25 - BITTERSWEET
Finally, she was able to put the nail in that stupid heifer’s coffin.
To say she hated her cousin would be putting it mildly. Anya was the one person she hated more than her mother and her grandparents... COMBINED!
Because her mother continuously fought with her grandparents, Nelda had to endure the most unbearable living situation. The three adults argued non-stop. Her grandparents refused to accept the fact that their daughter’s wanton lifestyle. Expecting Ruby to grow up and provide her daughter with a decent role model made perfect sense to all except for the woman who had no desire to live according to her parents’ standards.
It got so bad, she began to focus on her eighteenth birthday since that would be the only way she could get the heck out. Nelda was tired of being caught in the middle of their war and opted to disappear from all of them as soon as she could. She decided to play along with her grandparent’s requests just to get access to enough money so she could them once and for all to tell them to ‘go to hell’.
The adults wanted control over what she ate, how she dressed, the music she listened to, the people who were her friends... they wanted control over every aspect of her life. Trying to live with old people who had no clue what it was like to be a teen, they tried everything in their power to break her and she was ready to deal with it until she no longer had to look at them.
Everything in her life was going according to plan until her cousin walked into the gym dressed like she was going to one of the balls she had been forced to attend with her mother and her grandparents since she was a little girl. To see her cousin dressed that way made her want to kill the girl right then and there.
Not once could she remember seeing her cousin at formal events. Anya was more concerned about playing games and living the life of a kid. No stress was placed on her to be ‘little miss perfect’. Even though she was supposed to be a damn princess, her parents allowed her to live a carefree life. She wasn’t required to take elocution classes. Anya’s grandmother wasn’t responsible for her most of the time, so she wasn’t made to attend etiquette classes once a week with stuck up rich white kids. Nobody insisted she get dressed up all the time or attend formal functions.
The girls were actually the same age, but Anya was allowed to be a child. Nelda was only a few months older than her cousin, yet everyone treated her like she had to be perfect and for that, she resented the lot of them.
To see her float in on a cloud of royal blue after never putting in the hard work required to first be a diva and second command the admiration of others, Nelda felt her own breath hitch in her throat at just how beautiful her cousin really was. The girl who never tried to look pretty was drop-dead gorgeous.
Everyone always described her as being chunky, but in that dress, Anya indeed looked the part of a princess. At that time, there was adorable about a black girl who had pretty exotic features who were also light-skinned. The smooth flawless ebony brown color of her skin was immaculate. With weird looking eyes, the average person stayed away from her because of silly superstitions. But the day of the last school dance, Anya was the belle of the ball so to speak. Her entire look elevated her to a level no one was equipped to understand.
Nelda’s eyes confirmed something she already knew to be true. She could actually imagine her popularity and position as one of the most sought-after young ladies at their school as it diminished before her eyes. When she looked up to see Braxton stunned by the beguiling teen walking through the door, a bitter taste rose in her the back of her throat which compelled the envious teen to lash out in the only way she knew how to deal with her anger.
Truth be known, she had no idea exactly what she said. The evil center of her heart emptied out all of the anger and frustration that built itself over the years due to her mother’s inability to care for her, her grandparents’ nagging, and everything she had always wanted to say to her aunt, uncle, and her cousin all spilled out at once completely unchecked.
The girl had no concern for how her behavior would negatively impact her status at school or the way her date saw her. When Nelda turned around just in time to catch Braxton wrapping his arms around Anya, it didn’t matter to her that what she said was evil and highly inappropriate.
Nelda didn’t give a damn if he was attempting to console the girl who had been shattered by her wicked words. She didn’t care about how she might have embarrassed her cousin in front of the crowd. The only thing that mattered to her was destroying the girl who never cared about her social status or what others thought of her. It pissed her off that her cousin was truly a princess and that was something she would never be.
The knowledge that her father wasn’t a famous doctor made her fighting mad. In truth, she had no idea who her father was because her whore of a mother slept around and wound up getting pregnant by a man she couldn’t or wouldn’t identify.
Royal blood flowing through Anya’s family pissed Nelda off so bad because that blood didn’t flow through her own veins. Her cousin didn’t even seem to care about any of that until she walked through the door trying to steal her shine without having to put up with half of the crap Nelda had to deal with every day.
Living with her grandparents was a pain in the ass because they were always on her and her mother about the way they dressed, cursed, and how disrespectfully they carried themselves.
Her aunt Flora and her mother Ruby were exactly one year and one month apart. Both of the women were a visual shock to any man who crossed their paths. Flora was dark brown much like their mother while Ruby was a lighter reddish-brown like their father.
Each girl received the same love and attention from their parents. Even though Ruby was the youngest, she was expected to behave like a proper young lady. Because she had a wild spirit, her parents found themselves constantly at odds with their youngest daughter.
When she was eighteen, instead of going to college to get a degree as her parents expected, Ruby partied and promptly got kicked out of school for not attending classes. To make matters worse, she returned from college with a nasty attitude and enough blame to go around the world.
The ungrateful young woman blamed all of her troubles on her parent’s wealth.
Ruby always resented her sister, but that resentment turned into pure hate when she found out her sister would soon marry a bonafide prince shortly after she confirmed she was pregnant with no husband in sight.
Nelda’s mother was a parent who held nothing back from her child. Even though it was highly unproductive to tell a child that she was a bastard and would never be like her cousin who was, in fact, a ‘princess’, the resentment in Ruby’s heart was also sown deeply in her daughter’s heart.
For nearly forty years, he was a scorned man. In his family, he had to explain many things. Why did you marry such a foul creature? Why do you allow her to treat you that way? Son, I didn’t raise you to put up with this kind of nonsense from anyone, let alone a woman. When his dad spoke those words to him, it broke his heart.
He wasn’t in the position to explain why he allowed Nelda to play the part of the cruel heartless bitch. It was his decision to take on the burden and so he did just that. Now that all had changed, the time had finally come to end the charade.
Braxton hung up the house phone. After the conversation, he no longer had any more excuses.
The walk down the hall took him to his study where he locked the door and quickly rounded the desk as he retrieved the key he wore around his neck at all times. It was hidden in a charm that closely resembled his dog tags. The only way he could keep his wife from finding the key was to keep it on his person at all times.
Once he moved back the rug and entered his code, the key was inserted into the lock and turned to unlock the safe that was hidden under his desk. Inside the safe were documents, cash, other valuables, and a burner phone. He took the phone out and dialed a series of numbers.
“Where is she now?” Information was imparted on him and now, it was time for him to step up and take control of the situation. Braxton gave his wife plenty of room for years to do the right thing. He never imagined she and her idiot friends would go as far as attempting to kill Lydia.
After a friend briefed him on everything the young woman had suffered, it was incumbent on him to put a stop to everything, so he picked up the phone and made a series of calls. If he did nothing else in his life, he was a man of his word. Never had he made a promise to anyone that he didn’t keep. If it weren’t for that character that ran deep in his bones, Braxton would have intervened in his wife’s foolishness years ago.
“She left Santa Monica about four hours ago. Apparently, she is on her way to Martinique.” The caller advised him.
“Send a few of your best guys to pick her up and bring her to me. I want to put an end to this mess right this moment. I expect to see her no later than first thing tomorrow morning. Use whatever resources you need. Do whatever you must, except... DO NOT TAKE HER LIFE.” Braxton stated clearly.
For years he held up his end of the deal, but since his wife’s decision to break the agreement forced his hand. After the call he received earlier, Braxton realized it was time to show her he wasn’t one of the weak-ass fools with whom she did business.