“You think so, huh?” Sam pressed the washcloth between Camilla’s shoulder blades and watched soapy rivulets slip down her flawless back and disappear in the valley between her cheeks. He wondered how effective a lube his shower gel would make.
“I do,” Camilla said. “That’s what Sol was talking about, about you being something you didn’t want to be. The beast is in you. I’ve seen it, a little.”
“When you tied me down out on the deck. And the way you were on the back road. And last night, at that store. When I came out of the restroom you called me to you even though people might see.”
“Nobody was going to see you. Okay, if Sol hadn’t been there, maybe.”
“You want me like that.”
“It would be interesting.”
Camilla turned around to let the shower spray rinse her back and so she could look at him. “You say just interesting. But the beast wants it. The beast craves it.”
Sam held the washcloth at face level and squeezed, letting soapy water trickle onto her luscious breasts. Her nipples stretched taut, wanting more contact. “And you want the beast to show you off,” he said.
“I want the beast to have whatever it wants.”
“Uh-uh. Ass out honesty, young lady. You want to be seen. It gets you wet. Admit it.”
Camilla tried to hold back her smile but couldn’t. A dimple-popping grin split her face. “Just thinking about it gets me dripping. I was so ripe after we left that store.”
“Yeah, too bad Sol was there.”
Camilla used her hands to slather soap onto Sam’s chest. “So it seemed like you guys were having an interesting discussion in the kitchen before I came out.”
“Kind of. He saw your underwear on the passenger seat last night so he was curious,” Sam said. “He wondered what we were doing on the drive home. I think he figured I was feeling you up or something.”
Camilla’s eyes sparkled interest. “What did you say?”
“I told him I like you undressed. So now he knows you were naked when we were at the store.”
“Does that bother you?”
“I’m happy you’re comfortable telling your brother I’m yours and how I’m yours. He’s family so it feels right.”
“He’s family but I’m not sharing anything with him but information.”
“I know. You’re not like John.”
“Not just that. You’re mine. Yeah, that means what you always say—that my limits are your limits—but another man touching you is way past where I draw the line.”
“I know that too. You’re my Sir and I’ll never refuse you anything, but I’m glad you don’t want anyone else to touch me. I’m happy I mean that much to you.”
Thinking about Camilla’s ex Sam said, “I can’t see how any man who cares about his woman could do otherwise.”
“So, speaking of looking but not touching, were you worried about how I might come to the kitchen this morning?”
“I didn’t really think about it. I think in the back of my mind I figured you’d put on my ABU shirt again.”
“Is that what you wanted me to wear?”
Sam thought not. His old military camouflage shirt showed off Camilla’s hot legs from her heels almost up to where her legs ended, with just a couple inches to spare. Wearing that shirt, if she sat or bent or even inhaled too deeply she’d be showing Sol her goodies. It wasn’t like when she’d worn that shirt when Cutter came over. That time she mostly sat at the table, and Cutter left right after having coffee. Sol would be hanging around today until early afternoon. He might have told his brother his business but he wasn’t going to show him.
“No,” Sam said. “You definitely need to be covered up while he’s here.”
“So if it were anyone but your brother would the same rules apply?”
Sam’s imagination clicked on. Visions of Camilla sunbathing nude on his deck or swimming naked in his pool played on the movie screen of his imagination. He could see other people out on the deck, but their images were just shadows at the corner of his mind.
Down in the dungeon of his fantasies a new kind of beast paced anxiously back and forth in the darkness at the back of its cell, alert and waiting.
“I think that’s entirely situational,” Sam said.
Sol looked around as he spoke to make sure everyone was in on his joke. A few of the women tittered like school girls with a crush even though many were family members. Sol had that effect on women. He always had.
“If you’d keep the same number longer than a month you might get a call,” Sam shot back. He wasn’t about to let his brother embarrass or intimidate him, or let it appear that he could, especially not with Camilla standing right there. And what had they been talking about anyway?
