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Love Locked Down

p.

Also by Candace Mumford

Love Locked Down

Love Locked Down

Love Locked Down 2 ( Dana’s Got A Gun )

Lying For Your Love

Lying for Your Love

ParkCrest View – The Love Chronicles

The Story of Us (ParkCrest View- The Love Chronicles Book 6)

ParkCrest View- The Love Chronicles 1-5

Pleasing.Professor.Petersen.

Pleasing.Professor.Petersen.

Pretty.Young.Thugs.

Pretty.Young.Thugs.

Soul Cry

Soul Cry: The Ten Year Girlfriend

Soul Cry 2

The Pussy Pounders

The Pussy Pounders

Standalone

The Break-Up Plan

Table of Contents

Also By Candace Mumford

Copyright © 2014 By Candace Mumford and A.N.C. Media Publishing.

2. A Sisters Regrets | Tamera | Three Months Ago

3. That’s What Friends Are For | Tamera

4. Visiting Day | Terrence

5. Meet Your Destiny | Dana

6. Fair Exchange Is No Robbery | Terrence

7. Sister-in-law | Dana

8. Conjugal Visit | Dana | Present Day

9. Mine | Terrence

10.Weekend Wifey | Dana

11. Caught Up In The Rapture | Dana

12.Cutting Ties | Terrence

13. I Hate To Say Good-Bye | Dana

14. Free At Last | Terrence | 3 Months Later

15. Welcome Home Mr. Hill | Terrence

16. Reunited | Dana

17. Butterflies | Dana

18. Fight Or Flight | Terrence

19. Walk Away | Dana

20. You Belong To Me | Terrence

21. Make You Mine | Dana

22. Worth Waking Up Too | Terrence

23. These Hoes Ain’t Loyal. Even If The Hoe Is Your Sister. | Tamera

24. The Terrible Two’s | Dana | Two Months Later

25. Finding Our Way | Terrence

26. Backstabbers | Tamera

27.  Sister-in-law or Sister-in-War ? | Dana

28. My Heart Is In Your Hands | Terrence

29. Right Where I Belong | Dana

“ Let me tell you something about crazy people. | The sex is unbelievable.” | Amina

Further Reading: The Break-Up Plan: : A Love Locked Down Spin-Off

Also By Candace Mumford

Copyright © 2014 By Candace Mumford and A.N.C. Media Publishing.

This book is purely a work of fiction and the names,characters,places and incidents contained within this body of work are not related to or portraying anyone living or dead. Any similarities are purely coincidental.

All rights are reserved. No parts of this Book may be copied, transmitted ,used or sold without the written permission of the Author Candace Mumford or A.N.C. Media Publishing.

The only exception to this clause are Book Samples which are provided for you at various sellers. Also brief quotes may be used in reviews. #2R

Love On Lock

by

Candace Mumford

[ * * ]

*1. Sampson State Penitentiary *

Dana

[Dana girl you have reached an all time low! _]I said scolding myself as I looked around the clean, though sparsely decorated mobile home. I had been through hell this morning…or at least it felt like it to me and it was only 8:30am. Now granted I had made the visit to this very same prison before with Tamera to visit her brother Terrence once before. And _yeah I’d driven up here these past few months for our little Saturday visitations,but this shit right here? THIS SHIT RIGHT HERE? This mornings experience took my personal invasion of privacy to a whole other level! I think that damn female guard was trying to feel me up too. That hoe was rubbing my titties two seconds longer than was necessary to do her goddamn job,I thought frowning as I adjusted my breasts. Ol’ girl was trying to feel on me something tough!This visit damn sure better be worth it. _]Today would be the first time I’d be spending time with my husband Terrence Hill. Real time that is. Hell, little did Sampson State Penitentiary know, it would be my first time visiting him outside of three months worth of Saturday visits period. Which is exactly how long I’ve know him. Three measly months. 90 days. [_What in the hell was I doing here? I barely even knew the guy. Well that wasn’t quite true…anymore.

Six months ago I didn’t know Terrence at all. Now I feel closer to him than anyone around me. The whole thing is just crazy but what could I do? I’d really needed him at the time and evidently he needed me too. For whatever his own personal reasons were. I was still clueless as to those exact reasons. Terrence and I both seemed to be in serious binds so why not help each other? I thought trying to calm my nerves. This could still work between us. I pulled out my tube of lip gloss and spread a thin coat on my lips. I always bite my lips when I’m nervous. The last thing I wanted my

“ Husband” to do was walk in and see me with some ashy,crusty ass lips! I quickly stuffed the tube down my jeans pocket, I knew I’d be needing it again. Sooner rather than later so I may as well keep it close.

At the time I got involved in this “ situation” I never imagined that I’d actually start caring about him though. I mean really caring about him. Who am I kidding? I’m in love with Terrence Hill. I’d never admit it. To anyone, not even him. But what the hell could it be? I’ve never been in love before. Do I love spending hours reading the latest fashion industry magazines? Yes. Did I routinely visit the Garment District, rubbing and feeling on every piece of fabric I could get my hands on until I knew every fabric ever made by touch alone? Damn right.

But this love shit? I had absolutely no experience in. I was 22 years old and had only been on maybe a dozen or so dates. It wasn’t for lack of male attention. I just had other things on my mind like graduating from design school and hitting the first plane out of JFK to Paris,France. If I couldn’t get there right away,Manhattan would do. As long as I was learning and perfecting what I know is my God given talent for fashion. I was determined to be the next Vera Wang or CoCo Chanel.

I glanced up at the clock on the wall.

Terrence would be escorted to our “home” in thirty minutes. I had a mere thirty minutes to calm myself before actually being in the same room as my convict of a husband for the last three months. Thirty minutes to convince my stomach to stop doing flips and turns like it was a member of the U.S.A. Olympic gymnastics team. Gabby Douglas I was not and my tummy needed to get it together and settle the fuck down!

I mean it wasn’t like Terrence is in jail for murder or anything. Yes drugs were bad for society but it’s not like he was making anyone do drugs. If a junkie didn’t get their dope from him, they were going to get it from someone else anyways right? Besides, he wasn’t even in jail because of that. Well, I thought, he did damn near kill someone he was beating the hell out of. But that was completely justified. It was because he was defending my friend Tamera. His sister. How the hell did I get myself into this I thought? My mind began drifting to when it all began three months ago.

[ * * * *]

2. A Sisters Regrets

Tamera

Three Months Ago

I  sat in my bedroom thinking of my brother Terrence with a cloud of guilt and helplessness surrounding me. Honestly even though I was the reason my brother was locked up, it rarely ran across my mind. But when it did? The guilt hit me like a ton of bricks. The person closest to me in the world sounded like he was about to go insane. My big brother. Thinking back to our conversation two nights ago had me on edge. Terrence kept saying he didn’t have anyone to really talk to. No one that really cared about him and what he was going through. Where the hell did he get that shit from? Ain’t I damn near always home to take his calls? In all this time I only let the money on his books slip three times. Then the nigga had nerve enough to take me off one of his accounts and had his lawyer start handling it. Terrence act like those Ramen noodles and honey-buns were going somewhere! Hell I forgot, I have a life too shit, I couldn’t help but feel immediately guilty about my thoughts. After all, I was the reason he was locked up anyways. Terrence never[_ tried_] to make me feel guilty. At least not  intentionally. Terrence had always taken responsibility for landing himself in Sampson State. It was just hard to think about him being depressed and unhappy. Terrence had always been the rock in our family, even when he was doing wrong, he did it for the right reasons. To take care of his family.

Even though he’d been locked up for  over a year with months to go, he was still providing for my mother and I behind prison walls. Terrence was the only son of our parents, Angela and Terrence Hill. We’d been an average working class African-American family. That is until our father was killed leaving Terrence as the man of the family. He was only 15 at the time. My brother found out fast he’d have to step into our fathers shoes if our family was going to survive. Terrence loved our mother more than anything, they’d always been close. So it wasn’t hard for us to see even as children, her downward spiral after our father was killed in the car accident. In a word; our mom  was weak. Without her husband it was as if she couldn’t function.  Loving Terrence Sr. and being a housewife and mother to his kids had been her only aspiration. When my dad had been killed it was hard for my mom  to transition and realize she would now have to be the bread-winner if our family was going to be taken care of. Mom didn’t digest the new reality that our families survival was now dependent solely on her. She just didn’t fuckin’ get it.

There had been no huge payout from the insurance company. In fact even though we had insurance and our father was found to not be at fault, the insurance company paid out very little and our mother was too distraught to fight a case we could have won. We relied on the help of the few family members that were in the city with us. But when they were struggling as well, how much help could they actually be? It was tough asking for a handout from people that were barely eating themselves.

Growing up in Brooklyn exposed my brother Terrence to many things. Both good and bad so when faced with the possibility of our family starving and being homeless, Terrence didn’t feel he had any choice. Terrence was only sixteen at the time and we’d spent the last year struggling. I was twelve and our family was in desperate need of the money. Terrence knew he could easily make what we needed to survive. Especially when he could see guys he knew from the block flaunting easy money. Money they spent on the latest jeans, sneakers and eating out.

We needed it to survive. To pay the rent our mother wasn’t paying. To put clothes on our backs and keep our bellies full. Terrence was sixteen years old when he started and what I know scared him the most is how easy it all came to him. So easy that by the time my brother was nineteen, he was one of the top soldiers in the Jamel’s crew. The Jamel Owens crew was a crime organization that ran deep through Brooklyn and other boroughs of New York. Each area they had a hold on had it’s own specialty. Terrence’s area of expertise was soon cultivated in the drug game.

In all the time Terrence worked with the Jamel’s crew he’d avoided any run-ins with the law with the exception of  the one incident that found him in his current situation. Terrence had been given two years in Samson State Penitentiary after he’d been convicted of aggravated assault against some muthafucka who’d been harassing me at the time.

I’d actually been so mad at Cordell that I’d ran my ass straight to Terrence complaining about Cordell harassing me. If only I’d just listened to him and stayed away from Cordell, things may not have gotten so bad. They say a hard head makes a soft ass but I guess it was a lesson I was still learning because even though my brother was doing time behind my bullshit with Cordell, I was still fuckin’ with the nigga. I was addicted to him. No matter how hard I tried I just couldn’t leave his ass alone. So for the last year I’d been seeing Cordell behind closed doors.

Terrence and I had discussed the situation many times in the past,he said he couldn’t honestly say he regretted it. He didn’t. Though he hadn’t intended for the police to roll up on him in the midst of beating the shit out of that “pussy ass nigga”. His words to describe Cordell. Terrence had great lawyers so he was lucky to get the relatively short sentence he did get. He was already on probation when it happened due to a previous altercation with this same nigga Cordell which was why he got the two years.

Regardless of the fact of how it all went down, I still felt awful. It was all my fault my brother was locked up. Terrence told me constantly not to worry about it and that he’d do it all over again to protect me but I could hear something in his voice every time we spoke.

Something was changing with him.

Terrence’s voice sounded heavy, he wasn’t talking as much and the cheerful demeanor he’d managed to maintain over the last year was slowly but surely disappearing. Was he getting depressed? His time was almost up. Terrence had come too far to give up. All he needed to do was hold on a few more months.

We…or rather me,since our mama wasn’t really about shit, all did the best they could to make his time in Sampson State go as easy as possible. At twenty-two, I was over one of his accounts. Terrence saved every dime he made. Making a point not to splurge on overly extravagant items that would call attention to himself or our family. He provided my mother and I with everything we needed and most of what we wanted but always in moderation. Not that our mother would have ever noticed since she was oblivious to anything beyond a drink in her hand.

[ * * ]

3. That’s What Friends Are For

Tamera

I heard my cell phone ring and picked up.

“ Hello?”

“ Girl it’s me! It freezing out here. Don’t you hear me ringing the doorbell?” my friend Dana shouted. I wanted to laugh, I could practically hear Dana’s teeth chattering through the phone. Ol’ prissy ass!

“ I’m sorry girl. Here I come.” I said hanging up the phone and heading downstairs to open the door for my friend. Dana and I had become inseparable in the last year. Especially when Terrence got locked up. I’d just met her and I felt like I could talk to Dana about anything. Unlike many of my fake ass friends from the neighborhood. I think they were secretly glad Terrence had gotten caught up because they thought with him gone, my star was going to dim. Little did they know my big brother always planned ahead![_ Hatin’ ass bitches!_] Dana had never experienced having a loved one incarcerated but her friendship was solid and came right on time. Terrence had been away only one month when Dana and I ended up in a class together at Parsons.

We’d been like sisters from day one. I mean I still had shit I kept to myself,but I trusted her. Dana was cool. She was square as fuck but she was still cool people. Dana wasn’t really my speed socially but when it came to her fashion game? Wasn’t shit square about Dana Majors! Girlfriend knew her shit when it came to fashion and design. Dana could take a bit of fabric and work magic. Hell I was low-key jealous she had a few designers already trying to get her to intern for them. I hadn’t been asked at all but I knew wherever Dana went she’d find a spot for me. You better believe I was ready to ride any coat-tail I had to.

I reached the door and was shocked to see the tears running down my beautiful friends face when I opened the door.

“What’s wrong?” I asked pulling her into an embrace and into the warmth of my home.

“ What’s not wrong would be easier to answer.” Dana said wiping her face and sitting her bag down. “ Everything is wrong Tamera,everything.” she said breaking down into a fresh round of tears.

“ Well tell me. We’ll work it out. It can’t be that bad.”

“ Tamera I don’t have the money to finish out this last semester. All my hard work the last three and a half years is for nothing.” she said between tears.

“ I thought your dad was helping you? What about Janay?”

“ So did I. I guess his new girlfriend has convinced him a vacation package for their six month “anniversary” is more important that paying for his only child’s last semester of school. He knows how important this is to me. How could he do this to me? At the last minute. There’s absolutely no way I can come up with eight thousand in two weeks before the semester starts. Janay is my girl and all but hell we’re roommates. I know she doesn’t have eight grand just sitting around to give away. She’s in the same boat as me. I work part time but that barely feeds me and pays for the subway!”

“ Oh no girl, your dad is trippin’ for real! What does he expect you to do?” I asked just as upset as my friend. If Dana’s plans got fucked up, so did mine. And I damn sure couldn’t have that! We’d already discussed moving into Manhattan after graduation.

I didn’t have the offers rolling in the way Dana did but I definitely did my thing too. I was sure once we made the move to Manhattan I was going to make my mark in the fashion world. All I needed was my foot in the door. I didn’t give a damn if my foot was attached to Dana.

Shit quiet as it’s kept, I was actively scouring Craigslists for places for Dana and I to rent in Manhattan. I already knew my brother was going to catch my part of the rent and all my expenses, hell he already did that for me now. But this little bit of news was fuckin’ my plans all the way up. Where was I going to find a new roommate at the last minute? If Dana couldn’t come up with her money, maybe I’d plead my sob story to my brother and he would catch the entire rent for me? Hell it ain’t like I wouldn’t prefer to live alone anyway.

As it was, mama was supposed to be living here with me but I rarely saw her. So I’ve grown used to having my own space.

The offers were pouring in for Dana, all contingent upon graduating with her degree in her hand. She was so close. Now it looked as if all her hard work was going to be snatched from her.

Dana sat there with a bewildered look on her face.

“ Tamera my Dad said maybe I could just go back in the fall. Earn it myself during the summer. That’s what he said to me. Can you believe this shit?” Dana said breaking down again shaking her head as if she was in a daze.

“ What a bitch! He’s only known her six months and she’s already trying to push you out of the picture. I mean this hoe trying to make your Dad her Sugar Daddy for real I see.” I said sitting next to her on the couch. I hated to see Dana looking so distraught over money. It had never been much of an issue for me. Even after our father passed Terrence always made sure I was straight. I didn’t even know what being broke felt like. The sad truth is, my brother had me and my mom living better than my father ever did.

“ Well it looks like it’s working. Right now he doesn’t give a damn about me or my future. I know one thing. This would have never happened if my mother was still alive. It’s like he’s lost his mind or something. I’m going to the bathroom to splash some water on my face. I really need to think of something. Honestly I’ve thought it out and I don’t have any options. Not at the last minute like this. I even went to a bank today for a loan but I don’t have anything. No collateral. I have one measly credit card I use for books. There damn sure isn’t enough to warrant them giving me a loan for eight thousand.” she said standing and walking into the bathroom.

Shit! I have to help my friend. This will kill her to not graduate this spring. What kind of father would do this to their own child? I can’t just let Dana go out like that. I thought angrily. Eight grand wasn’t an outrageous amount but I didn’t have that type of cash to just give away, but if I ask Terrence maybe he could loan it to her? I got almost that amount deposited into a bank account for me every month. It was to pay the mortgage and all the household bills. After all the bills were paid I still had a nice amount left for my mom and I to use for the rest of the month. I wasn’t sure exactly how much Terrence had socked away exactly though.  My school tuition was in a totally separate account. The money I had access to may as well have been play money.

I looked at the clock hanging on my bedroom wall. Terrence will be calling in about fifteen minutes. What the hell… I’m going to ask if he’ll loan her the money. Dana had been there emotionally for me more times than I could count in the almost two years Terrence had been locked up. There was no way I wasn’t going to at least try to help if I knew someone who had the money. It wasn’t as if I was asking a stranger. It was my brother.

Dana walked out of the bathroom drying her hands on a paper towel.

I looked up and laughed.

“ Bitch you’re the only person I know who can be crying their ass off and still look beautiful. Had this been me,my eyes would be bloodshot. My nose swelled up,snot running down my face and here you are…..still looking like a diva. Bitch it’s not fair.” I whined.

“ Shut -up!” Dana laughed. “ I do look a wreck. I know you're trying to get me to laugh...it's not working.”she said flopping down on Tamera's leopard print chaise lounge.

“ I don’t care if you laugh or not. It’s true.”

I knew I was cute and had a killer shape. Niggas on the block had been letting me know that since I was fourteen. Hell it was partly the reason my brother was locked up now. Trying his hardest to protect me from the guys around the neighborhood and wanting me to keep my head in the books instead of being up in some random niggas face all the time. It was hard though. Sometimes I craved attention. Always had and even though I’d grown to treasure my friendship with Dana, I craved it even more now that the majority of the male attention was targeted towards Dana. And she didn’t even want it! Dana was so down to earth and unaware of her beauty that I always felt at ease around her unlike some other females. Dana was without a doubt competition, but she really wasn’t only because if you weren’t talking about how she could get her designs seen,she didn’t have much use for you. At one point I even wondered if she was a lesbian? Who knows. Time will tell I guess.

I think she’d gone on a date once in the near two years I’d known her. She claimed she loved men but I couldn’t tell the way she always has her nose in a fashion magazine.

Dana had long,thick naturally dark brown hair that grazed her mid-back. Accented with lighter auburn and blonde highlights…courtesy of her favorite drugstore brand of hair coloring. Dana’s eyes were the draw. Bright emerald green eyes that seemed to sparkle. After becoming closer to Dana ,I discovered just how irritated she got answering questions about her eyes. Both of her birth parents had a much darker skin-tone than her own honey brown complexion. Dana tired of the questions about her heritage. Her favorite answer to anyone asking was “ No I’m not mixed. Just plain old black over here. Is that a problem?”

“ Dana don’t worry okay. We’re going to come up with something. I promise.” Just as the words escaped my lips the phone rang. I hurried to answer.

“You have a collect call from Sampson State Penitentiary inmate Terrence Hill. Do you accept these charges?” the automated attendant asked.

“ Yes!” I answered quickly,pressing the button to accept the call. I covered the mouth-piece of the phone.

“ Dana wait for me in the living-room okay. This is my brother Terrence calling and I really need to talk to him about something important.”

“ Oh! Of course. What do you have to eat? All this crying has me starving.” Dana said laughing and leaving the room walking towards the hall.

“ Hey sis how are you?”

“ I’m fine. You sound better than the last time we spoke which is good. Are you feeling better?” I asked concern for my brothers well being was first and foremost on my mind. Today.

“ Aye girl,don’t worry about that. I think I’m just getting antsy about getting these last few months done. It’s been long and I’m ready for it to be over.” Terrence said. Terrence could tell by Tamera’s voice she was worried and that’s the last thing he wanted was her to be concerned about him.

“ How’s mom? I’m looking forward to seeing you guys this weekend.”

