Chapters 26 & 27 are now posted. 🙂

26.
Tamara
“Clara, did you confirm with Camille regarding the venue for the Halloween party?” I asked while sitting in my office.

“Yes, she mentioned The Drake Hotel for the venue.”

“Excellent. Now, we need to see the guest list as well as the caterer.”

“Already talked to Camille; everything is taken care of Tamara.”

“Wow, thanks Clara. I guess I need to work on my other projects then.”

“I can think of one you could work on. Gerald.”

Just the mention of Gerald’s name made my body quiver. Ever since our night of passion, I can’t stop thinking about him. We went out a couple of times after that, but we both realized we wanted to take things slow and see where things were heading before going into a full-fledged relationship. I suppose to meet up with him today to go over a few prospects I’ve lined up for him, including a radio spot with KBKI 97.8 The Beat. I really want Gerald to succeed with his career and I will do what I can to make that happen.

“Yes, in fact, I have a couple of things lined up for him this afternoon.”

“I’m not talking about his career Tamara; I’m talking about a relationship. I know the two of you been seeing each other.”

“Aren’t you a little nosy Clara?”

“Oh please, it’s written all over your face that there’s something more going on between you two, especially after the funeral.”

I smiled at the thought of Gerald and me making love. It was better than I imagined. That man can do something to my body that no one, even Colton, has done.

My mind suddenly left daydream mode when the door to the office open. I was hoping it was Gerald, but to my surprise, it was none other than Colton Brown walking into the suite with a smug look on his face.

My smile quickly turned into a frown at the sight of Colton through my glass partition. Although I could not stand the sight of him, I had to admit, he did look pretty good right now. His chocolate skin looked smooth and was actually glowing when he approached me. His close cropped fade had tiny waves and he had a short goatee, which made him look older, but sexy. He was dressed in a blue button down dress shirt and dark denim jeans with a pair of black loafers. He gives me a flashy smile, which showed all his pearly white teeth.

I sighed as he walked right past Clara and to my office. I was going to slam my door, but I didn’t want Clara to feel the wrath of this man, so I walked out of my office with a scowl on my face.

“What you doing here Colton?”

“I can’t visit my oldest and dearest friend Tam Tam? Well, I really can’t say friend, because we were much more than that.”

“I’m really busy Colton, so I don’t have time for your visit or anything else.”

“Why you been avoiding my calls Tamara? I’ve been trying to reach you for weeks. I just wanted to offer my condolences regarding Rachel.”

“Thank you. You told me, so now you can go.”

“I don’t think so. There’s more to talk about between us.”

Clara looked at me and mouthed the word “security.”

I shook my head, knowing that I could easily get rid of Colton before Gerald arrives.

“How is everything? Seems like you doing good for yourself. You’re running a high profile company; you have the best clients at your beck and call. I remember not too long ago how much you were in need of money and needed my help for it.”

“Don’t go there Colton. As much as I appreciate your help on some things, you know damn well I was the one who got to where I am now.”

“Oh, really. Now that you’re Ms. High and Mighty, you think you were the one who got you this business? Don’t bite the hand that fed you, Tamara.”

“It’s time for you to go Colton.”

“Or what?”

As soon as he said that, Gerald walked into the office. He looked at me and Colton wondering what was going on.

“Is everything okay?”

I looked at Colton who glanced over at Gerald.

“Everything’s cool.” He said as he walked past Gerald, who intently bumped him before heading to the door. Gerald gave him an awkward stare as Colton turned to look at me.

“Remember Tam Tam, I know your secrets. Mess with me, and they will surely come to light.” He said before going to the door.

I started to feel uneasy as Colton said those words to me. I know he can expose my past life if he wanted to.

Gerald turned to look at me.

“Who was that?”

I gave Gerald a tiny smile as I tried to act convincing to him and to myself.

“A former client; he’s upset I dropped him.”

Gerald nodded his head as if he understood. I breathe a sigh of relief knowing that I’ve dodged a bullet. But as I looked at Clara, she gave a look reading what is going on?

