Chapter Twenty - Eight
She could hear her heart beat in her ears as she drove. Gotta find him, she mused. Hopefully he hasn’t skipped town yet. Pheonix pulled into Jayden’s driveway to discover all of his cars there and the lights on. She thought about how she was going to approach him. Did she want him to know that she was aware of what he’d done? No, she decided. So what would be her excuse for visiting him? She almost never went to Jayden’s house uninvited. Troya’s marriage, she decided would be her guise. She decided to be upset and angry about her sister’s wedding. Taking a deep breath, she made her way to Jayden’s door. Ringing the doorbell, she was surprised by Venus.
Pheonix thought the same as Apollo, and let it go. It no longer mattered.
Raising and eyebrow. “Venus.”
“I’m here to talk to Jayden, is he here?”
Wondering why Pheonix was at Jayden’s door, she backed away allowing her in. “Sure. I’ll get him for you.”
Venus disappeared from the foyer of Jayden’s mansion, and Pheonix walked into the room to her right. Looking around always admiring the exquisite décor of his living room, Jayden appeared.
Smiling, he addressed his guest. “Pheonix. What brings you here today?”
“Ugh!” Pheonix exclaimed. “Troya.”
“What about her?”
Plopping down on the couch. “She’s married. Did you know that?”
Knowing very well that Troya was married, he asked, “No, to whom?”
“Wow. I guess I have to go do some shopping.” Jayden sat in the chair opposite his friend and gazed at her wondering how much she knew about the past hours events.
“Jayden, Sateria is hurt. Have you seen her?”
Feigning surprise, he responded. “No. What happened to her?”
“Shot. She’s in the hospital. Alive, but not doing so well.”
Upset that she survived, he was a little disjointed from the situation, because in reality, he didn’t care. “Wow. I will have to send her some flowers.”
Frustrated, her mouth dropped open. “That’s it? Flowers? She is your teammate. Your captain. She deserves a visit at least.”
“She’s not either of those things anymore,” Jayden said, shaking his head. “She fired me from both teams, did you know that? I’ll go see her if you really want me to, but I’m more interested in your sister.”
Knowing for sure that Jayden was the one who shot her friend, she contemplated on what she was going to do next. “Troya just pisses me off.”
“So what do we do?”
“Do? Do about what?”
“Her getting married without your approval.”
“I’m okay with it, Jayden. I will take care of it. But I’m concerned about the team. Troya is focused other places, and Sateria is hurt. Apollo is focused on her recovery, and I am a complete mess because of all of it. I guess I just want to know where your head is.”
Jayden sat across from his teammate and long time friend, contemplating his response. “Well, it’s sad that Sateria is hurt. I feel for Apollo, and your sister has always done what she wanted behind your back.”
“What the hell is that supposed to mean?”
“Just what it sounded like. Troya is her own woman, and tired of living in your shadow. When Johnny threatened to kill her, is when I think she woke up.”
“Johnny was not going to kill my sister, if I had to kill him myself.”
A cynical grin played across Jayden’s face. “So, did you kill him?”
Her face scrunched up abnormally. “No. And if you believe that, you are an ass for real. I loved Johnny. There is no way in hell I would kill him.”
“I just wanted to be sure that I was right.”
“Right about what?”
“Sateria. Sateria killed Johnny, and no matter what I told Apollo, I still believe it.”
Her eyes just about fell out of her head. Jayden had become the crazy man. She had the answer she sought, and didn’t choose to let him know. She chose to go home and get the love and hugs she deserved from the man she loved.
“Umm. Jayden, I’m going home.”
“Leaving so soon?”
“Yeah. Max is waiting on me.”
“See you later.”
Pheonix got up, her heart racing. She had to stop him from finishing Sateria off, and there was only one way to do that.
Going home, she cuddled against the man who lay in her bed, and pondered how she was going to commit murder without leaving Max alone. She decided that if Max loved her the way he said that he did, she thought it was time for her to tell him exactly what she had been doing for the last eleven years of her life.
“Mmm, you feel so nice all cuddled close to me like this.”
“Max, I love you, you know that right?”
Pulling away slightly, “Of course I do. What’s the matter?”
“I have something that I have been keeping from you for a very long time. You might not love me much after I tell you what I’m going to tell you.”
“Should I be sitting up for this?”
“Maybe. Come on let’s go pour some wine.”
They got out of bed, poured their favorite, and Pheonix told Max everything. When she was finished telling her story, he suddenly stood up and walked toward the kitchen, scowling.
“Max, you’re not gonna leave me are you?”
He turned around and said, “Nope, and you don’t have to worry about anything else. I’ll handle it.”
Pheonix didn’t ask what he meant, and hoped she’d done the right thing.
