Wives and Girlfriends
By Nishawnda Ellis
By Nishawnda Ellis
A night full of passion can lead to a lifetime full of pain.
Dominic Jones is a wealthy prominent businessman who splits his time between his wife and girlfriends. When he meets Tera Larou, a self employed professional girlfriend, he thinks he’s found the perfect girlfriend. That is until she demands he leave his family for her. Under no circumstance is Dominic willing to leave his family for any woman. Left with no other option, Dominic has to act fast before an already suspicious wife, Donna, is ready to do something about her cheating husband. Tera winds up brutally murdered leaving behind a trail of possible suspects, with Dominic at the top of the list.
Sunday afternoon was breezy and sunny with a temperature of 72 degrees. The summer heat had disappeared, and the first day of fall was in two days. Police sirens, an ambulance and a coroner van parked outside Brookline side Condominiums interrupted the quiet morning. Nosy and concerned neighbors flocked outside their condos to find out what brought the Brookline police to their homes. They soon would discover that it was the last murder of summer and the first for the fall. And one now narrowed their complex of sixty-nine occupants.
“Check the caller ID and last calls the victim made from here. I want to know who she last spoke to,” Detective Mark Anderton said. This was his first big murder case since he was promoted to lead detective.
After examining the crime scene, Mark’s investigative mind began to go to work. He recorded his comments using a taping device. “African-American Woman, age range 21-28, about 5-feet 7-inches, 135 pounds, found with a gunshot wound to her frontal lobe. Bullet appears to be from a 38 caliber or similar. No signs of forced entry or burglary. However, there are signs of a struggle. Shattered particles of glass cover the living room floor and the coffee table has been knocked over.
Victim appears to have fought the assailant off. Rule out suicide. Does not appear victim shot herself, due to extent of the injury. Also to note, victim struck with some type of blunt object to the back of the head. Probable cause of death was a gunshot wound however.
Victim was wearing a pink negligee. Candles appear recently lit and CD player’s power still is on. A bottle of champagne, whipped cream and chocolate-covered strawberries were found in the victim’s refrigerator. This indicates that the victim was expecting company and leads to the conclusion that her guest may or may not have arrived. The victim was found lying supine in her living room, no weapon or weapons discovered. Not sure of the time of death at this time. A neighbor called the police after hearing a gunshot around 2:15 a.m. Making the approximate time of death between 2:00 and 2:10 a.m., according to the condition of the body and the neighbor’s
phone call. Scene indicates victim either knew the assailant or was caught off guard.
Hey Johnson, did you get the last incoming and outgoing calls yet? Also do we have a name and next of kin for the victim yet?”
“We’re working on identifying the listed names for the last outgoing calls. The victim’s name is Tera Larou. No next of kin as of yet. You should come take a look at this. We found the victim’s electronic address book and I must say she is quite the busy girl. I mean, was.” Officer Johnson shouted from the bedroom.
“Johnson, don’t disrespect the dead. Bring me the address book and leave your comments at home.” Detective Anderton had little tolerance for his co-worker’s theatrics.
Officer Johnson entered the living room. “See for yourself. She doesn’t have names listed with the phone numbers. Instead they are listed as suitors.”
“How many suitors are there?”
“Two hundred and fifty four.”
“Two hundred and fifty four! Are you kidding me, no names?”
“Nope. Just suitors one through two hundred and fifty four.”
“How the hell can she keep the names straight? Maybe Ms. Larou didn’t want anyone to know who she was seeing.” Such a beautiful woman, too. What were you into? Two hundred and fifty four? I don’t think I have been with fifty-four women, let alone two hundred and fifty four.
“Alright Johnson, get me the names from the phone numbers of all two hundred and fifty four, especially the last five. And find out if she owns this condo, where she works, if she pays her own bills, the name her car is in, etc. I want to know everything about this woman. Do we have the names for those calls yet?” Detective Anderton was growing inpatient.
“I’ll check with Riley.” Johnson disappeared back into Tera’s bedroom.
Detective Anderton was left alone with his thoughts. What could she have done to these men to make someone want her dead?
Officer Johnson returned with Mark’s requested information. “The last incoming call was from a woman
named Shaniece Turner and the last outgoing call was made to Dominic Jones.
“Check the last outgoing call number to see if it matches any of the numbers in her address book.”
