Let me explain something to you – ain’t nothin’ ever been cute about pink leather leggings, especially on big girls.
That’s pretty much the only thing I thought when I saw Lydia’s choice in a birthday outfit. Now before you start asking ‘Who are you to say what is or is not cute?!’, let me explain something about myself. I am the editor-in-chief of Curves, Curls, and Cake, a blog that caters specifically to today’s full-figured woman. So far, my blog has become a very credible source for life, fashion, and entertainment advice. So I’d like to think I know a little something when it comes to what’s fashionable.
Of course you can’t tell Lydia that…
"And that's when I had to tell her about herself! I mean, seriously, she came in carrying a Dolce bag from two seasons ago. Did she really think she was going to come at me all wrong and I would not say something?" Lydia flung her hair back and laughed loudly. The other women, all wealthy housewives from her children's school, laughed in the same pretentious manner. One of the other women made a comment, to which Lydia replied a loud and hearty, "I know right!" before excusing herself from the group. She strutted proudly across the room in her five inch Jimmy Choo stilettos, allowing her curvy hips to sway to the beat of the music. Her long hair hung just below her shoulders in perfect ringlets, and she made sure that everyone knew that her hair was real by swinging it every chance she could. Lydia seemed perfectly comfortable gliding through the crowd, stopping to shake hands and give fake hugs to her birthday party attendees. When she finally arrived at the table where her girls sat, Lydia put her hands on her hips and shook her head. "So, do you all plan on getting up and enjoying yourselves or are you afraid that the table is gonna fly away?"
"I spent all night grading papers so I could be here," Urie replied after taking a long sip of her drink, “so I will get up when I am ready."
"And when will that be?"
"When I'm ready."
Lydia took a look at Urie's glass and then pursed her lips. "There better be alcohol in that glass."
"Lydia, you know I don't drink like that."
"Well what are you drinking?"
"Long Island ice tea?"
"Just iced tea." Urie shook her head then looked at Parker. "Your girl's a lush..."
"I am not a lush, just a woman who knows how to have a good time." Lydia looked over at Parker, whose entire focus was on her tablet. "And Miss Parker, what are you doing that is so important that you don't notice there is a party going on right now in my honor?"
Parker looked up and smirked. "Oh I’m sorry, there's a party tonight? Wow. I thought it was a regular night at the club, you know, since I was asked to pay a $20 cover charge at the door..."
"Yeah, what was up with that?" Sydney asked while moving to the music. "I thought you said there would be no cover, at least for your girls.”
Lydia ran her fingers through her hair. “Look, I couldn’t control that. The owner said that he would let me have the whole club for the night since I’ve catered for so many of his events. I didn’t find out until later that only so many people could get in for free.”
“And you couldn’t hook up your girls?” Parker asked.
“I had to take care of some important people that came through! You know how it is.”
“Well, I don’t know how it is, so I’m going to need for you to tell me…” Sydney’s thoughts trailed off as the DJ began to spin house music. “Ooo, but tell me after this. Gotta go!” Sydney slid off the barstool and made her way to the crowd to dance.
Parker laughed as she began to type into her tablet again. “I know what you’re trying to say, Lydia, but it’s a bad excuse. I made sure that you and your dates got into my birthday party last year with no problems…”
“Parker,” Lydia interrupted, “I know you of all people didn’t pay $20 to get in tonight with all of the connections that you have.” Parker let out a chuckle, but didn’t respond. “Did you pay $20 or not?!” Lydia was starting to get frustrated with Parker’s silence, which was something that Parker did just to get on her nerves. Refusing to allow Parker to get to her, Lydia turned to Urie, who was sipping her tea and chuckling at the whole scene. “Urie, did you all pay to get in here tonight?”
“None of us did, Lydia.” Urie answered. “The guy at the door knows about Parker’s blog and column with InTheKnow so he let us in.”
“Ok, so what are you all complaining about then?”
This woman is selfish, self-absorbed, and completely clueless. Parker thought to herself. But since it’s her birthday, I’ll give her a pass. “It’s the principle, Lydia. You invited your guests to a party. What if we didn’t have the money? Then we would be at my place drinking Pepsi and watching BET until you decided to call us and find out where we were. That’s even if you noticed that we weren’t in attendance.”
“Oh come on!” Lydia put her arms around both Urie and Parker and gave them hugs. “You all know you are my girls. I would’ve definitely noticed if you all weren’t here. Most of these people here are just for show.”
“And I’m assuming the people here for show are the ones that got in free…”
“With access to VIP and bottles at their tables...” Urie added.
Feeling attacked, so Lydia raised her voice as she cut Urie off. “You all could’ve came over to VIP if you wanted to!” Remembering that all eyes were on her for the evening, she took a deep breath to recollect herself in front of her party guests. “You still can now. And so you know, there are plenty of sexy, rich, and available men who will be more than happy to spend their money on a few drinks for you,” she cut a look at Urie, “even if it is just iced tea.”
