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Authors: T. Styles

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Black & Ugly as Ever

BOOK: Black & Ugly as Ever
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Copyright © 2008 by The Cartel Publications. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without permission from the author, except by reviewer who may quote passages to be printed in a newspaper or magazine.

PUBLISHER’S NOTE:
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organizations, places, events and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictionally. Any resemblance of actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

Library of Congress Control Number: 2008908047 ISBN: 0-9794931-6-1
ISBN 13: 978-0-9794931-6-4

Cover Design: Davida Baldwin www.oddballdsgn.com Editor: Right Way Editorial Services Graphics: Davida Baldwin
www.thecartelpublications.com
First Edition
Printed in the United States of America

Dedication

This is dedicated to two wonderful people. Alphonsa Dunlap. I know the angels are laughing because of you.
This is also dedicated to my step-father Bobby Cole who also passed recently. You’ll always be the LEGEND and my TRUE father.
You’re both missed but I know I’ll see you again.

Acknowledgments

First I’d like to thank my family (Mommy, Tina, Kavena, Kajel, D’Juan, CeCe, Angel, Charisse, Destanee, Darius, Kiara, Vincent, Aunt Paula, Dee, Carlos “30” aka Nut and anyone else I’ve missed). You guys put up with my absence as I struggled to put closure to a story so many people enjoyed. Thanks for loving me regardless, as much as I love you.

I’d like to thank my friends. There are so many of you so I’ll try to remember as many as I can. Monica, thanks for being a true-blue friend. Forever! You’re the best. Also, Mona Harris, Allyn, My Assistant Phallon Perry, you’re the best. We sooo need you! Thanks for holding us down! Giovanna, Krystal, Laina, and everyone else I missed.

I’d like to thank my authors, who motivated me to get behind my pen again. Eyone Williams, Anthony Fields, K.D. Harris, V.J. Gotastory, and Tiona Dawkins, I love you guys. I’d also like to thank Jason Poole. You’ve become so much more to me than just an author. You’re my homie and someone I consider family. I love and appreciate how you ride for me, and the Cartel, Jason. And that’s real talk! I will never forget our long talks and how you always motivated me when I was down. We’re kindred spirits.

I’d also like to thank Nikki Turner! Girl you are too much fun! Thanks for being real and driven. Your energy has rubbed off on me and has encouraged me to excel even higher! And...thanks for giving me the opportunity to meet Neyo at club Love in D.C.! He’s one of my favorite artists! You are the best!! I’d like to thank my Pep Squad/Street Team members. I hope you guys find pride in repping this book the way you repped the other Cartel titles.

I would be remised if I didn’t thank Davida Baldwin for placing such a hot cover on this novel, and Shanice B for providing such a beautiful face.

I’d also like to thank Charisse, my inspiration for everything I do. Thanks for staying true and standing behind me through the fire. I love you.

Last but not least, I’d like to thank my fans both old and new. Your support means everything to me.
For those of you who have a hard time finding the original story, Black & Ugly, I apologize. It’s unfortunate that there are individuals who hate on the success of others and like to hold them back. Contact your local libraries and me. Maybe we can think of something together. You should also know, that I do everything for you.

Love
,
T. Styles
[email protected] www.thecartelpublications.com
What up Fam,

I haven’t dropped a line to you since our debut novel, “Shyt List”, but I’m back!! First off, I want to say thanks to all of you who continue to ride wit’ The Cartel!! We love and appreciate the support that ya’ll have and always show us. Through your support, encouragement, and love, the HEART of The Cartel continues to pump. Since I last spoke to you, our family has truly grown. We have some of the hottest authors in the street lit game on our squad puttin’ out bangers and will continue to do so, for decades to come.

Now, on to business at hand, “Black and Ugly As Ever.” I’m truly honored to be stampin’ this one. This joint right here is cold! T. takes you on an emotional roller coaster and when the ride is over, you will definitely want to go again. I’m still trippin’ off some of the shit Parade does, she a mess, but she keeps it gangsta always. So sit back and enjoy! I PROMISE you won’t be disappointed! Speaking of women who keep it gangsta, in this novel, we pay homage to:

“Wahida Clark”

Wahida is one of the most vicious authors in the game. Her arsenal of novels include: “Thugs and the Women Who Love Them”, “Payback is a Mutha”, “Thug Matrimony”, “Payback With Ya Life”, “Every Thug Needs A Lady”, and “Sleeping With The Enemy”. Although her writing is hardcore, Wahida is humble, real, and respected. She’s definitely gettin’ it. It’s my honor to pay tribute to her. Wahida will always have love wit’ The Cartel.

