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Places (Pt. 4) - The Finale

All I could do was sit with Tori and try to comfort her as we awaited Leo's arrival. Place was walking back and forth between the conjoining room and downstairs. I could hear him as he moved around. I was pretty sure he was on the phone with Leo, at least some of that time. Tori was rolling up blunts excessively, calmly trying to watch the television. I was sitting next to her on the large couch in the room, the TV facing us. I shook my head and sighed. I knew that Leo cared about Tori, and that also made me unsure of how he would react. Malik knocked on the door and then pushed it open. Tori shook her head when she saw him and closed her eyes a little. I wondered what she was thinking.

"Can we talk?" Malik asked, standing in the doorway. He made sure to not make eye contact with me. I looked over at Tori and without blinking, she got up and walked towards him. They walked out the room together and shut the door behind them. Maybe they were getting their story straight, maybe he felt bad and would talk to Leo or maybe they still hadn't learned their lesson. On cue, Place peeked his head in the other bedroom door. He looked around.  "Where's Tori?" He asked. "Hmph! With Malik. He just came and got her so they could talk," I said. Place gestured for me to come towards him so I got up and followed him in the other bedroom. "Close that door behind you babe," he said. I did and then sat down on the bed. Place looked to the sky and blew out a deep breath. "Look, I'm tryna calm this nigga Leo down but, he's really on the way down this mafucka right now," he said. That wasn't news to me. "I already knew that. I told Tori earlier tonight to chill out with that Malik shit, but she doesn't learn." Place squinted at me and then chuckled. "If I didn't know any better, I would say that you're not feeling too much sympathy for your sister right now. Am I right?" I scoffed and asked back, "is it that obvious?" I then rolled my eyes, truly sick of Tori's shit. Place came to join me on the bed. "I get it shawty. Tori does a lot, a lot of unnecessary shit. But Leo does really care about her ass. We just gotta see how all this plays out. It's gonna be good boo, you know that." I could admit to myself that I was conflicted. I had warned Tori about acting out this way every time we were around some men. I also wouldn't let Leo do any real harm to her. And Place wouldn't either, right? I watched him just sit there, both of us felt a little bad for the way that Tori was acting. Leo had shown her nothing but love. But from childhood memories to now, Tori had no qualms about crossing anyone who wasn’t family. I suppose she got that shit from her father. She and I came from the same womb, but have different daddies. I decided I needed to check on her before she did something even more foolish with Malik.”Where you going?” Place asked as I got up to walk out the room. “Going to see Tori for a second. I’ll be back.” 

I walked down the stairs towards the main living area and didn’t see neither Malik nor Tori. Then I walked towards the room Malik was staying in and tried to peep in the cracked door. I could see his back, he was alone facing the window. So then where was Tori? I went back upstairs and found her back in the bedroom she and I were sharing. “Oh there you are,” I said, I sat down next to her. “So, what did Malik want to talk about?” I asked. She cut her eyes and me and chuckled a little. “Don’t worry Sis, nothing happened.” I squinted my eyes at her response. She looked over at me and then sighed. “Listen, I think I’m going to break things off with Leo once he gets here tonight. All this shit is too much Ericka! I know he keeps calling Place and talking all wild about me and shit. He’s acting like he wants to come down here and do something, and it ain’t even like that between us,” Tori said. I was taken aback. “It ain’t even like what? I thought you and Leo were, you know...”

"Official, right? Ummm, no! I never heard this nigga say anything about me being his woman before tonight. And now he's acting like I cheated or some shit! I didn't even know he was my boyfriend," she said. "But hol' up, you know a real nigga isn't even gonna tell you that you're his girl, he's just gonna play the role. And being as though you take money AND guns from him without hesitation, you have to at least understand where Leo is coming from,” I said. I was even more conflicted now. I mean yeah, technically Tori had a point - she was moving like she was a single woman. But she could still have enough decency to not fuck with the man's friend in his damn beach house! "Look Tori, I understand girl, you know I do. But what I'm tryna tell you is although you may think you know niggas...I really know niggas! And Leo and Malik may pretend to be mad for a little while, but them niggas are still gonna be friends, whether Malik fucks you or not. So while you call yourself having fun and thinking you're putting them against each other, you're really gonna draw them closer together and you're gonna end up looking like a fool in the end. And we both know that you're smarter than that."

