Forty minutes later they pulled in front of a three story massive home in the Boston Edison District of Detroit’s Westside. These were old homes built so long ago some still had oil lamps on the walls.
Often turned into four family flats with taxes so high and heating cost rising, Most families couldn’t afford to stay in these. But it had been Chyna’s dream to have one of these homes since she was young.
And now her sister had it along with the handsome prince.
Parker came around in an attempt to open her door, but Charisse hurried and opened it herself and went straight to the front door.
He grabbed the box and followed her, letting her inside the home. For a moment he allowed her to marvel at the large foyer, the long hallway and the massive stairs in front of them.
Chyna had decorated the home to almost perfection. “A palace for his princess,” he remembered, saying a very long time and gave Chyna all the money she needed in order to make their home perfect.
Their friends and even the people who weren’t, were jealous of all that he had accomplished.
Clearing his throat to make Charisse look at him, he said, “Your room’s on the third floor. Did you want to take the elevator?”
“Do I look that fat and out of shape?” she asked.
“I didn’t mean to imply-“
She headed for the oak stairs and Parker stopped speaking, following by taking two stairs at a time to stay casually up with her. If she were fat and out of shape, she hid it quite well, because she didn’t break a sweat.
Chyna always took the elevator if it concerned anything above the second floor – Something about scuffing her eight thousand dollar shoes.
“It’s big,” Charisse said, coming to the top of the spacious third floor.
In one corner was the hospital bed the nurse had required and then there was
the ensconced room for the nurse. The doors to the bathroom had been taken off and a semi kitchen was in the other corner.
No metal was in the room – Including the bed.
He watched as she circled the room and then turned to him.
“I’m still a prisoner, aren’t I?” she asked miserably.
He placed the box by the bed and walked up to her. “It was the only way they would agree to release you this time. And I thought you’d enjoy the freedom if we complied.”
She expected them not to care. She expected them to be care less. Killing herself was going to be harder than she expected.
“Your nurse won’t be here for six more hours,” he said.
“Are you going to baby sit me until then?”
“Yes,” he said with that same matter of fact tone she had used earlier. “But we do have an appointment.” He checked his two thousand dollar Movado watch. “Would you like to get freshened up before we leave?”
“W-Where are we going?”
“I figured with it being your birthday, I should make special arrangements.” Impatiently, he checked his time again. “Now, if you could please freshen up, I’d appreciate it so we can leave.”
At first she wanted to be obstinate, but she figured she would need this jerk on her side when it came down to it. Getting him to see her side of it would be easy. Just like her mother had given her the tools and then Cheyenne had stopped caring, she knew if she was to get to this man, it would only be through his sympathy for her situation. In order to do that, she would have to most likely give him the truth.
She walked to the bathroom and turned to close the door out of habit, but there was no door to close.
She moved over to the sink and looked around. There was nothing in the bathroom that she could possible hurt herself with. The towels were too thick to be torn; the soap and bath products were for a child. What kind of nurse was this?
Staring in the mirror at herself, she even noticed that this had a protective plastic cover on it, so if she tried to break it, it would be next to impossible and only shatter.
Coming back out the bathroom, Parker had moved to the door and partially turned away like a true gentleman to give her some privacy.
“I’m ready,” she said.
“After you,” he said, indicating the door.
Charisse wanted to stomp like a petulant child, but she didn’t. Instead, she wrapped her arms around her waist as if she were freezing and went back down to the car. He was quick this time and had anticipated her movements.
Suavely, he blocked the passenger door and opened the front door for her.
Stopping dead in her tracks inches before getting in the car, she snapped her eyes over to him and grinded her teeth.
He met her gaze with a triumph gleam, but didn’t move from where he was.
Sliding in the front making sure she made no physical contact with him, she was so tempted to jump back out of the car while he was walking around to get in the driver’s side.
Careful not to touch her, Parker got in the car and started it up.
“Where are we going?”
“Somewhere to pass the time for six hours and it’s wireless, so I can get some work done.”
“I don’t work. I don’t have a job,” she said. “I’m too stupid to hold a job.”
“Who told you that?”
He looked over at her as if shocked she had said that. “That doesn’t sound like her.”
“Then you don’t know Cheyenne.” She looked forward angrily that she had not gotten her way in sitting in the rear.
After a few more moments, she asked, “I see you got your little dream up and off the ground.”
“Little dream?” he asked insulted.
Charisse explained further. “That’s what Chyna called it when she was over Cheyenne’s house crying about how you quit your job at the plant nine years ago on a hunch.”
“It wasn’t a hunch. It was an opportunity if you must know.”
“So what do you do?”
“I’m in the crate and laundry business.”
“That’s silly. What could you possibly do with that?”
She sounded a lot like Chyna, but he thought maybe he could get Charisse to understand by explaining his vision. “We’ll it started off with crates. A friend was working for this company that took the crates and disposed of them or resold them, but he was only getting so much a crate. I figured I could get more if I became a supplier instead of a deliverer,” he explained. “It worked. Not only did I start to pick from the auto plants, but also other warehouses. And they weren’t all wooden – I started on plastic crates. That expanded to stores, grocery chains and so forth. Another friend of mine started complaining about laundry services and I thought I could do better. I did and ended up picking up his business, along with salons, and other small businesses.”
By this time, she was looking seriously at him, giving him her full attention. “That’s pretty impressive.”
“Try? That sounds like you’re a pathetic over achiever,” she said miserably. “Who are you trying to impress?”
He was again shocked by her response. “I’m not trying to impress anyone. This is self-satisfaction for me. I always wanted to own my own business, get a great gal and have a large home.”
“You forgot the white picket fence and what about a dozen children?”
Smartly, he said, “We are trying to have children. We’ve been trying for about five years.”
“Are you serious?” Charisse asked. “Chyna agreed to have a baby?”
“Why does that sound strange to you?”
“Because she isn’t the motherly type. She’s selfish and shallow.” Feeling bad for saying negative things, she decided to apologize. “I’m sorry, that’s really none of my business. Chyna could have changed since I last killed myself.” But the snort came by just by reflex. It was so hard to lie.
“Five years ago I would agree, but Chyna has changed a lot and she’s been doing the tests and going through a lot to have a baby.”
“Going through what?”
“She didn’t tell you?’ Parker questioned. “I thought she told her sisters everything.”
“My sisters and I aren’t that close. You’re confusing me for her twin. They are close along with their sidekick, Aretha Franklin.”
He smirked. “I take it you’re talking about Joanie Bell?”
“She still rides their coattail?”
“She’s actually Cheyenne’s administrative assistant.”
Charisse rolled her eyes. “That just lets me know I’m not at the bottom of the bucket yet.”
“Can I ask you a question, Charisse?”
“What? Why I keep trying to kill myself?”
“That’s a good way of asking it.”
His Substitute Wife…My Sister Chapter 2.2(c) 2008 Sylvia Hubbard