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Shanea R Patterson

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Truth Be Told
by Shanea R Patterson   

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Publisher:  Madison Avenue Publishing ISBN-10:  0557252602 Type: 


ISBN-13:  9780557252602

When Diamond Hayes finds herself falling for her child’s father and estranged husband’s best friend, the outcome is anything but good. Don begins to realize that he still loves Diamond after a car accident nearly claims his life. Diamond is torn between her life-long love for Don and the bond that has already been formed with Don’s best friend, Nate. But after Diamond finds out that he may have knocked up some random broad, she loses hope that he will ever change his lying, cheating ways. They are at a standstill and neither of them knows what to do but move on. However, it isn’t as easy as they both thought. When a scheming woman enters Don’s life, Diamond makes it her duty to protect her child’s father—maybe even at the cost of hurting Nate. A web of deceit is carefully weaved once Diamond finds out that her Nate has taken advantage of her best friend. Despite his indiscretions, Nate finds it hard to cope. Will he be able to finally let her go and remain loyal to his life-long friend or will his regrets about going to prison for something Don has done fuel the flames of his blatant envy?

Diamond Hayes and her estranged husband, Don, share a child together, which is the only thing keeping them on cordial terms. However, once her husband's best friend, Nate, is released from prison, he comes walking into her life, giving her more than just butterflies. Her husband's jealousy continues to come in between the two and eventually Nate's dishonesty tears Diamond away from him.


 Meanwhile, Don and his and Diamond's daughter are involved in a car accident that nearly claims their lives. Don finally realizes what's important in life and also realizes that he still loves Diamond. The bond they once shared is rekindled and eventually, Diamond begins to fall for her ex, much to Nate's dismay. So much so that he reveals the fact that one of Don's affairs may have resulted in a love child from another woman. Hurt and feeling betrayed, Diamond decides that she can't go back to that same lifestyle when she was mistreated and cheated on. She also vows to stay away from Nate after he ends up with her best friend. Despite his indiscretions, Nate finds it hard to cope. Will he be able to finally let her go and remain loyal to his life-long friend or will his regrets about going to prison for something Don has done fuel the flames of his blatant envy?


Chapter 8
♥ Angela ♥

I slowly tilted my head back and popped the pills into my mouth, taking a few big gulps from my Fiji water bottle. As soon as the pills slid down my throat, the front door opened and Eric walked in, carrying a manila folder and a shoulder bag, smiling. He stopped short and his smile disappeared.
“I didn’t know you were sick,” he said to me.
“No, I’m not…I just have really bad cramps,” I lied. “Doctor prescribed ‘em.” I nodded in the direction of the pill bottle on the coffee table.
“I’ve never seen you take them,” he told me.
“Yeah, I just filled the prescription today,” I lied again. I felt bad about lying to Eric, but I had to do what I had to do to keep my business private.
“Okay, can I see the bottle?” he asked, suspiciously. Why the hell was he so damn suspicious? Hadn’t I convinced him enough? I closed the small orange bottle and threw it to him. He examined it for a moment and then threw it back to me. “Where’s Jen?”
“I don’t know, why?” I asked.
“Because we need to have a talk about her leaving her underwear all over our bedroom when she goes in there to change,” said Eric.
“Oh, I’m sure she meant to clean up after herself. It’s no big deal.”
“Ange, stop making excuses for her. This pair was underneath my pillow with a note that said, ‘Shhh.’” He put his finger to his lips to add emphasis.
“Are you sure?” I asked him.
“I think I’d recognize them if they were yours, Ange.”
“Well, I’m sure she has a good reason for having done that,” I said, wondering myself what the hell it might’ve been. I had doubted her before and maybe I was right.
“Yeah, well, whatever over-the-top explanation she has, I’d really like to hear it,” Eric said, folding his arms.
Later that day, I stopped by Diamond’s to pick her up so we could go to lunch like she’d promised. She had on this gorgeous Diane Von Furstenberg frock and a cute Nine West clutch to accent it.
“Hey, Ange,” she said, opening the car door as she slowly got in.
“Hey, girl,” I said, slummishly so she’d know something was up.
“Uh-uh, what’s with that greeting, girl? You got your thong too far up your ass, girl? Cuz I know it gotta be something,” Diamond immediately spat out as she closed the car door.
“My fault, D. I just got something on my mind,” I told her.
“So, you gon’ tell me what it is or do I have to choke a bitch out up in here?”
“Yeah, girl. Chillax. I was planning on telling you once we got to the restaurant but since you all down my throat…I think Jen’s trying to seduce Eric.”
“What?! Oh hell no! Girl, I know you kicked her ass out, right?”
“No, I’m not really sure if she really is or what her intentions are exactly,” I told her.
“Well, what makes you think she’s tryna get with him then?” I told her what Eric told me when he got home. “Oh hell to the no! Girl, she lucky it ain’t me. That’s all I got to say, honey,” said Diamond.
“Well, let’s just hope it was an honest mistake,” I said.
“Honest mistake my ass. Honey, you better handle this or I will. And I won’t go easy on the bitch either. We’re supposed to be friends,” said Diamond. I knew that she was just as disappointed in Jen as I was. I could see it written all over her face. She wanted to kill that bitch.

