Authors: Pepper Pace
Her eyes grew so wide that she looked like a cartoon character. Her mouth parted and then a breath of air fell from her lips that sounded like whisper of wind, “My Dad.”
Scotty froze and then looked over his shoulder at the sleeping woman that had given birth to Beady’s father.
She was still asleep and Scotty’s head slowly returned to the sight of his sister who had begun shivering uncontrollably.
“Mr. Johnny?” Scotty confirmed.
Beady’s throat worked until she swallowed. She nodded quickly.
Scotty drew in a deep breath and placed his hands on his sister’s shoulders until she stopped trembling.
“Does Miss Gloria know?”
“It happened at Mama’s house, not when I was with grandma. But yes,” she finally said. “I told grandma. I couldn’t tell Mom. She wouldn’t have cared, might have still allowed him to come around,” she stated bitterly. “I don’t know but I sure as hell didn’t want to take a chance of finding out. I told grandma that I wanted to live with her and I told her why.
… wasn’t allowed over here once grandma found out. She told him that she was going to cut off his dick and then call the police on him if he ever came around here again. But now he’s dead and I’m cool with that.”
Scotty sat down next to his sister and stared out into space. His mother’s on-again-off-again boyfriend, the man that had fathered two of her children had unexpectedly died of AIDS almost two years ago. In the wake of his diagnosis his mother had gotten tested and had learned that she was HIV positive--along with a number of other women that also lived in the projects. Mr. Johnny had dipped his wick into a lot of different women and had left a number of them infected.
He turned his head to look at her. “Have you been tested Beady?” His heart felt like it would stop beating in his chest and that he might stop existing.
“Every six months,” she replied. “I’m still clean.”
He hugged her unable to stop the tears from stinging his eyes.
“I’m so sorry,” he tried to say but couldn’t because the tears nearly choked him. When they finally spilled from his eyes and down his cheeks they felt hot like molten lava.
“Scotty, I’m okay,” she cried too but it was she that comforted him.
“How can you be?” he wept.
“I’ve had time to digest this. I’ve had time to think about it and to put it away in a place where it can’t hurt me. Mr. Johnny was never a father to me. Juan Carlos was more of a father. You and Tino took care of me more than my father ever did. I hated him even before he ever touched me.”
Scotty pulled back and wiped his face with his hands. He stood up with a nod and then walked out the front door.
He walked to the bus stop even though he could have called any number of guys to drive by and pick him up. But he needed the night air to clear his head and he needed to get a grip on his emotions. Right now he felt as raw as an exposed nerve. The tears had stopped flowing, had dried up but the haunted ache in his soul would probably never mend.
Scotty vowed that none of his siblings would return to the projects—it would be over his dead body.
The next day Scotty drove to Lebanon Correctional Institution to pay a visit to his brother only to learn that he had been released two weeks before.
Vanessa danced while she cooked breakfast in Scotty’s neat little kitchen. Everything felt different now. September 17
had not only been her eighteenth birthday, but also the day that she had lost her virginity and the day that Scotty Tremont had asked her to be his wife.
They’d been back home for two days and still her heart would skip a beat as she realized that her childhood dreams were coming true. Time had continued to move forward but Scotty hadn’t changed. He was still the sensitive, intelligent nurturer that he had been when they were children.
How could she not fall head over heels in love with him despite all of their differences? Back when they were kids, people called him white trash because his mother was a drugged out hooker and his family was so poor that they either had to steal what they needed or sell drugs to make ends meet.
By comparison, she had grown up in a complex that was situated over the projects. It was still the ghetto but Garden Hilltop was like being in a Fairytale castle where nightly Vanessa would look out of her window down to where the life and the action took place. Everyone thought you had to be rich to live on the hilltop—and because of that Vanessa had never fit in.
If not for the fact that she had to go to school right along with the project kids, Vanessa would not have known that her life was privileged. Being with the other kids who talked louder, acted wilder, and pointed out that she had ‘white people’ hair was both frightening and exhilarating.
Scotty Tremont sat right smack dab in the middle of what scared her, and yet he didn’t seem at all phased by the fact that people looked down at him. He ignored the name calling but if pushed he could fight as good—if not better than anyone else in the ghetto. Scotty fit in despite his looks and she supposed it made her wonder why she couldn’t do the same.
