House of Cards Part Two
(NOTE: Contains explicit language and adult themes suitable for ages 16+)
© K.L. Hall and www.authorklhall.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to K.L. Hall and www.authorklhall.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
Previously, in House of Cards...
“Raquel, will you marry me?”
Troy had forewarned her of the proposal, but she still felt a sense of nervous energy running through her body. She looked down at Derrick. His eyes were calm, his posture upright, and the look on his face was sincere. He was ready. He had seemingly become a changed man overnight, which was more than what she could say for his friend. Raquel glanced over to the bar and her eyes were instantly drawn to Troy, who had a captivating gaze on her. He took a sip of his cognac on the rocks and nodded swiftly in her direction.
Raquel sighed slightly and smiled. “Of course, I will,” she told him.
Derrick stood to his feet and kissed her as the crowd applauded. “This time is going to be different baby, I promise. I’m going to do everything right. I’m going to be a better man, a better husband, everything for you. I love you so much,” he said as he slid the 14-karat white gold ring out of the box and placed it on her finger. It was a perfect fit.
Raquel admired the way the princess cut halo diamond shined in the light. She held her left hand out to admire the ring that was laced in diamonds all around the band, and even more around the big diamond in the middle.
Raquel lightly ran her finger over the scar under his right eyebrow. “I—I love you too,” she replied hesitantly, followed by a smile.
Troy watched Raquel and Derrick from afar. Derrick held his bride-to-be close as he whispered sweet nothings into her ear. He smiled slightly and turned his attention back to the bar.
“Another round sir?” the lady bartender asked.
“Hennessy and Coke, please.”
NINE MONTHS LATER
If there was one thing Raquel Jordan loved more than money, it was coffee. She drank it so much that every local coffee shop within a five-mile radius knew her on a first name basis. There was a couple standing directly in front of her showing no regards for the people around them that had to suffer through their nauseating PDA. She rolled her eyes to herself while shifting her weight from one heel to the other.
“Next in line,” the barista said, waving in her direction.
“I’ll have the usual,” she said as she stepped up to the counter and cracked open her Chanel bag to pull out her wallet.
She handed the barista her card, who then swiped for her purchase of five dollars and seventy-two cents. Raquel’s attention drifted back over to the couple who still hadn’t stopped groping each other and kissing every five seconds. It literally made her stomach churn. There she was about to get married and she knew that she’d never be able to have what they did, at least not with Derrick.
Raquel was the type of person who dictated who she dated based on their astrological sign, occupation, and bank account status. She was as materialistic as it got. The only man who’d ever come into her life and was able to check all the boxes with ease was Troy Garrett. He was everything she’d ever wanted served right on a silver platter. Whereas her soon-to-be husband, Derrick was the complete opposite.
It was no secret that Derrick’s love for her was unconditional, but it was no match for the haunting memories of the burgundy and purple-colored bruises that covered her back and neck whenever he had one of his spells, or the miscarriage she suffered because of it. She quickly pushed those thoughts out of her mind when the barista handed her the Grande, iced, sugar-free, vanilla latte with soy milk and a light caramel drizzle.
AS SOON AS she got to work, she got busy responding to emails and doing as much work as possible before she left the office for the next few weeks. Although she was only an executive assistant, she was well paid and appreciated due to her professionalism. If anyone hated her, it was because they wanted to look like her or dress like her.
When lunch time came, she was sitting at her desk eating stale candy hearts from last Valentine’s Day. It would have to do. She was on a diet. Her wedding day was less than 72 hours away. Most women dreamed of the day they’d get to put on the dress of their dreams and walk down the aisle to the man their heart did backflips for. Unfortunately, she didn’t have that luxury. Her phone vibrated against the desk and she glanced at the screen. Derrick was calling. She rolled her eyes for thinking him up.
She answered in a tone that was neither excited nor annoyed. “Hello?”
“Hey, you busy?”
“On my lunch break. What’s up? What’s wrong?” she asked.
