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.

Loving Lola- Ch. 45

Expectation vs. Reality.

Knock, knock, knock, Lola rushes to the door and looks out the peep hole, “okay, well my sisters are here now, so I will talk to you tomorrow,” “alright, enjoy the rest of your night beautiful,” “I will, you enjoy yours as well, good night,” “good night.”  Lola hangs up the phone and opens the door, “well, I guess it’s safe to say that you and Eric are on good terms,” Giselle says walking through the door, “what?” Lola asks, “girl we heard your lil conversation through the door” Jhené says. “Oh that, hehe, that was just…” Both Giselle and Jhene look at her with a stale face, “yes, yes we are fine.” “Good. So, what is it that you needed to discuss?” Giselle says going through the cabinets in the kitchen, “also, I need wine. I know youhave some hidden away somewhere.” “Oh, check the bottom cabinet to the right,” Jhené hops up, “is it white or red?” “WHITE!” Giselle yells from the kitchen, “want some?” she asks, “yes please!” Jhené sings while dancing to the kitchen, “oh and give me one of her fancy glasses, I’m feeling classy tonight,” she says wiggling her eyebrows. “Fuck that, a red solo cup is the mood for me; considering the day I’ve had.” “Why what happened today?” Lola asks walking into the kitchen, “uh, you know, company bullshit,” Giselle says grabbing the bottle of wine, “we have yet to close the Keis deal and dad is breathing down my neck about it, you know, a little stress here and there, but its whatever.” “Well I hope things work out, I know dad has been trying to get them on board for a while,” “yes ma’am!” Jhené says jumping on the couch, “now enough of that, what was so important that you couldn’t have told us through text?” “Well,” Lola walks in the center of the room, “lord, you’re not pregnant, are you?” Jhené blurts out, “what?! Hell no!” “Ugh, who would be the dad?” Giselle says with her face scrunched up, “eww I know right, the last person you slept with was uh, what’s his name?” “It started with a J right?” asks Giselle, “no it was a W,” says Jhené, “William?” Giselle says, “no, Wesley!” shouts out Jhené “Yeah Wesley!” Giselle concurs. Lola, who is getting annoyed, looks at them, “are yall finished or yall done?” “My bad,” Jhené says taking a sip of wine, “but just to clear, you are NOT having Wesley’s baby, right?” Giselle says, “ugh, I AM NOT PREGNANT! And his damn name was not Wesley, it was Landon” “LANDON!” both Giselle and Jhené yells out, “I hate both of yall,” says Lola rolling her eyes.

“Okay, we’re sorry for interrupting you, please tell us your important news,” Giselle says simmering down, Lola takes a deep breath, “well, they are launching a new Artis et Operis Gallery soon and the exhibitioner wants me to be their head curator once it opens…” “That’s great, right? I mean you make it seem like a bad thing or something,” “right.” Jhené agrees. “No, it’s an amazing opportunity, I would be getting paid triple what I am now and many of my artists would probably headline a lot of their showcases.” “Okay, am I missing something? This is good news, but I feel like we’re waiting for a bomb to drop,” says Giselle. “The new gallery is opening… in New York and I have to give my final answer by the end of the month…” The sisters sit in silence avoiding eye contact, “please say something you guys,” “um, well I think it’s an amazing opportunity Lola and I’m happy for you,” Jhené says. “Thanks. What about you G, what do you think?” Both looking at Giselle, “I think it is a wonderful opportunity… but I don’t think this is something you need our opinion on. You know as your sisters, we are going to support whatever you do, so long as it does not cause you harm, but I think you’re looking for us to make this decision for you, and that we cannot.” Giselle gets up and leaves the living room. “I don’t want yall to-,” “I think you do,” Jhené interjects, “but that’s okay. It is a big decision and its natural to want to consider how we feel, but this is more of a you thing you know; we’re both very proud of you though Lola.” Jhené gets up and gives her a hug then goes to check on Giselle. Lola slumps down into the sofa and looks up at the ceiling, well that did not go how I expected…

Loving Lola- Ch. 42

Flirting.

