Loving Lola- Ch. 39

Picture Perfect Opportunity.

“Lola! Hurry up, Michael is almost done with his presentation!” “I’m coming, I’m coming, I just have to put the finishing touches… on… this… last, DONE!” “Great, now get your ass in here.” “And now, we will hear from Lola Spears, the curator designing our feature display.” “Thank you all for coming, so, for our new display, I wanted to create one visual presentation using 3 separate pieces all from different artists. This incredible Mosely piece would be positioned here next to the beautiful Hannagan piece, and then we’d set this amazing Dorothy Lewrant right next to it here,” “ahh I see, even though these are three separate pieces, it almost looks as if they are connected.” “Yes exactly. Separately, each piece has its own unique story to tell, but together, they create something amazing visually, and that’s what I’d like to showcase. These are three different artist, but when you put them side by side it could be assumed that this display was created by one person, however, each individual artist would get their recognition of course.” “I see, and that would influence buyers to purchase all three pieces as well,” “Hahaha, well yes, there is that. So, what do you think?” “Hmm, I like it. Let’s get it done.” “Great! Thank Ms. Allard.” “Alright, that will be all everyone.”

“Girl, I don’t know how you do it, but as long as I’ve worked under Louise Allard, I’ve never seen her accept an idea from a curator without making a few modifications of her own first, especially not one as fresh as you, yet somehow she never makes a single change to any of yours; amazing.” “You know, they call her the “Allard Wall” because of how strict and guarded she is,” “I mean, maybe she is a little hard sometimes, but I think as long as we can show her the vision and have it make sense,” “and money!” “hahaha, and money, then she shouldn’t have reason to make any adjustments, right?” “Whatever girl, just keep doing what you’re doing.” Ring, Ring, Ring, Lola looks at her phone and starts to smile. “Ooo, I know that look.” “I’m going to lunch now.” “Mhm, who’s eating who?” “Be back here in an hour to finish assembling that display please!” “Yeah, yeah.”

“Hello?” “Hey, I’m outside,” “okay, I’m grabbing my things and heading out now. I’ll see you in a minute,” “alright.” Click. “Lola, do you have a minute?” Lola looks at her watch, “Of course, Ms. Allard.” She enters her office and takes a seat, “I hope I wasn’t interrupting anything,” “oh no, I was just on my way to lunch.” “Okay, well I won’t hold you for long, this will only take a minute. Lola, you’ve been here for what, a little over 3 years and you’ve brought in over 33% more revenue than some of my most praised curators, that’s very impressive.” “Oh, well thank you ma’am, I really appreciate that.” “So, here’s the deal, we are opening a new Gallery in New York, the head exhibitioner has seen both your numbers and your displays, and he likes what you can do. They would like to open with you as their head curator.” “What?! M-me? But I-” “Listen, there are a lot of people out there who think they are great judges of beauty, but not many people can do what you do. You not only have an eye for beautiful pieces of art, but you reveal a story behind each piece making them even more beautiful. I got into this line of work because art is my passion, but over the years, it has become more about what can sell… but you, you don’t care about the money,” “Well I, ” “And that is what makes you great. You see more than how much a piece is worth and focus on how the piece makes you feel; that is what being a curator is truly about. Now, you don’t have to make a decision now, but I will need an answer by the end of the month okay?” “Yes, yes ma’am…” “Good, now off to lunch you go.” “Right, thank you, thank you so much!” “Mhm.” Lola leaves the office flustered and makes her way outside.

“I was wondering if something happened to you on the way out,” “I know, I’m sorry, my boss asked to speak with me right as I was walking out of my office.” “Is everything okay? You look a little,” “Yeah, everything’s great actually; I guess I just need to calm down some.” “Okay, okay, we can talk about it over lunch, where do you want to go?” “Um, there’s this nice spot not too far from here, they have the best grilled chicken wraps, want to try it?” “Yeah, that’s fine with me.” “Thank you again for treating me to lunch Eric,” “It’s no problem, thank you for accepting my invitation.”

Loving Lola- Ch. 38

Digging up old bones.

