Continual Resort – Vengeance Borne| Installment #11

queen's revenge

Image courtesy of Marcus74id at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Donny awoke the next morning to find Linda already gone. He read the note that she left on her pillow to let him know that she would be visiting her mother and Brianne – then heading to work because she was booked for the entire day and would be home late. Knowing that Linda would spend as much time as possible with them before her first appointment and by the time he arrived at Sheralyn’s Linda would already be gone, Donny thought about the night before; grateful that she did not seem to be upset with him or even frustrated in the least.

He admired her ability to sober up and normally return to business as usual, but Donny did not possess this quality, so he turned over and went back to sleep with thoughts of seeing his child and talking to Sheralyn once he had his wits about him. His last thought before dozing off was of how things would play out while at his father’s house. His papers were already prepared, and to be safe, he would finish his work as quickly as possible and without argument agree to his invitation to church on Sunday.

Not being an avid ‘church goer’ as opposed to simply being a ‘believer’ despite his way of life, Donny felt that if he relented just a tad to give his father one more chance at treating him like a son in a true sense, he would know the direction in which he should go after everything was said and done.

By late noon, Donny was at Sheralyn’s playing with Brianne while the child’s grandmother watched happily and quietly. Sheralyn had snacks ready for her granddaughter after playtime…in the sweetest manner, Brianne raised her hot dog to Donny’s mouth to give him a bite. “You can have some Dada!” Donny gave a gracious thank you and kissed her cheek her before turning to Sheralyn for a conversation that she was not sure if she was ready for or not;  knowing that this young man had questions about Linda’s strange behavior.

***

Donny concentrated solely on entering and saving his installments while hearing his parents go over the Sunday School lesson for the next day. ‘I said I would come to service, but I ain’t comin to no Sunday School’…’, he thought as he typed away. As the printer spit out copies of his lyrical entries, he could tell that his mother was not herself as usual, as Donald made slight but clear admonitions of Jesse’s growing insufficiency and dwindling presence in the congregation due to her ‘condition’. Her husband deemed these ‘excuse’s as a slacking faith in her obligations as mother and head deaconess of the church who should always be present regardless of the situation…he fervently quoted Hebrews 10:25, with an exclamation that Jesse should be thinking more about their roles as models.

“Hey Dad!  I’m done now, thanks.” Donny had to catch himself from stopping Donald in the way that he would have naturally corrected his younger brother, but his tone of voice did get Donald’s attention…he turned from Jesse who sheepishly went to her room.

“Son, I know how you must feel, but if a man doesn’t correct his woman, what kind of man is he? We have a grand responsibility in showing folks that presence in the church is first and foremost no matter what. The positions that we hold must be maintained in the best manner to show our loyalty and faithfulness in getting folks where they belong so they can get saved.  Besides, how do I look being there like clockwork and having to explain why Jesse is not always there? You cannot be recognized for what you are not doing…the truth is just what it is. That is why I have and am still working so hard in our community son…you get what I’m saying don’t you?”

“Well daddy, I really can see what you’re saying , but I don’t think that you owe anybody an explanation for momma, because they know just as well as you do that she ain’t been feelin’ too good lately. I’m worried about her, so I can understand why she ain’t runnin up in church all the time. She already saved, and been helpin folks right with you over the years. If she ain’t at church sometimes, that don’t mean that she ain’t studyin the Bible or prayin like she should. Nobody can say – and they better not say around me that she ain’t done nothin’ for her community or anything like that, but I’mma just leave it alone and go up there to tell her I’ll see her later…like I said, I’m done and ready to go now…be right back.”

Donald waited patiently; regretting that he had gone a little too far with his wife in front of Donny. The last thing that he needed was to upset him in the midst of trying to acquire a closer relationship with him, so once back downstairs, Donald gave his son a loving squeeze on the shoulder and a pat on the back with an earnest apology as they proceeded out of the door and into Donald’s luxury styled Lincoln Continental.

As he opened the door and sat in, Donny remembered being a child and riding to school with his brother in older models as opposed to driving his own small and much cheaper vehicle as an adult. He was surprised that his father had actually taken time out to pick him up at his apartment which was the first time he had bothered to visit since Donny had moved in. The neighborhood was beneath Donald who had only helped him to move in, but not agreeing with who he was living with or the lifestyle that he had chosen.

It was late evening now, and Donny was glad that Linda would not be home once he was dropped off. He wanted no part of Donald’s getting riled up because of Linda’s mere presence. He was glad for the time spent with his father on this day, but was still wary as they entered the downtown area.

“Son, I want to apologize again for what happened at the house, and I just want to try and make it up to you by being more patient with your mom, but all of this action has made me hungry, so how about stopping down here and getting a bite to eat?”

Donny reluctantly yet skeptically accepted his father’s apology while politely turning down the offer for food. “No thanks Daddy..I’ve got some food at home that I’ll heat up once I get home.”

