Sex and the Single Sister: Five Novellas

Paperback | June 1, 2002

byMaryann Reid

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The African American answer to Sex and the City---a collection of hip, sexy, funny novellas about successful black women in their twenties, on the dating scene, making all the wrong moves . . .

A fine ambitious sister on the rise to stardom, junior correspondent to NBC News, Farah's, has life on a string. And she's looking for a quick hook-up. But this sister's about to learn what happens when you take the fast track to love . . .Alaya fled the projects, determined not to be anybody's baby-mama, got her degree, and opened her own accounting firm. Everything is perfect. All she needs now is that perfect someone. Only holding out for "Mr. Right" may mean missing out on love altogether . . .Kenya, an almost-thirty successful investment strategist is plotting some strategies of her own to alleviate her "Can't Find a Husband" blues. So when her hot Latin neighbor's dog kicks sand in her face while she's meditating on the beach, she realizes that it not quite the first move she had in mind, but it seems to be fate. That is until an old flame comes strolling back into her life and she has to make a choice...Alexis is fabulously fine and fresh out of a stifling relationship with the "right man." She's got a wild side (to put it mildly) she's been dying to release. Enter Mike, a strong brother with rough edges and enough daring to indulge fantasies Alexis didn't even know she had...Waceera's travels all over the world have taught her one thing: there is no such thing as one good man. The world is her buffet and variety is the spice that keeps life yummy. The last thing on this sister's mind is settling down.

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The African American answer to Sex and the City---a collection of hip, sexy, funny novellas about successful black women in their twenties, on the dating scene, making all the wrong moves . . . A fine ambitious sister on the rise to stardom, junior correspondent to NBC News, Farah's, has life on a string. And she's looking for a quick...

Maryann Reid graduated from Fordham University. She has written for Black Enterprise, NV magazine and her novella "Single Black Female " appeared on Sex and the Single Sister is her first book. She currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:240 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 0.55 inPublished:June 1, 2002Publisher:St. Martin's PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0312300727

ISBN - 13:9780312300722


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Sex and the Single SisterSTORY ONEFARAH24 BROOKLYN, NY    DATING STATUS:Caught up with somebody else's catchTHOHGS, LAPTOPS, AND TOSSED SALADS I'm attractive and slender, wrapped in cinnamon brown skin, with long, "good" hair and an attitude to match the assets. I graduated from the top educational institutions in the country. I'm bright--a B. A. and M. A. degree in political science from Columbia University and I'm a junior correspondent at NBC News. I have plans to buy a few brownstones in Brooklyn and basically kick some ass when it comes to making money!Working at one of the nation's largest TV networks has its perks: free admission to costly events, meeting influential people, invites to all the right parties in the city, and mingling with politicians, officials, and the entertainment world. Like all jobs, it does have its flip side. I'm one of two black people hired as correspondents, which makes it rather lonely. I've been here since college and started as an intern. Though I'm a freelancer, I'm satisfied with that. The freelancer's life is always full of adventure: What will the next story be? Where is the next check coming from? As a freelancer you carve your own path, and with the right contacts you can basically live as good as a full-time worker--or better.I've always been a writer, though. Before I could even write, I was thinking. I had an imagination that would put Disney World to shame! When I was five, a class assignment was to picture what lives would we live as adults. Considering that as young kids we could barely write a complete, coherent sentence, we had to "express" our thoughts and feelings. While everyone else wanted tobe some cartoon hero, I wanted to be a princess who lived in a castle on Mars, had servants, and conquered the universe. As I got older, I put my imagination into structured stories. In high school I was the assistant editor of the school newspaper, The Times Observer. As a sophomore, I uncovered a story where a senior was found out to be bribing a male teacher for an "A" before graduation. The senior, who was very popular, was expelled and the teacher suspended. Students loitered the hallways with newspapers claiming I had made the incident up as a way to get attention for my stories. I lost several friends and some officials refused to be used as sources for any of my future stories. But I got past that.In college the stories were a bit more on the sexier side of things. The name of the college newspaper was Ebony Voices. You guessed it! It was the black student publication and I was editor of the relationships section, where I would get all the dirt on who was doing who and report it. A few relationships and egos were broken. Such as the boyfriend who was seeing another girl who lived right next door to his girlfriend in the same dorm. He would sneak out of his girlfriend's room and hide in the stairwell. When the coast was clear, he would knock on the other girl's door and be quickly let in. The "other girl" called in the story in hopes of finally breaking up his relationship. We promised to withhold her name, but we gave his name and the girlfriend's name. This was the biggest thing on campus since the boyfriend was the top point guard in his NCAA division. His girlfriend ended up dumping him and becoming friends with the "other girl." I guess in college people don't take certain things as seriously as we do in the real world.Another incident involved a freshman having an affair with thedean of students. His name and full title were withheld, but the freshman gave detailed accounts of their times together, including the worn-down church shoes he would wear on every date. Since that article, all eyes were on administrators with church shoes! Instead of me being labeled a troublemaker, in college, I gained even more friends through my stories. Somehow everyone thought if they became friends with me, I wouldn't hang their ass out to dry. But if you put your business out in the street, someone is bound to sweep it up.It was in college when I decided the school newspaper was just not enough. My professor introduced me to Lena, editor at the Daily News, who was a former student at Columbia. I was an intern there for a while but convinced them to let me write a story by the end of summer. It wasn't exactly Pulitzer-prize work but a small story on the fight to take back a community park. Finally, Lena let me do a piece on relationships between students and professors. The article included homosexual affairs, too. It did raise some eyebrows, but that time I blamed Lena. Anytime someone asked me why I included some private details, I would just shake my head and say, "My editor made me do it." The article was a hit and got me lots of local attention. I continued writing for the newspapers, as well as Black Enterprise magazine. I was lucky. This isn't usually the case with many young writers--black or white.Landing the job at NBC was a godsend. Going from print to TV can make your head spin! Television is supersonic compared to print, where a lead time can be several months. When I told an editor I worked for about my television goals after graduation,she gave me the number of a "good friend" at NBC. The next week I was interviewing with Myra, and two weeks later I was traveling between New York and D.C. covering congressional/government issues and interviewing the bigwig policy makers and breakers. Anyone who's been to D.C. knows that the government can be very male dominated. Everywhere I went, there was a man I had to speak to, meet, or shake hands with. Most of them were grumpy, conservative old men, but many were young, aggressive, attractive, and on the road to success.I don't have many capital affairs to share except one where I was covering a local party convention. On my way back from the vending machine after a long night of transcribing an interview, I walked past the half-opened door of an up-and-coming senator and his friends being entertained by several "ladies" in his hotel room. As soon as I made it down the hall to my room, the door slammed shut. Just earlier that evening the same senator had been campaigning with a doting wife and family standing at his side. There are always rumors of indiscretion in D.C., but I was more interested in making my own scandal than reporting others. Well, not a real scandal, but a private one.When in town, meeting men in D.C. is not a problem. A lot of reporters stay in the same hotel for a few days when covering a story about a convention, meeting, or conference. At the end of the day when the interviews have finished, note taking has ceased, and keyboards have rested--it's time to head to the bar. The scene is like any other one, but this time the suits are lined with fat pockets. The same handsome reporter who ignored me in the hotel lobby is now trying to whisper sweet nothings in my ear;the bar's patrons being policy makers who indirectly or directly have an effect on the laws and administration of this country doesn't make a bit of difference. It's just like when I'm in New York--once a bar always a bar.  