Nikki Here I am on a Saturday sitting all by myself. I missed Tray. I was tempted to get up and call him to come back but I knew I couldn’t do that. I had promised my girls that I wouldn’t. I sat in my Lay-Z- Boy recliner looking down at my belly thinking about what was inside me. I had gone through a lot of **** with Tray, even STD’s, and now I was going to have to deal with his @ss for the rest of my life. No matter what had gone on between Tray and me I couldn’t deny him access to his daughter though. That’s if he even wanted to see her. If he could deny his own twins, then what do you think he would do to this one? I was getting tired of sitting in the house by myself. I needed to get out. I hadn’t heard from nan’ one of my girls and that was unusual. They normally always called me with their drama or when they had gotten into an argument. I tell ya, those two are a trip. I decided that I was going to the store down the street for something to eat tonight. It was easy eating for two. The problem was when it all came back up. Tray was even punishing me this way too. [email protected], I knew I shouldn’t have gone through with this pregnancy stuff. But no, Tray said he always wanted a girl. I’m slapping myself right now for believing his @ss. A sistah got a car and all but I don’t have that much money for gas. Shoot, gas been going up ever since September 11th so I had to save all the gas I could. Working for minimum wage everything is always cut short every which a way. So, I had to walk to the store. Thank god, it was just down the street. I had to put on some clothes first though. Although I was big as a blimp I still carried myself like I was skinny as I wanted to be. Shoot, because I was at one time (sucking my teeth). Before I got big I wore everything nice and neat and I’m not about to stop now. I don’t care if I have to pay a little bit more just for some shirts and pants as long as it’s cute and it fits me I’ll pay for it. I decided to wear a new outfit Chante bought for me last week at Lenox Mall. Chante was a sharp dresser pretty much like me. We had good taste. Now Monique, well that’s a different story. Everything she wore was revealing. She always bought stuff around those terms. Once I was dressed, I grabbed my purse, and I was out the door. It was almost ninety two degrees outside. I see why they called it Hotlanta. Being that I was raised and bred here you would have thought I was used to this kind of weather but I was about to fall flat out on my face. Shoot, I was holding two hundred pounds now and I wasn’t used to all this flab. I was used to my size five waist. I swear, if I have a stomach and stretch marks after this I’m gonna find Tray’s @ss and beat him down and if Rhonda jumps in it I’m going to beat her @ss too. She’ll probably get two whippings just for being stupid and taking him back knowing he was with me. That’s what you call a desperate heifer.You see, when he was with me I never saw any of his women and he didn’t tell me about them either. I just saw the clues. This sista knew he was sticking his suff in me and he was probably on her couch now. Yesss, I’m finally here. It seemed like it was taking forever. Being pregnant made me take baby steps. I tell ya, I can’t wait until this is over with. “Hey there Nikki, it’s been a while.” Frank said from behind the counter. Frank the owner of the joint. He was always flirting with me. Yeah, and I’m sure about every other woman that came through too. He was a go- with- the- flow type of fella. I didn’t dig those type of men. I liked hot boyz. I like the type of [email protected] that really didn’t give a you know what. I was like that since I was young. It’s been years and I’m still the same way. I like [email protected] like Tupac and 50 Cent. I wanted my man to give me everything I wanted but be a thug at the same time and know how to demand respect. I’m not talking about by beating me either because a sistah just don’t get down like that. I’m talking about a man that will talk forceful and handle his own on the street. That’s my ideal man. That’s what attracted me to Tray at first but **** I guess he was every other girl’s dream man too. “What’s up Frank? I just came in to get something for dinner.” I smiled while taking a buggy. “Oh, you fixing enough for me too.” He laughed. “Naw, just me and my baby.” I rubbed my stomach. He laughed. “Yeah, aiight.” I started walking down the aisle. Now, what do I want to eat? I picked up a box of orange Cream Savers. $4.00! Oh uh-uh, they ought to be ashamed of themselves. I know they expect me to pay four [email protected] dollars for no [email protected] Cream Savers? Well, I guess I’ll be hitting up Dollar Tree tomorrow because I’m not about to pay no four dollars for some candy and I can get it for a dollar. Don’t act like you ain’t neva shopped at Dollar Tree either. Cause you a [email protected] lie if you say you haven’t. Every black person in America don’ been in a Dollar Tree before. If you haven’t then yo @ss just ain’t black. I know I do, I’m stingy as hell with my money. My mama used to tell me that when I was