Boss Lady, Page 3Omar Tyree
Jason began to smirk. His sister was putting us both in check. But it was her right to do so as our guardian for while we were out there in her care. I couldn’t blame her. She had to let us know who was the boss, I guess. And we got the point. Quickly!
However, once Jason and I were out on our own in L.A., my cousin went right back to his plans of becoming a summer gigolo from back East, while hollering at as many California girls as he could. He was making crazy U-turns inside the Lexus they had rented for him and everything.
“What are you doing?” I asked him from the passenger seat. I could see my life passing in front of me as cars peeled out in our direction.
“I got this, girl, stop sweatin’ me.”
“No, you need to stop sweating them,” I responded, referring to all the girls he insisted on talking to. I just didn’t understand guys on that level. How many girls could you actually concentrate on at one time and keep your focus with anything? It just seemed to me that the more girls he talked to, the less he would get out of them. Unless he was just looking for whichever one would give him sex the fastest.
“Hey, Ma’, you need a ride somewhere?” he swung next to the curb and asked a caramel girl in long, brown braids.
She looked inside the car and directly at me.
Jason read her eyes and said, “Oh, don’t worry about her. She just my little cousin.”
Before the girl could clear her mind, I said, “Oh, so now I’m your little cousin. I wasn’t that before you tried to get some,” I said loud enough to instigate a scene. I was getting fed up with Jason.
He looked into my face to read my game plan.
He said, “Vanessa, stop trippin’, all right.”
“No, you need to stop tripping,” I responded to him. “I mean, that’s just downright bold. You gon’ say that right in front of my face.”
The girl read my insanity inside of the car and got to stepping. But it looked as if she was ready to talk to him before I started my scene.
Once it was over with, Jason was pissed.
He asked me, “Why you do that?”
“Do what, Jason, protect my peace of mind? I mean, why you gotta talk to every girl you see out here? I mean, at least do it when I’m not around. You can even drop me off at the house first.”
Jason looked into my determined face and began to smile. I guess he finally realized how foul he was being. But then he said, “That’s a good idea. I should leave you home from now on.”
I don’t think that’s what Tracy had in mind for us out in L.A. while she finished her movie. The next thing I knew, Jason was on several solo missions daily, and he actually started to pull several girls over to the house.
I asked him real civilly, while he had company over the house one day. I said, “Jason, do you think it’s smart to invite more than one girl over to your sister’s house? I mean, I’m not trying to cramp your style or anything, but what if you start to have girls camping out in the neighborhood and ringing the doorbell and everything. I mean, have you thought about that at all?
“I mean, I can understand you talking to enough girls to choose the right one or whatever, but please don’t invite every one of them over here,” I told him. “I mean, that just doesn’t make any sense.”
“Look, I’ll handle mine, Vanessa. Okay. I’ll handle mine,” he snapped at me.
He was really showing off. So I shut the guest room door tightly and minded my own business, while my dick-happy cousin entertained himself all over Tracy’s house. When I walked out of the room to get some water that night, I caught Jason dead in the act on Tracy’s leather sofa.
“Wait a minute, wait a minute,” the girl pleaded to him. I made eye contact with her as soon as I headed down the stairs toward the kitchen. This girl had her big ass out while my cousin did her from behind.
Jason yelled, “Oh my God, Vanessa! Why you sneaking down the stairs?”
I wasn’t sneaking down the stairs. I was getting a glass of water, and I had a right to. He shouldn’t have been all out in the open with the girl. But I was so shocked by it that I couldn’t even say anything. I just turned around and headed back up the stairs to the room. And man, at that point, I was about ready to dime on his trifling ass. I didn’t want to make my cousin my enemy, but he was ruining my stay in California. I began to feel that I would have been much better off out there by myself.
As fate would have it, Tracy had been taking note of everything, and she had her own ways of checking up on us.
Jason and I had both been given cell phones, and in the middle of the night, I received an unexpected phone call from Tracy’s girlfriend, Kendra, who lived nearby. We had met her a few times and she was pretty cool.
“Is everything all right?” she asked me over the line.
“Hunh?” I answered in a daze. I don’t even know what time it was.
“Is Jason around?” she asked me.
I said, “Umm . . . I don’t know.”
“Okay, well, I’m on my way over there,” Kendra told me.
I didn’t think anything else about it. I mumbled, “All right,” and hung up the phone to get back to sleep. Tracy had given her friend the spare key to check up on us, so I figured Kendra would let herself in that night. And that’s all I remembered.
* * *
The next afternoon, Tracy was back home for a minute, and I overheard her in a heated conversation downstairs with her brother.
“So what time did you get back here last night?” she asked him.
“It wasn’t after one,” I heard Jason tell her. He sounded defensive.
“So what time was it then? Was it twelve forty-five, or what?”
“Yeah, around there,” he told her. “But I mean, I’m almost grown now anyway, Tracy. I’m just out here to help you out. I’m not trying to be on no curfew.”
