Andre fully appreciated the blanching of Calvin Reynolds’ complexion from mocha to ashen gray.
The minister stared him directly in his eyes, his mouth moved, a pulse throbbed on the side of his head but he seemed to lack the ability to express the shock he felt at Andre’s unexpected appearance. He pulled his eyes away and searched the faces of the others gathered in the room, almost as if he were hoping that Andre’s appearance in the doorway was a product of his imagination.
Judge Willie met his gaze with the vicious intensity of mother wolf whose pup had been threatened. Police Director Hardaway looked though him, as if the pastor were transparent and already disappeared. Rasheed Harris’ hostile gaze was filled with the icy coldness of a predator just before a strike. Courtney Bowers, his sweet Courtney, watched him with tears streaming down her face, though not in sadness or remorse, but clear relief. No, the pastor would definitely not find any succor there.
Calvin Reynolds’ eyes skipped over Detective Caleb Jones, his two officers, Jesus and Martin, and the two federal agents who now flanked him just within arm’s length. Andre saw the instant the portly man accepted the truth of his eyes. His spindly legs wobbled for an instant, the he released an angry growl and lunged at Andre.
No one attempted to stop him. In fact, Andre had anticipated this very reaction and waited with an eagerness born out of the need for violence. He did not so much as flinch until just before Calvin stood directly in front of him. Without warning, Andre shifted his weight to the right, then tangled his left foot into Reynolds’. The pastor’s momentum carried him painfully to the floor, but not before his head met solidly with the corner of the end table.
No one moved to assist him up.
Seconds later, Calvin groaned and pulled himself slowly from the floor. His wild gaze sought Andre’s again. He threw himself at Andre’s knees, trying to pull him off-balance. Andre aimed a well-placed blow to the side of his head and he crumpled back to the floor again.
After a moment, Andre heard him speak. “I killed you, muthafucker! I killed you and I’ll kill you again. Nobody gets the best of Calvin Reynolds. Y’hear me? Nobody!”
The federal agents moved en mass. They reached out and pulled Calvin up to his feet. One of them put his arms behind his back and cuffed him, while the other read him his Right’s. The whole time, Calvin spoke as if only he and Andre were in the room.
“Did you hear me, Pierce? You’re a dead man! You’re a dead man, y’hear me!” He continued to scream those words as he was pulled out of the study, out of the house and into the waiting vehicle.
The tension in the room broke as soon as the front door slammed shut. Judge Willie Pierce enfolded Andre in his arms and squeezed him tightly for a long moment before pulling back. He touched his face gently and said, “It’s over, son.”
Andre felt strong pats on his shoulders from Caleb, the two officers and Judge Hardaway. Rasheed met his gaze from across the room. Andre easily interpreted the relief and the hope building on his former lover’s face. He nodded to him and silently thanked him for his participation over the past few weeks. Courtney threw herself in his arms and held on to him tightly around the neck.
The mood lightened. It really was over. Andre’s grin extended to everyone in the room. “Well, that went well.”
They all laughed and Willie moved over to a recessed bar in the wall. “Who wants a drink?”
They gathered back into the seating area. Hardaway hung up from a phone call with the Feds. “They are taking him into custody now. He’s still threatening to kill you, Andre, and blasting his goons for their stupidity. Oh and by the way, you’re on the short list, too, Courtney. But none of you need to worry anymore. That little performance has assured us all that Pastor Calvin Reynolds will be put away for a long time. The feds took particular exception to having one of their own brutally murdered.”
That reminder dimmed their celebration. They had been told of a planned hit. Courtney’s street contacts had warned them of a contract on Andre’s life. The agent, who bore a striking resemblance to Andre, masqueraded as Andre’s decoy, particularly when he had to travel in public. They had hoped to draw out the assassins. Jesus and Martin had been ordered to follow from a distance with advance information from Courtney about their itinerary. But unfortunately, that had not been enough. They were not able to get specific details in time. And for that, everyone in the room was filled with regret and anger at the loss of life.
Hardaway continued. “We really have Courtney to thank for getting the ball rolling. If not for you, my dear, we may not have been able to prove anything or make any of the charges stick.”
“I can’t really take any credit, sir. If I hadn’t found out about Abigail, I might have just maintained the status quo. I still felt a sense of loyalty to him. He got me off the streets and gave me a chance to make something of my life. I owed him.” She lowered her gaze briefly before looking back at Andre. “I’m sorry that I couldn’t be fully honest with you.”
