Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Chapter 120-Full Circle

George and I spoke very little on the plane and even less in the car ride to the house. I should have warned Mom, I know it, but to say what?  When the car pulled up outside, I couldn’t make myself get out. Marisol was intent on hurting me and everyone around me in this quest. My mother had been through enough and now she was about to suffer more.


I stepped out of the car and headed up the stone walkway to Mom’s new house. I’d not been here since she moved. After the divorce was finalized, she’d stayed in my childhood home for a few months, but then decided it was time for a change. Dad had managed to taint the good memories she had of that place since she now felt like their entire life had been a lie.

The new one was very quaint. The vibrant rose bushes that lined the front of the small house gave it a lot of character. Stack-stone pillars flanked either side of the covered front porch area. The house was smaller than the one I grew up in, but it was the perfect size for just her. It sat on a quiet, tree lined street in one of those planned communities. Mom’s house was cute, and inviting. A stark contrast to the place George now lived. We’d stopped by there so he could drop off his luggage first. I think he was really stalling, trying to buy time before having to face Mom. They’d not spoken to each other since the sale of the house. Like me, Mom didn’t want to hear his apologies. I wondered how Marisol would leave the message since Mom didn’t mention getting any visitors recently.

There were two cars parked in her drive way. Mom’s small compact, and a bright red Mercedes. After ringing the bell, we both waited. Through the glass-pane front door, I couldn’t see Mom but then she appeared coming out of a room. She was securing the sash of her robe and smoothing down her hair.

“Amari? What a surprise.” She sounded nervous and glanced back over her shoulder towards the door. “Why…why didn’t you call?” Her eyes then settled on George. Whatever she was about to say was halted by the sound of a deep masculine voice calling out her name.

“Kathy, baby, who is it?” Seconds later he appeared in the doorway, shirtless and still in the act of fixing the belt buckle of his tan slacks.

My eyes went to him then back to my mother who was wearing a robe at one in the afternoon and her hair was disheveled. My mother was having afternoon sex. My mother was having afternoon sex with a hot younger guy and we’d interrupted. Mom stepped to the side to let us in. She shot daggers at George and the man walked up and put his arm around her waist.

“Adrian this is Amari. And that is the ex.”

“A pleasure to meet you finally,” he said extending his hand out to me. “Kitty has told me so much about you and the grandkids, I feel like I know you already.” Adrian smiled at me flashing a beautiful set of perfectly white teeth.

Mom looked up at him adoringly. She’d mentioned she was seeing someone, but I never imagined this would be who. I was happy for her, Dad hadn’t taken the best years of her life after all.

“It’s nice to meet you too. Sorry for the…interruption,” I replied trying to keep the smile off my face.

Adrian’s smile got bigger as color flooded Mom’s face. “I have to get back to the office anyway.”

He cut his eyes over at George who hadn’t said a word. The men sized each other up. Adrian gave Mom a quick kiss on the cheek before heading back to the room he’d come from.

“Have a seat, and let me get decent,” Mom said before disappearing.

George looked pissed as he kept his eyes focused on the now closed bedroom door. I glanced around Mom’s new place. The main living area was one large room consisting of the living room and kitchen area but had enough separation that they felt like two distinct spaces. The color choices she’d made all complimented each other. Her home was stylish decorated, different from the practical, homey d├ęcor our old place had. The place boasted the bold new her.
She’d lost weight, and looked to be in great shape because of it. The shorter hair style gave her a youthful appearance. I wasn’t sure the age difference between Adrian and Mom, but they seemed happy with each other. She deserved that. 

A few minutes later the door opened, Mom stepped out first but Adrian pulled her back into his arms kissing her. I had a feeling that was for George’s benefit. He then whispered something in Mom’s ear and she giggled. Giggled like a school girl. He said his goodbyes to me and was gone.

“Amari dear would you like something to drink?” she asked walking into the kitchen. She pulled out a pitcher of lemonade and carried it over to the table.

“Thanks,” I said reaching for a glass. “Sorry for not calling…”

“You look good Kathy,” George said interrupting me.

She briefly looked at him before turning back to me. “I admit seeing you was a surprise, especially since we just talked yesterday. And…” she got up and went into a different room, coming back with an envelope. “This came for you this morning. I was going to call you later, odd you getting mail here.”

