“It’s like you’ve spent half our relationship with this nigga and you have done a lot for him often times having to neglect our relationship. Take half of this nigga company Denise.” He had a point, but James had never hurt me in any other way.
“I don’t want the drama; we will be more than fine with all of my money.” I responded.
“I want his feelings crushed.” Toine barked.
“He used to be your best friend Antoine! What the hell is your problem?”
“I’ve shared everything with him so far and I shouldn’t have had to share you.”
“That’s your fault.” I replied loudly.
“Lower your voice baby, I know. I just want us to pack up and move like we planned.”
“I’ll see what I can do for us, but it always gets ugly. He hates me and furthermore he hates you. He thinks that you have all of his money.” I pulled my purse over my shoulder and started toward the door.
“I want everything he loves because everything he loves; loves me back.” We kissed and I exited my new home. The feelings were surreal now that I filed for divorce; I missed James in ways I didn’t think I would. He just so happened to have a piece of me that was specifically for him and Toine couldn’t touch. But though I loved James, I didn’t want to spend forever with him like I had vowed. I wanted Toine. Plain and simple.
“J, you home?” I called through my old humble abode.
“What’s up Denise?” He wore a Daniel Creamieux signature cashmere top coat, black Cremieux dress pants, wing-tipped shoes, and he smelled wonderful. I had married a fine man and I could smell that there was someone else somewhere.
“You look nice.”
“Thanks, what’s up?” He questioned overlooking my compliment.
“I wanted to talk about the divorce a little more.” I responded meekly.
“I don’t want to talk right now. I have plans.”
“Oh, I didn’t know. I should’ve called.”
“Yes, you should have called to see if I was available. Does Antoine know you’re here?” He had changed. Out of all of the years of marriage and happiness, he had finally changed. He wasn’t the man that loved the ground that I walked on and he no longer wanted false small talk. I guess I deserved this much.
“I’m still your wife dammit. Don’t question me about what I’m going to do with who I’m going to do it with.”
“How fucking irrational do you sound? If you’re still my wife than I should be able to ask you whatever the fuck I want. However; when you’re someone else’s woman and have been for the longest time I guess that doesn’t matter. Leave your key on the counter so you can’t just come and go when you please in my house.”
“This is my house too.” He was eating away at me and it was ticking me off.
“No, it’s not. Your home is 777 Hamilton Dr. with your boy Toine and your cozy little life. Why are we bullshitting with each other Denise?”
“Since you are being a rude motherfucker, I propose I’ll go to the lawyers and request more money. I can’t prove you have another woman, but you with your ass on your shoulders is getting old as hell.”
“All I can say is prove it darling. If you can’t, I can.” He smiled. I pulled my house keys off and smacked it down on the counter.
“I know you have a woman.” He laughed in my face.
“Well, my lawyers already know that you have a whole new life and you’ve had one. They’re holding the evidence just in case.” I had been so stupid to not know I was being followed for months. I had slipped which had helped cause all of this bullshit; I wanted to talk big bank cash money shit, but I couldn’t risk him looking further and discovering that I had broken another law: bigamy.
“I will get my money.” I vowed.
“You are already getting what you brought, what you helped build, and all your stock in the company. You must mean Antoine wants all of my hard earned money well baby tell my best friend that he’s not getting shit but my raggedy wife. Get out.” I didn’t say anything. This had gotten ugly and I blamed no one but myself. Though, I had been the worst wife all of these years, I didn’t think it would end the way that it was. I was two people’s wife and I was disgusted with how this had begun to play out. What was my issue with giving up on Toine for a man that showed me love and loyalty every day since day one? I fucked it up, but I was going to fake it until I made it. War he wanted, war he would get; well, as much war as I could get him.
