An Excerpt from JEALOUSY: The Complete Saga
by Linda Brickhouse
Petra, enjoying a peaceful moment with her family, draped her lean chocolate legs across the love seat. Staring from Chaka, the man she loved, to her children, she smiled. She noted that their daughter Chanice was the spitting image of Chaka, down to the tiny markings along her jawline. As CJ caught her attention with his comical antics,she thought, Wow! This is what life should be about. She watched Chaka entertain the children as though he were a peer rather than their father.
An annoying chiming in Chaka’s pocket interrupted the serenity, but Petra refused to acknowledge the intrusion. She slid to the floor beside them, hoping to make the best of this time together.
CJ was tired of playing games. He wanted his gifts. He leaned closer to his father’s side.
Chaka pretended not to understand CJ’s body language and continued playing with Chanice.
“Daddy, come on,” CJ said, “it’s my birthday. I didn’t get a party, and you said my gift would be extra special this time.”
Chaka shook his head and smiled at Petra.
Petra had chastised her man earlier that morning when he’d made the promises to CJ. “Stop promising these children things,” she told him. “Because they don’t let up until they are satisfied.” She wanted to rub it in a bit but knew that Chaka would only mimic her know-it-all attitude.
Quickly, Chaka grabbed his son in a bear hug and lifted him into his lap playfully. “You want your gift, huh? All right. Suppose I tell you I forgot to pick it up, will you be mad with your forgetful daddy?”
CJ’s eyes bulged from their sockets. Immediately, he tried to hide his disappointment.
Chanice jumped up from the floor and took off toward the den, just off the living room. “Don’t believe it, CJ!” she yelled. “He didn’t forget nothing. Your gifts are right here in these big bags.”
Chaka gripped his son a little tighter, holding him to his chest, while Chanice yelled out for him to come before she opened his gifts herself, and Petra laughed as CJ tried to squirm his way out. Chaka finally let go, and CJ flopped to the floor.
“Don’t open my stuff, Chanice. This is my day. You can’t open my stuff. Mommy, whup her and she'll stop.”
Petra shifted once again, deciding she’d better referee, or there would be a fight between those two.
Chaka grabbed Petra by her small waist and leaned into her arms. He licked his peach-colored lips. “Kiss me, pretty lady,” he whispered.
Petra felt her pulse quicken. “You still know how to make me smile.” Slowly, she stole the quiet moment to kiss.
As each second ticked away, the kiss deepened into something more inviting. His tongue danced in and out of her mouth, and she chased it with hers. Slowly, they wrapped themselves into a tight embrace right there on the floor, oblivious to the children in the den, or even the world outside their cozy home. Petra lived for these times, the ones that Chaka couldn’t take back.
The chiming shattered their moment, and Chaka struggled to silence the annoyance without breaking their connection.
As soon as he leaned back into her arms, the chime sounded again. Petra leaned away from him, her brows tightly knitted.
Chaka glanced at the screen and shoved it back into his pocket.
“Either answer it or turn it off,” Petra barked as she sashayed from the room.
Chaka met Petra at the door leading to the den. “Why you leaving, girl? I was just about to show you something.” He chuckled.
Petra didn’t slow her movement. She just nodded.
Chanice and CJ were busy trying to get the stuff out of the biggest Toys “R” Us bags they’d ever seen, and two jewelry bags. Everything was wrapped, except one box that Chanice claimed for herself. “This has to be mine!” she screamed at the top of her lungs. “Daddy always gives CJ one gift for my birthday, and this time he’s giving me one for CJ’s. Look, Mommy. It’s pretty.”
The phone chimed again.
Chaka couldn’t believe his eyes as Chanice shook the chain in Petra’s face.
Petra could feel the heat rising from her toes. The gift was way too expensive for their daughter, and it certainly wasn’t something she herself would wear. Before Chaka could open his mouth, Petra snatched the chain for a closer examination. It was a diamond-cut link chain with a medallion that read DADDY’S GIRL. “Oh, so that’s what she calls you now? Don’t bother to say a word. Just go answer that damn phone before I break that shit too,” she whispered through clenched teeth.
“Yo,” he barked into the phone, his eyes on Petra.
