True to the game iii, p.6
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       True to the Game III, p.6

           Teri Woods
 
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  “Not only is she seeing someone else, she’s seeing the guy that tried to kill me. His name is Jerrell Jackson.”

  “Oh, my god, Quadir, are you sure? That doesn’t make sense. Does she know he tried to kill you?”

  “I don’t know what she knows, but even still, the streets is always talking and everybody knows that Jerrell was behind my murder. Everybody. What the fuck is wrong with her?”

  That’s when Quadir’s vision came to life. Amelia sat calmly as her coffee table was flipped over and knocked to the floor, while her medical journals landed all over her living room.

  “Are you done? Because tearing my things up isn’t going to fix the problem, and it certainly won’t help,” said Amelia, turning over her coffee table and positioning it perfectly back in place.

  “Yo, don’t you hear me? This bitch is sleeping with the motherfucker who tried to kill me. And that’s only the half of it. Gena found my money, so she’s got it, all of it, and I can’t figure out how to get it back. I can’t even figure out where she’s got it at.”

  “Maybe she doesn’t know Jerrell shot you. And obviously she has your money because it was made available to her to get,” Amelia said as she gathered her journals off the floor and began stacking them back neatly on the coffee table.

  “She might not know who he is, but trust me, he knows who she is and if he thinks for one minute that she’s got my money, he’ll kill her for it. I know him; I know how he thinks. Every nigga I know and trusted would bring me harm if they could get their hands on that kind of money. I never let anyone know about the money I had saved. No one knew.”

  “Quadir, it’s just money.”

  “You always say that, Amelia, just because you come from a well-to-do family, but twenty million ain’t nothing to sneeze at.”

  “Twenty million? You got twenty million?”

  “Do I? Well, I did. Now Gena has twenty million, or better yet, my archenemy Jerrell Jackson has twenty million.”

  “Oh, Quadir, twenty million?”

  “Well, technically, a little over seventeen million, Amelia. And she’s spending it, like water running out of a faucet.”

  “Well, what are you going to do? Quadir, twenty million is a lot of money.”

  “Amelia, please, you’re making my head hurt,” said Quadir, scratching his head trying to figure out his next move.

  “What makes you think that if you can’t figure out where the money is, Jerrell will? I’m sure Gena’s not that gullible. I’m sure she’s smart enough to hide the money in a safe place.”

  “Amelia, Jerrell is the grimiest dirtbag I know. If he thinks Gena has something, he’ll torture her to death in order to take it. This shit is crazy. It’s getting more and more complicated as time goes by. Now, I have to babysit this nigga.”

  “Listen, I have money. I can make you a loan; I can help you get a new start out here, if that’s what you want. I mean I don’t have twenty million dollars and I know that’s a lot of money, but Quadir, it’s not worth your life. It’s not worth prison. You know what I’m saying?” asked Amelia, hoping he was smarter than she thought.

  “Amelia, a loan? Are you nuts? We’re talking my twenty million, Amelia, my twenty million dollars, and I will get my money back. I have to get it back!”

  “No, we’re talking about Gena’s twenty million and we’re talking about you risking your life!” she shouted, hoping to penetrate his brain with common sense.

  Quadir just looked at her blankly, not wanting to hear her logic. “That’s my twenty million. Mine. I busted my ass for that; I damn near lost my life for that. I want my money. I want it back!”

  “Well, what do you want me to do to help? What about hiring a private investigator to help track the money down?”

  “No, that would just be one more nose up in the mix. Shit, he’d probably find out where the money is and take it himself.”

  “Quadir!”

  “What? I would,” he said, eyes wide.

  “Can I ask you a question?”

  “Yeah, what?” he asked, stopping his pacing for a split second to hear her out.

  “Are you mad at Gena for having your money or are you mad at her for being with Jerrell?”

  Quadir thought about her question and honestly didn’t know the answer. His pride was hurt, of course. Any man’s pride would be. That was just the tip of the iceberg. The truth was his archenemy had his girl and access to his dough. Nothing could be worse than that.

