Coffee wanted to call Sugah back but knew that it was too late. He knew she had class the next day and didn’t want to wake her. Glancing back at the clock, he decided to wait until another time. It was too late. He longed to hear her voice, feel her lips and touch her body. He was head over heels for her, but the timing wasn’t right. Now that Simone was back, he had to be careful. Coffee knew that she was vindictive. He didn’t want Sugah involved in the things from his past. If anything happened to her, he would never forgive himself. Simone didn’t care about anyone other than herself. And if Mya was in the picture, they would do whatever it took to get what they wanted, by any way possible. No, as much as he hated it, he just couldn’t take the risk of putting Sugah in danger. His heart ached. His soul became saddened by the harsh reality that he couldn’t be with the woman he wanted to spend the rest of his life with.
The next morning Sugah got up and decided to try calling Coffee again. When she still didn’t get an answer, she faced a harsh reality. He was avoiding her but why? There was definitely something going on. Sugah would get to the bottom of it. She couldn’t put her finger on it but she knew for certain that it had something to do with the mysterious woman, who stared at her in his class. Sugah despised bitches and could pick them out blindfolded. She knew someone deceptive at first glance and the woman was someone not to be taken lightly.
She ate breakfast, finished up some schoolwork, did some reading and decided to put her feelings to paper. By the time Sugah looked up from her journal, it was way passed noon. She got up, got dressed and went to meet Mark. Sugah admired her work. The words poured from within her were serious, real, and relatable. She wanted them to be heard by many. “One day I am going to put my gift to good use,” she told herself. “There are people out there who feel the same way as I do. They need to know that they are not alone.”
Just as she was pulling up to campus, so was Mark. He saw her and honked his horn. Sugah parked and waited on him to get into the car. “Hey there Sweetness,” Mark said leaning over to give her a kiss on the cheek. Sugah found that unusual but didn’t think much more of it. They were friends after all. Friends did greet each other with hugs and kisses on the cheek. It wasn’t like he was making a pass at her. “What’s up, Mark, how are you this afternoon?” Sugah waited on his reply before she asked her next question. “I’m good. What about you?” He looked around her car in amazement. “I really love this car, girl. The red with the black is the shit. What made you choose it? It compliments your personality to perfection, Sugah.”
“Thanks Mark. I think so too. I wanted something that reflects me and beyond. Red wasn’t always my color of choice but now I think I am infatuated with it. I love this car. So, where are we going,” she wanted to know so that they could be on their way and she could get back and not be late for her evening class. The days were longer in the summertime, which Sugah enjoyed. She didn’t like when it got dark at five. She was an outdoor person and wanted to spend every minute possible outside. Growing up, she and her mother were always outside doing something. Her mother said that it gave them a chance to bond. They could enjoy and appreciate the beauty of nature. Now, Sugah found herself spending hours admiring the flowers, trees, the sky and everything else, for hours anytime the weather permitted.
“I was thinking that because the weather was so lovely that maybe we could just grab something and go to the park,” Mark said. Sugah’s mouth dropped. Was he able to read or hear her thoughts? She smiled. “That is the exact same thing I was thinking. I love being outdoors and today is quite beautiful. So sandwiches,” she asked. “Sounds great, my treat. Let’s go to Cord’s Deli,” Mark replied. Sugah put the car in reverse and drove off. She didn’t see Coffee watching her, wondering why Mark was in the car with her. He didn’t like seeing Sugah with anyone else. He would have to do something about that. It was time he followed his heart, even if it didn’t agree with his mind. Sugah was worth it and then some.
Surprisingly that day, the park wasn’t as full as Sugah had anticipated. She and Mark were able to get a picnic table next to the huge fountain. The water added the perfect soundtrack as they ate their sandwiches and got to know each other a little better. Sugah learned that Mark loved poetry, sports and music. His favorite band was Coldplay. She was also a huge fan of Coldplay. He was an only child, as was she. He grew up with his father and she grew up without hers. He didn’t go into details about his childhood but Sugah gathered that something was missing in his life. When she asked about his mother, he quickly changed the subject. There was something deep there. Mark also loved fashion and hoped to open a medical practice in New York one day. He wanted to travel around the world and help find a cure for AIDS and other deadly diseases. Sugah found that commendable. Her level of respect soared toward Mark. He was special, someone she hoped to build a solid friendship with.
