This bitch set me up! Fuck, that wasn’t supposed to be a cop. Fuck! Alyssa is a dead bitch when I see her.
This was supposed to be a simple hit. White SUV was supposed to pull up at this fake meetings spot, and I drop them when they jump out. It wasn’t supposed to be a guy and he wasn’t supposed to be a fucking cop. It was supposed to be Queenie.
No wonder Alyssa isn’t answering her fucking phone, she wants me to go down, but for what? I’ve been loyal to that bitch, and this is how she treats me? I’ll make sure she gets hers, but for now, I have to lay low.
The SUV is already gone, that fucking waitress on 6th with the green hair took him to the hospital. If it wasn’t for the car pulling up the ally I would have reloaded and got both of them. Fuck, this is not my night.
Alright, calm down Rodrick, no one saw me, I doubt even that waitress saw me. I just need a place to go until this blows over. I’ve already picked up the shells, so there was no other evidence.
I touched his wallet. I need to get that wallet. If I can make it to the hospital and find out what room he’s in, I can get the bag of his belongings. The closest trauma center is only about two miles from here. I can get in and get out before he wakes up.
Wait, that hospital is Thomason memorial. They have clerics on staff. Fuck! He’ll be up in no time. What am I going to do? I need to think, I need to get off of the street, I need to build an alibi. Where am I? Yes, Valeria works over here. She should be working.
It’s not the best plan, but she’s never told me no before.
I jog to the car I stole and play it cool cruising down the street. Luckily the person who owned this car has a newer car with an aux cable. If I had to listen to their stupid country songs from their stations I would toss this car and get another.
Since the police haven’t shown up yet, it’s a smooth ride to Vickie’s Soulfood. While I’m here I could grab something to eat. With the day I’ve had, a nice soul plate with mac and cheese could really hit the spot. My stomach speaks up a little bit to second the thought. I park on the side of the road and look as natural as anyone else on the busy street.
Vickie’s always smells good. The bright and humble restaurant has real soul food unlike many of the others across the city. Since it’s so humble it’s a good place to show my face. A lot of people here know me from a past life when I was more than a gun for hire. When I was the star quarterback in high school. When I was the man in Valeria’s life.
I say my hi’s to all the people and slap fives with a few people before walking to the counter. Shakira shakes her head and rolls her eyes at me.
“What you want?” Her attitude is no better than our high school years.
“Damn, this is how you do customer service?”
“Yeah, when the customer is a deadbeat ass, dark as burnt crust man like you.”
“Man shut the fuck up. You always talking shit. Valeria here?”
“Yea, but she’s busy.”
“Tell her I need to talk to her, it’s an emergency.”
“Boy, she ain’t got time for your games. Anything you want you can go get it from those other bitches in the street.”
“First of all, mind your tone when you talk to me. Secondly, stay out of my business and just go get her.”
“What are you going to do Rod? Shoot me? Please do. We all know you miss prison so you can keep getting,” I cut her off.
“If you say another fucking word, I will pay a visit to 446 Blackwall st. You’re mom still got that white Nightstar? The one with the custom rims right?” Her stare is daggers, but she leaves me no choice. She storms off and the frail door swings wildly into the wall. The loud slamming noise shocks a few of the workers and customers, but most people here are used to Shakira’s attitude at this point.
I do a quick glaze of the people in the restaurant. Smooth, no one here knows who I’ve become. Just a bunch of people that remember me from high school. I place my face in my hands and soon I can hear two sets of footsteps.
The employee door opens and Valeria pulls me by the wrist and drags me through the employee area. Past the kitchen with all their friers and ovens, all the way out of the back door.
Pushing me into the alleyway, she reaches into her pocket and grabs a small vape. She taps a button on it and puts it to her lips and sucks. The huge puff of smoke she breathes nearly hides the rage in her eyes.
“You have two minutes.” She says, but her misty blue eyes say she would much rather rip out my guts and spoon-feed them to me. Thick and curvy in all the right places, long black hair currently tied up in a ponytail and covered with a hat. A loose baggy black shirt that covers her chest and does her no justice, the only thing do so is the tight black jeans she wears
“I got into some shit tonight and I need a place to lay low.”
