Loving Lola- Ch. 48

Taking the night off.

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

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

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

Loving Lola- Ch. 47

Surprise Visitor.

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

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

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

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

Loving Lola- Ch. 46

Secrets and Lies.

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

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. 44

Diamonds in the rough.

“Great job guys, the display looks amazing!” Lola says as Stephanie adds the finishing touches. “Miss thang, this display is going to be the star of the showcase,” “yeah, this really came out beautifully.” “Thanks guys, I couldn’t have done any of this without you,” Lola smiles, pulling them in for a hug. Timothy glances at the time, “oop, alright my loves, I have got to get going,” he says grabbing his things, “and where are you off to in such a hurry?” Lola says with her arms folded, “well If you must know, I have a date with Enrique tonight, and I have to go get fine!” Lola and Stephanie look at each other, “Who is Enrique, what happened to Jacob?” Lola asks, “girl please, Jacob is a thing of the past, Enrique is the new flavor of the week; he’s my spicy Latino,” Timothy says swooning. “Awe, but I really liked Jacob,” Lola says pouting, “yeah, Jacob liked everyone else to,” says Timothy rolling his eyes, “but it’s alright, I laughed, I loved, and I found someone new!” “Well I still hate you guys ended on bad terms,” “I’m not, sometimes we have to go through the rough to find our Diamonds,” “aww, well I’m happy for you boo,” “thank you honey, but don’t think this means you’re off the hook, I have not forgotten about mister dove chocolate,” “hahaha, his name is Eric.” “Oh, was that the guy you went out to lunch with?” Stephanie asks, “girl you saw him to?” Timothy interjects. “Yall are too nosey for your own good, but yes that was him.” “Ugh! I have to go, do not spill any tea without me!” “Hahaha, alright fine. I have to get going myself, thank you again Stephanie, the display looks amazing,” Lola says giving her a hug, “n-no problem, it was all your idea anyway,” “still, I couldn’t have brought it to life without you guys, I’ll see you tomorrow, have a good night.” Lola goes back to her office to grab her things. When she opens her drawer to get her phone, she sees that she has a text message from Eric.


“Andrew, make sure your team is ready to present their findings at tomorrows board meeting, we must secure the Keis position as soon as possible, so closing that deal is top priority. Alright everyone, that’s enough for today, we will reconvene at 10am.” When everyone gets up to leave, Jhené stays behind to help clean up. “You didn’t have to stay you know,” Giselle says collecting the files from the table, “yeah I know, but I figured you could use an extra hand anyway,” “thank you, but I’m fine, this isn’t my first conference you know,” Jhené rolls her eyes and starts collecting the papers from around the table, “I’m not helping you out of pity, you’re my ride and you know how Lola gets whenever we’re late,” Giselle smirks and continues compiling the papers. “… asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, you don’t have to keep carrying everything on your own, it is okay to rely on others sometimes you know,” “oh really? And what do you think people will say if they hear that the president of the company is asking for assistance? Nonetheless, what do you think our father will say?” “I’m sure no one would say anything bad, if anything, they will see you as a person just like them,” Giselle slams the papers down on the table, “No Jhené, they won’t! These people don’t want to help me, if I showed any sign that I could not do this on my own, they will use that as leverage to try and rip this position right from under me… I may seem mean and distant, but it’s because I have to be, nothing is given to us for free; if I have never taught you anything, I’m teaching you that, it’ll save you a lot of disappointment in the long run.” Giselle gets up and takes the papers from Jhené, “meet me at the car, I’ll be down in a minute,” just before leaving the room she stops and turns to Jhené, “thank you… for staying behind,” “girl you’re insane” Jhené says shaking her head, Giselle smiles and leaves the room.


Hey, I just want to apologize for the way I acted today. Your business is your business and it was very childish of me for to get upset like that. I had no right to feel obligated to know what’s going on in your life and for that I am sorry.” Oh, yea that’s good, I’ll say that… right after I get out of the shower… and eat dinner… oh and I still have to meet Giselle and Jhené… I’ll just call him tomorrow. Ring, ring, ring, Lola looks at the phone and sees Eric’s name, SHIT!!! She paces back and forth, and before she realizes, “Hello?”

Loving Lola- Ch. 43

Broken.

“Timothy, can you at least hide next time you want to spy on me?” Lola says as she enters her office. Timothy peeks his head around the corner, “oh, so you saw me huh?” Lola stops and looks at him, “well then, next time I’ll be a little more sneaky, but I don’t know how when the whole front of the gallery is made of glass,” he says throwing himself into the chair. Lola quietly places her things ono the floor next to her desk. “You didn’t look too happy leaving that tall dark and lovely piece of dove chocolate, I hope there isn’t any trouble in paradise,” he says side eyeing her. “Timothy, can you go get Stephanie so we can start setting up this display for the showcase please?” She says ignoring him, “fine, but we will have this conversation miss thang,” he says leaving her office. Lola slumps down into her chair, why did I even get upset… I should just call him and apologize. Lola takes out her phone and scrolls through her contacts for Eric’s number. She finds his name but pauses before pressing the call button. She places her head on her desk and locks her phone then starts to groan. Ms. Allard walks by and peers in at Lola, she smirks and shakes her head going into her office closing the door behind her. Alright, pull yourself together girl, you have a bomb ass display to create, you can self loathe later! Stephanie comes and knocks on the door, “um, Lola?” “Yes?” she answers with her head still placed on the desk, “we need your assistance on placing the Dorothy Lewrant…” Stephanie says bashfully. Lola lifts her head and pulls herself together, “okay, I’ll be right there,” she says putting on a smile. She puts her phone in the drawer and goes to meet Stephanie and Timothy on the floor.


