Keisha Crawford is at a crossroads. Just when she thought she’d finally risen above the scandal in her past, her latest “sugar daddy” passes away, and now she’s being evicted from the luxury penthouse she thought was hers. Slinking home to her father’s house with her tail between her legs, Keisha’s only goal is to get out of Brooklyn and back to the lifestyle that she’s become accustomed to. But when you go home again, it’s that much harder to let go of the person you used to be.
EXCERPT FROM ‘MISTRESS: A NOVELLA’:
Before she left, Keisha looked around and dug through the apartment and found another three hundred and eighty dollars stashed in various purses, coats and drawers. She never realized until then just how immaterial cash had become to her over the past couple of years. She never needed it—Charlie paid all her bills, took her out for delicious meals, and for when she stayed home, made a charge account at the gourmet grocery and other stores available to her so she could order in.
A car service picked her up for her appointments and dropped her off when she was done, and if she made plans with friends, Charlie often took care of that too. The only thing she was denied was other men. Early on in their relationship, when he’d just moved her into an apartment, before he got the penthouse, Charlie asked if she had a boyfriend.
“You,” Keisha replied right away.
They were in bed, and he was on top of her, his face damp with perspiration, his wet, cold penis resting on her thigh after they’d done it. Charlie had looked at her with his head tilted to one side. His eyes an icy blue, his skin tan from the tanning bed. She raised a hand and ran her fingers through the thinning and graying hair atop his head.
“C’mon, Keisha. You don’t have to play me. I know a pretty, young girl like you must have men all over you all the time.”
“Maybe I do. But I’m a one-man woman, Charlie. And you’re my man.”
She didn’t even have to think about it anymore before she could spit out lines like that. It just came naturally to her when dealing with men like Charlie. The funny thing was, they knew you were lying to them, but they still wanted you to do it.
Charlie had rolled off her and headed toward the bathroom, Keisha averting her eyes from his pale, flaccid ass.
“Just the same, I’d be more comfortable if I sent you to a gynecologist of my choice. Got you checked out. And then started on those shots.”
The shots he was talking about was Depo. And Keisha was already on them, because she had no intention of ever becoming a mother. And because her own gynecologist had outright refused to tie her tubes, insisting that she was far too young to make that decision. Whatever. She may only be twenty-three, but she knew her own mind, especially when it came to the subject of kids.
“And if you do have a boyfriend,” Charlie had called from the bathroom over the sound of the shower he’d just started, “get rid of him. I don’t share my property.”
Charlie calling her his “property” had made her feel badly, but she swallowed it. Things could be a lot worse. Like some of the dumb-ass girls she knew who chased after rappers and ballers. Not only weren’t those dudes trying to set their chick up with her own place and treat her like a queen, most of them only thought they were rich and were one injury away from being a broke-ass. The most she had ever known those girls to get from their married ballers was a car, courtside seats and the occasional piece of jewelry.
True, there was Chantal. The one exception that Keisha knew of.
Chantal had married a Knicks player after being his chick on the side for three years. Against all odds and prior experience, he had left his wife, a somewhat ordinary-looking high school sweetheart type, and married Chantal a few months after the divorce was final.
So of course Chantal had been the object of envy for many of the other girls for awhile, especially when her picture started showing up in papers around town with her husband, attending events with Shaq and Carmelo Anthony. But Keisha happened to know that Chantal’s husband’s contract wasn’t among the most lucrative in the league; not even in the top 100. What he would make in ten years, Charlie made in one. So all things considered, while Chantal could be considered a success story, Keisha contented herself with the knowledge that even without the honorific of ‘wife’, she could probably outspend Chantal any day of the week, and Charlie wouldn’t even have bat an eyelid.