Baker 6

Baker 6 is the story that originally created the characters of Camille and Trevor 🙂 The reason why this story was never published and In Love With My Best Friend was created was because I didn’t like the story. I felt too much was going on within one plot and I wanted to focus on particular characters.

The story focuses on six individuals who knew each other since high school and are brought together after one of their own is tragically killed. Some issues were never resolved with some while others are beginning to realize that there’s more within their friendships.

 

1.

Rachel

There’s no place like home….

Being back in Baker, Texas is what the doctor ordered. Nothing like being back in the town that has truly supported you through your career is truly a great feeling and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

So much was going through my head right now as I make the exit off of Woodpark Drive and onto the fender road to the city entrance. Not only have I been working nonstop on a top secret storyline on the hit soap Park Place, but I have landed a huge part in a feature film. I am super excited for the role and cannot wait to start filming next week. That’s why I decided to come out to Baker and surprise my mom during my week off before heading to Florida for the movie.

As I turned onto Leeder Lane, I quickly needed to decide whether to take Kelly Court or go out of my way to Stewart Drive to my mom’s. Kelly Court is considered a hazard street to the city because of the lack of street lights and the fact that the Chelsea River is right near the road. As I was sitting at the intersection for a couple of minutes (which I could do since I was the only one on the road), a car slowly started to approach behind my BMW, so I had to make the turn on to Kelly Court.

As I turned, I swiftly turned on my high beam lights to better see the road. My hands gripped the steering wheel to ease the nervous feeling I started to develop.

“Just a few minutes and I will be at my mom’s.” I said out loud as I pressed the volume button that was located on the left column of my steering wheel. I looked into my rearview mirror and noticed the same car that approached me earlier was behind me. I guess the car had the same idea I had by taking this road.

To ease my fear, I began to think about how blessed I am. Not only do I have a great career, an amazing family and great friends, but I’m thrilled to see what life has in store for me. I can’t believe that I, Rachel Addison, have such an amazing life.

But there are some things that I wish I could change, and it does not have anything to do with my life, but the people around me. Although I have a great group of people I considered friends, each of them have multiple skeletons in their closet that I feel they could or should fix. How I retain the secrets, I will never tell, but I know most of them will destroy everyone’s lives in the process.

I glanced into my rearview mirror again and noticed the same car behind me, but this time was a little closer to my bumper. I tried to increase my speed to avoid the car being so close to me, but it didn’t work. The car was quickly approaching me, hitting my back bumper with some force. The car jerked a little as I begin to step on the gas. As I drove down the winding road, I had to control my speed at a certain length while avoiding the car behind me in the process. I don’t know why this car is tailgating me, but I have to find some way to lose it.

Kelly Court doesn’t end for a few minutes, so I had to continue to speed in order to stay ahead of the tailgating vehicle. As I look at the rearview mirror, the same car was coming at me with full force, making me increase the speed even more. The car began to swerve in and out the lane, making me even more frighten. Whoever this person was, they surely knew me because they have been riding me for minutes and they haven’t gone around when they could have several minutes ago.

The car continued to bump me, causing the car to jerk again, which made me even more scared. Is this person trying to kill me? Because if they push me any further, my car along with me will be in the Chelsea River.

The more I increased my speed; the car behind me was doing the same. My mind shifted to panic mode as I continue down the dark winding road praying that I can make my journey safely. But as the car sped close to me and rammed my BMW towards the rushing waters, I began to think twice about my plans.

As the car was plummeting towards the waters, my life began to rapidly flash before me: The time I was a young girl with pigtails, when I finish began high school, when I met my best friend Tamara, when I had my first sexual experience, and when I landed my role on Park Place. Everything in my life was too important and I did not want it to end this suddenly, and not in this way.

But I had no control of how my life was ending, because before I knew it, everything slowly faded to black.

2.
Camille

One week later….
I loved coming back home to Baker, Texas. It’s kind of ironic to say since I do not live out of a state. I actually stay about 20 minutes away in Sugar Land, which is a similar city to Baker in Houston. The city is a sub city, but you would never guess it with all the different businesses, structures and events this place has. The city is known for its family feel but also for its high profile residents they housed.

But coming to Baker is always refreshing since that is where my event planning company is located. The most important part is just being able to see my mom when I come. My mom is practically my best friend; although I’m thirty years old, it’s always good to be the little girl as she always sees me and just be in her presence as long as I can.

As I turned the corner towards Emerson Drive, I looked at the new oak trees that were recently planted and grew to a substantially length, the kids playing hopscotch on the sidewalk at a nearby house and the long stretch of flower beds. While taking in the view, I let out a huge sigh to calm my nerves. This visit was going to be a somber one. One of my good friends Rachel Addison was tragically killed a week ago and her funeral was this weekend.

Rachel was at the height of her career as a professional actress and she was loved by so many. I can’t believe she was driving down one of the most dangerous roads in the city going at the rate of speed the police implied she was going when she reached her death. To me, the story doesn’t add up, but for now, I’ll just let the situation rest.

As I pulled into my parents’ driveway, I noticed a U-Haul was parked next door and suddenly a wave of excitement came over me. My best friend, Trevor Williams, was moving back into his childhood home and I couldn’t be any happier.

We have known each other since we were practically in diapers and we became friends instantly. We went through every grade together and even went to the same college- I majored in public relations and him in business. He moved to Dallas two years ago to work as an accountant at a prestigious company, and we kept in touch.

But now as I looked at him carried a box out of the U-Haul, I had to catch my breath. After all these years, he still looked good. Not just good, but extremely sexy. With his ivory colored skin and wavy black hair, he could pass off as a professional model if he wanted to. I can tell he been working out more too, because he definitely looked ripped from the last time I saw him.

I think I’ve been staring a little too long because suddenly I heard someone tapping on my car window. I turned around and noticed my mom looking straight at me with a big smile on her face. I unlocked the door and stepped out of my Lincoln MKS and wrapped my arms around my mother, taking in the smell of her Givenchy perfume.

Claire Thomas has always been my rock. I can tell her anything and she will give her honest (sometimes too honest) opinion. She can be quite spunky too; which is where I take my no nonsense demeanor from. But now as I look at her, I became a little discouraged by her appearance. I still see the spunky woman before me, but something is very different about her, which I can’t quite describe. I wonder if something is bothering her, will she openly tell me?

“Hey, mom.” I said silently.

“Hey, daughter. I noticed you staring at Trevor like he’s a piece of meat. I can’t believe you.”

“It’s not like he saw me.”

“You sure about that?” my mom smiled as she looked ahead.

There he was walking over to us in that sexy stride he had since he developed it in high school. I impulsively became a bit nervous as Trevor walked over to us and gave my mom an enormous hug. As they pulled away, he stared at me and went towards me with his arms outstretched. I accepted his invitation and hug him back, while breathing his smell of sweat and soap. Although he was sweaty, he still smelled good.

“I missed you.” he whispered in my ear.

“I missed you too.” I replied.

“So Trevor, how it feels to be back at the house?” my mom inquired while giving me a “don’t –go- there” look.

“It’s feels good actually. I was a little hesitant at first, but I’m glad I did.”

“How’s your dad doing?”

“He’s good. He finally settled in at his new townhome. He even made some friends in the short time he’s been there.”

“I’m glad that Roger is doing well. Well I’ll let you two catch up. I know it’s been a long time since you two seen each other. I’ll see you around Trevor.”

“Sure Mrs. Thomas.”

“You know you can call me Claire, especially since we’ve known each other for so long.”

Trevor smiled which showed off the deep dimple on his right cheek.

“Okay, Claire.”

My mom gave him another hug before going inside her home.

Trevor turned to me and took my hand. Hopefully he doesn’t notice how sweaty my palms became to be.

“It’s been awhile, Cam.”

“It’s only been a couple of months, Tre.”

“I know, but you know how much I’ve missed you. I just wish we were here under better circumstances.”

“I know. I still can’t believe Rachel is gone.”

“I know. I just talked to her the day before she passed. It just shows you how precious life is. You can’t take anything for granted.”

“True. Is Melissa coming to the funeral?” I questioned, wondering if his fiancée was going to show up.

Yes, Trevor is engaged to a woman who was actually his boss at his former employer in Dallas. Don’t know all the details about how the affair began, but that and along with honoring his father’s wish of moving into the family home, was one of the reasons he returned to Baker.

The engagement also came at a shock to his family and friends because Trevor is considered a man whore. He never really had a long-lasting relationship. He even dated Rachel for several months in college before pulling the rug from her and calling it quits. Even though everyone had their opinion on Trevor, I know in my heart that he can be a committed man- when he found the right woman; and to be honest, Melissa is not it.

“She’s actually driving down tomorrow. She had to finish a couple of things at the job before leaving.”

“That’s good she’ll be here to support you.”

“Yeah, it is. I just hate everyone is meeting her for the first time at a funeral.”

“Well I’m pretty sure we will have other opportunities to get to know Melissa. In fact, why don’t we just have a little get together at my house? I’m pretty sure everyone wants to see each other before the funeral and that way we can remember our friend in our own way.”

“Sounds good. So how’s the business going? I heard you did a big celebrity event recently?”

“Yeah; the whole thing was crazy. I haven’t seen that many celebrities in my life.”

“I’m sure.” Trevor said as he looked into my brown eyes.

I gazed at Trevor wondering why he was staring at me.

“What’s wrong?”

“Nothing; it’s really good to see you.”
“It’s good to see you too.” I said as I leaned in closer to him.

As if he realized what was happening, Trevor took a step back and folded his arms across his broad chest. I cleared my throat to get the lump feeling that was rising inside of me.

“So, how’s Chad? Will he be attending the funeral or will he be on another trip?” he asked in a hesitate tone.

“He’ll be there.”

Oh yeah, did I mentioned I was married?

3.

Trevor

Coming back home has always been a good feeling. Even though I love Dallas, Baker is more tranquil than the city life that Dallas brings. But when I stared into the beautiful face of my best friend, I remembered why I left. Yes, I’m glad to be back after two years of being away from my family and friends; but I left to get away from Camille. Right now, I don’t know how much longer I can stand by her without wanting to kiss those full lips of hers.

I guess I need to backtrack to when Camille and I first met. I don’t really remember the actual time, but my mom and dad always implied that I was two when we moved to Emerson Drive. My dad accepted a position as a bank manager at Baker Bank so my dad decided to move to be closer to work.

While Camille and I practically grew up together, from having play dates to developing our first bout of acne in middle school, I really started to notice her during our sophomore year of high school. Although my hormones were already on overdrive, just seeing Camille in her bedroom in her tiny nightshirts or laying by the Thomas’ pool watching her in her bikini really turned me on. With her golden caramel skin, long dark brown hair, and the sexiest body I ever lay eyes on, I had various fantasies about us being together.

There was one thing that I didn’t want to do since Camille and I were friends- and that was date her. Sounds crazy, right? Well for me, I realized I rather have my friend, who I practically grew up with and considered a sister (since we were both an only child) still be my friend than have dated her and ended up being enemies. That’s why I dated multiple girls at a time, that way I wouldn’t have to worry about getting into a relationship. I even dated our friend Rachel during our junior year of college, which probably didn’t go well with Camille, but it happened and I don’t regret it one bit.

But when I met Melissa, my issue with commitment became nonexistent. I finally gave someone a chance to be with instead of pushing her away. Well that and the fact that Camille up and married her college sweetheart Chad Anderson, which personally I can’t stand. The guy is a jerk and wonders how Camille would even give him the time of day, let alone married him.

Anyway, about Melissa, she is the perfect woman- smart, energetic, and so sexy. I knew the first time I saw her at work that I would want to date her, and among other things. But little did I know, I didn’t realize she was my boss, so of course it took some time before things between us heated up. Once we had a full blown relationship, I knew we couldn’t no longer work together, so I decided to quit my job at Preston-Wheeler and took an even better position at Press International in downtown Houston. And to this day, no one at Preston-Wheeler knows that Melissa and I are in relationship or even engaged for that matter.

The living situation couldn’t have come at a better time too since I was moving back. Since my mom passed away a year ago, my dad thought it was time to move out of our family home and move into a smaller place. To keep the house in the family, he asked me to move in, which I at first didn’t agreed to; but after much discussion (and pleading from my dad) I decided to go through it.

Now I’m staring at the one person that I wanted to leave from, but instead want so desperately to take into my arms and passionately kiss.

“So Chad is coming?” I asked while giving Camille a hostile look.

“I know you don’t like Chad, but he’s my husband, Trevor.”

“He doesn’t act like it.”

“He’s a basketball trainer. He’s never at home due to their away games.”

“I get that, but he can at least check on you. He acts like he doesn’t have a wife at home.”

“Don’t worry Tre, I’m fine with it.”

I shook my head in amazement. Leave Camille to be the understanding one. The woman can be as tough and straightforward as can be, but when it comes to Chad, she is the complete opposite. That’s another reason why I can’t stand him.

“OK, I’ll drop it. Anyway, I have to finish taking these boxes in.”

“You need any help? Or maybe company?”

“No, Gerald coming by in a little so I’m good. Besides go spend time with your mom.”

“I’ll call you with the party plans.”

“Cool.”

As I went up to Camille, I put my arms around her to give her another hug. The way she felt press against my chest made me start to have thoughts I shouldn’t be having.

“See you,” Camille said as she started to walk to her parents’ door. She turned around and stared at me seductively as she opened the door and walked in.

I watched the door closed and gave a long sigh. I think I need to take a cold shower. Immediately.

4.

Tamara

“This is bull…”

“Don’t say it, Tamara.” Clara, my assistant warned me as I threw daggers at her.

I can’t believe my biggest client Reese Oliver, an actress who started in soap operas and now capitulated into a big star, has been arrested outside of a strip club for fighting with a patron because the girl was talking to one of the strippers she wanted to bone. I mean really! First off, why was she at a strip club trying to get with a stripper when she is what US Weekly considers one of the “Top 25 Faces to Watch This Summer,” and on top of that, was fighting another woman over the fact that she wanted to talk with a stripper. Now while I’m staring at the latest publication of the Houston Chronicle, I threw it across the room, wishing it was Reese I was slinging across the room.

I put my head in my hands and sighed.

“This could not be happening.”

“Should I get a press release started or…”

“Stay on standby. I need to call Reese’s manager to see what really happened last night. Also I need to see if anyone made bail for her. If not, I will have to.”

“I’m really sorry Tam, but you know Reese is a ticking time bomb. She could barely work with half her co-stars on Park Place that’s why she left the show.”

“If I would have known she was a walking lawsuit, I wouldn’t have taken her on as a client. I really don’t need this right now, especially since Rach’s funeral is this weekend.”

Clara went up to me and put a hand on my shoulder.

“You sure you’re OK to return to work? I know Rachel’s death took a toll on you.”

“Thanks, Clara, but I’m fine. I needed to come in. I need the distraction.”

Clara gave a sympathetic smile as she went into her office. I leaned against the reception counter and took a long swig of my Starbuck’s Café Latte. It has been a week since Rachel’s passing and I’m still in a state of shock. I’m truly felt numb knowing my best friend is no longer here. I’m still not sure why she was on Kelly Court; it’s bad enough to drive it when it’s daylight, but Rachel was driving on the street at night, which basically has no street lights and she was going over 75 miles per hour, which was way too high a speed for that small road.

When I got the news from her mother that Rachel died, my heart literally broke in two because not only was my best friend gone, but also my sister.

Although Rachel and I were from different races, I always considered her my sister because we practically were inseparable. We met in our ninth grade English class and we instantly knew we would be friends, mainly because of our personalities. We always tried to be the life of the party- if we wasn’t, then we will make it our mission to be. And it worked every time we were at a social function. We even tried to one up each other on everything- if it wasn’t with school, it was guys. We even competed to get the attention of one of our friends Trevor (which I have to admit is too fine for words), but his interest was clearly on Rachel. To be honest, I think his interest was on our friend Camille, but that’s another story to tell.

As we graduated high school and went to University of Houston, we were roommates and even pledged to Gamma Phi. Once we graduated, I distinctly knew that I wanted to go into PR while Rachel wanted to do theatre. I mentioned to her that if I ever owned my own PR firm I would hire her as my first client. After I did an internship at Parker and Co., a huge PR firm in Houston, I decided to start my own public relations company. It was indeed a struggle, but I got through it with flying colors. I hired Rachel on and before I knew it, not only has her career taken off, but so did mine. I was able to get high profile clients while Rachel was on the hit soap Park Place and landed her first leading movie role opposite In a romantic comedy. I was so happy for her and what she was about to become; now I won’t be able to get the chance to see how much her life would transform.

I walked into my office and picked up a picture of Rachel and me at a recent event in Hollywood. I really don’t know how I’m going to make it through the funeral, but I know I will find the strength from somewhere to say one last good bye to my friend.

The door opened to the office as someone walked in. I peeked my head out of my office and noticed my brother Derrick walking in.

“How you holding up?” he asked as he gave me a warm hug.

“I’m fine; just trying to get through the day.”

“If you need anything, I’m here for you, OK.”

“Thanks. Are you going back to San Antonio soon? I need to see if you were going to check on a client that is there for a shoot.”

“Why would I do that, sis”?”

“You did say if there’s anything you could do…”

“Just tell me when I need to go.”

“Thank you, bro.” I said as I went up to him and gave him another hug.

Derrick and I have a special relationship beyond the normal sibling relationship. We pretty much raised ourselves growing up, so we always leaned on each other when needed. Being the older sibling, Derrick always was there for me and I will always appreciate that.

“Will Melanie be at the funeral?” Asked Derrick.

I gave Derrick a suspicious look as he mentioned Melanie Bradshaw. Lately, he has been asking a lot about Melanie. Although she’s my friend, I don’t like the closeness of my brother and her together; mainly because she has a reputation of being a gold digger.

“Why wouldn’t she be? She was Rachel’s friend too.”

“Not from what I’ve heard.”

“What have you heard?” I replied, giving Derrick a puzzled look.

I really didn’t like how this conversation was going. I know Rachel and Melanie had their ups and downs, but they were always friends at the end of the day. If there was trouble with their friendship, I would have definitely known about it.

“It’s nothing to worry about, sis. Like I said, just let me know when you need me in San Antonio and I will go. I have to clear up some loose ends with the management company up there anyway.”

“Great. I’ll let you know after the funeral. Thanks again Derrick.”

Derrick smiled as he went up to me and kissed me on the forehead.

“Derrick.”

“Yeah sis.”

“I don’t know what’s going on between you and Melanie, but please just be careful.”

“Am I always?” He said while leaving out the door.

As I watched it closed, I shook my head and sighed.

“That’s what I’m afraid of.”

5.
Gerald

As I pulled up into Trevor’s driveway, a wave of nostalgia hit me as I remembered practically every memory I had with not only Trevor but with all my friends in the neighborhood. Being around the area really made me miss the middle and high school days as well as just hanging out with the “crew” as I called them.

Once I walked up to the doorstep, Trevor automatically opened the door and gave me a brotherly hug. I have to admit I missed my best friend and I’m definitely glad he’s back.

“Good to see you, man.”

“You too. Are you settling into the old place?”

“Trying to; been moving stuff in since this morning.”

“You know I was thinking all the good times we had in this house. Remember the party we had our senior year?”

Trevor shook his head and sighed. “Do I? You know I was grounded for a month for that.”

“Yeah, but you did lose your virginity to Tamika Parker.” I said while dropping down onto an armchair.

“Yes, I did.” Trevor said and began to smile at the thought.

“How’s Melissa?”

“She’s good. She’s driving down tomorrow.”

“That’s good she’s coming down to support you. But what I meant was how things between you two. Last time we talked you were having second thoughts about the engagement.”

Trevor started to get an uneasy stance as he slumped into the seat next to me. He gave a long pause before speaking.

“Everything’s great, couldn’t be better.”

“Could have fooled me.”

“Well it is. Can we move on please?”

“No problem. I do need to know one thing. Why you never got with Camille? I see how you look at her. And don’t give me that best friend crap. That’s how majority of relationships start.”

“Don’t go there Gerald.”

“I’m just asking Trevor. It seems like you two are more than just friends even though you haven’t pursued anything.”

“And it’s going to stay that way. I love Camille like a sister, so evidently I don’t want to go that route.”

“OK, I can respect that.”

“Thank you. So how are things with you?”

“Great. I’m thinking about pursuing a new venture in my career.”

“Really, what’s that?”

“I want to branch out with my career and possibly start doing hosting spots. Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do at the station, but being a correspondent with a local TV station only going to get me so far.”

“I hear you. It’s good to expand your brand. What you’re thinking about doing?”

“Maybe getting my name out there and creating a positive buzz. I also want to get my own talk show one day.”

“Wow Gerald, I’m impressed. But you always were driven.”

“Yeah, and look where it got me. I mean you’re an accountant, Camille’s a big name event planner, Tamara has a PR firm, Melanie owns a clothing boutique and Rachel was a well-known actress. I’m just a third rate media correspondent for a station no one watches.”

“Why are you selling yourself short? Didn’t you say the ratings improved when you started your segment?”

“Maybe, but I guess it’s not enough for me.”

“Speaking of Tamara, you did mention she has a PR firm. Don’t you think you need to talk to her to get your foot in the door? I’m pretty sure she knows a lot of people in the industry.”

I looked at Trevor while realizing what he just said. He’s right- I should try to get my foot in door, and what’s the best way by hiring a PR firm to expand my brand.

“I think I should talk to Tamara.”

“I think you should.” Trevor said.

As Trevor stood up to go into the kitchen, I leaned my head back on the armchair and looked at my surroundings. Maybe things will change for me, I just need to believe. Although I’m considered the voice of reason through my friends, I usually wonder who will be the voice of reason for me when I really need it.

6.

Camille

Seeing my mom always made me feel good. She can easily take my blues away with her cheerily attitude and sound advice. But as I was headed to my home, the happy feeling I was experiencing was quickly replaced with sheer dread.

I exhaled as I noticed my husband, Chad’s Lincoln Navigator sitting in the driveway. It took everything in me to get out of my car and walk inside my front door. Even though Chad was the love of my life, I lately been wondering should I have even married him. When we first dated back in college, we were so in love. No one could of tear us apart if they wanted to.

I still remember the day we met as if it was yesterday. It was in my sophomore year and his junior year at University of Houston. We were taking a business course together and were paired in a group project to create a business plan. It took us a while to actually admit we had feelings for each other, but when we did, it was definitely magnetic. I even lost my virginity to Chad, which was more than enough for me to know that he was going to be my husband.

We later got engaged a year later, but held off the wedding until we both graduated college. My friends were less than thrilled about me marrying Chad, but they supported my decision and were all presented at our small but intimate wedding. But ever since we started our careers, we just became further apart. To be honest, it felt like we were slowly falling out of love.

As I put my key into the lock, I took another huge breath before opening the door. I looked ahead to see Chad in the kitchen making dinner.

I had to admit Chad looked ever better than the first day we met. His smooth honey colored skin and big brown eyes were always a turn on for me. Not to mention his tall athletic frame; which was a main asset for him while being on the basketball team at UofH. His dream was to be drafted into the NBA, but his career was cut short after a fatal knee injury during one of the biggest games of his college career. He loved the game so much he decided to become a trainer, in which he proudly does for the Baker Jaguars.

When Chad noticed me walking in, he flashed a thousand watt smile which made my heart flutter.

“Hey, babe.” Chad said as he went up to me and gave me a kiss on the cheek.

“Hey, sweetie. How was work?”

“It was good. Had a bunch of drills I had to do with the players, the usual stuff. How was your day?”

“It was good. I got some work done and went and visit my mom. She was asking about you.”

“Really; I’ll have to make a visit to see Claire soon.”

I smile at the thought. If he only knew…

Truthfully, my mom couldn’t stand Chad. She pretty much thought he was an egoistic jerk who only cared about himself. She was hurt when I said we were getting married. While she was hurt by my news, my father was pretty much happy considering that I was marrying someone who could give free tickets to games when needed.

The one thing my mom always mentioned was: Why couldn’t you and Trevor gained a relationship? He’s a much better catch than Chad.

If she only knew…

I never really told anyone about my feelings for Trevor- not even my mom- so it’s kind of hard to lie to everyone when I’m supposed to be happily married. But one person knows the real state of my marriage, and that’s Trevor. I can’t get anything past him, no matter how far apart we were before.

“I think she would like that”

“I know you had a long day today with work, so I just wanted to have a night catered to you before I head off on the road again. I decided to go to the Atlanta game this weekend.”

“You’re not going to the funeral?”

“Yes, baby I am. I’m leaving straight after though.”

I rolled my eyes at Chad and went into the living room in a huff. Chad is really starting to become too committed to his job. I know with being a trainer takes a lot of time away from home, but the team gave him the weekend off to attend Rachel’s funeral. Why he asked to go was definitely a mystery to me.

Chad walked into the living room and sat down on the couch opposite from me.

“Is there a problem?

“Like you don’t know? You had the weekend off. You can take some time off to attend your friend’s funeral. Not just for yourself, but for me. I need my husband there.”

“I didn’t say I wasn’t going. I will be there; I’m just going to take a flight out afterwards. Cam, I’m trying to keep a good impression on the team. I just can’t drop everything when I want to.”

“Oh please, don’t give me that bull about keeping a good impression. You’ve been with the team for five years now. You’re one of the best trainers the team ever had.”

“And I want to keep it that way; that’s why I have to make an appearance and show I’m
reliable to everyone. I’m pretty sure you understand with the job you have.”

I sighed and went over to Chad. I sat beside him on the couch and took his hand. Chad looked at me and smiled.

“Listen babe, I know we’ve been having some issues lately with our jobs and not finding the time to be with each other. I know you’re frustrated and so am I, but these are the lives we chose when we decided on our careers. I’m not saying we should make time because we definitely should, but I’m not going to regret the career I chose and I wouldn’t want you to either.”

Chad does have a point. We built our careers from the ground up- him with proving to be a great trainer and me by turning a no name brand into the powerhouse it is now. I can’t knock Chad for doing his job just like me with mine. With the last event I planned, I was practically nonexistent at home, which was a strain to Chad because he was actually at home during the time since the team had a four game home stretch.

As I looked into his eyes, Chad leaned into me to give me a kiss on the lips. The kiss was so passionate; I almost forgot what we were talking about. I broke away from the trance and put a hand on his chest.

“Listen, I don’t want to stand in the way of your career, because I know you wouldn’t do that to me; but we have got to find some common ground on our marriage. I want us to be happy again, and lately I feel we haven’t.”

