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THE INVESTOR’S BABY
by Jamila Jasper
Copyright © 2016 Jamila Jasper
A BWWM Pregnancy Romance Novel
Mature audiences 18+ only due to sexually explicit content in the pages ahead.
This story was originally published for a brief time under a different title. This new story has over 10k+ words of new material and has been updated to better suit the target audience.
Warning: The author of this story doesn’t condone unprotected sex with multiple partners. This is a fiction and fantasy story as well as pregnancy fiction. Reader discretion is advised.
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Table of Contents
To understand Moesha’s story you have to have been there at the beginning...
The Vermont bar was crowded for a Friday night. The line to go in had been out the door and it had been almost 11:30 since Moesha, Tonya and Marie got in through the front door. In Vermont, women of color had to stick together. Moesha and Tonya weren’t fully convinced that Marie’s story about being half Abenaki Indian checked out, but she certainly got treated like an outcast when they were in school together so they became fast and close friends.
Moesha was beyond thrilled to get a chance to go out with her girlfriends. It had been a long time since she’d been able to cut loose. She’d been rejected to two of the top art programs in the country and she’d been working around the clock to make ends meet. Moesha’s long braids dangled down to her waist. Her chubby waist made her look better than both her friends.
She was large, in charge and owning it. Moesha loved being a confident black woman in this small town. You didn’t see many women like that in Vermont and Moesha had come to enjoy the whispers and stares from the white people around her. She knew they were judging her but she didn’t care… Moesha had everything she wanted in life. She was thick and gorgeous, pursuing her career and she had a clan of amazing friends who would stick by her no matter what.
The music was pumping through the bar. Moesha and her friends were dancing better than everyone in the place and drawing a lot of attention. Tonya was looking around the bar anxiously, waiting for her second group of friends to arrive. Tonya had plans for her friends that night that didn’t involve another boring night of dancing and ending up alone. Tonya was tired of the routine and she wanted to shake things up. Tonya knew a couple of guys who were amateur boxers just outside of town and they promised to bring their rugby player friends over to the bar. It was a little surprise for Moesha. Tonya knew one of those guys had “a thing” for black girls and she couldn’t wait to introduce them.
Three drinks in, Tony’s gang of friends finally arrived to spice things up. She motioned them over to the table where the women were taking a break from dancing.
“Chase! Ryan! Come here!” Tonya called.
Chase and Ryan were both boxers and they’d brought their equally thick, meaty and muscular friends with them for a fun night out on one of the few January nights that there wasn’t a snowstorm gripping the Vermont countryside. The rugby players were Tommy, Tanner and Tim. Tonya had trouble keeping track of all the T’s.
She introduced all the men who had arrived to her table of friends and then took special attention to introduce Chase and Moesha.
“Chase… This is my good friend Moesha. She’s an artist and… she’s single.”
Moesha turned to look at Chase and smiled. He was exactly the kind of guy she liked and exactly the kind of guy who never looked twice at her. The group split off and left Moesha alone to chat with Chase. It was an obvious set up but Moesha didn’t mind. Her friends had been lecturing her for a long time on being so reclusive. But Moesha was tired of the dating scene in Vermont. Moesha had been black in the state her whole life and dating had never really gotten anywhere.
She tried dating black men but they were all interested in chasing white girls and using Moesha just as a sexual object. The white men in Vermont were different but not necessarily much better. Most of them expected Moesha to act out their “ghetto fantasy”. Moesha wasn’t a stereotype and she wasn’t going to be a caricature of herself to get some white boy into bed. So Moesha was wary about meeting Chase.
“Moesha… That’s a nice name…” Chase said.
Moesha nodded. “Yup.”
Chase nodded and grabbed Moesha’s hand, leading her to the dance floor. As the music blasted, Chase held onto Moesha’s hips and pulled her close as they danced together. Moesha swiveled her hips and rocked as Chase held her. For a white boy, Chase had rhythm and before long, Moesha found herself enjoying dancing with him. Chase knew how to move and he pulled Moesha close, pulling her hair out of her face and looking her right in the eye. Moesha’s eyes were a deep brown color that nearly matched the dark sienna color of her skin. She was gorgeous and confident and exactly the kind of woman Chase liked.
There was something about Chase that made him unlike most of the guys Moesha met around her. He seemed to have the power of seduction on lock. And he was holding her as if he wanted to be with her forever. When Chase whispered into Moesha’s ear, all she wanted to do was comply.
“Let’s go somewhere quiet… On the tables outside,” He said.
