I drove my black Nissan Altima into my parents’ driveway and turned off the satellite radio. After putting the car in park, I pressed the start stop engine button and lifted the trunk release lever. I had just came from the grocery store to pick up some ingredients to make homemade chicken noodle soup and needed to get the bags out the trunk. I stepped out the car in my sneakers and grabbed both bags out the trunk with my right hand. Using my free hand I shut the trunk door closed and powered on the car alarm.
Just as I was about to reach the front door I heard a car pulling up into the driveway followed by a pair of headlights which illuminated the driveway and windows. I whirled around and seen a dark sedan park right in back of my mother’s car. Because it was dark outside I couldn’t tell if the car was blue or black or the model of it. Then the person, who was cloaked in black stepped out the car, and my heart got caught in my throat. He just stood by his car with a cold and expressionless look on his face and reached for something out of his waste-band. It took a few seconds for me to realize that he was pointing a black handgun in my direction. My eyes widened and my heart pumped faster and faster inside my chest. Without hesitation I dashed towards the house with my groceries and screamed my lungs out hoping somebody would hear me.
POWWW! POWWWW! POWWW!” Three gunshots rang in the quiet neighborhood as a burning sensation pierced my back and shoulder. It felt like someone had taken pieces of super-hot metal and inserting it inside my skin. Groceries spilled out the bags as my body fell to the ground. I slid closer to the front door and looked down to see my denim jacket soaked with blood. As I struggled sliding to the front door I noticed a pair of black combat boots by my right side. My body was paralyzed with fear when I looked up and watched Christian pointing the barrel of the gun at my head. It was no doubt that I was going to die.
“AAAHH!” I woke up in the bed as my heart raced inside my chest. My breathing was heavy until I realized I wasn’t in my parents’ driveway fighting for my life, but I was in my old bedroom. Although it has been two weeks since Christian tried to choke the life out of me that I’ve been having nightmares of him going to find me one day and really succeed in killing me. These nightmares have ranged from Christian coming to my school, dousing me with gasoline and setting me on fire in front of students and other passerby’s to forcing entry in my parents’ house and stabbing me repeatedly with a knife. I can’t even remember what else happened that night when my neighbors Dallas and Lyzel kicked open the apartment door and charged towards Christian. All I remember was waking up in a hospital bed and being surrounded by my parents, Zayla and Shannon. Because Christian crushed my larynx when he tried to choke the life out of me my voice has been awfully hoarse. I’ve been so worried that I wouldn’t get my normal soft speaking voice back especially with me being an aspiring actress, but my doctor assured me that I should get my normal voice back, but it’s going to take some time. If that isn’t bad enough I experience pains shooting from my neck and into my ear and low energy like I could just lie in bed and sleep my life away. Therefore, I had to take things easy. I’ve just been eating salads, soups and fruits and had to stay in bed for a while before I could go back to attending my classes at The University of Arts and working which sucked because I hate being confined to a bed. Plus, I enjoyed taking my acting and screenwriting classes because they were my two passions. I haven’t even been to the apartment I shared with my best friends Zayla and Shannon since that terrible incident with Christian. I don’t know if I could ever go back to that place because I’m terrified that Christian will come back and finish what he started even with him being behind bars. I’ve just been recuperating over my parents’ house which I was born and raised in.
Suddenly my mother rushed into the family room as concern and panic was etched in her face. “Is everything okay? I thought I heard you scream.” Looking at my mom you would never think I was her daughter. Where I have cocoa brown skin and long, black hair that cascaded past my shoulders my mom was almond-complexioned with deep brown Asian-esque eyes that she inherited from my Korean great grandmother and thick, jet black, chin-length hair that was styled in loose ringlets that framed her face. The only thing I got from my mother physically was my long, shapely legs.
“I had another nightmare of Christian finding me and killing me. Mom, why do you think this happened to me?” My eyes formed with tears as I wondered out loud. All these years of watching the news, DateLine, 48 Hours and different movies on The Lifetime Movie Network about woman getting murdered or nearly killed at the hands of their boyfriends and husbands I never thought in a gazillion years I would be one of those girls who almost lost her life at the hands of an ex. I’m not saying anyone deserves to be killed, but I always tried to treat people with respect.
My mom sat next to me on my bed and draped her arms around me. “But, Kee-Kee, do you know how blessed you are? There’s sooo many women that unfortunately haven’t survived an abusive relationship. I’m so glad that things weren’t much worse.”
