Excerpt for Haunted (MORE.) Series by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

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HAUNTED

My eyes fluttered open to the sound of clinking plates and dishes while I struggled to overcome sadness.

To say I was alive was an overstatement.

I was physically here but felt completely dead inside, struggling to accept the surreal.

My best-friend, my husband, the love of my life Erik had died.

I glanced down at my ring finger and could feel a lump in my throat forming.

Memories of our blossoming forever cut short by a car accident.

“Niv, you okay?” My homegirl Riah questioned.

The lie I wanted to utter refused to form from my trembling lips so I simply nodded.

I had been at Mariah’s place since the police had come by my home to deliver the life-changing news a few days earlier.

Riah ran to her kitchen and retrieved the bacon and egg plate she had been working on while I tried to sleep. She laid it by her couch and also tried to hand me a glass of O.J.

I refused both; Eating was the last thing on my mind.

“You need to eat something Nevaeh. You haven’t had a bite since…”
Riah allowed her words to trail off, for fear that if she spoke my reality that I would burst into tears like I had done several times before.

“I just can’t Riah. I don’t feel like walking, eating or doing anything.” I said sniffling.

“But these are things you have to do” Riah reasoned, placing a tender hand on my wrist in an attempt to console me. “I know this a difficult time for you right now but I can’t just let my girl waste away like this. You think Erik would want you this way?”

Riah’s face dropped as she covered her mouth, realizing that she had accidently said his name.

Tears brimmed from the corners of my eyes. I turned my body and planted my face in the couch cushion to avoid letting her see another one of my crying spells.

While I sobbed, Riah went to grab a box of tissues from the bathroom.
“I just don’t understand why this happened. We were supposed to spend the rest of our lives together.” I muttered, in between tears.

Erik and I met while I was an intern at Methodist Hospital. I had been juggling being a full-time student, intern and waitress so I honestly had no time for men. He was already working there and gradually found his way into my life.

Although Erik was cute with his kind brown eyes, curly fade and warm smile it was his positive spirit that made him easy to fall in love with and even harder to forget.

“I know girl, I know.” Riah empathized, rubbing my back. “God understands your pain and will bring you through. I can’t imagine what it feels like to lose the love of your life but he has a plan, you’ll see. Have you thought about funeral arrangements?”

There was a brief pause as I turned back to face her.

With all the emotions I had been going through, I couldn’t imagine being strong enough to do that.

“Have you told his family yet?” Riah continued.

My unresponsive response was enough to let her know that none of these things mattered at the moment.

“Well it’s all good, I’m here.” Riah encouraged, rubbing her forehead. “We’ll start by grabbing you some clean clothes. We can’t have you walking around in the same outfit for the fourth day in a row.”

“From where?” I asked, using the tissues clasped tightly in my hand to blow my now red nose.

“Your house silly.”

A wave of tears rushed down my face. The last thing I wanted to do was return to my house. Our house.

“But I don’t want to” I retorted, like child who didn’t want to go to school.

“Well, I would go but y’all got that big ass dog and that security system. If I go you might have to plan a double funeral.”

Her comment made me crack a momentary smile.

No matter how hard I tried, Erik wouldn’t let me get rid of Mason, his overprotective Doberman Pincher who hated being alone. Just the thought of the damage Mason might have done while I was here with Riah was enough to make me cringe.

I took a deep breath and put my big girl panties on.

“Okay, you’re right. I need to check on the house.”

Riah encouraged me with a nod.

“And besides, this couch is beginning to hurt my back”

We both laughed. I truly appreciated Mariah being there to help me when I was down and out. What would I ever do without her?

“I’ll take you to grab some of your things after I get off work.” She said, pulling the blanket I was laying under over my body. “For now, please get some rest and try not to worry about what’s going on”

I answered Mariah with a weak smile, falling back to sleep soon after.

