“Wake your ass up, Pleasure.”
The sting of the slap delivered to his cheek roused Graham “Pleasure” Walker to consciousness, but just barely. He moaned as he shook his head to clear it. His tongue felt heavy and dry in his mouth. He could barely lift his eyelids, and his eyes burned behind them. He tried to shift his body into a more comfortable position, but grunted in pain at the tight binds around his wrists and ankles.
He was tied but he felt like he was floating above the ground.
“Wake your fine motherfucking ass up. We got business to tend to, motherfucker.”
He winced and tried to brace himself to hit the floor but then remembered he was bound to a chair. One of his leather dining room chairs.
Unable to hold his head up, he let his chin drop to his chest as he blinked and shook his head slowly, waiting for more clarity. When his vision focused a bit more, he was looking down at his limp dick lying across his right thigh.
He looked up and shifted his eyes to look around as much as he could at the living room of his Jersey City penthouse apartment. The rich black and charcoal gray dÃ©cor. The floor-to-ceiling windows that overlooked the Hudson River and displayed the New York skyline across the water. However, it felt almost surreal as he struggled to remember just how he came to be naked and tied to a chair.
Think, man, think.
His thoughts were clouded. He couldn't get a firm grasp on anything.
What's wrong with me?
His eyes drifted closed and his body slackened, but the ties at his wrists and ankles kept him in the chair.
“Do you remember me, Pleasure?”
A firm hand roughly grabbed his chin and jerked his face up. He opened his eyes to find a woman dressed in all black with her face covered by a black ski mask and her hands in leather gloves. He shook his head yet again to clear it.
He winced from the pain. She'd used the back of her hand that time and her knuckles dug into his cheek with the blow.
“Well, I remember you,” she said snidely into his ear, from behind him now.
She lightly bit one of his broad shoulders. Slowly she deepened the bite.
“Shit,” he swore sharply, his tall and muscled frame jerking.
She laughed and smacked the back of his head before coming around him with her hand trailing across his chest. “Not bad at all for a man-whore,” she said, leaving him.
He eyed her as she moved about his living room and touched things that apparently caught her eye.
Who is she? What does she want?
He closed his eyes as he let his head hang back, trying to match her frame or her voice or her movements to one of the many wealthy women who'd paid to be sexually pleasured by him. He'd put many miles on his dick screwing women and had charged well for his skill. Very well. Over the years, his clients numbered well into the hundreds. Some were regulars; others were one-night stands he'd easily forgotten as he transitioned from exotic dancer to dick-for-hire.
Woman after woman, trick after trick, he had asked them all the same thing as he would slay them with his dick game and get a rush from the looks on their faces as he looked down at them with each stroke.
“Who am I?”
“And what am I giving you?”
But none of them knew him. He was a stranger to them. And that was just the way he liked it.
“You haven't done badly for yourself over the years,” she said from across the room.
He slowly turned his head to eye her standing before his fireplace. In between slow blinks, he saw her pick up a picture frame from his mantel.
He blinked again.
She looked at it and laughed bitterly.
He blinked again.
She took a small step back to hold it high in the air.
He blinked again.
She viciously flung it into the unlit fireplace. “Fuck you
her,” she spat as she flew across the room like she was rabid, to snatch up his chin again.
He fought hard to snatch his face away from her pinching grip. He tried and failed. He had no strength.
She grabbed him by the neck, pressing her fingers deeply into him until he struggled to breathe. “Just as fine as ever,” she whispered into his face, laughing maniacally before she pressed a kiss to his mouth and then released him with a rough jerk.
“Who are you?” he asked, his throat dry and pained.
That earned him a gut punch that made his body instinctively try to curl into a ball. The restraints kept him locked in place as a deep, throbbing ache in the firm muscle of his thigh finally caused him to wince. The pain brought back the memory of being struck from behind in the hall and painfully pierced with a needle as he unlocked and opened his apartment door.
“Damn,” she swore, hating the thought of that. “How dare you forget me? After all these years? After everything I
have meant to you, motherfucker?” she stressed.
The majority of the women in his thirty years of life were his clientsâthere were so few he would consider more to him than that.
He struggled to open his eyes as he felt her hands on his thighs and then wrapping around his dick. He couldn't lie about the fear that spread through him.
“Don't,” he said, his voice as weak as his body.
Moments later he felt her mouth surround his tip, licking it before she took his soft inches into her mouth. He took no pleasure in her work. His still-sluggish thoughts were busy trying to figure out who she was and how to get free.
“Don't worry, you're not going to die . . . yet,” she said, her threat whispered against the damp flesh of his now-hard dick.
His head dropped back. The tips of his long and slender dreads scratched his back as he fought hard to figure out just who the hell she was . . .
'm sending you to live with your father.”
Graham had on his headphones and the sounds of Aaliyah played but he heard his mother clearly. Not bothering to turn away from his computer to face her, he shrugged his shoulders and took another swig from his can of soda.
“Today,” she said, firmly.
That made him stiffen a bit as he reached to set the can back on his desk. Nevertheless, he caught himself and relaxed his body as he pretended to be lost in the music. Pretended she didn't exist.
