By:  Leslie Latrel

It started out as a fun thing…Husband and wife party together, wife has “hot” friends, husband has a wandering eye.  He whispers sweet nothings in Wifey’s ear, “Don’t you think it would be fun to bring one of them home with us?”

Well of course Wifey aims to please. After all, how often do you have a husband who actually LIKES hanging around you and your crazy friends?  It is the best of both worlds for hanging with the homies:  Party like a rock star and not have to worry about rushing home to the warden.    Her girls’ nights out are always “plus 1.”  He knows what she is doing and, for the most part, she knows his actions, too.

Her friends love him, too.  He is always so cool, many of them are single and it is good to have a man around to watch their backs…AND buy them drinks. Hubby loves hanging around the wife and her friends so much; he rarely goes out with the guys anymore and rarely invites them into his world.  The (Indians) f*cked up when they welcomed the Pilgrims to their land, didn’t they?  Well, he was not the one to conquer the buffalo AND share the meat.

Wifey thinks to herself, “No harm involved, most of my friends are free spirits anyway and I like women too, especially after knocking down a few.”   But she also thought to herself, “These women have nothing on me, I am the only Queen of his heart. My marriage is solid.”  So, what is the harm?

Wifey checks out all of her friends.  Which one will be on her and Hubby’s menu tonight? Of course, the one she chooses has to look halfway decent—cute and sexy—but not a threat at all. Dumb as a box of rocks is always a good thing, too—no stimulating conversations for tonight’s bed mate.  Her only requirement is to get paid, give it up on demand and take you’re a$$ home. Of course, we will be friends next week; the bond between the party girls is strong.

Frankly, she was tired of all this, but did it just to please her man.  What started off as a game for them, turned into an obsession for him and became a sexual prison for her.  But hey, all in the name of love, right?

She spots the one she thinks will fit the bill.  Little Miss “down for whateva” with some backed up bills to pay.

“Drink up girl, it is on me.”  Then she lowers the boom.  “Me and Hubby want to have a little fun tonight, wanna’ come home with us?  We gonna’ take care of ya!”

Takin’ care of the friend means throwing a few hundreds her way, remembering when whores are paid, no attachment should be involved.  The understanding is clear, or should be:  You are just a party favor for the night.

Hubby, Wifey and Ms. Friend head out after the club.  They enter the home of the “hood rich.” It is a posh living arrangement and Ms. Friend begins to think, what a lucky b*tch this wife is.  She does a couple lines of coke on the granite counter tops, sips crown out of crystal and bathes in the garden tub. He’s on his knees in the middle of the bed when she walks into the room and she joins his naked wife at the bedside.

Two fine women…both for his pleasure…what a lucky man is he…or so he thinks.  One is present in the name of love; the other is present for the love of money.   Either way, he couldn’t give a damn…he lets them “service him” in every way imaginable.

All of them have different interpretations about what just happened.  Wifey thinks she has satisfied her husband’s carnal needs, Hubby thinks he is King of the Jungle or the Man Right ‘Chere as Mystikal says and Ms. Friend thinks she is some special object of desire.  She feels pretty and wanted, and just for a small amount of time in their world, she feels equal.  None of them are correct, all are wearing blinders.

One mistake proved to be fatal, they chose the wrong friend.  Because, Ms. Friend began sneaking through the back door even though she was invited through the front.

She secretly tells others that she does it for the money, getting paid two ways: when Wifey invites her Saturday night, and when Hubby meets her in secret during the week.  She claims she does not like him anyway, he is not “working with” anything and she is just trying to “get hers.”  While they are throwing money around, she is there to scoop it up.

She continues to be the party favor.  Openly for both, secretly for him and feels her secret is safe.  But Ms. Friend had better know a couple of things first.  Whores are always exposed, especially when they have wronged someone in the past that knows of her backstabbing little secret.  The only reason she has not been exposed yet, is because some women don’t want to be the first to tell.  They say nothing because they love Wifey and don’t want to be the person to shake up her world.  Those that love you; never want to see you cry.

So Ms. Friend continued to sneak through doors, like a Ferrell Alleycat digging through outside trash cans.  She is a piece of trash, searching for scraps on someone else’s curb.  But you know what they say, never feed a stray, they are hard to get rid of; especially when Hubby is throwing her scraps on the side.

But something did happen, Wifey saw them whispering in the club one night. She almost missed it, but another “friend” (who knew the secret) casually made note of the two.

“Better watch it girl before your husband gets a new wife,” she laughed and gestured at the two.  “Girl, I’m just playing, I’m just saying those two LOOK like they up to no good, but you know it ain’t nothing.”

Her job was done, she said what she had to say, hell, she didn’t like the other woman anyway.  She’s the type you have to always watch around your man.

Wifey watched the two and it did look funny.  It was strange because she thought the three of them had no secrets.  She laid back and watched, sipping her drink, smiling and opening her eyes—maybe for the first time in a long time.

She saw Hubby stroke Ms. Friend’s hand.  Violation!  There were to be no feelings involved, intimacy is not allowed for the part-time, paid bedmate.  Then she saw something else.  Hubby hands Ms. Friend some crumpled up bills.  Violation!  She handles all transactions, now what is really going on?  She decides to sit back and watch some more.

