Authors: Pepper Pace
Tags: #Fiction, #Romance, #General, #Urban
© 2011 by Pepper Pace. All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission of Pepper Pace.
This began as a short story and was turned into a novel due to the comments and accolades of the many people on my blog and at Literotica.com. Thank you all for your encouragement, your feedback, and most of all for asking me to continue the story of these wonderful characters.
When I was a little girl, I had my very first fan. I called her Mama and she has never let me forget that my talents needed to be shared with the world. Thank you, Shirley Roberts for being the Mama that I needed.
Juicy was in a rage. She couldn't remember ever being so mad...well, actually, she could. Her rages were a frequent occurrence. But not like this. This time they had messed with the wrong sista!
The damned homeless guy had jinxed her! She was convinced that if not for his comments everything would have turned out differently. Maybe it was superstitious, but she knew that people crossed their fingers, and said their prayers and made the sign of the evil eye in order to avoid bad mojo. Well for Juicy it was conflict that had to be avoided. Conflict would take over; sink its claws in deep then leave its permeance, its taint in place of all her good intentions.
She had cut through the alley to get to the bank so that she could take care of her business before her next bus was due. If she missed this bus there would not be another for two hours. She had meant to get here earlier but had messed around too long in the mirror trying to look both business-professional and sexy.
It had taken Juicy many years to accept herself; to be able to find beauty in what others had made into the brunt of their jokes.
‘Juicy, you so black…Juicy, your hair so short…’
Now, at thirty-one, she didn't let other people's ignorance define her.
That's why the comments of the dirty homeless bum had really pissed her off. She had struggled all of her life, had been poor, bullied--and no one saw her sitting in an alley looking like she was coming off a crack high!
She had been hurrying so fast that the strap on her high heeled sandal had slipped. She had stopped long enough to adjust it before she heard the low voice. Juicy remembered then that this was an alley in an economically depressed area of the inner city. She did need to be careful of her surroundings. She looked around and caught sight of a man sitting in the boarded up doorway of one of the abandoned buildings. His chin was resting listlessly on his chest as if he had been trying to sleep.
She didn't know what he had said previously but he was staring at her hard. She followed him warily with her eyes as she resumed walking, quickening her step.
"What are you looking at?!" She finally bit out annoyed when he made no attempt to disguise his open interest.
"I think..." and then it did seem as if he was deep in thought, "...a whore."
Juicy had been so taken back that she had stopped in her tracks. She'd never been called a whore...everything else under the sun...but not that.
And by someone like him?!
She couldn't see much of the culprit beyond his old, baggy clothes and the baseball cap pulled down low over his long hair. What she did see was that he was just another, in a long list of people, who thought he could look down his nose at her...even though his view of her was from the gutter!
How dare him! How
him! As soon as she got to the bank she was going to call the cops and report that she had been accosted by some man in the alley! He could spend some time in jail then let’s see who the whore is!
Juicy turned and stormed out of the alley. He didn't know who he was messing with. She'd say...that he tried to grab her purse and that he made lewd suggestions...and that he-he even exposed himself! Yeah! He could spend months in jail for all she cared. Hell, she would probably be doing him a favor!
Juicy reached the bank and tried to put the incident out of her mind. As soon as she stepped through the door, instead feeling at ease she felt on pins and needles. It seemed that all eyes were on her.
What the hell were they looking at?! She glared at anyone that met her eyes until they quickly looked away. Some of these people looked straight up tacky! Why weren’t people staring at the old lady with the twisted wig and plastic white clunky heeled sandals?
Juicy knew she looked good! Her dreadlocks had been done up in twists and corkscrews that decorated her scalp. She had applied the gold dye herself and knew that it looked slamming! If Juicy knew anything she knew how to do hair.
That's why she was here. It was time for her to evolve from doing the hair of her friends in the back room of her little apartment to owning her own shop. Juicy had gone to cosmetology school but had been fired more than once from her spot in other people's salons because of her ill temper.
'You got issues, girl,'
is what they always said.
Juicy sucked the air through her teeth. Then she sat down in one of the waiting chairs outside of the loan officer's cubicle. After five minutes with no one coming out to help her, she began staring into the cubicle of the only person presently not assisting anyone. He knew he saw her waiting. Juicy's feet began to tap in irritation. He wasn't doing anything but hoping that she would just go away. If she was a skinny white woman then she wouldn't be sitting out here like this looking stupid!
Because she was black she was used to this. She didn't mean African American either, she meant BLACK. Juicy was the color of sweet black licorice, of a charcoal briquette soaked in lighter fluid. And Juicy wasn't just her god given name; it was also a description of what she looked like. She was tall—not quite six feet, she was voluptuous and she wore her hair in dreadlocks. Yeah, white people were often taken back by the sight of her. Good! The idea of it would make her Momma proud. Her Momma had hated white people. Her Momma had hated everybody, though, but white people topped the list.
After another five minutes the man in the cubicle finally stood and came to the waiting area and asked if anyone was helping her-which he could clearly see that no one was.