Andre couldn’t find it in himself to be angry with her. He understood the position she’d been placed in and couldn’t say that, given similar circumstances, he wouldn’t’ve acted in the exact same way.
“Courtney, there is no need for apologies. You came through when the time was right. Without your investigation and your contacts, that funeral might’ve really been for me.”
By now, each of them knew of Courtney’s role as a mole for The House of Peace. Once Andre started his own investigation, and particularly after she discovered Reynolds’ involvement in Abigail’s disappearance, Courtney re-established ties with her former street contacts. Her goal had been to gather as much information about the House of Peace as possible. Courtney thought she knew what Reynolds had been capable of but her network of prostitutes, addicts and gangbangers offered a different story. Pastor Reynolds’ rivaled the biggest ganglord in the city.
Courtney approached the Feds at the urging of her friend Keisha and Keisha’s brother Detective Micah Hughes. She told them not only of her suspicions about Reynolds’ involvement in the death of her friend Abigail, but of his other known illicit activities, including a sex club and racketeering.
“Without you, Courtney and of course, your cooperation, Andre,” Caleb said, “our evidence against Pastor Reynolds was circumstantial. We may not have been able to make anything stick. But his confession changes things.”
Willie approached Rasheed, who watched quietly from the shadows. “I would like to extend my apologies to you, Mr. Harris. It has only recently come to my attention a great wrong was done to you. I know there is no way recapture the years you lost but we are going to do what we can to exonerate the charges against you, clear your name and pave the way for you to return to your career, if you wish.”
“I appreciate that, sir.” Rasheed shook hands and tried to avoid Andre’s probing gaze. Andre knew that it was still difficult for him to extend trust to anyone, but he also knew that, in this instance at least, his father and the people behind him would make this right for Rasheed. Andre only hoped that he would be able to make it right with Rasheed as well.
Rasheed flinched away from Andre’s embrace. “Thank you, Rasheed, for your help. I think seeing you, another ghost of his past, really put the pastor on edge.”
Rasheed stepped back to allow room between them. He nodded his agreement at Andre but seemed uncomfortably aware of Judge Willie, who watched them both carefully.
Caleb approached the small group. “We’re going to take off now. Again, congratulations Andre for not getting dead and for helping us with the investigation.”
“My thanks go out to you, Caleb. Your dedication and commitment to justice was apparent throughout this whole ordeal. It was good to see that you could keep your personal feelings out of things.”
“Personal feelings?” Caleb asked.
“Aria. Oh, and by the way, the engagement’s off so . . .” Andre shrugged and implied that the field was open to Caleb if he wanted it. Then Andre moved in closer so that only Caleb could hear him. “Although, I really don’t know why you would want her. Jacquee gives the most amazing blow jobs. Damn!” With that, he left Caleb standing there with his mouth open wide open. When he reached Courtney’s side, Andre turned and winked.
Caleb and the two officers left soon after. Judge Willie and Director Hardaway had a brief discussion with Rasheed and after making plans to meet the following day, Rasheed also left. Andre watched his exit and smiled at the lightness in his step. Rasheed was one fine, sexy muthafucker, and Andre would have him again. He licked his lips in anticipation.
“I guess that’s my cue too.” Courtney stood up and started gathering her purse. “I’m glad you’re okay, Dre and that this ordeal is finally over. I’ll understand if you now want to get a new law clerk.”
“Don’t be silly, Courtney. C’mon, I’ll walk you out.” He indicated to his father that he would be right back. Once he closed the door to the study, he grabbed Courtney’s arm and pulled her into the half-bath across the hall.
“What are you doing, Dre?”
“I have been waiting for hours to be alone with you.”
“But Dre!” Courtney half-heartedly protested. “Your father is just in the other room. Let’s at least go to my place.”
“Nope, I can’t wait.” He pulled her hand down to the bulge of his pants and rubbed her hand up and down its length. Andre tossed her bag on the floor and roughly pulled up her skirt before lifting her onto the vanity counter. He ripped her panties off, literally rending them in two before tossing the remnants to the floor on top of her purse. Before she could protest further, he’d released himself from his pants and thrust deep inside of her.
Courtney’s self consciousness about their setting disappeared as soon as Andre began his slow grind, in and out; up and around. His deep languid moves and his growls of approval were those of a starving man finally sitting down to a four-course meal.
His obvious enjoyment spurred hers and she lost awareness of her increasingly loud moans of pleasure. She encouraged him with whispered instructions of where and how she needed to be touched. She wrapped her legs around his hips and used them to force him even deeper inside her. Beads of his sweat dripped onto her breasts and the raggedness of his breathing increased in pace to her own.
