Journey still had fresh blood on him, from killing Monte just a few weeks ago. And here I was putting him deeper in the mix with this Riante character. I was so upset with myself for ever trusting him. I had blocked him from my phone so I wouldn't be bothered with any more of his shenanigans. I couldn't believe him! How could he just pop up on me in the damn cafe like that? Had he been watching me? And how much did Renzo know about it all? I was sure he had his suspicions, but I planned on telling Journey everything when I saw him. I contemplated all these things and more as Renzo drove us to the spot in Manhattan. He was still on the phone with Journey and they were speaking in code, heavy. I could tell. And I would usually try and decipher but I was totally exhausted with it all. By now, I knew why Journey had made it such a point to keep me protected. I am his most vulnerable and valuable asset and if any nigga was trying to harm him, in the streets or otherwise, they may try to get close to me to do so.
I was greeted by Jamall and the concierge when we pulled up to the condo building. Renzo came around to let me out of the truck. As he escorted me to the entrance, I noticed three other militant men in all black standing in close proximity. Their presence and glocks were very visible. They secretly nodded to Jamall and then Renzo before he got back into the truck. I had already figured they were more of Journey's soldiers. Jamall let me walk first and concierge escorted us both to the elevator. Jamall and I rode the elevator up and I was fidgety as hell. I couldn't stop moving. We finally got to my floor and went into the condo. I immediately removed my shoes and went upstairs to the bedroom. I turned on the light and I felt the reminisces of Journey and I. We had just spent the night there together earlier in the week. I sighed and had a seat on the bed. I remembered where Journey's weed stash was and rolled up something nice to calm my nerves. I felt really shaken up and could not wait to be in my man's arms again. That was the safest place in the world for me. I lay back and blew the weed smoke towards the ceiling. Minutes later, I heard my phone ringing.
"Journey, I just got to Manhattan," I said. "I know. I'll be back soon and then Jamall will bring you to me," he said. "Okay, we can talk when I see you." I know that my voice had fear in it. "Did somebody touch you?" I paused when he asked that. "No Journey, of course not. I would've let you know. But I know how it goes with the phone baby, so I'ma let you know everything when I see you," I said. "And you know that Laila, I'ma be right there for you. Just give me a moment to get to you," he said. "Ok, and Journey...please, spend some time with me tonight. I know you have good reason to be running around and handling your business right now but please, spend time with me. Even after we finish talking about all of this..."
I know I hit a soft spot with him. He took a second. "Damn baby, you're so right and I'm so sorry. Let me hurry and get home to you. Just sit tight for me. I love you Laila," he said. "I'll always love you Journey, and I'll be waiting on you." We hung up and of course, I got emotional. I had a wide range of emotions stemming from my dishonesty with Journey to a longing I still had for Riante. In the midst of all of this, I wanted to talk to my girl Robyn. She would understand and know the right things to say to me. However, Journey had instructed me to stay off the phone and until he was back in the city, I would follow his direction. I decided to go ahead and pack a bag with enough clothes for a few days. I didn't know where Jamall would be taking me or how long we would be staying; especially after I let Journey know about Riante. My phone rang again and it was a private number calling me. I figured it my have been Journey but I knew better. I decided to ignore it, I couldn't chance it and besides, Journey had given me simple instructions. I continued to pack and was in the bathroom grabbing toiletries when I heard my phone ring again. Another call from a private number. I was more than sure that it was Riante now. But he would get enough of playing games with me. I decided to turn my phone off for the time being. I went downstairs and saw Jamall on a call himself. He excused himself. "Yes Madame Laila, you need anything?" He asked. I sighed. "Yes Jamall, please just keep an eye on everything as I finish packing upstairs. I've turned my phone off to let it charge so if you hear from Journey, please let me know. I'm going to take a shower and finish getting ready." He shook his head to indicate that he understood me and I went back into the bedroom. I ran the water for my shower and took a nice, hot and long one to refresh my senses. Once I got out, I oiled up and decided to dress in my all black Chanel sweatsuit. I was finishing up my hair when Jamall knocked on the door. "Yes Jamall," I yelled out. "Just checking on you. And letting you know to be ready to go in an hour. Journey wants me to take you to his spot in Long Island to meet him." I squinted. Journey never mentioned a spot in Long Island. I went to the door and opened it to see Jamall. "What spot in Long Island Jamall?" I asked. His eyes widened a bit and I knew he would try to save face. "We'll be going there tonight Madame. I'm sure Journey will explain everything to you later this evening," he said. Good answer. I was sure that Jamall didn't want to get in the middle of anything else between Journey and I. So I finished my hair, made sure everything I needed was packed, rolled up a blunt for the road and waited patiently. I turned my phone back on and put it in my purse. I wondered how long the ride to Long Island would be, I had never been up there before.
