Rick decided to phone Bev before he went to work as Celia was down by her mother.
"What's up, Bev? Can I see you this evening?"
Bev hesitated a bit, she was glad she was in her room so Morgana couldn’t hear her.
"Rick, I have a lot of school work doing. I'm not sure I’ll have the time.”
"We could stop for a drink, how about it?"
"Okay then, but I don't have a lot of time."
A smirk nearly escaped Rick, he would make her have lots of time.
"Okay, about eight at Bob's complex," he said and waited for her answer before hanging up.
Brad was just coming out of his car that morning when Morgana drove in.
She came to park near his car.
"You know you're a bad guy."
He laughed and couldn't help but admire how exquisitely dressed she was this morning. She had on a floral dress with a sash around her shoulders and one tying her waist. She had on a pair of brown shoes and stockings to match.
"It doesn’t mean that I’m a bad guy just because I refuse to take no for an answer.”
"It will have to be that for the time being from me, Brad."
"I won't stop trying and you know that too."
"You know, for a moment, apart from her jealous streak, which you’ve complained about. I think that you and Dania are having other problems and maybe you don’t want to tell me about them.”
"Now what makes you say that?"
"Because when you first met me you were a real flatterer. Then you seemed to have gone back into your shell. But now I just can’t understand what has suddenly come over you.”
"Maybe it's you, who has affected me," he said as both of them took the stairs up to the office.
"You look so glamorous; your lips look so rosy. You want me to stop loving you. Look at that dress, you must have a special date with your fiancé?” he asked, looking at her.
"As I said I don't know what is happening to you. And for your information I do have a date with my fiancé but it’s nothing special."
She saw Rick coming towards them and for a moment
Morgana thought of calling him over and talk to him about Bev but decided against it.
"Hi, Morgana, how is it going, Brad? Hey, Morgan, I hope he isn’t making a nuisance of himself.”
"Everything's okay," she replied and didn't know if he noticed the tension in her voice. Brad looked at her, but she cried her excuse and went to her office.
"What have you done to annoy Morgana?" Rick wanted to know.
For a moment Brad thought, had he made a mistake? Maybe he should have pursued Bev; at least Rick wouldn’t be looking so smug and confident.
"I just told her the usual. I don't know that she's upset or anything,” Brad replied before going into his office.
Although she had told him that she had a date with Stewart he was still annoyed later that day when he came to take her to lunch. Maybe Stewart was going to propose to her, he thought. Jenna Marsden phoned to say that she would buy lunch, but he refused. He was relieved when Morgana returned and didn’t make any announcements. Later Dania phoned to tell him that some of her friends were going to hang out at Bob’s entertainment complex and if he wanted to come along. He wanted to refuse, but she begged him and he agreed to come. He had already apologized to her for his abruptness on the phone last night.
Rick and Bev were there much to Brad’s surprise. He wondered where Celia was. He danced with Dania and chatted with some of her friends. He saw Rick and Bev leaving. Dania saw them too.
"That girl is Morgana's sister. I must tell Celia that I saw her and Rick, and let her warn her to leave her man alone.”
"Why don't you let her find out about them for herself? Suppose you tell Celia and she creates a fuss or something like that. How are you going to feel?”
"I don't care. All those two girls do is flaunt their bodies around to entice away other women’s husbands or their boyfriends."
"I'm still here, they haven’t got me yet," Brad said.
"As for that Morgan, I heard that she was with a guy in Florida and she just dropped him as if she heard that he had some kind of disease or something. The guy hasn’t gotten over it. I hear that he’s out here looking for her.”
Brad was wondering if Morgana was in trouble. This wasn’t what he had heard, maybe Dania was twisting it to make her look bad.
"What is he going to do if and when he finds her?”
“What kind of question is that?”
“That guy must be crazy to have followed her out here. How do you know he’s out here?”
"One of my friends pointed him out to me. He's tall, about your height, but a little bit heavier. I understand that he was a former athlete, but I can’t seem to remember him. She said lots of girls were pursuing him."
"That doesn't sound like a guy, who is still recovering from the love blues to me. What’s his name anyway?”
Dania told him.
