Read an Excerpt
A Gangster and a Gentleman
By Kiki Swinson, De'nesha Diamond
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2012 Kensington Publishing Corp.
All rights reserved.
One Year Earlier
It was a usual day in the neighborhood for me. Just like any other day, I woke up as the wife of Richard Goldman, a wealthy criminal defense attorney to the stars. I had started out my day like any other — manicure, pedicure, hair appointment, a little shopping, some calls to other attorneys' and doctors' wives, and, finally, a check of my phone's calendar to see if Richard would be traveling or if I would have him for myself, which had become a rare occasion for us. Shit! I had almost choked on my words when I looked at the date. I immediately felt like shit when I read the date and realized it was Richard's birthday and I had forgotten. He had been traveling and working late hours so much, I often forgot what day it was. I had immediately gotten on my phone and called our personal shopper, Almonté. Luckily, Almonté had a free block in his schedule and agreed to meet me at Neiman Marcus to help me pick out the perfect gift for Richard. I figured I wouldn't call Richard to say happy birthday right then because he'd probably figure out that I had just remembered his birthday at three o'clock in the afternoon. Instead, I planned on surprising him with the perfect gift and the perfect lingerie so he could have his best gift — some of me. I was hoping that my body would be on his mind and not the fact that I had really forgotten his day.
Almonté and I moved through Neiman like two gazelles being chased by lions. We made quick work of picking out a gift for Richard, who, by the way, was very hard to shop for because he had everything you could possibly think of. But we'd finally found a few things that were exclusive enough for Richard's taste — a new pair of Salvatore Ferragamo loafers that hadn't even been put on the floor yet and a pair of David Yurman cuff links with black and canary diamonds in them. Those were both small, but the big gift was the hot La Perla number I found to wear. I was super excited. I loved to buy things for Richard. It just made me feel like I was doing something other than sitting around looking pretty and spending his money.
When I pulled up to my front door, I was brimming inside with anticipation. Richard's car was there, and I couldn't wait to see his face when I showed him what I got for his birthday. More importantly, I couldn't wait to show him what I was going to do to him for his birthday. I shivered just thinking about the dick. Richard's shit was addictive and one of the many reasons I had sacrificed so much to be with him for the rest of my life. I knew that being with Richard meant a safe, secure, financial future for me. Or so I thought.
Giving up my job as a paralegal and my law school studies seemed to be a small sacrifice when I met and fell in love with Richard and his dick. I loved making love to my husband, and with his clientele growing, and him being gone a lot more, I hardly got any dick lately. I was actually salivating thinking about it, and I made a mental note to remember to tell him that I would be accompanying him on at least one or two of his business trips per month. I was tired of being home alone. "Here I come, honey bunny," I sang as I parked the smoke-gray Audi R8 he had leased for me to drive for the next two years. That's another thing. My husband was extremely intelligent and financially savvy. He thought it was a waste to finance a bunch of cars when I always wanted to change cars like underwear.
I hopped out of the driver's seat and rushed inside our home with the beautifully wrapped gifts in hand. Sweat beads were lined up on my forehead, threatening to ruin the glue on my new hair, that's how bad I was rushing to get to my man. My heart sank as soon as I stepped inside our grand foyer. I almost tripped over bags on top of bags. I groaned loudly, because that could only mean one fucking thing. But he'd just got back! Where could he be going again?! I thought to myself, exasperated and disappointed all in one. I eyed the bags good. That's when I noticed that it wasn't just his usual traveling bags by the door; there was much more this time. I crinkled my eyebrows because Richard had every piece of his Louis Vuitton luggage set by the door and then some. There were at least seven bags and two garment bags. He even had his Gucci duffel that he used for the gym packed to capacity. Shit, it looked like he was packing and never coming back. I dropped the Neiman Marcus bag, my purse, and my keys on the baby-grand bench. I slipped out of my heels and proceeded through the house to find out what the hell was the deal.
"Honey, I'm home!" I sang out, trying to keep my voice steady as an uneasy feeling crept up on me. My voice echoing off the walls and high ceilings made me feel even more dread. You know when you just know something is not right? Well, instinctively, I felt something just wasn't right.
"Richard?" I called out as I walked slowly toward the spiral staircase. "Richard, honey, where are you?" I called again, growing more frantic. Finally, he appeared at the top of the staircase. I looked up, my eyes as wide as dinner plates. I swallowed hard when I saw the look on his face. To this day, I remember it as something more evil than I'd ever seen, even from my mother, who hated my guts and often wore a scowl whenever she looked at me. The devil himself was dancing in Richard's eyes.