THOUGH IT MAY SOUND like I'm doing pretty well, my Grandma Jesse always asks, "So when you gonna settle down and find you somebody nice?" My answer is, "I'm only twenty-four!" All I get is one of those, "These young people today ..." looks. No matter how much I accomplish in my professional life, my personal life always gets the most scrutiny.Working in TV news is constant work, unusual hours, and the schedule is unpredictable. One week you are working on the 5 P.M. show, and the next day you are doing the 4 A.M. show. All I wanted to do when I got home was sleep! Sadly, the men I'd be dating would think I was playing hard to get or cat-and-mouse games when really I just didn't have the energy. Some of them I really liked, but eventually they would disappear after a few weeks. I guess they have too many choices out there. But that was then and this is now. The career girl approach has landed me by myself too many nights. When the opportunity presents itself for me to have a good time, I'm there.Still, there is the other issue of adjusting to what men want today. Men say they want a good woman, someone with goals, who takes care of herself. But when they see the hoochie mama with her breasts pouring out her shirt, their attention diverts to that and they completely lose interest in me. Or how about when I cook and try to get domestic, like I think some men appreciate,they want to be with the glamour queens and divas who think Pine-Sol is a new tanning lotion!I'm a good woman who doesn't curse and has morals, but that doesn't excite the men I meet anymore. Playing by the rules sometimes lands me with the kit but not the caboodle.  IT'S THE BEGINNING Of my few days of vacation from work! No interviews, producers, or deadlines to meet. It's a Sunday night and I don't try to leave the house on Sundays, more less go to a club. But my girl, Lola, is really excited about going to Club Lotts on Spring Street. We heard it was off the hook on Sunday nights; and when we rolled past there Memorial Day weekend, we saw all kinds of people stepping out in everything from Jimmy Choos to Bakers, and from Range Rovers to Kias.It was about thirty minutes before I had to meet Lola at the Bergen Street train station, and I just couldn't get myself looking right. I had on some tight, stretch, black pants; a strappy black tank top, and sandals. Since I was feeling really modest (being Sunday and all), I threw on a brown, long-sleeve sweater. And I even had on my work sandals. Flats! I swore when I first saw the place I would be in my tight Betsey Johnson dress, Dolce & Ga-banna heels, skin glowing, and hair flowing. I was not out to meet anyone tonight but just to chill with my girl before she left for Baltimore on a business trip.Once we got inside, it was like a scene from those well-known rap videos. Victorian couches, chandeliers, and mirrors adorned the room, and a long, wooden bar ran the length of the roomupstairs. Everybody was posing, laid across a couch or sitting cross-legged on purple and red velvet sofas. With drinks in their hands, every once in a while someone would take a peek or glimpse at the sister or brother coming in. There were guys reaching over the bar buying girls drinks and scribbling numbers on yellow napkins.It was a definite scene to be studied. Lola and I just sat on a couch and people watched for a while, listening to the sounds of De Angelo, R Kelly, and Mary J. Blige. When the DJ finally made it to the rap collection, people put their drinks down to get their dance on. Lola and I walked to the bathroom to touchup our hair and makeup, just in time to catch the end of Q-Tip's "Vivrant Thing."Somehow we got caught up on the dance floor with the crowd. We could barely get halfway across the room! Lola and I just looked at each other and started dancing. After a few minutes, I lost Lola. There were more girls than guys on the floor, but at this point, the music was too good to be standing around. When Juvenile's "Back That Thang Up" came on ... everybody went crazy. Suddenly everybody got a big ass they want to back up!I managed to dance on the perimeter of the floor--so it can look like I'm dancing and standing (just in case anyone wanted to ask me, I could look available). Out of nowhere, I hear someone next to me yell, "OW, OW!" I turn around to see who had the audacity to complain about someone stepping on their shoes, which happens a thousand times in a crowded club."Excuse me, miss, but I just bought these Gators! How yougonna do a brother like that and keep dancing?" He isn't the least bit serious. I notice the cutest smile across his lips, and he is supposed to be in pain.I turn around and ignore him. About ten minutes pass, I'm about all backed up and feeling a bit tired. As I make my way through the crowd bumping shoulder after shoulder and being hit with drops of sweat from wanna-be Soul Train dancers, I walk to the bar for a drink. As I am waiting to get the bartender's attention, lo and behold, it's Gator man again.He takes my sweaty hand, looks up, and begins counting oneby-one something invisible in the air. "I'm counting the angels up above because one of them has to be missing," he says, without a blink.As I come out of the spell he put on me, I say, "That's a new one. So if I'm an angel, who are you? The devil?"No answer. But Marcus' wit and bronze skin has me interested. For a moment, he just stares at me with those gorgeous, contrasting, light brown eyes, like I'm a plate of buffalo wings and a pitcher of cold lemonade with lemon bits.He leans his six-foot-three, 230-pound, solid frame against the bar, as I press against him to make room for others trying to squeeze in. I looked around for Lola and saw that she had made herself right at home with a glass of red Alize, laughing with some guy with dreads down his back. Her type."Tell me what do angels do to keep busy?" he asks with a cute, boyish smirk."Protect the good from evil," I say, as I turn around with my back against the bar. I felt his hot breath against my neck and hisIssey Miyake cologne whispering my name as he slowly straightened up and got the bartender to come our way.He bought me a Tangerine Cosmopolitan and himself a Hennesey and Alize. As I lick the corner of my lips to savor the Cosmo, I say, "I work at NBC during the day, but at night I'm fighting with the new laptop I bought. Are you into computers, by the way?""I'm especially into the HARD drive. The more bites and RAMS, the better," he says, with a sexy bedroom tone. I couldn't help but fall victim to his lines. His green Gators, Rolex watch, tailored pants, Caesar-cut hair, and hard, muscular body finally cracked open my defenses. And he knew it was working.Lola finally walked over with the guy in the dreads. Marcus introduced the guy as his friend, Steve. It is a coincidence because Steve and Marcus look like total opposites. Marcus orders another round of drinks and pays for everyone's. We hurriedly sip the last of our drinks and head out to the dance floor as Sisqo's "Thong" starts playing.Marcus wastes no time in trying to get to know my body better. Thighs like what, what what ... As we dance, his hands are casually slipping and touching my breasts, which are bouncing against his chest. Usually, I would dance at least an arm's length away from a guy, if there's enough room, but tonight was different. Marcus feels my thighs when I turn my back to him and move my body against his already firm dick. It was a hot, summer night, and my mood was loosening up. Unfortunately, Lola had to catch a flight in the morning.When the song ended, Marcus pulled me over to a corner aswe both tried to catch our breath. He wiped his wet forehead with the back of his hand and licked his thick lips. "Girl, you were shaking your body out there like you ain't got no mama!" He laughed. "When can I see you again?"After I finish laughing like crazy at his country-ass remark, I say, "Just call me." I signal to Lola to give me a second. I take out a pen and I write my number on a napkin. I thought he would give me his, but he gives me his E-mail address. He tells me he just bought a computer, too, and wants to see if his E-mail works. I didn't give it a second thought. Usually I like giving guys my number first instead of me calling them. I leave him, standing with Steve near the steps to the basement lounge. I turned back to wave bye, but he was gone.  TWO DAYS AND COUNTING ... my little vacation is dwindling. I have to cram everything I need to do in these last two days, including lunch with dear old mom. We meet for brunch at the Blue Note where Chaka Khan is doing her thing as only a woman named Chaka can. In between Chaka's soulful sounds being interrupted by applause, my mom and I share tidbits of information of the latest happenings."Did you hear that Nadeera's mother got her that job in the mayor's office as the press secretary's assistant?" my mom asks, with one eye on Chaka and the other on me."Nadeera? That girl barely finished college! I thought she was still working as a bank teller!" I say, totally surprised because Nadeera hated politics and only used newspapers for cleaning her windows!"Evelyn called up some big guy there who gave the press secretary a glowing recommendation. Now I hear that Nadeera don't like the place," she says, looking through her purse for a mirror. "I have a feeling them people don't like her! Who can blame them," she huffs.My mom never liked Nadeera after she swore Nadeera stole five hundred dollars from her wall unit last summer when she was waiting for me to come home from a meeting. Nadeera had been left in the house alone, but she denies it till this day.Shaking her head, my mom admits, "Now you know she will probably be out of there in no time. But it's good to see a black woman can wield some power around this town to get her daughter in such a high-profile position." The old black couple, seated behind us, looked at us annoyed as we continued our conversation."Tell me about that politician guy you met a few days ago? You said his name was Marvin?" my mom says, as she looks up from her cappuccino.She knew damn well I met some guy at a