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Authors: Kris Bell

What A Person Wants

BOOK: What A Person Wants
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What A Person Wants

 

Kris M. Bell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright © 2015 Kris M. Bell

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DEDICATION

 

To SR, GF, KJ, and AB. You know who you are. Thanks for everything.

 

 

 

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank everyone who inspired me not only to write this book, but also to finish it. It has been a long time coming, and I could not have done it without your support: my mother, Annette, Sam, Glynn, Kevin, and so many more. Thank you. I would also like to give a special thanks to Rebekah L. Pierce, my editor and friend.

 

 

 

 

 

ISABEL

I don’t know how I ended up in this situation. Normally, I prefer to stay away from parties lest my occasional social awkwardness decide to pop up and say “hello.” I suppose I simply didn’t want to face another boring Saturday night alone.

I glanced down at my outfit as inconspicuously as possible and wondered if I were dressed well enough.  My tastes have always been simple: slacks or jeans with a cute top. A skirt might make an appearance in my wardrobe if I felt particularly frisky. Tonight, though, I settled for dark blue jeans, black wedge boots and a red sweater.  The sweater cut low down the front just enough to show off a hint of cleavage without being too slutty: subtle, but effective, just the way I like it.  My long, wavy brown hair cascaded down my back. Thank God for my Puerto Rican daddy and his thick head of hair.  My mama’s hair won’t grow past her ears.

“If you don’t stop checking yourself out, I’m gonna superglue your damn eyes shut.”

I turned to face my best friend, Tara Taliaferro.  She was pretty cool. Tara thought she was an around-the-way, straight off the block, ride or die, hood for life black chick, but both her parents were as white and boring as unpainted drywall. I blamed BET.

As usual, Tara looked as well put-together as any female I have seen on television.  Her thin figure and modest assets were barely concealed by the painted-on leggings and short shirt dress.  Sometimes, I wished I had Tara’s figure.  That’s not to say I don’t like my own shapely size twelve body, but Tara could make any outfit look good. She could wear a Hefty bag, call it “couture," and get away with it. Me, on the other hand? Not so much.

I sighed and picked up my drink from the coffee table.  “I just don’t know if I look like I belong at a party or a library.  You sure I look okay?”

Tara rolled her eyes in my direction with an exaggerated sigh of exasperation. “I helped you pick out the outfit, so, of course, you look good.  If I was a lesbian, I’d go for you.”  She took a big swig of the Hennessy and Coke she had been nursing.  “I know you’re worried that you look like a plain Jane, but believe me when I say you don’t.  You dress modestly because you
are
modest. Nothing wrong with that.”

My eyes wandered over Tara’s frame again.  If she inhaled deep enough, surely the wide belt holding her “dress” closed would pop open exposing her goodies to the crowded room.  “I don’t know, honey. You’re making me feel a wee bit overdressed.”

Tara chuckled.  She knew I was right. In the four years we had been friends, I had never known her to dress conservatively.  Before Tara, I didn’t know anyone who could pull off the “Jersey Shore skank” look and still be stylish. But she pulled it off well.

I looked around the apartment. From my seat on the couch, I had a pretty good view of everything except the kitchen.  That’s where Tiffany, the hostess and wife of my good friend, Rhys, remained hidden. I couldn't recall her mingling with the twenty or so guests who roamed around her home, enjoying each other’s company.  Rhys, on the other hand, kept walking around the open space from the living room to the dining room talking to everybody and playing bartender.  He was the one who mixed my pineapple and vodka drink. Super delicious!

Looking Rhys over, I could easily see why half the females at the party were in his face despite Tiffany’s presence.  He was definitely a cutie: a little taller than average with a very slender build, a big head with a short cute, clean goatee and lips meant to be sucked on.  He had married Tiffany after dating for only six months, and their one year anniversary was right around the corner.  Since he was my oldest friend, I could tell from the start that he was in love with his wife, but judging from how the ladies at the party were eyeing him, Tiffany still had competition.

Tiffany was okay.  I hadn’t really spent enough time with her to say whether she was a mess or the perfect Stepford wife.  She’s just
okay
.  Very pretty, though, I must admit that.  She’s just as tall as her husband with a quirky smile and thick, curly short hair. 

I don’t think she’s said more than two words to me since I’ve been here, but that was hardly unusual since we seldom talked anyway despite my honest efforts in the past to get to know her.

Rhys’ elaborate sound system blasts some rap song I never heard before.  Apparently, I was the only person who wasn’t feeling it; a few people had gotten up and started grinding to the beat while others sat and bopped their heads. Two people rapped along with the record.  One was Tara, and the other was Mr. Gorgeous.

