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Just in case you didn’t know this is for National Novel Writing Month.
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Stefanie looked away feeling the tightness in her chest. Memories of growing up listening to the nagging and berating every day of her life made it tough for her to swallow. Even after she made her money, the mental abuse her mother made her endure made her head hurt just thinking about it.
Sighing whimsically, Lauren continued as she picked up the jacket that gorgeous guy had been wearing that night. “Dex and I are two like minded people who should be together. We knew that from the moment we danced together. I know you were watching.” Narrowing her eyes suspiciously and noted, “Although you have been acting funny and looking strange lately.”
Touching her face as if she had something on her face, Stefanie asked, “What’s wrong with the way I look? Is there something wrong with my face?”
“It’s the same as the club. Like… ” Lauren frowned with her eyes still severely narrowed. “Are you sick?”
“No! I feel fine, Lauren.” She felt this was another ploy to get away from the subject of money.
Lauren looked skeptical. “You sure? When was the last time you went to a doctor?”
“I had an annual exam recently,” Stefanie answered quickly. “I’m fine.”
Snapping her fingers abruptly, Lauren said, “I know! Oh my gawd, I can’t believe I remembered?”
“What?” Stefanie asked.
“Your mother! It’s your mother’s anniversary of her death. Like a couple of days ago, right?”
Stefanie realized she had forgotten all about her mother’s anniversary, which was always observed at midnight on the same night when she had first been with her mysterious stranger. Usually she would go to the cemetery and lay flowers on her mother’s gravesite at midnight, but this year the encounter with the stranger must have made her forget.
“I remembered that’s why Jezica said that’s why you left the club so quickly,” Lauren said. “Damn, I remember how vicious she treated you.” Shaking her head pitifully, “I see why you struggled so much to be smart.” Imitating Stefanie’s mother using a nasal voice with a lisp, Lauren screeched, “You ain’t never gonna learn shit in ‘dem books, Tepanie! Get you a job, so we can have some food.” Lauren cackled again outrageously.
“She always said when you get tired of being tired, you’ll start to fight back. Remember, Lauren? Remember she use to yell at me about that.”
Lauren stiffened. “But you never got tired of her.”
“She was my mother. I guess maybe I subconsciously got the message after so long.” Quickly changing the subject not wanting to speak about her mother with Lauren, Stefanie asked, “How’d you get his jacket?”
“It’s obvious,” Lauren said with a wicked smile. “But no guy has deliberately left his clothes at your place. It must be tough always being our sloppy seconds, right, Stefanie?”
The pain of those words and all her encounters before meeting Treasure’s stranger were just like that.
Stefanie knew she’d lose it if she stayed there any longer. “I’ll send a messenger for the check, Friday,” she said stiffly trying to keep her composure.
“No bother. I can have my own messenger service drop it off. Dexter and I are going on his boat for an overnight so I don’t want to be waiting around for you.”
Stefanie made her way out of the apartment and looked down at the check in the elevator. Something in her gut told her she needed to get the bank as soon as possible.
Glad to be back in her car, she lit up a cigarette as soon as she started taking off.
When she was on her way home from the bank, she decided to unexpectedly stop in on Jezica. Since it was during the day, she knew Nick wasn’t there, but she did slow her roll before turning in the driveway just to be sure remembering Jezica’s warning.
Niki, Jezica and Nick’s youngest daughter was coming out of the house with Nick’s mother-in-law.
“Hi, Ms. Wright,” Stefanie said.
“Oh, hello there, Stefanie.” Ms Wright was always happy to see Stefanie and she knew it was because all during the first two years of college, his mother had been so sure he would be with Stefanie. They had only been really good friends and he’d even brought Stefanie home on their first Christmas. According to Ms. Wright, Nick couldn’t stop talking about Stefanie from the first day he met her.
If Nick wasn’t hanging around his smelly, four hundred pound, bleach blonde, white friend Daxopholos Black or with his nose in a book, Nick and Stefanie were together. Daxopoholos finally got the message that Nick wasn’t going to follow the “bros before hoes” philosophy and transferred to MIT in his sophomore year. Stefanie never asked any questions about Nick’s massive high school friend, but only knew Daxopholos had no friends, except for Nick because of his size, other physical features and smell that turned others away from him very quickly. Yet Nick always said Daxopholos was one of the best persons he ever knew. Stefanie couldn’t get near the smell of him to even try, although sometimes when he thought she wasn’t looking she would catch him glaring at her or peaking around a corner watching her.
