers I’m sure Mike wouldn’t even be talking to her.

“Talking about what?” I sighed.

“You and this girl Indigo.”

“What about us?”

“You’ve brought a lot of sisters around here over the years. Some of them you’re just screwing and some you’re hitting up for cash.”

“I’m hitting them all up for cash, Mike. What’s the point?”

“Well, you might not wanna do that to this one.” He gave me a serious look.

“You know what, Mike? I’m outta here. I do not need any self-righteous speeches today.” I got up outta my seat and took a step toward the door.

“Hold up, Trent. You’re not understanding me.” He stood and placed his hand on my arm. “This girl’s not like the rest. She’s…she’s special.”

I pulled my arm free as I spun around to look him in the eyes.

“Special? Please.” I let out a laugh. “What you saying, Mike? You wanna tap that ass? Well, by all means, my man, do it. Just don’t get in my way. I can probably get another ten grand outta her.”

Mike shook his head adamantly. “Nah, man, it’s nothing like that. You think I’d be talking to Bev about it if I just wanted to tap that ass?”

“I don’t know what you would do. Hell, Beverly might want some, too. Truth is, right about now you’re confusing the hell outta me. I mean, what’s the big deal, Mike? We’ve been doing business for years. Why all of a sudden you sticking your neck out for this chick?” My voice was agitated.

“The big deal is this is the first one you’ve brought by worth sticking my neck out for. Indigo can sing, Trent. I mean, she can really sing. I sent her demo out to a few people and they all wanted to know if I’d signed her. With a little fine tuning, she could make it, make it big.” His eyes were wide and for the first time in our conversation, I could feel his passion.

“You’re serious, aren’t you?”

“Man, I’ve never been more serious in my life. Trent, this chick could be the ship we’ve both been waiting to come in.”

“How?”

He handed me the papers he was looking over. “Get her to sign this contract. That way I can start to shop her demo legally. After that it’s just a matter of time.”

“Wait a minute. This thing says you’re gonna be her manager. And your cut is fifteen percent. If you’re managing her what the hell am I gonna get outta this?” It sounded like good old Mike was trying to give it to me in the wrong end.

“You’re gonna get a hell of a lot more than me.”

“How’s that?” I asked skeptically.

“By marrying her.”

“Marrying her? Are you fucking crazy?”

“Why not? You already told me you don’t give a shit about Michelle. Besides, if you marry her before she signs a deal, you get fifty percent of everything she makes. That’s the law, my friend. Plus you get a salary as her road manger and you control her career.”

“I don’t know about marriage, Mike.”

“Trent, this chick is gonna make at least a million dollars with her voice. How the hell you gonna tell me you’re gonna turn down half of that?” I looked at the seriousness on my friend and mentor’s face and the only thing that came to mind was,
he has a point.

12
Mimi

I arrived at work about thirty minutes early, with a cup of Dunkin’ Donuts cappuccino for myself and a cup of their regular coffee just the way Wil liked it. I’d even picked up some bagels and his favorite doughnuts. My momma always said the way to a man’s heart was through his stomach. But just in case she didn’t know what the hell she was talking about, I unbuttoned the top three buttons of my blouse before I entered the office. A little cleavage never hurt when it came to winning a man’s heart, either. And there was no man I wanted more than Wil.

“Breakfast.” I walked into his office with a smile.

Wil lifted his head and took off his glasses. His smile brightened my day, and it was obvious he was glad to see me. I was just praying that smile was for me and only me. The last thing I needed to hear was that he got some from his wife after he dropped me off last night. Shit, he could have gotten some from me if he hadn’t been so stubborn and refused to come up to my apartment. I must have tried every trick in the book, except coming outta my face and telling him, “Let’s go upstairs and fuck,” but he still wouldn’t budge.

“Hungry?” I whispered.

His eyes went straight to my breasts and I sighed thankfully. It was evident by his stare that he hadn’t gotten anything when he went home. I sucked in a little air to make my breasts appear larger.
God, I wish he would just reach out and touch them.

“Hungry?” I repeated.

“Starved.”

“Well, what would you like?” His eyes were still glued to my breasts, and when I sat down in the chair in front of his desk it felt like he leaned closer. I wasn’t sure if I should offer him a doughnut or a titty sandwich. But when a man gives you this much attention you have to offer him something. So I arched my back and stuck out my chest a little more. Then I lifted my arms in a long stretch. I’m sure by the way his eyes were bulging that it must have looked like my breasts were gonna pop out my blouse. His face was beginning to become flush and a single bead of sweat rolled down his forehead. Lowering my arms, I teased him with my words. “Which one would you like?”

He lifted his head in stuttering confusion. “I’m…I’m not quite sure what you mean.”

I pointed at the doughnuts. “Which doughnut would you like? I made sure to pick up some Bavarian cream. They are your favorite, aren’t they?”

“Ah, yeah, they are,” he replied, obviously still a little confused. “You know, Mimi, you never cease to amaze me. How do you always seem to know what I need?”

“Isn’t that what a good…secretary is supposed to do?” I wanted to say “wife” but I controlled myself for now.

“Yeah, but you go way beyond the regular duties of secretary.”

Yeah, and I’m ready to go further than that whenever you are,
I thought.

“I’m just doing my job, Wil.”

“No, you’re being a good friend, Mimi. I know I thanked you last night, but I really appreciate you meeting me at that bar then. I really needed to get a woman’s perspective about what’s going on at home. I don’t know what I would’ve done without you.”

“Neither do I, Wil. But like you said, I’m your friend. Whenever or whatever you need, I’m gonna be there for you. And I do mean whatever you need.”

