Author Dani Littlepage is releasing her hood love standalone, Peaches. This heart provoking novel will release this Friday, December 11th. In the meantime, enjoy a sneak preview for what’s to come.
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“Bitch, put that damn magazine down and help me clean this damn office,” Rasheeda shouted at her friend. “We already got in trouble last week because ya ass wanted to be lounging on the job, and I’m not about to get fired because you wanna fantasize about shit you ain’t never gonna have.”
“Whatever, bitch.” Amara rolled her eyes at her friend. “Don’t be tryna kill my dreams because ya ass ain’t got no damn ambition.” She tossed the magazine back on the table before jumping to her feet. “You might be cool with cleaning up this damn building, but I know for a fact that this is just a pit stop for me, boo.”
“It’s a pit stop that’s paying ya damn bills at the moment. So stop dreaming and get to work, Peaches.”
“Fine.” She sucked her teeth.
Emptying the nearest trash can into the large trash bag, Amara, better known as Peaches, did the same thing to the rest of the trash cans in the office before moving onto the next task. Tired of the silence, she placed her earphones in her ear, turned on Megan thee Stallion’s “Hot Girl Summer”, and knocked out the rest of her work. Listening to her ratchet music always calmed her down when she was upset. It also reminded her of why and what she was working for.
Although being a janitor was paying her bills, she had bigger and better things planned for her life. The young, twenty-year-old wanted the finer things in life, which was something she dreamt about as a child. Being raised by a scheming and alcoholic mother in the Champlost housing projects in Philly, PA wasn’t an easy thing to deal with. There were times where she would miss school because she didn’t have clean clothes to wear. Her mother cared more about getting money and drinking than washing her clothes or Peaches’ well-being. Tired of being talked about by the kids at school, she learned to care of herself at the tender age of nine. She taught herself to cook, clean, wash her clothes, and do her hair. Most of the clothes that she had were hand-me-downs, but Peaches treated them like they were new clothes from the store. Whenever she received name-brand clothes or sneakers, she took special care of them, only wearing them for special occasions like picture day or when she would step out with her friends.
When she turned sixteen, she landed a job at Foot Locker, which made her high school years easier to live through. She was able to buy the latest fashions and go to the salon to get her hair and nails done every two weeks. Although she enjoyed earning her own money, Peaches was low-key jealous of her friends. They had a parent or guardian that gave them money for all the things she had to go to work to earn money for. She couldn’t just do chores and get an allowance like they did. She had to get it on her own. Peaches hated it at the time, but as she got older, she realized that she had the drive and ambition to get whatever she needed and wanted on her own.
When she graduated high school at the age of eighteen, she got pregnant with her daughter, Zaniyah, and had to put her dreams of going to college on hold. After her mother kicked her out, Peaches needed a place to call home, and staying with her baby daddy wasn’t the move. He was still living with his mama who believed that her son deserved better than a project bitch. Not wanting to get on welfare, she put her pride to the side and got all the assistance she needed. With a house not too far from her childhood home in the Champlost projects and food stamps to help provide food for herself and Zaniyah, Peaches became unhappy with her life and was ready for it to change like yesterday. With her baby daddy being a nickel-and-dime hustler, the only way she was going to provide a better life for her and her child was to grind harder than before. Her janitorial job paid well and allowed her to get a car and keep her lights on, but Peaches wanted more out of life. Much more.
When the ladies finished their shift, they clocked out for the day and headed to the SEPTA orange line train. Removing her Apple Air Pods, Peaches placed them in the case and removed her phone from her pocket. As they waited underground for the train, she kept her attention on her phone as she felt Rasheeda staring at her.
“So you just gonna keep ignoring me, Peaches?”
“I’m not ignoring you, Rah. If I wanted to ignore ya ass, I woulda kept my ear pods in,” she responded, not looking up from her phone.
“Don’t tell me ya ass still mad at me because I said you were dreaming about having all that fancy ass shit you were looking at.”
Peaches glanced in her direction before putting her focus back on her phone.
“Really, bitch?” she shouted, causing people to look in their direction. “Mind y’all fucking business. I’m talking to my friend.”
“Yes, really, Rasheeda. You of all people know what type of life I had coming up. So you should understand why it’s important for me to have a better life than the one I’m living. I know I shouldn’t be lounging on the job, but it’s like every time I bring something to ya attention or you see me looking at designer shit in a magazine, ya ass start hating.” Peaches rolled her eyes at her bestie.
When the train stopped in front of them, they waited until the passengers got off before getting on and sitting in the first seats they saw.
“Bitch, you know damn well I’m far from a hater, a’ight? If anything, I’m a realist. It ain’t nothing wrong with dreaming about living in a mansion, but why do it when it’s never gonna happen? Having the latest designer purse is cool, but why spend two racks on a purse when you don’t even have two racks to carry around in it? You got champagne taste with beer pockets, boo. I’m not saying that you can’t dream about having those things. It just seems a little outta ya range to me.”
