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AlTonya's Opinions, Musings & Other Information…

Month

April 2013

Als Quarterly Newsletter

Hi Everyone!

A BIG THANKS to you guys for following the blog. You have no idea how much the support is helping me to keep it going. In fact, I’m feeling so positive about it, that I’m gonna try or retry another endeavor: My Quarterly Newsletter.

For those of you who have followed me over the years, you know how often I’ve tried and failed at this. 

Right now however, I’m witnessing a nice marriage between the blog here at WordPress and my BuzzSprout podcasts. In light of that, this week’s blog will be shared in print AND voice.

 

http://lovealtonyapods.buzzsprout.com/

Enjoy!facebook_1052971980His Texas Touch9780373863150_prdLioness, (Panthera leo), in extreme close upmystery title

Al

TimeChange- Fifth Installment

???????????????????????????????????????CHAPTER THIRTEEN

February 20, – 8:17am

 

 

A forty six year old woman has confessed to the murder of the slain city councilman Robert Joyner. Gwen Pierce, Joyner’s former secretary, confessed to the January six murder after being questioned by the police. Pierce, however, was not only a disgruntled employee, but also a victim of unrequited love. Patricia Morgan, a former suspect in the murder and Gwen Pierce’s biracial daughter, was framed by her mother when Pierce discovered her

daughter’s secret affair with Joyner. Pierce has been quoted as saying the murder was a ‘crime of passion’ and that she reacted impulsively. This multi-faceted case will enter its second stage when Gwen Pierce goes to trial on March fifteenth.

 

“What the hell is she talking about ‘second stage?’ As far as I’m concerned, this case is over.” John Charles argued as he stared at the TV.

Dee smiled at her boss as she shook her head. “She’s gotta have a trial John Charles.”

Everyone standing in the small TV room laughed. The case was finally solved and Dee’s story was completely finished. She’d been congratulated by everyone she knew and some she didn’t. The success felt fantastic, but thoughts of Parrish were still prevalent.

“So Dee, how’d you figure it all out?” Someone was asking her.

“Mike haven’t you heard this story before?” Dee asked Michael Allen.

“No, so fill me in and don’t leave anything out.” He warned her.

Dee sighed before she began. “Well, when my friends at the D.A.’s office told me they’d received an anonymous tip about the will being read and that a girl named Patricia Morgan was the prime suspect, I started thinking about how none of this added up.”

“Well why would you think it didn’t add up? The police get anonymous tips all the time.” Donna Finton noted.

“Yeah Don I know, but knowledge of a will being read is something that the police would find out about regardless. Gwen Pierce wanted to make sure the police would be there and find out that Patricia inherited a healthy chunk of the estate. She never figured they’d discover Pat was her daughter since the two of them rarely spoke to each other. Morgan was Gwen’s maiden name and it wasn’t something that was common knowledge. That and the fact the Patricia is black.”

Mike shook his head. “Why would she do that to her own kid?”

John Charles answered. “Money and jealousy. Pierce worked for Robert Joyner a good seven years and then her pretty, young daughter comes in and snaps him right up.”

“Mmm hmm…” Dee agreed. “That’s why she wanted me to check out Joyner’s community programs. One, to ruin his ‘good image’ and two, to make sure the police suspected Pat before she tipped them off about the will.”

“This is incredible.” Mike breathed.

Everyone sat around nodding their heads and then John Charles spoke up. “Well Dee I’ve just got one more thing to say. You did some damn good work and I’m proud. We all are.”

John Charles began clapping and everyone followed suit. It was one of the happiest days of Dee’s career.

There was a huge lunch in her honor, courtesy of John Charles. Afterwards, Dee was on the next flight to Chicago.

***

6:19pm

 

“It’s okay Ms. Lincoln, Mr. Jeffries doesn’t have any appointments today. He just stepped out for a minute.”

Dee smiled at the secretary as the woman got up to show her to Parrish’s office. Once inside, Dee couldn’t help but be impressed by her surroundings.

“He should be back shortly. He’s been in such a mood lately, so be prepared.” The secretary told her.

“A bad mood?” Dee asked.

“Yeah, he’s been that way ever since he got back from New York and I can’t understand why. His client didn’t even have to go to trial.” The woman said, before leaving the office.

Dee sighed and smoothed her hands over the black material to the trousers of her suit. As she stood there in Parrish’s lavish office, she began to wonder if she made the right decision coming there. Dee knew she wanted him more than anything, but she wasn’t sure if he still felt the same. “I don’t know if I’m ready to find out either.” Dee said to herself, turning to leave the office. When she turned around, Parrish was standing right there. God, she thought, he looked so good. He obviously hadn’t shaved in a while, judging by the faint beard on his face. The feature only added a wildness to his sensuous good looks.

“Hey Dee.” He softly greeted, rolling down the sleeves to the tan pen-striped shirt he wore.

“Parrish, how um, how are you?” She asked him.

Parrish shrugged his huge shoulders and gave a slight shake of his head. “I’m good. I heard about the case, congratulations.”

“Thanks.” She softly replied.

Parrish sat behind his desk and began looking through some papers. “So what are you doin’ here?”

“I…Joel and I are through.” She nervously announced, wringing her hands.

“Through?” He inquired, in an unconcerned tone.

“I broke it off with him the day you left town.”

“Damn, I didn’t know I’d have to leave for you to tell him.”

“I told him before I found out you were gone.”

Parrish stared at her for a second or two before he looked back at the papers on his desk. “Oh.”

             I’ve lost him. Dee told herself. “Parrish I’m uh-sorry I came. I guess I shouldn’t have.” She told him, turning towards the door.

Before she could make it that far, Parrish caught her. Whirling her around to face him, Dee stood there with tears in her eyes. Parrish looked at her strangely and she was sure he was about to yell at her.

“If you think I’m gonna let you get away that easy, you can forget it.”

“Parrish can you please just let it go? I’m sorry I came, so can we just leave it at that?” She asked, her brown eyes pleading.

“No and you’re crazy if you think I waited all this time to ‘let it go’ now.”

A confused look fell over Dee’s face as she stared at him.

“Dee, do you know how hard it was for me to leave New York without you?”

Dee could only stare at him speechless.

Parrish massaged the tight muscles in his neck. “Do you know that I haven’t been able to have a real relationship with anyone because of you? Then, I find out you’re getting married and I flipped. I couldn’t let it happen. I took Julian’s case because, in addition to believing he was innocent, I saw it as a way to get close to you again. I thought I was making headway but when you never would tell Joel the truth, I didn’t know what to think.”

“Parrish I’m sorry, but I just had to tell Joel in my own way. I was scared. I didn’t want to hurt Joel and truthfully, I was scared to give you another chance.”

“Scared? Of me?” Parrish questioned.

“A little.” She admitted.

Parrish walked away from Dee and ran a hand over the back of his head. “Misha I’ve got a bad temper, I’ll admit that, but do you really think I’d hurt you like that?” He asked, turning to face her.

“Not physically, but Parry I guess what really scared me were thoughts about the past. I don’t think I could stand loosing you again.” She told him.

“I see.” Parrish said quietly. “Well I guess I can understand that.” He stated simply, but made no further comment.

“Parrish? Will you take me back?”

Parrish gave her a wicked grin as he tapped the cleft in his chin. “I thought that was understood?”

“No.” Dee said, shaking her head. “I want a lot more than that.”

Parrish could only stare at her blankly. He didn’t have a clue to what she meant.

“Marry me.” She said, staring directly into his eyes.

A proposal was the last thing he ever expected to hear from Dee. He was so surprised that he continued to stare at her with an open mouth.

Dee almost laughed at the expression on his face. “Have I shocked you Counselor?”

“Hell yeah.” Parrish finally answered, trying to swallow past the lump in his throat.

“Well?” Dee questioned, watching him pull the loosened tie further away from his neck.

“Baby are you sure? I mean do you think you’re ready to be with me like that?”

“Well I’m ready to try and I think we’ve wasted enough time don’t you?”

“Do you need to ask?” He said, walking closer and pulling her small form against his hard muscular one.

After kissing her very thoroughly, Parrish pressed his forehead against hers. “I love you and I’d be crazy to resist a proposal from someone so delicious, but do you believe we can work out this Chicago New York thing?”

“Baby,” Dee began, running her hands over his strong back, “I love you too and I think we’ve proven that we’re two of smartest people around, so we should be able to come up with something.” Dee assured him, pressing her soft lips to his neck.

Parrish pulled away from her and stared into her eyes. “I can’t be away from you again, Misha.”

“You won’t have to be.” She promised, her eyes telling him all he had to know.

***

“So what happened with Joel?” Parrish asked. He’d taken her to his favorite delicatessen just around the corner from his firm.

Dee gave a weak smile and shook her head. “Well, it was hard, but Joel took it a lot better than I thought he would.”

Parrish’s heavy brows rose slightly. “Really?”

“Yeah. In fact, he already suspected something might be going on.” She told him.

“How?”

Dee shrugged. “I guess it was something we couldn’t hide. Plus, he said that once he saw you, he knew that it would take a lot to  get over a man like you.” She teased.

Parrish gave an embarrassed smile and leaned back in his chair. “I’ll bet my sister was shocked to death.”

Dee pressed her hand to the chignon she twisted her hair into. “No I didn’t see her before I left. After the party they gave to celebrate the case being solved, I was on the next plane out of town.”

Parrish dropped the last corner of bread to the gigantic tuna sandwich he’d massacred, to his plate. He pinned her with his deep brown gaze. “I know John Charles gave you hell about leavin’?”

Dee tensed at his comment and looked away from the gorgeous face across the table. She didn’t want to discuss that, because she hadn’t actually said anything to John Charles about leaving. Quitting her job wasn’t something she’d been thinking about when she hopped on that plan a few hours ago.

Parrish saw the expression on Dee’s face when he mentioned her leaving New York. Something wasn’t quite right, and he decided to take a different approach to finding out what was going on.

“So how are we going to work out this distance thing?” He softly asked, but his brown gaze was intense.

Dee toyed nervously with a lock of her hair and fidgeted in her chair. “Parrish we don’t have to worry about that right now do we?”

When she saw the frown that darkened his handsome features, she tried to smooth things over. “Parry, can’t we just enjoy our  time together. We’ll worry about that other stuff later. We have plenty of time.”

Parrish tried to cool his boiling temper. He didn’t like Dee’s evasiveness one bit, but he played along. For now. The last few weeks not seeing her had just about been too much. Although he’d hated having to use the case as the reason to see her so often, he hadn’t felt so good in years. As rough as it might be, he would do everything in his power to keep her with him. Always.

***

Parrish and Dee finished their meal in easy silence. Then, they were driving to Parrish’s condominium on Lake Shore Drive. When Dee stepped from the plush comfort of his Land Cruiser, her mouth dropped open as she stared at the gorgeous high-rise he called home.

“Parry this place is fantastic!” She exclaimed, taking in her surroundings. The partially lit skyscrapers in the distance offset by the darkening late evening sky, was a view Dee didn’t think she’d ever forget.

“Who’d have ever thought you’d live like this?” Dee said, once they were encased in the glass elevator that took them to the twenty-second floor.

“Not me.” Parrish modestly replied. He leaned back against the glass wall of the elevator and crossed his arms over his chest.

Dee frowned slightly when she saw him glaring at her. “What?” She replied. Parrish had a way of staring at her that always made her feel uneasy.

Parrish ran a hand over the back of his head and shrugged. “Just never thought you’d be here with me that’s all.”

Dee smiled and stepped over to him. Parrish slid his steely arms around her tiny waist and pulled her snuggly against him. She didn’t resist when she slipped his hands inside her burgundy cashmere coat and caresses her through the black pantsuit she wore. Dee moaned when his lips fell to her neck and pressed soft kisses to it.

The elevator doors slid open with a whisper and Parrish pushed her away. Taking her hand, he pulled her along behind him down the long carpeted hallway. There were only two doors on the hallway, both at opposite ends. When Parrish opened the door to his plush condo, Dee almost fell to the floor.

“Parrish this place…” Amazed, she stepped into the spacious livingroom decorated in beige and navy.

Parrish shrugged and pulled off his coat.

Dee followed suit, taking off her coat and laying it over the arm of a deep beige sofa. Then, she took her own tour of the place. It was magnificent. With the exception of the kitchen, all the other rooms were done in beige and navy. To her surprise, the two colors complemented each other perfectly. Most of the sofas and chairs were large and very comfortable looking, even though they shrieked money. There were plenty of African masks and paintings by well-known artists decorating the walls. Dee made her way up the twisting staircase, stopping briefly at Parrish’s study which was nestled in the corner at the bottom of the stairs. The room was done totally in mahogany from the large desk on one side to the paneled walls and bookcases. A curving cocoa-colored sofa sat in the center of the room around a cluttered mahogany coffee table.

Dee’s silky brows rose in an impressed gesture and she headed on up the stairway. There were two warmly furnished guest bedrooms and a luxurious guest bathroom down the right side of the hallway. To the left, was Parrish’s room. Dee felt her heart racing as she stepped onto the thick navy blue carpet. Expensive black lacquer furniture gave the huge room an air of dark masculinity. A large walk-in closet held just about every color and style of male clothing, while the majestic dresser was filled with all sorts of hypnotic colognes. However, the most impressive piece of furniture, by far, was the king-sized bed. When Dee touched the beautiful dark print of the comforter, she pulled her hand away as though she’d been burned. Stepping past the bed, she walked over to another door.

“It’s just the bathroom.” Parrish’s deep voice called to her.

Dee jumped and leaned against the door, facing him. “I’m sorry. I couldn’t resist a tour.”

Parrish tapped one lean finger to the cleft in his chin. His brown eyes narrowed dangerously as he walked slowly towards her. “My home is yours. You can go wherever you like.”

Dee’s dimples appeared when she smiled at him. “Thank you.” She said softly.

Parrish kept walking until he was standing in front of her. Strong lean fingers sought the ball at the back of her head and pulled her hair free of the tightly twisted knot.

Dee shook her head slowly until her hair bounced past her shoulders. She heard a deep sound rumble in his wide chest. When she looked up, his sexy eyes held the hungriest look she’d ever seen.

“Parrish I-”

“Baby, no offence but, I really don’t want to talk anymore tonight.” He smoothly interrupted her, stepping closer.

Dee felt her breathing speed up as Parrish pressed her further against the hard wood of the door. He lowered his mouth to the side of her neck while he undid the buttons to her blazer and blouse. When the buttons were undone, he pulled the material apart and cupped her full breasts through the black lacy bra she wore.

Dee moaned, when she felt his thumbs brushing her nipples through the fabric. His lips had moved up the smooth column of her neck to nibble at the soft, sensitive skin beneath her earlobe. In response, she slid her hands under the tan suit jacket he wore and let her nails graze his strong back. Suddenly, the need to feel his skin beneath her searching fingers was too great. She managed to pull the jacket from his shoulders before she went to work on his shirt and tie. His sensuous lips finally crashed upon hers. The force of the kiss was strong, but Dee welcomed it. They both emitted small moans as the kiss became deeper. Parrish tore his mouth away from hers and blazed a trail to her breasts. He nibbled and kissed her through her bra until she begged him to pull it away from her body.

Strong hands delved beneath the waistband of panties after he’d undone the button on her trousers. Dee moaned when his hands grazed the junction of her thighs. Parrish mercilessly teased her by rubbing his thumb along the outside of her wet center. Dee’s legs trembled helplessly and she cried out when his fingers slid inside.

Needing him so badly, Dee pulled impatiently at the belt around his trousers. Parrish finished undoing his pants, maneuvering the material over the long hard length of his maleness. When they were naked, Dee pulled him to her. Parrish grasped her full bottom and lifted her high against the door. A deep groan escaped him when he settled her down slowly on his hardness. Dee wrapped her long, pretty legs around his muscular back, determined to enjoy every throbbing inch of him. Parrish closed his eyes and buried his face in the soft fullness of Dee’s chest as he thrust repeatedly into the heart of her.

When they were somewhat sated, they made their way to the huge bed. There, they made love all night.

 

 

 

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

            Dee snuggled deeper into the bed’s warm comfort. In her sleep, she smiled, happier than she’d ever been. Parrish had been so good to her. So sweet and so…seductive. He was everything she wanted and then some. Beginning to awaken, she could feel herself becoming aroused as she thought about him. She also felt sensational kisses being rained down her neck and over her chest. Slowly, she opened her eyes and saw Parrish above her. His sexy body lounged over her, while he feasted on her breasts. When he felt Dee running her fingers through his soft hair, he slowly raised his head.

