Free Story: Cynthia’s Room
This story is a work of fiction. Any similarities between the characters and persons living or dead is coincidental.
Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey
The girl in the online video shook her boy short clad booty at the unseen camera to Soulja Boy. She pulled her shorts down to reveal her thong, and then bounced her cheeks, making them clap together.
“Damn, check her out, man! Shorty workin’ that thang!” DeShawn said.
Michael stole a glance at the closed door and said, “Keep it down, nigga! My grand pops might hear you!”
DeShawn shook his head. “Shit, Ol’ School might learn something if he check this shit out, nah mean? You know he won’t seeing no shit like this when he was our age, back in prehistoric days. All that old fool had to do for fun back then was throw rocks at dinosaurs.”
“Keep it down anyway, nigga. He told me not to be going to no fucked up sites on his computer.”
Vince shook his head as he stood outside the door, listening to his stupid ass grandson and his even stupider friend. Those idiots didn’t know jack about having fun. They were too busy trying to impress each other.
He walked away from the door of his home office. He’d let Michael have his fun for a minute. He’d bust him later, before his grandmother got home.
Vince went out to the front porch. It was a nice day out, and he decided that he’d sit outside for a while and enjoy the summer breeze.
He smiled to himself. Summer breeze. Yeah, like the Isley Brother’s jam.
As Vince relaxed on his front porch he thought about the fragrance of jasmine from back in the day, when he was just a little older than his idiot grandson…
Long Branch, New Jersey
They stood together against the boardwalk rail, enjoying the salted breeze as they gazed out at the ocean. Dozens of people lay out on the sand basking in the sun. Small children splashed and laughed in the surf. Older kids and adults swam farther out.
The aroma of grilled hot dogs, freshly popped popcorn and candy apples mingled with the salt air. Music came from down the boardwalk, currently Sly & the Family Stone’s Hot Fun in the Summertime. The happy screams of people riding the Ferris wheel and roller coaster out on the pier carried on the ocean breeze.
Vince looked at Cynthia. She looked at him. They smiled at each other. The kiss that followed was automatic.
It was a good day.
She’d been waiting for him at the bus stop on the corner of Broadway and Liberty Street when he got to town this morning. She’d met him at the bus stop even though he knew where she lived because he’d caught the bus from Lakewood a few times to come see her. But she’d met him anyway. She was a nice girl like that.
He met her last month, at their freshman orientation at Brookdale Community College. He was usually shy around girls he didn’t know, but she was so pretty, and the way she’d smiled at him so warmly had made him overcome his insecurity and go rap to her.
They’d talked on the phone every day since, sometimes several times a day, often for hours at a time. They’d also written letters and sent each other photos. His favorite was a Polaroid of her sitting on the steps of the front porch of her house, dressed in hot pants and a halter top. She had nice legs. He’d spent many hours staring at that snapshot.
Today she was dressed like a hippie, in bellbottom jeans with PEACE written in magic marker on one thigh and the peace symbol drawn on the other, a white peasant blouse trimmed with embroidered flowers, and Jesus sandals. Her Afro was the color of deep rust, picked out perfectly round and set off by gold hoop earrings and love beads. She was so fine.
Instead of going straight to her house Cynthia had wanted to walk to the beach, which was just a few blocks down Broadway.
When their boardwalk kiss ended he found out why she didn’t want to go straight to her house.
“What time is it?” she asked.
He checked his watch. “Almost quarter past ten.”
“They should almost be there by now.”
“Who? Almost where?” Vince asked.
“My parents and my brother went down to Wildwood to visit my aunt.”
“Oh. So how come you didn’t go?”
She smiled her warm smile at him. “Because I wanted to be with you today.”
Butterflies went crazy in his stomach. Wildwood was way down the shore, over one hundred miles away.
“When are they coming back?” he asked.
“Sometime tomorrow,” Cynthia smiled.
Bats and eagles joined the crazed butterflies fluttering in his stomach.