***

Riah got home a little after five o’clock and took me to grab my things just like she advised. Although the joke about my security system and Mason eating her alive was funny, I knew she was serious about not going inside with me. Truth be told, Mason probably would want a good snack after not being fed for a few days.

We sat in front of my home, in all its eloquent glory. I remember building the residence from the ground up. Every nook and cranny designed by me and paid for by my husband because “his queen deserved to have any and everything she desired.” Erik liked the big yard most of all because we planned to have children.

The thought of never being able to bring a life into this world with him made a knot form in my stomach.

“You gonna get out or you gonna keep staring at the house like you’ve never seen it” Riah joked, trying to lighten the mood.

I chuckled half-heartedly.

“Sorry, just got lost in my thoughts. It’s going to take some time to feed Mason and get my clothes. I’ll call you in a few hours.”

Riah gave me a comforting hug before I stepped out of the car.

My feet felt like bricks as I dragged them across the grass and to my front door.

I looked behind me to see Riah’s piercing green eyes watching me turn the key to enter my house like I was in a slow-motion drama film.

The door opened with a squeak as if it hadn’t been unlocked in centuries.

A cold draft from its emptiness slapped me right in the face. I could hear Mason barking in the distance begging me to feed him.

I waved back at Riah to let her know it was safe for her to leave. She gave me a thumbs up and sped off, her short blonde cut blowing in the wind.

“I can do this, I can do this.” I repeated to myself.

Every step was seemingly harder than the last.

I stopped mid-way in the grand foyer to set my keys down on a table that was situated there and saw a note Erik left me before he went to work that day.

I picked up the short letter and ran my thumb across his unique handwriting. I used to love how he would write me little notes from time to time.

“Nevvy,

Going to work. You’re so beautiful when you sleep. To wake up every morning and see your face is a dream come true.

See you when I get home,

Erik

I closed my eyes to keep them from releasing the bittersweet feeling I received when realizing how much of a dream our relationship truly was.

Erik and I rarely fought. Our parents got along and we loved each other’s families. All the things most couples hope and pray to have.

“You were a dream come true Erik” I said as I kissed the note and placed it lovingly in my white capris. I continued down the hall and into the washer room where Mason was barking feverishly.

“Sorry boy, I know I’ve been neglecting you.”

Mason responded with a bark and a whimper.

I let him out his cage and went to grab the dog food out of the kitchen cupboard.

After feeding him and showing him some love, I went upstairs to start packing my clothes.

“Keep it together Nivaeh”

I looked at my hands and noticed they were trembling again. More memories, more thoughts, more feelings haunted me once I pushed open the door to our bedroom.

It looked just as I left it. Hints of my husband’s cologne could be smelled just faintly. I avoided looking at our pictures on the nightstand and pulled my suitcase from the walk-in closet.

When I did, a shoebox that was situated above our hanging clothes, landed on the floor with a thud.

Mementos of the dates leading up to our marriage were inside. Pictures, letters, and receipts many things I had no recollection of.

“This must be Erik’s”

I looked at a pair of tickets to one of the first movies we saw together. I hated scary movies but Erik really wanted to see “Annabelle”. I remember holding onto his arm the whole movie and trying to claw his eyes out when the scary parts came on. It was while before we saw another one of those.

I smiled and then suddenly got sad.

My emotions felt all over the place but I knew this was part of the grieving process. I closed the box and went to run a hot bath. While the water ran, I took a good look at myself.

My brown skin had taken a bit of a beating from days of not eating and crying. My full lips were chapped and my dark slanted eyes held the sadness that I felt within my heart.

I added the Himalayan bath salts I had lying around and waited for the tub to reach its brim. I took my clothes off and slid in the tub, closing my eyes and allowing SZA to sing me back to equilibrium.

“Nevvy...”

My eyes popped open.

I looked around the bathroom and spotted no one.

“Nevvy”

The voice repeated again, this time I was beyond scared. The only person who knew or even called me back that name was my parents and…

“Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten what your husband sounds like”

I heard his signature grandiose laugh. I opened my eyes and saw nothing in front of me yet the voice sounded as clear as day. Was I trippin?

