Savage Love-Excerpt II

1650 interior

Here’s another excerpt from the latest piece that I’m working on. I am trying to finish this before the new semester starts and I get bogged down with all of the daily details of grading and being on campus every day but it’s a lot of work.

Sav looked up from the journal she’d been sketching in to see the 6’2” frame of the man who’d been her lifelong best friend. When she continued to stare as his large shadow loomed over her he leaned down to provide his customary greeting, a kiss to her right cheek. He looked the same she thought as she quickly glanced at him. There was no proof that their argument had affected him at all. His dark chocolate skin still shone, he still wore his hair closely cropped, was still well dressed but he would never be the same McKay; at least not to her.
She turned her body away from him and went back to drawing although she’d lost her focus. McKay’s dark eyes held a somber look as he took the seat across from her. She’d been curled up at her favorite table in 1650 for hours since she hadn’t felt like going into the office today.
Savage wore her long bronze hair pulled up in a curly bun; the soft plaid flannel button down shirt she’d taken from her father’s closet on her last visit to Charleston hit her mid-thigh while her leggings and riding boots comprised the rest of her outfit. She wore large hoops in her ears and her freshly scrubbed look had caused quite a few college students to approach her while she sat designing the interior for a new building for a green company located in the Bronx.
You’ve been ducking me” he stated plainly as he motioned for the nearby waitress. When she arrived he ordered a pot of Assam with cream and sugar and asked for a basket of raspberry croissants.
She waited for the waitress to leave before she laughed and continued to sketch not looking up from her pad. The sunlight streaming in the window glinted off of the black frames of her cat eyed glasses and he stared at her waiting for her to look up. She didn’t so he spoke.
“You’ve been back for a month and I can’t get you on the phone. You haven’t shown up for Sunday dinner once since you’ve been back…” his voice trailed off as her head lifted and she stared at him with a confused expression.
“Why would I answer your calls? Why would I willingly show up for dinner knowing that you’re going to be there? Why should I pretend that everything is okay between us? Just so you can feel comfortable and justified in your treatment of me; no thanks” she said before returning to her pad.
“Sav, come on. I hate the way that things are right now. We need to talk this out” he said after several moments of uncomfortable silence. He had to get through to her.
“I don’t” she said simply without emotion.
It was now Mick’s turn to look confused “What?” he asked her.
“I do not want to fix our friendship. I like what you’ve turned it into. I like what you and Emily have done to it; I like knowing exactly where I stand and what value I have in the lives of the people I surround myself with” she said.
“Savage, I thought that we’d work this out after the accident” he said. The waitress returned with his order while Savage stared at him; her eyes frosty.
“Look, I came back when Nana Eva called because no matter what you’re a great godfather and Ryan’s a great dad. I did what I was supposed to do in a crisis but that was it” she told him.
“You rightfully placed importance on your relationship but in doing so you ruined our friendship. You decided that I was a bad friend in spite of 35 years of evidence to the contrary. You, McKay Ellison, told me that you could not believe that I would be so spiteful as to try to ruin your relationship and that you weren’t sure that we could remain friends. I am simply honoring your wishes” she told him before beginning to pack her belongings.
“I know I said some things…” he began
She held up a hand, “Let’s not rehash the whole thing. We have nothing to salvage and I’d love to just pretend that this encounter never happened. Our friendship is dead McKay. You killed it” she told him.
He stared at her in shock. In all the years of their friendship he’d never seen her be so cold. Not to anyone; even her stupid ex-husband.
“You threw my failed marriage in my face and accused me of being jealous of your relationship. You brought your woman to my house to let her disrespect me in my home. You called me a liar when you know that I’ve never been one. I never lied to you. Not about your wack rhymes, that dye job on your Gumby, or your chances with Felice Gordon. I never lied to you; not once. So all of that shit you planned to say about valuing our friendship and me. Save it because I cannot be that person anymore”
“Savage, I am truly sorry for hurting you. I’ve never regretted anything so much” he said earnestly. He had to find a way to fix this. He missed her every day and he couldn’t believe that things couldn’t be fixed.
She grabbed her bag and leaned down to face him.
“Fuck your apology McKay. Take it and feed it to your cheating girl. I wish you both nothing but the purest joy and happiness but achieve it while staying away from me” she said before stalking out of the tea house.