“Go to one of your other bitches.” Her tone matches her eyes.
“Val, I don’t have that kind of time.”
“So you’re only coming to me because it’s convenient? I see nothing has changed.”
“Val, it’s not like that. I’m coming to you because I don’t trust nobody else?”
“Funny, I trust just about anyone but you.”
“Val, this is serious shit. Alyssa set me up.”
“If only someone told you to stay away from that manipulative bitch.”
“I know you told me, but please, Val I’m begging you.”
“Like I begged you to choose me over the streets?”
“Val, I’ll do anything.”
“I bet you would.” She takes another puff.
“Five thousand dollars. In your hand, cash.”
“I don’t want shit that comes from you.”
“You’ll turn down five G’s?”
“I’d turn down ten million if it came from you.”
“Val, I’m serious.”
“So am I.” Another puff.
“Val, this trouble I’m in, could get me life or the death penalty.”
“I’m not seeing a downside.”
“Val, do you hate me so much that you would rather see me dead?”
“You’ve been dead to me for two years, so what’s the difference.”
“Val, you help me this one time. I promise I will never bother you again. That’s on my life.”
“From the sounds of it, even if I don’t help you I get the same.”
“Val.” I choke on her name. She’s the one person I never want to do this with. “I’m calling in my last favor.” She puts the vape to her lips but stops before she hits the button.
“I don’t owe you any more favors.”
“You do, remember that grant from that organization you never heard of?”
“You didn’t?” Somehow her stare grows angrier.
“There is no grant from Omaliksis that doesn’t have to do with magic. I just knew you wouldn’t look too hard at a blessing. I used all of my stash money to send you to college. I knew you wouldn’t take it if you knew where my money came from.”
“you’re fucking lying.”
“I can prove it. Hell, you can prove it. Look it up. Then ask Oscar where it came from. He hates me too right? He would never lie to help me.”
She takes my challenge. She calls her older brother and when she talks in Human, I know just enough of the language to pick up that Oscar wasn’t fucking me over by lying. We may not like each other, but honesty is in the code of the streets.
“Puta madre!” She screams ending the call. “Why the fuck did you do that?”
“Because I want you to open your business. I want your flower shop to be as famous as Amazing Phials. I want what’s best for you.”
“If you wanted what’s best for me, Pendejo,” she stops. “This is the last thing. Go in my room, don’t move till I get there, and don’t fucking touch anything in my house.” She frees a key off of her side. “I know you’re driving a stolen car, so take mine, I swear to todos Los Dioses if you scratch my car.
“Val, I won’t. I take her keys and hate myself for the way she’s looking at me. “I will make sure to follow all of your rules. You have my word.” She walks back inside and slams the door shut, leaving me in the ally with her leftover rage.
I really fucked up this time.
Her house is just as I remembered it. A small two-bedroom house with all the making of a humble beginning. Just as I promised, I go into her room and lay on her bed. As tired as I am, I can use the rest. Pulling out my phone, I check the news.
There is the headline I was dreading. A detective gun downed in an alley by an unknown gunman. Luckily they have no leads and no evidence. The cameras in that area are all for show. Alyssa and the rest of the gang made sure of that.
With Alyssa popping back up in my mind, I need to call her. Figure out why she set me up. What caused her to do this? It doesn’t help anyone. I’ve been a loyal hitman for her for years. I know with Fagui Lui moving into the Underdark and taking over the old Mafia, a lot of local gangs were merging with him because he was just too powerful. Was this one of her stipulations for joining? A sacrifice?
I would know if she would fucking answer her damn phone. I don’t need that kind of energy anyway. I need to just rest and not worry about it and only focus on staying out of prison again.
Sinking into the softness of Valeria’s bed, I hear her door creak open. Who would have access to her house? Maybe I could get one more favor out of her if someone was breaking in. Or maybe it’s her new boyfriend.
Why does the thought of someone else having her drive me into a rage? Pulling my sidearm, I power myself with Finesse energy. I’m going to make sure that whatever shot I take, is one and done.
Crouching by the door, I open it slowly and see a small older woman walking in. Fuck! It’s her mother. Mama Martha. Out of everyone in her family, this old bitch hates me the worst. She never liked me from day one.