­­­On her way back from lunch, Jhené decides to give Giselle a surprise visit at her office. When she arrives, she knocks on the door and doesn’t receive an answer. She tries to go inside, but the door is locked. She peers in the window and notices all the lights are off; I know this is her lunch time. Somewhat perplexed, she pulls out her phone and decides to call Giselle and see where she is. When the phone begins to ring, she hears a sound coming from her office, oh wow, this girl locked her phone in her office. As she starts to walk away, Giselle answers the phone.

“Hello?” “What the hell? Did you not hear me out here knocking on your door?!” Giselle takes a deep sigh, “yeah…” “Yeah?! What’s going on with you? You’ve been MIA all day. I wanted to go to lunch together, but they said you weren’t on the premises, where did you go?” “I went to go see Sam.” Jhené looks up and places her hand on her head, “can you please open the door, I don’t think this conversation should be had out in the open, plus I feel crazy talking to your door like this.”

Giselle hangs up and unlocks the door. “Smh really,” she says opening the door, “you didn’t want to open it or at least say something?” “Sorry…” Giselle says laying on her couch. “I don’t like this… what the hell happened with Sam?” “… He said he wasn’t going to tell Lola anything.” “So, you went down there to see if he was going to tell her what happened all those years ago?” “… I also went to apologize.” “Did you?” “Yes. But he didn’t accept it. He said it was a bullshit apology and he felt sorry for me, then asked me to leave.” Jhené stands there quietly for a moment then goes to sit down next to her. “…well that was harsh. Although you messed up their relationship and convinced Lola to stay here when you knew she was unhappy…” Giselle looks at her, “although you did those things, I’m really proud of you for trying to fix your mistakes. He may not be too happy with you right now, but I’m sure it’s mostly because he thought you would never own up to your actions, but I think he will come around eventually.” “And if he doesn’t?” Giselle asks softly, “then, that’s okay. Even if he never forgives you, that’s not something for you to burden. You took the most important step and apologized, but now you have to deal with whatever comes from that and accept the consequences of your actions.” Giselle rolls over and hugs Jhené, “thank you for loving me Jhené.”

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. 41

The Apology.

“What do you want?” Sam says looking her in the eye. Giselle, with hands clasped within each other looks back at him. With neither backing down from their intense gaze, Giselle finally breaks eye contact, “I want to apologize to you” she says looking away from him. Shocked, Sam looks at her in disbelief, “Wh-what?” “The actions done unto you back then were disgusting and unjustifiable, I hope to squash all ill feelings you may have towards me or my family because of that.” Still not able to look him in the eye, Sam looks at her with a blank stare. The atmosphere between them drastically changes and Sam is no longer nervous or worried to be in her presence. His attitude and demeanor shifts, and he can no longer contain himself, “actions? You mean how you deliberately and single-handedly thwarted all communication between Lola and I with the constant lies you’ve managed to drill in her head of me just up and leaving her without a goodbye? Or even convincing her, your own sister, that nothing or no one was good enough if it were not connected to or beneficial for your company when you knew she was miserable there? Do you mean those actions?” Giselle stays quiet and they both sit there for a moment in silence. “Keep your apology, I don’t want it, nor do I need it.” He gathers his pen and notepad and begins to leave the booth, “Sam wait!” Giselle yells out grabbing his hand. He stops and stands there quietly, “look, let’s not make a scene okay?” She says to him. Sam angrily snatches his hand away from her, “what?! You’re seriously worried about making a scene, but you call that an apology? How long did it take you to come up with that? The few minutes it took to drive over here I bet. You couldn’t even own up to the “disgusting” things you’ve done, let alone look me in the eye. That’s just like you, but no matter how you dress it up, shit is still shit. You know, I used to be so intimidated by you, your family and all that damn power you threw around, but now, I just feel sorry for you. It’s sad the way you parade around like you’ve got everything under control when in actuality, you are falling to pieces just trying to keep your head above water, drowning in your lies and regrets… I know the only reason you’ve decided to do this after all these years, is because you’re afraid I’ll tell Lola everything you did, but I’m not like you. I would never try and drive a wedge between two people who love each other. Your sisterhood is your bond, you don’t have to worry about me breaking it, honestly, I’m sure you will do that all on your own.” With watery eyes, Giselle looks at him with a faint smile, “thank you. Sam, I really am sor-” “If we’re done here, I have to get back to work” Sam says interrupting her. She looks at him for a moment then pulls herself together. “Of course,” she says putting her shades back on. She thanks him for his time and leaves the payment for her drink on the table and takes her leave. Sam lets out a big sigh and slams his hands on the table drawing attention from the people in the room. Tasha looks at him worriedly from across the bar, he looks back at her and then heads to the back. She follows him and asks if he is okay, he nods his head yes, then she lightly places her hand on his shoulder and leaves.

Giselle arrives back at work and sits in the car for a moment. She removes her shades and begins to sob softly. Her phone rings and she quickly pull’s herself together. “Hello?… Yes, I am on my way.” She hangs up the phone, wipes her face and gets out of the car making her way into the building.

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.