“I’m starting to see that.” He smiled. “I’m really starting to see that.”

I took a bite of a jelly doughnut and purposely let the filling run down my lip. Then I waited until Wil was watching and licked it up sensually with my tongue. He took a deep breath that seemed to take forever for him to release. Encouraged by his reaction I lowered my head and naughtily sucked out the remaining jelly from the doughnut. When I finally lifted my head, my lips were covered with jelly. Of course, I licked it off in the same sensual manner as I’d done before. Wil’s face turned three shades of red, and not only were there several beads of sweat running down his face, but he was squirming around in his seat so much I thought he was gonna fall out of it. From that moment on, I knew it was just a matter of time before I would have Wil substituting his favorite Bavarian cream doughnuts every morning for some Mimi pie.

“Phew.” He wiped his brow. “Is it me, or is it getting hot in here?”

“It seems fine in here to me.” I watched him wipe away some more perspiration. “So, how’s everything at home? Did you and your wife sit down and talk last night?”

“Hell, no.” He frowned. “I should have gone back to your house and had that drink like you asked me to.”

I turned my head away from him and mumbled under my breath, “You would have gotten a lot more than a drink.”

“Did you say something?”

“Oh, no, it was nothing. So what are you gonna do about your wife, Wil?”

“I don’t know. I just wish she would talk to me. I just wish I knew what the hell was going on.”

“You know, Wil, after seeing what you went through last night, I’m starting to think she’s fooling around.”

“I hate to admit it, Mimi, but I’m starting to think the same thing. All I need is some proof and I’m outta there.”

“Well, I hope you find something soon ’cause what she’s doing to you is wrong.” I glanced at my watch, then stood up. “Oh, my goodness, it’s nine o’clock. I gotta get to my desk and start answering the phones.”

“Wow, is it nine already? I gotta get to my sales meeting.” He rummaged through some folders while I picked up the leftover doughnuts and bagels before leaving his office. Of course, I gave him a little extra sway of my hips before sitting down at my desk.

“I’ll see you in about two hours.” He smiled as he walked past. “We still on for lunch?”

“Wouldn’t miss it for the world.” I smiled as he disappeared down the corridor. The second he was fully out of sight I placed the doughnuts on my desk and I flipped through my Rolodex and picked up the phone.

“Hello, Rosedale Florist? I’d like to have a dozen roses sent to 176 234th Street but they have to be delivered after six this evening.”

“We charge quite a bit extra for that service, ma’am.”

“Oh, I don’t mind paying extra for that service,” I replied. I gave him my credit card information and what I wanted the card to say and hung up the phone just as Jeanie Brown walked up to my desk.

“Hi, Maxine.”

“Hi, Ms. Brown. Wil’s not here. He’s at a sales meeting.”

“Oh, that’s okay. I didn’t just come to see him. I came to see you, too.”

“Come to see me why?”
God in heaven, please let this woman tell me they’re gonna hire me permanently.

“Maxine, Marge just called me, and it looks like her arm healed faster than the doctors thought it would. She’s gonna be coming back to work on Monday. So Friday’s going to be your last day in this department.” I felt like I was gonna faint.

“But, but I thought she was gonna be out for three months. It’s only been five weeks.”

“I thought so too. Evidently the break wasn’t as bad as they first thought. But don’t worry, we have someone leaving the executive floor this week on maternity leave. You can have that position if you’d like. She’s gonna be out a lot longer than Marge was.”

“I don’t wanna work on the executive floor. I wanna work with Wil!” Jeanie took a step back. That’s when I realized I was out of control. “I mean, Jeanie, me and Wil work well together. Why can’t Marge go to the executive floor?”

“Because you’re a temp and she’s been working this desk for five years. It’s her job, not yours. Do we understand each other?”

I took a short breath. “Yeah, I understand.”

“Good. I’ll let you know about the job upstairs later this week.” She was eyeing the Dunkin’ Donuts box. “You don’t mind if I have one, do you? I have such a sweet tooth.” I wanted to say
Hell, no. You can’t have shit, bitch, if I can’t have the job I want,
but instead I just smiled, nodding. She lifted the cover to the box, then jumped back like she’d seen a roach.

“Oh, Jesus Christ. What are you trying to do, kill me?” She sighed, covering her mouth with her hand.

“Something wrong?”

“You’ve got sesame seed bagels in there.” She took another step back.

“Yeah, and?” I gave her this strange look.

“I’m severely allergic to sesame seeds. For me they are like the kiss of death.”

“Really? Well, why don’t you try one of these brownies my sister made? No sesame seeds in them.” I took the top off the box of brownies I brought for Wil’s afternoon snack.

“Oh, those do look good, don’t they?” She reached in the box and took out a brownie square, biting into it. “Mmm, these are delicious, Maxine. Can I have another?” She reached in the box and took another, smiling at me before getting back to business.

“Thank you so much, Maxine.”

“You’re welcome,” I told her, hoping that I’d just earned a few brownie points toward staying in sales with Wil but I couldn’t have been more wrong.

“By the way, Maxine, your blouse is wide open. I know you’re single but we have a lot of married men around here. Especially now that you’re gonna be working on the executive floor. We wouldn’t want to give them or their wives the wrong impression, would we?”

“No, we wouldn’t.” I reached up and buttoned my blouse, giving her the finger when her back was turned. That bitch didn’t know who she was fucking with ’cause I was not going to the executive floor. I was staying right here in sales with Wil, and I meant to achieve that by any means necessary.

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