He wrapped his arms tightly around her waist and brought her even closer than she’d imagined he would. Was he no longer mad? She wondered. Had he finally accepted that she was the mother of his child? His lips lightly caressed her neck. Falling into him even more, she sighed softly then inhaled and closed her eyes.
“I wanted so badly to be there with you when you had our son”, Kevin whispered in her ear, his voice like smooth silk. His breath, hot and arousing, brushed her ear then his mouth and tongue moved down her throat.
“Don’t worry about it, baby,” Naomi whispered, now intoxicated by his heated touch. “That was six years ago, you are here now. It’s all behind us. We can move on from here.” She broke the grasp he had on her waist and pulled him towards the bed. It seemed the more she pulled him towards the bed the further away her appeared to be. Her head spun and the room got smaller. His warm, chiseled body was now a blurry dark form in the doorway, threatening to move away even further. “Wait, baby, where are you going?” she asked. “Come back! What about me? What about our son? You can’t leave us! You can’t leave me again!” she yelled, terrified that this time he would not be coming back…
Naomi Saunders lazily turned over in her bed to meet the morning sun that shown through her horizontal blinds. Shaking her head, remembering remnants of her recurring dream, the abandoned wound resurfaced, as it always had before. But now, not abandoned, she would always have a piece of him. She had a six year old son to prove it. She glanced at her clock and had yet again overslept.
If she was to get a legitimate job and quit The Ladies Club, the late night on call hours would have to stop. The fact that she was paid an outrageous amount of money to cater to men’s needs and was highly requested didn’t help matters at all. Now partly taking on clients and responsibilities along with Lady Dane, Naomi had accumulated a nest egg of money and was well off. Why quit a job like this and get a normal hum drum job when you could have it all? Truth was she loved the game and using her body to get what she wanted just as much as the men loved using it. Most of the time, all that was required was her company, but on occasion, she was asked to do more, but always had a workaround besides the actual sexual act. That is where her negotiating skills and tact came into play. That is also why Lady Dane had approached her, seeing she had the “gift” of persuasion, and offered a partnership in her seedy business as a Co-Madame. Naomi had no intention of quitting. Not while she was on top of her game.
Turning to look over her shoulder, Jace Lane, her now high profile, attorney sometimes boyfriend, slept peacefully. Jace, at one point, had wanted more from the relationship, but settled for just what he was initially there for in the first place…sex. After all that she’d done, all that they had been through and all the harm she’d caused to others, intentional or not, he still had a soft spot for her. Any sane man, lawyer or not, for that matter would have left her high and dry. Jace saw through her pain, misfortune and her tough exterior and found a scared and vulnerable woman the just really wanted to be loved. Most of all he wanted to be with his son. Not one hundred percent sure that the child was his, he clung to the hope that he was and asked Naomi on many occasions to have him tested. Since she never went for child support and didn’t need his money, she never opted to have him tested for anything.
He’d hoped that after she had the baby, she’d change her mind about her shady career and want to settle down with him. Apparently, that was not her decision. Not that his opinion weighed heavily on her or her actions, she’d agreed to slow her nocturnal activities, promising that her outings were purely entertainment and not sexual at all. Jace didn’t like the fact that she was still “one of the girls” because he’d wanted her to stop a long time ago. Plus now that she had his child, it was the suitable thing to do.
“Jace, get up,” Naomi tapped his shoulder. “You are going to be late.” Rising from her side of the bed, she yelled this time. “Jace! Jesus, if I speak any louder, I will probably raise the dead!”
Jace turned and smiled at her. “Hey baby, come over here,” he motioned for her to move his way.
“Nope, I have to go and get some money to pay Lucia to take little man to school. I want to see him off today.
Lucia was the live in help that Naomi insisted on having when Kevin J. Saunders was born. Naomi called him KJ for short. Insisting in her mind that the child was actually Kevin Styles’ son, she hesitantly, but finally decided to give him her last name instead at the prodding of her best friend, Shaylynn “Dreams” Webster’s suggestion. “You aren’t even sure that it is his baby…are you?” Shaylynn had asked.
Naomi remembered thinking hard about the timing. Knowing that she was with both Jace and Kevin in the same time period made it impossible for her to distinguish who the real father was. Willing little KJ to be Kevin’s was her decisive outcome. He was Kevin’s and that was that.
Smoke circled his head as he inhaled one last draw from a half smoked cigarette. Kevin Styles sat in his small office. It was a huge difference from the spacious office space that he’d had six years ago. Of course, his situation had changed drastically from bad to worse; as if there was no alternative.
He was cramped in his tiny office space, but thankful he had finally landed a halfway decent job after his fall from grace with WMMT, as the famed meteorologist. The drab, dark brown walls had a way of draining his spirit, pulling him further and further away from any light that managed to shine in from his tiny office window. Finding a decent job was a daunting task, as Kevin moved from place to place, trying to make his ends meet. Wanting to stay in his field of profession, he’d applied at practically every radio and television station, only to find that he’d been black-listed from them all. A small, third rate cable station was his last interview that he’d gone on as a last ditch effort to land a job before he resorted to a career of unfavorable consequences. Although he considered himself an upstanding citizen, he was from Chicago’s Southside and had connections to things that he’d turned away from many years ago and preferred to not look back.
His face, sunk in, as a result of his long hours that he’d put in at the station. His eyes had developed dark circles, which were signs of weariness, and his attitude was just as bleak to match. Although he tried to remain upbeat and face the fact that he’d brought on all his misery upon himself, he was still upset at how his life was ruined…all by one woman. In turn, he’d lost the one woman and child he loved at the same time. As if it was just yesterday, her replayedg the horrific wedding day in his mind, Kevin’s stomach lurched at the thought of seeing his image on the huge screen before everyone there. There was nothing he would have loved more than to strangle the life from Naomi’s vindictive body. If he could have just gotten a hold of her that was precisely what he would have done. She’d put the last nail in his coffin and sealed it shut.
If only he’d not went to that stupid bachelor party that Giovanni, his partner and best friend, set up for him…none of this would have happened. He placed his hands over his face and wiped it as if he was wiping away a film of residue that was resistant to his cleansing efforts.
“Kevin, are you in here man?” Gio asked as he stuck his head through the door. “Man open the window up in here…you are smoking way too much in this cramped office.”
Kevin raised his head to meet his buddy. “Why, what’s up?”
“You. That’s what’s up. I’m taking you out tonight, man. You have been killing yourself with these long hours. You need a good break.”
“I remember a time I took your advice and followed your lead, it was a disaster. That’s how I got here in the first place.” Kevin waved his hands in the air.
“Never mind all of that, man. I am sorry that it happened. I have told you that before. It’s time to get on with your life.” Gio had repeated that same mantra to him just a few days ago, and a few days before. “You are doing nothing but wasting away.” Gio did want to remind him that he was not the full blame and had no control over his friends’ sexual activity. He kept his thoughts to himself, knowing that if he voiced his true opinion, it would send Kevin into a further slump. Although he did make it very easy and set the atmosphere and mood, he was not there to hold his hand.
“I know. I know I should be appreciative that I have one last shot to kind of clear my dark blemished past...and don’t get me wrong, I am finally happy to land a semi decent job. But-“
“Ok, then it’s settled. Let’s go.” Gio headed for the door, looked back to make sure that Kevin was following and walked to his waiting car. “Leave your car here, we can take mine.”
“Where are we going?”
“Just sit back and relax, man. I got this and I know you will enjoy it,” was all the Gio said.
Driving alongside Lake Michigan on Lake Shore Drive proved to be a bit beneficial to Kevin. Actually forgetting how beautiful the sunset was, he gazed out of the passenger side window and took in the moment. The surreal feeling seemed foreign to his senses. Not remembering the last time he took just a moment to actually feel anything other than despair, hatred, and loneliness, he decided to soak it in; if only for that moment. Feeling his body relaxing a bit, he’d begun to enjoy and reminisce a little. A very pregnant Savannah was the first thing that crossed his mind. Pain quickly squeezed his heart at the thought of her. Quickly pushing her aside, his eyes snapped open as he bolted further upright in the seat. “Why does it look like we are heading to the Drake?” he asked.
“Because that is where we’re going. Luther and I are celebrating the success of The Blue Horizon’s anniversary. Actually, man, it’s our seventh year in business! Can you believe that?” Gio slid into a reserved parking place, removed the keys and turned to his friend of at least fifteen years. “We have a nice change of clothes upstairs for you. You know you are still a part of this family. It wouldn’t be the same without you. Besides we have been celebrating without you for the longest. It’s time you rejoin the living and get your groove back.” Gio flashed his always bright smile and got out of the car.
Kevin sat for a moment to clear his head of Savannah’s image. Okay, so now, not only is he being haunted by her image, and the whole wedding fiasco, but Gio brought him back to the very place where he met her! “Gio, it’s a nice gesture, but I really don’t want to go in there. I am not feeling the whole mingling, getting to know you scene anymore.”
“I know. And that is exactly why you are going in.” He walked around to the passenger side and opened his door. “Let’s go…and I’m not taking no for an answer.” He adamantly stood there, daring Kevin to refuse again.
Kevin didn’t move.
“C’mon, man.” He had to break it down. “I know how you feel. You really need to get back out here. I can’t have my partner wither away on me this way. Kev, you look bad, man. A broken heart can mend…in time and I think that you have mourned long enough. Jesus! It’s been six years! Snap out of it, man!”
Knowing he was right, Kevin slowly slumbered from the seat.