“So, how did it go?” Sophie asks Sam putting Tiana in the bed. “It went great Soph. I can’t believe that place is actually mine; the possibilities are endless now!” He says excitedly. Sophie looks at him and smiles, “what?” he asks, “nothing, I just haven’t seen you this happy in a really long time, I’ve missed this version of you.” “Come on, I was happy before,” “no… you weren’t though. Anyone could see that you were just living, doing whatever you needed to do just to get by. Seeing you like that everyday… that wasn’t the you that you wanted to be, but this guy, this is him, he is the one that should be out there creating stories for the world through pieces of art, and I’m just really glad you found him.” Sophie wipes the tears from her eyes. “… I couldn’t have done any of this without you Soph,” he says sitting down. “After Lola, I got really depressed. Her family, ugh, they didn’t understand her, but I did… We understood each other and that was more than enough for me, but her sister… sigh, and then we lost mom I, I just gave up on everything. But then you and Tiana moved in, and yeah, it was chaotic at first, then somehow it became home. You pushed me even when, no, especially when I didn’t want you to. You were invasive, and annoying, but also supportive and encouraging. You had faith in me when I didn’t have it in myself, Soph, you showed me that even through all this chaos, I could still create symphonies and I will always be grateful for that.” He walks over to her, “I don’t want to see anymore tears, there’s no need for them anymore okay?” She smiles and shakes her head yes wiping her tears away. “So, what are you going to do about Peridot? Are you going to quit now that you have the studio?” she asks. “No, I can’t just leave yet; I still have to pay off the remainder of my lease. I know I can have the rest saved up by the end of the month no problem, I just won’t be able to buy paint materials or anything for the studio for that matter until that’s paid off.” “You know I don’t mind giving you the remaining $1,700 for the lease, it’s not like I-” “Sophie please, you’ve done more than enough, besides, it’s no big deal, by next month, I’ll be knee deep in paint, you just have to be patient and trust me,” Sam says flashing a big smile. “Okay. I’ll let you finish getting ready for work, and Sam, I am really happy for you, mom would be to,” “Thanks Sophie, I think so to.”

Once Sam finishes getting ready for his shift at the bar, he walks into Tiana’s room. He kisses her forehead, and waves goodbye to Sophie as he leaves the house. When he gets to work, he sees Trisha behind the bar. Hoping for the best, he waves and flashes her a smile, and she smiles and waves back at him. Relieved that they are still okay, he heads to the back to clock in for the day. After he settles in, one of his co-workers notifies him that he has been requested by a customer. Looking surprised, he asks who it was. As he approaches the front of the house, his co-worker points at the woman sitting at the booth in the back. She has long wavy hair, with dark shades on, dressed in business formal attire. He takes a pen and pad and walks over to the booth. His heart is pounding because something about this woman is familiar. Each step he takes feels heavier the closer he gets to her and an uneasy feeling arises in him as he approaches the booth. They both look at one another not saying a word. The woman finally breaks her silence and asks Sam to sit down. He looks back at his co-worker, and she reassures him that everything is fine. Sam sits across from her and his heart starts to beat uncontrollably. As the woman reaches for her shades, his stomach sinks as he flashes back to this same moment from the past, “Hello Sam” Giselle says to him.

Loving Lola- Ch. 37

A “Piece” of Mind.

“Welcome to the Artis et Operis Gallery, where every piece of art has a story to tell!”

Although these past few days have been a rollercoaster of crazy ass emotions, with a hardy helping of bullshit on a stick, coming to work always makes me forget everything I thought mattered because here, they don’t. My life is far from perfect, but this, being able to find works of art that not only speaks to me, but echoes volumes to everyone who sees it, fills me with this peace that I never thought I’d find. I’ve always known that I wasn’t the, “running a company type”. Sitting in the big chair at the head of the table was never my forte, I was content with just having a seat at the table. However, that contentment was never enough. Have you ever felt like you’ve just been putting one foot in front the other, not really knowing where you were headed? That was my life before this Gallery. For years, I’ve just been climbing this hill of hierarchy for the sake of my family, constantly wondering if there would be anything left at the top for me. That kind of uncertainty would probably force others in my position to work their hardest just so they can get the chance to see what lies at the top, but that didn’t fuel me at all. If anything, it just made me feel empty inside. Not only was I not confident in my abilities at holding my seat at the table, but I also found myself parading around in a mask of self-assurance, shrouding in despair. I could not take living unsure of what was to be of my life anymore, but I didn’t have the power to leave on my own.