Moesha nodded and followed Chase onto the tables outside. He ordered them another round of drinks and sat across from her, holding her hand and staring into her eyes. Staring into Chase’s eyes was like getting swept up in a hypnotic storm. They were a gorgeous teal color and his blond hair was cut short, allowing the angles on his face to show.
“So… you’re a boxer?” Moesha asked.
Chase nodded and grinned, his perfect Vermont-boy, smile.
“Yes. I’m a boxer. I love it… There’s nothing better than knocking a guy out. It’s a rush you know? I had a tough life but I’ve always been an active guy. I love a sport that just allows me to be who I really am…”
“Violent?” Moesha asked.
Chase chuckled, “No… It’s not about violence Moesha. That’s just not me.”
“Oh yeah? So what type of guy gets a rush from knocking another man out then?”
“A man who’s passionate about what he does… And passionate about everything else,” Chase said, lifting Moesha’s hand off the table and planting a kiss on it.
“What other things are you passionate about?”
“Women… Having a family someday,” Chase said.
Moesha giggled, “Pulling out the big guns on the first date, wow…”
“Who said this is a date?”
“Oh so it isn’t?” Moesha said with a smile.
“You got me there,” Chase said grinning, “I’m sorry but you’re just one of the prettiest, realest women I’ve seen around these parts. You know… I love me some brown sugar.”
Moesha smiled. It was one of the least offensive ways she’d heard a guy say he liked black women. Moesha figured he still had a chance of proving himself to be worthy. They talked for a while with the sound of the music outside. Moesha found herself quickly attracted to Chase. He was handsome, flirtatious and charming.
“I want to make you my girlfriend,” Chase said after around an hour.
Moesha laughed, “You’ve got to be kidding me. You’ve only known me for a little while.”
“But I’ve heard about you from Tonya,” He said.
“So this is a blatant set up then?”
Chase smiled, “I want the same things you want Moesha. Why not give me a chance?”
He had a point. Moesha nodded, “Okay then Chase. I’ll be your girlfriend.”
“I can already tell, you’re the kind of girl who will last forever…” Chase replied.
Moesha leaned over the table, allowing her sizable bosom to droop down and touch the table. Chase planted a kiss on her lips -- a delicious kiss that let Moesha know she’d made the right choice. It was the fastest she’d ever jumped into calling someone her boyfriend but Moesha wanted to settle down and she knew that her biological clock was ticking. Heck, she’d vowed to do something different next time she got back into dating, and dating a guy she just met certainly counted as “something different.”
It wasn’t long after that first night that Chase and Moesha slept together. Chase couldn’t get enough of her and he had her phone blaring off the hook. It felt good to be pursued by someone so aggressively. Normally, men would string Moesha along, forcing her to to do the brunt of the work. With Chase, that wasn’t the case. Chase called her at least fifteen times a day. He checked up on her at work and send her text messages throughout the day.
It was a whirlwind romance. Moesha never expected to fall in love with someone so quickly but Chase was her perfect match in every way. Everything she wanted, he wanted too. Everything she liked, he liked. Moesha never expected to have so much in common with a backwater Vermont white guy but Chase proved her wrong. He was everything that she’d wanted in a man and more.
Within a month, Chase and Moesha moved in together. Chase had convinced her it was the best move. With his income from boxing he could provide for them, plus he would get occasional cash gifts from some mysterious benefactor that Moesha never questioned. Chase had some eccentricities but overall he was the perfect guy. Moesha figured every guy was a little strange, but Chase’s charm more than made up for the few odd experiences Moesha had with him.
The biggest issue Moesha faced once things started getting serious with Chase was her friends’ jealousy. It wasn’t just Tonya and Marie, but all of Moesha’s other friends seemed to judge her relationship. Their jealousy was transparent. What she and Chase had was different, it was special and she couldn’t expect them to understand when they’d never experienced true love. Maybe there was a reason they were still single and she wasn’t…
Moesha’s friends complained that Chase hogged her too much. They complained that he called too much. They complained that he wanted her to move in. But weren’t those the things they’d always wanted? Moesha was finally getting the perfect life that they’d all wanted with a man and they were lashing out. Moesha thought friends would be more supportive but the tables were turning quickly.
As she was building her perfect life, Moesha was worried that her friendships wouldn’t last. But sometimes you had to make difficult choices didn’t you? And Moesha was willing to make whatever choices she had to in order to have the perfect life… with the perfect husband, the perfect kids and not a single thing out of place.
