always knew I’dhave to leave my mama’s house, but I never thought it’d be like this," Kanika said as she dumped her last items of clothing into a cardboard box. "I also didn’t think I’d be packing all this shit by myself."
"I’ve been helping you all morning! What you mean?" Sheila asked, and taped up another box.
"Tyrell . He should be here." Kanika watched the movers going in and out of the room.
"Admit it, girl— you can’t stand being away from him more than a minute. You don’t want him wrestling with your boxes, you want him wrestling with you— in the bed."
Kanika blushed. Sheila was right. She needed her man around, but Tyrell was busy getting their travel plans ready.
"You about to be his wife, and you’ll never be able to get rid of him," Sheila said. "Just like me and Big Gee. Don’t be like us."
Kanika helped Sheila carry the boxes out to the front, where the other ones were. "Tyrell and I have already been apart long enough. I just want to get on that plane already and leave all this craziness behind."
Two years ago she had left Tyrell after f nding out that he hadslept with her former best friend, Peaches. It had been a one time thing, but it had nearly destroyed her. It had def nitely destroyed any trust she had had in Tyrell. Even though she had walked away from him, he wouldn’t walk away from her. He had been there during some of the craziest shit in her life. He had calmly walked through fire for her again and again. She sent him away each time, but he would always come back, placing his love and his heart in her hands, until one day it just broke her down. She couldn’t send him away again. She had always loved him and she knew she would always love him.
She remembered opening the door to her apartment on her birthday last year. He had two dozen bloodred roses in one hand.
"Tyrell, what are you doing here?" she asked, leaning against the door.
"It’s your birthday and I wanted to make sure you was celebrating it right," he told her.
"Thank you, but I’m just going to keep it low- key to night. Order in and watch some movies, you know? But thanks for stopping by." She started to close the door.
Tyrell put his hand out fast, slapping it angrily against the door. He pushed the door back open and stepped into her hallway. Kanika stared at him as if he was crazy.
"Nigga, what do you think you’re doing?"
Tyrell placed the flowers on the table in the entryway and looked at her. His eyes were blazing.
"How long are you going to do this, Kanika?"
"Do what? Get the hell out of my apartment!"
He closed the door behind him. "No, I’m not leaving." He took a step toward her. "How long are you going to keep pushing me away? Don’t you know by now I’m not going anywhere without you?" Kanika put her hands up to her face. "Tyrell, I can’t do this right now—"
"That’s what you always say."
"And I always mean it!"
He continued to look her dead in her eyes as he came closer and closer. "No, you don’t."
Kanika started to back away. "Tyrell—"
He reached out and pulled her to him all of a sudden and kissed her.
Kanikatrembled at the feel of Tyrell ’s lips on hers a nd moned when he pushed his tongue into her mouth, tasting her. Her knees almost went weak at the feel of his muscular body pressed up against her small one. Her arms were wedged against his chest as if she were going to push him away, but she couldn’t. She couldn’t. Oh, God, she had missed him. She had missed him so much. Even on the nights she had cried and cursed his name. Because the truth was that she wished he had never done anything to make him leave her arms.
Tyrell pulled back and looked down at her, his expression tight and almost pained. "Kanika, baby, I’m never going to leave you. You’re mine, baby, and I’m yours. And I know I fucked up and hurt you." He swallowed hard. "I know it, Kanika. I live with that shit every time I turn over in bed at night and you’re not there. But, baby, that’s enough now. You don’t have to keep hurting me. I’ve learned my lesson. I will never, in life, hurt you like that again. So you have to come home now, Kanika. You have to come home now."
Kanika had stared up at him, wanting to believe, wanting to trust, but so afraid. And he must have seen it in her eyes because he bent down and kissed her again. She wrapped her arms around him wanting to swallow him whole. Before she knew it, Tyrell was sweeping her of her feet and carrying her to her bedroom. He laid her down on the bed, but didn’t lie down on top of her right away. Kanika looked up at him questioningly.
"If I get into this bed with you, that’s it. You’re mine and you’re staying mine, Kanika. When it’s over, I don’t want to hear no shit about me leaving or you leaving." He reached in his pocket and took out a black velvet box. He opened it and showed her what was inside.
"Tyrell!" She gasped. It was a four- carat diamond ring.
"I get in this bed with you and my ring goes on your finger, baby."
Kanika looked up at him feeling like she had been hit by a fucking truck. Was he serious? He wasn’t even going to give them a chance to ease back into their relationship, see how things would go? Kanika shook her head. No, that wasn’t Tyrell’s style. He didn’t give you time to rethink your position. Once you were in, you were in for life and he was making no exception with her— especially with her. She reached out and caressed the ring. But could she do it? Could she throw the past, the hurt, the betrayal, and the broken trust out the window?
