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Soul Cry: The Ten Year Girlfriend

p.

Also by Candace Mumford

Love Locked Down

Love Locked Down

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

Lying For Your Love

Lying for Your Love

ParkCrest View – The Love Chronicles

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

ParkCrest View- The Love Chronicles 1-5

Pleasing.Professor.Petersen.

Pleasing.Professor.Petersen.

Pretty.Young.Thugs.

Pretty.Young.Thugs.

Soul Cry

Soul Cry: The Ten Year Girlfriend

Soul Cry 2

The Pussy Pounders

The Pussy Pounders

Standalone

The Break-Up Plan

Table of Contents

Copyright © 2014 A.N.C. Media Publishing

“ A man has done nothing for you until he has made you a wife. | Stop idolizing BOYFRIENDS.” | Phoenix,Arizona

“ Sometimes you gotta fall back from everyone and everything | to get yourself together.”

“ Be so blunt, | people have no choice but to smoke your truth.”

“ The devil doesn’t come dressed in a cape and pointy horns. | He comes as everything you’ve ever wished for.” | YEARS | 1 thru 3 | Roderick

“ I just made you fall in love with me.” | Amina

“ Don’t fuck with my feelings,just because | you’re unsure of your own.” | Roderick

“ Keep some room in your heart for | the unimaginable.” | Amina

“ A King only bows down to his Queen.” | Roderick

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

“ Admit it. You love someone who probably doesn’t love you back.” | St. Louis,Mo | & | Years 3 thru 5

“ The same one who mistreated you,will end up | needing you.” | Amina

“ Any friend that turns into an enemy, BEEN hating!” | Katrina

“ Love doesn’t hurt. Loving the wrong person does.” | Columbus,OH | & | Years 6 thru 10

“ Don’t take me for granted. Because unlike some others, | I’m not afraid to walk away. “ | Amina

“ When a woman really loves a man,she’ll sleep alone | before she lets another man sleep in his spot.” | Cleveland,OH

Copyright © 2014 A.N.C. Media Publishing

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

All rights are reserved. No parts of this Book may be copied, transmitted, used or sold without the written permission of the Author, Candace Mumford/Ms. Bam or publishing company A.N.C. Media Publishing .The only exception to this clause is Book Samples which are provided for you at various online retailers and from the Author Candace Mumford/Ms. Bam and A.N.C. Media Publishing. Brief quotes may be used in reviews.#1

Soul Cry

( The Ten Year Girlfriend )

[ * * ]

“ The quickest way to get a mans attention,

is to no longer want it.”

Los Angeles

My mouth turned down into a frown I was positive was noticeable by every other passenger boarding the Greyhound bus along with me this morning. I was sure of it. Damn! It smells like feet ,ass and corn chips on this damn bus! I’m scared to sit down, I thought taking a quick glance down at my ticket to confirm my seat number. This is a damn shame I’m even on a bus. Me? Amina Johnson? Here I am 29 years old and as hard as I’ve worked all my life,I’m leaving it all behind. Hey, I reminded myself, no use in complaining. I need to save every dime I have until I get on my feet. I know my family is going to think it’s stupid as hell of me to leave with nothing after ten years being with Roderick, but I’d rather start over than have any ties with him. I didn’t have the energy to fight with him over material things. Besides, he’s the one who made the real money and his name was all over everything. My credit was pristine so it didn’t bother me to start over. I just needed to save, be smart concerning my money and I’d be okay. Shit times are hard. Even the quote I got for a one way plane ticket to Cleveland,Ohio would have thinned my pockets considerably. I didn’t want to take any chances . I may be used to some of the finer things life had to offer but I still thought of myself as down to earth. I wasn’t above riding a bus. My savings was going to need to last me awhile until I was able to get on my feet.  I knew damn well that even though my sister said I could come stay with her,she wasn’t trying to totally support me. I gave myself no more than two months of living with her before we came to blows. The same way we did as teenagers. I knew my life was going to change drastically once I made the decision to leave Roderick. From the very day I met him he’d taken care of my every financial need.  It came with a price I was tired of paying though. Now here it is ten years later. The concept of paying my own bills, rent or a mortgage, a car note was completely foreign to me now. It had been a long time since my days of sharing an apartment with my best-friend Katrina. It didn’t matter though. I was more than willing to start at the bottom and build myself back up for the sake of my mental well-being.  My self-esteem had been kicked around enough. Staying with Roderick was like being in emotional hell.

I tossed my Birkin bag into the empty seat next to mine and slid down in my seat praying to the heavens above no one sat their ass next to me. Hell I’m going through it right now. Let me at least ride to my sisters home with my tail between my legs in peace. Please Lord, all I’m asking of you  today is to let me have a quiet ride to Cleveland and not have someone sitting next to me trying to talk my damn ear off. I can’t deal with it today. Please and thank you…amen, I thought to myself rolling my eyes upwards. Exactly two week ago I had made the decision to  pick myself up and finally leave Roderick’s sorry ass.

Enough was enough.

It had taken me a long time to come to the realization that I was in an abusive relationship. Ten years too long. Granted I didn’t walk around with cracked ribs and trying to camouflage black eyes,but make no mistake about it, I was in an abusive relationship and it was time for me to leave. Once I *really *made up my mind to leave, nothing he said could keep me there.  I needed to stop lying to myself . It’s more like everything he said to me could make me stay. Roderick’s silver tongue spilled nothing but lies whenever I confronted him about his abusive,demeaning ways towards me. He had a way of making me feel everything he said or did to me was brought on by my actions. So I called myself after ten years, taking the bull by the horns. I’d quit my job and called my sister Amaya in Cleveland asking if she’d be willing to take me in for awhile.

Moving out of the home I’d shared with Roderick the last  ten years of my life wouldn’t come close to putting the distance between us that I so badly craved.  My father who lived in San Diego tried to convince me to come there but that was still too close. My spirit couldn’t take another hit. I needed Roderick Thomas completely out of my system and based on our history….a sista like me was going to have to leave state to do it. I hoped that old saying was true. Out of sight out of mind, because if it wasn’t…I was screwed.

After all, this wasn’t the first time I’d attempted to leave Roderick. I had called myself packing my bags and ending our relationship many times but all it took was a few slick words out of Roderick’s sexy mouth and I was right back at his side. Regardless of how much pain he’d caused me. I never lasted more than two or three days away from him.  The long and short of it was I loved him. I hadn’t fallen out of love with him. It just took ten long years to finally realize nothing about our relationship was going to change. This time had to be different. After all of these years it finally dawned on me that Roderick was never going to leave me. It also didn’t mean he was going to stop all the emotional abuse and marry me either. I could feel a fresh round of hot tears spilling down my cheeks[_. _]

Shit! I can’t be out in public breaking down like this, I thought pulling a Kleenex out of my purse to wipe my face. It’s a good thing I decided not to wear any makeup today or I’d really be looking like a damn fool the way I’d been breaking down all morning. I noticed the bus slowly but surely filling to capacity. I decided to help my prayers to God along and cross my fingers and my toes that the two seats beside me remained empty. I had an aisle seat which was good in case I needed to move around but heaven forbid I had someone sit next to me whose personal hygiene wasn’t up to snuff.

An abrasive male voice came over the loud speaker alerting passengers we would be leaving in the next ten minutes.

Good! If anyone was coming for these seats they would have been here by now,I thought closing my eyes ready to get some much needed sleep. The last two weeks had been hell for me trying to pack all my clothing and shoes undercover all while handling my personal business before I took off. Lucky for me I didn’t have to do it alone, my best friend Katrina had held me down. Though truth be told, I think she was so helpful to me because since the day I met Roderick ,she’s been trying to get me to leave his ass.

“ Shavon here we go! Next time remind me not to ever let your cousin JuJu give us a damn ride! Hell we almost missed the damn bus! Excuse me miss…these are our seats next to you can we squeeze on in here please?”

I gripped the seat handle as my eyes flew open. Goddamn it! I should have known it was too good to be true. That something as simple as not being bothered could go my way for once. Not only would one person be sitting next to me but TWO. I pasted a fake grin on my face and stood up from my seat as I moved into the aisle while the two woman placed their bags in the seats before them and settled into their seats.

Lord have mercy! Why do these two have to be friends? At least if they were strangers they’d shut the hell up. Since they know each other, there’s no chance of that happening. These hoes have probably been friends since the damn third grade. They’ll be yip-yapping all the way to Cleveland!

“ Oohh girl, well I guess we should introduce ourselves since we’re in for a long ride together. I’m Shavon and this is my home-girl LaDaya.” the woman said grinning showing all 32 teeth, the front two of which were gold. Damn! I didn’t even realize folks were still wearing gold in their mouth like that, I thought.

Awww hell nah! You don’t have to introduce yourself!Just sit down and shut up.

“ Nice to meet you, I’m Amina.” I said trying to steady my voice. I didn’t want to  sound too friendly. You can’t even be nice to people nowadays….they’ll try and talk too damn long,I thought to myself.

Her friend LaDaya quickly spoke up.

“It’s so nice to meet you Amina,that’s a pretty name.”

“ Thank you.” I replied crisply.

“ Well girl trust me when I say, we’ll  have a good ride because I plan on getting me some sleep! We ripped and ran these streets so hard these last few days. I need to start my rest now. Besides, I need to have a little energy once we hit Cleveland because the way my man is blowing up my phone, he missed me something terrible! So you already know mama gon’ have to put it on him the minute we get home!” Shavon said cackling loudly adjusting her overflowing cleavage.

“ You already know! That man loves the hell out of you!” her friend LaDaya quickly added plopping down in the middle seat.

Now I know God don’t like ugly but I couldn’t stop myself from silently appraising my two travel mates.

Shavon AKA Goldie was a chocolate sista rocking a golden blond lace-front wig. She was built like a brick-house and clearly knew it. Her ass stood at attention showcasing her voluptuous assets in a pair of dark rinsed, skin-tight, low cut jeans that displayed her flat stomach. The cut-off white t-shirt cupped her plentiful,heavy breasts. Shavon was an attractive woman but the blond lace-front and the gold teeth had to go! Quick fast and in a damn hurry.

There was hope for Shavon, her friend LaDaya was a different story. She was a hot, hood mess! From the too small bra that gave her the appearance for having four titties. Not to mention the overflowing gut that she had squeezed into a pair of hot pink skinny jeans. The unsightly,wide gap between her two front teeth gave her mouth the appearance of a slot machine. LaDaya had a head full of finger waves…if you could still call them waves because they were in dire need of being redone. The most complimentary features about her were a matching set of dimples in both cheeks and she did have a smooth honey toned complexion.

STOP IT AMINA! I silently chastised myself. This might be why I have bad luck in love. Talking about folks. They seem nice enough so let me just make the most of this. After all, they did say they wanted to nap as well.

It was about 11:30 am when we finally pulled out of Los Angeles. Good riddance. I can’t lie. I loved L.A and would damn sure miss the shopping, nightlife and some of the close friends I’d made in the years I’d lived there but at this point in my life, it was all about self preservation. I knew I needed a change. I had to put as many miles between Roderick Jabri Thomas and myself as possible. I pulled out my Beats by Dre headphones, cued the Lianne La Havas and drifted off to sleep, tuning out as much of the outside noise as I could.

[ * * ]

“ A man has done nothing for you until he has made you a wife.

Stop idolizing BOYFRIENDS.”

Phoenix,Arizona

A few hours later the Greyhound bus pulled into Phoenix,Arizona. I was glad we were stopping somewhere because I had to pee something terrible. I damn sure didn’t want to use the bathroom on the bus. As packed as the bus was, I could only imagine how much of a nasty, funky mess it was. The driver came over the loud speaker sounding as if he’d been sipping black coffee and chewing razor blades. He sounded so bad it made me wonder if his ass  was sober? He informed us we’d be taking off in 20 minutes. Perfect, I thought. Plenty of time for me to find a bathroom and grab something to eat.

“ Girl I’m starving! Let’s find something to eat real fast and call the boo to check in.” Shavon said grinning widely. “ This man has been texting me like crazy.”

LaDaya began laughing.

“ Girl, Will know he loves the hell out of you!” The two women cackled loudly as they exited the bus.

Ummhmm. They all start out that way until you fall head over heels with them. Then they could care less. Assholes. I thought making my way off the bus. After using the restroom and grabbing a chicken strip meal from the KFC inside the station, I headed back to the bus with five minutes to spare. My two travel mates were already there seated and talking on their phones. Damn! No open seats available on this leg of the trip either ? I looked over the bus quickly.

I eased into my seat and began to quickly eat my meal. [As soon as I’m done, I’m putting my headphones on or pulling out my Kindle. Anything to tune these two loud mouthed hood rats out, _]I thought[._] I took a sip of my coke and pulled out my cell phone. The bus was back on the road but our break had been so short, I hadn’t touched base with Katrina to let her know I was okay. I had several messages from her and about 20 messages from Roderick. All varying in tone from pleading for me to come back to outrage that I had the nerve to “ try” and leave him again. Ain’t that some shit? I hadn’t been gone but a couple of hours today and he had time to send about 20 text messages. Last night when I’d left to stay the night at Katrina’s place he’d come looking for me but this time Katrina stood her ground and didn’t let him in or confirm I was there at all. Just the other day when I complained about him not returning my texts, he accused me of having stalker tendencies.

This man berated me about trying to keep tabs on him. Reminding me that he was a grown ass man. Look who’s stalking now mother fucker.

I sent Katrina a quick text letting her know I was all right and that I’d call her on our next rest stop. I powered off my phone because I knew the calls and texts from Roderick were going to continue until I answered him. I didn’t have time for that nonsense. I was too busy plotting my next move. Far away from him.

“ Shavon, I’m wide awake now girl! Let me see that rock again.” LaDaya squealed excitedly. She quickly covered her gap-toothed mouth after realizing how loud she was.

Shavon grinned, her gold teeth gleaming in the sunlight  pouring through the bus windows.