“Well, all right then…I guess I’ll stop somewhere on my way home.” said Donald as he purposefully drove past Robertson’s before making a very slow turn past an exclusive restaurant at which Donny spotted Linda…accompanied by a man wearing an expensive suit and carrying a briefcase. During this moment, Donny could also see that the man held one hand on the small of Linda’s back as he opened the door to the front entrance of  ‘Cuisine Fellows’, Robertson’s main competitive establishment. Cuisine Fellows was the proverbial ‘new kid on the block’ that had given Robertson’s a run for their money for the past three years, and all who held any part in Robertson’s understood that there would be no dealings in any way with the competition. To see Linda there made his blood boil, but by being with his father, he could not let his disapproval show despite the brief lecture earlier on a man’s responsibility to correct his woman. All that  Donny could think of was the realization that his father had been truthful the whole time that he’d been trying to convince him that Linda was no good for him. Little did Donald know that Donny’s current problem became a revelation. The sight of Linda with another man brought on the epiphany that he truly loved and needed her to be his, come hell or high water.

Feeling convicted as well as conflicted, Donny once again held his true feelings inside and kept a forced silence on the way home. Donald made no implications that he had seen what his son definitely saw, nor did he mention that he’d noticed how tense Donny was. He had done his job, and felt victorious.

**

The advances were slight, but Linda noticed them while trying to fight the feeling that she should throw all caution to the wind and just go for it. The reasonable part of her mind knew that her feelings and Steve’s actions were wrong with no excuses. Her situation had become so confusing during this meeting in that most of what Steve had taught her in this restricted amount of time had made perfect sense and she could deal with it all – except for the percentage that would have to be paid back, but this was an aspect that she was well aware of. Near the end of their dinner, Linda thought about what her mother had told her. ‘Common sense’ kicked in and she let Steve know that there would be no decisions made until she did a little more thinking. She also politely turned down all advances that slyly came her way.

Linda left the meeting with much information and more thoughts on the direction in which she wanted her life to go. Thinking first of the most important part of her life – Brianne, who did not happen to be an included character in scenes of her movie-like getaway imaginings, Linda came to her senses and readied herself for the next conversation at home with Donny. Having no idea of how his day had gone despite knowing that he had been with their child, her mother, and his father, Linda hoped that all went well. If not, she would have to deal with it.

She walked through the door…immediately hit by the smell of smoke… finding Donny at their kitchen table with a drink…

all hopes of a decent and peaceful night without explanations on her part disappeared, so she decided to discuss her plans with him; stating that she had been at a meeting and that she was sorry for not telling him earlier. She explained that she had intended to surprise him with good news about her start-up, but was now still, not sure about accepting. Linda was shocked at Donny’s breath of relief from her explanations. They actually ended up laughing about the situation and discussed finances in case she decided to take the deal, but she still wondered what else might be bothering him.

The fact that Linda had opened up to him made it much easier for him to make his own confessions. Donny couldn’t believe that Linda readily agreed to go to church with him when he asked.  She seemed a bit surprised at his own willingness to go, but she was glad that he got everything out of his system pertaining to his father’s feigned niceness; also confessing that Donald had purposefully drove past the spot in order for Linda to be seen with the man that Donald had described to him before; the man that she had just told him about, though she did not speak of his flirting. Neither of them had an inkling of an idea that their entire day had been planned by Donald. They simply thought that Donald had seen her before with Steve and had the wrong idea.

“Well, we’re not going there again! I don’t know what it is that your dad hates about me, but if I’m not bothered about it, you shouldn’t be. Just let him do whatever he wants because we’ve got our own shit to take care of.” Linda kissed him passionately.

**

As they walked through the doors of  New Living Missionary Baptist Church; Brianne holding her father’s hand tightly, Donny noticed that Derrick was sitting on the front pew while his mother sat on the mother’s board…Donald in the head deacon’s seat directly in front of the congregation. They made immediate eye contact and Donald gave a slight tilt of his head to motion for Donny and his small family to sit beside his brother. Donny’s polite refusal came in the form of an humble smile as he led Linda and Brianne to one of the less crowded pews towards the back. There was no way he would be strutting up front for the purpose of being seen – especially to sit alongside someone that did not stand by him elsewhere. ‘We showed up, and we still gonna keep it real.’ was the statement that he whispered in Linda’s ear as they took their seats and readied themselves for the service.

They had arrived just in time as Donald began the first hymn and prayer. With his head bowed, Donny realized that he would be witnessing the exact same routine of years past. His father’s singing voice was nothing spectacular, but he did well enough for this particular job. There were a lot of people that Donny remembered from his childhood who were present, but he knew that many who were absent had passed away.

As the choir director motioned for the congregation to stand for the devotional segment of the service, Donny did not sing along as usual, and was glad that he would not have to stand and speak when the time came for visitors to introduce themselves as he had already been baptized years ago at this church, though not present once he’d moved from his father’s house. His intent was to sit silently and be present – not to be made a spectacle of. He held a sense of comfort that his father respected his wishes in not calling him out, although Donald briefly interrupted announcements to proudly make mention that he was very grateful that his son was attending on this day.

After the alter call, the choir sang spirited A and B selections…tithes and offerings were collected. Hoping that the upcoming sermon would not take forever, Donny turned to check the time by the clock on the wall which was set above the swinging doors of the sanctuary. At that moment, the ushers whose post was at these the doors let someone in.

