Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Miss Opportunity - Ch. 10.2

The next day after church, Cami came up to Delia with a proposition. She waited until they were in the restaurant restroom to ask if she could stay in the Seegers’ pool house until she got back on her feet.

“Are you crazy?!” Delia exclaimed, looking at her like she’d truly lost her mind.

“No, I’m not,” Cami hissed under her breath. Red spots of embarrassment crept upon her cheeks at her cousin’s negative reaction and at the fact that they weren’t alone in the restroom.

Quickly remembering that they weren’t alone, Delia waited until the other female in the room exited before speaking again. “Look, Cami, Little Man will always be welcome in my home, but there is no way in the world I would ever let you stay with me again.”

“But I’ve changed, Dee.” Cami tried to look contrite.

Delia scoffed in disbelief. “Sure you have, which explains why your own daddy suddenly wants you out of his house,” she said, referring to information that Valena had shared with her before church this morning.

“And don’t think that I didn’t see you eyeing my man this weekend,” Delia continued. “I also know that you made a pass at Royal and that he turned you down flat. I mean, did you honestly think he was like E-Blade?”

Cami’s face reddened all the more.

“You know what? None of that matters anymore,” Delia continued in her cousin’s shocked silence. “All that matters now is for me to walk in love towards you, despite how you’ve backstabbed me once again. Fortunately for you, God laid it on me and my husband’s heart to add some money to what Uncle Frank gave you. This way, you will be able to start over under even better conditions once you leave London Bridge.”

Leave London Bridge? Who says I was leaving town?” Cami frowned, having found her voice again.

“If you don’t, you won’t get one brown cent of my money,” Delia told her in a no-nonsense tone.

“So you’re trying to pay me to leave town, huh?” Cami smirked. “You must not be too secure about your man after all.”

“Experience has taught me that no woman can ever be 100% sure about any man. But when it comes to Royal sleeping with you, I am 99.99% sure that he will never even kiss the likes of you.”

“Why? Because I’m an ex-con?” Cami asked defensively, sensitive about her prison record.

“No, because you’re a skank with no morals,” Delia retorted. She quickly shook her head and got herself back on track, determined to conclude their visit on a good note as planned.

“Look, the main reason I want you to leave London Bridge is to prove to everybody that you can stand on your own for a change,” Delia went on to say. “Though the family is offering to give you money for a new start, we don’t think you will make the most of that start if we are around. In fact, it’s likely that you’ll spend every dime we give you on clothes and partying as long as you think you can come crash with one of us once the money is gone. I’m hoping that just like you held your own in prison without us, you’ll learn to hold your own out here in the real world, too.”

Cami remained silent, still fuming over her family’s low opinion of her. She’d show them. She’d show them all that she was just as good as they were. That she could have just as much as they had if not more.

Sadly, Cami was too busy being offended that she missed the whole point of Delia sharing the family’s opinion of her.

When no response came from Cami after nearly a minute, Delia shrugged and reached into her purse for the prewritten check she’d made out before church. This check was from the giving account that she and Royal had on reserve for things of this nature.

“Here you go, Cami,” Delia said, handing over the check. “The yellow post-it attached is the name and address of the boarding house that Bonz owns in Enfield. This way, you’ll have a ready roof over your head when you get there.”

Boarding house?! I’m not staying in some boarding house!” Cami retorted, sticking her chin defiantly up in the air. She didn’t mention anything about refusing the check Delia offered her. In fact, she almost snatched it from her cousin’s hand.

Delia’s mouth went into a straight line, despite the fact that the receipt of that check meant that Cami really was leaving town. It was hard to be happy about her cousin’s wise choice when Cami was behaving so ungratefully.

“If you had any sense in your head, you’d go back to Enfield, stay in that room I reserved for you, find a job, and start trying to make a decent life for yourself so you can get your son back,” Delia advocated in spite of her ire. “If you want, I’ll even see about getting you a custodial position at the hotel our crew owns in Littleview. As I remember, nobody can clean a house quite like you, Cami.”

“I’d rather work as a waitress at Bonz and Racker’s club instead,” Cami replied. She deemed herself too good to be a maid, even though she actually enjoyed cleaning. Besides, she didn’t have reliable transportation yet to be driving back and forth to Littleview for work. The nightclub was in Enfield and the potential for tips were better there than at a hotel anyway.

“Bonz and Racker don’t own the club anymore,” Delia informed her, concerning the nightclub the two men used to own before they went into the hotel business with Royal. “They sold it to Millsap and Mike-Mike a few years back.”

Millsap owns The Urban Revue now?” Hope twinkled in Cami’s eyes. She’d forgotten all about Millsap when she got out of prison, primarily because he was a little bit too far from where her son was. Now he was at the forefront of her mind where he would stay for a very long time.

If I play my cards right in Enfield, I might be able to snag a general after all, Cami mused.

“Half of it, yes,” Delia replied, reminding her that Millsap was only a co-owner of the club. “Now that everybody from the old crew is saved, we tend to invest in different kinds of businesses. We exchanged nightclubs and strip clubs for things like newspapers, pharmacies, hotels, and baby supply stores.”

“Thanks for the check, cousin, but I’ll find my own job and my own place to stay once I go back to Enfield.” Cami pocketed the check in her purse. She knew exactly where she was going to start looking for both – with Millsap.

“Have it your way, Cami,” Delia replied. “But keep in mind that that’s all the help you’re going to get from me and Royal. So please don’t come back with your hand out or some sad sack story a few months down the road.”

“A few months down the road I’ll be living larger than you,” Cami countered. Then she turned around and walked out the restroom with her nose in the air and without so much as a thank-you.

Delia just shook her head. She hadn’t expected anything different from her misguided cousin. She would have been surprised if Cami had responded more favorably.

Well, Lord, she’s in Your hands now. The rest is up to You, Delia prayed, looking upwards.

© 2008 by Suprina Frazier

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