I looked over at the clock and suddenly became pissed that I had allowed myself to fall asleep. Justine was supposed to have been gone a long time ago. As a matter-of-fact, she wasn’t supposed to be there at all.
Ordinarily, my rule was not to allow anyone into my humble abode that didn’t call first, but for whatever reasons, I allowed her to get away with that rule, far too many times, and regardless of how many times I reminded her, she still chose to do things in her own way.
When I got up from my bed, I heard the vibration of my phone going off for the umpteenth time. I didn’t bother to look to see who it was, I already knew. My plans for the evening were drastically delayed, and there was no need to look at my missed calls or to listen to the voice mail messages that would only remind me of where I was supposed to be.
“Justine,” I said as I gently nudged her. “It’s almost twelve o’clock. You need to get up now. I’m sure Pastor Reynolds is wondering where his wife is.”
“Fuck him,” she began mumbling. “His tired ass is probably somewhere with one of his tricks.”
“Seriously Justine, I don’t think that it’s cool for you to stay out so late. I’m almost certain that he’s worried sick about you.”
She finally began to move around under the sheets, while continuing to mumble curses. As I watched her naked body emerge from the bed, I couldn’t help but notice how perfect it was for her to be a mature woman with two adult children and three grandchildren.
Her honey colored, flawless skin was immaculate, and her body could compete and win any day against any young woman in there early twenties. I remembered the first day I met her all I could think of was how much she reminded me of Phylicia Rashad. Yes, I can admit that when I was younger I had a huge crush on Claire Huxitable.
In all of my twenty-seven years on this earth, I’ve never dated or had sex with a woman my age or younger, I’d always been attracted to older women. Partly, I knew, stemmed from the fact that my mother was never a major part of my life. I try not to get into all the psychoanalytical bullshit, but I realize her giving me up at an early age and my once strong desire to find motherly love had a lot to do with it.
“I’m not sure if I like the fact of you kicking me out of your apartment T’Shobi. This is the third time in a row,” she said as she walked out of the bathroom. “I’m beginning to think that you and that damn Tinisha Jackson really are having a thing. Don’t think that I don’t hear the little rumors floating around the church.”
I stood silent as she spoke. I had heard the rumors too but that’s all they were. Tinisha was five years younger than I was, and nowhere near my flavor of loving.
“Justine, you know those are just lies. Since coming to Deliverance Temple as the minister of music, there’s only been one woman that I’ve been with or even desired to be with.”
I then walked towards her, wrapped my arms around that perfect body of hers then allowed my lips to touch hers.
“Um-huh and it better stay that way too.”
Immediately after walking Justine to her car, I literarily ran back to my room and checked my cell phone.
Sixteen missed calls, ten messages on my voicemail, and five text messages. Without checking, already knowing who it was, I decided to take a long hot shower before calling back to inform that I was on the way.
While the hot water splashed across my body, I began to think of my life over the past seven months. I moved from Atlanta, Georgia to Charlotte, North Carolina hoping to escape my past, but as always, my ways never allowed me to get as far as I wanted to or as far as I needed to.
Suddenly I heard the voice of the woman I came to know as my MeeMa, speak to me the day I left Montgomery Alabama nine years earlier.
“Baby no matter how far you run away, you will never be able to run from yourself.” As much as I didn’t want to admit it, she told me nothing but the truth.
My MeeMa was a wise old woman who took me in as her own when I was sixteen. She was the one that taught me how to live and even love again after all the bullshit I had experienced in my short years of living.
Immediately after stepping out of the bathroom, I heard my phone singing the distinctive ring tone, once again informing me of how late I was.
“I’m about twenty minutes away,” I said, then hung up without waiting for a response.
Driving in my car, I thought about the first time I met Justine Reynolds, the First Lady of Deliverance Temple Church. She walked into Pastor Reynolds office without knocking.
“I’m Sorry Seth. I didn’t realize you were meeting with someone.” Her voice was melodic, sounding as if she was singing.