Satisfied that Sateria was incapacitated for a minute, and Apollo was attending to her, Jayden thought it was time for him and Venus to leave. Planning to go to Mexico and lay on the beach for a while, after which they would vanish in Europe far away from the jewelry trade and anything else that would connect him to Apollo Leonard. He failed in proving Sateria was Johnny’s killer, but it no longer mattered. Now he was concerned for his own life and welfare.
The following morning, he woke Venus up.
“Come on babe, we have to go.”
Rolling over, angry that her sleep was disturbed, she opened her eyes and looked lovingly into Jayden’s eyes. “Where?” she asked.
“Don’t worry about it. You are with me or you’re not. Just get up.”
Reluctantly, Venus rolled out of bed. “What do I need to pack?”
“Nothing. The plane waits.”
Venus rolled her eyes. “Okay.”
They got up and showered. Dressed, Jayden looked out of his front door. Not seeing Apollo’s car or any other car he recognized besides his neighbors’, he made his way to Venus’ car. Waiting for his woman to join him, he was vigilant, keeping his eyes on anything suspicious.
Venus made her way to the car. “Where are we going again?”
“Mexico.” Jayden put the car in reverse. Reaching the street, they never made it to the airport. The car exploded in the middle of the street, leaving very little damage to any of Jayden’s neighbor’s vehicles. Jayden and Venus were dead.
Max pulled away from the curb as he pushed the ignition. Happy Pheonix finally told him the truth; he smiled on the way back to his woman’s house.
Sitting on pins and needles, Pheonix waited. When the door opened, she was relived. “It’s done?”
Max grinned. “It is. And Pheonix?”
“I want you to know that I love you. I don’t care what you have been up to when you are not with me. Though I was not aware of it until you told me, I still love you. I will stand by you for as long as you are honest with me, and continue to love me. Understand?”
Pheonix grinned and nodded. Relived, she couldn’t wait to tell Apollo. Yet still in the back of her mind, she still wondered if Jayden was the one who killed Johnny. But she was happy things could finally get back to normal, whatever that was.
She sent her friend a text message, knowing he had not left Sateria’s side.
Jayden and Venus are both dead. I don’t know if that’s what you wanted, but it’s done. We can move ahead now. Call me when you are ready. I’m at home.
His eyes almost falling out of his head at the news, Sateria noticed, immediately.
“Don’t know. Pheonix just said that both he and Venus are gone.”
Watching her man closely, knowing he has been under an incredible amount of stress already, she replied, “Well the collection is safe now babe.”
Apollo couldn’t believe it. How could Sateria even think about such a thing when one of his closest friends was dead? Then he realized how. He put it in her head. He was the one who made Jayden the treat.
“You’re right,” was all he said. He gave her a kiss on the cheek. “Get well babe. I will see you tomorrow.”
Sateria smiled. “Tomorrow, babe.”
Apollo made his way back to his penthouse and reviewed the past year in his head.
Beautiful green eyed beauty in a restaurant owned by his best friend. How he wanted her, but he was not going to disrespect the one closest to him. What Johnny wanted, Johnny got. Apollo sat back and pined for her, as Johnny moved forward. Hoping she rejected Johnny, he would then have a shot. No one since his beloved Kalista moved him physically and emotionally. No one. Praying Sateria would reject Johnny’s forward and aggressive ways, she didn’t. This forced Apollo to take a back seat. Going on dates he really didn’t want to go on; sleeping with women he really didn’t want to be with. He bided his time until Johnny was dead. He then had a chance to prove himself.
He was better for her. He had nothing to hide from her. He would teach her all he knew if she would just accept him. Happy that she did, now he was duly bound to protect her from everything. There was nothing that was going to separate them, ever. Apollo lay down and looked forward to the next day.
“My brother is sending the collection back. We can move on babe.”
Sateria shook her head the best she could. “No. We have to bury Jayden first.”
“He doesn’t matter anymore. It’s only us.”
The pain in her neck would not allow her to react the way she wanted. She moved suddenly, and the pain in her neck wracked her whole body. “Ouch.”
“Careful. I don’t want you to pull your stitches.”
Sateria lay back down on the bed and took a deep breath before she spoke. “Babe, Jayden is dead. We have to respect that.”
Apollo shook his head. “No. when you get out of here, I have a huge surprise for you. I don’t care about Jayden. If he hadn’t been so fucking greedy, you wouldn’t be here.”
Her grin reached her eyes, realizing that Apollo loved her even more than Johnny. “What’s the plan babe?”
Grinning widely despite his pain, he replied, “Wait and see.”Apollo left her in her hospital bed wondering what the surprise could possibly be. The next time he went to see her, she would be ready to come home, and that made him extremely happy.