Self-published - Cori Quinn
Copyright © 2016 Cori Quinn All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise), without the prior written permission of the copyright owner.
The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyright materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.
Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Interior Layout/Formatting: Joy E. Turner - JetSet Communications & Consulting
Editing Services provided by: book-editing-services.com
Cover Design: Gearie Bowman
Photography (back cover headshot): Michael Lawson of Glow Optical.
Printed in the United States of America
This book is dedicated to my parents and family. Thank you all for your support through the most tumultuous times in my life. I couldn’t have survived it without you. I also want to dedicate this book to those I hold extremely near and dear to my heart, LaShawn (I’ve been your baby since birth. You’re my rider for sure!); Chandel (You’ve been my baby since birth. I was there, literally. LOL); and Derrick (We got 20 years in and counting boo. Proud to have you as a friend).
This is also dedicated and in loving memory of Dorothy Hunter, Herman Harris-Hunter Sr. & Jr., Daisy Henderson, Wali Muhammad, Doria Muhammad and Keith Flowers. I know each of you are watching over me. Miss each of you. Until we meet again....Sleep in peace!
Please don’t let this blue pull me over… I am not in the mood. Not today. She eyes a cop trailing directly behind her but isn’t too concerned. Her mind is somewhere else and although it would’ve been much easier to catch a red-eye flight out of Dulles, she just wanted this time alone. She needs to think. She needs this drive to sort through some things spiraling around in her head.
With a few pieces of designer luggage filling the trunk and a portion of the back seat of the SUV, she slows down moderately. It’s not even dawn but the skyline reveals transitioning shades as certain portions of the horizon begin to brighten, making way for the sun’s inevitable appearance. She is dressed casually but still fly. Her stiletto nails with tips dipped with just a hint of shimmer are still intact from the last photo shoot, and just for the time being, are the only telltale signs of the glamorous yet complicated life that often consumes her. Otherwise, she appears on the outside to be just a regular girl. But Calloway Sharpe is not your ordinary young lady and she is far from basic. Even in jeans and a blazer, there is an aura about her that exudes both sexiness and confidence. She is refreshingly beautiful, stunning actually, even with no makeup. Wearing just a hint of lip gloss, she’s a light-skinned black woman with a complexion that makeup artists go crazy over. Wearing some boot-cut jeans and a modest heel, with her mid-length hair tied back into a ponytail, one might mistake her for a teenager. And although she is nearing the very end of her twenties in just a few months, there is still a youthfulness, almost a girlish ambience, about her that is all the more magnified in her natural state when her face is not beat to the gods and she’s not wearing a sleek, form-fitting, curve-hugging outfit.
The officer initially trailing behind her car for several miles finally maneuvers over to the right side to turn off at the next exit. Cali is unbothered and much too preoccupied at that point to even give a damn. Out of the speakers comes Mary J. Blige’s“Take Me As I Am” and suddenly, Cali’s mind trails off to a time that wasn’t necessarily easier but in hindsight seemed much simpler to a certain degree than her present situation. It didn’t seem that long ago but in reality about 10 or 11 years had gone by, about 18 years since she last saw her father and about 14 since the first arrest. Cali catches a glimpse of herself in the mirror and for just a few seconds she sees the younger version of herself. She sees a young girl that had to grow up way too fast. She sees the teenager in baggy jeans and a hoodie with a long bang swooped over her right eye. Her mind takes her back to a moment in time that can be considered a turning point. All of a sudden, Cali is abruptly interrupted from her daydreaming by the all too familiar and unwelcome sound of a police patrol car signaling her to pull over. “Oh shit,” she murmurs under her breath. Cali pulls over but still isn’t concerned enough to break a sweat. She rolls down the window as the uniformed officer that at first glance appears to be a male approaches her car from the driver’s side where she is seated.
“Good Morning ma’am, I need to see your license and registration.”
The officer actually turns out to be a female that just carries herself and has mannerisms like a man. Cali reaches inside of her Louis Vuitton bag and pulls out her credentials. As she does, the officer asks,
“Do you know why I pulled you over this morning, ma’am?”