  “Right now, I just want my money back,” he said, broken-hearted.

  “She thinks you’re dead, you know,” said Amelia, trying to reason with him.

  “I know, but he’s the enemy.”

  “She probably has no idea who she’s dealing with.”

  Quadir just shook his head. The situation was way out of control. Why didn’t I stop her at the apartment? Why didn’t I stop her then, before she had a chance to get into the car? What was I thinking?

  “Damn, I want my money.”

  Amelia said nothing; she just let him pace around, scratching his head, hoping he’d figure out something without harming himself or, worse, her medical career. Of course he knew that to do something foolish would just be plain stupid. He had everything going for him: a new life, a fresh start, and twenty million dollars somewhere out there. And he would figure out where. He had come too far not to. He would have his money. He might not have Gena, but he’d get that money back, one way or the other. What are you doing, Gena? Of all the dudes out here, why him? Gena had committed the perfect betrayal. If Quadir didn’t know any better, he’d swear she was in cahoots with Jerrell. No, she loved me, didn’t she?

  “Are you okay?” Amelia asked, lightly touching Quadir’s shoulder.

  “No, I’m not. I’m really not.”

  “Seriously, let me hire someone to help you get your money back.”

  “Not yet; not right now. She already has Philly PD on her, and if you hire a PI then it’ll look like a damn caravan going down the street. I just need to change up my tactics and I need to switch cars too.”

  “You can use the Jeep, if you want,” said Amelia, hoping to be helpful. “Just be careful.”

  “I will; don’t worry.”

  “Quadir, don’t you worry. She’ll be back.”

  Quadir thought for a moment, and the truth was that after he saw Gena and Jerrell together, he didn’t know if he wanted her back.

  She’ll be back? Maybe she should stay where she’s at; maybe she don’t need to come back.

  Amelia strolled out of the room while Quadir contemplated his next move. He would switch cars and push the Range and he would change up his hours. She was hiding the money somewhere and sooner or later she would lead him to it. Either that or Jerrell would, but one way or the other he was going to watch her like a hawk. And watch out for those snooping detective motherfuckers too! I wonder if they’re FBI.

  “Doc!” he hollered as she walked by the living room and into the dining room.

  “Yeah, what’s up?” she asked leaning backward in the doorway.

  “Thanks,” said Quadir.

  “Don’t thank me; I’m just waiting to see this twenty million dollars. Maybe I will let you pay me back,” she said, laughing.

  “I thought you said money could never repay what you had done for me,” said Quadir, trying to match his voice to hers.

  “Are you nuts? Twenty million . . . I’m ready to go out there with you and follow Gena around myself. She’s lucky I got rounds to make or I’d be out there with you. Now, you said you needed the Jeep, right?”

  Sparkles

  That night when Quadir returned to Amelia’s he found her in the kitchen preparing what appeared to be a gourmet homemade meal.

  “Wow, I didn’t know you knew how to cook.”

  “Yup, it’s true; you learn something new about a person every day. See, you never know, right?”

  “I know I’m hungry.”

  “Yeah, well, be patient. This is ver
y serious food I’m preparing. So, how did it go tonight, private eye?”

  “Well, it went. From what I could see, she’s definitely fallen for Jerrell, that’s for sure. She went back to his place. I stayed outside until . . .”

  “Until what?”

  “Until they turned the lights off.”

  “Quadir, I’m so sorry,” said Amelia, as she stopped draining linguini long enough to see the hurt in his face.

  “Hey, I guess that’s life. You know, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose.”

  “Yeah, but sometimes you lose, and you also win, you know?”

  “No, I don’t.”

  “Well, like right now, you feel like you lost, but Quadir, you’re on top, you’re alive, you have the upper hand, and most of all, you know what’s going on around you. Gena might not know, but you do.”

  “How will I get my money back?”

  “Now that, I don’t know. Have you ever thought of just simply asking her for it?”

  “Yeah, but now that’s she’s with Jerrell, I don’t want her to see me. I’d rather her just think I’m dead.”

