How come some sins couldn’t just be washed away with a hot bath, Rockye wondered as she eased her aching body into a steamy tub laced with scented lavender crystals. Savoring the fragrance, she languidly pulled it deeply into her lungs; her eyes closed and her lips positioned into a pleasant smile. She was now suffering immensely from the results of her personal trainer’s earlier upper body workout which left her currently spent and exhausted. She gingerly eased her head back onto the bathtub pillow as much as she could, mindful of the thick towel wrapped around her head so as to not disturb the integrity of her recently flat ironed hairstyle. Getting lost into the soulful harmony of John Legend streaming from her MP3 player resting on a small vanity table near the sink, she slipped into a reflective state.
The peaceful smile painted on her face quickly disappeared as her mind travelled back to a particular event only hours earlier, after she left her trainer. Try as she might, she wanted to block out the memory. As Rockye reminisced, she asked herself, Why do I do these things? I love my man, but why isn’t he enough? What can I do to stop this force that comes over me and calls me to do these vile things?
“Do you love me?” Andy always asked her.
Rockye had been seeing her boyfriend, Andy, for over 3 years now, and it was apparent that their love for each other was undeniable. He was everything that she ever dreamed of in a man. Andy was considerate, loving, sexy, thoughtful, attentive, and totally devoted to her. Their lovemaking was exciting and passionate. And despite their racial differences, she found Andy to be extremely compatible with her eclectic temperament. But Rockye, unbeknownst to Andy, harbored a terrible secret. A secret that she never wanted Andy to ever find out about! A terrible secret that she fought every day to control!
Suddenly, she was riddled with guilt from the thoughts of her earlier indiscretion. Rockye reached over and grabbed her Bible, which rested on the back of the commode, and turned carefully to the dog-eared pages of Proverbs 31. Her eyes scanned the pages as it had on countless occasions. She wanted desperately to be this Proverbs 31 woman of the Bible; a capable, intelligent, and virtuous woman, a woman who comforts, encourages, and does her man good as long as there is life within her body.
Pulling the black leather-bound book close to her chest, careful not to let the bottom hit the tepid bathwater, she lifted her eyes to the ceiling and cried out, “O God, help me! Please help me! I need help!” She continued to call out over and over again as the tears welling up in her eyes landed in the fragrant bathwater beneath her. Rockye prayed to God, but the images of her shame from that afternoon suddenly drifted back into the forefront of her mind, playing it back in HD.
After an eventful day of errands, upper body workout, grocery shopping, and a mediocre audition for some cable sitcom in Santa Monica, Rockye glanced down to see her fuel gauge far below the designated empty line.
She needed to refill quickly before she found herself on the side of the road awaiting assistance from AAA. Whirling her car quickly into the Chevron station on Crenshaw and Adams, she bounced out, slid her ATM card into the slot and after the appropriate prompts, inserted the nozzle into her vehicle and stood attentively awaiting for the click indicating that the gas tank was full. There was only one car to her right. She breathed a sigh of relief at the occupant; tall, handsome, slender, chocolate, and dripping with sex appeal. Rockye was relieved because that gas station was known for sinister youths antagonizing its patrons.
He sauntered over to her after she had finished pumping her gas. She felt his eyes studying her frame as she replaced the nozzle in its cradle.
“They call me Merrick. And when I see something I want I go after it! And I want you!” he said with a mischievous smile.
“Oh, yeah? And what about what I want?” she teased as her eyes scanned his body from head to toe, settling in on his crotch.
She studied it. He winked. Her lips formed an inviting smile. He moved to the passenger-side window of her vehicle. He joked. She flirted. He reciprocated.
Rockye realized that she was playing with fire. Every fiber of her being was screaming for her to drive off, to just put her foot on the gas pedal and get the hell out of there. But there was this thing that had a hold on her which she was not strong enough to fight. It called her into dark places, into places that she on the surface did not want to go to but could not stop herself, no matter how hard she tried. In this case, some strange man that she had just met at a neighborhood gas station was speaking directly to her erogenous zones, and she couldn’t find the strength to pry herself away. She wanted to.
Or did she?
Minutes later, the two were under the freeway, tearing off each other’s clothes like wild animals. The sex was wild; he was forceful and confident in his skills and endowment. Afterward, he inserted an embossed business card into her cleavage before speeding off in a black Infiniti. Rockye didn’t even look at the business card; she pulled it from her bosom and threw it onto the pavement right next to the abandoned condom wrapper he had thrown out the window only minutes earlier just as soon as he was out of sight. She had no intention of ever seeing him again. She loved her man. She loved Andy!
However, no matter how hard she tried, the demons wouldn’t let her go!
