“Welcome to OVO, baby.”
“It isn’t true!” she screamed out in apparent upset. Hearing the lock turn to the bathroom door once it shut, I stood on the other side of it to hear just enough. “She provoked me. You don’t know what she’s done, so don’t tell me how to react. I owe you motherfuckers shit, so try again. My marriage is something you can’t dictate.”
She was really going strong for us.
“Well, I’m not getting a divorce. She’ll just have to press charges, which I know she won’t especially with what we have on that bitch. So I don’t know why y’all called me thinkin’ I would honestly contemplate some shit like that. I didn’t sign nothing in a contract making me adhere to some bogus shit like this. Fuck you!”
Shuffled movement came from the other side and the door opened, causing me to ease away from it.
“Damage control, my ass! I’m not doing shit,” she hissed. Pulling the sweatshirt up and over hear head, Onika began rummaging through the drawers and sending clothes flying.
“The label heads are talking about some damage control. I don’t need to do shit to appease anyone else. I thank God for those willing to take a chance on me. But I’m not about to compromise my relationship with you for the world. We know what damage control exactly is. I’m not annulling shit. Fuck them, and fuck her!”
“What do you want me to do?” I asked. Whatever she wanted, I was doing at this point.
“I don’t know,” she shrugged. “What are we to do? If she knows what’s best for her, she’ll let it go.”
I could get used to this not so stressful approach we were taking if she was up for it lasting.
Streamers flew everywhere in the crowded dining area. The countless faces of my relatives were more than welcoming.
“Where’s the bride?” Momma asked.
“She’s here,” I stepped aside to reveal Nic. She held King against her chest and took to talk to what was no longer solely my family. It was our family.
“There’s our little angel,” my aunt cooed once my mom took King off Nicki’s hands.
“Let’s go,” I whispered into Nicki’s ear then dragged her down to the basement.
“We ‘bout to be in some shit,” she chuckled while we stalked into it. “We’re missing our own party.”
Pushing things aside in my old closet, I worked to get us a hiding place there in the not so spacious room. She fell in a fit of chuckles once I was able to squeeze us in. Her ass pressing against my lower half told how close our proximity was. But I didn’t mind. If anything, I enjoyed it. Flipping the light switch, I leveled myself and sat gainst the empty closet’s wall.
“Damn,” I muttered as she situated herself against my lap. I was a lot happier than usual.
“Is it rolled?” she nestled her face in the crook of my neck. I reached in my pocket and pulled out the small Ziploc bag and lighter.
“Yeah,” I grumbled. “Light up.”
She lifted her head up and grabbed the stuff from me.
“What Grade is this?” she mumbled.
“B,” I answered. “‘Nough to put us at ease.”
Smiling, her tongue slid slyly across her bottom lip. The sound of the lighter’s flicker couldn’t move my gaze from her. I was really happy with her.
I pecked her neck softly as she took a pull and settled against my chest. Smoke-filled o’s clouded the air while my hands menaced her sun-kissed legs. Her chuckles surfaced then left once my fingers reached the shirt swallowing her.
“You ain’t ready, Papi.”
But I was. She’d soon see.
My high had come and gone. The sheet hugged my naked body as I rolled out of our sinful deeds. Scratching my unkempt locks, I tried to figure out where to go from here but was clueless. I had no idea what I was going to do.
I was stressed and agitated in one instance. I only wanted to be a parent, a wife with a career. And it wasn’t difficult because of the many roles but because many seemed so against it.
Why? What had I done to make my happiness resented? What should be the happiest time of my life was not that. I was going insane but was forced to act the complete opposite.
“What’s up?” he kissed my forehead.
“Oh, cool,” his voice portrayed he understood otherwise. “You gon’ tell me what’s wrong?”
“I wish you would’ve bedded anyone but her,” I sighed.
“So what are you sayin’?”
“I don’t know what I’m saying,” I answered honestly. “The whole situation is damn near unfixable. Subs are being thrown here and there. My recording contract and sanity just may be at stake. This is beyond unfunny now.”