As they walked back up Broadway she put her hand in his. He liked that. He liked the way Cynthia’s hand felt in his, so small and soft. He looked at her. She smiled up at him.
“You know, we match,” she said.
“Our clothes, we kinda match.”
He wore Levis with the cuffs turned up, white Chuck Taylors, and a white shirt with a Nehru collar. “Yeah, I guess we do,” he said.
Cynthia hugged up on his arm and said, “I think that’s kinda groovy. Like we’re a couple, you know?”
It was a good day.
Strolling up the first few blocks of Broadway from the beach was like being in another world. It seemed like there were Puerto Ricans everywhere. They sat on stoops in front of the buildings, leaned against parked cars and hung out of windows. The sounds of the boardwalk were replaced by the rhythmic beats of Latin music.
Vince felt a little tense. There weren’t this many Puerto Ricans anywhere in Lakewood. But it must be cool. Cynthia didn’t seem to have a problem walking through this neighborhood. And, he saw plenty of black people and white people walking through the area on their way to and from the beach.
He walked on the outside nearest the street the way his father taught him. A gentleman always walked on the outside, nearest traffic.
There were a couple of Puerto Rican cats about his age leaning against a car up ahead. Both wore wife beaters and chinos. Both glared at him as they neared. One of them leaned and said something to the other and tilted his chin their way. The sidewalk was busy enough that he was going to have to pass close to them. Vince tensed up, ready for whatever. He could handle himself pretty well, but being in a strange town where nobody knew him wasn’t cool.
When he got close one of the Puerto Ricans spoke to him. “Qué sucede a mi amigo?”
Vince stopped. “What?”
The two cats looked at each other like they thought something was funny. Vince looked around. He was definitely too far from home and in the wrong neighborhood for this action.
“What’s your bag, man?” Vince asked.
Cynthia said, “He’s just trying to be funny, aren’t you, Juan?”
The one who spoke grinned at her and said, “What’s happening, Cynthia?”
“Everything’s outta sight, man. Hey, this is Vincent, my boyfriend. Vince, this is Juan.”
Vince didn’t know which shocked him more – that Cynthia knew this cat or that she’d called him her boyfriend.
Juan raised his hand, offering a high five. Vince slapped him five.
“You lucky, Bro,” Juan said. “Cynthia’s a fox.”
Cynthia giggled and said, “Boy, shut up!”
“Yeah, I know she is,” Vince said, “a stone cold fox.” Just like that they’d found common ground.
When they walked on Cynthia answered the question before he could ask it. “Juan was in my eleventh and twelfth grade History class,” she said. “He was most definitely the class clown.”
A couple blocks later they were at the Broadway and Liberty Street intersection again. She lived on Liberty Street.
As they turned the corner he said, “It’s pretty cool that you live close enough to the ocean to walk to the beach.”
“Anybody in Long Branch pretty much lives close enough to walk to the beach,” Cynthia said. “Unless they’re old and broken down, you know, like thirty-five or forty or something.”
“I can dig it.”
They passed a camera shop and a book store, and then Cynthia said, “Hey, wanna go in the record store?” She was pointing to the establishment just past the book store.
Since no one was home at her house Vince was kind of anxious to get there. But he didn’t want to act like it. “Cool,” he said.
The door to the record store was open, and the sounds of rock music featuring a sizzling guitar lick flowed out into the street. Vince thought the vocalist on the song sang like he was half singing and half talking, but he sounded pretty cool.
Cynthia said, “All right!” and danced her way into the store. Vince followed her in, smiling and enjoying her joy.
The lighting in the store was subdued. To Vince it felt like walking from bright sunlight into a cave. The aroma of something pleasantly fragrant, like burning flowers reached his nostrils. He followed Cynthia up an aisle to the counter at the back of the store.
A brother with a giant Afro stood behind the counter. He wore dark sunglasses and a dashiki. Vince had a pretty good idea why he might be wearing shades inside this gloomy place. The cat grinned and nodded his head at Cynthia as she danced.
When the song ended he said, “You got some nice moves there, my sister.”
“That was wild!” Cynthia beamed back. “Who was that?”
