~ Bailey Levine ~
Have you ever loved someone so hard that you did things that sickened you to your core just to get their love and approval?
Bailey’s answer to that question was Chance!
Her private cell phone sang “We Belong Together” by Mariah Carey. It was him! Although she held a master’s degree in economics, owned 12 pieces of property, was the founder and sole owner of Levine Realty, a successful, top-ranked real estate brokerage firm in Southern California, her stomach catapulted into somersaults every time she heard that ring tone. It was a combination of trepidation and exhilaration!
She had fallen under Chance Lewis’s spell over 3 years ago. He came into her life like a whirlwind; quick, dramatic, and disastrous. His 6 foot 3 inch frame held a proportioned sexy, muscular physique. His eyes were expressively large, bright, and enticing. His smile was ample, mesmerizing, and inviting. He wasn’t particularly handsome, but there was something about him—an intangible “something” that Bailey couldn’t define but nonetheless invaded her spirit and had her hopelessly consumed.
Chance was never particularly nice to her. He never took her out on dates, nor spent any quality time with her. He never promised her anything, nor made any authentic pledges of love. Instead, he lied to her and kept her at arm’s length, emotionally and physically. Including their sexual trysts, he only used her body for his selfish pleasures. He always contacted her when he wanted to have sex, and afterward, he would vanish from her world, leaving her feeling hollow and soiled.
But regardless of how Chance treated her, when Bailey was with him, she felt that she was exactly where she was supposed to be. He never did anything that made her feel important or special; however, just being in the general vicinity of his essence made her happy. Bailey didn’t understand the hold that this man had on her. She didn’t understand why a man who mistreated her could conversely make her feel so happy. Her emotions danced between elation and despair. Whenever she anticipated their get-togethers, she was overjoyed; but conversely, after leaving him, the disappointment and hurt she experienced sent her too often spiraling into a state of depression, frustration, and confusion.
She slowly raised the phone to her ear as her heart pounded intensely within her chest and apprehensively pressed the talk button. “Bailey Levine!” she announced.
“Do you miss Daddy?” His sexy baritone voice echoed through the phone.
“Hello, Chance.” She forced a dry edge in her voice.
“Don’t act like you ain’t glad to hear my voice, babe.”
Bailey didn’t respond; just grunted.
“Aw right . . . be like that! What ya doin’ tonight? I got a surprise for you, babe!”
“Chance . . . I told you I’m not going to do that stuff anymore.”
“Come on, babe. You know you miss Daddy. Nobody does it for you like me! Have you forgotten how good it is?” His voice was low and breathy.
In front of her staff and clients, Bailey was a confident, self-assured woman with answers and solutions appearing quickly on the tip of her tongue; however, with Chance, she was a cowardly, scared little girl, constantly compromising herself for the hope of his approval, which she never got! She had acted this way for years, and it was only recently that she decided to put an end to it. Six months ago, Bailey firmly pledged to no longer subject herself to his narcissistic requests and sexually deviant demands!
“I told you that I needed some space!” Bailey timidly responded.
“Come on, babe . . . You know you want to see me. Don’t you miss me, babe?”
“I gotta go!” Beginning to lose her resolve and taking notice of the fierce heart pounding within her chest, she started to vacillate. Bailey pictured his long, curly eyelashes, his full lips that turned to a point in the middle, and the way his round, full derrière sat high on his backside. She realized how desperately she missed his kisses, his jokes, his arms that held her like nobody else ever had, his stiff, long, thick di—
“I gotta go!” Bailey jolted herself from the spell.
“Hey, babe . . . don’t you love me anymore?” he whined.
Gripping the phone closely to her ear, she uttered no response. She wanted to say, “Hell yes, I love you. I miss you so much. I can’t breathe without you. I need you, baby!”
“Do you love me?” his sexy voice repeated through the phone.
“How I feel about you is not the problem! You know what the problem is, Chance? Let’s talk about the real problem!”
“Damn, girl, why you always got to be naggin’ all the damn time?”
“I just don’t understand why I can’t come to your house. We have been seeing each other for 3 years and you never let me come to your house! Why can’t I come to your house, Chance?”
