The gun slipped from my fingers with a thud to the floor. And in that moment a cold draft of wind from the open window swept over my body sending chills up and down my arms; my spine shivered and ice cold sweat dripped into my brows.
Sticky thick, gelatinous blood began to leak from his body like a faucet, leaking into the cracks of the chestnut coloured floorboards.
I’d shot him,
I’d killed him.
I’d shot and killed him.
It was like everything to me; everything I loved and adored in life in a split instant had been dragged away and taken from me. Grabbed with a mean vengeance. Every single second I shared with him in that split moment passed across my mind, all the memories we had together, every smile, every laugh, every joke, every kiss, every touch and I couldn’t make the tears stop, all my regrets about what I hadn’t said to him when I could’ve all of it, was now gone.
I scurried over to him and pushed Marlon’s limp body off of him so fast I hadn’t even taken a second to realise what was actually the case. That I’d pushed Marlon’s limp body away. “Chris…” I choked up, he looked dead “Chris!” I cried shaking him to wake up. Nothing. “Chris come on this isn’t funny please get up!” I cried even harder. “…please?”
He wouldn’t move. He just lay there stagnant with a nasty wound leaking from his shoulder. I stood up to find my phone to dial 911, he needed medical assistance asap with when suddenly… I heard a groan, one of the sweetest sounds I think I’d ever been so grateful to hear in my whole life. I spun around and saw as slowly his eyes opened, it was if the Lord had answered all my prayers. Finally he’d heard my cry; I felt a huge wave of relief suddenly sweep over me; words couldn’t even explain the feeling that I felt to know that he was alive and breathing.
"Chris, Chris…Oh my God I thought I’d shot you" I cried. I touched his face, trying to make sure he was still real and this wasn’t just a clouded figure of my imagination. I could not breathe with the image of him lying lifeless on the floor like that haunting me.
"Nah I’m good… you good?" He asked, concern clouding his expression.
"Yeah…now I am"
"Good" he croaked out and then used his elbow to ease himself up "Ahh fuckk!" he yelped out in pain and that’s when we noticed the thick blood that was leaking from his shoulder through onto his white tee where Marlon had managed to stab the knife into his shoulder
"Chris wait, be careful! “I said, and then with a struggle began to help him up off the floor. "We need to wrap this up to stop the bleeding" he winced in pain, holding his shoulder. I looked around and then picked up the knife and used it to cut a long enough piece of material off the bed sheet and then wrapped it tight around the stab wound in Chris’ shoulder to seize the bleeding until we could get the proper medical treatment needed.
"We need to get you to the hospital to get it seen to"
"Nah I don’t need to go to the hospital just tie it a little tighter" he instructed me.
"Chris it’s bleeding too much you need to go to the hospital!"
"No man! They gonna ask too many fucking questions I ain’t tryna answer right now, just wrap it tighter Jhene!" he said sounding annoyed. I ended my protest and just done what was asked and tied the wrap even tighter; Chris winced in pain once done and then grabbed the bloody knife and pushed it into his back pocket. We both then looked over as if we just realised Marlon’s body was just lying on the floor. I looked at Chris and he kicked Marlon’s foot "…He’s not dead. It’s aight" he confirmed how he could really tell that when he was laid out limp on the floor, I don’t know; he sure looked lifeless to me! "Come on let’s get outta here" he grabbed hold of my hand.
"Chris wait we can’t just leave him like this!" I cried
"Jhene come on, we gotta get the fuck up outta here! Fuck that nigga he ain’t dead!" he yelled trying to pull me away. I looked over at Marlon as he lay there bleeding from his back on the floor, everything was just happening so fast and something just felt wrong about us leaving the man halfway dead struggling for his life like this. Chris didn’t care though.
"Chris I can’t! At least have some remorse, he’s fucking dying!" I urged
"So you wanna stay here and help the nigga who just tried to fucking kill me Jhene? ME?! … If you hadn’t have shot him that would’ve been me fucking dead on the ground and you want me to have remorse?!” he shouted at me. Chris was right, but that didn’t stop me from feeling so much guilt. “Fuck that nigga, can we go?”
“Okay…” I croaked out. Chris grabbed my hand; I looked back at Marlon one last time and just prayed to God he didn’t die left there like that before Chris damn near dragged me out the bedroom with him hand in hand. He guided us through the dark house, down the stairs and then out the back door; in the distance the sound of police sirens rang through the air. Chris suddenly froze “What’s wrong?” I asked panicked
"You got the gun right?" he asked me.
