Uptown Lovers by Austin Mitchell
Celia and Rick were home Sunday afternoon. They had eaten dinner and were relaxing on the rear balcony of their townhouse.
"I don't understand you, Celia, when we used to have our quarrels you never mentioned any of this to me.”
He was referring to Celia's surprise announcement that she would be moving back to her mother’s home. Her mother had just finished renovating her house in Runaway Bay and Celia was being sent by her firm to their new branch in Ocho Rios as claims manager.
Celia had been giving much thought to moving back home to be with her mother. She was glad to be moving to Runaway Bay, at least she would get away from Teddy and give herself time to reflect on her relationship with Rick. She felt that if he really loved her he would come running to her with a marriage proposal.
"She's lonely and you know both of my sisters are abroad. I’d hate to be here and anything happens to her. As you know she has high blood pressure. I want to be near to make sure that she’s taking her medication.”
"So when do you plan to move?" he asked, now resigned to the fact that Celia had made up her mind to be with her mother.
"I want to do it after Bobbette's wedding.''
"I hope nobody can accuse me of being the reason for you moving back to your mother’s house.”
"No, Rick, but I have to put my mother first. Loi and Zoey would never forgive me if I stood around and let anything happen to her.”
"If there is anything I can do all you have to do is to call me.”
Both of them left soon after to go to Randy Chin to watch some domino games and generally have a good time.
Monday evening Jenna brought Jaimie and Kailen to visit Brad. She cooked dinner for all four of them. After they had eaten, the kids went to watch television. She and Brad were sitting on the front patio.
"I don't understand that girl from your office. Don’t think I’m jealous, but the whole time she was here on Saturday night she was avoiding her fiancé and she wasn’t wearing her ring. She was around you all the time.”
Brad put his hand around her waist.
"I simply don't know what the problem between them is but I think they must be trying to sort things out. As for her bumping into me all the time, Morgana is like that. She’s a loving type of person and she apologized for going to lie down on my bed.”
"I don't want to be in any competition for you with that girl.”
Brad wasn’t aware of Morgana making any overtures towards him. He wasn’t going to accept a repeat of Dania’s hostility towards her.
"Listen, Jenna, I don't put up with foolishness. Morgana is my colleague. She’s engaged to be married, I don’t know when. She’s not interested in me; at least I should know that.”
Jenna pulled out of his arms.
"I'm that type of person, if I see something that displeases me, I’m going to talk about it.”
"Look, I'd better go," she said.
She called Kailen and Jaimie and Brad dropped them home.
Jenna had reached home and Kailen and Jaimie had gone to bed when her telephone rang. Selwyn Wynter was on the line. Jenna could hardly believe it.
"How's my girl?"
"Selwyn, you wicked brute. Why have you stayed so long without giving me a call?”
"Most of the times when I call you're not around. How's our son?"
Jenna looked around to make sure that nobody could hear her.
"He's okay, I guess, without you his real father. Selwyn, you know how fearful I am that our folks will find out that we’re married and Jaimie is your son.”
"I’ll be in Jamaica a month from now. I’ll come to look for you and give you some money for the boy.”
"I want you to see him and you’ll know that I’m telling you the truth.”
"Listen, honey, I'm hanging up now, but I’ll be in Jamaica by the third week in June,” he told her before hanging up.
After he hung up Jenna began to think. Maybe she shouldn’t have started that argument with Brad. But now that Morgana was free to pursue any man she wished, she felt that Brad would be her first target. Even looking at how the girl behaved around him she could see that she had a great deal of admiration for Brad. Her own intuition told her that the girl had wised up to Stewart’s wild ways and that the engagement was over. Any man, seeing a girl like that showering that kind of attention on him must want to do something about it.
There was also what Bobbette was threatening to do. If Robert requested a paternity test and it was revealed that Jaimie wasn’t his son, he would stop his monthly payments. Brad might stop talking to her. What should she do with Selwyn? Could she resist his charms? What would he do when he realized that she had started sleeping with Robert less than a week after he left for the States and that she had registered the baby in that guy’s name?
