The Changeup

This is another sample from the story Recovery that I am currently working on. This is by no means complete so please bear with me if you find any errors.

As always, enjoy!

 

misty blue

 

 

Two days later, she was walking towards the office when the woman approached her.

“Aren’t you Aubrey Samuels?” she asked holding a piece of paper forward.

“Yes?” Aubrey responded looking for a pen. She was used to people approaching her for autographs. The woman simply thrust the paper at her.

“You’ve been served” she said before walking away.

Aubrey looked down at the papers and immediately wanted to smash something. If Max was in front of her at that moment she would have been facing assault charges.

Instead of heading to her office, she went back to the car and headed into Midtown. When she arrived, she stomped through the entrance of her attorney’s office holding the papers away from her like they were some form of excrement.

“Charlese, do you see this” she cried barely able to control herself. After everything that he’d already put her through she couldn’t believe that Max was trying to take her son.

Her family attorney Charlese Powell quickly approached her and reached for the papers. If Aubrey was this upset then she knew it was something major.

After she looked at the papers, Aubrey gave her a breakdown of her lunch with Max.  Charlese promised to get started on a response and sent Aubrey home.

Later that day, Aubrey was at her house with her parents hovering over her. Her mother had been ranting for over twenty minutes.

“Nerva, now you’re working my last nerve!” my dad said.

She glared at him but remained silent.

“What?” I asked when she switched her glare to me.

“Why aren’t you doing something. You’re sitting there like you’re just going to let him take the baby” she said.

“Ain’t nobody taking him Nerva” my dad told her.

“Delroy, I want to hear your daughter say it. She’s sitting over there looking lost, like she already gave up” she said.

“What I’m doing is wondering who put this idea in his head and why. He didn’t say anything about it when we met. We all know that he’s never wanted Lucky so I have to wonder where is this coming from. But, I am not worried”

“You’re not? Great! Then, prove it! Go ahead and call that lawyer and ask her what her plan is. Do something” her mother urged. The caramel curls she’d passed on to her daughter bounced against the headband holding them off her face. The freckles that spattered across her nose and cheeks stood out as she moved her close enough to drop onto the couch and hold her daughter’s hands.

“She’s not worried cause she a damn genius. Remember when we got the test results? On her worst day, she could still outsmart that fool in her sleep” her father said from his seat in the armchair.

“Daddy!” Aubrey said.

“What? Didn’t I tell you that boy was dumb the first day I met him Nerva? As soon as they left, I told you that boy is too dumb for my baby girl” he said. Aubrey’s mom nodded her head in agreement. I knew that she never liked Max and if my dad did then that left the moment he cheated.

Aubrey exhaled harshly and shook her head. Her parents, if they were really her parents, she’d always had suspicions that she’d been switched at birth were so frustrating at times like this. She guessed she should be lucky that her father hadn’t called his brothers and her godfather yet.

“I’m going to handle it!” she told them.

“You know what, I’m gone call somebody to make sure you do. Talkin’ bout you gonna handle something sitting your ass on the couch. You think that Malcolm X died for this?” she asked as she jumped up and walked out of the room.

She looked at her dad and shook her head. This was going to be something else that I would never forgive Max for. He knew how Nerva was; I wouldn’t be surprised if she didn’t try to get a couple of her nephews to take him out.

“You should have just let me, Dwight, Troy, and Jay handle this when I wanted to. Then we wouldn’t be having these problems. He wouldn’t even be breathing oxygen right now” he told her before tapping her on the knee and leaving the room.

Aubrey was still sitting on the couch hours later when she realized that her mother had really called in the big guns. She looked up into the face of one of her best friends, Sincere Owens Clay. At 5’11, Sin was the tallest of the friends. Her honey colored skin still held some of the bronze hints left from the trip to Fiji that she and her husband had recently returned from. Her hair was in five large golden cornrows that hit the small of her back and she was dressed like they were about to fight. Aubrey scrunched up her face to match the glower that Sin’s almond shaped eyes were already in as they engaged in an epic stare down.

