I didn't bother going to the police for what Black had done to me, and I stood Demarco up for his dinner date by not answering the phone when he called. And after that day, I continued to ignore his calls. He was the best thing that had happened to me, and I didn't want him caught up in no shit on my damn account.
I also told Bev that I had the stomach flu and that I needed some days off at the shop. Those were the magic words.
“Yeah, baby, take a whole week,” she advised. “It's no sense in getting all of us sick.”
After I came back from the market carrying a bag of groceries, I found Demarco sitting on my steps. I gave him a mean look and tried to walk past him, which was kind of hard, him being so tall and all.
He stood up quickly. “I been calling you.”
No reply from me.
“Since when did I give you permission to pop up at my crib?” I sat my groceries down. “You seem to forget that I don't belong to you. You ain't my damn man, Demarco.”
His jaw twitched as he stared down at me. “I know I'm not your man, but I was worried about you. You been missing from the shop too.”
“Bev knows where I am. She the only one who needs to know, not you!”
Why was I being to mean to him? Oh yeah, to push him away, so he wouldn't get hurt. But it was so hard to do. 'Cause I felt like I loved him.
“You need to stop keeping tabs on me.”
I went up the steps and unlocked the door, and he followed after me into my house.
“Damn! What?” I turned to face him.
He just stared at me.
“I'll tell you what, Demarcoâif I throw some pussy your way, will you leave me the fuck alone? 'Cause that's probably all you want any damn way, right? It's pretty much what all you dirty muthafuckas want.” I started throwing my clothes off until I stood in front of him in my underwear and bra, like I was in the old days with my tricks.
But Demarco was nothing like any of my tricks. He was special to me. So special, I was willing to eject him from my life to make sure he never got hurt.
He went from looking surprised to being disgusted as hell with me. That's what his face said. Without another word, he turned his back on me and started walking toward the door.
He had his hands on the door handle. I grabbed him from behind and tugged at his arms, so he had no choice but to turn around and face me.
“Here I am falling for you, and you think that's all I want?”
“If I can't have all of you, I don't want any of you.” He started using his hands to wipe the tears off my face. “What's going on in here, Cashmere? Baby, why won't you tell me?”
I wished I could, but I was too ashamed, so instead I kissed him.
That kiss turned into another and another, until we were fully lip-locking, using our tongues to explore the insides of each other's mouth. He had his fingers in my hair, and I had my fingers in his.
Then he lifted me, so my legs were around his waist, and carried me to my bed, where he laid me flat on my back. He placed kisses all over my body. Even all those scars all over my hands and arms. I closed my eyes and moaned softly as his mouth covered one of my nipples, then the other, then both at the same time. He slid two fingers into my pussy, making me squirm.
My head pushed into my pillow because of all the sensations I was feeling, Demarco grabbed up one of my thighs and placed kisses all over it before dipping between both of them to taste my pussy. I moaned louder when I felt his tongue there, swirling then sliding into me and pulling out, taking my juices with him.
My legs started to shake, and cum leaked out, which he also licked up before rolling over and carrying me to my chair. He sat down on it and lifted me onto his lap so that I was riding him.
I did it slowly, sliding down the length of his dick then pulling myself up, but once he started playing with my titties again, I increased the tempo, riding him faster and faster with each second that went by. His hands slid up and down my waist and he pulled my face down for a kiss. Then he kissed all over me again until I started moaning loudly and bucking on him faster and faster. I felt myself cuming just as he exploded into me.
Once I did cum, I collapsed on his chest. He laughed and held me. So now I knew what making love felt like. And I didn't feel dirty with Demarco, like I was a ho.
But that little sweetness I felt vanished quickly when I realized that I had done exactly what I said I wouldn't do. Fuck with him again. 'Cause I didn't want him in no shit, and now he just might be.
Things always had a way of going from really bad, to good, to really, really bad again. Case in point, somebody had vandalized the salon. I stepped around all the glass on the outside, the spray paint on the walls. I walked in a little further into the lobby area. Shit was fucked-up in there tooâpictures broke, chairs thrown all over the place, the register thrown in the wall, and the letters
, Black's initials, the same initials Desiree had got tattooed on her neck spray painted all over the walls, over and over.
I could hear Bev in her office on the phone yelling, probably calling the police. None of the other ladies were there, 'cause it was early.
“Man, I can't believe this shit!” Demarco stalked back into the room and whipped around in a blind circle, throwing his fist in the air.
He didn't see me though, 'cause I'd backed into a corner. Then the moment he turned his back to access another area of the damage, I ran out of the salon and down the street.
The shit was my fault, plain and simple. I was breathing loudly and crying at the same time. I had got the salon caught up in some shit. If I had just stuck to the planâstop answering Demarco's calls and break it off with him for goodâthis shit would have never went down. But I felt like I loved him, wanted to be loved back, wanted to be looked at the way he looked at me, wanted my ugly scars to be kissed. He gave me all that and I fucked up.
“Life's gonna be hard as hell on you, baby girl.”
Instead of going home. I turned the opposite corner. I walked slowly and cried. No matter what, I couldn't escape my damn past. I cried because I really loved Demarco, and I couldn't be with him. It was just a matter of time before he found out what I used to be.
I cried because I was about to break the promise I'd made to myself and Ms. Hope. I was about to get high. I was about to cop some ecstasy. Inside I was crumbling.