Oh Yeah, if you’re in the D.C./Maryland area, feel free to stop by and say what’s up at our new book store. Cartel Café’ & Books, located at 5011 B Indian Head Highway Oxon Hill, MD.

See ya soon!!

Charisse Washington
VP, The Cartel Publications
www.thecartelpublications.com

Quick Recap From
Black And Ugly

In Black and Ugly, Sky Taylor, Parade Knight, Miss Wayne and Daffany Stans are introduced. Growing up in Hyattsville, Maryland, these friends struggle to keep their bond together.

Sky persecuted Parade for her dark skin. She believed her own light complexion gave her the advantage and didn’t mind telling people to their face, including Parade. But what she didn’t know was that her man Jay was sleeping with Parade behind her back.

Parade hates her complexion because of the scratches on her face, and the darkness of her skin. Despite her inner battle, she finds comfort in the curviness of her body. Miss Wayne tells her she could eliminate some of the pain she feels if she’d just take care of her acne problem, stop fighting and take pride in her beautiful skin tone. Her unattractive boyfriend Melvin, who she dumps early on, does nothing but use her sexually making her feel worse. It’s not until she gets with Jay, a neighborhood dealer, behind Sky’s back that she starts to gain confidence. But Jay also adds to the pressure by trying to keep her down by saying she’s ugly.

One night after being with Parade an hour earlier, Jay and Sky meet up at the movies. There she sees the neighborhood kingpin Smokes and his wife who is sporting expensive jewelry. Instead of focusing on Jay, Sky does everything she can to get Smokes’ attention. Smokes’shows a little interest and gets into a brief altercation with his wife when he’s caught. The two leave and Sky misses her chance. Still at the movies, Sky reaches over to kiss Jay and notices he smells like the perfume she gave Parade. She immediately suspects he’s been with her instead of another girl. She questions Jay about his infidelities but doesn’t let on that she thinks Parade’s the culprit. After all, to Sky, Parade isn’t even in her league.

The next day at the mall, Parade, Sky, Miss Wayne and Daffany, who recently discovered she was HIV positive, gets into an altercation. All because Parade believed a girl disrespected Sky. Parade holds her own and wins the battle.

In a few days, when all of the friends are at a party, Sky gets into a fight with a girl and kills her. Nobody knows Sky was involved because the fight was out of their view. The next day the murder is publicized on the news. The first person Sky confides in that she was the murderer was the same person she hurts on a regular basis, Parade. Sky tells Parade that the girl she killed in self defense was the same girl Parade fought at the mall. Parade feels guilty for getting Sky involved and vows to keep her secret.

Pretty soon Daffany and Miss Wayne suspect Sky’s the one who murdered the girl. Unbeknownst to them, the woman who was murdered was not the girl at the mall. Instead she was Smokes’, a coldhearted drug dealer’s wife. Smokes eventually gets a lead that Sky’s involved. And to get his revenge, he hired Cannon, a hit man to find out for sure. Cannon eventually finds Parade to get closer to Sky. But he immediately becomes attracted to her beauty during the same time she starts to care about her physical appearance. With Miss Wayne’s support, Parade dresses better than her friends and exhibits strong confidence. One of the first things she does is dump her boyfriend and cut off Jay. No longer able to control her, Jay becomes angry and tries to muscle Parade into a relationship. But Parade stands firm on leaving him alone, as Cannon, eventually takes up her time. Plus she doesn’t want to take the risk of Sky finding out about her betrayal. The only problem is Parade doesn’t know Cannon’s true motives.

One day during a game of truth or dare at Miss Wayne’s, Cannon’s true intentions are revealed and Parade is devastated. He not only admits that he’s hired to kill the person responsible for his client’s wife’s death, he also says that the person responsible will die that night. He never, ever mentions his client’s name. Right before he attempts to place a bullet in Sky’s head, someone breaks in trying to rob Miss Wayne’s apartment and Cannon is murdered. Although he wasn’t able to go through with the hit, Sky is eventually killed the next day by someone else Smokes hired. Terrified, they don’t go to the funeral. And eventually Smokes sends a message that if they ever said a word about Cannon or his involvement, he’d have them killed too. The only problem is no one knew who Smokes is because he never revealed himself.

