Cash Only: Chapter 9
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“Ok, so I have something to tell you guys,” says Nyla. “It’s kinda serious, and I need you both to give me your honest opinions, ok?”
Tracie and I look at Nyla. “Go head, Mama,” I say. “What’s up?”
We are all sitting on Tracie’s living room floor with a chocolate cheesecake and our second bottle of white zinfandel. Nyla is playing with her hair, so we know she’s nervous about something.“Um, today,” says Tracie, picking up Koffee and putting her in her lap.
“Alright,” starts Nyla. “No judgments?”
“Of course not, girl. What’s up?” I ask.
“Donte asked me to move in with him.”
I look at Tracie, who is looking at me. Nyla looks between the two of us. “Ya’ll heifers going to say anything?”
“I mean, are you seriously considering this?” asks Tracie. “Doesn’t he have kids and mess?”
Nyla sighs loudly before laying back on one of Tracie’s purple throw pillows. “Yeah, he has a son, Trace,” she answers. “Just one. And I am seriously considering it. I know what he does, but that’s not who he is. And girls, what I feel for him …”
Her voice trails off and she looks at the television, currently playing Clueless––the part where Cher is looking for her white shirt from Fred Segal to take her driving test.
“You think you love him, Mama?” I’m surprised that Nyla is even considering this. She’s the smart, by the book one who is usually talking Tracie and me out of some craziness. Well, mostly me.
Still twisting her hair, Nyla nods. “Yeah, I think I do.” She rolls over, hugging the pillow to her chest like a schoolgirl. “He is so sweet to me and so willing to go outside of his self, his world, to make me happy. You know we’ve been to plays, to sushi restaurants … he’s just good to me.”
Tracie is smiling all big, looking like she’s going to cry tears of joy or something.
“Aww, Mama, that’s so good!” She walks over to Nyla and lays her head on her shoulder. “Why were you nervous to tell us? All that matters is how you feel. If you love him, we like him.”
She stops and looks real confused for a second. “Wait, is that how that saying goes?”
Tracie laughs, breaking the seriousness in the room. Nyla is laughing now too, sitting up she tosses the pillow at Tracie. “I think it’s, ‘If you like it, I love it,’” she laughs. Then she turns to me. “You haven’t said anything baby.”
I really wish they would stop calling me the baby. I am 22. “I mean, I think it’s a little fast and not really the smartest move,” I say. “I don’t think you can trust him, and all this stuff he’s doing for you; it’s cause it’s early.”
I shrug, pulling my curls into a ponytail. “You’re smarter than this Nyla.”
Tracie and Nyla’s smiles fade, like I just said something new. “Wow Lynda,” says Tracie. “Way to be supportive. You don’t see us telling you not to deal with Killer.”
“Nice, using his stage name Tracie,” I say. “But, really? Aren’t you the one saying you won’t deal with Tyler because of what he does? But it’s cool for Nyla to move in with Donte?” I can’t believe how contradictory she is being.
Nyla is silent, but not Tracie. “I am not currently dating Tyler, Lynda. We haven’t spent the time together that Nyla has with Donte, and you know our girl has her head on straight––you think she’d go into something like this blind?”
Tracie shakes her head and reaches for the wine. “I think you’re just jealous.”
“Jealous of what?” I ask.
“Of not having what Nyla has with Donte with Dylan,” she says.
I laugh. “Me and Dylan are just kicking it. I’m not getting the game mixed up.”
Nyla gets up and starts collecting her stuff. “Well Lynda,” she says, “It’s not like I haven’t thought the same things. But I can’t worry about what you or anybody else thinks. I have to follow my heart on this one, this one time. If I’m wrong … lesson learned.”
She walks over to Koffee, pats his head and side hugs Tracie. “I’m out ladies. Thanks for listening.”
Nyla leaves and Tracie starts cleaning up, not saying a word to me.
“It’s late,” I say. “I guess I’ll head out too.”
“Take the rest of this cheesecake with you,” she demands. “Don’t leave all that fat in my house.” She laughs and shoves the box at me and I know things are cool.
“Alright, like I need the fat.” As I turn to leave Tracie’s phone rings. “It’s Tyler,” she says.
“Of course it is,” I say. “Bye girl.”
I walk to my car and check my phone: no missed calls. I’d never admit it out loud––and I do think Nyla moving in with Donte is a risk––but I was a little jealous of Nyla and Donte’s relationship. But what was worse was that I did care for Dylan. I cared a lot.
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*Photography by GMO Photo Editor, Billy Montgomery