The Golden Hustlaby Wahida Clark
Only New York Times bestselling author Wahida Clark could take street lit to the next level in this incendiary tale of a hustler facing a game more lethal than any 'hood . . . THE GOLDEN HUSTLA She's the star sales associate of a profitable Atlanta "advertising" firm, WMM. She lives for top-of-the-line everything . . ./i>/b>/i>/i>… See more details below
Only New York Times bestselling author Wahida Clark could take street lit to the next level in this incendiary tale of a hustler facing a game more lethal than any 'hood . . . THE GOLDEN HUSTLA She's the star sales associate of a profitable Atlanta "advertising" firm, WMM. She lives for top-of-the-line everything . . . and making enough money to finally reunite with her children. But Nina Coles is an ex-hood-rat in hiding. And no amount of paper can keep her safe from a ruthless FBI agent who's determined to take down the shady company she works for. Now Nina's vicious, greedy boss Rinaldo is defying the feds and endangering everyone to rack up several last scores. Her conniving ex-partner Akil is playing Nina against WMM and the mob to get his hands on the company's multimillion-dollar stash. And sexy undercover cop Rick is proving to be one danger Nina can't figure out-or get enough of. Between betrayal, lies, and murder, Nina must risk everything on one last deadly hustle that almost guarantees winner lose all . . .
Library Journal on WHAT'S REALLY HOOD?"
Brutally honest."Publishers Weekly on THUG LOVIN'"
Exciting . . . realistic characters . . . Clark provides another descriptive drama that once again pulls no punches or kicks with an in-your-face-and-groin realism.Midwest Book Review on THUG LOVIN'"
Wahida Clark has done it again . . . well-written . . . with believable characters [and] unexpected plot twists . . . I recommend Payback with Ya Life to all urban fiction fans."ApoooBooks.com on PAYBACK WITH YA LIFE
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The Golden Hustla
By Clark, Wahida
Grand Central PublishingCopyright © 2010 Clark, Wahida
All right reserved.
Nina! Nina! Wake the fuck up!” Michelle snapped at Nina as she shook her frantically. “Your face is all twisted up and shit. You sweatin’ and slobbin’ all over my seats.”
Nina stared at Michelle with a look of horror and confusion on her face.
“What the fuck is wrong with you? The devil ridin’ your back or some shit like that?”
“Shit!” Nina ran both hands across her face and jumped out of the Rover.
Michelle jumped out and stood watching Nina pace back and forth.
“Damn, that shit was real as hell. Shit!” Nina kept repeating as she continued to pace, trying her damnedest to make sense of the dream she just had. She couldn’t stop the visual from playing in her head. It was as if it were playing in 3-D.
“Look,” Michelle snapped, not giving a fuck about her girl being shook up. “It’s hot as fuck out here. What we gonna do now? Did you get in touch with Reese yet?” Michelle asked as she walked around the truck to where Nina was and stood in front of her.
Nina looked her best friend over and wanted to grab her and kiss her, relieved that the dream was just that, a dream, but decided against it. Then she looked over at her brother Peedie, who had just come out of his girlfriend Darlene’s house and was headed up the block. Damn, that dream was real as shit.
“Nina! Did you get in touch with Reese yet?” Michelle saw the blank look on Nina’s face and was getting agitated. “Did you talk to the nigga or what?” she snapped.
“Damn, chill, bitch. Let me get my thoughts together.” At the moment Nina was having a hard time determining what was real and what wasn’t. Damn. Did I just talk to him? She tried to shake it off. That shit seemed so real. Michelle now had her arms folded across her chest and was leaning up against the truck. She was beginning to piss Nina off. “Trick, why you in such a hurry? It ain’t like you got somewhere to be.”
Michelle sucked her teeth. “Bitch, I don’t want you to leave and the closer you get to making that move, the sadder I feel. Okay? There. I said it.”
“Awww. Big bad Chelle is feelin’ lonely,” Nina teased her.
“Nina, did you talk to him or what?”
“I talked to him. He told me that he can move the coke in as little as two days and have the money for me by Thursday.”
“Thursday, huh? That nigga gonna move ten keys in two days? I don’t know, Nina. Get your head outta that cloud you were just on. Do you think he can be trusted?”
Nina gave Michelle’s question some thought. “I think so. That nigga’s pockets already laced, Chelle, plus up until this point he hasn’t given a reason not to. And with all this shit on my shoulders and a mark on my back I don’t have too many choices. Hopefully he won’t try to beat a bitch out of a puck-ass two hundred grand.”
“Bitch, you know how them New York niggas get down. Them niggas put the capital C in ‘cruddy.’ Plus, two hundred grand is two hundred grand. But fuck it. Like Lil Wayne said, ‘Life is like a gamble when you all about your poker chips.’ If you trust that nigga, so do I. I just hope he comes through for you. Did you tell him who the keys belong to or how you got ’em?”
“Come on, Chelle, you know me better than that. I’ma hustler. I don’t let my right hand know what my left hand is doing. Just handle your part, aiight. You see Peedie up there sittin’ on the fire hydrant?”
Michelle glanced up the block. “Yeah, I see him. And all I’m supposed to do is go and get the keys to your car from him, right?”
Nina nodded her head.
“Do Peedie know you got ten bricks hid in your trunk?” When Nina didn’t respond, Michelle had her answer. “Aiight, damn. Let me go get them car keys because I know you fucked up about Derrick and everything that’s going on, but your attitude is vexing me. I’ll be right back.” Michelle rolled her eyes at Nina and headed for Peedie.
