The Reserve : Unfolding – Chapter 2 — All White Everything
The worst thing about staying in a glass house was the guaranteed sunrise wake up call. After all, who could continue to sleep with the sun in their face? Vanessa woke up with little memory of the night before, other than glimpses of the late-night conversation with Lynda and flashbacks of bottles being passed back and forth in between mentions of her father, the plans she had for her baby and the man whose name she never wanted to hear again.
The basis of their connection was that Vanessa didn’t need someone to fix her but rather an individual who would be unbiased and objective towards her truths. She knew she had said too much and feared what would happen at her next session with the doctor. What questions could she expect and was she ready to tell her story? She wanted to just lay there and forget the world existed, forget that life was waiting for her out there, even if it wasn’t the life she chose.
After a loud yawn, she took a moment to take in her surroundings. She gently sat up and used her hand to shade her eyes from the sun. Her head was pounding and she was still feeling groggy. She knew she needed a few more seconds to adjust, so she threw herself back on the couch and stared at the ceiling. It was evident that she didn’t go home last night or even made any attempt to leave, her shoes were placed neatly on the floor next to a trench coat and her blouse was slightly unbuttoned.
She was still in Lynda’s office and must have fallen asleep on the couch. She recalls drinking but all the bottles from her memory were gone. Lynda must have cleaned up again.
This wasn’t the first time Vanessa had spent the night at Lynda’s. Even though they never classified it and their relationship was primarily professional, the two had developed an uncanny friendship. Neither one would admit it to the other, nor did they have to, but the two women had great respect for one another.
The usual routine involved Vanessa waking up to find Lynda in the kitchen, full face-beat on and reading a newspaper after making breakfast. Lynda was a morning person while Vanessa only got out of bed for two reasons, either she made plans well in advance or she was going to make money.
As Vanessa made her way to the kitchen, she started working on excuses for the questions she anticipated. To her surprise, instead of finding Lynda, all she found in the kitchen was a note:
“Vee, I had to go and check on another patient, so I will not be back for a few hours. The helper should be there by the time you get this, she will lock up after you leave. I’m sorry about the wine stain on your blouse. Feel free to make yourself something to eat and wear anything in my wardrobe, just dry clean before you return it. Also, really sorry, I can’t make it tonight but have fun on my behalf. Tell me everything in our next session. See you next week Wednesday.
P.S. I don’t have any fur coats, so I used my trench coat as a makeshift blanket for you and I didn’t try to make you sleep in a bed. I suppose not all habits are bad, everything doesn’t need fixing. Time will take care of it. I now understand why you never sleep in a bed when you sleep over.”
She made herself breakfast, took a shower and made her way to Lynda’s wardrobe. It was a walk-in closet one could only dream of. Wall to wall outfits, shoes, hats and so many options to try on. Vanessa was not the Cinderella-type, she hardly put make-up on nor did she bother with eyeliner or mascara. She however loved to wear dresses but nothing too revealing, she rejected the notion of ‘sex sells’, and that a woman had to dress provocatively to attract a man. She also believed that she didn’t need a man to make her happy and even though she wasn’t much for falling in love ever again, she would never deny her body the pleasures of sex.
Vanessa knew that inner beauty was key, and it was what she used to attract her targets, but she also knew that great hair and a fresh manicure never hurt anyone. So, after a little fashion show in Lynda’s room, she knew she had to get ready and her first stop was the salon. She needed to get her hair ready and nails done for tonight. She went to her usual spot, where the stylist was always friendly and the manicurist always had something new for her to try. 2 hours and 4 colour changes later, her prep work was done and she was ready to go home and find an outfit.
She walked into her apartment to find her roommate Tamia sitting on the floor eating a tub of ice-cream and cheese puffs.
Vanessa knew the best thing to do would be to avoid her and not engage, but without realising it, the words, “What’s wrong Tai?“, jumped out.
“Nessa, Brandon and Marco found out about each other. I don’t know what to do. I think Brandon is gonna break up with me… I know you told me not to date two guys but I didn’t know who to pick.”
Vanessa sighed, she knew she should have kept her mouth shut but it was too late.
“No Tai, I said date as many people as you want but don’t involve your heart when you choose to have more than one.”
She sat down next to her friend and did her best to listen to Tamia while still keeping track of time. Two hours later and Tamia was still undecided, and it was getting on Vanessa’s nerves. It was time for her to leave or else she was going to be late.
Her mind started drifting, she wondered what venue this client would choose as the preferred location; maybe it would be a private island or another museum.
Noticing Vanessa’s attention was no longer on her, Tamia tilted her head a little to the left with one eyebrow raised and gave Vanessa a dirty look while rolling her eyes. She wanted to make it painfully obvious that she was unhappy that Vanessa was no longer paying attention to the dynamics of her love triangle.