"Happy birthday, baby," I said, flashing a fake-ass smile. I was trying real hard to stamp down the sick feeling in my gut. Richard just looked at me steely-eyed and stone-faced. He was holding one of his many watchcases in his hand. Strange to say the least. I know he is not emptying his watchcases! I remember thinking.
"I ... I ... got something for your birthday, and I got something special planned for us. You ... you ... weren't going to travel again, were you?" I stammered. His glare just had me feeling uneasy. I couldn't stand it anymore. I needed to know what the hell was up.
I didn't want to jump to any conclusions, so I waited for him to tell me what was going on. We stared at each other for at least thirty long seconds. "Richard?" I said, breaking the eerie silence. "Why do you look like that? The bags? It's your birthday ... What the ...," I said, my voice cracking.
"Look, Melody, I was going to tell you," he said, lowering his eyes. He started fiddling with the watchcase. "There's no easy way to say something like this ...," he continued. His voice was even, stern.
I started shaking. What was he talking about? He couldn't even look me in the eyes, which was a bad fucking sign. I could feel my heart squeezing tight inside of my chest, but I didn't say a word.
"I'm leaving. I'm having all my things moved out today," Richard rambled, nearly devoid of any emotion. I couldn't find one shred of remorse in his words or in his face. I felt like a bell had gone off in my head. There was loud ringing and I felt off balance. What did he just say? Leaving. Moved out today. I screamed inside of my head. My legs started to shake. Caught off guard by his sudden betrayal, I slumped against the staircase wall for a second. I felt like the wind had been knocked out of me too. At first when I opened my mouth to say something, nothing came out.
"Why?" I finally whispered breathlessly as I caught my balance.
"Don't make this harder than it has to be, Melody, with all of the dramatics," Richard said coldly. Another slap-to-the-face statement. He couldn't be serious. I was thinking this shit was a joke. I laughed a little bit.
"Richard, are you mad because you think I forgot your birthday?" I asked. Tears were right at the rims of my eyes. I couldn't help it. My heart was hammering so hard I felt nauseous, and I was scared to death. I can't lose my husband, was all I kept thinking. He had to be playing a cruel joke on me.
"No. I'm leaving. It's over, Melody. It's been over," he replied dryly.
"No! No!" I screamed as I bolted up the staircase toward him.
"I'm not going to do the drama queen thing with you. This is not one of those stupid reality shows you watch," Richard said, turning his back on me. I was huffing and puffing when I reached the top of the steps. I ran after him as he walked away dismissively. I felt the need to be face-to-face so he could look me in the eye and tell me why he had really packed up his shit. I mean, we hadn't had the perfect marriage, but damn, it hadn't been so bad that he'd want to pack up his shit and leave me.
"Richard, don't you turn your back on me!" I growled, leaping toward him. He whirled around, and I bumped into him. His large barrel chest was heaving up and down like he was the one who had just gotten the bad news. I backed away a few steps. I wanted to look into his face, his eyes.
"Richard, what do you mean you're moving out? Leaving? What the fuck is going on?" I cried as I searched his cold eyes for answers.
"Melody, you act like you don't know. I mean, we haven't had sex in months — or did you not notice between all of the shopping and bullshit party hopping you've been doing?" Richard snapped.
I felt weak. How fucking dare he!
"What are you talking about? I did everything for you! I only go out when you're on one of your fucking many business trips or working late!" I screamed. I could feel my face filling with blood. "I could give it all up! I won't shop. I won't party! Richard, this is too drastic. What are you thinking about? We are happily married!"
"Face it, Melody. I'm just not in love with you anymore. It's over," he told me sharply, and then he stepped by me and headed down the steps. It was like he didn't even want to be in the same breathing space as me. My heart felt like it had exploded. Vomit crept up my throat, and I hunched over from the cramps that trampled through my stomach. I honestly could not believe that my husband of ten years had just uttered the words that he didn't love me anymore and gave me my walking papers. I felt an overwhelming sense of desperation.
"Richard! You are not going to just say some shit like that and think it's going to be that easy!" I screamed at the top of my lungs.
I raced down the stairs after him. I wasn't about to let him just walk out of our fucking house without a fight. Part of me wanted to show him that I still wanted to work on our marriage, but another part of me just wanted to hurt him, claw his eyes out or scratch his smooth face.
"You bastard! You just gonna say you don't love me anymore? Huh? Do you realize what you're doing?" I spat, on the verge of hysteria. "After everything I've done for you, Richard!" My face was now a mess of makeup and tears.
He was totally ignoring me. He walked past the bag with his gifts inside and kicked them slightly, like he had just done with my heart. I felt like I had to try a different approach. The desperation was mounting. He was walking swiftly around our parlor, gathering up the pictures he had of himself along with a couple that he had of his parents from the mantel over our fireplace. I was hot on his ass. I was panting — hyperventilating was more like it.
