When All Hell Breaks Loose

by T. McMillan

Some women deserve to be played, plain and simple. I mean how else do you explain these man-hungry, gold-digging, two-faced, stab-they-best-friend-in-the-back-to-fuck-their-girl's-man, type of chicks? You can't. Hell, how do you even try to explain some foul shit like that? Point blank, you don't.

Shit, half the time a brotha like me doesn't even understand these sistahs, but here I sit, willingly, in the mist of what I knew would be some fast drama and all I could do was play along, with no one to thank for being stuck in such a situation but my own stupid ass.

"Rome, dawg. How the hell you get ya ass in some shit like this?" I could hear my boy Steve asking in my head the same question he'd asked just last night.

"The hell if I know," I muttered to myself as I shifted uncomfortably on Tonya's old upholstered couch. The thing had to be at least 20 years old and was the ugliest piece of shit I'd ever seen in life. The fabric on both arms was torn, the army green cushions sagged, and if one more spring sprung up on my ass, I wouldn't be held accountable for my actions.

My girl, Tiff, was gonna owe me big time for this one. Got me sittin' here posing as her new man while her skank assed-supposed-to-be-friend, Tonya, done tried everything but throwing the damn panties in my face. Now, ordinarily, that wouldn't be a problem for a cat like me. Hell, I'm a man and the girl in question had mad body. More curves than a road map. All facts considered, you'd think I'd be on my knees right about now thanking the good Lord Almighty for His more than bountiful blessings, but such is not the case. Instead, He got me sitting here cursing the devil himself, cause ole' girl's body might be banging, but that face... I closed my eyes and shuddered. God, that face. Let's just say it looked like the dog I was supposed to be.

"Jerome, I'll be out in a minute," the sexy voice purred seductively from the recesses of the small apartment.

"No rush," I called out, checking my watch and wishing that I were anywhere but here. "Please, no rush," I mumbled. Just then, my two-way sounded and I flipped its top, scanning the message inside. Tiffany. She was asking if her girl had made a move yet. I replied 'hell, yeah,' and waited for a response, but there was none.

As I put it away, Tonya came back out and stood before me in a see through cover up over a blue-laced teddy. Now, I cannot lie. My soldier saluted. A brotha was standing at strong attention until my visual perusal led me past those long brown legs, traveled over those plentiful breasts, and settled once again on that damn face. I swear at the point of contact, I could hear the words "At ease," and just like that, the party was over.

I'm talking company halt, aborted mission, cease and desist. Well, you get the picture. Shit, right about now, a man like me just wanted to run for cover and was thinking something along those lines when the strangest thing happened. Something so horrible and traumatic that for one small moment, a brotha felt paralyzed. Time seemed to literally stand still and before I knew it, home-girl had attacked me. I'm saying, that's the only way to describe the situation because ole' girl hopped onto my lap and started tearing my shit off! I'm talking button-popping, shirt-ripping, madness. It took me a while to comprehend what the hell was really going on, but when I did, pissed doesn't begin to explain it. And it seemed, that once again, time stood still.

Horrified, I looked down at my shirt, sans about five buttons with a huge looking tear down the side and damn near lost my mind. This was an original Hugo Boss silk-blended shirt! Do you have any idea how much that shit costs? My moms bought me this shirt. I grabbed Tonya's still fumbling hands and almost pushed her off my lap before I remembered the plan. Be cool. Get her to talk. I took a deep breath and tried to laugh it all off as I looked into her face. Believe me, neither was easy.

"You know I love the freakiness," I said, my voice purposefully low and seductive. "But what about Tiffany?" I withheld a grimace as Tonya laughed in my face.

"What about that bitch?" she questioned bitterly.

She must've read the surprise I'm sure registered across my face.

"Shocked?" she asked slyly.

I nodded dumbly. "I thought Tiff was supposed to be your girl."

Tonya laughed meanly again. "No, that's supposed to be your girl." She started kissing my neck as she spoke. "But then again, if she took better care of hers, I guess I wouldn't have to."

Well damn. Ain't this bout some scandalous shit? She went for my belt buckle again and I opened my mouth to stall when mercifully, a knock at the door stilled her movements. Tonya sighed heavily in exasperation before launching herself from my lap and stalking to the door. She looked through the peep-hole, shrugged, then started again in my direction.