“I told you, my roommate doesn’t like strange people in his house. He had a bad experience before, so he doesn’t want any strangers all up in his space. If I had you come over it would just cause problems for me, and I don’t need more problems in my life right now! One day I will be able to afford my own place, and then you can come over then.”
“You have been saying that for 3 years, Chance! Why haven’t you been able to afford your own place in 3 years?”
“Look, Bailey, you know that I am busting my ass to make this music thing happen! I got this deal working with Paramount Records, and any day now it could all happen for me!” he lied.
“Okay, then, why don’t you ever take me out? We never go anywhere,” she sniffled.
“You know I don’t do the public thing! I like it to be just you and me. I am not into crowds! I don’t know how many times I need to tell you that!” he lied again.
“So what you are saying is that we are never going to go out and do anything? Is that what you are saying to me?”
“Look, babe, I got something for us to do right now. I got the huge, stiff pipe in my pants, and you and I can work on relieving some of his tension. You want something to do—that’s what we can do!” he chuckled.
“Damn you, Chance . . .” She depressed the end button, quickly stuffing the cell phone into the lower left-hand side of her desk drawer. She was tired of the lies, the games, and the disappointments.
It continued to play “We Belong Together” as he persistently dialed her number. Bailey had to admit that Chance was extremely persistent when he wanted something. She reopened the drawer, retrieved the phone, and stared at it. There flashing over and over was his picture. Chance . . . sporting his favorite navy-blue Nike baseball cap, cocked to the side, smiled at her with that knowing look in his eyes that always made her weak on impact.
The memories rushed in as she continued to stare at his flashing picture on her cell phone’s face.
It had been a cold, rainy December late night, days before Christmas, not more than a year ago. His call that night led her to believe that he had a Christmas gift for her. Excited, she rushed out from the warmth and safety of her home to meet him, hopeful of a new beginning. They met in the lower level of a deserted parking lot at the Westside Pavilion in Los Angeles. The location was his suggestion, and although she was apprehensive, she relented.
Chance had never bought her a gift before and the anticipation of one gave her immense expectation for the possibilities that just maybe he had a change of heart toward her and was finally ready to treat her the way she had always wanted . . . with love and adoration. Her hopes were quickly dashed several minutes after arriving to find no gift at all, only Chance—and another man leaning against his car with a big red bow on the strange man’s nakedness, and Chance grinning from ear to ear as though he had just presented to her a fantasy come true.
“Come on, babe . . . Do it like I like it! You know what to do.” He pushed her head down onto the groin of the unfamiliar man.
“Yeah, girl, I have been waiting for this all day! I heard that you got mad skills! Show me what you got!” His hand cupped the back of her head and shoved it onto his fully erect, waiting penis; his prickly bush overgrown from lack of maintenance scratched her face.
“Chance, I really don’t want to do this!” She was trying to remove the blindfold he’d secured on her just moments earlier.
“Babe, do this for Daddy. You know how much it turns me on. I love to watch you! Come on, do this for Daddy!” he coaxed.
She started to cry. She didn’t want to do it.
He leaned forward and whispered into her ear, “Don’t embarrass me in front of this guy! I ain’t gonna go out like some punk! Do the damn thing! And do it like I like it!” He pushed her head further down into the lap of the thick-legged man in front of her whose genitals reeked of Aloe Vera. She wanted to vomit at the stench.
“Come on, girl, give Daddy a show!” he instructed as her rhythm slowed.
As the tears escaped through the tightly secured blindfold and rested on the ground beneath her, Bailey continued to move her gaped mouth up and down on this stranger’s shaft with reckless abandon until he spilled forward a large amount of thick semen into her mouth. It was bitter and held the fragrance of absinthe.
After it was over and the two men conversed, she huddled in the corner watching the man who had just emptied himself in her mouth, and Bailey asked herself, “Why am I once again performing oral sex on a man I don’t know in order to make the man that I love, love me back?” Bailey had been performing sex acts on men for Chance every bit of the 3 years of their relationship. He would mostly watch. Hardly participate. Occasionally, she would free herself from the blindfold to discover Chance standing at a distance watching, cheering, all the while pleasuring himself.
Calling herself back to the present, she pushed the end button, and turned her cell phone completely off. As she stared off into the distance, Bailey wondered exactly how long it would take until the sound of his voice no longer held that addicting effect on her.
