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Chapter 13


“You’re everything to me, ya know that?” Drew caressed my cheek.

We made our way back to the bedroom, made love three more times, and finally rested. My body truly needed all of that, and apparently, so did Drew’s. I don’t think I’ve ever had sex so good.

“So soon?” I pondered.

He looked taken aback, “you think I’m playin’ with you, girl? I told you I’d help you raise another man’s kids. People don’t just say things like that.”

“So, you weren’t lying….”

He sucked his teeth, “now, when have you known me to lie?”

I turned to face him, “what do you love about me, Drew? I’m a mess.”

“A beautiful mess… You don’t think I can love someone like you?”

“I just don’t understand how you could in the space I’m in.”

He sat up on his elbow, looked me over from head to toe, and finally looked me in the eye again, “you mean to tell me you haven’t had fun these past couple of months? Like, you haven’t changed for the better? Or that for once in a very, very long time, you’re not happy?”

“Come on. You know I’m happy. These past couple of months have been nothing but pure bliss. You’ve brought out a side of me that I’ve completely forgotten about.”

He smiled a little, “so, why are you convinced that I can’t love someone like you? Because the love you received from your ex-husband was nowhere near the love I’m giving you?”

There it is.

He’s right…

Michael’s love became laced with narcissism, emotional abuse, and manipulation.

Over time, I became used to that, not realizing a much better love was out there. Now, I have it right in my face, and I don’t even feel deserving of it…

I averted my eyes away from him, “I guess I’m just not used to it.”

“Well, I need you to be,” he held my chin up with his index finger. “Because you’re deserving of all the love I want to shower you with. You don’t have to say you love me because I know you don’t yet, but hopefully, the time comes when you do,” he pulled me in for a gentle kiss.

Prayerfully, that day does come.

“I’ve worked up an appetite. Wanna order pizza?”

I smiled, “let’s do that.”

He turned over and picked up the phone.

I stared up at the ceiling as my body recalled each touch and kiss. He reminded me not once, not twice, but three times that I was now his, and he did not want to let me go. If this kind of sex and love is what I’ll be missin’, I’d be a fool to leave.

“Whatchu thinkin’ ‘bout?” Drew wrapped an arm around my waist and nuzzled his head in my neck.


“What about me?”

“How I could have possibly missed out on you. You think if I never met Michael that you and I would have met?”

He chuckled, “so Michael’s the reason we’re together?”

I sucked my teeth, “no, I’m not saying that. I’m just saying that had I not been famous, we would have never met.”

“Well, that all depends. I married someone who wasn’t famous, so who’s to say I wouldn’t have found you?”

“Well,” I turned to face him, wrapping my leg around his. “I moved from Ohio to Sacramento. You think you would have found me there?”

He looked me over, “honestly, we met at the right time. We went through what we had to to learn and grow from it. Had we not, we wouldn’t be right here right now. No one is responsible for how we got together but us.”

“You’re right.”

“You have two beautiful children. The last thing you’d want is to write them out of history, right?”

“I didn’t mean it like that.”

“I’m not saying you did. I’m just saying that had it not been for your union with Michael, you would have never had them. No point in trying to figure out the ‘what ifs.’”

“Gosh,” I laughed. “You sure do know how to make a girl think, huh?”

“Got to,” he kissed me.

He’s right, but it’s okay to think about the what-ifs occasionally. If I had Drew’s children, it would have been under far less complicated circumstances. I wouldn’t have had to think of the many questions my children have already asked and will probably ask in the future… Things like why Daddy looks different from yesteryear…

It’ll be easy to explain Michael’s vitiligo, but he and his family's plastic surgery has concerned me over the years. Only because I always thought they were so strikingly beautiful.

“Speaking of them, you know the one thing I worry the most about?” I asked.

“What’s that?”

“What if my kids want plastic surgery?”

Drew chuckled to himself, “I mean, look at who their father is.”

“No, babe. I’m being serious. MJ was the spitting image of his father when he was his age. He’s just a little lighter. Mimi is a beautiful combination of her father and me. From a mother’s eyes, they are the most beautiful little humans I’ve ever seen. And people tell me all the time that I made some pretty babies. What if, like their father and his family, they decide they’re not beautiful and that they have to change something about themselves? I haven’t had an ounce of plastic surgery, and I’d hope that my family and I are a good enough example, but with us living out here, I don’t think that’s enough…”

“Well,” he licked his lips. “Why did most of his family feel they had to change anything?”

I sighed, “for Michael, it began when he broke his nose. Before that, though, he was constantly teased about his nose by his father, Joseph. So, when he broke his nose, it kind of gave him a reason to do something about it. Every time he got surgery, I never questioned it because I know what he went through, but now it’s apparent that he might have gone a little overboard. I can’t tell him that, though…. Sometimes, I feel like I’m looking at a stranger, and I don’t think he realizes that… But his siblings? I think they just succumbed to the pressures of having a more eurocentric look.”

“Do you know what you’re going to say when the twins have questions?”

I shrugged, “I don’t know. Who’s to say they won’t ask me why I didn’t change something about myself?”

“I can understand your concern, especially when it hits so close to home. My ex-wife and I never had anything done, but it's kind of hard when you raise children in an image-driven society like LA. At sixteen, Sundai wanted a boob job because she felt she wasn’t… big enough,” he cringed.

“What’d you do?”

He sighed, “her mother and I did our best to explain to her that she didn’t need it. She told me I didn’t understand because I didn’t have breasts to worry about. And she told her mother that she already had big breasts, so she didn’t understand itty bitty titty problems,” we laughed. “Once she turned eighteen, she got that boob job,” he shrugged. “And there was nothing we could do about it. Once they’re grown, Shayla, there’s nothing you can do. The most you can do now is instill in them that they’re beautiful just the way they are. Prayerfully, Michael does the same. But based on their environment alone, not just your in-laws and their father, but LA, I just think you shouldn’t worry about it. They’ll eventually do what they think is the right thing, whether that’s following in their father’s footsteps or being grateful for what they were born with. Your job is just to support them in whatever direction they choose to go.”

“You’re right. I guess it’s just hard because I know the twins will look more like Michael’s family than mine. Them genes are strong,” I laughed. “I’m lucky Mimi looks like me a little bit. But watching my ex-husband and his family’s evolution over the years has been interesting. I’ve always thought everyone was so beautiful, but I guess we all have our own insecurities.”

“What’s yours?”

“I never really had any in the past, but now it’s definitely my stretch marks.”

“Whatchu mean? You can hardly see ‘em! You only have them because your produced life.”

“Yeah, but I still don’t like them.”

“They add flavor, girl! Whatchu talkin’ ‘bout?” He scooted down and kissed my stomach and thighs all over.

This man will not let me feel bad for myself, and I love that about him.

Even if given the option, I wouldn’t get rid of my stretch marks, though. They add character. Even if I’m still getting used to them. I’m slowly starting to embrace them, but they will always be an insecurity of mine.

“Stretch marks are something to be proud of. We all have them. It just means we’re human,” Drew reminded me.

“Yeah, but when you’re not used to seeing such deep marks, they can make you feel a way,” I looked down at him as he kissed my inner thighs.

“Well, the way I see it,” he slid his tongue across my slit. “It’s like they’re pointing straight to heaven.”

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