“Jason, it’s 9 remember?”
“Of course babe, I’ll remember. I’ll be there before you know it. Chill out.”
I glared at Jason, my boyfriend of six months, my longest relationship ever. Actually, my first relationship ever since I turned seventeen last year. He brown eyes were glued to his phone and he was texting rapidly. Is he even listening to me?
“Jason,” I said again, craning my neck to see what had him so engrossed in his phone. He finally looked up, placing his phone on his chest, and smiled. Even after six months I still get butterflies in my belly when he smiles like that. Jason is top ten in our class and I can’t believe how lucky I am to be his girlfriend. “I hope that’s my birthday present you’re picking.”
“You’ll see. I’ll be there babe,” he drawled and leaned across the gear to press a kiss to my lips. I grinned foolishly and returned the kiss before getting my bag to leave the car. My friends Lurane and Sophie waited at the entrance of school in front of Lurane’s car. She’s the only one among us with a car. She and Sophie had ridden to school today with me because Jason offered to pick me up.
“Hey bitch,” Sophie called out. Sophie Wilson is the wildest in the group. She got a fake ID first, got high on her fifteenth birthday, had sex the same day, got suspended twice, and brought alcohol to school once. I still haven’t gotten the chance to drink alcohol because grandma would have my tongue if I did. Sophie once convinced us to get our hair dyed blue, it took weeks to get the color off my thick curls. Lurane’s mother had been aghast by the sight of her precious daughter’s blue hair that she almost had a heart attack.
Lurane Grant on the other hand is the wise owl in our friend group. She has a wild side that she keeps under wraps because of her parents’ reputation. They are stinky rich! I’m the odd one in the group. Let’s just leave it at that.
Anyways, Sophie, Lurane and I have been friends since forever and believe me it’s hard being friends with such attractive girls especially when you always have to play the third wheel.
Sophie looked past me to Jason who waved at us. “Hey hottie,” she screamed drawing the attention of half the school population towards us. She blew a kiss at him and winked while flipping her dyed red hair. She glanced at me mischievously and wagged her brows. “Did you guys do it?” she whispered.
I rolled my eyes and groaned. “In the car on the way to school?! No, we did not have sex, Sophie. I thought we talked about not talking about this topic.”
She sniffed and rolled her eyes. “I bet Jason must be starving to get between your legs Mary Poppins. You know boys, they need sex or they die, right Lurane?”
Lurane who had been typing on her phone looked up. “Sometimes,” she said in her gentle tone. You gotta understand that Lurane was born and bred as a princess so she’s way more refined than Sophie and I can ever be. “Jason doesn’t look like he’s in a rush to get under your skirts though, Coco.”
Chantelle is my name. It’s a nice name I guess but I go by Coco because that was the first thing I could say as a baby none of that generic mama and dada for me.
“Oh my gosh you guys are so boring,” Sophie yawned. “Okay, whatever Coco. But take my word for it Jason is getting some elsewhere if he’s not pestering you for sex and believe me I wish I was that person.” She smacked her lips.
I rolled my eyes and laughed. Lurane laughed too. Trust me we have been around Sophie long enough to be used to her bullshit.
The bell rang suddenly and we left the entrance and headed to class. Our schedules are the same so we attend every class together.
As we slid into the three empty seats we found Lurane leaned over. “Your birthday dinner is still happening, right?” she asked.
“Yeah,” I replied. I turn eighteen today. Baby bird is becoming a grownup.
“I’m so excited to eat your mom’s delicious cooking. My mom got back yesterday and she has done nothing but yell all day. I can’t believe I’m about to say this,” Sophie said with her lips curled in disgust. “School is a million times better than a day with that screeching banshee.”
I laughed. Ms. Wilson is not exactly a model mother. “It’s only a few months now and you’ll be out of that house for good.”
“God I can’t wait.”
“Good morning class.”
That ended our conversation for the next hour. All three of us are smart. That’s one of the reasons grandma approves of our friendship. She’s not Sophie’s biggest fan but she admires Sophie’s brains. She’s the best in our science classes, Lurane is better at languages and art subjects while I like my dad excel at calculus, mathematics, geometry…anything that has formulas and calculations is my turf, anything except physics.
