When I showed up at Phaedra’s house for my regular Friday night visit, CJ answered the door. He was the same height as I was, and a relatively handsome guy. He was not happy to see me at the door, holding a bag for Orion Jr.
“CJ,” I said, waiting for him to move aside so I could enter.
He gave me the once-over and stepped to one side. I walked into the house and sniffed. The air smelled so good. I wondered exactly what Phaedra was cooking. “Smells great. What’s for dinner?”
“None of your business, as you won’t be staying for it.”
I looked at him and shook my head. I was smart enough not to engage him, as it would lead to a fight and Phaedra’s anger. I would be the one to get kicked out of the house. “Where’s my son?”
I didn’t have to ask, because just then Orion came running out of the den, a big smile on his face.
I put down the bag just as he launched himself into my arms. It had not taken long for Orion to get used to me. Every time I saw him, we spent time talking in either his room or the den. Phaedra let me take him to the playground and sometimes out to dinner at a local fast-food joint. He asked me a million questions and I answered each one of them, my patience eternal. He was a bright, happy child; very loving and completely accepting of my explanation as to why I’d been gone so long. It was a stunner when he pulled out a shoebox and started riffling through birthday cards and other stuff before pulling out a handful of pictures. Some of them were pictures of me, and some of Phaedra and me. There were a couple of ones of Phaedra while she was pregnant, and one with me standing proudly with one arm around her and the other firmly planted on her rounded belly. We were both smiling; I remember how excited we were at the time because Phaedra found out that she was carrying a boy. The pictures were well-worn.
“Mommy gave me these,” he said by way of explanation. “She told me that I looked just like you.” I could have died from the sheer pressure of my heart swelling in my chest and I loved Phaedra a million times more.
|Quintaz, or Orion Jr.|
He remained in my arms and started talking about his day at school. I rubbed his back and eyed CJ, who glared back at me just as Phaedra came out of the kitchen. I looked at her and couldn’t help the raw, heated expression that CJ must have seen on my face.
I smiled at her, appreciating how fabulous she looked. “Hi, Phaedra.”
“So, what are you watching tonight?”
“Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. I got him the book too.” Phaedra had allowed me to get Orion Jr. a TV/DVD combo for his room a few weeks back, and he and I watched a movie and read two books every Friday night. I read one book to him every night I visited, but Phaedra allowed him to stay up later on Fridays and the little hustler conned me into reading two on those days. Already, I was considering getting him another bookshelf to hold all of the books and movies I’d purchased.
I put Orion down and riffled his Mohawk. Phaedra bent down to kiss his forehead. She wore a sexy dark blue dress and was in her stocking feet, and I didn’t try to hide my appreciation for her ass and her legs. I took a deep breath and smirked at CJ, who glared at me. He moved closer to Phaedra.
“Can Daddy stay for dinner?”
Phaedra stood up and looked at me. “I don’t know, baby.”
CJ interjected, “Taz, he might have plans.”
“I don’t,” I said, looking at Phaedra. “I keep my nights with Ori—Quintaz open.”
My son looked at me. He had my eyes, my lips, my everything. I wondered briefly if it pissed CJ off to look at him sometimes, especially now that I was back. “Daddy, can you stay for dinner?”
I looked at Phaedra. “Can I?”
Phaedra looked at CJ. “Are you okay with this?”
He folded his arms. “Do I have a choice?”
“CJ, don’t do this. Not now.”
He made a tsking sound and grabbed his jacket. “I’m going for a walk. I’ll be back in a little while.”
Phaedra watched him go and then looked at me. “I guess you get his portion. I’m going to finish dinner, all right?”
Orion opened the bag and laughed. “Daddy, can we watch this now?”
“Sure,” I said. “Go on and put it in the Blu-ray. I’ll be in there shortly.” I took off my coat and hung it up on the coat tree.
We watched him run into his bedroom. Phaedra walked into the kitchen, running her hands over her ass. I followed her. I couldn’t help myself. I hadn’t had sex in almost two weeks; Nysha was furious, but all I could think about was Phaedra, and it was her face that I had to put on Nysha to achieve any kind of arousal. Lately, it hadn’t worked, because I remembered how Phaedra felt underneath me, how she smelled—not fruity—how she tasted, how it felt to be inside of her, and Nysha just couldn’t satisfy me anymore. The practical thing to do would be to cut her loose. I just hadn’t done it yet.
“What are you cooking?” I asked.
