Nobody’s Business: Prologue and Chapter 1

Prologue

 

“Yo, Tre, what are you doing outside? The party is in there, man.” The groom stumbled, caught himself against the doorjamb.

I chuckled. “Shaun, you’re drunk.”

“So what? It’s my party.” He raised his beer bottle and gulped the remaining liquid. “Tomorrow, I’ll be a married man.” He grinned like an idiot.

I tilted my head, raised an eyebrow. “Are you happy about that…or sad? Right now it could be a toss-up.”

“Happy!” He grinned, then spied the empty lawn chair beside me, stumbled his way over and plopped down. His butt nearly hit the ground. “Whew!”

I shook my head and watched my fraternity brother as he got comfortable. Shaun’s hair was disheveled from the stripper who’d worked her magic in his lap. The frat brothers decided to give him a proper send off by hiring a few girls for the night. Everyone knew his fiancé wouldn’t approve, so we went out of our way to keep it a secret. The look on his face when the women showed up an hour into what appeared to be a humble bachelor party was priceless.

Happy…

Seeing this brother’s enthusiasm for the arrangement was intriguing.

The idea of marriage was something I avoided. The opportunity had presented itself once, and I gladly declined. The consequences that followed had been…well…the word itself didn’t have a positive connotation.

“Shaun, if you’re happy, why in the hell are you drunk right now?”

He struggled to sit up and faced me. “Honestly? To keep myself out of trouble. If I’m drunk, I won’t be tempted. I can’t start my marriage with a guilty conscience.” He grinned as if his idea was a no brainer.

I guess in some twisted way, his logic made sense.

He burped, then fell back in the chair and closed his eyes. “So when are you gonna bite the bullet and find Mrs. Campbell?”

I barked out a laugh. “Mrs. Campbell? I have yet to find a woman to fill that position.” I tilted my bottle up, and drank deep.

“Can I tell you a secret?”

I glanced at Shaun; his eyes were still closed and his words had begun to slur.

“Sure.”

He turned his head in my direction and forced his eyes open. “She’s not going to be perfect,” he said in a drunken whisper. “If that’s what you’re waiting for, you’ll be alone for life. You gotta remember…you’re not perfect either. Accept her faults like you want her to accept yours.” He winked and then closed his eyes. Seconds later, he was snoring.

Perfection.

That wasn’t new. I knew from the get go that no woman would be perfect. God knows I had my own faults.

The real question was what was I looking for? Would I know when I found her?

My chest tightened at the memory I fought to ignore the memory of the exotic beauty of the woman who stole my heart the moment our eyes had connected.

We spent one night together, and then she was gone.

When our paths crossed again, she broke my heart.

Not only had she lied about her name, she forgot to mention a small detail about her life.

She was engaged.

To make matters worse, she was engaged to my best friend’s brother.

 

Chapter 1

 

If my heart beat any faster, it would fly out of my chest.

Sweat poured over my brow, down my chest and back.

My arms trembled, my body seized in what had to be the best orgasm a man could ever have.

I collapsed, fighting to catch my breath, and inhaled the sweetest scent. Sultry, seductive, exotic. Just like the woman who lay beneath me.

Unable to hold myself up, I rolled off her to the other side of my king sized bed. My legs hung off. I looked around and realized we had used every inch of the mattress. Sheets and covers lay on the floor, victims of the hot and heavy sex we had had.

I studied the beautiful complexion of the naked woman next to me. Trying to describe the exact color of her skin would take time. It was hard to place, just as her nationality was. I knew for a fact she wasn’t black or white. Hispanic? Asian? A fusion of all four?

At this point, I couldn’t care less. Whatever she was, it all came down to one thing: Sexy. As. Hell.

“Ready for more?” Her sultry voice drew the blood from my brain, causing it to regroup down below.

“More?” I chuckled. “The question is, are you?”

The woman of my dreams climbed on top of me. I got lost in the deep dark wells of eyes so brown they were nearly black. Long, midnight hair, hung straight down, nearly covering the swells of the most beautiful breasts I had ever had the pleasure of tasting.

My attention was diverted to her hands as she reached up to pull the long strands behind her neck, the peaks of her breasts stood high and proud as she arched. One hand held her hair in place, while the other traveled slowly down her neck, down the middle of her cleavage, then over to one breast, caressing it. My attention went immediately to her fingers.

“So…you like to watch…” Her smile was seductive.