“Let’s go heifer” Sin said from her space at the end of my sofa.

“Sin, I do not feel like…” she said.

“Did I ask you about all that? Let’s go. Or do I have to go all Lydia Grant in here? Cause you know I will” as I watched she looked around for something to use as a prop.

“Fine!” I said before going upstairs to my room to change. After throwing my hair into a sloppy top bun I pulled on a sports bra, a long tank and distressed leggings. She was waiting for me in the hallway so I grabbed my bag from the closet and followed her out to the sweet Range Rover HSE that Sin’s husband Damon gave her when she got pregnant. Before that Sin drove a five-year-old Chevy Tahoe, that she mainly used for work stuff. Damon insisted that she upgrade since she’d be driving his baby around.

We pulled into the parking lot behind Dancing Machine and entered through the back door. Sin nodded to Manny who smirked at me and pointed to an open studio. The three of us had been dancing together since we were four. Manny’s aunt owned the dance studio where we started taking classes, we even taught classes there as we got older. Before modeling pulled me and then Sin away. When Ms. Jackie decided to cut back, Manny took over running the place and upgraded the schedule of offered classes there and eventually expanded the number of studios in the area.

We went in put our things down, I stretched while waiting for the music to que. When the opening notes of Janet Jackson’s “I Get So Lonely” began I smiled and looked over at Sin. My body smoothly went through the routine we’d choreographed to the song. The song segued to Musiq’s “So Beautiful” and we continued to dance. Sin was right, this was exactly what she needed. Dance had been a comfort to all of them for a long time; Aubrey couldn’t believe that she didn’t realize how much it would set her at ease.

“Heifer tried to tell me what she needed. Can you believe that Manny?” Sin asked after we’d cooled down.

“Yeah, you know how she gets” he pretended to whisper. His brown skin glistened from dancing to an old routine to Gang Starr and Nice & Smooth’s DWYCK we lay around the studio chests heaving as we sought to recover from nearly two hours of dancing.

Aubrey shot them both the bird and took another drink of cucumber water. Sin and Manny broke into laughter.

Recovery

Finally, new fiction from yours truly. This is a bit from a story that I am currently working on. The story is an offshoot from one that I’ve shared a bit of before. This one is about a single mother who is building a new career and life with her son who suffers from sickle cell anemia. Her name is Aubrey Samuels and she is a former supermodel and the ex-wife of retired basketball player. There are going to be some threats to her carefully ordered world but you meet her before any of that starts. *This is unedited and may contain some errors.

I hope you enjoy and please feel free to share any comments!

Dry-Creative-Projects-studio.-photo-by-Mikael-Axelsson-

 

 

Aubrey

 

The morning started like so many others, with her curled up in bed with her favorite men. Her four-year-old son Lucien lay beside her and their one year old Bernese Mountain dog lay by Lucien’s legs. She enjoyed these moments the most.

“Good morning, what are you two doing in here” she asked.

“I’m hungry and Bear needs to go potty” he replied flashing her his huge brown eyes. She laughed and got up to slip her feet into her slippers.

“Well, let’s get all of this taken care of” she told him and walked out of her room with the boys following her.

In the sunny kitchen downstairs, she quickly let the puppy out and got started making Lucien a spinach and cheese scramble along with a multi grain muffin with almond butter and honey.

“Thanks Ma” he said before saying grace and digging in.

She laughed as she watched him eat with gusto. She was glad that he had an appetite after last week’s crisis. They’d spent two days in the hospital with him being lethargic and in pain but luckily, he’d quickly bounced back. She dropped a kiss on his head before letting Bear back in.

“All done” he said. She watched as he put his dishes in the dishwasher and bounced out of the kitchen to go get ready for school. Aubrey said a quick prayer of thanks for him and a good day before going upstairs too.

After she dropped Lucien off at school, she made her way to work. The building that she’d purchased housed a mini showroom of pieces that were for sale and an office where she met with clients but her favorite place was the second-floor workshop where she spent most of her time when she was at work.