“I know.” I wiped a tear that cascaded down my right cheek with the back of my hand. “That’s why I’ve decided to tackle domestic violence in my next screenplay. I was also thinking when I become a famous actress and screenwriter I can give lectures on domestic violence in high schools. I mean, if I can inspire one person to get out of an abusive relationship then it would really make me happy.”
“And when you can influence one person to want to end a toxic relationship you’ve made a huge difference, trust me.” My mom smiled at me. “That would be awesome if you did that.”
“I’m also thinking about taking some martial arts classes.” I admitted. I actually contemplated taking a women’s self-defense class a year ago at my school, but when I found out for the final exam that you get attacked on campus and would get tested on your skills I decided against it. I thought it would freak me out if I was to get assaulted even if it was a fake assault, but ever since my experience being in a physically abusive relationship it wasn’t a bad idea after all. I wanted to be able to defend myself more without having to resort to using a gun like Lyzel suggested one time.
“Uh-oh, I’m getting scared of you. So you’re going to be like Jennifer Lopez in Enough”
I shot my mom a perplexed look. I have never heard of that movie which surprised me because I was an avid movie watcher. “Enough? What movie is that?”
“You haven’t seen Enough?” My mom asked.
She explained after I still had a bewildered look on my face and shook my head. “In the movie Jennifer Lopez plays a woman that is an abusive marriage and she finally finds the strength to run away from her husband with their daughter. And what she does is she takes self-defense classes after she finds out he wants to kill her and get custody of their daughter.”
Although it sounded like dozens of movies on Lifetime I still was curious to see it. “I have to watch it.”
My mom got up from my bed and asked me in a concerned voice. “Did you need anything?”
“No, I’m going to go back to sleep, but thanks, mom. I gave her a gracious smile before I pulled the covers to my neck and drifted right back to sleep. I must have been sleep for a while because when my eyes fluttered open sunlight seeped through the vertical blinds that stood against the window in the family room. I looked over at the time on the DVR that rested on the entertainment stand which read 12:29 pm.
My mom entered the family room again just when I powered on the 60 inch flat screen TV. She stood next to me with a polite smile on her face and questioned. “I’m about to go to Giant, do you need me to pick you anything up?”
“Do we have anymore chicken noodle soup that you made last week?” My mom made this semi spicy chicken noodle soup made with chunks of turkey meat, carrots, potatoes and corn that was delicious.
She shook her head and told me. “No, your father finished the rest of it yesterday, but I can make more for you.”
I gave her a gracious smile. “Thanks mom.” Times like these made me miss living at home with my parents. There’s nothing like being at home and having home-made meals cooked for you.
As she exited my bedroom I turned over on my left side and powered on the TV. Within seconds the intro to Good Times played on my screen. This is one show I have never liked. I don’t understand why it was called Good Times anyway when they were struggling and living in the projects. I quickly turned the channel and found myself staring at that crazy Kevin Hart snaking through a throng of pissed-off women and hitting him upside his head with copies of his fake autobiography. Now I can do The Real Husbands of Hollywood.
“Well, well, well, if it isn’t two-thirds of The Three Musketeers.” I heard my mom’s voice inside the foyer as my mom’s four-year-old Bichon Frise Winter was barking up a storm. Oh my god! Shannon and Zayla here? I didn’t even think they were coming until later on. “The other musketeer is in her bedroom.”
“Hey, girl!” I looked in the doorway and almost had to do a double take when Shannon and Zayla entered the bedroom with friendly smiles on their faces as Winter’s eleven pound, cute, cheerful self-followed behind them. They looked like different people in their new hairstyles. Although Shannon changes her hairstyle like how a lot of people change their bed sheets, and I have seen her wear her curly, wavy and straight. Today her honey brown hair was styled in a tight bun which sat in the center of her head. And Zayla exchanged her sharp pixie haircut for wet and wavy dark brown tresses that cascaded past her shoulders. Zayla looked really pretty with the wet and wavy look.
“Heeey!” I greeted back in my hoarse voice and gave them a weak smile. God, I sounded terrible.
“Your hair looks nice.” I complimented Zayla when she came over to me. Her vanilla, woodsy scent greeted me like a breath of fresh air when she hugged me. “Who did it?”
Zayla answered with a cheek to cheek smile when she sat down on the edge of the bed and rubbed Winter’s curly head. “Hair Town did it, girl. You can get it too for $50 a pack.”
“Hey, you didn’t say my hair looks nice, Kee-Kee?” Shannon pouted like a two-year-old who couldn’t get their way when she plopped down next to Zayla on the bed.
