Loving Lola- Ch. 57

I Love You.

“Have you all taken a look at the exhibits yet?” Timothy asks, “actually no, we haven’t gotten a chance to since we’ve arrived,” says Giselle looking at Jhené, “but after Lola’s speech, I would love to see what all the fuss is about,” both smiling. “Great! We will gladly take you on a personal tour,” Timothy says looking at Stephanie. “Come, come Stephanie!” He claps in command. They all follow behind Timothy exploring the many wonderful displays. While everyone is talking, and laughing with one another, Lola is quiet and not so cheerful. She falls behind, allowing everyone to walk ahead of her not wanting to attract any attention. She stops at the display she and her team created and stands there for a moment. With everything going on, I almost forgot about New York. Although I haven’t made a decision yet, I feel like I’m just playing the waiting game. Everything I decide from this moment on would be for nothing. I haven’t told anyone other than my sisters and getting involved with Eric would just be a waste of time. I would never expect him to uproot his life for me, and I wouldn’t dare ask that of him, but even if he suggested it, I would not want him to. He may want to continue with a long-distance relationship but, I can’t do that either… I guess I shouldn’t bother getting invested in someone if all I’ll be doing is leaving them behind.

“We have to stop meeting like this.” “Huh? What?” She says breaking her train of thought, “hahaha, this is my favorite one you know.” Sam says, “what is” she asks, “this display, it’s my favorite exhibit here.” Lola looks at him, “and why is that?” She asks. “Well, because this one is not like the others, its unique.” “How so?” “At first glance, it looks like one big masterpiece, but if you look closely, each section tells its own story, like they can live separately from one another. They all have their own personality, but when they come together, it creates something new. To create something like this takes a rare talent for sure.” Lola stands there in awe with a big smile on her face, “what?” Sam says smiling. “Nothing, I just always admired your vision, I guess that’s what attracted me to you in the first place,” she says looking at the display.

“You know, the first time we met, I knew you were something special Lola. The way you looked at art was never just on the surface, you looked deeper and somehow found the secrets that lie behind the picture. Another reason why this display is my favorite, is because it reminds me of you.” She looks at him, “anyone looking at this, can see that it is beautiful, but that’s just the one image on the surface. It’s so easy to get lost in that one thing, but anyone taking the time to really see what they are looking at, will notice that there is so much more than what meets the eye, realizing there are layers to its beauty. Looking deeply into this piece, you can see how each section changes the narrative entirely, creating something new making each layer beautiful in its own right. But only those who care enough will look beyond the surface, they’ll see these layers and fall in love with each piece for a different reason,” he says looking into Lola’s eyes.

“Sam,” she says as tears start to form, “It’s okay, you don’t have to say anything, I just needed you to know. From the moment I saw you staring at my painting, I knew then that I would always love you, because the way you looked at it, was the way I looked at you. I don’t expect you to feel the same after everything we’ve been through, but I didn’t want another day to go by without you knowing that I see you now, as I always have.” “Sam… I… I’m moving to New York…”

Loving Lola- Ch. 56

Sister’s seal of approval.

“Good Evening everyone and thank you all for joining us. There is no way I can take credit for all the magnificent exhibits on display tonight, but I do appreciate Ms. Allard’s kind words. The artists are the real reason for this year’s success by far. We have some amazing talent in this city, and it is just my job to present that to you. My goal is to translate the story being told by each piece, so that you not only see a beautiful work or art but feel what it is trying to convey. Every piece of art has a story to tell, you just have to find the one that speaks to you the most. I hope that tonight, you all can feel just as inspired as I was as you explore these brilliant works of art. Thank you for always showing your support here at Artis et Operis gallery, please enjoy the showcase.” Lola smiles as the crowd roars with applause.