“ Mom is mom. Enough said on that you already know the deal. Terrence I’m bringing someone with me to the visit on Saturday. I need you to put her on the list. Her name is Dana Majors. She’ll be with me not Mom so make sure she’s on the list okay?” I decided it would be best to ask for the loan in person. With Dana there instead of over the phone where I knew for sure the answer would be no.

“ Who the hell is she and why the hell is she coming here with you to see me?” Terrence asked suspiciously.

“ You’ve seen her before she’s in a ton of the pictures I’ve sent you with me. The black girl,green eyes,gorgeous. How could you over look her in the pictures?” I asked laughing.

“ I think I know who you’re talking about . I’ll put her on the list. It’s early enough it shouldn’t be a problem.”

We chatted a while longer before an operator interrupted saying our time was coming to an end. I was happy about the conversation. Terrence sounded in better spirits and I hoped he stayed that way considering what I was planning to ask him for this coming Saturday.

[ * * ]

4. Visiting Day

Terrence

“Hill,do you have visitors today?” Marquise my cell-mate asked.

“ Yeah my sister is coming up today and she’s bringing her friend I guess. I don’t really know what that’s about. She wants me to meet her though so I put her name on the list.”

“ Oh yeah? She fine?” Marquise asked grinning “ Y’all doing one of those bathroom visits?”

“ Man please shut your ass up!” I said laughing. It was no secret that a lot of the guards would turn their heads the other way during visiting hour. For the right price. Being one of Jamel’s top soldiers on the outside granted me certain privileges on the inside. No one had fucked with me at all during the year I’d been locked up. Though that didn’t mean I was going to let any muthafucka in here catch me slipping. Ever. It was prison and the men in here would turn on your ass for a pack of Ramen noodles and a honey-bun  if they got hungry enough. I just made it a habit to stay below the radar and not flaunt shit in their faces. Sleeping with one eye open had become normal for me.

It had been working for a little over a year. With any luck I’d be out sooner. My lawyer had visited me earlier that week and said with my good behavior we could petition the judge for early release. I didn’t want to say anything to Tamera or our mom until it was a sure thing. Tamera was taking me being locked up harder than I was at times it seemed but my baby sister didn’t have me fooled like she thought. I knew I’d created a spoiled monster in her. I knew she felt bad about my situation but as long as her lifestyle didn’t change…she wasn’t that broken up about what I was going through. I just decided to relax and wait until I knew something for sure. I didn’t want to get anyone’s hopes up unnecessarily, mainly my own.

“ Hill let’s go! You have visitors!” I heard a guard call out.

“ Okay man I’ll get with you later.

[ * * ]

5. Meet Your Destiny

Dana

Tamera and I sat in the visitors room. I looked around nervously. I’d never been inside a prison before and wouldn’t have had my ass in one now if Tamera hadn’t begged me to come. Even though I wanted to say no, it was hard to turn Tamera down once she had her mind set on something. Peer pressure was a muthafucka. I still felt like I had the weight of the world on my shoulders. The last thing I was in the mood for was visiting my friends jailbird of a brother. I’d been unable to find any other avenues to secure the eight grand I needed for school. In the next week if something didn’t pan out I’d just need to withdraw.

I was shy but I was damn near wondering how much I could make if I swung from somebodies pole for a few weeks. Yes, I was just that desperate.

“ Dana, are you nervous girl? I see you looking around all scared and shit!” Tamera said snickering.

“ Hell yeah! I’ve never been to see anyone in jail before. I really don’t know why I’m here today. I know you and your brother are really close. Your visits with him always seem really private. I’m confused as to why I’m here with you today after almost two years of knowing you. You’ve never asked me to come before. What the hell is going on Tamera?” I asked.

“ Well about that…,” Tamera said clearing her throat “… the reason I insisted you come with me today was because I plan on asking my brother to loan you the money to pay your tuition.”

“WHAT?”

“ Bitch shut up before you get us put out this muthafucka! You heard me! You need it and I know he has it. So what’s it going to hurt for us to ask him? It ain’t like he’s using it in here right? My brothers cool but he ain’t that cool if you know what I mean. I know he’s going to have to look you in your face and meet you for him to even consider it. So don’t start tripping on me now. This is our only option. I think if you had someone else to ask you would have done it already wouldn’t you? Stay cool and use your feminine wiles on a nigga. At the end of the day he is just a man and he’s been locked up over a year…,” Tamera paused. “…. wait a minute, with your ol’ innocent ass. Dana please tell me you know how to string a nigga out.” Tamera asked cutting her eyes at me.

“ String a nigga out? What is that? I….,”

“ Bitch flirt! Please say you know how to at least flirt with a man. Lord have mercy. You should have just been born ugly. A bitch like you was born with all those looks and it’s gone to waste on you.” Tamera said sucking her teeth.

My lips snapped shut. Shit. Would he actually help me? Flirt with him? I didn’t even know him! I can’t ask no strange ass man for eight thousand dollars. Can I? I’d never spoken or laid eyes on the guy at all outside of a few older pictures Tamera had shared with me.. I can’t believe Tamera has me here at the prison asking for money from a dude that’s locked up!

I groaned inside.[_ How desperate can I be? Evidently VERY desperate. Bitch you was just thinking about stripping!_]

The room was crowded with kids,older people who I imagined were parents of the men locked up here and numerous women. So many women. The air stank of cheap perfume. Some women were wearing the absolute shortest skirts they could get away with in an effort to give their men some eye-candy to look at during the visit. All of a sudden the room got louder as the inmates started entering the room and looking for their loved ones. Tamera had insisted we get a particular table she liked near the window. It was slightly away from the others and afforded us a little more privacy. If you could actually call anywhere in a prison private.

“There he is!” Tamera cried jumping up excitedly “ Terrence! Over here!” she whisper-yelled waving her hands.

I looked over to where Tamera was waving and almost had a heart-attack on the spot. I swear on a stack of bibles my damn knees buckled.

DAMN! Get it together bitch, I thought to myself trying to quickly regain my composure before anyone noticed I’d ever lost it.

I guess all the fine men are in jail. Shit I didn’t want to believe it. I thought it was a damn lie they were telling on black men but by the looks of the men in this visiting room alone and the man standing in my face…it’s true. Terrence walked towards us with what I could only describe as swagger. He must have been 6’4, he was wearing the same orange outfit as everyone else but how can someone make a jailhouse uniform look so damn good ? All I could see were his muscular arms but his body looked massive. Not in an overdone body builder type of why but solid and thick. Where Tamera had a peanut butter brown complexion,Terrence was a deep smooth chocolate,his hair was cut low and tapered all around. As he got even closer I could then see he was the very male and masculine version of his sister.

The same deep-set dark brown eyes framed by the longest,thickest lashes I’d ever seen on a man. His eyes were framed by thick naturally sculpted brows. My eyes scanned his face until they landed on a pair of full defined lips. Damn! I wonder what that mouth do? I caught myself wondering. Jesus Christ what in the hell am I thinking? Completing his face as if it was the prized cherry on the top of a sundae was a slight cleft in his chin. [_ Lord have mercy on my soul! My friends jailbird brother- who I need to ask for money from is fine as hell! _]

Terrence then had the nerve to smile and hug Tamera and two deep dimples jumped out at me. OH MY GOD!

The room suddenly felt hot to me. Damn, it was the dead of winter but I was sweating. This January heat was no joke!

“ Nice to meet you. I’m Terrence.” a deep,sexy baritone voice said jolting me out of my silent but thorough assessment of my friends brother. Instead of being in prison his ass needed to be on someones damn magazine cover. Modeling my designs. I wonder if he models?

“ Hello it’s nice to finally meet you.” I said smiling trying my best not stare too hard. It was hard…damn hard not too!

“ Likewise. It’s nice to to finally meet you after hearing so much about you over the last year. ” Terrence said trying not to look at his sister’s friend too hard but it he was finding it difficult. The few pictures Terrence had seen of her did not do justice to the sista who was sitting in front of him at that very moment. Yes she was pretty in the pictures but the woman sitting in front of him right now was drop dead fucking gorgeous. She had the most beautiful eyes he’d ever seen. Damn. Is she finer to me because I haven’t had a woman in a while? Nah fuck that, her ass is just fine.

Tamera wasn’t stupid by any means. She could see the sparks flying between her brother and her best-friend right away. This is perfect. Hell this may make it easier for him to help her but I wont say it’s a done deal yet. Tamera knew all too well how Terrence handled his money and his women. Through the years she’d befriended many girls who played at being her friend in order to get next to her brother Terrence.

“ Dana could you do me a favor and grab us some drinks from the vending machine please. I want a Coke, Terrence, a Sprite right?” Tamera asked.

“Yeah.” Terrence answered unable to take his eyes off Dana as she gathered her purse and walked to the vending machine area. Terrence noticed several male sets of eyes on her as well. For some reason it bothered him having the other men in the visiting area looking at her. Thirsty ass niggas. Let me not be too hard on them, some of these niggas ain’t touched a woman in decades, Terrence quickly thought. This Dana chick is wearing the hell outta those jeans,he thought watching her walk towards the vending machines.

[ * * ]

6. Fair Exchange Is No Robbery

Terrence

“ So what is this little visit with your friend about Tamera? I know something is up.  I’ve been trying to figure it out all week. What’s really going on?”

“ Terrence first of all please,please don’t be angry at her or me. All I did was tell Dana I wanted her to come with me today. She had no idea why I wanted her to come with me until right before you walked in. Since I know we don’t have a lot of time and I couldn’t say anything over the phone …you know they be listening to our shit. Can Dana borrow eight thousand dollars for her school tuition?” Tamera quickly asked.

“ You brought your friend who I don’t even know here to ask me for eight g’s? Why the fuck would I give her eight grand? She’s fine but that ain’t my woman. Where are her parents? Why the hell can’t her family help her?”

“ Terrence don’t be like that I know you have it …,”

“ Hold the fuck up. Tamera you’re my sister and I love you but don’t you ever fucking presume to know what I have or don’t have. As far as you know I ain’t got shit but what I give you. That’s all the money I have and you take it from me faithfully every month. You willing to give it back so I can pay your friends bills? My money ain’t none of your damn business. All you need to know is that I take care of you and every financial need you have. I do it because I love you not because I’m obligated to do shit for you. I’m your brother not your man or your father. So you lucky you ain’t out here having to work and go to school at the same time.” I said hotly. I didn’t want to totally go off on her and call any unwanted attention to us.

Money was one topic that had been steady on my mind since I’d been locked up. It was stressful maintaining my lifestyle behind bars. Shit I had things going on that my family knew nothing about. And I wanted it like that. This stint in jail had let me know beyond a shadow of a doubt that behind prison walls was was a place I never wanted to be again. Once I was released, I was walking away from the negative lifestyle I’d been living. Slowly but surely. The mere thought that my sister was sitting on the outside counting my money for me had me seeing red.

Tamera hung her head in shame. Terrence was right. He’d always taken care of her and their mom. If it wasn’t for him she’d be standing in Dana’s shoes or worse. She had no right asking him to take on anyone else’s burdens. When in all actuality she was one of his burdens before he was even a man. Even though he’d never say it. Right down to the fact he was sitting in prison right now for protecting her. Terrence had warned her to stay away from Cordell and she hadn’t listened. When he became violent and began stalking her just like Terrence warned her he would, Terrence had to come to her rescue.

“ Look I didn’t mean to go off on you. I know you’re just trying to help your friend. She’s coming back now. When she gets here you go over and get some snacks from the machine. Take your time so I can talk to her.” I said mulling the idea of giving a total stranger a dime. Part of the reason I’d been so quiet as of late was I’d been thinking about my life and what I wanted to do with myself once I was released. Now that Tamera would be graduating soon, I felt like a huge burden was being lifted from my shoulders. I felt like I was finally done raising a child and I didn’t even have any damn kids. I was still young. At 26 it was time to live my life and I was going to do just that.

I’d provided Tamera with an education and it was sad to say, but my mother was going to be on her own. The days of drinking her life away on my dime were over. I’d paid for four rehab centers and I was tired of trying to help a woman who didn’t want help. Even if she was my mother. I’d been taking care of other people like a man since I was a fifteen year old boy. I was tired of it. I had enough money tucked away to make a clean start and as soon as I was released, I was going to live my life for me. They better get ready because my pockets are about to be on lock.

“ Here you go! Damn you would think those vending machines were dispensing Ciroc and Patron’ the way they were pushing and shoving to get at them! Two dollars for a damn soda?  They know damn well that’s highway robbery for a daggone soda!” Dana said laughing as she sat down at the table sliding the drinks in their directions.

I looked up at this Dana and was struck silent for a second. Damn this prison got me off my square for real. It ain’t like I ain’t been in the presence of a bad bitches before. Dana’s smile alone had me feeling a way I couldn’t quite put my finger on. It was like I wanted her smile to be just for me.

“ I’m going to get us some snacks.” Tamera said getting up.

“ Oh I’m good. I don’t want anything to eat.” Dana said taking a sip of her soda.

“ Yes you do. Leave.” I said nodding at Tamera who quickly scurried away.

“ So Tamera says you need eight thousand for school.”

Dana sat there momentarily shocked. Damn she knew they were going to discuss the issue but she at least thought Tamera would ease them into the conversation. Ol’ boy just jumped right into it. Straight no chaser. Which was to be respected but it still left me feeling like a grimy beggin’ ass bitch for some reason.

“ Terrence let me apologize. I did not know this was the reason she asked me to come here with her today. I’m as surprised as you are. I would never ask you for any money. We don’t even know each other. So don’t even give that a thought okay. I’m here and it’s just nice to meet you. Tamera talks about you all the time.” Dana said smiling.

Nice to know she’s not trying to hit me up for some cash off the rip,I thought unable to take my eyes off her. She had the silkiest golden brown skin. Had me wanting to reach out and touch her ass for real. Damn,these next few months need to fly by. Got me in here lusting after a female I don’t even know.

“ So if you don’t get the money what are you going to do? And if you don’t mind my asking,from what Tamera said y’all should be graduating together which is soon. How have you paid for your classes all along and why all of a sudden you out of cash?”

Dana sighed and rubbed her forehead. The mere mention of her situation made her head ache.

“ You know what Terrence at the end of the day, this is my education on the line. No one is responsible for it but me. It’s just very hurtful to me right now because all the rest of my school bills have been paid from money I received from my mom’s insurance policy when she passed away. It wasn’t some huge windfall but it was enough to cover all but this last year. I do work and pay my part of the rent with my roommate but I only bring in enough to cover rent,food and the subway back and forth to class. My dad promised to pay this for me,that is until his new girlfriend. Who’s young enough to be my damn older sister stepped on the scene. He didn’t even give me enough time to prepare, to get student loans or anything. I could have taken care of this had I known. But he just sprung it on me with no warning.”

I looked at her intently as she spoke. I could tell she was getting emotional and trying to keep herself from crying. It did something to me on the inside. She didn’t seem to be greedy or spoiled,she was working to to make it. I could respect that. Hell my own sister wasn’t even trying to do any of that. Not once in all these years had Tamera even offered to get a part-time job to contribute to anything. She was in for a rude awakening though.

“ Look Dana. I don’t give money to people . I just don’t do loans. I never loan money to friends and only two family members of mine can get a dime out of me. You never know when you’re going to get it back. You have to go looking for them all that bullshit. I just ain’t the type of man who has time for that kinda shit. I’ll give money to my wife though.

“ Oh I didn’t know you were married. Tamera never mentioned it.” Dana’s heart sank a little in her chest and she didn’t know why. This man is a jailbird. There was no logical reason at all she should care whether he was married or not.

“ I’m not married. Marry me and you’ll get your school money. It’s a huge step but I have some things I need that maybe you can help me with. You know the whole fair exchange is no robbery type shit.”

“ Marry you? Are you serious?” Dana exclaimed her head jerking back in shock. I mean the brother is fine but it ain’t that damn serious.

“ I’m very serious. I wont give my money to a stranger….but I will give it to my wife. And before you go jumping to any conclusions due to how my present situation may seem. You could have a worse husband than me. Believe that.” I said holding in a laugh as I watched her expression change from pure shock to anger. I think I detected a bit of disdain as well. Was it for me? Or my current situation. I couldn’t quite call it. Shit it was crazy. But I need something out of this deal too.

“ I could do worse than a husband locked up? How so? I don’t understand. What do you want from me? Look I don’t know how hard up you think I am…but I ain’t stuffing no dope up my pussy and hopping on a plane,train or even riding in an automobile crossing state lines for no damn body. Negro you got me fucked all the way up.”

“ I want you to be Mrs. Terrence Hill. You’ll come see me,we’ll talk, you know chop it up a bit when I call you. Send me some sweet letters and cards. You know all that type of shit. We’ll see how it goes. I definitely ain’t trying to put no dope up your pussy baby. I may try and put something else up there,but it damn sure ain’t no dope. I will say this, from what I’ve been told it might make you feel like a crackhead. Time will tell I guess.”

I watched as Dana visibly blushed and squirmed at my last comment. I wanted to laugh but she was talking crazy so I had to shut her ass up. I can tell she ain’t fuckin’ no one, at least not right now or she wouldn’t be so embarrassed,I thought to myself.

“ You’re not funny.” Dana said running her shaking hand through her hair.

“ Come on…I’m kinda funny.” I said laughing.

“ No, you’re not. Terrence I don’t know what type of shit you mean. I take marriage seriously. I’m not even thinking about marriage at all but I know it’s not a joke. Something to be played with. When you exchange vows with someone you’re supposed to mean them. Granted my dad has lost his damn mind now but my parents had a happy loving marriage until the day my mother passed away.” Dana hissed leaning towards me over the table,her fists balled tightly.

“ You need to relax. Breath ma. We can be as serious as you like Dana. I’m locked up but you’ll be taken care of. Don’t you worry about that. I really can’t explain it to you right now but I need a friend right now. A best-friend . My best-friend may as well be my wife. Think about it,doesn’t every marriage vow apply to friendship as well?”

“ So you want to buy my friendship?  I can be your friend Terrence we don’t need to get married for that. Tamera asked you to loan me the money but you don’t have to give that a second thought. I’ll be okay. If I have to wait to graduate, that’s just what I’ll have to do. Nothing is going to prevent me from achieving every goal I have set for myself. ”

“  I know I don’t have to do anything. This is your last semester though right? You should graduate on time. You’ve worked hard for it. Tamera told me about  all the opportunities you have lined up for when you graduate this year….those may not be there for you if you have to wait. So this is the deal Dana. Take it or leave it. Oh and keep it between us. I don’t want Tamera to know about it. All she needs to know is I lent you the money.” I said leaning back in my chair looking at her.

“ You’re really pretty. I could do worse I guess. Are you all black or mixed? Are those contacts?”I asked.

“ Hell if I decide to do this, I’m the one who can’t do worse. My husband is already in jail. I’m all black and no I don’t wear contacts… nosy!”

I laughed “ You get asked that all the time I take it?”

“ All the time. It gets on my nerves.”

“ Sorry, I wanted to know. If you want to know something you have to ask right?” I asked laughing.

“ Are you in here messing around with men? You ain’t got no boyfriend in here do you?”

“What? Hell no. Ain’t no Oz shit jumping off over this way. I’m no down-low brotha I swear to you.” I said.

Dana rolled her eyes at him “ If you wanna know you have to ask…right?”

“ Oh you worried about who your man is sleeping with ? You don’t want your husband bringing you home none of that dirty dick….,”

“ I don’t want to lie to Tamera.” Dana said her voice slow and thoughtful.

“ It’s not like I want you to lie forever. I just don’t want her all in my…our business. Think about it if you need too but make sure you don’t take too long. If you say yes I’ll start the paperwork and you’ll have to do a few things to get everything in motion.”

“This is a lot to take in Terrence. I really don’t know about this. I just laid eyes on you today.” Dana said apprehensively. I mean damn…if you want to lend me the money do it but marriage? What could he stand to gain from being married to me? I’ve never once heard Tamera mention any money problems and if I’m not mistaken he’s paying all of her and their mothers bills,as well as her tuition if I’m not mistaken?

“ Terrence you do realize I don’t bring anything to the table but myself.”

“ That’s all I need right now Ma. Look I know it’s a lot for you to think about. If you want the money those are my terms so think about it. Tamera can tell you how we can get in contact with each other but keep in mind we wont be discussing any of this on the phone okay? They listen to these phone calls,read our letters so if you want to talk to me again,your name is already on the list. Just come see me…..I’ll be here. Ya man ain’t got nowhere to go right now.” I said laughing.