Nina jumped back into the truck, cranked it up and turned on the air. She lay back on the headrest and closed her eyes for a minute. Michelle was right. Her attitude was kinda shitty, but what did people expect? She was officially the target of a citywide hunt. And her younger brother Derrick “D-Rock” Coles had just been shot and killed only a few days ago by the very same people that were hunting her. I need some dro, Nina said to herself and exhaled. When she opened her eyes, alarm registered in her brain quickly.
A candy apple red Dodge Viper with two dudes inside with red bandanas covering their mouth and nose stopped a few feet in front of her. Nina lowered herself in her seat but noticed that the Viper occupants’ attention was elsewhere. Nina tried her best to follow their gazes. Her heart stopped momentarily as her eyes settled on the only two people standing on one side of the block… Peedie and Michelle. Just as that dream registered in her brain, the Dodge Viper began to creep up the block.
“No-o-o-o-o-o!” Nina screamed as the assault rifle came out of the window. As if riveted to her seat, Nina watched in horror as fire erupted from the rifle along with the sound of rapid-fire gunshots. Eyes glued to the scene in front of her, Nina watched bullets rip into Michelle’s body and twist her in grotesque angles before she dropped to the ground and lay still. Her eyes saw the movement of her brother Peedie ducking and running. He made it through the gate and onto his girlfriend Darlene’s porch. Peedie banged on the door as the Viper moved slowly down the block until it stopped right in front of the redbrick house. Bullets tore into Peedie’s back as he slid down the door to the ground. Then with tires smoking, the Viper dipped and raced down the block at full speed.
“Peedie! Chelle!” With tears streaming down her cheeks, a scream escaped from her throat and came upward. “N-O-O-O-O-O!”
It took Nina a minute to gather herself and scale back the sobs that escaped her body every few seconds. Opening the truck door, she quickly ran over to Michelle. Her best friend was gone, lifeless. Puddles of blood pooled all around her.
“I’m so sorry, Chelle. I’m so sorry. Please forgive me,” Nina whispered as she leaned down and kissed her best friend’s forehead.
A noise startled her. Nina noticed the sound of an agonizing scream. Peedie. Rising quickly, Nina ran up the block to Darlene’s house, where her brother lay sprawled out on the porch. He screamed again. It was primal. The scream of a wounded beast in the wild. Dropping to her knees, Nina looked into Peedie’s eyes. He was crying.
“I’m hit bad, Nina. A-a-a-r-r-gh! It hurts so bad! A-a-r-r-g-g-h-h!!”
Nina didn’t know what to do, so she pulled out her cell phone and dialed 911. “Please hurry! Two people have been shot. Please hurry to 2000 block of Lanning in Ewing Township. Hurry!” Nina closed her phone and said, “Hold on, Peedie, help is coming. You hear me? Don’t you die on me,” she pleaded with him.
“Go—leave! Get out of town, Nina. Before the—ar-r-gh!—they find you. Your car keys.” Peedie looked down at his hand.
Nina saw the keys to her Jetta in her brother’s hand were covered in blood. She took them from his grasp. Sirens blared in the distance. Nina knew that she had to leave now or stay and face the cops. And that she could not do. “Hold on, Peedie, baby! Don’t you dare die on me, I need you! I’ma come back soon. Be here when I get back, please!”
“Go! Get the fuck away!” Peedie said and then lay still.
Nina got up and ran back to Michelle’s Range Rover. She wiped tears from her eyes as she started the truck. “I’m sorry,” she repeated over and over as she pulled off and raced into the night.
“Where are you at right now?” Nina bellowed into the phone.
“Hey, calm down, ma. I’m puttin’ in work. What’s up?”
“I’ll tell you when you get here. I need you now. Right now. I’m on the corner of Dean and West State. There’s a gold Altima coupe parked on the street. Park behind it and walk towards the pizza shop. I’ll be here waiting for you.”
“Aiight, one,” Reese said and disconnected the call.
Two hours later, Nina saw a silver Lexus LX truck pull behind Michelle’s Rover. She walked out of the shadows and headed towards it. She was relieved when she saw Reese jump out and she damn near ran to meet him. They embraced, and at that moment time seemed to be standing still. She settled into his masculine arms and inhaled his scent. Nina tried, but couldn’t place the cologne. She felt safe in his arms. If only for a little while. Choking back sobs, Nina said, “Thank you for coming.”
“I told you I got you, ma. What’s good with you? Did some nigga hurt you?” He was looking her over.
Nina started to respond, but the sheer weight of everything that had transpired over the course of the past four days hit her and she broke down. Reese held her in his arms and gently stroked her hair. He let her cry herself out while patiently waiting to hear about whatever was bothering her. He had been handling some business in Brooklyn when he got her call telling him she needed him right now. Dropping everything, Reese was up for some new pussy, so when it called he came running.
“Listen, ma. It’s going to be aiight.”
“It’s not gonna be all right,” Nina screamed suddenly. “Don’t say that. You don’t even know the half of it.”
“Okay. Okay. Listen, Nina, you gotta tell me what’s wrong, ma. If you want me to help you, I gotta know what’s good, feel me? So wipe your eyes and tell me what’s going on. Tell me everything and don’t leave nothing out.”