Lola chuckles as she watches Eric scrape the last bit of sauced up chicken in the corner of the bowl with a torn piece of tortilla. “So, how was it?” she asks laughing. He looks at her with a napkin in his hand and can’t help but to laugh. “That shit was fire I’m not even going to lie,” he says wiping his face. “Hahaha, oh I know it was. The moment you started scraping up the crumbs with that lil’ piece of tortilla I knew it was a wrap.” “No food left behind!” He blurts out excitedly. “Hahaha, you are a fool!” She says, both laugh hysterically. Eric sits back in his chair and stares at Lola with a slight grin. She looks at him and smiles, “what?” she asks fluffing her hair, “nothing, just enjoying the moment” he says. She blushes and then looks away. “So how long is your break?” She asks trying to change the subject, “oh, you ready to get rid of me already?” he asks mockingly. Lola smirks, “yes actually,” she replies. “Wow, and here I thought you were enjoying my company,” Lola laughs, “stop being so dramatic,” she says rolling her eyes. Eric chuckles then checks his watch, “I still have 15 minutes left; I have an hour lunch. I’m not going to get you into trouble, am I?” Lola smacks her teeth, “no, I was just making sure I wasn’t getting you into any.” “Oh, well thanks for your consideration Ms. Spears, but I’m grown” he says with a grin. “Alright, alright calm down,” “hahaha, what? I’m just saying.” Lola smiles and looks away.

“So, are you calmed down now?” “What do you mean?” she asks looking confused. “When you came out to the car, you looked a little estranged, you said that you’d just spoken with your boss and that you needed to calm down some, is it fair to say you’re calmer now?” “Oh! Yes, very much.” “Good, good.” Lola raises her eyebrows and looks at Eric, he smiles and looks back at her, “what?” “Are you not going to ask why I needed to calm down?” she says. “No. I figured if you wanted me to know, you’d tell me. I presume it’s something important and you probably want to discuss it with your sisters first, that is why you texted them right?” “…I mean yeah, but I can still discuss it with you,” “well, I’d love to hear all about it, I just didn’t want to pry or overstep. I want you to want to tell me things, and I am prepared to wait until you are comfortable enough to do so.” Lola looks at him and smiles, “You know, you’re sweet when you want to be,” she says rolling her eyes. “Don’t get used to this now, it’s just early,” he says with a smirk. “Oop, alright that’s fine,” she says with a grin. Ring, ring, ring, “oh, excuse me for a moment,” he says getting up from the table. “Sims… No, I closed on that this morning… The paperwork is on my desk, but he has one more payment until I can fully lock it in… Yes sir… But… He has until the end of the month… We’ve been trying to close on this studio for months… I did what I had to do, and it worked… Yes… Thank you sir.” Eric hangs up and lets out a big sigh, “is everything alright? That seemed a bit hectic.” Lola asks, “yeah, naw everything’s fine. Work stuff, you know how that goes.” “Yeah.” Lola starts gathering her things abruptly, “It’s time for me to head back, we should go,” she says. “Alright,” Eric says also gathering his belongings.

Once in the car, there is a forced silence. Eric arrives at the gallery and Lola immediately gets out of the car. “Hey, hey, are you okay?” Eric asks jumping out of the car. “Yes, I’m fine. Thank you for a lovely lunch, I hope everything works out for you at work. I have to get back and finish my display for the showcase coming up.” She says as she starts to walk away. Eric grabs her hand gently to stop her, “did I, did I do something wrong? Because I don’t feel like you’re very happy with me right now,” he asks with concern. “It’s nothing, I’ll get over it. I guess I’ll have to wait until you’re more comfortable with me to share things as well. You enjoy the rest of your day Eric.” She says lightly pulling her hand away walking into the building. Confused, he gets back into the car and heads back to work.

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. 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. 29

Unexpected.

“Lola!” Sam yells in shock. Trisha looks restlessly at Sam’s reaction, and begins to feel uneasy about their encounter. “Sam! Hey!” Lola says looking at him then at Trisha. It’s that woman. Giselle and Jhené overhears a commotion and notices Sam and Lola’s confrontation. They watch their interaction with confusion and concern. Sam stands up hastily and introduces Trisha, “Um, this is my co-worker, Trisha, and Trisha, this is my- uh, erm, Lola. We went to University together.” Trisha looks at Lola but doesn’t say anything. “Oh, we met earlier, fantastic choice on the peach margarita by the way, it’s delicious.” Lola says smiling, Trisha smirks and looks away. There is an awkward silence for a moment. “Wha-” “Well, I don’t want to intrude on your date,” Lola interjects, “it was great seeing you again Sam” Lola says gently touching his arm. “And nice to meet you as well Trisha.” Lola waves and proceeds to the bathroom. Giselle and Jhené look at Sam as he sits back down at the table. Sam looks up, and they lock eyes, he then quickly looks away and continues his meal. Lola reaches the bathroom and places her back against the door. Her palms are sweaty, and her heart is racing, and she does not understand why. She walks over to the sink and turns on the faucet to rinse her hands. She looks up at herself in the mirror and cannot shake this strange feeling in her chest. She dries her hands and goes into the stall to use the restroom. She sits there for a moment contemplating on who that woman is to Sam. He said that she was a co-worker… but the way she looked at me… She finishes and goes to wash her hands. Hahaha, what am I thinking? Just before yesterday, I had forgotten of his existence; I haven’t seen him in years…So why should I care who he’s out with? She grabs some paper towels and tries to snap herself back to reality, I don’t care! I am focusing on me! No more men, no more issues, no more! She says looking in the mirror. She stands there quietly for a moment. She opens the door, throws the paper towel away and leaves the restroom returning to her booth without acknowledging their table. With her back facing Sam, she carries on with her meal as if nothing happened.

