What Are Girlfriends For?
by MS. Sammie
I stared unbelievably at my boyfriend, sitting in front of the television set. “Nothing but net!” He bellowed at the Philadelphia 76ers, after Allen Iverson hit a three pointer. Once Iverson get in rhythm, he can hit three pointers all night long, but tonight I wasn’t concern with the game. Our two-year relationship definitely was in foul trouble.
A second later, Thomas was screaming “Defense,” and jumped from the sofa, when Motombo blocked a shot. “Yeah! There you go! That’s what I’m talking about.”
I crossed my legs one over the other and impatiently shook it from side to side. Once I tell him, how it I-S, is, I will feel a lot better.
He didn’t even bother to look my way, as he sat back down, tilted his head, and swallowed large gulps of Heineken beer. I rolled my eyes upward.
“Rebound!” He screamed, throwing both hands up in disgust, when the Bucks scored a basket. “They will never make it to the championship playing like that.”
In the past, Thomas had tried on several occasion to persuade me to become his wife. The way I feel about him now, I’m more sure now than ever what my answer will be.
The ringing of the telephone snapped me out of my thoughts. Another interruption. The way the day was going it seemed as if we would never get the chance to discuss our relationship.
“Happy birthday, girl,” the female voice said over the line. It was Shauna Wilson, my best friend.
“It’s my birthday, but it’s not a happy one,” I vented.
“So far, I’ve only received a happy birthday, and a kiss on the lips.”
“Maybe he has something special planned for you later on.” Shauna was aware of the strain relationship between Thomas and me. I know she was only trying to make me feel better.
“It looks like to me the only thing he plans to do is sit, drink beer, and watch the layoffs.”
Shauna sighed." Okay, I’ll tell you what. Since, this is your day. It should be all about you. I’ll take you out.”
“Shauna, I know what you’re trying to do, but that’s not necessary.”
“I know I don’t have too, but I want too. How about I take you to Cecelia’s? You can kick up your heels, let your hair down, and do something you and Thomas hasn’t done in a while.”
“Have some fun.”
I had to admit the idea of going to an upscale and classy supper club on my birthday was intriguing. I’d never been to Cecelia’s but I’d heard from Shauna that the clientele was very impressive among the African American community that ranged from doctors, lawyers, musicians, actors, the list was endless.
“So what do you say?” Shauna prompted.
Instead of answering Shauna’s question, I asked. “Don’t you need a reservation to get in?”
“Don’t worry about that. I will handle everything. Just meet me at the club around eight o’clock.”
I returned the phone to the cradle to meet Thomas’s inquisitive eyes on me. “Who was that?”
“What did she want?”
Without another word, he focused his attention back to the game.
At exactly eight o’clock, I pulled the Volvo in front of the club. I looked out the window and saw a well dressed couple get out of a Lexus, heading for the entrance of the club.
I self-consciously ran my hand over my tan two-piece expensive suit, with matching pumps, that I purchased for my birthday. This is my day.
I stepped inside a set of massive Mahogany doors affixed with brass fixtures and found myself immersed in grandeur of beauty. A spacious foyer, soft color beige furniture, golden recessed ceiling lights glistened against gold-toned fixtures, floor to ceiling stained-glass windows, green leafy plants with a man made waterfall.
I thought about sitting in the breathtaking foyer to wait for Shauna, and watch the customers come and go, but curiosity got the better of me when the band ended a number, followed by applause, and whistling in appreciation.
I peeped in the posh interior of the restaurant, dressed in shades of gold and cream, standing at attention. A high ceiling hung above a bar. Customers seemed to be enjoying themselves, standing in clusters, laughing, talking, dancing, or sitting at tables with dim lighted lamps.
I decided to wait a little longer in the foyer. As I backed out of the doorjamb, I was halted in my tracks by a long, hard body behind me. When I turned to apologize, I couldn’t speak. I was held mesmerized by the handsome face. Handsome-- that was an understatement.
“Are you all right?” He asked, showing concern.
I felt like Diana Ross in “Lady sings The Blues,” the scene where Diana first laid eyes on Billie Dee Williams. Just like her. I was a goner.
“Uh, yes.” I finally stammered, wondering if he knew the effect his presence was having on me.
His face parted in a dazzling display of straight white teeth. “I’m sorry, I didn’t see you. You sure, you’re okay.”
He sidestepped me, went inside the club, leaving his presence forever embedded in my mind.
“I’m sorry, I’m late,” Shauna said, rushing up to meet me. “I got held up,” she explained. “My man was concerned about me coming out tonight.”
Shauna met a new man about a month ago; whoever he was, she was being very secretive about him. Normally, I would try and get information about him, but at the moment my thoughts were on the handsome stranger.
“Are you listening to me?”
“Sure you were,” she giggled and led me inside the club. “My cousin, Malik performs here,” she boasted proudly.
A waitress escorted us to a table where we had an obstructed view of the stage. She handed us a menu, then proceeded to take our drink order, along with a free appetizer. I decided upon Buffalo wings.
During the band’s intermission, the soft sound of taped music filtered throughout the club with warmth and relaxation. I had to admit I was impressed.
“I honestly thought I was going to spend my birthday watching the playoffs.
“Come on, you know you’re my girl, I wasn’t about to let that happen. Just wait, the evening gets better.”
I laughed. “Then I can’t wait.”
Shauna opened the menu and inquisitively looked at me. “Are things practically over between you and Thomas?”
“Yes, I tried to talk to him about it today, but he conventionally tuned me out.”
“That’s because he probably knew what you wanted to talk to him about.”
“I’m sure he does. He has to know things between us have changed.”
