Monday, October 20, 2008

Story Moving to VOD!


Here’s the link to gain access:

Keep in mind that the STORY OFFICIALLY MOVES TO THE V-O-D blog on TUESDAY NIGHT!
(I just posted earlier than expected because I was on a roll this morning)

Miss Opportunity - Ch. 44.4

When Cami was finally calm again, she wiped her face with tissue from her purse and continued shopping with her friend. She had to keep forcing some kind of normalcy in her life, lest she really lose her mind. If not for the grace of God and the frequent contact she had with Little Man, she might have lost her mind by now.

As they passed the aisle of feminine products, Cami suddenly realized that she hadn’t seen her other friend in a while. The friend that confirmed that she wasn’t pregnant every month.

“Good Lord!” Cami exclaimed loudly, stopping short in her tracks as she mentally counted backwards.

Due to all the drama in her life lately, she’d completely lost track of her cycle over the last few months. Cami thought the extra weight she’d gained was due to all the extra food she’d consumed as she tried to eat her way out of heartbreak.

“What’s wrong?” Towanna asked with wide eyes, looking at Cami with concern all over again.

“I just realized that I might be pregnant,” Cami whispered, suddenly caring a lot about being overheard now.

Towanna’s mouth fell open in shock. Recovering quickly, she immediately took charge of the situation. “Come on, girl. We about to buy every pregnancy test up in this store today,” she said, tugging Cami behind her with one hand while pushing the grocery cart with the other.

© 2008 by Suprina Frazier

Miss Opportunity - Ch. 44.3

The next day, Millsap felt a lot better about his life. He’d finally broken through his heartbreak enough to sleep with another woman. Now he was almost proud of himself.

Although Daysha still didn’t measure up to Cami in the bedroom, even with her new tricks, she was better than nothing. She was definitely a start in the right direction. The healed heart direction.

Deciding to go to his country home on that windy Saturday afternoon, Millsap got his mother to pick him up and take him to his jeep. He also retrieved his extra set of car keys from her.

The whole ride over, Bonnie kept talking about the smile on his face. About how he looked lighter and more relaxed now. Then she outright asked if he had a new woman in his life. If that was the reason behind his new attitude.

“Let’s just say that I decided to hook back up with one of my exes and leave it at that,” Millsap replied, keeping the bulk of his personal business to himself as usual.

“I hope it wasn’t Cami.” Bonnie frowned, behaving as if she hadn’t already heard the good news from Daysha.

“No, it’s not Cami,” Millsap concluded and then promptly switched subjects to a topic that she would really enjoy – another shopping spree. Daysha suggested that he send his mother on one since the seasons were about to change soon.

As expected, Bonnie completely forgot all about Millsap’s love life. The thrill of getting a new spring wardrobe had all of her attention now.

After dropping his mother off at her home along with one of his credit cards, Millsap stopped by the same twenty-four-hour supermarket that he always visited on his way out of town. He needed to buy a few groceries for his rural home, mostly perishable items since his cupboards stayed stocked to capacity.

Unknown to Millsap, Cami and Towanna were also in the store, getting food items for Mama Ingram on their way home from work. Millsap might have recognized Towanna’s white Buick if it hadn’t been recently painted gray. Had he known Cami was anywhere in the vicinity, he would have gone to another store…even if it was all the way on the other side of town.

Millsap didn’t find out Cami was in this store until he was one aisle over from her. He heard the sound of her voice as she conversed with her friend about forgetting something from the frozen food section.

His body instantly hardened from just the sound of Cami’s sweet voice. It was as if he hadn’t had sex in months instead of just last night. He frowned, resenting her ability to still affect him so easily.

Go get those pot pies, Millsap willed to Cami, wanting to put some distance between them. When he heard Towanna volunteer to get the missing items instead, his frown deepened. He cursed under his breath in frustration.

What Millsap heard next touched his heart, chased the anger away…and made him weak in the knees. He literally had to lean against the grocery cart and the nearby shelves to keep from falling to the ground.

