"Hey Baby," Journey said and sat down next to me at the bar. I smiled and he kissed me on my forehead. He looked at me, squinting his eyes a bit.
"You okay?" He asked. I shook my head, trying my best to not reveal the feelings that Riante had just put on me.
"I'm fine baby," I said. "Let me know what you want to drink." We ordered from the Bartender and I sat there and smiled. Once he got his drink, I got closer to him and straddled his lap. He grabbed me by my waist and we kissed passionately. He went for my neck and when he started to suck a little bit, I was ready to leave the party. The flowers that Riante had just bought me were sitting two chairs down. I knew I had to distract Journey. We went to the dance floor and I grinded on him. Of course the rest of the party hyped us up. I had on my birthday crown - adorned with golden seashells - and he wore a crown as well. Royalty, and we spoiled all of our friends and family around us. The rest of the night was spent with more liquor, love, food and moments close to him. I was by his side, letting him hold and caress me. It's where I should've been all along. I realized that Riante was a bully that I had to tame. He would end up taking advantage if I let him. And I would not let him even think about coming between me and my man.
I went into the bathroom and my girl Robyn came with me. She was rocking her signature; an all black fitted dress with open toe stilettos. Her skintone, legs and frame were petite and perfect! As they always were. Robyn was my sister in the spirit world, and we have explored each other's love. I have always found her attractive and sometimes, we would spend the night together as more than friends. She was another one of my secrets that Journey didn't know about. He knew that she and I were very close but that's all he knew. But see, Robyn knew me better than Journey and most people for that matter. I knew she would feel the vibes in the air. We walked in the bathroom and she checked all of the stalls to make sure that no one else was in there. I locked the bathroom door so no one else could enter.
"Finally, I can hear over the music," she said. "What's going on with you tonight though? Something or somebody has your ass zoning out." All I could do was smile and shake my head. I still hadn't retrieved my flowers from the bar area. "Niggas trippin' tonight Robyn," I said. "Riante just pulled up and delivered flowers - and very vivid images of me riding his dick, before kissing my hand and walking out of the party. This shit just happened and then I saw Journey walking over. My mind is all over the place right now," I admitted. Robyn's jaw dropped. "Are you serious? He was just here, at the party? That's really fucking bold. Didn't he know Journey was here?" She asked. "Of course he did girl!" I said, walking towards the mirror. "His ass did that shit on purpose. I really have to cut him off after this. He gives no fucks. He's tryna get me caught up wit' my man girl!" I went into my purse and got my phone. Of course, a message from Riante was there waiting. "And we just talked him up! Here he is in my phone. Girl he just sent me a message."
"Hol' up! Saying what?" Robyn walked up on me and asked. I opened my phone to read Riante's message aloud to her, "I know I just left you but, I can't stop thinking about you. I know it won't be tonight. But I would love to see you soon. As friends..."
"Oh, that motherfucka is crazy!" Robyn exclaimed. "He's trying to get too close, too soon. You didn't fuck him yet, did you?" Now my jaw dropped. "Hell no! I know better than that. He's popping up at parties and shit just from initial contact. I be damned if I let him get any of this Mermaid Pussy. Then he really won't know how to act!" We both laughed and smacked hands, agreeing. Robyn was my bitch and I trusted her with my life. She didn't take offense to me and Journey's relationship either because like I said, she's my Spirit Sister. She had a few boyfriend-like relationships of her own. I decided not to write Riante back. All I could do was shake my head. We headed out of the bathroom and after another hour, my feet were sore, my voice was gone and I was ready to go.
Journey had a limousine chauffeur for the evening. It was definitely something I could get used to. I smiled and let my ass sink into the comfortable interior. Journey removed my shoes and I placed my legs across his lap as we rode through the city. "Beautiful," he looked at me and said, with pure love in his eyes. "Yes Journey..." I said back. "I love you baby." "And I love you too." I was happy to finally be pulling up to the loft in Manhattan. We got out and were greeted by concierge. When we got upstairs, I spread out on our over-sized king bed. Journey walked around and made a call to one of his friends, reminiscing about the night. I closed my eyes and let my mind drift. I saw Monte's face and wondered why he was trying to contact me. He knew what he had done, and he was one of Journey's enemies and had suffered for it. I blocked him out and was actually on my way to sleep when Journey's voice brought me back into the moment. "You sleeping baby?" He asked. "No...just a little," I said, chuckling. He laughed and walked towards me. I felt him sit down on the bed next to where I was laying. "Do I make you happy Laila?" I heard Journey ask me. I opened my eyes and looked up at him. "You know you do Journey. Do I need to tell you again?" I asked. He shook his head. "No, but do you think you should tell me about those flowers I saw at the party tonight?"
