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Secrets That Bind

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Secrets That Bind

By Yasmine Cooper

Published by Yasmine Cooper at Shakespir

 

Copyright 2016 Yasmine Cooper

Ramona

MJ is dead.

My son is dead.

Ramona repeated the words over and over again in her head.

Everything around Ramona moved in slow motion as Michael, her fiancée screamed into the phone to the 911 operator. Ramona could not move as the tears flowed hard. That’s when her daughter, Sunshine came into view standing in the door way. Ramona’s heart ached like someone tried to rip it out, stomp on it, and then shoved her heart back into her chest. She saw the confusion in Sunshine’s face. Ramona beckoned Sunshine to come closer; she needed a hug really bad. Ramona gripped Sunshine tightly as she brought her daughter in for a hug.

“Mama is MJ going to be ok? Mama what is going on? Is MJ dead?” Sunshine interrogated as she fired off questions back to back.

The last question, that Sunshine asked made Ramona release her grip on Sunshine. Ramona was having troubles in admitting her son was dead. In her heart MJ was dead, but saying the words out loud was a battle she did not want to fight and she refused to come to that hellish reality.

“Mama what happen to MJ?” Sunshine questioned as her eyes watered.

Ramona looked down at the lifeless child she was rocking, his body stiff and cold. Rigor was starting to set in; this was all a horrible dream just like the ones she had about her step-father. But for some reason she could not wake up.

Ramona could not answer her daughter. She just stared back at Sunshine, waiting for the horrid dream to end.

Soon her bedroom was filled with strangers as the medical staff grabbed MJ out of Ramona’s arms and placed him on the floor. Ramona could only watch as the paramedics tried to resuscitate MJ.

“Clear!” The ET yelled before switching on the defibrillation and shocking MJ’s body with electrical currents. MJ’s body jumped as the ET tried the process again.

She saw one paramedic make eye contact with his colleague before shaking his head “no” as he removed the artificial ventilation mask.

“Ma’am,” The paramedic descanted as he approached Ramona with caution. “Your son expired at least two hours ago. We did everything we could but he is gone ma’am. We are so sorry. “

Ramona could not focus on the ET that was speaking to her but rather the small black body bag that the other paramedics had zipped her son in.

Everything within Ramona wanted to scream but she could not find her voice. Grieve would be an improvement of what she was feeling right now. Her heart was beyond pain. There weren’t any words to explain her torment. Being molested by her step-father or being hit by her ex-boyfriend Dante could not hold a candle to the agony she was feeling right now. No matter which way she ran, death and pain seemed to find her.

What was it about her that attracted so much darkness? First her father dies, her mother hating her, her stepfather stealing her innocence, her ex-boyfriend wanting to smack her around and now her son dying before his time. Ramona did not know why she had been dealt such a bad hand. She could endure a lot of heartache but how was she to survive the death of her son? Michael Junior had recently turned one year old. He was such a joyful baby and was loved by everyone that he came across. His life ripped away before it was even started. There would be no first days of kindergarten, no high school graduation or the words of “Mama I love you”.

Ramona had arrived to a very dark place of regret and despair. She did not want to live and she didn’t see a reason to go on. The tears ran as shock set in and she could feel her feet coming from under her, as she embraced the oblivion.

Ramona woke to a blinding light as the day’s tragedy resonated in her mind. She was in a hospital bed. Sitting by her side stroking her hair was Aunt Carrie. Ramona just could not get a grip on her son’s untimely death and completely lost it as she let out an feral scream.

Ramona could not be consoled and the hospital staff had to sedate her. Ramona and Michael later found out that the cause of death was a brain aneurysm that most likely developed due to the lack of oxygen when Ramona was in a coma during her pregnancy.

Once Ramona regained consciousness she was allowed to hold MJ before he was taken to the coroner’s office. Ramona rocked and cooed the lifeless child until the nurse tried to take him. That’s when Ramona became violent; she would not let anyone touch him.

“Ramona, he is dead.” Whispered Carrie as she tried to get Ramona to calm down.

Carrie’s face was wet with her own tears. Ramona was like her daughter and if Ramona was in pain she was in pain. Carrie closed the space between herself and Ramona, stroking her back as she too stared at the dead baby.

“My baby is not dead!” Screamed Ramona as she gripped MJ even tighter.

“Look at MJ.”

“No.” Ramona sobbed.

“Look at him!” Carrie yelled.

“He can’t be gone.” Ramona cried.

“He‘s gone baby.” Whispered Carrie as she pried Ramona’s hands from MJ.

Ramona cried out in pain as she allowed the nurse to take her son. Carrie held Ramona rocking her as Ramona sobbed uncontrollably.

Before Ramona was released from the hospital Michael had disappeared. He moved out and took a leave of absence from work. Ramona tried to reach out to Michael because they both lost a child but Michael was unreachable. He distanced his self once again when Ramona needed him the most.

“You still have a child, my only child is dead.” Was Michael’s reasoning to why he moved out.

Ramona tried to explain that she too lost a child. But Michael wasn’t trying to listen, and so Ramona was left deal with MJ’s death all by herself.

Dante

“Hello?” A child like voice spoke through the phone as Dante called his Aunt’s house phone.

“Sunbeam?” Dante spoke cheerfully knowing that his daughter was at the other end of the phone.

“Hi Daddy.” Replied Sunshine, her tone becoming full of sorrow.

“What’s wrong baby?”

“My little brother died last night.” Sunshine cried as she choked on her words.

“Baby I’m so sorry.” Dante was not sorry. He was concerned that his daughter’s feelings were hurt. But as far as Ramona’s trick baby dying he could give two shits about it. It was her fault that she cheated on him and got pregnant by some square nigga. Karma was a bitch, and Ramona had to learn that her deceit would come back to haunt her.

Fuck that bitch.

“Sunbeam I’m going to come get you later. I got to handle some business then I’ll come and take you to do something fun.”

“Thank you daddy! Can we get MJ a teddy bear? I don’t want him to be alone.”

Dante could not see himself buying anything for the little dead brat but if it would bring joy to his daughter then he was willing to drop some chump change for Ramona’s abomination.

“Of course, Sunbeam. “

Dante promised to see Sunshine later in the day before ending the call.

No one on this planet possessed his love the way Sunshine did. She was his only child and to him his greatest accomplishment. No matter what he did in these streets, Sunshine’s love for her father could not be changed. Dante loved his daughter above anyone else’s life including his own. Whatever she asked for it was hers no matter the cost or sacrifice.

Sunshine’s mother, Ramona was Dante’s first love. But somehow she forget the sacrifices that he took for her to have something better. When he was seventeen and Ramona being sixteen, Dante fell hard for his fellow classmate. Ramona was pretty, smart, and a beast in the sheets, Dante thought he had found a winner. Little did he know that her sexual prowess was due to her stepfather molesting her for the majority of her life. But even with that information he continued to love her. Even after she told him she was pregnant and she wasn’t sure if the father was her stepdad or him, Dante stayed. Her sick step father had the nerve to jump bad when Dante brought a very pregnant Ramona from their hometown of Huntsville to Chicago. And yet Dante was still willing to stick it out. No matter what, Dante promised Ramona that he would raise the child as his own, but there was no denying Sunshine. She looked and acted like him so much that you would have thought he was both the mother and the father. But, Ramona was unappreciative and as soon as the opportunity presented itself Ramona jumped on the first dick in her face.

Dante knew that at times he cheated on Ramona and their arguments could turn physical but that was not an excuse for Ramona to step out on him. He fucked those bitches and took his ass home. It was no coincidence that Sunshine was his only child. He wasn’t looking to be everybody’s baby daddy. He stayed strapped up, but Ramona somehow did not get the memo that a bunch of babies by different men was not cute.

Dante made sure the safety on his 9mm was secured before he exited his car. Dante gave a local runner $50 to keep an eye out for his car before heading to the stairs of the 12th floor. Dante hated being in the Robert Taylor projects, but this was where he made the bulk of his money. It was a drug dealer’s paradise of two miles of housing projects with thousands of people looking to get high. He had at least two blocks secured and was looking to expand. The only thing standing in his way was some black ass nigga named, Chicago.

Dante could not deny the fact that Chicago’s product was top of the line but Chicago was a tyrant who did not know how to share. Chicago didn’t mind niggas eating as long as they cope their product from him. But Dante was not about to be some corner boy begging another man for handouts. He was his own man and had no problem holding his own in the streets.

What he hated the most was the fact that he had to pay taxes to Chicago for selling dope on the two measly blocks that he had control of. Chicago had the whole Robert Taylor projects sown up when it came to drugs. There was all kinds of dealers in the projects and what they all had in common was the fact they broke bread to Chicago in some form or fashion. Either you worked for him or you paid the weekly taxes to slang your narcotics in the projects. The tax fee was only $300 a week; which could be made in a few hours and the majority of the dealers could afford. While most of the dealers seen this as love, Dante saw the truth of Chicago’s tactics. It was way to subtlety let everyone know that he was running the show.

In short breaths Dante reached the 12th floor. The smell of urine attacked his nostrils as soon as he stepped foot in the hallway. Even with the ventilation of the fenced wall, Jay had to cover his nose and mouth to fight back the urge to vomit.

“Asia!” Dante yelled as opened the front door with his key.

Dante knew how messy bitches could be and only fucked with one chick in the Taylor homes, Asia. He didn’t need any unnecessary drama fucking with his money. Why lose money over two bitches fighting over community dick? He wasn’t loyal to none of these hos, and the only female that possessed his heart was his daughter, Sunshine.

Asia was cool people; she didn’t ask a lot of questions about what Dante was up to. Dante paid all her bills and forked out extra money to Asia to do whatever with. Asia had three kids. One was a baby and the other two was somewhere around Sunshine’s age. Dante really didn’t see the need to get know the kids let alone learn their names. That was Asia and whoever her kids’ daddies were, problem.

“Why you yelling like you the police?” Asia shouted back as she came out of the bedroom.

“Asia don’t start talking crazy.”

“Whatever nigga.” Asia replied her tone dropping its edge as she plopped down on the couch. Asia grabbed the cigarettes and lighter from the couch and lit a cigarette and put it in her mouth. “Set Trip is looking for you. “

“That nigga knows my number.” Countered, Dante as he opened the fridge. The refrigerator was empty except for a case of cold beer. Dante grabbed a bottle before taking the cap and throwing it to the dirty floor. This wasn’t his house so why would he care about the cleanliness of the place. Asia’s house was already dirty so what would a bottle cap do. “I give you all this money and yet you can’t clean this muthafucka up?”

Asia just rolled her eyes as she continued to puff on the cigarette.

“I will be back and when I do this nasty ass house needs to be cleaned and I want some dinner on the fucking table!”

“I missed my food stamp appointment so I don’t got no food nigga!” Asia yelled back.

Even though he didn’t care he still asked. “What the fuck your kids been eating then?”

“They haven’t, mainly some bread and syrup and I borrowed a couple of cans of tuna from Gigi down the hall.”

Trifling Bitch

“Here.” Dante said as he put $200 on the coffee table. “Get your ass up and go to the store and get some food and some cleaning supplies. Some snacks and shit for your kids. I’m not playing Asia let me come back and you didn’t buy no food for these kids I’m fuck your ass up. “

“Nigga I’m not no damn crack head. “ Asia reacted as she snatched up the money from the table. “I’m going to buy some groceries and not some bullshit. What you want me to cook?”

“It don’t matter. Just have this motherfucka looking decent and my food ready.”

“What time you coming back?” Asia asked as she got up off the couch, bringing her body into Dante’s personal space.

“Later tonight I got to go get my daughter.”

“The same daughter you think is too good to bring around here?”

“Exactly. Asia mind your own business. My daughter don’t need to see what the fuck goes on in the projects.” Dante retorted as he bent down to kiss Asia on the mouth. But she stepped back with a wide grin on her face.

“You playing hard to get?” Dante asked as he brought Asia into his arms.

“Yup.” Asia acknowledged as she brought her lips to Dante’s.

Dante didn’t see the hurt in delaying his plans by thirty minutes as he brought Asia to the couch for some much needed sexual stress relieve.

“I think I got a come up in the works Folks.” Set Trip stated as he passed the blunt to Dante.

Dante was never down with gangs but a lot of the people he dealt with were of the Gangsta Disciples gang. He became somewhat a member through association. Because of this move he became an instant enemy of the Vice Lords. This also meant he couldn’t go nowhere near the Vice Lords’ controlled buildings without jeopardizing his life. He was an out of state nigga and it helped with his business to associate himself with a one of the largest gangs in Chicago.

Set Trip had become a good ally throughout the years and he was able to get Dante out of some bad situations over the years as well. Set Trip was pretty grimy. He was always looking to cut side deals or skim from the top. There wasn’t an honest bone is his body, but his word was bond. If he said he was going to kill you or pay you back your money he meant it, he always held up his end of a promise.

“What you got in mind homie?” Dante asked as he sipped on his beer, before passing the blunt back to Set Trip.

“Hold on.” Set Trip replied as he got up from the kitchen table. “My baby mama be all in my business.”

Set Trip left the kitchen to see if his girlfriend was ease dropping on their conversation. He checked the living room before calling out her name. There was silence letting them know they were alone.

“My fault, Folks, I got to make sure my personal life and my business life don’t get mixed up. I love my girl but she can’t hold water.”

“I feel you my nigga.” Dante remarked as Set Trip came back to the table.

“”Like I was saying, I got a come up in the works. I done stumbled across one of Chicago’s stash houses. Real easy money too.”

“How easy?” Dante asked as his curiosity grew.

“Some heroin addict is keeping the money in their apartment on 44th and State.”

“That’s Vice Lord territory. Plus it sounds a little sketchy.”

“Come on now Dante, you really think I’m going to risk our lives on some bullshit? I been sitting on the apartment for over two weeks now. I know who comes and goes and what times. Easy money. “

“How much we talking?”

“”About $35,000 give or take.”

“I don’t know.”

“Just marinate on it, Folks.”

“Alright. I’m about to head out of here I’ll hit you up later.”

“Cool. Alright then Folks, I will holler at you later.”

Dante jumped in his whip to the Dan Ryan Expressway to Chatham to pick up Sunshine. Dante processed Set Trip’s proposition and though of the pros and cons. To most Dante was a drug dealer but he made a lot of money from being a stick up kid. The bigger the heist the bigger the adrenalines rush. Dante had enough sense not to rob banks or Squares. It was impossible for a drug dealer to report to the police that his dope was stolen. So drug dealers were easy targets as long as he planned the raids rights. While other dealers were paying to re-up he just took the product and or money from the flamboyant dealer. If you wanted to be flashy then you wanted to get robbed. He made sure not to shit where he ate, which meant not jacking anybody from the Robert Taylor Homes. So this job was way out of his norm, but the $35,000 payout was worth the risk.

Dante pulled up to his Aunt Carrie’s house and seen Sunshine playing in the yard with some neighborhood children.

“Daddy!” yelled Sunshine as she ran to her father’s car.

“Hey Sunbeam!” Dante greeted as he killed the engine before exiting the car.

“You like my new dress?” Sunshine asked as she turned in a circle to model her green and yellow flower dress.

“It’s real pretty.” Dante smiled. He loved his daughter’s confidence.

“Auntie Carrie bought it.”

“Did you say thank you?”

Sunshine put her hands on her waist with attitude and retorted “Daddy, I got manners.”

Dante’s only response was laughter as he walked into his Aunt’s house with Sunshine close on his heels.

“Did you get the teddy bear for MJ?” Sunshine asked as she bounced around behind her father.

“We will get it together. Okay?’

“Daddy?” Sunshine asked as she pulled on her father’s shirt.

Dante turned to meet Sunshine’s gaze. It tripped him out some times how much she looked like him. It was like staring in a mirror; a mini girl version of him staring back at him.

“I know you are mad at mommy for breaking up with you. And you said you didn’t like MJ and Michael. But thank you for being nice and buying my brother something. ” Spoke, Sunshine as she wrapped her arms around Dante’s waist for a hug.

“You know I’ll do anything for you Sunbeam.” Dante answered as he kissed the top of Sunshine’s head.

“I know. You are the best Daddy ever.”

Dante said bye to Aunt Carrie and headed to Olivia’s Ice Cream to treat his daughter to some frozen treats.

“Yo?” Dante responded when he answered his cell phone as he watched Sunshine put a spoon full of Rocky Road ice cream in her mouth.

“Nigga shit is wild over here. You gotta get to the spot ASAP!” Set Trip spoke frantically into the phone.

“I got my daughter with me this shit can’t wait?”

“Hell nah Folks. Vice Lords just tried to run up on the spot.”

“Fuck! Alright I’m on my way.” Dante spoke before ending the call.

There was no one to leave Sunshine with. His Aunt was going back to the hospital with Ramona. Even though he could care less about Ramona’s situation he didn’t want his daughter to be in the middle of all that pain. And so against his better judgment he took his daughter with him to the Robert Taylor homes.

“Remember what Daddy taught you?” Dante asked Sunshine as they rode to the projects.

“Never trust what you see?” Sunshine asked back.

“That’s right, Sunbeam. I got to go on a mission and unfortunately I don’t have time to drop you back off so I am going have to take you with me. I want you to stay in the car and if-“

“I know what to do. And if someone tries me get my gun out the glove department.” Sunshine responded finishing Dante’s statement.

While most fathers taught their children how to ride a bike, Dante felt it was imperative to teach his daughter how to protect herself. He knew his daughter would one day be a pretty young lady, who would attract sorry niggas looking to devour something pretty and young. He also knew that he could not be around 24/7. And for her seventh birthday he bought her a custom made small MK Ruger with a pink grip. Every weekend since her birthday, Dante took Sunshine to the woods to practice her shooting. She started off with small targets like cans and bottles and graduated to moving targets like rabbits and squirrels. Sunshine was a natural marksman and her aim was a force to be reckoned with. Dante felt he gave his daughter a gift that she could use for years to come.

“Good job. You remember how to take the safety off?”

“Yes daddy. I do know how to shoot a gun.”

“You’re my ride or die?” Dante asked.

“Until the day I die!” Sunshine shouted.

“You already know!” Dante smirked as he rubbed the top of Sunshine’s head affectionately.

“Daddy, can I go in there with you?” Sunshine asked Dante as he parked the car in the parking lot of the Taylor Homes.

“Hell no! It’s too dangerous. I’m already doing too much by bringing you with me. Just stay in the car.” Dante responded as he grabbed his gun from under the seat and taking the safety off.

Sunshine pouted her lips and folded her arms. How was she supposed to be her father’s ride or die if she always sat on the sidelines?

“Maybe when you get older.” Replied Dante, he never liked seeing his daughter frown.

“I’ll bust a cap in one of these niggas’ asses!”

“Language!”

“Sorry.”

“I think we both forget sometimes that you are only seven. “

“I’m almost eight, Daddy.” Sunshine stated very matter fact.

“Just lock the doors.” Dante said as he prepared to leave the car. Dante had to push his fears aside of leaving his seven year old daughter alone in the middle of one of the most dangerous project complexes in the nation. He was stuck in a bind. He had to handle this disrespect of the Vice Lords and he didn’t trust anybody to watch Sunshine. He liked Asia but not enough to trust her with his most prized possession. Her kids were barely eating, so how could she possibly be capable of babysitting his only child. Dante said a quick prayer that no matter what happened, Sunshine would be safe.

“How long do you want me to wait until you need back up?’ Sunshine asked bringing Dante out of his thoughts.

“These are not squirrels baby, they have guns too. Just sit in the car and I will be right back. Okay?”

“Okay.”

Ramona

Ramona was cleaning up the bathroom when she heard a knock on the door. Sunshine had been gone with Aunt Carrie and Dante for the past two weeks. It was more for Sunshine than Ramona. Because all Ramona wanted to do was cry. She didn’t want Sunshine seeing her so broken. This was her pain to bear and she didn’t want her daughter to be so exposed to the ugliness of death. She knew that Sunshine was hurting too and for this short period of time she could not trust herself to be a good mom to Sunshine. She didn’t want to be mean or heartless to Sunshine, because how she was feeling. Ramona didn’t have the energy to be a parent or even take care of herself because mourning her son was all she had time for.

But today marked a change, she loved her son but she had a daughter who meant the world to her. Ramona could not continue to mourn like she wanted to. So she woke up early in the morning to cleanse out her house as well as pack up MJ’s things. She also wanted to make sure her emotions were in check before Sunshine came home today.

She looked at the clock to check the time before answering the door. Standing in the door way stood Sunshine and Dante.

“Hi mommy.” Sunshine exclaimed as she walked in the door. “Look what daddy got MJ.” Sunshine grinned as she held up the teddy bear.

“Hey baby!” Ramona greeted as she wrapped her arms around Sunshine inhaling the scent of the Blue Magic hair grease aroma that fragrant her hair. Ramona really missed her baby girl in these past couple of weeks. Never again would she spend this much time away from Sunshine.

“That is very sweet. Thank you Dante.” Ramona gushed with candid sincerity.

“I’m here for you. How are you feeling Mona?” Dante inquired.

“I’m fine.” Not wanting to engage with Dante. “Sunny go put your clothes away.”

Dante waited until Sunshine was out of ear shot before he spoke.

“Mona I can’t keep going on without you. I need you. Just come home.”

“Are you serious my son’s grave isn’t even cold yet and you talking about what you need?”

“You don’t think this a sign that we need to be together?”

“Dante.” Sighing heavily, and not having the energy to fight. “I’m not thinking of nothing but my kids. I have one that’s dead and the other needs her mommy.”

“Yes our daughter needs us. That’s-“

“Look.” Cutting, Dante off. “I’ll see you later I will have Sunny call you.”

“But-“

“Uh-huh. Have a good day Dante.” Ramona countered closing the door on Dante.

Ramona had to fight to keep herself afloat. How long was she going to be shut off in her room crying? How long was Sunshine to go on without a mother? Ramona did not want to be anything like her own mother. She knew how it felt to have a mother unattached and oblivious to their child’s needs. She never wanted Sunshine to experience such distance. So, Ramona slowly began to regain her will to live, if not for herself but at least for Sunshine. MJ was gone but Sunshine was here and she needed Ramona. Taking it day by day was too much, just handling it minute by minute was a challenge.

Ramona with all the stress of losing MJ, forgot that she was pregnant. With Michael somewhere in the wind, Ramona didn’t know how she was to survive raising this baby alone. But like every other dark hole that life threw at her she would find some way to climb out. The wedding plans seemed to be put on hold forever with no hope of Michael returning. Ramona did not have the luxury of dwelling on that issue without falling into depression. If she wasn’t going to let her childhood be her demise she couldn’t let her son’s death stop her either. And as bad as Ramona wanted to wallow in her pain she just couldn’t live in that dark place a second longer. She knew that her baby boy was okay and even though his time on earth was short he was at peace. Ramona had to look at her blessings of having Sunshine and even though she was romantically alone she had Aunt Carrie, Sophia and Josie who had become her surrogate family.

“Who is it?” Ramona said as she reached the door. It was one o’clock in the morning and the house was quiet. “Who the hell is at my door at this hour?” She thought.

“Michael.”

Ramona quickly opened up the door. Ramona’s heart skipped a beat as her eyes fell unto Michael. It had been five months without even a phone call from Michael. He no longer worked at the Freelancing firm in the Loop and every time Ramona called his phone it went straight to voicemail.

Even with him looking disheveled and sad, Ramona could not be happier. Michael didn’t speak as he embraced Ramona as tears fell down his face.

“I love you. I’ve should have never left. I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay.” Ramona reassured Michael holding him tightly.

“Mona I’m not good at handling death.” Michael sobbed as he let go of Ramona.

“Are you pregnant?” Michael asked as he stared at Ramona’s stomach. Even in the moonlight Ramona’s protruding tummy could not be hidden.

“Yes.” Ramona exhaled deeply.

“By that guy who dropped you off that one day?”

“Who?”

“That dark skinned man, when you went out with Sophia.”

Ramona raked her brain of who could Michael possibly be talking about. Only one name popped up.

Chicago.

“You cannot be serious Michael.” Ramona rolled her eyes with disgust.

As stressful as things were, Ramona was not unfaithful. Before MJ died, her best friend Sophia dragged her to the club one night and they met two drug dealers. Sophia looking to turn her new found friendship, sexual, begged Ramona to accompany her to an hotel that same night. Ramona only went to make sure her friend was safe and she end up falling asleep not waking to the next morning. Sophia was not able to take her home the next morning and Chicago had to take her home. It just so happen that Michael was waiting for her on the porch when she got home. Ramona really thought that Michael had dropped the issue but apparently he had not.

“Then whose baby is it then?”

“Yours dumb ass. I was pregnant before you decided to leave me to grieve for our son by myself.”

“So you are not messing with that man?”

“No! Michael I really don’t have time for this shit. You disappear from the hospital, don’t attend the funeral and leave me pregnant with your baby. Then have the nerve to show up months later in the middle of the night questioning me?”

“I don’t know what I am doing but I do know I want to come home.”

Ramona didn’t have the energy to fight. She just stepped to the side and let Michael walk into the house. Hopefully they could now get back to normal. Whatever that meant considering that it was coming up on the one year anniversary of MJ’s passing. Ramona wanted to live and be happy and have the loving family she dreamed of having.