Good morning” she said entering the building with her hands stuffed with breakfast for the crew and the extra-large tote that she normally took with her every day. She put the food and drinks on the reception desk and took off her coat while speaking to her receptionist and assistant. She handed out the breakfast sandwiches and smoothies before heading upstairs to get to work.

A while later, Aubrey stood in her workshop admiring the prototype of her new design, a gilded looking chandelier with six jeweled globes. This was a special order for a sixteen year old and Aubrey wanted to make sure that the piece walked the fine line between girly and grown up; there was a finesse that the age dictated. Her client was planning to make the gift part of a big renovation for her stepdaughter’s room. She was scheduled to arrive in an hour and Aubrey couldn’t wait to see what she thought. As she ripped off her gloves, Aubrey couldn’t help but wonder how things were going for Ryan and the kids. She had been recalling what happened last week at Ryan’s house for the past few days. His wife was a piece of work but Aubrey certainly didn’t blame her for being shocked at seeing another woman at her home so early in the morning. She just worried about how the kids were faring. Last week’s scene had an effect on them that lingered throughout the day.

She crossed the room to her makeshift eating area which housed a mini refrigerator, microwave, an electric kettle, a Keurig, and a farmhouse sink and started making her favorite drink.  She grabbed her tablet to look at notes on what else she needed to take care of that day.

“Aub, there’s someone here to see you” her assistant Nola said from the door. Aubrey spun around to look at her before glancing at her watch. On mornings like this she kept a strict schedule which they usually went over as soon as Aubrey entered the office. Nola made sure to update her throughout the day if anything changed. So, she was shocked that something popped up so soon.

“Did I have an appointment?” she asked. They tried to stay on top of everything but once the creative forces started then Aubrey could forget almost anything.

“No, but she claims that it’s important” Nola said as Bart’s girlfriend walked up behind her. Aubrey stood there in shock but nodded her head at Nola who stood aside to allow her access to the door.

“Nola, I’m going to take this. Give me a twenty-minute warning before my appointment” Aubrey said as Anatra stepped into the room. She was a pretty girl but she believed everything that fell from Maxwell Lewis’ lips and that was dangerous for any woman. Even Max’s mother knew that he was a pathological liar.

Aubrey watched as Anatra’s eyes took in the workspaces including the two chevron sawhorse tables, built in bookcases and drafting table that took up the back of the room as well as the armchairs, custom cocktail table and rugs that comprised the sitting area. Aubrey motioned for Anatra to sit in one of the toile armchairs as she sipped her white chocolate mocha latte.

“Look, I apologize for showing up unannounced and I won’t take up much of your time” she said. Anatra looked chic and put together in her electric blue blouse with a bow at the neck and print pencil skirt and nude pumps. She had her cashmere overcoat on her arm. Her dark hair fell into a sleek chin level bob.  The overall appeal was gorgeous even with minimal jewelry. Aubrey couldn’t resist looking down at herself wearing distressed jeans, a black baby t bearing her logo and the Timbs that she often wore while working. Her hair was in two braids and she felt anything but chic.

“I just wanted to let you know that we wouldn’t be able to take Lucien this weekend” she said.
Aubrey remained silent and continued to sip her latter until Anatra squirmed in her chair and held out her left hand to show off the engagement ring that looked remarkably like the one that Aubrey had thrown at him before he left for China.

She smothered a laugh and said, “Congratulations.”

“We’re going to Punta Cana for the weekend to celebrate so it wouldn’t be a good time for Lucien to come with us” she stated in a matter of fact tone.

“Let me get this straight. Max’s son was just in the hospital for two days and neither of you visited or called but instead of his father keeping his scheduled visit you both think that going out of the country to celebrate is more important?” Aubrey asked. This was another example of how freaking clueless of how Max and this broad are. It’s not as if she would let him leave the country with Maxwell especially so soon after a crisis but he never put Lucien first. He didn’t have to because he isn’t a full-time parent. Aubrey just shook her head.