Whether or not Tori wanted to hear the truth was not my problem. I had to deliver. In less than an hour, I knew Leo would be there and I expected him to make a scene. Tori sighed and reached out for a hug. I embraced her and then she said “you’re right Sis. I’m just tired of the bullshit. All these niggas wanna act like they own you. It’s not like you and Place, see y’all actually discussed being in a relationship. Leo acts like I’m just supposed to know what’s up.” I let what she said marinate. Regardless of how angry Tori made me, I would never pick sides against her. “So what did you and Malik talk about?” I asked her again. She shrugged. “I mean that nigga basically said the same shit you just did. He was like ‘I mean you were acting like you were feeling me so I just went with the flow. Leo is my man though’ and yada yada yada. That nigga already tryna play all innocent like he isn’t the one who was flirting with me the whole way down here. He was giving me all types of wild eye contact and conversation when we were riding alone. It’s all good though girl. I see how these niggas move.” I gave her a look to reassure her “I told you so,” and we just sat. When I heard her phone ring, I was surprised for her to tell me that it was Leo calling. “Answer that shit!” I said to her. She looked hesitant but did anyway. I wondered if I should leave the room but she asked me to stay.

“Hey Leo.....yeah....I’ve been trying to get in touch with you all night....I know, I apologize....I’m with Ericka.....yeah......” Tori let out a snicker and I knew then that Leo forgave her. She hung up shortly after and her face didn’t look as worried. 

“So how’s he doing?” I asked. She shrugged. “I mean, at least he called back, right? He asked me about the text message I sent him, of course, and then he said that we would talk more when he got here.” I shook my head, satisfied with her response. Maybe it wouldn’t be so dramatic after all. I had been through more than enough drama over the past couple of days! Let alone the anxiety from the past I was so desperately trying to let go of. I sighed with some relief. I went back in the room to check on Place and he was on his phone. He didn’t look pleased with the conversation he was having. I sat down on the bed and tried to gather pieces of his conversation. “You was supposed to take care of that though. No loose ends, not one. Remember! We agreed to that, and now you’re telling me something different? That’s not what I’m paying you for...”

Place walked out the room after I overheard him say that. I figured that something wasn’t right. I didn’t think much of it though. He got off the phone and acted like nothing was wrong, so I didn't bother him about it. I was so wrapped up with him sexually that when Leo arrived, I wasn’t even aware. I guess I expected Leo to come in waving his guns around and talking crazy, but it seemed that my sister had actually activated a soft spot within the nigga. After he and Malik chatted privately, he and Tori went out for a late night ride. I was surprised when Place told me all that, but I just let it be. Then, I looked in my man’s face and asked him “is everything alright? Something went wrong at home?” And as always, he gave me that look. A look that told me to calm my ass down because he had it handled, but he also respected me enough to understand my concern. A look that said “I got you Queen” but it also reminded me to stay pretty, with my hands clean. Although I tote a Glock now, I knew that my King was my true protector. And though I heard bits and pieces of that conversation that let me know shit wasn’t all the way handled, I decided to let it be. That was really the only choice I had. I undressed and changed into my pajamas. Place was still making phone calls when I got in the bed to watch a movie. Naturally I dozed off. I woke up later from some commotion I heard. 

It was damn near 4am and Leo and Tori were just getting back in. I heard them giggling in the next room. I knew Place was sleeping, I heard his deep breaths. My stomach was getting that same feeling as before though, the knots and shit. I moved around a little to try to go back to sleep but my discomfort remained. Shortly after, I heard moans and groans coming from the next room too. It was hilarious how jealous Leo acted, when all he really wanted was to come down and be in the mix with my sister. I chuckled to myself about it all, reminiscing about the first night that we all stayed in Tori’s condo together. And here we were again, in a damn beach house so we could lay low while whatever needs to happen, happens.