There was no need to ask of Michael’s whereabouts, she felt it was best to let sleeping dogs lie. He was here now and that’s what mattered. Ramona understood that Michael was taking MJ’s death differently and accepted that he needed space to grieve. With Michael finally home it was a sign that life could get back to being somewhat normal.

Ramona was on maternity leave and bored being in the house. Ramona was watching “The Steve Harvey Show” when labor pains began to take over her body. Pain shot up through her back and stomach as tears ran down her face. Ramona tried to stand but the labor pains violently subdued her causing her to fall to her knees.

“Ahh!” Ramona screamed out in pain as she tried to breathe through the agony that was ripping through her stomach. Ramona crawled to the phone on the other side of the bedroom to call 911.The paramedics could not get there fast enough as the contractions came back to back.

Ramona’s next call was to Michael at his new job. But he was not in. She tried him on his cell but he was not answering. Just like any other time Michael was nowhere to be found. Ramona just had to accept that Michael was not the man she thought he was. The distance cut deep and Ramona didn’t know how long she was to continue on.

Ramona was barely in the hospital bed before it was time to push and within minutes she was holding her new daughter.

“You want to hold her?” Ramona asked Michael once he got to the hospital, not wanting to argue about him missing in action.

“Does she have a name?”

“Skky.”

Michael took Skky out of Ramona’s arms, slowly holding her small hand.

“She is beautiful.” Michael retorted as he smiled at the small bundle. “But I can’t do this.”

“She is your baby!” Ramona shouted. She was tired of Michael bringing up Chicago.

“I fucking know she’s my baby! She looks just like…MJ.” Michael replied as he gave the baby back to Ramona. “I can’t do this Ramona it’s too much. “

“What are you saying?”

“I’m saying that I can’t be a father. I can’t allow myself to get attached again and then have this baby ripped from my life. Financially, whatever you need I got you. But being there day to day I just can’t.”

“So why pop back up in my life? You know what? It doesn’t even matter. I’m getting off this merry-go-round. Get out!”

“Mona-“

“Every time I needed you, you couldn’t be there. Now you want to use our son’s death as an excuse to keep being a jackass. Nigga I had MJ all the time not you. My daughter doesn’t need a part time ass daddy. Dante maybe a lot of things but he doesn’t play when it comes to Sunshine. How the fuck a no good drug dealer is a better parent than you? Nigga get the fuck out!”

Ramona watched with tears the closing of another chapter in her life walk out the door. Ramona really though life was coming together but that all changed when her son died. Michael and she really never had an relationship. She ignored his distance because she wanted a family so bad. She wanted her kids to have a positive childhood. Instead of Ramona begging for Michael to stay around, she would live her life. If Ramona met someone, great, but she wasn’t going to be putting out a city wide search for Mr. Right either. Her focus for now was her daughters.

“Hey girl whatcha doing?” Sophia asked over the phone.

“Nothing. Just sitting here washing clothes.” Responded Ramona.

“You ain’t got no type of life.”

“Shit with two kids what kind of life do I have?”

“It ain’t like I don’t have any kids.”

“You just have one.”

“So? But anyways Mike’s daddy’s people is having a barbeque down in Roseland, you want to go?”

“What going on with you and Kevin?” Ramona inquired.

Kevin was becoming more and more of a factor these past few weeks and Ramona was wondering what was going on. Kevin was never really in the picture and from the tidbits that Sophia had related to Ramona he was off doing his own thing and didn’t have time to be a father.

“Girl I don’t know….He talking about he loves me and want us to be back together.”

“What you going to do?”

“I don’t want him please. “ Sophia retorted; changing gears. “Get ready I will be there in thirty minutes.”

Ramona seen that it was a warm day, she did want to get out the house and do something different than watching TV. Ramona and her two daughters were dressed in 45 minutes flat, it didn’t matter because Sophia was running on CP time and didn’t show up until an hour and half later.

“Hey Ramona!” Kevin spoke as Ramona and Sophia with kids piled out the car “Hi Sunny, hey Mike.”

“Hey dad!” Mike exclaimed as he Hi-fived his dad.

“Ramona, Sophia there is plenty of food, come on kids lets get something to eat.” Kevin smiled as he ushered the group to his waiting family.

Skky slept in her carrier while Ramona made her plate and sit down to eat. Ramona observed the things going around her. Kevin’s family was friendly holding and cooing Skky. Sunshine and Mike had finished eating and were now running around with the other kids.

Out in the parking lot Kevin and Sophia kissed and play fight. His hands exploring her body as she shied away like a school girl. Ramona could feel the green eye monster of jealousy starting to attack her emotions. She quickly dismissed the feeling. Ramona knew that her best friend deserved happiness after Lucci’s death. Ramona knew that right now wasn’t a good time for her to be in a relationship. But that didn’t have to be the case for Sophia. So instead of being bitter Ramona chose to be happy for her friend.

The minutes went by and Ramona was bored out her mind. Kevin’s family was nice but Sophia knew that Ramona didn’t do new people very well. Mike had some cute cousins but they all had girlfriends and wives. Her only friend was in the parking lot getting felt up on by her baby daddy and Sunshine was playing on the playground. She couldn’t wait for Sophia and Kevin to stop their game of slap and tickle so she could get home. She was missing the X-files.

Ramona asked one of Kevin’s aunts to watch Skky as she went to the bathroom. Ramona really didn’t have to use the bathroom; she just wanted to be alone with her thoughts. Ramona went inside the bathroom washed her hands, checked her hair and came back out. As she walked out she bumped into someone.

“Damn can you watch where you going?” Ramona told the man.

“Oh I’m sorry.” Replied the man. His Spanish accent rolling off his tongue.

Ramona focused on the man and she realized he was quite attractive. His onyx black hair was slick back into a ponytail. His smooth olive skin made his dark green eyes mysterious and exquisite

“It’s alright.” Ramona said as she walked away.

“Wait.”

“Yeah?” Ramona smiled as she turned around.

“I know that you don’t know me but I’m Enrique what’s your name mami?”

“Ramona but everybody calls me Mona.”

Enrique was just what the doctor ordered. Ramona wasn’t looking for a husband let alone love. She just needed a warm body between the sheets. Enrique took Ramona to cheap and filthy motels. Motels that charged by the hour and had stained mattresses. Within a few months Ramona found her self pregnant once again. How did she get into this situation? Skky was only three months and here she was six weeks pregnant. She didn’t even know Enrique’s last name, where he worked, where he lived, nothing. How could she be so stupid to not use condoms with a stranger?

Chicago

Chicago had really grown an empire over the years. He really wished that Lucci was here to see how all their hard work was starting to pay off. Lucci was his best friend and his death cut deep. Lucci was more than a friend he was like a brother. Lucci and he were cut from a different cloth than the rest, a last of a dying breed. They split everything 50/50 there wasn’t any competition between them. It was nothing for Chicago to monopolize his drug connections but Lucci was his equal and he wanted his friend to get paid too. Chicago wasn’t even from Chicago even though he took on the city’s name and yet it was Lucci to show him the ins and outs of the city.

They met in sixth grade at Westcott School right outside of Chatham. Both were considered outsiders since they were not from Chicago. This common factor helped the two young boys form a bond from the start. Chicago was fresh to the United States with a thick accent and funny looking clothes. He was an automatic target for bulling. However, Chicago was not the doormat kid that would allow such abuse. He had no problem defending his self, but it was starting to become exhausting to fight every day. A new enemy would be created without his knowledge or interaction each day. Back home he didn’t have these type of problems, and he refused to sound like a baby and tell his mother of the bullying.

Chicago, wanting to end the bullying once and for all decided to bring a machete to school. The first kid that gave him problems was going to leave this earth with a nasty cut across their neck. Luckily, Lucci and Chicago had the same backpack and somehow they got mixed up in gym class. Lucci found the machete and instantly knew that he had grabbed Chicago’s backpack. Instead of returning the machete he tossed it in the trash. He knew how Chicago felt because he was bullied for being the new kid last year.

Chicago was ready for the eighth grade boys who wanted to fight him after school. He marched with pride right up to them knowing that they weren’t expecting to get stabbed. But when he reached into the backpack the machete was gone, his confidence was replaced with fear. Nonetheless, Lucci was ready to defend him as he attacked the eighth graders with large rocks. Both boys received a good ass whopping from the older kids that day but they formed a bond that not even death could break.

So when Lucci was gunned down in the streets like a common thug, Chicago lost it. It only took a few months to find the killer after going on a mission to avenge Lucci’s death. Shit hit the fan when it was discovered that Lucci was killed on mistaken identity. But that didn’t stop Chicago from playing Frankenstein and tortured Lucci’s killer for hours just for the hell of it. Chicago made sure to save the young man’s head, impaling it with a spike and leaving it for all to see in the man’s front yard. Under the spike was the words “Some Mistakes Cannot Be Forgiven.” The police had no clue of the cryptic message but the streets got the message loud and clear. They knew that Chicago was the king of the streets and he had the state of Illinois in the palm of his hands.

The drug trade ran in his blood. No one in his family knew about the straight and narrow life. Drugs and murder was almost second nature. As he looked in his family tree he could not recall anyone that worked a nine to five. Chicago was taking the family business to a new height especially now that his godfather was his drug connection. His godfather, Juan had been a close colleague of his father. Whatever Chicago needed Juan had no problem supplying, which for the current time was cocaine as pure as the driven snow. Grown and produced to perfection in the fields of Columbia. No other dealer in the state had cocaine as pure as the cocaine Chicago received from Juan. Chicago could have pursued any other illegal avenue such as prostitution rings, guns, or even tobacco, but, cocaine was just simpler to manage. No real victims, just money to be made.

He targeted the housing projects throughout Chicago, because he seen that they could turn over a large profit in a short amount of time. He didn’t care to involve his self in the politics of the gang altercations, nor did he align his self with just only one gang. He didn’t care what color your rag was as long as your money was green. Vice Lords, Black P Stone, Gangsta Disciples, Latin Kings, or what other gangs that invaded the Chicago streets could all eat from his cocaine table.

Chicago made it a point not to take sides or favor one group over the other. The only way to get on his bad side was to fuck with his money. The way he handled Lucci’s killer was evident that Chicago would not tolerate bullshit. Chicago was not a people’s person and didn’t need an entourage to make himself feel like he was important. He only had one friend and he was dead, there was no need to become BFFs with a bunch of pretenders.

Chicago was beyond pissed as he hung up the phone with one of his generals. One of his spots in the Robert Taylor Homes was robbed. Thankfully he never left too much money in the projects. That would have been a stupid move to leave large amounts of money with drug addicts and thieving drug dealers. He strategically left no more than $10,000 in “Stash houses” to uncover weakness within in his empire. It was a constant test to see who could and couldn’t be trusted. It also revealed potential enemies. Only Chicago knew of the set up, because in this business he had to always be thousand steps ahead.

Chicago would not tolerate disrespect. Even though $10,000 was pocket change to him, it was the principle. He believed that a man should make his own living rather it be punching a time clock or in the streets either way without having to take from others. Whoever had the gall to steal from him was definitely going to see his wrath.

Chicago made the sprint to the 9th floor of the 4410 State Street building. He could hear people yelling and babies crying. Chicago covered his nose because the stairwell reeked of urine and was littered with trash and crack pipes. He tried to spend as less time as possible in the projects but he had to make sure his money was right. Chicago knew that he sometimes had to get in the trenches and today was no different. He rather be lounging at the beach in his home country of Jamaica then dealing with gutter rats in the projects.

“How much was taken?” Chicago inquired. He already knew the answer but had to play the game of not knowing.

“Just $7,000.” Jay responded as handed Chicago an large envelope.

“What is this?” Chicago asked as he looked down at the envelope.

“Another $3,000 that Craig had hidden away.” Jay spoke referring to the fiend who was the occupant of the apartment. “There was no other money he claims. But I think that was some bullshit. You want me to murk him?” Jay asked as both Chicago and Jay looked at a gagged and bound Craig.

“What the fuck you tie him up for?” Chicago probed.

“He-“

“Untie him Jay.” Demanded Chicago, as his patience ran low. “An honest fiend, you don’t see that too often. “ Chicago said as he dapped Craig once he was untied.

“Chicago I know you don’t play about your money.” Craig said hesitantly careful not to make any sudden moves. Scratching the needle marks on his arms absentmindedly, and out of habit. “Two guys did it. I think they were Gangsta Disciples.”

“Why do you say that?”

“One of them kept saying ‘folks’.”

“Thanks Craig.” Chicago genuinely replied. “Here.” Handing Craig the envelope of money. “Your next gangsta party is on me.” Chicago spoke referring to a drug party for addicts.

“Thank you Chicago!” Craig exclaimed with excitement in his voice. He could barely contain his enthusiasm as his mouth began to water. “If you ever need me to stash anything else man just me know!”

“Already my nigga!” Chicago remarked as he dapped Craig once again. “Stay up my nigga. “ Chicago said as he made his way to the front door.

“You my nigga, Chicago!” Craig yelled out.

“Find them niggas ASAP!” Chicago whispered with a harsh tone once Jay and he made it outside. “For next week’s shipment only the Vice Lords gets their cut. And you let GQ know that this muthafucka will be looking like the Sahara desert until he produces the niggas that stole my money.”

“I’m already on it, Chicago.” Jay responded.

Dante

“What’s up G?” Set Trip spoke, using the Folks Nation’s greeting when Dante answered the phone.

“I’m good, not doing shit. Just chilling at the crib.” Dante responded.

“We got a little situation here, Folks.”

“Like what?”

“Chicago figured out that it was GD that robbed his stash house, and he cut off the dope for the all the GDs in the Robert Taylor homes. GQ dropped $15,000 for anybody that got info on who did it.”

“Ain’t this about a bitch!”

“Yeah, nigga we real fucked right about now.”

Dante placed his head in his hands as he thought of how grave their new position was. He risked his life for seven thousand funky ass dollars. He had a bad feeling about the heist from the get go. But he let greed dictate his actions. Set Trip and he usually took weeks sometimes months to go over the plans and scenarios. Not only did they rush into the situation they didn’t have enough valid information to confirm the amount of the heist. If he would have known that there was only $7000, Dante would have never robbed the stash house. Dante had to chuckle of the irony that the bounty on his head was twice as much as the money he stole from the stash house.

Niggas was always looking for a come up and people would rat out their own Mama if it meant getting their hands on $15,000. So it was obvious to Dante, that he being from out of state anybody would indicate him with the quickness. Dante knew GQ very well. GQ was the gang leader of the Gangsta Disciples in the Robert Taylor homes. He was for the most part a laid back dude, who made sure the GDs ran smoothly. Dante and GQ had a good rapport, and they hustle together from time to time but Dante knew that GQ would become a quick enemy once the truth came out.

“We should be good then.” Dante said trying to ease both Set Trip and his nerves. “Only you and I know. We wore masks and gloves. Niggas will lie on each other first before they find out the facts. We good Joe.”

“I hope you right. Be careful out here.”

“You already know.” Dante replied before ending the call.

It was Friday and Dante was missing his Sunbeam. Being around Sunshine kept him sane. With all the heat from GQ and Chicago it was refreshing to be around someone who truly loved him. Sunshine’s affection had nothing to do with how much money he made neither his mistakes. Sunshine was full of life and pure innocence, qualities that Dante did not see very often in his line of work. He loved how Sunshine’s eyes would light up when he walked in the room. Asia and the other women he messed with, fondness was conditional. If he no longer had the money or the dope dealer status they would be gone in a heartbeat, but that was not the case with Sunshine.

Dante was trying to lay low for awhile until things blew over with the stash house being robbed. He had a fun filled weekend planned for Sunshine and he. Tonight they were going to go see a movie, tomorrow swimming, and on Sunday they were going to the local amusement park. He couldn’t wait to see the look on Sunshine’s face once he told her about their exciting weekend.

Dante knocked on Ramona’s door ready to get his weekend started.

“You didn’t get my message?” Ramona asked as she opened the front door.

“No.”

“Sunny wanted to spend the night at Sophia’s.”

“Doesn’t Sophia have a boyfriend?”

“Yeah. Why?”

“I don’t want Sunshine around no grown ass man. What the hell she doing over there anyway? There ain’t no little girls over there.”

“First off Sophia’s little cousin, Cierra is there. Mike and Kevin are gone for the night. Second I would not let her go over there if I thought something was going on.”

“You are too trusting. You think it’s ok that grown men fuck little kids. “

“Oh I do huh? Oh because I got molested, I am ok with my daughter getting molested? Is that what you are saying?”

“I can’t call it. Your step daddy was touching on you all these years you may think the shit is normal. You always jump from one dick to the other. You have had three kids with one on the way and you only 24. You trifling Mona, you got my daughter thinking its ok to be ho. If that’s okay with your other baby daddies that’s between y’all but my daughter won’t be involved. ”

“Nigga you have lost your mind! I would never let anything happen to my daughter. What I been through is motivation to make sure Sunshine never experiences that kind of pain. When have you ever seen Sunshine being nasty? Talking nasty or dancing nasty? Never nigga! Because my daughter is a child and I treat her like one. I should slap your ass for even insinuating that I would ever let anyone hurt Sunshine.”

“Bitch do it.” Dante barked as the anger from Ramona’s eyes was replaced by fear.

“Bye, Dante.” Ramona replied as she tried to shut her door.

Dante was not done arguing and pried his way in the door. Dante liked the fear in Ramona’s eyes as pounced on her.

“Dante just go please.” Ramona pleaded tears beginning to weld in her eyes.

“You were Johnny Bad ass on the porch. Saying you were going to slap me, do it now.”

“My baby is sleep in the room. Please-“

“I don’t give a damn about your trick baby!” Before Dante realized it he had grabbed Ramona and hit her. She wasn’t very fast considering she was seven months pregnant. Dante had tackled Ramona to the ground pinning her arms above her.

“You miss getting hit don’t you? You like being man handled?” Dante whispered into Ramona’s ear.

Ramona’s response was more tears as she cried even harder, trying to get from under Dante’s weight.

“We could have been a family Mona but you wanted to fuck that up. Yeah I fuck those bitches from time to time but I love you. I saved you.” Dante said aggressively as he grabbed Ramona’s face, forcing her to make eye contact with him.

“You’re right, Dante. Just let me up so we can talk.” Ramona stuttered the fear thickening by the minute.

“Quit lying! I got enough stress and now you playing with my emotions? I tell you how I feel and you lie in my face?” Dante yelled as he punched Ramona.

Ramona wailed out in pain. She felt helpless as the pregnancy weight slowed her down, making her vulnerable.

“I can lose my baby, please just let me up, so I can catch my breath.”

“I don’t give a fuck, it’s not my baby. This the shit I am talking about you want people to feel sorry for you because you a ho.” Dante could feel himself becoming sexually aroused as he begin slid down Ramona’s jeans.

Ramona began to claw and fight as Dante ripped her panties. With one swift movement Dante’s hand was around Ramona’s throat.

“You let everybody else have it why not me? I will at least give you a couple dollars, that’s more than what these other niggas would give you.”

Dante just snickered as he watched Ramona cry as he worked himself inside her. “Damn baby you’re tight. I guess you not as much as a ho as I thought.” Dante continued to stroke in and out of Ramona not letting his grip go from around her neck.

“Tell me you like it.” Dante demanded, before slapping Ramona with his other hand.

Ramona yelped before replying she liked it.

“Is it better than daddy?” Dante snarled before slapping Ramona again. “Say it bitch! Tell me how I stroke it better than your daddy.”

“You are better than my daddy!” Sobbed Ramona.

Dante stood up and grabbing Ramona by her hair making her sit up. “Open your fucking mouth and suck it. If you bite me I promise you that I kill you and that little brat in the room.”

Dante grabbed Ramona’s face abruptly shoving his penis down her throat as he pumped fast in and out of her mouth. It didn’t take long to ejaculate, as his semen spilled down Ramona’s throat. As soon as the arousal began it quickly dissolved leaving behind disgust. But he was not repelled with Ramona who had reverted to a weeping child on the floor, but himself.

Dante never thought to rape someone, but his anger and the pending stress of his thievery had taken him to a place that he didn’t like. Instead of handling his shit like a man, he took all his frustration out on a helpless pregnant woman. Not just any woman but the mother of his daughter. Ramona didn’t deserve nothing he had put her through over the years, with all the times he taunted her about her past he was no different than her stepfather. She gave him her loyalty, trust and more importantly Sunshine and he rewarded her with cruelty.

Ramona was someone’s daughter too, just like Sunshine was his daughter. What if he died, who be here to protect Sunshine? Ramona’s life could have been way better if her father was alive. It sickened Dante to think of the things that could transpire if he was no longer alive to protect his child. Getting molested, raped, hit, and degraded like Ramona had, could be waiting for his daughter too if he no longer existed. It wasn’t like he had a legal job; he was a drug dealer and a thief. He had one foot on the ground and the other on a banana peel. His life could be taken away instantly leaving his daughter fatherless and prey to ravening wolves. Karma was a bitch and he would hate for Sunshine to pay for his sins.

“Mona, I fucked up really bad.” Dante said softly as he got on his knees in front of Ramona. “I am going through some shit and I took all my anger out on you.”

“Don’t touch me!” Ramona shouted as Dante tried to touch her.

“I will run you a nice bath, so you can soak and keep an eye on the baby. “ Dante voice shuck as his actions plagued his conscience.

“Get out!”

“I can’t do that, please let me make this right.” Dante pleaded. “I’m sorry for what I have put you through all these years; you didn’t deserve any of that.”

“Dante please just go.”

“I can’t leave you like this.” Dante replied as he picked Ramona up over his shoulders. Ramona screamed and scratched but Dante was not putting Ramona down. He made his way to the bathroom setting Ramona gently on the toilet.

“I said you were going to take a warm bath and I meant that shit.” Dante said as he pulled his gun from his waist and pointed it at Ramona. “Now, sit here while I get your water ready.”

“You’re fucking crazy.” Hissed Ramona as she gave Dante the death scare. “You attacked and rape me. Then I am supposed to ignore that shit? Humph.”

Dante was paying Ramona no mind as he let the warm water from the bathtub facet run through his fingers. He turned back to Ramona removing her shirt and bra. He could see the contempt in her eyes but he knew she would not let the words flow considering the gun pointed at her face.

“You want me to help you get in the tub?” Dante asked as he extended out one hand while the other hand was pointing the gun at Ramona.

“It’s not like I have a choice.” Ramona spoke with hatred as she gave Dante her hand to sit in the tub.

“Things are getting better between us. Why you got to fuck up the mood?” Dante asked as made sure Ramona was secure in the bathtub. “You’re hungry?”

“I have lost my appetite.” Ramona replied as she rolled her eyes.

“At least eat something for the baby.” Dante offered before Ramona rolled his eyes again.

Dante could hear Ramona’s baby crying from the bedroom. Ramona tried to waddle her way out the tub but she was having troubles getting her grip to pull herself up.

“Sit.” Dante said harshly as he pushed Ramona back in a sitting positon. “I got this. Mona I know sometimes I’m not right in the head but I won’t hurt the baby.”

Dante headed to the bedroom, to find a chubby baby standing in the playpen. Tears coming down her face as she wailed for attention.

Dante gently picked up the child and instantly Skky stopped crying her hazel eyes staring back at him. Dante had to smile because he could see some similarities of Sunshine in this baby.

“”Hi little baby.” Dante cooed as he gently bounced Skky.

“Hand me my daughter please.” Ramona asked naked and dripping with water from the doorway.

“Mona I am trying to be very nice here. But you got a mouth on you and I have no problem leaving some bodies up in here. “Dante said calmly. “Now get Sophia on the phone and tell her to bring my baby back over here.”

Chicago

“Are you sure?” Chicago asked.

“Positive.” GQ responded.

“How sure? I don’t want to killing the wrong nigga just because you trying to get some product.”

“I did some investigating. His baby mama is always running her mouth. She goes to the same hair shop as my sister. It’s him, Joe. He is waiting for you in the basement.”

Chicago didn’t speak as he made his way to the back of the abandoned house to the stairway. The stairway creaked as he slowly made his way down the stairs. He had his pistol ready just in case there was a set up waiting for him at the bottom of the stairs. He understood the dangers of drug trafficking very well.

Just a bound man tied in a chair awaited him in the dimly lit room.

“Set Trip? That’s stupid ass name, Joe.” Chicago spoke as he placed the duffle bag he was carrying on the floor. “Back home there is a strict code people live by. Thievery is not accepted. A man’s hand is cut off if he believed to be a thief.”

Chicago continued as began to place various medical instruments and jars of torture agents on the makeshift table. He had learned the art of torture and Set Trip would give up his accomplice before Chicago was through with him, Chicago was sure of it. “I’m a compassionate guy and if you were stealing to feed your kids, you would not be tied up right about now. But you stole from me looking for a come up. Now you can give me your partner’s name and I put your body in a place where you can be found, so your mama can give you an open casket burial. Or I can keep you alive, mutilate you, and send a body part in the mail to your mama every day. How do you want it?” Chicago asked as he removed the scrap of cloth that was tied around Set Trip’s mouth.

“Either way you’re going to kill me?” Set Trip inquired with desperation and fear.

“Yes. You not brand new to this. Everybody in the Robert Taylor Homes knows how I roll. So what’s going to be?” Chicago asked as he examines his instruments in the light.

