He came back into my life, but we both know he never really left.
It’s different now – in order to protect me, I have to be under his watch. The lifestyle I wanted nothing to do with, I’m fully a part of.
He promised he would take care of me as long as I don’t get involved. When danger knocks at your front door, you have no choice but to open it.
Everyone knew me as Taylor, but in Cameron’s world, I was simply Wifey.
“You have a nice setup here,” the woman glances around, “it’s…kitschy.”
She may have wanted me to think it was a compliment but we both know it wasn’t one. “Thank you, Ms…?”
“Coleman. Jacqueline Coleman.” She enunciates her name not out of habit, but to make sure I understood her loud and clear. I get the distinct feeling she does this with everyone. She sits downs at a table while her security flanks her. It’s an intimidation pose and I recognize it anywhere.
I also recognize her. She’s the woman that met with Daddy a while back about buying his coffee shop and the land it was on. Daddy never wavered. I have a weird feeling why she’s back again.
She’s a petite, light-skinned Black woman who’s probably around the same age as Cameron’s mother. Unlike Heather who showcases her wealth through select attire, Jacqueline flaunts it. I spot the Bottega Veneta shoes, the Alexander McQueen suit, and the Chanel jewelry.
She’s also wearing a lace headpiece for not other reason than for dramatic effect. I know she wants me to be intimidated by her but it’s not working. I’m super confused by what the hell she’s doing.
She studies the coffee shop and I see where her eyes are going. She’s not looking at the history on the walls nor the Afrocentric artwork. She’s studying to see where the cameras are. She does it so quickly that if I hadn’t been watching her eyes, I wouldn’t have noticed.
I know she counts the six cameras she sees. She’s also smart enough to know there are more she doesn’t see because they’re hidden. Maybe being with Cameron taught me a thing or two on how to read people.
“I’m sorry to hear about your father.” Her voice isn’t warm. There’s an underlying frostbite to it. “He was a good man and served his community well.” I remain silent. “I was in negotiations with your father until his…” She takes a deep sigh. “…untimely death.” She tsks. “East Atlanta can be just so unsafe. So much crime. So much unnecessary human loss. It’s a miracle your father thrived.”
She looks into my eyes and I don’t flinch. The hair on the back of my neck stand up and I get a weird, eerie feeling run down my spine.
“Would you like some coffee?” I finally offer. We both know she’s not here to visit, but it does seem like she’s humoring me.
“No,” she shakes her head and releases another dramatic sigh. “Did your father mention anything about his business affairs before he died?”
“None.” It’s not a lie. Daddy rarely talked business with me. He wanted our time together to be about fun and family. Business was always the last thing he wanted to deal with. I do wish he said something because he left me with a bit of a mess I had to sort out after his death.
“I see.” She nods. “Your father was a very shrewd business man. Dare I say, he was stubborn but he always seemed to have your best interest at heart.” She looks around again. “I see he’s done just well here.” Another pause. “Are you doing okay?”
“I’m doing fine.” I reply. “I got a handle on everything.”
“I know it’s a lot of responsibility at such a young age. I hope you have the right people guiding you.” She emphasizes and I really don’t like where this is going. I just wanted to see how you were doing. If you need any assistance, I’m available.”
“I got it.” I reply with more haste than I intended. She smiles at me. “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome,” she stands up and her security step aside, “I’ll be back soon to touch base with you.” The front door opens and she turns around. Whatever warmth she had, it dissipated upon seeing the other person. “Hello, Finesse.”
Cameron’s face is emotionless as he glances at me and back at Jacqueline. He’s wearing slacks, a dark-green sweater, and Oxfords. He’d spent all day campaigning on behalf of his father’s reelection bid so he dresses the part of a preppy White scholar.
Underneath all of that attire, there’s probably one or two guns. “Goodbye, Jacqueline.”
Jacqueline walks up to Cameron and grabs his chin. Now I’m about to run up and beat a bitch’s ass if she don’t get… “You were always so stubborn,” she caresses his chin before she leaves with security in tow.
Cameron waits for Jacqueline and her crew to leave before he locks the door and closes the blinds. He rushes up to me. “Did she hurt you? Did she threaten you?”
“No,” I shake my head as he wraps his arms around me. “What’s going on? Who is she? You know her?”
Finesse II will be out December 2020.