“Nothing is wrong. I wanted to get out of the office in time to surprise you at your job with lunch, but I ended up working through it. It’s a mad house over here. I don’t know what they’re going to do without me here for the next few weeks once we leave for our honeymoon.”
“Yeah, I bet.”
Shortly after their engagement, Derrick had landed a job as a personal banker at the local credit union not even five miles away from their home. Although they never discussed it, she knew Troy was the one who had pulled the strings for him. She was grateful that the job gave him more stability, but that was about it. The military was all Derrick knew. He’d enlisted at eighteen and had served for nine years. Yeah, he’d get a check for the rest of his life for being honorably discharged, but that didn’t make him paid. It made him damaged.
“Yeah, but I just wanted to call and see how your day was going.”
“It’s okay, just as busy here as you probably are over there,” she huffed.
“Everything is fine.” She nodded more to assure herself than him. “I just need to get back to work soon so I’m trying to enjoy my last few minutes of peace and quiet before the office gets busy again.”
“I feel that. I’ll let you go then.”
“Okay, I’ll talk to you later.”
“Oh, baby, by the way, can you call the planner and have them set one more place setting at the reception?”
She cleared her throat. “His what? I thought you said you talked to him and he said he wasn’t bringing anyone.”
“Yeah, I did. He just hit me with this shit like thirty minutes ago. You know how he is. Besides, he’s my best man, I can’t have him out here lookin’ lonely at my wedding.”
“Who is it? I mean, who is he bringing?”
“Uh, I think it’s his assistant, Bianca.”
Raquel’s lips were pressed into a hard line as she sighed. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that Troy had been sticking his dick inside Bianca since her first day of working for him. To her, she was a nonfactor.
“I’ll see what I can do, but I’m not making any promises. You know I don’t like that last minute shit.”
“I know and thank you. Have a good day at work.”
“Thanks, you too…” she said as her phone beeped. She had less than one percent battery life left.
“I love you.”
“I—I love you too,” she said just before her phone went dead.
Raquel reached over and plugged up her phone. She’d spent half the night before looking up flights to get as far away as she could. She even toyed with the thought of packing a bag and jetting off to another country on her honeymoon without Derrick. She knew if she did that, she’d be forever labeled a runaway bride, but she didn’t care. The only thing that stopped her was the thought of having to deal with the wrath of Troy or Derrick’s parents when they found out.
She’d come a long way from being an “escort” in her late teens into her early twenties. After being kicked out of her mother’s house at seventeen for not getting along with her soon-to-be stepfather, she hit the beaten path of adulthood. Over the next three years, she had her share of working dead end jobs and making next to nothing. The first year of her twenties consisted of Ramen noodles for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and bumming it on a new couch every other night or sleeping in a motel. Her life changed when she saw a job ad on Craigslist for beautiful women who were interested in making cash daily with no experience necessary. The ad sounded too easy to be legit, but she called the number anyway. She was hungry for money and her livelihood depended on having more than twenty dollars to her name.
Living the escort life wasn’t all the gifts and trips she thought it would be. Sure, the money was good, and she was able to support herself, but she knew it wasn’t something she could do long term. After one of her “dates” went sour because she refused to have sex with her client, she was left at a bar with no money to pay for the drink sitting in front of her. She sipped her drink slowly, watching it become watered down as she thought of a plan. In the midst of her thoughts, she felt someone brush up against her shoulder.
“Somebody is sitting here,” she snapped, without looking at who’d taken a seat to the left of her.
“How about I make you a deal. If you give me the honor of letting me sit by you, I’ll buy you a drink,” the man said.
She turned her neck in his direction and almost melted into a puddle right at the bar. A handsome man with a beautiful smile, designer clothes, and no ring on his finger had taken his seat beside her. A girlish smile crept across her face.
“That’s sweet of you,” she told him. “But I won’t need you to buy me a new drink if you buy the one right in front of me.”
“Something like that.”
He flashed her a bright grin and agreed. His smile was like a loaded gun to her chest. “I’m Troy, by the way.”