“His name is Dante. Dante Mitchell. He lives off of Cottage Grove and 92nd. He got an auntie that live in Chatham. His baby mama’s name is Ramona. And she lives in Bronzeville.” Set Trip ranted in quick breaths.

Ramona.

“She light skinned? Long sandy brown hair?” Chicago questioned remembering Ramona’s pretty face.

“Yup that’s her!”

“This is going to be easier than I thought.” Chicago pondered to himself.

“You’re sorry, Joe.” Chicago exclaimed. “You just ratted out your boy and his whole family. I’m glad you not my homie. But my word is bond, Nigga.” Expressed, Chicago as he aimed his gun at Set Trip’s beating heart.

Chicago let two shots into Set Trip’s heart. Blood spewed everywhere as Set Trip slumped down in the chair. His face still stuck in shock. Chicago packed up his tools and removed his clothing including his shoes, putting the blood stained clothes in a plastic bag before dressing in another set of clothes that he had in the duffle bag. Chicago made his way outside to a waiting GQ.

“Are we good?” GQ asked as he anxiously waited.

“Yup. GD is back on the map.” Stated, Chicago as he checked his surroundings, he could never be too sure.

“Good! Is there anything else you want me to do?”

“Nah, I got it. Jay or Cabbie will bring you the product tomorrow.” Chicago spoke as he made his way to his car. “You can leave the body, call his mama and let her know her son is ready for burial.”

Once in the car, Chicago reached for his phone and dialed.

“You are not going to believe who robbed my spot?”

“Who?”

“I rather tell you in person. I’ll meet you at my apartment tonight.”

“Alright.”

Chicago ended the call before heading to his lake front property in Glencoe. He loved his house out in Glencoe. It was so peaceful compared to the city and all the grim that went on in the projects. Chicago kept an apartment in Hyde Park that he spent a lot of time at but his home was in Glencoe. Only the people he was closest to had visited his home.

Chicago waved to his next door neighbor, Mrs. Franklin once he got out the car. To not cause suspicion, he kept to himself and put on the appearance that he was a corporate business man. For the most part his neighbors minded their own business. He knew he was the only person of color on the block and had to tread lightly. There was no way he could have gotten the home without the help of his godfather. He was just a drug dealer from Jamaica, but Juan had so much pull that he was able to get the house without too much hassle.

Chicago threw the bloody clothes in the washer and made his way to the master suite located on the second floor. Chicago let the hot water run from his oversize shower run all through his hair and body. He hated blood but it was a necessary occupational hazard that came with the type of work he did. The water began to run cold and Chicago grabbed the nearest towel and wrapped it around him to go back into the bedroom.

Chicago had to make sure that everything went according to plan. He was not a reactional killer. He was a planner and used his head before speaking and executing his actions. Since Lucci’s death Chicago toned down anything in his lifestyle that screamed money. He was not swayed by the glitter of the business either. He was not a slave to the money, and saved the bulk of his money in offshore accounts. Yes he had this nice house but that was the only thing the feds could ever take from him. They would never be able to touch his money. He dressed nice but not expensive and flashy. He drove a luxury Lexus sedan but it was within his decoy employment means. He didn’t want to be on the radar and tried to maintain a low profile. He knew that being flamboyant was like putting a target on your back for the authorities. He tried to live his life like the feds was always watching.

Chicago thoughts shifted to Ramona. He never met a woman like her. It was more than her beauty, because pretty girls approached him all the time. She didn’t live in the world that he peddled his narcotics and he needed a woman that he was far removed from the filth of the drug world. He liked that she was not chasing him like all of the other women he encountered. She was not impressed by his dope boy status. He also liked that she didn’t readily give her body away. He just wanted a woman to like him for him and not what he had. Chicago really thought that Ramona could be that woman. He never apologized to Ramona for how he flipped out on her when Lucci got killed. The opportunity had finally presented its self to see if what could transpire between Ramona and him.

Business was business and he did not want Ramona and her kids to get hurt. He knew that she wasn’t a part of the robbery. That just wasn’t her character. Plus he remembered that whatever romance Dante and Ramona shared had died way before he met her. Regardless of the fact of being the father of Ramona’s child he was coming for Dante. There was no doubt about that.

Ramona

 

Ramona had not seen or talked to Enrique. The last time she talked to Enrique she told him she was pregnant. Not too long after that he changed his number. But not before he let her know that he refused to have a baby by a nigger bitch. Ramona was more angry than sad about Enrique’s behavior. She didn’t see the appeal of having a child with someone she barely knew. He wasn’t even the type of man she could see herself dating. His penis was small and he was borderline broke. Enrique filled a void because she was feeling depressed about her son’s death, but having sex with him had nothing to do with her wanting to make him a permanent part of her world. Ramona didn’t see the reason to track down Enrique after he wrote her and her baby off like a bad check. As the months went on and her belly grew bigger, Ramona continued to work and do what she needed to do for her daughters. 

Ramona tried to look at her pregnancy in a positive way, but with each day her actions festered in the back of her mind. Here she was another baby and no daddy. How did she let this shit happen once again? This was not the life she dreamed about. But at the same she never had a chance to dream.

Always in survival mode, Ramona was surprised she was able to function day to day. No matter how hard she tried she could not escape the secrets that were bond to her. She put on a smile, she went to work every day and she took good care of her children. But there was invisible scar that never quite healed. Being sexually assaulted as a child affected her whole paradigm. It made Ramona uncertain and distrusting of the world, including her. It was the same reason why she was willing to give her body away so easily and choosing toxic men that meant her no good.

She didn’t like how she had to suffer in silence. Her sisters wanted her to get over it. But Adam didn’t molest them and their mother didn’t hate them so it was easy for them to think molestation could be easily erased. It was her and only her that her family blamed. Like she as a little girl seduced a grown man. Like it was her that said please take my innocence and ruin any chance of a healthy romantic relationship. She bet her dad was turning over in his grave on how she had damaged she turned out. 

It was raining hard when Ramona pulled up to the convenience store. She hated being out in this weather because she was over due. But Skky needed formula and diapers.

“I know that’s not Enrique’s bitch ass. “ Ramona said to herself as she parked her car in the parking lot.

Ramona charged Enrique with anger. The look on Enrique’s face was priceless as Ramona approached him. As Ramona and Enrique argued back and forth, Ramona felt the rain soaked her pants, but quickly realized it wasn’t the rain but her water had broken.

Ramona stared into the eyes of her new daughter. Her dark brown curls framed her round face. All the hell she went through during her pregnancy and now she was holding this perfect baby. It was so humbling. Just like Skky and Sunshine this little girl deserved love.

“Can I hold her?” Enrique asked.

Ramona shook her head yes before passing the baby to Enrique.

“Hola mi precosa hija.” Enrique whispered to his daughter as he took her out of Ramona’s hands.

“I like the name Serenity.” Ramona spoke. She somehow wanted to keep with her tradition of her children’s names starting with an “S”. There was no significance with the letter but she already had two daughters who names started with an “S”.

“That’s too plain, how about Estrella?”

“What does that mean in English?”

“Star.”

And so the named stuck for the new baby with the green eyes and dark brown hair. The only thing that Enrique could give to Star was her name. And as hard as things were Ramona had to accept that like Skky, Star would not have a father. Michael as promised sent a check in the mail for $150 every week faithfully. But he was not there when Skky babbled “Dada” or her first steps. The last time he seen Skky, was the day she was born.

History had a nasty way of repeating its self. Just like Enrique didn’t want anything to do with Star, so was the issue with Michael. Enrique wasn’t even willing to financially help out. Ramona couldn’t even file for child support. Enrique wasn’t even the Puerto Rican man’s name that she procreated with. Ramona later found out that was just the name he gave her. Even the old phone number belonged to a burner phone. Ramona had nothing to track down Star’s father. If wasn’t for Star she would have thought that he never existed.

What was she to tell her daughter when she got older? That she was struggling with grieve of Star’s older brother and had sex with a stranger. That she didn’t even have the man’s real name. She didn’t know where he lived, where he worked, not even his damn favorite color. She had nothing to give her daughter about who her father was, let alone his love for Star.

Ramona just finished dressing when she heard a knock at the door. She took a quick look at herself in the hallway mirror, making sure that her hair was curled to perfection.

“Here I come!” Ramona yelled as she made her way to the door.

“Damn this is all for me?” Dante asked as he rubbed Ramona’s red lingerie between his fingers once he walked in the door.

“Yes it is. You like this welcome home party baby?” Ramona said with lust as she rubbed her fingertips down Dante’s chest.

“That’s what I’m talking about. Mona you know we are meant to be together. I want-“

Ramona silenced Dante’s ramblings by kissing him passionately. Ramona grabbed Dante’s hand and led into her bedroom. Dante laid on the bed as Ramona turned on the stereo sitting on the dresser. Ramona grinded her hips slowly as she approached Dante seductively. Ramona mounted Dante as she planted smooth kisses on his stomach and chest.

“I love you.” Dante whispered as he ran his fingers in Ramona’s hair.

“I love you too.” Replied Ramona as stared into Dante’s eyes and caressed his stomach.

“You forgive me?” Dante inquired as he pulled his T-shirt over his head, as he closed his eyes, letting continue to massage his body.

“Of course, I miss you so much Dante. I want us-.”

Ramona stopped midsentence as she saw a man pulling Dante from under her. The man was joined by two other men. She quickly recognized the first man. It was Chicago, the man she met at Club Creme two years back. A drug dealer, who ran most of the Southside of Chicago and the Cabrini Greens of the Northside. The men with Chicago began to beat Dante unmercifully, pinning him in the corner of the room as they punched and kicked him.

“Let him go you punk ass mutherfuckas!” Ramona tried to rush to Dante’s aid. Chicago pulled a 9mm glock out of his waist of his pants and pointed the gun at Ramona’s face.

“Bitch sit your ass down and shut the fuck up.” Chicago ordered.

Ramona reluctantly sat back down on the bed.

“Here.” Chicago growled, throwing Dante’s shirt at her. “Put some clothes on.”

Chicago, turning his gun onto Dante, spoke evenly “Where’s my fucking money bitch?”

“You claim that you making moves but here you are at my baby mama house tripping over $7000?” Dante said as blood ran down his chest. “Nigga fuck you!”

“Hit that smart ass nigga.” Chicago told one of the men. The man with the dark skin and long dreads took the blunt of his gun and hit Dante in the eye. His eye swelled up quickly turning purple.

“Wait, Chicago! This is going too far!” Ramona screamed. “I’ll give you the money!”

“Shut the fuck up!” Or you can get three hot ones in the face.” Chicago roared as he snatched Ramona up by her arm and dragged her into the opposite corner of the room. Chicago slammed her up against the wall before whispering in her ear and slapping her. Looking defeated and crying, Ramona quietly sat back down on the bed.

Chicago walked over to Dante who was drifting in and out of conscience while sitting on the floor.

“You thought you were going to rob me and get away with it? Your boy Set Trip gave you up. He sung like a bird. Told me where you and your bitch stay. You thought I was going to let that shit ride? You got me fucked up. Where the fuck is my money?”

Dante sitting in a pool of his own blood looked up and mouthed. “Kiss my ass you not getting shit.”

“Break his fucking jaw.”

Dante staggered to get to his feet. With the last bit of his strength, Dante charged at Chicago like a raging bull. Chicago pointed his gun at Dante’s chest and fired. Ramona watched in agony as she watched Chicago shoot Dante a second time. Something deep inside Dante bellowed an agonizing scream. Once again Dante leaped at Chicago but a bullet stopped him mid air and Dante dropped like a fly.

Ramona ran to Dante’s side her tears mixing with Dante’s blood as she sobbed uncontrollably. Ramona wrapped her arms around Dante. He just stared at her as a glaze of unresponsiveness cloaked his eyes. Dante’s body began to shake. Ramona held him until the shaking stopped and life left his limp body.

“Jay, GQ y’all niggas step out for a minute.” Chicago ordered to the two men.

The men stepped over the body and waited for Chicago in the living room. Chicago tried to remove Ramona from the body but she would not budge. Ramona stared into Chicago’s eyes before anger took hold of her emotions. Ramona felt emptiness as Dante’s body lay on her bedroom floor.

“What you think that nigga in there doing?” Asked GQ as he noticed the blood in his dreads.

“Probably fucking that bitch, shit I would.” Jay laughed. “Damn she fine I wouldn’t mind tapping that. Did you see that bitch’s eyes?”

“Nah” GQ replied.

“Hazel and slanted like a cat. The bitch had me in a trance for real.”

“Nigga you tripping, you need to stop drinking. We are here to do a mission and not find hos to fuck.”

Just then Chicago came out the room.

“You want us to murk that bitch?” GQ asked.

“Nah we good, I took care of it.” Chicago voiced as the two men followed him out the apartment.

Dante’s family flew in from Alabama as well as Janice and Ramona’s sisters. She didn’t see the point in her mother’s visit. Ramona was glad that her sisters were coming but she wanted to see Alex too. It had been eight years since she left Alabama and she wanted to see all her family. Alex was conveniently at some boys’ camp and could not make it. Ramona knew that her mother was behind Alex not being able to come.

It wasn’t like Ramona and her family had talked since Ramona left Huntsville. Her kids didn’t know her sisters or her mother. Aunt Carrie was their grandma and Sophia was their aunt. Ramona tried very hard not to be bitter towards them but it really hurt that they could not come to Chicago when MJ died. Everyone was so busy that they could not even pick up the phone to call and check on her. Months after MJ died her mother and sisters wanted Sunshine and Skky to come visit. Ramona was not about to play with her kids wellbeing. Adam was not going to get the chance to hurt her babies.

Cindy had told her that Adam had divorced their mother and moved in with a woman with a young daughter. Just the thought of Adam molesting that little girl made Ramona sick to her stomach. Ramona’s heart went out to that little girl since she knew that men like Adam did not change their perverted ways.

The repass was held at Carrie’s house. Everyone at the repass dotted on Sunshine, since she was Dante’s only child. Dante knew a lot of people all through Chicago and the house was full with people and lots of food. Ramona tried to stay busy avoiding her daughter as much as possible; Sunshine’s face a constant reminder of the life that no longer existed.

“Mona all these kids look different why is that?” Janice asked Ramona as the last of the people left Carrie’s house.

“They got different daddies, Mama.” Ramona could sense the bullshit that her Mama was about to imply. She knew she had a lot of kids by different fathers. She didn’t need people to continue to remind her. As long as she worked hard to provide for them she didn’t see why it was anybody’s business.

“Um hum you can tell by this one.” Pointing at Star, “She doesn’t look all black. I didn’t know piss yellow came in so many colors.” Janice snickered. “They definitely got Raymond Norton’s blood running through them.”

Hearing her father’s name brought a smile to Ramona’s face. Noticing the smile Janice tried to send another blow.

“So basically you came home from the hospital fucking not even to the same man? Do you at least know who these rug rats’ daddies are?”

“Yes I do.” Ramona snapped as Star’s father flashed in her mind.

She could not understand why her mother always went out her way to make her feel like shit. Ramona was really hoping that her mother was here because she was finally going to treat her firstborn like a daughter. But things have not changed.

“Don’t sass me girl. I’m still your mother. Now we came all the way up here from Alabama, the least you can do is show some respect.

“Yes ma’am.” Ramona voiced as she fought back the tears.

“Mona, can you help me in the kitchen?” Aunt Carrie cut in rescuing Ramona from the situation.

Aunt Carrie instead of leading Ramona to the kitchen made a beeline to her bedroom. Once the door closed Ramona was in tears. Carrie grabbed her in a maternal hug letting Ramona’s tears drench her funeral dress.

“I know you have hope that your mother will come to love you. But baby you have to let that go. You got me and more importantly you have three beautiful daughters that love and adore you. You’re a good mother Mona, despite all you been through. Them girls don’t go without. Their hair is always combed, they happy, and they are loved. That’s your hard work baby. No one else’s.” Aunt Carrie resonated

“Thank you.” Ramona replied as she wiped the tears that came down her face.

“You are my baby girl, the Lord seen I needed a daughter and you needed a Mama. You brought so much joy into my life. You’re not damaged goods. Your Mama got her own issues that she imposed on you. She is fighting her own demons. She served her purpose of showing you what a mother is not to do. You learned, now just move on with your life and raise your kids. God don’t like ugly. She is going to have to pay for letting that nasty bastard touch on you. I don’t even know why she came. Probably being nosey seeing if that nigga up here with you. Caroline already told me that he moved out of Alabama. “

“Who, Adam?”

“Yes ma’am, my baby sister stays up on what be going on. Don’t worry about it he is not in Chicago.” Aunt Carrie said as she patted Ramona’s back before switching gears. “Caroline doesn’t really know Sunshine, and she is the last living part of Dante. If that girl don’t look and act just like her daddy. “Chuckled Aunt Carrie. “Any how she wanted to spend a couple of days with Sunshine before they headed back to Huntsville. All Sunshine knows is us. But Caroline and Dana are her real grandma and Auntie. I wanted to see how you felt about that since you don’t let the baby go too many places.”

“Of course it’s ok. Miss Caroline is her grandma.”

“With Sunshine being gone with Caroline and Dana, I will keep Skky and Star to give you a break, give you some time to get your mind right. Now go in the bathroom and fix your face. You never supposed to let them see you cry.”

I don’t know where I will be without you.” Ramona replied as she wrapped her arms around Aunt Carrie.

Ramona could no longer sleep in her bedroom and she hated to be at home by herself. Her bedroom was a constant reminder of the gruesome death of her child’s father. Ramona had mixed emotions about Dante dying. Regardless of her feelings her daughter was left without a father. Sunshine took Dante’s death the hardest. Ramona believed that even Dante’s Mama wasn’t as heartbroken as Sunshine. Sunshine withdrew and the once vibrant and full of life child had been reduced to quiet and reserved. Her quirkiness was barely there and she rarely smiled. Ramona could not count the nights she held her daughter as she cried her eyes out. It was to the point that she was rocking and soothing Sunshine more than she was rocking Star and Skky. It was tiring, but Ramona knew the pain of losing a father and if holding and babying Sunshine would get her back to normal then so be it.

Ramona hated the fact that Sunshine had experienced so much death in her short eight years of life. First her little brother and now her father, both had succumbed to the grave. Ramona didn’t know what to do to ease her daughter’s pain. All she could do was continue to be a good mother. Ramona hoped that Sunshine would bounce back just like she did when MJ died. That hopefully her daughter would not hold unto the pain and try to move on. Ramona knew from experience that holding on to pain was not the route to go and all it did was suck the life from you.

Ramona thoughts were interrupted by knocks at the door. She rolled off the couch and headed to the door to see who her visitor was. She knew it could not be her kids since they were with Dante’s family and it was late in the evening.

Ramona looked through the peep hole and nervously opened the door.

“Hey baby.” Chicago said as he kissed Ramona’s cheek “Pack your stuff I’m getting you the hell out of here. “

“I can’t afford to do that right now. But thank you.” Ramona responded as she made her way to the kitchen in search of something to drink. Her mouth had suddenly become dry.

“I didn’t ask you about no money.” Chicago spoke as he followed Ramona in the kitchen. “I have a house in Glencoe. It’s just me out there with four bedrooms plus the master bedroom, and a yard for your kids. It’s real nice.”

“What’s the catch?” inquired Ramona as she took a long sip of the glass of water she was holding.

“No catch.” Grabbing Ramona’s face “Didn’t I tell you everything was going to be alright?”

Ramona shook her head yes as she took another gulp of water.

“My boys will be here after you get off work to move your stuff. Take only the clothes. I already got the kids some beds and later this week I will take you to get whatever else you need.”

The next day, Ramona and her children moved into the new house. Chicago didn’t mention that the house would be a mini mansion and be so beautiful. The house was equipped with a large kitchen, three different living rooms, a huge yard off the lake, and a heated pool. Ramona never saw a house so big.

“This man done went and got you a house. You better keep him. “ Janice spoke as she looked around. “Don’t let him get away.”

“Thank God they are leaving in two days.” Ramona thought to herself. It’s had been two weeks since the funeral and she was ready for her mother and sister to leave.

“If you going to get pregnant by someone it should be him. Listen to your mama don’t let this one get away.”

Two months later Janice words became a reality and Ramona was pregnant. This was just getting to be too much, Sunshine was eight going on nine, Skky thirteen months and Star only four months. Another baby was too much of a strain. She was starting to look like the old lady in the shoe, having all these damn babies. She was twenty-five with too many kids. She was no different than the welfare recipients that had so many kids by different fathers. Ramona refused to bring another baby in the world. She was just too damn fertile. She only slept with Chicago a handful of times and here she was having his baby. She had to get an abortion.

“You’re not killing my baby.” Was the only response that Chicago had about the matter.

Ramona was not going to let Chicago’s hesitations stop her. But her insurance didn’t cover such “procedures” and she couldn’t afford to pay out of pocket without Chicago’s help. He was alert about the money he gave to her and any large purchases he paid for his self. Before Ramona knew it she had surpassed the time in which she could legally abort the fetus.

Ramona was embarrassed about being pregnant again and didn’t tell anyone including Sophia. As time went on Ramona started getting excited about the idea of having a baby. Maybe this baby would be a boy. Ramona already had three daughters and having another boy would be good change. Who was she to decide who gets to live or not live? However, Ramona knew that she didn’t want to go through this again and would go on birth control as soon as the baby was born.

Ramona rushed to the door to meet her sisters. She was so happy that they were going to be there for her baby shower. After the funeral, both Leann and Cindy vowed to be more involved in Ramona’s life and a constant fixture in their nieces’ lives.

The three sisters embraced as soon as the door was open.

“I’m so glad yall are here!” Ramona exclaimed as her voice filled with glee.

“Where are my nieces?” Cindy asked.

“Sleep.”

Cindy took the initiative to go upstairs in Ramona’s bedroom. When she came back down she was holding Star with Sunshine carrying Skky.

“Cindy why did you wake them up?” Whined Ramona.

“Hush.” Cindy remarked.

“Mama.” Star and Skky said in unison as they both climbed into Ramona’s lap.

“Mama, can I go over Nicole’s house?” Sunshine asked as she rubbed her sleepy eyes.

“Uh-huh, I’m not driving all the way to Chicago. See if her mama can bring her over here.” Replied Ramona as she watched a vexed look grow on Sunshine’s face. “Sunshine fix your face. I don’t see why you can’t play with the kids around here.”

“Because I don’t like the kids around here, I’m from Chicago, not Glencoe. It’s boring here. I miss my friends.”

“You see them Monday through Friday at school. Girl please, I wish I had your childhood when I was your age. You just don’t know how good you got it.”

“Mama!” Whined Sunshine, as she tried to join her sisters in her mother’s lap and laying her head on Ramona’s chest. “Why do you always have to say that? I didn’t say I don’t want to live here. I just want to play with my friends.”

Ramona rolled her eyes as she stroked Sunshine’s hair, before a slight smile creep on her face. Sunshine was slowly returning to her old self. She was happy that Sunshine was wanting to be around other kids rather than cooped up in her room. But Ramona was not about to make the forty-five minute drive to Chicago.

“You’re being rude, Sunshine. You didn’t speak to your aunties.”

“Sorry, Mama. Hi Auntie Leann. Hi Auntie Cindy.” Sunshine said as sluggishly wrapped her arms around each of her Aunt’s necks.

“It’s okay baby.” Cindy responded as she took a babbling Star out of Ramona’s arms.

“You continue to get so pretty, Sunshine!” LeAnn exclaimed as she brought Sunshine in for a hug.

“And smart.” Ramona chimed in. Ramona wanted her daughters to be more than pretty faces.

Everyone turned to see the front door open. All these years and he was still as fine as the night Ramona met him at Club Crème. But it was more than his outer appearance that was attractive; it was his ability to love her with all her flaws.

“Baby these are my sisters, Leann and Cindy.” Ramona spoke up as Chicago approached the group in the living room.

“Hi, nice to meet yall.” Chicago smiled as he greeted Ramona’s sisters.

“Yes you too.” Spoke both Leann and Cindy.

“Sean, could you take me to Nicole’s house?” Sunshine whimpered.

“Sure.” Chicago smiled. “Grab your jacket.”

“Uh-huh, you get to see Nicole all the time. Spend some time with your family.” Ramona cut in.

“Mona it’s alright.” Cindy replied.

“Can I spend the night?” Sunshine asked as excitement filled her voice, just knowing that she got her way.

“Don’t push it.” Ramona warned. “You want to drive all the way to Chicago?” Ramona sought.

“I got to head that way anyway. Baby I just ran home to grab some stuff; I’m drop Sunny off at her friend’s house and hook up with Cabbie. If you need me hit me on my two-way.” Chicago said before kissing Ramona and walking out the door with Sunshine in tow.

What does he do for a living?” probed Leann. She was now looking around and taking a better look at the expensive house.

“Import, Export.” Countered Ramona.

“What the hell is that?”

“He’s a drug dealer.” Cindy cut in.

“Correction baby, drug lord. My man don’t stand at the bus stop handing out dope to fiends. He running shit.”

“Do you think that’s a good decision to have such people around your kids?” Leann responded.

“Such People.” Mocked Cindy.

Ramona and Cindy burst into laughter.

“She thinks she has to talk like that since she went to college.” Cindy giggled.

