Love, honor, and respect.
The motto has maintained the Torres crime family for decades. It’s why they were always ten steps ahead of their adversaries. It’s also why they were the most-feared crime family in all of New York. It’s also why there was such a brotherhood between Pablo Torres, and his right-hand man/best friend, Clyde Lewis.
The two men formed a solid bond when their children became best friends, attending each other’s birthday parties, graduations, and other celebrations in a twenty-five year time span. The sons grew up to become mafia dons in their own right, controlling all of Harlem.
But all good things must end.
When an associate of the Torres’s mistakenly takes out a member of the Lewis family, all love, honor, and respect is thrown out of the window and is replaced with hate, disappointment, and revenge.
But what happens when the grandchildren of the rival families fall in love with each other?
H.E.R. is a two-part series dealing with revenge, true love, and if time really heals. It’s a modern-day remix of Romeo and Juliet.
“When did you learn the truth about them?” She asked.
“They never flat-out said what they did but one can easily deduce by their actions,” he casually replied, “my dad and grandfather always had several people with them. They never went anywhere alone. My dad had a glock hidden in different parts of the house – places where a child me couldn’t get to – so if he was ever trapped in his home, he could easily reach for the gun. And they had money. Not hood rich, not white people money; they were Oprah rich. Whenever people found out who I was related to, the tone changed. It was like a light switch came on.” Roman sighed. “And that’s when I knew if I wanted any respect, I had to get away from them. What about you?”
“Pretty much the same. People gave my granddaddy the utmost respect but I thought it was just because he was an elder. It wasn’t until a few years ago I realized it was because he was Daddy’s father.” She looked off into the distance. “And you’re right about the money part. We always had money. I have a few trust funds stashed off somewhere I can’t access to until I’m 25. But I wanted no part of the lifestyle. No drug dealing, no killing, nothing.”
“If push came to shove, would you?” Roman asked.
“What do you mean?”
“If you had no choice,” he clarified, “would you?”
Julia thought about it for a long moment. “Anything’s possible.” Her phone went off and it was text from Keisha. She promptly ignored it and went back to skipping rocks.
“Interesting ring tone,” Roman commented, “didn’t know you liked 702.”
“They had some bops,” she nodded, “what’s your favorite R&B song from the 90’s?” She asked as they skipped rocks along the water.
“Hmm…” Roman skipped a rock. “…definitely has to be “I Adore Mi Amor.””
“Why did I know you were going to name a Color Me Badd song?” She chuckled.
“Have you listened to it? Man, the harmonies on that song were ridiculous.” Roman defended. “Every dude sang lead and man, that song can blow any song nowadays out of the water.”
“All right, all right,” she conceded, “I feel you.”
“What’s yours?” He glanced over to her.
Julia had to think about it. “Probably a toss-up between “Beauty is Her Name” and “You Are Everything.”” She sighed. “I just love those songs so much.”
“Ah, by Jodeci’s little brothers.” Roman nodded.
“Excuse you!” Julia laughed. “Dru Hill is better than Jodeci.”
“Woman, I’m about to toss your ass in the river if you keep talking that shit.” Roman shook his head.
“What? You don’t think Dru Hill is better than Jodeci?” Julia asked and Roman just eyed her up and down as if he were sizing her up. Roman knew he was. “Okay, what do you think about Jagged Edge?”
“Jagged Edge was 2000s and they’re also another set of Jodeci’s little brothers,” he skipped another rock.
“Okay, Mr. Man, since you know your 90’s R&B so damn much, can you name a song that’s not Jodeci or Color Me Badd by a R&B group?” Julia teased.
“End of the Road by Boyz II Men,” Roman sighed, “come better than that, baby girl.”
“Okay,” Julia thought for a moment, “Every Little Thing I Do?””
“Soul For Real and what?” Roman glanced at her. “Are you forgetting the time we went to the roller rink for my birthday and we skated to this song because I thought the video was cool?”
It was a memory Julia would never forget. She didn’t know how to skate and held onto the wall the entire time. Roman skated up to her and held up by her waist as they skated to the song.
Somewhere in her parents’ home, was a picture of the two of them – Julia with her braces and long braids, and Roman, with his baggy Karl Kani clothing – smiling for the camera.
It was the time she realized how much she liked boys. She didn’t think she was gay or questioning, but she didn’t think she had a stimulant bone in her body. She thought she was asexual and accepted it.
Then Roman showed her not so fast…she liked boys. More specifically, she liked him.
She then began to wonder if her 24 year old self was merely entertaining a ten-year old crush. Wow, she was a bigger lame than she thought. “It was cool,” she pushed the memory out of her mind.
“Who was your favorite girl group?” He asked.
“Hmm…” She had to think hard about it. “I think it was either TLC or SWV. I always wanted to rap like Left Eye but sing like Coko.”
“Favorite song by each?”
“Definitely “I’m Good at Being Bad,”” she nodded, “yeah, that song spoke to me.”
Roman thought about the lyrics of said song. She wanted a ten-inch or bigger, lick it from the back type of nigga? He may not have the skin tone, nor did he have ten inches but the Lord blessed him.
Roman concentrated on skipping rocks and hoped his erection would go away soon. “And by SWV?”
“Um…” she turned to him and blushed. “…it’s “Downtown.””
“That song?” Roman asked. “You know what that song is about?”
“I’m well aware it’s a song about oral sex and you giving me head…” Julia’s eyes widened as she realized her mistake. Her cheeks felt like fire and she was sure they were about as orange. “Shit! I mean it’s a song about a guy giving a girl head.”
Roman laughed and continued to skip rocks. “I think I like your first thought better.”
It’s finally coming out next Tuesday. It was supposed to be a short book, but you know how I get down. Wordy, wordy, wordy…