Pretended his heart wasn't pounding in his chest.
A firm hand rested on his slender shoulder. “Son,” his father said. “You hear your mother talking to you?”
Graham couldn't hide his surprise as he turned in his swivel chair and looked up at his father. He nodded and removed his earphones. “Yes, sir,” he said, standing up to face him. He was sixteen with a thin and athletic build, but his father still towered over his six-foot height by another four inches.
His entire life he'd grown up on the comparison of their looks.
“Tylar, that boy came out your guts!”
“Your daddy sure spit you out, Graham.”
“Ain't no denying that one, Ty.”
The broad face with high cheekbones, deep-set eyes, and slashing eyebrows but soft, full lips and long, thick lashes had drawn many a woman's eyesâand other body partsâto his father. Thus the end of his parents' marriage.
Tylar Walker smiled and wrapped an arm around Graham to hug him to his side. “Looks like I have a roommate,” he said with a smile.
“I wouldn't exactly call it that,” Cara Walker said from behind them, still positioned in the doorway.
He felt his father stiffen. “Cara,” he said in warning.
She shook her head and stepped inside Graham's room, kicking sneakers and dirty clothes out of her path. “You act like it's a wonderful thing that he just got expelled from school for fighting every damn week like he has no sense,” she said, her tone sharp and rising with every word.
Graham eyed her. “Ma, I didn'tâ”
“Didn't what, Graham?” she asked, tears brimming in her eyes. “Didn't want to get suspended three times before they finally expelled you? Didn't want to waste all of the money we already paid for you to go to private school? Didn't want to waste living in a good community with nothing but opportunity? Huh?”
“Cara,” Tylar said again.
The sight of her crying softened some of Graham's anger toward her. “I'm sorry, Ma,” he said.
She swiped at her tears as she turned to leave his bedroom. She paused and turned back. “Life doesn't owe you a damn thing, Graham,” she told him fiercely, her finger pointed in his direction. “It's yours to either throw away or to thrive. You remember that if you don't remember shit else I
to teach you.”
And she was gone.
Tylar cupped the back of his head, patting it comfortingly. “Pack up your clothes. We'll get the rest of your stuff this weekend. Okay?” he said. “Let me talk to your mama for a little bit.”
Graham nodded and turned to grab his oversized Polo duffel bag, which hung on the back of the leather chair sitting in front of his desk. As he removed his clothing from hangers in his walk-in closet, he caught sight of the five-by-seven picture frame on his nightstand. Dropping a pair of shorts atop the duffel, he leaned over to pick up the photo of him at just five years old, flanked by his parents. “Better days,” he muttered, shaking his head before carelessly tossing it onto his unmade king-sized bed.
Any dreams he'd had years ago of them being one big unhappy family again were gone.
His parents had divorced more than three years ago, and everything about his life changed. His father eventually moved out of the home in the suburbs of Bedford, New York, and rented a one-bedroom unit in a duplex apartment building in Brooklyn. Graham was shuttled back and forth between them.
Well, I used to be.
He finished carelessly pushing his dry-cleaned clothes into his duffel bag. He dumped the books and notebooks from his book bag to shove his precious six pairs of Air Jordan sneakers inside that. For a second he contemplated a suit and dress shoes, but he shook that idea away. His father didn't go to church every Sunday like his mother.
For that he was more than glad.
Shaking the sudden tension from his already-broad shoulders, Graham heaved the strap of the duffel bag over his head so that it crossed the thin but still athletic build of his chest. With one last look at his room, and barely a moment of regret, he walked down the hall to the wrought-iron staircase.
“I just want to know why he's so angry.”
“He's a boy,” Tylar said. “It's probably just a phase... regardless, he know I don't play that shit he been pulling around here.”
Graham paused at the top of the stairs at the sound of his parents' voices.
fault?” his mother asked.
His father sighed heavily and Graham could picture him wiping his mouth with his hand. “Look, I'm not going to argue with you. I thought the divorce put an end to all of that.”
“And did the divorce put an end to you slinging your dick into every piece of pusâ”
Graham purposefully coughed and cleared his throat as he noisily came down the stairs and into the den. Thankfully, the rest of his parents' words evaporated. It was an old argument he was tired of witnessing. “I'm ready,” he said.
They both looked at him.
“Tell your mama bye,” Tylar said, shoving his hands into the front pockets of the green uniform pants he wore for his job as a sanitation worker for the city of New York.
Graham walked over to stand before her. At just sixteen, he towered over her by four inches already. “Don't cry, Ma,” he said, reaching to hug her close with one arm.
“The weekends belong to me,” Cara said, rising on the tips of her toes to press a kiss to his cheek. “And most holidays.”
He nodded even as he stepped back from her and started toward the archway leading into the spacious foyer.
“And you call me every day, Graham,” she called from behind him.
His mind was already focused on leaving that house and starting his new life with his dad. He paused on the brick wraparound porch just long enough to look around the cul-de-sac. He was happy to see the last of the tree-lined streets and quiet atmosphere.