“Mija, I thought you said you would be home around eleven.” She calls out. She says a little more, but it’s in Human, and I’m a little rusty since Val and I no longer date. I know I have a promise, but Mama Martha will find me, and it will be a lot better if I just go out and greet her.
“Hi, Mama Martha,” I say tucking my gun away.
“Aidios Mios!” She exclaims. “What are you doing here?”
“Val let me use her car and crash here.”
“Why?” That is a good question. One I don’t want to tell her about.
“We needed to talk about a few things.”
“Like your son?” Excuse me, my what? The words come out like a dagger punching me in the heart. It is then that I notice the car seat in hand carrying one bouncing baby boy. My whole world stops and my breath leaves my body.
“She didn’t tell you?” I can’t lie to Mama Martha on my best day, never mind when my world has just been rocked by this bombshell.
“No, Mama Martha.” She says a couple of words in Human that I only know are associated with one of her children being in trouble.
“I told her to tell you. No wonder you haven’t been here.”
“You told her?”
“Of course I did Rodrico,” She never pronounces my name right. Ever. “I may think you are going down the wrong path, but that is no reason to keep a father away from his son. You’ve always loved my Valeria. I could see that. I know she can be a little crazy, let’s face it she gets it from her mama, but you’ve always been there for her when she needed you the most.”
Like when I was out sleeping with other women when she needed help at home? Like how I was out in the streets when she stressing about bills? Like how I was in prison while she had to work two jobs to take care of his debts and keep a roof over her head.
Sure I paid her back and then some for everything I put her through, but I’ve never thought my name would appear in the boyfriend of the year awards column in the local paper. But Mama Martha was right about one thing without question. I have always loved her.
“I said, Mija, I know that man makes you mad, but do not keep his child away from him. She told me she tried to reach out to you, but she couldn’t reach you.”
Last year she tried to tell me something, and she told me it was super important. But instead, I ignored her and ended up at a party with Alyssa, fucking some coked-out bitch in the bathroom. Fuck.
“Mijo, here, take your son. You have some catching up to do.” She extends the car seat out to me, and I nearly trip over the couch trying to get to him. “Careful Mijo, he’s still asleep.”
“You never called me Mijo before.”
“We have never been family before. Your son changes that.” I feel her wipe at my eyes when the tears start to come down.
“What’s his name?” I say trying to use my sleeve to do the job.
“Rodrick Phillip Carpenter,” she says.
“Jr.,” I finish and wipe at my eyes some more.
“Mijo, let me help you, he’s going to wake up in a little and want to eat.”
“How much is he eating?” A smile draws across her face.
“Oh, little Rodrico is drinking twenty-four ounces. He’s a healthy little boy.”
“Show me how to make the formula,” I say but it’s more of a request.
“Little Rodrico doesn’t drink formula, Mijo, he’s taking Brest milk. I have it here for you, you’ll just have to warm it up.”
Just as Mama Martha says, Jr. wakes up in a couple of minutes, and I’m right there to feed him. I take her guidance as this is hopefully my first child. Gods, I have a son I didn’t know about and I don’t know if there are any more. I hope not. I missed out on a year of his life and I don’t want to miss another second of his or any other children I may have out there.
“I knew you would be a good father, Mijo,” Mama Martha says, watching me feed him. Normally a new face, a new smell, a new anything would send a baby in a panic, but I guess laying in Val’s room has me smelling like her because Jr. just looks up at me while holding his bottle sucking down its contents.
“Hey little man, did you have a good nap?” It’s so corny but it’s all I can think to say. he takes a deep breath as he sucks down the bottle. I burn every line of his face into my mind, looking over every little detail. My red eyes, her black hair, my indigo skin, her nose, my crooked smile. He was mostly me, sure his skin was slightly lighter from his mother being Human and I being Drow, but mostly it was my skin.
Mama Martha stops me from trying to burp him, telling me one-year-olds can do that on their own. What else can he do? She fills me in on all the updates of my son and I swell with pride as his motor functions are well above that of other babies his age. His dad is a finesse user, one who practices stealth and dexterous fighting styles. Could that be passed down?
Mama Martha starts to walk around the house and mumbles under her breath about how dirty the house is.
“I’ll take care of it, Mama Martha.”
