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Authors: Karen Williams

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BOOK: The People vs. Cashmere
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“I thought all you needed was to know who your loyalties were to, Cashmere. I mean, you needed to understand who was number one in your life, and that was me. Which was why I told your sister to get rid of your pops.”
My eyes widened, and I sobbed loudly.
“Sssshh, girl. Wasn't no need for him. And all he did was get in my way, in the way of all my love. 'Cause all your love, Cashmere, belongs to me. And I don't play second fiddle to no man. So with him out the picture I'd get all of that. And here you come along thinking you gonna take what is mine. Nigga, please.”
Black pounded his finger into me sharply. “Lie down, ho. I'm gonna show you who's in control here—me, daddy—so you understand, don't no other nigga control this pussy but me.”
“No, Black.”
When the gun clicked again, I jumped.
“Have a seat, young blood,” Black said to Demarco. “Watch the show.”
Demarco had no choice but to sit on the couch across from us while I was on all fours naked. Black kneeled behind me and slid a few fingers in my pussy, before plunging his dick into me.
Blinded by my tears, I cried out loudly from the pain and humiliation as Demarco watched Black rape me.
Black moaned and pounded in and out of my pussy, slapping my ass at the same time, his fingers grabbing me everywhere. And he was sucking on my flesh roughly, until I was bruising. Still, he kept on pounding.
I kept on crying, and kept my head down, scared to face Demarco.
That's when Black busted a big-ass nut into my pussy, grumbling loudly and smacking my ass. “You still got some good pussy, Cash.”
When Black took his eyes off both of us to pull up his pants, his gun dropped. Demarco rushed him and started throwing punches, catching him off guard. As he fell back into the table, Demarco used his boots to stomp him in the head.
I stood and tried to reach for the gun, which was a few feet away from me, near my shirt. I rushed forward and grabbed it. I'd never used one before, but I would have to now.
As Black rose and threw some blows back at Demarco, knocking him into the wall, I angled the gun, scared as hell that I might hit Demarco.
After Demarco fell to the floor, Black stood him up and knocked him upside his head. But then Demarco reached for Black's neck and started choking him.
“I'm gonna kill you, you dirty muthafucka, for what you did to her! Put your ass in a box where the fuck you belong!”
Black was trying to pull his hands away but couldn't, so he head-butted Demarco, making blood shoot out of his nose. Then he punched him in his mouth, but still Demarco wouldn't break his hold.
I angled the gun again, my heart pumping.
Lord, if I fire this shit, please don't let me hit Demarco
Black had managed to break free from Demarco's hold and punched him again and again until his face was bloody. Demarco was weak now and couldn't swing any more punches.
I screamed out when Black pounded his head into the wall and it looked like he weighed nothing. Blood gushed out of Demarco's head. Black threw him to the floor and kicked him in his head. “I told you not to fuck with me.”
I angled again. I had a good shot, now that there was no way I would hit Demarco, because he was lying down. I could get Black, if I could just bring my numb fingers to pull the trigger. I sobbed and gripped one hand over the other as Black turned to me, but with my shaking hands and shivering body, I damn near dropped it.
Black left Demarco alone and stepped to me, blinking. “After all I done for you, you gonna pull a gun on me, Cashmere?”
Why the fuck couldn't I pull the damn trigger? I adjusted the gat in my hand and raised it higher, aiming it at his head.
Tears seeped in the corner of his eyes. “I love you, Cashmere. You know that, baby. You were the only girl to get under my skin. Drop the gun, baby.”
I shook my head, blinded momentarily by my tears. I glanced over at Demarco quickly. His body was twitching. I knew he wasn't dead, but he couldn't help me right now.
“I just want us to be together like we used to be when you belonged to me and only me, when no trick came between our relationship.” Tears ran down his face. “Baby, put the gun down.”
I exhaled deeply and felt more tears drop. My hands were getting sore. I had to do this shit, to free myself from him.
Cashmere, this is the only way.
Suddenly Black leaped toward me and slapped the shit out of me, and easily pulled the gun from my hands. Then he started whipping on me, punching me in my stomach. As I bent over in pain, he punched me in my face and pulled a plug of my hair out of my head. With the gun to my temple, he put me in a chokehold like Demarco had him earlier with his free hand.
“Make a decision, Cashmere. You leaving with me, or I'm taking you out—pick one.”
I screamed, “Take me out, muthafucka, 'cause I hate you, and I rather die than be with a piece of gutter trash like you!”
Black tightened his hold on me, cutting off my air supply. My eyes watered, snot started shooting out my nose, and my body was getting weak as hell. I knew he was gonna take me out in that moment. Then he quickly released my neck and drew back. He shoved me on the floor.
