Loving Lola- Ch. 40

Getting to know you.

“Just a heads up, this place doesn’t really have private parking, so we’ll have to find a spot somewhere close to it.” Eric looks at her and laughs, “what kind of place is this exactly?” “Hahaha, it’s really good I promise. Oh, there’s one!” Lola says pointing to a parking spot across the street. While walking toward the building, Eric notices there is no inside dining. Lola looks at him and starts to laugh, “you must be used to five-star dining for lunch?” Eric chuckles, “not necessarily five star, but at least a decent place to sit.” “Hey now, this is a jewel amongst other places, don’t judge it just yet.” “Well what’s good here then?” “Like I said, I love the grilled chicken wraps, but they have all sorts of stuff. They make everything fresh to order, so whatever you can think of, they’ll make it for you.” “So, it’s like a bootleg hibachi huh?” Eric says sarcastically. “WOW!” Lola says laughing. “Don’t do my spot like that! But I think they could hook you up with some fried rice for real hahaha.” Eric starts laughing, “they may be onto something now.” While waiting in line, Lola texts the sister’s group chat about the news she received from her boss:

L: Hey guys, I have some really exciting news! Meeting at my house, 7pm? J: Okay, what happened? L: I’ll tell you tonight! J: Is it bad? L: No, why would bad news be exciting? J: Going to jail is exciting but that’s bad. L: Who is excited to go to jail?! J: I don’t know. L: BYE! G: Yall are stupid. 7 is fine. L: Okay, see yall later.

Lola put her hand on her face in disbelief, and laughs. “Are you okay?” Eric asks. “Yeah, my sisters are just… Do you have any siblings?” she asks. “Nope. Just me. Oh, it’s our turn to order, you know what you want?” Eric asks, “yes, the grilled chicken wrap supreme please. Hey, I’m going to find us somewhere to sit okay?” “Okay, I’ll come find you.” Lola finds a table not too far from the front. When Eric gets the receipt, he starts scanning the area for her. Their eyes meet and Lola smiles and waves to him calling him over to the table. He smiles back and makes his way over to her. “What number are we?” She asks, “37” he says. “32!” The man yells, “this may take a while” Eric says chuckling, “no, they move fast I promise.” “I hope so, whatever he was cooking while I was placing the order smelt so good, I need to eat something now.” “Oh, so you done talking crap about my “bootleg hibachi” spot?” “Hahaha, for now; I have to see what the food tastes like first.” They both laugh.

Lola looks at Eric for a moment, “what’s up?” he says looking back at her. “What’s your name?” She asks. “Hahaha, what?” “What’s your name?” she repeats. “Um, Eric?” Answering back confused. “Eric what?” She says looking seriously at him. “Eric Sims.” He says back with a serious tone. Lola smiles and holds out her hand for a handshake, “Hello Eric Sims, my name is Lola Spears, nice to meet you.” Eric smiles, “nice to meet you to” gently shaking her head back. “So, you’re not going to tell me what that was about?” says Eric. “It bothered me that I didn’t know your last name.” she says. Eric stares at her silently, and then bursts out laughing, “you did all of that just to know my last name? Why didn’t you just ask me?” “It wouldn’t have been the same, now, we are officially acquainted with one another.” She says to him. “Hahaha, so even though we went on a whole date, a handshake is what sealed the deal?” he asks mocking her. “Hahaha, shut up!” “37!” the man calls out, “come on let’s eat, I am starving,” “I got it,” Eric says as he goes and picks up the food.

Loving Lola- Ch. 25

Flirt.

Sam and Trisha arrive at Depasco and they make their way inside and wait to be seated. They observe their surroundings while sitting in the waiting area. “Wow, I feel like I haven’t been here in forever.” Trisha says looking around in awe. “I know I haven’t been here in a while; they changed it around quite a bit from what I remember.” “Yeah, it’s a lot cleaner, thank goodness.” “But the grime was the best part of this place!” “Ew, hahaha.” “See, you’re saying that now, but you still ate here, AND got full.” “Yeah maybe. But the food wasn’t the only reason I came here.” Trish says looking away. “Huh?” Sam asks confused. “Nothing, I think they’re ready for us.” Trish says changing the subject. The hostess walks over to them and guides them to their seats. They sit at a booth across from one another, “your waiter will be right with you.” The hostess says as she sets down their menus. Sam picks up the menu and starts scanning the selections. Trisha grabs her menu and holds it to her face but cannot help herself from staring at Sam instead. “Do you know what you want to eat?” He asks her. I have an idea. “No, not yet. Do you?” “I think I want the house special. I haven’t been here in a while, so I feel like that’s my safest best.” “Safe huh? You like playing it safe Sam?” She says putting her menu down onto the table. He looks at her with a straight face, “Um, when it comes to my food yes.” “Really? So, does that mean you prefer taking risks in other circumstances then?” “Well it depends on the situation to be honest. I usually like to assess all situations before I make any sudden decisions.” He says not understanding what she meant. The waiter comes over to take their order. “Hi, my name is Jacob and I’ll be taking care of you tonight. Can I start you guys off with something to drink?” “I’ll just take a water.” Sam says. “With lemon?” “No thank you.” “Okay, and for you ma’am?” “I’m going to have a medium peach margarita please.” “Frozen or on the rocks?” “Let’s keep it on the rocks.” “Salt or sugar around the rim?” “Sugar, please.” “Alright. May I see your ID?” “Oh really? Don’t I look mature enough?” She says flipping her hair. “I just have to ask.” “Hehe, yeah I know. Here ya go sweety” she says pulling out her license. “Okay thank you. Are you both ready to order?” “Well not yet, I’m still looking,” she says. “Okay no problem, I’ll go put these drinks in for you and be back in a moment.” The waiter leaves the table and Sam looks at Trish.

