It’s been sooo long since I’ve done a Sample Sunday, but I’m SUPER excited to finally share a little bit of what I’ve been working on!
If you’ve already read, The Games We Play, then these names will sound familiar. And if you haven’t…. well, I’m judging you! Lol
Check out this sample from what will be my Spring release, The Lessons We Learn. 🙂
(Note: Sample is copyrighted, unedited, and subject to change because ish happens.)
When do bad bitches get to take a day off?
The question had been lingering on my mind for the last ten minutes as I sat cross-legged on the couch in my apartment, going back and forth in my head about how badly I wanted ice cream from the convenience store a few blocks over.
Of course I wanted the ice cream, my mouth watering at just the thought of the cold vanilla hitting my palate. But making the trip meant getting dressed, and well, this bad bitch desperately needed her day off.
I wasn’t in the mood for a full beat, wasn’t in the mood for lashes or one of my wigs, wasn’t in the mood for the stilettos I usually wore to accentuate my calves. No, I wanted to trot my ass down to the store with a fresh face, a baseball cap over my cornrows, and the tennis shoes that still looked brand new even though I had owned them for years since they rarely got worn.
But I couldn’t.
Because I didn’t want anyone to see me like that.
It was silly, especially considering there weren’t many people outside of my coworkers who even knew me in this town. But the last thing I needed was to run right into my future ex-husband looking like a teenage boy, something my mother had taught me early on.
Mama’s not here, though.
In fact, part of my move away from home had been to rid myself of the stupid rules she had used to whip me right into her mini-me over the past “almost” thirty years. And there was really nothing that said, “fuck those rules” more than leaving the house not looking my best and getting ice cream that went against her snatched waist guidelines.
This ice cream was a statement.
With that, I found myself a little giddy to throw on the only pair of sweatpants I owned that may or may not have been a little high water, the tennis shoes that were more for style than actual athleticism, and the baseball cap I had won in a raffle at a fundraiser for work. But then I looked in the mirror and… this is beyond a bad bitch break, Jayla.
I quickly exchanged the sweatpants for jeans, the tennis shoes for flats, but I kept the baseball cap on out of protest – and maybe because my eyebrows weren’t done. Then I made my way down to that convenience store with an extra pep in my step because no matter what I had on, part of being a true bad bitch was having the confidence to pull off any look.
“Then why’d you change out of those floodin’ ass sweatpants?” was the question that followed in my head, answered with the fact that breaking the rules was going to be a little harder than I thought. But this felt like a good start, especially since I was being rewarded with the ice cream I wanted in the first place. At least that was the plan, until I saw a familiar face reaching for the same carton I had my eye on long before I had even walked over here. And not just a familiar face, but the finest face I had come across since moving here.
He was the eclectic kinda fine. The kind you didn’t necessarily see yourself settling down with, but couldn’t turn your eyes away from if you wanted to. Sandy brown locs, deep brown eyes, a glowing smile like he was always in a good mood. And on the few occasions he had passed my office working patrol, his walk literally screamed big dick. But since thinking about the security guy from the front desk at my job like that wasn’t really appropriate, I did my best to shake it off, waiting patiently for him to get his ice cream so I could snag the last one behind it.
Naturally, I wondered what was the story behind his ice cream. Was it a statement like mine? Was it to pair with the apple pie his grandma made him? Was it a treat for his pregnant girlfriend?
Apparently, I was thinking a little too hard since I totally missed him turning around, those playful brown eyes of his locking with mine in a way that made me wished I hadn’t walked over here looking crazy. But I had no problem owning my decision, especially once I saw the way his lips curved into a grin to say, “Mrs. Anthony.”
No matter how sweetly he made it sound, the fact that the ink on my divorce papers could probably still be smeared made me cringe, particularly because of the reasons those papers had to be signed in the first place. But there was really no use in going down that black hole, releasing a heavy sigh instead when I replied, “Khalid, we aren’t at work. You really don’t have to call me that.”
“I call you that out of respect, though”
“Even if it’s not totally accurate?” I challenged, lifting my left hand to wiggle my fingers at him, hoping he noticed the tan line of where my wedding ring used to be. The same wedding ring I had proudly pawned to buy myself a new designer bag with stilettos to match and a spa day at a five-star hotel.
I deserved, damnit.