He had been in a bad mood since morning. Moesha knew what this meant for the rest of her day. Whenever Chase was in a bad mood, she could expect the rest of her day to go poorly. Chase wanted her to go out and get him a six pack of beer. When Chase wanted something, Moesha had to acquiesce. She’d learned this the hard way. She had initially refused, but then he grabbed her arm and twisted so far back she thought it would break, she had no choice but to agree to do the stupid errand. She didn’t want to, but that didn’t matter to Chase at all. As long as he got what he wanted, he was completely happy. He had been a poison to Moesha’s life that she just couldn’t seem to spit out.
“Get me the fucking beer you damned bitch!” he had roared before giving Moesha a hard shove.
As she drove to the grocery store, her chest still hurt at the point where he had pushed her. Moesha wondered how on earth things that ended up this way. Why was she still even with Chase? There had to have been something about him that drew her to him. No woman chose to end up with a guy like that, yet so many seemed to. Moesha knew she couldn’t possibly be alone: stuck with a man who seemed determined to hurt her. It hadn’t started out that way. It never did. People who begged Moesha to leave didn’t understand her situation… The fear she went through, how little money she had of her own, all the ways Chase had intertwined his life with hers.
Of course there were many appealing things about Chase… That was why Moesha stayed with him in the first place. He was tall, around 6 feet. He was an amateur boxer, and a coach. His body was in top physical condition and he was the strongest man Moesha had ever met. It was his strength that had drawn her to him at first. The same strength that he would later use against her. She wondered if she would have agreed to that first romantic date if she knew the truth about Chase Tucker. Probably not.
With Chase, things had seemed almost perfect at first. When Moesha discovered that he was an addict, he had brushed it off as if to say it was all in the past. Now Moesha knew that there was nothing past tense about any of his addictions. He was almost successful in hiding his cocaine addiction, but he struggled to hide his addiction to the nastiest and filthiest of pornography. No woman should ever have to discover these sick things. Still, Moesha stayed with him because he’d promised to change. Moesha believed in the man that he could be. Why was she being punished for believing in men? Isn’t that what women were supposed to do? Chase minimized his own addictions and flaws by magnifying Moesha’s. Perhaps he did have a point… She had flaws of her own, so how could she judge him for a couple of vices? After all, everyone sinned and no one was perfect.
Moesha blamed it on his mother. After all, she’d brought him up to be this way. How could she blame Chase for his bad behavior? His mother had waited on him hand his foot his entire life and now he expected Moesha to do the same. It was just his upbringing. Moesha had explanations for everything. If she allowed reality to puncture the bubble she’d created, she wasn’t sure she could handle the gravity of what she’d gotten herself into.
If she had known about Chase’s expectations, perhaps she would have left him before she was in too deep. But it crept up on her and before she knew it they were living together and she was up at 5 o’clock every morning just to do the chores around the house for Chase. He had expectations and when they weren’t met he responded with punishment. Of course, he hadn’t always done that either. Moesha wondered if there had been red flags. Had she been blind to them?
It had all started to get so much worse once they had moved in together. Now, Chase was a petulant brat who constantly required Moesha’s service. He blamed the fact that he did nothing around the house on his career as an amateur boxer as well as a coach. He was too tired. His muscles were sore. If Moesha would just give him one more massage, maybe he would be more helpful. She felt like a damned servant, but she knew if she complained that would only make Chase even more upset. He pointed out that he made far much more money than she did and that Moesha should be grateful. Never mind he had forbidden her from working, Moesha still believed that she had a point.
Moesha wondered if Chase even believed the lies he told. He seemed so convincing, that she was already starting to lose sight of the fact that he was dangerous to her emotional and possibly physical well-being. He never smacked her around too hard though, Moesha was grateful for that. She had heard of women who would be forced to cover up with makeup and clothing to hide their bruises. But Chase had never put a bruise on her beautiful face. That was something to be grateful for.
Moesha trying to put out of her mind Chase last words to her as she left the house.
“Try not to fuck someone else while you’re out. I know that’s what all you women do,” he said with a snarl.
That was the drugs talking. Or the alcohol. Or sleeplessness. Moesha had become an expert at justifying the things Chase said to her. She didn’t want to believe that Chase, the man she had fallen in love with was the monster that he had become. Doing that would be admitting he had always been that way. Moesha didn’t want to think of him as a monster. That wasn’t the Chase she had met. She wasn’t a fool. She knew she wasn’t a fool.
Moesha and Chase had initially connected over their rough past. Of course, Chase past was much rougher than he had let on. Chase had told Moesha that he had grown up poor and that he has been forced to commit a series of crimes throughout his childhood just to survive. That had only been half true. Chase had grown up incredibly wealthy, but antisocial all the same. He had committed these small crimes as acts of defiance against his rich parents. Moesha hadn’t found that lie out until they’d lived together.