I took the item from her. I hadn’t told her about Ceula when we talked, I didn’t want to worry her, but I knew she was going to want answers.

“Are you just going to pretend I’m not here?” George asked angrily. “We were married for nearly thirty years, and I can’t get a hello?”

“You have a lot of nerve George Vinson thinking you deserve anything!” she snapped. “I don’t owe you a damn thing, you should be happy I allowed you into my home and not push for more. For my daughter…”

“Our daughter,” he corrected.

“MY daughter, to show up here, unannounced and with you in tow can’t mean anything good, but whatever it is will be told to me from her. You sit and stay quiet so I can pretend you aren’t here!”

George pressed his lips together in a tight line. He would never change. He totally blew apart our lives for his own selfish gains yet he wanted to somehow play the victim.
“Now, Amari, I know you didn’t fly here because you had an urge to see me. What’s going on?”

I glanced over at George. “Marisol…she, she’s taken Ceula.”

Mom gasped, covering her mouth with her hand. “Taken? What? When?”

“Shortly after I returned home. Since I can’t have more children, she took her. Marisol is set on revenge that goes past George at this point. She’s playing some sort of game. Leaving me riddles, clues and I have no choice but to play along if I want to find Cece.”

Mom whipped her head over to look at George. “Was it worth it?!” she yelled. “Your selfish ways have had an unbelievable ripple effect. First my children, now my grandchildren have to suffer! Get…out!”

“Kathy! I didn’t plan on this. Marisol, she’s gone off the deep end. I can’t be blamed for that!”

“Like hell you can’t.” I said. “You send her into my life. Everything that has happened since is a direct effect of that choice!”

George got up and walked out, slamming the door behind him. Both Mom and I took deep breaths.

“Why doesn’t he just take responsibility for what he did?”

“Because he’s always been a proud man, even if that pride is misplaced. He will refuse to admit he failed, not matter how much his failure is staring him in the face.”
Mom pulled me into a hug and we sat comforting each other quietly for a while.
“So, riddles?”

I nodded. “Marisol has been dredging up every painful memory she could think of.”

“And one of those brought you to me?”

I shook my head. “This one was directed at George really. He, um showed up…quite out of the blue…” I thought on that for a moment.

I’d not spoken to him, so how did he know he was needed? It was too much of a coincidence. So did she send him? If so, why would she help me? But then again being faced with George was not a pleasant experience.

“Of course he factors in. So, that,” she said indicating towards the envelope on the table, “would be another clue?”

I leaned down to pick it up. “Most likely.” I tore open the piece of mail. A small piece of paper was inside. I read it, then crumbled it up, throwing it angrily across the room.

Mom got up to retrieve it. “Mirror, mirror on the wall. It’s her face you still see after-all. Her face?” I nodded.  “She means?”


The look on Mom’s face let me know her feelings. It was the same devastating feeling I had when Marisol brought the twins into her sick game. Nothing was off limits for her. Her hatred, as misplaced as it was, knew no bounds.

“Mom, I’m sorry…”

“Nonsense, this is not your doing. The one to blame has run away like the coward he is.”
Since George left, Mom had to be the one to take me to the cemetery.

It had been an emotional day. The message at Amella’s grave wasn’t a riddle, it simply said see you soon. Mom wanted me to stay the night with her, but I wanted to be alone. To do something I’d not done in a very long time, drown my sorrows at the bottom of a bottle. I wanted my child back. I wanted Marisol dead. I wanted this nightmare to be over. But my hands were tied. Without another clue, I was forced to wait on Marisol to make contact. I called Marcus to let him know I’d be home in the morning and I was about to settled down for the night when there was a knock at my door.

“Hello, Love.”

Continue Reading: "Chapter 120-Full Circle"

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Chapter 119-Putting It Aside


Marcus held me, kissing the top of my head and giving me the comfort I so desperately needed in that moment. She was out to hurt me in every way she could. These riddles were not just opening old wounds, but also filling them with buckets of salt. Each one seemed to cause me more grief than the one before it.

“We have to go to Eden Woods Memorial Gardens,” I said quietly.

“What’s…” he didn’t need to finish that sentence when it dawned on him what I’d said. Marcus wrapped his arms tighter around me and I welcomed the embrace.