“Even if it is outta my range, you’re supposed to support me and believe that I can have anything I dream about because that’s what friends do, Rasheeda.”
“You know what? You’re right. From now on, you have my full support. No matter what it is.”
“Thank you, hoe.”
The rest of the train ride, they chatted about how they were going to spend their weekend. In need of some new drip for the summer, they agreed to hit up the mall the following day. When they arrived at the Olney Terminal, the duo got off the train and waited for the Route 18 bus to come, which took twenty minutes to arrive at the crowded bus stop. The ladies hated taking public transportation, but it was cheaper than paying for parking in a downtown parking garage.
After a short ride to their stop, Peaches and Rasheeda walked down the block to their homes. Saying goodbye to her friend, Peaches walked past her drunk mother, Claudia, like she was a stranger. She gave a head nod to the boys that were shooting dice in the tunnel that connected to the other side of the projects as she made her way to her crib.
“Aye, Peaches, tell L Boogie to come holla at me when he gets a chance,” Tone, the neighborhood dope boy, shouted.
“A’ight. He at my crib?”
Unlocking the door to her house, she heard her two-and-a-half-year-old giggling as she closed the door behind her. Not in the mood to be bothered by her baby daddy, Peaches took a deep breath before making her way to the living room, where they were playing on the couch. The new toys that were on the floor let her know that Logan had come up a little bit since she saw him two weeks ago.
“Don’t be looking like that.” Logan smirked. “I got something for you too. It’s upstairs in the room.”
Trying to keep her tough demeanor, Peaches waited until she was halfway up the stairs to let out the smile that forced its way on her face. When she entered her room, the bouquet of flowers along with the shopping bags made her mouth hit the floor. It had been a while since Logan was able to provide for her and their daughter financially. The “you gotta do better” speech she gave him the last time she saw him must’ve gotten to him because Peaches was now staring at two Louis Vuitton purses, a pair of red bottoms, and a few new outfits. Questions filled her head of where he got the money from to buy that expensive shit, but she didn’t want to ruin the moment. Logan had made part of her dream a reality, and Peaches was more than ready to start enjoying it.
“Yeah, bitch. Throw that ass back.” Logan pounded Peaches’ pussy from behind.
Obeying his command as she moaned, she put a deeper arch in her back, making her ass jiggle. After spending a great evening with their daughter at Chuck E. Cheese and the gifts he had bought for them earlier that day, Peaches was more than ready to bust her pussy open for him. Her four-year relationship had been on the rocks for the past year and a half due to his lack of income. When she first met him, Peaches couldn’t deny the six-foot-two, chocolate, sexy stranger. Rocking the latest drip and the newest pair of Jordans, Logon matched her fly, and his low cut and award-winning smile damn near knocked her out. Everything about him screamed that he was a street nigga, and that drew Peaches to him even more.
Their first year of dating, Logan couldn’t leave Peaches alone. They were always together. He picked her up and dropped her off at school and work, and whenever they had free time, they went out on dates, took weekend trips, and stayed between the sheets. Peaches had fallen deeply in love with Mr. Logan Baxter and hung on to his every word. They discussed moving in together and possibly getting married. She was so excited about their future that she started looking at wedding dresses and apartments, but when Peaches found out that she was pregnant, the happy and bright future she had for them quickly became dim. Although Logan seemed happy about their baby, his actions said otherwise.
Logan would be MIA for weeks at a time without calling or texting Peaches. After receiving paragraph-long text messages from her about leaving him and getting rid of the baby was when he made his presence known. He would stick around for a few days to make her happy, but when he got tired of being underneath her, Logan dipped and disappeared for a few more weeks. Spending most of her pregnancy alone, if it wasn’t for Rasheeda picking up his slack and making sure Peaches was straight, she probably would’ve lost her baby because she stopped taking care of herself due to depression. After Zaniyah was born, Peaches made it clear to Logan that he was going to have to shape up or ship out. He started spending more time with them, but as far as financial support, it was damn near nonexistent.
The day he walked into her crib with those gifts and the family time they spent together made Peaches happy. It brought back memories of their first year together and the fun they used to have. As much as she wanted to ask him where he had gotten the money from, she didn’t know if she should. She didn’t want to fuck up their evening or the vibe, but she needed to know where the money came from.
“Fucckk, Logan,” Peaches moaned. “This shiiitt feels good.” She bit her bottom lip, looking back at him.
Pounding harder, she tightly gripped the sheets as she continued to moan and scream his name. Logan’s deep, rough strokes were driving her crazy. The pain and pleasure combo had her on the brink of explosion. When he put his thumb in her ass, Peaches’ legs began to shake, and she threw her ass back even harder. Gripping her hips tighter, they cussed, groaned, moaned, and screamed as they came together. As they rode out their wave of ecstasy, the couple took a few moments to catch their breath before collapsing on the bed.
