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About Blue Davis
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Copyright © 2015 by Blue Davis
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organizations, places, events and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
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“Welcome home,” said a familiar voice.
A tightness constricted her neck, allowing only a hoarse scream. “Aghhee!”
Sitting on the sofa with his black boots propped up, was a man she thought she’d never see again.
She stood in the doorway of her Houston home, her own hand covering her gaping mouth. She glared at the intruder who sat on her living room sofa.
He lifted his boots from the wooden coffee table and planted them onto the beige carpet.
“Shhhh….” He held a single finger to his lips. His hair was braided in several corn rows and he had a light fuzz on his chin. Small threads clung from the missing sleeves of his torn black shirt. His faded jeans hung baggy on skinny legs. A black and white flannel was tied around his waist.
“Darius,” she said, catching her breath. Her eyes narrowed on him. “What are you doing here?”
“Just swingin’ by to visit my favorite H-town girl,” he said, enunciating each word. “I didn’t get to see you after the trial. I wanted to surprise you. You look nice.”
He stretched out his arms, palms facing the ceiling. “Where the party at?”
“You shouldn’t be here. I’m out here ‘cause I’m trying to find a good life for myself. I’m going to school and taking care of my…”
Nia shifted her focus from Darius to the kitchen, and then to her grandmother’s room.
“Grandma?” She walked around the house, poking her head through each doorway. Psychopath. She stormed back to the sofa.
“Where is she?”
“My grandmother. What did you do to her?”
“Come on, Nia. For real? You think I’ma be up in here messin’ around with your grandma?” He stood up, holding on to an imaginary cane and shoulder purse. “Oh…help me somebody…please help,” he said, in an elderly voice, just before falling back on to the sofa in laughter.
Nia checked each room again, frowning. “I’m not playing with you, Darius. Where is she?” Her voice raised a decibel with each word.
He turned his head to the side and held a finger to his mouth again. “Shhhh…”
Blood drained from her face. She ran to the door and grabbed her phone from her purse.
He raced from the couch toward her and locked his thumb and forefinger around her small wrist. He banged the wrist on the door hard, until the phone fell on the carpet.
“Agggh!” She felt a dull ache spreading from her wrist to her forearm. His tight grasp sent shivers down her spine.
“You ain’t doin’ that,” he said, squeezing her cheeks with his other thumb and forefinger. His fingers and breath reeked of smoke. He slammed the back of her head against the door. “I ain’t goin’ back there.”
Agggh. Nia’s pulse raced. The back of her head began to ache. “You can’t stay here. You aren’t welcome here,” she said, her eyes pleading.
He loosened his grip, and slumped his shoulders. “Nia, come on now. How you gon’ do me like this. I miss you, girl. I want you back in my life.”
Nia closed her eyes. He’s insane. “You have to understand that it’s over. I’ve moved on. I’m here, going to school. I have a new life now.”
Darius smiled on a single side of his face. “Okay. I can respect that.” He rubbed the bridge of his nose. “Can you help a brother out tho’? It was expensive as hell tryin’ to get here. Texas be big and shit. I’m on my last dollar right now. Lemme borrow some quick cash and I’ll pay you back in a minute.”
“I’m not an ATM,” she said, wincing. Go away please. Just go away.
He dropped her wrist and walked back to the sofa. He flopped down onto the cushions. “Well, I ain’t goin’ nowhere then.”
She sighed, straightening her dress. She looked at the bookcase. Fuck. She pulled “The Bluest Eye” book out until she could see a white envelope peeking out. She pulled five one-hundred dollar bills out with trembling fingers. She handed him the money.
He spread the money out in his hands. “That it?” His eyes moved from the bookcase back to her. “I don’t think I can survive off this. Come on now. You can do better than that.”
Nia rolled her eyes, and grabbed the envelope from the bookcase again. She gave him the last five hundred, letting the empty envelope float to the floor.
He stomped his boots down to floor, standing up. “You my girl,” he said, enclosing her in his arms.
She shuddered and pulled away. She curled her upper lip in disgust. Get the fuck out NOW!
“I’ll come back around and see you real soon,” he said, walking to the door. He stepped out, shutting the door behind himself.
Moments later she heard a roar of his Honda engine as he fired it off around the corner.
She stood with her hand on her chest. She drew in several deep breaths, furrowing her eyebrows as she gazed on the floor at the envelope. Jackass. How the hell did he get in here? She examined the door, then the sofa. She shook her head, locking the bolt. She peeked through the blinds. Where is she?