Kanika took a deep breath and decided. Yes, she could. The truth was, she had begun to forgive Tyrell some time ago. When she kept seeing him come back, again and again and again. When he let her see how unwavering his love for her was. When he let her see how much he not only wanted her, but needed her. When he let her see that he had become a better man for her because of what had happened, she had begun to forgive him. And now she had to decide to trust him with her heart again.
"Kanika?" he said, starting to sound stressed out.
She looked up at him again and then held out her left hand. He stared back at her, almost in disbelief.
"Oh, now you got nothing to say? You going to stand therelooking dumb or are you going to put the damn ring on my fin-ger?"
Tyrell snapped out of it, took the ring out of the casing, put the box on the night stand. He turned back to her, took her hand in his, and slid the ring on her finger.
Kanika stared at the ring, feeling happiness spread inside of her. Then she reached up and pulled him down on top of her.
They made sweet love, and it was the best it had ever been between them. Kanika came so hard that she saw stars. She didn’t even realize she was crying until Tyrell started to kiss her tears away.
"Promise me we’ll always be together, Tyrell," she whispered.
"I promise, baby," he whispered back. "I promise."
She and Tyrell had returned to Brooklyn and their relationship had been better than ever. They had even been blessed with a six- month- old son Kanika had named Tyrell, after his father, but they all called him Little T. Kanika smiled and looked down at her ring. She couldn’t be happier.
"Uh, earth to Kanika!"
Kanika snapped out of it to realize that Sheila had been jabbering away about something and she hadn’t heard a word.
She smiled sheepishly. "Sorry, what were you saying?"
Sheila rolled her eyes and said, "I said that Brooklyn is gonna miss you."
"Well more than I’ll miss it! I need some peace. I need a break," Kanika said, sitting down with Sheila on the sunny steps outside the brownstone. "Sometimes I wish Tyrell and I would never have to come back."
"Don’t even go there. What else would y’all do? Work for Verizon? Let’s be honest. This is your life, Kanika. It’s about time you accepted it." Kanika had accepted it. In a few days, she’d be Tyrell’s wife, and her life was going to change yet again. She wasn’t just a child in the game— she was soon to be married to it.
"Do you know who’s moving in?" Sheila asked.
"Some white family bought it. They just had a daughter. They are the only whites living on this block. It didn’t even bother them."
"Not for long. The neighborhood is changing," Sheila said. She watched the cars zoom up and down the street.
"Everything’s changed. When my mama and Tony died, it was—"
"The beginning of the end—"
"Never," Kanika snapped. "It is the start of a new beginning. You can take all the players out of the game, but you’ll never take the game out of the players. This is all Tyrell and I know."
"Me, too, girl. But a lot of people are gone. Just dead or in jail," Sheila said.
Kanika refused to listen. She couldn’t entertain those weak-minded thoughts, because they would raise more doubts. In the life she was living, there was never any room for gray areas— it was always do or die.
Kanika’s ringing phone disturbed the conversation.
"Hello?" she asked.
But the caller hung up.
Kanika clutched the phone in her hand. "T is been happening all day."
"You still have that number?"
"Yup, but I may have to finally change it. I have someone calling and hanging up on me. I have a feeling I know who it is."
Sheila looked at Kanika.
"I know Tyrell will make me change it," Kanika said, looking at her phone again when it rang. "Heelllo?The person hung up again.
"What ever," Kanika said.
It rang again.
"Hello!" she screamed into the phone.
"Calm your ass down," Tyrell said with a little laugh on the other end. "What happened?"
"All day somebody is playing on the phone. I think it’s Tiffany."
"Change the number."
"No, I wanna hear what she has to say. She’ll talk eventually."
"I’m getting you a new phone when we get back. Nobody should have that kind of access to you. Case closed," Tyrell said in a firm tone.
Kanika’s heart pounded. She loved him even more when he was protective like that. "Where are you?"
"We’re on our way," Tyrell said, referring to their six- month-old son, Little T.
Kanika and Sheila went back inside the house to get her luggage.
he ruleon Turks and Caicos was that you had to stay on the island for a few days before you could marry. So after three days, they had their ceremony on the beach with Little T nestled in Kanika’s arms. Kanika thought it was the most magical experience that had ever happened to her. She finally felt she had gotten the security back that she had lost when her mom and Tony were killed. She had a family of her own.
"You like this?" Kanika asked as she stepped out the bathroom in a sexy pink- and- black garter belt and corset.
Tyrell could only grin.