Cali rolls her eyes and says, “No, I do not, officer.” “Ma’am, you were doing about 90 on this highway and the speed limit is only 65.”
Annoyed, Cali gives her the items requested and doesn’t offer a single word. Not being one for small talk, she simply complies and waits impatiently for her to finish her routine.
“Ma’am, I’ll be right back, I’m just going to run it through the system.” She nods. As the officer walks away, Calloway picks up her cell phone and begins to scroll down her texts. For one moment she cracks a slight smile as she reads the text from Alex that reads, “Since you want to be a boss bad bitch and drive yourself, I’ll see you when my flight arrives. Text me or I’ll call you later, hunnie boo… ” Alex had wanted Cali to fly with him to NY so they could cut up on the flight and act silly, but Cali insisted on leaving her co-worker behind and taking this much-needed drive solo. Another text came in from “DP”, short for none other than Donny Pendleton, a sexy black actor on the scenes climbing right up there in status, next to Idris or Morris. The tabloids call him her “beau” but regardless of what other people call them together, they are individually two very talented and ambitious individuals. Combined, they make the epic power couple. Donny has been making several promo appearances on the east coast to help promote his show but as often as he can, he makes time to spend with the woman in his life. Conflicting schedules, travel and other obligations sometimes put a strain on the relationship but these two manage to make it work.
She’s got about a million things on her mind and for a second starts thinking about the networking event and awards dinner scheduled on Saturday. It’s only Monday but it feels like she has such a small window of time to prepare. She begins to wonder if one of her favorite MUAs will be there, and she still needs to have some alterations to the gown for the awards dinner. Because of her extremely voluptuous figure, almost all of her clothing has to be altered to streamline her waist and form-fit her curves. Never being one to have issues with self-esteem because of her figure, Calloway is still often surprised at how accepting the industry has become of plus-sized actresses and models. In fact, the demand couldn’t be greater and as a result, Calloway enjoys a very plush lifestyle in addition to her less public corporate career. Just as Cali prepares to text Alex back, the officer taps on her window.
“Ms. Sharpe, are you aware that there is a warrant out for your arrest?” For the first time, she shows at least a little bit of concern.
“Arrest? For what?”
“Ma’am, you have been charged with two counts of aggravated assault and there is a warrant issued for your arrest.”
Calloway sits there and closes her eyes for just a second.
“Ma’am, I’m going to need you to get out of the car.”
She gets out of the car and the female officer begins to aggressively pat her down, literally feeling her up as she slides her hand up Calloway’s thighs and in between her legs. As the cop begins patting the sides of her waist and torso, inching her hands towards her breasts, Calloway whispers sarcastically, “Don’t forget to check my bra and my panties… there might be concealed weapons there too.” Surprised by Calloway’s brazen remark, the officer backs off from her groping session. Just then, another police officer rolls up behind the original one’s vehicle and steps out and walks towards Cali’s Escalade.
Cali says calmly, “Surely there has been a mistake.”
“Ma’am, we are going to need to search your vehicle.”
Before she can even think, she asks, “For what? Are you even allowed to do that?”
The second officer who just arrived on the scene suddenly chimes in, “Ma’am, we just need you to calm down. We have probable cause to search the vehicle.”
“Calm down?” Cali begins to feel her blood rise to a boil.
“If there has been a mistake, I’m sure it will all be cleared once we get to the bottom of this but right now we will need to search the vehicle.”
Cali’s demeanor remains calm but on the inside she’s rumbling with rage and wonders if these cops are going to try to do to her what was done to others in police custody. One can tell she’s clearly annoyed but still very poised and reluctantly cooperative… a much different Calloway than about 10 years ago. One of the officers pops open the trunk from the inside front of the Escalade as the other searches where the majority of her luggage is situated. The officer on the inside pops open the glove compartment to find a fully loaded semi-automatic Glock. He signals to the other officer as Cali waits impatiently behind the open trunk of the car. She can’t really see the two officers talking but Cali is growing more aggravated by the second. The two officers emerge from near the passenger side of the car.
“Ms. Sharpe, do you have a permit for this weapon?”
