My dad used to say that every dog has his day.
I guess the same is true with people. That’s where they get the ‘fifteen minutes of fame’ statement from. While some people like myself don’t like the spotlight, other people live for it. They do whatever they need to do to stay in it, not caring about who they hurt to get there. And while they are there, they carelessly drink it all in. They bask in the glow of temporary approval and adoration. They live for every second that they hold the world captive. And they forget that when it is over, it’s over – never to be regained again.
Those people can’t live with that. And they definitely can’t live with the consequences that come afterward.
One thing I know is true – what goes around comes around. The same people you hurt, you have to pass on the way back down. That’s why I try to live my life in a way that no matter what happens, my highs and my lows are lived with the same grace and decorum that a woman should always have. Sometimes the girls think that I play it too safe, that I don’t risk much, and that I stay in bad situations too long because I’m scared to find out what else the rest of the world can bring. But I’d rather be safe and sane than silly and sorry. I hate to say it like that, but it’s the truth. And while I know that some risks – like being alone for the first time in a long time – need to be taken, I refuse to do things that I might regret. I don’t like living with regrets. I can’t afford to make foolish mistakes like that. I’m not a kid anymore.
But some people don’t believe that fat meat is greasy…
“A toast,” Tony raised his champagne glass, “to my beautiful wife Lydia who, in a few short months, will make me a father all over again.” Everyone in attendance raised their glasses except for Lydia, who simply smiled uncomfortably. Tony looked at her and smiled. “Baby, you and I have had a rough year. I know I put you through a lot, was away a lot, and wasn’t there for you and the boys like you deserve. But when I think about how blessed I am to have a wife at home who loves and supports me, it makes me work extra hard to make sure that I keep a smile on your face. Happy 7th Anniversary, Lydee.” Smiles and applause came from everyone in attendance. “Ok, enough of this mushy stuff. You all came for a party, so enjoy yourselves!” The Dj turned the music back and people began to head back to the dance floor. Tony made his way back to Lydia, who was sitting at a table sipping on some ginger ale. “You look beautiful tonight, did I tell you that?”
“Yes, you did.” Lydia said in a distant tone. “But thank you…”
Tony pulled up a chair next to Lydia and gently rubbed her back. “Honey, is everything alright? You’ve been acting kind of distant for the past week.”
“I’m fine, you know, just sickness. Have you seen the girls yet?”
“Not yet, but I’m sure they are late because they are making an entrance.” Tony kissed Lydia softly on the lips. “I meant it, you know. You inspire me to push as hard as I do to be as successful as I have become. None of what I have would be possible without you. I love you, Lydia.”
“I love you too, Tony.” Lydia rested her head on Tony’s chest and sighed. As they sat there in silence, Lydia began to feel badly. I should tell him. She thought to herself. I should tell him, but that would kill him. She recalled the look on Tony’s face when he found out about the baby. I mean, he cried for God’s sake. Picked me up, spun me around everything. Ugh! With all that happiness, I can’t tell him. He said ‘Maybe this is God’s way of telling us that we need to work this out.’ But I’m not sure if I want to. A tear fell from her eye as she began to think about Calvin’s reaction to her pregnancy:
“So, what do you want me to do about it?” Calvin asked dryly after taking a sip
“What do I want you to do?! How about man up?”
“You lay with your husband every night and you expect me to believe it’s not
“I’ve been with you more than I’ve been with him!” She screamed. “Calvin, I can’t believe you’re acting like this…”
“Acting like what? What do you expect me to say? Leave your husband and be with me?”
“Yes!” Lydia let out quickly. “I mean, I don’t know.”
“I knew this was going to happen.”
“You knew what was going to happen, Calvin.”
“That you’d end up falling for me. You told me that you could handle this, that you could handle our relationship being what it was. I see that’s not the case.”
“Don’t flatter yourself, ok? Everything that I believed in came from your mouth first. You told me that you cared about me. You told me you loved me. You had me thinking that this was going somewhere. Now here I am telling you that I’m expecting our child and you’re being a complete jerk about it.”
Calvin kissed Lydia’s forehead, put $400 on the table, and stood to leave. “You do what you have to do. Take care of yourself, ok?”
“Do what I have to do? What is that supposed to mean? And where are you going?” Calvin exited the restaurant without turning around.
“Lydia, honey, you ok?” Tony asked while brushing some hair away from her forehead.
