Donetello was six feet tall and one of the most handsome men Tanner had laid eyes on. She had a crush on him since the first time seeing him at sixteen years old when he pulled up next to her in a gold custom decked out Crown Victoria.
He had just won the turf war, which included Tanner and her mother, plus eighteen other women.
It must have been love at first sight as well for him because from that point on, if she wasn’t on the street or hustling something for him, she was with Donetello. He taught her the real tricks of the trade – how to make a man feel like a kin and she learned fast.
Now, standing in the middle of her living room early in the morning in the latest Sean John get up, as if he was going to the Grammy’s in a few seconds with P. Diddy, with dark smooth chocolate skin that reminded a woman of a Hershey bar, bald head, and a brawny, thick body full of power, he stared at her with concern.
Forcing herself to stay and look calm, Tanner didn’t break eye contact and wondered did his sandy hazel eyes see her lies. Donetello didn’t like deceit and she had always fearful of doing something behind his back. Even though she was short, Tanner was a powerhouse of muscle and thickness all in the right places and could hold her own in a fight with any female. She had been known to take a john out because her mother always told her if she felt her life was in jeopardy to try to take them out before they took her.
Yet, Donetello had a presence that spoke power, respect and fear. She had always preferred men shorter; Donetello had been an exception to the rule. Matter of fact, she had always only let Donetello get away with anything.
“A moment of your time in private,” Donetello said. It wasn’t a request, but a polite order.
Tanner let him follow her into her room, which only contained a full size bed, a dresser and a desk. It had previously contained a laptop, printer, a TV, and expensive sound system, but she had pawned that for the initial payment on her education.
The primary color in her room was pink, her favorite color, and back in the day by servicing one john, she had gotten the room completely decorated in style, but this last year in college had been the hardest financially for her.
Her heart pounded as Donetello shut the door behind him, ensconcing himself in the room alone with Tanner.
She had to fight the urge to bite the inside of her mouth to not show him her nervousness as she sat on the bed and he remained standing in front of her.
“It’s D-Day,” he said, pointing to her calendar.
‘Donetello Day?’ she wondered to herself. If Donetello knew she took the job it mean she owned him. He didn’t care about the money she had earned. No, the payment he wanted was between her legs and Tanner didn’t’ want to give it up for a summer to him, even though that may not be enough in Donetello’s book. “What’s day?” she asked out loud as if she had not heard him.
“Time for you to pay the piper, Tanner – your tuition payment.”
Tanner said nothing, nor did she portray any emotion on her face as Donetello took his coat off and carefully put it on the back of the chair by the desk. Strapped to his side was his .350 Magnum that he never left home without. Underneath that expensive silk shirt was most likely a bulletproof vest and no doubt a four-inch blade was strapped to his leg.
But Tanner wasn’t worried about Donetello shooting or stabbing her. He wouldn’t kill her. The worse he would maybe do is bitch slap her with the butt of his gun for paying Jamroque to lie for her.
Bracing herself, she was hoping she could muster enough courage to not give in if it became too bad.
“I didn’t see your car outside. Pawned it?” he questioned.
“Yeah.” She had done that months ago to pay off the day the initial balance, but she was not going to let him know.
He looked around the room. “Your computer setup, stereo and TV are all gone. Bet your jewelry box has tumbleweeds inside of it.”
“Are you here to rub it in?” she asked.
Donetello stepped closer to her and cupped her cheek. She wanted to draw away, but she knew that would immediately alert him that her feeling had changed for him. Usually when he did this, she would lean her face into his wide palm and sometimes even kiss it tenderly. This time, she did lean, but she did not kiss it.
“Nine thousand is a lot of money to ask for Tanner, with no strings attached. You know that.”
“I know, Donnie,” she said, purposely calling him by his nickname he only reserved for close friends and family. “I asked for a lot from you.”
“Tan, you know you have my heart, don’t cha? You make a man wanna go legit.” He knelt down so she did not have to look up at him and put his arms around her waist. “You know you my girl, right, and Sissy would want me to take care of your ass by any means necessary.”
Tanner wanted to scream at him, ‘I’ve made you more money than anyone of your whores or your damn operations in the time I worked for you, bastard! You got mo’fo nerve crying over nine grand and trying to use me for it.’ But she did not mumble a word of her disgust for his frugalness. “I know you would if you could, Donetello” She knew he had only come because he assumed her back was against the wall and he was just here to come and give her what she needed, if she sold her soul to the devil. Deciding to turn the tables, she said, “But what if it wasn’t the full nine. I mean two grand ain’t that much.”
A suspicious glare shot in his light brown eyes, but it quickly faded. This request quickly caught him off guard. Tanner knew he could make this at the casino in an hour. “What about the rest of the payment?”
“Two thousand would hold them off until I could come up with the rest – hopefully,” she added, lying through her teeth. The rest of the money was inside of her coat two feet away from the bed hanging behind the door. “But I’m sure that amount would definitely show that I am going to promise to pay them the rest.”
“And what would I get, Tanner?” There was no sweetness in his tone, he was all business, but he didn’t change his proximity to her, which she wanted him too.
“What is it you require, Donetello?” she asked. Now she could deal. A summer of just being his girl would pass the time while she finished her interview process and took a break from all the stuff she had been through, before selecting the job she wanted – which would hopefully be out of state. “How much of myself do you want?” Seductively leaning forward, she let the robe fall open to reveal a peek of her thirty-six C cups with the dark tips and perky nipples.
His eyes couldn’t help, but to look and he smile greedily. “How bout a taste, Tanner? Show me how much you really want my help?”
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Tanner’s Devil Part 4.1 (c) 2006 Sylvia Hubbard