“So there I was, minding my own business,” I whispered with a flip of my hair and a cross of my legs. I was feeling extra cute and girly now that the type of men I usually prefer to deal with were surrounding me in the backyard of Indigo’s boyfriend house.
Still thought something was off about Micah but I was going to play it cool. Never trust a lone wolf and in this case, he was the only totem of his kind besides me, around. Everyone else didn’t seem to notice anything off about him but his friends were the grimey low life, street criminal like niggas that I was known to dabble in. So I played my part as the bougie princess with the long pretty hair. Nothing over the top. Just cute basic leggings, sneakers with patterned socks and Prince purple rain concert shirt. I brushed my hair down to one side of my chest and out of habit began to twist and loop the thick strands into a long braid.
We sat in the backyard behind Micah’s small brick home with flimsy plastic white chairs and a black table for playing cars. All three of his homely looking homeboys came in large, medium, and extra large with the extra small one being stuck in the kitchen playing on the stove. Micah himself seemed like your typical sheisty hood booga. Slick eyes, pointy goatee and the low fade. Legs wide with the waving knees as he leaned back coolly in his seat with Indigo sitting on his lap with her signature white cornrows, gold hooped earrings she never wears and leggings with a hoodie and slides.
She was cute. My cousin was cute with her little man sitting like a scamming king on his throne. I didn’t trust him not one bit, and I didn’t like how he touched up on my cousin in front of everyone. As if he was letting everyone know she was his, but I was going to keep it cute for now.
“Just minding my business and sipping my wine,” I continued. “His mother is screaming his name, Percy?! PERRRCY! Get down here! Mind you?” hand thrown out for emphasis, “he and Jasmine just finished knocking boots and shaking the house. I’m watching this old lady walk her old behind up the stairs, demanding her rich son and his wife to come down. Candles freshly blown out and when she walked up there and turned the corner? She let out a sick scream---AHHHHH! MY GAAAH!” I shrieked, grabbing my face as a few of the homeboys laughed. Indigo smiled while Micah just stared. Corner of his grin lifted just a little but I rolled my eyes and cleared my throat. “I said, what?! What happened?! I’m thinking they done died and she saw their bodies laid out, because again? Four Lover’s Feast candles at once? Oooo chile, if they didn’t die from sex, they wasn’t hunching right.”
“Or damn near close to it,” Indigo muttered as we leaned in to tap red cups in shared laughter.
“So the mama comes rushing down the steps yelling, I gotta go! I have to go! I was never here! I said what?! What did you see?! She just says, I was never here. Don’t let my son know I was here. Now I’m panicking and decided to go upstairs and see for myself because I was about to call the police and dip. So--”
I could hear laughter coming from behind as I glanced back seeing a few more bodies walking into the house. Micah tapped Indigo’s thigh to motion her up so he could greet the newest house guest.
“Hold that story sweetheart, lemme bring this fool out here first,” Micah said with a tap on my shoulder. “Nigga what you been up to?”
The commotion of laughter and manly talk erupted behind us as Indigo sat down in the chair with a nervous grip of her braids as she smiled at me.
“Well?” she whispered.
“I’m on my best behavior Indie---”
“I know but do you see what I see in him? He’s not so bad. A little rough around the edges but he’s really nice. Doesn’t raise his voice at me when we argue… We actually communicate and he’s attentive…”
“Mmmm hmmm,” I hummed, hiding my smile behind the red cup as I took a sip.
“Lu, I could go on and on about Travis and the list of trash men you date---”
“I didn’t say anything!” I laughed with my hands in the air for surrender. I looked around, making sure the friends were all back in the house before leaning in towards my cousin, “his friends are all bums though. Hood accessories I didn’t ask for, but yall are cute. I’ll give you that.”
“Thank you Lu,” she smiled before dragging her chair closer to mine, “now what did you end up seeing with Jasmine and Percy? You never told me and I was on the phone when it happened.”
“Oh girl,” I drawled out in a low voice, ready to spill tea, “them two were laid out on the floor a---”
“Ahhhhhh you ain’t shit bruh! Come on out here and quit playing! My girl and her homegirl is out here,” Micah laughed as I felt my lips snarl. We turned back to see the newest house guest walk out with locs spiked in different directions, pushed back by a single rubber band. Black basic t-shirt with holes around the shoulders, dark grey sweats, and regular black sneakers with no particular brand on them, his expressive eyes and grin against his dark complexion was enough to make my skin crawl. He wasn’t exactly just human. He had a totem. I just couldn’t pinpoint what it was, but he was definitely more than meets the eye.
