Tag Archives: Books

Who? Me? – Part 1

“It’s going to take a while but I am going to get there.” Melanie was forceful. Melanie was adamant but was she convincing?

“What are you waiting on?” Cynthia was oh too familiar with saying that phrase to her friend.

Melanie dropped her head looking for the imaginary fist that had just punched her in the gut. She pulled in a long…long, long breath through her nostrils before she projected her eyes on to her old friend.

Cynthia recognized the expression projected on to her and worked to decode it, piece by piece. “So you want ‘It’ right?

There was silence on the other end of the conversation. Only bright, round eyes fixed in her direction. “Um, Melanie. Are you in there girlfriend?”

Melanie took another slow breath before exiting her stupor. “Um…” Gulp! “Yeah…um yeah. Of course I want ‘It’.” Her eyes slipped from her friend’s face to the floor tracing the diagonal design of the tiling pattern.

Soon Melanie’s eyes was tracing the design of Cynthia’s shiny leather pumps. Her friend had snuck up on her without any warning. “Guess what Mel. ‘It’ is reachable. You see it, right?”

 

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Learning Anew: An Excerpt VI

“Okay, so I know that this may sound crazy.” His eyes dropped to his shoes and a light escaped from them. “Maybe just a little.” A loose chuckle rolled out of his belly. Johan tried to sound casual though he’d rehearsed this speech several times over in his head. Aniya peered at him, teeth gritted under her pressed lips. Johan’s lashes fluttered. Aniya didn’t make it easy for him but he had to get his words out. “But this isn’t just lip service. You’ve earned every single advance here.”

Aniya was silent. She allowed his words to sink in while she bore her eyes into Johan’s deep set green windows to his soul. She stared searching. Searching for truth. Searching for answers. Eventually she spoke. “Thank you. I should really get back to preparing that report for your fath…for Mr. Steinberg Sr. Excuse me.” Aniya spun around easily and quickly. One foot after the other, aiming for the door. Suddenly she heard footsteps behind her and she could feel Johan’s soft, warm breath on her neck. “One more thing. Am I forgiven?”

Time seemed to come to a screeching halt. Aniya reversed her direction slowly. She was face to face with Johan again. Even closer this time. Her round bright brown eyes grew, and grew till it formed a small protruding, shiny bulge. “Please Mr. Steinberg. Please.” 

Johan’s throat tightened. His heart drummed an energetic rhythm. He raised his hand in an attempt to cover it. Not again! He swore that his heart was on fire. He wanted to take her hand. He wanted to say he only wanted what was best for her. Instead he heard the soft, pleading tone of her voice. “I love this job too much.” She whipped around again and reached for the door handle. Aniya shot through the exit with force.

Johan was tempted to follow her. Tempted to spew every last detail lodged in his heart. But he couldn’t. Not yet anyway. There was too much at stake.

 LearningANewVI-1 (2)

 

 

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Learning Anew: Excerpt V

Aniya stared at her lap for two more seconds before she raised her head tentatively. She peered into Susan’s bright blue eyes trying to find the correct words to utter to her supervisor, and mentor. She doesn’t want to appear ungrateful but the confused mess of turmoil building up inside her made her sift through every word screaming at her.

Aniya finally broke her silence.

“Ahem. Susan…Susan I…I really appreciate everything you’ve taught me. Everything that I get to do here…” Aniya sucked in a thick breath. “But…was it…was it because of your relationship to the…”

Susan couldn’t allow her to go any further. She took a gigantic step forward and met Aniya at the edge of her simple but elegant office desk. Using the desk to prop her up at the rear, Susan leaned down toward Aniya and offered her firm but kind words.

“Aniya, every move you’ve made forward, since starting here, has been on your own merit. Entirely.” Susan slipped the tip of her fore finger under Aniya’s chin and raised it gently. “Don’t go getting any strange thoughts in that pretty head of yours about your promotion. You earned it. Earned it all on your own.”

Susan tilted her head to the side studying Aniya to determine whether her words had registered. “Got it, Aniya?”

Aniya vacated her own blank stare and returned to the present. “I get it.” Her voice was cold-without emotion. Without enthusiasm. She turned to look out the large wall of windows. “I think.” She muttered softly.

LearningANewV-4 (2)

 

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Learning Anew: An Excerpt IV

A belly laugh tumbled out of her stomach. For some reason Johan’s words amused Aniya to the point of causing her to fold over at her stomach-laughing. It took her all of two minutes before she could compose herself.

“I’m sorry.” Sarcasm oozed out of her veins. “Um, because you’re the head honcho you think that it’s okay that you lied to me?” If the daggers shooting out of her eyes were real Johan would already been dead. He took a tentative step toward her. Aniya stepped backward. Johan remained put.

“Aniya, I’m sorry. It wasn’t my intention to lie…” Resembling a traffic cop, Aniya raised her hand up to stop him.