By now, all sorts of thoughts were running rampant through my mind. Who was that? Where the hell was Tiffany? And the absolute worst of the questions: Would I actually have to fuck this broad? God, I hoped not. I looked around at the brightenss of the small room. If push came to shove, the lights definately had to go. In mid-stride, another knock sounded and Tonya cursed before turning back.

"Damn kids," she muttered before forcefully swinging the front door back.

The anger vanished from her stance almost immediately and Tonya's body froze as she stood in the door-way facing her untimely visitor. It had to be Tiffany. Finally. Better late than never, I guessed.

"Hello, Tonya," I heard a calm voice greet cooly. "Mind if I come in?"

I did my best to right my appearance. Buckled my pants, ran my hands over my waves, tried to fix my shirt. For some reason though, although we'd planned this entire thing, I actually felt like a man busted. Caught in the act. Adrenaline pumped, blood rushed, and I felt this incredible urge to flee. Hell, I was just like any other man and planned or not, this was every man's worst nightmare come true.

Tonya stammered over her words as she tried to block the entryway, but was no match for an already irate Tiffany who boguarded her way through. Her determined stride, however, came to an abrupt halt as she spotted me, took in my unbuttoned shirt, my haggard appearance, and pain clouded her features. At that moment, I realized that this wasn't a game anymore. We were real people with real feelings and Tonya had just committed the ultimate sin. She'd betrayed her best friend.

I felt responsible, like I should've never agreed to some shit like this in the first place, but Tiffany had been determined. She'd desperately needed to know if her ex-boyfriend's claim had been true. Tonya and herself had dealt with issues in the past but she couldn't believe it'd gotten that bad. Had her best friend really seduced her man and later succeded at getting him into her bed? Did she hate her that much? The evidence now was over-whelming. The truth come to light. What's done in the dark and all that jazz.

I wanted to hold her, tell her it'd be all right, but Tiffany turned with lightening speed before I could move, and as the saying goes, all hell broke loose. Tiffany laughed, a hollow sound that held no mirth as she shot daggers into her used-to-be-friend.

"So, you really did fuck Brian, huh?"

The statement seemed to catch Tonya off guard as her eyes widened and she grappled for an answer. "What?" she finally sputtered, her tone unsuccessfully indignant.

"You heard me, bitch!" Tiffany yelled, her struggle to contain herself apparent.

Tonya's face twisted at the slur, her expression just as fierce. "Bitch?" she questioned. Tonya shook her head and let the word roll off her shoulders as she tried to appeal to her friend. "I did not sleep w--"

"Save it," Tiffany spat. "I can't fuckin' believe this." She spun in a circle and her hands ran frustratingly through her hair. She looked at me as I stood there dumb-founded then turned back to Tonya. "You just gon' stand here and deny the shit when Rome is standing here damn near half naked."

I looked down at my shirt and tried in vain to pull the halves together with no success. The air crackled with hostility as the two women stood facing each other. A brotha like me didn't know what to do. Hell, I still wanted to break.

"Rome came on to me," was Tonya's rebuttal, her expression one that said, 'now, what.'

"That's a muthafuckin' lie," I jumped in. Tiffany's raised hand stopped me from further defending myself, but it didn't stop me from wishing I could get my hands around that trick's little scrawny, lying neck.

Tiffany shook her head and chuckled again. "Admit it," she said firmly. "You was bad enough to do the shit, right. Be woman enough to admit it."

Tonya's mouth worked to deny the claim again, but something must've changed her mind. Her expression changed, the bitterness she'd allowed me to see earlier shown through.

"Be woman enough," Tonya repeated nastily. "You think that just cause your silly ass is light-skinned with long hair that you're woman enough," she mocked. "You think that cause you've had shit handed to you your entire pathetic life, that you're woman enought, right?" Tonya smirked. "Naw. I know the real deal. If you were woman enough, your men wouldn't come running to me, now would they?"