The cat in the shades said, “You don’t know Hendrix, baby? That’s his jam All Along the Watchtower.”
“Oh, I heard of him, but I didn’t know,” she said.
The cat looked at Vince. “How about you, my brother? You know Hendrix?”
“I’ve heard of him,” Vince said.
The cat shook his head. “You see, brothers and sisters need to expand their minds, take it all in, you dig? Soul music is cool…it’s outta sight, cause that’s our blood. We feel soul music, you dig? But we are so much more, you feel me? We must expand our minds.”
To Vince this cat seemed like his mind was expanded about as far out as it needed to go.
“So what can I do for ya’ll?” Shades asked.
“What’s that scent?” Cynthia asked. “It’s nice.”
“That’s jasmine, baby. Ten cents a stick, or three for twenty-five.”
“Okay, I’ll take three,” Cynthia said.
“You got an incense holder?”
“I want that Jimi Hendrix record, too,” she said.
“Far out, my sister. Expansion – that’s where it’s at.” Shades turned away from the counter. The wall behind him was covered with pegs, each peg holding a stack of 45 rpm records. He plucked one off the peg and placed it on the counter.
“You got that new Temptations song?” Vince asked.
Shades smiled at him. He turned back to the wall and plucked off another 45. There was a turntable near the wall of records. He lifted the Hendrix album off, changed the speed from 33 1/3 to 45 rpm and put the single on. Then he carefully placed the phonograph needle in the groove at the edge of the record.
After a moment the piano intro to I Can’t Get Next to You came on. The three of them smiled and bopped together for a minute along with the Motown funk.
Vince asked, “So is there any kinda discount for buying more than one, like with the incense?”
“Tell you what,” Shades said, “You two look like a groovy couple, so I’ll tighten you up. They’re ninety-nine cents each, but if you buy three I’ll go two-fifty.”
Vince looked at Cynthia. “Is there another one you want?”
She shrugged. “I don’t know…”
Shades said, “So ya’ll got a thing going on?”
Vince remembered Cynthia telling that Puerto Rican cat that he was her boyfriend. “Yeah,” he said.
Cynthia smiled at him, and then kissed him on the cheek. All of a sudden he really wanted to be alone with her somewhere.
Shades said, “Then I got a boss cut just for you.” He took the Temptations record off the turntable and replaced it with another record. The intro played, and then the voices of The Temptations and The Supremes, with lead vocals by Eddie Kendricks and Diana Ross filled the store:
After listening for a minute Cynthia squeezed his hand and said, “Ooh, that’s nice. What’s that called?”
Shades said, “That’s I’m Gonna Make You Love Me. That’s what it’s all about, my sister – love. Can you dig it?”
Vince looked at Cynthia. “You want that one?”
By way of response she put her arms around his neck and pressed her lips softly against his. The tip of her tongue found his and lit a fire in him. Vince put his arms around his girlfriend and held her close as they kissed. She felt so good. His erection was immediate and raging.
“I think she wants that one,” Shades grinned.
They had three records and three incense sticks. Vince insisted on paying for all, since Cynthia was now officially his girlfriend.
Shades was about to ring them up, but before he did he stopped and looked toward the front of the store, and then said in a lowered voice, “Do my brother and sister need some papers? I’ve got Tops and EZ Widers.”
They looked at Shades. Then they looked at each other.
Before Vince could say anything Cynthia leaned to him and whispered in his ear, “I’ve got something.”
“Yes, at home.”
“So you need rolling papers?”
This was a side to Cynthia Vince didn’t know about. But he was cool with it as long as she wasn’t into anything too heavy. He hoped that was the case. He looked at Shades. “Yeah, okay, man.”
“Outta sight,” Shades grinned. “Hold tight a minute, my brother.”
Shades came around the counter and went to the store entry. He locked the door and flipped around the “Back in x Minutes” sign. Then he hurried back behind the counter, and then to a back room.
Vince looked at Cynthia. She looked at him. They shrugged in unison.
