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.” “Okay, oh, 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 bit, 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 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.

Loving Lola- Ch. 48

Taking the night off.

Sam arrives home, goes straight to his room, not saying a word shutting the door behind him. As the front door slams shut, Tiana rushes in to greet Sam but is too late to catch him. When Sophie looks at the time, she sees that again, it is 10am. Since signing the lease to the studio, Sam has been pulling 12 hour shifts back to back, working tirelessly trying to raise the remaining $1,700 in time. Tiana slowly walks back to her mother and sits down looking at her with a sad face, “awe come here baby, it’s okay, Uncle Sam is just a little tired right now,” “but why?” Tiana asks softly, Sophie holds her tight, “he’s trying to be a big boy… but I promise, he’s going to be back to fun Uncle Sam soon, okay?” Sophie says kissing her forehead. “In the meantime, how about I make your favorite, chocolate chip pancakes?” she asks giving her eskimo kisses, “no, pasta.” Tiana says, “Pasta? For breakfast?” Sophie asks confused, “it’s Uncle Sam’s favorite, and maybe when he wakes up, he will be happy and feel better,” she says fiddling with her doll. Sophie smiles, “I think that’s a great idea, pasta it is.”

When Sam wakes up, he is still disorientated and hazy from the lack of rest, so he lays there for a moment trying to fully wake up. He feels around the nightstand for his phone but does not seem to find it. Remembering that his phone is still in his pants pocket, he realizes that he was too tired to change out of his uniform before getting into bed. Reaching into his pocket for his phone, he hopes that it still has some juice left to at least tell him the time. It does not. He slowly maneuvers out of bed, putting his phone on the charger, sluggishly making his way to the bathroom. He turns on the water in the shower and just stands there. He looks at himself in the mirror and feels disgust, but he is too exhausted to care. Once out of the shower, he brushes his teeth, puts on sweatpants and a t-shirt then heads to kitchen for something to eat. Sophie and Tiana are in the living room watching television when he notices a big pot on the stove. He goes to lift the lid and is surprised to see that it is his favorite pasta. Before he is able to react, he sees Tiana peeking at him from around the corner, “she wanted to surprise you since you’ve been working so hard,” Sophie says to him. Sam walks over to Tiana and squats down, “is that true Tiana?” She nods her head yes, “I wanted you to feel better,” she says fiddling with her doll. Sam smiles and picks her up squeezing her tight, “I feel a lot better, thank you,” he says kissing her on the forehead. Tiana smiles and hugs him back.

“So, I guess you’re working tonight to huh?” Sophie asks. Sam looks at her, then at Tiana and notices her change in demeaner, “naw,” he says eating a big fork full of pasta, “I was thinking of hanging out around here tonight, that is if that’s okay with you guys?” Both Sophie and Tiana cannot contain their excitement. Sophie rushes to her room and returns with a piece of paper. “Since you’re taking the night off, I was hoping that you’d go with us to the Artis et Operis Gallery showcase tonight. It opens at 8pm and I hear it’s going to be amazing.” Sam looks at the flyer and hesitates for a moment, “everyone in the city will basically be there,” Sophie adds. “I guess it would be nice to see what kinds of talents I’ll be up against in this city,” Sophie jumps with excitement and hugs him tight, “yes! This is perfect! I haven’t been to an art showcase since, hell, the last one you were in, I’m so excited! Oh crap, you said yes, what am I going to wear?” she says rushing off to her room. Sam grabs the flyer and takes a deep sigh, “I hope I still have what it takes Sophie…” Tiana walks over to him, places her hand on his knee, and smiles.

Loving Lola- Ch. 47

Surprise Visitor.

It is the night of the big showcase and Lola has not spoken to her sisters since that night. After everything that has happened, for the first time she is unsure if her sisters will be there to support her, despite that, she is uncertain if she wants them to. Over the course of those few days, her relationship with Eric has become stagnate with the decision of moving to New York still hanging in the air. From the time the position was offered, she has done nothing but think of all the people she’d be leaving behind, however, tonight she is hoping to silence those thoughts, making for a beautiful showcase.

“The Artis et Operis Gallery showcase has become one of the biggest social events since Lola’s higher three years ago, just look at all these people!” Timothy says with excitement. “I think this is more people than last year,” Stephanie adds. They both look at Lola with sparkles in their eyes but is soon deterred when they notice she is not sharing their glow, “okay, someone has kidnapped our Lola and replaced her with Ms. Gloom over here, why aren’t you shining like a thousand suns? Do you not see what you’ve done? Girl look at all these people in here, this is because of you!” Lola looks around the full gallery, “you’re right, I should be happy,” “happy? You should be elated, so why aren’t you?” “Lola,” Stephanie interjects, “you were requested at the front,” “requested? By whom?” she asks looking confused. “I’m not sure, they didn’t say,” Stephanie says looking at Timothy. Lola, feeling uneasy, slowly makes her way through the crowd to meet this stranger. Once she arrives to the front, she looks around for a familiar face but does not recognize anyone. She turns and asks the receptionist of the person who requested her, and before she is able to say, Lola hears a deep voice behind her calling out her name.