Vanessa wiped the cheese puff marks off her face, rubbed her fingers on the carpet and stood up.
“Tai…”, she said in a gentle voice, “Honey, as interesting as this is, I’m sorry but I have to go now. I have to go get ready.”
As Vanessa headed for the shower, Tamia asked, “Who has a party on a Wednesday night?”
Vanessa quickly responded, “People who can afford to sleep in on Thursday morning, pun intended.”
Both girls laughed. Vanessa started undressing as she made her way towards the guest-room.
She normally avoided the guest-room because it was where Tamia would let her love interests spend the night. Tamia would let them crash there whenever one of them brought her home late. Sometimes she would sneak in for a quickie hoping Vanessa wouldn’t hear the creaking of her door at 2am in the morning. Tamia always maintained that she can’t be considered a booty call because the guys would only get sex when she wanted it but Vanessa would always tell her that she is always in the mood, so it meant the guys always knew what they were coming over for. She would have used her own bathroom but was lazy to walk up the stairs. All she really wanted to do in that moment was to feel the hot water against her skin.
Vanessa finished undressing and placed the clothes on the bed. She opened the tap and adjusted the shower pressure while allowing the water to heat up. Just before she could get into the shower, she heard a loud banging sound and three seconds later, Tamia stormed in.
“Can I come with you?”, she screamed.
“Tai. Why are you limping?”
“I sort of tried to jump over the couch and landed on my ankle a bit but don’t avoid my question. Can I come with you?”
Tamia knew better than to ask to tag along but she was always intrigued by Vanessa’s stories. Unfortunately, she didn’t understand that this was not just for sport nor was it a life of leisure; it was work.
“Come onnnn, please, pretty please. We have been friends for over two years! Why won’t you let me come, just once?”
Tamia pulled her arm, spinning her around and blocking the entrance to the bathroom.
Vanessa faked being stern, but Tamia could see her resolve breaking. Vanessa knew that taking Tamia along to the party would possibly put her in danger. Afraid she would cave in, she tried not to make eye contact and pushed past her.
“Vanessa Brielle Costa, I know you are not walking away from me!”, Tamia said in a raised tone.
Being dismissed was one of Tamia’s triggers so Vanessa always tried to avoid being dismissive towards her. As someone with her own childhood traumas, she tried her best to never make light of other people’s demons.
Tamia became as quiet as a mouse, but Vanessa could see her skin was reddening with fury.
Every week before Vanessa had to go to a party, they would have the same conversation. This time Vanessa thought maybe she should try a different approach; maybe if she came along, she might see it wasn’t as glamorous as she thought, and since tonight was one of the safer nights, things wouldn’t get too out of hand. Hopefully.
Vanessa took a long deep sigh before moving Tamia’s light brown curls to the side and kissed her on the forehead. She agreed to Tamia joining her but first laid down the rules.
“Don’t react, no matter what you see. Act normal. We have to act like we have never met, and don’t wear anything white.”
Tamia looked at Vanessa surprised, “Why wouldn’t I wear white, I thought it was an all-white party.”
Vanessa put her hand to her face and shook her head gently. “No silly girl…”, she said softly, “…it is called an all-white party but you don’t have to be dressed in white. The car you arrive in is your ticket to entrance. It has to be white and cost more than a million.”
Tamia smiled from ear to ear, beaming with excitement, as if she was cast to play a bond girl. Vanessa was irked even more by how lightly Tamia took everything.
“Okay Nessa. I will be done before you get upstairs and pick an outfit.”
Vanessa knew Tamia only felt this way because of the stories Vanessa would bring home about the mansions, private jets, cars and the money. Little did Tamia know the type of people Vanessa engaged with regularly; drug lords, traffickers and corrupt politicians. Vanessa started to second guess her decision but couldn’t bring herself to let Tamia down.
She closed the bathroom door and half-jokingly yelled to her, “I don’t care if you are my best friend, don’t get in the way of my money! We leave in an hour.”
They showered and got ready, rendezvousing in the kitchen to admire each other’s outfits and for Vanessa to explain the procession of the night. Vanessa was always envious of Tamia’s tall frame, and in the black figure-hugging jumpsuit she had on, she couldn’t help but wonder if her best friend knew how beautiful she was.
“Okay Tamia, here’s the plan. A friend of mine, Kami, is waiting downstairs for you. She drives a white Bentley GT Continental, she will introduce you to Malik. Stay with them the whole night and if I want to talk to you, I will introduce myself. Got it? Now go while I wait for my ride to get here.”
Chapter 3 : Cupid’s Chokehold (Out October 29th)
Jade Novelist ©️ 2021
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