Read Up to No Good Online

Authors: Carl Weber

Up to No Good (39 page)

BOOK: Up to No Good
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“I understand what you’re saying, baby, but do you have anyone in mind? ’Cause I don’t know anybody like that.”

James snapped his fingers. “I do!” His sunken features suddenly looked a little brighter. “T. K., do you remember a few summers ago when we went to visit Reverend Simmons’s church in Jarret, Virginia?”

“Mmm-hmm. What about it?”

“Do you remember his choir? There was only about ten members, but they were some kind of good.”

“Yeah,” I said with excitement. “I remember. They had that young kid with all the Kirk Franklin moves leading them. What was his name?”

We sat quietly for a moment, both of us trying to remember. James finally recalled it. “Anthony,” he announced with a smile. “His name was Anthony Mackie. And he’s exactly what we need. He’s the total package.”

The adventures of the Big Girls Book Club continue in

BIG GIRLS DO CRY

Now available from Dafina Books.

Prologue

The taxi pulled into the circular driveway, rolling to a stop in front of the expensive double oak doors of the large brick colonial. Roscoe, the driver, a forty-something-year-old dark-skinned man, placed the car in park and turned toward the woman in the backseat.

He liked the way she looked. She was just his type of woman, thick and pretty like a chocolate bar, with large, melon-sized breasts. Yes sir, Roscoe loved a woman with some meat on her bones. He had even thought about asking for her number or perhaps offering to show her around the ATL when she first entered his cab at the airport. Over the years, Roscoe had bedded many a lonely female passenger after picking them up at Atlanta’s airport. All it usually took was some small talk and an invitation to one of AT L’s bars for a drink. But this sister spent most of the ride on her cell phone, probably talking to some insecure boyfriend or husband back home who was afraid her fine ass would wind up with a Southern charmer like him. Now that they had reached her final destination, he would have to make his move quick.

“That’ll be forty dollars, ma’am.” He smiled, revealing a mouth full of gold teeth.

Tammy, a woman in her late thirties, didn’t notice his unattractive smile or his country accent, things that would have surely caught her attention if she weren’t already preoccupied with looking at the house they’d just pulled in front of. She would never admit it to anyone back home, but a twinge of jealousy swept through her body as she stared at the house. The large colonial was at least twice the size of her Jamaica Estates home back in New York, and compared to her tiny yard, this house appeared to be on an acre of land, maybe two.

This has to be the wrong address.

“Are you sure we’re at the right house?” she asked without moving her head. She was still trying to process what she saw before her.

“Yes, ma’am, you said four Peach Pie Lane in Stone Mountain, didn’t you?”

Tammy glanced at the paper in her hand, then looked at the large number four on the house. “Yes, that’s what I said.”

“Then this is where you want to be. Do you want some help with your bags?”

She reached in her purse. “How much do I owe you?”

“Forty dollars. I usually charge fifty, but havin’ a pretty woman such as yourself in my cab, I feel like I owe you. Maybe I could show you around town before you leave. My name’s Roscoe.”

Tammy rolled her eyes and shook her head, preparing to put this homely country fool in his place. But before she could reply, she saw someone come out of the house. A big, shapely, light-skinned woman, not quite as large as Tammy, came running toward the taxi. That’s when Tammy knew there was definitely no mistake;
she was at the right address. But how the hell did her best friend Egypt get a house like this?

Tammy handed the driver a fifty dollar bill then stepped out of the car without asking for change.

Egypt threw her arms around Tammy’s neck and pulled her in closely. “Tammy, girl, I missed you something awful.” Egypt placed a huge red lipstick kiss on her cheek.

Tammy smiled at Egypt when she let her go. She’d missed her friend too. “Girl, you moving on up, aren’t you?” They turned their gazes toward the house.

“You think? Come on in and let me show you inside.” Egypt was grinning from ear to ear. “You can leave her bags by the front door,” she instructed a disappointed Roscoe.

Tammy nodded and followed her friend. Yes, she wanted to see her house. She wanted to see if the inside looked anything like the outside, and even more importantly, she wanted to know how Egypt and her soon-to-be husband Rashid could afford such a nice house when they earned far less than Tammy and her husband did. Did someone hit the lottery and not tell her?

