No matter what may happen throughout my day, I’m always looking forward to seeing Miss Lady. Damn, there is something about that female that does something to me. My boys would love to clown me about it, but I don’t give a shit. I am feeling her and they can kiss my ass if they think I’m going to stop.
I wrap up doing what I need to, so I can get myself over to her place. I know earlier she had some business to attend to as well, so I did my best to slow my roll and give her the space she needs. But I couldn’t help wanting to spoil her a little, so I call one of her favorite restaurants, so we can celebrate. I was anticipating her getting some good news today and truth be told when she was with me, I just loved showing off her fine ass. I have no idea why she and I were at that store at the same time, but I’m damn glad I was there. I’ve had plenty of women fall at my feet for lots of reasons, but Miss Lady is sexy, smart, determined and about her business. Even her best friend is upwardly mobile. Miss Lady is the total package and, if I get my way, she’ll be mine from now on. Damn! She’s got me sprung for real. Before I know it, I’ll be sounding like my brother. I still laugh at that fool, how his whole damn face lights up when he talks about the one that got away. He seems to be convinced she’s here in town. I imagine that will be his second stop when he gets home. He’ll see mom and pop, then off to find her. Good luck!
My thoughts return to my own situation when I stop in front of Mariah’s place. Baby brother will have to work out his own love life, because I am trying to get mine rolling. I get out of the car, stroll up the steps and ring the bell. The smile I’m sporting fades when my woman flings open the door and falls to my chest. I wrap her in my arms and move us both into the house and to the couch. I pull her onto my lap while she continues to sniffle, then I hand her my handkerchief, turning her face toward me.
“Mariah you don’t like when I dig for the details so I’m asking you to tell me what’s wrong.” And of course, this girl, I swear don’t shit get past her, retorted while blowing like a foghorn, “You already know what happened! You had my ass followed again!” I sighed.
“Okay true enough. Mariah, I know that you had a meeting at the bank and then met up with some girlfriends after…but to be fair you told me you were going to the salon today. Lil Mama first order of business, do not keep me in the dark. You want me to keep you current on my doings, I expect the same from you— independent ass woman.” I held on to her, gently rubbing her back while she got herself together. When she laid her head on my shoulder, I had already made up my mind that whoever had caused her distress was going to deal with me. No one and I mean no one made my lady cry. Fuck that. Hell, I wasn’t mad at her in the least. I was ready to burn that fucking bank down to the ground but that wasn’t going to solve her problem…but it would make me feel a damn sight better than I did now.
“Baby tell me what happened?”
As he held me I started to feel slightly better. It never failed. With each slight victory that came my way, I would endure a setback that had me starting over! After the foundation meeting, where Ri put those heffas on notice, I was elated that things were once again looking up. It only took another call from my grandfather, issuing veiled threats and ultimatums to put me back on edge. When I confronted him again over his underhanded tactics, he point blank, bold faced told me I was going to be brought to heel! That I had better learn my place and be a good granddaughter and return to Parker! Always, always it came back to Parker and by virtue the entire Martin-Lawton clan! I felt so damn impotent, I have been crying off and on ever since! I was almost certain I resembled a blowfish in the face, all puffy and swollen; so not sexy. And now Big Thugga (My new nickname for him…) was here, holding me like I was a baby and fussing about me leaving him in the dark. He was right.
“I didn’t tell you because I wanted to take care of things on my own. And we may not have been together for very long, but I already know you’d try to help me out. If you bail me out of all my problems, I won’t be able to say I stood on my own two feet DaVeon.”
I felt small and insignificant. All of my false bravado had evaporated when my grandfather admitted that he had sabotaged my chance for a loan and would continue to thwart my every move until I gave in to his demands. Which was why I was currently sitting on my boyfriends lap snotting up his hanky!
“I didn’t get the loan.” I stated flatly. “So now I have to raise the money somehow. I won’t give up, but the construction on the two homes I have going now, will have to stop. And time is money for some of the workers. Most of the day laborers are volunteers from the community but the foreman, the contractor and the equipment they are renting all cost money that I have to pay out of my personal accounts. I’m just sick to death of my grandfather’s underhanded tactics!” The tears begin to flow yet again but I angrily wiped them away…there was something else I needed to come clean about with DaVeon.
“I know I haven’t been forthcoming concerning my past with my ex, but I trust you Big Thugga’ and I need to tell you some things. Why the crap that happens to me…well happens.” If he had issues with my nickname for him, to his credit he let it slide. I found it easier to just launch into my past history sitting beside him so I slid off of his lap. His handkerchief gave me something to worry with as I recounted my tale.