What did Millsap hear?

He heard Cami singing along with the current tune filtering in through the store’s sound system. Though she was no great songstress like some of her other relatives, she could hold a decent note.

Yet Cami’s vocal ability wasn’t what Millsap focused on right now. What got to him was the words she sang and the way she sang them. Oh, did they get to him…

Deeply.

The song Cami sang was Jasmine Sullivan’s I Need U Bad. She was singing it with her whole heart. As if she really felt each and every word. She did…

Deeply.

“If I had you back in my world.

I would prove that I could be a better girl.

If you let me back in.

I would sho’ nuff never, never let you go again.”

By the time Cami started to sing the chorus, tears had entered her voice and her eyes. Towanna reentered the aisle just as some of those tears started to run down her friend’s cheeks.

“It’s going to be all right, girl,” Towanna soothingly told Cami as she wrapped her arms about her.

“When?!” Cami sobbed openly, uncaring who saw or heard her crying in so public a place. “When am I going to stop loving him? When am I going to stop wanting him back?” She choked on a sob. “I miss him, Towanna. I miss everything about him.” Her words grew angry. “What the heck was wrong with me to mess up something that good?”

Oh, baby, Millsap mused in anguish on the next aisle. Although he heard Daysha declare her love for him just last night, when Cami said those words they seemed to pierce his heart and echo in his soul. They made him want to reciprocate those sentiments, not just nod like he’d done with Daysha last night.

Almost everything in Millsap wanted to go to Cami and just…just make them both feel better right now. But he couldn’t. She was off limits to him again. Cami had crossed Millsap in one of the worst ways a woman could cross a man. If he went back to her, she might think she could do him like that again or worse.

Millsap couldn’t have that. As a result, he left his semi-full cart of groceries right there on the bread aisle and headed for the nearest exit. He’d get what he needed from another store. Right now he needed to get as far away from Cami as possible.

© 2008 by Suprina Frazier

* * *

To hear Jasmine Sullivan’s I Need U Bad:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCAFGoOfK8U&feature=related


Miss Opportunity - Ch. 44.2

Millsap was in a deep sleep when the sound of the door buzzer penetrated the air around him. He was going to ignore it, but the person on the other side of the apartment door just wouldn’t go away. At one point, whoever it was pressed the buzzer for at least five minutes straight.

Angry now, Millsap finally got out of bed and made his way to the door. Whoever this is, is getting cussed out, he mused, already thinking of a few choice words now.

However, when Millsap peered through the keyhole and saw Daysha, looking like an angel dressed in her white nurse’s uniform, all of his anger suddenly subsided. It was then that he realized how long it had been since he’d been with a woman. And although he couldn’t have the woman he really wanted, Daysha would do just fine tonight.

When that door flung opened, Daysha could care less that Millsap was drunk and was only about to sleep with her because he was lonely and still angry at Cami. She was just so glad to be back with him under any terms. She even showed Millsap some of the new tricks she’d learned, hoping that they would be enough to keep him all to herself this time.

* * *

Across town, Cami suddenly sprung upright in bed. Whereas she’d been sleeping soundly before, she was fully awake now. Her heart was racing. Her palms were sweating. Her first thought was of…

Millsap.

Cami took a deep breath and shook her head to clear it, unwilling to let him occupy space in her mind for a second longer than she had to. He’d already taken up so much space in her heart.

When that didn’t help, Cami got all the way out of bed, retrieved her iPod and started to clean her room like a mad woman to the tune of Daniel Bedingfield’s Gotta Get Thru This. That had become her theme song lately.

After she’d worn herself out cleaning a room that hadn’t been dirty in the first place, Cami took a shower...a cold one. Then she went back to bed with a big bag of chocolate chip cookies and the gold-trimmed Bible Mama Ingram bought her after her salvation.

Starting with the New Testament, Cami read and munched. Sadly, that whole bag of cookies was empty before she ever made it to Matthew 15. If she kept up all this late night snacking, she was going to be big as a house soon.