“Raquel,” she said, shaking his hand.
To her, they were just two strangers who’d just embarked on a whirlwind romance. He talked about Derrick some, but mostly kept the conversation simple and lighthearted. At the end of the night, he kissed her cheek before sending her home in a cab. She gave him her phone number and her heart all in the same night. From that moment on, she knew she’d never feel for another man the way she felt for him. The two spent almost every day together for two weeks straight before Troy suddenly went ghost on her.
She even emailed.
She spent a few days thinking he was dead. It was either that, or he was married. Regardless of the case, she was heartbroken. It wasn’t until a month later, around two o’clock in the morning, she got a phone call. Her eyes scanned the screen of her cellphone that read Troy’s first and last name.
“What?” she answered.
“Before you hang up, let me explain.”
“What is there for you to explain? It’s clear something or someone else has had your attention for the past few weeks.”
“You’re right. I should’ve called. I should’ve reached out.”
“Yeah, you should’ve,” she scoffed.
“Can you please just hear me out?”
“What more can you possibly say?”
“Remember my friend Derrick I told you about?”
She rolled her eyes. “What about him?”
“He—he tried to commit suicide a couple weeks ago.”
Raquel’s eyes widened. “I’m so sorry.”
She could hear the sadness in his voice and immediately felt like a jerk for jumping off a cliff of conclusions before fully hearing him out.
“Is he… okay?” she asked hesitantly.
“He will be…look, Raquel. I don’t know how else to say this, but I need your help.”
“My help with what?” she asked, sitting up in the bed.
“I have a proposition for you…”
“What is it?” she asked.
“I don’t even know how to put this shit into words that will make sense.”
“You can tell me anything, Troy. Whatever you need from me, I’ll do it.”
“Do you really mean that?”
“I do.” She nodded.
He sighed. “I need you to fall for him…”
Her forehead creased in confusion. Not only did her heart only belong to him, but she had no interest in getting to know Derrick. Troy was the man she wanted, and she didn’t understand why he didn’t see that.
“What?” she asked.
“I know it sounds crazy, but—”
“You damn right it does. Here I am thinking that you’re about to ask me something in a way that helps you. Do you not know how I feel about you?”
“Look, Raquel…I know you like me. I like you too, I really do, but he doesn’t have anyone. Between me and his parents, we just can’t put his pieces back together.”
“And what makes you think I can?”
“Look, I know what you do for a living, Raquel.”
“What the fuck does my job have anything to do with—”
“I’ll pay you,” he said, cutting her off.
The ringing of a cash register went off in her head, perking her ears up. As much as she wanted to fight the urge, she couldn’t help herself. Receiving gifts in form of money was her love language.
“Five million dollars…”
Three Days Later…
Raquel stood in her white lingerie with her hair and makeup done, staring at the white dress hanging up against the door. The day she’d been dreading since the night Derrick slid the diamond ring on her finger had finally arrived. She’d been surrounded by her bridesmaids, Derrick’s family members, and her own all day that she hadn’t had a moment alone to collect her thoughts. Anxiety swirled around her head like a carousel as she sat on the edge of the couch, plotting quietly.
“You okay, girl?” her cousin and Matron of Honor, Tiffany, asked.
Raquel silently shook her head. “I can’t do this,” she mumbled.
“What? What’s wrong?”
“I said I can’t fucking do this!” she yelled, as she sprang back to her feet.
The room went silent as everyone stared at her. Feeling the crimson flushing into her cheeks, she lowered her head. She felt the warm hand of her cousin on her shoulder as she turned to her.
“It’s just a case of cold feet,” she whispered. “You’ll be fine.”
“No, you don’t understand. None of you understand!” she yelled as tears poured out of her eyes.
“Just let me know what you want me to do and I’ll do it,” she said. “You wanna stay, or you wanna go?”