Ignoring Cindy’s comment Leann cleared her throat and spoke. “I just don’t know why you are entering into a relationship so quickly after a tragedy.”

“Yeah girl, Dante’s grave isn’t even cold yet and you got some new nigga.” Agreed Cindy.

“When Dante died we were not together. “ Ramona said nonchalantly.

“That name Chicago sounds familiar.” Whispered Leann.

“No it doesn’t.” Ramona said nervously.

“Didn’t you say something about some guy named Chicago involved with Dante’s death but your boyfriend goes by Chicago?” Leann questioned.

“Fine it’s the same person, ok. Damn don’t y’all judge me. As much shit I been through behind Dante yes I am fucking the man that killed him. So fucking what!”

Both Leann and Cindy gasped as they starred at their sister in bewilderment.

“Damn that’s low Mona, How can you lay down with the man that killed your daughter’s father.” Cindy said in a low voice.

“No Cindy.” As tears ran down Ramona’s face “How can I fuck the man that I help kill my daughter’s father.”

Cabbie

“Whap’am Yardie!” Uncle Delon yelled as Cabbie made his way up the stairs of his maternal uncle’s home.

“Irie.” Cabbie greeted as he embraced his Uncle Delon. “I’m no Yadie, Unc. I’ve only been gone a couple months. Jamrock will always be my home.”

“Yeah. Yeah. Ciel made some beef patties. You hungry? “

“Always!” Cabbie grinned as he followed his uncle into the large house.

“You remember Shakka?” Delon asked Cabbie as he pointed to the militant armed man sitting on the couch. “Shakka! Dis fi mi nephew, Jason. Pierre and Danique’s pickney. He a Shotta. A real rude bwoy.” Delon spoke as he bragged about his nephew. “He speaky-spokey, but Ja is in his blood through and through.”

“Wah gwaan.” Cabbie spoke up.

Shakka’s stone face did not change as he greeted Cabbie before Cabbie followed his uncle to the back of his estate.

It had been only five months and Cabbie didn’t realize how much he missed his homeland. The winters alone in Chicago, Illinois were horrible. Most of his family and friends were here. The air, the people, the food, the ocean, it was different here in Jamaica. He was home sick and his godfather had thrown him into the deep waters of the drug world without floaters. But if he was going to be even half the man his father was he would have to get his hands dirty. While his older siblings were close to their mother he was closer to his dad. Cabbie’s father was both a business and family man and Cabbie wanted to take on those qualities that defined his father as a man.

Not too many people knew that Cabbie and Chicago were brothers. Nor did people know that Cabbie and his family were originally from Jamaica. Chicago and Cabbie’s father, Pierre Cange, was from the coastal town of Gonaives in Haiti, and a distant cousin of the drug lord Michel Francois. At twelve, Pierre took on the family business of drug trafficking and through the years developed a close relationship with the Medellin Cartel and later the Cali Cartel.

Pierre seen that Jamaica would be a lucrative place for transporting cocaine to the United States as well as cornering the Marijuana market. Pierre met the Creole beauty, Danique Fraser while in Jamaica and it was love at first sight. Pierre permanently moved his business to Jamaica, married Danique, and fathered twins Sean and Saissa and their youngest child, Jason. Life was going well until a hit man from a rival drug cartel broke into their home and killed Pierre.

After Pierre was buried Danique tried to go on with life but Lennox; Pierre’s rival didn’t make it easy. With her husband and most of his own empire gone Danique had no one to protect her or her relatives. Survival was different in Jamaica compared to America. Being the wife or the even lesser title of mistress to a drug dealer meant the difference between fresh food and rotten meat. It meant that your children could continue in school and it meant not living in tin roof shack that flooded during the rainy seasons.

Danique’s marriage to Pierre benefited her entire family. Their entire welfare and health depended on Pierre’s prosperity and relations. In fear of what would become of her family she reluctantly shared her bed with the rival drug lord, Lennox. But Danique had other plans and slashed Lennox’s throat in his bed. Danique knew it was only a matter of time before Lennox’s lieutenants figured out what she had done.

Danique’s uncles arranged for her to go to America but only had enough for Danique, Saissa and Sean. Danique was scared to leave Jason behind in fear of what would happen to the four year-old boy. But she had no choice and sent him to live with her brother Delon in Montego Bay. Once in the States, Danique changed their last name from Cange to Campbell just in case Lennox’s family came after her. After twelve years in Jamaica, Jason was reunited with his family in Chicago.

Because of Pierre’s Columbian connections, Danique found favor with the drug lord Rogelio and his nephew and successor, Juan. So when both Sean and Jason got involved with drug trafficking they already had the connection that only the south side dealers of Chicago dreamed of. With Jason’s drug connections in Jamaica, Sean and Jason were the suppliers of Jamaica, Michigan, Illinois, Ohio and Missouri.

It was obvious that Cabbie was Jamaican but Chicago had more Haitian features. They shared a lot of resemblances until they spoke because Chicago’s Patois accent was long gone. They both shared the blue black skin of their mother. Where Chicago’s hair was wavy, Cabbie’s was kinky. They both spoke Spanish, Patios and Haitian Creole. Because of the life that he lived Chicago did not want too much of his personal life known and so it was determined that Cabbie be known only as his business partner.

Danique had a total of eight siblings and Delon was the youngest. Delon had become somewhat of a drug lord since Cabbie had last left Jamaica. He too worked with Juan. He was one of the prime growers of marijuana for the Caribbean, as well as controlled a port for narcotics to be passed from Columbia to America.

“Ciel, guess wo dey yah.” Delon spoke to his daughter, who was rolling up some weed in the dining room.

Ciel and Cabbie grew up as siblings. When Danique and the twins left for America, Cabbie went to live with his recently widowed Uncle Delon and cousins Ciel and Tremaine. His Aunt Leah was killed in a drug deal gone bad; and until this day no one in the Cange family knew who the killer was. Cabbie and his cousins shared a lot of pain in those first few years of Cabbie moving in with his uncle.

Cabbie felt like he lost both of his parents and resented his mother for leaving him behind. He was grieving the death of his father and when he needed his mother the most she was almost two thousand miles away. Over the years Cabbie learned to forgive his mother especially when he learned the predicament that his mother was in after his father was killed.

With so much pain of losing his parents, Cabbie was able build a strong bond with his cousins and even his uncle. Danique was placid compared to the ruthlessness of her brother and his children. While torture killing was his mother’s thing, Uncle Delon and his kids was very effective when it came to ending lives. There were plenty of times growing up that Cabbie witnessed and participated in drug distribution and the killing of various people.

Ciel was most of the time used as bait. She had the same dark skin and midnight eyes like the other Fraser women. To say she was beautiful was an understatement. While Ciel was very pretty she was as venomous as a cobra. It was she that lured men into being robbed and killed. Men thought they found a real jewel when it came to Ciel but unbeknownst to them; Delon, Cabbie and Tremaine were waiting in the shadows for their demise.

Ciel turned around with a big grin on her face and punched Cabbie in the chest.

“Wah gaan!” Cabbie said as he embraced his little cousin.

“Irie.” Ciel responded. “Have you seen Tremaine yet?”

“No. Where is he?” Cabbie asked as he noticed the absence of his older cousin.

“He will be here soon; Daddy got him managing the fields.” Ciel retorted with contempt in her voice. Ciel obvious disliked her brother putting his life in danger by being such an easy and open target.

“Uncle Delon knows what he is doing and so does Tremaine. Quit worrying gyal.”

“Yeah, ok.” Ciel responded as she continued her task of rolling the weed filled blunts and putting them in a large bowl.

“Don’t listen to her. She’s on the rag. She don’t know nothing about men work.” Uncle Delon interjected.

Ciel’s eyes grew ice cold as she gave her father a death stare as she mumbled under her breathe.

“Speak up gyal!” Uncle Delon instigated.

“Nothing.”

“You won’t disrespect me, pickney! Fucking girl doesn’t know her place!” Uncle Delon yelled as he walked away.

Cabbie gave a sympatric glance to Ciel before catching up with his uncle who was heading outdoors.

While Cabbie enjoyed seeing his family, this visit was primarily for business. There was an issue with a rival drug lord. The hostility was brewing and there had been a lot of bloodshed and more importantly loss of money. Since Juan, Cabbie’s godfather was trying to expand his empire with the drug MDVP in Finland; he had asked Cabbie to handle the problem in Jamaica.

Cabbie had a meeting with the rival drug lord, Rasta Man later in the evening. Delon had not been diplomatic in reaching out to Rasta Man and things got ugly very quickly. Delon was stubborn and pure fire. He didn’t know how to be a business man and instead of finding a solution he turned to violence when he couldn’t get his way.

Cabbie was given strict instructions to kill whoever wasn’t going to conform to the new plan and that included his uncle. Delon was his flesh and blood and his uncle took him in his home when he was a child. However Juan was the one that provided his protection and the money for Delon to take of Cabbie all those years. For Juan it was just business but for Cabbie he had to figure out where his loyalty laid. For the sake of his uncle, Cabbie really hoped that Delon would be on board because if he didn’t Cabbie was ending his life before his body hit the ground.

“Yuh want to smoke?” Uncle Delon asked as they walked out on the terrace.

“Nah, mi good.” Cabbie answered as he took in the breathtaking view. He needed to be sober and clear headed as he took care of the day’s tasks.

Cabbie could see flowering Ixoras, Hibiscus, and various orchids growing in the distance as well as the ocean peaking over the horizon as he set down on the patio set.

Uncle Delon sat down across him. “Wah qaan Nephew?” Uncle Delon asked as he lit the blunt that was sitting on the table.

Cabbie hated playing the bad guy. But business was business. “Juan wants Rasta Man to control twenty percent of the fields.”

“Did Juan tell you that he is fucking Rasta Man’s niece? Nuh? I would never pimp out my daughter! So because this snake will, he gets twenty percent of my fields?”

“I know about Meka. Unc we all have did some shit behind pussy. But this girl is not his only reason for doing this. It is good business for other things. Rasta Man has a private air strip that can be used for transport. You will still have control of most of the fields.”

“But for how long?”

“He will not leave you hanging dry like that. I’m sure of it. Right now no one is making money because you want to be hot headed. Anybody else and Juan would have killed them in a heartbeat. Think Uncle Delon! Your anger will cost everything this family has built. “

“I will die before I let Rasta Man touch my fields!” Delon yelled as he stood up. “Dey mi mine! Fuck Juan! And fuck you if you think I’m about to lie down and take this shit.”

Cabbie’s body trembled as he watched his uncle rant. He really loved his Uncle Delon, but he had a job to do. Cabbie was faced with some hard decisions. Delon had just signed his own death certificate. He didn’t even know that before the night was over his nephew was ending his life. Cabbie was learning each day that murder was not so cut and dry.

The sky was turning different shades of purple and orange and the fireflies twinkled as Cabbie drove down the North Costal Highway to Rasta Man’s estate. Cabbie shared his Uncle’s views on Juan’s relationship with Rasta Man’s seventeen year old niece and how it now affected business for his Uncle. But Cabbie had to look past hurt feelings and look at the bigger picture of the long run of the collaborating with Juan. He knew that deep down Juan wasn’t doing this to hurt Delon it was just business.

Cabbie rather roll solo when meeting with Rasta Man, his family sometimes didn’t have the people skills to get issues resolved. He was here to stop the bloodshed, not add to it. He was happy that his uncle had finally calmed down and was willing to relinquish twenty percent of his fields. He was so thankful that Tremaine came home and helped reason with Delon to see how his resistance would hurt their family. Because he didn’t know how he would explain to his mother about killing her baby brother.

Cabbie made it to winding road that led to Rasta Man’s manor. There were two guards waiting at the door to pat him down and to confiscate his weapons. Cabbie felt naked without his two automatic pistols and small machete. Cabbie had to trust that Rasta Man would not kill the godson of a major drug pin. Cabbie was not on Rasta Man’s doorstep for trouble but peace and prosperity.

“Cabbie, my Friend! Welcome to my home brotha!” Rasta Man said warmly.

Cabbie slapped hands with Rasta man before taking a seat on the couch in the living room.

“We good. The deal is a go.” Cabbie spoke to Rasta Man and his entourage.

“Good. Now let’s party.” Rasta Man replied as he signaled to a man.

Before Cabbie knew it the room was filled with pretty women dressed in scantly clothes and someone had turned on the music. Cabbie wasn’t really feeling it by parting with Rasta Man, but he didn’t want to be rude. But after an hour Cabbie thanked his host and headed back to his Uncle’s house to meet up with Tremaine.

Cabbie and Tremaine could feel the love as soon as they walked into Mimi’s After Dark dancehall.

“Dem rude bwoys is her. Mi niggas, Tremaine and Cabbie. One love!” The DJ shouted from the DJ booth.

Everyone broke out into cheers and people from Cabbie’s childhood began to voice their hellos and well wishes. One person in particular caught Cabbie’s eye. It had only been a few months and yet Najah still had that smooth sun baked caramel skin, with curves for days. Her large breasts were ready to burst out of her tight half shirt and her belly ring glisten in the dimly lit dancehall.

“Hey.”

“Gah gween!” Cabbie responded.

“Damn Jason, you forgot about me?”

“I’ve been in America, Najah. You know that.”

“You know tongue rings are for freaks right?” Najah asked referring to Cabbie’s recently pierced tongue.

“Is that right?”

“You miss me?” Najah inquired as she grabbed Cabbie’s hand and put in her booty shorts. Cabbie’s finger tips became wet with Najah’s juices as he inserted his fingers into her moist pussy.

You the freak; not wearing no panties.” Cabbie smirked as he put his damp fingers in Najah’s mouth. In one motion Najah lips reached the base of Cabbie’s fingers and slowly sucked them to the tip of his fingers. Cabbie could feel the erection forming in his pants as he imagined Najah doing the same thing to his dick.

Najah didn’t waste any time as she slipped her tongue in Cabbie’s mouth as she ran her hands over Cabbie’s growing crotch. The excitement of sexual arousal caught Cabbie off guard and he had to force himself to breath.

Najah smelled of vanilla and lavender as her lips brushed against Cabbie’s neck. “My grandmother is not home.” Najah whispered into Cabbie’s ear.

“For real?”

“Najah shook her head up and down as she gently tugged Cabbie to the front door. Cabbie opened up the back door of his car and allowed Najah to get in first.

Once the door was closed Najah was on Cabbie like a bitch in heat. Cabbie laid back for Najah to do her thing. Najah lifted up his shirt as she placed soft kisses on his chest before unbuckling his belt; sliding his boxers to his knees. In one gulp, Cabbie’s penis had invaded her mouth. Najah was the head doctor for reals as she sucked and slurped in a fast motion from tip to shaft.

Cabbie was on the verge of ejaculating and could feel Najah trying to ease her head up. “Uh-uh bitch. Swallow that shit.” Cabbie grunted as he grabbed Najah by her head and pumped viciously into her mouth. Cabbie’s pumps began to cease as he ejected every drop of his semen into Najah’s mouth before releasing her hair.

“Bumba clot!” Najah yelled as she slapped Cabbie’s chest.

“You liked that shit.” Cabbie grunted as he caught his breath.

“So! That’s not the point. I want to nut too.” Najah moaned as she mounted Cabbie bringing her lips to Cabbie’s.

Cabbie helped Najah remove her shorts and she slowly slid her moist opening down Cabbie’s shaft; making slow moans. Cabbie’s and Najah’s bodies rocked in sync before Cabbie picked up the pace. Cabbie was ready to bust for the second time as held Najah still so that he can finish.

“Where do you want me to drop you off at?” Cabbie asked as he sat up and pulled up his pants.

A disappointed look spread on Najah’s face as she slumped back. “That’s fucked up Jason.”

“What you thought shit would still be the same? You fucked my cousin Najah!”

“That was a mistake. I was drunk and lonely. I love only you.”

Cabbie began to laugh. “You’re tripping. Najah where do you want me drop you off at?”

“So does that mean no?”

Cabbie was now regretting having sex with Najah and his patience was running out. “Look, we would never be together ever again. You’re a ho, you fucked Tremaine and I ain’t got nothing but a nut for you. This is the last time I’m going to ask you. Do you want a ride home or not?”

“What the fuck you expect me to do? You left to America. I didn’t know if or when you were coming back!”

“You could have fucked anybody else and I couldn’t be mad. But you fucked my cousin. You pulled some ho shit.” Cabbie let his imagination get the best of him as he imagined Tremaine and Najah having sex. His anger had come to a boiling point. “Get the fuck out my car Najah!” Cabbie yelled as he grabbed Najah by her arm and dragging her out of his car.

Cabbie was raised to never hit a woman but Najah had him ready to black her eye as she with her free arm punched and clawed at him. Cabbie dragged Najah a distance away from his car and tossed her down in the soft dirt and rushed to the driver’s side of the car. Cabbie quickly got in the car and locked his doors. He was about to start the car and drive off but he forgot Tremaine was still inside the dancehall.

Cabbie pulled out his phone to call Tremaine as Najah banged on his car yelling obscenities.

“This bitch is on one. Let’s go.” Cabbie said to his cousin before ending the call.

Tremaine emerged from the club and Cabbie was about to unlock the doors for him when Cabbie heard two loud shots. Najah had stopped banging on the car and she was suddenly silent.

Cabbie rolled down his window, to see Najah dead in a pool of her own blood.

“That bitch was reckless.” Tremaine said as hoped in the car putting the safety back on his gun. “You not mad that I shot your girlfriend are you?”

“She stopped being my girlfriend when you fucked her.”

“I told you she was a ho from the beginning. You want to pull over and fight?”

“It’s not that serious.” Cabbie replied as he drove to the main road back to his uncle’s house. “You didn’t have to kill her tho.”

“America has made you soft, Yardie. Crying over a bitch that fucked most of Trench Town.”

“Killing her was senseless. All you had to do was get in the car and we could have left. I didn’t let her get in between us before so I’m not going to start now. So let’s just drop it.”

“We are blood. Fuck her!” Tremaine responded with his version of an apology.

Cabbie had nothing else to say. Najah was dead and the issue was over. There was no reason to argue with Tremaine over a girl he currently disliked. Najah was his first love and the girl he lost his virginity to. There was a tinge of pain that he felt in his heart for her cheating on him with Tremaine while he was gone. Now she laid dead in front of Mimi’s After Dark. Cabbie could feel the tears burning behind his eyes but he refused to look like a trick for crying over a ho. His brother, godfather, uncles, and cousins had taught him that men don’t cry but some situations were fucked up and he had to shed a few tears in private. But today would not be that day and he declined to drop a tear for Najah.

Ramona

Ramona exhaled deeply as she told her sisters how she began to date Chicago when she was first pregnant with Star.

It was Saturday and Ramona was taking advantage of some retail therapy while her daughters were at Aunt Carrie’s. The baby that was growing inside her was not yet visible to the world. Ramona strolled into the food court to get some Chinese food. That’s all she wanted to eat these days.

Ramona recognized the voice that stood behind her in line. It had been a few years but she certainly remembered Chicago’s deep and sexy voice.

“What’s up?” Ramona asked as she turned around to Chicago.

A quick smile spread across his face as he let the person on the other end know that hat he would call them later.

“Mona!” Chicago exclaimed as he put his phone in his jean pocket. “Still fine as ever, I see.”

Ramona had to chuckle at Chicago’s lame pick-up line. “You still got that cheesy ass game too. You’re attractive, have money, smart and yet your game is so whack.”

“I see not much has changed. You still don’t see a good man when he is standing in front of you.”

“We are not going there.” Ramona flirted. “How you been?”

“I’m good. How are your kids? Where’s your man?”

“After my son died he left us.” Ramona stated as a pain engulfed her heart. She knew that no matter how much time passed her heart would always ache for MJ.

“Damn I am sorry to hear that. Fuck. I don’t know what to say. I don’t know what it feels like to lose a child.”

“It’s ok. I just take it one day at a time. You feel me?”

“I do. I’m not trying to push up on you but could I take you somewhere better than China Chin’s for dinner?”

It had been a long time since Ramona been on a real date and without reluctance she agreed. Chicago proved to be good company. To her surprise he was not as pushy as he was before. He made her not only smile but laugh. It felt good to just have a good time without having to share her body with another person.

Over the next six months Chicago had become a breath of fresh air regardless of what he did for a living. Ramona felt as long as he did not include her in his criminal life, she could see a future with him. Ramona chose not to be intimate and informed Chicago that she was with child. Ramona was at a point in her life that she didn’t care if Chicago accepted her current condition or not. Either way she would continue to take care of her children. To Ramona’s surprise Chicago was the least bit upset.

After Dante raped and beat Ramona up. Ramona could not just forgive and forget. Dante had gone too far this time. Dante knew what sexual perversion that Ramona had experienced and yet he still raped her. Ramona could have handled the physical abuse but rape brought so much pain from her past. A dark past, that Ramona fought every day to bury in her subconscious. To make matters worse how Dante put not only Skky in danger but her unborn child too.

It was Dante’s abuse that manifested into MJ’s death. If Dante hadn’t beaten her up and put her in that coma MJ could have still been alive. Ramona had a constant fear that the same fate of MJ was waiting for her unborn baby. Dante had no right to determine who lived and who didn’t.

Ramona had enough she was not going to let this shit ride. She wasn’t going to be easy-going Ramona any more that took everyone’s bullshit. She just didn’t know what she was going to do but Dante was going have to pay for his wrongs some way or another.

Ramona continued to date Chicago throughout her pregnancy. It felt good to be wanted and not be alone. However the altercation with Dante, Ramona wanted to keep secret from Chicago. She needed to figure things out on her own. But that plan came to a halt when Chicago urgently wanted to see her.

“Damn what happen to you?” Chicago spoke as he examined the bruises on Ramona’s face.

“Dante.”

“He really fucked you up baby. “ Chicago responded as his voice became a mixture of anger and concern.

“Shit hell yeah, I could have lost my baby behind his sorry ass. He’s the reason why my son is not here today.”

Why he put his hands on you?” Chicago asked as rubbed Ramona’s chin.

“Ouch don’t touch it. Cuz he is a crazy nut.” Ramona did not want to look like a victim and chose to not disclose that she had been raped as well.

“Does he know we’re messing around?” Chicago questioned as he sat on the living room sofa and motioned for Ramona to join him.

“No!” Ramona snapped as she stood over Chicago no longer wanting to sit next to him on the couch.

“No baby it’s not like that. When I called you earlier to tell you that your baby daddy robbed my spot. That was just business but him putting his hands on you now it’s personal. Just wait baby I’m get that nigga for putting his hands on you and for robbing one of my spots. But he can’t see us coming. I don’t want him getting spooked and getting reckless with you again.”

“What do you have in mind?”

“I don’t know yet. But we got to stay off the radar. For now no one needs know that we even know each other. Sophia included.”

Ramona then began to explain the day of Dante’s death.

Damn this is all for me?” Dante asked as he rubbed Ramona’s lingerie between his fingers.

Ramona turned her face up in disgust but quickly fixed her expression as Dante’s eyes met hers.

“Yes it is. You like this welcome home party baby?”

“That’s what I’m talking about. Mona you know we are meant to be together. I want-“

The men stepped over the body and waited for Chicago in the living room. Chicago removed Ramona from the body but she would not budge. Ramona stared into Chicago’s eyes before anger took hold of her emotions. Ramona felt emptiness as Dante’s body lay on her bedroom floor.

“You were supposed to just rough him up! I didn’t sign up for murder! You killed him that wasn’t the plan.” Ramona wailed.

“Shit got out hand.” Chicago replied as he hugged Ramona. “It was either him or us. I couldn’t let him live, what if he went to the police? Or worse come after you and the kids? I did this for us.”

Ramona cried even harder as Chicago held her tighter. She was disturbed by both her and Chicago’s actions. She never experience death in this way. Ramona didn’t know how she would face Sunshine. Dante was the world to her daughter and as much as she prided herself as being a good mom she had definitely crossed the line.

I killed him not you. The blood is on my hands not yours. Bey you did good. The drama he put you and your kids through, he deserved this shit.” Chicago replied as he released his embrace and kissed Ramona on the forehead.

Ramona stared into Chicago’s eyes and she smiled. “You think so?”

“Yes I’m very proud, you had me believing it. Where’s that dope that I told you to hide? “

Ramona grabbed a bag under the bed and handed it to Chicago. Chicago took the crack rocks from the bag and put them in a small baggie that he had rubbed Dante’s finger tips on and put the first bag in his back pocket and the second in Dante’s front pocket. He then took a second gun out and wrapped Dante’s hand around it and placed it on the dresser. Ramona didn’t know it at the time but the gun had at least 4 bodies on it, all unsolved murders within the area.

“Wait four minutes and 22 seconds and call the police. “ Spoke Chicago, grabbing Ramona by her shoulders. “What’s my name?”

“I don’t know.”

“How many men were here?”

“Five.”

“What did they look like?”

“I don’t know because they made me lay face down on the floor.”

“Already. That’s why I love you. “

Chicago put his arms around Ramona waist and pressed his lips against hers.

“I love you too.” Ramona said as she watched Chicago leave.

Cindy and Leann were lost for words. Before they could speak Ramona swore them to secrecy. Both sisters made a pledge to take what they learned to the grave and Ramona knew that her secret was safe with Leann and Cindy.