“Grandma?” She called out, wandering from room to room.
She found some blue sweat pants and a white, ribbed tank. She treaded to the bathroom, shutting the door behind her. She sighed as she peeled the rhinestone strap of the red cocktail dress from her shoulder. She stared in the mirror into her swollen, brown eyes. Her tangled mane stuck together in one dry brick. I’m so done. She climbed into the shower. She closed her eyes, as her head filled with pain. Her wrist began to throb under the heat of the water. She crouched down in the bathtub, sobbing. Why did he have to follow me all the way here?
Faint voices called out from the living room. She turned off the water.
“You know you didn’t have to bring the groceries all the way in here. Such a gentleman.”
Grandma. Oh, thank God.
“You know I’m not gon’ let you struggle all the way in here,” a voice said. Wilson.
Nia slipped her clothes on and opened the door.
“Wilson,” she said, moving on to look at her grandmother. Her eyebrows crinkled.
She walked toward Grandma Pat. “Thank God you’re okay. I’ve been worried sick about you. Where have you been?”
“I ran out of cornmeal, and Wilson here was so kind to bring me to the store,” she said. Her short, black hair framed her freckled cheeks. Her black, thick-rimmed glasses rested on the top of her nose. She was 79, but looked twenty or thirty years younger.
Nia raised her eyebrows at Wilson. “Yes, that was nice,” she said. She tilted her head. “Aren’t you supposed to be carting Mr. Carlton around though?”
Wilson scrunched his shoulders and bowed his head. He was a tall, older man, with graying hair and gentle eyes. He looked at Nia. “Mr. Carlton’s the one who told me to come. He said to tell ya’ll to call if you needed anything.”
Nia rolled her eyes as her lips tightened. “Thank you, Wilson. But Grandma and I are just fine without Mr. Carlton’s help. There’s nothing around here that we can’t manage to do for ourselves.”
Grandma Pat lifted her head, smiling. “Spoken like Gwendolyn’s daughter.”
“Well, I cannot say she is not my mother,” Nia said.
Silence stiffened the air.
Wilson shifted his balance. “Well, I’ll leave you two ladies to yourselves. Please do ring if you need anything,” he said.
“Absolutely,” Grandma Pat said, beaming at him. “Thank you so much for the lift.” She placed her hand on the V-neck of her yellow, vested sweater. “You’re a life-saver.”
She escorted him to the door.
“Bye Wilson,” Nia said, staring blankly.
Grandma Pat waved at him from the door, smiling cheerfully. She shut the door, and spiraled around to face Nia. “What in heaven’s name is wrong with you, girl?”
“I was so worried about you,” Nia said, covering her mouth.
Her grandmother said nothing.
Nia crossed her arms over her chest. “Darius was here,” she said, her voice shaking.
Grandma Pat raised her eyebrows, frowning. “Here?”
“Yes. I don’t know how he got in.”
Grandma Pat stared at the floor, scratching her temple with her forefinger.
“Grandma,” Nia said. “You have got to start locking the door. It’s not 1965 anymore.”
“Yes, darlin’. You’re right,” she said, walking to the kitchen. She put a brown paper bag on the beige counter and took out a bag of apples.
Nia plopped down in a wooden kitchen chair. “I had to give him the money,” she said.
“The tip money Jake gave me. The thousand dollars,” she said, burying her face in her hands. She held back tears. “It’s gone.”
Grandma Pat stood, gripping a bunch of celery. “You’ll get it back, darlin’.” She smiled. “Just tell Jake you—”
“Grandma,” Nia said, raising her voice, “There is no Jake. Jake’s gone.” The words hung stiff in the air.
Her grandmother stood frozen. “Again?”
Nia nodded. “This time, it’s for good. He’s back with his girlfriend now.” Claire the Bitch. She lifted her head higher. “She’s a better fit for him. And she’s having his baby. I’m sure they’ll be married soon, too.”
Grandma raised her eyebrows, sighed and pulled out a chair. “Oh dear. Not good. Poor Jake. He seems like he has a good head on his shoulders. I do hope he works it out.”
“Works what out?” Nia scrunched her cheeks. “He’ll be fine. He’s the one with a billion dollars laying around. It’s me you should be worried about. I have no car, no job, and the rent is due on the first of the month. What am I going to do?”
Panic set in, as she slowly emptied her mind of Jake, and thought about her own finances.
