Become a Fan
The Air We Wear
By Alonda Alloway
Friday, August 05, 2005
Rated "PG13" by the Author.
Sometimes we meet people whom we assume have it all - wealth, a loving family, big house, nice cars, the works. But sometimes it takes certain situations to happen in order for us to find out the truth - the person you admired all along was only putting on airs....
She watched the clock like an excited little girl waiting for her daddy to come home from work. Three hours had passed since she last spoke to him. He was her world, at least for the moment. She didn’t know what the future would hold, neither did he. Life was spontaneous and carefree in their quaint little Tennessee suburb. The cost of living was minuscule compared to their swollen bank statements.
She looked out of the wall of windows overlooking the backyard, contemplating whether or not she should take a few laps in the pool before the kids came in from school and he came in from making more money.
She walked outside with the digital, cordless phone. She was anticipating a call to come from him within the next couple of minutes. He was so predictable. She laughed at his comfortable corniness.
“Ring” the phone rang right on time.
“Hey baby, I’m on my way,” Tyler stated with a smile she could hear through the phone.
“See you then,” Liz replied in the same manner, tone, and words she uses each weekday at 4:00 pm.
Tyler liked routines, so she went along with him. If that was the most he expected from her to make him happy, then she was more than willing to comply. After all, he provided her and the children with stability and a very comfortable lifestyle.
Liz placed the phone on the patio table and stripped down to her naturalness. She deeply inhaled the fresh clean air whose crispness often reminded her of the crisp hundred dollar bills Tyler kept in his nightstand. She dove into the pool and immediately sank to the bottom. She sat there trying to think of reasons why she should come back up to the top. Her mind was blank.
‘Not for my parents. Not for my siblings. Not for Tyler. Not even for the money,’ she thought.
Then she remembered the kids would be home soon. She didn’t want them to find her naked, floating in the pool. She finally floated up, swam back to the pool’s ledge and climbed out. She gathered her things and went into the master bedroom to redress.
“Hey dahlings,” she said with open arms as they climbed down the school bus stairs.
Eric and Erica walk up the driveway toward their mother. Liz prided herself on her children. Everyone always complimented them on their manners. She always made sure they were well groomed. They were her prizes after all. Without them, she wouldn’t be able to live so lavishly. Well, she could, but having them put even more in her pocket.
Tyler drove up at that moment, making the scene even more picturesque. One happy, perfect family is what the neighbors saw as they drove by waving from their luxury cars and SUVs. None of them knew that Liz and Tyler weren’t married. No one knew that the kids were not Tyler’s, not even Tyler knew that. No one knew that Liz was a scheming, gold digging, former runaway who slept her way into the money she flaunted. And no one knew when Liz was going to flip the script and get into a new role and a new life, especially not Tyler.
Elizabeth Marie Howard grew up in the cold streets of Chicago. Her parents were addicts - addicted to whatever they could get their hands on for the week. The family lived here and there, from pillar to post, running and hiding, dipping and diving until the state stepped in and cut all that irresponsible parenting out. They used so many aliases, Liz couldn't even remember her siblings real names. She was very young when she was taken away and had so many families in between that is all seemed a blur in adulthood. What was real? What was made up? What was a fantasy? She really wasn’t sure. So how could she pass her history on to her own seeds? She couldn’t. She never would.
Liz was a great cook. She often hosted parties and cooked all the food herself instead of hiring caterers. Tyler loved the homemaker instincts his woman possessed. He thought she was the ideal mate - beautiful, intelligent, faithful, a great cook, kept the house spotless, a great mother, a great lover, and she was into sports. What man wouldn’t want to spend their lives with her? His boys were envious. How come they couldn’t find someone like her? Tyler couldn’t complain at all. The only thing he didn’t understand was why she didn’t want to marry him. They had been together for over five years and had two children. What was wrong with marriage? She told him that she never knew of anyone who had a successful marriage and didn’t want to jinx their situation. He tried to understand. Instead, she insisted that they just let people believe they were married if they assumed so. She wore a band and he wore the matching set. That was all to it.