Jamall and another one of Journey's soldiers were driving me. We left around 9 that night and got on the Expressway. I lit up my backwood and watched the city lights until they faded from my vision. We went on some back roads and before I knew it, we had arrived. The spot was a cute little 2-story home surrounded by trees, with a circular driveway and an actual picket fence. It looked like a normal, middle-class Suburban family lived there. Jamall made a call to Journey and then I saw my man's face. He walked out the front door and right to the backseat window. He opened the door and I fell into his arms. "Journey," I said, and I couldn't hold back the tears. It didn't matter to me that Jamall or any other of Journey's men were there either. My emotions were running wild and Journey was the only one who could comfort me. "Come on baby, I'm here," he said and he got me out of the truck. We went inside and everything seemed like a blur. I wasn't even paying attention to the particulars of the house, it just seemed like a regular bachelor's pad. He took me upstairs and we went into the bedroom at the end of the hall. I could smell Kush incense burning and there were candles lit in there. After Jamall brought my bags in, I heard Journey tell his other security there at the house to lock up everything. I sat on the bed and watched Journey close and lock the bedroom door before walking over to me. He got down on his knees and sat in front of me on the floor. He took his shirt off, revealing all of his chest tattoos and he looked me deeply in my eyes. With one hand, he grabbed my face and with the other, he pulled my waist closer to him.
"I hate seeing you like this baby," he said. Tears were still fresh in my eyes. He smelled fresh out the shower and it intoxicated me. "I know," I said back. I knew I had to tell Journey everything, and there would be no turning back after the fact. "Mi amor, what's wrong? Please tell me Laila." I hugged Journey so hard and let more tears fall. I needed him so much and could feel it stronger than I ever had in that moment. "You're my protector, my lover, my best friend...my everything. Journey I didn't know what I was going to do today. I felt so vulnerable baby, I needed you." I took a deep breath. "And I'm right here with you now love." He grabbed both of my thighs and looked into my eyes. "Laila please baby, tell me what happened...." I braced myself.
"Renzo took me up to the Bruekelen Coffeehouse earlier, you know I love their Lattes. I was finishing up some work and Renzo had been sitting there with me the whole time - so I told him to go ahead to the truck and he said he would be right back anyway. A minute later though, Riante appears. I don't even know where he came from Journey. I asked him if he was following me and he told me that he just wanted to talk. I told him to leave and he did, but only after he said some really disrespectful shit to me. And I...I just...didn't know what to do after that so I had Renzo take me back home and I called you."
Journey looked at me, and I knew that every muscle in his body wanted to jump up and make a move. But this is why I made him promise me that he would spend time with me after I told him. He sat back on the floor and blew out a couple of deep breaths. "I'ma ask you again Laila, since you're here in the flesh with me, did that man put his hands on you in any way?" I shook my head and said "no Journey. He didn't. He just said some wild shit. I tried to shake it off but..." He stopped me, "Laila, what did this nigga say to you?" I knew from the look on Journey's face that I had better be honest. I sighed. "He told me he wanted to do sexual things to me, and that he didn't care that I had a man. I'm sorry Journey," I said. "Sorry? Stop it baby. You didn't do anything wrong, like I told you. But I'ma sit right here with you, like I promised you on the phone. And Laila, you already know what's going to happen to this man. I don't know if you had any feelings for him, and I don't even wanna know. But I think you know now who I am, and why I say and do things that I do. So I'm telling you right now, I hope you said your final goodbyes to ya boy Riante. Because I promise I'm gonna handle that." Journey got up on the bed with me and pulled me closer. He kissed my forehead, twice and then my lips. I smiled. "I don't have feelings for any other man besides you Journey. I promise you that, from mi corazon," I said, placing his hand over my chest. "You have my heart Journey - my mind, body and soul. I will never cross you again and I will never do anything to hurt you." He removed my hair tie and let my hair fall down my back as he caressed it. We both fell back onto the bed and I kissed his lips and then his chest. I came back up to bite his neck a little and he grabbed me by my waist to pull me on top of him. In an instant, I felt his manhood swelling underneath me. I grinded on him and whispered in his ear how much I loved him. "I know baby, 'cause you're my wife," he whispered back.