“So what you trying to do? You wanna leave?” I furrowed my eyebrows and saw he was serious. My laugh sounded and startled me myself.
“You think that’s the answer for everything?”
“I didn’t say that, Onika!” his voice rose a few octaves but I didn’t flinch. “You’re the one bringing up the shit like you want to day in and day out.”
“Oh, yeah, Aubrey, I’d fly out to Toronto with you just to say I don’t wanna be with you. But since her beef isn’t with you, I’m some overly emotional bitch. Fuck you, you inconsiderate asshole!”
“I didn’t mean that, Nic,” drawing nearer to me, he sympathized.
“Nah, you meant that shit because you said it with ease. All I want you to do is fuckin’ listen, Brey! My goodness, can you just shut the fuck up and listen to me? If you did, you’d realize not once did I say anything about leaving you. I’ve yet to utter it since we wedded, but you’re pushing me to do it by saying the slick shit.”
“Well, I don’t wanna talk anymore.”
“Whoa,” I spoke groggily and looked at the many bouquets of roses in the room. Stumbling to my feet a little, I neared them hesitantly. The smell was intoxicating.
“You like ‘em,” his voice pulled at my attention.
“Yeah,” I admitted but refused to turn in acknowledgement.
“I need to become a better listener,” he continued from the distance.
“It’s fine,” I offered. “My anger didn’t help the argument either.”
“Yeah, but as your husband, I should be more considerate.”
“I-I just don’t want everything to fall apart not for just our sake but King’s too.”
“I won’t allow that to happen. No one’s taking you from me or vice versa, ok?” he came forward slowly as though such movement was forbidden. I wanted his steps quickened, him near me. “I’ll take care of her; she won’t be bothering us anymore. And don’t worry about the label because if they try to rid you from it, I’m still gonna make sure you make music as long as you want. No one’s takin’ shit from you on my watch. I swear to you.”
I was holding him to it.
“I know no one here nor do I know any places. I can’t be too picky, Brey.”
“What do married people do for date night anyways?” I huffed as if this was an actual complex situation.
“Probably, stay in or something. I see nothing wrong with that.”
“You like bowling?” I asked, regaining my focus on the road.
“I’ve actually never bowled.”
“Well, we’re dressed for it, so we can do that then get burgers.”
“Ok,” she nodded and reached to turn the music up. “Why we gotta listen to your shit all the time?”
“Shit, I don’t know,” I shrugged her off because I knew what was coming next. Onika was too predictable, acting irritated becoming my biggest fan within the next minute.
“A nigga gotta woosah,” she repeated as my verse started.
“Word? You was just frontin’.”
“So. Fuck you gon’ do but grin like always? Yeah, I peeped you love that shit,” she read me like I was an open book. “You’re the only rapper I fuck with.”
“Nah, but you are the only one I fuck,” she laughed.
It hadn’t taken long for us to pull up to the bowling alley’s entrance
I had rented it specifically for us but we weren’t doing much bowling. I watched her, amused as she stirred in my lap and sought to get the perfect angle for a picture. There was no more crying thankfully.
“I’m becoming ridiculously corny,” she smiled.
“People will be pleased to know we’re still alive,” I laughed as she worked to post it quickly. “And when they see, they gon’ know it’s real.”
“Already,” I chuckled. Jumping, Nicki became startled by the vibration of my phone. “Let me get this.”
Easing her off my lap, I was able to get it and saw a message from Wayne talking about linking up. I guess he was in my turf. It was strange but I texted back asking for a place to meet.
“We gotta go, babe,” I patted her back. I couldn’t help but feel this wouldn’t be good.
“So?” Nic tried breaking the uncomfortable silence. We’d been sitting in this hotel room with he and Mack for a good 15 minutes. Them on one couch and we on the one across.
Honestly, I didn’t want to be here and that was a first. There was an obvious rift between Wayne and I. If it hadn’t been evident before Nic and I’s marriage, then it was now. It hadn’t seemed to affect him much in the beginning, but after the spontaneous wedding and stuff with Rih it was more obvious.