The first time a piece of art spoke to me, something inside me clicked, and everything just made sense in that moment. I’m not even sure if it was the piece itself, or if it was the way it made me feel. When I looked at it, the story it told helped me see how things in my life would never change just by aimlessly placing one foot in front of the other. I realized I was only trying to fit into a pair of shoes that were clearly not meant for me and that, that gave me the power I needed to leave my family’s company. The hardest thing was leaving my sisters behind, but I knew if I only stayed for them, I would just resentment them later so, I did what was best for me. I’m sure they all thought I was either stupid or selfish for leaving, but by doing so, I found something I was never going to find being there, and that’s happiness and a peace of mind.

Loving Lola- Ch. 36

New Start.

Eric and Sam walks over to the counter and each take a seat. “Alright Mr. Guevara, we discussed many payment options for renting out this studio yesterday, and as I recall, you chose to pay the entire 6 months at once correct?” “Uh, yes, yes sir.” “Okay great. So, the total amount, plus the $300.00 down payment brought you to $4000.00. However, we agreed that you pay only $2,300 today, and the remaining $1,700 one month from today. Are we on the same page so far?” “Yes sir.” “Great. Now, that we got all the numbers situated, lets sign some papers. I have a few forms here that I need you to sign, one of which is just stating that you acknowledge the terms and conditions of the payment plans, the other is a privacy policy, and this one here is a form stating that you acknowledge the consequences of nonpayment.” “Actually, I wanted to ask about that, what would happen if I couldn’t get the money up in time?” “Well, we will remove your name from this property and you will no longer be able to occupy this space. It will go back on the market, and we will cease any property needed to cover the remaining balance.” “Whoa, whoa, whoa, you never said anything about taking my property to pay anything!” “I understand your concerns, but this also why we are discussing the terms of nonpayment now. However, I was also under the impression that we would not have to cross that bridge anyhow. You agreed to a deal you said you could handle financially, so what’s the problem?” Eric begins to look more serious. “Nothing, I just wish I was aware of that beforehand.” “Hmm, and now that you are aware, does that change anything?” Eric asks. “No. I am going to do whatever’s necessary to keep this studio, I cannot afford to lose this opportunity.” Eric looks at Sam intrigued. “Alright then, let’s get this process started.”

Eric explains to Sam everything he needs to know about the studio and the obligations of the lease. Sam lets him know that he understands and is ready to sign. “Alright, Mr. Guevara, how are we paying today? We accept cash, card, and or check.” Sam takes out his wallet and pulls out his debit card, “Card is fine.” “Alright.” Eric hands him the lease agreement and takes his debit card. “Sign here, here, and initial here for me and I will be right back with your receipt.” Sam looks at the form for a moment, no turning back now. He lets out a deep sigh and signs his name on the dotted line. Eric returns with his card and the receipt. “Congratulations Mr. Guevara, it’s all yours! Remember, one month from today, you must pay the remaining $1,700. You can also pay it early, whatever works for you. Here are your keys.” Sam takes the keys and looks around the studio not able to contain his excitement. “Thank you,” he grabs Eric’s hand. “You don’t know what this means for me.” “Hey, I’m glad I can help. Whatever you been through, things are definitely going to get better.” “Thanks man, I really appreciate that.” Eric grabs his things and begins walking towards the door, just before he leaves, he stops and turns around, “if you don’t mind me asking, what are you going to use this place for?” Sam turns and looks at him, “I’m an artist. And this is going to be my art studio.” “Well, you’re definitely in the right area. There’s a gallery right down the street, they are always looking for new talent to showcase. I know one of the curators who work there, if you’re good, maybe I could introduce you.” “Yes! That would be amazing.” “Well, you got my contact information, call me if you have any questions. Good luck.” Eric waves goodbye and takes his leave. Sam looks around one last time in disbelief. He walks to the door clinching the keys in his hands, he then locks up the studio and heads back home.

Loving Lola- Ch. 35

First Encounter.