And then one day he noticed her. And everything changed when her fear of him transformed into her first crush.
Vanessa flipped the sausage patties while she grinned to herself. Everything in her world was right and it hadn’t been like that in ages—if ever. Soon she would collect her trust fund and she and Scotty could start looking for their own house and then she would be Vanessa Tremont.
As she cracked eggs into the skillet she toyed with variations of her name. Should she be Vanessa White-Tremont or just Vanessa Tremont.
She didn’t know that Scotty was behind her until she felt his hands snake around her waist.
She jumped and yelped when she felt the stubble of Scotty’s early morning beard tickling her cheek.
“Mmm, I love having you for a roommate,” he grunted. “Three home cooked meals every day
I get to make love with my baby. I’m getting spoiled.”
“Good morning baby. Breakfast will be served shortly.” She turned her head and shared a long sensuous kiss with her man. Once he discovered that she wasn’t wearing a bra beneath her oversized shirt he cupped her breast and began playing with her nipples.
They both smelled the sausage burning and Vanessa quickly pushed the skillet from the fire while Scotty big hand palmed her sex once he discovered that she had gone without panties as well.
Vanessa was intent on being domesticated by cooking and cleaning when she wasn’t trying to experience every sexual act that two people could imagine.
Over the last two days she and Scotty had made love on just about every surface of the apartment. And just this very morning she discovered a new position; Scotty sexing her from behind while she braced herself against the stove.
She had just lost her virginity a few days before, but Scotty acted like sex with her was the first time he’d ever touched a woman. She wasn’t complaining but she was sore and could stand a few hours of relief from Scotty’s giant penis. Well maybe it wasn’t exactly giant, but it didn’t fit into her as easy as the girls made it sound. Scotty thought that her tightness was amazing—she still found it somewhat painful. Still, she loved his penis and the way it came to life as soon as he set eyes on her. She wanted to tell Jalissa all about it—at the same time that she wanted to covet everything about him to her self.
The burnt sausage was cold by the time they ate it but neither Scotty nor Vanessa seemed to care. She watched him eating and love for this man seemed to bloom anew in her chest. Vanessa wondered if it would always be like that; like she’d be minding her own business, maybe watching television and then BAM she’d look at Scotty and be staggered by her love and need for him. Maybe that’s why people described love as if being shot by cupid’s arrow.
She wouldn’t stare at him as if he was a rock star but couldn’t help peeking discreetly at him. She took in the way his messy hair fell into his face as he chomped on the burned sausage and hastily scrambled eggs coated in blackened sausage fat because she had been too distracted to drain the skillet after burning the sausage. Yet he ate it as if it was a five-star meal.
He was shirtless and wore just a pair of athletic shorts that he had slipped into after rising out of bed. Vanessa admired his arms, which were thick with muscles while his body remained sleek and hard in the way that a runner was shaped. His broad chest tapered down to hardened abs enhanced by the workout equipment that he kept in the living room of all places.
To her he was simply perfect from blue grey eyes that looked out from beneath his broad straight brow and golden tan complexion. She could barely take her eyes from him. Her need for him again after such a short time, spread urgently throughout her core sprouting electrical fingers that caressed her pleasure zones. Her nipples still ached from the way he had just pinched them but they also hardened with need of his touch. And although her vaginal canal was still swollen from their act of love just minutes before Vanessa needed him again. She stood and swept off her shirt.
His fork froze just before his parted lips as his cornflower blue eyes took in Vanessa’s beautiful body. He came to his feet and hastily swept the dishes out of the way. One ceramic plate landed on the tile floor and spun like a top without breaking. A half empty cup of orange juice splashed its contents to the floor.
Scotty slid his hand into his shorts and when it reappeared, it was gripping his erect penis.
Vanessa captured her lip between her teeth as she eyed what he held in his hand.
“Is that mine?” She asked seductively.
“It always has been and it always will be.”
Vanessa did not make it to see Jalissa or her grandmother that day.