“Oh, you did so good!” Stephanie says clapping, “I am so proud of you girl, you did great!” says Timothy. Giselle and Jhené surprises Lola hugging her from behind, “oh my god, you looked great up there Lola!” Giselle exclaims, “yes! You are such a natural. I bet no one could even tell you have major stage fright!” says Jhené. “Lola are you alright?” Timothy asks, “yeah, I’m good, just let me just catch my breath; I’ll be back to normal in a minute,” she says hunched over.

“You’re awfully quiet,” Sophie says to Sam, “is everything alright?” Sam takes a sip from his glass and notices Eric walking through the crowd, “yep, all good,” he says smiling. “I’m going to go look at some of the exhibits we didn’t get a chance to see earlier,” “want me to come with you?” She asks, “nah, I won’t be long.” He finishes his glass of champagne and leaves Sophie at the bar. She watches as he disappears into the crowd with an uneasy feeling in her stomach.

“Thanks you guys, I was really nervous up there, but I think I did pretty good,” Lola says finally calmed. “You did great,” Eric says approaching her from the crowd. Everyone stops and watches their interaction, “oh, thank you,” she says with a big smile, “I was pleasantly surprised to see you tonight.” “Of course, there was no way I was going to miss this.” Eric says smiling back. “Ahem!” Giselle and Jhené utters loudly, “haha, Eric, I’d like to formally introduce you to my wonderful sisters, Giselle and Jhené.” “Oh, so you’re the infamous Eric we’ve heard so much about,” Jhené says, “yes Jhené, I do believe he is the one that has had our poor Lola in a tizzy for quite some time now,” says Giselle. Eric laughs and looks at Lola as she stands there with her hands covering her face, “please stop, this is exactly why I don’t let y’all meet people!” They both laugh, “it’s really nice to meet you Eric” Giselle says shaking his hand, “oh the pleasure is mine,” he says smiling. He notices Stephanie and Timothy, “nice to meet you again,” Stephanie says bashfully, “yes, I’m glad you are doing better, um, I’m sorry I didn’t catch your name,” “Stephanie,” she says.

Giselle says pulling Lola to the side, “Girl, he is fine, I do not remember him looking like that at Peridot,” “right!” Jhené says in agreement. “maybe because y’all were too drunk to function at that time, and don’t act like I don’t have good taste,” Lola says, “you don’t” they both say in unison. “Let’s not get started on Landon,” says Jhené, “girl I was just about to say that!” Giselle says laughing, “remember that one guy she met at the coffee shop?” “Do I?!” they both say laughing. “Honestly, other than Eric, Sam may have been the best-looking guy you’ve talked to,” Jhené says. Eric overhears the conversation and peers over his shoulder. “Alright, alright, I’m done listening to y’all insult me… But you may have a point, I guess for a while I was looking for someone to fill Sam’s shoes, and it just never happened.” “Well, I like Eric, I think he will be really good for you,” says Jhené, “yeah I think so too. He definitely cares about you and that’s something you haven’t had in a while. Just take things slow and don’t push him away again.” Lola looks up and sees Sam standing at one of the nearby exhibits, “yeah, I’d hate to miss out a second time” Lola says.

Loving Lola Ch. 55

Man to Man

“Hello, may I have everyone’s attention please,” everyone directs their attention to middle of the floor. “Welcome to our 23rd annual Artis et Operis Gallery showcase!” Shoot, it’s about to start, Timothy please get Lola back in here soon.

Lola looks at the top of the stairs and see Eric standing there holding a bouquet of flowers. “Eric? What are you doing here?” Lola says in shock. “Well, I knew tonight was your showcase, I wasn’t going to miss your big night,” he says giving her the flowers. “Thank you, they’re beautiful,” she says smelling them. “Oh! Sam, this is Eric, Eric this is Sam, he’s actually the reason why I fell in love with art, he’s an amazing artist.” The two men look at one another, and then smile and shake hands. “Nice to meet you Sam,” Eric says, “pleasure,” Sam replies. Timothy steps outside, “Um, I’m sorry to interrupt, Lola it’s about to start, they’re going to be introducing you momentarily.” “Oh shit! I was so distracted by everything going on, I totally forgot! Gentleman, please excuse me I have to go get ready, but I’ll see you both inside okay,” she says rushing inside.