club, but it was her way of dropping her so-called subtle hints."No." I sigh. "I met a guy when I went out dancing with Lola the other night." Chaka is leaving the stage for a break. It seems like I missed the whole show talking to my mom."His name is Marcus. It's just a boy, no big deal. And before you ask, yes, I am keeping my eyes open for that young, black congressman from Indiana," I say, rolling my eyes and using my perfectly pink-polished nails to push my hair back."Oh, that's right, a club. That's nice," she mumbles, lookingdown at her cup. "But that Mr. Lewis, I saw him on CNN the other day, and it still looks like he has a naked ring finger." She leans forward, whispering like she doesn't want to spill the news. If I didn't know my mom better, I would think she had some political goals herself because she was always trying to hook me up with a politician. But what are mothers for! I've had my eye on Mr. Lewis, I mean Remington, too. But at first glance he can look a bit too stuffy and conservative.Little did my mom know that I'd been through Remington already. We had a little fling when I was covering the recent Republican National Convention. He's not that bad in bed, and his conservative manner is only an act that he wears outside the bedroom.At thirty-two, Remington was in the middle of his second term in Congress and was handpicked to speak at the convention. He's prestigious, well liked, and an advocate for Christian groups and antismoking campaigns.It was my first major political event and he gave a hair-raising speech to the crowd of supporters. My producer, Sharon, felt that interviewing some politicians and gathering information for the senior correspondents was something a young reporter could handle. On my first day I was too overwhelmed. After his speech I was lucky to spot Remington surrounded by a small group of reporters who were holding on to his every word. I watched as the cameras flashed each time he raised his hands for emphasis. I was automatically drawn to him, and my insides got warm just thinking about what fucking a congressman would be like. It was a fantasy.At a reception in a nearby hotel, we met as he introduced himself to the reporters in the room. When it was my turn, he held my hand a little longer than the others. I guess being one of the few young sisters there caught his attention in a room full of white-haired politicians. I was charmed by his stocky, six-foot-one frame and his perfectly trimmed mustache, which teased the lining of his curvy upper lip. The gentle clasp of his hand around mine told me he was charmed, too, by my "Tina Turner" legs. The rumor is he's quietly looking for a wife. I was twenty-three and just trying to finish my story. After the reception he invited me to an after-hours spot in D.C., and we exchanged phony conversation about politics, journalism, and success."Yeah, that would be great if that could happen!""You're right we need leaders we can trust.""Politics used to be more about integrity."After we skipped the bull and, of course, after a few glasses of wine, we let our true colors show."Damn, I love the way your bottom lip just curls," he said."You have such a firm butt!" I responded by grabbing it."What are you doing after this?" he asked, leaning into me. "Let's talk in the suite. I have some CDs we can listen to."We didn't listen to CDs but made our own music. A total exhibitionist, Remington had a foot fetish and loved role-playing--especially bad girl, good cop. He loved my feet so much, he dipped them in all types of sauces he kept, along with chilled bottles of wine, in a small refrigerator near his bed. Strawberry, cherry, and orange sauces would trickle down my feet and toes as he savagely licked and sucked every drop! He was a tender lover,who liked women to take control. Tying him to the bed while I straddled his face was his special request.Even now when we see each other, we give each other that "If they only knew" look and let our eyes do the talking. It was a one-night stand, but he's my ally now and in D.C. you can never have enough of those.Mom and I watch the crowd begin to talk among themselves while they wait for Chaka and her band to return from the break."Mommy Mr. Lewis is nice, but I hear he's courting some woman from his hometown. A family friend," I say, trying to hide the disappointment in my voice. I didn't like Remington like that because I didn't really know him. But it's not so bad to be the girlfriend of a popular politician and that hadn't happened."And you know, I just want a regular man." I signal the waitress to bring another cappuccino to the table. Running my fingers through my curly, light brown hair (something I do when I am nervous), I say, "Politicians travel too much. I want a hard-working man who can be there for me and not have me wondering all night where he is."My mom hurriedly swallows her last piece of carrot cake and dabs her mouth with a napkin. Pointing at me, she gives me that "a man is a man" speech--again."I done told you these men are going to do what they want to! If you keep worrying about keeping some man home and knowing his whereabouts all the time, you are going to be alone and miserable."She catches her breath. "A man is a man. You can't change that, just change how you respond to things."My mom is a single woman. My dad was seeing her while he was married to another woman. My dad, William, was a horny little thing and produced a few more babies while he was separated from his wife. His wife never left. My mom still loves him and never utters a bad word against him. And his children outside his marriage adore him because we really don't see him. And since everybody else likes him, especially my mom, I never thought twice about things. Sometimes we all get together for Fourth of July picnics in my Aunt Lauryn's back yard in Queens--myself, him, his wife, and nine kids from his wife and three different women, including my mom. We all accepted that "a man is a man" and there was no time to harbor hard feelings.Chaka's show is about to start again. As always she looks overwhelmed by her wild hair, but still fiery and sensual. Sitting back I adore Chaka's short, olive green chiffon dress that adorns her voluptuous figure. My mom and I sit quietly humming while Chaka sings "Through the Fire" and sway our heads to the beat, along with practically everyone in the audience. Another twenty minutes later and the show's over. Another sold-out performance. Now, true, I'm a little late into the game and don't know the same Chaka my mom knows, but good music is good music. Whether it's pop, rock, rap, reggae, world, or merengue, I listen to it all!Though I love hanging with my mom, things can get a little overbearing at times. When she starts preaching, it's time to start leaving. That "a man is a man" talk always irritated me. We stand at the corner of Sixth Avenue and West Third to hail a cab. My mom waits on the sidewalk, against the periodic bursts of wind,while I try to stop a cab. It's loud, crowded, and every cab that is passing is "off duty" or full. Damn! I hate this city ... ."Baby, let me call Oliver, maybe he can pick us up," my mom says, waving me back in her direction.Oliver is her "companion," both in their fifties and have been together for a few months. Oliver likes my mom because she always makes him feel like her rescuer and that is not my style. Just as I was about to turn back, a cab skidded to a stop right by my feet.I bent over and asked "Seventy-second and Columbus?" He signaled for us to get in and my mom ran up to the cab in small, girlie steps. "This cab is filthy I should have sat on a napkin or something," she says in disgust, holding her legs tight and close together. I sit back, spread out, and enjoy the ride."Baby, so tell me." My mom wipes a lock of hair from her face and moves closer. Here she goes with her little whispers again. "If you don't have a man, how do you get those special needs met? At your age you should at least have someone nice giving you some loving when you need it." She actually looks genuinely concerned.Smiling reminiscently she continues, "Your mother has hung her coat up from her wild days. So my stories are old. And I know a beautiful girl like you has plenty. Now spill the beans because I know you got a potful!" she says, playfully nudging me.My mom in her prime was basically a tramp! She'll tell you in a minute, too. Maybe that explains why she was so strict with me when I was in school. Now as a secretary in a law firm, she goesto work in her clothes from Henri Bendel, her designer hats, and her nose in the air. But she didn't get the nickname "Sapphire," after the beautiful stone, for just sitting at home. In the attic of our previous home, she kept a yellow shoe box full of photos of her and her friends in the '70s and '80s. Ms. High Society was posing with red leather minis, tight, coochie-cutter shorts, and revealing tops that poured out the ample breasts that I had inherited with gratefulness."Well, I have a friend who comes by on those cold nights. He's not too bright, a regular guy, lives with his mom, doesn't have much, but he makes up for all that with his size, tongue, and stamina." Unlike most of my friends, now that I am grown, my mom and I can kick back and talk about dick size and everything. She would eagerly listen because hearing my stories was like reliving her wild days all over again."You need those types around every now and then. Just use protection because we don't want you being nobody's baby mama. Oh, Lord, no!" she says, holding her forehead."I keep condoms everywhere in the house. I don't play that baby mama thing. Not cute at all. If he was a professional basketball player ..." We burst out laughing, both knowing that I am too paranoid about protection to get knocked up by anyone--rich or poor.The cab swings around Sixtieth Street and we hit some steep traffic. We may have caught up with those folks