New Fiction- Savage Love

Hi everyone,
This is a new short that I hope to expand into a full piece of short fiction. It began as a subplot of the story that I worked on in November. I hope you all enjoy this part and the next segment that I share.

As she watched the clouds pass her by Savage Lawrence wondered how it all ended up like this. Somehow a lifelong friendship had crashed and burned in a matter of hours and she shivered and wrapped her gray cardigan closer to her as she recalled the words of her best friend McKay Ellison. Sav looked up in time to see the attendant hurry towards her and to offer a warm blanket. She gladly accepted and wrapped it around herself.
More than a month and a half ago she’d spotted her best friend’s longtime girlfriend kissing another man who had his hand up her dress. She’d mistakenly told him what she’d seen and he proceeded to call her everything but a child of God. As opposed to staying around the city and moping and listening to old Jodeci and Boyz II Men songs, she’d accepted a series of commissions that would keep her away from Brooklyn for the next three months.
As she exited the plane intent on heading towards the car that Justin sent for her Savage ignored the looks that took in the package she presented wrapped in a gray open front cardigan, white V-neck t-shirt, distressed jeans, knitted cowl and electric blue pumps; her long tresses were pulled into a simple braid and she wore sunglasses even though the day was a bit overcast. She strode quickly though the hangar handing her bag to the waiting driver and walking into the waiting arms of her other best friend Ryan’s wife.