Selwyn had told her to move to Kingston and register the baby in his name. She had indeed moved to Kingston and rented an apartment. With the support that Robert was giving her for Jaimie plus the fact that she was working she was able to rent an apartment and go to college on a part-time basis. She told Selwyn that she had done what he wanted. But with him going to college on a full time basis and not in a position to help her she didn’t know what he expected of her. Selwyn’s return would complicate things. Could she deal with two men at the same time? Was there a future with Brad? She had heard it on the grapevine later on that the two girls had made a mistake in tackling her as she was not their intended victim. Jenna went to bed that night with many things on her mind.
Stewart and April were relaxing on the front balcony of
his apartment. Based on the agreement they had worked out she was now his official woman. She was now renting an apartment having left her mother’s home as she knew that if she found out that she had gone back to Stewart it would cause a big quarrel. He was giving her a weekly allowance until she found a job. She hadn’t been able to find one since returning to the island. She was paying the rent out of her savings and Stewart’s allowance would help her to buy food and any other necessities. They hadn’t been able to agree on anything about Morgana. April’s apartment was off Molynes Road. In the meantime, he would keep his affair with Treena hidden from both women.
"She told me that she's not prepared to wear my ring. She said that we aren’t friends anymore. I took her to Corners and she didn’t want to dance with me. All she wanted to do was to talk.”
"She doesn’t want to wear your ring again. So why doesn’t she give it back to you and get on with her life?”
"From I was going to high school she's been in love with me. Maybe she can’t do without me.”
"She’d better do without you, that’s all I can tell her. Then she knows that you're a playboy, that you’re a lover boy. I can’t understand why she came back and was in this haste to get engaged to you. She must have thought you would have married her already. Did she ever say anything about the guy she had while she was over there?”
“I don’t know why she wanted to get engaged to me; maybe it was to keep you and Bobbette away from me. As for that guy she had up there I understand he’s out here now.”
“I heard that he was an athlete. I’ve heard his name but I can’t seem to remember him. Maybe it’s because I don’t follow up track and field.”
He told April that the guy’s name was Linton Marsh. But she shook her head.
“Maybe he was just one of those athletes who never really shone, but got a track scholarship nevertheless.”
“Did he follow her out here? And I told you that I don’t want to hear anything more about Bobbette.”
“Not as far as I understand. I’ve never met him, but I hear that he’s a party animal and lots of girls are rushing him. Okay, so you don’t want to hear anything more about Bobbette, I won’t say anything more about her then.”
"I’ll be glad for that. So why is she refusing to give you back your ring?''
"She says she's keeping it and might put it on again. I feel that she and Brad have something going on. He had a little house warming party on Saturday night and she was all over him. She never paid me any attention. I saw Brad’s woman giving her some dirty looks. I even went into Brad's house and saw her stretched out on his bed.”
"She might have been doing a rehearsal. Do you want me to tell her about us? Because I don’t know what you’re talking about wearing your ring again. Here I am sleeping with you, performing wifely duties for you while she’s free to do what she wants.”
“She means nothing to me. I’m only meeting her at her request. You don’t have to be upset about anything, baby.”
“I must be upset about you and that girl. Why does she continue to be a part of your life? You aren’t sleeping with her and you aren’t still in love with her. So why not forget about her?”
“I’ve forgotten about her. It’s she who is still bothering me. But don’t you worry baby, I’ll soon get rid of her.”
“I hope you do. I don’t have a long time to wait. I haven’t even given Brad or Rick a call since I've been back."
"I hope you aren’t thinking of checking them."
"Are you crazy? I would have to fight Celia to get Rick and then probably fight Brad’s woman and possible Morgana to get him, no sir, not this girl.”
Stewart went inside for a bottle of wine, ice and some glasses. As they drank the wine, April said.
