Part 1: Tia

Every family had some type of dysfunction. Whether it was a family that was deeply in the church and all about god or a celebrity family gracing our tv screens. None of us was perfect no matter how much we may try to pretend we are to avoid people and what they may have to say. Somewhere there was a crackhead cousin, siblings that couldn't see eye to eye, or maybe even a drunk granddad. But that what made our family what it was and made us love even more.     

My family was no different than anyone else. My granddad was killed shortly after my aunt was born. Some say it had something to do with drugs and others decided to say nothing. Instead of going after another man my grandma took her three kids and turned to the church. Although they were raised just like all of my grandma kids turned out totally different. My dad turned out to be a pastor and he was a die heart about God. Which kept all of us covered. My dad was a divorced single parent and god lead him as he led us.

My two aunts on the other hand. One was my best friend because we were so close in age. Khala’s life wasn’t perfect but I looked up to her. She had her man and her kids. And although she didn’t go to church often she always made us we knew she had faith and believed. My other aunt Kiki had become a stranger to the family. She chooses a man and drugs over us. Moved across the country to keep him alive so her sons wouldn’t have to know their dad was gunned down. And we only heard and seen from her when she decided to deal with us. But I could complain my life was great and I had a family that no matter what we went through I knew had a love for each other and would move heaven and earth before we let someone hurt anyone in this circle.

As I stood in the bathroom singing happy because it was the first time in almost 5 years and living with Blaze for 2 years he had proposed last night and I couldn’t wait to get to the church later and tell my grandma, dad, and sisters all at once.  “Tia your phone is ringing,” Blaze yelled from our bedroom over the music. I came dancing out the bathroom smiling from ear to ear I picked up my phone and looked at the caller ID. it was my little sister Jazzella.

I answered the phone super happy. “Hey Jazzy. What are you doing? Are you coming to church tonight I got something to tell you in person.” I said. The sound of Jazzella crying came through my speaker and my smile quickly went away. “Jazzy what's wrong?” I said but she didn’t say anything. “Jazzella answer me! What is wrong?” i asked. Blazed turned around and looked at me. Jazzella cleared her throat and tried to pull herself together. “Its daddy,” she said and then started to cry again. “What about daddy Jazzy?” i asked shaking a little. Jazzella kept crying. “JAZZY WHAT HAPPENED TO DADDY?” I yelled on the phone. “Tia sit down,” she said to me. “I don’t want to sit down. I want you to tell me what the fuck is going on?” i said. My heart was racing. “I don’t want to sit down Tia,” she said. “Jazzy I’m sitting shit! NOW WHAT'S GOING ON?” i said as I paced back

and forth.

   Jazzella’s next few words seemed like they came out in a slow moment and everything stopped. “Tia daddy was shot.” the words made my whole body weak, my legs gave out from under me. I dropped the phone. Blaze came over to me. I could see him but i couldn’t hear him. I saw as he picked up my phone and his mouth move and then he hung up the phone. All i could hear playing over and over again was daddy has been shot.

   When I finally started to hear again and life came back to me all i could do was turn to Blaze and say. “Someone shoot my daddy. Someone shot a damn Pastor. SOMEONE SHOOT MY DAMN DADDY!” i screamed as I punched the floor. “I know baby and I'm sorry. We are going to get through this. I am here for you. But right now i have to get you up off this floor and to the hospital so you can see your dad because right now he needs you. Blaze said. “I can’t. I can’t move.” I said shaking my head. As a dropped my head on his shoulder.

   “Baby go ahead and cry it out. Scream if you have to. Then we are going to get up and go. But not until you are strong enough to handle what you are going to see.” he said to me. The tears streamed down my face as I looked into his eyes.

   Blaze let me lay in his lap and cry my eyes out. Then I put my war face on with my man on the side of me and headed to the hospital. When I walked into the room my sister Jazzella was there holding my dad's hand, my aunt Khala was siding at the window and my grandma was sitting in the car next to the bed. My eyes locked on my dad who had all these tubes and machines hooked up to him. I instantly froze. This man was my hero and her he was at the age of 48 laying in a bed and there was nothing I can do.” When Jazzella looked up and seen me she ran over to me. “He’s in a coma with no real responses. He has a bullet in his chest still that if they remove it he can die,” she said crying.

