Thursday, April 30, 2015

Ghost Talk-Flash Fiction (Part 3)







Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old, Gabrielle Pearce was involved in a tragic car accident, that left her in a coma for six months. After waking up, she doesn't remember anything about that night, which took the life of her mother, and left her with the ability to see and talk to ghosts.





                                                         Ghost Talk-Flash Fiction(Part 3)
                                                                       Revelations


Gabrielle threw the blanket back. Swinging her legs off the bed, she slipped her feet down into the hospital slippers. She had to find out what room David Huffington was in. She'd only met Nurse Huffington once but she was sure, she was going through a difficult time.

She opened the door and poked her head out. The Nurses' station and hallway was empty. She scurried past the desk to the elevator. She remembered, Nurse Huffington saying David was on the Neurosurgery Unit.

Gabrielle pressed the button and nervously glanced over her shoulders. The doors opened.  It was empty. She rushed in__ her eyes scanned the information map. Neurosurgery was on the fifth floor.

When the doors reopened, Gabrielle spotted, Nurse Huffington surrounded by a group of family and friends. Everyone was crying.

"I'm sorry," Dr. Boucher was saying. "We did all we could"

Nurse Huffington dabbed at her eyes. "I know you did." She began to rock back and forth. "Thank you."

"I just wish we could have saved him," Dr. Boucher continued. "I understand you want a autopsy on your son. I hope you don't think we are the blame."

"No. No. Dr. Boucher, that's not it. I'm sure you and your staff did everything that you could," Nurse Huffington voice rose an octave. "I want to know what happened to my son."

"Mom is taking my death hard," David replied out of nowhere.

Gabrielle almost jumped out of her skin. "Don't do that, you scared me to death."

"Funny." David answered.

"Sorry." Gabrielle answered. "Wrong choice of words."

David looked attentatively at his mother. "I'm worried about her.  She's not going to get over my death anytime soon.  She's been through a lot the last couple of years, first losing my father in Iraq, and now me. I don't know how much more she will be able to take."

Gabrielle wasn't sure how to respond. She didn't have the words.

"She looks strong," David continued. "But she really isn't"

"Your mother is stronger that you think." Gabrielle replied.

David shook his head. "She hasn't gotten over my father's death. Now me" his voice trailed off.

"It's going to be alright." Gabrielle answered.

"Sounds like, Mom is suspicious about my death," David changed the subject. "If I know her, she won't rest until she finds out the truth."

"Your mother mentioned that you were found on the side of the road," Gabrielle said to David.
She didn't miss the odd looks the nurses were giving her. They began to whisper among themselves. She figured it was something she'd have to get use to.

Gabrielle waved a hand in mid-air. "Hey, just talking to myself. Don't mind me."

"They think you are crazy," David said.

"Tell me about it," Gabrielle answered. "Now tell me about the night you were attacked."

"Isn't that what you were suppose to find out," David answered. "Now that I think about it, we have a lot in common."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, for one thing neither of us can remember anything about our past. I was drawn to you."

"We don't know if you were drawn to me," Gabrielle replied in a sarcastic tone."

"And the jokes just keep on coming." David said with a straight face.

Gabrielle tried not to laugh.

"I'm sticking to you like glue," David said. "At least until I find out the truth. Lets go into a empty room and talk more about it. You're drawing too much attention."

Gabrielle chuckled.

"Chuckling to yourself doesn't help." David said.

"Were you always this obnoxious?" Gabrielle inquired.

Gabrielle turned and disappeared into the room, when she heard Nurse Huffington voice call her name.

"Gabrielle, what brings you here?"

"I heard about your son," Gabrielle answered. "I am sorry for your loss."

"That almost sounded like you meant it," David chimed in.

Gabrielle ignored him.

David walked over and stood next to his mother. His face became serious. It was full of pain and anguish. He placed a hand on her shoulder in a comforting gesture.

"Sweetie, you've done more than enough just by being here." Nurse Huffington answered, "It's not like you knew David."

"It's true we never met," Gabrielle looked at David. "But I feel like I know him."

"You would have liked him. My David was a wonderful son," Nurse Huffington boasted. "Everyone who met him, liked him. He was smart, handsome, athletic, and very caring." A far away glance appeared in her eyes. "Everyone always said how caring he was. He always had a kind word for everyone." She dabbed at her eyes again. "I know Mother's always say that about their children but David really was  a good son."

"Do you have any other children?" Gabrielle inquired.

"I have a son and daughter," Nurse Huffington replied. "David was the oldest."

"I remember them," David said. 'Samuel and Amber. Sam is a couple of years younger than me and Amber is the youngest. We were close," he said in a somber tone.

"I'm sorry," Gabrielle answered aloud.

"You don't have to apologize," Nurse Huffington answered.

"I know. I just feel like I should"

  "When you were in a coma," Nurse Huffington said. " I watched over you. Took care of you. I feel like I know you. I prayed for the day you would wakeup. I just didn't think, it would be the same day that my David," her voice trailed off. "It's bitter sweet."

Gabrielle reached out and grabbed, Nurse Huffington's hand. Was her awakening a connection with David? He certainly thinks so.

"See even my Mother thinks there's some sort of connection." David chimed in.

Nurse Huffington crossed her arms across her chest. She pulled the sweater tight around here.

"Nurse Huffington," a female, whiney voice said behind them.

Gabrielle turned to a attractive, young girl, around her age. Her blonde hair was cut in a profession  Bob style. Impeccably dressed, she looked as if she stepped off of a page of a magazine.

"I'm so sorry about, David," the girl threw her arms around, Nurse Huffington's neck.

Nurse Huffington frowned. "Thank you child. And you are?"

"Lena Monroe," She introduced herself. "I was a good friend of David's"

Gabrielle glanced at David. He nodded.

"David had to mention me." Lena insisted.

"He may have, "Nurse Huffington said. "I don't remember."

"I understand," Lena replied. "If there is anything, I can do. I mean anything, don't hesistate to ask." She ran a well-manicured hand through her hair. "I feel like I know you, David talked about you all of the time," She opened her Gucci bag and withdrew a tissue.

"Thank you for your kind words," Nurse Huffington replied.

Lean eyes rested on Gabrielle. "Oh my God, Gabby," she exclaimed. "I didn't see you standing there."

"What is she, blind?" David added.

Lena took a step back.  She looked, Gabrielle up and down, then hugged her. "Oh my God," she repeated. "You're out of the coma."

"Uh, yes, I'm fine." Gabrielle wondered how Lena knew her. "Were they friends?" She didn't look like they would be.

"When you were in a coma," Lena continued. "I stopped by often to see how you were."

"I was Gabrielle's nurse, I don't remember seeing you."

Lena blinked, "Well, I meant to come by, I just never got around to it, honest." She said.

"That's Lena for you," David threw in. "It's always about, Lena."

Lena dropped her head. "Gabrielle, the truth is I hate hospitals."

Nurse Huffington sighed. "You came to show support for David, that says a lot."

"Like I said, David and I were good friends." Lena repeated. "I would do anything for him."

Nurse Huffington refocused on Gabrielle. "Why don't you head back to your room? You just woke up  this morning. You had a long day, you should go and get some rest."

'Will you be alright?" Gabrielle inquired.

"I will be fine."

"My uncle is a police detective," Gabrielle said. "Maybe he can look into what happened to David."

"What do you mean look into?" Lena chimed in.

"Just some questions about that night," Nurse Huffington said. "The police are looking into it but so far, they haven't come up with anything. A fresh set of eyes maybe what the case needs."

"I'm not surprised the police haven't come up with anything," Lena said. " It's just our tax dollars going to waste."

Gabrielle and our Nurse Huffington glanced at each other.

"What?" Lena echoed.

"I'll get my uncle's information for you."

"I appreciate it. Now head back to your room."

"Only if you promise to give me David's memorial information," Gabrielle repled.

Nurse Huffington nodded. "I promise. Now get going."




"Where have you been?" Grandma Ava inquired, when Gabrielle came into the room. "Speed is here to see you."

Gabrielle's eyes landed on the handsome, young man, sitting in the chair across from the bed.

Speed's deep blue eyes caught hers. He smiled a big, sloppy smile. A moment later, she was in a tight bear hug, and unable to breathe.

"Gabby. God how I have missed you," He squeezed harder, lifting her small frame off her feet.

"I can't breathe," Gabrielle managed to get out.

Speed spun her around, before putting her on her feet. "It's good to know you're alright. Why didn't you call or text me? As your best friend, I should have been the first person that you called when you woke up."

Gabrielle didn't know how to respond. Besides her close family, no one knew about her memory loss.

"Speed, be careful." Grandma Ava warned. "She just woke up. We don't want her  to overdo it."

"Sorry, Gabby." Speed said. "It's just good to see you."

"I'm ok," Gabrielle said. "Nurse Huffington son died, I went to pay my respects."