Brad flipped through his memory; then shook his head.
“I don’t remember that guy. Maybe he was before my time or he didn’t achieve much.”
They got up to dance again.
Rick and Bev had driven to her home in their respective cars. Rick parked on the sidewalk and waited until Bev parked her car inside and returned to talk to him.
"Aren't you going to invite me inside to meet your mother?"
"And what would I say? Mummy, meet my new boyfriend, Rick Graham.”
"Rick, you're Celia's boyfriend. I don't know if I want mummy to know that I’m seeing you.”
"I told you that we’re breaking up. I hope you aren’t listening to Morgana. Just listen to me and believe what I tell you.”
"She's my elder sister and she hasn’t said anything bad about you. Maybe we shouldn't rush things. Remember, I haven’t officially broken off with my current boyfriend.”
"That won't be a problem. Like you said I'm not going to rush things, but I just want us to continue seeing each other.”
"I have to go back inside, remember I haven't eaten yet."
"What about that good night kiss, you promised me?”
"Are you crazy? I shouldn't even be out here talking to you like this," she said as he took her hand and looked into her eyes.
"We can't do it here. I'm not sure if mummy isn't inside watching us.”
He let go of her hand, she turned and went to open her gate and waved him goodbye.
Rick got into his car and drove home.
Brad and Dania were in her bedroom still relishing the aftermath of their lovemaking. A huge electric fan was blowing on them trying to lower their body temperatures. The room was in total darkness and soft music was coming from the component set in the living room.
Dania had always complained about his refusal to wear protection.
“Does it feel better than when I wear a condom?”
“If I didn’t trust you I wouldn’t have done it with you without one.”
Dania wondered if all the months turned into years of self-denial would in the end be worth it for her as she waited on Brad. She knew that whether or not Celia realized it both of them were in danger of losing their men to the Simmond’s sisters.
Brad knew that Dania wanted a lot of loving to make up for what she had to give up for the time she was waiting on him. Since his return and except for the times of her inconvenience they had been trying to make up for lost time.
"God, Brad, you’re going to let me get a seizure or something like that one of these nights with those powerful orgasms.”
"You really can throw your body around though, Dania. You really worked me hard.”
Both of them then decided to take a short nap. Dania woke up before Brad. When he woke up, she said.
"I told Celia about Rick and Bev."
Brad groaned. He used both hands to cover his face.
"What! I don't believe you. How could you? You know the type of girl Celia is.”
"She's my friend. I'm sure she would have done the same for me.”
"I can't believe that you would have done something like that. We aren’t even sure that they were on a date.”
"I don't think it’s the first time he's seeing her. It wouldn’t surprise me if they’re lovers,” she replied. “Maybe I might take it lying down, but not Celia.”
She got up off the bed and went to the bathroom.
Brad turned over on his back and closed his eyes. When she returned to the room she simply went to her side of the bed. Shortly he heard her snoring. He felt like getting up and giving Jenna a call.
When Rick reached home, Celia was sitting on the front patio with a glass of cherry juice in her hand.
"So you’re coming from her. You don't want me again, Rick? I always knew that you were that type of person. I don’t know why I ever agreed to live with you.”
"So is that what you've been waiting up all this time to tell me, Celia?"
"I'm not leaving, and if that little girl believes she’s going to take you away from me, she has another guess coming.”
"Who the hell are you talking about? Just because I come home late doesn’t mean that I was out with a woman.”
"You were out with Bev, so don't try to play me for the fool. I’m not going to stay here and play no maid for you while you run around with your sweetheart.”
It must have been Dania or Brad, more likely Dania, who told her
that he had been out with Bev.
"Listen, I'm going to eat something," he said and moved off to the kitchen.
"So you aren't going to deny that you were out with her?" she flung at him.
"If I went somewhere, saw her and talk to her, does that mean that I went out with her?”
"Bev and Rory haven’t officially broken up. I'm sure she wouldn't have been there unless she was invited. You take me for a big fool. As for dinner you can look after it yourself.”
"If this is going to be your attitude, maybe we should go our separate ways,” he said and went into the kitchen to fix something to eat, seething at the fact that Celia hadn’t prepared dinner.