younger and I’m finally admitting it. Working all day and I still ain’t got a pot to piss in. You would be stingy too. I hurried over the store grabbing my stuff for my dinner. I had to hurry up if I was going to get back in time for 106& Park. That was the show. Free be having some cute shoes. She got style. Hint, I do too. I didn’t get much. I just got some stuff for a salad, some chicken, and some red kool-aid. You know a girl got to have her red kool-aid. Growing up in Bowen Homes, a girl got used to having that kind of stuff. “That’s all?” Frank said as he looked at me in surprise. “Yeah, what did you think? I told you I was buying some stuff for my dinner.” “Oh, you gon’ do me like that?” He laughed. “Hell, yeah. You the one that owns the store. You need to be buying me some dinner.” “Naw, I ain’t gon’ be able to do that.” He laughed. “Yeah, that’s what I thought.” I paid for my groceries and headed back down the street. It wasn’t that hard walking down the steps, but I’m telling you I was about to fall back down when I was heading back up. My next door neighbor Delo came out his house and ran down to help me. He was a good man. He was a big dope dealer too. He thought I didn’t know but living in the hood I learned to know everybody’s business but mine’s. He was cute too. Shoot, I didn’t know he was that cute though. I never paid him any mind while I was with Tray but now that I look at him he was fione. He had a crush on me too. He would always come ova to the house when Tray was gone and asking for sugar but you know black folk always got sugar. I knew he didn’t need none but I gave it to him anyway. He would trip in the street when he saw me in the street and stuff but I still didn’t try to get with him because I was faithful to Tray’s @ss. Ooooooo I need to stop thinking about that [email protected] His name is only getting my blood pressure up. You know that’s the last thing black folks need. “What’s up Nikki? Let me get those for you.” He said with a baby looking smile. “Nothing.” I smiled at the verge of blushing. “Yo, I heard you and Tray broke up. What’s up with that?” He looked worried. “Oh well, yeah, we’re not together anymore. I guess, it just wasn’t meant to be. It’s a long story.” I shook my head in disgust not wanting to talk about it. His face lightened up as if he was kind of happy. “Oh well, that’s sad to hear. But if you want to though I would like to take you out to dinner tomorrow?” He smiled. Delo was real big in drugs. He was the type of man that I was looking for. He had way more power than Tray too. Being with him would really get me the things I needed for my baby. Most men wouldn’t think about talking to a girlie like me but he had been waiting for his chance for a while and I guess the baby didn’t mean **** to him. The only thing that I was kind of iffy about was his lil’ boy. I wasn’t too hip about dating a man with chilin’. His baby mama dropped him off every Saturday like clock work which meant that he was in there right now. She would be pickin’ him up tomorrow at eight. I had seen her plenty of times and she always mean mugged me like I had done something to hurt her. She looked like a straight up tramp. She always wore tight fitting **** that looked like it gave her cottage cheese. Her hair was always done and her nails were as long as they could get. She had a different man every time she came to pick him up. How did I know? Well, because I used to look out my window at her that’s how I know. Shoot, some of the men were cute. She had good taste. I hated that every man she dated had golds though. Even Delo had golds. “Yeah sure, I’ll go. Is Mike going with us?” I asked. “You want him to?” “It really doesn’t matter.” Although I was kind of iffy about his lil’ boy I had grown to have a bond with the lil’ man. Before I got this big we used to hang out and kick it together. But now, I’m as big as a house and don’t have the energy to do that type of stuff. “Yeah, okay I’ll bring him.” Just when he said that Mike walked to the door. “Hey, Nikki. Daddy can I get some ice cream?” He said whipping the sleep out his eyes. Delo looked at me then looked at him. He smiled. “Yeah, let me help Nikki out with these bags and I’ll get at you shorty.” “Okay.” He went back in. Delo went behind him and closed the door. He walked back over as I opened the door to let him in. He put the bags on the table. “Alright, eight o’clock then?” He smiled as he headed back out. “Yeah, I’ll be waiting.” “You won’t have to wait long. I’ll see to that.” He said as he walked out. Delo was a sweetheart. Well, at least he was to me. I had heard it through the grapevine that he had shot and killed many [email protected] over that paper though. He was all about business. He was a straight up family man. By that I mean he did everything he could for his son and mama. Didn’t no one come between that. They knew they couldn’t. To be honest, I didn’t even want to come between that. I just want to get in where I fitted in. I just want the paper too. I was just in it to get mines for me and my baby. God knows, Tray ain’t gon’ do nothing for us.