Nina composed herself as best she possibly could, took a few steps back from Reese and started at the beginning. “Almost two weeks ago, I came home to find my house burglarized, ransacked, I mean, tore the fuck up. Before I could file a police report, my neighbors described a nigga who turned out to be my brother, described him to a T leaving my house. He stole what I called my ‘Lord Have Mercy’ fund. In other words, it was my rainy-day money. Derrick breaks in my shit and takes my money, not thinking that I’ma find out it was him. I went looking for his ass and confronted him about my shit. That’s the day I met you. A few days later he shows up at my front door. When I wouldn’t let him in he broke down, cried me a fistful of tears and promised to make everything right. My heart was broke, but hey, that’s my little brother. So I let him in against my better judgement. D-Rock then got all excited and shit, telling me that he had a way to get my stash back plus give me an extra ten stacks for my troubles. He knew a chick named Canada—”
“D-Rock… Canada… where did I…?” Reese interrupted. Scratching his head, he tried to recall where he had heard those names before.
“What?” Nina asked with a suspicious look on her face.
“Nothing. It’ll come to me. Go ’head with the story.”
“This chick named Canada and her mom, Serita, had some checks worth about a hundred grand that they were trying to cash in. D-Rock knew that checks and shit was right up my alley, so he arranged to hook us up. After the introduction and agreement was made, I cashed the checks and then when we go to take her the money, boom. My brother and his boys would rob ’em. That was the plan. I didn’t know the chick Canada or her mom, Serita, from a can of paint, so I was like, fuck it, let’s do this.
“So the day after, D introduced me to the chick and then we went to handle our business. Everything went according to plan as far as cashing the checks, and then shit went bad real fast. After we handled the business, me and my girl got ghost so D-Rock and his boys could handle theirs. I then get a call from my brother to come get him. He was all shot up but he still had some money. We dropped him off at the ER. Later that night, we found out that Canada’s mom and my brother had died. It was all over the local news. I was trying not to panic, and kept telling myself that there was no way anything could be traced back to us. And the twenty-five grand my brother gave me made me feel a lot better. I thought that everything would blow over, you know? A woman and a feen getting robbed and killed in Trenton… that shit ain’t nothing new.
“I knew the cops would be sniffing around and we figured that they were all we had to fear. Boy, was we wrong. We all were so wrong. The next day, while coming out of a house on Tyler Street, my brother’s boy Blue was gunned down. Blue was with D that night but he got away. He must have been running his mouth. The streets got to talking and then word got back. The chick Canada had told her brother about the lick. The brother was the one who gave her the checks. When Canada’s mom got killed, he put two and two together and came up with Derrick and me. Out of all the chicks to kill in the hood they had to go and kill a chick whose brother is the leader of one of the Blood gangs in the city. Ilhawn Inglewood Bloods or something like that. He put out a ‘red’ light on us. After that I went to my best friend Michelle’s house and hid out.
“The next thing I knew, somebody set my house on fire. I lost everything, Reese. My kids’ shit. My shit. The money, everything. I had to go get my car from my brother Peedie today so that I could leave town. Are you able to move those bricks? I gotta raise some more cash so that I can bounce.”
“You said ten, right? Why, what’s up? They got burned up too?”
“There’s a small problem,” Nina said with hesitation.
“The keys are hidden in the trunk of my car. My brother’s been driving it and don’t…. didn’t know that…”
“Who, Derrick?” Reese asked.
“No… my other brother. The oldest one. Peedie. Me and my girl Michelle went to Peedie’s girlfriend Darlene’s house out in Ewing to get my car so that I could get the keys for you.” At that point, Nina choked up again and her tears started anew. “We pulled up on the block. Michelle was driving… that’s her truck over there… the Rover. I stayed in the car while she went to get the keys to my car from Peedie. I saw the red Viper turn the corner… they killed my best friend… they shot Peedie. I don’t even know if he’s dead or alive right now,” Nina said and wiped tears from her eyes. “I called an ambulance for him and left him there. I left him there… Peedie might be…”
Reese walked over to Nina and said, “Peedie… D-Rock… Darlene… Canada. Small world, small world.”
Puzzled, Nina looked into Reese’s eyes. There was something there. The expression on his face was speaking louder than words. “What is it? Why did you say it’s a small world?”
“I was in Brownsville a few days ago, at a gambling spot on Prospect. The spot was full of Blood niggas—Nine Trey gangstas out of Harlem, I believe. They had a nigga with them that I had never seen. But I remember hearing the nigga say he was from Jersey. I overheard the nigga telling the other dudes about a situation they were dealing with. He mentioned a dude named B-Murder’s mom and sister Canada getting robbed. The name Canada stuck in my head. He said something about a bitch and her brother D-Rock that they killed. Then he mentioned a dude named Peedie and…” Reese paused as the whole conversation that he heard slowly came back to him. “Damn, shorty. It all just came back to me. Didn’t you say that Peedie’s girlfriend’s name is Darlene?”
Nina paused. She felt like she just gave him too much information. “Yeah, that’s her name.”
“I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Darlene is connected to the Blood niggas in some kinda way. The Jersey nigga told the other nigga that Darlene’s been helping the homies and that she was going to set up Peedie for them.”
“Are you sure?”
“I’m positive, shorty. When you mentioned your brother Peedie getting shot, that brought all the recollection back to me. I remembered thinking that the bitch Darlene that dude spoke of was a dirty, shiesty bitch. I’m definitely sure about what I heard. I’m sorry about your brother, but I never connected any of that to you because the dude never said your name.”