I wish I could tell someone about my past life, but if I do, my career and my life would be completely over.

***

Gerald

Before heading to my meeting with Tamara, I had to stop by my mom’s house to ask her a minor favor. I wanted to cook a special meal for Tamara to show her my appreciation for helping me with my career, along with just being a great and beautiful woman. Since my mom is a master in the kitchen, I wanted to get a couple of her wonderful recipes as well as some advice on my growing relationship with Tamara.

After the night Tamara and I shared, I didn’t know what to expect with our friendship and whether things would be awkward between us. I suggested that we go on a date to really get to know each other, which Tamara thought was funny considering we’ve been friends for years. But as we went out, we did find out things about each other that we never knew, which was good because it showed that we were able to open up to each other more as a couple and not as friends. Just the thought of Tamara and I being in a relationship made me smile because I would have never guessed that we would even been more than friends.

Before reaching my mom’s, she mentioned she had to run an errand, so I could let myself in to get the recipe box from the kitchen. As I took out the key to my childhood home, I turned the lock and walked inside. I quickly went to the keypad for the alarm and typed in the code before my mom received a call from the alarm company indicating there was an intruder. I went into the kitchen and started to search for the recipe box. My mom always moved things to different places, so I never knew where everything was. After a few minutes, I started to give up, before I noticed a large gold box near the microwave. I went to it and opened it to reveal a couple of documents. I started to study the contents more carefully as I noticed some personal documents from my mom and dad.

After my dad passed away two years ago from cancer, my mom kept some of his personal papers throughout the house; so this was not a surprise that she kept a box in the kitchen. As I continued to snoop, there was one document that caught my eye. I put down the other papers I had in my hand and look at the document before me. It was a birth certificate from St. Luke Hospital that had my name on it, but the name under the line for “mother” was not my mother’s name. My father’s name was correct, but my mother’s name had Claire Waters. My mother’s name was Ebony Smalls, so why is another woman on my birth certificate? I quickly put the certificate into my pocket, trying to figure out if this certificate was real. If it was, then what did my mom give me to keep in my possession?

I shook my head at the thought that was triggering into my mind. There’s no way my mom would lie about anything concerning my birth. My mom is Ebony Smalls. She’s been my mom for thirty-one years. She raised me to the man I am today. So this was definitely a fake.

As I thought about the name Claire Waters, I had to wonder why that name sounded familiar. I believe Camille’s mom name is Claire, but I’m not sure what her maiden name was considering I’ve known her only as Thomas.

I know my dad was always a drifter, but I don’t think he would have cheated on my mom. And I don’t think it would have been with Camille’s mom? If Mrs. Thomas did have another child, why wouldn’t Camille have known?

Why would that even cross my mind? This is crazy! I thought as I forgot all about the recipes and left my mom’s house. Although I tried to push the thought out of my head, I couldn’t help but to think maybe my theory could be true. What if my mom is not my mom, but actually Claire Thomas? What if Camille is my sister?

To prove whether my theory was just a theory; I had to get some facts about Claire Waters. And I think I knew who to talk to get the evidence I needed.

Once I got to Tamara’s office, a confrontation was going on between her and some dude. I actually seen him before when we were going to University of Houston and even after that, but don’t really know his name. As he walked pass me, he purposely bumped into me. I gave him an angry stare while he looked at me and laughed. Jackass!

Tamara looked as if she wanted to cry.

“Who was that?”

“A former client; he’s upset I dropped him.”

Even though I nodded my head to drop the conversation, I knew it was more than that. I’ll try to find out the real story later; now, I have other matters to tend to.

“So, ready for your meeting?” Tamara asked as she walked into her office.

“Yes, but I have to do one thing first.” I said as I grabbed her by the waist and planted a longing kiss on her soft lips. As we pulled away, Tamara had to catch her breath as she looked over at Clara. I turned to see Clara fanning herself with a piece of paper.

“I think we better go into my office.” Tamara said as she took my hand and we headed through the door.