"Shit!" I panicked remembering I’d dropped it the moment I thought I’d shot Chris with it.
"Where is it?!" Chris yelled at me.
"I left it in the room!" I cried.
"Ah Jhene man! Fuck!" He let go of my hand and turned back towards the house.
"Chris wait….where are you going?" I went to follow behind him.
"Just wait there Jhene! Don’t fucking follow me!" He snapped at me running back inside of the house. I did as I was told and waited for him to come back out; the sirens in the distant seemed to be getting louder and closer making my nerves grow at a rapid pace. I just wanted to get out and as far away from here as possible!
About 3 long minutes later Chris returned “Did you get it?” I asked him.
"Yeah let’s go" He grabbed hold of my hand again and we ran around to the front of the house, up the driveway and towards our cars. Chris followed me to Kyra’s car and then made sure I got in, started up the car and was ready to go. "Follow behind me aight, don’t lose me" he instructed
“Wait give me the gun Chris, what if you get caught with it!”
"I’m not gonna get caught"
"Yeah but what If"
"I ain’t gonna get caught with it Jhene just stop fucking panicking, Shit!" he yelled angrily at me. "Just follow behind me" he instructed before he jogged across the street over to his ride. As soon as he got in the car and put it into drive; he drove out of the residency and sped down the road with me following close behind him. My hands shook relentlessly. I just couldn’t come to terms with what I’d just done to Marlon. I knew he was crazy and yeah he deserved to suffer for what he did to me, but he didn’t deserve to die and I wasn’t a murderer. I wasn’t like this nor was I about this life! This morning when I woke up this was the last thing I wanted to happen and now possibly I was a killer on the loose. What the fuck had my life come too?
As I followed behind him, Chris ran straight through every stop sign and I continued following him until we got onto the freeway and he sped across the carpool lanes. My eyes kept blurring with falling tears and soon my phone began ringing in the cup holder. Chris was calling. “Yeah…” I sniffed as I answered. I heard some rustling on the other end before he spoke.
"Nae …you alright?" he asked me, his tone was much lighter than before. I lied and replied with a weak yeah, although I was far from alright. How was I supposed to be alright when potentially I’d just killed somebody in cold blood? I was far from alright. Far far from alright! I was so scared, lightly Chris sighed. "Baby just chill aight. I know your scared right now but I promise you everything’s gonna be alright. I ain’t gonna let nothing happen to you aight" he reassured me.
"Yeah" I replied
"Just keep calm, keep following me okay"
"I love you…." he said.
"I love you too" I replied and then we both hung up the phone.
We drove for about 15 more minutes until we finally got off the freeway and arrived at a deserted scrap yard in the middle of nowhere. Once we reached the destination Chris shut off his car and then got out the Mustang just a short bald Mexican guy came out of the only port cabin that was in the middle of the yard and greeted him. I sat there patiently but I was tensed… I looked around at my surroundings and then watched as they spoke briefly and then Chris handed him the key to the Mustang and something wrapped in what appeared to be a black cloth. They spoke for a few minutes longer and then dapped each other up. Chris then began making his way over to me in the car. He tapped on the window jolting me from my daydream for me to unlock the car door for him. I unlocked it and he opened up the passenger side and got in. “You okay?”
“Yeah …who was that?” I asked him watching as the Mexican dude got into the mustang Chris was in and drove off further into the yard.
“Don’t worry about it, everything’s good” he mumbled reassuringly… I stared at him for a second but then rolled my eyes dropping it. I couldn’t be asked to question him right now; I was in no state to argue.
"Can you drive please, I don’t feel like driving" I asked him. He agreed and then we quickly switched sides. We got back onto the freeway in no time; it was a little after 1am so I decided to call Kyra to let her know we were on our way back home now. After leaving out the way that I did I could only imagine how worried she was, I dialled her number and then pulled the phone up to my ears. "Hey Jhene is everything okay?" she answered on the third ring, concern lacing throughout her tone
"Yeah, we’re on our way back now so I’ll just talk to you when we get there”
“Okay, where’s Chris is he okay? Did you find him? Mijo said he tried to call you but you wouldn’t answer the phone, he said him and Ty both were looking but couldn’t find Chris”
“It’s fine, he’s right here” Chris looked over at me and then mouthed asking who it was. I ignored him and switched my phone to my other ear as I leaned my head up against the window.