“Hello.” He said, his voice mellow and very soothing.

Dee responded by wriggling her fingers at him.

Parrish smiled and leaned over to prop himself on his elbow. One hand trailed possessively down the side of her body, stopping when he found his moist, hot destination. Dee arched her body to meet his teasing fingers, gasping when they slowly entered her.

Parrish’s lips curved into a teasing smile, when she started to tug on his shoulders. “What do you want?” He asked.

“You know.” Dee whispered, her full lips curving down into pout.

Parrish chuckled, but he didn’t disappoint her. “Yeah, I know.”

***

Two hours later, Dee turned to cuddle against Parrish. She bolted up when she realized he wasn’t there. Her eyes lit up when she saw him emerge from the bathroom with a towel wrapped around his lean waist.

“What are you doing?” She asked when he went to his closet instead of back to bed.

Parrish stopped drying his hair and turned to stare at her. “Baby I have to go to work.”

Dee knelt in the middle of the bed. “Do you have to?” She sighed.

Parrish smiled as he sifted through the myriad of shirts in his closets. “I think I’ve been away long enough, don’t you?”

“No.” Dee answered simply. Although she and Parrish had already spent four days together, she wasn’t ready to let him go just yet.

Parrish walked over to the bed while Dee crawled over to meet him. She placed her arms around his waist and stared up at him with her smoky brown eyes. “Don’t go.” She pleaded, pressing her lips to his firm stomach.

Parrish could feel his temperature rising and wanted nothing more than to make love to her again. Unfortunately, he’d already missed too many days from the firm and he couldn’t afford to get too far behind.

“Baby look,” He softly began, “I have two meetings that I can’t miss. I’m trying to make partner this year, so my work is double. Can you understand that?”

Dee stared into his gorgeous eyes for a minute, then she nodded.

Parrish gave her a wink and pressed a hard kiss to her mouth. “We can finish this when I get home.”

“Mmm hmm.” Dee lazily replied, stretching across the bed to watch him get dressed.

Parrish managed to get dressed quickly, despite Dee’s brazen comments about his body. A half hour later, he was kissing her goodbye. Dee lounged in bed for a while, then she decided to give Sheila a call.

***

“Girl! Are you serious? You’re in Chicago, don’t lie?”

Dee laughed while Sheila carried on over her. “I’m really here!” She assured her friend.

“Why didn’t you tell me you were going?”

“It was a spur of the moment thing. I just got to missing Parrish too much, so I took the first plane I could get to Chicago.”

“I’ll be damned,” Sheila sighed. “So what happened when he saw you?”

“You don’t know the answer to that?” Dee playfully asked.

“Besides that!”

Dee laughed, “Well, he was sort of cold at first, but when I asked him to marry me, he changed his tune.”

Dee held the phone away from her ear when Sheila started screaming. “Damn girl you are too loud.” She reprimanded her excited friend.

“So when’s the wedding?” Sheila asked.

“Well we haven’t decided yet.” Dee replied, somewhat uneasily.

“But how are ya’ll gonna handle the distance? Did you quit your job or somethin’?”

“We’ll work it out.” Dee said, not wanting to discuss it.

“But-”

“Sheila can we talk about something else?”

Sheila wouldn’t be put off. “No Dee I want to know. You aren’t going to quit your job are you?” She knowingly asked, when Dee didn’t answer.

Sighing heavily, Dee leaned back on the bed. “I don’t know what I’m going to do. I didn’t stop to think about anything but seeing Parrish.”

“Well, I’ll tell you, since you left, just about every newspaper and magazine in town wants to talk to you.” Sheila said.

Dee’s ears perked up at the comment. “How do you know?”

“John Charles called me one day when he couldn’t get in touch with you.”

“Hmm…I guess I should call in. It has been a few days.”

“What do you think it is?” Sheila asked.

“I don’t know, but I’ll find out.” Dee promised.

***

“Where are you?” John Charles demanded to know when Dee called in.

“Chicago.” She answered in a tiny voice. She heard John Charles heave a frustrated sigh and waited for him to start yelling.

“I just thought you’d like to know that I’ve been getting fifty thousand phone calls from every magazine in town. They all want to offer you a job.” He calmly informed her.

“Me?”

“Don’t sound so surprised. Your coverage of the Joyner murder and the Reeves’ case, turned a lot of heads. I’d hate to lose you to anybody, but I thought you’d like to know.”

“Well John Charles you don’t have anything to worry about because I’m not really interested.”

“Well how long will you be in Chicago?”

“I’m not sure.”

“Dee-”

“John Charles, probably just a little while longer. I’ll even give you the number so you can reach me whenever.” She quickly offered, relieved when John Charles accepted without argument.

***

At the law firm of Davis, Fredericks and Johnson, Parrish was in a meeting with a few colleagues. He tried to keep his mind on the issues at hand, but failed miserably. He just couldn’t keep his mind off Dee. He hated like hell leaving her this morning. She looked so delicious lying there in his bed. Unfortunately, duty called and he needed to be on his toes. Especially now, since the time was drawing near for the firm to choose a new partner.

The thought made Parrish frown. Just where would Dee fit into all of this? Would she be happy living in Chicago with him since it was obvious that his career was so firmly rooted there. Although she said she wanted them to get married, she had yet to tell him anything about where things stood with her own job. However, he knew he didn’t want her to leave him.

“Parrish? Hey man you okay?” Someone called, breaking into his thoughts. He couldn’t let tonight end, without making Dee come clean about everything.