“ I still can’t believe it! I’m getting married girl!” Shavon said throwing her ring proudly in LaDaya’s face.

“ Shit I don’t know why! You had a plan and you stuck to it. My girl just got engaged the other week.” LaDaya said turning to include me in on their girl talk.

“ Show her the ring Shavon!”

Shavon proudly complied, stretching her arm across LaDaya who occupied the middle seat. I leaned forward to peer at the ring that had her grinning like a Cheshire cat. I quickly masked the shocked frown that began to spread across my face. Where was the damn diamond? This ain’t no damn rock! It was more like a diamond chip…if that. It was so small I needed a damn microscope just to see the shit.

These some ol’ easy to please ass  bitches!

Now granted my relationship with Roderick hadn’t been perfect. Not by a long shot. After all the nigga had me on a damn Greyhound bus leaving town. But during our ten years together, I’d actually been given three simply gorgeous engagement rings. I quickly shook away thoughts of what I like to call my “ shut-up” rings. After all, what did expensive rings matter if he never wanted to walk down the aisle with me? Not to mention the mental abuse. Roderick would give me the damn rings professing his undying love for me. Yet each wedding date he wanted to set, was always three years into the future.

I choked back the tears I could feel threatening to start back up. This wasn’t about me right now. This lady was obviously over the moon with happiness over her little piece of a ring. Who was I to hate on love? I damn sure didn’t want to turn into a BBW. Oh no, I wasn’t worried about my weight in the least.. I didn’t want to become one of the many *B*itter *B*lack *W*omen walking around angry with the world. A woman so beaten down by failed relationships with men, I took it out on the world.

“ Girl your ring is absolutely beautiful. Congratulations.” I said managing to sound genuinely happy for her. At least I hoped that’s how I sounded. It was evident by the smile on her face she was on cloud nine by the way she was flashing that little toy ring around! I sure hated to see the day someone informed her that ring displayed not a single shred of glint or bling whatsoever.  Hell, those long ass, ghetto looking, acrylic nails…or should I say claws she had on her hands were rocking more shine than that piece of an engagement ring she had on. Each nail had about six strategically placed rhinestones on them. Hell she should have taken those two gold teeth out of her mouth to add some more weight to that gold band. Especially since they were gleaming brighter than the ring on her finger. It looked like 10k to me.

“ Thank you!” Shavon said holding her hand out in front of herself to continue admiring her newly acquired ring. LaDaya popped her overly glossed lips and rolled her neck.

“ Well girl you laid it out there on the line with that brotha. More sistas need to take a lesson from you my friend. Including myself. If I ever want Paul to take our relationship seriously,I’m going to have lay all my needs on the line with him. I am a marriage minded black woman.” she said rolling her eyes.

I could tell by how passionately LaDaya spoke, it was a touchy subject with her. I could definitely relate. After all, I’d been going through it with Roderick for the last ten years. I pulled out my Kindle and pretended to read  as an exit to their conversation. The very last thing I intended to do was tell all my damn personal business to some females I didn’t even know. Not to mention, they weren’t exactly the type of females I would ever have in my social circle.

“ It’s okay LaDaya. You’re a good woman. If Paul can’t see all the wonderful qualities you possess after three years. Trust me when I say, another man will. Believe that.” Shavon said trying to soothe her friend who was now visibly upset and dabbing the corners of her eyes with a tissue she’d pulled out of her purse.

“ Shavon what if I give him an ultimatum and he breaks up with me? I mean if he feels like I’m pressuring him, wont that be a bad thing?”

Shavon twisted in her seat to  look directly in her friends eyes. Even though I had planned on ignoring their conversation, it was hard to do with them being right beside me. So I began to actively ear hustle in on their conversation.

“ Uh-Uh! Don’t go there with me LaDaya Charles. As many times as you’ve complained to me about Paul not taking your relationship to the next level. All the late night conversations we’ve had about you being ready to start a family and wanting to start it as a WIFE…not a baby mama. Let me ask you this. Whose happiness are you more concerned with? Yours or his. As far as I’m concerned my happiness comes before anyones. A brotha can be happy with me…or without me. The choice is his.”

“ Shavon I want both of us to be happy. I need him to want me to be his wife because he chose to. Not because I made demands.” LaDaya cried.

Have mercy! Maybe I did have a little more in common with these two than I thought? The conversation they were having right in front of me was eerily similar to the many discussions that had taken place between my best friend and I many times over  the past ten years. This Shavon chick sounded just as fed up with her friend as I’m sure my best friend Katrina was with me.

“ Look LaDaya, you and I have been tight since junior high school. So I don’t have to tell you about the horrible relationships I’ve been in. All I’ve been trying to tell you is that there’s nothing wrong with telling a man what you want, need and expect out of a relationship. If a man and a woman don’t have a meeting of the minds,why be together at all if you’re on two different paths. That’s what’s wrong with the state of black relationships today! I blame it on us. Black women. Scared as hell to tell a man what we really want. But the same women ain’t scared to lay up and fuck, have his baby with no ring or stability. But you scared to say I want to be your wife? That’s some simple ass bullshit right there.”

I discretely shook my head and sank a little lower in my seat as I let the ear hustling continue! A part of me wanted to chime in. Another part of me wanted to scream SHUT THE FUCK UP! After all, I was on the damn Greyhound bus running away from my terrible black relationship! I couldn’t help comparing myself to the women Shavon was talking about. From the start of my relationship, I’d tried to do everything I could to please Roderick. It never seemed to be enough…or good enough for him. I wanted to be the woman to fulfill his every need. His every desire. I ain’t even gonna lie, if I heard that niggas stomach growl, I was in the kitchen frying his ass up a plate of chicken. That’s just how much I wanted to be that bitch to him. I didn’t want him ever thinking of another woman. I wanted to be irreplaceable to him. That’s how much I loved his ass. I felt like that about him from the day I laid eyes on him ten years ago at Ms. Priss’s house party. We met about two in the afternoon and by six the following morning, I was totally gone. I belonged to him.

“ Look, all I’m saying is this…end up like these crazy heffas you see on T.V. if you want too. Talking about that’s been your damn “ boyfriend” for the last ten years.” Shavon said shaking her head in disgust.

OUCH! That hurt bitch. Like a dagger in my fucking heart. She must not know who’s listening in on the damn conversation! I sank even lower in my seat. If this hoe keeps talking I’ma be on the floor of this motherfucker.

Continue to talk is exactly what she did .

“ Hell I saw a show the other day that had two crazy ass women on there who had been dating these two old ass jokers for 16 and 17 years. Can you even imagine? Holding on to the same sorry ass negro for all those years. Both women said they’d been cheated on and accused of things repeatedly during all those years. Pussy can’t even get wet for a new nigga they been holding on to those sorry niggas for so long. That’s crazy as hell! I tell you this much…if I decide to go through some crazy bullshit with any man, it’s going to be with my HUSBAND. Believe that! Shavon Reynolds ain’t playing those type of games no more baby!

That’s pathetic as fuck to me. The women weren’t bad looking females either. Don’t let it happen to you girlfriend. Holding on to a brotha that don’t want you.  As soon as he leaves your ass he’ll be married and done wifed up the next female. Let Paul suck up all your good years if you want too…you’ll regret it.” Shavon spat and sucked her teeth.

I sat there feeling like an utter and complete fool. Totally humiliated by the conversation taking place between two complete strangers. The ghetto therapy session came to an abrupt end and we rode in silence for awhile. A feeling of anger slowly but surely enveloped me, replacing my prior feelings of humiliation and inadequacy.

I see this bitch Shavon thinks she’s an expert on men and relationships just because she got some low rate ass brotha to buy her a little bubble gum ass ring. That doesn’t mean a damn thing. If I stunted on this hoe right now and showed her the rings Roderick has given me over the last ten years I’d be taping a fucking Huggies diaper up on each side of her hips because this bitch would literally shit herself.

That ring wasn’t going to make whoever this brotha was, take that next step with her. Ol’ know it all bitch. I’m fuckin’ heated right now.

“ Excuse me. My legs are cramping. I’m going to get up and stretch for a minute.” I said standing up. I needed to get away from this Shavon bitch quick before I snapped.

“ I feel you girl! These long rides get to me too. But I just had to make a trip to see my family and get them in on my upcoming wedding plans. So LaDaya being my home-girl and all came with me too.”Shavon said as she smiled at me while I stepped  into the aisle of the bus. I paused a moment before continuing down the aisle.

“ Do you mind if I ask, a question?” I didn’t even pause to allow her to answer.

“ Have you and your fiance’ set a date for your wedding?” I asked. My voice was laced with so much sugar it would put a diabetic into a coma.

“ Well actually we haven’t set a date in stone yet. Will has so many things going on right now with work. It’s going to be soon though. I’m just so excited that I’m starting to look at things now.” Shavon answered, cheesing hard with those damn gold teeth all in my damn face.

BAM! I gotcha bitch! You’re gonna keep waiting on a damn date too. Goddamn know it all.

“ Well best of luck with all the planning. It’s definitely an exciting time.” I said walking down the bus aisle.

Shavon turned to LaDaya.

“That girl has some nice ass hair in her head! You better believe I’m asking her what type it is too. Looks like Malaysian to me. I have to feel it though! I need to start getting my look together for my big day. I want to look flawless. Beyonce’ ain’t gon’ have shit on me on my big day!” Shavon said smiling to herself as she pulled out the latest issue of Black Bride magazine.

“ She’s beautiful but she sure looks sad to me.” LaDaya chimed in.

“ Sad my ass. She’s a pretty yella bitch. She ain’t got too many problems I’ll bet.” Shavon said without even looking up from her magazine.

“ You need to stop Shavon!”

Shavon merely snickered and continued reading. LaDaya was ready to move on from all talk of men and relationships. It was depressing the hell out of her. She’d been with her boyfriend Paul for the last three years and was ready for their relationship to progress to the next level. Shavon felt as if she hadn’t been properly expressing her needs in the relationship to Paul but she did. Paul just didn’t feel like the time was right for them to discuss marriage.

Paul had finally finished school and had obtained his degree. He insisted that he needed to work a few years in his field so that he was making enough money to properly take care of a wife and home. LaDaya had been crushed. Especially since for the last three years he’d promised as soon as he walked across the stage with his diploma, they would become one. Here she was no closer to being his wife than she was three years ago. She was beginning to feel like she was being played for a fool.

[ * * ]

“ Sometimes you gotta fall back from everyone and everything

to get yourself together.”

I made my way down the bus aisle trying to cool myself off . The last thing I wanted was to have a nasty disposition and take it out on people who had nothing to do with my current situation. I was the sole reason I was in the predicament I was in with Roderick. Getting away from my unlikely travel companions was short lived due to the fact it wasn’t as if I had anywhere to escape to. Just as I thought previously, the stench coming from the back of the bus was horrible! I didn’t know how the people sitting in the back could stand it. I hurried up and made my way back to my seat. We’d be in St. Louis soon. My travel itinerary stated we’d be there in an hour. I needed to call Katrina for support because I was already starting to miss Roderick and I hadn’t been away from him but a few hours. I’d been so determined when I’d boarded the bus. Now all my self-confidence was starting to crumble. I know Roderick loves me,I’ve invested so much time in our relationship. How can I just leave him? Was I really making the right decision or was I letting my pride get in the way of having a beautiful relationship with the man I loved? Maybe it was true what some people said…it was only a piece of paper.

Nope fuck that. I want all or nothing. It was obvious to me that after ten years I was getting nothing so I was done.

[ * * ]

“ Be so blunt,

people have no choice but to smoke your truth.”

“ Do you feel better?” LaDaya asked as I quietly took my seat.

“ Not really but I’ll be okay.” I sighed. My entire situation coupled with the conversation I’d eavesdropped on between the two women was starting to wear me down. I felt like a failure as a woman. It wasn’t the first time in recent years I’d felt this way. I was also longing to hear Roderick’s voice.

“ Well if you need to vent, we have a long ride ahead of us. We all have problems girl as I’m sure you heard us discussing.” LaDaya said sympathetically.

“ Yeah I heard. I’m one of those “ dumb bitches” y’all were talking about.” I said rummaging through my bag for my packet of Kleenex. I could already feel the waterworks starting back up. It was too hard trying to keep my defenses up,even to strangers. I couldn’t wait to get off of this damn bus. If only for one hour.

LaDaya’s eyes bucked and out of the corner of my eye I could see her grab Shavon’s hand.

I laughed bitterly.

“ Don’t worry about it girl. Y’all ain’t said shit I haven’t heard before also just to go ahead and put it on out there…I’m a ten year girlfriend.” I said shaking my head. Embarrassed as hell to be telling a stranger some shit like this.

Shavon, [*“Ms. Relationship Guru” *]herself, seemed to be at a sudden loss for words.  I had just met this chick and I was shocked. I didn’t think she knew how to stop running her damn mouth.

“ Look…,” she started slowly,attempting to choose her words carefully. “ I hope we didn’t make you feel too bad. I know I have a tendency to be opinionated. I let my feelings be known about topics I feel passionately about.”

“ Oh there’s no need to apologize at all. How could you have known what I’m going through? Besides it ain’t like you were speaking anything but the truth. Which is exactly why I’m on this bus now to get away from his ass.” I said hoping I sounded more convincing than I really felt.

“ Well I’m glad you decided you deserve better.” Shavon said primping up her lips. “ Shoot you’re a beautiful woman. I know there are plenty of men who would appreciate a sista like you!”