coming back to the city after the weekend. I look out the window, turn to my mom freshening her bright red lipstick. I guess Oliver is home waitingfor her. She has a natural beauty and needs very little makeup. Her smooth hair and skin always glisten and nicely frames her petite, but shapely body."These are the things we should discuss more often. Since you moved out, I feel we don't bond as we used to.""I'm not trying to be rude, but my business is my business; and some things I like to keep private. When I was younger and in college, it didn't matter. I even followed some of your tips." My mom looks on with pride with that last one."But I like keeping some details to myself now," I say calmly, lightly touching her knee. I didn't want her to take it the wrong way because she had always lent an ear to me."I know. I was a little loose in my day. And I can see you have a little devil in you. Just knowing things sometimes just assures me that everything is okay. There are so many diseases out there now. When I was your age ...""Okay, I understand what you're saying. And Mommy, no news is good news," I say reassuringly.We remain in our own thoughts as we ride down Broadway to Seventy-second Street. It's warm, but the wind is making its own stand against the sun, making the day feel like it's 68° rather than 80°.As we approach my mom's twenty-story building she says, "That congressmen we were talking about." She tilts her head with a sarcastic grin. "I know something happened when you two met. I know." Shaking her head, she continues, "You can give me the details next time."How does she know these things? Before I could even respond, she opened the cab door to leave.I look out the window while the cab is slowly driving away and say jokingly, "Next time we'll talk over pound cake and milk!" With a wave and a smile, she disappears behind the double glass door.On the way to Brooklyn, the gentle whipping of my hair against my face put me in deep relaxation. I took a nap and dreamed of a tree and long blades of grass that turned into people. It's one of those meaningless dreams you get during brief naps. Just when the tree was about to start doing the macerena, I hear the cabdriver, with one of the largest moles I've ever seen on his lip say, "Hey! It's thirty dollars! Hello!"I take away a dollar less for the tip because of his attitude. Running my fingers through my hair, I stumble to the front door. My mom is tripping! She is probably out buying that pound cake now!All I want to do is throw on some Dinah Washington, run a cool bath, and slip into some comfy slippers. Then it hit me! I have to transcribe an interview I did with a Columbia university professor for a story package about generation X and political apathy! Though it's vacation, work never ceases. My boss always wonders why I spend time transcribing when we have assistants for that, but I feel I miss the tone and substance of a story if I just read a typewritten document. By the time I finish transcribing, I already know what I want to write and how to write it. It all unfolds in my head while I listen to the voice on the tape.Max is waiting for me, knowing that tonight may be one of those all-nighters. Max, my old desktop computer, and I have beenthrough it all, crashes, freezes, lost information. I grab some mango juice from the fridge, put my headphones on, and hand over a fine Sunday evening to my job again.A half hour into my typing, the phone rings and practically hurls me from my huge, black, buckskin office chair. It was one of those earsplitting, powerful rings that usually signals drama."How you? Thought I'd give you a call before I head home," says Marcus in a husky voice."Whatsup! Are you driving?" I say, stopping the tape."Yeah," he says. "The song we danced to at the club is playing on the radio and I was having flashbacks of the way you were pumping your thing," he says, raising his voice over the loud music. Not exactly what I expected from our first telephone conversation."Don't think too hard, I don't want you causing any accidents. You should call me when you get home," I say, moving toward the window.He gives an uncomfortable laugh and says, "I have a roommate," his voice a bit unsteady."Is it Jack or Janet?" I ask, referring to Three's Company. There's a weird pause, and before he could muster up his answer, I already knew what it was. "Listen, just E-mail me when you can. I gotta go." Translation: Don't call back!WEEK ONESaturday. I am wrestling with my new laptop, a granite iBook, and it is still giving me problems crashing and all that after a week. It's a sweltering Saturday afternoon and being patient with this machine is the last thing on my mind."Who's this?" I know damn well it is Marcus on the other line. I put down the troubleshooting guide and sit down. Doesn't that man take a hint!"Whatsup!" he says, like it was the first time we ever spoke. "Steve wants your friend's number because he's gonna be in Baltimore for business soon and wants to say 'hi.'""I don't have it, and if she didn't give it to him, then she has her own reasons," I say firmly, but nice. I was relieved to get a break from the computer, and since our last conversation didn't turn him away, I wondered about his intentions."What are you doing in the house on a day like this?""Well, I told you about my computer. I'm trying to fix it now.""Please," he says, laughing, "don't blow anything up!" I couldn't help but join in. I was close to throwing that computer out the window!"What are you doing later? I may want to get you out of that house before you destroy something," he says, over the sounds of cars and horns on the highway. "Let me pick you up."I look around my apartment, all the empty boxes, troubleshooting guides, the bomb message on my computer, then I look at the blue, wide skies, the warm air, and time of day. Well, it may not hurt to hang out with him. He may make a good friend (especially if it is his treat).  MARCUS CALLS ME ABOUT eight times before he gets to my house, for directions and to see if I am ready. I told him I would look out for him. He's driving a black Tahoe, which shouldn't be hard to notice.Marcus pulls up about twenty minutes later. As I walk out mydoor, I try to picture his face in the club. I'm a bit nervous because meeting guys in a dark club and seeing them for the second time in light can be frightening. I hold my breath as I walk outside. He looks a little different but still a choice piece of man. I slide in the car slowly, making sure he sees the shape of my thighs in my jean capris. I look him in the eye and his light browns see right through me. All of a sudden I feel very small in his big car and not as confident. As we drive, out of nervousness, I start asking him lots of questions and playing with my hair.He's an engineer at a large firm in the city, a dreamer, loves real estate, plays golf on the weekends, and plays with other things ... women.He then drops the bomb about twelve minutes after picking me up. "I live with my girl, who I've been with for years, and our six-month-old son. But I'm not satisfied, so I try to stay out of the house," he says, looking straight ahead as he drives.Okay. Well, he's just a friend. No harm. After today, no more dates."Oh, okay. Yeah, everybody needs some time to clear their head," I say, trying to sound like a friend.Getting all emotional was an option, but I decided to downplay his comment. At least he's honest, but it really didn't matter to me since I plan this to be the first and last meeting. Changing the subject to music and food, we drive around for about a half hour looking for a place to eat. We decide to go to Da Silvano in the West Village. In warm weather the doors of the restaurant open wide onto a busy sidewalk where we sit. He orders a tossed salad and Chicken Marsala and I have pasta with pesto and zucchini flowers.During our meal, he talks a lot about himself, as if he was an open book. At thirty, he has a lot more stories than I do, especially about his time in the Marines. I tell him I love French food and am interested in Buddhism, something I recently began exploring."I don't know much about Buddhism, but I can cook you a nice French meal," he says, as he neatly cuts his chicken and bites a piece from his fork."And how do you plan to do that with a girl--and baby?"He says, "When we're alone." We stay quiet about it, knowing that the idea is not too crazy. I stare at the small drop of gravy on his full bottom lip and watch as he takes his tongue out and licks the corner to get the lingering juices. Or was he showing me what he would do to me if we were alone?I get up to go to the bathroom and I can feel the heat of his eyes examining the curve of my ass and the dip in my waist. When I return back, a few minutes later, I catch his eye. But he quickly turns away as if suddenly preoccupied by something in his pocket.Him having a girl hadn't come up again since he'd mentioned it, but his smug look shows he thinks he's past that hurdle; it's time for a curve ball."So how does your girlfriend feel about you wandering off on warm, romantic evenings, leaving her alone?" I ask, playing with the straw in my cranberry juice.Smiling, but looking downward as if hoping I'd buy the line that's coming, "She's too busy worrying about our son. Sometimes I don't even think she notices when I'm gone." When I lookat him with raised eyebrows, he blurts out, "I'm serious!" Maybe he is."I know your girl can't be blind to the fact that many girls will be attracted to you. I find it hard to believe she doesn't care. Also, even the thought that your man could be spending your money on other women can make any woman start bugging!" I say, challenging him a little further. I lean forward and squint my eyes trying to understand.Damn! He has the cutest dimples ...He grips his Becks Dark beer with his large, bronze hands, takes a guzzle, and pauses for the right words. "She has no idea what I'm up to." Every woman knows. "Plus, I am using my own money. Like I use my own money to pay all the bills, diapers, et cetera. I'm just trying to see what's out there again that can finally make me happy." He's good at this stuff ..."Like being with you right now makes me realize what I'm missing," he says, without the least bit of sexual innuendo.As if he had a magic wand, the blonde-haired waitress interrupts our flow and leaves the check. I had just a few more questions to ask but what the hell. I make an attempt like I'm reaching for the check and he stops me.Marcus grabs the check and says, "I think women should let men pay more often these days. You women always try to keep a man from doing his job," he says, as he digs in his worn, squash leather wallet, flashing several crisp hundreds."Okay." I smile playfully. "I'm not stopping you from doing your job as long as you spend a little overtime this way." I hold my hand out, while he looks on laughing.  