She sashayed in with a fan in one hand and waving a dismissal with the other to tell the ushers that she would not be seated where they indicated. Her dress fit snugly at the top, but the silk wavy pleated bottom swayed as she made her way up the aisle and to the front pew. Some of the older women were clearly not pleased at the manner in which their husbands were ogling  the bosom of this stranger who had come in like a gust of warm wind just before a storm in spring; hair cascading down her back in dark waves. “She act like she on the catwalk with them high ass heels”, Linda promptly elbowed Donny but grinned at his muttered remark…he followed Linda’s indicating glance at the woman, now standing expectantly over Derrick who reluctantly but compliantly made room for her to sit down.

A piqued curiosity filled the sanctuary…no one knew who this apparent attention hungry fashion plate was, but as the pastor took his text looking somewhat bewildered at what had just occurred, Donny spotted his father who did not look as comfortable as he did before. Assuming that his father was in as much wonderment as everyone else – especially the men, Donny relaxed himself and to his surprise, enjoyed the sermon which did not last as long as he’d expected.

*

The preaching was over, and the doors of the church were opened for those who wanted to confess their faith,  join the establishment, or both. Only one potential new member stepped up.

During a brief questioning from the pastor with the candidate about her renewed faith after years of living a life of backsliding, dishonesty, and deceit, she stated that she came by Christian experience and would like to become a regular member. The candidate spoke up clearly and with conviction for everyone to hear. With all of the silent suspicions somewhat dissipating throughout the congregation about this strange woman, gladness replaced the negative vibe that had lasted during the entire sermon and the congregation applauded the candidate’s testimony as well as her openness to return to the fold.

With all praises and applause aside, the secretary of the church approached the candidate for her information in order to schedule her right hand of fellowship service on the following week.

“Your name?”

With a smile, the candidate turned to face the congregation and answered, “Oh yes, of course…I am known by some here, but not by others…my name is Chelsea…Chelsea Robertson…”

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Aside

Continual Resort #10|Checking Traps

Continual Resort #10|Checking Traps

businessman talking over phone

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Donny finally managed to compose his list of ingredients for his new entrée idea although he was quite perturbed by the days events. Not knowing how this weekend would play out and not caring much, Donny gave Sandy the heads up to let everyone else know that he was taking the rest of the day off and would not be back until Tuesday. In an odd way, he did find some comfort in being able to take time to gather his thoughts on all that was happening in his life. He also felt better about being able to plan on seeing his daughter during his time off. It would give him a chance to casually question Sheralyn about what she may or may not know about Linda’s sneaking around.

He truly did not want to become suspicious and cause things between himself and Linda to blow up again, but he could not help but wonder because his father had actually told the truth – for once. Donny was determined to not let his family issues to destroy what he had with Linda, but still…he needed to understand what was going on right under his nose.

Pushing all doubts aside before leaving work, Donny thought about John, because he would be stopping by the store on the way home. “I guess I’ll hook old boy up today.” With an ample ‘to-go’ box in a bag, Donny quickly headed towards Walmart so that John’s meal would still be reasonably warm once he received it.

“Awww, so you remembered me after all! Thanks man!” John graciously took the bag from Donny who was happy to be of some use to the man who sat regularly in front of the store…asking and hoping for help from somewhere – anywhere. John smiled. “Is this that mah-hee-mah-hee thang that I had at your place that day?”

“Well John, it ain’t really my place…I just work there.”

“Really? Yer shit’n me! Well…if that ain’t yer place then it damn shore oughta be, but whoever owns tha place is damn smart, I’ll tell’ya that.” Donny chuckled and smiled before answering.

“Yeah, uh…it’s actually my dad’s place. He worked a long time and went through a lot of shit to get there too, so I sorta learned what I know from him.”

John already knew full well the information that Donny had freely and unknowingly given him before he left. John was sure that Donny knew nothing about how his father had actually ‘worked his way up’, but as soon as the fitting season arrived, the perfect storm would blow into all of their lives without warning, and John vowed that he would either live or die  through it – satisfied.

**

With her last client happy and gone, Linda quickly and thoroughly cleaned her utensils and station before heading to her mother’s house to tell her the good news about the meeting with the agent from the Angel Investment program. Sheralyn answered her daughter’s excited rapping and doorbell ringing; curious about what had caused Linda’s elated actions.

She brushed past her mother and headed for her usual seat at the kitchen table.

“Oh, mom I don’t have time for coffee right now. I’m so excited I could just burst! ”

“And that is exactly what looks like will happen if you don’t spit it out, but aren’t you forgetting something – or should I say – someone?”

“Oh, my goodness mom…I’m sorry. Bri must be asleep because she didn’t come to the door with you as usual.”

“Well, you’re right and I’m glad that she was asleep because you would have knocked the poor child over and stepped on her on your way in. I barely managed to keep myself standing.” Sheralyn smiled knowing that Linda had very good news, so she calmly sat at the table, waited, and listened. “So, what’s all the hoopla about?”

