“Raquel, open this damn door!” Teri yelled as she knocked on the door. She’d been knocking for five minutes and her best friend still hadn’t opened the door. Now she was pissed because she was taking this too far. Where is her extra key? She wondered. Just as she was about to start looking, the door finally opened. Teri opened her mouth to yell at Raquel but quickly closed it when she saw how pale she looked.
“You’re going to wake up the whole neighborhood, Teri.” She said weakly.
She went to help her friend stand. “Rae, what’s wrong?”
“I’m okay. The nausea has been coming in waves today is all. What brings you by?”
“Never mind me. Let’s get you lying on the couch and under a blanket. Have you eaten?” Teri asked as she laid Raquel on her couch. She found a blanket shortly afterwards and covered her.”
Teri, I can’t stomach anything and almost everything smells.” She laid back and closed her eyes.
“Do you have crackers?” Teri asked as she search through the cupboards.
She popped open one eye. ” Yeah. Far left cupboard near the sink.”
Teri retrieved them then poured her a tall glass of water. “Prenatal vitamins?”
Teri took the bottle and retrieved two. She walked over to Rae. “Here. Take those.” She watched as Rae downed them with water. “Eat the saltine crackers. They will help.”
Rae took them. “Thanks. So explain.” Rae said as she ate a cracker.
Teri sighed. “Don’t be mad, okay? We have been dating for four months.”
“Teri, four months? I can’t believe you kept that from me. I thought we told each other everything.” Raquel knew she sounded whiny but she couldn’t help it.
Teri groaned. “I know. I just…” Her voice trailed off
Rae laid a hand on her shoulder. “Just what?”
“I didn’t know if he was serious about a relationship or just trying to get me into bed. I was being overly cautious and I treated him awful.”
“Teri, my brother would not date you for four months if he wasn’t serious about you. Besides he has always had a thing for you.” She let that little secret slip.
Teri jumped up from where she was sitting. “What!”
Raquel grinned. “He didn’t tell you huh? About a year or so he has had a crush on you. I’m glad you two are an item now. And to think you despise him.” Raquel teased.
Teri gawked then laughed. “Go ahead and tease all you want.”
She winked. “If you insist. But seriously, Trevor cares for you.”
Teri sighed. “Last night he told me he loved me more than I loved him. Do you know what that did to my heart?” She was still reeling from his words and their lovemaking. Her body still hadn’t recovered fully. She doubted if it ever would.
“I know. Same thing your cousin’s words did to mine. It overflowed and made me take a risk on us and our friendship.” She said softly
Teri nodded, understanding completely. “Exactly. I don’t know if I’m ready.”
Raquel pulled her back down to sit beside her. “Teri, stop panicking. He loves you and you love him. Trust in that. He won’t hurt you. I promise. Trevor has always been someone you can count on and he’d protect you with his life. He’s not like any of the other idiots you got involved with. You’ve got yourself a keeper, honey.”
“You’re right. I just need to breathe and relax.” She let out a deep breath and reclined back on the couch.
“Um, Teri. There is one thing I need to tell you. You don’t need to plan my wedding anymore.”
She frowned. “Why not? Did you guys break up?”
Raquel shook her head and her auburn curls swished around her face. “No. We are going to the Bahamas to get married next week. We want you and Trevor to come of course and a few family members and friends. We don’t want to wait for another six months.”
“I have a lot of work to do between now and next week before we go. I can’t believe you are eloping.”
Raquel smiled. “I don’t need a big wedding, Teri. I just want Derrick and our child.”
Teri squeezed her hand. “Whatever you want, I’m game. We can go find our dresses tomorrow and bouquets.”
“Thanks girl for working with me.”
“No prob. By the way, have you told your mom that you’re getting married?”
Rae frowned.”Why? She isn’t going to come. It’s a waste of time.”
“You don’t know that, sweetie.”
Rae reared back in surprise. “Yes the hell I do. She hasn’t come to any other milestones in my life: prom, graduation, awards ceremonies…where was she then? Look let’s just let this go. I’m not calling her. Period.”
Teri sighed, knowing that Rae was not going to budge. “Okay. Has Derrick told his family that he doesn’t want a big wedding?”
“He went over there to tell his mom and dad today. I’m not sure how his mom will react.”
Teri chuckled. She knew exactly how she would react and was glad she wouldn’t be there to see it.
“You want to what?!!! Derrick, please tell me you’re kidding.” Addison said loudly
“Addie, please stop yelling at the boy. It’s his life. He can do what he wants.” Joshua said softly
Derrick was glad that had Joshua stepped in because he’d felt like he was going to have to go toe to toe with his mother over this. She was overreacting as usual.
His mother folded her arms over her chest and huffed. “But I’ve already told everyone.” She whined
“No one told you to do that. That’s what invitations are for.”