“I understand and I want that too. That’s why I was thinking since the season is almost over in two months that we could take a long vacation in which you can choose the place.”

A huge smile spread across my lips as I threw my arms around Chad. He started to laugh at the excited gesture.

“So, I take that as a yes.”

“Of course! I don’t have any events around that time, so that will be perfect.”

“Let me know where and I’ll make the arrangements.”

A suddenly urge came over me as I began to kiss Chad. He put his arm around me while I began to move my lips to his ear. As I was giving soft, sweet kisses to his earlobe, Chad manage a moan which made me even hornier. Even though I do have feelings for my best friend, I never said I didn’t love my husband. When the times we were together, it was electric; that’s why I wanted to feel him right at that moment.

“What about dinner?” Chad whispered.

“Dinner can wait.” I said as pulled off his shirt.

Chad started to unbutton my blouse as I lay myself on the couch.

And we started to make love right there in the living room.

7.

Melanie

What a day…

I’m so happy the day is over. Now I can relax and enjoy a little me time before starting a new day tomorrow. Being a boutique owner can be quite stressful, especially since I’m planning on opening another one in downtown soon.

As I pulled my four inch stilettos from my aching feet, I rested on the nearest armchair in my tiny living room. I looked at myself in the mirror above my fireplace and sighed. In my twenty-nine years on this earth, today has to be first day that I looked older than I should. My green eyes that usually look so bright and clear was looking tired and hazy; my beautiful porcelain skin looked in need of a good facial and my reddish brown hair was ultra-wavy but could use a straighter quick. I stood up and headed to the kitchen in need of a glass of wine. Any wine will do, considering all I had was white in my fridge.

The boutique was a mad house today, mainly because the weekend was approaching and women were coming in to find the hottest outfit to wear to the club or social function. I was so short staff that I had to end up on the cash register, something I do not normally do since I am the owner. How am I going to open another boutique when I can barely keep the one I have opened? Well, Parson’s Boutique has always been a dream of mine since high school, so I was going to do my best to keep it open and to expand if possible.

As I grabbed my wine, I went back into the living room and grabbed the TV remote. As soon as I was about to take a sip, my doorbell rang, causing me to spill a little onto the armchair.

“Great.” I hissed as I put the wine glass on the coffee table to go to the door.

As I looked through the peephole, I noticed Tamara’s brother Derrick was outside looking around the beige hallway before looking straight at the door.

I opened the door and smiled.

“Hey.” I said as I went up to him and planted a kiss on his lips.

Yes, Derrick and I are dating, even though no one knows about us. I think Tamara may be a little suspicious, but frankly I could care less. Tamara and I are friends, but we kind of butt heads a lot, which probably is not good considering that I am dating her brother.

“Hey yourself. How was your day?” Derrick asked as he walked into my apartment.

“Chaotic. I couldn’t believe the amount of women came in today. Not that I’m complaining, but you would have thought it was something going on this weekend.”

“Well, that must be good for you. I know business has been slow for you lately.”

“Yeah; I just wish I had the staff though.”

Derrick put an arm around me. I went into his embrace and put my head on his chest. Hearing his heartbeat was what made my day complete.

“Things will get better.” Derrick said as he kissed my forehead.

“I know. Did you talk to Tamara?”

“Yeah; she wants me to go to San Antonio to check on a client.”

“I never understood why you have to do things that Tamara obviously should be doing herself. You don’t work for her.”

“I know that, but she is my sister and I have to go there anyway to check on my company. So it’s not a big deal.”

“I understand that, but don’t you get tired of doing everything for your sister?”

“Mel, my sister and I are all we have. We have each other’s back so I would help her just like she’ll help me.”

I shook my head at the thought of Tamara having Derrick basically on a leash. If I didn’t know any better, it seemed as if Tamara wanted Derrick for herself.

“You’re not upset are you?”

“Why would I be? I mean no one even knows we’re a couple, right.”

Derrick put his head on the couch and closed his eyes. I know he hate talking about this subject, but I had to bring it up.

“I’m pretty sure Tamara knows.”

“She has her suspicions.”

“So why not announce it. What could possibly happen?”

“You know why Mel.”

Yes, I did know. And I know if we do come clean as a couple, our lives would never be the same.

“I won’t bring it up again.” I said as I looked up at him. He glanced at me as he wrapped his arm around me again.

“I know you want to, and I do too; but right now we have to stay quiet. You know we have to keep this thing under wraps.”

“We’ve been doing this for the past year now. Don’t you think we should try to do what we can to end this?”

“You know how this works Melanie. We have to have what we need to move forward. I’m doing what I can and you should too.”

“What if I don’t want to do this anymore? I mean I thought I was cut out for this, but…”

“And you are. You think I want to do this? There are too many people I care about involved in this situation, but we have to do what we can to control it before it gets out of hand. So for now, we have to go along with the program, so to speak.”

I know Derrick is right, but there’s a feeling in the pit of my stomach that is telling me otherwise. This is starting to become too dangerous for the both of us and I just don’t want it blow up in our faces.

“Besides, if the situation never perceived itself, we would never have gotten together.”

“I wouldn’t say that. I mean we’re both in the same social circle.”

“I know, but I’m glad things happened the way it did.” Derrick said as he gave me a kiss.

I smiled and snuggled back into Derrick’s embrace. I know what we are doing is wrong, but I’m definitely enjoying it for the time being.

8.

Trevor

After Gerald finished helping me with my boxes, he decided to leave, which left me the task of unpacking. Hopefully I won’t have to move again soon because this is physically draining.

“I need a break.” I said out loud as I went over into the kitchen to grab a beer, which is the only thing I have in my fridge.

As I opened the top, my mind started to race at a million miles per minute. The encounter I had with Camille today only complicated things as I pictured the way she looked and that sexy stare she gave me.

Now I’m really having second thoughts about getting married. Evidently I love Melissa; otherwise I wouldn’t have bought a ring and proposed to her. Could I possibly have feelings for one woman but be in love with another?

While pondering the thought, my doorbell began to ring. The noise took me by surprise because I wasn’t expecting anyone to come by. When I went up to the door and look though the peephole, my lips curved into a smile at the sight I seen outside. I opened the door and my fiancée, Melissa Peterson, was standing outside looking beautiful as ever.

“Wow, I didn’t expect you to get here until tomorrow.” I said as I gave her a hug.

“I know. I wanted to come down early. I missed you.”

“I missed you too. In fact, I was just thinking about you.”

“Oh really. Good thoughts I hope.” Melissa said as she closed the door and took off her jacket.

I looked at her and smiled. This woman could easily take my breath away with her exotic looks and beautiful body that I can touch and caress all night.

“Definitely good thoughts,” I said as went up to her and touched her cheek. Melissa looked up into my eyes and I knew instantly want she wanted.

Melissa dropped her bags on the floor while I put my arms around her. She wrapped her legs around my waist as we began to kiss passionately. This is one thing that I cannot deny and that’s the attraction we have for each other.

“How much did you miss me?” Melissa asked in a breathless tone.

“You’ll see.” I said as we ventured off into my bedroom.

Two hours later: and we were laying on my mattress standing at each other with hungry eyes. We definitely needed a break after our passionate lovemaking, but I could tell that we both wanted another go round.

“How much I missed that.” Melissa said as she snuggled up to me. I put my arms around her and smiled.

“Me too; I’m really am glad you’re here.”

“Well, I knew you needed me. Between moving and Rachel’s funeral, I figured I should be with you.”

“What did the office say when you left?”

“Nothing much. I just told them I had a death in the family.”

“Don’t you think it’s time to tell everyone about us? I no longer work for Preston-Wheeler.”

“I know, but we were having a relationship when you were. Since I am a supervisor, that will still look bad on me and I could lose my job. You know the policy there; if anyone gets involved with a past or present employee, they’re automatically fired.”

“I didn’t think about that. Well, let’s just say we can’t invite anyone to the wedding.”

Melissa smiled as she kissed my cheek.

“It doesn’t matter. As long as you show up to the wedding, I’m all smiles.”

“You think I wouldn’t?”

“I don’t know Trevor; you have been kind of hesitant lately about even mentioning the wedding.”

“A lot has been going on lately.”

“I didn’t mean it like that, it just that you kind of been acting a little strange even before you knew about Rachel’s death. It’s like you didn’t want to come back to Baker.”

Melissa was right; I really didn’t want to come back, especially since I would be seeing Camille more often. Even though Cam is my best friend and had been in contact with her since I moved to Dallas, just seeing her in person again made me think about what could have been if we did pursue a relationship.

I have to get off this topic quick.

“So I ran into Camille today and she mentioned about having a get-together at her place before the funeral. That way everyone can see each other and share our memories of Rachel before the actual funeral.”

“That will be good. That way I can meet everyone.”

As Melissa began to run her fingers down my chest, I began to wonder how the party will turn out. This will be the first time everyone will meet my fiancée, and given their personalities, the evening should be very interesting.

9.

Camille

Two days has passed since I decided to plan the get-together at my house. I figure since the funeral was the next day, I wanted everyone to be together and just share their memories of Rachel. The family wanted to have the wake and funeral on the same day, which was fine with everyone considering that we can all say our goodbyes in one day.

Being that Rachel loved parties, I wanted the get-together to be a celebration of her life and the accomplishments she made in such a short time. She wouldn’t want us feeling sad about her passing; so I figured everyone could bring something that was a favorite of hers as well as maybe go out and do something she enjoyed, which was karaoke. Personally, I hate karaoke, but in memory of my dear friend, I would set aside my feelings for one night.

As I was preparing one of Rachel’s favorite meals- gumbo- in the kitchen, Chad walked in and planted a kiss on my cheek.

“Wow that smells good.”

“Thanks sweetie.”

“So where everyone decided on doing tonight?”

“The Plaza for karaoke,”

Chad looked at me and started laughing.

“What’s so funny?”

“Remember the last time we all went out for karaoke? Everyone was drunk out of their minds. Especially you; I had to carry you out over my shoulder.”

“Well, you don’t have to worry this time. I think we will be on our best behavior.”

“Seriously, I think it’s good you’re doing this. I know Rachel would love it too.”

I smiled. “She would be the first one on the stage singing ‘I Love Rock & Roll’.”

“Yeah; she was something.”

“She was. I really miss her.”

Chad went up to me and put his arms around me. A tear rolled down my cheek. I still cannot believe she’s gone. She left us too soon, especially when her career was taking off so quickly.

Chad and I continued to hug each other when the doorbell started to chime. I let go of my husband’s embrace as I wiped away another tear. I regain my composure when I open the door to see Trevor standing on the other end with a woman I assumed was Melissa.

I have to admit, Melissa was definitely beautiful. She was the same height as me, with wavy jet black hair and piercing brown eyes. She also has great taste in fashion, as she was dressed in a multicolored print sleeveless maxi dress and gold tone sandals.

Trevor looked at me and Melissa and gave a small smile.

“Hey Trevor,” I said as I gave him a friendly hug.

Hugging him felt so good. A shiver ran down my spine as his strong arms were draped around me and his breath was creeping onto my neck. I know I shouldn’t be having any type of thoughts about my best friend while my husband and his fiancée were nearby, but I couldn’t help it.

Melissa looked at the two of us wondering when the hug was going to end.

“I’m sorry Melissa. Baby, this is my best friend Camille. Camille, this is Melissa.”

“Nice to meet you, Camille; Trevor has told me so much about you.” Melissa said as she extended her hand to me.

“Nice to meet you too; Trevor has mentioned a lot about you too.” I said as I accepted Melissa’s handshake.

Chad walked into the room and went up to Trevor for a brotherly hug. While Trevor was introducing Melissa to Chad, I went into the kitchen to check on the gumbo. Trevor walked in carrying a takeout platter, which I already knew was sushi from Rachel’s favorite restaurant Crave.

“Thanks for bringing the sushi.”

“No problem. I see you’re making your famous gumbo. Rachel loved it.”

“Thank my mom for that. I learned how to make it from her.”

“You need help with anything?”

“If you want, you can chop up some more peppers.”

Trevor smiled as he walked over to the sink to wash his hands. After drying them, he went to the counter to grab a knife. His shoulder brushed against mine as he began to cut away on the bell peppers.

“What Chad and Melissa doing?”

“Chad’s showing Melissa some photos of Rachel.”

“Okay. Melissa seems really nice.”

“Yeah, she’s great.”

I stopped stirring the pot as I put my cooking spoon down on the counter. I looked at Trevor as he continued to chop.

“Why her?”

Trevor put down the knife as he turned towards me.

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“I didn’t mean it like that. I was saying with all the women you’ve been with, what makes Melissa the one?”

Trevor went up to me and took my hands into his.

“It’s kind of complicated. When I first met Melissa, it wasn’t love at first sight; I mean she was my boss. But after spending a lot of time together and becoming friends, our feelings kind of grew. I love her, Camille.”

I smiled as I touched Trevor’s cheek. I know I shouldn’t be touchy with him, but I can’t help it.

“I guess that’s all that matters then.”

“Yeah, it does.”

As we were staring each other down, I felt someone walking into the kitchen. The person cleared his throat, causing me to jump while Trevor let go of my hands.

“Sorry to interrupt.” Gerald said as he put down a couple of bags onto the counter.

“There was nothing to interrupt. We were just talking.” Trevor said.

“Sure.” Gerald said while smiling.

He walked out leaving Trevor and I speechless.

I went back over to the pot of gumbo and began to stir again.

Trevor went over to me and took the spoon from my hand. He looked at me with those brown eyes that made me want to melt. I need to clear the air with my best friend while I still have the guts to.

“What is going on between us?”

“I’m trying to figure that out too.”

Trevor took his fingers and swept some hair from my forehead. Just his touch made me grow hot. I should not be feeling this way when my husband is in the other room, but I felt this way about Trevor since childhood. Why I never acted on my feelings I don’t know, but right now the only thing I want to do is feel his lips on mine.

“I don’t think we need to be doing this here. Not right now.” Trevor said as he started to back away from me.

“But when Trevor; you can’t deny that you have feelings for me just like I do for you.”

“That’s just it Camille. I’m not going to deny it, but I’m not going to act on it. You’re my best friend. We had been friends since we were in diapers. What if we did act on those feelings and ended it? Then our friendship would have ended as well.”

“You don’t know that.”

“No, I don’t; but I don’t want to know. Besides you’re married and I’m engaged. I’m not going to end my relationship and yours because we have feelings for each other.”

“So you’re saying that you wouldn’t want to be with me?”

“I didn’t say that; maybe if things were different between us.”

I started to look around the kitchen in a daze. I wanted to look anywhere expect at my best friend. What was I thinking? He’s right. I’m a married woman and I’m pining away at another man!

“Just forget we had this conversation.” I said as I turned off the stove and walked out of the kitchen. I had to get away from Trevor.

I walked past Chad and Melissa and headed straight to my bedroom.

“Camille.” Chad said as he started to go after me. Before he could get to the bedroom, I closed the door.

I couldn’t face anyone right now, especially after I made a fool out of myself. Trevor made his feelings known and that’s something I have to accept.

10.
Gerald

I started to shake my head while watching Camille run upstairs in a huff. I knew what that was about. She finally admitted her feelings to Trevor. A little too late if you ask me. Especially since she’s married and Trevor’s engaged.

As I began to flip through a magazine nearby, Trevor’s fiancée’s Melissa sat by me. Melissa seemed nice, but I can tell she would not be a match to Camille. Trust me, knowing Trevor and Camille for so long, those two are too stubborn to admit anything and to be honest, Melissa will only get her heart hurt if she stayed with Trevor.

“I hope Camille’s okay.”

“I’m pretty sure she is.”

“So what’s the deal between Trevor and Camille? I mean Trevor only told me so much about Camille, yet I really don’t know her.”

“What is there to know? The two have known each other since childhood. They’re practically like brother and sister.”

Melissa sighed as I noticed someone at the door. Since Camille nor Chad was nowhere around, I excused myself and went up to the door. I opened the door and smiled at Tamara.

“Hey, Gerald.” Tamara said as she went up to me and gave me a hug.

“Hey. You look great.” I said as I pulled Tamara in tighter.

And that she did. Tamara was always a beautiful woman, even when she was in that awkward looking phase that everyone goes through in high school. Even in college she was beautiful, but now, this woman is a total knockout.

“It’s been a long time.” Tamara said as she walked into the house.

I couldn’t help noticing her body as she walked pass me. Damn, she is definitely grown.

“So how is everything Mr. Media Correspondent?”

“Pretty good. I know your PR firm is definitely thriving.”

“Yeah, it is. I have enlisted a bunch of high profile clientele.”

“Funny you mentioned that.” I said as I took the bag Tamara had from her and we walked into the kitchen.

“Okay Gerald, what’s going on?”

“Well, I was thinking about expanding my brand to a more national spotlight, maybe trying to get into more hosting gigs and acting, and I was hoping that you can help me with that?”

“Do you have an agent?”

“No, not yet.”

“Well, I think you should try to get an agent, or I could help you by being a publicist and try to find an agent for you.”

“Really, thank you so much Tamara.”

“No problem. I mean you’re my friend, so I would try and help however I can.”

I smiled at Tamara thinking that this was going to work out better than I expected.

11.
Tamara

After giving Gerald my contact information to the office, we scheduled a meeting to discuss expanding his brand. I’m proud of Gerald for thinking outside the box and striving for what he wants. I just hope I’m the person that can help him achieve his goal.

As I was walking into Camille and Chad’s living room, my cell phone began to ring. I pulled my phone out of my clutch purse and look at the number flashing on and off the screen. I quickly hit the ignore button and put it back into my purse. I cannot deal with this person right now. Or any other time for that matter. Although I will always be grateful for that person in helping launch my PR firm, I cannot associate with him anymore since it could jeopardize my career and my reputation.

I went straight to the couch and sit wondering when the party going to start. I really want to go to Plaza and sing some of Rachel’s favorite songs. Just thinking about all the times we went to karaoke makes me sad because I know I will never get the chance to do that again. Gerald walked over and sat down.

“Thinking about Rachel?”

“How did you guess?”

“I can tell by your expression. I know this must be hard for you, especially since you knew Rachel better than anyone.”

“Yeah, it is hard. I was just thinking about the times we went to karaoke.”

“Well this night will be extra special then.”

“I know when we went all eyes were on Rach. She sure knew how to draw a crowd. I even remember you having a little crush on her.” I said as I playfully hit Gerald on the arm.

“Yes, I did, but it’s hard to imagine the attention was all on Rachel. I mean you’re gorgeous.”

I started to blush from Gerald’s compliment even though he probably didn’t notice from my complexion.

Now I know it’s going to be hard working with Gerald as my client.

My phone started to ring again which made me become slightly agitated. I tried to ignore the ring tone, but Gerald thought otherwise.

“Are you going to answer it?”

I smiled as I pulled out my cell phone. Sure enough it’s the same number from earlier flashing through my screen. I press the ignore button again and put it back into my purse.

“No one important?” Gerald asked.

I looked at Gerald and gave a flirtatious smile.

“Definitely not.”

12.
Camille

Why did I open my big mouth? I thought while staring at the mahogany walls of my bedroom. I couldn’t believe I poured my feelings out to Trevor thinking he would feel the same way. I mean what if he did? What could possibly become of our relationship? Would I cheat on Chad and ruin my marriage just to be with my childhood friend? The thought made my stomach turn.

Evidently I was going to if he felt the same way.

Technically, Trevor did not say he didn’t have feelings for me- he just didn’t want to go down that road. So really he does have feelings for me, he just wanted to be noble and keep things the way they are.

A part of me really wanted to find out how a relationship with Trevor can be. I mean we never really explored anything within our friendship. We always kept things mutual. Well, sort of; if you counted flirting and the occasionally touching, but nothing beyond that. Maybe Trevor’s right; we should just remain friends and maintain the relationships we do have and improve on those.

Someone started to knock on the door, which meant it was Chad checking on me. I really didn’t want to talk to him, but I knew I owned him an explanation for what happened earlier.

“Cam, please open the door.” Chad said on the other end.

I gave a slow sigh as I got up to open the door. As I opened it, Chad looked at me with a concern glance.

“Is everything okay?”

“Yeah; sorry about earlier. I guess everything just finally gotten to me about Rachel.”

“It’s perfectly fine baby. Rachel was a part of all of us. It’s going to take some time to get use to her being gone.”

“I know.” I said as I took Chad’s hand into mine.

“So are we still going to have the party?”

“Of course; just let me freshen up and I’ll be back downstairs.”

“Sure.” Chad said as he gave me a kiss on the cheek. He let my hand go as he walked to the door.

When the door closed, I started to shed a couple of more tears; although it was not for my dear friend, but instead for my broken heart.

13.
Trevor

Damn! I really didn’t think that conversation was going to go down like that, especially the night before our friend’s funeral.

I really did not want to have the “feelings” talk with Camille while Chad and Melissa were in the same house, but Camille kept pushing it. That girl can be so persistent!

As I was drinking my third beer, Chad came down the stairs and heading straight towards me. I really didn’t want to talk to Chad, but I knew he was going to want an explanation about earlier. Surprisingly, Melissa didn’t even ask, but of course this dick would.

“Can I talk to you?” Chad asked in a hostile voice.

“What about?”

“Like you don’t know?”

I sighed as I followed Chad into the kitchen.

Chad and I kind of have a love-hate relationship, mainly because of Camille. We try to tolerate each other because of our love for Camille, but I know Chad disliked me just as much as I dislike him. Trust me, I have my reasons to.

As the kitchen doors swing shut, Chad started to go off.

“What the hell happened in here, man? Camille is still upset about it.”

“I don’t have to explain anything to you. The conversation was between Camille and me.”

“Camille is my wife, that’s why. You know I never said anything about the relationship you have with her because she knew you before me, but the way you look at her irritates the hell out of me. And the fact you have a fiancée is equally disturbing.”

“Please, this coming from the biggest flirt on campus? You were too busy to give Camille any time let alone your love. You rather have been with your damn groupies instead of your girlfriend.”

“I know you’re not talking about me being a flirt with the way you manipulated women. To this day I’m still wondering what Camille sees in you.”

“My thoughts exactly with you.”

Chad looked at me while giving me a smug look.

“I think you know pretty well.”

“I’m sure. Tell me Chad, does Camille know about you and Rachel? Does she know the real reason why I dumped her?”

I knew that would wipe that smug look off Chad’s face. That bastard still hasn’t told Camille that he slept with Rachel during college and then again a year later after graduation. I know I should have told her but I just didn’t have the heart to. Besides, I figured it was her husband who should have told her the truth.

It’s no telling how many more women Chad has slept with, especially since he’s always on the road, but for all I know Camille deserved so much better. She should be with me.

“And why would I do that Trevor? So you can be with her? Don’t give me that bull about not pursuing anything because you two are friends. It’s probably something else going on with you because you would tap anything with a skirt.”

“Takes one to know one, right Chad. With your reputation, I’m pretty sure Rachel is not the only person you slept with while with Camille.”

“Wouldn’t you like to know?”

I guess that answered my question.

Chad went up to me and stared me straight in my eyes. I felt like pushing him back so he wouldn’t be so close on me.

“If you even utter a word about this or anything else to Camille, I swear I will whistle blow your relationship with Melissa to her boss and get her fired.”

“Why would you when I have your secret holding on your head?”

“For leverage; I know you wouldn’t because you wouldn’t want Melissa fired, would you? I know about Preston-Wheeler’s policy on workplace relationships. If they knew she pursued a relationship with you while you were there she would be automatically fired. So, do we have an agreement?”

“I don’t know Chad; I mean Melissa can always find another job.”

“You really think that’s all I have on you. Remember, Rachel and I used to talk. She knew all your dirty secrets; so trust me, I wouldn’t go around and act all tough when you have secrets over your head.”

I looked at Chad with pure hatred as he walked out the kitchen with pure joy. He may have claim victory with this argument, but I know he has more skeletons in his closet than anyone.

I just wish Rachel was still here to prove me right.

 

14.

Camille

After a rocky start, the party turned out to be pretty good. We feasted on Rachel’s favorite foods consist of gumbo, sushi, chocolate chip cookies, and homemade strawberry margaritas. Melanie called informing everyone she had to work late, but will meet everyone at The Plaza later for karaoke. Although Melanie wasn’t there, it still was a good time for us as we exchanged fond memories of Rachel and watched videos of us during our high school and college years. As a video of our prom came on, I looked over at Trevor and exchanged glances. Prom was a great time for us all, especially since Trevor and I shared our first kiss. Yes, we have kissed, but it only went as far as that.

It was during one of the last dances of the evening and I decided to dance with Trevor after my date, Chris Parker decided to go chase after Deborah Willis, who was the prom queen. Just being on the dance floor with Trevor made me feel like we were the only two on the floor, as I put my arms around him. Trevor was moving his hands up and down my back, giving me multiple tingles. As he started to breathe on my neck, I started to run my fingers through his hair. And then it happened. He leaned in closer to me as I licked my lips a little to give some moisture. The kiss was so soft and tender that I felt like I was floating. That’s when I knew I wanted to be with this man for the rest of my life. If only I was true with myself and told him how I felt instead of being a coward and let him slip away. And I did that when he went off with multiple women.

Now, I don’t know where our relationship stand. I know I should let things go, but I can’t.

I watched as Trevor was whispering something in Melissa’s ear and she started to smile. They do make a cute couple. I guess I should just be happy for them and move on.

“Penny for your thoughts?” Tamara asked as she looked from Trevor to me.

“Hey girl. How are you holding up?”

“I’m good. What about you? I could tell how you’re looking that you don’t really approve of Melissa.”

“It’s not that. For what I know of her she’s nice, but…”

“But she’s not you. Camille, just admit the truth. You always had a thing for Trevor. But stop being obvious about it when your husband is in the same room.”

“You think I’m not trying? Besides, I don’t know what Chad is doing when he’s on road trips.”

“Yeah, you don’t; but what if he’s not doing anything? Then that would make you the cheater.”

“I haven’t done anything, Tamara.”

“Yeah, not physically, but you are cheating emotionally.”

I sighed as I watched the video of Rachel smiling straight at the camera.

“Is everyone ready to go to Plaza?”

“Sure.” Everyone said as they started to gather their items.

I looked at Rachel’s smiling face once more before turning off the TV. For some reason, I feel

there is more to what happened the night Rachel died. Call me crazy, but there is no way Rachel died accidently.

“Come on girl, let’s get ready to karaoke.” Tamara said.