And so our classes continued until two in the afternoon when we had lunch and talked about boys and the bitchy girls in our class. We have one common enemy. Ciara Turner. She’s a total hoe and she has been the topic of our discussions too many times to count. Today we talked about the rumor going around about Ciara and a backup dancer at some club. Apparently, Ciara’s mother heard the news and was threatening to send her off to a convent or something. Believe me, Ciara needs the prayers of the faithful to cleanse her soul.
After lunch, we had more classes until school let out at 5 in the evening. All three of us piled into Lurane’s car and headed home with Zara Larsson’s Falling For a Friend (FFF) blasting from the speakers. Sophie was the first to drop off.
“Don’t forget,” I reminded her as she sashayed up the steps to her door which flew open to reveal Ms. Wilson with her hands on her waist and the ugliest scowl on her face. “9 okay? Good evening Ms. Wilson.”
“Good evening, ma’am,” Lurane echoed.
She ignored us and turned to berate Sophie who slipped past her and waved at us.
“Okay bitches, I’ll be there dressed as a stripper,” Sophie shouted over the music.
We drove off leaving Ms. Wilson screaming so loudly her voice echoed over the music. Lurane dropped me off with the promise to be right on time for my birthday dinner. I waved until she drove away and ran up the stairs to my house. Mom was hanging up the last of the balloons even though I clearly told her I was too old for them.
“My baby can never be too old for some balloons,” was her response.
“Is that Coco?” Grandma’s voice came from the kitchen. She was holding a box in one hand while the other gripped the kitchen door. She was diagnosed with arthritis in her left leg last year but I swear the way this woman moves like lightning when she catches you doing something bad you would think she was the Flash. She smiled warmly at me and turned her cheek for a kiss. “How is my favorite girl?”
The sound of thumping feet came from above. A minute later my elder sister Yolanda was at the bottom of the stairs slow dancing towards me. She picked me up in a bear hug even before I finished kissing grandma. “Here’s the birthday girl. The new adult!” she declared. She got dad’s brute strength.
“Let me go you monster,” I laughed.
She did and grabbed the box grandma was holding. Grandma was too occupied with me to scold her.
“Look what grandma and I made you!!”
Yolanda threw the box cover open and I gasped. Inside was a peach sequin gown which Yolanda spread for me to see. It was an A-shape gown with a deep v-neckline that would definitely show off my small breasts. It was so lovely tears filled my eyes.
“Oh my God you guys,” I cried. I hugged them both.
Mom chuckled and came over too for her own hug. I held on to her. All three of us Jones’ women hugging each other tightly.
Suddenly I was filled with emotions. “I wish dad was here for this,” I choked out. It still hurts every birthday when he’s not here to lift me in his strong arms and bellow the happy birthday song in his deep voice.
Mom lifted my chin and wiped the tears from my eyes. “No, no, Coco. We will not think about that today. I’m sure your dad wouldn’t want you to cry on your special day. And he is looking down at you with so much love right now, okay?”
I nodded and sniffed back the tears. She was right. Dad would have hated it. He and Yolanda would have kicked me for crying anyway. I giggled at the thought suddenly feeling a lot better.
The cake was set, the decorations were up, and the dress was ready. All that was left was the food.
Mom shooed me upstairs. Since it was my birthday I wasn’t allowed to do anything so I called up Sophie and told her about my dress we tried adding Lurane to the call but she wasn’t picking her phone.
By 8 Sophie was the first to arrive.
“Surprise!” Sophie cheered as soon as I opened the door. In her hands was a huge box wrapped in red paper. “This is for you birthday girl.” She cast a gaze up and down my school clothes. “It’s 8 and you’re not dressed yet. You said Yolanda and Grandma made a dress for you over the phone.”
“Come on in,” I practically dragged her in. Sophie is a regular in our house so throwing her purse on the sofa as she walked past the living room was nothing strange. Grandma was in the tiny dining area resting after helping mom with the beef stew.
“Hey, Grandma,” Sophie said sweetly. She went behind grandma and landed a huge kiss on her cheek. Grandma grumbled something about her loud voice and wet kiss but made no attempt to clean it off her cheek.