"You know I can't have much of this or else I'll get tipsy and fall asleep and then I’ll be no good to you.”
"I could always get mine even though you're asleep. I’ve done it several times when you were fast asleep.”
"You know that's not true. My body is too sensitive for you to do anything like that to me and I don’t know. You know I’m a very passionate girl, so at the rate you’re going, I just hope you never slow down and force me to look another guy.”
"Are you talking to me?'' he asked. “My business operates twenty four hours, seven days a week. So who wants it more now?”
"That wine was a knockout. It took me places where I wasn’t ready to go as yet,” she said as Stewart took her glass from her and led her inside.
Later as they lay stretched out on their backs on his bed, she said.
"I spent eight months in the United States without even a thought of sex and here I am barely a month later being blown out of my mind with it. God, you’re incredible.”
"Why were you not thinking about sex when you were up there and why weren’t you having it?”
"It seems like you have a short memory. Remember, it was you, who left, telling me that Morgana had returned and that her mother had begged you to get engaged to her.”
"Wow, what a mistake, here I was parading around town with this woman, who was wearing my engagement ring and I had to go weeks without sleeping with her. When I ask her, she said that she was waiting until we got married. I mean I was sleeping with her, but not enough times. I had to be turning to Bobbette most of the time.”
"Bobbette again, I don't think you'll ever forget about that girl. Maybe she’ll call you one of these days to give Robert a helping hand.”
April wondered if it made any sense in her warning him to stop talking about Bobbette. It showed that if she was still around, the only way she would have gotten rid of her was to fight her and she was prepared to fight Morgana or any other woman who wanted to intrude in their relationship.
"Are you crazy, from the guy agreed to marry her, she just changed. It’s like a different Bobbette. She wants to get into society and live big life. She says after she has children and is well set up, she might think about a lover, but it would have to be some young guy.”
April laughed and said.
"By that time you'll be an old man."
"You want to bet. Thirty years from now and you check me, I’m still ready, baby.”
"I don't know where I’ll be thirty years from now. But at the rate you’re going you’ll be washed up long before that. I’m not even sure that I’m the only woman you’re seeing.”
"Now why would you say something like that?"
"Because I see signs, fresh lipstick stains on your sheets and on the mirror in your bathroom. I’ve also seen things on your dresser that I’m sure you don’t use and I’m sure it wasn’t Morgana or Bobbette who left them there.”
Stewart opened his mouth to reply, but she put her finger on his mouth and said.
"Turn off the lights and let's go to bed, darling."
Stewart turned off the lights and came into the bed beside her, soon they were fast asleep.
Linton drove home from his management meting. The meeting had finished at nine o’clock that night. It was strange, he didn’t see Kedija’s car. She would normally be home by now and she would have called him if she was going to be late. He locked up the van and opened the front door of the apartment. He wondered if Stan had struck and maybe kidnapped her, but a bodyguard had followed him home and one was due in the area a half hour from this to make sure everything was okay. He dismissed Stan from his thoughts. With the amount of money on his head, that guy must be lying low.
Things were strewn on the floor and the same situation greeted him in the bedroom. Kedija’s clothes were gone as were other items that she possessed. So this was it, she had moved out. He should have known. He went and took a shower and then realized that he was hungry and decided to make some sandwiches. After he had eaten and drank some orange juice he decided to give her a call. All he got was her voice mail. So that was it, she had lived with him for more than a month, enjoying some of the best comforts in the world but wasn’t satisfied and wanted more. He waited for another hour thinking over what he should do. He had never really loved Kedija or Flavia, maybe Morgana because she was so glamorous. He put through a call to her again. This time her cell phone began ringing. After a while she answered.
“Kedija, this is Linton. I came home and was shocked to find you gone with all your possessions. I didn’t know that you had anything like this planned.”
“I don’t know if I should talk to you. You knew that I wasn’t comfortable and yet when I complained you ignored me.”
“So that’s the way you want it? You could’ve told me you wanted to leave. I wouldn’t have stopped you. In fact, I would have helped you pack.”
