Sneak Peek Alert: Playing with Fire II

Just a little sneak peek at the first two chapters of Playing with Fire II.

INTRO

Two years later….

So, I’m sure you all have been wondering what has been going on with me.  Well, I must say, it’s been rough as hell.

I was surprised that after everything that happened, Trey stayed with Liyah after all this.  I thought for sure she was just a rebound chick for him, and would be nothing more than his baby mama that he would have possibly regretted later, but when I found out that they gotten married, I was crushed.  I knew at that moment he wasn’t even thinking about me anymore.

After our divorce was final, Trey and Liyah decided to move to Miami, where he was opening his new restaurant.  Liyah felt like it would be best for them to get out of Atlanta after she had the baby.  I guess maybe she thought I’d be out for blood; however, I had let that ship sail once I found out they were married. 

Liyah put out a restraining order on me shortly after the incident at Trey and I’s house.  I guess she felt as if I was some sort of “threat” to her and Trey.  Little did she know, I was less of a threat to Trey than I was to her.  If she wasn’t pregnant, I would have come back for her ass.  I made a promise to myself that one day, we would sit down and finish this conversation.  Hopefully, for her sake, I won’t be a raging bitch ready to whoop her ass this time.  After a few weeks, I got a letter saying that it had been lifted.  Trey later called and explained that there was no point in having a restraining order in place, because I would still need to have contact with him for Chelsea.  I told him it was fine.  I figured Liyah was doing the most, because she is notoriously known for being a drama queen. 

Deep down, I couldn’t blame Liyah totally for all that has happened.  Again, I was a cheating whore for the most part.  I let other men occupy my time, which caused me to miss out on what was important; Trey and Chelsea.  I took full responsibility for messing up my marriage and my relationship with my daughter, because now, she sees her Trey and I just co-parenting, and not being the happy family I had dreamed about for most of our time together.

When my mother found out, she definitely had a long talk to me about my actions.  I felt like I was 16 and got caught sneaking my boyfriend in the house.  Once we were done with that, I had time to really think and realize that I not only messed up my relationship with Trey, but also potentially damaged the image Chelsea had of me as her mother. 

Tara slowly but surely distanced herself from me as well, which I could not be upset with.   I could tell that she tried to forgive me for what happened between Channing and I, but in the end, she decided that she was moving back home with her parents to have more support with Josh.  We continued to talk every now and then, but then our conversations became more few and far between.  I figured with what I had done to the ones I loved, I couldn’t blame her for wanting nothing to do with me.  I was surprised that she continued to talk to me for this long, but I always prepared myself for the day that we might lose touch.  When she told me she was moving, she promised that we would still remain close and keep in touch, but soon enough, she began to move on with a new life and a new man, and I started to hear less and less from her.

With me losing the last good friend I had in Tara, and also losing my best friend and husband, I decided that it was time for me to leave as well.  I took a few months, let Chelsea stay with my mom, and moved to DC.  I set up a remote office there, so that I could still run CT Publishing even in a different state.  It definitely wasn’t hard at all.  Once I had my place set up, I sent for Chelsea, and began my new life there. 

Things appeared to be going pretty well.   The adjustment from two-parent household to one-parent household was difficult, but I made it work as best I could.  Things were going so well in DC, that I also sought out authors there to publish and had gained a few new authors to add to my company.  I also hired an editor there as well, to help manage all the manuscripts I had coming in.  Despite my personal troubles, success never seemed to waver, and especially being in a new city where no one knew Chante Wright, the cheater who screwed up a good thing and had the scandal of a lifetime.

Trey and I have joint custody, so when we are ready to drop off Chelsea, we meet back in Atlanta.  I usually stay for a few weeks to a month or so; check on things at the home office, and spend time with my mom.  We manage to stay very civil with each other, but I can see in Trey’s eyes that he feels so betrayed by my actions.  Every time I see him, I wish I could take it back, but I can’t.  The only thing I can do is be a better person now, which I try to be every day, whether Trey truly forgives me or not.

Overall, I think things are as good as can be expected, based on how it all went down.  These days, I’m just trying to raise my daughter, keep a peaceful relationship with my ex-husband and his new wife (it burns to even say that), and just live a more positive life.  Should be easy enough, right?