To hell with this boring shit.
He placed his bags on the rear passenger seat of his father's dark blue Ford Expedition before hopping into the front passenger seat. He instantly inserted his ear buds and let the sounds of Jay-Z's “Hard Knock Life” cause his head to bop.
“It's a hard knock life for us . . .”
His words stopped when the ear buds were pulled from his ears with twin pops as the suction was released. Graham looked over at his father. His eyes widened when he held out his hand and waved his fingers.
“Man, Dad,” he moaned, removing the Discman and ear buds to hand over to him.
Tylar slid the CD player into the middle console. “This ride back to Brooklyn is plenty of time for you to tell me what's really been going on with you,” he said, turning the key in the ignition and placing the SUV in drive.
Graham stayed quiet.
“You got kicked out of school so much for fighting that they held you back in the ninth grade, son,” his father said, side-eyeing him as he drove. “Now you're expelled just a few weeks before the end of your sophomore year. You want to be twenty and still in high school?”
Graham slumped in his seat and looked out the passenger window. He wasn't in a talking mood, but he knew that didn't matter. He couldn't ignore his father the way he did his mother. Still, he had no plans on sharing anything he didn't want to share, and nobody could change that. Both his truth and his lies were his to tell.
Graham lay across the king-sized bed that dominated the one bedroom in his father's apartment. It was just the beginning of June, but during early evenings the heat was sweltering and the only air-conditioning unit was in the bedroom. While his father was at work during the day, Graham soaked the air up because at night that oscillating fan he used barely cooled him off as he slept on the sofa bed in the living room.
So far, his requests for an A/C unit had been met with “McDonald's is hiring twenty-four seven, son. Twenty-four. Seven.”
The luxuries of a two-story home with an in-ground pool in the middle of suburban New York made his father's stylish but small apartment seem like the projects.
He looked around at the room. The walls were bare, there was a pile of dirty clothing growing out of the top of the hamper, and a thin layer of dust needed to be handled. The dÃ©cor left a lot to be desired, but there weren't many men willing to go further than a comforter set and matching curtains, and Graham was 99 percent sure one of his father's women had picked that out.
And there were many.
Graham shook his head at the line of womenâall pretty as hell with banging bodiesâthat his father paraded in and out of their small apartment. In just the two weeks since he'd moved in full-time he counted six. He heard the sex cries of each and every one through the thin wooden bedroom door as he dug his head under the pillows and tried to sleep.
He dropped the remote onto the bed and picked up the cordless phone from the nightstand. “Hello,” he said, his eyes still on a Jean-Claude Van Damme movie on the fifty-inch television.
Graham pressed the phone closer to his ear at the sound of the soft, sexy, and feminine voice. His heart pounded. “Excuse me?” he asked, grimacing at the way his voice cracked.
“Who is this?” she asked with wariness.
He pressed the back of his head onto the pillow and looked up at the white ceiling. “This is Graham . . . Tylar's son,” he said, being sure to deepen his voice.
“Oh . . . oh shit. I'm sorry,” she said. “I called your dad's cell, and when he didn't answer all morning I thought he was off from work.”
And another one bites the dust.
“He's at work. You wanna leave a message?” Graham asked more out of politeness than anything. He already knew she was on the shut-out listâwhether she knew it or not. He picked up the remote and started turning up the volume on his movie.
“Tell him Yvonne called.”
He dropped the phone back on the bed and laughed.
Daddy running through 'em like tissue.
As far as Graham could tell, all of the women were fine with being in rotation with one another because he had yet to see one just drop by and run into another. Everybody played her position. And well.
It was obvious the last thing his father wanted was to be remarried, and Graham couldn't blame him. The only female Graham came even close to banging was a white girl he went to school with who gave out blow jobs as if they were lollipops. Cheap lollipops.
Still, he hadn't given up his virgin card, and ear hustling his father straight slaying women left and right just a few feet from where he slept wasn't helping.
“Stop, Nikko. Stop!”
Graham rolled off the bed and looked out the window that overlooked the driveways of their apartment building and the one next door. A little brown boy of about ten was wetting a slender teenage girl with a hose. Graham's eyes widened at the sight of the bra covering her small but plump breasts being exposed by the moisture.
“Your ass is mine,” she screamed before she fought through the stream of water to snatch the hose from him.
Graham looked on as she dropped the hose and chased the little boy inside the building. He felt disappointment when she was gone from his view. So did his dick. He looked down at it pressing against the front of his oversized basketball shorts.
Moving away from the window, he rubbed the length of his semi-hardness. “I need to jack this off,” he muttered, pulling down on it.
Instead of heading for the shower to use the water and soap to help him nut off some of his horniness, Graham fell across the bed and resumed flipping through the cable channels for the next hour until his urges faded and he felt sleep claim him. He didn't fight it.
I always have somebody to fuck . . . in my dreams
When Graham awakened with a stretch of his long limbs, the room was dark save for the light from the television. The room was cold from the air conditioner running on high even though the temperature had dropped outside with the disappearance of the sun. Shivering, he climbed off the bed and turned the window unit on low.