Chapter 9
♦ Diamond ♦

The last couple of years had been rough on me and living off my ex-husband and his alimony checks only made me feel worse. I wanted to get a job, be independent and start living off my own money. I was determined. That was the last string tying me to Don and I was finally gonna cut him loose once and for all.
The first step was to move out of the apartment Don bought for us to live in together as a family, before we split. Starting the next business day, I was gonna get my shit together, find me a job and get an apartment with the savings I had. I was too through with Don and I didn’t think he knew just how through I was.
The next morning, I was sitting at my favorite little brunch café Boulud, eating a cinnamon raisin bagel, accompanied by a tall glass of spring water, when I felt a tap on my shoulder. I spun around in my chair and was somewhat delighted to see Nate standing there with a muffin and a cup of coffee in his hands.
“I saw you over here and I thought I’d buy you breakfast to make up for the other morning,” said Nate.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“When I made you mad, you know, the morning after the club,” said Nate. “I shouldn’t have slept over or allowed myself to get comfortable and everything.”
“No, it was nice of you to have done what you did, Nate,” I told him. “Sit down.” He slowly placed the muffin and cup of coffee in front of me, then took the seat across from me at the square-shaped table. “Look, I…I overreacted and I didn’t mean to blow up at you like that.”
“You’re forgiven,” said Nate.
“And thank you for your attempt at a truce. This muffin looks good as hell,” I laughed as I picked it up and took a bite out of it to show him I accepted it and his apology.
“Ay, I just didn’t want no problems,” said Nate. “So, we cool?”
“We cool,” I said, smiling at him.
“Good,” said Nate. “I gotta go. Catch you later.”
“Bye,” I said, still sitting gracefully in my seat as I waved good-bye to Nate. He smiled and got up to leave. I couldn’t deny the fact that the brotha was fine, but he was my ex’s best friend. There was no way I could act on what I was feeling. Even though I didn’t owe Don a goddamn thing and it would have served him right to have me get with Nate, betraying him the way he’d done to me a thousand times before, wasn’t my style. I had respect for my daughter’s father even though he sure as hell didn’t deserve it. But like I said before, I had love for the man, despite my brain’s efforts to wake me the hell up and realize that he should’ve lost that love and respect a long time ago.
A few hours later, I went by my mother’s house to pick up Mayoree. She and her grandma were supposed to be having a ladies’ day out while I looked for an apartment and a job. Unfortunately, I hadn’t found anything as of yet, so it was back to the place I had to call home for now. Something told me this wasn’t going to be easy.
As soon as Mayoree and I got home, the phone was ringing off the hook. I knew it had to be one of two people. My mom, calling to tell me I’d forgotten something at her house, or my girl Ange, ready to light into me about not calling her back the other night.
“Hello?” I answered without looking at the caller ID.
“Hey, it’s Nate.”
“Hey, what’s up?” I asked, pleasantly surprised.
“Well, I have my nephew for the day and we were gonna head to the batting cages. I was wondering if you and Mayoree wanted to join us,” said Nate. Wow, he was certainly being bold about it.
“Let me ask Mayoree,” I said, holding the mouthpiece of the receiver. “Mayoree, you wanna go to the batting cages?”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah!” she cried. “Batting cages! Yeah, Mommy!”
“Okay, I guess that’s a yes,” I said into the phone.
“Okay. Pick you girls up at noon?”
“Sounds like a plan,” I said, before hanging up the phone, unable to keep from smiling.