Eric and Sam watch as Lola disappears into the building, neither uttering a word. Once she is out of sight, they look at one another with discernment, “so, when you said you knew someone who worked at the gallery, I assume you meant Lola right?” Sam asks, “that’s right. And you and Lola know each other from?” “College; at an art showcase nonetheless.” “I see.” Eric says. “And what is your relationship with Lola exactly, if you don’t mind me asking?” “I don’t, but that is a question you’d have to ask her Mr. Guevara.” “Hmm. Why didn’t you tell her?” “Tell her what exactly?” “That we’ve met before,” “Why didn’t you?” Eric asks. They look at each other for a moment in silence, “Well then, we don’t want to miss her big moment, do we? Eric says walking back to the doors, “I’ll see you inside then.”

Timothy and Lola make their way to Stephanie just in time, “Oh thank goodness, you made it. Ms. Allard is almost done introducing the new exhibits; you’ll be on next.” “Is it bad that I’m nervous?” Lola says fanning herself, “girl, you got this. You worked too damn hard to be nervous. You better strut and let these people know who created this!” “Guys, I could not have done any of this without you, thank you both so much,” she says giving them a hug. “Oh, what happened with Eric, were you able to find him?” Timothy looks at Stephanie and covers his face. “Huh? You were looking for Eric?” Lola asks, “no, not necessarily, I just wanted to make sure he wasn’t looking for you…” “What do you mean? Everything’s all good, he found me outside while I was talking to Sam.” Both Timothy and Stephanie look at her with straight faces, “what? It’s not like… Oh shit… That’s not good,” “not at all” Timothy says as Stephanie shakes her head. “I didn’t even… I mean it’s not like Sam and I have anything going on, and I doubt he has felt anything in years; plus, the last time I saw him, he was on a date with another woman,” “Gasp, no he was not!” Timothy exclaims, “yeah, but its whatever, it’s been years since him and I had even seen each other so I didn’t expect that to not happen… I mean at first yeah it bothered me a little, but like I said, it had been three years since I’ve seen or heard from him, so he was bound to find someone else.” “Right, just like you found Eric,” Timothy says, “right, yes exactly, and I’ll just explain to him that tonight was a big mess and he’d understand, right?” “And now, without further ado, the women who made this year one of the best thus far, Ms. Lola Spears!” “Well, now isn’t the time to think about that, you’re on!” Timothy says pushing her away.

As Lola makes her way through the crowd, she see’s Eric on one side of the room, and Sam at the bar, both looking at her with smiles on their face, cheering her on.  

Loving Lola Ch. 54

Feelings revealed.

“Ahem, I don’t mean to interrupt,” Sophie says walking over to Lola and her sister’s, “but I owe you ladies an apology. There is no excuse for my reckless behavior earlier tonight. I was out of line and I am sorry. We can’t change the past, but I am looking forward to a better future, if that is okay with you Giselle.” Lola looks at them confused, “did, I miss something? What happened earlier?” Giselle and Sophie exchange a silent signal of piece, “oh nothing, it’s all in the past now,” Jhené says smiling.

Sam clears his throat and looks at Sophie and then at Lola. Sophie taking the hint, smiles and suggests that Giselle and Jhené go inside and have a drink with her at the bar. Sam asks Lola if they can have a moment to talk, and Jhené and Giselle pick up on what’s happening and agree to go with Sophie inside. “Sam, I’m so sorry about tonight, three years later and-” “Lola stop, nothing about tonight was your fault, nor was anything that happened in the past. Your father loves you; he just has a different way of showing it.” “Okay, now you’re just being nice, but thank you.” “So, you’re working at the art gallery huh?” “Oh! Yes, I do. I’m actually a curator, one of the best I might say, but I absolutely love it.” “That’s amazing, who would have thought, the busy business major would be building displays and putting on showcases,” “hahaha, Jessie would flip her shit if she knew. But, I always knew I’d end up here someday,” she says smiling. “You know, before tonight, I have never been to this gallery; or any for that matter. Sophie has been trying to get me to come for a while, but I just wasn’t ready. If I had, we would have probably run into each other sooner,” “ah yes, under better circumstances for sure.” “Maybe, but as long as I get to see you, I’m alright. ”