Slam! Clang, clang. Sophie tosses and turns from the loud noises coming from the kitchen. She picks up her phone and looks at the time and sees that it is 8:30am. She turns over and throws her face in a pillow letting out a heavy groan. She slowly gets out of bed, groggy and disoriented, making her way into the kitchen. “Tiana! What did I say about playing in the kitchen?” She walks around the corner and see’s Sam standing over the stove. She looks around, and then again at the time, “Sam? You do know it’s 8:30 in the morning, right?” “Hahaha, yes I’m aware.” He says flipping his omelet. She looks around again still confused, “hmm. Umm, why are you up then?” “I’m sorry, I didn’t know I had to ask permission to get up early in MY house.” He says sarcastically taking his food to the table. “Smh, no, I just don’t understand. You’re fully dressed, but not in your work clothes; what’s going on?” “Well, if you must know, I have an appointment with the realtor of that studio at 9. I told him I wanted to rent out the space, so I’m going to close the deal today.” “What?! OH MY GOD! Why didn’t you tell me? When did you do all of this?” “Calm down, I didn’t want to say anything until everything was official. I wouldn’t want you to be disappointed if things didn’t go as planned” She walks over to him and hugs his head, “Sam, I am so proud of you. You are finally taking control of your life; I would never be disappointed. Wait, so what did the guy say?” “Well, he broke down all of my options, but I said it would be easier for me to pay the total 6 months now instead of doing month by month payments.” “Okay, how much is that?” “… 4,000 dollars” “Holy shit!” Sophie yells loudly, “Mommy!” Tiana calls out in the distance. “Sorry honey!” “Sam, you don’t have that kind of money just lying around.” “I know that Soph, that’s why he offered me a deal.” “A deal? What kind of deal?” “I pay $2,300 today when I sign the lease, and I have one month to pay the remaining $1,700.” “Okay, okay, can you do that? I mean what will happen if you don’t get up the money in time?” Sam sighs, “I don’t have time to think about that…” “Yeah, okay. Well I support you no matter what.” He stands and puts his plate in the sink. He checks his watch and grabs his coat. Tiana walks out into the kitchen rubbing her eyes. “Uncle Sam? Why you not sleeping?” Sam picks her up and kisses her forehead, “I have some important business to handle that’s why.” “Portant business?” she asks. “Yep. Things are starting to look up,” he says looking at Sophie. He puts Tiana down and she walks over to her mother. Sophie grabs her hand and walks over to Sam giving him a hug, “you got this bro!” “Thanks soph.” He smiles, and waves goodbye walking out the door. “Alright, what do you want for breakfast honey?” “PANCAKES!” Tiana yells loudly. Sam walks away with a smile on his face, things are looking up.

When Sam arrives at the studio, he sees a tall man in a blue suit with papers in his hand standing at the counter. He parks and takes a deep breath before getting out of the car. Okay Sam, this is it. No going back or changing your mind. It is time to get your life back together and focus on doing what’s best for you! Sam walks inside, looks around then clears his throat catching Eric’s attention. He then turns around and looks at Sam and the gentlemen locks eyes with neither of them saying a word. Eric walks over toward Sam still silent. They look at one another for a moment and then Eric begins to laugh, “Gotcha!” He puts out his hand and Sam grabs it in relief. “Hahaha, yeah I was a little nervous for a second there,” “Hahaha, no need to be, that’s just a little joke we like to play. Now, let’s sign some papers huh?”

Loving Lola- Ch 34

Telling the truth.

