Authors: Neicey Ford
Judy stood and walked towards the door.
“Jonas, honey looks like you’re adding on some muscle. At this rate you won’t be able to keep the ladies off of you.”
Jonas blushed. “Thank you, Mrs. Judy.”
“See you all later.”
“Alright, have a good one.”
“You wanted to see me, Mrs. Chatman?”
“Yes, come on in and shut the door.”
Jonas closed the door then sat down. He placed his hands in his lap.
“I want to talk with you about
Jonas’ shoulders relaxed.
“In addition to reiterating the policies we have in effect at TIA.”
“I haven’t told anybody that we were together.”
“I didn’t say you told anybody, Keisha. What I said was that she knows. I spent the last hour in her office. Thirty minutes of it was going over the fraternization and the consequences thereof. I can’t win for losing.”
“Jonas, you act like you got fired.”
“No, I’m acting like I knew this was a bad idea and there’s a possibility
that I could be fired.”
“I’m overreacting? Are you serious? This is coming from a lady who blurts out stuff without thinking about the side effects.”
“If you’re talking about the Christmas present statement…”
“Yes, I’m talking about the
Christmas present statement
“I’ve already apologized for that.”
“Yeah, and look where it got me. In the boss’ office. I have to go.”
cleared her throat as she answered the incoming call.
“TIA Enterprises, how may I direct your call?”
“Can you come in my office please?”
“Yes, ma’am. I’m on my way.”
“Hey Jonathan, have you heard from Kane?”
“Naw. Not since the last time he was here.
Oh, but this came in the mail for you.”
Quest Records. Thank You, God!
“It’s better than good. It’s great!”
Why’d you ask about Kane? Is something wrong?”
“I’ve been trying to get in touch with him. I’ve called the numbers I have for him and left messages, but haven’t gotten a response.”
“You want me to try Ritz and see if he’s heard from him?”
“Yeah, please and if he has his mother’s number get that too.”
DJ sat looking around the studio. He swiveled back and forth in his chair.
Where are you?
He logged into his Facebook account to view Kane’s lastest post, which was three weeks prior.
adjusted his headphones as the verses to “Get This Dough” played.
This is hot
. He was pumped at how smooth Kane and Roe’s flow was together. They had two very unique styles.
The phone rings and he answers.
“D, I called Ritz and he said Kane’s at his mom’s where he’s been at for the past several weeks.”
“Is he straight?”
“Ritz said he looks bad.”
“Damn, for real?”
“Did you get his mom’s number?”
“No, but I got her new address?”
“Hey, Ms. Johnetta.”
DJ! Honey, it’s good to see you. How’ve you been?”
“Not too bad. Ms. Johnetta, is Kane there?”
“Umm hmm,” she replied sounding disgusted. “He’s here,” she said moving aside to let him in. “DJ, I swear something’s wrong with the boy. He hasn’t left this house in almost five weeks. I’ve been keeping count. He told me if anybody called or came by to tell him that he wasn’t here. Now, I’ve done that for everybody else, but I can’t lie to you. You’ve been too good to Kane.”
“Thank you, Ms. Johnetta. Is he downstairs?”
“Yes, sir. He can’t stay here and have my basement looking like a pig’s pen.”
shook his head. “I understand completely.”
He opened the door to the basement and headed down the steps.
“Kane,” he yelled.
“How long are you gonna stay down in this dungeon?”
“What difference does it make?”
“Oh, I see. You’re having a pity party and the only one available to attend is you, right?”
“D, I didn’t invite you over. Why are you here?”
“I’m here because you want me to be. It was you who came to me wanting me to help you. It was you who came to me wanting me to believe in you, your talent, your message, and your ability! I’m invested now…studio time, phone calls and most importantly, my concern for you. What do YOU want to do, K? What do you want out of life? Are you
ready to do something different in order to get it?”
“Do something different? I’ve been doing something differe
nt! I gave up my only means of survival for a bullshit dream that’s never gonna happen. I’ve disappointed myself, I’ve disappointed the people I love and I’ve offended you. Sorry I couldn’t live up to the man you thought I was.”