“Good afternoon Mr. Paxton, this James Davenport…Well, thank you for asking…you? Great…I need you to look into something for me about my wife…Yes, sir. I think she’s hiding something and I want someone to look for it.” There was something conniving going on between Denise and Toine and I felt the needed to have it figured out before court happened. I wasn’t about to allow one man to bring me down over a disloyal chick I married. Watching Denise pull away with tears rolling down her cheeks would have made me go crazy any other day, but lately with all of the teeth pulling and threats it relieved me to watch her leave. I waited until she was out of sight before pulling off and heading to King And Duke restaurant on West Paces Ferry Rd. Outside of the restaurant stood the most beautiful woman that I had seen in quite a while, she wore an allover lace black dress that hugged her curves perfectly. Her hair was up in a ponytail with curls and I could barely contain my smile.
“You’re late baby.” Tia smiled as I walked up to her.
“Denise showed up.”
“Oh boy, how’d that go?” she questioned locking her hands around my arm.
“It went. I made her leave her keys and called the lawyer about her. Toine is asking her to get more money from me.”
“How do you know it’s Toine?”
“I just know; she’s been my wife long enough for me to know her. She doesn’t like all this extra drama, but I know Toine does. He’s always been the fucking mess of the crew.”
“Oh.” She responded.
“But enough about them and more about us.” We sat in our seats and I ordered us a glass of Pinot Grigio to celebrate our reunion. This time it was so much more perfect than before because finally we both allowed our guard to go down and to be what we had grown to be. She kept me focused much like young Denise, but this time I had her loyalty.
“I thought about us going out like we use to and I thought is it really okay while you’re going through the divorce because I don’t want to ruin anything going on especially financial wise.” Tia commented.
“It’s all good we aren’t doing what I want to do on this table so it’s all business until further notice.” I winked at her.
“I bet.” We sat, talked, and relaxed. It had been the first time that we were one again and it felt like if everything else was going to go wrong then at least being with her would be one right thing.
“You look stunning as always.” I complimented her.
“You think so? It’s an Adrianna Papell Lace dress. I love this dress.”
“What else you love?” I joked with her.
“Money, School…Am I missing anything?”
“Yes you are missing something.”
“Oh my red bottoms!” Her smile was everything. A man like me had always had flashy shit once I started making money and building my dreams, but what I didn’t need was fake individuals surrounding me with fucked up intentions and not a faithful bone in their body.
“I’m not paying for your meal unless tell me what I want to hear.” I laughed with her.
“I love you, happy now cry baby?”
“Yes, the happiest man alive.” We finished our jokes and she pulled out the Midtown Venue party plans. She had planned it well with the help of the party planner I hired and everything would be in place for Saturday evening.
“I want you to be my date.” I confided in her.
“You know that that won’t happen James.” She responded honestly.
“Just because we don’t arrive together doesn’t mean you aren’t my date. I mean we didn’t arrive her and you’re my woman.”
“I’m your woman now?”
“I can’t even wait any longer. You are mine.”
“Prove it.” She smiled.
“Give me time and I will.” I knew that falling for a younger woman would make me look a certain way, but the woman that I loved was the woman that I loved and I didn’t give a damn what anyone else had to say. Last time I worried what others had to say, I got cheated on. I had told my family that I had a suspicion that Niecy was seeing another man and they advised that I wouldn’t find another like her and to marry her. They loved the representative she had given them, but when I had my first inkling, I should have called the wedding off. Usually, it’s the other way around; families are warning you and you make the dumb ass call to leave a good woman. Not this family; they wanted to me to marry a fraud and I did. I wouldn’t rush to marry Tia seeing that she was young and at the peak of her own personal career, but I would say she would never want for anything as long as she was mine.
“You ready to open this venue and go on a vacation?” Tia interrupted my thoughts.
“Where would you like to go?” I questioned her.
“Greece.” Out of all the normal places college girls wanted to visit, she wanted Greece.
“Where in Greece?”
“Crete and maybe all over as long as we explore new places and see new things.” She smiled.
