PART I: THE BEGINNING
“Nicole, Kendra! Get y’all lil’ butts in the house!” Cali yelled at her twelve-year-old twin sisters.
The two girls smiled at her, but continued to ignore her. They’d much rather ride their bikes than eat dinner. They had been outside for most of the day just as everybody else had. It was a beautiful summer day and most of the people in their neighborhood of Barton Village were out. From the dope boys on the corner, to the badass kids who walked in the street ignoring the cars driving on the road, everybody was enjoying the sunny Georgia weather. The younger residents were especially taking advantage due to the fact that school started in two weeks.
“Y’all betta get in here fo’ mama whup y’all lil’ asses!” she snapped again as they rode in circles in their front yard.
“Ooo, you said a bad word,” Nicole said as she got off her bicycle.
“I’ma tell mommy,” Kendra chimed in, following behind her sister.
“Tell her,” Cali retorted, not fearing retaliation.
She knew that they would be punished if they even repeated the word. Besides, she was seventeen, and in her mind, she felt as though she was already grown. She was too old to get a whupping and it was rare that she took a beating for anything anymore. The most her mother ever did now was threaten to take away her privileges. Not even that held much weight because her stepfather would always talk her mom out of reducing the punishment anyway.
Two down, one to go, she thought as her eyes scanned the street.
It didn’t take long before she found what she was looking for. A souped up old school sitting on rims was parked across the street and when she saw a light-skinned girl sitting on the passenger side she knew she had found her sister.
“Asia!” she called loudly.
Upon hearing her name, Asia quickly kissed the dude she was in the car with on the cheek and removed his hand from her thigh. She didn’t want to leave but she knew she had to rush before her older sister embarrassed her. As she hopped out, she felt his hand smacking her apple butt and gave him a smile.
“Bye, Trey,” she murmured in a husky voice, attempting to sound sexy and older than her age.
She closed the door behind her and hoped that he’d gotten the hint to leave.
Cali sucked her teeth as she watched Asia exit the car. Asia had been talking to one of the young dope boys that stayed in their hood. She recognized the boy as Trey. He was nothing but trouble and at seventeen, he was way too old for her little sister. While she was young, Asia didn’t seem to realize it—nor did her body. She wore jeans tight enough to give her a yeast infection and a low-cut shirt that showed off her ample cleavage. Cali shook her head as the boy followed behind Asia like a puppy.
Asia was only fourteen years old but already a fast ass. She looked like she was about seventeen though, with her supple B-cup breasts, narrow waist, and onion booty. Most of the niggas in the hood were infatuated with the redbone with green eyes. Despite that, Asia was still a virgin. Everybody knew she was underage and nobody was trying to catch a charge over some young girl. It seemed like Trey was trying to take that chance though.
“Cali, can you give us a few more minutes please?” she spoke in-between clenched teeth hoping that her older sister would catch the hint and leave her alone.
“No.” She folded her arms stubbornly. “Ma said it’s time for dinner so bring yo ass inside,” she answered as she walked closer.
Since she was the oldest she was in charge of, and therefore responsible for, her sisters. Dealing with Asia—who was just about, if not more stubborn than she was—was always a hassle. She was hardheaded and thought she knew everything.
Asia looked over at Cali and made a face. It seemed like she was always trying to ruin her fun. Cali just didn’t know how to mind her business and was constantly telling her what to do. Asia couldn’t wait till she was older so she could do whatever she wanted. Just this once she hoped that Cali would do something out of character and not embarrass her in front of Trey. She was glad that he had showed her some attention and knew that she would be the envy of her friends when she told them all about it.
It was something of an honor to be the girlfriend of drug dealer. It was especially something to be proud of at Asia’s age. Dudes her age didn’t have cars or a job for that matter, so dealing with an older boy was like an accomplishment. This is according to Asia and her friends, at least.
Cali turned to Trey, “And you know my lil’ sister too young for yo’ ass anyway.”
Trey liked Asia, but Cali was the one he really wanted. He had come over to the house hoping to get at Cali, but Asia quickly intercepted. He knew he probably would never have a chance with her sadditty ass so Asia was the next best thing.
He licked his lips and smiled, “Yeah, but you ain’t too young.”