Chapter 10
♥ Angela ♥

“No, it’s over, Eric. If you want that piece of trash I used to call a friend, you can have her! Your shit better be out by noon or you won’t be seein’ it anymore,” I yelled at his lying, cheating ass.
“Ange, it’s not what it looks like. I was just getting out of the shower and she—”
“No, you have some nerve to lie to my face when I gave you everything and you shit on me!”
“No, I didn’t. She wasn’t here before I got in the shower and when I get out, she’s half naked lying in our bed, pretending to be asleep. She set me up. Why can’t you believe me? We’ve never had trust issues before she came to stay here. She’s a fucked up friend for doing this to you and I hope you somehow realize what a big mistake you’re making, Angela.” He snatched his keys off the dresser and stormed out of the apartment. As soon as he was gone, I broke down and cried, the disgusting scene replaying in my mind over and over again. I couldn’t believe how stupid I had been to ignore all the signs that Jen was trying to sleep with Eric. I was through with them both and as soon as I got in touch with Diamond, I would let her know what the tramp had done. She was just lucky she had fled the apartment while I was yelling at Eric cause she woulda gotten one hell of an ass whoopin’!
For the next few days, I was like a zombie. All I did was lie in bed, barely ate, slept all day, was up all night and I thought about everything that had gone down. I hadn’t even told Diamond yet, but I didn’t feel up to it cause I knew Diamond. I knew all she would do was get amped to go find the bitch and kick her ass. And all I felt like doing was crying and lying in bed all day.
I was getting ready for my jog on Sunday morning, strapping my iPod to my arm, stretching. I wanted to work off my anger and frustrations by jogging a mile more than my usual mile and a half. I put my hair up and prepared to take off running, but was pulled back by a strong arm.
“Are you trying to kill yourself?” asked the deep male voice. I shot a glance at the traffic and hadn’t realized I was about to run out in front of a huge truck.
“Oh my God! I’m so out of it, I didn’t even see it coming,” I told the tall, light-skinned Q-from-Day-26-look-alike. With dimples and a fade, he was looking good as hell. But even with him in my face, my thoughts drifted back to Eric and how bad he’d made me feel. Made me think I could have been subconsciously trying to kill myself over the misery I couldn’t stop myself from being engulfed in.
“Bad relationship?” he asked.
“Something like that,” I told him. “Well, thank you for, uh…what you did.”
“Couldn’t just stand around and let a pretty lady like yourself walk out into traffic like that.” I laughed and admired his beautiful hazel eyes. “I couldn’t live with myself.” I smiled up his 5’’11’ frame.
“Well, thanks again,” I said. I put my iPod earphones back in my ears and took off running without waiting around for a reply. The last thing I needed in my life at that point was another man. I didn’t even bother to stick around and find out his name. I didn’t have the energy to deal with anyone at the moment.
After my two and a half mile jog, I was dog tired. I felt like collapsing right there in the living room of my apartment, but I was too sweaty to just lie down, so I hopped in the shower, playing my iPod on the new shower dock I’d recently purchased. The soothing sounds of Whitney blared through the speakers as I rinsed away my sorrows and tried to forget everything. Whitney was singing to my problems. Now that I had the place to myself, I felt like I could do what I wanted and be free to do whatever without needing the approval of anyone.
And after all that healing I’d done, I felt like going out. So, I called Diamond and told her I wanted to go clubbing, but didn’t tell her what happened with Eric and Jen. She agreed to go since Don had Mayoree and picked me up a few minutes later.
Her hair was down in drop curls and rouge lipstick decorated her full lips and matched the red Oscar de la Renta halter dress she wore with her Christian Louboutin stilettos. Diamond knew how to dress when we went out. She always had to look her best and I admired her for that.
“What you waitin’ for, honey? We got hearts to break!” Diamond yelled from the driver’s seat as I walked towards the car, trying to hold my laughs in. My girl could always make me laugh no matter how bad I was feeling. That’s one thing I could count on with her.
“I’m coming,” I said, opening her car door sporting a belted sheath in champagne and a pair of Michael Antonio Cael sandals. I wore my hair up in a half ponytail and carried a Billabong clutch.

