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Almost Doesn't Count: Part 5



 Hello, everyone. I know it's been a long time. While I haven't released anything in a year or so (depression is kicking my ass), I am behind the scenes creating. However, until I do release something new, I've decided to release parts of a story I wrote in 2005, long before I became a published author. I'll release a new part, on my website, every week. And it's FREE! Here's the fifth part:

Isis
 My whole world had come crashing down. I couldn’t believe what was in front of me. After Louis had put his hands on me, after my professor found out that I was a stripper, I didn’t think anything else could take the cake. However, judging by what was right in front of me, I was wrong.

My eyes watered and something akin to anger and instant resentment settled within the pit of my stomach.

“Isis, girl, you don’t hear me talking to you?” Tissa asked. “I’ve been asking you if these shoes are what you wanted for the last five minutes now.”

I heard her, but I didn’t hear her. We were in Lenox Mall. The sun was shining. The weather was warm. I didn’t feel as bad as I had been feeling. I’d done all my homework. Had turned it in, too. Then I let my roommates talk me into coming to the mall to shop. I wish I hadn’t.

Chanel walked in front of me and waved her hands wildly, but I moved ever so slightly to her left. I couldn’t take my eyes off what I was looking at…better yet who I was looking at.

“Girl, what the fuck you looking at?” Chanel quipped then turned to let her eyes follow where mine were. She gasped. “Holy shit!”

“What?” Tissa said as she walked over to where we were.

“Is that Louis?” Chanel asked, shock all in her voice.

“Hell yeah that’s that nigga. And clearly that’s his son. That little boy looks just like that light bright-ass nigga. Oh my fucking God,” Tissa said with a sardonic chuckle.

“Who’s the bitch with him?” Chanel wanted to know.

While they were looking at Louis, the woman whose hand he was holding and the little boy, my eyes were on his left hand. Tears streamed down my face. My whole body shook. No…he couldn’t be… We’d spent too much time together. I’d been to his house. He always answered when I called. He took me out. We’d been on a few trips together. There was just no fucking way that what I was seeing was real. No fucking way.

Before my mind could catch up with my feet, I moved toward Louis. The place was crowded. Lenox Square was a big fashion sow. Everybody had to show everyone else that they could spend money on the tops brands. You know, essentially keeping up with the Joneses. I shoved and bumped my way through people. I wanted him to see me. I needed him to see me. I needed an explanation.

I didn’t even know Tissa and Chanel were behind me. The woman spotted me first. She saw the tears in my eyes. She stood at least an inch taller than I was. Her skin was as chocolate and flawless as mine. She had a video vixen body… similar to mine. I had rounder hips and fuller breasts, but the woman with Louis was just as beautiful if not more beautiful than I was.

Her hair was pulled back into a long, sleek ponytail. Her wide doe-like eyes called attention to her oval shaped face. Her lashes were long and thick, eyebrows had been arched professionally I was sure. She was dressed in dark denim jeans that had men ogling. Tall, sexy red pumps were on her slender feet. The sheer black blouse she had on showed how flat her stomach was and how plump her breasts were.

My eyes narrowed when I looked at the little boy. He was his father’s son. He had even had Louis’ eyes and mouth. His mother’s hand was on his shoulder as he looked up at his father. Her hands,with red nails long and pointy, slid down her son’s chest as she eased him behind her. The rock and wedding band on her left ring finger blinded me.  

“May I help you?” she asked me.

Her voice dripped sex. It washed over me like a warm gentle breeze. I looked into her eyes then over at Louis…who had just looked at me like he’d seen a ghost.

“What is this?” I asked him, my voice strained with emotions.

Louis glanced down at his son then over at the woman. I looked down at his left hand and there sat a wedding band matching the one on the woman’s hand.

“Is this your wife?” I asked Louis. “Your son?”

“Excuse me,” the woman interjected. “Who are you?” Her voice was ladled with confusion.

I looked from Louis to her. “I’m the woman Louis has been fucking for over a year, and apparently, I was stupid the whole damn time. Are you his wife?”

The woman’s head jerked back as if I’d slapped her. Her eyes blinked rapidly as her head snapped around to Louis. “What is she talking about?” she asked him.

Louis, who stood statue still, eyes burned a hole through me. He stood there, chewing his gum slowly, broad shoulders back. 

His words were cold when he said, “She’s talking about nothing I wish to discuss in the middle of a mall.”

He did not look at the woman when he said it. His eyes never left mine. The side of his upper lip twitched while he stared at me.

“Excuse me?” she said. “Are you—you do know this woman? Is what she saying true? Have you been—”

Before she could finish, Louis snapped his head around at her. “I said—not here and not now, Denise.”

