Corrupted Chapter 3, Page 1Omar Tyree
A Serial E-book
Not only did Darlene and Antonio accompany Brittney Enis to a New York City nightclub, Antonio invited Double D and Chelsea along for a crew of six, including Brittney’s Impact Publishing Group co-worker, Jill Miller. They were all set to unwind, enjoy themselves and get to know each other better at a real party.
Finally, while dancing to Jay-Z and Alicia Keys’ New York State of Mind, Darlene was able to speak to Antonio in private. But before she asked him anything, she searched around the dance floor to make sure the coast was clear from Brittney and the others. She then leaned in and asked him with wide eyes, “So, what happened? I thought you said you wouldn’t ask for us. I was like, out of my mind when you walked in with Vincent.”
“I know, right,” Tony responded. He was as shocked as she was how things had happened. He said, “But I didn’t ask for you. He was just out there when I was trying to get in. I didn’t even know who he was at first, or what he looked like. But once he told me, you know, I had to play it off.”
The stripes of his bottom-down shirt and the shine of his dark hair glimmered in the changing colors of the disco lights as they danced.
“Well, what did he say to you?”
In her lean, Darlene placed her wonderful cleavage right up in Antonio’s face. She smelled good too, from her soft, flowery perfume to her peppermint breath. He was loving every second of it. The real girl was better than the advertised posted version on Facebook, and the feeling was mutual. That’s why she felt so comfortable leaning into him that way. Otherwise, she would have maintained her comfortable buffer space.
He said, “He helped to get me in first. Then he started asking me questions about my work because he overheard me talking about being a writer. He even knew I that was using a phony name.”
“Yeah, he’s like real smart, right? That scares me.”
Tony frowned and asked her, “Why?” He considered himself to be smart too, and he was sick and tired of people assuming negativities about him. He had been dealing with mental capacity questions for his entire life now, as if a Latino man could only be sexy and macho while functionally illiterate in two languages. Sure, Latinos could speak Spanish and English but not read them. Well, Antonio prided himself in doing both in both languages.
“What do you do mean by that?” he repeated. He wanted more clarity before he rushed to judge her with any conclusions.
“Well, I just don’t want to be at odds with my editor. I just wish that, you know, he would understand what I’m trying to do and not try and put me into in this little writer’s box.”
Tony leaned back and smiled it off. “That’s an editor’s job,” he countered. “I mean, they know what’s gonna sell and what’s not. This guy has sold millions of books. He knows what he’s doing. His other writer’s seem happy with him . . . except for that one woman with her husband,” he alluded.
“Yeah, I know, I know, but . . . I just hope he gets my work as is and he doesn’t try to mold me. You know what I mean? That’s why I’m so glad that Brittney’s interested now to give me more of an option. Because like,” she shrugged. “Vincent’s kind of rude too. He strikes me as one of those know-it-all guys who’s gonna try and get me to do what he wants. And I’m not saying that he doesn’t know what he’s doing in the business. That’s why I asked him out to dinner. But I just wanna, you know, make sure I’m able to find my own voice.”
Antonio heard her out and nodded. He couldn’t argue with her logic. It was all a process. They all had to feel comfortable with their writing decisions and advice. Nevertheless, Darlene was a lot further along than he was. She already had an agent on her team, and her work had been sent out to many of the editors at the major publishing houses. But Tony hadn’t been as fortunate or as organized. So he had a more desperate and urgent perspective.
He joked, “I hear you, Dar-leena, but I’ll tell you what, if he wants some of my work to shape and mold, I’ll let him have it. And I’ll be Playdo in his hands.”
Darlene laughed and slapped her soft palm into his chest.
Oh, man, do that again! he mused of her touch. She is so damn sexy. A smart girl on a misson. I love that!
Antonio also appreciated how Vincent Biddle had handled himself with class and dignity at the publishing party. Instead of allowing a dark cloud to develop into a thunderstorm with his author, he had vacated the area to allow the storm to dissipate. He was thrilled the editor had invited him out to continue their conversations as well, which he figured he would tell Darlene about at a later time. There was no sense in stirring the pot before he knew what was cooking in it. So he held his premature excitement to himself.
Meanwhile, Brittney Enis continued to discuss the prospect of signing Darlene Krause with her cohort, Jill Miller. Their dull, conservative industry gear looked out of place at the real party. But they were only there to protect and observe a new author.
“So, what do you think of her?” Brittney asked Jill.
Jill smiled, watching the young author enjoy her dance with Antonio in the distance.