Tammy and Egypt had known each other for almost thirty years and had been best friends since they met back in elementary school. But even best friends could have rivalries. As close as they were, the two of them had played a one-upmanship game when it came to material things, like clothes, men, houses and such since they were teenagers. Tammy had been winning this competition handily for the past ten years, thanks to her marriage to her successful husband, Tim, but as she walked into the flawlessly decorated foyer of Egypt’s house, for the first time she was afraid that the tides had changed.

As she followed behind her friend from room to
room, she was so amazed that she barely noticed the people sitting in the large family room until Egypt shouted out, “B.G.B.C. in the house!” and the people in the room all stood in unison and echoed, “B.G.B.C. in the house!”

Tammy couldn’t help but blush. She smiled at Egypt, who gave her a thumbs-up. Tammy could feel tears welling up in her eyes, and she experienced a sudden rush of pride. One of her dreams had actually become a reality: She was witnessing the first meeting of the new Atlanta chapter of the Big Girls Book Club, a group Tammy had founded in New York five years ago. Now that Egypt had moved to Atlanta, she was starting her own branch of the book club. Looking around the room at those in attendance, Tammy was happy to see that the requirements for membership in the group seemed to be the same; not one person in the room was smaller than a size 14.

Meet the members of the Big Girls Book Club in

SOMETHING ON THE SIDE

Available now wherever books are sold.

1
Tammy

I love my life.

I love my life. I love my marriage. I love my husband. I love my kids. I love my BMW, and I love my house. Oh, did I say I love my life? Well, if I didn’t, I love my life. I really love my life.

I stepped out of my BMW X3, then opened the back driver-side door and picked up four trays of food lying on a towel on the backseat. I had only about twenty minutes before the girls would be over for our book club meeting, but I ’d already dropped off my two kids, Michael and Lisa, at the sitter, so they weren’t going to be a problem. Now all I had to do was to arrange the food and get my husband out of the house. The food was easy, thanks to Poor Freddy’s Rib Shack over on Linden Boulevard in South Jamaica. I merely had to remove the tops of the trays from the ribs, collard greens, candied yams, and macaroni and cheese, pull out a couple bottles of wine from the fridge, and voilà, dinner is served. My husband was another thing entirely.
He was going to need my personal attention before he left the house.

I entered my house and placed the food on the island in the kitchen, then looked around the room with admiration. We’d been living in our Jamaica Estates home for more than a year now, and I still couldn’t believe how beautiful it was. My kitchen had black granite countertops, stainless-steel appliances, and handcrafted cherrywood cabinets. It looked like something out of a home-remodeling magazine, and so did the rest of our house. By the way, did I say I love my life? God, do I love my life and the man who provides it for me.

Speaking of the man who provides for me, I headed down the hall to the room we called our den. This room was my husband’s sanctuary—mainly because of the fifty-two-inch plasma television hanging on the wall and the nine hundred and some odd channels DIRECTV provided. I walked into the den, and there he was, the love of my life, my husband, Tim. By most women’s standards, Tim wasn’t all that on the outside. He was short and skinny, only five-eight, one hundred and forty pounds, with a dark brown complexion. Don’t get me wrong—my husband wasn’t a bad-looking man at all. He just wasn’t the type of man who would stop a sister dead in her tracks when he walked by. To truly see Tim’s beauty, you have to look within him, because his beauty was his intellect, his courteousness, and his uncanny ability to make people feel good about themselves. Tim was just a very special man, with a magnetic personality, and it only took a few minutes in his presence for everyone who’d ever met him to see it.

Tim smiled as he stood up to greet me. “Hey, sexy,” he whispered, staring at me as if I were a celebrity and
he were a star-struck fan. “Damn, baby, your hair looks great.”

I blushed, swaying my head from side to side to show off my new three-hundred-fifty-dollar weave. I walked farther into the room. When I was close enough, Tim wrapped his thin arms around my full-figured waist. Our lips met, and he squeezed me tightly. A warm feeling flooded my body as his tongue entered my mouth. Just like the first time we’d ever kissed, my body felt like it was melting in his arms. I loved the way Tim kissed me. His kisses always made me feel wanted. When Tim kissed me, I felt like I was the sexiest woman on the planet.

When we broke our kiss, Tim glanced at his watch. “Baby, I could kiss you all night, but if I’m not mistaken, your book club meeting is getting ready to start, isn’t it?”

