Aurelius Johnathan Gianopoulos Jr. sat in his office with a pile of diamonds running through his fingers. He was on the phone as he fondled the perfect jewels.
“I don’t care, it’s too dangerous. The cops are all over the museum right now…Fuck that. No way. I know I told you to stake it out, but it doesn’t mean that we can just go in there…I know The Rose is on display now. I’m the one who told you about it.” Johnny sat and listened to his lead give him the information he asked for. “Goddamn it, Apollo! Shut the fuck up for a minute and listen to me! I know what I asked you to do, but if it weren’t for what you are telling me now, we would go for it. Forget it, understand? Do not go in there. You do, I’ll kill you myself,” Johnny said sitting in his big leather chair in his well decorated downtown Chicago office. “Good,” he said calmly and hung up the phone.
Johnny stared at the jewels running through his fingers and attempted to calm down. An olive skinned beauty sat across from him and didn’t say a word. Her name was Venus Knight. She loved him and he pretended to love her. Venus was Johnny’s girlfriend at the time. A short buxom brunette with hazel eyes. Johnny would say jump, and she would ask how high. Perfect. A man of power loved those who were loyal to him. But did he really love her? Or was she just something to do at the time?
Venus held her tongue as long as she could. She knew he was angry, and she really didn’t care. She wanted to know what was going on.
“Babe,” she said. “What’s up?”
“Nothing.” Johnny said quietly.
A crafty smile played at the bend of her mouth. “Johnny, it’s obvious something has upset you. Why don’t you tell me what is going on?”
Johnny shook his head. “No. You don’t need to know what is going on,” he said without looking up.
“Because you just don’t need to know.”
Venus readjusted in her seat. “Hun, I can help you.”
Johnny allowed the new diamonds to run through his fingers once more, and looked up at the woman across from him. “Venus,” he said looking back at the pile of diamonds.
“Yes?” She asked, eager to please.
Venus sat back in her chair surprised and a little hurt. “What?” She asked.
“You heard me. Get out of here.”
“I told you to leave me.”
Venus stood and put her purse on her arm. “Okay,” she said quietly. “I’ll see you later?”
Johnny didn’t reply. He just sat there without looking up at the object of his affection, and continued to play with his small pile of diamonds.
“Okay,” Venus said sadly, leaving his office.
Once the door closed, he sat in his chilly office still fondling the diamonds from his last heist. He let them run through his fingers a few times before he thought that he had to have something new go on in his life. A new woman, some new friends, or some huge job that was gonna make him feel like he was on top again.
A new woman was easy. Maybe too easy. He pushed that to the back of his mind. Some new friends. Johnny shook his head. Apollo, Pheonix, and the rest of his small team had been with him for years, with the exception of one. They had built trust. They were close. So what was he looking for, really? He had no idea and no one else in his life did either.
Across town, Sateria sat by her mother’s side. She wasn’t feeling well, and Sateria was looking after her. She sat at her mother’s bedside holding her feverish hand.
“Momma, do you need anything?”
Her mother gave her a gentle smile. “Actually,” she began, letting out a dry cough. “I was wondering if you had a boyfriend.”
Sateria sat and gazed into her sweet mother’s eyes, wondering if she should really tell her the truth.
She was just as single this day as she was any other. But she knew her mother didn’t want her to be alone. At twenty-four years old, she’d only had one boyfriend in her life, and he left her for someone else. So hurt by his decision, Sateria decided that she would cool out on dating for a while.
She took a deep breath and said, “No, momma.”
As sick as she was, Sateria’s mother rolled her eyes, and repeated what she told her daughter many times. “Baby, you have to have someone to take care of you after I’m gone. Brad was good to you. He promised me he would take care of you, then-”
“Momma, I don’t want to talk about Brad. He’s out of my life now.”
“So who is gonna take care of you?”
“I’m gonna take care of me if something happens to you momma, and you are fine.”
Her mother patted her hand and said, “Okay honey. Well I wanna get some sleep. I’ll talk to you later okay?”
“Okay momma. I have some errands to run anyway. Do you need anything?”
“Oh, could you bring me one of those big chocolate candy bars? You know the ones with the nuts in them.”
Sateria smiled. “Okay momma. I’ll be back later.”
She nodded, and Sateria went to run her errands. She went to the carwash to wash her car, and then went to do a little window shopping. She was looking for a new outfit. Something that was gonna make her feel whole. Shopping always did. The break up, almost a year ago was still painful. She passed a small boutique by the name of French’s. It was new to the garment district, and she thought she would go in and look at the clothes.
Her favorite color was blue. As she perused the racks in the small shop, she found the perfect little blue tank that would go with the black skinny jeans she bought a few days before. She smiled to herself as she thought how cute she was gonna be when she put the outfit together. Her strappy blue and black heels would be perfect. Now to find somewhere to wear her new outfit.
She paid for her shirt, and then proceeded to the grocery store. She picked up a few things so she could make dinner that night. She made sure that she went to the candy isle to get her mother’s candy bar. Sateria picked up the candy bar, and turned to go pay for her things. As she looked up, something beautiful came walking down the isle. It was Brad. Tall, incredible blue eyes and dark hair. As angry as she still was with him for leaving her, his incredible looks still floored her. She found herself unable to move as he approached her. His gorgeous, straight white teeth shown as he grinned.
“Hey babe,” he said.
Sateria’s heart began to race, and she could feel the beads of sweat beginning to form on the back of her neck. Her mouth stood agape as she couldn’t respond.
“Sateria, honey, what’s the matter?” Brad asked as his smile disappeared. Though he left her, he was with her for so long he still was concerned for her welfare.
She still couldn’t answer. She could only shake her head.
His bright smile returned, and he touched her shoulder. When he did, it was as if a bolt of lightning struck her arm. His touch was electrifying. “I’m glad. It was good to see you,” he said then walked away.
Sateria turned to watch him walk away from her again. Suddenly the hurt and tears came rushing back. Her entire body got hot thinking about the night they made love for the last time. It was one of the romantic evenings they ever spent together. Sateria was certain he was going to ask her to marry him after that night. Sadly she awoke to a letter on the pillow, and he was gone.
Sateria felt something mushy in her hands and realized she had smashed the candy bar she held. With soft tears streaming down her face, she put the smashed bar in her basket, and reached up for another one to put in her basket, intending to pay for both. She quickly walked to the checkout counter and left the store.
Her heart still racing at the thought of seeing the only love in her life again, she continued to cry as she made her way back to her mother’s house to deliver the candy bar. She decided after she left her mother’s house, she would call one of her girlfriends, and they would go out and have a drink.
Sateria put the key in her mother’s door and went in. “Momma, I have your candy bar!” she said loudly and made her way to her mother’s room. She was sound asleep. “Momma, wake up. I have your candy.”
Her mother didn’t stir. Sateria walked closer to her bed to discover the color had gone from her mother’s face, and she was not breathing. “Momma?”
She couldn’t be dead. After the incident in the store, her mother was supposed to be there so she could tell her what happened.Sateria touched her mother’s hand to find she was cold. She fell to the floor and screamed. In the last year, two people she loved were gone out of her life. What was she going to do now? How was she gonna keep moving forward? Sateria had no idea, but she had to do something.