Malik was downstairs in one of the guest rooms and I didn’t know why I was thinking about him. As I was wondering how he may have felt about everything, I heard Tori let out a loud ass moan. It startled me and I jumped, saying "oh shit." It caused me to wake Place up. He touched me lightly then reached over to the nightstand and checked his phone. He turned towards me. “You good baby?” He asked. “Of course,” I said and moved closer to him. I kissed his forehead and he laid on my bosom. He pulled me tighter and I inhaled his manly essence. I had to admit, hearing Tori and Leo go at it next door had my body calling. But Place was exhausted so, I let him rest. I smiled and drifted off to sleep. Since Leo was there and we were all together, I figured that all of the unfinished business was taken care of. At least for the most part. So without hesitation, I rested my mind and body in the bed I was sharing with my King. It felt good to be able to rest, at least until the next day. I wasn't sure how long we would have to stay out of town, but I had basically abandoned my job back at home. Place paid the rent for the last 5 months of my lease and all of my utilities too. He gave me about $10K to put away and told me that he had more for me. He provided everything I needed while we were here too so, I knew I was safe. Shit, if all else failed, I could get another job and apartment with ease. But something told me that I was stuck with Place. And he was stuck with me too.

Drifting through dimensions, I remember speaking with deceased ones. Some of them were from my bloodline and others just had messages for me. I woke up when Place shook me lightly and grabbed me by my waist. He whispered to me, "go over to the other room with Tori...move quietly." I got up and saw Leo was standing there at the door and I was confused. "What's going on?" I asked, but I was only answered with "Shhh's" and hand waves. Place put his hand on my waist to lightly push me along. The fuck is going on? I thought and then I walked past Leo into the room with Tori. She was sitting up in her bed, in the dark, looking just as confused as I was. Using the candlelight as my guide, I walked over to her and she pulled me close. "Leo told me that something is happening," she whispered to me. "Something like what?" I whispered back. I was tired as hell and upset that my sleep had been interrupted. 

"Girl, I don't know. Leo told me to stay put no matter what though," Tori said lightly. I looked at her and widened my eyes to adjust them from the sleeping position. "Okay," I whispered back to her. I heard Place and Leo whispering loudly in the other room and then I heard the room's closet door open. Next, I heard them take the guns out and cock them. Oh shit, I thought. My eyes widened and that prompted me to get up, but Tori held me back. "Let them handle it," she said. Handle it? Suddenly, all I could hear was my own breathing and I almost felt like the walls were caving in on me. Something was happening, I knew it and I could feel it. Place and Leo raced pass the room and down the staircase. I tried to take deep breaths, and then remembered the knots I felt in my stomach just an hour earlier. I knew something was going to happen. I thought to maybe lay back but my body felt too nauseous to do so. That familiar feeling...it felt like a flashback. I felt I was there in the mall parking lot again, that black truck speeding up and shooting at me and Place. But when Tori grabbed me and pulled the covers over her head, I realized it wasn't a flashback. Someone was downstairs in the beach house shooting!

"Oh shit!" I screamed, once I finally realized what was happening. Six shots total were fired. Then I heard glass breaking and commotion on what sounded like the steps. Where were Place and Leo now? And Malik? I pulled the covers from Tori and we hugged tight. My heart was beating out of my chest.

"Boom! Boom! Boom!" Three more shots went off from what sounded like a sawed off shotgun. Now I was scared as hell. I got Tori up though and told her to grab her Ruger. I went in my bag to get my Glock and I told her to stand behind me. It was dark as hell in the house. I didn't hear anything. A few seconds later, I thought I heard what was Place's voice and that was my cue. I swung the bedroom door open and looked back at Tori, she had her gun up, ready. She nodded her head at me and I started to tiptoe down the long hallway and towards the stairs. The big ass bay window in the middle of the house had the moon shining bright as we moved, so I was grateful. I gripped on my Glock and looked back at Tori one last time before going down the first of several asymmetrical stairs. We were both barefoot with nothing on but panties and bras, both with our guns cocked and ready. With all of the anxiety I had built up over the last few weeks, I was more than ready to put a hole in anybody that tried it! Everybody in the world that I loved was in the beach house with me and I was ready to ride or die!

