Playing The Game
The Discovery Part 3
Attempting to block Cat’s stare by pushing Henry into the opposite direction was a big mistake. "Oh you want to get fancy like dancing with the stars? I got you!" Henry said with excitement. Fun loving Henry has been my friend about as long as Marcus. We all met at Brooklyn’s summer camp when we were 5 years old and he and Cat became my protectors and we have stuck together ever since.
Henry calls me lil sis even though we are the same age; he’s older than me by a few months so I know from the sound of his voice this dance is about to get very interesting! This 400lb former NFL defensive lineman picks me up by my waist and puts me in the air as if I was light as a feather yelling, “Ta-Da, you didn't know I had skills, Warren Sapp eat your heart out!” Everybody on the dance floor is laughing and if as on cue the firework display explodes in the summer air.
"Boy put me down." I said embarrassingly. "I will if u pose for me", Henry cheerfully said if we were really on dancing with the stars. I poised with the grace of an Alvin Ailey dancer and we look at each other and say "Ta-dah!" Everyone on the dance floor is applauding and Cat's is laughing his head off from the sidelines and yells, "Warren Sapp ain’t got nothing on you, Big Sexy!"
The truly spectacular fireworks begin and the wait staff brings out champagne and sparkling grape juice as the dj announces that the birthday toast. Marcus and Shannon stand on stage, Marcus his arm is around her waist and begans his speech while the dj softly plays the instrumental version of Keyisha Cole's "Sent From Heaven" to set the mood.
Tears began to flow from Marcus’ eyes as he tries to speak, thus causing a change reaction among the 200 family and friends. All with the exception of Shannon, she strangely held her impressive Barbie doll smile and only wiped his tears when the press cameras were shooting pictures of the “picture perfect” moment. Is it just my heightened feelings that have me suspicious about Shannon’s odd actions or am I sensing something here?
Through the tears, Marcus begins, "God has been tremendously great to me, his grace is so overwhelming that I got to, I have to, I must give him ALL the praise!” "Though I am no where near perfect, the Lord chose to spare this here backwoods country boy’s life to let me see my 40th birthday,” and before he could go on, Mama Pansy let out a yell, “HE’S A WONDER! GLO-RAY! and breaks forth into tongues causing the backyard to turn from a party to the church house erupting into hallelujahs’, amens, and hands raising in the air in praise.
Marcus points toward the sky as he speaks; "I thank God for my parents. Life for us wasn’t easy but Dad taught us the value of a dollar & hard work, and Momma taught us the power of God and prayer. Because of these values and whippins, look at us now! Our life is blessed, not because of the stuff we have and yes they are wonderful earthly blessings but we are blessed because of the love we share. You young brothas out here thinkin’ that stuff and money will bring happiness, so you start livin’ foul trying to obtain money not real wealth, but I am here to tell like just like the song says, "more money more problems,” you find out that you can't trust folks, you even start second guessing family cause they know how to pull on those heart strings, and they might become the very ones that hurt you the most over this thing call M-O-N-E-Y!"
Henry mumbles under his breath, “Yeah superman, you must be talking to yourself cause you the one holding kryptonite in your arms." I elbow him. Marcus continues, "So if you never listened to Unc’ before, listen to me now, the greatest blessing a man can have is not wealth or fame but the favor of God, health, the love from his family along with ride or die friends and I have truly been blessed with all the above!”
Applause fillsthe night air as Marcus composes himself. “Now enough with all this crying” Marcus says smilingly. “This is not a funeral but a celebration, so show your love for Ms. Keyisha Cole!" Everybody screams in delight as Keyisha takes center stage singing "Sent from heaven.”
Henry hugs Marcus as he walks from the stage into the crowd. “Thanks for the gift bro this party is going down in history,” Marcus says after they break their embrace. “Anything for my brother” Henry said. “I thought Ms. Cole would be the icing on the cake since someone thought they were going to upstage me with bringing the young brothas from the yard to step without letting me in on the surprise.” Henry says rolling his eyes at me in just.
“Y’all two work it out among yourselves, I have a beautiful woman that I must dance with before she leaves tonight to go back to LA, you know Ms. stylist to the stars, no rest for the best!” Marcus says as he walks Shannon to the dance floor and that’s exactly what Shannon was, a beautiful specimen of a woman, 5’ 11, size 6 of Japanese and African American descent. She looked radiant in her Emanuel Ungaro mini and her over all look was that of perfection. But she possessed one flaw that Henry could not overlook despite her beauty, charm and intelligence. That flaw was from her past as a NFL groupie. Marcus and Shannon met at a pre-super bowl party hosted by Henry and some of his former teammates. One of the party's premiere "a la carte hoes" was how he had described Shannon.
“Bullshit,” Henry mumbles. “Hush, boy,” why are you still hating all up on Shannon?,” speaking up for someone that I was suspicious of myself. “I hate to burst your bubble cause I know you have always been that trick’s number one cheerleader so I must show you something,” Henry says taking my arm. “Show me-no tell me because I want to hear Keyisha” I asked trying to release his firm yet gentle grip. Henry moves closer to my ear to speak so that I can hear his urgency above the noise of the concert. “No, you’re coming with me, I told you 5 years ago when he was about to marry the trick that Cat couldn’t turn a ho into a housewife, but no! Your “positive” behind kept saying they really love each other! Since you didn’t believe my words then maybe you'll believe your own eyes now.”