Laid out on the bed tired, Giselle, Jhené, and Lola are finally finished cleaning the house. “I am never letting it get this bad again, I am exhausted.” “Yeah please don’t, because next time I’m not helping.” Jhené says. “Well thank you guys for helping this time… not just with the cleaning but, with everything.” “Of course, you know we got yo back like a chiropract!” Giselle yells out. “Yeah, we down for you like four flats on a Cadillac!” yells out Jhené. “OMG! Please stop!” They all burst out laughing. “Can we go get something to eat now please, I am STARVING!” Jhené says. Lola turns and faces her, “I just don’t understand how you can eat as much as you do and not gain a pound.” “I know right! It’s like she burns off every bite before she finishes the plate,” says Giselle “Hahaha, right! Don’t have no time to even taste the food before its gone.” They both say laughing. “Shut yall asses up and come on!” “Where are we going Jhené? Better not be somewhere nasty.” “Shut up, I know good food.” “Alright, let me take a shower really quick, I sweated my life away cleaning.” “Ugh! I’m going to starve to death waiting on you!” Jhené cries out. “Shut up! I won’t even take that long.” “Hurry up!” Lola goes to turn on the shower and begins to undress. She runs to the closet and grabs a clean towel and washrag and doesn’t hear her phone going off. Unaware, she rushes off to get in the shower.

Loving Lola- Ch. 16

The Date: Dinner.

“Ah hello, reservation for two, your table is ready; would you like a table inside or outside?” the host asks. Lola and Eric look at each other and agrees to sit outside. “Fabulous choice, right this way.” The host leads them to a table in the back-left corner of the patio. “This is beautiful!” Lola exclaims. The patio is covered in dangling white lights, strum around the rooftop and all the tables. The tabletops are glass, designed with a dried liquid covering filled with all the different types of petals from the flowers in the garden. The host places the menus on the table and tells them their waiter will be with them shortly. “I tried to find a restaurant that wasn’t too flashy, I hope this is okay.” “Are you kidding? This place is beautiful. Not as casual as I was thinking, but not completely upscale either, its perfect.” She says with a big smile. “So, because this is both of our first times here, I have an idea,” “okay, what’s your idea?” Eric asks. “I think it’ll be fun if we chose each other’s dinners.” Eric laughs, “um, I don’t know about that one.” “Come on, haha, I have great taste.” “I’m not doubting that at all,” “oh, you’re a picky eater huh?” “I’m not going to say that… I just don’t eat everything.” “Haha, okay how about this, we briefly tell one another what we like and choose something that best fits that criteria.” Eric looks at her hesitantly. Lola pokes out her lips and bats her eyes, “I won’t steer you wrong, I promise.” Eric lets out a big sigh, “fine, I’ll give it a try.” “Aw yay! You won’t be sorry.” Before looking at the menu, they tell each other in little detail some of their favorite dishes and foods. “Can I pick out my own drink at least?” Eric asks. “Haha, yes you can.”

The waiter arrives at the table with a bread, cheese, and meat platter. “Good evening, my name is Ronka and I’ll be taking care of you tonight. May I start you off with one of our specialty wines to drink?” “I love wine, would you happen to have Dazzling Moonlight? It’s a sweet red wine,” “I can check and see, one moment.” “I didn’t peg you as a wine drinker.” Eric says eating a piece of cheese. “What? I love wine. I’d drink that before anything else.” “I don’t know, by the way you were throwing back those shots last night you could have fooled me,” “Haha ugh stop! I usually don’t drink like that, especially shots. My sisters are terrible influences, but they were just trying to make me feel better.” “Oh yeah, because alcohol poisoning is a great picker upper.” “Haha oh wow, I’m feeling a lot of judgment right now, Mr. double shot of Hennessey.” “Oh, okay, but that’s nothing compared to the five rounds of tequila yall had.” “Hmm, how did you know we had five rounds of shots? Were you watching us the whole night Eric?” Lola says teasing him. “What? No, I just-” He is interrupted by the waitress, “so, we do have the Dazzling Moonlight sweet red, would you like a 2oz, 4oz, or 6oz glass?” “I’ll take the 6oz please.” “And for you sir? The 2oz, 4oz or 6oz?” “I’ll try the 4oz.” “Okay, I’ll bring those out right away.”

