Coffee dialed Java’s cell. When she answered, he didn’t give her a chance to say hello. “Sis, we have a big problem. Simone is back. She showed up in one of my classes today and the same one that Sugah is in. I just saw her talking to a guy who appears to be close to Sugah and there is no telling what Simone is cooking up.” Coffee didn’t know it at the moment but the guy with her was also his nephew, whom he didn’t know and hadn’t seen since he was a few days old. “I don’t want to alarm the others but we have to formulate a plan before he gets wind that she is back. I wonder if he already knows.” The “he” that Coffee was referring to was Mr. X. Java caught her heart. She felt sick suddenly. The very mention of Simone’s name made her temperature rise. She despised Simone for what she did to her. Java knew the day would come that they would meet face-to-face but she wasn’t prepared right now. She was still figuring out a way to get back at Xavier for taking her child away from her. He was a coldhearted snake, who couldn’t be trusted. He had slithered his way in and out of her bed, ruining her life miserably.
“Coff, this is serious. Xavier will do anything to protect his business and reputation. The man is heartless. Who takes a woman’s newborn child away from her?” Java was speechless. “So what are we going to do?” Java would stand behind her brother in whatever decision he came up with. She had a plan of her own but would keep it to herself. When the time came, she would get her revenge on Xavier, get her child back and say goodbye to the organization. It wasn’t fun for her anymore. She was older now, much older than the others and she didn’t want to spend the rest of her life living it through others. Sugah was special but Java knew that helping her wouldn’t turn back the hands of time, for her. Java sighed. True she wasn’t an old maid but thirty had crept up on her like a thief in the night, stealing her youth forever. Now that she was nearly forty, she wanted to do something different with her life. The only thing she wanted now was to have a relationship with her son.
“I know that if Simone is back, Mya is also. We have to at least tell Espresso, so that he can be prepared if he runs across her. You know how he felt about her and how devastated he was when she left him.” Coffee agreed. His dear friend hadn’t been the same since. “Yeah, I know. He is not going to take this news well but you’re right, we have to warn him. I only hope that we are not too late. Mya is his weakness and he will still do anything for her, Java. She and Simone are poison. Espresso deserves so much better than her.” Java remembered all the pain each of them endured during that particular time in each of their lives. She didn’t wish any of it on even her worse enemy, then again, Xavier was the cause of that pain and she would show him pain in the near future. “Do you want me to call him? I can tell him. I should be leaving the office soon and I can just drop by his office and let him now,” Java said. “No, I’ll tell him. I will call you later, after I speak with him and let you know how everything turns out. But in the meantime, what should we do about Simone? The way she looked at Sugah in class today, she knows that something happened between us. She looked pure evil. But I must admit Sugah held it together. The way those two were staring at each other, I thought that World War III was about to take place.” Java was impressed, intrigued by hearing how well Sugah didn’t allow anyone to punk her or show signs of weakness in front of an enemy. She was even more than what Java thought she was.
“Sis, are you still there,” Coffee asked. He wasn’t used to Java being so silent when they spoke. This alarmed him. He knew the wounds should have healed by now, but her situation was different. There was a child involved. “I’m fine. I was just thinking about all this. When will life stop throwing curve balls, Coff? I don’t know if I can take many more. I have tried to let go and move on with my life but I just can’t. My son is out there somewhere and needs his mother. He probably thinks that I abandoned him. Who knows what lies Xavier has fed him all these years. Coff, he is twenty years old now. What if I never find him? What if we cross paths every day and don’t know it? How can a mother just allow something like this to happen? I should have fought back. I should have tried harder to find them.” Java was losing it. Coffee wished that he was next to her to comfort her but they were in two different places. “Sis, I’m so sorry. We will find him soon, I promise. Xavier won’t get away with this.” But he had, Java thought, feeling lower than lower.
Java blew her nose. She wiped her face and looked around her office. She would give it all up for a chance to get the lost time back with her son. “It’s fine, really Coff. You didn’t have to tell me anything but you did. Thanks for always looking out for me. If I hadn’t gotten involved with Xavier in the first place, none of this would be happening right now. You saved me and now it’s back to bite you in the ass.” Coffee smiled. “I would gladly do it all over again, in a heartbeat. Don’t ever think that you caused this to happen. You were in love with a man, who had us all fooled. You didn’t know. How could you have known? Don’t beat yourself up or dwell on the past. We will get through this too, together. We will find him, Java. And he is going to love you. Children never forget their mothers. Everything is going to be okay, trust me.” Java loved her brother now more than ever. She trusted him with her life. She knew that he would do everything in his power to find her son, his nephew and make Xavier pay for all the pain and heartache he caused their family.