Jhené looks at Giselle confused, “What do you mean you lied?” Giselle covers her face in shame, “Lola was under the impression that Sam just up and left without a word because that is what I told her. Before she quit the company, she held onto the hope that he was coming back. She would ask everyday if he had called the office, looking for some sort of sign that he was going to return.” “Okay, but what does that have to do with you?” Jhené asks her. Giselle walks into her room and goes into her closet. She pulls out a box hidden on the top shelf and walks over to Jhené. She takes the box and sits on the bed, opening it. She pulls out numerous envelopes addressed to Lola; some never opened. “Giselle, what are these?” “I didn’t think Lola really cared for him until it was too late.” “Giselle,” Jhené says flipping through envelope after envelope. “She looked so hopeful every time she’d ask about him, then she’d look hurt when I told her I hadn’t heard from him. I couldn’t tell her what I had done.” “Giselle, what did you do?” “He called, and called, and called, and called, until one day he just stopped. I thought he had finally moved on and let her go, but that’s when I received his first letter. He figured that we were never going to let him speak to her, so he got smart and tried a different approach.” “Giselle…” “I was too deep in at that point to just say “I’m sorry”. I had to rid her of him for good. I knew that there was no going back so I collected all the letters and hid them so that there would be no remnants of Sam, and she will never have to know what I did.” “How long did you expect to keep this from her?” Giselle walks next to Jhené and sits down beside her, “ha, longer than this.” “Why didn’t you just throw these away? Why keep them?” “…I don’t know… I guess a little piece of me wanted her to know the truth, but I was always scared to tell her, so I hoped that holding onto these letters would one day give me the courage to give them to her and air it all out. But every time I thought about doing it, there was always some asshole she was dating that ended up breaking her heart. How fucked up would it had been if I, her sister, told her that I got rid of the one man who truly loved her, forcing her to encounter these terrible men? I could never do that to her, so,” “so you decided to not say anything at all and let her believe that Sam wasn’t shit either…” “hmph, do you hate me now?” Jhené is quiet for a moment. “I could never hate you, but I am disappointed. Lola trusts us, we are all we have, we can’t afford to do things like this to each other. G, you have to fix this before it’s too late. Now that Sam is back, I’m sure that he is not trying to lose her a second time. He could easily tell her all of this, don’t you think it’s better to hear it from you first than from him?” “How do we know he is even trying to pursue her though?” Jhené looks at her stale faced and pulls a letter from the box and begins to read: “Hold on tight and don’t let go, I will take you anywhere you know. All you need is to take my hand, and we will leave our footprints in the sand. In your eyes, there is that gleam, that I now only see inside my dreams. If only you knew that what I feel, is a feeling you’ve imprinted on my heart that’s real. Together is where I want to live, so you can receive all the love I’d give. But until then, I will love from afar, because leaving you has left me broke down and scarred. So, in hope of the day you’ll feel it to, I’ll forever hold onto the thought of you. – Sam.” “Now, does that sound like a man who is willing to give up so easily? He will try again, and I don’t think you will be able to stop him.”

Jhené places the letters back into the boxed and puts the lid back on. “Based on the content of these letters, he doesn’t seem like a bad guy and that’s great considering the scum from her past. She deserves to be happy.” She gives Giselle a hug, tells her good night and leaves her room closing the door behind her. Giselle takes the box and places it back inside the closet on the top shelf. Maybe I can talk to him instead… if I am to fix this, it needs to start with him. She cuts off the light and leaves the closet.

Loving Lola- Ch. 33

Digging into the past.

Dinner for the rest of the evening was full of laughter and fun filled conversation; they refused to let the earlier events spoil their night. Since Jhené picked the restaurant, she agreed dinner was on her, and although both Lola and Giselle enjoyed their experience at a new place, she promised to never bring them to any more of her favorite spots again. After leaving Depasco, Giselle dropped Lola off home, and they bid their goodnights. Shortly after exiting the car, the atmosphere amongst the two sisters began to shift. There was an unnerving silence between them that could not be helped until it was broken.

“So, are you going to say what’s on your mind, or are we just going to sit here and act like nothing is wrong?” Giselle asks Jhené. “What are you doing Giselle? Why can’t you just leave well enough alone?” Giselle lets out a sigh, “you don’t understand. You were much younger back then, so responsibility for the company was not a concern for you yet. If he would have stuck around Lola would have,” “left the company?” Jhené interrupts. “News flash G, she left anyway. So, what are you hoping to accomplish this time? Do you want to completely push her away, because that’s all you’ll be doing.” “I only did what I did to protect her. That’s all I have ever done, protect her, hell protect you both. Father blamed him for her leaving like that, and honestly, it was his fault. If he had not shown up spewing his artsy nonsense, she would have still been at the company where she belongs.” “Are you sure dad was the only one who wanted him gone, because I definitely sense some resentment on your end toward him. And if I remember correctly, wasn’t it you who interfered with their relationship?” Giselle scoffs, “what relationship? Lola did not pay that boy any mind; she was so consumed in the “art world”, that she continuously overlooked him. Please, I did that boy a favor.” “You don’t know how she felt about him, I may not have been “concerned” with my position at the company yet, but I did pay very close attention to you guys. I distinctly remember how both you and father reacted whenever she’d bring him up. Lola was too afraid to say anything about Sam because she knew that yall didn’t approve of him. Have you ever considered that maybe she opted to leave the company because of how Sam just disappeared? What if she defied father because she knew he had a hand in his dismissal? What would you do if she found out that you also played a part in that as well? Would you tell her that you were just trying to protect her? Because it sounds like you and dad were both being selfish and decided to cut any happiness away from her that did not have any ties to the company to only secure her position there. But yall failed to see that snatching away her happiness so abruptly, did the one thing yall believed was going to happen if you had let him stay. Giselle, I love you, but if you do this, I’m afraid you’re going to lose her for good.”