I sighed to show my annoyance, then nodded my head. “Yeah, they’ll be here in about ten, fifteen minutes.”

“Well, I better get outta here, then. You girls don’t need me around here getting in your hair. My virgin ears might overhear something they’re not supposed to, and the next thing you know, I’ll be traumatized for the rest of my life. You wouldn’t want that on your conscience, would you?” He chuckled.

“Hell no, not if you put it that way. ’Cause, honey, I am not going to raise two kids by myself, so you need to make yourself a plate and get the heck outta here.” He laughed at me, then kissed me gently on the lips.

“Aw-ight, you don’t have to get indignant. I’m going,” he teased.

“Where’re you headed anyway?” I asked. A smart wife always knew where her man was.

“Well, I was thinking about going down to Benny’s Bar to watch the game, but my boy Willie Martin called and said they were looking for a fourth person to play spades over at his house, so I decided to head over there. You know how I love playing spades,” Tim said with a big grin. “Besides, like I said before, I know you girls need your privacy.”

Tim was considerate like that. Whenever we’d have our girls’ night, he’d always go bowling or go to a bar with his friends until I ’d call him to let him know that our little gathering was over. He always took my feelings into account and gave me space. I loved him for that, especially after hearing so many horror stories from my friends about the jealous way other men acted.

Tim was a good man, probably a better man than I deserved, which is why I loved him more than I loved myself. And believe it or not, that was a tall order for a smart and sexy egomaniac like myself. But at the same time, my momma didn’t raise no fool. Although I loved and even trusted Tim, I didn’t love or trust his whorish friends or those hoochies who hung around the bars and bowling alleys he frequented. So, before I let him leave the house, I always made sure I took care of my business in one way or another. And that was just what I was about to do when I reached for his fly—take care of my business.

“What’re you doing?” He glanced at my hand but showed no sign of protest. “Your friends are gonna be here any minute, you know.”

“Well, my friends are gonna have to wait. I got something to do,” I said matter-of-factly. “Besides, this ain’t gonna take but a minute. Momma got skills … or have you forgotten since last night?”

He shrugged his shoulders and said with a smirk,

“Hey, I’m from Missouri, the Show Me State, so I don’t remember shit. You got to show me, baby.”

I cocked my head to the right, looking up at him. “Is that right? You don’t remember shit, huh? Well, don’t worry, ’cause I’m about to show you, and trust me, this time you’re not going to forget a damn thing.” I pulled down his pants and then his boxers. Out sprang Momma’s love handle. Mmm, mmm, mmm, I’ve got to say, for a short, skinny man, my husband sure was packing. I looked down at it, then smiled. “Mmm, chocolate. I love chocolate.” And on that note, I fell to my knees, let my bag slide off my shoulder, and got to work trying to find out how many licks it took to get to the center of my husband’s Tootsie Pop.

About five minutes later, my mission was accomplished. I ’d revived my husband’s memory of exactly who I was and what I could do. Tim was grinning from ear to ear as he pulled up his pants—and not a minute too soon, because just as I reached for my bag to reap-ply my lipstick, the doorbell rang. The first thought that came to my mind was that it was probably my mother. She was always on time, while the other members of my book club were usually fashionably late. I don’t know who came up with the phrase “CP time,” but whoever it was sure knew what the hell they were talking about. You couldn’t get six black people to all show up on time if you were handing out hundred-dollar bills.

Tim finished buckling his pants, then went up front to answer the door. I finished reapplying my makeup, then followed him. Just as I suspected, it was my mother ringing the bell. My mother wasn’t an official member of our book club, but she never missed a meeting or a chance to take home a week’s worth of leftovers for my brother and stepdad after the meeting was
over. Truth is, the only reason she wasn’t an official member of our book club was because she was too cheap to pay the twenty-dollar-a-month dues for the food and wine we served at each meeting. I loved my mom, but she was one cheap-ass woman.

My mother hadn’t even gotten comfortable on the sofa when, surprisingly, the doorbell rang again. Once again, Tim answered the door while I fixed four plates of food for him and his card-playing friends. Walking through the door were the Conner sisters—my best friend Egypt and her older sister Isis. Egypt and I had been best friends since the third grade. She was probably the only woman I trusted in the world. That’s why sometime before she left, I needed to ask her a very personal favor, probably the biggest favor I ’d ever asked anyone.

BOOK: Up to No Good
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