Illusions

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Author’s Note: The plot packs on the bulk. You’ve been waiting patiently so here it is: Chapter five in my Wound in Time series. The story contains mainly F/F action as well as a plot. It’s a lengthy piece that will not likely satisfy your search for instant gratification. Please check out the previous chapters if you want extra dirt on the characters. They’re not listed in order but the titles are sequential as follows: (WIT)At First, Blind Borne, Escapade and Felon Failing Fallen. That said, read on and hopefully, enjoy the story. Don’t forget to comment.

TMAJO

Ripe for it.

***************

“Oh my god! I cannot bu-lieve you did that!” Joann eyed her friend like she was insane.

“I know, I know, I know!” Bellinda blushed with the absurdity of it all.

“You’re telling me you put out AFTER she admits to sleeping with not one, but TWO other women?” Joann paused to gather air, “On more than one occasion might I add?”

“I know it sounds crazy but that’s always been the case!” Bellinda threw her arms in the air.

“That’s doesn’t excuse her screwing around on you!” Joann said and both of them remained quiet for a few beats until Joann added, “She’s just a player.”

“Jo, she’s been honest with me so far and I’m realizing that it’s all I ever wanted.” Bella finally said with a sigh.

“Okay, so why did you break up again?” Joann said but was actually thinking, ‘What have you gotten into B?’

“We didn’t break up. I mean, I don’t think so.” Bellinda fidgeted with her hands. “We only had a fight…I just don’t know what it was about.”

“Okay whatever, this right here is not helping. Come to the Shack with me.” The blonde locked her eyes onto her friend’s.

“Jo, I can’t.” Bellinda whispered.

“Yes you can.” Joann grabbed Bella by the shoulders. “I know things are kinda messed up right now, but if José were here, he’d want you to have fun.”

“If I say yes, will you stop trying to make me feel guilty?” Bellinda siad with a roll of her emerald eyes.

“Deal!” Joann squealed and pulled Bellinda into a hug, “Mani-pedi?”

“Deal.” Bellinda smiled at her friend even though her head was really screaming.

**********

Mavin left the office after reviewing the security tapes with Detective Wagner. There wasn’t much of visual significance but the audio recording was in a class all by itself. Mostly because José could be heard taunting the gunman. There was no way he could fight or run so instead he entertained himself. Laughing wildly and provoking the already trigger-happy death dealer. Mavin shook away the images of José’s lifeless body that was sure to haunt her for eternity, and turned the tapes over to Wagner. She hinted to him that the attacker may not have been a complete stranger.

She was in a very bad mood. As she’d predicted the day had been hellish. She wasn’t able to get much work done as she’d hoped and all the new details surrounding her friend’s death overwhelmed her. To top it off, her mind couldn’t function for two seconds without being inundated with thoughts of Bellinda. Being the one to blame for the mini-explosion that occurred in the morning didn’t make it better.

In a short-lived moment of clarity, the tall woman pulled up into her family home. She found it empty and figured Zeke was out spending green. She dragged herself to the den and just crashed. She wasn’t physically tired but her psyche was well battered. She was about to hop on the sleep train when her phone came alive. Mavin cursed the gadget as she picked it up.

“Not a good time, Eva.” Mavin said flatly.

“Is anytime ever good for you?” Eva asked but wasn’t really expecting a response, “How come you didn’t tell me about José? I had to hear it on the news…and did you know her father’s a senator?”

“Eva, there’s nothing to tell. He’s gone and they’re investigating shit.” Mavin grumbled, ignoring half of Eva’s rant.

“And you don’t think that’s worth talking about? Goddamn it Mavin, I can’t believe the shit you pull sometimes. Why’re you being so fucking reckless?”

“Not now Eva.” Mavin droned with her eyes closed.

“Where you at?” Eva didn’t hear Mavin’s plea.

“Westbury.” Mavin mumbled, “Don’t bother coming out here.”

“You gon’ be there all night?”

“Yeah, why?”

