Leelah and Pryce appear in my upcoming release ENVY – book four in the Love is Cure, Vol. 1 – Vices & Virtues series. This glimpse results from a scene that appears in ENVY and will have more context once book four publishes. For now, catch up with Leelah and Pryce, a couple who rediscovered love with each other in LUST.
Leelah & Pryce
…. Anita Baker’s lyrics bounce off the high ceilings and upholstered walls. The vocalist is singing about making a vow to give the best she’s got to some deserving man. Smooth contralto vocals play from the mounted overhead speakers as Leelah moves her foot in time to the song’s rhythm.
She trains her gray eyes on black words printed on a cream white page in her hardcover book.
She’s in the middle of reading a spiritual quote on the inner workings of karma, when Pryce swaggers through their bedroom door.
She didn’t hear him enter the house, but that’s a common occurrence. Their five bedroom, three bathrooms property in upstate New York is so large, one could host a party in the living room and the organized noise from the event wouldn’t make it past the large winding staircase downstairs, much less through the master bedroom’s door where Leelah lays inside.
She lowers her book from her eyes and lifts her gaze to him.
“Hey,” she greets. “I called you an hour ago.”
“I know. My bad,” he replies, pulling at the hem of his black hoody, removing it slowly. “I was at an appointment.”
She furrows her brows and sits up in bed. “At 9pm? With who?”
He pulls off his jeans and flings the denim somewhere out of sight in the room. The maid will put it away when she finds the pants while cleaning their home in the morning.
“My tattoo artist in Harlem,” he says, walking toward her.
“Your tattoo artist? For what?”
He holds up his left hand while closing the space between them. “To get this?”
She doesn’t have to look hard, nor does she have to look long to see the big bold black letters etched vertically down his long ring finger. She leans toward the fresh ink on his finger anyway with furrowed brows, curious mostly. Her eyes balloon when she realizes what the letters spell.
Her name, in all caps.
She gasps while slapping a hand to her mouth. “Oh, my God.”
“You like it?” He stares at her, his bare tatted chest moving up and down as he inhales and exhales nervously. “Talk to me.”
“Oh my God,” she repeats. Her eyes are still big as she examines Pryce’s latest body art. “Why wouldn’t you talk to me first before doing something like this?”
“Because I knew you’d talk me out of it.”
“I want every single one of them to know where my home is.”
Leelah closes her eyes slowly and sighs.
He paces back and forth near the foot of their bed. “They need to get it through their skulls what married means and how serious I am about it. This ain’t no joke for me.”
“So you do this?”
“Hell yeah!” He stops to look her in the eyes. “I needed to.”
“Needed to?” She presses her hand to her forehead. “Baby, is this because of Mykal and what happened?”
He exhales harshly while tightening his jaw and looking away.
“Pryce, you didn’t have to do this because of her–“
“I wanted to,” he interjects while walking closer to his wife. “Because you and me, this is for life, for real. And everyone should acknowledge and respect that shit.”
“Oh, and property of LaLa land in the same big bold letters on your chest wasn’t enough?”
He smirks and chuckles lowly, which makes her giggle in response.
Her smile slowly fades when she tells him, “You did nothing wrong that night, you know that, right?”
“And I trust you,” she says, her eyes fixed on his.
“I know,” he repeats.
“Completely,” Leelah stresses, not breaking eye contact.
“I. Know,” he says, this time while nodding.
“So, you didn’t have to do anything to prove anything to me or anyone else.”
“I needed there to not be another question from anyone else.” He lifts his hand. “Because right here in plain sight is the reminder.”
She wants to keep her smile to herself, but why bother? It’s such a cliche, and what many would probably label a toxic played out show of loyalty. But she’s flattered and can’t help how her heart patters at the sight of her name yet again inked on him.
“My ring can come off, but this is permanent.”
Leelah moves the book to her night table and gestures toward him. “Come here.”
When he’s close, he leans in and presses his lips to hers, next leaning his weight against her so she’d lie on the bed beneath him.
“The blogs are going to have a field day with this,” she says against his lips.
“Mm-Hmm.” He groans while sliding a hand between the mattress and her ass. “That’s the plan….”