“Okay, I am officially starving” Lola says. “Good, I think the meal I picked for you should fill you up nicely.” “Oh lord, now I’m scared.” “Haha, oh wow, you don’t trust me?” He says with a chuckle. Lola looks at Eric silently, “I’m starting to.” They both smile looking at each other. The waitress returns with their drinks and proceeds to take their orders. To keep their dinners a secret, they each whisper the meal choices to the waitress. She abides by the rules of their dinner selections and puts their orders in right away. “You picked a good wine. I’m not really one to drink wine, especially sweet ones, but this is actually pretty good.” “I told you I had good taste; its literally my job to pick out things I believe people will like, and I’m pretty kick ass if you ask me.” “Oh, pick things like what?” “Art pieces. Paintings, sculptures, etc. I’m actually a curator for the gallery downtown.” “Really? That’s amazing. Do you hand pick all of the pieces there?” “No, not all, but many of them there were chosen by me.” “Wow, you must have a great eye, people are always going to that gallery. Was this something you’ve always wanted to do?” Lola looks down at her glass and doesn’t say anything. Before she begins to speak, the waitress returns with their meals.

Loving Lola- Ch. 15

The Date: Awkward Encounter.

Eric arrives at the restaurant early to make sure the reservation is still in place. He parks by the garden entrance to make it easier for Lola to spot him. He checks the time and notice that it is 20 minutes till 7:30; he was too nervous to stay at home, but too excited to wait, so he decides to sit in the car and wait for Lola to arrive. As he scans the parking lot, he is surprised to see her in the car parked three spaces down from him in the back. Unsure if the woman is really her, he decides to send Lola a text instead of walking over chancing he’s is wrong.

After Lola leaves her home, she notices that the restaurant is not that far from her and that she will arrive a little early. Once she arrives, she parks on the garden side to make it easier for her to leave if things don’t work out. Being that it is only 7 pm when she arrives, she decides to sit in the car until it is time to officially meet Eric. If I would have known this place was this close to my house, I would have left much later. She watches the people go in and out of the restaurant, then changes focus when she receives a text message. Ding, ding, oh, its Eric, “Hey, I arrived a little early to make sure everything was all set. I parked at the garden entrance, so you can meet me on this side when you arrive.” Oh shit, he’s already here?! Eric watches as she looks around the parking lot. Bzz, bzz, he then receives a message back from her, “I’m actually here to, I didn’t know the restaurant was this close to my house, so I arrived pretty early. Where are you?” Pleased to have his confirmation, Eric takes a deep breath, pulls himself together and steps out of the car. Lola looks around the parking lot and spots him standing next to a BMW and her heart instantly begins to race. Girl get your shit together! She tries to settle down before getting out of the car, but her palms start to sweat. She grabs a wipe from her glove compartment and attempts to cool herself down. Once she has calmed some, she checks herself one last time and steps out of the car.

Eric looks over to her direction and his heart begins to race, she’s walking over, should I stand here, or should I meet her in the middle? Before he can decide, he finds himself walking over to meet her. They stand in the middle of the parking lot, both too nervous to speak. HONK! Startled by the horn of a driver passing by, Eric grabs Lola’s hand pulling her out of the way. “Oh shoot, come over this way. He could have gone around us, are you okay?” “Ye- yeah, that just scared me a little bit. You look great by the way.” She says smiling. “Ah really? Thank you, it took forever for me to find something to wear,” Wow, a simple thank you would have been enough “Haha, same. Let’s just say my bedroom is in complete disarray right now.” I wonder if that means he/she was nervous to meet me too. Both standing there silently, Eric looks at the time, “well, it’s not quite 7:30 yet and I don’t think our table is ready,” “It’s Okay, we can walk around the garden for a minute, it’s very beautiful here.” she says looking around. “You’re beautiful,” did I just say that out loud?! “Oh, thank you.” Lola says blushing. “Uh, um, we can walk over this way,” he says opening the gate. He leads Lola into the garden and once the nerves go away, they begin to open up more to one another. They share many laughs, and ask each other plenty of questions, never allowing a lag in conversation, so much so, they almost lose track of time. Ring, ring, ring when Eric’s alarm goes off, they realize it is time to head back, so they make their way to the restaurant to be seated for dinner.