Shades returned a minute later with a cardboard box about the size of a brick.
Vince frowned at him. “What’s this?”
“Something to make the road to expansion a little smoother,” Shades said. He opened the box on one end and pulled out something wrapped in tissue paper. He removed the paper and held up a small glass bong. “Ten dollars, but for my amorous brother and sister, I’ll make it seven.”
Vince looked at Cynthia. “You want that thing?”
Cynthia bit her bottom lip. That made him want to kiss her again. “I don’t know…”
Shades said, “No seed holes in your clothes, no messy ashes, so no ashtray, and no roaches to flush. When you’re done just empty the water, clean it up and you’re ready for future further expansion. And it’s small, so you can keep it under your mattress or in a shoebox, wherever. But the main thing is, my young brother and sister, is that you get a cool smoke, especially if you use cold water or a little crushed ice. And the smoke is all contained, so you don’t waste any.”
They left the record store with three records, three jasmine scented incense sticks, and a little glass bong with a couple of extra screens that their new friend Shades threw in as a bonus.
As they walked up Liberty Street hand in hand Vince said, “After next payday I’ll have enough saved up for a down payment on my ride. Then we won’t need to walk everywhere.”
“I kinda like walking with you,” Cynthia said. “But I’m hip. Daddy said that since I’m going to college I don’t have to get a job, but I want to buy a car, too.”
“What kind do you want?”
“One of those little things made in Germany or somewhere…a Volkswagen?”
“Yeah. I want a yellow one, so I can paint flowers on the side. That would look so boss.”
“Those things are just a hippie fad,” Vince said. “No way foreign cars will ever sell better than American cars in America.”
“So what kind of car are you getting, Mister Smarty Pants?”
Vince said, “There’s this ’67 GTO that I’m digging. The cat at the dealership is holding it for me till I have all the down payment.”
“Oh, something that burns a lot of gas huh? Daddy says gas is getting too high. It’s like thirty-five cents a gallon or something.”
“I’m only going to be driving it to go to work and to come see you.”
He looked at Cynthia. She was smiling that pretty smile of hers at him. He wanted to kiss her so bad.
The phone was ringing when they walked into Cynthia’s house. Vince took a seat on the sofa while she dashed to the kitchen to answer it.
The butterflies, bats and eagles were gone now. His desire to touch, hold and kiss Cynthia had killed his jangling nerves. He was still buzzing from that kiss in the store. Now he wanted her to hurry up and come back so that he could do it some more.
There was a different vibe in Cynthia’s house today. Maybe it was because this was the first time he’d been here when no one was home but her. A single butterfly fluttered in his stomach. To dispel that anxiety Vince tapped his fingers on the sofa cushions as he looked around.
The living room opened onto the dining room to his left. Beyond the dining room was an entry to the kitchen. The foyer lay straight ahead. From his seat he could see the bottom of the stairs out there, stairs he’d never ascended. The foyer extended to a hall that led straight back to the kitchen from the front door.
A floor model RCA television console sat across the living room, one of those models with a record player and eight-track built in. Vince checked his watch. It was almost noon. He wondered if Cynthia was going to want to watch American Bandstand, like they did last Saturday. Her family had a color television, so that was cool.
He heard her hang up, and then heard her footsteps coming up the hall. He slid from the middle of the sofa to one end.
Cynthia appeared in the foyer and stopped there. She motioned her head at him, said, “Come and help me,” and went back down the hall.
She had the bong out of the box, sitting on the kitchen table. She went to the refrigerator, opened the freezer compartment and pulled out a metal ice tray and turned back to him.
“Do you think one cube will do it?” she asked.
“That thing is pretty small, but maybe a couple. Need to break ‘em up, though. You cool doing this in your house?”
“That was my mom on the phone. They just got there. She said they were going to try to leave early tomorrow to get back in time for church.”
“Oh.” A couple more butterflies joined the single one.
Cynthia handed him the ice tray. He pulled back the lever to loosen and release the ice cubes. She retrieved a clean dish towel from a drawer and a metal butter knife from another drawer.