"His name was, David Huffington," Lena chimed in "He was a senior at our school."

"What are you doing here, Lena?" Speed inquired.

"What are you talking about?" Lena inquired " I came to see if, I could be of any help to Mrs. Huffington."

"Do they know what happened to David?" Speed asked.

"Just that he was found on the side of the road with his head bashed in," Lena explained.

"You are so crass," Grandma Ava said.

Lena placed a hand to her chest."I'm just repeating what everyone is saying."

"It was all over the news," Speed continued. "The police don't have any leads. They sat up a Tip line. Tips are pouring in. Maybe someone saw something."

Gabrielle looked up when David entered the room. He sat on the edge of the bed.

""I wonder why David was out on the old county highway," Lena opened her bag. She rambled around, removing a finger nail file. "I saw him a couple of hours earlier."

David sat up straight.

"You saw, David the night the night he was killed?" Gabrielle asked.

Lena began filling her nails. "Yeah, I saw him at Brad's house."

"They were best friends," Speed added. "It's no surprise he'd be at his house."

David shrugged his shoulders. "I remember, Brad and the party." He said aloud. Only Gabrielle was able to hear him.

"It's basketball season, Brad likes to give basketball parties at his house." Lena said.

"I heard about those parties," Speed answered. "I've never been invited."

"Brad only invites people from what he calls the 'in' crowd." Lena said. "That leaves you out."

Speed threw Lena a hard look.

"Nurse Huffington said, David was popular," Gabrielle replied.

"He was very popular," Lena said in a dreamy tone. "He was smart. Handsome. Captain of the Debate Team. Captain of the basketball team.  He was even in the Glee Club. Everyone liked him."

"Not everyone," Speed said in a sarcastic tone.

"Don't hate, Speed." Lena teased.

"I was pretty popular" David said.

"Is your memory coming back?" Gabrielle spoke aloud without realizing it.

"Memory back?" Speed asked. "What memory?"

"Never mind," Gabrielle said and focused on Lena "Who was at the party?"

"The usual group, Brad, L.C, Jason, Miranda, and Tiffany," she said with attitude.

"What do you have against, Tiffany?" Speed asked with a chuckle.

Lena rolled her eyes. "Nothing except, she thinks she was, David's girlfriend."

David ran a hand across his forehead. "Tiffany? Tiffany?" He snapped his finger. "Wait a second, Tiffany Hayes," His voice dropped an octave. "I remember, Tiffany very well."

"Was she, David's girlfriend?" Gabrielle asked.

Lena tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. "Tiffany used to be Brad's girl, before she began seeing, David."

"Love triangle?" Speed singsonged.

"Tiffany was never, Brad's girlfriend," David defended.

"They were just good friends." David replied.

"I wonder how, Brad felt about that," Gabrielle answered.

"If Brad was bothered about it, he didn't show it," Lena said. "he dated other girls, and the three of them still hung out."

Brad and I have been friends since grade," David said. "We were like brothers. A girl would never come between us." He stood. "Ask, Lena what happened at the party?"

"Lena, did anything happen at the party?" Gabrielle quipped. "Anything out of the ordinary."

"Why are you asking?" Speed inquired. "I though Uncle Jacob was the Detective in the family."

"He is." Gabrielle answered. "I'm just curious."

Lena tilted her head to one side."Now that you mention it, there was a strange vibe between the three that night,"

"What was it?" Gabrielle asked.

"Look, Gabby. I'm here to see you." Speed strolled over and stood next to Gabrielle. "I don't want to spend all night taking about Brad and his friends. We have a lot to catch up on."

"Like I said,  Speed,stop hatin." Lena replied. "As I was saying before I was interrupted. While I was there, I saw Tiffany and Brad in a heated argument out by the pool. Then David walked up and it  turned into a shouting match. Tiffany had to step between them."

"What?" Gabrielle raised a eyebrow. "What happened after that?"

"Well, Tiffany left with David," Lena explained. "I left after that.  It was too much drama for me. The Boucher's are a wealthy and powerful family, but there is always drama around them."

"The Bouchers?" Gabrielle inquired.

"You met, Brad's mother." Lena pointed out. "Dr. Cindy Boucher."

"Brad's mother was David's surgeon?" Gabrielle asked.

"What are the odds in that?" Speed asked.

"It's a coincidence," Lena threw in. "Dr. Boucher is a excellent surgeon. She's the best in her field."

"Maybe," Gabrielle said. "But I am going find out more about the Bouchers."




-End of Ghost Talk(Part 3)



Sammie Ward is a Author/Writer/Publisher. Visit her website at: http://www.authorsammieward.com. Don't forget to follow her at Twitter and Facebook 



Copyright(c)2015 Sammie Ward  

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

10 Most Under-rated KPOP Male Groups





C-Clown
I'm always on the look out for new and good  K-POP music. In the world of Korean Music there is never a shortage. There are always male groups debuting, the genre is versatile, and there is music for every one's taste.  But with so many bands arriving on the scene, it gets a little crowded and many of these good groups get overlooked.

 I've come across several boy bands, giving us nothing but  awesome music. Many of these groups debuted several years ago and are very under-rated. I wanted to show some love for these boy bands that are making a huge splash in the world of music, and hopefully will be together for years to come.





A-Jax
A-Jax: is a South Korean boy band signed with DSP Media. They debuted in 2012. The seven members group consist of Hyeongkon, Jaehyung, Yunyoung, Hyojun, Sungmin, Seungjin and Seungyub


                                                         A-Jax-Insane (MV)

                     





Topp Dogg
ToppDogg:  is a hip-hop boys group from South Korea and under Stardom Entertainment in 2013. The thirteen members consists of: Jenissi, P-Goon, Gohn, Hojoon, Kidoh, Sangdo, Nakta,
 Hansol, B-Joo, Xero, A-Tom, and Yano


                                                                ToppDogg-TopDog (MV)






M.I.B
M.I.B: known as (Most Incredible Busters) is a South Korean hip hop quartet from Jungle Entertainment. The group debuted in 2011. The members consists of: Kangnam,5Zic, Young Cream, and Sims.


   M.I.B -Bounce (Chisa Bounce) MV

                                                    



C-Clown
C-Clown:  short for Crown Clown is a South Korean boy band under Yedang Entertainment. The group debuted in 2012. It members consists of: Rome, Siwoo, Ray, Kang Jun, Minwood (T.K) and maknae Maru


                                            C-Clown-Far and Away (MV) Dance Version







MyName
MyName: is a South Korean boy band created by "Fly to the Sky" member Hwanhee, The group debuted in 2011. The members consists of: GunWoo, InSoo, SeYong, JunQ, and ChaeJin.



                                                       MyName-Stop The Time (MV)






100%
100%: is a 7-member South Korean boy band that debuted in September 2012 under Andy Lee's (Shinhwa) Company Top Media, along with label mates "Teen Top". The members consists of: Seo Minwoo, Kim Rockhyun, Cho Jonghwan, Kim Chanyong, Woo Changbum, Jang Hyukjin, and Kee Sanghoon



                                                        100%-I Want You Back (MV)






Boyfriend
Boyfriend: is a six-member South Korean boy group under Starship Entertainment. The group debuted in 2011 with the hit "Boyfriend" They are the first boy band to have twin members. The members consists of: Kim Donghyun, Shim Hyunseong, Lee Jeongmin, Jo Youngmin, Jo Kwangmin, and No Minwoo.

                                                                 
 Boyfriend-Witch(MV)







Tasty
Tasty: is a Korean-Chinese  male twins (Daeryong and Soryong) duo signed under Woolim Entertainment. They debuted in 2012 with the title Spectrum.


                                                     Tasty-You Know Me (MV)







Boys Republic
Boys Republic: is a South Korean group consisting of five members: Onejunn, Sunwoo, Sungjun, Minsu, and Suwoong and managed by Universal Music. They debuted on June 5, 2013 with their first single, "Party Rock."
                                                 
                                                   Boys Republic-The Real One (MV)

                       





Lu:Kus
Lu:Kus: is a five member South Korean boy band, formed by Box Media in 2013.  They debuted with the titled "So Into You."The group consists of Donghyun(Leader), Haewon, Kyungjin, Choi, and maknae Jinwan.

                                             
 Lu:Kus So Into You (MV) Dance Version






 
Sammie Ward is a Author/Writer/Publisher. Visit her website at:http://www.authorsammieward.com. Don't forget to follow her at Twitter and Facebook 
 




Copyright(c)2015 Sammie Ward  
                                    

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Force Of Elements: A Free Online Game



                               
                       UNLEASH THE POWER of THE ELEMENTS!




Force Of Elements-Alphas
Force of Elements is a cool game of head-to-head combat where your field of battle is a match 3 gem board.  You can choose a unique hero, swap gems to unlock elemental mana and annihilate your opponent in fast-paced battles that will leave you hungry for one more round. This is a game you can't help but play. Even if it's just for the beautiful graphics and special effects alone. The best part is that it's FREE.