Urie shook her head. “Can’t do it, Lydia”
“You know why.”
“Please don’t tell me it’s because of that sorry relationship that you’re in!” Urie cut an evil look at Lydia. Before she could even respond, Lydia continued. “Look, you’ve been with Jackson for ten years and in that time period you have been cheated on, hurt, lied to, and strung along with no hopes of a ring in sight. The man barely makes any money with his non-for-profit organization and, if my memory serves me correctly, he’s been funny acting with Eva these days…”
Urie pointed her finger directly in Lydia’s face. “Do not bring my baby into this!”
“I’m just saying. You deserve better. Been saying the same thing for the past few years. And tonight you have a good opportunity to meet some men who can give you what you deserve, like time and money.” Lydia brushed a ringlet from in front of her face as she began to move to the house music that the DJ was still spinning. “Look, if y’all lames want to sit here and hold down the floors, so be it. I’m gonna go dance. I didn’t spend $600 on this outfit for nothing.”
“You spent $600 on that outfit?” Parker asked dryly without looking up.
“Yes! Looking good costs. Well, doesn’t cost me at least!” Lydia kissed her seven carat diamond wedding ring and laughed loudly again. “I’ll see you two later, hopefully on the dance floor.” Lydia waved at her girls and rejoined the crowd on the dance floor.
Urie waited until Lydia was out of earshot before she spoke. “I hate it when she brings up Eva and my relationship with Jackson!”
“Is there something you want to talk about?” Urie rolled her eyes and looked away. Parker tapped Urie on the shoulder to get her attention, but she did not turn around. “Urie, what is going on?”
She sighed deeply. “Lydia knows that Jackson and I are on rough terms, but he is doing the best that he can right now to help me with Eva. She didn’t have to go there.”
“What is it this time?” Urie shook her head but didn’t respond. Parker leaned in a bit. “Look, I know you two have history, and I know you want Eva to have her father. But honey, you have to realize that this relationship is not healthy for you. You have to do what is best for you.”
“But what if what is best for me is him? And how do I know that if I pull away from him, he will still continue a relationship with Eva? She is my only concern. I can handle just about anything…”
“Including not being loved?” Urie sighed as she began to roll round the ice cubes in her empty glass, refusing to look up at Parker. “I know you love him. But Lydia is right, you deserve better…”
“If y’all don’t get y’all butts off these stools and come dance!” Sydney came back to the table, still dancing to the house tracks that the DJ was now deep into playing. “Quit acting like y’all ain’t house heads like me!”
Parker shook her head and laughed. “Syd, I just ordered some food and…”
“And you can let the waitress know to keep it warm in the kitchen until you get back. You know you got that kind of pull!”
“I can stay here and wait until your food gets here, Parker.” Urie said while motioning the waitress to come back to the table. “I really don’t feel like dancing.”
“What’s wrong with you all of a sudden?”
Sydney turned to Parker. “Uh, you wanna tell me what’s wrong with her?”
“Lydia.” Parker replied.
“Seriously, I’ll wait for the food.” Urie continued. “She said about 15 minutes, and I know Parker will have her on the clock.”
“You sure?” Parker asked while setting her purse on the table.
“Yeah, I’m sure.”
“Ok, I’mma go dance for a little bit and I’ll be back.” She gave Urie a hug. “Don’t let her ruin your night, ok?”
“Ok.” She let out a small smile and waved as the duo disappeared on the dance floor.
“Tony, what do you mean you have to leave?! It’s Friday night, and it’s my birthday party! Can’t this wait until tomorrow morning?”
Tony kissed Lydia gently on the lips. “Sweetie, you know I want more than anything to stay, but you know how important that meeting with Sports Center is. Tomorrow means the world for the both of us…”
“For the both of us, huh?”
“Yes. You know everything that I do is for you and the boys. I will pick then from Mama’s house on the way home. Is Parker dropping you off?”
“Yes.” Lydia answered softly.
“Good. You enjoy yourself and I will see you when you get home. I love you, Lydee.”
“Oh, you don’t love me anymore?”
Tony gave her another soft kiss on the lips, which made Lydia sigh and crack a small smile. “That’s my girl.”
“I love you too, Tony. Please make sure that the boys are dry before you put them in the bed.”
He ran his finger along the side of her face. “Bye.”
And once again he leaves. Lydia tried hard to fight of the anger that began to rise in her stomach as she watched her husband shake a few hands on the way out the door. He is so selfish. For once, just once, couldn’t he have thought about me first? Nope! The job comes first. I’m starting to think his job is his wife and I’m just a side chick…
“Excuse me, but is that how the woman of honor is supposed to be looking at her own event?” A smooth baritone voice disrupted Lydia’s thoughts. She turned to see the extremely handsome man standing behind her. Before she could even respond, he held out his hand for a handshake. “Calvin James. Pleasure to meet you.”
