Read Love and War Online

Authors: Jackie Chanel

Love and War (6 page)

Keisha shrugged. “Well, my cousin doesn’t have private meetings with people he don’t know. Are you sure you don’t want to go in the house and change? Aries likes girls who show a little skin. How do you plan on getting his attention by looking like you
goin
’ on a family picnic?”

“Watch and learn.”
 
Caprice smiled with confidence.

Her plan did not include being one of the girls at the cookout baring too much tits and ass. She wanted to get Aries’ attention and hold it. The only way that would happen was if she stood out from the girls looking like they were in the
Pop That
video. Keisha wouldn’t understand the art of seduction, which was why her skirt barely covered her ass and she was wearing hooker heels to a barbecue.

When Caprice pulled onto 170
th
Street, the music was blaring, and the entire block was full people. The mouthwatering smell of barbecued ribs and chicken made Caprice’s stomach rumble.

“Which house is it?” Caprice asked.

“The white one on the corner with the blue shutters.”
 
Keisha pouted. “Ain’t no parking spots on this street. Try the next street over.”

Caprice circled the block four times before a spot close to the house opened up. Despite her friend’s complaints, she would have kept circling and waiting for the perfect spot. Her 2012 Lexus was a gift from her father. There was no way she was taking her eyes off of it while it was parked on the street in South Jamaica, Queens. From the fenced backyard of the corner house, she’d be able to see her car and pick off anyone who messed with her baby with the .9mm tucked away in her purse.

Caprice cut the engine and picked up her bag from the backseat. Her chrome .22 that was tucked in the back of her jeans shifted. She waited until Keisha was out of the car before she adjusted it. Judging by the host of the cookout and the look of the partygoers, Caprice knew she wasn’t the only one packing heat.

Caprice followed behind Keisha, observing her surroundings and making mental notes in her head. She paid attention to every female giving her the side eye as she passed. She was new and they didn’t know who she was. Caprice recognized the look of contempt on their faces. She could practically read their minds. If they only knew how cute she
really
thought she was.

She paid more attention to the members of the Black Diamond Mafia sitting around card tables smoking and drinking. Fuck the jealous females. The men were her real enemies.

“Come on girl,” Keisha urged. “I’ll introduce you to my cousin. He’s over there.”

Keisha pointed to a dark skinned dude wearing a black BDM basketball jersey and matching fitted cap. He was laughing, and even from twenty feet away, Caprice noticed his dimples. She wasn’t expecting Aries to be so handsome, but, damn, he was fine!

Well, that makes my job easier,
Caprice thought to herself. At least she wouldn’t have to spend time with someone who looked liked Shrek.

Keisha pushed past half a dozen scantily clad girls who were practically drooling over the gang leader and pulled Caprice to the front of the pack.

“What’s up
cuz
,” she said to her cousin.

“Hey
cuz
. Didn’t think you were gonna make it this year. Don’t you have to study for finals or
somethin
’?”

A shiver went through Caprice when Aries spoke. His voice was deep and smooth like Billy D’s. She wanted to kick herself for being attracted to him. Maybe this wasn’t going to be as easy as she thought.

“I do, but we couldn’t miss the pre-summer cookout.”

Aries stood up to hug his cousin. Caprice expected Aries to be tall, but not as tall as he actually was. He towered almost an entire foot over her and she was 5’9” in her flats.

“Who do we have here?” Aries stared over his cousin’s shoulder at Caprice. He’d never seen her before so she stood out like a sore thumb. She didn’t even look like she belonged on the Southside at all.

“This is my friend I told you about. The one who goes to NYU with me.”

Aries’ eyebrows shot up. “This is the girl you told me about?”

Keisha was offended. She hadn’t exaggerated when she told Aries Caprice was a “bad bitch”. Just because Caprice chose to wear jeans and a tank top and hardly any makeup, he didn’t have to look at her friend like she had the cooties.

“Yes,” Keisha snapped.

Aries chuckled. “Yeah, okay,” he said. “Why don’t you take your friend and go get something to eat.” He sat back down and resumed his card game.

“That was rude as hell,” Keisha muttered as she and Caprice headed over to the food table. “That nigga act like he couldn’t even speak. I told you to change!”

Caprice rolled her eyes. “Don’t worry about it.”

She didn’t have to wear a short skirt and four inch heels to know that Aries was watching her walk away. She could feel his eyes on her denim covered ass.

She piled her plate with macaroni and cheese, greens, potato salad, ribs, and chicken, and grabbed a Corona out of the beer cooler before finding an open spot at one of the many folding tables in the back yard. She looked around the party and watched the continuous flow of girls flock over to the tables where the BDM boys were sitting. Some of them were incredibly gorgeous with bodies that could easily grace the cover of any men’s magazine. Still, Caprice didn’t consider any of them as competition. Instead, she wondered how many of them would attend Aries’ funeral.

“What is Aries
goin
’ to think if he sees you
eatin
’ all that food?
 
He’s going to think that you’re a fat girl trapped inside a skinny girl’s body.
 
Nigga’s ain’t
checkin
’ for that,” Keisha warned. “I thought you liked him.”

“I don’t know him,” Caprice stated. “I just said I wanted to meet him. I’m hungry…not thirsty.”

Keisha glared at Caprice. “I ain’t thirsty either. All these bitches in here
tryin
’ to get Aries to fuck ‘
em
are the thirsty ones. But you gotta admit that his friend, Diesel, is a cool drink of water right there!
 
You eat. I’m going to talk to him.”

That makes you thirsty
, Caprice thought while she watched the girl walk over to the table and plop down right next to the light-skinned boy sitting across from Aries’ empty chair.

“Somebody ought to teach that girl some tact,” Caprice mumbled and focused on her food.

