While Sugah got dressed for her day, she heard her cell phone buzz. When she answered the unknown call, she wasn’t prepared for what happened next. Thinking it was Espresso or Coffee, she didn’t use her better judgment to let it go straight to voicemail. “Hello,” she said. When no one said anything, Sugah suddenly got an eerie feeling in the pit of her gut. She couldn’t put her finger on it but she knew that something weird was about to happen next. After a few more seconds passed and the caller still hadn’t made his or herself known, Sugah said hello again.
“Good Morning. You don’t know me but I want to warn you about the company you keep. Little girls, who play with fire, only get burned. If I were you, I would disassociate myself with people who just hand out random business cards. If you don’t listen, you will get hurt. Your new friends don’t care about anything but money, through any means necessary. Trust me, I know. Get out while you still can before you end up broken in every sense of the word.” The way the person sounded, Sugah could tell that they were disguising their voice. Why, was the question lingering in her head?
“Who is this? How did you get this number?” Whoever on the other end of the phone laughed and then hung up. Sugah held the phone to her ear in a daze. What was happening? Was she really in danger? She had to tell someone about the call but whom? What if the caller was right? Sugah decided to keep the call a secret for now. Maybe when she talked to Espresso, she could see whether or not she could trust him enough to say something. Her intuition had never failed her yet nor led her down the wrong path. If they tried to burn her, she would have something hotter for them. No one would ever hurt her again. The last person to hurt her was in a place that only dirt and worms resided. Sugah wouldn’t hesitant putting anyone who tried double-crossing her there too. The rage and darkness hidden deep within her began to stir but she refused to become that person again. Those days were over or at least she thought they were. All she wanted to do was to be happy and enjoy her new life. Nothing was going to stand in the way of that, Sugah concluded checking the contents of her phone for any sign of who the caller might be. There was nothing.
She finished getting dressed, grabbed her things and headed out the door to school. Traffic was light and parking was a breeze. Sugah was able to find a spot right in front of the building of each of her classes. As she got out of her car, she saw Mark waiting for her. He looked handsome dressed in khaki shorts, a polo shirt, with the collar flipped up, flip flops and dark sunglasses. His shirt was tucked in and he was standing with his hands in his pockets. He looked very debonair. When he saw Sugah walking near him, he smiled like the luckiest man on earth. The colorful maxi dress and matching headscarf probably had something to do with it. The dress showcased all of her curves, while the scarf accented her frizzed natural curls. Her metallic sandals looked amazing next to her perfectly sun-kissed skin, making her look like she had just got back from a tropical vacation. Her toenails were polished in a bubblegum pink color that matched her nails. The big silver hoops in her ears looked hypnotic. Several heads turned when she graced the sidewalk. Many of the people watching would have easily thought she and Mark were the perfect couple. They complemented each other in every aspect of the word. Sugah heard a few of them ask amongst themselves if she was a model or actress, shooting a movie on their campus. Mark could have easily passed for her leading man, in any genre of movie.
“You look amazing, Sugah. Damn girl! Do you have to dress like that everywhere you go,” Mark teased. He admired his new friend even more. She always looked well put together and with such class. “Thank you Mark, you don’t look so bad yourself. I am meeting my mother for lunch after class, so I wanted to look my best. She would do me bodily harm if I left the house looking any kind of way. Why are you, all dressed up today? Usually you just have on jeans and a t-shirt. You must have a date or something,” Sugah teased Mark. He blushed. She was paying attention to him. He didn’t want anyone to know who his family was and the fact that he came from old money was neither here nor there, for as he was concerned. Mark didn’t get along with his father much and his mother left him when he was little or so, his father told him. Mark didn’t have any memories of his mother but he longed to know her and have her as a part of his life. Without her presence, most days he felt lost, empty, like something was missing. He didn’t have any brothers or sisters, just butlers and maids and nannies, which raised him, making sure he got a hot meal, read him bedtime stories and came to see him when he had a game, play, debate or any other event. His dad was always busy with something or someone. Mark didn’t know exactly what line of work his father did but he had his suspicions. Too many beautiful, superficial people, in one spot, at a time were trouble, he always told himself. Up until he met the only girl he had ever loved, he was a loner. And even she betrayed him.
