Part 1: Amber, Dave, and Rico

I was sitting in a women’s empowerment meeting when the lady leading the discussion called me out. “Amber, what’s your story? Tell us why you’re here.” I sat there in silence for a moment. Then I finally spoke and said," well, I’m dating Mr. Right, but I’m in love with Mr. Wrong.
The entire room looked at me, and then I realized how crazy what I just said sounded. But hell, it was my truth. I was dating Dave, and things were good. He was a knight in shining armor. He was everything I had dreamed of; he was confident, courageous; he listened to me when I talked; he paid attention to details; he was humble, and he was a well-respected lawyer. I had a love for him; I mean, we had been together for a few years now, and we lived together. But I had to admit I didn’t truly love him. If I did, I wouldn’t step out on him from time to time with Rico.
Now, Rico, I loved his ass, and I was in love with his ass; in the words of Ms. Mary J Blige, I love my Mr. Wrong. I met Rico in the club one night when Dave was out of town on business. I needed to let down my hair and not pretend to be perfect like I usually had to do when Dave and I went out. So I took that time to do just that. My sister Brandy and I got dressed and went right to the hood to let loose.
Rico wasn’t my regular pick, but something about him pulled me into him. After six months of messing around, finding out about his multiple kids and baby moms, his name and rep in the streets, that he still lived at his momma house, and his anger and control issues, I’m still here holding on to him.
The lady sitting to the left of me asked, “so why are you here?” I looked at her, wondering why she was all up in my business. And then I sat silent; the honest answer was because I was tired of living a double life. I was lying to both guys and honestly felt like I was on my way to getting caught. I mean, I could only keep telling Dave I was with Brandy, or Brandy had my car so many more times before he ran into her, and she blew my cover, and it would be no one’s fault but my own. Or worse, he sees Rico driving my car that is insured in Dave’s name, and Dave pays the car note for.
But I wasn’t about to tell these hoes that; I don’t know them to completely airing my dirty laundry. So, I flashed my ring and said, “Well, my Mr. Right proposed. But I can’t leave my Mr. Wrong alone.” “why not?” the same girl asked. I gave her the stare of death because she was all up in my business. “Honestly, my lady box screams out for him,” I answered her. Rico makes love to me in a way that Dave doesn’t. He’s down for it whenever and wherever; in the car, in the park, 69 or anal. I looked around the room to see the ladies’ reactions. They all had facial expressions that let me know that they weren’t judging me or what I was saying.
Now don’t get me wrong, Mr. Right was packing, and he had a good stroke game. But everything was so routine and predictable. At home, in the bed with the lights off. Mostly in the missionary position, and about 10 or 15 strokes. And he was good. He was never willing to change up to or take a risk. All I wanted was for him to lose control a little bit simply.
That’s why he and Rico were so different. Shit, that's why I felt like I needed Rico, he was everything Dave wasn’t. The two of them were like night and day. And although the night was a little scary, I loved the thrill it brought. But we all know you can’t live in the nightlife forever. So, it was the time that I prepared myself for the light of day.
The meeting progressed, and I listened to these ladies’ stories. Some had been headed over hills for some men, and others had hit their lowest point trying to keep a man. When the meeting let out, I drove home thinking of all the things I had heard. It was just more of a sign that I needed to get it together, and quickly.
As I drove home, my phone rang. I looked, and it was Rico. “hey zaddy.” I chirped when I answered the phone. “where are you?” he barked into the phone. “On my way home.” I told him. “bring your ass over now!” Rico commanded. “But Rico, I have to..” Rico interrupted me, “I didn’t ask you what you had to do. Get here now!” Rico said and then hung up.
I busted a U-turn and headed to Rico's and I’s usual meeting spot. All that getting my shit together talk had gone out the window just that damn quick. I pulled up to the park Rico, and I usually met at, and shortly after I parked my car, I saw Rico’s car pulling up behind me quickly. He jumped out of his car and came and got into mine.
“Hey baby,” I said to him as I leaned over to hug him and kiss. “fuck all that nice shit,” he said as he mushed me. “I need 5 stacks and I need it in 48 hours. “Rico was normally a little aggressive in how he talked, but never like this. “Rico, I don’t have $5,000. where am I supposed to get that type of money for you, baby?” I said to Rico.
Rico pulled out his gun and sat it on his lap. I looked, and for the first time, I feared Rico. “bitch stop playing with me. Get the Fuckin money from Dave.” I looked at him with my eyes big, “How do you know about Dave?” at the sound of Rico speaking Dave’s name like he was someone we talked about on the regular.
