Manny Returns to Discover the Truth!

Manny Returns to Discover the Truth!

Excerpt from the book “Webster Fields Trilogy: Book One – Princess Ces’alena

by Mercedes Keyes
May/June 2004

Webster Fields: Princess Ces'alena
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Lena sighed deep as she turned from the window, lifting her eyes towards the other side of the room; she froze – as an icy cold raced over her body, locking her in absolute shock. Tremors shook her as she visibly shivered. From another window, the moon cast just enough light to illuminate the profile of the huge silhouette sitting forward, glaring at her with penetrating angry eyes.

Lena shivered again. She couldn’t move, as the room began to spin around her; afraid she would faint, she put her hand out to find something to lean on. She had to take a step to her left where her vanity sat. She moved in jerky scared motions to the bench and sat there; afraid to speak. She was in a frightened trance, as he sat looking at her, not saying a word. Now she knew the scent, it filled her head and burned into her senses. It was him, Manny. Her entire soul tingled from its sensitivity to his closeness. His presence was strong and overpowering. She could only see a portion of his face, a blue white from the moon light, but it made him all the more ominous, his eyes almost wolf like. Though space of more than twelve feet separated them, he was touching her body, and she could feel every caress.

A chill raced up her spine causing her nipples to harden and her breasts to ache. Paralyzed, she sat helpless as he possessed the deepest part of her soul, a soul he would battle the very devil for, refusing to relinquish her as his sole possession. Looking at him, seeing him there – without a word, he told her loud and clear – he was there to claim her once again.

Swallowing her fear, Lena straightened her spine and squared her shoulders, and after taking several needed breaths she asked,

“What do you want? What are you doing here?”

As soon as the questions left her mouth; she thanked goodness Kayleen had wanted to keep Hope for the night, she could only imagine the outcome of this night had he seen her. Her eyes widened as that possibility raced to the fore, making her even more nervous, deflating her moment of bravado. And yet, he sat not saying a word, just staring at her.

“Why are you here? Why do you just sit there staring?” She asked in a frightened voice, and was immediately angry that he should dare try to intimidate her.

“You let that man kiss you. Put his mouth on you?”

His voice came so dangerously low and calm, it made every bone in Lena’s body turn to mush. She thought she would dissolve into a puddle on her floor. If she could just stop herself from shaking, she could stand up to him.

“Answer me.” The lower his voice, the more shaken she became. Lena hated being frightened of anyone, and she wasn’t about to start being frightened of him. Again she stiffened her nerve. “That’s none of your business.” She finally answered.

“You let him touch you?” Manny went on to demand an answer, still low and quiet within the dark room. “He’s not the first – to touch me.”

“No – that would be me.” He returned. “I was the first.”

“Yes – well … that is all in the past now. If you will excuse me, I would like to go to bed now. Alone!” Lena ordered, catching her second wind, growing calmer, gaining her nerve back. “I’ll leave when I damn well please. You’ll not send me off like you did that, popinjay-milksop of a fop! Cowering with my tail tucked because you wish not to be bothered.”

Lena stood, “Fine – I’ll leave myself.” And knowing him, she tried to run for the door, but he was there in an instant.

Grabbing her by the arm, he pulled her back so hard and fast she flew back across the room to land on the bed; and wasted not a moment getting back to her feet. Angry now she faced him with full courage. “How dare you touch me! You want someone to toss about – head across the yard to your wife!”

“My wife’s not home.” He answered simply.

“Oh – that’s why you’re here! Well – listen here – massa Manny, I’m done servicin’ you. If I may be so bold as to remind you, I belong to another now. Or have you forgotten the child that sent you racing from here three or more years ago?”

Manny smiled. “Ah yes, the child. Where – is he – by the way?”

Lena’s heart leaped to her throat. She was stumped, unprepared for this eventuality or for the lies that she felt must now follow. “I’m assuming it was a he? Or was it a she? As you said, I went racing from here so fast, I’m not quite sure – what I saw.” Manny challenged further.

She gulped.

“Boy? – or – girl? Which?” He pressed again.

“Ah – b – boy.” Lena stammered, feeling her heart pound.

“Oh – I see, what’s his name?”

“His name?” Her eyes grew huge.

Manny stood with his eyes beginning to once more narrow, wondering how much further he would have to go before she admitted the truth. “I’m growing tired of this darkness, light your lamp.” He ordered mildly. “I don’t want to. I want you to leave.” She returned. This meeting was growing much too complicated. And she could endure his presence for only so long before her pretense began to wear thin.