She snapped back to reality. “Um, yeah, I’m fine. Why wouldn’t I be? Friends, family, and food. Who could ask for anything more?”
“Well, your girls are here.” Tony pointed to the doorway as Sydney, Parker, and Urie came through the door. He motioned for them to come over to the table. As soon as they were within earshot, he teased, “You all are late. Who drove?” Parker and Urie pointed to Sydney, who looked off to the side. “Figures. You all missed my emotional speech.”
“I’m sure it was moving.” Parker teased as she gave both Lydia and Tony a hug. “Happy Anniversary, you two. Man, seven years, huh? Y’all are an old married couple now.”
“Parker, you’re just jealous.” Tony teased. “But look, I’ve got some people I need to go talk to. Grab something to eat and have a good time.” He waved as he walked away from the table.
The three of them stared at Lydia for a moment before speaking. “So, um, is there a reason that you are looking all down-in-the-mouth?” Parker finally asked.
“No, no reason.” Lydia looked down at her watch and sighed. “You all look nice. Where are your dates?” Urie rolled her eyes and looked away, which made Lydia chuckle. “Ok, then I guess that answers where Urie’s date is. Parker, what about you?”
“Lydia, you know that I am a solo eagle.”
“You’re gonna die alone with your cats.”
“Thanks for your confidence in my ability to attract a mate. I appreciate it, really.”
“David is on his way.” Sydney said while fixing her makeup in a hand mirror. “He had to finish up some things at work before he came out.”
Urie playfully tapped Sydney on her arm. “You two are becoming quite the couple, huh?”
“I guess you can say that.” Sydney took a moment. “I don’t know. I mean, I like the guy a lot, but he seems to be into me way more than I am into him.”
“My grandma said that a man should always love you more than you love him. Not sure how I feel about that statement yet, but I guess I can kind of see where she is coming from.”
“That’s that old school mentality.” Lydia said while still facing the door. “My relatives down south told me that when I married Tony.”
Parker noticed Lydia looking toward the entrance to the venue. “Are you waiting for a surprise or something? Because you keep looking at that door like someone is going run in and snatch you up.”
Snatch me up, no. Start something, yes. “I just like to see my guests when they come in, that’s all. No biggie.”
“Ok. Well, be careful because right now you look like a paranoid crazy person.” Everyone laughed except Lydia, who just smiled. “I’m going to go grab something to eat. Do you want me to fix you a plate, you know, since you are eating for two now?”
“No, I’m fine, thanks.”
“Hold on, Parker,” Urie said while rising from her seat, “I’ll go with you.”
Sydney watched Lydia as she continued to look toward the door. Once Parker and Urie were out of earshot, she said, “You want to tell me the truth now?”
“What are you talking about?”
“You invited Calvin, didn’t you?” Lydia rolled her eyes and stood up. “Sit down, Lydia. That’s enough of this game…”
“You are not my mother, Sydney…”
“No, but I am your friend. And because I’m your friend I do not want to see you mess up your marriage. Now sit.” She waited until Lydia was seated and then she moved her chair closer. “Did you tell him?”
“Did I tell who what?”
“You need to be more specific if you are that insistent on getting in my business.”
“Did you tell Tony about your affair with Calvin?” Lydia sighed deeply. “Lydia?”
“No, Sydney, I did not.”
“You do realize that there is a possibility that this baby might not be Tony’s?”
“Yes, Sydney, I know that.”
“And you have no intentions on telling him?”
“Why should I? He is happier than a pig in slop about me having another baby. The way I see it, it’s no harm no foul.”
“That is dirty, Lydia. Did you at least tell Calvin about the possibility of this being his baby?”
“Yes, I did.”
“And he gave me $400 dollars, told me to take care of myself, and I didn’t hear from him for two weeks.”
Sydney sat back in her chair. “Wow.”
“I didn’t call, email, or text him at all after I told him. I guess he started to miss me because called me a few days ago wanting to see me. Not sure what for. I told him that this is where I’d be tonight…”
“Lydia! Why would you do that?! Do you want to get caught?!”
“No, I want answers. I deserve answers…”
“The only thing you deserve is a slap in the face. Lydia, you invited the man you are having an affair with to your anniversary party. Calvin made it clear that he doesn’t want you, but I’m willing to bet money that he’s the kind of guy that doesn’t want anyone else to have you either. What makes you so sure he’s not going to come here and start trouble?”