We arrived at the club in Diamond’s Benz with all eyes on us. We parked around the corner and walked up to the entrance like the bad bitches we knew we were. And we got right in. Shit, we should have. We looked fly as hell.
They were playing Pop Champagne when we walked in and we headed straight to the bar. I ordered a dry Margarita and Diamond got an Apple Martini. As we sipped our drinks, we scanned the club for suitable men to dance with. I spotted one guy in a Coogi jumpsuit with fresh braids and an edge-up, standing around a group of people like he wanted to get in with them, but he had no one to do it with.
“Ooh, look at that one,” said Diamond, pointing to a Flava Flav wanna-be trying to spit it to a white girl. “He is hopeless.” We both fell out laughing before we decided to kick it solo on the dance floor until someone stepped to us.
Finishing our drinks, we headed for the livest spot in the club and got in with the crowd, doing every dance from the Pop Lock and Drop it to the Shoulder Lean. My girl and I were gettin’ down and I was really having a good time. And to tell the truth, I didn’t think about Eric or Jen that entire night. I felt better than I had in the previous weeks. I felt freer and more alive than I had in a very long time and I had no doubt that it was due to the fact that I had tied myself to Eric for so long. I was finally free and it felt incredibly amazing.
I could dance with who I wanted and not have to worry about a damn thing. And this thinking got me motivated to find a better job, move out of my Dad’s duplex and into my own apartment. I really wanted to clean up my life and get rid of the garbage I could no longer handle the smell of.
A few hours into our outing, I saw Diamond walk over to this tall, Morris-Chestnut look alike. It seemed like they knew each other pretty well by the way they were engaging in conversation. But I didn’t bother to go ask questions, cause it could be just an old friend. I was sure if it was serious, she would’ve told me about it. I wasn’t sweatin’ anything that night. I was free to be me.

Chapter 11
 Nate 

Seeing Diamond at the club that night was crazy. I didn’t expect to run into her, especially not so soon. I had to admit she was starting to have some kind of effect on me, not that I was trying to get with her cause she was still my man’s ex-wife but she sure was fine as hell. I wouldn’t do Don grimy like that, but I still couldn’t ignore the fact that I was feeling her and that I had such a good time with her at the batting cages and then at the club.
So, I got up the nerve to call her. Don’t ask me what the hell I was thinking, but something compelled me to do it.
“Hello?” her soft voice answered.
“Hey, this is Nate,” I said.
“Yeah, I know who you are,” she said to me, laughing a little.
“Well, I was just making sure cause you be tryna play me like you don’t know nobody.” She laughed again. God, I liked her laugh. She had soft music playing in the background and I wondered why.
“So, what are you doing?” I asked her.
“Just cleaning up a little. Mayoree made a mess with this finger-paint her Grandma bought her,” Diamond said.
“Oh, sounds like fun,” I joked.
“I know. I’m having a time,” she laughed. “What you up to?”
“Just chillin’. Wondering if you wanted to do something later, you know…you and Mayoree.”
“What’d you have in mind?” she asked, sounding like she was definitely interested. That got my blood flowing, cause I certainly was looking forward to spending time with her and sweet little Mayoree. If there was nothing more I liked about Diamond, it was the fact that she stopped at nothing to make sure her daughter was taken care of. She was also the sexiest and most outrageously outspoken woman I had ever met.
Don didn’t know what he was throwing away and I didn’t think he’d ever come to his senses and realize what he’d had until it was too late. But I would be right there to pick up the pieces for Diamond. I would make sure of that.