“I just don’t know about that girl, no wonder you wouldn’t stay, she doesn’t clean,” she goes on the rant that Human mothers are known to go on.
“It’s not her fault, she has a lot on her plate. I’ll take care of it, Mama Martha.”
“If she would have told you about your son, she wouldn’t have this on her plate,” she turns her fury to me. It makes me smile. I would rather her fuss about this than unjustly reprimanding Val for anything. I guess Human mothers are never quite happy.
I set Jr. down in front of the TV, and find a movie for him to watch. Mama Martha points out his favorite to help me out. typing it into the smart TV. He smiles at the pretty colors while I walk about the house picking up clothes and straightening up things.
I do the dishes, I take out the trash, and I clean the living room and the bathroom. Breaking my promise to Val by touching everything in the house and staying out of her room. By the time she walks in, Mama Martha and Jr. are asleep when she comes in through back door.
Her eyes turn to fire as she sees me grabbing a blanket from her closet and draping it over Mama Martha. Noticing what is going on, she points to her room and I meet her there.
“I fucking told you not to touch a fucking thing in the house, and you’re doing the exact opposite.” She says in a forceful whisper.
“What did you expect me to do? Mama Martha saw your car and thought you were home. She started complaining about the house being dirty so I told her it’s not your fault and I cleaned it.”
“Damn right it’s not my fault.”
“She blamed you for not telling me, and I told her that wasn’t your fault either. She doesn’t know the wrongs I’ve done to you.”
“You fucking right she doesn’t”
“And our son needed to be fed, changed, and bathed. You didn’t need to come home to that so I did that as well.”
“You better believe I didn’t need that.”
“Are you hungry? I made tacos from what I could find. I’ll head to the store tomorrow and replace what I used.”
“Don’t you fucking bribe me with food, you know I fucking love tacos. You’re,” I stop her.
“A piece of shit, I know. Val, you will get no argument from me. I hated using that favor against you, but it turned out to be the best thing in my life. I’m so sorry, Val. I know it doesn’t mean shit to you, and I don’t expect it to, but I’m so fucking sorry.” I say. And use my sleeve once again. “Come on, let me fix you a plate.”
She wants to argue, but when I’m taking all the responsibility for all my wrongdoings, it’s hard for her to find something.
“Like I can eat right now. I have to take a fucking shower.”
“Take a shower, Val, whatever you need. I’m going to go put Jr. in bed. Take your time.” The look she gives me is one of pure rage and malice. I deserve it. I deserve whatever she does.
She slaps me. I keep her stare and don’t move. She grabs me by the shirt and pulls me in for a kiss. Then she shoves me away.
“Go put your son to bed.” She says and storms to the bathroom.
I was wrong, I don’t deserve her to kiss me.
After putting Jr. in his bed, I notice a little sound machine. Hoping to the Gods that just pressing play will be the sound he needs. The sound of ocean waves flooding through the tiny room and the smile on his face while he sleeps steals my heart. I ease out of the room and go to prop Mama Martha up. She takes the pillow and snuggles up on the couch without so much as waking up.
Warming up Val’s dinner, I use the stove, not the microwave. She’s always hated the microwave, I guess she gave in when she didn’t have time to cook the way she needs to. Popping the two shells back in the oven and hoping they are warm enough in time, I start to plate the quick rice I made and reheated broccoli and cheese.
My timing is a little off, as Val enters the kitchen in her PJs. Or I guess that‘s what she called them. Booty shorts with something in Human on them and a thin white tee. Her hair is in a bonnet and all her makeup removed. This was the way I loved to see her.
Thick curves fill out her shorts and that little shirt shows her full-figure body. Her natural beauty shines in her face and her tired misty blue eyes scroll over her phone. The black bonnet looks like the same one from high school, I only know it isn’t because I may have destroyed that one in the dryer a while ago.
I make her tacos and set her plate in front of her. She won’t allow herself to smile at me. But she nods her approval. After taking her first bite, she looks over at me with annoyed eyes. Then continues to chew. She’s always loved my cooking. I may not be a top chef, but I know my way around a kitchen. A habit you pick up when your mom would rather run after drug dealers than feed you.
