Chapter 1

WARNING SPOILER ALERT IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THE FORBIDDEN TRILOGY, THEN STOP AND READ IT. YOU CAN STILL READ THIS SERIAL BUT IT IS SO MUCH MORE ENRICHING IF YOU HAVE READ THE FORBIDDEN TRILOGY FIRST, AVAILABLE ON AMAZON, BARNES AND NOBLES, APPLE BOOKS, AND KOBO…

I stretched and rose out of bed and walked to the window nude, staring out in the snowy grounds of Minneapolis Downtown. I had a meeting in a couple of hours and after that, I had the rest of the day to myself. I debated whether to remain in the city for the weekend or fly back home to D.C.  October in Minneapolis was cold but doable if I wanted to walk around and see the sites, have a good meal, maybe meet a woman who only wanted a good time. I’d been traveling alone for years and loved the solitude to become one with my thoughts. My cell rang, the feminine robotic voice announcing that it was my mother. I grabbed my robe from the end of the bed and quickly donned it before answering, “Hey Ma.”

“I can tell I didn’t wake you up.”

“Now, you know I’m always on the grind.”

“Yes, unfortunately, my sons inherited their work ethic from us.” My mother had been a corporate lawyer and my father continued to work as a cardiologist. “When’s the last time you had a vacation?”

“It’s just me now, Mama. I don’t need an extended vacation. I take breaks here and there.”

“You still need to take care of yourself. I worry about you.”

Uncomfortable with my mother expressing concerns for me when I’d always been the strong one in the family, I said more curtly than I intended, “No need to worry about me. I’m good.”

She soothed in her calm, mellow voice. “Okay, okay Aaron. You travel so much, and we never know where you are, half the time. Are you still in Denver?”

I perched on the end of the bed. “That was last week. I’m in Minneapolis and I’ll probably be home on Sunday.”

“Probably? I know you’re a grown man, but can you just let your Mama know where you are when you’re not in D.C. You don’t have…” her voice faltered.

“I don’t have what?” I asked and waited a beat before answering, “I don’t have Kam anymore to keep tabs on me.”

“I can tell I’ve upset you and that wasn’t my intent at least not yet.”

“Not yet?”

Her sigh was deep. “I called you because I didn’t know if Kam or Kari would.”

“I haven’t spoken to either one since I left them in Atlanta when Kari first came back.” Both my ex-wife and brother had sent me unanswered texts over the course of the year it had been since I had seen them. I know that they have traveled twice to D.C. to visit my parents and I’ve always made sure I had a trip out of town. I wasn’t ready to see them together. It had been hard to watch the obvious love between them in Kam’s apartment, the apartment I’d lived in with her while helping her bring her and his healthy baby into the world. I still ached with betrayal of the worst kind. My brother and my wife had an affair, he impregnated her, and she ultimately left me for him. Can someone explain how any man, hell any person can truly forgive and move past a transgression so unfathomable?

My mother said quietly, “He’s still your brother.”

“No, he’s still your son. I don’t know what I consider Kari anymore. As far as I’m concerned, he and I never have to speak again.”

“Aaron no matter your anger and your hurt, he loves you and will always be blood. Like you, he will always be a Youngblood.”

“Did you defend me like you’re defending him now? Did you tell them that he was wrong, that I would be destroyed, huh?”

“Of course, I was livid with your brother and then with Kam for putting the family in this situation. I warned them to stay away from each other. I never wanted to get in between you and him.”

“Because he’s always been your precious Kari.”

“That’s not true Aaron. I love both of my sons.”

“Not equally. Admit Mama, you’d rather it ended this way. With me being the hurt one, and Kari the one who gets the girl. Admit it.”

“I hate to see you hurt son, but Kam wasn’t the woman for you. Whoever she is, is still out there and you have to let go of so much hurt to find love again.”

“How do you know anything about my marriage? Or whether my wife was the woman for me?”

“I can only judge based on my marriage and I know you couldn’t have loved her like your daddy  loves me. Your actions in your marriage told me that. You were too self-involved, often not considering Kam’s wants and needs. I would warn you to ask her and get her advice and you would brush me off. Let’s not forget you held the truth that you have a son with your ex-girlfriend from your wife after we all implored you to tell her. I have been blessed to have a strong, happy marriage but me and your daddy worked at it because we don’t take each other for granted and we don’t lie to each other.”