Watching from a distance, Timothy and Stephanie are processing everything that just happened. “Steph, I can’t take this, my poor heart,” “I am just so happy everything worked out, Lola has such loving sisters, and that Sam is a cutie,” “yes, I agree, but I am still team Eric.” They both stop and look at each other, “Eric!” both says. “Is he still inside?” Stephanie asks, “lord I hope so!” Timothy says as they rush inside.

Sophie, Jhené, and Giselle are sitting at the bar talking over a bottle of champagne, “are you sure you should be drinking again Sophie,” Jhené says taking a sip from her glass, “you know, seeing as to what happened earlier,” “did we not forgive each other already?” Sophie says, “Oh no, I’m referring to you getting drunk as hell stumbling into the bathroom,” Jhené says laughing, “wow I’m offended. Get a little tipsy and now people think you can’t hold your alcohol,” she says laughing.

Timothy and Stephine make their way back inside and immediately look toward the bar for Eric. “Damn it!” Timothy exclaims, “maybe he’s looking at the displays, this is an art showcase after all,” Stephanie suggests, Timothy just looks at her, “what?

Slowly making their way back to the entrance of the gallery, Sam stops Lola at the bottom of the stairs, “Lola, before we go back inside, I have to say this…” he says grabbing her hand, “Sam, are you okay?” Lola asks looking at him. “Look, Lola I understand that after everything that has happened, your feelings for me may not be the same, but I just want you to know that I never stopped-” “Lola?!” Eric shouts from the top of the stairs.

“Timothy where are you going?” Stephanie calls out to him. He rushes back the entrance of the gallery, but sees that he is too late.

Loving Lola Ch. 53

Happiness Over Everything

“I’m sorry sir,” Timothy says grabbing Stephanie’s hand, “but I really need her right now, we are kind of in an emergency, but treat yourself to a drink at the bar and enjoy the showcase, Stephanie, let’s go honey.” “But, what about Lola, it sounded like she was in trouble?” Eric says, “trouble? Oh! We, uh, have to help her with her speech that she is giving tonight. Last minute details you know, this event would not be possible without her, so we have to get ready for that… But we must go, like right now,” Timothy says rushing off with Stephanie.

“What is really going on?” Stephanie asks, “I’ll explain everything outside.”

“Alright that’s enough!” Charlie shouts, “I don’t know what kind of bullshit this boy has been feeding you, but it is clear to me-” “That what?” Giselle interjects. “Giselle, this does not concern you,” “oh, but unfortunately it does.” “It would be wise to choose your next words carefully,” Charlie threatens, “or what? You’ll strip me of my position? Father this has to stop. What happened all those years ago is unforgiveable. I not only broke my sisters trust, but I also pushed her away from us, and for what? She is still here doing what she loves, and here you are trying to do it again. Leave this alone father, or you are going to lose all of us this time. Sam was never a threat to us nor the company, all he did was love her, tell me, what was so wrong with that?” “Love, is that all you ever think about? Ever since she met him at that damn school, he began filling her head with false aspirations! This was never about love, I refused to let her throw away everything we’ve built for some delusional fantasy! I could not allow her to ruin her life for some artist, how would that look?” “And that is where we will always disagree father,” Lola says, “it never mattered to me how I was perceived by people. I never cared about the money, or the power, or the titles, I was always content with just sitting at the table. But being content wasn’t enough. It was not him who convinced me to pursue this career, it was the art itself. What I do here is not nonsense, I help people tell their stories through various forms of art, and I am really good at it. This is not just a job for me, it is my life, my passion, and it makes me happy, what is so wrong with me being happy? I have accomplished so much these past three years, and I don’t think I would have been brave enough to take that step without Sam. So, hate him if you want, but if you hate him because you believe he is the reason for me leaving, you will be wasting your energy.” Charlie stands there quietly for a moment, “well, if I can’t change your mind, then there is nothing else that we need to discuss; Giselle, Jhené, I will deal with you Monday morning. I will see myself out.”