“He won’t. He’s not like Tony, who will throw a temper tantrum anytime he doesn’t get his way. Calvin knows how to act like a man…”
“A man wouldn’t have thrown $400 on the table and told you to take care of yourself.” Lydia looked away, but Sydney continued. “Better yet, a man would’ve respected the fact that you are a married woman and would not have tried to pursue you in the first place. Lydia, you are really playing with fire here…”
“Sydney, you aren’t gonna fix yourself a plate?” Urie walked up with a plate of food and a glass of champagne. “It smells wonderful.”
“Yep, I was waiting for someone to get back. I’m going now.” Sydney looked at Lydia, shook her head, and then walked away.
“What was that all about?” Urie asked while sitting down at the table.
“Sydney being nosy.” Lydia took one more look toward the door before turning to face Urie. “So, what’s this I hear about Jackson putting his hands on you?”
“It wasn’t like that, he…”
“Did he or did he not put his hands on you in a forceful manner?”
“Did you press charges?”
“No.” Lydia rolled her eyes and took a sip of her water. “I thought about it, I did, but I couldn’t do it. I didn’t want Eva going through that…”
“What about you, Urie? Eventually, you have to think about yourself. If you aren’t careful, Eva will be going through a lot more because you won’t be here to protect her.” Urie sat silent for a moment. After taking another sip of water, Lydia continued. “If you insist on not pressing charges, then you need to end this. I know he doesn’t live with you, so get his few little raggedy items out of your house, get your key back, and tell him to beat it. This man has no respect for you, does not love you, and is using your daughter as a pawn to keep you holding on in case he runs out of better things to do. You deserve better, Urie. Eva deserves better. I’ve been telling you that for years, but I can’t make you leave him. This has to end sometime. Why not make it now?”
“Lydia, it’s easy for you to separate your emotions from what you know you need to do. I don’t operate like that. I’ve been with Jackson since I was sixteen years old. That’s a long time. We have history. And even though he has put me through hell, I still love him.”
“You need to love you more, Urie.”
Urie wiped a tear that had started to fall from her eye as she recalled the day in her classroom. Jackson had promised her after the one time that he had hit her that he would never do it again. She recalled the fear that went through her body as he pinned her against the wall. Her thoughts then shifted to Bryce. She remembered the fire in his eyes as he locked eyes with Jackson. Her heart started beating fast as she thought about his words after Jackson left:
“You need to press charges, Urie.”
“It’s not that bad, Bryce, it’s just…”
“It’s just what?! Urie, the man put his hands on you. There is nothing,
absolutely nothing acceptable about that. If you want, I will do it for you. But you can’t
continue to allow him to do this to you.” Bryce rubbed his forehead and then looked at
Sydney. “Um, do you mind if I talk to Urie alone for a moment please.” Sydney nodded
and left the room. Once they were alone, Bryce knelt by where Urie was sitting. She
tried to turn her head, but Bryce turned it to face him. “My mother was abused by my
father. I used to pray every night that he would go just one day without physically or
emotionally abusing my mom. There were a lot of nights that I stuck my head under my
pillow and cried because I could hear her screaming.” Bryce grabbed Urie’s hands,
which were shaking. “I don’t know what is going on with you two, and you don’t have to tell me. And I hope this doesn’t come off as the guy who is trying to break up your
relationship. You deserve more than this. Urie, you are a beautiful woman; honestly, the most beautiful woman that I’ve ever seen. It hurts me to see queens with men who
don’t cherish what they’ve been blessed with.”
“Bryce, I appreciate your concern. And thank you for sharing that piece of
you with me.” She rested her head on Bryce’s chest and sighed deeply. For a few
moments, their hearts were completely in sync. When she realized that she was getting
too comfortable, she pulled away. “I know what I need to do, and I will do it. I just need
“Ok, Urie.” Bryce kissed her gently on the forehead before rising to leave her classroom. “But so you know,” he continued before walking out, “it took everything in me not to seriously hurt him.”
“You would do that for me?”
“Without question. Let me know if you need me.” Bryce nodded before he walked out of her room.