Loving Lola- Ch. 13

Mixed Feelings.

Sam arrives back home and is greeted by Tiana as soon as he walks in the door. He picks her up and squeezes her tight, “Uncle Sam, you’re squishing me!” Tiana says laughing. “Don’t ever change Tiana, not for anyone, okay?” He says giving her a kiss on the forehead. Sophie comes around the corner and looks at them, “Don’t ever change huh? So, I take it the meeting with Lola went well?” Sam puts Tiana down and gives Sophie a hug. “I think I’m going to start painting again,” Sophie hugs him back with excitement, “Really?! Why? I mean great! But what changed?” Sam releases his embrace, looks Sophie in the eyes, and walks away. Sophie and Tiana look at each other confused. “Umm, do explain this strange, but refreshing change of attitude please,” Sophie says following behind him. “All this time… I’ve waisted so much of my life not believing in my talent. For so long I hoped someone could feel what I feel when my brush meets the canvas, and she does.” “Who, Lola?” Sophie asks. “I’ve always appreciated how you’ve never given up on me; you and mom have always seen the beauty in my art and your support has never faltered, even when I gave up on myself… but Lola actually sees the stories I create behind every brush stroke. She can feel every emotion I pour into a piece and can visualize its concept, and it speaks to her. I wanted it to be her, and it always has been.” “I’m still confused though, what has she been?” “It’s okay Soph, thank you for pushing me to speak to her,” he says giving her a big hug. “Dinner’s on me tonight, anything you want!” “Oh, oh, I want pancakes!” Tiana yells out. “Great! I can do a little breakfast for dinner; what about you sis?” Still a little perturbed, she raises an eyebrow, “come on, anything you want,” Sam persists. “Steak?” she says smiling. Sam and Tiana claps with enthusiasm, “Steak it is!” “What about you Uncle Sam?” Tiana asks. “Hmm… I think I want pasta.” “Pancakes, steak, and pasta?” Sophie says, “looks like it,” shrugs Sam, “Well, I guess we better get cooking then” Sophie says rolling up her sleeves.

“Buying us doughnuts does not change the fact that you made us worry,” Jhené says. “I know, I know… but did they at least help?” Lola says bashfully. Jhené and Giselle look at each other, then back at Lola, “only because they were hot and fresh,” says Giselle biting a doughnut. “Thank goodness,” Lola says letting out a sigh of relief. “You’re still not off the hook though,” Jhené assures her, “what happened?” “Yes, because I know these doughnuts came with some tea, so spill.” “Honestly, I don’t know,” dye says plopping down on the couch, “I met him at the bar like we planned, he gave me back my phone, told me we went to university together and then he left.” “Wait, wait hold up, this Sam is the same Sam you obsessed over your last semester of college?” Jhené asks. “Obsessed is such a strong word, I just showed a lot of appreciation for his work.” “The same Sam that made you throw away all the progress you made into becoming a public relations specialist for dad’s company to only become a curator at the gallery Sam?” says Giselle. “First of all, tell me how you really feel! And secondly, he did not make me do anything, I chose to not pursue a career at dad’s company, no one forced me to do it, it was MY CHOICE.” “Okay, okay you’re right, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean any harm by what I said, you know I will always support whatever you do, it just took us all by surprise when you suddenly changed course like that to pursue the job you’re doing now… We just had a plan you know?” “Yeah, I’m just surprised that after all this time you met him again,” Jhené says. “I know, and I’m sorry that I didn’t give you guys a heads up back then, but I knew that if I would have told you what was going on, you would have tried to talk me out of it.” Giselle and Jhené sit silently. “Yes, my job may not be up to par by cooperate standards, but it makes me happy. Meeting incredibly talented people who produce astounding works of art makes me feel whole, and that is a feeling I would not have discovered if it were not for Sam. You can be angry with me, just like dad, but regardless of your personal feelings towards him, Sam helped me find my missing piece, and I will always be grateful to him for that.”

Loving Lola- Ch. 11

Stay Calm!