A little later, Parade meets Smokes and after spending a lot of time together he eventually proposes to her. She accepts and he continues to hide his true identity from her. So Parade has no idea that he was involved in the murder of Sky. Excited about getting married, she decides to tell her friends about her engagement. Daffany, Parade and Miss Wayne all meet at the mall after not seeing each other since Sky’s death. When they do, they see the girl they had believed Sky murdered. Soon it was revealed that Sky lied about everything. And when Smokes name comes up in the revelation, Parade is shocked! Parade decides to keep her relationship with him a secret from her friends. But worse of all, she still decides to go through with the engagement.

And now the story continues…

Hearthrob Never, Black and Ugly As Ever.”
-
notorious big
Parade Knight
The Present

Someone asked me one day, why my mother named me Parade. I ignored them. It’s hard hearing the truth, that I was given my name because it took a
parade
blocking the abortion clinic to stop that bitch from terminating the pregnancy. I’ve been doomed since the day I was born. So it’s no wonder why once again I’m sitting outside in my car at night, in Quincy Manor parking lot. Someplace I don’t belong.

Drama follows me around like my shadow. I know I shouldn’t be here and everything in me tells me I should go. Yet I can’t seem to move my foot from the brake to the gas peddle. As I stare at my 4 carat engagement ring, I start wondering why I even believed I was ready for a commitment, when I can’t get the one man I ever truly loved out my mind and off my heart.