“What good will that do now? I know that I was just there as a woman for you to use. When you were finished with me, you would have shown me the door. I knew I measured up to the other crew members’ women, that’s why you didn’t get rid of me. I did some terrible things to Caple but I’m going back to him. I told him everything and he said that he’ll forgive me.”
“You and that boring guy, Caple, are back together again. That’s good for both of you. But if I had done what you wanted, he would never have come back into the picture.”
“Don’t call Caple a bore. He’s a better man than you and far more interesting.”
“I’ll see you around. I’ll tell crew members that you left on your own. I didn’t push you.”
“You tell them anything you want. I only hope that you treat the next girl you get better than you did me,” she said and ended the call before he could reply.
Bishop had hardly settled into his chair in his office when his telephone rang. The Duke was on the line.
“This is my last warning to you. I want some action soon. If we wait until it’s too late it might just be fatal for you.”
“We’re doing our best to find him.”
“That’s not good enough. You have three more weeks and then we’ll let the chips fall where they may,” the Duke warned and hung up. Bishop sat cursing. As he drove down, he was thinking of how pleasant the day looked. When he came out of his van and looked up into the sky there wasn’t a sign of a cloud. He had planned to have lunch with his new woman as he and Dawn had broken up a couple of weeks ago. Now the Duke had just about messed up his day.
“Glen, you’re a miser and you can go and be with Bev if you want,” Leona Marcus declared.
The two of them were parked on Carlton Close, a quiet road in Meadowbrook this late afternoon for a heart to heart talk about their problems.
“Are you chasing me away and how do you know that I want to be with Bev?”
“I don’t think you want me again. If you want to go to her I’m not going to stop you.”
Glen folded his arms across his chest.
“How long have we been together? About three years and nothing good came out of it. I’m disgusted that you should call me a miser.”
“I don’t think my concerns are unfair. We used to be in love once, but you’re the problem. I think you love Bev and don’t want me again.”
“I’ve heard rumors about you and Duncan but you’ve always denied them. I’m putting it on record that I’m not sleeping with Bev.”
“I’m also not in a sexual relationship with Duncan.”
Both of them fell silent for a few minutes. They both knew that they had reached the end of their relationship. Already Leona had moved all the things she had up at Glen’s flat back to her parents’ home.
Leona uttered a sob and came into Glen’s arms.
“I’m sorry, but I don’t want us to continue the relationship any longer,” she said.
“That’s okay with me. I’m sorry that you feel that way, but I wish you the best,” Glen said as they shared the short embrace and a handshake before going to their respective vehicle and driving away.
Melanie Stephenson was seated opposite Linton at Reason’s nightclub that Friday night. They had already introduced themselves to each other.
“You’re really a party animal. I’ve seen you at Corners, at Ruddys, at Crystals and here. When do you get the time to sleep, let alone work?”
“I’m good at my job, but I love partying. I’ve seen you around too. So maybe we’re in the same boat.”
“No, I try to get home early most times before twelve o’clock so that I can get my beauty sleep.”
“It has done wonders for you, so where’s the boyfriend? Most of the times I used to see you hanging out with a guy.”
“He’s very much here. Sometimes I want to unwind and having a man around prevents me from doing my thing.”
“I am surely not going to prevent you from enjoying yourself.”
“So what happened to your girlfriend? I used to see you with a tall girl.”
“We broke up. I can’t understand these girls out here. They’re so materialistic. Here I was along with this girl. I was showing her a great time. We go out nearly every night. I buy her tons of gifts, lavish a lot of money on her, buying drinks for her and her friends. We’re on the North Coast nearly every month-end. Yet she says she doesn’t know what my intentions are as I haven’t put down roots out here. She just feels that because I live in a furnished apartment and used to live in the States, I could just pack up and leave the island and she’d have nothing to show for the time she spent with me.”
