How to Love a Blind yet Faithful Submissive

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CHAPTER TWELVE: FINAL SEND-OFFS AND FRIGHTENING SCARES

ISAIAH’S POINT OF VIEW

“SURPRISE!!!”

My heart nearly dropped low after stepping into the reception room of Mariah’s Bar and Grill after lunch with my friends and Dr. DuSable (who insisted that I call her Zoe, but resigned to let me remain formal since my mother would slap me if I went informal) and the rest of my light shift running errands for Mariah- from grocery shopping for her house she shared with her teenage twin sons and doing delivery runs for hungry customers (mainly businesses who were on lunch breaks and sending dinner plates for those working overtimes) to helping the sous chef Bobby Rhodes (aka Mariah Dior, plus-sized hip-hop queen) out with distributing plates for the hungry children at the community center and lending a hand to the soup kitchen over in Brentwood since they were short-staffed.

All to keep me out of the restaurant so they can plan this surprise party where everyone there was waiting to give me the final send-off from her before starting work at the House of Suez tomorrow morning with Salim at his side. I immediately smell the spicy Mexican and savory Italian dishes in the air alongside the sweet treats that were mingled in the mix. And there was Janelle Monae playing on the stereo.

“Ah, that’s why you all wanted me gone for the afternoon,” I said good-naturedly as I felt Marcus’s familiar rough hands lead me through the crowds filled with happy customers and my co-workers alongside those of Natasha, Shadie, and even the Fraziers and the Saint Croix family sans Armand and his husband Jarvis (“You’ll meet them at the wedding soon enough,” the matriarch assured me as she kissed me lightly on the cheek). “Thank God that Miss Laura insisted that I eat two helping of Cousin Willie’s fried chicken platter with the yellow rice and lima beans alongside two helpings of peach cobbler.”

“I heard that, Mary,” Evita crowed. “That lady and her family could burn in the kitchen like Mama Mariah can. But today’s all about you and we’re ready to party!”

“So how does it feel to celebrate your last day here?” Zsa-Zsa said as she led me to an empty table. “I mean, you’ll be working on new gowns and making some really amazing designs.”

I took a deep breath. “To be honest, I’m a bit nervous, even more so when we got a scorned reality star out for my blood,” I confessed. “And you know that Ryan called me yesterday that he’s getting married to her and warning me about her.”

“Ouch,” Mama Mariah replied, I immediately smelling her Pierre Cardin Femme perfume that I gave her for her birthday. “But you also said that one of Salim’s personal chef’s is also that hoe’s half-sister. Jocelyn Camden, right?”

I nodded. “She has a personal vendetta because Caylee tried to kill her after killing her boyfriend,” I replied. “What a small world that we live in. I mean, what’s next?”

“Child, don’t you let that heffa’s threats take away your joy,” the manager said in a firm tone. “She’s pretty. I’ll give her that as much as I hate to admit it. But she’s all about beauty and none about life skills other than treachery and greed. You got the skills that you enhanced back at San Alamo School. And you got the hottest man that’s stepped foot on this earth. If I was only his age and he was straight, he’d beat my Abner in bed and we’d be having six babies.”

I laughed outright. “Mama Mariah, you are a mess right there. Ah, I needed that. Thanks so much for everything. You guys and the other queens/workers made me feel right at home.”

“No trouble at all,” Va’Shawn- er, Crowne- purred ash she sauntered in wearing a bright red cocktail dress and dressed like a flapper-styled movie starlet. “We all saw great potential in you the day we met you during your freshman year. First thing that came to my mind was that you screamed greatness. And the second thing was that you look way too skinny and that you need to eat. And you still do, for both terms.”

I immediately smelled food as Natasha set down a plate in front of me. “Chicken Fajitas at noon, Spanish rice at three, Mama Natalie’s kid’s muffuletas at six and a bit of Caesar salad at nine,” she told me. “Cheese and pico de gallo for the fajitas are in a bowl on your left and a glass of Pepsi is on the right. Enjoy.”

“Thanks, girl,” I replied as I immediately dug in.

For the next two hours or so, I was greeted by party attendants and passing customers who all sent me final wishes and monetary gifts alongside comments to add more food in my stomach (“Child, I can’t see how you put away food and remain skinny,” Candace Zeller, a pastor’s wife, commented as Taffy Ganache handed me a plate of chicken wraps and truffle fries.) while more co-workers gave me advice and dressing tips for my new career (“Always make sure to have at least a few minutes to pray for protection,” Ahmed, the faithful Muslim and bathroom commented as he handed me the Braille version of his favorite novel by Amy Tan before handing me a warm bowl of his family’s Moroccan stew, “and be sure to pack some snacks, kid. You really don’t eat enough to keep a camel alive and they rarely eat.”