Sol grinned like it was all good but Sam could see the cold calculation in his brother’s eyes. He knew him too well to fall for his bullshit.
Sol stepped away from the wall and spread his arms. “Aw hell man, c’mere and give your big brother a hug. I ain’t seen you in what, five years?”
“Something like that.”
Sam hugged his brother. While they were embraced Sol muttered in his ear, “Boy, she got titties and ass for days. I hope you’re man enough to handle all that. If you need some help let me know.”
As they separated Sam gave him a hard eye. “I’ve got it covered.”
“I know you do, boy. I’m just messing with you, having a little fun. This is supposed to be fun, right? We’re celebrating Aunt Helen’s birthday.” He said it like he was the one who’d thought of throwing the party instead of arriving as it was wrapping up.
“When did you get here?” Sam asked.
“Just a minute ago. Man, I left Jersey in the wee hours.” He looked around at the thinning crowd and then over his shoulder at Camilla. “Looks like I didn’t miss the good part though.”
Aunt Helen was one of the people standing near the wall. “That’s all right, baby,” she said. “You came, and that’s what matters.”
“You know I wouldn’t miss this,” Sol said. He looked sincere now. “You’re Ma’s only sister and me and Sam love you like our own mother.”
That drew a few “Aws” from the remaining crowd. Aunt Helen gave Sol a hug and kiss on the cheek.
Sam took the opportunity to move closer to Camilla. She took his hand.
“Okay, I need to grab me some of whatever grub is left,” Sol announced. “I been on the road all day and I’m hungry as the stepchild of a refugee.”
Aunt Helen lived to feed people so that was all she needed to hear. She grabbed Sol’s hand and hauled him off to the food table.
Sam didn’t want to seem insecure but he knew how good his brother was at spreading bullshit and making it smell like flowers. “So what was he talking about?” he asked Camilla.
“He was nice,” Camilla said. “He said he was proud of you, the way you stuck it out in the Air Force and made it your career. He said even though you’re his younger brother he’s trying to catch up to you.”
If that was more of Sol’s bullshit it was a new line. The last time his brother had expressed an opinion about him joining the Air Force was right after he’d been sworn in. Sol told him he was selling out to a system that didn’t give a damn about the black man.
Sol came back carrying a sagging paper plate loaded by Aunt Helen with a mountain of soul food. He gnawed off a hunk of drumstick and said, “Little brother, I can’t be a country bumpkin like you but damn these southern people can cook! Reminds me of how Ma used to throw down in the kitchen. So hey, I’m hearing you got you a nice crib down here.”
“I like it,” Sam said.
“You got room for me to squat tonight?” He cut a smile at Camilla. “I mean, if you trust me around your pretty lady, since she lives right next door to you and all.”
So either Camilla or somebody else had been telling Sol his life story. “I don’t trust you but I trust her so it’s all good.” Sam smiled as he spoke but he wasn’t lying.
“Yeah well, don’t worry too much; I got to leave tomorrow so I can be at work on Monday.”
Sol had a job? A real job? “Where’re you working?”
“Down in Asbury Park, at Green’s Fine Autos.”
“And selling them well. Your big brother was tops in sales three out of the last four months. The manager says I could sell barks to a dog.”
“Yeah, that I believe.” Sol was a con man to his soul.
“So can I crash at your place?”
“Yeah man, it’s no problem.” Sam hoped that would be true.
Long Branch, New Jersey
July, 1976 Saturday Morning
Mary Greenwood paid me ten dollars to mow her lawn. After we slept together she paid me another fifty. The fifty wasn’t for the sex—at least not that first time—but so that I wouldn’t tell anyone what we did.
“I’m giving you a little something extra to keep this between us,” she said. She already had her hand in her nightstand drawer.
Money was the last thing on my mind when a naked woman was lying next to me. I had my eyes glued to her round chocolate backside, and though we’d just done it twice, that lovely sight had me thinking that if she were game and would wait a few minutes we could go for round three. Then she rolled back to me, clutching a thick wad of bills. The twenty on the outside of the roll snatched my attention away from her nakedness.