He never told Moesha this, but he truly just enjoyed breaking all those laws. His parents’ wealth kept him relatively insulated from consequences, although he did have an arrest record. Chase felt completely justified in his behavior and saw nothing wrong with his actions; he was more likely to find fault with the ridiculous laws that were holding him back.
This on its own should have been a red flag to Moesha, but all of it was too hard for her to tell what was true until she was in too deep. Once she had said “I love you” to Chase she was trapped and unable to leave. He had her where he wanted her and he used her great capacity to love against her.
Chase’ addictions had started when he was 14 years old. He had smoked marijuana casually then regularly. He had tried meth, heroin, cocaine, crack and anything he could get his hands on. He didn’t care if it was legal and he didn’t care how much it cost. He was desperate to escape the world and he would do so anyway and anyhow. He also didn’t care who he hurt in the process. When he and Moesha had first started dating, she thought he was just a struggling postgraduate. She was more than happy to loan him a $10 or $20 bill until she realized that the money was being used to fuel his drug addictions. He didn’t even need her money, he just enjoyed using her. Moesha always worked up in her mind that she would leave him but where would she go? She had very little money of her own and Chase would find her. She knew that he would.
Drug addiction wasn’t what Moesha had signed up for. But of course, Chase managed to talk her out of her rage. He told her that he was sorry, that he would quit immediately. He promised her that he would never take a red cent from her ever again. Moesha should’ve known everything he said was a lie. At least that’s what she told herself. But how could she know? The man knew how to turn on the waterworks, the puppy dog eyes, the face just begging for pity. It wasn’t about being strong or weak. Some men were just good at getting exactly what they wanted.
Moesha pulled up at the grocery store. These days, she was too numb to even cry when Chase pulled some crap like that. She just wanted to get him a six pack and a pack of cigarettes. If she got him cigarettes too, maybe he would be in a good mood for the rest of the day. Personally, she hated the stuff. The cancer sticks reminded her of her grandfather, and these memories were never good.
When Moesha thought about her rough past, her grandfather was exactly who came to mind. He had the responsibility of babysitting her often throughout her childhood. And he had taken that opportunity to take advantage of Moesha’s innocence and youth. He had ruined so many things for her. It had taken years upon years for these wounds to heal, and Moesha wasn’t really sure they ever had or ever would.
That wasn’t all that Moesha had been through. Her mother was an addict herself with a penchant for violent beatings. Her older sisters and brothers did little to protect her, so Moesha always felt alone. It had taken a while for her to forgive them, but they were children too. What could they have done for her? Now, Moesha considered herself a semi-dysfunctional adult. Sure, she had dreams but these dreams seemed to be a part of a far-off reality that would never come to exist. She was just living -- one day at a time, trying not to break down. It was a type of sadness that only those who had experienced it could come to understand.
Moesha had always dreamed of being a cartoonist. She had loved drawing throughout her childhood and she even won a few art competitions. She wanted to be more than just some girl with a boyfriend, or some girl who got knocked up, or some battered woman. She wanted to be famous for her work, she wanted to bring a smile to children’s faces. When she was a child, cartoons seem to be the only place where she could find an escape and happiness. Her world never seemed to stop throwing punches and with a happy cartoon, Moesha could forget the terror of her reality.
In her adulthood, she wanted to afford children the same experiences. She wanted to help little girls and boys just like her to realize that there was some good in the world. But Moesha figured her cartoons would never see the light of day. Chase had done nothing to encourage her dreams either. In fact, he had convinced her that there was nothing worth seeing, that no one would possibly be interested in her work. Moesha thought that there was some value in her art, but maybe Chase was right and it would just be too arrogant for her to even think of submitting them to some magazine or some contest. She knew if he found out he would just tear her down anyways. Not until I can leave him. Moesha thought to herself.
When Moesha entered the store, she felt lost. She suddenly realized how disconnected she was from reality. The world around her felt completely false. How can everyone be going about their day business as usual when she was only out to run a quick errand and she would soon return home to a life filled with terror?
Everything felt so false and unreal. This nightmare would never end for Moesha, meanwhile everyone else would go about their life as if they existed in a utopia, too distant from her world. It wasn’t fair. It wasn’t fair. Moesha wandered around the grocery store taking her time to get to the beer and cigarettes. There was never a rush to get home but if she took too long, Chase could easily accuse her of cheating. She stopped in an aisle with some household supplies and found herself looking into a mirror. The only issue was the girl looking back looked nothing like her. Moesha felt nauseous when she saw her reflection and realized what had happened to her.