“Which girl are you talking about?” a deep voice said from above her. “There are too many tactless broads here. You’re going to have to narrow it down some.”

Caprice looked up, rolled her eyes at Aries, and resumed eating. “Oh yeah?” she asked around a forkful of greens. “You could say there are enough men here who are equally tacky to balance it out. Can I help you with something?”

“What’s your name?”

With her eyes on two individuals admiring her car, Caprice answered coolly, “Seems like you could have asked that when your cousin tried to introduce us. You didn’t want to know then, so why should I tell you now?”

“Did I hurt your feelings?”

Caprice glanced at Aries and snickered. “There is nothing you could do to hurt my feelings.”

She leaned back in her chair and felt the small handgun press against her back. A vision of Nico’s three inch scar on his face flashed before her eyes. She was tempted to shoot Aries right then and there. Only the obvious fact that she wouldn’t make it to the front door alive if she did shoot him stopped her


You can’t fight with emotion, Caprice
,” her trainer, Angelo, always told her. “
Bury those feelings before you swing
.”

Caprice took a deep breath and resumed her cool composure. “Since you didn’t have anything to say a few minutes ago, what can I help you with?”

“You’re keeping an awful close eye on that
Lex
. That must be your baby. A present for Daddy’s princess, I suppose?”

Caprice stared straight ahead. Inside, she was losing it. If Aries knew who she was, she had a slim chance of leaving without a fight. Under the table, she reached into her purse and flipped off the safety on her gun. She measured the height of the fence. She had never hopped a fence before, but it was the quickest way to get to her car. Thank God she had worn flats.

“What are you talking about?” she asked.

“You got that private school look to you. You’re
rockin
’ a real Valentino bag and $200 jeans. You aren’t from around here because these public school bitches ain’t
droppin
’ seventy-five bucks on an Alexander Wang tank top. And,” Aries continued with a smirk. “You go to NYU but you’re not on financial aid like Keisha. That kind of money doesn’t grow on trees. You must be a daddy’s girl.”

Caprice’s trigger finger relaxed. Aries didn’t have a clue as to who he was really talking to.

“You are either very observant or very gay,” she remarked. “No straight man would recognize Alexander Wang and know how much it costs too.”

“I’m just good at reading people. And very observant. Helps in my line of work.”

Caprice took a swig of her beer. “I bet it does.”

Aries sat down in the chair that his cousin had abandoned. He lowered his eyes and smiled seductively at Caprice. She was sure that his smile would have dropped the panties of any other chick at the party. She ignored it. She wasn’t going to allow Aries to charm her. He may have been fine and talked like Billy D, but as soon as he came over to her table, Caprice figured out how to play his game.

“Are you
goin
’ to tell me your name or not?”

“Not,” she answered.

“Why not?”

“Because you already know it. Keisha wouldn’t have told you about me and forget to tell you my name.”

Aries laughed. “You got me. Caprice, right?”

“Caprice Burke.”
 
She held out her hand and Aries shook it. “Aries, right?”

“In the flesh.”

“Ares, the God of War. Did your mother give you that name or is that your nickname?”

“God of War? Nah, I don’t know
nothin
’ about that,” he replied. “But I guess it fits. Destiny fulfilled and all that jazz.”

“Really?”

“Yeah. These streets are a war zone. Constantly one battle after another. Win some, lose some, live to fight another day, hopefully. A lot of good soldiers don’t make it to see the next day. But I’m a master at this shit. That’s why I’m still here.”

“This life,” Caprice stated, “isn’t destiny. It’s a choice. You can’t claim it as your destiny. This life you have, with the money, hood fame, and all the basic bitches you can ask for is what you want. If you didn’t want it, you wouldn’t fight the battles. If you didn’t want it, you would have walked away when it presented itself.”

“So, you don’t sympathize with the plight of a hood nigga?”

Caprice shook her head. “I don’t sympathize with anyone,” she answered. “We all have choices in life. You choose to fight these battles. You chose this life. Don’t complain about the pitfalls. You can always choose a different path.”

Caprice leaned as close as she could to Aries without touching him. “And honestly, God of War, I suggest that you do.”

Caprice finished her beer and stood up. “Enjoy your party. Tell Keisha to call me if she needs a ride home.”

As she walked away from Aries, she laughed to herself. He was going to be so easy to take down.

“God of War, my ass,” she laughed out loud. “I can definitely take him.”

Chapter Five

Caprice was sitting in the middle of her living room surrounded by her marketing notes. An open bag of Doritos lay beside her while she read and sang along to Katy Perry’s
Teenage Dream
blasting from her entertainment system.

She was trying to get a head start on her finals. She had paid off her of her TA’s $150 each to get her an advance copy of the final study guide. Hopefully, she could talk her professors into letting her take the finals early because she wanted to spend the week before graduation with her best friend in Jamaica. She was absolutely positive that she could wrap up the Aries situation before school was out.

“Why are we listening to this white people music?” Keisha complained from the sofa.

She was supposed to be studying as well, but Keisha had spent most of the last hour texting and rolling blunts. Unlike Caprice, Keisha was more interested in getting Diesel to jump her bones than she was in acing her finals. Caprice wasn’t letting Aries anywhere near her bed.

“I like Katy Perry,” Caprice replied. “She wears my lip gloss.”

“How come I ain’t never seen any of your makeup in a store?”

“Because you don’t shop at the stores that carry my products. You can order them online though.”

Keisha pushed aside her drug paraphernalia and opened her laptop. “What’s the site?”

“Islandsilk.com,” Caprice answered.

“Oh yeah,” Aries said “he and Diesel are
comin
’ through to hang with us.”

Caprice frowned. She was waiting for Keisha to leave so that Rocco could come over. She wasn’t in the mood to fake flirt with Aries.

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