Chapter 5: Just the Thought

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"You already know where everything is, so just make yourself at home," I told my mother, Drucilla Pollard. "Please don't give them too many sweets." I pleaded with her.

"I raised you and your brother, I think I know what I'm doing." My mom said dismissing all of my instructions. "Don't you worry about my grandbabies, I got them. I just need you to focus on that handsome husband of yours. You two really need this time alone. Every time I'm around you now, I can feel the tension."

I wanted to tell my mom the reason why there was awkwardness between us, but I was too embarrassed to tell her about what happened. She loved Rashad and as much as I hated him in the moment, I didn't want anyone else in the family to hate him.

After noticing our recent disconnect, it was her idea for us to spend some time alone away from the kids so that we could reconnect. She offered to keep the kids for as long as we needed her to. Rather than travel out of town, Rashad reserved for us to spend two nights at the The Umstead Hotel and Spa. He was in the middle of working on a big project at work, or we would have taken a real vacation somewhere out of the country. I wasn't ready for us to go completely back to normal, but I knew I had to at least start trying or we would never get past this point.

"Mom, you did a great job raising us, but I'm asking you not to give our girls too much sugar," I reiterated again as gently as I could. "You know how they get."

"And I'm asking you to focus on giving Rashad as much sugar as possible." She joked suggestively. I wanted to laugh along with her, but I couldn't find it in me to make light of what we were going through.
"I know that things are more difficult after having kids," she said. "Hell, why do you think I had to raise you and Rodney by myself."

"Because our dad was a deadbeat." I filled in for her.

"That, he was," she acknowledged. "But Rashad is nothing like your father. He is a good man."

"I know he is mom," I sighed.

"Which means you have to remember to treat him like you know that," she advised. "Men have needs and you know what I mean when I say that. They need attention like new babies sometimes."

"Ma," I said wanting to cover my ears, I didn't want to talk to her about any of this.

"I need you to listen to me," she said, her expression reflected how serious she believed this advice to be. "If you don't take care of your husband's needs, one of these little fast girls out here running these streets, will." It was that statement that stung the most and I had no response as her strong words hung in the air. As if on cue, the door opened and Rashad re-entered the house. He came to stand with us in the living room.

"We're all packed up. You ready?" He asked me oblivious to the comment my mom had just made.

"Yeah, let's say goodbye to the girls first." I said already feeling uneasy about the upcoming weekend.

"Kiana and Aylen come here!" Rashad yelled towards the hallway.

When I heard the light pitter patter of feet running down the hall, a smile crept on my face. I bent down and opened my arms wide enough to welcome them both at the same time.

"My babies," I sang as I rocked them. "I need you to both to be good for Nana." I said looking between the both of them.

"Where are you and daddy going?" Kiana asked.

"We won't be far and we'll only be gone for two days." I assured her as Rashad rained both girls with kisses and hugs.

"But why do you have to leave?" Kiana asked. "Why can't we go with you?" She whined.

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