Moesha remembered a round faced, chubby, bright eyed girl with so much potential. But the woman looking back at her was a different person entirely. Her dark, umber colored skin looked more sallow than usual now. Her face was gaunt. Moesha’s body was thin, thinner than anyone from her childhood would remember. She used to be quite a thick girl as a teen and a woman of her early 20s. But now, she had lost more than 20 pounds. She just didn’t look healthy anymore. She didn’t have the thick layers of fat that added rubenesque beauty to her body.
Normally, people would applaud such extreme weight loss but Moesha knew that it was unhealthy. Sometimes she would go days at a time without eating; she didn’t know why she just couldn’t remember to make the effort to get down to the fridge. Other times, Chase would make comments about her “heaviness” and it would stop her dead in her tracks from eating breakfast or dinner.
Moesha wondered if she would ever get the brightness in her eyes back again. Her hair was done up in hundreds of tiny Senegalese twists. Moesha loved getting braids done, it was one of the only times she got to spend hours and hours out of the house. Plus, she thought they looked amazing on her. The waist length braids caused her to ooze femininity and sexiness. It was what she had since she’d lost her curves. Moesha felt most confident with a fresh hairdo. She felt soothed by the affectionate hands of her hairdresser detangling her hair. Small things like that were the only comforts in Moesha’s life.
As Moesha made her way to the beer aisle, she saw someone she recognized. Shit! The last thing she wanted was some person she had fallen out with to see her looking like this at the grocery store. First, they would ask questions and then they would look at her with pity as if they knew exactly what was going on. Moesha hated their pitiful looks. Gossip around town had traveled but still, people only wanted to pity her, not help her. A part of her wondered if they secretly thought she deserved it. Those looks of pity were part of the reason why she had to cut off most of her friends. She turned around to avoid what would surely be an awkward encounter and started walking as fast as possible in the opposite direction.
Moesha slammed into a strange man with the full force of her body. Her sixpack of beer crashed to the ground and one of the cans opened up, squirting all over the floor of the grocery store. Moesha felt completely humiliated on every level. She couldn’t believe this was actually happening to her. So much for avoiding an awkward encounter.
The man she had run into looked at her with a bemused facial expression. Moesha buried her face in her hands and whimpered, “Oh my goodness, I’m so sorry… Did I get any of that on you?”
“No you didn’t,” The man said with a smile on his face. He didn’t seem perturbed at all. That was refreshing. These days Moesha expected violence for her slightest of errors. She could already feel the adrenaline rushing through her veins, just like it did when she made a mistake in front of Chase.
Moesha removed her face from her hands to look the man she had just run into straight in the eye; she was surprised at who she saw. She actually recognized this guy! He was a legend in their town, in fact in their entire state. The man was Cliff Blackwood. And he was a guy who had managed to live up to the lofty standard his wealthy family name had set for him.
Cliff Blackwood was the richest man to have ever been born in the state of Vermont. He was like the Warren Buffett of the New England region. He was a local legend and even the most uneducated knew his name. Of course, a few people were completely out of the loop, but anyone who paid attention knew Cliff Blackwood’s story. Everyone also knew what he looked like. The newspaper loved to feature articles about him at least once a week. When there wasn’t much going on, you had to milk your cash cows for their worth. And Cliff Blackwood had immense value...
Moesha couldn’t believe she was seeing the legend in the flesh. What’s worse, she had just run into him! She didn’t even look her best... It was as if her first encounter with the local hero had to be the absolute most embarrassing thing on the planet. Typical.
“Don’t be so shy, I’m Cliff Blackwood,” he introduced himself.
Of course, Moesha knew exactly who he was. She wasn’t sure if she should play it cool or if she should let him know that she knew exactly who he was, and everyone else in the town did too. He probably already knew he was a household name. Cliff Blackwood owned every grocery store in the state and a few coffee shops too.
But that wasn’t it, he owned real estate, cars and everything anyone could ever imagine. He was also known for parading around with celebrity adjacent girlfriends. His less than ideal reputation as a playboy was downplayed by the Vermont media. Moesha happened to read plenty about him on gossip news sites.
“I’m Moesha,” she said shyly. Moesha couldn’t believe that Cliff Blackwood was actually introducing himself to her and now Cliff Blackwood knew her name!
Cliff Blackwood looked down at the short but beautiful girl who had just run into him. He found her clumsiness amusing and her looks stunning. You didn’t find a lot of black girls in Vermont, and Moesha seemed exquisite with just a hint of New England charm. Sure he spent a lot of time with Instagram famous girls and aspiring models, but this girl blew them all out of the water.
