I know, I know.
Samples usually come on Sunday, but I couldn’t wait a whole week to share this with you all! So here’s a little taste of, Accidental Arrangements, coming later this month. 😉
(Note: Sample copyrighted, unedited, and subject to change.)
“I swear I have the fakest best friend in the world.”
I sealed the last box I was responsible for packing before stacking it on top of the others that lined the wall, all waiting to be picked up the next day. I still couldn’t believe my best friend and roommate of the past three years was ditching me to go live the dream, leaving me to find someone new to girl talk with, to get wine drunk on a Tuesday with, not to mention the extra rent I’d paying until I could find someone to fill her room.
But of course that wasn’t Elizabeth’s concern when she said, “Jules, will you stop it? I mean, you act like I’m just moving away for the hell of it. There’s a great job and an incredible man waiting for me on the other side of the country. I’d be a fool not to go.”
While I knew she was right, I still rolled my eyes as I muttered, “Sisterhood… what a joke…”
“What? Just because Marcus is the sweetest guy ever and you have a six figure check with your name on it waiting to be cashed doesn’t mean I have to be happy about it,” I told her as I plopped down on the couch she was thankfully leaving and refilled my glass of wine with the last bottle we’d be sharing, though it wasn’t exactly a share situation considering I had pretty much drank it all by myself.
Elizabeth settled in next to me, turning my way to say, “Well you should be happy about it. A win for me is a win for us, Jules.”
I quickly finished my sip of wine just so I could smack my teeth when I replied, “Not when the win means me having to find a new roommate.”
She finally joined in on the wine only to bypass the glass and taking a swig straight from the bottle. “Who knows? You may find a new best friend to replace me.”
“I mean, you’re fake as fuck. I probably should replace you.”
“Jules! Shut up,” she screeched as she shoved me in the arm, laughing as she sat the bottle down on the coffee table she was leaving as well. Then she stood up and added, “Anyway, the moving company will be here first thing in the morning to get these so make sure your ass is awake. I need to get to the airport before I miss my flight.”
I joined her, standing up with my wine glass in my hand as I asked, “Why are you taking an Uber anyway? You know I would’ve given you a ride, Liz.”
“Yeah, and detoured to that slow ass Taco Bell on purpose just to make me miss my flight,” she replied so correctly that it almost annoyed me. But in reality, it only made me a little sadder as I thought about how many of our fondest memories together consisted of drunken drive-thru nights at Taco Bell. And how many more we’d be missing out on now that she was leaving me.
I leaned against the arm of the couch, propping my leg up as I pouted, “Is it really that bad that I want you to miss your flight? So you can stay another night?”
Elizabeth sighed as she grabbed the two suitcases she was taking with her while the rest of her clothes would be getting shipped. “Awww, girl. Don’t do this to me right now. The last thing I need is Marcus picking me up from the airport with makeup running down my face.”
“I’m gonna miss you though,” I whined, knowing I’d be the one with makeup running down my face the second she left.
And she didn’t make it any better when she pulled me into a hug and said, “I’ll miss you too, Jules. But I’ll be back to visit you. And you can come see me. And we can always FaceTime or whatever, though I’m sure you’ll be keeping plenty busy.”
“Yeah, busy finding a roommate who isn’t a disgusting serial killer. You know, stab somebody in the gut and leave the bloody knife in the sink like their mama didn’t raise them right.”
Elizabeth bursted with laughter, brushing me off before she grabbed her suitcases and headed to the door. “Girl, shut up. I’m sure you’ll find someone completely normal in no time.”
“Nobody like you though.”
“Awww, Juliaaaa,” she gushed, forcing me to roll my eyes as I yanked the door open for her.
“Ugh, don’t do that. I paid way too much to get rid of that dreadful name to ever be called that again.”
It wasn’t that I hated the name Julia, I just hated it for me. It didn’t fit my vibe, my energy, not to mention my deceased mother shared the same name, for whatever reason thinking it was cool to make me her junior.
“I’m sorry. Jules,” Elizabeth said with extra inflection to please me.
And I gave her a short nod as I replied, “Thank you. Now get out of here before I start crying.”
This time it was Elizabeth rolling her eyes as she stepped out of the doorway. “Jules, you are not going to cry,” she said before she turned around to actually see my face. “Oh my God. You really are going to cry! I don’t think I’ve ever seen you cry before.”
I swiped at the first tear that had managed to slip as I told her, “Yes you have. Remember that time I stubbed my toe on the edge of the bed. And when I hit my knee on the coffee table that one day playing drunk charades. And when I broke up with Charlie. Whew, that was ugly.”
Elizabeth only laughed. “Bitch, those were tears of joy. You were so happy to be single again.”
“They were still tears! But anyway, you make sure you shoot me a text when you’re getting ready to board the plane, and when you land, and right after Marcus fucks your weave up for the first time in your new place together.”
She giggled again. “You know I will, Jules. I love you, girl,” she said, dropping her bags to pull me into another, tighter hug.
I tried my best not to spill my wine as I squeezed her just as tight before releasing and telling her, “I love you too, Liz. Now get going for real. I don’t want you to see me like this. It’s about to go down like the Titanic. Oh my God. Who am I supposed to watch all three hours and fifteen minutes of Titanic with now?!”
By this time, Elizabeth was already halfway down the hall as she tossed over her shoulder, “Just FaceTime me, boo. We can watch it together like old times.”
