Traci stared out of her second floor window at the man she was beginning to loathe. Raun Hartman was doing some maintenance around his house with his shirt off and his jeans riding low on his narrow hips. His tight ass beckoning her gaze every time he walked away. Her belly fluttering like she was hungry. Hungry for man meat. Muscles in his shoulders, arms, chest, and back bunching as he bent over to pick up or lower the gardening tools. How dare he tell me to move out or put out! Subordinate Clause, my ass! I got half a mind to report him, but to whom? Who would even believe me? No one. That man don’t have to blackmail any woman into his bed. Why me? Does he even care that I have nowhere to go? I fell in love with this house the first time I saw it. At the time his parents were my landlords. How did my life take this turn? Every time I make a major change, everything goes to hell in a flipping handbasket! Maybe, I should’ve moved into an apartment complex, but I’ve always lived in a home. Home? Shoot! Lynda’s and Scot’s home has never felt like my home. It was just a place to stay with people I’d become accustomed to. Returning to Lynda’s isn’t an option. I would never hear the end of it. But can I give in to his request?
If only. Traci was tired of living in the past. Her whole life was spent thinking about if only. If only she knew that she would never see her aunt and uncle again, she would have never had given into their plea to move to Brooklyn, NY. At their urging, she had left Barbados, the land of sunshine, white sandy beaches, and blue skies; and moved to a country that was sometimes unforgiving and harsh with its changing climates and the criminally insane dressed as College Professors. Her aunt and uncle believed that America was the land of opportunity, so apparently did her mother, Sofie. After only a month of motherhood, Sofie had hopped a plane with some guy she had met at Pebbles’ Beach. No one knew she had left the island until years later when she sent baby clothes for her four year old daughter. Aunt Caroline had wanted a better life for me, but was this a better life? Maybe they would still be alive today, if I had stayed.
I could’ve made them leave? Stubborn stupid people refused to leave their home when the fast moving cane fire engulfed their house. Overwhelming lost and guilt still plagued Traci for what she had said the day she left, and her refusal to go home during school vacations. She wanted to punish them, but now she was being punished by their absence forever. If only I hadn’t been so childish and selfish. If only… Traci prayed that they hadn’t suffered too much in the fire that claimed their lives. The only consolation is, they died together. The thing that still haunts Traci to this day about her aunt’s and uncle’s death is that she never got a chance to say she loved them or goodbye. She had been upset and belligerent when she left the island. Traci had felt betrayed by her aunt and uncle at their insistence to give her mother a chance. Why did Sofie deserve a chance after twelve years when she threw me away like a pair of rubber slippers? Thinking about Sofie always led her to think about Ian. She didn’t want to think about Ian. She would rather think about how to solve her current problem. Sighing she moved away from the window, and the temptation of Raun Hartman.