“Your hair looks nice too, Shannon.” I rubbed Winter when she jumped onto the bed and laid next to me. “You look like a little girl with your hair like that.”
“Doesn’t she?” Zayla concurred with a smile. “She looks so pure and innocent which we both know she’s not.”
“I am pure and innocent.” Shannon responded after me and Zayla fell out laughing. “I’m saving myself for marriage, okay.”
You’re saving what for marriage?” Zayla leaned forward and gazed directly into Shannon’s eyes to make sure she was hearing her correctly.
Mocking Zayla, Shannon leaned forward as her coffee brown eyes stared into Zayla’s green-hazel eyes as she answered. “I’m saving myself for marriage. You heard correctly.”
“I think you need to google the term saving oneself for marriage because I don’t think you know what that term means. You're about four penises too late for saving yourself, okay.” Zayla laughed and I joined her. I’m not saying Shannon is a hoe because she wasn’t, but Shannon loved men like a preacher loved Sunday service. I needed that laugh after what I’ve been through for the past couple of weeks. I was laughing my hoarse behind off until a darn sharp pain shot from my neck to my right ear.
“I know what saving yourself for marriage means. My vagina can be vegetarian. I can do without meat between my lower lips.”
“Owww.” My hand flew up to my ear as I cringed from the pain. I couldn’t wait until I stopped having these sharp pains.
A look of concern shone on Shannon’s face when she questioned. “What’s wrong?”
“Another shooting pain from my neck to my ear.” I answered as Winter licked my ear. I swear Winter is the smartest and most loving dog because it’s like she knew I was having shooting pains in my ears and wanted to heal me.
Zayla looked at Shannon. “We should’ve kicked Christian’s ass when we had the chance, but let's see if he kicks some ass when Big Bubba gets a hold of him. And you know they love the pretty boys in jail.”
Shannon nodded her head in agreement. “Mmm-hmm. I got four words of advice for him. Don’t drop the soap.”
A nervous smile eased on my face. This talk was making me uncomfortable. Do I want Christian behind bars? That’s an equivocal yes! Do I want him to seek professional help? No doubt about it! But I don't wish for anyone to get raped not even for someone who tried to kill me. If anything that's going to make the person worse.
“That’s why I say relationships are overrated and I would be single for a damn long time cause these guys out here aren’t shit.” Zayla said. “If they’re not putting their hands on you they’re talking to you crazy, if they’re not doing that, they’re cheating on you or they’re using you as a walking and talking ATM.”
“I think you’re being too hard on men. Let a man be a man unless he proves otherwise.” I knew she was saying that out of hurt and anger because a few weeks ago we spotted her ex-boyfriend Terrence tongue kissing another girl. And it was such a shame because before that she hadn’t been in a relationship since she caught her boyfriend at the time sexing her cousin and that was during our senior year in high school. I understand Zayla looked at like she had bad luck with guys, but my grand mom used to tell me you had to kiss a lot of frogs to meet your prince.
“Keyarra is right, Zayla.” Shannon crossed her right leg over her left one. “There some good guys out here.”
“Where they’re at?” A doubtful look crossed Zayla’s face when she questioned Shannon. “They must be down South cause they're not in Pennsylvania.”
“They’re here, it’s just that sometimes we give the good guys our asses to kiss and kiss the bad guys’ asses.” Shannon must have been thinking about her own situation when she cheated on her ex Ramon with our neighbor Chase who lived on the second floor of our apartment building. She thought their screwlationship was going to turn into a more meaningful relationship until she discovered she was one of Chase’s several sidepieces. I never understood why Shannon thought she could have a serious relationship with Chase anyway. I knew the guy was a player the moment he looked at me like I was a stripper and had the audacity to ask when we were going to fuck.
“Speaking of good guys, Lyzel told me to tell you he’ll be over here tomorrow.” Shannon’s coffee brown eyes shimmered as a mischievous smile crept on her face.
My eyes lit up like Halloween lights at the mention of Lyzel’s name. “You saw him today?” Lyzel has visited me a couple of times when I was in the hospital. I would forever be grateful for Lyzel and Dallas. If they didn't kick open the door and fought Christian when they heard me scream I probably wouldn’t even be in this bed talking to Zayla and Shannon. I’d probably be six feet under in a cemetery somewhere and featured on Fatal Attraction.
Shannon still had that mischievous smile on her face when she answered. “Uh-huh.”
“Yeah, he was going into the building with some girl as we were coming out.” Zayla added. “See, you here not feeling well and he’s cheating on you with some other chick. I’m telling y’all these guys out here aren’t loyal.”