“Yeah, almost grown,” she reminded him. “So what if something happens to Vanessa while you’re out here running the streets? I didn’t get you that car for you to leave your cousin behind.”
Jason said, “That girl ain’t gon’ get in no trouble. She quiet as a mouse. She just happy to be here. But I’m trying to enjoy myself while I’m out here.”
“How, by fucking every little girl who lets you?” Tracy asked him.
I had to hold my breath. Big cousin could get downright raw when she had to.
She said, “You didn’t learn anything from my Flyy Girl book, did you?”
Jason started laughing.
He said, “I mean, I still gotta live my own life, Tracy. And I saw who you fell for—the players.”
“So, what are you trying to do, emulate the guys in my book? Because they didn’t all end up in good places. Nor were they college graduates like you’re about to be.
“And I don’t see anything funny about it, Jason,” she told him. “That’s just plain disrespectful. I mean, you’re out here acting like you never had a girl before. And diseases are everywhere, I think you should realize that.”
He said, “Man, I’m always protected.”
“Yeah, I just wish somebody was protected from you,” she snapped at him.
“Aw, don’t even try to hate on me like that, Tracy. You went for the same game when you were young,” Jason commented. “And you still sweatin’ that Victor dude now. I heard you went past his store when you were home. And the dude’s married now.”
I was surprised that he said that to her. Jason had nerve of his own. I just awaited the verdict.
Tracy asked him, “So, that’s how you validate what you’re doing? You’re just going to rationalize things based on what I did in my life?”
“Naw, I’m just doing me,” he told her.
She said, “Well, you know what? I think you need to go do you back home then. Because I don’t want any drama coming to my house. And you know damn well that Mom wouldn’t let you bring it to hers. So you need to just stop frontin’, Jason, and act like you got some damn sense! You’re only doing this because you think you
can get away with it.”
I opened my mouth in shock. Tracy was ready to send him back home without even giving him a second chance. Things were getting intense.
Jason said, “Well, send me back home then. That girl don’t need no babysitter no way. But if she mess around and get pregnant because nobody’s around to look after her, then that’s on you.”
I couldn’t believe he was trying to put me back in it. That was foul. I wasn’t even thinking about boys like that.
Tracy said, “Look, you let me worry about that. But right now, I’m more worried about you. Because you’re the one acting all immature out here. You’re the loose cannon, not Vanessa.”
“Oh, so now I’m all immature because I like girls.”
“It’s not about you liking girls, Jason, it’s about you acting reckless with your opportunities,” she told him.
Before either of them could get another word in, the doorbell rang. I stayed glued to my spot in the room to hear what else would happen.
Tracy answered the doorbell and asked, “Yes, can I help you?”
“Ah . . . is Jason in?”
It sounded like a startled girl. Maybe Jason expected Tracy not to be home again, while he invited over whoever he wanted to invite.
“And who exactly are you?” I heard Tracy ask.
It was the Asian girl from the airport. Once I heard that, I decided to step out of the room and walk downstairs. I was curious to see how Sasha would respond to Jason getting busted.
When I spotted her at the door, I noticed that she was not alone. She had a Hispanic girl with her. They were both gorgeous, wearing bright soda-can colors, with long ponytails.
“Oh my God, aren’t you Tracy Ellison Grant from Led Astray? I love that movie! I watched it like five times,” the Hispanic girl shouted into my cousin’s face.
Sasha put two and two together and said, “So, Jason Ellison is your little brother?”
It was only obvious. Tracy didn’t even have to answer that. We all looked like family.
Jason started smiling in the background.
He said, “Hey, what’s up?”
Tracy cut straight through to the chase, still concerned about her brother’s player behavior.
“So, what did he tell you, that he lived here?” she asked the girls.
Sasha said, “Well, he said he was staying at his sister’s house for the summer. But I didn’t know who his sister was.”
“And he didn’t tell you?” Tracy asked her.
“No,” Sasha answered.
“But he did invite you over to the house.”
The girls paused and looked at each other.
“Well, yeah,” Sasha answered.
Tracy took note and nodded her head.
“So, what are you two, fashion models or something?” she asked them.
They sure looked like it to me, from head to toe.
“We’re trying to be,” the Hispanic girl answered. “Oh, my name is Jasmine Flores,” she said with her hand extended.
Tracy shook her hand and calmed down. By that time, I was right downstairs with them. Tracy spotted me and introduced me to the girls.
“This is my cousin Vanessa. She’s staying the summer with me, too. You guys all look around the same age,” my cousin stated.
“You were on the airplane from Philly with us, right?” Sasha asked me.
I nodded. “Yeah. Are you from Philly, too?” I asked her.
She shook her head. “No, I’m from Delaware. I just fly out of Philly. And I have family all over.”
Jason finally took the opportunity to get himself out of hot water.
He said, “Aw’ight, well, I’m glad everybody met and everything, but let’s talk out front,” and he walked out the front door to lead the girls away.
Tracy told him, “We will finish our conversation as soon as you get back, Jason.”
