Chapter 1



“Trick you coming out with us this weekend!” That was my friend Olivia’s voice coming through the phone, loud as usual. I use to go out with my girls all the time until I got married and had children. I just haven’t been into doing the same things anymore. Instead of partying all night I love to have a movie night with my family and stay up extra late with my husband and talk about the old days when we first met. I met my husband back in high school. Back then I was known as Autumn Noelle Nelson. Now my last name has changed to my husbands of course to Jackson. Although I love being married it is hard to get out with two children. My youngest daughter is Kya is four and my oldest is fifteen. My oldest daughter Nikki is performing in a pageant that is financially draining me and my husband so we can barely do anything extra. I can barely manage to keep myself up. It makes no sense to me anyway. I am home all the time so why am I wearing make-up when the only person who will notice will be my reflection in the mirror? “Do you hear me?” Olivia yelled. I snap back into reality when I hear Olivia’s voice again. “Yes I hear you girl and I don’t know. I have to see if my mother will watch Kya for the night.” I knew my mother would. I just would use her as an excuse not to go. “Well do that because I am getting tired of your ass making excuses.” Olivia snapped. I could hear a man’s voice through the receiver. “Tell Todd I said hey.” I said knowing damn well it was not Todd. I could hear Olivia rushing like she was trying to get to another room. She then responds quietly, “Girl you know my rule. Don’t say names. I am with Richie right now. I laugh saying, “Whatever girl.” I hear my youngest daughter’s beads bobbing together while she is coming downstairs. I get off the phone and officially start my day.

While putting breakfast on the table I have managed to create a routine where I could set the table, feed our cat lily, make coffee and make sure I get my husband Bryce’s clothes picked out and ready for work. As soon as the table is set I am ready to get him out of bed so he can eat breakfast and get ready for work. I am a pro at multi-tasking. When Bryce final gets to the table I am sitting down making sure Kya does not get food all over herself and the kitchen floor. One time during dinner she got mashed potatoes all over the ceiling. To this day I am still confused on how that happened.

It has been quiet at our table for a couple of weeks now. In fact my husband and I barely talk anymore. If we do it turns out to be an argument that is usually my fault. Now I just sit and stare and try to figure out if my husband is still in there. It just feels so distant and cold when we are in the same room. Whenever we laugh it is because one of the girls did something funny. This morning I decided to try to talk to him. “Hey baby, Olivia wants me to go out with the girls tonight.” He does not look up, “I think I might go.” He looks up at me with a blank expression. “Okay I think you should go. Get out the house. I am going to go to my homeboy house after work to chill so I won’t be coming straight home.” He never comes home straight from work anymore. I would be lucky if he comes home at all anymore. Lately he has been staying out all night drinking with his friends and getting too drunk to drive home. I guess I can say it is okay since he is with his friends and not out in the streets driving. I just nod my head and watch him get up from the table. He takes his plate to the kitchen sink and begins to wash them. When he finish washing his plate he heads upstairs to get ready for work. Before he closes our room door he yells downstairs, “Hey the eggs were a little burnt and didn’t have any cheese. Don’t forget that next time please.” He shuts the door. The phone rings before I could say a smart comment back about his ungrateful ass so instead I picked up the phone. It was my best friend Sheree.

As soon as I said hello she went off like a cannon. I already knew what it was about. “Do you know what that asshole told me?” She screamed through the phone. Before I could answer she continued. “He told me he not signing shit because I don’t need half of his money. I am the one that stayed up at night with our child. I was there for his broke ass when he needed a place to stay when his other baby mama kicked him out. It was all me.” I have known Sheree since we were in elementary school. She met her husband James senior year in high school. They got married three years later after they had their daughter Lelani. They have had their ups and downs. More downs than ups anyway. Sheree filed for divorce when he cheated on her the second time and now they are making each other’s lives a living hell. I know me and Bryce are going through some things but nowhere near them. “And he want the dog!” She yelled. “He never even like that dog and he is only doing it to be spiteful.” As I remembered it Sheree was pissed when he brought the dog home from the vet but I was sure Sheree would deny it to the end if I remind her. Sheree gets silent for a few seconds then blurt out, “Bastard!” She was so loud I am sure Bryce could hear her. He walked towards me, gave me a kiss on the forehead and said, “I’m out.” I pointed to the garbage can and he looked towards me then the door. “I am running late. Plus you need to start doing stuff like that just in case something happen to me and I can’t do it anymore.” Then he walked out the house and shut the door.

I don’t know what is causing this rift between us but it makes me feel like he does not love me anymore. After a pause between Sheree’s rant she calms and says, “I am assuming you and Bryce not really talking much still by that dry ass goodbye.” I just sigh and agree. She continues. “Do you think he is talking to another bitch?” My heart starts racing fast as soon as the question is asked. “I mean I don’t think so at least.” I swallowed the knot that had formed in my throat. “He just stressed out and needs to be around his friends.” He says he feels like he missed out on being able to hang out with his friends. So I am giving him his space.” Sheree laughs, “Well don’t give him too much space or a bitch will come fill it quick.” Sheree and I talk for a few more minutes and then gets off the phone. I made a quick call to my mother to see if she could watch Kya. I decided to let Lelani go to a sleepover with her friends. After talking to my mother and of course she agreed to watch Kya, I got into my routine of cleaning the house. I already had my sweats and tank on so I didn’t have to worry about bleach messing up any of my good clothes. Not that I had many. Bryce stopped shopping for me months ago.