Asia pouted as Trey’s eyes scanned over Cali. She had pretty, light-brown doe shaped eyes that were framed by her long eyelashes. She was a perfect D-cup and had the waist of a wasp. Like her sister, she too had an onion booty. Her hair was cut in a cute, layered bob and big bamboo earrings hung from her ears. She rarely dressed up, preferring instead to wear the latest pair of Jordan’s rather than stilettos. Her regular attire consisted of a baby Tee and skinny jeans. Asia and Cali were as different as day and night.
Cali rolled her eyes. “Trey, I would never f*** with you.”
Most girls their age were flattered if he even glanced their way just because he drove a fixed up ol’ school and was gettin’ money. He wasn’t a bad looking guy—he resembled Trey Songz--but Cali knew that he was a player. He wasn’t about to just get her goods and go to the next broad. She was proud of her virginity and wasn’t gonna let any ol’ nigga get it especially not one that would only view her as an extra notch on his belt.
“s***… Never say never,” he replied rubbing his palms together.
Asia cleared her throat hoping to refocus his attention back to her, “Ah-hem. I’ll call you later, Trey.”
He smacked Asia on the butt before he walked off, thinking about the young ass he would no doubt be getting soon.
Asia smiled happy at how their conversation had gone prior to their interruption. Trey told her that he really liked her and she hoped to show him just how much she liked him soon enough.
Cali sighed. “You know that nigga don’t wanna do s*** but f***.”
Her sister only shrugged nonchalantly with a small smirk on her face.
“So what? I would love Trey to be my first. Look at him! Those muscles… And I love his swagger. Hell, don’t you know that he got money? He works for Kilo nem.”
“So what? That nigga Kilo ain’t s*** neither. What? He supposed to be “dat nigga” cuz he makin’ money?” She made quotation marks with her fingers.
“Hell yeah!” Asia practically yelled.
“Kilo ass barely graduated from damn high school. And Trey ass already dropped out.”
Cali shook her head and waved off the conversation. She didn’t know where Asia’s low standards had come from because they weren’t raised that way. Cali wasn’t impressed by drug money, she felt that anybody could push weight. The nigga with a college degree held merit in her eyes. But she knew she couldn’t change Asia’s mind so she’d just look out for her and try to stop her from making too stupid a decision.
“That ain’t got s*** to do with me. As long as my sponsor don’t go bbuh-bbuh-bbuh bye-bye,” she joked recited Teairra Mari’s popular ‘Sponsor’ song.
“You could end up with a baby. Then what would you do?”
“There’s a thing called condoms, Cali,” she spoke condescendingly.
Cali was always acting as if she was so naive when it came to boys but Asia bet that she knew more than she did. Cali had never even had a boyfriend before, so what the Hell did she know? Asia had had plenty boyfriends and felt she knew all there was to know besides sex. Still, Asia felt her friends told her enough about it for her to be a know-it-all.
She rolled her eyes at her younger sister, “They ain’t always effective and some niggas don’t wanna use condoms.”
“Then he won’t be f***in’ me.”
Cali cast a sharp look, “You think you can overpower a nigga? Some niggas crazy. They don’t understand the word ‘no’.”
“Cali! Asia! Mommy said what’s takin’ y’all so long?” Nicole called as she stood at the screen door.
They both started for the door and Cali whispered a warning,
“You better try to cover that damn hickey on ya neck fore Momma beat yo ass.”
Asia looked confused, not even realizing that it was there but she swept her hair closer to her neck. The last thing she needed was for their mother to go off on her again. She felt that their mother always nitpicked and scrutinized everything she did.
“Took y’all all day,” their mother, Monae, remarked as they sat at the table.
Asia flashed Cali a look, silently begging her not to mention how she had been talking to Trey outside. While Cali was too old to get a whupping, Asia wasn’t. Monae would quickly beat her ass if she knew she was out fraternizing with older boys.
Monae was a pretty, short and thick sista. It was obvious to see where all four of her daughters acquired their beauty from. She had the same light-brown eyes as her daughter Cali and long, flowing hair that stopped just before it reached her buttocks. She had always been strict with her daughters, but she was only trying to do what was best for them. She didn’t want them to go down the same path that she did.
Cali looked back at Asia and nodded, “Sorry, Ma.”
“C’mon now. Let’s pray so we can hurry up and eat!” Terrance, their stepfather, smiled as he tried to ease the tension.
