Read an Excerpt
How They Began
The year was 2000. Kisa Montega was twenty-one, daring and very attractive. Her skin was like caramel. Her eyes were like chocolate, and her hair draped her face in a long doobie wrap. Her wardrobe complemented her beauty even her jeans and sneakers were Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, and Prada.
When she maneuvered through downtown Manhattan, she appeared to be an entertainer, model, or young businesswoman.
She was definitely business-minded, but quite the opposite of what everyone expected.
Her nickname was Kisa Kane and she happened to run the most lucrative cocaine business in Manhattan. She, her sister, and two cousins, the four were a deadly foursome; their roots said it all: Black Dominican and South American.
Kisa and her sister Shea had not been raised together, because they did not have the same mother. Years earlier Kisa had moved down south with her father and mother to attend school. She had always returned to New York for summers and holidays.
Kisa was closer to her two cousins on her mother's side, Eisani and TaTa. They looked like triplets when they were together.
Many joked that Kisa and Eisani had really been separated at birth. Both had the same hustling mentality, and the resemblance was eerie, though Kisa, six months older and a bit thicker than Eisani, had a lighter complexion with a more golden tone to her skin.
Kisa's stint as a hustler began down south when she was in high school, selling dime bags of weed. She'd never imagined in her wildest dreams that it would lead to dealing coke. Her future as a legitimate citizen seemed so bright; she excelled in academics and athletics. Believing she would go far with her many achievements, she moved back north for college.
Kisa attended Hunter College while living in Harlem. She always dated or ran with hustlers, who could bless her with expensive gifts. She accepted the gifts, even though she could provide for herself. Kisa ran with a thorough crew of guys who not only had the streets uptown on lock, they also pumped work into the surrounding boroughs. Kisa was like a little sister to them, and they were very protective of her. But some of them had secret fantasies about her.
It was through them that she'd gotten into the business. She started out simply delivering packages throughout the five boroughs for five hundred dollars a day. Then it escalated to trafficking from state to state. From there she went to Caribbean islands picking up packages from suppliers; and finally to running her own blocks in Harlem all by the age of nineteen.
But the day after Kisa's twentieth birthday, things changed drastically. Sincere, the boss of the family, gave Kisa an elaborate party at the Carbon in downtown Manhattan. Everyone was there, from Mase to Mary J. Blige, to all the big hustlers from the five boroughs. The haters were there too, including all of the chicks who loathed Kisa. She didn't give a damn, though.
"Don't know, don't care. Can't none of them beat my ass anyway," were her exact words when Eisani asked her, "Why them bitches here, Kane?" as she pointed out a group of girls from the Bronx she and Kisa had beef with a few months earlier. Kisa could feel them watching her, so she partied even harder just to let them know she wasn't at all concerned about them.
The party was lavish but Sincere felt that nothing was too good for Kisa tonight. So he went all out open bar, free bottles of Moët & Chandon, Dom Pérignon, and Cristal. He and Kisa had an on-again, off-again relationship, but Sincere had plans on changing that. Tonight they were dressed almost alike in matching winter white leather; they hadn't even planned it. The two of them were just in sync with one another that much.
Kisa's outfit was barely anything; the shorts were so short you would think she only had on a single-breasted jacket. Sincere kept it gully, he wore a white Iceberg sweater, baggy white leather pants, a pair of fresh white Uptowns.
Kisa popped Cristal and danced the night away with any- and everybody. Sincere just watched as niggas stuffed money and their phone numbers into her birthday bag. He was pissed, but there wasn't anything he could say; she wasn't his girl. When she chose him, he didn't seem to choose her, so her attitude toward him was, "Fuck him!"
Eisani watched Sincere as he watched Kisa; she could see the emotion in his face. Eisani walked over to Kisa's table. "Ma, you know you making Sincere upset."
"And how am I doing that?"
"Don't look but he's been watching you, and he see all these niggas in your face while you giving them your Miss America smile."
"Just the way he see all that, I see all his bitches here at my party, all in his face. He's not my man anyway."
Eisani sighed and walked away. She was trying her best to get them together. They loved each other so much, but neither wanted to get hurt again; so they were selfish with their feelings. And it didn't help that they were both as stubborn as mules.
