poosayville

9

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Kasim spent an entire week trying to convince himself that leaving Eastport was the right decision, but as the days passed his thoughts of Angel only increased. As much as he tried to resist, the following Saturday, he was back in his truck making the two hour drive all over again. After charming Angel’s apartment number from a nosy, elderly neighbor, Kasim sat on the stairs in Angel’s hallway trying to muster up the nerve to ring her doorbell. As luck would have it, fate intervenes when he hears the lock click on the apartment door.

Angel grunts and mumbles under her breath as she struggles to stuff a large bag of garbage down the narrow trash shute.

Angel: Why is this stupid thing so small?

While pushing and pulling on the compactor door to force the garbage down, Angel gets a strange feeling that she’s not alone and quickly looks over her shoulder towards the stairs. When her eyes confirm the hallway is empty, she goes back to fighting with the garbage bag. Just as she makes the final push on the chute door to get the bag to go down, she hears her name and the hairs on the back of her neck stand up.

Kasim: What’s up, Angel? Long time no see?

Kasim: Damn, what you jumping for? I’m not gonna do anything to you.

He walks towards her, but stops short when he sees the look of terror on her face.

Kasim: What’s wrong? Why are you looking like that?

Angel tries to calm herself and steady her heart from beating out her chest.

Angel: Nothing’s wrong, you just scared me. I wasn’t expecting to see you. What are doing here? How did you find me?

Kasim: I followed you from St. Claire last Saturday.

Angel: You did what?!

Kasim: I knew you’d be angry. That’s why I didn’t say anything to you last week. I only came back because I couldn’t stop thinking about you. I miss you so much. You don’t miss me at all?

She ignored the question.

Angel: Kasim, this is not a good time. You’ve caught me completely off guard. We can’t have this conversation right now.

She shook her head emphatically, avoiding eye contact

kasim: Why not? You got company?

Angel: No.

When her eyes darted furtively towards her apartment door, he knew what she was going to do before she did it. With three long strides and a slide that would have impressed recruiters from the Sim City Llamas, he firmly wedges his foot in the door before she has a chance to close it.

Kasim: Ow!

He yelps in pain as the door slams against his foot, but maintains his position .

Angel: I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to do that. Kasim, please… Please move your foot. I can’t do this with you right now.

Kasim:

Angel, just open the door. Why are you acting like this? Are you still mad at me after all this time?

Angel: No, I’m not angry. This is just a bad time. Please move your foot.

Kasim immediately notices that she’s lowered her voice since entering her apartment.

Kasim: Why are you talking so low? You got company? Is your new man in there? Is it Chris?

Pointedly ignoring him, Angel continues trying to shut the door.

The more she resists and keeps pressing her weight on the door - and his foot, the angrier Kasim becomes.

Kasim: Angel, stop playing! Why won’t you open the door? You’re hurting my foot!

Angel: I’m sorry. Just move it out of the way.

Kasim: You know I can open this door if I really want to. I don’t want to push my way into your house, but I’m not leaving. So just stop all this nonsense and let me in.

Kasim is suddenly distracted by an odd noise coming from inside the apartment. It sounds like wheels or something dragging across the floor. When Angel starts frantically pushing on the door and whispering to someone, Kasim responds by pushing back even harder and opening the door open a bit more.

Kasim: Who are you talking to?! Angel, open this damn do-

He stops mid sentence when the source of the noise is revealed and Kasim is staring into a pair of little eyes that looked strikingly similar to his own eyes.

HD

And when the face behind the familiar eyes smiles, revealing a deep set of dimples Kasim feels his knees buckle a little beneath him.

HD

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Thanks to everyone who voted on the baby =D

10

Things were a little awkward after Devin told the story about her family. She wished she hadn’t brought it up, almost as much as Kasim. He didn’t really know what to say to her afterwards, so he opted for a change of subject by suggesting they go out and explore the hotel and casino.


The first stop was the hotel’s mezzanine, which had a small mall.

Devin: Ooooh let’s go in here!

Kasim had offered to buy Devin an outfit - and possibly a pair of shoes provided the clothes didn’t cost too much. If she thought he was going to spend a thousand simoleons on a pocketbook, she had another thing coming.

Kasim: You can go in there. I’ll be over there checking out the massage chairs.

Devin knew why he didn’t want to go inside the store with her.

Devin: Kasim, I wasn’t expecting you to buy me a Louis Vuitton bag.

He scoffed and looked at her like she was nuts.

Kasim: I hope not!

Shaking her head, Devin waved him off and disappeared inside the store, while he did exactly what he said he was going to do.



When Devin was done window shopping for shit that Kasim wasn’t going to buy, they went into a small boutique to get her outfit.



While she looked through the racks, Kasim found a seat near the dressing rooms.

He hated shopping with women, and Devin was no exception. Just as he expected, she was taking forever. Almost an hour later, she appeared in front of him with a armful of clothes, turning his impatience into straight up annoyance.

Kasim: I said I was getting you ONE outfit. What is all that?!



Devin: I know what you said. I want to try on a few things to see what I like. If I decide I want something extra I’ll pay for it myself.

Kasim looked from Devin to the pile of clothes in her arms and back up at her again before smirking.

Kasim: Yeah, aight. Just as long as there’s no confusion about what I’m paying for.

Devin: Kasim don’t start with me, ok? I never asked you to buy me anything in the first place. You offered to get me something to wear so we could stay another day. I can put all of this back and you can just take me home.

Kasim: Now you talking about going home? Why you getting mad?

Devin: Because you’re acting like I’m trying to get over on you and its insulting. I know what you said you would buy.

Kasim: Look, I’m having a good time with you and I don’t want to get into an argument. Just go try the clothes on so we can get out of here.

Devin: If you don’t want to argue, stop coming out your face.

When she yanked the curtain shut, Kasim rolled his eyes. Why was it so hard for him to find an agreeable woman who knew how to act? He went back to messing with his phone and was in the process of texting Kadijah to make sure she was alright, when he looked up momentarily…

Kasim: Awww shit!

He didn’t realize how loud he said it until Devin stuck her head out of the dressing room.

Devin: What’s the matter?

Keeping his voice low so as not to draw Dylan’s attention, he lied.

Kasim: Nothing. I just got a text from Saire. It’s nothing important.

When Devin stuck her head back in the dressing room, he turned his attention back to Dylan. He was really feeling some kinda way seeing her with Ricky. especially after the way he had manhandled her at the club. Kasim watched her, from the corner of his eye, laughing and giggling in Ricky’s face. Disgusted, he twisted around in the opposite direction hoping she wouldn’t see him. He knew she’d be angry too if she saw him with Devin. Feeling uncomfortable, he peeked back over his shoulder, to see if he could slip outside without being noticed. As he scanned the store for Dylan, she suddenly appeared from behind the wall where he was sitting, startling him a bit. Their eyes immediately locked.

Dylan was equally startled to come upon Kasim. She felt the usual giddy excitement she always felt whenever she saw him, but it was quickly replaced with anger once she remembered they were not speaking and that the last time she saw him, he had put her out of his apartment in her bra and panties. Her anger intensified when she realized he was sitting outside the fitting room of a women’s boutique obviously waiting for some bitch. She wondered if it was the same bitch they were always arguing about. She walked past him and blindly looked through a clothing rack unable to concentrate on anything but her burning desire to scratch his eyeballs out. She could feel him watching her, but she couldn’t say a word with Ricky’s jealous ass breathing down her neck. Unlike Kasim, Ricky was willing to spend his money and Dylan didn’t want to mess that up. However, she couldn’t let Kasim leave without putting him and his new bitch in their place. She had to find a way to get Ricky to leave for a minute.

Kasim watched as Dylan said something to Ricky, and he suddenly left the store. Kasim was certain that Dylan dismissed Ricky just so she could start some shit. As soon as Ricky walked through the door, Kasim got up to leave too. Although he was supposed to be leaving to avoid an argument, instead of going straight to the door, he made a detour towards the aisle where Dylan stood. As he passed by, he leaned in and angrily murmured in her ear.

Kasim: You still fucking with him? 

His eyes swept down to the shopping bags in her hands and he sneered at the designer names.



Kasim: As long as he takes you shopping it’s ok for him to kick your ass?

That was all the opening Dylan needed. Kasim should have known better than to get her started.

Dylan: You jealous?! Why you worrying about who I’m fucking with, KAH-SEEM!

She had a way of enunciating his name whenever they argued, that made him want to strangle her.

Dylan: You all up in my business. Who are you here with?!

Realizing he made a mistake riling her up, he brushed past her to go stand outside, but her words stopped him in his tracks.

Dylan: You can leave, but I know you ain’t in here by yourself, and as soon as you walk out that door, I’m gonna find your little girlfriend and let her know what’s up.