LEAVING THE VILLAGE, WE drive to Battery Park and sit by the water. It was a bit too romantic for me and had me feeling a bit open--already. He's so damn funny and had me laughing all night at stories about his friends and family. We're friends so we can talk about anything. Right? He doesn't bring up his girlfriend. He doesn't make a sexual move on me the whole time.We go back to the car and drive home in comfortable intervals of silence. It's nighttime, and in my neighborhood it gets so quiet you can hear the leaves rustling, the sounds of restless babies crying, and the clatter of dishes as folks conclude their evening dinners. We park in front of a dark house, which looks empty. Parking in front of just any house can provoke the owner to start peeking through windows."My girl is impossible," he says, as we sit in the car, no radio or music playing. "I shop for her, take care of the baby when she needs me to, and she's still not happy. I can't talk to her about anything because she's always tired or sleeping. Anything I buy her doesn't fit or it's not the right color. Anything I buy my son is wrong. It's like she doesn't even want me around."How can a woman treat a man this nice so bad? He looks so sad. Poor thing. Another story of a brother trying to be good to his woman. BUT he was the one ready to cheat, not her."Well, why don't you leave if it's so bad? Take your son," I say boldly."I stay with her because I don't want to end up paying child support AND rent for my own place. I just need an escape. I don'tthink I love her. It's all about timing and making sure I got my shit right," he says, as he grips the steering wheel.It's working. Believing that he has a girlfriend who doesn't care isn't so hard. It is possible. Maybe she doesn't want to be bothered since dealing with a baby is more than enough to handle. Or maybe Marcus is too much to handle.Marcus pulls me up to my door and we both know things are a little different from how they started earlier in the day. I say, "Good night," and slowly get out of the car and come around to his side. For a few seconds I look at his eyes and those sexy lips and fantasize about kissing him. After I give him directions back to Connecticut, he waits till I get in ... then he pulls off.Damn! I wanted to kiss him. Oh, well, he has a girl.He calls ten minutes later from the car. Refusing to play the good girl role and hide my feelings, I tell him I wanted to kiss him. He did, too. He tells me he's going to a bar on his way home and will call me later. What kind of girlfriend is she? Doesn't she care where he is? Doesn't he want to be home with her? Why not?  THE NEXT DAY, IT'S back to work. In a fast-paced newsroom, no one even notices when you leave on vacation except a few. I just always hate those, "So where you been? Out sick?" Can't a black person go on vacation! As I try to get my desk organized, Sharon comes by with that same crazed look in her eye. "Hi, sweetie! Good to have you back," she says. Before I can begin to utter a word, she continues, "Do you have that package ready? We'll also need a hard copy for the web site," she says hastily."Okay, I have a hard copy of the story," I say, handing it to her. "By the end of day, I'll sit down to edit the interview and pull some good sound bites. I'll have that ready by this afternoon. Then it's finally out of my hands," I say, a bit annoyed since this package has been looming over my head for a while."I see you're learning. In this business, you worry about your end of things. The rest will handle itself. Of course, if you're on air or live, then ..." She starts getting on her "Journalism 101" speech."Then I'll still do my part because if one person is not doing their part, then that's a weak link in the chain!" I say, smiling sarcastically."Good, Farah. I like your style. You've learned not to take this place too seriously or you'll end up like me--insane!" she says, holding her hands to her forehead."Welcome back." She runs after a production assistant, her heels clicking down the hall, and shoves her a list of tapes to retrieve.I spend the rest of my morning organizing my files and reading all the past issues of newspapers and magazines that piled up on my desk since I've been away. Just in case I missed anything. Marcus and I hung out pretty late last night, leaving me feeling a bit lazy today. Between flipping through the pages, my mind wanders to Marcus.I never fucked anyone's--that I knew of--man before. Marcus is definitely a charmer just looking for a comfort zone. Or could it be he wants to live the vida loca with a siren like me? Or to put it like Lola would, "That boy just wants some ass!"I get awakened by the sound of my phone ringing. "Ms. Hill speaking.""What is up, girl! Sorry I haven't called since I've been back from Baltimore. I've been drained! What are you doing after work?" asks Lola, who sounds very excited. She definitely woke me up."Well, hello! I guess you have plans for us? What do you want to do?""Let's go to the Shark Bar. I gotta go, but meet me there at 6 P.M. Okay?"Before I could even think, I say, "Sure." We hang up.  "YOU ALWAYS HAVE TO learn things your own way," says Lola, cutting a piece of fried fish. "I wonder how this one is going to end." She looks down at the plate like she's talking to the fish."It's just a friendly thing. He talks to me about his girl. He's not hiding it or playing games. He hasn't even made one sexual move on me," I say proudly. At the corner of my eye, I can see a young couple, where the girl is feeding the guy a piece of corn bread, then they giggle. Seeing happy couples together always sickens me since I can't even get a date for the company Christmas party!The tables at the Shark Bar are really close, even a whisper can be heard by the next table. But this is something I wanted to keep quiet because Lola has a way of getting too loud about things."What he says now may be true at first light but a lie by noon," says Lola, lowering her voice.She always had such flowery speech.She continues, but this time a little less quietly, "Whatever you do, just make sure you do the fucking. Don't let him fuck you!" I took heed and the couple next to us made a face like they smelled something bad. Uppity black folks ...WEEK TWOA few days pass and Marcus is on time. He called Wednesday morning to set things up for the weekend. If I can't have him for myself, and I don't want to take him away from his "little family," I can at least have fun with him. Plus, since he has such a passive girlfriend, there is no drama to hear of or that he wants me to know about.I take him up on his invitation to go to Connecticut on Saturday. After the movies, we go to a small Brazilian restaurant where he knows the owner, a short, heavy guy. Popular. Marcus told me he and some friends had been going to buy it but had backed out of the deal because of disagreements over the direction of the restaurant. We sit at a table, located in the simple garden at the back of the restaurant. A petite Latina waitress with a swinging ponytail brings him a Beck's beer when we sit down. He's obviously a regular here. I order a Long Island Iced Tea to loosen up. Marcus still has a way of making me feel tense like he did that first time he picked me up in his car. We spend the evening giggling, flirting, acting silly. It was so carefree. I got a chance to escape from my hectic job, deadlines, and he got a chance to just sow his wild oats. I slipped out of my sandals with the skinny heels and played footsie with him under thetable. He leaned back, slid down in his chair, and opened his legs wider. What a dog."Please don't let me stop you," he says, holding my calves. "You look innocent, but I bet you're a freak in bed," Marcus says, waiting for an answer."Some things have to remain a mystery," I say, taking my feet away and slowly sipping my iced tea. Curious, I ask, "What type of women do you like?" I wonder how his girlfriend looks. "Are you into thick women and big butts?"Here come his dimples. "I like women, period. But I appreciate beauty over a fat ass. I see fat asses all the time. It's real beauty that's hard to come by" he says, with that smirk of his that says, "Damn, I'm good at this shit."After he pays for the check--again--we leave. I get home about 11 P.M. He calls me ten minutes later--from the car.WEEK THREEMonday morning at work, Sharon calls me into her office. "Good morning. Just have a seat, dear. This won't take long," she says, getting up to close her office door. She's missing that crazed look in her eye, and I'm beginning to wonder if something is wrong. I have a seat and try to look as casual as possible."Well, you know you've been with us for a few years now, as an intern and now as a junior correspondent." She has a stern look that is examining my facial expression with her every word."Farah, the work you do is great. Especially for a girl so young. You're dedicated and can keep your poise and professionalismwhen things