“Nothing wrong with showing a little slut now and again, Lays. It’s good for you. What do you think Justin would say if he could see you right now?”
I know if Justin saw me like this he would probably give me a scolding about what is and isn’t appropriate attire. I hear it about my shoes on the regular from him. I could be covered from neck to ankle and he would say my shoes were too suggestive. No way was I giving up the shoes. This should have been a red flag months ago and nipped us in the ass. He and Jeanette never really got along either. She thinks there’s something slimy about him and always loves to give him a quick jab about something or other. It’s gotten so bad that I don’t ever invite them to the same events anymore. They’re like oil and water—it’s just never going to work.
“It doesn’t really matter what Justin thinks. I was planning on ending it today, but he couldn’t meet me for lunch to give me the chance.”
“Oh shit! So you’re a single bitch tonight! Just when I didn’t think this day could get any better. You and me, both single and heading to the Kat House. Lays, it’s going to be one kickass night,” she chirps giddily, a giant smile on her face.
“Hate to burst the bubble but didn’t you hear when I said I didn’t get to break up with him?”
Snatching my phone from the table, she fiddles with it for a moment before dropping it back down.
“Well now you have,” she says with a grin.
“No, you didn’t!” I exclaim and grab my phone. Yep. She did it. She sent a text to Justin: “Sorry, this isn’t working.” She even added a winky face at the end. I don’t know why I’m shocked.
“A winky face? Really?”
“Hey, just trying to soften the blow a little. I felt like a winky face could do that,” she says, nodding as if this is a known fact. “Lays, really, Justin being out of your life is a good thing. He wasn’t the right fit for you and I’m telling you something weird is up with him.”
“You’re just saying that because you don’t like him,” I reply.
“No, I’m saying that because the man has a stick up his ass, but can’t seem to get his own stick into you.”
I blush because the elderly couple sitting at the table next to us begins staring at us in shock. Jeanette gives them a wink.
“I’m just not ready yet,” I whisper, hoping not to draw more attention to us.
“Lays, come on now. You’re twenty-four years old. The problem is he isn’t working for you. You two have been together for over a year. A year. If you still haven’t given it up to him by now you’re not going to. So let it go.”
I know she’s right. It’s time to move on and try something different. Staying with him just because he can’t hurt me is actually hurting me. Sometimes not caring is just as bad as caring.
“I know. I wish I could be more like you.”
“Gotta look at men like I do, Lays. They’re only good for one thing, and 90% of the time I either have to tell them how to do it or finish the job myself.”
Rolling my eyes, I motion for the waiter to bring another round. I notice a man dressed in all black staring at us as he leans up against the bar and that uneasy feeling returns.
“Hey, let’s finish this round and head out,” I say, glancing back to see if the man is still staring. He is.
“Sounds like a great plan to me,” Jeanette replies and stands up. “Just going to head to the bathroom to touch up my make-up and we can head out.”
I look down at my phone and notice Justin hasn’t texted back. Either he doesn’t care or he’s too busy. Story of my life. It seems like all the men in my life don’t care if I’m gone. Grabbing my fresh cocktail, I chug it down and feel it warm my throat. Maybe that will help me loosen up tonight.
The day I get out of prison I know exactly where I’m going, I’m just not sure which direction it is. I walk out of the joint wearing the clothes I walked in with and clutching a brown grocery bag they threw my shit in. Eight years of working out for entertainment means my clothes are a bit snug. My white thermal long-sleeve is stretched tight across my chest and it feels weird as hell to be out of my peels and in normal clothes. The thighs of my jeans are trying to bust some seams, but thank God my boots still fit. I feel a little like myself, sliding on those motherfuckers. I was released back into the wild a little early, based on the conditions of my plea bargain. It’s about goddamn time.
As soon as the gate opens, my boy Saint is waiting on me. That grinning bastard is leaning up against my GTO and looking every bit the arrogant asshole I left on the outside. Walking up, I shoulder him out of the way and say “Where.”