Honeycomb Lips, Chapter 3
by Deme Send
Monday morning and another cool, crisp gloomy day in mid-January. Candace's first day at work in more than six months was no more than a quick blur for the first couple of hours. Although her work site area in Central Control was only twenty minutes away from the parking lot, it took her nearly forty-five minutes to make it there.
Who ever said being popular was grand, lied. Unfortunately this was one of those times. For every co-worker who knew either her, or Clinton clamored around her giving her their condolences.
The cool fifty-five degree weather was stifling. She felt as though she were suffocating from all the unnecessary unwanted attention.
They meant well, but she was really the only one suffering.
She heard somebody whisper to somebody else that Clinton's picture was on the 'Board'.
The 'Board'. Nothing special about it except one thing. Once your picture was plastered on the 'Board' it was final. Finito. And now his picture was posted right along with the rest of the fallen officers.
His picture, his memory soon to be forgotten like all the rest of the other fallen officers. Sure, occasionally some curious soul would walk by the 'Board' and see his picture and remember when Officer Jakes used to help all the new fish/rookie officers. But if his picture even elicited a glance from a passerby, most likely they wouldn't know who he was.
Safe. Safe at last in her small air conditioned room. Away from all the annoying people, their stares, their sympathy. None of it really mattered anymore.
She was going to be alright. Her therapist told her so. But most importantly her faith in God reassured her that she would. Time, that's what she needed most right now. Time. Because time heals all wounds. Eventually, right? Yeah, but not right now, at least not yet.
Sergeant Hudson was kind enough to let her leave work thirty minutes early to avoid all the unnecessary fussing from her other co-workers getting ready to start the next shift.
Jerry Springer's voice blared from the television set as she walked into the warm inviting house. She smiled. Her first company in months.
"Candy? Is that you?" Xy's jubilant voice overtook Jerry's momentarily.
"If it's not me than you'd better be prepared for a home invasion!" She squealed gleefully for the first time in months. It felt good to finally have something to laugh about.
Xy emerged from the living room as Candace placed her house keys on the wooden key rack next to hers.
"You look marvelous considering everything that's transpired the past few months. Turn around and let me see if you gained most of your weight back."
She turned around slowly for Xy to examine her.
"Uuum humph! Almost, but not too bad cuz." Xy grinned mischievously.
"Ooooh no! That look on your face only means one thing!"
"What?" she asked innocently.
"Xy Cree Tyndale! You're up to no good! And I feel it somehow involves me!" Her face was scrunched up in disgust.
Xy shifted on one foot. Her cousin knew her too well.
"And besides, why else would you drop in on me unexpectedly?" Candace headed for the kitchen to pour herself a glass of Livingston Red Rose. Her favorite inexpensive wine.
Xy followed her giggling quietly to herself.
"Okay, what's really going on Xy?" She pulled a wine goblet out of her solid wooden cupboard and paused. She turned to face her cousin. Prepared for the worst case scenario.
Candace had a right to be suspicious of her intentions considering what she had done to her a few months earlier. Sure she had tried to do what any other rational relative would have done if a loved one lost a close friend or lover. She had tried on more than one occasion to convince Candace to come and visit her in L.A. She had several potential men in mind to introduce her to.
At the time the idea sounded great to her. That is until Candace cussed her out for taking Clinton's death so lightly and slammed down the phone in her ear. It took her almost a month of faithful calling to finally coerce Candace into communicating with her.
She had never taken his death lightly. At the time she didn't know what else to do. She wanted to ease Candace's pain and suffering. For a brief second there, she thought Candace might just entertain the thought of death herself. That brief foul experience taught her a hard lesson in the fine art of taking matters into your own hands.
"I'm still waiting Xy." Candace took a sip of the sweet burgundy wine. The warmth of the alcohol flooded her stomach. Yep, a few more glasses of wine would make her say "yes" to almost anything Xy had to say.
