I hung my head and traipsed through the hall where an elevator was waiting. I pressed the button for the garage and pulled my phone from my purse.
ARE YOU AVAILABLE TODAY? I NEED A FULL BODY SPECIAL.
I sent a text expecting an immediate return. The elevator dinged and opened to the parking garage. I was halfway to my car when the phone buzzed.
She responded as expected. I smiled with anticipation and dropped my phone in my purse — or so I thought.
“Ohhhh noooo!!!” I heard a little voice behind me yell with concern. I grabbed my phone and noticed a curly haired biracial child strapped into the backseat of a Hyundai parked next to my car.
I frowned as I inspected the cellular device for damage, there was none. Thankfully, the screen protector and phone case I’d purchased did their jobs.
“Is it ok?” I heard the little voice again. Her face was filled with genuine concern as she struggled to peer out the window.
“Oh, sweetie. Yes, it’s ok! I have super protectors on it.” I winked and showed her my phone. Except for a few chips to the case, it was virtually damage free.
Pleased with my answer, she grinned and slid big butterfly headphones onto her head.
“You trying to get rid of that phone, so we can’t reach you?” The blonde haired, blue-eyed male sitting in front of the little girl spoke when I opened my car door. I recognized the voice.
“Oh, Corey….” I half smiled, “I didn’t realize that was you.”
Decorey Gunnels was the COO of the marketing firm I whored myself out to in the name of earning a “respectable” living. I’d had the pleasure of knowing Mr. Gunnels since I was fourteen years old, when he started dating my sister Lisa. They would’ve married had it not been for his infidelity— which ended with him knocking some other sister up.
If that wasn’t bad enough, he had the nerve to ask my sister to step into the role of the mistress, so he could “do the right thing” by marrying the woman he’d betrayed her with. Clearly, it didn’t end well.
“Hey, you feeling better?” He leaned into the window and watched me get into my car and buckle in.
“A bit.” I lied, slamming my door a little too hard.
“Well, don’t stress about work. Kimberly has everything under control, she’s doing such an excellent job we might not need you to come back at all!” He joked, poorly. I didn’t laugh.
Kimberly Hunter was a conniving little bitch who would steal your job, your man, and the draws off your ass while you were still wearing them. I was pretty sure she was gunning for my job.
“Well, that makes me feel a lot better.” I rolled my eyes. Decorey realized the error of his joke.
‘Oh…hey, I didn’t mean anything by that… you know we’d never replace you with…”
“It’s fine Corey.” I brushed him off and started my car; I’d already begun backing out of my parking space when he stopped me for one last exchange.
“Amya, before you go…” Corey leaned further out the window, his face filled with pity. “I’m really sorry to hear about Carmen. I know how close you two were. She was a cool lady. I hate she had to suffer the way she did.”
His words filled my frame with angst. Thinking about what they’d done to Carmen, the way she’d been mutilated, her body ravaged and raped…the animals even pissed on her, it was sick. I was already having a hard-enough time coping with her death without thinking about the way she’d died. I exhaled loudly.
“What kind of monsters would do that to a woman? And to leave her there…like…an…animal. She deserved better.”
Why did he insist on going over the horrendous details with me? Just say you’re sorry for the loss and move the fuck on! I ranted, internally, but forced a smile and nodded my head; he meant well.
“Um, are you gonna be much longer because we need to…”
“Girl give me five minutes…aite?” Decorey rolled his eyes without turning to acknowledge the woman sitting in the driver’s seat of the car he was in.
She smacked her lips in response, “Hurry up, shit!”
“Don’t talk to me like that in front of Bailey.” Corey cringed and turned to look the disgruntled woman’s way.
“I’ll talk to you however the fuck I want in MY car!”
“Mommy! Daddy! Don’t yell! You always yell! Stop it!”
Ah. The chocolate sister with the toned arms and dreaded bun, is the knocked-up-mistress-turned-wife he’d sacrificed my sister’s love to penetrate. I must admit, she was beautiful, as was the child. I wondered if he’d say it was worth the love he’d lost.
“Shut up lil girl”
“Don’t talk to her like that, Shari!” Decorey snapped. I wasn’t in the mood for this.
“Decorey, I’ll let you handle your business.” I started to let my window up as he returned his attention towards me.
“Man, my bad. I just wanted to check on you. I can’t imagine losing my best friend the way you did. I’d just seen her at your parent’s house earlier that night! Man, if I’d have known it was gonna be the last time…. damn.” He rubbed his hands across his chin and shook his head.
“Corey!” The woman he referred to as “Shari” bitched behind his head, spawning an argument; as they battled, the little girl began to cry.
“Corey…what did you say?” My mother didn’t mention Carmen stopping by her house the day she died. I needed to make sure I’d heard him right.
“Corey!” I shouted trying to get his attention, but I was no match for the animated sister to his left. Without warning, she peeled out of the parking space and screeched past my car, down the spiraling lane, nearly hitting a pedestrian on the way. Clearly, there was trouble in paradise.
Normally, I would’ve speed-dialed my sister and filled her in on the daytime drama that is Corey’s life – but he’d dropped a bomb shell that left me a bit confused. Carmen and my mother tolerated each other, but they didn’t like each other. My mother believed Carmen was a “lesbian witch” who “influenced me into the evils of lesbianism” during college and refused to have anything to do with her.
I tried to explain Carmen hadn’t introduced me to anything I didn’t desire, that I’d always had those feelings; hell, it was me who came on to Carmen – but she refused to accept the truth. She just looked at me and said,
“Amya, you’re not gay. You’re under the influence of the spirit of lesbianism attached to you by the spirit of Jezebel that has infiltrated your dorm. You will denounce and deny it! Denounce and deny!!”
Then she made me stand in a circle of praying “saints” who laid heavy hands on my body, doused me under water, drenched me in olive oil they called “holy”, and spat (literally spat!) prayers “for my soul” all over the room – and me.
By the end of it, I was so exhausted I just went with it when they insisted I yell, “I’M NOT GAYYYYY!” over and over at the top of my lungs. When they finally let me go, I met Carmen at a hotel and we fucked until the sun came up– maybe they should’ve tried the extra virgin oil….
Carmen’s being at my mother’s is suspicious, but coupled with the fact that my mom failed to mention her visit to me or the police – appeared shady as shit. Something was up and I had to find out what it was.
The secrets were starting to get out of control and I was exhausted from living in fear of the truth. As much as I hate to admit it, Dr. Sanchez was right. If I was ever going to have any peace in my life, I needed to deal in truth.
All the truths.
Starting with my own.