But by now, Queen Bitch is seeing red.

It is nearing the end of the night.  Hubby walks to Wifey and asks what’s up for tonight’s plans.

“Is Ms. Friend rolling with us tonight or what, baby,” he asks.

“No, I am not in the mood tonight.  I have had enough of her,” she said dismissively.  She then noticed a little something in his eyes that she wasn’t supposed to see – disappointment.  He tried to shake it off fast, but she caught that glimpse.

“Oh, well that is cool.  I gotta’ make a run and I will be home in a bit,” he said.  “You fine without me?”

“No problem baby, see ya’ later,” she said, but thought to herself, “Well, I’ll be damned.”

Sometimes they took separate cars in case they had some business to tend to, they were about to turn their restaurant into a late-night lounge and lots had to be done.  Normally, she trusted him, but she could tell he was up to something tonight.

She just sat back, turned to the other friends at the table and watched Hubby out of the corner of her eye.  He tried to inconspicuously pass by Ms. Friend again and they exchanged some brief words.

“Now, hold the hell up,” Wifey thought.  “They are not trying to play me like this.”

Hubby walked out of the club and a few minutes later Ms. Friend came and said her goodbyes–  giving a bogus excuse of having to get her child from the sitter.  Yeah, right.  Any other day you would think she had no children the way she was running out the door with them.

Wifey just played it cool, and graciously made her exit for the night.  She did not need any Mission Impossible tailgating, nor did she need a GPS.  She had a feeling she knew exactly where to find them.

Wifey pulled into Ms. Friend’s hot, ghetto-mess neighborhood and parked at the end of the street, and wouldn’t you know it—there was Hubby’s ride.  Her heart sank and her spirit left her body.  She felt as if she was floating on air as she cautiously approached the home, courtesy of welfare’s public housing plan.

She guessed Ms. Friend got a lot of things “courtesy of,” like she was having a good time tonight, courtesy of her man.

She entered through the back gate, unaware of her actions, it was already ajar.  The neighbors were having some sort of house party, she could hear laughter and loud music, but both seemed to be so far away.  It seemed as if she was in some sort of daze.

A dim light was on in Ms. Friend’s room and the curtain was cracked.  She could see enough to finish breaking her heart.

In that moment, she was no longer Wifey, the man through the looking glass was no longer Hubby and the woman he was with was definitely not her friend.

There was Liv, bent over on all fours like the dog she was.  And there was David, enjoying her from behind.

Shawna stood there in a daze in what felt like someone else’s body, watching what appeared to be someone else’s husband with someone else’s friend.  She then tasted something salty on someone else’s lips – tears.  Her tears.

The music at the house party changed and Lil’Wayne started singing “Yeah, I’m single…Ni*** had to cancel that bitch like Nino…..”

She then reached inside someone else’s Louis Vuitton, pulled out someone else’s .45 and fired once through the bedroom window.

Then oblivious to the glass shattering, Liv screaming and the booming of Lil’ Wayne jamming in the air, Shawna left as quietly as she came; ghost-like and slow, still in someone else’s body.

Her Range Rover felt like a spaceship as she floated her way home.  She was still dazed as she turned into the gated community and drove up the tree-lined streets leading the way home.  The air was calm that night.  Calm in a world of chaos.  The leaves fluttered in the cool-morning breeze. They seemed to say, “Welcome home.”

“Home,” she thought to herself.  “Home.”

The electric garage went up, inviting her in, and closed behind her as she pulled inside—shutting out the world and welcoming her into the house of secrets and lies.

A creature of habit, she took off her heels when she entered her exquisite kitchen; complete with Italian marble floors and countertops, sub-zero fridge, custom cabinetry and Wedgewood China.  She left someone else’s footprints on the velvety plush pile carpet as she floated upstairs.

Shawna went into the master bath and cut on the shower.  She looked into the mirror.  There was a sad, pitiful creature staring back at her with black tear streaks running down her cheeks.  She never knew Chanel mascara could run.

Shawna floated into the shower and let the warm water wash her defeated body, let the soap cleanse her tainted soul.

But creature of habit, she floated out the bath, slipped on her silk nightgown and went into a deep sleep on her California King mattress.

The sound of loud banging on the door with the simultaneous ringing of the doorbell woke her from her deep slumber.

She walked downstairs and opened it up.  Rob and his partner were standing there in uniform, lights from the squad car illuminating the pre-dawn sky.

“Boss Lady, I need to talk to you,” Rob said.  The police officer called her Boss Lady because he works security for her when he’s not on duty.

“Come inside,” she said.

“Have you talked to David,” he asked.

“Not since leaving the club last night, he said he had to make a run,” she said.  “What time is it?  Is something wrong?”

“I need you to come with me, go put on your clothes baby girl,” he said and softly touched her shoulder.

“No,” she said and backed up.  “You called me baby girl.  You only do that when something is wrong.  What has happened to my husband?”

“He’s been shot and I need to take you to the hospital,” Rob said.