We hit that last step and I felt a heavy presence in the air. I know that feeling I thought to myself. It was death, no doubt. I looked around and still didn't see anything. Tori and I kept walking, with our guns drawn, past the kitchen until we got to the main living area. There we saw Place, Leo and Malik standing over two bodies. I sighed, at least they were okay. "Fuck!" I said, walking closer to the bodies laying there. They all looked up, a bit startled. "Damn baby, gimme the gun," Place walked towards me and said. I let my shoulders fall and let the gun relax. "Yeah, you too," Leo said as he approached Tori. I handed my gun to Place and he wrapped his arms around me. "Baby, what happened?" I asked. Place sighed and shook his head, looking disappointed and restless. "Ericka, baby, you already know what it is. Somebody fucked up, and they gonna be dealt with..accordingly," he said and kissed my forehead. "Come on, let's go upstairs so you can put some clothes on," he said. I shook my head and he followed me up the stairs. I thought Place said he had this whole thing under control. We went into our room and I grabbed a crop top and some yoga pants to slide on. Place sat on he bed and put his head in his hands. Then he sighed deeply and looked up at me. "You aight baby?" He asked. "I am," I said. "What about you?" I asked him. He walked over to me and put his arms around me. "I'm good if you're good," he said. Then he tilted his head and looked in my eyes. "More than anything, I care about you and your sister's safety. What happened tonight...I'm not rocking Ericka. I don't know who the fuck these niggas think they playing wit', but I'm about to turn all the way the fuck up! I'm telling you this because you say I never tell you anything, but it's a reason why. And tonight, you see what the fuck I been talking about. This shit is gutter baby, straight like that. Thankful that the nigga Malik was here because, he's the one who heard these mafuckas come in, and he shot at 'em before they could make it upstairs. I don't even wanna think about what could have happened if they did make it up those steps though baby. That shit gives me the chills to even think..." Place stopped himself before he got too emotional. I pulled him close. "Thank you for protecting me Place...both me and my sister. Thank you for all that you do for me baby. I promise to always be here, with you. To always be loyal. I promise I will never question your motives again because I know, this shit is gutter. I'm tired of it too. I am. I just want to enjoy you and love you and fuck you and suck your dick until the sun comes up and...just know that I know baby. I know you're doing everything you can. I know this shit is hard but you know what, you risked everything for me Place and you believed me, and believed in me. So all I can do is be here for you. All I can do is love you and adorn you and appreciate you and...we gonna get through this Place. I promise." We embraced and talked for a few more minutes until Leo came upstairs and took Place with him.

  I had to get a look at everything for myself, so I followed Place back down the stairs. Most of the lights were on and I walked over towards Malik. The two bodies were still lying there in the middle of the fucking living room! I could tell it was a young couple; one guy and a girl; both dressed in all black with ski masks. I was most intrigued with the young woman, whose long hair was cornrowed back under a skull cap. I wondered what would ever convince her to attempt to break in this house and hurt someone, with a mask on? Both she and the man lying there had two guns on them, each; a 9mm and a Glock that resembled mine. That made me wonder, what kind of damage were they planning on doing? What if they had made it up those steps? To even think about it gave me the chills as well. I had to hand it to Malik, he was a thorough nigga. He saved our lives, despite all that funny shit that went down with him and my sister earlier in the day. I looked around at Place, Malik and Leo, who were speaking in code to each other and making all kinds of calls on their phones. Tori was sitting at the kitchen bar with some water and I was just in a fucking daze. Days ago bullets had grazed my own ass and now here I was, in the midst of gun violence again. Would the shit ever stop? Place and his men were like fucking magnets for this shit. I was in too deep now though. I looked down again at that promise ring; the Blue Nile Diamond and I shook my head. This is why he told me I had to be down 100% - because this lifestyle isn't for the fainthearted. As much as I wanted to hate him sometimes, I couldn't. And I didn't know who those people were or why they came looking for trouble with us, but my nigga was obviously nothing to play around with!