“Shouldn’t you be with Bellinda, since this all affects her too?”

Mavin sighed and scratched her head.

“Mavin, are you hearing me?”

“We had a fight.”

“You don’ lost yo’ mind, haven’t you?” Eva’s voice rose again with shock. “Why did you go and pick a fight with her now, of all times? I swear something is-“

“Why the fuck are you blaming me?” Mavin cut Eva off.

“‘Cause I know you Mavin. This is what you do.” Eva said knowingly, “Whatever happened, y’all need each other.”

“Eva, what I need is not a fucking lecture.” Mavin said as her temper flared.

“I ain’t lecturing, I’m just saying you gotta think about her too.” Eva ignored the hint.

“Whatever, just fucking drop it!” Mavin said firmly, her chest tight with anger.

“Don’t be coming at me with that tone, I will not hesitate to kick your ass.” Eva said and Mavin couldn’t bursa escort bayan keep the laughter from erupting as she forgot her temper for a split in time. “I’m serious, don’t think ’cause you’re all beefed up…I know kung fu.”

“Aight, I’m sorry. Please don’t unleash the dragon.” Mavin was rolling on the den floor.

“Shiiit, I’ll put you to sleep in a choke hold.” Eva continued her jive.

“Oh, I’d pay you to do that.” Mavin grinned, glad for the subject change.

“Yeah, I bet you’d pay me to do a lot of things.” Eva joined in the laughter.

“Now that I think of it, I’d pay you not to take that job with Kurt Pryce.” Mavin said, her tone regaining seriousness.

“What, why not?”

“Listen, I just found out some shit today that’s so, so, so fucked up Eva. It’s off the hook like murder.” Mavin emphasized.

“Like what?!” Eva wasn’t sure about what she heard.

“Did you sign those papers yet?”

“Nah, they’re here though.”

“Aight, don’t sign anything. I’ll explain tomorrow.”

“What’s wrong with now?”

“Not a good time.” Mavin shook her head as if Eva was in the room with her.

“You know, you keep saying that but now you got me all worried.”

“Aw, well now we’re in the same boat.” Mavin chuckled. “See what happens when you don’t listen to me?”

“Yeah, yeah.” Eva relented.

“You still up for the party or are you still sore?” Mavin joked.

“Shut up. Why are you thinking of a party now anyway?”

“Yo, Jasmine asked me to be there and I’ma be there. Besides, I’m on a fast track to stressville and I need a detour.”

“Oooh, you are so dirty! I couldn’t date you.”

“Um, newsflash Ms. Wilson; you don’t date.” Mavin stated fact.

“Yeah well, neither do you, so I guess that makes it alright.” Eva paused, “You gon’ bring her?”

“I-I dunno….Eva I gotta go.” Mavin was in a hurry to get Eva out of her ears.

“Why, you have something hot waiting for you?”

“Nah, I wish. I just need to chill for a bit.”

“Sure sweetie, I’ll call you tomorrow.”

“G’night.” Mavin said and killed the line.

In less than 72 hours, her world had been flipped and she needed to regain her footing. How a night of partying would contribute to that cause was beyond her but, she knew she didn’t want to spend the weekend agonizing over Bellinda. She dropped her head and was snoring before it hit the cushion.

************

Meanwhile

************

Bellinda, Joann and Adam met up at a late spa to get pampered. It was after-hours but Bellinda could afford it so she was treating her friends. She didn’t mind, in fact she was happy to be spending quality time with her best friends. It was good that she wasn’t the only one with matters of the heart. Adam had just broken up with Jason but was keeping a stiff upper lip about it. Joann was the only one not exactly suffering from love and took it upon herself to comfort her friends.

The trio had on their mud masks and were having their feet rubbed. Joann was flirting shamelessly with the guy massaging her soles while Adam and Bellinda, well mostly Bellinda, took turns ranting.

“I hear Mavin works in the same circle as Jason, you think she’ll be going to the conference?” Adam asked.