“Lydia Carter-Brown.” She extended her hand for a handshake as well, but Calvin grabbed her hand, and kissed it gently. A small flutter went through her stomach, but Lydia remained calm. “So is that the way you greet all women when you meet them for the first time or am I getting special birthday girl treatment?”
“A little of both.” He smiled as he took a sip of his rum and coke. “Are you enjoying yourself?”
“Of course! Who wouldn’t enjoy themselves with all of their friends and family around?”
“A woman who just had to say goodbye to her husband.” Lydia rolled her eyes and tried to walk past him. “Wait, wait a minute. I didn’t mean to offend you. I just noticed that…”
“You noticed what? That I said a long goodbye to someone? Yes, that was my husband, since you are so observant, but I am not upset. He has to work.”
Calvin set his empty drink on the nearby bar and folded his arms. “A working man is good. I can respect that. But me, I would’ve stayed here with you.”
“Well, that’s you.” Lydia could feel herself getting both angered and intrigued by him. She knew that it was best that she left. “I’m glad you are enjoying yourself, um, what did you say your name was?”
“Right, Calvin. Ok, well, thanks for the well wishes…” Lydia began to walk away, but Calvin stopped her by lightly grabbing her arm. “Um, excuse me…”
“I came over here for a reason. I happen to know that you are an excellent caterer. I’m responsible for coordinating the food and entertainment for a gala in four months for Dreams Inc., a non-for-profit organization. Are you familiar with them?”
“Yes, I am. But for something of that magnitude, four months is pretty short notice, don’t you think?”
“I’m aware. And normally I would never put anyone under that kind of duress. But our caterer flaked on us at the last minute and we desperately need a replacement…”
Calvin chuckled in a cocky and confident manner as he pulled out his business card. Before handing the card to Lydia, he ran his fingers gently across her skin, smiling at the goosebumps that appeared on her arm. “I don’t want to take up too much more of your time, but if you have the time, please give me a call. I would love to talk to you.”
“We’ll see.” Lydia gaze was broken as Parker came over with a small plate of potato skins in hand. Slightly relieved to see her friend, she introduced the two. “Calvin, this is one of my closest friends Parker Peterson. Parker, this is Calvin…um, sorry, I forgot your last name.”
“James. It’s Calvin James.” He held out his hand for a handshake, to which Parker responded. “Pleasure to meet you, Parker. If you needed to speak with Lydia, I’ll be finished in a moment…”
“Oh, I’ll wait, thank you.” An awkward silence occurred as Calvin waited for Parker to leave. Parker began to chuckle as she thought to herself. Is there a problem? Am I messing up your home-wrecking groove over here, sir? After a few moments, she spoke again. “Looks like you are done with your conversation, so it was nice meeting you, Calvin James.”
Calvin was irritated, but he kept his calm. After nodding to Parker, he turned his attention back to Lydia. “Make sure that you call me, ok?”
“Alright.” Calvin was out of earshot, she turned to Parker, who was busy eating her potato skins. With eyes wide open, she said, “What was that all about?”
“Um, you tell me! Clearly I was interrupting something…”
“Just an opportunity to cater Dreams Inc.’s gala. See!” Lydia showed Parker the business card that Calvin had handed her. “Everything was on the up-and-up.”
“I saw him kiss you on the hand…”
“Please, he said he does that to every woman he meets…”
“Then why didn’t I get a kiss on the hand?”
“Because you have a hand full of potato skins.”
“Come on Lydia, that wasn’t all business…"
“Ok, maybe he was flirting a little bit. But most handsome men do. You know I’m trying to keep my catering business on the rise. Gotta make moves, right?”
“Mmm hmmm. Where is Tony?”
“He left.” Lydia answered with a tone in her voice that indicated that she did not want to talk about it further. “Where are the girls?”
“Syd finally got Urie off of her seat. They are up dancing.”
Lydia looked over and saw Syd and Urie both dancing and chatting with two guys. “I know that guy. He’s rich. Urie better get his phone number.”
Parker shook her head as she started to head back to the dance floor. “Will you leave the girl alone? She’s just dancing, dang!”
“I’m just saying. We need to teach that girl how to jump on an opportunity.”
“And no one knows how to be an opportunist quite like you.” Parker replied sarcastically and laughed. “You never stop do you?”
“Team Me all the way and loving it! Come on, Parker. I wanna get a few more drinks and do some more dancing before you take me home.”
“Alright, let’s go. Just one quick question though.”
“You paid $600 for that outfit?”
“I paid exactly $600.86 for it, yes ma’am!”
“And you bought pink leather leggings?”
“And what of it?” Parker just shook her head. “What! You’re just mad because you don’t have any!”
“Trust me, I don’t want any.”
“You do, and you’re jealous because you can’t make them look this good.”
“Better, honey. I can make them look better. Now come on before I hurt your feelings on your birthday.” Parker rolled her eyes and laughed loud before dancing her way back to the dance floor.
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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