Giselle and Jhené arrive at their home. After their discussion, it was clear Giselle had a lot on her mind. Once they are inside, Jhené drops her things and gives Giselle a hug. “Listen, whatever happened in the past, is history. We appreciate how you’ve always looked after us, but we’re all adults now, if this Sam guy is bad news, then she will see it. Our Lola has been through enough bullshit to know what she will and will not settle for. Please do not make her choose between us and her happiness, because I know for a fact, we will lose that fight.” Giselle looks away, “I hoped that with him out of the picture for good, all the bad things I did would have been buried forever, but seeing him again, after all this time, brought it all back up. I got scared and angry…” she sighs, “What if he tells her what I did? She will never forgive me.” Jhené grabs her hand and leans her head on her shoulder, “then you apologize. That’s all you can do. Yes she will be hurt, but eventually she will forgive you, that’s just how Lola is.” Giselle lets go of Jhené, “Yeah, I’m not so sure. I lied about what happened between her and Sam…”

Loving Lola- Ch. 32

Can’t let go of the past.

Giselle and Jhené stare at Lola menacingly as she walks back to the table. She sits down and takes a big sip of her drink peering up at her sisters. She lets out a big sigh, covers her mouth and softly screams. “Why is life so complicated?” she says to them. “Go on and tell us what happened” Jhené says, “and by the way that woman was looking at us, I can tell that it’s something juicy” adds Giselle. “What woman?” Lola asks. “The one who was with Sam girl. She had the nastiest attitude, and she thought she was slick watching us through her little mirror, like girl we clearly see you dummy.” Jhené says rolling her eyes. “Oh yeah her! I don’t know what her problem was, her attitude was very rude when I saw them outside to.” “Outside? Yall were talking outside?” asks Giselle. “Not really, after I hung up with Eric, I was on my way back in when I bumped, literally bumped, into Sam. I apologized, then said some stuff, he said some stuff, and then we said our goodbyes. But yeah no, she did not like us speaking at all. I think she likes him.” They both look at her with a stale face. “Duh girl, she would not have been acting like that if she was just his friend.” Jhené says angrily. “… Do yall think he likes her?” Lola asks. “Why? What does it matter?” asks Giselle. “I don’t know, I was just wondering, but you’re right that’s none of my business.” Giselle looks at her and sips her drink. “Oh, let me tell yall about Eric,” “hold up, I have to use the bathroom, I’ll be right back.” Giselle stands up and leaves the table. Jhené looks at her in concern, “what happened? Is she okay?” Lola asks looking behind her, “oh yeah, I’m sure she’s fine.” Jhené says eating a fork-full of food.

Giselle stands in the bathroom, arms folded with her back against the door. Why did he have to come back?! Has he not caused enough damage to our family already? He needs to just let go of this silly crush and leave well enough alone! She walks over the sink and turns on the water. She looks at herself in the mirror with her hands planted on the sink, I cannot let this happen a second time. She washes her hands, takes a paper towel, and leaves the bathroom. When she returns to the table, Jhené and Lola watches as she sits down. “Are you better now?” Lola asks. “Oh yeah, I’m good. I do want to hear about you and Eric though, so go on.” Jhené peers at her from the corner of her eye, and Giselle does the same back at her. Lola blissfully unaware, excitedly tells them about her conversation with Eric.