“I dunno, she doesn’t tell me these things. I mean, not that she would.” Bellinda said tightly, the spa treatment wasn’t helping as she thought it would.

“Whoa lassie, calm down before you pop a vessel.” Joann said even though her eyes were set on the half naked masseur.

“Okay Bee, what were her words again?” Adam continued his interview.

“‘I’m sorry you feel that way’.” Bellinda repeated, the tension not abating.

“What exactly is she sorry about?…wow you are talented.” Joann made a gurgling sound and they all laughed. Everyone except Bellinda.

“She basically wants me not to feel betrayed about this.” Bellinda said in a near whisper. ‘Why did I get caught up in this…because I wanted…want her.’ Her mind was on a mission.

“That makes sense from a certain point of view.” Adam sighed while his toenails got filed.

“Way to take her side Adam.” Bella rolled her eyes. “It makes sense for her to share herself with every woman in New York?”

“What? It’s not a crime.” Adam said playfully. “You aren’t exactly exclusive.”

“You know, that’s exactly what she said and now I’m starting to wonder about you.” Bellinda gasped. “I want us to be exclusive.”

“Somehow, I don’t think you do. You might wanna consider an open relationship. Just think of it as S&M without the S or the M.” Adam retorted.

“That leaves nothing, Sir Know-a-lot.” Joann mumbled.

“No, it leaves obsession, Ms. Don’t-know-squat.” Adam grinned at the blonde. “Besides she invited you to meet her family and they think you’re special. From what I’ve heard, she never does that.”

“Should it feel better to think that she’s obsessed with other women and not me?” Bellinda said in a tired tone. “Wait, what you’ve heard…what exactly have you heard?”

“Hey, you’re not the only lesbo that I know and I’ve heard some wild things about görükle escort your beau.”

“Like what?” Bella jumped out of her unrelaxed position, and stared at Adam. “Like what?” She asked again.

“Well, do you want the raunchy or the watered-down version?” Adam teased his friend. It was unwise, but he couldn’t help it.

“ADAM!” Bella was 2.4 seconds away from strangling her pal.

“Okay, okay, calm down. Jeez, it’s not that bad really. She…let’s just say she has a reputation of…um…”Adam trailed off as he tried to articulate his knowledge, “She has issues.” Adam surrendered.

“Issues, issues Adam?” Bellinda fumed, “What the fuck does that mean?!”

“It means, she doesn’t do relationships and she has issues.” Adam explained without much success, “You know, trust, anger, commitment, and a bunch more but my resources only range through her days in pro-BB. So that all could’ve changed.”

Neither one of her friends noticed it but Bella was sure she looked pale. She now wondered about the seeming mess she was in and what it all meant. She knew Mavin didn’t do commitment, but trust and anger were new to her. She’d gotten a sneak peek at the anger part, she realized and was beginning to think whether she should back off. ‘Why would Mavin have trust issues?’ Bella asked herself and instantaneously knew if was futile to try and dissect Mavin’s psyche from a spa. She had to approach Mavin somehow, but she herself wanted to be stubborn.

“She could be obsessed with you and not want to admit it.” Joann offered, not knowing Bellinda’s attention had slipped.

“Yeah, and she could also just have an insatiable appetite for anonymous sex. A lot of people do.” Adam echoed his opinions.

“That just makes it twiiiisted.” Joann moaned in pleasure unable to control herself. The hands on her back were just too skilled.

“We’re all twiiisted baby, one way or another.” Adam mimicked Joann.

“Preach sister!” The guy massaging Joann said, smiling at Adam. Everyone else gasped in mild shock. Joann was blushing all reddish colors while the other two masseuse snickered at the show. Bellinda remained lost in her thoughts.

************

Friday

************

“Get up, come on, get up!”

Mavin’s eyes snapped open, to see Louise using her body as a trampoline. “I’m up!” Mavin lunged forward and took hold of her wild niece. “What did I tell you about marching on my gut?” Mavin asked quietly.