She flipped through the wad and said, “So ten for my yard, and what, Lucas? How much will you blackmail me for to keep this quiet?” She was smiling with those full, cushiony lips that had fired up my lust the day we’d met, but it was a cover. Her eyes showed that she was serious about me not talking.
I wouldn’t tell anybody. That was one thing my neighbor Cameron told me when he’d sat me down to have the man-to-man talk about getting down. He’d told me that if I wanted a chance to go back, do her right the first time, and don’t put her business out in the street. But he’d been talking about girls my age.
Mary wanted to be discreet because she was thirty-two years old, which made her fourteen years older than me. This was back when Disco was new and before anyone had ever heard of two-legged cougars. So even though I was a legal adult, if word got out that I was taking care of Mary’s yard and taking care of her body, she’d be branded as some kind of molester. That wouldn’t have been the case, though. After that first time, if anyone was doing the molesting, it was me. I wanted Mary to get her money’s worth. Every time.
I won’t say that Mary and I had been planning what happened that first time. But I had a sense—going back to the day we’d met a year earlier—that something could happen. I saw it in her eyes. Even then, at seventeen years old, I was able to read a woman’s eyes.
How many times has some poet written that the eyes don’t lie?
Ghost Summer: Stories (Sept. 1) — My love affair with short stories, and why you should write them too
Like many writers, I began learning my craft with short stories. By the time I finished my graduate English degree, I’d shifted my focus entirely from my unfinished novels to short stories. I needed to master beginning, middle and end.
Finally–a sale! In about 1990, I sold a short story called “Amusement” to a small magazine called Writers’ BBQ. I was ecstatic…and then I learned that the magazine went out of business. No publication for me. Although I continued to write short stories, they were repeatedly rejected. I did not publish a word of fiction until my first novel, The Between, in 1995. After that, my focus shifted back to novels. But I’d honed my craft on short stories first.
And I couldn’t walk away. When Gordon Van Gelder invited me to write for The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, I wrote a short story called “Patient Zero”…
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My goal was to have what I intended to be a novella on the streets this month: August. But the story won’t let me. Here’s why:
I have over thirty novels and novellas published under my real name and under my pseudonym The Black. Probably half of them are novellas, because my personal writing style is to focus on telling the story, not to write to a page length or word count. When my story is done, it’s done.
If you’ve been following the history behind The Way of a Man with a Neighbor you know I was inspired to write it as a modern day version of the Victorian era erotic tale The Way of a Man with a Maid. I anticipated that my story would be similar in length, and be a get-to-the-point erotic story of a man who has intimacies with his neighbor. I had the story mentally outlined, and I figured it would clock in at about 40,000 words. A novella. But then, well…
The Way of a Man with a Neighbor is at over 84,000 words, and the mystery plot turn has yet to happen. The book threatens to become my longest release ever, even beating out my 115,000 word saga The Professional. That’s my estimate. When all is said and done will I cull some stuff in the edit? Probably. But it’s still going to be novel length because Sam and Camilla have a lot to tell you.
So when is it coming out? I’ll likely miss my 31 August deadline, but The Way of a Man with a Neighbor will be on the streets a few days after.
Camilla used a phone app to guide them to a café a couple of blocks off Broad Street in Richmond and about a half mile from Lilith & Pandora. The café offered outdoor seating in a patio on one side of the building with a view of the street. The weather was just fair enough for them to opt to have lunch in the open air.
The downtown sidewalk was thick with pedestrian workers, shoppers, and college students. Sam noted that more than a few heads turned their way as they ate. Men in particular looked at them and particularly at Camilla as she enjoyed a turkey club sandwich. Sam figured that was probably because when she got out of his Jeep she hadn’t bothered to refasten the buttons on her dress he’d opened before their trip, and because whenever a cool breeze wafted through the patio her nipples strained at the cotton and created a new kind of buttons. He had a thought that somehow the men sensed that Camilla wasn’t wearing anything under her dress. Or maybe they just sensed Camilla’s heat, and primal instinct made them look at her and know there was something different about her; something special.