"Oh thank God he’s good Imma call Mijo after this and let him know"
“Yeah, Is Asia alright though?” I asked her
"Yeah I just managed to put her to sleep” Kyra lightly chuckled “She was up crying practically the whole time after you left but she’s okay now"
“Thanks so much Ky seriously but I’ll see you soon should be about 20 minutes”
“Okay hun see you soon” she said before I hung up the phone
"Who was that?" Chris asked looking over at me again
"Kyra, she’s at your house with Asia, Mijo told her to come over"
"Mijo?” he said confused
“Yeah I called and asked him to go and find you after you left”
"That’s why that nigga kept blowing up my phone" he chuckled taking it from out of his pocket and looking at the multiple missed calls on his screen. "I’ll call that nigga tomorrow" he mumbled throwing his phone in the cup holder.
"Mhm" I sniffed and then leaned on my fist by the window
Chris glanced over at me once again just as my eyes began welling up with tears, I really wish I could just forget about it and stop crying but I just couldn’t. I could never hide my emotions, they were always written all over my face, so he already knew something was up without even having to ask me, so he pulled over the car at the nearest curb and turned down the radio. “Why are we stoping?” I asked looking at him.
"What’s bothering you Jhene?"
"It’s Nothing" I shrugged lying like hell and then looked back out the window. Chris kissed his teeth because he knew as well as I knew something was wrong.
"Aye look at me" he said turning my face towards him. "…You scared?" He then asked me. Slowly I nodded yeah; I would be lying if I said I wasn’t. "What are you scared about?"
"I don’t know, what if I killed him or something Chris, what if he’s dead? I heard police sirens, what if they found him or some shit?" I sobbed. Chris sighed and rubbed his forehead
"Jhene he’s not dead! I promise you that nigga was still breathing when I went back inside"
"Yeah but nothing" he cut me off "He ain’t dead, you ain’t killed anybody so you good, just trust me okay?"
"Do you trust me?" He questioned
"Yeah" I sniffled
"Aight so trust what I’m telling you. I ain’t gonna let anything happen to you anyway, you got my word" he promised. As much as Chris was trying to make me feel better, my conscience just wouldn’t allow it. I felt awful at the idea of Marlon struggling to call for help but then I remembered. This was the same guy who did the same thing to me a few days ago, okay so maybe I wasn’t with a bullet in the back of me but he left me wounded and unconscious by myself with no help; why did I feel so bad for him? Surely he didn’t feel shit for me when he left me the way that he did. He couldn’t have, shit he couldn’t even remember it!
The rest of the car ride I stayed silently consumed with my thoughts, just thinking about the situation I’d gotten myself into, until Chris pulled up to a car shop at the end of an almost abandoned road. Immediately I recognized the turning and sat up in my seat. ”Why are we here Chris?” I asked him looking over at him. I just wanted to go home already! I wanted to go home see my baby girl and just sleep this whole damn night away! He glanced at me briefly noticing my sudden apprehensiveness and then sighed.
"Baby relax, I just gotta get my car back I won’t even be 5 minutes" he explained putting the car in park
"Chris you’re not leaving me in this car alone to go inside that place I don’t care how long you’ll be!"
"Jhene why you being so-" he began to say something slick out his mouth but then stopped mid-sentence when he noticed my facial expression drastically change. I weren’t being anything right now! The last time he’d brought me over here and told me to wait in the car for him, I was dragged out, tossed around like some fucking rag doll and put in the back of a fake ass police car on some bull ‘pranking’ shit. It didn’t matter how ever long ago it was, it weren’t something I was just finna forget. So excuse me for being apprehensive about being here again.
"Aight just let me call him to bring the keys out to me then" he said instead. I shrugged whatever and then turned to face out the window again. I heard Chris sigh deeply as he dialled for Cass to come out and meet him. We sat in silence for about 10 minutes before this man decided to bless us with his presence. Walking out the shop door like some sort of high rank Lord with a blunt to his lips, I rolled my eyes as he strolled across the parking lot and towards the car; he was just so whack and corny to me I couldn’t understand why Chris still messed with this fool. He tapped on Chris’ window for him to roll it down, Chris pressed it and then Cass slowly blew out smoke from the blunt, flicked it and then leaned in the car. Before he said anything to Chris, he looked over at the passengers side and noticed me sitting there. Then a crooked smile spread across his face. "Little Lady! You back!" he greeted me in a overtly friendly manner. I kept my expression straight and just glared over at him. Cass looked between the both of us again and his brow rose slightly, "What y’all do, beat each other up in here?" he laughed jokingly "The fuck happened?"
"Why don’t you mind your own fucking business?" I snapped at him. Chris quickly looked over at me whilst Cass looked highly amused at my response.