Three Weeks Later

Sav stood at the large mullioned that overlooked the front porch and watched the rain. She’d spent the past week working with a group of students who were helping to design and construct a new school on the reservation. This particular job was the result of faux nepotism as her other best friend Ryan’s cousin Daemon Clay had put in a good word for her. But at night when she returned to the sparsely decorated cabin provided for her all she could think of was the fight that brought her across the country.
She’d called both Jimmy and Sin as she’d packed for her first assignment but she hadn’t shared the most hurtful parts of the argument hoping to spare Mick some of the pain he’d so casually inflicted upon her but they’d already heard the majority of the tale from Ryan. She thought back to the moment when she’d G-chatted with them before her flight since she didn’t want either of them to mention what had happened to McKay while she was gone. She’d withheld the ugliest parts of the exchange knowing that they would have gone directly to McKay’s and given him hell; she was pretty sure that one or both of them would have thrown some blows as well.
Savage recalled the conversation that she’d had with Ryan’s estranged wife Noelle while she hung out with her in San Francisco. They were seated in the living room of Noelle’s suite. The ladies sat facing the large window; Noelle was curled up in one of the armchairs while Sav was in the one next to her. There was a bottle of Gewürztraminer on the glass coffee table along with their glasses and several open containers. Noelle’s nude patent toe pumps lay on the floor under the table.
“I just can’t believe that Mick would tell you that he couldn’t be your friend anymore; after 30 plus years of friendship. That is so crazy” Noelle said to her.
Sav didn’t say anything she just picked up another chocolate covered strawberry and took a huge bite.
“I would have been so pissed!” Noelle said. In her opinion, Mick just went too far by questioning Savage’s friendship. He of all people knew how much she loved all of her friends and even though Noelle had initially been uncomfortable with Ryan having a female best friend she’d quickly seen exactly what kind of person Savage was and she trusted her implicitly.
“I am not even pissed off anymore. I’m just so hurt that this man whom I’ve known for my entire life would look me in my face and call me a liar. Noelle we have known each other forever! This man knew me when I was decorating my Barbie Dream House every week, when I begged my dad to make me a bunch of model homes out of cardboard boxes and he even beat up a bully who threatened me when we were in first grade. Mick knew me before I had anybody else and he questioned my friendship” she said. Even though it had occurred more than a month ago, the hurt was still fresh and Sav could honestly admit that even the pain of her divorce was nothing compared to what McKay had done.
“I totally get that” Noelle said before taking a sip of her wine. She looked Savage in the face and asked “Are you hurt that he took her side?” She watched the emotions play on her friend’s face She knew that McKay and Savage had been friends for a long time and she knew that his betrayal stung.
Even though she’d flown into town on Justin’s private plane Sav had still needed a shower when she arrived at Noelle’s. It was one of the only ways that she could relax after a cross country flight; the other was to talk to McKay. Unfortunately that was no longer an option. She had her left her long hair down and dressed in a pair of leggings, a tunic and slippers after her shower. Noelle wore a long sleeved maxi dress they had candles lit on the shelf above the room’s oversized love seat and had the sounds of Bob Marley playing in the background.
“No” Sav said honestly. “I think that I’m most upset that he questioned my integrity. That he feels as if his relationship is so fucking precious that no one can say anything against it. Do you remember when he didn’t want anything to do with my wedding? He refused to be a member of the bridal party, didn’t attend the bachelor party and he refused to come to the wedding.”
Noelle nodded her head before adding “Until Ryan and Remy threatened to knock him out. I think even Papa Fred said something to him about it.” Noelle had always thought that Mick’s behavior had more to do with the fact that Savage was getting married more than the fact that he didn’t like Ivan but now wasn’t the right time to mention that.
Sav looked at her with sad eyes. “What you don’t know is that he came to the bridal suite and asked to have a word in private with me before the wedding. He told me that I was making a mistake marrying Ivan, that he was no good for me, that he would always be looking at the next woman and was a condescending ass. He said when, not if, my marriage failed that he would be the first person to say ‘I told you so’ and that I would regret not listening to him. Then he walked out of the room without looking back.
Noelle gasped and looked over at Savage in surprise. In the 15 years that she’d known him, McKay had never had that kind of negative personality. He’d always been sweet to everyone which was part of the reason that she’d apologized for her nasty behavior when she showed up at the house a few months ago. “He said all of that?” she asked.
Savage nodded hard without meeting Noelle’s eyes. She said, “On my wedding day, while I had on a full face of makeup and my wedding gown. I was just waiting for my dad to come and get me.” Noelle could see that the memory still hurt as Sav’s gray eyes turned stormy.
“Wow” Noelle said. “Well damn”
“So you can see why I mistakenly thought that I had the same freedom to speak to him although I never said anything nearly as harsh to him about Emily” she said. Noelle knew that because Savage and the rest of the crew had plenty of time to give McKay their unfettered opinions about Emily but Sav always held back.
“So…” Noelle began but her voice trailed off.
“What” Sav asked before she finished her glass of wine in one gulp. She was normally not much of a drinker but this whole situation had thrown her for a loop.
“Did he say ‘I told you so’?” Noelle asked.
“Of course he did” she told her. At Noelle’s outraged gasp she explained that he waited until the divorce was final and she’d had a bit of time to heal but he did say it.
“I cannot believe it” Noelle said to her. She picked up another marinated bocconcini and popped it in her mouth. She closed her eyes and moaned at the tangy and creamy taste of the cheese.
“Believe it! He said it at Aunt Cate’s birthday party while I was talking to Satchel who had just threatened to ruin Ivan’s business. He came right up and asked to speak to me. He said that since I was listening to offers to hurt Ivan that it was time that he made the announcement and he did” Sav told her.
“Damn!” Noelle said. “That had to hurt”
It absolutely did but I didn’t hold that against him. Not until he acted like I’d cursed Jesus when I told him what we saw.
You could have easily got the ladies to tell him” Noelle said. “You know that Jimmy and Sin would have backed you up.” Those ladies had known McKay for a long time too and he would have believed them. But he should have believed Sav.
“I know but I just didn’t want anyone else to get involved. I didn’t want him to be embarrassed and worried about who knew” Sav said. She had gone to him and told him what happened and he’d gotten so angry and accused her of trying to ruin his relationship. He said that she wanted him to be alone because her marriage had failed and that he never knew that she could be so spiteful and mean. It had taken everything for her to not burst into tears right in his living room.
When she left that day she’d planned to give him some time before they spoke again but he had other plans. McKay showed up later that night with Emily who also called her a liar. She cried some fake tears and asked what she’d done to make Sav hate her so. That’s when Savage realized that she needed to get them out of her face before she spewed the same kind of disrespect that they’d burned her with. She shared all of this with Noelle who could only shake her head in disbelief.
“So I didn’t leave New York solely to soothe my wounds I also needed some space. I was so pissed of Noelle! I could have shot both of them. At that moment I knew how all the women on Snapped and Deadly Women felt before they fell off the ledge” she said.
They both burst into laughter recalling how many times Ryan had accused them of plotting on people because of their addiction to those shows.
“You are awesome because I don’t know what I would have done in that situation” Noelle told her.
She asked whether Jimmy and Sin knew what happened knowing that they would give McKay hell for his treatment of Sav; as would Ryan, if he knew the full extent of their argument. Noelle wondered for the first time at the price that Sav was paying for McKay’s devotion to Emily.
Sav smiled blankly before closing her eyes and leaning her head against the chair. She didn’t feel awesome; she felt shaken and broken. In the moment, she didn’t think she’d ever feel like herself again.