The two siblings talked a few more minutes and then hung up. Coffee prepared to leave his office and Java finished up some last minute documents concerning Sugah’s upcoming photo-shoot. The fashion show was something she looked forward to attending. Java loved fashion. She wanted to see Sugah in action firsthand, not just hear about it. At first she wasn’t so sure that she could pull the first assignment off but was extremely impressed when she had. Sugah was about to make new friends, in high places, with deep pockets but Java hoped that Xavier and his organization of wolves in sheep’s clothing didn’t go after her. Wishful thinking, Java acknowledged. If she knew Xavier like she knew she did, he would definitely try to manipulate his way into the likes of Sugah. She only hoped that Sugah was smart enough to see a snake when she saw one, not fall for bullshit like herself. In that moment, Java wondered where Sugah was. She picked up the phone on her desk, dialing her number. When Sugah answered, she felt relieved.
“Hey Sugah, its Java, I was calling to check on you, to see if you had all the information regarding the shoot on Friday. It sounds like you’re driving. Did I catch you at a bad time,” Java asked. Sugah smiled. “Hey girl, nice to hear from you, I am driving. I am meeting my mom for lunch. And yes, I think I have everything under control but if something comes up, you will be the first one I call. What’s up?” Java felt at ease just listening to the excitement in Sugah’s voice about meeting her mother for lunch. She wondered if her child would ever feel the same about her. “Java, hello…hello,” Sugah called out. “I’m here, Sugah. I was just listening to the way your voice lights up when you speak about your mother. I didn’t know she was in town. How long is she here for,” Java wanted to know.
“Oh, she arrived a few days ago and will be here until probably next week. I’m not really sure about that, Java. Why do you ask?”
“I just wanted to know if you minded if she came to the fashion show. I can get extra tickets for her and anyone else you want to come. I didn’t mean to pry, Sugah. I just thought that she would like seeing you, strut your stuff on the runway.”
Sugah suddenly felt bad about questioning Java’s motives. “I didn’t mean to sound rude but you can never be too careful about people’s intentions, no offense. I have been burned more times than I care to remember, so I hope you understand why I’m so cautious.”
Java admired Sugah more every time she spoke with her. “None taken, at all, in fact, that is a really good way to be, Sugah. That way no one gets the chance to take advantage of you. You are a very smart young lady. No wonder we all thought you were much older than what you are. You are way wise beyond your years, girl. Keep up the great work. But seriously, do you think your mother would want to see the show?”
“If she knows that I’m in it, yes she will. I will run it pass her and let you know something this evening. I think my mom has a new man in her life and she may already have plans with him this weekend. You know how that goes,” Sugah said laughing. Java joined in her laughter. She certainly knew, all too well. “Yes, I do. Okay, just let me know something so that I can get the tickets. I’m sure she can persuade for beau to come to the show. You do know that men do anything to be with the women they want to be with, right. It’s just the way it goes. We do the same thing to be with them too. “
“You are definitely right about that, Java. I am glad you called. Thanks for thinking of me and wanting to help. I really appreciate it. I’m sure my mother and Mr. Blakemore would love to come to the show but let me just throw it out there first.”
“Oh wow!! Really, Mr. Blakemore and your mom got a thing for each other? I think that’s sweet. If your mother is anything like you, he would be a fool not to take advantage of this time with her. They probably make a nice couple. I would really love to meet her well she is in town, if that isn’t a problem, Sugah.”
“Why would that be a problem? Do you think it’s wise under the circumstances? What if she asked questions and if I know my mother, she well?”
“Then we will tell her that you work for me at my firm. Stop worrying girl, damn you giving me a headache, you sound just like me when I was your age. Calm down, if you don’t think it’s a good idea you me to meet your mother, it’s cool. Well, anyway, I’ll let you get back to driving. I look forward to hearing from you later. You do have my home number, right?”