Well, let’s see just how easy it can be……

ONE

“Momma, hellloooo?”  Chante called through the house.  She walked in and the house was completely dark.  She didn’t even know if anyone was home.  “Now, she told me they would be here when I got home, I wonder where they are?” she thought.

Just as she was looking around, she heard small steps running towards her down the hallway.  I smiled wide as I knew exactly whose feet those were. 

“MOMMY!! You’re back!” Chelsea said as she barreled into me with her arms open wide to embrace me.  I returned the gesture and picked her up and spun her around.

“Hey baby girl! How are you? Did you miss me?” I said.  I was so happy to see my little girl I couldn’t contain myself. 

I had just come off a book tour, promoting a three-book series I co-wrote with another author who CT Publishing just recently published.  It was one of the best tours yet, and the fan base was growing constantly.  I had secured her place in the literary world as a best-selling author, and it looked as if I would be labeled as one of the greatest in the urban genre of writing.  I was ecstatic, and so was my co-author.  Every signing was a success, and we had launch parties and workshops that were packed houses.  It was nothing short of a blessing after all I had been through. 

As Chante was sitting down with Chelsea showing her all the pictures she took in New York, my mom comes from the back of the house.

“I figured that was you coming in my house without knocking,” she joked.

“Yes it was me, momma.  But why are y’all in the back of the house?  What if I was a burglar?”

“I’m sure we would have been ok.  I do have a gun in my bedroom.” She laughed.

I rolled my eyes and got up to give my mom a big hug.  “How was everything, mom?” I said.

“It was great.  Chelsea and I had tons of fun, right baby?”  She said as she looked over at Chelsea.

“Yep!”  She replied.

“Well that’s great!  I’m glad she wasn’t much trouble.  Thanks again for watching her this time.  I know usually I take her with me, but this tour was a little longer than normal.  I don’t think she would have lasted.” I said.

I stayed with her mom that night and hung out with Chelsea the entire night.  I was so happy that our relationship improved with Chelsea in the last two years.  When I was dealing with all my bullshit, my relationship with her definitely took a hit.  More than anything, I know there are things that I could never forgive myself for because they are definitely things I never wanted Chelsea to grow up and see.  Every day I strive to erase some of those bad things and do the right thing by her.  My mom helps as well, and Chelsea seems to be opening up to me more.

After Chelsea went to sleep, I went into my mother’s bedroom to see if she was awake.

“Ma, you sleeping?” I called out to her.

“No, baby.  I’m watching the news.  Come in.” she said.

I crawled into bed with my mother like I was a toddler again and snuggled up right next to her.  I always love coming to visit her because no matter what, I get a little spoiled.

“What time are you meeting Trey in the morning so he can get Chels?” my mother said as she continued to watch the TV.  

“I texted him earlier and he said that he would meet me at eleven.  He said him and Liyah are both coming,” I said as I rolled my eyes.

“Still not getting any better?”

“Hell no mama; excuse my language.  Matter of fact, it feels like it gets worse every time!”

“Well, maybe one day he won’t bring her with him.”

I chuckled a little, “I’m sure that won’t happen, ma.  If I don’t know anything else, I know Liyah is going to watch him like a hawk, especially around me.  Plus, she is going to have something new she is going to feel the need to throw in my face.  She has no choice but to come and be messy at every drop off.”

“Well, I’m going to pray on that, baby.  Because she is a hot mess and then some!”

We both laughed and continued to watch TV until we fell asleep.  Once I woke up, I pulled the comforter up on my mom and left her to rest.  I went into my room and pulled out my notebook to jot down some ideas I had been thinking about, and then eventually hit the sack.  I had to get up early and prepare for yet another dramatic ordeal with Trey and Liyah Wright.

TWO

The arrangement with Trey had been a civil one at least.  The divorce was finalized about a year ago, and it was quite amicable; no matter how dirty and messy Liyah wanted to be.  She was in Trey’s ear every step of the way trying to degrade me and berate me through this process.  Although Trey hated me, he always told Liyah that she would respect me in his presence, “no matter what, she is the mother of my first-born child, so you will respect her, or we will have problems.”  That usually always shut her down.  Trey and I remained civil, but he still has yet to forgive me.  We rarely speak for more than five minutes on the phone.  He usually only asks how I’m doing and if Chelsea needs anything, before he says he must go, and our conversation is dead.  I can’t say I don’t blame him for not having much to say to me, but I would have hoped by now we could have a better conversation.