Linda composed herself a bit and began to explain the call from the agent who would be aiding her in the start-up of her salon. She explained in great detail her conversation with Steve and asked Sheralyn if she would keep Brianne another day so that she could attend her meeting the following day to which her mother agreed but noticed that Linda had not mentioned Donny.

“Well, I’ll say it this way…I’m really happy for you and I’m very hopeful that you know what you are getting into, but this does seem a bit hasty. On the other hand, this may well be the break that you need, but you do know to not let anyone rush you until you have all aspects in place mentally and otherwise, right? I also notice that you apparently have not spoken to Donny about all of this – right again?”

Linda calmed down considerably, realizing that she had not fooled her mother through all of her animated gestures and fast talking in hopes that Sheralyn would not question her about the details that she had purposefully omitted. Although she suddenly did not want to have this discussion, it was inevitable so again, the explanations accompanied by some meager excuses began. Linda told her mother that she had not yet had a chance to speak with Donny but would be sure to tell him a little ‘white lie’ about her having to work late on Saturday. She explained that it was not time to discuss everything with him as yet, because she wanted to make sure that she was actually ready to move forward. Promising that she would in time tell Donny everything and that he deserved to know because their finances depended on it, Linda somewhat gave assurance that things had to be this way for the time being. Sheralyn held a look of skepticism, but accepted what she was told for fear of putting a damper on Linda’s gleeful demeanor, but despite all, she still needed to delve deeper.

“So what you’re saying is that I should not make mention of your plans for tomorrow and after you’re sure of all of this, you will have a talk with the father of your child? Linda, you know that I don’t like lying about anything no matter how crucial it may be, but I guess I’ll have to let it slide this time…I just don’t understand why he can’t know beforehand.”

“Oh mom! Can’t you see? Like I said, this really is happening kind of fast and I really need to be absolutely sure of everything involved. It’s not that I think things won’t work out. The agent – Steve, is so nice to me and he explains everything so plainly. This program is on the lookout for potential entrepreneurs and they help people in the community so I’m actually just being extra careful. You know how I am…I have to see it through to the end before I spill the beans. Steve has already made it clear that I won’t be rushed into anything and there will be some involvement in learning the ropes which is a good thing. He assured me that he would be with me every step of the way with anything that I needed to learn and that I wouldn’t have to worry about being funded and left without knowing anything else afterwards. Mom, you’ve just got to do this for me this one time!”

By this time, Brianne awakened to the noise of her mother’s pleading and came into the kitchen for a hug and kiss, glad to see her.  She climbed into Linda’s lap, nestling her little head comfortably into her mother’s bosom and went back to sleep. Linda rocked her lovingly as Sheralyn spoke again.

“Sweetheart, I’ve known you since before the day you were born…there is still something you’re not telling me. I’m not willing to drag it out of you so I’ll just voice my suspicions. I’m sure that you already know what I’m talking about, but please tell me that this Steve guy looks like an ogre and has no other hope in life besides whatever he is doing to earn money. Her daughter gave no answer. “I thought so. Linda, you’ve got to stop this fantasizing and make up your mind about what you really want for your life. You’ve done this sort of thing ever since you were a girl and though you are still young now, you are living a grown-up life. Please don’t get yourself into any trouble. I know that you and Donny were on really shaky ground not too long ago, but you guys seem to have done well since then. Make up your mind and let business be business…don’t go out on a whim simply because you are letting your imagination get the best of you.”

Linda almost cringed at her mother’s ability to read her and be precisely right in her thoughts and suspicions.  “Damn”, she thought. She couldn’t get anything past her mother. Linda had indeed enjoyed Steve’s attentiveness and gentleman-like qualities when they’d met in person. Their phone conversation had induced even more ‘getaway from reality’ images in her mind about this stranger falling hopelessly in love with her and taking her away to live a rich and blissful life on an island far away from the norm. Fully aware that these scenarios were merely a portal through which she could temporarily erase that fateful night when her baby’s father raised his hand to her in a brief yet violent spell of anger and distrust, Linda iterated that she was and would continue to be faithful to her relationship and that she was well aware that everyone made mistakes, especially due to the fact that she had thrown the first several blows. She and Donny would be just fine, she told Sheralyn, but inside she asked herself, “Won’t we?”

*

That night, they were free in their own ways, but both had and hid their reservations about their circumstances. Donny’s frustrations followed him home. Thoughts of his brother’s remarks and nasty attitude along with his father’s  impromptu syrupy sweet friendliness that was sure to morph into an explosive and disastrous poster child for parental fuck-ups ran back and forth in his memory despite the mixture of liquor and herbal smoke invading his psyche only to induce an urge to release all. Linda’s high gave her the same urge to release the build-up of excitement, nervousness, and apprehension from all aspects of her day at work and with her mother.

