“You sure you’re going to be okay by yourself?” Ryan questioned. His leg bounced every now and then as he exchanged glances between Rachel and Ryker’s house.
Rachel seemed hesitant to leave his car. Unsure whether entering the house where a man claimed her as his own was a wise idea or not. Although she was now with Ryan, it didn’t seem to stop Davis from ‘claiming’ her. She assumed she previously set the record straight that she had no interest in Davis, but it clearly wasn’t enough.
“I’ll be okay. It’s just that I kinda want to go back to your house and watch movies all day.” She smiled at her best friend and lover.
Ryan laughed. “I swear, you are too adorable. We can do that after your friend’s cookout. She’s been asking for you right? I feel bad for taking up all your time.”
Rachel quietly sighed. “Alright. I’ll text you whenever I’m ready to leave.”
The lovers exchanged hugs and kisses.
“Okay baby. I won’t be too far. I’m going to go see my father and his new family not too far away.” Ryan said as she was getting out of the car.
“They are your family as well. No matter how much you dislike the idea, he’s still your father. He doesn’t love you any less than before. Just bear with it a little.”
Ryan was against his parent moving on, too hooked on the idea that if the love was real then they would eventually work their matters out. He was only in denial until he had a deep conversation with his mother.
In some cases, love just fades away.
With a quick wave, Ryan drove off to his destination while Diana was waiting in the doorway of her home. Rachel noticed a familiar black on black truck with tinted windows, a vehicle similar to the person that picked Rosemary up from school before.
“I haven’t seen you in forever, I’m happy you decided to come!” Diana beamed. She pulled Rachel into a tight hug.
“I’m sorry about that, I’ll come around more often. Between school, dance practice, and my boyfriend, I’ve been busy lately.”
“Boyfriend? Was that the cutie that just dropped you off?” Diana asked.
“Yup. We’ve been dating for a while now. Hey, who black truck is that?”
“Oh, I think that’s Ethan’s truck. He’s one of Davis trusted men. Why wassup?”
Rachel shook her head. “Nothing. I just thought I’ve seen it a couple of times.”
“Let’s go in. I want to introduce you to everyone. The crowd is outback waiting for the meat to finish grilling.”
Rachel and Diana walked through the large house, not a soul in sight but they could hear voices coming from the back yard. There was a variety of food scattered on the kitchen tables and countertops along with other junk food. Beer and multiple liquor bottles sat in different parts of the kitchen out of the reach of children.
“To be honest, I was surprised you decided to show up. I bet Davis begged you to come, huh?”
“Not even.” Rachel chuckled. “He only told me that you wanted me to come over for a cookout. I’m not crashing a family event am I?”
“Not at all! Every now and then Ryker and Davis would have family dinners for their close friends and their families. ‘A family that eats together stays together’ is what they would always say. Since they’re not close with their biological family they thought it would be better to create their own.”
“See, now I feel like I’m intruding on ya’ll. Maybe I should go and come back another time.” Rachel hesitantly looked towards the back door.
“You’re not intruding at all. We all want you here, so your staying.” Diana pulled Rachel towards the door. “Let me intrude you to the family.”
When Rachel stepped outside she observed a large group of people with their families. The scene was bittersweet for her. She never attended such a gathering since she was a young girl. Some of the men had guns on their hips or tucked in their jeans while playing with the kids. The women there seemed unfazed by the sight as if it was natural.
Once Diana saw that Rachel was observing the armed men, she said “Don’t be scared. They are actually friendly when off duty.”
“Off duty? Are they cops?”
“Now who is the beautiful young lady?” One of the older men asked Rachel.
“This is Rachel,” Diana answered for her. “She’s a friend.”
“Nice to meet you, sir.” Rachel sweetly said.
People turned their heads towards Diana and Rachel. Not used to attention being solely on her, Rachel shyly smiled.
“And who ole lady are you?”
“No one-” She began to answer until a deep voice interrupted her.
“Mine. That’s all me right there.″ Davis said. “So lay off, old man.” Davis smiled a crooked smile.
Rachel eyed Davis in confusion. Lighting a cigarette and walking off, Davis went to stand by Ryker. She turned her head and noticed a man sending glares in her direction. Confused, she stared back at the man, trying to figure out the reason behind the hostility.
“That devil is Ethan. Don’t mind him much and try to ignore him if you can. He’s pretty much an asshole and has no filter regardless of whose he talking to.” Diana whispered in her ear.
“Who is his girlfriend?”
“I don’t think he has one. He pretty much keeps to himself. Ryker had to force him to come to this cookout.”
“Oh.” Rachel said. She couldn’t read the man and she didn’t waste time to understand why he was glaring at her.