Kisa looked to her right and caught Sincere staring. She got up, walked over to him, and wrapped her arm around him, knowing every chick was watching. She leaned in and whispered in his ear, "Baby, what's the matter?"
"Nothing. Why you ask me that?"
"You over here looking at me all strange."
"I was just watching all those fake-ass niggas all in your face."
"Why you worried about them? I'm not going home with them."
He gave her a sly smile. "Oh, word."
"That's my word. So you ready to go, pa?"
"Yeah, let me get your drunk ass out of here before I have to hurt one of these niggas."
The next morning, Sincere woke Kisa up with the sweetest kisses and licks, until she almost came in his mouth, which was right where he wanted her.
He pulled back and gently slid inside of her; placing one of her legs on his shoulder, he began stroking her slowly. She could only throw her head back and moan. He would make love to her slowly until they could climax together, or until Kisa started speaking in Spanish. That always made Sincere cum early, no matter how hard he tried to fight it. She spared him this time and they came together. They were so exhausted they just lay in silence.
Kisa got up, showered, and then cooked breakfast. She brought cheese eggs, steak, and pancakes to the bedroom on a tray and waited for Sincere to come out of the shower. He came out wrapped in a towel and saw the food. "Damn, I must have dicked you down good! I ain't never got breakfast."
"You never been here past eight o'clock in the morning."
"Come on, ma, don't start that. I'm here now." He sat down on the opposite side of the bed, reached in the nightstand drawer, and pulled out four boxes.
Kisa's eyes lit up. It was the love of her life jewelry! She snatched the boxes from him. The first contained a platinum and diamond baguette necklace, with a hidden setting. A matching bracelet was in the second.
When Kisa reached for the third box, which contained a pair of matching earrings, Sincere snatched the fourth one away. All the pieces were beautiful and all were custom-made. When she reached for the last box, Sincere shook his head.
"Come on, Sin, give me the box, stop bullshittin'."
"This ain't no bullshit. The only way you can have this box is if you agree to be my wifey!"
The next thirty seconds seemed like an eternity. Everything went through her head: She had saved plenty of money she had a nice co-op in Esplanade Gardens, a 1999 4.6 Range Rover, plus a lucrative hair salon on 125th Street. Now she was ready to get out of the game with RICO and Rockefeller laws in full effect, niggas was getting knocked right and left. Not to mention the snitches, the jealous hos, and even more stickup kids. One question stuck out in her mind: Would being Sin's wife really take her out of the game? Or would it make matters worse?
Kisa wasn't naïve; she knew how niggas got down when it came to street shit and handling it. She knew the first thing they loved to do was kidnap someone's wife to get what they wanted.
Sincere stood over Kisa, staring at her. He finally interrupted her train of thought. "Did I ask you the twenty-thousand-dollar question or something?"
Snapping out of her trance, she replied, "I was just thinking how I've been wanting to get out of the game. The jail time and the danger stay on my mind, and if I become your wife, it will be even more dangerous for me."
He just looked at her and smiled; one of the things he loved about her was that she was a strategist, always thinking on her feet. "Look, Kane, I know we've had our bouts in the past, but I always knew you were the one. I planned this months before I ever thought about giving you a birthday party. Last night really got to me, watching those niggas drool over you like I wasn't there." He grabbed her hand. "I always respected your space, because I never officially gave you the title of being my girl. You've always been loyal to me, never messed with any of my friends. You've always been able to take care of yourself, so I know you not after my paper like all those other gold-digging bitches. All I'm trying to say is if I have you, everything in my life will be complete."
"But, Sincere, baby, how much longer do you have to keep dealing? We both have more than enough saved to leave all this street shit alone and run our legit businesses," she pointed out.
"You know it's not that simple for me to get out, ma. Just say yes, and you never have to play the streets as long as I'm around. I don't know what you're worried about someone stepping to you for. Shit, I've seen you hold your own, the way you blazed that .380 at those stickup kids that day. Stop fronting like you not nice with yours, shorty."
She knew that there was nothing else to say. She sat on his lap, hugged his neck, and said, "Of course I'll be your wife."
Sincere opened the box. The ring was five karats, baguettes and solitaires, set in platinum.
Copyright © 2007 by Danielle Santiago