Ever since Rockye was old enough to realize that her curvaceous, sensual body could afford her luxuries most women could only dream about, she used it to her advantage to the fullest. She remembered at the early age of 12 that in giving Mr. Clayton, the owner of the corner grocery mart, a peek at her “Kitty Kat” (as she heard it refer to by one of her classmate’s grandmothers), it got her many privileges. His peek advanced to a touch, then a taste, and then a poke. These escapades normally were consummated at the Johnsons’ abandoned house on the corner of Ninetieth and Avalon.
Afterward, Mister Clayton would give her gifts, money, and compliments. However, one day she realized that she was not doing it only for the things; she actually loved the way her body felt when he played with it, on it, and in it! She craved the orgasms and the feeling of power that was a result of her sexual prowess! She discovered that it turned her on immensely!
Now, while luxuriating in her fragrant bath, she breathed in calm, and as the MP3 player switched from John Legend to Luther Vandross, Rockye took a sip of green tea and sank deeper into the tub. The water funneled through the overflow, causing the draining sound to startle her, and suddenly bringing attention to the fact that the water had cooled down considerably. Stretching forward to turn the hot water on, Rockye thought she heard a thud at the back door.
Pushing the water off, she slightly raised her head to listen intently. Nothing! Must be the wind, she thought! Pulling the hot water faucet back on, she eased her head back onto the bath pillow. Moments later . . . another thud! That wasn’t the wind, she thought! Her forehead wrinkled with concern. She continued to listen. Another thud!
Get the hell out of the water and see what that is! the little voice in her head screamed.
Rockye launched out of the tub, quickly covering her wet body with a plush Bellagio bathrobe she commandeered from the 5-star hotel while visiting last summer, and moved with catlike precision toward the back of the house. The thick carpet underneath her wet feet muffled the movement as she neared the back door.
Suddenly a crashing jolt sprang from the front door, causing her heart to race with trepidation!
“Open the damn door, Rockye! NOOW!” Andy ordered.
Rockye’s concern propelled to panic! It was Andy, and she knew that tone! That was the violent Andy. And when he was violently angry—he was a force not to be reckoned with. Although Andy had never beaten her before in their 3-year relationship, he had put his hands on her enough to give her reason to be somewhat fearful of him when he got angry as a result of him brooding over one of his many issues, coupled with drinking too much alcohol. He was an angry, mean drunk and would not hesitate to take it out on the furniture, windows, and appliances around him.
As a rule, Andy was the epitome of a gentleman: loving, attentive, kind, and affectionate, but when something had him upset, he turned into a beast, and nothing or no one could tame that Andy!
Andy adamantly conceded that he wasn’t an alcoholic, but when something greatly upset him, he would drink. He was a mean drunk, and on many occasions his violent temper had reared its ugly head at her, causing physiological and emotional bruises.
“I’m not going to say it again, open this damn door NOW!”
Rockye vacillated over whether she would answer the door. She knew with the presence of this angry, inebriated Andy she was going to catch hell. Mustering up all the courage she could, she slowly inched up quietly to the front door and sheepishly responded, “Andy, can you please go away? We can talk tomorrow! Please!”
“Bitch, if you don’t open this door . . .”
“Please, Andy! I don’t feel like arguing with you tonight! ” Her legs felt like Jell-O, causing her to lose balance as she clumsily eased away from the front door.
Now she started to panic. Rockye realized that she had to prepare to run and run fast!
She stumbled to her bedroom, made haste to her closet, and pulled on her burgundy low-rise Juicy sweats and Coach sneakers. She crept back into the living room, her underarms wet from nervous perspiration. Taking air into her lungs was becoming more of a challenge due to anxiety. It was becoming increasingly harder for her to breathe, because she felt on the verge of vomiting from fear!
The heavy footsteps moved to the side of the house near the den. She inched along the wall following the footsteps with her ears with heightened trepidation at each movement.
“You think that I don’t know what’s going on? I know he’s in there hiding like some coward! Tell him to fight for you! He ain’t gonna do that! You know why, Rockye? Cause you just some piece of ass to him! He don’t give a crap about you!” Andy banged on the side slid door with his fists. “Open this goddamn door!”
“Andy, I swear nobody’s here but me!” The pounding in her chest intensified so severely that she believed that she may be having a heart attack!
“Please! Nobody is here! Nobody is in here!” She listened for his response. Nothing! The painfully quiet sounds of the night began to hurt her ears. Where is he? What’s he doing . . . or about to do? she thought as she held her breath in anticipation.
“Open the door or I will break the damn thing down!” he yelled.
“Andy! Please just go home! Please go home!” Rockye pleaded.
Suddenly a thunderous bang sprang from the back door. The door flew off of its hinges and crashed into her china cabinet just yards away. A demonic roar echoed throughout the house as Andy marched toward her. Rockye turned to run, but Andy was hot on her heels. She felt him grab her by the back of her hair, and with a yank, she went down with a thud.
“Andy, no! Don’t! Stop!” she cried out in horror as she sank deeper into an abyss of pain.