“Eric!” Justin calls out going through the cabinets in the kitchen. Slam, slam, slam. “Yo, Eric!” Eric removes his headphones and stops the treadmill. “Eric!” Justin yells walking to the fridge. “I know you hear me man,” Eric comes into the kitchen annoyed. “Why are you in my kitchen? Better question, why are you in my house?” “Damn, you ain’t got nothing in here to eat. How are you surviving, air, water, and protein shakes?” “Justin, get out of my house.” “Oh it’s like that?” “Hell yeah. Every time you come over here, you always eat up all my shit.” “Damn, I thought we were better than that.” “Well we ain’t,” Eric says grabbing a bottle of water from the refrigerator. “How did you even get in here?” “Toby let me in.” Justin says sitting on the couch. “I told Toby to stop letting people in my damn house.” “Toby always let me and Damien in, what’s the problem?” “That’s the problem! You don’t call or text, you just pop up in here, eat up all my shit, watch my TV, and use my washing machine like yall chipping in on the bills. What if I had company or something?” “Man, we are your company.” “No, that would imply you were invited, yall are trespassers.” “Oh, you mean somebody like that chick from last night?” “Aye, watch your mouth, she’s not just some chick.” “Not just some chick,” Justin says sarcastically, “you don’t even know her.” “I know she’s classy, and educated, unlike those women you be trying to get at.” “Ain’t nothing wrong with the women I like, I like my women raw!” Justin says growling. “Naw, you like your women ghetto.” “That’s very offense, the term is “hood-rich.” Eric looks at him with a stale face, “yeah okay. All I’m saying is, I’m not worried about Lola making a scene when we go out.” Justin looks at Eric, “When yall go out? So, you asked her out already?” “Not yet, I’m going to call her today and ask her out to dinner tonight.” “Tonight? Don’t you think that’s a little too early? I mean, you just met her a few hours ago.” “I don’t care, I can’t get her out of my head. I want to see her again.” “Well I hope she says no.” “Get out of my house!”

Jhené looks at her phone, “you think Lola’s okay?” she asks Giselle. “I hope so, she hasn’t texted you yet?” “No. I told her to text me as soon as she got her phone. You think we should call the police?” “It has only been 30 minutes. If an hour goes by and we still don’t hear from her, then we’ll call her cellphone.” “I swear, if this Sam person hurts her, I’m going to kill him.” “I didn’t get any negative vibes from him last night, I’m sure if he wanted to do something he probably would have at the bar; we were pretty messed up,” Giselle says reassuring Jhené. “I doubt it, it would have been too many witnesses, and plus the best way to kill somebody is to get them alone with no communication to the outside world!” Giselle starts laughing, “oh my god, stop being so paranoid! We are going to call her after an hour, calm down.” Jhené starts pacing back and forth in the kitchen, “Jhené, take a shot and calm yourself.” “I can’t drink at a time like this you alcoholic!” “Lord this girl.” Giselle laughs shaking her head.

Eric contemplates on how to ask Lola out to dinner. Should I call or text her? Maybe I should figure out where we’re going first. He searches for high class restaurants in the city, then changes his mind and decides to go for something more casual. Going for a stroll after dinner might be nice. He then checks the weather for the night. He paces back and forth typing and deleting messages. Maybe I should just call, I did tell her I was going to call her. He continues to pace. “Just call the woman DAMN!” Justin yells from the living room. “Why are you still here?!” Eric yells back to him. “Don’t change the subject, stop stalling and call the girl man!” Eric lets out a deep breath and searches his contacts for Lola’s number, Okay, here goes nothing.

Loving Lola- Ch. 9

Do you remember me?

Sam puts the phone down on the nightstand and sits on the bed. Sophie comes and stands in the doorway. “That was interesting,” she says to him. “I’m just going to return her phone and that’s it.” “So, you’re not going to try and talk to her?” “Soph, I’m just the waiter who found her phone, there’s nothing else to talk about.” He goes into the bathroom and shuts the door behind him. Sophie walks to the door, “just talk to her.” Sam turns the water on in the shower to drown her out. “What am I supposed to say to her? I was just the guy who fell in love with the girl in art class.”

Lola grabs her chest and falls back on the bed. “Girl my heart! I’m so glad our waiter turned out to be a decent person.” “I don’t trust him.” Jhené says. “You don’t trust anyone.” “I’m just saying that whole conversation was just weird to me.” “I mean, he did admit to the misunderstanding with his niece. And he didn’t give off any negative vibes last night… well from what I remember.” “Just be careful, I still don’t trust him.” “Aww, you care about me!” Lola attempts to give Jhené a hug, but she runs away. “Uh uhhh! Don’t touch me.” Lola chases her to the kitchen, “come let me love on you!” Jhené runs over to Giselle and hides behind her, “stop trying to freak me!” yells Jhené. “Lola, stop being a weirdo,” Giselle says drinking her smoothie. “I just want to give her a hug!”

An hour passes by and Lola arrives at the bar. Before leaving her sister’s, Lola texted Sam letting him know she was on her way and what Vehicle to look for. She pulls up on the side of the building and parks her car. “Maybe Jhené was right… this is a pretty shady situation. I don’t have any form of communication just in case things go left. Please don’t end up being a creep.” After waiting 15 minutes, there is no sign of Sam and Lola begins to feel a little concerned.