The waitress appeared with the drinks, Buffalo wings, and took our dinner order.
“We haven’t made love in over a month,” I admitted, picking up the conversation again.
Shauna’s eyes widened, but she didn’t respond.
“I’m sorry. I know how much you loved him once.”
I took a sip of drink. “Me too.”
After a delicious dinner, we talked, laughed, and danced. I was having the time of my life. An hour later, the livelihood was interrupted when a spotlight shined on the stage. A tall, male figure came into view, accompanied by a sextet. After my eyes focused, I leaned back in the chair. It was the handsome stranger, I ran into at the door. As he performed, I sat spellbound. His stage performance absolutely blew me away. Thirty minutes later, he ended his last number amid a thunderous round of applause. I looked over and found Shauna watching me closely.
“Isn’t he fantastic?”
“He is that,” I admitted. “Do you know him? I couldn’t help but feel jealous that she could know him on an intimate level, that I definitely wouldn’t mind getting to know him on. Was he the man, she has been seeing for the past month?
“You could say that?”
My heart dropped. “Is he the man you’ve been seeing?”
Her head bent slightly. “You can find out yourself, he coming this way.”
Shauna looked from me to him. “You two know each other?”
“Let’s just say we bumped into each other.” The warmth of his smile echoed in his voice. “May I join you?”
“Please have a seat.”
“Thank you,” he said, slowly sitting down, his long body moving with ease. “Malik Hampton,” he extended a hand to me.
“Robbin Greene,” I closed my hand over his. I hoped he didn’t hear how loud my heart was thumping.
He nodded toward Shauna. “Shauna, it’s always a pleasure to see you.”
“Malik. It’s Robbins's birthday. So, I figured I’d bring her here to celebrate.”
“Good choice. I can’t think of a better place, food is good, music is fantastic,” his eyes raked boldly over me. “You get a chance to meet beautiful people.”
I returned his gaze.
“If I had known today was your birthday, I would have sung happy birthday to you.”
Inside my heart sang with delight. The thought of this man, a stranger wanting to do something like sing happy birthday to me, made me feel special. “I’m glad you didn’t.”
“Why not? I’m a pretty good singer.”
“You’re a very good singer. It’s just not necessary.”
Malik signaled for the waitress and placed an order for a Scotch and Water. “So tell me, Robbin, why are spending your birthday with Shauna?”
Shauna threw him a look.
“No offense to you, Shauna,” he quickly added.
“Better not be,” she said, trying to look hurt.
He swung his head around to me." I just thought Robbin’s man would have planned something special for her.”
“I don’t want to talk about him tonight.”
Malik arched back. “Why not?”
“Tonight is all about me.”
“I hear ya girl.” Shauna jeered.
A faint smile flickered briefly at the edge of his sensual mouth. “I agree tonight is all about you.” Malik leaned closer toward me. “Is there anything that I can do to make tonight more special for you?”
The mean in his words and gaze were obvious. I could think of a few things, I wanted to say, but the words came out. “Like what?”
He ran his tongue slightly across his bottom lip. “Whatever you would like to do.”
I glanced at Shauna. Her expression made it clear I’d be out of my mind to refuse his invitation. “That’s an open field.”
His gaze was as soft as a caress." How so?”
“It has many options.”
“It was meant too,” Malik smiled. “I’ll tell you what. Why don’t we began with a dance and let the rest of the evening unfold.”
Malik scurried around couples and shouldered his way through to the dance floor. He pulled me into his arms and we began dancing to the slow beat of the music. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven.
“I’m glad I ran into you tonight, Robbin.”
“So am I, Malik.”
We continued to dance in perfect harmony. Our bodies molded together. When one song ended, he held me closer until another one began.
“Let me give you a birthday you will never forget.” He whispered in my ear, then nibbled on it.
A quiver surged through my veins. My answer was obvious. “I’d love to spend some time with you.”
When we approached the table, Shauna’s face beamed with approval.
“We’re going to go and celebrate” Malik explained and planted a kiss on Shauna’s cheek. “I’ll talk to you later.”
Shauna’s expression made it clear she understood the meaning of the statement. “Don’t worry about anything,” she whispered. “If anybody asks, you spent the night at my place.”
The next morning, I got up, showered, and dressed.
Malik sat up in bed." You don’t have to leave,” he said as his gaze locked with mine.
He got out of bed, naked. My heart beat rapidly, as my eyes took in the beautiful specimen; I had the pleasure of enjoying the night before. “Malik, I really enjoyed last night, but we both know what last night was all about.”
“Robbin,” he spread his hands slightly apart. “It doesn’t have to be that way, but I want push. I just want you to know that if you need me for anything, I’ll be here with open arms.”
I stepped forward and placed a gentle on his lips." Thank you, Malik.”
He smiled that beautiful smiled of his. “For?”
“Believe me. It was my pleasure.”
An hour later, I let myself inside the apartment, the place was quiet, except for the soft humming of the air conditioner. Then I thought I heard what sounded like a giggle.
A wave of apprehension swept through me as I stood outside the bedroom door. Something wasn’t right. I took a deep breath and opened the door. I came to an abrupt stop and stared for what seemed like eternity. Shauna was in bed with Thomas. I watched as she snuggled closer to him, not embarrassed that I’ve caught them together. She smiled. I looked from Shauna to Thomas. He didn’t say a word. His response was to kiss her on the lips.
Startled and hurt, I fled from the room. It was crystal clear, I thought settling behind the wheel of the car. Shauna had used my indiscretion last night to justify sleeping with my man and there wasn’t anything I could do about it.