Hey my loves! As many of you know I am currently writing Part II to my novel - Dilemmas Of a Damsel! The second installment is sure to be filled with plenty of drama, surprises and new obstacles. I hope that you all are as excited as I am! Being that it's the holiday season, I'm in a giving mood. As a treat, I wanted to share another SNEAK PEEK of Dilemmas Of a Damsel: Part I. This is picking right up from where the first sneak peek ended. If you missed out on that one, check it out here. Enjoy...
Surprised, I give him a quick kiss on the cheek, “Brandon! I wasn’t expecting to see you here.”
“Blair invited me, she insisted I come,” he replies.
I quickly shoot Blair, whom has conveniently made her way across the room, a venomous look. Man I have some words for her!
“Oh she did, did she?” I say.
“I really need to talk to you.”
“About us Jade,” Brandon says.
“Brandon, please don’t do this here,” I say before taking another sip of my champagne.
Damn I need another drink if I’m going to have to deal with him.
“What do you mean don’t do this here? You won’t return any of my calls Jade. What happened? I thought we were getting serious,” Brandon pleads.
I sigh. The realization that this poor guy was going to make an awkward situation even more awkward makes me cringe. Refusing to cause a scene, I grab his hand and lead him outside for some privacy. He paces in front of me digging his hands into his front pockets.
“Look, what we had was fun. But you were taking things just way too serious for me and it kinda’ freaked me out. You’re a great guy, but I just want to be friends,” I explain.
“Seriously Jade? What happened after three months? What changed?” He questions.
I look at him, struggling to find the right words.
Then I finally say, “You said you loved me while we were having sex.”
“And what’s wrong with that?”
“Then you cried.”
He bows his head, shaking it in defeat. I stand there, uncomfortable; this was becoming painstakingly unpleasant.
“What do you want Jade?” He asks me, pleading.
“I’ll know when I find it. I just know that whatever that is, isn’t with you.”
Shocked at my audacity, he peers into my eyes. He desperately searches for a glimmer of hope for some type of reconciliation; seeing none, his eyes turn cold.
“Fuck you,” he says before turning and walking away. But about five steps in, he turns around and makes his way back over to me. He continues, “You know what? You think that ‘cause you’re cute and successful that you’re hot shit, but you need to get off that fucking high horse and stop being so cold-hearted. You black women are all the same!”
“Excuse me? Where the hell did that come from?”
“You all complain about there not being enough good black men in the world. But when you find one, you treat him like shit! And then y’all wonder why we start dating white and Hispanic chicks. They don’t give us half the drama y’all bitches do,” he snarls.
As soon as the words leave his mouth, my free hand raises and swings across his face making contact. SMACK! Brandon grabs his cheek in disbelief.
I say, “I had no clue you were such an asshole! You can forget about being friends, and trust me when I say that those other women can have your corny ass.”
“Have a nice life,” he says before turning and walking away.
I gulp down the rest of my champagne and head back to the gathering. I’m going to kill Blair! I scan the room, ready to give her a piece of my mind. But to my dismay, she’s nowhere to be found. I couldn’t hide my annoyance, but I refuse to let Brandon ruin my night. The four hundred and fifty dollar pair of shoes I’m wearing had no time for that! I force myself to take a few deep breaths before walking over to the bar situated in the corner. This time I order a martini in hopes it will help to calm my nerves. I take two long sips and eventually feel my irritation and frustration pass.
I wander the rest of the party admiring the different works of art. The items on display are vast and beautiful. Everything from sculptures, paintings, and photographs filled the space, each having its own special appeal. Secretly I’ve always envied those that had the gift of artistic expression. I always felt that they had such a colorful way of looking at life as we know it. They were unafraid to be vulnerable and share themselves with the world; a far cry from just about all that I am: guarded, calculated, and meticulous.
By the end of the night I bump into a few friends, and make some new ones. As the crowd begins to evaporate, a small part of me is bummed because I was unable to locate Mr. Mysterious again. I have to admit I was anxious to cross paths. Then, a photograph immediately catches my attention and it’s absolutely riveting. It was so simplistic yet equally intense. I stop and admire the imagery, captivated. It was a man and woman, naked, embracing one another. It was so raw. The way he held her, and she him, the two were intertwined like they were one. It was beautiful; this one photograph embodied all that I desired. I could feel a knot forming in my throat.
“You like this piece?”
His smooth voice startles me.
"Yes, it’s stunning," I say, turning to see my mystery man, up close and personal.
I feel my heart catapult into a 5k race.
"Well thank you. I'm glad you like it," he smiles revealing his dimples.
"Wait, you took this?" My cheeks flush.
He playfully puts his hands up in the air and says, “Guilty as charged.”
“Oh my, you’re very talented!” I say, a little too excited.
We stand there in silence for a moment. Standing next to him, I get a whiff of his Chanel Bleu cologne and my head spins.
“I'm Maxwell but you can call me Max,” he says with his arm extended.
I was determined to keep it cool, “Jade.” We shake hands and my goodness his hands are soft, “Nice to meet you.”
“The pleasure is all mine Jade.”
We engage in a bit more small talk before my cell goes off. I fish it out of my purse in a hurry with every intention of hitting ignore. Confusion rushes over me when I see Blair’s name across the screen. Looking at Max, I excuse myself and walk a few feet away for some privacy. With Blair, you never know what it could be.
“Blair, why are you calling me? You’re still here right?”
I can hear her hesitation through the phone. Oh this can’t be good.
She begins, “Jayson isn’t feeling well so we’re going to head home. Please don’t be mad!”