“You didn’t offend me. What you have to understand and realize is
that I was always for you, K. You made a mistake. Who do you know that hasn’t? However, the lesson in this is to forgive yourself and not let Satan use the guilt of that mistake to keep you held prisoner in a mental cell, which is what you’re doing by locking yourself up in this basement. Being down here is not shutting people out as much as it is closing you in. You’re stifling your creativity, you’re not being productive and you’re practically wasting away and why? Because you made a mistake that, by the grace of God, you were able to walk away from?”
“I lost everything I had…”
“What you lost…was it something you wanted or was it something you needed? I believe that in order for a person to be truly happy in life, they must first learn the difference between what they want versus what they need.”
“I needed it!”
“You didn’t NEED it, K! What you
wasn’t something that was necessary for your survival…your livelihood. You’re still here! You’re still breathing without it!” DJ sighed. “What if I told you that God is trying to get your attention? What would you say if I told you that God is trying to tell you something and sometimes the only way He can get your attention is to get you alone?”
an I get anymore alone than this?”
You have to be willing to let go of certain things in order to receive what’s being prepared for you. I need you to get up, K. I need you to shower, put some clothes on, eat something and then meet me at the studio in an hour.”
Kane sighed. “D, I don’t…”
“In this world, you can’t have your cake and eat it too without forfeiting something else. It’s impossible. However, nothing’s impossible with God. With God, K, you can have an entire bakery! I keep telling you that if you want something different you have to do something different. I know you’re listening I just don’t think you’re hearing me.” DJ scratched his head. “Look, I can’t force you or hold your hand in an attempt to get you to see what I see, which is something better than where you are. My Word can’t save you. You have to get it for yourself. The choice is yours. I’ll leave this right here for you,” DJ said placing a piece of paper on the table beside Kane.
Kane waited until he heard the door close. He rolled over and picked up the paper.
“Mama, you got a Bible down here?”
“What? Who needs a Bible?”
“I do. Where is it?”
“LORD, JESUS! HALLELUJAH, THANK YOU, LORD!” Ms. Johnetta praised.
“Look underneath the table down there,” she answered. “Praise, God. Praise, God,” she continued to sing.
Kane grabbed the book, aimlessly flipping through the pages in search of the book of James.
Where’s James? There it is.
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?
Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food.
If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?
In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead
“Faith without works is dead.”
DJ pulled in front of the office thirty minutes later. He killed the engine and let out a deep sigh before closing his eyes and saying a quick prayer for his friend. When he entered the office, Jonathan was finishing up with a client.
“Did you see him?”
“Did he look as bad as Ritz said he did?”
DJ nodded again.
“Damn. So, what are you gonna do?”
“I already did it.”
Jonathan shook his head.
“I spoke to him briefly. He’s in a negative place right now. I told him I needed to see him here in the next hour. Whether he shows or not is strictly his choice.”
“What if he doesn’t show?”
“Work as usual. We can’t allow one confused apple to spoil the entire bunch. I’ll be in my office. If he shows ring me before letting him in.”
“Camille, you look beautiful. I love those colors.”
“Thank you, Mrs. Chatman.”
“Ted, it’s good seeing you again.”
“Same here, Denise. Well, while the other girls are getting ready do you have a second?”
“Of course.” Denise said escorting Ted to an empty office across the hall.
“First, I just wanted to say thank you for giving me the opportunity to work with you. I have had the time of my life here and owe a lot of my success to you. You believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. When everyone else doubted, you believed.”
“Ted, thank you, but you don’t owe me anything. You did the work, you put in the long hours and you
co-authored your own path of success. I simply encouraged you to look inside of yourself to see what I saw. You did that and where you are now is your reward.”
Ted smiled. “Well, I didn’t want the day to go by without you knowing how much I appreciate you. This project means a lot to me. You’re the first big account I have and though I’ve worked with you before I want to make sure everything is perfect.”
“Nothing is perfect, but I believe in you and I believe that whatever you attach your name to will be as close to perfection as one can possibly get so,
. Now, let’s get out of here. We have an entire room of models, actors, photographers and videographers waiting for us. This is it, Ted. You ready?”
“As ready as I’ll ever be.”
“Let’s go then,” Denise said patting Ted on the shoulder.
They re-entered the roo
m as the models were taking their places on the stage.
“May I have your attention please,” Denise yelled.
