“Could you please concentrate on what I am saying?” Pari complained for the fourth time as Nina was just finishing blow-drying Tanner’s hair.
“I am trying and no I don’t want any help from your secret friends,” Tanner said with a frown. She understood Pari’s frustration because she wasn’t so easily distracted all the time. “Did he want anything to eat?”
“That’s the second time you’ve asked me that,” Pari said. “He said no. I think he’s been standing in the same place for the past hour and a half. He’s too weird. What’s his story?”
Tanner really didn’t know how to answer that without revealing the truth as to who Devlin was. If Pari didn’t recognize him then Tanner wasn’t saying anything. “He’s just a john that I didn’t want Dontello to hurt.”
Pari raised a curious brown. “And how far are you going to convince yourself that is true?”
The deliberate sharp glare Tanner gave her roommate was definitely clear for Pari to just leave the subject alone.
“What do you plan on doing with him? Take him to the edge of town and drop him off?”
Tanner shrugged. “I’m still thinking about that.”
“What about you?”
“Pari, I’m not sure what I’m going to do ten minutes from now.”
Tanner’s cell phone rung. Looking at the screen, she saw it was Dontello.
“Don’t answer it,” Nina said.
Pushing the call to voicemail she prayed they could get out of there before Donetello turned on his radar and tracked her down.
“How are you sure he doesn’t know you’re here?” Pari asked.
“He won’t bother me none for about two more days with these stitches cause he knows I’m his best girl since Tanner don’t do nothing for him no more,” Nina answered. “Nate and his boys are here to keep a look out though.” Somehow Nate was Jamroque’s close cousin or maybe they just called each other that. “Nate got a man at each end of the street and watching Donetello’s place
in case he’s headed dis way.” Nina took the hot curlers off the stove and began to style Tanner’s hair.
Pari cooked something for everyone, but she came back with a full tray after trying to take a plate to Devlin.
“He said he’s too nervous to eat,” Pari said. “I think he’s still standing in the same spot.”
Tanner frowned, but didn’t say anything. She was still trying to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of marry Devlin Sanchez for three months.
On one end it made perfect sense. No woman in her right mind would refuse his offer. She also needed a place where Donetello would never look for her in a million years. Devlin was handsome for a non-black man, surprisingly honest in the thing he said and felt, wealthy to do whatever he wanted and direct. He didn’t play mind games, there was no guessing about what he wanted, respectful and nice.
To cap things off, he didn’t make her fear him or make her feel it was his way or no way – unlike Donetello did, except when it came to sex. Devlin obviously had some hidden issues or a set guideline on what he envisage as what sex was about. Yet, she felt he was open to suggestions, which was one of his reasons for marrying her.
Or since they had only had sex once, it could have been that way to hide his nervousness about his first time and was coping with the anger he was feeling toward his broken heart.
So what is the downside of marrying Devlin Sanchez?
This took a moment for her to find something because damn if he didn’t have too many good things going for him.
The fact that she was a prostitute bothered her, but she couldn’t understand why it didn’t bother him. As sweet of a guy he was, Tanner wasn’t in the position of destroying ones life just to be associated with him or get his money. She had never been a materialistic person to the point where she would do anything to obtain what she wanted.
His popularity! How long could he really hide that she was his wife with it getting out? Could his family really keep a secret? And once he told and her past really did affect his appointment, then what?
Plus if Donetello found her because word reached him, how would Tanner be able to protect Devlin.
Pari gasping broke Tanner’s deep thoughts. Looking around for trouble, when she found nothing and Pari was still looking as if there was an abnormal growth coming off Tanner’s cheek, she asked, “What’s the matter?”
Pari picked up a hand held mirror off the table in all of Nina’s things and handed it to Tanner.
At first Tanner didn’t even recognize the woman that looked back at her in the reflection. For the past seven years she had kept her head in cornrows with hair extensions to make it last longer, so she had really never took notice of the growth of her own hair and had been too busy with school and life to really keep track of anything.
With Nina hard pressing after the perm, the true length of her thick dark maple tresses were reveled, which came down a little past her shoulders.
“It’s beautiful,” Tanner said. “I don’t even look like myself.”
“Donetello probably wouldn’t recognize you either because before you wore the corn rolls you kept it in ponytails,” Pari pointed out.
“I got something for you to wear too,” Nina said excited and rushed out the room.
Pari leaned over to whisper, “I don’t know if you want to wear something from her closet.”
Tanner giggled at Pari’s jest. “Stop being mean.”
A few moments later, Nina returned with a dark crème’ business suit and matching heels that was Tanner’s size.
“Where’d you get that?” Pari asked excitedly.