Rico laughed, but this wasn’t his usual laugh. This laugh was evil. “he’s my cousin stupid. My mom showed me yall wedding invites that came in the mail the other day. So, imagine my thoughts when I see the bitch I’m fucking and my cousin's engagement pictures.” I cried. “Rico listen I wasn’t trying to play you I swear.” “Bitch you couldn’t play me even if I let you. Bitch, you are nothing.” he said to me “why are you doing this, do the last six months we spent together mean nothing to you.” Rico busted out laughing. “AWW hoe you thought I loved you? Man, go get my money from Dave or I’m a kill you and him. But not before I tell him I was fucking his fiance for the last six months and his bitch has swollen my kids several times and soaked on my nuts and then came home to him and probably kissed his ass without brushing her teeth.”
My heart literally felt like it was in my feet at this point. “Rico, I can’t just get 5 stacks out of him, maybe 1 or 2. But any more than that and he’s going to want to know what the money’s for.” I cried out to him. Rico looked at me with a rage in his eyes. “Bitch, that ain’t my problem tell him it’s for that fucking wedding. Or shit tells him the truth it’s keeping a bullet out the both of yall asses.” Rico said as he got out of my car and slammed my door behind him.
I drove home shaking. I didn’t know what to do or how the hell I would get $5,000 out of Dave to give to Rico. But my mind was going a thousand miles per hour, trying to figure out how I would save my ass. When I pulled up in our driveway, I didn’t see Dave’s car. I sat in the car for a while and wiped my face while I thought. Then I came up with an idea I would take all the expensive jewelry Dave got me and some of his, and I’d pawn it. Then I would buy all the jewelry back one by one as I got the money before Dave realized anything was missing. As long as I didn’t pawn my engagement ring, he wouldn’t notice. I told myself.
I went into the house and grabbed a duffle bag. I quickly put as much stuff as possible that I thought would equal up to $5,000 in the bag. When I heard Dave’s car in the driveway, I stuffed the bag under our bed and rushed to meet him at the door.
I greeted him the way I always did, cheerfully and with a kiss, while trying to do my best to hide how I was really feeling. “Hey baby, how was your day?” I asked. “it was great. You are looking at the new partner at the firm,” Dave said proudly. I jumped up and down, rejoicing. “Baby girl, go get dressed, we are going out to celebrate.” he told me.
I went to our bedroom, pulled out a sexy black dress, and laid it on the bed. Then my phone rang. Dave walked in the room taking off his work clothes, and I told him he could jump in the shower first, that it was Brandy, and I wanted to talk to her a little. Dave said, okay. By that time, my phone had stopped ringing. By the time Dave grabbed his towel and walked to the bathroom, it was ringing again. I waited until I heard Dave close the bathroom door and the shower water come on before I answered my phone. “Hello,” I said. “bitch you got my money yet?” Rico yelled into the phone. “No, not yet I’m getting it though.” I answered by sounding nervous. Rico said nothing and hung up.
Dave came out of the bathroom, and I went in. I shower and come out. When I walked into the room, I saw the bag of jewelry on the bed, and Dave was looking at me. “amber what’s this?” he asked. “huh?” I said while I stood there wrapped in a towel, looking stupid. I was thinking of what to say, but my mind had gone completely blank. “If you can huh you can hear. Why is all our jewelry in this bag?” he asked. “I don‘t know.” I said to him. Dave looked at me. “So my cufflink rolled under the bed and I went to get it and found this. And you telling me you don’t know how this duffle bag full of our jewelry got under our bed? Amber stopped playing with me. Clearly it wasn’t a robbery because robers normally take shit like this with them.” Dave said.
I didn’t know what to say, so I burst into tears. Dave looked at me confused and walked over to hold me. “Amber, please tell me what’s going on. Whatever it is, we can work it out.” I looked at Dave and said, “we can work through anything?’ Dave wiped my tears with his thumb, “of course I love you.” he told me. “you might want to have a seat.” I said to him.
He sat on the edge of the bed and pulled me onto his lap. I poured out everything. When I was done, he sat there in silence for a while. Then he pushed me off of him, stood up, and grabbed his wallet and his keys off the dresser. “Baby, where are you going?” I asked him. “I’m going to pay this dummy the $5,000 he’s asking for. Because he is that stupid to kill me and you over a quick dollar. This Mutha fucker doesn’t have shit to lose at this point. He’s been to jail. That shit doesn’t bother him And I love you too much to let that happen.”
I smiled and walked over to my Superman to kiss him. But Dave pushed me back and said: “you need to pack.” I looked at him confused. “huh?” I told him. “Pack your stuff, Amber,” he shouted. I cried again “I thought you said we can work through this.” Dave looked at me and shook his head as he said, “the cheating I could have worked through. But with him....” I interrupted him, “because he’s your cousin.” I spoke with my head down. “Nah, because he’s HIV positive and I don’t like my life being at risk.”

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