I’m in Club Victory right now and guess who’s standing in front of me? The editor of Views Magazine, the magazine that’s publishing those exposés on me. For this reason alone, I should punch this broad in the face. But I won’t. Getting into one fistfight in a week is understandable. Two fights in one week are heading into gangster rap territory. So, I'll go ahead and keep this professional.
“You’re killing L.A. with these stories, girl!” I scream over Run-D.M.C.’s Christmas in Hollis to… Oh, God, what’s her name? Is it…? Listen, I’m too fucking distraught to remember this bitch’s name. (Why did I have to call her a bitch? I need to work on my anger. Yes, she's allowing some crazy man to publish stories about me, but that is this bitch's job. She gets paid to spread gossip. Who am I to judge?)
“Don't worry, no one's reading those stories, baby,” Marc says to me, in his most charming voice, with his most charming smile. “I'm enjoying this moment too much to read stories… unless Rach wrote them.” Did this motherfucker just call me by my pet name? As if we're friends? I steal a coy look at Marc.
You are an asshole, Markie.
He steals a look back at me.
Don’t get on my nerves tonight, okay Rach?
The vibe inside Club Victory is more reminiscent of an after-party than a book launch party. Apparently, some of these women's stylists and publicists told them that I would distribute fashion awards. Forget security, what we need is the fashion police. Where is everyone's clothing? Who told them it was okay for their necklines to drop to their belly buttons? Who okayed harem-hair that tickles the owner's ass? When did hair become a fashion accessory? What daily goals can they possibly accomplish with those five-inch nails?
Why is Marc standing beside me smelling so goddamn delicious! (Wow, where did that come from?)
“So, you two are happy?” What's-Her-Name asks Marc and me.
“Honestly, Breanne,” Marc says. (Oh, fuck you for remembering her name, Marc.) “If you’re a woman like Rachel, you’re bound to get stories spread about you.”
“What do you mean?” Breanne’s journalist ears start twitching. She’s looking for Marc to say something about me so loving and supportive that the entire world considers the statement totally annoying. Oh, dear, I hope Marc’s prepared for this line of questioning. I hope he remembers how weird Celine Dion was with the love she had for her husband. (Why did I mention him? Isn’t he dead? Ugh, I’m horrible.) I hope Marc remembers how much we hate DJ Khaled’s son. (Oh, that was so inappropriate.) I hope Marc realizes that the only exception to this rule was Whitney’s love for Bobby. But I also hope Marc remembers that Whitney’s love for Bobby was excused because of her crack addiction. (Okay, I’m done. No more. I’m disappointing myself.)
“Rachel,” Marc says, “is a woman who bypassed traditional methods of success and still achieved success. She didn't ask a publishing house to take ninety percent of her book's profits while giving her, at most, ten percent. She independently published her first novel, marketed the hell out of it, and got the attention of some well-known people. From there the word spread and she's achieved success because her book merits it. I notice that when a woman succeeds off the sheer power of her gifts and cunning, she's blasted by others as being a bitch or manipulative. When a man succeeds off the strength of his gifts and cunning, he's the American dream. The alpha male. So, I have to wonder why the person who's creating these fake emails, and the person you have writing these phony exposés, are attempting to paint Rachel in a negative light and not me. If these guys insist on creating a negative campaign about Rachel and my marriage, I'd rather they focus on me and leave my wife alone. And I say that from one man to another.”
Oh, he’s so full of shit.
Breanne says nothing. With Run-D.M.C. blaring in our ears, she gazes at Marc with the dreamiest eyes she can muster.
“Well…” she finally says, taking a sip of her cocktail, and looking over the glass's brim in a highly sexual manner. (Is it just me or is Breanne looking at Marc in a highly sexual manner?) I look up at Marc and see that he's giving her a confused smile and a slow nod. He looks at me, and we meet eyes. And because I've known this man for years, I know that we're thinking the exact same thing: What am I missing?
“So…” Marc says, drifting his eyes away from me and back to Breanne. “Thank you for coming, Breanne.” Marc does that on purpose. He always says a person's name when he's in a conversation with them because he knows that the sweetest sound that a person can hear is the sound of their name.
“No problem, Marc,” Breanne says back.
And now we all stand in silence.