“I really don’t want to…I can’t.” She pressed her lips tightly together. “I have to get back to work. If that’s alright with you?” The sarcasm was back in all its glory. Johan’s eyes were half filled with regret and half filled with fear. Fear of losing Aniya forever.

“Aniya please. Please let me explain. It’s all on me. It’s all on me if you’re late getting back to work.” Johan kept his voice low, and his tone even. Aniya however, was poised to rush past him like a NFL offense player.

“I have work to do. Unlike you I don’t have the luxury of playing games.” She began her stampede forward. Johan planted himself in her path, attempting to block her. Aniya stopped dead in her tracks. Seemingly in slow motion, she raised her head and glared into Johan’s forest green eyes then allowed herself to gaze further up at the strands of dark brown hair framing his forehead. Suddenly she shook her head, vigorously. Those images had to be expelled immediately. He had to remain the ogre she only saw him as now. “Mr. Steinberg, seriously, I really need to get back to work.”

Johan hadn’t heard a word Aniya said. Not really anyway. He was lost in her russet brown almond eyes and the strand of unruly curly hair hanging over her right ear, that had gotten loose from her high puff-ponytail. “Mr. Steinberg!” Johan snapped to attention.

“Huh?” He swallowed hard to hide his embarrassment. “You know, Johan works just fine.”

Aniya sucked in an enormous breath through her nose and let it out forcibly as though she inhaled fire instead of air. She moved quickly. She maneuvered around Johan. Who knew she was so agile. So much more I have to learn about her. Johan swiveled around and tried to reach Aniya before she crossed the office door’s threshold. “Aniya…” He called out but she was already through the door interweaving among the people-traffic on the floor.

Johan sheepishly looked at the passerbys and shrinked back into his office.  He shut the door and leaned aginast it. “Okay…okay, so she’s quick. I’ve got to find a way…a way to make her hear me.”

LearningANewII-1 (3)

 

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Learning Anew – An Excerpt III

“I don’t know Johan, you’re playing this really…really too close to the vest. What happens when Aniya finds out who you are?” Susan pressed her palms against her castle pine wooden desk, leaned over and hoisted herself above her cousin who pretended not to listen to her. He just sat, fiddled with a pen in between his fingers, and stared out the high rise office windows.

“Why don’t you let me worry about how close I’m playing things and you worry about being a good supervisor. huh?” Johan finally turned and flashed Susan a wide grin. But his boyish grin didn’t move her one bit. Well except to stand right in front of him and block any further distraction from the stunning sunlight, and magnificent clouds forming outside the windows.

“Look Johan, this all started innocently enough. You wandered downstairs to check things out and one look and you were instantly distracted, like you always are by new and shiny things. You…”

Johan jumped to his feet. This time it was him hoisted above the woman he’s known as more like an older sister than a cousin his entire life. “She’s not a ‘shiny thing’! It’s not like that Suze. I…I…” He felt something move in his stomach. What the heck? Was the ever cerebral, barely emotional Johan experiencing butterflies? “I swear.” His arms dropped limp at his side.

She gasped. She could see the vulnerability in his eyes. Johan gently maneuvered his way around Susan and stood beside the wall covered with windows.

Susan made her own graceful move and joined him. “So tell me. Tell me what it’s like. I’m all ears.”

Johan looked away from the arresting scene happening outside the window and curled his lips into a slow smile. “How much time do you have?”

“For you?” Susan tilted her eyes toward the international clocks adorning the wall across from the array of windows “30 minutes, until my next meeting.”

Laughter filled the space between them.

To Be Continued…

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Learning Anew – An Excerpt

“You’re not serious. What are you doing here?” Her eyes were the size of tennis balls and her jaw dropped to her chest. Instead of being turned off he matched the disgusted look on her face with a warm smile, and eyes that glistened at the sight of her.

“I’m very serious. You need me…you need me here.” His face was beaming now. She however, rolled her eyes, turned around and continued adding cans to the shelf. “Like I need a heart attack?” She threw back over her shoulder.

“Oh come on. Don’t be like that.” He took a few steps toward her. She immediately sensed his presence drawing nearer and jumped off her step stool to confront him. “Listen buddy…” She spitted out sarcastically. “I am good. Good getting things done, and better off doing it alone.”

He bowed his head in an attempt to hide the chuckle that was bursting out of him. “How is a little help going to hurt?” He eventually offered. She glared at him with eyes so wide they could potentially suck him in at any moment. “Hurt? Um…I just don’t…don’t need it! That’s all!” He drew in a long breath before offering his feedback.

“Maybe you don’t realize it? Maybe…” Before he could go on, she jumped back on to the step stool and started working again. “You just don’t get it.” She muttered as she stretched her arm upward and across.

“Ah, what was that?” He pretended he didn’t hear her precisely.

“I’m sure you have better things to do. I’m good here.” She quipped then jumped down again and headed deeper into the storage area to a back room.