“Chicken with mushroom sauce over angel hair pasta. I felt like getting in the kitchen tonight.”
“I hope I haven’t caused any problems,” I said, watching her return to the stove. My lust and my stomach seemed to roll over and beg. We used to get it on in the kitchen regularly; Phaedra never turned me down when I wanted some, not even while she was pregnant. Standing in the kitchen with her brought back a flood of steamy, illicit memories; ones that I’d likely beat off to when I went home.
She didn’t look at me. “You know good and damn well that you have, Orion. CJ is not happy about this new arrangement.”
“Does he expect me to stay away from my son? Cause I won’t.”
“He does if it means you will stay away from me.”
“Phaedra, I haven’t—”
“I know that, and I told him so. I don’t know why he’s jealous; we’re supposed to be getting married in the summer. I don’t want any man but him.”
“Phaedra, you know you can’t be married to a man who doesn’t trust you.”
“It isn’t me he doesn’t trust. Aren’t you supposed to be with Quintaz?”
“Phaedra, I’ve given CJ no reason not to trust me.” He was always around whenever I showed up; even if I wanted to hit on Phaedra, I couldn’t because he was there. But I kept my distance anyway, out of respect.
She didn’t turn around as she lifted the pasta pot lid and turned the chicken simultaneously. “He doesn’t like the way you look at me.”
“I can’t help that,” I said. “You’re beautiful, and I want you. I never stopped wanting you, Phaedra. I can’t help it.”
“You need to figure out a way to help it, Orion. I don’t need you wrecking my relationship. CJ is a good man, and he’s very good to me.”
“Are you sure it’s me he can’t trust?”
She said, “Quintaz is waiting for you, Orion.”
“Answer my question.”
“CJ trusts me, Orion. But he knows that I used to be in love with you; he knows how intense it was between us. I told him everything. And I also told him that he had nothing to fear, because I’m in love with him now.”
“Are you, Phaedra?”
She looked me in the eye. “Yes. Madly. I’ll never forget what we had, Orion. I’m just not that trifling. My son is a product of our union, and no matter how it abruptly it ended, I will not deny it. My life is with CJ now, and he loves Taz.”
“Phaedra, do you still love me?”
“You’re the father of my child. You gave me a beautiful, wonderful son and for that I will always love you. But it took me two and a half years to get over your betrayal. I could never trust you with my heart again, Orion.”
“Can you forgive me for hurting you?”
“I forgave you years ago. It wouldn’t have been fair to CJ for me to bring that kind of baggage into a new relationship. Besides, I had no choice, because whenever I look at my son, I see you. There were days, Orion, many days, when I couldn’t stand the sight of my little boy; I hated you so much. I had to forgive you for my son’s sake.”
“Phaedra, I still love you. I’m still in love with you. I’m yours. I’ll do anything…anything you want if it means you’ll give me another chance.”
“Orion, don’t do this,” she said. “Don’t do this to me. Don’t ruin my life.”
“Then you must still feel something for me if I have that power.”
She looked me in the eyes. Our relationship had been built on honesty; we had never lied to each other before. A very long, very silent, very intense moment passed, and then she abruptly turned back to the stove. “Dinner will be ready in fifteen minutes.”
“All right,” I said. “But we’re not done talking about this, Phaedra.” I left her and went into our son’s room, amused, and wondering what Phaedra had done or said to make CJ not trust her around me. He had every reason not to trust me, but her? Clearly, things weren’t what they appeared to be.I wanted Phaedra to see where I lived. We had been discussing the possibility of Orion Jr. spending weekends with me, and she absolutely refused to do it until she got a look at my place. I offered to pick her up from work and take her to my apartment after making sure that Nysha wouldn’t be around. She reluctantly agreed, and I picked her up in the Range Rover.
I opened the door for her and helped her inside. “Nice car,” she remarked. “You must be doing well at that restaurant.”
When I got in and started the truck, I shrugged. “I guess. It’s popular, especially during championship time.”
She removed her gloves and crossed her legs as we left the parking lot. “How in the world did you become a restaurant manager, Orion? I never saw you doing that.”
That was one of the reasons why I wanted to pick her up. Phaedra and I never got to talk; most of our conversations were limited to Orion Jr. She had been very careful to restrict our dialogue to just our son; that night in her kitchen made it perfectly clear that she still had feelings for me. I didn’t push her, but I knew that if I could get her alone and reassure her that all was well, maybe we could work out our issues. Either way, I was dead set on winning her back.