So, this is what's getting on my nerves, at this moment: I'm sick and goddamn tired of these goddamn women around my man! From Karla to Breanne, to the girl at the drive-thru counter at Dairy Queen; I'm done with it. I just want women to recognize when a man is married! Leave him alone! Yes, I know he's fine as hell, and he smells delightful, and he's got money now, but I was with this motherfucker back when we would eat taco dip because it's cheap as hell to make. And now that he's come up, now you all want to make goo-goo eyes, and look over the brim of your cocktail glass, and screw him at his parents' house!
“Okay Breanne,” I say, “Let's be honest; you're already pissing me off with these exposés. I think you're an abomination for trying to break down a fellow woman, just as she's coming up. And now, you're flirting with my husband? After you've already tried to ruin my career?” Marc quickly grabs hold of my right arm, because he knows that, though I'm from the country club, I'm also about that life. Breanne snaps out of her Marc-The-Hero fantasy. She looks at me, alarmed.
“No,” Marc says, his voice light-hearted, “Breanne’s just—”
“No, it sounds like Karla’s flirting right in front of me.” Did I just say, Karla? Oh shit! Oh shit!
“Well, my name is Breanne,” Breanne says, “And I'm sorry if you—”
“No, I’m sorry,” I say with a smile. “I assumed you were a reputable journalist, which is why my manager invited you to this party. But it seems like you’re not here to discuss my book and write an endearing piece about me—which, by the way, I still expect. You’re not here to write a well-balanced story about me to counteract this asshole with the exposés. It seems like you’re here to be near my husband.”
“Oh, Rachel! No!” Breanne says. “If that’s what this seems like—”
“Is everything okay?” I hear Adam say out of nowhere. Suddenly, he appears next to me, and I remove my arm from Marc's grasp.
“Adam, everything's not okay,” I tell him. “It seems like Breanne's here for Marc and not me. So perhaps she should attempt to get permission to attend one of his press conferences, though anyone would look at her credentials and consider her request completely laughable.”
“Rachel…” Marc whispers.
“Rachel, I can assure you,” Breanne says, “that I’m here to—”
“Would you like me to…” Adam says as he looks at me and points to Breanne.
“Yes, get her out of here,” I say to him.
“Are you serious!” Breanne yells.
“I am,” I tell her. “And I do hope you spread the word about my seriousness.” I move closer to her. Marc grabs hold of my arm. I snatch it out of his hands. “I have my own career. I have my own life outside of being Marc's wife. So, when you write this article about me, if you so much as mention Marc's name, I will personally head over to the offices of your bullshit online magazine, snatch that wig off your head, pull you out of your office, and beat your ass. Did you get that? You mention Marc; I fuck you up.”
“Rachel!” I hear a man scream out to me as if he hasn’t seen me in years. I instantly paste a smile on my face and turn around.
“DJ Diaz!” I say as I see him approaching.
Oh, you're not slick. You see Breanne standing here, and you're scared I may be giving her an exclusive.
“We’re getting a lot of good press from that interview we did,” I tell him.
“Well, that's what I'm here for!” DJ Diaz smiles, walks over to me and hugs me. “Marc, my man!” he says over my shoulder. “I don't know you, but I love you. You ever felt that way about somebody?” Marc laughs and then reaches out his hand for DJ Diaz to shake. “Nice party here, Rachel! Damn! You got everybody here, mama!” DJ Diaz, wedges himself between Breanne and me, cutting her entirely off from the conversation.
Good for you, DJ Diaz!
“Well, you know me!” I say to him, loving him intensely at this very moment.
“You be on your hustle!” he says to me. “I like that! I love a woman on her hustle! You gotta love it too, Marc!” I’m no fool, DJ Diaz is doing an impromptu interview. You see, that’s how it is in this business. Only the aggressive survive. I look over DJ Diaz’s shoulder and notice that both Adam and Breanne are gone. I look in the distance to see if I can spot them.
“There’s nothing more attractive than a woman who grinds,” I hear Marc say as I see Breanne being escorted out of the club by a suited-up security guard, courtesy of my brother-in-law Trev. And that’s the problem with women. Always choosing the dick over the hustle.
I only showed up here with Marc because I know how to hustle. And, as DJ Diaz talks on about my book and me, I wrap my arm around Marc's.
See, I’ve been that woman before. I’ve been a Breanne. I used to love Marc more than what I had going on in my own life. I loved him more than the hustle. And then he went and took a mistress. Nope. Never again. Never will I put Marc over my hustle.
“Rachel!” I hear Vivian yell. I turn to see her rushing over to me, a classic black pencil-skirt dress on, green ornament earrings dangling from her ears, and red lips popping. Her cellphone's in her hands, and there's a frantic look on her face. Oh God! What now?
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