 

~~~

 

Parrish came through the door around seven-thirty that evening. The house was silent and the only light came from one of the lamps in the livingroom.

“Misha? Misha?” He called, searching for Dee.

As he headed up the stairs, he heard soft music playing and found that it was coming from the bedroom. He pressed one finger against the door and slowly pushed it open. The bedroom was dark, except for the red dots of light on the stereo.

“Misha?” He called again, slowly walking to the open door of the bathroom. His breath caught in his throat when he saw Dee lying in the large sunken tub filled with bubbles.

Parrish hadn’t bothered to set his briefcase down when he came home. When he saw Dee, the black leather case hit the floor with a thud.

Dee sat up in the tub and looked towards the door. Seeing Parrish there, a smile brightened her lovely face. Parrish’s lashes closed briefly when she rose from the bubbles and stepped from the tub.

“How was your day?” Dee asked in a slow seductive voice as she wound her arms around his neck.

Parrish raised his large hands to caress her buttocks. “It was…alright.”

Dee looked up at him and her silky brows rose slightly. “Just alright?” She asked, running one finger down the side of his cheek. She shook her head. “Let’s see what we can do about that, hmm?…”

Parrish groaned as he lowered his mouth to hers and kissed her deeply. He grasped her derriere firmly and lifted her off the floor. Dee wrapped her legs around his back as he carried her to the cushioned recliner in front of the large bay windows in the bedroom. Dee sat astride him and undid his shirt and tie before pushing them along with his jacket to the floor. Parrish found her breasts, scented with the soft fragrance of the bubbles, to be irresistible. As he caressed her back with persuasive hands, he teased and suckled each breast.

Dee looked out at the magnificent Chicago view from the windows, then her eyes closed completely while she enjoyed Parrish’s touch. Her hands glided down his taut, muscular abdomen until she reached the fastening of his trousers. Parrish tore his mouth from her chest and looked down to free himself of his pants and boxer shorts. He grasped her hips firmly and settled her over the throbbing steel of his manhood.

Parrish moaned as Dee slid up and down over him. His sexy eyes worshipped her cocoa-colored skin and tendrils of rich, black hair that lay against it.

“Parrish, Parrish…”

“Yeah?…”

“I love you.” She breathlessly replied.

“Don’t ever leave me, Misha.”

 

 

 

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

            Parrish and Dee spent the next few weeks simply enjoying each other’s company. They hadn’t spent so much time together since their high school days and becoming “reacquainted” felt incredible. Dee never told Parrish about her call to John Charles and Parrish put off questioning her about her plans.

“Damn girl, your hair is as nice today as it was when we were in school.” Parrish complimented one morning as he watched her brush the long, onyx mane.

Dee smiled. “Thank you.” She told him, tossing her hair back and staring at herself through the bathroom mirror. Then, she grimaced. “I really need to find a good hairstylist here.” She said.

“Uh-oh Sheila won’t want to hear that.” Parrish teased, thinking about his little sister. “That reminds me that I need to call her. I’ve been meaning to check on Mama and see if she’s feeling any better.”

“I talked to Sheila a few days after I got here.” Dee told him as she stepped into a pair of cream bell-bottomed pants.

“Ma was feeling pretty bad when I got to town, but before I left she seemed to be coming out of it.” Parrish continued, as he chose cologne from his dresser.

“She didn’t say anything about Miss Joyce.” Dee said, referring to Parrish’s mother. “But then, we did start talking about John Charles.” She remembered.

Parrish frowned and turned away from the dresser. “What about John Charles?”

Dee rolled her eyes while she pulled her top over her head.

“Misha have you quit your job yet?”

“Parry…” Dee sighed, trying to get him to drop the subject. One look at his face told her to forget it.

Dee sighed and leaned against the dresser beside him. “John Charles wanted to get in touch with me so he could tell me about all the job offers I’ve been getting.”

Parrish nodded slowly. “What are you going to do?”

Dee turned towards him and looked into his brown eyes. “The only thing I’m going to do is stay with you.”

Parrish leaned over and pressed a soft kiss to her lips.

***

Later on, they were waiting for a table at ‘Graysons’, a small restaurant popular with many of the associates at Davis, Fredericks and Johnson. Parrish and Dee had just put up their coats, when two men walked up and slapped him on the back.

“Hey man, where you been hidin’?” Eric Farmer asked Parrish.

“What’s up man?” Parrish said, shaking hands with Diante Green and Eric. “I’ve been workin’ so much that when I’m through, I just go home.”

“Well,” Diante began, looking over at Dee, “if I had this fine sista with me, I’d go straight home too. No offense.” He added, speaking to Dee who smiled.

“None taken.” She assured Diante.

“Eric Farmer, Diante Green this is Demeshia Lincoln.” Parrish made the introductions.

Dee shook hands with the two men, amused by the way they just stared at her.

“Why don’t ya’ll wait with us a minute?” Parrish said to the two men when they didn’t appear to be in a hurry to leave.

Diante and Eric didn’t waste any time accepting Parrish’s offer. “Are you the Demeshia Lincoln that works in New York?” Eric asked.

“Mmm hmm.” She confirmed, nodding. “And call me Dee,”

“You’ve gained a lot of fans here because of you tenacity with that case.” Diante informed her.

Dee’s eyes widened. “Really?”

“Well don’t look so surprised. Don’t tell me that the job offers haven’t been rollin’ in?” Eric asked.

At the mention of job offers, Dee started becoming agitated. She’d just gotten Parrish’s mind off that for goodness sake! “Well yeah, they’ve been popping up here and there.” She finally said.

Diante and Eric were so impressed by her that they continued to ask her questions about her work and what her next project was. Meanwhile, Parrish was becoming even more irritated. When the maitre’d interrupted to tell Parrish that the table was ready, he practically dragged her away.

“What is your problem?” Dee whispered furiously when they were seated at the table.

A murderous frown darkened his gorgeous face when he answered her. “You know what my problem is. Would you like to discuss it?” He asked, already knowing the answer.

A guilty look flashed in Dee’s eyes and she looked away from Parrish.

“Well?” He persisted.

“Do we have to talk about this now?”

Parrish leaned towards her as a fierce frown clouded his dark, attractive features. “We haven’t talked about it since you got here.”

“Well we don’t need to get into it now.” Dee reasoned, not knowing what else to say.

Parrish caressed his lower lip with his thumb. “I hope you’re not lyin’ to me Misha.” He whispered.

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“You know exactly what it means. If there’s somethin’ you want to tell me, now’s the time.”

Dee refused to cooperate. Not that she didn’t want to, but she was pretty much in limbo herself. Therefore, nothing was settled.

Parrish knew he wouldn’t last much longer at the table without exploding. Dee watched him stand and pull a few bills from his wallet.

“When you’re through, take a cab home.” He told her tossing the money on the table before he left.

 

 

 

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

            “Hello?”

“Dee Dee, it’s John Charles. I’m sorry to be calling so early.”

“Oh, that’s okay John Charles. I haven’t quite gotten use to the time change yet, so I was already up.” She explained. It had been weeks since she’d talked to anyone in New York and she missed it.

“So what’s up? Is everything okay with…the paper and…everything?” She asked, trying unsuccessfully to hide her interest.

Of course, John Charles saw right through her. Still, he always tried not to interfere with his employees business. Especially where love was concerned.

“Dee I got a call yesterday from Amos Carver, the publisher of ‘The Corner’. They’ve been looking for a head writer since Larry Cooley left a month ago. They want you to interview for the position.”

Dee almost fell off the sofa at the news. “They actually said they want me?”

“That’s what Amos said.” John Charles confirmed.

Dee frowned. “Well why aren’t they picking somebody from their writing staff?”

“Dee you know how close-knit that staff is, but everybody over there is already doing two or three other jobs. Amos said they’re desperate for someone who can concentrate solely on the responsibilities of a head writer.”

Dee expressed a deep sigh. This was too good to be true. She’d waited so many years for a chance like that.

“Dee? Are you still there?” John Charles called over the phone.

“What? Oh yeah I’m still here.”

“So? When are you coming back?”

“Umm…I don’t know yet. I’ve got some thinking to do.”

John Charles was silent for a moment before he spoke. “Dee you know I try hard not to get in my reporter’s business, but I think you ought to get your ass back here and take that interview. But, you do what you think is best for you alright?”

Dee smiled at the concerned tone in his voice. “I hear you John Charles. Thanks.”

“Mmm hmm. Well, I’m going now, but you call me okay?”

“Okay.” She promised, before hanging up.

‘The Corner’ . Dee had always been an avid reader of the popular and respected magazine. A magazine that had one of the smallest staffs in the country, put out some of the best work in the industry. Now they wanted her to be a part of their family. The feeling was incredible.

The doorbell rang interrupting her thoughts. Dee hopped up from the sofa and ran to the door.

“Yes?” She greeted to messenger who stood outside.

“Parrish Jeffries?”

“Oh, I’ll sign for it.” Dee offered, putting her name on the pad and taking the small envelope from the young man. She stared at the small envelope for a while after closing the door. Her curiosity got the best of her and she finally tore into the paper.

“An invitation.” She said, reading the contents of the card. Her curiosity satisfied, Dee’s thoughts turned back to her conversation with John Charles. He was right. She should take that interview, but she knew she couldn’t leave Parrish. Hmph, if she did leave, would he even care? Dee asked herself. She thought about how distant he seemed lately. Ever since that argument at lunch, she’d felt him slipping away. Dee never did relish being on the receiving end of Parrish’s evil temper, but she would have to tell him about the offer.

Shaking her head, she decided to talk to Parrish about the situation. If he didn’t think it would work, she’d stay. It was as simple as that. She refused to lose him again. Slipping the invitation into her purse, she walked out the door.

***

When Dee stepped off the elevator and headed down the long corridor, she could’ve sworn she heard Parrish’s voice coming through the heavy oak door of his office.

Jerica Tate, Parrish’s secretary, smiled at Dee when she saw her approaching the desk. Dee could see the woman flinching at the booming, deep voice and she smiled sympathetically.

“Hey Jeri.” Dee called in a friendly tone.

“Hey Dee.” Jerica uneasily replied.

Dee nodded toward the door. “What’s wrong with him?” She asked.

Jerica shook her head. “He’s been so irritable lately. The smallest thing seems to set him off. I don’t know.” She sighed.

That was exactly what Dee didn’t want to hear. Bringing up the subject that they’d been walking on eggshells to avoid probably wasn’t the best idea right now. Before Dee could tell Jerica to just let Parrish know she’d stopped by, the door to his office opened.

“Jerica, I just dropped that son of a bitch Finton as a client. Get everything I’ve got written down about him together and ship it to the jackass will you?” He ordered.

Jerica ran a hand over her braided hairstyle and nodded towards Dee. When Parrish saw her, he leaned against the doorjamb.

“Come on in.” He said quietly. Dee could feel the tension radiating from his powerful body when she walked past him and into the office.

“What’s wrong?” He asked, once he’d slammed the door shut.

Dee shook her head. “Nothing, but maybe I should be asking you that.”

Parrish shrugged off her question and went back to his desk. Dee smoothed her hands over her black pen-striped pantsuit and took a seat in one of the chairs in front of the desk.

“A messenger delivered this invitation today.” She said, handing him the envelope.

Parrish scanned the envelope’s contents and brushed a finger along his temple. “Oh yeah. It’s a dinner party one of the partners is having. I forgot all about it. Would you go with me?” He asked, his intense brown eyes searching hers.

“Yeah.” She answered, nodding.

Parrish continued to stare at her. “I know this invitation isn’t the only reason you came over here?”

Dee grasped her bottom lips between her teeth and leaned back in her chair. “John Charles called today with another job offer. Um, ‘The Corner’ wants me to interview for the head writer’s position.”

Parrish fingered the cleft in his chin. His eyes narrowed as he watched her. “Are you?” He asked.

Dee sighed and jumped up from the chair. “I don’t know. ‘The Corner’; is a young magazine, but it’s a good magazine. I’ve wanted a chance like this for a long time. I could do so much with this position. They don’t take on new people every day and I’m honored they want me. When John Charles told me, I was so excited I…”

Parrish’s features darkened as he watched Dee bounce around his office. He wished she’d stop rambling about that damned offer. Why the hell did she even bother to talk to him about it? It was obvious that she’d already made up her mind. His eyes narrowed as his dark thoughts took over. Damn her! He never wanted her to leave him. He should’ve known all this was too good true. When she left New York, she didn’t even stop to think about how their future would be affected by a big move. He should’ve made her come to a decision the very day she came to Chicago. He should’ve made her quit her job and stay there with him. If she couldn’t have done that, then he should’ve told her to take her ass back to New York.

Deep down, Parrish knew he was being unfair, but he was mad as hell. Not to mention, scared. After twelve years of needing and missing her, now that he had her back, he never wanted to let her go.

Parrish continued to watch Dee walk around the office discussing all the ‘good things’ about the job. He felt his temper becoming so heated. that he truly believed he could’ve killed her.

Dee stopped talking when she realized how quiet Parrish had become. She turned around to stare at him. His eyes were narrowed and he was staring off into space. Although he was lounging back in his chair, his body looked tense as a bow.

“Parry? Are you alright?” She asked, kneeling beside his chair. When her hand touched her shoulder, she could actually feel the tension in his body. “Parry?”

Finally, he answered her. “Why’d you even bother to tell me when you already made up your mind?” His voice was deep and cold.

“Parry I didn’t mean for it to sound that way. It’s just that ‘The Corner’ is a great magazine and I-”

“You know what Dee? I really don’t give a damn what you do alright?”

Dee’s mouth dropped open at his comment and she could feel the tears starting to pressure her eyes.

Parrish got up from his chair and turned when he saw water filling her lovely brown eyes.

Dee sniffed softly and ran the back of her hand over her eyes. “Parry I came here because I care about what you have to say about all this.” She managed to tell him.

“Baby, I assure you that you don’t want to hear what I have to say.” He said, not bothering to look at her.

“I don’t want to fight.”

“Then you should leave because that’s exactly what’s about to happen.”

Dee’s eyes grew stormy. She got up from the floor and snatched her purse off the desk. “You jackass! Why don’t we talk when you stop actin’ like a bitch!” She yelled, before walking out of the office and slamming the door viciously behind her.

Parrish winced and ran his hand over the back of his neck. He stepped to the door, wanting to go after her. Something stopped him however and he couldn’t bring himself to do it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boston Prayers

Hi Everyone,

Today’s blog is not about a new story or book or author news. I simply wanted to say once again how very saddened I am about the events that took place at the Boston Marathon on Monday. I heard about what happened while sitting in the dentist’s office waiting for my son. I was listening to a book and just halfway listening to what news was being shared through the waiting room speakers. Then in the car, we got the full story and once we arrived home the weight of it all hit me. Not until I watched CNN replay the actual incident did the shock and disgust weigh in. The cheers and happiness as racers crossed the finished line and then the instant panic and horror that arrived in the next second…unreal-unthinkable.

I couldn’t send out tweets about this until some time on Tuesday but I’ll just reiterate and rephrase one here now: “Life is too short to live not doing what you love. We are (sadly) being reminded of this way too often.”

My prayers continue for the Boston victims and their families around the world.

AlTonya.

TimeChange- Fourth Installment

???????????????????????????????????????CHAPTER EIGHT

11:39am

 

Dee dragged herself in to work later that morning. She shouldn’t have come in at all, but she couldn’t let Parrish interfere with her job. Damn him! She should have slapped him for the things he said and the way he acted before leaving. Reluctantly, she had to admit that there may have been some truth to his words. Still, it didn’t make her feel any better about what happened. She and Joel were supposed to be married for goodness sake. Now, she doubted that would ever happen…

Snapping out of her thoughtful state, she realized that her phone was ringing.

After voice responded a second or two after the caller was greeted. “Is this Demeshia Lincoln, the one doing to story on the Joyner murder?”

Dee’s brows drew together. “Yes this is.”

The mysterious female voice continued, “I read your story on Julian Reeves. You should be proud.”

“Oh I am.” Dee said easily, figuring the caller just wanted to congratulate her. However, the woman’s next words caught her totally off guard.

“Tell me Ms. Lincoln, are you interested in finding the real murderer or are you satisfied with proving Reeves’ innocence?”

“Well Julian’s guilt or innocence is very important to me,” Dee began, sitting up straighter in her chair, “but I would be very interested in any information leading to the real killer.”

“Good.” The woman said. “If you want to find the criminal, I suggest you look into Robert Joyner’s community programs.”

“Which…programs?” Dee questioned.

“I think that’s all I need to say. It should be more than enough to help you.”

“But-”

“Thank you for your time Ms. Lincoln, goodbye.” The woman cut in before hanging up.

“Dammit.” Dee whispered when she heard the dial tone. She thought for a moment, before an idea came to mind.

“Councilman Joyner’s headquarters.” A chirpy male voice answered.

“Yes, my name is…Vivian Neil and I’m a constituent of Councilman Joyner. I just returned to the country from vacation and I heard the terrible news.” Dee said.

“Yes mam, we were all very shaken up.” The young man said.

“Do they have any leads on the killer yet?” Dee innocently questioned, choosing to begin with light conversation.

“Well, they thought they had the killer. A guy named Julian Reeves, but he’s got an airtight alibi.”

“Yes, I recall reading something about that. It’s a shame, Robert Joyner was such a wonderful man. Actually, that’s the reason I’m calling. He was working on a program in my neighborhood. A crime watch sort of thing. I wondered if contributions could still be accepted and how many programs there were like that in other neighborhoods.”

The young man was full of information. “Yes, Ms. Neil contributions would be greatly appreciated. Councilman Joyner was          very interested in bettering conditions especially those in the housing projects. In fact, he had plenty of programs in the works for most of the minority communities.”

“How interesting.” Dee slowly replied, becoming more confused. “Well, thank you so much for your time young man. I’ll be getting in touch with your office in a day or so.”

“No problem, Ms. Neil and thank you.”

Dee laid the receiver down. The frown was etched deep into her forehead. Things just weren’t adding up. It sounded like Joyner was some sort of crusader for the minority groups in the city. If so, where was Julian Reeves’ motive?

***

By 3:00 that afternoon, Dee was thoroughly exhausted. She’d made trips to Joyner’s headquarters where a little detective work, proved helpful. She’d discovered that Robert Joyner had quite a few business and political deals in the works. However, the most interesting discovery, by far, was the fact that all those deals were centered in the black community. Dee found that there were deals for construction of recreation and daycare centers, among other things. There were also scouting programs to put together a minority campaign team for Joyner.

All the discoveries only served to aggravate Dee. The mysterious woman who called earlier, said that if she checked out this avenue, she find the killer. Unfortunately, nothing panned out. Maybe if she looked at the files that would tell her something. Dammit, there was no way those people would let her see company files. Was there?

***

“Thanks for meeting with me. I know how busy you guys are.” Dee was saying as she sat across from Dion Ames and James Willard.

“No problem Dee Dee, what’s up?” James asked.

“I need a big favor.” She quickly announced.

“So what else is new?” Dion teased, his dark eyes twinkling wickedly.

Dee smiled, showing off the double dimples at each corner of her mouth. “Seriously. It’s about the Reeves case.”

“I thought it was solved?” Dion asked, frowning slightly.

“Well Julian had an alibi, but we still need to know who the real killer is.”

“How can we help?” James asked, glancing at Dion.

Dee leaned forward slightly as she spoke. “I got a call today from a woman who told me that if I still wanted to find Joyner’s killer, then I should look into his community programs.”

“And?” James asked.

“And I did, but I didn’t find anything to help me. I figure the answer must be in his company records.”

“Which is where we come in?” Dion asked, nodding slowly.

“Mmm hmm. I can’t get into those files, but maybe you can since you both work for the D.A.’s office.”

“Why should they let us see them?” James questioned.

Dee shook her head. “I know you’ll think of something.”

“Mmm…I should’ve known you’d leave us with the hard work.” Dion said.

Dee’s large, dark eyes sparkled. “Does this mean you’ll help me?”

“We’ll try,” James replied, “but first, you’ve got to tell us what you know.”

“Well, you know that Joyner was real big on bettering the communities. He had countless neighborhood programs in the works as well as business and other political plans too. But, the most interesting part of it all was the fact that all these business and political plans were centered in black communities.”

“Really?” James asked.

“Mmm hmm…now all that makes me wonder where Julian’s motive was.”

“Yeah, that is strange. Have you talked to Parrish about this stuff? We know he’s in town.” Dion asked.

Dee cringed at Dion’s mention of Parrish. He was the last person she was ready to see. “I haven’t seen him today.” She lied.

“Well, here’s your chance.” Dion told her, looking towards the front of the restaurant.

Dee turned to see Parrish entering the diningroom just them. She felt her heart race as she stared at him. He was wearing an ankle-length black leather trench coat over a pearl gray double-breasted suit. Gorgeous. For a moment, Dee thought he wouldn’t see them, but Dion and James made that impossible. They both stood up and waved Parrish over, eager to see their old friend.

“Where the hell have you been man?!” James called, as the three men shared a group hug.

“Hell, man I been workin,'” Parrish said through his laughter.

“Congratulations on the case.” Dion added.

Parrish gave both men a bright smile. “Thanks, but credit really goes to Misha.” He said, turning to stare at Dee.

“Yeah, we were just talkin’ about that.” James said. “Hey Dee Dee, you ever considered working in the D.A.’s office. We could use a detective like you.” He teased.

Everyone laughed, but Dee found it hard to enjoy the moment. She looked at Parrish. He was laughing, but his eyes held the most intense look she’d ever seen.

“Uh…guys I need to get going, but you have my number so give me a call.” She quickly called, pushing her hair away from her eyes as she grabbed her coat.

“Since Parrish is here, ya’ll can fill him in on what we talked about. See you guys later.” She hastily added, her eyes lingered for a moment on Parrish’s ruggedly handsome face. Then, she was gone.

“Man, Dee Dee sure grew into a fine sista.” Dion remarked, watching her leave.

James nodded in agreement and Parrish’s brown gaze followed Dee until she left the restaurant. “She certainly did.” He said.

***

January 22,- 12:50pm

“Hi Ms. Lincoln,” The receptionist greeted Dee when she arrived at Joel’s office the next day.

“Hey Joy is he in? I told him I’d meet him here for lunch.” Dee informed the woman.

Joy frowned slightly before she answered. “He should be free. He was meeting but I believe that’s over.”

“Well I’ll just go on in and wait.” Dee said, heading towards the office.

When she walked to Joel’s partially opened office door, her fiancé was nowhere in sight. Still, she felt her heart drop to her knees. “Parrish? What are you…This is a surprise.”

Parrish slowly stood from his chair and walked towards her. He looked so good in a pair of blue jeans that hung well below his waist and heavy dark designer shirt. Black hiking boots completed the outfit.

Dee’s eyes however, were trained on his face. The smug look she saw there made her think he’d told Joel about their night together.

“What do you mean?” He simply asked, his brown eyes twinkling mischievously.

Dee felt her heart beating wildly in her chest. “You didn’t…”

Parrish’s eyes narrowed dangerously and a frown darkened his face. “Damn you Misha.” He fiercely whispered.

The guilt was evident on Dee’s face as she looked away.

“Misha as badly as I want you, I wouldn’t stoop that low to get you back-”

“I didn’t mean for it to come out that way.” She tried to explain.

Parrish held up one hand, not wanting to hear anymore. “I don’t care how you meant it. I’m through Misha. I give up. You should know by now how I feel. I’ll leave it up to you to make a decision about where we go from here. Don’t expect me to wait forever.”

Dee was speechless as she stood by the door and watched him grab a heavy dark jacket. Before leaving, he bent down to whisper in her ear. “Baby, you know I didn’t tell Joel about us because I think he’s a good man. You should think about that too. He deserves a woman who really loves him.” With that, he was gone leaving Dee standing in the doorway staring after him.

***

Parrish returned to his hotel not long after his ‘run-in’ with Dee. He’d been doing a good job of playing it cool and not losing his temper. Unfortunately, he’d never been very good at it and it was only a matter of time…He wondered if Dee had a clue as to how hard this was for him.

Of course she did, he admitted to himself. She was trying to be true to her fiancé. Well… she tried. Plus, she was trying to keep him from going off. He knew she hadn’t forgotten what happened all those years ago either. Looking back, he saw all his mistakes clearly. In a lot of ways he’d changed. All he needed was for Misha to give him another chance. Too bad she still saw him as the guy who had hospitalized her date their senior year in highschool…

Sighing, Parrish shook away his heavy thoughts and headed over to the front desk for his messages. The young woman behind the mahogany counter smiled at him as she laid a handful of pink tickets in his hand. Parrish’s gaze landed on a small white envelope nestled among the messages. Inside, was an invitation to David Lincoln’s birthday party. He wouldn’t mind going and Dee was sure to be there…He was so deep in thought at that point, that he didn’t hear the soft feminine voice calling to him.

“Parrish Jeffries, I know that’s you.”

Parrish finally turned to see the petite, browned skinned woman who was speaking to him.

“Melita? Melita Gerald?”

“You remembered.” Melita said, smiling as she opened her arms for a hug. “I couldn’t believe it when they told me you were going to be staying here.” She said, as she hugged her old highschool friend.

Parrish frowned. “They?”

Melita nodded. “Mmm…I’m the reservations director here.”

“I’m impressed.” Parrish said, nodding slightly.

“Thanks…So what are you doing?”

Parrish sighed. “Just goin’ through my messages and an invitation to a party.”

“Damn, only in town a couple of days and already getting invited to parties.” Melita teased.

Parrish bowed his head in a humble gesture. “David Lincoln, Dee’s father, is having a birthday party.” He finally explained.

Melita’s perfectly arched brows rose slightly. “Dee’s father?”

A soft smile tugged at Parrish’s sensual lips. “It’s not what you think.” Unfortunately, he silently added.

“Well I bet it’ll be fun just the same.” Melita commented.

“Would you like to go?”

Melita’s dark eyes widened. “With you?” She asked, watching Parrish nod. She finally caught her breath and accepted the offer.

“Good.” Parrish said. “If you give me your address, I’ll pick you up at eight.” He added, watching Melita write her address on the back of her business card. Parrish was glad she’d accepted, since he wasn’t in any mood to go alone. He didn’t think he could stomach watching Dee hang over Joel all night.

 

 

 

CHAPTER NINE

January 26,- 3:47pm

 

“I knew it!” Sheila screamed. “I knew it wouldn’t be long before you did it!”

Dee rolled her eyes at her friend. “Sheila it’s not as wonderful as it seems, you know?” She said in a tired voice.

“You’re as happy as a clam and you know it.” Sheila assured her. “Ya’ll should’ve never split up in the first place.”

“Well we did and I have a fiancé to think about.”

“And what about your fiancé? When are you going to break that off?”

Dee got up from Sheila’s couch and walked over to stare out of the windows. “I don’t know.” She finally said.

Sheila, in the midst of making preparations for a get together she was having, looked up from her pad to stare at Dee. “You don’t know. You are going to tell him?”

Dee heaved a deep sigh and turned to stare at Sheila. “I know I have to, but I just don’t want to hurt him.”

“Baby, newsflash, but you hurt Joel when you slept with Paris. The only thing you’ll do is hurt him even more if you don’t tell him.” Sheila said firmly.

Dee stared at her friend for a minute, before she dropped to the sofa and held her head in her hands.

***

4:53pm

 

Later that afternoon, Dee was catching up on some work at her home. She was in the middle of an article on a local, black dance company, when her phone rang.

“Dee Lincoln.”

“Hey Dee, this is Dion.”

“Hi.” Dee greeted, her curiosity peaked. “What’s up?”

Dion sighed heavily on the other end of the phone. “Not much, I’m afraid.”

“You couldn’t find anything?” She asked, disappointed.

“Nothing. They went over that place with a fine toothed comb and there was nothing to be found.”

“Everything checked out, even the records?” Dee persisted, hoping they’d overlooked something.

“Yeah baby, everything checked out. I’m sorry.”

Dee sighed and ran a hand over her face. “That’s okay, Dion. Thanks anyway. Tell James I said thank you.”

“No problem. We’ll keep in touch in case something turns up. Alright?” He asked her.

“Okay. Thank you Dion.”

“No problem, sweet.”

“Dammit!” Dee said furiously as she hung up the phone. She was beginning to wonder if that mysterious call was a prank. Nothing the woman said, added up.

The ringing doorbell interrupted her thoughts.

***

Parrish rang Dee’s doorbell before he could change his mind. He told himself that he was only there to discuss the case, but he really just wanted to see her. After that day in Joel’s office, he told himself he would leave it to her. Unfortunately, he was never known for his patience. He figured he’d be fine as long as he could see her.

Dee was thinking the same thing as she took in the cut of Parrish’s navy blue suit. She admired the way the material molded to his tall, athletic frame.

“Parrish.” She said in surprise, her double dimples deepening. She hadn’t realized how much she’d missed him.

“How you doin’?” He asked, walking into the house, slowly.

Dee smoothed her hands over her jeans and wished she was dressed in something less comfortable. “I’m fine and you?”

Parrish had one hand pushed into the deep pockets of his stylish navy trousers. “I’m good.” He replied. “I got an invitation to Mr. D’s party.”

“Are you going?” Dee asked, willing her heart to stop its rapid beating.

“Yeah, I’ll make an appearance.” He told her, leaving out the part about his date.

Conversation ceased as they stared at each other. Finally Parrish cleared his throat and began to speak. “I came to find out if you’d heard from James and Dion. I haven’t had a chance to call them.”

“Yeah Dion just called.” Dee said, stepping over to let Parrish inside.

“They find anything?” He asked, taking a seat on the sofa.

Dee sighed and shook her head. “No. Dion said they checked out everything, but nothing turned up.” She replied, taking a seat on the sofa.

“Damn.” Parrish murmured.

“My sentiments exactly.” Dee sighed, leaning back on the sofa and closing her eyes.

Parrish followed suit as he lounged on his side of the couch too. “I remember how secretive those people can be about “company business” from when I was gathering evidence for Julian’s case.”

“Yeah, I thought they’d find something in those records, but no. Joyner was clean as a whistle.”

“Did they think about looking for two sets of books?” Parrish asked in a simple tone, his eyes still closed.

Dee’s eyes snapped open at Parrish’s questioned. “Two books?” She repeated. “Dammit Parry, that’s it. That’s gotta be it!” She said, sitting straight up on the couch. “I don’t believe I didn’t think of that before!” She happily exclaimed, her smoky brown eyes sparkling.

Dee was so excited about the new lead that she leaned over to Parrish who was still reclining on the sofa, and kissed his cheek. When she tried to move back, Parrish grabbed her upper arms and they stared at each other for a moment. Then, they were kissing each other deeply. Parrish moaned as his tongue thrust smoothly into the sweet cavern of her mouth. He pulled her closer until she was straddling him. Still absorbed in the kiss, Dee gasped when she felt Parrish’s large hands gripping her bottom through her tight jeans.

Then, surprisingly, Parrish pushed her away. “Sorry Misha, I keep forgetting.” He said, breathing heavily.

“Forgetting what?” She asked, confused as she moved away from him.

Parrish’s gaze was intense. “That you belong to someone else.”

Dee frowned at the statement. “I don’t belong to anybody.”

Parrish’s wide shoulders lifted as he shrugged off her statement. “Maybe not, but you are engaged.”

Dee had nothing to say to that statement. She was quiet as she watched Parrish get up from the sofa and leave.

***

David Lincoln’s party was crowded and lively. Family, friends and business associates all attended the gathering. Dee had to hand it to her parents. They really knew how to throw a party. The food, drinks and music were all top notch.

The doorbell began to ring once again and luckily Dee was close enough to hear it. She broke away from Joel to rush over to it. When she opened the door and saw Parrish standing there with Melita Gerald on his arm, her heart sank.

“Hey ya’ll.” She quietly managed. “What’s goin’ on Melita?” She asked, hugging the woman.

“Not much.” Melita sighed, retuning the hug. “It’s good to see you.”

Dee slowly turned her gaze to Parrish. “Glad you could make it.” She told him, stepping away from the door to let them both inside.

“Mr. D blow out his candles yet?” Parrish asked.

“Uh-uh I think he’s avoiding it.” Dee said and they all laughed.

Unfortunately, the rest of the evening was filled with tension. Parrish tried to keep his mind and his eyes off Dee who looked utterly delicious in a tight, black ankle-length creation. Meanwhile, Dee tried not to spend too much time wondering what Parrish and Melita were doing together. Of course, they both failed miserably.

“Would Joel mind you dancing with me?” Parrish was asking an hour later.

Dee almost dropped her glass of champagne when the deep voice rumbled in her ear. She glanced over at her fiancé dancing with her mother. Then, she turned around.

“Joel’s not the jealous type.”

Parrish caught Dee’s meaning, but chose to ignore it. “Obviously.” He mumbled, sliding his arm around her tiny waist.

Dee prayed no one could tell how much she enjoyed the dance with the tall, gorgeous attorney. Parrish allowed no room between them as his strong arms held her tightly. Dee tried not to let her eyes flutter close at the sweet sensation of her full breasts being crushed against his muscled chest.

Pressing against the front of his brown and black checkered vest, Dee stared up at him. “So where’s Melita?” She challenged.

“Where’s Joel.” Parrish countered.

Dee nodded towards the center of the large den where the dancing was taking place. “Over there dancing with my mother.”

“Hmph.”

Dee frowned. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

Parrish sighed. “I just don’t see how he can leave you alone looking like this.” He admitted, staring down at the cleft between her breasts.

“Is sex all you think about these days?”

Parrish looked wounded. “No…I think about other stuff.” He weakly assured her, smiling when Dee began to laugh.