Relaxed and willing, their lovemaking occurred in heated throes , though not from passion as much as the need to be free if only for a brief span of time. Their tryst soon became a hurried abruptness which would have failed Donny in Linda’s behalf had it not been for her savior – her imaginings that enabled her to reach the pinnacle of pleasure that had almost escaped her. Despite an unexpected yet satiated end to this episode of physical action, Donny was able to detect that Linda had a lot on her mind just as he did. She told him that she would be working late the next day after he spoke about his trying day. He accepted her statements and understood that her schedule was the reason for Brianne’s absence. Donny showed no inhibitions about their conversation though his suspicions grew. He had to keep his cool to avoid the potential for another argument, so he again kept his feelings hidden. Trying to see things as positively as possible, he looked forward to being able to sleep in late on Saturday and visit his baby. He also mentally broke himself down enough to take Donald up on his offer to save his material until that Monday. Still apprehensive about riding around with his father, Donny kissed Linda goodnight, turned over, and they both slept…anxious to experience what the events of the next day would bring.

**

Donald had finally convinced Jesse to take her meds. For some reason, she had no intentions on going through this process, but gave in to her husband’s admonitions. He wet a cool hand towel to place on her forehead while continuing to try to encourage her of the wonderful weekend that they were sure to have. Their son would be over, and hopefully everyone would be present at church on Sunday to stand under his voice as he led the congregation in an earnest prayer, and they would all have dinner at Robertson’s.

“Don’t worry dear…everything is going to be all right. You just rest now, Jesse…I love you.”

Aside

Continual Resort – #9|Stepping Stones

Finally! Installment #9 is done. A combination of a busy week and a good bit of research for this installment was the reason for the humongous gap between posts, but better late than never – hope you enjoy! 🙂

Continual Resort #9|Stepping Stones

stepping stones

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Linda arrived at ‘Sweet Styles’ early Friday morning with excitement and a new outlook. Her secret meeting the week before with the agent from the Angel Investment company produced a reasonable amount of hope for her awaited dream of starting her own business just that much more tangible. She knew that she would also need to take out a loan to go along with this particular source of funding to make up for the expected high return on the investment, but this aspect would be discussed with Donny once she was sure that she would actually move forward. “All in due time.” she thought to herself as she set up her station. Despite the  possibility of a small business falling apart within its first year, Linda knew that she would be a success because of her skills and yearning to further her ability in the industry of her craft. A mark would be made in the state of Missouri, and her name would be on it. She had also been researching the ins and outs of running a business long before her discussion with this agent, but she was anxious to learn more from him.

Thinking back on this secret meeting being the cause of Donny’s suspicious questioning and her loss of temper, Linda was still determined to be discreet until she was absolutely sure about beginning this endeavor. She was not sure of how to keep Donny at bay…her only hope was that he would not see her again with that agent or anyone else that she would be having discussions with and that she could hold everything together without looking suspicious in any way.

Many thoughts went through Linda’s mind as one of her regular clients made her way from the shampoo bowl and into her chair. She was glad that she would be able to get some rest that evening by her only having seven heads lined up for the day. This would enable her to be fresh and ready for the upcoming week when she would have her next meeting with the agent…but her cell phone rang just as her client was caped and comfortable.

Linda excused herself from her customer by pointing to the break area to indicate that she had to take the call…she rushed away to answer the phone.

“Hello?”

“Well, hello Linda! This is Steve your agent from the Angel Investment Program…do you remember me?”

Linda’s excitement grew. “Of course, of course! I’ve been waiting on your call…I’m working right now, but I was just wondering when I would hear from you. Are you calling to set up an appointment? Oh – I’m so sorry Mr. uh…-

“Oh don’t worry Linda.” Steve feigned an honest little laugh. “Actually, that is exactly why I am calling. We need to talk about your options along with your plans in the case that you are willing and ready to get this ball rolling. Call me Steve, by the way. Also, I wanted to let you know that your credit check came out as clear as a bell. After all, no credit is better than bad credit – right?”

Linda was a bit embarrassed of the fact that she had no credit although she did have several cards. No more than two years ago when Brianne was born, she and Donny had decided that they would not run up a pile of bills that they were not sure they would be able to pay despite Linda’s acceptance of the cards that she held. On the other hand, Donny wanted no part of being a credit card holder. “If I can’t get it right then and there, I don’t need the shit.” This was his apparent motto pertaining to the issue, but he had no problem with Linda’s choices on how she controlled her finances as long as she took both of their budgets into consideration.  Although their finances were basically separate, they both provided for their daughter and paid regular bills collectively.

Bringing herself out of her thoughts and back to the conversation, Linda thanked Steve for his help, but also reminded him that she was still in the process of sorting things out such as finding affordable companies to buy equipment and products, etc., as well as hiring her staff.

“Well, Steve, I’m actually glad to hear that…you are right about the credit. I try not to go overboard with those cards because you can get yourself into a heap of debt that way, and I do not need that especially with what I intend to do. I’ve thought really hard about where my equipment will come from, and I know that I’ll have to start out pretty small at first – the hiring situation is a little rough too, but – ”

“Oh, you have to stop worrying so much my dear! That is what we’re here for. I will be the one to help you get these aspects together and the Angel Investor program will also give management advice and even helpful contacts if needed. Keep in mind that this is not a government program as you cannot actually get a grant from the government for a small business start-up. Funding and help from the Angel or should we say ‘personal’ investor program comes from people who have the experience and expertise to I guess you could say – ‘bring in new generations’ of business men and women – for a price of course, but what’s most valuable is the knowledge that you’ll receive to keep your business going successfully. That in itself will pay off in the long run. I know you’re anxious – maybe even a little scared, but I’ll be by your side every step of the way, so you don’t have to worry your pretty head about any of this. As a matter of fact, I was actually calling to set up an appointment with you so that I can give you more information about the program and what it involves, but I can tell that you’re kind of nervous about it all, so instead of meeting me at my office next week, how about having our meeting in a more relaxed environment saaay, over dinner – tomorrow? I really believe that you’ll be able to take the information in much better over a nice meal – my treat! So whad’ya say…do we have a date?”