Raquel sighed. She could hear the disappointment in her cousin’s voice. She pressed her lips together tightly as she dabbed at her eyes. “I just need a minute or two…”
“Okay, take as much time as you need. I’ll go get you some water or something.”
“Thank you,” Raquel nodded.
Raquel turned her attention back toward the door when she saw Tiffany coming back in with a bottle of ice cold water. She was grateful, but wished it was something stronger. She was going to have to be in a drunken stupor to willingly walk down the aisle. She kept telling herself that everything was going to be okay and work out in the end, but her heart knew otherwise. Contrary to what it looked like, she was a one man girl. There was no way she could spend the rest of her life with Derrick when she knew Troy was the one she was really in love with.
“What’s going on up there?” she asked, as she took a sip of the water.
“People are starting to ask questions since the wedding was supposed to start almost thirty minutes ago. What do you want me to tell them?”
“Tell them I need more time, Tiff! I’m not coming out until I’m ready! If ever!” she huffed.
“Okay, okay. Calm down. I told you to take all the time you need. If he loves you like he says he does, he’ll wait…I’ll go tell him.”
DERRICK STOOD IN the back room with his tie in one hand and a glass of Jack Daniels on ice in the other. His sad eyes landed on Troy’s as soon as he walked through the door. As always, Troy was dressed to the nine in all black designer everything. Derrick nodded his approval before slinging the dark liquor down the back of his throat.
“Damn, man. You drinking without me?”
“Pour up another one,” Derrick told him.
Troy walked over to the empty glass and poured himself a shot then refilled Derrick’s glass. He held his glass in the air and smiled. “Here’s to your wedding.”
Instead of returning the smile, Derrick simply shook his head. “If there is going to be one.”
Troy gave him a once over. His haircut was fresh. He was almost completely dressed. The only thing missing was his tie that was hanging loosely around his neck.
“What’s up, man? Don’t tell me you got a case of cold feet.”
“It’s not me,” he said, throwing the next shot back.
“Huh? What’s going on? Why don’t you have your tie on?” Troy asked all in one breath.
“Tiffany just came up here.”
“Raquel’s cousin…I don’t know what to do man, she said she…she won’t come out of the room.”
“What?” He said, sucking his teeth. Raquel’s childish antics were the last thing he needed or wanted to deal with.
“You don’t think she wants to call off the wedding, do you?”
Troy scoffed and shook his head. “Call it off? Nah. If she wanted to do that, she would’ve done it a long time ago, don’t you think?”
“Then what could be keeping her down there?” Derrick asked.
“I don’t know, man. You know how women are. Maybe it’s just a case of cold feet.”
“Can you please go talk to her and find out?”
“Me? What the fu—what for? She won’t talk to me. You know that!”
“Please, TG. I’m fuckin’ begging you. Besides, you’re my best man. It’s your job to get me down that aisle, right?”
Troy let out an exasperated huff and nodded. “Fine, I’ll talk to her, but I’m not making any promises.”
He made his way down to the other side of the church where Raquel and her bridesmaids were supposed to have been getting ready. He’d been mentally preparing himself on the walk over. He didn’t care what he had to do. Raquel was going to marry Derrick even if it meant Troy had to drag her down the aisle kicking and screaming.
As soon as his knuckle parted from the door, he took a step back. A few seconds of silence passed before he knocked again.
“Who is it?”
“It’s me, Troy. I came to talk to Raquel. Can I come in?” he asked, with the palm of his hand pressed against the door.
Once the door opened, he found her sobbing in her all white lingerie surrounded by her bridesmaids.
“What do you want? I already told Derrick she needs more time,” Tiffany spoke up.
“That’s fine. I didn’t come down here to start any drama. I was just hoping I could talk to her.”
Feeling annoyed, Troy shifted his tie while clearing his throat. “Can we get a minute…alone?” he asked.
“It’s fine, leave us,” Raquel told them.
Troy waited until everyone cleared out of the room, then closed the door behind him. He walked over to Raquel and stood in front of her. As emotionally unstable as she looked, it still wasn’t hard for him to find her beauty. Nevertheless, he had a job to do, and it was going to get done no matter how he felt about her.