“I think she has her hooks in Tony already,” she commented off subject.
Brittney looked and grinned herself. “Yeah, she seems to have a great spirit about her. She’s very likeable.”
Jill nodded. “She is. But how much do you like her work? Are you really gonna make her a competing offer? That would put us head to head with WK? And you would be personally going up against Vincent.”
Brittney sighed and said, “I know. But why not? Our policy has always been content over expense. And she strikes me as one who would agree. Or at least that’s what I’m counting on.”
Jill continued to grin. “Well, don’t count your chickens before they hatch,” she warned. “Vincent uses expense and status for everything. And you already know that he has plenty of backing from his publisher. But we can’t same the same for ours, now can we?”
Brittney exhaled again. “Yeah,” she grumbled. But this time they’re gonna have to. I really have a feeling about this one.
Chelsea had a feeling too, while grooving in her spot next to DeWayne, who refused to dance with her. They had moved out on the dance floor, halfway to Darlene and Antonio. D’s “Brooklyn’s Finest” T-shirt and gold medallion were shining in the lights, and so was Chelsea’s risqué orange dress. They fit right on in with the party crowd.
“Come on, D, let me see your rhythm. I know you know how to dance, right?”
Double D smiled and shook it off, not budging. “I ain’t never been much of a dancer, girl.”
“So, what are you gonna do in here all night, just watch people?”
As she spoke, DeWayne glanced at a group of Spanish girls, twisting, turning and singing along with the seductive ode to New York City. He licked his lips while imagining what he could do to have all three of them dancing butt naked at his Flatbush, Brooklyn apartment.
“I’m trying to do a little more than that,” he hinted to Chelsea lustfully.
Chelsea turned and followed his eyes to the three Spanish girls, dancing nearby them. She then stopped her slim hips from grooving.
“Oh, so you just got no love for the sisters, hunh?” she challenged him.
DeWayne was startled by it. “Oh, naw, it ain’t like that. They’re just right in front of me, that’s all.”
“Well, I’ve been in front of you all night, and you haven’t said anything to me.”
He grinned it off and didn’t bother to comment. He didn’t want to lose his Spanish fantasy with a complicated argument, but a rival street author had claimed a late-night romp with Chelsea after a literary event in
Chicago. He claimed she liked to do everything she wrote about in her erotic books. “And I do mean everything,” the author emphasized.
Instead of being turned on by it and wanting to experience CC’s bedroom skills for himself, DeWayne had been turned off. Fresh out of jail a few years ago, he had had his share of lose women to fulfill his manly needs. But after being burned a few times with STDs, and ending up with a manipulative, money-hungry, baby’s momma, he really didn’t have any more love for urban black girls. Although he would rarely admit it, he wanted something different now, something out of the ’hood. Even Darlene Krause would be a step up from another ’hood rat story. But you would never get D to admit that out loud.
“I mean, we cool,” he told Chelsea nonchalantly. Why bother getting into a deep argument. So his held his tongue about everything.
“So, you’re not attracted to me at all?” she pressed him. On her side of the fence, she had heard that DeWayne McDonald was gay, or at least bisexual. She figured he had jogged around Central Park a few miles with Vincent. She had her strong curiosities about both of them. Not that she wanted to take either one of them to bed, she just wanted to know the truth. And then . . . maybe she could write something about the freaky subject of Anything Goes. That’s how loose Chelsea’s mind was. It was all a freakfest to write about one day.
DeWayne told her, “Come on, we all at the same publishing house together. I’m just trying to keep it cool and professional, that’s all. I figured something like that would be honorable to a woman,” he insinuated.
Chelsea heard that and starred at him, standing her ground.
“Yeah, that’s bullshit,” she told him. “You were damn-near ready to crawl on your black knees eat Susan out earlier, and now you wanna turn around and play that workplace etiquette shit with me. I mean, we barely even see each other. I live down in Miami and you live up here in Brooklyn.”
She continued, “You talk to Susan more than you talk to me. So you need to tell that shit to her if anything. You think she’s not fucking anybody at the office? Please! She’s probably off fucking Jackson somewhere right now. Or what’s his real name, Nicolo Tubollani, or something like that?”
DeWayne smiled and corrected her. “Nikola Tubollati.”
“Whatever. He’s probably fucking her,” Chelsea persisted with a laugh. “Little Nikki.”
She was only pulling D’s leg with it, but she imagined that it was possible.