“Yea, how fun.” I sarcastically replied while grabbing my handbag.

I’m going to need a lot of liquid to get through tonight.

15.

Melanie

“You really think this is going to work?” I asked Derrick as we walked into HodgCo. PR Firm, which is also Tamara’s company.

I felt so guilty walking into Tamara’s place of business and going through her things. But of course Derrick knew this would be the perfect opportunity to rummage through her things since she would be at Camille and Chad’s for Rachel’s farewell party. I really wanted to go, but since I told Camille I would meet everyone at The Plaza, I didn’t feel too bad.

As Derrick went into Tamara’s office, I looked around the building trying to see if anything stood out. This is the one thing I hate about my job. Not only am I a boutique owner, but I’m also a federal agent. Yes, I work for the FBI. And so does Derrick. But that’s not all. Our current case involves a crime lord who sells drugs to youth around the Houston area. We even think this person may be using young kids and teenagers to push his dope around the neighborhood and schools. We been going after this person for the past year and a half, but do not have anything to press charges on him. We do have new evidence against this particular person but it caused a problem with Derrick and me because the new evidence is Derrick’s sister Tamara. We believe Tamara may be involved with this person as an accomplice.

Ever since Derrick heard the news regarding his sister being involved, he’s been hesitated to work on the case. Honestly, I’m just as hesitant being that Tamara is one of my good friends. Although we have asked to be taken off the case (since it would be a conflict of interest on Derrick’s part), Agent Sutton thought otherwise, giving leeway that our target would be none the wiser since she would be willing to talk to family.

While working on the case, Derrick and I became close. I wasn’t expecting to fall for my friend’s brother, but one thing led to another and it just sort of happened. I mean why wouldn’t I? He’s sexy. Just looking at his dark features, chocolate eyes, and athletic built, no woman could resist him.

I quickly came back to reality when I heard Derrick call my name.

“Mel, can you stop daydreaming and help me search this place?”

“Sorry.” I said as I went over to the reception desk and begin to do a search.

“Should we really be doing this? We don’t even have a search warrant.”

“I know, but if we do find something maybe I could warn Tamara about the case.”

“And how are you going to do that without blowing your cover?”

“Honestly, I don’t’ know.”

“Did you find anything?”

“Nothing; I knew we wouldn’t be able to find anything, especially in her office.”

“We might have to search her apartment. You think we could with a search warrant?”

“Probably so.”

“I’m still not on board with this. We could be completely wrong about Tamara.”

“I wish we were, but evidence doesn’t lie. The agency has proof that Tamara is involved with Colton Brown, top drug dealer in the southwest region. They even believed that Brown funded Tamara the money to start her PR firm.”

“Why would Tamara get involved with this guy?”

“Who knows with my sister. What I do know is maybe we won’t find anything that will stick her to this case. Don’t you have to meet everyone later anyway?”

“Yeah at Plaza. You want to come?”

“I’ll pass. I just want to go home and get some rest.”

“I wish I was going with you.”

“You can always come by later and spend the night.”

I went up to Derrick and gave him a kiss.

“I’ll hold you to that. Don’t fall asleep.”

“Trust me, I’ll be up waiting.”

We looked around to make sure everything was still in place as Derrick retrieved his key to lock up. I looked around the office one last time before he closed the door. Hopefully I won’t give myself away too much once I’m around Tamara, because now I’m starting to get paranoid about everything surrounding the case and with my relationship with Derrick.

16.

Trevor

“You need to let out some frustration. What better way than karaoke.” Gerald said as we walked into The Plaza.

“I’m pretty sure karaoke is not going to do it tonight, Gerald.” I said as I headed straight to the bar.

Going to The Plaza has always been a hangout of ours. Whether we were in college after football games and parties or having the occasional get together, we always found time to let off steam by belting out our favorite tunes. All expect Camille, who hated karaoke, but came to support her friends.

As I was about to pick up my beer, I looked up at the stage and noticed a girl drunkenly singing TLC’s “Ain’t To Proud to Beg.” I started to smile as I thought back to when Rachel sung the same song the last time we were all together. I know she is up in heaven smiling down on her friends knowing that we are all here tonight for her.

I noticed Camille sitting with Chad with a depressed look on her face. Although I feel really bad about what happened earlier, I cannot be upset at how I feel. Camille has to accept that we cannot be together. No matter how much I despised Chad, that is her husband and until he decides to tell Camille about him and Rachel, they are still married.

“Are you going to sing tonight?” I heard Melissa ask as she was standing next to me.

“I might. Gerald and I usually do a rap routine but I might just sit back and watch everyone else tonight.”

“Aww, I really wanted to hear you sing.”

“You heard me sing plenty of times baby.” I said as I wrap my arm around her. Melissa smiled as she snuggled against my chest.

“You still didn’t tell me what happened with Camille tonight? She hasn’t said much after you two were in the kitchen talking.”

“It’s nothing. She still kind of distraught over Rachel’s passing. In fact we all are.”

“I can imagine. You all were so close.”

“Yeah, we were. I’m really glad you’re here.”

“I know baby. I’m glad to be here for you. In fact, I was thinking lately about the wedding and where things will be after we get married.”

“I was thinking the same thing; especially the living arrangement.”

“Well since you moved back into your parents’ home, I was thinking that maybe I should just quit my job and move down here. I can always find another job and that way we wouldn’t have to hide our relationship anymore.”

“I knew you would want to, but I didn’t think you would now. We haven’t even set a wedding date yet.”

“Is there a reason why you don’t want me to move now?”

I looked at Melissa realizing what she’s saying. Although I would love for Melissa to be here, I need to figure out what the hell is going on with me and Camille, and I cannot have Melissa here complicating things even more.

What am I saying? Melissa is my fiancée; I should want her here.

The bartender came to me with a bottle of beer. Melissa looked at me with a concern expression.

“You had four beers at Camille’s.”

“And this is my fifth.” I said as I took the bottle to my lips.

“Why are you drinking so much?”

”It just beers; I barely get drunk with them.”

“What’s going on Trevor? You’ve been acting moody ever since you talked to Camille. Did you two have a fight?”

“Everything’s fine. It’s nothing to worry about.”

Melissa gave me a doubtful look as she shook her head and walked towards my friends.

I sighed as I turned towards the bartender again. Right now all I want is to get drunk and Melissa is ruining it for me.

* * *

Camille

Why did I come out? I could have stayed at home and not have to be bothered with anyone. Chad decided to go onstage and sing “If You Think You Lonely” while the women in the audience were practically drooling. I always thought Chad had a great voice, so no wonder women were going crazy for him. Tamara and Melanie (who showed up ten minutes ago) was sitting beside me going through the song list.

“You should sing Cam. It’ll be like old times.” Melanie said smiling.

”You know I don’t sing.”

“Come on girl; stop being so uptight. Remember during homecoming when we all went on stage to sing Britney Spears’ ‘Toxic’?

“Yeah, and we were drunk out of minds. That was the last time I sang too.”

”I remember Chad had to carry you out too. But Rachel just kept on singing.” Tamara said.

I didn’t even notice Melanie returned to the table, let alone left as she sat down beside Tamara and the two started to giggle.

“What’s so funny?” I asked.

“You’re see.” Melanie said.

The announcer comes back on stage after Chad’s performance to announce the next performer.

“Next up is TMC singing Elle Varner’s “Go.””

“TMC; what the…”

“You know you want to.” Tamara said while standing up.

“Not cool you two.” I said as I debated on getting up or not.

While Chad, Gerald, and Melissa were urging me to go up, Trevor (who finally decided to sit with us after being at the bar for the past twenty minutes) was giving me a mixture of depression and lust.

I don’t know what to gather from Trevor’s attitude but I’m going to find out. I need to know if Trevor’s feelings are true and whether he wouldn’t cross that line he set for himself. I know I’m playing with fire right now, but Chad doesn’t have to know what I’m doing, right? He could think I’m doing it for him.

As I went up to the stage with Tamara and Melanie, we grabbed our microphones and waited for the music to start. As the lyrics started to appear on screen, I begin to give my best impression of Elle Varner (which I truly failed on), but I did have a decent singing voice. While Melanie and Tamara were having fun with their parts, I was on a mission to visually seduce my best friend. I started to roll my hips on stage as Trevor looked on wondering what was I doing while Chad gave me a suspicious glance. I started back singing the lyrics that was flashing on the TV screen above us, but instead of looking at the crowd or even my husband for that matter, I stared directly at Trevor, giving him one of my famous sultry looks.

I know I’m going to get some weird vibes from everyone after this, but I didn’t care. I needed Trevor to know I was not giving up without a fight, even if it cost my marriage.

17.

Chad

What the hell was my wife doing? If she was going to flirt with Trevor she could at least not did it in my face. I looked over at the bastard and noticed he was trying to play off being excited. Never in my life have I seen two people act the way they do. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t like this before; Camille was actually a committed wife who adored me; but lately things between us have changed. I guess you can say it was my fault with my career. I definitely let it get in between us. That and the multiple affairs I’ve been having behind Camille’s back. So yes, Trevor was right to question me about whether I’ve been unfaithful, but I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of knowing that. Besides he can’t really talk when he lusting after my wife while his fiancée is sitting right beside him.

Being that my career required me to travel, I can practically have multiple affairs and get away with it. I mean Camille will never know the amount of women I encountered while on the road. In fact, while Camille thinking I’m going on an away game after the funeral; I’m actually meeting one of my women, Lauren, in Austin. So my job definitely has its peaks.

I can easily let Camille go if I want to pursue other options, but believe it or not I love my wife. I would do anything for her if she asked- expect giving up my relationships.

As for Rachel, I really do miss her. She was a great woman. Being with her was one of the happiest moments of my life. We kept the relationship a secret, but of course Trevor found out during one of his and Rachel’s many arguments.

Why Trevor never told Camille is a mystery to me, but it could be lot of reasons since Rachel knew something about Trevor that even Camille didn’t know.

As I watched my wife acting all flirty towards Trevor, my jealousy started to take center stage.

Camille walked over to the table and noticed the awkward stares from Melissa and Gerald. Trevor looked like he wanted to say something but couldn’t.

Instead of me pulling Camille to the side and discussing the situation privately, I begin to express my feelings in front of everyone.

“What the hell was that?”

“Can you calm down? I was having fun since everyone was egging me to go on stage.”

“That what that was? You could have fooled me.”

“I was just being sexy Chad, damn.”

“Towards another man!”

I could tell people around us were listening but I didn’t care. I was going to make my feelings known.

“Keep me out of this Chad.” Trevor said in a slur.

“Shut your drunk ass up. You know damn well this is about you lusting for my wife.”

“Why don’t we take this outside, Chad?” Gerald said as he tried to put a hand on me.

“Get your damn hands off me.” I said while jerking away from Gerald.

“Listen Chad, I’m not going to do this anymore. I’m unhappy with our marriage. I have tried to make things work, but things are not the same anymore.”

“You’re kidding me right? You’re just going to do this right here?”

“What difference does it make where I tell you? And this has nothing to do with Trevor. We’ve been having problems for a long time.”

“You know I’m sick and tired of trying to be the devoted husband and trying to make things work while you do whatever the hell you wanted, no matter if it was your career or you wanting to sex your best friend. For all I know you two probably have.”

“You are truly a jackass.” Trevor said as he went up to me.

“You blame Camille for everything, but what about you? You barely call your wife when you’re gone on trips and when you’re here you barely recognize her.”

“Really Trevor?”

“Yeah, really. Who you think your wife goes to when she needs to talk, when you’re nowhere to be found.”

“I’m sure you were right there waiting and willing.”

“Come on you two stop this!” Tamara exclaimed.

“If you stop treating your wife like dirt she wouldn’t have to go to another man.”

“Like Rachel did with me; trust me, it was well worth it.”

And that’s when Trevor decked me. I probably shouldn’t have gone there about Rachel, but I wasn’t thinking clearly. Now everyone -including my wife- knew one of my dirty secret.

18.

Melissa

With the scenes unfolding around me, I had to wonder is everything Chad was saying was true. I had my doubts about Camille with her feelings, but Trevor? No way! He was my fiancé. He should only have feelings for me! But as I look at Trevor’s expression when Chad mentioned the two together, drunk or not there was no denying his feelings for Camille.

I felt the floor was going to ripped underneath my feet as I listened to these two going after each other like immature teenagers. I would rather be anywhere right now then here.

My love for Trevor began when I saw him walk into Preston-Wheeler two years ago. I remember that day like it was yesterday. He walked in with a presence about him like he owned the place. I love men who know what he wants and I knew instantly that how Trevor was.

I didn’t even know I was going to be Trevor’s boss until my supervisor informed me that day that one of my employees was being transferred and Trevor was taking her place. I knew he was off limits because of our jobs, but I knew that was going to change as soon as I looked into his dark brown eyes and those deep dimples.

It was hard at first trying to pursue anything with him. I don’t know if he was playing hard to get or just wasn’t interested, but I wasn’t giving up; I wanted this man to be mine.

After a little flirting here and there, the ice finally melted one night when we had to work late on a project. We were in my office going over some figures when Trevor stood up from his chair and took off his jacket. I couldn’t help noticing his lean but muscular body through his shirt as he started to roll his neck back and forth.

“I think we need a break.” I said as I put down some papers.

“Definitely.”

“We could go out for a quick bite or I probably could order something.”

” We could just have a quick break. I really would like to go home.”

I smiled as I stood up from my desk chair and walked over to Trevor. He was holding his neck, which gave me an idea.

“You look really tense. Mind if I give you a massage?”

“Sure, why not.”

I put my hands on his shoulders and started to gently rub them. He gave a small moan as I went in deeper.

“That feels really good.”

“Thank you.”

I started to move my hands from his shoulders down to his chest, which was getting me extremely turned on.

“What are you doing?” Trevor asked as he took my hands from his chest.

“Trevor, you can’t deny our attraction for each other.”

“I’m not, but you’re my boss. Melissa, I think you are a smart and extremely attractive woman but I’m not crossing the line.”

I looked up at him and gave him a smirk.

“You saying you wouldn’t want to be with me?”

“If we weren’t working together.”

“Please Trevor. You seem like a man who doesn’t care about the rules; so why now?” I said as I sat on my desk and opening my legs. Trevor began to scan my body as he realized I wasn’t wearing any panties. A little sweat started to show on his forehead, revealing I was wearing him down.

“You’re really making this hard.”

I took his hand and gently placed it on my burgundy colored blouse. He laid it near one of the buttons as he leaned into me. He began to kiss me, which I had to admit was so soft and moist I swear I could have an orgasm right then and there. I put my free hand on the back of his neck to bring him closer to me.

We finally gave in to our attraction as he ripped open my blouse, causing several buttons to go into various directions on the floor. He threw some papers on to the floor while I took off his shirt. As I lay down on the desk and Trevor on top of me, I knew then that I had him where I wanted him.

After several months of finding ways to be together, whether it was at his place or mine, we became a couple. We spent whatever time we could together, even if it meant going outside of Dallas so we wouldn’t be seen. No one was the wiser at work; we kept everything professional; but once we were alone, all bets were off.

When he proposed, it was at Lorenzo’s, an Italian restaurant in Arlington which was known for its intimate atmosphere. Trevor arranged a private table for the two of us and had our favorite meals prepared. Once we ate our meals, he ordered dessert which was an apple Italian cake. While eating, I notice something sparkling inside. I moved some cake aside to reveal a beautiful diamond ring set in platinum. I started to cry when Trevor got on one knee and asked me to marry him. I was on cloud nine that night. Who knew that I would find my soul mate at work?

So now, as I watched the man I love defending another woman while I was standing by him, only made me feel upset and highly hostile.

Not only did he sort of admit he had feelings for Camille, but he had a thing with his dead friend Rachel too! This situation was getting worse by the minute. Although we been together for two years (it took me a year to seduce the man), he never once mentioned he was in a relationship with any of his friends.

And then Trevor punched him, which let me know everything that was said was true.

Gerald held Trevor back while a bystander held back Chad who tried to retaliate. The owner finally told both Trevor and Chad to leave and even banned them from coming back to The Plaza.

As everyone was leaving, I grabbed Trevor from Gerald and pulled him to the side.

“Care to explain what that was in there?”

“Do I need to? It was self-explained.”

“When were you going to tell me about Rachel? And do you have feelings for Camille?

“Yes Melissa, I have feelings for my friend, so get over it.”

“You really are a piece of work, Trevor.”

“Why are you mad? You pursued me! You were the one practically throwing yourself at me, so of course I was going to cave in!”

“I just need to know do you really love me, because my feelings for you are real. If you really love me I can forget this night ever happened and we can move on.”

Trevor gave a long winded sigh, which practically gave my answer right there.

“Honestly, I do care for you; I just don’t love you.”

I gathered my fist and gave him the hardest punch across the left side of his face. The impact left my hand burning. Trevor touched his face in sheer shock.

“I’m sorry Melissa. I’ve tried to give us a shot, but it wasn’t enough. I just saw us as a challenge because of the risks involved.”

Tears were streaming down my face as I listened to Trevor announce his feelings. I literally felt sick to my stomach.

“I tried to let my feelings for Camille go, but I couldn’t. I’m really sorry to drag you through this.”

At that moment I really wanted to kill Trevor, but he clearly wasn’t worth my energy or time.

I headed towards the parking lot to Trevor’s car. I couldn’t stand there and continue to look at him. With his keys in my hand, I opened the door and got in. Without a thought about how he was getting home, I sped out of the parking lot and drove into the night.

19.

Tamara

What a way to honor Rachel. I thought as I continue to replay the horrific event in my head. Instead of having a good time to remember our friend, the evening turned into a fight between whose egos were larger, which resulted in them being banned from Plaza.

Rachel would have been so upset at them right now. I mean why bring up the past where it should have been in the first place? I knew about Chad and Rachel; Rachel told me. I think the only person who didn’t know was Camille, and from the look she was giving Chad she knew her attraction for Trevor was harmless compared to banging a best friend.

In fact, Rachel told me the glory details the day of Chad and Camille’s wedding. She said the two had sex one night after the homecoming game and the night before the wedding. I knew I should have mentioned something to Camille about it, but I figured it was not my place, especially since I would be betraying my best friend if I did.

I walked into my living room and set my purse down. My cell phone started to vibrate in my purse, giving me the impression on who was trying to reach me.

I looked at the screen and noticed Colton was calling. Colton Brown was not just some average guy that I randomly met.

We met when I was in my senior year of college. He was a club promoter who was organizing a big bash for one of the fraternities. We hit it off instantly and began a good friendship, mainly because we shared so much in common, from our career aspects to the number of siblings we have (we each have one). No one really knew about us, but it not like I was hiding him from anyone; I just felt there wasn’t a need for anyone to know.

During the second semester of my senior year, I felt into some financial trouble. My tuition was covered for (I had a four year academic scholarship), but I did not have any money for my daily expenses, especially my car, auto insurance, and rent. I really didn’t want to ask my parents for anything (since I knew they weren’t going to help anyway) and Derrick was traveling at the time, so I was basically alone. One day, Colton suggested I come visit his club to discuss a job. I really didn’t know what to expect since the only thing I could think of at a club was a bartender, and I couldn’t mix a drink to save my life. But once I went to the club, I began to realize what type of job Colton was suggesting….

“This is a strip club!” I exclaimed.

“Yes it is, but I’m not suggesting you strip.” Colton said.

“Then what are you suggesting?”

“Maybe a waitress or you can handle the entry fee.”

“And all this is legit? You do have a permit or …..”

“Everything is legit. Will you relax, Tam.”

I sighed as I look around the club. Women in little to no clothing were everywhere trying to make their money for the night. From women dancing on the poles set up on the stage to women in the audience giving lap dances to eager and extremely horny men. Although I’m no prude, even I was feeling slightly uncomfortable.

As we were walking towards the back, I noticed a couple of men and women having some type of private shows. Colton was looking at me and then at the room.

”For men who wants a little extra.”

“You mean sex?”

“That or something tamer. Sometimes a man just wants someone to talk to; so it depends.”

“What does someone have to do to get that position?”

Colton looked at me with a surprise look on his face.

“Are you being serious?”

I gave Colton a sideways glance. “Does it look like I’m serious? I would never strip, but I would give my time or two with a man. “

“You want to be an escort? Clearly I don’t do that.”

“You might as well if you doing this! All I would do is go on dates and talk to men. If it goes further, then I’ll be willing to do that too.”

“If you’re really serious about this, you know you will have to recruit some other women. It just can’t solely be you.”

”I guess I could that; but if I do, this will be considered a separate business and I get half the profits.”

Colton gave me a smile as he stuck his hand out to me. I took my hand in his and we gave a firm handshake.

“Well, since we are in business together, I guess we should put our relationship on hold then.”

I gave Colton a naughty smile as I put my arms around him.

“And why should we? It’ll make things more interesting.”

“I like how you think girl.” Colton said as he put his lips onto mine….

And that’s how my first business came to play. I ran an escort service using college girls who were hard on cash to go on dates with wealthy men who wanted anything from sex to companionship. Even though the business consisted of clients ranging from good friends of Colton, strip club customers, to just word of mouth, it made really good money. The money I made from the business not only put me through graduate school but also started my PR firm.

And no one knew the wiser. Everyone just thought I got a business loan. I thought as I continue to look at my iPhone. Colton was calling for the third time, wondering if he was going to leave a message this time.

Although I appreciate Colton for everything he has done for me, I cannot go back to that lifestyle, especially since I represent high profile clients. I know Colton was doing more than just club promotions, running a strip club and escort business; he was also a drug dealer who pushed drugs to everyone from celebrities to even teenagers; that’s something I cannot get with.

My mother passed away from a drug overdose three years ago. She was on drugs on and off during mine and Derrick’s existence so I know what drugs can do to yourself and your loved ones. When I heard Colton was pushing drugs, I stopped associating myself with him, which pretty much ended our relationship for good. Now the man has been calling nonstop hoping that I will somehow answer his call.

I shut my phone off and set it back in my purse. All the memories of Colton came flooding back and to be honest I wish it would have stayed where it was – in the past.

20.

Camille

Homecoming, 2004

“I’m fine Chad.”

“I had to carry you over my shoulder out of Plaza. You’re drunk Camille.” Chad said as he put me in bed.

“So I had too much to drink. I was just celebrating our win tonight.”

“Sure, anything for you to drink. But I have to run an errand.”

I gave Chad a curious look.

“It’s two in the morning. What errand could you possibly be running at this time?”

“An important one; I’ll be back to check on you.” Chad said as he kissed my forehead before letting himself out of my dorm room.

I slowly got up and stumbled my way to the door to lock it. One of the peaks of having a private room is the fact that no roommate can see me this drunk. Not that I was trying to get drunk, I just wanted to have fun. That and the fact in order for me to do karaoke, I have to have some shots of tequila in me.

I was about to turn the lock when loud pounding interrupted any thoughts I had left. Maybe it was Chad coming back for something.

I looked through the peephole to see Trevor staring directly at me.

“Shouldn’t you be in bed? You drank more than me.” I said as I wobbled back to my bed. I fell face first onto the mattress and started to giggle.

Trevor locked the door and slowly walked over to me. He sat down and put a hand on my back.

“I can hold my liquor, unlike you who was shouting across the bar and booing people you thought couldn’t sing.

Trevor attempted to get up but instead stumbled onto the brown rug beside the bed. I started to laugh uncontrollably as Trevor tried to play off how drunk he really was.

Once I got myself together, I went to him to see if he was okay.

“You can hold your liquor? Doesn’t look like it to me.”

“Yeah, yeah; I trip. Anyway, where’s Mr. Basketball Star? Shouldn’t he be here?”

“He left.”

“Figures.”

“Don’t start Trevor.”

“When are you going to realize that guy is a jerk?”

“Can you just be happy for me that I found my soul mate? We plan on getting married after graduation.”

“If you say so.”

“You should talk; shouldn’t you be with Rachel?”

“She’s sleeping.

I went over to my comfy armchair and sat down. I put my legs up and lay my elbows on my knees.

“I guess I should ask the same about Rachel. Why are you with her?”

Trevor looked at me wondering if it’s me or the alcohol talking.

“Because I care about her.”

“Do you love her?”

“I think I could.”

I looked at my best friend wondering why we never gave things a chance. I always had a thing for Trevor but it was more an infatuation than love.

He walked over to me and got down on his knees. He stared directly into my eyes as he swept some hair from my forehead. He leaned towards me and reached for my lips. I could taste the beer and shots he drank as he pushed his tongue into my tequila breath mouth, savoring every moment of his soft lips on mine.

I don’t know if it’s the alcohol but I’m definitely feeling horny. Sex between Chad and I has been nonexistence lately and I just need someone to touch and make me feel good.

Trevor started to caress my shoulders as I began to run my fingers through his hair. I always love doing that, probably because he has such nice hair.

When his hands moved underneath my shirt and to my breasts, I definitely knew I wanted him inside me. With him supplying short kisses on my neck and his hand roaming every inch of my body, I needed to see what my friend was working with.

Before I can reach for his belt buckle, Trevor stopped to look at me.

“You sure about this; I mean we been friends for so long….”

I put a finger to his lips to shut him up. I traced my finger around his lips until he separate them and inserted my finger in his mouth. Just the touch of his lips and tongue on my finger made me even wetter.

He goes up to me again and started to kiss me again. I begin to take off his shirt while he unbuttons my jeans. I pulled off my shirt and began to kiss him passionately. He got up and grabbed me by the waist. He sat down in the chair while I straddled him. We continued to kiss as he guided himself inside me with ease. I slowly start to move my hips on his dick. Trevor started to moan while I ran my hands down his chest to his 6 pack abs. He moved his hands to cup my full breasts, making me moan along with him. As the chair started to get a little uncomfortable, I didn’t care because he felt so good inside me. I leaned forward to run my tongue on his earlobe.

“You feel so good.” Trevor whispered, which made me even more excited.

As we became more in sync with our bodies, we couldn’t resist our orgasms as I came first and Trevor came a minute after. After getting my breathing under control, I looked at Trevor as he gave me a small smile. Neither one of us couldn’t believe what we just done, but it didn’t stop us for doing it again three times that night…

So yes, Trevor and I did sleep together, but it was just that night only. The next day we vowed to keep it between us and admitted that maybe the alcohol affected us more than we thought.

Trevor made me feel so good that night, and it wasn’t just from the multiple orgasms I had with him. It was just the way he was towards me and how he was in tuned with my needs, compared to Chad who only cared about his needs when we made love.