Force of Elements is designed from the ground up for competitive gaming with diverse character-based abilities that make interacting with the gem board a tactical experience unlike any match 3 game you’ve played before. Anyone can learn to play in minutes, I know I did and wound up playing for hours. I couldn't stop. Mastering your favorite heroes and outwitting opponents in real-time battles kept me intrigued. Now it's your turn to join in on all of the action!
                 

    


  Features:
  • Free to play, not pay-to-win. Skill-based gaming FTW
  • Two ways to play -- rapid-fire timed mode and tactical turns mode
  •  Customize your play style with powerful Auras
  •  New heroes released regularly
  • Ranked play and tournaments- coming soon!       



Force Of Elements
Force of Elements  is awesome to play, you can't help but fall in love with the graphics, special effects, and the unique heroes. It was easy to learn how to play, which can turned into many hours of non-stop play. You can pit your favorite hero up against opponents in real-time battles.

The customers that purchase Force of Elements were all pleased with the level of play, tons of actions, beautiful graphics, and super cool heroes. What more can you ask for in a game? This makes it easy for me to recommend, "Force Of Elements Alpha"     Just click on Force of Elements to join in on the fun!


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Sammie Ward is a Author/Writer/Publisher.  Don't forget to follow her at Twitter and Facebook
 



Copyright(c)2015 Sammie Ward

Monday, April 20, 2015

This Woman Is Fierce (Poem)


 





Google.com


This Woman Is Fierce

Is it the flavor of my chocolate brown skin
The color of my eyes
Make a man look twice, you better recognize
Is it the tone of my thighs
The roundness of my buttocks
Make a man think, my treasures he can unlock
It is the longness of my legs
The firmness of my breasts
Make a man think, I am a easy conquest
Is it the sway of my hips
The roundness of my lips
Make a man, mind slip
It is all of my beauty, I cannot lie
 I am a fierce black woman, I won't deny
 Make a man, break down and cry
 Is it wise to question my purpose
 May a man, never question the thought
 When God created me, he was just showing off






Sammie Ward is a Author/Writer/Publisher. Visit her website at:http://www.authorsammieward.com. Don't forget to follow her at Twitter and Facebook
 

Copyright(c) 2015 Sammie Ward



 

The Sweetest Thing-Flash Fiction





Synopsis :Life is good for Lacy Moore. She's the owner of Classy Cutz Beauty Salon and met the man of her dreams in Max Redd, then her perfect world is turns upside down when Max confesses to a one night stand. The revelation leaves a strain on their relationship. When she runs into her old high school Aaron Temple, at a family reunion, things get more complicated. Lacy has to choose between a familiar love and the sweet thing that has come back into her life.




Huffingtonpost.com
I’m tired of arguing,” I said to my boyfriend, Max Reed. “I told you how I feel, but like always you’re not listening.” I attempted to get out of bed but was halted by an iron grip on my arm.

Max sighed. “Lacy, I hear what you’re saying. You’re not sure you want to marry me. After all we’ve been through, I can’t believe you are saying this.” He sat up straight in the bed. “For the past year, marriage is all you talked about and now you’re not sure.” He placed his hands on top of his head.

Max was right. For the past year, I wanted to get married. I sincerely believed it was time to take our relationship to the next level. From the moment I bumped my shopping cart into Max two years ago at the grocery store, I wanted him in my world.

I had just opened my beauty salon, Classy Cutz, the year before. Just getting my business off the ground didn’t leave much time for dating. I mean, I’ve been out on a few dates but nothing to write home about, but that changed when I met Max.

Max wasn’t the most handsome man in the world, but in the beginning he was kind, gentle, and so sweet to me. He was very supportive of my career. After the success of my beauty shop, he was behind me one hundred percent to open another shop. A Loan Officer at the bank, he was always giving financial advice helpful to expanding the business. Everything was going find until he confessed he had an affair with another woman.

He’d broken down in tear when he told me he’d had a little bit too much to drink while at his friend Ronald’s bachelor party and woke up in bed with one of the dancers. Of course he said it didn’t mean anything and begged for my forgiveness, but it didn’t ease the pain I felt and the fact that he’d been unfaithful.

In time, I forgave him and we’ve been trying to work through it, but I’m not sure I can trust him enough to become his wife—I’m just not there yet.

Now here we are with our lives on hold and me not sure if I want to stay in the relationship. “I did at one time,” I said, climbing out of bed.

“Now you don’t.” He shook his head from side-to-side. “I thought we worked through this.”

“I need more time. I want us to get married because it’s what we both want,” I said.

“I do want it.” Max jumped out of bed, naked. “Lacy, I love you. You love me.” He took me in his arms. “You do still love me, don’t you?”

I could feel his hardness pressed against my kitten. She began to purr. “Of course I do. Marriage is a big step; as you reminded me so many times.”

He rolled his eyes toward the ceiling when I reminded him of the words he kept telling me each time I bought up marriage in the past. It felt good to give him a taste of his own medicine.

“We have to be able to trust each other.” I had to get in that extra jab.

He dipped his head slightly. “Okay. I get it. You still don’t trust me.”

“I didn’t say that.”

“You didn’t have to. I messed up. I know that. You don’t have to keep throwing it up in my face.” He placed a hand to his chest. “I will earn your trust again.”

Max looked so sincere. I wanted to believe him. I wanted to trust him again. I just wasn’t so sure that I could.

“Well, you go ahead,” Max continued. “Take all the time you need. This brother isn’t going anywhere. No matter how long it takes. I’m going to earn your trust again.”

“I know you will.” I reached out and gently touch his smooth, caramel face. “Will you make it down to North Carolina this weekend for the family reunion?” I asked, changing the subject.

“I don’t think so. I have a ton of work that I have to catch up on.” He leaned down and pressed his lips on mine. I quivered at the sweetness of his lips. “But, uh,” he began. His breathing was uneven. I could tell he was fighting for composure. I loved it. He raised one of my legs. His long, hard shaft found itself between my thighs. “We do have time for a quickie.” This was definite a turn-on.

No matter what we were going through in our relationship, Max and I never had a problem in the bedroom.

A moment later, his five-eleven frame swept me up weightless into his arms and laid me in the middle of the king-size bed. He quickly undressed me. My heart was hammering in my chest in anticipation of him making love to me.

Max entered me and I gasped as I welcomed the fullness of me. We began to match each other stroke for stroke. Passion pounded the blood through my heart, chest, and head. The lovemaking between us was so pure and explosive. I couldn’t control the outcry of delight. A moan of ecstasy slipped through my lips. I held on to him tight as my body shuddered with sweet desire.

****

Max jumped in the shower. Afterwards, he quickly dressed and headed off to work. A moment later, I followed in Max’s footsteps. The salon was due to open in thirty minutes.

The water felt good cascading over my body. I didn’t want to leave the invigorating feeling of the water sprout. It was relieving all of the emotional turmoil I was feeling at the moment about Max and our relationship. It didn’t help matters sleeping with, but I couldn’t help it. The man was in my system.

Twenty minutes later, I dressed and bolted out of the door. Running behind schedule, I placed a call to Tajir, the receptionist, to let him know I was on my way.

“Classy Cutz,” Tajir answered on the third ring. I could hear him eating on the other end.

“Tajir, I’ve told you a thousand times not to eat at the front desk and you have the nerve to answer the phone with food in your mouth,” I scolded.

“I’m sorry, Ms. Lacy,” he said in his sweet, subtle tone. “I didn’t get a chance to get—”

“I don’t want to hear it, Tajir,” I quipped. “The shop doesn’t open until 9:30. There’s a donut shop across the street. You had plenty of time to grab something on the way in.”

I worked to long and hard to build Classy Cutz into a professional and lucrative business. I wasn’t going to get there putting up with nonsense.

“This is the second warning, Tajir.” I made a left at the traffic light. “The third time and I will have to let you go.”

“I hear ya, Ms. Lacy,” Tajir said.

“Now the reason I phoned. Has Mrs. Simmons arrived yet?” According to the appointment book, her appointment for a wash and set was 9:45.

 “She just came through the door,” Tajir answered.

“Good. Let her know I’m on my way.”

I ended the call and popped Beyonce’s CD in the player. Now if only restoring the situation with Max could be so easy.

****
“You told Max you would think about marrying him, why?” Pamela Numan asked in surprise. Pamela was one of the top Stylist and my best friend. She was aware of the situation with Max. She knew how much his infidelity took an emotional toll on me.

Pamela and I grew up in Durham, NC. After graduating high school, I moved to D.C. Pam followed a year later. She was like family and would be attending my family reunion with me.

“I’m just not sure,” I answered.

“Then why are you still with him?” Pamela lowered her client in the shampoo bowl. “I keep telling you to drop that zero. Once they cheat, they will cheat again.”

