True to the game iii, p.17
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       True to the Game III, p.17

           Teri Woods
 
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  Davis nodded. “Good thinking.”

  “Ready to get paid?” Cleaver asked with a smile.

  A gun went off inside the building, causing several of the gathered officers to duck and scatter for cover.

  Several black Suburbans raced into the parking lot. Josh, Phil, and Lavon leaped out of the lead SUV and rushed up to Ellington, Davis, and Cleaver.

  “Nice night for an arrest, isn’t it?” Cleaver smiled.

  Josh smiled and shook his head. “You took the words right outta my mouth, you sack of shit.”

  “Turn around and place your hands on your heads!” Lavon shouted.

  “What?” Ellington asked.

  “We’re fucking cops, you assholes!” Cleaver protested.

  Phil and several other agents had their weapons drawn.

  “I said turn around and put your hands over your heads!” Lavon shouted again.

  “This is bullshit!” Ellington said. She turned and placed her hands over her head. Davis did the same.

  “Turn around and place your hands on your head!” Josh told Cleaver.

  “Will you wait just a goddamned minute!” Cleaver shouted. “I am Internal Affairs, and you’re interfering in some serious police business!”

  “I’m FBI, and I say you have no business being a police officer!” Josh told him. “Now stop resisting, before I have Phil shoot you!”

  “We have suspects inside!” Cleaver shouted. “And a damn gun just went off!”

  “The real cops will take care of it!” Josh told him. “Now turn around!”

  “You fucking asshole! They’re escaping around the back!” Cleaver shouted.

  Josh drew his weapon.

  “You going to let them fucking escape!” Cleaver shouted. He pulled away from Josh and began running.

  Josh holstered his pistol and chased Cleaver, tackling him by the side of the building. The other agents quickly came to Josh’s assistance. They manhandled Cleaver into submission and handcuffed him.

  “They’re getting away!” Cleaver shouted. “Agent, let me talk to you in private! I have a deal for you that you can’t resist!”

  Josh turned to Phil. “Go and listen to his deal, and then add attempting to bribe a federal agent to his charges.”

  Phil laughed and headed off to the SUV, where the other agents were shoving Cleaver inside. Lavon walked up to Josh.

  “And what are we going to do about them?” she asked, nodding toward the storage facility.

  Josh shrugged. “Not our business, Lavon. Not our business. We’re here to bust some crooked cops.”

  Lavon lifted an eyebrow. “There’s a lot of money in there that somebody is getting away with.”

  “It’s her money, and judging from the things that have happened to her, she deserves it. Hey, Lavon, I get my jollies fucking over the big guy, not the little ones.” Josh walked to the front of the building and stared up at it. “You better run, girl. And you better take that money, and you better do something with it. Do something good with it.”

  A patrolman walked out of the storage unit building.

  “Find anything?” Josh asked.

  “Two bodies. The night clerk and an unidentified black man,” the officer told him.

  “Anybody else?”

  The officer shook his head. “No, sir.”

  “Call Detective Curtis Miles from Homicide,” Josh told the officer. “Tell him that in all probability, I’ve got the murder suspect that he’s been searching for lying dead in there.”

  The officer nodded and headed for his patrol car.

  “Wow, we saved the day, huh?” Lavon asked.

  “We sure did. Good work, agent,” Josh told her. He pulled her close and wrapped his arm around her. “C’mon, let’s get outta here. Buy you a hot cup of coffee.”

  “And a doughnut?” Lavon asked, as if the coffee just wasn’t enough.

  “Sprinkles?”

  “Yeah, sprinkles.”

  And That’s All, Folks

  One Year Later

  The water was absolutely postcard perfect. It looked as though someone had clicked a button on a computer and chosen the perfect color blue for a brochure ad. Royal blue faded into aquamarine see-through water, breathtaking, simply beautiful, just a few shades darker than the cloudless baby-blue sky sitting above it. Gena couldn’t believe she was back where it all started: The Valiant Hotel on Paradise Island in the Grand Bahamas.