Trisha and Sam sit in an uncomfortable silence. Trisha watches Sam as he sits there quietly eating. His mood, the vibe, it all changed drastically after he saw her, who the fuck is this woman?! “I’m sorry, for putting you in an awkward position Trish.” Sam says. Shocked, Trish looks away from him and takes a sip of her drink. “Who is she?” she asks. “Hm?” “Lola, who is she to you?” She asks not looking at him. Sam sits there quietly, pushing his food around on his plate. “Honestly, I don’t know.” Trisha glances up at him, “Up until yesterday, she was just a memory.” Sam looks in Lola’s direction, flashes a faint smile then back at his plate. Trisha squeezes her fork angrily, I knew it! Whoever she is, he’s given her his heart a long time ago. I refuse to let this bitch take him away from me.

Giselle and Jhené look at Lola as she sits there eating in silence. “Can yall please not stare at me, I literally feel the heat from your eyes burning a hole into my forehead.” “Are we really going to sit here and not talk about what just happened?” Giselle says to her. “Yes.” She replies not looking at them. They sit there quietly. “Damnit, all I wanted to do, was have a simple meal, at my favorite place, and now I can’t even enjoy it.” Jhené says folding her arms. Lola lets out a deep sigh, “can we just act like whatever happened didn’t happen?” “No, because clearly something is bothering you.” Jhené says. “Didn’t we literally just talk about this at your house?” says Giselle. Lola squints her eyes and looks at her, “wow, that’s a low blow.” “No, it’s the truth. Just talk to us and stop holding stuff in, the sooner you say what you’re feeling, the better you’d feel.” I’m not so sure about that… I don’t even know what I’m feeling… Ring, ring, ring, “So are you going to tell us what happened or not?” Jhené says impatiently. Lola rolls her eyes and grabs her phone from her purse, ring, ring, ring, “are you not going to answer that?” asks Gisselle. “It’s Eric.” Lola says staring at the phone.

Loving Lola- Ch. 26

Man Up!

With his headphones in, Eric blocks out the world while walking to the store down the street from his house. Not wanting to waste gas, he decided walking was a better way to clear his head. So consumed in thought, he neglects to see a car riding next to him. The man is shouting from the window, but Eric does not hear him. Once Eric makes it into the stores parking lot, the car comes in and cuts him off, stopping in front of him. Startled, Eric snatches out his headphones and throws up his fists taking his stance ready to fight, but then he is surprised to see that it is Justin and Damien in the car. “Smh, man what the fuck, yall scared the shit out of me!” “Did you not hear me calling you? What the hell you doing walking anyway?” Justin says shouting. “Why yall rolling up on me like that? Yall was about to catch these hands.” “Man, you weren’t about to do shit, we were riding right next to your ass for about seven minutes, if we were anybody else, ya ass would have been out already. You need to be more aware of your surroundings.” “I got a lot on my mind alright. Walking helps clear my head.” Justin and Damien get out of the car. “What got you all messed up anyway?” Damien asks. “Smh, that girl he met at the bar.” Justin says. “They went out last night, and ever since he got back, he been like this, zoned the fuck out.” “What happened?” asks Damien. “I don’t know, he won’t tell nobody.” “Because ain’t nothing to tell. I told you I was good!” Eric yells. “Clearly you’re not Eric. This girl got you roaming the streets, mindless, talking about having to clear ya head. It was just one date, one encounter, what is so special about her that got you so fucked up?” Eric is silent. “Huh? Because I don’t get how you can go from one thing to THIS in the matter of 24 hours. Did yall have some bomb sex or something?” “Man, hell naw! I wasn’t even thinking about none of that with her. I actually wanted to get to know her man.” “Then what happened, because I’m confused.” “Yeah man, I ain’t never seen you like this before.” Damien interjects. “I DON’T KNOW ALRIGHT! I don’t know what happened. Dinner was great, the mood, the vibe, the atmosphere, everything was perfect. We were good, and then we weren’t. We started talking and I said some stuff, but I guess it came out wrong and now she won’t talk to me… This shit got me all fucked up I know. If it were anybody else, I would have been moved on with no problem, but she’s different and I… I just want to fix it.”