He spun around and walked back over to her.

Kasim: What’s wrong with you? Why you always gotta cause a scene?

His hushed tone, made Dylan speak even louder.

Dylan: No, you’re causing a scene! I didn’t say nothing to you! You came over here with an attitude cuz I got somebody to take me shopping. You the one hating, whispering all in my face and talking shit! What you whispering for? You tryna be quiet so your bitch won’t hear you talking to me?! Where she at?! In the fitting room? Tell her to come out here!

Kasim: Come out here for what? Why you always acting so fucking crazy?

Devin could hear someone arguing, but couldn’t make out what was being said. She stuck her head out the curtain to ask Kasim what was going on, but when she saw he was no longer sitting outside the dressing room, she called out to him.

Devin: Kasim! Kasim, where are you?



Dylan: Why you don’t answer her? She’s calling you. Let’s go say ‘hi.’

Kasim grabbed Dylan’s arm when she spun around to head towards the dressing rooms. He continued to whisper angrily in her face.

Kasim: Where are you going?! There’s no reason for you to say anything to her!

Dylan: Oh my gaaawd! Why is this feeling like de ja vu? I remember you telling me, not too long ago, that I better not say anything to Angel. Now here we go again, you telling me the same shit, but this time it’s about another bitch! It’s crazy how everybody’s more important than me, except for when you’re between my legs.

Kasim: How you expect me to treat you with the way you act? I keep telling you that I’m not for all this shit! Why can’t you act like a lady sometimes?

Dylan: What about how you act?! You telling me to be a lady? You don’t want a lady, you want a docile bitch that you can walk all over! Is that the kinda bitch she is? Do you control her, like you used to control Angel?! Well you ain’t gonna control me! I’ll say whatever I want to say to her and you ain’t gon’ do a damn thing about it!

Kasim was still holding Dylan and trying to rationalize with her, but she was having none of it. Dylan was not about to play second fiddle to anyone, and whatever fantasies this new bitch may have had about Kasim, she was about to get a very rude awakening.

Kasim, on the other hand, was at his wits end trying to calm Dylan down and think of a way to keep her away from Devin. Unfortunately, it was too late…



Devin: Kasim? What’s going on here?

Kasim quickly let Dylan go, as she turned towards a voice that suddenly sounded disturbingly familiar.



Dylan: Devin…


Devin: Oh my God! Dylan! Where have you been?! What are you doing here?!

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When Kasim mentioned that he was going to the new casino with Devin, Saire invited himself and Meeka. Kasim didn’t really mind, because he wasn’t overly excited about the date except for what was to come at the end of it. Saire would be a welcome distraction from the boredom of watching Devin gamble.





Kasim was bored out of his mind and as far as he was concerned the only good thing about the casino were the free drinks.

When Saire disappeared, Kasim went looking for him.



Kasim: There you are. I figured you was out here smoking.

Saire took a long drag and held it in while he talked.

Saire: I got that loud. You want some?

Kasim: You always offering me drugs. You trying to make me one of your customers? I don’t want none of that shit.

Saire laughed and choked on the smoke he was holding in. Kasim just shook his head as Saire started coughing. Once he gained his composure, he asked about Devin.

Saire: Where your girl at?

Kasim: She’s still inside on that stupid slot machine. I don’t even know why I agreed to come here. This shit is boring - I’m ready to go.

Saire and Meeka glanced knowingly at each other and giggled.

Saire: I don’t know why you agreed to come either.  I knew your cheap ass wasn’t gonna like it here.

Kasim: Stop calling me cheap. I’m not cheap. I just don’t like wasting money on bullshit.



Saire: That’s what cheap is.

Kasim: No it’s not. Man, just shut up. Don’t worry about what I do with my money. Worry about what you’re doing to yourself, smoking that shit. You know that makes you impotent, right?

Saire: Impadent? What the fuck is that?

Kasim: Im-PO-TENT. Your dick won’t get hard.

Saire sucked his teeth and waved Kasim off.

Saire. Man, get outta here. I don’t have noooo problems with my dick. Tell him, Meeka.

Meeka just smiled as Saire took a long drag of his blunt.

Kasim: That shit makes you cum quick too.

Meeka was all smiles until Kasim said that.

Meeka: Are you serious?! Weed causes that?!



Based on Meeka’s reaction, Kasim figured he’d struck a nerve. He nodded with a self satisfied smile.

Kasim: Yep.

Meeka looked over at Saire and quickly snatched the blunt from him.

Saire: Aye! What are you doing?! I’m not finished!

Meeka: Oh yes you are finished! You don’t need any more of this.

Saire: C'mon, Meeka. How many times do I have to tell you that only happens when I’m over excited.

Meeka: Well you must be over excited ALL the damn time!

Saire: If it’s good what you expect me to do - hold it in?

Meeka: Saire, I don’t even want to hear it. You ain’t getting no more of this blunt, cuz I’m tired of you with that shit.

Amused with the trouble he’d caused, Kasim walked off laughing when Saire yelled after him.

Saire: Yo Kasim, why you had to tell her that?

Kasim: It is what it is.

Saire: You coming over here starting trouble. Now she don’t want to give me back my smoke.

Kasim: Stop calling me cheap. You just mad cuz my nuts work.

Saire: My nuts work too, muthafucker. I got two kids. I don’t know what you talking about.



While Saire and Kasim shared a laugh, Meeka puffed on the blunt and tried to figure out how she was going to get Saire to cut down on his weed intake. Saire and Kasim may have thought it was a joke, but Meeka didn’t find a damn thing funny about Saire’s lack of dick control.

When Kasim entered the casino, Devin was exactly where he’d left her. Firmly planted in front of a slot machine.

Kasim: This shit is fun to you?

Devin: Yes! I’m trying to win some money.

After a few more free drinks and a lot of prodding from Devin, Kasim begrudgingly agreed to try a slot machine.



He was getting frustrated and was about to quit when…



His cheap ass hit the jackpot for three thousand simoleons.



Not one to push his luck, and certainly unwilling to give the casino back his winnings, Kasim convinced everyone to leave, so they could visit the hotel’s nightclub on the upper level. He even splurged and bought a bottle of champagne.



When Devin and Meeka left to go to the bathroom, Saire yawned and rubbed his eyes.

Saire: I’m tired. We’re getting ready to leave. What you gonna do?

Kasim: We’re staying. We’re getting a room.



Saire: You getting a room?! It’s like that now?

Kasim smiled smugly.

Kasim: It’s about to be like that.

Kasim’s eyes drifted over Devin’s body, as she and Meeka walked towards them and he smiled thinking about all the things he was going to do to her.

Meanwhile, in a hospital not too far from St. Claire…



Angel: Owwww… Mom, it huuuurts!

Regina: Just hold my hand and do what the doctor said, baby. Keep pushing. I’m right here with you.

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10

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As Kasim nervously waits for word on Dylan’s condition…

…his mind swirls with thoughts of the precious minutes that were wasted because he thought she was pulling a prank. Quite a bit of time had passed before he noticed the overturned bottle of pills and called an ambulance.

He has no idea if her overdose was an accident or intentional or if he had something to do with it. Unfortunately, the conversation he had with Dylan before he fell asleep was hazy. He remembers her trying to pressure him about their relationship, but he can’t remember what he said and if it may have set her off.

Even though she’d been badgering him about taking their relationship to the next level, Dylan never struck him as the type that would hurt herself over a man. Ultimately, he just wanted her to be OK, because he didn’t want the guilt of anything happening to her on his conscience.

The nurse had promised to keep him informed, but after waiting over an hour he approaches her.

Kasim: Do you know anything yet? Is she alright?

Nurse: Oh, I’m sorry. It’s so busy that I forgot all about you. Give me a second to take a look.



She taps at the keyboard and studies the monitor while Kasim nervously shifts his weight from one foot to the other. The nurse turns to him with a smile, helping to ease the tight knot of fear in his stomach.

Nurse: It looks like she’s been stabilized and moved upstairs to a room. I’m sure she’s going to be OK, but let me get  the doctor who treated her so he can talk to you. Have a seat and he should be right out.

Kasim goes back into the waiting room…

…and waits another 20 minutes before the emergency room doctor comes out to see him.



Doctor: She’s going to be OK. We pumped her stomach and gave her some medication to counter the drugs. Do you know if she suffers from anxiety or depression? The pills she took were antidepressants.

Kasim: Not to my knowledge… I don’t know.

Doctor: In addition to the pills, her blood alcohol level was very high, and we also found illegal substances in her system.

Kasim shifted his eyes uncomfortably under the doctor’s accusatory glare.

Doctor: Were you with her when it happened? Do you know why she took so many pills?

Kasim: I was with her, but I was asleep. When I woke up, she had already taken the pills.