Bringing her attention back to Lydia, Urie continued. “I put his stuff in a few garbage bags last week. They’ve been sitting in my living room. I haven’t heard from him since that night after the school incident. He told me that he was going to visit his mom for a few days, but I knew where he was. Eva has a half sister now.” Urie fought hard to hold her tears back, but it was not working. “I can’t anymore, Lydia. I know I can’t. But I don’t know what else to do because I’ve been with him so long. I’m afraid I don’t know how to be alone…”
“You take it one day at a time and thank God for every time you see the sun.” Parker returned from getting her plate and sat down next to Urie. “Each day it gets easier, and you’ll know you did the right thing.”
“Do you need me to help you get the bags out of your house?” Lydia asked.
“Not while you’re preggers. You need to take care of your baby.” Urie wiped a few tears from her eyes. “Great, now I’ve messed up my makeup and ruined your night. I’m sorry, Lydia.”
“You didn’t ruin anything.” As Lydia gave Urie a hug, she noticed Calvin walking in. He looked around the room for a moment, but soon locked eyes with Lydia. She pulled back from Urie. “I’m gonna go grab a bite.”
“Do you want me to get you something?”
“Um, no, I’m good. I will be back in a minute.” Lydia rose and quickly walked to where Calvin was standing. She looked at the woman that Calvin was making flirtatious conversation with and immediately got jealous. You’ve barely even walked in the door and you’re trying to talk to that skinny, weave-wearing chick? Wow, you’ve really lowered your standards. Lydia coolly walked past Calvin and made brief eye contact. She quietly waited until Calvin walked out the door. “That was fast.”
“You barely got my lipstick off your collar and you are already trying to sink your teeth into another chick. And at my party on top of that. A little tacky, don’t you think?”
“Is there something you wanted, Lydia?”
Lydia pulled $400 from her bra and handed it to him. “Here. This is the first time I have ever given a man back his money. I’m not going to take this, especially when I know what you want me to do with it.”
“What did you think I wanted you to do?” Calvin raised his eyebrows.
“Come on, Calvin, don’t play this game. What kind of man sets money on the table and tells a woman to ‘take care of herself’?”
“Maybe the kind of man who wants you to do just that. Lydia, both you and I know that you having this baby is a bad idea…”
“So you do think I should get rid of it?
“I think you should be smart.”
“I stopped being smart the moment I fell in love with you.” Lydia paused for a moment and took a step back. Shoot. My mouth gets me in almost as much trouble as my hips do! “Look, I thought about getting an abortion. Tony saw me going through morning sickness and asked was I pregnant. I couldn’t lie to him, at least not about that. He got so excited. I couldn’t take that away from him.”
“So are you just going to tell him the baby is his?”
“That’s my plan.”
“And what about me?”
Lydia laughed loud and hard. “What about you? A moment ago you didn’t want the baby and now you do. Calvin, make up your mind!” Lydia paused for a moment. “Wait, I get it. You don’t want me but you don’t want anyone else to have me. The moment there became a possibility of my husband becoming a priority again, you start acting like a spoiled five-year-old...”
“Lydia, I’d watch what I said if I were you. You know I don’t take to kindly to a woman getting out of her body.”
“Are you threatening me?”
“I don’t make threats.” Lydia rolled her eyes and looked away. “You clearly want to keep this baby despite how I feel. Fine, that’s your decision. I will give you money to take care of the baby if it is mine. But you better not utter a word of it to your husband.” Calvin moved closer to her, ran his fingers down her bare arms, and watched as goosebumps appeared on her arms. “Still attracted to me, I see.”
“Don’t flatter yourself.”
“If it’s any consolation, I miss us…”
“You miss us. How cute.”
“I think there is a way that we can work through this, but we’re gonna have to be smart about it…”
“Oh, we’re a we again? Well, gee, thanks for telling me, Mr. James. Here I am thinking that I am going to have to handle this all alone and my hero has come to save me. Oh joy!”
“Stop being so overdramatic…”
“I have every right to be whatever I please! Calvin, you took me on the most romantic and emotional journey that I have ever been on the past few months. You’ve done things for me and have shown me things that my husband knows nothing about. I began to look at you as more than a friend. You broke that my confidence in you with your reaction to my pregnancy. How do you expect us to work through anything?” Before Lydia could say another word, Calvin brought her in close and kissed her. Lydia melted in his arms as he held her close, making her forget about the party or how mad she was at him. But as she pulled away, she saw Tony standing in the hall. Her eyes widened as she saw her husband calmly watching the two of them. Immediately, she backed up from Calvin. “Oh my God, Tony, it’s not what you think…”
“Oh, it’s not, huh?” Tony said calmly while approaching the two. “Then please let me know what it is because right now it looks like my wife out here giving out what’s supposed to be mine...”