"Go ahead upstairs and pack your stuff up Ericka. We leaving in about an hour or so," Place came over and said to me. I was sitting next to Tori at the bar and I shook my head. "Okay," I said and stood up to give him a kiss. Deep in my daze, I couldn't even argue with him. The night had turned out to be disastrous. I still couldn't believe there were two dead people right there in the living room. I walked right upstairs and in an instance, I was more than ready to leave. There was no way I could sleep in the house after what just happened. After I packed my two bags up, I began to gather Place's thing as well. Most of his clothes were still in bags so I grabbed his jewelry, guns and cash and placed it all on the bed neatly. Then I checked both rooms to make sure we weren't leaving anything behind. I heard commotion downstairs and went down to find three young men there dressed as first responder paramedics. Of course, I knew it was all a front. I watched Malik and Leo explain to them what happened and I assumed, what to do with the bodies. Place was on his phone, as usual, pacing a little in the foyer. Before I left, I had to take one last look in the living room. The man’s body was being handled first, so the young woman was still laying face down with two bullets in her chest. It was a horrific sight. I shook my head again, shocked that I was staring death right there in the face. And these niggas seemed so calm, like it was just another day at the fucking beach! It was a lot to take in but I needed answers. So, I looked around to make sure everyone was distracted and I tapped in to the girl. I asked her who she was and what she had come to the beach house for. She was terrified, I felt it in her presence and heard it in her spirit’s voice. I explained to her that to be at peace, she would need to tell me everything. And after about five minutes of spiritual communication, I had all of the information that I needed. And then some. I thanked her and wished her well, I also gave her permission to go rest her soul, peacefully. She was unaware that she would be stuck between the world of the living and the dead if she didn’t release her burdens. “That nigga didn’t love you. Not to bring you in harm’s way like this. Go on your soul journey now, alone. Suffering is over,” I whispered to her, right before I tapped out and opened my eyes back up. I looked over and Place was staring at me from across the living room. His eyes were squinted a bit. I sighed and walked towards him. “The truck is ready for you. Tori’s gonna ride with Leo and you riding with me and Malik. I’ll sit in the backseat with you,” he said. I shook my head to agree and started to head towards the door. He grabbed me by my waist lightly and stopped me. “What were you doing over there Ericka?” He asked. I looked at him deep in his eyes. “I’ll tell you all about it Place, I’ll tell you everything,” I said to him. I realized right then I didn’t have a damn thing to lose or anyone else in this world to run to. I’ve been raising Toni since we were teenagers; our parents long had dreams of traveling back to the Barbados to live for good, and they did. They didn't like it much in the states. So I’ve been running a household since my senior year in high school. I knew this was just what came with it. I had to be responsible for both Tori and myself. And Place had to be responsible for me. That's why I think he worried so much. But seeing that young girl just get killed next to a man that she thought she loved, was devastating. It had me questioning every decision I had made since beginning to even deal with this man. Like damn.

Malik went upstairs and grabbed our packed bags to be placed in the car. Amongst the commotion in the house, I stood right next to Place. “Place, would you ever hurt me? Or force me to do something I wasn’t comfortable with?” I asked him. He took a look at me, surprised. “Never Ericka, and you know that. Why you even asking some shit like that right now?” He asked back. "Just wondering Place. I have a range of emotions right now. I don't know how I'm supposed to feel," I admitted. "You should feel like your man is going to protect you no matter what. No questions asked, really..." he responded. I sighed and told him that I would meet him in the car. I walked out the front door of the beachhouse and saw Tori. We embraced and I just stood there for a moment with her, in silence. The “paramedics” were finally finishing up and taking the bodies elsewhere. I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw them back out of the long driveway and disappear down the street. No matter how much you’re faced with it, death always traumatizes you in a different way. From Anthony to JR, Place's enemies back at home and the the two people who I just witnessed die in cold blood, they were all victims of the same circumstance. How could so much destruction follow a single incident that happened years ago? That's how it all goes though; I thought back to three years prior when I first got involved in all of this. It made sense now. Because once JR started knocking at death's door, it answered and manifested in various ways. It eventually led to his own demise. Place let me know that both JR and his cousin Tay were closed caskets. Tragic, but it happens when you play the wrong game. 