Vince wrapped two cubes in the towel. Then he placed it on the counter top and used the handle end of the knife to bang the cubes and break them up. While he was smashing the ice Cynthia opened up the base of the bong. They put the crushed ice in the base, added water and closed it up.
Cynthia put her arms around his neck again and gave him another kiss. Vince was all too happy to wrap his arms around her and hold her tight. They stood in the kitchen for delicious minutes with their tongues dancing together. When their kiss ended and they backed away from each other he was as hard as those ice cubes.
Cynthia glanced down at the front of his Levis. She smiled, grabbed the bag with the records and incense, said “Come on,” and walked past him to the hall.
Vince grabbed the bong and followed her toward the front of the house. Instead of turning right to go into her living room, she turned left and headed upstairs. The bats and eagles came back to join the butterflies in his stomach, all their wings fluttering and flapping full force.
He stood in the entrance to Cynthia’s bedroom, looking around.
Images on her walls: Angela Davis; a Black Panther Party poster with the headline “Cleaver for President;” a “Free Huey” handbill; something psychedelic with the words “Love” and “Peace” surrounding a peace sign.
A lava lamp sat on the corner of her dresser. A photograph of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell was stuck in the corner of the dresser mirror. A curtain of beads hung from her open closet door. A bookcase sat next to the closet, every shelf crammed with books, to include a set of encyclopedias. A suitcase style portable stereo sat atop a straight-backed chair on the other side of the bookcase.
Cynthia had a twin-sized bed, pushed against the wall opposite the closet. An assortment of stuffed animals dotted her gold bedspread. An Indian print blanket lay folded across the foot.
Her bedroom was at the front of the house. Two windows looked out onto the front yard, and to Liberty Street beyond. The windows were open, and occasionally the curtains billowed on the soft summer breeze. The laughter of kids playing in a yard somewhere down the street carried in on the breeze.
Cynthia went to her Hi-Fi, snapped open the latches on the speakers and spread them open. She added the new records to the stack already placed on the turntable spindle and turned the player on. Then she went to the bookcase and removed a book from the middle of the lowest shelf.
The stereo came to life. A record dropped to the spinning turntable. The tone arm popped up and moved over the record, and then lowered. It thumped gently into the groove at the edge of the record. There were a couple of scratchy clicks and pops, and then the horn intro of Smokey Robinson and the Miracles I Second That Emotion flowed from the speakers.
Cynthia danced her way across the room to her bed. Vince watched from the doorway, appreciating the way her hips and butt swayed to the beat.
She sat on her bed, smiled over at him and said, “So you gonna stand there all day or are you gonna come to me?”
Vince went to the bed, placed the bong on the floor and sat next to her. Now a jet propeller was spinning in his stomach.
Maybe it was because they were in Cynthia’s room, on her bed, but to Vince their kisses seemed sweeter, more passionate. Her body in his arms felt hotter. He wanted her with everything he had in him. He wondered if it was going to happen.
He moved his hand from her back to her chest as they sat together kissing. He brushed her there, cautiously, and when she didn’t protest, grasped her gently. He throbbed at the realization that she wore nothing under her blouse. There was nothing between his palm and her plump flesh but a thin layer of cotton. He could even feel her nipple. He throbbed more.
When he gave her a gentle squeeze she moaned in his mouth. He took her moan as encouragement, and slid his hand down. He fumbled until he found the hem of her blouse, and then slid his hand up under it.
Just as his fingers touched the warm smooth skin above the waistline of her jeans she pulled away from him.
“Wait, let’s do this first,” she said.
Cynthia picked up the book and placed it on her lap. Vince tried to gather his thoughts, tried to think what the heck she might want to do right now with a book.
The book was old. Real old. The leather cover was frayed at the corners. The embossed titled was faded. He could barely make it out: Not as a Stranger by somebody named Morton Thompson.
“You want to read now?” he asked.
“Nobody in the house reads this book,” she said. “I don’t even know where it came from. That’s why I use it. Cynthia opened the book and flipped past the first few yellowed pages.
