Charlene and Ne'Vaeh have been rivals ever since they were students at Howard University, both vying for the love of the same man. When the dust finally settled, Ne'Vaeh was brokenhearted, and Charlene was pregnant by Aaron--or so she said.
In spite of Charlene's attempts to make her life miserable, Ne'Vaeh managed to move on and rekindle a relationship with Jamie, her first love. Unfortunately, that was not the end of her problems.
The tension continues to build as Jamie struggles to tell Ne'Vaeh the truth about him and Charlene and their night in Miami. He has just gotten Ne'Vaeh back after four long years. How can he reveal his truth without losing her?
Ne'Vaeh knows something isn't right when Jamie starts acting weird. She already has her guard up with Jamie, afraid that he will hurt her again. As usual, Charlene's attempts to keep everyone on edge are not making Ne'Vaeh's life any easier.
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.80(d)|
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"Push!" The doctors cradled my baby's head in their hands as I struggled to push her out. Two nurses braced my legs as I struggled to bear down.
I screamed out in agony, not because I was in pain, but I was crying because my baby was suffocating. As I pushed my baby out, the doctor's unwound the cord that was tightly wrapped around her neck. I could tell by the horrified looks on their faces that my baby was already gone.
I screamed out as the baby's shoulders passed through, and she slipped out into the doctor's hands.
Renée cried with me, patting my forehead with a wet towel.
Anastasia stood to my left, hand over her heart, watching the doctors as they took my child without handing her to me.
"Please tell me Sara's okay!" I cried, my heart in denial. "Let me hold my baby, please! Let me see her!"
Anastasia looked down at me, squeezing my hand in hers.
I watched as the doctors rushed my baby over to a table. She wasn't moving. She was totally purple. They tried resuscitating her, but couldn't bring her back.
I screamed out, nearly passing out, wet hair stuck to my face. My little Sara was gone. The only part of Jamie that I had left was gone.
* * *
I lived in Atlanta, Georgia, in a huge mansion with my cousin, Darryl Allan, and his wife, Anastasia Jones-Allan. I had been living with them for almost three months before I came clean that I was pregnant with Jamie's baby. They didn't force me to go back to Maryland, they didn't force me to go back to Jamie, and they didn't force me to slow down, but they should have. I worked too hard, I sang too hard, I didn't take care of myself. I was in and out of the hospital the entire time that I was pregnant with the baby. My blood pressure was up and down. I was dehydrated constantly, and I couldn't keep any food down. It wasn't until I was a little under seven months pregnant that I stopped feeling my baby moving. Anastasia rushed me to the hospital on June 26, 2015. I was already in labor and had no idea until my water broke in the passenger's seat of Anastasia's Maserati. By the time I made it to the hospital, I felt the urge to push.
* * *
I stayed in bed for nearly three months after my baby passed away. I could still see them lowering my baby's casket into the ground in my head. I lost my baby before I even got the chance to tell Jamie that I was pregnant. I heard through Alisha that Charlie had a healthy baby boy in May. Hearing about Charlie's blissful life made me hate my life even more than I already did. She was modeling, walking the runways, traveling the world, and probably still fuckin' Jamie. I didn't want anything to do with anyone or anything, except Darryl, Anastasia, and Renée.
Renée used all of her sick and vacation leave to stay with me in Georgia. I wouldn't eat or drink anything. I was under a nurse's care, but Renée (who was a nurse herself) did most of the work. She hooked me up to IVs. She helped the nurse bathe me. She brushed my teeth and combed my hair. She even paid an African hair braider to come and braid my hair. She didn't leave my side until I no longer needed an IV. It was August 30 when Renée was ready to head back to Maryland.
Renée sat at the edge of my bed that morning to say good-bye. "I hate to nurse and run, but —" She tried to crack a joke.
Tears slid down my face. "Thank you, Renée. You didn't have to come, but you did, and I thank you."
"Girl, what do you mean I didn't have to come? You're my boo — when you call, you know I'ma come runnin'!" Renée grinned, "I needed an excuse to get away from Maryland anyway. I got tired of chasin' behind that sorry-ass nigga. Life is boring without you, girl. Ain't shit going on there but the same old shit," Renée rolled her eyes. "Besides, I was worried about you."
