Every Time I Try To Leave

“Good evening Ms. Carrington.  Mr. Houston stated that he would be running a little late, but was on the way”

“Thank you, Chris”

“Would you prefer to wait in the car, or in the office?”

“If you don’t mind, I’ll wait in the car.  Thank you”

The driver opened my door and allowed a girl to rest her feet.  I quickly slipped off my heels and poured a glass to calm the nerves.  My mind was beyond shot!  Of all days, why did my managers have to go cray cray today!  I was physically worn out as well, and now, I had to shake off my fatigue and be there for him.  In hindsight, I should have refused this late night trip.  I mean, why in the world were we flying to California on a Friday night anyway? And why in heaven’s name did he want me to come with him?  

Any other time, I would have been flattered to be at his side, but things changed.  To take it a step further, shit really hasn’t been the same since last year.  Whatever went down between him and James last December made the man that I loved different.  He walked out of that prison as if he left a part of himself there.  There was no life in his eyes.  When he gave orders, everyone, and I mean everyone followed.  He no longer had to manipulate people to bend to his will.  That was more less my department now.  Instead of being the boogeyman, he was becoming a well known philanthropist in the city.  His acquisitions and creation of jobs in the Black communities made him a god, especially to the women.

I was never one to shy away from competition.  I knew what kind of man I had.  When I was coming along, I played my position while he fawned over Karma and had countless others coming in and out of his downtown apartment.  Whenever he needed me, I was there no matter what the time.  I’d take a Red Bull, drive to where he was, and we’d fuck like it was the very first time.  Our encounters normally led to me preparing breakfast the next morning while he answered emails.  I remember how weak my legs used to be.  Those mornings meant the world to me, but it was never enough to make me his only.  To Eric, I would always be his bottom bitch; nothing more, nothing less.  There comes a time when a woman gets fed up not being the one.  My point came when Nina entered into our bedroom.

I had been watching that scallywag ever since Eric’s birthday.  I never should have let her in, but I permitted it just to make him happy.  As we shared him that morning, I saw the hunger in her eyes.  She wanted everything that I had and then some.  She had witnessed Eric’s power first hand.  With just a phone call, he was able to eliminate Nina’s competition down the street.  I knew that heffer wanted more and I even told Eric about it.  Instead of dismissing her altogether, he allowed her into our world.  He said that we could use her to our advantage.  With her growing clientele in the hair and real estate industries, we could move at a faster pace.  But I could see the writing on the wall.  I had to admit to myself that the lowly, White girl from Rayle could never be on Eric’s arm.

It took a month of private tears before I could start the process.  I had come too far to leave the business.  However, I needed to separate myself emotionally from Eric.  Now I know that having a sit down conversation would have been the best, but I didn’t have the heart to do it.  With his talented tongue, he would have talked me out of my decision and my panties. So, I stopped sending him texts that weren’t work related.  If he texted me, I never inquired as to how his day was going.  The late night calls were never answered.  And the icing on the cake?  I started going out with other men.  I never told him or posted it, but I made sure word got around.  If he truly loved me, he would have confronted me at some point.  He would have cornered me in a bathroom, declared his love for me, and fucked me madly.  But after eight months, the confrontation never happened.  He pretended that our affair never existed. That told me everything I needed to know.

Just when I thought it was completely over, he called.  Since I wasn’t speaking to him after hours, I allowed it to go to voicemail.  Unlike all the other times before, he actually left a message, asking me to escort him to a meeting in California.  Before I could inquire into the details, my fingers texted back my confirmation!  Eric Houston wanted me again.  That was all that mattered.  

That feeling of affirmation left as I realized that he was thirty minutes late.  It wasn’t like him to be late for anything!  

“Dammit April!  He’s setting you up!  You fell for his tricks again! What if he wants to sell you for sex?  Or maybe he wants another threesome with Nina?  And what if, what if he shows up with her in tow tonight?  Whatcha gonna do, huh?”