While we were at Plaza, I did confront Chad about his affair with Rachel, but instead of him responding, he just went to the bar next door, leaving me outside without an explanation or a ride home. After getting a ride with Melanie, I was at my house wondering if Chad will have the guts to come home. If he was, he will notice his suitcases will be waiting on the curb and I will be getting the locks changed before the funeral later today.

I’ve had enough of Chad’s dirty ways and it’s time I ended it for good. I know we both done our share of dirt, but I became a devoted wife once we were married. I never did anything to jeopardize our marriage. Yes I did continue to have thoughts about Trevor, but I never acted on them.

Once I got home, I tried to call Trevor to see if he was okay, but I kept getting his voicemail. I decided to stop calling and go pay him a visit, so I grabbed my keys and purse and left.

***

Trevor

I stared at myself in the mirror wondering who the man was staring directly back at me. A small bruise from Melissa’s punch was starting to form under my left cheek, making me feel even worse than before. I was wondering what has become of me the past few days as I made mistake after mistake with my personal life. I really wish I could find some way to apologize to Melissa and tell her I’m sorry for leading her on and thinking that we would have a future together. But honestly, I don’t have the drive to. I knew I was lying to myself when I proposed to her, so why should I go through the agony of saying sorry for something I felt I wasn’t wrong for? I know I sound like a douche, but this is how I always lived my life. I never was a one-woman man, so maybe Melissa should just get over it and move on. I could be saying this since I’m still kind of drunk and clearly not thinking straight, but even if I wasn’t drunk, I think my feelings would still be the same.

But would I ever do that to Camille? I don’t think I would ever want to break her heart, maybe that’s why I never tried to pursue a relationship with her.

When I got home (thanks to Gerald), I noticed my car was sitting in the driveway with the keys still inside and Melissa’s suitcases were gone, which meant she was here and left. I’m not sure whether she went back to Dallas or decided to check into a hotel, but for all I know, I hope I would not have to face her anytime soon. I guess I should be glad she returned my car since she could have easily wrecked it or drove it into Chelsea River.

As I was about to call it a night, my doorbell started to chime. I really wasn’t in the mood for visitors, so whoever it was should get the hint when I don’t open the door.

Two minutes later and the person started to ring the doorbell repeatedly, causing me to become easily irritated.

“Open the door Trevor! I know you’re in there.” Camille shouted from outside.

I shook my head as I went to the door, stopping for a second to decide whether to put on a shirt.

As soon as I open the door, Camille gave me a look of relief as she gave me a tiny smile. She quickly looked away so she wouldn’t stare at my chest.

“I see you made it home in one piece. I tried calling you but it went straight to voicemail.”

“I know. I just didn’t want to talk.”

Camille became hesitant by my tone.

“Can I come in, or would you rather be alone?”

I sighed as I widen the door for Camille can come in. I walked over to the couch and sat down. Camille closed the door and walked over to me. She finally noticed the bruise on my face as she took her hand to touch it.

“Did you talk to Melissa?”

“No. Actually she left. Her stuff was gone when I got here.”

“Are you going to try to talk to her? She is your fiancée.”

“Not after what happened tonight. It’s pretty much over. She punched me, took my car keys and left me stranded at Plaza; so basically, I don’t think we’ll be talking much after tonight.”

“I’m really sorry.”

“Are you?”

“I know I may have initiated what happened tonight, but I didn’t mean to hurt anyone; especially you.”

I looked at Camille realizing I could never be mad at her. She looked so innocent right now, which I know she is far from that.

“I know; to be honest, this was a long time coming. We both knew something was going to happen, we just didn’t know when and where. So don’t blame yourself for this; I’m as much to blame for this as well. What about Chad; you talked to him?”

“No. He actually refused to talk to me. He didn’t come home either, so I packed all his things and threw it out on the curb.”

I laughed at the thought of Camille shoving Chad’s crap across the lawn and curb. Served him right for being a jackass.

“I guess I should come clean on the situation with Chad and Rachel. I actually knew about the two sleeping together.”

Camille looked at me and gave a long sigh.

“Was it before or after we were married?”

“It was two times and it was before you two were married.”

Camille shook her head as tears started to roll down her cheeks.

“Don’t cry Cam. He’s not worth your tears.”

“I know I shouldn’t, but it just I have tried to give him the benefit of the doubt, and after everyone warned me about him, I just kept on being with him even though I knew he could have been cheating on me.”

“I guess you were blinded by love.”

“Maybe so. And now, there’s no telling if he’s still cheating on me. I mean I don’t know what he’s doing on the road.”

“Cam, I’m not trying to defend Chad, but he wasn’t the only one who cheated in the relationship too. We did have sex after homecoming.”

“I know and I probably shouldn’t be judging, it just that we only had sex that one night. Chad slept with Rachel twice. I can understand the first time, but the second time, not so much.”

“I understand too. What are you going to do now?”

“I don’t know. Maybe just be separated for a while until we figure things out.”

I looked at Camille as I pushed her hair back from her face. I always love touching her hair.

“Well, since we pretty much established that our relationships are over, where does that leaves us?”

Camille smiled as she put a hand on my chest.

“I don’t know. We been such good friends and now we‘re talking about stepping into relationship territory. What were you saying about not going that route?”

“That was hours ago when I mentioned that. My feelings have definitely changed.”

“Prove it.”

I pulled Camille closer as I begin to kiss her. Kissing Camille never gets old.

After we pull apart, Camille smiled.

“I guess you’re reconsidering your decision.”

“Maybe you should, but we do need to set some ground rules.”

I gave Camille a confused look to her request.

“What you mean?”

“Well, we can’t have sex right now.”

I looked at Camille as if she lost her mind.

“Not that I don’t want to, because looking at you right now definitely makes me want to, but we can’t. I’m not going to give Chad any type of ammunition to use once we start the divorce process.”

“But that pretty much means we can’t be together.”

“I didn’t say that, because as far as anyone knows we’re not dating. This will be a secret between you and me, until it is okay to reveal that we are.”

“I can live with that. We could just be us hanging out as friends.”

“Exactly; no one will ever suspect.”

“Hmm, so as long as I get to do this, then I can live with no sex for now.” I said as I started to kiss on Camille’s neck.

“Yes, please do that.”

“And this.” I said as move down to her shoulder and then to her neck again.

“You’re definitely going to make this hard.” Camille said while smiling.

“That’s my plan.”

“And I would like us to go on a date.”

“A date; we practically go out all the time.”

“Yeah, as friends; now that feelings are involved, it’s going to be kind of different.”

“You know I like the sound of us being together.”

“I do too.”

I extended my arm out to Camille as she laid her head on my chest. I leaned in to kiss her forehead.

As I leaned back on the couch, I started to become comfortable with everything that is happening. Although I messed up big time with Melissa, I really do hope she find it in her heart to forgive me some day. But I know where my heart is and it’s with Camille. I just hope I don’t ruin this relationship like I done with my past ones.

21.

Tamara

The day has finally come. The day I have dreaded the most, laying my best friend to rest. As I looked around the main sanctuary of St. Peter Catholic Church, I noticed the beautiful arrangements of pink and white lilies and daffodils lining alongside the pews and around Rachel’s casket, which was outlined in her favorite color, pink.

I walked over to the open casket and looked at my best friend who looked rather peaceful in a cream colored Stella McCarthy wrap dress (which was her favorite outfit). The mortician did a nice job with Rachel’s makeup as her appearance looked more angelic than ghostly. I reached for her left hand, which was centered against her right, and took a deep breath. I know today is going to be one of the hardest days we will all face, but I know each one of us will get through it together.

I suddenly felt a hand go across my back. I quickly turned around and noticed Derrick standing beside me. I went up to him as he wrapped his arms around me. Just having my brother there made me feel a little better.

“How are you holding up, sis?”

“Not too good.” I said while holding back tears. I’ve cried so much from the day I heard Rachel’s passing to earlier this morning that I did not think I had any more tears left. Evidently I did.

“I know today will be hard for you. You two were practically sisters.”

“I just wish I could figure out why she was driving that fast on Kelly Court, let along driving that street late at night.”

“We can’t always figure out what is going through a person’s mind. We probably will never know what happened that night.”

“That’s the problem; I need to know what happened that night. Rachel could have been in trouble and no one would ever known.”

“You think it wasn’t an accident?”

“No, I don’t. Rachel had a lot of enemies and it just too convenient that she died accidently. I really think someone tried to kill her.”

Derrick gave out a long sigh while I looked at him with a fresh batch of tears. I started to hear footsteps against the hard wood floor. I look up to see Gerald walk in wearing a black suit and cream colored tie. At the request of Rachel’s family, guests were to wear cream since it was one of Rachel’s favorite colors. I began to wipe my damp hands on my cream and black striped dress as I looked at Gerald.

“Hey.”

“Hi. I didn’t think we would be the only ones here.”

“I think everyone’s is in atrium waiting to come in. I snuck in the back so I could say goodbye before anyone else came in.”

“So did I. Hey Derrick.”

“Hey, Gerald.”

“I’m not going to ask how you’re doing. I’m pretty sure you feel the same as me but a little worse.”

“Pretty much.”

“Well, just know that we’re all here for each other. Even though last night was a disaster, I know that everyone will have respect for Rachel today.”

“I hope so.”

Gerald gave me a light squeeze on my shoulder. I looked at Gerald while he stared at me. Why am I having any type of thoughts right now while I’m at my friend’s funeral at a church no less? But just staring at Gerald and his lips making me think thoughts I shouldn’t be having.

I can sense Derrick is wondering the same because he starts to clear his throat, interrupting our little moment.

“Maybe we should go out to the atrium and wait on the others.” Derrick said.

“I think that’s a good idea.” Gerald said as he took my hand in his. I looked over at Derrick who nodded his head as the three of us went out to the front entrance.

***

The ceremony was simply beautiful. The Addison family had done a wonderful job in remembering their daughter and sister as a wonderful and beautiful person. Myself and the rest of her friends each went to the podium during the benedictions and expressed how much Rachel meant to us as a friend and as a person. Trevor delivered a beautiful speech that brought people to ever more tears as he brought up the side of Rachel not too many people; expect her family and friends, knew about, and that was her being the caring and sympathetic person who went out her way to help people no matter what. Although she may not have showed it all the time, she did her best to be the angel that we knew her as.

The church was overflowed with people from not only her hometown of Baker, but also from the entertainment industry and some of the cast from Park Place. Even Reese Oliver was there, which I was kind of surprise at, because her and Rachel got into a confrontation about a month ago, which resulted in Reese being back burned for a couple of episodes.

As I looked around the sanctuary, I realized that Rachel was truly loved and that she will definitely be missed not only as an actress, but as a person.

After the service, everyone headed to Rose Park Cemetery to say our final goodbyes. Her family and friends each put a pink rose onto her casket as workers began to lower the casket into the ground. I watched as the casket slowly went into the dirt, making me feel even worse than before, because I now know my friend is truly gone.

Gerald was by my side the whole time, holding my hand or hugging me when he knew I needed it. Derrick looked over at me a couple of times to make sure I was okay, but he knew I was since Gerald was there. I could tell he had has hands full with Melanie as she continued to cry into his chest. Once everything calm down from the funeral, I have to find out what is going on with her and my brother, because honestly I do not like it.

Don’t get me wrong, Melanie is my friend, but seeing her with Derrick is something I care not to see while I’m still breathing. Maybe I’m just a little overprotected of my big brother, but I know he can do a little better than Melanie, who is practically a gold digger with the men she used to date. I just don’t want Derrick to get hurt. Especially all we gone through growing up; we deserved to be happy.

Once the funeral concluded, half of the visitors arrived at the Addison’s for repast. While people were feasting on a variety of Rachel’s favorites, including sushi and chicken, I decided to head out to the patio to take in the exceptionally beautiful afternoon. As I sat down on a lawn chair nearby, I looked ahead at the lake situated in front of the backyard and noticed how clear and calm the water looked. I glanced up at the clear, blue sky wondering what Rachel is doing in heaven. It still hard to imagine that she is no longer here on Earth, but I know that she is in a much better place.

I suddenly felt a chill as I turned around and noticed Gerald standing by the door.

“I thought I saw you come out here.” He said as he started to walk by me.

“I needed some fresh air.” I said as I started to stare back at the sky.

“Mind if I join you?”

I smiled as he took a sit beside me.

“It was a beautiful service; nothing less for Rachel, huh?”

“Not at all”

Gerald took my hand in his and smiled.

I put my head on his shoulder as he wrapped his arm around me. I think then we didn’t need to talk any longer. Just being in each other presence was more than enough for us to share.

***
Trevor

“Thank you so much for coming, Trevor. Rachel always had a soft spot for you. I just hate you two ended things the way you did.” Rachel’s mother, Sophia Addison, implied.

I looked at Sophia and smiled. I didn’t really know what to say to that comment. I know Rachel’s mom always wanted us two to be together, so I think it was more of her thinking than Rachel’s thoughts.

Camille was nearby talking with a mutual friend when she looked me in the eyes. I’m not sure if it was a hint of jealousy on her face, but she stared at me like I was the one who made the comment.

Camille and Rachel were good friends, but they did have their share of rivalries. I guess trying to snag me was one of them.

“Well, I will never regret the time we shared together, Ms. Addison.”

“I’m sure. Why your fiancée not with you? I would have thought she would have been by your side.”

“She decided not to come. She wasn’t feeling well.” I suddenly blurted out.

Camille gave me another confused look to my comment.

Since Camille and I are keeping things between us quiet, I couldn’t possibly say we were together.

“Well, tell her I would like to meet her. I need to see the woman who snagged you up. If I was twenty years younger, I would definitely have tried to.”

I suddenly started to become uncomfortable with Ms. Addison’s comments. I really don’t think she needs to be coming on to me at her daughter’s funeral!

“Uh, excuse me Ms. Addison, I just noticed someone I graduated from high school with and wanted to say hi.” I said as I quickly turned around and walked away.

I breathe a sigh of relief as I walked over to the other side of the living room, wondering whether that was grief talking or Ms. Addison’s true feelings.

“So, I see Ms. Addison has a thing for younger men.” Someone whispered.

I turned around and noticed Camille smiling at me.

“Yeah; it would be kind of flattering if I wasn’t totally freaked out.”

“Oh come on; Ms. Addison is gorgeous.”

“Yeah, but she’s also my ex’s mother. Besides, we’re at her daughter’s funeral. Not exactly a place to be flirting.”

“I know. Maybe it was just the grief talking. I know this must be hard for her. She and Rachel were really close.”

“I know. How are you feeling?”

“Okay, for the most part. I still can’t believe Rach is gone.”

“I know; me too. I’m glad you’re here with me though.”

Camille smiled. “I am too. In fact, I was thinking maybe we should go back to my place and just watch TV.”

“Cool. You think Chad might show up though?”

“Hardly doubt it. In fact, I haven’t seen him at the funeral, which is kind of strange.”

“Maybe he didn’t want to start any more trouble after last night.”

“Maybe so. Let’s say our goodbyes and go.”

I smiled as I watched Camille sashay over to a group of people. I had to shake my head at how lucky I am to have her as more than just my best friend.

I just wish I was able to tell someone about our relationship.

***
Chad

I stared at my blank television screen in my hotel room thinking about what I witnessed today. I did attend Rachel’s funeral to pay my respects, but what I witnessed was far more than what I anticipated. Yes, I always knew that my wife had feelings for Pretty Boy Williams, but I never thought she would flaunt her boy toy around while she still married at her best friend’s funeral! I’m pretty sure she probably wasn’t trying to, but anyone can see the two either have hooked up last night or on a friendlier level than ever before. If no one can see it, then they are definitely blind.

Last night, after I discovered my stuff sitting outside my home, I had to quickly pick everything up before the sprinklers came on. I didn’t think Camille would throw me out the house like some piece of trash, but knowing her, this was the perfect opportunity to bang her best friend.

I sighed as I pound my fist against the coffee table, realizing that my wife is trying to play me for a fool. I owned up to my dirt, but her denying her sudden relationship with Trevor is ridiculous, and I will prove it to everyone.

With a bit of soul searching, I had to figure out something to keep my entire life in order. Not only was my second life in jeopardy, but also my estate. I was not going to let anyone, including my wife, know about the affairs I was having while married. If anything, I will expose those two hypocrites, especially Camille, because I will not give her a dime of my money if she decided to cheat while we’re still married.

My thoughts were interrupted when the doorbell began to ring. I went to the door and looked through the peephole. A smile spread across my lips as I turned the knob to open the door.

“Well, hello there.”

The woman smiled as she walked past me and into the tiny sitting area. I closed the door and fell into step behind her.

“I was kind of surprised that you called me. I figured you would still be at the funeral.”

“I was there, but left early. I didn’t want anyone to see me there.”

“Why not? You were her friend too.”

“Yeah, but didn’t want to cause any trouble.”

The woman came up to me and smiled.

“So, what do you want to talk to me about?”

I gave a seductive grin as I brushed my fingers through her straight locks.

“I think you know the reason.”

I stared directly at Melissa Peterson knowing that my plan to bring down Camille and Trevor was about to go into motion.

22.

Melanie

Saying good –bye to Rachel was one of the hardest things I had to do in my entire life. Even though we had our differences in the past, I could not imagine her not being in my life. I remembered the day we met like it was yesterday……

It was my first day of eleventh grade and I was terrified of being the new girl. Since moving from Atlanta, I didn’t really have any friends, so I tried to do what I could to fit in quickly. As I tried to scope out who I thought could been the cool kids, I noticed one girl giving me a long and engaging stare. I started to look around to see if she was staring at someone else, but when I noticed no one was around, I gave her an annoying look, wondering why she was looking at me.

The girl smiled as she walked over to me and took a seat at my table.

“Sorry, you probably think I’m crazy or something.” The girl said.

“No, just a little curious to why you’re staring at me and now you’re sitting at my table.”

“Don’t be curious. I just thought you might need a friend. That and I love your top. Where did you get it?”

“Forever 21.”

“Love that place. Well, my name is Rachel.” Rachel said as she extended her hand.

“Melanie.” I said as I took her hand in mine.

I suddenly felt a little tingle as I shook Rachel’s hand. I pulled away as I quickly placed my hand in my lap.

“So I’m assuming this is your first day? I haven’t seen you around school before.”

“Yeah; I just moved from Atlanta. My mother’s job got transferred, so of course we had to relocate.”

“Well, trust me; Baker is a great place to stay. It may get a little boring at times, but that’s why my friends and I head to Houston.”

“Oh, cool. So what do ya’ll do for fun?”

“Lots of things; we usually go to this teen spot called Haven. In fact my friends and I are going this weekend. You should come with us.”

“Sure, I’ll check it out.”

Rachel gave me a sweet smile as she started to talk about what to expect at Baker High. While she was talking, I couldn’t help but notice how beautiful Rachel was. Normally, I wouldn’t check out another female, but for some reason, there was something different about her that I couldn’t place. Whatever it was, I was already intrigued and wanted to know more about Rachel Addison.

That weekend arrived, and I was meeting Rachel and her friends at Haven. Since the day we met, we started to spend a lot of time together, which was cool with me since I didn’t know anyone else in town. My mom was especially thrill, considering since I needed to have a social life, she said. I was happy to have someone else to talk to. My mom and I moved during the summer, and while all my old friends were getting ready to plan their daily trips to the beach, I was packing my belongings into boxes. So being around another person besides my mom was pretty wonderful.

My thoughts were suddenly interrupted when the doorbell rang. I went up to the door and opened it to reveal Rachel standing on the other side looking gorgeous in a short fitting black mini dress with black and white pumps. I couldn’t help but wonder if I was underdress as I stared at my black jeans and a black and white halter.

“You looked great Melanie.” Rachel said as she stared at me.

Even though Rachel and I suddenly met, I really started to feel a connection between us. This feeling was weird for me, because I’ve never thought of another girl in any way but a friend, but suddenly, my feelings were definitely starting to change.

“We better go. My friends are waiting in the car.” Rachel said as she grabbed my hand.

“Sure.” I said as I clutched my keys to lock the door.

We held hands as we approached her friend’s car. Rachel looked at me and squeezed my hand tighter, which made me wonder if Rachel is having the same unexpected feelings as I am….

As we arrived at Haven, the place was already packed. From what Rachel’s friend Camille explained, Haven was the place to be on a Saturday night, making this the place to be and be seen.

As we all got out of Trevor’s new Ford Explorer, I tried to take a peek at Rachel and Trevor talking. I’m not sure if the two were together, but I could tell some major chemistry was going on.

Camille looked over at me as she noticed Trevor and Rachel talking. I quickly turned away and pretend I was looking for my cell phone.

“I’m not sure what’s going on with them; Trevor always with someone new, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they did hooked up.”

“From what Rachel said, you and Trevor are best friends?”

“Yeah; we’re next door neighbors since we were two.”

“Wow, that must be great to have someone practically grow up with you.”

“Yeah, it has been.” Camille said as she gave the two another look before heading to the long line that was wrapped around the side of the building.

If Rachel and Trevor are together, maybe the thoughts I’m feeling for Rachel are one-sided. Maybe what I’m seeing is what I want to see and that Rachel does not feel the same way I do.

“You ready to have some fun?” Rachel asked as she put her arm around me and smiled.

“Of course.” I said as we went into the line.

Twenty minutes later, and we were inside. Everyone wanted to hit the dance floor, which I didn’t at first, until Rachel pulled me to an available space to dance. As she started to move her body to the beat, I just stared at her wondering what is coming over me. I should not be feeling like this about anyone, especially a girl, in this short amount of time. But as I watch her put her arm around me and started to grind on me, my feelings overstepped my thoughts as I started to dance with her. Just her arms around me and her breathing on my neck made my stomach do flip flops.

Rachel gives me a look of desire, as she pulled away and began to literally seduce me on the dance floor. As others around us, including Trevor and Rachel’s other friend Gerald, looked on, I suddenly felt embarrassed, but extremely turned on at the same time.

That moment alone I realized that I wanted to be more than just friends with Rachel….

After three hours being at Haven, we all decided to call it a night. As Trevor was dropping me and Rachel off at my house, an unexpected thought cross my mind. I forgot that Rachel asked to sleep over at my house, which meant I would be around her the entire night which made me extremely nervous.

“See ya’ll later.” Rachel said as she was getting out of the SUV. She stared at Trevor as she gave him a kiss on the cheek. I could have sworn I saw smoke coming out of Camille’s ears as she scowled at the two.

As soon as we went upstairs to my room, Rachel immediately took off her pumps and laid on my bed.

“I am exhausted. Whoever said dancing was a form of exercise is so right. My feet are killing me.”

“I can imagine. You practically danced the whole time we were there.”

“I couldn’t help it. Haven was on point with the music tonight.”

I walked over to my TV stand and grabbed the remote. I turned it on to see what was playing. As I sat down on the floor, Rachel gave me a side eye as she stared at me.

“I’m sure you rather sit on your bed instead of the floor.”

“I figure you were on it.”

“Your bed is big enough for the both of us.”

I smiled as I sat beside Rachel. She took her hand and started to run her fingers through my red locks, giving me a slight shiver throughout my body.

“Are you cold?”

“A little.” I said as I pick up my blanket that was lying on my armchair.

“You have a great room. It shows you have style.”

“Thanks. So tell me, what’s the deal between you and Trevor? You two seem pretty cozy tonight.”

“Oh Trevor; he’s cool, not to mention sexy. That boy can have any girl he wants. We flirt a lot, but nothing more.”

“If given the chance, would you date him?”

“I don’t know, I mean I’m young, I really don’t want any type of relationship right now. I just want to have fun.”

“That’s how I feel. Why get into a relationship when you have your whole life in front of you.”

“Exactly.”

“So I guess you didn’t have someone special in Atlanta?”

“I did; his name was Jeremy. But I didn’t want to be in a long-distance relationship. I ended things before I left.”

“So you telling me that you are free to do anything?”

“Yeah, I am.”

Rachel looked at me as she pushed a strand of hair from my face. I gazed at her and her red lips, wondering what it would be like to taste them. I didn’t have to wonder as Rachel leaned over and gave me a soft kiss on my lips. Just touching her lips felt really weird, especially since her lips were gentle and velvety like mine. Although it was weird, I definitely wanted more.

As if she heard my thoughts, she deepen the kiss, while putting her hand on my back. I parted her lips with my tongue, giving me access to go even further into our kiss. Rachel moved her hand up to the tie of my halter as she untied it. She watched as my halter fell to my stomach, revealing my braless breasts.

Rachel gave me a seductive glance as she began to kiss me again, and we both fall on the bed…..

What we shared that night was my first sexual experience with a girl. To be honest, it was first sexual experience ever. After that night, things were a little awkward between Rachel and me, but we didn’t let it show around the others. Instead, we kept things friendly. As time pass, we slipped back into the lover mood every now and then, but things really turn from lovers to enemies as we approach college. I realized that my fling with Rachel was just that- a fling. Rachel, on the other hand, wanted it to be more on her terms. She wanted to keep me around as her play thing while she did whatever she wanted with other men. I’m not sure if she had sexual encounters with other women, but she did do a lot of bed hopping back in the day.

After the fling between Rachel and me, I realized that I was just curious with the idea of being with a female; I accomplished my goal and moved on. While I decided to date guys, Rachel became jealous and even a little possessive over the idea. Although my friends never knew what happened between us (still doesn’t to this day), they knew that things suddenly changed between our friendship, making us more frenemies than actual friends. So in actuality, sex does change a friendship, because our relationship was never the same after that.

After the funeral, I got a call from Agent Sutton summoning me to the bureau for a review of the Brown case. As I walked into the bureau, I noticed Derrick sitting in Sutton’s office. He turned towards the glass wall and gave me a sullen look.

Could this day get any worse?

As I slowly stepped into Sutton’s office, he gave me a nod as he goes to his door and closed it.

“Let’s get straight to the point. You two have been on this case for almost two years! How come there is no evidence against Colton Brown? The man should have been locked up instead of on the streets pushing drugs on young children!”

“We’ve been trying to find some sort of evidence that will stick on Brown, but we haven’t found anything.” Derrick said.

“And I suppose to believe that knowing that your sister is an associate of Brown’s. Maybe it wasn’t a good idea having the both of you on this case.”

“I tried to tell you that.” Derrick said in a whisper.

“What was that?” Sutton said.

“Agent Sutton, we’re doing what we can to get Brown off the streets; believe us, we want him locked up just as much as you do; but right now we do not have the information we need to do that. We have to have concrete evidence and not something that will easily get him out in a couple of months.”

