Authors: Katherine Cachitorie
SOME CAME DESPERATE:
A LOVE SAGA
All rights reserved. Any use of the materials contained in this book without the expressed written consent of the author and/or her affiliates, is strictly prohibited.
AUSTIN BROOK PUBLISHING
America’s stomping ground for romantic ebooks
This novel is a work of fiction. All characters are fictitious. Any similarities to anyone living or dead are completely accidental. The specific mention of known places or venues are not meant to be exact replicas of those places, but are purposely embellished or imagined for the story’s sake.
DUTCH AND GINA:
A SCANDAL IS BORN
THE PRESIDENT’S GIRLFRIEND 2:
HIS WOMEN AND HIS WIFE
THE PRESIDENT’S GIRLFRIEND
MOB BOSS 2:
THE HEART OF THE MATTER
ROMANCING THE MOB BOSS
ROMANCING HER PROTECTOR
ROMANCING THE BULLDOG
IF YOU WANTED THE MOON
LOVING THE HEAD MAN
WHEN WE GET MARRIED
AUSTIN BROOK PUBLISHING:
BACK TO HONOR
A REGGIE REYNOLDS
A SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP
Award winning and bestselling author
AFTER WHAT YOU DID
DINO AND NIKKI:
STAY IN MY CORNER
AUSTIN BROOK PUBLISHING:
DUTCH AND GINA:
AFTER THE FALL
for more information
on all titles
you?” Simone asked wearily into her cell phone as she unfurled the scarf around her small neck and tried her best not to show her behind in the middle of this airport. She’d tried to cut her kid sister some slack. She knew Shay wasn't the most responsible person in the world and would probably be late for her own funeral. But nearly an hour later and she still hadn't showed? Still hadn't bothered to call? Simone was tired of accepting Shay's selfish behavior as if she deserved a pass for life.
This get together wasn't Simone's bright idea, after all. She was running her business in Atlanta, doing her own thing, not thinking about coming to Miami any time soon. It was Shay who had phoned all desperate, begging her to drop everything and get here as if her life depended on her quickness. And when Simone did drop everything, and did hop the first flight out, what does Shay do? Act as if Simone was bothering her just by deigning to find out what's going on.
“Nothing's going on,” Shay replied snappishly from her own cell phone. “Why something got to be going on just because I’m a little late?”
late?” Simone was astounded. “Shay, I’ve been waiting in this airport for almost an hour now!”
“And I told you I'm on my way. Is it my fault the traffic bad? Is it my fault these fools driving like one-eyed grandmamas and won't take their blind behinds on? You just got to be patient, Simone, dang. This traffic ain't playing out here.”
“This is Miami, Shay,” Simone said, shaking her head and refusing to go along another second. “You knew traffic would be hectic. You should have left early enough.”
“And stand around in that dingy airport waiting on you? Like no way. Could you just relax for once in your life? I told you I'll be there. And I can't be there and fight this traffic and talk to you all at the same time!” Shay said this as if she was talking to the most unreasonable person in the world, when she knew Simone was anything but. Yet she hung up, anyway.
Simone looked at her cell phone, shook her head, and flipped it shut, too. She knew Shay well enough to know that she wasn't even in traffic yet, but was probably just getting out of bed. But that's her kid sister - the epitome of irresponsibility. The kind of person so self-absorbed and narrow-minded that it shouldn’t be surprising at all that she’d be in the mess she was in now. Fooling around with a drug dealer. A drug dealer! And one who didn't hesitate to implicate her in his drug dealing schemes and get her butt thrown into jail right along with his.
Shay was out of jail now – thanks to their oldest sister Jules, the wealthy one; the one with a seriously defective man of her own, Simone couldn’t help but add. But that was another drama, another good reason why she knew she should have kept her behind as far away from Miami as she had tried to stay. But duty called - kid sister called - and like the eager fool she sometimes could be, she came running.