The world was spinning now at a different angle for Nina and she felt dizzy, light-headed. She couldn’t believe what she was hearing. Darlene had a hand in all of this shit. The botched robbery and Peedie being shot. Hell, they had planned on taking D-Rock out from the jump. Why didn’t they kill me? They couldn’t because I didn’t stick around like we had originally planned. As the realization set in, the picture became that much clearer. Now everything made sense. Reese’s revelation explained how the Bloods knew to catch Derrick. He had to have told Peedie his whereabouts and Peedie unknowingly had to have told Darlene. Darlene knew where she lived, that’s how the Bloods knew where she rested at. Thus her house being burned down. Darlene didn’t know where Michelle lived. Then Darlene must have told them that Peedie was outside her house at that exact moment… wait. Nina focused all her attention back a few hours ago, when she was sitting in the Rover watching the Dodge Viper. The two dudes in the car with the red bandanas over half their faces… the driver was doing something that she hadn’t noticed at first, but it came back to her now. While both men had been looking down the block, the driver was holding something to his ear… a cell phone. Right before Peedie and Michelle were shot, the driver of the Viper was on the phone talking to Darlene. A rage that was totally unknown to Nina came over her and settled. It was like a fire that was consuming her body and soul. She knew exactly what she had to do.
“I need a favor.”
“I told you I’ma help you move the keys. I figure you need the money to bounce with. I got you.”
“I know that already. That’s not what I’m talking about. I need another favor.”
“I need a gun,” Nina told him.
Reese was about to protest, but then stopped and nodded in understanding. There was no need for discussion; he knew what the business was. “Are you sure that’s what you want? You sure that’s what you want to do?”
Without hesitation, Nina replied, “I’m sure. Here.” Handing Reese the keys to her car, she said, “My car is a red 2010 Volkswagen Jetta with chrome 22s on it. It’s parked on the 2000 block on Lanning State Street out in Ewing. You won’t miss it. Get somebody you can trust to drive it, but be careful because the Bloods have to know it’s mine and they may be looking for somebody driving it.
“The ten bricks are in my trunk. Go in the trunk and lift the whole paneling out to where the spare tire is located. Remove the spare tire cover and the keys are right there. But in the meantime, I have something to do. When it’s finished, I’ma call you and meet you somewhere. I need to ditch both of the cars. I gotta make a call, and if it’s all good, I’ma drop them both off at a friend of mine’s chop shop. Then I have to bounce to somewhere safe until you ready to hit me off with that loot.”
Reese nodded. “I got you on all that, shorty.” He reached under his shirt and pulled out a chrome handgun. “This is a Sig Sauer 9mm… It’s light, small and just right for you. The clip holds ten bullets. There’s one in the chamber, so that gives you eleven shots.” Reese gave the handgun to Nina. “Be careful, ma. Be careful. Holla at me as soon as you can.”
Taking the gun and putting it in her purse, Nina nodded her head and without another word she walked into the night.
Darlene Rojas was a bad bitch and she knew it. She prided herself on being a thorough street chick. Growing up on the mean streets of Newark’s Dayton Street Projects had nurtured her and shaped her into the person she was today. When her mother lost her job and they moved to Trenton, Darlene thought it was the end of the world. But she was exposed to a whole new world. Brian “B-Murder” Mitchell was the be-all and end-all on the streets and he loved her. Or at least that’s what she thought until her world came crashing down one day. Darlene found out that B-Murder had a woman stashed in every part of the city. When she confronted him with what she had found out, he never denied anything and he never said a word. He simply stopped calling her and stopped coming around. Heartbroken and distraught, Darlene tried everything in her power to win back B-Murder’s affections. But nothing seemed to work. Then she met Peedie Coles and decided to let him fill in for the love of her life, until she was able to find a way to get him back. B-Murder just needed a little time, and time seemed to be something she had a lot of lately.
When she found out about Nina and Derrick getting ready to jack B-Murder’s sister Canada and his mom it was as if heaven opened its gates and rained down manna upon her.
Darlene took her direct connection to the situation to be a sign that she was meant to be with B-Murder. All it took from her was a lot of deep throating and dick riding to get all the info she needed out of Peedie. Then, like a loyal bitch, she made contact with Murder and confirmed what he said he already knew. But what he didn’t have was the specifics, addresses, etc.,… and she did.
Turning onto her street, Darlene eyed the yellow tape that still lined the area where the girl she barely knew had been killed. Luck was one twisted sister, Darlene thought to herself. Death had eluded the person that it was meant for that day and had found another soul to take. Parking her car, she thought about all the questions the police had asked her as she played the role of the distraught girlfriend to the fullest. She hadn’t answered not one. Darlene walked up her front stairs and saw all the blood that had dried up on her porch and promised herself that she’d remember to put the high-power water hose on the porch tomorrow to wash the blood away. But it would have to wait until after she left B-Murder. Excitement washed over Darlene as she walked into her house. She had forty-five minutes to shower and dress and then the moment she had been waiting almost three years for would come. She was about to meet and spend the night with B-Murder. And she couldn’t wait.
Hitting the light on the wall, Darlene walked into her living room and almost jumped out of her skin. “What the…? Nina?”
“Nina, what the fuck? How did you get in here? Why are you here?”
“I let myself in. I hope you don’t mind. I had to see you before I left. Why you lookin’ all shocked?”
“No, I thought you was gone,” Darlene said as she tried to play it cool.
“I’m on my way out but I gotta right one wrong before I leave town. All my life, Darlene, I have been a hustla. Going from one hustle to the next. But I never thought that one day I’d become a killer.”
Darlene’s eyes dropped to Nina’s hand and saw the gun. Fear ripped her heart and squeezed it. “Killer? You? Who did you kill, Nina?”
“You, Darlene. For betraying my brother Peedie, my brother Derrick and me.” With that, Nina raised the gun and shot Darlene repeatedly in the face.
Exiting the house the way she came, through the back door, Nina ran quickly down the alley. She came out onto the street and walked calmly back to the Rover. What Nina didn’t see was the cream-colored Infiniti M35 that was parked three cars behind her. As she pulled off, the Infiniti waited awhile and then pulled behind her.