“That it tickles?” Louise wore an impish grin.

“And what happens when you tickle the monster?” Mavin’s grip on Lou tightened.

“I get tickled faster?” Lou’s tone inflected with panic.

“That’s right.” Mavin growled and began to tickle the already giggling girl.

“Haha!…no…heheheee…wait….I didn’t hahah..mean it…arghhh…mom said…heeha…to…get you!” Lou giggled her cause and Mavin ceased her actions.

“Alright, then. Let’s go see what she wants.” Mavin tossed Lou over her shoulder. “Where’s Sharon?”

“Sleeping.” Lou positioned herself on Mavin’s shoulders.

“Okay, you ready?” Mavin rose up to what was a dizzying height for Lou.

“Yeah.” She took her grip in Mavin’s locks. “Giddy up!” She yelled and Mavin hopped playfully around the den, out to the hallway and then the family room, where she knew Becca would be.

“I see you two are having fun.” Becca observed when she heard Lou’s laughter.

“Nothing beats horseplay.” Mavin grinned and lowered her niece, but not before giving her a tumbling dismount. “Go get Sharon. I’ll take you out when I get back from work.”

“Mavin, they’ve already been shopping yesterday.”

“Yeah, but they didn’t go with me.” Mavin winked at Lou who scurried off.

“You spoil them too much.”

“Why not? They only get to be kids once.” Mavin smiled as Lou ran off to bug her twin. “So how you doin’, Becks?” Mavin took a seat on the sofa.

“I’m fine but the traveling is starting to take it’s toll.”

“Hmm, you knew that when you married him.” Mavin wore a faint smile.

“I suppose, but I figured it would be less these days.” Becca’s face shimmered with soft beauty. Her dark eyes focusing on Mavin.

“Yeah, it would be if Zeke didn’t love to travel.” Mavin’s eyes glowed in the light of the fire.

“I guess I knew that too.” Becca tossed her hair and cocked her head at Mavin. “Enough about me, how’ve you been?”

“Very busy.” Mavin cleared her throat, ‘I can smell where this is going.’ She thought for a split second.

“Well of course, busy running.” Becca kept her eyes on the tall woman.

“The girls told you?” Mavin asked unsurprised, ‘Hmm…here we go.’

“Well it’s not that hard to figure out.” Becca’s cajun-spiced voice said.

“So they did tell you.” Mavin eyed the older woman and nodded, ‘Trust the musketeers.’

“Yes, you know how children talk.” Becca smiled and Mavin shrugged, “What happened?”

“We had a fight, no big deal.” Mavin stated and was ready to dismiss the conversation five minutes ago.

“Oh, what about?” Becca asked without needing permission.

“I don’t even know.” Mavin sighed, ‘End it now, end bursa escort bayan it.’ Her mind screamed.

“So you started it?” Becca’s eyes implored her in-law.

“Why does’s everyone keep saying that?” Mavin rubbed her temples and wondered if she was that predictable.

“I’m just asking.” Becca chuckled at Mavin’s childlike antics.

“Yeh, I guess…I don’t…Becca….I-” Mavin’s lips were whispering a string of nothing.

“You know, she really loves you.”

“Hmm,….is that what y’all were talking about?”

“Relatively, yes. But it’s very obvious.” Becca took hold of Mavin’s hand. “Don’t be afrai-“

“I’m not afraid.” Mavin interrupted and sat up on the edge of her seat. She didn’t pulled her hand away.

“No, let me finish. Don’t be afraid for her, on account of you.”

“How can I not be? I have my ways and I don’t want to hurt her.” Mavin thought aloud.

“She’s gonna feel whatever her heart tells her to feel, good or bad, and you can’t hinder that.”

“I know.” Mavin’s brows furrowed.

“And you’re afraid of that.” Becca said, locking her eyes onto Mavin’s. “You won’t change without wanting to.”

“That’s only half the story.” Mavin chuckled, ‘That kinda change is impossible, no…unwanted.’