"After hearing you, I can't say I blame her. Though that would be no problem for me as I have my own flat. But think of it, you get up and leave and she’ll probably have to take out her things in the middle of the night so that the neighbors don’t see her.”
"You know you're a girl I think I could go places with. You sound so intelligent and practical. What are you doing for the rest of the week?”
"I'm free on Saturday and don't worry about the guy you saw me with. My real boyfriend, Wilks Lothian, has been in England for the past two years.”
"How do you manage? I mean you must get lonely sometimes.”
"I thought I could cope. He said one year and I waited out the time. Then when it turned into two years, that’s when I began to get lonely and see Derwin but he’s nothing like Wilks. Derwin and I are nothing more than good friends. So, Linton, you have a date; where shall it be?"
"How about changing the tempo a bit? I like to really romance a girl. How about dinner at Doyin’s Enertainment Complex? We can also dance there if you feel like it. After we leave there we can hang out at a nightclub or if you feel you’ve had it for the night I can take you home and see that you’re safely tucked in bed.”
"You're quite a character. It's a deal, you can pick me up at around eight o’clock,” she told him and both of them left the nightclub in each other’s arms.
Sally's wedding took place at two o'clock that Saturday at the First Baptist Church in Mona Commons. Tania and Billy had arrived that Thursday. Monique and Morgana took them from the airport to Sally’s home in Havendale Heights. Friday evening was spent with the two families crisscrossing the city and putting the final touches to the wedding plans.
Vernon's younger brother, Noel, drove him to the church and Val drove Sally. Monique, Morgana and Beverly all drove their cars to transport family members and friends. After the ceremony was over they went to take pictures at the various parks around town with Noel giving Sally and Vernon a drive out in the country. The reception started at five o'clock. There was a long list of toasts and speeches. Brad came with Jenna. Celia had relented and accompanied Rick. Stewart was there as Morgana’s escort if nothing else. Glen had come to the wedding too, as Bev’s escort.
By six o’clock it was time for dancing and Sally and Vernon opened the dance floor. Morgana reluctantly went on the dance floor with Stewart, refusing to waltz with him.
Whenever Celia’s and Bev’s eyes met daggers seemed to be flying between them. The two former schoolmates spent the night looking coldly at each other. Finally, when Celia decided to take a breather, Rick came over to Bev.
"Hi, Bev, you look resplendent. You almost took my breath away."
"You look fabulous, Rick. It's been such a long time that I haven’t seen you.”
"You can say that again. Is Glen your boyfriend now?”
"He's one of my friends, but maybe I shouldn't keep up anymore of your time. I wouldn’t want Celia, thinking anything except that I’m having an innocent conversation with you.”
"I can take care of Celia. Sometimes I wonder if you’re scared of her?”
"Remember we used to attend the same school, so I know Celia too well to be afraid of her.”
“I'll see you around."
"Okay, remember to keep in touch," Bev said and a tear came to her eyes as she saw him saunter off to look for Celia.
Brad had gotten the chance to dance with Morgana when Jenna saw a gentleman, she knew from Keswick and went to dance with him.
Stewart had gone to eat some food and take in some refreshments. Morgana had taken off her bridesmaid outfit and had put on a strapless evening gown. Simply put, she looked magnificent in it. Brad saluted her and said.
“You’re dressed like a queen, and no other queen, beauty or otherwise could hold a candle to you. May I have this dance, madam?”
"After those compliments I don't know how I could refuse you this dance, sir,” she told him and they headed for the dance floor.
"My head is spinning just looking at you," Brad told her as she came into his arms and they began to dance a slow waltz.
"I think Stewart is making the biggest mistake of his life. He has one of the best looking women in the world as his fiance and he’s blowing his chances.”
"Hush, Brad, let's dance and enjoy the moment."
They danced to one more song before they saw both Stewart and Jenna waiting for them to finish dancing so that they could reclaim their respective partner.