What was even sadder was the fact that Cami could care less about maintaining a healthy weight for her height now. As far as she was concerned, her sexy days were over. They ended the night she lost Millsap.

© 2008 by Suprina Frazier

* * *

To hear Daniel Bedingfield’s Gotta Get Thru This (acoustic version):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2_aqhcg3nKk

Miss Opportunity - Ch. 44.1

March

On a particularly lonely Friday night, Millsap got dropped off at his apartment by Mike-Mike. In his continual misery over his breakup with Cami, Millsap had too much to drink at the club and so couldn’t drive himself home. Which means his plans to drive to his country home tonight were also cancelled.

To make sure Millsap didn’t try to drive himself anywhere tonight, Mike-Mike took his friend’s car keys on his way out the door. Then he called Bonnie and told her not to give Millsap the spare keys that were located at her house if her son inquired about them.

“I won’t,” Bonnie agreed, not about to let her son drive drunk. She might not win the Mother of the Year award, but she didn’t really want her son to die any time soon. Not only did Bonnie love Millsap in her own unique way, she knew she could get more out of him if he were alive. Especially since he refused to make her the beneficiary in his will or on any of his life insurance policies.

“Thanks, Miss Bonnie,” Mike-Mike replied, driving to his own home now. Tonja was coming over after work and he wanted to be ready for her when she arrived.

After Bonnie hung up from Mike-Mike, she called her most favorite nurse in the world. “Hey, Daysha, it’s Bonnie. Do you have a babysitter tonight?” she asked when the sleepy woman came on the line.

“Not at the moment, why?” Daysha asked, instantly recognizing the voice of Millsap’s mother. Rubbing the sleep out of her eyes, she looked at the clock on her wicker nightstand. It read 3am.

“Well, I just got the call that my son was feeling particularly low tonight and had a little too much to drink. I thought you might go over there and offer him some comfort since you say you love him and all.”

Daysha smiled, fully awake now. “Well, the elderly lady next door usually baby-sits for me during work emergencies. Maybe I can ask her for a special favor tonight.”

“No need to label this a special favor. Consider this a work emergency like all the others, even dress in your nurse’s uniform. Then go over there and fix my son’s broken heart,” Bonnie replied craftily, trying to get the nurse to be as inconspicuous as possible.

Bonnie knew her son well. She knew that Millsap’s mind would still be sharp even in his drunken state, the same way his father’s used to be after consuming large amounts of alcohol. Which meant Millsap would be able to smell a setup if Daysha came over there this time of morning in her regular clothes.

“I’m on it.” Daysha’s voice sounded eager.

“Good. And if Millsap asks what you’re doing there, tell him that he was on your mind while you were driving home from work and that you decided to stopover and check on him,” Bonnie concluded, trying to cover all bases.

“Got it. Thanks, Bonnie,” Daysha replied, glad that she had Millsap’s mother on her side.

“You’re welcome. Just remember, I want a mansion after you two get married.” Bonnie chuckled.

“Yes, ma’am.” Daysha laughed, too, unaware that Millsap’s mother wasn’t hardly playing about that mansion thing. She was equally oblivious to the fact that Bonnie had a long list of other things that she was going to blackmail Daysha to get from Millsap when/if she finally became his wife.

© 2008 by Suprina Frazier

Miss Opportunity - Ch. 43.2

Whether Millsap and Cami knew it or not, the people in Georgia and Florida were not the only ones discussing their breakup. Right now they were being discussed on a cruise ship in the Gulf of Mexico.

Actually that ship was the floating headquarters of the AAC (At-All-Costs) Agency, a special governmental agency with undercover operatives that were willing to win the war on drugs at all costs. The two people discussing Millsap and Cami on that ship were married agents by the names of Nuevo, a black-Hispanic male, and Fila, an Italian female.

Agent Nuevo was actually Esteban ‘E-Blade’ Jackwood. Which meant E-Blade did not die that fateful day in January six years ago. No, what he thought was his last breath before death was actually his last breath before passing out from loss of blood.

