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By Kiki Swinson, NIKKI TURNER
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2013 Kensington Publishing Corp.
All rights reserved.
Coming Back to Haunt Me
"Hey, baby?" I sang into my cell phone as soon as I heard Sidney's sexy voice come through the line. I could actually picture my husband smiling on the other end of the phone. He always smiled when it came to me.
"Guess where I am? No, silly, I'm not at home butt naked waiting for you." I laughed at his joke. "Seriously, I'm two minutes from the lot. Thought I would surprise you with lunch and a quick midday kitty call," I said seductively.
Sidney sounded excited to hear my voice. He just loved when I did little impromptu things like this. It wasn't always easy finding time to be spontaneous with him being such a busy businessman. He was much older than me, and I guess his previous relationships weren't as much fun. Sometimes I had to pull him out of his shell. It was nothing for me to try to keep him happy, so long as he kept making money.
"Don't worry about what I'm wearing ... you'll see when I get there," I cooed. He was saying something when my phone line beeped with another call interrupting our sexy talk. I pulled the phone away from my ear and saw that it was my mother. I blew out an exasperated breath. She always knew how to interfere at the wrong times. Sidney was saying something dirty, acting like the dirty old man that he was, but I had to cut him short.
"Look, baby, that's my mother on the other line. Let me holla at her and see what she wants. I'll see you in a few. Be ready for me," I told Sidney. He sounded excited as shit as we hung up.
I clicked over and put on my mental suit of armor. I loved my mother, but she could be a nag and annoying as hell too. It didn't make things easy that she basically lived off of me ... well, my husband really. The days of living off of me were long gone. I had come into some money, but I'd burned through it just as fast as I had gotten it. My mother had been right there burning up my little windfall with me. I had done some nice things for her because she raised me as a single mother in the rough streets of DC when most mothers were leaving their kids to go smoke crack and shit. Still, my money was gone, and she and I were basically dependents right now. Sidney took care of me, and in return I took care of my mother.
"Yes, ma. What's up?" I answered the line, my voice dull and lifeless. Nothing like how I'd just spoken to Sidney. I wanted her to know I was busy and didn't have a lot of time to yak it up on the phone with her.
"Gigi?!" my mother belted out, damn near busting my eardrum. I pulled the phone away from my ear for a few seconds and frowned. She was bugging! I could hear her yelling my name again. "Gigi!"
"Slow down, lady ... is everything all right? Why are you yelling?" I asked, concerned. I hadn't heard her all loud like this since she thought she'd hit the lottery a couple of months back. Long story. "You okay?" I asked again.
"Yeah! Yeah ... everything is just fine. I got some news, baby!" she shrieked excitedly. You got a damn job and no longer need to live off of us, was what I was thinking, but I didn't dare say that. Once I realized her high-pitched voice wasn't caused by someone kicking her ass, I calmed down for a few seconds. I let out a long breath waiting to hear some crazy story of hers.
"Okay?" I said expectantly. "What is the news?"
"You will never guess who I spoke to today!" my mother yelped. Before I could even ask who, she volunteered the information. "Warren! I spoke to Warren! Your Warren, baby! He said he is coming home in less than a month and he wants to see us ... well, really, he wants to see you the most," she said excitedly.
I felt like someone had just punched me in the side of my head. An immediate pain crashed into my skull like I'd been hit. "Warren?" I mumbled, my eyebrows immediately dipping on my forehead. I wished my ears had deceived me. A cold feeling shot through my veins and I almost dropped the phone and crashed the car. My heart immediately began thumping wildly, and cramps invaded my stomach like an army going in for the kill.
"Yes! Warren! He is getting out early on some kind of deal or good behavior ... something like that! Isn't that good, Gigi?!" my mother continued.
I was speechless. I couldn't even think. Flashes of Warren's face started playing out in front of me. The last time I saw him haunted me now.
"You there, Gigi?" my mother inquired, her voice changing as she must've realized her news wasn't so good. I swallowed hard before I could get the words to come out of my mouth. I cleared my throat because the lump sitting in the back of it made it hard for me to talk. I could feel anger rising from my feet, climbing up to my head.
"How the hell did Warren get your new number?!" I asked through clenched teeth. My voice had no problems now. My nostrils flared and I gripped the steering wheel so hard veins erupted to the surface of the skin on the back of my hand.