***

Friday morning at Robertson’s looked to be a day of ease for everyone at work – except for Donny who had already given the staff their directions for the day. Customers were still coming in to try the new dish which was apparently good enough for a party of twenty to make reservations for an alumni celebration in the establishment’s special events area; the dish being everyone’s entrée.

“Word of mouth is getting around, y’all. We gotta work it this evening, so let’s get set up!” The staff was still congratulating Donny on yet another great creation and were glad to be playing their own roles in this success. They all cared for and looked up to Donny; knowing that his passion was solely to create. They were also aware that he was an aspiring writer and supported him completely…everyone except Derrick.

“Dude, its fish and some damn fruit.” Unbeknownst to Derrick, his brother overheard the statement and saw the ‘big deal’ gesture as he spoke to one of the waiters who nonchalantly shook his head, shrugged and walked away. Donny refused to be negatively phased by his brother’s remark. He even felt a tad victorious in that he knew that Derrick was jealous and still had to follow his orders despite the fact that Derrick would practically throw himself full view into the spotlight for unearned credit – all with the support of their father. “Little shit.” Donny muttered as he made his way to the office to write plans for his next  dish. He had gotten no further than a short list of ingredients for a side when an abrupt knock on the door interrupted his thoughts.

Frustrated now, Donny hurriedly unlocked and opened the door to see his father standing there.

“Hello, son.” “Hey, dad…what brings you here so early?” Donny was surprised to see his father after his long absence at work. ‘Payback time…damn! Here we go…’ Keeping his thoughts inside, he stepped back to let Donald in. A ball of nervousness now accompanied Donny’s initial frustration as his father pulled up a chair to sit directly across from him at the desk… staring straight at him.  Determined to keep eye contact in spite of his inner jitters, Donny thought, ‘Whatever it is, I still ain’t kissin’ no ass, so go for it!’ 

“So…how has this Friday gone for you so far? I heard about the success of your new entrée, so I came by to congratulate you. You may not realize it, but I do know that you work your ass off here…even though you’re not interested – right?” Donald’s genuine looking yet sly grin spread across his face; contemplating an answer.

“Well, yeah…I guess you could say that since you put it that way. I do feel pretty good about how everybody’s taking to the dish.” Donny decided to refrain from mentioning his brother’s reaction to the praise he was receiving from Robertson’s workers…he would stand on his own two feet.

“Good, good! I’m glad to hear that. Looks like you’re already working on something new, huh?” Donald bent and slid the paper over to his side of the desk; looking at what was written. “Hmph! I must have interrupted you, so I apologize for that. Always working, my son…I’ll bet you can’t guess my real reason for coming to speak with you, can you?” He smiled again.

“Nope, not really dad. No harm, but I really was into a new plan, but since you’re here – shoot.” Donny forced himself to control the impromptu visual scenario of his father raising a pistol to  his forehead  with that grin and pulling the trigger. He was in complete shock at his father’s next words.

“All right, son…I’ll get to the point, and I hope that you go with the flow with me on this because you really deserve it. My thought this morning is that you’ve been busting your ass for a business that you really don’t want to be a part of, but you still need a paycheck until your writing career takes off. Your loyalty shows. Though I don’t agree with the life choices that you have and are still making, I still appreciate all the work that you put in here. If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t be able to keep this thing up like I did as a younger man. Your father is getting up in age and I truly depend on you to teach your brother the ropes for the future, but you’ve been at it so hard lately that I thought you should have a little break. How does taking the rest of the day and Monday off sound to you? Just relax, do whatever you please, especially since you’re getting your new system set up next week, so you’ll need that day off too. Now, how does that sound? Oh yeah, and on Saturday, I would also like for you to come and visit your mom and me…you can actually check out my new system and save your um…your work – just for old times sake – I’ll even come and pick you up! It’s got to be a hell of a lot on you to be writing and working like you are. Who knows…you may even want to attend Sunday service with us…your mother will be giving the Sunday School summary and I will be doing the prayer for service.” Donald gave his older son a questioning look.

With much reluctance and a bit of comfort also, Donny agreed to all of his father’s suggestions. Overcome by a ‘just get it over with’ outlook on the situation, he was altogether sure that his father feigned wanting to spend time with him because he knew that this was exactly what Donny could do without, and for an extra added torture – church? ‘Yeah, right!’ Donny thought to himself while giving his father a goodbye hug. He felt that all of this would be worth the trouble come the following Monday.

