And here’s chapter two… Time to meet Regina. I would like to know what you think of Claudette? Also, I changed the other girl’s name to Lola so If you see anything different please let me know.
And yes, this was really long. I’ve been working on Chapter Two since November 1st.
Of course, no matter what topic they discussed, the subject eventually turned to sex when Lola was part of the conversation. It was as if this best friend of hers couldn’t think of anything else.
Regina really wanted to just remove herself from this whole scene right now considering what had just recently happened to her, but Lola was just trying to help and Regina knew this. Claudette wouldn’t though.
“You don’t think it’s possible to be multi-orgasmic, Claudette,” Lola was saying as she stuffed little pieces of bread in her mouth. “But I assure you I have achieve a level of pure sexual pleasure-”
“That’s enough!” Claudette snapped. Her wide cold brown eyes turned to Regina and smiled wickedly. “Can’t you see, you’re making Reggie uncomfortable?”
Regina had always had a distrust for Claudette. At twenty-seven, Claudette had always acted as if she were too old for her own good and belittled everyone around her as if there was no human more important than herself. Although, in Regina’s opinion, this would explain why Claudette never had any girlfriends and a man who wouldn’t marry her to save his life.
She was beauty queen beautiful and according to Lola, Claudette had won some awards when she was younger for her fabulous looks, but no one had ever given her any praise for her sparkling attitude – because she had none! At a five foot eight, perfect ebony brown skin, one hundred and fifteen women were dying to be her size seven. Especially Regina, who was a short five foot three, oily to dry skin all over her body, one hundred and fifty and an uncomfortable size fourteen.
Yet, as beautiful as Claudette was, she seemed to dislike Regina in some kind of way. There was always some animosity for whatever Regina did.
“We all know Regina wouldn’t do something like that,” Claudette smirked as if whatever Lola had been spouting about was a good thing.
Since Regina had been listening with half an ear, she sat straight up giving them her full attention. “Do what?” she asked Lola.
“A one night stand,” Lola answered digging in her purse to find a lighter for Claudette who was holding a cigarette in her fingers.
This gorgeous hunk of a Hispanic man came by and lit Claudette cigarette then flashed a beautiful smile to all of them and left.
“Was he delicious or what?” Lola said, following the man as he sat down with a bunch of other men in suits.
Regina frowned as she looked at all the other men that were around the table. “I know who he is.”
“Who?” Lola asked eagerly.
“A Bellini. You can tell by the looks of them and that man is one of them.”
All three women stared at the table, but Regina knew that no matter how hard they stared none of the men would turn their way. Bellini men were just untouchable, but wonderful to look at.
Regina knew about them just recently when she was commissioned to design a pair of riding boots for Armando Bellini, a Chicago lawyer who was in Detroit on some business. Regina’s design teacher had referred him to her and she had a meeting with him.
At this point he wasn’t in this meeting with the others, but she knew why the other Bellini’s were in town. They were opening up a brand new hotel in the Detroit area, working on creating a traveling business coop housing district and setting up a meeting with one of the new casinos in town as well.
“How do you know?” Claudette asked a bit jealous she wasn’t getting any attention.
“I met Armando Bellini just the other day and he told me so much about his family. He’s commissioned me to do something for him,” Regina said quite proudly.
Claudette sucked rudely on her teeth, yet just as it looked like she was about to say a snide remark, Lola said, “In any case, I’m aware Regina doesn’t do that. I have been her friend for her entire life.”
“Regina won’t do that, will you Gina?” Claudette asked.
“That’s none of your business,” Regina said stiffly.
Claudette snickered, knowing the subject was touchy for Regina. “I never met anyone so terrified to take a chance before in my life.”
Lola came to her defense. “She’s not terrified, Claudette. She just don’t trust people like you do. Regina’s always been careful. Are you jealous of her or something? There’s nothing wrong with Gina and I don’t think you should make it an issue. Just because she doesn’t open her legs and mouth on a daily basis like you do for a man who has no intention of marrying you, I don’t think it’s fair of you to get on her ass about it.”