Chapter 12
♦ Diamond ♦

Nate and I met at Fire Island in Long Island. I knew it was a long way to drive from my penthouse in Manhattan, but I really wanted to see the beach and of course I wanted to see Nate without worrying about running into Don somewhere. And Mayoree wanted to see the beach for once and she even brought along one of her little friends from school so that Nate and I could have a private conversation.
“What took you so long?” asked Nate, as we all got out of the car.
“I’m sorry. There was a little mix up at Mayoree’s little friend’s house. That’s all.”
“Oh, I was starting to get worried. Hi, Mayoree,” said Nate.
“Hi, Mr. Nate,” said Mayoree, flashing an unbelievably cute smile.
“Aren’t you gonna introduce your friend to Mr. Nate?” I asked.
“This is my friend, Courtney,” said Mayoree quickly.
“Nice to meet you, Courtney,” said Nate. Courtney, a short four-year-old of Korean descent, just smiled at him shyly. Her short black hair was chopped just above her shoulders. What a cute little girl, I thought to myself.
“Shall we get to the beach?” I asked.
“Yeah, yeah! The beach!” cried Mayoree, tugging at her friend’s hand, running behind Nate and I. “C’mon, Courtney!”
Within fifteen minutes, we were settled on the beach. We had a blanket spread out about a few feet from the water and the girls were taking a dip as Nate and I sat in the shade where we could keep an eye on them.

“I really wanna go back to school so that I can do for myself, you know? I don’t wanna live off my ex-husband for the rest of my life,” I told Nate as we snacked on Sun Chips and Vitamin Water.
“I feel you. You are way too smart to be living the way you do. You need to be happy. I mean, you deserve to be happy, Diamond and I’d loved to see that happen,” said Nate.
“Really?” I asked him, closing up the bag of chips as I opened my bottle of Vitamin Water to take a sip.
“Yeah,” he said to me, smiling.
“Me, too,” I laughed. He soon joined in and leaned back onto his elbows in the sand.
“You know I have a few connections in a few places. You tell me what kind of work you’re looking for and I’ll see what I can do,” said Nate, getting serious. “I know you said you wanted to get out of that apartment, right?”
“Yeah, I really do,” I told him.
“So, let me know and I’ll hook you up.”
“How is it that that’s possible, Nate?”
“Well, let’s just say a lot of people owe me favors,” he said. “Don’t worry about it. I got you.”
“That’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever done for me. I appreciate it,” I told him.
“It ain’t nothing,” he said. I smiled a little and took another sip.
“Mayoree, don’t go too far out, you know I can’t swim, girl,” I yelled to my daughter. Nate exploded in laughter.
“You can’t swim?” he laughed.
“No, why? Do you find that amusing?” I asked.
“That’s hilarious. I don’t know anybody who can’t swim,” said Nate.
“Well, looks like now you do,” I laughed. “And it’s not my fault. My mama never took me swimming when I was a kid.”
“Why not?”
“I guess she didn’t have the time or the money. She had to work three jobs to support me and my two cousins living with us at the time. My dad left when I was ten.”
“Oh, well at least you had a Dad that long. I don’t even know my Pops. If he were to walk up to me right now, I wouldn’t know who he was.”
“Your mom don’t have no pictures of him or nothing?”
“Please, my mom probably don’t know who he is. See, I came from a big family. I got nine brothers and sisters and we all got different fathers,” Nate revealed. “So, I doubt my mama know who she slipped out from under when I was conceived.”
“Damn,” I sighed. “And I always thought I had it bad.”
“Well, there’s always somebody who got it worse than you do,” said Nate.
“I guess you’re right, but you never really think about that,” I said, folding my arms over my knees. “You can only think about your pain, you know?”
“Yeah, I feel you,” said Nate.
“You know, you’re pretty smart, Nate. You’re wise beyond your years,” I told him. “What are you doing with your life?” He suddenly got up.
“I don’t wanna talk about that,” he said. “But for real we gotta get you some swimming lessons.” And he walked back towards his car, reached in and grabbed a cigarette and a lighter from his dashboard and lit up. I got up, walked over to him and stared him in the face.
“Do you always smoke when you’re stressed out or uncomfortable?” I asked. He shook his head and let out a puff of smoke.
“It’s getting late. We should get back. It’ll be completely dark by the time we get back to Manhattan,” said Nate, completely ignoring the topic of our previous conversation.
“You know in some ways, you’re just like Don,” I said to him, before turning to walk back to the beach. I called the girls to come dry off and put their clothes back on. We packed up everything and got in the car as Nate watched.
I honked my horn and drove off, leaving him there on the beach. Some part of me felt like I shouldn’t have done that, but the other part reminded me that he had acted like a jerk and ignored my question on purpose. Reminded me of Don and that pissed me off. No wonder they were friends, I thought to myself as we headed back to Manhattan. Maybe I had been wrong about him. Things weren’t going to work out. I could see it now. I didn’t know why I had previously had such high hopes. I promised myself from then on, I wasn’t going to have any expectations. It was a way to avoid disappointments.