“Always.”

She laughed then proceeded to give me a show.

When I stopped off at the bar for a celebratory drink on my way home, ending the evening like this was not what I expected. One look down the bar at this alluring woman and I was hooked. She didn’t make striking up a conversation with her easy, but once I got her to loosen up, we connected on a level I least expected.

A love of reading.

Despite my efforts to learn her name, she refused, suggesting I earn it first. Yet, she had no problem coming home with me. One-night stands were nothing new, but not knowing her name was driving me insane.

I slid my hands up the soft flesh of her thighs, and stopped at her hips. “Now are you going to tell me?”

She tilted her head to the side, bit her lip as if contemplating whether my performance earned me that precious gift.

“Why do you need to know my name?”

“Because this time I want to be able to say it…”

Her sexy slanted eyes lowered before she looked me in the eye.

“My name is…Devon.”

 

****

 

Beep…beep…beep…

I slapped the alarm off and tried my best to ignore the hard on…again.

Eight months later and the chance encounter with the perfect woman had yet to be forgotten. I searched for her, not knowing anything but her first name, which of course made it damn near impossible to do on social networking sites.

Facebook, Twitter, Google +, LinkedIn…

Inputting her first name and searching the list of pictures yielded no results.

For the life of me, I couldn’t understand what captivated me. It had been just sex.

Hot, heavy, mind-blowing….sex.

A one-night stand shouldn’t leave me feeling desperate.

And then I found her the moment I stopped looking. To make matters worse, the perfect image I’d built up in my mind proved to be a lie. Her name wasn’t real. Her profession wasn’t real. Yet deep in my heart I knew the connection we’d made that night had been real.

Not that it mattered.  She was spoken for and my future now lay elsewhere. The decisions of my past now dictated my future. And my future expected me to arrive in two hours and go to a birthday party.

I pulled myself out of bed and headed for the shower.

 

****

 

“You did what?”

“I sold my condo.”

“Why? I thought you loved that place!” Trina walked over to the side of the living room where our two-year-old-son, Justin, played with the plastic Tonka truck I gave him. “Come on, time for lunch.” She removed the toy from his fingers, swooped him up, and headed for the kitchen.

I watched the mother of my child get him settled in the high chair. “I did. It served its use, but it’s time to move on.”

Though he didn’t make a sound, Justin’s bottom lip poked out, making it obvious he didn’t like the fact his new toy had been taken from him. I picked it up, joined them in the kitchen, and set it just out of his reach on the kitchen table.

“My!” He struggled to get out of the high chair restraints.

“No, play time is over. You can have it back after you eat.” Trina shot me look of disapproval. “Tre, you can’t do stuff like that. He knows he can’t have toys at the table when it’s time to eat.”

“Come on, it’s not like he’s playing with it.”

Justin whined and kicked the high chair in protest.

“That’s beside the point.” She turned to him, “Stop, you know what mommy says, no toys at lunch time.”

“Miiieeee…,” he whined again, this time he looked at me as if his mother hadn’t spoken a word.

“Listen to mommy,” I said, and then I moved the truck to the seat of the empty chair beside me. That only made matters worse.

“Stop it, Justin!” Trina smacked his leg when he kicked again. Justin went from whining to full blown crying.

“Trina, you didn’t have to do that.” I reached over to console my son.

“Yes, I did.” She shook her head in disapproval. “Look, Tre, you can’t come over here and try and change the way I discipline my son. He has to learn the rules and he can’t learn by sweet talking him all the time. He was fine when I took the toy from him because he knows the rules. You screwed that up by bringing it in here. Now I’m the bad guy!” She spun on her heel and went to the counter to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

I wiped the tears from my son’s eyes and watered down my irritation. “Look, Justin, see? It’s right here. Your truck isn’t going anywhere. Eat your food like mommy says and then you can get it back. Right, mommy?” I glanced in Trina’s direction.

She rolled her eyes at me. “Right, as soon as you eat.”

That seemed to calm him down a bit. I poked him in the tummy while making crazy noises in order to distract him until his sandwich arrived. When it did, he happily accepted it with greedy fingers.

Once he was settled, my attention went back to Trina as she moved around the kitchen and washed the few dishes left in the sink.

Justin was a perfect mix of both of us. While he was a spitting image of me when I was his age, he still had features like his mother, caramel colored skin and eyes a shade lighter than my dark brown ones.