[ * * ]

7. Sister-in-law

Dana

The remainder of the visit was spent with Tamera and Terrence laughing and joking with one another. You could clearly see they shared what appeared to be a tight bond with one another. Why would he want me to keep our arrangement from Tamera? If I decided to go through with it. Tamera seemed privy to everything else concerning him. Or was she? I thought to myself.

During the drive back home Tamera and I were unusually quiet. Each of us wrapped up in our own thoughts about the visit.

Tamera was upset with herself for imposing on Terrence on her friends behalf when he already did so much. When she’d come back to the table after Terrence and Dana spoke, you could have heard a rat piss on cotton it was so quiet. Tamera began to think Terrence was mad at her before his personality returned to normal and they began laughing and joking as usual. [_That will be the last time I stick my neck out for someone else. My black ass ain’t going to bat for no one ever again. I’m lucky he’s paying all my bills right now. Hopefully I can get him to keep it up once I move to Manhattan. I need to start looking for another room-mate since Dana may not be able to move. Or maybe if I act pitiful enough,Terrence will get me a place all by myself, _]Tamera thought as she carefully maneuvered the icy roads during the drive back home.

I was caught up in a more complex dilemma.

Do I take a chance and marry Terrence so I can pay the remainder of my school tuition? Or risk not even being able to make the amount I need to pay the school even if I do take the semester off ?It’s not like I have full-time employment anyways. Not to mention all the opportunities I’d have to pass up because I don’t have my degree on time. The internship opportunities presented to me were contingent on my having a degree. One thing for sure, I’m not going to keep it from Tamera!

“ Tamera,your brother said he’d help me with my tuition.” I said carefully not sure what her reaction would be.

WHAT! Oh my God really? I knew he’d help. He lit into me for asking him about it but I knew he’d help.” Tamera said practically jumping in her seat,her face screwed up.

“ Terrence said he’d lend me the money if I married him. That’s the only way I’m getting the money.” I added.

Tamera swerved on the road she was so stunned.

“ Be careful!” I screamed.

“ What do you mean if you marry him? Huh?” Tamera asked more confused than ever.

“That’s what he said. The only way he’ll lend me the money is if we’re married. He said he wouldn’t give money to a stranger but he’d give it to his wife. That there were things he needed from me. I also wasn’t supposed to tell you about it for some reason. I had too. Who else am I supposed to talk to this about. What should I do? I mean I don’t know what he wants from me out of this deal?” I said throwing my hands up in frustration.

“ Shit! I honestly don’t know Dana. Now  prison aside…,” Tamera said cutting her eyes at me as she quickly took her eyes off the road .

“ …my brother ain’t a bad catch. All kinds of women throw themselves at him all the time but he’s super picky. He was seeing this girl Camyrn when he got locked up but she wanted way more than he did out the relationship so he ended it with her. Mind you she was ride or die. Willing to do this time with him but from what he told me, he let her know it was over. He said something about not wanting to waste her time while he was locked up especially since he wasn’t feeling her like that. She was pissed. Camyrn blew my damn phone up for about four months. She was going up to see him after he told her not to and he wouldn’t have the visits with her. Terrence ended up taking her name off the list after she tried it twice. I think she liked my brothers money and the lifestyle he was living more than anything.”Tamera said shrugging.

“ Why marriage though Tamera? What’s the benefit for him with us being married? I don’t get it?”

“ Look all I know is this….my brother may be locked up but he’s not stupid by any means. Who knows? Maybe he wants to keep track of you to make sure you pay him back? I mean if you take the money you do plan on paying him back right?”

“ Of course!”

“ Well if that’s the case I think you could do worse in a husband than my brother locked up or not. He’s going to be out soon you know. Maybe it’s just until the loan is paid back? At any rate. You have a LOT to lose if you don’t take this money Dana. Everything we planned for is down the drain unless you stay on schedule! All the internships you have waiting for you are gone if you don’t graduate on time. Who knows it those will be offered to you again. I’d be too embarrassed to show my face if I had to walk into Parsons and turn down that internship in Manhattan. You know if you can’t take it you have to let them know in writing the paperwork says. I know Lucy Charles is dying to snag that from you! Who knows if you’ll even be able to make the money by next semester? What then? It’s not like you even have a full-time job to even start making what you need. If it were me I’d do it. Being my sister-in-law wouldn’t be that bad would it?” Tamera said primping her lips trying to look as if she was offended.

“ Girl I don’t know about all this. I’m going to visit him again. I just need to know what does he get out of us being married? I know what I get. My tuition paid. But he’s not getting anything out of the deal by me being his wife. I mean not that I don’t think I’ll be a good wife some day, but I’d like us to be in _love _! I want my husband to actually care about me. To love me….fuck to not be in jail or have a criminal record for Gods sake! Then once I pay him back I’ll be a divorcee.  I have to walk around saying my marriage didn’t work. Then if I say it was for money, how the hell does that make me look?Ugh. The whole think just sounds so shady.” I said

“ I have no idea. Yeah take your ass back up there so y’all can straighten this out. I hope you do it though. I hate for you not to graduate on time. I think I’m going to stay all the way out of this. He’s my brother and you’re my friend. I already know until you two settle what you’re going to do I don’t want any part of this.” Tamera said looking at her quickly and turning her eyes back to the road. We drove the remainder of the way home in silence. Each of us caught up in our own thoughts about what had just transpired.

[ * * ]

8. Conjugal Visit

Dana

Present Day

I heard a knock on the door and was jarred out of my daydream about how I ended up married to Terrence Hill and was now standing in the family quarters waiting to be alone with my husband for the first time. Completely alone.

“ Mrs. Hill, your husband should be here in about five minutes.” the guard said leaning through the doorway.

“ Thank you.” I said nervously looking around. The mobile home was shabby as hell but what did I expect? The Hilton? It was the prison system. I had gone over the approved list of items I could bring in for our weekend visit. I wasn’t able to bring my own food in but Terrence was able to submit a list for us. As long as he had the money on his books everything on our list was supposed to be waiting for us so we could cook our meals together. I guess they were trying to make sure I wasn’t smuggling in any type of contraband in the groceries. I packed all the personal items and toiletries I would need to bring with me making sure to find the nicest bras and panties I could.

[_What the hell did I even bring this shit for? We’re not even going to have sex. What am I even doing here? _]I thought to myself wondering if it was too late for me to cancel this entire visit. The whole situation was just ridiculous. I married a nigga in jail? Conjugal visits? This is not what my life is supposed to be. Lord have Mercy! If my poor mama is looking down watching this mess right here, I know damn well she’s ashamed of me.

I’d also lugged in an entire bedroom set along with pillows. All of which had to be searched by hand and ran through the scanner. The strip search was so beyond humiliating I didn’t know if I’d be able to go through it again. Those horny ass guards were touching and feeling all on my panties and bras. Fuck that. I’m not going to ever go through this again. Terrence better stay his ass out of jail if he wants to stay married to me.

This damn sure better be a great visit despite the circumstances for me to ever go through this shit again. Prisoners were only allowed conjugal visits every few months anyways so we’d see how this one went. I heard a knock at the door.

“ Come in” I called out nervously.

Terrence was escorted in by the guard.

My heart sped up at the mere sight of him.

“ Okay you two enjoy your weekend. You’ve both been searched for contraband and from here on out the only things you need to do are this. Every six hours this phone…,”The guard said pointing to the phone in the kitchen “…as well as the phone in the bedroom will ring. Your obligation Hill,is to answer it each and every time it rings. Do you understand?”

“ I most certainly do.”

“ No screwing around Hill. If you don’t answer that phone each and every time it rings guards will be here with guns within minutes. The rest of your visit will be over and you wont be eligible for any other visits and I don’t just mean conjugal.” the older senior corrections officer said sternly.

“ I definitely understand Officer Richards you’ll be tired of hearing my voice by the end of this visit.” Terrence said trying to contain his laughter.

I thought seeing him like this would put me at ease but I was more nervous than ever. I’m about to actually spend two nights with my husband.

“ Okay you two well,have a great weekend and see you when it’s time for the night count. You still  have to do that the next two nights. Someone will be here to see you at ten.” he said walking out the door.

We both stood there a few moments silently looking at one another before Terrence slowly walked over to the door and locked it.

“ I’m glad you came Dana” he said a slow smile spreading across his face. “ I appreciate it. I know it wasn’t easy going through all you had to just to make it to this room.”

“ This weekend better be damn good Terrence. Checking in was the most humiliating experience I’ve ever gone through. I’ve done some things to be with you I’ve never even considered.”

“ I know you have. I hope by the end of the weekend you feel like I’m worth it. I keep telling you that, but I know you have to feel it for yourself. I know it’s hard to see given my situation right now but trust me. Haven’t I done everything I said I would and then some concerning you so far?”

“ You keep saying that…I don’t know it though. You’re my husband and I don’t know anything about you.” I said wringing my hands together. I don’t know why my palms were so sweaty all of a sudden.

“ Dana we’ve been married for months now. Our conversations don’t mean anything to you? They’ve come to mean a lot to me. You know more about me than you think you do. I intend to make every minute count this weekend so you don’t feel like that anymore. Can we start by me hugging and kissing my wife? I haven’t kissed you since the day we got married…and I’m sorry baby but that really didn’t count. You kissed me on the cheek.” Terrence said laughing.

“ All those strange people were there Terrence! Might I also add it was a week after I first laid eyes on you. The third time I’d even seen you.” I said shaking my head.

“ Well by no means just because you’re here do I want you to feel pressured….,”

“ No pressure? I find that hard to believe. We’re together but the clock is ticking. It’s already ten minutes after nine. We don’t have a minute to waste.” I was a wreck. My nerves were all over the place.

Terrence walked over to the small dinette table I was standing near until he was towering over me. I took a few nervous steps back and leaned my head back to look him in the eyes. My heart felt like it was swimming in a sea of warm, sweet chocolate just looking in his eyes but my mind was warning me to be careful. I didn’t want to offend him but I couldn’t help being a little bit scared and a whole lot intimidated by him. Besides even though there were guards nearby,it was my first time being all alone with him and he was a convict.

We’d spent countless hours talking over the last few months during our visits. Terrence told me about his past affiliations with selling drugs and it was still hard for me to accept the fact that was his lifestyle. I wasn’t completely innocent to the ways of the world but I’d never openly associated with people who sold drugs. I didn’t have a problem letting anyone know that in that regard I’d grown up sheltered and with the exception of the situation my father had put me in six months ago ,all my life I’d never wanted for anything.

“ It’s not going to always be like this Dana. When I get out I hope you decide to still be my wife. I actually think this has taught me a lot. You shouldn’t take the time you do have with your loved ones for granted. People should spend every minute with their loved ones as if it’s their last.” Terrence said taking Dana’s soft hands in his.

“ Let’s just enjoy our time getting to know each other okay? No pressure. Just you and I getting to know each other a little deeper. You makin’ me feel bad ma. You over here shaking an shit. I’d never hurt you Dana. I need for you to believe that about me if you don’t believe nothing else.”

Dana’s body sagged a little as she exhaled.

“ How do you know how to do that?”

“ What?”

“ It’s like you know exactly what to say to me to make me want to know you a little more every time. I keep waiting for you to say something to make me run from this crazy ass situation we’re in but it’s not happening. You keep pulling me in more and more. You might just be running some crazy game on me. I hear that’s what all you men in jail do anyway. You might be saying the same thing to five other women right now.” I said suddenly angry with myself. I was an idiot. Terrence jail or no jail was too goddamn fine to just be talking to me. Writing just to me. Who else was coming to visit him on the days I wasn’t here?

“ That’s what you really think about me Dana? When you look at me, when you come visit,after you hang up the phone from talking to me every day…sometimes twice a day. That’s what you feel?Those are the only thoughts that come to your mind when you think about me is that I gotta be some low-life ass nigga sittin’ in my cell writing 50 letters a day to women? To what Dana? Put money on my books? Send me pictures to jack my dick too?

I’ma say some shit to you right now that I hope I never have to say again. At this moment right now,even with me locked up Dana, you don’t bring nothing to my table but you. You feel what I’m saying? I’m paying your bills to make it easy on you. That wasn’t even part of our deal mind you. Not the other way around. I do that because even though I ain’t never even touched you, you’re still my wife and I’m a man who takes care of mine. I ain’t never kissed your lips, tasted your pussy or been inside you and trust me when I say plenty niggas around here gettin’ that on visiting day. I ain’t never came at you like that have I? And it ain’t like I don’t want it from you because I damn sure do.” Terrence said stepping into my personal space leaving me nowhere to go. Nowhere to escape. Terrence literally had my back against the wall.

I felt my breath quicken with just the simple touch of his hands. I took a deep breath hoping to quell the surge of heat I could feel building at being so close to him but as I looked into his eyes I didn’t see that happening anytime soon. Terrence pulled me close to him and bent down gently placing his lips on mine,his tongue parted my lips and slipped inside. I slowly melted into him,wrapping my hands around his waist, my arms seemed to have a mind of their own as they they traveled up his muscular back. Terrence’s lips scattered kisses all over my jawline and then blazed a path down my neck ,my entire body was coming to life under the deliberate touch of his hands and mouth.

[ * * ]

9. Mine

Terrence

I willed himself to break the kiss. I damn sure didn’t want to but I didn’t want to rush Dana no matter how much I wanted her right now. It was hard as hell too. Can you imagine not being touched by a woman in almost two years? For some reason this shit felt even worse to me because for some crazy fuckin’ reason I wanted to be touched in the worst way by this woman. Dana. My wife. I don’t know how this shit happened so quick,but my “ marriage” wasn’t turning out to be quite how I thought it would be.

Crazy as the whole idea was, I thought I would just get a down female on my side. I wanted someone to handle certain things for me I needed done while I was still in and I didn’t want it to be my sister. I for damn sure wasn’t letting my mama handle my business. My mama hadn’t handled her own since I was 15. When this shit came up with Dana’s tuition, I figured why not? She’d owe me,feel obligated and we’d take the shit from there. The fucked up thing was, I hadn’t even asked her to do the shit I thought I wanted her for! All that mattered to me was that she was stress free and finishing up her school. I wanted that for her because for the last six months, a huge part of our conversations centered around her career. I can’t even lie, I admired that shit. Dana had a passion for something and she was determined to follow her dreams. Not many people could say that. Most of us just got stuck in situations and had to deal with the hand we were dealt. Like me.

Now here I am done fucked up for real and caught feelings for her ass. Dana got me over here standing in the muthafuckin' phone lines to talk to her ass sometimes twice a  day. Making late night phone calls occasionally on my secret cell which I really didn't too much like using unless I had too. Making sure my man hooked me up extra tight in the barber shop every Saturday before she comes to visit- Shit a nigga gotta do all he can to shine in this orange jumpsuit. I'm writing letters every week.

I don’t even know who the fuck I am anymore. I don’t do shit like this for women. Any woman.

Basically I’m doing all the shit with Dana, I [_didn’t _]want to do with my ex Camyrn and I knew damn well she would have rode out this little bit of time with me. I wasn’t into Camyrn like that though. So I didn’t want to put in that little bit of effort for Camyrn even though a nigga ain’t got nothing but time up in this muthafucka. Now look at my ass? Done caught feeling for a broad I barely know.

“ That was worth waiting for. I’m glad it was private and between us. I ain’t gon’ even lie Dana. I was feeling some type a way when you hit me with the bullshit kiss on the cheek on our wedding day,but now I understand it. That wasn’t our real wedding day anyway.”I said with a smile on my face. Dana and I had agreed that once I was released, if we made it another solid year married,we’d do our shit up the right way. Something in me was determined to see her walking down the aisle towards me in a white wedding gown designed by her. It was gonna happen. I was positive.

“ Me too. It seems like I’ve been waiting for this forever and when I blink my eyes this visit will be over. You’re going to make me want something that I can’t have. I’m scared Terrence.” Dana said her voice shaking. Dana by no means wanted to put a damper on the time they did have together but she couldn’t help but note that every minute that passed between them counted.

How much of her heart and soul could she squeeze into three days and two nights so that Terrence would understand just how deeply she’d fallen in love with him?

“ I know baby. Let’s just make the most of the time we do have okay. Dana I promise you on my life. You’ll never be in this position again. Ever. Honestly, I’d considered not having you come for one of these visits at all but I can’t lie after all our talks and conversations…your letters. I couldn’t wait to be around you. Even if it was just for a weekend.”

“ If you want to stay married to me Terrence you damn well better mean it. This right here…,” Dana said waving her hand and looking around the tiny trailer, “…I’m not made for it. This will be the one and only time I ever visit a man I love behind bars.” Dana couldn’t stop the tears that began to smart in the corner of her eyes. She looked away hoping Terrence didn’t see.

He had.

“ You love me?” I asked turning her head back towards me.

“ No. I…, I don’t know what the hell this is I’m feeling but you know what I mean Terrence. If you plan on living your life doing things that land you behind bars,don’t involve me in that bullshit. That’s all I’m saying. I don’t have that much experience with men anyways and this just makes me feel like I jumped in way over my head. I don’t know what I’m doing.” Dana said looking up at me her green eyes wide with fear.

Damn. I can see it in her eyes, she’s really scared to love me. I ain’t gon’ lie, the look in her eyes put a little fear in my heart just then. It made me realize just how innocent she was about a lot of things. I was used to chicks around the neighborhood who were pretty much up on game. Out to see what they could get from a nigga off jump. Be it shopping trips,bills paid a Happy Meal shit,anything.

All Dana wanted to do was work her way to the top. And here I was, a detour in her plans but she was trusting me not to fuck her over. I know good and well that wasn’t no slip of the tongue about loving me. I can hear it in her voice every time we speak, Dana is deeply in love with me. She just may not realize it yet.

“ I understand. But let me say this Dana, ain’t nothing about me and what we have going supposed to add no confusion to your life. That’s not what this is about Dana…,”

“ Well what is it about? Because I still don’t know…”

“ I want balance Dana. I want some peace. That’s what I want you to bring to me. I want a best-friend. I want you to tell me when I’m doing wrong because let me tell you baby girl, two years ago out in them streets? I wasn’t nothing nice. But I want better. I got my mom and Tamera out there yeah,but why you think I did all the shit I did out in them streets? For them Dana, since I was 15 years old. So baby believe me when I say, when I walk out them doors in a few short months,they ain’t gonna have my back. They ain’t gonna be the two women telling me to do right. You know why? Because if I do right, they lose out. They ain’t gonna benefit from it.” I said staring deep into her eyes,.

I needed to know she felt every word I was saying because I’d been battling with those very words in my head alone for damn near two years. From the day I’d stepped into prison. I needed Dana to know that I needed someone for me. Just me. I needed someone that actually cared about me doing the right thing.

The look in her eyes told me she understood.

I pulled her closer to me and raised her arms around my neck holding her as tight as I could. Inhaling her scent. Brown sugar and vanilla. After standing there a few minutes holding each other Dana finally pulled away.

“ Okay I’m done being sad for now. Let’s really get this visit started.” Dana said laughing as she walked to the table and dug through the box of goodies she’s been allowed to bring.

“ Do you want to change out of that?” Dana said wrinkling her nose pointing to my prison issued outfit.

“ Hell yeah! Did you bring me something?” I said walking over.

“ Of course I did. I know you didn’t think I wanted to spend all weekend looking at you in that orange jumpsuit did you? I hope what I bought fits you. I was trying to surprise you.” Dana walked to her hanging suit bag. It held some of her clothes in addition to three outfits she’d packed and brought for Terrence. There was nothing in the rule book that said she couldn’t bring Terrence something to wear. Of course when she left she’d have to take it all back with her. Prisoners all had to wear the same orange jumpsuits.

Dana pulled out three plastic hangers all containing complete outfits. She then reached into her duffel bag and pulled out a pack of boxers and socks. She’d hooked him up from head to toe including silk pajama bottoms for later on. She could only imagine how rough his prison issued clothing were,not to mention how many men before him had worn it.

“ You get changed while I put away this stuff. I’m going to try and make this place as homey as I possibly can for the weekend.” Dana said smiling at him.

I looked around and laughed, “ Do your worst baby and it would make this place look better.” I said walking into the bedroom of our little weekend “ love nest” .

I’d already showered earlier but once I got a look at all the shit Dana had brought with her I was ready to go again. Good soap, lotion that didn’t feel like damn water, all her hair care products even cologne. I don’t know how she knew Issey Miyake was my favorite but she damn sure had a bottle of it for me. I was in heaven. Damn I never thought I was one of those type a nigga into all this metro-sexual ass shit but I am today,I thought stepping into the shower,setting all the products I wanted to use inside.