As I lay on the floor coughing, he stood over me and looked down at me, cocking his gun and aiming it at me.
I closed my eyes and waited for the hollow tips to pierce my flesh. But before he could fire, the door burst open.
“Police! Drop your weapons!”
I opened my eyes to see a gang of cops running through the door, Mama leading the pack, their guns drawn.
Chapter 33
A month later
“You okay to do this, Cash?” I stared at Mama and gave a nod before entering the courtroom. Entering courtrooms always made me nervous, but not today.
Demarco testified to Black's assault on him and his raping me. Mama was also able to give the district attorney evidence that Black was the one behind vandalizing Demarco's salon.
Black was facing some serious time because that gun had some bodies on it, one of them a 20 year-old former prostitute that had been missing for the past year. It was later discovered that he'd killed her after she tried to run away from him.
I shivered when I found out that tad of info, since I could've just as easily been another body on that gun, had it not been for Mama. I remember closing my eyes and breathing a sigh of relief when they closed the case. One thing I'll never forget was how cold his eyes were while we were in the courtroom. Man, if looks could kill.
Finally after days and days of cameras following us and shit, the judge sentenced Black to forty years to life without the possibility of parole. Now neither, Mama, Demarco, or me would be caught up in any more drama behind Black.
Now that chapter of my life was closed, but I still had some left open. The first was Mama.
Yeah, she had saved me and Demarco. She told me that she'd jotted my address down and was on her way over, and that when she got to the house and heard the scuffling and yelling, she quietly called the cops.
“My honey told me to always carry my gun 'cause you never know what will happen. And, Cashmere, I'm so happy you called me. If you hadn't”—Mama started sobbing, cupping my face in her hands.
I hoped she didn't think we were chummy now.
Before stepping in the courtroom, she'd asked me, “Cashmere, when this is done and over, can we sit down and talk, baby? Really talk?”
I hesitated. I thought,
What would I gain if I continued to hate her?
There was no way my anger or hate could change what had already happened to us, to me, so I gave a slight smile and nodded. “Yeah, Mama, we can talk.”
So after court, me and Mama sat outside on an empty bench.
Before she got any words out, she started crying. “I was weak, selfish, and dumb, Cashmere. Oh so dumb. Your daddy, you, and Desiree were the best thing that had ever happened to me, and here I was thinking about myself. Baby, if I could turn back time, I would have never left. I would have stayed and did the best I could, which is what you all deserved. But I ain't got no time machine, so all I can give you is now. Baby, love, time, anything I got, it's yours, Cashmere, if you can say you can forgive me. I just wanna right the wrong any way that I can.”
Truthfully, I'd never stopped loving Mama. Instead of giving her that long speech I had in my head all these years of what I was gonna say if I ever saw her again before whipping her ass, I allowed her to take my hands in hers and didn't pull back when she hugged me. Now I'm not saying I was gonna be her best friend, but maybe we could try to rebuild something. After all, her and my aunt were the only real family I had left.
There was one other person I had to make it right with. Truth be told, I hadn't spoken to Demarco all too much since all the court proceedings, and I knew he didn't have much to say to me. But Ms. Hope always told me to make my amends, so that's what I did.
I strolled up to the shop to see him. He was outside, repainting the name of the salon—Studio Six Hair Salon—and was doing a good job at it too. His back was to me, so he didn't see me when I approached.
I asked in a quiet voice, “Did it cost a lot to fix the place back up?”
He paused with the brush for a second. “Insurance covered it.” Then he went back to his letters. He had just finished the
, and was now on
I felt a lump in my damn throat, but it wasn't gonna prevent me from doing this. So I tried to swallow it on down before I started crying. “I know you don't want me around, and that's cool, but I just wanted to, ah, say, I'm sorry for not being honest with you about my past, Demarco.” I laced and unlaced my hands, nervously, and took a deep breath.
He turned around to face me. “Cashmere, do you know how much gossip I hear in this salon? Between Rona, Gee Gee, and Quida, they could start their own gossip column, with the shit I hear.”
My eyes widened.
He knew? All this time?
Demarco stepped closer to me and, to my surprise, pulled me in his arms. “I knew about your past, what you used to do, who you were before, but I didn't care, 'cause I loved you, and that stuff was just that, the past, Cashmere. It's not who you are now. You were a victim of fucked-up circumstances, and instead of you giving up like the people around you, you kept on going. I told you once, and I'll tell you again—I love you, Cashmere.”
I sniffed and smiled through my tears. “Then why you ain't came to see me?”
He laughed. “I can't chase you forever. You know where I'm at.”