Even though Tyler’s income was sufficient for their maintenance, Liz insisted on working. Nothing too major, just a little gig to put something extra in her Coach bag. She held a job as a waitress at a truck stop for several years off and on. Of course, none of their associates were aware of this. Initially, Tyler objected to his woman being in a seedy spot with desperate truckers. But Liz won him over explaining that the work kept her grounded and in touch with the “real people.” Besides, that was the same place where they had met. Liz was on duty and Tyler just stopped off to use the facilities, until he spotted the gorgeous Elizabeth and decided to order something on the menu so she would have to talk to him. The rest was history.
“Baby, are you sure this dress is okay for the party?” Liz asked while checking her appearance for the umpteenth time.
“I told you that you look fabulous, breathtaking, irresistible, scrumptious, and phat. Is that enough? Can we go now?” Tyler spit out in one breath.
“Fat? “ Liz screeched. “Do you mean fat or phat?” She asked acting out both descriptives.
“I’m not saying another word. Just wait until everyone sees you and you’ll hear the comments from them,” he said exasperated by Liz’s obvious need for compliments. She was usually very confident about her appearance when she went out. Tonight seemed different.
The couple arrived at the party fashionably late with all eyes on them as usual. They made a handsome pair. No one could deny that.
“Liz. Tyler. How good to see you,” Andrea, the hostess stated, taking them both by their right hands and kissing their right cheeks. “I’m so glad y’all could make it.”
“We wouldn’t miss this for the world,” Tyler replied flashing his freshly, dentist-cleaned teeth.
Just then, he spots an acquaintance and excused himself from the ladies.
“So how are you holding up after all this planning?” Liz asked with a concerned expression on her face.
“Girl,” Andrea got real. “I’ll be so damn glad when this is all over and these people get the hell out of my house.” She looked around to make sure no one was listening but spoke lower anyway. “I don’t trust half these bitches in here. They’re all gold digging parasites trying to sink their claws into anyone of my husband’s teammates whether they ride the bench or not.” Andrea grabbed two glasses of Chardonnay from the hired help and gave one to Liz before she began again. “I know you and Tyler have a solid marriage so you have nothing to worry about. But girl, these chicks are so trifling. I bet there’s at least one here that has eyes on my man and it’s our anniversary party,” she finished off with a sip.
Liz giggled. “Nobody better not be disrespecting you. Just let me know. I’ll take off these diamonds and this three thousand-dollar dress and get the Vaseline.”
Andrea laughed out loud. “I needed that,” she said taking another sip. “See, that’s why you’re my girl.”
The doorbell rang and Andrea excused herself. “Go say hi to Ted. He should be in the theater getting the slide show together.”
Liz took a swig of Chardonnay, even though she wasn’t much of a drinker. She had to get her mind right before she spoke to Ted. She walked through a small cluster of four women standing together looking hoochiefied. ‘Humph,’ Liz thought. ‘They don’t even know how to dress for these types of affairs.’
She made sure she walked right in between the clique, so they could see her and know they were out of their league. She marveled at the fact that when she walked by a group of women, she usually became their new topic of conversation. It happened with the men too. But having other women admire you was the ultimate compliment.
She took two shots to the head too many before she walked into the massive theater room to greet Ted.
“Andrea told me to come say hi to you,” she said with a rattle in her voice.
Ted looked up from the projector and gave Liz a once over. “Oh. Hey.”
“Hey baby, come check this out,” Tyler yells from the front row of the theater seats, invisible to Liz.
She exhaled slowly and walked towards her man. “What is it?”
He patted the double seat next to him. “Wouldn’t it be nice to have a room like this?” he asked holding her waist.
“Yes, it sure would.”
Monday morning rolled around like a tire on a racecar in the last heap. Liz had been up before everyone as usual, preparing breakfast, setting out everybody’s outfits and snacks. She had sent her family off with little notes hidden in their coat pockets just to remind them that she loved them. She only did that every so often. She didn’t want them to get so accustomed to the love notes that they ended up taking them for granted. Whenever Tyler found her notes, he would always call her up and tell Liz that he loved her too.
After everyone was off to their weekly routines of going to work or school, Liz headed off to the home office to work herself. The day’s task was debt collection.
“Yeah, nigga. You got my money?”
“Cherry, I told you I’d have the money available to you at noon,” Edward whispered into the phone.
Liz didn’t forget the arrangement; she just didn’t want him to forget. “Okay, I’ll be at your office at 12 noon on the dot.”