With that fateful breath, E-Blade made a proposition to the cops that were in the ambulance with him. He said, “If I only had more time, I would tell you how to win your war on drugs from here to Miami and beyond.” Then he gave them the name of a key Floridian contact that had connections throughout South America and the Caribbean.

At the very mention of that mystery man’s name, E-Blade instantly started to get preferential treatment. The paramedics were told to do everything they could to save his life. The body bag he was put in gave the appearance of death, but had a long slit in it so that he could still breathe through a tube. Phone calls were made. Specialists were brought in. Arrangements and deals were formulated.

Delia would go free, which was the easiest thing of all to pull off because Bonz had also been working behind the scenes on that issue. To this day, E-Blade was still grateful that his childhood friend would look after his family, despite what he’d done to him.

Since somebody had to take the fall for the incident in order to cast off suspicions of a cover-up and thwart additional investigations into the matter, it was agreed that Cami would do no more than five years in prison. Less if she maintained good behavior. The fact that Cami almost did five full years was due to all the fights she’d had in prison trying to defend herself.

In exchange for giving up even more big names, E-Blade’s illegal offenses were secretly pardoned and he gained a new life, identity, and a new face. The face of a John Doe corpse was given his likeness so that E-Blade’s mother would have a body to bury. A fake death certificate was issued.

Finally, E-Blade’s ex-partners were given free passes. Meaning, the backgrounds of Bonz and Racker would not be investigated. The whole time E-Blade talked about his partners, he never shared how many he had and he never, ever mentioned their names. He would not snitch on Bonz and Racker. Not after all the other stuff he’d done to them.

Though it wouldn’t have been too hard for the agency to find out Bonz and Racker’s identities since the men had been friends from boyhood, they did not pursue it as an act of good faith. As a result, Agent Nuevo/E-Blade stayed faithful to the agency, becoming one of their top operatives. He married Fila last year after unsuccessfully trying to reenter Delia’s life under another alias – Diego.

This was the same Diego that Cami met last May in Florida and tried to seduce. She did not recognize him as E-Blade due to his different face, eye color, and new way of speaking. Only Royal and Delia knew his true identity. However, they did not know about any of his missions.

E-Blade’s new face came from hours of plastic surgery. The new eye color was courtesy of colored contact lens. The new speech was from long sessions with the agency’s language coach, who was determined to put E-Blade’s frequent use of street slang into a neat box that he only drew from as the missions required.

Now Agent Nuevo/E-Blade mostly spoke fluent Spanish or very articulate English. The other languages he’d been taught were on an as-needed basis, too.

Cami was the topic of Nuevo’s discussion with Fila today due to her connection to Millsap. The same Millsap that Nuevo and his team of agents were trying to bring down in order to keep the southeast drug cartel from getting even bigger than it already was. Unlike the old Enfield crew, the new crew sold a variety of drugs and thus had a wider customer base, making them prime targets for sting operations.

Unfortunately, Nuevo hadn’t been able to bring them down yet, though he’d been trying for years. Millsap and his crew were very savvy in the drug game. They were also more solidified than E-Blade and his crew had been. All three men seemed more devoted to each other, not letting even the latest situation with Cami tear them apart.

How did Nuevo and Fila know about the Cami situation all the way in the Gulf of Mexico?

Through one of their operatives who’d worked undercover at The Urban Revue for almost a year now. That operative was Stefan the bartender, who made it a point to volunteer for all special events at the club and to work as often as he could as part of his fact-finding assignment. The same operative that was now pursuing Cami openly. And not just for job reasons either.

No bugs or surveillance equipment could be planted at the club thanks in large part to Mike-Mike’s security equipment business and technological know-how, and also the overall shrewdness of the new crew. Millsap’s crew was so clever that they had all of their businesses, their cars, and their homes routinely checked for bugs on a weekly basis. They also had their main lab underground at an undisclosed location.