His words dripped with such venom that it scared me for a second. Denise took a breath so deep that when she exhaled I saw smoke coming from her ears and nose. She moved her right up to cover her chest, but she remained silent. Her lips were balled so tight I was sure she was going to explode at any moment.

“Are you married?” I blurted out before I could stop myself. “You have a son?”

“Nigga got a whole damn family,” I heard Tissa say.

I’d forgotten she and Chanel were even with me.

With her left hand held up and her fingers wiggling, Denise looked at me like I was stupid as she declared, “Clearly, he’s married.”

Louis grabbed his son’s hand and turned to walk away. He never spared me a second glance. I rushed behind him, reached out to grab his arm and he jerked away from me.

“Louis,” I yelled.

It was to no avail. He kept walking and soon his wife, Denise, caught up with him. I was left standing there looking stupid.

My world was spinning. Louis was so cold and uncaring. It was as if I was, again, some random bitch on the street. It hit me harder than it ever had before that I didn’t know this man. I’d spent over a year sharing my body with him, sharing my thoughts, hopes, and dreams…and yet, I didn’t know him. I knew his name. I knew he was a lawyer. I knew where he worked. I knew how old he was. I knew he liked his banana pudding made a certain way. I knew he didn’t liked to be asked a lot of questions. I knew he was a Virgo. I knew all that useless shit and still had no idea just who the hell he was.

Later that night was hell for me. It was tortuous. I’d loved that man for over a year. In some ways, I still loved him. I didn’t know what hurt worse; the fact that he’d hit me or the fact that he was married. As the storm clouds rolled in, tears leaked down my face. I’d even tried to call Louis. I needed him to explain this to me. How was he able to take me on all those trips? How was able to go to his house? How was he able to pick up every time I called… minus the time when he was MIA after I found out I had an STD.

Did he have other women besides me? I wondered if he and his wife were fighting now. I wondered how she felt looking at me, knowing I’d been with her husband. I knew I felt like shit. Rain made light taps on my window. I needed to get myself together since I was to go to work in about another hour or two.

Just as another wave of fresh tears and gut-wrenching sobs overtook me, my stomach lurched, and I went running to the bathroom to empty its contents. I knew I wasn’t pregnant because I was on birth control. However, just the thought of Louis being married and all that we’d done while we were together sickened me. All the times he told me he loved me had to be a lie, right? I mean if it wasn’t obvious after he’d hit then it for damn sure was now.

As my hands pressed down on the toilet seat, my knees started to hurt pressed onto the hard floor, but I couldn’t stop throwing up. After a few minutes, I had nothing left to upchuck. I cleaned myself up, slammed my hands against the light switch to turn the light off—I couldn’t even bare to look at myself. Didn’t want to see stupid looking back at me.

There was no way I was going to let him get away with this. He owed me some kind of explanation. I grabbed my cell and called him several more times, only to get no answer. Before I knew what I was doing, I snatched my room door open and stormed to the front door.

My roommates were in various states of undress, getting ready to shake their asses for the night. It was what I should have been doing, but no. Hell no. I had to go handle some shit.

“Yo, Isis, where you going, sis?” Terria yelled. “Ain’t you dancing tonight?” she asked.

“No,” I said and left it at that.

Tissa said, “She’s probably to pissed to dance. I told you we saw that raggedy-ass nigga Louis in the mall with his wife. I never liked that nigga. Every time he came this way, he was looking at our place like he was going to catch fleas or some shit.”

“Yeah, Louis always gave me bad vibes,” Chanel added.

As they talked, I yanked the closet by the front door open then took out the steel baseball bat we kept there.

“Whoa shit. Isis, what you about to do?” Terria asked as she rushed up to me and grabbed the other end of the bat.

“Let the bat go,” I snapped at her.

“Nah, sis. Not if you about to let this nigga take you out of character like this. He ain’t worth going to jail,” she pleaded.

Chanel chimed in, “Yeah, fuck him, Isis. He ain’t worth losing all you worked for. You said you not trying to go back to that piss poor-ass town in Mississippi, right? Don’t let him take you some place you can’t return.”

My throat felt like it was about close, and my eyes burned with fresh tears. I knew they were right. The logical side of me knew I was risking going to jail… However, the emotional side of me wouldn’t be denied. I needed some answers. I needed to get his attention so he could explain to me what in hell was going on.

“No, see… he doesn’t get to give me an STD, hit me, and then have a wife and son all at the same time,” I said.

I didn’t even recognize my own voice. It came out in bits and pieces. Sounded as if someone else was talking through me.

“Wait, bitch, say what now?” Terria asked, dropping her hold on the bat. “He gave you an STD and he hit you?”

“When?” Tissa and Chanel barked out at the same time.

