Thoughts of dead babies caused her to shiver as she gripped her steering wheel tightly.
Get it together, Leah. It don’t matter what you did. You can’t take it back now. Just make this situation work for you. Fuck everybody else.
She threw her car in park and rushed back into the motel room, and as sinister thoughts filled her, the crying in her ear returned. A smile spread across her face, and she tuned it out as she grabbed a piece of paper from the desk. The ransom note she was about to write was a sure way to get her paid.
They’re never going to see their baby again regard-less, but they don’t know that. They’ll come up off that cash to try to get her back. I’m selling their ass a $250,000 dream.
She placed the letter in a red envelope and rushed out. With YaYa preoccupied at the hospital with Indie, Leah had just enough time to slip into their home unnoticed to deliver her note.
The foreboding vibe that spread through the hospital room was daunting as YaYa, Chase, Khi-P, Trina and the girls sat nervously around Indie’s bed. Forty-eight hours had passed, and Indie still hadn’t come to. Suffering a gunshot wound to the chest, he was in a critical state. He was teetering on the edge of life and death, and no one knew which path God intended for him.
YaYa refused to leave his side, and she gripped his hand while she closed her eyes to pray. Her world was crashing down around her, and the redundant hums and beeps of the machines supporting Indie caused her to shake slightly. Just the possibility of losing him was earth-shattering. Her very existence was compromised. When Indie bled, she bled with him. Symbolically, she felt his pain, and as he fought for his life, she was right beside him fighting for it too.
She wanted to be strong for him, but her reserve was failing her. He was her backbone, and now that he needed her, she was crumpling at the knees. She didn’t have it in her to stand tall at the moment. Everything in her wanted to give up.
“Do you need anything?” Trina asked. The room was so deathly silent that her words sounded odd as they echoed off of the walls.
YaYa was so stuck in emotion that she couldn’t respond. She simply shook her head without even looking up.
“You need to go home and at least get a few hours of rest. Take a shower, get a good meal in you, ma,” Mekhi said as he stared at her sympathetically.
“I can’t leave him here,” she said, her eyes never leaving Indie. “I can’t drive right now or eat or sleep. I just want to be here with him.”
“The girls will drive you,” Chase said. “Indie would want you to go, YaYa. Take a moment for yourself. You’ve been through a lot.”
“Somebody shot him. They tried to kill him. What if they come back to finish the job?” she asked.
“No offense, shorty, but what are you going to do if they do? You being here ain’t stopping nobody from popping off,” Khi-P stated. He nodded toward Chase. “We’ll take care of this, so don’t worry about anything. Just go take care of yourself. You’ve still got his blood on you, ma. He wouldn’t want you here stressing like this.”
YaYa looked down at her blood-stained hands. The burgundy had dried underneath her fingernails, and just seeing her love’s spilled blood brought tears to her eyes.
She nodded her head, knowing that she was in desperate need of a shower. “Okay. I’ll go home, but only for a few minutes. I want to be here when he wakes up.”
YaYa stood and followed Trina, Miesha, and Sydney to the car. As she stared out of her window blankly, the darkened city passed her by in one big blur. She had thought New York City was cold, but the South was just as callous. Her escape to a new life had turned into a nightmare.
When they arrived at her house, yellow police tape blocked off the crime scene, and flashes of Indie falling into her arms flooded her brain. She closed her eyes and shook her head from side to side to clear her mind as she inhaled sharply and exited the car. Miesha hurried ahead of YaYa and ripped down the tape, knowing that it was hard for YaYa to see.
“Was it really necessary to leave all this bright shit all over the place?” she cussed as she balled it up in her hands.
“Thanks, Mimi,” YaYa said with a weak smile as she proceeded into the house.
Trina grabbed YaYa’s keys out of her handbag and unlocked the door as Sydney ushered YaYa inside.
“You ladies don’t have to stay. I’ll be okay,” YaYa said. She really just wanted to be alone.
She was grateful for the solace that her home provided. As she looked around, she noticed that all of the feds’ equipment was still scattered about her living room, but Indie’s shooting had distracted their efforts and gave them new suspicions. It didn’t matter to her at that point, as long as they had gone. She needed privacy for the cries that she wanted to release.