Chapter 13
♥ Angela ♥

The phone rang as I was lying on the couch and turned out it was Diamond, needing to talk.
“Hey,” I said, closing the book I’d been reading.
“Hey, Ange. What’s going on?”
“Nothing much.”
“Anything new with you?” she asked me, sounding like she knew something.
“Um, well, not really.”
“So, you weren’t gonna tell me, huh?”
“What do you mean?”
“Don’t give me that, shit, Angela. I know you and Eric broke up and I know that it’s because you caught them together,” said Diamond. “I’m your best friend and you weren’t gonna tell me?”
“Look, I’m sorry. I just didn’t wanna have to think about it, much less talk about it. It’s just too painful for me. I mean, I thought Eric was going to be my husband. I loved him, D. I really did and he fucked up. I just didn’t want you to say I told you so.”
“Girl, now why would I say that?” asked Diamond.
“Oh, please, Diamond. You know when Eric and I first met back in college, all you been saying was that he wasn’t no good. You never really liked him,” I said to her.
“I did too.”
“Girl, you don’t have to lie to me now. He’s gone. It’s over.”
“Okay, I really didn’t like him. Never have, definitely never will,” she laughed. “Any new prospects?”
“Naw, girl, and I ain’t lookin’ for none, either.”
“I hear you on that one. I thought I’d be happier with a man, but turns out, single life is just so much less complicated.”
“I feel you, D. So, what’s up with you?”
“Oh, same old girl. Nothing going on. Me and May are gonna move out once I find a job.”
“Oh, good for you. Finally moving out of that depressing ass apartment you used to share with what’s his name.”
“Yeah, I think it’s time to move on.”
“That’s good. I’m sure you’ll find something.”
“Yeah, hopefully I do. You wanna come looking with me tomorrow?” asked Diamond.
“Yeah, I’ll ride with you.”
“Pick you up at ten.”
“I’ll be here waiting on you, girl,” I told her.
“Aiight. Don’t stand me up, now, cuz I will honk my horn until your ass is downstairs,” Diamond laughed.
“I know your crazy ass will. I’ll be ready,” I told her.
“That’s all I’m saying, boo,” she laughed. “I’ll see you tomorrow, girl.”