She came into the kitchen after him where he was fixing up some vegetable sandwiches.
"My body doesn't excite you again, is that it?"
"Listen, I talk to a girl and you get all excited over it. I don’t know who phoned you to say they saw me talking to her. You get so carried away that here I come home and you’re taking it out on me for just talking to her by refusing to look after dinner. I can do without this.”
"I'm here looking after your clothes. Look how many things I’m doing for you and to find you running around with that girl," she shouted, retreating from the kitchen.
Rick stayed in the kitchen and had his meal. When he went out to the living room Celia was curled up in one of the couches. He took a bath and went to bed. He was snoring when she came to bed.
Linton thought that Flavia was a passionate girl. They had made love several times now. She had spent time at his apartment and he at hers. They were going around for almost a month now. She had called and told him that she couldn’t go to Ocho Rios with him this weekend. He couldn’t go alone and he knew she had been complaining about their hectic lifestyle. He knew that non-stop partying was a way of life with most crews. If he had a woman and she couldn’t keep up, he just had to shunt her aside. On this Thursday night he was sitting on his balcony having brought home a restaurant cooked meal. He didn’t do any cooking, if Flavia didn’t come to stay with him he would go down to his mother or if he couldn’t bother he’d just get some fry chicken and chips. Flavia was a young woman so what could be wrong with her. She wasn’t introverted or anything like that so maybe he’d better have a talk with her before he dropped her.
So that Friday evening Linton and Flavia went to Betty’s Hideout in Eastwood Park Gardens. He ordered a malt beverage for himself and a soda for her.
“You must know that I don’t like how the crew is going to Ocho Rios this weekend and I can’t go.”
“I can’t go, not you.”
Linton’s countenance changed. The creases in his forehead deepened and he was biting his lips.
“You want me to go to Ocho Rios alone while all those other guys are parading down there with their women.”
“So what’s wrong if you take a weekend off? You’re behaving as if your whole life depends on the crew.”
“So what do you want to do? Monday night you hopped out from going to club with us because of some meeting you had. Are you telling me that you don’t want to go out with the crew anymore?”
“I didn’t say that, it’s just that I like to choose how, when and where I party. If I have important business to attend to, you want me to put the crew before them?”
“Maybe you don’t want to party with us anymore?”
“Everything you guys do is so monotonous. We go to the same clubs, listen and dance to the same music and drink the same liquor. We mingle with the same people every night. I want a break, there are other fun events taking place around town. Why do we have to stick to the crew all the time?”
The conversation had reached a tipping point. The crew was a focal point for him. Through them he knew where the best clothes could be had, the latest and best model cars and the best jobs plus your woman knew where to get the latest fashion, jewelry and hairstyles among other things.
“I’m going to drop you, Flavia.”
“It’s I who am going to drop you, Linton. You know what I believe. You guys just use the crew to compete among yourselves to see who can drive the latest model car, sport the best looking girl and wear the trendiest clothes. That’s why I know I look good or else you would have dropped me already.”
“That’s why I’m dropping you.”
“You go to hell. I could have slept with other crew members if I wanted.”
“So what good would that have done to you?”
Flavia drank some more of her soda before replying.
“You’re just looking for a woman to show off on your friends. To you guys a woman’s just like a car or the expensive clothes you wear. I want more than that. I’d like to see you twenty years from now, still pretending that you’re under thirty.”
“I’m young and I have my life to live. You guys are playboys. At the end of being your playmate, what will I have? What will any of those girls have except the memories?” she asked and stood up.
“Tomorrow I’ll phone Axel Goss and tell him that I’ve broken up with you and I’ll call Valda Forbes and inform her too.”
Axel Goss was the unofficial leader of the crew while Valda Forbes, his beauty queen sweetheart, was looked upon by crew members’ women as their fashion icon. She had won some beauty queen contest, but Linton couldn’t remember what it was or the year.
“What! You wouldn’t dare,” Linton said, standing up.
“Try me, goodbye,” Flavia said and went to her car and drove off.