“Joshua” She said, her tone held a hint of a warning
Joshua stood to his full height and walked over to his wife. He was trying his damnedest not to smile at her pout. Even mad, she was still the most beautiful woman he’d ever laid eyes on. “Addison, do you want your son to be happy?” He knew she did but he had to talk to her like this or she wouldn’t fully understand the repercussions of her outburst.
She narrowed her eyes. “Of course I do Joshua.”
He trailed his finger down her cheek. “Good. Does it matter what others think when it comes to his happiness?” She titled her chin up in that stubborn gesture he knew so well.
“Of course it doesn’t. I just wanted more for him and Raquel.” She said, her voice softened.
He smiled. “I’m sure he knows that, darling but we have to let go and let him make his choices. Keep in mind that we will be getting a vacation out of this and he’s paying for the flight.” He wiggled his eyebrows.
Addison knew what her husband was doing. He’d done it for years. Reverse psychology. She didn’t mind though. She laughed heartily. “Okay, okay. Fine.” She turned her gaze to Derrick. “I’m sorry for yelling, baby. Of course, we will go with you. We wouldn’t miss it.”
Derrick felt the tension seep out of his body. Thank God for Joshua and his quick thinking. “Good. We will be leaving Thursday morning. Please tell your sons so they can go. And maybe we will have a reception when we come back from our honeymoon.”
Addison beamed. “That would be great. I will tell your brothers. Be sure to send over the flight itinerary.”
“I will. Let me get back to Rae. The nausea has been bothering her all day.” He walked to the door and as he stepped out he heard Joshua saying “Nausea? Addie,what’s going on?” He chuckled. Apparently his mother forgot to tell him something. He whistled as he returned to his car. He couldn’t wait to see his soon to be bride.
Raquel watched as Teri’s car pulled off. She’d turned to go inside when another car pulled up…a black mustang. It seemed out-of-place here, she thought. When the car door opened and a shiny black shoe stepped out, she knew instantly who it was. Caleb Montgomery . He’d always reeked of money and he spent far too much of it for her. The tan sports jacket he wore was tailored and fit his six foot six inch frame very well and the slacks he wore screamed “rich”. He smiled and made his way over to her.
“Caleb, what the hell are you doing here?” She snapped.
“Raquel, it’s so good to see you. You look radiant.”
“I can’t say it’s good to see you. What are you doing here?” She asked again.
He grinned. “Isn’t it obvious? I’m here to see you. You didn’t return my call so I decided to drop by.” His hand reached up to cup her cheek but she evaded his touch.
“There is a reason I didn’t return the call. I don’t want to see you. I’ve moved on, Caleb and you should too.”
He chuckled. “Raquel, come on. You know you will always love me and I will always love you.”
“Wrong again, Caleb. I’m getting married. You see this engagement ring here?” She held her hand up to his face so he could get a good look at it.
He clenched his jaw. “You really shouldn’t joke about something like that. It’s not funny.”
She folded her arms over chest. “Well at least we agree on something, I wouldn’t joke about something like that.” She saw his hands curl into fists and then uncurl. Tentatively, she moved back a few steps.
“I thought giving you space and getting a divorce would make you come back to me. I did all that for you. I still love you. Don’t you understand that?”
She did,but it didn’t change anything. He was still a liar and a manipulator. It didn’t matter though, she had the man she wanted. “I get it but it doesn’t change what happened. I think it’s best that you go, Caleb.” Before she knew it, Caleb closed the distance between them and hauled her to his chest. She gasped.
“I’m not going anywhere.” He sneered in her face.
“I suggest you let her go, Caleb or we will have a problem.” Derrick said, his tone cold and brooking no argument. He watched as the man looked his way and the surprise that lit his face. He hadn’t expected him to arrive which was good. The man must have gathered some sense because he let her go and backed away. Good boy, Derrick thought. The last thing he wanted was to pummel this fool but he would for Rae. He’d gotten there just in time to see the man grab her by arms. For a moment, he’d seen red but then quickly composed himself and quickly walked over to diffuse the situation. He reached for Raquel and she quickly scurried over to him.
“Caleb, you should leave. Now.” Derrick ordered
Caleb narrowed his eyes, wondering how he knew him. “Raquel and I need to talk.” He said stiffly
“That won’t be happening. Next time I won’t be so nice when I say this. Now leave.” Caleb still didn’t move and just when he thought he was going to have to forcefully remove him from the property, his brother Rafe pulled up. Rafe, being the methodical man that he was, slowly walked over to the altercation. Derrick wasn’t fooled by his leisurely stroll. His brother served in the army and had a black belt in karate. No doubt he was thinking of the best way to take Caleb down.
“Problem here, bro?” Rafe asked while looking at Caleb.