“Yeah, aw’ight, I got you.”
“Nice meeting you,” Jasmine told my cousin.
“Yeah, what a pleasant surprise,” Sasha added with a smile.
Tracy nodded her head to them and said, “Okay. You two just be careful.”
“Oh, we will,” Jasmine promised her.
Tracy shut the front door and turned to look at me. “Do you believe that? So he’s using my house as a roundabout way of getting him some. These girls know you have to have money to live up here.”
I just smiled at her. She was right. Jason was using her house to score.
She asked, “So, did you hear what we were talking about before they rang the doorbell?”
I came right out with it. “Yeah, I heard you.” There was no sense in me lying about it. I wanted to look after myself anyway.
“And what do you think about everything that was said?”
“Well, all I know is that I’m the oldest in my household at home, and I act like it. But Jason was the youngest in his household . . .”
Tracy nodded and said, “And he acts like it,” just like I knew she would.
She said, “So, you actually think you can take care of yourself out here?”
I answered, “Once I get to know my way around.”
“And what about you getting pregnant?” she asked me. I guess she felt she had to.
I said, “Well, I’m not out here looking for boys like Jason’s obviously looking for girls. But if it’ll make you feel safer, you can put me on birth control, and you can have every boy I talk to disease tested before I kiss him.”
What the hell, I was going for broke. Tracy would have done the same. So I was taking a page out of her book of boldness.
She began to laugh. She said, “All right, we’ll see if you stick to that. I can give them the condoms, too, and watch you to make sure they’re doing it right?”
I wasn’t expecting her to go that far with it. Her even bolder response made me embarrassed. I had to bury my face in my hands for a minute.
“If you’re gonna talk the talk, then get ready to walk the walk,” she warned me. “Because I never got pregnant, nor had any diseases. But what do we do with Jason?” she asked me.
I shrugged my shoulders. I said, “I don’t know. Doesn’t he have to start back at Temple in August? He’s not even planning on being here long.”
I was hinting big time. I didn’t care if Jason went back home tomorrow. That would make more peace and quiet for me. I didn’t need a lot of company. I could handle being alone.
Tracy nodded her head in deep thought about it. She said, “I have to think this over. Then I’ll let you know.”
Jason was pressed to find out what his sister and I had talked about after he left. He was sure we had had some girl talk. And he was right.
“So what she say?” he asked me.
Tracy was on her way back to her movie set in North Hollywood. They had finished all of their scenes out in the Nevada desert a week before we had arrived.
“What do you think she said?” I asked him back.
Jason said, “Look, I don’t have time for no guessing games. Just tell me what she said.”
So I told him. “She said she’d think about having me look after myself out here. And by the way, I caught that little comment of yours about me getting pregnant, and I didn’t appreciate it.”
Jason looked me in the eyes and said, “I’m just stating the facts. I mean, you can be all mousy if you want, but as soon as the right guy get up in you, it’s a wrap. And the quiet ones are the worse ones for that.”
He said, “Tracy knows it. That’s why she had me out here with you in the first place.”
I said, “Well, thanks for your vote of confidence in me, cousin,” and I walked away from his ass to leave him standing there.
Jason had nothing to say for a change.
* * *
Over the next few days, Tracy invited me out to the movie set in a chauffeured limo to serve as one of her “personal assistants.” She didn’t work me
too hard though. She mainly had me watching the process of her other assistants. They were mostly young white girls. It seemed like everyone out there but Tracy was white. I don’t know if that was a good thing or a bad thing.
“You need any more water?”
“You want me to get that?”
“Is that cold enough for you?”
“You need to make a phone call?”
I was unnerved by it all. I mean, I had seen the catering to the stars process on TV and in the movies, but to see it up close was really something. I don’t know if I had what it took to work for someone like that. Or least not by my own free will.
“Have you made amends with your mother yet?” Tracy asked me. I guess she was trying to see when she could expect to send me back home.
“No,” I answered. I had talked to my sisters, but my mother refused to have any words for me.
“So, she’s not even accepting your phone calls now?” my cousin assumed.
“That’s what it looks like.”
I felt like I was in the middle of a bridge. Tracy had invited me out to her world, but she still was not inviting me all the way in. She was leaving the door wide open for me to return. I couldn’t blame her though. Like she said, she hadn’t had any children, so it was hard for her to accept me barging in on her life. Nevertheless, she had invited me there.
Tracy finally broke down and asked me, “Vanessa, what would you do in my position?”
I guess we were reading each other correctly. We were both in deep thought about our dilemma.
I answered, “I’d give my little cousin a chance to prove herself.”
What else could I say? I believed in myself and I wasn’t planning on turning back.
I said, “I realize that everybody may not get an opportunity to really do something in life, but I feel like you’re able to give me that opportunity.”
“Give you the opportunity to do what, Vanessa? To act?”
I shook my head and said, “No, but just to be in the middle of things, where I can make up my mind on which way to go and where I really want to be. And it’s not in Philly right now.”