“Well, you’ll be selfish until you wear yourself out, but if she’s patient, she’ll have you.”

“You’re assuming things on my part Becca.” Mavin leaned back into the sofa to stare at the ceiling. ‘Assuming the feelings are mutual. Are they?’

“It’s only a matter of time before you admit your feelings for her.”

“Oh wait, let me guess, ‘Because it’s obvious’.” Mavin craned her neck to look at her brother’s wife.

“What’s obvious?” Both of them saw Zeke in his robe. “‘Sup Vin, I hear you’re planning to fry your wallet.” Zeke grinned at his sister. “Hey babe.”

“Hey you.” Becca motioned for him to sit next to her.

“What more could they want besides toys, sugar and more toys?” Mavin shrugged.

“Yeah, might as well knock yourself out.” Zeke chuckled and kissed his wife as he sat. “So what’s obvious, did I miss something?”

“Oh this is nice, gang up on me, why dontcha?” Mavin rolled her eyes but she was smiling. “I should know better than to hang with married folks.”

“Nothing sweetie.” Becca kissed Zeke again and rose up. “You guys want anything to drink?”

“No thanks.” Mavin said.

“Coffee please, dark as hell.” Zeke called as Becca was already leaving the room. “When’s the funeral for José?”

“Monday or the day after.” Mavin said, relieved that her brother wouldn’t carry on in the same subject.

“Are you gonna be okay?” If Zeke hadn’t witnessed her relationship with José, he wouldn’t find her glacial response to his death so eerie. But then again, Mavin wasn’t sentimental about many things.

“I’ll be aight. You know how it goes this time of the year.”

“Yeah, it’s gonna be hell, huh?” Zeke eyed his sister. She hadn’t changed much. She was still as brooding as ever. Perhaps even more so over the last few years.

“Hmm…how’s pop?” Mavin shot out of the blue.

“Aging as expected.” Zeke said and they both started laughing.

“Haha! I might visit after this crazy rush is over.”

“Fo’ real man?” Zeke sat up to stare at Mavin.

“Yeh, I mean…I haven’t been back in a long ass time.” Mavin sighed heavily.

“What brings this on?” Zeke asked, finding it incredulous that Mavin was suddenly homesick.

“Nothing, it’s just one of those things, you know.” Mavin nodded as the decision to make the 10-hour trip to Nigeria cemented itself in her mind.

“Are you gonna take her?”

“I don’t know. We’ll see how shit plays out.” Mavin scoffed and closed her eyes, signaling the end of the topic. Bellinda had gotten familiar enough for a year. “Yo, I gotta bounce to the lab. I’ll see you guys later.”

“Sure man. Thanks to you, I can lounge all day since you and your musketeers are gonna be out spending yo’ money.” Zeke humored himself.

“Yeah, yeah, we’ll have fun doing it.” Mavin grinned and jabbed her brother.

“Oh, I’ll get you for that.” Zeke was about to chase Mavin through the hallway when Becca popped up between them, holding a tray with coffee.

“Haha! you see that?” Mavin called from down the hall and bowed to Becca with a wide grin and a french accent, “Enjoy your café.”

“See what dear?” Becca asked as he served Zeke his coffee.

“Nothing, we’re just horsing.” Zeke rubbed his shoulder as he sipped his drink. “Deadly, thank you.”

***************

A few hours later

***************

Mavin was in the process of preparing samples of a new drug to be tested. Actual testing would begin in a week or so but she wanted to get an early start. She was notorious for stretching her hours in an already wild schedule. Now that she was in charge of the place, her staff worried about the future of their own schedules.

Luckily for them, Mavin had no such plan. The investigation would carry though the holiday and maybe more. As exhilarating as the lab was, Mavin wanted to give herself time to spend with her family. This time of the year was especially hectic because the committee for some reason took odd pleasure in dishing out new quick-test assignments for certain drugs. The fact that Mavin was truly the one in command of the facility added to the burden because she now had to oversee the budget plans that would carry into the new year.

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