While we were walking back to the black limousine provided by the funeral parlor, I stopped him in his tracks just to give him a hug and a passionate kiss. “I love you, Jason!”

“I love you too, Zoe, and this is forever!”

I managed a smile for the first time since Brina’s death. “Always has been! Always will be!”


I didn’t go back to work for another week after Brina’s funeral. I just couldn’t deal with making decisions. I delegated different tasks to several senior members of my staff and spent quality time with my husband and my kids instead. How foolish it had been of me to risk everything I had to sate my sexual urges. I’d lost so much valuable time screwing around, time I could’ve had with the love of my life and the beautiful little people we made together.

When I did finally return to the office, most of the business issues were cleared off of my desk, but I still had a huge pile of phone messages. I wasn’t all that surprised. I knew the majority of them were from my lovers before I even read them. My secretary had been suspicious of my extramarital activities for a long time. I’m sure the three of them ringing the office phone off the hook during my absence had only cleared up any lingering doubts she may have been hanging on to. I didn’t really care whatshe thought or knew. I already had enough people woven up in my web of deception.

I fingered through the messages and ended up ditching-them all in the wastebasket beside my desk. It was time for all the bullshit, lies, and stress to be over, and there was no time like the present. I told my secretary I would be back later that day, after having spent only ten minutes in my office. I had been away from the office for over a week already. A few more hours wasn’t going to make a drastic difference.

I got out on the sidewalk, took in a deep breath, and exhaled. I was ready to get the drama over with and my life back in order. I was going to end all three affairs in one damn day, go home, and make love to the one man who held the key to my heart. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but never in a million years did I expect the shit to hit the fan as hard as it did.

I decided to go discuss matters with Tyson first because he was the most temperamental. I figured if I dealt with the worst of it and worked my way from there, I might end up with one hell of a migraine but with everything else intact. It was only about ten in the morning, so I had to go to the garage where he worked in order to talk. That was fine by me. Safety in numbers and all that jazz.

When I pulled up, I spotted his motorcycle parked on the side of the building. I found him inside one of the service bays working on an import. His head was up underneath the hood. He was surprised when he heard my voice. “Tyson, I need to talk to you.”

He stood up, almost bumping his head on the underside of the hood. “Damn, you scared the shit out of me!” He grabbed a rag so he could wipe some of the oil and grease off his hands.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to take you off guard.”

“Zoe, where have you been? I’ve been leaving messages for you at your office for almost two weeks.”

I looked down at the concrete floor to avoid eye contact. “I’ve been busy. Something came up.”

“Awwwwwwww, so in other words, you pushed my ass to the curb?” He walked over to a little cooler that was sitting beside one of the toolboxes on a workbench and got out an ice-cold soda. He held the can out toward me. “You want one?”

“No, thanks.” I walked over toward him and leaned on the workbench. I needed some strength to come from somewhere and was hoping the bench would have some mystical powers and help a sistah out.

“So, what’s up, Zoe? Must be mighty important for you to show up here out of the blue,at my job,after not even bothering to call for so long.”

He was all eyes and ears. I was all nervous. Sex with Tyson had always been rough, and I had often wondered if that signified a violent streak in his nature. He had never hit me or anything, but there was a first time for everything. I was hoping I was dead wrong.

I cleared my throat and prayed he wouldn’t haul off and punch me dead in the face. “Tyson, it’s over.”

He looked stunned at first, but the look was quickly replaced with one of anger. “What’s over?”

He knew what the hell I meant. “You and I are over.” I announced it like I was calling out the winning raffle ticket number at a bazaar. “I can’t do this anymore.”

“I see.” Tyson was silent for a good two, three minutes and so was I. He didn’t hit me, so things were looking up. “Zoe, I think

you’re just feeling stressed. Obviously something bad happened. You weren’t even going to work oranything,so it must’ve been serious.”

“Yes, something very bad did happen.”

“Okay, and if you don’t want to talk about it, that’s cool too. But don’t let this affect us, baby. We can get past this.”

He was so sincere. I was seeing a side of Tyson I never even knew existed—a sensitive side. It almost made me want to keep him, but that was out of the question. “No, we can’t get past this. I made a mistake, a terrible one, and this is all my fault. I take full responsibility for it. I played with other people’s emotions to benefit myself, and I can’t do it any longer. I have to burn the bridges with all of you and move on. My place is at home with my husband.”

“Hold up, what do you mean by burn the bridges with all of you?All of who?”

Shit! I slipped! “It was just a figure of speech,” I mumbled, trying to play it off. “I meant burn the bridges with you.”

He looked puzzled. “Oh, I thought you meant something else.”

I opted to play dumb. “Something like what?”

“Ummm, never mind. Let’s get back to the matter at hand.” He took me by the hand and started playing with my fingers, one by one. “I can understand if you need some time to yourself, but I don’t want to lose you.”


“Just hear me out. Please!”

“Okay.” I agreed, even though I knew nothing he could possibly say would make a difference.

“If it’s because I’ve been putting too much pressure on you, I’ll back off. We can do this on your terms. I promise.”

I was about to tell him that the situation was useless when all hell broke loose. I saw it and heard it at the sametime. A rock hit my car, shattering the back window.“What the fuck?”

Tyson tried to prevent me from leaving the service bay. “Let me handle this, Zoe!”

“Handle it? Fuck that!”I pulled loose from him and went out into the sunlight to confront the bitch.

She was leaning on my car, smiling like she had just been crowned Miss America. “So, you’re the tramp that’s been fucking my man? Keep coming around him, trick! I just love fucking up your car!”

She was a big hoochie momma. Much bigger than me. She had to be at least five-nine and 185 pounds but I didn’t give a shit. I caught her with a right hook as soon as I covered the ground between us.

After that, she and I started scrapping. She pulled a small clump of my hair out, and I scratched her jaw with my wedding ring. It went on from there. She ripped one of the buttons off my shirt. I retaliated and kicked her in the pussy. About that time was when Tyson pulled her off me.

“Dusty, get the fuck off her!” He grabbed her from behind and pulled her hands behind her back, holding them there.

I wasn’t through with the amazon bitch though and kicked her again, in the stomach. “Dusty? You look like a dusty-ass bitch!”

“Fuck you, you trick!”

By this time, Tyson was becoming unglued. “Zoe, get in the car and leave! We’ll talk later! I’ll come by your office!”

“Tyson, my damn window is broke! This is the second time this bitch has fucked with my car!”

“Damn right, trick, and I will fuck with your car again if you ever come sniffin’ around my man again!”

I couldn’t believe she was still talking trash. Obviously,Tyson had heard enough of her ass too, because he pushed her down on the ground and kicked her. That’s when I jumped on him because hitting a woman, even a bitch whose pussy is so dry the crabs have to carry canteens, isn’t acceptable in my book. I pulled Tyson’s arm and tried to get him away from her. “Tyson, leave her alone! She’s a female!”

She looked up from the concrete with bloodshot eyes. “Trick, he don’t give a shit about hittin’ a woman! That’s what got his ass locked up before!”

I looked at him, confused. “Locked up?”

“Zoe, do us all a favor, get in the car, and go back to your office! I will come for you!” He and I were staring at each other when Dusty took us both off guard by jumping up off the ground with the dexterity of a ninja and yanking Tyson’s ear, pulling out the gold cross earring he wore in his one pierced ear. Blood started gushing everywhere, and she hauled ass. I would’ve too; from the look on his face he was ready to beat her to a pulp.

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