“Baby. Did you hear me?”
I hadn’t heard a single word he’d spoken. Busy putting the last few items of mine in the boxes that were labelled, I didn’t have the capacity to do both. Listen and work. Tomorrow made a full week for Shawn, but of course he hadn’t lasted. I knew that he wouldn’t, though. It was the main reason I began packing my shit the minute Creed freed me from his grip and walked out of my door. It took me two days to finish up, but I was finally at the finish line.
He was right. Right about everything that he’d said. If I wanted better for myself and completely out of my situation, then I had to make that happen. Sitting around while Shawn came and went as he pleased was not helping anything or anyone. I hadn’t found a place, yet, and sure as hell wasn’t ready to be out on my ass, but to know that my things were ready when I was, was a huge relief.
With any luck, one of the vacant houses that I’d inquired about would accept me for an immediate move-in. The apartments were all occupied in Dooley. Literally, every single complex that I called had a waiting list. With people getting evicted on a daily basis, I figured it would be much easier to find something solid, but I was wrong.
“No. I didn’t. I’m working.”
“I said come downstairs. I got something I need to show you,” he repeated.
“Whatever, Shawn.” Utterly uninterested, I shrugged and stood up from being bent over the box I was stuffing my feminine products in. “Make it quick, because I have to finish up here.”
Ignoring me, he rushed toward the door. I trailed him, slowly, making my way to the door as well. My back and neck were both aching from the work I’d been putting in. I was so happy that it was almost over.
“My sister had the baby last night!” Shawn chanted. It was his first niece and the entire family had been waiting on her arrival. For seven years, they’d only had boys to come through their lineage and they had been praying for a girl for the last four.
“Really?” I beamed with pride, reminding myself to give Shauna a call when I was able.
“Yeah. She’s so pretty. You want to see a picture of her? I got a whole camera roll full of ‘em. She’s too fucking pretty, baby. You’ve got to see her.” Shawn bragged.
“I know. Show me the pictures! I’m going to let Shauna get home and rested before I intrude.”
Standing in the middle of the hallway, I reviewed the pictures that Shawn had of his niece. True to his word, she was a beauty. The pink headband that she wore matched her pink skin. Her ears were brown, showing signs that she’d darken at least a little. For the first time in history, I had baby fever. Unfortunately, it didn’t align with the man standing next to me.
The clearing of a throat startled me, causing me to look up from the phone that Shawn was holding in his hand. The tenor was familiar and so was the scent. His distinctive characteristics were etched in my brain. I couldn’t remove them even if I tried. And, dammit, I’d tried.
He was with me in the shower. He was with me in the bed. He was with me in the kitchen. He was with me at the door. He was with me every fucking where I went.
My God, this nigga is fine. Draped in his white coat with his tattoos covered and neck bulging inside of the turtleneck that he wore. Never had I seen a man of his caliber wear one, but he made me wonder what it would look like if they had. Sure they wouldn’t look as delectable as him, I trashed the thought and brought myself back to the moment.
One where I was smiling and carrying on with Shawn, possibly making our brief stint seem like much more than it was. Now was not the time to be seen all teary-eyes and smiling wide. Shawn was my nemesis these days, but I was certain that Creed wasn’t able to tell the difference. Especially with the way I was carrying on as I gushed over his niece.
It wasn’t until he looked past me and at his door that I noticed we were standing in front of his unit. The universe was against me. I was convinced. Moving forward, I removed my hand from around Shawn’s where we both held the phone and stepped away from Creed’s door. I wanted to kick myself in the ass for allowing him to walk up on us at such an awkward time.
For the life of me, I couldn’t work my magic. No matter how hard I stared, Creed wouldn’t reciprocate. He refused to even place his eyes on me as he fumbled with his key to unlock his door. I waited, patiently, for him to look up at me. When his door was open and he pushed his way inside, my entire body slacked. I could feel the physical alterations of my face and limbs. My back was no longer upright and the features of my face sagged.
Of course he’d insisted that I stayed away from him, but it was almost impossible with us living in the same complex. I wanted to run behind him, push his door open like he’d done mine and assault his big, black lips before giving him a few thoughtful words. Knowing it would raise questions I wasn’t prepared to answer and cause beef that I didn’t want to be the center of, I ignored the desires.
“What is it that you need to show me?” Suddenly frustrated, I asked Shawn.
“Just come down, baby. Please.”
“Shawn, if this is some type of fancy gift that you’re expecting to buy me back with, then we can stop right here. I’m not interested. I have things to pack and a place to be, so tell me what I’m going downstairs for?”
“Why you always got to ruin shit? It’s Valentine’s Day and here you go with this shit.” He started, throwing his hands in the air.
“ME?” I poked my chest. “Am I the one fucking my very best friend or is that you?”
“Man, don’t start that, Yani. I’ve already apologized for that! You need to get over that. I’m not thinking about that fucking girl.”
