Twisted Vows of Seduction
“A new beginning…a new beginning…” Nadine murmured repeatedly. A soft subtle smile played on her naked thin lips as she settled a warm captivating gaze on her longtime lover and friend, Jeff Jackson. This was that incredible moment that she had been waiting for and the day she had prayed about every single night for four long years. It was all happening now, and while she was flushed with so many different emotions, the only one that truly mattered to her was the joy she felt burning in her heart for the man she had been predestined to marry.
An anxious energy moved intensely through her entire body all while her mind stood calmly at peace as Jeff’s proposal sank in. She inhaled every single word like a breath of fresh picked roses in the exact order in which they left his full mahogany, chocolate lips.
“Nadine Collins, will you make me the happiest man in the world and do me the honor of becoming my wife?” Nadine didn’t answer him right away. She wanted to savor this moment for as long as she could.
Jeff’s speech leading to his proposal had come out so perfect. Almost as though he had rehearsed what he would say to her for months. It was so genuine, touching, and heartfelt that she would have bet money that he’d stolen the lines right out of a romance movie. But stolen or not, at this profound moment and time, they
belonged exclusively to her. And nothing mattered more to Nadine than the crystal-clear picture of their future together, finally, as husband and wife.
Suddenly, a loud wail resonated in her ears, causing a mask of confusion to settle on her now tear-stricken face. Her eyelids twitched but her eyes refused to open. Nadine tried her hardest to focus on Jeff’s doe-shaped, bright amber-colored eyes as they stared deeply within hers. Seconds later, he proceeded to slide the platinum two-karat diamond ring on her left finger. Her entire face lit up all at once.
The racing of Nadine’s heart sounded like a marching band at a Juneteenth celebration. It was as loud as her thoughts. And as uncontrollable nerves climbed up and down her spine, her arms broke out in chill bumps and the fine prickly hairs on the back of her neck stood tall. His bleared eyes danced within hers, and his dick secretly serenaded her pussy, causing it to blush and sprinkle the crotch of her panties. It was surely beyond obvious to everyone witnessing her moment that they had been lovers for some time. But Nadine was mesmerized by her husband-to-be, and oblivious to everyone and everything happening around them. She had chosen to forget about all the drama. She was ready to leave the past behind them so that they could concentrate solely on rebuilding their lives together as one big happy family.
“Yes! I will marry you, Jeff. A new beginning,” Nadine carried on as she intentionally ignored the constant crying for as long as she could until finally, she popped both of her eyes open in dire panic.
Somewhat dazed, she looked around the colossal, excessively furnished bedroom she shared with her son, Canvas. It was lit partially by the moonlight that peeked through the slight opening of her balcony blinds. She had expected to find her entire staff of Platinum Crest Investments and their clients surrounding her.
Expected the women to be crying tears of joy and happiness for her while Jeff was still positioned on one bended knee, pouring out his heart to her. Besides the day that she’d given birth to their son, this was supposed to be one of the most happiest moments of her entire life. Nadine had waited all of her life for this man. Been through hell and back for this man. But as she slowly came out of her stupor and her vision grew much clearer, she sighed in aggravation. A brutal reality slapped her senseless and shattered her delusional thinking before she could entertain the idea of marriage to her child’s father any further.
She disappointedly looked down at her left ring finger—no engagement ring. Worse, no wedding ring! It didn’t take her long after that to realize that she had been dreaming all along. And like all the other dreams, this one felt just as real.
Jeff had not proposed to Nadine the previous day at work as she had dreamt. In fact, she had not seen or heard from Jeff at all this week, which may have been the prime reason behind all her imaginings. She rationalized that her dreams were a sign that he was getting ready to propose. A premonition, or maybe it could have been that right now at this very moment, he was tossing and turning in his own bed, trying to figure out the best way to ask her for her hand in marriage, and she was only having a telepathic moment.
Nadine inhaled sharply before expelling a bout of wishful thinking. After all of those years of being the other woman, the mistress, the silent partner and puppet in an orchestrated three-way affair, she thought by now she would be inured to waking up in her own bed, without him there next to her. She assumed she was acclimatized to the disappointment, the hurt, and all those other hopeless feelings that she occasionally allowed to take center stage. However, the truth was that she would never allow herself to be content
with any role other than wife. Hell, she was even ashamed that she’d let him string her along this long.
Nadine eased herself from the bed and walked over to her screaming baby. Their son, Canvas Demond Jackson, was eleven months now and was starting to look more and more like Jeff every day. He had his warm mahogany complexion, thick and defined brows, mesmerizing brown eyes, and soft black hair. Whereas Jeff’s natural wavy hair was kept in a Caesar, Canvas had baby-fine, soft tight curls. Even the way Canvas smiled was identical to his father.
Nadine didn’t regret her decision to keep her son after strongly considering putting him up for adoption, but she couldn’t help but question how things would be between her and Jeff if she had. She hadn’t done herself any special favors getting involved with Jeff, and since she was being totally real nowadays, the Mandingo dick wasn’t worth any of the heartache and drama she had sustained during the course of their fucking-while-pending-marriage- courtship. She silently cursed the time and energy she had wasted on him. It had been all for nothing, or at least almost nothing.