My face sinks, “Blair! We had plans! It’s almost my birthday and we always bring in our birthdays together!”
I turn and see Max watching me with concern and I’m sure he thinks I’m crazy.
Blair says, “I know I’m sorry, but you understand. Plus we still have all day tomorrow to celebrate. Trust me I’ll make it up to you!”
I roll my eyes. “Yea, you better,” I snort.
“I love you!”
“Yea, yea,” I say before hanging up the phone.
I walk back over to Max and he can see the annoyance written all over my face. Tonight was really turning out to be a complete bust.
“Is everything alright?” Max asks.
“Yes sorry about that. It was just my friend.”
“Anything I can help with?”
I shake my head, “I don’t want to hold you up.”
“Trust me; I’m exactly where I want to be.”
His forwardness is a turn on. Once again I can feel myself blushing against my better judgment.
“Well, I was supposed to be going out with my best friend for my birthday. But her boyfriend got sick and she had to go home,” I say.
“I’d love to celebrate your birthday with you,” he replies.
“Are you sure? What about the show?”
He chuckles, “Look around, it’s practically over.”
I cross my arms and assess the room, besides the two of us, there weren’t many people left. A few folks had large industrial sized brooms and began sweeping debris from the floor.
I hesitate, tempted by his offer, "Sure, where to?"
It’s the perfect spring night, the moon is high and the stars glistened. There’s a slight breeze that causes my skirt to dance as I walk side by side with Max. Besides the chaos I was subjected to earlier in the evening, I’m happy that I decided to step out. I check my watch and see that it’s twenty minutes until midnight, only a couple minutes away from my birthday.
We decided to take a walk to one of my favorite restaurants in the area. On our way there, we instantly vibe; getting to know one another and conversing like we’re old friends. We discuss everything, from our embarrassing moments in high school, to memories of our first kiss, politics, and pop culture.
“So why did you choose to become an artist?” I ask.
“Because, art is in all things,” he replies with confidence.
“Hmm, that’s a good answer,” I say, intrigued by his perspective on things.
“Why did you choose to become a marketing consultant?”
“It was all a part of my plan. I always liked helping people and solving problems, it kind of made sense.”
Max nods with intent, “Do you enjoy it?”
“Yes, very much; I’m very excited about the work that I do and where my career is headed. I always saw myself being successful and independent. Luckily I found something I love that enables me to do so,” I explain.
Once we arrive at our destination, Max stops ahead of me holding the door open. I smile at him as I walk inside. North Third was a hip and quaint spot in the Northern Liberties part of Philadelphia. It also happened to be one of my favorite spots to grab drinks; their blood orange margaritas were to die for. It was a Saturday night and the bar was packed with its usual crowd.
The hostess greets us with a smile; her hair was big and commanded your attention. She welcomes us and asks, “Table for two?”
I return the smile, “Yes please.”
Grabbing two menus, she leads us to the back of the restaurant towards a dimly lit and intimate corner. We take our seats and she places the menus down.
“Someone will be right over to serve you,” she says before turning and walking away.
Once Max and I settle in, I begin eyeing the menu eager to grab a bite to eat. I failed to realize how hungry I actually was. When I look up, I catch him watching me.
“What?” I ask.
“You are gorgeous,” he says.
Max was very calm and certain about every word he said. It was intriguing as much as it was intimidating. I wasn’t used to dealing with men that were absolutely secure and certain about themselves or what they allowed themselves to say.
My face flushes, giving away my nervousness. I smile and say, “Thank you.”
“My pleasure,” he responds.
Then, the waiter comes to our table requesting our order for drinks and slips back into the restaurant.
“So when did you become a photographer?” I ask, eager to take the attention off of myself.
“I got into it in high school. Actually, I dip and dabble in a few different things. I just have a lot to express and I’m able to communicate that through my art. Whether it’s a picture, a painting or drawing,” he explains.
I listen, mesmerized. Shit, this guy is something else. For some reason, he makes me anxious; it’s a strange yet exciting feeling. As the night progresses, Max tells me about his love for art and some of his favorite things he’s done throughout his career. By the time he’s finished the waiter returns with our drinks and we order our food. We continue our conversation, discussing our upbringing and other interests before my phone goes off, indicating a new text.
Kara: HAPPY BIRTHDAY BEAUTIFUL!
I smile and quickly type a response.
Jade: THANKS LOVE! HOPE YOU FEEL BETTER. I’D LOVE TO SEE YOU TOMORROW!
I can feel Max’s eyes on me again, causing my stomach to flip.
“Sorry, that was my friend,” I say as I put my phone down.
Not a second later, my phone rings again, this time it’s my sister calling.
“Hey Aleena,” I say answering the phone.
“Happy birthday sis! Sorry I can’t be there to celebrate with you but we can as soon as I’m back in town!” Aleena says with excitement.
“Thanks love!” I pause looking at Max, “Umm I’m kind of busy right now, can I call you back?”
“Busy? Jade it’s midnight, if you’re saying you’re busy, that means you’re up to no good!”
“Aleena, I will talk to you later. Love you.”
She giggles, “Love you too hooch, use a condom.”
My cheeks turn red as I hang up the phone and put it on silent.
“Sorry, that was my sister,” I explain.
“No worries,” Max replies with a smile.
He grabs his drink and I grab mine.
“Happy birthday Jade,” Max says and raises his glass of gin.
I smile and follow his actions raising my margarita. Then we tap our glasses together making a toast to the night.
Be sure to grab your copy on Amazon, and subscribe for updates on the new release!