Mark shook those painful memories out of his mind. But not a day went by without him thinking of his mother and why she left him. He wanted to find her and ask her but he had to wait. If his father knew about his wanting to contact his mother, he would have a hissy fit. He would also disown him, as he made ever so clear on more than one occasion. So, for now, Mark continued to focus and do well in his studies. Soon he would be out of school and his father wouldn’t be able to run his life anymore. Having money wasn’t everything in his eyes but most people would kill to be in his shoes. Mark was determined to succeed as a world-renowned surgeon and he would. Sugah waved her hand at him, bringing him back to the present. Her smile made him forget all about his troubles. For that, Mark was truly grateful. His mind couldn’t take much more of thinking about his mother, who she was, why she left and how to get her to never leave him again, once he found her. Sugah just simply took his troubles away.
“Mark, you okay? You look like you were deep in thought. Is there anything you want to talk about? I am here for you,” Sugah said touching him lightly on the arm. Mark shook his head. “I’m cool. Now, let’s get to class before we have to sit all the way up top. Professor Love has probably picked up more students of the female gender. You know word of mouth travels fast.” Sugah agreed and with the way all the females in the first class were looking at Coffee, she knew Mark had a point. “You are so right. Come on, let’s go,” she said grabbing his arm, pulling him behind her. Mark smiled enjoying her playfulness. When they got to the class it was still pretty empty, which they both were thankful for. This time Professor Love was there, sitting in his chair, chatting with a few of the other early comers. When he saw Sugah with Mark, he clenched. He wanted to pull her into her arms and kiss her senseless, claiming her in front of everyone there but know that he couldn’t. They weren’t together and he didn’t have a right to be jealous. But soon that would all change. He just had to keep his composure although it would be hard. She looked wonderful, beautiful and when she turned to walk up the steps, he was mesmerized by the roundness of her nicely proportioned ass. He could look at it all day and never get tired of seeing it, Coffee thought trying to focus his attention on to what one of his other students had just asked.
Sugah saw the way he was watching her and added a little something extra to the sway of her hips. Mark also admired the great piece of art in front of him. He had never seen ass like that. Not even JLo or Nikki Manaj had ass that came close to Sugah’s. Coffee saw a few of the dudes in the class admire Sugah’s asset, getting furious. She had it like that. He held his breath and counted to ten, to calm his nerves. He didn’t blame them, hell what man wouldn’t admire a beautiful woman and her ass? He didn’t know any, even players on the other team watched Sugah’s ass. She just had it like that. The fact that she was beautiful inside and out, caused Coffee to become hypnotized by her each and every time he saw her. Her spirit was amazing, refreshing and reassuring that there were still genuine people in the world. If only she was older, he thought. Then suddenly he realized that age wasn’t anything but a number and they were two consenting adults. She was about to turn nineteen. He was only six years her senior. He had been with women his age, older and a few Sugah’s age, but none of them compared to her. She was clearly the one for him. Why couldn’t he just set aside his pride, stop worrying about what everyone else would think or say and follow his heart? Coffee didn’t have time to dwell of that at the moment. His thoughts were interrupted by a soft female voice, standing in front of him. His view of Sugah was blocked. When he looked up, he nearly fainted. It was Simone. What was she doing there? The last time he saw her, she was underneath his nemesis.
“Hello there stranger”, she said beaming like the sun. Coffee didn’t find anything amusing, at all. He wanted her to get as far away as possible from him before he wouldn’t be responsible for his actions. He took a deep breath to calm down. A few of the students in the front roll saw the tension and annoyance in his face. Coffee put on a fake smile as he tried to maintain eye contact with the woman he once loved and had almost given everything up for. “Hello Simone. To what do I owe this surprise?” Simone didn’t like the sarcastic tone he gave her. It had been three years already. When would he get over what she did? She only done it to protect Coffee in the first place but if she told him, she would be in big trouble. “I am in this class, Khalil. I just wanted to say hello and to let you know that I was here. I could have easily taken a seat in the back and said nothing but I didn’t. Can you give me a little credit?” Simone was getting annoyed. She had been punished enough and she wasn’t about to stand there and allow him to do it again. Before he could say anything else, she was walking away. When he looked up, his eyes met Sugah’s. She was giving him a questioning look but he didn’t have time to explain. It was time to begin class. Simone followed Khalil’s eyes and wondered who the pretty girl was, who captured his attention. She dug her nails into her arm to release her rage. Now was nor the time or place to make a scene but she would get to the bottom of it. She came back to get her man and she wasn’t going anywhere without having him in her bed and by her side forever.