Maybe I do need to eat something.

I tuned out my racing thoughts and focused on the warming sensation of my salt bath.

The music had changed itself to Tyrese’s “Sweet Lady” an old cut that Erik and I had made love to on our wedding night.

I closed my eyes once more and smelled the familiar scent of Erik’s cologne like I had when I first entered the bedroom.

I tried to ignore the smell but felt hands tracing their way up my thigh.

“Ahh..” I screamed, flailing and making the water drip outside the clawfoot tub.

“Nevvy”

I opened my eyes this time but saw my husband Erik standing in front of me wearing nothing but his favorite pair of Calvin Klein blue boxer briefs.

“It can’t be…” I stammered, rubbing my eyes to make sure I didn’t have anything in them.

“Why can’t it be?” Erik said, smiling at me lovingly.

He inched his way toward me and seated himself on the edge of the tub.

“But your…”

“Shh…” He ordered, releasing himself from his underwear. Erik was seven inches and hard as a rock by the time he lifted me out of the tub and placed my wet naked body on the bed.

The strong veins in his shaft letting me know he was ready to give me what we both wanted to feel.

I did as I was told and let him massage my round ass like he had never felt it before.

He slapped it a few times and instructed me to stay on my back.

I looked into his eyes from missionary position and knew it was really him.

His soft pink lips silently asking me to kiss them.

Tyrese continued to croon “Sweet Lady” as my husband locked eyes with me and proceeded to cup my breasts in his hands.

I moaned and felt the temperature in the room drop.

Everything from his single dimpled smile, pecs with a left chest tattoo, and v-cut was exactly how I remembered it.

I let my arms hang free and allowed his hands to roam my body.

It wasn’t until he inserted two fingers into my vagina that I gasped for air.

“Shh…” he whispered again, like we were high school kids having sex in our parent’s house.

He played in me while I played with the idea of him inside of me. Erik removed his hands from my breasts and began licking them in slow counterclockwise motion. I rolled my eyes and felt my lower body pulsate.

My hands took to his back and scratched him as he became rougher. Then he slowly inched his manhood inside me.

The girth of his head made me giggle.

He swam in me with a rhythm only he had. Each collision became more and more erotic. The headboard clashed against the wall with each stroke.

I bent my knees toward my stomach to give him a better shot and looked at the ceiling for fear that I would explode at the sight below me.

Erik then pinned my hands to the bed and dug into me like he wanted to become one.

And I didn’t mind at all.

He gave me shots of his love for what felt like hours but I knew better because the song had only been playing for a few minutes. I finally gained the courage to look at our connected bodies and up at the sweat on his brow. We rolled around in our bed like we always did. He kissed me and I bit his lip before he pulled away. Just like old times.

“I missed you so much” I muttered while he continued his grind.

I took in the scent of his cologne and wanted to cry again.

“Don’t cry.” He said, wiping my tears. “Just let me love you.”

I gave him the freedom to do just that and it felt better than any of the hundreds of times we had made love.

Erik loved me in all different positions, giving me more than what I wanted.

He dove in me from the side and held my right foot up while he eagerly used his member to give me all of him.

I could feel him filling my stomach with butterflies every time he reinserted himself in me.

He used one hand to cup my left breast and the other to play with my clit.

I was in heaven.

It reminded me of when we first made love on our wedding night. A combination of tender strokes and rough handling.

When I first encountered his love-making it completely threw me off because his ability to get rough was far from the soothing exterior he presented.

The thumping in my heart began to match the thumping down below as more soft moans escaped from my lips.

He kept himself inside and returned to missionary position, determined to see the love faces I was making.

I felt his head swell from within me, letting me know he was about to cum.

I held on tight, refusing to let him go yet each passionate crash made it harder and harder to hold on.

I let my body feel every sensation.