Sam pulls up to the bar and he is incredibly nervous. “Okay calm down. Just give her the phone and leave.” He searches the parking lot for a vehicle that matches the description Lola gave him. When he finds her car, he takes a deep breath and makes his way over to her.

Tap, tap, tap, “Oh my god!” Lola is startled when a stranger knocks on the passenger window. She steps out of the car and meets him on the other side. “I’m sorry for startling you,” “Oh no, it’s okay,” Lola grabs her chest, “to be honest, my nerves are so shot, just about everything scares me.” They both chuckle awkwardly. “Okay well, here it is as promised,” Sam takes the phone out of his pocket. “Oh, thank you so much! You’re a life saver.” Lola grabs her phone in relief. “No problem, I’m just glad it was me who found it,” “Yes, lucky me. I mean, lucky for me that it was also you, a decent human being.” “Haha yeah. Well, you have a good one Lola.” Sam turns to walk away. “Wait,” Lola stops him, “you know my name?” Sam worriedly looks at her, “um, uh yeah, last night, I saw your name on your ticket when you signed your receipt.” “Oh! Duh of course! Sorry about my weirdness. Thanks again for returning my phone.” Embarrassed, she turns and starts walking away. “Um, wait!” Lola stops and looks at him. “That’s not the only reason why I know your name.” “I don’t understand,” Lola replies. Sam lets out a big sigh, “We uh, actually were in art class together at the university. I know you probably don’t remember me but, when I saw you last night, I-” “Sam. Samuel Guevara, right?” Sam looks at her wide eyed, “you… You remember me?” “At first, I didn’t, but I could never forget your pieces. To be honest, I only took that class to watch you…But not in a creepy, stalker way I swear! It was just that, the showcase was the first time I saw one of your paintings and… it was just so breathtaking that I needed to meet the person who created it. I found out you were taking “Painting |” and I had to choose that as my free elective…

Loving Lola- Ch. 8

Lost and Found.

“SAM !” Sophie yells from the kitchen. “Ugh! She is going to be the death of me.” Sam gets out of bed and heads to the kitchen. Tiana gives him a hug and they both sit down at the table. “How long are you going to keep doing this to yourself?” “Doing what?” “If you want me out of here, find a better job.” “My job is just fine Sophie.” “Coming in at 3-4 in the morning almost every day is not fine. Look at you, you look like shit.” “Jesus!” He covers Tiana’s ears. “There are children present.” “Listen, I promised mom that I’ll look after you when she died,” “And you’ve been doing a great job, wonderful breakfast by the way.” “When are you going to start taking things seriously? If I leave, you would not be able to keep this house by yourself and you know it.” Sophie looks at Sam. “You know, I saw this really nice art studio not far from here. It’s for sale right now and I thought that maybe you cou-” “No Sophie.” “But it’s worth looking into if you-” “No!” Sam lets out a big sigh. “Look, I really appreciate you looking out for me, but that part of my life is over… If I need to find a better job, then I will, but it will be doing something else.”

The room is covered in silence. “I uh, I saw Lola last night.” “Really? How was that?” “She uh, she looked good. I didn’t really get a chance to talk to her, I don’t think she remembers me to be honest.” “Are you going to try and talk to her?” “I wasn’t going to, but while I was cleaning, I found her phone. I’m guessing she dropped it and hadn’t realized. She was also there with these two,” pointing at Giselle and Jhené on the phone. “One of them told me her name but I forgot. I think she said it was Genie; or was it Janice? No Jasmine!” “Was it Jhené?” “Yes! Wait, how did you know that?” “Because she’s calling.” Sam starts panicking “What! What should I do?!” “Um, answer it.” “No way! She is going to think I’m a creep who stole her friend’s phone, and just casually answers people’s incoming calls. Just let it go to voicemail.” “What if its Lola wanting her phone back?” Well… If she calls again then I’ll answer it.”

“Did you find it?” Jhené asks. “No! I don’t even hear it ringing.” “Maybe it’s on silent or vibrate.” “But I always keep the ringer on,” Lola mumbles to herself. “Can you call it again, maybe I dropped it in the living room or something coming in.”

“She’s calling back” Sophie says calmly. “Ack! I don’t want to answer it, you do it!” “No, I’m not the one who took the phone in the first place.” “Well I wasn’t going to just leave it there, there are terrible people in this world.” “Hello?” Sophie and Sam stop talking and looks at Tiana.