“We need to figure out the next step,” Wayne finally spoke up.
But there wasn’t a next step. The bullshit would be deaded soon enough if it wasn’t already. I was going to take care of my wife.
“Ain’t no next step,” I shrugged.
“Please,” Nicki interjected before it could where we figured it would.
“My bad,” I answered to her sympathetically. “But things have been fixed. We good.”
“You are?” he asked sarcastically. Mack stood and motioned for Nic to come with him. She looked at me for reassurance; I nodded.
“You mad at us?” I questioned as soon as they left.
“For why?” he refused to answer. “It’s all love.”
“Nah, man, it ain’t. Hasn’t been for awhile.”
“She needs a break from the label.”
“Or you just need a break from her. It’s good though. You might as well release us from the label if there’s gonna be some break.”
“Why would I do that?” he smirked. I didn’t want to go there with him but had no choice currently. There was so much uncertainty regarding the possibility of resolve. He was mad over someone he never had. I could only laugh but still was pissed it had come to this.
“You don’t have to. We can remove ourselves.”
“How so?” he leered now.
“Nic will be taken care of. She is my wife after all,” I stood. “We are done here, right?”
“For now,” he muttered.
Welcome to OVO, baby.
It was only temporary Mack told me. But the grudge I now held against Wayne felt it wouldn’t be likewise. A part of me wanted us to be able to weather this storm and get back to those better days. It was needed rather wanted because we were family. But her was no longer to be my concern nor was I his now.
I hated it but he chose it.
“Why are we back here?” I mumbled once we arrived back at the bowling alley. He got out and opened my door.
“Our date isn’t over. I rented this shit out; we gon’ get our money’s worth and bowl. Come on,” he ordered while grabbing my hand but I refused to get out.
“No,” I frowned.
“This what we doing Nic?” he huffed then nodded. Grabbing my waist, he lifted me over his shoulder and carried me inside. “You gon’ enjoy this shit.”
“I want to, Aubrey! It’s just,” I paused. “I never expected it to get this far. I shouldn’t receive hate for who I love.”
“We can’t change our feelings but will make them regret trying to make us do it.”
It wasn’t long before hot tears fell down my face. I was over everything.
“Dammit, Nic,” he sighed and closed in on the little space between us.
“I-I’m sorry,” I cried. “I caused this.”
“No, you didn’t. And you better stop saying that,” his voice came out rather callous. I knew it wasn’t toward me but instead toward the situation in its entirety.
I didn’t blame him; I blamed myself. The fight, Wayne’s disdain, it had been all me.
“Please, stop crying, baby,” his voice softened this time. “I’ll make sure everything goes right, alright? No one’s takin’ shit from you. I’ll put every last dollar into your music if I have to.”
“What about Rihanna?” I wondered.
“She hasn’t been bothering you, right? You haven’t heard anything else ‘bout charges, right?”
“No, I haven’t heard anything else.” He didn’t utter another. He managed to say nothing yet it was enough. “I trust you, Brey.”
“It’s just us,” cupping my chin, he commanded my eyes’ focus. I caved easily at his words soothing voice.
“I believe you.”
“As long as you know.”
“So am I an OVO model now?” I questioned once my arms slid into the namesake letterman. Falling back against our bed, I stared up at the ceiling purposelessly.
“You’re crew but you can be that too,” he wasted no time taking a photo as the phone’s camera notified such.
“I’m so honored, Drake,” I gasped sarcastically.
“You should be,” he jabbed before plopping down against me and grabbing my waist. My back rested against his chest and his face nestled into my neck.
The raising of his chest so close to my back relaxed me in some way. I guess we were truly becoming one in some way because knowing he was fine assured me I would be too.
“What’s wrong?” he said into my neck.
“Nothing. Nothing’s wrong. I’m good.”
“Just makin’ sure.”
“Thanks for everything today. I enjoyed myself.”
“It didn’t quite go as planned. But if you’re happy, I did my job.”