"Chill…" Chris warned glaring at me.
"Well tell him don’t talk to me then, it’s you here to see him, not me!" Cass laughed again. I cut my eye at him and then turned my head outta the window, I was in no mood for his stupid ass right now.
"She’s still feisty as before I see"
"Man just stop fucking with her" Chris sighed as he opened up the car door. "Climb over so you can drive this home" he said to me. I nodded whatever and waited for him to get out the car before I climbed over back into the driver’s seat. I watched as him and Cass began walking towards Chris car, Cass glanced back at me with a smirk I flipped him the bird and then he laughed and turned away. I just couldn’t stand Cass. He was a creep and shady as hell. I just knew he would be the reason Chris got himself in more trouble; I was just waiting for the day the cops came knocking on Chris’ door for something to do with this man. I knew it was coming sooner or later, guys like Cass always played dirty and there was gonna be a day that he gets caught up and drags Chris down with him. Chris was just stupid enough to fall for his act, but I wasn’t.
"How you handle her? I know her attitude gotta get you in problems" Cass said referring to Jhene as we walked over to where he had my car parked.
"Don’t worry bout what I handle she just don’t like you that’s all"
"Why she don’t like me?" Cass asked. I shrugged, Jhene hasn’t liked Cass from the jump and she made it clear so she weren’t about to start acting as if she did either. There wasn’t no grey scale when it came to Jhene, she either liked you or she just didn’t, period and Cass was just one of those people she didn’t like. She hated the fact that I still worked for the dude and felt that I could be doing better for myself. She wanted me to go to college and juggle them little $600 cheques a month tryna live on the straight and narrow but truth be told that weren’t me. I weren’t tryna struggle in life just to say I did that shit legally, fuck that I’d rather end up in prison tryna provide for and give my kids the lifestyle they deserved than have them miss out on things cause I was broke tryna make shit work. The money I got out of pulling just one job didn’t even compare to what a check at some cheap ass minimum wage job would be.
But of course many people wouldn’t understand that and Jhene was one of them. The difference between us was she ain’t ever had to struggle the way that I did growing up and although she was mad independent now and done most shit for herself and by herself; she still always had her pops to fall back on if anything ever went wrong for her, that man was sitting on a multimillion dollar fortune just waiting to hand it all to her, anything she needed he gave that shit to her period. I didn’t have that luxury and that’s what I always tried to explain to her. It was just me on my own so I had to grind like I did, it was fundamental if I wanted to live.
“She just don’t like you nigga. That’s it” I stated.
"Why I’m the good guy!" He joked
"Whatever man. Anyway, Chulo’s got the mustang now he said he finna drive it out and have it gone by the morning”
"My man" he dapped me “I put the money in the trunk for you, should be a little over 10Gz"
"Good looking out" we dapped again.
"So I hope you’ve been thinking about that situation I spoke to you about” Cass said me, I sighed and leaned on my car door as I looked elsewhere. I just knew he was about to bring this shit up.
“I still don’t know man, that shit seems risky I ain’t even gonna front” I admited
“40% up on it G, you know I ain’t gonna put you up on nothing that ain’t been thought out and thoroughly planned, you my top puller I need you just as much as you need me nigga”
"Yeah but you talking about some shit I ain’t never done before. I ain’t trying to get caught up in anything dodgy"
"Dodgy? All you gotta do is deliver the shit to her, it ain’t no dodgy shit involved. You get the load from the spot and then deliver it back to its owner, nothing more nothing less" Cass said. I laughed bitterly, this nigga was really making it seem that easy. It was more than me bringing some item back to its owner. Here was the deal, Cass came from a long line of criminals in his family tree, The Taylor’s they were notorious in the city and throughout the mid 90s to early 2000’s Cass pops used to run the whole of Inglewood right through until like 06 when he died and then the buck was passed onto Cass, his older brother Delroy and his sister Mindy. His brother was a OG Kingpin in this shit so he stayed out in Detroit somewhere laying low and his younger sister Mindy was in a law firm so she dealt with the legal side of shit, that’s how he’d been able to keep this business going for so long cause he had someone who was on the inside looking out for him. He knew all the key information he needed to know in order to run an illegal chop shop in the way that he was. It was all good too until Mindy had gotten caught up with some dude named Ricky that Cass was doing a dodgy car deal with on some petty relationship problems, apparently the nigga was seeing some next chick whilst messing with Mindy which she found out and went nuts about, smashing up his crib nshit, ultimately her going nuts on dude resulted in Ricky backing out of the deal with Cass cause he thought they was gonna try and short change him for his whip, which of course he was, but Ricky wasn’t supposed to know that. Now here was the problem Cass had given Mindy a load to hold for him that apparently according to Mindy, Ricky had found out about and had stolen from her crib as payback for her trashing his crib and Cass setting him up with a dodgy ass deal. So now Ricky had a load from Cass’ worth a couple grands, plus a whip that Cass wanted and obviously Cass wasn’t having it, he couldn’t have another nigga on his turf making money if he wasn’t supplying it. It was some ego trip shit. So that’s where I came in. He wanted me to go get back the load from Ricky that he’d stolen from Mindy’s crib and do what I normally did which was take the car and drive it to the shop and was willing to give me a whole 40% from the profit off the load. Sounded simple enough right?