Everyone turned, giving her their full attention.
I’m going to introduce myself to some and reintroduce myself to others. My name is Denise Chatman and I’m really excited about this project and your being here. This project is one of my babies and I’m very protective of my kids. With that being said, we’ve already discussed what I expect of you as temporary employees of TIA Enterprises. If there are no questions we’ll go ahead and get started.”
No one said anything
“Alright then. Let’s get
Denise watched as the models positioned thems
elves on the stage. The music blared through the speakers as the techs adjusted the lighting for the first scene. Denise smiled at the feeling of satisfaction that filled her heart.
My first show. Wow! Thank You, God. It’s going to be awesome.
Hours later they were finished.
“You girls are the true definition diva! I’m so amazed at you all.”
“Alright, don’t forget to return your badges to Keisha and sign out before leaving. Great job. See you all tomorrow.”
“Awww!” Ted screamed once everyone had left the room.
“This is going to be an amazing show, Ted. I can feel it.”
“I’m so happy. All the girls came with their “A” game today. They were really great.”
“Rita, come over here for a second,” Denise called.
“Nice to meet you, Ted.”
“Rita is the designer
of the clothing used in this show. She is brilliant!”
“Congratulations to you, Rita. The girls looked fabulous.”
“Thank you so much,” she smiled. “I’ve been working really hard on my latest designs. I was a little nervous, but when Camille came here a few weeks ago for her fitting it all went away. She’s a natural. Then I met the other girls and they were just as great,” she smiled.
“I’m glad to have you as part of the team, Rita. You’re
one heck of an asset to our company. So, is there anything else you need? Material, threat, pins?”
“Actually, I think we may need some additional fabric.”
“Well, let Keisha know what you need and I’ll approve the request.”
“Thank you, Mrs. Chatman.”
“You’re more than welcome.”
“Well, Ted. I guess that’s it for us. I’ll see you tomorrow?”
“Bright and early.”
“Oh, one more thing. I still haven’t received Kristin’s background check yet. She won’t be able to start until I have that on file.”
“My apology. I thought I faxed that over last week. When I get back to the office I’ll make sure I do that.”
“Thank you. Be safe going back to the office.”
“I will. Let me know if there’s anything else you need from me. Have a good afternoon.”
Denise opened the door to her office as a huge smile encompassed her face. She sat down at her desk and then picked up the phone and began to dial.
“You answered. Thank God.”
“Hey, Denise,” she spoke solemnly.
“Oh, stop sounding like somebody has died.”
Denise took a deep breathe. “I was calling to remind you about the book release. I hope you’re still planning to come. I really would like to have my sister there for support.”
“Look, before you say anything, Aprile, I want to apologize. I hope I haven’t been too unsympathetic because the truth is I know exactly how you feel. I was you years before DJ and I got together. I’m sure you can remember me searching for love and giving all the love I had to people who couldn’t and weren’t willing to love me back. It was a rough time for me and a hard lesson to learn.”
I hate what Alex has done to you and how you’re feeling as a result of it. What I will say is that hurting people hurt people and though I can only speak for myself as to what happens to those people they hurt; I know it’s not a pretty sight. I’m praying that you are comforted…soon. The
thing that helped me when I was in your situation was the Word of God.”
“Huh, thanks, Denise.”
Denise sighed. “I know that’s probably not what you wanted to hear, but I swear that’s all I have to give. That’s all I know. Oh, one last thing. I’m going to be able to do the Beauty for Ashes conference. If you can’t make the book release, at least make it there. I think it’ll be good for you to hear. Love you, sis and I’ll talk to you later.”
“Love you, too.”
Aprile hung up the phone and Denise inhaled deeply. She ran her hands through her hair before picking up the receiver and dialing again.
“TIA Enterprises, how may I direct your call?”
“Jonathan…” Denise dragged.
“Hey, Mrs. Chatman. How are you?”
“I’m doing good. Is my handsome husband available?”
“Yes, ma’am. One minute.”
Denise waited as she was transferred.
“Beautiful…I’ve been waiting to hear from you.”
“I can feel the excitement in your voice. How’d it go?”
“DJ, it was amazing! It felt like I was doing this for the first time. Well, I am, but you know what I mean.”
