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Deadly Persuasion - Chapter 1

Updated: Jan 30



As the sun set on that evening, I couldn’t help but feel that the problems in my marriage were setting with it. Sitting at the table with Ayden, the silence between us was palpable, thick with unspoken tension. My mind was consumed with thoughts and regrets, and I could feel them flowing out of my head like a river of emotion. Ayden, lost in his own concerns, seemed oblivious to the damage that his distraction was causing to our already fragile relationship. The bustling chatter of the restaurant seemed to mock our stony silence. And then, in the midst of it all, a waitress arrived to break the spell.


“Good evening,” she said with a warm smile. “I'm Kristina, and I'll be your waiter tonight. May I interest you in some of our house specials? We have a range of dishes to suit every palate, including seared scallops, filet mignon, lobster tail, and wild mushroom risotto. And of course, we have an extensive wine list featuring some of the finest vintages from around the world, such as a 2015 Chateau Margaux, a 2017 Domaine de la Romanee-Conti, and a 2016 Opus One.”


Ayden cleared his throat and nodded in response to Kristina's question. "Yes, thank you. We'll take a look at the menu and place our order soon," he said politely. As Kristina walked away, Ayden turned to me with a sad expression. I could see the weight of his thoughts bearing down on him, and I knew that he had so much to say but didn't know where to start. Our eye contact was broken by the sudden ring of his phone, and I watched as his facial expression changed. Deciding to take the initiative, I spoke first.


“What are we even doing, Ayden? What’s this? You bring me to an expensive restaurant when we haven’t had sex in over a year. We barely even speak at home. Let’s put it all out there. Even before that trip, you became distant and cold towards me.” I barked. I rolled my eyes indignantly. The waitress returned with the wine just in time to calm the heated tension.


“I’ll be right back with your food,” Kristina said happily, not knowing it was a storm brewing at the table. As we sat at the table, a young man walked past us and did a double-take when he saw Ayden's face, as if he recognized him from somewhere.


“Ayden Brown! My man. I can’t believe my favorite sports anchor is eating in my favorite restaurant.” The gentleman said excitedly. I rolled my eyes again because that’s one thing I didn’t miss. The unwanted fan club since his face was on all the sports channel and the internet. I took out my phone to check my messages and emails while they talked.  


“Okay, if you don’t mind, I’m in the middle of an important discussion with my wife.” Ayden expressed agitatedly.


The man took the unsubtle hint and walked off after he made eye contact and apologized to me. Kristina came with our food piping hot. It was as if the universe was purposely distracting us from the ugly truth that was about to reveal itself.  The food smelled so damn good, but my appetite wasn’t there anymore at this point. Once we were finally by ourselves. I picked over the steak by sliding it in the bourbon glaze.


“Trinity, you got to admit things between us haven’t been the same before your injury. I’m not the only one who checked out this marriage. I've noticed that you're always on your phone and seem disinterested when you see me. You gave up, and so did I. You shut down. You don’t even paint no more. I know you didn’t expect your life to be like this, but you can still live.” He said firmly.


A tear escaped my eye at the sound of his voice, the first time he had spoken to me with such sincerity in months. But even as I felt a glimmer of hope flicker to life within me, I couldn't help but wonder why he had not been honest with me all this time. I placed the fork down because I was about to read his ass to filth. I sipped my wine in one big gulp. At the same time, I was waving for Kristina to bring another bottle over.


“It’s funny you mention I’m always on my phone. Because when I got bored with mine, I went took yours the other night.” I smiled. Ayden’s face turned pale, which didn’t take much. He was tall and slim, his skin a russet, reddish-brown, and eyes gold as honey.


“Now, I don’t remember much about my accident. You only give me pieces of what happened. But as I went through your phone, I remember our heated argument about a woman named Jennifer on the trail. You were fucking her, so I don’t need an answer for that.” I chuckled.


“I want to know, did you bring me here to ask for a divorce?” I calmly ask, sipping my wine. I looked him dead in his eyes so I could catch any lie he tried to think of. He choked on his steak, chewing with his eyes locked on mine. He placed his knife and fork across the plate, wiping his mouth. He readjusted himself in his seat, taking a swig.


“I can explain whatever it is you thought you have seen.” He said.