“Melanie’s right. We have been trying to get Tamara to mention anything about Colton, but I really think she no longer associates with him.”

“That’s what you want to believe. You heard the past conversations. You know she spoke with him a year ago.”

“Exactly; she could have cut all ties with him now.”

“Well as her big brother, you need to find out if that is true. I put a lot on the line to have you two on this case. I’m getting flak from upper head about what I’m not doing on this case. So you two either need to find the evidence to get Brown off the streets, or I’m going to have to find a team who will. Understand?”

Derrick and I looked at each other and then at Sutton.

“We understand completely.” said Derrick.

We both got up from our chairs seated in front of Sutton’s desk and walked towards the door. Derrick closed the door behind him; he gave me sigh and walked over to his desk.

“I can’t deal with this right now. I think we already dealt with enough with Rachel’s funeral.”

“I know. Thank you by the way.”

“For what?”

“For being by my side. You could have easily been with Tamara.”

“I know, but Gerald pretty much had that handled.”

“I noticed. So Tamara and Gerald are dating?”

“I wouldn’t say that. I think they’re just being good friends to each other right now.”

I looked at Derrick, wondering if what he’s said was true.

***

Gerald

“You sure you want to invite me in?” I asked Tamara.

After the funeral, Tamara asked if I wanted to come by her place to talk. I wasn’t sure if it was a good idea, considering how good Tamara looking in that cream and black dress. I know my mind should not be going in places unknown, especially since we just buried our friend, but people said funerals does bring people’s emotions out, whether it was grief or just plain lust.

“It’s fine Gerald. I really don’t want to be alone right now.”

I nodded my head as I walked into my friend’s condo. The place was beautifully decorated in deep brown with a dash of beige in certain areas of the living and dining room. As I sat down on the brown and red sofa, Tamara went into the kitchen to grab a drink.

“Did you want anything?”

“Water is fine.”

A few seconds later, Tamara walked into the living room with two bottled waters. She handed me mine while she opened her and took a long swig. She sat beside me and laid her head in my lap.

“I’ll stay as long as you like.”

“Thanks,” She softly replied.

I begin to stroke her dark brown locks while she looked up at me. I really wanted to kiss her, but didn’t know if the time was right. Although we’ve been friends for years, we never been as close as we were over the past couple of days. I never thought about stepping out of the friend territory, but looking at how beautiful Tamara looked while staring at me made me think otherwise.

“What is going on between us?” I asked.

“That’s something I’ve been wondering too.”

“I didn’t think I would start to have romantic feelings for a friend. It just seems kind of…”

“Rushed.” Tamara implied.

“Yeah.”

Tamara sat up as she stared into my eyes.

“I wouldn’t try to figure it out. From what I’ve learned the past couple of days, life is too short. We need to embrace whatever choices and decisions we make; and right now, all I want you to do is take me into my bedroom and make love to me until we’re too tired to.”

I looked at Tamara as if she lost her mind. Even though she was serious, she started to giggle.

“I know I sound kind of eager….”

“No, you kind of shocked me, that’s all. You sure; I mean we’re both grieving right now and I don’t want us regretting this later on.”

“Gerald, does it look like I’ll regret it. You just don’t know how long I’ve wanted you to kiss me let alone be inside me. I need to feel you; I just need you here with me.”

“And I will do that and more. I just want you to think with a leveled head right now.”

“I am. My mind has never been clearer. Besides, just looking at you right now, I know you want it too.” Tamara said as she looked at my face and then down to my pants. I looked down and noticed that little Gerald was starting to grow from the mention of making love to Tamara.

“I guess I’m right.” She said with conviction.

“Of course he’s going to agree, but I’m thinking with my top head. I don’t want to be like those friends who lose their friendships because they wanted to take it further. Not only that, but we supposed to have a professional relationship. We can’t mix business with pleasure.”

“Does it look like I’m concern about business right now? Gerald, let’s just think about right here, right now. Let’s not think about work, or the funeral, or the entire world. All I want is your body on mine, kissing me all over.” Tamara said as she moved closer to my neck. She started to nibble on my earlobe, making me forget about the thoughts in my head.

“I just want you, Gerald.” She said as she continued to kiss on my earlobe.

I couldn’t resist the feeling Tamara was giving me. Just as she requested, I didn’t care about anything but giving pleasure to this beautiful woman, and I plan on doing that all night long.

I got up from the sofa and picked Tamara up. We began to kiss passionately as I carried her to her bedroom.

23.
Camille

This seems so surreal.” I said as I kissed Trevor.

After leaving the funeral, we decided to stay at my house and just be together. No entertainment and no interruptions. Even though no sexual intimacy was involved, just the feeling of being near each other was more than enough.

“I know. I didn’t think us being together would ever become true.” Trevor said as he caress my cheek.

“Well believe it. I just hate it took so long to happen.”

“Don’t think about that. Just as long as we’re together now, that all that matters.”

“I just wish we could tell people about it.”

“You’re the one who suggested it, all for good reason though.”

“I know. I have a feeling Chad is cooking up a scheme as we speak. He’s been too quiet about everything that has happened.”

“Why would he talk? He’s the one who cheated and finally got caught. Who knows how many other affairs he may have had while you two were together?”

“I know; I really don’t want to know if there were others.”

“Why are we talking about him? Let’s focus on us and our first date.” Trevor said as he kissed my neck.

“Our first date; I really like the sound of that.”

I started to regret my request of not sleeping together as Trevor moved his lips from my neck to my collarbone, giving me multiple tingles in my body. Just his lips alone can give me an immediate orgasm.

“I actually want to keep it as a surprise.”

“Shouldn’t I get some sort of hint since I was the one who suggested it?”

“No. Besides, you’re going to love it. It’ll be a walk down memory lane.”

“Sounds exciting; in that case, I guess I can wait a little longer.” I said as snuggled up to Trevor.

To be honest, it didn’t matter where we went; just the thought of us having our first date was enough for me.

***

I didn’t have to wait any longer to find out our plans for our date. A week later, I was leaving the office when Trevor called telling me to dress casual as he was coming to my house in an hour.

I quickly went home and showered. I grabbed a pair of black skinny jeans and a cream colored shirt that flowed to my waist. I looked at myself in the mirror as I put on a pair of flats. I started to wonder if I was too causal and if I should put on a dress when the doorbell rang.

I ran downstairs to open the door. As soon as I opened it, I had to catch my breath at the sight before me. Trevor always looked good, but today, he was looking extra hot in a deep purple long sleeved shirt, and black jeans. His wavy black hair was cut shorter and was starting to look a little curly, which I absolutely adored.

“Good evening Camille. These are for you.” Trevor said as he handed me a dozen pink roses, which are my absolute favorite.

“They’re beautiful; thank you, baby.”

“You’re beautiful.” He said as he bent down to kiss me.

I looked over my shoulder and noticed my neighbor, which is also the neighborhood gossip, Mrs. Adams, staring directly at me kissing Trevor. I turned away from Trevor and looked at Mrs. Adams.

“Is there a problem, Mrs. Adams?”

“Oh, hi Camille. I didn’t know you would notice me standing here.”

“It’s quite obvious that you were. Is there something I can help you with?”

“Well, I was just wondering about your husband. I’ve noticed that he hasn’t been home in a couple of days and now that I see you kissing another man…”

“With all due respect Mrs. Adams, what goes on in or outside my home is none of your business.”

“Obviously if you wanted your business private, you wouldn’t be displaying it outside for everyone to see.”

“Listen Mrs. Adams, I can do whatever I please outside my property….”

Before I could say anything else, Trevor grabbed me and pulled me into the foyer and closed the door. I looked at him with disbelief while he walked into the living room.

“I was just about to tell that nosy woman off.”

“I know, and to avoid a public disturbance, I pulled you inside. She may be nosy, but she does have a point.”

“About what?”

“About you displaying your business for everyone to see. We’re supposed to keep our relationship private right now. What if Chad comes by and one of your neighbors, especially Mrs. Adams tells him about us?”

I sat down hard in one of my brown armchairs.

“I guess you’re right. But it would have been your fault since you kissed me.”

“You didn’t try to stop me, did you?” Trevor said as he came closer to me.

“Why would I?” I asked as I stood up to face him.

Trevor leaned into me and began to kiss me. I put my arms around him as we went towards the couch. I lay down while Trevor lay on top of me. The date was starting to become a distant memory as I started to run my fingers through Trevor’s hair. Trevor began to place his hand underneath my shirt, as he touch my abs and move up to my breasts. While I wanted so much for us to continue, I knew we shouldn’t. I started to move away from Trevor while he sat on the couch with a sigh. We looked at each and smiled.

“Maybe we should start our date.” I said.

“Yeah, we should.”

“Am I going to get any hints about where we’re going?”

“You will; once we get there.” Trevor said with a wicked grin. He got up from the couch and extended his hand to me. I smiled as I grabbed his hand and my clutch that was nearby. I already know that this evening will be one that I will never forget.

24.
Trevor

When Camille mentioned us having a first date, I automatically knew where I wanted to take her. Well, it was actually a bunch of places I wanted to take her. With so much that has happened, I think this date will not only put a huge smile on Camille’s face, but on mine as well. Now the two of us were in my BMW 3 Series Coupe, heading to our first stop down memory lane.

“Did you really have to blindfold me?” Camille asked. She turned her head towards me, pretending that she could see me.

I looked at her and laughed.

“Are you seriously looking at me right now?”

“Of course. I know you have that devilish grin on your face. You’re up to no good when you have that grin.”

“Really Cam? Just to let you know that the places we’re visiting are places we both have been to.”

“There are a lot of places we’ve been to.”

“I know, but there are some that were pretty significant.”

Camille began to smile as I turned on the radio.

A few minutes later, and we were at our first destination. As I turned off the ignition, I took Camille’s hand and kissed it. She smiled at me as I turned to unlock the door. I went over to the passenger’s side and opened the door to let Camille out. I took her hand as she carefully got out of the car. As we went to the front door, I opened it to let Camille in. We step inside and pulled Camille to the side to take the blindfold off. As soon as the place was revealed to Camille, she began to smile widely at the sight before her.

“Are you serious?” Camille said as she looked at me.

“I knew you would like it.”

“Of course I would! We used to go here all the time in middle school.”

Yeah, our first stop was to Willis Arcade. To some people, this may have been a weird place to take a date; but I knew with Camille, she would love it.

As we stepped further inside, Camille ran straight to the air hockey table, which is one of our favorite games. Just looking at her made me remember the first time we came here by ourselves in the sixth grade. We felt so grown up at that time. We spent hours and our allowances playing all the games and eating greasy pizza. My mind suddenly went out of memory mode when Camille hit the puck across the hockey board and landing straight into my goal. Camille raised her arms up in victory.

“You do know that’s your first and last goal, because I’m going to win.”

“Oh please Williams, you know I’m the best when it comes to air hockey.”

I started to laugh at Camille and began the next round.

After playing three games (which I won the first two and Camille on the third), I decided to skip the pizza and head to our next destination for dinner. Camille looked at me as she grabbed my hand and squeezed it.

“I’m having a great time so far. I still can’t believe you remembered the arcade.”

“I still can’t believe that place is still open, with the same people running it.”

“I know. It’s great to relive some of our childhood.”

“Well, the evening is not over; we have more stops to come.”

Camille smiled as she leaned her head back onto the headrest.

As I pulled into the parking lot, Camille looked at me and shook her head.

“Wow, Royal Plaza. I haven’t been here since…”

“Prom night with those horrible dates.”

“Yeah. But we had a great time at least.”

“Yeah, we did.”

As we walked into the hotel, I led Camille straight to the hotel’s restaurant, The Grove. As I confirmed our reservations, the hostess led us to a table near the back of the restaurant. We both smiled at the hostess as she gave us our menus and returned to her post.

“I have to imagine where you taking me for our college years?” Camille said.

“You’ll like it, trust me.”

As we ordered our food, we continued to talk about our high school memories. Just talking about our friends and the fun we had made me realize just how lucky I am to know such a great group of people. Camille reached across the table and took my hand.

“I’m really lucky.” She said.

“I was just thinking the same thing.”

After eating our food, we decided to take a look inside the ballroom in which our prom was held. Luckily, the door was open, as we walked the entryway, hoping no one was inside. As we looked around, I remembered how the room was decorated like paradise as we had a Jamaica theme. Camille looked at me as she walked further into the empty ballroom.

“Do you remember the song we dance to that night?”

“How could I forget? That’s when we first kissed.”

“I wish we could dance now.”

“In due time Cam. Come on before someone sees us in here.” I said.

Camille gave a pretty pout as she walked towards the door. I take one last look before following Camille to the exit.

So far, the date has been a success, but I had two more stops for Camille to remember. Since it was Friday night, I knew a perfect spot downtown that we all frequent in college. Some nights, Camille and I decided to leave our friends behind and spend some time together, just enjoying each other’s company. Once we went to the parking garage, Camille instantly knew where we were.

“Venue?”

“You ready to dance Ms. Thomas?”

“Of course, Mr. Williams.”

We got out of the car and headed out of the garage. Once we approached the club doors, we noticed the long lines of people anxiously waiting to get inside. We looked at each other wondering if we dressed right for the club, but decided it was fine since we wasn’t staying long.

Twenty minutes later, and we were inside. Camille and I headed straight to the bar. While I ordered a couple of shots, Camille started to feel the beat of the music pounding loud on the speakers nearby. I watched as Camille moved her body to the music, which was giving me all types of thoughts to how I wanted to end the night. Camille gave me a sexy stare as she put her back on the counter.

“Come on baby, I want to dance.” She said as she took my hand.

I quickly took my shot as we headed to the dance floor. As a new song came onto the speakers, Camille began to dance seductively against me. I remember all those times in college when Camille and Rachel used to do dance contests on the dance floor, causing many to stop and stare at the two battling each other to see who was getting the most attention. My memory started to fade as Camille began to rock her hips onto me. I grabbed her waist as she grind on me. She turned around to face me as we begin to dance seductively on the dance floor. Camille leaned over to my ear and began to run her tongue down my earlobe, which made me even more horny.

“Why don’t we finish the date now.” she whispered.

“Not yet. Have one more place to go.”

After a couple of more dances, we decided to leave Venue and go to the last place for our date.

As I drove towards the parking lot of Lost Creek Park, I turned the headlights off and stared at Camille.

“Our last stop.” I said.

“The park; you definitely went back.”

“Yeah, to when we had our first play date.”

“I remember when you pushed me in the sand box.”

“I wasn’t trying to; I accidently tripped.”

“Sure you did.”

“You want to swing for old time sake?”

“Sure. We better do it quick though, since cops drive around here.”

“Let’s go.”

We both got out of the car and ran to the swings. As we both grabbed one, we started to swing without a care in the world. Just doing this brought back memories to when we used to be at the park with our mothers. They would sit on the bench watching us swing until we both were tired. Camille started to laugh as she started to go higher on the swing. I kept a steady pace as I watched Camille swing back and forth. Strangely enough, she looked just as she did when she was a little girl in pigtails. Just the way she smiled and looked made me feel like a little kid as well.

We continued to swing for a couple of minutes and raced back to the car. As we got inside, Camille stared at me as she leaned in for a kiss. She put her hand on the back of my neck while I put my hand on her thigh. Our kiss deepened, as she slid her tongue into my mouth. She stepped over from her seat and into my lap, as she ran her hands towards the end of my shirt and lifted it up. She leaned down and kissed my stomach and up to my chest. I leaned my head back onto the headrest and let out a low moan.

Before we went any further, I grabbed Camille’s hand and smiled.

“As much as I would want to, we can’t do this here; unless you want to get arrested.”

“It would definitely be worth it.” Camille said as she kissed my neck.

“Let’s go back to my place.”

“I would love to.” Camille said.

While Camille goes back to the passenger seat, I had to regain my composure as I started the car.

***

My house couldn’t been close enough as I made it in record time. As we both got out, I went over to Camille and passionately kissed her. She jumped on me as I continued to kiss her lips and then her neck. With Camille still wrapped around me, I carefully walked to the door. Just as I was about to open the door, I noticed Mr. Thomas in his driveway staring at the both of us in disbelief.

“Mr. Thomas.” I slowly said, causing Camille to quickly jump off of me.

“Trevor. Camille.”

“Dad! What you doing outside so late?”

“I’m on my driveway coming from the store. I should be asking you why you’re at your best friend’s house at one in the morning looking like you two about to..”

“Oh wow.” Camille said as she lowered her head.

“What’s going on? Why you’re not at home with your husband?”

“You didn’t tell your parents?” I whispered to Camille.

“It never came up.”

“I would like an answer, Camille.” Mr. Thomas impatiently said.

“Daddy, Chad and I are having problems. We’re no longer living together.”

“Camille, what happened? You two seemed happy the last time your mom and I saw you.”

“That was just an act, Dad. Can we please talk about this later? I’ll come by the house before I go home.”

Mr. Thomas looked from Camille to me and sighed.

“Sure. Just don’t do anything you shouldn’t, alright.”

Camille looked at her dad and nodded her head.

I gave Mr. Thomas a tiny smile as we walked into the house. I closed the door and went up to Camille. I wanted to pick up where we left off, but I had a feeling that wasn’t going to happen.

“Baby, I think we should just get some rest. My dad kind of killed it for me.”

I sighed as I watched Camille go into my bedroom without another thought. I sat on the couch and put my head in my hands.

25.
Chad

“So you have no photos on my wife? I know she’s having an affair!”

“Listen, Mr. Anderson, we followed your wife for the past week, we have not found anything suspicious on her part. If anything, she’s living a boring life. She just goes to work and home, that’s all.”

“Maybe she knows you’re on to her. Come on Chad, I’m pretty sure Camille knows you’re up to something.” Melissa said.

I looked at Melissa and rolled her eyes.

Since the funeral, I decided to take action into my own hands to find out whether Camille and Trevor are dating. I hired a private investigator to get some proof on whether the two are hooking up, but to my surprise, there is no evidence. I know Camille is cheating, she’s just finding a clever way to do it.

“So you telling me that Camille were at home all night last night? No one came by the house; because from what I heard from my next door neighbor, someone did stop by, and the two left.”

I knew this private investigator was incompetent, so I decided to dig up some proof of my own. I went by the house to pretend I was getting the rest of my things, when nosy Mrs. Adams didn’t waste any time telling me that Camille and her best friend were kissing on each other and left the house together.

“There was one time last night that she left with a guy around seven and they headed to a couple of places. I told you I had to cut the job short because my daughter was sick.”

“You telling me that you didn’t get any evidence last night because your daughter was sick!”

“You know what, I quit!” The guy said as he went to the door.

“Fine, I was going to fire you anyway!” I yelled at him as he closed the door.

“At least you know they were together.” Melissa said.

“Yeah, but I don’t have the evidence to prove it, thanks to the idiot I hired.”

“Chad, I know you’re trying to dig up something about Camille and Trevor; trust me, I’m all for it, but how do you know she’s not finding any dirt on you? You were the one who cheated on her throughout your marriage.”

“She won’t find out about it. When we go through the divorce proceedings, I will have to give her half of my assets. I refuse to do that; I worked too hard for my stuff.”

“This is what the private investigator is for, because you don’t want to pay Camille.”

“Mainly that and other things.”

“Would you like to share with me what the other things are?”

I looked at Melissa as I went to the armchair and sat down.

“I don’t know if I should.”

“If you think I’m going to run off and tell Trevor about your misdeeds, then you don’t know me.”

“Melissa, I really don’t know you.”

“True, but you know I wouldn’t tell Trevor. I can’t stand the sight of him right now.”

“There are some things that no one knows about me. Except Rachel, and she’s dead.”

“What is it?”

I sighed as I leaned back onto the chair.

“You pretty much know about my affairs while I’m on the road, but there is one that I don’t want anyone to know because not only will it affect me and my job, but also the person I’m having the affair with. This person could lose everything.”

“I’m assuming the person is someone you work with?”

“Yeah, and right now, I don’t know whether I should continue the relationship. I can’t let this come out about us, especially if Camille goes digging for information.”

“What are you going to do now?”

“I’m going to do what I should have done in the first place. I’m going to expose Camille for the liar that she is.”

***
Camille

The night didn’t end with Trevor and I having sex. To be honest, I was kind of glad my dad stopped us, because I would have broken my rule of having sex while still married. Don’t get me wrong, I want us to make love, but I just don’t want the idea of being married hanging over my head.

As I lay in Trevor’s bed, I had to look around to notice anything familiar in his old room. I’m surprised he wanted to take his childhood room instead of the master bedroom. But knowing Trevor, he probably didn’t want to since that was his parents’ room. He probably would have thought about the things they done in there and wouldn’t want to stay there.

I looked down at my sleep shirt, which was one of Trevor’s plaid shirts. I press my nose against the collar and smelled his favorite cologne, Gucci Envy. I took one more look around the room and got up, figuring it was time to face Trevor and what happened earlier.

I slowly traveled down the stairs and noticed Trevor on the couch sleeping. His bare chest was slowly weaving in and out, while he had his hand on the waistband of his pajama pants. I had to smile at the sight before me. Even when he’s sleeping, he still looked sexy.

I went over to him and gave him a tiny kiss on his cheek. He slowly opened his eyes and noticed me standing before him.

“Hey. What time is it?”

“A little after nine. I just woke up myself.”

“Sorry I didn’t come upstairs. I decided to sleep on the couch.”

“It’s cool. I know after what happened last night, you wouldn’t want to.”

“It’s not that; it’s just that we went too far last night. You said you wanted to wait for us to make love, and we would have broken that promise if your dad didn’t stop us.”

“I know baby, and I probably would have been pissed about it, but I wouldn’t have regretted it if we did. The timing just wasn’t right last night, that’s all.”

“That’s how you’re looking at it?”

“Yep, and I’m sticking to it. But I kind of wish you came upstairs.”

“I know, but with everything that happened and looking at you now in my shirt, I don’t think I could have handled it.”

“And what would you have done?” I said as I straddled Trevor.

“Well, I would have started here.” Trevor said as he kisses my neck. He lowered his lips to my chest. He unbuttoned two buttons on my shirt to expose my braless breasts. He took his mouth and began to suck on the left nipple before moving to the right one.

Just the feeling this man was giving me was more than enough for me to break my rule.

“Forget the rule.” I whispered.

“What?”

“I want you, now.” I whispered as I kiss Trevor.

“You sure?”

I lean over and began to kiss Trevor from his lips to his chest. As I began to go lower, Trevor pulled me up and I wrapped my body against his. We began to kiss as we headed upstairs.

***

“Wow.” I said as I looked at Trevor. We stared at each other in total amazement.

“Do you regret what happened?” Trevor asked.

“I shook my head and smiled.

“Not at all,”

“How do you feel?”

“Good. Actually, I feel fantastic.”

“I’m just glad you’re happy. I miss seeing that pretty smile of yours.”

“You’re the reason for that. I haven’t felt this good in so long, and it’s all thanks to you.”

“Maybe so Cam, but you should give yourself the credit for your happiness. You’re the one who broke away from Chad; I was just here to help you through it.”

I smiled as I cuddled close to him.

“I love you.” Trevor said as he kissed my forehead.

“I love you too.”

***

After making love for a second time, Trevor and I left his house hand in hand. It was time to face my parents and tell them everything from me getting ready to divorce Chad to me and Trevor becoming a couple.

“I guess my parents will be the first to know about us.” I said as I rang the doorbell.

I looked over at Trevor who seemed pretty nervous.

“Are you okay?”

“Yeah, I’m cool.”

I smiled while waiting for the door to open. My dad was on the other end looking at the two of us in disbelief again. I wish my dad would have a different look when he looked at us.

“Good morning. I see you two finally decided to get out of bed.”

“Dad…”

“Listen, I know you’re grown now and don’t need any advice from me, but I just want you to be careful. Just be clear minded and think about what you should and shouldn’t do. Even though you’re separated from Chad, you’re still married, so think about that.”

“Dad, my mind is very clear about Chad and our marriage. If you let us in, I can tell you why Chad and I are separated.”

My dad opened the door wide for Trevor and I could walk in. As we went inside, we went straight to the couch while my dad went towards his favorite chair. That man had that chair since I was born, so imagine how it looked now.

“Where’s Mom?”

“She’s sleeping Cam.”

“Really, it’s after eleven.”

“Cam, it’s something you should know about your mother…”

“I thought I heard voices.” My mom said as she came down the stairs.

“Hey, Mom,” I said as went to her and gave her a hug. As soon as I did, I could sense something was wrong.

“Is everything okay, Mom?”

“I’m fine sweetie. Hi, Trevor,”

“Hi, Claire,”

My mom smiled at Trevor as she went over to the love seat to sit down.

As I noticed my mom, I couldn’t help but to feel a little sad. I could tell from her appearance and the fact that she was sleeping more than she should, could only mean she wasn’t well.

“So your dad said that you and Chad are separated? I wouldn’t be sad if it’s true.”

“Really Claire,”

“You know I could never stand Chad. I basically tolerated him because of Camille.”

Trevor started to laugh after my mom’s comment.

“Anyway, it’s true. I found out that Chad cheated on me twice with Rachel; once during college and the other before our wedding.”

“Oh, Camille,” My mom said.

“Sorry to hear that Camille; but you have to realize it was before your marriage. Did he cheat on you during the marriage?” asked my dad.

“That’s not the point Dad; we were in a relationship; he had no reason to cheat on me! Besides, I’m pretty sure he’s been having an affair during our marriage; I just don’t have the proof to back it up.”

“So you’re saying you been completely faithful to Chad, even before your marriage?” my mom asked while she looked at Trevor.

Trevor looked at my mom to me while I gave my mom a “don’t-go-there” look. I knew where my mom was going, and this was not the time to prove her point.

“Mom, please.”

“Now that your marriage is practically over, you need to admit your feelings to the man sitting beside you. Camille, you’ve been in love with Trevor for years. Hell, it could have been when you were kids; the point is, you need to put your feelings out on the table and figure out what you want for your life. Evidently, Chad is not the one and to be honest, he never was.”

My dad looked at the two of us and sighed. Trevor smiled as he took my hand into his.

“I think you need to tell her Cam.”

I smiled and looked at my mom.

“You are right about one thing, I always had feelings for Trevor, and I recently realized that he always had feelings for me and we decided to give a romantic relationship a try.”