LaDaya looked over me with a look on her face I recognized right away. Curiosity. I’d seen that very same look on the faces of people I knew about year five of my relationship with Roderick. Year five was when the questions really began. Are you two getting married? Is the relationship going well? You’re not going to get pregnant are you? Oh without a fuckin’ doubt I knew the look she was giving me. I made the decision right then and there to put them both out of their misery. I suddenly didn’t feel too bad about  divulging all my personal business to these two women. Maybe it would be good for me? After all,I’d learned a long time ago to keep my problems with Roderick private. Katrina was the only person I told all my secrets too and Roderick hated the fact that I told her anything. Katrina was probably the only one who knew how Roderick really was. Everyone else thought he walked on water. His looks and money had the majority of people around us fooled. Katrina was the exception since she was always around me. If I was really honest,the last year I could feel a vibe coming from Katrina that she was sick and tired of the constant Amina and Roderick drama. I couldn’t blame her.

Maybe I needed a fresh perspective from people that didn’t know either of us?

“ Look I don’t even know you but spill the tea! I know this brotha gotta be fine for you to be sticking with his ass ten years! I have a million questions. Hell I ain’t never met a woman personally who has gone through this type of thing.”Shavon said skinning and grinning. I had to admit,after so many hours of being on the bus riding with her,I was slowly but surely getting used to the gleam of her gold teeth. Each time she opened her mouth I was a little less distracted.

I couldn’t help but laugh. I know Shavon thinks I’m laughing at her comment…and I am,but I’m  mainly laughing at those two gold teeth dangling in her mouth.

I reached into my purse, pulled out my phone and ran my finger over my photo gallery icon. I clicked on one of the more recent pictures of Roderick. Even looking at his pictures made my heart feel heavy. I’d been tempted to delete all of them but I couldn’t bring myself to actually do it. I gave the phone to LaDaya so they could scroll through the pictures.

I wasn’t worried about them seeing anything private in my  pictures. They could look all they wanted…which they did with the quickness cackling like two hens. There were numerous pictures of Roderick without a shirt on but everything was pretty tame. I wasn’t concerned about them seeing anything racy. Shavon and LaDaya hooped and hollered for a good ten minutes as they scrolled through all of my pictures.

“ You mean to tell me in ten years he never asked you to marry him?” Shavon asked in disbelief.

I reached my hand out waggling my fingers for her to place my phone in my hand.

Once I had it, I flipped to my “engagement” folder.

“ Oh he’s given me three gorgeous engagement rings throughout the years ladies.” I said handing the phone back to LaDaya.

She looked down at the pictures of my three engagement rings and let out a shriek so loud she had to quickly cover her mouth. Her eyes were bucked with excitement. Umhmm. I thought smugly. My man knows better than to come to me with a chip of a diamond. Then a gloomy thought hit me. Roderick wasn’t my man anymore. I’d left him. It was a sobering moment but I was still gloating inside at their reaction to my rings. It was the same sense of pride I’d always felt about simply being Roderick’s woman. Roderick wasn’t all bad. We’d had too many good times for me to count during the last ten years. I was just at a point in my life where I couldn’t ignore the bad times any longer.

[_Exactly bitches. Where were the adult Huggies when you needed them? _]It already smelled like shit on the back of the bus and these two heffas just made the funk level go up about six notches. Because I know when LaDaya screamed she shit herself too. Probably all up her damn back.

Giiirrl let me tell you! Now I ain’t even gonna lie…if I had to hold out for a brotha for a stretch…it would damn sure be for one like this!” LaDaya snickered as her and Shavon high-fived each other.

I just shook my head. Roderick had never even met these two women and on appearance alone he already had them fooled. Ten minutes ago they were militant sounding,marriage minded black women. But one look at a fine man with a nice body and all of a sudden it was “ well if I had to wait,I could for him!” Another point for Roderick.

“ Uh-uh. Back to the tea Amina! Pour it up girl. What happened? I mean after ten years, I know this man has to love you. Why would he stick it out with you that long if he didn’t? For that matter why would you? You’re both two attractive people and I know neither of you would have a problem finding anyone else. “ Shavon asked confusion clouding her face.

I was at a loss as to where to even begin to decipher exactly what went wrong between Roderick and I. Though if I was perfectly honest,and I had no choice but to be.  I would have to say things between us went bad the very day we met. I cleared my thoughts and began to tell my two new confidants about my rocky relationship with Roderick Jabri Thomas.

“ Well,my best-friend Katrina dragged me to this BBQ one day….,”

[ * * ]

“ The devil doesn’t come dressed in a cape and pointy horns.

He comes as everything you’ve ever wished for.”

YEARS

1 thru 3

Roderick

“ Nigga about time you fell through! Shit was getting dry as fuck around here” Damien said grinning at Roderick  who was walking through the door holding the large bag of weed.

I shook my head and laughed.

“ If I had stayed my black ass home like I planned to,you niggas would have really been stuck out. Lucky for you my ass got hungry and I know Ma Dukes cheffin’ it up over here. Where is she? Let me go speak before she put me on blast in front of everyone. I know she don’t play about coming in her house and not speaking.” I said laughing.

“ Yo’ ass already know she’s back there running the show.” Damien said barely raising his eyes from the fat joint he was in the process of rolling. Roderick shook his head. Damien was hovering over the weed like a fiend.

I slowly made my way through the small yet comfortable house. It was filled to capacity with everyone from the neighborhood. Damien’s mother Priscilla was known as hood royalty. So was his father before he’d been gunned down eight years ago. Damien’s father Marcus had been a former drug dealer who had eventually turned his life around for the sake of his wife and kids. Unfortunately the majority of gang-bangers saw the only way of really leaving a gang was with you laid out on your back,ten toes pointed to the sky. A rival gang chose to settle an old score one afternoon as Marcus was outside cutting his grass.

Even after her husbands death Ms. Priscilla remained a hood queen.  When she put the word out for a party,people congregated on her lawn like an 11:00 o’clock church service.

“ Hey Ms. Priss.”

Ms. Priscilla turned around to see who was addressing her. Rum and coke in her left hand,long silver tongs for turning BBQ in her right hand.

“ Hey baby! Get on over here and give me a hug. Yo’ young ass get finer every time I see you. Baby let me tell you…I was so proud to see you walking across that stage last month with that diploma! I felt like you were my own son.” she said beaming with pride. I leaned down and wrapped her in my arms in a tight hug that lifted her off the ground. Ms. Priss let out a squeal of laughter.

“ Well you might as well be Ms. Priss. You basically  raised me. Fed me,clothed me. If I didn’t have you in my life none of my accomplishments would have been possible. I ain’t never going to forget it either.”

Ms. Priss sat her drink down and pulled a napkin out of her apron to dab her eyes.

“ It was my pleasure baby. You know if we’re eating so are you. It was just as easy for me to buy two shirts on sale as it was for me to buy one. Now those high priced ass sneakers y’all tried to get by me are another thing!” she said doubling over with laughter and picking up her drink before she spoke again,her tone suddenly serious.

“ Roderick, I wish you would talk some sense into Damien. Ain’t a damn thing out here in these streets I tell you!”

I couldn’t help but smile inside at her praise and acknowledgment of my college achievements.  I’d gone from corner dealer to college diploma. I hadn’t completely left the street shit along but I was on my way. Slowly but surely I was going legit. Ms. Priss was the mother I’d wished I had. It ain’t like my own half-dead ass mama had said much beyond imagining all the money I was going to support her with. Mama or not, she had better step her ass off that crack cloud she was floating on  if she thought that’s what was going to happen. Mother’s like Ms. Priss got set up for life…not crackhead mamas who barely put a roof over their childs head  like mine.

“ Hey Roderick.”

I turned around to see Sabrina, one of my former jump offs. Sabrina was showing every single tooth in her head she was smiling so hard. Hands on her wide hips as if to remind me of her pussy game. I remembered. It was all right. Nothing I couldn’t walk away from. Which was exactly what I did when she started getting too clingy for my taste.

“ What’s up Sabrina? How you doing?”

“ I’m good. Better now that I’ve seen you. I’ve missed you.”

Damn. Ol’ girl already trying to talk up on some dick tonight.

“ Well like I told you, these past few months leading up to graduation have been hectic.” I said taking a step in an attempt to end the conversation and keep it moving.

“ I know baby! I’m so proud of you. It felt so good seeing you walking across that stage.” she said practically jumping up and down.

“ You were there? How come you didn’t come speak?” I asked.

“ Well we’d just had that argument about me coming by your place unannounced. I still wanted to support you though.” she said looking into my eyes shyly.

I looked Sabrina over. She was cool. Maybe I was being a little too hard on her. Sabrina was a good girl. She made her own money doing hair at a popular shop around the way. All she wanted from me was everything which was a huge problem for me. I’m the type of nigga that ain’t never had a problem getting or keeping any woman I wanted. But not too many females have the ability to hold my attention beyond a few months. Add to the fact I didn’t trust females as far as I could see them. I mean my own mother would do anything for a piece of crack. She made me and If I couldn’t trust her,other women didn’t stand a chance. Not to mention how many women I’ve fucked that called themselves having a man. These bitches ain’t loyal. I mean don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t that fucked up.

I knew there were good women out there. Ms. Priss was one of them,they were just few and far between as far as I was concerned. I ain’t worried about it though. When the right female comes along, I’ll know the minute I lay eyes on her.

“ Are you hungry? I can fix you a plate.” Sabrina asked eagerly.

“ Nah. I’m good for now. Thanks for offering. It was nice seeing you Sabrina.” I said quickly walking past her towards the card table. Sabrina could miss me with that shit. Fix my plate? That wasn’t shit but code for – This is my man and I dare another bitch up in here to stand in his face.

I knew better than to fall for that old trick.

[ * * ]

“ I just made you fall in love with me.”

Amina

“ Amina hurry your ass up! You were the main one acting like you didn’t wanna come to the BBQ today. Now you’re the main one primping in the mirror holding us up!” Katrina said popping the piece of gum she’d just thrown in her mouth loudly.

I checked my hair and lip-gloss in the rear-view mirror once more then cut my eyes at Katrina.

“ Look,just because this ain’t my first choice in how I’d like to spend my afternoon, doesn’t mean I’m going to walk up in here looking raggedy. When you’re somewhere you don’t want to be that’s when you run into everyone!”

Katrina broke out into peals of laughter.

“ Bitch you right! I know it’s going to be plenty of niggas up in here too. Let’s go.” Katrina said stepping out of Amina’s car adjusting her breasts in the tiny halter top she’d chosen to wear to this afternoons hood festivities.

“ How do I look girl?” she asked.

“ You look like you have way too much titties squeezed into that tiny ass top.” I replied.

Katrina rolled her eyes at me.

“ Good. That’s just the look I was going for. By the way,you look like you have too much ass for those tiny ass shorts so I guess we’re even!”

We both looked at each other and burst out laughing.

“ Come on girl. We ain’t staying here all damn night either.” I said to Katrina. She had an annoying habit of making herself a little too comfortable at times. Wearing out her damn welcome. I for one, was not trying to be in this neighborhood once the street lights came on. Katrina and I made our way to the backyard where Tupac’s “California Love” was bumping through the large speakers placed on a makeshift DJ table. The food and drink appeared to be flowing as well. The smell of spicy baked beans along with smoked chicken and ribs,peppered with a hint of weed smoke filled the air. I could already see the fat blunts being passed around freely. After all,this was Los Angeles. Everyone and their mama had a “ medical marijuana “ card. Knowing damn well the only sickness they had was the munchies after smoking all day and night.

The afternoons hood festivities were in full swing. Kids were running throughout the yard laughing and playing. A card table was set up in addition to a temporary dance floor that laid on a large area of grass for later. I couldn’t help but chuckle softly to myself when I saw it. I’ll bet they’ll be doing the electric slide on that later and cuing the Al Green,I thought.

“ Damn! It’s crowded up in here.” I said to Katrina who had already grabbed herself a cold beer.

“ Oh baby, anytime Ms. Priss has a get-together it packed. I wonder where her fine ass son Damien is?” Katrina asked aloud. More to herself than me since I had no earthly idea who Damien was. Katrina’s eyes were already scanning the crowd for her intended target. This was Katrina’s old neighborhood so she was familiar with pretty much everyone in attendance. We’d only been there ten minutes and it seemed like Katrina had greeted and hugged damn near everyone at the BBQ.

“ Oooh! There he is girl. I’ll be back.” Katrina said adjusting her breasts and patting her mid-back length curly weave.

“ Hold on! Don’t just leave me…,” I sputtered but I was already talking to her retreating back. Katrina was walking rapidly towards a tall, slim, deep chocolate brotha with a head full of long, thick curly hair that was brushed meticulously back into a smooth,wavy low ponytail positioned at the nape of his neck. He looked good I had to admit. No wonder Katrina was practically running her ass across the damn yard.

Whoever this Damien guy was,he appeared to already be deep in conversation with a scantily clad young woman. Katrina didn’t give a damn. She didn’t stop walking until she was dead in his face. I don’t think she noticed…or cared about the heated look the woman was giving her for interrupting her conversation.

SHIT!

Katrina always did this mess. The minute she set her sights on a man she was out. I decided to walk over and check out the food. It smelled delicious. My rumbling stomach quickly reminded me I hadn’t eaten anything all day. On my way to the food I had to change my direction several times to avoid a few shady looking characters attempting to come my way. I liked a little thuggish swagger in my men but the brothas checking me out right now were doing the most. A couple were looking like they were fresh out of the penitentiary. I was not in the mood to deal with any disgruntled brothas mad because they got shot down. I quickly threw a scowl on my face to dash any hopes they had of trying to solicit any type of conversation from me.

I picked up a paper plate and  looked over the potato salad debating on whether or not I should take a chance on eating some of it.

“ Damn girl! So the food is [_that _]nasty?”

I jumped,startled by the deep,sexy voice coming from over my shoulder. He was so close to the back of my neck I could smell the sweet, cinnamon scent of his warm breath.

“ What?” I said turning my head towards him. We were so close only inches prevented our lips from touching.

“ I was just asking you if the food was nasty. The way you’re standing here looking at it has me scared as hell to take a bite. I also better warn you about something too. You pretty as fuck but don’t be standing over here looking at all the food with your face scrunched up like that. Especially if Ms. Priss cooked it. If she looks over here and sees you looking at the food crazy,you might get cussed out! If she did the cooking that is. If people brought food she may cut you some slack. If she goes off on you,I wont be able to save you.” he said shrugging his muscular shoulders at me.