Claudette snorted rudely. “Hell no, but you have to wonder what’s wrong with you, Regina? Haven’t you ever thought you were the biggest prune that ever lived?”
“You forget my mother’s known in the community. I can’t take chances like you and Lola can without tarnishing my mother’s reputation,” Regina retorted.
Claudette extinguished her cigarette. “In your whole life you’ve never just picked up a stranger and went home with him?”
Disgustedly, Regina said, “No and I never would do something like that?”
“Why not?” Lola inquired honestly. The subject was a very touchy one between the friends, but Lola had always wanted to know what made Regina so stuffy.
Regina shrugged not wanting to discuss the past with Claudette present. It wasn’t that she wanted Claudette to think she was perfect, she just had a feeling Claudette was looking for something to sink her teeth into and use against Regina. “It’s just not in my nature.”
“And what is?” Claudette said. “Prince charming coming to kiss you from a long sleep?”
“No,” Regina answered seriously. “More like him landing in my lap with wings on his heels and a sword to fight off the evil dragon.”
Claudette didn’t think Regina’s sense of humor was very funny. “Get your head out the clouds, Gina.”
“Stay out her business,” Lola defended. “We’re twenty-six years old. I figured Gina and I have about four good years of single life before we start worrying about our clock stopping. You on the other hand, have had four good chances but you decided not to, don’t you agree Gina?”
This was definitely a salt on wound gibe. Regina knew about the four abortions Claudette had underwent. Three in one year with three different guys. It was hell on her body because the doctors also found a lump in one of her breast and she had to go through a mastectomy.
That had been Claudette’s only good news that year because the lump turned out to be non-cancerous.
Regina didn’t like bringing up bad memories for people, but Lola had no problem with being rude to her cousin Claudette.
“I think I should go,” Claudette said, getting up from the table, tossing a fifty down and leaving.
“She’s a bitch, I know, but unfortunately she’s family,” Lola said reading her best friend’s thoughts. “I feel so sorry for her at times though.”
Regina felt the same way, which was why she never made any complaints about Claudette tagging around with them sometimes. “How’s her mother been doing?”
“Aunt CeeCee is fighting it, but as much as I love her, I don’t think she’s going to make it another summer,” Lola said disappointedly. “We’ll have to go over and visit her instead of waiting for the Easter dinner.”
Lola’s family was big on gatherings and although Regina had family of her own, she enjoyed spending time with Lola’s family. They felt less stress, more relaxed and not so concentrated on what the public was going to think of them.
Most of her life all Regina remembered her mother hissing, “Not in public!”
“You know, if you don’t want her around, then you just say the word, okay,” Lola said holding her friend’s hand. “With you and Mason breaking up, I think that maybe Claudette might not be good company.”
“It’s a change from thinking about him all the time,” Regina said.
Lola leaned in close to Regina. “Have you really ever thought of a casual sex encounter?” she asked quietly.
“No!” Regina said emphatically. “Do you know what my mother’s opponents would do to her if they found something like that out? This is an election year.”
Lola rolled her dark brown eyes in exasperation. “You’re always worried about what others think, Regina, especially your mother. What about you? What if there was no chance it would ever be known or if you could just do it and get it over with? Would you?”
“No,” Regina persisted.
Lola huffed. “You’re going to tell me you don’t wonder or have fantasies about meeting a tall dark mysterious stranger, taking him somewhere mysterious, then bumping monkeys until the cows come home. For one night a man would be your sex slave and you can do anything and everything with him. Think about it!”
“I don’t think about it,” Regina said emphatically. “Do you know how many diseases are floating around, or the danger I could put myself in by picking up some stranger?”
“Oh please,” Lola said casually. “I do it all the time. Nice guy in the bar, whispering what he’d like to do to me in the dark is a turn on.”
“It’s also sick and you’re an addict anyway.”
“Sex is good and fun. It’s better than smoking and it’s much better than alcohol.”