Linton sat in his chair, shaking his head, still trying to come to terms with what had just taken place. He wondered if he should do some amount of damage control. He decided that once he got a woman to replace Flavia it would mitigate any damage she did to his reputation. He would talk to both Axel and Valda later on as to the reasons why he had dropped her.
He would try to get a date with Kedija Parkes. He had seen her admiring him and knew that her boyfriend, Caple Bucknor, had migrated to England a few weeks aback. He hadn’t overstayed his time with Flavia. The average time crew members spent with a woman was a month if she didn’t measure up. To crew members women weren’t getting younger, they were getting older all the time. After a month if the woman didn’t make the cut, it was time to move on. Linton ordered some more malt beverages and tried to rearrange his seating for a more comfortable position.
His mind wandered back to Morgana. Now there was a girl who deserved more than three months, maybe even a lifetime. Bobbette Greene was another, but she was out of reach so he had better set his sights on Kedija. He wondered where Morgana was and how he had never seen her at Corners or in any of the clubs. Maybe she had gotten married and was making a baby. He finished drinking his last malt beverage, paid his bill and headed for his van, intending to go home and get some sleep.
April was in her room in New Jersey. She had weathered the snow, but was feeling homesick. She was only now getting used to conditions in America. Everything for her was different. In Winter you had to wear so much clothes and then you had to put those away when Spring came around and the season would again change when Summer and Fall came around. She was reading a book, surprisingly about Jamaican attractions. Reading this book had made her interested in tourism and of course returning home to pursue a course in this field. It would allow her the opportunity to know all parts of the island. Her cell phone rang and she picked it up.
“April, how are you? This is Stewart, just calling to find out how you are doing.”
April took the phone from her ear. Her pulse was racing, she put the phone back to her ear.
“How did you get my new number?”
“I got it from Anniesha.”
“I told her not to give it to anybody and not to you of all persons.”
“I hope you won’t be angry with her.”
April thought she should end the call because of what he had done to her, but she couldn’t bring herself to do it. Nor did she feel that Anniesha had let her down. She and Anniesha had been classmates in high school and had remained friends after leaving school.
“I’m okay, I wonder what’s the reason for this call. Your girlfriends aren’t treating you well and suddenly you remembered me.”
“The only real girlfriend, I ever had was you and you
know that too. I told you that Morgana meant nothing to me even though I was engaged to her.”
“What do you mean that you were engaged to her? Isn’t that still the situation between the two of you? And what about Bobbette?”
“Why do you think I never set a date for marriage? It’s
because I never loved her. Imagine, I told you why I became engaged to her and you didn’t believe me. As for Bobbette, we were only good friends and I’ve told you before that she has her rich boyfriend.”
When she didn’t reply, he asked.
“When are you returning?”
“About the first week of next month, I’m going to stay far from you though.”
“We can’t stay far from each other and you know that too. It’s only because you’re so far away why we aren’t together.”
“When I return I’ll just live a single life,” she told him and almost uttered a sob.
“You will be living a single life, that’s impossible.”
“Okay, we’ll see,” she said and both of them said goodbye and ended the call.
Bobbette and Stewart were having a heated conversation. He had called her thus breaking their existing arrangement.
"How come you’re seeing so much of your boyfriend these days?”
“He pays the bills and puts food on the table.”
"I see, so that’s why he has to be at your house practically every day. I can’t even get time to visit you again.”
“You know what he does for me already. I can’t schedule the times when he visits me or else he’ll become suspicious. Plus I told you what he told me after he came and saw you down here. He’s very serious so I have to be very careful.”
“Maybe we should end our relationship.”
Bobbette had to bite her lips in an attempt to control herself.
“Just so, after you’ve slept with me, I can’t count the number of times, you just want to walk out on me like that. Let me tell you something, it isn’t going to be that easy.”
“So how will the relationship work when I can’t come and see you?”
"You just have to be patient. You know when you get me I give you everything I have to give."
“I know, baby, we don’t have to go to bed every time we meet.”
“Okay, but stick around for my calls and don’t be so impatient.”
"He’s suspicious about us. But he can’t prove anything."
“You are repeating yourself. I don’t think he needs proof to evict me from the apartment or to cut off my grocery and petrol supplies.”