“Where are we going?” I asked walking as he leads me. “In Cat’s bedroom” he says without losing his stride. “What are you crazy? I am not going into their bedroom," I try to tell him attempting to stop the madness of breaking and entering into another woman’s sanctuary. “If you stop, I will pick you up and explain to everyone you’re drunk.” Henry said with the quickness.
We enter the back of the house through the kitchen and Henry informs the security guard who's also a friend, where we were going and to text him if anyone especially Cat was coming in our direction. Apparently, everyone knows what’s going on in Marcus’s and Shannon’s household but me. Henry unlocks the bedroom door with a key hidden in the wall, opening the door to one of the world’s most majestic bedrooms.
We walk past the sitting parlor where Henry kicks the Louis Vuitton luggage that is sitting outside the parlor door. “Henry I assume those are Shannon’s” I imply looking at him as if he has lost his mind. He looks back and says, “Smell that?” “Smell what?” I say. “All I smell is Cat’s Issey Miyake cologne.” “Yeah, Henry leans on the bedpost, “No scent of a female at all, strange isn’t it,,”he says “Follow me, since you've been MIA for a year, things have change and you need to see this for yourself”, he continues as we scope the room like CSI agents looking for traces of female life.
We enter Cat’s closet. I have only been in his closet room twice it's breathtaking, dark wood cabinetry, sitting area, four way mirror, the works. But this time it really took my breath away, the closet reflected Cat’s anal personality, perfect in every way but where were Shannon’s clothes?
My thoughts begin to race, was I the cause of this, did I bring about this destruction due to Cat’s & my one night of passion? How did she find out? Did he tell her in guilt? So why was she acting so wonderful towards me tonight? My heart aches, my eyes tear up, and when my brain can’t compute anymore internal questioning, I black out, falling to the floor knocking over Cat’s accessories, his ties and belts, all tumble down to floor along with me.
"What da hell!", Henry shrieks as he rushes to sit me up, “Lil sis are you ok, I didn’t think you were going to react like this.” “What happened?,” I asked. “You passed out after you saw that the trick doesn’t live here anymore.” Henry answers. “Stop calling her that! When, why?” I ask puzzled. “Promise you won’t pass out again?” I shook my head ok and braced myself for what Henry was about to say, Shannon had found out Marcus had cheated on her.
Henry begins, “All that you saw outside between Cat and that tri.. umm, Shannon was a show, a fraud, their marriage died a long time ago. Lil sis, our boy is sprung, he wants her back in the worst way but like I told you, she never loved him. She left Cat over a year ago, right after his heart attack. She couldn’t deal with the thought of taking care of him. I just found out about the situation last week when I surprised Cat with my early arrival. He has been covering up her absence from the fam for drama sake in hopes that she will come back to him. She wants a divorce but she doesn’t want to lose the lifestyle... can we say prenup! But don’t worry, she isn't left out in the cold by no means, softhearted knuckle head laces her up each month, bought her the LA condo she wanted, the deed's in her name, and Cat set her up with all of her Hollywood connections! That's love for ya, now let me get you some water.”
Henry gets up and his phone buzzes, the text messages reads, “Cat's lookin 4U & headin UR way GET OUT NOW! ” Henry looks at me in a panic and says, “Cat's coming!” “What!” I scream. Henry covers my mouth, “Shh get up and go hide in the bathroom!” As I scramble to get up from the floor, I hear, Cat calling “Henry are you in here! You betta not have some female up in my bedroom!” Henry races out of the closet area leaving me behind with no time to run into the bathroom, so I hide behind the jumbo wicker hampers filled with Cat's funky clothes. At this point I am thinking to myself, "Why in the world did I follow Henry into this craziness!"
“Henry, where are you freak, you betta not have that female up in my shower!” Cat’s voice gets closer. Henry answers him with a quick lie right in the front of the closet room door, “Man, I’m looking out for you, one of your sister’s friends wanted to see how my boy’s living so I am taking her on the grand tour, she’s out on the balcony listening to the concert, it's all good.” “Enough with the grand tour, bring that chick out to "see" the concert and not just "listen" to it from "my" bedroom balcony. And by the way, the balcony is off limits too. I never got my freak on out there, so you betta not either! Not that anyone would be able see your big black naked ass out in the dark anyway, let alone find your itty bitty johnson, if you did" I hear Cat jokingly tease as he walks away. Henry answers, "Oh that's suppose to be funny, I know you're threaten by all this sexy dark chocolate, you pale possum faced broke down pimp!" They both break out in laughter and I giggle in my mind.
Henry comes back in to rescue me. “Close call now let’s get up out of here before green eyed inspector gadget comes back” Henry says as we both hurry to put things back in place. “If Cat knew I told you he would be furious, he told me yours and William’s marriage still isn’t the best and he doesn’t want his problems added to your drama and from your fainting spell, I understand.” he says and kisses me lightly on the cheek.
Henry doesn’t know the half of what’s going on in my psyche right now. Mama Pansy said I was the one who needed a healer, I believe this time the shoe is on the other foot…