gets tough. Even under pressure, you always follow through." Smiling, she adds, "There's a full-time position opening and I want to give it to you, with a twelve-thousand-dollar raise."My heart starts racing. A permanent position? Not exactly what I was hoping for. I'd take the raise, but I love the freelance life--the ability to take days off when I need it and to write for magazines and do stories for other networks."Wow," I say my hand on my chest, "this is really unexpected." I hold Sharon's glance and notice she looks a bit disappointed by that fact that I didn't jump and say, "Yes.""I've been freelancing for almost a year now and I enjoy it. However, I have thought about being permanent as well. Is it possible I can have some time to think about this transition?""Sure," she says, shrugging her shoulders, "take as long as you need. But I'm just telling you there are many freelancers waiting for an opportunity like this, and I can't hold out on them just waiting for you. How's a week?" Sharon was always the firm, to the point type, but always nice."That's fine. Or maybe even sooner. But can I ask one question?""Go ahead.""Does the raise still stand if I choose to stay freelance?""The raise? My dear, I can't give you a twelve-thousand-dollar raise if you're not permanent. But your hard work can't go unnoticed. We can discuss a raise."If I take the full-time slot, it will bring me to nearly sixty thousand dollars a year. But I would lose my flexibility. I can tell Sharonis disappointed. She is used to things going her way. But she also has a "motherlike" quality about her and I'm sure she understands that at my age it's variety that attracts me. Being tied down to a job somehow takes the fun and creativity out of things. I'll definitely go permanent in another two years, but television may not be where I want to stay."Well, I'll come back in a few days to discuss things. And, thanks, Sharon." I get up to go to the door."Farah," Sharon calls, "freelancers get sick and need benefits, sweety. Think about it. This is also a great opportunity to advance your career."I smile and turn to leave. Sure, it can advance my career, but in this business the quickest way to advance is to go from job to job. Lately, I've been doing some print work, and I'm finding that interesting. I want to see what's out there--personally and professionally.  THOUGH MARCUS AND I are undoubtedly attracted to each other, we just have a plain, ole good time together. He's funny, witty, smart, attractive, and charismatic. If only men like him came in a pill, then I could put some in a potential, and unattached, boyfriend's drink! But I cannot say those things without reminding myself that he is also a cheating, conniving dog. My mommy ain't raise no fool.We meet again the very next weekend and go see Next Friday. Throughout the movie, Marcus turns into an octopus, feeling my legs, breasts, and lips! I love every minute of it. As we laugh at the same parts, our knees and hands touching, I look around atthe darkness of the theater. It's about 3:30 Saturday and it's practically empty. It's like our little retreat from the world because when the day ends, he has a girl waiting for him at home.After we leave the movies, we drive around looking for what next to do. I told him we can do anything but that one "thing." He smiles. He knows what I'm talking about. In between deciding what to do, his car phone rings. Could it be her checking up? It's his cousin Chris, needing some money. So after a few minutes of all three of us deciding where to meet, we wait for Chris near a Bennigan's. Chris pulls up and Marcus gets out of the car to meet him. They laugh and do their "man talk" stuff before Marcus gives him the money. Damn, the brother must be paid to be lending people money without a moment's notice.We go to a small restaurant just a few blocks from the Brazilian restaurant we'd gone to before, because he says "all the really nice places" are near his home. I tell him that I can't deal with all the restrictions in Connecticut and next time we'll be in the city. No response. We stay in Connecticut anyway and have drinks, dinner, and great conversation. We talk more about sex tonight than any other. Oh, may I add that before he came to pick me up, he told me he couldn't stay out past 9 P.M. Well, it's 9:15 now, and he hasn't even taken me home yet. Marcus is pushing for the hotel. We kiss across the table and flirt. I'm really feeling him now, BUT we leave and he takes me home.All the excitement that built up over dinner had to be released somehow. On our way to Brooklyn, in the car, he starts rubbing my thighs and breasts, slow but firm. He unbuttons my jeans andslips his fingers beneath my red, stretch, bikini panties. He rubs my wet lips gently until I let out a soft purr. He slowly takes his right hand out while keeping his left hand steady on the steering wheel. He smells his fingers and inhales deeply like a hungry truck driver at a buffet. He then licks my wetness from his fingers and puts it in my mouth as I suck on it with gentle, pulling strokes. He's going like 60 mph with the moon roof up and trying his best to keep his concentration while he gives me pleasure. Cars are passing us by and big trucks, but we don't care. I lick around his ears with light strokes and work my way to his neck and unbutton his shirt, gently pulling the hairs on his chest with my teeth. He lets out a moan and sharply turns the car to the right accidentally. I sit up quickly, and we both give a weary sigh at the close call. He pulls up at two hotels ... but it ain't happening THIS weekend. It's 10:30 P.M. now and we're lost. We ask for directions and find our way back onto the highway and go back to doing what got us lost in the first place.Once near my house, we sit in the car for a few minutes and kiss. He begs me to let him in my apartment, but I say no because it would be bringing him further into my life. We realize it's after 11 P.M. and call it a night. Home by 9? Not tonight. He calls me a few minutes later on his cell phone.WEEK FOURDuring the week, I speak to him several times. One night I decide I want to give it to him. Tired of waiting and rationalizing shit. This time I'm going to do something because I want to without driving myself crazy thinking about it. And you know, I didn'teven rack my mind because I am sure this is what I want to do. I'll wait till he calls me later to tell him.  AFTER LUNCH, I STOP by Sharon's desk. She's hoovering down Chinese takeout. I turn to leave, but she calls me back in."No, no, it's okay, come in!" She wipes her mouth with a napkin and closes the lid on her food."What's up?" she asks."Sharon, I like it here a lot." I sit down with my arms folded. "But I can't go permanent now. Eventually I will, but I like the flexibility being freelance gives me," I say, feeling I'm doing the right thing."I just want you to be happy. If being freelance does it for you, fine. I certainly don't want to make you go perm and have your performance start to decline," she says, rolling up the sleeves of her pink, chiffon blouse. "But this is the only permanent slot I have for now. I don't know when I'll have another one; the longer you wait, the more competitive it becomes.""I do want to wait for a bit and I'm willing to take that chance. People have come and gone since I've been here, I know what it takes and I have it.""Good, that's what I want to hear. Just let me know when you think you're ready, and we'll do something about it," she says happily. "And don't worry about the raise." She winks and starts to finish her lunch.Boy, was I relieved. I thought she was going to put on the guilt trip. Or force me to take permanent or leave. I guess, I just realized how good I have it here. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.  A MESSAGE FROM MARCUS greets me when I get home, as well as lilacs left on my doorstep. Lilacs? If he knew he was getting sex next time, would he have done this?I go into the kitchen and put them in a vase.  "THANK YOU SO MUCH!" I say into the phone when he picks up."Well, I'm just that type of a man." Confidence is something Marcus does not lack."Look, I have something to say"Silence."It has nothing to do with the flowers at all! But last night I decided I want to give it to you," I say, in a low, sexy voice.He knew the time was coming."Keep in mind, I don't want any ten-dollar motels.""I'll get some nice shit. A hotel. Don't worry about it, I'll take care of it. You just worry about getting yourself ready," he says."Also, since I don't bother you about living with your girlfriend, I want all night instead of a few hours," I say, with a firmness that surprised him.He sighs--several times. "That's gonna raise questions. That's something I have to build up to with explanations. I can't just do that. What time exactly? I have to think about it," he babbles.I told him to think about it, but that is the only way he was gonna get some.The next morning at the office, while I'm reading the paper, Marcus calls me the earliest he ever has. "You're not being fair," he says, with a whining tone.My body twists in my chair. He may be right. I did go into this situation knowing he had a woman, knowing he had restrictions.Why make this difficult? ... What am I trying to prove?I've done the worst thing already--seeing a man who lives with his woman and baby. I let him explain his case.Losing some leverage, I say "Okay, we'll work something out. Maybe it doesn't have to be all night. But it isn't going to be pick me up early and have me home by midnight either." We had a deal.  