“I’ll see what I can do.”
“Make it happen Cap’n.”
After everything; she was here at this table, eating good, drinking good, smiling, and planning with me. It took meeting, a wife, sex, a divorce, and most importantly a friendship.
I opened my heart like I had never before and at this point I mixed business with pleasure and I couldn’t turn back. I didn’t understand at the time that a risk happens at each point of your life whether it’s career, love, and happiness decisions. These decisions can affect you more than anything else in this world. The moment I decided to let go and allow myself to say it aloud I had already messed myself up, but at least he wanted to be a messy ass with me. Age didn’t matter for us and we never looked at it. As we dined on lobster tails and sipped Pinot Grigio, I appreciated the man that I had. But for a couple more days or months we wouldn’t be exclusive and that was okay, I still had personal goals to complete. The Midtown Venue was complete and the party was a day away. I decided to bring my mother to give a taste of the luxury life I had been afforded working at the firm. She gladly accepted my offer to peak and meet James and Denise. She never wanted anything more than to look at these two who I ranted and raved about when she begin to figure everything out.
“Are you sure that it is okay that I attend this event with you?” My mother questioned as we walked around Perimeter Mall.
“Yes. I planned this entire event and I can invite as many guest as I want as I created the guest list plus I need you to help me run things before the event starts. We need to be out of here in about an hour.” I responded confidently.
“I just wanted to enjoy a night out but instead you have your mother working. I will be sipping wine and people watching.” She stated as we were looking through Dillard’s. James supplied us with the money for our ensemble and we were already looking amazing. The car was already packed with my makeup supplies, flat iron for our hair, and our evening dresses. We walked into the newly built building and my mother was in awe of James’s talent and prestige. The venue had large windows that were adorned with drapes to offer a modern and sophisticated look. There were exposed brick walls and steel beams that were effortlessly integrated into the design giving it the feel of a New York loft. Cool neutral colors such as grey and off-white gave a spacious chic vibe. Wooden surfaces were integrated to give the venue a more inviting and cozy appeal decorated with elegant contemporary additions. There were paintings and sculptures decorating the lobby and all I had to do was make sure that the bar and bartenders were in place, employees were ready for the venue, catering would be on the way, and that James and Denise were on good enough terms to avoid a dramatic scene. This party for the new venue was to secure a buyer and the building could sell itself, but we wanted them to remember James Davenport.
“Are these really his designs Tee?” My mother whispered to me as we walked around to tour the venue.
“Yes ma, he’s good right?” I asked.
“He’s amazing.” My mother loved the design. Finally, we entered into the back where all the employees were on their laptops and cell phones finalizing all plans as we went over the day before in the office.
“How’s everything going guys?” I asked as I walked in.
“It’s going, you have us running around like a chicken with its head cut off.” Stephanie joked.
“It’s almost over lady. Everyone say hello to my mother.” My mother and coworkers spoke and I begin barking orders based on my check. As I was checking everything out, Denise pranced into the room with Nyard leggings, Coach loafers, and a V-neck long sleeve brown tunic.
“Good afternoon everyone! This is the event we have all been waiting for. How is everything turning out Theo?” Denise didn’t address me with that question; she wanted to hear what others thought. It was her way of being “fair,” but I thought it was more “nice/nasty” she played that role so well.
“Everything is coming together nicely. Every venue and table is set to start arriving soon.” Denise looked over at me and smiled a fake smile.
“Great job Tia. Is this your mother?” Denise was fake and at this point, we (my mother and I) wanted to punch her square in the face.
“Yes, I’m her mother. Thank you for allowing her to invite me.” My mother spoke to Denise.
“No problem. Tia is our superstar around here and I’m so glad to hear that everything she’s arranged is on schedule.”
“Yes, she’s very good at everything she does.” My mother’s face was serious and her voice was stern. She always used to say, “I don’t play with my baby,” I knew she was always so serious. Denise and her never broke their glare and they were both not about to break it so I spoke up.