Somebody was yelling, “I got that techno! Techno! That techno!”
The further I walked, the louder his voice got.
“That techno, yo.” He turned around and faced me. “What you need, little mama? I got white girl too.”
“Give me one,” I muttered, gesturing toward what he was shuffling between his fingers. I didn't want cocaine.
I dug into my purse for the money he requested for the ecs, my heart pumping. My wallet was empty, so I dug deeper at the bottom and at first only felt change. My fingers scrambled around until I felt something crumpled up. I yanked it, and it was a twenty. But a piece of torn paper covered it. I removed the paper and scanned it. It was Mama's number. I held it in my hand and took a deep breath.
“You got the money, boo?”
I stared down at the twenty in my hand then at the torn piece of paper. I threw the money back in my purse and said, “Never mind.” Then I ran back the other way until I found a phone booth.
I dug some change out and dialed the number on the paper. I was shaking and couldn't believe I was doing this shit. Each time the phone rang, I took another quick breath. I bit my lip so hard, I drew blood. Then I couldn't stop fidgeting as it rang.
Just when I thought she was going to say hello, I heard, “Hi, you've reached Pearla. Leave a message, and I'll return it.”
I paused, about to hang up the phone. Seconds flew by before I said quickly, “This is Cashmere. I'm ready to talk. You can reach me at 562 223-3222. Or you can stop by. I-I stay at 2343 Bullis Road, apartment 29.” Then I hung up the phone before I changed my mind and erased the message.
I kept on walking. I didn't buy no damn drugs. I went home.
I went up the steps to my apartment and unlocked the door, walked in, and threw my purse down on the table. I switched on the lights in my living room, which was dark as hell, and nearly jumped out of my skin when I saw Black sitting on my living room couch. I shivered and damn near peed in my pants. I couldn't bring myself to move.
He stared at me coolly. “I had enough of this bullshit, Cashmere. When you coming home?”
“I ain't coming back!”
I spun around and made a dash for the door, but Black was on me in seconds. He slapped the fuck out of me, making heat rush to my face and drawing blood from my lip. He pulled on my hair until some strands escaped my scalp. Then he bent my hands behind me so far, I thought my limbs were going to break.
“I'm not handling you with kid gloves no more, Cashmere. You want me to do bad shit to you, huh? Why I can't be nice like I used to be? You force me to do bad stuff. Now I'm gonna have to take out this new dude you been fucking and running around town with, huh?”
I pleaded with my eyes. “No, Black, don't.”
I tried to get away again, running for the door, when he loosened his hold, but he kicked me down so I fell on the floor. I banged my nose, and blood flowed from it.
I screamed when he grabbed me by my neck and lifted me to my feet.
Black placed one hand over my face and muffled me. He took the edge of his shirt and wiped away the blood on my face, and as he did, he said, “There's no escaping the game, baby. You married to it. And the only way you leaving it is when your heart stops beating. And, I promise, if you don't leave with me tonight, I will make that happen for you.”
When he removed his hand from my face I said, “No, Black. Please . . .”
He started kissing me on my face then telling me to shush. I tried to pull away, but he had a tight grip on me.
That's when Demarco walked in the room.
I tried to pull away, but Black tightened his hold on me and kissed me again, sliding his tongue in my mouth in front of Demarco.
Demarco's jaw twitched, and his eyes narrowed. Maybe he didn't know what to make of this shit.
Black pulled away. “What's up, man? You the one dabbling in my pussy, right?”
Demarco must have seen my swollen lip and bloody nose. He took a step toward Black with his fist balled.
Instantly Black pulled out his gat and pointed it at him. “Easy, dude. You don't want it with me,” he said calmly. Then he walked over to the couch and sat back down.
“You lucky you got that gun, muthafucka!”
Black didn't respond to that comment and, instead, beckoned me over with his gun. I hesitated, but when I heard a clicking sound, I obeyed, feeling hot tears run down my face.
Black started running his free hand up and down my body, grabbing ass, titties, thighs, and rubbing the gun up and down my pussy. He was making my skin crawl.
Black smiled calmly, looked over at Demarco, who was rooted in the spot that he was in, his face filled with rage, and started unbuttoning my shirt. “You know Cashmere and me go way back, right?”
I closed my eyes as I felt the shirt being removed from my body. Then my bra.
“She was and still is my favorite girl.”
“What the fuck you talking about?” Demarco demanded.
“Cashmere is one of my hoes, and boy, is she a good one.”
I sobbed when he unbuttoned my jeans and pulled them from my body.
Demarco nodded his head, his face expressionless now.
Black angled the gun at Demarco and managed to pull down my panties at the same time.
“Black, please,” I whispered.
Black split my legs open, so Demarco could get a view of my pussy. “She good at bouncing that ass on some dick.” He slapped my bare ass, and the sound rang out in the room.
I closed my eyes in humiliation, afraid to look at Demarco.
Black ran his hands all along my titties, cupping them, rubbing his fingers across my nipples. “But since she been locked up, she probably a little rusty.” He stuck a hand in my pussy. “But if she turns you on, man, you got me to thank for that shit. I went through a lot with the girls, meaning Desiree too, Cashmere's older sister, the one she killed.”
Too scared to see the shocked look in Demarco's eyes, I didn't look at him.