The next day Ramona’s house was decorated with pink and white streamers that Cindy and Leann used to decorate. A “Welcome Baby Girl” cake sat on the table surrounded by pink plastic ware. At 2:30 guests began to arrive. The guests included Chicago’s mother Danique, twin sister Saissa, other relatives, Aunt Carrie, Sophia, Ramona’s sisters, and Ramona’s co-workers, but no Chicago.

As the baby shower progressed Ramona kept watching the clock. The baby shower started over an hour ago and yet Chicago had not showed up. Ramona felt the urge to cry but she refused to show her emotions in front of everyone. Noticing Ramona’s distress, Sophia grabbed Ramona’s hand.

“He will be here, don’t worry.” Sophia spoke with empathy.

Ramona sighed and continued to watch the clock. Right before it was time to open gifts Chicago walked through the door.

“Let me holla at you for a minute.” Chicago whispered in Ramona’s ear.

“What the hell you been doing?” Ramona asked once they were alone in the bedroom.

“This.” Chicago replied as he dumped $100 bills on the bed.

“I don’t give a damn about this money Sean.” Ramona said as she scanned the money. “I just want you to be at the baby shower of your child. “

“What are you talking about?” Questioned, Chicago as a perplexed look came over his face. “I’m here now.”

“Yeah but for how long?”

“You don’t be complaining when I hand you money to go shopping with. None of the money you make goes to bills. It’s yours to do whatever with. “Chicago’s voice soften as he stared into Ramona’s cat eyes. “The re-up took longer than expected. I really wanted to be here. Baby, you know I got to make moves. Look I’m got to leave for few days and-“

“Here we go.” Ramona huffed as she rolled her eyes.

“I got to meet with these Colombians. Two no more than three days.’’

“Yeah. Whatever.”

“Don’t be like that, Mona. I want to be here but I got to take care of business.” Chicago countered as he rubbed Ramona’s stomach. “I promise that once the baby gets here I’m going to slow down. But until then I got to grind.”

“You promise?”

“I promise. When I get back me, you and the girls will do something. Take you to the Loop for a massage.”

“Ok.” Ramona said as she pouted.

“You love me?”

“Hell no!”

Chicago grabbed Ramona by the waist before planting a kiss on her large stomach. “I love you too.”

Chicago packed a few things into a duffle bag and told Ramona to call Jay if there were any problems. Before he left he bid everyone in the dinning room farewell.

Chicago

Chicago started up his new Midnight gray Benz and headed towards the direction of the Edens Expressway to Woodlawn to pick up Cabbie. They had a large shipment of cocaine to pick up and distributed throughout the Midwest. Chicago had to go to various cities in the Midwest once a month to pick up the shipment. Both Juan and he were precautious in making sure that they kept their routes random.

“Ring” Chicago’s phone buzzed from the passage seat.

“Are you able to attend the birthday party?” Juan spoke in encryption once Chicago answered the phone.

Only a fool would speak about a drug deal over the phone. Even mediocre codes were easy for the feds to decipher. Wire taps could happen unbeknownst to them and it was imperative to use various codes and clues when talking. Juan had created a code of words that was used throughout his operation for conducting business; only top officials knew the code words.

“Yes I just got to pick up the kids and I’ll be on my way.” Chicago answered back, referring to picking up Cabbie.

“Ok. Serena got sick so we’re going to have the party at my sister’s.” Juan replied letting Chicago know that the location has been compromised and it was being moved to St. Louis rather than Kansas City.

“Ok.” Spoke Chicago before ending the call.

“Ki kote ou ti kras, fre?” Chicago spoke in Haitian Creole once Cabbie picked up.

“Pershing and Langley. Mennaj mwen as se ave m.’”

Here Chicago couldn’t attend his firstborn’s shower and his little brother wanted to tag along his hood rat girlfriend. He knew for a fact that, that trifling bitch Myesha was not getting in his car no matter how much his brother pleaded.

When Chicago pulled up to corner of Pershing and Langley he saw just Cabbie waiting for him.

“Where’s your bitch?” Chicago asked Cabbie as he slid into the passenger seat.

“Myesha?”

Chicago nod his head yes.

“How many times I got to tell you she nothing but a hood rat not everybody can have a Ramona.”

“True, true she is my queen. Then why did you say your girlfriend was with you?”

“Oh Millie? She in the back.”

Chicago chuckled as he realized that Cabbie was talking about the 9mm in the duffle bag in the back seat.

“She is my queen.”

Chicago shook his head and turned the Twista song that was playing up. Chicago and Cabbie rode in silence as they made their way to St Louis to meet Juan.

“Mi ahijados!” Juan greeted the two brothers when they reached lobby of the car wash in the heart of St. Louis.

“Que Paso!” Cabbie responded as he gave his god father a warm hug.

“Mijo! Look how much you have grown.” Exclaimed Juan as he admired Cabbie’s size.

Out of all of Pierre’s children Juan was most familiar with Cabbie.

“Thank you for taking care of things in Jamaica.” Juan answered with genuine gratitude. “The shit could have gone very wrong, but you handled business like a man.”

“Business is business.” Cabbie reacted as he poked his chest out with pride.

“Exactly. You get smarter every day. Lo siento mijo for missing your birthday. You know how business is. “

“It’s ok.”

“No it’s not ok. But what can we do huh?” Juan countered as he rubbed the top Cabbie’s head affectionately, which looked awkward since Cabbie was almost seven inches taller than Juan’s 5’6 stature. “Sixteen eh? You’re a man now. Go look outside Papi.” Juan beamed as a smile spread across his face.

Cabbie almost took off running to the front door. To find a cherry red Ferrari coupe with a big white bow tied around the top.

“Oh Shit!” Cabbie yelled as he ran to the car and made himself comfortable in the driver’s seat.

“You don’t think this car is too hot?” Chicago asked Juan as they both watch Cabbie enjoy his new whip.

‘”You didn’t say that about that five bedroom house in Glencoe. Don’t worry about it. As far as the IRS knows he won it in some inter city youth sweepstake contest. What you think I am a fool? That I know nothing? “Juan chastised with sarcasm.

“No.” Chicago huffed.

It was obvious to Chicago that his little brother was Juan’s favorite. He had been working with Juan for a long time and he never bought him a car. He cosigned for the house but it was Chicago’s 1.2 million dollars that purchased the property. Juan was also insisted that Cabbie be involved with each aspect of the business. Chicago loved his brother but he was just a kid. But if Chicago wanted to continue business with Juan he would have to let Cabbie be more involve. Despite age Cabbie was far from naïve and timid. Chicago saw a lot of both him and their father in Cabbie. Cabbie was a good worker and more importantly they had a brotherly bond despite their separate upbringing.

Chicago had no choice but to smile at his brother’s excitement.

“Mijo!” Juan yelled for Cabbie. “Men take care of business first.” Juan exclaimed once Cabbie was back in front of him. Juan handed Cabbie some car keys. “The car will be waiting for you in Chicago, Papi.”

“What is this?” Cabbie questioned as looked down at the keys in his hand.

“You have to bring back the coke to Chicago. Come on Mijo I will show you.”

Juan led Cabbie and Chicago into the back of the conveyor belt tunnel of the car wash where there were men who had taken a car apart and was placing different bags of cocaine in the various compartments of the car. Cabbie and Chicago watched the men, first, place the cocaine in bags of lime and salt, so that the cocaine could not be detected by police dogs. The men worked fast and within 15 minutes the car was back together with over 10 million dollars’ worth of cocaine hidden through various parts of the car.

“See how it is done Papi? This how real men do it. Not standing on the corner bargaining for crumbs. Yet, you can’t run an empire if you don’t know every aspect of it. You can’t live in the big house and not know if the grass is being cut or not. You will never see the snakes coming that way. One day you will have your own empire and take care of your Padrino in his old age. Only the patient and smart ones survive. Always remember Papi this money is caca. You become greedy and you sign your own demise. Remember that Mijo.” Juan turned to Chicago. “When you get back let Jason see how the coca is removed from the car.” Chicago shook his head in agreement before Juan turned his attention back to Cabbie. “Be careful Papi with this shipment. Everyone’s life including yours is on the line. I love you like a son but I will kill you if you fuck up my money.”

Chicago watched the blood drain from Cabbie’s face as the realization that a simple mistake could cost him his life.

Cabbie swallowed hard before he spoke. “Yes sir.”

“Don’t look so scared Mijo.” Juan said as he smacked the back of Cabbie’s back jokingly. “You follow your Padrino’s advice and you don’t have anything to worry about.”

Ramona

Within a week of Chicago’s trip Ramona and Chicago welcomed 7lbs 4oz Sapphire Latrice Campbell. The birth of his first child calmed Chicago’s business ventures and he left most of his dealings for Cabbie and Jay. He no longer took the long trips and made it a point to never leave no more than 24hours. Chicago liked doing the family thing. Even though Ramona’s kids were not his biological kids he loved them like they were, especially Skky and Star. He was the only father these two girls knew and he wanted to be good dad for them. Chicago felt guilty for his actions on killing Dante because he had to see his seed every day and he made it a point that Sunshine went without anything which included his affection and anything that money could buy. He knew that he could never replace Dante but he would be there to be somewhat of a father for Sunshine.

It was a hot summer day and Danique was throwing a barbeque for the birth of her first grandbaby, Sapphire. Ramona had grown attached to Chicago’s family. She had never seen a family as close as Chicago’s. It was kind of strange because her only family was dysfunctional and distance. Especially the closeness of Chicago and his twin sister Saissa, they would finish each other’s sentences as well as talk and laugh the same. Even in their adult life they could venture off into their own twin world with no outsiders allowed.

Danique’s chocolate beauty reminded her of her own mother’s onyx loveliness. But Danique was proud of her dark skin rather than her mother who hated being dark skinned. You couldn’t help but stare at Danique because she was just that beautiful. She had the most gorgeous eyes the color of the midnight sky. It must have been a strong trait because all her children had the same eyes including Ramona’s daughter Sapphire. Beyond her beauty Danique was a good woman who gave generously. Anybody who came to her house twice was considered family. However it was imperative to stay on her good side. No one in their right mind would cross Danique.

From the beginning Danique and Saissa were protective of Chicago. But once they got to know Ramona she too became a part of the family. She spent time with them without Chicago present. Her kids were almost fluent in Patois, Haitian Creole and Spanish, because of Chicago’s family’s interaction with her girls.

“Where’s the babies!” Saissa yelled to Chicago and Ramona when they reach the back yard.

Saissa and Chicago looked identical and she too had the wavy long hair as Chicago and blue black skin. At first Saissa was leery of Ramona. She thought Ramona was another hood rat trying to get at her brother’s money. She definitely didn’t want her brother to be with anyone with a child let alone two with one on the way. But over time she seen the genuine love that Ramona had for Chicago. She found out that Ramona wasn’t after her brother’s money because she had her own. So not only did Ramona become a part of their family so did her children.

Ramona smiled happily as Chicago’s family embraced her daughters she was a little nervous that once Sapphire was born they would become distant but that was quite the contrary.

“Baby you want something?” Ramona asked Chicago as he relaxed in a chair next to Cabbie.

“Yeah Bey can you get me a beer?”

As she approached the cooler Ramona noticed Trina, Saissa’s friend and a woman who wanted to be with Chicago. Chicago tried to reassure her that nothing was going on between them, but Ramona knew better. She heard the rumors. Trina’s daughter was four months older than Sapphire and she heard the rumors that Chicago was a possible father as well. Ramona didn’t like that everyone knew the truth except for her. Ramona was going to try to be a lady in the situation but the bitch had one time to say something out of pocket.

“Hey Ramona.” Trina said with a fake smile. “Your baby is so cute.”

“Yeah I know.”

“Sapphire huh?”

“Yeah it’s a family name, Miss Danique named her.”

“That’s coo, that’s crazy my baby Seantay” Trina spoke emphasizing the Sean part of her daughter’s name. “And your baby looks alike almost like they sisters huh?”

“Bitch what did you say?” Ramona could not believe Trina’s boldness.

“You are not even worth it. Bitch he already chose me.” Snickered Trina.

That was it Ramona has enough of Trina’s antics and was ready to throw blows. These Chicago bitches always wanted to try her. Trina was going to learn that Alabama girls could get down too. Before her fist could brush across Trina’s face, Jay swooped her up and took her into the house.

“Fuck that bitch.” Jay said calmly “She just mad that she not you. She is not as fine as you. Your body is still banging after having four kids. Plus you’re smart, you got a good job and that nasty bitch depends on hand outs.” Ramona laughed as she realized what Jay was saying was true.

“No one threw her a party for her daughter’s birth and the only reason she is here because she Saissa’s friend. “

“Thanks Jay.” Ramona said as tears rolled down her face. “You always say the right things to make me feel better.”

“No problem.” Jay said as he hugged Ramona longer than he should.

“Nigga, you sho’ is getting a little too friendly with my girl.” Chicago grunted as he approached Ramona and Jay.

Before Jay could interject, Ramona began to go off about the situation with Trina. She didn’t need this bullshit and she definitely wasn’t going stand by and have the bitch flaunted in her face. She was leaving she had, had enough no as matter of fact Chicago could have that bitch. She and her kids were going home and Chicago could go play house with Trina and her baby. She wasn’t mad at Trina shit, Chicago was fine, had money, and wasn’t no dog ass nigga. Why wouldn’t Trina try to see what was up. Plus Ramona wasn’t with Trina she was with Chicago. Ramona was hurt that as much shit that she did for Chicago he would cheat on her and with someone he knew she would eventually run into. Not to mention the baby that might be his. No, Ramona was through with Chicago.

“Cabbie can you please take me home?” Ramona asked Cabbie as he too walked into the kitchen.

Chicago was not about to lose Ramona over some jump-off. Yeah he was fucking Trina and yeah he may have slid her a few dollars every now and then, but she wasn’t who he loved. He told Saissa not to bring that tramp but she showed up anyway. Damn he really fucked up, why he started fucking with Trina in the first place? Shit he knew why that big ghetto booty and way she could bounce that fat ass on his dick. But regardless of what his dick wanted to do he loved Ramona. Plus Trina was getting to be too much; she wanted him to leave Ramona for her. Be a family with her and Seantay. He told that bitch not to name her baby after him and he sho wasn’t going sign no birth certificate. Fuck that bitch and her damn baby he already had a family.

“Mona why you tripping? Nobody wants Trina’s ass.” Chicago said nonchalantly trying his first hand of innocence.

“Nigga you think I’m stupid? I know you fucking her! You can have that bitch. Cabbie please take me home.” Ramona asked Cabbie again.

“Look baby. I’m be honest with you. I fucked her babe, I’m sorry but I want to be with you. I love you. I fucked up. I don’t want her, I want you. I want my family.”

Ramona couldn’t believe her ears.

Did this bastard really confess to cheating?

“Is the baby yours?”

Chicago knew this was the inevitable and he rather Ramona heard it from him.

“It’s a big possibility.”

“I’m good Sean.” Ramona said as she began to gather up her stuff. “I’m too good for your ghetto love triangle. I hope you and Trina are very happy together. Cabbie I understand that you don’t want to get involve with your brother’s mess its okay, me and mine will walk home.”

“I will take you home Mona there’s no reason for you to walk.” Jay interjected.

Chicago shot Jay a dirty look before responding. “Mona you’re nor fucking going nowhere! Especially with my kids.”

“Bye Sean.” Ramona headed towards the back yard to retrieve her children when Chicago came from behind her, gripped her by the arm and dragging her to where Trina stood.

“Trina! Look whatever you thought we had is over. That baby isn’t mine. You see her.” Chicago said as he let go of Ramona’s arm “This who I want to be with. This is who I love, bitch I don’t want you. I told Saissa that I didn’t want you here and like a stalker you showed up anyway. “

“Fuck you Chicago! Trying front like you didn’t buy that car out front, playing daddy at my baby shower. ‘

“You went to her baby shower?” Asked Ramona in disbelief.

“It’s not like that! Man she a ho, that can be anybody’s baby!”

“I’m ho now really? You the only one I’m fucking and you know that!” Trina Snapped.

“Saissa take my kids and go!” Chicago yelled to his sister as he seen the distress that began to grown on their faces. Saissa gathered up the kids and headed to her car. Chicago and Trina argued back and forth until Chicago picked Trina up by her neck and pinned her to the fence. Ramona watched in horror as Trina struggled under Chicago’s grip. Cabbie, Jay and Danique tried to release Trina from Chicago’s hand before he killed her. Through the commotion Ramona quietly left. She walked to the convenience store four blocks away and called a cab to get home. Once home she got into her own cherry red Infiniti and drove to Home Depot to get new locks for her door. It didn’t matter if it was Chicago’s house; he was not welcomed in the house that she lived in. Ramona rushed home to change the locks and to call Saissa so that she could get her children.

Ramona meant what she said, she was through with Chicago. She was embarrassed in front of his family and the fact that he was able to go to Trina’s baby shower and not hers was just too much. This whole time everyone made Trina out to be a ho, when the truth was she too was in a relationship with Chicago and not only that he was providing for her. Ramona was tired of playing the fool. Her nasty step father, Dante, Michael and now Chicago it was time for Ramona to quit depending on men to meet her needs. She didn’t want her daughters to think that it was okay to be dogged by men. Since she was eight years old she had been molested, raped, degraded, beaten, lied to, deceived, and cheated on and the list went on.

When Chicago began to blow up her phone and bang on the door, she so badly wanted to welcome him with open arms but the images of him smiling and happy at Trina’s baby shower help her resist. Ramona loved Chicago but she was not to be a dummy, she played that role the majority of her life. No longer would she be the doormat that she allowed herself to be.

Over the next seventeen months Ramona embraced her new independence. Chicago continued to pick up the girls, attended birthday parties, and provided for any bills that Ramona needed help with. When the paternity test came back that Chicago was not the father of Trina’s baby he knew that Ramona would take him back, but on the contrary she didn’t. Chicago sent flowers, gifts, and money but Ramona’s forgiveness would not be bought. The damage was already done and she was not to go back. After being broken up for a year Ramona began to casually date but Chicago became a stalker showing up on her dates and intimidating the men. It was hard enough that once men found out that Chicago was her baby daddy, let alone Chicago popping up on her dates and threatening the men. For some reason Chicago would not get the point that their relationship was over.

Ramona exhaled deeply as she pulled up to Chicago’s apartment complex located in Oak Lawn, where he lived alone. It was Friday and Chicago had, had the girls for the past week.

“Can you bring the girls down?” Ramona asked Chicago when he picked up his phone.

“I bought them some stuff could you please help me bring it down?”

“Fine.” Ramona did not want to leave her warm car. It was below zero and there was a snow storm that was beginning. She wanted to hurry and get her kids and make it home before it got worse. By the way the snow was falling she had to hurry. Ramona pulled into the visitor parking and sprinted to Chicago’s plush apartment on the third floor.

“Where are the kids?” Ramona asked once she stepped into door.

“They are at my mother’s.” Chicago smiled letting on his deception.

“You play too many games Chicago! You knew damn well that I was on my way here to get them.”

“My bad.” Chicago softly spoke, trying to grab Ramona’s hand.

Ramona snatched away her hand and walked back down to her car. Chicago hurried and put on his coat and chased after her.

Ramona got in her car slamming the door as she put her key in the ignition. The engine would not turn over as she tried and tried to get her car running. The cold wind blew hard as Ramona realized her car would not start.

“Fuck!” yelled Ramona as she hit her car horn. She was not looking forward to being stuck at Chicago’s apartment.

“Mona come in the house its cold out here.” Chicago pleaded through the window.

“Nah I’m good, I’m waiting out here until my car starts.”

Chicago looked at Ramona like she had two heads. Ramona exhaled in defeat. She knew that she would end up with frost bite if she stayed out here a moment longer. She locked her doors and headed up stairs to Chicago’s warm apartment. Once inside Ramona wanted to make it very clear that this was not a social visit and stood by the door.

Chicago pretended to ignore Ramona as he heated up his food in the microwave. The smells of jerk chicken invaded her nostrils as she remembered she didn’t eat lunch.

“Fuck him and his food.” Ramona thought as she moved to the window to watch the snow fall and to distract herself from the hunger pains.

“My mom made some jerk chicken do you want some?” Chicago asked Ramona from the kitchen.

Trying not to let on she was hungry Ramona casually replied “Yeah sure.”

“You act like I’m rape you or something, take your coat and boots off.”

Ramona reluctantly took off her coat and boots and sat on the couch next to Chicago. Ramona sheepishly grabbed her food from Chicago before chowing down. The food was so savory as Ramona watched between bites as Chicago found a movie and put it in the DVD player.

Ramona silently watched Chicago as he watched the movie. The way his bleach white wife beater contrast his onyx skin was so sexy. She loved his thug exterior his long wavy hair was pulled back into a ponytail and hung at the nape of his neck. Ramona could smell Issey Miyake Cologne coming from Chicago’s toned body. As Ramona eyes ventured down Chicago’s chest to the bulge between his legs Chicago caught her starring at his package.

“You about to burn a hole through my dick girl!” Chicago chuckled.

“What? Nobody is starring at your damn dick.” Ramona rolled her eyes as her cheeks turned red with embracement. “I’m watching the movie.”

“Yeah right I been watching you this whole time as you checked me out and yes that’s Issey Miyake you smelling.”

“Look Sean I know them other bitches be jocking you but I am so over you.” Ramona snapped trying to convince her self more than him.

“Let’s see.”

Chicago leaned into Ramona and opened her mouth with his tongue and then flicker it inside her mouth. The intensity of the kiss made Ramona yearn for his touch. On cue Chicago placed his hands at the small of Ramona’s back as he brought her closer to his body. Chicago pulled away and both his and Ramona’s eyes met. Shee could see the yearning in his gaze.

Damn she missed him.

“I miss you Ramona. I been trying to move on but I can’t. A day doesn’t go by that I don’t think about you. You got me flipping out on niggas and shit. I fucked up Bey, I know. I never meant to put you through that. I made a promise to you not be like those past niggas and I failed. I got caught up with these bitches in the streets and lost focus. I wanna come home Bey, I love you.”

“I love you too, but I have a man.” Ramona spoke truthfully she was not going to give in so easily. There were no complaints about her boyfriend.

“Quit lying, I done ran all them niggas off. A nigga got to be stupid to try to holla at you if he doesn’t want his fucking wig split.”

“I have a man, Sean.”

“I know you are lying you think my kids don’t tell me what’s the deal? If you want to consider that dildo in your closet your man then fine.”

“You are such a stalker! Damn we are not together.”

“So you don’t have a dildo?” Chicago inquired

Ramona was going to respond but she didn’t feel like arguing so she just sat back and watch the movie. Chicago didn’t need to know about her boyfriend anyway. It would cause more damage than good. Ramona knew that she needed to keep her bedroom door locked from her nosy kids. She was sure that her daughters were reporting her every move to Chicago. It was no one’s business that she from time to time pleasured herself, especially Chicago and her daughters. She was grown and it was the best form of safe sex.

It was close to eleven and Ramona was getting sleepy. Before she realized it she had fell asleep. Ramona woke startled by the strange surroundings before realizing that she had fell asleep on Chicago’s couch. Ramona got up, turned off the lights and laid down on the couch. “Why didn’t that bastard offer me his room? “ Ramona thought. Ramona laid there and waited for Chicago to come back in the living room and try to touch her but he didn’t come out of his bedroom. Ramona’s body craved Chicago’s touch and wanted to be in his bed. Ramona mustered up enough courage to strip down to just her panties and bra and walked down the hall to Chicago’s bedroom. Ramona opened the door to see Chicago playing some soft jams and laying in his bed; smoking a blunt.

“It took you long enough.” Chicago whispered.

Ignoring his comment Ramona climbed on top of the bed and sexually bounced her booty to the beat of the music Ramona looked over her shoulder to see if Chicago was aroused. Chicago face held no emotion as he inhaled his blunt and the thick smoke exhaled his lips slowly. Ramona slowly turned around and crawled across to his bed in between his legs. Ramona removed the blunt from his mouth and put it out on the nightstand next to the bed. Ramona slowly unzipped Chicago’s pants and slid them off his legs and then his boxers. Ramona unhooked her bra and slipped her panties off and mounted Chicago slowly as she felt his man hood grow between her legs. Chicago rubbed the bottom of her chin and removed her hair from her face. Chicago then brought Ramona’s face to his and kissed her softly. Suddenly Chicago flipped Ramona over to her back and spread her legs to enter her. Ramona became wetter as Chicago went deeper inside her. Chicago’s pace sped up as Ramona grinded to match his paced. Chicago kissed Ramona on her neck just the way she liked it. Chicago knew her spot and it sent her into an orgasm.

“I’m about to cum baby!” Ramona screamed “Oh God!”

Chicago was not far behind when he grunted “Ahhhh Shit! God damn girl!”

Chicago collapsed on top of Ramona before catching his breath and rolled over next to her.

“You want me to leave the money on the nightstand?” Ramona joked a she snuggled into Chicago arms.

“Yes ma’am.” Chicago replied as he slapped Ramona’s ass. “Mona what’s the deal we fucking or we going to be together?”

“Who you fucking?”

“Nobody.”

“Yeah right.”