Doctor: Alright. Well, she’s resting now, and we’re going to keep her a few days for evaluation. You can go up and see her.

Kasim quickly heads to the elevators to go up to Dylan’s room.



When he enters the room, he stands next to the bed and watches her sleep for awhile. He doesn’t want to disturb her, but he wishes she’d open her eyes just so he’ll know she’s OK.

Kasim: Dee? Dee, wake up.

When she doesn’t stir or open her eyes, he touches her arm and strokes it to let her know he’s there. He’s consumed with guilt as he studies her sleeping face. He gently brushes a wisp of hair from her face before leaning down to kiss her.



Kasim: Get your rest. I’ll be back to see you tomorrow.

When he turns to leave, he doesn’t feel Dylan’s eyes burning into his back.



He pulls out his cell phone to make the call he’s been avoiding all morning. He dials Devin’s number, but quickly hangs up before it rings. He knows he has to tell her about Dylan, but doesn’t want to deal with all the uncomfortable questions she’s sure to ask. He decides to send a text:

“Dylan’s in St. Claire hospital. Room 506. You need to go see her.”




Devin tries calling several times after receiving the text, but instead of answering, Kasim sends her calls straight to voicemail.

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8

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Kasim was watching the sports channel trying to decide which one of his jumpoffs to call, when his phone rang. He smiled when he saw the caller ID. Her timing was perfect.

Kasim: What’s up, baby?

Dylan: So now I’m ‘baby’? What the fuck, Kasim? If I hadn’t called you, I wasn’t ever gonna hear from you again?

Kasim: C'mon, don’t be stupid. You know I was going to call you… eventually. The last time I saw you, you cussed me out, though.

Dylan: Kasim, please. You are so full of shit. I cuss you out ALL the time-

Kasim: I know! That’s the problem-

Dylan: It never stopped you from calling me before. But now that my sister knows about us, you’re acting like you don’t know me. You cutting me off for her?

The truth is, he had contemplated leaving Dylan alone (at least for a little while) to appease Devin, but after the fight over Jamari, he was tired of bending over backwards for Devin. He liked her, but she was too uptight. Dylan was crazy, but at least she never denied him her affection. Not to mention, she always gave it to him just the way he liked it.

Kasim: I never said I was cutting you off.

Dylan: So why haven’t you called me?

Kasim: Why you haven’t called me? You’re the one that was mad, telling me to kiss your ass and shit.



Dylan: What did you expect me to say with you all up under my sister, taking her side and listening to all them lies she’s telling on me.

Kasim: I didn’t take anybody’s side-

Dylan: You fucking left with her!



Kasim: I was there with her! You came in with your woman beater boyfriend, didn’t you? What was I supposed to do? Leave her and go with you?

Dylan: Yes!

Kasim: You funny. If dude had stayed in the store, you wouldn’t have left with me. Shit, you acted like you didn’t even know me when he was there. Don’t tell me no shit about I should have left with you. I didn’t do anything wrong. All I did was try to stop you two from fighting.

Dylan: Well, I don’t like her trying to put lies in your head to make you think bad of me.

Kasim: Since when you care about what anyone thinks of you?

As smart as Kasim was, it was amazing to Dylan how clueless he seemed at times.

Dylan: I care what you think of me.

Kasim didn’t know how to respond to her declaration, so Dylan kept talking to fill the awkward silence.

Dylan: Listen, I don’t know what Devin told you about my mother’s boyfriend, but if she tried to make it seem like I initiated it, that’s not what happened. I was having problems with my mother and he took advantage of the situation once he moved in. He acted like he was my friend, and always took up for me whenever my mother would start tripping. We got closer and then one day it… he… I was wrong to fall for it, but I was young and stupid. He took advantage of me, Kasim. I knew everybody would blame me and that was why I left and ended up in St. Claire with Chris.

Kasim: Chris knows what happened?

Dylan: No. I never talk about what happened to anyone, but since Devin decided to tell you her version, I wanted you to know the truth.

Kasim: You don’t have to explain anything to me. After what I did to Chris, I’m the last person to be judging you or anybody.



She rolled her eyes when he mentioned their betrayal of Chris. Bringing THAT up certainly wasn’t going to help with her attempt to paint herself as a victim.

Dylan: I just don’t want you to think that I’m a bad person.

Kasim didn’t really know what to think, but she sounded so wounded that he didn’t want to say anything to make her feel worse.

Kasim: I don’t think you’re a bad person. And for what it’s worth, I don’t think your mother blames you. Maybe you should go see her.

Dylan was quiet for a moment. He said exactly what she needed to hear and it made her want him even more. She cradled the phone and practically purred into it.

Dylan: When am I going to see you?

Kasim: You want me to come through?



Dylan: Yes. I miss you.

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6



Kasim wakes up thirsty, hungry and disoriented. It takes him a moment to get his bearings and remember his whereabouts. When he notices Dylan isn’t lying beside him, he pokes his nose in the air, hoping to catch a whiff of some bacon or pancakes. Disappointed by the distinct smell of nothing, he sits up on the side of the bed.



Kasim: Dylan!

When she doesn’t answer, he stands and does a series of stretches to loosen his muscles, then slips into his boxers. He leaves the bedroom, which opens into the kitchen and is greeted to the sight of a bare stove and counter tops. After all the work he put in making Dylan cum not once, but twice, the very least she could do was make him breakfast. Kasim sucks his teeth in annoyance and pulls the refrigerator door open, scanning the contents for something to drink.

Kasim: Dylan!

When she still doesn’t respond, he reaches for a container of juice and knowing that he’s dead wrong, shrugs nonchalantly and puts the carton up to his head.



As far as he’s concerned, with all the places Dylan’s mouth has been on his body, the last thing she has to worry about is drinking behind him. He stands for an eternity taking long satisfying swallows of the juice. When his thirst is sufficiently quenched, he shakes the container, realizes there isn’t enough juice left for a full glass and puts the carton back to his head to finish it off. When he turns to put the empty carton in the trash compacter, he notices Dylan.



A quick wave of panic comes over him, before his lips curl into a dismissive smirk.

Kasim: That shit’s supposed to be funny? You don’t have nothing better to do with yourself?

Shaking his head, he walks past her naked body and goes into the bathroom. He raises his voice over the sound of his pee hitting the toilet water.

Kasim: You need to get up, stop acting stupid and make me something to eat. You play too damn much.



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10

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While Kasim waits his turn for his weekly haircut, he reads the latest text from Dylan that he has no intention of answering. After his conversation with Devin in the hospital, he tried to explain to Dylan, in a series of texts, that he wasn’t interested in a serious relationship and that it was time they go their separate ways since he couldn’t give her what she wanted. Dylan assumes he’s rejecting her because he’s renewed his relationship with Devin - which isn’t the case at all. She’s determined to get him back from Devin and her persistence is starting to wear thin. He’s considering changing his phone number, when Charmaine, his hairstylist calls out to him.


Charmaine: Kasim, you can go ahead and sit in my chair. I just need to put her under the dryer, and I’ll be right with you.

Kasim settles in Charlene’s chair wondering what’s taking Saire so long. They were supposed to meet to get their hair cut, but Saire’s m.i.a.

Charmaine: What are you getting, your usual shape-up?



Kasim: Yeah, don’t take any off the top. Just line me up.

Charmaine: You know I’m dying to cut your hair. Are you ever gonna let me cut it?

Kasim: Nah.

Kasim smiles and shakes his head.

Kasim: I’m not cutting my hair. You know I’m like Sampson. All my strength is in my hair.

Charmaine smiles at him seductively.

Charmaine: That’s not where your strength is.

He laughs. Charmaine and Kasim have messed around every now and then over the years, but he never put her in his regular rotation, because she didn’t know how to keep her teeth out of the way. On top of that, she was an over-the-top screamer, who would lay motionless and make him do all the work. She was sexy, so every few months he’d give her another shot, but their encounters always ended with him exhausted and examining his dick for lacerations. Terrible sex aside, she was one of the best hair stylist in St. Claire, who hooked his ‘fro up perfectly every time.

There were other perks to patronizing a beauty salon, instead of a barber shop full of dudes. Visiting Charmaine’s always made him feel like a fat kid in a candy store.

Kasim: Dayum, fatty on fleek. Who is that? She’s new?

Kasim flinches and yelps in pain, when Charmaine pops him in the back of his neck with a comb.

Kasim: Ow! What the hell is wrong with you?!



Charmaine: Let me tell your ass something… Don’t come in here flirting with my employees, ok? Because she’ll leave out of here unemployed and you’ll leave with a pink mohawk. Don’t play with me.

Kasim: I ain’t flirting with nobody. I didn’t say anything to her. What are you talking about?