“Really?” I chuckled. “Then, why do I see half of her figure in every single picture that you showed me of your niece. Shauna don’t like her all that much, so I’m positive she rode up to the hospital with you. She’d have absolutely no reason to go alone. Shawn. Your lying is getting worse and I’m starting to wonder just how long you’ve been lying because this shit didn’t evolve as it has overnight.
“You’ve been fucking her and I’m guessing you two may even be in love with one another. What other reason is there to explain why she’s still around after I found out y’all fucked? It doesn’t add up, but it doesn’t have to because I’m done with you and the situation. Now, let me finish packing my shit in peace.”
“If you want to leave, then you can leave, but everything I’ve bought is staying right there. I’m not about to play these games with you, Yani. Fucking bitches come with the territory and I’m tired of trying to baby you into believing something different. Yeah, aight. I’m fucking Keisha but is Keisha in this fat ass loft? Draped in Gucci and Chanel and all of that shit? Is Keisha riding in the sickest Benz in the city? Is Keisha the one I come home to every night? Na. Fuck Keisha. She’s just something to do when there’s nothing to do. Me and you, thought, that’s some next level shit. I love you. I need you. I want to be with YOU! Nobody else. You!”
I didn’t know if I wanted to slap fire from Shawn’s face or bow out, gracefully. Suddenly, I didn’t care about my belongings. I didn’t care what I’d be leaving behind. The money I’d saved wasn’t even a factor. All I knew is that I wanted out and now was my chance to take it. If I returned to that apartment after he’d revealed his logic, I’d be a damn fool, so I didn’t.
With only the clothes on my back, I headed in the opposite direction of the unit I called home. For each step that I took, a weight was lifted from my shoulders. Finally, I felt free of confinement and full of optimism. As Shawn called out for me to return, I ignored his pleas and focused on the elevator, which I was headed for.
My prayers had been answered. I noticed his voice lowered every single step of the way. It could only mean one thing. He’d stayed in position and hadn’t moved an inch. Perfection. I didn’t want him following me, causing an even bigger scene while I got myself together and tried figuring out my next move.
Tsunami. Her name popped in my head as I mashed the button and beckoned for the elevator. Fresh, hot tears rolled down my cheeks for reasons other than Shawn’s confession. They were due to the soul-stirring liberty that rested in my chest and head at the thought of leaving it all behind. Everything.
Shawn had been dangling the fact that he was my provider over my head for some time, now. With me being out of work at the moment, I had no money coming in. My savings were stored in a nice hiding spot in the apartment, but there was no time to retrieve it. When Shawn was gone, I’d return for it.
I stepped onto the elevator with a renewed spirit. Honestly, I’d expected this moment to be unbearable, which is why I’d prolonged it. Now that it was upon me, I knew that all of the preparation in the world wouldn’t have prepared me for it. Yet, I was here and feeling pretty damn good about my decision. I’d iron the kinks later.
As the elevator doors began their journey back to one another, a single hand halted their attempts. Immediately, they jerked backward and retreated. My insides knotted at the thought of Shawn following my trail and bringing more discomfort my way. Straight ahead, I waited for him to reveal himself. My lip pained from the pressure I applied, hardly able to keep my words to myself. I’d remained quiet after he’d said the things that he’d said in the hallway, but that wouldn’t happen this time. I had every intention to strike back.
But, there was no need. It wasn’t Shawn. It was him. It was Creed. Creed Netherland. He extended his leg, occupying much more space than necessary, and stepped onto the elevator. Inside, the doors rejoined, leaving us to our lonesome. The silence was everything but comfortable. He positioned himself in the corner, furthest away from me, as if he wanted to be anywhere but beside me. I didn’t hide my infatuation with his smooth skin and tattoo-covered fleshed. It was impossible as I stared at his side profile. He didn’t bother giving me even the slightest glance. His eyes remained forward and mine remained on him.
“It was pictures of his niece that I was excited about.” I started, desperate to relieve the awkwardness of the moment.
Still staring straight ahead, he remained silent.
Silence penetrated the walls of my heart, stabbing me like tens of thousands of small, prickly pin needles. I felt like I’d bleed out at any second, and the only way to seal the holes was by hearing his voice. He needed to say something. My life depended on it.
“Please. Creed. Say something! Anything.”
Pushing off the elevator wall, I stepped closer. His position never changed. His confidence remained intact. And his eyes, their focus was never broken. He wouldn’t even look at me.
“Say what? Huh? Congratulations for doing what the fuck you should’ve been done? Say what, Yani?” He’d cracked and was in my face, forcing me in the corner that he’d just stepped out of. His words were hurtful, but there was much truth to them. It always was.
“I can’t commend what should’ve happened long ago. Settling should never be the result. Ever. We both know you deserve better than that. So, leave me alone, Yani. I don’t have a cookie to hand you for stepping away from that nigga.”