The crew treated Rachel as if she was apart of their family. Making sure she was alright and well-fed. They told her stories of their families, how they met, and what it meant to be a family. They danced and laughed after eating a feast. All the while Davis had his eyes on Rachel the majority of the night. Amazed at the fact that she was already part of his world and she couldn’t even see it. She looked so carefree as she played with the children and danced with his little sister-Diana.
‘In due time, this site will be a regular.’ Davis thought to himself. He was so lost in thought that he didn’t even hear Ryker yell his name from afar.
“Alright, you little devils! We have something we want to tell you guys.” Ryker shouted. He had Diana standing beside him, smiling from ear to ear. “I want to say that it’s a blessing to have my family surrounding me at this special time. You guys know that when I moved here, I was at my lowest. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for you guys and my lady.”
“With that being said. We are getting married! And I was wondering if you wanted to be my maid of honor, Rachel!” Diana said.
The crowd began to cheer and shout ‘congratulations’ and ‘finally.’ People assumed Diana was a little older than what she said. She was never the one to act out of line or out of character. Everyone adored the girl and could easily win one’s heart.
Rachel squealed and walked up towards her, embracing her in a hug. “Of course, I’ll be your maid of honor! Congrats you guys!”
“Thank you!” Diana said.
Although they only hung out once after they first met, they exchange texts often and would call each other whenever they had free time. They quickly became close.
“To family.” Ryker raised his bottle of beer.
“To family!” The crowd mirrored his action before downing their drink.
Everyone went back to their activities laughing and enjoying each other’s company. Rachel took the time to slip inside the house. She’s been dying to use the bathroom but the child she was playing with wouldn’t let her out of his sight.
After finishing, she walked out of the bathroom to find Davis leaning against the wall across the bathroom.
“Oh! Hello.” She said, walking past him.
He grabbed her arm and pulled her back to him.
“Davis, what are you doing?” Rachel asked. “Let me go.”
“When are you going to be mine? You know I want you.” Davis said.
“You know I’m with Ryan and I don’t ever plan on leaving him. It’s time to give up on the idea of there being an us.”
“There’s no way that boy could ever make you happy as I can,” Davis said. He lightly pushed her towards the wall and trapped her in between his arms. “Why don’t you give in?”
“Not going to happen. I’m happy with him. So please move out of the way.” She went to push his arm out of her way.
Instead, Davis grabbed her arm and shoved her into the wall. His lips grazed her ear, her cheek, then over her lips. He would have kissed her but Rachel shoved him.
Grabbing her arm once more and holding it firmly he said, “The end result will always be us together. Come find me when the little man breaks your heart.”
“How long you two about to block the entrance to the bathroom?” Ethan coldly said.
“My fault, man.” Davis grinned.
Rachel glared at Davis and walked off to join the party again.
It was around eleven at night when Diana ended the party. “I love ya’ll but I have school tomorrow. You ain’t gotta go home but you gotta get the hell up outta here.”
Ryker smacked her backside and kissed her cheek. “My baby needs to keep up those grades for college next year.”
Soon after, Ryan pulled up and Rachel left without saying anything to Davis. She could feel his stares on her body throughout the night, making her uncomfortable.
With a huff, Davis continued his final rep of push-ups with beads of sweat dripping from his body to the floor. There was nothing else to do in solitary confinement than to work out. It was what kept him from going crazy over the past few years. With that mindset, he was bigger than he was when he first been imprisoned. Stronger than he once was.
The only thing that consumed his mind was killing the man that sent him there. Carter.
It was time for the prisoners to bathe and it was something Davis loathed. He was tired of fighting men for looking at him the wrong way. But what sent him to solitary confinement was when a man had the audacity to touch him when his back was turned. Davis sent blows to his face until it was unrecognizable. He didn’t care. He was not about life and he was not about to let these mother fuckers think he was soft. The man that was taller and bigger than him yet he was left in a coma.
Switching to sit-ups, his mind drifted to the only woman he has ever loved. Rachel. He missed his wife. Her beautiful figure. The way she would sway her hips when she noticed him watching. The pout on her face whenever she didn’t get her way. She was a spoiled woman but he didn’t mind. He would do anything to see the pretty smile on her face.
But he fucked everything up by beating her and leaving her on the floor gasping for air. He regretted everything, including shooting her. He blamed cocaine and liquor for his evil doings. He had every intention of going back to tend to her wounds. But the moment he pulled back into his yard, he was arrested. It wasn’t until he was behind bars when he got word that Rachel was in a coma and she had a slim chance of surviving. He felt terrible but at the same time, he wasn’t about to let her leave him for the next man.