As we rode in the back of Malik's truck, Place explained more of everything to me. He told that the chick named Dee was also taken care of but, she actually survived her shots. She sent that couple to Leo's beach house because she figured that was where we all would be laying low. Place told me that she had only been there once or twice in the past, I guess when they all used to run together and trust each other. He also let me know that Dee was killed during her transport to another health facility just about an hour prior. My jaw was dropped. "I don't fuck around Ericka," he said to me as he handed me the blunt. I shook my head and inhaled, inspired but very afraid at the same damn time. "I never got a chance to tell you how fucking sexy you looked when I saw you with that Glock earlier. You and Tori came downstairs ready to murder some shit!" He said and cracked a smile. I smirked and we chuckled. The sun was beginning to rise and it reflected on his face as I spoke back to him. "You know I was ready, I remembered everything that you told me. You taught me well boo," I said.

We were crossing the North Carolina state line when I woke up. I hadn't even realized that I fell asleep. Place was scrolling through his phone like a madman and I looked up at Malik, who just looked focused. "Y'all not hungry?" I asked. "Damn, I haven't even thought about eating. We can pull over to this little diner in just a few," Place answered. He called Leo on his phone and told him the plans. I stretched my body out and tried to relax my shoulders. As big as Malik's truck was, it still wasn't comfortable enough to get some real sleep in. I felt wired, still on a high from the evening before. When we finally stopped for breakfast, I could feel the shift in the vibrations. North Carolina felt safe, like home. It was that Southern comfort. I reminisced to when Place took me to that secluded beach for my birthday. It's crazy how fast things could change. We were just enjoying each other and now, we were practically on the run from common enemies.

Although I ordered a big ass breakfast, I couldn't eat much. Tori and I sat across the table from Place and Leo. Malik was at the table next to us. Tori scooted closer to me in the booth and placed her head on my shoulder. "I wonder what's next for us Sis..." she said. I scoffed a little and shook my head. Of course, our men took notice of it. "Tori, baby, just relax for me. You know I'ma take care of you. And my man Place gonna take care of you too Ericka. We got some sweet shit set up further down in the state for the next couple of weeks. Besides, you know niggas gotta let the smoke clear," Leo said to the table. I sighed, purely exhausted. I took a sip of my water and orange juice. "So, I guess we won't be going back home for a while then, huh?" Tori asked. I was curious too. "It's just not the time," Place said, as I knew he would. "We have to keep both of y'all safe and the safest place for you to be is where you are right now." I didn't say anything, I just looked out the window. The young woman from the beachhouse was still on my mind. My conversation with her kept replaying. And as if he were in my head, Place asked me, in front of everyone, why I was so intrigued by her. I looked at him, ready to get upset but then realized, there was power in my transparency. "Because I was talking to her," I said. That made Leo pause. And Place swallowed hard. Tori wasn't surprised at all, she already knew about my gifts.

"What was she saying Sis?" She asked. I sighed and shook my head again. "A lot...she was saying a lot. About how she was scared, but her nigga convinced her to come to the beach house to kill four people - two girls and two men. They had no idea that Malik would be there. She let me know that the chick Dee was crazy as fuck and told plenty of people that there were hefty prices on our heads. Also, she said that there may be more people coming to look for us, because of that price," I said. Leo looked shocked. He probably didn't know just how intuitively gifted that I was. "How much though? Did she let you know what the price was?" Leo asked. "Yeah, $50,000 per head. That's a $200,00 come up for anyone that wants it," I said. Place didn't look surprised at all, if anything he looked relieved. "Hol' up, so you can really talk to people on the other side?" Leo asked me. I looked up at him, wondering if he was serious. "Well that's evident," Tori said sarcastically. Place smirked. "Yeah it is but I mean..." Leo was at a loss for words and looked over at Place. "I never knew your girl could do that. She was right as shit though, everything she just told us about what that girl knew." Place bit his bottom lip and chuckled a bit. I loved when he did that sexy shit. "Yeah, Ericka knows her shit. That's why I asked her. What else she say though bae?" He looked in my eyes and asked. I looked away, "that's all," I lied. 

We all got back on the road after breakfast and I wondered how much longer we would be riding. "We gonna stop in South Carolina, it's a place there I got reserved. And don't worry, not a single soul knows about this place," he said and kissed my forehead. "Cool," I responded. I knew Place had something on his mind; he had that look on his face. I reached over to put his hand in mine and he smiled. Then he asked, "what else did that girl have to say Ericka? It's just me and you now, you can tell me babe." I looked at him, holding my laugh in. I knew his ass could sense something more. "I already told you Place, she let me know why she was there and who sent her. To me, that was more than enough information. This shit just bothers the fuck outta me, that's all. The whole situation is fucked up!" I exclaimed.