Terrance was not a big man, weighing in at only 200 pounds and standing at six feet tall. He was kind and generous. While their mother was stern, he was easygoing and a jokester. Monae had met him six years ago and he hadn’t left their life since. He was the father of the twins and while Cali and Asia didn’t call him ‘Dad’, they still viewed and respected him as their father.
Cali’s father was Monae’s former teacher from high school, Mr. Harris. He had been drawn to Monae because of her ghetto booty and go-getting personality. She was only seventeen and he was twenty-eight. He didn’t seem to think it was wrong to have a consensual, sexual relationship with an underage girl. Unfortunately, Monae became pregnant and on top of that, she hadn’t known that Mr. Harris had a Mrs. Harris. When she discovered her husband’s indiscretions, she threatened to tell the police and divorce him.
He relented, fearing his wife would make good on her threats. He completely turned his back on the unborn life that he had created and the girl whose life he had ruined. He moved out of the state and never made any more contact with Monae. Things didn’t get any better when Monae’s mother discovered her pregnancy. She was kicked out and left to raise Cali all by herself. To this day, Monae still hadn’t reconciled with her mother.
Monae struggled on welfare for two years before she met a man named Heat. He had pretty boy looks with his light skin and green eyes, but inside he was a cold-blooded killer. He sold drugs and led a dangerous lifestyle that he kept Monae from. Heat was like a savior to her. He paid her bills and provided for her and her daughter. For that, she was eternally grateful. They were together for a year before she ended up pregnant with his child. They were planning on moving into a bigger, nicer apartment after the baby (Asia) was born. Regrettably, that move never came.
The cops had been watching Heat for months and finally had enough evidence to take him down. However, Heat wasn’t backing down without a fight and he was gunned down right in front of the apartment they shared. Monae was hurt but she knew she had to move forward for her children. She took on a job as a telemarketer when Asia turned two and quickly made her way up to supervisor. This brought in a little more income and she was able to move her and her girls from “the Bottom” to a neighborhood called Barton Village.
Monae met Terrance several years later. They met by chance while waiting in line at McDonalds. He was busy cracking jokes about the slow service and Monae found his humor to be amusing. As they both received their orders, they ended up sitting down and eating together. He asked her out on another date and the rest was history. They dated for a year before he proposed to her, and shortly after the twins were conceived.
Terrance didn’t mind that she had kids prior to their meeting and treated them as if they were his own. She loved the fact that her older kids liked him too. She trusted him and he never gave her reason not to. He never looked at her children inappropriately and for this, she was grateful. She’d had plenty of girlfriends that were having a hard time keeping a man due to the fact that most were only after their children. Some she knew just let the abuse continue so they could keep a provider in the household.
As they finished prayer, Monae looked over at her twin daughters. They had cute round faces and big, pretty eyes. Kendra was the more outgoing twin. She preferred to be the center of attention and was always getting into trouble. Nicole was the quieter twin as well as the bookworm. They both had long hair that Monae kept in twisted ponytails with barrettes. They were identical except for the dimples in their cheeks. Nicole had a dimple on her left cheek and Kendra had one on her right.
“So ya’ll ready for school?” Terrance asked as he took a sip of his drink.
“Yes!” the twins answered in union.
They were going to be starting the fifth grade at Barton Chapel Elementary and couldn’t wait. Since they were going to be in the same class they weren’t too worried about not knowing anyone.
Cali shrugged as she picked up more macaroni and cheese with her fork. She was going to be a senior this year. While other girls her age were excited about prom and senior pictures, she wasn’t. The only thing on Cali’s mind was graduating and going to college. She had busted her ass throughout high school to ensure that she would be given scholarships.
While they lived pretty comfortably, she knew that the burden of paying for college was something that they couldn’t afford. Therefore she was going to ensure that they didn’t have to come out of their pockets for anything.
Asia rolled her eyes at her stepfather. “I don’t wanna go back to school.”
It was no wonder seeing as Asia had just barely passed middle school by the skin of her teeth. She was too busy skippin’ class and getting suspended for fighting to do any work.
“You better be glad that I got your teacher to give you that extra credit so you ain’t had to repeat the 8th grade,” Monae snapped, frowning up her face. “You betta start getting serious since you’re starting high school this year. You better start workin’ hard like Cali cause we ain’t go no damn money for you to go to college. You gonna be 26 working a minimum-wage job that anybody could get.”