Before I could make myself some dinner, I decided to do a little shopping. I headed down to the local grocery mart and picked up some fresh fruits to make myself a Brazilian fruit salad. I was addicted to fruit and the sweet taste of them, especially apples and grapes. I was standing in the middle of the aisle picking out the freshest apples I could find. I loved McIntosh apples the best; and the seedless green Perlette grapes.
“Hey, you’re the girl who tried to commit suicide, right?” asked a voice in front of me. I looked up and into the eyes of the man who had saved my life earlier that week. His smiling face was warming to me immediately.
“Yeah, that’s me,” I laughed, pushing my hair out of my face. “You know, I really wasn’t trying to commit suicide. I was just kind outta my head, you know?”
“Had one of them days. I understand, though I never almost walked out in front of a truck,” he said. I laughed and put an apple in one of the plastic bags provided. “Making a fruit salad?” Damn, he was all up in my cart.
“I’m Doug by the way,” he said, extending his hand.
“Angela,” I told him, accepting his hand, unable to take my eyes off of him. Damn he was fine! On second glance, he might’ve had a few extra pounds on Q.
“So, you like basketball, I see,” he noticed, looking down at my LeBron jersey.
“Yeah, LeBron’s the man,” I laughed. “I watch every one of his games.” My smile faded a little when I thought about the fact that I had watched all of those games with Eric.
“That’s cool. I like women who’re into sports,” he told me.
“Yeah, that’s nice. Well, it was nice seeing you again, Doug,” I told him, trying to leave before he asked me out or even thought about it.
“Wait, can I ask you something?” he asked.
“Um, I really gotta go,” I told him, pushing my cart towards check-out.
“How come it feels like you’re trying to brush me off?” asked Doug.
“Because I am,” I told him, being brutally honest. I didn’t want to have to go there, but he was giving me no choice. “Bye. Nice meeting you.” I hurried on outta there. My heart was still too damaged to be in a new relationship. I had checked out and was headed to my car when I heard the pounding of footsteps on the pavement. And then all of a sudden, I felt someone grabbing my arm lightly.
“Look, I’m not tryna push up on you or nothing. I just get this vibe when I’m talking to you, you feel me?” asked Doug.
“No, I don’t,” I told him, continuing to walk. He followed me.
“I know you feel what I’m feeling. Don’t try to run away from it. Look, we could start slow,” he told me. “We don’t gotta be so serious.” I stopped and looked at him, seeing the desire in his eyes and I realized that it was the first time anyone had ever looked at me like that. Not even Eric had. It was an incredible feeling and I knew I felt that vibe Doug was talking about.
“Look, I know that you wanna—”
“Just take my number and when you’re ready, you call me,” he said, taking my hand and writing his number down in the palm of it. I smiled and continued walking towards my car without saying a word to him. He didn’t follow me that time and I went home, made my fruit salad and thought about Doug for the rest of the night. How could I resist?

Chapter 14
♦ Diamond ♦

A few weeks later, I had finally moved into my own place and it was gorgeous. But compared to my penthouse in Manhattan, it wasn’t really much to brag about. It was small and comfortable and had just enough room for me and my daughter and that was all I needed.
Friday night came and I called Angela to go out, but she didn’t answer her phone, which was weird. As soon as I hung up the phone, someone was knocking on my door. To my surprise, when I opened it, it was Don. Just seeing him there made me feel strangely happy. It felt like he was coming home to me, coming back to me. All the other shit went out the window at that point. Even though I would never admit it to any human being or even myself, the thought of having Don back in my life would have been nice. I seemed to forget about all the bad shit whenever I saw him.
“Hey,” I said, trying to be nice.
“What’s this I hear about you and Nate?” asked Don, brashly.
“What are you talking about? I haven’t spoken to Nate in weeks,” I told Don.
“Why are you tryna push up on my boy?” Don asked me as I closed the door and my robe.
“It is too early in the damn morning for this shit, Don,” I told him. “And how you just gonna show up unannounced? What the hell happened to call before you come?”
“It couldn’t wait.”
“Oh, don’t tell me you’re jealous of Nate and me, cuz if you are you can take that bullshit right back home with you,” I told him.
“You better watch who you talkin’ to with that mouth,” said Don, trying to sound threatening. I was not fazed!
“You are not my husband anymore and I can talk to you any way I damn well please. The only thing you are to me is my baby’s daddy. Nothing more, nothing less. So, if I decided one day, when I’m clearly and evidently out of my damn mind, that I want you to know my business, I will call you up personally and let your ass know. You got that shit? Cuz I'm tired of the 21 questions every other damn day. It ain't happening,” I told him.
“I could see you ain’t changed at all,” he told me.
“Not at all. Still the same and proud of it, honey. You gotta problem, get the hell out. Fall back,” I said to him.
“Your mouth always wrote checks your ass couldn’t cash, Diamond. That’s why you ain’t never gon’ get a man,” he said, smirking.
“Well, if all the rest of ‘em out there are anything like you, God bless me. I can do bad all by my damn self. Don’t need nobody to help me, Don, so keep your shitty-ass comments to yourself, aiight?”
“Yeah, whatever.”
“What did you come here for?” I asked, trying to calm myself down.
“I came here to see about taking my daughter to my mom’s house. She’s been asking about her a lot lately,” he said to me, finally acting civil.
“Well, why didn’t you come in here saying that?” I asked him, still angry.
“Is she here?” he asked.
“No, she’s at my mother’s for the weekend. I had some things to do,” I told him, though he really didn’t need to know my business.
“Some things like what? Going out with Nate?” he asked.
“Oh Lord, here we go again!” I yelled. “Damn, Don. Why can’t you just leave me the hell alone with all that? I don’t come up into your place asking you what bitches you got up under you, do I? No, that’s cuz I don’t give a fuck. And you shouldn’t either. We’re over, Don. We’ve been over for awhile now. Even when we were together, you didn’t care this much!”
“Well, maybe I should have,” he blurted out, without thinking. He turned his back to me and sighed. “Call your mom and tell her I’m on the way to get Mayoree.” My breathing sped up for a brief moment when he told me he should’ve cared more. I almost felt bad for saying the things I’d said to him. He really did care now. A day late and a dollar short. Now that it was over and much too late. What a damn shame! I guess it was true what they said. You don’t know what you have until you lose it.