FRIDAY. I LEFT WORK early after a press conference at City Hall. I know what tonight means, and there's lots of work to be done. There will be lots of scrubbing, exfoliating, shaving, primping, and clipping before Marcus and I meet later. While I'm waiting for my toenail polish to dry, he calls me about 3 P.M. asking me what time could we meet. When he finally picks me up, I am too tense and unusually quiet! And now that I told him what he was getting, he is expecting nothing less. He talks nonstop on our way to Connecticut, while I listen. He doesn't want to go the movies AND dinner. He says that it would take up too much time. Instead, he takes me to the nicest restaurant he has yet. A seafood restaurant right by the water. We eat crabs, fish, and mussels, and order a bottle of white wine. Boy, did I need that wine! During dinner we talked about fertility, gambling, books, and babies."What would you do if you got pregnant now?" he asks. Not exactly something that makes for a good dinner conversation."I'll keep it. I'm old enough and working. Plus, salmon enhances a woman's fertility. So if you are not careful tonight, you might be in trouble in about nine months," I say, waving my fork at him.We both gave a nervous laugh and moved on to other topics. After dinner, I go to the bathroom. When I get back to the table, I see Marcus has already paid for the bill and is waiting for me by the exit. He wastes no time!My pager goes off during our drive down the highway. Marcus looks over with a look that says nothing is getting in the way of his plans tonight.It's a page from a source I've been trying to reach for days. It's 9 P.M. on a Saturday! There is no way I am calling back since I wouldn't be able to do the interview now anyway. I turn my pager off.Most of the drive was silent, with a few snippets of laughs here and there as we listen and talk about the music that's playing. We know what's next, but we have to be cool about it. Oh, I know what we can do, let's get a room. That was his attitude, and I liked it. We go to the Grand Hyatt. We get there a little before 10 P.M. He was dying to get this, and the day had finally arrived. His consistent pounding on weekends and phone calls and money spending has finally payed off! And I, finally, get to do what I want: be a little bad and have a little fun.After his shower, he comes to the bed with a white towel wrapped around his waist. It's off in a microsecond. I still havemy skirt and clothes on because I like it when a man takes off my clothes. It makes me feel sexy, desirable. He unbuttons my skirt and pulls my blouse over my head. He lays me on my back and pulls my panties to the side and begins licking my pussy in featherlike strokes. In between licks, he looks up and talks dirty to me. I arch my back and wrap my legs around his neck. He opens my legs wider and I gasp. Finally, my warm wetness flows down, and he licks it up like a cat licks milk.I lay there and try to catch my breath. He rises up and gently rubs the head of his dick against me. He teases me until I practically beg him to put it in. My thighs flex and relax around his waist. But I'm not gonna let him do the fucking. I get right on top and ride him like a racehorse. Our eyes lock, without blinking, and he looks so vulnerable. I just want him to grab my hips and say, "I want you! I'm leaving her and taking the baby and coming to you!"I lay over him and kiss his forehead, lips, neck, and smear my breasts across his chest. I kiss down to his stomach, to his belly button, and to the hair between his legs. I tilt my head and lick his dick and his balls. Breathing full and hot, I eclipse his dick in my mouth. I raise and lower my face over his dick and steady it with my lips and tongue pressing against it. He looks up at the ceiling and in his words ... "What are you doing to me?" "Shit!" "Ohhhh, damn!"His hands go over the small of my back and pull and tug on my hair. Ears, lobes, neck, nape, all get touched so passionately by his lips. I wiggle my way from underneath him and go the extra mile. Never having done this before, I close my eyes, holdmy breath, and stick my tongue in his ass. He yells. I want every part of him. Everything. I couldn't stop. We could be so good together. All the feelings I had been holding in since we'd met just started pouring out. I wish he were mine. After a few orgasms, we run out of condoms. He wants to go raw. Hell, no. That's where it stops. He falls asleep a few minutes later, resting his head on my stomach. I watch Saturday Night Live. At about 3 A.M, we get dressed and leave.I'm relieved when I finally get home. Back to reality. I can't wait to go to sleep to dream a better ending to this night. It's already happening; I'm falling for him. I wait for him to call from his cell phone like he usually does, but he doesn't. Maybe because it is late (after 3 A.M.) and he knows I'm tired. Or maybe this is where things are about to change.Marcus calls me the next day We don't talk much about it. But he tells me his dick is sore and he thinks I broke it. There he goes being funny again. He was just joking, but I know I went to work on him last night.For a few days I experience some really nasty discharge, serious latex burns, and vagina swelling. I'm not that nervous yet. I usually have adverse reactions to latex condoms, especially once I get dry and don't lubricate enough. Maybe I was paying too much attention to making him remember me that I forgot about me. But after several days of discharge and itching, the thought that I may have caught an STD crosses my mind.After work, while sitting in the library doing some research for a story I'm working on for Black Enterprise magazine, I lose my concentration for the third time. Maybe that's why he wanted to doit raw. Maybe he has something he was trying to pass on. Why else would he want to do it raw with someone he hasn't known that long? How many women has he done it raw with?I call my gyn and get an emergency appointment the same day. As I wait in the patient area, I begin thinking of all the ways he could have given me something. Just when my eyes begin to water as I picture every possibility, the nurse calls my name. The doctor gives me the whole gamut of STD tests. I have to wait for the results, but the doctor says from what he sees I have nothing wrong with me. Everything looks fine.I page Marcus when I get in and tell him I just got back from my gyn. He asks me how everything went (he doesn't know why I went). I tell him that it was just a routine exam. Later I find out that the tests were all negative and all the swelling came from having recently shaved my vagina. The prickly hairs were irritating it, causing me to itch, and the discharge was normal but just aggravated by the conditions. I must be paranoid. It's Friday and we still haven't made plans to see each other this weekend. Damn, by Wednesday he usually made sure we had plans for the weekend. More shit had done changed. Okay, I'll play it cool. He asks me what I'm doing for the weekend, and I ask him the same. Still no plans.WEEK FIVEIt's Saturday, 2:30 P.M., and I still haven't heard from Marcus. Fuck that playing cool shit. I want to see him. I call his cell and consider the risks since he could be with his girl."Whatsup," he says, in his usual casual way."Can you talk?" This is the standard question every time I call him. Just in case."Yeah, it's cool. I'm at the mall.""What are you doing later? Because a friend of mine wants to hang out [a lie] and I want to know if you were coming out to Brooklyn," I ask, hoping he can make it. It was a pretty desperate attempt, but he has me hooked."I'm shopping with my goddaughter," he says. "I'll call you back about 4 P.M. when I'm done. You know how you women like taking all day just to buy a T-shirt," he says, as I hear him paying the cashier.He calls me back at 4 P.M. on the nose, as he promised. He is going to a party a friend is throwing, who also happens to play for the Nets. He asks me if I want to go. No thanks. He had told me about this party a few weeks ago, and it had finally arrived. Damn, I'm disappointed. Seeing him every Saturday for a month kind of had me open and spoiled: driving around in a nice car, going places.Okay, it's just one weekend. The man just probably wants a little break to hang out with his friends. No harm done.He still didn't make any plans for Sunday.Thinking about the last weekend had me wanting and expecting more this weekend.Sunday night I made plans to go to Lola's barbecue party. I haven't seen Lola since the Shark Bar, and we've been playing phone tag for the last few weeks. But I need to see him, too. I page him and tell him I want to see "Woody" tonight. He calls meback right away. He's on his way to a meeting with a contractor and will be out by 10 P.M. We make plans to meet at a building in Soho later on.When I reach Lola's neighborhood, I immediately feel lost. I'm not too familiar with Bed Stuy or which direction to walk. I stop at a corner where the bus leaves me and approach a group of guys in head kerchiefs and T-shirts standing in front of a bodega. I saw them eyeing me since I got off the bus. These guys look a little shady, but they are still men. And if you approach them with a smile and in a respectable manner, they are like anyone else. I ask the one holding the pit bull for directions. After a few flirtatious comments from his friends, he points in the opposite direction.I walk up to Lola's mother's redbrick, three-family house. A child opens the door, and I walk into a plethora of voices and the smells of fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, and barbecue."Now you want to act like you know somebody!" Lola says, hugging me at the front door. "Look at you, your nose is as wide open by this food as you are by Marcus!" she says, grinning."SHHHH! And I can't get enough of both," I hiss.I go into the living room and greet her mother, aunts, and uncles. It was my first time meeting them, and thank God my time was limited. I go to the back yard where Amel, Lisa, Silas, and Maurice are sitting. Silas is who I call on every once in a while for sex, but no one knows. We give each other a secret embrace with our eyes. I walk around and give everybody a hug, except Silas, since we weren't supposed