"Look cuz, all bullshit aside. I know that I've been getting on your last nerve trying to coax you into visiting me in L.A."
"Tell me about it." Her finger tapped the crystal goblet lightly.
"No strings attached. No men to introduce you to. Just me and my best friend hanging out together doing girlie things."
Candace's face frowned up. Girlie things? Xy was getting too yuppyish the longer she lived in glitzy Los Angeles.
Xy laughed at the giddy visage radiating from her cousin's pretty caramel face.
Candace burst out laughing in unison with her.
Xy wiped her moist eyes with the palm of her hand as her giggles subsided.
"Alright, I'll take off a week from work starting next week." She tilted her head and drained the last succulent drops of wine from the goblet.
Xy, a chatty person by nature was without warning at a loss for words. If she had envisioned that her cousin would be so cooperative this easy, she would have posed the standing invitation earlier. Her mood suddenly turned somber. Her face couldn't betray her inward emotions.
Candace reached out to touch her arm. "What's wrong Xy? Did I say something wrong?" Her forehead wrinkled with uneasiness.
"I feel as though I've wasted your time by not asking you sooner to come and visit me."
She hugged her to release any dubiety. "I've wasted your time and a small portion of my life by distancing myself from you Xy. The only family that I have less than three thousand miles away." Her eyes felt filmy as the glands of her eyes filled rapidly with the clear salty liquid known as tears.
Xy became bathetic by her cousin's unrehearsed sentiment.
They embraced one another in an effort to recapture what they could have, should have and would do from now on.
Three thousand miles away from Maryland and all they had were one another to depend on.
So much time had been frivolously squandered away from them the past several months. Today was as good as any other day for them to launch a new beginning.
Xy left the small town of Blythe three hours later. Just in time to make it to UCLA Medical Center to start her shift for the next ten to twelve hours.
Friday! What a relief! Much could be said about Friday. For starters, Thank God it's Friday!
Only four hours left until her shift at work was ultimately over.
The standard issued black and white state of California clock, hung carelessly on the wall as the time slowly crept by.
Gotta love Sergeant Hudson! Let her go one hour early this time, so that she could have a head start on the freeway traffic.
Her bags were packed and she was ready to go. Humph. Earlier it dawned on her when she was crowding her Fendi garment bag with a variety of outfits that she was quite anxious and hush-hush to be leaving the small town of Blythe.
For the primordial time in what seemed like a lifetime, Candace Jackson was tickled pink to be visiting her cousin.
No time to change clothe even though her shift was over. She was on a preset mission and it didn't entail any unnecessary detours or annoyances such as changing her CDC green jumpsuit.
Less than five minutes west of Xy's apartment and she was feeling exhausted. She flipped open her Samsung Sprint PCS cell phone and hit numeral one on the neon blue illuminated keypad. Xy's name flashed across the small screen.
"It's about time! I was worried sick about you! Where are you?"
"Sitting right out in front of your place. Hang up the phone." She turned off the car's engine and reached over and hit the trunk button.
Click! The trunk popped open about one inch. Just enough room to slide her svelte fingers underneath.
The front door to Xy's apartment expeditiously opened. Xy was standing in the door way waving one hand wildly with an eccentric grin etched on her face. In the other hand was her cordless house phone seemingly attached to her left ear. The crazy grin plastered on her face had to do with whoever was on the other end of the phone. She motioned with her free hand for Candace to hurry up and get inside before she froze to death.
Twelve thirteen in the wee hours of the morning and already it was forty something degrees in L.A.
Candace stripped down to her white t-shirt and black Victoria Secrets bikini high cut panties. She turned on the shower. Xy's boisterous laughter filtered underneath the bathroom door one last time before she hung up the phone.
The warm water felt effervescent as it fell downward onto her exposed body. She was careful not to drench her hair too much.
Ten minutes and two body washes later, the external covering of her body reeked with the sweet redolence of Bath & Body works sweet pea shower gel.
