Jason sat up, acting offended I would even make such a suggestion. “Zoe, I’m not leaving. I’m not going anywhere.”

“Yes, you are. You’re going to go home, kiss our kids goodnight for me, and take instant photos of them for me to add to my collection tomorrow.”

“But your mother can handle the kids. Plus, the sitter is there.”

“Not the point.” Jason was tired and stressed, and I didn’t want him spending the night in the hospital with me. I knew the kids stood a better chance of cheering him up, and I really needed some time alone to sort through all the secrets revealed from my own past, as well as his.

“Do it for me, Boo. Please!”

After throwing a bit of a temper tantrum, he finally agreed to leave with my mother, making me promise to take my ass straight to sleep. I assured him that wouldn’t be a problem at all.

Sure enough, I fell into a deep sleep and would’ve slept most of the evening if I didn’t sense someone standing over me. I woke up, and when I opened my eyes, Diamond was hovering over me, gripping a pillow in both hands.I was taken completely aback. “What the hell are you doing?”

She sat the pillow down on the end of the bed by my feet. “You were sleeping so peacefully. I was just going to put another pillow underneath your head because you looked like your neck was twisted.”

“Oh!” I rubbed my eyes. I still wasn’t fully awake, and they were sore from all of the crying. “Diamond, what are you doing here?”

She plopped down in one of the chairs. “I called your office and told your secretary I was an old college buddy of yours. After a little prodding, she told me about the accident and where I could find you.”

I rolled my eyes; I couldn’t believe Shane would be stupid enough to give out information like that. Not to mention that I never went to college. Her doofus behind should’ve known better. “Well, what do you want?”

“I wanted to check on you and make sure you’re all right. What else? By the way, I didn’t tell Quinton you were in the hospital. He would’ve asked me a bunch of questions about how I knew so much. I figured you wouldn’t want that.” She sucked her teeth, taking advantage of the fact she had something to throw up in my face at will. Even though Jason knew I had experimented witha female, I would’ve been totally ashamed if Quinton ever found out about Diamond. She damn well knew it too.

“You figured right!” She was irritating me, and it was beginning to show in my voice.

“Why are you being so nasty with me?” She was about to go into a bitch mode. It was a scene I wasn’t even trying to have.

“No reason. Sorry if I snapped at you.” I wasn’t sorry. I just wanted her to hurry up and leave.

“I came here to see you, out of the goodness of my heart, and this is the shit I get?”

She went there! “Look, I never asked you to come see me. I never asked you for jack shit, and I would appreciate it if you would get the hell out so I can get some rest.”

“You weren’t saying that shit when I was sucking on your pussy!” She smirked, realizing that statement would piss me off.

“I never asked you to do that either! You insisted, and it’s not like I returned the favor!”

She got up from the chair, fired up. “You’re right! I did insist, as you put it, but the bottom line is you let me do it, and you would probably let me do it again!”

“Don’t flatter yourself, trick! I let you do it because, at the time, I didn’t give a shit who was sucking on this pussy as long as it was getting sucked! I don’t want you! I’m not attracted to you! I don’t even fuckin’ like you!”

“You’re such a bitch!”

“Oooooooh, that really hurts,” I chided. “Bitch is my middle name. Haven’t you heard? I’ve been called that so many times lately, having your little scrawny ass call me that doesn’t even faze me!”

“Well, everyone can’t be wrong! Maybe you should try to figure out why you’re getting called out of your name, Zoe!”

“Maybe you should drop dead! You’re a waste of fuckin’ oxygen anyway!”

“I should’ve—” Diamond looked away from me and started eyeing the pillow at the end of the bed.

“You should’ve what?” She didn’t say anything, and I was looking around the room for something to clock her with. I picked up the hard metal telephone and flung it at her. She managed to duck, but not before it caught her in the shoulder

blade. She yelped out in pain.

The nurse came flying into the room. “What’s going on in here? Mrs. Reynard, are you okay?”

“I’m fine, but could you call hospital security and tell them to get this skank ho out of my room!”

“Don’t worry, bitch! I’m leaving!” She headed for the door.

“Good! Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out!”

Diamond left, and the nurse was standing there, looking-silly. “Umm, could you hand the phone back over here, please?”

She picked it up, handed it to me, and uttered, “Sure.”

“Thanks.” She was still standing there and didn’t look like she had any immediate plans to vacate. “If you don’t mind, I’d like to get some rest now.”

“Okay, just let us know if you need anything.” She forced a smile and then made a quick exit, probably hoping the crazed bitch in Room 301 would hurry up and get her release papers.

Before I drifted back to sleep, I looked at the crumpled pillow at the foot of the bed and wondered if Diamond was really demented enough to try to smother me. In my mind echoed the word, “Naw!”

• • •

As promised, Dr. Graham and Marcella got down to business. For the next few days they counseled Jason and I together and apart. They made us read several books. I thought I was back in high school for a minute— homework assignments and shit—but it was all worth it.Jason and I spent hours on end talking about everything that had happened throughout our years together— what went right and what went wrong, where we wanted our marriage to go in the future.

Jason learned to deal with his mother’s prostitution and the things he witnessed and was subjected to at such a young, vulnerable age. Marcella made us do touching experiments, which made Jason understand that there was nothing nasty or vulgar about having oral sex with his own wife. He confessed that he had always wanted to try it but could never bring himself to let me. As it turns out, while I was hiding sex toys all over the house, Jason was hiding porn flicks that he watched on a regular basis when no one was around. He said he mostly watched them on the TV/VCR combination in his drawing room, and a lot of times when I thought he was down there sweating over blueprints, he was watching the movies and jacking off. I was stunned—I couldn’t even picture Jason jacking off. I wondered was he better at masturbating than me because lawd knows, I thought I was a pro.

His main fear about letting go sexually was allowing me to take control of the situation. We talked it over, and I promised him I would never do anything to make him feel uncomfortable. We could do it at his own pace, gradually adding new things and positions as time went on.

As for me, that was another story altogether. Dr. Graham requested I make arrangements to come down to his clinic in Florida for a couple of weeks. I told him I would, but not right away. I had been away from my home andmy kids for too long. Being back there was the best therapy for me at the time. Marcella agreed to work with me three times a week. I told them that just knowing what happened to me when I was younger had helped me tremendously. All along, I never understood why I became so obsessed with sex at a young age. I felt I could put those incidents behind me and move on. As long as I had Jason, I could move mountains.

Jason and I wouldn’t be able to recover from everything overnight, because it didn’t happen overnight. We made a pact that whatever it took and no matter how long it took, we were both in it to win. Everyone seemed satisfied with the results of the first three days of therapy, and Dr. Graham headed back to Florida, making sure Jason and I had both his home and office telephone numbers.

That night, I called Dr. Ferguson at home. I looked his digits up in the phone book and told him if he didn’t let my ass out the hospital the next day, I would become the patient from hell, screaming all day and all night disrupting the other patients. He laughed, even though I don’t think he found my intrusion into his quality time at home humorous, and agreed to release me the next day.


The next afternoon Dr. Ferguson finally released me with a clean bill of health. I was so excited about going back home, I didn’t know what I wanted to do first when I got there. Well, second, because kissing and hugging the hell out of my kids was definitely the first thing on my agenda. Taking a long, hot bubble bath and raiding the fridge for some decent food were tied for second place.

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