They would be back tomorrow, but today she needed solitude so she could allow the sorrow to spill from her heart. The way she was feeling was too personal to share with anyone. Her wails were ones that only the walls could hear. Anyone else’s ears would be intrusive. Her pain was too personal, too intimate for another to witness.
“I don’t think you should be by yourself, YaYa. You need people around you right now. How about we give you some time to get cleaned up, and we’ll come back for you in a couple hours. You’re in no shape to drive yourself back to the hospital anyway. We’ll go to a diner, grab some food, and then come back for you in a few,” Trina offered.
YaYa shook her head and then hugged Trina. She was such a good friend to be such a young girl. “I’m a big girl, Trina. I just need some time to myself to clear my head. I’ll see you guys back at the hospital,” she said.
Reluctantly, Trina agreed as YaYa ushered them out of her house and then headed up the stairs after the girls exited. Turning her shower on full blast, YaYa stepped beneath the hot water and for a brief moment, her worries washed away. Closing her eyes, she tilted her head back, but the minute she opened them and saw Indie’s blood swirling down the drain, her heart sank.
“Aghh!” she screamed in an attempt to let go of some of the sadness that was pent up inside of her. Bullshit always seemed to find her. She attracted misery as if it were a long lost boyfriend.
She was emotionally drained, and her chest heaved from the weight of it all as tears mixed with water and trickled down her face. She stepped out of the shower and wrapped herself in a plush towel. Exhaustion plagued her, but she couldn’t stop herself from rushing to get back to Indie. Sleep was the cousin to death, and she didn’t want any association with the Grim Reaper while Indie was fighting just to live.
She walked into Skylar’s room, and the scent of her precious baby filled her nose. She sighed and turned on the light. The blood red envelope that sat inside Skylar’s crib stood out like a sore thumb. She gasped as she looked around, feeling invaded. Someone had been in her house, and now she wondered if she was being watched. She ran over to the crib, grabbed the letter, and ripped it open with urgency.
Drop $500,000 at Memorial Park Friday at noon. Come alone or she dies. No cops! When we get our money, your daughter will be returned.
Mixed emotions filled her. YaYa was relieved because Sky’s abductors had finally put it on the table what they wanted, but fear paralyzed her because now it was game time. The ransom made the kidnapping real. Friday was only a few days away. She didn’t even know if Indie had that type of money lying around, and in the shape he was in, they had no hope of getting it.
She covered her mouth with her hand as her heart raced from uncertainty. She would have to go alone, handle the drop by herself. It was up to her to bring her daughter home.
YaYa’s sixth sense caused the hairs on the back of her fragile neck to stand up, and she froze. Suddenly every sound in her house was amplified, and she listened closely. The sounds of weight shifting against her hardwood floors sent warning bells off in her head.
Someone is still in here,
she thought. She remembered plugging her phone up on the charger downstairs, and she began to creep slowly, cautiously out of Sky’s room. She had no idea who was in her home, and her first instincts were to run, but when she thought of her baby, she was filled with blind courage. She went into Skylar’s closet and pulled out a chrome .45.
Indie had a loaded gun stashed in every room of the house, just in case, and she pulled back the chamber just like he’d taught her as she walked timidly out of the room. Her aim was so shaky that the gun was more for show than an actual threat, but she kept creeping through the house, waiting for someone to jump out of the shadows. Every sound was amplified, including her own shallow breaths, as anxiety pulsed through her.
“Trina? Is that y’all down there?” she called out. She already knew the answer to her question. Her gut told her that something was wrong.
The sound of a dining chair scraping across the floor caused her to jump as her neck whipped toward the direction of her kitchen. Undoubtedly, she was not alone, but running away was not an option—not when her child’s life was at stake.
Whoever delivered this note is still in here,
she thought as she swallowed the nervous lump in her throat. There were two people in the house, but as YaYa made her way to confront the intruder, she knew that only one of them would be walking out of there alive.
“Fuck!” Leah mouthed as she bumped into the chair. She knew that YaYa had heard the noise. The still house seemed to vibrate from the loud sound. She heard YaYa drawing near, and she knew that she couldn’t make it out of the back door without being seen. She wasn’t ready for her presence to be known.
Leah looked around frantically, knowing that she didn’t have time to make an exit. She cursed beneath her breath as she slid into the full-size kitchen pantry. She adjusted the wooden slats on the door so that she couldn’t be seen, and she held her breath as she watched YaYa enter the room.