“Save it! Tell it to that bitch. You tell her everything else anyway.” I hissed. I grabbed my phone and clutch purse off the table and rolled outside for fresh air. While I sat there for a minute trying to replay everything in my head of what I should have said to everything in between. My phone goes off. It’s Ayden. I ignored it. As I was catching my breath and enjoying the night air on my phone, a short, dread head gentleman with tattoos walked up beside me. He was cute, but I already had too many problems with the one in the restaurant.


“Tonight doesn’t seem like it’s going your way.” He said as he lit his cigarette. He hands over the pack asking if I need one. I politely decline.


“Yeah, tonight not going my way either had a pickup for this restaurant, but as soon as I drove in, they canceled the ride. He said annoyingly.


“I’m sorry. I said, offering a kind ear just because.  


He brushed it off, “Don’t even worry about it.” Is there anything I can do to make your night better?


I laughed. “Nope, unfortunately, no one can.”


As soon I finished the sentence Ayden came outside asking if I was coming back inside. Before I said anything, he told me to stop acting like a damn fool and come inside and behave like I had some sense. I looked back at him. “Jennifer said she will be here soon,” He sighed deeply and stormed back inside.


“You know there is something you could do for me. I’m sorry I didn’t catch your name?” I smiled at him.


“It’s Rashad and anything for you, gorgeous.” He said.


I told him I needed a ride home and that I’ll pay him. He graciously accepted. On the way home, he questioned if I wanted to discuss what had happened outside the restaurant. I simply told him he had just witnessed the end of a marriage.


He looked over at me. “Damn, I’m sorry. And here I am moping about rides and shit.”


I laughed.


“May I ask you one more question?” Feel free to tell me to mind my damn business at any time. He said.


I giggled again. “It’s okay. Let me guess. How did I get injured? He looked at me shaking his head, yes.


“I went to the cabins with my husband and some of his friends, who were also married," I explained. "The last thing I remember is that we were walking on the trail and having an argument. I brought up this chick I saw on his phone a few days before the trip. As we were going back and forth, we heard a loud pop. I felt something hit me, and I just froze, then my body dropped. I remember my husband screaming then I blacked out. Days later, when I woke up, they said I was shot in the neck, and I wasn’t going to walk again. A hunter must have accidentally hit me. His face looked distraught. He didn’t know what to say.


“That’s crazy. I’m sorry. His eyes looked at me with sadness but quickly smiled after biting his lip, saying I was still fine as hell.” I laughed. As he pulled up on my block, police were heavy out. They stopped us.


“License and registration, please. Where are you two headed?” The male officer asked gruffly.


“I live at 5132. Ummm, officer, may I ask what’s going on? I questioned curiously.


“There was a home invasion in this area. The suspect fled the scene.” He said while looking over Rashad’s information. He returned his license and told us we could go now. Once we pulled up in my parking garage. Rashad jumped out of the driver's side to help get my chair out of the trunk. It became so routine that I could put the chair together in less than a minute. With one swoop, I swing my body from the passenger seat to my chair cushion. He stood behind my chair for stability.


I chuckled. “Thank you here,” I said. I began to open my purse, but he declined and said it was his pleasure. I smiled, rolling towards my front door.


I opened the door feeling the cold air brush past my face. I flung my purse and keys on the sofa as I wheeled through the house to the master bathroom. After tonight I needed a hot shower to calm my nerves, mind, and spirit. I ran the water while I took off my heels and slipped out my gold sequin short dress. I took my jewelry off and placed them on the sink. Luckily for me, this house was already wheelchair accessible when we purchased it. Feeling the effects of all the wine I had guzzled during dinner, I stumbled towards the bathroom, desperately needing to pee. Once inside, I slumped onto the shower seat, letting the hot water soothe my skin as I just melted and cried. I was so pissed about the dinner we just had that I didn’t have room for any other emotion. The audacity of Ayden’s ass to just give up on me so fast after everything we had been through. Once the tears were falling, they wouldn’t stop. I just stayed there until the water became lukewarm. I heard a noise. It startled me. I assume it was Ayden. He wasn’t here when I got home.


I turn the shower heads off and manage to turn my waterworks off. I grabbed the towel from the wall, wrapped my body, and slid over to my chair. I oiled up my body thinking about how my future would be now that I’m a single woman on wheels. I glide into the room after placing my stuff in the hamper. I slid into bed with my towel still draped around me. I didn’t feel up to putting on any clothes. Hopefully Ayden is sleeping in some other room tonight, anywhere but the master bedroom. That's where he belongs, after all: out of my sight, out of my mind.

African American Urban Fiction Queen Ink Publishing
Deadly Persuasion


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