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Authors: Meesha Mink

Kiss the Ring (22 page)

BOOK: Kiss the Ring
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Naeema took a guess.

“You have to let it go, Na,” Tank said, as he pulled out his phone.

“Says the man who just had my babyfather, who I haven't seen in fourteen years, brought to me.”

Tank stood up and pulled a thick wad of money from his pocket. He unpeeled a fifty-dollar bill and dropped it onto the table. “Let's ride.”

Naeema followed Tank out of the luncheonette. She couldn't believe she was about to come face-to-face with the man who once was the boy who broke her heart.
My babyfather.

She glanced at Tank as they walked up to the SUV.
I wonder what the fuck goin' thru his head.

Grip stepped aside as Tank opened the rear passenger door and motioned for her to step forward. She did.

“Naeema . . . you behind this bullshit move right here?”

She looked into the face of Chance and felt none of the love her young and dumb ass
she had for him back in the day. Life had tapped his ass a little bit because he looked way older than his twenty-nine years. His eyes were yellow and glassy and she knew some addiction had a grip on him. “It don't come close to that bullshit move you and your fucked-in-the-head-ass mama pulled on me that night,” she said, feeling her anger slowly get stoked.

“Don't talk about my mother—”

Her lips became a thin line as she reached in and slapped him two times. Fast and hard.


that bitch,” Naeema said, her tone snide as fuck.

“You dumb ho,” he roared as he lunged for her.

Tank reached right in, smooth as hell, and gripped him around the neck with one strong hand.

Naeema turned and strode over to the motorcycle. With jerky motions only hinting at her rage, she unzipped her bag and removed the gun, quickly prepping it to be shot without hesitation. She quickly walked back to the truck.

Grip got the fuck out of the way.

Naeema reached past Tank to press the barrel to Chance's head. “Call me another, motherfucker. Huh? Huh? I dare you.”

“Na,” Tank said.

Chance's eyes got so big that there seemed to be nothing but white.

Naeema nudged him with the gun, her finger steady on the trigger. “This ain't the pregnant kid you and your
dickless mother threw on the street, you slack-ass motherfucker. So I dare you to call me another one.”

Chance swallowed hard past Tank's hand holding his neck in a vise.

He was between a rock and a hard place.

Naeema didn't give a fuck.

“There were times I was so fuckin' hungry but
so broke
that I started to eat food out the damn garbage because you found a new bitch and didn't want to lay family no more.” A tear raced down Naeema's cheek as her eyes glittered brightly with her anger.

She gritted her teeth and pressed the gun against his head so hard that it tilted back against the seat. “Do you know our son is dead? Huh? And . . . and . . . and I oughta do you a favor and kill your bitch ass. Then you can lay eyes on your seed for the first time on the other side.”

Her hand began to tremble as his eyes went dull.

His shock at the news wasn't nearly enough.

“Lie now and say he wasn't yours, motherfucker,” she said in a whisper as she fought the urge to shoot him and leave Tank to clear away his dead body.

“Naeema,” Chance said, “I—”

She flipped the gun, pushed the safety latch, and started straight pummeling his face and head with the butt of the gun. She even climbed up onto the seat to really nail his ass good. Not even the sight of his blood seeping from breaks in his skin stopped her. Not even the loud crack of whatever bone she fractured.

Tank wrapped an arm around her waist and jerked her out of the vehicle so roughly that her shoulder slammed
against the frame. “That's enough, Na,” he said, holding her body close to his.

She let her head fall onto his shoulder and her hands drop to her side.

“It's okay,” he kept whispering to her even as someone took the bloody gun from her.

Naeema just gave in to all the emotions inside of her, sinking below that now all too familiar wave as she cried and gave in to his strength.

One week later


Naeema was holding paint swatches up against the flowery wallpaper of the living room when a sudden loud noise from the kitchen scared her. She turned and crossed the room to push past the blanket covering the opening to the kitchen. She leaned in the door frame and looked down at Sarge hammering on a door.

He barely spared her a glance.


“This will look better than that blanket,” he said.

She saw him pause with the hammer ready to strike more blows. He was giving her a moment to protest. “It sure will, Sarge,” she agreed.


Naeema didn't exactly know which room he borrowed the door from or if it would be a good fit, but she let him roll with it.
It couldn't be any worse than the semipro job on the front door. So fuck it.

“Are all your kids alive, Sarge?” she asked, grabbing one
of the chairs that used to surround the table she'd shot to smithereens while playing target practice with the photos of the MMC. She took a seat and crossed her legs in the hot-pink yoga pants she was wearing with a matching long-sleeved jacket that zipped to the neck.

“No,” he said, grabbing the counter with one hand and standing with effort. “Both of 'em gone on before me.”

She stayed silent. The thing about Sarge was, if he felt like going deeper about a topic then he just did, but if he had nothing else to say on a subject then a dozen questions or comments wouldn't change his mind.

“Both of 'em overdosed,” he said, lifting the door to lean next to the opening. He removed the blanket, and light from the living room flooded the kitchen. “I wasn't here enough for them. Off saving the world and no one around to save my kids.”

Naeema lifted her leg to press her foot against the seat as she rested her chin on her knee and wrapped her arms around her legs.

“Once I came back from all that shit in Vietnam, I was so fucked up I didn't want them to see me that way.” Sarge stopped and stared off into the distance. “Seen way more shit than I shoulda.”

“Do you think being around would have changed the kind of people they became?” she asked, risking him shutting down and quieting up.