Charmaine: You’re sitting here staring at her ass, asking me is she new? This is my place of business, Kasim and I don’t share dick with my staff.

Kasim: Girl, just cut my hair and stop bugging out. I wasn’t even staring at her ass like that. I was looking at what she’s doing. What is she squeezing out of that bottle? Is that glue?

Charmaine smirked at his lame attempt to act like his interest was in the weave glue.

Charmaine: Yes, it’s glue.

Kasim: The shit y'all females do to your hair is crazy. How is she supposed to get glue out of her hair?

Charmaine: With glue remover or oil. Will you please stop staring at people? Nobody wants a man staring in their face while they’re getting their weave done.

Sucking her teeth, Charmaine spins his chair around in the opposite direction.

As much as Kasim enjoys the scenery at Charmaine’s salon, there is one thing he isn’t too fond of…



Sean: Oooh look who’s here. Haaaay boo!

Kasim: I’m not your boo.

Sean: My bad, I keep forgetting you don’t like that.

Sean: Wassup, DAWG… Is that better?

Charmaine laughs, while Kasim drops his head in his hand.

Charmaine: Sean, stop messing with him.

Kasim: This dude is crazy.

Sean: I didn’t do anything to him. I can’t say “hello”?

Sean continuted to stand in front of Kasim, giving him the once over.

Sean: Uhn uhn uhn… Except for them brows, you is snatched for the gawds.

Kasim: What?!



Sean: Nothing. Do you want me to do your eyebrows when she’s done with your hair?

Kasim: Do I look like I get my eyebrows done?

Sean: No, but you should. They’re wild and bushy as hell!

Kasim: Yo, Charmaine…

Charmaine is laughing so hard that tears are forming in her eyes.

Charmaine: Sean, stop it. Leave him alone.

Sean: Stop what? I didn’t do anything. I’m the esthetician, I’m doing my job!

Sean walks off in a flourish, smiling to himself. 

Kasim: Why is he always fucking with me?

Charmaine: Because he knows it bothers you.  Anyway, I’m making oxtails tonight, you want to stop by for a plate?

Kasim: Yeah, a'ight. I guess I can stop by and get a plate.

Kasim was sure Charmaine was offering more than just oxtails. And even though she couldn’t fuck worth a damn, Kasim didn’t mind hitting her off every now and then to keep her happy. Because no matter how booked she was, Charmaine would always find space to squeeze him if he needed a cut on short notice. He winked at her to let her know he knew what she really wanted.




Charmaine: Fix your face. I can’t cut your beard with your face all squished up, and I don’t know what you’re winking at me for. All I got for you is oxtails.

Kasim: Mmhmm… sure you do. You ain’t gotta be shy, baby. You know I got you.

Charmaine: Kasim, please. Your mind lives in the gutter. I only offered you the oxtails because you liked them so much the last time I made them.

Still unconvinced he smiled at her knowingly.

Kasim: Aight. Whatever you say.

Charmaine: I’m on my period, so you can just stop it.



Kasim: Your period? Aww hell nah. You can keep that.

Charmaine: I wasn’t offering it to you!

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10

VIEW FULL SIZE PICS ABOVE

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Kasim: So you’re not gonna talk to me for the whole ride?

Devin: What do you want me to say, Kasim?

Kasim: I don’t know. Say something. You’re sitting over there like you’re mad at me.

Devin: I’m not sure “mad” is the right word. Disgusted is more like it.

Kasim: With me?

Devin: I’m disgusted with you and Dylan.

Kasim: What are you disgusted with me for?!



Devin: Aside from the fact that you’re sleeping with my sister? I don’t like that you threw her out of your house with no clothes on.

Kasim: You’re just using that as an excuse to be mad at me.

Devin: I don’t need an excuse to be mad at you. I really have a problem with that. I didn’t think you were the type of guy to treat women like that.

Kasim: First of all, that’s not how I treat women. That’s how I treat maniacs. Your sister is crazy. Do you see how she acted in that store today?

Devin: That doesn’t have anything to do with what you did to her.

Kasim: Yes it does!

Devin: No it doesn’t. I can fight with her every single day. That’s still my sister and I don’t want you or anybody else dogging her out.

Kasim: Ain’t nobody dogging her out. My point is that she’s crazy. She got a fucked up attitude. Her mouth is reckless, and all she wanna do is fight. I’m not gonna put my hands on her, so the best thing to do when she starts acting crazy, is to remove myself from the situation or remove her. If she’s in my house acting like she don’t have no sense, she gotta go! 

Devin: You didn’t have to put her out in her underwear.



Kasim: I kept asking her to leave. She wouldn’t go and that was the only way I could get her out. That shit happened like 1 or 2 in the morning. No one that lives on my floor is in the hallway that time of night. I knew no one would see her. You’re acting like I threw her out in the middle of the street butt ass naked. I wouldn’t have put her out at all if she wasn’t acting stupid. She was arguing with me about you, because she knew I was seeing someone else. But we’re not in a relationship, so what is she arguing with me for?!

Devin: It’s not cool that you’re treating her like a jump off either.

He sucked his teeth.

Kasim: Listen, I know she’s your sister and all that, but Dylan is a grown ass woman and she does what she wants to do. I didn’t twist her arm or lie to her about anything. When she pushed up on me, she wasn’t looking for no relationship.

Devin: Well, regardless of what she was looking for in the beginning, she obviously has feelings for you now or she wouldn’t be worried about you seeing someone else.

Devin: You’re sitting here telling me about everything that’s wrong with her. If she’s so terrible, why are you still dealing with her?

He didn’t respond to that either.

Devin: Exactly. You must have some kind of feelings for her too.

Kasim: No, I don’t! How the fuck you gonna tell me how I feel?

Devin: Whatever, Kasim. I don’t even want to hear it.



Devin: How long have you been seeing her?

He kept his eyes glued to the road bracing himself for what he knew was coming.

Kasim: I don’t know… A few months. Not that long.

Devin: And how long has she been in St. Claire?

He knew the probability of Devin finding out the truth was very high, yet he couldn’t bring himself to tell her the grimy details of how he and Dylan started messing around. So he lied.

Kasim: I don’t know.

Devin: So you don’t talk to her? You don’t know anything about her?

Kasim: Yeah we talk. I just don’t know all that.

Devin: How did you meet her?

Awkward pause.

Kasim: I met her at a friend’s barbecue.

Devin: Which friend? Who?

He was getting very tired of her interrogation, because the more questions she asked, the more lies he would be forced to tell.

Kasim: Why?! You don’t know him. What difference does it make?

Devin: What are you getting mad for?! I’m just trying to figure out what’s going on with my sister! I want to know when she came here and with who. I know she didn’t just up and come to St. Claire by herself! Why can’t I know who your friend is? Is it a secret?

Kasim: No, it’s not a secret. I-

Devin: Forget it, Kasim. Just give me her address and I can talk to her myself.

Kasim: What?

Devin: You deaf now? I want her address.

Kasim: C'mon, Dylan-

Devin: I’m not Dylan. My name is DEVIN.

He sighed and shook his head.

Kasim: I know what your name is, alright? It was a mistake.

Devin: You ain’t been making mistakes with my name.

Kasim: You just had a fight with her and we’re sitting here talking about her! Damn! My head is a little fucked up right now. Can you cut me some slack!

Devin: Whatever. Just give me the address, Kasim.

Kasim: I’m not giving you her address. I’ll give her your number. If she wants you to have her address she can give it to you herself.

Devin: That’s my sister! How you not going to give me her address?!



Kasim: The fact that I’m seeing both of you is bad enough, now you’re asking me to betray her trust?

Devin: Why you worrying about betraying her trust all of a sudden? According to you, she’s just a piece of ass, right?

Kasim: I never said that. I said she was a friend with benefits.

Devin: Friend with benefits, piece of ass - it’s all the same thing. I need her address.

Kasim: I said NO. I will give her your phone number.

Devin: What good is that gonna do?! You know she’s not gonna call me!

Kasim: Y'all fighting and you want me to give you her address? For what, so you can go over there and fight her again? No, I’m not doing that. I’m not getting involved in this shit.

Devin: You’re already involved!

He stared straight ahead at the road, ignoring her and shutting down any further discussion. She turned away to look out the window, and they drove the rest of the way in silence. When they reached her house, he put the truck in park and leaned back in his seat.

Kasim: What’s up, Devin?

Devin: Nothing’s up.

Kasim: We good or what?

Devin: How are we supposed to be good and you’re sleeping with my sister? Are you going to stop seeing her?

Kasim: Yeah.

There was something about the quick, nonchalant way he said it that made Devin think he was lying.

Devin: No you’re not.

Kasim: Yes I am! What are you talking about? I already stopped seeing her. I haven’t seen her in over two weeks.