I slowly turned around,my eyes landing on a striking white v-neck t-shirt that stretched over the broad expanse of his chest. I slowly raised my eyes taking in his thick neck, slight Adams apple,to the slightly pronounced cleft in his chin. My eyes then landed squarely on his full,defined lips until my eyes raised finally settling onto his deep-set,thickly lashed eyes.

“ I, umm,no see…,” I stammered,my hands shaking so nervously the three ribs I did have on my plate would have hit the grass if he hadn’t reached out and grabbed it from me.

He licked his lips and smiled at me. I could tell he was holding in his laughter. I felt like a complete fool.

“ Ms. Priss?” he called out,looking in the direction of a pretty older woman standing over the grill talking with an older gentleman.

“ Yes baby?”

“ Did you make this potato salad?” he called out.

“ Hell yeah! You know I don’t eat just anything and I don’t allow anyone to be fooling around in my damn kitchen either!” the woman quickly answered back.

“ Ms. Priss made all this food so I’ll vouch for it. If you don’t like it, I’ll take you out to eat. In the meantime, you seem a little shaky. How about you point to what you want and I’ll fix your plate.” the sexy stranger said placing a scoop of potato salad on my plate before I could say a word.  I followed him down the long table of food unsure if I should grab my plate and run. Or follow him wherever he chose to lead me. As fine as he was, I was willing to go anywhere with this man. Who was he? He stood head and shoulders above every other man I’d seen here so far. Literally. The brotha stood about 6 ft 4. Where the hell was Katrina? She knew everyone so I knew she could give me the 411 on him.

The handsome peanut butter toned stranger quickly fired off a list of food choices and loaded our plates up.

“ Do me a favor, grab me a beer.” he said walking towards one of the only tables that didn’t appear to be occupied. I grabbed his beer and myself a soda before following him to the table.

We settled down to eat our food but I could barely eat he had me laughing so much. His name was Roderick Thomas and he was 21,single with no kids. Roderick was fine but not so fine I neglected to ask all the questions I needed answers too. He was questioning me right back as well and looking at me so intensely it made me nervous. This man had me breaking into a sweat! I was trying to dab my forehead on the cool without him noticing. Roderick said he’d just graduated with a degree in Marketing and Branding. He’d recently been hired as an intern at one of the largest sports agencies in Los Angeles. I can’t lie, I felt a little unmotivated after hearing he had his Bachelors and had already enrolled in a program to obtain his Masters degree. Roderick impressed me further by encouraging my dreams of becoming a fashion designer one day. Although he did remind me that even the top designers had education in the fashion business. I blushed as I nodded my head in agreement. He was absolutely correct. First thing Monday morning I was going to check out a few programs I’d picked up enrollment information on yet never followed through.

“ Well hey Roderick. How  you doin’?” Katrina asked finally showing her face again. I hadn’t seen her since we’d arrived at the BBQ over two hours ago. If I hadn’t been so caught up in talking with Roderick I would have been pissed! After all Katrina was the one who’d invited me . She knew damn well I didn’t know anyone here.

“ What’s going on Trina,how you been?” Roderick asked a slight smile on his face. He stood up gathering our plates and dirty cups.” I’ll be back. Don’t disappear on me okay.” he said winking at me before he walked off. I couldn’t take my eyes off him. I loved talking to him. Roderick was smart,funny and every subject I broached he seemed to know something about. Long story short, this man was no dummy. He was the perfect blend of book smart and street smart.

“ Umm excuse me bitch! I leave you alone for a few minutes and here you are hugged up with one of the finest muthafuckas up in here!” Katrina said staring at me wide eyed,hands resting on her non-existent hips. My girl was cute and all but she had no hips and ass. You couldn’t tell her shit though. She may not have any ass but my girl had plenty of self confidence.

“ Katrina your ass has been gone way longer than a few minutes! I’m just glad he came and talked to me or I’d be looking stupid all by myself. Or worse, I could have one of these other fools standing in my face. So I take it y’all know each other…TRINA! Tell me all about him! I asked him if he had a woman and he said no. Please tell me the nigga ain’t lying to me.” I asked sending up a silent prayer Roderick was telling me the truth.

“ A woman? Chile please! Roderick Thomas ain’t wifing these hoes. More like love em’ and leave em’. You need to be lacing up some track shoes on your feet and running away as fast as you can girl!” Katrina said taking a long swallow of her beer and sitting down next to me.

My heart sank.

“ Why Katrina? Damn is he out there that bad? He fucks anyone?”

“ Oh I ain’t really saying he’s out there like that but I’ve known Roderick for a long time and he never has a girlfriend. He doesn’t commit to any woman. Not even in high school. He’s a serial dater and I know you’ll just be one on the list. Besides I heard his dick game is fierce. That nigga will lay the pipe on your ass and have you going crazy. He had two of my home-girls fighting each other in the damn street once.  The sad thing about it was,he wasn’t claiming either one of them! I’d hate to see you get caught up in some shit like that is all I’m saying.”

“Damn.”

“ Yes girl. Don’t get caught up with a bad boy.”

“ He just graduated college he said…that’s a lie?”

Katrina sucked her teeth.

“ No it’s true. But Roderick is still a street nigga. Hell that’s how he paid for school I’m sure. He’s from the block,he just has a degree now. His mama is a crack head too.”

“ Really? That’s so sad.” I said looking across the yard where Roderick was talking to a group of guys. He looked over at me and caught me staring. I quickly averted my eyes,embarrassed at having been caught.

“ Anyways!” Katrina said grabbing my arm. “ Guess who’s coming by the crib to pick me up later?”

“ Who?”

“ Roderick’s boy Damien! This is Damien’s mom’s house matter of fact..I told you that right?”

“ Yeah when we came in. Well how come you’ve never mentioned this Damien before?”

“ Wasn’t shit to say since he had a girl but him and Tasha broke up! So I don’t give a damn. I’m going for mine.” Katrina said laughing.

“ Well how did you finally get him to ask you out after all this time?” I asked. I was trying my best to keep my mood light even through Katrina had just burst my bubble with her comments about Roderick.

“ Chile please. My time at this party has been well spent. I just got done giving Damien some bomb ass head in the bathroom.” Katrina whispered.

I choked on the soda I’d just taken a swallow of.

“ Bitch please ,say you lying! I know you ain’t pulling this at a BBQ!” I cried out. I was so embarrassed. What if someone had caught her? They’d be thinking I was out there like her.

Katrina grinned.

“ Girl ain’t no one see. We were in the bathroom. The door was locked. The nigga know my head game is on point,now he wanna see how the pussy is.”

I just shook my head.

I was happy for her…I guess, but I couldn’t help feeling a little sad over the news about Roderick. It felt like Roderick and I really had a connection but I wasn’t trying to catch feelings over a man who had a problem settling down. I’d always considered myself to be the girlfriend type. More to the point I’d been a girlfriend for the last four years. Some women liked to date around but I wasn’t one of them. I liked a feeling of safety and security with one special man. Even though my friends kept trying to convince me to spread my wings and date. I definitely understood what Katrina was saying about Roderick “ loving them and leaving them”  but maybe I shouldn’t worry about that so much? It wasn’t like I was looking to jump right back into a relationship. I’d only been single for the last six months after a four year relationship. When it was all said and done, I wanted the right man,not any man.

Maybe it was time I lived a little. Dated a few guys until I found someone right for me. Had some fun for a change. After all,it’s one of the reasons Marquise and I broke up. We both felt like we were too young to be so serious.

I looked back over at Roderick only to find him already looking at me.

[ * * ]

“ Don’t fuck with my feelings,just because

you’re unsure of your own.”

Roderick

Damn. I just knew Katrina was over there running her goddamn mouth. I’d known her since high-school and knew exactly what type of female she was. The very kind I tried to avoid at all costs. Tramp ass. I wonder what the fuck she’s over there telling Amina?

I was curious but I wasn’t really worried about it. I was more than a little interested in her friend Amina, so she could sit her ass over there and tell her I was a fuckin’ serial killer and I was still gonna make her friend love me. She’s the one. I know she is.

“ Aye nigga.” Damien said taking a pull of his blunt.

“ Wassup?” I said never taking my eyes off Amina. She was beautiful. About 5’6, dark brown hair that hung past her shoulders with honey blond highlights that framed her face. Her almond shaped eyes were a light brown shade that had me hypnotized. I swear to God I could stare into them forever…and I intended too. Her body had niggas drooling and those tiny ass white shorts weren’t helping. I was feeling some type of way about niggas asking who she was and she wasn’t even my woman…yet.

“ I seen you talking to ol’ girl over there with Katrina. She fine than a muthafucka.” Damien said glancing over at Amina and Katrina who seemed to be deep in conversation.

“ Her name is Amina.” I said doing my best not to look at his ass crazy. Damien was my best friend but he was a nigga too. I didn’t want him looking at her either.

“ Well I told Katrina I was gon’ pick her ass up tonight. She been on my dick for years. I guess since me and Tasha ain’t together no more I’ll let her get a hit of this good dick. Besides, I just had her suck my dick in the bathroom.” Damien said laughing.

“ Nigga you sick.” I said busting out laughing.

“ No more than you nigga. I see how you looking at ol’ girl over there.”

I glanced over at Amina.

“ Nah nigga, I got plans for that one right there. I’m about to shut her heart down.”

“ Oh SHIT! Not the kid.” Damien said damn near choking on the thick smoke of his blunt. He was shocked to hear Roderick say anything like that in regards to a female. Roderick was notorious for never settling down with any one female. The minute a female thought she had him pinned down, Roderick let that bitch go quick.  The sad thing was that even though females knew this about him,it never stopped them from trying to be the one woman who could make a player change his ways. So to hear Roderick say something like this was more  than shock.

It was a damn near miracle.

[ * * ]

“ Keep some room in your heart for

the unimaginable.”

Amina

I laid in the bed tossing and turning. I couldn’t get thoughts of Roderick out of my head. We’d spent the remainder of our time at the BBQ together. He and his friend Damien joined Katrina and I at our table and we spent the remainder of the  afternoon into early evening laughing and talking. Before leaving we exchanged numbers.  I was already anxious to speak to him but I didn’t want to seem too needy and call him.

I also couldn’t help thinking about what Katrina said. If women threw themselves at him the way she said,would he actually call or was my number one of many he’d taken tonight? Who was he with after we left the BBQ? He’s not going to call, I thought turning onto my back closing my eye.

Moments later my bedroom door burst open and my bedroom light was on. I quickly raised my hand to my eyes to shield them from the sudden bright light.

“ How do I look girl? Damien will be here in a minute.” Katrina said grinning from ear to ear as she walked over to my full length mirror.

I raised myself up to my elbows and looked at her.

“ You look good. Put on some bigger earrings though.” I said laying back.

“ Katrina do you think he’s going to call me?”

“ Who Roderick? Girl please! I know you ain’t in here pouting over that nigga! You better not be if you know like I know. Roderick Thomas does him all day,every day. So don’t let whatever game he was kickin’ tonight leave you fucked up!” Katrina said posing in the mirror and twisting to make sure her invisible ass was sitting up high in her skin tight mini dress.

“ I know. You’re right.” I sighed.

“ Look, you know you can come with us tonight. We ain’t doing nothing but hittin’ the club. You ain’t gotta sit in the house all by yourself. I highly doubt Damien will mind.” Katrina said as she walked over to my chaise lounge and sat down.

“ Hell no. I refuse to be a third wheel. Besides haven’t you been trying to go out with this Damien guy for a long time? You two have fun. I’m not in the mood to be in a loud ass club tonight anyways.” I said stifling a yawn. I was a little tired,it was a beautiful day outside, but the heat was insane, I felt drained.

We both heard the doorbell ring.  Katrina jumped up quickly smoothing the front of her short dress.

“ He’s here girl! Don’t wait up for me.” she said  closing my bedroom door and flipping off my light as she walked out of the room.

“ Bye! Have fun.” I said laughing. Katrina was a fool.

Katrina walked to the front and opened the door only to find not only Damien but Roderick at the door.

“ Well what’s all this?” she said cautiously not letting them in.

“ Well damn sexy,you ready to go?” Damien asked grinning.

“ The three of us?” Katrina asked confused. Hell her friend wasn’t tagging along and she didn’t want Damien’s friend dampening the mood either. She had big plans for Damien. As fine as Roderick was,they’d known each other since high-school and he’d never paid her any attention. Even when she’d low key flirted with him a few times. She was never obvious with her flirting with Roderick though because she didn’t want to look like the rest of the females Roderick turned down and played out.

“ Nah. My nigga coming to see your girl. We’re leaving, get your shit and let’s go. “ Damien said. He looked like he was already irritated with her. Roderick leaned back on the wall not saying a word. Damn this nigga Roderick is fine, Katrina thought. Damien was fine  too but Roderick was more of a total package due to his height and build. Damien was a little on the slim side. Not to mention Roderick’s pockets were long.

“ Well okay. Let me just tell Amina you’re here…,” Katrina said. Fuck it,I’m ready to go. Besides it ain’t like she don’t wanna see this nigga anyway. She sittin’ her ass in the dark with her lip hanging to her chest waiting on his ass to call.

Roderick pushed away from the wall and walked into the apartment.

“ You ain’t gotta tell her nothing. I’ma surprise her. Where is she?” he asked,his voice low and sexy.

“ Umm. Back there,second door on the left.” she said grabbing her purse from the coffee table.

“ Let’s go. “ Damien said holding the door open for her and giving Roderick a nod.

“ Holla at you later nigga.”

“ Bet.” Roderick said walking towards the hallway to find Amina.

[ * * ]

“ A King only bows down to his Queen.”