Calvin laughed smugly. “I see you two need to talk, so I’ll just go on…”
Tony charged Calvin, slamming him against the wall. “No, you can stay. This convo is just getting started. Now you wanna tell me what you were doing with your hands all over my wife?”
“Why don’t you ask her?”
“Because I’m addressing you. Now either you can answer the question and then I can beat your…”
“Tony, please,” Lydia pulled on Tony’s arms in an effort to get him to let go, “let’s just go. We can talk about his later.”
Tony stayed with his eyes locked on Calvin. “No, I think I want to talk now, man to man.”
Still with a smug smile on his face, Calvin responded. “I ain’t gotta say nothing to you. If you were taking care of your business at home, then she wouldn’t have had to find another man to do the job…”
With that, Tony punched Calvin in the face. The echo of the punch resounded in the empty hallway. After spitting out a small amount of blood, Calvin charged Tony and the two of them began to fight in the hallway. Lydia’s screams to stop went unheard by the duo. The party guests came out in the hallway to see what was going on. After only a few brief moments of fighting, David and another male party guest came and broke the fight up, separating the two gentlemen. Lydia stood in between them. “Please! That’s enough!”
Tony shook David’s hold on him, wiped his mouth, and then laughed. “All of this was for you, Lydia. I married you because I loved you, even though I knew you weren’t as committed to this as I was. I thought to myself, ‘Maybe she’ll come around.’ But no. Guess that old housewife saying is true, huh? My mother warned me about you, but clearly I had to learn the hard way…”
“Tony!” Lydia screamed.
“To hell with the both of you.” Tony walked way, leaving Lydia, Calvin, and the rest of the party guests in the hallway.
With tears running down her face, Lydia slid down one of the walls. Urie immediately ran to Lydia’s side with a glass of water. Parker eyed Calvin for a while, but he did not move. “I think you should go.” She finally said forcefully. After he left, she knelt down by Lydia. “What happened?” Parker asked in a calm voice. Lydia did not respond. “Lydia, what is going on?”
“I’ll tell you what’s going on.” Sydney said while walking over to the three of them. “Lydia has been having an affair with Calvin for the past few months.”
“Lydia!” Urie said quietly. “Why? How could you?”
“You don’t know what it’s like being married to him! He was never there. He never took me anywhere, did things for me. It was all about work. Calvin was there, so I thought I could have a little fun…”
Parker shook her head. “You thought wrong. We’ve been telling you from day one that that man was up to no good…”
“I don’t need you preaching at me right now, Parker…”
“Too bad,” Sydney interrupted, “because you're gonna hear it. You messed up this time, Lydia. Big time. You had everything that any woman could ever want and you threw it away for what, a demon in a designer suit? Women would kill to be in your shoes. I would kill to be in your shoes…”
“So this is what this whole thing with you has been all about.” Lydia said, standing up and looking eye to eye with Sydney. “I thought you could handle this, but clearly you couldn’t.” Sydney’s eyes widened with anger as Lydia continued. “Yeah, I know all about the summer in Spain. That’s all he talked about when he first realized that I knew you. You don’t care nothing about my marriage and keeping it together. You’re just speaking out of jealousy because I got what you couldn’t keep…”
“Lydia, if I wanted Tony, I would’ve kept him when I had him. He and I are friends like I thought that you and I were. But my friends know how to act like real women, not spoiled little girls. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. If you don’t want him, and you’d rather chase around men who can give less than two flying farts about you, then you need to give him up so someone who does want him can have him…” Sydney’s words trailed off. She laughed and then took a few steps back. “You know what, I’m preaching to the choir right now because the congregation ain’t hearing me. Judging by everyone leaving, I guess the party is over. I’m going to find David and get out of here.” Sydney turned and headed back into the room to collect her belongings.
Urie looked at Lydia and shook her head. “Wow, Lydia. What do you have to say after all of this?”
“Nothing. Absolutely nothing.” Lydia fixed her face in the mirror before walking proudly into the bathroom and shutting the door.
About PLUS Inc.
PLUS Inc. is a multi-character drama following the lives of four friends. Taking place in Chicago, IL., the ladies – Parker, Lydia, Urie, and Sydney – face life as they hold each other up through the bonds of friendship.
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