She grabbed the handle of her rolling garment bag and headed for the coffee shop. She purchased a half caff latte and took a window seat in a booth. As she removed her gloves and sipped lightly from her coffee, she looked out of the window at the busyness around her. She felt as if she was on foreign soil in Miami, although she had lived there herself for many years, but everything seemed so different to her now. So gray and dusty and cluttered. She dreaded coming back. Dreaded it with a passion. But Shay was in trouble, which she had to constantly remind herself. She was enduring this torture for Shay’s sake.
, Simone thought with more than a little anguish, and sipped more coffee. That girl would be the death of her yet, and she knew it. Getting herself in a fix like this! But at least she had a good attorney, thanks to Jules, who wouldn’t dream of hiring anyone less than the best. But even with a great lawyer the case still didn’t look good. Not because the cops had all of this powerful evidence against Shay.
From what Simone could gather they had nothing more than the word of that shady boyfriend of hers, who started singing like a canary as soon as the cuffs went on. The way he told it Shay was the mastermind behind the entire scheme, the one who ran the whole operation. She made the drops, she took the calls, she organized the meetings for every drug deal they ever turned. Which was ridiculous given that Shay couldn’t concentrate long enough to organize two nickels back to back.
But instead of shutting up and letting her lawyer prove how ludicrous her boyfriend’s accusations were, Shay,
, refused to take advantage of her right to remain silent and started confessing all over the place, admitting things that even boyfriend hadn’t accused her of, as if she was more than happy to take the rope from around her man’s neck, and toss it around hers. It looked bad.
And waiting like this didn’t help. Not for Simone, anyway. Not when every fiber of her being was fighting with all she had not to go there, not to revisit her own past, her own hurt, her own devastation that nearly took her out when she once lived in Miami, too. It had been seven years since she left that place. Seven long years. She swore she’d never come back, and held true to her oath all this time.
But now she was back, thanks to Shay and her mess, and so were the memories. And they weren’t memories that soothe. Not like an old friend dropping in to say hello. But more like an old tormentor, coming unannounced, and staying well past his welcome.
She sat in that booth and tried to ignore the tormentor, tried to worry about her sister’s plight, instead. But elephants in rooms could not be ignored for long. And just as surely as the winter rain began to blanket the airport’s landscape, the pain she thought had long since been buried, her own pain, was already resurrecting. And all she could think about, as the swirl of activity outside turned into panicky people running for cover, shielding their anxious faces and expensive hairdos from the onslaught of the rain, was how all those years ago she ended up here in the first place, and how ultimately she was forced to leave.
It started in Georgia, not Atlanta where she now calls home, but Bainbridge, Georgia, a small town some two hundred miles, but a lifetime away. It was a warm summer day some twenty-one summers ago, and Simone was sitting on the wooden steps of their dilapidated old house plaiting Jules hair and ignoring the boys from the neighborhood, all trying to hit on them. Although Jules seemed to enjoy their lame games, Simone wasn’t trying to hear it. They could take their tired talk on up the road, she told them, pointing the comb in their direction as she said it, because she and her sister were going to college to make something of themselves and they didn’t have time to waste on some trifling country boys like them.
The boys laughed, they all knew how Simone was, and tried to appeal to Jules. But Jules, they also knew, did whatever her younger sister Simone told her to do, making it impossible for them to ever get play from the Rivers sisters. But they were about the best looking girls on the block, especially Simone with her sparkling light brown eyes, so they kept on trying.
Simone, however, continued to ignore them. She turned up the volume on the small transistor radio as
Boogie Oogie Oogie
went off and one of her favorite songs,
If I Can't Have You
, chimed on, and she told a playful Jules for the tenth time to keep her head still or she'd have a half-finished hairdo on her hands. Jules laughed. One boy, Rufus, frowned.
"Why you always bossing her around?" he asked in his awkward adolescent voice. "Treatin’ her like she’s some kid. She's older than you, Simone, and way nicer, too.”
"Yeah," Jules said, laughing, but Simone kept on plaiting. That old cliché that age was just a number was absolutely true in their case. Jules was older, she was sixteen at the time - while Simone was fourteen - but they both behaved the reverse of their ages. Jules was playful and boy crazy, the sister who made the good grades in school more because she was pretty and looked so innocent and teachers adored her, rather than for actually doing the work.