~~~

Joel had finished his dance with Thelma Lincoln and decided to get a drink. He was at the bar waiting for a Scotch, when he overheard two women talking.

“Alisha, I tell you, Parrish hasn’t seen Dee in years and he still isn’t over her.” Melita commented as she sipped on a wine cooler.

“Well she’s getting married, so I think he might be too late.” Alisha noted.

“Hmph, tell him that.”

Joel took his drink and shook his head. He knew he shouldn’t be taking what he heard seriously. Still, he couldn’t help but listen.

 

 

 

CHAPTER TEN

January 27,- 12:18pm

 

“Well, that’s something we never considered.” James Willard was saying the next day when Dee spoke to him over the phone.

“You can thank Parrish. He’s the one who thought there might be two sets of records.” She was saying.

“You really think Joyner was crooked?” James asked.

Dee breathed deeply as she considered James’ question. “I don’t know, he wouldn’t be the first.”

“You can say that again.”

“I hope he wasn’t though. He was trying to do so many good things for the communities.” Dee told him.

“Well I’ll see what we can do about getting the offices and maybe Joyner’s home searched, but it won’t be easy.” He warned her. “The police are more concerned with finding Joyner’s killer than with proving his dishonesty.”

“I know that, but searching again, might just lead to the killer.” Dee reminded him.

“Let’s hope so baby. I’ll call you later.”

“Okay. Thanks James.”

“Anytime.”

***

February 2,- 11:45am

 

When James called Dee a week later, the news he had was bittersweet. The search did turn up two sets of books. Joyner had been scamming the communities he was supposed to be helping. The first set of books showed none of that. The late Robert Joyner, had been cheating countless families and individual constituents who had been counting on him to make changes in their living conditions. Unfortunately, Joyner’s discretions only made the police even more suspicious of Julian Reeves. Even the picture that proved Julian’s innocence, was being doubted.

“They can’t do that, can they?” Dee was asking Dion Ames, when she talked to he and James on the phone.

“Unfortunately for Julian, they can.” James informed her. “If they feel they have reason enough to believe he’s got something to hide.”

“But Joyner’s the one who was breaking the law!” Dee vented.

“Baby, we all know that, but that’s how the system works.” He reasoned.

Dee sighed and toyed with a curly lock of her hair. “Yeah, well I have one word for the system.”

Dion laughed softly, then cleared his throat. “Dee you can’t print any of this yet, alright?”

“Yeah I figured as much.” She drily replied. “Dion?”

“Hmm?…”

“Um…Does Parrish know about all of this yet?” She quietly asked.

“Well, it’s after eleven. I’m sure he does.”

Dee could feel her heart beating even more rapidly beneath the material of her black, chiffon blouse. “Yeah, you’re right. Dion, James thanks for calling about everything. I’ll be in touch, alright?”

After hanging up the phone, Dee sighed and ran a hand over the back of her neck. She prayed that Parrish wouldn’t kill her when he found out the police were suspecting Julian again. Unfortunately, she knew that she would be first on his ‘hit list’.

***

11:58am

 

“What do you think that picture’s going to tell you now that it didn’t before Junior?!” Parrish shouted at Junior McFadden, one of his old friends on the police force.

“Man, I hope it won’t tell us a damned thing. I believe the kid is innocent too. I hate this had to happen.”

Tell me about it. Parrish said to himself, absently running a hand over the back of his neck. He had spent most of the morning talking to, or arguing with, the police about how they were handling the case. The last few days had been pure hell. For the first time during his young career, Parrish actually thought he’d be sick if he saw the inside of another courtroom or police station. It was great knowing Julian was innocent. Now, the police wanted to prove him guilty.

“Look, all we need to do is take another look at that photo. Most of our new evidence really gives Julian a motive. We just want to make sure our bases are covered.” Junior told him.

“Yeah I know.” Parrish sighed.

Junior gave his friend a sympathetic smile. “We’ll be giving you a call.” He said, before leaving the small interrogation room where they were having the meeting.

Parrish slammed his hands down on the long table as soon as he was alone in the room. He had one person to thank for this mess. Damn Misha! If she wasn’t stabbing him in the back one way, she was in another. Sure, she found Julian a solid alibi, but her nosiness had opened another can of worms that would surely take Julian through more hell.

Reaching into his pocket for his car keys, Parrish decided he’d feel alot better if he told Dee off to her face. Pulling a heavy leather trench coat over a stylish three-piece, he stormed out of the room.

***

12:30pm

 

Dee tried to concentrate on finishing the mountain of work on her desk, but she just couldn’t keep her mind on what she was doing. Every time her phone rang someone walked into her office, she jumped. Dee knew she was being foolish. After all, she didn’t mean for the police to begin suspecting Julian again, Parrish must know that. Still, she couldn’t control the twisting of nerves in her stomach or her shaking hands. Sighing deeply, she decided to go home. She certainly wasn’t getting anything accomplished at the office. She stepped into gray pumps and smoothed down the gray and white pen-striped skirt. Pulling a matching jacket off the coatrack, she got ready to leave the room.

When Dee opened the door, she felt herself shaking all over again.

“Going somewhere?” Parrish asked sharply. His brown eyes travelled the length of her voluptuous body appreciatively.

Dee backed away from the door and nodded, her curls bobbed rapidly. “I have an appointment.”

Parrish walked further into the office. “It can wait, can’t it?” He asked, slamming the door viciously behind him.

“I guess.” Dee replied, in a weak voice.

Parrish slowly circled her like she was prey. “Nice outfit.” He muttered.

“Is that why you came here to admire my clothes?”

Parrish walked right up to her and poked her lightly in the shoulder. “You know damn well why I’m here.” He growled.

“Parrish I didn’t mean for this to happen. How was I supposed to know the police would start suspecting Julian again? And let’s not forget that you were just as helpful in all this as I was.” She accused. For all her courage, however, her legs still felt very weak beneath her so she made her way over to the desk and leaned against it.

Parrish walked over and placed his hands on either side of her. You weren’t there when I had to tell that kid that he still wasn’t in the clear. You didn’t see the look on his face. Don’t get me wrong Dee, I want to know who the murderer is just as bad as you do. I just wish we didn’t have to take Julian through the ringer to do it.” Parrish uttered a muffled curse and ran a large hand over the back of his neck as he turned away.

Dee looked down at the floor, unsure of what to say. Parrish’s next words, however, caught her full attention.

“You reporters,” He was saying, his back still towards her, “you do whatever you have to for a story except stop to think about how it’s gonna affect the people you write about.” Parrish spoke as if he were talking to himself, but Dee heard him loud and clear.

“What do you mean, ‘you reporters’?” She asked, walking up behind him and shoving her small hands against his back.

Parrish turned around slowly as if he couldn’t believe she’d pushed him. “You know what I mean.” He softly assured her, his deep brown eyes staring hard into hers.

“Bastard.” She breathed.

Parrish shrugged off her statement with his massive shoulders. “You know Misha, this job is perfect for you.” He began, running one lean finger down the length of her neck to the cleft between her breasts left bare by the cut of her blouse. “You always act without stopping to think about how it’s gonna affect anybody but yourself.” He finished, lightly massaging the soft skin of her breasts.

Dee slapped him full and hard across the side of his handsome face. “I hate you.” She breathed as she whirled away from him and headed to the other side of the room.

Before she got too far, Parrish grabbed her hard around her upper arm and jerked her around to face him. “You hate me? Why? Because I’m telling you the truth? Baby we had sex recently and you loved it. You still want me, you still love me, but you’ve got a fiancé to think about. You’re not thinking about him at all though. Don’t you believe he has a right to know he may not be getting married in June? Huh Misha?” Parrish asked, his grip becoming tighter.

“Parrish, please…this hurts.” She whispered, her eyes beginning to glisten.

“It hurts?” He asked softly, almost sympathetically. “Well, now you know the feeling.” He said harshly, jerking her even closer.

Dee uttered a sharp gasp as tears began to pool. She’d seen Parrish this angry before, but it had never been directed towards her.

Parrish saw the fear in her eyes, so he let her go. He turned to leave the office. When the door closed behind him, Dee let the tears flow freely.

***

February 5,- 9:47pm

 

Dee massaged her aching temples and hoped the aspirin she’d taken earlier would do some good. She and Joel were sitting at the inspection a block away from Sheila’s house, waiting for the light to change. From beneath half-closed eyelids, Dee looked over at Joel. Pretending that things were okay was really getting to her. It might’ve been easier to be honest with Joel, if he sensed something was wrong, but he didn’t. He was as loving and happy as always and it was driving her crazy. Parrish thought she didn’t know what being hurt felt like. Well, he was wrong. Every time she saw him, be it on the news or in person, hurt was all she felt. She wanted to be with him so badly, she could barely think of anything else.

Now she was going to have to get through three or four hours of socializing at Sheila’s party. “Might as well make the most of it.” She grumbled as Joel’s Mercedes came to a halt.

“You say something baby?” He asked. When Dee shook her head, he got out of the car and came around to open her door.

The party was in full gear when they arrived. Sheila loved throwing parties. Especially when the guest of honor was her brother. Once Dee’s deep brown gaze landed on Parrish, she couldn’t tear them away. To say he looked good, would’ve been an understatement. The mocha-colored trousers, matching jacket over a cream and brown striped shirt complimented his muscular frame perfectly. Dee’s attention turned back to Joel, when she realized he was talking to her about going to find Sheila.

The good music and even better food, made the party very enjoyable. Of course, Parrish and Dee did their best to ignore each other. If anyone had been paying them close attention, they would’ve seen the heated glances that travelled across the room.

A while later, Dee went upstairs to Sheila’s den intending to give her aching head a rest. To her surprise, the room was already occupied.

“I thought everybody was downstairs.” Dee explained.

Parrish gave her a smile, not bothering to move from his relaxed position on the sofa. “I can only take so much socializing.”

Dee managed a small smile and turned to head out of the room.

“There’s plenty of space for two, Misha.” He said in a deep, low voice.

“Oh thank you, but I should probably take something for my headache anyway.” She hastily replied, opening the door.