Refusing to admit again that a lot of the mistakes in my marriage were mine, I asked, “So, you believe Kari is the one for Kam?”

My mother grew silent.

“Tell me, Ma because I can’t seem to understand why you can accept and act like everything is good when your son had an affair with my wife, probably in my very own house.”

“I know all three of you and as much as you hate to hear this, yes. They love each other with a deepness that you and she never shared. If you did, she wouldn’t have even noticed Kari no matter what he did to get her attention. They both deserve to have the kind of love that doesn’t happen every day.”

I tried to control my rising temper and managed to maintain my volume. “And I don’t?”

“Shh…shh…Aaron, I’m saying this all wrong. Of course, I want you to be happy and have whatever your heart desires. I just wish you could see that as much pain as you feel, that the pain you feel really has nothing to do with Kam and more with your animosity towards Kari that’s been there way before you even met Kam.  I only have two sons who for most of their lives barely seemed to like one another. If there’s one thing I regret it’s that somehow me and your dad didn’t do all that we could to make sure that our sons truly loved and respected one another.”

Annoyed that my peaceful morning had been wrecked discussing my Cain and Abel like relationship with my brother, I said, “Look, Mama. I don’t want to talk about him or Kam. I need to get dressed and get out of this room. So, whatever you called me about can wait.”

“No, it can’t. Kari and Kam are getting married,” she finished quickly.

A blinding white light affected my vision and I closed my eyes tight to stop the lava of emotions threatening to spew. “I gotta go.”

“Wait…”

“Bye, Ma.” I clicked off the cell and fell back against the soft hotel bed, head throbbing painfully. “Fuck! Fuck! I’m so fucking tired of giving a fuck!”

My cell rang again, and I started to silence it, but the phone announced Tisha.

Inhaling deeply, I answered as calmly as I could, “Hey you.”

“Hey…” Silence on her end.

I waited a few more seconds. “I said, ‘hey.'”

She sighed. “You know about Kam and Kari, don’t you?”

Staring at the ceiling, massaging one of my temples, I responded, “I would ask how you could tell that I knew, but you’ve proven to know me pretty well. My mother just told me, and I’d just hung up with her when you called.”

Tisha admonished, “Aaron were you rude to your mother?”

“What? Why are you asking me that?”

“I can tell by your tone, you’re in asshole mode.”

I stood up ready to argue. “You know what Tish, I’m not in the mood. I have the right to feel how I want to feel about my fucked up family.”

“Fine.” Click.

“Shit,” I yelled and called her back. She sent my call to voicemail. I called back to back at least ten times. I finally texted.

I can do this all day. I work for myself. Answer the phone.

I’ll just block your number.

Then you won’t get to know what happened with Gucci Lady from the other night.

My phone rang. “You know I can’t stand not knowing how your date went.”

I smiled in the phone, some of my peace returning, the throbbing beginning to dull. My world had already been fucked up for a long time and I didn’t need to make it worse by pissing off Tish, who had surprisingly and ironically been my biggest rock in the past year. LaTisha, my ex-wife’s best friend who didn’t like me from the moment we met almost twelve years ago. I believed she hated me at one point, thought I’d been a selfish husband, probably even encouraged Kam to give Kari a chance, all into Kam finding her happiness with another man even if it was with my brother. Yet, we had become strange bedfellows. We had one amazing night of passion together and had become friends, who occasionally would talk dirty to one another. She would brag on her good good and I would brag on my dick, usually stopping before our banter became serious. We spoke almost every day and though I hadn’t seen her since I left Atlanta over a year ago, I couldn’t stand when I didn’t hear her voice or receive a text from her.

“But before you talk about the date with this woman who you probably sexed whether you really liked her or not, we have to address the big old elephant known as Kam and Kari. How are you, seriously?”

I opened my suitcase that I’d placed on the dresser searching for my boxer briefs. “I don’t know. My first reaction was rage and then you called.”

“Rage Aaron? You had to know they would get married at some point. They have a child together already.”