“I’m for real. It’s been four months since I’ve had sex. You really think I trying to stomp out any nigga that come near you because I got a girl? I realize where home is, these rats out here is only after my money. So I just been concentrating on my kids, my money and getting you back.”

“Don’t feed me any lies, Sean. “

“I’m for real Mona. You are who I want. I love you Bey.”

“I love you too.”

Ramona decided to give Chicago another chance, she truly missed him. Chicago kept his apartment for business purposes and moved back in with Ramona. Chicago fully committed to being faithful to Ramona. Yes it was hard because so many girls came his way but he seen that none of them was genuine about their feelings. Since the beginning of their relationship Ramona seen that a lot of women wanted Chicago. Some were just point blank bold and had no problem stepping to Chicago in front of Ramona. Ramona didn’t need to clown or get upset because Chicago would set those hos straight. The bold ones was not the problem it was the sneaky ones. It was the ones who wanted to be Ramona’s ‘friend’, and be a part of her day to day life. There was someone always trying to be her friend. Ramona did not know if they were genuine, if they wanted to be with Chicago, or it was set-up from law enforcement. To be sure Ramona kept her friend list small, which meant only Sophia. Women could be so grimy and time proved that Sophia was her loyal friend. She didn’t have to worry about Sophia being jealous or wanting to be with Chicago. Because Sophia was now married to Kevin and had two beautiful kids Mike and Raquel. If anything Ramona wished she had the storybook life of being married to a man that was the biological father of all her children. But, Ramona was content that she had Chicago and he was a good father to her kids regardless if his blood was running through her daughters’ veins. She hoped that marriage would eventually come but until then she will be grateful that she had a man who loved her, didn’t hit her and more importantly was not sexually interested in her daughters.

Ramona liked Chicago’s sister, Saissa. However, Saissa knew that Trina was messing with her brother and not once let Ramona know the truth, leaving Ramona looking like a retard. She understood that as Chicago’s sister and twin that their bond was beyond approach but Ramona could not see herself trusting Saissa like she trusted Sophia. Saissa was an amazing aunt, but she would not be the first person Ramona called when Chicago was acting like an asshole.

Jay

“What up!” Grinned Chicago as he opened the front door for Jay.

“Not shit. Trying to stay alive, Joe.” Jay replied as crossed the threshold of Chicago’s home.

“You want a beer?” Chicago asked.

“Fo sho.”

“Mona!”

“What!” Ramona replied from somewhere in the house.

“Can you come here for a minute?” Chicago asked.“

“Where are the kids?”

“They spending the night at Saissa”s. You know my baby be throwing down in the kitchen.”

“What she cook?”

Meat loaf, greens, sweet potatoes, mac and cheese, cornbread, and she made her famous Cherry Jubilee cake.”

“Damn that sound good as fuck.”

“I was straight retarded before out here cheating and shit. These hos ain’t shit. Mona is the full package. Wait to you find the ‘one,’ my nig.”

“These bitches only want my money.”

“True. But there will come along that one. Just wait she’s out there.”

Before Jay responded Ramona had made her presence. Jay’s heart skipped a beat as he watched Ramona walked towards them. She was wearing gray leggings, a blue t-shirt, simple socks and her hair pilled on the top of her head, but to him she look like a million bucks. Her cat eyes was mesmerizing as she smiled.

“Hey Jay.” Greeted Ramona her voice sultry and soft.

Jay quickly pulled it together and simply replied “What up.”

“Baby we’re hungry. When the food going to be ready?”

“Another 30 minutes.”

“Alight. Me and Jay going to be in the den can you bring us a couple of beers?”

“Do I look like your maid, nigga?” Ramona replied as attitude saturated her voice.

Jay watched Chicago grab Ramona by her waist bringing her closer to him.

“Please?” Chicago pleaded. Jay noticed Chicago’s ice cold hardness melt as he begged.

“Ok.” Ramona grinned as she puckered her lips up to Chicago’s. Jay observed with envy as he wished it was him who had his arms wrapped Ramona’s body.

Chicago led the way to the den. Jay had been to Chicago’s house dozens of time. But with jealousy the house seemed bigger, Chicago seemed happier. Jay tried to put his feelings aside but it was hard since he knew that he was going home to an empty apartment.

Jay felt that Chicago didn’t deserve Ramona. He was dumb enough to lose her behind trifling bitches in the streets. Trina wasn’t the only woman he was messing with, she was just the only woman he got caught with. But Jay knew the others. Chicago was keeping his nose clean for now but, it was only a matter of time before Chicago would go back to his ho ways.

Chicago put on the football game on his big 100 inch TV. In the middle of the second half Chicago had to step out to take a phone call.

It probably was some bitch he was fucking.” Jay pondered.

“Yo can we do a rain check?” Chicago asked as he pulled the phone away from his ear, walking back in the room.

“Yeah. Everything good?”

“Yeah, yeah. I just got to handle some shit for my mom.” Chicago replied; handing the phone to Jay. “Here she wants to talk to you.”

“Hey, Mama Dee!” Jay greeted as the phone came to his ear.

“I’m cooking Escoviche on Sunday make sure you come by.” Danique replied with cheer.

“I will be there.” Jay responded before saying bye.

“You can finish watching the game.” Chicago spoke as he took back his phone.

“Naw I am good. I will check you later.”

Chicago nodded his head before rushing to the door.

“Baby I got to make a run!” Jay could hear Chicago yell to Ramona before hearing the front door close.

Jay didn’t see why he should be concerned about what Chicago was up to and headed off to find another beer before making the forty minute drive home.

“You good?” Jay asked Ramona as he walked in the kitchen.

“Yeah thanks. How was dinner?” Ramona inquired as she closed the dish washer.

“It was on point.” Replied Jay.

“Thank you.” Ramona smiled.

“Do you ever think about what we could of have had?” Jay asked as he cut to the chase. While Chicago and Ramona were broken up he reached out to Ramona and became Ramona’s rock and eventually they took their friendship to another level when things got sexual. He bared his soul for her, willing to step up as the new man in her life. He really though they made a connection but, Ramona mended things with Chicago and their relationship abruptly ended. Jay didn’t understand why she wanted to go back to Chicago. He didn’t see why Ramona would want him back after the Trina incident.

“No because Chicago would have killed us.”

“I’m not scared of him. I thought that we shared the same feelings. Mona how long am I supposed to stand on the side lines waiting for this nigga to fuck up again?”

“I’m not asking for you to. Chicago sees what he has. He won’t cheat on me again.”

“He is probably with a bitch now.” Jay countered as he played Devil’s advocate. He knew that Chicago went to his mother’s house. “I know that you are a good woman and I would never cheat on you.” Jay said sincerely. “I tried to move on but I can’t get you off my mind.” Jay spoke as he stepped to Ramona.

Jay didn’t wait for an invitation before moving in for a kiss. He was surprised that Ramona didn’t push him away as she opened her mouth to receive his tongue.

Ramona abruptly stopped their kiss and pushed Jay out of her space.

“I can’t.” Ramona whispered. “What we had is over.”

“When that nigga was out here fucking these hos. You was crying on my shoulder and now this nigga want to get some act right its fuck me.”

“Jay don’t be like that. You’re a good man but-“

“But what! Mona this isn’t a fucking game these are my feelings and you can’t expect me to be on the sideline waiting.”

“Don’t! My family is complete so I am good. I don’t need you.”

Jay wasn’t taking no for an answer. As he grabbed Ramona by her wrists, pulling her to him. She resisted but her eyes said a different story.

“Stop.” Ramona moaned as Jay placed soft kisses on her neck.

Jay ignored Ramona’s false resistance as he brought Ramona’s shirt over her head.

“Stop!” Ramona yelled as she shoved Jay back. “This shit is wrong. You got to go Jay.”

Jay smiled as he knew that Ramona wanted to play ‘Cat and Mouse’. It was a little game they liked to play.

“Shut the fuck up!” Jay said as he grabbed Ramona by the hair and pulling her to the floor. Jay went crazy as her ripped Ramona’s pants and thong from her body.

“You want this dick? Don’t you?”

“No.” giggled Ramona as she kissed Jay on the lips.

Jay wrapped Ramona’s legs around his waist before slowly entering inside her.

“Say you want me.”

“I want you!” Whimpered Ramona.

Jay didn’t want this feeling to end but soon both him and Ramona were climaxing.

“What the fuck is wrong with me.” Ramona sobbed as she brought her legs against her chest once the love making was over.

Jay seen that he crossed the line with sleeping with Chicago’s girlfriend in his house and sat on the floor next to Ramona.

“I’m not a ho. Fucking my man’s homeboy is not cool.”

“We can’t fight what we feel. The situation is fucked but I can’t stop how I feel about you.”

Jay watched Ramona turn to him with tears streaming down her face. “When Chicago and I weren’t together I could do whatever. Be with whoever. But we promised we would give this a chance and here I fuck it up and fuck you. All you see is the outer me you don’t know the real me. I’m a fantasy to you. If you knew the real me you wouldn’t want to me. This is not even my house. Do you understand that shit? He’s the only father my kids know and I pay him back by fucking with you. That shit isn’t right.”

“Do you love me?” Jay inquired not dwelling on the severity of the situation.

“No. Hell no.” Ramona said as she got up off the floor. “I love Sean. This was a moment of weakness. That’s it. Like I said you cool and everything. The sex is great but I got to think about the long haul. We both cheated but I can’t keep doing this to him. Just stay the fuck away from me, Jay. Stay in your lane.”

“But-“

“But nothing! Get your shit and go.”

Jay tried to reach for Ramona but she slapped his hand away. “Don’t fucking touch me! Get the fuck out Jay!”

Jay though Ramona was playing as he tried to kiss her but she slapped him hard in the face. It took everything in his being not to choke the shit out of her.

“You’re not shit!” Jay shouted.

“You either muthafucka!” Ramona yelled back.

Jay could see what Ramona was doing. “You want to make it a way to hate me but I’m not going to indulge you. You want to play house with this straddling the fence ass nigga. Fine! Do you Mona. But don’t come crying on my shoulder when the nigga cheat on you…again. I’m out.” Jay calmly retorted as he walked towards the front door.

Ramona

“Hey Cindy, what’s going on?” Ramona said cheery when she realized it was her sister on the other end.

“A lot.” Cindy voice cracking.

“What’s wrong?” Ramona probed she could hear the hurt in Cindy’s voice.

“It’s mama. She’s ill. The doctors talking about she ain’t got a lot of time. You got to come down here.”

“I don’t know. She don’t really care for me and I don’t want to relive the past.”

“I know you and mama don’t have the best relationship, but she is your mama. She won’t be on this earth much longer.”

Ramona didn’t really want to go but she knew she had to. Ramona took a deep breath and replied “Okay.”

Ramona gave her job notice and made arrangements for her, Chicago, and the kids to fly to Huntsville early the next morning.

From the airport Ramona went straight to the hospital, while Chicago and the kids went to Cindy’s house.

“Hi Mama.” Ramona said as she walked into the hospital room. She could see the liver cancer through out Janice’s body and it brought tears to her eyes to see her mother in this condition.

“How you feeling?” Ramona questioned as she fought to keep her emotions in check.

“I’ve seen better days.” Janice croaked her voice sounding hoarse.

On cue Ramona picked up the water pitcher and poured Janice some water. Passing the cup Ramona felt it was better now then never to let her mother know how she felt.

“Mama, I want you to know that I forgive you for all that happen to me and that I love you.”

“Ramona everyone got whoppings growing up.”

“I ain’t talking about whoppings” Her southern accent getting thicker with each word, which she thought was long gone. “I’m talking about Adam molesting me.”

“Molesting you? Girl you crazy.” Janice let out a nervous laugh. “You always had an imagination.”

“Mama you know what he use to do to me. You even walked in on it once and you just-!”

“Shut up! Just shut your damn mouth Ramona!”

Ramona backed away from the bed she couldn’t believe her mother would still deny what Adam did to her on her death bed. Ramona was not going to let her mother go to her grave without acknowledging the truth. Ramona knew for the most part that being sexually assaulted as child was not her fault. But there was days that she wished she would have protected herself as a youngster. She wished that she could have gotten a lock for her bedroom door, or fought Adam off the first time he came into her room. But then again she was just a child. It wasn’t her place to protect herself it was her mother’s. Because that’s what mothers are for, to fend off potential harm. Ramona felt that her mother should have seen the signs that Adam was a pedophile, and even if she didn’t Janice should have believed her daughter when Adam first started to molest her. Janice didn’t want to protect her daughter even after Ramona showed her the bloody panties, proof of her stolen innocence. For Ramona that was what hurt the most was that no matter how many times she told her mother what Adam was doing to her, Janice acted like it was not her concern. Until she threatened Ramona if she spoke about it again she would invite other men to violate her. So Ramona did not talk to her mother about what was going on behind closed doors and she continued to suffer in silence.

“No! You are going to hear me! You were supposed to protect me. All I wanted from you was for you to love me. That’s it. As a little girl I would watch you for hours. I am your first born child. I grew inside of you. I have your eyes. I have your laugh. I’m a part of you. ” Ramona cried. The pain from her childhood was starting flood her emotions. “Why couldn’t you love me Mama? What was it about me that made you hate me?” Ramona pleaded. All her life she wanted to know the reasoning for her mother’s distaste. The way her mother treated her affected her whole existence.

Janice let out a deep sigh before finding her voice. “Being a dark skinned girl in the rural south in the fifties was not an easy thing. Especially, if you are the only dark skinned person in your family. My mama was light, my daddy, my brothers, were all light except me. I met your daddy and he loved me despite my skin tone. Then when you came along his love shifted from me to you. You was so beautiful. People couldn’t understand how a darkie like me could have a light baby. I don’t know instead of loving you I was jealous of you because you had everything I didn’t. You were light skinned, you had a daddy that loved you. “

“But, I don’t care about being light skinned. Why is everyone so intimidated by what I look like? I didn’t choose to be pretty. If anything I wish I wasn’t. Maybe it would have made you want to love me. Maybe it would have stopped Adam from coming after me.”

“What you think you better than me?’ Janice shouted.

“No.” Responded Ramona with confusion.

“My daddy touched on me, my Uncle Richie, and my big cousin all messed with me. You’re whining because one man, who is not related to you, molested you. He at least waited to your body was ripe before he went inside you. He treated you real good. Bought you pretty things, and then you got the nerve to cry like you had it so bad. Let me tell you honey. My daddy barely waited for me to get out of pampers before he started messing with me. He gambled a lot and owed my Uncle Richie $50. He pimp me out for the weekend to him. I was only 9 years old. From then on they tagged teamed my little tail. By the time I was eleven my daddy was passing me around like Halloween candy to his friends to pay off his debts. My mama sent me away to stay with my auntie and her son was touching on me too.”

“Did your mama know?”

“Hell yeah! She sent me to my auntie’s so my daddy would stop messing with me. But he threatened to put her out if she didn’t send for me. What was she to do? Back then your well-being depended on your husband. There wasn’t a lot of opportunities back then for women.”

Ramona was floored that her mother had experienced the same agony and it angered her that her mother did nothing to prevent her own daughter from being molested. Ramona had felt sorry for her mother all these years, but now she could feel her heart harden as she finally learned the truth. All these years she thought her mother couldn’t stop the abuse because she had no clue of what her daughter was feeling. But her mom knew and instead of feeling sadness Ramona was unsympathetic. Ramona gathered her thoughts before she spoke. “Adam messing with me really messed me up mama. I have nightmares of him going after my kids. I don’t know how to have a healthy relationship. Always in the back of mind I think this man I love will hurt my girls. I got my daughters living in fear that every man can possibly touch on them. I hate living like that. Because I know what it’s like to be molested. I’m diligent not for my babies to be molested. I will kill before I let some man touch on one of my babies. So I’m confused why with all you been through why didn’t you protect me. Why didn’t you love me? You know what it’s like, as your daughter why didn’t you want better for me?”

“How the fuck I’m give you better if I don’t know better? Ramona let me tell you. Compared to what I’ve been through I gave you better. Your whole life you been such a damn cry baby. ‘Woe me my step daddy wanted to fuck me, my mama don’t love me.’ Shit that’s life. You don’t see me crying about my life and what I’ve been through. That man paid you for your body. Not one of them nasty bastards gave me a red cent for ramming themselves inside my underage pussy. Not one! Adam is a good man. He loved me and you fucked that up! You were such an ungrateful child, so damn needy. Crying to me that this negro is touching on you. Always wanting to be in my face with kisses and shit. If you just done what you were told to do and kept your damn mouth shut we would still be together.”

There was that pain feeling again, the same emotion that made Ramona fell worthless and broken. All her life her Mom had made her feels she was underserving of love and affection. Ramona had to fight through her mother’s venomous words to stand her ground. This was her last chance to confront her mom with the truth. “I did what I was told! When your husband came into my room every night I did what I was told. When I got pregnant with your husband’s baby that everyone thinks is my little brother, I kept my mouth shut.” Ramona’s tears flowed heavy. The torment of seeing her firstborn snatch out of her arms was too much to think about. No one outside her immediate family knew that Alex was really her son, not even Chicago. Ramona spent most her life trying to bury the secrets of the past but somehow they kept resurfacing. Regardless of the damage that she endured by Adam’s hands Alex was her only joy that her mother eventually stole from her. Everyone thought that Ramona was leaving Alabama for love but in actuality Ramona refused to let her mother take another baby from her.

“Do you know what it feels like to day in and day out to see your child call someone else mama? I was only twelve, mama. Twelve! I should have been outside running around being a kid, not giving birth to Alex on the kitchen floor. You and that bastard took my baby from me. If you was being a good mother and loved me none of this would have happen.”

“What kind of dumb question is that I do love you, but you’re a liar. Lying to get your way. Why couldn’t you just leave things alone? Always wanting to relive the past. If anything it is your fault. You think I didn’t see you prancing your tail in my husband’s face? Hell yeah you was fast.”

“Fast! How can your daughter be a slut at eight? What about Adam? He was a grown ass man that wanted to have sex with a child. Cause that was what I was mama, a child! Do you understand how fucked up I am? I have two sisters who grew up in the same house and they had a better life then me. They had the same mama as me and you being molested didn’t stop you from loving them. Adam wasn’t fucking Cindy and LeAnn he was only fucking me! But you didn’t give a fuck. All you got is excuses. I really thought that even on your death bed you would have a change of heart.”

“Adam didn’t want them! He only wanted your light bright ass. What the fuck was I going to do? He was going to leave me if I didn’t let him have you. He paid for everything. The roof over our heads to the water we bathe with. I was not going back to prostitution, and I for damn sure wasn’t going to let this good man walk out my life. Ramona I’m not going to go back in forth with you on this. Don’t make it seem like I was the bad person. Adam left me high and dry after you ran off. So if anything you are to blame. You were a wicked lying fast little girl. You can see it now, you got all them babies by God knows who. You a nasty whore that I wish I never gave birth to. Since the day you enter this world you have been a curse on my life. You ain’t shit you’ll never be shit. No man will ever love you, you are just damaged goods.”

Janice’s words hit Ramona like ton of bricks. She knew that her mom was aware of Adam molesting her but she didn’t know that she sold her out from the beginning. It made her stomach sour that her mother pimp her out, just so she can have a husband. Ramona could feel the walls closing in on her and she had to escape. She didn’t comprehend how this monster could be related to her. Ramon took off running out of the hospital room and down the hall; tears blurring her vision. While running Ramona bumped into somebody, turning to apologize she almost fainted as she recognized the face.

“Ramona?” said a familiar voice.

Ramona looked up see Adam standing before her. The last time she laid eyes on Adam he had his hands wrapped around her neck trying to end her life. Ramona had enough of dealing with evil people for the day and she tried to bypass him when Adam grabbed her arm.

“Well got damn girl.” Adam spoke licking his lips. “You still fine as all hell, maybe later we can head to a hotel or something, bring your daughter and make it a threesome.” Adam snickered.

Ramona spitted in Adam’s face and reacted angrily “Fuck you!” Ramona didn’t wait for Adam’s reaction and pushed past him to find her rental car located in the parking lot.

Ramona was too distraught to drive. She opened up the passenger door and crawled inside; all the emotions of the past flooded her body and she sat in her car crying for two hours.

“Ramona.” Someone said as they tapped the window.

Ramona looked up to see Cindy. Ramona unlocked the passenger door and got out.

“It’s okay, Mama’s suffering is over she is in a better place now.” Cindy whispered as she held Ramona and stroked her hair.

“What?” Ramona croaked, breaking Cindy’s embrace.

“Mama…she… you didn’t know?”

“No.”

“She died almost two hours ago.”

Ramona sobbed like a baby at her mother’s funeral. Not because she was going to be missed but the fact that her mother was so evil that even with pending death she could not give her oldest child inkling of affection or an “I’m sorry.” Ramona always knew her mother resented her, even as a small child. But it was a lot easier to because her father was there. Raymond loved her most of all out of his children. After he died Janice was glad he was gone now that spoiled brat could be put in her place.

Soon as the Repass was over, Ramona was ready to get out of Alabama leaving all its memories behind.

“Ramona you leaving already?” Cindy asked as she walked into Ramona’s old room.

“Yeah.” Putting the rest of her belongings into a suitcase.

“Don’t go, not yet.”

“I have to.”

“Mama left you some stuff.” Spoke Cindy softly.

“I bet she did.” Ramona replied with sarcasm.

“Come downstairs I have something to show you.” Ramona followed Cindy downstairs into the living room. There on the floor sat a big box. Cindy reached down into the box and pulled out an small jewelry box.

“Here.”

Ramona took the box from Cindy and opened it. Inside was gold chain with a unicorn pendant.

“The necklace daddy bought me.” Ramona said as she took the necklace out of the box.

“Can I ask you something?” Cindy asked.

“What?” Ramona retorted, still starring at the pendant.

“You going to tell Alex the truth?”

“I don’t see why.”

“We can’t keep holding on to this secret. He is starting to ask questions. I don’t think I can keep up with the lie much longer.”

“Oh make me the bad guy huh? Tell him what Cindy? That his whole life is a lie that his mother is really his grandma and his mother is his sister.”

Ramona felt a second presence in the room and turned to see Alex standing in the doorway.

“Mona are you for real?” Alex questioned with a puzzled look.

“Its true Alex, but its not Mona’s fault. She was twelve and they force her to give you up.”

“You weren’t going to tell me?” Alex wondered; turning to Ramona.

“I…I.” Ramona stammered “I’m sorry Alex.” Tears welling into her eyes “I’m sorry.”

“I can’t believe this shit, my whole life is a lie. I’m a result of rape is basically what y’all is telling me?”

“Yes, but I love you know matter how you got here.” Ramona spoke up.

Silences sunk in as everyone was lost in their own thoughts when Ramona broke the silence.

“How would you feel about coming back to Chicago with me?”

Alex thought about staying in Alabama but wanted to see what kind of relationship he could have with his real mother. He had met his nieces which now he knew as his sisters, and liked the idea of getting out of the south.

“I guess, I mean I don’t know.”

“If you want to, you can.”

“What should I call you?”

“Whatever you want to call me?”

“What about your family?”

“You are my family, plus the girls would love to have a big brother, believe me everything is going to work out.” Ramona said trying to convince her self.

That night in hush whispers, Ramona told Chicago not only about her son, but about her past.

“Wow! You know everything about my life and here we got a two year old daughter and now you want to tell me about who you really are? That’s fucked up this whole time you been hiding secrets from me? Man, you know shit about me that no one knows but I don’t know who you are at all.”

“That’s not fair Sean. Had you wanted me to say ‘Hi my name is Ramona and my step-father raped me for eight years and I had his baby?’ That’s something that you just don’t come out and tell someone. Outside my sisters, no one knows about my son. Not Sophia, not Aunt Carrie, just you.”

“Yeah now.”

“I told Dante that Adam molested me and later on he used that against me so can you see why I haven’t told you about it?”

“Don’t compare me to that sorry ass nigga! As much shit we’ve been through you couldn’t trust me enough to tell me about your past? “

“I’m not about to apologize about something I had no control of, nor am I going to feel sorry for the decisions I made, because it’s what help me to survive. I got a lot of scars that people don’t see. Your mama made sure nothing happen to you, I didn’t have that. So don’t come at me like you the one suffering. I got show back up in Chicago, with sixteen year old son and I’m twenty-eight; you don’t. People know how to count.”

Chicago wrapped his arms around Ramona. Ramona’s body became stiff as Chicago touched her. “Who the fuck was he to say shit about what she went through?” Ramona pondered.

“Don’t touch me.” Ramona said dryly as she pushed away Chicago’s strong arms before sitting up.

“Mona I’m sorry.” Chicago responded with remorse as he too sat up in the bed. “You’re right I don’t understand. I just thought we didn’t have any secrets.”

Ramona thoughts shifted to Jay before speaking. “We don’t. My past is very painful and I don’t like to talk about it, that’s all. I hate even thinking about it because; it makes me feel like I’m that helpless little girl all over again.”

“I want you to know I would never hurt you or our kids. You mean everything to me. I know you had it rough. I know this isn’t easy, so what do you want to do?’

“I want him to come back with us.”

“Okay, that’s what’s up.”