Roderick

I thought about just busting up in her bedroom but I decided to play shit cool.  Hell if you could call showing up at her apartment uninvited cool. I wasn’t worried about it though. Amina struck me as the shy type so the last thing I wanted to do was scare her. Hell and the type of nigga I could be at times that wouldn’t be too hard to do. I rapped on her door a few times before I opened the door. Her room was dark but I could still make out the soft curves of her shape sprawled out on her bed.

“ I’m broke Katrina so don’t even try and come in here asking for no money! If it’s a real date you don’t need to bring any money anyway.” she called out from her bed never turning around.

“ Oh that’s how y’all do it huh?” I asked flipping on the light laughing.

HUH!” Amina cried out as she quickly jumped from the bed at the sound of my voice. “ Oh my GOD! What are you doing here?” Amina gasped.

“ I missed you already so I decided to come holla at you real quick. That’s if you don’t mind my company that is.” I said flashing her my most winning smile. “ Are you happy to see me?”

Amina practically jumped from her bed and stood across the room fidgeting, swaying from one thick shapely leg to the other. She couldn’t possibly know that those simple movements were driving me crazy. Amina looked like heaven with her thick legs in a pair of boy shorts and tank top. I kicked off my shoes and walked over to her bed making myself comfortable. I grabbed the remote to her wide screen T.V. and made myself comfortable. I could clearly see she had a nice little chaise lounge chair in her room but that damn sure ain’t where I intended to end up tonight. So I just laid my ass down where I was ultimately confident I was going to end up anyways. Her bed.

“ Ya’ man is thirsty babe. What you got to drink up in here?” I said flipping through her channels.

“ Oh you a bold one I see!” Amina laughing placing her hands on her hips. “ I’ll play along with you though. Are you hungry again too?”

I raised my t-shirt up rubbing my hand across my eight pack. Yes eight pack. I knew her eyes were glued to me.

“ Yeah I can eat. I don’t want anything you got in your kitchen though. You can feed me later.” I said winking at her. Amina shook her head laughing at me and walked out of her room. A few minutes later she walked back with drinks for the both of us and climbed into bed with me. We began a marathon of out of old school movies she had in her collection and it was a wrap. We threw in New Jack City and Juice. I loved those oldies! Amina said she loved them  as well so we easily passed the time away wrapped in each others arms enjoying each others company.

It wasn’t long before my feelings got the best of me and I leaned down to kiss her. I couldn’t put my finger on it but from the minute I laid eyes on her earlier in the day I knew I wanted this girl in my life. Amina had everything I wanted in a woman. She was beautiful, even though she was shy I could tell she was confident in herself, she was also funny. After some conversation with her I knew she hadn’t been ran through by every other nigga in town. Besides, as soon as she left the BBQ. I ran her name by a few niggas who fell threw from different parts of the city and none of them seemed to know her. That spoke volumes to me. Especially since when I mentioned Katrina they all knew her tramp ass. Eventually,Amina was gonna need to drop Katrina. She wasn’t a good look for my woman.

Amina told me she’d been locked down with her little high school boyfriend for a  couple years but that wasn’t shit I couldn’t deal with. It wouldn’t take me long to make her forget she ever knew his ass. I did have some pangs of jealously tugging at my heart that she’d been with someone else but I’d just have to deal with it.

My hands roamed all over her body and before I knew it, I was tugging at those little shorts of hers. I wanted to see all of her. The tiny top she had on was already gone and I eased my head down to suck on her erect nipples. Her breasts were perfect. I loved a woman with sensitive nipples. The more I sucked the wetter she got,grinding on my fingers the way she was I knew she wanted the dick as bad as I wanted to give it to her.

“ Are you gonna be mine Amina?” I whispered into her neck as I rolled on top of her to look into her eyes. Her body molded to mine perfectly.

“ Umm. Well,Roderick it’s obvious I’m attracted to you but come on, I’m not going to fool myself. We’re moving a little fast.” she said closing her eyes and turning away from me.

I turned her face right back.

“ Look at me Amina. I don’t believe in that bullshit that everything has to happen at a certain time. If we want each other that’s just what it is. There’s something about you that I want and I can tell you right now I want it forever. Not just one time so don’t even think about that extra bullshit. Just tell me you’re mine and you ain’t got to worry about shit else.”

“ Roderick…,”

“ Don’t do that Amina. I can see it in your eyes what you want me too.” I stood up from the bed and stripped all my clothes off. I could see her eyes widen as she laid there taking in every inch of my body.

“ This is all yours Amina from this day forward. Just say you want it.”

“ That’s all it takes Roderick? Is for a woman to say she wants you?”

I smiled down at her and let out a laugh.“ Nah baby. That’s all YOU have to say.”

We stared at each other for what seemed like minutes but I knew only seconds had passed before she finally spoke.

“ I want you Roderick. You better not hurt me.” Amina said softly staring up at me. I climbed back in the bed with her between her thick thighs and slid my dick slowly inside of her.

“ This ain’t even your pussy anymore. It belongs to me. “ I said burying myself deeper inside of her as she clutched my back moaning.

[ * * ]

“ Let me tell you something about crazy people.

The sex is unbelievable.”

Amina

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

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

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

“ No reason. Just thinking.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“ I asked why didn’t you wait?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I was floored.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“ Roderick please…,”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All I could do is moan.

“ Answer me Amina. Do you understand?”

YES  RODERICK!” I cried out.

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

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

[ * * ]

“ Admit it. You love someone who probably doesn’t love you back.”

St. Louis,Mo

&

Years 3 thru 5

“ So girl you knew this nigga was a fool from the jump!” Shavon said leaning past LaDaya to look at me. “ Your ass was sprung on the dick girl! That’s all that was.”

I couldn’t help but laugh because she was merely stating the truth. I knew Roderick was a natural fool day one.

“ Yes he did show his ass day one but it was easy for me to over look because I put this on everything, there was never another incident like that again. I mean we had the normal fights like every couple has but nothing too serious. I’ll lay my hand on a stack of bibles! We were the perfect couple,everyone told us that.” I said shaking my head.

The driver came over the speaker letting the passengers know we were pulling into St. Louis. I couldn’t have been happier, I was looking forward to the next hour off the bus and wanted to call Katrina. I could only imagine Roderick was blowing her phone up as well. I had to admit, I did feel better talking to LaDaya and Shavon about Roderick. It sure beat having all those thoughts running around in my head.

“ Well when we get back on the bus I want you to finish the story girl! I need to know what else happened because I know he had to have shown his ass again! When did he ask you to marry him the first time?” LaDaya said sucking her teeth.

“ I will girl let’s just get off this bus! I feel like I’m going stir crazy all cooped up like this.” I said as we filed off the bus with the other passengers. “ I’ll see you guys back here. I’m walking across the street to that smoothie shop. Then I’m going to make a few phone calls.”

“ Okay girl. You may see us over there too.” Shavon said. Her ear was already pressed to her cell phone calling her man.

I crossed the street and sat on the bench outside the smoothie shop to call Katrina. I turned on my cell phone to find six more text messages from Roderick and two missed calls from Katrina. I pulled up her number and pressed the call icon. Katrina picked up on the first ring.

“ About time your ass called! I was getting worried. Girl that nigga Roderick is going crazy! It’s a good thing I dropped you off as early as I did because he was over here an hour after I dropped you off at the bus station.”

“ You didn’t tell him where I was going did you?” I asked nervously. Katrina talked a lot of shit but she did have a tendency to crack under pressure. Not to mention the fact that Roderick had a way of getting what he wanted out of people. He didn’t even like Katrina and had expressed his dislike for her. Roderick attempted to drive a wedge between our friendship from the start of our relationship. He’d make claims she wasn’t the type of female I should hang around and that she had a bad reputation around the neighborhood.

I wasn’t trying to hear shit he had to say about Katrina. At that point Katrina and I had been thick as thieves for three years. We’d met our first day on the job at the exclusive boutique La Deaux. We were the only two black employees working there and quickly became inseparable. It wasn’t long before we both decided to move out of our parents homes and got a place together. I was more than ready to leave my fathers home. I’d moved in with him when my mother passed away  the summer before I entered the ninth grade. My sister and I both came to live with our then estranged father in California. As soon as my sister turned 18 she took off and moved back to Cleveland,she’d never really taken to California. I stayed but my father and I had a strained relationship at best. Besides it’s not as if his new wife had ever really wanted my sister and I there anyway. Truth be told, my father was the reason I was so adamant about marriage. My father had never married my mother even after two kids with her. My mom loved him till the day she died and I hated him for it. He’d come visit us in Cleveland and my mother would still sleep with him. I vowed as a young girl to never allow that to happen to me. I wanted a complete family, I wanted to be married to my childs father. This was one of my main issues with Roderick, I refused to have a child with him until we were legally married. When I left the hospital with my baby to go home, we ALL had to have the same last name.

“ Well don’t tell him anything. He’s been blowing my phone up! I’ve had it turned off though. As soon as I get to Cleveland and get settled down I’m going to change my number. Anyways girl I only have less than an hour before we leave here. I’m going to run in this shop,use the bathroom and get myself something to drink. When I get to my sisters I have to tell you about these two ladies sitting next to me on the bus.” I said laughing “ Girl they had me feeling some type of way for MILES! But they turning out to be cool the more we talk.”

We talked a few more minutes before I hung up and walked into the shop. About ten minutes later LaDaya and Shavon joined me. We all grabbed drinks and a snack before heading back to the bus. Damn, I thought every stop we make has this bus filling up. I’d anticipated some of the stops to cause the bus to be crowded but it was a full busload each stop  we made so far.

“ Awww shit!” LaDaya whispered as she grabbed Shavon’s hand and commenced to knocking her knee against mine. I looked up to see a fine ass brotha standing right next to me in the aisle taking the seat directly across from me. I knocked LaDaya right back. Even though the last thing I was interested in was a man, I couldn’t deny the brotha looked good. Smooth dark chocolate skin and a head full of waves,thickly groomed brows framed his eyes.

“ Hello. How are you ladies this evening?” he asked with a smile showing two deep dimples in each cheek. I was tongue tied for a moment but LaDaya and Shavon weren’t.

“ Heeyy!” they said in unison. LaDaya’s gap teeth and Shavon’s golden grill were on full display.

As he sat down in his seat I caught a whiff of his woodsy,spicy scented cologne. Damn! I was a sucker for a good smelling man. I just smiled at him and didn’t say a word.

Before I knew what was happening Shavon was leaning forward in her seat introducing us to the new passenger.

“ We’re good! I’m Shavon, this is my best-friend LaDaya…,” she said pointing to the middle seat where LaDaya couldn’t seem to stop grinning “… and this is our new friend Amina!” she said. “ We’re all on our way to Cleveland, how about you?”she asked with no shame about just how nosy she sounded. I was embarrassed as hell.

He smiled showing off those deep dimples again.

“ Nice to meet you all. I’m Rasean. I’m headed to Cleveland as well.” he stated stretching one of his long legs into the aisle. The bus had taken off from the station and was back on the road.

“ Girl that nigga is fine!” Shavon whispered from her window seat loud enough for LaDaya and I to hear.” I almost forgot I was engaged. Anyways back to this hot tea you were pouring for me a LaDaya! Because where you left off, yeah that negro cut a fool with your ass on day one.  He also laid the pipe to your ass so good you couldn’t resist that nigga!” she said snickering loudly.

I busted out laughing.

“ I thought you would have let this go!” I said cutting my eyes over at her.

“ Hell no!” they both shouted.

LaDaya shook her head and turned to me.

“ Uh-Uh baby. My Pandora can wait! The story was just warming up.”

“ You were just getting started. Besides, I need to know how this went on for ten years.” Shavon said snapping her fingers.

I took a deep breath quickly thinking of where to begin.

“ Okay well like I said. Outside of that first night when he was tripping with me,things between us were perfect. Until we hit our third year together…”

  • * * *

“ The same one who mistreated you,will end up

needing you.”

Amina

Roderick pulled into the gas station slowly approaching the pump. It had been a long day but we’d had a blast at Disneyland. I loved going to amusement parks and Roderick had surprised me this morning by whisking me away for a day of fun. The day had gone better than I could have ever hoped. While sitting at the top of the roller coaster Roderick pulled out a three carat, princess cut diamond and asked me to marry him. While everyone else was screaming from the thrill of the ride, I was screaming with joy. I was so in love with Roderick and I knew we were meant to be together forever.

I glanced at the backseat which was now filled with stuffed animals he’d won for me during the day. Roderick cut his eyes and me and laughed.

“ What the hell are you going to do with all those?” he said stifling a laugh as he stepped out of the car.

I looked over at him and smiled.

“ I’m keeping all of these in our garage. Nice and safe until we have a baby and then they’re going in the baby’s room.”

“ The baby huh?”

“ Yep. I’m hungry babe, I’m going inside to get a slushy you want one too?” I asked grabbing my purse.

“ Yeah I could go for something cold. Get me the usual.” he said grabbing the pump to fill up the tank. Before I could walk away from him I couldn’t resist running around the car and jumping into his arms showering him with kisses.

“ I love you so much! I can’t wait to be your wife Roderick.”

Roderick kissed me deep and slow before breaking our kiss.

“ You know that ring ain’t shit to me right? You’ve been my wife since the day I met you. You know that right?”

Tears sprang to my eyes,I could only nod my head yes.

“ I’ll be right back.” I whispered. I couldn’t wait to get home and make love to my man.

I walked inside the store browsing through the selection of snacks. I couldn’t make my mind up on what type of chips I wanted.

“ Amina?”

I looked up to see who was calling my name shocked to see me ex-boyfriend Marquise. I broke into a grin. It was nice running into him even though I knew I was the reason we’d lost touch. He’d called me many times three years ago but I just felt it was best for us not to speak too much since I’d just met Roderick and he’d made it clear from day one he didn’t want me speaking to any men,let alone my ex-boyfriend and the only other lover I’d had.

“ Marquise! Hi, how are you? How’s your family?”