“So you’re actually relieved about Cami breaking up with this guy?” Fila asked, spooning with her husband on their custom made platform bed. They’d just made enough love for three couples. Now it was time to talk business again.

“Yep,” Nuevo replied, kissing his wife on the back of the neck. “Cami may not be my most favorite person in the world, but she’s still Dee’s cousin. Which means, if Cami gets hurt by staying hooked up with Millsap for too long, Dee and my kids get hurt, too, because of their love for her. I can’t have my family hurt.”

“In that case, I’m glad she got out before we take the Enfield crew down, too,” Fila said, quite attached to Delia and the kids, as well, and not wanting to see them hurt. “Speaking of Dee and the kids, when are we going back to see them again? That little songbird Tess brought tears to my eyes back in December.”

Nuevo chuckled, reminded of the first time he heard Tess sing in church. It had been a moving experience for him, too. “In May for their annual church carnival.”

Fila groaned in disappointment. “That’s too far away.”

“I know, Fi-Fi.” Nuevo kissed her neck once more. “But Royal and Dee are being generous with even that date considering the fact that I’m only supposed to see my kids for birthdays and holidays,” he said, referring to the agreement they made after he revealed his true identity to them.

“May it is then.” Fila turned around to face him. “Fortunately, we have enough to keep us busy until then with this sting…and of course, this…thing,” she said, reaching for that most intimate part of him.

Nuevo chuckled huskily, so grateful that he’d given up his dream of getting Delia back and embraced a new dream - Fila. He’d never been happier in his life. Then as Fila promptly straddled him, Nuevo quickly realized that he was about to get even happier.

© 2008 by Suprina Frazier

Miss Opportunity - Ch. 43.1

February

There were mixed reactions to Cami and Millsap’s breakup. Women who wanted a turn or rather another turn with Millsap were happy that he was free again. Daysha in particular was overjoyed.

How did she even know about the breakup? Especially since Millsap had been so tight-lipped about the situation, barely talking about it with his best friends.

Daysha heard about the breakup the same way she learned Cami’s home phone number - Bonnie told her.

Millsap’s mother had been giving Daysha tips on how to win him back ever since her altercation with Cami in the restaurant. Bonnie even told her how to sabotage her own car and play the sympathy card just to get Millsap to buy her another one. Now Daysha was waiting for the right opportunity to seduce the heartbroken man, who currently was refusing to date anyone.

On the flip side of this situation, those who really wanted Millsap and Cami to make it were sad to hear about the breakup. Delia and the old crew were at the top of that list. Although they were sad, they were not surprised. Cami was known for messing up a good thing. Most of them were just glad she still held onto her job and business behind all this drama.

Towanna was extremely sad, as if she took their breakup personally. She cried with Cami for days, not saying much in her presence, just crying and hugging her close. She also bought Cami flowers for a week straight in an effort to try to cheer them both up. Towanna also started giving her friend free massages in order to help reduce her level of stress.

Frank and Little Man were sad about the breakup, too. Frank was also angry. He’d warned Cami not to do something stupid and she’d gone and done it anyway.

Yet Frank declined to confront his daughter about her failure to take his advice. Especially after she shared a few other things that he didn’t know about. Things like what else Millsap did for a living, which actually turned Frank’s sadness about the breakup into relief. He didn’t want his daughter with yet another drug dealer, no matter how nice Millsap had been.

Then there were things Cami shared from her more distant past. Horrible things. Things like how she lost her virginity and the situation involving Mandrake and Cat.

At that point, Frank’s anger shifted from Cami and Millsap to Cat. He blamed his ex-wife for their daughter’s tendency to sabotage her own happiness.

To be fair, Frank shouldered some of that blame himself. Had he not been so consumed with climbing the ladder to military success, he would have paid more attention to Cami while she was growing up. He might have even settled in one place and gained full custody of her, thereby making sure she turned into an emotionally healthy adult.

As for the reactions of Millsap’s crew, Franco began to walk on egg shells around his brooding friend. The man didn’t even want to hear Cami’s name spoken around him anymore.