She was in the mood for some much needed and deserved R & R. A nice glass of cold white wine would inaugurate the relaxation portion of the first 'R' right now. As for the second 'R' rest, she had seven whole days to get plenty of that.
A glass of Chardonnay was perched on the kitchen counter with her name written all over it.
Life is good she thought smiling.
"Knock your self out!" echoed Xy's voice from out of her bedroom. "There's more where that came from!"
She had every intention on doing just that.
Xy walked into the kitchen wearing a pair of rich gold Victoria Secrets pajamas. She hugged Candace briefly.
It reminded her of how much she missed Xy's company.
"I'm so glad to be here."
They were silent for several minutes. Long enough for her to finish her glass of wine.
"Let me pour you another one."
She didn't object. It was just what the doctor ordered.
"So, what's on the agenda for tomorrow?"
The usual. Humph. Time to work out. Always the usual. Xy hadn't changed.
"But we don't have too if you don't want to." Xy looked at her with concern.
She took a slow sip and shook her head. "The usual sounds good to me."
"Well, I suggest that you get some rest after putting in a whole day's work and driving nearly four."
"After I finish my drink."
"Okay then, I'll see you in about six hours? Is that alright?"
"I'll be fit as a fiddle by then. Don't you worry."
Xy gently squeezed her shoulder and went into her room to catch a few Z's.
Twenty minutes later Candace followed suit.
Less than six hours later the odorous aroma of French vanilla coffee was fumigating the air. The fresh fragrant flavor wafted in and out of Candace's open nostrils causing her to stir.
"Rise and shine sleepy head!"
She smiled and laboriously opened up one eye.
Xy was already dressed for their early morning workout. A pair of gray cutoff shorts, one over sized pink t-shirt and a worn pair of blue and white size eight Nike's complimented her exotic facial features.
"Give me twenty minutes and I'll be ready to rock and roll." Candace sat up in bed.
"I'll be waiting for you in the kitchen."
Candace waved her off with one hand.
Less than twenty minutes later, two divas were headed for Gold's Gym.
By nine o'clock they were both raring to go after almost two hours of an intense all over body workout.
"Whew! That upgraded abs machine almost killed me!"
"Girl, me too! For a moment there I swear I thought I was going to die!"
They laughed vivaciously.
Candace slapped her on the back playfully as they left the gym.
Xy stopped dead in her tracks.
"What's wrong?" Candace glanced around nervously.
"Aaarrrggh!" She mumbled under her breath.
Candace was still looking around petrified. After all, this wasn't Blythe, it was L.A.
"Rich bitch boy." She pointed to a silver convertible Porsche. It was parked directly next to her second hand Honda Civic.
The top was down and the driver of the fancy sports car was staring directly at them. He smiled and waved.
"You have to admit that he has a nice car."
"Don't tell him that. It might just go to his inflated head."
Candace arched her eyebrows and shrugged her shoulders.
"Hey Xy, what's up!"
"Not you" she mumbled just loud enough for him to hear.
"Funny!" He smiled. Wider this time.
"Well gotta go!" She motioned with her head for Candace to hurry up and get in the car.
"What's the rush Xy? Aren't you going to introduce me to your friend?'
"Nope!" Her face was smug.
"Oh? And why not?" His curiosity was peaked.
"Because she ain't my friend!"
"Oh." The smile left his face.
"She's my cousin."
He started smiling again. "Cousin, now that's even better."
Xy turned to face him. "Look Alonzo, she's not your type! She has class and she ain't giving' up the ass like the rest of your women!"
"Hittin' kind of below the belt don't ya think?"
"Callin' it like it is. You dig?"
"Xy, I can speak for myself" interjected Candace. It was evident to her that Xy strongly disliked him. She'd find out more why, but not now.
He raised his eyebrows in surprise. So did Xy.
He winked at Xy. "I won."
