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Special checked to make sure that her son, Li'l Papio, or Li'l Pee as she affectionately called him, was properly secured in his car seat before turning toward Poppa Blue and Bernadine. She smiled at him, kissed him, and said, "Are you ready to go on a trip with Mommy? We're about to go spend some time with your other grandma." Li'l Pee gave her a sweet smile and waved toward Bernadine.
Bernadine waved back to the toddler that she had been taking care of since his birth fifteen months ago. She knew the day would come when Special would decide to start playing a larger role in her son's life. She understood; yet, she regretted it because it felt as if she were losing her own child. She sighed as she gave Special Li'l Pee's diaper bag along with some stern instructions.
"He's started to teeth, so I made sure to put in a couple of extra bottles of Tylenol liquid for him. You'll know when it's bothering him because he'll whine and put his hands on his cheeks."
"Okay, I'll be sure to look for that and let Mama Mia know as well. All right, let me get on the road. I'll give you a call to let you know we made it once we get there."
"So, you're going to let him stay with Mama Mia while you're out in Texas?" asked Poppa Blue.
Special shrugged and said, "That depends on how they get along. If it looks like it's all good, yeah, I'll let her keep him for a few days and tell her that you and Bernadine will come and get him in a week or so."
Bernadine smiled and said, "That's fine, Special. I'm sure they'll get along great. No need to rush. Go on and let my baby boy enjoy his other grandmother."
Special hugged Bernadine and said, "Thank you. Thank you so much. I know this is hard for you, and believe me, no matter what, you'll never be removed from our lives. You raised my child ever since he was born. He is your grandchild, Bernadine. If anything happens to me, you and Poppa Blue will have full authority to make the decisions for Li'l Pee's life. Everything has been taken care of legally, so don't worry about anything, okay?"
With tears in her eyes, Bernadine nodded and smiled as she waved at Li'l Pee who was staring at her from the backseat of Special's BMW. "Now, you go on and get my baby to his grandmother. We'll talk to you guys later."
Poppa Blue smiled and said, "Give me a call when you hit Dallas. Jimmy Ross will be waiting for your call, so you make sure you get at him when you touch."
She grinned and said, "Always." As she got inside of her car, she waved before starting the car and pulling out of the driveway.
Poppa Blue and Bernadine watched until they were out of sight and then turned and went back inside of their home, both caught up in their own thoughts. Bernadine was wondering if there was anything she had forgotten to tell Special about Li'l Pee, and Poppa Blue was wondering how all of this mess was going to play out. He hoped and prayed that Papio did right by Special because if he didn't, he knew that he would have to kill that young man with his own hands. Special was more than just a business associate. She was like his own child, and he loved her as such.
Special and her son enjoyed the ride out to Riverside laughing and singing as she drove on the freeway. She couldn't believe how much fun she was having with him. Li'l Pee was so alert and smart; he had the same intense light brown eyes as his father and was just as handsome. Though Bernadine had taken care of him since he was born, Special made sure that she saw him as much as possible, so there weren't any problems with them knowing each other. Li'l Pee knew she was his "momma," and she loved that more than anything. Never in a million years did she think she would have any kids, but when she found out that she was pregnant three months after the shooting in Dallas, she knew she could never have an abortion. She knew without a doubt that the child growing inside of her belly was Papio's.
She went and had a sit-down with Poppa Blue and Bernadine and told them everything. When Bernadine offered to take care of the baby, Special instantly knew that would be the right thing to do because she was too heavy in the streets to be taking time out to raise a child alone. So everything was arranged. After the birth of her child, she would give him to Bernadine and Poppa Blue to raise until she felt it was time for her to slow down and take care of him herself. It may have seemed cruel to those looking in from the outside, but it made perfect sense to Special, and that's all that mattered.
Here it was, almost a year and a half later, and everything was good. Papio seemed to be back in her life, and shit was going to be straight with the Cubans, thanks to the device and Papio. Now, all she had to do was drop the bomb on him and hope that he wouldn't be too salty at her for keeping this from him for so long.
When she informed Mama Mia about Li'l Pee, Mama Mia was so excited she practically jumped her. She couldn't wait for this meeting, and now that it was about to happen, Special realized she was just as excited as Mama Mia was. Li'l Pee was about to meet some of his family, his blood-related family. This meant a lot to her because she was the only child and didn't have any living relatives to her knowledge. She lost her mother when she was young to her female lover, and since then, the only family she knew was Poppa Blue and Bernadine. To be able to give her son some real blood-related family members meant the world to her. It was important to her that he has as much a normal life as possible.