Rachel would always be his Rachel Tucker. Whether she liked it or not.
There was one hard knock on his cell door and in came three security guards. It was time for his therapy session. He stood to his feet with an emotionless expression and waited for them to cuff his ankles and wrist. Davis was known to be trouble so in order to keep him in line, security guards were close by at all times. Maybe it was the fact that he was the biggest kingpin these police officers had ever seen that put fear in their hearts. Or it could be that the man could get away with murder and not blink a damn eye.
The man was ruthless.
As he walked down the halls with two guards in front and one in the back, prisoners, as well as officers, would avoid eye contact.
“Ah! Mr. Tucker. A pleasure to see you this morning.” His therapist greeted him. She was a little older than Davis but still had a body on her worth looking at.
Davis watched as two of the three guards waited outside the door while the other waited in the far corner.
“Now what did I tell you about calling me Mr. Tucker, beautiful?” He smirked. He watched in amusement as the older woman blushed before clearing her throat.
“Well, Davis, before our session ended yesterday we were talking about your ex-wife.”
Davis’s jaw clenched and unclenched. He was livid when his lawyers gave him papers to sign stating that the state had approved for their marriage to me annalled. Technically it was true but the woman would always be his. The signatures on the paper meant nothing to him. The only positive thing he got out of it was the knowledge that Rachel had survived his attack. It was a bonus for Davis.
“Indeed.” He nodded his head, pretending to be interested in the conversation.
“When I mention your ex-wife, what runs through your mind?”
He had to play this right or everything he worked for would have been for nothing.
“Memories of her smile crosses my mind. The way she would laugh and sometimes snort when she found something amusing. The way she kept her friends and family close to her regardless of what she was going through had always amazed me.”
His therapist pulled out a piece of paper from her folder and handed them to Davis.
“What do you feel when looking at these photos?”
Angry. Remorseful. Pain. He felt them all but he refused to let his expression show anything but a false frown. His hands trembled as he looked at the photos of a bloody Rachel.
“I regret my actions. I loved her and she ain’t deserve nun of m assault.”
“You said you loved her? As in past tense. Are you no longer in love with her?”
“No. She deserves more than me, more than my addiction.” His face was masked with sadness. “I just pray that she finds someone that will treat her right.”
His therapist nodded in approval.
It was complete bullshit. He still loved Rachel. He yearned for her touch... Better yet he was still madly in love with the brown-skinned beauty.
“Are you still going to your AA meetings every other day?”
‘This dumb bitch.’ Information on his meetings is right there in her folder. She would have known that if she wasn’t too busy eyeing Davis.
“Of course.” He gave her his award-winning smile. She attempted to hide her smile but failed miserably.
“You should smile more. You are so beautiful.”
He had the woman wrapped around his finger and she didn’t even know it. His session lasted another hour until his guard told them to wrap it up. Instead of the three guards, it was only one. The one guard who was secretly in his gang. Instead of walking back to his confinement cell, they walked to the small conference room. Davis knew not to ask questions out in the open to avoid suspicion. So he stayed quiet.
“Daddy!” Rodney ran to his father as soon as he was uncuffed.
“What’s up lil man.” Davis picked his son up and kissed his cheek. “You bein’ a good boy for your momma?”
“Yupp. I miss you. When are you coming home?”
“Soon, mane. Soon.” He turned to his baby momma. “Fuck you standing over there for? Bring that ass over here.”
Shawna timidly walked over to Davis and buried her face in his chest. He had missed five years of his son’s life for Rachel and it pissed her off. Davis pulled her chin up and passionately kissed her lips.
“I love you.” She whispered.
‘This shit again.’ “I love you.” He repeated. It was a lie but he figured it would make her feel somewhat better.
They spent ten minutes talking until the guard returned with Davis’s lawyer. His lawyer waited until his family was out the door before he pulled out a magazine.
“Fuck is this? Do it look like I care about celebrity gossip?” He tried to slide it back to the man but he only shook his head.
“Trust me, you are going to want to look at this book. Page thirty-seven to forty-one.”
Davis did what he suggested and was shocked to see multiple photos of Rachel in Italy. “So that’s where she ran to?” The moment Rachel was released from the hospital she disappeared without leaving a trace. He couldn’t find any records of Rachel Gardner or Rachel Tucker.
“Says she works for some Henderson Inc,” Davis stated. “The only problem is that there are hundreds of Henderson companies around the world. Henderson Inc is the biggest fashion company in the world. All I have to do is find out which branch she works for.” His lawyer stated.
Davis grew agitated as he observed how close she was to this Elijah person. They almost appeared to be together judging by the way the man looked at her. Davis rubbed his hands together and smirked.
“You do that.”