Mike-Mike, who’d seen how detrimental schism among the ranks proved to be with the old crew, called an impromptu meeting to discuss the subject of Cami and how they should handle it.

“First of all, let me just say once again that I did not sleep with that girl. I wanted to, but I didn’t,” Franco said, looking relieved that somebody other than him had addressed the elephant in the room. He’d wanted to discuss the matter further with Millsap ever since that January incident, but each time he brought up the subject, he’d been told to squash it.

“I really don’t want to talk about this,” Millsap said, trying to squash the subject yet again.

“We got to talk about it before it messes with our paper,” Mike-Mike insisted. “With all the new problems we got, we can’t afford to be divided in any way.”

The problems Mike-Mike spoke of were the rising gang violence and the increase in lost shipments due to an increase in drug busts all over the southeast. It had gotten so bad that the generals had to send others to make the runs, putting them at higher risks for sabotage due to the trust factor alone. Not to mention the mounting legal bills from all the arrests they’d been having among their troops lately. As a result, something had to be done to change this tide of bad luck. Soon.

“Like I said before, I didn’t sleep with Cami that night or any other night,” Franco reiterated adamantly, showing his eagerness to clear the air between them in his tone. “She booked out of there even before I got off the phone with you. The twins told me that Cami said she had a change of heart. I respected that and didn’t press the issue. I wasn’t hurting for no woman that night. I still had the twins, remember?” he told Millsap.

“If you didn’t sleep with her, somebody else did ‘cause it took her the longest to come back home that night,” Millsap replied, only partly relieved about the possibility that Cami hadn’t slept with his friend after all. If she hadn’t hooked up with Franco, who had been her second go-to guy that night? Kobe?

“Maybe the girl drove around for a while before she got back to the house. A lot of people do that to clear their heads, including me,” Mike-Mike inserted, sharing how he dealt with stress at times. How he’d been dealing with it a lot more lately due to their recent problems in the game.

“Either way, Franco says he didn’t hit that and I believe him,” Mike-Mike continued. “You should, too. After all, the man has been upfront with you from the beginning about his attraction to Cami. He even called you for clearance before he ever tried to touch down on her landing strip that night. So why would Franco lie or try to cover up something now?”

Millsap took a deep breath and blew it out. “I guess I believe you, too,” he replied, finally surrendering to reason.

Although Millsap suspected that Franco was innocent all along for the very same reasons Mike-Mike had just given him, he’d wanted to be mad at somebody, anybody but himself. Even now Millsap wanted to place the lion's share of the breakup blame upon Cami’s shoulders.

“Finally!” Franco exhaled loudly in relief, acting as if he’d just received absolution from a priest. “In a way, I’m glad I didn’t sleep with Cami, ‘cause after seeing your sad sack face and getting the evil eye from you for the last few weeks, I see now that you really was in love with that girl. That Cami really wasn’t just a trick to you.”

“Cami ceased being a trick to me from the first night we hooked up.” Millsap took another deep breath and blew it out. “That girl became my queen.”

“If that’s the case, forgive the girl and go get her back then,” Mike-Mike suggested, hating to see his friend looking so grief stricken.

“Can’t.” Millsap shook his head resolutely. “The fact that Cami would even try to go to one of my friends when she couldn’t get her way with me tells me that she can’t be trusted with my most prized possession – my heart. If I can’t trust the woman I love with that, I don’t need her in my life.”

Even Mike-Mike had to nod in agreement with that. Cami had crossed a significant line by going to Franco. Fortunately, it was not a wide enough line for them to retaliate against her in violence, even if Millsap had allowed it. However, her punishment would still hurt. It would also be swift.

After agreeing that Cami would be financially and socially ostracized by them all, effective immediately, the conversation then switched to some of the problems they’d been having lately in the game.

© 2008 by Suprina Frazier

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Miss Opportunity - Ch. 42.2

After reluctantly loading her things in the trunk of her car, a sobbing Cami went to the only place that she still felt welcome – the boarding house.