With an empathetic look, Khalid offered, “Right. My bad.”
But I quickly brushed him off. “It’s fine. I mean, it’s new to me too. And it’s still on my nameplate at work, still on my driver’s license, still on all my credit cards, still… I’m sorry. You don’t care about any of this. You have a pregnant girlfriend to take ice cream home to. Tell her I said sorry for the delay.”
I was already reaching for my carton of ice cream when Khalid chuckled behind me. “Wait, what? A pregnant girlfriend?”
From his reaction, I could tell my first assumption was way off. So I tried again, tossing the cold carton into my basket as I guessed, “No. It’s to go with your grandma’s apple pie, right?”
“Both of my grandmothers passed away years ago, Jayla,” he replied with a stale face that made me feel awful.
But instead of apologizing, or making another terrible guess, I decided to just let him explain when I trailed, “So it’s for…”
“Londyn’s birthday party,” he finished with a grin that told me he was obviously excited about his friend’s celebration; an excitement that might’ve had me questioning their definition of “friends” if I didn’t know Londyn was in a relationship with someone else.
“That’s none of your business anyway,” I thought to myself, snapping my fingers as I replied, “Shit. That is tonight, isn’t it? I forgot all about it.”
Truth be told, I hadn’t forgotten at all. In fact, the date had been marked on my calendar since she dropped the eVite in my work email. But now that the day was actually here, I wasn’t really in the mood to hang out with a bunch of strangers, something that only made me feel worse since Londyn’s adorable self had taken the time to invite me even after I had been a straight bitch to her.
Strangely enough, it almost seemed as if Khalid was equally disappointed when he said, “If you’re not coming, I’ll be sure to let her know. I mean, you don’t really look like you’re in the mood anyway.”
I know he didn’t just…
Crossing my arms over my chest, I cocked my head to the side with a major attitude. “Damn. A bad bitch can’t take a day off without the security guy calling her ugly?”
He put his hands up – ice cream and all – to defend, “Whoa. Chill. I didn’t say you looked ugly. You never look ugly. It’s just… and this might sound crazy, but… I noticed when you’re in a good mood, you wear heels to work. And when you’re not, you wear flats. You have on flats right now, so I assumed that same pattern applied outside of work. That’s all.”
His explanation was… flattering as hell, to be honest. I mean, for him to see me as little as he did, but still notice something like that…
Once again, I felt awful. So awful that I quickly tried to see myself out once I agreed, “You’re right. Have fun at the party, Khalid.”
Unfortunately, I didn’t get more than a few steps away when he called after me. “Jayla, wait.” Doing a little trot to catch up with me when he grabbed my hand and insisted, “You should come. Miss. Annie, Londyn’s mom, throws the best parties, and I can guarantee it’ll put you in a better mood.”
He could’ve told me I was a rich, caucasian woman and I might’ve taken his word for it, his tone – his touch – being that convincing as his thumb gently grazed the back of my hand in a way that made me wonder what other magical powers they had. I mean, if Londyn had broken their little friend code a time or two before she got with ol’ boy, I would’ve totally understood. But since I knew that sounded just as crazy in my head as it would’ve sounded out loud, I politely pulled my hand away, tucking it at my side as I questioned, “Aren’t you the same one who just lowkey roasted me about not looking like I was in the mood? What changed that quickly?”
With a laugh, he replied, “I already told you, you always look good, Jayla.”
“No, you said I never look ugly. There’s a lot of gray area between not being ugly and looking good,” I told him, knowing good and well I was probably landing somewhere in that gray area right now.
But instead of indulging me, he offered me a real smile when he admitted, “Aight, you fine as hell. Company baseball cap and all.”
His little teasing made me roll my eyes, though it was paired with me blushing since it was good to hear I was still that bitch even when I wasn’t at my best.
“Take that, Mama,” I thought with a ridiculous grin as Khalid asked, “So, you comin’ or what? There will be ice cream.”
The way he sang it while waving his carton made me grin even harder. “Well when you add that into the equation…”
Rightfully satisfied with his work, he gently pinched my chin, giving me a wink when he said, “I’ll see you later tonight then, gorgeous.” Then he left me standing there with my basket of ice cream, trying to figure out how I had let this young man game me so easily.
Clearly, there was a lot for me to learn.
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