As the class began to fill up, Coffee stood up in front of the podium. He was ready to get his lecture over with, so that he could get as far away from Simone. He also wanted to get away from Sugah as possible before he was forced to make love to her in his office. That wasn’t such a bad idea, he thought. Maybe he could tell her he needed to see her in his office after class. What if she didn’t show up, he thought? He would be devastated. Maybe after they spoke again, right now, they weren’t really on speaking terms. He glanced at her one last time before he looked at his watch and saw that it was way passed time to begin. Sugah smiled watching him suffer. She saw the way he was trying to keep from looking at her, but he was failing miserably. Mark leaned into her personal space. “I think ole boy got a thing for you. Look at the way he keep looking up her at you, girl. You do have a way of making a brother wanna do something to you,” he laughed. Sugah put her hand over of mouth. She couldn’t believe those words had just escaped Mark’s lips. “You are silly! I know you didn’t just say that. I am only being me. If you or any other brother cannot handle that, it’s not my fault. It is what it is. And I think he is just admiring the dress like many of you are.” Sugah scanned the room and saw several other guys smiling in her direction. Damn, I must really look good, she thought. Before she turned back to look at her book, she noticed the same woman speaking with Coffee earlier watching her. The look the woman gave her made Sugah’s skin crawl. If looks could kill, she would have dropped dead right then and there. That got her attention even more. Who was this woman and what was her relationship with Coffee? It was definitely timed she asked questions. The call phone she received at home reentered her mind. She wondered if the woman had anything to do with it. Sugah would get answers. She gave the woman a look that said “I am not the one to fuck with and if you do, you better know how to dance, I eat bitches like you for lunch” Simone nodded at Sugah. She had to admit, the youngster had heart. No one gave her a look like that and got away with it. There was certainly more than meets the eye to the young brave soul seating only seats away from her.
Coffee saw the exchange between the two women and began to panic. He knew what Simone was capable of and didn’t want Sugah to get hurt. He needed to have a word or two with her. Sugah was innocent in all this and she didn’t need to know of their past. When the time came to share his story with her, he would, Coffee thought. At that very moment, Simone looked in his direction. She saw the concerned look on his face and knew that she had competition. He cared about the girl. The look in his eyes also revealed to her that he was in love. Simone couldn’t handle seeing Khalil look at another woman the way he used to look at her. It was no one’s fault but hers. If she would have just stood up to Mr. X, she and Khalil could have been happily married, having the time of their lives. Simone would get her revenge, one way or the other. He would pay for ruining her once happy life. She suddenly realized who the guy was sitting next to her new enemy. It was Mark. When she tried getting his attention, he purposely ignored her. Simone was even more pissed. She had always cared about Mark. They had once been good friends, before she was caught in his father’s bed. Sugah saw the reaction from the mystery woman and Mark, wondering how they knew each other. It was apparent that they did. She wanted to ask Mark but didn’t. Time would only reveal the truth and she would be waiting. Sugah also knew that she should keep a close watch on Mark and his true intentions of becoming her friend. He obviously had something to hide but what?
When class was over, Sugah was impressed by Coffee yet again. He was awesome in his own rite. He kept their attention, using graphs, charts and slideshows. He even asked questions to keep them all engaged. He had a few people volunteer to act out a few roles in which he lectured about. Sugah couldn’t stop staring at him. She loved a man with intellect. She loved knowledge and anyone who sought to gain all that he or she could. She found herself stimulated, aroused by Coffee’s brain. Any man who could stimulate her mentally was her weakness and also trouble. It appeared that both the mystery woman and Mark were deeply impressed with Coffee’s teaching ability. After the next assignment was given, class was dismissed.