She leaned forward, placed her cup on the table and said, “Thanks for stopping by Anatra. I’ll be sure to let my son know that he will not be spending the weekend with his father, again.”

“Max said that you were going to be pissy about this.  It’s not like we’re telling you at the last minute. I just didn’t want this to be a problem” she said.

“Sweetheart, you don’t have to worry about that. My son being with me is not now nor will it ever be a problem. Now you can go tell your boyfriend that you did what he sent you over her here to do. Bye-bye” Aubrey said all while walking towards the door.

Anatra sat there looking confused for a second before getting up and walking out.

Nola entered the office just as Aubrey was about to call Darby to vent

She held up her hand and pulled a fat slice of lemon cake. Aubrey burst into laughter and reached for her favorite comfort dessert. After her first bite, she moaned deeply.

“Okay, now hit me with it” Nola said. Aubrey quickly gave her the rundown.

“Max is a complete idiot. You knew that when you married him and now we all have to pay the price for it” Nola said. “He never wants to spend time with Lucien anyway because of his health issues and the fact that he had missed two visits with his son and didn’t even bother to call to check on him after his latest hospital stay says everything.

“Girl, you know my expectations low but he didn’t even bother to at least send him a gift. But now he wants to miss another visit to go celebrate his engagement. He probably couldn’t even tell anyone Lucien’s blood type or what were his favorite toys because he has never really expressed an extended interest in his child” Aubrey said putting down the plate.

“Forget him, you know that Isiah’s party is this weekend so we will have a good time and he won’t even think about the missed visit” she said.

“This is why I never wanted to force him to be a part of Lucien’s life. I knew that he wasn’t going to be consistent” Aubrey told her as she went back to her notes for her next appointment.

As she left the office, Nola told Aubrey that she had already called Darby and that she would be there with lunch at 1:30. Aubrey laughed. That’s why she loved Nola, she always had her back. Tonight, she would have to tell her son that he wouldn’t be seeing his father again. She hoped that the idea of Isiah’s party would keep his spirits high.

Falling in Love Again

image

So tonight I am revisiting an old project, my thesis which was a novella entitled Tasting Salt. It has already messed with my emotions and I’m only on the eighth page. While reading it, I was reminded of why I love it so much, how much of myself I poured into it, and why I want to make it novel length. Writing that project let me know that I was capable of finishing a fiction project. At the time, it was the longest piece I’d ever written and although some of the story resided in my head it was sometimes hell to get it onto paper.

The story is a coming of age tale even though the protagonist is already an adult. She’s trying to deal with the loss of her grandfather who was the only father she’d ever known, a mangled love life, damaged relationship with her older brother along with the emotional upheaval and family craziness that typically ensues after a loss. Equally important is the rural Northeastern North Carolina setting which is where my father’s family is from and where my mother’s family has lived for over 40 years. The house above is a real home outside of the town and inspired the estate that is at the center of the story.

Tasting Salt had a few other incarnations but this final version was inspired by the loss of my own maternal grandfather, who is reflected in the character, but it is so much richer for me now that I have endured other losses. Those losses are of people who also inspired characters in the story. The novella also means so much to me because my mother read it, she loved it even though I obsessively assured her that the mother in the story wasn’t her and she was proud of it.

Already on my list for next year is some tweaking and revising of the story and hopefully I’ll be able to shop it or self-publish.

The Bomb- New Fiction

This is an extremely rough draft of what may be the opening scene from the piece that I want to work on for NaNoWriMo this year. It’s a story that has shifted in my head over the years but I hope to keep it in the forefront by working on it this year.

the bomb

“Maya, have you left the city yet?” the disembodied voice asked through the Bluetooth as I hopped into the driver’s seat of my Chevy Tahoe.  The dulcet tones of her voice were soothing but the sound reminded me of the nagging feeling that had been bothering me all day as if I’d forgotten something.

“I’m leaving right now, Mom” I said in response as I began to maneuver through the garage, making my way to the exit.