Marquise walked over and gave me a  long, tight hug. I tensed up a bit not because he’d hugged me but the last thing I wanted was for Roderick to see me in the arms of another man. I relaxed a bit, after all Roderick was pumping the gas across the parking lot.

“ Everyone’s good. They ask about you all the time. I’m glad to see you’re doing okay since you can’t call nobody or return a phone call.” he said smiling. Even though I wasn’t interested in Marquise in the least anymore it was good to see he looked as good as ever.  He seemed happy. The last three years since I’d seen him had obviously been good to him.

“ I’m sorry Marquise. I just got caught up in life,work and I’ve been seeing someone pretty seriously as a matter of fact I just got engaged today…,” I said feeling silly about my shady behavior toward him. I knew Marquise and his family cared for me deeply. I felt ashamed of myself for turning my back on them so easily. His mother had treated me like her own child which had meant the world to me since I’d lost my own mother when I was 14. I’d cut them out of my life for someone who at that time I’d just met. Granted Roderick is my world now, but when I turned my back on my friendship with Marquise I didn’t even know Roderick. I regretted making that decision.

“ Congratulations! Well I can understand that we all have to move on. It’s all good. I’m married now too,got a pretty baby girl.” he said smiling.

“ For real? Oh my God! Congratulations Marquise. I know you better have some pictures of the baby.” I asked excited for him.

“ Of course I do!” he said pulling out his wallet and showing off pictures of his beautiful wife and daughter. Afterward we hugged quickly and I promised to try and keep in touch. I paid for my snacks and drinks then walked outside only to find Roderick parked directly in front of the store instead of at the pumps.

I quickly got in the car,put on my seat belt and placed straws in our drinks. Roderick cut his eyes at me without saying a word as he revved the engine,backed up and sped through the gas station parking lot. We entered the expressway and Roderick never said a word to me.

“ Roderick slow down! You’re driving like someone is chasing you. Slow down.” I cried, he was scaring me. He was damn near doing 100 mph on the expressway and was switching lanes back and forth like a mad man. I gripped the door handle to stabilize myself in my seat he was driving so fast.

“ Don’t worry about how goddamn fast I’m driving. Worry about keeping your legs closed and draping yourself all over niggas in the store. That’s what the fuck you need to worry about!” Roderick screamed at me taking his eyes off the road for a split second to throw me a death stare.

“ What? What the hell are you talking about?” I asked bewildered.

“ Don’t play dumb with me. Who the fuck was that you was all hugged up with in the store? Yo’ slick ass didn’t think I saw you but I did. Is that what you be doing the minute I ain’t around? All up on other niggas?” he spat.

I groaned inwardly. I’d hoped he hadn’t seen the quick hug I gave Marquise but I hadn’t done anything wrong. Roderick had made it very clear to me that he was jealous and wouldn’t tolerate disrespect from the very first day I met him. In three years it had never been an issue between us but I wasn’t going to allow him to make me feel like I’d done something to disrespect him when I hadn’t.

“ What’s the muthafuckin’ problem? I don’t fuck you good enough? Often enough. Hot ass. You better cool your ass down before I fuck you up Amina I swear to God.” he screamed. Roderick then grabbed the 32 oz coke slushy I’d bought for him,flipped the lid off and threw it in my face.

I let out a scream of shock as the icy contents of the cup slid down my face and down the front of my body. I burst into tears at the way he was treating me. I hadn’t done anything. It took a moment for the shock to wear off but when it did my tears ceased and all I saw was red. I unsnapped my seat buckle and reached over with my fists balled and hit him everywhere I could. My  fist connected with the side of his face, his head,neck and shoulders. I was furious! Roderick did his best to try and hold me away from him. Steering the car with one hand,attempting to hold me off with the other.

“ Stop it Amina! You’re gonna make us crash!” He yelled repeatedly.

We were right around the corner from his house…well our house now since he insisted he couldn’t sleep a night without me and needed me there. I had to get away from him.

“ Stop this car and let me out.” I said quietly,seething inside.

“ I ain’t letting you out on the side of the road! We’re almost home then we can talk about this Amina. You fucked up. Just admit it.”

LET ME OUT OF THE FUCKINCAR!” I screamed repeatedly until he pulled over to the curb. I grabbed my purse and jumped out of the car. I glanced down at my hand and yanked the engagement ring off my finger and threw it inside the car.

“ Fuck you and your ring !” I screamed. I could see a look of shock cross his face but I didn’t care.

I turned in the opposite direction he was driving so he couldn’t follow me. Roderick tried to back up the car but had to quickly stop due to the oncoming traffic turning into the street. It gave me just enough time to get away from him. I pulled my cell phone out of my purse and called Katrina to come pick me up crying uncontrollably. I couldn’t believe he would treat me this way and all I did was love his ass.

I successfully avoided Roderick for two days. I wouldn’t answer his phone calls,text messages and had Katrina turn him away when he came to the apartment I once shared with her looking for me. After work I decided I needed to go over to pack up as many of my things as I could. I’d bought some underwear and a couple of bras but I’d been basically raiding Katrina’s closet for three days and it was not working for me considering the fact I was much thicker in the ass and thighs than she was. I always got home before Roderick so I drove over as soon as I got off work to avoid dealing with him.

I entered the house and quickly grabbed several large garbage bags we used for the yard to throw as much of my clothing as I could into them. My heart was beating so fast I thought it would burst out of my chest. I couldn’t believe this was the way we were ending. I loved him so much but he obviously didn’t feel the same for me or he could have never accused me of cheating on him. He thought I was a whore. I felt like breaking down and crying again but I held it together continuing to pack my things.

“ So you just gonna sneak in here, pack your shit and leave me?”

I jumped at his voice and turned to see Roderick leaning in the doorway staring down at me. He should have been dressed in a suit and still at work. Instead he was dressed like he’d just left the block. Jeans, black t-shirt and sneakers. I had to quickly look away from him because I already felt my resolve weakening just looking at him.

“ I just came to get my things. I don’t want any problems Roderick. I’ll be out of here in a minute.” I said looking away as I continued to move about our bedroom gathering my things. “ Why aren’t you still at work? I was hoping to be in and out before you got home.”

“ I’m sick.”

I raised my eyes to look at him. He looked fine to me. I was the one whose heart was breaking and he was the cause of it.

“ Lay down with me Amina. Please.”Roderick asked,his voice held something I’d never heard before.

“ I am not having sex with you Roderick. Not after the things you said to me, the way you made me feel.” I said shaking my head vigorously.

“ I didn’t ask you for sex. I just need you to lay down with me. I haven’t slept in two nights I’ve missed you so much. Can you please just lay down with me?” Roderick walked towards the bed removing his shoes and then his shirt.

I inhaled sharply embarrassed because I was sure he’d heard me. I loved looking at this man. His body was beautiful to me and he knew it. In three years we’d never spent a night apart. Not once. Hell in three years I hadn’t gone more than two nights without being made love too. I had to be strong though. I had to ignore the growing wetness between my thighs and the tingling of my now pebbled nipples. Fuck Roderick. Maybe my ass was “ hot” as he put it but it was only for him!

“ Well get used to it. I’m not going to let any man talk to me the way you have Roderick. You pulled this shit the first night  we met and obviously you must have been holding your real opinion of me in for the last three years. It didn’t take much for your true thoughts of me to come out. There wont be a third time.” I said continuing to stuff my clothing into bags. My throat was tight and I could feel myself slowly unraveling.

I was kneeling on the floor reaching under the bed to retrieve several storage bins I had filled with shoes when I suddenly felt him grab my hips and laying me down on a pillow he’d thrown on the floor.

“ Stop it Roderick!” I said struggling to break away from him but he held me so tight I couldn’t move. He pinned my arms to my sides and positioned his legs over mine until I was immobile. We now laid face to face.

“ If you really gon’ leave me Amina at least let me rest. I can’t sleep without you. You ain’t supposed to be able to sleep without me either but I guess you can huh?” he said staring into my eyes. What I saw next had me speechless. Were those tears in his eyes? I couldn’t believe it. Not my Roderick. Yet here he was tears now sliding down his face.

“ I’m tired and I miss you so much Amina . You’re breaking my heart. You know I can’t live without you.” Roderick whispered leaning in to kiss my lips. Now I was the one breaking down in sobs.

“ You hurt me Roderick.” I choked out between sobs.

“I know baby.  I’m so sorry. Please forgive me,please…,” he begged kissing all of my tears away. His hands caressing and kneading every part of my body until I was on fire for him. I shut my eyes tightly willing my mind and body not to want him so goddamn much. The shit wasn’t working.

My eyes flew open the sound of my own moans embarrassed me. Is this all it took for me to forgive Roderick’s bad behavior towards me?

“ OH GOD!” I cried out grasping his head that was now buried between my spread thighs. All it took was a few laps of his long tongue and I was writhing uncontrollably as I climaxed on his tongue,my back arched sharply. I couldn’t stop shaking.

“ Put your legs around me Amina.”

I didn’t want to deny him but I still had to try. I did have some pride left.

“ No,stop Roderick we still need to talk about what happened the other day.”

“ Give me what I need Amina. Please.” he asked now on his knees holding my legs apart holding his hard dick in his hands as he stared down at me. “ Just give it to me Amina.” Roderick said. He wasn’t even looking at my face anymore. His eyes were locked on my spread pussy.

“ No Roderick.”

“ Your pussy is saying yes.” he said taking the massive head of his dick and rubbing it along my pussy lips. I could feel my slit opening to accommodate him. Damn it really was saying yes.

“ I’ll still leave you Roderick.” I gasped even as my hips raised to welcome him home.

“ I know baby. It’ll never happen again.” Roderick said lowering his lips to mine and burying himself inside of me. With every powerful thrust Roderick made he proclaimed his undying love and devotion to me. When I came my pussy tightened around the length of him as I screamed his name on wave after wave of pleasure. Moments later Roderick joined me.

“ Goddamn I love your ass. Please don’t leave me.” Roderick panted rolling onto his back and taking me with him securely on his chest. Roderick reached up into his nightstand for something.

“ Are you still going to marry me Amina?” he asked his voice was low. He sounded scared.

“ Of course I am. I love you too. I’m not going anywhere.” I held my hand out and he slipped my ring back on my finger.

Who was I fooling? I wanted to be Mrs. Roderick Jabri Thomas. I loved him and couldn’t imagine myself anywhere he wasn’t.

[ * * ]

“ Any friend that turns into an enemy, BEEN hating!”

Katrina

SHIT! I’d been calling Amina all day hoping for an update. I wasn’t that concerned about her though. I really just wanted the low down on if Roderick had been calling her which I knew he would. They’d been doing this up and down mess far too long for him to just let her go that easily. Though I was praying like hell he would. Amina had finally left Roderick after ten years and I couldn’t have been happier. I was sick of being her confidant when it came to her relationship with Roderick. I ain’t never heard a bitch complain so fuckin’ much about a nigga that did everything for her! Where they do that at?

Roderick wifed Amina’s ass the very day they’d met. Hell to my knowledge no female had ever had the pleasure of saying she was his girlfriend,let alone being taken care of at the level Amina was. What pissed me off the most is how ungrateful Amina was. He goes to the club too much and never takes me,he fucks good but he makes me feel like a sex slave, he’s so demanding.

Bitch, I wish I had those type of problems out of a nigga.

Now granted I’ve known Roderick’s ass from back in the day, so I already knew he didn’t run behind any females. So that only made me all the more curious as to why he chose Amina? I mean my girl looked good and all, but what the fuck was so special about her? I was positive he’d end up cheating on her ass and breaking her heart into a million tiny pieces. I was wrong though…at least to my knowledge. I hadn’t heard a peep about him being unfaithful to Amina at all. Which only made my resentment towards her relationship with Roderick grow throughout the years. I mean I know how she whined about how long they’d been together and that he wasn’t following through on his proposals but fuck it. They got together when she was 19 and he was 21! Ten years ain’t shit. Hell we’re still young.

I was out here struggling to find a man that was employed, straight, hell in Los Angeles it was hard finding a brotha that was into black women! Here Amina was worried about this simple ass shit. Amina worked…when she didn’t have too. Roderick had moved her into his townhouse day one. He even paid her portion of our rent for a year since he knew it meant leaving me in a financial bind until I could find another roommate. Then six years ago he bought them a 4,000 square foot, four bedroom home. You wouldn’t hear a bitch like me complaining. Amina also wouldn’t give the nigga a baby unless they were officially married either. You best believe I would have given that nigga his own football team after all these years! Roderick had given Amina everything but that piece of paper and she was tripping about that.

I can’t lie. I felt some type of way about the shit from the start especially since I had thrown hints that I was attracted to him since high school and he’d never paid me any attention. The whole situation had me feeling salty starting ten years ago at that damn BBQ. Amina went to the BBQ and ended up with Roderick. I sucked his boy Damien’s dick,fucked him later that night and ended up with chlamydia.  Amina didn’t even deserve a man like Roderick as far as I was concerned.

A year ago something between Roderick and I changed. They had a huge argument and all of a sudden I not only became Amina’s confidant. I became his as well. During the last year my feelings for him have grown to the point that I feel a deep sense of love for him. Amina is just dragging him down. It’s killed me the last year to listen to all her silly immature complaints. So when she claimed…once again,that she’d had enough, I was more than happy to help her ass leave him.

I went out of my way to help her get things together so she had no reason to ever come back to Los Angeles and if she ever did,it was going to be too late. All I needed was time to lay this good pussy on Roderick right. I was positive I could make him forget all about Amina  Instead of playing her position as his number one woman, this bitch wanted to trip about a piece of paper. Tuh! Not me. I knew how to treat a man like Roderick.

I just needed to make sure he didn’t go running after her. He’d been calling my phone all goddamn night. Amina had stayed the night with me so I could get her to the bus station this morning. I’d held off from answering his calls until that bus had taken her well out of California. Now was the perfect time for me to start answering my cell and to drop some dirt in his ear about Amina. Over the last year I’d concocted a pussy full of lies to tell Roderick about Amina.