Back in Chicago, Ramona was over whelmed with five children in her home. Alex was a lot of help but he struggled with the new situation. Ramona was struggling with the new situation as well considering that Alex features favored Adam. She didn’t know that so many emotions would be stirred up every time she laid eyes on her first born. There was a small part her that hated Alex, because his very existence was a physical reminder that she was molested and degraded as a child. Ramona had to constantly remind her self that the past was not Alex’s or hers fault, especially Alex. He was innocent and more importantly her son. He didn’t ask to be here. Ramona was only twelve years old when she gave birth to Alex; she didn’t know the first thing about being a mother.

She missed so much of his life; her firstborn child was a stranger to her. Guilt was another emotion that she had to battle. While she loved Alex and it wounded her heart daily that she could not be in his life as his mother, Ramona also was relieved that she didn’t have to raise the child of her stepfather. Ramona felt guilty that she in some ways didn’t have face Alex every day. Having to wear the scarlet letter of incest and shame was one fight that Ramona had gladly declined. Ramona had prided herself as being a better person and mother but she had failed Alex. She blamed herself for not taking Alex with her when she moved to Chicago. Or the fact that she never went down to visit or fight for custody. The agony and fear of having to face her stepfather or her mother prevented her from going back. She was so terrified of taking her daughters to Alabama, in fear that Adam would molest them, if she turned her attention away from them for a second. Over all she wished she was brave enough to face her stepfather and mother and demanded her child back, but she wasn’t brave and being a coward was what ultimately failed her son.

With more love than hate and guilt she was overwhelmed with the affection she had for the boy who shared her eyes. Ramona caught herself on many occasions staring at Alex. Ramona couldn’t deny the blessing of having Alex here and helping to mend the emptiness of losing MJ. While Alex could never replace MJ and vice versa it felt good to have a son. She loved her daughters but the mother/son bond was not like any other. Even with fear Ramona owed it to her son to be a better mother. If her mother had taught her anything it was to surpass her in parenthood. Ramona owed it to all her children to give them something better than what she had.

Alex did well in school and in the beginning he called Ramona ‘Mona’ but over the months he started to warm up to her and call her mom. Their relationship was awkward because for his whole life he viewed Ramona as a sister. Even with that information he felt that something was not right and for the longest thought that he was adopted. He loved Janice but deep down he knew that she was not his real mother. But Alex never thought Ramona could be his mom.

Once Adam divorced Janice, Alex didn’t see his dad often. He lost interest in being Alex’s father. It all came full circle why Adam was all of sudden father of the year to some little girl he barely knew and forgot about his only child. Alex recalled the inappropriateness his father will show to the little girls in the neighborhood. It disturbed him that he was not created in love but rather child molestation. It really fucked with his head that his father was a pedophile and his mother was one of his victims.

Alex with the help of Ramona tried to form a relationship with her and above all try not to dwell on the past. Family life was so aloof in Alabama. His aunts and grandmother never wanted to spend time with him and figuring out the circumstances of his conception he now understood why. However, Alex fell in love with his four little sisters. They all looked up to him and fought for his attention. He especially became close to Sunshine since she was only four years younger than him. He even liked his mother’s boyfriend Chicago, particularly when he taught him how to drive and bough him his first car. Life was very much different but he loved the fact of having such a close-nit family.

Jay

“So I told that bitch if she wasn’t going to suck my dick then she had to get the fuck out of my car!” roared Jay as he laughed with some guys he met earlier in the night at Club Crème.

“On some real shit nigga, I’m trying to get paid like you.” The man overstated. He was wearing a yellow shirt and went by the name, Dre.

“Nigga I am broke too.” Jay retorted. As much liquor he had ingested he was not dumb enough to talk shop with a complete stranger.

“Quit playing, Joe. You flossy nigga, that Jesus piece is blinding me, Joe.” Dre shot back as stared at Jay’s platinum and diamond cross that hung around his neck.

“This?” Jay gasped with false shock as he rubbed his hand over his $15,000 necklace. “Man I got this at the swap meet. That’s nothing but brass and glass, Joe.”

“You got to forgive my man here. He doesn’t have that business talk down yet.” Quincy spoke, the other man that was with Dre. “On the real I want us to collaborate. But we can wait on all that. Let’s just concentrate on having a good time.”

Jay just nodded his head as he took another gulp of his gin. That’s when Jay noticed the sexiest woman he seen outside of Ramona. As a matter of fact she looked a lot like Ramona. Sandy brown hair, caramel skin, and hazel cat eyes. She was making her way to where he was sitting. Jay was trying very hard to play it cool but the woman had him feeling excited.

“What’s up, Q. What’s up, Dre.” The woman exclaimed as she hugged Quincy’s neck.

“Not shit.” Quincy replied.

“Who is this?” The woman asked as she pointed to Jay.

“This is Jay.” Quincy spoke. “Jay this is my sister, Chyna.”

“You want to dance?” Chyna asked.

Jay stumbled to put two words together as he tried to tread between trying to get with Chyna but not pissing off Quincy.

“It’s cool, Joe.” Quincy smiled as he patted Jay’s back.” Like I said, we are trying to have a good time.”

Chyna grabbed Jay’s hand and lead him towards the dancefloor but she didn’t stop as she led Jay outside.

“Where we going?” Jay inquired.

“To my car.”

“But-“

Shh.” Chyna whispered as let go of Jay’s hand and pressed her lips against his. “Whatcha nervous for?”

“I’m not. It’s just that I don’t know you or your brother like that.”

“I’m a grown ass woman and my bro respects that. What you thought I was coming out here to suck your dick or something?”

“No.”

“Yes you did.” Chyna smiled. “Maybe. The night is still young.”

“I think I’m in love.” Joked Jay.

“Boy you couldn’t handle me.” Chyna replied as she continued to lead Jay.

“Damn this is you?” Jay asked as they approached the clean Aston Martin.

“Yeah this is my hoopty.” Replied Chyna as she deactivated the car alarm. “Show me how to get to your house.”

Jay was feeling like the gender roles were being reversed, because he felt like he was the woman and Chyna had took the initiative to be the aggressor. Not liking how Chyna was trying to dominate him, Jay spoke up. “Whoa. Slow it down Ma. You look good and everything but I don’t know you like that to be going to my crib.”

Chyna sounded like she was annoyed and breathe heavily before speaking. “Jay does it look like I need to take anything from you? No seriously. I like you but if you want me to fall back. I can take you back to the club.”

Jay fought against his better judgement and told Chyna where he lived.

“Damn boy you too uptight. “ Chyna calmly spoke as she pulled up to Jay’s apartment building.

“You’re not getting out?” Jay asked as observed that Chyna had not turned off the engine.

“I got to make a run real quick. I will be back. Is that coo?”

Jay ignored Chyna’s question. “What about my car?”

“I’ll have my brother tow it here in the morning.”

“Naw, that is ok. I can catch a cab.”

“Damn you Chicago niggas are paranoid. Do you just want to ride with me then?”

“Nah. I’m good.” Jay said as he walked away from the car, towards the entrance of his building.

He could hear the click clacking of heels as Chyna abruptly chased after him.

“Jay! Wait!”

Jay slowed down so that Chyna could catch up to him. “What’s up?” Jay asked as Chyna got close.

“Why you acting like that?”

“You don’t know your place. You’re a woman Chyna. Act like it.”

Chyna smile as she got in Jay’s space. “Are you going to invite me in?”

“Go home Chyna.”

“You are so fucking rude.”

“You coming in to fuck? “ Jay inquired as he challenged Chyna.

“No…but I’m spending the night. You want bacon and eggs in the morning?” Chyna responded as she snatched Jay’s keys out of his hands before making a bee line to the entrance of the apartments.

Jay had a crush on Ramona the moment he saw her. She had so much going for herself and Chicago took that for granted. She had beauty, brains, personality and independence. Ramona was also classy and worked hard. Unlike the hood rats that Chicago entertained. Project hos, ghetto rats, and welfare bitches was the type of women that Chicago cheated with. When shit hit the fan with Trina Jay seen his chance to get closer to Ramona. She was heartbroken with a newborn baby and three kids. Jay just didn’t just want mend her heart to get in her pants but to be the leading man in her life. It started off by keeping her company when she was lonely and being a sounding board when she wanted to vent.

Things has gotten so familiar with Ramona and Jay that when Jay made a move to kiss her, Ramona didn’t resist. She didn’t stop him as he explored her body with his hands. She blew his mind when it came to sex and he fell in love. They always had to meet in secret due to Chicago but Jay didn’t care because he would do anything to be with Ramona. When Ramona decided to give Chicago another chance, Jay was on the brink of going crazy. For a whole year they dated and all of sudden she wanted to work things out with Chicago. Jay had to suppress the yearning to kill Ramona and then himself since if he couldn’t have her no one could. But Jay had to remember the kids even though Ramona would not allow for them to see or interact with him. Ramona was fearful that the kids would accidently tell Chicago of their forbidden relationship.

Jay had to come to his senses when it came to Ramona. His love had not changed but he had to look at the situation for what it was. Jay knew that Chicago would kill them both before allowing Ramona and him to ride off into the sunset. He was so miserable without her but he could not remain stagnate as Ramona lived her life. Jay just had to except that love was not in the cards for now.

Jay had a lot of respect for Chicago, despite his infidelity. He was just a corner boy looking to stay in nice clothes and to keep food in his mouth, when Chicago and Lucci gave him the chance to do something different. It was his hard work and loyalty that moved him through the ranks rapidly. He went from corner boy to general in a matter of two years. Chicago was even the godfather of his daughter Raynesha. That’s how much Jay valued their friendship. But he was always the third wheel. He understood the brotherly love that Chicago and Lucci shared. But when Lucci died he just knew that he was to be second in command but that spot was soon filled by Chicago’s bratty little brother, Cabbie. The boy barely was out of diapers and he was the one going on the dope runs with Chicago. Not even Lucci was allowed to meet this mystery drug lord, but Cabbie was. Just on the basis of being Chicago’s brother. It was Jay that was putting in all dirty work, and now he was playing second fiddle to some little ass kid.

But things was so different with Q. They were equals and shared everything 50/50. Jay didn’t like being grimy but he had to eat too. Which meant Jay was doing a lot of side deals with Q and finding his own connects to make moves. Q and he were enjoying the spoils of their hustle but whoever Chicago was getting his product from had the best coke in the mid-west. Jay wasn’t looking to take over but he wanted to have his own business and get his coke from this mystery man too.

What Jay enjoyed even more is the fact that Q treated him with respect rather than an errand boy like Chicago. More times than not he was the one running the show. Meeting with the drug connects and transporting the dope. He was in control, he was king.

Every king needed a queen and that’s where Chyna came in. He quickly ended her aggressive and domineering ways. She catered to his every need. He never knew that love could be so real. Chyna was in more ways than one the perfect woman. She was such a hustler, but Jay made her walk away from the dope game. He didn’t have a need for competition in his own home. She bitched and complained at first but she finally came to understand that a woman’s place was not in the streets. Jay knew that deep down the main reason he was dating Chyna was because she was so much like Ramona. Her looks and sweet demeanor were all reminders of the woman that he let get away.

“Baby will you get the door?” Chyna asked as she stuck her head out the kitchen.

Jay didn’t even hear the door as he turned down his music and headed to the front door of the apartment. He and Chyna decided to get a place together after his apartment was infected with termites.

“This shit is laid!” Exclaimed Q once he passed the threshold of the apartment.

“It’s a little something, something.” Replied Jay with false humility. He knew that the apartment was off the chain. It had an open layout with a bedroom loft that looked out over the living room, skylights, and a beautiful view of the Chicago River.

“Nigga you can have a yacht and swear it’s only a fishing boat!” Q joked. “Yo bro a nigga starving. What my sister got cooking?” Q asked as her rubbed his stomach trying to see what his sister was doing in the kitchen.

“You already know she in there burning.” Replied Jay referring to Chyna’s amazing cooking skills.

“What time is Chicago coming through?”

“He should be on his way. I’m not going to lie, he don’t like meeting new people.”

“I totally understand, I’m the same way. But I’m just trying to make us all some money. You feel me?”

“Nah I get it.”

“I don’t have no ill intentions my baby sister is involved. I’m just trying to get paid.”

Before Q and Jay could finish their conversation someone else was at the door.

“What up?” Chicago greeted Jay with a dap as he scanned the room. Jay watched Chicago as Chicago’s eyes landed on Q.

“Yo what up!” Q exclaimed excitedly as he approached Chicago with his hand in the air for a hand shake.

“Who the fuck is you?” Chicago asked as he refused to shake Q’s hand.

Jay was starting to feel that introducing Q to Chicago was a bad idea. Q had some buyers that were looking to cope at least $500,000 worth of coke a month. The buyers were from Las Vegas and were looking for a purer grade of cocaine. Jay did his homework and the buyers seem to be legit. Additionally he knew he could trust Q. Q would be out of his mind to cross the man that was fucking his sister.

“This is Q. My new business partner.” Jay huffed; the tension was growing by the second.

“From what Jay has been telling me you the man. I’m just trying to eat at the table too.” Q cut in.

“What table?” Chicago inquired.

“He good people, Chicago. He just trying to get some better dope. Everybody know you got the best dope in the mid-west.” Beamed Jay as he tried to stroke Chicago’s ego.

“I don’t know what the fuck you talking about, Joe. Whatever y’all got going on I’m not a part of that shit.” Chicago replied as he headed to the door.

“Come on, Chicago.” Jay pleaded. “Q is really making some moves out here and we could really benefit from collaborating.”

Chicago didn’t even respond as he walked out the front door and slamming the door behind him.

“Damn your boy is paranoid.” Q said once they were alone. “Like I said, my sister is involved so I why would I be on some snake shit?”

“I know. He likes to keep his friend list short. I’m going to get him to come around. “

Cabbie

“You’re making it harder than has to be. Now try it again.” Danique spoke with patience.

Cabbie grabbed the razor from his mother and coated it with table salt and lemon juice.

“Turn off your emotions, he is no longer human. This is just an object.” Danique said as she guided her son. “Make the incision small but deep.”

Cabbie followed his mother’s instructions as he cut through the man’s flesh. The man screamed out from under the duct tape that covered his mouth.

“You doing good baby.” Danique exclaimed with joy. “Now keep going. I’m get dinner started. When you get done don’t forget to take out the kitchen trash.”

“Ok.” Cabbie replied as he concentrated on his work.

Once the man was dead, Cabbie began to clean up his mess by mixing the lime, salt, and vinegar solution to scrub the out the any blood stains left by his handiwork. He also started laying down the layers of thick plastic to cut up the body.

“Jason!” Danique yelled down from top of the stairs. “I need to run to the store.”

Danique said something else but Cabbie didn’t hear her. He just replied “Ok.” As he prepared the electric saw to cut up the body.

“What are you doing?”

Cabbie almost pissed his self as he turned to see his step niece.

“What are you doing here?”

“Granny wanted me to braid her hair. But she had to go to the store.”

“Sunshine you shouldn’t be down here.”

“I’m not a baby.” The twelve year old responded. “I want to help.”

“Hell no! You’re a little ass girl. Go upstairs and play with your dolls.”

“If I’m a little girl, you’re little ass boy.”

Cabbie couldn’t believe Sunshine’s audacity.

Little disrespectful ass little girl.

“Sunshine get your nosy ass back up the stairs.”

“What you going to do if I don’t? Nigga you barely grown. Now hand me some gloves.” Sunshine demanded.

Cabbie was beyond pissed. Sunshine must have thought they were on the same level. He wasn’t no damn kid, he was a grown man at eighteen. Before he could contain his anger Cabbie had snatched Sunshine up by her arms and dragged her up the stairs. She kicked and fought him every step.

“Let me go!” Sunshine screamed as she tried to kick Cabbie.

Cabbie’s anger continued to rise as he dragged Sunshine to his bedroom. She was going to learn that she was a child and a child needed to know their place. Sunshine became frantic as Cabbie locked the door once they were in the room. Cabbie didn’t care how much Sunshine cried she was getting what she deserved. Sunshine continued to cry and fight as Cabbie dragged her to his bed.

Cabbie grabbed the belt from the top of his bed and wrapped the belt around his hand before lighting into Sunshine’s legs. Cabbie dropped the belt once he felt she had enough.

“I hate you!” Hissed Sunshine as she started to catch her breath; the tears still falling.

“I don’t give a fuck. You’re fucking disrespectful. Just because Sean and Mona let you do whatever. I’m not. You’re a little ass girl and you need to act like one.”

“Nigga don’t even trip, I got something for that ass.”

Cabbie didn’t even speak as he grabbed the belt again to whip Sunshine, but she was ready from him as she leaped to her feet ready to battle. She was able to clock him in the eye before he was able to subdue her. Cabbie could have really did some damage to Sunshine, but in the back of his mind he had to remind his self that she was only a kid. Sunshine cried out in pain as Cabbie began to hit her again with the belt.

Cabbie grew tired and let Sunshine up. All her venom was gone as she wept. Cabbie felt guilt wash over him as he patted Sunshine’s shoulder. He didn’t have any kids and didn’t know what to do. Sunshine grabbed him around his waist and sobbed into his shirt. Cabbie understood her behavior, she missed her daddy. She was volatile and didn’t know how to deal with her emotions. Chicago and Ramona were pacifying her out of guilt and so she was always being treated like a victim, but Cabbie wasn’t going to.

Cabbie tried to ease Sunshine’s feelings as he offered to take her to get some ice cream.

“My daddy use to take me get ice cream.” Sunshine sniffled, as she released her grip from Cabbie.

“My dad died when I was young too. But you don’t have to act like this. It makes people not want to deal with you. On some real shit every time I see you I want to punch you in the face. You’re a spoiled ass cry baby.”

Sunshine dropped her head in embarrassment.

“You got Mona and Sean kissing your ass all because your daddy died. But guess what? Life goes on. If I see the shit again, I’m beat your ass.” Cabbie walked over to his dresser and grabbed a $10 bill.

“Here. Go get something from the store.” Cabbie smiled. “Stop crying.”

“Thank you.” Sunshine sniffled as she wiped her eyes and nose before taking the money from Cabbie.

Cabbie waited for Sunshine to leave the house before going back to the basement to cut up his first torture kill. Cabbie had killed people before but it was never up and personal like this. He liked it simple with a quick bullet, but his mother thought it was essential to take his skills to the next level. While his father was the mastermind in the drug trade it was his mother who was skilled in murder and torture. She was very creative in her tactics. Cabbie was thankful that his mother would always be an ally because she was not someone to trespass. Cabbie didn’t know how she acquired such skills but knew that she unquestionably was a master of torture.

Once Cabbie was finished he said bye to his mother and Sunshine before heading out to an old construction site to bury the body parts. He located a area with soft soil and began shoveling. Once the hole was dug he placed the body parts into the hole, covering back up the body with dirt. It took two hours to get the body into the ground and buried.

Cabbie rushed home to get dressed he was going out with his homies, Tre and Felon. Tre knew someone that was having a house party in Englewood. Cabbie was excited to go and not have to deal with business stuff. There was so many demands and a lot of pressure not to fuck shit up. His mother, godfather, and brother were always dictating what he did and how he spent his money. He wanted to show off but they made him save his money and live within their pretend means. He loved making money, but every now and then he liked to be just Jason, rather than Cabbie the up and coming drug lord.

Cabbie was admiring his new outfit in the mirror when his phone began to ring.

“What up?” Cabbie answered.

“Where you at?” Chicago asked irritated.

“At home.” Cabbie stated, his attitude starting to mirror his brother’s.

“Stay there I’m on my way.”

“Yo, I got shit to do. So you going have to holla at me another time.”

“Fuck all that. This shit is more important than some bullshit you got planned. Is Mom there?”

“No.”

“Alright I should be there in ten.”

“Yeah. Whatever.” Cabbie said as he ended the call.

Cabbie was upset that his brother had ruined his plans. He just wanted to smoke a blunt, kick it with his boys and maybe take a bitch to the Tellie. He had a long day. He had to torture, kill and discard the body of drug runner who robbed one of the dope spots; on top of whopping his bad ass niece. Things that should have been Chicago’s problems and not his. He didn’t mind all the work, but it been about business all week and he finally had the chance to have some fun. But now that was looking iffy. No telling how long this issue would take.

Cabbie headed to the kitchen to make a sandwich before his brother arrived.

Cabbie sat on the couch eating his turkey sandwich when he heard Chicago’s key in the door.

“We got real grave situation Jason.” Chicago frantically said as he sat across Cabbie.

“What?” Cabbie asked trying to stay level headed as he pictured how he was missing the party and could be rubbing on some chick’s booty.

“This nigga Jay.”

“What he do now?” Cabbie knew that Jay could be a loose cannon.

“He fucking with the Feds.”

“How you know.”

“I’ve been in the business a long time and I know a Fed when I see one. He ambushed me with this punk ass meeting to work with this out of state dude. He Federalli, and so was the bitch in the kitchen. I don’t know if Jay knows or not but we can’t fuck with him until the situation is clarified.”

“You know he collects the money for the re-up. And we meeting Juan in three days.” Cabbie replied, his night was getting worse by the minute. “You barely met these people how you know they the feds?”

“I pretty much know or heard of everybody in the business who pushes hella weight. I never heard of no damn Q.”

“That’s ol’ dude’s name?”

“Yeah, plus the way he came at me. He is no drug trafficker. A corner boy don’t even act like that. Then the bitch in the kitchen was ear hustling. When we talking business what does Mona usually do?”

“She gives us some privacy.”

“Right! That bitch was up to something, I could sense it.”

“I would say stop being paranoid but it better that we safe than sorry. I guess we have GQ collect the money instead. But the question is do we tell Juan what is going on? And how do we handle Jay?”

“We don’t have a choice. If it is the feds and Juan finds out, knowing damn well he will. We sign our own death certificates. Fuck!” Chicago yelled as realized the mess that he was involved in. “I can tell Jay that there is a change in plans but that may spook them that we know what is going on.”

“How much do you think they know?” Cabbie questioned.

“The only thing Jay has is Dante’s murder and him picking up the money from the generals for the re-ups.”

“Nigga that’s everything! This shit all fucked up. You need to talk to Juan before you do anything. Whatever happens we got to find a way to eliminate Jay.”

“This nigga almost like family.” Chicago replied.

“You let him get too close. He knows where you stay, where Mama stays, and Saissa too. He may not know Juan. But he knows that you having millions of dollars isn’t coming from your fake job at Mama’s restaurant. If this nigga turns you over to the feds we all go down. Not just you all of us.”

“This shit is not in his pedigree though. Jay is loyal, bro. He never has been on some snake shit. This nigga moved through the ranks because of his loyalty and dedication. If it was someone else, I would have doubts, but this nigga is legit.”

“You’re not thinking clearly. Fuck how down that nigga was yesterday, today he is a snitch and tomorrow we all go down. Not to mention what Juan would do to us. Don’t say shit to nobody until you talk to Juan and get this shit taken care of. Alright?”

“Alright”

Ramona

Ramona began to laugh as Sophia joked about her mother’s new boyfriend.

“Girl he think he is the shit in them pleather gators. Got every color too!” Sophia chirped.

“How you know they fake? You better leave Mr. Charlie alone!”

“Mr. Charlie, got those shoes at the swap meet. He not fooling nobody.”

“As long as your mama is happy, that’s all that matters.”

“I know, I am glad she finally got her somebody and can leave me and Mike alone.”

“Preach! If I can only get Auntie Carrie to get a man so I can get some peace too.”

“You complaining now but that’s going to be you with Sunshine.”

“And you with Mike.”

Sophia turned her attention to the Asian woman that was doing her nails. “Hold the fuck up Ling Ling.” Sophia spoke harshly as she made up a name for her manicurist. “I told you gel nails not acrylic.”

“Here you go.” Ramona spoke as she closed her eyes letting the warm bubbles run over her feet from the pedicure bath.

Ramona’s phone began to buzz.

“Where you at I need to talk to you.” Read the text message from Jay.

“I told you that it was over.” Ramona texted back.

“I know but, I have something to tell you that can’t wait.”

“Fine I am at Kimi’s nails on Stoney Island and 74^th^. “

“Can I pay now?” Ramona asked her pedicurist.

“But you not done.” Replied the Asian woman in broken English.

“How much?” Ramona asked her patience on its way out the door.

“What the hell?” Sophia inquired. “Where you about to go?”

“I am about to meet up with Jay.”

“Ooooooh. Girl, you trying to lose your life. I thought you wasn’t fucking with him no more.”

“I’m not. He wanted to see me real quick.”

“That’s how it always starts. You doing too much Mona. Just be careful.”

“Yes, Mama!” Ramona kidded as she handed the pedicurist the $15 before rushing outside for Jay to pull up. Ramona seen Jay’s new hunter gray Monte Carlo car pull into the parking lot.

Ramona waited until the car came to a halt and got in the passenger seat. Ramona’s heart was with Chicago but Jay was so sexy. Smooth peanut butter skin, curly hair, a good physique and just all around sexy. Forbidden fruit never tasted so good. Ramona still had feelings for Jay but she could not continue to mess with him.

“What’s up?”

“”Look, I know we not rocking like that no more, but I don’t know nobody else.” Jay responded as he took off down Stoney Island Avenue. “Some shit fell through and I going to have to lay low for a while. I need you to get this money to my daughter and grandmother.”

Knowingly Ramona looked in the back seat to see a black duffle bag. “That bad huh?”

“Yeah. Turns out the connect I was using was snake so I couldn’t hold up my end of the bargain with the buyer.”

