Sample of Mercy Through The Storm
Copyright © 2015 Nikki Smith
All rights reserved. No part of the work may be reproduced without the expression written permission of the author. This book is a work of fiction. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. All characters, events, and incidents in this book are a product of the author's imagination.
Twenty-two year old Tiana White picked up her ringing cell phone. Before the caller could say anything, she said, "Hello. Is this you, Peaches?"
"Yeah. Who else would it be calling your behind this time of night."
Tiana checked her reflection in the mirror. "You about ready to go?"
Tiana took her keys from the hook by the front door of her mama's house. "Girl, I think the club is gonna be on fire tonight. I'll be there to pick you up in fifteen minutes."
"Did Ray give you some of that good bud?"
"You know his butt did."
Peaches chuckled. "Make sure you bring that ish along, too. It's a shame to sit around smoking good weed all by yourself."
"All right, Girl. You know I got your back."
Tiana shook her head when she heard footsteps coming down the stairs. She knew her mother was about to get all on her case about going out partying again.
"Tiana Marie White, it's going on twelve o'clock, where are you off to?" She pointed at the clothes that Tiana was wearing. "And dressed like that no less."
Tiana knew that all the men at Club Diamond Life—and some of the ladies too—were gonna appreciate her skin-tight, bandage style dress. It highlighted all of her best assets....namely her big ole curvy applebottom butt and thirty-six double D chest.
Jill White sighed. "A decent woman has no business running around town by herself after 12 o'clock at night." She paused and shook her head. "Not unless she's going to work of course."
Tiana cut her eyes at her mother. "I'm going out with Peaches and the girls, Mama. I won't be alone. I turned eighteen over three years ago....you really have no say in this. I'm an adult now."
Seeing the look of disappointment on her mother's face, Tiana gave her mom a tiny smile to lessen the blow of her words. Jill White was still the woman who had given birth to her, after all. She intended, at the very least, to respect that. "Don't wait up for me, Mom. I probably won't be home until late tomorrow morning, or in the afternoon some time."
Jill shook her head. “I guess that means you won't be making it to church tomorrow.” She said it as a statement, rather than a question.
Tiana picked up her purse. “Nope. Don't worry, Mom. You kept me in the house of the Lord enough when I was little. I'm sure Jesus and all the saints are gonna remember my name.”
Jill felt her heart grow heavy. She just couldn't understand where she had gone wrong with her youngest child. God had blessed her with four children. Despite being a single mother, the first three had come out just fine. Ever since hitting her teenage years, Tiana had been a challenge for Jill.
The middle-aged woman's shoulders sagged as she turned to go back up the stairs. I've done all that I can, it's all in your hands, now Lord.
* * *
“You got that bud, Tee?”
Tianna smiled. “Yep.”
“Then fire that ish up, girl. Whatchu waiting on?”
Fifteen minutes later, by the time they had gotten to the club, Tianna was more than a little bit buzzed. Between the weed, and the Hennessy she'd been sipping on, she was floating on cloud nine.
She giggled as she made her way out of her car. Or is that cloud ninety-nine? she questioned herself. She was too high to even remember. But she thought it was funny.
“Yo shawty, you should’ve told me you and Peaches were hitting up Club D tonight. We could've rode over together.”
Tianna looked over at her on-again-off-again boyfriend, Ray. She frowned.
Since she and Ray were currently in their off-phase, she wasn't talking to his high yellow behind.
Peaches took Tiana's arm into her hand and gave Ray the stank face. “Come on, Girl. It's nothing good to see out here. Let's go hit up the club.”
Ray grimaced at Tiana's bestie, then childishly gave Peaches the middle finger. “Bitch,” he said.
Peaches shook her head. “The middle finger, Ray? Seriously? See....your driver's license says you're a grown man, but your butt is really a child. That's why my girl done moved on. Ain’t that right, Tee?”
Surprisingly, Ray didn't respond to Peaches' barb. He watched with a scowl on his face as both of the young women turned and made their way into the club.
Two hours later, drunk and feeling good, Tiana smiled longingly at Ray. He'd just bought her another glass of Hypnotiq.