Big mistake. A huge miscalculation on Tonya's behalf because before I could even blink, Tiffany was on her ass like a fat man with the last chicken wing and it was on. I'm talking mad chaos. Now, i hadn't seen Tiff throw down since we were teenagers in the hood, quick to throw a blow, but from where I was standing, age definately hadn't dwarfed my girl's skills.

She barreled through Tonya with a sack that could've given any offensive linemen a run for their money and the two women fell to the floor with a loud thud, their limbs tangling, and the glass vase sitting on the end table becoming a casualty in their war. A screaming match ensued as for the moment, Tonya gained the superior position on top. I almost grabbed her myself, but in the next instant, Tiffany reversed their positions and started swinging with the ferocity of a sistah gone mad.

Normally, there's nothing more exciting than a good old fashioned cat fight to get a man going, but this was no ordinary hair-pulling-nail-scraping, breast-popping, chick fight. This was an all out no-holds-barred, fight to the death, slug fest. Tonya tried in vain to again flip their positioning and had such a hold on my girl's hair that I was half afraid she'd pull back a patch, but through it all, Tiffany kept on swinging.

Now here's where my dilemma insinuates itself. There's an old unspoken code in the hood: Never, and I mean never, jump into a fight until it's over. And to anyone who's ever ignored this rule, I'm sure they're now well aware of the consequences. Those being that if that person should fail and doesn't stop said fight, they're basically apart of it, because the chances of that person catching one to the face or anywhere else for that matter, are very likely. And no one likes to be hit. I sure as hell didn't, so i thought i'd go the safe route first.

I called Tiffany's name. No deal. Arms and fists still flying. I stepped a little closer. Tried her name again. Nothing. Damn! Looked like I was gonna have to go in. I grimaced after witnessing a particular brutal blow to Tonya's already swelling cheek before grabbing Tiffany around the waist and yanking her. She fought me all the way. Literally. A finger to my eye, a scratch to the cheek, she kept struggling. I kept pulling, though it was kind of hard to see where I was going with my now limited vision. She tried to slap me and my grip tightened around her waist as I yelled again, this time much fiercer. I held her until Tiffany's movements gradually slowed, her breathing heavy as she surrendered to my strength, the adrenaline leaving her as her shoulders slouched with weariness.

To understand the emotions that go into a fight, you have to have actually been in one. To understand the loss of control, the anger that numbs you, the rage that drives you. In those moments between swinging and being swung on, your mind takes flight, you're acting on instinct. It's almost like an out of body experience and you enter "the zone."

The zone is that place between reality and insanity. That place where you don't care how bad you're beat or how bad you're beating someone else, you just keep going. Keep swinging. You're feeling every blow, but you really don't. Tiffany was coming out of that zone when she glanced at me, her eyes widening.

"Damn, Rome, I did that?" she asked, her hand cradling my left cheek where she'd scratched me.

A thin trail of blood ran down my face and I shook her hands free, shrugging my shoulders nonchalantly. I'm a man. A scratch is nothing. But on the down-low that shit hurt like a mutha. "It's nothing," I responded lightly. I looked to where Tonya lay, still cursing, trying to get up from the ass whupping she'd been dealt and shook my head. I looked back to Tiffany. "Still got it, I see."

She shrugged like it didn't matter and looked at her fromer friend. For a moment I saw regret in her eyes, saw tears that wanted to fall and by sheer will didn't. She looked down at herself. A few scratches, clothes torn, but none the worse for wear.

"Thanks," she said to me.

My eyebrows bunched in confusion. "For what?" I asked.

Tiffany looked at Tonya again. "For letting me see what I needed to see."

Her voice held a sadness to it that I'd never heard before and I didn't know how to respond to that, so I said nothing.

Tiffany pulled her wild hair back into a ponytail with a band from her wrist and I looked on, amazed. Always come prepared, Tiffany's look said to me.

"Let's go." She turned and headed to the front door, but paused at Tonya's side.

For a moment, I thought I was gonna have to grab her again, but Tiffany just shook her head, continued to the door, crossed the threshold, and never looked back.

I looked around at the disaster, the many items broken, the over-turned table, and Tonya pulling herself up with the help of that raggedy assed couch and rolled out. Shit. A sistah didn't have to tell me twice.


When All Hell Breaks Loose by T. McMillan

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