  Amelia looked at Quadir as he lowered his head. She understood how he felt and wanted to do whatever she could to make him feel better. But the truth was, there was nothing anyone could do that would make him feel better.

  “Hey, want to play cards?”

  “I don’t much feel like playing cards.”

  “Well, let’s eat; dinner’s ready.”

  After dinner Amelia cleaned up the kitchen and loaded the dirty dishes into the dishwasher. Quadir retired to the living room where he turned on the news. He sat on the sofa where he fell asleep.

  Just then, Gena knocked at the door. Amelia entered the living room and let Quadir know she was there.

  “Let her in.”

  Gena walked into the living room where Quadir was. Their eyes met and Quadir took her hands into his. “I love you.”

  “I love you, too, Quadir. I’m so glad you’re okay. Now we can be together.”

  Quadir took her into his arms and caressed the back of her neck, cradling her head in the palm of his hand. He kissed her mouth ever so gently. Their lips locked as they had so long ago. At that moment Quadir realized it was Amelia he was holding and not Gena.

  “I want you, Quadir; I want to be with you.”

  “Amelia, there’s no turning back. You understand? No turning back.”

  “I understand,” she said.

  In her heart she knew exactly what he was saying. There was no turning back. There was only the forward motion of them together.

  Their lips locked tightly as Quadir moved, swiftly covering her body with his. His hands pulled up her shirt as his fingers caressed her breasts. With each breath he took, she breathed in unison, and she could feel his hard penis through his clothing pressing against her mound. He moved his hand down to her pants and unbuttoned them, pulling them down, freeing one leg at a time. How he had gotten his clothes off was beyond her; all Amelia knew was that she was ready. Ready to be with him, ready to make love to him, and ready to be loved by him. There was nothing she wouldn’t do for him, nothing. She had already proven that by saving his life, and risking her career by faking his death.

  They made love for hours and when they were done it was as if the memory of Gena had been completely erased. The only thing on his mind was how he was going to get his money back.

  Maybe Amelia is right; maybe I should just ask her for it.

  Rik hurried into the restaurant, closing his umbrella at the door. The weather outside was beyond dreadful. Rain fell from the sky like a monsoon. Rik took off his raincoat, folded it over his arm, and walked to the maître d’.

  “Table for one, sir?” she asked.

  “No, I’m with the Santero party.”

  “Oh, he’s already here. I just showed him in a minute ago.”

  The hostess grabbed a menu and started for the table. “Follow me, please, and I’ll show you to your table.”

  She led Rik to the table where his dinner guest was waiting.

  “Rik, what’s happening, my man?” Tony rose and embraced him tightly. “Here, have a seat.”

  Rik took the seat across from Tony.

  “Have the waitress bring us a bottle of your finest wine, please,” Tony told the maître d’. He waited until she departed and then took his seat again. “Rik, my man, how are you?”

  Rik shook his head. “Not good, Tony. Not too good.”

  Tony waved him off. “We’ll make it all better, my man.”

  “I don’t know.”

  “Don’t worry. Just wait until you hear the proposal we have for you.”

  The waitress arrived with the wine and two glasses. “Are you ready to order, sir?”

  “What would you like to eat, Rik?” Tony asked.

  Rik shrugged. “Um, let me do the filet, medium well, butterfly cut, with the creamed spinach and mashed potatoes. And, also, let me get a Caesar salad to start.”

  “And for you, sir?” the waitress asked Tony.

  “You know what, I’ll have the filet well done, butterfly cut, but Oscar that with a side of the sweet potato casserole, please. And I’ll take a Caesar salad also.”

  “Very well, sir.” The waitress nodded, removed the menus from the table, and disappeared.

  “Here is what we have in mind,” Tony continued. “Twenty keys a week. We front you half, you pay for the other half up front. You don’t have to pay for the front until the following week when we drop you off another ten.”

  “Damn. That’s sweet.”

  Tony smiled. “I told you we’d take good care of you.”

  “Good, because I’ma need a little help.”

  Tony lifted an eyebrow. “What kinda help?”

