Before leaving the hotel, Millsap pulled Franco off to the side in the parking lot to speak to him alone. Cami sat waiting for her man in the black Lexus LS hybrid that he drove around the city. The Jeep Commander that Millsap used for travel stayed parked at his mother’s house since he didn’t want to draw undue attention to himself by having too many expensive cars in one place.
I wonder if he’s talking to him about me, Cami mused, noting the scowl on Millsap’s face as he talked to Franco. I hope not, she thought, not wanting trouble in her paradise already by having Millsap think that she was attracted to his friend.
Cami wasn’t attracted to lanky Franco in the least. He was just a financial backup plan to her. She didn’t really want him at all.
Suddenly thinking about her own friend, whom she hadn’t seen in awhile now that they lived in separate places and both had steady boyfriends, Cami pulled her cell phone out of her black designer purse and called Towanna. Please don’t be discussing me, she mused, sending one last worried look Millsap and Franco’s way before she dialed.
Unknown to Cami, the new generals had a business/friendship pact that covered this particular issue. A pact that they made when they first came into power.
Having learned from the mistakes of their predecessors, Millsap, Mike-Mike, and Franco collectively vowed that betrayal would not be tolerated on any level of their operations, especially among the generals. They also vowed that there would be no bickering over money and absolutely no bickering over women. If faced between choosing the crew or some female, the crew always won.
As a result of that pact, Millsap was not confronting Franco about his flirtatious behavior towards Cami last night, but rather about his gambling slipup from last night. Millsap had been told about that slipup by Mike-Mike before he left the hotel earlier that morning en route to see his grandmother at the nursing home.
“Sometimes I wish we didn’t tell each other everything,” Franco complained after hearing Millsap out.
“We don’t tell each other everything, just all the stuff that really matters. The stuff that can cause the whole crew to come tumbling down if it’s not nipped in the bud. Stuff like this gambling addiction of yours,” Millsap replied in the same firm tone that he’d used from the beginning of this conversation.
“I know.” Franco frowned. “It’s just that sometimes I feel like y’all think I’m some kind of child that needs looking after or something. Like I’m not a man.”
“If we thought any of that, you wouldn’t be a general now, would you?” Millsap reminded him. “Matter of fact, you’re the best distribution general this city as ever had. Definitely better than E-Blade ever was. You keep our product moving smoothly and you make sure all the loot comes and goes where it should. On top of that, Mike-Mike and I trust you with our very lives.”
Franco smiled at those words. He relaxed his tense stance.
“What we don’t trust you with is your own life,” Millsap continued, causing his friend’s smile to instantly vanish.
“I don’t follow.” Franco frowned.
“Mike-Mike and I don’t trust you not to self-destruct, Franco. Besides your gambling issues, you’re a sucka for a pretty face and a fine body, and you won’t wrap it up for nothing. Which means you probably gonna keep having all these babies everywhere or worse, get some kind of disease.”
“First of all, like you, I make all my women get tested before we get busy,” Franco countered defensively. “Secondly, I can’t stand rubbers. They mess with a brotha’s feeling.”
Millsap cracked the first smile since their talk began. “I wear two jimmy hats on the regular, so I know exactly what you’re talking ‘bout. I got around that problem by using the extra sensitive kind. They’re a little bit more expensive than the regular condoms, but so worth it. You should try them, man. Either that or make sure your women produce something in writing from their GYN stating what kind of birth control they’re on. Better yet, watch them take their birth control pills in front of you.”
Franco burst out laughing.
“You laughing, but I’m serious,” Millsap said, unable to keep from laughing, as well.
“I know you are and that’s what makes it so funny.” Franco replied. “Even so, I heard everything you said. After ten kids, I think it’s time for me to close up shop, too. A brotha’s pocket is hurting enough as it is trying to take care of all of ‘em. Plus, after Mike-Mike let into me last month about missing Farrell’s banquet, I’m trying to spend more time with all my kids. Especially those living in the same city as me. The ones out of town I’ll have to visit on holidays, birthdays, and other special occasions.”
“Sounds good to me.” Millsap smiled, pleased that their talk had gone so well. But then again, Franco had always been one to take rebuke well. The man wouldn’t know how to hold a grudge if one jumped into his arms and tried to cuddle there. As a result, the two men parted on good terms.
© 2008 by Suprina Frazier