Ray leaned into Tiana's ear and whispered. “You see those three guys over there?”
Tiana knew she was more than a little drunk when she squinted her eyes and looked over to where Ray was pointing. She nodded her anyways — at least she nodded it to the best of her ability. Then she giggled.
He grinned. “They said they'd give us five grand, if you went to the Motel 6 tonight and got your freak on with them.” He placed his hand over the gun that he always kept in his waistband. “I'll go with you for protection, of course.”
Tiana was so drunk and out of her mind, that she would have probably done anything that Ray had asked of her at that time. Anything he’d suggested.
She giggled as she allowed Ray to lead her out of the club.
The next morning, Tiana woke up in a strange room with two strange men lying beside her—a third one was snoring on the carpeted floor.
She felt panic settle into her soul when she realized that she was completely undressed. It didn't take rocket science for her to figure out what had gone down in that motel room the previous night.
With her heart heavy, she pushed her way out of the bed and found her clothes. The snoring men didn't even wake up, and she honestly didn't want them to. She ran from the room and out into the sunlight.
* * *
An hour later, Tiana stood in the shower at her mother's house. She had the water set at the hottest temperature she could get it to.
Her tears mixed with the shower spray as she scrubbed her body vigorously, physically trying to rid herself from the unknown men's touch.
She had no idea how she'd gotten in that hotel room. She'd been so wasted the previous night that she couldn't remember too much of what had happened. Her last real memory was of her and Peaches sitting at the bar, putting back drink after drink. She had some vague recollection of Peaches leaving the club with some guy they'd met. Then she remembered letting her on-again-off-again boyfriend, Ray, buy her another drink in exchange for a dance.
She felt lower than dirt as she imagined the things she'd probably done with the men.
I'm a whore, she thought to herself. It was at that moment that she broke down and cried.
Tiana stayed holed up in her room for most of the afternoon. When her cell phone rang, she reached over on her nightstand and picked it up. She didn't really feel like talking to anybody. But, when she checked the caller ID and saw that it was Peaches, she quickly pushed the talk button. Maybe Peaches has some type of idea how I ended up where I did last night.
Tiana grimaced into the phone. “No, we're not on again—,” she paused for a moment, then continued. “Uh, before you left Club Diamond Life, do you remember me being with three guys?”
This time it was Peaches who frowned. “Um, nope. You were with Ray—,” Peaches chuckled. “Girl you were tore up, but he said he’d make sure you were okay and taken care of.”
Then Peaches frowned. She could tell something was wrong. “What happened, Tee? What’s the matter?”
Tiana blew out her breath on a sigh. She didn’t want to let the words escape her lips, but she knew she needed to share what had gone down with somebody. She cleared her throat, then whispered into her cell phone. “I woke up in the Motel 6 on Sunset Ave. I was naked and in bed with three guys.”
“Oh my God, Tiana! Did you have sex with them? Who was it? How the hell did this happen?!”
Peaches had fired her questions one after the other, not giving Tiana the time to answer any of them. Peaches felt a finger of fear crawl up her skin for her girl.
Tiana hugged her unused arm around her midsection. She was feeling the very same coil of anxiety as Peaches, but more intensely. She swallowed nervously. “I don’t know who they were….never seen them before. They were all sleep when I woke up. I ran the hell out of there.”
“This is bad, Tee. You’re gonna have to get tested for STDs and stuff….you might even be pregnant.”
Both of those thoughts had run through Tiana’s mind a thousand times — ever since she’d made it back home that morning.
She and Peaches only talked for a few minutes more, then disconnected their call. She pressed the speed dial button on her phone. She frowned. Maybe Ray knows what happened.
* * *
Tiana cracked open her mama's front door and frowned at Ray. When she hadn’t been able to reach him on his cell phone an hour earlier, she’d shot him a text message. It had said 'urgent' and that she really needed to hear from him. He’d showed up just then on her mama’s front porch.
Ray cracked a smile. “What? Your mama's car ain't here. You ain't gonna invite me in?”