[ * * ]

“ Love doesn’t hurt. Loving the wrong person does.”

Columbus,OH

&

Years 6 thru 10

LaDaya twisted in her seat. “ Girl this is some mess! That nigga know he was wrong for coming at you the way he did at the gas station BUT I can’t lie…I know that brotha tripped seeing you hugged up with ol’ boy in the store! Most men would have felt like that too!”

Shavon laughed and cut her eyes at me.

“ That nigga had you dickmatized. We all been there before but it seems to me like he was abusive and you knew it. Tell the truth,shame the devil. You knew is ass was a nut didn’t you Amina?”

I blinked my eyes several times so I wouldn’t start crying again. I hate Roderick had me feeling so emotional. I imagined I would feel like this for awhile.

“ I guess I did. In all honesty, in all of these years we’ve only had one incident where he put his hands on me. Which surprisingly was just recently. It was the final straw for me,among other things.  I mean outside of throwing that damn drink on me that is.  I now realize there was a lot of emotional abuse taking place. When I think over the years of us being together I was the main problem.” I said shaking my head.

“ What do you mean?” LaDaya asked.

“ Well, I catered to Roderick’s every need. I cooked for him, cleaned for him. Fucked on demand, I was loyal in every way. I mean I wouldn’t even hold conversation with another man on a friendly level so there would never be any misunderstandings between us. If a man looked at me,I looked the other way. Now I know I shouldn’t have had to do that. He should have trusted me.”

“ Oooh Weee! That nigga had you marching like a soldier didn’t he?” Shavon said.

“ Pretty much. It started to get to me after awhile though. I began to realize just how unequal our relationship was. We still hadn’t gotten married. He was giving me everything materially but my eyes started to open up to what he was holding back.” I said.

Just then our driver came over the loud speaker. We’d arrived at our last stop before we arrived in Cleveland. We had 30 minutes before we took off again.

LaDaya grabbed her purse from under the seat and pulled out her cell phone.

“ I’m going to call Paul you guys. I’ll see you back on the bus in 30.” she said quickly rushing off the bus.

“ I’ll see you back on the bus LaDaya. I’m going to stretch and call my sister to make sure she knows exactly what time to pick us up.” Shavon said as we exited the bus.

“ Okay, I’ll see you guys back on the bus.” I welcomed the time alone. Telling Shavon and LaDaya about Roderick and my relationship had been tougher than I thought. I’d hidden so many of my feelings from people for so long,it felt good to finally tell the truth. Ten years of loving him and here I was running away with nothing. Nothing but my clothing and the baby in my belly he didn’t even know I was carrying. I still had love for him but when I’d found out I was pregnant with Roderick’s child after all these years of my trying to make sure I brought my child into a home where we all carried the same last name,Roderick had his way with that as well. Even though he didn’t even know it. I ran my hand nervously over my belly.

I still couldn’t believe it. It was true though,six home pregnancy tests and a trip to the doctor had confirmed it. I went into the restroom then sat on one of the bus station chairs. I was shocked when the guy Rasean came and sat down next to me.

“ You know you don’t have to take that shit right. That nigga don’t sound like he’s the one for you.” Rasean said,his eyes twinkling.

“ Excuse me? Why are you eavesdropping all in my conversation?” I asked. I was pissed.

“ Baby girl it ain’t eavesdropping if y’all talking loud and yapping right beside me. How wide do you think the aisles are? Don’t get mad at me. Be mad you wasted ten years on a nigga who didn’t wife your ass. But hey, you left him. Better late than never right?” he said standing up and walking away.

I was livid! But once again what could I really say? He was telling the truth.

I grabbed my bag and walked back to the bus. When I approached my seats I found Shavon and LaDaya already there. LaDaya was sobbing in Shavon’s arms uncontrollably.

“ What’s going on?” I asked trying not to panic. Had someone done something to her in the station?

LaDaya sniffled as she raised her head, “ I just broke up with Paul.”

“ Really What happened?”

“ Just listening to you talk, I knew I had to do it. I mean it’s not like I hadn’t thought of ending things before. After all we’ve been together three years. Don’t take this the wrong way but I don’t want to end up a ten year girlfriend.”

I stood there stunned for a moment before sinking into my seat. Damn. Did I sound that pathetic bitches were leaving their men so they wouldn’t end up like me. Evidently so.

Shavon cleared her throat.

“ Please excuse LaDaya, I don’t think she chose her words quite as well as she could have.” she said rolling her eyes at her sniffling friend.

I raised my eyebrows at her but chose not to say a word. Hell I didn’t know her man. Maybe she did the right thing. Especially if this man hadn’t proposed at all. Even Roderick had proposed to me at the three year mark. I was the absolute last person to be giving advice on love with all the craziness I had going on in my life right now.

The bus took off on the last leg of our trip. LaDaya seemed to have calmed down. A half an hour passed before Shavon spoke up.

“ Amina, I was just thinking about everything you said. So what was the final straw? I mean Roderick has given you material things, a home for the last ten years,great sex and don’t get me wrong but,you already heard how I feel about just laying up with a nigga for years on end so what was your breaking point? Why are you on this bus when you know you still love that man?” she asked. LaDaya turned to look at me, both of them awaiting my answer.

“ Well, I guess it’s like you just said. Every woman has a breaking point…,”I said as I proceeded to tell her exactly how I ended up on a Greyhound bus running away from the love of my life.

  • * * *

“ Don’t take me for granted. Because unlike some others,

I’m not afraid to walk away. “

Amina

I’m so sick of this shit! I was wearing a hole in the floor of the kitchen I was pacing  so much. Roderick was sending all my phone calls straight to voice-mail. It was early Friday evening. We’d gotten into a huge argument this morning before he left for work. He and Damien had been hitting the clubs an awful lot lately. I didn’t usually have a problem with him hanging out with his boys because he always made time to spend with me, but for the last two months there had been a change in him. For the very first time in ten years I was starting to wonder if Roderick was cheating on me. We hadn’t even had sex in two weeks.

If he was it would kill me. But before it did, I was going to kill his ass first. I’d gone through too much for far too long with Roderick for him to cheat on me .

Roderick was going out without me more often and when I asked where he was going he seemed to have a problem answering me…if he chose to answer me at all. This morning he’d informed me he was going out with Damien to a club opening. I didn’t say a word. I just waited for him to at least tell me about it, ask me to go with him. But he never extended an invitation. Roderick continued getting ready for work and walked out the door.

The phone rang and I quickly answered it once I saw it was Katrina calling.

“ Hey girl.”

“ Well damn! You sound like you lost your best-friend and I know that ain’t true since I’m right here.” Katrina said. I couldn’t help but laugh at her crazy ass.

“ Roderick’s ass is tripping again. I’m getting so tired of this Katrina.”

“ Ummhmm whatever. I’ve heard that before. Anyways I got V.I.P tickets to a club opening tonight. Will that man unlock those chains around your ankle so you can go tonight?”

My ears perked up when I heard the words “ club opening” I wondered if this was the same club Roderick was taking his ass tonight? I was damn sure going to find out. At the very least I’d get out of the house and have a good time with Katrina.

“ Girl please. I’m in,what time should I be ready?” I asked already making my way to the bedroom to raid my closet.

  • * * *

“ Man it’s plenty bitches up in here tonight.” Damien said looking around the crowded club. “ Not that you’re going to sample any of the selection! Nigga how do you stay fuckin’ the same female for ten years?” he asked taking a sip of his drink.

I just shook my head at Damien. This nigga had the nerve to question how I could be faithful to one woman yet his dick stayed dripping and burning? Damien didn’t even have any shame about telling me about all his clinic trips. Fuck that.

I like to know my dick is sliding into some clean pussy.  Which is exactly why I stay faithful to my heart…Amina . Granted I know I don’t always treat her the way I should. I know she’s pissed that we haven’t gotten legally married yet. I just don’t know what the big deal is? I give her everything a woman could want. House,cars, money and she wont even give me a baby. Amina ain’t slick though. She thinks as long as she doesn’t have my baby she can walk away from me. Truth be told I’d stopped sleeping with her the last few weeks. Which was definitely out of character for me,not to mention it was driving me crazy. I was irritable as fuck but I wanted to punish Amina. She loved sex just as much as I did. I knew if I went from sex no less than twice a day which was our norm,to cutting her off completely, it would plant suspicions in her mind.

Which was exactly my plan.

I was gonna go biblical on her ass. Hell if we weren’t fucking to make a baby…after ten years what was the sense in doing it? Amina needed to know I could get any woman to give me a baby. I could sit another woman up in a nice ass crib, who didn’t have to work and get not one complaint about it. Nagging me all the time about a damn wedding.

Hell I know she’d been waiting a long time but as far as I was concerned, I needed eight out of those ten years to prove to myself she was marriage material. So in my eyes she’d REALLY only been waiting two years.

“ What’s going on man? You enjoying yourself?”

I turned to see one of my clients Calvin Richardson standing next to me. Calvin and two partners owned the club. He’d given me the V.I.P invitations for tonight. We clapped hands real fast. Calvin was a client at my agency and ex basketball player who decided to open up a club as an investment.

“ Yeah man, you have a good turn out. This is my friend Damien.” I said introducing the two men.

“ Man the ladies in here are something serious tonight! I just wanted to check in with you real fast. I’m going back over here to get at this female named Amina with her fine ass! Talking about she got a man. Not tonight she don’t!” Calvin said grinning. Before my mind could even register the name he’d said,Calvin was gone.

Amina? Nah. It couldn’t be. MY Amina better have her ass at home. I grabbed my drink and let Damien know I’d catch him later. He was busy trying to get some woman’s attention. Back in the day Damien used to have females falling all over him but sadly enough ,in the last ten years he hadn’t progressed at all. He’d regressed. Damien was back home living with his mother. His only achievement was making his car note. It didn’t matter he was my boy, as long as he didn’t ask me for any money. Hell I’d worked too hard to make a better life for myself.

I broke through the crowd, ignoring some of the women I could obviously see trying to catch my attention. I needed another drink so I was making my way to the bar. I was almost there when I stopped dead in my tracks.

There stood Amina looking good as hell in a body hugging red dress that exposed her shoulders and barely covered her ass.

I didn’t make a move to go near her. I just fixed my eyes on her until she felt me looking at her. It took less than a minute for her to feel me staring her fuckin’ ass down. The minute she raised her eyes to look at me I walked out of the club. Amina was quick on my heels following me outside.

Amina tried grabbing my arm but I shook her ass off and kept walking until we were further away from the crowd of people trying to get into the club. I made a quick right into a dimly lit alley.

“ Roderick! What is wrong with you?” Amina cried.

“ What’s wrong with me? What the fuck is wrong with you Amina? You out here in the club half naked looking like a goddamn whore. You better take your ass home if you know what’s good for you.”

Amina’s head snapped back as if I’d slapped her. Hell if she wasn’t careful I would. I’d never put my hands on her but she was pushing me. Especially with all the little shit she’d been doing to aggravate me lately.

“ If I go home, you’re coming too Roderick. “ Amina said folding her arms across her chest.

“ Amina I ain’t going no goddamn where. I had a client give me tickets to this opening. This is business for me. I’m networking.”

“ Networking? Nigga please with Damien? You out here networking with Damien? Are y’all fucking too? Because you two are sure spending a lot of time together lately. You stopped fuckin’ me so what’s really goin’ on nigga?” Amina spat.

Before I knew it I’d slapped the taste out of her goddamn mouth saying some crazy shit like that to me.

Amina doubled over holding the side of her face. She appeared to be in shock. I was in shock my damn self.

“ You hit me. You put your hands on me Roderick?” she asked in disbelief. “ After ten years this is all I am to you? A punching bag. Someone to beat on. Well I hope it felt good to you because that will be your one and only time putting your hands on me. I hope it made you really feel like a man.”

I didn’t feel like a man. I felt like shit honestly. I’d said a lot of out line things to Amina over the years when I got frustrated but I’d never put my hands on her. Ever. My father used to beat my moms ass on a damn near daily basis before he finally left us when I was eight. Beating on women was something I’d promised myself I’d never do  and here I was slapping the only woman I’d ever loved.

“ I’m sorry baby but you were out of line too.” I said trying to make an excuse for my behavior when I knew had none. I would have given anything at that moment to take back what I’d just done. The look in her eyes had me rooted where I stood.

Amina was scared of me.

She turned to walk away from me and even though my legs felt like bricks I knew I had to do something. My mind kicked into gear and I lunged for her from behind before she had a chance to go back onto the sidewalk. Amina let out a blood curdling scream and I quickly covered her mouth with my hand.

“ Amina stop screaming. I’m sorry, I’m so sorry. Please forgive me,it just happened.” I said burying my face in her neck. “ I’m so sorry baby,forgive me.” Amina tried to twist out of my arms but I held her tightly until the fight went out of her and she collapsed in my arms crying. I didn’t even realize it but I was crying too,my tears were flowing down her neck.

“ I love you Roderick but I’m leaving you. I don’t want to live like this with you anymore.”Amina said turning to face me.

I knew Amina wasn’t going to let the fact I’d touched her go. Not at all but right now I didn’t have it in me to fight with her. All I wanted to do more than anything was fuck her. We could iron out this issue later. I was ready and willing to beg for her forgiveness but right now I’ll I wanted to do was be inside of her warm walls. We hadn’t been together in two weeks, this was the closest I’d allowed myself to be to her and I couldn’t wait another minute.

I backed her up against the wall and took possession of her lips and tongue until she had no choice but to give in to me. I ran my hands over her breasts, her nipples were hard and begging to be licked. I quickly obliged, licking and sucking on her nipples until Amina was grabbing the back of my  head.