to be "that cool.""Damn, I wish I could stay, but I have to go meet a friend." Silas pretends to ignore me."Here you go again. Why didn't you just bring him?" asks Lisa, twisting her short fro."Well, it's not that easy," I say, looking at Lola, who knew exactly what I meant. I turn to Silas, who looks away, letting the light reflect off his bald head. Silas and I have been over. But there are still some unresolved feelings. I basically used him for sex, and he started liking me and I didn't have the time."But I am definitely fixing a plate before I leave." I turn to go to the kitchen and Lola follows me.I sit down in the kitchen at the small, checkered cloth table and update her about Marcus."Do your thang. But the ball will drop, and it may fall on your head!" Lola warns me.I didn't want to get Lola started, so after my meal, I left.I took the A to the 1 train and used the time to think about what exactly I was doing. Across from me was a black lady with jerry curls, wearing a canary-colored shirt, jeans, and sparkly pink toenails, while a white man, in khakis and a blue shirt, sits to my left reading the business section of the New York Times--not looking up once to see what his stop is, like he innately knows. I wonder how I lost my leverage and put Marcus in control. If this was the old me, I'd be home right now making hot cocoa and getting ready for bed.The worst part about seeing someone else's man is, I can't even see him when I want. When Marcus' schedule allows or when hecan get away is the only time. I do feel him moving farther away from me. Maybe he is starting to sense that I'm getting attached? My thoughts get interrupted by a dumpy white woman with glasses who plops down right next to me. She's obviously a tourist, looking around clueless like an elephant on the Brooklyn Bridge. Tourists in this city are obvious! They keep their eyes plastered, watching each passing stop and momentarily get up thinking it's their stop only to run back in the train and get caught between the doors. Damn, I need a car ... .I get to the building, a little past 9:30 P.M. and don't see him. After ten minutes, I see khakis, T-shirt, and Tims walking toward me with a swagger.Holding my hand, he says, "We'll leave in a few, but I got to let some people know." He holds me by the waist and grips a handful of my ass. He asks, "You want to come up with me and say hi?"I'm the shy type and tell him I'll wait in the car. But after some convincing, I give in. Marcus introduces me to his coworkers, while he says his good-byes. He had to know this would make me feel good. He introduced me to people. For a few moments I am not someone he is trying to hide in his life.On our way to Connecticut. He reminds me of our conversation over the phone earlier. Damn, what did I start now?"Can we see a movie before we go get a room?" I ask."Look, there's no time for all that. You said you wanted to see 'Woody' not a movie," he reminds me.We finally decide to just get a room. It's not the Grand Hyatt."Last weekend an old friend who knows my girl said he saw my car. I'm not going through that again," he complains.What a weak excuse. He's not the only one who owns a Tahoe in the Northeast. So we get into a little something about that. He says it gets him mad when I don't trust him. HAH! Let's not go there! Anyway, he convinces me to go a motel. Going to a motel was something I was trying to avoid, but we are both tired of driving around. He suggests several motels and we settle on one. Then it begins to dawn on me how familiar he is with these places. Finally, we drive up to a motel, he goes to the desk and reserves a room. As we go upstairs and open the door, the first thing I notice are the mirrors on the wall he had mentioned. Is he a regular at these places?As he usually does, Marcus takes a shower. The whole motel thing was a slight turn on and picturing him in the shower had me anxious. Feeling a little sneaky, I walk over and peek inside and see him soaping his body. I walk into the tub and surprise him. I run my slippery hands down between his cheeks and find his balls dangling low. Leaning forward, I lick the tip of his dick and trace my tongue around the head. I lick slowly up and down the shaft, showing him my skills as the water beats against my face. When he tells me he's about to come, I stop. He turns the shower off and carries me to the bed and starts kissing, sucking, and nibbling on my breasts."I'm doing the fucking this time. Just lay back. I'm in control now," he says, looking down at me.I just closed my eyes and he disappeared into my body. Holding his ass, I just imagine how good it would be to get this everynight, instead of every once in a while like I'm used to. It was kind of good to be submissive and let somebody else do all the work for our satisfaction. But of course, I did my little tongue tricks in those dark places.We got our clothes together and left the sweat-soaked sheets and my fantasies behind."Come on," he says, rather aggressively holding the door while I walk out the room."Don't you mean, come on, please?" I say, making fun of his tone."I know how you like it. 'Get your ass out here,' is more to your taste." He smiles.As we stop at the bottom of the steps, we hit the vending machine up. Good sex always brings on the munchies. We get some juices, chips, and cookies and just sit on the steps and talk. Sitting there, we laugh at the sounds coming out of the room next door and wonder if that was how we sounded. The rain was coming down hard outside and sounded like it would get worse. We went outside under the pouring rain and calmly walked to the car. Somehow, running to keep ourselves dry, was not on our minds. With Marcus' jacket around me, we stopped, dripping wet, in front of his car. He gave me one last kiss, until all the curls in my hair were straight.WEEK SIXI took some days off from work to clear my mind about this Marcus situation. The next day he didn't call nor the day after. Now I was really thinking about needing this. Mainly because how I felt when he dropped me home the other night, and I just don'twant him to break it off first. It has to end sometime. I'm starting to feel a little guilty about the whole thing, scared of getting hurt and knowing what comes around eventually goes around. Why am I with him--another woman's man? He still goes home to her every night, she still cooks, cleans, and washes his dirty drawers; and she gets the money. I am worth more than a Saturday or Sunday dining and sexing. I know I can have a brother who has the money and the car and he can be all mine.  IT TOOK THREE MONTHS for him to call me again. Since then we talked every few months, if that much. We still talk off and on. But we haven't had sex in seven months. The last time we saw each other was during a weekend in September. But no sex. We just got together for a game of pool and a few drinks."I want to see if I can find another girl to be the third in this threesome I want to do," he says, as he looks at me intensely.It was then that I was reminded that Marcus is just one of those guys who have an itch to scratch, and once he's done, he'll go back to playing "the good man.""Uhm, well, I'm not prepared for all that." What the hell is he talking about? Is there some crack in that beer he's drinking?I continue, "Three's a crowd. Plus, you and I need to finish our business before we get others involved," I say.He just laughs it off."What kind of business?" He leans closer and stretches his hand underneath the table. His fingers dance between my legs until he slips one inside me. This is easy considering I had on ashort sundress. This is definitely a good way to change the subject! The young Asian waitress knew what was happening the whole time. Every time she passed our table, she would give Marcus these wistful glances. I guess Asian girls have a little freak in them, too!I had really missed Marcus. While at the restaurant he says, "I'm leaving town next weekend. I'll be staying at a coworker's house in the Hamptons. We'll have enough time to do whatever we want then--just you and me.""That is almost too good to be true. But I have a cousin's baby shower to go to and a few other things. I'll call you by Friday and let you know," I say, as I munch on my last shrimp."Oh, okay. Just let me know," he says, nonchalantly finishing his beer, which later I found out meant that my ass was cut out the moment I told him I had something else to do. When I did call him that Friday, it seemed that he had made other plans.I was just tired of the whole thing. It had been almost a year since we had had sex. What were we still doing? He made promises to see me, but never did. Actually, it had ended the last time we had sex, I just never knew till the last minute because I was waiting for more, when more was never coming.Marcus in my life really changed my view on men and dating. It has become more realistic. I do not regret being with him. I learned a lot about myself and about men's indiscretions. In the beginning I thought I'd never date a man with children, more less one who had a girlfriend. Trying to be someone I'm not cost mea whole lot of precious time that could have been spent with someone who was made for me and not for someone else. This was a relationship, though bad, a guilty pleasure with a lesson. The lesson read: Get your own man!SEX AND THE SINGLE SISTER. Copyright © 2001 by Maryann Reid. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews. For information, address St. Martin's Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10010.

Editorial Reviews

"A page turner!" -New York Times bestselling author, E. Lynn Harris

"The serial first-person narrative enhances the just-us-girls confessional intimacy of the stories. . .Looks like being a single sister isn't so very different from being a single white woman." -Publishers Weekly

". . .over-the-top and titillating stories. . ." -Essence magazine