“I didn’t either, Phaedra. I was fortunate to meet a guy who hooked me up with the right people. The old owner was looking for someone to groom to take over, and our mutual friend gave him my name. He sent me to night school while I worked during the day.” I was very careful with my word choice; Seiichi Ishiguro had indeed sent me to school to get a degree in management while I worked alongside Daisuke, the former capo. Daisuke was to be promoted and I was in line to take his place, and learning how to run the Southeast territory through Jade’s was part of my responsibilities.
“Do you like it?”
“I do. There are times when I’m really busy, but that will never ever get in the way of my time with Orion Jr., Phaedra.”
She stared out of the window. “His name is Quintaz.”
“Why did you name him that?”
“You left me,” she said. “I was angry.”
“Would you consider changing it?”
“No,” she said. “He’s six. I’m not just going to up and change his name in the middle of first grade. And I don’t want to confuse him.”
“I want him to have my name, Phaedra.”
“Tough,” she replied. “You should have stuck around and made sure that he got it. Anyway, back to our original conversation. I’m glad that you found something that you like to do, and I know you’re good at it. I’m glad that you have control over your schedule. I’m glad that spending time with our son is your priority. He adores you.”
“I’m in love with him too,” I said. “He’s a great kid, Phaedra. You did such a good job.”
She looked at me. “Are you seeing someone?”
I looked at her. “Yes.”
“What’s her name?”
“Nysha. She lives with me.”
Phaedra bit her lip. “I don’t know if I want another woman around Taz, O.”
“You don’t even have to worry about that, Phaedra. I told Nysha weeks ago about my son and made it clear that he was going to be an active part of my life. She’s not happy about it, which means we’ll be breaking up soon.”
“You would do that?”
“For my child? Yes. I can get another girlfriend, one who isn’t so selfish and doesn’t hate the idea that I might care about someone else more than her.”
“For my child? Yes. I can get another girlfriend, one who isn’t so selfish and doesn’t hate the idea that I might care about someone else more than her.”
She looked away. “I appreciate that. I know that was hypocritical of me to say, considering that I have a fiancé, and he’s around Taz a lot. But he doesn’t live with us.”
“Phaedra, you don’t have to explain. I get it.”
“I knew that you weren’t single,” she said. “You couldn’t be.”
“I was for a long time,” I said. “Nysha and I have been together nearly two years.” I stopped at a red light and reached over to grab Phaedra’s hand. I rubbed her palm with my thumb and she looked at me, her eyes wide. “I knew I would never ever find another woman like you, baby. I didn’t even try. Nysha doesn’t come close and I don’t have with her what I had with you.”
Phaedra looked at me and swallowed. Then she pulled her hand out of mine and looked out the window again. “To be fair, Orion, I don’t have with CJ what we had.” Then she glared at me. “And I’m not supposed to because CJ is not you! Stop!”
“Stop what,” I said, moving through the light. “What do you want me to stop, Phaedra?”
“Stop seducing me, Orion! You keep bringing up the past; reminding me of what it was like…stop that! What I have with CJ is good, and I’m sorry you don’t have that with your girl, but that is not my fault!”
I turned into my building’s garage and parked in my space. Then I got out of the car and opened Phaedra’s door. She shouldered her bag and I escorted her to the elevator.
“You live here?”
“Yeah,” I said. “The guy who owns Jade’s also owns this building, so I got a nice little discount on the rent.”
“You’ll think so when you see the view I have from my living room.”
A few minutes later, Phaedra was standing in front of my picture window, gazing out at the skyline.
“Come, let me show you around.”
I kept things minimal like most men, but here and there were touches of Nysha, as well as pictures. But they were tasteful. Phaedra stopped at the foyer table and picked up a silver picture frame of Nysha and me.
“Orion, she’s gorgeous. Haven’t I seen her somewhere?”
“She models from time to time.”
“She’s…wow! I didn’t know you were into all this…”
“Then why are you with her?”
“I don’t know anymore. Come on, let’s see Orion’s room.”
She put down the picture. “Don’t call him that.”
“As far as I’m concerned, that’s his name.”
Phaedra glared at me as I opened the door to our son’s new bedroom. When I told him that I was going to fix up a bedroom for him at my house, he told me that he wanted to have an Iron Man theme. I asked him why not Spider-Man, he said that he already had it and he liked Iron Man too. I wasn’t about to deny my son anything, and so I went overboard in decorating his room.
