Authors: Angel de'Amor
Tags: #pregnant, #chicago, #affair, #mistress, #adultery, #deception, #african american woman, #unfaithfulness, #books we love, #african american lovers, #his child by another woman
Taylor just turned from side to side. “They
all look pretty much the s—”
Libby cut her off and stepped on the platform
with her. “How can you say that, Taylor?” She tilted Taylor’s head
toward the mirror that showed how she looked from the back. “The
train on the back is ten feet long, just like you wanted it. I
agree with Toni and Pam on this one.”
Taylor turned toward her mother. “What do you
“I love it, baby. Listen to your sister and
friends. We can’t afford to spend more time trying to find a
wedding dress. Money is not an object but you’ve got to make a
decision. There are still so many more things on our list we need
to focus on for the wedding.”
Taylor twirled a little bit more in the
mirrors, trying to see if this was the best dress for her. She knew
her mother was going to make sure this wedding was the social
highlight of the year. “I suppose this could be the one.”
“Great.” Tammy let out a sigh of relief and
signaled for the bridal consultant. “Will you please wrap this
dress up to go?”
The bridal consultant was more than happy to
close the deal. “That’s a wonderful choice; I’ll ring it up for you
right away.” Smiling from ear to ear, she ran off in the direction
of the cash register. Taylor and her entourage had to giggle when
the lady made a sharp U-turn and headed back in their direction to
help Taylor get out of the dress.
“I guess we’re all kind of tired, huh?”
Taylor said to her with a wink.
* * *
When they left the bridal shop, her mother
had dragged them all to a tasting for the reception food. Her
sister and friends had to go their separate ways after that but she
invited them to meet her back at her place later to hang out.
Meanwhile, she and her mother finished their rounds, meeting with
the florist and decorator in back-to-back consultations.
The day had been exciting and productive, but
brutal. Taylor just wanted to unwind and savor a glass of wine.
Before turning the key to enter her condo, she grabbed the mail.
“Front door open,” the alarm system tattled. “Oh, be quiet,” Taylor
retorted, closing the door and tossing the mail onto the kitchen
The zipper on Taylor’s thigh-length dress got
snagged as she hurriedly started undressing. After several tries,
zipping it up a smidgeon then easing it back down, the zipper came
free. Taylor stepped out of the garment and walked to her bedroom
closet, dress in hand. She changed into a comfy silk jumpsuit,
picked up the picture of her fiancé, Ari, from the dresser, and she
blew him a kiss. “Yes, Mr. Man, You do look enticing—even in a
photo.” She really missed him but he would only be at pilot school
for a few more days.
The wide legs of her jumpsuit floated around
her ankles as she strolled back into the kitchen. A few dirty
dishes were stacked in the sink. She thought about ignoring them
but talked herself into getting it over with. “Go on and bust those
Dishes done, she glanced at the day’s mail
scattered across the counter. Picking it up, she began to sift
Bill. Junk. Junk. Jury duty notice.
The final envelope caught her eye. It was
plain and had no return address, just her name, Taylor Briggs,
across the front in calligraphy. A butter knife from the nearby
drawer would have to be her letter opener. She grasped it and ran
it across the top off the envelope.
What was written on the notebook paper neatly
folded inside left her feeling dizzy and hot, as if her blood
pressure was soaring. She grabbed the kitchen counter, trying to
steady herself. Then everything went black.
* * *
“Tay, wake up.” Taylor could hear her best
friends frantically screaming her name in the distance.
wait, they were right beside her
. She could feel them rubbing
her arms and gingerly slapping her cheek. Her head was throbbing
but she managed to focus, only because Pam kept begging, “Tay, Tay,
please look at me. What’s wrong, Tay? Look at me.”
Libby’s tear-stained face was the first thing
Taylor’s gaze settled on. “What happened, Tay? Did you faint? Are
you sick? Are you pregnant?” Libby fired off one question after the
Raising her head off the floor and stumbling
to her feet, Taylor gladly accepted the help when both girls held
her arms for support.
Pam, clearly aggravated, gave her the third
degree. “Tay, what are you keeping from us? Tell us what happened.