“That doesn’t make it good for you,” Regina refuted. “Especially if you’re not married.”
“Did you talk this way with Mason?” Lola asked suspiciously with a teasing glint.
“Actually, Mason was the one telling me we should wait if you must know. He was strict about even talking sexual.”
Lola snorted. “Mason was gay.”
Regina chortled. “He wasn’t. He was just trying to impress my mother. Matter of fact, I think he was more attracted to my mother than me.”
“Who wouldn’t be? Your mother’s a knock out and I’m a girl. My brother says Juanita Cody is a looker and he’s fifteen.”
Regina’s mouth dropped open. “You are too much, girl.”
“There’s really nothing wrong with being a prune, Regina,” Lola said assuredly.
“I’m not a prune!” she refuted feeling a bit offended even though she knew Lola was only teasing.
“Okay, then there’s nothing wrong with acting like one. Just like it’s nothing wrong with being a slut, but there is something definitely wrong with waiting for a man to marry you after you’ve been with him for a century.” Lola was referring to Claudette who had been knowing her boyfriend, Ray, for about as long as the girls have been friends, but he had never asked to marry her.
“Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?” Regina snickered only feeling slightly guilty for Claudette’s misery. Her phone chirped loudly and she looked at the time. “Speak of the devil. Most likely my mother wants me to come with her on a shopping spree.”
“Something big about to happen?” Lola guessed.
“She’s going to announce her bid for city council in two days.” Regina put down twenty on the table.
Lola handed her back the bill. “Claudette paid enough for the both of you. Get out of here, kid.”
Regina kissed her friend’s cheek before leaving. The valet brought around her green Ford Focus giving her the strangest look and Regina drove over to her mother’s office in the New Center Area.
The attendant most likely wanted to know about the special windshield she had in her car.
Juanita was just getting out of a meeting with the New Center Chamber of Commerce and waved excitedly at her daughter as Regina tried not to draw attention to herself. Her mother had a smile that could melt the heart of any iceberg. It was wide warm and welcoming and Regina wished she just beam like that.
With rich caramel brown skin, vibrant and clear, Juanita was an inch shorter than Regina, but what she lacked in height, Juanita made up in a wonderful personality. Her mother was perfect for political office. Lola sometimes told Regina she looked like Juanita when she was discussing business, but in Regina’s opinion, she didn’t think so.
“I want you to meet my daughter, Regina, Mr. Roscoe. She’s a clothing and accessories designer. Regina give him one of your cards. She’s great at men’s clothing,” her mother said, pushing away a cowlick from her new Halle Berry semi-shorn hairstyle. “You should definitely think about a fine tailored suit, Mr. Roscoe.”
Regina always tried not to look embarrassed as her mother tooted her daughter’s horn like Regina was God’s gift to tailoring and designing.
When her mother had dragged her around the office to meet everyone and pass out business cards, Juanita finally took her daughter in the privacy of her office, and gave her a warm hug as if she hadn’t seen her daughter in forever.
They’d just had lunch yesterday.
“How have you been, Gina? You look well.” Juanita kissed her forehead.
“I look fat, mother,” Regina complained.
“You’ve been around Claudette again I can see. Why does that woman make you think about your weight all the time?” Juanita asked grabbing her purse and motioning her daughter to follow her.
“Because it does. Where are we going today?”
“Great Lakes Crossing. I brought an extra pair of walking shoes for you. I need a dress for the upcoming ball to raise money for the foundation and I thought you’d like one too since you’ll be coming too. It’s a great networking opportunity.”
Her mother was constantly looking out for her daughter ever since Regina had started up her own business, Juanita made it her mission to make sure everyone knew about her daughter.
When they were in the limousine on their way to the largest mall in the state of Michigan, she casually asked her mother, “Do you think I’m a prune, Mom?”
Juanita pressed the tinted window that divided her driver and the passenger area to give them some privacy. “Hell yes,” she answered once they had the seclusion needed. “You’re the biggest prune on this earth in my opinion.”