“Mama’s here, baby,” Nadine sang to Canvas as she scooped him up from the toddler bed, a cherrywood bed frame complete with yellow, green, and baby blue bedding that clashed with all of her bedroom décor. Her entire room had been transformed into a nursery, which was all the more reason why she felt the exigency to upgrade to something more comfortable for her and Canvas. She loved her contemporary 3,500 square-foot, one-bedroom condominium, which was situated in a secluded back quadrant of an elegant enclave in uptown Dallas. It had been home for over five years, but ever since she’d had her son, it had felt more and more like a shotgun shack.
“Did you have a bad dream?” she whispered softly, rocking him in her arms. She walked Canvas over to her bed and cuddled right
next to him. She sang lullabies and stared at him until he drifted right back off to sleep.
Fully awake now, Nadine glanced over at the clock on her fireplace mantle. She wondered where, what, who, Jeff and his dick were inside of at this very moment. It was one o’clock in the morning and she struggled with whether or not she should call him so late in the hour to talk about what was still bothering her and depriving her of much needed rest.
She laid her head, which was covered in a purple silk scarf, back against the pillow and watched the ceiling fan spin. Her baby’s soft snores were perfect reminders of why she shouldn’t call, care, or worry about his ass. After all, he didn’t bother calling to check up on his son or to even ask if she needed anything for him. It took her back to the conversation they’d had last week right after they’d finished making steamy, sweet, passionate…sex. She had suggested Jeff sell the house so that he and Deandra could move in with her and Canvas. It didn’t matter so much that she didn’t really have the space, in fact she never gave it any thought. Her reasoning was that it was time they raised the children together under one roof, as brother and sister. Jeff rejected the idea. Said it was too soon. Too soon for him, too soon for Deandra. He came up with every excuse in the book, then drove his point home by reminding her that Denise had only been dead a year, as if Nadine had somehow lost all recollection of her best friend. How could she ever forget the day they’d buried her best friend.
Nadine decided not to press the move-in issue any further, but she refused to give up entirely. They still had another bridge to cross. She argued that Canvas needed his father’s time and affection as much as Deandra did. She felt that Jeff was showing favoritism between the children and she wasn’t afraid to confront him about it. Canvas was his child too and he didn’t deserve his father’s
neglect. If it weren’t for all Jeff’s empty promises, maybe she wouldn’t have felt the void she was feeling now. The contempt. She had been robbed of everything she had imagined for them, and for that reason, she despised Jeff. She sank into a deep sulk as she recalled how he’d reacted when she brought up marriage.
“When will it ever happen? Every time I try to bring it up, you skate around it. I want a husband, not a boy toy, Jeff,” Nadine retorted. “Is that too much to ask of you?”
“I keep telling you to give me more time.”
“Pssst! I’ve given you plenty of that already. You either want to marry me or you don’t.”
“Nadine, I don’t need the extra pressure right now!” Jeff matched her tone. “I’m not rushing into this. Time! That’s all a brother’s asking for.”
Nadine shot daggers with her eyes. She marched right into the kitchen and snatched the photo calendar of Canvas off the refrigerator door so hard the magnetic piece fell off in the process. She walked over to where Jeff stood, slapped the calendar on the counter, then located an ink pen and practically shoved it in his right hand. As unannounced tears slid down her face, she looked him dead in the eyes. “Your time is up.” There was a moment of pause as her words hung in the air. “When are you going to make me your wife?”
Nadine had asked Jeff that question in the midst of their most recent discussion, stressing that she needed a specific date because she and Canvas had been on the back burner long enough. Jeff hadn’t responded to her liking. She’d given him an ultimatum. One thing had been said after another. It hadn’t ended well, and now, she hadn’t heard one single word from him.
While she loved Jeff with every fiber of her being, she hated how selfish and inconsiderate he could be. How he was able to shut her out of his life, and how he always made her feel guilty for wanting more. Guilty for loving him. She hated feeling needy, and at
times desperate for his attention. His love. It wasn’t fair and she was tired of trying to rationalize her misplaced feelings. She deserved better than this, she told herself as many times as she needed to.
Nadine reluctantly picked up the cordless receiver. She didn’t really know exactly what would come out of her mouth if he answered, but she dialed the number anyway, telling herself that she shouldn’t be the one calling. Again.
She promptly placed the receiver to her ear and cleared her parched throat. Despite the introspective pep talk, she hoped to get on one accord with Jeff, if nothing else. There was no reason they couldn’t be civil to one another.
Hello, you’ve reached Jeff Jackson. Unfortunately, I’m away from my phone. Please feel free to leave your name, number, and a detailed message, and I will get right back with you at my earliest convenience. Beep!
Nadine took a deep breath, pressed her lips together, and tried to stomach that perturbed feeling resting in the pit of her gut. She stumbled over what to say, being careful not to piss him off more than he might have still been. Then she could guarantee he’d never call back.