  Palm trees swayed gently in the soft breeze, moderating the temperate Caribbean climate even more. The weather was a perfect seventy-seven degrees, while beneath the white silk canopies it felt as though it was no higher than seventy.

  All of the guests were dressed in white. The women wore white cotton beach gowns, while the gentlemen all wore white cotton shirts and pants. All of the guests wore sandals, as the ceremony was being held on the white-sand beach. White gardenia floral arrangements were arrayed around the canopy and the tables and chairs beneath it. Eighteen white doves that had been imported from Europe sat in cages around the beach, waiting to be released at the conclusion of the nuptials.

  Gena sat alone in a small dressing room. Everything was perfect, there was no detail left unfinished, nothing more to do. The day had dawned with a perfect, sunny, cloudless sky, and who could ask for more? Gena thought back to the night she met Quadir in Harlem on 125th Street in front of the Mart 125. Who could have known; who could have guessed? They had been through the fire together and had made it without getting burned.

  A gentle knock at the door brought Gena out of her reverie.

  “Come in,” she said as she watched a tall, handsome man, wearing a tuxedo and looking like a million bucks, stick his head around the door. “Daddy, come here, Daddy,” said Gena, her arms reaching out for the father she had never known.

  “You look like a princess,” Malcolm said, his eyes beginning to water. “I don’t know if I can do this, Gena, all those people out there and all.”

  “Daddy, you’ll be fine; I’m going to hold your hand and we’re going to walk together just like we did last night at rehearsal.” Gena smiled reassuringly.

  “I wish your mama could see you,” said Malcolm, seeing his wife in his daughter’s smile.

  “I know, Dad, I know. Listen . . .” said Gena, taking her father’s hands into her own and staring up into his big strong brown eyes. “We can’t change the past, but we can change where we go from here, from now on. It’s okay. My mother’s not here; the only thing that matters to me is that . . . you are, you’re here. And I’m so, so grateful for this day.”

  “Baby girl, you think you’re grateful. Them white folks had me locked up so long, I don’t know if I’m coming or going, and I know that I don’t have much . . .” Malcolm stopped for a minute, to clear his throat, “but I’d give my life for you, Gena, I’d give my right arm for you to have this day.”

  “Oh, Daddy, I love you,” she said, embracing her father.

  “I love you too, baby girl; I love you too.”

  “Hey, whatch’all doin’ in here?” asked Michael, peeking through the partially open door. “Wow, Gena, look at you. You must be the most beautiful bride I ever laid my two eyes on.”

  “She sure is,” said Malcolm.

  “Uncle Michael,” said Gena, running over to her uncle.

  “It’s been a rough couple of years, but you weathered the storm. You and Quadir have nothing but smooth seas ahead,” he said, with his hands firmly on Gena’s shoulder. “I pray God blesses your union today and for the rest of your lives,” said Michael, congratulating her.

  “Oh, Uncle Michael, you’re going to make me cry too. Look, my makeup, y’all,” said Gena, making her way over to the mirror for one last glance.

  “You okay, brother man,” said Michael gripping his older brother’s hand and hugging him.

  “Yeah, I’m here. I don’t know what I’m doing, but I’m here.”

  “Hey, don’t worry; I got you, man,” said Michael.

  “Serious
ly, though, I think I need to take you up on that offer. I can’t walk her down this aisle, man.”

  Michael looked at his brother and then down at his watch, “Okay, guys, let’s go, let’s make time.”

  Holding a bouquet of white roses in her hand, Gena stepped out into the hallway and found her wedding party all lined up, waiting and ready to make that walk.

  Everybody was there, not one person had been left out. Viola walked over to Gena and kissed the side of her face.

  “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more beautiful bride.”

  “Thank you, Viola, for everything.”