I couldn’t even lie, it felt good to know that Dana had looked out for me this way as simple as it was. Every time I laid eyes on Dana she looked runway ready. At least for these few days I would feel like my old self thanks to Dana. Dante’ down in the prison barber shop had lined me up yesterday so the clothes and just being in her presence just made me feel all the better. And a nigga was about to eat some decent food for a change too?

[ * * ]

10.Weekend Wifey

Dana

I looked under the kitchen cabinet and found they did have cleaning supplies. Overall the place was pretty clean. I can imagine they had someone come here and clean things up before our visit. Besides I’m sure this place doesn’t get that much use? Who knows maybe it does,hell Terrence and I got married and requested conjugal visits. I can only imagine how many other men have done the same thing so they can have visits with their wives…or insta-wives I should say! I couldn’t help but laugh. I heard the water going and tried not to imagine Terrence in the shower,water cascading down his muscular body. I’d almost died on the spot when I was wrapped in his arms moments ago Terrence felt so good. No one was gawking at us, telling us to break apart. This was how it should be for newlyweds. I was a new bride,it felt good to finally feel like it if only for two three days.

Dammit I know this whole thing is crazy but I want my husband. Fuck it. I’m shy but not that shy. I’m just gonna go in here and kiss on him a little bit. What harm could that be?

I walked into the bedroom quickly before I changed my mind. Oh no he ain’t in here singing. The nigga don’t sound half bad either, I thought shedding all my clothes. I took off my bra and paused when I got to my white lace panties. Fuck it! This is my husband, I thought stepping out of them and walking into the bathroom. I slowly pulled back the shower curtain and gazed at my husbands beautiful body. I can’t lie, I almost wanted to laugh he was covered in so many soap suds, head thrown back with his eyes closed singing Maxwell’s “ Fortunate” I guess a blast of cold air must have hit his ass because he turned and looked down at me shaking his head.

I immediately knew what he was thinking. We’d already agreed we’d save our first sexual experience together for when he was released. I stepped in the tub behind him and grabbed the sudsy towel from his hand and began washing him from behind. I ran the towel over the wide expanse of his muscular back to his firm ass. Terrence was so tall the water was barely hitting me but it didn’t matter. I was wet as hell. No water needed. Terrence turned around to face me and my eyes unconsciously gravitated towards his dick Jesus Christ! It was huge! Not that I had a lot of dicks to personally compare Terrence to but his had to be abnormally large. Not that it was a bad thing,it was a pretty dick. Can a dick be pretty? I thought. I have no idea but my husbands is, I answered my own question confidently.

“ What the fuck are you doing to me Dana? You’re tempting a beast right now. I thought we both made the decision to wait?”

“ Umm,we are but I still want to be close to you.”

Terrence turned off the water and stepped out of the shower. I quickly followed him,wrapping a towel around my wet body. Terrence gently rubbed my body down helping me dry off and our eyes met. I couldn’t quite read his expression but I didn’t have to guess long. Before I could form another thought I was pinned beneath Terrence’s body, my legs quickly wrapped around his waist and my hips began to gyrate,seeking him out in the most intimate way. My body wanted him so badly it was almost painful. Terrence’s lips trailed down my neck and collarbone until one of my nipples was in his mouth. He began to lap and tug at each of my breasts, every pull of my nipples made my pussy clench.

“ Terrence let’s just do it….,”

“ Shhh. We’re just touching right?” Terrence asked making his way down my body until his face was between my legs. My breath caught in my throat the moment I felt his tongue stroke my clit. My back arched and I let out a low moan as my hands grasped his round head. Terrence’s long tongue snaked in and out of me rhythmically until my body was bucking and gyrating into his face. I couldn’t imagine anything feeling better than this but I knew there was something better. I wanted to feel him deep inside of me,just as the thought took hold of me, I let out a scream as my body exploded. My eyes squeezed together and all I saw was stars.

My eyes slowly opened to find Terrence kneeling before me. My eyes went straight to his dick. It had to have been about nine inches but it was the thickness of it that had me licking my lips nervously. No way will that fit inside of me, I thought reaching out to touch him. Just as I thought, I couldn’t even wrap my fingers around it.

“ Do you like that baby? Is it enough for you?” Terrence asked.

“ Yes Terrence.”

Terrence began rubbing his dick around my my pussy lips in a circular motion, I could feel myself opening up for him, my body was preparing itself to be entered by him.

“ Hold yourself open for me.” Terrence commanded and like a solider, I did as I was told.

I reached my hand down between my legs and shocked myself at how wet I was. I took my index finger and thumb and spread myself open for him.

Terrence spoke to me through hooded eyes as he stared at my most intimate spot.

“ Do you get this wet for every nigga you with Dana?”

I just nodded my head no. Hell no other man has been there before. Granted he didn’t know that but still. I had a few secrets of my own I was keeping from my husband.

“ You better not Dana. This shop is closed do you hear me?” Terrence said sliding the head of his dick over my slick clit. “ All this belongs to me now, do you understand?”

I moaned out a yes.

Terrence’s dick never once eased up on it’s slow assault of my clit.

“ You do know that if I ever get wind of you letting another nigga even think he can get a taste of this pussy we gon’ have a problem right?”

YES!” I screamed out as another orgasm hit me.

Terrence and I went on this way for the next two hours, he never let me do more than touch him every now and then. It was frustrating to me because all I wanted to do is please him and all it seemed he wanted to do was please me. Terrence insisted our first time together was not going to be at Samson State penitentiary, but he was willing to bend the rules to please me.

[ * * ]

11. Caught Up In The Rapture

Dana

I wrapped my large fuzzy robe around my body and slid my feet inside my slippers. I couldn’t  have wiped the smile from my face if I’d wanted too. I don’t know when the hell it happened and I’d damn sure tried to prevent it but I was in love with my husband. Without a doubt. All I wanted to do this weekend is take care of him. I wanted to pamper him so that when I was gone I’d be as deeply embedded in his mind as he was in mine. I looked on the kitchen counter and saw a piece of paper. I was happy to see it was the grocery checklist I’d submitted when we’d set up our weekend visit. During each conjugal visit prisoners had two choices,they could have meals sent down from the prison kitchen, a guest meal would be sent for an additional fee. There was also a choice to for a hefty fee of course, submit a grocery list so that you could prepare the meals yourself. Without a doubt I had chose that option. Besides I knew without asking Terrence would want a break from the lousy prison food he’d been eating. During our short time together, I already knew Terrence kept plenty of money on his books so that he could buy food and snacks offered in the commissary. Terrence provided me with more than enough money to take care of anything we needed. So I’d paid two hundred and fifty dollars for our weekend groceries. During our phone calls I’d pried his favorite foods out of him so I’d know what to put on the list. Tamera had even given me the recipe for her baked ziti and Italian sausage recipe which apparently was one of his favorite dishes. I’d even given the recipe a practice run at home just to make sure I didn’t mess it up. I wasn’t a bad cook but a lot of my meals were eaten out due to being so busy studying,sewing, working and sleeping. Lucky for me Tamera loved to cook or I’d never have a home cooked meal.

I finished up in the kitchen, damn it’s already eleven. Two hours already gone from my time with my husband.

Terrence walked into the kitchen, “ You need any help?”

I turned and was speechless. I’d imagined him a million times dressed in actual clothes and I already knew he was fine but DAMN! All I’d brought him were jeans,t-shirts and sweat pants. I couldn’t imagine him needing anything more than that during the weekend. After all it wasn’t as if we’d be leaving the trailer to do anything but those small changes made a world of difference in how Terrence looked. He smelled delicious and his chocolate skin glistened. His entire demeanor seemed to have changed. Lord have mercy this nigga know he’s fine as hell.

Terrence laughed at the expression on my face.

“ Oh don’t get it twisted baby. Your husband is fine. Don’t let the orange jumpsuit fool you.”

I recovered quickly, “ You ain’t cute.” I said rolling my eyes and turning my back to him. Shit I had to catch my damn breath!

“And don’t you play. Your wife is fine too shit…,”

“ I know she is or she wouldn’t be my wife. What do I look like giving up my money* and* my name to some ugly ass friend of my sisters? Nah,it wouldn’t have gone down like that baby.” Terrence said smiling.

“ How is Tamera?” Terrence asked sitting down at the table.

“ She’s good. We’re coming together next weekend to see you.”

“Okay, I miss her. I’m still mad you told her.”

“  Don’t start Terrence. Tamera is like a sister to me. How would it look for me to lie to her? Tamera was cool about it. She hasn’t even really asked about what’s going on between us actually. I know she misses you too. Umm,Terrence I think she’s in touch with your mom…,”

“ I don’t want to talk about my mom Dana.”

“ Terrence she’s your mom. At some point you need to talk to her don’t you think? Besides, how many times over the last few months have you told me one of the main things you wanted between us was honesty,trust and communication? But the first real issue that comes up you wanna cut me off? That’s not right. I tell you everything. Even when I don’t want to you get it out of me.” I said crossing my arms.

“ Sit down Dana. Look I know how it may sound being that she is my mother and believe me, I don’t blame anyone for the position I’m in or the things I’ve done. I had to grow up at an early age to do the things my mom acted liked she couldn’t do. The only way I’m going to be willing to get on speaking terms with my mom is for her to get her shit together and to not need me. Trust me when I say, as a son I’ve paid my dues and I’m not doing it anymore.

The only reason she’s probably in touch with Tamera so much right now is because she knows Tamera has access to some of my money and she needs some. Period. I told her when I was going through all my court shit to start preparing to take care of herself. That was an entire year before I got locked up Dana.”

I could see pain and frustration all over his face just discussing the matter with me.

“I don’t mind telling you Dana because regardless of our situation you are my wife. I want…no I need someone I can trust. Someone I can lean on too you know? I ain’t never had anyone I can lean on. I’ve been taking care of people since I was 15. I’m ready to be selfish. I want my needs met for a change. You’re not the only one who’s getting something out of our marriage. I put away a nice amount of money while I was out there on those streets. Plus I already got some shit poppin’ for when I get out. Am I proud of what I did to get it? No. At the same time I’m not necessarily ashamed of it either. It is, what it is as far as I’m concerned but with that being said. I made it,it’s mine and when I get out I have more than enough for us to start our life together. I’ve been thinking a lot about what direction I want to go when I get out. None of those things include having anyone,family or not riding on my coat-tails. Do you know what I mean? And Dana,you already broke my trust once before we got married and telling Tamera about us. Please don’t do it again. I wont forgive you the next time.” Terrence said. He really hoped Dana knew he was dead ass serious about that shit too. Terrence was letting it slide since technically it was before they exchanged vows.

[ * * ]

12.Cutting Ties

Terrence

“ Terrence please don’t bring that up. That was unreasonable of you to ask of me. I needed someone to talk too.”

“ Dana, our business is between us from now on. No one else. That even includes my sister. I know that’s your friend as well as my sister but I do a lot for Tamera… a lot. I’ve totally paid for her tuition so she has a good start in life. Once she gets her degree the rest of it is up to her. There wont be any loans or borrowing none of that. I’m actually glad she met you because before you two met she’d changed her major twice. All wasted classes paid for by me.” I said frowning. “ All I’m saying is when I’m out it’s just us two.”

Dana and I spent the remainder of the weekend in what was in every sense of the word our own personal bubble. The phone calls from the guards came as expected so that I could check in, and at ten on the dot they were knocking on the door to actually see me but otherwise we were left alone to enjoy each others company. To talk and get to know each other beyond the two hour visits that had steadily become a part of our routine the past six months.

[ * * ]

13. I Hate To Say Good-Bye

Dana

In a weekends time, I felt like I was getting to know Terrence in ways I never had. Even having the liberty to just touch him made me feel closer to him. To hold his hands and kiss him were memories I’d carry with me until he was released. Just like I had refused to have our first kiss be on display in front of people who could care less about me…about us. We held back on completely sealing the deal as far as sex. Yes we had slipped a little the first day with the whole shower episode,hell who am I kidding? Terrence and I teased each other sexually the entire weekend. But we’d stopped ourselves before we went over the edge. I wanted him so bad I was angry with him for not giving in to me, but now I was glad he’d stuck to our original plan. Terrence insisted our first time being intimate would be in our own home and not behind the walls of Sampson State Penitentiary. I was a little shocked by that. Granted I was nervous as hell about anything happening between us, I thought for sure he’d want to. I mean what man wouldn’t want sex after being locked up almost two years? I wouldn’t say my little Victorias Secret stash went to waste. Terrence controlled himself but he was damn sure looking. When Sunday came we were both quiet,each of us hating to be apart now that we’d finally had the opportunity to be around each other.

I moved about the room packing up all the items I’d brought with me to make it a comfortable visit for us. I was trying to stay strong for Terrence and not break down crying but when he walked out of the bathroom in his orange prison jumpsuit I broke down. When I’d walked into this room Friday morning I had no idea that my relationship with Terrence would change so much in three days. I walked into this shabby room unsure of my feelings of the man I’d come to know through phone conversations and short Saturday visits and I was leaving completely in love.

I wanted my husband out of here in the worst way. Now that I’d gotten to be around him it was hard to imagine myself leaving without him. I was back to square one. Saturday visits with hundreds of other inmates. I didn’t intend on breaking down into a pool of tears in front of Terrence but I couldn’t help it.

“ I don’t know how I’m going to make it through the next couple months Terrence. I don’t regret this weekend but I feel like it would have been easier if I hadn’t been with you like this. How do I go back to not being able touch you when I want. Have dinner with you, sleep next to you?” I asked between sobs.

“ Dana this will all be over in a less than four months just hold on a little bit longer. It could be less than that,my lawyer said there’s a good chance I’ll make early parole.”

[ * * * *]

14. Free At Last

Terrence

3 Months Later

I sat in my cell waiting to be escorted out of Samson State Penitentiary for good. True to his word,my lawyer had gotten three months shaved off my sentence for good behavior. It had been so touch and go, I hadn’t even told anyone I was being released today. It was the way I wanted it. I didn’t want anyone picking me up looking at me or just being in my space. I needed a few hours to just be alone after damn near two years of no privacy. I planned on taking a cab into the city to my place,taking a nice hot shower,shaving ordering a meal of my choice,then I was going to see my sister…and my wife.

“ Terrence man can you do me a favor?”

“ Depends on what the favor is man,I’m not doing anything that gets me in any trouble or around someone I don’t want to be around.”

“ Man I just need you to check on my baby mama for me. Cherise ain’t visited in damn near a month. I ain’t got no money on my books either. Can you call this number and see what’s up? Tell her to get at me.” Marquise his soon to be former cellmate asked.

“ I’ll call once but that’s it, I can’t take up too much time calling your baby mama. Man you been in here a minute you may need to realize she may be tired. Every woman ain’t built for this. I’ll tell you what I can do to help you out. I’ma see about putting a couple months on the books for you . At least that’s one less thing you have to worry about in here. I’ll get you set up for the next four months. Hopefully you’ll have some answers by then. Another thing,if you want some legit work when you get out,come holla at me. I got you.” I said standing to look around my cell impatiently.

“ Nigga you already know I’ma get at you. This my first and last time up in this muthafucka. Man you sure about leaving me this stuff?”

Marquise’s eyes were wide looking at the virtual goldmine I was leaving behind.

“ Yeah man I don’t need none of it. I’m walking out with the clothes on my back. If any of this stuff makes your time here more comfortable you’re welcome to it.” I said stepping over to the cell door and looking at the clock. Right on time, I thought smiling watching the guards walking towards my cell.

“ Let’s go Hill!” the guard barked.

“ Take care man. I’ll make that call for you and hook your books up.”

“ Be easy man.” Marquise said wishing like hell it was him walking out of those penitentiary doors. His time was coming though. Six more months and he planned to be out just like Hill.

[ * * ]

15. Welcome Home Mr. Hill

Terrence

“ Mr. Hill! It’s good to see you.”

“It’s even better to see you.” I said greeting my doorman James as I walked into the  building. Damn it was good to be out. I never thought I’d miss the smell of the city but damn it felt good to just breathe any air other than the stale contained prison air I’d grown used to. Even the smell of smog was a welcome scent. No time limits but my own, no one looking over my shoulder or having to watch my back. When I walked through the doors of my home it was if I’d never left. I’d had my lawyer hire a cleaning lady last week to come through and clean the place up and stock the refrigerator for me. I headed straight for the shower and stripped out of the clothes I’d worn home. They were going straight into the garbage. I took a long relaxing shower. By the time I was done I felt like I’d damn near washed the last two years of my life away,minus the one good thing that had come of it. My wife.

Speaking of my wife, I guess I need to let her know I’m out. I think I’ll just go up to the school and call her and Tamera once I get to the campus. I thought about calling my mom but decided to check with Tamera first to see what was going on with her lately. Better to know ahead of time when dealing with my mama.

Shit. It’s early so let me make this phone call to my parole officer,I thought picking up my cell phone and placing the call to the one thing tying me to the negativity of the last two years. After checking in and scheduling my appointment, I headed to my favorite barber shop and then to Parsons School of Design.

[ * * * *]

16. Reunited

Dana

“ There’s something about this design that’s just driving me crazy Tamera! Something about it is just off to me…maybe it’s the hemline?” I said looking over my sketch book.

“ Girl you’re crazy. The dress is gorgeous just the way it is. Matter of fact I want you to make it for me. I wanna be the first one rocking it bitch!” Tamera said taking a bite of her sandwich. “So there’s a party tonight over on 134th. Toya and Maria are throwing it at their place you did tell them you were going right?”

“ Yeah, I did say I was going. I’m not leaving the house until after I talk to Terrence though. But he usually calls around seven so it’s no big deal. I’ll have to find something to wear though. It’s just a casual get together right?” I asked taking a bite of my Cobb salad.

“ Yep. Just throw on something casual. We haven’t been out in months. We need to get loose!  You been so involved in this flim-flam of a marriage with my brother, you don’t even hang out no more.” Tamera said rolling her eyes at me as she took another bite of her sandwich. I wanted to slap that fuckin’ sandwich out of her goddamn hands. What the hell did she mean “flim-flam”? That’s my husband. My marriage. And wasn’t a damn thing “ flim-flam” about it.

“Tamera you know why I haven’t been out in months. It’s because I’m married….to your brother!”

“ So? I mean that’s more like an arrangement more than it is a marriage. It’s my brother but it ain’t like he’s in love with your ass. He helped you out when you were in a bind. My brother just wanted to make sure you didn’t make out with his money before you paid him I’m sure. Terrence is no fool. Even though he’s my brother he is locked up. Surely you’re not  going to lock yourself away for a marriage certificate that’s no more than a technicality? I’m pretty sure my brother doesn’t expect you to do that Dana.”

I sat there shocked. Outside of Janay, we were as close as friends could be. Surely Tamera didn’t think I was going to marry someone…her brother none the less, and go out and what? Date other men? Sleep with other men? I had more respect for what Terrence and I were trying to build whether Tamera knew about it or not. Even though I kept my business with Terrence to myself,it still hurt me to hear Tamera talk about her brother that way. As if she didn’t care about his feelings or have his back fully while he was locked down.

I prayed I was just overreacting but lately some of the comments Tamera made really had me feeling some type of way. The comments flying out of her mouth were rude as hell. Unbeknownst to Tamera, the only reason I wasn’t checking her left and right was because she was my sister-in-law ! This bitch didn’t even realize the only reason we hadn’t damn near come to blows as of late was because of my according to her “ flim-flam” of a marriage.

Yes we'd been the best of friends the last two years but it had been smooth sailing between us. We'd never had so much as an argument. I honestly didn't know how much longer that would last. Then this ex- boyfriend of hers just recently stepped on the scene...Cordell something or other. The nigga gave me the creeps every time I ran into him over at Tamera's place. Needless to say my visits to her house have become less frequent.

When Terrence and I agreed on the terms of our marriage, it was never discussed between us that it would be on paper only. I knew for a fact that I didn’t feel that way about Terrence. My feelings for him had grown in ways I could never have imagined given our circumstances. Maybe I’d done our relationship a disservice by not disclosing to Tamera exactly how much I cared for Terrence. By no means was this a simple marriage of convenience for me. Regardless of the fact it began with my needing his help financially.