Mama Ingram welcomed her back with open arms. And not just because Cami had a five-year agreement with the house owners, either. The older woman was genuinely concerned for her.

After escorting Cami up to her former room, Mama Ingram listened as she cried and poured out her heart to her. She heard how bad Cami messed up with Millsap tonight. About how it was likely that she would never get him back now because she’d crossed the wrong boundaries again.

Mama Ingram didn’t judge Cami one bit concerning the things she’d done tonight. She just held her when needed and continued to listen.

When it was time for Mama Ingram to talk, she rehearsed a few things from her past. Things like how she lost her husband in a bad car accident, two sons to street violence, and eventually her home when she couldn’t pay the taxes on it. How all of that occurred within a five-year period.

“Unlike you, I received no help from the relatives I did have and little to no help from the government,” Mama Ingram went on to recap from her place beside Cami on the edge of the bed. “I eventually ended up living on the streets for two long years. I felt abandoned and tossed away by mankind and by God.” Then she smiled. “Until I met Greg and Aisha,” she added, calling Bonz by his given name like Aisha and Royal did.

Cami smiled, too. She continued to listen silently and patiently to her mentor, despite the fact that she’d already heard most of these things before. Surely there had to be a lesson to be learned somewhere in this recap. As stupid as she behaved tonight, Cami needed all the wisdom she could find now.

“Anyway, right before I met the Forsyths, I gave God an ultimatum,” Mama Ingram continued, now telling Cami something she didn’t know. “I told Him that He either needed to take me on home with Him or else show me why I was still on this earth. That’s when God sent Greg and Aisha. Through them, He helped me get back up on my feet.” She tenderly cupped Cami’s face in her hands and added, “God will send more people to help you, as well. He hasn’t forsaken you, Cami. Not by far.”

“I don’t know about that, Mama Ingram.” Cami’s eyes welled up with tears again. “I don’t think I’m gonna get anymore of God’s favor. I’m surprised He gave me what I’ve had recently, considering the fact that He stopped loving me a long time ago.” She choked on a sob, feeling so hopeless right now.

Mama Ingram frowned. “What do you mean God stopped loving you? I can’t imagine God stopping His love for anybody.”

Through more tears, Cami shared what happened with her mother’s boyfriend at the age of thirteen. About how she felt as if God couldn’t love her in order to let something so bad happen to her.

“The ropes. The mouth gag. How could God allow such a thing to happen to somebody He loved?” Cami trembled, sobbing openly now.

Mama Ingram was trembling with rage by the time Cami finished her story. Yet when she spoke, it was calm and full of compassion.

“Cami, God never stopped loving you. Now I can’t even begin to try to explain why He seemingly allowed that rape to occur, but I do know that the fact that you survived that experience with your mind still intact is a sign of God’s love. Of His mercy. Other signs of that love include all the people God placed across your path over the years. People like your father who wrote you every week while you were in prison. Delia and Royal, who forgave you for your sins against them and extended help your way, not once, but twice. Your aunt Valena, who sent you letters and care packages once a month like clockwork. Greg and even Aisha, who allowed you to stay here, despite your sins against them.”

“Millsap was a Godsend, too,” Cami added, unwilling to leave him out of that esteemed number. She felt so bad about betraying him tonight. So bad.

“Yes, he was,” Mama Ingram agreed, still quite fond of Millsap herself, despite what he did for a living and even despite his overreaction to Cami’s most recent sin. “The fact that you’re still breathing, Cami, means that God is hardly through with you yet. That He has more for you to do here. That He has a purpose and a plan for your life beyond all the pain you’ve suffered in the past. Beyond the pain you’re suffering now.”

“So what do I need to do to hook up with this plan?” Cami asked with eager eyes. “Especially since the ones I came up with on my own ain’t working for me no more.”

Mama Ingram smiled at her eagerness. Cami was so ripe for salvation right now. It was time to usher her on into the Kingdom.