  Viola lined up the wedding party, nodded with approval toward Gena, and gave the cue for the music to begin. The groomsmen and the bridesmaids took their places at the altar; the flower girls and the tiny ring bearer walked down the red carpet next. Viola took her seat next to Montel and her daughter, Denise, just as the bride appeared at the doorway.

  “Aaaww,” was all that could be heard as everyone turned around to see Malcolm standing tall and proud on her left and Michael standing tall and proud on her right. Everyone there knew about the situation between the two brothers, the death of Gena’s mother, the reasons of it all, and even Gena’s questionable paternity, but on this day, none of that mattered. The only thing that mattered was that they were all there together. But for Gah Git to see both her boys standing side by side after being separated for so, so long, brought tears to her eyes. She didn’t know what she was crying for, but she couldn’t stop.

  “Gah Git, you okay?” asked Paula.

  “She all right. She just crying at the sight of Malcolm and Michael holding Gena,” said Gwendolyn, grabbing a tissue out of a crying Royce’s hand and handing it to Paula to pass to Gah Git.

  “Give me my tissue back, woman,” Royce demanded.

  “Fool, don’t start wit’ me on this goddamn island out here in the middle of nowhere,” Gwendolyn whispered harshly at him as she passed the tissue to her sister.

  “It’s been used,” said Paula, frowning.

  “So, it ain’t gonna kill her,” said Gwendolyn, shoving the tissue back at Paula.

  Gena, her father, and her uncle made their way down the aisle.

  “Dag, Uncle Malcolm look good, right?” whispered Brianna.

  “Mmm-hmm, real good, he looks better than Uncle Michael,” whispered Bria back to her twin.

  “I see why Gena’s mom was dickin’ ’em both down, now.”

  “Mmm-hmm, she sure was,” added Bria, as Gena’s two bridesmaids snickered to each other throughout the entire ceremony.

  Gena looked as if she belonged in a Walt Disney World parade. She glowed like a real fairy tale princess wearing Cinderella’s gown about to finally kiss her Prince Charming for everyone to bear witness to.

  A Caribbean band played the traditional wedding march as she made her way to her floral altar. Only the minister was wearing black. When they finally reached the end of their walk, her uncle Michael reached down and kissed her cheek before stepping to the side. It was Malcolm who then placed his daughter’s hand into Quadir’s. He looked at her father, and the two men nodded at each other with approval. Holding hands, Quadir and Gena faced each other.

  “Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to join together these two young people in holy matrimony.”

  But the moment of all moments was when a tiny Quanda stepped forward and handed Quadir a red-and-gold Cartier box containing their wedding bands. It was probably the sweetest gesture of the ceremony.

  “Thanks, baby girl,” said Quadir, as he bent and took the box out of his Quanda’s hands.

  “I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride.”

  Discussion Questions

  1. Did you think Quadir’s explanation for faking his death was believable?

  2. Should Gena have understood why he lied?

  3. Do you think Gena should have understood Quadir’s relationship with Amelia? What about Quadir under-standing Gena’s relationship with Jerrell?

  4. What are your thoughts on the attack on Gah Git? Markita?

  5. Did you think Terrell was crazier than his brother Jerrell?

  6. Would the police have schemed to take someone’s money—as they did Gena’s drug money—in real life?

  7. Are you glad the police were caught?

  8. Do you think it was good that Quadir and Gena got away with the money?

  9. Are you glad they got together in the end?

  10. Did you think it was good that Gena’s father came home?

  11. Did you want to know more about Gena and her family?

  12. Do you think it was fair for Aunt Gwendolyn to blame Gena for what happened to Gah Git?

  13. Do you think Markita should have been more careful when Terrell confronted her at her apartment?

  14. Would you have thought that Rik would have turned against Gena? Quadir?

  15. What are your thoughts about Quadir killing Rik?

  New York Times bestselling author

  TERI WOODS

  brings you back

  to the hard streets of Philadelphia . . .

