We are all faced with choices and decisions in life. Keeping secrets makes things more complicated and your actions will always have consequences.
“I tried to warn you, man!” Kelvin shouted at Kari through the phone. “That night at dinner, I predicted this would happen, son. She left you for one of them ballers, didn’t she, B?”
“Look, bro, it’s not like that,” Kari insisted. “Scottie’s a good woman. It’s not like we broke up because she was cheating on me. I didn’t say that, did I?”
“Not that you know of, son.”
Kari huffed. “We simply needed to take a break.”
“According to who? Her?” Kelvin shook his head in disbelief at the naiveté of his friend. “Son, she hit you with the okie doke. And you fell for it, B.”
Kari tried his hardest to explain the status of his relationship in a favorable light to his childhood friend, but Kelvin wasn’t buying it. They had been on the phone less than ten minutes, and Kelvin had all the facts he needed to conclude that Kari had gotten played. What he saw with his own eyes convinced him that Scottie was definitely sleeping with Byron Stalling. He knew that she saw him backstage the night of the Jay-Z concert, but she ran behind a black curtain before he could confront her.
“I can’t even front,” Kari said. “I’m hurt.”
“You’re my boy, son. No matter what, you know I got ya back,” Kelvin preached. “You can’t be worried about Scottie shady ass. I bet she doing her. You gotta do you.”
“I know, man. I need to be alone. Clear my head. I’m gonna go over to Slate and have a drink.”
The upper level of Slate in the Flatiron district was dimly lit as usual and packed with trendy people. Of all the faces in the crowd, Dev spotted a familiar mug coming her way from across the room: Kari. It was too late to duck and act like she didn’t see him. She could only brace herself and prepare for a potentially awkward exchange because they had not seen each other since his breakup with Scottie.
“Hey, Dev. How have you been?” Kari said as he smiled and greeted Dev with brotherly love like always.
This might not turn out that bad, Dev thought. “Hey, Kari, it’s good to see you.”
“Yeah, it’s good to see you too, Dev.” His smile quickly faded. “I’m glad I ran into you,” Kari added as he turned to walk away.
Dev thought that was a strange way to end an extremely brief encounter with her girl’s ex. Dev knew that it must have been difficult running into her. He had to pretend like everything was normal. Either way, Dev couldn’t wait to call Scottie in California and tell her who she’d just run into.
Dev dipped into a corner to dial Scottie’s number on her cell phone. Getting no answer, she left a voicemail message, then turned to go and meet up with her girls. But Kari was standing directly in her path.
Kari was rubbing his forehead vigorously. “Dev, I really need to speak to you. Can we go somewhere and talk for a minute? I’ll buy you a drink.”
Dev didn’t know what to make of his request, but it was Kari. Of course she wouldn’t turn her back on him.
Scottie Malveaux sat behind an airtight conference room door exchanging intense glares with The League’s legal watchdog in addition to the most useless human resources representative ever, Caroline Stinger.
“Ms. Malveaux, I’m going to ask you one last time.”
Spit gathered at the corners of the lawyer’s squirmy mouth, creating saliva piles that resembled a foam party. He used his right index finger to slide the silver, wire-frame specs up over his nose, aligning perfectly with his dark, beady eyes. His scowl grew closer to Scottie’s face as he leaned over the pressed-wood table, violating Scottie’s comfort zone.
“Were you or have you ever been involved with a professional athlete?”
Scottie’s nude lip-gloss made it easy for her lips to slide apart in an attempt to formulate the same answer that she had so graciously provided the first three times the attorney asked. She sat back, folded her perfectly manicured hands across her chest and batted her long, jet-black lashes with an innocent smirk. Before she could respond, however, Caroline interjected.
“What he means is, were you, or have you ever been involved with, a professional athlete employed by The League?”
Scottie rubbed her palms against the dark-gray woven material of her chair to try to wipe away any signs of her increasing discomfort.
The balding lawyer tapped his pen on his tablet awaiting a response. “We received a tip regarding suspicion of an inappropriate relationship,” he offered after a moment. “Do you have any explanation?”
“Nope,” Scottie politely replied.
His eyes opened at the touch of my lips, and knowing glances and unspoken words filled the silence. The past was officially being put to rest and the future was to begin without us. There would only be me.
It was the morning of my transition. Cali girl to the core, born and bred, but it was time for me to test myself and make the biggest move of my life—New York City.
My phone buzzed with a text message, but I didn’t bother checking the screen. It was typical of me to be running late, and Nikki was probably patiently waiting out front with her foot on the pedal. She was likely wondering if she had wasted a trip driving to Ivan’s house.
Ivan was the beginning of my flawed relationships with men. I liked his style. He moved with a distinct confidence that drew women to him. Always known for reveling the female gender with the intriguing details of his life, he kept women hanging on his every word. That was one of his specialties. Not to mention, one of my problems.
He and I had been seeing each other, minus any form of exclusive commitment, since the latter portion of our college years. You know how that goes. Guy wants to keep girl around and continue having sex with her, but guy does not want to bother with a title so girl goes along with the bullshit excuses. The initial hookup was unintentional, but every late-night call, sexy text message, and rendezvous that followed was completely deliberate.
Ivan dressed fly but at times almost too fly. It felt like we were in constant competition with each other when we stepped out together. His closet was stacked to the ceiling with perfectly lined boxes of shoes. From hard bottoms and loafers to retro Jordans and Air Maxes, he had them all. The man shopped more than most women I knew. His slim frame allowed for clothes to drape his body like a showroom mannequin. I loved to see him rocking a fresh pair of Jordans, fatigue cargo shorts and his signature GVG-brand tees.
Our chemistry was undeniable and everyone in our circle knew it. Ivan’s soft, sandy-brown locks and butter-toffee complexion had me wide open. A little charm and a likable persona—that’s how we lasted so long. His endearing touch was the best, and at times the worst. We both craved attention and especially loved it from each other.
Ivan shunned commitment and unlike some girls, I had too much pride to try and manipulate the situation to make him see things my way. Consequently, I repeatedly felt empty and desperately unfulfilled by our relationship, which brings me to my final night as a California resident. The Test.
Unfortunately, The Test wasn’t a new concept for me. I’d played a similar game with myself many times over, but in this instance, it wasn’t a test for him. Rather it was a test for me.
Ahyiana Angel is a Cali girl who has turned the Manhattan streets into her playground. This sassy storyteller is a former sports entertainment publicist at the NBA. Ups and downs with dating, love, sex and friendships inspired her to create a lane of her own with the popular blog Life According to Her. As a freelance writer, Angel’s work has been featured on XOJane.com, SingleBlackMale.org, and ClutchMagOnline.com, among others.