“Sweetheart,” he began as he rose from his desk. “Please come in and allow me to introduce you to our possible new Minister of Music, T’Shobi Wells.”
“Oh, this is the infamous Mr. Wells. I must tell you, I’ve heard nothing but great things about you. If all is true, I can’t wait to see how you can turn our music ministry around.”
As Pastor Reynolds and I continued discussing what my duties would be as well as my compensation, Justine pranced around the office as if she were cleaning up and making sure everything was in place.
It was difficult for me not to notice her, and I could tell that she was checking me out as well. I’ve always had a gift of knowing when someone wanted to sex me. I’ve been a musician for churches as long as I knew how to talk, and for some reason always a target for older women. I had my very first sexual encounter days before my thirteenth birthday with a woman old enough to be my mother, and as got older; I learned how to decipher certain looks and innuendos, a gift that was also a dreaded curse.
After Pastor Reynolds and I completed our conversation, I decided to attend services the following Sunday and get a feel of how things were there as well as a feel of his congregation.
Once I drove into the parking lot, the first person I noticed was Justine. She damned near broke a heel flagging me down to instruct me that I could park my car in front of the sign that read: MINISTER OF MUSIC
As soon as I locked the door of my BMW, she immediately placed her arm inside of mine and escorted me towards the front door.
“I see playing keyboards has been good to you,” she said looking back admiring my car.
“It’s been a Blessing.”
“Well I’m sure you will find it a Blessing if you decide to rest your magic fingers here at Deliverance Temple.” She then gave me the most sensuous smile that I could actually feel my southern region begin to move.
When we walked into the huge church, everyone looked towards her as she continued to escort me to the front of the church where the musicians sat. By the jealous look from the keyboardist who they had been using as an interim had given me, I could tell he wanted to kick my ass, but Justine quickly shooed him away as if he were a small child in the way.
“I can’t wait to see what those magic hands can do,” she said with a wink before taking her rightful seat on the front row.
After services that day, Pastor Reynolds invited me over to their house for dinner. As I sat at the table with their two grown sons and their wives and children, I could feel Justine’s eyes piercing my skin. I did my best to avoid eye contact with her, but she made it impossible. Every time she spoke, her question or topic of conversation had been directed to me.
As much as I tried not to notice her, I did. She was exactly the type of woman that had always turned me on. She was mature, yet had the energy of a teenager. Her hair was short and black with just a hint of gray that made her look distinguished, and as I said before, she had the body that could make any man shout Hallelujah.
For weeks after accepting the job, I pleaded with myself not to take things to a sexual level with her, but as all temptations seem to do, it took over me like a raging bull. One week, five days, twelve hours and fifty-two minutes of trying to hold out from her had caved in.
When I arrived to the hotel, thoughts of what happened when I was in Atlanta replayed in my head. Being in a situation exactly like this is why I left. I wanted to start fresh. I wanted to start new. I thought leaving Atlanta I could do that, but as the months began to pass, I realized that it wasn’t Atlanta that I had to run from, but it was me that needed to change.
Riding on the elevator of The Blake Hotel, in uptown Charlotte, my mind quickly traveled back to that first dinner at Pastor Seth and Justine Reynolds’s home. She wasn’t the only one checking me out that day. She wasn’t the only one telling me with their eyes what they wanted to do to me or have me do to them.
“Why the fuck do I continue to do these things?” I softly asked myself as I stepped out of the elevator.
When I arrived to the room, I lightly tapped on the door.
“About damn time, what in hell took you so long?”
“I’m sorry I got tied up with something?” I said as we embraced.
“Tied up with something, or with someone? The rumor is that you and that lil cute girl Tinisha Jackson have a thing going on.”
“Seth, you should know better than anyone, that Tinisha Jackson is definitely not my flavor,” I responded to my Pastor Seth Reynolds as we both fell onto the bed to make love until the early hours of the morning.