Seeing YaYa in person after all this time brought out feelings of rage inside Leah, but at the same time, she was mesmerized, intrigued. The infatuation that she had for YaYa reignited instantly from the close proximity. Like a voyeur, she watched…stalked…observed from the shadows of the pantry.
YaYa could hear her own pounding fear as she looked around her kitchen, gun ready, heart uneasy. She had turned on every single light in her home as she moved from room to room. She looked at her dining room set. It was as she had left it—precise, clean, all chairs in the correct position.
I know what I heard,
she thought as she lowered the gun while turning around in a full circle, confused.
There’s nobody here?
she thought skeptically. Breathing a sigh of uncertain relief, she put her hand on her forehead, sweeping her messy hair off of her face. She was paranoid and on edge. The entire situation had her discombobulated.
Just as she put her guard down completely, she heard someone walk up behind her. Before she even had time to think logically, she turned around and fired a wild shot.
“Whoa! Ma, it’s me, Mekhi!” he shouted as he raised his hands defensively and looked at her like she was insane. He looked over his shoulder at the hole she had blown through the wall, knowing that she had barely missed him.
“Oh my God. I’m so sorry. I thought—” Flustered, she tried to explain. “I don’t know what I thought. I heard someone in the house and—” She couldn’t even get the words out of her mouth before the floodgates let up and tears overflowed.
“It’s a’ight, ma. There’s nobody here but me. It’s okay. Everything is going to be a’ight,” he said as he stepped to her, giving her a shoulder to cry on. “Let it out.”
Mekhi wrapped his arms around her shoulders, and she poured her all into him. She was so vulnerable that she would accept strength from anyone at that point. His strong arms around her were exactly what she needed in her time of weakness, and for a moment, they became intimate on a level that neither of them would ever share or admit to.
There was no tension with him. Since Skylar had disappeared, a small wedge sat between Indie and YaYa. They both felt that Indie’s lifestyle was the motive for Sky’s disappearance, and although they had never spoken about it, that fact was the elephant in the room between them. The presence of the feds was straining for them, but with Khi-P’s arms around her, she felt nothing but support.
They both knew that they should let go. Mekhi felt the line he had crossed and tried to withdraw his embrace, but YaYa tightened her arms around his waist and buried her head deeper into his chest as she cried. She was overwhelmed with grief, and this felt too secure, too safe, too right to let go.
Their loyalty to Indie was pushed to the back of their minds as they held each other. Her delicate hands moved up and down his toned back, sending thrills to his manhood and causing it to harden. Even her natural scent was enough to drive a man toward disloyalty. His hands had a mind of their own as they moved south, until they palmed her rear side.
Pulling her into him, he waited for her to stop him, but she never did. At that moment, she wanted it just as badly as he did. Raw desire pushed them both forward without thinking of the consequences. That, coupled with intoxication, gave YaYa the green light. For this one moment, he felt what it was like to step into Indie’s shoes.
Lust filled the room and spilled over into the pantry where Leah hid. Throbbing with the idea of revenge and desire, her clit hardened. Her hands wanted to fulfill the urge that was growing between her thighs. She was wet and horny, but as her hands slipped toward her private parts, she remembered what she was there for—to ruin Disaya’s life.
She thought she had done that before, back in New York, when Indie left her for dead, but somehow the golden girl had resurrected herself. This time Leah would make sure that there would be no way for YaYa to piece her life back together.
This bitch makes this shit too easy,
Leah thought as she controlled her sexual urges and grabbed her Black-Berry off of her hip. She focused her camera phone on YaYa and snapped a picture of the sexual tryst.
If Indie didn’t stop messing with her before, he will now,
she thought maliciously, knowing that the picture would eventually be of good use to her.
YaYa pulled away from Khi-P suddenly as her conscience hit her like a ton of bricks. “Stop. I can’t…we can’t do this,” she said. “What the fuck am I thinking?” she asked rhetorically while shaking her head from side to side in disappointment. “He’s laid up in the hospital and I’m here with you. This shouldn’t be happening. What are you even doing here?” she asked.
“The girls came back without you, so I came to check on you. I apologize, YaYa. This was disrespectful. I didn’t mean to push up on you. Shit just got out of hand. I’m a man, and you was looking like this…I fucked up. This ain’t even your fault, ma. You’re in a vulnerable state, and I shouldn’t have stepped to you, period.”