Vince looked, and then smiled his admiration. “Did you do that?” he asked.
About twenty pages in she’d cut out the center of the book, leaving a rectangular space of about four by five inches and an inch deep. A small manila envelope and a Zippo lighter lay in the makeshift compartment.
Cynthia removed the envelope and the lighter, slid over on the bed and sat the book between them. Vince sat the bong on the closed book.
She opened the flap on the envelope and tilted it over the bowl of the bong. Then she tapped the envelope, and a brown substance fell onto the screen in the bowl, some solid-looking clumps and some finer grains.
“That looks kinda funny,” he said.
“It’s not regular weed.”
Vince felt a twinge of apprehension. “Then what is it?”
“You smoked this before?”
“The guy I got it from let me try it. His name is Earl. He’s country, from North Carolina or somewhere, but he’s a solid brother.”
“What happened when you tried it?”
“Not much. It’s like weed, but it doesn’t take as much.” She looked at him. “You cool? We don’t have to if you don’t want.”
“How much did you smoke before?”
“A few hits on a joint.”
“And I came home and tried to eat everything in the kitchen. I think I was seriously considering sticking a straw in the can of bacon grease on the stove to see if it tasted like milkshake. And then I went to sleep.”
Vince laughed and picked up the Zippo lighter.
The original stack of records finished playing. Vince had selected new 45s from a box on the floor next to the record player.
The floor felt like it shifted under his feet as he walked back across the room to the bed. Whoa. He tried to remember if he’d actually switched the records. It seemed so long ago.
Okay, he thought. I’m fucked up.
Cynthia lay back on her bed with her head resting on a stuffed tiger. The tiger looked like it moved, but he wasn’t sure. He laughed at himself. It was just a stuffed animal. Still, he kept his eye on it as he sat down again. Then he looked at Cynthia and forgot about the tiger. She looked so pretty lying there.
Marvin Gaye’s I Heard it Through the Grapevine started playing. It sounded nice. He didn’t remember that song ever sounding so good. Part of him wanted to dance. Another part didn’t want to move.
Cynthia looked up at him, smiled at him. She reached up and caressed his face. Her hand seemed to move in slow motion. But her hand felt really nice: Soft…warm. He wondered if she was this warm on the inside.
“Vincent…sweetheart,” she cooed.
“I have an announcement to make…something I need to tell you…”
She had Chinese eyes now. She was fucked up, too. But she was still pretty, in a Chinese kind of way.
“It’s really important…”
“Are you sitting down?”
He checked. He was sitting down next to her on the bed. All of a sudden, Marvin Gaye’s song sounded kind of weird…creepy. He pushed that thought away.
“I’m sitting down right here on the bed beside you,” he said.
“What did you have to tell me?”
“You made me pregnant, Vincent. We’re going to have a baby…twins, I think.”
“Oh, okay.” Vince thought about that. Twins would be kind of cool. As long as they didn’t look like Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell.
Then he remembered.
“Wait…we didn’t do anything,” he said. He was high as hell but he was pretty sure about that.
She frowned up at him.
“Are you sure?” she asked.
“We met like three weeks ago…at the college.” That was a good answer. Logical. He was high but if he focused he could still make sense.
“Are you pregnant?”
“No…I guess not.”
“Twins would be nice, though,” she said, “One who looks like me and one who looks like you. Or, one who looks like you and one who looks like me. Either way.”
“How about one who looks like both of us?”
“Yeah, that would be nice.” She frowned. “No, wait – wouldn’t that be triplets? Or would one of the ones who look like you or me look like us?”
“Vince said, “Yeah, like, if one of them looked like us, they could be twins and triplets at the same time, you dig?”
Cynthia smiled at him and nodded her head. “Man, that’s deep, you know?”
He smiled back. He wasn’t that high if he could be deep like this.
The record was changing. He hoped Marvin Gaye wouldn’t play again. That shit was too weird.
“I have another announcement to make, Vincent.”
Aretha Franklin started singing A Natural Woman.