Her hand flew over her mouth and her eyes got wide and filled with tears as she sank to the floor.  It all came rushing back to her.  The club, the party, the vision through the window—the gun!  Oh, yes, the gun!

The horror and reality of what she did made her begin the scream.  She wailed and Rob quickly scooped her into his arms.  All he saw was a panicked wife.

“Calm down, baby girl, Rob is here,” he said.  “Everything is going to be alright.  Let me get you dressed and get going.”

He always had a soft spot for her.  He was familiar with the house, he had been there many times.  He placed her into his partner’s arms while he dashed upstairs to grab her some clothes.  He was not a police officer at this time, he was a friend.

He grabbed a sweat suit and jacket out of the closet and dashed back downstairs.  He handed the clothes to her and instructed her to put them on in the downstairs half-bath, then he whisked her off to the hospital.

When they arrived, David was still in surgery.  They sat there for what seemed to be an eternity as Rob held her for comfort.  He never asked her a word or explained how he found him.  Even though he was law enforcement, he could not find the words to tell her that David was shot while he was creeping with her friend, especially since he was guilty because he knew all along.  He could not tell the woman he was secretly harboring feelings for that he was aware, and felt somewhat responsible, that her husband was committing adultery.

He would distract her sometimes, at David’s instructions, as David and Liv did some sneaky business. He did not know if the guilt from him being an “accomplice” or the extra time he spent with her as a distraction led to the feelings he had for her.  What started out as a feeling of sorrow for the lovingly blind wife, turned into an appreciation for the “good woman” and a lust for the sexy thing David was taking for granted.  In his eyes, she could do no wrong.  She was wronged.

The surgeon came out and prepped her before seeing David.  Her husband had been shot in the lower back, and while he would live, there was a strong possibility David would never walk again.  No one could be absolutely certain until more time had passed.

She walked into the ICU.  Damn, it was cold and quiet as hell in there.  David had tubes everywhere and appeared to be on the brink of death, yet they assured her his wound was not fatal.

She leaned over and looked at him and for the first time, saw that he was a weakened shell of a man.  She kissed him on the forehead and whispered something in his ear.  Rob stood back and watched her loving affection, envious of the adulterer in the bed who did not deserve any attention.

Over the next few days, with Rob by her side, she was briefed on where he was found and asked of her whereabouts.  She told them she went straight home and did not believe her husband was doing what the police were insinuating with her friend.  She was asked if he had any enemies, she said he was loved by everyone.

They interviewed the people at the party, and as usual, “nobody saw nothing.”  The music was blaring, everyone was drinking and frankly, they didn’t even know anyone had been shot until the police came banging on the door.

They interviewed Liv’s boyfriend a few times, thinking he could have come for a visit when he saw the two—but eventually had to clear him—and Rob could vouch for Shawna’s timeline.  He was certain she had no parts of this, she was in the clear, as far as his “jaded” eyes could see.

David’s shooting went into the large stack of crimes yet to be solved by the Houston Police Department.

After a month in the hospital, David was brought back home and the doctors were right, he was confined to a wheelchair.  Shawna was determined to make his homecoming a good one.  All the friends came over and welcomed him to a house full of gumbo, fried fish, shrimp, oysters—you name it, they had it.  Liv was there for a while, too, but left after she couldn’t take all the stares.  Everyone was blaming her for what happened to him, but not Shawna.  Rob told her that Shawna refused to believe the two of them were creeping.  Liv was in the clear, or at least she felt good believing that.

David stayed up for a little while, listening to the encouraging words of how he was going to “beat this and walk again,” and how you “can’t hold a good man down,” but his body grew tired and Rob helped Shawna carry him to the bedroom to get some rest.  He was not as strong as he used to be.

The days turned to weeks, and after a few months, Rob was still in the wheelchair and undergoing daily therapy, Shawna hired a health care provider to help with his care and Rob stepped in to help Shawna out when necessary.  That is what a good friend would do.

He came by daily after his shift, talked briefly to David and offered his assistance when needed.  He ran errands for Shawna and even stepped in to assist with business, since he was still employed there.

He came by to pick Shawna up because their vehicles were being customized for a person with special needs.  He went in and talked to David.

“Hey man, looking good,” he said.

“Thanks dude,” a weakened David said.  Shawna kept him up nicely; well-dressed and groomed, but his weight was reduced in half.

“You know I am here when you need me,” Rob said. “I got your back.”

“I know,” David half-whispered.  “I appreciate it.”

She appeared at the stairs, Rob looked up at her—damn, she was beautiful.

“Thanks for coming,” Shawna said and patted him on the shoulder as she walked past.

“I will be back later tonight after I close shop, see you later baby,” she said. She kissed David on the forehead and left him in the capable hands of Gloria, his healthcare provider – his nice, big, unattractive healthcare provider.

Rob and Shawna walked to his car.  He opened the door for her; a true gentleman knows how to treat a lady.

He closed it after she was seated, walked to his side and hopped in.

“Ready to go baby,” he asked.

“You bet, baby,” she said and stroked his hand as he put the truck in gear.

He loved it when she stroked him.  She loved his, too.

The two rode off … to run errands … you know how it is.

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