“Yep, I have all of your numbers. I made sure of that the first night we met. Thanks again, Java. I’ll speak to you later. And I would be honored to have you meet my mother. I know that she will adore you. I’ll let you know when, when I call you later. Have a nice afternoon,” Sugah said before hanging up the call. She was pulling up in front of the Blakemore estate and was in awe. After she gave her name to the security guard, at the front gate, she was allowed to enter onto the premises.
The driveway was lined with beautiful oak trees, on both sides. The lawn was freshly cut. Sugah loved the smell of freshly cut grass. She breathed in the fresh air, smiling. The drive to the main house was about a mile long. When she pulled up in front of the Mexican inspired home, she couldn’t close her mouth. It looked like a house straight out of Architects digest. The structure was big, bold and modern. The stucco roof, added character and charm to the home. Sugah couldn’t wait to see the inside of the home if the outside had any inclination as to what she had to look forward to. The landscaping complemented the home, adding depth and life to the house. Huge bay windows and a massive wooden door, created the perfect accent and ambiance to the style of the home. Sugah took it all in, impressed by what she saw. Mr. Blakemore had impeccable taste, she gathered. Before she could ring the doorbell, which looked like a little bell, used to call everyone for dinner, her mother opened the door and wrapped her arms around her. “Oh….my baby, my baby is finally here,” Charlotte Payne called out.
At first when Sugah called her mother to see where they would go for lunch and learned that lunch was being prepared at the Blakemore Estate, she was pissed. She feared that Richard would be there joining them and that she wouldn’t have quality time with her mother. Now, Sugah was happy to be in the presence of such great Architectural brilliance. Espresso would love this place she thought as she was able to catch her breath and enter the home, when her mother finally let her go. The foyer was open, which gave way to a huge great room, contemporary style dining area and kitchen. Dark wood floors added innocence and integrity to the space. Many plants lined the space. The French doors were open, as the gentle breeze went throughout the home. Salt water quickly filled Sugah’s nostrils.
Sugah later saw that the breeze was coming in straight from the ocean, which set in the background, as the perfect backdrop, to the home. The furniture was contemporary chic, which went well with the design of the house. The color scheme was bold, full of rich colors of red, orange, blues and hints of brown. Everything added its own charm but worked well together. A long hallway on the left side of the home housed four bedrooms, with on-suite baths. A wooden staircase set to the right of the space that led up to the master suite and sitting room. A study, theater room, game room, home gym and private ball room was on the bottom level of the home. As they walked toward the back of the home, Sugah saw a patio area, with a bar and infinity swimming pool, overlooking the ocean. The scenery was amazing. She felt like she was on vacation, somewhere exotic and expensive. Her mother gave the grand tour like she had been living there all of her days. Sugah suddenly wondered where Mr. Blakemore was.
A lovely table was prepared for them, with fresh fruit, wine and cheese to snack on before the main course was served. “Mom this place is absolutely incredible. I could stay here forever and forget about the rest of the world.” Charlotte beamed at her daughter. “Is that right,” she asked, smiling. Sugah wondered what had her mother so giddy but enjoyed seeing her that way. They sat down looking out into the turquoise sparkling water. Sugah then noticed a pathway, lined with rocks and a flowing steam leading out over the water, to a beautiful boat. In fact, there was more than one boat. There, a small boat, medium boat and a massive boat set resting in their designated spot. Sugah smiled. No wonder Mr. Blakemore wanted a yacht. He didn’t have one there but he certainly loved and had his share of boats. She suddenly thought about “The Secret Passage” and what had taken place aboard it. Why couldn’t she get Coffee out of her head? The way he made her body feel was insane, she craved more of him daily. Sugah wanted to feel his body next to hers but knew that it was a bad idea. Charlotte saw her daughter deep in thought and immediately knew that her baby was in love. “So, what’s his name,” she asked, catching Sugah completely off guard.
“Excuse me! Mom, what are you talking about? How do you know I’m thinking about a guy?” Charlotte laughed, popping a big red ripen strawberry into her mouth. “Sugah, I have been there and gone that, Sweetheart, I know when there is a man involved. I could also tell by the way you look and act. Your hips and ass are rounder than what they were the last time I saw you. I am a woman and also your mother, so what’s his name?” Sugah was busted, trapped. She couldn’t get anything passed her mother, had never been able to. “Mom, can we just talk about something else please. I really don’t want to talk about that right now.”
