Retro is completely done with love. He had buried all of the emotions he’s previously had for Semaj Maxwell, after finding himself sprung inside the public eye following the brawl that took place between he and Gravity Nine. If being a drug dealer wasn’t hard enough, it’s even harder to do when a newfound clout is surrounding your name. People are now recognizing Retro’s face and the stakes is risen when it is brought to Retro’s attention that he may be on the radar of the FBI.


Semaj is still nursing her own wounds over her failed romance with Retro. So much so that these old feelings that refuse to die, seem to keep getting in the way of a potentially healthy and prosperous relationship with Gravity. Semaj knows that Gravity is a good guy, but when old feelings for Retro seem to do a complete 380 within her heart, who will Semaj chose? Throw in the fact that her mother, Sammy, is in town with a big secret to tell her; how will Semaj handle the emotional storm that is brewing her way?

In this final installment of the “Guard My Body, Protect My Heart” series, lies are told, bonds are broken and lives are claimed. Each of our beloved characters in this twisted, heart wrenching, melodrama is forced to make a choice. Will they choose to ride? Or will they choose to die?

Chapter One



            Retro ran as fast as he could. The sound of bullets rang out and flew over his head as he ducked. He took a minute to bust of a few rounds back, before quickly looking to his left and then his right. He dived behind the Toyota Camry parked on his right. He heard the running footsteps of AJ’s goons as they came closer toward him.

            This is it, Retro thought. They about to take me out. Retro only had a couple rounds left in his Ruger, and he would of course empty the rest of his clip on those niggas. He wasn’t about to go out like a sucker, but even still, he was about a thousand percent sure that he was only seconds away from seeing his father again.

            Before AJ’s men could approach him, however, tires could be heard screeching on the rough asphalt; the sound of gravel crunching beneath the weight of the wheels.

            Peeking from around the car he hid behind, Retro recognized the black van that had pulled up in just the Knick of time. The side doors flew open, Fred and Klassik appearing in the doorway, Uzi’s in their hands. They began shooting in the direction of Retro’s assailants.

            “Back door, boss! Back door! Hurry up!” Fred yelled at Retro, between firing shots.

            Retro hurriedly started moving, still crouched down and bent at the knees, as he made his way towards the back of the van. AJ’s henchmen were still trying to shoot at him, but their aim was whack.

            The back doors to the van was waiting open for Retro, King and Prince standing there, ready to help him inside. Once Retro was safe and sound inside the van, they slammed the doors shut.

            “Go!” King yelled at Jimmy who was driving.

            “What the fuck took y’all so long?” Retro thundered.

            “It was this nigga Jim!” said K. Dot, who was sitting in the passenger’s seat. “Nigga made the wrong turn and got lost!”

            Retro’s eyes narrowed at the back of Jimmy’s head. Everyone else had gone quiet, besides Fred and Klassik who were still busting their guns and yelling for Jimmy to drive faster.

            “Got lost?” Retro repeated. “How the fuck you get lost? You were only on the next block.”

            “I know, boss! I know. I fucked up,” Jimmy stated.

            “You more than fucked up!” Fred yelled, as he and Klassik drew back inside and finally slammed the van doors shut.

            “Them niggas almost had him!” Fred continued to bark. “Two more minutes and they would’ve killed him!”

            Fred was unquestionably livid, and you could visibly see the fury in his eyes. Retro didn’t know if he was madder at Jimmy or if Fred was.

            “Boss, you good? My bad, yo. My bad,” Jimmy kept repeating.

            “Hell no, I’m not good! Do I look good to you? I almost got bodied just now, and why the fuck are you driving anyway?! You supposed to be shooting!”

            “Klassik wanted to shoot!” Jimmy replied, his hands tight on the wheel.

            “Nigga, you told me to shoot!” Klassik fired back at Jimmy, not willing to have Retro spazz on him.

            The van fell quiet once again, everyone just sat looking at Jimmy for an explanation regarding his careless actions.

            “You trying to set me up, Jim?” Retro asked.

            “What?! Come on now, boss. How you going to ask me some shit like that?” Jimmy said back, not at all answering Retro’s question.

            He was now gripping the steering wheel even tighter, his eyes directly on the road. He was without a doubt uncomfortable.

            Retro tapped Prince for him to move out of the way, because his long legs were blocking the short pathway for Retro to walk up behind Jimmy. Prince obliged.

            The weight of the bulletproof vest that he wore underneath his clothes was heavy as Retro walked towards the front of the van, ducking down some so that he wouldn’t hit his head on the roof. He saw that Jimmy looked up nervously in the rearview, seeing Retro as he approached him. Retro pointed his Glock at Jimmy’s temple.

            “Pull over,” he ordered him.

