Practice What You Preach

The next morning, Carrie awoke to find James downstairs watching television with Jr. “Good morning, sleepy head. I thought you’d never wake up.” he greeted. “Well, I’d elaborate on the events of last night, but we have a child in our presence.” she cooed. James kissed her cheek and turned his attention back to Jr. “Good morning Jr., how are you?” “I’m fine Mrs. Carrie. Look at the new trucks my daddy bought me.” he replied as he eagerly rushed over to show her. “Oh wow, these are nice. Show me how they work.” James watched as the two of them sat on the floor playing with the toys and making mock engine sounds. “Daddy come play with us.” Jr. urged. James rushed over to the circle and joined in.



Despite all of the troubles that life has thrown their way, they truly were a happy family. Even though Jr. didn’t belong to her, Carrie treated him as if he was her own child. They did everything a mother and son would do together. She took him shopping, planned play dates, movie nights, and even helped him with his homework. On nights that James had to work late, she’d offered to keep him. This made things easier between him and Jessica, and gave their household some balance. She didn’t mind Jr.’s company. After all, this would prepare her when she and James decided to have a child of their own.

A few moments later, their play session was interrupted by the doorbell. Carrie and James both glanced at the clock on the microwave. It was only 8 o’clock in the morning. “Who on earth could this be?” James said as he got up to open the door. Carrie watched impatiently as he jogged over to the door. He peeped through the peephole and then proceeded to open the door. “I come here for my son.” she blared. Carrie let out a heavy sigh as Jessica stepped inside. Just as she started to get Jr. ready to go with his mom, she was interrupted by the sound of a man’s voice. “Jessica can you hurry up. I got things to do.” he boomed. “Preston don’t rush me, I have to get my son.” “I don’t know why you won’t leave him here. I don’t have time to be watching after no kid!” “Excuse me? This is my child, you knew what it was when you got with me.”

Carrie looked in awe as the two of them stood arguing in front of Jr. She couldn’t believe that Jessica was actually dating this clown. If he couldn’t accept her child, then why the heck was she with him? “Umm, James, I’m going to take Jr. upstairs and finish getting him ready. He doesn’t need to be around this.” He nodded his head and watched as they both disappeared into the upstairs bathroom.

“Jessica who the heck is this?” James asked. “My boyfriend, why are you worried?” She snapped. “Why am I worried? You got this clown around my son talking all crazy and you asking me why am I worried?” he replied. “Man listen can you go get my son from upstairs so I can go. We got things to do.” “No, as a matter of fact, you go do whatever it is you have to do. Jr. can stay here.” “He isn’t staying here. I want my son with me.”

Before James could reply, Preston butted in “Listen bruh, I don’t know you and you don’t know me. We don’t want any trouble. All we come here for is to get the kid and be out.” James looked at him up and down and let out a heavy sigh before replying, “Bruh, I don’t know you and I’m not trying to get to know you. This is between me and her. I don’t appreciate neither one of you coming up here disrespecting me and my household. Both of you all need to leave.” “I’m not leaving until I get my son.” “He’s not going with you.” James stated firmly. James watched out the corner of his eye as Preston’s hands slowly started to form fists. “You going to assault me in my own house?” he snarled. “Listen bruh, it’s nothing like that.” He then turned to Jessica and said, “I’ll be in the car. This has nothing to do with me.” They both watched as he left the house. “I suggest you follow him.” James stated in a low, yet stern tone. Jessica glared at him. She tried for a minute to think of new ways to insult him. When she could think of none, she quickly turned around and walked out the door. James relaxed his shoulders and walked over to the kitchen and pulled out a large bottle of wine.

A few moments later, Carrie emerged from the bathroom to find James pouring a large glass of wine. “Sweetie is everything alright?” “I can’t believe her. I mean how can she do my son like that? That clown doesn’t care about him. There’s no telling what he’s doing to my son over there. I think I need to get full custody of my son. I can’t take not knowing what’s going on.” “Sweetie, Jr. is old enough to talk. Why don’t you just ask him. You know he isn’t going to lie to you.” “Carrie, I don’t know how to.” “Babe you just have to talk to him. He’s a child. Ease into the conversation. Don’t be to harsh with the questions. Be discreet about it. He’ll open up to you. We talk all the time.” she assured him. She watched her husband closely and noticed he was crying. She took the glass out of his hand and turned his face towards hers. “Everything will be alright. I think now is the perfect time for you to talk to him. He’s in the tub splashing the bubbles everywhere.” He nodded and made his way upstairs to the bathroom.

While they were upstairs, Carrie went outside to the mailbox to retrieve the mail. She looked in the box and saw she had a few envelopes inside. She pulled them out and started to sort through them. As she was thumbing through the mail, she noticed a handwritten envelope. She read it and felt her heart start to race. Her palms became sweaty as she read the name and address it came from.  She quickly tore it open and read the contents.

Dear Carrie, this is Phillip. I know it’s been a while and I know this is kind of out of the blue. I just wanted to let you know I’ll be getting out in two weeks and wanted to see you. I got your address from your sister Monica. Me and her boyfriend are still tight and we talk to each other from time to time. She told me you had gotten married, but I’m not concerned about that. You’re supposed to be mine. We made a promise to each other before I went away. I want to make good on our promise when I come home. I want you to be with me. We can have our own little family and be like we were before I got locked up. Well, I hope this letter reaches you. I look forward to hearing from you. See you soon.

She couldn’t believe what she had just read. Phillip her long time boyfriend before she had even met James was coming home. She thought he would never get out. After all the charges the district attorney rattled off in the court room, the judge handed him a sentence of 45 years to life. He had only been locked up for eight. She wondered what he did to get out early. The case was pretty much open and shut. Either way, she had to figure out what to do to keep Phillip from coming around and bringing more trouble to their marriage. Just when things started to look on the up and up for them, things always seemed to take a turn for the worse. I guess that line in the marriage vows for better or for worse was very real, because through all of the worse times, they still seemed to prevail.

As she walked back into the house, she was greeted at the door by a naked Jr. “Jr. where are you clothes?” she asked looking at James. “Soon as I got him out the tub, he ran downstairs looking for you.” She chuckled nervously. “Jr. let your daddy put your clothes on. I have to use the phone.” “Babe are you alright?” She swallowed hard before she answered. “Yes, I’m fine. I just have to go call my sister.” “Your sister? You don’t like your sister.” “Well she called and asked me to call her.” she replied as she hurried up the stairs. James watched as his wife disappeared in the bedroom. Her sudden demeanor change puzzled him, and he couldn’t quite pinpoint what caused it. She was jittery, and her breathing was labored. He fixed Jr. a snack and turned on cartoons before going upstairs and eaves dropping at the door.

“Monica, why would you tell Phillip where I lived?” she blared. “Carrie, I didn’t tell him.” “Bullshit Monica! He clearly wrote in the letter you told him! I am happily married. I don’t need this man coming around causing problems for me and my family. It’s bad enough we have to deal with James’ baby momma and all her drama. We don’t need Phillip.” “Carrie I thought it would be nice if you heard from an old friend. I had no idea he was going to try and break up your home.” “Well you’d better fix it before he gets out. This is the last thing I need right now. Me and James are in a happy place right now.” she replied before slamming the phone down. She dropped back on the bed and sighed heavily. “Lord what am I going to do?”




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