“Now, are...are you sure this will take care of it? You...you...promised that my wife is not going to find out about this,” he stuttered nervously.
Liz rolled her eyes. “She won’t. And like we agreed, it’s over after I got it done. I won’t call you and you won’t call me,” she stated matter-of-factly.
“Ok cool. I hope you understand. But wife is very special to me. I don’t ever want to hurt her.” Edward said with much emotion. Funny how almost getting caught makes a person realize how they shouldn’t have been messing around in the first place.
“I understand,” Liz said painting her toenails. “I know it’s going to be hard for me but I think it’s best that we get the abortion and forget all about our relationship.” She knew she should’ve become an actress.
“Take care Cherry.”
“You too,” Liz whimpered out like he was about to cry. Liz hung up to dial three more numbers of married or engaged men.
“One down, three to go,” she said out loud to herself while waiting on her next victim to answer his cell. By 9:30 am she had four debt collection appointments for the day. By the time Tyler and the children were back home, she’d have at least $5,000 cash stashed in a tampon box in her cabinet in the master bathroom.
Liz was a businesswoman. And scheming men was her business. She laughed whenever she thought about how vulnerable she could make a man with just two words - I’m pregnant. But not just any man. It was too many diseases out there for that. That was just too nasty. It had to be safe men - attached men - preferably wealthy, married men. She figured they’d be the safest and the ones with the most to lose. She made them all wear condoms, but she’d tell them that it must have broken or had holes or something. She’d freak out. They would too. None of them questioned her about it. They were so worried about their indiscretions getting back to their wives that details weren’t important. She’d have them in the palms of her hands - just like the hush money she'd take from them to get the fake abortions. After the so-called procedure was over, they’d never hear from her again. Well, most of them didn’t.
“Hi. I’m Cherry Lopez. I'm here to see Mr. McIntyre.” Sunglasses in place to cover her fake puffy from crying eyes.
“Oh, hello Ms. Lopez. Mr. McIntyre is out of the office but he told me to give you this packet,” Edward’s Administrative Assistant reached into a file cabinet, pulled out a letter size envelope, and handed it to Liz. “He said he hopes you find the specs to your liking.”
Liz smiled and took the envelope. “Thank you, I’m sure they will be fine. Have a wonderful day.”
“You too,” the assistant said in a perky, naive manner.
Liz opened the envelope when she settled into her Volvo XC90. She smiled after counting out her profit and drove off. She knew Edward’s punk ass was probably watching her out of his office window. She wiped her eyes for effect. Then laughed when she got to the expressway. Edward had thrown in an extra $1,500 just to make sure Cherry, um Liz, stayed happy and quiet.
Liz’s cell phone rang to the tune of Beyonce’s hit “Baby Boy.” She retrieved the Nextel flip front the passenger seat. “Hey sweetie. How’s your day so far?”
“Great. I just found your note while I was out to lunch with some co-workers. Thanks baby,” Tyler said smiling as usual.
“You’re welcome,” she parked the truck in the Nordstrom’s parking deck.
“I’ll call you later. We’re about to start the meeting.”
“Ok, I’m in Nordstrom’s. Is there anything you would like in particular?” Liz asked in her sweetest homemaker voice.
“You know I’d love whatever you pick out for me. You know me so well.”
“That, I do,” Liz whistled and closed the flip. She tossed her high priced phone into her high priced bag, stepped out of her high priced vehicle and into the high priced store to buy new panties for her high priced ass.
“So where is the beautiful Elizabeth off to this weekend?” Mr. Mills asked putting his suitcase down in the foyer.
“Good to see you too, Dad,” Tyler joked lightheartedly. He bear hugged his father and kissed his mother. “She went off for a weekend with her girls. They’re heading to Las Vegas this time. Try their luck at gambling.”
Mother Mills remained silent as she listened to the men and looked around her son’s grandiose great room. She was proud of her son; proud of all her children. They were all successful in their careers and with their respective families. She and her husband, both retired educators, made sure they brought their children up with values, self-esteem, and a purpose in life. She approved of all her children’s spouses and the way in which they choose to raise their own children.
Liz had been in their lives for half a decade and there was still something that seemed odd about her to Mother Mills. Although she let everyone believe that she adored Liz, only her husband knew the truth.