“You forgot, didn’t you?” she asked. I exhaled quietly because I was sure now that I had forgotten something and that it probably related to one or more of my three children.

My silence prompted my mother in law of 16 years to giggle. She now knew for sure that I’d forgotten but was waiting for me to admit it.

“Yes, Noni apparently I forgot” I said good naturedly. Since my return to work part time I’d been juggling my work and personal lives in light of my husband’s request for a divorce six months prior.

“Baby, you promised that Greggie could spend the weekend with the kids. I’ve already cleared everything with his foster mom and wanted to know what time you’d be getting home” she reminded me.

Until this last minute call from my mother in law Karen, affectionately called Noni by my children, I’d completely forgotten about my promise to allow the kid’s new friend Greggie to spend the weekend at our Millburn, NJ home. I’d also promised to bring home a myriad of foods for dinner tonight instead of cooking since I’d be in the city all day.

“Don’t worry, I already asked them what they wanted for dinner and I’ll order the food. That way it should give you time to get here. I’ll order for you too” she told me as I concentrated on making my way out of the city.

Even though it was before 2:00 pm on a Friday I hoped to make good time getting back to Jersey so that I could stop at our new favorite Millburn bakery Sugared to pick up some cupcakes and brownies for dessert since Noni would take care of ordering dinner.

I made good time on the 40, sometimes 50, minute drive and after a quick stop at the bakery where the owner, Jazz, threw in two Amaretto infused cupcakes for me when I told her about the sleepover I headed home.

I pulled into the long driveway behind the house noticing the kids playing on the other side of the yard before I pulled into the detached garage. I walked through the back door and encountered my in laws sitting next to each other at the kitchen island.

“Hey baby, how was your day?” My father in law asked with a smile as he leaned over to kiss me on the cheek.

“It was okay. I love only having to go into the city once or twice a week though; if I had to go any more I’d need a driver” I told him.

He chuckled and said, “The commute has been stoking your road rage, huh?”

I laughed in response and spoke to them for a while about the kids before I went upstairs into my bedroom and changed into a pink crew neck sweater, jeans and Uggs to combat the crisp October air. I knew that I lucked out with my in laws; I was fortunate that they’d loved me from the start and I returned the sentiment. They’d been a godsend during our whole marriage and since the separation I’d begun to rely on them even more.

The kids had come in and I could hear the older boys in the study as my six year old daughter and ten year old son bounded into the kitchen. They bombarded me with questions and jumped around in their excitement at having their friend staying with us for the weekend.

“Ma, is Greggie going to stay upstairs with Arnaud?” Alain, my second oldest child asked.

“I guess so, honey” I responded. As the oldest, Arnaud had the entire third floor which consisted of two rooms, a full bathroom and a living room type of space. It only made sense for the boys to stay up there since Greggie could stay in either Arnaud’s room on the sleeper sofa or in the other room which had a twin bed. The food had arrived while I was upstairs and my mother in law and I unpacked the bags while I answered their questions about what we were having for dinner and dessert.

Just as I finished speaking, the two boys pushed through the door. My son Arnaud was already speaking, excited to tell me something.

“Ma, Greggie said that his dad is in that picture with Uncle Mick in the study. You know, the one with his group?” he announced as he entered. I could see him in my peripheral vison as he made his way over to the table.

“What are you talking about, Arnaud?” I asked turning away from the table to address him. Their friend was a foster child and I knew that there was no way that two members of that group had a 13 year old son in the world.

In the middle of my next question I stopped breathing. I’m sure that the color drained from my face as I clutched my chest. I felt myself sliding down on the hardwood floor as I strangled on a scream.

That face. The face that I’d last seen in a coffin 14 years ago. In a moment of hysteria I thought I might have been hallucinating but when I reached out his face was warm but those chestnut brown eyes were a little too slanted. His honey colored complexion was the same though as was his rangy frame. The hair was different, showing traces of his mother’s African American ancestry.