“Oh sweetheart it’s not that easy,” Mrs. Simmons chimed in. “Matters of the heart never are. Where do you think the relationship is headed?” She refocused on me.

“I love Max. I’m hoping we can still work this thing through,” I replied. “But I can’t get it out of my mind that he was with another woman.”

Pam pointed the comb at me for emphasis. “That’s my point. Mrs. Simmons just said it. What kind of relationship do you have if you can’t trust him?”

I shrugged. I had some serious soul searching to do.

“You did say that you forgave him, right?” Mrs. Simmons asked.

“Yes. I did. I have several years invested in this relationship. I believe it’s worth saving,” I said. “I just can’t forget...” The rest of my sentence trailed off.

Mrs. Simmons turned around and looked at me with sympathy. She reached out and covered my hand with hers. “From what you told me, it’s only been six months. It takes time child. You shouldn’t forget. He lost your trust. He has to earn it back,” she further explained. “You just have to figure out if there’s enough trust to build a marriage on.” She stood. “Take your time. Don’t let him rush you. I was married almost 50 years to my beloved. I’m here to tell you that trust is a very important ingredient in a marriage.”

“I know, Mrs. Simmons. I know.”

 “You also don’t know how many other women he may have been with,” Pam chimed in.

“There haven’t been any other women,” I said in Max’s defense.

“That you know of,” Pam added. “Men are like dogs. You can’t trust them.”

Pam’s trust in men was shattered when she found her husband in bed with the mother of his son. Since then she’d pushed away every man that had come into her life. I couldn’t see myself going through that the rest of my life. I wanted love. I wanted to be in love.

A couple of hours later, Mrs. Simmons wash and set was done. As she prepared to leave, she pulled me aside. “I know you and Pam are close. I know she means well. But don’t allow what happened to her cloud your decision about Max. You know him better than anyone. Make your own decision.”

****
Friday morning came around and with it my excitement of heading home to see my family. I finished packing, loaded the car, then headed out to pick up Pam. Before we knew it we were cruising down the interstate. We laughed and talked about family members and friends we hoped to see and not see.
“Remember Aaron Temple?” Pam asked in a joking tone.



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My face split into a wide grin. “Of course, I remember Aaron. He was one of the most popular boys in high school. I had the biggest crush on him! He lived across the street from me but didn’t know I was alive.”

Aaron was on the debate team and played football. He also made the Dean’s list three years in a row. All of that hard work paid off when he earned a full academic scholarship to Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA.

The night before he left for college, I got up the nerve to tell him that I had a crush on him. I could still see the look on his face. He was surprised, speechless. Before he could say anything, I hightailed it back to my house, slamming the door behind me. Falling against the door, I felt like an idiot. How could I do it? I thought to myself.

Luckily, I never saw Aaron again after that. My mother kept tabs on him from his family. Through her, I found out he moved back to Durham a year ago after his mother died. He was still single, no children, and worked for a successful brokerage house.

“Yeah, you did have the biggest crush on him. Every time you saw him you would call him your baby daddy.” Pam chuckled. “Wouldn’t it be something if he showed up at the family reunion?”

“Aaron isn’t family. Why would he be at the reunion?”

“I’m not family and I’m going to be there. But I know if you had your way, he would be family.”

I glanced over at Pam. “That was years ago. Aaron didn’t even know I was alive.” I chuckled. “It was a high school crush. I’m over Aaron.”

“Hmmm,” Pam teased. “Sure you are. I don’t see how. He was so fine even then. I can only imagine what he looks like now.”

We both had to laugh. In the back of my mine, I had thought the same thing.

****
Later on that evening, I was settling in my old bedroom. As I glanced around, I realized Mama haven't changed a thing since the last time I was home over a year ago.

Mama came in and took a set at the foot of the bed. She was beaming from ear-to-ear.

“What are you grinning about?” I asked.

“I’m just glad you are home,” she said.

“I’m happy to be here,” I said as I continued to unpack.

“Is my future-son-in law coming later?” Mama asked.

“He said he’s going to try and make it later. He has some work to catch up on.”

“That man is always working,” Mama said. “I hope he can make it. I think he’s a great catch for you. I always prayed my only daughter would meet and marry someone like him. Yep. He’s a keeper.”

I didn’t respond. Mama liked Max from the first time I bought him home. I didn’t have the heart to tell her how he’d cheated on me, not yet.

“Your father would be so proud,” Mama said with a far away look in her eyes.

My father died of a heart attack when I was eleven. He was only 34-years-old. Mama never got over his death. I don’t think she ever will. A hospital administrator, she came in contact with numerous available suitors, but she chose to remain single.

“I guess,” I finally answered.

Mama crossed her arms across her chest. “What do you mean, you guess? What’s going on? Are you two having problems?”

Again, I didn’t respond.

“What did you do to him?”

“Me. Mama, nothing is going on,” I lied. “I just have something on my mind, that’s all.”

I crossed the room and pulled out the dresser drawer. Mama was hot on my trail.

“Is it something you want to talk about?”

I knew Mama was being helpful but I didn’t want to discuss Max.

“Not right now, Mama.”

“You know if you need to talk, I’m here.”

“I know, Mama.”

Mama opened her mouth to speak but thought better of it. Without another word, she patted me on the arm and headed out the door.

****
Saturday morning brought the Moore’s family reunion—always loads of fun. Relatives come from as far away as Europe every year to attend the festivities.

I was saying hello to my cousin Kerry and her husband, Thomas, when a voice behind me said, “Hello, Lacy.”

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I didn’t have to turn around. I’ve heard the voice in my sleep a thousand times. I couldn’t help but wonder if Aaron was still as handsome and luscious as the last time I confessed my feelings to him.
I turned around slowly. I wasn’t disappointed. He was even better looking, if that was possible. Gone was the bare face looking youth. In its place was a virile matured, captivating man, sporting a well-groomed beard and goatee. The years had been good to him.

“Aaron,” I spoke. My voice was barely above a whisper.

“How are you doing, girl? Can a brother get a hug?” He spread his arms apart.

I stepped into his embrace. He hugged me tight. The tantalizing smell of his aftershave, mixed with the male essence of him, sparked the flame for him that never burned out. I subtly stepped out of his embrace. I couldn’t believe he held me in his arms. I’ve dreamed of this moment for so long.

“You’re looking good.” He smiled, displaying beautiful, straight white teeth. His eyes found mine.

“So are you, Aaron. I’m surprised to see you here,” I mumbled. At the moment, I didn’t know what I was saying.

“Your mother invited me,” Aaron said.

I have to thank Mama, I thought to myself.

“How long has it been?” He inquired.

“Nine years,” I answered immediately.

“Has it been that long?” Aaron said. His light brown dancing eyes continued to lock with mine. My heartbeat went into a full gallop. “The last time we spoke to each other was the night before I left for school.”

My cheeks burned in memory of that night. “I remember.” I was so embarrassed, I just wanted to crawl into a hole and die. I cleared my throat. I had to change the subject. “So, how have life been treating you?”

He licked his lips. “Life has been good. What about yourself?”

“Good. Good. I was sorry to hear about your mother,” I said.

He put his hands in his pocket, rocking slightly forward. “Thank you. She’s at peace now. The pancreatic cancer took her quickly.”

I reached out and touched him on the arm.

“I heard you moved back to Durham,” I said, changing the subject. “Do you miss Atlanta?”

“Atlanta was nice. I enjoyed my time there but this is home. I missed my family and friends.”

Unlike me, Aaron was from a family of five. He had two sisters and two brothers. He was the middle child.

“Have you seen any of the old group since you’ve been home?” Aaron inquired.

“I only got in last night,” I said. “If you mean that group of snobs you hung out with, then the answer is no.”

He dipped his head slightly and waved a hand in mid-air. “Okay. My bad. I just thought maybe you have seen them around. Let’s talk about something else. I heard you moved to D.C.”

“How did you know that?”

“Your mother told me,” he said.

As he spoke, I couldn’t help but watch his mouth move. I wondered if I’d ever get the chance to sample the taste of his lips.

“Pam and I moved there after graduation.”

“I have always wanted to visit D.C. I never got the chance. What do you do there?”

“You should visit sometimes. Lots of things to see,” I suggested.

His eyes took a slow gaze of my body up and down. “There can’t be anything in D.C. as beautiful as you are.”

I had to look away. His words were undoing me. I could feel my toes curling in my toes. Where was this coming from?

“Like the White House. The Mall. Lincoln Memorial,” I continued. I didn’t miss the smile on his face. He knew his response had gotten to me.

“And you still didn’t tell me what you do in D.C.”

“I own a beauty shop called Classy Cutz.”

He smiled. “A business woman. Go on gurl. I knew you would do well. We as a people of color need to own our own businesses. I’m planning to open an Accounting firm within the next year, so if you ever need an accountant let me know.”

I couldn’t help but return his smile. “Thanks. I’ll keep that in mind.”

“How do you like living in D.C.?”