As soon as she closed the dark brown door, she went over to me and kissed me. I begin to kiss her neck while she took off my sweater. As she was about to unbutton my shirt, I put my hand on hers and smiled

“You do know these walls are see-through?”

“I know; but no one is here.”

“Clara is.”

“She has an office.” Tamara said as she began to lightly bite my ear.

“Why don’t we save this for later? I want to invite you over my place to cook you dinner.”

“Oh, wow. So I guess this will be our dessert?”

“Definitely.” I said as I kissed her lips.

“Okay, I guess I could wait. But can we at least preview tonight’s activities?”

“No; in fact, I came here for a meeting, so let’s get started.” I said as I took a seat in a mahogany armchair by her desk.

“You’re kidding, right?”

“Nope, now, let’s get started.”

“Fine; I guess business now and pleasure later?”

“Yes. But first, I need to ask a question.”

“Sure, go ahead.”

“Did Camille ever mention her mother’s maiden name before?”

“I think so. In fact, she did mention it one time before. I believe her name is Waters. Why you want to know?”

As soon as Tamara said the name Waters, my heart literally stopped. My face turned pale as I looked at Tamara, wondering if I should inform her of what I just discovered.

“This can’t be happening.”

“What? What’s wrong Gerald?”

“I think Camille’s mother is my mom.” I quickly uttered.

As Tamara looked at me in disbelief, I put my head in my hands, not believing what I just heard.

27.
Melanie

“Here you go. Thanks for shopping at Parson’s.” I said to a customer who just purchased over five hundred dollars’ worth of merchandise. If this trend continued, I could open up my second boutique very soon. As I let one of my employees know I was taking my lunch break, I noticed Camille coming into the boutique. Camille looked beautiful in a teal colored wrap dress and black riding boots. Her long hair bounced back and forth as she walked towards me and gave me a hug.

“Hey, girl. I didn’t think you would be here today.”

“Yeah; the boutique is short staff once again, so I came in to help out. What are you doing here?”

“Taking a long lunch break; I wanted to do some shopping, and what better place to come then my girl’s boutique.”

“Well of course! What are you looking for?”

“I need something sexy. Like this.” Camille said as she went over to my lingerie table. She picked up a bright red nightie with a matching thong.

“Okay, I know we haven’t talked much since Rach’s funeral, but tell me that’s not for Chad?”

Camille gave a huge smile as she went up to a mirror nearby to look at the outfit.

“No; it’s for Trevor.”

I felt my mouth go to the floor as I put my hands to my mouth to avoid screaming.

“Oh, my gosh! You two finally hooked up?”

“Yes. We’re together now. We weren’t going to tell anyone about us since I’m separated, but it kind of slip out when my dad saw us together.”

“I’m so happy for you two. You do know that everyone saw this coming. And I’m pretty sure Chad did too.”

“I know, and that’s what I’m afraid of. When we do go through the divorce proceedings, he could spin it around and say I was the one who was cheating during the marriage.”

“Let him; you know the truth, and if you can get proof to back it up, then everyone will too.”

“That’s the problem. I have to find proof that he’s cheated. It’s kind of hard when I don’t even know where to start.”

“Leave that to me. I know a couple of people who can give you what you need.”

“Really? Thanks, Mel.”

“No problem. I want you to move on from that jerk, so I want to help anyway I can.”

“Well, I need all the help I can get. But enough about Chad; are you coming to the Halloween party Tamara and I throwing this weekend? It will be fun.”

“Of course. I already got the invite from your assistant.”

“Great. That girl can sometime be incompetent, so thankfully she sent out the invites. Are you bringing a guest?”

I looked at Camille and smiled.

“Maybe.”

“I see I’m not the only one keeping secrets. Is there a new guy you haven’t mentioned?”

“Sort of, but you know him. I’m not sure I’ll ask him though. He might already be going.”

“Who would that be?”

“Derrick.”

This time, Camille’s mouth was on the floor.

“Tamara’s brother. Are you for real?”

“Yeah; we’ve been seeing each other for a couple of months now.”