“Mrs. Davenport, the flowers will be here in fifteen minutes so I have Chara will be outside in the next ten minutes to receive them. I have checked off everyone’s black tie outfit to make sure that they are on point. The food will be here a little later so that it will be hot for the guest and Mr. Davenport will be arriving right before to cut the ribbon.” Denise broke the glare and smiled at me.
“Ms. Driscoll you are on point today. I’m so excited. I’m going to get my stuff together for tonight. I’ll see you later.” When Denise left everyone started talking about the stare off and we both chuckled at it.
“That bitch is on my list. Watch her she’s sneaky and she may not know you and James are together, but when she finds out she will come for you and I’ll knock her fucking heads off her shoulders.”
“Dang ma.” I commented.
“I’m so damn serious. There is something about her that I really don’t like.”
The venue was absolutely genius much like James. I wanted to complain about the party that Tia had set up, but that girl was excellent at the job at hand. She reminded me of myself when I was young and starting to help run the business. She’s great for the company since I planned on announcing my retirement from the company to start my own fashion boutique in Buckhead. The plans had been in the works for a while and with the large lump sum of money I had coming from the divorce, my portion of the company, and my own savings I would be more than okay.
“James, I was wondering if I could make the announcement this evening that I was retiring to start the boutique.” I asked sweetly.
“Sure.” He replied without an attitude.
“You’re seeing her again aren’t you?” I asked. I could always tell when he had been with her or slept with her. His entire demeanor changed and for the first time in a long time he looked genuinely in happy; in love even.
“I don’t have to answer you in that regards and darling I don’t want to fight today. I want both of us to enjoy our work and our legacy we’re leaving in Midtown.” His eyes were lit, every piece of hair was in line, shaped, and perfect. He was in love with a woman and I was in love with another man. It had hit me that this divorce going to be final and then I would be with another person; I had always been with this other person but not exclusively involved how I would be now and the man that I helped fine tune would treat the next woman like a queen thanks to me.
“Let’s not argue darling. I want you to dazzle tonight on my arm as the last night you’ll be my date and I want you to go home to your husband and live happily ever after.” I lost my breath at the mention of husband.
“What do you mean husband?” I spit out.
“I know everything Denise. When you threatened me I had to cover myself. I will not say anything and I will not alter any of your money. I understand when you love someone and they’ve always been in your heart you have to go to them to feel whole. I don’t blame you. I just want you to be honest, be happy, and be in love with Antoine.” He sounded like a man that had found everything that he had been missing in life. He didn’t threaten me or be remotely ugly and I knew that this war we were waging on each other was done.
“He knows honey.” I confided to Antoine over the phone.
“Knows what?” He asked.
“James knows we’re married and agreed to leave it out of court if I would just stop threatening him and trying to wage war. I agree with him Antoine. Get the fuck out of your feelings and just be happy we’re finally together.”
“Baby, if you want us to just be together than that’s all I want. I wanted you to get everything that you deserved that’s all. I love you and I want the best for us. We have been together so long and been hiding for so long it’s time to come out and enjoy each other.” Antoine replied and I was relieved.
“I’ll tell you one thing though, he has someone else. I don’t know who and he hasn’t said anything specific but I know it. He loves whoever it is.”
“Are you upset?” Toine asked calmly.
“No, it’s just weird.” I responded. I had not decided how I felt about it. Of course, I wanted to be mad but honestly the way I had hurt him for all these years I understood his need for another woman. I would only ask that she be on her shit like I had been on mine.
“I understand if you were but it’s okay. One more venue and it’s us forever.” We talked and gave one another sweet nothings before I headed back inside the office to James. I stood at the door and watched him on his phone. I couldn’t hear what he was saying, but he smiled and laughed at whatever she said before hanging up the phone. What had we become?