In the car, there is silence between Trisha and Sam. “You two are awfully chummy for you guys not to have much history,” Trisha says breaking the silence. “I never said we did not have history, I just said she was but a memory as of late; but what was up with you back there? You were very rude to her. I am sure if you got to know Lola-” “NO!” She yells interrupting him. “Why would I want to be friends with a woman who clearly broke your heart?! She doesn’t love you like I… Just forget it, it doesn’t even matter anymore.” Silence fills the car once again. Sam pulls up to Trisha’s house and parks in the driveway. Trisha gathers her things and thanks him for the meal. “I’m sorry for how I acted, I was out of line.” She opens the door and pauses, just before stepping out, she turns to Sam, kisses his lips and quickly gets out of the car slamming the door behind her. Sam watches as she goes to the door, she turns around one last time and waves goodbye. He smiles and waves back then watches as she goes inside. He sits there for a moment and his smile slowly goes away, I’m sorry Trish, but I can’t give you what you want, I gave my heart away a long time ago, and I am not about to lose her again. This is a new beginning; I am going to seal this deal tomorrow for the studio and I will get back to my passion. She will see that I am not a fuck up, and that I am worth Lola’s time. This time Giselle, I will not back down. He puts the car in reverse, backs out of the driveway, and heads home.

Loving Lola- Ch. 31

Apologies, apologies.

Lola stands up and rushes out of the restaurant. As the phone is ringing, she contemplates on whether she should answer or not. What do I say to him…? Should I even answer…? Without further hesitation, she answers the phone; “Hello?” Sam observed Lola’s abrupt leave. He glanced at Giselle and Jhené and they both look back at him, they all exchange expressions then look away. Trisha watches Sam’s face as he frowns up with concern. She grabs his hand and asks if he is ready to leave, he nods, and gently moves his hand away calling the waiter over for the check. Trisha takes out her mirror to check herself, but while doing so, she looks behind her to see what has happened. She notices Lola’s absence and flashes a slight smirk. Without knowing, Jhené and Giselle catches her spying on them from the table. She meets their eyes in the mirror and quickly removes it from her face. After the waiter comes back to drop off Sam’s card, Sam and Trisha begin to gather their things to leave. As they stand and begin to walk to the front, Sam signals a slight farewell to the sisters as they walk by. Trisha looks at them out of the side of her eye and keeps walking. Giselle and Jhené look at one another then resume eating their meals.

Eric looks at the phone in disbelief, “He-hello?” Lola is quiet for a moment, “Hi Eric.” Eric is happily surprised. “I didn’t expect you to answer, particularly because you haven’t been lately…” Lola doesn’t say anything. “But it’s all good, I actually want to apologize for blowing you up like that, that’s usually not me. I wanted to give you some space really.” There is a moment of silence on the phone. “Lola, I don’t know what happened, if I said anything to offend you, I am really sorry. You are truly a beautiful person inside and out. I didn’t want to go without letting you know that I am happy to have been the one to take your picture that night.” Lola chuckles, “even though it was supposed to be a group photo?” “Hahaha, you not gone let me slide on that one huh?” “Not a chance.” Eric laughs, “okay, I can take that. So-” “I’m sorry.” She interjects. Eric looks wide eyed at the phone. “You have nothing to apologize for.” “I do. I have been letting my past and my insecurities dictate my actions and I blamed you for it when you were only trying to be nice. I never wanted to let the way others treat me change how I treated others, but I began closing myself off, doubting everyone because of what I went through… I know everyone is not the same, I don’t fully understand your motives, but right now, I believe that you are not a bad guy. So, I really would like to apologize to you for acting how I did, none of this was your fault, if anything, what you said made me realize what I was doing and I thank you for that. I didn’t want to hear it, but I am glad you said it.” Eric smiles, “I appreciate the apology, and I respect you for saying that. You are truly something Miss Lola.” She blushes, “thank you. I am actually at dinner with my sisters right now, and I think it’s time for me to get back,” “oh okay, yeah, I didn’t mean to interrupt your evening,” “oh no, you didn’t, I’m… I’m glad you called,” “I’m glad you answered.” “Me too.” “Alright then, I’ll talk to you later?” “Yes, that sounds good.” “Okay. Good night Lola,” “good night Eric.” They both smile hanging up the phone. Lola grabs her face in disbelief and smiles. When she turns to go back into the restaurant, she bumps into Sam on his way out. “Oh, I’m so sorry, are you oh-” she stops realizing who he is. “Yeah, I’m fine, are you okay?” he says locking eyes with her. “Oh yes, I’m peachy” really bitch! Peachy?! “I’m sorry, I didn’t see you.” “Hahaha, you’re fine Lola.” He says fixing himself. “You guys leaving already?” Girl what? Walk away right now! “Oh yeah, I have to get home, I have an early appointment tomorrow.” “Oh okay, well you definitely have to get your rest then.” OMG please stop talking! “Did you enjoy the food?” “So far yes, this is actually my first time here so,” “Oh, well then you’re certainly going to enjoy it” Trisha interjects, “Sam, I’m ready to go” she says annoyed, “oh I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to hold you guys up. It was nice seeing you again Sam, and nice meeting you, Tisha, was it?” “TRISHA, actually.” “Well! Good night Lola, enjoy the rest of your evening.” Sam interrupts. “You too.” They both wave goodbye and go their separate ways.