After getting rid of both cars, Reese and Nina drove to a hotel in a town called King of Prussia, located on the outskirts of Philadelphia. Reese made sure she was safe and situated, then he left. But not before he asked for the gun back. Without a word exchanged between them, he ejected the clip and saw it was only half full. His eyes met hers and that was it.
Stretching out on the bed, Nina allowed herself a moment’s rest. She was dog tired. She was also relieved, angry and stricken with grief. The first thing she did was take a long, hot shower and wash her hair. Standing under the steaming spray of water, she decided to talk to God. “I know I’m probably the last person you thought would be reaching out to you, but it’s me. I know I do a lot of sinful stuff but I just wanna ask you to look out for my big brother Peedie and my brother Derrick. Please forgive him and my girl Michelle for the lives they lived. It wasn’t easy growing up in Jersey. And please, please, take care of Peedie. Help him heal from all his wounds mentally and physically. But most of all, forgive me for the life I took and pray that I never, ever, have to take another. Do this for me and I promise you I’ma get my life together. Amen. Oh! And take care of my kids while I’m gone. I know you are going to do that.”
When she was done, Nina turned the water off and wrapped herself in a towel. She brushed her teeth and then sat on the bed. Nina lay back and stared up at the ceiling. Her mind was cluttered and kept flashing with everything that happened over the past week or so. Ending with the phone call to her mother, who told her that Peedie was in critical condition, but he was expected to live. That news in itself was like an invisible weight lifted off her chest. But still she cried for Michelle and for Derrick. Grabbing the pillow from the other side of the bed, Nina covered her face and screamed into it as if she were being tortured.
Her stomach knotted up when she thought about her three children that she would have to leave behind. The longest she had ever been away from them was a couple of weeks. The thought of her babies, along with the rest of her drama, had her bawling like a baby. But what hurt the most was the fact that she wouldn’t even be able to attend the funerals of the two people closest to her. And their deaths were all her fault. Nina rationalized that Derrick’s death was her fault because had she not gone after him about the money he took from her house, the caper with Canada and her mom would probably have never happened. The death of D-Rock and Michelle was a rude awakening, and she swore that after the ten keys were sold she was walking the straight and narrow.
Thinking about the kilos of coke made her remember where she’d got them. After D’s death, Nina finalized her plan to leave Jersey for a while. And since everything she had had burned down in her house, she had to hit a lick to come up with the going-away money she would need to live outside of Jersey. That’s when she remembered her ex-boyfriend’s stash. Cream kept no less than fifty to one hundred keys stored in a public storage space, and she was the only one who knew where it was. Getting into the storage space without a key had been easy. She had been there enough for the dude who worked the desk to be familiar with her. After a little flirting and a promise to hook up behind her man’s back, she was in. Nina had planned on taking only one or two kilos, but when she thought about the reasons that she and Cream were no longer together, she decided to get back a little and hurt his pockets at the same time. She grabbed ten keys and left. Later that night she hooked up with the dude who worked at the storage spot, sucked his dick until he begged her to stop and gave him a promise of more to come that would fortify his silence about her trip to the storage space.
Nina then contacted Reese to put him to the test. He had told her that if she ever needed anything to call him. She needed him now more than ever.
After two days, Nina was well rested and getting restless. Yesterday she walked across the highway to the movie theater and she started to do it again today but Reese called and said he would be coming through.
Reese. She barely knew him, and everything she learned about him was from their few but lengthy phone conversations. He had been relentlessly trying to get with her but she was focused on getting everything together for this move. She kept giving him rain check after rain check and still he never stopped trying. But when it came down to it Nina trusted him and just as she anticipated he came to her rescue and he wanted nothing in return.
It was almost eight and she was bored shitless. Nina had taken another shower, threw on some sweatpants and a wife-beater. She ordered a pizza from Pizza Hut and was getting ready to call them and cuss them out. She placed the order at seven and here it was eight and they were just knocking on the door to deliver. She decided to make them wait. Finally, she went to the door and snatched it open. Nina looked up and Reese was standing there wearing a sexy grin, a pair of jeans, a gray Versace sweater, a black leather vest and a pair of black Mauri gators. He caught her completely by surprise.
“Hey.” She eased over to where he was and kissed him on the check, surprising herself. Did I really do that? He took both hands, pulled her to him and kissed her on the mouth. That surprised her as well. His tongue and mouth tasted like peppermint. Nina, in a panic, was the first to break the kiss. She just stood there in the doorway looking at him.
“What? I can’t come in?” Reese teased, looking down at Nina. Beneath all of that toughness, she was incredibly sexy and childlike to him.
She looked at him and stepped back. “Of course you can come in.”
His bald head glistened and his smile let her know that things were going as planned. “I was beginning to think that you forgot all about me,” she said seductively.
“Never that, shorty. I told you I got you.” He closed the door and put the chain on. “You all right?”
There was another knock at the door and Nina saw Reese’s hand slide behind his back.
“Stand down, baby boy. I ordered pizza. It’s only the pizza guy,” she told him as she went and opened the door. He still kept his hand behind his back until he was positive it was just the pizza delivery.
“Well damn, I thought y’all had to go to Italy to bake the pizza,” she snapped. “How much do I owe you?”
“Sorry about that, ma’am,” the young white girl said. “They told me to deliver to the hotel next door. That’s where I went first, but that’ll be sixteen dollars and forty cents.”
Nina gave the girl a twenty-dollar bill and snatched her pizza and soda. She then slammed the door and slid the chain back on.
