Page 72 of Going Down

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Since she was instrumental in my pursuing this dream, I invited Tyhedra to come hear us. I told Carmen about it and asked her to come, but knowing how she feels about jazz music in general, and me playing the horn in particular, I doubted she’d show up.

When I got to the club, the first person I saw was Tyhedra seated at the bar. She stood up when she saw me coming toward her. She was wearing a tight, blue dress that hugged every delicious inch of her. “There he is,” she said, throwing her arms around my neck, kissing me on the cheek.

“Long time no see,” I said. “And that’s a real shame because you look so good.”

“You like?” Tyhedra said and struck a pose. I could tell that she’d had a few drinks.

“Yes, definitely.”

“So this is the big night, huh?”

“Yeah, this is it,” I admitted.

“Well, I know you’re gonna be great.”

“I believe you said something like that the last time you heard me.”

“I was just putting it out there. See, I knew you had it in you. All you had to do was believe and make it happen. And look, here you are about to make your dreams a reality. Like I told you, you gotta have a dream if you wanna make a dream come true.”

“You did say that, didn’t you?”

“And you see I was right.”

I saw the fellas setting up on stage. “Come on, let me introduce you to the band. After I introduced her, Tyhedra hung around the stage while we got tuned up. It wasn’t too long after that before Linda came in the club on some man’s arm and headed straight for the stage. “Glad you could make it, Linda.”

“I told you I wouldn’t miss this for anything in the world.” Linda turned to the man she was with. “Tavarus, I want you to meet my husband. Leonard, this is my coworker Tavarus.”

“It’s nice to finally meet you, Tavarus. Linda talks about you all the time,” Leonard said, and shook my hand.

“I can say the same thing about you. It’s good to meet you, too, Leonard. ”

“My two favorite men finally meet at last,” Linda said, but her eyes were planted squarely on Tyhedra, who by this time had angled her way next to me.

“Linda, Leonard, this is my friend Tyhedra.”

“It’s nice to meet you guys,” Tyhedra said politely, as Linda shot daggers at Tyhedra with her eyes.

Tyhedra looked at me. “It’s starting to get a little crowded, so I’m going to get another drink and find a seat down front.”

“You’re welcome to join us,” Leonard said; dissecting Tyhedra with his eyes.

“Thank you, Leonard,” Tyhedra said, and Linda’s face turned to stone. “Why don’t you find us a table and I’ll run down a waitress.

“I’ll join you two in a minute,” Linda said.

Linda watched Tyhedra and Leonard walk off. As soon as they were far enough away, she turned back to me. “Who is she? That your new girlfriend?”

“No, Linda. Tyhedra is just a friend.”

“I’m your friend, Tavarus. So just how good a friend is she?”

“Just a friend, Linda. I haven’t seen Tyhedra in months.”

“So what’s she doing here?”

“She’s the one I told you about that encouraged me to start playing again.”

“That better be all there is to it. I told you, now that you ain’t with Carmen anymore, this dick is mine, and I don’t share well.”