Jhené goes over to Lola and gives her a big hug, “I am so proud of you!” Jhené says excitedly, “thank you, I just need to catch my breath,” Lola says laughing. “Hey,” Lola says to Giselle, “thank you for standing up for me, I know that probably cost you your position as president, but-” “there are no buts Lola, I don’t give a damn about that position if it means I lose you in the process. What I said was long overdue. I owe both you and Sam a real apology,” she says looking at Sam and Sophie, “what I did may have been by the order of my father, but I too was selfish in my actions. I did not want to lose my sister either, and I saw that you were not only taking her time, but you were also stealing her heart and I should have respected her wishes and for that, I am truly sorry. I hope you can find it in your hearts to forgive me someday.” Lola smiles and gives Giselle and hug, “I love you G.”

Loving Lola Ch. 52

What is going on?!

Back at the front desk, Stephanie is speaking with the receptionist who notified her of the stranger looking for Lola. She is informed that the man’s name was Charlie Spears and his relation to Lola is unknown. Stephanie begins to ponder who he could be after recognizing that he and Lola share the same last name. She thanks the receptionist for her help and tries to make her way back to Timothy. While maneuvering through the crowd, she accidentally steps on a man’s foot and instantly begins to panic, covering her face in shame apologizing profusely. The man laughs and tries to calm her down, but she does not hear him. He grabs her hands pulling them from her face and smiles, “it’s okay, so please calm down miss” he says to her. She looks up at the man with cheeks rose red and apologizes again.

While approaching Jhené, Giselle and Sophie, Timothy overhears their conversation, “WHAT?” “How long ago did you see them leave?” Giselle asks in a concerned tone, “Wow, still acting like you care huh? You know, I was really hoping Lola had ridden herself of you all long ago after what you did to her, but you still manage to somehow find ways to manipulate her years later!” “Look, Sophie was it? I don’t want to act a fool in here, but do not act like you know us. I understand some things happened in the past, but there is nothing we can do about that right now, however, if you really care about your brother, then we ALL can get to the bottom of what is going on here, but if not, please kindly get the hell out of the way.” Jhené says grabbing Giselle’s hand walking hastily to the exit.

Timothy watches as Jhené and Giselle rush out of the building with Sophie following quickly behind, “Damn it Stephanie! Where are you when I need you!”

“Father, why tonight of all nights? Why would you come here like this? I am finally happy doing something I love-” “Something you love?!” Charlie says angrily, “Still with this, I really hoped that after everything, all of those trivial ideas of artistry was removed from your mind years ago, but I see that he still managed to have an influence on you, tch.” “Father, Sam has nothing to do with this! Because of what you did, I hadn’t spoken to him in years, I didn’t know he was at this event, let alone in this city until recently,” “I did nothing but try and protect you, but you leaving the company for “this” he motions, is unforgiveable. We had a plan Lola, and you deviated from that plan to pursue what, art?!” Jhené and Giselle rush outside looking for Lola and their father with Sophie not far behind. “I am sick and tired of your reckless and irresponsible behavior!” “Sir!” Sam interjects, “that is enough!” “This does not concern you boy!” Charlie yells loudly. Jhené and Giselle hear their father yell and look over in their direction. “And yet, for some reason you believe it does.” “Excuse me?” “I’m sorry for making you believe that my presence ruined this so-called plan you had for her, but have you ever stopped to think that maybe the choices Lola made were that of her own? Why is it so easy for you to believe that she is someone who could be swayed so easily into doing something she did not want to do? Perhaps it’s because you have been doing that all her life.” “Watch yourself boy,” Charlie says angrily, “or what? You’d make me disappear like before?” “Ha, I had nothing to do with that,” “of course not, the CEO can’t possibly get his hands dirty in a scandal like that, so you’d make your daughter do it for you?” “Strong accusations boy, I could sue you for slander,” “but it’s the truth isn’t it,” Lola says.

