Chapter 6: “Jason Who?”
“Higher daddy, higher! Push me higher!”
The four-year-old swung her legs back and forth, feeling the wind on her face. Jason smiled. Amarie was a fun junkie like her daddy.
“I don’t think you ready for this though Marie baby. You ready for this?”
“I’m ready, I’m ready. Higher daddy!”
Jason stopped the swing and placed his hands on each side. He stepped back, pulling Amarie back, high into the air, his hands still holding on tightly to the swing. Amarie laughed and giggled. Jason let go, letting the swing fly through the air as Marie screamed. Jason laughed.
“Told you, you weren’t ready!”
As the swing came back to him, he stopped it, helping Amarie to climb down.
“Come on baby, let’s go feed daddy.”
“That was amazing!” shrieked Amarie, still feeling giddy.
Jason smiled. Kids were something else. One minute they are asking you a million questions and the next they little geniuses.
“Amazing huh? Spell it for daddy.”
Amarie twisted her lip and Jason couldn’t get over the cuteness. She was his little chocolate drop, her skin taking on her mother’s dark complexion instead of his lighter one. Her brown, course, hair was in ponytails with yellow barrettes adorning the braided ends. Jason and his baby mama didn’t always get along, but he admired how she always kept his daughter fresh and looking like a little lady. Not too many little girls still wore pigtails these days. While moms kept her cute, Jason kept her smart. He taught her beauty on the outside meant nothing without beauty on the inside. “And beauty,” he taught her, “come with brains. Don’t just be a cutie, be smart too.”
“A-M-A…” began Amarie.
Jason tried hard to listen, but his spirit was still disturbed from the events of the other day. He wouldn’t teach his daughter the importance of thinking if he wasn’t a thinking man. I know for a fact her ass was sitting right next to me. How the hell did she end up on the other side of the room, standing up? He couldn’t remember what happened between the time he was about to tongue the woman down to when she put him out. It was weird and had him feeling uneasy. It was hot as hell in there too though. Could that have been the reason? Did I blackout from the heat?
“N-G,” recited Amarie as they made it to the car. Jason helped her into the back seat and strapped her into the booster seat.
“Did I do it right daddy?”
“Yea, baby. Good job.”
He closed her door and felt a wave of heat on his neck. Frowning, Jason turned around before opening his car door and saw no one.
“J man you are tripping,” he said outloud to himself.
“Tripping. T-R-I..” began Amarie.
Jason laughed and took out his cell.
“I’m not gonna make it out that way any time soon bro,” boomed Jason’s deep, melodic voice. He laughed into the phone. Tony was always saying something crazy.
“Naw, nothing like that. Got the little one with me. Yea. Ya’ll go ahead though. Imma stop by Moms, I can leave her there and catch ya’ll later. The steakhouse? Bet. I ain’t eating though. Jason paused as his friend chided him on the other end.
“You know moms ain’t gonna let me stop by and not eat! If Imma choose a meal it’s gonna be moms fa sho.”
He hung up and dialed another number.
“Sup old man. You at the crib? Oh yea? What she cook? Bet. I’m on my way. I got Marie with me. Yea. Aiight. See you soon.”
Jason hung up and then strapped on his seat belt. Whatever it was he was feeling, he didn’t trust it. He always talked things over with his dad. He felt fortunate to still have him in his life. Not many black men he knew could say they grew up with both parents in the home. Jason’s parents had been married for twenty-five years. That meant something to him. It also made him ashamed that he couldn’t hold onto a relationship himself. As Jason pulled out of his parking space and began to drive down the street, he prayed his mother’s cooking could help to shake the cold chill that trickled down his spine and the knot that lingered in the pit of his stomach.
“Internet stalking your boyfriend? Sweetie, if you think he’s cheating, he’s cheating.”
Amy laughed as she walked past Tina’s cubicle where a photo of Jason was pulled up on her computer screen. Quickly, Tina opened another tab.
“It’s not like that.”
She shook her head and crossed out the word Email on her notepad. The man was invisible online, no email and no record. He had been working for the U.S. Postal Service for three years. Before that, he attended a community college but then dropped out. Anything before that is a mystery.
Tina tapped her pencil on the desk, still unsure if she should intervene and because she had taken her prescription, there was no sign of Az to help. If she was going to help, she only had a few hours to do it and she had no idea where this Jason dude was.
“Look up this name for me.”
Fred took the post-it from Tina and frowned. “Jason King?”
Amy laughed, shaking her head.
“With a name like Jason King, shid,” laughed Amy.
Freddy laughed too. Tina shook her head.
“Ya’ll play too much. I don’t even know the guy. I think he may be connected to the Byron case.”
“In what way?” asked Freddy.
“I don’t know but I think he’s involved,” she lied. Trying to stop a blue-eyed fallen angel disguised as a beautiful black woman from killing him, wouldn’t exactly make her look sane.
In the new browser she typed in her company password, and pulled up Byron’s file. She looked up to find Amy staring at her. The woman cut her eyes, frowned, and looked away.