After Daxopholos was gone from college, Nick spent even more time with Stefanie. They were geeks coming in college, so their kindred spirit matched perfectly and he was impressed by Stefanie’s early adoption algorithm that was way before her time.
Yet Jezica was always looking for a “rich brain” to supplement her dream of being a stay at home mom and doing whatever she wanted. “There’s nothing a light switch can’t fix,” Jezica used to always say.
So while Lauren went after the jocks, Jezica always stalked chess clubs at high school or the honor classman. She dated only valedictorians for the summer and she made sure she wasn’t with a guy unless his GPA was over 3.8. Nick had the perfect GPA. Matter of fact, he and Stefanie were competing and it wasn’t long until Jezica found out his stats and went after him right after Christmas breaks brazenly.
Stefanie knew she was no match for Jezica, so she didn’t try to fight it. It was as if she sat on the sideline as she watched them stick together like bees to honey; Kissing for hours on end in the bed across from her because Jezica was her roommate in junior year and watching them date at school events was almost too much too bare, but Stefanie thought she was being strong staying.
Since she was two years ahead of her “friends,” she received her Master’s in Technology Engineering at the same time Lauren and Jezica were receiving their Bachelors.
When Stefanie decided she wanted to just return to Detroit and sell off all her mother’s assets to start her own software business, Lauren magically got a job in Detroit and then a year later Nick and Jezica moved in Indian Village – a very expensive division in Detroit.
“You look more and more beautiful every time I see you, Stefanie,” Ms Wright said, her black soft eyes dancing in pleasure.
Stefanie noticed the older woman’s hug was longing than normal. “It’s always good to see you, Ms. Wright.”
“And you I.” She took Stefanie’s hand. “They haven’t fallen off from all that typing you do, have they?”
She chuckled. “No ma’am. They’re as strong as ever.”
“You’re strong and I just wish… I just wish…” She looked at the house and tightened up. “Sometimes people rub off on one another. You’d have been good for my Nicholas. Very good.”
“Nick loves and adores Jezica, Ms. Wright. I’d never get in the way of that.”
“But you could have come around more.”
“Well, Jezica said it wouldn’t be right with them being married. I had to respect that and you know it.”
Ms. Wright sighed. “You’re right. How’ve you been? Did you go see your mother?”
Without lying, she only half nodded her head so she wouldn’t have to endure the shame of not going, but not fully lying to Ms. Wright. This woman had been around when her mother had died while she was in college and even helped with the funeral arrangements.
“No matter what happened, Stefanie. Your mother would be very proud of you now. And she only thought she would make you stronger with her words.”
Her mother’s words never made her stronger, but she couldn’t think about that now. She was there to see what more Jezica could tell her of what was going on.
Niki grabbed at her grandmother’s skirt. “Come on, Grannie. The park! The park!”
“We’ll be back in a couple of hours,” Ms. Wright promised.
She watched them walk down the street hand and hand wishfully wondering if she and Nick had stayed together, would they have turned out a beautiful child as Niki.
“She is the wicked bitch of the east,” Jezica sneered coming out of the house and looking down the street where Ms Wright and Niki were walking down.
Ms. Wright had never done or said anything ever wrong to Stefanie, so she couldn’t agree with this statement. ‘She’s always been nice to me, Jezica.”
“Of course. She wanted her dorky son to marry your dorky butt, so ya’ll could make some double dorky babies.”
“Ha ha,” Stefanie said, trying to look like that was humorous.
“Are you here after threatening Lauren?”
“What do you mean?”
“I just got off the phone with Lauren and she said you came over and demanded money and payment for the loan.”
“I never threatened her!” Stephanie vehemently denied.
La Revanche des Trois (Revenge of Three) – Chapter 8.2 (c) 2011 Sylvia Hubbard. All Rights Reserved.
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