Petra couldn’t hear a word from the person on the other line, but she was certain it was Eve. Chaka’s face and ears had turned red, and he wasn’t having his usual jovial conversation. In fact, he had turned his back on his family to listen to the caller.
Chanice bounced from one foot to the other, trying to take it from her mother’s hand. “Mommy, it’s mine.” She watched her mother glaring at her father.
Petra watched Chaka’s face for any clue as to what he was about to do. As Chaka took steady steps back into the living room area, she stepped into the doorway and stood nose to nose with the man that swore to love and protect her.
“Your disrespect for this house and your family is ridiculous. She calls, and you hop up and go running. The acknowledgment of your bitch is a betrayal, but the fact that she has so much power over you is intolerable.”
“Petra, everyone in this room is a fucking adult. We made our choices. If you want out—fuck it—just leave!” Chaka took two steps away from her.
“Is that it, Chaka Dubois? Is that the only answer you have for me, the mother of your children, the only woman that loves you—just leave, if I can’t hang?” Petra stepped closer to him, disgust in her eyes.
“What do you want me to do, P?” Chaka reached for the doorknob.
Petra wedged her back between the solid oak door and Chaka. “I want you to stay home. For once put us before everything and everyone else.”
Chaka shook his head.
“What do you mean, no? Chaka, today is your son’s birthday, and you leaving him to go take care of your mistress. Go explain to them that she comes first.”
Chaka stood there ashamed that he’d allowed so much drama to enter their home. “Petra, I love my children. I take care of this house and everyone in it, including you. The only way I can do that is by doing what I do. I work those streets and the life that comes with it. Why, all of a sudden, Eve bothers you so much? You never cared before.”
Petra’s chest was heaving. She tried to get her emotions under control. “I’ve always cared about your relationship with her, but I put it aside because of my love for you. I know that was the second dumbest thing I’ve done in my life.”
Chaka stood closer to Petra now, his anger out of control. “OK, so what was the dumbest?” he asked, assuming he already knew the answer.
Petra pointed toward the kids. “They are,” she responded, hoping to hurt his feelings.
Chaka didn’t bother to respond. He knew it wouldn’t help. Besides, Petra had gone too far. This fight was over, and he was better off getting out of the house before he did or said something he’d regret. He slammed the door, and every picture on the first floor rattled.
Chaka’s thoughts were all over the place as he went to deal with the latest situation. He just couldn’t chance another battle with Eve. They were just getting to a place where they seemed to understand their purpose to one another, but this new dependency was creating a new dimension to their relationship. First she called whining about the car, and then she called back to tell him the tow company hadn’t come yet. Then she called a third time ranting about him leaving her for dead.
Instead of telling her to call Quinton, he figured he’d handle things himself and eliminate the bullshit. As the sign welcomed him into Brooklyn, he called Quinton to update him.
Chaka didn’t find Eve when he got to where she claimed she’d broken down. He circled the block. The idea that she’d called him but didn’t wait for him weighed heavily on his mind as his call to her went unanswered. Twice. He was beginning to lose his temper.
Just as he was heading back to his car, he heard someone call out to him. Standing next to his luxury silver vehicle, he smiled at the two brothers approaching him. They were family, and he greeted them as such. As Chaka embraced the taller of the men, he felt the handle of the gun against his side, which made the hair on the back of his neck stand.
He disregarded that and turned to offer the same welcome to the shorter brother. Just then, he felt the barrel of a weapon pressed into the center of his stomach. He winced. “Oh shit!” He looked into his friends’ eyes. “What the fuck is this?”
Before Chaka could get an explanation, he heard the shot, and felt the agonizing pain soon after, a searing fire that radiated to the soles of his feet. Tears slid from his eyes, and a haunting sound escaped his mouth. People he’d trusted came to kill him.
Quinton pulled up on the avenue just as the shot rang out and witnessed Chaka’s body fall to the ground.
Getting into the thick of things, he jumped from the car and began firing at the men. The barrage of flying bullets from the men didn’t slow Quinton’s pursuit, but the men leapt over the low wall behind the church and hurried off into the cemetery.
Quinton yelled at Chaka’s corpse, “What the fuck happened?”