“Jhené! I’m starving, what do you want for dinner?” Giselle yells from the kitchen. Jhené walks in with a flyer for the Artis et Operis Gallery showcase, “did you know about this?” she asks Giselle. She looks at the flyer, nods her head and proceeds to look for something to eat. “So, were you not going to go?” Giselle sighs, “I don’t think she’d want me there Jhené.” “That’s bullshit and you know it” Jhené says angrily slamming the flyer onto the countertop, “how?” Giselle says with a monotone, “we haven’t spoken in days, but somehow you think just showing up to one of the most important nights of her career is a good idea?” “YES!” yells Jhené. Giselle shakes her head in disbelief and walks out of the kitchen. “Why not?” Jhené says following her, “because Jhené… it just doesn’t work like that,” Giselle says shutting herself in the bathroom. “Giselle!” she yells to her, “… I miss her okay… and I know you miss her to. I just… don’t want her to think that because shit hit the fan we don’t care. Even if I were mad at yall, I would still want to see your ugly faces at my very important event, and regardless of what happened, I think she’d want the same…” Giselle still does not respond, “please Giselle, I know it’s hard and maybe even a little scary, but we’re sisters, and we’re all we got.” Giselle unlocks the door and opens it slowly, “sighs, when did you become the big sister?” Jhené smirks, “when mine started acting like children” she says hugging Giselle. “sigh, I hope you’re right about this one,” “yeah me to. but hey, what’s the worst that can happen? She already said she could never hate us…” They both look at one another then start to get ready.

“Lola.” She stands frozen unable to respond. Her heart starts to pound, and the sound begins to grow louder and louder until it is the only sound that fills the room. This can’t be happening… why, of all nights, why show up tonight? I can’t do this…not now… No! Lola this is your night, this is your life, you will not let him control you anymore! Lola turns slowly and looks him straight in the eyes, “Dad, what are you doing here?”

Loving Lola- Ch. 46

Secrets and Lies.

“Hey, you alright in here?” Giselle is sitting on the toilet with pieces of tissue in her hands. “I’ve been trying so hard not to break us up since mom died, and all I’ve managed to do was push us further and further away from each other.” “That’s not true,” Jhené says walking into the bathroom, “I’m still here, and you can’t push me away even if you wanted to.” “You know what I mean,” Giselle says blowing her nose, “I’ve made a lot of stupid mistakes in the past, but I finally started to feel like we were getting back to where we used to be.” Lola goes to look for them. “Listen, all that stuff that happened with Sam, Lola, and the company was probably going to happen even if you hadn’t-” “hadn’t what?” Lola says walking into the bathroom. Giselle hops from the toilet, “even if you hadn’t what?” “Oh, no Lola I was just saying that-” Jhené tries to explain. Lola’s looks at Giselle, “G? What is she talking about?” Giselle stands there in silence, with tears rushing down her face, “Lola, please,” Jhené says pleading with her, “No Jhené, I want her to tell me what she did, I need to hear her say it…” she says as her eyes begin to water. Giselle’s eyes grow wide as she looks at Lola, “did, did you know?” “I always thought it was dad who convinced one of his devout chairman to run him away to try and keep me there, but it wasn’t, was it?” “Lola…” Giselle reaches out for her, “why?” Lola says backing away from her, “Lola please let me explain,” “then explain, why would you do that to me? You of all people knew I was unhappy there, but Sam… he made being stuck there bearable for me and you knew that… so why would you send him away from me?” “Lola, I- I didn’t have a choice,” Giselle says to her crying, “our father saw Sam as a threat to the company. He saw how close you were getting and the conversations you’d have about leaving the company… he was infuriated,” “so what? He sent you of all people to get rid of him?” Lola says with tears in her eyes, “…yes.” “How could you?” “I didn’t want to do it Lola I swear!” “But you did, didn’t you?” “Please,” “So what did he offer you in return? More money? A higher position?” Lola’s eyes widen, “he made you president, didn’t he?” “Lola PLEASE!” “Ugh, wow, so much for family huh… And you know, the fucked up part is that I’m not even mad about Sam, I mean yeah I was hurt when he left, but the fact that it was my family who’d stop at nothing to rip away any piece of happiness we had because of fabricated feelings they had toward an artist! Yes, I did talk to Sam about leaving and pursuing a career in art, but all I thought was how I could never leave you guys or break the pact we made… but after everything happened, I realized dad didn’t care about what made us happy, he only cared about that damn company, and that’s when I realized I could no longer stay there. I hoped that you guys would find solace outside of that place and we all could be free of him, but I guess that was naïve of me huh. Lola, “always the dreamer”, isn’t that what dad would say? Somethings never change, even though people do… You guys can just let yourselves out.” She walks out their way so they can leave, Giselle wipes her nose and the tears from her eyes, “Jhené?” Lola calls out to her, “…how long have you known?” Jhené turns and looks at her, “I just found out.” Lola turns around and wipes the tears from her eyes, “but that doesn’t make me any less guilty, so if you’re going to hate her, then hate us both.” Jhené gathers their things and walks with Giselle out of the room. Once they reach the front door Giselle calls out to Lola, “I am so, so sorry, but please don’t hate Jhené, she had nothing to do with this,” Lola walks to her bedroom door, “I would never hate either of you… please lock the bottom lock on your way out,” she says closing her bedroom door.