“ I mean you don’t even wear a wedding ring! It’s not like anyone knows you’re married so have fun. Terrence will understand. Girl when he get out in a few months he’s going to be doing him! You better make sure your ass is doing YOU!” Tamera said oblivious to how the callous words coming out of her mouth were hurting me.

“ Tamera I don’t wear a ring only because it would be hard to explain how I suddenly have a husband and where the hell he is. It’s not like I want or need everyone in my personal business. As you very well know I have a beautiful wedding ring your brother had picked out and delivered to me right after we got married months ago.”

“ My bad I forgot! Hell it’s been so long since I’ve seen it.” Tamera said picking up her drink. Tamera loved her brother and all but come on? She hardly thought Terrence meant for Dana to be a nun while he was doing his bid did he?Terrence will want to do with him once he’s out. He’d never had a problem getting women. They were always all over him but he was so picky. Long ago she’d learned to stop trying to fix him up. Especially after the one time he slept with a girl she knew and never called her back. That friendship ended pretty fast. The idea of getting married to Dana came strictly from Terrence for some crazy reason.

Two other friends Lisa and Dominique joined them from class and the vibe at the table got a much needed change as they all chatted about the upcoming spring fashion show all the graduating class would be participating in. I was glad to see I wasn’t the only one worried about the designs I was submitting for the show and my final grade before graduation. We all had our drawing pads out showing off our designs when all of a sudden the talk came to a halt.

TERRENCE!” Tamera screamed jumping up from the table and into his arms.

“ Hey little sis,” Terrence said hugging her tightly. “ I guess you’re glad to see me…are you the only one?” he asked looking pointedly at me.

“ Damn he’s fine! Who the hell is that?” Lisa whispered.

“ Did he just call her little sister? I think she mentioned she had a brother before but[* daaaammn! *]She should have told us he was fine as hell. Tamera is out of damn order! We should have been introduced!” Domonique said licking her lips. “ What’s his name? I need all the 411 on his ass!” Domonique said turning to look at Dana since Tamera was still busy screaming with joy.

I rolled my eyes at Domonique, this thirsty ass hoe right here. She doesn’t know who this man is skinning and grinning all up in his damn face.

“ His name is Terrence Hill…and he’s my husband. So wasn’t no need to tell any other women about him.” I answered. My shock finally registering at seeing Terrence standing in front of me live and direct. I’d spoken to him last night as usual and he hadn’t said a word about being released early. Let alone today. I quickly rose from my seat to greet him.

“ Ooohh okay!Get it bitch!” Lisa said holding her hand over her mouth snickering.

“ Can I hug my husband please?” I asked tapping Tamera on the shoulder.

“ Okay. Excuse me!” Tamera said laughing.

Terrence looked perfect,tall dark and handsome described him perfectly. It was evident he had a fresh haircut,his dark rinsed jeans fit perfectly, not too tight with just the right amount of bagginess and a crisp white cuffed shirt topped off by a black leather bomber jacket that felt like butter.

“ Why didn’t you tell me you were coming home?”I asked wrapping my arms around his neck kissing him passionately. I didn’t give a damn who was looking. My friends and classmates may not have known I was married before but I damn sure didn’t give a damn what any of them thought now. All that mattered was me husband was finally in my arms. I was able to kiss him, to hold him and no one could tell me to stop. We stood kissing until we were both breathless and people started to clap. Along with a few cat-calls telling us to get a room. Little did I know Terrence had every intention of doing exactly that.

“ So what time are your classes done for the day?”

“ Not soon enough! Hell I’m done now to hear me tell it,but I can’t. I really wish I’d known you were coming home so I could have moved some things around! We have the spring show coming up so I can’t leave early today. What I will not be doing is going out with the girls later on. I have my husband to come home to now.” I said smiling. “ That sounds weird to me you know. My husband. I can finally say that out loud…right?”

“ Hell yeah. Get used to it. It’s cool though. I have some things I need to take care of today anyway. My lawyer kept a lot of my more important affairs taken care of but now that I’m out I need to make sure I’m handling everything again. So I need to run to the bank and all that right now. We also need to see about getting you moved in with me.”

My eyes grew wide as saucers.

The reality that Terrence was actually out was slowly but surely sinking in. He was OUT. No Saturday visitation with fifty other people, no phone calls every night But my husband was right in front of my face. I could look at him every day. Touch him any time I wanted.

“ Umm. Okay so you want me to come over tonight? I hadn’t thought about moving in with you yet. I thought I had more time. We’ll work it out though.”

“ That’s kinda the plan baby. Married people usually live with each other.”

Terrence could practically see a wall coming up. It’s one thing to say you’re married to me when I’m locked up but now that I’m actually out and looking in her face she don’t know what to do with me. I ain’t letting her off the hook either.

“ So what time will you be done so I can pick you up?”

“ I can take the subway. I’ll be done about four.”

“ You don’t need to take the subway anymore. I’ll be out front at four.” Terrence said leaning down for a quick kiss.

Tamera watched the new couple from the side not quite knowing what to make of it. Terrence always showered her with attention and here he was,out of jail after almost two years and all she’d gotten was a hug? He hadn’t even asked her how school was going for her? Asked about mom or anything. What about a shopping spree? Back in the day it wasn’t nothing for Terrence to swing by the house at a moments notice and drop a few stacks on her. What the hell? Let me not even worry about this. Terrence just got out I’m sure he’ll be calling tomorrow about taking me shopping! If I don’t know anyone I know my brother.[_ I need to let Cordell know Terrence is out so he just don’t bring his ass over my apartment. Terrence will pull the plug on all my shit if he finds out I’m still fuckin’ the nigga he went to jail for,_] Tamera thought pasting a fake smile on her face.

“ All right sis I’ll talk to you later. I’ll be by the house soon anyway we need to talk about a few things.” Terrence said looking his sister squarely in the eye.

“ Okay we’ll have a family dinner. I’ll make sure mom is there too. You two really need to talk.” Tamera said smiling.

“ You’re right. Make sure she’s there.” Terrence said giving her a hug.

“ I’ll see you out front at four.” Terrence said placing one last kiss on my lips before he walked off.

Once Terrence was out of ear shot both Dominique and Lisa both turned to me at once.

“ Oh no bitch! Your ass KNOW you’ve been holding out on us!” Lisa said. “ When the hell did your ass get married? And where the hell have you been hiding his fine ass?”

Domonique chimed in as well.

“ Tamera hoe I’ve known you[_ way_] longer than Dana or Lisa! You shoulda been hooked me up! You know I been checkin’ for your brother for the longest time. When did he get out?” Domonique asked with an attitude.

“ Get out? He’s been in jail? Lord Jesus! I ain’t surprised. They say that’s where all the fine men are anyway…at least the brothas! Shit it’s the white boys too. ” Lisa said rolling her eyes and taking a sip of her iced tea.

I couldn’t do shit but shake my head. Lisa and Dominique were man crazy. I had way more on my mind the last few years than dating. First it was the death of my mother three years ago. Now my dad done lost his damn mind. I just had more things on my plate than maintaining a relationship. Terrence was definitely a detour in my life plan.

“ Okay you guys I’m out. I need to get a lot done today and I want to put some time in on these designs. I’m also meeting with two of the models for the show for fittings.”

“ Well don’t forget about tonight! Terrence can just come along.” Tamera said looking up from her cell phone.

I gave her the side-eye.

“ Oh a party is definitely out of the question for me tonight. I’m a wife now and my husband just got home. So unless he’s in the mood to go ,count me out for tonight.” I said gathering my sketch pad and notes to place them in my portfolio.

“ Girl Terrence is not going to care about you going out. He just got out from being in almost two years. Terrence is going to be all over the Brooklyn seeing his boys and hooking up with women he left behind. I wouldn’t be surprised if he ain’t already hooked up with Camryn.”

I decided not to say a word.  I bit my tongue so goddamn hard I could taste my own blood. I knew the things Terrence and I talked about when he was still locked up but would all that change now that he was out ? Maybe he would decide he didn’t want to be really married. Tamera had mentioned a woman he was seriously dating when he got locked up. What if he wanted to pick things back up with her? Regardless of what was going on with Terrence and I,this was the last time Tamera was getting away with her mouth. I suddenly had a sneaking suspicion Tamera knew exactly what she was doing making her little snide comments all the time. Hell it was the reason it was so easy these last months for me not to even discuss Terrence with her.

Every since I’d told Tamera about our marriage I had respected Terrence’s wishes and hadn’t spoken about our relationship with her. The only thing Tamera knew was that the tuition had been paid in full. Once I talked to Terrence tonight I’d know whether or not I really needed to check Tamera about her funky, disrespectful tone.

[ * * ]

17. Butterflies

Dana

Oh my God, I hope he doesn’t forget he said he’d pick me up, I thought looking at my cell phone clock. It was just now four. The rest of the afternoon hadn’t passed as easily as I had hoped. My stomach was in knots I was so nervous. I’d spent more time adding up my actual face to face time with Terrence than anything else. I’d come to the painful realization that it didn’t add up to shit! Hell those Saturday visits just didn’t add up in the grand scheme of things.  I heard two loud honks and looked up. Now he wanted me to just go to his house? I’m not ready. Hell I didn’t even know he had a place! I thought he stayed with Tamera and his mom. Even though I’d only ever seen their mom at the house maybe a handful of time in the two years Tamera and I had been friends. It was one thing spending a weekend with him with a guard a few feet away in case I needed him. This is completely different. Was that Terrence? I thought to myself straining to get a look at the guy parked a few feet away at the curb in a black Mercedes. Shit that is him. I quickly pulled a napkin out of my purse and dabbed my now sweaty forehead. I was nervous as hell. I’ll bet I look a hot ass mess! This is not how I wanted to look or feel when I greeted my husband on his first day out of prison!

I slowly made my way across the street to the car. _Maybe I need to have him take me to my place. Janay will be home soon and I wont have to be alone with him just yet. This whole situation is overwhelming me right now. _

“ Hey baby,how was the rest of your day?” Terrence asked as I slid into the passenger seat.

“ It was okay. Hectic to say the least, I’ll be glad when this spring show is all done and these people hand me my diploma.”

“ It’ll be over before you know it.”

“ So where are we going Terrence? Why didn’t you tell me you were getting out early? You knew last night when I talked to you!”

I wanted to be mad but when I looked upside his sexy ass head all I saw was dimples. I could feel myself melt a little inside. In that moment it didn’t matter he’d kept his early release a secret. All that mattered was that he was here beside me. I couldn’t stop myself from reaching out and grabbing his hand. Terrence brought my hand to his lips and kissed it softly.

“ You happy to see me?”

“ Of course I am. Where are we headed?”

“ We’re going to my, I mean our house. I did tell you my lawyer was working on it. But I didn’t wanna keep bringing it up in case it didn’t happen.” Terrence said keeping an eye on the creeping traffic. After he’d ran his errands earlier he’d driven all over the city. It felt good to go where he wanted to go the minute his mind told him too. He didn’t know how some of the men he’d met in prison survived that shit. Some of those men hadn’t been outside in 10,12 years. Hell some of them  were serving life sentences.

His relatively short sentence had definitely driven the point home for him. His entire life had to change. His freedom was everything. Everything he touched from now on had to be legit. Unbeknownst to anyone but his closet confidants, his new ventures had already been in motion for the last year.

Thirty minutes later they pulled into an underground garage. It was clean and well lit. I noticed from the cars parked inside it damn near looked like a car dealership. Terrence got out of the car and walked over to the passenger side to help me carry my things. When we got in the elevator Terrence pushed the button to the sixth floor and we rode up in silence.

[ * * ]

18. Fight Or Flight

Terrence

[_I wonder what’s bothering her? Earlier she seemed genuinely happy to see me. Now she can barely open her mouth to say a word to me. Shit that’s one thing about women I did not miss. Mood swings. _]I thought stepping off the elevator and leading the way down the hall to a heavy steel door. Dana hadn’t been able to see the outside of the building at all only the garage but when I opened the door and we walked inside, her dropped jaw letting me know she was impressed.

The entire place was huge and open, the ceilings were so high Dana had to literally tilt her entire head back just to see it all. She was able to detect the textured pattern on the wall. It was obvious this place had once been some type of warehouse and had been converted into high end living spaces.

“ Wow! Terrence this is gorgeous. Did you get this today? Whose place is this?” Dana asked walking around taking a look at the tastefully decorated home. It was definitely decorated with a male in mind,the large wide screen T.V. damn near looked like a move screen on the wall. Stereo set up and game systems,the kitchen area was modern with stainless steel shining appliances that could rival the kitchen of any professional chef.

I laughed.

“ Nah baby. I own this place. I bought it six years ago. I had my lawyer hook me up with a housekeeper who came in and kept the place nice and clean the entire time I was locked up. I had her come get the place ready for me last week. Who knows maybe we’ll keep her on now that I’m out. It’s up to you.”

“ Up to me? How so ?”

I shook my head and smiled. This woman don’t even know if she play her cards right I’ma give her ass everything.

“ Because you’re my wife Dana, the woman of the house. I mean we talked about all this many times. I’m a modern type dude but I do have some old-fashioned ways. You’re the lady of the house. If you meet the house-cleaner and like her she can stay….if you don’t like her she gotta go.” I walked through the spacious loft taking off my jacket,stripping down until I was in my wife-beater and jeans.

Dana’s breath caught in her throat just looking at him. Terrence had an amazing body.  Hell I don’t know how his body looked before he got locked up but his body damn sure looks good as hell now, Dana thought.

“ Come sit down Dana, let’s talk.” I said motioning her to the sleek,black leather sectional in the middle of the room. Dana walked hesitantly towards me looking unsure of where she should sit. Does he want me right next to him? Maybe I should sit across from him? Dana took a few steps to the left away from him.

“ Right here. Next to me…that’s if you don’t mind.” I said a smirk etched across my face.

“ Of course I don’t mind. It’s just that, well…,” Dana stammered before she decided to just shut the hell up and walk towards him. She sat down running her fingers through her hair.

I leaned back in the couch,silently looking at Dana for a few moments before speaking.  It seemed like my looking at her only served to make her more nervous.

“ So tell me Dana,why aren’t you wearing your wedding ring?”

“ Huh? Umm,what?”

“ Married women wear their wedding rings. Like married men do as well.” I said holding up my hand to show off my wide diamond encrusted platinum band that matched Dana’s perfectly.

“ Hold on. Where did you get that? You didn’t have that the day we got married.”

“ Of course I didn’t! I was in prison. What would I look like walking around a prison wearing a platinum and diamond wedding band? It’s the match to the beautiful set you have that I notice you’re not even wearing. My feelings are hurt. I had a valid reason not to wear mine, what’s your reason?”

“ Terrence you said you really didn’t want me talking about us so I just thought…,”

“ No I said I didn’t want you discussing us with my sister. I don’t want my sister all up in our business. Of course I want my wife to wear her wedding ring.”

Well Terrence is opening the door so we may as well talk about this entire situation right damn now! Here he is asking me about my wedding ring, Tamera is tripping. We may as well clear the air. Dana thought.

“ I’m glad you brought all this up Terrence because as of today I really have some things on my mind more than ever. First in regards to the ring now that you’re actually here with me, I have no problem wearing it. I didn’t wear it all this time …I mean except when I went to see you because it was too hard to explain. I mean the ring is beautiful it. But how was I going to explain my sudden husband that wasn’t around? I just figured I’d start wearing it all the time once you were released. So this leads me to my question.

Do you really want to be married to me now that you’re out Terrence? I know all the things we’ve talked about. I know we didn’t get together in the most conventional way but we did say during these last few months that we’d grown to care about one another. Granted it’s not love but it could get there. Why is your sister under the impression you’re going to be all over New York chasing hoes now that you’re home?”

Chasing hoes? Where the hell did Tamera get that shit from? I had to restrain himself from laughing in her face. Dana looked serious as hell at the moment and I definitely didn’t want to make whatever was bothering her worse.

“ Dana,what could have given you the impression given everything we’ve talked about from the day my sister brought you to see me until now that I want any other woman but you ? We’ve talked about so many things since then. What have I done to give you the impression that I want to do anything other than make my wife fall in love with me when I came home?”

Dana was speechless. She’d heard every single word he’d said simply because she hadn’t been able to take her eyes of his full lips from the moment he began speaking.[_ Oh my God! Is it hot in here?_] Dana’s hand flew to her forehead. Her thoughts raced to those very words he’d told her time and time again during their brief conversations on their nightly phone calls. The letters he’d written her.

“ Well?”

“ Terrence, I feel like this because of some things your sister was saying today. I don’t know…despite our conversations she just made me feel insecure about the possibility of you really wanting to be with me. Maybe you need to think more about this. I mean truthfully you were in a vulnerable position at the time,lonely…hell I’m sure you were missing women something terrible after almost two years. No sex. I just happened to be there and needed help at the time. I’ll pay you back the money you lent me and we can end this so you can get on with your life okay.” Dana said springing up from her seat and running down the nearest hall. She had no idea where she was going. Terrence’s place was huge,she opened up the door directly in her now blurry line of vision and quickly closed it behind her.

[ * * ]

19. Walk Away

Dana

What the hell am I crying for? We only spent a little time together. I’ve never had sex with him before. Well at least not the full fledged thing.  I can walk away with a clean slate. This entire situation is completely crazy! Once I start making some real money,I can pay Terrence his money back. And a divorce…annulment,yeah that’s what we need! We haven’t been married long anyway. I wiped the tears that had formed in the corner of my eyes and looked around the room. Great his bedroom.[_ I wonder just how many women have had the the pleasure of laying with Terrence Hill in this big ass king sized bed? This looks like a man whores bedroom!_] I thought looking at the huge king sized bed with a high, quilted black leather headboard. The room was decorated in black,gray and accented with hints of red and silver. Clean and immaculate.

I walked into his bathroom to take a look at myself. Just as I suspected, I looked a hot ass mess. I’m going to need a more expensive mascara! I turned on the water and splashed some cold water on my face. Terrence’s bathroom was gorgeous,his and her sinks, a stand alone shower along with a huge garden tub. How many women has he had laid out in that tub?[_ Stop it Dana! You have no right to question a damn thing about what Terrence has done in the past especially given the fact you just told his ass you want a damn divorce._]

[ * * ]

20. You Belong To Me

Terrence

I sat on the couch speechless. What in the fuck? Divorce my ass. I’m damn sure going to handle Tamera running her damn mouth about shit she has nothing to do with but I guess right now I have a blushing bride on my hands right now. I don’t want anything ruining our first night together. So let me get my ass up and go in here and talk to this crazy girl. I thought laughing inside.

I walked to my bedroom door and knocked.

After waiting several seconds with no response I just walked in,hell this is my spot, what the hell am I knocking for? I walked towards the bathroom door and walked inside.

“ Don’t you know how to knock Terrence?” Dana asked wiping her eyes.

I walked over to the sink and leaned against it staring at her. The last thing I’d expected on our first real night together  in our own home was for us to be arguing.

“ What are the tears about Dana?” I asked reaching out  and pulling her between my long legs. Dana tried to resist but I was having none of that.

“ Am I doing something to upset you? I didn’t think I was but evidently I’m saying or doing something to upset my wife and that’s not my intention.” I said running a finger down her tear stained cheek.

“ Talk to me baby. I’ve waited months to be with you. I thought you felt the same way, but your whole reaction to me being home is saying something else. Tell me what I’m doing wrong? What I gotta do to make my wife happy?”

Dana hung her head in shame. They’d waited all these months for this very day and here she was ruining it over nothing.

“ You just did. I’m sorry, I just let my insecurities get the best of me concerning you.” Dana said wiping her face as she took a deep breath.

“ You’re my wife Dana. You belong to me and with me. It doesn’t matter how we began. All that matters is where we’re going. You don’t have anything to be insecure about. I wasn’t one of those locked up niggas talking to all kinda women because I was bored,needed money on my books or just was lonely.

I was seeing someone when I got locked up but I ended it. I even stopped her from visiting. Now Dana I’m not gonna lie to you, I did my thing out here two years ago. I’ve had my fair share of women. But there ain’t gonna be no woman out here that can step to you and tell you anything about your man…your husband is that clear? I’m your man. I belong to only you. A lot of shit is going to be happening for us. It’s already in motion but I wanted a Queen by my side and when I saw you I just knew you had the potential to be that for me. I know we’re still getting to know each other but I need you to trust I ain’t gonna do you dirty.”

As crazy as it was Dana believed every word coming out of his mouth but he and Tamera were close. Why would she just make those type of comments about him? I also trusted Tamera so why would she try and hurt me?