“How does Tamara feels about this? She must know, right?”

I gave Camille a doubtful look. Although I know Tamara has her suspicions, she never approached them to me or Derrick.

“I’m not sure if Tamara knows; besides, I’m pretty sure she’s busy being with Gerald to notice.”

“Wait, what? Tamara and Gerald are together? When did that happen?”

“That’s what I heard from Derrick. The two became really close during the funeral.”

“Wow; well I’m certainly happy for the both of them. They deserve it. And don’t worry about Tamara. I think she will be cool with you and Derrick dating.”

“I hope so. I really don’t want our friendship to be ruined because of it.”

“So tell me, how did you and Derrick become a couple?”

“It just sort of happen, I guess. We were always in the same circle, so one day we decided to talk and we just had an instant connection.”

Camille smiled as she gave me another hug.

“Well, we have to do a triple date one day. It would be fun for all of us to hang out.”

I smiled at the thought.

“Yeah, it definitely will be.”

***

Later that afternoon, I had to tend to my other job, which was starting to become a huge headache. Derrick and I still have not found the information we needed to nail Colton Brown, and with Tamara no longer associating with him, we can’t find his whereabouts or anyone that could tie him to any drug activities in the city.

Now, Derrick and I decided to take a break from work and have some alone time. We were seated in Las Hermanas Mexican Restaurant ordering dinner. I looked at Derrick as he took a long sip of water.

“Do you think we’ll find anything on Brown? We have been through every source and came up empty.”

“We will in time. Evidently, Brown going to slip up, so we’ll get him.”

“I hope so. I don’t know how much of this I can take.”

“Who are you telling? I just want my life back. Maybe spend more time with you without thinking about work.”

“Yeah, but I wasn’t just talking about the case. I was talking about the job in general. I’m thinking about quitting the bureau after the case is finished.”

Derrick put down his water and gave me a tiny smile.

“I don’t blame you. This job is not cut out for everyone.”

“What do you mean? Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do, I just don’t know how long I can continue lying to everyone about my profession. When I took my position on the bureau and this case, I made a vow to never reveal my true intentions to anyone, but it’s kind of hard to do when the people I cared about are the ones I’m lying to. I’m afraid that I will slip up one day and tell someone the truth.”

“I feel like that sometimes, especially to Tamara. When she’s thinking I’m going out of town for business, I’m really going to solve a case. I know with our jobs, it’s complicated to explain to anyone, especially when you have to do investigations that they may be involved in.”

“Like Tamara?”

“Yeah; I really think she no longer associating with Brown. She hasn’t mentioned anything about him for a while, especially since she’s been dating Gerald.”

“That’s a good thing, isn’t it?”

“Not if Sutton has anything to say about it.”

“Why are we talking about work? This is the first time in a long time that we’ve been out in public. Let’s just focus on us and our time together.”

“Sounds like a plan to me.” Derrick said as he leaned over the table and kissed me. As we were in the middle of kissing, I noticed Derrick’s eyes wandering over to the hostess table. I pulled away from him and turn towards the front to see Tamara and Gerald walking in. I began to roll my eyes, knowing that our alone time is completely over.

Tamara noticed the two of us while talking to the hostess. She began to walk over to our table with Gerald behind her. She gave Derrick a smile before giving him a hug.

“Hey, bro, how’s everything going?”

“Good, thanks. Hey, Gerald.”

“Hey, Derrick.”

“Mind if we join you two? We told the hostess we’ll just sit at your table since you two were already here.”

“No problem. No problem at all.” I said as I began to sigh.

“I knew you would understand.” Tamara said as she and Gerald took a seat in the chairs in front of us.

“So, what brings you two out?” Derrick asked.

“Gerald was going to cook me a special dinner, but we decided to go out instead.”

“Yeah, what she said.” Gerald quietly agreed.

“You know it’s always great to see you sis, but Melanie and I are on a date.”

“Oh.” Tamara said as she looked from her brother to me.

“Something we should be doing, right Tamara?” Gerald asked.