***

Thanks for reading! If you would like to see installment #8, here it is >> Continual Resort #8

 

 

Aside

Continual Resort – Part #5| Phone Call at Midnight

Hey WP! I am moving at a snail’s pace with my story, but I have finally gathered my thoughts and I THINK that I am ready to move on. August was a crazy month for me, so I am playing catch-up with everything…reading, writing – everything! So this installment is from 3 weeks ago (I think) where Kellie Elmore prompted her followers to ‘pick a title’ and I used ‘Phone Call at Midnight’ for part 5 and I’m actually thinking about using all the other titles for future installments, so thank you Kellie! I hope you guys can forgive my ‘lateness’ but I will eventually get back on track. In the meantime, here is installment 5 of Continual Resort.

‘Phone Call at Midnight’

Linda and her baby were home now. She had filled Brianne’s wading pool with water from their next door neighbor’s water hose and Brianne along with the neighbor’s child splashed accordingly. Linda assured Patrice that the kids would be fine while she watched them as Patrice heated chicken nuggets and french fries inside. Linda had already brought home plenty of Kool-Aid packs and chips to add to their meal, but her mind could not veer from the strange questioning from ‘John’ as he called himself. She wondered about his past. How had he come to be a beggar? The strange thing was that she hardly ever saw him at the store at night, but during the day he’d be there like clockwork. Did he have another spot during the evening, or did he actually have somewhere to live. Linda noticed that despite John’s repeated ensemble of wrinkled jeans and t-shirt, he did not look very dirty, just extremely rough around the edges. He had really thrown her for a loop by starting up their chat that morning.

“Why had he been so serious, and why had he looked at her that way? Well next time, I may have a few questions for him.” Linda thought aloud. She had no problem giving someone who was homeless a couple of dollars, but she would not tolerate some con man taking what little she had while also dipping into her personal life. “Even if I’m not alright, what can he do about it?” Still, there was something very strange about this guy who sat casually in front of Walmart during the day and who knew where else otherwise…something strange and hauntingly familiar.

Linda shook off her suspicions as she wrapped the two small girls with an extra-large towel to dry them off so that they could have their lunch. Mere seconds before Linda was ready to lead the two happy squealing girls into her neighbor’s apartment, Patrice  pushed her back door open with her shoulder while carrying a tray loaded with nuggets and fries. “They can have their chips for a snack before bed.” Patrice grinned, glad that her daughter’s playmate had returned for the weekend.

“I decided that we may as well eat out here since everybody’s having so much fun!” “Girl, you’re just crazy! ” Linda laughed before making her next statement, “I already dried them off, and we could have come in as usual, but have it your way!”

There was a small card table set directly at Linda and Donny’s back door where Patrice set the tray and as if performing a magic trick, also pulled a bottle of ketchup from under her arm and set it at the center of the table.

Linda un-stacked the lawn chairs and set them at the table so that all four of them would have a seat as opposed to holding the girls in their laps.  The two barefooted two-year-olds gladly allowed Linda to help them into their chairs.  They all sat and enjoyed their midday meal as the babies sang their own muddled renditions of their favorite songs that all toddlers love. Neither of them were allowed to watch music videos and the only time that any hardcore rap music graced their little ears was when Donny or Patrice’s boyfriend had the urge to listen to loud beats from the speakers of their sound systems in one apartment while the children played in the other. They all tried to make sure that they were careful about what the kids heard and would eventually repeat, but by Donny being an aspiring lyricist some things were simply unavoidable such as the loud music that also resonated throughout their complex from other neighbors which they had no choice but to abide.

“Koo-wade, mama!” Brianne fully remembered that her mother had bought her favorite drink from the store, and she was now ready for it. Linda excused herself from their little table  to retrieve the drinks from her freezer…soon after coming out with a pack for each picnic attendee. Linda and Patrice opened and inserted the small straws into the pack for their daughters as well as their own as they discussed sending Taylor – Patrice’s daughter to the daycare center that Linda had Brianne enrolled in now that Patrice had finally found a job. She assured her friend that Taylor would be fine because her mother worked at the high school and would bring her home with Brianne. Patrice would only need to swing by and pick Taylor up when she got off work. That way the girls could have more time together.

Linda thought inwardly that once she became a salon owner, she would be able to pick up her own baby at a reasonable hour instead of just weekends and days off, but to make her heart lighter, she continued to joke with her friend.  “You can finally let go, and let God, girl!” They laughed casually at Patrice’s reservations about being separated from Taylor, but the issue of violence and accidents in public facilities for children was real despite their joking.

Linda felt a sense of pride in knowing that her mother cared enough to help her as well as her friend.

With the two babies apparently too full to enjoy their cakes for dessert, Patrice and Linda decided that they would dress the girls in dry clothes and put them down for a nap if possible. They thanked each other for a nice day before retreating to their assigned abodes to which Taylor went fast asleep, but Brianne insisted that she needed to watch ‘Spongebob’. Linda was glad that she kept children’s DVD’s for this very purpose, and her baby was fully occupied during the wait for Donny’s arrival.