She was so close. “Don’t you dare fuckin stop! Don’t you dare stop!”
Courtney moaned and sighed the words over and over. She pressed her hips into his, wrapped her arms and legs tighter around him. She sucked on the sweat-soaked skin of his neck as she felt the beginning of her orgasm pull at the base of her spine. She might have screamed but the door to the bathroom was suddenly yanked open.
Courtney’s pleasure filled eyes took in Eula Pierce’s shocked expression.
Andre turned briefly and also spotted his step-mother. He never missed a stroke. He panted. “Close the door, Eula.”
Eula did not or could not move. Courtney wanted to be embarrassed and indeed, tried to pull away from Andre. But Andre held her secure, his strokes now moving in and out like a piston. Courtney didn’t know if it was the presence of a witness or his increased pacing but she felt her excitement start again and she gave herself over to Andre again.
It seemed like hours passed before she felt her pulse rate decrease. They were both drenched in sweat and the erotic scent of their lovemaking filled the small space. Andre kissed her in rhythm to the movement of his hips that continued to pulse against her. He kind of hummed under his breath. She was reminded of a purring cat. She felt his penis soften but he seemed reluctant to part from her.
Courtney looked over his shoulders and sighed in relief that the door was once again closed and they were alone.
“That was so good.” Andre growled in her neck. He pulled back and out of her. She missed his presence almost immediately. She felt him reach between them and rest his semi-hard penis within the folds of her. “I needed that.”
“Do you think she’s going to say anything?”
“Who?” Could Andre have seriously forgotten about Eula? “Oh. Her. Don’t worry about it.”
“I’m not going to be able to look her in the eye ever.” Courtney giggled. “But I couldn’t stop.”
Andre smiled at her. Then he pulled back. He helped her down from the vanity. While she tried to right her clothes, he turned on the water to wash himself.
Once they were both somewhat presentable, he opened the door and they stepped out in the hall. It was empty but they could hear the voices of the judge and police director still talking in the study.
“I’ll walk you to the car.”
“But I thought you were coming with me?”
“No, I’m going to stay here for awhile longer. We need to finalize a few things. I’ll see you tomorrow at the office.”
Courtney reluctantly agreed and they walked out the front door.
Andre helped her get in the driver’s seat and he closed the door behind her. She lowered the window and he leaned in for a deep kiss. He pulled back before she could deepen it and waved her off with a smile. He stood and watched as her taillights disappeared.
He jumped at the sound of the voice behind him.
“Some women are so gullible. They throw away their God-given power to a man, simply or solely on the promise of good dick, or a phat bank account. I guess in your case, both applies, huh Dre?”
“What do you want, Eula?”
“I thought you were dead.”
“Well, as you can see, and as you saw earlier, I am very much alive. What’s your point?”
“I really do love you, Dre. I’ve never said or felt that way for anyone. Not even your father. But you got in my head, in my heart. You worked overtime and got to know me. If you didn’t care for me, why did you waste all that time trying to get in my head? You didn’t have to do all that just for a fuck!”
“I did it because I could. I don’t know why you think you’re any better or different than any other trick. All of you women are the same, you just have to figure out the key.”
“So, you never cared for me at all? Iwas just a game to you?”
“You’re drunk, go to bed, Eula.”
“I was nothing more than just another pussy to you?”
“Look, I don’t know how many ways you want me to say this. You are my father’s wife. The only thing you could ever do for me was suck my dick.” Andre turned and walked back up the driveway. “
“Dre.” Eula called after him. He kept walking. “Dre.” This time she shouted his name.
When Andre turned to face her, he stared into the business end of a gun.
“I love you, Andre.”
Before he could respond, Eula fired. She watched the bullet bore through the center of his forehead before his body slumped to the ground. She kneeled down next his crumpled form and planted a ruby red kiss on his forehead.
Eula fished his keys from his pocket and then unlocked the door to his sporty Jaguar. She lowered the convertible top and drove out of the driveway.
Readers: Thanks to all of you who hung in with this story over the past twelve weeks. It has been a pleasure getting to know you and hearing your thoughts along the way. As usual, I’d love to know what you think about the ending.
I’m going to take a break for a few weeks, I need to finish my novel. Almost there, y’all!. But I do plan to start another serial real soon. This time I’m thinking about a love story. I’m accepting ideas though, so feel free to let me know what you’d like to follow next.
Thank you again!