As he ended his statement, the elevator pinged to alert us that our floor was up. The doors opened and Creed was out like the wind. I wasn’t sure why, but I followed behind him closely. His attention was all I craved at the moment and every bit of it, too. I wanted him to focus on me. Need me in the moment like my body was commanding him.
“I never said that I wanted a congratulations,” breathlessly, I stalked behind him. He was moving so fast that I could hardly keep up.
“Go find something to do, Yani.” He continued toward the garage where most of the resident’s cars were parked.
There was a second garage on the opposite side of the building. It’s where the remainder of the building parked. As I stepped out onto the pavement, I noticed the black Mercedes with a red bow on the hood. The strings of the bow had words on them. It wasn’t until we were passing it that I noticed the words were actually a name. My name.
A new car. That’s what he wanted me to see. He’d purchased me a new car as if I needed another one. I was still getting use to the one he’d purchased months ago.
The chuckle that fell from Creed’s lips as he walked pass the car brought me back to the task at hand – slowing him down. Seeing the car with my name big as day on the bows had pushed me to up the ante. Stalking him wasn’t exactly working.
When I gathered the direction and car he was headed for – due to his fixation – I hurried in front of him, thrust my body on the driver’s door and placed my hands behind my back. Standing firm, I watched as he shook his head and stood back.
“Talk to me and I will. Why are you so upset?”
He didn’t have the answer to the question. Looking off into the distance, he tried swaying the conversation. “I’ve got shit to do, Yani.”
“Then, just tell me why I’m suddenly the villain. You act like I’ve cheated or broken your heart or something. I don’t get it.”
“You broke yours and that in itself upsets me. I can’t explain what it is or why I’m feeling the shit that I’m feeling, but I can’t turn it off. I’ve tried. Now, move.”
“Then, don’t.” I suggested.
“Creed. What is your problem? What have I done to you? We barely even know each other and you’re-,” I stuttered as he pressed himself against me.
“And, that’s the fucking problem. We barely even know each other and I can’t shut down these feelings that I’ve been suppressing or get rid of this hard whenever you come to mind. I don’t know what type of sick voodoo you’ve put on me,” he fussed as he pulled my pants to my ankles. “But, that shit worked and I need you to make it stop before I risk everything to chase this feeling.”
I watched as he slid down the joggers that he’d replaced his professional attire with. Either way, he looked splendid. When I saw his big, black dick spring from beneath the fabric, saliva seeped from my lips and a liquid with the same consistency and texture seeped from my pussy.
My vision was obscured, abruptly. I felt my body being hoisted into the air as our skin grazed. Body to body. As he lowered me, my mouth slacked and eyes watered. There was an insane amount of pressure, both physically and mentally, attached to the act that I was currently involved in. This man. This stranger, had me wide open – ass out and pussy dripping in the garage with the car that my ex had purchased me as a gift only a few feet away.
Forcing my chin in his direction as I was introduced to the tip of his dick. It sat at my entrance, still and prepared for the intrusion. Creed slightly slapped the side of my face, forcing my eyes open and on him.
“Look at me,” he demanded. When he was certain that I was locked in, he resumed, lowering me onto his impressive width and breaking through my awaiting walls.
“Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhh,” I groaned, clenching my muscles as I creamed on his darkness. “Ahhhhhh.”
“You see, Yani. This is how it feels to fuck a real nigga.”
“Ummmm.” One stroke and I could tell he was about to blow.
Immediately, he lifted me up and his dick flopped from my wet ass pussy with a plopping sound. Shit.
“Creed.” I protested as he lowered me to my feet.
“You ain’t ready for that, Yani. Get your shit together and then come see me. Until then, you go your way and I’ll go mine.”
“I’m single, Creed.” I informed him.
“Physically, but what about emotionally… mentally?” He tapped the side of her head.
“You cheated, already.” I caught him off guard.
“What?” He questioned.
“The other night. You brought someone home. You’re supposed to give me a minute to get myself together, at least.”
“I’m single, Yani. I ain’t cheated on nobody.”
“That’s what your mouth is saying, but the anger that you’re harboring for my ill choices and the way you just slid into me without knowing my status tells me otherwise. You’re taken. You, your thoughts and your heart. They’re all reserved, and you won’t be satisfied until they get who they deserve.” I could tell his head was spinning, listening to me confirm what we both already knew. “So, you cheated!”
Instead of responding, he reached into his pocket and pulled out his wallet. He must’ve overheard us and knew I didn’t bring anything with me, only the clothes on my back. He removed every bill that was in my possession and handed it to me. I’d need the cash to get me by.
“Now, please, move.” He pled, handing me the cash. “Get your head right. Stay out of my way until you do. Happy fucking Valentine’s Day.”
“Same to you,” I whispered, stepping back and allowing him to pull out and take off in his whip.
That man is going to be my husband, I gushed.
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