I broke down and told them everything. I told them about my visit to the doctor to Louis coming to the club and his assault in the parking lot. By the time I was done, they had all stopped getting dressed for work and got dressed for a fight.

Almost forty-five minutes later, we pulled into the River’s Edge community. The neighborhood was upscale, the upper echelons of the black community lived here. While some of the houses were bigger than others, the fact that we had driven into money was obvious. The heavy falling rain did nothing to hide the opulence of the area. All of the yards were manicured. Hedges had been trimmed to perfection. Two neighborhood watch minivans passed us in a matter of seconds. The area was quiet. No ambulance or police sirens could be heard. There was no loud music. No noise. Just a beautiful scenic place to dwell.

My mind went back to all the days and nights Louis had brought me here. I saw no signs, no evidence of a woman or child being in that house. So how? How did he get a wife and child? Those were my thoughts as I told Terria which driveway to pull into. I had been too shaken up to drive so she had taken my keys from me.

Louis’s house was one of the biggest in the neighborhood. It was Mediterranean in style and exuded luxury. I remembered being wide-eyed and impressed when he’d first invited me over. I was still impressed. His brand new black Cadillac Escalade was in the driveway.

Terria stopped a few yards away from the house, but close enough for us to see the lights were on and curtains in the front room were pulled back.

“That’s his house right there,” I repeated, wondering why she hadn’t turned into the driveway like I’d told her. “Pull up.”

“Girl, never pull in the driveway. We don’t want to get blocked in when it’s time to run,” she said.

Tissa and Chanel nodded like they’d all done this before. We sat silent for a moment. I heard Tissa and Chanel click their seat belts off. They sat forward and peered through the windshield like Terria and I were doing. Denise was walking around in black booty shorts and a lace bra. She was upset. I could tell by the way her hands were moving and by the way she rolled her neck while speaking. I didn’t see Louis, but I knew he was in there. Who else could she be talking to?

“You two look alike,” Terria said.

“They do,” Tissa said.

I saw Chanel nod her head through the rear-view mirror. I hated to admit it, but that hadn’t been lost on me when I first saw Denise.

“What you going to do?” Terria asked. “Let me know. We need a plan. We can’t just run up on him in his house and not have a plan,” she said.

“I just want to talk to him,” I said.

“Sis, we ain’t come all the way out here to fucking talk,” Terria said. “Shit, you could talk to him on his voicemail. “The fuck? No, you need to do more than talk. Use the fucking bat—”

“Whatever she gon’ do, it’s gotta be quick before them neighborhood watch dudes circle back,” Chanel said.

I pulled out my cell, dialed Louis. Just as his phone rang on my end, he walked into view. He had just said something that made Denise back away from him. He glanced from her down to his phone which was lighting up in his hand. He made a face that said he didn’t want to be bothered. He pressed a button and a second later I’d been sent to voicemail.

I grabbed the bat then got out of the car. I let my emotions get the better of me. I couldn’t help myself. I heard my girls get out the car to follow me.

“Pull your hood up, sis,” Terria said as she ran up behind me.

“No. I want him to see me,” I said.

They kept saying things to me, but none registered. As rain beat down on us, I ran up to Louis’ front door. I rang the doorbell then banged my fist against the thick wood. I did that three or four times before  Denise yanked the door open.

She scowled down at me. “What the—” She stopped mid-sentence when she saw the bat in my hand.

Before she could finish, I asked, “Where’s Louis? Tell him to come out here.”

“You’ve got a lot of damn nerve to show up at my house—”

“I’ve been here plenty of times. Ask your husband. Now go get him,” I snapped.

She stood up to her full height, her hands went to her hips. Her eyes darted around and widened a bit. I guess she’d finally realized I didn’t show up alone.

She looked down at me. “You’re young. I can tell. No grown woman would show up to another woman’s house to confront her about a man. Let me give you some advice before you write a check your ass can’t cash. Leave. Now.”

There were so many things I wanted to say to her. They were all running through my head. But, “okay,” was all that came out.

I turned and walked toward Louis’ truck… and then took a running swing at his left headlight. Shards and flecks of glass flew everywhere. I did the same thing to the right headlight.

“Bitch!” I spat. "Louis!”

I yelled his name as if my life was on the line. When he still didn’t show his face, I went for his passenger side windows. I swung that bat like it was an extension of me. In a way it was. All my rage and anger went into every swing I took. In a matter of seconds, I’d destroyed the back window and the driver side windows.

I was breathing so hard, was in so much pain—emotional pain and mental anguish—that I was breathing erratically. I heard my girls arguing with Denise. They were antagonizing her.

“I bet you won’t step out that front door, bitch,” I heard Chanel say.