I can't begin to tell you how many anti-depressants the doctors had me on. Sedation was the only way to keep me calm. There were a few failed attempts at ending my life that summer. I wanted to end all the pain. I felt like a prisoner in my own body. I needed to escape. I left Maryland to get away from pain, only to end back in the same situation in Georgia. I couldn't catch a break. All being in Georgia did was force me to confront the fact that I really needed help. That I couldn't run from myself.
"I should have never left him." I cried.
Renée shook her head. "Sweetie, it isn't your fault that Sara died. You can't keep blaming yourself. You were lucky to even get pregnant, Ne'Vaeh. All your life, the doctors have been telling you that you wouldn't be able to have children."
"Well, I guess they were right, because my little baby is gone! She was the only piece of him that I had left." I cried, tears stinging my cheeks. After she died, the doctors wrapped her in a towel and let me hold her. I could still feel her in my arms.
"Miss," Anastasia's maid, Beth, knocked on my room door. "You have a visitor."
I looked at Renée. "Are we expecting someone?" My heart jumped in my chest because I just knew it was Jamie.
She looked at me and shrugged. "Not that I know of."
The door opened, and there he was. Not Jamie, but Aaron.
I sat up in my bed. Aaron Whitehaven was the last person that I expected to see. He had moved halfway across the world to get away from me and there he was, standing in my doorway, looking like he stepped off the cover of Source magazine.
I lost my breath and my motor skills for a second or two.
Renée got up from the bed, just as shocked to see him as I was. "Aaron? What are you doing here?"
Aaron smiled at her a little. "What's up, Renée? I was in town for a conference, and I ran into Darryl Allan. He said I needed to check up on baby girl, so, here I am."
I couldn't believe it was Aaron. Not Jamie, whose baby that I had just lost, but Aaron.
Renée looked at me. "Ummm, I'll leave you two alone for a few minutes." She walked up to Aaron, her eyes glistening.
Aaron looked at her. "How is she?" He whispered.
Renée looked at me then back at him. "Not good." She whispered back, looking up into his face. "Do you know that you're the only one who's come to see her?"
Aaron shook his head. "Not Jamie? Not even Charlene?"
Renée scoffed. "Charlene who? Ne'Vaeh hasn't heard from her since New Year's. And Ne'Vaeh mailed Jamie an invitation to see her at the BET awards, but the muthafucka never showed up." Renée shook her head, looking up into Aaron's face. "She needs you."
Aaron just looked at Renée at a loss for words, probably shocked that Renée would even admit to herself that Ne'Vaeh needed him.
"Thank you for coming. She needs to know that someone still cares about her." Renée patted Aaron on the shoulder.
Aaron stepped in the room as Renée and Beth stepped out, closing the door behind them. Aaron looked around the room, eying a bassinet and tons of gifts from the baby shower that I had in May. He looked in the empty bassinet that stood beside my bed. Then he looked back at me, eyes lighting up a little. He seemed hopeful for a split second. "Shorty, you had a baby?"
I shook my head at him, and cried out loud, "She's gone!"
Aaron approached my side, sitting down in a chair that sat beside the bed. He reached for my hand. I tried to pull away, but he grabbed my trembling hand anyway. "I'm sorry, Heaven."
"She was so tiny!" I cried. "She was so beautiful. I held her lifeless body in my hands. How am I gonna get over this? Everything that I love, I lose!"
Aaron held both of my hands, pulling me up from the bed, sliding me down onto his lap. He didn't care whether or not he was making me feel uncomfortable. He knew I needed to be held. I cried like a baby on his lap, in his arms. I was so frail and weak. The only thing that had gone into my body for three months was fluid through my IVs. And even that, my body often rejected.
Aaron held me tight against his warm body. I held on to him, crying, face buried in his neck. "Baby, you'll be alright. Nothing lasts forever, even pain." Aaron whispered in my ear. I hadn't seen Aaron since his New Year's party, eight months ago. Though I was in excruciating pain, it felt so good to see that boy.
"Thank you for coming, Aaron." I cried, gripping his jacket in my hands. "Oh, my goodness, it feels so good to see you!"
"I told you I was comin' back for you. What, you thought I was playin'?" He rubbed my back, feeling the bones of my spine through my tank top. "Babe, you gotta eat something."