I placed my wireless buds in my ear, put my cell down, and pulled on my briefs. “You asked and I’m sharing. I felt extreme rage in that first second.”

“Call your mother back and apologize.”

I threw off my robe and headed to the bathroom. “For what?”

“You probably hung up on her.”

“I said ‘bye’.”

“Did you wait for a response?”

At my silence, she grunted.

I turned on the faucet in the sink.

“What are you doing?”

“Trying to talk to you and get ready for my meeting by washing my face. What do you think I’m doing?”

“For a second, it sounded like you were taking a piss.”

“Ooh…are you into that?” I teased. “Cause, it sounds like you getting all hot and bothered over there.” I checked my body out in the mirror, still taut chest, abs, and biceps wishing she were here next to me.

“Ugh, Aaron please.”

“Hey, I don’t judge. I’m open to any and everything sexually except men.”

“How did we end up talking about sex?”

“You sounded all breathy when you asked what I was doing.”

“I did not. You are such a liar.”

“Never with you.”

“That’s because I can sniff your game a mile away, which is why I know you were rude with your mother.”

I quickly splashed water on my face and used the nearby white fluffy hand towel to dry. “I didn’t mean to be rude. Just tired of my mother always taking Kari’s side. And this situation is no different. How can she really support them being a couple?”

“She didn’t at first. She’d stopped speaking to Kam, and after she thought she lost Kari, she still didn’t reach out to her even though Kam was pregnant with little Kari. She almost lost her son, Aaron. She doesn’t want to lose him again which means your mama has to accept who he chooses to love. Give her a break, she’s in a rock and a hard place because she loves both of you.”

I protested, “She loves him just a little more.”

“I don’t know if she does or not. I only have one child so I don’t know if I would love one child more than the other. But she checks on you all the time because she’s scared of losing you too.”

We’d all thought we lost Bakari when he was overseas working and as devastated as we all were, a part of her died with the news of his alleged “death”. She had been a shell of the vibrant woman I’d known most of my life. I thought about her incessant need to know where I am when I traveled, and I sighed, “I need to call my mother back and apologize.”

“And then call me back so you can tell me about ‘Gucci Man’.”

I chuckled. “Now, she’s ‘Gucci Man’?”

“Good, I made you laugh. Can’t have you way up in the damn near North Pole, hurting by yourself. Now, tell me about this woman you just had to wine and dine, though based on what you said, she had zero personality.”

I shook my head. “I have to get ready for a meeting. There’s nothing to tell. We had no connection.”

“I told you that, but you had to see for yourself.”

“I did and you were right.” I pulled my white long-sleeved button up shirt and a pale blue sweater out of the closet. “You were also right that I still fucked her.” I clicked the cell off and tossed on my bed.

She called back several times and I finally texted back after I’d dressed and readied for my meeting.

Payback is a motherfucker.

She sent an emoji of the middle finger.

I responded back,

I’ll call you tonight if you don’t have plans with your man.

I do. So, call me tomorrow.

I don’t know what you see in him but do you.

You don’t need to see, and your ass better call me tomorrow.

Bet.

I smiled placing my phone in my pants pocket. Tisha had been a ray of sunshine after the storm that had been my life ever since I found out that my younger brother and wife had been having affair. Who would have thought that my so-called enemy would become my best friend? I’d never been that man who had female friends. If I spent any time with a woman, I wanted to have sex with that woman. Granted, Tisha and I had already fucked. But she was the first woman that after having sex I wanted a friendship. Okay, maybe I settled for friendship since she felt guilty for sleeping with me because she had a man and I was her best friend’s husband for ten years. She’d laughed in my face while we were zooming one night when I offered to have a secret casual sexual relationship with her though she couldn’t deny that our bodies melded perfectly and that we’d both been insatiable that one lustful night. I may be a selfish man and want things my way but I’m also a patient man. I wanted another taste of her, and Ms. Latisha was definitely worth the wait.

*** Stay tuned to this serial in which I will post chapter by chapter as I write***

And if you are new to Aaron and the Youngbloods, check out https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/forbidden-tiye-love/1131398386?ean=2940163074419

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