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.
“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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
“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.
“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.”
“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.
“I love you.” She breathlessly replied.
“Don’t ever leave me, Misha.”
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.
“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.
“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.