He was right, but still I gave him attitude. “And you know where I'm at too,” I lied, since I wasn't staying at my old apartment anymore.
Mama and her fiancé let me stay with them until this stuff blew over—The media was on me like I was a celebrity—and possibly longer, if I wanted.
“Yeah, I know all right. You stay a ways away from here.”
My mom stayed in Lancaster, two hours from where I used to stay. “How you know that?”
“'Cause I follow you home from school to make sure you get home safe. I never stopped doing that and never will.”
I smiled, but just as soon, my smile dropped, and I took a deep breath. I needed to to say it, confess it, even if he did know. For some dumb-ass reason, I needed confirmation. Don't ask me why. I just did. “Demarco, I used to be a prostitute.”
“I know.”
“I did drugs.”
“I know.”
“I've been to jail.”
“I know.”
“And by accident I killed my sister.”
“You don't say.”
“Do you still love me?”
“Yes, Cashmere. Always.”
I don't think I've ever cried and laughed at the same time, but that's what I did at that moment. Then he lifted me off my feet and kissed me.
Yeah, I said I forgave Mama, but if she thought it was gonna be that easy, she was a damn fool. Now since all wounds were healed, she thought it was all good. Naw! I wanted some answers.
Me and Mama sat down on her couch. She bit her bottom lip. “Now we have managed to become cool, Cashmere, I'd hate for what I'm about to tell you to change the way things are with us.”
I shook my head. “Mama, it won't.”
We had both been going to therapy to salvage our sanity and relationship, meaning that we were both going crazy. Every time I thought I was cool with Mama, another memory was coming up of the scandalous shit she had done, and I'd find myelf being mad at her again. And she'd find herself crying again, and refusing to eat or leave her house. The therapist said that my mom wasn't being as open as she should be about everything, and that as soon as she opened up, we could put all this bad stuff to rest.
“Desiree wasn't Desmond's daughter, Cashmere.”
My eyes bulged. “But you named her after Daddy!”
“Listen before you judge me, baby. We had an uncle named Douglas. He would come around and give all of us candy and ribbons for our hair, say how pretty we are. Talked about the people made of the good stuff and those made of the bad. Asked us which one we were. I always said, ‘I'm made of the good stuff.' And my sister would always find reasons to tell me that I wasn't. Even then your Aunt Ruby was envious of me. We were both beautiful ladies, none prettier than the other. But I had a way of being so animated, I guess, having this presence like you got. Baby, that caused them to want to be around me. I was popular in school, knew how to entertain, and your aunt hated me for this.
“Anyhow . . . our uncle came to visit us all through our childhood. And he liked to visit me in my bed while I was ‘sleep, and he did some things to me that I still have a hard time forgetting about, Cash. Touching me and kissing me. Stuff that filled me with shame, baby, real shame. A shame I feel to this very day.”
Mama's hands were shaking, and her lips trembled. “I use to go to church with Daddy just to pray that he never came back. And he didn't. He went off to the armed services for a long time, so I didn't have to deal with him sneaking in my room and touching me any damn more. But my sister always reminded me that he did what he did 'cause he knew I was made of the bad stuff and he never did it to her 'cause she was made of the good. And that the only reason that people liked me more than her was because other people knew—Even God knew—and everyone pitied me. And I believed her. Those thoughts was still in here, Cash, always fucking with me, so I dealt with it by partying, getting drunk, and smoking weed with my girlfriends. But I never had the urge to have sex. The thought of being with a man sexually made me sick, after what my uncle had done to me all those years.” She paused then shuddered.
“I continued that way for years into my teens. Then one night I snuck out to go to this party. Usually your aunt would wait for me at twelve and unlock the back door for me. My payment to her was the allowance our Daddy gave us.
“I waited in the backyard for the longest, and she never came out. Someone was in the backyard.” Mama pulled her lips in. “Our uncle had came back, to my surprise, and was smoking out there. He asked me if I had forgotten all the things he taught me. I said yes and tried to run, but I couldn't do much running in my heels, so he caught me easily and raped me out there. Cash, that bastard raped me on the ground in my parents' backyard.” Mama shook her head, her eyes closed, as if she was still reliving the memory.
My eyes widened.
“But that ain't the worse. The worse was looking up in the window and seeing Ruby watching the whole thing while I begged her to help me. She didn't help me. She just watched the whole time with a smirk on her face. And shortly after the rape I found out I was pregnant.”
I gasped.