Sam imagined again Camilla wearing nothing but those black stilettos she’d shown him before they left. His vision was half-formed, but in it he sensed again that they weren’t in either of their houses. Or maybe they were, but they weren’t the only ones there. That was it: his imagination had Camilla wearing only those shoes before more eyes than his.
As he took a bite of his sandwich he wondered if he were changing, becoming more open-minded or more perverse, depending on the point of view. Had Camilla’s unchained sexuality rubbed off on him, or was this who he’d always been? And if this was who he was, how far was he willing to go?
Somewhere in his life he’d heard that a man will only do what a woman allows him to do, will only go as far as she allows him to go. Women set the limits. But Camilla had left it to him to set the boundaries of their sexual relationship. She wanted him to live out his fantasies through her, which would in turn fulfill her desire to be the kind of woman she wanted to be. That meant he had to be willing to look inside himself honestly, to venture down into the previously unvisited dark dungeon of his desires. He had to creep through the darkness down there to discover what lurked in the cages. And if there were monsters in some of the cages, he had to decide if he was brave enough, or freaky enough, or maybe sick enough, to open them. One thing he knew for sure: If he opened any cage and a monster got loose, there would be no locking it up again.
“What are you thinking about?” Camilla asked.
“I don’t know; a lot of things.”
“Tell me what you’ve thought most about in the last minute.”
“That wasn’t it.”
“How do you know it wasn’t?”
“Because you weren’t looking at me. You were watching people passing by, but then you weren’t really seeing them. You were somewhere in your head.”
“Oh, you think you know me like that, huh?”
“You’re my man. I’m supposed to know you. So what were you thinking about?”
“Those black shoes you showed me this morning. I keep seeing you wearing nothing but them.”
“That can happen whenever you want.”
“Not just that. When I pictured it, it was like I was seeing you, but it wasn’t just me. I don’t know where we were but other people saw you too.”
Camilla wrapped her plump lips around her straw and finished her soda. “Hmm.”
“You want me naked in public, don’t you?”
“I don’t know.”
“Oh, you do know.”
“I mean, it’s sexy in concept but it’s dangerous. Remember what Cutter said.”
“But you want it. That’s what matters. That’s why we did it this morning.”
“That was just from my place to yours, on our private property.”
“See? You said ‘just,’ like it could be more, or better. Tell me what you really want.”
He was down in the dungeon, standing before a cage. Something crouched in the back of the cage, hiding in the blacker than black shadows. He couldn’t see it but he knew it was there, watching him. Watching and waiting.
Though he’d never seen it before he knew what it was. He knew what it would look like. He knew what it wanted. All he had to do was open the cage and let it run free.
“Sam? You left me again.”
“You don’t want to tell me?”
“I will. I think I’m going to let it be a surprise.”
After lunch Sam helped Camilla bring the dishes up, and they settled into her den sofa with their glasses of wine. Without making eye contact she handed him a remote control. “The disc is loaded,” she said.
Sam pushed the play button and the massive flat screen came to life.
The video was in black and white. Its opening scene was in a bedroom. Camilla and a black man were standing next to a brass bed, facing each other. Sam figured the dude had to be the gigolo named Lucas.
As Camilla had described, in the video she wore an old fashioned-looking dress—an off-the-shoulders number with laces in the front, a gathered waist and pleated skirt. The dude wore a suit with an open collar shirt. Sam was surprised that he looked to be middle-aged. He’d expected that a gigolo would be younger.
“How old was this guy?” he asked Camilla.
“I don’t know; I’d say in his forties, though you wouldn’t know by…well…” She tried and failed to suppress a smile.
“That good, huh?” Sam squeezed on a smile he didn’t feel to demonstrate he was okay about this dude having rocked Camilla’s world.
