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Cynique

The Only One Chapter 14

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The Only One

Chapter 14

Wanda’s eyeballs bulged as she gripped her phone, dumbfounded by what Carole had just told her. “I can’t believe that you spent 6 frickin weeks creamin in your jeans over this nigga and then when he asks for your damned phone number, - you refuse him!” she sputtered. “Bitch, is you crazy??

“No, I’m not crazy,” Carole replied. “I don’t need Troy Briggs to throw me a few crumbs, leaving me to sit by the phone, hoping. Why enable disappointment? If he really wants to get in touch, let him find a way on his own. He has access to my personnel folder, let him get my number from there.”

“Boy, have you changed your tune!” Wanda marveled. “ But - I’m glad you’ve come to your senses. I just hate that you let that lil white heffa beat you out. And you should’ve told that ‘sell-out’ Troy to go straight to hell!”

Carole sighed. “I finally realized what I’m surprised you never suggested to me. I just wasn’t what Troy Briggs wanted in a woman. No accounting for taste. Let him have his ‘snowflake’. I’ve asked myself what I would do if I met an attractive white guy who liked me and had a lot of things going for him, - would I pass him up?”

“And what was your answer? The same as mine would be. Hell no. Because if you had your choice between a black and a white guy with the same qualities. You’d go for the brotha! Troy Briggs is the loser here. You were too good for him, girlfriend, and don’t tell yourself nothin different! ”

Carole swallowed back tears. “Thanks for your vote of confidence, babe.”

“Yeah, and I’ll be by in a few. So slip into your glad rags and we can go hang with some of my “peeps”, away from all this bougie bullshit. You can get drunk. I’ll do the drivin!”

“Sounds like a plan,” Carole said. “Better than going out with Albert. He called earlier to see if I wanted to check out a blues club, but the last thing I feel like doing tonight is sittin around listening to gloomy music, trying to make conversation with an oddball, - so I very nicely told him I had previous plans.”

“Which you just made.”

“But we did set a definite date to go see Esparanza Spalding the first Saturday of next month!”

“Cool. Maybe you’ll find something to like about Albert.”

“You never know,” Carole said, thinking it wouldn’t be the first time she failed to recognize what was right in front of her.

The popular night club was in full swing, noisy and crowded, pulsating with thumping music, blinking with colored strobe lights, - an urban jungle crawling with party animals, drinks flowin, faces glowin, clothes tight, hair right, lustrous weaves, bald heads, permed tresses, dread locks, pierced bodies, tattooed skin, texting fingers, cell phone ringers, voices talkin, exes stalkin, everybody everywhere feelin warm, actin cool, askin names, runnin games, engaging in the mating rituals that would lead to the lies and excuses delivered by avatars speaking into voice mail ears.

Caught up in the frenzy, snapping her fingers and hunching her shoulders, Carole stopped momentarily to peer at the “Cedric-the-Entertainer” lookalike who suddenly popped up, extending his pudgy hand.

“C’mon, babygirl,” he grinned. “You look like you ready to get down!”

Ignoring Wanda’s snicker, too tipsy to care, Carole accepted the offer and waded into the pool of gyrating bodies, following her partner’s lead, pumpin her fists, shakin her booty, dancing away the…

…night was cold and dark, the room dim and stuffy. The uneasy young woman seated on the edge of a couch scowled at the man hunched next her.

“It’s time for me to go,” she announced, her disgust obvious. “You really misled me,” she accused, recoiling as he tried to put his arm around her.

And when she attempted to rise, quick like a cat, her host pushed her back down. Stifling her cries as she tried to struggle, he grabbed a nearby hand-weight and began to strike her on the head again and again, until the only sound bouncing off the walls was the howling of BB King’s guitar.

“You’ll leave when I’m ready to take you,” the man panted, yanking at the panties of his blood-covered victim.

Philip Atkins took another swallow of his morning coffee and shuddered, the image of a brutally-murdered female still vivid in his mind, the stench of a garbage dumpster still lingering in his nostrils.

“I’d like to get my hands on the depraved ass-hole who’s doing this to these young women,” he said to his partner, Brooks Jones, as they pulled away from the crime scene in their unmarked car.

Brooks gripped the steering wheel, and stared straight ahead. ‘You know,” he began slowly, “some serial killers like to play mind games. They get bold and begin to take risks, just to taunt the police.”

“Is that why this latest victim was left outside the dumpster instead of inside it,” Philip quizzed.

“Could be,” Brooks nodded, “the possibility of his being spotted by someone could provide him with a thrill as gratifying as the actual sex act.”

“So do you think this means we can expect the bastard to start baiting us with clues?”

Brooks face was a blank. “I wouldn’t be surprised.”

“”If only we could have some luck in finding out the last suspicious person to be seen with any of the victims!” Philip griped.

“Like all serial killers, this guy is clever,” Brooks said. “He covers his tracks. Probably used disposable cell phones when he communicated with these broads.”

Philip lit a cigarette and exhaled a gust of smoke. “We just gotta hope that somewhere out there, there’s one chick who will realize ahead of time that this sucker ain’t somebody she should be alone with and –

“- that she doesn’t make him mad,” Brooks interrupted as he sped through a yellow light.

She’d played her cards right after all, Carole silently rejoiced, as a contrite Troy Briggs tenderly took her hands in his. He did find a way to contact her - had called, - had invited himself over, - had confessed that as much as he tried to resist her, he knew when she withheld her phone number, having it was suddenly the thing he wanted most in the world! Her rebuff was all it took to make him realize that Debbie Marlowe was - just a passing fantasy!

“Now all I want to do is keep it real,” Troy was saying as standing there in the middle of her front room, he pulled her closer. “Bickering with you was child’s play, but it also turned me on,” he revealed, “made me want to get you between the sheets and - show you who was boss.”

“All I’ve ever wanted was for us to get along,” Carole sighed as they locked eyes and he took her in his arms, their mouths meeting, her parted lips welcoming his hungry tongue as just then Albert broke into the room, a knife in his hand, his face contorted with rage! Hardly able to believe what was happening Carole screamed in terror and...

…bolted upright in her bed, trying to catch her breath, which coincidentally reeked with the smell of stale alcohol. She knew she shouldn't have had that 3rd Long Island Ice Tea at the club last night! Reality was hectic enough without having dreams turn into nightmares!

Clutching her throbbing head, saying good morning to a hangover, Carole pulled back the covers and headed for the bathroom. She needed a speedy alka-selzer.

- stay tuned, as this black yarn continues to unravel - ;)

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