Through my tears, I could see the worried looks on the faces of the children and my mother in law. I could hear my father in law’s whispered voice on the phone begging someone, probably my older brother to get to the house ASAP as I reached out and held onto Greggie. I now knew that he was the son of my childhood best friend Gregorio Rodriguez who’d been murdered so many years ago.

Nearly half an hour later, I sat alone on the burgundy leather couch of the sofa clutching the picture of Gregorio that normally sat high on a bookshelf while Noni fussed over me, placing a cable knit throw over my legs and pointing to the hot toddy on the table. She was about to say something when she noticed Greggy at the door.

I’d feared this moment forever, it seemed. I knew what he was going to ask me and it would rip the pain wide open to have to answer his questions but I owed it to him.

He sat on the floor in front of me silently for a moment. Then he exhaled and asked the question, “Do you know who killed my dad?”

I shook my head before saying the word out loud, “No” I told him.

The Showdown

I’m not sure if I shared this with all of you before but I had this idea for a series where all of the main characters are friends from college. They are known as the alphabet crew because their names are all in sequence; I originally called them the LMNOP Crew(which I thought was clever). At any rate, I have toyed around with a few of their stories and one of them is the story that I will be tackling this November for NaNoWriMo so I thought that I’s share this snippet of one of their stories. Welcome to the messy world of Quinn Rogers Nelson. I apologize for the formatting but I wrote this in an app so it may be a little off. Hope you all enjoy!

640px-Georgian_Homes,_Philadelphia

This showdown had been a long time in coming and now she was beginning to rethink her decision but there’d been too many days when he promsed to call or text and ignored her completely. The fact that it seemed as if he was trying to erase her from his life was the only reason that she’d packed up his things and shown up. Quinn figured that the least he could do was say it to her face.

So here she stood on the steps of Simeon’s house holding his gym bag which contained his wallet, jewelry, important papers, keys and the pictures that he’d left at her house. She placed the bag on the step by his feet and continued to stare at him speechless.
He exhaled loudly as if she was truly bothering him with her questions. Sim ran a large hand down his face stopping to stroke his full beard before he spoke.
“I told you that I needed a bit of time to get this straight” he reminded her as if she hadn’t spent the past week and a half counting the days.
“You did but it’s been almost two weeks and you can’t find time to come home and tell me how it’s going?” she asked. “I don’t think that is being unreasonable Sim.”
“Quinn” he said her name pleadingly as if she’d been torturing him instead of the other way around.
“Simeon, I asked you not to do this. You knew everything about my past relationship and I told you not to pretend to be serious about me..” she said.

“You think I did this shit on purpose Quinn?” he asked shoving his hands in his pockets.

“I know that you didn’t plan this but are you telling me that you can’t tell your parents the truth and come home? You’ve been holed up here for a month. When you left you said you’d be home by the weekend. So what aren’t you telling me?” she asked him.

They stood there staring at each other in silence for minutes. He looked away first frowning at some faraway thought.

“Nothing” he said. “I just need more time”

“So you’re saying that you’re not intentionally removing me from your life because your mother thinks that I’m not good enough for you” she asked.
“I can’t control my mother’s behavior Quinn” he told her.

“I realize that and I’m not asking you to. I want you to be responsible for your behavior. I’m not…”

“Quinn, it’s difficult to deal with everything and you popping up here isn’t helping”

“Excuse me” she said staring at him. Surely he wasn’t trying to say that she was causing him problems when he’d allowed his mother to come into their home and disrespect her as if she were dirt.

“Why did you ask me to marry you? Why did you go through with all of this then?” she asked.

“We moved too fast and I just…”

“Regret marrying me?” she asked, arms folded across her chest.The silence was palpable but what held Quinn frozen to the steps was the image behind him. As she watched,zip his mother scurried towards the ivy bordered entrance and in her arms she carried a bronze, curly haired little girl. A child whose eyes were the same hazel ones that stared down from Simeon’s face.