Gorgeous was really putting it lightly. I had never seen a man look so edible. He was about six feet, maybe a little more with a muscular build.  He definitely wasn’t a body builder type, but anyone with at least one semi-functional eye could tell he spent some time in the gym because his body was saying something. I figured he was Puerto Rican or maybe Dominican with his slight tan complexion and bluish-black hair.  Even though he was clear across the room, I could tell that his chiseled face was home to an even more succulent mouth than Rhys’. Mr. Gorgeous had thick, shapely lips that begged to be kissed.

“Earth to Isabel!  Girl, wake the hell up!”  I whipped my head around to find Tara laughing in my face.  “See something you like?”

I rolled my eyes and played it off as the heat from a deep blush flushed my face. “What are you talking about? I’m just surveying the room.”

“Humph!” Tara grunted with a smirk. “Your ass is checking out the Rican in the corner talking to Rhys.”

“No, I wasn’t.”

“So, you weren’t looking at that Rican with your jaw hanging down, drooling?”

More blood rushed to my face because I knew she was right.  I was hawking the guy, I knew it.  But she didn’t have to know.

“Whatever.  Like I said, I’m just surveying the room.  Don’t you have someone you need to hook up with for the evening?”  My attempt to turn the focus away from me and not to look in Mr. Gorgeous’ direction proved pointless. My eyes kept stealing back towards him.
My God, I could stare at that Adonis all day…

Tara wasn’t fooled either. She pushed her dark red hair away from her face and grinned.  “Well, I did see somebody I wanted to give some time to, but you’re my date tonight.  I told you I wasn’t gonna leave you to sit by yourself in the corner like you do at every other damn function. So, like it or not, you’re stuck with me.”

“Hold up!” I protested. “Now I know you not trying to put me on blast.  I didn’t ask you to babysit me, and I don’t sit in the corner everywhere I go.”

Tara just stared at me. “Okay, little Miss Life of the Party.  So, what have you been doing for the last hour since we’ve been here? We’re two beautiful women at a party with wall to wall dudes, and you’re sitting on the couch nursing the same damn drink you had when we arrived.  Come on, girl! It’s like Thirty-one Flavors in here, and we can have any flavor we want  Even Rican.”

She had a point. I bit my bottom lip and looked down at my feet. I did have a tendency to be a wallflower at social events, the few that I did attend. Normally, I’m a big kid who likes to have fun, and I know how to turn on the professional side when the need arises. However, the one thing I never really learned how to do was to relax in front of strangers. How I even meet people and make friends I’ll never know.

“Okay,” I said.  “Let’s mingle.”

Tara damn near jumped up and squealed like an excited little girl. I tried to hush her up before someone saw her.  “We can mingle,” I said again, “but if I start talking stupid, stop me.”

Obviously, Tara was too thrilled at the prospect of working the room with me. She kept dancing around like a hyper child with new toy.

“Girl, by the time we are done at this party, you’re gonna have a pocket full of phone numbers, and I’m gonna find me some good dick.  This drought is killing me.”

I glanced sideways at Tara and shook my head as I stood up, smoothing out my sweater.  “What drought? You had a date a few weeks ago, and I know you got some because you called me at four in the damn morning to brag about it.”

“Girl, you know I never go longer than a week without a date. Now, let’s get you socializing with the common folk and find me a piece in the process.”

RICHIE             

I saw the white girl jump up with the thick lady out the corner of my eye; they walked over to Rhys’ stereo where a couple of guys were hanging out. Rhys had run the ladies’ names by me, but I couldn’t remember them at the moment. I turned my attention back to my boy who looked like he was struggling to finish off a chicken wing.

“Tiffany made the hot wings, but ain’t nothing hot about them. I love my baby to death, but she can’t cook for shit.” Rhys grimaced as he wrapped the partially eaten chicken wing in a napkin and set it down.

“Rhys, give the woman a break. I mean, she walked down the aisle and said ‘yes’ to you.  So what if she can’t cook. Hire a caterer or just do your own cooking. It’s that simple.”

“I know, Rich. At least she tried. I’ll give her that.”

Rhys and I had been friends since elementary school, so it’s safe to say that I knew him pretty well. I knew him well enough to know that he never thought about having a wife who knew her way around the kitchen before he had to live with one who didn’t. We stood next to his glass dining room table sampling on a little bit of everything his wife had spread out for the guests. Tiffany had all kinds of snacks on the table, ranging from the bland hot wings to potato salad to carrot sticks. I stayed with the bagged barbeque potato chips. It’s the one thing I know Tiff didn’t put together. I wasn’t taking any chances.