The buzz of productivity hung in the air at Levine Realty as its employees moved deliberately about the office in efforts to reach the high expectations set forth by the 31-year-old owner, Bailey Levine.
Levine Realty was the second-largest independent real estate firm in Southern California; a ranking that the owner was determined to change as expeditiously as possible to become the #1 real estate firm in Southern California.
Bailey twirled a burgundy Mont Blanc pen within her French-tipped right hand as her assistant, Mandy, updated her on the events of the busy workday ahead.
“Okay, who is the first client on our list today?”
“Maggie and Paul Jones. It seems that there were many offers on the Raintree property. We submitted the best offer we could and should have the final counter by midmorning tomorrow.”
“Does it look like their offer will be accepted?” Bailey queried as her eyes maintained their hypnotic gaze into space, a habit she had acquired her last years at UCLA during the endless drowning lectures from the stoic professors.
“In speaking to the seller’s agent, it doesn’t look so good for them. So just in case, I have scheduled other properties to show the Joneses Saturday if their offer is not accepted.” Mandy waited for Bailey’s nod of approval before continuing.
“Okay, then, keep me posted. What about the Longs?”
“The Longs are refusing to fix anything from the buyers’ request for repairs. They are becoming really difficult.” Mandy handed her boss the form detailing the client’s repair requests.
“The buyers are not asking for much to be done. Just to replace the heating and air-conditioning filters and to replace the sliding door screens.” Bailey eyed Mandy with a frustrated look.
“I’ll go by there tomorrow and see what’s really going on. They are holding out for some reason, and I hope that it is not one of Sid’s agents trying to steal one of my clients again!” Bailey handed Mandy back the form.
Mandy remained silent as did most of her employees when the name of Sid Shultz was mentioned. Sid Shultz’s Real Estate was #1, and Bailey desperately wanted to buy him out, therefore making her agency #1—a dream she was diligently working at turning into a reality.
“Anything else?” Bailey scanned her appointment book for the morning. She had many calls to make.
“One more thing. The Gonzales family called and wants to list their house.”
“Give it to Felicia. She will be happy to have her first listing.” Felicia was a newly hired, extremely ambitious, highly motivated dark-skinned African American girl in her mid-20s. Bailey hired her because she exhibited every characteristic that she herself wished she had possessed. Felicia was a confidant, self-assured, determined young lady who knew who she was, what she wanted, and was not afraid to go after it.
Bailey Levine, a product of a Jewish-European father and an African American mother, was constantly struggling with her identity. Physically, she inherited her father’s chiseled nose, his light eyes, straight hair and light skin; basically, she was told that she “looked white.” However, everything about her on the inside was African American . . . from her love of African American literature and history down to the powerful connection she had with her Southern roots given to her by her strong-willed Valdosta, Georgia-born mother. Although she looked Caucasian on the exterior, the core of Bailey felt African American!
Being constantly mistaken for white had become an extremely unsettling issue for Bailey. Internally, she continuously battled with feelings of inadequacy, and little by little, it was imploding within her, resulting in shadows of rejection, bitterness, and depression in her day-to-day life.
“They only want you!” Mandy announced.
“Okay, confirm the appointment and check with Felicia. I will take her with me and have her co-list it.”
Felicia had only been hired about 5 months prior. Even though she had only a few months’ experience, Bailey saw her raw talent and burgeoning desire for success. The fact of the matter was that when Bailey looked at Felicia she felt that she was looking at her black self. She felt that Felicia was what she would look like if she looked black, and that in itself gave her a great sense of comfort and belonging!
“I think that we pretty much covered everything for now,” Mandy concluded.
“Okay, then, please close my door when you leave. I don’t want to be disturbed.”
Mandy marched out, leaving Bailey feeling anxious and unsettled.
She leaned back into her leather chair, palms of her hands cradling the back of her head. Then she reached into her drawer and pulled out her cell phone. After turning it on, she scrolled to his photo.
What was it about Chance that imprisoned her very soul? What was it about him that enslaved her, tormenting her spirit? Why couldn’t she extricate herself from his treacherous hold? He was a toxic person, and being with him was like being addicted to crack.