We found you on the floor after Libby and I had been trying to call
you for longer than an hour. We figured you were probably just
running late from the appointments so we decided to use our key to
let ourselves in and wait for you here.”
Moving slowly so as not to make the pain any
worse, Taylor tried to remember why she was on the floor. Libby
helped her prop herself up on the kitchen bar stool, then felt her
head for signs of a fever. Taylor began to lower her head onto the
counter, then jerked it back up. “Where is it?”
Confused, Libby and Pam looked at each other.
“Where is what?”
“The letter, Libby,” Taylor yelled, then spun
around and shouted, “Where’s that letter, Pam?” She jumped from the
stool, causing her head to swim. Looking frantically around the
kitchen, Taylor spotted the letter on the floor near the counter.
Transfixed, she hoped against hope that there was no truth to any
of the horrible memories that started to come back.
Pam followed Taylor’s line of sight. “This
letter?” she asked. Taylor nodded. Pam bent down, picked the sheet
of paper and the envelope up off the floor, and handed them to her.
Taylor slowly and silently re-read the page full of hurtful
You don’t know me but we have something in
common. We both want the same man. The difference between you and
me is I already have him. Ari and I have a two-year-old daughter
named Adrianne. She needs her father at home with her.
I stood by too long waiting to see if Ari
would leave you and come home to his true family. You will never
love him the way I do. Send my daughter’s father home to her. I
knew he would be away this week; I always know my man’s
whereabouts. I even know where you stay. You know how? He’s my man,
Let me fill in a few blanks so you won’t be
confused. I met Ari almost three years ago in Miami. He was with
some friends and we hit it off. The rest is, as they say, history.
I don’t know how your bomb ass got in the picture but bitch, step
Consider this fair warning, Taylor. You
think you ’bout to marry the only man I ever loved? I have too much
invested in this to lose. Ari is mine.
I’m watching you.
Taylor calmly ripped the envelope several
times; the ceiling fan blowing the pieces of paper around the floor
like confetti. Then the reality of it all overwhelmed her. Her
companions stood by stunned as Taylor crumpled the letter in her
hand and suddenly burst into tears, ran to her room, and locked the
She flopped across the bed, the waterworks
from her eyes saturating the covers. She felt so many mixed
How could she not have known he was cheating? How the
hell did he have a child by someone else?
He wasn’t the man she
thought he was, and she hated him for that.
She came out of her fog when she realized
that Libby and Pam were pounding on her bedroom door. She rolled
out of bed and opened the door. Immediately both women reached out
for her. Taylor stepped aside to let them in.
“I’m going to kill him,” she snarled as her
bare feet swept across the carpet. Kneeling at the edge of the bed
and reaching under it, she pulled out the black box that held her
shiny Smith and Wesson Model 35—her crime stopper, as she called
it. She stood up and opened the chamber. It was loaded.
“Tay, why do you have that gun in your hand?”
Pam stared at the gun and back at Taylor.
Taylor simply stared back.
Pam stepped a little closer to Taylor. “Let’s
sit on the bed, sweetie, and talk.” Pam sat, patting the bed and
extending her hand toward Taylor.
Taylor sat at the opposite end of the bed.
“When he comes back, I’m going to kill him.”
“Kill who?” Libby asked as she cautiously
approached the bed.
“Ari. I’m going to kill Ari.” Taylor’s tone
was unfamiliar even to her own ears.
“What happened?” Pam demanded, moving closer
to Taylor’s side of the bed.
Taylor craned her neck and reached for the
balled-up letter near the pillow. She handed it to Pam, who hastily
read the contents. More than once, Pam’s fist rose to her lips and
she gasped at the startling revelations. “Oh, my God. I’m so sorry,
Libby snatched the letter from Pam and
hastily skimmed through it. “Hell naw, I’ll kill him for you!”
Angry tears started to form in Libby’s eyes.
Everyone snapped to attention as they heard
footsteps barreling down the hall. Toni came busting into the room,
a worried look on her face. “What happened? Why y’all call me
saying get to Tay’s place right away?” Toni looked down at her
sister’s hands and realized she was holding a gun. “Oh no, Tay.