Like you? Asia thought to herself with a smirk on her face. She resented her mother for always bringing up her shortcomings. It was as though she could never do anything right in her eyes so she’d just stopped trying. Her mother often gave her a hard time about everything. She never badmouthed Cali and she babied the twins. She treated Terrance like a king.
Asia felt that she got treated like the stepchild. She just didn’t realize that her mother was stricter with her because she felt that Asia was on her way to following the same path in life that Monae did.
She didn’t want Asia to have to struggle on welfare with three or four different kids each with different fathers. She wanted Asia to make something of her life and if she had to give tough love to make her do the right thing, so be it. Monae didn’t realize that she was only pushing Asia away and doing the opposite. It made Asia want to rebel and she often did.
When Asia didn’t answer, Monae turned to face her, “You heard me?!”
Asia nodded quickly.
She had forgot that her mother was even asking her a question. She wasn’t quite sure yet what she wanted to do with her life. She felt that she was too young to be worrying about things of that nature. She had four more years to make a decision. Right now she was only interested in dating high school boys, going to parties, and getting her driver’s license. She could give a damn if she worked at Wal-Mart although she hoped to get a boyfriend that would take care of her. She had her eyes set on Trey for now.
“Terrance, can we go shopping for our school clothes?”Asia asked.
She had already outgrown the girl’s size 14/16 clothes that she had worn last year before her body had transformed into that of a woman’s.
“Why not?” he asked with a smile, “Your momma can take y’all tomorrow when she gets off.”
“C’mon, T, can’t Cali and me just go?”
Cali looked at her younger sister and raised an eyebrow. She wondered what Asia was up to. She never liked going anywhere with her. Cali and Asia didn’t really get along most of the time because they were so different. While Cali was tomboyish and no-nonsense, Asia was the flirty girly girl. Asia was always trying to get her sister to be more fun, but she always resisted. Cali didn’t really have too many friends, instead preferring to be by herself. Asia loved hanging around her older friend-girls and of course, boys.
Asia turned to Monae, “Please, Ma… I’m going to be in high school now. Nobody shops with they Momma anymore.”
Terrance looked at Monae who was debating whether or not she should say yes.
“C’mon, honey,” he prodded. “It’ll give you a break and the twins are supposed to be going over to the babysitter’s. We can have the house all to ourselves before I go to work.” He gave a kinky smile.
Terrance worked overnight at a plant as a supervisor. He made pretty good money and Monae was glad for the support. Although he was usually asleep during the day, he always made time for his family.
Monae sighed and reluctantly replied, “Okay.” Asia started doing a little dance in her chair and she continued, “Cali, I trust you to be responsible.”
Cali nodded although she was not at all thrilled about having to go with Asia. Asia was so hard-headed that she was sure that they were going to end up in a serious argument before they even reached the mall.
“How much can we spend?” Asia asked with a greedy look on her face.
The only thing she loved more than boys was money. Although she was young, she still had pretty good game when it came to getting money out of the boys in her school or neighborhood.
“Five hundred apiece,” Terrance replied.
“Really?” she got up and hugged him. “Thanks, that’s more than enough!”
She was already imagining how fly she was going to look.
Cali had to smile herself, she was only expecting a little bit. Five hundred would be good enough to get her some new shoes and some more jewelry. She wasn’t too worried about her clothes—what she had now was fine.
“Terrance, can’t we go tonight? Please,” Asia begged.
She chose to ask him rather than her mother because his response was typically ‘yes’, whereas her mother was quick to say ‘no’. It was Saturday and she knew that there would be a ton of cute boys at the mall that she couldn’t wait to meet. Asia turned her attention back to her stepfather,
“So can we?”
“After y’all finish eating. Oh and you can take the truck.” Terrance threw the keys to his Chevrolet Avalanche towards Cali.
Oh Hell yeah, Asia thought. They were going to be doin’ it big in Terrance’s truck. They usually had to drive their mother’s Nissan Altima and she was thrilled to finally ride shotgun in the truck. It was midnight black and he had accentuated it with chrome and 24’ inch rims. It looked more like a young person’s car than a thirty six-year-old man’s.
Cali smiled a wide grin. Maybe takin’ Asia to the mall won’t be that bad, she thought.
“Thanks, Mel.” She turned to her younger sister, “Ready to go?”
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