The next day it was Scotty leaving the apartment that finally gave Vanessa the initiative to finally take care of her own loose ends. Scotty had gone downtown to get a copy of his school transcripts in order to get registered for the winter semester at the University of Cincinnati. She decided that she needed to get her business together as well.
She hadn’t called her grandmother since before her birthday but she knew that Bertha Mae was disappointed that she hadn’t spent the special day with her. She would surely think that Vanessa had decided to spend the time with ‘those people’ and Vanessa knew that at some point Bertha would say just that. Vanessa also knew that she would never admit to her grandmother that she had in fact spent her birthday with a man.
She realized that she was intentionally avoiding the talk with her grandmother about Scotty. Not out of shame for him or their love. But because she knew that if her grandmother didn’t like Scotty then it would profoundly affect their relationship. She had withstood her grandmother’s terrible ideas about Aunt Callista and Jalissa but she wouldn’t stand for it when it came to Scotty.
They were the two most important people in Vanessa’s world and if one didn’t like the other than it would be a terrible blow to her. Grandma would just see a white man with a criminal record. And if her grandmother knew that she was living with him then all kinds of shit would hit the fan!
But she wasn’t a little girl anymore. Vanessa decided that if she wanted her grandmother to treat her like an adult, then she would have to act like one.
With a sigh, Vanessa picked up the telephone and dialed her grandmother’s house. She reminded herself that she was eighteen—an adult and despite the argument that she was sure to face, she intended to stand her ground.
“Hello?” Bertha Mae said.
“Hi, Vanessa. Are you back from your birthday vacation?”
“Yes, ma’am.” She stated, feeling guilty that she was only just now calling her grandmother.
“Did you and your cousin have fun? You didn’t do anything crazy like getting drunk did you?”
Vanessa’s lips twisted in amusement. “No ma’am. We just wanted to celebrate and we had a good time.”
“That’s good baby.” Her grandmother’s voice became hesitant. “I suppose that you will be wanting to collect your trust money.”
She didn’t want her grandmother to think that was the only reason she was calling. “Yes, I will soon-“
Bertha Mae sighed. “Then I think you and I better have a talk.”
Here we go.
”Sure grandma. I can come over later today.”
“Okay. Bye.” And the phone went dead, surprising her. Grandma had just hung up the phone. Now that didn’t make sense, she hadn’t even told her anything that should make her mad … yet.
Since she didn’t have the car, she decided to splurge and take a cab, using some of the money that Scotty had left for her in the bedroom drawer when he’d gone to New York.
She was sure that her grandmother would think that she was being wasteful when she saw her pull up in a cab, Vanessa thought as she sat in the back seat. But it would be stupid to take a bus when she could use this opportunity to pack up some of her things to take back to the apartment.
Vanessa walked up to the house that she had lived in with her grandmother, wondering how much this would hurt their relationship. Her grandmother meant the world to her but she would not live by anyone’s conditions but her own. If her grandmother didn’t want to accept her relationship then that was her decision, but one thing she could no longer do is control the trust fund.
Vanessa knocked on the door at the same time that she used her key to enter the house. “Hi, grandma. It’s me.”
“In here,” the older woman called from the kitchen.
Vanessa was surprised that she didn’t smell the aroma of something cooking. They had made plans to meet hours ago and her grandmother would have had plenty of time to whip up something to eat. Anytime Vanessa had returned home to visit, her grandmother would have something prepared for her to eat because she thought ‘those people didn’t know how to cook. Sometimes it was greens and a meatloaf with all the fixings, or pinto beans and cornbread. And when there wasn’t much time, grandma would at least throw together salmon croquettes and rice.
Vanessa walked into the kitchen a little disappointed, not that she necessarily wanted something to eat but because it was something that her grandmother always did.
Bertha Mae White watched her granddaughter, her face expressionless without even a smile of greeting. Vanessa tried to think back to what she’d done wrong—what her grandmother could have discovered that she’d done in just one week.
“Sit down Vanessa.”
“Is everything alright?” She asked while taking her seat. Oh Jesus … grandma was going to tell her that she had cancer or something. Vanessa felt as if someone had just socked her in the stomach and she looked at her grandmother with open fear.