“I’m holding you to that!” I shouted after her before she disappeared around the corner. And for a second I just stood there as if she was going to reappear with a change of plans. But once I heard the elevator chime, I knew everything was real.
I slipped back into our… my apartment, shutting the door behind me as I took a good look at the space. There was still a solid six months left on the lease and my bartending job certainly wouldn’t be enough to cover both halves of the rent no matter how much I would’ve loved to have the whole place to myself for nothing other than the opportunity to be able to walk around naked.
At least you’ll be able to until you find someone to take Liz’s place.
I finished off my glass of wine, dropping it off in the kitchen before I plopped back down on the couch to grab my laptop. It only took a simple Google search for me to figure out how common the “need-a-roommate” thing was. In fact, there were at least a dozen different sites I could use to find one.
“Let’s try this one,” I coached to myself as I clicked the first link, filling out the short questionnaire that reminded me of an online dating site.
“Are you a drinker? Definitely. Are you a smoker? Eh… occasionally. Do you have pets? Only when I need a pedicure really badly. Do you have a gender preference? No. As long as they pay their rent on time and don’t eat people…”
In no time at all, I was pressing submit on my information which guaranteed I’d be matched with the perfect roommate within a week. And while the claim of perfect seemed impossible, I knew next month’s rent was due way too soon to call them a liar now.
“Yo, Jules! They’re waiting for a restock in VIP three!”
I peeked up and rolled my eyes at Kelvin, my boss, as I balanced on my stilettos while I finished filling the latest order of drinks for one of the waitresses. It wasn’t that I had an actual attitude with Kelvin. In all honesty, him and his brother Maxwell were some of the easiest people to work for, part of the reason why I loved my job at The Max so much. But I did have an attitude with being responsible for a VIP section I had no interest in tending to.
Most girls at The Max loved working VIP because it usually warranted better tips, not to mention being able to rub shoulders with some of the stars. But to me, the people that frequented VIP were some of the most annoying customers. They usually weren’t even in the lounge to have fun; only to show off for each other and their various social media accounts. And even though my visit was only going to last long enough to change out the old bottles for new ones, I was already dreading it as I made my way over.
I tried to be as discreet as possible when I slipped through the crowd of people overflowing from the section. But apparently I hadn’t been slick enough once I heard someone call out to me, “Yo, pour me another drink. Bet?”
“Not my job. Ask your waitress,” I replied sternly, keeping my eyes focused on the table as I reorganized things to make room for the new bottles.
But of course, my obvious disdain didn’t stop the guy from adding, “You know you’re too pretty to have such a stank ass attitude, right?”
I shrugged, hardly bothered as I told him, “My beauty and my attitude have nothing to do with this.”
“Yeah, but your tip does,” he insisted in only a way a lame could as if the sudden reminder of his money would somehow change my stance.
In fact, his comment made me smirk as I finally peeked up to meet his eyes. Even under the brim of his hat in the mostly darkened lounge, I could tell they were a perfect shade of brown, hooded with unfairly long eyelashes that I knew I could only achieve with the temporary extensions I planned on getting with my next check.
So of course, that fact made me have even more of an attitude when I finally replied, “Actually, I’m not technically working your section so… nah. Nice try though.”
“What’s your name, mean ass?” he asked as he leaned into the table to pour himself the drink he had just now realized I was serious about not making for him.
And I was already busy grabbing the emptied bottles as I told him, “My name is Mean Ass. Just like you said. How’d you know? You must be a psychic.”
“Sarcastic too, huh?” he asked with a grin, showing off every last one of his pearly whites.
But before I could get a little lost in his smile, I heard Hope shout from behind me, “Jules! We need you back at the bar ASAP.”
Somehow the guy’s smile managed to get even fuller as he said my name with extra, completely unnecessary inflection. “Jules. That’s your name. Mean Ass Jules. It’s a pleasure to meet you, pretty girl.”
I quickly corrected him, “We’re not meeting. I’m just dropping these off so you can show your cornball ass homeboys and the girls who are willing to use them to get to you how much money you have.”
I could tell he was truly offended as he snapped his head back to say, “Damn. I can’t have a good time with my friends without you thinkin’ I’m on that?”
Sure, it was probably a little unfair for me to jump to conclusions. But that certainly wasn’t enough to stop me from firing back, “You really shouldn’t care what I think. Enjoy your night.”
“But I didn’t even…”
I didn’t stick around long enough to hear the end of his sentence, slipping back through the crowd to get back to the bar where I belonged. And it didn’t take long for me to fall back into my groove, going back and forth between fulfilling orders for the waitresses and tending to the patrons at the bar top.
When things finally slowed down a bit, I couldn’t help myself in peeking back over to VIP just to see if the stranger was still doing exactly what I expected him to be; showing off for his audience of hanger-on’s. But he wasn’t, instead just sitting there looking at the bill Hope must’ve just recently delivered to his section.
He looked… troubled – worried, even – as he flipped through his wallet before pulling out two different credit cards to shove into the check holder.
“Uh oh… ol’ boy must’ve went over budget…” I thought to myself with a laugh as I wiped down the bar top.
It wasn’t unusual for people to go all out for their audience and be stuck with some unruly tab they couldn’t afford at the end of the night. And it honestly wasn’t fair; people posing as friends just to drink for free and sneak out before the tab showed up.
But then again, his problems were none of my business.
He made his bed and now it was time for him to lay in it.