Back inside, Timothy is on the hunt for Stephanie. “Is, is your foot okay?” Stephanie asks, finally calm, “yes, I barely felt a thing,” he says laughing “are you okay? You were panicking so bad I thought you were the one that was hurt,” the man says jokingly. “haha, yes I’m-” “OH MY GOD, there you are!” Timothy shouts interrupting. “Where the hell have you been?! Never mind that, shit is going down and we need to help Lola like right now!” “Lola? Is she okay?” the man asks, Timothy and Stephanie look at the man and she recognizes who he is, “oh my goodness, you’re Eric!”

Loving Lola Ch. 51

Not Tonight

Giselle looks at Jhené in shock with tears in her eyes, “hey, hey look see, I told you she wouldn’t hate us for coming,” Jhené says grabbing tissues, “though, she probably hates me now for unintentionally inviting dad, but that’s neither here nor there. Truth is, what you did was shitty, but no matter what, we are sister’s, and this just proves that the bond we have may bend, but it will never break. So, fix your face cause its melting,” she says laughing, “and let’s go out there and support our sister the best way we know how.” Giselle smiles and begins fixing her makeup. Suddenly, Sophie barges in the bathroom, startling them as she staggers her way to the toilet. Giselle looks at her through the mirror and is surprised when she sees her face, “are you alright?” Jhené asks her, “oh yes I’m fine, just have to pee, thank you,” Sophie says as she hurriedly enters the stall.

“I apologize for that awful scene I made coming in,” Sophie says emerging from the stall less tipsy than before. “I’m so embarrassed, I’ve only had three glasses of champagne tonight; mommy life has made me weak.” Sophie says awkwardly washing her hands, “it’s fine,” Jhené says to her, “our sister gets like that sometimes and doesn’t even have children,” “hahaha, well that makes me feel a lot better. Well, I guess I’ll go find my brother, hopefully I didn’t cause him too much embarrassment out there, it was very nice meeting you ladies,” Sophie says existing the bathroom.

 “Alright, you ready to go?” asks Giselle grabbing her purse, “we probably should go find dad, before he does anything else to piss Lola off,” “oh yeah, lets hurry up,” Jhené says existing the restroom.

On the way to find Sam, Sophie can’t shake this familiar feeling, before she is able to piece it together, she sees Sam, Lola, and her father exiting the building. Sam what the- Lola is here? But wait, who is that man with them? SPEARS?! What the hell is going on? Confused and upset, she turns to see Giselle and Jhené walking out of the bathroom. Before she could catch herself, she rushes over to them for answers.

Timothy, still at the bar starts scanning the room to make sure everything is still in one piece. He looks over in the area where he left Stephanie and notices that she is no longer there, got damn Stephanie, I leave you for two seconds! He begins searching for her in the crowd, and spots Eric observing one of the displays. OMG! Aww he came to support Lola on her big night, she better marry his ass; I wonder if she is out here on the floor now. He scans the room again and catches a glimpse of Lola exiting the building, What? I know she is not leaving before presenting the display we worked so damn hard to build. Timothy hastily finishes his drink and tries to catch her before she leaves. Before he is able to reach the door, his attention is caught by a distraught woman rushing toward Lola’s sisters, what the- aren’t those the women who ran after Lola? He changes direction and heads over the three women hoping to figure out what is happening.