“I don’t know. Is there a problem, Caleb?” Derrick asked calmly
Caleb swallowed hard. “Um, no. I will just be leaving like you told me to.” He slowly backed away to his car and then jumped in and sped off.
Derrick felt Rae relax against him. He titled her face up to him to meet his eyes. “You okay, baby?”
She nodded, unsure if she could speak at the moment.
He caressed her cheek. “Its okay. I won’t let him hurt you.” He looked over his shoulder at his brother. “Thanks Rafe for showing up when you did.”
Rafe clapped his hand on his brother’s shoulder. “No prob, bro.” He noticed Derrick was barely paying attention to him and had turned his attention back to Rae. He left them quietly and went inside Derrick’s house.
“Rae, are you sure you’re okay?”
She nodded. “A little rattled but it will pass.” She laid her head on his shoulder and wrapped her arms around his neck. “Thank you for showing up. I don’t know what would have happened if you hadn’t.”
He pulled her closer to him. He didn’t even want to entertain the thought of losing her. Just the idea forming in his head, gripped his heart. He exhaled a shaky breath. “I’m thankful I made it here in time too. I love you so much. You have no idea how much you mean to me.” His voice rasped.
She lifted her head to look at him and he took the opportunity to kiss her. He gave her a soft and gentle kiss, teasing her lips with his own. She sighed and he slipped the tip of his tongue between her parted lips. She gently touched her tongue to his and tugged him closer. His mouth seemed to devour hers as he deepened the kiss more and more. Her mouth was so soft and sweet beneath his that he often had a hard time pulling away. With sheer force, he pulled away slowly. He looked at her wet lips and had the overwhelming urge to finish what he started. He groaned inwardly and put some distance between them.
Instead of staying where she was, she came closer and nibbled on the side of his neck. “You shouldn’t have started this, Derrick.” She said huskily
His eyes rolled into the back of his head when she licked him. “Rafe is waiting for me.”
“He can wait, can’t he?”
“It might be important. Trust me, we will finish this later. But for now you are coming with me to my house because I am concerned about your safety.”
She pouted. “Fine.”
He chuckled. She was such a handful but he didn’t mind. He loved all of her.
Derrick watched Rae sleeping in his bed. He wanted to watch over her and keep her close to him. She’d scared him so much that he couldn’t relax. It had been at least two hours since they’d left the hospital and he was still tense. He sighed softly. It could have been worse. Even though he knew that, he still couldn’t stop the image of her lying unconscious on the floor from flashing in his head. He’d begged her not to leave him. Which meant that he’d become dependent on her and that scared him. If it ever came to a point that Rae was no longer in his life, he just didn’t know how he would be able to go on. He wasn’t even sure how his mom lived without his dad for ten years. His biological father had died in a plane crash. He was traveling back to his family from a business trip to New York when his plane encountered heavy turbulence and crashed. His father had died instantly. He remembered that day. When he, his brothers and his mother heard the news from one of the local police officers, they all began to cry and his mother had curled into a ball and wailed. He’d felt powerless then just as he did now. Somehow, his mother had survived it and moved on with his stepfather, Joshua. He hadn’t liked Joshua at first but the man eventually began to grow on him. Now they were inseparable.
He had to stop this negative thinking and focus on the good news that they’d received. He was going to be a father. His chest swelled proudly at the thought. He couldn’t believe it. He and Rae had made a baby. None of his brothers had children yet and they were married. Although he was sure that they weren’t in a hurry to make a baby. He hadn’t been either but now that he had he was excited. He couldn’t wait to see Rae with her protruding belly. He grinned. She’d definitely fuss about that for sure.
“Derrick” Rae called softly
She looked down at his bed then back at him. “You brought me to your place?”
He nodded. “Yes.”
“You could have taken me home, you know?”
“Did you honestly think that I would let you stay by yourself at your place with a concussion?” He said in a tone of voice that was meant to grab her attention.
Her eyes narrowed at his tone of voice. “No, of course not. I just didn’t know I was here.”
“Probably because you were asleep.” He tossed and turned to look out the window.
That’s it, she thought. She eased out of the bed to go stand in front of him. She planted her hands on her hips. “Are you trying to piss me off? Because I am about one second from biting your head off, Derrick.” She warned.
He met her gaze and saw the fire in her eyes. If he’d had the energy to argue, he would have. Instead of reacting, he gently pulled her to him, lifted her shirt and kissed her belly, the place his baby would be growing soon. “No, of course not. I’m sorry. I’m just still a little tense.”
She placed her hands on his head as he placed another kiss on her belly. “Why?”
“Because I was scared and still am.”
She lifted his face to meet her eyes. “Derrick, baby, listen to me. I’m fine. Correction…we are fine. Stop worrying. It will be okay.” She sat down in his lap and pulled him into her arms.
