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By Sasha Campbell
Kensington Publishing Corp.
Copyright © 2013 Sasha Campbell
All right reserved.
Chapter One Nikki
"Trinette? Why are you whispering?" Even though I had asked the question, I had a sneaky suspicion I wasn't going to like the answer.
"I'm out in the garage, sitting in my Mercedes."
I dropped my pen onto the desk, then leaned back in the large leather chair and closed my eyes. By the tone of my best friend's voice, I knew this conversation was going to be a long one. "Trinette, why are you sitting out in your car?" The sooner we got to the point, the better. Talking to her sometimes was like pulling teeth.
"'Cause I didn't want to take a chance of Leon hearing what I'm about to tell you," she whispered.
I groaned into the mouthpiece. "Hell, I'm not sure I want to hear this myself. What did you do now?"
Don't you know she had the nerve to sound offended?
"Me? Why does it always have to be me?" she argued.
I gave an impatient sigh. Sometimes she can be so damn dramatic. I had enough problems of my own and really didn't have time for her bullshit. "Trinette, c'mon, just get to it."
"Okay ... okay ... but you've gotta promise not to get mad," she pleaded.
I shook my head, then glanced over at the clock. It was almost six o'clock. I still had boxes of books to inventory and a million other things to do before heading to the radio station tonight.
"Netta, I am five seconds from hanging up on you. Five ... four ... three ..."
"Okay, okay!" she blurted in a rush of words. "I think I'm pregnant."
It took several seconds before her announcement registered. Trust me, anyone who knew Trinette Meyers-Montgomery would understand my surprise.
"Ohmygoodness ... that's wonderful! And about damn time!" I laughed because I never, and I mean never, expected this day to happen. "I'm finally going to be Aunt Nikki. What'd Leon say? I know he's happy!" There was a long pause and I knew then the shoe was about to drop.
"Um ... I'm not sure if this baby's Leon's."
"What?" There was no way I heard her right. "Trinette, please tell me you haven't been doing what I think you've been doing?" Especially since she'd promised to never do it again.
"Nikki ... I've been having an affair."
Chapter Two Trinette
I knew I was going to regret calling Nikki. Trust me, she may be my girl, but she's not one to talk. Don't judge Ms. Netta, not when you have skeletons in your own closet. And Nichole Sharice Truth definitely had secrets that she better hope were never revealed.
But despite her being a hypocrite, she's my best friend—hell, my only friend—and I needed someone to talk to about my latest dilemma.
Ever since I moved to Richmond with my husband of ten years, I have been trying to make new friends, but women were too critical and catty. I know because I'm one of them. I am clearly a dime piece, and no offense, but women have always felt threatened by me. Especially since I've always had a thing for stealing someone else's man. Anyway, since I didn't have anywhere else to turn, I had no choice but to call Nikki, who lives in St. Louis. It was times like this that I wished I still lived close by.
"Trinette, ohmygoodness! How could you?"
See, didn't I tell you she was going to judge me? I could hear the disappointment in her voice. Hell, she had no idea how guilty I already felt about this situation because I didn't set out to sleep around on my husband ... again. It just sort of happened.
Before I moved to Richmond, I fucked around on a regular basis. Once, twice, three times a week, it didn't even matter. It wasn't even about the money, because my husband had plenty of that. It was the thrill of the chase and knowing I could get away with it. That is, until Leon got sick of my shit and asked for a divorce. Trust me, I wasn't used to being dumped and it hit hard. I was so devastated I begged him to take me back and vowed I would be forever faithful.
We renewed our vows and everything was going so well until a year ago when I started having an itch that I needed another man to scratch. I love my husband, really I do, but sex hasn't always been the best between us. Meaning, on most nights, he's gotten his long before I get mine; then I'm sneaking off to the bathroom to finish the job with my vibrator.
No, don't get me wrong. Despite the sex, Leon's a good man who has spoiled me rotten to the point that nothing is good enough unless it's the best. And I think that is the only reason why I have stayed with him as long as I have—because he allows me to be me.
When I attended college, it was with one plan, and that was to find myself a husband. The second I saw Leon pulling into the parking lot in a new car, I knew I was going to be his wife. What I hadn't realized was that he was a financial genius who had been recruited by several major banks. For a girl from the projects, I was mesmerized and so caught up in the life he could offer me that there was no way I could say no when he asked me to marry him. Even though I knew deep down in my heart I didn't love him the way a man truly deserved to be loved, because Ms. Netta didn't have time for the "L" word. I was more interested in being provided for. And it ain't been easy. For so many years all people did was take and I never received. But with Leon, it was my time to get everything I felt I deserved.
I settled in as the corporate wife and satisfied my husband's needs. I provided Leon with a home he was proud to return to every night and a bed where I rocked his mothafuckin' world. In exchange, he gave me a hefty allowance that most women could only dream of having.