“I like it. Nice city. Always something to do and go to.”

“And how does Lacy spend her free time?” he asked.

I shrugged. “What do you mean?” I could have slapped myself for asking such a dumb question.

“I mean what do you do when you’re not working?” Aaron explained.

“I work all of the time,” I boasted.

He grinned. “Okay. Let me ask it this way. When you go out, do you go out with someone special?”

“Aaron, are you flirting with me?” I felt a ripple of excitement push through me.

“Yes, I am, but I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes.”

I stuck a strand of hair behind my ear. “To be honest, Aaron, I’m not sure if you’re stepping on anyone’s toes or not. My boyfriend and I are going through a rough time in our relationship.”

He took a deep breath. “Relationships can be tough.”

“Tell me about it,” I said.

A few moments later, I looked up to see Pam waving us over.

As we mingled with everyone, I found myself having a good time. The music was blaring and laughter from kids filled the air. Aaron and I played volleyball. Later Pam talked us into participating in the sack race. Aaron and I were partners. Though we didn’t win, I couldn’t remember the last time I had so much fun. I didn’t think of Max once.

After the games, Aaron and I ate until we were full as ticks. The conversation continued to flow easily between us. We gossiped about former classmates, teachers, relatives, and significant others.
I found out he and his girlfriend recently broke up. He woke up one day and realized that their lives was going in different directions. She liked to party all of the time. Aaron was the opposite. He was a homebody, focused on saving and planning to open his business. She wasn’t supportive of what he was trying to do.

I proceeded to tell Aaron about Max, his infidelity, and the marriage proposal.

“Only you can make that decision,” Aaron said. “You know how much the relationship means to you.”

“That’s what everyone keeps telling me,” I confessed.

Hours later, Aaron and I stood on the front porch of my mother’s house. I had butterflies in my stomach. I felt like I was back in high school on a first date.

“I really had a good time,” Aaron said. “It was good to see you and catch up on old times.”

“Same here, Aaron. It really was nice.”

Aaron stuffed his hands in his pockets, rocking on his heels. “Uh, I remember what you told me the night before I left for college.”

I dropped my eyes. “I was hoping you would have forgotten.”

“Not a chance. I was flattered. I had a secret crush on you, too, but I wondered why a beautiful woman like you would be interested in someone like me.”

“Are you serious? You were one of the most popular guys in school. I mean, you were a football star, on the debate team, and on the dean’s list. You hung around with the ‘in crowd’ and had to beat the girls off with a stick.”

Aaron blushed. “You give me w-a-a-a-y to much credit. I did well in school because it was expected of me. My parents would have whipped my butt if I didn’t. I love sports. I love to debate. No good grades, no sports.” He chuckled. “The crowd hung around me because I was considered a jock. As far as the girls, I only had eyes for one girl, but she didn’t give me the time of day.”

My mouth dropped. “What?”

Aaron tilted his head to one side. “I wanted to tell you that I liked you too, but you did a Flo-Jo on me that night. I didn’t get the chance to tell—until now.”

He reached out taking my hand in his.

“I felt so foolish,” I said.

He squeezed my hand. “Believe it or not I was kind of shy back then. Over the years, I’ve learned to be more open, not let opportunities pass me by.” Aaron’s eyes held mine. I looked away. He lifted my chin and looked into my eyes again.

If someone would have told me that one day Aaron Temple would be standing in front of me, on my porch, and revealing his feelings to me, I would have never believed it.

At his revelation, I didn’t know how to react. I’ve replayed the scene over and over so many times in my head but now that it was real, I didn’t know what to do. I’m still attracted to Aaron, there’s no doubt about that, but my feelings for Max were still very much alive.

“Aaron, I don’t know what to say,” I found myself saying.

“You don’t have to say anything,” Aaron said. “I wasn’t trying to put you on the spot. I know you are with Max. But that doesn’t mean we can’t be friends.”

“I don’t have a problem with that.”

“And friends do hang out, right?” Aaron replied.

“Right.”

“When are you leaving?” he asked.

“Day after tomorrow,” I answered. “Why?”

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“If you’re not busy tomorrow, I’d like to stop by. Maybe we can go to Fantasy World.”

I beamed from ear-to-ear. Fantasy World was the city’s local version of Six Flags. It had been several years since I’d been to the park. I couldn’t wait.

“Great. I’ll give you a call in the morning,” Aaron said, taking my broad smile as a ‘yes’ to his question.

A perfect gentleman, Aaron leaned down and kissed me on the cheek. “Good night, Lacy.”

“Night,” I said barely above a whisper as I watched him stroll down the sidewalk. He settled behind the wheel of his car. He threw one last wave before driving off.

I entered the house on an emotional high, looking forward to see Aaron tomorrow. Mama was waiting up for me. “Max cheated on you, am I right?"

The smile on my face vanished. How did she find out?

“How did you find out?”

“Pam told me,” Mama folded her arms across her ample chest with attitude. “That’s why you’re not sure about him.”

 “Mama, I wanted to tell you. I couldn’t.”

“When did it happen?”

“About six months ago. He went to a friend’s party and woke up in bed with another woman.”

“Typical,” Mama said.

“We’ve been trying to work through it,” I explained, plopping down in a chair. “But I can’t seem to get it out of my head that he was with that woman.”

Mama took a seat across from me on the sofa. “Work through? Love is not a math problem, there isn’t only one answer. The man cheated on you. Get rid of him."

I chuckled. I moved over taking a seat next to Mama. I laid my head on her shoulder. “I know I should. It's just not easy."

Mama patted my arm. “ It’s going to be alright.”

“I don’t know. Max proposed again. Things are complicated.”

“Well, you sure didn’t make it easier by going out with Aaron.”

I looked up at Mama. “Aaron is a friend.”

Mama stood. She gave me a give-me-a-break look. “Tell that to someone who doesn’t know any better. You have always had a thing for that boy,” she said. “I know Max did you wrong but going out with Aaron right now may not be the best way to handle it.”

“Mama I’m not doing anything wrong,” I said.

“What if Max drives up and you’re out with Aaron, then what?”

“Well Mama, since I have been here, I haven’t heard from Max. So, if he comes while I’m out then just tell him I’m out with a friend.”

I stormed to my bedroom. It would serve him right, I thought to myself.


****
Early the next morning, I thought about what Mama said and phoned Max. The call went straight to his voicemail. I left a message. No response. After waiting for an hour, I sent him a text message. Still nothing.

Around 11:00 a.m., I heard from Aaron as promised. We made arrangements for him to pick me up around one o’clock.

When we arrived at the park, I couldn’t help but notice numerous rides and attractions had been added since my last visit several years ago.

We rode on everything from the roller coasters to the bumper cars. During the rides, I held onto Aaron laughing and screaming my head off.

Later, we strolled around the park eating ice cream and deciding what to tackle next. I glanced over to find Aaron staring at me. “Is there something on my face?”

“Just beauty. It’s good to see you smiling.”

“This weekend is what I really needed. It has helped me to see a lot of things more clearly,” I said.

“Good. I’m glad to hear that. I wanted to take you someplace to take your mind off things, even if it’s just for one day.”

“Well, you succeeded.” I giggled.

“What do you want to take on next?” he asked, standing in front of the Haunted House.

“I’m not going in there,” I whined, turning in the opposite direction.

“Come on, this is going to be fun,” he said, grabbing me by the hand. I felt the warm feeling in my stomach again. “There’s nothing to be scared about. I’ll protect you.”

My eyes were closed during the ride. I held on tight to Aaron’s arm. I have to admit it felt good being this close to him and to top the evening off, he won a large Teddy Bear for me by tossing rings around bottles.

Later, Aaron parked in front of the house and cut the engine. He turned to face me. “I hate to sound like a broken record but I haven’t had this much fun in a long time.”

“Me neither,” I said.

“Are you still leaving in the morning?” Aaron asked.

“Yes,” I said in a sad tone. “I have a business to get back to.”

“When will you be this away again?” he inquired.

“I don’t know, but we have to keep in touch,” I replied. “If you’re ever in D.C….”

“I will look you up.”

“You better.”

We exchanged phone numbers. As I began to exit the vehicle, Aaron grabbed me by the wrist. “Lacy, let me give you something to remember be by.” Before I knew it, he pressed his lips to mine. The touch of his lips on mine was the sweetest thing I’d ever tasted. I tilted my head to receive all that he was giving me.

“I couldn’t help myself,” Aaron said once we finally parted. “I’ve wanted to do that since I saw you yesterday.”

The blood was pounding in my head. “I’m glad you did. I was thinking the same thing.”

He smiled that beautiful smile of his and touched a finger to my nose. “I don’t want to keep you much longer because if I do I won’t let you leave.”

Aaron walked around the vehicle and opened the door for me. “I hope to hear from you soon,” he said as we strolled up the sidewalk.

“You will, I promise.”

A moment later he walked back to his car with a spring in his step.