Reese watched her set the pizza down and then go sit on the edge of the bed.
“Is everything all right with you?” she asked him.
“Oh, we good, shorty.” Reese took off his jacket and hung it up. He moved towards the bed, unzipping the compartments on the vest and allowing the stacks of money to fall onto the bed. “That’s the whole two hundred stacks. Count it if you want, but it’s all there. Now you can bounce whenever you want to. That shit went so fast it scared me. When all this shit blows over, you gonna have to introduce me to your connect. If he keep that fish scale like that, he is definitely somebody I need to know. Feel me?”
“I feel you and you got that,” Nina lied. “You don’t know how much I appreciate this.” Breathing a sigh of relief, she grabbed one bag at a time and emptied it. The bag contained ten stacks of big-face hundreds. Emptying the second bag, she saw it contained ten stacks of money.
“That’s twenty stacks altogether, shorty. Ten grand a stack. Go ’head and count it. TRUST NO MAN, NINA. NOT EVEN ME.”
Reese and Nina sat on the bed and began counting the money. Nina stopped counting periodically to look at him. After a while, he caught her stealing glances. He smiled mischievously and kept counting.
“Yo, what’s up? Why you just smile at me like that?” Nina asked.
Reese ignored her and kept counting stacks. After he finished counting all the money, he took off the vest and went to hang it up. He looked over at Nina and said, “You look like you need a hug. Come here.”
“I’m okay,” she said. He looked at her again, thinking about how vulnerable she was.
“Come here.” When she didn’t move, he went over to the bed and grabbed her hand. He pulled her up, wrapping his arms around her. “What?”
She stood there limp, arms hanging loosely by her sides. “I’m okay,” she mumbled.
“No you’re not. You damn near ripped the poor delivery girl’s head off. You order pizza and leave it sitting there untouched. You were sitting over there on the bed with a blank look staring out into space somewhere. Plus, you’ve been cooped up in this room for damn near four days.”
“I went to the movies yesterday,” she protested.
Reese started laughing. “Wow! The movies,” he replied, teasing her.
“What’s so funny about that?” She was now smiling. That was the first time she actually saw him laugh.
“You need a hug.” The way he said it gave her goose bumps and made her shiver. “It’s all good. I got you.” He pulled her close and began rubbing up and down her back as he held her tight. She closed her eyes and surrendered to his embrace. It was feeling so welcoming she couldn’t help but wrap her arms around his back, releasing a soft moan.
“See, I told you, you needed this,” he said in that same seductive tone as he slid one of his strong hands down and began massaging her ass. Her heart fluttered, she opened her eyes and looked up at him. She wanted to ask him what he was doing. But he leaned in and kissed her. The kiss was commanding so she couldn’t help but to kiss him back. His kiss was wet, sweet and silky smooth.
She pulled back and said, “So I needed my ass felt on along with a kiss?” She turned around to walk back to the bed but he grabbed her from behind and held her close so she could feel his dick harden as one hand circled her nipple and the other hand slid down the inside of her sweats. His fingertips rubbed across her pussy back and forth.
Later for the kiss.
“Feeling how wet you are I can also tell that you need some of this dick.”
“Reese, you don’t want to go there,” she teased.
“Yes I do. And why wouldn’t I?” He was massaging her tits and playing inside her pussy while her ass was subtly rocking side to side, grinding against his hard-on and on his fingers.
Her surrender gave him the green light to move forward.
“Shorty, you know you ready for this so why you frontin’?” His fingers slid out of her warm pussy and went to her clit. She spread her legs wider and a moan escaped her throat.
“See, I told you,” he whispered in her ear. He played and mashed on her swollen clit, causing her knees to buckle and cum to squirt in his hand as her trembling body fell back into his. He pulled her wife-beater up over her head and turned her around. She unzipped his jeans, slid them and his boxers down off of his ass and got on her knees. His dick sprung out, tapping against her cheek. “He’s glad to finally meet you.”
She grabbed on to it and licked the head. Reese watched as his joint disappeared into her mouth and then reappeared again. She went back and forth, teasing the head and said, “I don’t think you’re ready for this.” She swallowed him up.
“I damn sure ain’t.” He grabbed her head, ready to fuck her mouth but she seductively and slowly slid her lips away. The veins on his dick looked as if they were about to pop. His dick was standing straight out. “Oh, so you got jokes.”
Nina stood up and slid her sweats down over her hips and to the floor. “Ladies before gentlemen. I gots to get mine first.”
Reese got out of his clothes and shoes as if he was on a mission. Nina went over to the bed and climbed on all fours. “Uh-uh, that’s too easy. You said you want to get yours, right? Come over here.” He motioned to the recliner. “Do you, lil’ mama.”
Nina climbed up on it, placing one knee on each armrest, leaned forward and wrapped her arms around the back of the chair. Reese came up behind her and allowed his dick to slide across her pussy. He went back and forth, teasing and stimulating her clit with the head of his dick. “Reese, stop playing.” Nina groaned, unable to move in the position that she was in. Shit. She wasn’t in control. She needed to be in command of the dick. He kept sliding back and forth, getting her wetter and wetter. Her teeth bit down into the chair before he plunged up into her. “Ohhhh,” she moaned, her juices were sliding down her thighs. “Oh shit,” she gritted. “This feels so good,” she panted.
Reese pounded away, loving all of the control he was having. He was able to get in deep as he wanted and when it felt like he was ready to bust he pulled out.
“Nooooo, no, wait,” she begged. “Finish fucking me,” she pleaded.
“Don’t move,” he commanded as he began to plant soft kisses on her neck, shoulders, all down her back. When he got to her ass he spread her cheeks and began licking her crack.