Sugah walked out of the room without a second glance. She didn’t have the time or energy to focus on Coffee, Mark or the mystery woman. She had plans with her mother. Before she was able to pull off in her car, she saw Mark trying to flag her. Annoyed, Sugah quickly stopped and waited for him to catch up to her car. “Sugah, why are you leaving so soon? I thought that maybe we could grab a bite to eat or something,” he spoke slightly winded. Sugah looked at him for a minute. “You cannot be serious right now! I told you before class that I was meeting my mother for lunch, Mark. Where you even paying attention to any word that I said earlier? I don’t have time for this right now. I have to go. I will see you on Thursday since we don’t have any classes together tomorrow. In fact, I don’t have to be on campus until the evening. If you still want to get together, we could possibly do something before or after my class tomorrow. I’ll call you later, okay. I really have to go.” Sugah pulled off in a hurry, to meet her mother. She wasn’t late or if traffic was busy, she would be. She became frustrated because she didn’t like to be late or keep anyone waiting, a trait she wished all people possessed. Time was something no one could get back so Sugah made a conscious decision to never waste anyone or her own.
Mark watched Sugah drive off. “Awe, what’s the matter, she left you hanging,” he heard a voice behind him say. When he saw Simone, he sighed. “When did you get back? I thought my father told you to leave and never come back. You know when he learns that you are back, he will be pissed,” Mark said in a corky tone. “I don’t give a damn what he gets. He ruined my life once and that won’t happen again. Besides, who is going to tell him I’m back? I hope we can still be friends, Mark. I really missed not having you in my life. I know what happened was foul but I lost everything. What more do I have to lose in order for you to see that I genuinely cared about you? Can we please just put this all behind us and become friends again? I can really use a good one right now.” Mark wasn’t prepared to forgive Simone but he found his heart betraying him. She was once his best friend. When she left, he was lost without her. True, she had slept with his father and gotten pregnant but he missed her. When his father found out about the baby, he threatened Simone, gave her money for an abortion and told her to get as far away from them as possible and to never look back.
Simone walked closer to Mark. She needed him. Tears began to kiss her cheeks. She turned to get away from him but was stopped by his hand grabbing her own. He pulled her into his arms and consoled her. They stood there in front of everyone, making up for lost times. Mark’s heart pounded. He had always been in love with Simone but placed that love on the back burner when she left. The only person who even captured his attention longer than her was Sugah. He wanted to get to know Sugah better but when Simone walked back into his life, those feelings changed. When he saw her enter the classroom, he wanted to run and pull her into his arms but didn’t. She played him. She played him big time with his father but yet and still he loved her. Mark quickly pushed Simone away to keep her from feeling his protruding erection. He wanted to make love to her, to take all of her pain away but now was not the time. If she was being honest with him, they would have their time. If not, he would make sure she never broke his heart again.
“I am so sorry, Mark. I never meant to hurt you. I promise to never do that again. Can you ever find it in your heart to forgive me?” Mark held Simone closer, kissing her on the forehead. “Shh, I have already forgiven you, silly. Let’s go get something to eat. Where are you staying?” Simone smiled. Mark was her best friend but she didn’t love him the way she loved Khalil. If only her heart and mind could agree, she thought. Maybe she would grow to love Mark like she loved Khalil. She shook those thoughts out of her mind. “Sure, where are we going,” she said to Mark. “And I don’t have anywhere to stay at the moment. I have been living in a hotel downtown for the past few days until I can get something more permanent.” It was Mark’s turn to smile. “I have the perfect spot,” he said and grabbed Simone by the hand, leading her to his car. Coffee watched the interaction between the two and wondered just how well they knew each other and for how long. Something weird was going on and he didn’t like the feeling that it was so close to home. He also had a funny feeling that something terrible was about to transpire. The fear concerned him that Sugah’s back was the target and a knife was about to stab it beyond repair.