“Whatever John paid him, he earned,” she said.
“Yeah, I can tell that by your smile,” Sam teased.
“Are you really sure you want to see this?”
“So far, yeah.”
In the video Camilla and the dude were talking, but the audio wasn’t clear enough for Sam to make out what they were saying. He pushed the volume button and got nothing.
“Sorry, the sound is crap,” Camilla said.
“In the unedited videos the audio was fine. John said the videographer messed up the sound during the editing. I think otherwise.”
“What do you think?”
“I think John had the guy mess up the volume for the final cut so he couldn’t hear what was happening. I don’t think he liked what he heard.”
“Because it made him jealous. You’ll understand if you want to keep watching.” She turned her head to look at him. “Do you?”
Sam tilted his chin at the television screen. “Are you going to be naked in this thing?”
“Then I’m watching.”
Onscreen Lucas put his hands on Camilla’s waist and leaned to her. It looked like he was whispering in her ear. Then he dipped his head lower and Camilla’s eyes fluttered. Sam realized Lucas was nuzzling or kissing her neck.
At first Camilla held her hands up in a defensive palms-out position. But after a few moments of Lucas doing whatever he was doing her hands drifted cautiously up to rest on his shoulders. Her fluttering eyes closed and her lips parted as she lost herself in the pleasurable sensations.
Camilla in reality had gone quiet next to him on the sofa. Sam wondered what she was thinking; if she was getting into it or if she was uncomfortable with him watching her intimacies on video. When he looked at her she looked at him. Her expression was apprehensive. He figured he’d better say something to show he was okay, if that’s what she was worried about.
“Have you watched this since the first time?” he asked.
“A few times, yes.”
“Did you play with yourself when you watched before?”
Camilla turned her eyes back to the television. “Yes.”
On the screen Lucas had moved around Camilla to stand behind her. He started kissing the nape of her neck. Camilla seemed to be digging it, the way her head fell back against Lucas’ chest and she reached back to caress his face. Sam wondered how much of Camilla’s response to Lucas was natural and how much, if any, was to entertain her husband.
“Were you putting on a show for your ex?”
“No,” Camilla said, her eyes on the screen. In a distracted voice she added, “Everything was real.”
In the video Lucas put his hands around Camilla’s waist, just for a moment, before slowly lifting them to the swell of her breasts. Camilla’s eyes popped open. Her wide-eyed gaze fixed on the camera she and Lucas were facing. It looked like she was watching someone watching her getting felt up.
“What were you thinking then?” Sam asked.
“I think I was very anxious,” Camilla said.
“No. Just anxious. I was thinking…wondering what was going to happen. I wasn’t pretending but I was really aware of the cameras being there.”
“Yeah, you’re looking right at it. Were you embarrassed at all?”
“No. It was for John. In this part I just couldn’t get it out of my mind that the cameras were there. I couldn’t stop looking at them. In some disconnected way I could feel John watching me through the camera lenses. I remember wishing he were in the room so I could see his reaction. I wanted to see how turned on he was watching me.”
“Are you something of an exhibitionist?”
“Not something of; definitely, when I’m in the mood.”
Sam wanted to dig more into that revelation but on the screen Lucas had adjusted his hands so that rather than lifting Camilla’s breasts from beneath he was cupping them through her dress. Camilla responded by placing her hands over his, as if on instinct she was going to pull his hands away. But Lucas said something in her ear and she dropped her hands to her sides.
“Did he tell you to put your hands back down?” Sam asked.
From the corner of his eye Sam saw Camilla shake her head. She said, “He told me he was going to undress me.”
COMING AUGUST 2015
B: The inspiration goes back a way, to when I was in my early teens. I read a book I had no business reading at that age, a book that belonged to an older cousin who lived with us. I read everything in my house, from the backs of cereal boxes to our encyclopedia set, so her adult books were fair game. The book was titled The Way of a Man with a Maid. It’s erotica published around 1908, by Anonymous. Wikipedia describes the book as a sadomasochistic erotic novel.