"I'll tell you when you can come," she finished the call.
Damn her, Stewart thought. He hoped that he wasn’t
leaving her, not for now anyway. She would blame him for everything and he couldn’t take on anything like that now. One thing was certain and that was, Bobbette was scared and might not want to continue their relationship but he would see.
As Bev's car was at the garage she begged Rick to come for her after classes.
"Rick, I shouldn't be doing this, asking you to come for me. I’m not even sure if my mother approves."
"Does she know about us?"
"She asked about the guy she saw me talking to. When I told her it was you, she said that she didn’t think it was such a great idea seeing that you were living with Celia.
"Celia and I live separate lives. You don't have to worry about her; everything will soon be all right.”
"I don't know, that's what you men say all the time. I just don’t know how far I want this relationship to go.”
"Why not leave it to your feelings? Maybe you don't know, but I know how far I want it to go.”
He was about to answer when she said.
"Please don't tell me. I would prefer to see it from your actions."
"You know how I feel about you, I tell you to trust me. I’m not going to let you down,” he said as they reached her gate.
"You want me to come for you tomorrow?"
"I’ll be getting my car back in the morning before I go to school.”
“How about us going dancing tomorrow night?"
"I have a lot of school work to catch up with, not this weekend."
"Well, okay then, but call me if you change your mind," he said as she came out of the car, said thanks, waved him goodbye and went into her house.
Monique and Morgana were in the living room watching television.
“I can see the glow on your face, Bev," Monique said. “If it’s Rick then I’m sure that you’re taken with him."
"Mummy, we're just good friends."
Morgana was showing a keen interest in the conversation, but didn’t want to intervene. She moved closer to Bev.
"I sincerely hope it's just that. I don't want you and Celia, to be in any fights over Rick.”
For a moment Bev wanted to tell her mother that she wasn’t afraid of Celia but she thought better of it.
"Mummy, do you think I would get into a serious relationship with Rick knowing that he was involved with Celia?”
Deep down Bev was thinking, if she wanted Rick she would have him, whatever Celia might say or do.
"That sounds sensible to me. I always knew that you had a good head on your shoulders, girl.”
"I'm starved. Morgan, what's up?" Bev asked her sister.
"I'm just relaxing. Did Rick say anything to you about Brad and me?”
Monique gasped, Bev whirled around, putting her hands over her mouth.
"What's it with you and Brad?" Monique asked.
"Ever since I went out to have that drink with him, he's been saying that he can’t take his mind off me.”
"I told you it wasn't a good idea. Maybe he's fallen in love with you.”
"I told him that he has Dania already and they don’t seem to be getting on all that well. I have Stewart, what am I doing with another man. Plus I don’t want to complicate things between him and Dania.”
“I think you told him the right thing. I hope he understands.”
“I don’t see why he shouldn’t,” Morgan said.
Monique felt pleased with her two gorgeous daughters.
Both girls were showing some amount of maturity in handling their love affairs. She had been worried about them even before Byron’s death, but now she could almost put that worrying on hold.
"As I said before, I’m hungry so I'm going to have dinner," Bev said and went into the kitchen.
Brad dropped Dania home from Reason’s nightclub the next night. Stewart and Morgana were also there and Brad danced two times with Morgana while Stewart and Dania stood around and watched them.
“Why did you have to go and dance with Morgana?” Dania asked as they sat in her living room.
Brad stood up.
“What the hell’s the matter with you, Dania?”
“Brad, don’t shout in my house.”
“Oh, I see, so you’re telling me what I can and can’t do just because I’m in your house.”
“All I want to know is, why are you and Morgana so friendly? Are you seeing her?”
“I don’t know what to do. You want me to treat Morgana as a complete stranger and yet we work for the same company.”
“There are guys and girls who work together and yet they don’t behave like the two of you do. It’s like I’m cast aside. I don’t know about Stewart, but that’s the way I feel.”
Brad sat down now. Maybe it was time to call it quits as the relationship was going nowhere.
“So where do we go from here. Your jealousy is putting a strain on our relationship. Tonight it may well be Morgana, but tomorrow night it might be another woman.”