“This made your aunt happy now 'cause I wasn't seen the way I used to be seen. I was now damaged, and she was the one going to get married to a decent man. Now even more she drilled in my head day and night that I was made of the bad, and I believed it. Believed I wasn't shit. Shortly after that incident we had new neighbors, and my sister was twenty and in nursing school now, and ready to get married. She was in love with our neighbor's son, Desmond.”
I smiled at the mention of Daddy.
“But as much as she tried bringing him goodies, 'cause your auntie sure could cook, and bragging about going to nursing school, when he laid eyes on me, it was over for her. He went after me viciously, even though I had a baby growing in my stomach. He would take me to the movies, buy gifts for a baby that hadn't even arrived yet, even take me for my hospital visits. And once I hit eighteen he said he was going to take me to the movies, but instead he hit the freeway straight for Vegas and married me, Cash, baby and all. And I was huge as a house. And, Cash, he loved my baby like he himself created her.
“I knew I was young, but Mama had already passed away, and Daddy was getting old, so I thought I needed someone to take care of me 'cause I thought I was too weak to take care of myself, let alone an innocent child.
“When we came back from getting married and your aunt saw my ring, she went crazy. Said she hated me and I was nothing, and that he was a damn fool for marrying me, that I was weak and dumb and could never survive without a man, and that my kids would be cursed. That I was soiled goods because I was carrying another man's baby. And I believed her, Cash. I believed her. As good as your Daddy saw me, I never saw myself the same 'cause I thought I was flawed 'cause of all those years that man molested me then raped me.
“I thought I was weak, ugly, damaged. That's why I was so into buying things for myself to make me feel good, why I was so quick to give my panties to the first man who gave me a compliment, Cash. Why I always had to have a man even when your Daddy wasn't around.
The only blessing out of what my uncle did was my precious baby girl, Desiree.
“Anyway she ran out the house, yelling, ‘I might as well be a slut too, if it could get me a man like him. That bitch don't deserve him.' Word had it that she went to a bar, partied and was so drunk, she went home with some dude and ended up getting pregnant by him. She figured she wouldn't be lucky like me to land someone she loved with a baby in her stomach, so she gave up and married the fool she got pregnant by. Your uncle. But he made her miserable. He never doted on her the way your Daddy doted on me. He cheated on her, left her alone at night. Then food became her comfort. She has hated me and blamed me for her being miserable ever since, Cashmere.”
“Why did she hate me so much, Mama?”
“Because, Cash, even though I told you Desiree was just like me, it wasn't the full truth. You are the most like me. You have something that sets you apart from other women, makes people gravitate toward you. And, most of all, you are the child of the man she was madly in love with. Whenever she looks at you, she sees him and the life she felt she should have had. 'Cause she never fell in love with your uncle and never fell out of love with your Daddy.”
I sat back on the couch blown away. Desiree was only my half-sister. She wasn't Daddy's child.
! That explained so much. Why my aunt was the way she was and why my mom was the way that she was.
! I wondered if Desiree ever knew.
“But, Cash, there was one part of that saying about ‘people with the good stuff versus the bad'—God's favorites are the ones who often have a hard time.”
I nodded. Then I held Mama's hand, and she smiled at me. I guess her confession was like weight being lifted off her chest.
I thought about what Ms. Hope often said,
“So the past was now open and like a book. We had no choice but to now close it

It made more sense now than ever. What else was we gonna do? It wasn't like we could change the stuff that happened. So once you realize you can't, you do the only thing you can. You move on. So, me and Mama, we did.
Now I know I wasn't graduating from Harvard, and I wasn't getting a doctorate degree, but when I stood on that stage and accepted my certificate for graduating from cosmetology school, shit, it felt just as good.
And there staring back at me was some amazing shit. The woman I thought I'd never see, or want to see again, Mama, was clapping and screaming out so loud, her voice was cracking. “That's my baby! That's my baby!”
I didn't tell her to shut up though. I just shook my head and laughed.
Then somebody else caught my eye. It was Demarco. After all of this, that man was still by my side. That has to stand for something. It did. My heart. He had it, and I was never going to take it back.
As I stood there and those cameras flashed, and Mama kept saying, “Smile, Cash,” I reflected on my life. I had been through the fire, hell, and back, and here I was still standing with a smile on my face.
Man, what I'd give for Ms. Hope and Daddy to be here to see this. Then I remembered they were there, and they'd always be. My heart got enough room for them both.
Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Cashmere. I'm twenty years old. I was a prostitute, I used to do drugs, I've been raped, and through a freak accident, I killed my sister. All this shit I went through, were trials' and tribulations' tests. But I'm also a survivor, and I know I could handle anything that came my way. 'Cause I was made of the good stuff. One of God's favorites.
BOOK: The People vs. Cashmere
6.55Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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