After the Love is Gone
When I walked into the setting room the morning after the dinner, the air of bitterness was all around Mom. One by one, she was snapping at the maid, hollering at the cook and was about to tell the gardener to redo the entire flower garden. Mom was taking no prisoners as she popped off one order after the next.
“Mickey, I don’t know what you were thinking when you planted my rose bushes so close to the road. I want you to go out there and take every last one of them up and make sure you redo the grass surrounding them too. Do not make my lawn look like a mess! Do you hear me?” Mom said.
“But Ma’am, you’re the one who told me…” Mickey started to say in his defense.
“Do you hear me?” Mom screamed, shutting him up before turning to Greta. “And Greta…”
“Greta, Mickey, it’s been a rough morning for Mom. You two can go back to your regular duties and we’ll let you know if we need any other special duties done today.”
“Yes Sir,” Greta and Mickey said in unison as they began to slowly walk out of the room.
“Thanks for all you do,” I said with a forced smile, before turning my attention to Mom.
“You have no right to interrupt me! I am the head of this house and I know how I want things done,” Mom ranted.
“Yeah, but there is no reason for you to talk to Mickey like that and Greta hasn’t done anything to deserve your wrath either.”
“If they want to keep their little jobs, they will do what I say and, I mean, when the hell I say it, Jacob.” Mom stormed toward the doorway and screamed Greta’s name. “Greta, get back in here now!”
Greta hadn’t made it completely out of sight, so she stopped in her tracks and looked back at me. I waved her on and she sped off toward the kitchen and dashed around the corner.
“Greta! If you don’t get back in here this instance.”
“Stop it, Mom. You are taking your anger out on the wrong people.”
“No, I’m not. You should see the dust I found on the baseboard behind the sofa, and she knows I have bad allergies! Get back in here Greta!” she said before turning her nose up in the air with distaste.
“And you moved the sofa to look for dust, because…”
“I am not upset with your father, if that’s what you’re thinking. He just has some misguided thoughts and feelings right now, but don’t be mistaken. I have your father wrapped around my finger,” she said motioning to her diamond covered ring finger. “Now like I was saying, what I’m upset about is that we pay our help so much and they can’t do something as simple as laying a flower bed or dusting.”
“Sure,” I said as I sat down on the sofa and picked up a magazine. I haphazardly browsed the magazine while Mom continued to rant.
“Jacob, I want you to know that I’m unbothered by anything those people came in here to do last night.”
“That’s the problem,” I said placing the magazine back on the table. “You should be bothered. The thoughts and feelings you’re unbothered by are serious to me and Dad. If there is any chance for you to salvage relationships with your son and husband, you’re going to have to understand those facts.”
“Jacob, you do not know what you’re talking about!” Mom yelled with venom spewing from her eyes.
“Mom, calm down and talk to me. Right now, I’m actually on your side when it comes to saving your marriage. The last thing I want to see is my parents divorced.”
“Fine. You want to know how I really feel about last night?”
“Along other things, I do want to know how you feel about last night.”
“I feel like it’s your fault for bringing those people into our home and upsetting our family. Of all the black people in this highly populated world, how could you go out and handpick Clara’s daughter?”
“Those people did not upset our family. The major issues have been lying dormant for years. If anything, Clara coming back into the picture only shined a light on what was already wrong. For instance, before you even knew Ms. Clara was coming to dinner, you had already planned to disrespect my fiancé by inviting Justine.”Mom huffed and turned her back on me. “But, if it makes you feel any better, I didn’t know about Dad and Clara’s history. I found out the same time you did,” I said, with the full understanding that I didn’t owe her any type of explanation after what she did to me and Destiny.
“Well, that makes me feel a whole heap better,” she said sarcastically, before turning back to face me.
“Mom, I’m marrying Destiny and she will be a part of this family. In order for it to work, you have to show some damn respect. Your attitude toward her is getting old.”
“You don’t even understand what you’ve done,” she said, throwing her hands in the air and hitting them hard against her legs when they came down. “Your father slept in the guestroom last night. He’s pining over a forty-year-old love affair. You brought the woman it took me years to extract from his heart into our home. You don’t know how he used to call out for her in his sleep. Do you know what it took for him to get her out of his system? Do you know how many times I’ve caught him looking at her old pictures, Jacob?To this day, he has an album labeled Wellmington memories.”
“And now, at sixty five years old, I had to watch him stand in front of her acting like he never knew my name. Like he’s twenty again. And you seem to think we’ll just get through this?”
I listened to my mother and couldn’t help but feel torn. On the one hand, after years of idle stability, my parent’s marriage was in a rocky place. On the other hand, she had some nerve to look to me for sympathy after her blatant disregard for my relationship.
At that moment, I hated that my mother didn’t like Destiny. That my father had a past with Ms. Clara. That Ms. Clara slapped my father in front of everyone. That Justine was at the dinner. That Justine’s actions caused a rift in my relationship with Destiny, which left the back door open for Montie to slide in. But most of all, I didn’t like that Mom was hurting.