Juicy looked around. It was on the tip of her tongue to respond that nobody was helping her but the invisible man currently giving her a pedicure. Instead, she remembered that she wanted a loan from this bank and had spent too much of her hard earned money on her business outfit to mess this up by having 'issues'. She shook her head keeping her lips clamped shut and followed him into the cubicle.
"How can I help you today?" He asked politely. She noticed that he hadn't bothered to introduce himself. She read the name plate sitting on his desk.
"Mr. Chadwick, I'm Juicy Robinson..." and it had gone downhill from there.
Fifteen minutes later she was back on the sidewalk cursing up a storm. The security guard had escorted her out after the argument with Jason Chadwick had become loud enough for the other customers to hear.
"Take your hands off of me!" She yelled bitterly. The security guard had given her a warning look and then shut the glass door of the bank firmly in her face. "I'm calling Corporate and FDA or whoever-but I'm calling somebody! They can pull the tapes—YOU DON’T TREAT PEOPLE LIKE THIS! I'm going to have your job Jason Chadwick!" She screeched. Tears of frustration began to blur her vision as she walked away, cutting through the alley to get to the bus stop on the other side of the block.
"Bastards..." She said, walking rapidly, barely realizing that she was talking aloud. "Bastards!
"Who are you talking to?"
Shit! She had forgotten all about that bum in the alley, and she had forgotten all about reporting him to the authorities. She had quite a list going of all the people she planned to report!
"And you can shut your filthy mouth!" Juicy snapped while stalking past him. This time it was he that followed her with his eyes.
She suddenly came to a halt. He wanted to mess with her? Then she was going to let him have it, too. Make her feel bad about herself? She'd tell him exactly what she thought about him!
"I'm a whore? I'm wearing a two hundred fifty dollar outfit from Macy's, hundred dollar shoes, jewelry worth even more then that...and I ain't never had to sell my ass to get what I got! What do you got?" She scowled.
The man's lip twitched.
"Exactly!" You ain't got shit! Sitting in an alley trying to get laid and you're nothing but white trash!" She pointed a French manicured nail at him. "You're less than white trash! You look down your nose at me and you can't even kiss my black ass! Cracker!" Juicy turned and stormed away.
Her heart was beating a mile a minute. It had felt so good to let lose! Her eyes didn't even feel close to tearing up the way they had just a second ago.
A couple jumped back at the sight of the wild-eyed Amazon when she stepped out from the end of the alley. She didn’t even see them and she barely noticed the group of young men she was fast approaching.
"Damn Sista. You are too pretty to look so mean," a youngish man spoke. He and two of his friends were sitting on the stoop of the apartment building that made one half of the alley.
Juicy looked up in surprise. She had been so caught up in her own angry world that for a moment it was as if she had tunnel vision; her anger and the bus stop was all that she knew. The young man that was currently appraising her was tall and thick but probably no older then twenty-five. Too young, plus he had a look about him that was...predatory.
Juicy slowed her walk and calmed down. "Thank you." She murmured.
The man jumped down from the stoop directly in her path. His friends watched with gleaming eyes. Juicy was still riding off the adrenaline rush from her altercation with Mr. Cracker in the alley. Her nerves nearly popped out of her body.
"What's your name?" The man demanded in a not-so-casual voice.
Juicy hesitated. No. She didn't like the way he had just popped up in front of her. Instead of answering she stepped around him. Best to get to the bus stop and away from-
"Hey Sista!" The young man said loudly. He stepped in front of her again. She noticed that his friends had joined him and the three of them now completely blocked the sidewalk so that she would have to either walk in the grass to get around them or turn around and walk the other way.
Either way they were going to keep messing with her, following her and her bus was due. She didn't have time to play games with these wannabe thugs.
"Look," She said while tapping her feet. "You don't need to know my name! Just let me pass—or do I need to scream for the cops?!"
Her words didn't have the desired effect. Instead of cat-calling her and reluctantly giving her a break, in unison their expressions grew instantly fierce. It was like she had flipped a switch.
A different young man spoke. "Don't nobody want yo fat ass anyway! Take your black ass out of here!"
They didn't move out of her way and Juicy was forced to walk around them. Her heart was thudding again, this time in fear. When they were behind her she almost put them out of her mind until something sharp struck her in the back of the head.
The pain was so immediate and intense that she didn't think about anything—not how she collapsed to the hard cement ground with her legs sprawled apart, not how her purse fell out of her hands, and her manila folder containing her business plan went scattering in the wind. Juicy didn't even think about crying out for help when hands gripped her and began dragging her back around the corner and into the alley.
She clutched at the first thing she could reach, which was a young man busy pulling her blouse open. Her head hurt, and in alarm she weakly struck out at him. She felt the breath leave her body as one of them brutally kicked her in the stomach.
"Shut up Bitch!" Somebody smacked her and before she knew it the three of them were all over her roughly pulling off her clothes, squeezing her breasts, slapping and punching her.
Someone was kneeling on her right hand and the pain was like they were grinding the bones into the ground. She could feel and hear them cracking and breaking beneath the weight of the man's knee. She tried to form a protective ball, to draw up her knees, to fold her body in on itself but couldn’t because of the bodies holding hers down. Suddenly someone was pulling her panties off and there was absolutely nothing she could do as someone’s mouth covered hers, smothering her weak cries.