   I did everything I could to stay strong. “he will pull through. You know he’s a fighter. He’s a god fearing man, God won’t take him from us.” I told her. “I just can’t understand why this happens. Who did this no nothing.” Jazzella said to me. “What did the police say?” i asked. “Nothing. Nothing at all. No one had anything to say and because they all seen nothing. Ms. Ford called grandma after hearing a gunshot and looking outside and seeing daddy laying in the driveway.” Jazzella said.  “This happened at the house? Who the hell would do this?” I screamed. Blaze grabbed my hand “I will figure it out. No one is going to talk to cops. I’ll be back.” Blaze said turning towards the door.

   “I’m coming with you,” i said to him. “No your not. You're the oldest child you need to be here with your dad just in case.” Blaze said. “Yes, you need to her here. Your aunt should be here soon she got on the first flight she could.” my grandma said. I looked at her and then back at Blaze. “Baby I will be back, believe me. I’m going to find out who did this to my future father in law,” he said to me and then walked out the door.

   I went and sat next to Khala at the window. “What does that boy mean his future father in law?” my grandma asked. “It doesn't matter right now.” i said “it does matter.” my grandma asked. “He asked me to marry him yesterday and I said yes. I was going to tell you all at bible study tonight but then this.” I said to her. “my grandma got out her chair and walked over to me. “I am happy for you Tia,” she said to me as she hugged me. Tears came to my eyes, “Grandma I might not have a dad to give me away at my wedding. Who would do this?” i said. “Baby you look at me. If my son leaves this earth right now he is still with you,” she said as she hugged me tighter.

   “Well can I get some of my mother’s love.” we heard my aunt Kiki say from the door. We looked up and was greeted by a smile. She walked into the room. “Give me a hug.,” she said with her arms out. My grandma went and hugged her daughter and my aunt Khala followed. Then we were greeted by another voice. “Any hugs for me?” Kiki’s husband Darryl said. Everyone looked at him and then went back to where they we sitting. “How were your travels?” my grandma asked. “It was good. Darryl flew us out, first class.” Kiki said smiling. “Yeah, nothing but the best for my family,” Darryl said.

   Kiki went back to talking. “Momma let me show you how big the boys have gotten. Oh and look at my new car. We are moving in a few weeks.” my temper got the best of me and I screamed. “Shut up, in all the time you have been here you’ve yet to ask how your own brother is. The reason why we are all here.” Kiki looked me up and down. “I know how he’s doing, he got shot.  Nothing we can do but wait to see what happen. Now I’m talking to my mother so stay in a child's place.” Kiki responded.

   I stood up and started to walk towards her. “I am far from a kid. If you're not going to respect what is going on with my father you can leave.” I said. Kiki got out her chair. Khala quickly hyped up and jumped between us. “Aww, Tia what's the matter you don’t love me no more. I mean I am like the only mother figure you ever had.” Kiki said smiling. “You were never a mother figure to me,” I said to her. Kiki laughed. “Darryl take your wife and go medicate her. Don’t you control her meds,” i said staring past her and looking at her husband.

   “Tia chill. Kiki you go to my house and get some rest you been traveling for a while.” Khala said trying to end the situation. “Yeah, I’m a go,” Kiki said rolling her eyes. “Thank you,” i said in a smart way and walked over to my dad’s bedside.

   Time went by doctors came in and out. Khala took my grandma home. Jazzella went home to check on her son. I looked at my dad. “It's just me and you,” I said to him as i rubbed his hand. “Daddy I’m getting married. Your little girl is getting married.” I said with a smile on my face and tears running down my throat. “Daddy I need you. Please pull through this.” I said as I laid my head on him.

   I felt someone watching over me and I sat up. It was Blaze. He came in and sat on the other side of the bed and grabbed my hand. “Did you find out who did this to my daddy?” i asked him. He nodded his head yes. “Tell me,” I said to him demanding the info. “My boy Tye said some young dude they call baby E was walking around bragging about how he got paid to handle a hit on a pastor… your dad” Blaze said to me. My heart dropped and so did my head as the tears came to my eyes. “Baby relax I told Tye to put the word out to bring baby E ass to me as soon as possible,” he said. I looked at him “who the hell would put a hit out on my dad!” i said to him. Blaze looked away from me. “Baby do you know?” i asked.

   Blaze did say anything but still wouldn’t look at me. I dropped my dad’s hand and came around the bed and grabbed Blaze face and made him look me in the eyes. “Do you know who did this?” I asked him again. Blaze looked so sad and nodded his head. “Tell me” i demanded him. “I don't think you should know,” he said softly. “Blaze if you love me you’d tell me,” I said to him. Blaze looked away and I turned his head back. “It was Darryl,” he said to me.

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