Watching Mom’s tears fall counterbalanced my reluctant acceptance of Dad’s feelings for Clara, the woman he claimed was his one true love. Thinking back, I watched Dad spend countless amounts of emotional energy trying to please Mom in one way or another. He would wine and dine her, buy her special gifts. He catered to her every want and need, as far as my youthful eyes could see. However, she would only reward him with an artful smile, a kiss, or more requests for things she wanted.
Sometimes, I would see him look at her as she rambled on about new items she purchased or planned to purchase and I would see an empty expression behind his eyes…a longing. Mom didn’t even notice the longing. She just navigated through, making her best effort at becoming the perfect high-class housewife.
What I knew for sure, as I sat and listened to Mom ramble on about Ms. Clara being at the dinner, was that my father longed for the moment he shared with Ms. Clara. He appreciated holding her in his arms as much as his next breath. As a man who went from a relationship of convenience with Justine into a whirlwind romance with Destiny, I understood my father’s position.
Nevertheless, Mom had one thing over Ms. Clara though and that was forty years of matrimony. I just hoped she managed to pull herself together fast enough to express genuine love, before all was lost.
“Mom, I need you to listen to me and listen to me very closely. Do you hear me? Very closely,” I said as I pat a place on the sofa for her to sit next to me.
She sighed as she relented. When she sat down next to me, I leaned toward her and engaged her as intimately and caring as I could as her son. She looked at me willfully, and I hoped the layers of her nasty, high-society attitude would peel back as I spoke. I needed to get to the core of the woman who had meager beginnings in a small town in Alabama before moving to Miami, when her father got a job promotion.
“I’m listening,” she said, nudging me to continue.
“For me, I demand that you set aside any and all ill-feelings you have for Destiny. That will be necessary for us to have any semblance of a relationship in the years to come. For Dad, you need to figure out a way to get inside his heart again. Make him remember why he chose to marry you. Because what I saw last night was not a man who was intruded upon by unwanted guests.”
I stopped right there. I dared to tell Mom I saw love, compassion and hope in my father’s eyes. A look that let me know for a fact he never stopped loving Ms. Clara one minute. I was sure Mom saw it too. I couldn’t remember a time when he looked at her that way.
Mom considered what I was saying and dropped her hands to her side. “Jacob, there are a lot of things you don’t understand about me and your father. We may not have had a fiery romance, but we’ve grown old together. We will be just fine.”
“I wouldn’t be so sure about us, Tammy,” Dad said as he walked into the room.
“Johnny?” Mom said jumping to her feet.
“You can sit back down, Tammy. You’ve done enough jumping around and having your say,” Dad said.
“I will do no such thing,” Mom said in defiance.
“Sit down, Tammy!” Dad’s voice boomed through the room.
Mom’s back was as straight as a board and her face was as red as a beet as she glared at my father. However, under his harsh tone Mom’s body inched down onto the sofa to sit as she was told.“I’m sitting down, now what is this foolishness you’re saying? What do you mean you wouldn’t be so sure of us?”
“Son, would you excuse us. We need to talk for a minute.”
“Sure,” I said standing to leave. “Mom and I were just finishing up our conversation about last night. We’ll talk about it more later,” I said to Mom who twirled her head in the opposite direction.
“I’m going to get to the bottom of everything that happened yesterday. You can believe that,” Dad said, giving me a nod.
“Alright, well, I’ll see you later,” I said including both my parents in my gaze.
Dad nodded as I left out the door, while Mom ignored me. From the way she was acting, I knew she would never change. Left to her own devices, she would essentially put the last nail in her own coffin. Therefore, I told myself I would be at peace with whatever they decided to do.
A romantic drama that will leave you breathless….
In the finale book of the Breathless: In Love With An Alpha Billionaire, the Turner and Baker women are at odds over the men who captured their hearts. Clara Baker has reasons near and dear to her for being so hell bent on keeping her daughter, Destiny Baker, away from Jacob Turner. Reason #1, Jacob’s father, John Turnerleft her high and dry with the burden of their love to bear over four decades ago. Clara puts forward a tough exterior, which is a front for the dormant pain she’s kept a secret for forty years. When she lays eyes on Jacob’s father, fireworks spark in the least expected way.
With John’s wife, Tammy Turner, cocked and ready to do whatever it takes to keep her husband, both Destiny and Clara are in for a fair share of heart wrenching drama. Meanwhile, John is prepared to do whatever it takes to make things right with Clara. Through it all, Jacob and Destiny are left to navigate the waters that were muddied by their parents’ choices well before their time. To complicate matters, Justine still has a few tricks up her sleeve.
Will Jacob and Destiny’s love remain strong so they can make it to the altar or will their parents’ and Justine’s shenanigans finally sever their bond beyond repair?