“Already ahead of you, it doesn’t. But, the last suitor’s number is a cell phone number, 617-555-8211. And guess what?”
“Lighten up. I just had Riley check it and the number belongs to Jones Consultants.”
Detective Anderton looked confused.
“You don’t know who Dominic Jones is do you?”
“You should. He’s one of the wealthiest Black men in this city. Dominic Jones, of Jones Consultants.”
Detective Anderton ignored his blatant insinuation. “I don’t care if he is the wealthiest man in the world; he’s a suspect; as well as all those other two hundred and fifty three suitors in Ms. Larou’s book. Get me an address for Mr. Jones, I have a few questions for him.”
“I think you better check with the chief first.”
“Because not only is Mr. Jones wealthy, he sponsors Mayor Menning’s campaigns. The guy is loaded, and from what I understand, protected. You get what I’m saying? Almost untouchable.”
“I guess I am about to reach out and touch Mr. Untouchable. I have a murder case to solve, nothing or no one is more important than that.”
“I hear you. But be careful and extra clean on this one. The man is not to be messed with.”
Detective Anderton smirked. “Apparently, he’s got you under his wing. Save it Johnson, get me the address.”
“Fine. You’re the lead detective. You know what you’re doing.”
“That I am Johnson, and that I do.”
Six months earlier…
Tera began to get ready for the United Negro College Fund benefit dinner. She picked out a black satin halter dress that was cut low and deep in the front, catering to her size 36-D twins. The length of the dress stopped right above the knees. Any higher, Tera’s cleavage wouldn’t be the only part of her body that was on display. A matching set of “Beyonce Knowles-style,” silver dangling earrings and silver necklace that hung between Tera’s taped up breast, made her outfit complete. She was pushed up and ready to push out on the town in search of her next suitor. Tera held no stops and never made any apologies for the manner in which she carried herself. In her eyes, this was her world and everyone in it, she controlled.
“Shaniece, hand me those silver rhinestone sandals,“ Tera demanded.
“I thought you said I could wear them tonight,“ Shaniece whined. She always did that when she knew Tera was going to have her way.
“I changed my mind. My outfit is calling for them. Just like any man I come close to.” Tera laughed as she stared herself down in the mirror. “Damn, if beauty was a crime, I’d be serving a life sentence.” She flashed her mirror reflection a devilish grin.
Shaniece continued to whine. “What am I suppose to wear with my shimmy dress then?”
“Don’t know, don’t care. Find something, cause I am wearing those shoes.”
“I thought you said tonight was about me.”
“It is, but in order for me to show you the ropes, I have to dress the part. Tonight is watch and learn. Then you can show and tell, sweetie. Take it from me; an outfit is not complete unless you have all the right equipment.” Tera took another glance in the mirror. “And honey, this body and this face has to have an outfit that compliments it. Pure elegance matched with sexiness. So those shoes, the dress, and this body are a total package. Understand?”
Shaniece shook her head. She hated it when Tera was right and hated it even more when Tera turned everything around. “Well, I am just not going to go then.”
“Fine, but you will never learn how to have James eating out of the palm of your hand. You see the way I make men drool over me, if you want that you have to watch and learn. First you bait him, then you play him, and then you act like you worship him. Just when he thinks he has you, you flip the switch on him again, so he doesn’t even know what day of the week it is. All he knows is you and when is the next time he gets to be with you.”
“Then you get married and live happily ever after, right?”
Tera looked at Shaniece, as if she were a dodo bird. “NO! Have you been paying attention to anything, I have said? Listen to me Shaniece, and listen good, if you want all you can get out of a man, know that marriage ain’t it. Trust me, it pays not to be the one, waiting at home with the kids, wondering where in the hell your husband is at this time of night.”
“Then, what am I doing this for? I want James to marry me and leave his wife.”
“Why, so he can turn around and do the same thing to you?”
“It wouldn’t happen that way, Tera. It just wouldn’t.”
“Oh, would you get your head out of the clouds Shaniece! Answer me this, did James tell you he was married when you met him?”
“When you found out, did he say, he was leaving her for you?”
“Not in so many words, but I could feel he wanted to.”
“What you were feeling was his hard on, which was about to need ice. Once James knew you knew he was married, he knew it was back to porno and hand lotion because his selfish, stingy wife still thinks she can control a man with sex. Whatever you felt or whatever he told you was to keep him from going back to that, bottom line.”