If her mom had been home, Tiana would not have let Ray into the house. Her mom — Jill — considered Ray to be the devil's spawn. But since it was Sunday, Tiana knew her mother was sitting up in church, praising the Lord—much like she'd been doing every Sunday, as far back as Tiana could remember.
She opened the door and stepped to the side so that Ray could come in.
As soon as he stepped in, Ray said, “Here, T. Here's your cut of the money from last night.”
Tiana looked at Ray in disbelief—he'd just handed her ten crisp one-hundred dollar bills. She took the money into her hand. What in the world does he mean by my cut?
He misunderstood the confused expression in her eyes. He frowned, then reached into his pocket. He handed her five hundred dollars more. “Don't try to crumb-snatch any more than this. I figure I get to keep most of the money, since I was your security person.” He paused for a moment, then continued. “Plus, it's because of me that you got the gig in the first place.”
She tucked the bills into her bra. She wasn't a fool. She intended to keep the money, but she needed to know why Ray was giving it to her. She also had a sinking sensation in the pit of her belly that the cash had something to do with her waking up naked with the three guys.
She frowned. “What are you talking about Ray?”
A sly smile spread itself across his face. “Oh, I get it....you trying to play shy now.” He chuckled. “Ain't nothing shy about all them freak-nasty moves that went down between you and them guys at the motel last night. Shoot....if they wasn't paying, I woulda gotten in on the action myself. You more than earned that fifteen hundred, Shawty. But like I said, I think as your security and all, I get to keep the rest.”
Tiana felt her heart drop in her chest. Ray had pretty much just confirmed all of her suspicions, but everything was a whole lot worse than what she'd thought. She didn't need to remember the details of anything that had gone down the previous night to realize what had happened. I pretty much prostituted myself.
She shook her head. Her mother had tried to warn her that if she kept going down the path that she was on, that she was going to get hurt. Now, Tiana finally understood just how true her mother's words had been. Her soul was in pain.
* * *
“What do you mean, Mama?”
Jill White’s eyes were sad when she looked at her other daughter, Kendra. She, Kendra, and her other two grown children — DeVonte and Antoine — were all having Sunday dinner at Kendra’s beautiful, new, upper-middle class home. They'd just gotten out of church. Of course Tiana had been invited — like she was invited to Sunday dinner every week. However, she more often than not chose not to attend.
Kendra had asked her mother to come move in with her when she’d bought the place six months earlier, since the house was huge and she was still very single. But, Jill had refused the offer. Kendra was pretty much sure it had something to do with her mom wanting to stay independent, so that she could keep her eyes on Tiana.
Kendra grimaced. She loved her little sister with all her heart, but she hated all the heartache and pain she was causing their mom. So did their two brothers.
Kendra’s eyes met her mother's tired ones. “What do you mean by you feel something wrong in your soul?”
Jill placed her glass of tea back on the table. She frowned. “I just have this sinking feeling that Tiana is about to get herself into a whole lot of trouble, Kendra. I been praying for her and I been praying about it.” She looked up. Her eyes met her eldest daughter’s. “But there’s nothing I can do. I’ve tried talking to her….the three of you have tried talking to her. Pastor and First Lady Washington tried to get through to her, too.” She shook her head. “God done showed me he’s about to intervene and sit my wayward child down.”
Jill’s oldest child, DeVonte — who was twenty-nine — had stayed quiet for most of the conversation between his mother and Kendra. Now he spoke up. “Try not to worry yourself too much, Mama. You have that heart condition....remember? I’ll try talking to Tiana again. Maybe I'll get through to her this time.”
Jill gave her son a sad smile. She nodded her head ‘okay’. As much as she wanted to believe differently, she was a woman of faith. Therefore, she knew when God decided to do a thing, there was nothing anybody could do to stop whatever that thing was from happening.
She sighed. All she could keep doing was praying for her child.
* * *
Later on that night, Tiana did something she hadn't done in a long time. She got on her knees and prayed.
She dabbed at the tears in her eyes as she asked the Lord to forgive her for her sins.
“I know I've been doing wrong, Jesus and that I'm not worthy of your forgiveness. But I'm asking you to please intervene in my situation, and please make everything alright. Amen.”