Motherhood Excerpt

It’s been a while since I shared a piece from Motherhood so here’s another excerpt from the story that I am trying to get back to. My attention has been diverted from it by work and other characters but I plan to get to work on it as soon as the semester calms down.

thekitchenmotherhood

Noelle walked into the house and could hear the low rumblings of Ryan’s voice so she headed towards the kitchen. As she made her way to the kitchen, the family dog Spock popped his head out of the family room doorway. He quickly lost interest when he saw that she had nothing in her hand and he returned to his khaki and teal printed doggy bed. Noelle continued towards the rear of the house where she could smell Ryan’s gumbo cooking and she rubbed her hands together practically tasting the turkey sausage, chicken and crab that he loaded the dish with.

“Babe, are you cooking gumbo in here? It smells delicious” she said as she plowed through the kitchen door. To her surprise her brother in law sat at the table with a bowl in front of him listening to Ryan talk about something. She didn’t know who was more shocked Ryan or Remy but Noelle smiled at them both before she grabbed a bowl off of one of the shelves and scooped up some rice before ladling some fragrant gumbo over the rice.

Noelle chewed the first spoonful slowly and looked from one brother to the other before she sat on one of the upholstered gray bar seats. She looked around the kitchen as she ate as if seeing it for the first time.
The room had a hominess that was often lost on Noelle. Somehow her husband had managed to make it a place that was cozy enough for the kids and grown up enough for adults to enjoy. The room was painted a green that would not work anywhere else but contrasted nicely with the white trim. The room contained a pass through window where he’d had an oversized piece of maple placed so that there was a breakfast bar type sitting area; this is where she currently sat. She supposed that Ryan couldn’t take all of the credit; his cousin and one of his best friends had helped him with the parts of the house that Noelle wasn’t interested in. The kitchen would be the last place that one would normally find her.

She finally stopped eating and noticed the silence in the room. “Am I interrupting something?” she asked.
Ryan’s mouth had stopped right in the middle of the sentence when she entered the room. He was in the middle of telling Remy how he could use young workers from a local mentoring program as workers for his new project when she waltzed in; entering the kitchen as if she’d just come home from work instead of sneaking into the home that he’d asked her to leave. Not for the first time, Ryan really gave some thought to seriously changing all of the house’s locks.

Remy looked at his brother who remained silent. In fact, he hadn’t moved since Noelle’s entrance except to look at his watch. He wanted her gone before the kids got home and Remy could read that on his face.

“Actually we were discussing some business” Remy told her, “and I need to finish up with him before I scoop up Brock and head out to soccer practice.”

“Well, Ryan and I need to discuss some things too” she said. When she finally turned and looked at him she noticed the look on her husband’s face. Noelle realized that she may have miscalculated today’s appearance.

It seemed as if Ryan was not happy to see her and she thought back to Moira’s suggestion to give him space which she had not been able to do. Noelle knew that he was playing hardball now but she was determined to be home before they could do any more damage to their marriage. All she wanted was him; it was important to her that he knew that.

“But I suppose I could wait until you two finish” she said with a smile. She was already planning to slip upstairs and shower while they were talking.

He couldn’t believe that she’d walked into the house and grabbed a bowl like this was the old days. She seemed to derive pleasure from blindsiding him with her constant appearances and he was quickly becoming frustrated. He knew that Noelle is determined to wear him down so that life, for her, could return to normal. The only problem was that he wasn’t sure whether he could go back to that life.

“No, you don’t need to hang around. I said everything that needed to be said to you on the phone last week. The kids will be home soon and I need to finish up dinner because RJ is having a sleepover and I don’t want the mothers’ of her friends to think that I run a raggedy house” he told her.

Noelle stared back at him stonily. He’d practically told her to leave the house. Again. She absolutely wasn’t going to have this conversation in front of Remy but they were long overdue for a showdown. She had accepted his pissy attitude for as long as she was going to; it was time that he understood that she was only going to accept so much mistreatment from him. She knew that he was angry with her but he was going to have to get over it and soon.

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.
“But…”
“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.