“The reason I keep running into trouble, with the bank, with any of my personal endeavors is because of my grandfather Ford Wilmington. In a nutshell he’s a self absorbed tyrant. He wants to control the lives of those around him and he doesn’t care how or who he hurts in the process. I divorced my husband Parker Lawton because he’s a sick man. His entire family is sick and twisted. They play games in the worse way. Ways I’m ashamed to even mention.”
“Mariah you can tell me anything and I won’t judge you.”
This is why I find myself threatening to fall for this man. Hard.
“My grandfather pimped me out to the Martin-Lawton family—there is just no other way to call it.” His expression gave nothing away so I forged on. “His grandfather and mine go way back, college buds and all that. Now Parker’s father, Lewis Lawton is at the helm of Lawton industries, so my marriage into that family was a business barter. Period. Dot.” The memories of that hellish time swirled all around me. “The real show stopper was when I found out just what they had in store for me. Originally, it wasn’t Parker my grandfather had me slated for. He wanted me to bed Lewis because Lewis had designs on me. However, there was a bit of a problem on his end.” When he asked me, what problem, I said, “His wife! Lewis Lawton wanted me for a mistress and my grandfather actually entertained it! Well I pitched a hissy fit on that score and I thought I had dodged a bullet. I wasn’t going to be some side ho’ for anyone! That’s when Lewis and my grandfather began throwing Parker and I together at every turn.”
“My grandfather is all about making connections and ties, and since he had an asset, me, he dangled me in front of Lawtons like a carrot. Once the society pages started running with us “the golden couple”, I was all but done for.” I got up and began to pace, trying not to get worked up with the retelling, but it was hard. Thugga just nodded his demeanor I couldn’t figure out. He was listening though.
“They spent a fortune on our wedding, or should I say my grandfather and Sonya Martin-Lawtin did, she’s Parker’s mother. Apparently Lawton industries wasn’t founded on Lawton stacks. The true money bags, is her.”
“Wait wait, as in Martin Pharmaceuticals?” Ok now I recognize that face, it’s same one anyone has when they learn about the connection.
“Yes the very same.” He whistled and I nodded.
“DaVeon, our marriage was a sham. I did my part to be the upstanding wife, gracious and charitable but I was dying inside. Lewis still wanted me, and Parker was no help! Between his drinking and drugs and his own string of mistresses I was left to fend off Lewis’ advances and ultimately devise a way out of my hellish existence!”
“I know what the tabloids say. I was a spoiled brat, a fickled gold digger. They painted me out to be a pariah, and with good reason since my grandfather owns most of the rag mags in this city! He could get them to print whatever the hell he wanted. Nothing was farther from the truth. To think my own family had no qualms about ruining my reputation as a means to force my hand! You want to know how Parker conducted business? By promising sexual favors at my expense. And when I refused he became…violent. Just one more reason I had do whatever it took to get away! I had no help and nowhere I could turn. When I asked for a divorce, not a good year into the marriage, I was harrassed by grandfather to remain and vilified by my so called peers and even then it took me three years to find the ammo I needed to barter for my freedom! Three years!”
I was livid reliving my past. The society bitches that thought Parker was such a good catch had they known what was going on behind closed doors would have drank battery acid!
When he asked me what I did to get my freedom, I was ashamed to admit I blackmailed my way out of my marriage and into a hefty settlement.
“I found out that Lewis was shooting blanks. Had been for years and Sonya wanted a child, an heir but Lewis couldn’t provide her with one. And without an heir she wouldn’t inherit the vast sum she received. But there was no way he was Parker’s father…but I discovered who was. I threatened to expose Parker’s paternity, something not even my grandfather is aware of; that HE is Parker’s real father.”
“Damn baby, maybe I should call you Thugette, that was a straight up gangster move.”
I stopped pacing when he stood and open those magnificent arms. Holding me close I found that a weight was lifted. I had bared my truth to him and he still wanted me. As for the rest, never have I been glad that I wasn’t a real blood relative! As it is, that’s my one bargaining chip that keeps them away from me. Well Sonya and Lewis anyway. If it got out about Parker they could stand to loose their family’s inheritance.
DaVeon suggests we go out to dinner anyway, and I agree. I’d rather be with him than stewing over my latest struggle with Ford. I just hope Thugga never regrets hooking up with me. My life at times can be such a hot mess!