Nina’s body, from the lips, to her toes, all the way up her back and tits caught fire.
“What… are… you doing to me?” She shivered.
Reese kept licking until he was about to cum, then he stood up and got back up into her pussy, while playing with her clit until she could hold out no more. She began cumming and shaking, trembling and screaming. He let loose at the same time, their bodies connecting as one.
And that’s how Reese came into the picture.
After he moved those ten keys and laid the pipe he was in. He got someone to drive her U-Haul to Georgia and the two of them rode in his truck. He stayed with her until she found an apartment and transportation. He was her knight in shining armor and the most important thing was he wanted nothing in return. Nina was finally off to starting her new life.
As soon as she stepped foot onto Georgia soil, Nina took off running. She quickly discovered that as long as you had good credit, getting an apartment in Georgia was a cinch. It only took her two weeks. She and Reese went to a car auction and she walked away with a silver Volvo that looked nice, ran good and most of all it was paid for. She found a chic one-bedroom apartment in Decatur and was quite pleased.
After Reese went back to New York she buckled down and began job hunting. She didn’t have a degree and the only skill she had was hustling. Fuck working at some fast-food joint, she constantly thought to herself. Telemarketing jobs were plentiful and didn’t require a résumé so that’s what her focus was on. She started calling around and setting up interviews. She learned that just about everything was sold over the phone. Magazines, vacation packages, security systems, furniture and even coupons… you name it they sold it. And it was all bullshit. Getting the consumer to buy stuff they didn’t need.
She ended up accepting a gig selling magazines. It was a new company, the facility was new, she liked the atmosphere and she didn’t have to travel too far and battle that Georgia gridlock. After she got the job she felt accomplished and on her way to stability. She got settled in less than two months. All during those two months she called home and checked on her children every day. It was excrutiating to talk to them over the phone and not be able to see them. And her baby, she tried not to think about her because Jatana would always bring her to tears. She imagined her wondering why her mother, sister and uncle and auntie Michelle all of a sudden disappeared.
She had a new cell number and told her mother and Jatana’s grandmother to give it to Jatana’s daddy, Supreme. He stayed into something so he would probably never get out of prison. He was bent on making her life on the outside a living hell. And on top of it all he still hadn’t bothered to call her yet. She knew he was pissed at her for moving out of state and he did keep true to his word. He promised her that she would not take his daughter so far away. He was determined to make her suffer. She couldn’t believe she used to be in love with such a vindictive nigga. Finally, after three months he sent her a message, to not worry about their baby, she was fine.
Her brother Peedie was finally out of the hospital and doing well, despite being paralyzed from the waist down. He was convalescing and laying low with a woman he knew in Englishtown. The detectives assigned to his shooting kept asking about Darlene’s murder, but he told them nothing. And that was because Nina had told him nothing. Even if she did, Peedie would not violate the code. Nina vowed to herself that one day she would be honest with Peedie and tell him about Darlene’s betrayal and her death. But now was not the time, she decided. Not while Peedie was dealing with his paralysis and maintaining his sanity because of it. The last thing he had said to her was, “Live the life of a square while you’re down there and be safe. I love you, Sis.” That piece of advice Nina took with a tablespoon of salt and two grams of sugar. All she did was go to work and come home. Her plan was to add a lot more money to the stash she already had and buy a big house so that she could send for her children in a year. That was the plan. But so far, the plan was not coming together fast enough, and discouragement was quickly creeping in. After buying everything she would need for starting anew in Georgia and pinching to send money home to her mom for the kids, her stash was lowering somewhere around a little over a hundred grand. And she wasn’t going below the hundred for nothing in the world. Her job was paying the rent, car insurance, gas and providing food, but that’s it. Nina wasn’t saving anything or adding to her stash. Her dead-end job constantly reminded her of when she started hustling, why she never stopped.
Hustle money was fast and it was huge. She knew that if she did a little something every now and again, she’d be able to stack in a week what it took her months to stack on a job. The hustle that flowed in her veins was starting to call out to her, so discreetly, Nina began to look for a come up.
Reese started out visiting her two to three times a month and he had her wide open. She was in love with him but was noticing that lately he was only coming once a month. Today was her six-month anniversary living in Georgia and she was celebrating all by herself. She was in her living room getting comfortable preparing to watch a movie before she turned in for the night when she was startled by the sound of someone ringing her bell. Who in the hell is at my door? And at this hour of the night? Nina wondered as she headed to check it out. When she looked out she saw her knight in shining armor, Reese. She quickly opened the door while smiling from ear to ear and jumping into his arms.
“Aren’t you a sight for sore eyes!” she said excitedly. “And you made it for our six-month anniversary.” She was busy raining kisses all over his face and lips. When she slid off him, Reese flashed his sexy smile. As soon as he stepped inside her apartment, Nina was all over him again. It had been a month since she had seen him and she was jonesing… bad.
Reese came up for air. “I need to talk to you, Nina.”
“Well, whatever it is, it is going to have to wait until morning. Maybe I’ll be done with you by then.” She grabbed him gently by the back of his head and began to kiss him passionately while at the same time rubbing her hand up and down his dick. Reese had not planned to sleep with Nina tonight. He made this trip because he was on a mission. He had something important to tell her but she was making it hard for him to stay focused on the task at hand. He could tell that she was glad to see him and had been anticipating his visit. And it was obvious that she was not taking no for an answer.
“Nina.” He interrupted her. His head was foggy and his dick was ready to put in work.
“You don’t miss me, big daddy? It’s been a whole month.”