“No, he was implying that what we had worked for him and that some day we would be together, exclusively.”
“What he was implying is that you two could continue having an affair as long as you were down with it.”
“I was at first, but I started to get jealous and hated the fact that she got all his time and attention.”
“Shaniece, who needs time and attention when you get designer clothes and expensive cars from him? She is his priority. She is his wife, and you are his girlfriend. Learn the rules.”
“But, I don’t want to be his girlfriend, I want to be James’s wife.”
“Again, why? Trust me, you are better off being the girlfriend; the benefits are endless. Stick with me and I will show you a world where the girlfriend is what little girls should be dreaming about. Not white picket fences, a dog and two kids. They should be dreaming about penthouses, exotic getaways, expensive jewelry and a maid to clean up after your mess. Instead of you cleaning up after a husband, children and a dog. Being a girlfriend has its advantages. It’s the only way to be satisfied with men completely because you are satisfied with yourself and the situation.”
“But I love James, I don’t want material things, I want him all to myself.”
“Why? He doesn’t want you all to himself. Shaniece you must learn to share. Who cares as long as your piece is the most expensive? I could give two cents about love.”
“I do Tera, that is why I can’t do this.”
“Well, keep singing your sad love songs if you want. I know where that leads: to the road of broke, pregnant and abandoned. Trust me, that isn’t a road any woman should have to travel.”
“Well if that is where it leads me, then fine. I can’t be like you.”
“Of course not, because if you could, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Obviously, love hasn’t taken you to the place it has taken me. Best believe, one day it will. And when it does, I will be more than happy to show you why its pays to be a girlfriend rather than a wife. Face it, some women are meant to be girlfriends and some are meant to be wives.”
Tera left Shaniece with that thought and headed for the benefit dinner. Tera stayed here and there with family until she finally found a home with her maternal grandmother and her cousin Shaniece. Although both were about the same age, Tera’s grandmother treated Tera like the black sheep of the family because her mother had her at fifteen and thus ruined her life. Since the day Tera was born, her grandmother resented her. Her daughter ran off and married Tera’s father, who was ten years older than she, so Tera’s grandmother has always looked at Tera as her daughter’s biggest mistake. Both Tera’s parents got hooked on drugs and one day left Tera in their car at the mall and were never heard from again. Tera moved from foster home to family members’ home, until her grandmother finally decided to take her in. Tera couldn’t stand her grandmother and hated her for always blaming what happened to her mother on her. When Tera turned eighteen, she moved out of her grandmother’s home and had been on her own ever since. She could never figure out why her parents left her. Every night she would cry herself to sleep wishing her father could have loved her like he promised and her mother could have been there for her like she had promised. She blamed it all on them getting married so young and vowed never to get married or let a man ruin her life, the way Tera’s grandmother claimed her father had done.
Deep down Tera knew where Shaniece was coming from. But her own experiences with men, made her choose and believe in her way of life. It was like a religion or craft she had adapted. Why belong to the first wives club when being a girlfriend had much more to offer with no emotional baggage? Tera was happy with herself and her religion, which taught her to never get emotionally attached to her suitors. Once they start to get attached, get everything and find a new suitor. Her religion paid her bills, bought her cars, jewelry, vacations and anything she wanted. Her religion bought her this condo in Brookline and set aside a nice sizable bank account that allowed her to go shopping, get manicures, pedicures and her hair done every week. Tera would be damned if she ever went back to thinking like Shaniece. Being a girlfriend was too much fun and kept her from working a 9-to-5 crappy job.
Tera checked her cell phone voicemail before she left for the dinner. The automatic voice began:
Please enter your password.
You have two new messages.
To hear your messages press one.
First message Saturday 6:30 p.m.:
Tera, it’s Jacob. After giving it much thought, I don’t think I’m going to be able to do what we discussed. Call me later.
Next message Saturday 8 p.m.:
Tera, it’s Jacob again, I really need to see you so we can talk call me after 11 p.m., I will be available then or you can just leave me a message. Talk to you soon.
You have no more messages.
Tera ended her call with a huge grin. One of the reasons for attending this benefit dinner was to show Shaniece how she operated. The second reason was to find a new suitor and get rid of Jacob after he gave her one hundred thousand dollars. Jacob was becoming a liability.