Devin: Wow! A whole two weeks?! This is crazy. You’re not gonna give me her address, right?

The look on his face was all the answer she needed.

Devin: Bye, Kasim.

Kasim: Devin wait a minute… C'mon, why are you acting like this?

He got out the truck to go after her, but she was up the stairs and inside her front door before his foot hit the curb. He considered ringing her bell, but changed his mind. Giving her some space was probably for the best. With everything that had happened, he needed some time to get his own head together and decide what he wanted to do.



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Devin: Ooooh Kasim, look at this view! See, you were complaining about the casino and you ended up winning all that money. Aren’t you glad we came?

Although Devin had said she would pay for their date, Kasim paid for the room and even upgraded to a suite with a balcony and view of downtown. This was a far departure from his usual at the St. Claire Motel, but he didn’t mind much since he paid for it with free money.

Kasim: Yeah. When I was losing, I was getting depressed for a minute. But this made up for it. Mmmm, I love the smell of new money!



They were standing on the balcony, enjoying the view when out of nowhere Angel popped into Kasim’s head. He was struck with a really weird feeling, which turned into an overwhelming sense of sadness. Although he thought of Angel often enough, this was something different. It almost felt like a premonition. Devin, who was totally oblivious to his thoughts, snuggled closer and pointed towards the beach, just beyond South Bridge.



Devin: Kasim, look! There’s the beach where we spent our first night together.

She looked over her shoulder at him with a big smile. He forced himself to push Angel from his mind and smiled back.

Kasim: I told you that night didn’t count. Tonight will be our official first night together.

He planted a gentle, lingering kiss on her bare shoulder, causing her heart to flutter.

When he grabbed her hand to pull her into the bedroom, she begged off, telling him she had to use the bathroom. When she left, he stayed on the balcony trying to figure out why Angel was suddenly so heavy on his brain…




…while Devin struggled with her own thoughts.



Although she wanted to be with Kasim, she couldn’t stop wondering how spending the night with him would affect their relationship.  She didn’t want to waste her time with a player and she couldn’t shake the nagging feeling that he was the biggest player of them all. Kasim treated her good, but sometimes he was too smooth, too arrogant, and too petulant when he didn’t get his way. And there was still the matter of that little incident he had never provided a straight answer for. Realizing she couldn’t stay in the bathroom all night, she slipped out of her clothes to reveal the teddy she wore especially for him and dabbed some perfume behind her ears.

When she emerged from the bathroom she noticed he had set the mood. There were slow jams playing on the stereo and a bottle of champagne on ice. She leaned against the dresser and smiled at him seductively.

Devin: Hi



His eyes lit up appreciatively when he saw what she was wearing. He could barely contain his excitement and wiggled his toes in anticipation.

Kasim: Hi



Devin: Did you just wiggle your toes at me?

They both laughed and he patted the bed.

Kasim: C'mere, sexy.

Devin climbed up the bed and settled into his waiting arms where he immediately started kissing her and running his hands all over her body.



Reluctantly, she dragged her mouth from his to speak, while he buried his face in her neck.

Devin: Kasim, are you sure you don’t have a girlfriend?

He continued squeezing and caressing her bare ass and thighs, while his tongue traced a dizzying trail from her throat to her collarbone. He wasn’t trying to disturb his groove or hear any of the crazy shit she was talking, so he responded between feathery kisses to her cleavage.

Kasim: *kiss* I told you… *kiss* *kiss* I don’t have… *kiss* a girl… *lick*

He was driving her crazy and as much as she didn’t want him to stop, she wanted a straight answer to her question.

Devin: Kasim, stop… please… wait a minute.

He licked his lips and gazed longingly at her full breasts straining against the confines of her bodysuit. He wanted to taste them and did not appreciate the interruption.



Kasim: What? Why are you stopping me? What’s wrong?

Devin: Nothing is wrong, except you never explained who that girl was screaming in the background when you were on the phone with me the other morning. Who is she? Is that your girlfriend?

Kasim: You’re bringing this up again now? I told you she wasn’t nobody.

Devin: She was very angry that you were on the phone with me, so she’s obviously somebody. If you’re gonna lie, at least tell a lie that makes sense.

He sucked his teeth and exhaled loudly as he felt his erection begin to deflate.

Kasim: She’s just a friend. I don’t have a girl. I’m trying to make you my girl, but you always giving me a hard time.

Devin: Friends don’t get angry because their friends are on the phone - girlfriends do.

Annoyed, he sighed again and rolled off of her.



Kasim: Fine, you want to know who she is? I fuck with her. Ok? Is that what you want to hear? I’m a man. I have needs. You’re always telling me ‘no,’ so what am I supposed to do? Beat my dick all day? I’m not gonna do that. I told you, she isn’t anybody special. Basically, she’s just a friend - with benefits. That’s all it is.

Devin: Hmmm…

She didn’t like hearing that he was sleeping with someone else at all.

Devin: So if it’s a friends with benefits relationship, why was she so angry?

Kasim: I don’t know. Probably because I was talking to you in her house.

Devin: You were in her house while you were talking to me?! Oh my God! That is so disrespectful.

He sucked his teeth.

Kasim: Stop being dramatic. I was in the bathroom with the door closed. She came busting in and started flipping out. It wasn’t like I was in her face talking to you.

Devin couldn’t believe he was trying to downplay the situation. But although she found his actions reprehensible, there was a small part of her that was flattered he took her call while he was with someone else.

Devin: Are you gonna stick me in the “friends with benefits” category and take calls from other women while we’re together too?

Kasim: Great… now you gonna take what I said and use it against me? This is the reason why dudes never tell females the truth. You can be in whatever category you want to be in, Devin. You can’t tell that I really like you?

Devin: I don’t know… I guess. All I can really tell is that you want to have sex.

Kasim: Damn. That’s fucked up. That’s not all I want from you. I don’t even understand where all this is coming from. If you didn’t want to do this, we didn’t have to get a room. We coulda did the casino and then I coulda took you home.

Devin: It’s not that I don’t want to do it. I just want to know what we’re doing. I’m not into casual sex.





Kasim: Why we gotta put labels on what we do though? Why can’t we just enjoy each other’s company and let shit happen naturally? I’m feeling you - you feeling me. What’s the problem?

The problem was that she didn’t want to be a participant in his harem of hos, nor did she want to find herself getting emotionally involved if he didn’t feel the same way.

Kasim: Can we stop this? Please? I don’t want to fight with you.

Devin: I don’t want to fight with you either.

Kasim: Then why are we fighting? Come here.

When he moved to hover over her, she didn’t stop him, although it wasn’t lost on her that he had smooth talked his way through the entire conversation and hadn’t really committed to anything. She decided to let it go, because it was possible that she was over-thinking things. All her time was spent working and taking care of her children. There was nothing wrong with having a little fun and getting her needs met for a change. The last time she’d had sex had been with some loser who frequented the art gallery where she worked. She didn’t really like him, but slept with him just because she hadn’t been with anyone since her children’s father, Jay and needed to get her shit off. It turned out to be a big mistake and one of the most unfulfilling sexual encounters she’d ever had. Not only was Devin certain that Kasim wouldn’t disappoint, but he was also the first guy she genuinely liked since Jay. Burying her reservations, she closed her eyes and sighed as he lowered himself between her legs. Despite her misgivings, she was more than ready for him to come up out of those jeans.



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10

Between Angel, the mess with Dylan and Chris, and Gabrielle’s trickery - Kasim was sick and tired of women.  His vow to stay away from them lasted for a whopping three days, mostly because he was tired of watching porn and beating off. He considered calling Devin, the girl he’d met the day he’d hooked up with Gabrielle, but he could tell he’d have to work to smash. He didn’t feel like working for it. Today, he wanted something effortless. So he called Sade, a girl he’d met at the club a few weeks prior. Sade had let him feel her up and tongue her down that entire night - all for the price of a Ciroc and Sprite. They had kept in touch and she was always talking shit about what she could do, but their wires kept getting crossed and they were never able to find time to hook up. Today would be her lucky day.







Kasim didn’t even bother with the pretense of dinner or a movie. No matter what they did, the evening was going to end with them at the hotel anyway. Why bother wasting time and money on all that other shit? If she was hungry, there was a perfectly acceptable free all-you-can-eat buffet in the hotel lobby.





Sade: This is the hotel?

Kasim: Look baby, you should never judge a book by its cover. This hotel is cool. The room got a nice view of the river and the bridge. Just be easy. I got this.

Kasim was not the least bit concerned with Sade’s misgivings about the hotel. If she wanted to go somewhere fancy, then she could pay for it. But as long as this shit was on his dime, the St. Claire Motel is what it was gonna be.