            Jimmy pulled the van over and then Retro instructed everyone to get the fuck out. He kept the gun pointed at Jimmy the entire time, as he followed him out of the van. Once everyone had filed out, they all watched as Retro took his gun and pressed it onto the center of Jimmy’s forehead.

            “This is your second time fucking up! Talk to me, Jim! What’s going on?” Retro asked.

            The first fuck up that Retro was referring to was when Jimmy had stayed behind in the car, while Fred had gone inside the Golden Crust when they went Uptown and had gotten shot by AJ herself. Fred was still walking with a limp behind that shit.

            “Don’t tell me I gotta take you out right here, right now. You know I will fucking do it,” Retro added.

            Jimmy was clearly trying to remain calm.

            “Boss,” he said. “I promise you. I ain’t no snake. I been fucking up. But I ain’t a snake.”

            Without warning, Retro took the Glock and busted Jimmy across the face with it. Jimmy stumbled back, grabbing his left cheek from where blood gushed out, because Retro’s hit had split his face open.

            “You say that shit like it’s okay! You think this shit is okay? You think this shit is acceptable?!” Retro spazzed.

            “Nah, Retro! I didn’t say that! I—”

            Retro cut him off.

            “This ain’t no fuckin’ game! What the fuck? You think you writing a fucking paper or something? And you can just start over when you mess up? You puttin’ niggas lives in jeopardy and shit, you stupid motherfucker!” Retro continued to go off.

            Jimmy stood quiet, just taking it, still holding onto his face which was bleeding profusely. Fred, Klassik, K. Dot, King and Prince just watched, each of them feeling pity for Jimmy. They were all happy that they were not him.

            They all knew what type of time Retro was on, and they already knew how he was coming. Retro had been super aggressive, agitated and hostile within the last few weeks. They knew it had a lot to do with the fact that he had been all over the blogs and tabloids following all the madness that had taken place between him, Semaj and Gravity Nine.

            Retro was just as famous as both Semaj and Gravity those days, and he had his own self to blame for it. If being a drug lord wasn’t already hard enough, it was even harder to do in the public eye. Being a high-profile criminal wasn’t desirable for him or anyone else on the team. They all had a lot to lose. Retro’s life was in shambles. A walking target, Retro was paranoid, and he was choleric. He was also trying to hold it down, but it was plain to see that Retro was losing it.

            Usually calm and collected, always patient and levelheaded, Retro had become a menace. He was quick to blow up and there was a certain fear of him that the hustlers had that didn’t exist before. They knew that at any given moment, Retro was liable to blow the fuck up and any one of them could get the business. The only one who seemed to be able to bring Retro back to his senses those days was Fred.

            But today, Fred wouldn’t even stop Retro from wilding out on Jim, for he was pissed off with the nigga himself.

            “I know it ain’t a game, boss! I know it ain’t a game!” Jimmy said, fearing for his life.

            “Wassup with you, anyway?” Retro asked. “You used to be one of my best shooters. What happened?”

            “I’m just going through my own personal shit right now, boss. I’m not focused. But you can still count on me,” Jimmy replied.

            “Your own personal shit, huh?” Retro echoed.

            Jimmy nodded his head. “Yeah. That’s all it is, boss.”

            “Aight,” Retro said then. “So, since you’re so unfocused, I’m taking your turf from you.”

            Retro turned to Fred. 

            “Ayo. 145th is all you,” Retro said to him.

            Fred just nodded his head, not really knowing what to say. Jimmy looked at Retro with widened eyes.

            “Retro, come on! You ain’t gotta do all that! How am I supposed to eat? I got a little son to take care of!” He pleaded with Retro.

            “Well, you just gonna have to grind hard for yours again. Work your way back up if you want your turf back. For now, I want you back on the block and you report directly to Fred. Delete my number out your phone. Block hustlers don’t even get the privilege of talking to me. You’ve been demoted,” Retro coldly replied.

            “Boss, please! Don’t take my turf from me!”

            “I’m just looking out for you, Jim. Since you so unfocused and all. Since you got so much on your mind and so much, you’re dealing with. I’m giving you time to clear your head. You’ll get your turf back when you earn it,” Retro said back.

            Retro turned to face the rest of the bosses.

            “And this goes for all of ya’ll! Let this be a fucking example! I am not fucking around, and I am not accepting no one’s stupid ass mistakes! I will take everybody’s territory from them; this shit isn’t a game! I want AJ dead and all of you niggas need to be paying attention! If I see anybody who isn’t working to make sure this bitch is dead, I’m handing out repercussions! Do y’all hear me?”

            The bosses all nodded. They all heard Retro loud and clear. It was written all across his face. Everything about his demeanor screamed it. Retro was deadass. He meant business. Playtime was over.



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