“He told me that was what he wanted.”
“Hmm.” Phaedra moved into the room, touching things, studying the furniture, gazing at the entertainment system in the corner. I bought an X-box and a Playstation, and as many games as I could find that I knew Orion would like and that Phaedra would approve of.
“He has clothes in the closet as well, and his own bathroom.”
Phaedra examined each area while I waited. When she came out of the bathroom, she had a grin plastered all over her face. “I love it. Taz is going to be so happy with all of this. You’re spoiling him, Orion. How am I supposed to keep up?”
“I don’t intend for Orion to go without anything anymore, Phaedra.”
The smile left her lips. “Don’t call him that.”
She looked away. “It’s bad enough that he looks just like you.”
I moved towards her. “Is that it?”
Phaedra held up her hands in a warding-off gesture and walked around me and out of Orion’s room. I followed her.
She was back in the foyer, taking her coat out of the hall closet. “I need to go home, Orion. CJ is picking Taz up from taekwondo, and I need to make sure dinner is—”
I came up behind her and put my hands on her shoulders. She went utterly still. “He won’t get home until 5:30, Phaedra. It’s 3:15. There’s time.”
“Orion, I need to go home.”
“Tell me why you don’t want me to call our son by his real name?”
“You know why.”
I stepped closer, taking in her light fragrance, and rubbed her forearms. “I want you to tell me.”
|Phaedra and Quintaz, or Orion Jr.|
“Orion, don’t be a bastard. How can you possibly think it was easy for me to look at our child and give him your name when he looks exactly like you? There isn’t a lick of me anywhere! I told you before that there were days when I couldn’t stand the sight of him. I couldn’t do that and hear your name come out of my mouth too! It’s unfair!”
“I’m sorry, baby,” I said, and kissed the back of her ear. “I’m sorry that I hurt you so badly. Forgive me, Phaedra. I promise, I will spend the rest of my life making it up to you if you will absolve me of that one mistake.”
“You make it sound as if it were as insignificant as leaving the toilet seat up. And I already forgave you, and the only person you need to do right by is Quintaz.”
I was right up against her, pressing into her and noting, with amusement and arousal, that she had not moved. I knew she could feel me and I ached so bad I felt like I could cream my jeans.
“If you’ll take me back, I will give you everything, Phaedra. Don’t you know that you’re the only one for me? My heart has always belonged to you. I’ve never been able to get you out of my head and I never tried to. I wasn’t worthy of you before, but I can make it right. Come back to me, Phaedra. I love you. I need you. I can’t do this without you, not anymore.”
I started kissing her neck while kneading her arms. She whimpered and leaned her head to one side. I covered her exposed neck and shoulder with hot kisses as my grip tightened on her arms.
“Orion,” she moaned, wriggling against me.
“I know that you still love me, Phaedra. And I don’t mean in the baby’s father respect. I know that you want me, that you long for me just like I do you. I know that you care for CJ, but it’s me that you need. You know that there is a part of you that he can never have because it’s mine. You know that I’m putty in your hands; that I’m so crazy for you that I don’t know where I end and you begin. Stop this charade, baby. Come back to me. I won’t ever hurt you again.”
My hands were at her waist and I was wedged right up against her soft ass. I couldn’t stop kissing her neck and couldn’t stop putting my heart on blast. I was so weak, so stupid when it came to Phaedra; the men in my crew would not believe it if they ever found out about it.
“Orion…” Her hands covered my own. “Orion…please.”
“Leave him,” I said. “Leave CJ. You’re going to hurt him if you stay with him, Phaedra. You know this. Look at us…you know this is right…”
Our fingers linked and she leaned into me. She wore a sweater dress that clung in all the right places, black tights and knee-high Gucci pony hair boots. She smelled of jasmine and she was so soft and so hot that I was losing my mind. I hadn’t intended to seduce Phaedra, but now I couldn’t stop thinking about making love to her.
She made no move to stop me; in fact, was grinding me. “Orion…”
My hands went up and slid over her chest. I cupped her breasts and thumbed her nipples, which sprang up like weeds after a fresh rain. “Tell me to stop and I will stop,” I said.
She felt so good. I turned her around and kissed her. She threw her arms around me and kissed me back. I was out of my mind, and it seemed that she was too. CJ’s days, along with Nysha’s, were numbered.
|Will Orion be able to win back Phaedra?|