My mind had a compelling argument.  My heart wouldn’t be able to take it, but for some reason, it was ready to risk it all for tonight.  I looked at my watch again before asking the driver

“Chris, have you heard from Mr. Houston? We’re gonna miss the flight”

“No ma’am.  No call as of yet”  

My nerves started to take over as my mind continued to plead its case.  I examined the driver to see if he could possibly be one of Eric’s hitmen.  But this young joe?  He didn’t have the stomach to kill someone, especially me. That would take balls of epic proportion!  But why would Eric want to get rid of me?  Was Nina behind this?

“Chris, we’re not gonna make the flight at this rate.  I think I’m going to take my leave.  Tell Mr. Houston that I’ll catch up with him some other time”

“Ms. Carrington, I really think that you should . . .”

But I was already out the door.  I didn’t need a youngster’s permission to leave.  I took out a cigarette and started walking to my car.  As I neared the vehicle, a man on a motorcycle started coming towards me.  If this was the end, I wasn’t going out like a sucker!  I pulled the 22 from my purse.  Just as I was about to aim, the rider stopped and put his hands in the air.  After I saw that he wasn’t an immediate threat, I permitted him to take off his helmet.  

“Damn girl!  I taught you well!”

“Eric, is that you?”

“Yes, Ms. Carrington, it’s me”

Why did he look more chisel in person than on the Zoom conference calls?  He dismounted from his bike and gave me that smile that I missed.  It warmed my heart to be in his presence once again. I forgot about my cold war and allowed myself to get lost in his arms.  He held me tightly as if I were a long, lost friend.  Our lips met for a reunion.  Honestly, in that car garage, there was no place that I would have rather been.  Fuck the pride.  I wanted him.  And with each moment that passed, I knew he wanted me too.

The Maybach came around just as Eric was feeling up my backside.

“Excuse me Mr. Houston, but we’re already late for the flight”

Eric took a breath and looked in Chris’ direction.

“What’s your name son?”

“Um, um, um, Chr, Chris, Mr. Houston sir.  I didn’t, didn’t mean any disrespect”

“None taken.  C’mon April, let’s go”

We climbed into the car and in a blink of an eye, we were racing down the highway.  Eric was sitting in his seat, smiling, as if he had just won the lottery.

“So what’s going on Eric?  I know how you are about time.  You’re never happy when something causes you to be late”

“That’s true, however, I’m here with you.  I couldn’t wait to see you!”

“Is that right?”

“You don’t believe me?”

“I mean I guess.  I don’t really want to hear why you’re late.  What I want to know is why do you need me to come to California with you?  Couldn’t you have Nina or someone else come with you?”

Eric smiled to himself as he took a sip of his drink.

“So that’s why you’ve been so distant, huh?  You think that Nina and I are a thing?”

“Yeah”

“April, April, April”

“Tell me I’m wrong”

“You’re wrong darling.  Nina is business and that’s all there is to that”

He must have thought I was Boo Boo the Fool!  But just as I was about to begin my rebuttal, he pulled out an iPad from his bag and handed it to me.

“So what am I supposed to be looking at?  I don’t see anything but a mansion”

“Do you like it?”

“I mean it’s nice and all, but what does it have to do with me?”

“I would think it has a lot to do with you since it’s your house”

My mouth fell to the floor.

“Say what? Stop lying!  How is this my house?”

“To be completely honest, it’s our house.  Our getaway.  I wanted you to see it before I closed on it next week”

Tears started to fall from my eyes.  I couldn’t believe that Eric would have done this for little, old me.

“Why me Eric?”

“Because you deserve it.  You’ve helped me to build this empire.  And while I want to stay humble and modest in Atlanta, I want to have the house I’ve always dreamt of.  And it wouldn’t be a house without you cooking breakfast in it right?”

“But you know that I’ve been seeing other men right?”

“Yes”

“And that doesn’t bother you?”

“Should it?  You’re here with me at 1 AM in the morning.  You could have left at any time, but yet you waited almost an hour just for me.  And to answer the question, I was late just to see what you would do”

“I don’t know what to say Eric.  I really don’t”

“April, I know we have a complicated relationship.  However, you’re as good as it gets.  I can’t deny that”

“Thank you Eric”

“Don’t thank me just yet.  There’s another reason why we have to go to Cali”

“Why is that?”

“To kill a commissioner”

Written by the Wednesday Gentleman

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