Simone, on the other hand, was the serious, mouthy one, who earned every grade she made, who wasn't particularly highly regarded by anyone – not even their own mother. She and Jules and Shay, in fact, had been removed from their mother's custody numerous times throughout their childhood because of her neglect and, in Simone's case, her physical and emotional abusiveness. The last separation was nearly two years ago –when their mother attempted suicide for the third time and tried to take Simone right along with her. All because some man had broken her heart. Again.
But she got better, or so they said, and, just a month ago, the girls were returned. Now the signs were back: the new boyfriend was gone, that sad Marvin Gaye
Mercy, Mercy Me
song was playing late into the night on the stereo, the crying and negative comments and faraway look in her eyes had all returned.
And perhaps that was why, when the deafening sound of a gunshot was heard from inside their house, Simone froze. Her mother didn't use a gun the last time-but a knife, threatening to stab Simone first and then herself, saying with an almost sing-song rhyme that they would bleed to death together because neither one of them deserved to live. "You took Ralphie away from me," her mother had said in her despair, when Simone's silent tears went unheeded, and Simone remembered her father, remembered Ralphie, and wished that he was there right then. She was only eight when she told him that he should stop coming around and making mama cry if he wasn't going to do right by her. Simone never dreamed her words could be that powerful, because he never again came around. Shay and Jules had the same father and their father had long since gone, but their mother blamed Simone alone when Ralphie left. Their mother, in fact, never stopped blaming Simone - not only for Ralphie’s absence - but for everything else that went wrong in her miserable life. A life, Simone was certain on that bright summer morning when
If I Can't Have You
went off, and
Kung Fu Fighting
chimed on, that was finally, mercifully, done with.
Simone sat still as a brick when she first heard the shot, and Jules and the neighbor boys all looked at her as if she could tell them what to do. But Simone couldn’t say a word, couldn’t tell anybody anything. She knew what was happening, she knew it as if she’d been right there in the room, and the reality stopped her cold.
“Simone?” Jules asked, looking up at her kid sister as a child would look up to her mother. “What was that?”
Simone looked at Jules, at her trusting, big eyes, and she became angry. Angry that their mother wasn’t stronger. Angry that this moment in time, she just knew, would change them forever. And she jumped up quickly, hoping that somehow it wasn’t true, that somehow she figured it wrong, and ran into the house.
Jules, knowing within herself what had probably just happened, jumped up too, and ran behind her. By the time the neighbor boys had run in, it was all over. Juanita Rivers, the thirty-four year old mother of what she often called her three burdens, was slumped over her bed with a bullet through her brain and the gun still smoldering in her hand. Jules screamed when she saw it, and the boys kept out-muscling one another for a better view, but Simone promptly pushed everybody out and closed the room door, reminding Jules that their mother never did like a lot of children around her. She then held Jules in a death grip and tried not to cry herself.
The police and other grownups crowded the small house moving from room to room and talking in whispers, as if the dead might hear their conversations. Even while the body was being removed the whispers and movement did not cease. Jules and Simone had been placed in a back bedroom where they were soon forgotten and purposely ignored. Even at her young age Simone knew why. What could they possibly say to two teenagers who’d just lost their mother? How could they possibly find encouraging words to justify this kind of cruelty? Simone sat quietly in her anguish, unable to blame any of those folks for looking at her and Jules, and then quickly looking away.
And then there was the other problem Simone couldn’t stop thinking about. Jules was the oldest, she was sixteen, but she behaved as childishly as a twelve year old. She was a minor, too, in more ways than one. And Shay was only seven, a baby by the courts standards. There was no way they would be allowed to fend for themselves, although they’d been doing it practically all their lives. But they didn’t have the protection of a mother alive anymore, one who was willing to at least let them remain under her roof until they came of age. Now they were at the total mercy of the state, which meant, nobody had to tell Simone, that all three of them were going straight to foster homes. And separate foster homes she was certain.