He looked over at her. “I don't know that about mine . . . and neither do you about yours, Naeema,” he said, before turning to align the door with the frame.

So Sarge knew.

Naeema wasn't surprised. There wasn't much he could miss just one floor down and barely ever venturing outside.

“Let it go, gal,” he said, glancing back over one of his bent shoulders at her.

“Tank said the same thing.”

Sarge frowned. “You tell him?”

She shook her head. “You?”

“Ain't my business to tell.”

She believed him. Releasing a heavy breath, she rose and walked across the kitchen to the back door.

“Bullets don't care who they kill, Naeema,” he said sharply.

She paused for a second but she continued out the door, closing it softly behind her.

I'm in too deep.

Tank was confident she was off the trail of her son's killer, because she had been hanging around home a lot this week when she wasn't working. He was wrong as hell. Bas got back in town that night and she had spoken to him every day that week getting back in his good graces after snubbing him. He was even planning to take her out for dinner for her fake birthday. She convinced him to include the crew. It was enough of the pussyfooting, because she wasn't giving up any more pussy to Bas. She had every intention of catching Hammer and Nelson alone and straight up asking them about Brandon. Plus she wanted to know if they were up on Vivica using him to pay Red back for his cheating. If they knew Red knew it too.
That brick head motherfucker did it.

Was she scared of Red? Without a gun? Hell yeah. But a gun would equalize shit. She just wasn't sure if she was going to take Vivica the fuck out too for instigating the bullshit.

Naeema pulled her gold chain from inside her fitted
jacket and looked down at her son's ring hanging from it as she crossed the yard to her motorcycle.
I done sacrificed too much to let this shit ride now. I'm too fucking close. I can feel that shit.

She dropped the chain back inside her jacket and opened the doors to her garage. She knocked the kickstand up with her foot and climbed onto the black leather seat, loving the feel of the entire bike vibrating between her thick thighs as she turned the key in the ignition. Rolling across the small backyard and then down the paved driveway, Naeema looked to the right to check for oncoming traffic. “Oh shit,” she exclaimed behind the visor of her pink helmet when she spotted her neighbor Coko passed out on her front porch.
This girl keep chasing death

Naeema hopped off the motorcycle and turned the key in the ignition all the way to the left to lock the wheels before she rushed down the street and took the steps two at a time to bend down next to Coko. She frowned at the fresh scent of vomit blending with her body odor. “You okay?” she asked, lightly shaking her shoulders.

No response.

Naeema turned her over onto her back and she went cold at the woman's eyes rolled up into her head and her tongue sticking out of the side of her mouth as she drooled heavily. “Shit,” she swore, unzipping her jacket and snatching it off to ball it up under Coko's head.

Naeema stepped over her to enter her house. “Phone, phone, phone,” she said, wishing she had brought her cell and not wanting to leave her alone too long.

When she turned and entered the living room, that stench that clung to Coko's body filled the air. The red and
black decor fucked her head up for a second. The room looked like the pit of hell, with its black walls and floors and red furnishings, along with an eerie red light beaming from the lamp. She spotted a cordless phone on a low round table next to a bright bloodred leather sofa, but when she saw the back and battery were missing, she threw that useless motherfucker against the wall.

She was just turning in a circle in the middle of the room among the clothes and papers scattered everywhere when she spotted a cell phone on the mantel of the black-painted fireplace. She ignored the open baggie of off-white powder next to it, knowing it was heroin.

She called 911.

Naeema assumed most people fucked with pills or coke. Pedope, the cheaper form of heroin, was what everyone was sniffing back in the 1990s.
Heroin? Who the fuck wanted to shit up themselves if they couldn't cop a hit soon enough? Child, please . . .

Walking back onto the porch, she was shocked to see Coko struggling to rise to her feet. Naeema stepped forward to help her, holding her breath to keep from inhaling her scent.

“What the fuck you doin' in my house?” Coko asked, her words slurring.

“What the fuck you doin' passed out on your porch?' Naeema shot back, sick of her attitude every time she tried to help.

Coko leaned against her heavily and Naeema had to damn near drag her inside the house and across the black floor to let her body slide down onto the sofa. “I called an ambulance,” she told her.

“I don't need no ambulance,” Coko snapped as she
scratched at her skin with nails that needed a fill-in bad. She had at least an inch of new growth.

“Yes the fuck you do and a bath, like . . . yo,” Naeema said, walking over to the window to unlock and open the bitch wide.

“Bitch . . . fuck you,” Coko said, covering her face with her hands seconds before she turned her head and threw up on the floor.

Naeema cringed. “That shit killing you,” she said, shaking her head.

Coko wiped her mouth with the back of her hand. “I don't give a fuck if I die,” she said, closing her eyes.

That's a fucked-up place to be

“They killed the man I loved.”

Keno wasn't no angel

“My bitch left me.”

That freaky bitch needed to go.

“My moms act like I should kiss her ass for paying my bills.”

I did wonder how a junky paid a mortgage

“But she stole my son, so
that and fuck

Naeema walked across the living room, being sure to miss the vomit, and looked first before she entered the kitchen. The red, white, and black decorations continued, but you could barely tell from how nasty it was. The sink and kitchen table were filled with dirty dishes and the garbage can was overflowing. Roaches were everywhere like she loved their asses. The floor hadn't been mopped in weeks—maybe even months.

She searched like hell for a clean glass and opened the freezer for ice. Wasn't a damn thing popping in
bitch but ice.

BOOK: Kiss the Ring
10.93Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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