The Double LifeBy: Nia Wilson
Eager to put as much distance between this handsome man and myself, I practically ran to my car and hopped in, easing it away from Frank’s car and waiting until Derek moved the brown sedan so I could pull into my driveway. I angled halfway in and jumped out to unlock the gate, pulling the car onto the driveway and locking the gate behind me before putting the Jag in the garage.
I watched Derek turn the back the car up until he was in front of his house and park. He got out and tossed the keys to Frank and said goodbye to both men as they got in. He looked at my house, waving to me a second before I closed the drapes in embarrassment. He’d caught me watching him. Great.
I hung the keys on the hook and picked up the phone. I needed to deal with the Malik situation, and I had a feeling that I couldn’t put it off. I dialed Andrea’s number and waited for her to pick up. She picked up on the third ring.
“Hey girl. What’s up?”
“Andrea, I have a situation with Malik. I need some advice, so can you come over?”
“Oh Joy. I thought you kicked him to the curb.”
“I did, but he’s back. I can’t really explain it over the phone. Can you come over? I really need you.”
“Of course. I’ll be there in twenty.”
I thanked her and hung up. I checked the door locks and closed the windows, turning on the AC and the ceiling fans to keep the house cool. I didn’t want anyone to hear what I had to tell Andrea.
Johann rubbed against my leg, purring loudly. I picked him up and held him to my chest while he rubbed his head on my chin.
“I’m scared, Johann. I don’t think Malik is willing to take no for an answer this time.”
A gentle knock sounded at the door twenty minutes later. Right on time, Andrea’s bright blue eyes and heart-shaped face greeted me through the peep hole in my door. I unlocked the door and let her in, hugging my friend tightly before I locked the door behind her and engaged the security latch.
“What’s up?” Andrea wasn’t one to beat around the bush. A private investigator by trade, she made her living by getting to the point.
“Malik was hanging out at Lew’s last night when I went, and today, I saw him at Wally’s when I went grocery shopping.”
“What in the world was he doing at Wally’s?”
“He got a job there. Andrea, I think he’s been trying to find me. What am I going to do?” I sat down hard on the thick, blue sofa. For the first time since the night before, I realized that I was genuinely scared. Tears threatened, but I held them back. I was not about to cry over Malik.
“The first thing you’re going to do is stop going to those two places. And tomorrow, you need to file an emergency protective order.”
“Won’t that piss him off?”
“You’re right. How do I get around giving them my address?”
“I’ll take care of that. I’ll go with you tomorrow and help you file the paperwork. Don’t worry, it’s not that hard and doesn’t cost much.”
“Money isn’t the issue, Andrea. What am I going to do? How is a piece of paper going to keep him away from me?”
“It won’t. But once he’s served, if he comes within a hundred feet of you, he’ll go directly to jail.”
I closed my eyes as the tears spilled over. Served? He was going to be furious when that happened.
“What if it makes it worse, Andrea?”
“Then he’ll go to jail.”
“Ugh.” I wanted to hide from my life. What the hell was the threat of jail going to do to a hardened criminal? He would just do what he wanted and have his thug buddies come after me while he was locked up.
“I don’t know if this is such a good idea, Andrea. I think it’s going to make it worse.”
“It’s the first step to a more permanent solution. California takes stalking very seriously. He’ll make a mistake, and he’ll go to jail.”
“But what if he kills me before then?”
Andrea sat down beside me, wrapping her slender arm around my shoulders.
“I’m not going to let him hurt you.”
She pulled out her pad and pen, ready to take notes.
“Tell me everywhere you go during the week, and everyone you talk to. Does he know where you live?”
“No.” I grabbed a tissue from the end table and wiped away my tears. “I didn’t date him long enough to feel comfortable bringing him here. Andrea, I only dated this man for a few weeks. What is his deal?”
“I don’t know. It’s not anything you’ve done. You’re probably the first woman who hasn’t fallen all over herself to keep him. Guys like Malik, they feed off devotion. When a woman is strong and doesn’t take any of his crap, he doesn’t know what to do. There’s nothing you could have done to prevent this.”