“Okay,” he said. Cynthia was so pretty. Sexy.
She smiled up at him with her Chinese eyes and said, “I need to announce that I am officially blasted.”
“Are you going to sleep like before?”
“No…I’m too horny to sleep.”
“Oh.” He pictured bulls…rams…horned frogs…unicorns. What else had horns? Some other animal, for sure. He knew there was another animal that had horns. He just couldn’t think of what it was. I’m so fucked up.
Cynthia started moving her hips on the bed like she was dancing lying down. Vince watched her. She started singing along with Aretha. Did Aretha Franklin have horns? No, that didn’t make sense. She was a singer on Atlantic Records. Aretha Franklin couldn’t have horns. He was pretty sure of that.
“Make love to me, Vincent,” Cynthia cooed. “Make me feel like a natural woman.”
He frowned down at her. “Are you sure?”
“It’s okay, my darling…I’m on the pill. So no twins for us today.”
She looked so beautiful naked.
She was so warm and soft and smooth.
He couldn’t make himself stop touching her. She was making soft little sounds when he touched her, like she liked it.
He liked the way she was touching him, too.
Vince looked down between his legs, to where she was touching him.
He had a horn.
Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey
Vince sat on his front porch, smiling at his memories. He’d been eighteen years old on that day in Cynthia’s room. She wasn’t the first girl he’d been with, but she was the best. And she was the last.
There’d been plenty of temptation and plenty of opportunities over the years, sure. But whenever the devil whispered in his ear, Vince always thought about the girl who’d smiled at him and kissed him on the boardwalk on that long ago summer day. He thought about the happy girl who’d danced her way into the record store. He thought about the girl whose soft hand he’d held as they walked up Liberty Street. He’d cut off his right arm before he ever hurt that girl. So the devil could kiss his ass.
The thumping of footsteps on the stairs inside the house pulled him out of his reverie. His idiot grandson Michael and his grandson’s idiot friend DeShawn came out onto the porch.
“Granddad, we’re gonna walk home,” Michael said.
“Your grandmother should be back pretty soon,” Vince said. “She’ll be sorry she missed you.”
“Tell her I’ll catch her tomorrow at church.”
“Yeah, you need to be in church tomorrow,” Vince said, “after you’ve been on my computer looking at stupid ass girls shaking their asses.” He glared at DeShawn. “And you, too.”
Both boys looked stunned that they’d been busted.
“We was just messing around, Mr. Scott,” DeShawn said.
“What, just having fun?” Vince asked.
Vince glared at him harder, just to scare him more. “What, having fun like I did back in the day, throwing rocks at dinosaurs?”
When Cynthia got home Vince met her in the driveway, gave her a kiss and grabbed the bags from the car.
“Please tell me we’re not bankrupt,” he said as they went inside.
Cynthia smacked him on his arm. “Oh boy, be quiet. If we were, you know I’m worth it to you, every penny.”
“I know that’s right,” he grinned.
Inside, Vince couldn’t help grabbing her booty through her jeans as she put groceries in the cabinet.
Cynthia turned to him. “You are so nasty,” she said. But she was smiling.
“That’s totally your fault,” Vince grinned. “You’re still fine as hell. Some things never change.”
“Thank you, baby. And you’re still handsome as hell.”
“So what do you say we take it upstairs to the bedroom?”
Cynthia went to a cabinet and took out a bottle about the size of a bottle of salad dressing and a couple of wine glasses.
“What’s that?” Vince asked.
“It’s wine that Gail from down the street gave me. She said it’s sold exclusively at that club she works at.”
“That’s a pretty small bottle.”
“Well, she said to make sure when we drank it that we were home and not expecting company.” She held it up so that he could read the label.
“So this stuff has a kick, huh?” Vince asked.
Cynthia winked at him. “There’s one way to find out, baby. Follow me.”
Vince followed his wife through the house and up the stairs to the bedroom, smiling all the way.
Some things never changed.
READ THE NOVEL PASSION’S NECTAR HERE: