When I woke up, I could not see or speak. I squirmed around in fear, discovering that I was also tied to a chair. I screamed for help, but they were smothered.
“Well, it seems like Mrs. Smart mouth is awake.” I heard Red voice. I was crying uncontrollably as I felt her touch me with her stiletto tipped nails.
“Shhh, shhh, don’t you cry. Red is going to sing you a lullaby.” Red began to mock, laughing at her twisted self. As I continued to scream out until I felt her slap me across the face. It stung like a cold winter day. My screams turned into whimpers as I was afraid she was going to hit me again.
“You mean to tell me you’re not so tough now huh? Wait? What was that? I can’t hear you.” Red laughed. She took the blind fold of my eyes and I squinted as my eyes tried to adjust to the lighting. I looked around and saw that I was in a room with no windows, just a door and the chair that I was tied to. I looked at Red with pure hate as she looked at me with a smile.
I don’t know what kind of sick mind she had, but it was apparent she had no heart. She got closer to me and I shut my eyes tight. I did not want to see what she was going to do next.
“I’m going to take off the tape now. If you scream one time, you’ll be sorry.” She whispered in my ear and snatched the duct tape off. I let out a little whimper rotating my face around trying to get rid of the pain.
“What do you want from me?” I managed to say.
She laughed, “I don’t want anything from you, its Ray who owes me. You’re just a pawn.”
“Owe, you for what?”
“Many things, none I wish to share but one.” She gave a little smirk and stood in front of me. She reached into her pocket causing me to flinch, I didn’t know what to expect.
“It’s just my phone sweetie, relax.” Red chuckled again. Red pressed in a few buttons and turned the screen to me. I was in shocked. On the screen it was Ray and Red having sex. Ray handled her body just as he handled mine. He ran his hands through her hair and down the small of her back. He made love to her as if she were me. It was too painful to watch. I closed my eyes.
“Open, your eye bitch and watch how good your man, fuck me.” I refused and she slapped me again this time drawing blood. I had no choice other choice, so I watched Red enjoy Ray explore her body. I was furious until something caught my eye. Ray’s left arm was bare. He did not have the tattoo that he have now.
I laughed. Red looked at me confused.
“What the fuck is so funny, bitch?”
“You. You’re pathetic.”
Red slapped me again, but not enough to wipe the smile off my face.
“You see little bitch, the way I fuck your man. He can’t get enough.”
I laughed again, awaiting a slap but, she didn’t. She just stared at me.
“This video is old, bitch.” I spat. And that prompt her to slap me twice. It stung no more than the first time. I believe my face was numb at this point.
“I fucking hate you!” She screamed out to me. “I don’t know what the fuck Ray see in your square ass. I was there from day one. Anything he ever asked I did it. And he go off and marry you!” Red’s emotions were getting involved again. The same tone she had at the warehouse was the same tone she was using. She didn’t look at me, she just paced the floor and finished her rant.
“I thought, I could handle it. I thought I could, but I can’t. It was bad enough he wouldn’t fuck me anymore, after he met you, know he wanted to leave the game, for you. What the fuck do you have that I don’t?’
I was hesitant to answer, but I decided to anyway, “Class.” She looked at me again with the stare of death.
“Look, Red. I don’t know what you had going on with Ray. That’s none of my concern. It’s clear that Ray has moved on. We are happy. Let him go.”
“I made Ray! If it wasn’t for me, there would be no Ray!”
“Did you forget who my father is?” I changed the subject which seemed to strike a nerve in Red. She bowed her head in defeat. She slide down to the floor and cried.
She dialed a number in her phone and put it on speaker.
“Red, where the fuck is Tanya!” Ray’s voice boomed into the phone before the first ring even finished.
“I’m okay baby, I’m here.” I yelled out quickly.
“Shut the fuck up bitch!” Red spat. “I got your bitch Ray. Your lovely fucking trophy wife. I wasn’t good enough Ray?” She cried out to Ray.
Ray was silent, he was probably in shock from what Red had revealed in front of me.
“Answer me Ray before I blow her fucking brains out!” Red yelled.
Ray spoke to me, “Tee, yo I promise its not what it looks like.” He pleaded.
“She saw the video Ray, she knows.”
“Ain’t shit for her to fuckin know Red. We wasn’t shit. We fucked a few times, but that was it. It was all before I even met Tanya and you fucking know it. Let this shit go Red. Business is business.” Ray said.
“Let it go, let it go. Ray I love you. I kept quiet for five fucking years, watching you treat this bitch like a queen when she don’t deserve you.”
“Tanya, can you see where you are?” Ray asked
“No baby, there no windows just a door and a lamp inside. Ray help me please.”
“Ray, help me please,” Red mimicked “Oh shut the fuck up you fuckin brat. All Mr. Michaels use to brag about was his darling princess Tanya. Every fucking encounter he made sure to bring you up. Like I gave a fuck. He did good business so I was forced to listen. Than Ray meet you and that was the icing on the cake. He moved differently when he met you and I knew it was pussy that was clouding his mind.”
“Where the fuck are you Red?” Ray asked one last time. I could hear wind in the phone as if he was already on the road.
“You know where we are. Good-bye Ray.”
“Reeeed!” Ray yelled into the phone before Red disconnected it. She stood up and wiped her tears from her fast. I stared at her in pity. What woman would stoop this low as to kidnapping her ex-lover/business partner’s fiancé? I felt sorry for her
“I’m sorry, Red.” I started.
“Don’t fucking speak.” She spat angrily. She paced the floor with the gun in her hand. “If I know Ray like I think I know him, he will be here in 5…4…3…2…1!”
BLAW! As Ray kicked down the door, a bullet left the chamber of Red’s gun hitting her right in the temple. My eyes barely left the bloody sight as Ray untied me and carried me out of the entrapment.
“Tanya, baby you gotta get up!”
I said nothing,
“Look, Tanya. Its been a week and you haven’t left this house.”
I still didn’t speak. Honestly, I had no words to say. I was empty, scared and furious all at the same time. I’ve never experienced anything like that in my life. Watching a woman take her life, right in front of my eyes. It was horrific. I could not stomach the blood, the brain, or the nerve.
How dare she drag me into her nutcase all over dick that belongs to me. All this time, not knowing she had been envying me from a far. I’m not at all mad at Ray for having relations with her just, angry about the fact that he didn’t feel the need to tell me.
“Why wouldn’t you tell me?” I mumbled. The most I’ve talked since being interrogated by police, nurses and doctors.
“Because it wasn’t important baby.” Is all Ray said. He ran his fingers through my hair, massaging my scalp.
“Ray, I don’t know what to say.”
“Tee, there’s nothing to say. You gave your story to the police. We don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to.
“But, I need to.” I managed to say.
“Yes, you do. Shit like that can’t stay on your mind. You’re carrying our princess, you don’t need that stress. Plus, its almost time for the wedding.”
Ray’s nonchalant attitude did not surprise me. He’s been through a lot in his days. He’s stronger than any man I know, aside from Pops. I was not able to walk away like nothing happened. I tried blaming myself, but Ray didn’t let me. He said whether I went to the dock or not Red would still have found a way to get to me.
“Ray, I just can’t…”
“Can’t is a word that does not belong in a Michael’s vocabulary.” It was Pops. Ray must have called him.
Pops walked over to me and kneeled down in the front of my bed. Tears began to stream down my face as I anticipated this talk Pops was going to have with me.
“To our father in heaven. I know you haven’t heard from me in a while but, I am calling on you now. I pray that you grab hold of my baby girl, Tanya Janae Michaels and shake this feeling that has gotten a hold of her. I pray you help her to see that some things are out of her control. Some things can not be changed and we must accept the fact and move on. Show her that with every step back, there are three steps forward. Let her gain the strength to get out of bed and wash her stankin’ ass. I mean behind. Strength to walk down the aisle two months from now to marry her Prince. Because after all I’m still King.” Pops stopped to clear his throat. “Anyway, I hope this get to you and I hope you get through to her. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.”
“Amen.” Ray said.
“Amen.” I whispered. Pops stood up from his knees to hug me. I felt as if every single worry, hurt, anger, and sadness I was feeling at this moment went away. I don’t know if it was Pops prayer or just a simple hug from my Poppa Bear that did the trick, but it worked. I did not want to go out and party, but I was going to get out of bed and continue life.
Pops begin to speak, “Baby girl. You stank!.” We laughed at his truthful comment. I got out of bed to grab a few things and headed to shower.
“Thanks Pops.” I heard Ray say. I could hear them two slap each other up.
“No problem, my boy. Anything for my baby girl.” Then there was silence.
I looked at myself in the mirror. I was a mess. My hair stood up on top of my head. My eyes were red and puffy from all the crying I was doing. My lips were chapped. I shook my head at myself and I laughed. I turned the shower on as steam filled the room. The warmth felt so good against my skin. As I began to undress I could hear Pops and Ray began to carry on another conversation.
“So what happened Ray. You never really explained. I heard what the news saying, but I wanna hear it from you.” Pops said in a low voice. Ray let out a sigh.
“Pops on the real. I’m bugged out by all this. I mean you know shit happens, but that’s in the streets. This shit was too close to home. I wouldn’t know what to do if something would’ve happened to my wife.”
Pops did not speak. He let Ray continue to vent.
“At the Grand Opening, when Red came to holla at me she as on some other shit. She was saying how Mr. Bianchi wasn’t thrilled about me leaving. Saying she had another job for me and that it would be it, if I took it.”
Ray continued, “ I mean, I ain’t pay it no mind. I’m out the game. I paid my dues. I crossed my T’s and dotted by I’s. Did all I needed too, feel me?”
“True.” Pops agreed.
“So the next day I come home to find a letter in a red envelope.”
“Them lovely red envelops.” Pops stated, sarcastically.
“Right, “ Ray replied. “So boom, I opened the letter and it’s telling me to meet her at the dock. I contemplated on even showing up. My mindset was just like, ‘I aint got no business with them so why am I even getting these envelopes anymore. So I get there. Bianchi and Red is there with they bitch ass bodyguards, thing 1 and thing 2 talking mad hype shit. Saying Red felt disrespected, blah, blah, blah. So I’m trying plead my case and they aint tryna hear it. Red started to mention Tanya, on some jealous, emotional type shit. I had to shut her down right quick,”
“Smart man.” Pops agreed.
“Yeah, so finally we get to the beef and potatoes. They wanted me to do one last drop and I agreed. Then low and behold, Tanya pops out from her hiding space.”
“That damn girl. As stubborn as her Mama, if I’ve never seen a mule.” They laughed. I just rolled my eyes.
“Right! So they pull their guns out on her and to my surprise, she was talking reckless. I walked her to her car and told her to go home. We finished up our beef and made plans for my final drop or whatever and we were on our way. I should’ve went home after. I shouldv’e checked on my baby, but instead I went to holla at Tim. My mind was so fucked up I wasn’t thinking clear.”
“Big mistake youngin.” Pops lectured,
“I know Pops and I’m sorry, yo. I never meant for this shit to go down like this.”
“Continue,” is all Pops said.
“I’m chalking it up with Tim at his crib and Ms. Molly calls me frantic.
“Ms. Molly one nosey ass lady aint she?” Pops asked. I made a mental note to say thank you to her. I guess neighborhood watch is worth something.
“You know she is Pops, but I thank God she called me. Man I could barely hear what she was saying. I knew somehow it was something with Tee and it wasn’t good. So I raced home and saw Tee’s car parked, window busted out and I went ballistic. Tim had to come me down, before I went over to beg Ms. Molly not to call RPD. I didn’t need the extra heat. I knew this had Red name all over it. So I started towards the dock and she called me. Tee explained the room to me and I knew I was on the right path, we did a lot of shit there, man. A whole bunch of crazy thoughts were going through my mind.”
“Oh, young blood I know.” It was as if Pops experienced déjà vu.
“I get there ready to strangle the fuck outta Red and then she offed herself soon as she saw me. Tee went from happy to see me to mortified that she had to experience that shit.”
“Baby girl, not street ready like her Mama, we tried our best to keep her away from that,”
“And I failed.” Ray said. I could hear the pity emotion in his voice. “I’ve been in the game the entire 5 years we’ve been together, she aint never been close to even a sample of drug. It’s been less that 2 months since I’ve been out and she already seeing dead bodies. I fucked up Pops.” Rays compassion for me, brought tears to my eyes. I wanted to run out the bathroom and hug him, but I sided against it. I finally got in the shower and let the water run over me.
“Damn, Tee. What you doing washing your skin off?” Pops joked banging on the door.
“I’ll be out in a minute.” I yelled out as normal as I could.
“Hurry out. I gotta go check on ya mama. She wasn’t doing good this morning.”
I turned off the water and hurriedly dried myself off and put on clothes. I opened the door to see Pops off. He gave me another hug.
“You forgot to brush your teeth.” He whispered in my ear.
I pushed Pops off me, playfully tapping him.
He laughed, “iight baby girl. Get some food. Get out this house. Do something. Ray take care of my baby girl.” The two exchanged a weird eye message and nodded their heads. I would’ve missed the subtle gesture if I had not ear hustled on their conversation.
I smiled at Ray as he followed Pops downstairs to let him out. He came back upstairs with a dozen pink roses and a jewelry box.
“What’s this for Ray?” I asked Ray referring to the beautiful tennis bracelet I just received.
“Just because.” He answered.
I laughed, “You so corny.”
“You like it.”
“I love it!” I smiled pecking him on the cheek.