“So,” Rhys said trying to get my attention, “what do you think? See anybody here you want to get to know better?”

I looked at Rhys who wore a big Colgate smile on his face. “Why are you always trying to hook me up with one of your rejects?”

“Rejects?” My boy looked at me pretending like he didn’t know what the hell I was talking about, but his ass knew what I meant. “Fool, what are you talking about? Ain’t no rejects up in here.”

I gave my bullshitting friend my best Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson impression and raised a single brow. “Oh, really? Didn’t Lakeisha leave right after I got here? Don’t you remember trying to hook me up with that dummy after she had stalked you a few months back?”

Rhys feigned a contemplating look. “Oh,
Lakeisha
!” he finally said like a light bulb had gone off over his head. “Lakeisha wasn’t stalking me. I thought y’all would be good together.”

“Wasn’t stalking you? That bitch—"

“Man, lower your voice! Tiff is in the kitchen.”

I obliged. “Fine, whatever. Lakeisha hung around you every chance she got and threw them teabag titties in your face. Then she had the nerve to start bugging out once you told her you were married. Calling you, disrespecting Tiff, showing up at the job looking like a ho in her ‘fuck-me-pumps’ and would not leave you alone ‘til you gave her some.”

“And?”

“What do you mean ‘and’?  I distinctly remember you telling me you slipped up and hit it. I also remember you telling me how much she sucked. More to the fact, didn’t you tell me that she called you for some dick damn near every day after that?”

“Yeah.”

I just stared at Rhys. For the life of me, I couldn’t understand what the big deal was. I don’t have problems in the women department, but he swore up and down that I was romantically crippled. Ever since I left Chloe Childs a year ago, he’d been trying to do the friendly thing and set me up. Sad to say, even though he has a ridiculous amount of women chasing him despite the fact that he’s married, all his setups have been horrible choices for me.  Lakeisha was the absolute worst.             

“So, what was so bad about Lakeisha?” Rhys asked. I opened my mouth to respond, but before I could get a word out, I noticed a couple of people move toward were Rhys and I were standing. Waiting for them to finish grazing the food on the table took forever, so I motioned for Rhys to follow me toward the empty hallway leading to the bedrooms in the back of the apartment. This way we could talk in semi-privacy.

“I don’t get it, man,” Rhys continued. “She may have had her hang ups on me, but she’s not a bad person. I really thought y’all would hit it off.”

“Like you thought I would hit it off with Tracey, Whitney and Takita?”

Rhys nodded. “I just want you to meet somebody so you can get over that bitch.”

I sighed. “Chloe isn’t a bitch. She’s just got a lot going on. If she gained an ounce of maturity, she’d be amazing.”

“The thing about that man. She’s
never
gonna mature. She was a bitch when she was younger and she’s a bigger bitch today.”

I began to get a little irritated with my boy. I was well aware of his dislike of Chloe, but I still hated for anybody to talk bad about her. She was the love of my life…or so I had thought. “Do you want to hear what Lakeisha did or not?”             

“Yeah, man. Tell it.”

“Well,” I began, “I say you tossed me your leftovers because when I took this girl out on our date, she did everything in her power to make it known that she was your girl, you were gonna divorce Tiff and marry her, and she was doing you a favor by hanging out with me.”

Rhys laughed. “No, she did not say that.”

“Yes, that dummy did!” I began to laugh too, remembering how she compared the two of us. In her eyes, I was okay, but Rhys was the absolute
shit.
“She spent the whole date talking about you. At the end of the night, I went to take her home, and she said that she was gonna make you proud by having sex with me. You know, go the extra mile.”

“What?” Rhys said.   

“Richie, you didn’t have sex with her, did you? She’s nothing to write home about. Why would she even put it out there like her pussy’s sprinkled with glitter?”

I shrugged as I glanced down the hall. I couldn't see much of the living room from the hall, but I could hear the music. Someone   had changed it from hip hop to old school R&B. I brought my attention back to the conversation. “Hell, naw, I didn’t hit it. That thing’s not pasteurized.” We both had a hard laugh at that.  

“Can’t blame her for trying, though,” Rhys said as he calmed down. Rhys nodded his head toward the end of the hall and began walking back to the party. I followed. It was in full swing. People were dancing and singing along to the music. Whoever thought to take the rap off the stereo and put on that old music did a damn good job. “Heartbeat” by Seduction, was playing. I hadn’t heard that track in years.