Don’t kill yourself.” She looked desperately at Pam and Libby.
“Help her. Help my sister.”
Libby stood and put her arm around Toni’s
shoulder. “It’s not what it looks like. Come on; I’ll fill you in
on everything.” She led Toni out the French doors from the bedroom
to the patio. Toni reluctantly followed Libby, purse and keys still
in her hands.
As Taylor lifted her eyes from the floor and
stared into Pam’s face, she knew this was something that neither
her sister nor her two friends could make better. Taylor and Pam
sat there in silence.
Pam started to inch closer. “I need you to
give me the gun, Tay.”
Taylor raised the gun toward her friend,
handle first, and handed it to her. Feeling defeated, she folded
her body into the fetal position and cried.
Pam wrapped her arms around her best friend
and cried with her.
There was a faint hope-I’m-not-intruding
knock on the door. “Is it okay to come in?” Toni quietly asked.
“No, we’ll come out there with you,” Pam
replied between sniffles. “It’s hot in here.” She wiped away
Taylor’s tears, blotted her own cheeks, then took her friend by the
elbow. “Come on, Tay.” She guided Taylor to a tan wicker patio
“That’s alright,” Taylor uttered. “I need to
stand for a little while. Do I …” She envisioned how her
makeup must look. “Do I look like a raccoon?”
The four BFFs shared a good chuckle. Libby
moved forward, licked her thumb, and acted like she was going to
use that moisture to clean off Taylor’s smeared mascara and
eyeliner. Taylor jerked her head back. When the laughter died down,
the only sound was the crunching of fall leaves where Libby stood
tapping her foot.
Libby was first to break the silence. “Okay,
I can’t hold back anymore. I can’t believe this bastard has a
two-year-old daughter. How the hell did he walk around all these
years and not say anything?” She paced the floor back and forth,
rattling off one question after the next. “Does he feel any remorse
for his actions? You definitely can’t marry him.”
“Actually,” Toni responded, looking directly
at Taylor, “I think you have to marry him.”
Three pairs of puzzled eyes glared at
“Why does she have to marry a cheater?” Pam
asked standing up.
“Hear me out, ladies. You all know our father
is running for his second term as mayor of Chicago. If Taylor calls
off the wedding, which is
, it could cost him
votes. Everyone will want to know why and then the media is going
to start poking around. This is something father doesn’t need. It
would really hurt his chances of getting re-elected.”
Taylor pointed her index finger at her
sister. “I don’t give a damn about that. I refuse to marry a
cheater and a liar. And how can you—” Realizing how loud her voice
was becoming, she lowered her volume. “How can you stand here and
think only about the family reputation?”
Backing up, Toni raised her hands. “I know, I
know. I shouldn’t think like this but it’s the politics in me.”
Toni was just like their mother. Taylor
remembered the countless town hall meetings they had to attend and
the late-night press conferences her father held in city hall since
she and her sister were young. She knew how hard her father worked
as an activist for the community to get where he was today. Mayor
John Briggs was well known on Capitol Hill and it was rumored that
he could be a great president one day.
As Pam and Libby gave Toni testy feedback,
Taylor thought about all the times her mother had told her that one
day life was going to throw her a problem and she was going to have
to put other people’s needs before her own.
This must be one of
Money has already been spent and countless
friends and family will be flying in from around the world for the
wedding. I’d have to explain to my parents why I was canceling the
Lost in her thoughts, she almost didn’t notice when
Libby approached her and embraced her in a hug. For the second time
that evening, Taylor cried on a friend’s shoulder.
Pam offered her some Kleenex. Blowing her
nose, Taylor took a seat, cleared her throat, and put on her best
smile. “Toni is right. The choice I make not only will affect me
but also the family. The wedding is already in the newspapers and
it’s the talk of the town. I have to go forward with this
Pam set the box of tissue on the
espresso-colored wicker lounger and grabbed Taylor’s hands. “Tay, I
love you and respect any decision you make but are you sure about
this? Are you going to tell Ari you know about his infidelity? I
mean this woman, whoever she is, is threatening your life. You have
to take this seriously.”