But over the last year, I realized that money just wasn't everything. Can you believe it? Me? Trinette Meyers-Montgomery saying money isn't everything. Well, it's true. At thirty-three, I finally discovered that no amount of money would fill that empty void in my heart. Something was truly missing in my marriage and I wanted something more. And when I met Jrue Jarmon, I finally figured it out. I needed to love somebody.
Don't get me wrong. After Leon and I renewed our vows, I had every intention of finally being committed to our marriage. That's saying a lot for a woman who'd been messing around on her husband since before the ink had dried on our marriage license.
I used to think something was wrong with me when it came to men and relationships. I had even started blaming it on my Uncle Sonny, who had climbed in my bed at age twelve, robbed me of my virginity, and continued raping me until I was sixteen. For years, every time I crawled into bed with a man and made him pay for some ass in cash, I blamed him and my crackhead mama, Darlene, for making me the woman I had become.
Leon saved me from a life that I never wanted to look back upon, and part of me stayed with him as long as I have because I felt I owed him. I tried to make it work. Lord knows I did, but I craved something more than my husband. Leon is a brilliant man with simple needs who never could challenge me sexually. A lot of that has to do with the fact that I'm a beast in and out of the bedroom.
"What do you mean, it sorta happened?"
Sometimes Nikki's worse than having a mama. "What I mean is ... I'm in love."
Nikki started laughing in my ear. "Netta, puh-leeze! The Tin Man's gotta have a heart to fall in love."
I don't know why she thought I was heartless. Sure, I've used people along the way and stepped on the backs of anyone who stood in the path of me getting what I wanted, but I am far from cold.
"Nikki, I'm being serious. I'm in love."
I heard a heavy sigh and I knew she was probably rubbing her forehead. Hell, I know I stressed my girl out with some of the crazy shit I do, but she had no choice but to listen, because I didn't have anyone else I could talk to.
"So who is this guy?" she finally asked.
I closed my eyes, suddenly feeling so ashamed as I said, "My boss."
"Oh, God, Netta! This is getting worse. And you think you're pregnant by your boss? Have you really lost your damn mind?"
"I think I have. For the first time in my life I've met a man who touches me in more ways than just sex, and it feels so good." I was shaking from simply expressing my feelings. "Nikki, listen ... I love Jrue."
"Jrue?" She gave a rude snort. "Is he rich?"
I already knew what she was getting at. "Yes, but it has nothing to do with his family's money."
"Mmm-hmm." She didn't at all sound convinced. I told you Nikki is always quick to judge me.
She thinks since she's the host of the popular radio talk show Truth Hurts, where she gives relationship advice to thousands of listeners, that made her an expert. I am the one with degrees in counseling and social work.
"Netta, girl, what you're feeling is lust, not love," she said, trying to diagnose me.
"How the hell you gonna tell me what I'm feeling? I know what love is! I can't sleep. I can't think of nothing but him and having him hold me in his arms. Hell, I can't get enough of the way his skin smells."
"What?" Nikki gasped, then chuckled. "The way his skin smells. Are you serious? You got it that bad?"
See, I knew it was going to be hard for her to believe me.
I was afraid to answer. Should I deny how I feel or just keep admitting my feelings? Expressing myself was something I had never been good at doing, but I was so desperate I was willing to give it a try.
"Yes, dammit! That's what I'm trying to tell you. I am so in love with this man that my head hurts!" I still couldn't believe I had let my guard down and let someone get in, but I had. Now I couldn't go a minute without thinking about that fine-ass man sliding between my thighs.
"Oh, Trinette! This is a big mess. I can't believe you weren't using condoms!" Okay, so she was back to treating me like a kid again.
I shifted uncomfortably on the front seat of my car. "For your information, we did use condoms. They just broke once ... or twice." That's what I get for buying that barely there brand.
Nikki breathed heavily and mumbled something under her breath that I couldn't make out, and that was probably a good thing because I was three seconds away from going off.
"So when will you know for sure if you're pregnant?"
"My period's already a week late. You know how I feel about taking an at-home pregnancy test, so I'm going into the clinic on my way to work tomorrow." The last time I trusted one of those over-the-counter tests, it gave me a false positive. I had spent almost a week hiding out in my dorm room, wondering who the daddy was, before I'd finally made an appointment down at the free clinic and discovered all that anxiety had been for nothing. After that I never trusted self-testing again.
Nikki gave another heavy sigh. "I just pray that you're not pregnant. It's really going to complicate things if you are. Especially when we both know how badly Leon's been wanting a baby."
It was one of the reasons why Leon had agreed to give our marriage one last try. Because I had promised to get off the birth control and finally have a baby. Me? Ms. Netta pregnant? You gotta be crazy. I admit, I thought I was too selfish to be a mother because everything always has to be about me. With a child, I would become second, and that wasn't even an option. So I kept taking my birth control pills that Leon knew nothing about. However, once I started having an affair with Jrue, I started losing my focus and got so wrapped up emotionally I was forgetting appointments and, most importantly, to take my birth control pills.