I wanted Journey to know how much I appreciated him. I kissed his chest again and began to massage his tool. I loved when he began to moan, as I needed to relieve all of the stress of his business trip and more. His dick was basically poking out of his sweatpants so I scooted down and pulled it out. It glowed perfectly in the candlelight and it smelled so fresh. I started by kissing it and wrapping my lips around the head of his penis - that always drove him wild. I twisted my head to the side and put his entire shaft in my mouth. His breathing got deeper and I could feel his body relax more. He had so much tension in his loins. I opened my throat and took all of him in my mouth with no gagging. "Fuck!" He screamed out as I sped up my pace. My mouth was so wet and so was my pussy. I was so ready to feel him inside. So as I felt his dick pulsating more, ready to explode, I came to a sudden stop. "Ahhhh," he yelled out. And I caressed his chest. He reached to pull my fitted sweatpants off and in one swoop, he had succeeded. I didn't have on any panties and he grabbed me by my backside and pulled my pussy to his beard. He kissed her and was ready to make love to her with his tongue (as he always did) but I wanted to please him. So I gently backed away and then climbed on top of him. "Mmmm, exactly what I been needing," he said as he grabbed my hips. I sat there on the tip of his penis and then let him glide himself inside. Instantly he made my love come down. "Journey...Journey," I cried out. There were places inside of me that his dick knew so well. My pussy accommodated him so comfortably. With each stroke, I could feel his love. I loved when he would have one hand on my waist and use the other to move my hair from my face as I was riding him. So tender and so firm, his girth left me mesmerized. Needless to say, I satisfied the hell out of my man this evening. Of course I strived to every night but this particular evening was special. I had to further prove my own love to him and assure him that I would be waiting for him when he came back from killing Riante.
I lay there in Journey's arms as the candles burned and the deepness of the night grew thicker. I could hear his Security downstairs but also listened to his heart beat as I Iaid on his chest. "Laila, you know I would do anything for you," Journey told me. "I know. And I would do anything for you Journey. Thank you for choosing me," I said. "It wasn't a hard choice to make. Not to sound corny, but from the first time I saw you, I knew. I knew you were special and I knew you were the only woman I would be able to share this life with." I kissed Journey and smiled. He was my Soulmate, and that was a given. Hearing him speak about sharing this life with him made me feel even more guilty about Riante. I mean, Journey had trusted me with damn near everything - except for the house we were currently laying up in. I wondered why that was. At first I thought that I shouldn't make a fuss but, I didn't want it lingering in the back of my mind. So I asked him straight up, "Journey. How long have you have had this place?" He opened his eyes. "I haven't. This is my Aunt Mazette's place. She's my great Aunt on my mom's side," he said. "Oh," was my reply. Still, he had never mentioned it. And I had never questioned Journey's motives before, because I know he really loves me, but sometimes I did wonder. I mean he's been so deep for so long, of course there were things that I didn't know about. On cue, as if he was reading my thoughts he says "it's all about protecting you Laila. I tell you mostly everything. And everything you need to know, believe me, you know baby. You have to trust your man." He kissed my forehead again and my pussy melted more. "I do baby," I said. "Don't you worry."