“Grandma! Grandpa!” Eric and Erica ran in from their playroom with their arms wide open.
“There’s my favorite grandchildren,” Mother Mills said hugging them both.
“Grandma,” Erica began. “You say that to all your grandchildren.”
“And I mean it to every one.”
“Ok guys. Go wash up. It’s time for dinner,” Tyler instructed the kids.
“Already?” Mr. Mills whined.
“Yes Dad," Tyler whined back. “I wanted to have the kids eat and get ready for bed so you wouldn’t have much to do.”
“Oh please boy. We raised you and your brothers and sisters. I think we know what we’re doing.” Mother Mills reminded her youngest child.
“Yeah, but that was so long ago,” said Tyler as he ducked to avoid his mother’s pillow throw.
“Okay,” Mr. Mills stepped in to referee. “That’s enough. Now what time are you and Ted going out?”
“Actually, we’re going to watch the fight in Ted’s home theater with a few more guys.”
“A home theater, huh?” Mr. Mills imagined what that must look like. He’d seen one of those on MTV Cribs when he was channel surfing. He had known Ted since he was about 7-years-old, when Tyler and Ted were on the same little league football team. He never thought that one day Ted would be a big time running back in the NFL and have a home theater to top it off.
“...well, if it’s alright with Mom,” Tyler finished.
“That’s fine with me, “Mother Mills stated. “Plus, it will give me more time with my grandchildren.”
“Ok Dad. Be ready by eight. I have a few client calls to make and then I’ll be ready to go.” Tyler exited the room and headed to the home office.
Mr. Mills had missed the conversation. He didn’t want to ask where he was supposed to be going. If he asked, they might think he was getting senile or something. He’d just be ready and find out later. Then he remembered they were talking about Tyler going over to Ted’s. ‘Oh, that must be it. I’m going to Ted’s theater.’
She walked around admiring the changes Liz and Tyler had made since her last visit seven months ago. Since the Mills retired, they made sure they stayed active and involved in their grandchildren’s lives. They also made sure that they were able to help out their children as well. For the past three years, once a month, they would go visit one of their children for a week. During their weekly visits, they encouraged their children and their spouses to go out and spend time together without the kids. The Mills weren’t able to contribute financially but they hoped this gesture would be appreciated just the same.
The home office was too fierce - two desks, two computers, two loveseats. It looked like something out of a magazine. She entered bare feet on the cold hardwood floors. She figured out that the desk closest to the door must have been Tyler’s. It was half covered with stock information, various business publications, and rental receipt booklets. She smiled just thinking about how Tyler’s investment knowledge made him the success that he was. Not only did he own his own investment firm, he owned several properties which he rented out to low-income families and would usually sell the homes to the tenants if they were making efforts to uplift themselves. He was a good man. She hoped Liz appreciated him as much as she did.
Then there was the other desk in the room - a contrast of contents from Tyler’s desk. Liz’s desk held fashion magazines, hairstyle magazines, and lifestyle magazines.
“Damn, all these quick read magazines. Can the girl read a book?” Mother Mills questioned the air.
She looked around and saw Liz’a appointment book opened to the previous day. No appointments were listed only dots by certain hours. ‘Humph. That’s odd,’ Mother Mills thought. She carefully thumbed through the upcoming months: nothing listed. She fingered through the past couple of months. Some dates also had dots. Some had actual appointments: beauty shop, nail salon, and several for acupuncture. Mother Mills left the room thinking. ‘Here my son is making the money and there she goes spending it.’
Mother Mills continued upstairs to turn back the children’s beds. She thought it would be easier to just put them in the beds without having to hold a kid and try to move the covers at the same time. She walked by the huge family portrait in the stairway. “They do make a beautiful family though.”
She was greeted by a laundry basket full of cleaned folded clothes when she reached the second floor. ‘Liz must’ve left these for Tyler to do.’ She picked up the basket and began distributing the clothes to their respective rooms.
Erica’s room was the last for distribution. Mother Mills turned down the sheets and then put her tiny underwear into the drawer. After attempts to close the drawer failed twice, Mother Mills pulled the drawer out to see what was blocking the closure.