After a whole day of cleaning every room in my house I had finally decided to get ready for my night out. I put on an old black dress that had a gold rope chain around it. I had only wore it once before I had gotten pregnant with Kya and never wore it again. I had to admit I looked and felt pretty good after I looked in the mirror and saw how everything fell together. I could still stand to lose a few more pounds. When I walked downstairs to get my purse off the hallway stand I noticed the trash in the kitchen was still there. I kissed my daughter good-bye and decided to go ahead and take the trash out while I wait on Sheree to pick me up. I never drove because Bryce always had the car. When I pulled the garbage out of the bag I realized this was going to be a task pulling this heavy bag across the wet grass in six-inch heels. I could feel my heels sinking into the grass as I tried to walk as lightly as possible to the dumpster. Which for some reason looked like a much longer distance tonight. My neighbor Chauncey must have noticed me struggling because he ran off his porch to help me. When he came over towards me he grabbed the bag and had to do a double take when he saw me. “Look at you tonight beautiful.” I smiled. “You must be going on a date with your husband tonight.” He continued. My smiled disappeared as quickly as it appeared on my face. “No. I am going out with the girls.” I responded sounding little down. “Well I know I would not be letting my love go out the house with that dress on. I would have to kill someone for looking.” He said with a grin. “Have fun beautiful.” He says while turning to walk away. I watched until he went into his house and closed the door. I sat on my patio chair and waited for Sheree to show up. Bryce and I have not been on a date in over three months. We barely even cuddle together to watch a movie. I know I shouldn’t feel like this but I have a knot in my stomach that tells me something is not right. I try to ignore it because he says it is just my insecurities and there is no such thing as a “woman’s intuition.” I tried to ignore the feeling but the more I ignore it the worst it feels.

Sheree finally pulls up and we leave. The whole time she was ranting about her cheating husband. About him wanting the dog and all of his money. He also wants to keep their child and the house and Sheree not letting that happen. She said a lot of other things but I learn to tune her out at times. All that was on my mind was how I was actually out of the house and at night. For some reason I felt excited but really nervous. I felt like my dress kept riding up and I couldn’t help but feel that if I stepped into the club everyone was going to be staring and whispering things like, “Why is her old ass at the club?” We pull up at the night club and I saw a sign on the door saying that it was poetry night. When I saw the sign I was relieved. I just couldn’t see myself “twerking” all over another guy and I was married.

When we got in we sat at the table towards the middle of the floor with Olivia and Rylee. Rylee had just got back from her honeymoon. They had just got married two weeks ago and went on vacation to Dubai. I would have loved going on a honeymoon there. I am sure it was beautiful. Rylee passed around her pictures while she told us how her trip went. “Oh my gosh guys I wish you all could have came with us.” “Everywhere we went there were beautiful white sands and blue water. The buildings there were unbelievable! I wish we could have stayed longer.” Rylee said smiling like she was revisiting the place in her head. Sheree blurts out rudely, “Well you better keep those warm memories in your head because that is about as good as it gets.”  Rylee just rolls her eyes and says, “Misery loves company.” Before Renee could say anything back everyone starts clapping for the first artist.

Everyone that performed on stage were terrific. Well at least the one’s I could hear. I kept hearing Olivia talking on the phone to one of her men about why she couldn’t go with him later. She said she had to check on her sick mother. That girl has never met her mother. The woman abandoned her and her father when she was six. Olivia is a very free-spirited woman who does not believe in love. She wants to date whoever and as many men as she wants to at the time. Right now she is talking to two men. If I say names I am sure I would get them wrong but she only goes with John Doe one out to places because he is more presentable. She only hangs with John Doe number two at her place or his. She uses the excuse that she does not like to be around a lot of people. I swear that girl is something else. One day a man is going to come into her life and show her a whole new chapter of her life story, which I nicknamed as Love Can Be a Dangerous Weapon.

After the poetry mic night we decided to get something to eat at the diner down the street. While we were waiting on our food I text Bryce that we were going to one more place then heading home. I didn’t get out the house as much but when I did, I always text or called my husband to let him know what I was doing and that I was ok. It is just a common courtesy thing to me. Olivia saw me with my phone and snatched it saying, “You don’t need to text oh bubble head about anything.” She stuffed my phone in her bra and continued. “Big head will be okay without the 411.” I didn’t try to grab my phone back because that would mean I would have to go digging in those double D’s she always have in people’s face. Rylee chimes in for me saying, “She is doing the right thing. I always text my husband where I am going and I expect him to do the same thing.” She pulls out her phone and text her husband. Sheree rolls her eyes and sounding annoyed she says, “Poor Rylee. You haven’t even been married for a month and now you an experienced marriage counselor.” She continues, “Let’s see how long this marriage lasts.” Rylee takes a sip of the coffee that the waitress just walked up and placed in front of her. “I don’t know how long it will last Sheree but I am almost positive it will last longer than yours.” She says smiling. Olivia chokes on her coffee and starts laughing. “She got you, you old bitter ass.” Olivia says while snapping her fingers like she was watching a poet. Sheree sucks her teeth and looks towards Olivia and says rudely, “I don’t know why you talking. One day one of these men going to catch on to your little game and they both are going to leave your ass.” Then you will be just as so-called bitter as me.” Olivia grins and says, “If they are stupid enough to catch on then I will move on to the next.” Sheree takes a sip of her coffee and says, “And for the record I am not the one that is bitter. He is. Isn’t that right Autumn?” I couldn’t reply because too many tears were rolling down my face. “Oh shit!” was all that Olivia could say when the girls turned to see my husband across the street getting in the car with another woman.



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