“Indigo, this is Akil. Member, I told you about his crazy ass,” Micah introduced as she stood up to shake hands.
“A dream catcher named Indigo,” he said in a low, twisted voice. Accent southern but traveled like he’s been all over, same with Micah. “You’re an Indigo Child?”
“Hardly,” she laughed with her hand on my shoulder to get me to turn around in my seat, “and this isn’t my homegirl, she’s my cousin. Although she feels more like an annoying big sister at times. Tallulah Skye.”
“My bad, I’m a little drunk already,” Micah laughed as I kept facing forward, checking on my phone. Everything in me was telling me not to be a bitch and act like I have some sense, but this is just one of those nights where I decided I didn’t want to be friendly anymore. “Tallulah?”
“I hear you, I’m answering this text right now,” I lied before standing up to turn around.
“Aye, I wanna know what happened with the rest of the story?” another guy called out.
“Oh!” I laughed, turning back around with a whip of my hair, “the story about Percy and Jasmine with the sex candles? Well they didn’t die or I wouldn’t be here to tell it.”
“Oh so it's just...fuck me then?” Akil said from behind as I turned back around with a fake smile. He was even uglier up close and the way he was looking me up and down with the nerve to just be an inch or two taller than me, it was sick.
“I didn’t see you,” I smiled.
“Nah, you wasn’t tryna see me. It’s cool. Not all of us can be pasty white boys,” he said as my mouth dropped. I immediately looked at Indigo who looked to Micah, “nah don’t look at them. I can tell by how you approached me and the lack of respect. I can tell you ain’t been with a real man or was raised by one, just by that little move you did.”
The entire backyard went silent with the exception of the TV playing from the house and a dog barking before hacking up like he was choking on a bone. Akil took a seat across from me with his drink, slapping hands with everyone but I glared at Indigo who kept her eyes on Micah.
“I don’t even remember mentioning it to him,” he shrugged. “Akil don’t mean no harm by it. He’s cool to people that are cool with him.”
I slowly sat back down with my eyes on everything but Akil as he spoke and chopped it up with everyone. Indigo was already frantically texting me but I turned my phone over when she cleared her throat.
“Okay so aside from that, we want to hear the rest of the story. How did you find Jasmine and Percy?” she asked. “How did---”
“Lemme just say this, and this goes for everybody here,” I started as Indigo pinched the bridge of her nose in frustration, “who I sleep with, and who I choose to be with is nobody’s business but my own. No matter what you heard about me, it's nobody’s business---”
“As you tell us a story about another person and who she fucking with,” Akil laughed.
“Are your feelings hurt because I didn’t speak?” I asked. “Why you giving me all this energy? I don’t know you, I’m not trying to know you.”
“My feelings are a lil hurt,” he pouted in a low voice. I felt my tongue slip out with a slow lick of my lower lip before shooting up from the plastic chair to cross the backyard. My hair was whipped behind me before standing directly in front of Akil’s knees.
“My name is Tallulah. I’m a spiritual medium. My father is a healthy, loving, and discerning black man who raised me as his own since my birth parents decided to leave me in the woods somewhere. I prefer men of no color for personal reasons that are no concern to you, and I’m an alpha bitch at heart and in spirit. My boyfriend is twice your height and had he been here, he wouldn’t have tolerated any disrespect directed towards me. Your name?” I asked as Akil’s eyes danced in the dark while staring at me. He suddenly shrugged coolly before standing up in front of me, height almost identical as he shook my hand.
“Just Akil. Nothing more.”
“Great,” I smiled before turning to walk off. As soon as I plopped back down in the white chair to glance at my phone, I looked up to see everyone was staring between Akil and I. Micah simply smiled while slyly sipping his red cup. We sat across from one another like Kings and Queens at a dinner table with our subjects watching the struggle for power between us.
“Soooo… Akil?” Indigo dragged, trying to shift the attention, “I---”
“You got a staring problem too that I need to coddle?” I asked as Akil’s brows shot up in surprise before he smiled, “or can you manage not to look less like a creep nigga and look elsewhere?”
“Why you so angry baby?”
“I don’t like what you said about my Daddy and I’m waiting on that apology---”
“So communicate that. I’m a grown man. Don’t lash out. You don’t know me or how I may react to your disrespect. Communicate---”
“Is it disrespect or I’m just not kissing your ass off the top?”
“I wouldn’t give you my ass to kiss. My dick you could suc----”
“Okay! Okay!” Indigo let out as I stood up with my loose braid swinging.