Kasim: See, I told you it wasn’t that bad.






Kasim: Sade! Sade! Where are you going?!






Kasim: Silly ass girl.

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7

VIEW FULL SIZE PICS ABOVE

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Chris told Dylan he was finished with her, but found himself back on her doorstep after his conversation with India.





Dylan: You’re back? Does that mean you’ve calmed down and you want to talk this out rationally?

Chris: Nah, I ain’t got shit to talk to you about. I’m just here to get my wallet. I left it in the bedroom.

She held the door open to let him in.

Dylan: You can come in while I get it for you.

Chris: I’ll get it myself. I don’t need you to do anything for me.



He brushed past her and went straight to the bedroom. Caught off guard and needing to gather her thoughts for what she was sure would be another round of arguing, she stayed in the living room instead of following him. When he emerged from the bedroom, he went into the bathroom and shut the door.

Dylan continued to wait for him, growing increasingly apprehensive as the minutes ticked away. She nearly jumped out of her skin when he came bursting out the bathroom.

Chris: What the fuck is this shit?! Huh?! What the fuck is this?!





Dylan: Oh my God! You came back here to dig through my phone?!

Chris: Yeah, I did and I should have dug through it a long time ago! You ain’t fucking Kasim?! So what is this? What are you doing in his shirt at that grimy ass hotel where he takes all his jump offs?! There are a million texts and phone calls from him all in this phone!

Dylan didn’t reply. She stood staring at Chris with her chest heaving, getting angrier by the second.

Chris: You been fucking him since we broke up, haven’t you?! Haven’t you?!!!

When she still didn’t respond, he continued.

Chris: I just had a nice little talk with your girl, India! She told me everything! How you left her stranded at the club to go lay up him. How you’re jealous of Angel. How you tried to fuck this muthafucker in our apartment while I was asleep! She told me everything!

Dylan: I do not believe you came over here to dig through my phone!

Chris: She told me about this picture on your phone too. I can’t believe you been fucking him all this time - right under my nose. What kind of dirty, nasty bitch are you?!

Dylan: What kind of bitch made nigga are you?! Coming up in here lying and sneaking around like a chick to dig through my shit. Yeah, I fucked him! And?! So what?! You forgot I found you in your drawers with two bitches not too long ago? We never got back together officially, so I can fuck whoever I want to fuck. Do you see any rings on my finger?!



Chris: Out of all the people you could have messed around with, you had to choose Kasim? My family?!

Dylan: Whatever, Chris. Get over yourself! What we do ain’t about YOU. Everything is not about YOU. That’s your problem, you so fucking sensitive and always in your feelings. You need to man up and stop being such a pussy! I’m tired of protecting your feelings all the time. Believe me, I’m just as sick of you as you are of me. Get the fuck out of my house.

Chris stared at her clenching and unclenching his fist.

Dylan: You can ball your fists up all you want, but if you put your fucking hands on me, bet that’ll be the last thing you ever put your hands on. Play with me if you want to.

Chris: Put my hands on you for what? To get locked up and fuck up my life for YOU? I wouldn’t spit on your ass if you were on fire. You can have Kasim. You deserve each other.

Chris opened the door to leave and Dylan followed him into the hallway.

Dylan: What I deserve is long, strong dick. And you don’t know nothing about that! Get outta here you bitch ass.

Chris: Have a nice life, Dylan.

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Kasim sighed when he saw who was at his door.

Kasim: What are y'all doing here?

Kadijah: Mommy’s been trying to call you for the past two days. Why you haven’t been answering your phone?

Kasim: For the same reason I shouldn’t have answered the door.

To his annoyance, both women brushed past him and entered his apartment. He followed them into the living room, letting them know he didn’t appreciate the intrusion.

Kasim: What do you want? I was sleeping. I’m not in the mood for company right now.

Kadijah: We’re not company.

They both gasped when they turned to face him.


Keisha: Oh my God! Chris did that to your face?

Kadijah: Hmph! That’s what your ass get.

Kasim: Shut up, Kadijah. His face ain’t looking no better than mine. And what’s up with your shirt?



Kadijah: Ain’t nothing up with my shirt. You trying to be funny?

Kasim: Is that how it’s supposed to look, with your titties hanging all out? You’re walking around the street like that?!

Kadijah: Kasim, please! Do you know how much I paid for this shirt?

Kasim: Not much, I hope. 

When Keisha giggled, Khadijah smirked at her and then looked back at Kasim.

Kadijah: I didn’t come here for fashion advice. What I want to know is why did you go to Aunt Tonya’s house to fight Chris over Dylan?

Keisha shook her head at Kasim accusingly and added her two cents.

Keisha: You know you were dead wrong for that.

Kasim: Why am I not surprised that the story is all fucked up? I wasn’t fighting him over Dylan-

Kadijah: Why are you fighting him at all?! And why are you still messing with Dylan?! How could you do that to Chris?!



Kasim: Listen here, y'all are my sisters. Why are you coming here to beef with me about Chris, but it’s OK for him to fuck with Angel?

Kadijah: Angel? What does she have to do with this? I don’t know what you’re talking about, but Aunt Tonya told mommy that you went to her house and got into a big fight with Chris over some mess with Dylan. We’ve been trying to call you, but you wouldn’t answer the phone.

Kasim: Because I knew what you were calling for and I didn’t want to hear it. Everybody’s always trying to make me out to be the bad guy, and acts like Chris is some kind of saint.

Kadijah: In this instance, you are the bad guy.

Kasim: Chris and Dylan weren’t even together like that.

Kadijah: Wow.

Kasim: “Wow” what? It’s the truth!

Kadijah: Whether they were together or trying to get back together or whatever the situation was doesn’t matter. You knew how he felt about her. You weren’t supposed to ever mess around with her. Are you really trying to defend that shit?

Kasim: Everybody’s got so much to say about what I did, but it’s ok for him to fuck with my girl?!

Keisha: What are you talking about?!

Kasim: He’s been fucking with Angel. That’s why we were fighting. When he told me that shit, I punched him in his face.

Both women looked at Kasim doubtfully.

Kadijah: I don’t know if I believe that. I can’t imagine Chris doing something like that.

Kasim: What you mean you don’t know if you believe it?! He admitted it!!! You can’t imagine him doing something like that, but  it’s easy for you to believe that I would do it? That’s some real bullshit. Thanks alot, Kadijah.

Kadijah: What are you talking about? You did do it! You got caught doing it! Don’t try to run no guilt trips on me!

Kasim: He got caught too! Dylan saw them together!

Keisha and Kadijah: Dylan???



Kasim: Yes, Dylan. She saw them together.

Keisha: That trifling bitch. She probably made it up just to get you mad.

Kasim: Did you just hear me say he admitted it!!! Are y'all even listening to me?!

Kadijah: Chris told you that he was having sex with Angel?

Kasim: Basically. He didn’t come right out and say it, but he implied it.

Kadijah: Whatever…

Kasim: Whatever?! So it don’t matter that he’s fucking with my girl? You know what? The next time some dude is ready to go upside your head because you took his money or he caught you cheating or whatever - don’t call me! Call Chris! Let him get out his bed at 2 in the morning to make sure you’re alright. I got beef with half the men in St. Claire because of you two, and when I need you to hold me down you gonna take his side?!

Keisha: It’s not about taking sides, but if you’re wrong I’m gonna tell you.



Kasim: I have your back whether you’re right or wrong.

Kadijah: Kasim, you know this is different. Chris is family. The two of you are like brothers. I don’t understand how you could even do that to him. You’re still fucking that bitch, aren’t you?

Kasim smirked and averted his eyes.

Kasim: No.

Kadijah: Yes you are. You can’t even lie straight. You ain’t gonna have no good luck if you keep fucking with that girl. Do you know what karma is?

Kasim: Ok, and what about Chris’ karma?

Kadijah: I’m not talking about Chris. I’m talking about you. What you did was wrong - first. If Chris is messing around with Angel, and I really don’t believe he is, but if he is - he’s only doing it to get back at you.

Kasim: And that makes it OK?!

Kadijah: I’m not saying that, but you started all this shit. If you had never slept with Dylan none of this would have happened. You need to leave her alone! You’re never going to fix things with Chris if you don’t stop seeing her. And if Angel’s the type of chick that would fuck your cousin, she ain’t no damn good either. You need to move on and forget about her too.




Keisha: Are you catching feelings for Dylan? Are you trying to have a relationship with her?

Kasim: Are you crazy? No I’m not catching feelings for her. Why would you ask me that?

Kadijah: Why are you acting like you don’t want to stop seeing her?

Not only was Kasim tired of the interrogation and unsolicited advice, he was also tired of lying.