As Stewart waltzed with Morgana, he was whispering sweet nothings in her ear. If fact, he wanted to hold and squeeze her to him, but he realized that anything like that would be inappropriate in this setting. He would bide his time, he would catch her. Morgana had agreed to waltz with him after at first refusing.
"You couldn't be a judge because you would sentence people on suspicion of committing a crime.”
"You're simply on probation. I'm waiting until I get the evidence to nail you.”
"In the meantime what do I do for female companionship."
"You simply do what you used to do when I wasn't around."
The song finished playing and they pulled out of each other’s arms while waiting for the music to continue.
"Let's go and find somewhere comfortable where we can talk,” she said and took his hand.
They took up two chairs as persons were already occupying the concrete benches, and went over to the far corner of the garden. When they had put down their chairs and faced each other she asked.
"Are you still interested in this relationship?"
When he didn’t reply at once she thought she had hit the nail on the head with her follow up question.
"Or are you just interested in savoring my body a few more times and have the satisfaction of knowing that you can get it anytime you want?”
"You know that's not true. I have always been interested in you. I could have rushed off to look other women, but I was prepared to wait on you. As for wanting to sleep with you all the time; that only started after you told me that you had slept with that guy.”
"Whatever I told you about Linton and myself, I was never his mattress. As for you not looking other women, don’t come to me with that crap.”
"Okay, you don't want to believe that I don't have any other women. So what’s next, because as far as I’m concerned you’re still my woman. So if I go anywhere and see you with a man, I’m going to be demanding an explanation from you right there on the spot and that goes for Brad too. You think I didn’t see the two of you smiling at each and chatting while dancing.”
"Stewart, you're sick and you wouldn't dare. I'm going to return your ring to you one day this week.”
Stewart became penitent.
"I'm sorry for my outburst. I just can't bear the thought of losing you. I’ve loved you all these years and I can’t bear to imagine you in another man’s arms. All I’ve tried to do, to persuade you to return to me hasn’t worked. I don’t know what to do next.”
"Maybe you should try a dose of honesty. Anyway, let’s get back. I’m still interested in continuing the relationship, but on my terms and I gave them to you when we met down at Bettys.”
"I have no problem with what we agreed to," he told her as they took up their chairs and made their way over to the main party which was about to send Sally and Vernon off on their honeymoon.
Stewart left the party with mixed feelings. As far as he was concerned he had agreed to nothing with Morgana as she was no longer sleeping with him. He didn’t care about her and didn’t understand her wanting so much attention from him and yet not wanting him to devote his attention to other women who were willing to come and share their bodies with him.
He knew that Treena must be fast asleep not knowing what time he would return home. Maybe he should have taken her to the wedding as he had been threatening to do. He dismissed the whole thing as foolishness. Treena was bound to notice Morgana wanting to monopolize his time on the dance floor, although he had said he wouldn’t let her. She would realize that she was his woman and in fact his real fiancé although she wasn’t wearing his engagement ring. He was glad he hadn’t brought her.
Leonard Simms was about to lock up his bar that Saturday night when a car drove up stopped and a man came out of it.
“I want two bottles of rum,” the tall bald headed man requested.
Leonard’s wife and children had already gone to bed.
“Do you have the change?” Leonard asked and the man answered in the affirmative.
“Okay, wait here,” Leonard said and went inside the bar. He was turning on the bar lights when something hard jammed him in his back.
“Give me all the money you have,” Stan ordered.
Leonard whole body began shaking and his chest began to heave. The man dug his hand into his pocket and took out all the money from the day’s sales and pushed him further into the bar. Leonard remembered the knife in his other pocket, dragged it out and stabbed at the man.
“What the hell, you tried to stab me,” Stan shouted and fired. Leonard took the bullet in his left shoulder and as he was falling Stan fired again hitting him in his belly.
Stan ran out of the bar and got into his car. He heard shouting and a door being slammed as the man’s family ran to find out what had happened. Stan drove away; the knife had only grazed his left hand.
Austin's blog; stredwick.blogspot.com