When she finishes her food, she starts to take her plate to the sink. I take that from her and clean up those dishes before placing them gently in the dish rack. When I turn around she has her arms folded behind me and walks to her room. I follow because like it or not, I have nowhere else to go with Mama Martha taking up the couch.
After closing the door behind me, I hear her say. “Talk off those dirty clothes before you get in bed. And don’t throw them on the floor. The basket is in the closet. I do as I’m asked.
“boxers too.” I raise an eyebrow. “Don’t be shy now. We have a whole ass baby that’s proof I’ve seen it before.” I smirk and follow her request. She scoots over and allows me the side of the bed that’s closest to the door. The side I always take.
Sliding into bed, she faces me and keeps my stare in the pitch-black room. I curse my Drow blood. Why do we have to have such dark vision?
“I don’t know what fucking shit you’ve got yourself into, but you need to handle that shit.”
“I will. First thing in the morning.”
“Please keep your word.”
“What word is that?”
“After this, you won’t bother me again.”
“What?” I prop myself up on my elbow.
“You said if I helped you, you wouldn’t bother me again.”
“That’s before I found out we have a son.”
“Your word is your bond right?”
“Not when it comes to my family.”
“Well, I’m not your family.”
“Val, you’re more than my family. You’re my heart.”
“Don’t give me that bullshit.”
“You’re right. I don’t have the right to call you that anymore. But Val, seeing our son changes things. Please, don’t take that from me.”
“He doesn’t need your lies. It’s bad enough that I’ve had to endure them, he doesn’t need that.”
“You’re right. He doesn’t. And that’s why he won’t.” She wipes at her face.
“Don’t do this Rod. Don’t make me fall in love with you all over again and break my heart.” I kiss her. She places her hand to push me away, but then she pulls me in.
“Val, I’ve been a real piece of shit to you, I know that. I’m going to change that I promise.”
“Don’t promise me. You’ve made too many broken promises.”
“Then I pledge it to you. I swear an oath to it then. Whatever it takes to make you see that I am a changed man.” She holds my stare for only a second, then kisses me with wild abandon. I match her passion and before I can even reach for her shorts, they are off.
I’m inside her as fast as I can go. I plunge deep into her and she wraps her arms around my arms and wraps her legs around my waist, pushing me as far as I can go. We kiss with the passion of the crazy sixteen-year-olds we used to be but with more love than ever before.
She whispers how much she missed me in my ear as I drive in her. I tell her how sorry I am when she does.
“Just don’t let me down again.”
“I swear it,” I say quickly feeling myself about to come. Luckily she flips us over and mounts me. Stripping her shirt off, she rides me kissing me with all the hope of a thousand lifetimes, and that is what I will give her. She deserves that.
We make love over and over again until our bodies collapse. We hold each other throughout the night, waking periodically to plant kisses. Me because I can’t believe she’s in my arms again. I would imagine she’s doing it because she’s just as surprised that I’m here too.
Her phone alerts her that it’s some Gods’ awful time in the morning. She knocks it off the nightstand. Rolling out of bed, I crawl under the bed and grab it. Handing it to her. I kiss her good morning.
“Can you go get Jr? He probably needs to be changed. I still have some of your shorts in the drawer.” I give her a look. “Whether I hate you or not, those shorts are comfy.” I laugh and go in the drawer to find the black and blue workout shorts I used to love.
sliding them on I walk to the nursery.
Jr. is gone.
Before panic can set in, there is a note on the changing table.
“I heard you guys talking last night. If you are in the mood to make one more pledge, do one for me. Make an honest woman out of my daughter. Do that for me Mijo. I’ll take Rodrico for today and let you two catch up. Don’t give him a sibling before you keep your promise to me. P.S. don’t tell Mija that I asked this of you.” I smile at the note and destroy it for good measure.
Walking back into Val’s room, she looks up confused.
“Mama Martha. She … heard us last night,” Val blushes. “ She thought we could use some time to catch up.”
“Well if I don’t have to take our son to his abuele’s that gives me at least another thirty minutes in bed. Can you work with that?” She smiles tossing her phone back on her nightstand.
“I can more than work with that.”
- A Bloody Start
- A Song of Passion
- For Good Girls
- Broken Promises
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