****
I managed to grab a couple of hours sleep before heading home. Thoughts of Aaron accompanied me throughout the night and on the trip. I thought about what our relationship would be like if Aaron and I were together. Would I be living in North Carolina?  Children? Living in a nice home surrounded by a white picket fence? Why did we have to meet again now and under these circumstances? I guess life was funny like that.

“I didn’t see much of you this weekend,” Pam said out of the blue. “Aaron kept you busy.”

My face broke into a wide grin. “Yes, he did. We had a good time.”

“Good for you. I thought you said you were over him,” she teased.

“I thought I was,” I admitted.

I told Pam my true feelings about Aaron. “I still feel the same way about him as I did in high school. Nothing has changed.”

“What are you going to do?” Pam inquired.

“I don’t know.”

Several hours later, I dropped Pam off then traveled the twenty minutes across town. I was anxious to get home and get some rest. The shop was closed today. I can catch up on sleep.

I took a quick shower and placed another call to Max. No response. I left another message. I couldn’t ignore the fact that something was going on. I haven’t heard from him the entire weekend.

The next morning, Aaron phoned to make sure I arrived home safely. We spoke for about an hour. It was good to hear his voice. I missed him. I wanted to see him again. Now more than ever, I needed to speak with Max to find out where this relationship was headed—if anywhere.

Since I couldn’t get Max on the phone, I decided to pay him a visit at work. It was nothing for me to drop in unexpectedly for lunch.

I arrived to find out that Max had already left for lunch. I walked along the busy streets of outdoor cafes and restaurants, when I spotted Max and a young woman having lunch. They were holding hands and affectionately looking at each other.

I stood immobile for a moment to collect my thoughts before I approached them. I took a deep breath, put on a fake smile, and waltzed over to their table.

“Hello, Max.” His eyes stretched as big as a bow dollar. He looked from me to the other woman, then refocused on me. He was struggling for something to say.

“Lacy, you’re back,” he managed to stammer out.

“Yes, I made it back,” I said with my chin held high. I wasn’t about to let this clown know how much I was hurting right now. “I got back last night. I phoned you when I made it in.”

“I didn’t get any messages from you.”

“You’re lying.” My voice raised an octave. “I have been calling you all weekend.” I glanced over at the other woman who looked like a deer caught in a headlight. “But I can see you were busy.”

“It’s not like that,” Max began to explain.

I put my hands on m my hips. “Oh really. It looks that way to me. Who are you?” I asked the woman.

“Her name is—” Max volunteered.

“I wasn’t talking to you,” I fired at Max.

“Lindsey,” the woman said. “I work with Max at the bank.”

“What else do you do with Max?” I asked, looking back at Max.

“Nothing,” Max jumped in.

 I thought about what Pam said. What my mother said. Max wasn’t going to change. Then my mind switched to Aaron.  If I would have known Max was getting his swerve on, I would have gotten busy with Aaron.

I turned back to Lindsey. “Woman to woman, Lindsey. Are you sleeping with Max?”

Lindsey looked at Max for help. He looked nervous.

 “Yes,” she finally said. “We are in love and we’re going to get married.”

Max jumped up. “She’s lying, Lacy. We’re just friends/co-workers. I love you.”

Lindsey stood. “What are you talking about, Max? We spent the weekend together,” she admitted.

“She’s delusional. Crazy!” Max yelled.

“Who’s crazy? You told me you loved me!” Lindsey screamed at Max.

Patrons outside the restaurants were beginning to whisper and stare at the spectacle. I had heard enough. There was nothing left to say. The relationship was over.

I waved a hand in mid-air to Lindsey. “Girlfriend, he’s all yours. I hope you two will be happy together.” I walked away with my head held high.

“Lacy!” Max was yelling behind me. “Lacy!”

Dreamstime
I headed home, threw fresh clothes in the suitcase, and headed back to North Carolina. I had one person in mind—Aaron.

When I arrived, I didn’t bother to stop at Mama’s. I headed straight to Aaron’s.

Aaron opened the door with a look of surprise on his face.

“You said if I need you to call,” I explained.

He smiled. “Yes, I did. What do you need?” he asked, taking me in his arms.

“You,” I whispered, capturing his lips, over and over. "I just need you."




-The End-


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Copyright(c) 2015 Sammie Ward

Sunday, April 19, 2015

What Are Girlfriends For-Flash Fiction






Synopsis: It's  Layla Mill's birthday, but her boyfriend Jonathan Carr seems to have forgotten, but when her best friend/co-worker, Shauna Summers offer to take her out to celebrate, it's a night, Layla will remember for the rest of her life.



I stared unbelievingly at my boyfriend who was sitting in front of the television set. “Nothing but net!” he bellowed at the Wizards after John Wall hit a three-pointer.  Tonight I wasn’t concerned with the game. Our two-year relationship was in trouble. We needed to call a timeout so we could discuss our next play.

 A second later, Jonathan screamed, “Defense!” He jumped off the sofa after Nene blocked a shot.  “Yeah! That’s what I’m talking about.”

 I crossed my leg over the other, swinging it back and forth. Once I tell him how it is, I thought to myself, I’ll feel a whole lot better. Jonathan didn’t bother looking my way as he leaned back on the sofa, tilted his head back, and gulped beer. I rolled my eyes upward. On top of everything else, it was my birthday.

Jonathan threw both hands up in disgust when, Dwayne Wade scored another basket.“ Come on rebound!”

 Six months ago, Jonathan asked me to become his wife. I needed time to think about the proposal. The way I feel toward him at the moment, I’m sure more than ever what my answer will be.
 I want to be with a man whom I feel passion and love for. The passion has died out of our relationship. I will always love Jonathan, but I was no longer in love with him. The ringing of the telephone snapped me out of my thoughts. Another interruption. The way the day was going, it seemed I would never get around to discussing our relationship.

 I rambled around in my purse, retrieved a pink cellular phone, and flipped it open.

“Happy birthday, girl!” a female voice said over the line.

 It was Shauna Summer, my best friend and coworker. We both were accountants at Roger& Meeks, a successful firm in downtown Washington, DC.

 “It’s my birthday, but it’s not a happy one,” I vented.

“What’s wrong?”

 “Gurl, I didn’t even get a card.”

“Maybe Jonathan has something planned for later.” Shauna was aware of the strained relationship between Jonathan and me. I knew she was only trying to make me feel better.

“Well, it looks like to me the only thing he plans to do is sit, drink beer, and watch the playoffs.”

 Shauna sighed. “I tell you what. This is your day. How about I take you out?”

“Shauna, I know what you’re trying to do, but it’s not necessary.”

“Nonsense. Get dressed. We’re going to Cadence.”

I had to admit the idea of going to an upscale and classy supper club on my birthday was just what I needed. I’d never been there, but Shauna boasted that the clientele was impressive among the African-American community.

 “What do you say?” she prompted. " You know you're my girl, we got to do it right."

Instead of answering Shauna’s question, I asked, “Don’t you need a reservation to get in Cadence?”

“Don’t worry about that. I will handle everything. Just meet me at the club at eight o’clock.” I didn't get a chance to answer. The dial tone sounded in my ear.

 I closed the phone and met Jonathan’s inquiring eyes.“Who was that?” he asked.

 “Shauna.”

He looked irritated. “What was she talking about?”

“She wants to take me out for my birthday.” Despite what was going on between us, I was hoping Jonathan would say he didn’t want me to go, that he has plans. He didn’t. Without another word, he refocused on the game.

 At exactly eight o’clock, I pulled the Volvo in front of the club. I looked out the window and saw a well-dressed couple emerge from a Lexus and head for the entrance.

I self-consciously ran my hand over my tan, two-piece expensive pants suit, with matching pumps,  I purchased for my birthday. “ This is my day”, I said to myself. Even though Jonathan’s actions had hurt me, I was determined to have a good time.

 A valet stood waiting. I tipped the young man and he sped away.

 I stepped inside a set of massive mahogany doors affixed with brass hardware and found myself immersed in grandeur of beauty. The golden recessed lights glistened against gold-toned fixtures, floor-to-floor ceiling stained-glass windows, and green leafy plants near a man-made waterfall.
 I thought about sitting in the breathtaking foyer to wait for Shauna and watch the customers come and go, but curiosity got the best of me when the band ended a number, followed by applause, and whistles of appreciation.

 I peeped in the posh interior of the restaurant, which was dressed in shades of gold and cream. There were large pillars, erect like military soldiers, standing at attention. Customers seemed to be enjoying themselves, laughing, talking, and sitting at tables with small intimate lamps.

I decided to wait a little longer in the foyer. As I backed out of the doorway, along, hard body behind me halted me in my tracks. When I turned to apologize, the words fell dead on my lips. I groaned. The handsome man was all that and then some. Handsome? No, that was an understatement. The word didn’t even begin to describe the man looking back at me with my mouth gaped open. He reminded me of D.J Augustin, from the Chicago Bulls, a brother who was domineering on the courts and had a body that could give a sistah a real workout.