“Um, hello? Who is this?” “My name is Tiana. My uncle Sam said he is a creep who doesn’t answer incoming calls.” “Ohhkay, hold on for a second.” “Tiana, honey, why did you answer the phone?” Sophie asks her. “More importantly, WHY DID YOU TELL HER I WAS A CREEP?” “Because that’s what you said,” “No! I specifically said wasn’t, was NOT a creep who answers incoming calls”

“Lola!” “Yeah? Are you calling?” “I did call.” “I didn’t hear anything!” “Yeah, somebody else picked up the phone.” “What?!” Lola runs back to the bathroom. “Somebody stole my shit!” “There’s a little girl on the phone.” “Little girl? You’re saying a child stole my phone? When did we even see children last night?” “Girl shut up and talk to this child! She said her name is Tiana and something about a creep who answers phone calls.” Jhené gives Lola her phone. “Creep who answers phone calls? Should we call the police?” Lola mouths to Jhené.

“Um, hel- hello?… Hellooo?” Sam hears a voice coming from the phone. “Tiana?” Lola asks. “What should I say?” Sam asks Sophie. “Hopefully something that clears up that “creep” mishap.” Sam picks up the phone, “I AM NOT A CREEP WHO CASUALLY ANSWERS UNKNOWN PHONE CALLS!” Lola and Jhené looks at the phone. “Put it on speaker” Jhené tells her. “Um, okay, is this Tiana?” “No? This is Sam.” Lola and Jhené look at each other confused. Lola mutes the phone, “I thought you said a child named Tiana picked up, who the hell is this?” “Oh my god I don’t know who the hell that is, I’m scared.” “I just want my phone back” Lola wines. “Hello?” Sam calls out. “Look, I’m sorry for the misunderstanding, but you left your phone at the bar last night and when you called, my niece Tiana answered the phone.” “Ohhh, she’s the niece!” “I told you a little girl picked up the phone!” Lola and Jhené mouth to each other. “Oh! Thank goodness, I’m so glad you found it! I was going crazy looking for it.” She tells Sam. “Where are you, I can meet you somewhere to pick it up.” “Okay, yeah we can meet back at the bar.” “Okay great! I will be there in about an hour. Thank you so much Sam!” Click “Yeah, no problem… Lola.”

Loving Lola- Ch. 7

Hungover.

On full blush, Lola walks back to her booth with 3 shot glasses in hand. “So, I have something to tell yall.” “Girl we saw yall awkward asses all the way over here,” says Giselle. “We were not awkward!” “I’m not even drunk anymore after that.” “Well it’s yall fault for dragging me out here.” “Did yall at least exchange numbers?” Jhené asks. “Yes,” Lola says smiling, “he wants to take me out to dinner.” “When are yall going?” “I’m not sure yet. He said he is going to call me later. But enough of that, I bought us a round of shots.” “He’s making you drink already, what a shame.” “Shut ya ass and take one!”

Eric returns to his table with a big smile on his face. “I guess that fat ass smile means you got her number?” Justin asks. “Yes. I. Did.” Eric replies. “Damn, Damien it’s your turn to grow some balls.” “Dude, what’s your problem? You’ve been acting like a dick all night!” Eric says angrily. “What? I’m just stating facts, he’s never going to get a girl if he can’t even approach one.” “Well I did. I was too nervous to talk her. Honestly, if she had not come up to me, I probably would have never said anything to her and I’m just being real.” Eric turns to Damien, “look Damien, I’m sorry for everything I said before, I hope you do end up meeting that woman again, you don’t need to give up on someone like that just because your friends are some haters.” “Yeah, I wasn’t going to give up anyway, I just wanted yall to shut the hell up,” Damien says laughing. “Man, yall gay.” Justin says turning up his nose. “And you just mad you don’t have nobody checking for you.”

Lola and her sisters finish off the night with shots and a bomb ass photoshoot in the bathroom. They leave the bathroom swaying. They yell goodnight to their waiter Sam; he laughs and waves telling them good night. Lola smiles and waves goodbye to Eric as they leave the bar. Once the bar closed for the night, the waiters clean their assigned areas. While cleaning the booth, Sam finds Lola’s cellphone. He taps the screen and sees a picture of the women saved as the screensaver. He smiles and puts the phone in his pocket and continues to clean the area.

The next morning, Lola is woken up by the sound of a blender coming from the kitchen. She wipes her face and looks at her surroundings. When she realizes she is not in her home, she lets out a big sigh and slowly gets out of bed. She walks into the kitchen and is greeted by Giselle. “Look who finally decided to wake up!” “This was not by choice; your stupid blender woke me up.” “You know I got to have my smoothie in the morning,” Giselle says as she blends once more. “HEY!” Lola yells. Giselle stops blending, “what?” “Aspirin. Now.” “Medicine cabinet, second shelf.” Giselle continues to blend her smoothie. Lola goes to the bathroom and finds Jhené doing her hair. They look at each other and then continue doing what they were doing. Lola finds the Aspirin, pops two pills and lies back in bed. “My head is killing me. I can barely remember anything from last night. I am never drinking with them again, they are insane; that or my tolerance has gone way down… I do remember a guy though, what was his name again?” Jhené calls out to Lola from the bathroom, “Look at those pictures I sent yall from last night. I sent them to the group chat.” “Okay, let me grab my phone right quick.” She reaches in her bag looking for her cellphone. “Where the hell, Jhené, you seen my phone?” “No, is it in the kitchen?” “Giselle!” Lola calls out, “What?” “Is my phone out there with you?” “Uh, no I don’t see it, tell Jhené to call it.” “Jhené, can you call my phone please!”

