“What’s so important that you called me here last minute? Do you know how hard it is to find a babysitter at this time of night?” English asks me.
English shows up at the house. Keon had just broken the news to me that Joyous had slept with AK. This had changed everything. I had no idea Joyous was gay. I had no idea that he had fallen out with Joshua over this. I knew what this meant. Joshua now had all the ammunition he needed to say both of his brothers basically STOLE his man. I would be sitting there alone looking like Boo Boo the fool for Keon’s dinner party.
This wasn’t a dinner party. This was Keon throwing Joshua a PITY party so that he could get back in Joshua’s good graces.
“I’m Sean’s father, right?”
“So you said you’d help me, right? No matter what?”
English came dressed nice just how I asked him. He has on a tuxedo. It’s all black. He is definitely looking like he’s going to a 5 star dinner. I knew he would be the best dressed motherfucker in here tonight. I’m surprised he came so early too. We are the first two here.
“I’m here, aren’t I?” he asks.
“I need you to pretend to be my boyfriend,” I tell English.
English raises an eyebrow, “Nigga WHAT?”
“The man I love is here and he’s about to try to throw me under the bus to get into good graces with my brother.”
I look in the kitchen. Keon is still cooking. This dinner party was about to be a bombshell and a half. There was no way in hell that I wasn’t going to bring an explosive of my own.
“You must like this drama huh?” English asks me, “I offered you to stay with me away from the drama and closer to your son where you belong. But instead…no. You don’t want to look weak. So you want me to play your gay lover?”
“I don’t want Keon or Joshua to think they are getting under my skin.”
“But they ARE. Why you pretending?”
English doesn’t answer. He doesn’t get the chance. Someone is walking into the house. I turn and notice who it is. It’s Joyous. Seeing my brother after all these years causes me to rush forward and hug him.
“Stop with that soft shit son,” Joyous states.
“You never came to visit me.”
“I’m a felon. I can’t come visit you. You should have known that,” Joyous responds quickly, “It’s good seeing you though.”
Joyous isn’t sensitive. He never has been. He pushes me off of him like I’m ruining his swag. He gives English a nod. English nods back. I feel awkward not knowing how to introduce English to this situation. This is going to be more drama than he is used to and I see English stare at the door. He looks like he would want nothing more than to run out of that front door and never ever look back. I feel like he’s just trying to find an excuse right now.
“You been good?” I ask him.
“I don’t want to be here. Joshua just pulled up…” Joyous warns me.
The room gets silent as the door opens. I swear it feels like the center of all this family drama just walks into the house. Joshua looks nice. He definitely came to slay purposely. Maybe he knew that all the people he had drama with were going to be in one room. He walks in with a Burberry shirt on and some glasses even though it’s dark outside.
He doesn’t take the glasses off when he sees Joyous and I.
He is staring. I don’t know what to say. Joyous awkwardly gives him this pathetic half smile that doesn’t really translate. Regardless Joshua isn’t looking at us. He looks past us. I realize someone is standing behind us.
“Baby…thanks for coming.”
Joshua doesn’t respond. He just walks past us and into the dining room not saying a word to any of us. This is beyond awkward.
“I rather be in a gang shoot out that have to face a pissed off Joshua,” Joyous tells me.
This isn’t the time to make jokes but I don’t think Joyous is really joking. My brother hasn’t changed much. Jamila may have stepped her game up but Joyous came to dinner wearing a damn wife beater, covered in tattoos, with his jeans hanging a little bit low and his boxers showing. Joyous has some timbs on. He is covered in tattoos now…even more than before. My brother was the same pretty boy gangster that we all knew. He always was and he always will be.
Keon walks over to us.
“I didn’t know you invited someone else to dinner,” Keon states walking over.
He’s talking about English.
“You remember English, I’m sure,” I state.
“I actually didn’t prepare food for another person,” Keon explains, “I figured this dinner party was just going to be us.”
I see the way English looks at Keon. English usually smiles at everyone but he doesn’t smile at Keon. I wonder what is going through his head. Could he be thinking about how Keon fucked up my face before? Whatever his thoughts are I’m glad he has them because at that moment English does something I don’t see coming.
English reaches over and grabs my hand. He holds it.
“It’s OK. I’m not hungry,” English tells Keon, “I’m just here for moral support.”
Keon’s face at that moment is priceless. He had been parading Joshua and his new relationship in my face for this whole time. Now I was doing the same thing and it seemed to be hurting him SO good. The shock in his face when I hold onto English’s hand is clear.
“That was fast…” Keon says looking at me instead of English.
It’s as if he wants an explanation. Why should I owe him one? Did he give me an explanation when he moved on with Joshua.
I shrug and smile, “You know…shit just happens.”