Everything that had occurred between Don and I had me thinking, reminiscing about the past. I thought about the good times as well as the bad and I couldn’t help remembering the first time I thought I was losing him to the streets and the fast women. It was the first time he cheated on me, but also the first time I knew he loved me.

He couldn’t look me in the eyes the first time he cheated on me, yet he continued to do it. The first time I brought the shit to his attention, letting him know that I knew he was fucking around, he stared intently at me, as if to say, Them other bitches don’t mean shit. I love you. But being who I was, I needed to hear the words. He stood in front of me, staring hard into my eyes.
“I wanna know why,” I said to him, hands on my hips. “I wanna fuckin’ know why, Don. You got everything you need here at home! At least, that’s what you say! But tell me something, if you got what you need, why you still running the streets acting like a fuckin’ ho?”
“D, I’m—”
“If you fucking say the words I’m fuckin’ sorry, I will put my nine in your fuckin’ mouth, muthafucka!” I yelled.
“Aiight, aiight,” he said, toughening up. “You already know what you mean to me, D. I don’t know why you actin’ like you don’t know I love you.”
“If you love me, stop fuckin’ around, leaving me here at all hours of the night with a fuckin’ baby! Come home while it’s still fuckin’ light outside! Help me out with your fuckin’ daughter! Don’t make me feel like you’d rather not be here! Aiight? Cuz if you don’t wanna be here, nobody’s makin’ you stay! Nobody is making you stay,” I cried, lashing out at him. “If you wanna fuckin’ leave…leave.” I dropped to the floor, crying. The emotional pain was physically hurting me, to my stomach; to my soul. Don dropped down onto the floor with me.
“D, I know you don’t wanna hear it, but I’m sorry. Look, you know I love you,” he said.
“You gon’ say something else besides that shit? Cuz you say you love me, but you don’t show it. Actions speak louder than words. You gon’ have to come better than that,” he said. “You hurtin’ me…everyday when you go out, leave me here alone with our baby to go fuck some trick ass bitch, you hurtin’ me. And you don’t even see it.” The tears were flowing by now and I had to wipe my face every five seconds. “That’s what hurts the most. It’s like you don’t even care.”
“Baby, I do care,” he said, wiping a tear from my cheek. I looked at him. His cheeks were now soiled with his own tears. He was crying and I knew instantly that they were real. Those were his feelings sliding down his cheeks. He felt bad for doing what he did and hopefully he felt bad enough that he would stop doing what he was doing. If not, it was over for good. There would be no turning back. I deserved better than his lying, cheating ass, I kept telling myself.
He pulled me to him and kissed my lips softly, caressing my back as he pulled me close to him.
“I’ma change, baby. I swear I’ma change. I don’t wanna lose you,” he said to me, another tear cascading down his cheek. It was the first time I had ever seen him cry and I truly felt that he was going to change his ways and do right by me and his child. He had never shed a tear before, so I thought that proved he was going to change. I wouldn’t know until much later on how wrong I was.

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