“You Spear’s just can’t leave well enough alone can you?” Sophie says loudly stopping Giselle and Jhené. “Isn’t that the woman from the restroom? Jhené asks. Giselle turns around and does not say a word, “why do you keep bothering him. Haven’t you caused enough damage?” Sophie says angrily. “Do you know her?” Jhené asks, “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Giselle says calmly, “I’m sorry who is she? Who are you?” Jhené says interrupting, “hmph, ask her, she knows exactly who I am.” Jhené looks at Giselle for answers, “who is this, and what is she talking about?” “I don’t know what she is talking about, but her name is she is Sophie Guevara, Samuels sister.” Jhené looks confused, “so wait, in the bathroom, you knew who she was?” “Yes, but I promise I told you everything, I don’t know what she is talking about.” “So why did I see my brother, Lola and your father exiting the building?” “WHAT?!” Both Jhené and Giselle yell.

Loving Lola- Ch. 50

Opening old wounds.

Stephanie and Timothy look at each other after watching the dispute between Lola and her father. “What do you think happened?” Stephanie asks, “girl, I’m just as lost as you,” Timothy says, “but whatever it was, it definitely seemed personal.” Stephanie spots Lola’s father amongst the crowd of people, “who do you think that man was she was talking to? Do you think he’s the reason why she’s been kind of out of it tonight?” “No, mostly because she seemed more surprised to see him than anything so I doubt he is the reason, but he damn sure made matters worse from what I can tell.” “Do you think we should do something?” Stephanie asks, “the only thing we can do right now, is make sure this night goes as smoothly as possible for her, Lola worked very hard creating the displays for this showcase, and the last thing she needs is for this event to fall apart. Whoever those women were, they obviously knew her well enough to go chasing after her so the best thing we can do is support her on the floor. In the meantime, I’m going to get me a glass of champagne, I need to drink this stress away.” Timothy makes his way to the open bar leaving Stephanie behind. Determined to find out who the mystery man is, she heads over to the receptionist’s desk to get answers.

Lola stands there for a moment, she then reaches and gently takes the tissue from Giselle, “what are you doing here?” she asks wiping her face, “I told you, we are going to support you no matter what.” Lola looks away, “how did you know I was in here?” “We saw what happened, are you okay?” Lola turns and places her hands on the sink, “why the hell did he even come here?! And tonight, of all nights…” Jhené steps up, “… it’s my fault he’s here. I showed him the flyer for the showcase. I didn’t think he’d actually come, I just wanted him to see how great you were doing, but I got angry because of how dismissive he was. He should be proud of the person you’ve become.” Lola turns and looks at her, “I’m sorry if he ruined your night…” Lola sighs, “he could never, I’ve worked too damn hard putting this event together to have him ruin it just like that.” She washes her hands and heads for the door. She then stops just before opening, looks up to the ceiling and then turns to her sisters taking a deep breath, “I wasn’t sure if I’d care if you showed up or not, but when the event started and I didn’t see you, I realized how much I actually needed you here. Not just here at the showcase, but in my life. It’s going to take more time for me to forgive you for what you did, but I miss yall… I miss us and I cannot just cut you out of life like I thought so, thank you both for coming tonight, I really appreciate it.” She flashes a faint smile and then leaves the bathroom.

“This champagne is amazing!” Sophie says with excitement, “yeah, I guess that’s why you’ve had three glasses already” says Sam as he watches her gulp down her third glass. “I have to get the name of this from the bartender, oop, right after I go pee, here hold this” she says handing Sam her empty glass, “oh my – please be careful!” he says blushing from embarrassment, “I got this!” She says swaying through the crowd. He chuckles and begins making his way to the bar to return the glass. While walking through the crowd, he bumps into a man causing him to drop his pamphlet. “I’m sorry sir,” Sam says picking up the pamphlet, “here you go-” stunned to see who the gentleman is, he is frozen, unable to speak, “hmph, figures you’d be here, this is probably all your doing,” says the man as Sam stands there befuddled. “Father! Lola says walking up to them, “you will not do this tonight.”

