“Ugh! Why is the sun so bright?” Antonio groans from the passenger seat of Bryan’s car.
“Bro,” Bryan says laughing, “it’s four o’clock. The sun is going down.”
“Not fast enough.” Antonio says. He takes off his coat, puts it over his head and reclines the seat all the way to the back, stretching his legs on the dashboard.
“Please, make yourself comfortable,” Bryan jokes.
“Thanks for the ride, man. I owe you one,” Antonio’s muffled voice comes from underneath the coat.
“You’re lucky Elise didn’t call the police on you. I’d be bailing you out of jail right now.”
“I’m just glad she didn’t call Mitchell. She would do some shit like that, you know. Just to make me feel like a disappointment. She knows I’m tryna get my life together.”
“Oh, nah man. She called Mitchell.”
“Damn.” Antonio slams his coat down on his lap.
“She actually called him first. But he was . . . preoccupied.” Bryan drops the hint slowly, hoping Antonio will catch it.
“Doing what? He was just with me at the bar?”
Ok, he doesn’t know, Bryan concludes. That or he’s too hungover to figure it out, but Bryan doubts Mitchell said anything, so he’ll tell Antonio for him. “Tash. Doing Tash.”
“Yep.” Bryan wasn’t sure of it himself, at first. Natasha could’ve just been wet and naked from a cold shower when she answered the door last night, since she was apparently soo drunk. But when they got home, Renee told him all the dirty details, the real reason Tash had called her out to Mother Goose’s to “talk.”
He has to hand it to Mitchell. Not even he was able to get into Renee’s pants before saying those fateful words, “I do.” But it was well worth the wait. Right now he’s on his way to give Mitchell a firm slap on the back and a congratulatory “Atta boy! Welcome to the club! How does it feel to be a man now?” Because he’s sure Natasha was Mitchell’s first.
“Oh,” Antonio says.
“Oh?” Bryan expected a little more excitement in Antonio’s response, or at least shock—Bryan was shocked. Scratch that; no he wasn’t. As godly as Mitchell thinks he is, every man has a weakness. And if Natasha is any bit as frisky as Renee is when she’s drunk, not even Mitchell could resist that temptation.
But Antonio did just get saved, and Mitchell is his Christian mentor. “They’re getting married,” Bryan tries to justify, “so I guess it’s ok.”
“It’s not that.” Antonio massages the center of his eyebrows as a car with too bright LED headlights passes. “I just– From how she looked at the bar, I thought there might a little trouble in paradise.”
“Far from it.” Bryan rounds the corner into Mitchell’s neighborhood.
“You’re not taking me home?” Antonio asks.
“Nah, we gotta celebrate!”
“Well, for one, you not getting your butt whipped by Elise’s brother.” Butt? Bryan says to himself. Did he really just say butt? Ass, Bryan, he corrects himself. Getting his ass whipped. Damn Renee and her stupid curse word fast. It’s like she’s in his head now!
“What are you talking about? Elise doesn’t have a brother.” Antonio is saying.
“Oh, but she does.”
“I’ve known her for seven years. I ain’t never heard of no brother.”
“Well, she got one. Fresh outta fifteen year lockup too. And those J’s you threw up all over, were custom made.”
“Fuck.” Antonio slaps his forehead. Groans again at what Bryan can only assume is the resulting headache.
“Yep. Be glad Ryder didn’t see any of it.”
“Doesn’t matter. I’ll never get him back now.”
“I wouldn’t be so sure.” Bryan says. “You’ll get him. Elise isn’t that cruel. Remember she could’ve called the cops on you, but she didn’t.”
When he pulls into the driveway, Mitchell is outside throwing net lights over the bushes in front of his house. Bryan puts the car in park, leans back, rubs his hands together, looks at Antonio with a smile that’s full of trouble. “But first, we give Mitchell a little going away present.”
Antonio stares at him. “You’re taking him to a strip club, aren’t you?”
“Correction. We are.”
“You’re like the serpent in the garden, man.”
“First of all, I’m surprised you even know that.”
“That’s the one Bible story everyone should know.”
“Maybe, but Mitchell’s my boy. And I’ll be damned if I don’t give my boy the rite of passage deserving of every man before he gets married . . . Breasts and booty!”
At least now Bryan is confident Mitchell knows where they are.