“What the fuck are you doing, Raquel?” He asked sternly, unamused by the tears that filled her swollen eyes.
“You heard me! You’ve got Derrick upstairs about to blow a gasket because he thinks you don’t want to go through with the wedding.”
“I don’t! Why can’t you see that?”
He stepped closer to her, lifted her chin and stared at her with a blank expression written across his face. “You can, and you will.”
Her entire mind seemed to erase immediately as she stared back at him. She felt regret for letting him see her in the bag of emotions she was, but she wore her feelings for him like a second skin. She had to find a way to get him to see that they were meant to be together.
“Tell me you don’t love me, and I’ll do it. I’ll walk right down that aisle and I’ll marry Derrick.”
Troy’s teeth sunk into his bottom lip as he let his hand fall back to his side. “We had a fuckin’ deal,” he mumbled.
“See! You love me, baby! I love you, too!”
“It’s not that simple and you know it, Raquel! We’ve been through this time and time again! You’re with Derrick for his health. Do you want him to die, huh? Do you? Do you want him to kill himself because you decided to be selfish?”
Raquel huffed. She knew the words that were about to fall off her tongue would be harsh, but they were the truth. “If him dying means I get to live the rest of my life being true to myself and the man I love, then yes, Troy. I want him to die.”
Unable to comprehend what he’d just heard, Troy stepped back. For years, he’d known that he had his hands full with Raquel, but he didn’t think her love for him would outweigh her love for money. If he couldn’t pacify her with that, he didn’t know what he’d do.
“I can’t lose him, Raquel. Not like this.”
“And I can’t lose you. Not until I’ve had the opportunity to fully have you,” she confessed.
“Have you ever had a best friend, Raquel? I mean a real best friend. Someone that you would do anything for, no matter what it was. Yeah, I know that what the two of us are doing…the things we’re feeling…they’re not right. They aren’t! I’ve tried to keep my distance from you, for your sake and for his.”
“What about you, huh? Who’s looking out for you? Is it him? You think he would do this for you if the roles were reversed?”
“I can only hope he would.” He shrugged.
“Hope? That’s not good enough!”
“It’s all I can give you, Raquel. I’m sorry, but I made a conscious decision to put my feelings to the side for the sake of my friend and I can’t go back on my word.”
She flung her engagement ring across the floor and watched it roll. “Take it! I don’t want it! I don’t want any of it! Fuck all of this, Troy! I’m done! I’m tired!”
“Tired of what? Having a man who would give his life for you? A man who loves you more than I ever could…”
She felt the breath leave her body when she heard those words. “Troy…”
“No! That’s some truth for your ass and you and I both know it! He’s been going to therapy faithfully, taking his meds, and working a full-time job, what more do you want from him?”
“I want him to be you!” she yelled.
“We don’t always get what we want, you know that. We had what we had, and now that’s over. We both just need to move on. This is your chance.”
“I didn’t sign up for this, Troy!”
“Actually, you did.”
Raquel cut her cloudy eyes at him and nodded. “You know what, you’re right. So what he’s not the zombie he was months ago. So what? What happens when he runs out of meds or decides he no longer wants to go to therapy anymore, which he says at least once a week in case you didn’t know!”
His jaw tensed. “You take him to therapy and to the doctor. You pick up his prescriptions. You chop them up and put them in his food like a fucking child if you have to. You’re about to be his wife in a few minutes. It’s your job to take care of him. That’s what I’ve been paying you to do for almost three years now,” he said sternly.
“And who’s going to take care of me, Troy? Huh? Who? Because it damn sure hasn’t been you!”
He harshly ran his hand over his jawline. “What the fuck do you want from me, Raquel?”
Feeling defeated, she looked into his eyes, begging for him to see she was wearing her heart on her sleeve for him. “I want you to save me, Troy! Please…” she begged.