* * *
Anastasia's cook sat a bowl of chicken soup on the dining room table.
Aaron sat in a chair next to me. Anastasia and Renée stood alongside me, watching me struggle to eat.
Aaron held my hand, taking the spoon from me. I was too weak to even feed myself. I looked up at him, lips trembling.
"I got you," Aaron whispered, scooping noodles into the soup spoon.
"Well," Anastasia choked back the tears, trying her hardest not to cry. She couldn't stand to watch me sink into the depression that I was in. She tried her hardest to build me up those eight months that I'd been there. She gave me a better life. She took me places that I never thought I would go. She put my name in the spotlight. She had music producers and songwriters all over the country begging to work with me. But she knew she couldn't give me what I really needed. "Sweetie, umm, I'm gonna ride with Renée to the airport, okay? If you need me, just hit me on my cell." She kissed my cheek.
I nodded, as Aaron fed me the warm soup.
Renée hugged me around my neck. "Well, cuz, you know the number. I picked up some extra hours at the hospital. They needed someone to be on- call, so I volunteered. And I don't know if you knew, sweetie, but I've been visiting Alisha in the hospital. I mainly volunteered so that I could spend some time with her during the night."
I looked at Renée, struggling to eat the soup. Alisha had been my girl since middle school. Yeah, she gossiped more than the Enquirer, but she never steered me wrong. I should have listened to her in the beginning about Jamie, and maybe then I would have never gotten hurt. Alisha had a massive brain tumor, and it was a wonder she'd lived as long as she did. Twenty years old, and she was dying.
"How is she?" I whispered.
Renée shook her head. "Lucky to be alive," she said as she fought back tears.
"Yeah, the last time that I talked to Ashton, shorty couldn't even talk." Aaron wiped a drop of soup from my lips with his thumb and then licked it from his finger. He was still doing that sexy shit. I don't even think he realized what he was doing.
That was until Anastasia laughed a little. It was the first time I'd heard her laugh in months. "Oh my goodness, boy, you are too cute! Who does that? What kinda man sucks the soup off of a woman's lips? You gotta love that!" She shook her head at Aaron.
Aaron grinned a little.
Renée elbowed Anastasia, rolling her eyes. Though she was impressed that Aaron showed up when he did, she still wasn't his biggest fan. "Anyway, sweetie, Patty will be here around eleven thirty to check on you. You need to do everything that the nurses are asking you to do. Otherwise, your ass is gonna end up back at the hospital! You're like ninety pounds, Ne'Vaeh, and you just had a baby!" She glanced at Aaron.
Aaron looked at her.
"How long are you staying?" Renée folded her arms.
I looked at Aaron.
Aaron looked at me. "A few days, then I'm headed to Cali, then to England with my people." He looked at Renée. "Why? What's up?"
Renée shook her head at him, "I'm just making sure that my cousin has someone to keep her company for a few days. I'm sure you'll make sure she does what she's supposed to. Just make sure you do what you're supposed to do."
Aaron laughed a little. He knew the real Renée would show up sooner or later. "Still playing mom, huh? You still haven't gotten any business of your own, so you can stay the fuck out of other people's?"
Anastasia laughed, pulling Renée back by her arm, "Okay, kids, play nice! It was nice seeing you, Aaron. C'mon, Renée, you're gonna miss your flight."
Renée pulled from Anastasia, throwing her arms around my neck. "Take care of yourself, cuz. And keep your hands to yourself, Aaron." Renée snuck one in before leaving us alone.
Aaron laughed a little, scooping more soup up in the spoon. "Your cousin is something else, I tell you." He said as they left the room. "She looks out for you though. That's what's up." He fed the soup to me.
I looked at him, swallowing the soup. I nodded. "She's not so bad. She just worries about me, that's all. At least somebody does."
Aaron looked at me. He was afraid to ask me about my baby, but he did anyway. "What happened, Heaven? What happened to your baby?"
I really didn't want to talk about my loss, but I knew Aaron wouldn't let up until I said something about her. "H–her umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck. I went into labor just a week or two shy from being seven months pregnant. By the time I got to the hospital, my water had broken, and I was already pushing her out. It was too late. My baby wasn't breathing. Her own umbilical cord killed her." The tears started to slide down my face as I saw my baby's face in my head. She was so tiny, so beautiful, so Jamie.