And I got more gifts than I could count. The Braille version of one of my favorite series by Alyssa Manicourt, two Beyoncé albums (deluxe editions), an invitation to Fashion Week in Tokyo (“My treat,” insisted Mr. Saint Croix, “and your friends are invited.”), a few jerseys from the LA Chargers and LAFC soccer team (“They’ve been buzzing about you man,” Carter replied before giving me a plate of fried chicken wings to remind me to eat up) and more.

Finally during dessert, I was given a mystery gift from someone, according to Natasha, said that the mystery sender wished me well. “What does the card say?” I asked, accepting a giant piece of pound cake from Mama Natalie.

“Hmm, doesn’t say,” Saigon Tiara piped up, her quizzical and cynical vibes coming at me in deep greens. “All is says that he or she hopes that I go out of my old job…with a bang.”

“What kind of wish is that?” Samara sassed, her voice clearly not amused. “That’s too much mystery-“

“STOP! STOP!” I heard the booming voices of Salim and Daniel as they rushed into the room with a flood of other footsteps racing inside.

“Everybody evacuate the premises now!” Salim ordered, snatching the package from my grasp. To me, “Are you okay?”

There were large gasps of concern and confusion. “What’s going on?” I asked him, worry etched in my voice.

He shushed me and had everyone do the same until the room was quiet…save for a ticking sound that sounded like…

Oh.

My.

God.

“IT’S A BOMB!” I screamed, having the room erupt in a giant wave of panic. “Get out NOW!”

And just like that, everyone cleared the room, someone taking my giant bag of gifts with them as Shadie escorted me through the racing and fearful crowds before we headed outside where policemen and a bomb squad were waiting for us all.

And I had a feeling who sent me that package. Caylee Vanessa Amerson, the femme fatale scorned that wanted me to die.

All right, Amerson, I silently vowed in my head, if it’s a war you want then it’s a war that you’ll get. Bring it on.

**************

“So, this is Mr. Amerson on the phone,” I heard a fatherly voice reply in a firm tone as Salim, Natalie, Shadie, and Mama Mariah huddled around me as I sat across from him in a corner booth of Miss Sophie’s Diner, Miss Laura’s staff immediately at work in the kitchen to feed every partygoer and law enforcement officer there as she herself set a plate of food in front of me and another in front of him. “And on behalf of my wife and I as well as our families, we cannot apologize enough for what our daughter did to you like that, sending that bomb after she and her paparazzi rats attack you like that. My heart stopped as soon as I heard and I needed to talk to you about this.”

“Mr. Amerson, with all due respect to you and your family, I don’t understand on why she hates me and anyone whom she thinks is beneath her,” I replied in a soft tone, reaching out for my frosted glass of iced tea to sip. “I mean, was she always like this?”

“Sadly, yes,” her mother (a tiny little thing that smelled of DKNY perfume and brownies, Vince McMahon meets Betty Crocker) replied in a thick Texan drawl. “She and my other daughter- you may know her as Jocelyn from my first marriage- were worlds apart and had different personalities. While Joce was known to be a hard-worker and more diverse-minded. Caylee was known to be vain and caustic. I think that my father-in-law knew of it as well.”

“Was it to everyone, even animals?” Natasha wanted to know.

“Not really,” Jocelyn replied. “She actually liked animals just fine and wanted to be a vet if not a reality-starlet. But her personality would make Pap-Pap look like a tamed lion and he was very racist and homophobic until my Uncle Lucas married Uncle Samuel. That’s when he knew to teach me and Caylee not to be like him. Sadly, she chose to be twice as much as a bigot and modeled the same campaign of hate like the Terrible Three who are in prison. Let me tell you this too. During her freshman and sophomore years in high school, Pap-Pap Charlie made her sleep in the barn when she was in Dallas because she was too unpleasant to be around the Mexican and Black ranch-hands.”

“That’s harsh,” Marcus commented. To me, “Baked chicken, sautéed collards, and yellow rice on your place, man. Miss Laura’s also got you a slice of red velvet cake on the way.”

I nodded as I started to eat, motioning for the rest to do the same.

“Not to me or my Flossie Mae it wasn’t,” I heard an elder man’s thick Texan voice spat as I heard the jingle from his spurs approach my table. “Son, this is Charlie Amerson, Caylee’s granddaughter. And like I said, that punishment was well-thought of and needed, though my son here should’ve thrown her out and have her shipped to boot camp over in Houston. She’s mean as a rattlesnake hopped on vodka and she’s out for your blood. I know you didn’t mean it, but you did steal her thunder and she’s out to get it by any means. And as for that Ryan boy-“ I felt his glare shoot at Ryan, who I bet is quaking in fear- “he had no right for humiliating you that way. You got a good head on your shoulders and from what I hear can cook up a storm. Caylee, on the other hand, is too bratty and too vengeful for her own taste. She was a goddamned monster back then and apparently she still is.”

“So what do you think I should do?” I asked quietly.

“If you’re thinking about calling off the engagement, don’t,” Mr. Amerson said sternly. “Mr. Saint Croix is lucky to have you by his side and I think that you’d do well for my cousin if you were still single. Hell, if I was straight and your age, you’d fit into the family real well. But you got Salim and he’s as protective of you as I am of my wife here.”