“I sacrificed a lot for you and look what you’re doing to me with that girl. I think you’d better go.”
Brad got up.
“Get a hold of yourself and stop your foolishness, that’s all I can tell you,” he said and left.
Just as Brad was leaving his office that Wednesday evening his telephone rang. Dania was on the line.
“Brad, I’m breaking off with you. You’re now free to pursue Morgana. I suppose because Rick is trying to be friendly with Bev, you want to get in on the act by going after her sister.”
“Dania, you’ve been rubbing me the wrong way with all this talk about Morgana. Can’t you see that you’re scandalizing the girl?”
“I don’t think she minds the attention you’re lavishing on her and now that I’m no longer in the picture it will be even more.”
“I could go off and accuse you of breaking off with me because you have another man but that’s not like me. All I ask is that you reconsider your decision.”
“As for there being another man you know that it has only been you. The problem is that I’m not sure that it’s me alone and that’s why my decision is final.”
“If that’s how you want it, it’s okay with me. So it’s goodbye then and best of luck.”
“Thanks and all the best and no hard feelings now,” Dania said as she hung up.
Brad sat there, thinking. In a way he was getting a bit tired of Dania and her bouts of jealousy. Dania was a lovely girl, but he couldn’t understand her being jealous about him talking to Morgana. Maybe she was just envious of another good looking woman. He would try to start dating Jenna. He wondered if she felt anyway over his refusal of her invitation to lunch. Deciding that he would give her a call tomorrow he went home and after eating his dinner and watching some movies on television, decided to have an early night.
Thursday evening as Jenna was about to leave work her telephone rang. She wondered who it could be. Brad was on the line.
“Hi, Jenna, how are you?”
“Fancy hearing from you, I thought I wouldn’t hear from you again or maybe not for a long time after you turned down my invitation to lunch.”
Brad put his hands under his chin. Maybe he should have called her the same evening and apologized.
“I’m sorry I should have called you and apologized.”
“You sounded so upset that I wondered if you and your girlfriend were having problems.”
“Since we last spoke we’ve broken up. I just couldn’t deal with her bouts of jealousy. I think that only women who want to control their men can be as jealous as she.”
“As I said, I’m afraid of those jealous females.”
“Will you go out with me tomorrow night?” You don’t have to worry about her.”
“I don’t know. Are you sure that she and you have broken up? I don’t want any woman to accuse me of intruding in the relationship between her and her man.”
“You don’t have to worry. Everything is finished between me and Dania.”
“I’ll call you later tonight and tell you about my decision.”
“Okay then, I hope you’ll say yes,” he told her.
He could almost feel himself begging. He wondered if he had to stoop to such lows in order to get a date with a girl.
Celia finished listening to Dania telling her of her decision to break up with Brad. She took another swallow of her drink. She found it hard to believe that Brad would agree to break up with Dania after all the sacrifices the girl had made for him.
“All I can advise you to do is not to do it. I know that what you told me about Rick and her sister is true, but he denies it, but I’ll find out one of these days.”
They were in Celia’s living room. Dania had gone there right after work that evening. She had actually marked some work her students had given her and prepared her lessons for the next day before leaving for Celia’s townhouse.
Rick and Celia weren’t on speaking terms, although she still cooked for him and got out his clothes for their helper to wash and iron. Celia didn’t know where Rick was. She suspected that if he wasn’t with Bev he was at Randy Chin playing dominoes and hanging out with his friends.
“I don’t think I can bother. Everywhere we go, she’s there. That’s why I just feel that they have something going on.”
“So what about Stewart? He has so many women and of course there’s Bobbette.”
“Maybe if you warn her off, she’ll leave him alone.”
“What can I do?”
“Now that Brad is no longer seeing you, maybe he’ll just rendezvous with her. So what we should do is follow him around tomorrow night and threaten to do her something if she doesn’t leave him alone.”
“I don’t want any violence.”
“Morgana isn’t like Bev. She isn’t going to get into any altercations with you.”
They talked some more before Dania left for her home convinced that she had a foolproof plan to drive a wedge between Brad and Morgana.
To be continued.