"Yeah but you forgetting I gotta break into somebody crib for that shit, the car shit that’s easy it’s getting the load that’s the problem. And then you said dude staying out in the hills somewhere, you know cops be patrolling heavily up there If I get caught with that shit on me that’s an automatic 5 years added to my time on drug possession not to mention you talking a whole load my nigga. Do you know how much a load is?"
"Do you know how much 40% is on a half a mill. You can afford that up?" He asked rhetorically. Of course I couldn’t, who really could?
I scratched my chin and looked over at the car Jhene was in. Realistically I couldn’t afford that up, but I knew if told her about this shit, she’d go bananas; she’d trip, she’d probably leave my ass altogether, but I also knew for me to bring home 40% of half a mill meant I wouldn’t have to do any more jobs for at least a year and a half, even longer. With all the money I had saved up over the years, plus this 40% we would be set for a hot minute. She could continue doing her dancing stuff, Asia would be in full time daycare paid for and If she really wanted me to, I could enrol in a college course or some shit like that whatever to keep my ass occupied and her ass from complaining about me not going to college. Logically this shit made sense especially if she wanted me out of this shit but then there was the other side cause if this shit went wrong and I was caught with a stolen whip AND half a mill in drug possession I could face a hell of a lot of time inside. So the question was, was I willing to risk it?
"If you ballin like that go head lil nigga make your move, but at the end of the day I’m tryna make you rich. Make you a baller so that you can own an empire like mines one day. I ain’t saying you gotta do the same shit as me but I’m tryna give you an opportunity to make something for yourself. Why’d you think I pay your ass so much. 40% that’s a lot of bread enough to start a life for you and your girl-" just as he said that we both looked over at the car mid conversation that Jhene was in as the engine started up and the lights flicked on, brightly shinning at both of us. Soon after she began pulling out of the parking space and then the next thing you know she’d skidded outta the parking lot and completely drove off without so much of a word leaving both of us, especially me confused as a mutha…
"Uh oh, looks like wifey’s mad at you" Cass chuckled sounding amused. I kissed my teeth and immediately pulled out my phone and called her to find out why the fuck was she driving off like that. "Yes?" she finally answered on the last ring.
"So you just gonna pull off like that? Where the fuck are you going Jhene?" I asked her.
"Home." she replied nonchalantly as if she’d done absolutely nothing wrong. Fuck she mean she going home!
"So you can’t even wait up or let me know you was leaving?"
"No because obviously you discussing shit with your little boyfriend is more important to you than I am Chris, so please, continue…" she replied with major attitude. Cass laughed and shook his head hearing her response
"You heard me"
"Man you tripping right now I ain’t even bout to argue with you" I hung up the phone on her. I had no patience for her stupidity, talking shit like that. "Stupid ass" I mumbled unlocking my car door to get in.
"So you and her back together now?" Cass nosily asked me
"Man stop worrying about my damn relationship!" I snapped at him.
"I gotta worry bout it cause it seems like every time she come back around, you lose focus of what’s important" he said. I clenched my jaw in annoyance, here he go with this shit again .
"I ain’t finna lose focus my nigga"
"I hope so cause I’ll hate for her have to be the reason I don’t fuck with you no more Breezy. You know what happens when I don’t fuck with somebody no more"
"Whatever man, she ain’t got shit to do with anything"
"She better not. You got until Monday morning to let me know what you finna do. 40% up on it, take it or leave it. It’s your choice" he said before he walked away back towards the shop. Leaving me with this fucking ultimatum.
I hoped in the car and drove off and headed back to my crib with a lot on my mind, knowing this could be the last job I needed to pull before I really could be done and outta the game. Either I was gonna take it and risk getting caught up, or I was gonna walk away from not only 40% but also the opportunity to finally put an end to all of this.