“That’s been discussed already. Now light the lamp.” He reminded her.

“Why won’t you just go?” She pleaded.

“Light – the – lamp.” He grated through clenched teeth.

Lena stood for a moment lifting her chin in defiance, but his imposing glare and barely harnessed lack of patience, made her spin and rush to do it; anything to get this over with. Her hands shook as she raised the glass flue making it rattle against the sides. Closing her eyes, she took several deep breaths to calm down and get in control; setting the flue aside to pick up the flints. She tried to strike a spark to light the oil cloth, but her trembling made it difficult.

“Here…I’ll do it.” Manny’s voice shook her even more as he came up beside her as she sat on her bed leaning towards the table in her attempts to light the lamp. He stepped behind his chair in the small space by the table and took the flints from her striking them together over the lighting cloth. A spark landed, a flame ignited from the burning oil on it, and he picked it up and lit the wick. Manny folded the cloth to smother the flame. As he adjusted the wick, a warm golden glow swelled within the dark room; he picked up the flue, placing it upon its fitted perch.

When he straightened, Lena had moved out of his reach back towards the vanity. “That’s better.” He said staring over at her finding himself momentarily amazed by her beauty.

The way the golden light caressed her breathtaking features made him think of the children they shared. Their children were beautiful, taking from them the best of their features, blending them to make them even better. His Golden Hope was an example of that. Looking at her mother, he knew the young woman she would grow into, and wondered how in the world, would he handle being father to one such as her?

Looking at him before the glowing lamp, played havoc with Lena’s longing. He was so imposing, masculine and desirable. No matter how she tried to deny herself, there was a part of her mind in control, all on its own. That part of her mind, which triggered her body’s responses to his presence. Standing there she could feel a growing throb, a heat and swelling, followed by a gathering moisture; and there wasn’t a thing she could do to stop it.

“Now…where were we?” He feigned as if he’d forgotten. “Ah yes, your – son – and his name. What did you say it was now?” He asked stepping from the confining corner towards her.

“I didn’t say.” Lena returned breathless.

“Ah –I remember, and you didn’t. So what is it? His name?”

“The hour is late. Can we not discuss this tomorrow? In the light of day? If you are so eager to know about him, I can bring him to you then.”

“Emm…I see. Well tell me something, what happened between you, and his father, that I now find you with Thomas?”

“Why all these questions?! What do you want from me!?”

Manny’s entire manner changed to one of intense fury; making Lena’s eyes widen as she stepped back and reached for her throat. The look that came over him in that particular moment, twisted her gut in fear.

“I want you to tell me something? How could you lose our son, and then leave your other child to the care of others, with no concern as to what might happen to, umm –him-? Hm? You care nothing of –him-? Hold it – I grow tired of referring to the child as, him! What is his name?”

‘He knows! HE KNOWS! OH MY GOD!’ Her widened eyes transmitted the screaming thought in her mind. Manny’s nostrils flared as his anger rose another notch. “Can’t remember his name Lena? Is it Jamie? Is the child’s name Jamie?” He offered the name adding, “Jamie – Mazie’s son? Jamie – who was used, to destroy me! Jamie who was borrowed, to lay in the cradle where my child should have laid?”

“Manny – wait-…”

“Shut up! Just shut up! Don’t say another word.” He was breathing deep and hard, and she could see the control he was trying to gain. As he told her, she did shut up. This was not the same Manny that left a few years ago. This man was one to be wary of; there was a hardness to him. The scar she’d wondered about when first seeing it, caught her attention now, it made him menacing somehow – everything about him, made her tread carefully… although she knew this man, she wasn’t sure what changes had taken place within him. And at the same time she stood in fear of him, there was an element of danger about him that excited her.

“You know what I did today?”

Although he asked the question, she knew there was no need to answer it. Her eyes filled with tears. He saw them and voiced his first thought at the sight of them, “What’s this…tears? For what? For me? Those for me Lena? Naaaaw, couldn’t be. They couldn’t be about me… there’s no way you can convince me of that. You would have to care – to feel enough to shed a tear over-…”

“Manny please…listen to me, I didn’t want to-…”

“Want to what? You ready to confess something here? Something going on you think I ought’a know about?”

“Please don’t do this…you have to let me tell you why.” She whimpered.