“Uh oh. Erica’s about to lost some jewelry.” She grabbed the signature blue Tiffany’s box and opened it to view the necklace. Two folded pieces of paper were tucked inside instead. Mother Mills opened the first one: Erica’s birth certificate. She glanced over it and opened the second paper: Eric’s birth certificate. She glanced over it as well until she came across a typo.
“His birth date is off by a day.” She couldn’t fathom how Liz and Tyler didn’t catch the mistake. Then, her eyes locked. Her jaw dropped.
Father: Theodore Hammond. She shook her head to clear her eyes.
Father: Theodore Hammond. She read it again.
Father: Theodore Hammond. She sat flat on her butt and stared off into space.
Minutes after regaining her mental capabilities, she looked back at Erica’s birth certificate; carefully this time. The birth date was just like her brother’s - a day off. She gulped, afraid to look at the father’ section. She did.
Father: Calvin Brown. “Huh?”
Father: Calvin Brown.
She knew that NAME. She KNEW that name. Where did she know that name? She knew it, just as sure as she knew Theodore “Ted” Hammond. Calvin? She couldn’t place it.
She panicked. What should she do? Who should she tell? Should she confront Liz? Tell Tyler? Call her husband to come back. It was an emergency. No, that would only make Tyler come too. She needed time. Maybe it was a fake. But why would someone make a fake birth certificate? She knew it was something about Liz with no past, no family, and no history.
She’d get the kids DNA tests. No, there was no time for that. Liz would be back Monday morning. The family always joked that those kids didn’t favor Tyler. She’d ask Ted? No, that would mess up his friendship with Tyler if it were just a hoax. She knew. She’d keep it to herself and God would let her know what to do.
‘Yeah, that’s it,’ she thought. God would handle it. She was confident. She felt a sudden relief come over her.
“Mom, what are those papers?”
She looked up and saw Tyler in the frame of the door with his father right behind him.
Thursday afternoon came too soon for Liz. She loved Tyler’s parents but from afar. She had her Vegas vacation extended a day just to avoid sharing space with them a little longer. That way, she would only have three days with them.
She had called Tyler Sunday evening to make sure it was okay for her to stay an extra day. He told her to take all the time she needed. He was great that way. Besides, his parents were there to help him with the kids, he reminded her.
The extra day came in handy to both parties. Liz was able to relax and come up with more wealth building strategies while trying her hand at craps. And Tyler and his parents were working on a plan of their own.
Liz insisted on taking a car service home from the airport. She really didn’t want the Mills driving her new truck and Tyler would already be at work, so he couldn’t pick her up. Besides, the car service ride made her feel important. She liked the chauffeured elegance. She returned home and saw Tyler’s Lexus sedan parked in the driveway. She figured that Tyler’s parents must have driven him to work just so they could drive in such luxury.
The driver took Liz’s bags to the front door and stood aside waiting for payment of his services. Liz happily paid with a hundred-dollar bill and told him to keep the change. She waited until he drove off before she moved. She didn’t want the driver to see her open the door with her key implying that she lived there. She always took those types of precautions. Just in case someone wanted to come back and find her or something.
When the driver was out of view, she took her key out to unlock the door. It didn’t unlock. She took the key out of the door, looked at it, and put it in again. The door swung open before she could even turn the key, startling Liz.
“Tyler? What are you doing here?”
“I was going to ask you the same thing.”
“What?” Liz was confused. No ‘hey baby, I missed you’ hug and kiss. He just turned around and walked towards the great room.
“Tyler,” Liz yelled. “Come help me bring in my bags. They’re too heavy for me to carry all by myself.”
“Leave them there,” his voice was stern.
Liz wasn’t used to that tone coming from Mr. Always Cool Tempered. She had to find out what was bothering him. She followed the trail of his bellow. Entering the great room, she immediately saw Mr. and Mrs. Mills sitting on the couch adjacent to the chair that Tyler was sitting in.
‘Oh,’ she thought. ‘His parents must’ve pissed him off again.’ “Have y’all upset my husband?” Liz asked trying to use her super homemaker voice.
“Husband?” Mother Mills huffed. “Chick please.”
“Tyler?” Liz turned towards him. She just knew he didn’t tell them that they really didn’t get married years ago when they went to the Bahamas and returned telling everyone they had made it official. Why would he want to hurt them like that?