“Of course I do. But that’s what I need to talk to you about.” He tried once again to do what he came there to do but she was making it hard.
“Like I said, it’s going to have to wait because I’m gettin’ me some of this dick. Now act like you miss me and haven’t seen me in four weeks. As you see, I have been counting.”
Damn, he said to himself. Then decided to go with the flow. “We do miss you, girl.” He was kissing all over her neck and had his hand up her pajama top feeling her breasts.
“I miss you more.” She was breathing heavy and ready to fuck. “Wait a minute. Who is we?” Nina teased.
“You know who we is.” He took Nina’s hand and slid it down the front of his jeans. “Me and him. And he said he is extremely glad to see you.”
Nina giggled and ran her hand along the length of his dick. It was stiff and long, just the way she liked it. She slid her thumb back and forth across the head, playing in the precum. “Mmm. I got a few words I need to say to this guy right now,” she purred. She got on her knees and gave him some head.
They then ended up fucking right there in the hallway but Nina was not done with him. She noticed that he started fixing his clothes. “Uh-uh, I know you don’t think you finished.” She was now pulling him towards her bedroom. They were walking backwards. Nina was tugging at Reese’s shirt and trying to unzip his pants all at once.
“Wait. Hold up, Nina, we have to talk.”
“Daddy, all I want to hear come out of your mouth are moans,” she whispered as she continued to get ready to get some more dick. “That was just round one.”
They made it to the bedroom. She undressed him and Reese was now lying on his back, one hand behind his head the other rubbing his dick. Nina was standing over him holding on to the rail attached to the canopy bed. She was playing with her clit and on the verge of cumming.
“Hold up, baby, not so fast. Let me finish you off.”
Nina moved her hand to her breast and spread her legs. Reese climbed over to where she was and started licking her pussy. Nina grabbed on to his head to stabilize her trembling body. Reese kept licking until she pushed his head away. He then lay back down on his back, dick standing straight up. Nina squatted over him backwards, and eased all the way down on his pole, her hands around her ankles. Reese wrapped his hands around hers so she couldn’t move and began pumping up in her slowly. Each time he would slide all the way out of her and would go back in deeper. This drove Nina crazy.
“Reese,” she moaned. “My spot. Keep hittin’ my spot.” He came out and went in deeper. When he felt her spot he hit it until he felt her pussy muscles strangling his dick, she started cumming, let go of her ankles and fell forward.
Reese smiled as he hurriedly climbed on top of her limp body and started hitting it from the back until he went limp and fell beside her. She dozed off while Reese rose up and sat on the side of the bed. He lit a blunt and looked around the room. He got up and started packing all of his stuff. After he was done and fully dressed, he rubbed Nina’s back. “Baby, I came to talk to you about something.”
Nina’s eyes popped open, and when she looked around at his stuff packed her face frowned up and she jumped out of the bed and threw on her robe. “Baby, what’s the matter? Where are you taking your stuff?”
“Look, Nina. I care about you and I have been trying my damndest to make sure that I don’t cause you any unnecessary heartache.”
He now had her undivided attention. This didn’t sound good. Nina backed up a little to brace herself for what was about to come out of Reese’s mouth. “Nina, I know it’s been a while since I have been down here. But it’s not just because I’m real busy.” An unsettling pause came over the room and with hesitation in his voice he took a deep breath and said, “I have a family.”
Nina looked at Reese as if she did not know him.
“What did you just say?”
“I have a family, Nina.” He stood up and came towards her.
She looked at him as if he had lost his mind.
“You came all this fucking way to tell me you have a family? You could have called me and told me that shit over the phone,” Nina said, unable to mask her disappointment. She turned to walk away from him but he grabbed her arm and she quickly snatched away from him.
“Nina. I respect you too much to call you on some damn phone and tell you something as sensitive as this. I owe you and respect you more than that.”
“At least it would have been a littler easier and less embarrassing for me.” She felt as if she was just stabbed in the heart, and was hoping for him to tell her he was only joking. When he didn’t say anything she said, “Look, you don’t owe me anything, Reese. You helped me when I really needed you and I guess I paid all my debts in pussy. But hey, it was good while it lasted.” And she meant that. She was so caught up that she failed to see the signs. He didn’t move in with her, his visits started getting too far in between, shit, he was just too good to be true.
Reese stood there feeling like shit. “Nina, you know that ain’t right. You know I got mad love for you, and it’s because of those feelings I knew I had to be honest with you. My conscience wouldn’t have it any other way.” He could have kept enjoying the best of both worlds. But from past experience he knew that eventually somebody would have found out.
Shit, the way I’m feeling you, fuck your conscience. You could have kept that honesty shit to yourself. Nina looked at him with disgust and hurt in her eyes as the tears began to trickle down her cheeks. “Well if you are done being honest, I guess you have a plane to catch.” She proceeded to walk to the door.
Reese was right behind her. He grabbed her by the arm and pulled her close to him. Nina wanted to resist but his strong arms felt too good wrapped around her. She took a minute to enjoy what she knew would be their last embrace. She thought about all of the contentment and joy he had brought to her. How he was there when she needed someone the most. Then she finally got the strength to break away. “Go, Reese. Don’t make this harder than it already is.” She put her head down and turned to open the door, refusing to look at him. “Go.” Her voice trembled.
“Nina, don’t be like that.” Reese tried to plead with her.
“Please, Reese. If you meant any of what you said about how you feel about me, you would just leave.” With that, he walked out of her house and out of her life. She closed the door, slid down on the floor and cried.
Excerpted from The Golden Hustla by Clark, Wahida Copyright © 2010 by Clark, Wahida. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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