Q: So Neighbor is based on Maid?
B: When I got serious about writing for publication that book sat in the back of my mind as something I might want to retell for modern times. So a couple of years ago I bought the eBook of Maid to refresh my memory of the story. I wasn’t too far into the book before I realized I couldn’t retell it.
Q: Why not?
B: I think The Way of a Man with a Maid might be considered a classic in the erotica genre, but as written it’s an offense to modern social sensibilities. It is sadomasochistic, but beyond that it relays an outdated masculine notion that a woman doesn’t know what she wants unless there’s a man to show her. That includes sex. So in the book, the main character Jack forces himself on a virgin who has spurned his advances. He traps her in a soundproof room in his apartment and with the assistance of various restraining devices has his way with her. So of course after he’s shown her the sexual light she’s thankful to him and helps him lure other women into his apartment. Yeah, right. I wasn’t going to rewrite that.
Q: How is your book Neighbor different if it’s inspired by Maid?
B: Both books are about control, though in Neighbor it’s a subtle control. It’s different in that though my female protagonist Camilla subverts herself to the male protagonist Sam, she does so of her own will, without his request, as a means to control him and get what she wants. Thus the tagline: “He was in charge. She was in control.” Camilla wants to live her life a certain way, with a man at her disposal to fulfill her sensual desires. She uses her feminine wiles to accomplish that. You know the saying, “A woman lets a man chase her until she catches him.” That’s Camilla.
Q: Is Camilla based on anyone from reality?
B: No. What I’d initially envisioned for her character was someone like the movie stars of the fifties and early sixties—the Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield types. Those women and others like them metaphorically led men by their noses and got what they wanted from them without giving up anything. One way Camilla is like them is that though she’s a woman in 2015 she likes to wear the clothing styles of women from that era. It makes her stand out from other women. And, she knows she looks sexy in those clothes. In doing my research I looked up those styles so I’d know what I was talking about. I also watched a movie titled Promises, Promises starring Jayne Mansfield. I was familiar with her name as the “other” blonde bombshell but not her work. Promises, Promises interested me because though it was released in 1963, it has nude scenes. Of course those scenes weren’t shown in the U.S. theater release back then.
Q: So Camilla is a Jayne Mansfield type?
B: No. After watching the movie I decided that that type wasn’t suitable for today’s woman. So Camilla doesn’t put on the breathy, not-too-bright sex kitten persona. She’s too much her own woman to be that way. And she doesn’t have much time for innuendo that will influence a man to make the first move. She wants Sam, and wants him a certain way, and she goes for it.
Q: What kind of character is Sam?
B: He’s a dude looking for the next thing in life. He’s retired military and just settled into a new home in a rural and isolated area in North Carolina. He was married briefly early in his military career, a relationship that quickly fell victim to military separation. Throughout his career he’s become accustomed to friendships and relationships not surviving the military way of life. Now that he’s retired and pushing forty he’s casually hoping that will change. It just so happens that Camilla is his next door neighbor.
Q: So he’s ripe for the picking by Camilla.
B: “Ripe” is a term Camilla often uses to describe sexual frustration. Sam’s not so much ripe as he sees Camilla as an immediate and practical answer to what he wants. But it wouldn’t have happened if Camilla hadn’t led the way.
Q: It sounds like your retelling of The Way of a Man with a Maid is an entirely different story than the original.
B: It is. I let the characters take me where they wanted to go. Though The Way of a Man with a Neighbor is erotica, there’s a human story riding alongside the sex. And beyond that, in Part Two the tale becomes a mystery as well as erotica.
Q: Part Two? There’s a sequel coming?
B: No. What’s happened is that I was 50,000 words into the story, covering just over a week into Sam and Camilla’s new friendship, and sex hadn’t happened yet. There’s a slow build to their first intimate encounter, after 50,000 words of foreplay. So I decided to divide the novel into Parts One and Two, both in a single book. I might call Part One “Foreplay.” That is, if I can decide what to call Part Two.
