Excerpt from “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted”
The ringtone had stopped playing. Ivy looked at the phone and saw the voicemail alert flashing. He’d been blowing her phone up with voicemails since she’d left Maryland. She’d deleted every one of them without listening to his message.
Well, she couldn’t hide forever. At some point she was going to have to face him so that she could break free.
Ivy dried her hands off, put her cell on speaker and played back the voicemail. Just hearing Montell’s tinny, electronic voice brought a twinge to her heart:
Baby, where you at? Come on now, bring your pretty ass on home. I miss you. I miss my pretty baby. We goin’ to play St. Louis this Thursday and I want you with me, the way we used to do. Come on now, girl. Hit me back tonight, hear? Come on, pretty baby.
Ivy deleted the message. Then she wiped away the tears that had somehow appeared on her face with the back of her hand, and went back to tearing lettuce.
One thing she knew for sure: She didn’t want another man right now, but she didn’t like being alone.
She wouldn’t mind hanging with Grayson tonight to watch television or something, but she couldn’t call him. He was a nice guy. She liked him. But she didn’t want to give him any ideas.
Still, it sure would be nice if he’d call and invite her over.
As Grayson showered the sand off his body he replayed the images of Ivy in her hot pink bikini that were seared into his memory.
Damn, that girl had a body and a half! God must have been putting in some overtime when He put Ivy together, adding some extra sugar and honey to the mix. When she was standing next to his open car door peeling down her little shorts, all eyes in the area were on her. He wouldn’t have been surprised if people had started tossing dollar bills at her fine ass. He’d acted like he was having a heart attack, but his heart really was pounding out of control.
It didn’t get any better as she’d pranced over the sand and played in the water. When her bikini got wet and clingy and her skin was all wet and glistening like burnished gold he’d felt an ache of longing so strong that he’d almost felt sick.
Grayson decided that unless there was some evil in Ivy that he hadn’t yet witnessed, Montell Jackson was one dumb motherfucker. Who in his right mind would cheat on a woman like that?
He’d just dried off and slipped on some shorts when his phone rang. The caller ID showed Renee’s name. Okay, here we go…
“Hey,” he greeted as he headed downstairs.
“Can you talk?”
“Yeah, what’s up?”
“So I see you went all out.”
“Huh?” Play dumb time.
“Oh, you know what I mean, Grayson Page. Your girlfriend Ivy. Where’d you find her – Hot Chicks R Us?”
“Oh yeah, they were having a buy one, get one free sale. You should see the other chick.”
“So how long have you been seeing her?” Renee got right to the point, ignoring his joke.
“Isn’t that kind of a personal question?”
“It didn’t seem like she had many secrets. Most of her information was hanging out for everybody at the beach to see. And isn’t she a little young?”
Grayson laughed and said, “I’m not trying to get married. Anyway, why are you hating, Renee? You’ve got yours. Oh yeah, and if I didn’t say it before, congratulations. I’m happy for you.” Okay, happy might not be the entire truth, but it was close enough.
Ignoring his congratulations, Renee said, “Your daughter wants to talk to you.”
“Hey Daddy!” Paris yelled.
“Hey squirt. Did you have fun at Six Flags today?”
“Yeah! Guess who we saw?”
“Shontelle and Charice.”
“They sing, Daddy! That’s what I’m gonna do. I’ma be a singer!”
“Oh, okay. This is after you finish college, right?”
“That’s my rule, squirt. No singing until after you finish college. As a matter of fact, don’t sing anymore for the next twelve years. Save your voice. What’s your brother doing?”
“Playing stupid Madden.”
“Tell him I said pick up a book.”
Grayson snatched the phone away from his ear as Paris screeched, “Daddy said stop playing stupid Madden and pick up a book, boy!”
When his ear stopped ringing Renee was back on the phone. She said, “I have a favor to ask.”
Uh-oh. Now what? “What’s up?”
“Well, I know next weekend is your weekend with the Grayson Jr. and Paris, but it’s Labor Day, and we’re having a big cookout. A lot of my family is coming from out of state, and you know they’re going to want to see the kids. And that’s when William and I are going to make our announcement. So would you mind skipping having them for the holiday?”
Grayson normally had the kids every other weekend. That was the only firm part of the custody schedule in their agreement. He wanted to argue the issue, but Renee had a valid reason. Her extended family loved the hell out of the kids. And Grayson Jr. and Paris were entitled to a good spoiling every now and then.
“Yeah okay, that’s cool,” he said.
“Thank you Grayson, I’ll make it up to you.”
There was a moment of awkward silence between them. Back in the day when Renee said that she’d make something up to him, it meant that he had some extra special, new and improved, 2X concentrated pussy coming. She’d probably just slipped up and said it tonight out of habit.
No, definitely, you idiot. She’s getting married.
Renee said, “So you and Miss ‘Have a Sip of Water Honey’ aren’t hanging out tonight?”
Don’t give her anything. Let her sweat. “Nah, not tonight.” Are you and your boy hanging out tonight?
“Okay well, thanks again for next weekend.”
“Okay, I’ll talk to you later.”
“Try not to OD on water. You might drown.”
WHAT BECOMES OF THE BROKENHEARTED