“Oh baby, I’m so happy for you.” My mom said as she went up to me and gave me a hug. As we broke apart from the hug, she went to Trevor and hugged him too.

“Maybe I wasn’t faithful to Chad too; emotionally faithful. I always had feelings for another man and never faced them, until now. So really, we both done our share of dirt, and now, we just need to end our marriage so we both can move on.”

“Honey, should you at least try to figure some things out before you move into another relationship? Although you know each other, you’re both moving into a different territory.”

“We know that, but we’re willing to take a chance. Mr. Thomas, we love each other and we’re willing to make this work.” Trevor said.

I looked at Trevor as I put my head on his shoulder. My mom smiled at the two of us while my dad looked as if he wanted to explode.

“Well, you know how I feel about you two, so I’m happy. You should be too David.”

“I would be if these two slow down and think about this.”

“Our minds are made up Dad. Now, can we move on from this discussion, please? You were mentioning something earlier…”

“I don’t think we should discuss it now Camille.” My dad quickly said.

I looked at my dad, who then looked at my mom. My mom gave my dad a disapproving look.

“What’s going on? I sensed something was up the minute we walked in. Mom, is something going on with you?”

“Why would you think that, sweetie? Everything is fine.”

“I don’t think it is. You’ve been acting different lately. And just a couple of minutes ago you just woke up. I find that odd considering that you’re usually the first person up in the morning.”

“Camille, everything is fine. There’s nothing to worry about.”

“That’s not reassuring, Mom.”

“Claire, tell her the truth! She deserves to know!” My dad exclaimed.

“Stop, David.”

“Tell her, or I will.”

I looked at both of my parents wondering what was going on. Trevor started to give my hand a small squeeze.

My mom told a deep breath before walking over to me. She put a hand on my knee while looking straight in my eyes. Just the look she was giving me made my heart break in two.

“I don’t know how to tell you this.”

“Please Mom, whatever it is, we can get through this.” I said in tears.

A sob escalated out of my mom, causing me to cry uncontrollably.

“Baby, I have lung cancer.”

I tried to speak, but the words just couldn’t come out of my mouth. I’m not sure what to think or feel right now. How could this happen to my mom, the strongest person I’ve ever known. This must be a bad dream and I’ll wake up any minute now, I know it.

When I was finally able to speak, it came out in between sobs.

“How did this happen? I’ve never seen you smoke.”

“I smoked heavily before you were born. Of course I quit when I was pregnant, but after you were born, I did continue to smoke every now and then. Now, I guess it finally caught up with me.”

“How long have you known? Have you started any treatments?”

Tears started to flow from my father’s cheeks, which only meant one thing.

“Baby, I didn’t take care of myself like I should of. I didn’t scheduled regular check- ups and when I started experiencing coughing and wheezing, I just assumed I was having a cold, so I never went to the doctor….”

“Are you trying to say the cancer has spread?” I quietly said.

My mom nodded her head while the tears stared to fall down her pale face.

“There’s nothing your doctor can do. You can’t do radiation or chemo?”

“If I did, my body would reject it. I’m so sorry baby. I’m sorry.”

Trevor let go of my hand as I put my arms around my mother. The tears started to flow between the both of us as we cried together over the news.

“Mom, you have nothing to be sorry for. I just wish you would have told me sooner.”

“I just couldn’t tell you. I didn’t have the heart to.”

“How long you have?”

“Dr. Rivers said it could be days or months, just depending on how my body response day to day. I’m just doing what I can to stay here a little longer. But if it is my time to go today or tomorrow, I wouldn’t be sad; and I wouldn’t want you to be either.”

“Don’t talk like that Mom.”

“Baby, please don’t be sad. I accepted this. I know this will take some time, but I hope you will too.”

I looked at Trevor as he was holding back tears of his own. He put his arm around me as I continued to shed tears over what I just learned.

In a matter of minutes, the happiest day of my life has turned into my worse. I never imagine my life without my mother, and now, I might have to.

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 chopped 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.

 

28.

Camille

 

A day later: And it was the day of the Halloween Bash.   So many emotions were going through me as I arrived to The Drake Hotel. I decided to visit my mother before heading to work, only to find myself in an argument with my dad regarding my relationship with Trevor. I do not know why my dad is so upset over Trevor and I being together.  He never had a problem with us being friends, so what’s the big deal now? I cannot imagine it would be the fact that I’m black and Trevor’s white; I mean my dad is not a racist.

As I pulled into the nearest parking spot, I turned off the ignition and lay my head on the headrest. I closed my eyes to think about everything that has occurred in the past week. From being with Trevor, to finding out my mom has cancer and could possibly die soon, to organizing this huge party, my mind suddenly felt like it wanted to explode. Not only that, but I’ve received a certified package yesterday from Madison Law Firm that held the divorce papers that Chad drew up. I couldn’t believe the nerve of that man! He surely didn’t waste any time when he was the one doing the cheating before and possibly throughout our marriage.

Hopefully I can finish the preparations early so I could go to Trevor’s. I really need to see him because I know my day will only get worse. At least I know when I’m with him; all my problems are a distant memory.

My thoughts were suddenly interrupted when I heard a tapping noise outside my car window. I looked up and noticed Tamara tapping repeatedly on the driver’s side. I looked at her as I got out of the car.

“You know we don’t have time for daydreaming. We have a lot of stuff to do before the party.”

“I know, I know. I just wanted to get a little rest in before I went in.”

“What’s wrong; Trevor keeping you up all night?” Tamara said while laughing.

“Ha, ha; wait, how did you know about us?”

“Gerald, of course, Trevor told him the other day and of course Gerald told me. We all knew you two would hook up. I mean come on; for all I know, you two probably hooked up before but never told anyone.”

I looked at Tamara and smiled. She lightly pushed me as she started to scream.

“I knew it! I knew you two did; when?”

“After homecoming, when we came back from Plaza.”

“You two had drunk sex; how ironic.”

“Like you never done that before? Anyway, we had sex three times that night and never did it again, until two days ago.”

“Wow; well I’m happy you finally got your man, even though it took eight years to get him.”

“Try twenty-eight.”

“Either way, I’m happy for you two. Is he coming tonight?”

“Of course; not sure what costume he’s wearing, but whatever it is, it’ll be hot.”

“I’m pretty sure. Not sure what Gerald coming as either, but I hope it’s something hot and not a hot mess.”

“Really Tamara.”

“Well, Gerald is my man, so he is a reflection of me now.”

I laughed as we entered into the ballroom. We looked around at the spacious room wondering where to start. As I went to the stage area, Tamara decided to go near the center to check on the lighting.

“One thing I have to ask. What took you two so long to admit you both had feelings for each other?”

I turned to Tamara and smiled.

“I think we, especially Trevor, were scared to move into a relationship and seeing where things will go. We’ve been friends for so long, so it would be scary to think where our friendship will be if things didn’t work out.”

“I can understand that. I felt that way with Gerald; but with Rachel passing, I realized that it’s okay to take a risk in life. Life is too short to think about what ifs and should of, could of.  Just take things day by day and see where it goes.”

“Great advice, Tam.”

“Anytime.”

“Have you talked to Melanie lately? I visited the boutique the other day and she told me some big news.”

“If it’s about her and my brother, I rather not talk about that.”

“I think it’s great they’re dating.”

“Yeah, you think so. I hate it.”

“Okay, why do you hate it?”
“Where should I start?”

“Tam, if Derrick is happy, then let him be. Don’t you think he should be?”

“I want him to, but not with her. You know how she is with men. She manipulates them and uses them to her advantage. I don’t want my brother to fall into that trap.”

“Is there something you’re not telling me about Melanie? I don’t remember her being a manipulator. Yeah, she dated lots of guys, but we all did. What’s the problem?”

“You don’t understand. You don’t have anyone to protect.”

“What that’s supposed to mean?”

“You’re an only child, you don’t understand about looking after a sibling.”

“I may not understand, but I do look after the people that I care about. Don’t you think Derrick can look after himself? He is your big brother.”

“I know that, but we’ve been through so much growing up. I just want him to be happy without the drama.”

“I think you’re the one who is bringing up the drama, not anyone else.”

Tamara sighed and turned her back to me. I rolled my eyes and sighed. Tamara can be so stubborn sometimes.

“Can we stop talking about my brother and Melanie, please?”
“Sure, but going back to siblings, I always wished I had a brother or sister to hang out with. It was kind of lonely being an only child. If Trevor wasn’t around, I don’t know what I would have done.”

While I was talking, I noticed Tamara starting to clam up at the mention of siblings. Why one minute she was angry about hers and the next nervous when I bring up the word again?

“Is something wrong?”

“Nothing’s wrong. Why you think that?”
“I don’t know; you started to tense up when I was talking about siblings.”

“There is something that I probably should tell you, but don’t know how to.”

I stopped looking at the stage and gave Tamara my full attention.

“Just tell me.”

Tamara sighed as she walked over to me.

“Gerald found out something the other day that doesn’t sit right with him.”

“Okay, what does that has to do with me?”

“I’m getting to it. Anyway, he went to his mother’s house to look for something when he came across a document that looked like his birth certificate. It had his father’s name on there, but his mother’s name was someone else. It was your mother’s name.”

I stared at Tamara to see if she was joking. But the look on her face looked far from playful.

“I don’t understand.  Why would Gerald think that the birth certificate he found was even real? It could have been a fake or something.”

“That’s what he thought, but why would his mom keep a fake birth certificate? Why would she hide that one, let alone have it if it wasn’t true?”

“I don’t know Tamara.”

“We talked about it and he did try to dig up some proof through his family, but of course no one’s talking. The only person he hasn’t confronted was his mom; I guess because he’s afraid to find out what she’ll say.”

“So you’re saying that my mom cheated on my dad and had another child with Gerald’s father? You’re saying that Gerald is my brother?”

“I don’t know Camille! Gerald is just as confused as you are right now.”

“Why he didn’t confront me with this? I mean evidently it’s a joke. My mom would never cheat on my father!  She would never keep something like that from him or me!”

She did keep her cancer from me. What else could she be keeping from me? I wondered.

“Cam, I don’t know how to explain this. All I know is that as crazy as all this sounds, you may need to look into this.”

“Give me a reason why I should? For all you or Gerald knows, it could be a prank or something. I mean, what make you two think that it’s my mom on the birth certificate?”

“I remember some time ago you mentioned your mom’s maiden name is Waters, and that what was on the birth certificate- Claire Waters.”

“There could be a million women on the planet that has the same name as my mom’s. If she was pregnant before, how could she have kept it from my dad?”

“Maybe your dad knew about the entire situation. Maybe there was some agreement in which everyone went along with. Listen, I really think you need to talk to Gerald about this. Maybe you two can come up with a solution to this problem.”

“It’s not a problem to discuss. Now, can we go back to setting up the party, please?”

Tamara nodded her head as she went back to her station.  While she started back working, I continued to stare at the stage wondering whether to believe Tamara’s accusation. A part of me want to forget I even heard the ridiculous story and continue to work, but a part of me wanted to know more.

“I have to go.”  I said as I stepped off the stage and headed towards the exit.

“Where you’re going?”

“I need to know whether your accusation is true. I have to find Gerald.”

“He should be at Trevor’s. He mentioned he was going by there.”

“Okay, I’ll be back.”

“No; you’re not driving anywhere while you’re emotional. I’ll drive. I’ll call Clara to come a little early to set up.”

“Okay. I’ll call Stacy to come in too.”

“Let’s go.” Tamara said as she picked up her handbag.

Right now, I don’t know what to think about the news I’ve just heard, but whatever it is, I need to put a stop to it immediately.

 

***

Gerald

As I pulled into Trevor’s driveway, all I could think about was the issues that have been plaguing me for the past couple of days. From Tamara’s ex-boyfriend (which I feel something else is going on there) to what I discovered at my mom’s, I don’t know what to think or feel at this point.

I stepped out of my Chevrolet Tahoe and went up to the door. As soon as I was about to knock, Trevor opened the door with a bottle of beer in his hand.

“How you know I was here?”

“Saw you pull up. Here, I think you need it.” He said as he handed me the bottle.

“Yes, I do. Thanks.”  I said as I took the beer from Trevor and walked inside.

“I’m still in shock over what you told me. You really think Camille’s mom is your mom? Did you find any proof to back up your claim?”

“I’m still looking. I don’t know Tre; I mean, what if this claim is true? I’ve basically been lied to by everyone in my life.”

“Why don’t you talk to your mom about this? I’m sure she will explain everything.”

“How can I when she was the one who was probably lying to me in the first place. I’ve tried to talk to relatives on both sides of the family and no one wants to talk. I even talked to Grandmother Smalls about everything, and she was the only one who tried to tell me the truth, but it was in codes.”

“What did she say?”

“She did mention that my parents were having problems around the time I was born, mainly because of my dad being out of work. He did disappear for a couple of days, but returned and everything was normal again. A couple of months later, I was born.”

“She’s saying that anything could have happened between that time?”

“She wouldn’t tell me if my mom was actually my mom, but what if my parents were having problems and my dad left? What if he actually did cheat on my mom with Mrs. Thomas?”

“I don’t know Gerald.”

The doorbell rang, in which Trevor gave a confused look.

“Who could that be?” He asked as he went up to the door. He looked at the peephole and opened it. Camille walked in and gave  him a wide hug follow by a kiss on the lips.

“It’s still hard to believe you two are together now.” I said as I looked at the two and smiled.

“Well anything is possible, right.” Camille said as she walked over to me. I noticed Tamara standing behind her. She gave me an apologetic stare, indicating that she told her about my theory.

“Don’t you two supposed to be setting up for the party?” Trevor asked.

“Yeah, but I needed to talked to Gerald. Tamara said you would be here.”

“Before you start, let me explain…”

“What gives you the right to think that my mom would cheat on my father?  My parents have been committed to each for the past thirty years!”

“Baby, no one is accusing anyone of cheating. No one even knows the entire story. Just hear Gerald out first before jumping to conclusions.” Trevor said.

Camille looked at Trevor and sighed.

“Fine.”

I took out the certificate from my pocket and handed it to Camille. She took it and looked at it. She handed it back and sat down.

“Why would you automatically assume it’s my mom? It could be someone else with the same name.”

“Could be, and I was never accusing your mom was my mom. It was just a theory. I asked Tamara about your mom’s maiden name, but I just didn’t automatically declare she was my mom. Camille, I’m just as confused as you are. Once I saw this, I automatically wanted answers, but no one is giving them to me.”

“You want me to ask my mom if she cheated on my dad. Gerald, my mom is going through so much right now; I really don’t want to put this on her.”

“I don’t want you to. I just want to get some kind of facts down before I figure out what I wanted to do.”

Camille gave a  long sigh before getting out of her seat.

“Gerald, we’ve known each other for such a long time, and you know that I would do anything for you. If you want me to talk to my mom, I will, just to put your mind at ease.”

I looked at Camille as I went up to her and gave her a hug.

“Thank you. Did you want me to go with you?”

Camille nodded and  to the door. Trevor goes behind us as he gave her another kiss before leaving.

As I closed the door, Camille looked at me and smiled.

“Let’s go find out if you’re my brother.” She said before heading to her childhood home.

I don’t know what type of emotion I should be right now, but whatever news Camille and I experience, it will definitely change our lives forever.

 

 

29.

Camille

 

As soon as Gerald and I reached my parents’ doorstep, I immediately began to sweat. Normally, I can handle tough situations, but when it came to my parents, I instantly become the little girl that they will always remember me as. I would use my key, but I’ve stopping using it three years ago after I walked in on my parents having sex in the living room. I began to knock on the door, wondering who will answer. When the door opened, it was my mom, who looked even tired from the last time I saw her, which was only a couple of hours ago.

“Mom, where’s Dad?”

“He went out for a few minutes. Hi, Gerald; how are you?”

“I’m good, Mrs. Thomas. How are you?”

“I’m getting along. Come on in.” she said as she stepped aside for us to enter.

I began to wipe my sweaty hands onto my jeans as I went straight to the loveseat while Gerald took the armchair. My mom gave us a perplex expression as she took a seat beside me on the love seat.

“You two look serious. Is something wrong?”

I began to clear my throat as a lump was beginning to form. I was so nervous, I didn’t know if I was going to faint or throw up.

“Mom, we need to talk to you about something. If you’re not feeling up to it, then we won’t discuss it.”

“I’m fine honey. Just tell me what’s wrong.”

I looked at Gerald as he nodded his head for me to go ahead.  I took a deep breath before speaking.

“Mom, Gerald found something at his mom’s house the other day that had us thinking and we wanted to talk to you so you could clear the air over it.”

“Okay, what is it?”

Gerald took out the birth certificate he had in his pocket and handed it to my mom. She took it from Gerald and looked at it. Her face automatically gave a shock expression as she looked at Gerald then at me.

“Is it true?” I asked, hoping against hope that it wasn’t.

“You have to understand that neither I nor your father wanted to hurt you, Gerald.”

“It is true.” Gerald said as he put his head in his hands.

My mom looked at me as she began to speak.

“At the time, your father and I were going through some financial problems.  We used to argue constantly, so he moved out the house for a little while.  When your father was gone, it was really hard for me. I was really lonely, so I begin to go around Gerald’s parents a lot. We were all friends then, so it wasn’t a big deal. One night, your parents had a neighborhood party and everyone was having a good time, expect me. I was still sad over your father, so I decided to leave early. Your father came by the house because I forgot my purse. We’ve been talking a lot during that time, because he and Ebony was having problems of their own so we sort of related to each other in that aspect. Before I knew it, we starting kissing, and one thing led to another and we had a one- night stand.”

“Wow.”  I said while I held my head down. Gerald still had his face in his hands, still unsure what to make of the situation.

“Of course, we didn’t use protection that night, and I winded up pregnant. When I first found out I was pregnant, your father returned home and we tried to rebuild our marriage. I couldn’t tell him I was having another man’s child, so I lied and told him that it was his. But Gerald, your father wouldn’t have any of it. He was livid when I told him my plan; he wanted to be a father to you, so I had to come clean, because if I didn’t he was going to tell David anyway. When we told David and Ebony what happened, we decided to act as if nothing happened and Ebony and Tyler raised you as their own and a year later, I had you, Camille.”

“So, you all forged a fake birth certificate to make it believable?” Gerald asked.

“Of course with the hospital, we had to put the parents on there, but yes, we drew up another birth certificate with your parents’ names on it. Ebony kept the real one and hid it, until now of course.”

“Why go through all the trouble? You could have been a part of my life; instead, you passed me off to someone else!”

“The reason we arranged this was because Ebony couldn’t have a child. Everyone knew the two were having problems, and many said it was because of Tyler’s unemployment, but it was really because Ebony wasn’t ovulating properly. She had a hard time conceiving.”

“Anovulation,” I quietly said.

“I knew how much Ebony wanted a child, so even though I put my name on the birth certificate in the hospital, I relinquished my rights as your parent to Ebony so she could have the child she always wanted.”

Tears were flowing down both mines and Gerald’s cheeks as we listened to my mother’s story. I couldn’t believe mines and his parents would do this to Gerald!

“This is unbelievable! I can’t believe you all would do this to me! And the fact that I used to come to this house and no one would say anything to me!” Gerald yelled through years.

“You didn’t think I wanted to Gerald?! Every time  I saw you, I wanted to hold you in my arms and tell you that I’m your mother, but I couldn’t because I’d made a promise to your parents that I would never get in the way of raising you. That’s why I was so happy that you and Camille became friends, because it was a way to see that you two had some sort of relationship.”

“Mom, Gerald’s my brother! If he didn’t find his actual birth certificate, we still wouldn’t have known!”

“I know that, and I’m sorry that it took thirty-one years to discover it.”

“I can’t deal with this right now.” Gerald said as he got up from his seat and went towards the door.

As my mom and I watched Gerald leave, I turned to look at her. Although what my mom did was unspeakable, I couldn’t be mad at her.

“I’m sorry Camille. I really thought if the truth didn’t come out, then no one would know.”

I went up to her and gave her a hug.

“Please don’t be mad at me.”

I sighed as held my mom even tighter.

“I could never be mad at you, Mom. Don’t ever think for a second that I would.”

 

30.

Trevor
Once Tamara and I noticed Gerald rushing out of the Thomas’ home and into his Tahoe, we
automatically knew what happened. I called Camille to see if she was okay, but told me she’ll
talk to me at the party later. As Tamara was leaving, she informed me that she’ll let me know
how Gerald was doing once she talked to him. I shook my head at everything that has happened
lately. I know Gerald is probably in a bad place right now. I wouldn’t blame him, so I know he’s
going to need the support of his friends right now. And Camille, I know she’s hurting too,
especially knowing that the two people she thought was always honest with her, kept this secret
for so long. I sighed as I went up to my bedroom. I looked at my Halloween costume and smile.
Although the day turned out bad, at least we could have some type of fun at the Halloween Bash
tonight. As I put the costume on my armchair, I felt a nap was in order. Since Camille and I been
together, we hardly been getting any sleep. Trust me, I’m not complaining; I love being around
Camille, but right now, my body saying otherwise as I knew I needed some sort of sleep before
heading out tonight. As soon as I lay my head down on the bed, I quickly drifted off to sleep.
“I knew you would finally cave in to her.”
I looked over and jumped up. Rachel was staring directly at me. She was wearing the same
cream wrap dress that she wore at her funeral. Her black hair was flowing around her oval face
as she lean in closer to me.
“Rachel, what you’re doing here? You’re dead.”
“Am I? I knew you would eventually give in to Camille. You couldn’t resist her, no matter how
hard you tried.”
“She is my best friend, and I always had feelings for her.”
“I know, but always thought you wouldn’t cross that line, considering what she done to you.”

I looked over at Rachel wondering what she was talking about. “Remember, I know everyone’s secrets, including yours.”
“I don’t have any secrets Rachel.”

“Do you? I remember a while ago when you needed me for a favor. Actually, you needed me for
a couple, including a time not too long ago when you called me begging me to help you.”
I gave Rachel a mean stare as she went up to me with a look of evil and lust. I knew that look.
That look used to turn me on as well as frightened me, mainly because I knew she was up to no
good and this time was no different.
“You better be glad I’m no longer living, because I could expose you just like that.” She said
with a snap of her finger.
I quickly woke up in a cold sweat. I looked around the room wondering if what I experienced
was true. My breathing started to slow down as I realized I was dreaming. Although it was
dream, a tiny voice in my mind was thinking otherwise. A part of me was a little relief to know
that Rachel was gone and could no longer expose me for my past mistakes, but why I have this
sinking feeling that my past will come back to haunt me?
After the weird dream I had, I no longer could go back to sleep, so I decided to get ready for the party. As I was looking at my costume, I noticed a missed call from Camille. She must have called while I was asleep. I listened to the voicemail telling me once I get to The Drake Hotel tomeet her in the conference room. I didn’t know what that was about, but probably to talk about what happened earlier. Tamara still hasn’t called about Gerald, so she probably hasn’t heard from him either. Hopefully he’s doing okay with the news and not doing anything crazy.

Once I put the final touches to my costume, I grabbed my keys and headed to the hotel. Once I
got through Baker’s traffic on Courtland Freeway, I pulled up into the parking lot of The Drake
Hotel anticipating a fun night. As soon as I walked into the ballroom, there was already a huge
crowd gathered inside, drinking and mingling around the DJ table and food table. While the DJ
was playing Chris Brown’s new single, I headed over to the bar and grabbed two glasses of
champagne and went straight to the conference room. I got to the door and slightly knock, but as
soon as I did, the door immediately opened. Camille stood by the desk wearing a sexy nurse
costume.

“How ironic that you dressed as a doctor.” She said as she walked over to me. She took one of the
champagne glasses from my hand and took a sip.
“Well, I didn’t want to give my costume away.”
“I love it. Definitely suits you.”
“Just like the naughty nurse suits you?”
“Of course; I can be naughty when I want to.”
“Yes, you can.” I said as I went up to her.
“Why did you want me to come up here?”
“I just wanted to see you. I know we didn’t get to talk earlier, so I thought this would be the
perfect time to.”
“How are you holding up?”
“I’m good, but let’s not talk about that. Right now, all I want to do is stare into your eyes and
kiss you.” Camille said as she touched my lips with hers.
“I can live with that. What about the party? Don’t you suppose to be working?”
“I will, in a little bit. Stacy and Clara have everything under control. And Tamara is here, but
checking to see if Gerald going to show up.”
“I wish we could find out how he’s doing. I know it must be rough on him.”
“I know, but right now, the only thing I want to hear are the sounds of us making love.”
I gave Camille a surprised look to what she just said.
“What.”
“Oh please Trevor, like you never had sex in a public place. Inever had, so for me, it will be thrilling.” Camille said as she began to take off her costume.

