Page 45 of Going Down

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“She a musician?” I asked, while I looked over my cards.

“No. Just somebody I met at the bar when I went to hear that band Chris was talking about last week.”

“What you think of them?” Chris asked.

“They were pretty tight,” Tavarus said.

“Yeah, well, no matter how your playing the trumpet again turns out, you might as well face the facts,” I told Tavarus.

“What’s that?”

“You and Carmen were made for one another. Just like me and Angelique.”

“And Chris and CJ,” Tavarus added.

“Hey, hey, CJ is a married woman.”

“A married woman that you just happen to be in love with,” I said.

“That’s got nothing to do with anything.” Chris always gets defensive when we fuck with him about CJ. “She’s married to Manny, and that’s all there is to it. Me and CJ are just friends and soon to be business partners.”

“CJ going in business with you?” Tavarus asked and looked at me.

“Yes. She’ll come onboard as soon as the business is making enough money to sustain her.”

“Then it’s just a matter of time before y’all start fuckin’,” Tavarus said.

“Unlike some people I know, I can maintain a strictly-business relationship with a woman I work with.”

“Anyway,” Tavarus said, wanting to change the subject before we got into his relationship with Linda, “how are things working out with your new client?”

“It’s been tough trying to get them stabilized, but I was at a networking event earlier this week and I met a woman who may be able to help me with that.”

“A woman?” I said. “How does your new partner feel about you bringing another woman in?”

“Two things,” Chris began. “One: as long as she can help with our business, she doesn’t have a problem with it. And two; and I’m gonna say this one more time: CJ is a married woman.”

“When was the last time you saw CJ, Chris?” Tavarus asked.

Chris got that look on his face and then he dropped his head. “We had lunch yesterday.”

“The prosecution rests,” Tavarus said.

“You’re an accountant, Tee.”

“Whatever, Zack, the point is still the same.”

“We all can’t be as lucky as you, Zack, to have a woman like Angelique.”

I sat there for a minute and looked at my two closest friends. I never told them about the sexual issues that Angelique and I have, and I probably never would. Not that I don’t think that they’d understand or would make jokes about it; they just didn’t need to know her business. As far as they were concerned, they could go on believing that Angelique was the perfect woman. And she was in every way but sexually. I thought about Tyhedra and my mind began to wander. Thinking about having freaky sex, and her doing all the things that I know Angelique never would do.

“Zack! What’s wrong with you?”

“Nothing’s wrong. I was just thinking about how lucky I am, that’s all. To be married to Angelique, I’m just lucky. To have good friends like y’all,” I said.

“You ain’t about to get all misty on us, are you, Zack?” Tavarus asked.

“I hope not,” Chris said and lit the blunt. “’Cause if you are, I’m leaving. I hate seeing men cry.”