“Misha I’m sorry about the other day. None of what happened was your fault and I’m sorry I came across the way I did.” He said the words softly, but loud enough for her to hear.

Dee closed the den’s door and walked further into the room. Parrish’s warm brown stare roamed slowly over the short, forest green dress she wore. “Did I leave a bruise when I grabbed you?” He asked, looking at her arms covered with forest green chiffon sleeves.

“It was nothing.” She shook her head.

He nodded slowly, before turning his attention back to the book on his lap.

“What’s that?” Dee asked, coming closer to the sofa as she played with a tendril of hair that had fallen from the curls piled on top of her head.

“An album Sheila had all these old pictures in.” Parrish said, turning the book around so she could see the photos.

She gave a delighted gasp as she viewed the pictures. They were all vivid reminders of their colorful childhoods. For the next forty-five minutes, the two of them sat on the couch and looked through two more albums, teasing each other about old times.

“I can’t believe you use to wear that thick, gold chain.” Dee teased.

“Sign of the times baby.” Parrish proudly replied.

“Was it real?” She asked.

Parrish looked at her like she was crazy. “Hell yeah it was real.”

They were laughing so hard, that Dee had to wipe tears away from her eyes. “You are crazy.” She informed him.

Parrish’s expression became serious as he watched her. “Yeah, I know.”

Dee gave a short laugh as she stared at him. The humor left her face as well. One of Parrish’s hands grasped her upper arms and pulled her close.

“Parrish-”

“Shh…kiss me.” He ordered and Dee didn’t disappoint him. The kiss became deeper and Parrish’s other hand lowered to caress one of Dee’s full breasts through the soft material of her dress. They were so caught up in the kiss, that they didn’t hear the door opening.

“I need you Misha.” Parrish whispered to her.

“I know, I know…” She managed as she kissed his neck.

“Oh my God!” A voice shouted and they broke apart. Relief washed over Dee when she saw Sheila standing over them.

“Damn, girl why are you sneakin’ up on people like that!” Parrish snapped at his sister.

Sheila gave her brother a stale look. “Sneakin’? Boy you better be glad it was me instead of Joel. Then what?” She asked, looking at Dee.

Neither of them had a comment to that. Parrish muttered a fierce curse and left the room. Dee followed before Sheila could say anything.

When Joel spotted the threesome coming downstairs, a strange look crossed his face, but he quickly dismissed his thought.

 

 

CHAPTER ELEVEN

February 6,- 12:15pm

 

“I can’t do this anymore. I have to tell him.” When Dee woke up that morning, she decided that she would break things off with Joel. Last night was a close call and she’d hate herself more if he found out that way.

Even though she regretted having to do it, Dee had to admit that telling Joel the truth would take a load off. Living this lie had consumed so much of her that she couldn’t enjoy the few good things that happened.

James Willard called earlier that morning to tell her that a friend on the police force had told him that Julian Reeves was officially off the list of suspects. The news lifted her spirits somewhat and she wondered if Parrish could call her about it.

She didn’t have long to wonder. Around twelve-thirty, she got a call.

“Well Misha, my work here is done.” Parrish was saying on the phone, the happiness evident in his voice.

Dee smiled at the comment. “I heard, congratulations.”

“Congratulations? Don’t congratulate me. If it weren’t for that picture, Julian wouldn’t have had a leg to stand on.”

“Well, well we’ve changed our tune from the other day when you wanted to kill me.” She said.

“Baby I’m sorry about that, very sorry. And to prove it, I’m taking you to dinner tonight.”

“Parrish-”

“I promise I won’t try a damn thing. Just want to make up for everything, that’s all.”

Dee sighed, thinking about his offer. She knew she shouldn’t go, but Parrish was a hard man to say no to. “Alright.” She finally answered against her better judgment.

“I’ll pick you up at eight.”

***

At eight o’clock, Parrish was knocking on her door. Dee checked her earrings and gave herself the once over at the long mirror beside her front door. She smiled, loving the way the long-sleeved peach dress hugged all her curves adoringly. The ankle-length dress had a thigh-high split in the side that left little to the imagination. Satisfied that everything was in place, she answered the door.

Parrish’s incredible brown eyes lit up as he stared at Dee. He’d ordered himself to keep his hands off her tonight, but it was going to be tougher than he thought.

Dee stood at the door, waiting for Parrish’s eyes to reach her face again. Taking in the suit he wore with a black and white checkered vest and matching bow tie, Dee guessed she wasn’t overdressed.

“Are you ready?” He asked, his lips twitching slightly as he watched her staring at him.

“Yeah.” Dee sighed, ignoring the knowing look on her face. She grabbed her coat, locked her front door and walked past him to his car.

***

“How is it?”

“It’s good, thanks.” Dee smiled across the table at Parrish. He had taken her to an elegant seafood restaurant for dinner and they were having a great time.

“I was surprised to get a call from you today.”

A frown clouded Parrish’s face as he stared at her. “Why?”

“You know why. We haven’t been getting along too well lately, you know.” She reminded him.

“I know that Misha, but hell I’m so happy now I could kiss the devil!” He exclaimed, his brown eyes sparkling.

Dee looked at him in disbelief. “Thanks.”

“Come on babe.” He whispered, taking her smaller hands in his much larger ones. “You know what I mean. It made my whole trip to tell Julian that he was in the clear.”

Dee understood, but she said nothing and nodded instead. Forty minutes later, she and Parrish were finishing up their meal and preparing to leave the restaurant.

“I had a nice time Parry,” She told him, once they were inside the car.

“Well it’s not over yet.” He told her, sending her a sexy smile and a wink.

“What?”

“We’ve got another stop to make.”

“Parrish-”

“Misha don’t say anything, just let me do this alright?”

“Well can you at least tell me where we’re going?” She asked, choosing not to argue.