He inhaled her scent. “I love you and our baby.”
She smiled. He was so protective. “We love you too.”
He buried his face in her neck. “Don’t ever stop okay?”
She pulled back. “Even when I get mad at you?”
“Especially when you get mad at me.”
“I will have to think about it. I mean it could be a really big fight and I may not want to see y— She stopped when he placed his hand over her mouth.
“Would you stop? I’m trying to be serious here.” He removed his hand.
“Sorry. Just trying to lighten up the mood.”
“Thanks but not right now.”
An eyebrow rose. “Is this about your dad? Are you comparing the two?”
He shook his head. “No. It’s about the fact that you’re the closest person to me besides my mom and Joshua. Losing you would devastate me. Fiancé or not, losing you would kill me inside. I hate losing people and you know this about me. Yes, it started with me losing my dad to a plane crash but what I’m telling you now has nothing to do with that. I’m sorry if I’m getting to deep on you but it just got real tonight, Rae.” He sighed. “I’m going to go outside for a while.” He lifted her off him and walked out of the room…leaving her speechless and perplexed.
Two hours later and Derrick still had not come upstairs to his room. She’d long ago taken a shower and now she couldn’t sleep because Derrick wasn’t here. She hated that he was agonizing over this whole situation. She should have been more serious then maybe…no! She was not about to play the martyr here. Deciding she was hungry, she went downstairs in search of some fruit or something. He usually kept the refrigerator stocked. She opened the refrigerator door and pulled out a bowl of grapes and at the last minute she added some whip cream. Closing the door, she turned to go back upstairs but collided into a massive chest. She screamed. Strong arms kept her and her fruit from falling.
He swallowed a curse. “Rae, I’m sorry that I scared you.”
She moved away from his touch. “I’m fine. Going back upstairs now.” She made a move to get around him but he blocked her from going upstairs.
“What?” She snapped
“We need to talk, Rae.”
“Like hell we do. You walked out on me remember?” She nearly shouted
He removed the fruit and whip cream from her hands. She just had to be difficult. He lifted her into arms and sat her on the bar.
“Hey! What are you doing?” She asked when he began lifting her shirt. ” You are not getting sex.”
His hands stilled for a moment, “Rae, you can fight me all you want but I want you and if this is the only way to get you to talk to me then so be it.”
She met his intense gaze. “Derrick I…” She gasped when he spread her legs and began to press his thumb against the sensitive nub between her legs. Instinctively, her hips moved with his strokes. He stopped for a moment to slide her underwear off. She watched with anticipation has his head lowered to lick her along the slit of her vagina. Her body arched off the bar but he gently guided her back down. He pulled her closer to his face and placed his full mouth on her.
“Oh my” She whispered feverishly as he continued making love to her with his mouth. She felt her orgasm about to bust loose but then he stopped.
He quickly glanced at her. “Do you forgive me, baby?”
“What? Now is not the time, Derrick,” She said, dumbfounded that he would stop in the middle of what they were doing.
“Now is the perfect time. Tell me or you won’t get to come.”
The man was devious, she concluded. “No. Let’s finish this first.” She couldn’t stop her stubbornness from rearing it’s ugly head. Two could play this game.
He shook his head. He pulled her butt to the edge of the bar and placed her feet on his shoulders. He lowered his head and blew on her sensitive spot. “Tell me, my stubborn fiancé.” He slid the tip of his finger inside and then withdrew it.
She dragged in a breath as he continued teasing her. “Dammit, okay. I…I forgive you. Please finish what you started.” She pleaded with him.
He smiled. “Thank you, baby.” He whispered and placed his mouth back on her. He teased and taunted until she screamed. He didn’t remove his mouth until she stopped trembling. “Feel better?”
“Hmm, yeah. I needed that. How long has it been since we last made love?”
“At least a week.”
She shook her head. “That just won’t do, will it?”
“No, it won’t. I’ve missed you terribly this past week. The wedding is becoming more important than me.”
She moved her feet off his shoulders and leaned forward to caress his cheek. “And does daddy need some attention?” She licked his bottom lip.
He groaned. “Desperately need some attention.” He tried to kiss her but she pulled back.
“Just so we’re clear, no walking out on me again and I promise that I won’t do anything to scare you. If I can help it.” She added, because she couldn’t control everything.
He stood and took her into his arms to go upstairs. “That’ll work.”
“Hey, what about my grapes and whip cream?”
He frowned. “Seriously? Just get them later.” He replied, in a hurry to get upstairs.
“I’m hungry, Derrick.”
Okay, she has to eat for both her and the baby, he reasoned. “Fine, we will go back and get them.”
She smiled wickedly. “We can eat them in another way, you know?”
He stopped short. “I love when you get creative. Now where are those grapes?”
She laughed. She was glad they were back on good terms again.