“Bet any kind of money you won’t step outside,” Terria added.

“Talk shit, get hit, bitch,” Tissa chided.

“Tell your funky-ass, woman beating, STD giving-ass husband to show his face, ho,” Chanel yelled.

“My son is in here,” I heard Denise yell. “Are you out of your mind?”

Behind her, Louis walked up. He pulled his wife from the door, yelled for her to go upstairs where their son was.

Denise’s face was twisted in anger. “You see? You see this mess? Look at what you’ve done, Samuel.”

Denise shook her head and there was a moment where she looked as if she was disgusted with her husband before she stalked off. My head jerked back. Who the fuck was Samuel?

I expected Louis…or Samuel—whoever this man was— to say something to me, but he didn’t. He stared me down for a few seconds before he slammed his front door. I never heard the sirens. Never saw the flashing lights…

I don’t even remember what happened between the cops showing up and me ending up in handcuffs in the backseat of a police cruiser. The realization that I was going to jail settled into my spirit. I was so confused by this whole thing. I didn’t feel like a top college student on her way to bigger and better things. I didn’t feel like I’d made it out of my old town and now had something to live for.

I’d gotten three other young women locked up, my friends. I felt like shit. My soul felt like it was bleeding. As officers walked back and forth from Louis’ house to his truck, I saw a few of his neighbors walk over to make sure his family was okay. I felt so damn foolish. My mother would be real proud, I was sure.

I saw Louis walking toward the cruiser I was in as he talked to an officer. I kept my eyes straight ahead, too embarrassed to even face him now. I felt disgusted with myself.

“Your wife and son okay?” I heard the officer ask him.

Louis nodded. “They’re fine. A bit shaken up, but fine,” he said.

“Damn shame women this fine would be carrying on like this,” the officer said.

“The fine ones with the good pussy are always crazy,” Louis said.

I jerked my head in their directions, not believing what I was hearing. I always knew Louis was well- connected. So, it shouldn’t have been a surprise that he was so chummy with the officers.

I watched on as the officer laughed hard at Louis’ last comment.

“Hey, can I speak to her for a minute?” Louis asked him.

The officer nodded. “Do your thing,” he said then stepped away.

Louis leaned against the door, one arm propped on the top of the car as he gazed down at me.
“You did all this for what, Isis?” he asked. “Because you’re mad?”

“You’re married?” I asked. “I thought…I thought you loved me, and who the fuck is Samuel? Why did she call you Samuel? Was it all a joke to you? All that we shared? Was that why it was so easy for you to hit me, talk to me like I wasn’t shit?”

“I’ve been trying to get you to talk to me for over two weeks, but now you want to talk?” he asked.

“You hit me,” I yelled. You put your damn hands on me!”

“You come to me, telling me you have an STD and you expected me to do what?” he asked.

“An STD you gave me. I wasn’t fucking anyone else!”

“Bullshit.”

“No, you’re the only bullshitter out here, Louis. Who is Samuel?”

He didn’t answer. Just stroked his chin then thumbed his nose before he leaned down into the window. I could have sworn there was a demon looking back at me.

“You can bust all the windows out of all my cars and trucks, but guess what? I can fix those with no problems. However, I still fucked you. I still had you in every position I wanted to have you, any time I wanted to. Your heart is still broken… and you can’t change or fix that. Grow up, Isis. We could have talked all this shit through, but you don’t know how to problem solve without resulting to ghetto, hoodrat shit. You moved the girl out of the country, but deep down inside, you’re still that naïve, Bambi-eyed, country bumpkin you’ve always been. Maybe a few days in jail will help you to calm down.”

His words hurt. Like a jagged edged knife, they ripped through my insides. As I watched him walk back inside of his home, back to his wife and child, I wondered how long his betrayal would hurt.

Copyright © 2005 by Nikki Michelle
All rights reserved
Singleton’s Press
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.

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They say all good things come to an end, and I guess you could just add my relationship to the list. I should have known my relationship with Louis was too good to be true. I met him when I was in court one day the year before. I’d gotten a ticket that I was trying to fight because the cop sexually harassed me before he issued it to me. Then to top that off, he lied and said that I’d solicited him. The shit I had to go through just because of my job description always annoyed me.
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Isis After Louis had beat my behind in the parking lot of my job, I could admit that it had me scared and depressed a little bit. He had been calling, and I’d been ignoring him. Part of me wanted to press charges, but I knew he was well-connected in Atlanta. He could make my life a living hell and I didn’t want that. I really just wanted him to leave me alone.
I didn’t go into my job for the last two nights because of the bruises decorating my neck, eyes, and swollen lips.Part of me also knew that Louis would be there. I didn’t have to worry about him showing up at my school …