  Please turn this page for a preview of

  ALIBI

  Coming in 2009 from

  Grand Central Publishing

  Chapter One

  1986

  Hey, Lance, come here, look,” whispered Jeremy, standing in an alleyway and pointing to a window in what appeared to be an apartment row house on the 2500 block of Somerset Street in North Philadelphia.

  “What? I don’t see nothing,” whispered Lance back to him.

  “The window—it’s cracked. It’s not shut all the way. Right there. You see it?” asked Jeremy, as he pointed to the window showing Lance his keen eye vision.

  “You sure they in there?” Lance asked, trying to figure out what the next move should be as an alley cat jumped out of a tree, scaring the living daylights out of him.

  “Nigga, I know you not laughing.”

  “Naw, for real though, I’m telling you, I followed them all day. They in there. I watched them go in there with two duffel bags. They went in and they haven’t come out, neither one of them. And them duffel bags they had were chunky, real chunky. They holding a lot of money or a lot of coke.”

  So many different thoughts rushed around in Lance’s head. The first one being how much money and how much coke their rival competition was holding in the house. Right now, more than ever, he needed a come up. A strong come up and he knew in his heart that this was it.

  “You sure it’s just the two of them in there?” Lance asked again, his heart starting to beat a little faster as the adrenaline rushed throughout his veins.

  “Man, I’m telling you. We can take these jokers. They caught off guard; they won’t even see us coming. We got one chance, Lance, just one, and this is it.”

  Lance needed to play the whole scene out in his head. He wanted no stone to be left unturned. There could be no mistakes, no mishaps, and no time for fuck-ups. Jeremy might be right; this just might be his one and only chance or, better yet, his golden opportunity to come up. Times were hard and the only nigga in the city moving weight was Simon Shuller. Simon Shuller had been getting money for years. Everyone knew it too. Not only was he the largest drug dealer in Philadelphia, he had to be the police as well. There was no way he could run drugs, dope, and numbers year after year and not be in jail by now. But he wasn’t in jail and Simon Shuller, police or not, was the man with the golden hand in the city. The big kahuna with all the money and those two unknown suspects inside the row home on Somerset were his runners. Truth was they could have left the door wide open, ’cause anybody crazy enough to mess with anything belonging to Simon Shuller had to be plumb out of their minds.

  “Man, I must be crazy listening to you,” said Lance, as he looked at Jeremy.

  “Shit, you crazy if you don’t, my friend. I’m telling you, we might not ever get this chance in life again. We could sneak in, take what we came for, an
d sneak right back out.”

  Lance thought for a minute longer. Maybe Jeremy is right. We sneak in, take what we came for, and sneak back out. How hard could that be?

  “Okay, come on, let’s do the damn thing,” Lance commanded, feeling nothing but heart.

  “That’s what I’m talking about, baby boy. Don’t worry, I got this caper all figured out already. Come on, let’s get the car and park it close enough to make our getaway.”

  Up on the fire escape, Lance looked at Jeremy, who was silently cracking the window open. He turned around and waved his hand for his friend to come on. He climbed through the window and into what once may have been a bathroom. Jeremy turned around to find Lance on the fire escape climbing through the window behind him.

  “What the fuck died in this motherfucker?” whispered Lance, as a foul stench in the air filled his nostrils.

  “Sshh, come on,” said Jeremy as he embraced his 9mm and peeked around the corner of the doorway looking like he belonged on the force.

  What the fuck do this nigga think he doing?

  “What? Why you looking at me like that?”

  “Nigga, you ain’t no goddamn Barnaby Jones and shit. What is you doing?”

  “I’m trying to make sure the coast is clear, man. Let me do what I do,” said Jeremy, a tad bit annoyed.

  Between the two of them whispering back and forth, neither of them heard the footsteps coming down the hallway. Not until the footsteps were right on them and the bathroom door came flying open.

 
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