“You need to accept God’s son Jesus and everything He died to give you. From there, you need to dive into the Bible and a good Bible-teaching church. With those tools, you can’t lose,” Mama Ingram encouraged.

“I’m ready,” Cami declared. “Because without Millsap’s help, I’m gonna need a true miracle if I’m ever gonna get my son back.”

“God can restore Little Man to you and so much more, Cami, with or without Millsap’s help. Just wait and see,” Mama Ingram reassured. Then she joined hands with Cami and prayerfully led her to the Lord.

Every word of prayer was repeated in faith. Every promise was received by faith. And soon…

Cami was saved!

Saved!

She had a new man in her life now. The best Man of all. The God-man…Jesus.

To Cami’s surprise, she slept very well that night. It was the heartfelt prayer that did it. That sense of knowing that even though she messed up yet again, at least God was willing to take her back. At least He hadn’t given up on her.

* * *

Across town, Millsap tossed and turned in his bed. He missed his woman. He missed the feel of Cami’s body as she spooned lovingly against him at night. How clean and fresh she always smelled. The light snoring she did when she went into a deep sleep.

Why did you mess us up like this, Cami? Millsap mused, giving up trying to get any sleep tonight. I would have bought you two BMWs if you just hadn’t been so impatient, hadn’t given a brotha that stupid ultimatum, he thought as his eyes glistened with emotion in the dark room.

Millsap dared even one tear to fall. He would not cry over a cheating woman, no matter how much he still loved her.

© 2008 by Suprina Frazier

Miss Opportunity - Ch. 42.1

After Cami left Franco’s condo, she drove around for awhile to flush out her feelings. Although she loved Millsap, she had to make sure that she was willing to share him with Daysha.

Cami finally decided that even though she wasn’t willing to share Millsap with anyone, if that’s what it took to have the man she loved and some of the things she wanted out of life, she would have to make that sacrifice. The fact that he’d provided a place for her and her son to dwell, and the fact that she only had a few more months before Little Man would be with her on a permanent basis, also played a part in Cami’s decision to return home.

But return to what though?

When Cami finally made it back home, she found her things in black garbage bags on the front porch and the locks changed to the house. A ‘For Rent’ sign was in the living room window. Millsap’s car was nowhere to be found.

Realizing that she’d blown it big time tonight, Cami quickly got on her cell phone and dialed Millsap’s number. He took the longest time to answer her call.

“What!” Millsap gruffed out when he finally came on the line.

“I didn’t do it, baby,” Cami explained, cutting to the chase.

“Sure you didn’t.” Millsap scoffed. “Franco called me himself while you was over there. The fact that it took you this long to get back to the house confirms that you did something with somebody tonight. If it wasn’t Franco, maybe it was that dude Kobe.”

“I didn’t cheat with anybody, Millsap. You gotta believe me,” Cami said in desperation.

“I ain’t gotta do nothing but stay black and die,” Millsap retorted.

“I’m sorry, Millsap.”

“Like One Republic says, ‘it’s too late to apologize’ now. Bye, Cami. And don’t call me no more either. You’re on your own now,” Millsap concluded, before hanging up in her face.

And just like that, Cami’s relationship with Millsap was over. Though she could try to blame him and even Daysha, Cami knew that she was mostly to blame.

She was the one who’d been jealous of Millsap’s generosity to an ex-flame. She was the one who’d given him an unfair ultimatum. It was Cami that had gone over to his friend’s house and offered that man her body. And for what?

A stupid BMW.

Why didn’t Cami listen to Frank’s advice? Why didn’t she listen to Delia’s? Hadn’t her cousin’s sage garnered an abundance of success thus far? So why did Cami ignore the part about being grateful, not greedy?

I can’t seem to escape it, Cami mused as she sat on the porch stoop in utter defeat. No matter what I do, I’m gonna always end up just like my mama.

© 2008 by Suprina Frazier

* * *

To hear Apologize by One Republic:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fm0T7_SGee4&feature=related