Regina was shocked by her mother’s response and her perplexity clearly showed on her face.
Her mother patted her thigh in assurance. “It’s okay, love, I’m your mother. If I can’t be honest with you, then who can you trust?”
Her mother was always very candid with her daughter when it came to personal issues. “Why do you think I’m the worse prune in the world, Mom?”
“I never said you were the worse. You just have a tendency to over think things and you’re terrified to take risk with your heart, but it’s understandable because of me. You feel if you guard yourself against what I had to go through with your father you’ll be fine and by staying sexually pure you’ll accomplish that.” Her mother spoke as if they were discussing the weather when Regina remembered her mother had gone through hell when their father had left them penniless and homeless when Regina was six.
“Mom, don’t you think I have a reason to be cautious about who I fall in love with?” she asked.
“Yes, you do, but sex and love have absolutely nothing to do with each other. That’s your problem girl, you’ve mistaken the two,” Juanita said matter-of-factly. “Just because that’s the only good thing I can remember about your father, doesn’t mean that’s all to a relationship. Love is intimacy, passion, and caring. Your father once felt that for me until Carlita the Tramp dangled her butt in front of his face, but you reap what you sow. Now look who’s penniless and homeless.”
Regina had to agree with her mother.
“Has Lola been putting ideas in your head, love?” Juanita asked.
She shrugged. “She spoke about some things. One night stands, things in the dark, Mason being gay.”
“Wasn’t he?” her mother teased.
“Mom!” she exclaimed.
Juanita chortled. “I was just kidding, but the boy couldn’t find a hot spot in Antarctica if you ask me and I liked him. He was just a nerd and I didn’t think he was right for you.”
“So why didn’t you say this earlier?” she asked suspiciously.
“Because you told me he made you happy, so I kept my comments to myself. I stopped speaking badly about your boyfriends. Jesse said to keep my mouth closed about those men you find until you tell me you’re marrying them.” Her mother was speaking of Jesse, Juanita’s personal assistant and press agent.
“I was thinking about marriage with Mason,” Regina said.
“But he never proposed. He only gave you a ring. Just like that Claudette. Her boyfriend gave her a ring, and she’s been wearing that Rock of Gibraltar for six years, but he hasn’t proposed, let alone moved in with her. I never understood things of that nature.” Juanita shook her head. There was a strange moment of silence, then her mother said; “I could have Jesse arrange something for you.”
Aghast, Regina burst out, “What are you talking about?”
“Calm down,” Juanita said, patting her daughter’s knee again. Her phone rung and Juanita answered it. After a minute or so, she hung up, then said to her daughter, “Jesse’s been on the political scene for years. I’m sure he can arrange you something discreet and very nice.”
“No! I won’t have my mother setting me up with a hooker!” she exclaimed.
“It’s called a male escort, Regina. Why not?” her mother had the nerve to ask. “I think it would open your mind up for a lot of experience. If you got a hold of an expert you wouldn’t settle for things like Mason.”
“You act as if he wasn’t human, Mom,” she cried.
“I think I’ll have Jesse check into that,” Juanita teased with a playful wink.
Regina knew trying to get a serious answer or response out of her mother was going to be difficult. “I don’t want my mother setting up a date for me.”
Juanita said obviously, “It doesn’t have to be a date.”
“You sound like Lola.”
“You probably need it, love.” She handed her daughter a card. “This is to Jesse’s private line. Any time you change your mind, give him a call.”
She swore Lola and Juanita had been breathing the same kind of lunacy. She could never do a one-night stand. It was unethical, disgusting, and immoral.
“You know you could do it yourself, Regina, but use precaution,” her mother warned. “No one will ever know. You don’t have to tell him your name and he won’t have to tell you his. Use lots of protection and just let him use your body. You’ll be surprise the outlook you’ll have.”
Regina decided to change the subject and speak about her mother’s bid for the city council. Juanita loved to speak about politics.