"We waited a week to have sex, so we might as well do it right," she said, sitting on his lap. They were on the veranda of their private villa on the beach.
Tyrell caressed Kanika’s thighs and kissed her full breasts, which were half- exposed. "I wanna take this real slow to night."
"I know, this place is so pretty. The water looks like a shim-mery black pearl. The stars like icicles. I wish we could live like this every day."
"We can do what ever we want," Tyrell said as he sipped his glass of Henny.
The warm, humid breeze intoxicated Kanika. She felt her whole body tingling with anticipation— they would have the night to themselves in such a beautiful place.
"Uh- oh." Tyrell laughed. "You wanna do it this time?"
Kanika huffed and went back inside to get Little T. He had awakened and needed his feeding. She unzipped her entire corset outfit and gave him her milk. The frustration Kanika felt at going from hot sexiness to a milk machine left her as soon as she saw Little T’s happy eyes looking up at her. After she fed him, she burped him and laid him back down. She knew her baby’s routine and figured that she and Tyrell would have just about two hours to really do anything.
Maybe a half an hour later, Kanika transformed back into her sexy self. "Little T is a good sleeper, so we got a few hours," she said, handing her husband a glass of champagne. "But these high heels hurt."
"C’mere." Tyrell took her hand and brought her over to him. "You look good enough, I can eat you right here."
"Then go ahead." Kanika unbuttoned the flap to her corset bottom. "Dig in."
"Hold on, though, I wanna sample a lil bit of everything."
"Yeah, ain’t nobody watching us on this patio. Turn around." Kanika turned around, spread her legs, and bent over. Tyrell massaged the flesh of her ass in his hands. He loved to slap it and make it wave. He bit her gently and she rolled her butt around in his face. She kept her hands on her knees as his mouth got acquainted with her pussy from behind. She put her hand on the banister when her knees started to go weak from the plea sure.
Tyrell picked her up, took her inside, and laid her on the bed. Little T was asleep, so they had to keep their volume low.
He slipped her corset of , slid of her garter belt, and went to work on her body from head to toe. Kanika wasn’t in control tonight, but she didn’t mind; she lay back and enjoyed the ride. For the next hour and a half, they tended to each other’s bodies until Little T woke up again.
Today’s ourlast day," Tyrell said as they packed up a bag to take to the beach.
"That is why we need to get a tan. What’s it gonna look like that we’ve been here seven days and haven’t even gotten one tan line?"
"Because we been too busy celebrating—"
"Having sex." Kanika handed Tyrell the baby. "It’s gonna be so obvious to folks."
They both laughed and headed out to the private beach. The hotel already had a table of food awaiting them, along with beach chairs and towels.
"Wow, this is crazy," Kanika said, picking one of the grapes. She studied the spread of fresh fruit, chips, chicken salad, finger sandwiches, and a chilled bottle of champagne.
"Well, do you, because I’m about to hit the Jet Skis," Tyrell said, before walking down the beach to rent one.
Kanika was fine with staying behind with the baby to soak inthe sun. She wasn’t much of a water person and had fun just watching Tyrell zip up and down the coastline. She was glad to see him being so carefree. It was rare for the both of them to relax like this, since they always had to watch their backs.
When the sun got too strong, she and Little T lay under an umbrella while she flipped through fashion magazines. Once in a while, she’d wave to Tyrell. There were a few couples on the beach, all white, mostly older. She felt their glances, but didn’t pay them any mind. She wondered if they thought she and Tyrell were some rap or music couple. That’s better than the truth, she thought.
Kanika looked out from under the umbrella. "Yes?"
"Hi, I’m Sam, a villa attendant. I was wondering if you need anything? We are always here to help."
Kanika checked out his villa uniform and looked around. "Uhm, no, we’re good."
"I see you are here with your husband?"
Kanika smiled. "Yes, we just got married."
"Is that him on the Jet Ski? He’s good."
"I know," Kanika said, looking out into the water. But she couldn’t see Tyrell anymore.
"Well, if you need anything, let me know. It’s your last day?"
"Yes," Kanika said, squinting her eyes in the glare. "But we’re fine. Thank you."
"Congratulations and enjoy the rest of your stay." Sam walked away and looked back only once at Kanika.
She didn’t think much of it until Tyrell appeared.
"Who the fuck was that?" he asked, agitated.
"Oh, that was one of the workers asking if we need anything."
Tyrell patted his body down with a towel and shook his head at Kanika. "Didn’t we talk about keeping to ourselves?"
Excerpted from Love Lockdown by Mia Edwards Ghetto Princess.
Copyright © 2009 by Mia Edwards.
Published in January 2010 by St. Martin’s Griffin.
All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.