“ I know that you and Tamera are close Terrence, why does she seem to think you’re just out there in regards to women?”

“ What has she said?” I asked, my eyebrow raised.

Dana ran her hand nervously through her hair. The last thing she wanted to do was cause problems between Terrence and his sister,but this was her marriage on the line.

“ You know what Terrence never mind. I think she just makes comments about you not caring what I do because she doesn’t know. You don’t talk to her about me so she just feels like we just have this contract. Like you’re just keeping track of me for money. I think we just all need to get together. I’m still not really speaking to my father much but I do want you to meet him, I barely know your mother,  you have to meet Tamera’s boyfriend Cordell….,”

“ What the fuck did you say? Who did you just say is Tamera’s man?”I asked my eyes flashing fire. I knew my tone was harsh but I couldn’t believe what I’d just heard. Surely I’d just mis-heard.

“ His name is Cordell. Do you know him?”

“ Yeah  I know that nigga. Look I’m done talking about other folks tonight. All I wanna do is concentrate on my beautiful bride.”

“ Well what do you want to do?”

“ That’s a for real question? Ya’ man been locked up for two years. I’m trying to make love to my wife. Oh! And I got you something too.” I said grabbing her hand and leading her to the kitchen. I picked up a manilla envelope and began trifling through some papers.

“Here you go.” I said handing them over to her.

“ What are these Terrence?”

“ Read it.” I said pulling out my wallet. “ I got this one done today.”

Oh my God, Dana though as read through the papers. Terrence had just handed her eight consecutive months worth of negative HIV test results. The paper from his wallet was the negative result from a rapid HIV test he’d taken earlier in the day.

“ Wow. Umm okay.”

“ I told you I ain’t trying to hurt you. In any way. I wanted you to know I’m clean. I ain’t been locked up fuckin’ men or no shit like that. I seen some crazy shit in there though. Any woman that fucks with a nigga out of jail without proof he’s clean is crazy as fuck. I seen some dudes I know of out on the streets and they straight bitches when they locked up and got women when they get out. So before I even met you I started paying for my own tests every month. I wanted to be able to show and prove when I got out shit. I got like a years worth in here if you wanna see them.  So,where my proof you been a good girl?” I asked grinning.

“ Are you serious? I don’t need any tests.”

“ Baby girl we all have a past. I should have asked you months ago to get tested too.”

“ I don’t need any tests. I’m…,well umm.” Dana stammered her voice growing so soft  I could barely hear her.

“ Speak up girl, I can’t hear you.”

“ Well umm, you just kinda assumed…, but  well, I’ve never been with anyone before.” Dana said quickly walking into the living-room, she kept her back to Terrence to hide her embarrassment. Dana had easily avoided it during their conjugal visit. We had physical contact yes and if Terrence had wanted to take things further he would have found out. Instead Terrence insisted on waiting until he was released. Any confession was avoided. Terrence wasn’t one of those type of men who sat on the phone wanting to talk about sex all those months. We had real conversations and had gotten to know each other. I knew that he probably assumed I was experienced, after all I was 22. Most women my age had been with multiple men by now but I’d never met a guy I really connected with before Terrence. Who would have ever thought the one man I wanted to be with more than anything would be a convict?  Now I felt silly and inexperienced. I wasn’t naïve by any means, I could only imagine how much sex he wanted after being locked up for two years.

“ Don’t look at me like that Terrence.”

“ How am I looking at you Dana?”

“ You’re looking at me like I’m some type of alien. I know I’m not like the women you’re used to being with but….,”

“ You’re not. That’s what I like that about you. I wouldn’t want my wife to act like some of the women I’ve been with in my past. The only thing on my mind right now is making your night special. Stop trying to fight with me Dana.” I walked over to the large bathtub and began running the water. Then I walked over to the sink and looked underneath until I came up with a bottle of scented bath oil. I hope this shit ain’t expired. The last thing I wanna do is give my wife a damn rash! I looked over the bottle and didn’t see an expiration date. After pouring some in the water I made my way back over to Dana,pulling her close to me.

[ * * ]

21. Make You Mine

Dana

I was so nervous I would put my hand on a stack of bibles that I heard my knees knocking together. Terrence pulled my shirt above my head and tossed it to the floor. Before I could fix my mouth to protest my bra was undone and his hand was already in the process of unzipping my jeans. I grabbed his hands and Terrence looked down at me.

“ You ain’t ready? It seems to me like you’ve been waiting for something special. Well this is it Dana,you must have been waiting to give everything you got to your husband. I’m here now and I want it all.” Terrence said kissing my collarbone.

I stepped out of my heels and removed my jeans and panties. Before I could change my mind I strode to the tub and slipped in letting the bubbles mask my nudity. Terrence undressed without saying a word never taking his eyes off of me. Damn this shit is crazy, I know we didn’t center our conversations around sex but I would have thought at some point she would have told me she was a virgin. I’m glad I didn’t do anything but give her some head on that visit, Terrence thought slipping in behind her, I damn sure wouldn’t have wanted my wife’s first time to have been behind bars.

“ I don’t want to disappoint you Terrence, I know you’re used to women with experience…,”

“ The only woman I want to be with is you. The only woman I’m thinking about is the one I married.” Terrence said kissing my neck. I could feel my body sag and relax against his broad chest.

Slowly, methodically, Terrence began kissing and nibbling on the sensitive flesh along my neckline. At the same time he raised me up so I was now sitting on his lap. Under the water his strong hands circled my waist and spread my thighs wide as he moved his hips, thrusting the shaft of his dick up against my swollen,needy pussy . I could feel Terrence snaking his dick inside me but he was so thick he was meeting resistance .I spread my legs a bit wider so that I could take more of him inside of me and whimpered at the sharp pain.

“ It’s okay baby, this is going to turn into a good kind of hurt. Just relax and breath. After this your pussy is going to mold to my dick.” Terrence whispered into my ear his voice ragged with need. From behind with one slow swift motion he pierced me by inch with the rest of his thick length. Terrence  picked up the pace as I moaned with a mixture of pain and pleasure, Terrence held my hips from behind and guided me along the length of his dick my own wetness and the warm water relaxed my muscles so that the pain was minimal, his hands caressing my breasts was an additional distraction.

Terrence pulled out of me and stood up.

“ Come on.” he said leading me to his large bed where I spread my legs and welcomed him again. The following morning I laid there exhausted. It felt like Terrence had worked over every muscle in my body. Twice. DAMN! I guess there was something to be said for having sex with a man fresh out of jail. We’d gone three more rounds during the night, Id barely slept a wink. I turned to look at Terrence who was knocked out with his heavily muscled arm sprawled across my chest. I eased myself from under him and slid out of the bed. Standing and stretching my sore body I made my way into the shower. I stood under the steaming water,flashbacks of the last few hours flooding my mind. I can’t believe this! I’m actually married?

When I’d gone through with the marriage yes I knew in the eyes of the law I was married but he was here now. I could, touch him, talk to him anytime I wanted to along with a hundred other tiny details I’d never given much thought to. We’d cultivated a relationship through phone calls and weekend visits but would the connection I felt we had translate into every day life? We’d definitely connected sexually. Our marriage had finally been consummated but we’d need more than that in order to make this marriage last that’s for sure.

I turned off the shower and went about getting dressed as quietly as possible. Terrence had spoiled me rotten the entire night with dinner served amongst other things. So before I got ready to leave for classes this morning I wanted to spoil him with breakfast in bed. What I really wanted to do was throw the rest of my weekend away and crawl back into the bed with my husband but I knew that was impossible. Terrence tried to coax me into at least staying home today but I had too much to do. We discussed what he wanted to do for work and Terrence was still pretty tight lipped about it. I definitely didn’t want to make him feel as if I was pressuring him. Especially since he’d been taking care of me financially since the day we’d married. Even from behind bars. But I knew that even though he may have been out of jail,Terrence still had a year of probation to complete until he was completely in the clear.  I didn’t want anything messing that up for him. For us. I had no idea exactly how much money he had but looking around Terrence’s condominium, it was evident he had plenty. I still needed to know what his plans were. The last thing I want is to be caught up in anything Terrence had going on in his past. I want all that to stay right there. In the past.

Terrence stirred in the bed but didn’t wake. I grabbed my cell phone,closed the door slightly and made my way down the hall to the kitchen. What in the hell? Ten missed calls from Tamera. What in the world does she have to talk about so bad? I pressed the number to call her back.

“ It’s about time you answer your phone! I’ve called you about twenty times since last night!” Tamera huffed into the phone having picked up on the first ring.

“ Stop lying. You called ten times not twenty I can see it on my caller I.D. Fool.” I said laughing.

“ Well it seemed like twenty! Where’s my brother?”

“ Knocked out girl. I’m going to get him up soon. I’m about to whip him up a little breakfast.”

“ Look at your ass over there all domesticated and shit.”

“ Well I actually do know how to cook you know. I just never really had a reason too. Now I do.” I said smiling. “ I’ll have him call you as soon as he gets up.”

“ Please do because we have some family business to discuss. I really need him to come over this evening.” Tamera said suddenly serious.

“ Okay. I’ll have him call you as soon as he’s gets up. So are you doing any work on your project today? I know it’s the weekend and we all need a break, I just feel like I can’t take a day off until after this show is done. I’m meeting my two models today. This weekend was the only time they were available for fittings and everything.” Worry creeping into my voice. I was one of the top students in my class, all of my teachers were positive they’d see my designs on the runways soon. I was ecstatic over the reviews my designs had received thus far but I didn’t want to take anything for granted. My class was full of talented designers all of whom had a chance to wow potential buyers at the Parsons grand finale fashion show. The graduating class put the show on every year comprised of the outgoing classes designs.

“ Dana if I’m relaxing this weekend, surely you can. You have this show in the bag. Honestly I think you’re over-thinking the designs.” Tamera said exasperated by the entire topic. All Dana talked about was this damn fashion show as if she had anything to worry about. Personally she’d been questioning her decision . Design was highly competitive. Maybe she’d extend another year and get another major under her belt?

“ Okay Dana I’ll talk to you later.”

“ Bye Tamera.”

I hung up the phone a little disturbed. Tamera made a point to say she had family business to discuss with Terrence…didn’t Tamera realize I was family now too? This heffa acts like she can’t even relay the damn message to me. Maybe I’m just over analyzing the whole thing. I spent the next half hour preparing homemade french toast,eggs and bacon for my husband. Once it was all complete,I began plating all of the steaming hot food on plates.

[ * * ]

22. Worth Waking Up Too

Terrence

I was awakened by the smell of bacon wafting up the stairs. My wife is in the kitchen cooking and the sex last night was just…damn! It was well worth the wait,I thought smiling as I finished brushing my teeth and washing my face.

“ Baby come eat! I was trying to surprise you.” Dana said smiling as she set the tray on the bed.

“ Shit, you know bacon can wake a damn vegetarian up out of their sleep.” I said leaning down to kiss her lips and sitting on the bed.

“ Thank you baby this looks good.”I said dipping a thick piece of french toast into the thick maple syrup and stuffing my mouth.

“ It’s the least I could do. You’ve been so good to me Terrence. I owe everything to you right now” Dana said gazing at me. “ Anyway, eat up. I did this for you. I never pay this much attention to my meals when it’s just me.”

“ Damn girl, I hope you ready to change that. I mean I ain’t trying to have you in the kitchen all the time but a brotha like me does like a home cooked meal every now and then.”

“ So do I! You better know how to get in here and cook for me too.”Dana smiled, “ Tamera called not too long ago she said she needs to talk to you about some family business. I told her I’d tell you as soon as you woke up.”

“ Well what is it?”

“ I don’t know. She said family business.”

“ You’re my wife Dana, you are family. You’re my business and I’m yours. When you want to know something baby feel free to ask. I don’t have any secrets from you. Are there things we just haven’t discussed due to our circumstances? Yes. Secrets no. I’ll call her though. I know my sister and I’m sure it’s nothing as dramatic as she’s making it out to be.” I said reaching for my phone and placing it on speaker.

“ I’ll get dressed while you talk.”

“ Stay right here.” I said motioning for Dana to sit down.

“ Hey big brother!” Tamera said excitedly.

“ Hey what’s up? Dana just told me you called. What’s up?”

“ Well I just wanted to know when you were coming by? I wanted to call mom so we can all get together as a family. I also wanted to talk to you about this property I saw online in Manhattan. I figure if you just pay a year upfront with my half of the rent it I should be good…,”

“ Hold on now, who told you I was paying some rent in Manhattan? I don’t even know what you’re talking about?”

“ Well Dana and I planned on moving to Manhattan after graduation so I’ve been looking for places. You cover the rent for me here so what’s the difference with you paying it in Manhattan?” Tamera asked attitude creeping into her voice.

I ran my hand over my face and cocked my eyebrow as I turned to look at Dana. [_When the fuck was my wife going to tell me she was moving to Manhattan? _]

“ Well my wife and I need to discuss this move. But whether she decides to go through with a move or not, I have no intentions of continuing to support you…or mom. This is actually what I was going to talk to you and mom about in person, but since it’s come up, I don’t have a problem addressing the situation now. I did as much for you as I could to help you get through school. Next week when you walk across that stage with your diploma, I’m done. It’s time for you to stand on your own two feet baby sister.”

“ What? How am I supposed to take care of myself Terrence?”

“ The same way everyone else does. Your ass need to get a damn job. Stop all that damn shopping. My lifestyle is changing and I’m not going to be supporting two and three households. I’m going to support one for a change. My own.”

Even though they were married,Dana couldn’t help but feel uncomfortable listening to the exchange going on between Terrence and Tamera.

“ You would have never said this to me months ago. It seems like every since you did this fake marriage with Dana you’ve been cutting me off. It was just a suspicion before but I see it’s true.”

“ Tamera, I’ve been telling you since I got locked up that once I was out, things were going to change…and what’s this I hear about you seeing Cordell? The same nigga I got locked up behind you fuckin’ with? You gaping your leg open for a nigga that was stalking you? Putting his damn hands on you? Or was that just some shit you lied and told me? Since you obviously ain’t scared of the niggas dick.” I yelled.

“ Oh is that what this is about? Cordell? Why is Dana over there telling my business anyways? She needs to mind her own goddamn business. If it wasn’t for me she wouldn’t even be graduating next week. Broke ass.”

As mad as I was at her I couldn’t help but laugh.

“ If it wasn’t for me,your ass wouldn’t be graduating next week. So who you calling broke? You ain’t in no better position that she was. I suspect you still ain’t from the bank notices and fees. I’ve been looking at that shit and paying fees for the last two years every time my lawyer brought my personal mail for me to look at. So I suggest you shut your fuckin’ mouth talking about my wife.” I said. I knew my voice was so calm it was scary.

“ Okay then Terrence. When are you coming over so I can make sure mama is here?” Tamera said suddenly sounding meek. I knew that shit was fake as hell. Tamera is my sister but I know she’s as ratchet as they come even though I’d tried to shield her as much as I could.

“ She don’t come home every night?”

“ No. You know she still hang out with Mr. Curtis and all her other drinking buddies.”

“ Ummhmm. Make sure she’s there. It’s a whole lot of shit about to change in that house. If you think it may take you a minute to find work, I have a solution for you so it’s not that big of a deal but we’ll go over the details when I see you.” I said before hanging up.

[ * * ]

23. These Hoes Ain’t Loyal. Even If The Hoe Is Your Sister.

Tamera

Goddamn this nigga taste good! I thought to myself as I took Cordell’s dick so deep down my throat his long,slim dick was touching my tonsils.

“ Take this dick bitch.” Cordell said shoving his dick aggressively down my throat. I began to choke a little and grabbed his hips to pull back. Cordell yanked my head back and tears smarted my eyes. What the hell was he doing? Cordell pulled his dick out of my mouth slapped me across the face with his long dick and flipped me over on my stomach. Cordell drew my hips up and shoved his dick inside me. I took it like a champ. Cordell liked it rough sometimes and I didn’t want him to think I was complaining. The  minute a nigga thought you were complaining he started looking for the next bitch who was willing to give him what he wanted. Besides, I wanted Cordell in a good mood because I had to talk to him about Terrence.

I walked into my bedroom after taking a shower and Cordell was in the bed smoking a blunt.

“ Baby we need to talk.”

“ Oh yeah? About what?” Cordell asked through a thick haze of smoke. I took the blunt from him a took a few tokes of it myself. I needed something to calm my nerves after all the shit Terrence said earlier and now Cordell.

“ Well I already told you Terrence came home early so you know what that mean….,”

Cordell sat up straight in the bed.

“ No, what the fuck does it mean Tamera? Look don’t start no shit with me today. I ain’t in the mood.” he said cutting his eyes at me.

I know I don’t detect an attitude in this niggas voice?

“ It means you need to find you somewhere to stay…today. Terrence is going to be coming over here and he can not find you here. That messes shit up for me. Besides it ain’t like you live here. Just pack your stuff up and take it back over to your mama’s house!” I said crossing my arms.

“ How the fuck I don’t stay here? I give you money….when I got it. I sleep here every fuckin’ night. I see you on that same bullshit Tamera. When you gon’ stand up to your brother and let him know you fuck with me? When he find out what  liar your ass is that’s when he’s really gonna cut your ass off.” Cordell spat.

“ Whatever nigga. Just get this little bit of shit you got over here and leave. When you making enough money to keep me in the lifestyle my brother does then we can talk. Until then you ain’t talking about nothing around here. Now hurry up because he’ll be here soon.” I said walking into my closet to find something to wear for the day. My mind ran to Dana’s ass too. That bitch got her nerve running and telling my business!

Seems to me like she’s taking this little marriage thing a little too far. And what I will not have is Dana thinking she can come between my brother and I.

[ * * ]

24. The Terrible Two’s

Dana

Two Months Later

I started to panic for a moment then my feelings shifted and I was pissed! Now wait a damn minute…didn’t I tell Terrence I would call his ass? He’s got me fucked up if he thinks given the argument we just had and him telling me to “stay out of his business” he can just show up here. This is my place. I wrapped my robe around myself tightly,ran my fingers through my hair and marched down the steps towards the door. Janay’s eyes were bucked at the state of her roommate.

“ Lord have mercy this bougie ass girl has lost her damn mind!” They better not bring that bullshit in here,shit I’m trying to sleep,Janay thought heading towards the stairs to her bedroom.

I marched over to the sleek,black car and banged on the window. The window slowly rolled down until I was looking to the chocolate brown eyes of my husband.

He grinned at me “ I mean that outfit wasn’t really what I was expecting you to wear for our brunch date but do you baby. I’ll shut the whole restaurant down for you so you can walk around in your robe and slippers. It ain’t no big ooo-wee to me.”

I wanted to burst out laughing but contained myself. I was mad as hell with Terrence. The last two months hadn’t gone as smoothly as I’d thought between arguing with Tamera and just adjusting to being married period. I was not happy. A week ago I’d just made the decision to move back in with Janay for awhile.

I wasn’t standing outside in my robe for shits and giggles. I needed Terrence to know he wasn’t running shit. At least not with me his ass wasn’t. Terrence hadn’t been out but a month or so but the other side of his personality was showing itself. If I was honest with myself I found it a little exciting but the rational side of my brain knew I needed to be careful.

“ Look Terrence what are you doing here? I do not appreciate the way you spoke to me last night. You can’t just show up here like everything is fine after what you said to me. How the hell did you get my address anyway? I never even gave it to you and when I wrote you letters I used my post office box. So where do you get off just showing up at my home unannounced like you running the damn show? Last night you acted like you didn’t even know you were a married man. So what the hell do you want with a wife today?” I asked folding my arms across my chest and cutting my eyes at him.

Terrence sat a little further back in plush seat of the car so Dana wouldn’t see the immediate disdain etched over his handsome face. This marriage shit was taking a little longer to get used to than he had imagined. He wasn’t used to being loud talked and questioned by a woman.  Let alone a from a woman he called his wife. Especially after he’d gone to so much effort to impress her to the tune of $5,000 in designer roses? Some of these basic bitches out here didn’t even know black roses actually existed and Dana had a dozen sitting in her home right now courtesy of him.

Women in every borough in New York vied for his attention on a daily basis before he got locked up and in the eight weeks since he’d been released, hadn’t shit about that changed. The one time he wanted to settle down and do right by a woman, hadn’t made her a “ wifey” but an actual wife and she had the nerve to call herself leaving him?

Terrence opened the door to the car and stepped out. Terrence leaned against the car looking down at her. Dana had come out the house in her robe and slippers and was still fine as hell.