Six hours and four or five pit stops later, we arrived to the cute and quaint cottage in South Carolina. It looked like a white, middle-class family lived there. We got out of the trucks and stretched our legs. I waited for Malik, Leo and Place to grab our things and then we all walked in together. The first thing I did was turn on the AC and explore the house. It smelled good and the set up was similar to the beach house. There were two rooms upstairs and an extra bedroom on the main level for Malik. Tori and I let the men be men, they stayed downstairs. We went upstairs to freshen up, dye our hair and make more subtle changes to our appearances. We had tossed our cell phones long before we arrived and picked up some burner cell phones in a gas station not far from the house. Later that night, Place made love to me like he would never see me again. I couldn't believe how awesome he was making me feel. It was the best sex we had EVER had, but it felt eerie. Maybe we both knew it would be "goodbye" soon. After our two-hour session, we lay there, smoked and conversed. We were laughing and reminiscing, so Place caught me off guard when he asked "are you going to tell me what else you learned from that dead girl back at the beach house?" 

Place would not let the shit die. Now, I was more sure of his guilt. I still hid behind it all though. Place could never prove anything about my spiritual contact. So I lied, again and told him that there was no more to tell. After that, the mood changed a lot in the room and we ended up telling each other goodnight. See, me personally? I had been truthful the entire time, so it wasn't hard for me to turn over and go right to sleep. However Place was restless, as usual. I knew it had to do with all his lies and the dirt he did. And though I was sure he had been lying to me about more than he admitted, I didn't feel the need to confront him about it. It was all about survival now, and he had ensured that both me and my sister survived. I dozed off and thanked Goddess, because that was all I could ever ask for.

  My mouth was so dry from the weed we smoked, it woke me up out of my sleep. I turned over and found that Place wasn't in the bed with me. Confused, I got up from the bed and looked around. I grabbed my water from the dresser, took a sip and went to use the bathroom. When I turned the bathroom light on, my heart sunk into my chest. "Tori!" I screamed out. "Oh my God!" I ran out of the bathroom and down the hall. I turned on the light switch and Tori jumped up from her bed with wide eyes. "Where's Leo?" I asked. Her eyes widened even more and she hurried from the bed. I told her to follow me in my room and showed her Place's body lying there in a pool of blood. She started hyperventilating. "Calm down, and go get your gun," I said to her. This shit was just like the beach house all over again. And Place had the nerve to say that no one knew about this place. Someone fucking did! Tori's loud scream made me run down the hall to her room. On her bathroom floor was the same scene, but it was Leo! "Oh my fucking God...nooooo," I hollered out. Now it was all hitting me. Both Place and Leo were killed while we were sleeping. Why were the lives of me and Tori spared though? We decided to pack our shit up and leave! I had to stop in the bathroom to tell Place goodbye. I knew he had fucked me like it was our last time for a reason. As I kneeled down closer to his body, I saw a note there. I picked it up and read the words that said "I spared your life because I know you destined to be a rich nigga's wife. One day..."

Fuuuuck! Who the fuck was playing mind games with me? I folded the note, put it in my bag, told Place that I loved him and kissed his cheek. I knew this was a risk involved when I first started seeing him, and I knew that Place was never 100% honest with me. So I grabbed his bag with all the cash, put two of his guns in there and grabbed my burner cell. Tori had all her shit packed and grabbed Leo's extra cash, guns and Malik's truck keys. We didn't even have to check his room but there Malik was, with a bullet in his head. Tori and I looked at each other, shook our heads and silently moved through the back doors of the home. We noticed that the home alarm system had been dismantled because it made no noise as we were exiting. We loaded up the truck with our clothes, money, guns and some snacks and got the fuck! Tori and I never looked back as she was driving. The first hour or so, we rode in silence. I mean, I guess we were both still in shock and denial. I decided to look through Place's phone since I grabbed it before I left. I'm a semi-twisted bitch, so I sawed off his dead thumb so I could use the print to later get into his phone. I grabbed his nub from the bag in my purse and scanned his bloody thumb on the phone. I had access! I wiped the blood from the phone and Tori looked over at me like I was crazy.