"When I moved you from the fucking hood in Southeast DC, I told you to leave that shit behind altogether!" I chastised. "What is wrong with you?! You just couldn't leave well enough alone!" I barked some more. I was full on sweating now. My head was spinning a mile a minute. She had no fucking idea what she had done. "Whose side are you on?!" I screamed.
My mother was quiet at first. I'm sure she was looking at the phone like it was an alien from outer space. I guess she didn't know how to process my anger. She also didn't know the details of my history with Warren after our arrests, which probably confused her even more. It really wasn't her fault. My mother had always liked Warren for me. I mean, he had scooped me up out of the hood and given me a life my mother knew she could never give me. He didn't spare a dime when it came to her either. Sometimes my mother had seemed more enamored with Warren than me.
It was understandable given her history with men. As a kid, I had watched my mother go from one no-good bastard to another. My father had left as soon as I was born ... typical hood story. My mother had always tried to find that perfect man, so most of my life her bedroom was like a revolving door. There would be one dude this month and another dude the next month. She would always come to me and say, "Gianna, I think this one is going to be your step daddy for sure this time. Baby, we gonna have a good life if it's the last thing I do." Pretty sad when I think back on how desperate my mother had been to find real love. I had watched niggas beat my mother, take her money, steal our TVs, and leave her so depressed she wouldn't get out of bed for weeks.
I was determined to be better than that when I grew up. I wanted to finally give my mother that good life, but school and hard work wasn't in my DNA.
When I met Warren, he became my security blanket. He bought me food, clothes, and eventually, shelter. My mother was love struck herself. I would even catch her blushing sometimes when Warren would come to the house and joke around with her. I don't know why her staying in touch with Warren came as such a shock to me now. I always knew she'd probably pick him over me in a close call situation anyway. Plus, I had never told her what I'd done to him after he and I got knocked riding dirty. After Warren went to federal prison, I played the whole distraught girlfriend role in front of my mother, never letting on to the truth of the situation. She had seemed torn even then.
The news my mother had just dropped on me had me reeling. I started calculating shit in my head. I had been given a false sense of security thinking Warren was going to do much longer in prison. I didn't think he would be getting out so soon.... It had only been four years and according to the information I got, Warren had been charged with all types of gun charges, RICO shit, and the whole nine yards. I was under the impression from the feds that Warren would have the book thrown at his ass when he got sentenced.
Someone had fucking lied to me. This was definitely not part of the plan I had hatched back then. Even still, I thought for sure I had made provisions where Warren would never find me. I had changed my name slightly—no longer going by Gianna, I was now simply Gigi. I had moved out of DC, finally settling in country-ass Virginia, and started living the quiet, kept life as the wife of a fucking old rich dude, who technically could be my father. It would take my mother to fuck that all up!
"Ma ... how did Warren get your phone number?" I asked again, finally able to calm myself down. My jaw rocked feverishly waiting for her answer. I was praying it wasn't her. I was hoping deep inside Warren had just paid a private investigator or some other Lifetime movie type shit.
"Gigi, when we moved from DC, I stayed in touch with Warren. I thought you would get over being mad at him one day and get back with him. I didn't know you were going to marry so fast. Warren was the only man who had ever done anything good for us and I felt obligated to him. He didn't have any family, so I wrote him letters and sent him packages. Not like you ... you just got a new man and moved on," she replied.
All of my hopes of my mother NOT being the culprit who blew my cover were dashed. I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs. What a dumb bitch! How fucking stupid can you be?! I couldn't say those words, but I sure as hell was thinking them. Panic hit me like a wrecking ball going into a building at top speed. Warren was the last person on earth I wanted to see or hear from right fucking now. I had to breathe slowly through my mouth to calm down enough to keep talking to my mother. I also had to pay attention to the road.
"What have you told him about me?!" I inquired loudly. My voice quivered just thinking about ever seeing Warren again. This was definitely not what I had planned. Again, I silently hoped that my mother had never discussed me with Warren.
"Everything. He knows you're married. He said he is happy for you. He knows you are doing well living here in Virginia Beach with your new husband. I didn't see the problem. The man is locked up and he was still asking about you. I think he always loved you, Gianna. All I can say is sorry, but Warren seemed very happy for you," my mother said apologetically. Something like a cord just snapped inside of me. I was literally coming apart at the seams listening to her.