I had to step back real fast for fear of all my resolve dissolving within seconds in regards to Terrence. He had quickly become an addiction to me. These past few nights sleeping without him had began to take it’s toll on me. The warm earthy scent of his cologne was making it’s quick ascent to my nostrils and I was a sucker for a nice smelling man. Especially this man. Smooth,brown skin…and to top it off, I’d swear he was smiling at me on purpose just to tempt me into going back home with him but I wasn’t. I was staying at my old place with Janay until he made up his mind to do right by me.

“ Please accept my apology for being presumptuous…”Terrence started in his rich,deep baritone voice. “ …I found out where you stayed though Tamera,so it wasn’t too hard to get the information. As for the roses,I can see you’re different but most women do like roses, I simply sent every color just to make sure one of them was to your liking. I was only trying to do something nice for my wife but it’s evident to me you don’t appreciate shit. So my apologies. I’ll leave you to your day.” Terrence said getting back in his car. Seconds later the car took off down the street.

I stood there looking after the car. Damn! I hadn’t necessarily meant to run my husband off. I just wanted him to know he couldn’t be doing no drive-bys on me. I walked back in the house to Janay’s disapproving stare.

“ I thought you said you were going to lay down?” I said cutting my eyes at her. The last thing I needed right now was a lecture from her. Janay had quickly become a part of Terrence’s fan club. Janay thought he could do no wrong especially since two months ago when he came home,he paid her for my portion of the rent. Janay got a years worth of rent out of him. She was happy because for the next year she didn’t even have to worry about replacing me as a roommate. Not that she really worried about that anyway. Janay had inherited the apartment when her grandmother who raised her had passed away.

“ Now you went and sent your husband away after all of this…,” Janay said opening her arms up in a sweeping gesture of the room filled with fragrant roses “ ….to sit around and mope?  Look you the one who made the choice to get married to a man that was locked up. Y’all are just getting to know each other. I’m no expert but to me at least the man is trying.”

I sat down on the couch and sighed.

“ Janay it’s not even about that. I didn’t exactly send him away…he left. I did let him know he couldn’t just come tracking me down and showing up on my door-step unannounced! He doesn’t know me like that. Janay this whole club business has changed him.” I said my voice breaking,tears sliding down my face. As hard as I tried to be optimistic about my situation with Terrence the truth of the matter was it looked bleak. I’d wracked my brain trying to figure out why Terrence had turned. I just thought once he was released he would want to dedicate some time to getting our marriage off the ground but instead it was the exact opposite. Terrence had thrown every ounce of his energy into making his club one of the hottest in the city.

Hell I hadn’t even known he owned a club. Not once in all those months did Terrence tell me he owned Club Taboo one of the hottest clubs in the city. Tamera didn’t even know. I’d heard of it though because Tamera had tried to get into it several times and hadn’t been able to get in. She had been looking for hook-ups into the place for at least six months. Then come to find out her brother owned the place.

“ Whatever is going to happen with Terrence and I is going to happen Janay. I’m tired of worrying about it. I love him but at the rate things are going now, I’m just wondering if our paths are going in two separate directions right now.  Terrence is throwing himself into his club right now and I need to do the same. The past two months since graduation I’ve gone totally off track with my own plans. I need to get back to me.” I said walking towards the stairs before she could reply. I walked into my room and shut the door.

I stood looking in the mirror several moments before walking to my nightstand to grab my cellphone to call Terrence. The phone rang several time before he answered.

“ This is Terrence.”

“ Hey Terrence it’s me…,look about earlier.”

“ We don’t need to discuss earlier. You ain’t feeling me. You don’t wanna be married to me anymore I get it. I thought we had something special but I guess I was wrong. You just needed some money, I supplied it for you. It is what it is.”

My heart sank. Why was he trying to make it seem like that’s all I was out for?

“ Terrence please don’t make it seem like that. You know that’s not true. You’re the one acting like you don’t want to be married. Telling me shit is none of my business. And who the hell was that bitch all over you last night at the club?” I  said my voice rising. I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to say to him but damn if this conversation wasn’t going the wrong way.

[ * * ]

25. Finding Our Way

Terrence

I tossed my cell on my desk, kicked my feet up and smiled. I don’t know what made Dana call me so fast but I was glad she did. One thing I’d come to know about Dana was that she was stubborn. I also know she loves me. I didn’t have a doubt in my mind that her heart was with me. Even though we’d never spoken the words to each other. I mean she slipped up and said it once but I know she does. I can feel it every time we speak, the way she looks at me when she doesn’t know I’m aware. I feel like you gotta be in love to make love. So every time I’ve laid between my wife’s legs I’ve been making love to her. Even if it felt like straight fuckin’. I just got something holding me back from saying the words and I don’t quite know why. I heard a buzz and looked up at the security screen to see my right hand man Latrell at my office door. I buzzed him in.

“ What’s up nigga?”

“ Not a damn thing. Just been making sure shit is straight for these three V.I.P parties going on tonight.”

“ Everything cool ?” Terrence asked.

“ You already know it is nigga.”

“ Cool. All right nigga I need to get these papers signed before Aprils little short ass tries to kill me, I was up early trying to get into something but that shit didn’t work out so I’m spending the rest of the afternoon working. Anything come up handle it unless you really need me.” Terrence said as Latrell rose and walked to the door.

[ * * ]

26. Backstabbers

Tamera

Camyrn and I had just settled down at our table at Amy Ruths. I was starving. It seemed like I hadn’t eaten a nice meal in ages. Hell “ seemed” was an understatement. I hadn’t. I’d been too busy the last two months working my fuckin’ ass off. Two months ago Terrence had brought his ass over to the house and informed me that after graduation  I would have to get a job to maintain myself. After graduation my monthly stipend was cut off. He offered me a job in his club…the hottest club in Brooklyn, that I wasn’t even aware he owned. Did this negro know just how many times I’d tried to get into Club Taboo and had been turned away? I should have been walking up in that bitch like royalty!

Now I get to go in there every goddamn night. To serve drinks to other muthafuckas. I was beyond livid. Terrence is my brother! If I had to work I was at least expecting him to make me a damn manger! Head bartender or something. But a server? I had to rely on tips just to pay my lights and water. It was unfair. Terrence felt like he was helping me out since I didn’t have to pay any rent.

I tried to talk up on some change with Cordell but I guess he was holding a grudge because of how I had put him out but what was I supposed to do? If Terrence had come over and found Cordell there it would have been major trouble for me. Then to add insult to injury there was Dana.

A few months ago she’d come to my house not knowing what her next move was going to be. Not a dime to her name to even finish up her degree and who had went to bat for her with my brother? ME. Now this hoe laid up in my brothers house without a care in the world? Was she at the club seven nights a week serving drunk muthafuckas? No. What she was doing was walking her ass right up to the goddamn VIP with my brother.

I didn’t like that shit. I didn’t like that shit at all.

Which was exactly why I’d called Camyrn to come have lunch with me today. I knew her hungry ass would be willing to come eat. And discuss getting back together with my brother. With a little help from me of course.

“ So I was surprised to hear from you Tamera.” Camyrn said looking at me coyly.

If I didn’t know the bitch loved cocking her legs up to my brother I would swear the bitch was flirting with me. This hoe better save that sweet tone for somebody else.

“ Girl you know I’ve always liked you. But you know how my brother is. His business is his alone. Terrence doesn’t really like me talking too much to his women. Besides I liked you so I knew the only way to keep you around a little longer would be to play it cool. You always been my girl though. Which leads me to why I asked you here.”

The waitress interrupted us to take our orders. I was glad to see her ass too.

“ I’ll have a side of collard greens, candied yams and give me the Gabrielle Union fried ( pork chops ) and a sweet tea. Thanks.” I said closing my menu and handing it back to her as she took Camyrn’s order.

“ Look Cam, the long and short of it is this. My brothers wife is no good for him…,”

Camyrn’s eyes bucked.

“ Hold up did you say wife? You mean he really is married? I just knew that shit was a nasty rumor! I can’t believe this shit. As long as we were together? I stood by his ass when he got locked up and then he just tossed me away like trash? Oh I am too through.” Camyrn spat.

“ That’s because Dana was sniffing around your man. If I had known what she was up to sooner I sure would have tried to warn you girl. This girl is just doing the most and it’s time to get her away from my brother. All she’s doing is spending his money and word on the street she’s creeping too? What kind of sister would I be to let some shit like this go on under my brothers nose?” I asked sucking my teeth.

Camyrn looked at me skeptically.

“ If she’s this bad I highly doubt your brother is putting up with that bullshit Tamera.”

“ Girl the nigga is sprung! His ass been locked up just shy of two years. He was lonely as fuck and she preyed on my brother. Look I probably shouldn’t even say this but since we’re here and I’m confiding in you and all let me just lay it all on the line. Terrence had just started talking about you again too.”

“ What do you mean?” Camyrn asked leaning in close.

“ Girl he said he regretted running you off. He said he never wanted to let you go but he didn’t think it was fair to have you waiting two years for him. Terrence loves you. He just didn’t want to hold you back.” I said looking at her with my eyes full of sympathy at her lost love. At least I hope that’s what the fuck I looked like!

“ I knew it !” Camyrn yelped loudly “ I knew that nigga loved me!”

“ Ooohh speak of the Devil and she shall appear. There goes my sister-in-law right there.” I said as I watched Dana walk into Amy Ruths. It was obvious she hadn’t seen me or I know she would have come over. Dana had been leaving messages with me for weeks for us to get together but I just refused. Something about how this whole situation with my brother had played out just didn’t sit right with me and I knew Dana had something to do with it. But I had something for her ass. My brother too.

I honestly felt like everything Terrence was doing to me, his negativity and wanting me to work all of a sudden was her doing. Before he married her he wasn’t talking all this craziness. So the only logical conclusion I could draw was that this was Dana’s doing. The bitch had me struggling while she was on easy street.

I was green with envy as I watched her breeze to the counter without a care in the world. Dana had on a bad ass maxi dress I’d never seen anywhere before so I knew she had to have designed it herself. Dana rarely wore anything off the rack and with my brothers money behind her she could shop anywhere. Dana preferred wearing her own designs as much as possible. I could see the cashier walking from around the counter and placing a large to-go bag in her hand. I turned  my head. I didn’t even want to look at her ass.

“ Tamera? You didn’t see me over there? You weren’t going to speak? I’ve been trying to reach you for days. Why haven’t you returned any of my calls?” Dana asked.

Uggh. Here this bitch go.

“ Dana I’ve been busy. Some of us have to work to survive. If I don’t work ,I don’t eat.” I said rolling my eyes. Dana looked taken aback at my statement.

“ Dana this is Camyrn, Camyrn, this is my sister-in-law Dana Majors.”

I intentionally called her by her maiden name just to fuck with her ass.

[ * * ]

27.  Sister-in-law or Sister-in-War ?

Dana

I didn’t know what the hell was going on with Tamera but I’d put up with two months of her bullshit and I’ve officially had enough. Tamera was the one who introduced me to Terrence. I never asked to meet him. Tamera was the main one egging me on to go ahead and marry him. The fucked up part is that she seemed well and content for us to be together when she thought I was just getting money from him for tuition but when our relationship became more Tamera completely turned on me.

I couldn’t understand why. I already knew Tamera was selfish but she was always fun to hang around and seemed to have the same fashion goals as me. At least that’s the way she came off. I knew Tamera was mad about having to get a job but what could I do about that? Tamera’s ass should have been grateful to me that she still was living in her place rent free. Thanks to me, because Terrence damn sure wanted to put that place on the market and get rid of it. I’d literally begged him not to do it and he’d finally given in to me.

Now here her ass sat calling me some Dana Majors? Yes that’s my birth name but bitch my name is Dana Hill now. Just like hers whether Tamera liked it or not.

“ Actually I go by my husbands last name. So it’s Dana Hill.” I said smiling widely at Tamera as I extended my hand to her friend who left me hanging.

I ain’t got time for this shit.

“ Anyways ladies, it’s been real but I need to get to my husband. Enjoy your lunch.” I said turning on my heel and walking out of the restaurant. Tamera could sit there bitter as fuck if she wanted to that was her business. One thing was perfectly clear to me though. Our friendship was over. I wasn’t going to waste a minute more of my time dwelling on exactly what went wrong in our friendship. I know the problem was that I had the sister-in-law from hell. And this hoe sitting with her ?With her double d titties stuffed into that too little top, fake eyelashes that looked like tarantulas sitting on top of her goddamn eyes and an entire tube of lip gloss on her lips. She can jump off the Brooklyn bridge right along with Tamera.

I had more important things on my agenda. Like moving back into the house with my husband and telling him I loved him. I’d picked up all his favorite soul foods from his favorite spot in Harlem and I was going to meet him up at the club to try and fix what was broken in our marriage.

I stepped into the cab and gave him the address to Terrence’s club.

“ Wow! What ever you have in the bag smells great!” the cab driver called back to me.

“ It sure does. I just picked up dinner for my husband.” I said smiling at the thought of Terrence. I hadn’t been able to stop thinking about him since he’d left Janay’s place angry with me earlier.

“ That’s real nice of you lady! You must be newlyweds huh?  After 16 years my wife doesn’t give a shit if I have a hot meal or not. So you keep that up. You’ll have one happy man on your hands.” he said adamantly.

“ Thanks for the advice.” I said smiling inside. My marriage wasn’t going to fail and if I had to take the first step to make it happen that’s what I would do. My cellphone rang and I dug around in my purse to find it. My heart practically thudded out of my chest at the sight of Terrence’s name.

“ Hello?” I answered eagerly.

“ Where you at?”

“ Hello to you too Terrence. I’m just leaving Harlem. I’m on my way to see you. I’m bringing dinner to you.”

“ Oh yeah? What has you being so nice all of a sudden? This morning you couldn’t stand the sight of me.”

“ That’s not true Terrence. There’s a lot I need to say to you but let’s just wait until I get there. I miss you and I plan on coming home tonight. If you want me there.” I said.

“ No doubt. I’ve been worried about you being away from me.” Terrence said. I broke into a smile because I could hear the relief in his voice.

“ I’ve been fine Terrence. Janay’s neighborhood isn’t bad. I lived there without any incidents long before I even met you. Besides, I have my “Little Girl” with me. So if anything jumps off I’m covered.”

Terrence laughed.

“ Good looking out. I’ll see you when you get here. Have someone page me when you get here. Let me get off this phone and go handle a few things before you get here and Dana…,”

“ Yes?”

“ I’m glad you’re coming home.”

Terrence and I ended our call and I opened my purse to slip my phone back in. I smiled as I caught a glance of my pink handled nine millimeter hand gun Terrence had nicknamed “ Little Girl”. As soon as Terrence got home he insisted I learn how to shoot. Going to the range for me to practice had become one of our favorite past times and I had to admit, I was a pretty good shot.

[ * * ]

28. My Heart Is In Your Hands

Terrence

I flipped through my phone looking at a few pictures I had of Dana. Baby girl was finally bringing her ass back home. I was happy as hell. I hadn’t wanted to admit how bad I felt about her being gone but I missed her like crazy. I couldn’t even sleep good at night without her by my side.

“ Aye Latrell.” I said waving  Latrell  over.

“ What’s going on man?”

“ Look I forgot to tell you, met this fine ass female last night and she’s coming tonight too, I want to get a picture of her. I’ll stand her under camera 16 so you can get a clear shot. Simone Lloyd is her name. I know a few small basics about her but when I hit you up tomorrow matter… of fact find it out sooner if you can like tonight. I wanna know everything about her ass you feel me? I think it’s funny she’s been posting up in here lately and I wanna know why.” I said.

“ What do you think is going on?” Latrell asked confused.

“ Man you know shit was cool when I walked away from Jamel but they wanted to use my spot to sell. I ain’t with that shit. My spot is strictly legit but I think they may be sending females in here to do that shit anyway. This Simone chick was just a little to friendly for my tastes so I wanna have her checked out. She also caused a little drama between my wife and I but we’re going to settle that.

It wasn’t too often I took an interest in a female off the bat like this I never had too. Besides the only woman holding my attention was my wife. Women made it a point to try and be in my presence but this female with the soft brown eyes had caught his attention when I passed her in the line yesterday. I already knew she’s a liar. She know damn well she wasn’t on no damn V.I.P list. That was something people lied about all the time though.[_ Let me check her ass out though just so I know who the fuck I’m dealing with. I know one thing, no one better be selling drugs out of my fuckin’ club._]

Latrell had already gone to the security room to get camera 16 ready. My entire club had an airtight security system you couldn’t even shit without being watched in my club. You could walk your ass in Club Taboo and get your drink and your two-step on if you wanted too but the inner workings of my club ran deep. You couldn’t step foot in my club and make a deal without me knowing. If a bitch walked in here with an 10 inch cocaine dildo stuffed up her pussy and took that bad boy out in my bathroom…you better believe I’m sending someone in there to get my cut just for violating.

If a nigga was handling business in the V.I.P room or my goddamn parking lot I had better be part of the conversation. That’s just the way it was. I had microphones placed strategically around the entire club and my sound technicians could take the music right out of the recording. Don’t shit get past Terrence Hill, I thought smiling.

I walked over to the bar where my manager April was sitting going over some paperwork.

“ What’s going on lady? How’s everything looking? Everyone pulling their weight around here?” I asked signaling the bartender Joy for my usual drink. Sprite on the rocks.

April sucked her teeth.

“ Well since you brought it up. The only employee I seem to be having a problem with is your sister. Tamera was supposed to be here over an hour ago to help prep for tonight but she hasn’t called or responded to my text messages and I know her ass got them. As you well know we have three private parties going on tonight.” April said throwing her pen down. “ All this does is add more work for everyone else and that shit ain’t fair.”

“ Damn why you ain’t said shit to me before now?” I asked taking a sip of my drink.

“ Because every time I say something to her, she makes it a point to let me know that she’s your sister , you ain’t gonna fire her and that if I keep saying something to her I may end up being the one without a job. Is that true?” April asked.

“ Hell no it ain’t true. Matter of fact let me handle this shit right now. I’m sorry you’ve been going through this but it’s partly your own fault. You should have come to me.” I said pulling out my cell phone.

“ I know Terrence but I’m a single mother with two little boys to take care of. I didn’t want to risk my job.”

“ You’ve done a hell of a job here. Your job was never at risk.” I said. I called Tamera’s phone and she picked up on the first ring.

“ Hey big brother!”

“ Hey. Weren’t you supposed to be at work an hour ago?”

“ I’m on my way in a few minutes. I’m finishing up my lunch date.”

“ How you on a lunch date and you’re scheduled to be at work? How about this. Take all the time you need on your lunch date Tamera. Don’t press yourself about getting here at all.”

“ Really! I can take the day off? I sure appreciate it. You just don’t know how I needed some time off  to myself.”

“ Oh you gon’ have plenty of time to yourself. You’re fired. Oh and you have 60 days to find somewhere to stay. Mama ain’t staying there anymore, you don’t want to do the basics, so I’m putting it on the market.”

WHAT! Just because I’m late today?”

“ No because you’re late a lot from my understanding. Also using the fact that I’m your brother to try and intimidate your manager? That ain’t the way we roll around here baby sis.. You obviously don’ want the job, I get it. It ain’t no big  oooo-wee. I just hope you put that fashion design degree I paid for to good use because you’re sure gonna need to provide for yourself.”

“ Terrence why are you doing me like this? I’m your sister! I’ve always been there for you and the minute you get home you wanna do me like this?”

“ Do you like what Tamera? Do you like the sister who I did almost two years for? You know what I now know? I now know that Cordell was never really doing shit to you like you claimed he was because if he was really stalking your ass, putting hands on you, there would be no way in hell you’d be fuckin’ that nigga. I found out all about it Tamera so don’t even twist your lips and try to deny it. Do you really think I didn’t do my homework? Hell the day I went to jail that nigga was up in my goddamn house. You’re lucky I’ve been this easy on your ass. After all I’ve done for you? I’ve been raising your black ass for years and that’s the level of loyalty I get from my own flesh and blood? I love you Tamera, but your ride on my back is over with. Let that nigga Cordell take care of your ass now. I gotta go.” I said hanging up the phone.

Just then Dana walked through the doors of the club. Dana was a sight for sore eyes. I immediately walked over and gave her a hug. She smelled delicious, like brown sugar and vanilla. I wanted to eat her up right on the spot.