There was something about her that was magnetic. She had a soft sadness in her eye that let him know she had been through some trouble in life. Her dark skin was luminous as far as Cliff was concerned. And her body was thick and gorgeous. The mystery about Moesha was part of her magnetism. Cliff noticed that she seemed a bit sad and frazzled, but all the same he was absolutely stunned by the vision before him.
Cliff was also certain that she knew exactly who he was. He rarely came back to this old haunt of his; when he did it was hard to ignore the whispers and furtive glances. Everyone knew he was a local legend and he knew that they knew.
He couldn’t blame them for staring…
Cliff wasn’t just some ugly old rich guy, he had looks to match his highbrow status. Cliff Blackwood had a perfect body from his 20 years of taekwondo training. He had started when he was 15 and never stopped. His body was covered in rippling muscles but he still had a lean look. Cliff had a perfect angular jaw and soft kissable lips. Models don’t line up to screw just anyone. Cliff Blackwood had slightly bronzed skin from his time yachting around the lush islands of the Caribbean. His hair was a dark cocoa brown color and his eyes were a deep steel gray. He knew what effect he had on women, and with this woman the effect was no different.
He wanted Moesha to relax just a bit. There was no way he could get to know her if she was trembling like a mouse being chased by a hawk. Cliff Blackwood found Moesha to be incredibly attractive and he was determined to get to know her the moment she ran into him. He didn’t find many gorgeous girls in Vermont, and he could tell this one had a story worth hearing.
“It’s nice to meet you Moesha. Where you headed in such a hurry?” Cliff asked her.
“Um, I’m just on my way home with a six pack…” Moesha said.
She knew it was wrong of her to not mention that she had a boyfriend but she couldn’t help it. An actual living legend was taking an interest in her and she didn’t even look her best. This was the greatest compliment she had received in months.
“Well if you’d like to do something more interesting than go home with a six pack, I would like to take you out to dinner,” Cliff asked Moesha.
It was straight forward and demanding, the way Cliff made all of his requests.
Moesha was nervous. A big part of her wanted to say yes to this exciting request. After all, what kind of fool would say no to Cliff Blackwood regardless of the situation?! But she knew she had to be home soon or face Chase’s wrath. That negative reinforcement had a strong hold over Moesha. Fear guided her life. She just needed a way out… And perhaps, the way out was here.
Moesha started to push a few of her braids out of her face. And as she did, her shirt rolled down and revealed huge bruise on her wrist where Chase had grabbed her arm and twisted it. It was unlike him to ever leave bruises on her so Moesha had let that one slide. She figured no one would notice, although Cliff clearly did. Once he saw the bruise on this gorgeous woman’s wrist he started to understand. That would explain her frazzled look and how hesitant she was to get to know him. Women didn’t normally hesitate when it came to Cliff Blackwood. Apparently, this one had a good reason to: Fear.
“I’m sorry… I….” Moesha mumbled.
“You have a boyfriend,” Cliff finished for her.
He had figured that out the moment he saw the bruises. Women’s arms don’t just bruise themselves. His face wasn’t pitying like most people when they found out. He just looked at Moesha like he understood all the hell she had been through. It wasn’t his place to judge her, merely to understand.
“Yes,” Moesha sighed, nodding her head.
She had a boyfriend. And that boyfriend, who beat her up every night, was the reason she would have to say no to an amazing date.
“I can see that,” Cliff said, jutting his chin out to point to the bruise on her wrist.
Moesha knew immediately that he really had seen her injury. She felt so ashamed, like she really was one of these women she swore she would never be.
“I…” Moesha began.
But Cliff interrupted her, “Hey, you don’t have to say anything about it. Some guys just can’t keep their hands to themselves. We all have choices to make and it’s not my place to judge yours. I still hope we can get to know each other as friends. I don’t know many people around town but I miss regular old Vermonters. I’m a guy who can keep my distance when I need to so I’ll understand if we can’t get too close.”
“Thanks for understanding,” Moesha replied.
She hadn’t felt such genuine warmth from another person in a while. Moesha was also surprised at how direct Cliff was. There was something commanding about him that wasn’t domineering or scary. Cliff had even surprised himself with his demeanor. He wasn’t normally so chummy with women he had just met. But he could tell Moesha needed a friend. She just had that look on her face.
“Take my card. If you ever run into any trouble, give me a call. I’m visiting some old friends around here for a few months and checking on business” Cliff said.
Moesha knew that Cliff genuinely meant what he said. The way his gray eyes locked with hers made her feel something that she hadn’t felt in a while: protected. Moesha knew that if Chase found out about this encounter and the fact that she taken Cliff’s business card should be in big trouble.