“No, it’s a surprise.” Parrish stubbornly refused. He sped out of the parking lot and onto the busy streets of the city.

~~~

The eventual “surprise” was well worth the wait. Parrish took her to ‘Charlie’s’ the club owned by his uncle. She and Parrish both remembered how they used to sneak into the club when they were in highschool. Dee hadn’t been there in years.

Parrish hid a smile as he ushered her inside the crowded club. The excitement was showing all over her pretty face.

“P.J.!” A deep voice bellowed. Parrish’s Uncle Charles was rushing towards them. “Boy where the hell have you been hiding?”

Parrish chuckled as he hugged the uncle who was only a few years older than he was.

Charles Jeffries hugged his nephew, then his gaze slid over to the beautiful woman standing by Parrish’s side. Charles whistled. “Man, who is this?”

Parrish gave his uncle a surprised look. “You mean you don’t remember Misha Lincoln?”

Charles stared at Dee for a long while until realization dawned in his black eyes. “Lil’ Dee Dee? Can’t be. Where are those fat cheeks and double dimples?”

At the statement, Dee laughed. “Well the fat cheeks are gone, but I’ve still got the dimples.”

“I see, I see, girl come give me a hug.” Charles said, pulling her close.

“Charles it’s good to see you. It looks great in here.”

“Thank you sweetie.” Charles pulled Dee and Parrish along with him as they walked further into the club. “Now I know my nephew here has been busy in Chicago being a big time lawyer, but what about you Dee? Last I heard, you were working for a paper in…Queens? You still doin’ that?”

“Uh-uh,” Dee nodded, “The Queens Herald.”

“That’s right.” He said in an impressed tone, turning to look at her and Parrish. They stood that way until Charles heard someone calling his name. “The two of you still look good together.”

“Thanks Uncle.” Parrish said, slapping Charles on the back and watching him walk away.

A small frown clouded Dee’s lovely face and she pulled Parrish closer to her. “Parrish your uncle thinks we’re still together.” She whispered.

“We are, or we could be.” He replied simply, guiding her to the dance floor.

As promised, Charles got them a nice secluded table. Dee was having a great time, but it was hard being there without thinking about the incident that happened so many years ago.

“What’s wrong?” Parrish asked, tapping a finger to the deep cleft in his chin.

Dee smiled and shook her head. “Just thinking.”

“Have you been here since that night?” He asked, reading her mind.

“Uh-uh.”

“I didn’t mean to put him in the hospital,” Parrish said as memories of his rampage against the young man Demeshia had been with after their breakup siphoned in. “I’m sorry Misha.”

Dee stared at him for a moment. “Me too.”

Parrish looked down into his glass. “You know, after school when we went to different colleges, I thought that I’d never see you again.” He laughed.

“Why’d you decided to practice law?” She asked.

“‘Cause everybody told me I had a big mouth and could talk my way out of anything. So, I said ‘what the hell’.”

“And today you’re a star lawyer.” She teased.

Parrish gave her an embarrassed smile. “It’s my life.”

“There hasn’t been anyone special?”

Parrish leaned back in his chair and stared at her. “There’s someone, but I blew it with her.”

“Parrish-”

“So how’d you meet Joel?”

Dee hesitated, not sure if she should be discussing Joel. “I was assigned to do this story on black businessmen and Joel was one of my interviewees.” She explained.

“I bet it was the best interview of his life.” Parrish noted. “He probably didn’t know how to act.”

“We got to be very good friends. Then, we decided to take it further. I had no regrets.”

“Let’s dance.” Parrish suddenly said. He had gradually grown tired of the conversation.

The floor was packed, so they had to dance exceptionally close. Not that they minded. Dee lost herself in Parrish’s strong arms. She enjoyed the scent of his cologne teasing her senses. The last thing she wanted was to get caught up in another passionate encounter, but it seemed unavoidable. If only he weren’t so sexy and so hell bent on having her back…

Meanwhile Parrish’s chocolate gaze was focused solely on Dee’s mouth. Dipping his head, he touched her lips with his own. When she gasped, he thrust his tongue deep into the sweetness of her mouth, moaning at the satisfaction it gave him.

Time flew while Dee and Parrish were inside the club. When they left, Dee had to admit that she hated to see the evening end. Everything was going so well that it almost seemed like old times. When Parrish asked her back to his hotel room, she didn’t think to refuse.

“What do you want to drink?” He asked, once they were back inside his posh hotel suite.

“Something light.” Dee called, throwing her wrap over a chair and walking over to stare out the large windows. “I had a good time tonight.” She said, turning to Parrish who smiled at her from behind the bar. “I don’t know when I’ve laughed-”

Parrish heard her comment and a wall of tension rose quickly between them. “You’re never going to tell him are you?” He asked, handing her the drink and walking away.

Dee watched him for a moment, before she answered. “I decided to tell him the next time I saw him.”

Parrish turned around. “What?” He asked, certain he’d heard her wrong.

Dee began flexing her hand nervously as she stepped closer to him. “I decided to break it off with Joel the next time I see him.” She repeated.

Parrish said nothing, he only took their glasses and placed them on the coffeetable.

“I would’ve done it today, but we went-” Dee never had a chance to finish the statement. Parrish grabbed her arms and pulled her tightly against him. His mouth came down on hers as he kissed her long and hard.

Dee could barely breathe as Parrish kissed her, but she didn’t care. Wrapping her arms around his neck, she kissed him back.

Parrish groaned softly when he felt Dee’s body soften against his. His large strong hands roamed the length of her back then down to her rounded derriere, squeezing softly.

Dee felt herself being lifted and carried across the room. When Parrish set her down, they were in his bedroom. Dee pushed his jacket from his wide shoulders and loosened his bow tie before she unbuttoned his shirt. Meanwhile, Parrish had unzipped her dress and was beginning to push it down.

“Parrish don’t stop.” She softly whispered, while kissing his neck.

“Don’t worry.” He replied in a deep voice. Picking her up, he carried Dee the short distance to the massive bed.

Dee felt his mouth next to her as he kissed her breast. His arms were wrapped tightly around her body and she arched instinctively into his hard chest. She moaned softly when Parrish took only the tip of her breast between his lips and suckled gently.

“Parrish, Parrish…” She repeated.

“Hmm?…” He inquired, pulling her luscious legs apart and settling his well-built form between them. He moved one hand to the junction of her thighs and his fingers teased her gently. He gave a deep groan when he found her hot and very wet for him.

“Look at me Misha.”

Dee opened her deep brown eyes and stared into his much lighter ones.

“Do you want this?”

Her full lips parted in surprise and a shocked look crossed her face. “You know I do.” She softly assured him, pulling him next to her.

“Just me?” He asked, beginning to enter her.

“Yes.” She simply stated, then gasped when she felt his long, hard length inside her.

No words were spoken for a long long while. Dee thought she’d melt beneath the heat of Parrish’s deep caress and he could barely think as her warmth surrounded him.

***

February 7,- 7:45am

 

“I better get home Parry.”

Parrish stretched his muscular body and looked over at Dee. “I’ll take you. I’ve got some things to do anyway.”

“You don’t have to do that.” She told him, preparing to leave the bed.

“Hey,” Parrish called, grabbing her arm, “I want to.” He said, pulling her close to kiss her cheek. When he pulled away, he looked down to where the sheet had fallen from her chest.

“Parrish,” Dee warned, recognizing the look in his eyes.

“Misha…” Parrish replied in the same tone, pushing her back on the bed.

***

10:20am

 

For Dee, the ride back to her home seemed longer than it actually was. She was so wrapped up in her thoughts, she said very little.

Parrish could sense her tension, but he didn’t comment on it. He only knew that it felt good knowing she was finally going to tell Joel. Another chance with her was something he never thought would happen. Things certainly worked out funny sometimes. Still, he wished Joel didn’t have to go thought all this.

“Oh no.” Dee’s panicked.

Parrish looked over at her and his gaze followed hers to the Mercedes parked in front of her house. It was Joel’s car.

“What’s he doing here?” She said, as though she were speaking to herself.

“Well you can go ahead and tell him early.” Parrish smoothly suggested as he parked the car.

Dee gave him a strange look as she slowly got out of the car. This wasn’t the right time. Not with her just getting home, still in her clothes from last night. Well, you better think fast, because here comes Joel.

“Hey baby, I came to take you to breakfast, but I see you’re just getting in.” Joel said as he walked up to her.

“Yeah…I went out with Parrish and Sheila last night to celebrate the case. We got to talking and the night ran late. I just went on and stayed over.”

“Oh.” Joel replied, looking past her. “Hey Parrish.”

“Hey man.”

“I haven’t eaten anything, so I can just shower and change. Then we can go grab something.” Dee was saying to Joel.

Joel looked at his watch. “Yeah that sounds good. I’ve got some calls to make anyway. Parrish it was good to see you again man.” He shook Parrish’s hand before he took Dee’s keys and went into her house.

Parrish waited until Joel was back inside before he lit into Dee. “What the hell was that?” He bellowed.

“Shh!” Dee ordered, raising her hand. “Look, I’ll tell him, but now is not the right time.” She whispered.

“The right time?” Parrish was furious. “Last night you said you’d tell him when you saw him!”

“I will, but I have to do it my own way.”

“Dee, I think your way is nonexistent.” Parrish said in a tired voice. Then, he got in his car and drove off.

 

 

 

CHAPTER TWELVE

11:50am

 

After having breakfast with Joel where she still didn’t come clean about her true feelings, Dee went to her office to make a few calls.

When the line was answered, it sounded like the D.A.’s office was having a party. “James?” Dee questioned.

“Hello?…Dee is that you?”

“Yes, what are you doing over there?”

“Typical day, typical day.” James tiredly replied.

“Oh well, I was just calling to find out if you had any new info you could discuss?”

“Well, let’s see. The police got a tip the other day about Joyner’s will being read, so we checked it out and guess who came out on top?”

“I have no idea.”

“Patricia Morgan.”

“And she is?”

“Joyner was seeing her, sleeping with her.”

“Oh, I see. Well where did she come from? Who is she?”

“Right now she’s the prime suspect. She’s also Joyner’s personnel director.”

“Damn, in such a short time, a lot sure has happened with the case.”

“I know, maybe we’re on our way to finding the killer after all…Look Dee, I need to go, but call me back later alright?”

“Alright, thanks James.”

A will? A new suspect? For some reason, these new additions to the case sounded a bit too coincidental. Dee sat back in her chair and thought about what James had said. She wondered if they knew where the tip about the will being read came from. Most likely, they didn’t and the killer was probably the anonymous tipper. Then, there was this new suspect out of nowhere. The police probably didn’t know much more about her either. That, however was only a matter of time…

***

“Hello Ms. Lincoln, can I help you?”

Dee smiled at the young man behind the desk. She’d decided to take a trip to Joyner’s main office, hoping to stumble across something that made sense. Looking at the young man, she answered. “Yes, who in the office would know the most about the community programs?”

“Hmm…That would be Ms. Pierce, Mr. Joyner’s secretary.”

“Where could I find her?”

“Well, unfortunately she’s not working here anymore.”

“Oh? What happened?”

“Well, everybody’s going to be leaving soon anyway, but Ms. Pierce got a better job, more money. I guess she got tired of working for peanuts.” The young man grinned.

“I can understand that.” Dee smiled. “Do you think there’s anyway I could get in touch with her?”

The man gave a doubtful look. “That’s hard to say.”

“Well, what about Patricia Morgan. Is she here?”

“Oh Pat? No, I think she’s left for the day.”

“But she does work here?”

“You bet she does. In fact, you should probably talk to her if you want info on the community programs.”

“Why?”

“Well, she’s the one who really pushed Mr. Joyner to get involved with that. Most of the programs were her idea.”

“Is that right?” Dee whispered, making a mental note of the information.

“That’s right, but since she’s our personnel director, she’s been real busy because of the investigation.”

“Yeah.” Dee said, almost to herself. “Look, if she comes in, ask her to give me a call. It’s very important.” She told him, handing over a card.

“No problem.” The young man said, laying the card in the message box.

***

6:45pm

 

After leaving Joyner’s office, Dee went to ‘The Table’, a restaurant where she promised to meet Joel for dinner. The slight tension she’d been feeling all day, kicked in once she stepped inside the diningroom.

“Hi Joel, have you been waiting long?” She asked, once the maitre’d had shown her to the table.

“No, I just got here myself. You ready to order?” He asked, gesturing towards the menu.

“I’ll just have whatever you do.” Dee absently replied, watching him signal for the waiter and begin ordering.

“So what’s happening with the case?” He asked once the waiter left.

Dee gave a weary sigh, toying with a curly lock of her hair. “I just don’t know, everything is so crazy. We’ve got all these pieces that just don’t seem to fit.”

“You think the case’ll be solved by June?” He teased, referring to their upcoming wedding.

Dee caught the joke, and gave a faint smile.

Joel didn’t seem to notice her agitation. “I hope so,” he continued, “because have I got a honeymoon planned for you.” He promised. “You know how couples can never decide whether to go someplace warm or cold for their honeymoons?”

Dee frowned slightly before answering. “Yeah…”

“Well we won’t have that problem, because I’m giving you both.”

Dee sighed and looked away, feeling a slight pressure behind her eyes. “Joel-”

“Now don’t tell me it’s too much. I’ve got it all planned. I figure we’ll go to St. Thomas first, then spend two weeks in Switzerland. How does that sound?”

“Joel?”

“What?”

Dee hesitated for a moment. “We can’t.”

“Excuse me?”

“I can’t marry you.”

Frowning murderously, Joel leaned back in his chair. “Did you say you can’t marry me?”

Slowly, Dee nodded. “Yes…”

“What the hell is this? Have I done something, said something?”

“No! No Joel you haven’t done anything!”

“Well what is it then?” Joel demanded, pounding his fist to the table.

After a while, Dee answered. “It’s…Parrish Jeffries.”

“Mmm hmm…” A faint smile crossed Joel’s handsome face, but Dee didn’t notice it.

“Joel, when Parrish came back, I realized that I still had a lot of feelings for him that I thought died long ago.” She continued.

“I see.”

“I didn’t mean for things to go this far without telling you.”

“Dee-”

“I should’ve said something a long time ago. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it…” She trailed away, disgusted with herself.

“Dee?”

“Yes?”

“Do you think I’m stupid?”

Dee frowned and shook her head frantically. “No Joel never! I’ve never thought that.”

“Well did you think I didn’t notice what was going on?”

“What are you saying?”

“A man like Parrish Jeffries comes to town and his old girl just happens to be my fiancée. Now Dee, I may be laid back, but I’m not that laid back. Every glance, every casual touch, I noticed and I noticed your reaction too.”

“Why didn’t you say anything, confront me?”

“I thought you’d come to me.”

Dee just nodded, unable to argue. “You’re right, I should have. I don’t think I’ll ever forgive myself for not telling you sooner.”

“You’ll have to forgive yourself one day. Hell, I think I’ll be able to forgive you.”

Dee’s eyes lit up at his statement. “Do you Joel? You really think you could?”

“I’d like to try Dee.”

***

Dee and Joel enjoyed their meal and even talked for over an hour. After dinner though, Dee was still feeling awful about what happened. At least Joel was willing to forgive her. Maybe if she and Parrish had been mature enough to talk like that when they broke up, so many years wouldn’t have passed before they saw each other again. Needing to talk to someone, Dee drove to Sheila’s house.

***

“How’d he take it?” Sheila questioned after Dee told her about the dinner.

“Well he surprised me. He already figured something was going on.”

“I’m not surprised.” Sheila said, shrugging. “Nobody could miss that electricity between you and Paris.”

Dee sighed and leaned back on the cushiony arms chair. “I didn’t tell Joel this morning like I told Parrish I would. God, he was so mad. I haven’t seen him since.”

Sheila gave her a concerned look. “You mean he didn’t call you or anything?”

“Uh-uh” Dee said, shaking her head. “Why?”

“Baby, he’s gone. He left for Chicago about twelve-thirty.” Sheila quietly told her.

Dee felt her breath stop in her throat and she couldn’t say anything. At first, she wished Parrish were standing right in front of her so she could slap him for leaving her. Still, she knew it was her own fault. He had given her ample opportunity to be with him. He said he wouldn’t wait forever, and he didn’t.

***

February 8,- 11:45am

 

“Dee?”

Dee looked up from the mess of paperwork on her desk to her secretary standing at the door. “Yeah Faye?”

“You’ve got a visitor.”

“Who?”

“Julian Reeves.”

Dee’s eyes widened. “Send him in.” She quickly ordered, standing behind her desk. She had only spoken with the young man once since the start of the case. It would be interesting to hear what he had to tell her.

“Hello Julian.” Dee said, offering her hand when he walked into the office.

“Hey Ms. Lincoln, it’s good to see you again.”

“My sentiments exactly and please call me Dee.” She said, showing him to the chairs in front of her desk. “What can I do for you?” She softly inquired.

Julian smoothed his hands on across his sagging jeans, before he spoke. “I just wanted to thank you for all your help on my case.”

“There’s no need to thank me. I was just doin’ my job.”

“Well your job, saved my ass. Excuse me, but if you hadn’t been doing your job, that picture might not have been discovered and I don’t know where I’d be right now. So thank you.”

“You’re welcome.” Dee replied. She watched as a troubled look clouded Julian’s face. Of course, she questioned it. “Excuse me for saying this Julian, but you don’t look like a guy who’s just been cleared of murder.”

Julian stared at her for a minute, then gave Dee a short laugh. “Well, Ms. Lincoln it’s like this, I know I’m ‘free’, but I’m never gonna feel that way until they catch who did it. Do you know what I mean?”

“Yeah, yeah I sure do.”

***

After Julian left, Dee decided to head over to Robert Joyner’s office once more time. There had to be something that would shed some light in the dark case.

When she arrived at Joyner’s headquarters, the place was more chaotic than when she last visited. Dee used the opportunity to investigate the file room. Once she located the small, cluttered office, she rifled through a stack of folders. The sun is finally out, Dee told herself when she located the folder with the name Gwen Pierce on the front. Dee opened the folder and quickly scanned the pages. There was nothing major inside and with a disgusted sigh, she turned back to the front page of the folder. It was an application. As Dee scanned the information, a dazzling smile brightened her face.

 

FIRST NAME: GWEN

LAST NAME: PIERCE

MIDDLE INITIAL: R

LAST NAME: MORGAN

 

This was too much of a coincidence. Could Gwen Pierce and Patricia Morgan be related in some way? Dee didn’t have long to linger over the question though. Someone was coming into the room. It was the young man who’d been so helpful on her last visit to the office.

Ms. Lincoln, what are you doing here?” He asked.

Dee did some quick thinking before she answered. “I was talking to one of the office assistants, but she had to step out for a minute. I think she forgot about me.”

“Oh, well I guess I’m in the way here. I was hoping to get some info on those programs.”

“Oh that is right, you wanted to see Pat.”

“Yeah…well is she here today?”

“Mmm hmm…that’s her right over there.” The young man said, pointing across the room.

Dee looked in the direction he was pointing and saw the woman. “That’s Patricia Morgan? I just thought she was…”

The young man laughed, looking at Dee. “A lot of people wonder when they first see her. I think her mother is white.”

As Dee stared at the young woman across the room, a wide smile crossed her face. Bingo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TimeChange- Third Installment

???????????????????????????????????????CHAPTER FIVE

 

January 19- 10:17am

The next morning, Dee arrived early at the paper. When she walked into her office, she saw a long white envelope lying on her desk.

“What have we here?” Smoothing down her pencil slim olive green skirt, she sat behind the desk. Inside the envelope, were a photo and a white sheet of paper- ‘Hope this helps. M. Walker‘ was written on it. Dee sat the note aside and looked at the photo. A bright smile crossed her face as she picked up her phone.

***

“What are you saying, Dee Dee?” John Charles was asking as he stared at the photo.

Dee shook her head. “Isn’t it obvious? Look, I remember that clock being in that very same park when Jimmy and I covered that pumpkin festival story. Robert Joyner was murdered at seven-twenty-eight on the evening of January six. The time on the clock in the picture has seven-twenty. There is no way Julian Reeves could’ve gotten from Brooklyn to New York City in time to commit that murder.”