“Lurane isn’t here yet?”
“Nope she isn’t. She’s probably going to call later.”
“Right. Probably dealing with whatever rich people deal with. Where’s mom?” Without waiting for a response Sophie waltzed into the kitchen. “Good evening Mrs. Jones.” She sniffed the air appreciatively. “Lord that smells heavenly.”
Mom laughed and swatted her hand when she tried to pick a piece of chicken off the plate of fried chicken set to cool on the counter. “Go help your friend get ready, Sophie Wilson.”
“Ow, Mrs. Jones you hurt my feelings. Okay, Coco let’s go get ready!”
We ran upstairs to my room where I showed her the gown.
“Holy shit,” she gasped. She grabbed it from my hands, held it to her chest and went to stand in front of my mirror. “Aw, I feel like a princess. This is so nice, Coco. Yolanda made this?”
I nodded. “She and grandma.”
“You should totally wear this to the club later tonight.”
“We are still doing that?” She suggested last week that we go to a club after the ceremonial birthday dinner. Even though I refused she and Lurane insisted. I actually forgot about that plan.
She gave me a side glance. “Of course we are silly. Look” she raised the skirt of her peach gown to reveal a pair of leather shorts and a halter top underneath. “I came prepared. You are eighteen, darling. You should celebrate in style. When Lurane gets here we’ll eat and leave. You can bring Jason with you if you have to,” she added. “You can wear it with that shoe mom ordered for you.”
“Oh my God!” I said suddenly. “What?” “I forgot the shoe box in Jason’s car! Shit mom is going to be so mad! We need to go to Jason’s now!” Sophie cocked a brow. She threw my gown carelessly on my bed. “Why? He is coming, right? He can just bring it along.” “Maybe I can call him.” But after 5 unsuccessful calls I threw my phone on the bed. “It’s no use. Can you come with me?” I hope he hasn’t forgotten about the dinner?! He had seemed a bit distracted this morning so I gotta make sure my boyfriend makes it for my birthday. Also, I was way too distracted by his distraction that I forgot the box of shoe mom asked me to pick up from the store that morning. “Do I have a choice,” Sophie asked with a roll of her eyes. The side of her lips tilted up. “No, you don’t.” I kissed her cheek. “You are the best.” “Of course I am.” I changed my clothes and wore a pair of blue jeans and a t-shirt. Still an hour until dinner, that’s enough time to get Jason, maybe hang around for a make-out se
Buzzzzzzzz!!!!I slammed the alarm bedside my bed. It clattered to the floor with a dull thud but the alarm kept buzzing.“Arghhhhh, I’m up already.”The lights came on. A small figure stood at my door smiling sleepily at me. His hair curly black hair was all over the place, and his JJBA pyjama's bottom was lowered on one hip.“Hey baby, come over and give mommy a hug.”My six-year-old son, Nolen, came running into my arms. Yes, I named him after his father. Seven years ago I was a bitter youth, angry and ready to revenge against my best friend and boyfriend’s betrayal, ran into the arms of my neighbor, and made my son. I regret that night, I regret the words out of my lips to Nolan. His hurt eyes tormented me ever since and I never got the chance to apologize because he moved before I could finally find the courage to apologize for taking my anger on him. I never thought I was ready to be a mother until I had little Nolen in my arms. At that moment I knew God was giving me a second c
It can’t be! No. Your eyes are playing tricks with you, I repeated in my head. There is no possible way this ghost from my past would be here in flesh and blood, standing with his hand out to take mine. No fucking way! Nolan Pierce in flesh and blood! Except this wasn’t Nolan Pierce, this person standing in front of me walked out of GQ magazine or something equivalent. No way the Nolan Pierce I know fills out a suit like this. But here he was in front of me. I remember the green eyes because I see those green eyes every morning, afternoon and evening in Nolen. Every other thing about him from the chiseled jawline that would most definitely cut glass, to the well-groomed fingers of the hand still stretched out and the tall imposing build belongs to someone else, not the Nolan I know. Who the heck is this handsome 6-foot whatever stranger?! “Get over yourself, Chantelle and have a seat.” I opened my mouth to speak and found myself stuttering. “Y-yes ma’am.” I took a step forward to