“Well yes, but I just thought we could hang out together since we haven’t seen each other since the funeral.”

“Tamara’s right; let’s just hang out a bit, okay.” I said as I tried to keep the peace between Derrick and Tamara.

“Fine.” Derrick said as he threw his napkin on the table.

“What’s your problem?” Tamara asked.

“As if you didn’t know; you’re purposely ruining our date.”

“I just wanted to spend time with you guys.”

“Tamara, you hate the fact that I’m dating your friend, admit it.”

“Fine, I’ll admit it. I really do not like the fact that you’re dating Melanie. Happy.”

I gave Tamara a confused look, wondering why she would.

“Can you explain to me why this is a bad idea?”

“I don’t know Melanie; let me count the many men you seduced and left because they weren’t rich enough for you.”

“Oh boy.” Gerald whispered.

“Are you kidding me? I’ve never dated men for their money! Why would you think that?”

“Oh please! Back in college you were known for dating multiple men. I just don’t want my brother to get hurt by you.”

“You are being a hypocrite right now. Back in college, you’ve done a hell of a lot more than I ever done. Does Colton Brown ring a bell to you?”

I really didn’t want to bring up Colton’s name, but Tamara was being a real bitch right now. I known about Tamara and Colton’s relationship and the fact that he did run a strip club back in the day. I don’t know if Tamara was involved in Colton’s business, but I do know that she was always strapped for cash and suddenly she wasn’t. Anyone could put two together to figure what was going on.

Tamara gave me a smirk as she grabbed her purse.

“Don’t ever bring his name up, ever again!”

“Well, don’t bring up my past if you don’t want yours out in the open.”

Tamara looked at Derrick and shook her head.

“Give me a call when you dump her ass.” She said as she turned around and went towards the exit.

Gerald looked at the both of us and shrugged before going after Tamara.

I turned towards Derrick who gave me an evil stare.

“What did I do? She was the one who started it.”

“Yeah, but she was our only way to get to Colton. Now, that’s ruined.”

I sighed as I threw my napkin on my plate. I suddenly lost my appetite.

***

Tamara

“I cannot believe that bitch!” I yelled as I kicked the wall outside of Las Hermanas. I was so furious with Melanie right now. I can’t believe she would even bring up Colton’s name in front of my brother and Gerald.

“What the hell just happened in there? Who is Colton Brown?” Gerald asked.

I sighed as I looked at Gerald. I might as well tell him the truth. If I want any type of relationship with him, he has to know what I done in my past. Hopefully he would be able to see past my misdeeds.

“You may have seen him a couple of times back in college, but I’ve never really talked about him, let alone introduced him to anyone. Well, maybe except Rachel.”

“So how does Melanie know about him?”

“She sort of found out unexpectedly. Anyway, we dated back in my last year of college and he was sort of bad news from the start.”

“How?”

“For starters, he owned a strip club. But he mainly was known for his party promotions around campus and clubs around the area. I met him while attending one of his parties and we became good friends.”

“How did you two become more than just friends?”

“We hung out a lot, then one thing led to another and we hooked up. After a while, we became business partners in a sense. He wanted to venture away from opening strip clubs and party promoting and I decided I wanted in. A couple of months later, we went into business together and it helped jump start my PR firm.”

“So you’re telling me that this guy helped you with your company. Where is he now?”

“Remember the guy at the office earlier. The one I mentioned I had to drop as a client? That was Colton.”

“I knew he looked familiar. I saw him around campus a lot. Why you just didn’t tell me that.”

“I didn’t want to relive the past by mentioning that my ex-boyfriend was in the same room as my current man. Gerald, Colton was my past and I would like to keep it that way. I want to focus on my future and what life has in store for me in the present.”

“I hope I’m included in your plans?”

“You know you are.” I said as I went up to him and gave him a kiss.

As Gerald put his arms around me, I had to breathe a sigh of relief. Yes, I told Gerald the truth, but not the entire truth. There’s no way anyone is going to find out that I used to be an escort. And hopefully, my secret will stay one while I’m still alive.

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