Tyler just starred at her with pained eyes, heaving chest, and tapping fingers.
“Mr. Mills, can you please tell me what’s going on?” Liz knew he would be the rational one. He always sided with her when sides needed to be taken.
“I think you should be telling us sweetheart,” Mr. Mills replied before heading to the front window.
Sweetheart. He still called her sweetheart, so things couldn’t be that bad.
Tyler finally broke the silence by standing and opening his mouth. He then closed his mouth, shook his head, and sat again.
“Ok, this is getting weird,” Liz said nervously before she turned to walk towards the kitchen.
“Elizabeth!” the heart-broken Tyler screamed, scaring everyone. “Come clean right now!”
Liz turned back around to face the Mills and their son. She felt her legs shake and sat at the piano stool to control them. “Come clean about what?” She barely spoke louder than a whisper.
Tears began to run down Tyler’s face. “Everything.”
Liz was more confused now. She had plenty to come clean about. Where did they want her to begin? Was there something in particular they wanted to know? What were they talking about? What?
Mother Mills stood up and walked over to her son. He couldn’t go on. At least not at that moment. She had to get the truth out and help her son repair his life from the damage of hurricane Elizabeth.
“Are you or are you not married to my son?”
Tyler was obviously crying holding his head down and covering his face. She couldn’t get any clues how to answer. “Yes, of course.”
“Liar,” Mr. Mills said nonchalantly while looking out of the window across the room. They had forgotten he was there.
“They know Liz,” Tyler sniffles out. “I told them.”
‘So why the hell is he acting like a little bitch,’ she wondered. ‘Tyler is actually crying because his mommy and daddy found out he’s not married. Big friggin’ deal.’ She wished she could say it out loud but she was still living with this man. She didn’t want to bruise his ego. She smirked. “Is that what this is all about?” She stood to go back toward the kitchen.
“Not hardly,” Mother Mills’ commanding finger pointed to the piano stool silently instructed Liz to sit down. Now.
“Is Tyler Eric’s father?”
“Is Tyler Erica’s father?”
Tyler shakes his head.
“Has everyone gone crazy? Yes, he’s their father.” She looks back and forth between Mr. and Mrs. Mills. “Y’all were there when I delivered them.”
“Yeah, but who was there when you conceived them?” Mr. Mills throws out the question still looking the window.
“Okay,” Liz stands. “I’m going to have to ask y’all to leave my house. You don’t come in here working up Tyler telling him some B.S. about those kids not being his. I can’t believe...”
Mother Mills pulls out the Tiffany box and shuts Liz up.
‘Oh shit,’ Liz thinks. ‘How can I get out of this? Oh, I know.’
Just as she began to speak Ted and his wife Andrea walked in the great room. “Liz, tell them that Eric is my son.”
Liz’s jaw dropped.
“Tyler and Andrea, I’m sorry it came out this way. But when I met Liz, she told me her name was Annabelle. We messed around a few times and then she told me she was pregnant. At the time when she told me, I had just met Andrea a month before but I knew I wanted to spend my life with her. I told “Annabelle” that and I never heard from her again until I moved back to Tennessee and hooked back up with my boy Tyler. I realized he had been with Liz for a couple of years and was calling my son his own. I couldn’t tell him the truth.” Andrea held Ted as his eyes began to well up.
Everyone looked at Liz with disgust.
“Well, I didn't even know they were friends. I made a mistake but I never would’ve hurt Tyler by telling him that,” Liz stated defensively forgetting that they had also inquired about her daughter’s father.
Retired wide receiver Calvin Brown and a young modelesque type then joined them in the great room.
Liz nervously shifted in her seat. This was too much. Way too much. “What is this? ‘This Is Your Life Liz,’” she said sarcastically.
“Well, I was in a similar situation with Annabelle,” he chuckles. “I guess that’s the name she uses with pro athletes.”
The model smiled. No one else was amused.
“Well, I was married at the time and I was still acting wild. That’s why she left me.” He put his head down like he was taking a moment of silence.
“Drama king,” Mr. Mills mumbled under his breathe.