This Poet’s Birthday…


Was on Friday and I thought that it would be an exceptionally difficult one. It was hard…but I made it! I had a decent day and a wonderful night.
The point is that I allowed myself to feel miserable but I still put on real pants and celebrated being here.

I hope that you’ve all had a great weekend and are enjoying being part of the human experience even if that means putting on real pants.




Lie to me like you love me
As if your only thought at the end of the day is being wrapped up in me
Like all of the happily ever after’s of fairy tales are possible
Lie to me like
Shakespeare’s tales of love
Like Teddy Pendergrass’ voice
And Dr. J’s arc
Lie to me like you love me
Like chocolate’s first kiss
And a freshly fallen snow
Or summer rain
Tell me it all but
Know that I expect it to
Be a


Motherhood- The Beginning


Here it is; the revamped beginning of my NaNoWriMo project “Motherhood.” If you’ve read the previous excerpt then you’ll be able to see the differences between the first version and this one. I hope that it has improved a bit. I am still working on making a cohesive manuscript of my project from last year which hopefully will happen before the end of the year. I hope that you all enjoy. Please feel free to leave comments about what works and what you think.

The Beginning

Sometimes your life changes without notice. Mother’s Day was that day for us. What should have been a happy day marked with lunch, gifts and family time instead wound up being a heartbreaking day spent separately, in solitude. I was consigned to a sterile hotel room while my husband sat in our home with the kids and our mothers. When I woke up that morning I wanted nothing more than to spend some time in bed with my husband and then to get some work done. Instead, I was expected to attend a Mother’s Day brunch along with a bunch of other women with children and to spend hours of my time doing…who knows.
I certainly didn’t know and because I got caught up in my work my husband decided that we needed some time apart. In his defense, he said that this was the last straw but in mine he’s always known how I feel about these things.