"Jamie should be here, Heaven." Aaron's temples twitched as he sat the spoon down on the table. "Why the fuck isn't he here with you?"
I dried my tears, shaking my head at Aaron.
Aaron looked at me, realizing by the look on my face that I hadn't even told Jamie about his child. "You didn't tell him?" Aaron shook his head. "Heaven, you didn't tell him he had a baby? You just left the dude in Maryland and didn't tell him that you were pregnant? Is that what happened?"
I looked at him. "He already has a baby, Aaron. I know you've seen the commercials!"
Pictures of Jamie with his first-born son were all over sports magazines across the country. August Carter Green was the most beautiful baby boy you could ever see. He had a father who looked like he jumped straight out of a photo shoot for GQ and a mother who looked like a got-damn Playboy Bunny. Jamie was making a name for himself in both the NFL and the fashion industry, and Charlie wasn't doing so bad herself. I saw her face in a few fashion magazines, and even saw her on a few catwalks on E! She may not have gotten to dance, but her name was still in lights. Little August would never have to want for anything. The bitch had gotten what she wanted — for her and her baby to be in Jamie's life.
Aaron shook his head. I knew he thought that I was wrong, but he left the subject alone. He yawned. "Shit. Excuse me."
I looked at him. "Tired?"
Aaron looked at me, eyes coated in tears from yawning. "Hell yeah. I've been up for like two days straight. They got me running back and forth to press conferences and shit. Miami Heat wants me now, Heaven. I'm thinking of coming back stateside. My agent is trying to talk me out of it, but I miss home."
I looked at him.
"I miss you," Aaron admitted.
I was so cruel to that boy. As soon as Jamie and I got back together, I dissed the hell out of Aaron. Made him really feel like he wasn't shit. Aaron was bold enough to approach me at Jamie's father's funeral, and I shot him down. All the way down. Aaron was a great guy, but I couldn't help who my heart belonged to at the time. Aaron was with Charlie, and we had no business being involved with one another. Had we both known Charlie and Jamie were sleeping together, we would have saved each other a whole lot of heartache, that's for damn sure.
Tears slid down my face. I just couldn't believe that Aaron actually came; that he didn't forget about me; that he still cared.
Aaron held my face in his hands, drying my tears. "How's singing going?" He changed the subject because he knew it wasn't the right time.
I nodded. "Okay, I guess. I didn't get a chance to promote my album. It dropped a few weeks ago, but here I am, in bed. Anastasia canceled my tour and tried to cancel the album release date, but it was too late. Anastasia worked my ass off, do you hear me?"
Aaron laughed a little, watching me force myself to try to smile.
I looked at him, shaking my head. "Anastasia, Darryl, their staff, their managers, their songwriters, their producers, their promoters, their fans ... this is my family now. My life has been nothing but tour buses, studio time, photo shoots, voice lessons, and dance rehearsals — and you know I'm so not a dancer!"
"I don't really have any friends of my own. Anastasia's life has become my life. Renée comes when she can. Juanita writes every once in a while from prison. Autumn came to the BET Awards this past summer to see me; she tried to come when Renée told her that I lost the baby, but I didn't want her to see me like this. You already know me and Charlie don't speak. And Jamie hasn't said a word to me since I turned his proposal down at the airport," I said as I rolled my eyes.
Excerpted from "It's Wrong for Me to Love You Part 3"
Copyright © 2018 Krystal Armstead.
Excerpted by permission of Urban Books, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: The Rescue - Ne'Vaeh,
Chapter 2: Oui - Ne'Vaeh,
Chapter 3: Love 'em All - Charlene,
Chapter 4: Smash-n-Dash - Charlene,
Chapter 5: Feeling Some Kinda Way - Charlene,
Chapter 6: Do You Remember the Time - Charlene,
Chapter 7: She Knows - Ne'Vaeh,
Chapter 8: Money OverEverything - Ne'Vaeh,
Chapter 9: Emotions on Display - Ne'Vaeh,
Chapter 10: Be Without You - Ne'Vaeh,
Chapter 11: Mama's Baby, Daddy's Maybe - Charlene,
Chapter 12: The Test - Charlene,
Chapter 13: Gone - Charlene,
Chapter 14: The Final Good-bye - Charlene,