“I know you’re going to be so beautiful tonight and after all this is said and done it’ll just be us.” I smiled as I spoke with Tia. We were pretty much all in and everything felt like it was supposed to feel.
“I bet you’re waiting for me to come and Tia-nize your house.” She giggled.
“ I want you all up and through this house. I want you to do whatever makes you content baby.”
“Isn’t it weird dating a 20 year old?” She questioned out of the blue.
“You carry yourself in such a different way I hardly think of your age. It won’t always be so easy I guess, but you are like no woman I’ve ever been with. You are similar to Denise, but so much more giving and loving. You care about my life like you belong in it. I want to give you whatever you need and I want to give it to you as long as we work.” I responded. I heard Niecy come back into the building, but I chose to stay on the phone.
“I love you sir, but I have to make sure my boss’s event is on point.”
“I love you too. Don’t work too hard for the bastard.” I joked.
“Will she be your date?” She got serious before hanging up the phone.
“Yes. The last event and she’s announcing her retirement.”
“I will be slaying this evening.”
“I’m sure baby girl. I can’t wait til I have you whenever I want you.” I stated.
“There is no rush. It’s only the beginning.” She replied back.
I hung the phone up and thought of how everything was turning out and felt completely ready for this change. I watched as Denise played in her phone before we separated for the evening. The moment of truth had arrived and I had reached a peak within my life where I was wealthy, about to be divorced and completely fine with the new woman that entered my life. This venue party would determine how she would fit into my life. Though Denise was a cheater, she handled business and made sure that there would be future clientele coming in. I headed out of the office and headed to my personal designer for the evening.
The Aidan Mattox Sequined Godet gown fit my body perfectly. My hair were in spiral curls pinned on the right overflowing on the left side. My makeup was flawless and my heels were six inches. My lips were Ruby Woo and I knew that I represented the company well. Everything was perfect in the venue; every table and venue were laid out just the way I envisioned.
“This place is amazing Tia,” Sarah said as she walked into the back room.
“Thank you.” I smiled. “I wanted this to show and prove I deserve my position.”
“You deserve it. This place looks amazing and you dress the part as well.” Sarah cheered me on. For the first time, I had accomplished a very big project that I planned, worked,and it was now coming to pass. Denise came in the building in all black Ralph Lauren long sleeve sequin gown giving everyone a run for their money. Her hair was bone straight and her makeup was just as flawless as mine.
“You clean up amazing everyone!” She stated as we all stood waiting for James to come through the door. We squealed at how we all looked, every detail was laid out greatly, and we were all afraid of getting started.
“Get in position everyone. I’m going to start the venue party.” Denise stated. My mother stood beside me and we were both excited to be in the presence in the beginning of my career. As Denise began her welcoming speech, James walked in. He literally gave me butterflies with his all black tuxedo, fresh cut, and Delli Aldo black slip on tuxedo loafers. He walked over to my mother and I, kissed both our cheeks and spoke.
“Good evening ladies. I see where this gorgeous young woman gets it from.” He smiled.
“She also has my taste I see.” My mother smiled back. James walked over to me and whispered in my ear, “Can I taste you tonight?” I pushed him away but he stared at me seriously.
“Yes, Mr. Davenport.” I stated. But before we could finish, Denise called to have James speak to the group of potential clientele. I took his jacket to place it down for him and he begin the party.
“Thank you all for showing up this evening. As the designer of this venue, it is truly an honor for you all to make it out and mingle. This year has been a trying one, but we here at my firm have worked tirelessly to present the best buildings and designs. Of course, I wouldn’t be able to create without my team of interns, junior designers, or my wife Denise Davenport,” He paused as the crowd recognized and clapped for the staff. “Denise has been such an asset to the company making sure that everything runs smoothly and helping spearhead young interns to become permanent designers and business men and women with our company. She always has the perfect eye for the perfect people and this venue is no different.” Denise smiled brightly as he spoke so highly of her. He would never disrespect the woman he married in a room full of people; that was beneath him.