She gave him the middle finger.
"Alonzo Maxwell's the name." He extended his hand out for her to shake.
She reached out and shook his hand.
"Cousins?" He looked at Xy. "Hard to believe because you seem nice."
"Humph" she grunted. "So did Hitler."
Xy stuck out her tongue at him and laughed.
He shooed her away with one hand.
He was attractive. More like the pretty boy type and he knew it. His confidence level so high it practically oozed out of his pores. Pretty clear complexion the same color as two heaping scoops of cream mixed into dark coffee. Going bald? Nah, shaved head by choice. She saw a little dark stubble hardly noticeable. Nice teeth. Always a plus. Conceited? Very obvious, too bad. Definitely used to getting what he wanted, especially a woman. But not her, she was still mourning Clinton.
"Candace Jackson. Nice to meet you, now can I have my hand back?"
He laughed and let her hand go.
Xy her cousin? Not hard to believe. They both had good genes. Her light brown eyes matched her light brown hair perfectly. Caramel color taffy candy. Ready to be unwrapped and eaten. Her price looked high, but not too high for him. Besides he had the necessary money to buy her. Every woman had a price and he had yet to find the woman whose price he couldn't afford.
"We've really got to be going." Xy sounded perturbed.
"Nice meeting you Alonzo." Why was he staring intently at her lips?
"The pleasure was all mines."
"Yuck! Give me a break!" Xy rolled her eyes and got into the car. "Try using a new line next time Alonzo!"
"You wouldn't be hating on me if you got a man Xy." He laughed.
"Screw you Alonzo!" she yelled.
He waited for them to drive off.
Candace Jackson.. Humph? Something about her made him tingle all over. He hadn't felt like that in a long time. At least not when he initially met a woman. Being intimate with a woman?? All the time. Maybe it was just her honeycomb lips. Who cares? He was letting a woman get to him and besides he would probably never see her again, especially if Xy had anything to do with it.
Almost two years at UCLA with Xy now. She knew too much! Way too much about him and his many women.
Woof! Woof! He was a bona fide dawg!
"You want a cold beer?" Xy reached inside the fridge and grabbed water for herself.
"Here you go." She placed it on the table.
"What's wrong with Alonzo? It's apparent that you hate him."
"Hate? Now that's a strong word. Dislike is more like it." Xy took a swig of water. "Do you have two weeks?"
"For you I'll sum it up in less than five minutes."
Candace traced her finger underneath her bottom lip and waited. Waited to see how bad it was.
"Rich and pampered. Why? His parents, self made millionaires who own their own franchising business exporting and importing exotic fruits and vegetables all over the world. An intern in the medical program with me for the past year and a half. Runs through women like the average person runs on a treadmill. Knows that he's very attractive and doesn't hide the fact. Very intelligent believe it or not. His money didn't earn him the right to be at UCLA, but it didn't hurt either. His $173, 000 dollar car, bought for him by his parents when he got accepted into the medical program. They also bought him a three bedroom home overlooking Baldwin Parks. Oh and don't let me forget about his rumored five digit monthly salary. That's pretty much the lifestyle of the rich and infamous Alonzo Maxwell.
Oh, oh! Don't let me forget about the latest rumor involving him. One of the other rich male interns in our medical program made him a wager of $15,000 dollars that Alonzo couldn't be in a monogamous relationship more than six months."
"Really?" She took a small sip of beer. "Did he challenge the bet?"
"They say he did. Beats the heck out of me why he would."
"Girl pleeeze! The day Alonzo Maxwell keeps his dick in his pants with just one woman is the day that I hit the lotto and you know I don't play that! It just taint gonna happen! Some men are destined to be dogs the rest of their lives and he's one of them!"
Candace shrugged her shoulders. She didn't care. She was still mourning Clinton.
Six days of rest and relaxation. That's just what the doctor ordered.
It was good to have family members who truly cared