With a silly grin painted on his face, he followed after her…

To Be Continued…

heart shape love bandage hurt

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Life Passages XXII – It Runs Deep

“What about this one?” Samantha pointed to a bright fuchsia dress with thick straps that wrapped over the front, with an uneven hem.  1-2-3-4—15 seconds later, Samantha still  heard no response. She turned her head in the opposite direction to face Madeleine and noted her gapped mouth, matching her wide-set stare. “What. What is it? You don’t like it?” rolled off Samantha’s tongue in rapid succession. She was fearful that she hadn’t gotten Madeleine’s approval.

Madeleine’s lips slowly came together and clasped close. Why does she even care what I think? She would look stunning in a paper bag. And why…why did she even ask me to come shopping with her? Madeleine eventually managed to forge a smile. “Ah…ah it’s pretty. I’m sure you…” Madeleine scratched the left edge of her forehead. “I’m sorry. Why do you even care what I think again?”

Madeleine’s honesty near toppled Samantha over and it shone through her eyes. “Wha…what do you mean why do I care?” Samantha swung the dress over her arm and slammed her hand against her hip. “Mads…” Madeleine’s eyes grew as large as dinner plates. No one other than Devon had called her that before. Well her parents on occasion but no one outside her home, and certainly not Samantha. Um, what did she call me?

Samantha broke into Madeleine’s thoughts. “Look Mads, are we cool? I thought we were cool.” Madeleine nodded. She actually appreciated Samantha being candid with her. “We’re cool. I mean, I am cool…being here is cool but…” Samantha was ready to get down to the crux of the matter. “Well what is it then?” she discharged anxiously. Madeleine swallowed so hard her larynx almost slid down into her stomach.  “Samantha, why exactly did you ask me to come shopping with you?” Madeleine took a half step back and with both hands pointed to her jeans, graphic t-shirt and generic grey and white running shoes. “I mean, I’m not exactly a fashionista.” Samantha began to chuckle then released a full belly laugh. What the heck? Madeleine looked around embarrassed about the commotion she was partly responsible for.

“What’s so funny Samantha?” Madeleine tried her best to whisper under the circumstances but it was a pure waste of time. Samantha couldn’t hear a thing over her own outpour of cackles. Madeleine’s face felt warm and began to turn a light shade of red. “I don’t think it’s very ‘Christian’ of you to laugh at the way I dress!” Samantha almost choked on her last snicker. “Ahem.” Samantha smiled, grabbed hold of Madeleine’s wrist and pulled her back toward the changing rooms. She frantically found one and hurriedly ushered Madeleine into it. Once they were in, Madeleine turned and looked at Samantha as though she was captured by a crazed serial killer. “What on God’s green earth is going on with you Sam…” Samantha put her both arms up in the air. “Hang on, hang on. I’m not crazy.” Samantha lit up the room with a wide grin. “Crazy fun, yes! But not just crazy.”

Madeleine didn’t see the humor in any of it. Instead, she was part angry and part scared “So what’s this all about?” Samantha allowed her face to settle into a sweet smile for a short moment then she took a deep breath. “Madeleine, I asked you to come shopping with me cause I ah, I mean, I like your style. I like your personality. I just like you.” Madeleine wasn’t won over just yet. More like a little weirded out instead. She scanned Samantha carefully. Every possible inch of her. Then she focused her attention on her eyes, trying to read them for any clues about Samantha’s authenicity…or not.

Soon enough Madeleine began to share her thoughts with Samantha. Thoughtfully and slowly “Look Samantha…” She did not dare call her Sam. Not today. “…I’m just going to be straight with you. Since I moved here with my family, I’ve met girls who’ve wanted to ‘chill'” Madeleine grew very animated with air quotation marks and all. “But I got burned. I’ve even been to jail.” Samantha’s mouth fell open. Madeleine continued. “Yes. Jail. Me.” Samantha lowered her head briefly, then leaned back against the dressing room partition and gave Madeleine her undivided attention again. “I was desperate to fit in then, but not anymore. Even my friendship with Devon has had major ups and downs.” Samantha slung a gigantic smile in Madeleine’s direction. “What. What’s that face for?” Madeleine became antsy. Samantha just continued to smile, but no words came from her end. “What Samantha? I mention Devon, and you light up like a Christmas tree. What’s that about?”

Samantha leaned off of the dressing room partition, stepped toward Madeleine and placed her hands gently on her shoulders. “Mads it’s nothing. Really. I mean no harm. Any friend of Devon’s is a friend of mine. I just wanted to shop.”

Madeleine stepped back until she bumped into the closed dressing room door behind her. She glared at Samantha for what appeared to be thirty minutes, to an hour but was closer to a minute in reality. “Trust is hard for me to cough up these days. So if you’re not going to be honest with me, I can’t trust you. I never will. Goodbye Samantha!” Madeleine flung open the dressing room door and stomped out like a thoroughbred out of the starting gates at the Kentucky Derby.

Samantha looked on, amazed at what she had just witnessed. “Sweet Jesus!” She breathed a loud whisper. “Her wounds run deep.” She dropped her head, defeated.

LPBreakdown4B

 

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