“How could you?” His jaw clenched as unwanted tears rushed in on him. “Do you know what I’ve gone through?!” He stopped again…he hated her right then. In all of his life, the only two people that could bring him to tears were his mother, and Kayleen. And then, only when he had been a small child, and young boy.

That had been years ago before he’d grown into being a man; and from then on, he had never shed a tear. Then this woman came into his life, and he’d done more begging and crying than ever in his life. It made him feel weak, and out of control. And there wasn’t a thing he could do to stop it.

“I’m sorry Manny. But I did what I had to do.”

“YOU HAD NO RIGHT!!!”

“I had every right.” She was trying to stay calm.

“SHE IS MY DAUGHTER!!! MINE!!!”

“She is mine. And I did what I had to do.”

“So, to hell with me? Her father – right!?” He was breathing hard as his chest rose and fell. “It wasn’t enough for me to lose Michael, you had to take away – my Hope – as well!” He turned from her to wipe away the tears streaming, and wanted to sob, but refused to allow himself.

“Manny…I didn’t take her from you to hurt you.” She cautiously approached him, standing not far out of his reach, and he spun back to her, with his eyes blazing. “But you did, you kept my daughter from me!!”

“I had to!!” She cried.

“NO!! YOU DIDN’T HAVE TO – YOU COULD HAVE TOLD ME! I WOULD HAVE PROTECTED HER!!” He shouted at her. Lena stepped back with an incredulous look on her face, and her anger exploded.

“HOW MANNY!?!?…HOW?!…LIKE YOU PROTECTED MICHAEL!?! AND WHERE IS HE NOW?? WHERE’S MY SON?? WHERE’S MICHAEL MANNY?? DO YOU KNOW? CAN YOU TELL ME?” She was panting now, her breasts rising and falling from her rage.

Manny turned from her unable to bear her words that stabbed him in the center of his heart. She grabbed his arm her nails digging into him, trying to get him to face her. “WELL – NO ANSWER?! I’M WAITING!!” She swiped at her own tears, her next words slipping through clenched teeth. “Your – WIFE – sold my son! She took him away from me – SHE TOOK MY MICHAEL – the one, I let you protect!!”

She felt she was going to go mad from the rush of emotions, breathing hard still, she finished. “But not my Hope. No one is taking her away from me!”

Manny stared across the room towards the additional room where his son had once slept. “Everything you’ve said – you think I haven’t said that very thing to myself over and over again? I know it’s my fault! Dammit I know it is! Over and over my mind has screamed…” He looked down at her. “…a thousand times, and a thousand more – if only I had! If only I hadn’t! – With every hour of every day, I knew it was my fault! I searched for him day in and day out, and I knew…every mile traveled, this is my fault!” He stopped looking into her eyes.

“But no matter what…not you…nor anyone else, will keep MY daughter from me!”

Lena closed her eyes in fear. She knew she must come clean and tell him all that there was to tell. There was no way around it…he had to know.

“I want you to listen to me Manny. And understand that this is for the best.” She swallowed nervously. Manny stood bracing himself as he waited. Lena took a deep breath, and decided to just come on out with it.

“Thomas Sandavol…has asked me…to marry him.”

Manny’s scalp drew up as his eyes widened at the mention of Thomas’s name. The thought that he’d asked her such a thing, made his already high anger come to a boil as he bit out tightly.

“And – what – was your answer?”

“He wants to take me, and – Hope away from here, with him…where she’ll be safe.”

“My – daughter?”

“She’s my daughter too.”

They stared a moment before he asked. “Again I ask, what was your answer?”

Lena stared up at him, and suddenly she felt her fear returning, she took a deep breath, squaring her shoulders and setting her resolve. “I have to do what’s best for Hope…and so…I accepted his proposal. I’m going to marry Thomas.”

“THE HELL YOU WILL!!” He roared down at her. “YOU’LL BECOME HIS WIFE OVER MY DEAD BODY!!”

Because they stood so close, Lena had to glare up at his scowling face with her head back, and hands on her hips. She suddenly realized that he really hadn’t changed much at all. Atleast, not towards her. Something in her knew he would never hurt her, no matter how great his anger. Taking a deep breath, she decided the calm approach was the best approach. This yelling was getting them nowhere. Once she made her plans known to him, he would just have to accept her decision, and that would be that.

“Look Manny…” She stopped, “…move back from me.” She instructed with a shove at his chest with both hands; he was rock solid, she hadn’t even swayed him, and was immediately reminded of his strength and their physical difference.