Q: Care to elaborate on the mystery?
B: I’ll only say that there’ll be forces plotting against them. There’s a threat, with a couple or three possible suspects. Camilla and Sam might need outside help to get through it, if they can.
Q: Anything else you can tell us about The Way of a Man with a Neighbor before its release in August 2015?
B: As a teaser I’ll say that a popular character from another novel series is mentioned and has a scene in a character’s past. He’s the guy who gets paid to play.
B: That’s all I’m saying.
Q: To wrap things up, what’s on the horizon for The Black?
B: In the short term, not too much. The Black is going to step aside and let Christopher Bynum wrap up two novels: Nightwalkers Book Three: The Vampire Linares and the first novel in The Hitman Chronicles series.
Q: And the long term?
B: Too many possibilities to say. Right now for 2016 the possibilities are the fourth novel in the Insatiable series, because Simon Bishop needs his story told. There might be a Black Satin II. And a novel titled Baby Girl. And I might update the Passion series as a single novel merging the five novellas, and adding some new material. But these are only possibilities. I’ve learned not to plan too far ahead and put too much pressure on myself with a defined schedule. The stories come when they come.
Q: And with those teasers no doubt your reading public is anxiously awaiting whatever comes next.
B: As am I.
Aunt Helen’s Birthday Celebration
Delia was as sweet as molasses when talking to Camilla, but Sam noticed as the celebration wore on that whenever he saw her looking their way she was giving them the evil eye. When Camilla excused herself to go to the bathroom his cousin made a beeline through the crowd to him. She grabbed his arm and tugged him against a wall away from the earshot of family and friends.
“Do you know what you’re doing?” she asked.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean Ricky said you met her two weeks ago, but you’re walking around here all goofy-googly like some newlyweds who got some in the car on the way over here.”
“I have no idea what that means.”
“It means you’re moving kind of fast, don’t you think?”
“You talking about me or both of us?”
“You’re my first cousin, Sam. You’re as much like a brother to me as those two fools that’re my real brothers. Her I don’t know. I just hope you know what you’re doing because you don’t know her either.”
“Last time I checked I was grown, Delia.”
“Age doesn’t give you common sense, especially when it comes to—”
“To what—white women?”
“Fool, I couldn’t care less if she was green with orange stripes. I heard Ricky and Cutter talking about her, and I’m guessing what they know they got from you. All three of you are fools; you think more about getting your little pee-pees wet than anything else. How well can you know this chick after just two weeks?”
“As well as I could know anybody. Probably better. We live next door to each other, remember?”
“That doesn’t mean shit. You don’t really know a person until you spend some time with them after all the excitement wears off. Hell, some people can put on a front for years before that mask starts cracking and you get to see what’s under it. Years, Sammy, not two weeks, you hear me? All I’m saying is you don’t know this chick from nobody. And if you really think it’s about her being white, say it again and I swear to God I’ll knee you in your nuts right in front Mama and all these people.”
“I know what I’m doing. We both do.”
“You fucking her?”
“That’s my business.”
“Uh-huh, yeah you are. I can see it in your face. That means you don’t know shit. All you know is she’s got big titties and a round ass and a hole between her legs.” Delia shook her head and gave him the kind of piteous look one would give a dying puppy. “I swear men are fools.”
“Look Delia, I appreciate your concern, but you haven’t said a thing I haven’t already thought about, and Camilla too. We’re not teenagers who don’t know jack about life. We’ve been there and been there for a minute. We know what we want and what we’re doing.”
“I hope you do, Sammy, for real. But I’m gonna say it again: After two weeks all you can really know about her is how she is between the sheets. You don’t know what she’s hiding under her bed, and if it’s something bad she’s not gonna show you until she’s ready to use it on you. Then it’s too late.”
COMING AUGUST 2015