“But anyway. We started fucking around and she told me she was pregnant but said she had a live-in boyfriend. Then she told me that she could pass the baby off as his if it turns out to be mine. I was like ‘Cool’ cause I didn’t want my shit fucked up, ya know?” He looked at Mother Mills irritated face. “Oh, excuse my language. But after I got divorced, I tried to find Annabelle Anderson but couldn’t because she never really existed. Then, when Mrs. Mills called me the other day, I packed up my new wife and we got down here as soon as possible. I want to know if Erica is mine. Because if she is, I want legal custody.”
“What?” Liz jumped up.
“We’re seeking custody also,” Andrea chimes in.
Liz started at Andrea and sat back down.
“They are yours,” Tyler said with his head bowed holding a folder, which contained blood type results. It wasn’t as accurate as DNA but it proved that ,according to the doctor, Tyler could not possibly be either child’s father.
Liz’s world was crumpling. Her man, her children. Everything was slipping away. What next? She needed to think. She could take her money out of her accounts and gather her money stashes from around the house and find a new place for herself and the kids. She’d tell Tyler she’d need about a month to get it together. Plus, she could still make money from her appointments. She’ll let the Mills think she was defeated now, but she knew Tyler would eventually let her come back. He was whipped.
“Okay,” she stood. “Y’all got me. I was wrong. I've hurt a lot of people. I just need to speak with my hus...I mean Tyler for a few moments please.” She spoke with authority like she had the right to do so.
No one budged except for Mr. Mills. He finally left his post at the window and walked to the front door and opened it. Two officers strolled in with expressionless glances looking at everyone’s face. Tyler stood and shook hands with the male officer first and then the female. He said something that everyone heard except Liz. Her hearing was gone. She was in shock. She didn’t know what was happening. She sat still hoping to wake up from this awful nightmare.
Both officers walked over to Liz. One held a folded document. The other held a pair of handcuffs.
‘They can’t arrest me for this,’ she thought.
The female officer brandished she document. Liz briefly saw the words ‘Restraining Order’ in bold. She looked at Tyler whose face was no longer in agonizing pain. He now looked content.
The male officer cuffed Liz. She looked at the female officer with questionable features. She read the officer’s lips as she said extortion. Liz then saw Tyler take out her very special appointment book and cell phone from the folder he was holding.
‘Damn,’ she thought. She knew she should’ve came back for that phone when she left for the airport on Friday. She wondered which idiot had filed extortion charges against her. It couldn't be many of them. They were all afraid of their wives finding out about their extramarital affairs.
Liz was escorted out of the house by the officers and was greeted by several neighbors standing outside being curious about what was going on.
“Nosy neighbors,” Liz mumbled. She didn’t care if they saw her. They’d never see her again anyway. She wondered if her children were in the house looking out the window. She hoped they were at the babysitter’s house. She didn’t want them to see her being taken away. She flicked her long straight hair back with a head toss and climbed into the back seat of the police cruiser.
Liz sat in the prison library counting down her time to freedom. She then began searching the prison system’s pen pal site as some of the other girls did. She saw lifers that were fine as hell. She shook her head at the wasted men.
She scrolled back. Taron Wilkerson. “Hmmm. He looks good,” she said out loud. She read his profession of innocence that he wrote instead of his interests. She wrote his contact information down with a bolted down crayon on a string. She tucked the paper into her bra, turned off the computer, and stood.
“Guard,” she beckoned to be released from the room. “I’m ready to return to my cell,” she stated. She had a new agenda and a new man to pursue.
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|Reviewed by Reginald Johnson
|An excellent read. The characters pulsate off the pages ... with plots, twists, and dialogue that left me gasping for air ... and begging for more!
Reginald V. Johnson
|Reviewed by Richard Odilu
|This is a great read. You have become one of my favourites.|
|Reviewed by Nicole Claxton
|Really enjoyed the short story as I have your novels. Really like the way Liz is cornered at every angle toward the end. Doesn't pay to do people dirty! You've tied this to Taron Wilkerson from your novels. Anxious to see where you're going with that. Don't keep us (your readers) waiting too long!|
|Reviewed by Phyllis Du'Gas
|I'm blown away! Wow!!!!|
|Reviewed by Dietra McGowan
|Alonda, another exceptional story! I applaud you on your short story...I especially admire the twist at the end. It sounds like the beginning to a sequel. Again, I applaud you, congratulate you, and sit eagerly awaiting your next work of literature.|