I watched as her nurse costume fell to the floor, revealing her white bra and white thigh- high
stockings.
She walked over to me and pinned me to the wall. I pulled her towards me as we began to engage
in a heated kiss. She pulled off my lab coat while I unhook her bra. We step over to the conference
table as Camille lay down on the table. “You have protection?” she asked as she kisses me neck.
“Of course.” I said as pulled out a condom from my pocket.
Camille and I have been very carefully since our first encounter after homecoming. With the
first time, we didn’t use protection, which could have easily been a scare for the both of us,
but ever since then, I’ve always have condoms no matter what.
After preparing myself, Camille looks at me as she kisses my chest. Now, this party has gotten a
bit more interesting.
***
Melissa
Coming to this party was a huge waste of time. I was invited by an associate from Preston Wheeler
who received an invite and wanted me to come as a guest. I wasn’t going to go at first,
but when I found out Camille was throwing the party, I wanted to see firsthand how she is as an
event planner. From what I discover, her party planning sucks. I decided to separate from my
friend and explore the ballroom to see if any other action was going on. While walking close to
the bar, I noticed Trevor coming in dressed as a doctor. My heart skipped a beat at the sight of
him. Even though I despise him now, he sure does look good. As he was heading over to the bar,
I quickly went over to the stage and pretend to look at the DJ booth. Although he may not
recognize me in my Cleopatra costume, I didn’t want to take a chance of him spotting me.
Trevor thought I went back to Dallas after our altercation, but of course, I never left.
I decided to take a leave of absence from Preston-Wheeler and stay in town looking for another
job as well as a revenge plot for Trevor and Camille. When Chad reached out to me about
destroying the happy couple, I was up for it, but now, Chad is going through some other stuff
that could potentially destroy him in the process. Yes, he told me everything, and I was pretty
shock about it, that’s why I decided to go solo on seeking any type of revenge.
I turned around to see Trevor going upstairs, which made me kind of curious to see what he was
up to. Once he was out of sight, I went to the stairs and took one at time, so I wouldn’t trip on my
long dress. When I reach the top, I saw him going into a room which was far off from the
ballroom. I went closer to the window to find out what the room was and noticed Camille
through the glass window inside wearing a slutty nurse costume. Figures she would choose that,
since she is a slut. The two appear to be talking when Camille grabs Trevor and kisses him.
Camille took off her costume and pinned Trevor against the wall. The two started to kiss
passionately, which made me even more furious.
So the two decide to have sex at a party? How juvenile! “Well, let’s make this even more interesting.” I whispered as I made my way downstairs.
When I arrived earlier, I noticed a camera crew was set up near the stage to videotape the party.
Now, I instantly knew what I wanted to do to seek my revenge, while possibly get Camille dethroned as the premier party planner. I went over to the group and gave a huge smile to one of the guys setting up on stage.
“Hi, can I ask you a question?”
The guy looked at me and gives me a huge smile.
“Anything for you pretty lady?”
“I see you’re videotaping the party. Will you be filming the entire party for guests to see?”
“Yeah, the feed will go through the monitors inside the ballroom.”
Perfect!
“Well, I have a wonderful area that will be perfect for filming.”
***
Tamara
“Where the hell is Camille?” I asked as I looked around the ballroom. The party was a huge
success. Everyone was having a great time, but I need Camille to be present so I could do a once
over with the guests. I’m pretty sure Clara can handle it, but I don’t want her to do all the work.
There are two reasons why I might be on edge. One is Gerald. I have not heard from him since
he stormed out of Camille parents’ home and sped out of Trevor’s driveway. Now, my concern is
growing even further because he supposed to have shown up to the party. Another reason is
Derrick and Melanie. I really don’t want to see the two together and hopefully they decide not to
show up tonight.
As I look over at the food table, I notice something weird on the huge television screen above the
stage. A crowd started to gather around looking at whatever was playing on the television.
“What the hell.” I said as I looked at the crowd.
Clara came up to me in a panic.
“Why are people looking at the television when they should be eating and dancing? This
supposed to be a party!”

“I don’t know Tamara.”
As I went closer to the stage, I noticed what everyone was looking at. I had to cover my mouth
to keep from screaming.
“Oh, my gosh!” Clara exclaimed.
“Show’s over! Clara, get the production team to cut off the feed. I have to find out where the hell they are.” I said as I headed for the stairs. I know when we did the walk through, there were several rooms on the second floor, so more likely, Camille and Trevor were somewhere upstairs.

I opened each room to discover no one inside, expect for one, which was further down the hall.
As I went up to the door, I tried to open it, but of course, it was locked.
“Camille, Trevor, open the damn door!” I yelled.
I know the two are not ignoring me, because no one answered the door. I continue to bang on the
door, hoping someone would answer.
“Open the door!”
A second later, Trevor opened the door. I had to turn my head since he only had his pants on.
“This better be an emergency.” Camille said over Trevor’s shoulder.
“You know, I’m all for sexual exploration in public places, but not while we’re having an event!”

“Wait, how you know what we were doing up here?” Trevor asked.
“Unfortunately, I’m not the only one who knows what you two were doing. The entire guest list
knows. Congratulations, you two just made a freaking sex tape at the biggest party of the year!”
“What the hell are you talking about?” Camille asked.
“Evidently, the production crew had cameras all over the place and it showed you two getting it
on up here. I can’t believe you two! You couldn’t wait until later to have sex!”
“Oh my God; this is so embarrassing.” Camille said.
“You damn right it is! I stopped the feed, but you two have to get yourselves together and get out
of here, now!”
Trevor looked at Camille and then me as he started to button his shirt.

 

“We’re really sorry Tamara.” “Let’s just go.” Camille said as she grabbed her sweater that was on a nearby chair and walked out
without even looking at me.
Trevor apologized again as he walked out behind her, leaving me standing at the door.
The whole situation would be pretty funny if it wasn’t so frustrating. Now, I have to do damage
control.
“Hopefully I won’t have to do too much of it.” I said while going towards the stairs.
31.
Camille

“Of all the days to be spontaneous!”
“Baby, calm down; everything is fine. Tamara said she will handle it.”
“Trevor, the entire town of Baker saw us having sex last night! My career may be on the line
because of the stunt I pulled!”
“You don’t know that.”
“Do I? Who would hire me after this?”
As Trevor tried to put his arm around me, I quickly jerked away as I got up from my chair. I
started to pace around my living room in a daze, wondering what to expect from Tamara once
she stops by my house.
After Trevor and I were humiliated at the party last night, we went to back to my place to figure
out what to do next. Now, morning arrived and I’m taking in the picturesque view from the
window. A pair of hands went across my waist. I leaned back against Trevor’s chest as he starts
to breathe in my hair.
“Cam, it’s going to be okay. It is one thing I know about workplace ethics is that sometimes
employees don’t follow the rules. Besides, you can’t deny that it was pretty fun and very sexy.”
Trevor said as he begins kissing me on my shoulder.
I smiled at the thought as I turn to face him.
“Maybe you should refresh my memory.” I said as I put my arm around him.

“Maybe I should.” He said as he kissed me.
As we begin to deepen our kiss, the doorbell rang, causing both of us to jump. I quickly went to
the door, realizing that it might be Tamara on the other side. My suspicions were correct as
Tamara was waiting outside, giving me one of her awkward looks. It’s never a good thing when
Tamara has her awkward look.
As soon as I open the door, Tamara walked into the foyer without uttering a word.
“Good morning to you too.” I said as I closed the door.
“I should still be pissed at you after what you two pulled, but being the person I am, I decided to
let it go.”
“I take things didn’t go well with the committee.” “What do you think? I spent an hour talking to the committee about what happened and how it
possibly happened. To be honest, I don’t even know if either one of us will be asked back to host the event nor any other event for Baker.”
“Seriously; but I’m the only event planner in the area.”
“Well not entirely; they can always go to someone in Houston. That’s beside the point.
Practically the entire town was in attendance last night, so we need to find a clever way to get
back into the good graces of Baker so we can continue with our careers.”
I sighed as I went over to the sofa to sit down. The feeling of regret came back to the forefront as
I pushed some hair from my face.
“How are we going to do that?”
“I’ll figure out something; but there is one thing that kind of stuck out for me during the
conversation.”
“What was that?”
“From what I’ve gathered, there wasn’t supposed to be any activity upstairs; therefore no
footage was supposed to been taken in the area.”
“What are you saying? That someone deliberately filmed us?” Trevor asked.
“Maybe, but how would anyone know you two were upstairs?”
“What if someone did discover us upstairs? The person accidentally thought the party continued
on the second floor and came up.”
“That could have happened. They probably noticed the two of you in the room and decided to ask the tech guys to run the feed upstairs. But the only way I noticed you two were in the room

was because the door was locked.” Tamara said.
“That because we were by the window first. We moved away from it later on.” I said.
“That doesn’t make any sense. Why would anyone decide to put our act on display for everyone
to see?” asked Trevor.
A thought slowly creep into my mind as I stared at Trevor and Tamara.
“Unless it was for a motive. You don’t think Chad could have done this?”
“How could he? He wasn’t even invited to the bash.”“He could have gotten someone to do it for him.”
“I can call Clara to get the guest list and maybe find out any new guests that attended.” Tamara
said.
“Great idea, thanks.” I said as I headed to the kitchen.
Once I was about to go over the threshold, the doorbell rang. I went over to it and open it without
even checking the peephole. I wished I did, because Chad was standing on the other end. I let out
an irritated sigh as Chad pushed past me and went inside the house.
“I didn’t say you could come in.”
“Please Camille; this is still my house. I can come in as I please.”
He stands in front of me while scanning my entire body. I instantly wanted to throw up.
“I never knew you were the adventurous type. Well, you weren’t with me anyway.”
“What are you talking about?”
He takes out a piece of paper from his shirt pocket and threw it at me.
I give him an evil glance as I catch the paper between my fingers. I open it up and notice that it
was the society page of The Baker Express. A beautiful picture of me was displayed with the
headline “Local Event Planner Caught With Her Pants Down” in bold letters.
“Local event planner, Camille Thomas-Anderson, created quite a spectacle last night at the
annual Halloween Bash held at the Drake Hotel. Mrs. Thomas- Anderson was doing more than
party throwing when a live feed was displayed showing her and an unidentified man having sex
in the conference room of the hotel!”
“Pretty funny, isn’t it?” Chad said as he started laughing.
“The Express couldn’t find anything else to report.” I said as I threw the article at Chad.
“You know, I couldn’t have planned a better scheme myself. I applaud the person who decided
to do the dirty work for me.”
“Are you admitting you had something to do with this?” Trevor asked. He walked over to me  and gave Chad a disgusted look. “Please. If I wanted to do this, I would have done it myself. Don’t think I won’t use this in court.”
“I bet you will. In fact, why are you calling me out with all the cheating you’ve done before and
during our marriage?”
“I never said I done it during our marriage. I was faithful, unlike you with your cheating
thoughts.”
“It’s time for you to leave. “ Trevor said as he begins to push Chad towards the door.
Chad jerked his arm away from Trevor as he goes up to me. He looks me straight in my brown
eyes with a smirk on his face.
“Don’t get too comfortable staying in this house. Once I’m done with you, you won’t even have a pot to piss in.”

“Not if I get to you first.” I said with conviction.
I know Chad cheated on me during our marriage, and hopefully, Melanie’s connections will help
me prove it.
Chad gave me another smirk before Trevor pushed him out the door. Before Chad could say
anything, Trevor slams the door. He goes over to the wall near the door and put his fist through
it, causing a slight dent to form. I look at Trevor and shake my head.
“I should have hit that asshole!”
“Would have been a highlight of my day.” Tamara said while walking towards the foyer.
“What did Clara said?”
“There were a couple of people that were first time guests. One in particular was Taylor
Murphy.”
“Taylor Murphy. She works for Preston-Wheeler. How did she get an invite?” asked Trevor.
“Preston-Wheeler is a new sponsor for the event. They gave a huge donation a couple of weeks ago to help fund the party. Anyway, a handful of invites were received through the company. Why does her name stand out from the rest though?” I asked.
“Mainly because of her guest. A Megan Parker arrived with her. Clara remembered her dressed
as Cleopatra. She said she was acting very weird and was even talking to one of the tech guys
before the incident occurred.”
“I did notice someone staring at me when I was at the bar. It was a woman dressed as Cleopatra,
but I didn’t think anything by it at the time.” Trevor said.
“Megan Parker? It’s obvious it was Melissa who put this plan into motion.”
“Why assumed it was Melissa? Shouldn’t she be back in Dallas by now?” said Tamara.
“I don’t think she is. I talked to one of my old associates from the company and he said she took
a leave of absence.” Trevor said.
“You think she used an alias to attend the party?” Tamara said.
“Why wouldn’t she? She wouldn’t put her real name down, especially since we would recognize
her.”
“She’s been in town this whole time?” said Tamara.
Trevor went over to the door and grabbed his car keys from the bowl sitting on a stand.
“Where you’re going?”
“I have an idea where she’s been hiding.” He said as he kissed my cheek.
As Trevor heads to the door, I look at Tamara and sighed.
“Let’s hope your theory is right.”
“I know it is. Melissa was hurt by Trevor. A woman will do anything when she’s left scorned.”
***
Chad

I love being bad. I thought to myself as I headed to my hotel room. Just seeing the look on
Camille and Trevor’s faces gave me a sense of satisfaction. Due to their sloppy escapade, this
will give me the ammunition I need to destroy Camille in court.
And to keep my misdeeds hidden.
To be honest, I felt a little jealous of Camille and Trevor. Although I was the man Camille
married, I never truly had her heart. It always belonged to Trevor. I was just the person she
settled for.
As I opened the door, I noticed a shadowy figure standing near the window. I quickly pulled out
my switchblade that I carried while traveling and held it out for protection. The person turned
around and begins to walk towards me. When I notice who the person was, I let out a sigh and
put the switchblade back into my pocket.
“Like you were going to use it.”
“I would have. How the hell did you get in here?”
“I bribed the desk clerk to give me a keycard. I had to do something. You haven’t been returning any of my calls. I was starting to worry about you.”
“As you can see, I’m fine.” I said as I went over to the living area. The person follows me. The person turned me around and gave me a fiery kiss. As much as I wanted to resist it, everything in my body was saying otherwise.
After a few minutes of making out in the middle of the living area, we pulled apart and stared into each other eyes. When I tried to lean for another kiss, the person gives me a hard slap across my left cheek.
“What was that for?” I asked in pure shock.
“That’s for being an asshole!”
“I guess I deserved that. I’m sorry for not being in contact with you, but you know I can’t right
now. I’m going through a divorce, and I cannot have any type of distractions.”
“How can you say I’m a distraction? Chad, I want to be there to support you, and I can’t do that if you won’t let me in.”
“Believe me, I want to, but I need to try to get through this first before we can go into a
relationship. I’m trying to hold on to my assets, and with the evidence I now have against my
wife, I will be able to.”
“That’s great! Then it will show she was the cheater in the marriage. What’s stopping us from
being together now?” I sat down on the couch and stared at my guest with loving eyes. I truly care for the person
standing in front of me, but I know we could never be together. There is too much at stake for the
both of us.
“You know why we can’t be together.”
“Chad, I love you, and I am willing to do anything to make a relationship between us work.”
“What about your family? You can’t possibly leave them for me. I won’t let you.”
“You know my family is for show. I have to keep the charade going to protect myself.”
“Are you willing to walk away from your kids though?”
“I will work that out when the time comes. Right now, I just need you in my life and I will do
whatever it takes to make that happen.”
As soon as those words left those precious lips, I had to seal it with a kiss. That was the first time
this person professed the word love or even attempt to fight for our relationship. I believe
everything that was said was genuine, and I was willing to take a chance.
I stood in front of the person that truly made me feel loved and put my hand around the smalls of
its back.
“You mean that?”
“Everything.”
I stared into the eyes of the most popular player of the NBA, Demetrius Meyers and smiled. I
noticed that he was telling the truth just by the expression he was giving me.
With that, we went into my bedroom and declared our love for each other.

32.

Trevor

As I was driving down the winding road to my destination, my mind began to ponder on the woman I was going to marry. I cannot believe Melissa would do this! If she wanted revenge, she could have sought it towards me, and not Camille.

Once I reach the building, I pulled into the nearest parking spot and shut off the engine.  I took a

deep breath to clear my head of everything that has happened and the potential scene I could face

if my notion was correct.  I began to stare at the bed and breakfast that Melissa and I visited in

Cypress for my cousin’s wedding a year ago.  We visited a couple of times after, just to get away and be alone.  I remembered how much she loved the place and mentioned she will stay here if she ever returned. The place was in a secluded location, so no one would know it was even here.

 

Perfect place for Melissa to hide out.

As I stepped out of my car, I took another deep breath before going into the front entrance. Just as I suspected, Melissa was there standing near the front desk talking to the clerk as if they were old friends.

I started to cringe at the sight of Melissa. After all the stunts she pulled from Preston-Wheeler to now, I couldn’t help but to feel uneasy towards her. At first, those stunts were exciting and even a turn on for me, but now, as I stared at her beautiful face, all I could feel now was hatred and repulsion.

Before I could reach Melissa, Wilma, the owner and desk clerk, greeted me with a huge smile.

“Wow, Trevor! Great to see you.”

“Hi, Wilma; how are you?”

“I’m wonderful! I should have known you would come since Melissa is here. How is my favorite couple doing?”

“We’re great! Couldn’t be happier.” Melissa said.

I gave Melissa a vile glance as I turned my head towards Wilma. I could sense Wilma picked up on the weird vibe as she gave us both a look of concern.

“Since Trevor is here, should I upgrade your room to the luxury suite?”

“That won’t be necessary, but thank you Wilma. In fact, could I steal Melissa for a minute?”

“No problem. It’s great seeing you again, Trevor.”

“Likewise, Wilma.”

As Wilma stepped over to greet a potential guest, I grabbed Melissa by the arm as we went toward the exit. As soon as we stepped outside, Melissa jerked away from me and began to walk swiftly through the parking lot. I started to sprint behind her as she quickened her pace towards the garden. Once I caught up with her, we both fell onto the green grass and began to scuffle. Melissa tried to pull away from me, but I grabbed the end of her shirt and pulled her towards me. I held her by her arms to keep her from moving. As she attempted to break away from my grasp, I held her tighter, causing her to wince with discomfort. When I noticed she was in pain, I firmly let go of my embrace. She turned around and tried to kick me, but I blocked her foot.

“What is your problem?” she yelled.

“What the hell are you doing here? I thought you went back to Dallas.”

“I took a leave of absence. Why do you care?”

“I didn’t, until now. What possessed you to pull that stunt last night?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about?”

“Cut the crap Melissa! I know you’re the one who got someone to videotape Camille and I having sex.”

“I heard about that. Quite shocking that someone would go through that much trouble to expose you two.”

“Just admit you did it Melissa!”

“What if I did? Serves you two right after what I been through.”

“What you been through? Please Melissa, stop playing the innocent victim. You knew damn well what you were getting into with me.”

“Oh, it’s my fault for getting played?”

“I didn’t say that. Why would you do this to Camille? You can be mad at me all you want, but leave Camille out of it.”

“Why should I? She’s a whore who couldn’t decide on who she wanted to be with.”

“Don’t call her that. And that was due to me. I was the one who didn’t know what I wanted. That little stunt you pulled could cost Camille her career.”

“Like I give a damn!  I wouldn’t care if she never throws another party.”

“Is this what it has come to? You being spiteful and vindictive because you didn’t get your way? You were the one who paraded around the office trying to get me to sleep with you. Yes, it worked, but did you really think it was going to be happily ever after between us?”

“We were going to get married.”

“Yeah, we were; but I’m so glad I came to my senses. Now, it’s my turn to be vindictive.”

Melissa looked at me and smiled.

“What could you possibly have on me?”

“I knew a thing or two when I was at Preston-Wheeler; especially a certain rumor about you having an affair with a certain CEO. Now, I can see how you got your cushy position; it sure not because of your work ethics.”

“What the hell that’s supposed to mean? I do a damn good job for the company!”

“I can’t tell, especially when I was doing all the work! I could go to the executive board now and report your misdeeds and get you fired.”

“Not if I go to them first about our relationship.”

“Go ahead. Nothing will happen to me, since I’m now a former employee. You, on the other hand…”

“Where are you going with this?”

“I want you to leave Baker; in fact, I want you to leave Houston, go back to Dallas, and pretend you never met me.”

“Why should I do what you say? You’re neither my boss nor my father; so why should I take any orders from you?”

“Maybe because I can expose you for the evil bitch that you are. Now, go back inside the inn, pack your stuff, and get the hell out of town.”

“What will you tell Camille?”

“I’ll handle that.  Just go.”

Melissa sneered before going up to me. She put her lips towards mine and gave me a kiss before turning on her heel and headed towards the inn.

I watched her as she was heading back to the inn, making sure she was actually going inside the building. I would go and watch her pack, but I know she will leave. Especially with the evidence I have against her. To be honest, I didn’t know if the rumors were true, but judging from the expression she had when I mentioned the accusation, it actually was.

When I turned around, I noticed Wilma and another inn employee were standing in the parking lot giving me suspicious looks. I gave them two a nod before heading back to my car. I don’t know how long they were standing there, but hopefully didn’t get the wrong idea regarding what just happened.

33.

Gerald

Since the news regarding my birth mother coming to light, I have not been able to do anything productive in the last few hours. In fact, the only thing I have done was sit in the dark and drink. My phone been ringing nonstop, but instead of answering, I just let it ring.

I know everyone is probably worried about me, especially Tamara. Although I miss her so much, I couldn’t be around anyone right now. I don’t want to feel like a burden to anyone, nor having to express my feelings regarding the recent revelation.  As I was about to go into the kitchen for another beer, the doorbell rang.  I debated on whether I should open it, but someone began to speak, which made me change my mind.

“Son, please open the door.”

I sighed as I went up to the door. I looked at the peephole and noticed my mother was standing outside. I couldn’t imagine what she could possibly say to me after lying to me all of these years.  In fact, I think I should talk to her, just to find out what possessed her to pulling the ultimate scheme.

I swung open the door to reveal the woman who had raised me. She gave a sigh of relief as she stared at me. As she tried to give me a hug, I pulled back from her. I went over to the couch and sat down without even uttering a hello or come in.

“I guess I deserve that, but no matter the situation, I’m still your mother.  I may not have birthed you, but I raised you, so please give me some sort of respect.”

“Are you serious right now? You lied to me for 31 years! How can I respect someone who lied to me repeatedly about my birth mother?”

“Don’t you take that tone with me! I admit; I made a mistake, but it was for good intentions. I tried to do the right thing by taking care of you. Your mother was a married woman who should have been repairing her marriage instead of making a baby with another man! I did not want you being raised in a household that would have looked at you as a mistake and not a blessing.”

“That was not your place to judge! Mom, I’m grateful for the live you’ve given me, but you deprived me of being near my biological mom. I missed my entire life getting to know my real mother and my sister!”

“But you did know your sister. You and Camille turned out to be great friends.”

“Yeah, friends; not brother and sister. There’s a difference between the two.”

“Gerald, when your father told me that Claire was pregnant, I felt my whole world was crashing down. Your father and I were already on shaky ground because of the problems we had, and when he told me about his affair, I didn’t know what else to do. I didn’t know whether to just end things with him, or just fix the problems we had and move on. When Claire announced that she couldn’t have a child by another man, I took the initiative to raise you as my own. I couldn’t have children due to anovulation, so I thought this was a great way to have the child that I know I couldn’t have on my own.”

“So, you’re saying that Claire didn’t want me?”

“I know it hurt her when she gave you up, but I know she wanted what was best for you. That’s why when Camille was born; we knew it was best for you to get to know her. Even though we couldn’t reveal you two were related, we did want you two to establish at least a friendship.”

“I still cannot get pass the fact that you all lie to us; especially me! I thought you were the one person who would tell me the truth¸ especially with all the crap Dad put both of us through.”

As I was talking, the tears I tried so hard to fight were beginning to flow uncontrollably. My mom watched as I went over to the sofa and sat down. She went over to me and put her arms around me. At that point, I didn’t care if my mom lied to me about my paternity; I just needed her there with me.

After a few minutes of crying into my mother’s shoulder, I pulled apart from her and gave her a stern look.

“I don’t know what to do now. I don’t even know where to start.”

“Son, just listen to your heart. Now that you know what happened, it’s up to you to decide what steps to take now.”

I wipe my tear-stain face with the bottom of my shirt as I got up and went over to the window. I don’t know whether to start a relationship with my real mother, or just let things go. It has been 31 years, so why start now?

“I think I know what I need to do.”

34.

Melanie

 Today at the boutique was hectic as usual. With the money I’m generating from sales, I could possibly hire more staff so I could focus on other matters at hand. As I was finish with my last customer, I let my staff know I was going to my office. Once I arrived inside, I closed my door and went straight to my desk. I went online and through my email and noticed an alert from The Baker Express.  It had several stories, including the one regarding Camille having sex at the Halloween Bash last night. I already knew the unidentified male was which only made the story even funnier. I would not want to be in their predicament, especially since Camille is now the laughingstock of Baker.

Too bad I missed it. I thought as I continued checking my email.

After the incident the other night with Tamara, Derrick and I decided to skip the Halloween Bash and have a quiet night at his place. It was well worth it, considering that was the first time in months that we focused solely on us and not on work or family issues.

My cell phone rang, causing me to slightly jump from the noise. I looked at the name of the person calling and quickly picked up.

“Hey Clint; how are you?”

“I’m great Melanie; how about yourself?”

“I’m doing great. You found anything on the person I told you about?”

“I found quite a bit on Mr. Anderson, but you may want to sit down.”

“I am sitting down. It’s that bad?”

“I wouldn’t say it is, but it sure a lot to digest.”

“Lay it on me.”

“He is definitely cheating on his wife. I saw him a couple of days ago with a female outside of Hill’s Restaurant. They seemed pretty cozy and were making out in the parking lot.”

“I knew it, bastard!  Anything else I need to know?”

“There is one other thing. I did go into his phone records.”

“Clint, I told you not to do that. If anyone finds out about this, the evidence will be thrown out for invasion of privacy!”

“I know, but something about the dude didn’t sit right with me. From the time I’ve been investigating him, he seemed too confident about not getting caught. Anyway, I know this will be strictly off the record, but he been making several calls to someone in Houston as well as in Austin. I traced the numbers, and turns out one of them belong to Demetrius Meyers.”

“The basketball player for the Jaguars; that shouldn’t be too bad, I guess. Chad is a trainer for the team.”

“That’s understandable, but why is he calling him at the wee hours of the morning? I don’t think the two need to discuss trainer business at two in the morning.”

I leaned back in my chair and sighed.

Interesting…

“I also traced another number that was popping up a lot on his bill. Turns out the number belong to Melissa Peterson.”

“Are you serious? Why would he be talking to her?” I said to myself.

“What was that?” Clint asked.

“Sorry, I was just thinking out loud. Melissa is my friend’s ex-fiancé. I don’t know why Chad would be talking to her, unless to plot some sort of revenge against his wife.”

“You told me your friend is now seeing your other friend, which is in fact Peterson’s ex-fiancé?”

“Correct.”

“It’s obvious what’s going on there.”

“I know. Thanks Clint for everything.”

“No problem Melanie. There is one other thing I need to tell you, but it has nothing to do with this case.”

“What is it?”

“It’s about your other friend, Rachel.”

I sat up in my chair with a curious look on my face.

“Okay, tell me.”

“I know I shouldn’t be saying this to you, but the department decided to end the investigation. There’s not enough evidence to prove it was intentional.”

“I was afraid of that.”

“There was something that kind of struck me through. With Rachel’s car, there were several dents on the back bumper. Although we noticed them before, no one even tried to figure out if someone pushed the car into the river. Also, there were several tire marks on Kelly Court. Those marks couldn’t have come from Rachel’s car.”

“Why you say that?”

“The marks were larger, possibly a truck or a SUV.”

“So there were two cars on the road. Why wouldn’t the department want to investigate on whether another car was on the road?”

“I don’t know. It seems as if the department is trying to cover it up. If it was just me investigating, I would go further into it. I really think someone tried to kill her that night.”

“What you’re saying? Someone should do a private investigation?”