“You sure you ain’t smash? Because your ass is whipped.” Justin says jokingly. “Man shut up! This is why I didn’t want to tell yall, I knew yall were going to start talking shit.” Eric says annoyed. “Man calm down, I was just playing.” “Smh, whatever bruh.” “Look, I’m sorry man, I just ain’t never seen you act this way before. I expect this kind of behavior from Damien, but this is new for you. I can tell you really like this girl.” “Woman. She’s a grown ass woman.” “Ugh, don’t be that guy Eric.” “Then don’t disrespect her.” “She ain’t even yours yet and you already defending her; that’s probably why she is ignoring your ass, you talk too damn much.” “Naw, you might be right though, I do say things without thinking sometimes and I think I may have hurt her feelings. I just wanted to show her that I saw her you know? That I wasn’t trying to play with her. I can tell she been through a lot, but she keeps smiling and pushing through that shit; I am not trying to be another let down for her.” Both Justin and Damien stare at him, “Damn Eric, you really are whipped.” Damien says, “and that’s a lot coming from him” Justin adds. “Hahaha, yeah, yall might be right.” “Alright fine, what’s your next move into getting her back?” asks Justin. “What are you talking about? I told you she wasn’t talking to me.” “You are the dumbest smart person I know. If she didn’t cuss you out, or block you, then you still got a chance.” “Um, I don’t think it works like that.” “How not? It does in my experience.” Eric and Damien are quiet. “Did she cuss you out?” “No.” “Did she block you?” “I don’t think so. We haven’t spoken since the date.” “Well call her and see!” “No. I’m giving her space, respecting her boundaries.” “OH MY GOD! Just call her to see if you’re blocked man. See if it goes straight to voicemail, but if it rings, then you may still have a shot. Hell, she may even answer the phone.” “The logic in this is a little construed.” “Well you ain’t getting anywhere doing what you’re doing. If you want this woman, show her, man up!” Eric hesitates for a moment then pulls out his phone. He finds Lola’s number and makes the call.

Loving Lola- Ch. 24

Healing.

Jhené walks over and joins her sisters in the group hug. She wipes her face and they all sit there quietly together. “Mommy would be proud of us. No matter the choices we’ve made, we are always here for each other and I think that is all she wanted from her daughters. We are three totally different women, but our hearts have all beat inside of her once upon a time and that speaks volumes. The love we share between the three of us can never be matched and I’m okay with that because, that is something no one can ever take from us. I know that I still have some experiencing to do, but I am proud to have sisters like you guys to look up to. Both of you are stronger than you realize and that’s okay too, but I can’t wait for the day to come when yall realize your true strength because all of this will no longer be of importance. I love yall no matter what these ugly guys think and yall are going to find your special someone that will never let you feel this way again. You will always hear you’re beautiful, and they will not only say the words I love you, but show you the meaning behind it so please be patient.” There’s a moment of silence between them. “In the meantime, we have each other okay? So, let us stop these tears, help Lola clean this house so we can go get something to eat; I don’t know about yall, but crying makes me hungry.” They all chuckle then release each other from their embrace. They grab some tissue and begin to pull themselves together. Lola looks at Jhené smiling, “I’m so proud of the woman you’re becoming; hell, sometimes I forget you’re the youngest. I love you Jhené, thank you.” Jhené smiles and touches her arm then her and Giselle head to the living room to finish cleaning. Lola continues cleaning the bathroom then stops and looks in the mirror. With watery eyes, she flashes a smile, we’re going to be just fine.