“Damn!” she huffs under her breath. “Officer, I do not own a permit to carry a concealed weapon, however, a close friend loaned this to me for protection since I am on my way out of town on business and traveling alone.” The second officer catches a glimpse of her badge and asks, “Ms. Sharpe, does this work badge belong to you?”
Totally irritated at this point she sarcastically replies, “That is my photo you see and obviously that is my name so yes, this is my badge.”
“Ms. Sharpe, we are going to have to take you in but we really need you to calm down and cooperate and there will be no trouble here.”
“Sir… you asked ME a question and I responded,” she replies.
“I’m going to tell you again. Please calm down and we won’t have any problems. We just need to take you down to the station to get this all sorted out. I need you to cooperate and right now, you have the right to remain silent...”
The officers proceed to take Calloway into custody and despite the circumstances, Cali has a smirk on her face and the only thing she can do is smile. Not out of sarcasm or even arrogance but out of the reassurance that this is a new day, a new season, a new space and another level. Inside herself, Cali may have been caught off guard for just a second but she never once loses her composure. She turns around and glances at the open road behind her and then very quickly turns her head to look forward as they approach the police vehicle. In her head she’s reminded of exactly how far she’s come and realizes that there is still a long road ahead but nonetheless, nothing can strip her of the strength that sustains her. Nothing can take away from the woman she has grown to become. Nothing will take her back to the life she escaped and nothing will deter her from reaching her destiny. There will be roadblocks, there will come adversity but deep inside, Calloway knows that she was made for this, built for this and will ultimately come out on top every single time.
Busted. The police had been casing this complex over in south Bronx for several months now and she knew this but was cautious and cognizant of her surroundings at all times, playing it casual and never drawing attention to herself. When you are that advanced for your age and mature beyond your years, one might even begin to believe that they are invincible, even immortal. But soon or later, choices begin to resurface, demanding payment in the form of consequences, be they good, or bad.
“What the fuck do you mean you ain’t got it?” she asked with an impatient tone and authority in her voice. Cali was abrasive and harsh, which nowhere near matched the pretty face of a young girl that couldn’t be much more than fifteen years of age. She was a young light-skinned sister, born and bred in the Bronx, with a bad attitude and more wit and heart than most men on the street.
“Look ma, I left it at the crib with my boys right up the block. It’s safe there. Stop stressin’ and relax, shawdy! Besides, I thought we might be able to do another type of exchange,” says this older male, who appears to be in his early to mid-twenties and goes by the name of “Trey.”
“Nigga, I am not playing with your ass, so you need to run me my money real quick…” Cali demands impatiently.
“For real girl, I see how you be looking at me. You need to stop playing yourself…” He grabs her ass and starts trying to grope her in other places.
“Are you fucking kidding me, you bitch-ass nigga?
“Damn girl, you got a foul mouth to go with that fat ass of yours. But I got something for that. You can’t hide all of that ass in that snorkel and baggy jeans.” He pulls in closer to Cali from behind, grabbing her hips and rubbing up on her. Cali turns around, balls up her fist and punches the young thug right in his mouth. She watches him bleed. “I told you not to fuck with me!”
Trey touches his bleeding mouth in disbelief. “Bitch! You trynna be all hard like a nigga. What, you a dyke now, Cali? Is that how you rolling? Now I’m really gonna fix that.” He takes his doo-rag off his head and wipes the blood from his mouth and lips, discarding the rag on the ground. He grabs Cali again, this time more aggressively, gripping her arm and placing it behind her back as they both are standing up against a brick wall underneath the overpass. Reaching around from behind her, he slides his other hand in front of her trench coat, feeling his way to her crotch. At this moment, Cali can’t believe that he is trying to do this. Not right now. The family is in need of groceries real bad and she just needed to sell a few dime bags to help put food on the table and keep the lights on. The money she makes part-time at the grocery store just hasn’t been enough to help make ends meet since Low got arrested.
“C’mon Cali, I know your ass ain’t gay. You just need some real good d…” Before he can finish, Cali swiftly maneuvers around to face her assailant and to his surprise he now has a 9mm glock semi-automatic pressed firmly up against his swollen mouth.
“Now who’s the bitch?”