Hustlin'

Hustlin' by L. Divine Read Free Book Online

Book: Hustlin' by L. Divine Read Free Book Online
Authors: L. Divine
week, especially now that what little free time I have during the school day belongs to drama or AP. Even so, I’m going to take some time out today and Google Mr. Adewale again. I also need to catch up with Ms. Toni sooner than later. I’ve decided to take Mama’s advice and one-up my competition by doing a little research of my own, but not before I catch up with my girls. I have to meet Mama at Netta’s shop in a little while and I can’t be late.
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    â€œWere you naughty or nice this year, Miss Jackson?” Mickey asks, teasing me with her Coach catalogue as we sit outside on the stadium bleachers. Mickey really gets into the holiday spirit when it comes to the receiving part. And this year if she plays her cards right she’ll have two Santas checking her list.
    â€œI’m always nice,” I say, snatching the catalogue from her hand. She’s got a stack of them ranging from clothes to jewelry and beyond. This girl’s not joking about her Christmas list this year.
    It’s chilly outside, but I’m grateful to be out of rehearsal. With the heat on it’s awfully stuffy and cramped in the drama room. I’ll be glad when the Fall Festival is over and we can go back to our separate spaces. Having ASB share our class until the play is over is getting on everyone’s nerves, especially Ms. Toni’s. She’s been unusually irritable—but still showing me some love, so it’s all good.
    â€œAnd what you about you?” Mickey looks across me at Nellie, who’s still not really speaking to her. I guess she’s embarrassed about her failed attempt to out Mickey to Nigel on Sunday. It’s no use in hating Mickey, and I hope Nellie gets over herself soon.
    â€œWhat about me what?” Nellie grabs a J Crew catalogue from the stack sitting on the bleacher below ours, and starts flipping through the pages. I’m surprised she didn’t pick up the Tiffany catalogue, which has every-other corner turned in. I guess Mickey’s dreaming real big this year.
    â€œNaughty or nice,” Mickey says.
    I don’t know if it’s the pregnancy hormones or what, but Mickey’s being unusually cool about Nellie trying to call her out. Maybe it’s because Mickey knows she was wrong in the first place and doesn’t want Nellie to stay mad at her. But Nellie’s shoulder is colder than the sea breeze blowing across my cheek, and I don’t see it warming up anytime soon.
    â€œWhat difference does it make? There’s no such thing as Santa Claus anyway.” Nellie tosses the catalogue back in the pile and claims the Tiffany one for herself. She may not believe in Santa but I’m sure she still believes in getting gifts.
    â€œHush yourself,” Mickey says, holding her stomach as if to cover the baby’s ears. “You don’t want Nickey Shantae to hear.”
    â€œWho the hell is that?” Nellie asks, shocked at Mickey’s response.
    Mickey used to be the main one cursing Santa out come the holidays. She always said her man was the real gift giver, so why front. Now that her maternal instincts have kicked in I guess Santa’s real again.
    â€œThat’s my daughter, fool.” Mickey’s a trip and Nellie ain’t falling for it. “In my baby books they say that the baby’s listening inside the womb and I don’t want her childhood ruined by your sour ass.”
    â€œYou already named the baby,” I say, trading my catalogue for the Target brochure. I may dream a lot, but I try to keep my wish list in perspective. We are all struggling these days and I refuse to buy in to the holiday buzz. I’d rather my money be in my wallet any day than on my ass, as Mama would so eloquently put it.
    â€œYeah, and don’t ask me how I know it’s going to be a girl. I just have a feeling about it. Nigel swears he knows it’s a boy.”
    Nellie looks at me and rolls her eyes at

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