Keon sighs, “Dinner’s almost ready. Where the hell is AK?”
Keon sounds annoyed.
“Why the fuck you asking me?” Joyous returns crossing his arms, “I don’t talk to him ever since…”
“Ever since you fucked him?” Keon ask.
Joyous walks over to Keon, “Watch your mouth.”
Joyous isn’t used to this sort of disrespect. Back in the day Keon was underneath him. Joyous was the boss. He ran shit. He told Keon to jump and Keon had to figure out how high. Keon was just footboy for Joyous. Joyous was a gang leader. He ran the streets.
Keon would have backed down back then. It’s not back then though. Keon stands up real tall to him and I swear I think they are going to fight.
“I ain’t little Keon no more bro,” Keon warns Joyous, “I’m a grown ass man and you are in my house. You should know the difference. It’s a lot bigger than that piece of shit you still live in.”
“Big man, huh?” Joyous laughs, “You still my brother’s bag boy so you think you actually run shit?”
“Break it up you two…please,” I state.
Joyous backs up, “I heard what you out here doing Keon. I should beat your ass for what you did to Joshua, but I’ll let you live. Today at least.”
Joyous leaves and walks away. I can see the gun strap from his sagging jeans. I look over at Keon. It was a strange day when someone stood up to Keon of all people. I had to respect Keon at this point for holding his own. It was kind of a turn on honestly. Keon had definitely grown up and he was no longer taking shit from Joyous or anyone else for that matter.
“We should start eating. AK can catch up when he gets here,” Keon states.
I look over at English. I’m shocked he hasn’t run out of here yet.
“Thank you for this…” I tell English.
He doesn’t seem happy about it, “Let’s just get this evening over with.”
It’s awkward as hell at the table. No one is eating. No one is talking. Joyous looks over at Joshua. Keon looks at Joshua. English looks at Keon. I look at the empty seat wondering where the hell AK is so that we can at least have a discussion because I’m dying to know what it is I’ve missed all those years ago.
Suddenly there is a knock on the door.
“I’ll get it,” Joyous states.
He gets up off the table. I know it is a bad idea before he even gets up and just a few minutes later I hear this intense arguing at the door between Joyous and AK.
English turns to me, “You OK?”
It’s sweet. I’m surprised because I notice him holding my hand underneath the table. He’s really playing a part and I have to admit that this guy is sweet. He’s so sweet. A part of me wants to just leave with him and go get a drink somewhere but it’s killing me to know what happened between AK, Joyous and Joshua.
I nod. Just when I do that though the drama starts again.
I see why Joyous and AK were arguing. AK walks into the dining room with 12 dozen fucking roses! 12 dozen! He walks in and I have to admit AK looks nice. The guy was always attractive. He was a hood guy like Joyous. I expect him to walk in with sagging pants with his ass showing, a snapback and some Jordans. I’m completely wrong though. AK clearly is putting on for Joshua but he’s doing it quite well.
He has on some fitted jeans, nice shoes and a sweater. When he walks past me I get whiff of the guy. He smells good. Everyone seems surprised when he comes in with the flowers. He walks them over to Joshua.
Joshua is the only one who isn’t looking up at the table.
“Fuck do you think you’re doing?” Keon asks Joshua.
“I love you,” AK announces his love in front of everyone to Joshua, “I always have and I always will. What I did was the biggest mistake in my life but I don’t want you stick with this dickhead and make the biggest mistake of yours. Give me another chance.”
I’m annoyed. If I was able to get some jealousy from Keon with English then it wasn’t last long because AK walking in here and being dramatic had put all the attention right back on Joshua. Keon is steaming. I could only imagine how it would feel to have a man do something like that to my lover when we were going in a rough patch.
Keon is pissed, “You disrespect my house like this?”
Joshua takes the flowers and places them on the table, “Let’s get this over with. I’m sure none of us want to be here.”
Keon looks like he wants to fight AK but he doesn’t. Maybe he doesn’t want to upset Joshua. When he sits it goes back to being awkward as fuck.
Keon starts, “I called this meeting because I feel like we have to all clear things up. Joshua is in pain and I don’t want him to be in pain anymore. I want to do the right thing and fix his family.”
Just like I thought. This was all for Joshua.
Keon doing this to fix the family is bullshit. He wanted to fix his relationship with Joshua. It’s pissing me off and I am just rolling my eyes.
Joyous has always had a soft spot for Joshua and maybe that’s why he speaks first, “Years ago I made a mistake. But I want us to move past that Joshua. Real shit…you my blood.”
“Your blood? But you sleep with my boyfriend?” Joshua asks.
“I didn’t sleep with him. I was doing what you asked me to do. I was spending more time with him to make peace after I shot him.”
“I told you to spend time with him! NOT sleep with him,” Joshua argues.