“No, you’re not. This isn’t your first show. You’ve done several in the past.”
“Yeah, I know, but not at this caliber
not for myself. Not for TIA.”
“So, tell me about it.”
“The girls were amazing. Very professional and Rita did a great job with her designs. I think we should really invest in her vision. After all, that’s what TIA’s mission is, right?”
DJ laughed. “Finish telling me about the rehearsal and we’ll talk about investing later.”
“Okay, there are four different sets: Ready-to-Wear, After Five, Women’s Wear and Pre-Fall.”
“DJ, it was. I wish you were here to see it. I was so proud of everyone.”
“I’m proud of you, baby.”
“Aw, thank you, boo. So, how are things in the office?”
“Well, they’re pretty slow. I’m sitting here waiting for Kane.”
“He finally called you back?”
“Not exactly. I had to go over to his moms’ house.”
“What? You went to the North side? Are you crazy?”
“Baby, it’s not that bad. If you mind your own business and don’t bother people they won’t bother you.”
“Wow! Okay, so how’d that work out for you?”
“We’ll see if he’s not here in the next
five minutes,” DJ replied looking at the clock display.
“I pray that he makes it. Did you tell him about the offer?”
“Nope. I didn’t want him coming to the office because of the deal. I want to make sure he’s doing this because of inspiration and not motivation. I’m hoping his faith will lead him to come to work for something different.”
“I got it.”
“Baby, I miss the kids.”
“NO, you don’t! Everybody is in school, building their own families and staying out of our pockets. As soon as you speak them up they’ll call. We can go a month without talking to them. We pray for their safety and covering every night.
God has them and I’m sure they’re fine. No news is good news.”
“If it makes you feel any better I’ll send them a group text to make sure everything is fine and invite them over for dinner next week.”
“Thank you, baby.”
“You’re welcome. You’re such a good daddy.”
“Only by His grace,” DJ replied.
“Okay, I gotta go. I have some emails to respond to.”
love. Oh, one more thing. How’s the book coming along?”
“Pretty good. I haven’t worked on it today, but I
should have it finished this weekend.”
“Let me know if I
can help inspire you,” he spoke seductively.
You always inspire me. I love you and I’ll see you later.”
ended the call just as someone began knocking on the door.
The door opened.
“Mrs. Judy. Come on in and have a seat.”
“Good morning, Mrs. Chatman.”
“How are things with you? How’s Arthur doing?”
“Arthur is doing fine. We’re both doing really well.”
Judy sat down and clasped her hands together, placing them in her lap.
“What’s wrong, Mrs. Judy?”
“I haven’t been sleeping well for the past few nights, Denise. My spirit is uneasy and I know why.”
“I feel terrible about seeing Helen and being flo
oded with our childhood memories. Truth is I can’t imagine how she must’ve felt not having Sam around. It never once dawned on me then, but it has now. She must’ve felt betrayed by the one man who loved her more than life. She was probably angry because he wouldn’t give her or her mother any answers and then he left them and never looked back. I don’t know how the relationship was with him and Helen’s mother. I never asked. Shoot, I never really wanted to know, but what I saw in him when he was with my mother was pure bliss. They were always happy. They loved one another till death did them part. Literally.”
Denise cleared her throat. “Have you tried to speak with Helen now that you both are
older? I mean, you were younger then; you’re both grown now.”
“I don’t know about that, Denise,” Judy snickered. “
I’m sure the hatred that she has built up for me has calloused her heart twice over. Nothing I do or say could possibly penetrate through that.”
re right. There probably isn’t anything you can do other than give it to the Lord.”
“Well, be patient. God heard you and he’ll answer. I’m a strong believer in the power of prayer.”
“I know how powerful it is. I see the results of it every day when I look at Arthur.”
“Would you like for me
to speak to Helen, Mrs. Judy?”
“No, I’ll continue to pray about it. Thanks for listening, Denise,” Mrs. Judy replied as she stood up. “You know what the sad part is?” She asked with her hand on the door knob. “The part that’s really convicting my spirit
is the scripture which reads: Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar…”
“For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot lo
ve God, whom they have not seen. 1 John 4:20. I’m sorry, Mrs. Judy. I’m really sorry.”