What are the chances that the first person you ever loved, spent days hoping she would notice you someday and speak to you would crush your heart in her pretty hands and come back into your life unexpectedly looking hotter and sexier than ever? Okay, maybe she’s not coming back into my life but running into her and having her plan your engagement party counts as being in your life right?And still as beautiful as ever. I remember the first time I saw her, I was the awkward kid on the block, just moved from another state where I got into trouble in school with a guy who called my mom a whore for not knowing who my father is. I punched his face so hard I nearly broke his skull. After that incident mom moved away and found a new school for me and also found a new job for herself. But I was having trouble blending in. I never joined the neighborhood kids in their basketball games on the local court, nor did I attend parties. Even before moving, I preferred being alone. But I saw Chantelle
Let’s just say the rest of my day was great. My back was bent and sprained after running to answer all of Penelope’s demands by the time I got home. Sophie’s fried chicken welcomed me home. A pop song played loudly from the speakers. I sniffed the air appreciatively making my way to the kitchen where Sophie danced in front of the pan with a pair of tongs in her hand. “Under your sexy body,” her off-key voice rose above the music. “Do you mind?” I yelled above the noise. My head pounded. She turned to see me standing at the kitchen door and immediately turned down the volume of the music. “Nice dress. Penelope’s cast away? I thought you were going to sleep over with The Dragon.” I dropped my bag on the counter, kicked off my heels, and picked a piece of chicken from the bunch she had cooling on the rack. It was delicious! “Where’s Nolen?” “In his room. I kept him busy with some comics. You are welcome.” “Sophie!” I groaned. “He should be doing his assignments…” “Done and dusted
“Bye, mommy. Bye Aunty Sophie.”“Bye baby,” I waved at Nolen for the third time and finally forced myself to stop adjusting his uniform and let him go join his friends.“Get in the car,” Sophie called out to me. “You will be late for work.”I waited until Nolen and his friends were in the custody of their teacher before joining her. She had left her car at home and chosen to be my chauffeur today since it was her day off. Also, Penelope had sent a message to prepare me for the tedious work of organizing and decorating waiting for me today so I may work late and leave with Penelope after work. To be honest, a bit of Sophie’s reckless driving is what I need to take my mind off my life’s complications right now. Nolan, Lurane and mom. With mom coming I bet she will take one long look at me and know something is bothering me. She always had that knack for knowing such things. The last thing I want is an interrogation from her.25 minutes later Sophie drifted into the parking lot of the co
“Dude you are even more romantic than the rest of us. Lurane is not going to expect this.” I nodded to Paul’s words, my best friend and part business associate. He has a business of his own that he built from ground up, so he’s not what you’ll call a born elite. But to be fair I envy his ease and lack of ‘inheritance’ burden. I wonder who he would have been married off to if he was among the elites. Luckily, he has been spared that unpleasantness by fate. We met in business school. Paul had an uncle that thought he was too smart for regular college and had used all the resources at his disposal to send him to one of the best schools. We attended a debate on Capitalism and Communism, had different views, and became close friends ever since. Even though he is treated as an outcast among the heirs and heiresses of old money, he doesn’t care and he attends whatever events he wants to without being encumbered with scheming mothers and fathers trying to leech off him in the name of marriag
“I am proud of you, son,” Douglas was saying. He swallowed his fourth glass of champagne. “Lurane will be the happiest woman tonight.” He patted my shoulder. We were alone now after he successfully introduced me to a dozen of his business partners. One of them was Noel Greer who I am pretty sure Douglas is not fond of. The tension between them, while he introduced him, was high. Noel Greer is the rival of every elite businessman. He went head to head with the highest bidders and trumped them more often than not. Luckily, our paths have never crossed. He had the classic, handsome sharp Grecian features. He left almost as soon as the introductions were over.“Thank you,” I said. The wine in my hand bubbled. I have barely taken anything since I arrived, the thought of downing another wine was nauseating. Lurane was pissed enough time have smelled the alcohol on my breath, she will probably lose her mind if I lose any more of my senses to wine.“You have made the right choice, son.” Dougl