"Richard, please! I'm asking you, do not do this! I need you! I love you!" I sobbed. That was my attempt at trying the loving, desperate wife approach. Richard was acting like I didn't exist. I grabbed his arm roughly, more desperate attempts to keep him from doing this.
"Answer me, Richard! Say something! Say we can work this out," I demanded with a death grip on his bicep.
He yanked his arm away from me and gave me a shove. "Melody, don't reduce yourself to these type of antics," he shot coldly, his glare enough to back me down a bit. Then he turned around casually, giving me his back again. "What do you want me to say? I told you, there is nothing to explain, nothing to save, nothing to talk about. I don't love you and I'm leaving," he said, finishing his verbal murder.
I stomped my foot. "Nothing to talk about? Nothing to say? After every-fucking-thing I did for you? After everything I gave up for you?" I hollered, feeling the veins in my neck throbbing against my skin.
Richard had the nerve to laugh at me. He was actually laughing at what I had said. This motherfucker had forgotten. He had really forgotten that I had given up my college career, my dreams of being a lawyer, to work long, hard hours in his fledgling fucking law firm when he didn't even have so much as one fucking client. I had spent hours and hours typing briefs, scouting out leads, reading press releases, anything it took to build his firm. I was the bitch who went out and recruited soon-to-be stars to hire Richard. I had used some of my past modeling connections to get him some leads on clients, like rappers and actors who had gotten into trouble with the law. Now he was standing there telling me we had nothing to talk about. In my book we had plenty of shit to talk about. I charged into him like a raging bull.
"You fuckin' ungrateful bastard. You are not just going to leave me like this!" I screeched. I started throwing wild punches at Richard's chest. He grabbed hold of my wrists roughly. I could feel his strong hands bearing down into the bones of my wrists. I would've never believed my husband would ever put a rough finger on me.
"Let's not do this right now, Melody. It is so unnecessary," he said through clenched teeth, releasing me roughly. He had the nerve to try to walk away. When he tried to pass me to go into the kitchen, I blocked him. Now I know what people mean when they say they felt their world crumbling before their eyes. My heart was aching and I needed to express it. "We will do this now. Because you're not leaving until you do. You owe me that much, Richard!" I roared, throwing myself in his path.
He sighed loudly. "I knew I should've just never come back. I should've just left all this material shit here. I knew you would act the damn fool," he gritted.
In a knee-jerk reaction, I reached up and slapped his face. I was immediately sorry.
He folded his face into a scowl. "I'm out of here!" he growled. He started moving away from me again. He looked like he wanted to just kill me. I grabbed on to him from behind. Clutching on to him for dear life. "Richard, I'm sorry. I'm sorry for whatever I've done. Please just tell you won't leave. Not today! We can sleep on it. Let's make love — it will fix everything." I continued to sob.
Richard let out a loud, cacophonous laugh. "You just don't get it, do you? I've just outgrown you. You don't satisfy me anymore. It's as simple as that," he hissed, his words dripping with venom. He was trying to hurt me. That much I had figured out. For some reason, the man I had sacrificed my entire life for wanted to stab me in the chest and turn the knife round and round.
Trying desperately to see his eyes through my tears, I said, "No. Don't say that. You know you don't really mean that. You told me that we were best friends, remember? And that we were partners for life." I started rambling, recalling things from early in our relationship.
He laughed at me again, this time more evilly than before. "You think I just stopped fucking you because I was traveling or working? Think about it, Melody. Men take pussy even if they're dead-dog tired. You had to know," he said, followed by a short chuckle. It was like it was a real big joke to him. I was flabbergasted.
"But I tried to give you your space. I didn't want to crowd you since I know you've been traveling. I tried to be understanding of the fact that you were either gone or working late hours with your new partner at the firm every night for the past year. Remember, you're the one who's always complaining that you're tired," I said, and then I fell silent. It was like something hit me like a hammer on the head. I had solved the mystery without even doing anything. My own words had brought clarity to the situation. I immediately covered my mouth. Richard had tried to make me feel like I was crazy when I met his new partner, Christina Cox, and immediately became suspicious of their relationship.
A whole year of suspicion and numerous speculations had just been confirmed by my own words. "Oh my God, Richard. How could you? You're having an affair with Christina, aren't you?" I shrieked. My eyes lowered into slits, and I bit down into my bottom lip until I drew blood.
"I'm out of here! No more of this bullshit!" he snapped. I jumped in front of him again as he headed toward the front door.
Excerpted from A Gangster and a Gentleman by Kiki Swinson, De'nesha Diamond. Copyright © 2012 Kensington Publishing Corp.. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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