She flipped the card into her pocket and planned where she would hide it when she returned home. While standing there, Moesha couldn’t help but feel just a little bit awkward. She was happy to have met Cliff Blackwood and for him to have taken an interest in her but she didn’t really know where this was going next. Or where it could possibly go.
Moesha and Cliff parted ways awkwardly. Moesha wished she had been able to spend more time with him. She couldn’t believe it! She had been asked on a date by one of the superrich and she had to say no. What was worse was who she was going home to. If she had any inkling of emotion left for Chase perhaps this wouldn’t have hurt her so badly.
But now, she felt nothing for Chase except a desire to leave and a strong feeling that she couldn’t. Who knows what he would do to her if she left. He was volatile and sensitive. Moesha was totally trapped in this hellscape of a life.
Armed with her six pack and cigarettes which she hoped would placate her sure to be enraged boyfriend, Moesha got into her car and drove home. The whole way she thought about Cliff. She fantasized about escaping and about Cliff dramatically taking her away from Chase. She knew it was silly. He was just a man that she had just met and he had only been a little bit kind to her. But of course, Moesha was in distress. Most of her fantasies these days revolved around escaping the terrible relationship she had landed in. She knew that she would find a way.
What Moesha didn’t realize that Cliff Blackwood’s liking to her had not ceased. It wasn’t just a one-off experience in his mind either. Something about Moesha had drawn him to her and Cliff was a man who followed his instincts. A part of his financial success was business smarts, but another part of it was listening to his gut.
Cliff saw a woman in need and it was difficult for him to see someone in distress and leave them be. Part of the reason Cliff had been so motivated to make his money in the first place was so that he could help the impoverished and the needy. Now that he was a billionaire, he spent tens of millions every year on various charities and he encouraged other wealthy people to engage in such philanthropy. Of course, he wasn’t just some down-to-earth guy with a lot of money. No one with that much money really is.
Cliff lived enveloped in luxury and completely insulated from the realities of the outside world. To him the world with his playground and he could throw cash at anything he wanted to get his way.
In a sense, that made Cliff one of the most dangerous people Moesha had met. Luckily for her, she wasn’t an enemy on the other side of a business deal or someone who is getting in Cliff’s way. She was a woman that he could relate to. Despite Cliff’s wealth, he had a rough upbringing. Of course a billionaire rarely starts off in the throes of poverty. But material wealth did not mean that Cliff’s life was incredibly easy.
When Cliff was five years old, His father had died and his mother had remarried quickly. His mother was accustomed to a high brow lifestyle and without a husband to bring home the bacon she was completely lost. In her haste to hook a man with a vast amount of wealth, Cliff’s mother hadn’t been very choosy. In fact, she had married the first man to take an interest in her. That was her biggest mistake.
Cliff’s mother had married a man who had made all his wealth in his youth on Wall Street and retired at 27 years old. He had been retired for years when he met Cliff’s mother. Seeing a woman desperate with a five-year-old child he had taken an interest in her. It’s always a red flag when a man is interested in a woman’s vulnerabilities. At first, things had seemed perfect. Cliff had a father figure and his mother had someone who can cater to her every financial need. Things got dark quickly.
His stepfather had a variety of addictions. While during the day he seemed like a kind and caring man, at night he turned into a monster. At first, he would only beat Cliff. His mother seemed too afraid to stop her new husband from assaulting her child. Cliff had never quite forgiven her for that. She seemed more motivated to stop the beatings when his stepfather had turned his wrath on to her. Their household was constantly in terror. One wrong move and both Cliff and his mother would be beaten to the ground within inches of their life. Cliff still carried some of the bruises and he had a sternum fracture that had never healed.
Cliff knew his stepfather considered himself a real man, but a real man wouldn’t beat an innocent woman and child within inches of their life for no particular reason. Cliff had vowed that he would never be that kind of man and he would never stand for that kind of behavior. His mother had almost lost her life a number of times to those beatings. Cliff wasn’t completely sure that the impact of that abuse wasn’t still harming her. When Cliff had made his first $25 million, he managed to move his mother out from underneath his stepfather’s thumb and give her a life of safety and comfort. His stepfather had at first been unable to take no for an answer and eventually Cliff managed to pay him off just to leave the country. Cliff knew that money was powerful first-hand.
Seeing Moesha in the grocery store, Cliff was taken back to his youth in Vermont. His memories of that house and what it felt like to have his head smashed into the wall reverberated in his skin. Moesha reminded him of his mother, even if her skin was much darker and Moesha was much younger than he’d ever known his mother. It wasn’t practical, it was something about her spirit. He remembered how terrified his mother always seemed. He saw that same terror, that same anxiety in Moesha and he really felt for her. No one deserved to be treated like that. Being completely insulated from the world, Cliff rarely ran into women who had undergone what his mother had.