He came in with the same attitude as usual on the weekend. He set their bottle of vodka on the kitchen counter and tossed the dime bag of weed right into Linda’s hands which she caught like a pro. She stashed her supply and came back up front to see how Donny’s day at his father’s house had gone, although she knew that it would not be good…it never was.

“What did you pick up to eat?” Linda had no intentions on cooking. It was Saturday so she knew that Donny had picked up fast food from somewhere. “I stopped by the restaurant…that’s where I saw Derrick of course. You wanna drink first or eat?” Linda declined both options as she was still full from lunch. She would eat something later. “Where’s Bri?” ” Donny made his way to his daughter’s bedroom where he found her lying on a blanket on the floor fast asleep. He knelt to kiss her forehead before returning to the kitchen where Linda sat at their small dinette table to hear the events of Donny’s day. Linda was surprised that Donny had not made himself a drink as he usually did, but sat at the table and began to speak.

“Shit’s been weird today. First of all, Dad wasn’t as much of an ass as he usually is. I didn’t get a sermon today, but he did have some questions. For some reason he was acting like he was interested in my work and get this – he said that he’s buying a new computer and that I can have his old one. All I have to do is pay for internet service. Can you believe it? I was in fucking shock at first and then I thought about it. I accepted the computer…it’s out there in the car, but I know there’s gonna be something else to this shit. I don’t know what he’s gonna want from me later, but hell – he’s still giving Derrick the fucking world, so tossing a used computer at me is the least he can do.”

Donny’s younger brother Derrick had done all that their father had asked of him. He graduated high school with honors and had also finished culinary school which landed him the position as head cook at Robertson’s, their father’s successful restaurant of 18 years which was in the downtown area. During their high school years, both boys were subjected to Donald’s long speeches about how hard it had been for him to pull himself up by his own bootstraps and make something of himself, which was not easy for a black man trying to start and keep his own business. Donny’s mind had always been set on becoming a famous writer while Derrick took all that his father told him and followed in his footsteps. He had been the perfect son. Never a harsh word between him and his father as when Donald told him to jump, Derrick asked how high.

Can a man love and hate his own brother? Donny had pondered this thought for years to avoid his underlying feelings of jealousy. Why couldn’t his father love him for who he was and simply accept his choices on who he had in his life as well as what he wanted to do with his life?

Shaking off this thought, Donny continued to talk about how busy the restaurant was and that he was glad to be off. He worked during the week as Derrick’s assistant. Donny knew that his skills were just as if not far better than his brother’s but he would continue working for, though not with his father while Derrick kept the title as long as necessary because he wanted no part in owning anything with his father and certainly not his brother. His day would come sooner or later. He was just having a hard time dealing with the fact that sooner was actually not in the plan.

While still going over the day’s events, Donny’s blackout never came up. The two of them continued on as if it had never happened , but somehow she knew that he simply could not help himself and was genuinely sorry for what he had done. She had seen that miserably guilt ridden expression on her father’s face many times, but never had the opportunity to find out what had caused him to be such a tormented soul. However, she knew exactly what Donny’s problem was and she knew that if she had not thrown the first blow while in a drunken stupor, the situation would probably be non-existent.

Linda listened patiently as Donny went on, but the next thing he said made her straighten her slightly slumped posture. “You know that old dude that sits at Walmart every day? Well, he was sitting in front of the liquor store across the lot and decided to hold a running conversation with me – well not really a conversation, but he was asking questions like he really knows me or somethin’. Stuff like – how’s the job goin’ fer ya, and even how’s my love life? I was polite and just gave some general answers , but I just thought that it was a little weird. I guess since we’re pretty much his best ‘givers’, he just wanted to shoot the shit a little you know – just to be nice, but still.”

“It is weird ’cause when I went to the store this morning, he did the same thing to me!”

Donny asked Linda how their conversation went and soon after, they both shrugged of their suspicions of John being a con artist and decided that this was his way of saying thank you for the dollars that he received from them on an almost daily basis.

Linda told her live-in boyfriend to not worry about Derrick and just keep working at the restaurant until he got his big break. “All you need is a paycheck. Things are gonna change for us both someday…I just know it.”

“I sure do hope you’re right ’cause right now I just don’t see it but shit’s gonna change one way or the other…I just hope it’s not for the worst for some reason.”

Linda hated it when Donny spoke that way because it was if he could see into the future. Each time that he became wary about ‘something’ happening, it usually did. Although she wondered why Mr. Robertson couldn’t stand the sight of her she never let it bother her. He could be an ass all he wanted to as long as he didn’t say anything to her which he never did. He always expressed his unwarranted disgust for her with his son. Linda knew full well that Donny’s strained relationship with his father as well as his close-mouthed mother played a big part in his anger issues, but she vowed to always keep the secret about dear little brother Derrick. In her opinion, he was the real and true ass. It was obvious to Linda and Donny both that his younger brother was no angel, him being the regular provider of their supply of herbal smokes, but not even Donny knew what a snake he really was and she intended to keep it that way – hopefully.

She would never forget when she came to realize the type of person Derrick was due to an unexpected, surprising, and infuriating on her part but apparently well thought out (on Derrick’s part) –  phone call at midnight.

Aside

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