“How can he cheat on me if we’re not together?” I responded, although a wave of jealousy washed over me. Just the thought of Lyzel hooking up with another girl just bothered me. I wonder if it’s the same cinnamon-complexioned girl with the balloon boobs he was with when I saw him at Marco Polo. “Did she have cinnamon skin with long, honey blonde hair?”
“You can tell you’re a writer talking about cinnamon skin.” Shannon grinned and shook her head.
Zayla concurred. “All I know if a person is light-skinned, brown-skinned or dark-skinned. I don’t know about someone having cinnamon skin, almond skin, mocha-complexioned or being café au lait.”
“But, no, this girl was dark brown-skinned and trust me she wasn’t cute in the least bit.” Shannon answered and scrunched up her face like she smelled rotten fruit. And that Ramen Noodles looking weave she had in her hair looked a hot ass mess. I felt like dragging her to the apartment, tying her to a chair and redoing her hair.”
I grinned and shook my head at Shannon’s comments. As much as Shannon couldn't stand for a person's hair to be on point I'm surprised she's not a hair stylist. I couldn't blame her in the least bit. I couldn't stand to someone's hair like a hot mess, either.
“Who cares?” Zayla frowned and shrugged her shoulders. “Kee-Kee doesn’t need him anyway. He’s as much as a dog as Chase is. Birds of a feather damn sure flock together.”
“I seeeeeeeeeeriously doubt Lyzel is as bad as uh, what’s his name.” Shannon snapped her fingers as she pretended to have her ex screw buddy’s name escape her. “Oh, I remember his name. It’s asshole. Oh yeah, he’s more than a dog. He’s a snake and a pig.”
I defended Lyzel to Zayla. “Just because Lyzel and Chase are friends doesn’t mean he’s a dog. Perfect example, look at us. Just because you two are thots doesn’t mean I am. I’m just as angelic as can be.”
“Is it Lie Through Your Teeth day and I didn't check my email.” Zayla laughed before she turned to Shannon and pointed her finger at her. “You got this lying heifer over here talkin’ about she’s saving herself for marriage. And now we have you talkin' about you’re angelic, but you're talking about borrowing flavored condoms and reading books like 203 Ways To Put It On A Man In Bed.”
“It’s 203 Ways To Drive A Man Wild In Bed.” I corrected her. “Get it right, Wet and Wavy.”
Zayla and Shannon fell out laughing and I joined in. This was just like old times with us laughing and cracking on each other.
For the next couple of hours Shannon and Zayla watched parts two and three of The Real Housewives of Atlanta reunion. I shook my head and uttered an “Oh my” when NeNe came onto the set wearing a nude, sparkling jumpsuit. I almost choked on a mouthful of water and cracked up when Shannon said NeNe should’ve kept that body to herself. I had to agree because although the jumpsuit was gorgeous, NeNe was too wide for it. After we looked at TV, Shannon and Zayla caught me up on what they were up to. This was actually Zayla’s last semester and she couldn’t wait to graduate. She’s been looking at different schools to see who was hiring for a History teacher. Zayla also she’s been applying to different jobs since Terrence was cutting her hours. Before she said she would have close to thirty hours and now she was only working a six or seven hour shift. That’s why I never believed in dating someone on the job because if the breakup isn’t amicable it can get downright ugly. Shannon discussed how she was starting her own spa business where she would go to different clients' houses and offer services like Swedish, Deep Tissue and Pre-Natal massages along with facials and pedicures. I was proud of Shannon and thought it was an awesome idea especially for people who didn’t want to burn gas and travel to a spa. Me myself I would be reluctant to go to a person’s house and service them because I’d be afraid I might not get out. You never know because people are crazy nowadays.
After Zayla and Shannon hugged me goodbye I pulled the sheets up to my shoulders and turned onto my left side. I turned the channel and watched Jennifer giving me Michelle from Destiny’s Child teas on The Next 15. I liked Jennifer ever since she was on Basketball Wives, but clearly singing wasn’t her forte`. As I continued listening to Jennifer sounding a hot ass mess onstage I heard my Samsung Galaxy phone vibrate underneath my pillows. Who is this calling me? A perplexed look crossed my face as I reached for my phone underneath my king-sized pillow. My heart dropped to the pit of my stomach when I glanced at the name Christian written in medium, white letters across the top screen of my phone. What the hell? I thought he was in jail. Don’t tell me he was out on bail. I swallowed hard and quickly powered my phone off before I placed it back under my pillow. My body bristled with fear as I pulled the sheets back up to my shoulders. I have to change my cell phone number ASAP.