No fucked-up life for my child, she thought. I'm going to make sure he has everything and wants for nothing. I know once Papio sees him, he's going to fall in love with his seed. Li'l Pee had the same bronze-colored complexion as his father, as well as his long, silky hair. Li'l Pee's wasn't past his shoulders yet, but it was well on its way. Bernadine had wanted to cut his hair when he turned one, but Special told her no way. She wanted him to grow his hair long like his father's. Right now, it was just a bunch of tangled, jet-black curls and made her child look absolutely adorable.
When Special pulled into the driveway of Papio's home in Riverside, Mama Mia was standing in the doorway smiling brightly. As soon as the car stopped, she ran outside to greet them. Paying no attention to Special, Mama Mia went directly to the backseat of the car and opened the door with tears in her eyes as she smiled lovingly at her grandchild. One look at Li'l Pee and she knew without a doubt that Special had told her the truth. He was her son's twin!
"Oh, thank you, Virgin Mother! Thank you for my little mijo!" she screamed as she undid the car seat and smiled as she planted wet kisses all over Li'l Pee's face. Li'l Pee giggled and smiled from all of the affection he was receiving from his grandmother. Mama Mia turned and carried him inside of the house, holding him tightly against her chest.
Special followed them inside with the child's diaper bag, smiling as she watched Mama Mia interact with her son. This was truly a special day for both of them. "Mama Mia, here is his diaper bag. I know he's wet, so we better change him."
"Sí, Special. You go; let me take care of my little mijo. We will be just fine. Go make calls or do something. We will be just fine!"
Special started laughing as she sat down and watched the two of them. Everything just may be all right, she thought with a goofy grin on her face.
* * *
Papio had a smile on his face when he heard the garage door to his home in Oklahoma City begin to open. He arrived home a few hours before Brandy, and he knew she would be surprised and excited to see him. Though he was excited to see her, he was still having some serious doubts because he couldn't seem to get Special off his mind. A part of him wanted to hurt her, and a part of him wanted to love her, and that was eating at him constantly. She cannot be trusted; she cannot be trusted, was what he kept telling himself. But then he could close his eyes and see that small gap between her teeth when she smiled, and his heart began to skip beats. He knew he was still in love with her, and that was so fucked up. Or was it?
He shook his head and smiled. "Fuck it, I'll deal with that shit later," he said aloud as he went to go greet Brandy. He planned on enjoying her for a few days before he went to Dallas to relax and get things ready for the move that Quentin was looking for him. Until then, he would put Special on the back burner, and Brandy's sexy ass would have his full attention.
When Brandy walked into the kitchen from the garage and saw Papio standing next to the stove with that cocky grin on his face, she dropped her purse, ran, and jumped into his arms. "Daddy!" She planted a firm kiss on his lips and gave him some deep tongue action. After she pulled back for some air, she smiled at him and asked, "When did you get in town? Why didn't you call me so I could have come and picked you up from the airport? Is everything okay? Nothing has happened, has it?"
"Whoa, mami, hold up. Everything is good. I'm home for a few days before I go to Texas to make some moves. What, I can't come back and spend some time with my baby? You do know I've been missing you, right?"
"Humph, you better have been missing me, especially after you made me come back home so fast."
"Stop that. You know how it is when it comes to the business. Later for that, though. I'm home now, so let's kick it. What you wanna do? Go out and get something to eat or stay here and chill?"
She smiled seductively, stepped away from him, and began to undo the slacks of her pantsuit. By the time she had pulled off her blouse and was down to nothing but her thong and matching lacy bra, she said, "I think we better stay here and chill, daddy, because I need me some of that dick. I need it bad. Come fuck me for a couple of hours, and then I'll make you something to eat."
"Come fuck you? Damn, mami, what's gotten into you with all of this aggression?"
"It's been a few weeks since this kitty has been touched, daddy. I'm hotter than a six-shooter right now, and only you can cool me off. Dead all that talkin'. Get naked and come upstairs and give me what I need!"
He smiled as he pulled off his Ed Hardy tee and said, "Hotter than a six-shooter, huh? That's some straight country shit right there, mami. Don't trip, though; I got your fine ass. You'll be begging me to pull this dick outta ya ass in a few hours! Now get up them stairs 'cause it's on!" he said as he slapped her hard on her firm ass cheeks.
* * *
After several hours of taking pictures, playing, and eating, the day finally came to an end. Mama Mia bathed Li'l Pee and put him to bed in her bedroom. She was not letting that gorgeous child out of her sight for anything in the world. Special was resting downstairs in the media room watching television when Mama Mia came down and joined her.