“If you want justice for your friend, you should.”

After a few more minutes of conversation, I ended my call with Clint. Once I pushed the end button on my iPhone, I had to think back to what Clint just said. Since Clint is a detective for the Baker Police Department, he knew the ins and outs there. If the department is involved in some dirty tactics, then Clint would be the person to reveal them.

Someone began to knock on my door, which broke me from my thoughts.

“Come in.”

The door opened and Derrick walked in. I smiled at the welcome sight.

“Hey.” I said as I went up to him and gave him a quick kiss.

“Hey. How’s everything going?”

“Good, for the most part. I just talked to Clint.”

“How’s he doing?”

“Good. He gave me some good information regarding Chad, even though we can’t really use it.”

“He found evidence the dirty way, huh?”

“Yeah; if we can find some legitimate evidence against that jerk, then Camille can use it in court. But there was something else he mentioned, but it was about Rachel.”

“What was it?” Derrick asked as he said in the chair in front of my desk.

“He mentioned that the department decided to drop the investigation.”

“What! Why would they do that?”

“Not enough evidence, but Clint knows that there’s something going on inside the department. There was plenty of evidence to continue with the case.”

“You don’t think the department is covering up for someone, do you?”

“Either that or they don’t want to go through the effort of looking for another vehicle. Either way, the department is doing dirty tactics to push this case under the rug.”

“I have a feeling you’re up to something Ms. Bradshaw.”

“Why would you think that?”

“That look you have. Have to admit, it’s a complete turn on.”

“Before you get all horny and bothered, let me tell you my plan.”

“I’m all ears.”

“Clint mentioned that maybe someone should do a little investigating on their own.”

“Don’t tell me you’re thinking about doing this. Melanie, you know how much trouble you could get into.”

“Please Derrick, I’m an FBI agent! I think I’m capable of digging up a little dirt on my own.”

“I know you’re capable of doing it, but what if this ‘accident’ is much more?  You could be dealing with something much bigger.”

“I know that, but Rachel was my friend. I just want justice for her, her family and for her friends.”

Derrick went up to me and put his arms around me.

“I know you do, as long as you let me help you.”

I smiled and gave him a kiss.

“I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

35.

Gerald

After talking to my mom, I realized I have to stop shutting everyone out. With the news I received, I needed to be around the people that cared about me the most, and that was my friends.

As I pulled up to Tamara’s condo, I took a huge breath before shutting off the engine. As soon as I went up to the door, the front door opened and Tamara ran up to me. She pulled me to her and gave me a huge hug.

“I was worried sick over you.”

“I know and I’m sorry baby.”

“I tried calling you and I even went by your house…”

“I know. I needed some time to think.”

As we pulled apart, Tamara gave a slap across my chest.

“Damn, girl!”

“Don’t ever scare me like that again!”

I put a hand to my chest and smiled.

“I won’t.”

“Okay, since that is settled, let’s go inside.” Tamara said. She took my hand as we went into her condo.

“Were you able to think about some things with the time you had alone?”

“I think I did.  I talked to my mom.”

Tamara put her hand on my shoulder as I tried to hold back tears again. I think just yesterday and today alone was the most I have ever cried in my entire life.

“Do you want to talk about it?”

“Yeah, sure; she told me why the truth never came out, how it was for the best for her and my dad to raise me. She also mentioned how everyone wanted Camille and I to be close, but not in the sibling way. Right now, I feel as confused as I was yesterday. It’s like I’m still taking in that my mom is not really my mom, and the person I thought was just my friend’s mom is actually my mom. I don’t know how to process the fact that I do not know her or whether I want to know her.”

“Gerald, can I say something without sounding too harsh?”

“Sure.”

“What your mom did was inexcusable, but I see her intentions. She wanted something that she couldn’t have, and when the opportunity came, she took it. As for your biological mom, if she really wanted to take part in your life, she would have. It doesn’t matter if she had an affair or not, having a child is a precious gift, and it shouldn’t have stopped her from being a mother to you. Instead, she just passed you off because it wasn’t in her plan.

“Now I can’t decide for you if trying to establish a relationship is ideal, but just listen to your heart; it’ll guide you to the right decision.”

I smiled at my beautiful girlfriend. Just hearing her words gave me a new bit of confidence to the hardest decision I ever had to make.

“At least I made you smile.” She said.

“You did, because you said what I was thinking. And people say I’m always giving good advice.”

“I guess you taught me a thing or two.”

I touched Tamara’s cheek as I leaned over and kiss her. We began to get into a passionate kiss when Tamara pulled away from me.

“What’s wrong?”

“Before we start something we can’t finish, what did you decide?”

“I don’t want to think one day that the decisions I’ve made was a mistake, so I know whatever choice I make will be the right one.”

Tamara smiled and kissed me again.

“Right now, all I want to do is spend time with my beautiful girlfriend.”

“What do you have in mind?”

“You’ll see.” I said as I pulled Tamara up from the sofa.

We began to kiss as we head to her bedroom.

***

After an hour of extreme lovemaking, I figure it was time to head out to see Claire. I asked Tamara to come with me for moral support. While driving down Crowell Freeway, I began to get nervous, mainly because I didn’t know what I’ll say to Claire when I see her.

Tamara noticed how nervous I was. She took my hand and kissed it.

“It’ll be okay. When you see her, just say what you feel.”

I squeezed her hand as we slowly approached Camille’s childhood home. I really hope Claire was home alone, because I didn’t need an audience seeing any type of interaction between us.

When we walked to the door, I was hesitant to ring the doorbell. Tamara put a hand on my back as she pressed the buzzer for me. We waited patiently for someone to answer the door. After a couple of seconds, I began to get impatient.

“I don’t think anyone is here.”

I started to walk away when someone answered the door. Camille’s dad was standing on the other end looking at Tamara and me as if we were disturbing him from something.

“Hello, Mr. Thomas.”

“Hi Gerald, Tamara.”

“Sorry, did I come at a bad time?”

“If you’re looking for my wife, she’s not feeling well at the moment.”

“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. I just wanted to come by and maybe talk to her for a bit, but I can come back. “

“David, please don’t send Gerald away.” Claire said as she came up to the door.

Tamara and I both did a double take at Claire. She was completely unrecognizable to us as her body looked frail and her skin was pale.  I didn’t know what to think as I looked from her to her husband in dismay.

“You’re sure. I can come back. “

“It’s okay, Gerald. Please, come in.”

Tamara and I looked at each other before she walked into the house before me. As we went inside, we went into the living room and sat down on the loveseat. Claire came over to us and sat down in front of us in the armchair, while David sat on the arm of the chair.

“I’m so glad you came by. To be honest, I didn’t think you would after yesterday.”

“To be honest, I wasn’t going to.” I said.

Claire nodded her head and looked at her husband.

“I deserved that. Gerald, I know this may seem awkward, but I just want you to know that I never meant to hurt you. At the time, I really wanted what was best for you. I wanted you to grow up in a home that was full of love and not full of hate. I wanted you to have parents that would not look at you as resentment because of the mistakes that were made to bring you here.”

“You gave me up to satisfy your husband? Is that what you’re telling me?”

“Gerald, when my wife told me about the affair, I was livid, but I never would have took any type of resentment out on you. You were innocent in the entire situation. We thought that with everything that have happened that maybe it was best for everyone if your father and your mother raised you.” David said.

“Why do that when you all knew that I would eventually become friends with your daughter? I mean Baker is a close knit community.”

“We knew that at the time, but we didn’t think the truth would come out.”

“Well, it did.”

“Gerald, for what it’s worth, I was sick everyday seeing you come here and I wasn’t able to acknowledge that you was my son. It hurt me so much to be so close to you, yet I was not able to be the person I needed to be for you.”

I stood up from the sofa and looked at Claire.

“I just wanted to come here to say that I forgive you and my parents for what happened, but I will not forget. I can’t forget that you, who supposedly been my mother, just handed me off to someone to make your husband happy. Even though the woman I thought was my mom was also part of this scheme, she was the woman who raised me. I can’t get pass the fact that she been there for me when you wasn’t.”

“Please Gerald, just hear me out…”

“I really don’t want to! I said what I had to say, so I think I need to leave.” I said I as went to the door. Tamara looked at Camille’s parents and mouthed “I’m sorry” before heading to the door.

Once we both was outside, the tears I held back inside was streaming through. Tamara went up to me and put her arms around me. As I cried onto Tamara’s shoulder, I realized this was the last time I was going to shed any more tears over the woman on the other side of the door nor for the entire situation.

36.

Trevor

After my altercation with Melissa, I decided to meet my dad for lunch. With the way my life was going right now, I needed my dad’s guidance to help me figure out what to do next.

As soon as I went up to the restaurant, I immediately noticed him sitting at the patio talking to a waitress.

“Hey, Dad.” I said as I went up to him for a hug.

“Hi, son; how are things?”
“Can’t complain; how is everything at the townhouse?”

“Great.  I met a couple of more new people around the community.”

“One of them is not a woman, is it?” I said while smiling.

“Would you be upset if it was?”

“Not at all; I know you’ll always love Mom, but I also know you should be happy.”

“Thanks, son. I’ve met a couple of women, but nothing serious. So tell me, what brings the pleasure of having lunch with my son?”

“Can’t we have lunch without something going on?”

“We can, but I know you Trevor. Tell me what’s wrong.”

“I don’t know where to begin. Before coming here, I talked to Melissa about something she done to Camille and me.”

“You mean the sex show? It was in the paper.”

“At first, I wanted to think that maybe she didn’t have anything to do with it, especially since she supposed to have went back to Dallas, but when she admitted it, I had to wonder who was this woman I was going to marry?”

“Didn’t you say before that she wasn’t to be trusted?”

“I did, but she wasn’t always like that. I saw a side to her that was truly genuine.”

“Do you think she would cause physical harm to you or Camille?”

“I don’t think so, but she could be capable of anything.”

“Is everything between you and Camille good?”

“Yeah; in fact, they’re great.”

“I’m so happy for you two. You know your mom was the one who said that you two were meant to be.”

“Just like Camille’s mom.”

“Great women think alike. From the time I seen you with countless women, Camille was the one who kept you on your toes.”

“She still does. With Camille, I can be myself around her. No matter what I’ve done, she always believed in me. She makes me happy.”

“That’s great, son.”

“Once Camille gets a divorce from Chad, I want to make things official between us. I want her to be my wife.”

“Wow. I must say that Camille will make the perfect wife for you.”

“Yeah, she will.”

 

***

Camille

With the stressful day I’m having, all I wanted to do was crawl into my bed and hide. Once I was comfortably positioned in my room, Melanie stopped by, dragging me out of bed to take me to lunch. Now, we were seated at Lucas, a prominent restaurant in Baker known for its excellent steaks and ribs. While Melanie looked through the menu, I already knew what I wanted, so I set the menu on the table.

“You know we could have done take out.”

“Camille, you have to face the public eventually. Trust me, this will blow over.”

I sighed as I look at the table near us. They gave me a look and started to snicker.

“Go to hell.” I said as got up from my seat. Melanie pushed me back down and gave me a harsh stare.

“This is not the Camille Thomas I known since high school. You would not only tell those people off, but you would make fun of it and continue on with your day. What is going on with you?”

“I don’t know; my entire career is on the line and I’m now considered the whore of Baker.”

“Please Camille. I’m pretty sure people in this town have done worse. Don’t let any of these people get to you.”

“It just that people know I’m getting a divorce and now my private life is on display. I know I shouldn’t have done what I did, but I was…”

“Living in the moment, I get it. We’ve all done some scandalous things in our life. Just chalk it up as something you won’t do again and move on.”

I sighed as I swirled my straw around my iced tea. As I look towards the door, I noticed a woman coming in with her child. The child looked no more than eight years old.

The same age our child would have been. I thought as I look at the woman go over to a table full of people. The child went over to one of the patrons and gave her a hug.

Melanie looked over to me and then to the scene in front of us.

“Is everything okay?”

I looked over at Melanie and smiled.

“Everything is fine; just thinking.”

“Okay. Well there was another reason why I brought you out for lunch. It’s about Chad.”

“You found something on him?”

“Well, my friend done some digging and turned out that he’s been seen out with another woman the past couple of days. Now, I don’t know if he’s been seeing the woman for a while, but for what my friend said, it looked serious.”

“Figures. Anything else.”

“Well, he did find out some other things, but they’re strictly off the record. Anything I tell you, you can’t use in court.”

“Why not?”

“Mainly because you don’t have the evidence to back it up; once you can find it, then it’s a possibility to use it.”

“Okay; so spill it.”

“My friend went through Chad’s phone records and noticed a number that were called multiple times. Turns out the number belong to Demetrius Meyers.”

“Why is that big news? Demetrius plays for the Jaguars. I’m pretty sure the two are friends.”

“Well, it’s the times of the calls that are a concern. The calls were made during early morning hours. Do you know when the times he called Demetrius, how were their conversations?”

“I guess they were normal. He barely took calls around me.”

“Well that explains a lot. Another number that kept popping up was Melissa’s.”

“Melissa! What the hell.”

“Do you think they were having an affair?”

“I don’t know, but with those two, anything is possible.”

Just as I uttered those last words, Melissa came into the restaurant. I look at her as she headed straight over to my table.  She goes over to me and slapped me hard across the face.

“What the…” I said as jump up from my chair and hit her across her face.

The two of us fell on the floor as we begin to scuffle on the restaurant’s hardwood.

“What are you two doing?!” Melanie exclaimed as she pull me off of Melissa, while a bystander got Melissa.

“What the hell is your problem?!” I yelled as I lunged at Melissa.

“You bitch! You ruined my life!”

“Are you crazy?! You messed up your own life with the stuff you pulled! Especially with the one you mastered last night!”

“Oh please, you deserved that!  If it wasn’t for you, I would be married to Trevor and we would be out of this town. But no, you had to show your presence and he’s all on you.”

“I didn’t have to do anything. Trevor’s heart was always with me. That’s something you’re just not getting.”

“You think you’re so slick with your actions. I knew your type from a mile away. You couldn’t stand to see him happy, so you had to ruin it. But I know about your dirty little secret, you whore! You won’t have Trevor for long, because once he knows what you’re done, he’ll come running back to me.”

“Sure Melissa, believe that when you’re back in Dallas ruining someone’s life.”

As the manager came out to the front of the restaurant with security, we knew it was time to leave. As I gathered up my belongings, I gave Melissa another slap as I went towards the door.

As soon as I went outside, I let out a piercing scream. Several people nearby gave me weird looks.

“What the hell was that in there? You know she was going to push your buttons.” Melanie said.

“I know, and I hate that I went off, but she deserved it.”

“What did she mean about a secret you have? Cam, what’ going on?”

“Why would you consider anything she says? She’s evil.”

“Fine, but based on what I just witnessed, what just happened was all staged and you just fell right into it.”

I looked at Melanie and sighed.

***

Melissa

 

Beautiful plan, I must admit. I thought as I went to my room at the bed and breakfast. Although Trevor told me to leave Baker, I wasn’t going to quickly leave. I know the rumor Trevor had on me was just that- a rumor. He can’t prove it, so it was no point in discussing it with the board.

I didn’t expect to see Camille at Lucas, but the plan I had was just as sweet. I figured making a public scene would clearly make Camille look as pathetic as she always was. To be honest, I didn’t care about getting Trevor back, I just wanted Camille to suffer because let’s face it, she’s a whore for going after someone while still married.

I began to pack a couple of shirts into my suitcase when loud pounding started to escalate outside my door.

No one knows I’m here- except Trevor. I thought as I went to the door. I went up to the door and opened it to reveal the one person I wasn’t expecting.

“What are you doing here?”

“You’re not happy to see me? I’m shock.”

“What do you want? I’m trying to pack.”

“I see you caused quite a stir here. You figure you can leave once the damage is done.”

“What damage? I done everything that I was told for me to do.  What else do you want from me?”

“I don’t know, let’s see. You supposed to have prevented Trevor and Camille from ever getting together, but you failed on all levels.”

“Listen, I came to do a job, and unfortunately it didn’t work. Those two were going to get together whether I prevented it or not. They clearly love each other.”

“Well, I guess your service is no longer needed then.” The person said while walking closer to me.

“Are you nuts? Get away from me!”

“Why should you be alive when you couldn’t do one thing for me?! You simply couldn’t destroy the two people that I hate the most!”

“Get the hell out of here before I call the police.”

Before I could do anything, the person went up to me and began choking me. As I tried to gasp for air, the person wrapped their hands even tighter around my throat.

“No one will miss you.” The person said as I began to lose consciousness. I fell to the floor, hitting my head on the wooden table in the process.

And there I was, Melissa Peterson, laying on the ground, left for dead.

 

39.

Camille

After once again being humiliated at Lucas, I drove to Trevor’s house in need of a hug. I couldn’t believe the day I was having. With Melissa’s confrontation, it officially put a wedge in any type of plans of redemption among anyone in this town.

When I went to the door, I rang the doorbell several times, wondering if Trevor was at home.

“I guess I should have called.” I said.

I was about to go back to my car, when Trevor opened the door.

“Hey.”

“Hi. Are you busy?”

“Not really.”

I looked at Trevor, wondering why he was acting so weird. He had a blank expression on his face, as if he didn’t want to talk to me.

“Are you okay?”

“Yeah, I’m fine. Come in.”

I stared at Trevor as I walked inside the house. Once he closed the door, he goes up to me and gave me a kiss. When he kissed me, it wasn’t like the sweet, passionate kisses he usually will give. Instead, it was rough and forced.

I pulled away from him, expecting some sort of expression.

“Okay, what is really going on? You’re acting weird.”

“I just have a lot on my mind, that’s all.”

“Something did happen with Melissa earlier.  I saw her at Lucas earlier and we got into a fight inside the restaurant. Clothes were flying everywhere.”

“Really, that’s nice.” Trevor said as he went over to the couch and sat down.

“Okay, I was trying to get your attention on the last part, but we did get into a fight. She’s purely a woman scorned. She truly blames me for everything…”

I stopped in my tracks when I noticed an empty bottle of scotch sitting on the coffee table. I looked over at Trevor who was opening a bottle of beer and started to drink it.

“Talk to me, baby. You’re scaring me.”

“When I came home from lunch with my dad, I decided to stop at the mailbox. You know me; I don’t go to the mailbox unless its full and no other mail can go in. So I went and checked it, and I received a letter that was for me, but it did not have a return address. I found it kind of strange, but I went ahead and opened it anyway. When I did, there was a letter telling me about something that happened eight years ago.”

“Okay, what happened?”

“I think you know what happened Camille. Does our one night stand ring a bell?”

I stared at Trevor as I saw down beside him. Why would he bring up homecoming right now?

“What does the letter say Trevor?”

“Why don’t you explain what happened eight years ago, that way I’ll know if we’ll on the right track.”

“The only thing that happened was us having sex. What else could you possibly be talking about?”

“Camille, you know I never lied to you about anything. I never kept any secrets from you. Now, I need you to do the same for me. I need to know if we conceived a child after the night we slept together?”

Suddenly, all the color began to disappear from my face. I got up from the sofa and went to the window.

“Why would you believe anything that some random person sends you? Why would you even think about that?”

“I don’t know. From the look that is on your face, that says it all. So, it’s true, then.”

I stared in disbelief at Trevor while he took out a piece of paper and began to read it.

“Dear Trevor, you may not know me, but I definitely know you and your friends.  There are certain things that friends may keep in the dark, but the one thing that remains should come into the light. I feel you should have the right to know about a certain secret that has been hidden from your best friend that has happened eight years ago. The secret may shock you, but it is better to know it now then never know at all…”

“Stop reading the letter, Trevor.”

“Why, it’s just getting good.”

“Stop, Trevor!”

“You need to know that your best friend been lying to you for years to cover her own ass. If she truly loved you as she claimed, she would have never deceived you….”

“Please stop.”

“Or what, Camille? You couldn’t tell me the truth about you being pregnant? I had to learn about this from an anonymous letter!”

“I can explain Trevor. At the time, I didn’t know how to tell you. I know it was yours since Chad and I always used protection.”

“Why couldn’t you tell me? You tell me everything else!”

“I know, but how could I possibly tell you I was pregnant?  We were in relationships with other people; we had one year left of college. We were about to embark on our careers! I couldn’t just up and say I’m pregnant.”

“You could have told me. What happened to our child?”

Tears started to stream down my cheeks as I looked away from him.

“What happened to our child, Camille?!”

“I can’t tell you, Trevor.”

“Why not, it’s my child, too. Or should I say, it was my child.” He said.

He pulled out two photos from an envelope nearby and threw them on the coffee table. I looked at the pictures and noticed me walking out of a clinic with Rachel behind me.

“Did you have an abortion?” Trevor asked through tears.

“Trevor, I…”

“Just answer me Camille! Did you have an abortion?”

“Yes! Yes, I did.”

“Damn it!” Trevor said as he threw the empty scotch bottle against the wall. The bottle scattered into tiny pieces before landing on the hardwood floor.

A sob escaped my mouth as I put my hands over my mouth. Trevor came up to me as he put his hands around my shoulders and began shaking me.

“Trevor, stop!”

Instead of stopping, Trevor continued, causing me to become dizzy. I pushed away from Trevor and walked away.

“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you, but I know you. I know you wouldn’t want children, especially while we were still in college, scraping for money every day.”

“Well, I guess I will never know, huh! You didn’t even give me a chance to find out if I wanted a child. You couldn’t trust me to make that decision with you. Instead, you took the initiative to do it on your own. To make matters worse, you included Rachel in it!”

“No one was supposed to know. She found out after seeing me puke every morning before class! She put it together and suggested I go to the clinic for an abortion.”

“So you listened to Rachel, but you couldn’t tell me! I’m your best friend! We conceived a child that night; you supposed to have come to me and talked to me about our child!”

“I’m sorry Trevor. If I can take back not telling you, I would; but I don’t regret having an abortion.”

Trevor gave me a bewildered expression as he went to the door and opened it.

“I don’t know who you are right now.”

“I’m the person I’ve always been.”

“No you’re not. The Camille I know wouldn’t be so heartless. Just go.” He said.

I go up to the door and looked at Trevor with teary eyes. I walked over the threshold and out into the clear blue sky.  Before I could turn around, Trevor slammed the door in my face, making me feel even worse.

I slid down on the step and fell to the ground in tears. In just one day, my whole world came crumbling down. As of now, I don’t know how much more I could

40.

Trevor

After my disastrous afternoon with Camille, all I could do was sit on my sofa and cry. I couldn’t believe the one person I thought that would never lie to me, actually did and got away with it for eight years. The one person that I gave my heart to, basically crushed it in a matter of seconds. Now, I realized why I never wanted to start a relationship with Camille. The feeling that I have right now is a feeling that I never wanted to experience, and that was sadness.

Once I regained my composure, I decided I had to leave my house and get drunk. Not that I needed to do that, but I had to do something to ease the pain.

I went to the nearest pub, which was Russell’s, and went straight to the bar. As I was about to order a drink, Gerald came in and sat beside me.

“Hey. I got your message.” He said as he tried to get the bartender’s attention.

“Glad to see you’re alive and well.”

“Well, I had to see the world again. You don’t sound too good. What’s up?”

“Everything. What about you? How are you holding up?”

“I’m fine. I decided to make peace with my parents and move on with my life.”

“I wish I can say the same for me.”

“Seriously, what’s going on? You sound like you already been drinking, so you don’t need anymore.” Gerald said as he took the drink intended from me away from the bartender.

“I just found out something about Camille that she kept from me since college.”

“Okay, what is it?”

“We had a child, Gerald.”

“Wait, what? You two slept together in college?”

“Yeah, we had a one night stand and I just found out Camille was pregnant. Turns out she had an abortion.”

“Wow, I’m sorry Tre.”

“The worse part of all this is that she doesn’t regret doing it. I mean, I don’t know what more to say about it.”

“Right now, just focus on you. Give some time on the relationship.”

“I don’t think I can Gerald. I don’t think I can get pass what Camille has done.” I said.

I turned towards the door and noticed two police officers walking into the pub. They headed straight over to Gerald and me with serious looks on their face.

“Trevor Williams?” One of the officers asked.

“Yes, Officer. Is something wrong?”

“You need to come with us to the police station. We have some questions in regards to Melissa Peterson. She was found strangled to death in her hotel room this afternoon and several witnesses admitted that you were the last to have seen her.”

“What? I saw her today, but I wasn’t the only person who did.”

“Explain it at the station. Let’s go.” The officer said as he waited for me to get out off of the stool.

As I was being hauled out of Russell’s, Gerald yelled that he will call a friend of ours, who was also a lawyer.  I could tell people were staring at me, but I didn’t care. But the one person I did care about was Camille. The woman who I love was standing outside looking at me with sad eyes. As I was getting into the police car, I stared at her, wondering what happened between us.

After the past few days all of us have experienced, I know one thing for sure; everything that we thought we known about each other will be forever tested. And the one person who made it all possible was no longer here to change that.

 

***

As the day was winding down, all Danielle Harris could do was reside in the breathtaking view in front of her. From the beautiful flowers placed throughout the door, to the clear blue ocean by the resort, she had to breathe it all in, because soon it will be a distant memory. She looked over at Colton who put an arm around her.

“So, has anyone notice what you’ve been up to?”

“Of course not. No one suspects a thing.”

“Good, keep it that way. Just continue to do your job so I can finish mines.”

“I don’t get it; what do you have against these people? From what I’ve notice, everyone seems pretty nice.”

“I don’t need you to question my motives. I have good reason for what I’m doing.”

Danielle shrugged as she went to the bed and lay down.

A loud noise started to vibrate through the walls.

“What is she doing?” Colton asked as he walked away. He went over to an adjoining room and opened the door. He walked over to the living area and then to bedroom door.

“Coming in; hopefully you won’t have an attitude like last time.”

He opened the door and inside was Rachel tied up to a chair.

“Leave me alone, you bastard!”

Colton smiled as he goes up to her.

“You really need to have better phrases than that, honey.” He said while put a scarf around her.

“This to keep you quiet. Although no one is around to hear you scream. You’re on a secluded island; no one is here but us.”

Rachel tried to wiggle out of the tied ropes as Colton began to laugh.

“Good luck with that sweetheart. I’ll check on you later.” He said as he closed the door.

Rachel kept wiggling when she looked at the window and the sun setting. Tears started to form and continued to look at the sky.

 

I have to get out of here. Not just for my sake, but for everyone I love….

 

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