But of course, stepping into the state of Vermont for the first time in years he was given this awful reminder of the pain he had sustained in his youth. What’s worse, he could tell that this woman didn’t have the wealth that he and his mother had. Incomes really varied in the state and at least with some money on her side this woman he had just met would have a chance of leaving her abuser. But of course this wasn’t the case.
On his way to the cabin (which was more like a mini-mansion to regular folk) where he was staying, Cliff couldn’t get that woman out of his mind. Moesha. Her name sounded regal. There was something about the look in her eyes and the gauntness of her face. He could tell there was once a beautiful woman filled with life behind those eyes, but now she was more like a zombie with a gorgeous woman imprisoned inside her. He wanted to see what she looks like when she smiled. He wanted to hear her laugh. He was sure both of these visions had not appeared in years.
When he got home and he was still thinking about the mysterious dark skinned woman in the grocery store, Cliff decided to make a call. He knew that perhaps it was a little strange, but his net worth was so high that being a little strange was inconsequential. After a certain price point, everyone became a little eccentric. And other people learned how to deal with it.
Cliff called his personal assistant in New York. Esperanza was always ready to respond to strange requests.
“Esperanza,” Cliff started the call. They never used any pointless greetings with each other.
A sultry voice responded him on the other end, “Good Morning Mr. Blackwood.” Esperanza had worked at a phone sex hotline before she started working for Cliff Blackwood. He was always startled when he heard her seductive voice on the other end of the line. But he kind of liked it. It was part of her appeal and her voice certainly came in handy when he wanted to talk down some angry business partner or a client about to sue.
“I need you to hire a private investigator to trail someone in Vermont,” He started.
Esperanza was used to Cliff’s strange request but this one certainly ranked as one of the most bizarre. Cliff rarely spoke about Vermont and he only went back occasionally. He didn’t seem to know many people there so Esperanza wondered who on earth it was he would be tailing.
“Just say the name and I’ll have someone on it,” Esperanza replied. She knew better than to question her boss. He paid too well for her to ask questions.
“While here’s the thing Esperanza… I don’t know a last name. I can tell you a first name and a few digits of the license plate,” Cliff answered.
“Hm. Okay. give me what you’ve got,” Esperanza continued. She sounded like she was crunching down on something. Maybe a granola bar.
“Her name is Moesha. She has dark skin, long braids and the first three digits of her license plate are PD8…” Cliff said semi-certainly.
“We should be able to work with that Mr. Blackwood,” Esperanza replied. She hung up without waiting to see if there was anything else.
Esperanza was good at what she did but she lacked social graces most of the time. Either way, Cliff was fond of her so he kept her on. She knew his deepest secrets and she never asked any questions. She just performed his requests in a timely fashion. She was like the sister Cliff never had… Except he paid her.
It didn’t take long for Esperanza to find out all she needed to know about Moesha Cox. The private investigator had worked quickly and before long all the information was sitting in Esperanza’s email inbox. It was a file that would put an FBI investigator to shame. The details were quite juicy. This was part of the appeal Esperanza found in working for Cliff Blackwood was her vast knowledge of the intimate details of his life. She hated to gossip, but she loved to be in the know.
This Moesha Cox woman was quite a character even if she had seemed relatively normal at first. Esperanza wondered why Cliff seemed to be so interested in her. She had spent most of her life in Vermont; based on what Esperanza could find she was a pretty prolific cartoonist. Her catalog online hadn’t been updated in months but Esperanza was pretty impressed by what she saw.
The woman was obviously talented, what was stopping her from being famous? Based on the drawings that Esperanza saw, all of which had been updated before Moesha’s relationship with Chase, she appeared to be a gorgeous, vivacious and intelligent woman.
Esperanza noticed that her social media accounts hadn’t been updated for at least two years. Esperanza found that weird. In this day and age it was rare for people to go a week without taking a selfie. Something was definitely up here.
Esperanza continued to click through the file that the PI had sent over to her. When she got deeper and deeper she finally started to understand what had most likely driven Moesha Cox off the web. It didn’t look pretty. What on earth had Cliff Blackwood got himself into?
This could be nothing but trouble. The Chase Tucker chapter in Moesha’s life was bleak. Esperanza looked at the segment of the file on Chase Tucker and even she had to admit she was a little bit scared. The man had a long history of arrests and he appeared to be nothing but dangerous. The PI had even pulled up letters that Chase’ family had received when he was in elementary school. There were numerous incidences of him setting small fires, bullying smaller children and even a few notes on “suspicious activities” involving class pets.