Kasim: You want to know why? Because I do what I want to do - that’s why. Don’t come in here telling me what to do. I’m tired of y'all treating me like I’m a little kid. Them days are over. You don’t babysit me anymore. I’m a grown ass man.

Kadijah: Then act like one. If you don’t care what anybody thinks or says, then stand behind what you do! Stop lying, sneaking around and playing games like you’re a child.

Kasim: Yea, alright Khadijah. I’m going back to sleep. It’s time for y'all to go.

Keisha laughed.

Keisha: Oh, you mad now? You kicking us out?

Kasim: I’m not kicking you out. I just want to go back to sleep.

Kadijah glared at Kasim, flipped her hair and then headed down the hallway for the door.

Kadijah: Whatever. I said what I had to say. I been kicked outta better places than this.

Kasim: I’m sure you have.

Being 8 years older, Kadijah’s relationship with Kasim had always been more maternal than sisterly and there was only so much that she would take from him.



Kadijah: I know you got a smart ass mouth and you better stop disrespecting me.

Kasim: Ain’t nobody disrespecting you. Get your finger out my face.

Kadijah’s finger didn’t move.

Kadijah: You letting that bitch come between our family.

Kasim: I’m not letting her come between nothing. Y'all the ones acting stupid over something that ain’t none of your business!

The more Kasim refused to listen, the more frustrated it made Kadijah.

Kadijah: You let her know when I see her, I’m gonna kick her ass!

Kasim: Kadijah, you ain’t fighting nobody. Just go home and take care of your kids. Where are they, at mommy’s house, right?

Kadijah: Don’t worry about where my kids are!

Kasim: You trying to tell me about myself, while you running behind all these men and got mommy raising your kids.

Kadijah: You mean like how I raised you? Kasim, don’t play yourself. Stop worrying about what I’m doing and get your own life together. You need to leave that girl alone and make things right with Chris.

Kasim: I’m not making nothing right with him. Fuck Chris.

To discourage any further conversation Kasim quickly ushered his sisters through the door, and slammed it behind them for effect.

Kadijah: Asshole!

Kasim laughed and yelled back at her from the other side of the door.

Kasim: Love youuuu!

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Kasim: How you doing, Aunt Tonya?

Tonya: I’m fine, baby. I’m happy to see you. How have you been?

Kasim: I’m a'ight. Is Chris here?

Tonya: No, but he’ll be back in a minute. You can come in to wait for him.

Kasim: Nah, it’s ok. I’ll come back later.

Tonya: So you don’t want to come inside my house now?

Kasim: No, it’s not that-



Tonya: So then what is it? I don’t have nothing to do with what’s going on between you and Chris. I may not like what you did, but you’re still my nephew and you’re always welcome in my house. I’m just glad you’re here, because it’s time that you and Chris squash this beef. Now bring your behind inside this house.

Not only was Kasim embarrassed to face his aunt after what he’d done to Chris, but contrary to her assumption, he wasn’t there to squash anything either. He was actually there to stir up even more shit.  Reluctantly, he followed Tonya inside.

Tonya: Come in the kitchen with me. I was making myself something to eat. You hungry?

After a night of drinking and Dylan, who with her fucked up attitude hadn’t bothered to feed him, Kasim was ravenous.

Kasim: What you making?

Tonya: I’m frying fish. You want some?



He would have preferred a big breakfast of cheese eggs, bacon, grits and biscuits with a tall glass of orange juice, but since beggars can’t be choosey, he accepted the alternative.

Kasim: I’ll take a plate.

While the fish fried, Tonya proceeded to talk about exactly what Kasim didn’t want to talk about.

Tonya: I’m so upset that you and Chris are fighting over that nasty girl. I never liked her from the day I met her. I sent Chris to Bridgeport to get an education, not to pick up with tramps. You would think he’d have enough sense to have his little fling and leave her there. But no, he decides to bring her back home with him to St. Claire. For what?! He should have left her ass in Bridgeport!

Knowing that he’d just left Dylan, Kasim looked away and squirmed in his seat, desperate for a change of subject.

Kasim: Where’s Uncle Richard?

Tonya: He’s with Chris. They went to Home Depot. They’ve been gone for awhile, so they should be back any minute.

Kasim shifted uncomfortably in his seat again. He really wanted to find out what was going on with Chris and Angel, but he didn’t feel right bringing the drama to his Aunt and Uncle’s house. Then to make matters worst, Tonya had warmed up to the subject of Dylan and was not about to be deterred, despite Kasim’s attempt to change the damn subject. Feeling like he was 10-years-old again, he sat pouting as he was forced to listen to his Aunt’s diatribe.



Tonya: You know there’s something wrong with a woman when she don’t have no dealings with her family. I never trusted her. Do you know when they were staying here, before they got that apartment, she used to come out the shower, dripping water all over my wood floors and prancing through this house in nothing but a towel, cutting eyes at Richard. What the hell she walking around in a towel looking at my husband for? If she thought she was gonna come in my house and show her ass in front of my husband, she had another thing coming. I had to check that heifer more than once. And I couldn’t say nothing to Chris, because she had him wrapped around her finger. Anything I’d say to him, he would start arguing with me. I was so damn glad when they moved outta here I didn’t know what to do. Now you done went and let her sink her claws into you and destroy your relationship with your cousin. I don’t understand what’s wrong with you men. You act so stupid for every piece of ass that wiggles in front of you. Everything that glitters ain’t gold, baby. I can tell you that much. I HOPE you’re not still seeing her, and I’m not saying that because of Chris. I’m saying it because she ain’t no damn good.



Kasim: No, I’m not still seeing her.

Tonya: Why you sitting there looking like that? What’s wrong with you?

Kasim: *sighs* Can we talk about something else please?

Tonya: Oh, you uncomfortable? You should be uncomfortable. You should have never messed with that nasty ass girl to begin with.

Kasim had the utmost respect for his aunt, but he was a grown man and he didn’t have to sit and listen to this shit. He rose from his chair.

Kasim: Aunt Tonya. I gotta go-

Tonya: You ain’t got to go no where. Sit your ass back down, Kasim. I’m not finished talking to you.

Kasim: I don’t want to keep talking about that. It happened and it’s over with. I feel bad enough. There’s no need to keep going on and on about it.

Tonya: I wasn’t trying to make you feel bad, but it is what it is. Everybody in the family knows what happened and you can’t expect everyone to keep quiet, because it makes you uncomfortable. You made some people uncomfortable with the shit you did, so you should be able to handle a little comment or two. When I spoke to your mother-

Kasim exhaled loudly and rolled his eyes.

Kasim: So now everybody sitting around talking about me? Y'all ain’t got nothing else to talk about?

Tonya: If you didn’t want to be talked about you should have never-

Kasim: I know… I should have never dealt with her. I got it.

Kasim looked in the other direction and shook his head angrily. Tonya rolled her eyes and switched to another subject that she was sure he wouldn’t want to discuss either.

Tonya: What about Angel?

Kasim: What about Angel?

Tonya: Have you talked to her? If there’s any girl that you should be chasing it’s her and not no nasty ass Dylan. Angel is pretty, she’s smart and she has something going for herself.  You should be trying to settle down and start a family with her. Why would you make her get an abortion?!

Kasim: Oh my God! You know about that too?! Who told you about that?!

Tonya: Your mother is my sister. We talk every single day-

Kasim: I know that, but y'all can’t find nothing else to talk about besides me?

Tonya: Don’t flatter yourself. We have plenty to talk about besides you. 

Kasim: It’s hard to tell.

Tonya: What did you say?

Kasim: Nothing.

Tonya: The only reason we discuss you, is because we’re worried about you.



Kasim: Worried about me for what?

Tonya: We’re worried because we’re trying to figure out what’s going on with you. You’re so secretive. Every time we find out something about you, its always second hand information.

Kasim: The only second hand information you get about me is gossip. If it was something important, I’d tell you myself.

Tonya: You can’t spend your whole life jumping from woman to woman. This bachelor life that you’re living is all fun and games, until you catch some disease that you can’t get rid of.

Kasim: I’m not catching no diseases. I’m not stupid.

Tonya: That’s good, but you’re not getting any younger. You’re going to be 30 soon. It’s time for you to get your shit together.

Kasim: My shit is together. I work everyday. I got money in the bank. I don’t ask nobody for nothing, and I’m not doing anything illegal. So what’s the problem? You, my mother, my sisters - all yall do is sit around gossiping about me. Y'all need to find some hobbies. Play bingo or something.

Tonya: Kasim, please. Ain’t nobody gossiping about you. Now are you gonna answer my question. Did you find Angel yet?

Kasim: No, I haven’t found her. Actually, that’s the reason why I’m here.

He was going to ask Tonya if she knew anything about Chris and Angel spending time together, when they heard the front door open and Chris yell from the floor below.