  “I’ma need an extension on what I owe you.”

  Tony recoiled. “An extension? What kinda extension?”

  “Well, really, I was hoping that you could spot me some dope, and let me work off what I owe you.”

  “Work off what you owe us? Are you telling me that you don’t have the money, Rik?”

  “I got busted, Tony. You already know this. The cops hit my stash house and found the shit.”

  Tony looked down and shook his head gravely. “That’s not our problem, Rik. You know how we operate.”

  “Man, that shit was beyond my control. I got busted. Man, c’mon.”

  “Rik, I know the way my uncle thinks. His first question is going to be, if the cops found the dope, then why are you out on the streets? That’s a question that you don’t want him to ask. Because he’s not going to understand all of the legal technicalities involved. The first thing that is going to come to his mind is that you’ve rolled over. And that would be something that would be very bad for you.”

  “I didn’t roll over; you know that. I would never do nothing like that. They threw the case out because the snitch turned up dead.”

  “But you’re saying that they found the dope.”

  “Yeah, in a house rented under a fake name. They couldn’t trace it back to me; they just knew that me and the homeboys met there sometimes. That’s what got the house raided. But they couldn’t put the dope on any specific individual.”

  Tony smiled. “Rik, my uncle’s old school. He ain’t gonna understand all of that legal mumbo jumbo bullshit. He’s gonna want his money, or he’s gonna want you in prison because of that dope, or he’s gonna want you dead.”

  “Man, I’m not trying to fuck over anybody. I just need more time, and some more work to get it all back to you.”

  “Do you hear yourself? You’re asking for more work, without paying us for the work we’ve already given you. After you’re telling us that you got busted with that previous work, but you’re still out on the streets. Do you hear this shit?”

  “You know it’s true.”

  “Rik, we are men, aren’t we? Let’s talk like men. Because there is much truth that you speak, and I believe you, Rik. If I didn’t, we wouldn
t be sitting here. But this is the problem, Rik. Quadir fronted you a lot of product before he was killed. Do you remember that?”

  Rik thought quietly for a moment, knowing exactly where Tony was going with his conversation.

  “And for what I know, Quadir passed to you at least two hundred keys, my friend, at least that much, maybe more. And you paid little to nothing back. Quadir died and you walked with all that coke and all that money. Rik, now you have nothing. Wow, my friend, you had it all. You had it all.” Tony exhaled and shook his head. “Here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to pretend like we never had this conversation. I’m going to pretend like I haven’t gotten around to picking up the money that you owe us. I’m going to stall, and try to buy you a little time. In the meantime, I suggest you do whatever the hell it is that you need to do to come up with that money. My uncle is not going to understand. If I can’t collect from you after a certain period of time, he’s going to send a fucking hit squad over to wipe the streets up with your ass; it’s nothing personal, just business. Get the money.”

  Tony rose, pulled out a wad of money, and threw several hundred-dollar bills onto the table. “Enjoy the meal. Then go home and get some rest. You look like shit.”

  Rik lowered his head into his palms as Tony disappeared.

  He knew that he had to come up with the money, and he knew that Tony was serious about what his uncle would do if he didn’t. He just needed time. A little bit of time, and a little bit of dope to work. He could hit the streets and make miracles happen, if only he had a little bit to work with.

  Rik scratched his head. Truth be told, he didn’t know how much time he had. I wonder how long Tony can stall his uncle. Even if I had some coke, I might not have the time I need to flip it. No, I definitely need to pay Tony. But how? I need some major coins to build my stash back up and get the Santeros off my ass. Rik knew that he would have to dust off his pistol and jack someone. Damn, who’s holding these days that I might stick? Most ballers like that had an entourage and bodyguards. And none of them would let him borrow that kind of dough. Hold up; wait a minute. A light suddenly went off in his brain. Actually, he did know someone who would let him borrow that kind of dough. She had offered it to him once before. There was no doubt that she would offer it again. Gena; she’s holdin’ all Quadir’s loot. She’s the one, the missing piece to my puzzle.

 
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