John Charles looked from Dee to the picture in his hand. The shot was taken at a neighborhood rally held earlier in January. The rally had raised a lot of money for many nursery schools and had lasted well past 9:00 that evening. In the center of the photo was Julian Reeves. He was standing right beside the large clock that read 7:20. John looked at Dee again.

“If you still don’t buy it, Marcia Walker, the girl who took the picture, has a high-tech camera that gives the time the picture was taken on the back.” She quickly explained.

John smiled. “Dee enough. I believe you. I think you better talk to the police and Mr. Jeffries.”

Dee frowned. “Parrish?”

“Well, I’m sure he’d want to know about any information that would free his client. Don’t you think?”

Dee nodded slowly, unable to disagree.

***

“I thought you said you were almost ready when I called you from the hotel?”

Sheila rolled her eyes toward her brother who was lounging on the huge easy chair near the window in her bedroom. “I thought I knew what I wanted to wear, but I changed my mind.”

“Hmph, figures.”

Sheila set her curling iron to the dresser. “Can you get out?” She pleaded.

Parrish tapped his finger to the cleft in his chin. “Uh-uh, I’m fine right here.”

“Why do I feel like I’m being rushed?” She asked, sighing when her brother laughed.

Parrish frowned when he heard his sister utter a vicious curse a moment later. “What?”

Sheila was examining the side of her thigh. “I got a run in my stockings.”

Parrish shrugged and stood from his chair. “You can buy some more on the way.”

“For a little run like this?” Sheila asked, watching her brother strangely.

“Well if you wanna wear runny stockings, fine with me.” Parrish lightly replied.

Sheila waved her hand. “All I need is a little bit of clear polish and they’ll be fine. I’ll just borrow some off Dee’s dresser when we get to Joel’s.”

Sheila had been more or less talking to herself as she rushed about gathering her purse and coat. Parrish, unfortunately, heard every word and he was livid.

“Why the hell does Misha have a dresser at Joel’s house?”

Sheila realized her mistake and closed her eyes in defeat.

“Sheila?” Parrish called.

“What?”

“Is she livin’ with that guy?” Parrish asked, his deep voice going uncharacteristically soft.

Sheila began to wring her hands as her brown eyes darted back and forth trying to avoid Parrish’s.

Parrish cleared his throat and his heavy brows rose expectantly.

“Paris…yeah, yeah she stays with him but-” Before Sheila could finish, Parrish was out the door and heading down the stairs.

“Paris!” Sheila called, rushing after him.

Parrish had one hand curled around the brass front doorknob, when he turned to look at her.  “When you’re ready, take your own car to the party.” He told her.

“Honey listen to me!” Sheila pleaded, holding one hand out to him. “She doesn’t really live with him, she just stays there sometimes.”

The explanation only seemed to worsen Parrish’s mood. He uttered a harsh sound of pure disgust, then stormed out of the house.

***

At six-thirty, Dee was already at Joel’s Manhattan apartment, preparing for the party. She’d just stepped from the bathroom and was putting on lotion, when she heard the doorbell ringing. She quickly pulled on a short, terry bathrobe and rushed downstairs.

A frown clouded Parrish’s handsome face when the door opened and Dee stood on the other side of it in nothing but a robe. With an effort, he forced himself to calm down as he walked inside.

Dee stared at Parrish, as he made him way inside the apartment. Behind the frown, she could’ve sworn she’d seen hurt cross his face. Dismissing the thought, she drew her robe together and followed him into the livingroom.

“I didn’t think you’d come.”

“I wish I hadn’t.” Parrish gruffly replied. “I can’t believe you’re livin’ with him.” He softly added, his back towards her.

Dee started to say something, but thought better of it. Shaking her head, she went back upstairs. She wanted to tell him about the photo but, right then, she wanted to get as far away from him as possible.

“Who was that Dee?” Joel was asking as he buttoned his shirt. Dee just smiled as she walked over to help with his tie. “It’s just Parrish.”

“Oh good.” Joel said, reaching over to grab his jacket. “I wanted to talk to him.”

Dee fluffed out her curls and frowned at Joel through the mirror. “You don’t have to rush downstairs to keep Parrish company.” She said.

“I know that baby,” Joel assured her, looking in the mirror and running a hand over his bald head, “but I wanted to talk to him about the case some more.” He replied, kissing her cheek.

Dee shook her head, watching Joel exit the room. Why did Parrish have to accept Joel’s invite? She asked herself. She was going to be a total klutz with him around tonight. She didn’t want to feel what she did for Parrish, but she couldn’t help it. It seemed that time hadn’t erased her love for him, it had only intensified it.

***

By the time Dee arrived downstairs, everyone was there for dinner. She paused for a moment on the last few stairs, taking a couple of deep breaths before going into the diningroom.

“Misha.”

Dee wasn’t surprised to hear his voice. When she turned to face him, she saw the murderous expression on his face.

“What the hell are you trying to do to me?”

“What are you talking about?” She asked, frowning slightly.

“You know what I’m talking about. Answering the door in a robe. What are you doing getting dressed over here?”

Dee stared at him for a second, then shook her head. “I don’t have to explain that to you Parrish.” She headed towards the diningroom.

“The hell you don’t,” Parrish’s whisper held a vicious undercurrent. Grabbing her by the waist, he placed her a few steps above him on the stairway.

Dee could feel the heat of his touch through the form-fitting lavender dress, but she ignored it. “Parrish in case you forgot, I’m engaged to Joel. We’re getting married soon.” She informed him, staring into his light brown eyes. “And just for your information, I get dressed over here all the time.”

That was it for Parrish. His hands tightened at her waist and he pulled her close. Dee almost dropped to her knees as Parrish’s tongue slowly instigated a kiss. He teased the cavern of her mouth with long, sweet strokes that left her moaning.

Dee was almost ready to let the kiss completely carry her away, when she remembered where she was. Bringing her hands up to Parrish’s wide shoulders, she pushed.

“Don’t you have any respect for Joel in his own house?”

Parrish gave her a long intense stare, before he answered. “Not when he has what’s mine Misha. Not when he has you.” He left her staring and headed into the dining room.

***

Dee ground her teeth all the way through dinner. Her appetite was nonexistent, but she muddled through the five-course meal anyway. Everyone seemed to be interested in the handsome, charming attorney seated diagonally across from her. They all had thousands of questions about the case and about the relationship he and Dee once shared. Unfortunately, Parrish was all too willing to discuss the latter.

“Parrish, was Dee the newshound back then that she is today?” Lena Martin asked, her eyes lingering on Parrish’s attractive features.

Parrish smiled at the lovely woman that had been flirting with him all evening. “Well, back then, Misha was more interested in keeping things calm rather that stirring things up.” He answered, staring at Dee.

“That’s not true Parry.” Dee calmly replied, even though she felt her temper rising.

Parrish gave a small smile, tapping his finger to the cleft in his chin. “It’s true enough. I mean, that is why we broke up isn’t it?” He countered.

Dee felt her heart drop to her stomach. Before she could respond, her phone buzzed. “Excuse me.” She said quickly, as she rose from the table.

“Yeah it’s me.” She was saying into the receiver less than a minute later.

George Royale, the copy editor, was on the other end. “Dee Dee, you need to get over here right now. John Charles wants the story about the photo on the front page.”

“But, I haven’t had a chance to talk to Parrish about it yet.”

“Too bad baby. It’s on the January twenty-first front page.”

“What about the police?”

“Taken care of. John Charles wouldn’t hold back the info. They just finished arguing before I called you and nobody’s been able to get in touch with Jeffries all day.”

“Damn.” Dee muttered, “Okay I’ll be over in a little while.” She told George, before hanging up. She was actually happy the story had made the front page. She just wanted to tell Parrish about it first. “I’ll just worry about that later.” She said, headed back into the diningroom.

“I’m sorry everybody, but I need to make a quick trip to the paper.” She headed over to Joel.

Her fiance frowned slightly. “You have to go to Queens tonight?” He asked.

“Yeah Dee, can’t the paper wait? It’s so late?” Someone else said.

“I wish it could, but it’s very important.” She reasoned. Bending down to Joel, she whispered in his ear. “I’ll call you baby.” Kissing his cheek, she stood. Parrish was glaring at her murderously when she looked over at him. That look stayed with her all the way to Queens.

***

“I hope you didn’t come over here and show your ass earlier.” Sheila whispered angrily to her brother later that evening.

Parrish grimaced and tossed back the rest of his Hennessey.                                                 Everyone met in the livingroom after dinner for drinks. All Parrish wanted to do was get out of there, but he knew he’d have to deal with Sheila if he left too soon.

“The least you could do is pretend to be in a good mood.” Sheila suggested.

Parrish cast a fierce frown at his sister. “Don’t even try it. I’ve been nothing but sociable since I got here.”

“Bull, you’ve been actin’ like a moody child ever since Dee left.”

“I still can’t believe she’s stayin’ here.” Sleeping with that guy, he silently added.

“Well there’s nothin’ you can do about it.” Sheila mumbled.

“We’ll see.”

“Parrish!”

Sheila and Parrish turned to see Joel hurrying towards them. Joel smiled at Sheila, then took Parrish’s hand in a firm shake.

“So how do you think the case is going so far?” Joel asked, crossing his arms over his chest.

Parrish sighed. “Well, I wish the investigation would move along more quickly. I hate seein’ that kid worry about his freedom, when I know he’s innocent.”

Joel patted Parrish’s shoulder. “It’ll work out. Somebody up there was smilin’ on that boy when you picked up his case.”

As Parrish talked with Joel, he tried to keep his dislike under wraps. Soon though, he found that it was hard not to like the man. It was obvious that Joel Monroe was a kind soul. Unfortunately, that would make the situation with Dee even tougher. He wasn’t about to let anything stop him from getting her back.

 

 CHAPTER SIX

Dee spent two hours rewriting her story and talking with George Royale about the finally layout. She hadn’t bothered to change clothes before she left Joel’s and the strappy pumps were killing her feet. It was 12:15am when she finally dragged herself out of the building and to her car.

Dee was very weary and her senses were dulled, so she didn’t hear the footsteps behind her. The man dressed in black followed her until she’d almost made it to her car. When his arms closed around her from behind, she let out a terrified scream. The man desperately tried to drag her down, but Dee gave him a fight. Frightened as she was, Dee was determined not to go down easily. They struggled for a few minutes more, when Dee heard the stranger grunt in pain. His arms fell away from her and she sprinted for her car. Looking behind her, she saw Parrish pounding the man viciously. Blood spurted from the stranger’s nose and upper lip, Dee almost felt sorry for him. A beating from Parrish Jeffries wasn’t something a person was soon to forget.

Relief washed over Dee, when she saw two security guards running towards them. Parrish stopped hitting the man and watched him drop to the ground.

“What’s the problem over here?!” One of the guards said, as he knelt by the injured man. The other guard held onto Parrish.

Parrish shrugged off the guards hold. “This son of a bitch just attacked her. That’s what the problem is!”

Both guards looked over at Dee as she walked closer to the scene. “You okay Dee Dee?” They both asked.

“I’m fine guys, thanks.” She replied, smiling weakly.

Parrish turned and frowned at her. “What the hell are you thanking them for?” He questioned, before turning back to the guards.  “And where the hell were you? Do you know what this jackass could’ve done to her if I hadn’t been here?”

“Well?” Parrish demanded, when the guards just stared at him with guilty expressions.

“Parrish.” Dee tried to calm him down, placing her hands around one of his arms. “Guys, just take him away.” She said, gesturing to the man lying on the ground.

Parrish shook his head as he watched the two guards cart the man away. “Who hired those clowns?” He asked, wiping his hands with a handkerchief.

Dee smiled at him and took the handkerchief, finishing the job. “What are you doing here?” She softly asked.

“I wanted to talk to you. I’m glad I was here.”

“Me too…but I better go.” She handed him the handkerchief and turned towards her Altima.

“I’ll be right behind you.” Parrish said, heading towards his own car.

“What?”

“I’m not letting you out of my sight.”

Dee knew better than to argue with Parrish when he got like that, so she turned to her car once more. In a matter of seconds, they were both pulling out of the parking lot.

***

In no time at all, Dee and Parrish were pulling up in front of her home. Dee parked her car and waited for Parrish to pull up beside her. When he shut down the SUV and got out, she frowned.

“Where are you going?”

“Inside with you.”

“Parrish, there’s really no need-”

“Dee please don’t argue with me. Not tonight.”

Dee wasn’t in the mood for a confrontation with Parrish, so she didn’t argue with him. When they reached the front door, she decided that enough was enough.

“There. Door is opened, I’m safe. You can leave now.”

Parrish ushered her inside and removed his coat. “Go change your clothes. I’ll make you some tea.”

Dee was becoming more and more frustrated. “Parry, I’m fine and I don’t need…” She trailed away, realizing she was being completely ignored as she watched Parrish walk off to find her kitchen. Letting out a long sigh, she headed to her bedroom.

***

Dee had to admit that she felt much better after getting out of the dress and those pumps. She changed into a pair of navy blue sweat pants and a cut-off T-shirt. Then, she came into the livingroom and took a seat on the sofa.

Parrish watched as she got comfortable on the couch, a smile crossing his handsome face. Damn, she’d scared him half to death tonight. The attacker in the parking lot was the rotten cherry on top of an aggravating evening. When she’d answered the door wearing that robe, he felt his temper snap. He knew she still loved him. He could see it every time she looked at him. But he knew her. She wouldn’t hurt Joel. Heaving a frustrated sigh, he walked into the livingroom.

Dee tried to keep her eyes from widening as she watched Parrish. He looked right at home and part of her wanted him to stay the night.

“Here, drink this.” He gruffly ordered, handing her a cup of tea.

Dee took the cup and sipped some of the hot liquid. “What did you put in this?” She questioned.

“Nothing. Drink it.” He demanded, taking a seat on the opposite end of the sofa.

The livingroom was quiet for a moment. Then, the quietness began to make Dee nervous. Clearing her throat softly, she tried to make conversation.

“Thank you again for tonight Parry.”

He watched her for a while. “No problem. I’m just glad I was there. This was something worth fighting for.”

Dee caught his meaning, but chose not to comment. “I guess you want to know what was so important that I had to run out like that?”

“Actually I was wondering why Joel let you go so easily.” He said smoothly, leaning back on the sofa.

Dee’s dark brown eyes narrowed. “Joel knows how demanding my career is and he doesn’t tell me what to do.”

“Obviously.”

“Do you want to know why I was at the paper or not?” She finally snapped.

“Why were you at the paper Misha?” Parrish softly asked, a grin teasing the corner of his mouth.

She sighed and rolled her eyes at him. “I found proof that Julian is innocent.”

Parrish’s heavy brows drew together in confusion. “What?”

“That day I had the meeting with some of Julian’s friends, I saw this picture taken on the day of the murder. I didn’t realize that at the time, but when I finally got the picture, I realized that the clock in the park where the picture was taken showed the time as being seven-twenty. Julian’s friend who took the picture, has a camera that even gives the exact time the photo was taken on the back. Zero seven, twenty and fifteen seconds.”

“I’ll be damned.” Parrish breathed.

“Mmm hmm…there is no way Julian could’ve made it from Brooklyn to New York City in time to commit that murder.”

“This is unbelievable.” Parrish breathed.

“The police have probably been trying to reach you all day to tell you about it.” Dee said as she watched him tap one finger to the cleft in his chin. “Parry you aren’t upset with me, are you?”

Parrish looked over and frowned at her slightly. “For what?”

“Well,” She said, turning to face him more directly on the couch, “for finding out about the picture before you?”

“Hell no, baby. You’ve just found evidence that gives my client an alibi. Besides, I know you could never beat me in the courtroom, so my job is safe.” He playfully added.

Dee shook her head, before she hit him with one of the soft pillows on the sofa. Parrish picked up a pillow and followed suit. The pillow fight became increasingly rough. Parrish got in a few good hits, but Dee was clearly winning. She had her pillow poised for a good hit, when Parrish grabbed her wrist and took the pillow away from her. Then, he tugged her forward and she fell on top of him. The teasing look on his face vanished as one hand delved into her thick hair. Dee felt her heartbeat speed up as Parrish met her lips with his. She gasped, allowing his tongue entrance past her full lips. His tongue rubbed roughly over and under hers while his hands caressed her back beneath her T-shirt.

Suddenly, Parrish flipped her over, kissing her thoroughly, Dee moaned when she felt his hand under the soft cotton top, teasing her nipples. Parrish tore his mouth away from hers and blazed a trail from her neck to her breast. His sensuous mouth worked over the fullness of one soft mound while his fingers teased the other. Dee could do nothing but gasp his name as her hands played over his hair.

Parrish’s feverish kisses moved lower. He heard a deep moan when he kissed her navel. Pulling her thighs apart, he kissed the very center of her through her clothing.

Dee wanted to surrender to the erotic invitation Parrish was holding out, but she knew she couldn’t. She shouldn’t. She began pushing at his head and Parrish looked up at her.

“What?” He softly asked.

Dee looked away from his beautiful eyes and stared up at the ceiling. “Parry we shouldn’t be doing this. It isn’t right.”

Parrish moved back up over Dee and began kissing her neck again. “It feels right, doesn’t it?” He asked.

Dee tugged his head back to hers and they kissed again. It had been so long since they touched that way and she didn’t want to let him go, but she had to. “We can’t-”

“Why can’t we?” Parrish queried when he raised his head to look at her.

“Parrish it’s obvious that Joel’s nothing like you. But he is sweet and he’s been very good to me.”

“Hmph it sounds more like gratitude than love.”

Dee couldn’t admit to Parrish or even herself that that may have been true. It was best just to do her best to keep this whole thing with Parrish from getting too far out of hand.

Parrish was still lying on top of her. His strong fingers began a leisurely trace of her face as his warm brown eyes gazed down at her. “I don’t get the attraction.” He whispered.

Dee turned her face away. “It goes beyond that Parry.”

“But stops at the bedroom, right?”

Dee snapped her lovely eyes to Parrish’s handsome face looming above her. “I wish you’d stop saying things like that.”

“Why?” He challenged, lowering his lips to the side of her neck. “Because it’s true?”

“Parrish-”

He raised his head to stare at her. “I know he doesn’t satisfy you. Not the way I did.”

“We were kids then Parry and there have been others since you.” Dee informed him, her voice slightly shaky.

Parrish lowered his head, accepting the comment. “But you’re marrying this one.”

Dee sighed and tried to keep her mind off Parrish’s fingers caressing her satin skin beneath the neckline of her T-shirt. “There’s more to a marriage than…sex.” She softly replied.

Parrish’s brows drew together as he gave her a hurt look. “But, it’s one of the best parts.” He whispered and lowered his mouth to hers.

Dee cried out as soon as Parrish’s lips and touched her own. It gave him the chance to slide his tongue into the dark cavern of her mouth. She melted further into the sofa’s thick cushions as the kiss deepened. When Parrish wound his strong fingers around the waistband of her sweatpants, Dee snapped back to reality.

“Parry…please.” She moaned, as he kissed her.

“Please what?”

“Don’t.”

When he stopped and looked down at her Dee felt such sadness that she couldn’t say another word. He didn’t press her. He knew she still wanted him and that was enough…for now. Without a word, he kissed Dee on the tip of her nose and got off the couch. Then, he was gone.

***

January 20- 12:45pm

 

“Dammit.” Dee hissed as she sucked on her burned finger. She’d been in a state of clumsiness ever since Parrish left the night before.

Today, she wasn’t in any mood to go to the paper, but she had promised Sheila they’d get together. It had been a long time since the two of them had had an afternoon out and she was looking forward to it. Dee could only hope she didn’t run into Parrish. What happened between them last night had forced her to do some serious thinking. Until Parrish came back to town, she was certain she wanted to marry Joel. Now, she wasn’t so sure. Joel was a wonderful man, but Dee didn’t know if she could marry him. It was obvious that she’d been fooling herself into believing that she was over Parrish. When she saw him that first day he’d come to town, she knew it wasn’t over.

