Tonight was the night of Mike-Mike’s 26th birthday party. Actually, it was the first of three nights of birthday celebrations. The birthday boy usually celebrated for at least three straight days leading up to his actual date of birth.
Tonight’s party was thrown for Mike-Mike by employees from every club he and Millsap owned in the southeast. Tomorrow’s party would be jointly given by his dealership and security shop. The third party would be given to Mike-Mike by the other two generals and many of their street force at an undisclosed location.
For the current party, all club employees were given the night off and allowed to bring one guest to the event. Cami decided against bringing a man to the party, even though she had plenty of options to choose from.
Now that she was no longer acting so desperate, men were asking her for dates in droves. Cami turned them all down for the same reason she was going stag at tonight’s party - she wanted to remain available for Millsap.
But what about Leza, Daysha, and all the other women he was currently involved with?
Cami was going to get rid of them all one at a time. Whoever showed up with Millsap tonight would be the first taken down.
Not wanting to show up completely alone to Mike-Mike’s party, Cami opted to bring Towanna with her tonight. They hadn’t hung out in weeks on account of Cami’s busy work schedule. They barely saw each other in passing in the boarding house for the same reason.
The two friends planned to make up for the old and the new tonight, despite the fact that they had to work tomorrow morning. They caught up on each other’s lives on the ride to the party.
“So what’s been up with you lately, girl?” Cami asked from the passenger seat of Towanna’s white Buick.
“Besides working hard, I’ve been still searching for Mr. Right,” Towanna replied. “I haven’t found him yet, but this thirty-two-year old is still very much on the lookout.” She chuckled. “I’m even thinking about going to church with Mama Ingram next Sunday, hoping he might be there, too.”
Cami smiled. “You never know. He just might be. Me personally, I’m basically just searching for Mr. Right now. Don’t get me wrong. I would love to be in love, but as long as a man can give my body and my bank account what it needs, I’m straight. He don’t have to marry me.”
Towanna briefly took her eyes off the road and looked over at her friend. “You deserve more than that, Cami,” she said in her usual sweet manner.
Though Cami felt no judgment coming from her friend, her eyes still watered. “I don’t see how.” She frowned. “Towanna, you don’t know the kind of person that I was before going to prison. The kind of person I was just a few months ago. No woman’s man was safe around me if I wanted him. I even slept with my own cousin’s man.”
“I heard all about your past from Mama Ingram, and just like her, I’m not going to hold it against you. Especially since it really looks like you have changed for the better,” Towanna replied, returning her focus to the road ahead.
Cami’s smile returned. She couldn’t help but feel good about herself in Towanna’s presence. “See, that’s why I like you. You’re always on a positive tip. We definitely need to hang out more.”
Towanna smiled. “We would if you weren’t such a workaholic these days. You work more hours than me in a week.”
“You know a sista got to make that paper.” Cami chuckled. “I’m trying to buy a house for me and my son, remember?” This subject had been discussed at length between the two friends on more than one occasion.
“Found any good properties that will rent or sell to you yet?” Towanna asked, also aware of Cami’s difficulties in obtaining real estate with her criminal record.
“None yet. Mama Ingram suggested I switch my focus from management companies to individual owners since they are more willing to rent to ex-cons.”
Towanna frowned. “Don’t call yourself that, Cami.”
“I’m only saying what everybody else says or thinks about me.” Cami looked straight ahead with glossy eyes and flaring nostrils. She hated how society looked down at felons. How they wanted to always confine them to their past behavior, as if they couldn’t possibly change.
“Don’t include me in that number. When I think of you, I don’t think ex-con or felon,” Towanna asserted. “I think this is a woman who has made mistakes in her life and is now doing her best to correct them. I think this is a mother who loves her son so much that she saved a whole month of paychecks just to make sure the birthday boy could go on a Disney cruise with his grandfather this summer. ”
Cami blinked back tears. “All right, Towanna. You gonna make me mess up my makeup with all this sentimental stuff.” She chuckled and added, “Unlike you, I don’t have an abundance of black eyelashes. Too many tears and these bad boys will fall slap off.” Even now she reached up to make sure her fake lashes were still intact, the only thing fake on her body.
“Yes, I am blessed that way.” Towanna laughed, turning to bat her long black lashes at her friend.
“Yes, you are.” Cami smiled, deeming her new friend beautiful on the inside as well as the outside. With a personality like hers, it was no wonder that Towanna made employee of the month ever since she started working at the hotel. “By the way, did I ever tell you how glad I am that you’re my friend?”
“Now you gonna make me mess up my makeup,” Towanna replied, batting her eyelashes for a whole nother reason now as tears momentarily blurred her vision.
The rest of the ride was considerably less emotional, but no less positive and encouraging.
© 2008 by Suprina Frazier