“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.