I felt Salim’s warm lips press on my cheeks.

“Anyway, son, you might want to consider going into hiding,” Charlie said. “Caylee will be out to get you in any way, shape, or form and she won’t stop until you’re finally out of the picture.”

“Oh, my God,” Shadie breathed. “You think that-“

“Sir- er, ma’am,” Charlie replied, cutting her off, “she might be after every single one of you as well. If she can’t have him, no one can. She’ll kill him and you all until she’s happy as a hog in high heaven rolling in the mud.”

“Not if I can help it, bitch,” Evita sassed, her anger in full force as I heard her go through her purse. “Drag Queens of Blue Bayou, commence the call. Operation Saigon begins now, honey, This is not a drill.” She immediately started to dial her phone as the others followed suit, immediately launching into a calling-relay informing the others while Aria Melody joined our table.

“Isaiah, child, are you okay?” she said.

I felt the tears stream down my face as I lifted my head towards the ceiling, took a deep breath…and let out a giant scream of anger and vengeance.

THIRD PERSON POINT OF VIEW

“Seems like everything went well with your plan,” an unknown female voice said flatly (though her tone sounded worried) over the phone as Caylee sighed happily in her salon chair, letting her hair and makeup team work their magic on her. “So, what’s the next move?”

“Isn’t it obvious?” the blonde bombshell gloated as she sipped on a martini glass. “It’s time to kidnap that brat and his two bodyguards too! By tomorrow, the fashion world will be mine for the taking as the blind freak’s blood will spill out onto the streets of-“

SLAP!
Caylee’s head rocked as she glared at the face of her future mother-in-law, who was seething in rage. “What the hell?!” she screeched.

“That’s from your father,” Maribel Geneva Callaway hissed. “And I’ll be taking that ring.” She made a lunge for the diamond solitaire engagement ring, swiping off the shocked girl’s finger.

And then, it dawned on her. “Ryan snitched,” she growled.

“Damn right, I did,” said young man replied as he came into her parlor. “And with that, I am out of the closet again and finally done with your games I hope you like watching soap operas and cats, because no man would date you now. You and are though.”

With that thought, he took his mother’s extended hand and the two of them swept out of the room and out of the pool house as if newly crowned.

Caylee huffed in anger, getting back on the phone with her contact. “What was that about?” the mystery female caller asked.

“My fiancé- sorry, ex-fiancé- just snitched on me and no doubt everyone is out for my blood,” she growled. “But no matter. Van Blackwell will soon know of my wrath and I’ll be back on top. For good.”

“Well, just hope that the drag queens don’t sic you like they did me and my other two compatriots,” the other voice replied in a fearful tone. “Especially that Mateo one. She can be scary and that’s what landed me in here. Goes to show that I should’ve never messed with a drag queen who’s a friend of my brother and expect to get away with it. Girl, maybe you-“

“No, Bernice,” Caylee said vehemently. “I’m going all in on this one and will make sure that the brat dies this time. Him, Allman, MacNeil, and Ryan will all pay.”

“Jocelyn too?”

“Especially her. I should’ve shot him the way I did Brock. Oh well, at least they’ll die.”

Bernice Frazier sighed heavily. “All right,” she conceded, “but if you become my cellmate or end up in a casket, don’t blame me. I tried to warn you.”

Caylee sighed, not wanting to go an further than the fallen femme fatale. “Goodbye,” she said, immediately hanging up before gulping down the last of her martini, a plan already forming in her mind. “This means war, Van Blackwell. Nobody crosses Caylee Amerson and gets away with it alive!”

*************

“Ms. Frazier,” said the portly warden, who gave Bernice a scathing look as she was escorted in by two guards. “Can I help you?”

Bernice sighed heavily, knowing that she needed to make restitution for what she did to her brother, even though she was staying in prison. “Warden, I need to warn you about something. You heard about-“

“I already know,” he said, cutting her off. “That Amerson girl is no good and she’s next to come in here if she gets caught.”

“I just spoke to her,” she confessed, “and she plans to kidnap and kill not just Isaiah but also my brother’s friend Clarissa MacNeil the former mayor’s daughter and two more people connected to Isaiah: Ryan Callaway, his ex-boyfriend and Natasha Allman, his distant cousin. Sir, I know that I’m stuck her for life, but I need to at least make things right with my brother. And if this helps-“

The warden grinned at her. “You bet your sweet ass it does,” he said as he reached for the phone. “You’re dismissed.”

And as soon as she returned to her cell, she went to the mattress and pulled out the handmade knife that she made for a case like this…and stabbed herself in the throat before slitting her neck, knowing that she’d rather die than meet with the scathing looks of an Amerson betrayed by her, a former idol worshipped by the girl out for revenge.

At least she could die with a clear conscience, just like her two friends did, but not by other’s hands. Her own was enough.

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