I woke up the next morning to the smell of French Toast and scrambled eggs. My favorite I thought, before even opening my eyes. I washed my face, put on a robe over my white pajamas set and headed downstairs to the kitchen. Journey's four Security guards were up walking around and sipping coffee. They greeted me with silent head nods and I smiled as I walked into the kitchen. Journey was at the stove, finishing up the cheese eggs and I smiled at his back. I walked up on him slowly. "Good morning handsome." He turned around and smiled. "Good morning beautiful," he said, planting another forehead kiss. "Have a seat. Let me serve you breakfast." I did as I was told and found a seat at the over-sized dining room table. There was fresh fruit and ingredients for Mimosas sitting there. I poured myself some orange juice and chomped on a few grapes while I waited for Journey to finish up. He made our plates and brought enough for seconds on another plate. Then he set up more food on a separate counter for his Security guards. "You cooked for your people too? That's why they love you," I said to him. He smiled and had a seat across from me. "That's why they remain loyal to me. It's the little things baby. It's always the little things. I take care of my people, and they take care of me. It's simple science." I shook my head and agreed. We finished breakfast and I went out in the big backyard to breathe in some fresh air and clear my mind. After about 20 minutes, Journey joined me. I never got tired of watching him walk towards me. I licked my lips as he approached me near one of the tall trees in the yard. The weather was beautiful and the air was clear in Long Island. He grabbed me by the hands and I was sure he was ready to tell me that he needed to leave me again soon. I braced myself, as all of the traumatic emotions began to sweep over me. I realized right then that I knew too much. Between Monte and now this situation that had us at this random ass house in Long Island. Journey had to have trusted me with his life. And all I could recall was us in bed the night before, when he had called me his wife. The rock I looked down at on my finger meant those were real words that he spoke. So I smiled and kissed him on his cheek. I was a hustler's wife. This was the life I always wanted.
"I have business to handle tonight Laila." Those were words I had grown all too comfortable hearing. "OK, and what do you need from me?" I asked. He tilted his head a little as if he was surprised. "I mean, I understand if you don't want to stay here. If you do, you can. But if not, let's get ready to go back to Manhattan. Like now..." Everything was moving too fast. I mean, it was just the next morning. Couldn't Journey spend just a little more time with me? I stopped him as we were walking back inside from the yard. "Hey baby, look I know you're upset about Riante. But I don't want to be alone again Journey. I'm still shook up. I feel too vulnerable right now," I said. Journey sighed and hugged me. "Look mama, you're never alone, not as long as I'm alive. And even in the afterlife. But listen to me," he grabbed my chin lightly, "Riante ran up on my woman. You understand? You're all that matters to me Laila. I need to go handle something. Just let me meet with these people and I'll be back in a few hours. I promise you, I'm not leaving your side after this. And all that traveling? It's getting cut out too. I'm for real baby, and you know I'm a man of my word. I'm coming back tonight and I'm not going nowhere." That forehead kiss would get me every time. I went upstairs to grab my things and threw my shades on. It seemed that in a flash, we were back in Manhattan. For all of you reading this and thinking it’s a dream life, believe me it felt more like a nightmare. Running back and forth throughout the city, having a man that travels nonstop and these added fantasies about Riante weren’t helping. Why was it that I was secretly still craving the element of danger that Riante posed? Like, I was already with the most ruthless man in the city but how had I gotten caught up with one of his sworn enemies?
It became clear that both Journey and Riante shared the same traits. I loved their street demeanor, tall and muscular builds and full beards. Journey has tattoos on his neck and all over his body. Riante was more clean cut and a wolf in sheep’s clothing for sure. Yeah this life could be a sweet dream, or a nightmare. The way that Journey’s Security Guards were moving let me know that Riante posed a real threat. If for no other reason than him approaching me the day before. While Journey was gone, I just stayed in the room, to myself. I tried not to be anxious. I asked him who Riante was to him before he left and he simply told me “he’s an old problem that should’ve been solved a long time ago. Just know, this will be the end of all of this baby. Don’t worry.” He kissed me passionately. He was on his way out the door, but not before turning and saying to me “And umm, eventually I’ll need to see the exchanges you had with Riante over the past couple of months. Just to see how deep his infiltration might’ve been. It’s probably nothing but, I can’t take that chance.” I agreed to Journey’s request but of course it made me nervous. I looked at the long text message thread between Riante and I and realized that the conversation was harmless, on my end. Riante was always a little more forward but my boundaries were clearly stated from day one. Only recently had Riante began being so lewd with his desires and that supported what I had already told Journey. Still didn’t ease my anxiety though. Journey had never asked to look through my phone and again, I was proving I had nothing to hide. Besides, he was on his way to plan and do God knows what to Riante. I looked in the mirror and remembered what I said: there was no turning back at this point.