Her neck was starting to hurt looking up at him, and she decided to step around him, as her palms burned from touching him. The contact shook her; as her mind of its own will compared what Manny made her feel, to what Thomas made her feel.

There was no comparison.

Thomas’s touch – moved her as much as would that of a family member or friend. Manny’s touch – engulfed her in flames. As her heated palms, now sweating testified to that. She moved to the kitchen, and walking to the lamp there, quickly lit it to give herself time to get over the shock of touching him.

“Now look-…” She started again, in the kitchen – as he stood by the partition wall that separated the small kitchenette from her bed area.

“You – are not marrying that man.” Manny interrupted.

“He wants to make me happy Manny. And I think he can. And Hope – Hope really likes him, he’ll be good to her, and she’ll be safe-…”

“Happier than I can make you? Love you more than I love you…?”

“Stop it Manny.” Her heart was going crazy in her chest.

“…be a father to my daughter…” shot Manny “…when I’m right here? I’ve been running and battling and running some more because I thought I had nothing left here. And today I find, that –WE- have a beautiful daughter… and you honestly think I would even consider…letting you leave here, and take her – so that – that… man, can be a father to my child?”

“Manny – you’re married to Katherine. There is no room in your life for Hope. There is no room in your life for me. With Katherine, is where you belong! And I, with Thomas.”

“Wait?!” Manny stood straight looking at her as if she’d lost her mind. “Because she’s white, like me? And he’s black, like you?” He asked testing her.

Lena nodded, then said it. “Yes. Yes Manny… that’s why. To believe there could be anything more for us is – is nothing more than a dream. Let’s just stop it now-…”

“NO!”

“Yes Manny. Let me go. Let Hope go.”

“NO!”

“There’s nothing you can do to stop it.”

“THE HELL I CAN’T! I OWN YOU! YOU – ARE – MINE!!”

“Thomas will buy me from you.”

Manny threw his head back and laughed. He looked at her and laughed again, “And what price would I scribble on the tag? Hm? At what price? Where is there a man – whose eyes have seen – with enough money, to satisfy what I would demand as equal exchange for YOU? There is no such man. There is no such amount. And Thomas, of all men… cannot reach for the tag, and meet the price.”

She stood stunned. “Then give me over to him.”

Manny shook his head. “I would sooner give him Webster Fields. I would sooner sign over to him every ship I own. And if he wishes…he can have Katherine … but he’ll not – have you.”

Lena knew she was in trouble, and if she didn’t break this spell soon, she would be in his arms. “Fine!” She thrust her chin up. “You’ve had your say. Now get out of my cabin.”

“I’m not going anywhere.”

“I SAID GET OUT OF MY CABIN!”

Angry and at the end of his patience, Manny charged at her grabbing her by the arms. “Who do you think you are!?” He demanded as his body surged with burning arousal, ready to do what was long overdue between them. “Let me tell you something – this cabin is mine! The land it resides on is mine! Everything in it, and on it – mine! Which includes you! -…”

“NO MANNY!” She began struggling panicking.

“You – are – mine!” He ground out brusquely, wrapping his arm around her waist and pulling her up his body as the other hand cupped her head – while his mouth attacked hers with all the deprived savagery he felt. Lena tried turning her head away from a hold intended to keep her captive. Manny moved with her in his arms, and placed her back against the partition. Pressing and grinding his large body along the front of her smaller softer one. He wanted her to feel the strength of his passion, the need of him for her. An erection so powerful he tried to force it through their clothing as he ravaged her mouth – stealing every breath she attempted to take.

From the Author:

It was my desire to write a story that was as vast and sweeping as any tale such as Gone With The Wind, or Roots. Yet, it needed a different flavor. This story needed to be told a bit differently from what most would expect from such novels. This story is about the struggle of a man, a father, and a master who endures and goes through hell to keep and hold onto his special family. One that is taboo and non-acceptable in the growing Southern polite society of Mississippi, a society he refuses to heed, one he resents and refuses to answer to. Readers are reeling from the Webster Fields saga, “Princess Ces’alena” taking them by surprise, an incredible, beautiful, black Caribbean princess…possessed, cherished and adored by her master and the children they share. This saga is ever changing, taking it’s readers by surprise, don’t miss it.


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    Copyright © October 1988, 89 & 90 Amber Swann Publishing Inc., reprinted by permission. All rights reserved. {jos_sb_discuss:9}

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