Once the last customer leaves the bar and everyone has cleaned their areas, Sam grabs his things and gets ready to head home. “Sam?” Trisha says sweetly. “Hey, what’s up Trish?” he says grabbing his bag. “I was wondering if you’d like to grab a bite to eat, you know, like old times?” Sam looks at her quietly for a moment, “um, sure, why not. Where do you want to go?” Trisha gives a big smile and grabs his hand, “anywhere is fine with me hehehe.” They both walk out of the bar hand in hand and head to Sam’s car. “Remember that place we used to go all the time after work?” Trisha says excitedly, “what was it called again?” “Um, you mean Depasco?” “YES! We used love that place. The whole crew would go after our long shifts to just unwind.” She says getting in the car. “I miss those days” she says to him. “Well, do you want to go there then?” “Really?! Sure!” “Okay.” Sam cranks up the car and heads over to Depasco. Finally, here’s my chance!

Eric wonders around his home. He goes into the kitchen and opens the refrigerator and stands there for a moment, water, eggs, milk… He lets out a big sigh then closes the refrigerator moving toward the pantry. He opens the double doors and looks inside, wheat bread, spaghetti sauce, peanut butter… He closes the pantry in disappointment and leaves the kitchen going into the living room. He plops down on the sofa and grabs the remote hoping to find something to watch on TV. He turns on the television and begins switching through the channels, nope, nope, nope, nope…Ugh. Annoyed, he turns off the TV and walks past the training room. He steps in, turns on the light and stands there for a moment. Fed up, he turns the light off and walks away. He goes into his bedroom and searches for something decent to wear. He opens his drawers and grabs a plain white T-shirt and pairs it with a pair of black jeans and his classic vans. He goes into the bathroom checks himself in the mirror and does a quick mouth rinse with some mouth wash then leaves. He grabs his cellphone from the nightstand and picks a light jacket from the closet and heads to the front of the house. Looking for his keys, he spots them hanging by the door. He turns on the light above the stove, takes his keys and leaves the house.

Loving Lola- Ch. 22

Self Love.

“Lola, forget the men. Forget the relationships. Forget trying to be enough for everyone else, you need to be enough for you, you need to love yourself. Do you love yourself?” “Of course I do.” “Are you sure? Because the woman I see here does not seem like she deems herself worthy of love from anyone, especially herself.” “I’m not some frail flower who wants to off herself because men suck, I love me okay? This is just how I cope.” “I don’t believe that this is just a coping mechanism, and I don’t think you do either.” “Giselle, no offense, but you have no jurisdiction to tell me how I feel about myself. You don’t have to go through what I go through because EVERYONE loves you. You can have any man you want. I mean come on, you’re smart, and beautiful, and dad’s favorite. You are a natural born leader, people look up to you, they have always looked up to you; you’re flawless. So, I’m sorry if me not wanting to get hurt anymore comes off as having no self-worth, if anything, I think that means I love myself more than enough to not accept that shit any further.” “Flawless? Are you serious? Where have you been? My life is far from perfect. I must tell myself I am beautiful every day because if I don’t, I won’t ever hear it. Men may flock to me, but it is only because of my position of power. They just want to sleep with the face of the company, hoping that fucking the President will ensure a higher standing with our father. Nonetheless, even as the CEO’s daughter, I had to work my ass off to get to where I am. Since I am woman, a black woman at that, Corporate America is not kind to me. Yes, I am smart, but do not think anything was given to me. I fight hard as fuck to prove to OUR father that I am good enough to stay where I am. The shit yall see on the outside is just the brand. So, when I ask if you love yourself, it is not an assumption, because I know exactly what not having self-worth looks like. I have dealt with it my entire life. They have groomed me into being someone I had no choice to be. It is so easy for people to look at you and feel like your life is perfect because of a position you hold, or the amount of comma’s in your bank account. I am lonely as fuck too. I will not lie and say I don’t get depressed and I don’t question if I am enough for me, because this life is double edged sword. It is so easy to not feel worthless when everything is going well, and you are happy, but can you love yourself right now when you feel like shit? I will never tell you how you should feel, because I am not you, but I am telling you that those times when you don’t feel your greatest, you, Lola, are not less worthy of love then, than when you are happy.” Lola begins to cry, she grabs her sister and hugs her tight, “Giselle I am so sorry, I know that your life hasn’t been easy, you have always looked out for us and put our needs before yours. I’m sorry I’ve been so selfish! I left you to carry this burden on your own with no thought of how you must feel. You deserve to be happy every day, because you are smart, and amazing, and beautiful. Yes, I feel worthless most days, but you guys make me feel invincible when I’ve beaten myself down. I don’t care that these guys don’t see me, because I know yall do. I know I am worth loving, because even when I can’t find the love for myself, you and Jhené give it to me. I am a work in progress, and I am slowly finding myself, but it was always because of the love you guys gave me.”