Knock! Knock! Knock!
Shit! Jay banging on my passenger window startled me. I didn’t even see him leave his building. I took a quick glimpse of myself in the mirror and placed my finger on the electronic button slowly rolling my illegally tinted window down, not sure what I’d say to him next. I feel like a whore even before I know what I’m about to do. Still, I fall victim to my one and only obsession, Jay Hernandez. My dead friend’s ex-boyfriend and the man I betrayed her with. Still, he looks better now than a year ago under the night sky.
“Why you sittin’ out in the car?” he asked, in his usual raspy voice peaking through my window. He scanned inside quickly and I could tell he was checking out my fly ass ride. I never owned anything as luxurious as this. My fiancé let me drive his black on black 2008 Mercedes CL 500 like it belonged to me. And I was starting to believe that it did. Eventually Jay’s eyes moved from the butter leather seats, to my body before stopping on my face.
“So why you ain’t tell me you were out here?” he asked, again.
“No reason.” I responded, looking down in my lap, out in front of me and than back at him. “Just thinkin’.”
“Bout what? Me?” He grinned.
“Just stuff, Jay.”
“Well come inside and think about
stuff
.” He demanded, leaning on my car causing it to rock a little. “You shouldn’t be out here this late at night.”
I looked around and saw the usual suspects selling their dope and causing problems in the Manor, but they never bothered me. I guess even after I moved from around here, not a lot has changed.
“I can’t come in,” I whispered. “You know that.”
“You can’t or you don’t want to?”
“I’m not sure,” I hunched my shoulders allowing them to fall just as quickly.
“But I want you to,” he said sincerely. “That’s why you’re here, to be with me.”
Is this the same man that called me black and ugly every time he laid eyes on me back in the day? And if so, why is he being so nice? Even now I’m sitting here counting down the minutes before he reminds me of the past by calling me a bitch and demanding that I get on my knees and suck his dick. I was his whore. A dirty washrag that he used and threw away.
And then he says, “And you look sexy as shit tonight, shawty.”
Did he just say what I think he did? I use to hope he’d say things like that to me. Only if he knew it took me three hours to find the right outfit to wear. I finally settled on a tight pair of Seven blue jeans, and a black Bebe top with the word in rhinestones over my right breast. My black hair lay flat on my shoulders and my makeup was flawless.
“Whatever, Jay. I don’t hardly look sexy,” I frowned, sitting back into my car seat. My hands rested firmly on my wood grain steering wheel. “So stop talkin’ like that.” I unconsciously adjusted my hair to be sure it was neat, something Sky had always done when men were around.
“I’m serious, Parade. You look
real
sexy, and you know I don’t say shit I don’t mean.”
Silence
. “So come inside,” he continued. “We have a lot of catchin’ up to do.”
“Jay, I’m engaged.” I reminded him, flashing my ring. I saw the brightness from the street light catch its glow and shine against his face causing him to squint. “You know I can’t do that.”
“Fuck that nigga and fuck that ring! If you cared about either of ‘em, you wouldn’t even be around here!” he yelled, tapping the top of my car. “I knew you before he even knew you were alive. Or did you forget?”
“Come on, Jay,” I exhaled, tempted to pull off, my car still in drive and foot still on the brake. “Please don’t do this right now. I don’t even know why I came.”
“Me either.” He was cold and stood up straight causing my car to rock again. The look in his eyes reminded me that he still felt something for me, even if he didn’t know what it was. He backed away and I was able to see what he was wearing. He was sportin’ a red
Blac Label
shirt, and blue
Rock and Republic
jeans. His hair was cut lower than usual but I could still see the soft curls in it that use to be longer, compliments of his black and Spanish heritage. “If you don’t wanna be here, I’m not keepin’ you. Keep it movin’.”
Why is he always so cold? This man turns on and off like running water.
“But I
do
wanna be here.” I blurted out, wishing I could take it back, placing my car in park. “You know that.”
“Then check it,” he said, looking behind my car and then at me. “If you hang out wit’ me this weekend, I’ll get you out of somethin’ that’s gettin’ ready to go down.”
“What?” I asked, confused at his request.
“Give me your answer quick.” I noticed a set of headlights shining brightly in my rearview mirror. I was blinded and couldn’t see who was coming. Plus I was so busy focusing on Jay’s sly smile that I couldn’t give him an answer.
“Duck down and don’t lift up,” Was what he said next. And than he yelled, “Is that my nigga, Zeeway?!” He called out as the car pulled in the parking space on the left of me. Jay walked directly between our cars blocking my view. “What’s good?” he gave him some dap.
As they spoke I thought about the name he said.
Zeeway
. He was one of Smokes best friends who just got out after doing a five year bid in Smoke’s name. He always talked about how when he got out, he’d look after him for eating time that rightfully belonged to him.
Although Zeeway never saw me, I knew we would eventually meet, I just hoped it wouldn’t be like this. I would have a tough time explaining to Smokes why I was sitting outside of Jay’s building at Quincy Manor Apartments, when I was
his
fiancé.
“Ain’t nothin’, yo,” Zeeway responded. “Dem your peoples?” he asked, his voice reflecting loudly in my direction.
I stooped down lower. I knew he couldn’t see me but I was sure he saw my shoulder length hair. I would have to change it soon. I was tempted to roll up my window knowing I could conceal myself behind its darkness, but that would’ve been too hot and too obvious. Zeeway would’ve known I was trying to hide something then.
“Naw.” Jay laughed. “She’s just stoppin’ through.”
“Then why she hidin’?” He was being too nosey for my taste. “I been locked up for a minute and I’m tryin’ to see a pretty face.”
What difference does it make? Pull the fuck off!
“Cuz she ain’t here for you man,” Jay laughed. “What’s up, nigga? How long you been out?” He asked, skipping the subject.
“A nigga fresh off the block today. And you know me,” he laughed. “I’m already tryin’ to slide into somethin’ soft before I check a few dudes out about my bread.” I wasn’t positive but I had a feeling the comment about slidin’ into something soft was meant for me.
“I heard that! Who you checkin’ first?”
“Smokes for one,” he said, in a devious tone. “Don’t get me wrong, he looked after my books while I was in, but that wasn’t enough for the five years I ate for him, feel me?”
“I heard that,” Jay responded. “Hold on for a sec.” Jay interrupted their conversation to turn toward me.
Hearing my fiancé’s name caused me to gasp for breath. I couldn’t help but wonder if the name drop was deliberate. Did he want me to know that he knew who I was? I was starting to feel faint.
Jay was now back at my window and said, “Look…you gonna hook up wit’ me or do I have to make things hot for you?” he asked, in a low voice his head half way in my car. I was happy his body was blocking my face but uneasy that Zeeway’s attention was now directed at me and Smoke’s car.
“I can’t.” I attempted to continue to hide from Zeeway. “Get rid of him!”
“Hey, Zee,” Jay said, turning around cutting me off almost revealing my identity. “You want to meet my friend?”
“Hell yeah!” he replied.
“Okay!” I grabbed his hand. “When do you wanna hook up?”
“Be here tomorrow night at 8:00, Parade. And don’t be bullshittin’ me.”
“Alright, Jay.” I was defeated. “I’ll be here.”
“And don’t be late eitha!”
“Alright,” I repeated. “Just get rid of his ass!”
He smiled and turned around to lose Zeeway. I know I sound and look crazy right now. I even know what you’re thinking. But let me take you back a little and tell you my story.
The whole story
. I’m gonna tell you how I ran into Jay again a month ago, after not seeing him for a year. I’m also going to tell you why I’m outside of his apartment building instead of being at home with my fiancé.
So grab a seat because my life is far from boring. And trust me, some of the things that happened will trip you out, but one thing I promise you, it’s all true.

BOOK: Black & Ugly as Ever
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