“Jam goes to New York every once in a while with Nate to hit clothing trucks and they bring shit back like this.” Nina handed the outfit to Tanner. “You can put it on while I’m doing your face in the bathroom.”
Tanner agreed and said to Pari. “Check on him one more time and let him know we’ll be a few more minutes.”
Pari nodded reluctantly. “I’ll go get everyone’s dishes first before I bother him.”
Tanner went into the bathroom with Nina. Before anything, Tanner checked the stitches on Nina and smiled satisfied at her work that would leave Nina almost scar free. Tanner’s phone rung again.
“I should let you know Nate said when I got this outfit that Donetello went to the hotel and looked very disappointed that he didn’t catch the john there. His boys kicked the door down and tore up the room just because.”
Tanner sighed worriedly as she pressed Donetello’s second call into voicemail. By this time, he knew she was aware he was extremely pissed. She didn’t even want to imagine the long voicemail he left.
It took about five minutes to put the dress on and Nina to do her face. Just as Nina was finishing up, Pari knocked on the door.
“He told me to tell you that he’s been waiting for two hours, twelve minutes and forty seven seconds and then he used the word impatient.”
Tanner bit the inside of her lip nervously as she put on the heels without stockings. It was a very good thing she had shaved just the other night. She knew that he was most likely eagerly waiting for her response to his offer, which she really hadn’t determined she would accept.
She took a moment and checked herself in the mirror. Nina had applied the right blush makeup and eye highlights to make her eyes truly look like golden cups of coffee – if there was a color – and the lip-gloss made her lips look fuller and very kissable. Tanner found herself not being able to stop looking at herself because she couldn’t believe that she looked that pretty.
The outfit was just right for her full figure accentuating her small waist. It was sized for a woman with a skinnier bottom and the skirt would have ended at her knees, but her full derriere brought the hem higher. The heels she wore gave her an extra three inches and were amazingly comfortable, while making her calf muscles even more pronounced.
“How was it?” Nina asked, leaning behind Tanner.
“Him?” Tanner asked, pretending as if she didn’t know what Nina was talking about.
“Of course, a man like that looks like he knows exactly how to please. Was he freaky?”
“Does he look freaky?” Tanner questioned.
Nina laughed. “Be careful, girl. Them white men are open to freaky shit, the hood don’t know shit about. Donetello played you to the easy wealthy cats, while we had to do stuff for pennies to make them come.”
“You’re not helping, Nina,” Tanner said, going out the bathroom.
Pari gasped as she saw Tanner again.
“What now, Paridise?”
“Oh my lawd, you look beautiful. Almost better looking than me. Where you been hiding?”
“Oh shut up,” Tanner said playfully exasperated. Nina had applied a little extra eyeliner, blush and lipstick. Nothing Tanner would normally wear.
“So what is the plan, Tanner,” Pari questioned.
“Get my jacket and hat and get the keys out to drive the blue Impala around to the alley. Put on my hat and coat. I’ll get him and we’ll meet out back in a few moments. I have to talk to him.”
Pari raised a brow of curiosity. “He’s a weird man, Tanner. You aren’t thinking bout just leaving him to fend for himself in Detroit are you?”
Tanner looked around to see no one was around. “No, I don’t plan on that.”
“And what about hiding out?”
She didn’t want to tell Pari her plan, but she didn’t want her roommate and only friend to worry about her. “I have enough put aside to fend for myself for a couple of months to stay out of Donetello’s radar.”
Pari didn’t ask any more questions getting the hint. Tanner stalled before going to Devlin to check on Jamroque. She gave Nina care instructions and then told herself to stop procrastinating and get to the room, where she had left Devlin.
Soon as she opened the door, he was turning to fuss.
“Tell her I’ve waited-“ he stopped as he immediately recognized it wasn’t Pari. Then his eyes widened in surprise. “Tanner?”
She nodded shyly enjoying the pleasurable perusal from his eyes too much.
“It was worth the wait.” His eyes looked everywhere on her body at once and although she wasn’t looking for approval she loved how he looked very happy about her change in appearance. “What about my offer?”
It had been in her head since the time she left out of the room and now she have to say out loud what she had been thinking. “Devlin, maybe-“
He stopped her and said, “I’ll be honest and say I don’t want you to say no. And I sure as hell don’t want to wait until you take me to the edge of town and drop me off.”
“D-Devlin,” she started to say again. “I-“
“What would it take for you to say yes?!” she asked interrupting her again.“I’d say yes if you’d shut your mouth!” she spat becoming annoyed.
Tanner’s Devil Part 10 (c) 2006 Sylvia Hubbard