Self-Love

I want you to burn that shit inside your mind. Put it on repeat, and then rewind.

It’s appreciating every piece of the bad; going into the future, and from the past.

Acknowledging that you may have some flaws and loving that shit just because.

Knowing your perfections are built in those and understanding that none of you can be disposed.

It’s more than saying it to get through the day but believing it every step of the way.

Realizing that YOU ARE good enough, especially when the smooth turns to rough.

It’s more than having confidence because self-love doesn’t create narcissists.

You are both important and competent; worth loving and are proud of it.

But mostly, it’s about forgiveness, really, being able to bear witness.

While loving everything you have to offer; the ugly, and the beautiful with no falter.

Loving Lola- Ch. 20

No More Hurt.

Knock, knock, knock, Giselle and Jhené have been outside waiting for Lola to open the door. “I don’t think she can hear us, that music is too loud.” Jhené says, “yeah, I’m just going to call her.” Giselle calls Lola, interrupting her music. She runs to the phone and disconnects it from the loudspeaker. “Hello?” “Can you open the door please? We’ve been out here knocking for at least 7 minutes now.” “What? I didn’t even hear anything.” “WE KNOW!” “My bad, here I come.” Click. Lola rushes to the door to let them in. “I’m so sorry, I was cleaning the house, and yall know how I get when I’m in my zone.” “Well it definitely smells better in here,” Giselle comments. “Gee, thanks. So, what’s up?” “Well we came over because we wanted to hear all about your date last night,” “yeah, seeing how you haven’t answered any of our phone calls or responded to any of our texts” Jhené says rolling her eyes. “Oh, I’m sorry yall, I just really needed to clean my house.” Lola says picking up trash. Giselle and Jhené look at each other. “So instead of calling us back assuring your safety, you decided to clean up? What’s up, is everything okay?” “Yeah, everything is fine. Yall seen how this place was, a deep cleaning was well overdue.” “You know you can tell us anything right?” “There’s nothing to tell, I’m fine.”

There is a brief moment of silence. “So, the date? Did it go well?” asks Jhené. “Actually yes. He took me to possibly one of the most beautiful restaurants that I’ve ever seen. It sat on the side of the mountain, and had this amazing garden, which we walked through before dinner. Once we sat down to eat, we laughed and had very enticing conversation the whole time, and then we ended the night off with a walk along this trail that ran up the side of the mountain.” “Oh, that sounds really nice,” says Giselle “Yeah, it was. I’m still surprised he got me to walk on a trail at night.” Lola chuckles. “So, what’s the problem?” “Problem? There. Is. No. Problem.” Lola says scrubbing her bathtub profusely. “Lola stop, tell us what happened?” Giselle says. Lola doesn’t say anything and keeps scrubbing. “Did something happen?” Jhené asks concerned. She stops and puts her head down, “No, I’m just tired that’s all. He didn’t do anything so don’t worry, he’s a nice guy.” “So then what’s wrong?” Lola takes a deep sigh, “he said some things that I cannot escape from, and he’s right.” “What did he say?” “Nothing that I didn’t already know.” “Well can you help us understand?” “…The night he met us, he said that even through my smile he could see I wasn’t truly happy, and that’s fine because I wasn’t really trying to hide the fact that I wasn’t too happy about being out, but then he started saying things… saying the truth, and it killed me to know that someone outside of you guys saw through me that easily.

I am trying to forget the past. I am trying to forget the hurt. I am trying to accept the harsh reality that, I may never be enough for anyone; I will always be good, but never good enough. People don’t understand how hard that pill is to swallow, but I drink my water every day to get it down. You think I like pasting this smile on face? You think I enjoy feeling empty inside after believing that maybe, just maybe this guy, or the last guy actually meant what they said when they told me “I want you”, or that “you’re beautiful”, or my favorite, “I love you”? Because I don’t. I try to see the action behind the words, and when I don’t, I don’t hold on for some miraculous day where they’ll wake up and see how great I really am, I let go like how I’m supposed to. But to sit here and say that there isn’t a piece of me that is chipped away after every failed encounter, would be the biggest lie of them all. I wish all of these repressed feelings never existed, but even when I try and fix it, I realize it’s too late, because sadly, the damage is too great. Yet, when I tell myself, you’ve been here before, for some odd reason I can’t think straight, but then it all hits me, these men… they were only bodies of hard shells filled with nothing but empty space. So, Eric may be a great guy, who is a genuine person that truly believes I deserve to simply smile… but I refuse to get my hopes up and be let down once again.”