 Not tall like D.J, this man was only around six-feet tall. He had on a white open-neck shirt, with a black jacket and matching slacks. He was black, a beautiful smooth tone, with a face you would never get tired of looking at or touching. I licked my lips.

 “I’m sorry. Did I hurt you?” he said.

 It took a moment to find my voice. I felt like Diana Ross in “Lady Sings The Blues,” the scene where she first laid eyes on Billie Dee Williams. Like her, I was a goner.

“Uh, no,” I finally stammered out, wondering if he knew the effect his presence was having on me.
 Three months. It had been that long since I’d shared my body with Jonathan. Was that the reason I was so attractive to this stranger?

 His face parted in a dazzling display of straight, white teeth. “You’re sure you’re all right?”

I nodded. “Yes, I’m fine.” Without another word, he sidestepped me and went inside the restaurant, leaving his presence forever embedded in my mind.

 “I’m sorry I’m late,” Shauna said, rushing up to meet me. “I got held up,” she explained. “My man was worried about me coming out tonight.”

 Blinking to clear my head, I stared at Shauna, not sure what she’d said. I knew Shauna had met a new man about a month ago. Whoever he was, she was being secretive about him.

 “I told him it was your birthday, and nothing he could do or say would stop me from taking you out tonight,” Shauna said as she led me inside the club, excited as ever. “My cousin, Malik sings here,” she boasted.

“Good evening and welcome to Cadence’s. My name is Kim.”

“Good evening, Kim,” Shauna spoke. “I believe you have a reservation for me. It should be under Layla Mills, the birthday girl I phoned about.”

 Kim threw us a fantastic smile. “Happy birthday, Layla. We have a table all ready for you. I hope you enjoy yourself tonight.”

 Feeling embarrassed and pleased, I returned her smile. “Thank you. I’m sure I will.”

“I’m here to make sure that she does,” Shauna chimed in. Kim beckoned for a waitress who escorted us to a table where we had an obstructed view of the stage.

“I’m Mya and I’ll be your waitress for the evening. I understand it’s your birthday. We'd like to offer you a drink and dinner on the house. What would like for a appetizer?

 I arched a perfect eyebrow and looked at Shauna. “Thank you. That’s very kind of you.” The evening was getting off to a great start."

 Mya handed each of us a menu, then proceeded to take our drink order. I ordered a margarita. Shauna ordered a pina colada. For the appetizer, I decided on Buffalo wings.

 “I’ll be back with your drinks and appetizer.”

It was the band’s intermission, and the soft sound of jazz music filled Cadence’s with warmth and relaxation.

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“I got to admit, so far I’m impressed,” I said while looking around. “I honestly thought I was going to spend my birthday, watching Jonathan  watch the playoffs.”

 “Come on, what kind of friend would I be if,  I let that happen?"

“The man didn't  even wish me a happy birthday. I don’t understand what’s going on with him. The past couple of weeks he’s watched the Wizards chase the championship ring with more passion than is in our relationship.”

 Shauna opened her menu and looked at me. “Things really that bad between you two?”

“Worse.  I tried talking to him. With the playoffs going on, I don’t have a chance.”

 “Maybe he knows that’s what you want to talk to him about.”

“I’m sure he does. He has to know that things are not the same between us."

 Mya appeared with the drinks and Buffalo wings, then took our dinner order.

“We haven’t made love in months,” I admitted, picking up the conversation when it was safe to speak.

 Shauna frowned. “I don’t see how you do it,” She purred her lips and shook her head in disbelief. “No sex in months. No way.”

I laughed at her reaction. “I stopped wanting to. I’m tired of pretending when the passion just isn’t there anymore."

 Shauna’s face softened. “I’m sorry. I’m sure it must be difficult for both of you.”

 I took a sip. “I'm the only that seems to care.” I looked in my drink glass, as if expecting to find the answer to the situation between Jonathan and me. “I think it's over.  But I don't know how I feel about it."

Shauna raised an eyebrow. “You sure it’s over?”

I tilted my head to one side."I don't know.  Maybe  there's someone else."

"Oh come on," Shauna exclaimed. " Jonathan would not do that to you."

"Jonathan is a man, if he's not getting it from me. He will get it someone else."

"I know for a fact Jonathan is faithful. He's loyal. He would never do anything intentionally to hurt you."

I thought about it for a moment. Shauna was right. Things were going well between us until. I turned down his marriage proposal. Maybe I should rethink everything. Afterall, I have invested two years in the relationship. I shouldn't give up so quickly.

"Maybe, you're right. I shouldn't give up so easily." I noticed a sly grin on Shauna's face. "What are you smiling about?  What you up to?"

 Shauna threw her head back and laughed. “What makes you think I’m up to something?”

 I joined in her laughter. “I can tell when you’re up to no good.”

“Trust me." Shauna said. "What I have plan for you tonight, you will never forget."

With a revelation like that, I couldn't wait to find out what else, Shauna had planned.

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After a delicious dinner, we talked, laughed, and danced with other men in the club. I was having the time of my life.

 A hour later, the festivities were interrupted when a spotlight shone on the stage. A tall, male figure came into view, accompanied by a sextet. After my eyes adjusted, I leaned back in the chair. It was the handsome man I had run into at the door.

 As he sung, I sat spellbound. His stage presence absolutely blew me away.

Thirty minutes later, he ended his last number amid a thunderous round of applause. I looked over to find Shauna watching me closely.

 “Isn’t he awesome?”

“That, he is,” I admitted.

 Shauna looked back at the singer, taking his final bow.

 “Do you know him?” I asked, feeling jealous that she could know him on an intimate level when I definitely wouldn’t mind getting to know him myself. Maybe he was the man she has been seeing for the past month.

“Is he the man you’ve been seeing? He’s fine.”

 Shauna giggled, bending her head forward. “You can find out yourself. He’s coming this way.”

“Good evening, ladies,” the familiar voice spoke behind my left shoulder.

 I took a light breath, turned, and looked into that handsome face again. “Hello, again,” I managed to say.

  Shauna curiously looked from me to him. “You two know each other?”

 I watched him smile and my heart rate sped up. “Let’s just say we ran into each other. May I join you?”

“Have a seat.” I replied.

 “Thank you,” he said, sitting slowly, his long body moving with ease. “Malik Hampton,” he extended a hand to me.

“Layla Mills,” I said, closing my hand over his.

 Malik nodded toward Shauna. “Cousin, it’s been a while.  Good to see you.” He leaned over, kissing her on the cheek.

 “Same here, Malik. Today is Layla’s birthday,” she happily chirped. “So, I figured I’d bring her here to celebrate.”

“Good choice. I can’t think of a better place. Food is good, music is fantastic.” His eyes raked boldly over me as he added, “You get a chance to meet beautiful people.”

 I returned his gaze with my own and agreed.

“How are you enjoying yourself so far?” Malik asked.

“So far, I’m having a wonderful time.”

He smiled again. “I’m glad. If I had known today was your birth, I would have sung “Happy Birthday to you.”

 Inside, my heart sang with delight. The thought of this man, a stranger, wanting to sing happy birthday to me made me feel special.

“I’m glad you didn’t,” I said coyly.

 “Why not? I’m a pretty good singer and it is your birthday." Malik said.

“Thank you for saying that. I admit you're not a bad singer.”

“Thanks for the compliment.” Malik signaled for the waitress and placed an order for a scotch and water. “So, tell me Layla, why are you spending your birthday with Shauna?”

Shauna threw him a “no-you-didn’t” look.

“No offense to you, Cousin,” Malik quickly added.

 “What’s wrong with me?” Shauna asked, trying to look as if her feelings were hurt.

 “Nothing.”  Malik swung his head around to look at me. “I just thought maybe Layla’s man would have planned something special tonight.”

“I don’t want to talk about him,” I answered, irritated.

Malik arched back in the chair. “Why not?”

 I forced a smile and gave Malik a sideways glance. “Like you said, tonight is my night. I don’t want to ruin it talking about him.”

 “I hear ya, girl,” Shauna jeered.

 A faint smile flickered at the edges of Malik’s mouth. “I agree, tonight is about you.” He leaned closer toward me. He was so close. I could feel the heat radiating from his body and smell the faint spicy scent of his aftershave. Damn, he smells good.

“ Can I can be so bold," Malik began.  "If  there is anything I can do to help make tonight more special, please let me know."

  My heart thumped erratically in my throat. I could think of a few things I wanted to suggest doing with him, but the reply came out, “Like?"

  Malik ran his tongue slightly across his bottom lip. “Whatever you would like me to do.”

 I couldn’t tear my gaze away from his. I swallowed hard. I knew I shouldn’t have been thinking what I was thinking, but for the first time in months, I felt alive, feminine, and desirable. “That is bold. I don't know you."