My heart dropped, again. I couldn't take all of this in one night. The liquor and weed in my system didn't help either. "Huh?" I asked, trying to find time. "You heard me Laila," he responded. I sighed. This wasn't a conversation I wanted to have, not right then. "The roses, yeah. An old friend of mine brought them by tonight," I admitted. I heard Journey clear his throat. I sat up to look at him. He licked his lips and chuckled a little again. "So Laila baby look; we can make this easy, or you can make this real hard. What do you need to tell me?" He looked at me in my eyes and I couldn't lie to him. There was no way I could hurt him any more than I probably already had. I sighed and braced myself. "Ok Journey, I should've told you about this man when I first met him. He's a business owner, we only talked about business and shit. I figured he found me attractive but, nothing ever happened with him. I've never even seen him personally." He squinted at me and scanned me from head to toe. "What you mean, seen him personally?" Journey asked. "I mean, I only saw him at networking events. I haven't even spoken to or seen him in a while.” I was telling the truth. "And he just pops up at your birthday party tonight? A party that me, your man, planned for you? And what you mean you haven't spoken to him? So at one point you were talking to this nigga on the regular?" Journey was remaining calm but was giving me the full court press. Although he asked all of those questions, I found myself unable to really define or justify the relationship I had formulated with Riante. I put my face in my hands and tried to find my words, knowing I was dead ass wrong. After a minute, Journey sighed and pulled me close to him. He looked at me in my eyes again and asked me, "so what's his name Laila?" I told him with no hesitation. "His name is Riante. I'm sorry because I shouldn't have even entertained him, on any level. And I should've told you when he came to the party. I just didn't want it to be a thing Journey. I didn't want you to think it was more than what it is." Journey sighed again and squeezed me harder. I let everything process.
A few minutes passed and I was on edge, wondering what to do or say next. But Journey still comforted me. Wasn't he mad? I knew I would be, if he told me that some bitch brought him flowers to a function that I had planned! Maybe I didn't even deserve Journey. Here I was thinking of sexual relations with Riante and Journey continued to prove his love for me.
"I know your friend," Journey finally said, breaking the silence. The time stopped for me. This wasn't real. "You know who, Riante?" I asked. "Yeah I know him. Riante Carter, right? That's his name?" It was indeed. I sat up and gave Journey a confused look. My first thought was that he had set the whole thing up. In that case, my ass was literally caught red-handed. But it wasn't. "Yeah, that's his name. Riante Carter. How do you know him Journey?" I asked. "No, how do you know him Laila? That's the real question,” he said, still looking in my eyes. Journey was right, and I felt so bad. "Baby, I don't even know what to say. I only had minimal contact. I'm just so sorry, I know better than that shit. I just..."
"Shhh," Journey put his finger up and said. "No need to explain. I already said that I know the nigga. That means, this has nothing to do with you. I'm going to make some calls."
I lay down in the bed and decided to stop fighting my sleep. Though I felt beyond fatigued, I still couldn't settle, especially without Journey by my side. I wondered who he was calling and let my mind drift. I also wondered what type of shit I had gotten Journey into. Or better yet, what kind of shit had I been placed in the middle of? I heard Journey come back into the room. He lay beside me and put his arms around me, pulling me close. "You're mines, and the whole city knows that shit Laila." I let him caress me as I lay right by the window overlooking the city. I turned around to face him and he climbed on top of me. He slid his hands up my exposed thighs and then kissed them. He tugged at my panties and I helped him to remove them. He arched my knees and buried his face in my juices. When he reminded me that I was his (and the whole city knew it), I was already flowing heavy for him. Only Journey had my body on command like that. And I still remained wanted by this man; Mind, Body and Soul, just like he told me. Then he reminded me, with his tongue and manpower, why he was the man I had fallen in love with. He reminded me over and over until I saw the day break over the city and I passed out under the lush comforter. He always knew how to claim what was his. And I swore I heard him say “just in case you forgot” under his breath before kissing my forehead.
As expected, Journey packed up his things to head out of town that following Tuesday. He insisted that his driver and security guard Renzo escort me through the city while he was gone, and I obliged. I didn't feel a need for it but as always, I was sure there were things that he wasn't telling me. We dropped him off at the LaGuardia airport and Renzo drove me back to the spot in Brooklyn. Riante wasn't familiar with either one of our residences and I had been ignoring him so, I wasn't expecting to see him. Journey let me know that he got to his destination safe by calling from a number I had never seen. "You're lucky I answered," I told him. "You knew it was ya man. But look, I'm calling you from this burner because...well you know why. You won't hear from me for the next 2 days, I have to handle something. Let Renzo or Jamall know if you need anything. If it's an emergency, call this number. But only if it's an emergency baby," he said. "Ok love, I got you. I'ma lay low myself. Speak to you on Thursday or so?" I asked. "Yes, maybe even sooner - depends on how shit goes." We hung up and I reminded myself to stay calm and still. Sometimes, I still couldn't believe that I was so in love with a man so deep in the underworld. Like, it sometimes scared me, but never enough to make me leave. It gave me an intense rush, a feeling that was wanted.