*Last night: “Alright boss, I’m gone!” “Okay, good night Sam.” Sam reaches into his pocket and pulls out the cellphone, “now, all I have to do is find her.” *

“Uncle Sam? Uncle Sam? Are you dead?” “No Tiana, just very, very tired.” “Oh, well mommy said breakfast is ready.” “Well can you ask your mommy when she is getting out of my house?” “Hold on, let me ask her!” “No! Tiana wait- forget it.” Sam rolls over and sees the phone on the nightstand. He picks it up and looks at the picture on the screen. “I know she doesn’t remember me, but it’s worth a try.”

Loving Lola- Ch. 6

Hi, my name is…

Eric is sitting at the bar trying to figure out how to approach Lola. “Justin’s right. I’d be a hypocrite if I just stared at her the whole night and didn’t say anything. She’s probably in a whole relationship anyway. She was looking a little sad though, maybe her and boyfriend just broke up! Damn, I probably shouldn’t be this excited about that…But I have to say something.” Eric peeps over at Lola’s booth. “Did she leave?” He looks around the room to see where she could be. Bzzz, Bzzz, He reaches in his pocket and grabs his phone and sees a text message from Justin. He looks at his table and see’s Justin and Damien pointing in his direction. “What? What are they doing?” Justin points to his phone, “She is standing at the bar stupid!” Eric looks to his right and see’s Lola on the other side of the bar. “oh shit!” Bzzz, Bzzz Justin looks at his phone and sees a text message from Eric, “Good looking out bruh! (Watery eye emoji, black power fist emoji)”

“Giselle, are you seeing this?” “I been watching him, he is hopeless. Did he not see her standing there this whole time?” “Lord!” “Should we help? I don’t think she is ready to talk to someone new yet though.” “She’s going to do what she wants to do anyway” “So?” “…Text the group chat.” Giselle sends a message in their group chat attempting to get Lola’s attention. “Why isn’t she looking at her phone?” “Did she take it up there with her?” “I don’t see it over here, and it’s not in her bag.” “Welp, we tried.”

Eric finally works up the nerve to approach her. “Hi, my name is Eric and I was watching you from across the bar…What the fu- man if I say that she is definitely going to think I’m a creep.” He places his hands over his face and lets out a big sigh. He then feels a light tap on his shoulder.

Guys: “Aye! Aye, she just walked over there!” Damien says to Justin excitedly. “I know, I’m sitting right next to you.” Girls: “Okay! Look at Lola taking initiative.” “She must have deleted Landon’s number,” says Jhené,“yeah, must have.”

Eric removes his hands from his face and is happily surprised to see that it is Lola. “Um-uh-, hey- hi!” “Hi, my name is Lola, you helped me and my sisters out with our photography mishap earlier.” “Oh yeah, um sisters? Like yall related?” “Haha, yea, we don’t look like it huh?” “I mean, I can see a little resemblance, but to be honest, I really couldn’t take my eyes off of you.” Lola tries hard to hold back her smile. “I guess that’s why there were so many pictures of me then huh? You know it was supposed to be a group photo, right?” “Ah, yeah I didn’t mean to take all those, my finger slipped, and I tried to play it off, but I see it didn’t work.” “No, not at all, but I appreciate the compliment.” “You’re very welcome. I hope I won’t be overstepping if I asked you out to dinner…?” “Oh, umm” “Damnit, I knew it, she has a boyfriend.” “I understand if you’re already seeing someone,” Aww, he’s so cute. It has been over 4 months now… dinner won’t hurt. We all gotta eat.” “So, should I take that as a no?” “There you go Eric, rip it off like a Band-Aid.” “What? No,” “I knew it.” “I’d love to go out with you!” “What?” “What?” “Yes, I accept.” “Oh, great! Cool, cool. So um, what’s your number? I can give you a call later.” “She said yes!” “He’s so cute!”

Guys: “Looks like my boy sealed the deal.” “What? Wait, what happened?” “Oh! I thought you saw everything I did?” “Shut up and just tell me what happened.” “Nope, you’re just going to have to ask Eric.” Girls: “This was the most awkward encounter ever,” “Girl I’m ready to go.”