“I’m going to take you home and I’ll go.”

“No,” I said pulling away. I wiped the tears from my eyes. “I can do this.”

“Amari, you don’t have to.” He stepped closer to me and for the first time since I got home I felt the warmth and caring I used to get from him. “My attitude hasn’t helped and I’m sorry. I’m angry and hurt and when this is all over, there will be a lot we’re going to have to talk about. I don’t know what the future holds for us, but right now, you need me and my support and you have that. Fully.”

I looked up at him and gave him a weary smile. I had to focus on the right now because it may be all I’d have. I stretched up on my toes and pressed my lips to his. I expected him to pull away, but he didn’t. His arms tightened around me, his mouth took control. Our tongues danced, the kiss was desperate. 

I pressed my body against his hoping he could feel how much I needed him, how much I loved him. His fingers tangled in my hair, yanking my head to the side as he broke from the kiss. His nose ran down the side of my neck, my hands clawed at his back, all senses heightened. The deep woodsy scent of his cologne tickled my nose. I wanted him in that moment more than I’d ever wanted anything in life. I felt his fangs scrape my neck, his other hand moved down to cup my ass, giving it a hard squeeze. My body prepared itself for what it hoped would come; the scent of my arousal was mingled in the air around us. Marcus let out a low groan before leaning up to look at me. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath.

“We should go.”

I felt instantly cold and alone without his body pressed to mine. I put my hand on my tingling lips, recalling the passion we’d shared just moments before and nodded in agreement. The ride to the cemetery was quiet, but Marcus held my hand, softly stroking my knuckles with his thumb.

When we arrived, Marcus held my hand as we walked to the graves where the twins were laid to rest. The hydrangeas were in full bloom creating a beautiful back drop. A gentle breeze blew causing the tall sunflowers to sway. Light, floral scents were dispersed into the air. The cool air caressed my arms causing goosebumps to pop up on my skin. The sounds of birds chirping in the distance was the only thing that disrupted the silence. I pulled my hand free as we approached. There was a rose and a note sitting atop one of the tombstones. I placed a kiss on both, then handed Marcus the items before taking a seat in the plush, well manicured grass.

“It’s been too long since I visited last.” I said softly. “I should do better, but you’re always in mommy’s heart.” I brushed away stray leaves that were scattered around. Running my hand over the cold, smooth marble I traced the outline of the baby booties that were engraved on the name plates.

Marisol was an evil bitch. It’s not that I didn’t like coming here, I had on different occasions, but they should never have been used in this sick game of hers. She already had one of my children and now she’d trampled over their memory. I couldn't understand how someone so heartless could exist in this world. Whatever plan Mulo had in place I hope called for her slow and painful death.

I stood, wiping tears from my eyes. “What does it say?”

Marcus opened the note. “Lies and deceit did heartache bring, she is now the one that wears the ring.”

I felt myself frown. “Ring? What that makes no sense.”

Marcus clenched his jaw for a moment before speaking. “Did…Mulo ever give you one?” I shook my head. “Maybe he gave one to her then.”

An irrational ping of jealousy went through me that I quickly pushed away. “It’s possible, but…”

“But what?”

“I need to talk to George first. They use to date, that’s why this all started, so it’s possible maybe they were engaged.”

Marcus looked relieved that I wouldn’t have to see Mulo, at least not yet. Who knew how many more clues I’d have and where they’d lead me. My only prayer in all of this was that Marisol hadn’t done anything to Ceula. Mainly restoring her memories of her time with David. I didn’t want my baby to relive that.

When we got home, George was gone but he’d left a number with Aric. After having dinner and checking on the babies, I went to my room to call him. The sooner I got this over the better. He answered on the fourth ring.

“Did you ever give Marisol a ring?” He was silent on the other end. “George, did you hear me?”

“I wish you wouldn’t call me that, Amari. I am still your father.”

“You lost the right to be called father when you traded the lives of both me and my sister to keep your lie going.”

Marcus walked in and took a seat on the bed. He didn't say anything, his presence alone was enough to give me comfort.

“Will you ever forgive me for what I’ve done?” George sounded so different now. Gone was he anger and hostility he’d held onto even when faced with his actions. Now he sounded like a dejected old man looking for solace.
Continue Reading: "Chapter 119-Putting It Aside"