“I don’t remember anything,” AK states “I know it shouldn’t matter but it does. I never fucked anyone besides you. We had started drinking and we woke up naked together. It was the worst mistake of my life. The drinks were…potent…more potent than I remember.”
He’s blaming it on the drinks and I just know that’s a bad idea. I see Joshua completely zone out. He definitely doesn’t want to hear that shit.
He looks away.
“I’m not even gay,” Joyous states, “I don’t want this dude. I want Marcella. You know that Joshua. You forced me out of the club. Threatening to expose my drug dealing if I didn’t give you full control of the club. How is that right? You blackballed me. C`mon now…”
I can hear the pain in Joyous’s voice. it hurts him. That’s what Joshua was good at. If you didn’t do what he liked he would hit you in the pockets where it hurt. No wonder I hadn’t been seeing Joyous around.
Joshua is a cold motherfucker. He stares at Joyous and he could care less what they are saying.
“Is this it?” Joshua asks.
“You aren’t listening to us,” AK responds, “I came to you and told you what I did. You didn’t have to find out through the grapevine. Don’t I get at least any credit for that?”
“My boyfriends like to cheat on me with my brothers,” Joshua responds, “What else is new? Is this it? I have to get ready for the club tonight.”
“Baby please…” Keon states.
Joshua hasn’t eaten anything and he’s ready to go. I don’t get why Keon would invite AK and Joyous here. Was he trying to remind Joshua what AK had done to him so that Joshua wouldn’t be so pissed at him. Keon was definitely manipulating this situation. That’s clear as day.
“What?” Joshua asks.
“Jamison has to explain the story too,” Keon explains, “Jamison you have something to say don’t you.”
Keon looks over at me. Everyone else does.
I look back at Joshua. If Keon thought for one minute that I’d join the Joshua-Pity-Party then he had another thing coming.
Joshua rolls his eyes and gets up off the table getting ready to leave. Keon literally jumps off the table to get to him and stop him.
“Baby please. I did not know it was him. I had no idea that he was fucking me. I thought it was you. I swear on my fucking life.”
I think about feeling bad for Keon. I think about coming clean.
I decide against it.
“Keon was mine. Why would I apologize for sleeping with someone that belonged to me?”
“Yo—you fucking!” Keon states walking towards me.
He doesn’t get far. I’m shocked when English jumps up and pushes him back hard.
“Yo fall the fuck back man. Don’t let this smiling fool you…” English states, “You try to put your hands on Jamison again and I’ll beat your fucking ass…”
“Get the fuck out of my house and take your fucking lying ass snake with you,” Keon orders English.
Joshua rolls his eyes, “They can stay.”
“Joshua please…” Keon starts.
“Josha,” AK starts to chase him out of the room.
Even Joyous is screaming for Joshua as he walks out of the room. I’m annoyed. These idiots were going to make Joshua sore from how much he’s kissing their ass.
Before he leaves the room he turns back around.
“I don’t need any of you,” Joshua tells us, “You’ll need me before I need you and I promise you that I won’t be able to see any of this drama from the top.”
With that Joshua walks out.
The night was a fucking fail. I don’t know why Keon thought it would end up any different. AK storms off somewhere. Keon kicks us all out of the house. Joshua probably goes back to Jamila’s. Everyone is more upset after our little sit down then we were before.
I’m standing outside with Joyous right after Joshua leaves. I look over at Joyous and I can tell that he’s hurt about how this shit went down with Joyous.
“We need to do something about Joshua,” I tell Joyous.
It’s a hard truth but it’s a truth that Joyous has to hear. Joshua was power hungry and he was on a war path. We were all going to feel that shit if we didn’t do something about him soon.
“He took grandma’s club. That is our money…”
“We can’t fight no legal battles. He’d kill us.”
“Then maybe we need to kill him first.”
Joyous grabs me by the collar and pulls me close, “Yo what the fuck you this is? That is our brother. You acting like he’s some motherfucker on the streets.”
“I’m not talking about hurting him. I’m talking about something else.”
“I don’t know yet. I have to figure it out and I need you to help me.”
Joyous releases me. Clearly he’s confused.
“I’ll think about it…depending on what it is. I don’t want to beef with him no more.”
I take a look at Joyous and I can tell my brother is in pain. I reach over and put my hand on his shoulder. A hug would probably be a little too much for someone like Joyous. He doesn’t show emotion but I know that he definitely wants to fix things with Joshua.
“I don’t either,” I tell him, “But right now me and you got to stick together. We are all that we have.”
Jamila sure as hell wouldn’t have his back. I remember how Keon went in on Joyous. If Joyous really was in the hood while Keon and Joshua were in mansions then this was indeed fucked up.