"Bitch I know that ain't that nigga's thumb?!" She asked. "And is," I replied. "Keep driving." As I scrolled through his text messages and call log, everything that the dead girl at the beach house told me was confirmed. The nigga was married, both he and Leo. And they both planned on killing both me and my sister Tori in just two days. They brought us all the way to the South to get the job done. The incident at the beach house threw a monkey wrench in their plan though. The house in South Carolina? Tori and I were never supposed to see that house. That was simply the place that our bodies were supposed to be disposed of at. Funny how shit changes, huh?

I told Tori about Place and Leo's marriages and plans for us. "See why I never trusted these niggas?" She asked me. I agreed with her. But I also made her admit that fucking all of them wouldn't have been the wisest choice in this scenario either. I continued to look through all of the exchanges on Place's phone; the other women he dealt with, most of whom claimed to love him. The ruthlessness of his organization and the very manipulative way he went about getting what he wanted. See, Place told me what I wanted to hear - just enough to make me think that I could trust him. All of this was about dick and pussy, plain and simple. Leo and Place were tasked with taking me and my sister out of this world, but they were too intrigued by their dicks, so they made it a long, drawn out process. I wondered what part Malik played in all of it, especially since he was fond of fucking my sister.

We drove until the morning and stopped when we got in Georgia. Tori used a fake license for us to rent a white Range Rover and we ditched Malik's truck and set it on fire in an open field. Through Place's connections, I found a guy in Atlanta who changed the VIN number and plates for us. We paid him and then I took over the wheel. We stopped to eat and checked into a hotel to shower, get some rest for a few hours and then got right back on the road. The next morning, I was feeling damn good. The sun from the South hits different and with Miami, Florida as our final destination, I was content. I had my family with me, bags full of money and plenty of protection and insurance. Place's wife called his phone a couple of times and sent threatening text messages. She knew about his other women but I guess drew a line when it came to him not coming home for a period of weeks. I was tempted to answer a call or text her back but, I kept my eyes on the big picture. Tori and I were getting a new lease on life, literally!

From Place's phone, I found an email with the deed to a new mansion in Miami that he just purchased. NOBODY knew about this brand new purchase. It was supposed to be an anniversary gift for his wife. So, posing as his wife, I countersigned the E-Document from his realtor and lawyers and made plans to pick the keys up once we touched down in Miami. I didn't tell Tori all of the details yet and I don't know if I ever will. Because I'ma just handle it, period! When we finally got to Miami, it was in the wee hours of the morning. We checked into a penthouse on South Beach because I wanted to experience a vacation that my sister and I could actually enjoy, even if it was for just a day. We unpacked and went out on the terrace to watch South Beach in motion. As usual, Tori rolled up a blunt and passed it to me. "So, who do you think came in that house and killed those niggas Ericka, while sparing our lives?" Tori asked me. I blew my smoke out into the sky and looked over to her. "Baby girl, I don't know and nor do I care. I've made peace with it. Some things don't need an explanation, they're out of our control. It's supernatural and shit," I replied. Tori shook her head, "you damn right Sis. Because here we are, with millions in cash, a new Range Rover and a new mansion to move into later today. Sounds to me like niggas came up, regardless! This is definitely a blessing from the other side, believe me!" She exclaimed. I thought about Place's grandmother, who hadn't visited me since he had transitioned. I thought, briefly, about his wife, whom may never know what truly happened to her husband. I thought about his children, the ones he denied by not mentioning them at all. And I thought about Leo and Malik, victims of circumstance like JR - all playing on the wrong side of the field. But finally, I thought about Tori and I. Everything was different now, we looked, dressed, acted and even took on different identities. The "scamming" shit was nothing, we had learned from the best. I decided that we would send for my parents to let them know we were okay, maybe in a month or two. We still had to get adjusted to our new lives. As the note stated, I am destined to be a rich nigga's wife...one day. In the meantime, I'll be traveling to all of these Places. Because Places love me....

The End.

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