My attention went back to her. Trina and I met when we both attended Georgia Tech. We were both Business Majors, though I was there on a basketball scholarship. My dream had been to play pro basketball; hers had been to get a good job working in corporate America.

A basketball injury forced me to make use of my degree.

She, on the other hand, was sidetracked and postponed her career after graduation due to motherhood.

That was after we parted ways and she moved out of the apartment we shared.

If I had known that she was pregnant before I facilitated our breakup, life would have been different for both of us. The house I bought would have been done a long time ago.

I would have been around to watch my son grow in her belly.

We would have been married and living a good life.

“You never answered the question. What did you mean by moving on?” Finished washing dishes, Trina dried her hands on a towel then settled in a chair across from me, curiosity on her face.

I glanced at my son for a moment and then faced her. “Moving on to us.”

Her eyebrows shot up as she sat back. “Us?”

I placed my elbows on the table, giving her my full attention. “Yes, us. I want you and Justin to move in with me.” Trina’s head dropped an inch; she stared at me as if I had sprouted some abnormality on my forehead. “I don’t want it to be a live-in situation. I think we should get back together.”

The laughter that exploded from her side of the table was a slap in the face. Her hand went to her mouth, but it was too late for her to hide the fact she thought my suggestion was absurd.

“Trevon.” She used my full name, something done only when she was serious. “You and me,” she waved a finger between us. “That ship sailed years ago. The only reason you and I are dealing with each other now is because of this little man right here.” She reached over to wipe a spot of fallen jelly from his crisp blue shirt.

“If you had told me from the get go you were pregnant instead of hiding it from me, things would be different.”

Exactly how different, I had no idea. But at least I would have known about my son’s existence and been there. Instead, she kept him a secret, not bothering to tell me she was pregnant when we broke up.

Then one day she showed up at the restaurant I managed.

It had been my off day, but a phone call from the manager on duty stating that a customer demanded to speak to me by name, forced me to drop what I was doing and come in to handle what I thought was a volatile situation. Thinking it was a customer about to complain about bad service, I prepared to use my good looks and charm to win them over.

Instead, I got a bomb dropped in my lap.

My ex-girlfriend, whom I hadn’t seen, nor spoken to in two years, flashed a picture of a little boy and said he was mine.

The revelation came because Justin was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia and needed a bone marrow transplant. Neither of us was eligible to be donors because we both carried the trait. There was risk involved in the procedure. Knowing this, Trina decided I needed the chance to know my son…just in case.

After recovering from the shock of having a child and the severity of his illness, getting to know him took precedence in my life. Thankfully, he pulled through the procedure. That was eight months ago and he was nearing his third birthday.

Nothing could get back the two years Trina took from me. I didn’t doubt for a moment that if he hadn’t gotten ill, she would have continued on with the secret. But I owed it to her, and especially my son, to correct the situation and give them what they both deserved, a chance to put our family back together again.

“Different how? You would have decided to take our relationship seriously and stop chasing other women?” A thin eyebrow lifted.

That was a definite slap in the face. One I deserved.

“Hmm, speechless. That’s what I thought.” She stood from the table, retrieved a sippy cup from the cabinet, and poured Justin a cup of milk.

I had been unfaithful during the last months of our relationship.

In the end, so had she. When it was obvious her attempt to retaliate didn’t inspire me to work things out, she packed up and left.

“I wasn’t the only one who messed up, Trina, so don’t pin it all on me.”

“Oh, I beg to differ. My actions were a direct result of yours. The only problem was you couldn’t handle it. I was supposed to be the faithful woman sitting around while you did what you wanted. I can’t believe you expected me to take it sitting down.” She stopped, held up a hand, closed her eyes for a moment, and took a deep breath. “But you know what, that’s neither here nor there. What’s in the past is just that. The only thing I need or want from you is help raising our son. So, if selling your condo to buy a house is what you expected would make me want to come back,” she smirked, “you screwed up.”

I sat back in my chair and held my tongue. When Trina got all worked up, there was no way to make a point. But that was fine. I let her believe what she needed to believe. Telling her my true reasons for cheating on her would only make the situation worse. The past was just that, the past. I knew from the beginning that convincing her that getting back together would be what was best for the sake of our son would take time.

That I had a lot of.

After all, I wasn’t interested in any other women right now.

Well, except for the one who broke my heart before knowing it belonged to her.

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