Grandma Pat looked down. Then she peered at a white ceramic jar, sitting on an old, wooden kitchen shelf.
Nia looked from her grandma to the jar, and then back at her grandma again. “No, Grandma. We’re not using that.”
“It is for a rainy day,” Grandma Pat said, her head tilted to the side. “We will use it if we need it.”
Nia sighed, trudging out of the kitchen. “Goin’ to see if there’s any new jobs.”
She closed her bedroom door and threw herself across the bed. Her phone vibrated on the nightstand. Not again. She picked it up and peered at the number. She sighed.
Her mind floated to the horrific events that transpired last night. He had invited her to a fancy restaurant. Was it to propose? No, it was to mock her, sitting next to his real girlfriend. Her heart raced as she thought of the exchange of words. “You may be seated next to him right now, but it’s me that he craves all day,” she told Claire, asserting herself with the confidence of a puma. What an idiot I’ve been.
Claire had looked at Jake and asked, “Is this true?”
Jake shook his head. He denied it. He denied our love, he denied all that we felt for each other. Maybe there was NEVER anything. Maybe it was all a LIE.
Tears welled in her eyes as she lay on her bed now, staring at the ceiling. She looked at the phone. She brushed away cascading tears. I’m dying inside. It’s just a stupid game to him. And I’m left holding the end of the rope. When does the missing stop? I still want him.
Stop. She brushed the tears away, opening her laptop. I can’t sit here and drown myself in pity. She focused the afternoon on calling to prospective restaurants about a waitressing position. She poured through Craigslist ads, shutting away any creeping thought of the man she had come to deeply desire.
In the corner of her screen she saw a familiar name appear. Genevieve Otala.New Mail. She clicked on the pop up. She peered again at the name, opening the message.
Sender: Genevieve Otala
Recipient: Nia Jones
Date: July 6, 2015
Hello Ms. Jones,
Mr. Carlton wanted me to contact you regarding an opening at one of the restaurants. A server has been let go, and needs immediate replacement. He noted that your application will be given priority over all other applicants, should you decide to apply. The application deadline is July 15, 2015. The application is attached. Please contact me if you need further assistance.
Nia stared at the email, tightening her jaw. She slammed the laptop shut. Forget it. I would rather die than work at one of this man’s restaurants.
The phone vibrated on the nightstand. Nia lifted her head from the pillow, squinting at the bright daylight. Must’ve drifted to sleep. She grabbed the phone and pressed the answer button. “Agggh,” she said aloud, her wrist aching with pain.
“Hel…” She cleared her throat, then tried again. “Hello?”
“Are you still in bed?” A deep Texan voice sounded through the receiver.
The voice sent a wave of arousal through her body. She breathed deeper. “Yes,” she said.
“Nia. I’m so, so sorry about everything that’s happened. I can’t stop thinking about you,” Jake said.
You have no idea how badly I want you right now. “You need to stop. You belong to Claire. You got her pregnant, not me. She needs you now. Not me,” she said.
“I know. But you have to believe me when I say that I didn’t mean for things to turn out this way,” he said quietly.
“Things are that way.” She sat up in the bed. “The sooner we both face reality, the better off we’ll be.”
Jake sighed through the receiver. “Let me make this right, at least with the job. I had two staff members leave Jack’s over the Fourth of July weekend. Why don’t you let me do that for you?”
“I don’t need you to do anything for me,” she said. She clicked the hang-up button and threw the phone into the corner.
“Thanks for the wake-up call!” She yelled out into the air, throwing her pink comforter over her head, landing back down on her bed. Jackass. I don’t need a damn thing from you.
She lifted herself from the bed and stepped into her bunny slippers. She marched into the bathroom and grabbed her toothbrush. She brushed her teeth and set a hot washcloth on her face. She peeled the washcloth off, peering at herself in the mirror. She pulled at her ponytail holder until her hair fell loose, cascading over her shoulders. She looked at her brown eyes. Am I stupid for not taking this job?
She sighed and strode back to the living room to pick up the phone from the beige carpet. He sounded so sexy on the phone. She thumbed through to find the last call. She put the phone down by her thigh and stared blankly at the wall. Don’t you dare. She sighed, pressing the call button. Pick it up.
He answered. He said nothing. She only heard the faintness of his breaths. Her knees warmed with desire. She brushed a strand of hair out of her face.
“Okay. I’ll do it on one condition,” she said.
“Yes,” he said.
“Brie comes too,” she said, tightening her grip on the phone.