I text him to make sure we were still good for the time we agreed on so that he could pick up Chelsea for the summer.

“Hey! Just checking to make sure 11 is still good for you.  I’m getting Chels up now to get her ready.”

“Um, this is Liyah.  11 should be fine.  Just make sure you have everything ready because we plan to pick her up and head right back to Miami. Thanks.”

I immediately rolled my eyes and let out a long sigh.  “I swear she does this shit on purpose.” I thought to myself.  I told myself I should be 15 minutes late just to piss her off, but I decided against it.  Trey doesn’t deserve for me to be a bitch and it affect him as well.  I threw my phone on the bed and proceeded to start getting Chelsea ready to see her dad.

After I got Chelsea ready, I went ahead and got myself together as well.  I walked into the bathroom and began to run the water and prepare for a nice long shower.  Dealing with Trey in this capacity is always so formal and awkward, and I wish it didn’t have to be.  There has been so much I wanted to say, but I know he wouldn’t listen. 

When the water was hot enough, I took off my old t-shirt that I slept in and got into the shower.  I let the steaming hot water run down my body as I stretched.  It felt amazing.  I washed up, threw on some clothes and double-checked all of Chelsea’s bag to make sure she had everything she would need.  Once I was finished, we stood at the front door as my mother said her good-byes to Chelsea.

“You ready, baby girl?”

“Yes mommy!” Chelsea said with a wide grin on her face.

“Alright! Let’s roll.” I said as we kissed my mom good-bye and headed towards the car.

I loaded up the car on Sunday afternoon, preparing to meet Trey so that I could drop Chelsea off with him so that they could begin their summer vacation together.  In the divorce, it said that one person had to drive one way to get her, but Trey and I decided to amend that and agree to meet in Atlanta.  It gave us a reason to visit our parents and friends that were still there, and also the opportunity to manage our businesses where they originated.  Chelsea didn’t seem to mind it too much, and I figured after all the shit that went down, I needed to get away from the ATL. 

As I pulled up, I could see Trey’s black Range Rover truck parked at Piedmont Park, our usual meeting spot.  I pulled up right next to him.  I looked over at him and gave him a polite smile.  He looked over and waved.  Chelsea and I both got out of the car, as did Trey.  I noticed that Liyah was with him, not wanting to leave Trey’s side for anything.  As soon as she rounded the corner of the truck, her hand was intertwined with his.  I wanted to roll my eyes until they fell out of my head, but I kept my composure.

“What’s up, Chante?” Trey said.

“Nothing much Trey.  How you been?”

“I can’t complain much, everything is going well for us.”

I could see Liyah out of the corner of my eye, continuing to smirk at me and roll her eyes.  She finally decided to speak up.

“Yea, Trey has been doing really good!  The restaurants are blowing up all over the state and we are constantly expanding; not to mention, Trey Jr. is growing up like a weed.”

I rolled my eyes and tried to sound as supportive and cordial as possible, “well that’s great Liyah! I’m glad you all are doing well.  I see management is going well for you, congrats!”

“Thank you” she said, looking away.  I could tell that trying to be polite is literally killing her, so I decided to focus my attention on Chelsea and her father.

Most times, our drop offs aren’t usually this tense; however, this time he brought Liyah and she has been known to want to show her ass most of the time. 

Chelsea ran towards Trey, which naturally broke the tension.  “Daddy!!” she squealed as she ran straight into his arms.

“Hey sweetie! How are you?  I missed you so much.” he said.  He grabbed her up and hugged her like he hadn’t seen her in years.  She doesn’t visit with him as often during the school year, in order to not keep her out of school too much, but I allow him to FaceTime her every day when she’s at home with me.  Chelsea was just as excited to see Trey and it showed all over her face.

“Daddy, I have to tell you all about school and what happened!  It was so much fun, and I got a ton of awards at the end of the year.” She said with a beaming smile on her face.

“That’s right.  Unfortunately, I started my tour right before her awards ceremony, so I had to get my mom to go see it for me.  She FaceTime’d me in, so I could at least see her accept all of them.”

“Well, why didn’t you call?  I’m sure Trey and I could have flown up to see her.  At least her father should have been the one there in person.” Liyah said with major attitude.  It took all the strength I had to bite my tongue in front of Chelsea, and Trey could sense it.  He decided to stop her in her tracks.