“This entire party was an idea from one of our bright interns. She perfectly got everything done and without her, Denise and I, wouldn’t have had such a wonderful turn out. LaTia Driscoll has come into this company with a level head, wonderful ideas, and such a great attitude. Tia as we call her reminds me of my wife; elegant and promising within our company. Thank you.” His eyes turned from the crowd to me and his smile was priceless. I didn’t know what to do, but smile and nod my head in agreement.
“Step forward Tia and take a bow for this amazing party with these amazing people.” I walked in my long gold gown owning every compliment given to me. James stared at me in a way that assured that I was his and he wanted me to know. He loved me and I know he couldn’t deny it.
“We love your hard work and your addition to the company.” Denise stated. I smiled and allowed for the bosses to continue to speak. The speech ended with Denise and James standing to cut the red ribbon for the venue.
“Tia come join us.” Denise called to me. There I stood between the man I loved, his future ex-wife and James handed the scissors to me. “Cut the ribbon Tia.” He stated and I did.
The way he stared at that twenty year old girl, I knew who had captured my husband’s heart. I knew what I had been missing; I didn’t think he had slept with her but I knew that without a shadow of a doubt that my infidelity and bullshit landed this young bitch into the heart of a man that was a powerhouse. I wanted to snatch the young bitch up and teach her a thing or two, but I had to admit that for a bitch that probably wanted to take my spot; I had honed her skills well. As James worked the crowd, I managed to catch little Miss Tia alone.
“I believe we’ve both done a fabulous job.” I commented innocently.
“Thank you. We both made our creative marks.” She responded just as innocent as I.
“Let me tell you how; I cheated on my husband and practically handed him over to your young ass and you played the role of an innocent intern trying to learn everything from me. Smart and conniving just as I would have done it.” Her eyes didn’t leave mine, she didn’t smile, and she wasn’t afraid of me.
“We can all have an opinion, but Mrs. Davenport, I have done nothing. I just did my job.”
“That’s what they all say.”
“I’m not they all. You have some question address your husband, do not address me. I do what I am told to do and I answer to James Davenport. I have nothing to defend and nothing more to say.” She sashayed away from me unharmed or tattered, unphased or battered. I liked this young bitch.
“I know you are trying to fuck Tia. I don’t blame you; I’ve been fucking your best friend for damn near twenty years. But how dare you disrespect me?” Denise spit.
“Listen, you asked to come and make your announcement. Do not make me change my mind.” I spit back. This evening was beautiful and I want it to end that way.” My jaw flexed as we both stared in each other’s eyes.
“I love you James.” She stated and I believed her words, but knew her lies.
“But you’re in love with your husband Antoine too.” I responded smartly.
“Do you love her?” She asked desperately. I ignored her and clicked the button on the mic turning it on.
“This is a very special announcement ladies and gentlemen. My wife wants to tell you all something amazing that is going on.” I ignored her and spoke into the mic that was sitting in the table where we sat. We both stood and I handed the mic over to Denise. She gave me a look that could kill, but I knew she wouldn’t taint our name. I knew that fake appearance meant more to her than who I was fucking.
“I am sorry to announce that this is my last event with you all. I am now launching Charisma my new fashion boutique and leaving the designing business to my husband. I have been working with my husband, design team, and our tailored accountants to launch my business. I am retiring from the company and furthering the Davenport name in fashion. Though it seems like a sad thing, it’s truly feels amazing to follow my dreams.” Everyone clapped for her and people began to walk up and speak with Denise regarding her new business venture. I winked at my love and watched her walk over to my future ex-wife and smile in her face.
“Congrats Mrs. Davenport. I wish you much success.”
BUMP OR DUMP??? WHAT WILL HAPPEN? WHEN WILL SUGAR BABY RETURN??? COMMENTS AND CONCERNS PEOPLE!
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