I slept through the night and astral remnants of my visions including Journey's sweet love, his warlike wrath, Monte's death and Riante greeted me in the morning. I checked my phone and just saw a message from Jamall reiterating everything Journey and I had discussed the night before. Renzo was sleeping in the guesthouse and he let me know that he was on call for me as well. I got up, got dressed, had breakfast and needed to run a few errands. Renzo drove me to one of my favorite bookstore cafes and I told him I would have a coffee drink and get some work on my computer done. He came in with me and sat down in close proximity. I was there about an hour and ready to wrap up when Renzo told me that he needed to go to the car to make a call and would be right back. I watched him walk out the entrance and began to gather my things. As my head was down, I saw a figure approaching. Riante Carter...
"What's up baby?" He said, with the slyest look on his face. I hated that he was still so handsome to me - standing there in a NYU sweatshirt, new glasses and a fresh shape-up. I calmed my pussy down and said, "Riante, this isn't a good time. And what the fuck are you doing here? Following me or something..." I looked around to see where Renzo was. The last thing I needed was a scene. "You're not answering my calls or texts, so I'm trying to figure out what's going on," Riante said. "Look. I can't see or speak to you anymore. I'm in a relationship and I don't want to compromise it. Please understand Riante. We can't speak.”
He looked down and smirked a little. Then he came closer to me. "I hear you, saying you don't want to be friends anymore. That's cool. But what about what I want Laila?" Was this nigga serious? I was done entertaining him. "Look Riante, like I said, you have to go! I just told you that I'm ending this conversation, for good." What was he not comprehending? "And like I said, you're not trying to understand what I want. Can you at least hear me out?" He asked. I should've told him "hell no" but I was genuinely interested. I sighed, hard. "Before we end this, whatever it was, you can go ahead and tell me," I obliged. He tilted his head a little and I scanned the entrance and restaurant for Renzo. I didn't see him so I let Riante continue, hoping that he would be brief. "If we're being honest, what I want is to put you up on this table right now and eat your pussy into oblivion. Then I want to take you back to my place and fuck you so good that you forget about that nigga Journey - just so I could wake up to your face every morning. If we're being honest..."
I was upset with myself because I could literally envision all that he said, as he was saying it. It was similar to the things I saw the night of my birthday party. It was almost as if he personally placed those images in my mind. "Thank you for sharing that," I finally said, trying my best to maintain my poker face, "but as I said Riante, I have a man and we have to end this. Regardless of what you think, I love my man and that's who I'm with. Now please, excuse yourself." I continued to get my things together and ignored his presence. He laughed a cocky laugh and I was grateful he was finally moving away from my table. "It's not all about what you want Laila. Just remember that. I'll see you later," he said. "You won't!" I reminded him and he walked off. I called Renzo and he walked in a minute afterwards. "Let's go please," I said. "I need to get home and I need to speak with Journey." Renzo escorted me to the truck and probably noticed my frown. "Everything alright Queen?" Renzo asked, opening the backseat door to let me in. I looked at him in his eyes. "I don't know Renzo. But whatever Journey is doing or plans to do over the next few days, he needs to hurry up. Shit just got real," I admitted and shook my head. Renzo went around to get in the front seat and drove off.
"In what way - how did shit just get real Ms. Laila?" Renzo asked me, concerned. "Get Journey on the phone. I'm sure you'll be hearing all about it," I said as I watched the sun set. I called Journey back on that burner phone, knowing that he would not be happy with what I was getting ready to tell him. He didn't answer, as expected. But 30 seconds later, he was calling back.
"Baby, you okay?" He asked.
"I'm not," I said. "When can you get here Journey? I need you!"
"What happened?" He asked, in a panic. "Where's Renzo? Jamall?"
"Renzo is driving. They both have been right here. But baby something happened tonight. I have to see you in person. I just..."
"I'm on the way home. Say less. Tell Renzo to be ready to get me from LaGuardia in 4 hours. Go to the spot in Manhattan in the meantime, Jamall is there. Once I touch down, I'll have him bring you to me. Stay off the phone Laila. I'll see you in a few."
I told Journey I loved him and felt so relieved. No more secrets. The encounter with Riante had my heart speed racing. I literally felt unsafe around his energy, and noticed it for the first time. I had no doubt in my mind that he may harm me, regardless of his confession of sexual tension. Renzo got a call from Journey as he drove and I suddenly had a feeling none of this would be ending well. But Riante had made it more than clear this evening though, the drama was what he wanted...