"Baby you okay?" Jasmine says behind Malik as she touches his back. He knew she was coming, but didn't realize she was that close to him. He shuts her fridge door and turns around to her standing there butt naked. He looks at her as though she was his grandmother and not a naked piece of heaven.
"Your kid could pop up any minute, go put some clothes on." Malik says calmly. Jasmine sucks her teeth.
"Any other night I got a yard of ya dick down my throat, but now you gotta change of heart!"She states harshly.
"Keep ya voice down. Don't start something you gonna regret."
"What is wit you lately? Well lemme stop playing around 'cause I know what's going on. A little birdie told me you was tricking on some dark bitch lately! I catch that bitch anywhere near you and-" Jasmine's words are cut short as she rises on her toes and claws at Malik's vice grip on her neck.
"Jasmine, don't make threats." He says eerily calm as he still holds on to her. "Any problems you have, you deal wit me and me only. Stay away from her." He lets her go; she gags and breathes hard. "Good night." He says and walks out the door.
He drives the speed limit deep into a small suburb on the outskirts of South West Philly. He looks over at Iyana who watches the large spaced out houses in amazement. He finds it funny that he gets a day to himself and wants to spend it with Iyana. Besides the great sexual chemistry between the two, she was right. It's good to get away from the drama. Jasmine is a major extension of his problems and it's to the point where he can't even get it up around her. His mother and sisters are his world, but the nagging and constant need is exhausting. Iyana is a good shoulder to lean on, sometimes he likes the role reversal of not being the one needed. Iyana watches him pull up into the driveway of a one floor home. It's a nice brick with gray roofing. The yard is neatly cut with a sold sign posted across a century 21 real estate sign. He parks and gets out signaling for her to follow him. She follows him to a navy blue door with gold trim and watches him pull out a set of keys to unlock it.
"who's place is this?" she asks.
"mines now." He says and opens the door. The outside deceives to the inside. Iyana looks at the rundown floors, chipped paint on the walls and falling on the floors. Dust and discarded debris are the only "furnishings" of the small house. "That's how I got it dirt cheap in this area. It needs some paint and rewiring, once that's out the way; it's all good."
"You gonna do it yourself?" he smirks.
"I'm a hand on man, but not in that way. I got some good contractors lined up by ya birthday it'll be officially done." Iyana nods.
"You sound excited, so I'm happy for you." She states. "Ya gonna have ya ma and ya sisters here too?"
"They can go anywhere they want, but this is mines and only mines." Iyana nods with a smile.
"Nothing wrong wit that." He pulls her close by the tip of her jeans.
"Hypothetically, could you see ya self chilling here wit me?" she shrugs.
"What would we be doing?" Planning family vacations and hosting Thanksgiving dinners. He thinks.
"Counting bricks." She snickers and shakes her head.
"I'll pick the activities. This is nice, I always wanted to own a piece of property, but thanks to my ma I had bad credit at ten."
"You come up wit 25 G's and I'll let you run half this joint." She playfully pushes him. "Besides writing this will be what I put my energy to."
"Good it'll give my back a break." Malik smirks.
"Naw you not getting off that easy." He says squeezing her waist.
"What's up wit The Haven?" Iyana asks and Daze makes a face.
"What, you thinking about stripping?"
"Maybe, I never been and I heard it be popping."
"It's Philly's best, but that's all I can give you. Ya females ain't slick; I know Jay probably told you to stay away." Iyana smiles. "Yeah, I know. All Imma say is you should do what he says, but you are grown."
"At least you noticed!" Daze shakes his head with a smile.
"Jay makes moves for a reason; like I said you should listen to whatever he said."
Daze shakes his head as he stands in the door of the champagne room.
"Even the best of 'em is hard headed." He says to himself.
"Fool, you that drunk that you talking to nobody." Jasmine says behind him. He turns quickly and stares at her stunting in a gray dress and large shades with her hair in a wavy long weave.
"What's up? You suppose to be muscling these niggaz out they paycheck and not riding my dick."
"Ain't anybody on ya little wee-wee. You was staring hard, is a new shorty out there?" Jasmine asks trying to look over his shoulder. He playfully, but suspiciously pushes her back.
"Come on you the best thing smoking in here. I want a dance from the hottest chick in the game." He says as he puts his arm around her waist and pulls her towards a booth. She breaks free of his hold and pulls the curtain back. Her blood boils as she watches Iyana in a white fedora sitting as she gets a lap dance from a stripper with pink dyed hair. She sits with some younger guys who cackle as they watch Iyana and the stripper interact together.
Jasmine runs her fingers under her Jackie O shades over the swollen black eye she received first hand from Malik. They've had physical altercations in the pass, but he's never hit her with the intensity he did a few days ago. He came by and told her to stay away from his precious Iyana. Instead of being easy, Jasmine blew her cool and threatened to stab Iyana in the windpipe. Before she could finish her idle threat, Malik had her laid out on the floor.
He told her she'd rest with Iyana if Iyana died then took Quason with him and kept him until she pleaded for Malik to bring her son home. The fury in his eyes when he told her he'd take her life over Iyana frightened her in a way she never knew existed. Iyana probably never seen that side of him, she doesn't get black eyes and all the bullshit Jasmine goes through. She gets to lay up with Malik and get back rubs and poetry. She gets the fruits of Jasmine's labor.
"Didn't I tell you I wanted a dance!?" Daze says. Jasmine can hear the anxiety all in his voice even as he plays cool. She shuts the curtain and faces him.
"Where ya cash at asshole?" she says.
Iyana stretches as she steps outside the club. She looks at her watch and realizes she left thirty minutes before closing. Her brother and his friends left an hour ago, but she decided to stay. The parking lot is empty of people but cars fill up most the spots. Apart of her wanted to see if Malik was going to be there; she hasn't spoken to him in almost two weeks. She didn't understand why he got so pissed about the card. Then it dawned on her that he might frequent the club and don't want other dudes to see her naked. She told him she wasn't going to strip though. Sometimes he can be so damn complex. She thinks to herself.
"Hey ma," she hears Daze say as he steps beside her. "I knew you wouldn't listen." He says shaking his head. She snickers.
"I did, but I treated my little brother and friends out. They've never been to a strip club. Can you forgive me?" he smirks, but looks around cautiously.
"You waiting on somebody?" he asks.
"No, I'm 'bout to catch the bus."
"Naw, it's not safe. I got you, come on." He says as he guides her to his car.
"It was a nice little dump. I was expecting garbage but the girls were ok."
"Damn pretty chicks are vicious!" Daze says as he pulls out his car keys. His phone rings and he slows down briefly to answer it.
"Where she at?" Iyana hears Daze say to the person on the other end. He looks up at her and his eyes bulge.
"Look out!" he yells at Iyana but its too late. She flies up on the hood of the red Toyota; pain like no other shoots through every part of Iyana's body. The car hits the breaks and sends her flying onto the hard cold concrete. The driver isn't done as they push the gas pedal; Daze quickly pulls a battered Iyana in between two parked cars as the car speeds by with the intention of running Iyana over again. Blood spews out the side of Iyana's mouth as she lies struggling to breathe. "Shit!" Daze yells breathless as he pulls out his phone to dial 911.