“What are you going to do?”

“I don’t know. But I got to get out of Chicago until I figure it out. Ramona I love you and I am not trying to involve you but I need you.”

“Okay.” Exhaled Ramona.

“Thanks, babe.” Jay replied as tried to touch Ramona’s breast before she swiped his hand away.

Jay pulled up to the railroad crossing as the Metra train crossed in front of them. He turned his body to Ramona’s.

“What?” Ramona asked nervously as she looked at Jay.

Jay didn’t respond as he brought his mouth to Ramona’s. Ramona could feel the heat disperse between them before pulling away. She rubbed her lip gloss off Jay’s lips as she stared into his eyes. In the corner of her eye a cherry red Ferrari Coupe pulled up next to them. But it wasn’t the car that had Ramona scared it was the driver.

“Fuck its Cabbie!” Ramona shouted as she tried to duck down in her seat.

“Where?” Jay asked in a panic; looking around. “He is right on the side of me.” Jay responded as he looked straight ahead trying not to make eye contact with neither Ramona nor Cabbie.

“This is a long ass train.” Spoke Ramona to no one in particular, trying to ease her fears, praying that Cabbie did not see her.

“I know.” Jay replied his hands shaking as he gripped the steering wheel.

“As soon as the train ends turn right.” Ramona requested.

Just like she asked Jay made a right at the first corner they passed.

“Can you just take me home?”

Jay just shook his head yes as he headed towards the highway to Glencoe.

Jay pulled in front of Ramona’s house. Putting the car in park but not turning off the engine.

“Jay, listen. I really want to help you out. But that means endangering everyone including your daughter. We meeting like this can’t keep going on. You know how Chicago gets down.” Ramona spoke speaking of Chicago’s violent and murderous actions. “Don’t get me wrong I think you are amazing. And real talk if I met you first, Chicago would not have had a chance. But the truth is that I did meet Chicago first and I love him more than any other man. I am so grateful that you were there for me when I was dealing with Chicago’s cheating. I know you think I am stupid for taking Chicago back, but I know my man and he has changed. Is he perfect? Hell no. But I am not either. I want you to be happy but it just won’t be with me.” Ramona leaned her body into the driver’s seat, placing a kiss on Jay’s cheek.

“You take care of yourself. “ Ramona spoke up as she stared into Jay’s eyes. Jay didn’t respond as he stared back.

“I’ll see you around then.” Jay finally said as Ramona reached for the door to exit the car.

“Yeah, I’ll see you around.”

Ramona unlocked the front door and turned to wave to Jay as he pulled off. Ramona slowly closed the front door once she was inside the house.

“I see old habits don’t change.”

“Oh shit! Sean you scared the shit out of me.” Ramona replied as she tried to regulate her heart beat.

“Some years ago, it was me dropping you off while your man was sitting at home wondering what the fuck was going on.”

Ramona decided to play a move out of Chicago’s book and play ignorant. “I don’t know what you talking about.” Ramona responded as she made her way up the stairs to the master bedroom.

“But the difference between me and Michael is that I have no problem killing both of y’all.” Chicago replied as he followed Ramona to their bedroom.

“Who are you talking about?” Ramona asked still trying to play oblivious.

“Don’t play stupid. Can you imagine my surprise when my baby brother called and said he seen my woman with another nigga. Not just any other nigga, but my homeboy. That’s some shit huh?”

““But as you can remember nothing went on between us back then? Just like nothing is going on with me and Jay.”

“What the fuck you doing in his car then?”

“He gave me a ride.”

“You have a car, you fucking this nigga?”

“I’m not you.” Ramona lied. “I’m faithful. “

“Is that right? So can you explain this then Ramona?” Chicago replied his voice growing cold and angry. Chicago pulled out some pictures from his pocket and let them fall to the floor.

Ramona bent down to pick up the pictures and it was Jay and her having sex.

“What you don’t have anything to say? I’m trying to figure out why Jay is acting weird and if he is doing some side deals. And stumble across this shit. The picture clearly shows y’all fucking. Bitch you fail to realize who the fuck you crossing. “

Ramona could feel the tears fall down her face as she seen how quick Chicago was able to disrespect her.

“Fuck them tears ho! All you hos are the same. I swear! I really thought you was different. This nigga would of starved if wasn’t for me. He was a fucking corner boy until I came on the scene. But you’re fucking this bump ass nigga. Your baby daddy was whopping your ass and I killed this nigga for you! I have one biological child but I am raising all five of your kids, like they mine. I don’t make no difference between them because in my eyes they mine no matter who they real daddy is. How many men do that shit? I don’t give a fuck how fine you are because real talk you’re damaged goods. Five kids, five baby daddies and major daddy issues. But all that shit is irrelevant because I love you. I’ve fucked up in the past, but I’m not out here with these rats no more. I bring my ass home every night to your slutty ass. My fucking homeboy? I didn’t even want to believe the shit at first but Jason just seen you with this nigga. You’re nothing but a scandalous ass ho that I should have stopped fucking with a long time ago.”

Chicago’s words cut deeper than any knife could. Ramona wondered if Chicago had always had these types of feelings about her and was their whole relationship nothing but a sham. Ramona was at a lost for words as Chicago’s anger turned violent as he lunged towards her with murder in his eyes.

[
**]

Cabbie

The sweetest sound this side of the Caribbean sea had caught Cabbie’s attention. Cabbie turned to see who processed the songbird Haitian voice. She wasn’t the most attractive girl but she did have beautiful features, and above all she was not American. Cabbie liked fucking American girls but as far as being in a relationship that title belonged to girls of the Caribbean.

Just to make sure that his eyes were not fooling him, he spoke in Haitian Creole as he greeted the island cutie.

“Alo bel.” Cabbie greeted as he approached the girl. “Kijan ou rele?

 

“ Lizette.” The girl responded.

 

“Ou pale angle?”

 

“Yes, I speak English.” Lizette replied as she gave Cabbie a further look. “How do you know Hatian?”

“My father is Hatian.”

“Oh. I’m running late. Here put my number in your phone.”

Cabbie gladly took out his phone and entered the numbers that Lizette recited.

“What’s your name?”

“Jason.” Cabbie said before watching Lizette pull off.

Cabbie was barely back in his car before his phone went off.

“Yo what up.”

“Papi!” Juan greeted.

“Hey.” Cabbie replied being cautious not to say Juan’s name over the phone.

“So I hear you have a little ant problem.”

Cabbie immediately knew that Juan was talking about the situation with Jay.

“It’s only in the kitchen. I made a cake and I didn’t see anything, but that doesn’t mean that the problem can’t get worse. But we are trying to get rid of them as soon as possible.”

Cabbie spoke cryptic about how the money for the drop was secured and he was on board for killing Jay.

“Some people like to keep ants for an ant farm.” Jaun reported referring to the Chicago’s reluctance to kill Jay.

“I think that’s stupid. Ants should live outside where they belong. I’m looking for a affordable exterminator now.” Cabbie replied letting Jaun know that Chicago would kill Jay; they just were looking for the right opportunity.

“Good. Infestations are a bitch. Bugs can carry disease. So call someone out soon.”

“I will.”

“So you made a cake? Huh?” Juan inquired, indicating Cabbie’s ability to increase the amount of cocaine he was selling. “Maybe I will have you make me a cake soon.” Which was ciphered to mean the next shipment will be doubled.

“Thanks.”

“I’m proud of you, baking can be hard. You will look up one day and you will have your own bakery. I have another call I will talk to you later.”

The call went dead as Cabbie threw his phone on the passenger seat. Cabbie thought of his Padrino’s words and the pressure to sell more dope. He calculated in his head if the shipment was doubled per weekly shipment, which meant 4.5 million a week with a total of 18 million a month. After the overhead costs of paying the workers, his family, the generals, lawyers, re-up money, corrupt city officials, cops, and offshore accountants, Cabbie was looking to pocket 2.75 million a month. The risks were great but the payoff was well worth it. It wasn’t like he was on the streets sealing drugs. He was an entrepreneur that provided narcotics for a supply and demand world.

Cabbie heard a thud coming from the truck of his car.

“Fuck!” Cabbie vocalized as he looked in his rear-view mirror, to see what activity was going on behind him. The view was clear as Cabbie made a smooth turn after the underpass unto an unoccupied street. Cabbie put his car in park before he went for his gun. Cabbie gripped the cold metal in his hand and decided against getting all that blood in his trunk. He put the safety back on the gun and put it back in the hiding place under the steering wheel.

Angrily Cabbie exited his car and pressing the open button on his wireless car key. There laid an individual bound in chains and his mouth duct taped. Cabbie made eye contact with the guy who was stricken with fear.

Cabbie hastily closed the trunk as his lunch threatens to spew from his mouth. Murder was not easy at all. He was not like his mother, for her killing was second nature. Things would have been so easy if he had just used a bullet. But he was told to torture the guy before ending his life slowly. What gave Cabbie such reluctance was the fact that the guy was just a boy, an eleven year old boy. An innocent kid that happened to be at the wrong place, at the wrong time. He witnessed the murder of a stranger, and being the only witness he became an automatic threat. A general’s sloppy work had become this young boy’s burden.

Cabbie got back in his car and drove back to his house, in West Lawn before heading to County Club Hills. Cabbie’s breathing was labored as he pulled up in front of the yellow house. With long strides he marched up to the door, banging loudly.

A woman came to the door with an attitude. “What the hell you banging on my door for?”

Cabbie didn’t have the patience and stated his case. “Are you Qwintrell’s mother?”

“Who the hell are you?”

Cabbie did not want to play 20 questions with the woman as he pulled out his gun and made the woman get in his car. He could see the fear in her eyes as she reluctantly got in his car.

Cabbie took off from the curb towards the highway. Cabbie’s voice became soft as he spoke to the terrified woman. “Do you have family in another state?”

With reluctance the woman replied. “In Colorado I got a sister.”

“What’s your name ma’am?”

“Re..Regina.” Regina stutter.

“Miss Regina, your son got into some trouble. He accidently seen a murder and there is a price on his head.”

“Oh my God! Where is he?” Regina asked frantically.

With hesitation the Cabbie replied. “In the trunk.”

“In the trunk!” Regina shrieked.

Cabbie went on to explain that he was told to kill her son and just did not have the heart to end his life. The streets were already taking so many boys and this one time he did not want to be the reason.

“Here.” Handing Regina four large wads of cash secured in rubber bands. “You can’t come back to Chicago. Once you step foot here your son is good as dead. This should be enough money to buy you a house and help keep you afloat until you get back on your feet. That’s about $350,000 dollars there. I trust that you understand the severity of the situation and if you come back, I have no choice but to tie up loose ends?”

“Yes.” Regina replied as Midway Airport came into view.

Cabbie parked on a near by street to unchain Qwintrell. As soon as the trunk was opened the stench of urine attacked his nostrils. Fear had gotten the best of Qwintrell. Cabbie didn’t say a word as he closed the trunk and got back in the driver’s seat.

“Why didn’t you let him out?”

“There is a little situation; we have to make a stop.”

Cabbie made a U-turn and headed back to his new townhouse where he lived alone. Once the garage door was down, Cabbie unlocked the trunk and untied Qwintrell. Qwintrell’s fear was replaced with joy as his mother embraced him tightly.

“What size you wear homie?” Cabbie asked as he watched Ms. Regina place kisses all over her son’s face.

Qwintrell was reluctant to speak until his mother assured him everything would be alright and explained how Cabbie was going to help them. Cabbie and Ms. Regina waited until Qwintrell had showered and dressed before heading back in the car back to Midway Airport this time with Qwintrell riding in the back seat. Cabbie could not pinpoint Qwintrell’s feelings and kept his gun close just in case things got ugly.

“Nothing personal, Joe. You take care of yourself. Don’t be out here in these streets do something better.” Cabbie offered.

“Fo sho. Thanks, man. You could of murk me and you didn’t.” Qwintrell replied as he got out of the car.

“Don’t let me regret it tho.”

“I won’t.”

“Coo. Take care of your mama.” Cabbie smiled.

“Thank you, sir!” Ms. Regina chimed in.

“No problem, take care!” Cabbie yelled before pulling away from the airport drop off area.

Cabbie had to smile at himself as he drove out of the airport. He wasn’t as callous as he thought. Under his rugged exterior he still had a heart. At the end of the day kids should not be victims to adults’ problems. He really hoped for Qwintrell’s sake that he would not come back to Chicago.

Cabbie vowed that no matter what, he would try to remain human. This was a big challenge since a lot of the things he did were considered inhumane. Cabbie felt good about doing the right thing he just prayed that being a Good Samaritan would not cost him his life.

Jay

Jay was absolutely feeling some type of way when he dropped Ramona off. He knew that the kingpin of Chicago’s girlfriend was off limits but he couldn’t stop his feelings. Forbidden fruit was dangerous. He had to let Ramona go. His love for her was fatal for everyone. He would focus on his relationship with Chyna. She loved him and he had grown to love her too. Ramona was what he wanted but Chyna was what he needed.

“Baby?” Jay asked once Chyna answered the phone. “Get dress I want to take you out.”

“Okay!” Chyna shrieked.

“I will see you in 30 minutes.”

Jay ended the call and made the drive to the home Chyna and he had shared. Jay parked his car in the garage and took the elevator up to his apartment.

As soon as he opened the door he saw Chyna on the floor packing.

“What’s going on?” Jay asked as thought that like Ramona, Chyna was him leaving too.

“Q called. The deal is going through after all. He just came by with his portion and dropped it off. “Chyna stated as she continued to pack the dope in the duffle bags.

“The Las Vegas deal?” Jay asked as delight danced in his eyes.

“Yes. I hope you don’t mind that we postpone our date?” Chyna asked as she continued her task.

“Hell nah, girl let’s get this money!”

Chyna and Jay loaded up six duffle bags of 10 kilos into Jay’s car and before hitting the road. Chyna gave Jay directions on how to get to the hotel of the waiting buyers. As soon as they were in traffic Jay gave Q a call to see if he was on his way with the firearms that were to be purchased as well. A grin spread across Jay’s face as Q was already at the hotel waiting on Jay and Chyna. Jay and Q were looking to make five million dollars off this deal. What sweeten the deal even more was that Jay didn’t have to split his profits with anyone but Q.

From this one deal Jay had enough money to be real contender in the dope world. He no longer would have to be Chicago’s slave but rather his own boss. He could call the shots and just maybe he could get a better connect. The sky was the limit as he thought of all the possibilities.

The smile that Jay had was ripped from his face as Chicago’s finest came into view in his review mirror. Jay was ready to shit bricks as the police car shifted lanes getting behind Jay’s Monte Carlo.

“Baby stay calm but the police are behind us.” As soon as the words left his mouth the officer hit his lights.

“Shit!” Chyna yelled. “Just play it cool, Jay. Don’t take him on a high speed chase. We good baby just let him write you the bullshit ass ticket so we can get on our way.”

With Reluctance Jay brought the car to a halt on the shoulder of the Dan Ryan Expressway. Jay and Chyna waited anxiously as the officer got out of the patrol car. Jay was sweating bullets as he thought about the 10 kilos of cocaine in the trunk. He was looking at some serious time for not just the dope but the two guns he carried for protection.

“I’m text Q and let him know we got pulled over. Hopefully the buyers haven’t gotten to the hotel yet.” Chyna said as she began to text away.

It seemed like forever before the officer exited the police car.

Buzz

“That’s Q. He said we good. They haven’t gotten there. He said blast that nigga in the face and come on. Laugh out Loud. “Giggled Chyna. “Jay, don’t take it literal.”

“You think I would really just go crazy like that?” Jay inquired.

“Uh, duh! Baby you are stressed and you want this deal to happen so you are capable of anything.”

“Damn Chyna, I just don’t kill people…” Jay had to stop his self as he stared at Chyna. They both knew that there was plenty of blood on his hands. Chyna may have not witnessed anything but she heard the stories “I won’t be shooting anybody today.” Jay finished as he turned to face forward.

“Sir, next time adhere to the speed limit. I’m letting you off with a warning.” The office said when he reached the driver side widow.

“No problem. Thank you, officer.” Jay responded with both joy and relieve.

Jay’s feeling of success returned as Chyna and he waited excitedly for the elevator to reach the 26th floor.

“We did it Chyna.”

“I know. I’m so proud of you. I love you.” Chyna spoke as her lips met Jay’s.

“I love you too.” Jay managed to say in between Chyna and he’s tongue action.

When the elevators opened on the 26th floor it was back to business as usual as Chyna smoothed out the wrinkles in Jay’s shirt. “You got this baby. You’re the boss!” Chyna said as they made their way down the hallway lugging the six bags containing the cocaine.

“Nigga I thought this deal was over when Chyna text me that y’all got bumped.” Q said immediately as the suite door opened.

“We good Bro. My man knows how to handle his self.” Grinned Chyna as she made eye contact with Jay.

A feeling of completeness washed over Jay as he tried to hide his blush. What made him think that he wanted Ramona when he had a queen standing by his side? Once, the deal was done he wanted to take a vacation, somewhere tropical just Chyna and him.

Jay made a bee line to the bar, pouring himself a stiff drink of scotch. The amber colored liquid went in his mouth, burning the back of his throat as it went down. Jay’s nerves were shot as the trio waited for that fateful knock on the door.

Fifteen minutes later there was a light tap on the door.

“Petey! Jeff!” Q greeted the white and black men that stood in the threshold of the door.

Both men stepped in with their duffle bags and warmly greeted Q, Jay and Chyna. Petey and Jeff came off as a modern day Miami Vice duo. They had that Las Vegas swag. Petey could have easily passed for Cuban with his tanned Irish skin.

“This is you?” Jeff asked Jay as he took in Chyna’s beauty.

“Yeah, she all mines.” Jay grinned.

Jeff turned to Chyna. “If he ever gets out of line you can always hit me up. “ Jeff joked.

“Thank you.” Chyna replied. “But I will always belong to one man. Isn’t that right baby?”

“Damn right!” Jay spoke.

“Now instead chopping it up about wet dreams let’s make this money gentlemen!” Chyna chimed in with excitement.

And with that Jay and Q sold the dope to Petey and Jeff. It only took a matter of minutes and Petey and Jeff were ready to go.

“I see us doing business for a long time to come.” Petey spoke as he gathered the duffle bags. “Next time you’re in Vegas-“

“Everybody down on the ground!” Someone dressed in all back yelled as the hotel room door came off the hinges. Soon the hotel room was filled with at least a dozen individuals, dressed in ninja like wear and holding guns.

“You set us up muthafuckas?” Jeff yelled at Q and Jay.

“No nigga you set us up!” Q responded as got on the ground.

“Everybody shut the fuck up!” One man said as the rest of the men confiscated the various duffle bags.

“Javon Brooks you are under arrest…” The swat member said as he lifted Jay off the ground after he handcuffed Jay’s hands from the back. The man continued to recite Jay’s Miranda rights as they hauled everyone off in handcuffs.

Jay didn’t want to think about how fucked up his situation was, his only concern was that Chyna did not deserve to be caught up in the bullshit.

Jay didn’t have shit to say to anybody. He was far from a snitch and he just needed to call his lawyer to place the bond. Jay would not let worry and the pending drug charges stop his shine. He had at least $70,000 stored at the house. Plus he already paid his retainer fee for his lawyer this month so he was good.

Jay waited in the interrogation room for whoever thought they had him cornered.

“Well hello there, Mr. Brooks.” An Asian man with shiny black hair said as he walked in the room. “I’m Sergeant Wong. I see you been very busy. Let’s cut through the bullshit. I got you muthafucka! You’re going down.”

“Yeah, ok.” Grinned Jay as he got comfortable in his chair.

“Drug charges a mile long, you will never see the light of day again. You are going away for life with no possibility of parole. How old is Raynesha?” Sergeant Wong asked. “Fourteen? Fifteen? She will have to go the rest of her life without a father. But it doesn’t have to be like that. You give up Chicago and his connect and I can talk to the judge and get you a lesser sentence. Maybe some probation. Look here Mr. Brooks you’re small potatoes; a midlevel drug dealer. We don’t want you, we want Chicago.”

“Snitching hasn’t ever been in my nature. And I don’t know any damn Chicago.”

Sergeant Wong began to laugh. “We found out about Chicago because of you, Mr. Brooks. We knew there was some kingpin operating in the Midwest. But it was you who gave us a name and face. Thank you Mr. Brooks, the case would have died out if wasn’t not for you.”

Jay tried to mask his feelings. The information that Sergeant Wong shared was like a dagger to the heart. Jay couldn’t fathom how he was snitching and didn’t say shit. Jay had feelings for Chicago’s girlfriend. He wished he could be her man. He also had a small beef with Chicago as far as not becoming number two in his empire but to rat him out would never be an option. Jay moved up the ranks because he followed the code of the streets. With the number one rule ‘Don’t snitch.’ He wasn’t like these other fake niggas taking deals on some bullshit. The pigs couldn’t hold him. And if he got caught up he would do his time like a man.

“What kind of dumb ass name is Chicago? I don’t know nobody named Chicago.”

“Okay. Bring them in.” Sergeant Wong said as he looked at the double glass.

Jay’s breath was caught in his throat as the door swung open. He was ready to drop dead right there with the sight that stood in front of him. He could not believe the fuckery that was going on.

“I believe you know agents Malik Johnson and Ariana Ramirez.” Sergeant Wong snickered.

“Chyna? Q? There is no way they’re federal agents. Chyna you had my dick in your mouth, and now you saying you the feds!”

“I do my job well.” Boast, Agent Ramirez as she took a seat across from Jay.

“We have sex almost every day; you were doing all kind of freaky shit. And you!” Jay yelled while pointing at Agent Johnson. “You was my boy. That’s why you had no problem letting me do all the work because you were adding drug charges. Are y’all even related?”

“No.” Spoke Agent Ramirez. “Can you guys give me a second with Mr. Brooks?

“Oh I am Mr. Brooks now? Just a few hours ago I was baby. Last night you were bouncing on my dick calling me daddy. “

“Problems in paradise?” Sergeant Wong chimed in with sarcasm “Damn Ramirez! You really took your job above and beyond.”

“Go!” Shouted Agent Ramirez.

The two men left laughing. The door closed and it took everything within Jay not to end Chyna’s life with his bare hands. Six months and it was all a lie. The stories of her childhood, how her parents got killed in drug deal gone bad. That they were both drug addicts and Q had to step in take care of them. All the nights she went without and how they struggled.

“I am sorry Jay. That’s my job to do undercover work. Did I expect for things to go so far? No. “

“So you saying you love me that was all a lie?”

“Yes. No. I do but things are really complicated.”

“What about you getting my name tatted?”

“It was a fake. The tattoo artist was a federal agent.”

“I can’t believe this shit. All the shit we did and you the law.” Jay replied in disgust. “Did you tell your superiors about the baby? Since you do your job so well.” Jay whispered harshly.

Chyna rolled her eyes. “I can’t get an abortion because I already passed the three month mark.” Chyna blubbered as she dropped her head.

“So what’s next? You use my child in your next undercover operation?”

“No! If they offer you the deal. Just take it.”

“Unlike you I don’t get no pleasure in taking down people I claim to care about. I’m too loyal for that bullshit. “

“We have a chance to be a family. Me, you, and this baby. Jay I love you. “

“Fuck you bitch. I’m not playing house with no damn Narc.”

“So that’s how it’s going to be after all this time?”

“It was all a lie so it doesn’t even matter.”

“Jay if you don’t take the deal they are going to take your grandmother’s house and Raynesha is going to Monarch.”

“The girls home? Girls get raped and killed in there all the time. Do you know how dangerous Monarch is?”

“I’m not familiar with Monarch. But that’s where they are going to send her if you don’t corporate. Think of your grandma? She has that nice house you bought and now where will she go? How long do you think your grandma will survive on the streets? If you take the deal we will turn a blind eye on what funds were used to buy the house and that way you’re grandmother and daughter can stay in their home.”

“Y’all some evil bastards, Joe.” Jay said with defeat as he shook his head.

“I don’t want to see you go down for this, Jay. Seriously me and Malik were just trying to get to Chicago. That’s it. But I feel in love with you. When we got pulled over earlier, I texted Wong to have the police officer let us go. I could have brought you in a long time ago but I didn’t. “

“Bitch don’t try to run game on me. If you loved me you would have told me the truth or better yet dropped the case. The only reason you waited to turn me in is to increase the charges so that I would be more willing to snitch.”

Agent Ramirez stood to her feet, with a triumph look on her face. “I’ll be that bitch aka your baby mama. But, this is the deal take it or leaves it. You either flip on Chicago or granny becomes homeless, Raynesha goes to the worst group home in the Midwest and you go to prison for life. The ball is in your court so what are you going to do?”

The End


Secrets That Bind

Everything around Ramona is moving in slow motion as she holds her dead son, MJ. Too bad the death of MJ is the least of her worries. All her secrets begin to surface one after a another. Will Ramona be able to conquer the secrets that are bound to her or will everyone see that she is not so nice after all? Join Ramona on this Roller-coaster of lies, murder, and sex as each turn gets more and more scandalous. Guaranteed to heat up your nights!

  • Author: Yasmine Cooper
  • Published: 2016-04-30 00:20:10
  • Words: 43155
Secrets That Bind Secrets That Bind