I don't think Rhys was too impressed by the music. He was too busy scanning the room. He quickly glanced my way before drawing his attention back to the crowd and asked, “So, going back to my original question. You see anybody here you want to get to know?”

I smiled to myself as I looked at the thick lady again. Something about her kept catching my eye. She was cute, no doubt about that. She was short, maybe a whole foot shorter than me with a full-figured hourglass shape. I couldn’t think of too many skinny females with such a defined waist-to-hip ratio. I knew Rhys didn't normally care for thick women; his own wife had to be a size zero, but I didn’t mind a woman with a little extra something. This lady definitely had that. Her hair was gorgeous too. It looked real from where I was standing, but with some of these females, you never can tell. Her eyes and her smile were real, though. I had checked her out when I first came in about thirty minutes ago. She was sitting on the couch looking kind of down, but as soon as she smiled, her whole face lit up. 

Rhys grinned. “Yeah, I know that look. You see somebody. Who?”

I chuckled. I must’ve been staring. “Well,” I admitted, “I do see somebody. Who is that thick lady in the red shirt? The one with those huggable hips?”

Rhys strained to see who had on a red shirt. “Which one, man? I see like three women with red shirts.”

“That one.” I pointed in her general direction as discreetly as I could. “She’s talking to the redhead in the tights and short dress.”

Finally, he saw her.  He turned back to me with a smile. “That’s my home girl, Isabel.  Isabel Maldonado. That’s the girl you peeping?”             

I reluctantly nodded my head. “Yeah, I noticed her smile. She has a nice one.” A thought struck me.  “Wait a minute! Is she one of your conquests or a friend of a friend?”

Rhys rolled his eyes and moved back to the food table in the dining room.. Again, I followed him. He reached for a chicken wing, hesitated, and then moved to the pretzel bowl instead.

“She was never a ‘conquest,’ man. I’ve known her for about six years. Real cool girl. We never dated. Never had sex. Just good friends,” Rhys responded, his mouth now full of pretzels.

Unconvinced, I cut my eyes at my best friend. Rhys actually had a platonic relationship with a female? Either she’s gay or he’s lying.

My boy caught me looking at him sideways and immediately got defensive. “I’m not lying, man! Izzy and I are good friends. She’s a bit quiet at first, but once you get to know her, she loosens up. A lot. Spends most of her time working on her writing; she thinks she’s the next Shakespeare or Terry McMillan, or some shit like that. Her friend, Tara, the redhead in the short dress, is the wild one. She always got a different dude on her arm, but Izzy keeps to herself. I love her to death, though. That’s my girl.”

When he started calling her “Izzy," it brought back some memories. I did remember him talking about his friend Izzy, but we had never met. However, that wasn’t too strange to me. Rhys and I have been cool for over fifteen years, but I only met maybe half of the females he dealt with. There was just too damn many of them. Yet, despite the sheer number of women in Rhys' past, he always made it a point for me to meet any he deemed important. But the famous Izzy I had yet to meet.

I brought this point up to Rhys while he continued to graze the food table. "Hold up. If she's so cool with you, how come I've never met her? I thought I met all your important women?"

“You have,” he agreed. “But Izzy had moved to Philadelphia after we first met, so we talked long distance for a while. We kept in touch when she got back here to Virginia. I don’t see her too often, but I talk to her almost every day. I dunno. I just never really thought to introduce y’all.”

“So, you’ll do it tonight?” I said, hopeful. Now that I knew this pretty lady wasn’t one of my boy’s rejects or ex-girlfriends, I really wanted to meet her. We watched her as she sat back on the couch with another girl and giggled with her. She was obviously beginning to enjoy herself. There was something about this lady; I couldn’t take my eyes off of her.

“Um, I don’t think you’ll want to meet her,” Rhys finally confessed. “I think her friend is more your speed.”             

I looked at him cross-eyed. “The wild friend?” I asked. “Rhys, I’d rather meet the lady. Introduce me to Isabel.”

Rhys thought about it for a second. “You sure? I mean, she already has a dude in the military. You might get the cold shoulder or something. Besides, you’ll probably corrupt her.  You know, being a ‘reformed’ ho yourself and all.”             

I looked at Rhys like he was crazy. I could not figure out why he didn’t want me to talk to her. If she wasn’t an ex-girlfriend or an old booty call, there really shouldn’t be a reason why I couldn’t at least introduce myself. But since my boy wasn’t cool with it, I let it go. Leaving Rhys to stuff his face, I made my way back to the living room to find someone else to talk to. Maybe it wasn’t meant to be.

 

 

 

 

 

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