He ran his tongue over his bottom lips. “That's easy to solve."

“Meaning?"

  Malik grinned. “I’ll tell you what.Why don’t we begin with a dance and let the rest of the evening unfold?”

“I can do that.” I put my hand in Malik’s who helped me from my seat. “I’ll be back, Shauna.”

Shauna nodded.

 Malik scurried around couples and shouldered his way through to the dance floor. He pulled me into his arms and we began dancing to the slow beat. I knew I was swept away when out bodies meshed together. I inhaled deeply as our bodies began moving in perfect rhythm to the music.

“I’m glad I ran into you tonight, Layla,” he whispered softly in my ear.

“I must admit, I'm glad too,” I replied in a voice so low I didn’t know if he had heard my response.
Malik tightened his hold on me. My breasts pressed heavily against his chest, his hands locked my hips to his and the erect bulge between his thighs pressed into my burning flesh. When one song ended, he held me closer on the dance floor until another song began.

 “Why don’t we go back to my place?” he whispered in my ear, then nibbled on it.

 A quiver surged through my veins.  He kissed my face and tenderly kissed my lips. As I looked into his eyes, all I could do was whisper, “Yes.”

When we approached the table together, hand in hand, Shauna’s face beamed with approval.

 “We’re going to go and get better acquainted,” Malik explained. He planted a kiss on Shauna’s cheek. “I’ll talk to you later.”

Shauna’s expression made it clear that she understood the meaning of the statement. “Don’t worry about anything,” she whispered in my ear. “Don't worry about Jonathan, I will take care of everything.”

 I knew Shauna would cover for me if Jonathan questioned my whereabouts. That's what girlfriends  are for.

  Thirty minutes later, Malik pulled into the driveway of his apartment complex. He got out of the car and walked around the vehicle to open the door for me.

We strolled up the sidewalk together. Malik pulled out the key and unlocked the door. I walked inside the apartment on weakened legs. Malik followed me in, closing the door behind me. His hand automatically reached for the lamp on the end table.

 He dropped the keys in a tray on the coffee table. The spacious apartment contained a black sofa with matching loveseat. The mantel was covered with family photos, including one with Malik and a little girl, smiling cheek-to-cheek. Tan walls provided the backdrop for African-American paintings. African statues were scattered throughout the room. A wall unit shelved a TV, VCR, DVD, and stereo system. Next to it, a large green potted tree added to the ambiance.

“Come on in and make yourself at home,” Malik instructed, disappearing into the kitchen. He reappeared a few minutes later with a bottle of wine and two glasses.  Malik presented me with a glass of wine, then walked over and turned on the CD player. As Luther Vandross music set the mood, I found myself relaxing. I’m sure we both were aware of the sexual tension between us.

 A moment of silence developed between us. I stared at him for a long, thoughtful moment. I knew what he was thinking because I was thinking the same.  “ What else can I get the birthday girl?”

That was it, the magic question. He slowly leaned forward and kissed me. The kiss sent spirals of ecstasy through me. His mouth covered mine hungrily. I knew he felt me shiver, and simultaneously, he inserted his tongue deeper, adding that exciting brand of intimacy I have never known before.

Instinctively, I captured his tongue with mine.  I heard myself purr as I stated the sweetness of his tongue.

 “You taste so sweet,” Malik whispered huskily. He reached up and traced his finger along the curve of my cheekbone. His gaze was intent, purposeful, and challenging. “I knew you would.”

 I looked at him and couldn’t deny the desire I felt for him. “I knew you would, too.”

Without another word, he took me by the hand and led me into the bedroom. He pulled me closer, his large hands pressing my hips securely to his. “We don’t have to do anything.”

 “You’re lying, Malik,” I said softly.  I locked my arms around his neck and placed a tender kiss on his lips.

“I’m serious, Layla.”

I silenced him with another kiss. I didn't feel like talking.

Malik planted kisses along the nape of my neck. I closed my eyes and listened to the sounds of the intimate kisses and moans.

 We undressed each other, and gently, he eased me down onto the bed. Malik’s touch was light and painfully teasing as his hands explored my breast, back, waist, and hips. Heat rippled under my skin as the flush of sexual desire I hadn’t felt for months coursed throughout my body.

My impatience to be connected with him grew to explosive proportions. Malik knew I was ready for him because his fingers grabbed a condom from the nightstand. I welcomed him into my body, and together our bodies joined in exquisite harmony, soaring high until we reached the peak of delight, exploding in a downpour of fiery sensation.

Afterward, I lay in Malik’s arms filled with an amazing sense of completeness. I had never been so fulfilled, but I had to look at the night for what it really was. It was nothing more than fulfilling a moment of physical desire.

The next morning, I awakened to Malik’s hard male body snuggled next to mine. I eased undetected out of bed, found the bathroom, showered, and dressed. As I came back into the bedroom, preparing to leave, Malik sat up in bed.

 “You don’t have to leave,” he said as his gaze locked with mine.

“Let’s get real, Malik. We both know what last night was about.”

  “It doesn’t have to be that way.” He got out of bed, naked. "I know it sounds strange but I really like you."

My heart beat rapidly as my eyes took in the beautiful specimen I had the pleasure of enjoying the previous night. “Malik, last night was wonderful. I can’t remember ever having a more memorable birthday, but it can’t be anything else. In case you forgot, I’m with someone.”

  I couldn’t believe Malik wanted to see me again. It wasn’t suppose to happen this way. It was a night for sexual gratification…a one night stand. Nothing more.”

 “All right,” he spread his hands apart,” I won’t push. But if you ever need anything, give me a call."

I stepped forward and placed a gentle kiss on his lips. "Thank you, Malik.”

 Malik smiled that beautiful smile of his.

 I gave his midsection one last ogle. “For everything.”

“You are welcome.”

Malik drove me back to Cadence to pick up my car. Reaching over me, he opened the glove compartment and withdrew a pen and notepad. He quickly jotted down his number and handed it to me.  I slipped the paper in my purse.

I watched as Malik got out of the car. He came around to open the passenger side door, extending his hand.   “I meant what I said, if you ever need anything." He held my hand as he walked me to my car.  Pulling me close, Malik thrust his tongue in my mouth with a kiss that sent shivers to the tip of my toes.

“Good bye, Layla.”

“Malik.”

 Malik waited until I drove off before he strolled back to his car. As I pulled out into traffic, I wondered how Jonathan would react if he knew what I’d done. Our relationship was in jeopardy, but I never should have spent the night in another man's bed.

A hour later, I let myself inside the apartment. The place was quiet, except for the soft humming of the air conditioner. Then I thought I heard what sounded like a giggle. I pushed the thought aside, but then I heard it again and my senses kicked into high gear. I headed slowly down the hallway.

 “Jonathan?” I called.

 “Layla?” I heard him answer from the bedroom, followed by sudden movement. A wave of apprehension swept through me, as I stood outside the door. Something wasn’t right. I took a deep breath and strolled into the bedroom. I came to an abrupt stop,  not believing what I was seeing. My best friend and Jonathan were in bed together.

I watched as she snuggled closer to him, not embarrassed that I had caught them together. “What  the hell is going on?”

“You can see what is going on,” Shauna answered, pleased with herself.

I looked from Shauna to Jonathan. He didn’t say a word. His response was to kiss her on the lips.

 It took all  I had inside to calm me down. With fists balled at my side___my instincts were to snatch her bald.“How long has this been going on?” I asked in a crack voice.

“You already know the answer to that, Shauna said smugly. “We've been seeing each other for months."

 I clenched my jaw to kill the sob in my throat. “ Months? How can you do this to me, Shauna? You are my friend. I confided in you. You know how I feel about, Jonathan"

“What about you and Malik?” Jonathan chimed in. “Explain that.”

I did not have an answer. Tears welled in my eyes as I spun on my heels and ran out the door. I felt a sourness in the pit of my stomach. It was obvious, I thought, settling behind the wheel of the car. Shauna had used my indiscretion to justify  sleeping with Jonathan.

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The longer I sat, the angrier I got.  Shauna was my friend. Jonathan was my man.  But both have made a fool out of me. I wasn't about to let them get away with it.

I rambled around in the bottom of the large bag and found Malik's number. I dialed. He answered on the third ring.

"Were you in on the setup?" I yelled in the phone. "How could you do that to me?"

"What set up?" Malik answered in a groggy voice.  "What are you talking about?"

I proceeded to tell him everything that happened between me  and Shauna. As I filled him in with the details, I calmly walked to the trunk of the Volvo and removed a wooden baseball bat.

"Shauna did what?" Malik  inquired. "Layla, I'm sorry. I had no idea. I haven't seen her in months. She called me and said, she wanted me to meet someone. That's the truth."

"If that's the truth, I'm going to need your help." I exclaimed as I purposely walked back toward the apartment.

"For what?" Malik exclaimed.

"I'm going to need you to bail me out of jail."




                                                                     -The End-


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