“All that horse hair going to yo head baby, I’m not yo enemy,” Akil laughed as I ducked my head down, gripping my hair before wrapping it in a messy bun on top of my head, “all that energy could be used to clear up that skin---”
“Stop it!” Indigo snapped before she glared at Micah who tried not to laugh, “and you think this is funny? Letting your friend disrespect my cousin?”
“You saw how she treated him the moment he walked in the door---”
“Nah, Indigo let him keep talking. Your boyfriend is showing his true colors which is what I’ve been waiting on because this little front he’s putting on his bullshit, and Akil… Whatever the fuck he is, is a nonfactor.”
“Out of respect for Indigo, I’ma let yo bitter ass cook but you came in here with a motive. Came in here already feeling a way about me and I can’t change that, but you not gonna disrupt the peace in my house amongst my friends and relationship. Either get the fuck out, go home and think about it, or chill. Nobody was being disrespectful until you stood up on that shit. If you don’t like or trust me, ain’t nothing I can do but just continue to prove my worth to my woman, not you. I don’t owe you shit Ms. Tallulah Skye so take yo leave or chill the fuck out.”
The backyard became quiet again as Indigo’s demeanor and aura slowly retreated, going mute as she stood up, and started for the house.
“Aye, it's probably time to get going anyway. My ol lady probably think I’m out at a club or something,” one of his friends said as the circle in the backyard began to disperse. Micah got up to follow Indigo while the rest made it a point not to speak, despite me being friendly to them by telling Percy and Jasmine’s business. Didn’t care. I stood firm on my beliefs that something was off about Micah and with Indigo’s violent past and record with men, I promised myself to never be too careful.
“I wanna apologize,” Akil suddenly said as I turned around. Just seconds away from the sliding glass door, ready to console Indigo before leaving when I studied Akil sitting coolly in his seat with his knees spread, and red cup to his lips. His shifty eyes studied me over the rim before pulling back as he licked his lips, “I shouldn’t have said those things to you. You just caught me off guard is all, and I went into defense mode.”
My shoulders relaxed before rolling my eyes before walking over to stand in front of him with my hands on my hips.
“I apologize too. I’m just protective over my cousin and her lil boyfriend isn’t moving me right now.”
“But you realize he don’t have to,” he said as he sat up to look up at me, “you know as her man he don’t owe you shit. That’s like you and me being together and somebody in my circle don’t really fuck with you. What that got to do with my relationship with you? Nothing. That ain’t my problem. You’re an alpha protecting yo beta, I get it.”
“How long have you known Micah?”
“Long enough,” he replied as his eyes began to wander to my thighs, “we used to run around on the streets together a few years back. I’m in town with my brother looking for our sister so I’m just passing through.”
“Would you trust Micah with your sister?” I questioned.
“I wouldn’t trust that nigga with two dollars,” he stated as our eyes locked. “I wouldn’t trust me for that matter but the things we had to do, we did to survive. Nothing more.”
“Aye!” Micah called out as we both looked back to see him hanging out the doorway, “we turning in. Hit me up tomorrow when you get the chance or there’s some blankets on the table if you staying over Akil.”
With that, Micah turned back into the house as I watched the lights shut off. Not so much as another word to me as I faced Akil once more. He reached down to adjust his grey sweats and it was then that I saw that print. Brief print of the rim circling the tip as I smiled.
Shifting gears and motives altogether I thought, this would be too easy for his simple ass. Work him up, get him to tell me everything and leave his ass dry on blue.
“Akil,” I said innocently, picking at my nails, “now what would you do if you were me? I’m fiercely protective over my family, my pack especially and Indigo who has been through more hell than you could ever imagine with her past ex boyfriends. Each being the same bullshit. They become obsessive, protective, violent, and manipulating to keep her around… I’m getting these same vibes from Micah and unfortunately, I can’t hide my true nature, you understand?” I asked as my loose bun sloppily unraveled to my right side. Akil’s eyes watched the move with interest before his eyes reached mine again. “I just want to make sure I’m doing my part before I include the men in my family and believe me… they are emotionally charged by the moon and aren’t afraid to show teeth as am I,” I smiled sweetly as I stepped further in between his legs, “now what would you do in my situation?”
Akil’s eyes grew wide at my sudden forwardness. His eyes couldn’t help but study my hips and trace my thighs as gently rubbed them together like I was trying to get closer. Whatever he is, he was going to get a whiff of these charged hormones one way or another, and if I did end up sleeping with him, this would be my fuck you to Travis before breaking up with him.
“You got plans later on?” he asked.
“What you tryna do?”