These were Noelle’s thoughts as she walked into the building at a fast pace. It was still dark outside but she wanted to get some work done before her staff arrived. She was already expecting to put in a long day and figured that she could use the extra time to prepare for the meetings she had scheduled.
After exiting the elevator she walked past her receptionist’s station and into her office finally exhaling when the door closed behind her. She smoothed her relaxed shoulder length tresses and walked towards her desk putting her briefcase on the desk and unbuttoning the jacket of her suit.
All her life, Noelle wanted to be at the top. When she was a little girl she would imagine that instead of going to school she was heading to her office. She imagined her desk as an office desk, her classmates as coworkers and her teachers as her boss. The view from her window was the payoff for her hard work and although there’d never been a Mr. Noelle in her childhood dreams she’d known that Ryan was the one; maybe not as soon as he’d realized it but she knew. It was the introduction of the kids that threw the well-oiled machine of her life completely off track. After she was pregnant with RJ she redoubled her efforts to gain an Executive VP promotion only to have Brock creep up on her. That pregnancy had cost Noelle a promotion to a Senior Marketing Director position; at least in her mind.
In the quiet of her office Noelle never doubted herself. She could be decisive, brutal and demanding in a way that she couldn’t be at home. Ryan always expected her to be caring about the kids when the truth was she didn’t care at all. She didn’t want to share her husband with the kids and she didn’t want to be pushed towards a relationship with them. She knew how it sounded but there was nothing that she could do about that.
She spent a few more minutes looking out if the window before she settled behind her desk and went to work on a few accounts. The next thing she knew her assistant was walking towards her with a coffee cup and a stack of folders.
“Good morning, Mrs. Griffith. I have the completed files for you and Abernathy and his team are on the schedule for approval of the new mock ups this morning. Also Mr. James is holding on line two; he said it’s important.
Noelle frowned at the last bit of information; Godwin James was her and Ryan’s attorney. They didn’t have him working on anything as far as she knew. She took a sip of her morning coffee and smiled her thanks. “Thanks, I’ll speak to Mr. James right now” she said before taking another sip of coffee.
She picked up the phone as soon as Lana walked out of the door and said, “Hi Godwin. What’s up?”
“Hey Noelle, things are good. I know you’re usually busy but I needed to get this call in to you. Although I normally handle things for both you and Ryan but he retained me today as counsel
“He what?” she said.
“He retained me to provide advice because he wants to file for legal separation. According to him you two had an agreement that you have yet to comply with” Godwin told her.
“What?” Noelle said. Apparently she was hearing things because there was no was no way that her husband would do something like this.
“I know that this comes as a shock. Since I agreed to represent him I told Ryan that I wanted to give you a heads up. He asked me to notify you as soon as possible.
“Godwin, we didn’t have a formal agreement! He suggested that I go see this therapist but I didn’t agree. This is crazy!” she said. Her heart was beating extremely fast that she thought she was having a heart attack. She couldn’t believe that Ryan was doing this to her.
“Look Noelle I know that this is difficult but according to Ryan because of the occurrences of the past few weeks he doesn’t think that you two will be able to reconcile so he wants to file for legal separation” Godwin told her.
“I cannot believe this! No, I am not agreeing to any type of legal separation. I am moving home so that we can work this out” Noelle said.
“I feel compelled to tell you that upon your return to the family home Ryan is prepared to take the children and the pets and move into an apartment. He will have Dahlia remain in her apartment and use the car to commute to the new residence” Godwin said.
Noelle sat in stunned silence. She couldn’t say anything; she just sat there breathing heavily. She didn’t know what to say. In the three weeks since Ryan had thrown down the gauntlet she’d refused to make an appointment to see the therapist he’d suggested. She never thought that he would go this far and that really frightened her.
“Godwin, I need to go. I’ll get back to you” she said and quickly hung up, Noelle put her head on her desk and took several deep breaths. It seemed that life was not going to adhere to her well laid plans after all.




For most of my life,
I watched you in wonder.
Wondering whether I could ever measure up;
if I could fulfill your hopes and dreams for me.
I question whether I was worth all the dreams deferred
Most times I remember the pride that filled your voice when you bragged,
Recall the touch of your fingers on the tattoo, and see you reading my thesis
I know in those moments
that I was truly loved.


The Negro Speaks of Rivers

grief and loss

In light of recent events, I found this poem to be apropos and a bit comforting. It is one of my favorite Hughes poems and he was a Missouri native who lived in New York. Enjoy!

I’ve known rivers:
I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the
flow of human blood in human veins.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young.
I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.
I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it.
I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln
went down to New Orleans, and I’ve seen its muddy
bosom turn all golden in the sunset.

I’ve known rivers:
Ancient, dusky rivers.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

-Langston Hughes