My phone rang and I saw a private number calling, again. I went into the bedroom closet to make sure that none of Security would hear me. I was curious as to who kept calling me. Besides, Journey was back safe in the city and didn’t give me any instructions about the phone for the evening. I knew I was playing with fire but I answered anyway. I picked the phone up and didn’t say anything. Seconds later, my suspicions were confirmed. “Hello...is this my baby Laila? Or is this her hoe ass nigga Journey answering her line?” Riante was speaking in a drunken tone. I couldn’t even respond. I couldn’t believe he was still being so bold. He continued “Laila, I know you remember what I said. It’s not all about what you want shawty. I said I want you to be my bitch, so you gonna be my BITCH!”
I hurried and hung up. I put my hand on my chest, my heart was beating so fast. "Oh my God," I said aloud. I sat my ass down and then got in the bed. I would just wait for Journey. Hearing Riante's voice shook me up, all over again. He had to meet his demise sooner than later. I hated that I even felt that way about another Black man. But what, was he going to continue to harass me? Follow me around and pop up? Call my phone from private numbers and disrespect me and my union? I knew that Journey wouldn't be having it. As soon as I heard him come in downstairs, I let out a sigh of relief. I never liked when Journey had to leave and be all secretive and shit. He walked in the room and hopped right in the bed with me. "And I'm back baby, just like I said I would be." Another forehead kiss. I grabbed his arms and placed them around me. I was watching my favorite movie of all time "Love Jones" on the large television screen. "How did I know you would be up here watching this?" Journey asked me. "Because you know me baby. I could watch this movie everyday."
I heard my phone ringing and my heart stopped, literally. It was on the nightstand right there. I reached for it and saw that it was a private number. I didn't hide it from Journey either. He knew before I even said anything. "Answer it," he said as he sat up in the bed. I picked the phone up and he took it from my hands, placing it loud on speaker. A few seconds passed, and Riante's drunken tone blared through the phone's speaker again. "Laila, stop fucking playing with me. You gon' block a nigga? Don't make me pull up on you again like I did." Journey looked over to me and I saw a look in his eyes I had never seen.
"I hope you said goodbye to your mother nigga. To ya daughter and to that raggedy bitch Teisha you used to fuck with up on Flatbush. You already know what type of time I'm on Riante. And this time, I won't miss," Journey said.
Riante said nothing, and then quickly hung up. Journey looked down at the phone and then up at me. "How long this nigga been calling you from private numbers and shit Laila?"
I swear, nothing got past this man! I had to catch my breath. "Just a couple of days Journey, only since you've been gone. I haven't answered though, because you told me to stay off the phone." He was about to get out of the bed but then calmed down. He sighed and then powered my phone off. "Come here," he said and pulled me close. I caressed his beard and let him feel my love. He had just witnessed firsthand how wreckless Riante was being. “He called once when you were gone too Journey. He called me a ‘bitch’ and all that too. I was definitely going to tell you. But I’m glad you were here when he called back,” I admitted. Journey scoffed and shook his head. I knows his rage was growing, so I held onto him tighter. His heartbeat slowed down and then he began to speak, "I know you asked me about this whole situation earlier and I kept it real brief. But I feel like you need to know now. Riante was like my brother back when we were in high school. But then, he got caught up with the wrong niggas back in D.C. and ended up doing some time. A lot of time. I was already getting money, and I told him that money was my main focus, none of that hot boy shit. And for whatever reason, he took that to mean I was turning my back on him but I couldn’t be visiting the jails and shit. I had my own operation to run and I didn’t need any extra heat from his hot ass. So he kept me and my brother's name in his mouth, the whole time he was locked up. The jails and streets are the same Laila; they always talk back and forth to each other. Riante grew such a hatred for me that he put a hit out on me for like $20,000 — short money. I paid a nigga $50,000 just because he told me what Riante was doing. And now, he's been scurrying around like a little bitch ever since. He tried to use you to get close to me baby. And look, I have to apologize to you Laila. For real, I feel like I wasn't there for you like I should've been. I definitely let him get too close and for that, he's going to die," Journey said. He looked right at me and I stared back into his eyes. Neither of us budged. Like I said, I saw something very different in his eyes. Riante had crossed Journey in more ways than one and though I didn't ask, I was sure he had something to do with Journey's brother's death as well.
So even when I thought for a moment that it may be too much; the murder, mayhem and memories in Manhattan - I remembered that anything I wanted was to be mine. My man Journey promised to always deliver.
"All of our problems will be solved and buried within the next 72 hours. Sleep tight Laila. I'll see you in the morning love."