Loving Lola- Ch. 30

When all hope is gone.

“Hey, Damien do you mind dropping me off? I didn’t think about how I was going to get all of this home without my car.” Eric says looking at his cart full of groceries. “Yeah man, no problem.” “Alright sir, here’s your receipt,” The clerk says flashing a big smile. “Enjoy the rest of your night.” She says handing Eric his receipt. With a monotone, he thanks her and takes his receipt without making eye contact. He then pushes the cart away leaving the store making their way to the car. Justin looks at Eric, “You know she was flirting with you right?” Eric rolls his eyes, “or, she was just being friendly doing her job.” “Bro, she was staring at you smiling the whole time.” “Yeah because she was ringing up MY stuff.” “Smh, you are something else.” “Even if she was flirting, I don’t want-” “Yeah, yeah,” Justin interjects, “you want what’s her name,” “Lola, her mane is Lola. Why can’t you just show her a little respect? “Ugh, I’m going to need you to get out of your feelings Eric, this shit is getting old.” “Man fuck you Justin, stop addressing her like she one of those chicken heads you be fucking with, and just show her some respect.” Eric says angrily putting his groceries in the trunk. “I don’t even know her, hell, YOU don’t even know her! Why should I respect a woman you are not even with? This shit is dumb E. You over here defending this woman while she is ignoring the fuck out of you. Not answering your phone calls, not responding to your texts, she probably laughing at your ass while you’re over here crying over spilled milk.” “Justin chill out!” Damien says walking in between them. “Naw it’s alright D, at least I have someone to be “crying over”, you are just jealous and lonely. Whenever anyone tries to be happy, there you go bitching and complaining on why we’re stupid for even trying. Even when Damien was going through what he was going through, there you were, the main one talking about how he should just give up and move on. Why Justin? Is it because you can’t stand the fact that everyone around you isn’t miserable like you? Yeah, I might be in my feelings right now, but at least I found someone worth being in my feelings for. Whether she wants me back or not, at least I put myself out there trying to hold onto the little piece of happiness she brought to me. So, you can go find someone else to be miserable with because I’m done with that shit.” Eric slams the trunk closed and gets in the car. Justin angrily begins to walk away in the opposite direction, “Justin where are you going? Just get in the car man!” Damien yells out. “Fuck yall!” Justin yells out as he keeps walking. Damien starts the car and proceeds to take Eric home. Silence filled the car the whole way there. Once they reach his house, Eric gets out and beings taking his groceries inside. Damien assists, but no one is speaking. When they bring in the last bag, Damien stops before leaving, “Eric, you gone be alright?” “Yeah, I’m straight man.” He says looking away. “Did you really mean all that stuff you said?” Eric lets out a big sigh, “Yeah, I did.” “Damn. So, what are you going to do about Lola?” “I don’t know.” He says rubbing his face. “Well I don’t think you should give up, call her again, you never know.” “I’ll see.” Eric says with a smirk. “Ight bro, I’ll hit you up later” “Alright.” They dap each other up and Damien takes his leave.

Eric starts putting away his groceries, contemplating reaching out to Lola one more time. Once he is finished, he goes to his room to change his clothes. Once changed, he grabs his phone and goes into his call log and stares for a moment. He exits the screen and locks his phone placing it on the bed. He gets up and paces back and forth deciding on what he should do. He grabs his phone again and goes to her number, when he is about to press call, he changes his mind again and throws the phone back onto the bed. He goes into the bathroom and gives himself a pep talk in the mirror. He comes back into the bedroom, grabs his phone, and quickly dials her number before he changes his mind. The phone begins to ring, and he waits for an answer, even if she doesn’t answer, at least I know I tried. Just as he is about to hang up, he hears her voice on the line, “Hello?”