Chris: Ma?! Where you at? Who’s Escalade is that in the driveway?

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2

While working the overnight shift, Chris got a text message from Dylan:

I just wanted 2 say I’m very sorry 4 the things I said 2 u. I didn’t mean any of it. U know I have a bad temper. I was angry bcuz u went thru my phone. Can I plz c u later so we can talk? Plz. I’m so sorry 4 everything.

He deleted the message and made a mental note to get his phone number changed the next morning.

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6

VIEW FULL SIZE PICS ABOVE

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The first night after Angel and Kasim’s trip to the clinic, Kasim spent the night with the “young tender” he bragged about to Chris. The night after that, he spent with another of his lady friends. In between work and his trysts he repeatedly tried to contact Angel to make sure she was OK, but he could tell by the way her phone was ringing that she was sending his calls to voice mail. By the third day he was annoyed that she was ignoring him and stopped calling. They didn’t speak to each other on the fourth or fifth day either. By the sixth day he was irate, but still concerned enough about her well being, after the abortion, to check on her. Without calling first, he just went to her apartment that evening when he left work.





The lock was changed.

Kasim: Now she playing fucking games?! Angel!!!



Kasim: Angel, open the door!!!

Kasim continued banging on the door for a few minutes when he heard the elevator beep. He faced the elevator to see if Angel was on it.

The building’s superintendent stepped out instead.



Superintendent: Hey, how you doing? You here to get the rest of Angelique’s stuff. She turned in her keys, so I figured she got everything out the other day.

Kasim: Excuse me?

Superintendent: Your girl? I thought she got all her stuff when she moved the other day because she turned in her keys.

Kasim: Moved? What are you talking about?

Superintendent: She moved out two days ago. You didn’t know? I was surprised you weren’t here to help her.

Kasim: Are you serious?!

The superintendent looked at Kasim nervously wondering if he revealed something that he wasn’t supposed to.

Kasim: Do you have the key?

The superintendent hesitated.

Kasim: Please, man. This is important. I just need to see this for myself.

The superintendent fished through dozens of keys on a gigantic key ring and opened Angel’s apartment door.



Kasim stood in the middle of the bare apartment in disbelief.

Kasim: This chick is really playing games with me.

He turned back towards the superintendent and headed for the door.

Kasim: Good looking out, bro. You can go ‘head and lock up. Thanks.

Superintendent: No problem. I hope everything’s OK.

Kasim nodded with a tight smile and stepped onto the elevator before responding.

Kasim: Everything is fine.

When he got downstairs he called Angel’s cell phone. Her number was no longer in service.

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Happy Thanksgiving! xoxo

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9

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Jeremy Simon: You hear me talking to you? What do you want?

Kasim: I’m here to see Angel.

Jeremy: Are you retarded?

It took a great deal of restraint for Kasim not to respond with something sarcastic. Instead he just sneered at him.




Jeremy: If someone moves away and they don’t tell you where they’re going, what does it mean?

Kasim only smirked in response, so Jeremy answered the question himself.

Jeremy: It means they don’t want be bothered with yo ass no more. Take the hint and leave my daughter ALONE.

Kasim: No disrespect, but this don’t have nothing to do with you. This is between me and Angel. I didn’t come here to start any trouble. I just want to talk to her.

Jeremy: After what you did, you ain’t got shit to say to Angelique. I  made a lot of sacrifices to raise her right. I didn’t raise her to be nobody’s fool or whore.

Kasim: I never treated her like either one.

Jeremy: Well, I beg to differ. I don’t know what rock she dug under to find a scumbag, piece of shit like you, but all I can do is be thankful that she finally came to her senses. And now that she’s come to her senses, I will do everything in my power to make sure you stays away from her.

Kasim: So you’re the reason she moved?

Jeremy: Am I the reason she moved?!



Jeremy: Are you kidding me? YOU are the reason she moved! How do you have the nerve to knock my daughter up, make her get an abortion and then ask me if I’M the reason she moved?

Kasim: Look, I didn’t come here to argue with you. I just want to talk to Angel.

Jeremy: Angelique don’t want to talk to you. So just get the fuck out of here.

Kasim: I’m speaking to you respectfully. So will you please stop disrespecting me.

Jeremy: Or what? I don’t give a shit about you or your respect. Now get your dumb ass off my property.

Kasim: Man, fuck you.

Jeremy: What?!

Kasim: You heard me. FUCK YOU AND YOUR PROPERTY! I want to talk to Angel!

Jeremy: What the hell is wrong with you?! You better pick that garbage can up right now!

Kasim ignored him and started yelling for Angel.

Kasim: Angel! Angel! I know you in there! Why are you making me go through all this?! All I want is to talk to you! Can you please come outside! Angel! Angel!



Jeremy: You wanna act crazy?! Ok, we gon’ act crazy together!



Jeremy: Now shut up all that hollaring, and pick up my goddamn garbage can!



Jeremy: What?! What you wanna do?! You feeling froggy? Go ‘head and jump! Give me a reason to bust a cap in your ass. I want a reason to do it.

Kasim: I know you need to stop pointing that gun at me.

Jeremy: You brave, huh? I know you better pick up my garbage can or your brave ass is gonna be splattered all over this sidewalk.



Jeremy: Now I’m gonna tell you one more time… Get your narrow ass off my property and stay away from my daughter. Do you understand me?!

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10

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Kasim: Chris!

Chris: I’m in the kitchen. What’s up?

Kasim: You not gonna believe this shit!

Chris: What happened?





Kasim: What the fuck is she doing here? I thought you moved in to get away from her.



Dylan: Kiss my ass, Kasim.

Chris: Can y'all give me a break with the arguing? Kasim, what did you want to tell me?

Kasim: Come in my room. I’m not talking in front of her.

Dylan: You ain’t gotta talk in front of me. I already know you made Angel get an abortion. So there! Ha ha!



Kasim:  You sitting around telling this bitch my business?!



Chris: What the hell is wrong with you? Why would you say that?

Dylan: Oh please! I don’t give a shit about no damn Kasim.

Chris: You always running your mouth!

Kasim: No Chris, you always running YOUR mouth! I can’t believe you told her that!

Chris: Let’s just go talk in your room.

Kasim: I don’t want to tell you anything now.



Chris: I’m sorry.

Kasim sucked his teeth and headed for his bedroom with Chris close on his heels.



Kasim: Listen, you gotta stop telling that bitch my business. I’m dead serious.

Chris: Alright, alright. It wasn’t like I was gossiping or talking bad about you. She’s my girl. I tell her shit the same way you tell Angel shit. You know I didn’t mean any harm.

Kasim: Just don’t discuss me with her. I can barely stand that girl. I don’t want her knowing all my personal business.



Chris: Ok, I heard you. Are you gonna tell me what happened?

He glared at Chris a moment longer to let his point about Dylan sink in before continuing.

Kasim: Do you know this girl up and moved?

Confused, Chris furrowed his brow.

Chris: What are you talking about?

Kasim: Angel! She fucking moved!

Chris: What do you mean “moved”?

Kasim: She moved! Packed up all her shit and moved!

Chris: Moved where?!

Kasim: Fuck if I know.

Chris: She moved out of her apartment and didn’t tell you where she was going?



Chris: Damn… She must really be mad at you, son. I would have never thought in a million years that Angel would do some shit like that. So what you gonna do to find her?

Kasim: I’m not gonna do nothing to find her. That’s exactly what she wants me to do. If that’s the game she wants to play, she gonna play all by her self. I’m not chasing after her. Watch how quick she reappears when I don’t go looking for her.

Chris: And what if she don’t reappear?

Kasim: She will.

Chris: But what if she don’t?

Kasim: Then that will just be the end of it. I’m not chasing her. I don’t chase NOBODY.

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9

When Laila and her friend, Tatiana arrived Chris and Kasim could barely contain their excitement. After they ate, Chris proceeded to lay his mack down and once he told Tatiana that he was a fireman, it was a wrap - she was putty in his hands.

Kasim, on the other hand, didn’t fare so well with Laila, who was playing hard to get. When he tried to get some snuggle time in she rejected him, something Kasim was obviously not used to. He looked at her like she’d lost her mind.

Kasim: You can’t be serious.

Laila: Yeah, I’m serious! Slow down.

With his tongue down Tatiana’s throat, Chris was a bit preoccupied, so he didn’t know exactly what happened, but he did notice the sour look on Kasim’s face. Excusing himself from Tatiana, he summoned Kasim to his bedroom.

Chris: Kasim, come here for a minute. Let me talk to you.

When they reached Chris’ room, he turned to Kasim.

Chris: What’s wrong? Why you sitting over there looking like that?

Kasim: Man, this is some bullshit. You can tell that bitch to go home.

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