Nevertheless, DeWayne shook it off. “Naw, everybody keeps it professional, man. We don’t have all that extra shit going on. We write books and publish them.”
Chelsea grimaced and said, “Is that what you like to tell people? O-kay, if that makes you feel better. But humans are humans. And I don’t care what industry you work in, everybody’s fucking somebody.”
“Yo, you need to get your head out your panties and my draws, man,” D scoffed at her. “It ain’t about fucking all the time. In fact, let me go use the bathroom to piss,” he said as he walked away. The girl had destroyed his mellow mood with all of her crazy sex talk.
“She just mad ’cause I don’t wanna fuck her nasty little ass tonight,” he grumbled under breath as he headed through the crowd toward the restrooms. Now she had him jealous, thinking about Vincent’s editorial assistant, Susan Randolph, involved with Jackson Smith.
Could she be involved with his ass? he questioned. Naw, that girl just talking shit. Susan don’t even seem like the type.
Chelsea watched Double D walk off, and shook her head, still grinning at him.
“He’s all sensitive like a bitch,” she mumbled. Maybe he does go both ways.
But she wasn’t concerned about it. She had a professional basketball friend who was patiently waiting on standby for her in the Times Square area. She sent him an updated text on her cell phone to make sure he was still there. And he was.
“It’s all good,” she told herself with a confidence grin. “I can get mine any day of the week.”
To top things off, the nightclub DeeJay dropped her favorite song, Look At Me Now, from Chris Brown, featuring Busta Rhymes and Li’l Wayne.
“Oh, shit, that’s my song. Look at me now . . .” she sang along with it. And she swung her little hips back into action.
Susan Randolph stepped into an arriving elevator at The Millennium Hotel in Times Square at slightly after one o’clock in the morning, and she was noticeably anxious.
“Okay,” she told herself for the third time as she pressed the button for the twenty-second floor. She had been going back and forth on whether or not to take Jackson up on his invite back to his hotel room. After spending nearly an hour mulling over the idea, while hanging out on the Times Square strip of 7Th Avenue, she finally decided to accept it. However, before the elevator doors could close all the way, an older businessman slipped into the doors and jammed them to open back up.
“Sorry about that. I just didn’t want to chance waiting here for the next one,” he told her.
Susan nodded and smiled pleasantly, planning to ignore him.
The gray-haired man pressed button number twelve and began to pull open his suit tie and the top three buttons of his dress shirt. He smelled of alcohol in his dark suit.
Despite Susan’s professionalism and her no nonsense demeanor, the older man looked over her tall, delicious legs and curvy frame and zeroed in on her.
“Excuse me for asking, but are you headed anywhere in particular?”
Susan eyed him with the obvious. “Yes.” That was all she planned to say to the inebriated man. But that only got him going.
“Well, you be sure to tell him that he’s a very lucky guy when you get there.”
Susan was appalled and embarrassed by it. Why did she have to be visiting a man at that hour? Why couldn’t she be headed to her own room? Didn’t women stay at hotels alone on business trips, like men? The constant and open displays of chauvinism never failed. And she was incensed it to enough by ruffle the man’s feathers.
“It’s a she,” she piped.
The man was so startled, he rocked back in his stance as the elevator stopped and opened its doors at the twelfth floor.
“Well, that’s even better,” he commented in his stupor. “Can I at least watch?” He even stood there and held the doors open as if she would say yes. That made her more embarrassed.
“No!” she huffed at him. “Good bye.”
Rudeness was not a part of Susan’s character, but she was pissed. Nevertheless, the man didn’t budge from the doorway.
“Well, you can’t knock a guy for trying. Enjoy your evening,” he told her.
She exhaled as soon as the doors closed and was furious. “I don’t believe that!” she grumbled. “What an asshole!”
By the time she had arrived on the twenty-second floor, she was not in the mood for a romp with Jackson at all. She only wanted to see him and talk to him now. She wanted to ask him, straight up, what was the problem with men? Why were they all so ignorant toward women? And she would be including him. But once she arrived at the door of room twenty-two fifteen, she froze. She heard noticeable giggling inside of the room.
Susan frowned and listened in at the doorway. There were two women inside, giggling and speaking to each other.
“What the hell?” she whispered to herself. Maybe she had the wrong room number. Then she heard Jackson even louder and closer to the doorway. He was walking out from the bathroom inside.
“Hey, what are you guys doing? You’re getting started without me?”
Overhearing his voice and his words, Susan eyes stretched wide in panic. But instead of marching away in insult, she knocked hard on the door like the police.