“ I guess you missed me too huh? Dana said laughing as she ran her hands over my back.

“ You damn right I did.” I said grabbing her bag and leading her up to my office.

“ April if anyone comes for me or calls I’m busy for the next two hours.” I said walking towards the staircase Dana right beside me.

“ You got it boss.” April said turning back to her stack of paperwork.

[ * * ]

29. Right Where I Belong

Dana

We walked through the doors of Terrence’s office and I could feel my body coming alive just being near him . I turned around  and found him leaned against the door staring at me. I leaned against his desk looking at him hungrily.

“ I hope you’re hungry.”

“ I’m starving.” Terrence answered removing his snow white v-neck t-shirt and walking towards me. Slowly sliding the straps of my maxi dress down until  my breasts sprang free. Terrence slowly fondled and molded my breast together before placing a nipple in his mouth and slowly sucking until my nipples were hard and pebbled. He alternated between each breast,each second that passed made me grow wetter. Terrence slid the remainder of my dress and panties down to  a pool of ripped fabric at my feet. Terrence brought his hands back up to my perfectly trimmed mound. I could hear him groan low in his throat and his breath quickened.

“ Why are you so wet?”

“ Because my husband makes me this way.” I answered as I ground my pelvis into his hand and kissed him so I hard I felt like I was sucking out his soul. I wanted every part of this man inside of me. My entire being was in a frenzy to consume each and every part of him. I dropped to my knees quickly unbuckling his belt and pulling down his pants and boxers.

I gazed up at Terrence and licked her lips before circling the massive head of his dick. I firmly held his dick and licked along the length of his shaft and played with the head of his with my tongue. Meanwhile my hands were gently caressing his balls. I began sucking on his dick and was I wasn’t worried about gagging, my husbands dick was the one I’d ever sucked so any gag reflex I had was long gone. Terrence’s dick was huge and my mouth was small but I managed to deep throat all nine inches. Terrence rolled his eyes in pleasure and grabbed the back of my head guiding my mouth up and down his thickness. I increased my pace and sucked his dick faster gently massaging his tight balls. Terrence softly pushed me away and sat back in one of the wing-backed leather chairs at his desk. I straddled him, reached down and slid his dick up and down my pussy until he was coated in all my juices. Terrence groaned, reached up and ran his fingers through my hair, he tightened his grip and brought his lips to mine.

I slowly eased myself down on his dick. We were stared into each others eyes, I could feel myself falling more in love as every inch of him filled me. When I was balls deep,I finally exhaled and smiled at him. Then I began to ride mercilessly. I needed to make up for lost time. I bounced up and down,swiveled my hips in a circular motion and she gasped and moaned with pleasure and Terrence did the same. Terrence took hold of my hips and met me thrust for thrust. He felt incredible. I could feel my orgasm building and I leaned forward and ran my tongue over his ear, “Terrence I’m about to come. Fuck me harder ! Please fuck me harder! I begged” Terrence pulled out and flipped me over the chair sliding his thickness back into me giving me the pounding I’d begged him for.

I screamed out Terrence name as my body shook from an intense orgasm. Seconds later I heard a loud FUUUUCK! As Terrence shot his hot,creamy load inside of me. I buried my head in his neck and showered it with kisses. I sighed with contentment. We both sat in the chair cradling each other for another twenty minutes before  my stomach began grumbling.

“ Damn girl! You need to eat fast, stomach sounding like a goddamn bear growling RARRR!” Terrence said busting out laughing.

“ Shut up! I was already hungry when I got here. I was just more hungry for you than I was this food. And your crazy ass ripped my dress. What am I supposed to wear?” I said standing up to stretch. Terrence slapped me on the ass and walked into his bathroom to wash up.

“ Why don’t we just do a quick wash up, take this food home and then we can change and come  back?”

I stopped fiddling around with my torn dress. I could hear the water running in the bathroom through the open door.

“ Can’t you just come home tonight baby? I really want us to talk. I have things I need to say to you and I don’t want to rush….,”

Terrence walked out of the bathroom zipping up his pants.

“ Baby I know, I have some things I need to get of my chest with you too so we can get on track and move forward and if there was anything I could do to stay home with you tonight,please believe I’d do it but we got three private parties going on tonight. April is already short handed. I had to fire Tamera right before you came in….,”

“ What? You really let her go? What did she do?” I asked incredulously. I mean I knew he had some shit on his chest concerning his sister when he made her get a job in the first place but now he’d fired her? After the way she’d treated me though, I didn’t have a bit of sympathy for her ass. I knew she’d more than likely done something to deserve being fired.

“ I don’t even wanna talk about that bullshit. It had to be done. There are too many dependable people out here looking for a damn job especially one paying as much as I do. You would think she was over here making minimum wage they way she acted like she couldn’t come to work. Enough of that shit. Let me make a few calls while you use the restroom then we can go home for a little while.” Terrence said walking behind his desk and picking up the phone.

“ Okay baby.” I grabbed my purse to at least run a comb through my hair and fix my lipstick, I glanced down at my legs and giggled to myself, I’d never even removed my black Louboutins. I closed the door behind me so that I wouldn’t interfere with Terrence’s phone calls.

I suddenly heard yelling coming from the other side of the door. Damn who is he yelling at like that? I thought running my brush through my hair. The yelling became louder and something about the sound of Terrence’s voice wasn’t right. I quickly went into my purse and grabbed “ Little Girl” my pink nine millimeter. I slowly eased the bathroom door open my heart racing directly in front of me a man in a mask was pointing a gun directly in Terrence’s face and demanding money. I could hear Terrence trying to explain to the man that there was no money in his office. Something in me snapped. Seeing my husband defenseless when he was the strongest person I knew filled me with a range of emotions most of which I never knew I had inside of me. In three long silent strides the butt of my gun was pointed at his head.

I was shaking on the inside but my arm was steady and so was my voice.

“ The last thing I wanna do is take a black mans life but I swear before God if you don’t drop that muthafuckin’ gun you have pointed at my husband’s head I’ll blow your fucking head off.”

“ Bitch if you know what’s good for your ass you better get over there with that nigga and give me the money! I know it’s in here!” the masked man screamed before he made a sudden movement to try and grab my wrist and I made good on my threat.

I pulled the trigger and the man slumped to the floor. I stood there naked, splattered with his brains and blood all over me. I dropped my gun and began trembling.

“ Terrence I love you, I love you so much.” I stammered between sobs.

“ I love you too baby.” Terrence said quickly wrapping me up in his arms.

“ I love you, he was going to kill you. They’re going to lock me up Terrence. I’m going to jail.”

“ You’re not going to jail baby, I got you.”

Part 2 – The Finale Coming Soon!

Soul Cry Excerpt

[ * * ]

“ Let me tell you something about crazy people.

The sex is unbelievable.”

Amina

I stretched slowly and adjusted my eyes to the darkness of the room. My body felt like every inch of it had been worked over in the best possible way. I turned onto my back smiling and reached for Roderick but only found empty space. I raised to my elbows,looking around the dark room.

The scent of weed filled the air and I could see a slight glow from his blunt. I turned on  my nightstand lamp.

“ Why are you all the way over over there?” I asked.

“ No reason. Just thinking.”

I immediately got nervous. I could only imagine what he must think of me. I hadn’t known this man 24hrs and I’d just done things to him my ex-boyfriend of four years had begged me to do to him during our relationship. Did he think I was like this with every guy I met? That was far from the truth.

“ Come here.” he called from across the room. I swung my legs to the side of my bed and grabbed the sheet to wrap around my body.

“ It ain’t cold in here. You don’t need that sheet.” Roderick said reaching for an ashtray to lay down his blunt. Where did he even get that from? I don’t even smoke. Katrina does. Had he been all over our apartment while I’d been asleep? Damn. How long had I been out?

I made my way over to the chaise lounge I had in my bedroom where Roderick had made himself comfortable. I could feel myself begin to melt all over again as  I straddled his lap. His large hands gripped my ass pulling me in close to him, his soft lips latched onto my my now hardened nipples. I could feel myself beginning to drip in anticipation of having him buried deep inside of me once again. My hips began to swirl involuntarily in his lap. I could feel Roderick’s thick nine inches hardening beneath me. Our lips quickly found each other and we greedily licked and sucked at one another. I didn’t know what it was about this man but my new craving for him was insatiable.

“ Mmmm,Roderick…,” I moaned,he grabbed a fistful of my hair gently yanking it back so my neck was exposed as he ran his teeth and tongue down the length of my neck.

“ Why didn’t you wait?” Roderick hissed,his warm breath on my skin only heightened my growing,urgent need for him.

I continued grinding on his lap,my hand automatically reaching for his granite hard dick. The beautiful,bulbous head of his dick was poking out of the band of his boxers, resting against his hard abdomen glistening with the evidence of his arousal for me. I unconsciously licked my lips. My mind flashed to just hours ago when his thickness slid in and out of my throat. I wanted more of the salty,sweet taste of him. I couldn’t help but lick my lips. I wanted to taste him again. My body was on ten at the thought of his smooth head between my thighs again.

Before I knew what was happening, I was literally tossed off Roderick’s lap. The heat of his hands all over my body was replaced by cold air and he was standing over me glowering. His full lips pressed into a thin line of distaste.

“ You so ready to fuck you can’t answer my goddamn question?”

“ Wha…what?” I shook my head in confusion.

“ I asked why didn’t you wait?”

I felt like a pitcher of ice cold water had been thrown on me.

Why didn’t [I _]wait? Why the hell didn’t _he wait? Typical ass man. Trying to hold me to a different standard than him just because I’m a woman. I stood up from the chaise lounge to find something to put on. I definitely didn’t want to stand here arguing with him buck ass naked. My mind told me not to sleep with his ass and I should have listened! My stupid heart was the one telling me he was something special and to take a chance. I was in a state of pure shock. How dare he pull this shit. Roderick firmly took hold of my arm preventing me from leaving his side.

“ Stand your ass right here. It ain’t like you’re shy about being naked. It’s a little to late for that don’t you think.” he stated the venomous glare still in his eyes.

“ So what? You made the decision just like I did to have sex on the first night now all of a sudden I’m a hoe? A slut. Well you know what Roderick so are you!”

Roderick shook his head at me like I was some dumb child.

“ You would think I’m asking you something as simple as that wouldn’t you? I’ll bet money all you’ve dealt with are the kind of men that would ask you why you fucked on the first night huh? Better yet that boy. If you’re even telling the truth about only giving him the pussy. Amina do you think another man is going to make you feel like I make you feel? Don’t you realize you met the man for you yesterday? Me. I’m the man you should have waited for.” he asked pulling me closer to him placing his hand on my jaw so that I couldn’t escape his intense gaze.

“ What are you talking about Roderick? All I know is you have no right to try and judge me…judge your damn self. You’re just as wrong as I am.” I said yanking my arm free.

“ I want to know why you didn’t wait for me? You should have waited for me Amina.” Roderick screamed punctuating each word with a  jab to his chest.

Oh hell no! This brotha has lost his damn mind. What the hell is he talking about wait for him? He was starting to scare the shit out of me and I’d allowed him to stay at my place. Katrina was off Lord only knew where with his friend Damien.

“ You need to leave. This felt different to me…I thought you were different which is what allowed me to be with you tonight. I was wrong.” I said tying my robe around my waist.

“ You weren’t wrong. That’s why we’re here now. Didn’t you ever pray for the perfect man to come into your life. A man that was all yours. Made for you? Only you. You never prayed for that Amina?”

“ Oh course I did Roderick. What woman doesn’t?” I asked still bewildered by his strange line of conversation. I began slowly making my way to my nightstand. I always laid my cellphone there. I may need to call 911 if he kept this crazy shit up or became violent.

“ So why didn’t you wait for me? If you prayed like you just said you did, you should have known I was coming for you. Cause I’m here now… and I wish you’d kept your damn legs closed. The thought of you being with another man,letting another man inside your body is enough to make me sick right now.”

I was floored.

“ You mean to tell me you’re asking me why I’m not a virgin? You’re not complaining about the fact we slept together on the first night…but that I’m not a virgin period. Are you kidding me Roderick?”

“  Do I look like I’m kidding?That’s exactly what the fuck I’m asking you.” he spat. Roderick leaned down and picked up his blunt taking a few long,deep puffs before his eyes landed squarely on me again.

I sat down on my bed looking at him. I should have been scared as hell since he sounded like a complete lunatic to me but I couldn’t help but be slightly curious because he looked serious as hell. Did he forget the fact we’d only met hours ago? Yet he expected me to save myself for a man I didn’t even know I was ever going to meet? Hell my ex-boyfriend was the man I’d thought would be my future husband and I’d given my all to him,including my virginity. The only reason we broke up is that we simply grew apart. We still spoke often and were the best of friends. I loved his family and they loved me. It was just time for the both of us to move on.

“ Roderick I hardly think judging by the performance you laid on me tonight that you were a virgin. Were you standing around with your dick in your hand, jacking off  waiting until you met me?” I hoped pointing out this small fact would help him get over whatever crazy ideas he had in his head.

“ I’m a man. I didn’t need to wait you should have. Fast ass. A man is supposed to be able to sexually please his woman. Which is exactly what I did. Or were you not satisfied?” he asked sliding his boxers down his body and walking towards me.

Roderick pushed me back on the bed and untied my robe. My heart caught in my throat. All my anger about our current line of conversation was flying right out the window. I knew I should be insisting he get the hell out of my apartment. Out of my life while I could hopefully still walk away from him but already ,in one night I didn’t have the strength to tell him to leave. My body was responding to him all over again even though my mind still took offense to the things he’d just said to me. 

“ I’m letting you know right here,right now I want you Amina. I  can feel it in my heart, in my bones. My spirit is telling me you’re the one for me. That’s why I’m tripping like this baby but I know how to fix this.” Roderick said climbing on me like he was a lion and I was his prey. I had no choice but to move onto the middle of the bed in an attempt to put a bit of distance between us. It was killing me inside because all I wanted to do was be close to him. So close I didn’t know where I ended and he began.

“ That can’t be fixed Roderick. I’ve only been with one other man if it’s any consolation. Marquise was my boyfriend since I was 16 and we were together for four years. We broke up six months ago and you’re the only man I’ve been with besides him. So please don’t try and make me feel like a whore because I’m not.” I said softly. I was so wet it was embarrassing. Especially since his eyes were glued to my slit and I was getting wetter by the second. I attempted to close my thighs and exhibit a sliver of modesty,even the tiniest shred but Roderick wouldn’t let me hide from him. His strong hands held my thighs raised and bent at the knees and spread apart. No escaping him.

“ I’ma make it brand new again.” Roderick said spreading my legs as wide as they would go.

“ Roderick…,” I began but was quickly quieted when he began rubbing the large head of his dick slowly around my lower lips. A shock of electricity coursed through my body and I couldn’t contain my moans. Roderick then began slowly and meticulously assaulting my pussy with his dick yet never entered me, his dick issuing demands the entire time. Slapping his thickness all over my pussy until it glistened with my juices.

“ I’m willing to forgive you for not waiting for me but right now,you’re going to have to forget every thought,every memory you have of that other nigga. I wont share any part of you with another man. Not if you’re my woman. Are you willing to do that Amina?”he asked finally gracing my clit with the head of his dick. Roderick then suddenly pulled away from me slightly and I wanted to scream. I wanted him inside of me so bad  all I could so was grab the sheets in frustration.

“ Roderick please…,”

“ Tell me your mine Amina,all mine. Tell me I ain’t gotta ever worry about another nigga diggin’ up in my pussy. If you can’t promise me that I’m leaving right now. You can see I don’t wanna go anywhere,so tell me what I need to hear Amina.” Roderick demanded never once breaking our stare. His hand slowly moved up and down his dick, his thumb grazed the head of his dick my juices were now replaced by his own slowly seeping out.

I couldn’t take another second of this slow torture.

“ I’m yours Roderick. All yours.” I quickly raised up and before he could say another word I’d taken his dick in my mouth and tried to swallow him whole. I couldn’t think of anything but the fact I wanted him. Badly. My tongue circled the head of his dick before I released him from my mouth and kissed my way up his muscular stomach,I kissed his neck and made his way to his full lips. Our tongues played with one another as Roderick’s hands roved all over my body.

“ Bend over.” he commanded,slowly guiding me down and positioning himself behind me. My breath came out hard and fast,I could hardly wait to feel him inside of me. Roderick palmed my ass spreading my cheeks apart.

I felt like I was going to lose my mind if he didn’t hurry up and fill me with his thickness. What I felt instead was his long tongue sucking and lapping me from behind.

“ OH SHIT! “ I cried out bucking my ass and fucking his tongue.  Minutes later I was screaming his name as I came harder than I had come earlier with him. I didn’t know what was happening to me. Sex with Marquise had never felt like this. I could still feel my pussy contracting as I fell to my stomach trying to catch my breath. Roderick flipped me over and drove his dick inside of me slowly snaking it in and out of me. I grabbed his sinewy arms and held on for dear life.

“ This belongs to me,you better never give my pussy away do you understand? You better not even wonder how another niggas dick feels.” Roderick hissed in my ear never missing a beat as he beat my lower lips into submission.

“ Anytime I want this pussy you better give it to me.  I don’t like the word no. I don’t give a damn if we fighting and you don’t wanna talk to me….yo’ ass better fuck me though. Do you understand me Amina?“

All I could do is moan.

“ Answer me Amina. Do you understand?”

YES  RODERICK!” I cried out.

My eyes rolled to the back of my head as my body began to convulse and shake as I came again. I screamed out it felt so good. It felt like my body was no longer my own. He had complete control of me and I loved every second of it. Moments later Roderick  let out a moan of his own that matched mine. He collapsed on top of me breathing heavily. I reached up to wipe the fat drops of sweat from his face.

“ I love you Amina.” he whispered as he rolled on his back and fell into a deep sleep. I laid there for hours watching him sleep and in shock. Love? I knew I’d been in lust with him on sight but love? I didn’t know about all that but I did know I had to have this man in my life.

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Did you love Love Locked Down? Then you should read The Break-Up Plan by Candace Mumford!

Please Note: This is a standalone novel. . Thanks for your support.~ Candace/Ms.Bam

After watching love blossom for one of her best friends Janay Reynolds is ready for the real thing herself. Tired of the games, she’s locked her heart away vowing not to pull out the key to unlocking her heart until someone worthy comes along. Janay is waiting…and waiting. When a friend from the past drifts back into her life a curiosity about him blooms that’s been there since she was a 16 year old girl.

Marquise Hays has been through his share of ups and downs. Now that he’s on solid ground all he wants to do is be a good father,leave any negativity in the past and live life to the fullest. An invitation to live with an old friend just may give him what he’s looking for …and then some. But even when love is on the horizon everyone has things about them they keep to themselves and the things you desire the most,just may be the ultimate turn-off to the one you love. Not to mentions those lurking in the background trying to hatch the ultimate break-up plan.

I stood up and started unbuttoning my blouse. I then slid my jeans down around my ankles until I stood in front of my friend in nothing but my bra and panties.

Dana looked at me in complete shock for several moments before she found her voice.

" What the fu is that Janay? Is that ni*** hitting you? Oh my God!" Dana said jumping up from the couch. " I'ma have Terrence fire his black ass! You just watch!" Dana ranted.

“ No!Dana NO!!” I shouted.

Also by Candace Mumford

Love Locked Down

Love Locked Down

Love Locked Down 2 ( Dana’s Got A Gun )

Lying For Your Love

Lying for Your Love

ParkCrest View – The Love Chronicles

The Story of Us (ParkCrest View- The Love Chronicles Book 6)

ParkCrest View- The Love Chronicles 1-5

Pleasing.Professor.Petersen.

Pleasing.Professor.Petersen.

Pretty.Young.Thugs.

Pretty.Young.Thugs.

Soul Cry

Soul Cry: The Ten Year Girlfriend

Soul Cry 2

The Pussy Pounders

The Pussy Pounders

Standalone

The Break-Up Plan


Love Locked Down

Dana Majors is an up and coming fashion designer with all eyes on her. The best thing about it is she hasn't even finished design school yet, and she never will if her fathers new girlfriend has anything to say about it. Months before graduating the rug is pulled from under her. That is until an unlikely ally is willing to pave...and pay the way for her to chase her dreams. The only problem is her unlikely benefactor is her closest friends brother.

  • Author: A.N.C. Media Publishing
  • Published: 2016-03-17 03:00:12
  • Words: 37475
Love Locked Down Love Locked Down