"You are stupid! You had no right telling him my business! He is my ex and you don't know what the fuck I went through with him because I never told you! Just because you would do any fucking thing just to say you had a man doesn't mean I grew up to be like you!" I boomed, the cruel words hurling from my mouth like hard rocks. I breathed out a long, hard windstorm of breath.
"Did you also tell him who I am married to? Anything about where I live? Or maybe you gave him my fucking social security number while you were at it?" I asked, trying to sound as calm as I could. It wasn't working; the base in my voice was deep and intimidating.
"Well, excuse me! I thought you would want him to know how well you were doing now seeing that he almost caused you to go to prison right along with him. He didn't even sound like he was interested in getting back with you at all. His questions were all general ... seemed to just want to know you were all right. I'm sorry if you feel like I did something wrong, but the last time I checked I don't have anything to hide," my mother retorted.
I immediately felt guilty for calling her stupid. I had to try and pull myself together. It wasn't her fault.
She was right. She had no idea what had happened, and maybe she just wanted Warren to know that despite the jeopardy he'd put me in four years earlier, I was doing just fine. There were a few minutes of awkward, eerie silence on the phone line. My mother wasn't the quiet type, so I knew the silence meant she was truly at a loss for words.
"I gotta go," I said. I didn't give her a chance to say a word. I just hung up the phone. A loud horn blaring behind me almost caused me to drive off the road. I swerved my car a little bit to keep from hitting others.
"What the fuck?!" I screamed, looking into my rearview mirror. I swerved onto the shoulder of the road. The string of cars behind me passed by, drivers cursing at me and laying on their horns. I was shaken up. I clutched my chest. I had been so distracted by what she was telling me that I was driving slow as hell, holding up traffic. The news from my mother had fucked me up so badly I couldn't even drive. I put my car in Park and sat there for a few minutes.
"Warren is coming home early and knows where I am," I said out loud as if I had to convince myself that what I'd heard was true. My insides churned and I felt like I had to throw up. My legs rocked in and out feverishly. I could see the snarl on Warren's face as clear as day in my mind's eye. I knew him so well. I knew how he was when it came to shit like loyalty too. I had made a promise to him that I hadn't kept. I had also seen Warren's wrath firsthand. There was no way he would just let go of what I had done to him. I could hear him speaking to me now. "No matter what, just never cross me. I can live with everything else. Just never betray me." Warren had said those words to me on several occasions. The same words over and over, he never changed it up. Each time he had said them, in return I promised him that I'd always be loyal, never cross him. I had sworn. I had pledged my allegiance to him. But then I'd turned around and committed the worst Judas act of treason against him.
"Fuck!" I screamed, slamming my fists on my steering wheel until they hurt. "Fuck! Gigi! What the fuck have you done?! What the fuck are you going to do now?!" I yelled out loud. Where Warren and I came from, what I had done was a cardinal sin. In any hood I knew of, snitching and stealing were both acts as heinous as raping a child or killing your own parents. That is how seriously street niggas took it. Most of the niggas I knew, Warren included, lived by the death before disloyalty creed. I was terrified just thinking about the consequences. Maybe he'd shoot me execution style right in front of my mother. Maybe Warren would torture me with battery acid and jumper cables before finally putting me out of my misery. I could only imagine. I closed my eyes and all I could do was think back to how things had gone so wrong. How we'd gone from being so happy—the hood's Prince William and Kate—to being the hunter and the hunted. I kept thinking. Thinking. Something I had tried to avoid doing for four years now. I couldn't help it. My mind went back.
In This Together
Washington, DC, 2008
Warren sat on the all-white, butter-soft leather sofa, in just his wife beater and boxers, flipping the channels on the sixty-five-inch flat-screen television that covered the wall in front of him. I stomped over to him, my cell phone in hand ready for whatever. I wore only a pink and black Victoria's Secret lace bra and thong set. I stood my beautiful ass right in front of him, blocking his view of the basketball game he'd finally settled on. I jutted my arm out and put my cell phone screen right in his face. Warren looked up at me like I had just slapped him. I didn't give him a chance to say shit before I went in on him.
"So who is this bitch now, Warren? I mean, she keeps on calling my fucking cell phone and texting me talking shit! Why do I have to go through this shit all of the time!" I screamed as Warren looked at me like I was crazy.
Excerpted from MOST WANTED by Kiki Swinson, NIKKI TURNER. Copyright © 2013 Kensington Publishing Corp.. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
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