This Can’t Be Us – Spice Anthology

Friday, September 14, 2018

“When did you stop loving my mother,” Li’l Greg asked.

The kids, all six of them, seemed to work each other’s nerves and their parents’ too,a few of them didn’t respect Greg and Karen’s marriage. After one year, it was time to stop ignoring the issues. The weekends were the only time when they were guaranteed to be in the same house. 

“I won’t discuss the issues that destroyed our marriage,” Greg continued. “That’s not the purpose of the meeting. If you want to know the details, you should take that up with her.” Greg snatched up his glass of orange juice almost spilling some. He stormed into the spacious family room and plopped down on the leather couch.

Li’l Greg pushed back from the table; ten pairs of younger eyes following his progression as he joined his father in the family room. He dropped onto the ottoman across from Greg, leaned in elbows resting on his knees. “When can I divorce you?” he asked, as his chest puffed out. 

Greg’s hope seemed to disappear when his broad shoulders fell, his lips pressed in a disapproving line. 

“You left and now you want us to come over here and play Brady Bunch with y’all every weekend?” the teen snapped. “I’m not doing my mama like that.”

As usual everyone, all the way down to the seven-year-old, let Li’l Greg spew his anger speaking for the crew; the only time they seemed united. 

“It ain’t nothing to do out here,” he said, with a sweeping gesture of his lanky arm, “all the way out in the boondocks. It’s like you’re trying to change who you are. But, we’re still the same.” He jabbed a finger in his chest. “You can’t change me. You can’t change us.” 

And just when Karen didn’t think the man/child could go any further, a comment, which in her house growing up could’ve gotten her teeth knocked out, was blurted out of Li’l Greg’s mouth and in his father’s ear. “And she ain’t my mother,” gesturing in Karen’s direction as though referring to some trick in the street.

Karen gripped the edge of the dining room table.

Greg lunged toward his son, screaming, “You’re out of line.” He pulled up short, mere inches from his son. “Get it straight; your mother stopped loving me, not the other way around. When will you understand that?” Greg’s sudden movement wiped the smug look off his son’s face. 

Li’l Greg didn’t respond. His expression went from arrogant to humble. Even though his towering stature meant he could’ve stared directly into his father’s eyes, he wisely avoided his glare. He had been all mouth a few minutes earlier, but he wasn’t that crazy. 

When Karen angled to place herself between the two Gregs, Ava looked up to see who would make the first move and what the move would be, her eyes poised to type. At fourteen, she never said much but that didn’t mean she didn’t have a voice. Karen was totally aware that the tween was her mother’s spy. 

She only came over to the house so that she could provide information to Greg’s ex since information about what happened under their roof always found its way into Nicole’s ear and out of her mouth. If Karen received more than a “hi” or “bye” from Ava, that was a good day. Karen was a non-factor in Ava’s life and she made sure to show it at every point. 

Karen’s fifteen-year-old son, Jalen, stepped forward to speak but paused for a moment. He was what most people would consider a nerd, but the Black Lives Movement had given him a certain bravado that he’d never had. Ta-Nehisi Coates had replaced the science fiction on his bookshelf.
Jalen removed the white earbuds from his ears, in what Karen thought would be an effort to defuse the stand-off. Instead, Jalen erupted with a surprising, “Ma, you like this dude. We don’t have to.” 

Wait. What? This dude?

Counting to ten first, Karen didn’t address his disrespect toward Greg, the man of the house. Because if it was a diversion, it worked. Greg turned his head away from his son and glared at hers. His face became a mask of confusion. 

She’d talk to Jalen later and get him straight on the proper way to address his stepfather, but at least Greg wasn’t about to stomp a hole in his own son.

Greg’s stare bounced between Karen’s son and his, before he snatched his keys from the coffee table. “Karen, I’ll be back.”

“Wait.” Karen tried to grab his arm before he stormed out of the house. Unfortunately, the only thing she caught was the smell of freshly mowed grass as the storm door slammed in her face. She pushed it open and yelled, “Where are you going?”

Greg jumped in his SUV. The passenger side window lowered. “I need some fresh air.”

Karen needed the same.

The next thing she heard was the tires screeching as he sped up the street.

In the anthology, SPICE, readers get a taste of the most anticipated fiction offerings of the year. Readers will enjoy this eclectic blend that will stay with you long after the pages have been turned.
#Fiction #Thriller #Erotica #Goodreads #BookAddict

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