Reluctantly putting their kiss on pause, Delia withdrew from Royal and turned to address the two men from her past. “Yeah, it’s me,” she said, giving them a genuine smile, despite her slight irritation at being interrupted from what promised to be the smooch of a lifetime.
“I thought that was you, girl. What’s up?” Millsap replied, grabbing hold of that smile like he’d just been given a million bucks.
That secret crush he’d had on Delia for years gained even more energy within him. It refused to be suppressed any longer. Especially with all signs pointing to her heart being completely healed now. Unfortunately, it looked like another man had already put dibs on Delia’s heart.
Not for long if I have anything to say about it, Millsap thought, determined to finally lay claim to someone that he deemed to be a hustler’s ideal woman. The kind of woman that understood the game and knew what it took to be with a man in a high risk environment.
“I’ve been up to a little bit of everything. How y’all doing?” Delia looked from Millsap to Mike-Mike in turn as she spoke. No need to ask what they were doing in
“We keepin’ it popping. You know how we do.” Millsap grinned, plucking the collar of the expensive black jacket he had on with emphasis.
“Boy, you still crazy.” Delia chuckled at his animated reaction. “Listen, I want y’all to meet my…new man, Royal,” she said, stumbling over her introduction for some reason.
Unknown to Millsap, that stumbling was caused by one thing and one thing only - a secret. That secret: Delia and Royal were married. Had been for months now. Unfortunately, they weren’t at liberty to announce it yet due to lingering opposition from her eldest son.
“Royal, this is Millsap and Mike-Mike, old friends of mine from
“Nice to meet you,” Royal said, courteously extending his hand towards the more talkative man first.
Millsap’s eyes narrowed at Royal. “What’s up, playa?” His handshake was reluctant.
“Nothing much,” Royal replied, moving on to Mike-Mike, whose handshake was a lot more willing. “We’re just here to watch the show.”
“I didn’t know I liked drag racing myself until Royal brought me today,” Delia replied, suddenly realizing something she’d overlooked before – Millsap was interested in her!
No wonder he hadn’t responded well to her attempts to match him up with Cami. No wonder he was looking at her with so much open interest right now.
“Now I love it,” Delia added, affectionately putting her arms about Royal’s waist to show that she loved him, too.
Millsap shrugged off the obvious and then continued to subtly try to woo her away. “How them kids doing? I heard you had one more after you left. A little girl. I bet she’s pretty just like her mama.”
“They’re all fine,” Delia replied, ignoring his compliment. “My daughter’s name is Tess. In fact, Royal here delivered her.” She gazed lovingly up into her man’s eyes when she said that last part.
Millsap bristled at that amorous look. Jealousy singed his heart. Why couldn’t she look at him that way?
“You a doctor, man?” Mike-Mike asked, speaking up for the first time, though he’d been watching the interactions very closely.
“Yes, an OB/GYN,” Royal replied, addressing the more affable man.
Millsap’s eyes narrowed again as he realized it was going to be even harder to woo Delia now. Before she’d been with one of the top three generals in
“Cool,” Mike-Mike said, looking impressed by Delia’s ability to snag a man like Royal. Especially with her past. Did the good doctor even know about her past?
As if he was thinking along the same lines as his partner in crime, Millsap said, “We miss you in
Delia’s cheeks colored at that particular reminder of her past. Beside her, Royal stiffened as the tension within their little group rose.
“I guess Delia needed a change from
“Maybe these folks don’t understand Delia as much as they think. Maybe they never did. Otherwise they’d know that she and her kids needed a new life after that tragedy with E-Blade,” Royal countered again, standing his ground.
“Fellas, ain’t no need for all this,” Delia tried to intervene, looking anxious.
“Oh, there is definitely a need for all this and a little bit more,” Millsap replied, giving Royal a menacing look.
Since Millsap wouldn’t listen to reason, Delia turned pleading eyes towards Royal. “Baby, listen. Let’s just go.”
“Go? Why? The show isn’t over yet,” Royal replied with forced calmness, keeping steady eyes upon his enemy.
Fortunately Mike-Mike had chosen to remain neutral in this testosterone struggle over a female, so it was still a one-on-one situation. Had this been about a drug deal where buyers were usually outnumbered and outgunned by their suppliers, he would have quickly rallied on the side of his partner.
“Baby, this ain’t a guy you want to mess with,” Delia cautioned.
“I could care less who he is…” Royal’s voice trailed off as something greater than their argument suddenly caught his attention.
Sailing right for the back of Millsap’s head was the wayward wheel of a purple Mustang from the track directly behind them. It had somehow snapped loose from all the rubber the driver had burned during take-off.
Making the only decision he could, Royal pushed Delia aside for her own safety, then lunged for his rival. Fortunately, he knocked Millsap down just in time to avoid the man’s head being flattened from the impact of the propelling tire. He even pulled Mike-Mike down, too, though the other man had not been in any immediate danger.
With wide eyes, Delia watched Royal save the life of the man who’d practically threatened his life. If she hadn’t already been in love with him, she definitely would be now.
At first Millsap thought he was being attacked and so tried to push Royal off him immediately. However, when he saw that tire fly past where he’d been standing only seconds before, he knew that he’d just been saved.
Millsap also knew that the good doctor was a better man than him. He would have let the tire hit Royal, ensuring himself a place in Delia’s life as her new man once and for all. Now he felt ashamed of himself. Very ashamed.
“Everybody all right?” Royal asked, staring directly at Delia when he said that. She was his biggest concern. He had pushed her to the ground pretty hard a few seconds ago and needed to know that she was okay.
“I…I’m fine, baby,” Delia replied, giving Royal a ravenous gaze, as if she was actually turned on by his heroism.
For some reason that amorous look didn’t bother Millsap at all this time. Maybe he’d been changed by this near-death experience. Either way, he finally accepted the obvious and inevitable truth – Delia just wasn’t meant for him. She was meant for the good doctor. And Millsap was suddenly all right with that.
Royal seemed to almost forget what he was about to say next at Delia’s ardent look. He blinked rapidly and refocused. “You all right, man?” he asked Millsap, finally withdrawing from him.
“I’m cool,” Millsap replied, looking exactly how he felt - ashamed. “Thanks for looking out for a brotha.”
“No problem,” Royal told him with forgiving eyes. Then he turned to Mike-Mike. “What about you, man? Everything’s cool with you, too?”
“Yeah, I’m cool, too.” Mike-Mike grinned, moving to stand upright again. “What are you, the black
Royal chuckled and stood to his feet, as well. “No, I’m just a regular guy.” He quickly moved to help Delia upon her feet again as concerned people started to come their way.
“Don’t believe him, y’all,” Delia said, putting her arms about Royal’s torso. “This man is my very own superhero.” She moved even closer to him.
“I believe you.” Though shaken, Millsap finally rose to his feet. A new level of respect for Royal was in his eyes and tone now.
That was the last the foursome got to say to each other for a while as more people surrounded them, wanting to know if they were all without injury. Many wanted to talk to the man whose quick thinking and fast actions had saved at least one life today. Royal was even interviewed by a local television crew, which meant many more people would know what Millsap now did - that modern day heroes really did exist.
© 2008 by Suprina Frazier