I raised my head  placing my hands on the wall,enclosing her in case she had any thoughts of trying to leave. Amina and I were both breathing heavily staring into each others eyes. I could see the  hurt,confusion and lust this woman felt for me written all over her face.

“ Roderick are you still in love with me? I can’t keep…,” she started to say before my mouth covered hers. I quickly unbuckled my pants, raised her dress above her hips and picked her up as I slowly slid my dick into her slick opening.  We both let out gasps. I felt like I was in heaven. It had been two weeks since I’d had some of my woman’s pussy and if there was any question about if I had missed it before, it was damn sure answered now.

Then I got mad.

It was bad enough she’d came to the club without me…but where the fuck were her goddamn panties at?

I drove my dick into her harder and faster until she was screaming out loud.

“ Sssshhh baby.” I whispered in her ear.

“ Oh shit Roderick! You feel so good baby. Oooohhh! I’m coming baby, I’m coming” Amina hissed. I could feel her pussy clenching my dick like a vice. At that very moment I let loose two weeks worth of the babies Amina wouldn’t even give me.

“ I love you so much Amina…,”  I panted still moving inside of her, her pussy was still contracting around my dick she’d come so hard “…I’m sorry for what I did baby. I swear to God I am but if you ever try to leave me I’ll fuckin’ kill you first.”

[ * * ]

“ When a woman really loves a man,she’ll sleep alone

before she lets another man sleep in his spot.”

Cleveland,OH

I then revealed to my two new friends I was pregnant. I whispered extra low so Mr. Nosy Fine Ass across the aisle wouldn’t hear.

DAMN! So you mean you just dipped on ol’ boy? He doesn’t even know you’re pregnant?” Shavon asked.

I broke down in tears thinking about my situation. It was as if now that I’d verbalized it, I could fully digest the predicament I was in. What the hell was I going to do? I’d left everything to get away from Roderick. How I’d been so careful about taking my birth control pills…for ten years! The one time I slipped, I wavered and thought about giving Roderick what he wanted. The one time I grew so tired of begging him to marry me, I convinced myself I was making too big of a deal about being married. I’d gotten pregnant.

I knew the exact night it happened.  He hadn’t touched me in two weeks before that night. The first time he’d actually hit me.

“ Ooohh Uh-Uh! I can’t take two crying ass bitches! Get up and let me sit in the middle LaDaya!” Shavon commanded rolling her eyes at LaDaya and I.

LaDaya was in the midst of a fresh round of tears as she stood up. Several of the bus passengers were looking at us wondering what was going on I’m sure. Including the nosy ass brotha across the aisle.

Shavon sat down between us and grabbed each of our hands.

“ Now y’all get it together now! Amina here your ass is pregnant and on the damn run, LaDaya you listening to someone else’s sad ass story and done dropped your man!”

“ Hell yes I dropped his ass! The more I listened to Amina’s story it was sounding more and more like how mine was going to end up and I fuckin’ REFUSE to go out like that. No offense Amina but each one teach one sista you know what I mean?” LaDaya blurted out,her tears had suddenly stopped.

The driver came over the speaker announcing we’d be pulling into Cleveland within the next ten minutes.

My mood was dark thinking about everything I had in front of me. I needed a home, I didn’t want to tell my sister Amaya I was pregnant until I was out of her house. I needed a doctor,a job with some benefits but hell I’d gotten my degree in fashion with Roderick’s encouragement but where the hell was I going to use it in Cleveland? I felt so lost and alone.

“ Okay now…, Shavon said interrupting my thoughts.

“ We’ve been on this bus all in each others business, so we need to exchange numbers right now Amina! We’ve got to keep in touch, be supportive of one another.” she said grinning.

Shavon’s gold teeth were still gleaming, and you could damn near park a car in between LaDaya’s gap  but I swear before God , they were so beautiful to me right then. The way they’d listened to me during this trip and oddly enough, regardless of their earlier conversation about women in long relationships, I didn’t feel judged. I’d really misjudged them on sight and I felt ashamed about that. I’d revealed more to them than I had to Katrina. She’d been so negative about my relationship with Roderick lately, the last thing I felt like doing was telling her I was having his baby. I’d let her know once I got settled.  After I told Roderick which I dreaded but I knew I couldn’t keep our child from him. My heart nor my conscious would allow me to deny Roderick his son or daughter.

  • * * *

We pulled into the station and everyone filed off of the bus. My new friends and I had already exchanged information so that we could get together. I was hoping it would be soon because I already felt lost and alone in my new city.

I looked around for my sister but didn’t see her anywhere in the station. I guess she’s not looking forward to seeing me! I called and sent her a text letting her know the bus was on schedule.

Shavon jumped up and down letting out a shriek.

“ There’s my baby!” she said jumping into the arms of a cute light skinned brotha. I had to will myself not to laugh out loud. He wasn’t bad looking, they just looked odd together. They say opposites attract, I guess it’s true. Physically they were opposites in every way. Shavon was dark, her fiance’ was light. Shavon was about 5ft 8,her man was lucky if he reached 5ft 4….with his arms raised. The one feature they did have in common, were his teeth. His front row of top teeth were gleaming was a golden grill. He was shining with happiness at the sight of his woman.

I covered my mouth at his feeble attempt to pick her up and swing her around.

[_Have mercy! He’s going  to drop her! _]I thought holding my breath.  I let out a rush of breath when he decided maybe picking Shavon up wasn’t a good idea for his back!

“ Do you need help with those bags?”

My heart damn near stopped at the sound of the familiar voice coming from behind me. It was only at that moment I noticed LaDaya and Shavon had stopped talking and were staring at me,better yet behind me. I looked at them my eyes pleading for help. I knew Roderick wouldn’t make an outright scene,that wasn’t his style. Roderick was very concerned about how he looked. I also knew that in ten years worth of arguments I’d never taken it this far. I’d never left our home for more than a night or two to cool off. The threat he made about killing me if I ever left him played over and over in my mind.

“ What are you doing here Roderick? How did you know where I was going?” I managed to croak out. I was on the brink of tears. I had to grab my bags and get the hell out of here. [_Where the hell was my sister? _]I thought looking around.

“ Look, where’s your shit so we can get the fuck out of here.” Roderick spat never taking his eyes off me. “ I’m so goddamn mad at you right now Amina. You got me calling in to work at the last minute and hopping on planes to get here before you. What the hell is wrong with you. Let’s go.”

“ I’m not going anywhere with you Roderick. If I wanted to be with you I wouldn’t have left!” I said raising my voice.

“ Amina would you like a ride to your sisters place?” Shavon asked interrupting us.  Shavon was giving Roderick her best mean mug but it didn’t last long once Roderick spoke.

“ Hello,how you doin’ ? I’m Roderick and you are?”he asked nice and slick, extending his hand to her.

Shavon actually started giggling showing all 32 teeth as she shook his hand and introduced herself. I was too through! After everything I’d spent our entire trip telling them, here baby Sista Souljah was smiling all in the niggas face!

“ Well it’s nice to meet you Shavon, my fiance’ and I may be here a few days,we’ll have to go out, have dinner or something. Is this your husband?” Roderick had no shame. His job had him trained to be comfortable meeting strangers and that’s exactly what he was. Roderick proceeded to shake hands with LaDaya and was introduced to Will, Shavon’s man.

I should have been shocked but I wasn’t. I’d seen Roderick in action for ten years. By the time he got done, they’d be wondering why I left in the first place.

“ Come here Amina.” Shavon said walking away from the crowd. I quickly followed her refusing to look at Roderick.

“ Girl now this nigga is fine as fuck! I thought he looked good in the pictures but they don’t do that brothas flesh justice!” she said sucking her teeth. “ That’s neither here nor there. This nigga think he slick. What do YOU want to do? Your sister ain’t here but you can roll with us no problem. You can come with me and LaDaya. We’re best-friends and roommates.”

Just hearing she was so willing to help me caused me to burst into tears. I hugged her tightly. “ Thank you Shavon. I don’t know what to do.” I whispered.

“ Now I ain’t gon’ lie. You need to talk to that man. It’s one thing to leave the man but to leave with his baby is another story. Regardless of you being unhappy with the relationship he deserves to know the truth. No mater how hard it is for you to say.” Shavon said rubbing my back. It was so soothing I stopped crying and looked over at Roderick who was watching us like a hawk.

“ Give me a second to find out where the hell my sister is.” I said pulling out my cell phone. My sister picked up on the first ring.

“ Girl is Roderick there? He said he would pick you up.”

“ Amaya I can’t believe you told him I was coming! Why would you do that to me?”

“ Chile please, ain’t no one playing you and Roderick’s games. Besides, your ass wasn’t gonna do nothing but stay here a week and go running back to that nigga anyways. Shit after ten years you’re used to living the good life. So you may as well work it out with ya’ man!” she said laughing. “ I’ll see you and Roderick’s fine ass when y’all get here. I cooked some food too. We gon’ party tonight girl!” Amaya said and hung up.

I felt sick to my stomach.

“ Girl my sister told him I was coming. I can’t believe this shit.” I said shaking my head.

“ Look this is already about to get crazy. I’ll just talk to him. He can drop me off at my sisters. I’ll call you when he leaves. If my sister has it in her head he can stay there tonight I swear to God I’m going to a hotel.” I said as we walked back over to Will and LaDaya.

“ Okay girl, we got your back call anytime day or night and I’m not just saying that. I mean it.” LaDaya said.

  • * * *

Roderick  threw my luggage inside the white Cadillac Escalade he’d rented. We sat in the parking lot not saying a word for a good ten minutes. Roderick stared at me.  I stared out the window.

Finally he spoke.

“ So what, you don’t love me anymore Amina? You done plotted behind my back for fucking weeks. Hopped your ass on that nasty ass bus for what? Because you’re mad at me? You mad we haven’t gotten married yet? What is it Amina?  You and I both know you didn’t go through all this bullshit because you ain’t in love with me. I’ve apologized repeatedly for slapping you that night. I’ve asked your forgiveness over and over. Sadly, only the Lord knows that I’ve beat myself up about it more than you ever could.”

I was speechless .I didn’t know what so say yet a million words were churning in my brain. So I decided to just start with the basics.

“ It’s been ten years Roderick. I loved you. You just don’t love me. At least not enough to make our relationship legal. You were never going to marry me. There are things in my life that you’ve made it more than clear you’re never going to give me.  “ I said soft and steady. I didn’t want to lose my nerve and leave things unsaid between us.

“ Loved? Don’t you ever fuckin’ refer to loving me in the past tense. You love me and I love you. What the fuck don’t I give you Amina? I give you everything! A house,cars anything you want I give you.” he screamed banging his fists on the dashboard.

“ You don’t get it do you Roderick ?”

“ No the fuck I don’t.”

“ Okay then . We don’t feel the same. We don’t want the same things in life so you have no choice but to just let me go Roderick. All I ever wanted to do was love you,marry you one day and for us to have a family. I never asked you for anything….”

“ Well your greedy ass damn sure didn’t turn shit down either did you?” he said cutting his eyes at me.

It took all my self control not to lash out at him.

“ I never asked you any of that. I never asked for new cars,houses, nothing.” I said shaking my head. My tears won the battle and flowed freely down my cheeks. “ All I ever wanted was for you to love me and a family. I’d live with you in a cardboard box Roderick but I’m tired of asking you for something you just don’t want to give me. I give up. You win.”

“ Amina I love you. If that piece of paper means so much to you. We’ll get married in the morning. If that’s what it takes to end all this goddamn nonsense so we can go home. We going to the courthouse in the morning. By the time we hit L.A. Again,you’re going be Mrs. Roderick Jabri Thomas.” Roderick said starting up the truck and backing up.

“ You know I don’t even like coming to Cleveland! Got me out here in no mans land. You knew I was gonna coming running after you. You like doing this shit to me.” he mumbled to himself.

“ You don’t get it Roderick. I don’t want to be your wife any more. I’m still in love with you but we can’t be together anymore. The only thing I’m leaving this relationship with after ten years of loving you,being faithful and loyal  is your baby. I may not walk away from this with your name, but I’m leaving with the absolute best part of you.” I said wiping the tears from face.

The End.Or the beginning.

Discussion Questions

1.  Do you know someone or have you ever been part of an extremely long relationship as an adult?

2.  How long is too long to be part of a relationship that does lead to marriage?

3.  Is a legal marriage or union outdated or underrated?

4.  At what year should a couple decide to discuss marriage? After 2 years?

5.  If YOU desired marriage and your mate was content to leave things as is, would you set aside your true feelings just to maintain the relationship or would you move on regardless of how much you felt you loved your mate.

6.  Did Amina make the right decision to end her relationship?

7.  What did you think about Roderick? Was he REALLY that bad or did he seem to have “ Mommy Issues” ?

Read More Book

by

Candace Mumford / Ms. Bam

The “ Hoes Be Winning” and Ballad Of A Bad Bitch Series under the Ms.Bam pen name

Love Locked Down & ParkCrest View- The Love Chronicles Vol 1-5  under Candace Mumford

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ParkCrest View – The Love Chronicles

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

ParkCrest View- The Love Chronicles 1-5

Pleasing.Professor.Petersen.

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Pretty.Young.Thugs.

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Soul Cry

Soul Cry: The Ten Year Girlfriend

Soul Cry 2

The Pussy Pounders

The Pussy Pounders

Standalone

The Break-Up Plan


Soul Cry: The Ten Year Girlfriend

Please enjoy this FREE ebook and please leave your review! Thank you,Candace After years of being in a passionate yet ultimately unfulfilling relationship with her boyfriend of ten years,Amina Johnson has had enough. After three engagement rings and no wedding on the horizon Amina has packed her bags. While relocating to a new state to start over Amina forges an unlikely friendship with two women who end up being just the friends she so desperately needs.

  • Author: A.N.C. Media Publishing
  • Published: 2016-03-16 23:55:10
  • Words: 27832
Soul Cry: The Ten Year Girlfriend Soul Cry: The Ten Year Girlfriend