"Tell me, mija, how are we going to do this? I want my grandson to be able to spend as much time with me as possible. I understand what you say about Poppa Blue and his wife, Bernadine. God bless them both. But I want to be able to see my little mijo as much as I can."
"I give you my word, Mama Mia, you will always be a major part of your grandson's life. I'm so sorry for keeping him away from you this long. It looks like me and Papio may make a go of being together, so that makes everything that much better. If we don't make something good out of this relationship, I'll make sure Li'l Pee gets to spend plenty of time with you," Special said sincerely.
"Thank you, mija, thank you for blessing me with such a beautiful grandbaby. I love him so much! He's so wonderful! You have to tell Papio soon, mija. He needs to meet his son. Maybe, just maybe, this child will take him from the things he do. Please, mija, tell my mijo about his son soon, sí?"
Special nodded and said, "I plan on telling him as soon as I make it to Dallas in a couple of days. I want him to know his son and hopefully love him as much as we do, Madre. I just hope he won't be angry at me for keeping Li'l Pee from him this long."
"Bah, he may be a little mad, but once he sees his son, all of that will vanish quickly, you will see."
"I hope you're right." Before Special could continue, her cell phone rang. She checked the caller ID and saw that it was an 805 area code number. She smiled because she knew it was from Keli who was chilling with Twirl in Hawaii. She answered her phone. "What's good with you, tropical girl?" Keli laughed and said, "Girl, if you thought it was fly out there in Aruba, you must come out this way. It's totally awesome! What you been doing?" "Not much really, other than relaxing and introducing Li'l Pee to his grandmother."
"What? Get the fuck outta here! How did she react? Was she mad?"
"Nope. She's madly in love with her grandson."
"Who wouldn't? That little boy is fine and is going to break plenty of hearts when he grows up. So, I assume you're going to tell his father about him soon, huh?"
"Yep. I'm bouncing to Dallas in a couple of days, and then we'll have that talk."
"Good. I won't front. I wasn't feeling that nigga, but after meeting him and watching his swag, I have to admit he is on some real shit. After hearing the way Twirl speaks about him makes me feel even more comfortable with him. He loves you too. I can see it in his eyes, girl."
Special smiled into the receiver and said, "I know. That's the same thing his mother told me."
"It's going to work out, and everything will be good."
"I hope so."
"Know this; if that nigga does decide to do the goofy, he will be dealt with, serious talk."
"You are in no position to be that way, K. I'd never ask you to get all in my B.I. like that and ruin the happiness you've found with Twirl."
"You sound really stupid right now. I love my baby, and I do plan on being with him for the rest of my days. But if that nigga crosses you in any way or harms you in any way, it's off with his fucking head, straight up and down. And as much as it pains me to say this, if my baby gets in the way, he will get it too."
"That's the love, girl. I appreciate that. Hopefully, it won't go that route, and everything can be everything. Look, I'm about to get some rest. It's been a long day out here. Me and Mama Mia have been busy wrestling with Li'l Pee. It's time for me to take a long, hot bath and crash. I'll hit you up in a few days once I make it to Texas."
"Okay, that's what's up. Twirl wanted me to ask you if you have spoken to Papio. He's hit him a few times and got his voicemail every time."
"I spoke with him a couple of times when we first made it back from Colorado. He's good, though, because he sent me a text the other day when he first made it out there. He's probably busy checking on things out that way. Y'all just make sure you're on point so when everything is ready to go down, we can make it do what it do."
"We're on some chill shit right now, but when y'all call, we'll be there, you better believe that shit. We're always ready to get that fucking money!"
"I know that's right. All right, then, girl, I'll give you a holla when I make it to Texas."
"Bye, girl," Keli said and hung up the phone.
Mama Mia went upstairs to go to bed while Special was talking to Keli so after she ended that call, she decided to give Papio a call. When his phone went straight to voicemail, she wondered if he was okay while she left him a message.
"Hey, Clyde, it's me. Just checking on you. Keli and Twirl were wondering if you were good out there; me too. Hope everything is everything, baby. I've been thinking about you. Get at me when you get this message to let me know you're straight out there. I'll give you a call tomorrow to let you know when I'll be that way. I love you, Clyde, I really do. Some straight corny shit, I know, but it is what it is, Clyde. I'm your Bonnie; never forget that. Bye."
After she hung up the phone, she went into Papio's bedroom and found one of his T-shirts and took it into the guest room where she would be sleeping for the night. After taking a long, hot bath, she slipped on Papio's T-shirt and climbed into bed and fell asleep thinking about her son and his father. Could they be one happy family was the question running through her mind as she slowly drifted off to sleep.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "They Don't Play Fair"
Copyright © 2019 Clifford "Spud" Johnson.
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.
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