“Jeff, this is me, Nadine. We haven’t heard from you, and I…just wanted to make sure you were okay.” She rested on that last sentence before continuing. “I’ll be up for a little while if you’d like to talk…” She closed her eyes, reopened them, then shifted her position in the bed, “or come by. Just please…don’t do this again. Don’t shut me out.” She juggled the tears in her eyes. “We love you,” she said lastly, disconnecting the call.
She placed the phone back on the cradle, and as if on cue, it started to ring. She waited for the caller ID display to register the name before answering. Seeing that it was Jeff’s number, she pressed TALK before the second ring, not wanting it to alarm her son and disrupt his sleep.
“I was hoping you would call right back because I was just sitting here thinking about what I said last week, and I want you to know that—” Nadine’s apology fell incomplete once the angelic moans of a woman’s voice soared through the phone line. “Hello,” Nadine uttered barely as she eased out of bed. She stopped in her tracks once she was completely out of Canvas’s earshot, and pulled the phone closer to her ear.
“That’s right, daddy. Fuck me! Harder!” the woman screamed.
The loud grunts were all too familiar.
“Jeff?” Nadine called out in the weakest of tones. Her breathing was jagged and shallow. The words that came to mind were unexpectedly clogged in her throat.
“Whose pussy is this?” Nadine heard Jeff ask the woman.
“It’s yours, daddy!”
Nadine hung up. She couldn’t handle any more. She walked hastily, further into the main room. Her feet swept across the cold hardwood floor before arriving at the oversized Persian rug that covered most of the living area. She flopped down on the sofa and tried to catch her breath, but it felt as though the air had been knocked out of her lungs. Felt as if her heart had been ripped right out of her chest. Her body stiffened and her fists balled tightly at her sides.
“Why is he doing this to me?”
Nadine couldn’t bear the thought. Her bottom lip began to tremor and she felt a tingling, burning sensation in the back of her throat as she tried her hardest to suppress the inevitable, but it was useless. Within seconds, tears rounded her beautiful brown face, flowing like an endless river. It was that deep. That heartbreaking. Four years out of her life was what Jeff had taken from her. She had put her life on hold waiting for him, and this was the reward for her patience.
Nadine began to mumble something that not even her own ears took seriously enough to translate.
“I can’t do this anymore. I can’t,” she said indistinctly, shaking her head at the truth revealed. More tears collected on her face, blurring her vision, even as she sat in the dark. She asked herself if this was another round of karma coming back to visit. Wondered if this was her punishment for having an affair with a married man—for bearing his child—for still sticking around long after the whistle had been blown. Or was it Denise, her longtime best friend and Jeff’s former deceased wife, haunting her for payback?
The answers to those puzzling pieces escaped Nadine as she tried to come full circle with this once and for all. A trail of tears formed a puddle in the corners of her mouth. She drew in her bottom lip and her warm wet tongue got a taste of yesterday, last week, and the past four years. It was the taste of bittersweet memories, love, pain, and everything that fell in between. While Nadine knew it would be difficult to move on from Jeff, she realized it was time. It was apparent that he had no interest in taking their relationship to the next level, and for once in her life, she was tired of pushing the issue. It wasn’t getting her anywhere.
The distress from the outcome of it all weighed so heavy on Nadine’s heart that she began to experience light chest pains. These exact pains were the onset of blood pressure problems that she had experienced throughout her entire pregnancy which caused her to threaten a miscarriage. It was a result of the subconscious stress she had inherited the second she’d gotten involved with Jeff.
Nadine placed her left hand over her broken heart. To her surprise, it still had rhythm. Another pain soared through the center of her chest, making her gasp all at once. It validated what she had been thinking all along. It was time to let it go! If she didn’t, that man was going to send her to an early grave. She didn’t bother
wiping away the hot tears that cascaded down her face. She eventually decided to go back to bed.
Nadine vowed that this would be the last time that she’d ever allow a man to play Russian roulette with her heart. The last time that she would settle for a man who was not ready to make her his honest lifetime commitment—his wife. Last but not least, Nadine was taking a vow of celibacy. Sex complicated things and lately, Jeff’s mind-blowing, ten-piece of dark meat managed to not only be the fix she needed to knock the edge off, but it was the culprit nominated to incite her poor judgment.
She pulled the covers over her body and stared at her son who was sleeping so peacefully, despite the hailstorm his parents were going through. She regretted believing that she was exempt from this type of pain. She wanted to scream and curse, but couldn’t. Wanted to throw things out of rage, but wouldn’t. She so badly wanted to pick up the phone and give that no-good-bastard a piece of her mind, but didn’t. She refused to reduce herself any more than she already had.
Nadine had dehydrated herself emotionally. Her muscles began to ache and her head began to throb. Her eyelids grew heavy. She couldn’t refuse her mind and body any longer. Besides, she would need every bit of energy she had left for tomorrow. She was going to do something that she now knew she should have done a long time ago. She was going to take back her life. And the very first step in that direction was to change the locks on her door. Not only did Jeff hold the keys to her heart, he had convenience store-hours access to her pussy. But not anymore!