“Damn, girl.” Logan sighed. “You still got the best pussy I ever had.” He slapped her ass.
“Mmmm,” she moaned. “I know I do,” Peaches teased, laying her head on his chest. “I had so much fun tonight, L. It seems like that lil’ talk we had two weeks ago got to you, huh?”
“To be honest, it really did.” He placed his arm around her. “When you called me a bum ass nigga and a deadbeat, that shit had me in my feelings for real. When we first met, I was making moves and always had money. If you needed or wanted something, I had you. Everything you said about me switching up on you when you were pregnant was nothing but facts. I wasn’t ready for fatherhood. The streets are my life, and there’s no room for family when you’re knee-deep in this shit like I am. So I made a choice. Once I reach my goal, I’m giving up this street shit, and we’re gonna do all the shit we talked about in the past. We’re gonna move in together, and once we get settled, we’re gonna jump the broom.”
“Oh my God, L.” Peaches leaned up. “Are you serious?”
“Fuck yeah. You and Zaniyah are my life, Peaches, and I’m not tryna lose y’all.”
Throwing her arms around his neck, she hugged him tightly.
“I love you so much, Peaches. I know it’s hard for you to believe, but that’s real. I know you’re waiting for me to put my money where my mouth is, but I got you. In a month, ya ass gonna be in love with me again.” He kissed her forehead.
“I love you too, L.” She kissed his lips. “Just don’t let me down.”
* * *
Waking up in bed alone the next morning, Peaches was a little upset that her man wasn’t laying there next to her, but the twenty-five hundred dollars he left in his place made up for his absence. She fanned herself with the money before jumping out of bed and heading to Zaniyah’s room, where she found her child playing with her toys in her crib. Scooping the caramel-complected child into her arms, Peaches smothered her with kisses as she carried her to the bathroom. Running the water for their bath, she brushed their teeth and washed their faces before getting in the tub. After having their playtime, Peaches made sure Zaniyah was clean first before washing herself up. Once they were dressed for the day, she snapped a few pictures of them in their matching outfits as she cooed at her daughter in the mirror.
Standing at five feet six, Peaches had a slim thick frame with 34-C breasts and a round ass. It wasn’t the biggest, but it grabbed the attention of any man or woman she passed. With light-brown eyes, medium-brown skin, and a bright smile, she was a true definition of a black beauty. Although she wasn’t big on fitness, Peaches took pride in her body. Just like most people of color, she loved soul food, but she tried not to eat too much of it. Because her mother let her eat whatever she wanted when she was a child, Peaches often got teased for her weight, and it was how she got her nickname. Her mother always said that she was juicy and round like a peach, plus it was also her favorite fruit. Over the years, she begged her mother to stop calling her that, but Claudia refused. Her mother was the reason why everyone in the projects called her by her nickname. Although she hated the reason behind the name, Peaches learned to live with it.
With her Coach bag filled with everything she needed, she tossed the money that Logan left her in a shoe box in her closet. Peaches had enough money in both of her accounts to get whatever she and Zaniyah needed from the mall. Snatching her phone off the bed, she shot a text message to Rasheeda, letting her know that she was ready to go, and she replied that she would be out in five minutes. As she headed down the stairs with her daughter on her hip, Peaches grabbed a few snacks for Zaniyah on her way out the door. Locking up her crib, she popped the locks to her 2017 Nissan Sentra, then strapped her baby girl in her car seat. As she closed the back door, she heard a female call her name. When she saw that it was Octavia, the projects know-it-all and booster, Peaches knew that she was about to tell her some shit that she wasn’t in the mood to hear.
“Aye, girl,” she greeted with a smile. “I saw you and L spending some time together last night. I guess y’all back on good terms, huh?”
“For the time being,” Peaches honestly answered. “He told me everything I wanted to hear last night, but he gotta make some shit happen now. You feel me?”
“I damn sure do, bitch. You know my situation with my baby daddy, and you know that nigga is the king of lies.” Octavia rolled her eyes. “Anyway, I didn’t come over to hold you up. I just came over here to give you the lowdown on ya mom and L.”
“Give me the tea.”
After chopping it up with Octavia for fifteen minutes, Peaches hopped behind the wheel of her car, feeling confused and angry. She was so lost in her thoughts that she didn’t even realize Rasheeda was just now getting in her car. Rasheeda’s fussing about the fight she had with her boyfriend that morning brought Peaches back to reality. Bringing her car to life, she pulled off down the block and headed toward the Willow Grove Mall. As she listened to her friend vent, she tried to seem interested in Rasheeda’s problems, but the information she had just received wouldn’t leave her mind. She was hoping that a little retail therapy would help her relax, but Peaches wasn’t so sure that it would.