“Hello sir, thank you for joining us this evening. Here’s a pamphlet, please enjoy the showcase,” “Thank you.” Eric takes the pamphlet and enters the Gallery.

Loving Lola- Ch. 49

I am here for you.

“Damn! Looks like the whole city is here tonight,” Giselle says as they arrive at the gallery barely getting through the crowd. They ride around looking for a decent place to park for at least 10 minutes before finding a spot in the company parking lot. They sit in the car for a moment watching as more people fill the gallery, “the whole city came to this thing for real,” Jhené says, “I know right, let’s just go back home,” Giselle says cranking up the car, “Girl! No, we are here to support Lola, get out of the car. Your ass would say that after it took forever and a day to find a parking spot.” After a while of standing in line, they finally make their way to entrance. They each grab a flyer and pamphlet from the host, and just as they are entering, something stops Jhené. Not looking ahead, Giselle bumps into her from behind, “What the he-” Jhené grabs her arm and points her in the direction of Lola and their father, “oh shit…” “I didn’t think he would come,” Jhené says in a low voice, “what!? You invited him here?!” Giselle whispers in a panicked tone, “no! well… not really. I may have said something about it… but then I got upset when he started doing what dad does, so I slammed the flyer on his desk and left…” “Lord!” “I didn’t think he was going to show up though!” They watch the interaction between Lola and their father from a distance until they see Lola storm away. Their father adjusts his tie and walks into the crowd disappearing from their sight, “wait he’s staying? Why isn’t he leaving?” Jhené says looking for him amongst the crowd of people, “we have to go find Lola” Giselle says. Jhené looks at her with a surprised expression, “what happened to only here for support?” “Sigh, that’s exactly why we have to find her.”

Sam and Sophie arrive and are instantly entranced. They walk around marveling at the different pieces on display, “this gallery is amazing,” Sam says in awe. “I’ve lived in this city for almost 6 years now, and I have never stepped foot in here,” “well every time I’d ask you to come with me, you would just get mad and start yelling about how this wasn’t your life anymore,” Sophie says in rebuttal. “I was in a bad place… who knows, maybe if I would have just given it a chance and seen this place, it probably would have sparked my fire sooner,” “or made you even more reclusive.” Sam looks at her, “the point I’m trying to make is, only you could have gotten your spark back. You lost faith in yourself, so you had to be the one to believe in yourself again to get it back. Lola helped you see your greatness, but you are the one who made the first step. I thank her for whatever she said to make you feel inspired again, but remember it was Sam that had the final say so.” They continue walking looking at all the displays, “just think, your name could be here up on display one day,” Sam stops walking. Sophie turns and looks at him, “you okay?” She asks, “Thanks for always believing in me Soph. Hearing you say how great I was at this, or how I had so much potential to do that, made me feel like an even bigger disappointment because I didn’t feel that I was that guy anymore, yet, you never gave up on me… I will always be grateful for that.” Sophie puts her arm around his neck, “well if you really want to thank me, you could submit a piece for next year’s showcase,” “hahaha, let me pay off the studio first sis; but, there’s no harm in planning ahead. Sophie smiles and they continue admiring the pieces together.

Lola rushes off to the bathroom to clear her head. She runs into an empty stall and locks the door behind her. The door of the bathroom opens shortly after, she reaches for a piece of tissue but is stopped after seeing there isn’t any, “shit!” She says quietly, sniffling and wiping her face with her hand. Suddenly, there is a knock on her stall, “someone’s in here,” she says with her voice shaking. They knock again causing her to get upset. The person does not move from in front of the stall. Lola angrily opens the door, “really?! All the other stalls and you want this one!” She is shocked to see her sisters standing there. “We just wanted to make sure you were okay,” Giselle says holding tissues.