Joyous sighs as though there is pain on his chest, “We’ll figure…something…out…”
I’m not sure how far Joyous is willing to go but we were going to have to go further.
I watch as Joyous leaves and when he leaves English is standing behind me.
“You ready to go?” English asks.
English is standing behind me. He has loosened a few buttons. His chest is out. He looks like he wants to take off his coat. He’s still handsome as all fuck but honestly he looks like he had just survived some type of war.
“I figured after all that shit you’d be coming to stay at my spot…”
“Oh naw…Joshua is officially done with Keon,” I respond, “I’m not about to leave Keon now. He needs me.”
English looks at me like I have two fucking heads or something at that moment. He just seems like he is completely surprised at what I just said.
“Dude looked like he was about to hit you again…”
“And I didn’t need you getting in my business.”
“Bro…you INVITED me in your business.”
“I asked you to pretend to be my boyfriend to make Keon jealous. You did that. I think it got him thinking. I appreciate it. He’s alone right now and he Keon needs me.”
“Needs you? Man he’s with your brother. You going to beef with your brother over this man? What? He got some golden dick or something? I don’t get it,” English states.
He’s judging me. He’s looking at me like I look weak.
Maybe I do. Maybe he has a point.
“Over a decade Keon was the one,” I explain to English, “Do you get that? A decade. You have any idea how long that is? And the fucked up thing about it is that I did Keon wrong. I fucked him over. How can I stay mad at him for this thing with Joshua? How many times did I fuck him over and he patiently waited for me to get back in the right mindstate and he took me back. Every single time. So now I’m going to let him realize it…”
English sighs, “Man realize what?”
“This was meant to be. Not every fairytale happened in storybooks. Some fairytales are grit. Some fairytales are grime. There are real life ogres. There are real life curses. And where I’m from niggas like me have to fight like shit for our prince charming. We got to do some grimey shit for our happily ever after. That’s just me. That’s just my reality.”
I think English understands me when I explain this. He might not agree but he understands. He nods at that moment with respect and walks away without protesting again.
I find Keon in the bathroom when I get back in the house. He is shirtless. He’s been crying. I can tell because his eyes are red. His fists are bleeding which makes me think he has been punching walls. He’s so upset at that moment. I know he’s mad at me.
“Everyone’s gone…” I whisper.
“Your boyfriend too.”
I walk over to the sink, “I’m not with English. I was just doing the shit to make you feel some type of way…”
“You so fucking petty,” he tells me rolling his eyes.
“You want me to leave?”
Keon looks up at me. He looks so fucking emotional when he does it, “I don’t want to be alone. The kids are gone. Joshua is gone. I just don’t want to be alone.”
I touch his hand or at least try to. He pulls away.
“I’m sorry. I won’t leave you. I know you hate me now…”
“I don’t hate you. This shit is karma.”
“Karma for what?”
There is silence.
“Joyous and AK…
“What about them?”
Keon is crying at that moment. He’s wailing. It just comes out of no where. It’s almost as though he believes he is being punished for something but I really am curious now. What could Keon have done that was so horribly bad?
“Nevermind…” he says through his tears.
“Listen I’m here for you…as a friend. We been going through it but look at me Keon. It’s me. It’s your Jamison. If you can’t talk to me about it then who can you talk to?”
“You ever want someone SO bad that you’ll do anything to have them?”
Was he so unaware of how much I still loved him that he would ask me that question without realizing just how ironic it was? Maybe his emotions for Joshua were blinding him at this moment. I put my hand on his shoulder. This time he doesn’t pull away.
“I can relate. Why though? What happened?”
“When you left I was so alone. And I’ll admit I became…obsessed with Joshua. He and AK were so happy. There were so fucking compatible. Joyous was warning Joshua to stay away from me. He said I was trouble. Joshua was listening. Plus my history with you was causing him to keep his distance. I kept hoping AK would fuck up. That’s how I met Graph at first. I hired Graph to seduce AK. It didn’t fucking work. Nothing worked. AK was in love with Joshua. One day… I followed AK to the diamond shop. If I didn’t do something drastic I knew I’d lose Joshua forever.”
“What did you do?”
Tears. Pain. This heaviness was in his voice. I can tell he never told anyone about this.
“It’s OK. Tell me Keon. What did you do?”
“I drugged them. I drugged Joyous and AK. Me and Graph took them back to Joyous’s spot. We took their clothes off. Left some lube out. I knew AK would feel bad about it. I knew AK would do the rest. Joyous and AK never fucked. I staged it all.”
That’s what he meant by Karma.
This was a bombshell and right now Keon admitting this to me showed that he still did care somewhat for me. He starts crying wildly and uncontrollably.
I grab Keon. I pull him close. I put his head on my chest.