“Liyah, calm down baby.  It’s ok.  I’m not upset about it and you shouldn’t be either.”

“Yea, especially because she isn’t your damn daughter.” I thought to myself.  Liyah sucked her teeth and focused her attention on Chelsea.

“Well, Miss Chelsea.  Are you ready for a fun-filled summer with me and TJ?”

Chelsea looked at Liyah and shook her head yes.

“Well Chelsea, I guess it’s time for you to go.  Let me get a hug before you go,”  I reached out my arms to hug Chelsea.  Chelsea shifted her weight from Trey’s arms to mine, as I engulfed her in the biggest hug and kiss.

“You be good now, ok?  Do what your daddy and Ms. Liyah say, ok?”

“Oh, she usually calls me mom when she’s at my house,” Liyah chimed in.

I shot a glare at Liyah that could kill.  She continued to look at me, begging me to make a move on her.  I wanted to punch her in her smart-ass mouth, but I was holding my child and she was the only reason I didn’t.  Little did I know, Trey caught wind of her expression and came to my rescue.

“Liyah, stop it!  Here we are trying to act like civilized adults, and you are trying to cause drama.  You will not do that in front of either of my children.  I won’t have that shit, do you hear me?” he said.

I stood and stared at Liyah, trying hard to contain my laughter at this point.  Liyah looked up at him with puppy dog eyes and said, “I’m sorry baby.”

“You need to direct that to Chante, not me.”

Liyah mustered up as much kindness as she could towards me and said “I’m sorry Chante; that was out of line.”

“It’s ok, Liyah.  Let’s just move on,” I said, trying to maintain the peace.

I walked Chelsea over to the backseat of Trey’s car and put her in.  Trey went ahead and grabbed her bags out of my trunk. 

 “You be good, ok?” I said.

“Yes, mommy! Love you! I will see you soon!” she said.  Chelsea gave me a kiss on the cheek and hopped in her seat and put on her seatbelt.

Trey put Chelsea’s bags in his trunk.  Since Liyah had already been embarrassed, she secluded back to her side of the truck and got inside.  She continued to shoot daggers at me, even while she was in the truck.  I didn’t really pay her any attention.  I wanted to speak to Trey about some things.  As Chelsea was getting in the car, I motioned for Trey to come to the side.  He walked over towards the sidewalk so I could talk to him.

 Once Liyah was back in the car, Trey said, “I’m sorry about that.  I know this is still crazy, but I have told her about that shit in front of Chelsea and….”

“You’re fine, Trey.  Really, I know it’s not like you are condoning that behavior from her.  I mean I really don’t know why she continues to do that; I’m the one who lost in this situation, you know?” I said.  I realized once I made that statement, it made things sort of awkward.  We both sort of looked away from each other.  I quickly decided to change the subject.

“Anyway, are you coming home for Christmas?” I asked. 

“I’m not sure right now.  You know the holidays are the busiest time for the restaurant down this way.  Everyone is visiting the south and want to come there.  So, I’m not sure what my schedule will look like.” He said.

“Well, I wanted to bring Chelsea down for Christmas break, plus I will have some events going on down in Atlanta, so it will be the perfect time for her to come down as see our parents.  I also wanted to plan something special for Christmas, to get all the grandparents together to see her.  I know you usually get her that entire time, but I was going to see if you were going to be here it wouldn’t be so bad,” I said.

“I’ll try to work some things out, because I would love more time with her.  I know your mom is into Christmas way more than my family, but you know we love to party,” he said with a slight laughter.  I laughed with him

“Well, ok.  I just wanted to let you know.  If you do decide to come up, let me know and we can set up something,”  I said.

“Ok, that’s cool.  Are you heading back to DC today?”

“I will probably leave out later tonight.  I may spend the rest of the afternoon with my mom,” I said.

“Cool.  Well, let me get these ladies out of here and back to South Beach.  You know one day, you should bring Chelsea all the way, and come let us show you around.”

“I’m not sure if your wife is ready for that, but if she is, let me know and I’ll take a vacation,” I said giggling.

We parted ways after that.  Trey, Chelsea and Liyah drove off heading back to Florida, while I drove back to my mom’s house.

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