The way he held my thick frame to his motions and his concentration when making sure that I was sexed from the inside out.

How the fine hairs on my body stood up the more he rested himself in my sweet spot.

The sound of wetness my vagina made to welcome his love.

No one would or could ever take this man’s place in my life.

I closed my eyes and could feel his warmth inside of me.

“I missed you so much….” I said over and over again.

My head was confused but my heart was filled with joy.

I let Erik stroke us both to orgasm and let go of him to clutch onto my African print sheets. When I did, I heard the sound of a heart monitor and my blurred vision cleared to show that I was actually grabbing on to thin blue sheets.

“Oh my god! I’m so glad you’re okay.” Riah said, looking stressed and worried. I looked at my surroundings and realized that I was in a hospital room on a thin twin size bed.

I tried lifting my arms and saw that an IV had been attached to one of them.

“What happened?” I asked, feeling as if I had completely lost my mind.

Riah took a deep breath and made her way closer to me.

“Listen Niv, you don’t have to pretend. The doctor says you tried to kill yourself in the bathtub a week ago. You’ve been in a coma since.”

“I…I…what?”

The disbelief at this chain of events left me floored. The last thing I remembered for sure was relaxing in the tub.

“They found a bottle of sleeping pills by your tub. Luckily your dog Mason found you and would not stop barking until the neighbors kicked the door in. Otherwise, you would have been in a casket.”

“That’s not true Riah, I would never try to kill myself.” I said defensively. Although I was missing my husband, I knew that me killing myself would do nothing but hurt more people in my life.

“I’m not saying you’re a liar but they found you soaking wet repeating the same thing you repeated when you woke up.”

I touched my lips to feel them cracked and cold.

“That’s impossible Riah because I was just making love to…”

I stopped myself before I said something that would make me sound even crazier.

“To who?” She questioned, catching my slip up. “Don’t tell me you were talking about having sex with Erik. God knows I should not have left you alone that long to get your things. I knew better with your condition after his death and all.”

“But he was here! He was right here!” I shouted, slamming my free hand on the bed.

The heart monitor quickened in pace as Riah turned around to make sure none of the nurses had heard my outburst.

“Please don’t shout because they have you on watch for a suicide attempt.”

My eyes grew wide as she continued.

“I don’t mean to upset you but you could have killed yourself and your baby.”

“My…what?”

The blood from my body left me completely.

“Yes, you are pregnant girl.” Riah said, reaching over to grab my hand. “Erik may be gone, but you got to live for your baby AND you.”

With all that had just been told to me, I didn’t know what to believe. I was unsure of whether or not I had actually seen Erik or if I had actually tried to kill myself but I did know that I was beyond happy that I was going to be a mother.

“You’re kidding me right now?” I stammered, feeling lightheaded with a mixture of confusion and joy. Tears started streaming down my face despite every effort to stop them.

“Nope sister, I’m not. The doctor says you are roughly two weeks pregnant. They drew your blood and found that out as soon as they brought you here.”

I was speechless.

Riah continued to fill me in on the whereabouts of my condition and that both my family and Erik’s were catching a flight to see me.

After coming to grips with the fact that I was closer to death than I realized, I asked Riah to leave me alone for a second and promised that there was no way I could harm myself due to there being cameras in the hospital room.

When she did, I did my best to recall the events leading up to my being there.

“But it felt SO real. EVERYTHING.”

My mind went back to the way Erik picked me up from the tub and placed me on the bed. His smile, his body, and his fragrance that he always wore.

The strong scent of Erik’s cologne hit my nostrils out of nowhere. My intuition confirmed what others couldn’t.

I glanced at my wedding ring and smiled.

Erik and I really had spent those moments together.

I hummed Tyrese’s Sweet Lady and held onto my stomach.

“I promise to love you little one, enough for the both of us.”

I looked out the window and marveled at how even in death Erik was and always will be my best-friend.

My husband.

The love of my life.




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