Hello reader friends! Thanks for stopping by! As some of you know, I submitted the manuscript for my soon-to-be released, debut novel, Sister Surrogate a few days ago. Whoop! Whoop! But, while I wait for the edits to return with nervous anticipation, I’ll be working on manuscript number two for my 2017 release. Manuscript number two will be the follow up story to “We Ain’t the Huxtables”, my short story in The Dating Game, which was my debut as a published author under Brown Girls Books. I recently posted about it on my social media pages with a snippet from chapter one, and several people requested to read more. Well, your requests have been answered! This is an unedited version of “Life Ain’t a Sitcom”, the working title for my next novel. The formatting is a little off, but please feel free to leave feedback, especially your thoughts on the title. Enjoy!
This New Orleans heat is no joke! I’ve been here a year, and I’m still not used to it. And, it doesn’t help that I’m in my sixth month of pregnancy. I still haven’t got used to carrying all of this extra weight around either, and the crappy symptoms that come along with it. I knew there were going to be challenges for someone my age having a baby, but I wish someone would’ve warned me before I’d let my husband talk me into doing this. I guess the saying is true that you have to be careful what you pray for because you just might get it. I’m the living proof.
Just over a year ago, I was single and trapped in the dark abyss of the dating world. I could write a book on the cast of characters I’d encountered while trying to find my Mr. Right. I’d title it The Dating Game because it had become just that—a bunch of men playing games. Good thing I can laugh about it now because back then, I was doing anything but laughing. I’d vowed to give up on my search for my ideal mate after a series of dating mishaps, but fate had a way of reversing my bad luck that came in the form of my childhood BFF, Shayla who at the time I hadn’t seen in over twenty years. She was my cupid, having reconnected me with my throwback love and now hubby, Dr. Jared Wallace.
Speaking of Shayla, she was calling me now.
“Hey bestie,” I answered in my usual greeting to her. We talked almost daily, and she’d just been to New Orleans for a visit a few weekends ago along with her husband of six years, Lincoln. We’d all had a great time touring the city, eating and hitting up Bourbon Street, even though I couldn’t drink, but Shayla threw back enough hurricanes and grenades for the both of us. It was her 40th birthday weekend, and she wanted to “turn up” as the young folks say. This big belly I was carrying around wouldn’t allow me to hang for too long, so after that first night, I had to forgo the “turn up” festivities and rest the remainder of the weekend. My swelling feet thanked me.
“Martika, it’s Patty,” said the voice that was barely a whisper on the other end. My brow furrowed in confusion. Why was Shayla’s sister calling me from her cell phone? I sat the watering can I’d been using to water the flowers that outlined my balcony, on a nearby table. I’d taken my cell phone out there with me in case something happened. God forbid I fell or something life threatening happened. Jared made me promise to carry it around with me no matter where I was in the house, especially since I spent most of the day alone while he was at the hospital, which luckily, was just a few blocks away. Most mornings, Jared just walked the short distance to Tulane Medical Center instead of driving. So, it wouldn’t take him long to get home if something did happen. Plus, our new addition would be delivered there as well.
“Hey, Patty. Why are you calling me from Shayla’s phone? Where is she? Is everything okay?” I thought I could hear sniffling on the other end, but I wasn’t sure. It sounded like it though. I started to feel a sense of dread and my hand instinctively went to my protruding stomach to protect my baby from the trauma of any impending bad news that I might be told. And then, the shoe dropped.
“There’s been an accident,” Patty said, and I could hear clearly now that she was crying. My dread turned to fear. Had something happened to my best friend? I eased myself gingerly down in a chair as I felt my heart beginning to beat faster than normal. The August New Orleans heat seemed to exacerbate it.
“Did something happen to Shayla? Patty, please tell me she’s okay.” I was crying myself now before she could even tell me what had happened. The thought of losing Shayla after reconnecting with her again was more than I could bear. She was more than a friend. She was the sister that I’d always longed for growing up an only child. I didn’t have a lot of female friends other than my Georgetown classmate, Janelle who lived on the west coast in Seattle, but we didn’t talk that often and we were lucky if we got to see each other once every few years with her being married with three kids and running her own law firm, and my own flourishing law career.
“She is, but Lin’s not. They were in a really bad car accident this morning. Shayla was injured, but Lin, he didn’t make it.”
“Oh God. No.” I gasped in shock. I put my hand to my mouth to stifle the wail that was threatening to come out. I could feel my baby moving from the stress I was putting on myself from this news.
“I’m sorry to call you with this. I know you’re pregnant and don’t need the stress, but I thought you should know. I know how close you are to my sister,” said Patty through sniffles. “She’s going to need a lot of support to get through this. She isn’t taking it well. At all.” I nodded my head like she could see me.
“I understand. Thank you for calling me. Where is she?”
“She’s here at Carolinas Medical Center. She has a few broken bones and a slight concussion from the impact, but she’s in fair condition. She’ll recover from the physical damage. Mentally, it’s going to be a long road. She’s sedated right now. She didn’t take the news of Lin’s passing well. That was the only way to calm her down.”
My heart ached for my best friend. Who would’ve imagined that just a year after she’d helped me to reconnect with the love of my life that she’d lose hers.
***If you enjoyed this chapter and haven’t had a chance to read Martika and Shayla’s background story in The Dating Game, I have autographed copies available. You can click the Buy Now button below to place an order and have it shipped to you. And also, why you’re here, please sign up for my mailing list located directly to the right of this post if you haven’t already. Thank you!!!