"I know, Nikki. Don't you know I've been sitting out in this car thinking about how I've made a mess of my life? A baby complicates things."
"Ya think! Goodness." She groaned into the phone. "So what are you going to do if you're pregnant?"
I answered without hesitation, "I'm going to get an abortion." Silently I pleaded for her to understand. Nikki was quiet and I knew why. She doesn't believe in abortions. She gave birth to her first child even when she and her husband had barely been able to take care of themselves. "Nikki, I don't have a choice."
"Look, why don't we cross that bridge when you get there? I ... I just hate to see you make a hasty decision before you have a chance to think it through."
"What's there to think about? I can't have this baby!" I screamed, then panicked when I realized I was talking loud enough for Leon to have accidently heard me. Dammit. There was no way in hell I wanted him to know or even suspect that I was pregnant. "I just can't and I won't," I added in a low voice.
Instead of arguing with me, Nikki did like she always does and changed the subject. "So what's the deal with you and this Jrue? How does he feel about you?"
I smiled at the mention of his name and felt my juices flowing below. Goodness. He had that type of effect on me. "He told me he loves me."
There was silence and I could just see Nikki at her desk shaking her damn head, sending those honey-brown dreadlocks flying in every direction.
"You know I don't approve of half the shit you do, but if you're certain that you're in love, then ... I'm sure together we can come up with a solution."
"Hey, at least that's something," I replied with a soft laugh.
"So, then, what's the plan? Is this guy pressuring you to divorce Leon so that the two of you can be together?"
I glanced over at the door to make sure it was still closed, then leaned in close and whispered into the phone, "Well ... there is one more thing I forgot to tell."
"And what's that?" Nikki groaned.
I wet my lips and mumbled, "Jrue's married."
Chapter Three Nikki
"It's ten o'clock and you're listening to Ms. Nikki Truth, the host of the most talked about radio show in the Midwest, Truth Hurts. As my listeners know, I don't believe in holding your hand. If you want my advice, then you better have the balls to accept the truth ... even if it hurts. Caller, you're on the air."
"Hi, Ms. Nikki. My name is Delicious."
"Good evening, Delicious. With a name like that, your story is bound to be good," I said with a soft chuckle, trying to set the mood.
"My problem is my man doesn't satisfy me. Don't get me wrong, he's fine as hell, educated, and got a good job, but the sex isn't good."
"Haven't you heard the saying, you gotta teach a man how to satisfy you?"
"I've tried that. Like I said, I have a good man and he goes out of his way to cater to all of my needs, but sex isn't one of them."
"Okay, then, if he's willing to do whatever it takes to satisfy you, then what's the problem?"
There was a slight pause. "He ain't working with much."
I tried to keep the grin from my voice. "Okay, I can see where that would be a problem."
"It's a big problem. At first I tried to listen to all that mess about it ain't the size of the ship but the motion. Well, how can you get motion if you can't feel anything? All he does is poke me with his pencil." I laughed, trying to lighten the situation. "Have you tried talking to him about it?"
"And hurt his feelings? No way. He thinks we're a perfect fit because he slides right on in. That man has no idea the reason why he slides in is because he's no wider than my thumb."
I didn't know what it was, but lately I'd been giving a helluva lot of advice on sex. Trust me, I was no expert. "Well, you're going to have to decide if you love that man enough to live with his shortcomings. No pun intended."
"I love him with all my heart. He is so good to me. Gets up every Sunday and together we go to church. God couldn't have given me a better man, but I'm left feeling unsatisfied, and I don't know what to do."
"I think before you end up doing something that you might regret, you need to talk to him."
"Well ... see that's the problem. I already slept with someone else."
I leaned in closer to the microphone. "Ooh, now we were getting to the juicy part! Please continue."
"Well, one of the guys at work had been trying to get with me for years, and last week a bunch of us went out for drinks and afterward I went with him to his apartment."
"And ..." I urged for dramatic effect.
"Ohmygoodness! Sex was off the charts!That man made my toes curl!"
"Good sex will do that to ya." I laughed.
"It was so good I met him at his house today for lunch. I can't stay away, and it's not even the guy. He's broke, with five kids by four different women. He's nothing I would ever date."
"But he's satisfying your needs," I added.
"Good Lord, yes! That man has made me realize what I have been missing all these years. Now I find myself comparing my man to him, who, I have to say, is packing a baseball bat between his legs! Hell, the other night I was afraid my man was going to fall in behind him."
I covered my mouth to keep from laughing and stared through the glass at my producer, Tristan, who was also having a hard time holding it together.
"Delicious, let me give you a piece of advice. If you truly love this man, you gotta be honest with him and tell him the truth. You're never going to find that hundred percent with any man, yet there are just some things you can't live without. For you, maybe sex is one of those things."
Excerpted from Consequences by Sasha Campbell Copyright © 2013 by Sasha Campbell. 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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