Letting out a tired sigh, she unplugged the slide iron she burned her finger on. Checking her appearance in the mirror, she nodded. Her wrapped hairstyle complimented her face as perfectly as the leather jacket over the white T-shirt and blue jeans complimented her figure.

***

“What took you so long?” Sheila asked, frowning at her friend.

“Don’t worry about it. Are you ready?” Dee asked, looking at Sheila expectantly.

“Yeah.” Sheila said, turning to get her purse and jacket. “I like your hair, ’bout time you try somethin’ new.”

Dee gave her friend a phony smile. “Funny.”

When the two young women finally made it to Sheila’s car, Sheila let out a fierce curse.

“What’s wrong?” Dee asked.

Sheila’s voice was muffled as she searched her purse. “Can’t find my keys.”

Dee shook her head at her friend and turned to lean against the car door. A large, shiny key ring caught her attention a few seconds later. It was dangling from the front door.

“Sheila.” Dee called and the girl looked up with a lost expression on her face. Dee pointed to the front door and shook her head as she watched her friend run to the front door and grab her keys.

“Shut up.” Sheila warned.

“What?” Dee innocently replied, her double dimples becoming more visible.

***

“So what’s up with you and Paris?” Sheila was asking later while they browsed through a popular lingerie store.

Dee didn’t bother to look up as she went through some lace teddies. “What do you mean?”

“Oh please, you know damn well what I mean.”

“Sheila what do you want me to say? We see each other to discuss the case, if that’s what you’re talkin’ about.” Dee replied.

“Dee Dee this is me, Sheila. Now I saw how you two were staring at each other at the party.”

Dee’s head snapped up. “Staring at each other?”

“Mmm hmm…anybody could see that you two still have feelings for each other and I’m not talking about ‘professional’ feelings.”

Dee took a seat on one of the cushioned high-back chairs outside the dressing rooms. “I wonder if Joel noticed.”

Sheila’s naturally arched brows rose in faint surprise. “So I was right.” She said.

Dee let out a long sigh and shook her head. “I don’t know what’s right. I really thought I wanted to marry Joel, but since Parrish came back, I’ve been having a lot of second thoughts. I mean, Sheila, Joel’s a great man, but I just don’t feel the way a woman should feel about the man she’s about to marry. But…”

“What?”

“I don’t want to give up Joel chasing after some dream with Parrish. Joel is so safe and stable and Parrish is so hotheaded and arrogant…Am I being selfish?”

“Mmm hmm…plus you’re scared and I understand that. But, you have to be fair to Joel.”

“I just don’t know.” Dee said in a small voice.

Sheila didn’t say anything, figuring Dee had given herself enough to think about. “Are you getting those?” She asked, instead, pointing to the two teddies Dee was holding

“Yeah.” She tiredly replied. “I don’t know if I’ll be using them anytime soon though.”

***

Dee and Sheila did a little more shopping, then stopped to get something to eat. By the time they made it back to Sheila’s house, it was past 9:00pm.

“Girl, why don’t you just stay here tonight?” Sheila offered.

“No, I have too much work to do at home, but thanks.”

“Well then stay a little longer so we can pig out and talk.”

Dee knew she needed to get home, but she had such a good time that she wasn’t ready for it to end either. “Alright, but just for an hour or two.”

“Good.” Sheila said, her face brightening. She began taking off her coat, then stopped. “Dammit, I don’t have a thing to pig out with. I’m gonna run down to the store right quick alright?”

“Hurry up!” Dee called as she headed upstairs.

***

While Sheila was gone, Dee tried on the five pieces of lingerie and two outfits she bought during the shopping trip. She decided to try on the lingerie last. When she slipped into a black, lace teddy, she heard the doorbell.

Sheila. Dee thought, shaking her head. “Girl, you need to tie your keys-” Dee began, as she flung the door open, “around your neck.” She finished breathlessly as she stared into Parrish’s gorgeous face. “Oh my God.” She whispered, looking away.

The last thing Parrish expected to see on the other side of his sister’s door was Dee. Especially Dee looking so delicious. He couldn’t control his eye as they lowered from her beautiful face. She might as well as have been naked, since the black lace his nothing. The confining material of the teddy almost made her breasts spill from the bodice while her round bottom was more emphasized.

“For me?” He asked, coming through the door and pushing it closed behind him.

“You wish.” Dee replied, as she backed away from him. She came to a halt as her back touched the stairway’s rounded banister.

“Nice.” Parrish complimented as he stood close to her. One massive hand ran down the length of her neck, down her chest, past her waist and caressed her thighs. “Very nice.”

“Thank you.” Dee shakily replied. Parrish’s natural sexiness, combined with the hypnotic scent of his cologne was very hard to resist.

One of Parrish’s iron arms wrapped around her waist and he pulled Dee next to him. His head dipped to one side and he was pressing wet kisses to her soft neck. Dee moaned as she ran her hands over the expensive leather jacket he wore. Her nails seared his back as she arched her voluptuous body into his hard, muscular one.

The deep rumbling sound that came from Parrish’s wide chest almost made Dee completely surrender to him. Her back was against the stairway bannister when they were interrupted by the scratching of a key in the lock.

The two of them fell apart as if they had been scorched. Their gazes held while they just stood there.

Sheila walked inside and did a double take when she saw them standing there. Her eyes widened as she took in Dee’s attire.

“Am I interrupting something?” She innocently asked.

Parrish shot his little sister a murderous look as he turned away and walked into the livingroom. Dee just ran her hands through her long hair.

“Sheila, I’m going home. We can do this another time okay?” She said.

“That’s fine girl, I’ll call you.”

Dee just nodded and went back upstairs to get dressed.

 

 

CHAPTER SEVEN

“Don’t Sheila.” Parrish said to his sister when she walked into the livingroom.

“What?” Sheila replied in an irritated voice. “This is my house I come home when I get ready.” She informed him.

Parrish leaned his head back on the couch, propping his long legs up. “I know that. I just don’t want to talk about what happened, okay?”

“Fine.” Sheila replied, heading into her kitchen.

Dee came downstairs right after Sheila left the room. “Parry, where’s Sheila?” She asked.

Before Parrish could respond, his sister came from the kitchen. “You leaving Dee?”

“Mmm hmm. I just came to say goodnight.” Dee replied, staring at Parrish.

“Alright.” Sheila was saying as they walked to the front door. “Call me.” She said.

After Dee drove away, Sheila closed the door and was getting ready to go upstairs. Reconsidering, she went back into the livingroom.

“Paris, I know I said I wasn’t going to say anything, but I can’t help it. You and Dee are driving me crazy!”

“Driving you crazy?”

“What’s going on? Please talk to me.”

“Baby girl, I have no idea. You need to talk to your friend.” He said, getting up and pacing the room.

“I know she doesn’t love that guy, and she won’t give us a chance.” Parrish continued. “She just can’t believe that I’m not the same hotheaded kid she broke up with.”

“Paris.” Sheila sighed, giving her brother a doubtful look.

“Sheila please.”

“No listen. You’re right, Dee does love you. I think she loves you so much that she’s afraid to take you back only to let you go again.”

“She won’t have to.”

“Maybe not, but she’s not sure of that. Joel is safe, stable, sensitive-”

“Boring.” Parrish added.

“Maybe, but Dee obviously saw something in him that made her love him.”

“Well you know what? I don’t care. I want her back. I love her and I’m going to have her.” Parrish assured his sister with fierce certainty.

***

12:15am

 

After Dee got home, she tried to do a little work, but thoughts of Parrish made that impossible. Instead, she took a bath and changed into a T-shirt and a pair of cutoffs. She was on her way to bed with a cup of hot cocoa, when she heard the doorbell.

Dee wasn’t surprised when she saw Parrish’s tall, athletic frame leaning against the doorjamb.

“What?” She asked, shortly.

“We need to talk.”

“About?” She countered, still refusing to let him inside.

Parrish’s eyes narrowed and he felt his temper rising. “You   know.”

Dee ran a hand through her thick hair. “I’m not in the mood for company.”

“Tough.” He said, and walked past her.

Dee slammed the front door viciously and stomped behind him into the livingroom. “Why do you always have to be this way?”

Parrish sighed and rolled his eyes. “I guess you wish I were more like Joel?”

“Don’t bring him into this.” Dee softly requested.

“Why?”

Dee just stared at him, then shook her head signifying that she’d had enough.

Parrish dropped his muscular body onto her couch and leaned his head back. “Dee believe it or not, but I don’t want to fight. I didn’t come here for this.” He said, pressing a finger to the cleft in his chin.

His soft-spoken manner caught Dee off guard. “What did you come for?” She asked, her voice shaky.

Parrish’s brown eyes shot her an intense look. “I came to convince you that I’d changed.”

“Oh really?” Dee asked, sounding very doubtful.

“Mmm hmm…”

Dee stared at him for a long time, almost melting beneath his sexy, brown gaze. “No…” She said, shaking her head. “It’s just too late.”

Parrish pulled himself up off the couch. “I don’t believe that.” He said, coming to stand behind her. He placed his large hands around her waist and pulled her back against him. A small smile crossed his handsome face, when he heard her gasp. “Is it really too late Misha?” He asked, his perfect teeth nipping at her ear.

Dee wanted to resist, but she found herself pushing closer against Parrish aching to feel his caress.

Still standing behind her, Parrish placed one hand beneath the T-shirt she wore. He began stroking the smooth skin of her flat stomach. Dee moaned while his other hand undid the button of her cutoffs and unzipped them. His hand delved beneath the lacy fabric of her panties to the moist, hot center of her.

“Parry…”She sighed, as his touch continued and her legs shifted further apart. Parrish stopped the caress so that he could lift her into his arms. Finding the long hallway, he figured her bedroom was the one with the light still on. He was right.

 

Dee felt herself being lowered onto her queen-sized bed. The room was dark except for the shallow light coming from the bathroom.

As Parrish pressed soft, moist kisses to the side of her neck. He slid off her cutoffs and panties. Leaving her neck, he pressed hot kisses through the T-shirt and to her bellybutton. Dee let out a loud gasp when she felt Parrish’s sensuous mouth at the very center of her. The only sounds Dee made were soft moans as Parrish’s tongue delved further into the heart of her.

Dee shifted restlessly against her soft sheets. Reaching down, she squirmed out of her T-shirt, then ran her hands over Parrish’s soft hair. After a while, he moved up and over her and they kissed deeply. When he moved away, Dee pulled at his tongue with her lips. She wanted him to kiss her again and he didn’t disappoint her.

As they kissed, Dee ran her hands down the length of Parrish’s hard body. When she found the buckle of his belt she undid it. Parrish broke off the kiss and moved off the bed in order to pull away the rest of his clothes.

Dee stared at him from her position on the bed. Her long lashes fluttered close when she saw the full extent of his maleness. Parrish grasped one of her small feet and brought it up to his mouth. Dee let out a deep moan as Parrish’s tongue and sexy lips suckled each polished toe. She could feel the moisture as the caress travelled up the long, shapely length of her legs and thighs. Parrish stopped briefly again at the junction of her thighs, then moved up to kiss her navel. Settling himself between her satiny thighs, he feasted on her full breasts for a while. Dee could barely think, as she held his head close to her chest while her legs wrapped around his heavily muscled back.

Dee’s pretty eyes closed as she enjoyed his touch. After moving past her chest and nipping at her neck for several seconds, Parrish raised his head to stare into her lovely face. Dee’s breathing came in short, rapid bursts when she felt his long, hard length next to her.

“Look at me.” Dee heard him say. She opened her eyes and stared into his gorgeous brown ones as he slowly entered her. Parrish’s lashes closed as he felt Dee’s heat surrounding him.

He dropped his head onto her shoulder while he moved inside her. Dee gasped Parrish’s name softly as his hardness completely filled her. Her fingers teased his chest, stopping briefly at the scar he had from the bullet twelve years ago. Dee pulled her full lower lip between her teeth as Parrish slid mercilessly in and out. She concentrated on the exquisite sensations that coursed through her body.

***

January 21, 1997- 8:47am

 

The dreary skies outside the next morning, matched Dee’s mood perfectly. In spite of everything, last night with Parrish was perfect. It had been so long since they had been together that way. Still, she couldn’t keep her thoughts off Joel. He had been so good to her and she knew he loved her deeply. Dee didn’t know if she had the heart to tell him the truth, but he didn’t deserve anything less.

Turning on her side, Dee looked at Parrish. Even during sleep, he was gorgeous. His sexy eyes, under a pair of sleek, heavy brows, the length of his nose, the deep cleft in his chin and that mouth… Dee always loved him. Sighing at her dilemma, Dee eased herself from the comfortable bed. Donning a long, emerald silk robe, she went downstairs.

Dee had been in the livingroom for fifteen minutes reading the morning paper, when Parrish arrived downstairs. Dee pushed a lock of hair behind her ear as she watched him come into the livingroom. With an effort, she tore her eyes away from his intense gaze. She focused instead on his bare chest and the jeans that hung well below his waist.

“Morning Parry.” Dee lightly greeted, before looking back at the paper.

Parrish towered over her for a moment, before he grabbed her behind the neck and tilted her head back to meet his kiss. Dee tried to ignore the erotic sensations rising in her, but she still responded to Parrish’s deep kiss. As the kiss became wetter and hotter, Parrish began to lower her to the couch.

“No Parrish.” Dee managed, getting up from the couch and pulling her robe together.

Parrish’s onyx brows drew together in confusion. “What?” He asked, taking a seat on the arm of the chair.

Dee tensed at his aggravated tone, but answered anyway. “Last night-”

“What about it?”

“I can’t do that again.”

“What the hell are you saying?”

“We can’t sleep together again. I shouldn’t have done it in the first place.”

Parrish got up from his seat at that point. “You didn’t think about that last night did you?” He shot at her.

Dee’s own temper heated at that point as well. “Don’t play interrogator with me Parrish.” She warned.

“Maybe someone should. You have no idea who or what you want. Then again, maybe you do.”

“Meaning?”

Parrish leaned against a bookshelf. “Well judging from your enthusiastic response to me last night and your goody two shoes act this morning, I’d say you’d love it if you could have Joel’s personality and my body wrapped in one package.”

Dee’s dark eyes narrowed in anger. “Get out.” She softly ordered.

“Hmm…Looks like I’ve hit a nerve.” He smugly stated.

Dee clenched her fists to her sides and closed her eyes. “I said, get out.” She gave him her back to consider.

Parrish’s eyes travelled over her thick hair, piled loosely on the top of her head and down the graceful line of her back. Then, he shook his head as if to clear it. Walking over to her, he bent to whisper in her ear. “Let me tell you somethin’ Misha, a man like Joel Monroe will only give you a boring marriage and even more boring sex.” He told her out of sheer spite, then pressed a soft kiss to the corner of her ear.

Dee whirled around and laid a cracking slap to the side of Parrish’s face just then. He stared at her in disbelief, before grabbing her arms in a vice grip and pushing her to the sofa.

“Parrish no!” Dee called as she pressed against him for all the good it did her.

Parrish, on the other hand, let his touch do the talking. He lowered his mouth to the side of Dee’s neck, while his large hands busied themselves undoing the ties of her robe.

A low moan escaped one of them when Parrish cupped Dee’s full breast. He pulled the tip between his teeth and suckled gently. The nipple rose to a hard bud which he kept pulling as his other hand lowered to her thighs.

“Parrish I can’t.” Dee whispered, even as her legs shifted apart to allow his fingers to play in her creamy moisture. She had to pull her lower lip between her teeth to smother the screams resulting from the intense pleasure she felt.

In no time, Parrish had pulled the robe away from Dee and had removed his pants. He cupped Dee’s full derriere and held her in place for him. At that point, Dee wasn’t thinking about controlling her cries. The intensity of Parrish’s thrusts had her full attention. Each time his long, steely length caressed her, she circled her hips in a purely erotic gesture. Luckily, she managed to bring her loud throaty cries to not more than a whimper. Just then, she heard knocking at the front door. Dee managed to move from beneath Parrish and run to the livingroom windows. When she spotted Joel’s car out front, she almost fainted.

“Oh God.” She groaned.

“What?” Parrish asked, lounging back on the sofa as though he didn’t have a care in the world.

Dee whirled around and rushed toward the sofa. “You have to go upstairs.” She frantically whispered, tugging at his hand.

“For what?”

“It’s Joel, he’s outside. Come on!”

Parrish smirked, clearly enjoying the moment. “Well just be quiet and he’ll think you’re gone.” He reasoned, pulling Dee back on top of him.

“Parrish.” Dee whispered, trying to push his seeking lips away from her breasts. “Will you stop it now?” She cried, cursing as Joel’s knocks became louder.

Parrish finally had enough of the teasing and slowly got up from the sofa. Dee pressed her hands to the small of his wide, muscled back and urged him up the stairs.

“Wait!”

Parrish turned and gazed at her expectantly. He watched Dee run back to the couch and throw his jeans to him. He gave her a lingering stare before continuing on upstairs.

“What took you so long?” Joel asked, frowning slightly at Dee when she finally pulled the door open.

“I uh…it’s early and I was still asleep.”

“Are you alright?” Joel asked, taking in her disheveled appearance.

“I’m fine.” Dee assured him. “Come on in the kitchen.” She mumbled, hustling Joel out of the livingroom.

“I think I’ll make you some breakfast. You look like you need it.” Joel decided, walking over to the huge white refrigerator.

Dee pressed one hand to her chest and ran the other through her silky hair. “Thanks um lemme go wash my face.” She told him and hurried out of the kitchen.

When she made it upstairs and inside her room, Dee heard the shower running. Hurrying inside the bathroom, she was horrified to find Parrish helping himself.

“What the hell are you doing?” She screamed, pulling the glass door open.

Parrish continued massaging the steamy water and soap into his sleek, dark skin. “What does it look like?”

Dee closed her eyes to shut out the delicious picture he made. “Parry listen, you can’t do this now!”

Parrish stopped and looked at her. “What? You need me for somethin’ else?” He reached out of the shower to pull her toward him.

Dee slapped at his heavy shoulder. “Will you stop and get the hell out?”

“Like this?” Parrish asked, feigning surprise at her orders.

“Get your clothes and come downstairs. I’ll be in the kitchen talking to Joel.”

“Ah Misha, you want me to be there when you tell him about us?” He purposely misunderstood her plan.

Dee gave him a sour stare, but continued. “After you’re sure no one is in the livingroom, just go out the front door.”

A deadly serious look crossed Parrish’s handsome dark face then. “I don’t like to sneak around Dee.” He told her.

Dee could only shrug. “Well now you see why we can’t do this again.” She replied, before leaving the bathroom.

When she made it back downstairs, she had changed back into her jogging pants and T-shirt from the night before. Joel already had breakfast underway and Dee heaved a sigh of relief. She hadn’t been sitting at the breakfast nook ten minutes, when she heard the front door slam.

Joel frowned and looked away from the stove. “What was that?”

“Probably nothing, I’ll be right back.” Dee called as she hurried from the kitchen. After making sure Joel hadn’t followed her into the livingroom, she walked over to the drapes and peeked out. She watched Parrish get in his car and drive off. The murderous look on his face told her that he was struggling to control his temper.

On her way back to the kitchen, the phone rang and she rushed to answer, hoping Parrish hadn’t decided to call her from his car.

“Yes?”

“Dee?”

“Oh…hey Ma.”

“Hi. Listen, I almost have everything for you father’s birthday party together. Now you will be able to make it won’t you?”

Dee toyed with a lock of her hair. “Mmm hmm, I told you I could just tell me when and where.”

Thelma was satisfied. “Well one more thing…”

“What?”

“David wants Parrish there and…so do I, so you should be prepared to see him.”

Dee wasn’t at all surprised by the news, but she didn’t say a thing. Parrish’s little visit to New York had succeeded in shaking up every corner of her life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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