When it was time to leave the park, Sugah didn’t want to. She was really having a great time with Mark. He reminded her of Coffee in many ways but unique in his own right. Yes, she knew that they would be friends for a long time. “I hate to leave but I should really get back to campus. My class starts in about forty minutes. We must do this again. I really had a great time, Mark. You are truly an amazing individual, with wonderful goals. I look toward to learning more of you.” Mark beamed. He was glad Sugah thought his goals for the future were something special. His father could care less. Every time he mentioned or tried telling his plans to him, he didn't seem interested. In fact, his father had told him several times that his plans were a waste and that if he really wanted to do something; he should work for him. Mark knew that what his father did for a living was shady. He didn’t want any part of his organization or associate himself with the people his father called business associates. They didn’t care about anyone or thing other than money. Simone had once been one of those people. She turned on all the people who loved her except of twin sister, Mya, who was just as vicious as her.
Mark hadn’t seen or heard from Mya in years. She was his friend before he became friends or fallen in love with Simone. She was beautiful but one of the most heartless people he had ever known. He wondered what made someone so miserable and later discovered that Mya had been abused and molested as a child. She allowed herself to become the target ,to protect Simone from their mother’s boyfriend. That was probably why she didn’t give a damn about any man or any other human being for that matter. Mya was just that coldhearted. She could have easily given the devil himself a run for his money when it came to manipulating and deceiving people. “Mark, you okay,” Sugar asked seeing the expression on his face. He is reliving something evil, she could tell from the darkness she saw in his eyes.
“Come on, you don’t want to be late.” Before she could say or ask anything else, Mark was walking away from her. Sugah caught up to him and walked next to him in silence. She didn’t want to push him by asking questions, so she decided to let him bring it up if he wanted her to know. They rode back to campus in silence.
That night as Sugah listened to her lab teacher, she couldn’t stop thinking about Mark. He was aching for attention, acceptance and appreciation from his father. Sugah wondered how she would handle that if she didn’t have those things from her mother. It would definitely make life more challenging. By the end of her class, she knew that she had to help Mark and his father rebuild their relationship, but how? She didn’t know his father or very much about him. Maybe that was a sign that she should just stay out of it. In her heart she knew that if she didn’t do something, Mark would slowly lose whatever bond there was still left, with his dad. Sugah wished that she could have her father just one more day but he was dead. She didn’t even get a chance to say goodbye. The day he left, she was at school and when the police officer showed up at their house a few weeks later, with the news of his sudden death, Sugah was too young to understand. All she remembered was her mother falling into the arms of the officer, crying endlessly. She later learned by asking questions, that he had been murdered by a store clerk, after trying to rob a convenient store. The only money in the register, according to the police and her mother was ninety-seven dollars.
Her father was taken away from her forever, for a lousy ninety-seven dollars. Years later, Sugah and her mother learned from the same store clerk that he wasn’t the one who killed their loved one that in fact the police did. The clerk told the news that the man who was murdered had tried to help him during a robbery and the police shot the wrong person, and tried covering it up when they couldn’t catch the real person behind the robbery. Sugah decided that very day that she would become a lawyer to help make the justice system better, to protect innocent people from dirty cops. Writing was her first love but she set it aside to focus all of her time and energy into reading and learning the law. By the time she was sixteen, Sugah could go up against any lawyer and win enough question. Her ability to absorb knowledge was incredible.
As she left class, walking back to her car, she saw two women standing across the street watching her. Sugah could tell that they were watching her but wasn’t sure why. The closer she got, the more she recognized one of the women. It was the same mystery woman from her class. As Sugah got into her car, she saw Coffee walk out of the building. He stopped when he saw the two women. When they saw him, they smiled. He turned and walked in the opposite direction. Sugah wondered what was up. As she drove pass the women, they waved, with evil smirks on their faces. Before she completely passed them, one of them made a gesture with her hand. It was like a gun. She pointed the tip of her finger to her temple and pulled the trigger. When Sugah didn’t seem fazed by it, she blew the tip of her finger as if smoke was coming from the gun. Was she supposed to be afraid, Sugah thought? It was time she had a long talk with Espresso or Java. They would know just what to do. Something deep inside Sugar told her that she was in for a real shock but she would be ready. Trouble was lurking. Without even realizing it, Sugah would discover a hidden family secret that would affect many of the closest people to her. Their lives would never be the same again!