“Sure but you didn’t deny there is a man. I will respect your wish for now but we are definitely going to talk about who this young man is and how he has captured your heart. I can see love all over you, Sugah. There is nothing wrong with being in love. You are young baby, now is the time to enjoy being in your prime. Have fun and be happy. Life is too short to miss out on love. Don’t push it away because we don’t always get to find it again. There is nothing make your first love, believe me.” Charlotte stared off into space a few minutes, with tears in her eyes. Sugah wanted to ask what she was thinking about but didn’t. She gave her mother a few more minutes and then told her about the upcoming fashion show she was in. Charlotte was so proud of her daughter.
“Mom, would you like to come? I can get you tickets and you can bring Richard, if he wants to come along. I think the two of you will have a wonderful time. We can have dinner afterwards. What do you say?” Charlotte blushed. “We would love to attend. Just tell us when and where and we will be there.” Sugah smiled, sipping from her pina colada frozen drink. Although she wasn’t twenty-one, her mother allowed her to drink in her presence. We laughed and talked, enjoying each other’s company. When Sugah finally got ready to leave, the sun was beginning to set. She and her mother set there watching the beauty of the night make its entrance. The water allows the sun to see its beauty, showing the reflection, sparking in the crystal clear waves. Sugah could have stayed there forever. Such beauty was rare and she didn’t want the moment to end. Before she got up to leave the house, her mother handed her something. When Sugah looked down into her hand, she nearly passed out. A set of keys, on a dolphin keychain, kissed the palm of her hand. “What’s this,” she softly asked her mother. “Your keys, Sweetheart, the keys to your new home,” Charlotte said to her daughter. “Richard knew that you would love it. He wants you to have it. We want you to have it.”
Sugah didn’t know what to say. She covered her mouth with her hands to keep from crying out loudly. She shook her head in disbelief. There was no way she could accept such an enormous gift. “Mom, I cannot accept this. It’s too much. Why?” Before her mother could say another word, up walked Mr. Blakemore, Sugah ran into his arms like he was her father. “I cannot accept this, it is way too much, Sir. I know you mean well and I truly appreciate it but I just cannot.”
“Oh it’s alright, Sugah. Why don’t you go home, sleep on it and let us know something at a later date and time. The house is yours and isn’t going anywhere. I designed it with you in mind, so feel free to take all the time you need. The keys will be waiting whenever you want them. You deserve it. Your mother has told me about all of your hard work and dedication to your studies. I know that you won’t give up on your dreams and goals just because of a new house, right.” Sugah shook her head in agreement. She wouldn’t give up on her studies or any other goal she set for herself. Now that she was a part of the organization, she knew that as long as she got assignments, she wouldn’t have to worry about money. “Okay, I’ll think about it and get back to you. Mom, you are truly something else, you know that!” Charlotte simply smiled at her daughter, hoping that they had more time together. Since she learned of her condition, she didn’t want a day to go by without seeing her only child happy. Richard agreed. He wanted to make sure both the women in his life now were happy and he would do his best to make sure that happened. Having lost the love of his life was painful but finding Charlotte Payne was truly a blessing. The fact that she also had breast cancer, like his late wife, was hard to swallow but he would go everything within his power to make sure she received the best treatment money could buy. He respected her wish to keep her secret from her daughter for now, but he knew that she deserved to know, in case the treatments didn’t work.
That night when Sugah got home to her tiny apartment, she looked around. She loved the space but she also loved the house. Maybe she could keep both. That way she wouldn’t have to worry about anyone finding her at her house when she wanted to get away. Yes, in was settled. She would take the house. The apartment could be used as an office, a place she and Mark could study or anything else she wanted it to be. Before she went to bed, she called Java to let her know that her mother and Mr. Blakemore would be in attendance at the fashion show. She hadn’t asked about the meeting yet but promised Java that she could. Sugah slept for the first time since meeting Coffee without dreaming naughty dreams about him. Her life had indeed changed, and Sugah knew that it was only going too change even more. She hoped that it continued to be positive and not negative but Sugah had a feeling that she was about to encounter a few bumps in the road, along her journey.