“I’ve been trying to do things the right way by staying the fuck away from you. I thought it would make it easier for the both of us, but…”
“But what?” she asked with hope laced in her voice.
He shifted his weight back against his left leg, while internally swatting his feelings for her away like a flying insect. It didn’t matter how much distance was placed in between them, he just couldn’t see his life without her in it. Their eyes met at the same time as their hands. With interlocked fingers, Troy walked closer to her until their chests touched.
What they shared was taboo.
And yet, neither of them could stop it from happening.
Troy continued to stare at her, frozen in his step. He knew if he moved he would attack her, and they would do something he wasn’t sure either of them would regret deep down.
“You look beautiful…”
“Kiss me,” she breathed.
Troy had stolen her breath almost three years ago, and there she was about to marry another man, still waiting for the moment she could breathe again. He tightened his grip around her waist and kissed her gently. Raquel instantly melted into his body, giving every last drop of herself to him.
Troy tore his fingers through her head full of loose curls as she fumbled with his belt to unhook his pants. He knew they were both playing with fire, but he got off on the thrill.
“I hope you never regret this,” Raquel whispered as she pulled her lips away from his.
Raquel let her eyes close as she enjoyed the tingling feeling of Troy’s kisses on her neck. She ran her hands over his face as the air trapped in between them grew heavier. Between the warmth of his strong embrace and the feeling of the tips of his fingers racing down her flawless skin, she didn’t know which experience she enjoyed most. She’d been dreaming of her next illicit encounter with Troy for months. Every part of her body was committed to him.
“Turn around,” he growled in her ear.
Troy cupped her breasts in his hand through her bra, gently freeing each of her hard mounds. He massaged them while kneading her nipples between his index and middle fingers. Raquel clenched her thighs together as vibrations expanded from her sweet spot all throughout her body. He pulled her panties to the side and bent her over the couch. Her mouth gaped into an O-shape as Troy began eating her from behind. The stroke of his tongue was deliberately slow, savoring the taste he’d craved while in her absence.
“Mmmm,” she breathed as her teeth sunk into her bottom lip.
Troy spun her around and pressed his lips against hers as he let his pants drop around his ankles. Raquel dropped to her knees as she took his length into her mouth to get it nice and wet. He stroked her jawline as she slid him in and out her warm mouth. Hisbreathing became jagged as she picked up the pace.
“Shit,” he frowned, biting his lip.
Raquel ran her long fingernails up and down his thighs, enjoying their time together. Troy knew he was too far gone to stop. There was no more pretending. No turning back. He had to have her. He pulled her to her feet and turned her back to facing the couch as he pushed past her walls.
“Ahh,” she screamed sharply.
Troy quickly covered her mouth. “Shh! Don’t you fuckin’ make another sound.”
She smiled devilishly. He had always been the aggressor and she had always let him. She turned to kiss his lips in an effort to stifle her moans. Every stroke sent electrifying jolts throughout her vulnerable body. Raquel’s breasts jiggled inside his right hand as he locked the other around the back of her neck. Troy pounded into her so hard, she leaned forward and bit into the couch underneath her.
Her lipstick smeared instantly.
With each stroke, another curl sweated out.
That’s what love felt like.
She closed her eyes, submerging into the feeling. She instantly saw hues of blue and purple exploding through her head. She was cumming. Orgasming. Falling. Rising. Falling again. Raquel violently threw her ass back against his thighs, riding the most dangerous wave of her life.
Troy’s grip around her hips grew tighter as his chest heaved in and out. They were both panting like animals as he thrusted inside her. He was seconds from the release of a lifetime.
“Shit,” he groaned.
“Don’t pull out, baby! I want you to get me pregnant again!” she moaned, while locking her arms around his waist.
As soon as Troy inhaled, his body released. His knees buckled as his body convulsed. Before he had a chance to recover, there was a loud knock on the door.
“Raquel? Troy? What the fuck is going on in there?” Derrick yelled, banging his fist against the door.
To be continued…
Stay tuned for House of Cards Part 3 next month!