Authors: Tess Allen
The View From Suite 2100
Copyright © 2012 Tess Allen
Published by Write On Writers
The View From Suite 2100. Copyright © 2012 by Tess Allen. All rights reserved. No part of this e-book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages to be included in a review.
All characters, names, descriptions and traits are products of the author’s imagination. Similarities to actual people – living or dead – are purely coincidental.
Cover design by: PTL Creative Plus
This book is dedicated to the loving memory of my beloved Floyd H. Love, Jr.
I also want to acknowledge Shannon Dulin, Robert O. Dulin III, LeTia Allen, Jaime Clark, LaKeisha Dulin, Marjorie McMorris, Sandy Asuquo, Alicia Brown, Alaina Brown, Ivana Wilson, Linda Gramse, Shellie Roberts, Rita Love, Karmello Brooks Coleman, and Heather Jones for their love and friendship.
Fellow authors and dear friends Shelia Goss and Carla Curtis I could never acknowledge enough for their support, encouragement, and continuous creative inspiration through it all.
I most definitely thank those of you who read and enjoy my books. You are who make it all worth the effort. I love you!
Above all, I acknowledge and give thanks to the Creator Himself through whom all things are possible.
The View from Suite 2100
has been in the making a long time. It is a pleasure to now be able to offer it to you as an electronic novella. Tess Allen is also the author of the Love Bites series novellas
His Wife’s Diary (Love Bites) and The Jewel Thief (Love Bites)
The View from Suite 2100
I’m Rowena Justina. At least that’s what my family always calls me, Rowena Justina. I think they like the way it rolls off their tongue. But my friends call me Ro. My whole name is Rowena Justina Wilkes.
To be honest, some folks call me Dorothy in Technicolor. I’m from Kansas and I’ve definitely clicked my heels a time or two hoping to find my way home after making some very wrong turns and ending up in a few terrifying Lands of Oz of my own making. Actually, I’m in one of those now, and talk about bumping heads with the Wicked Witch of the North! Believe me, I know exactly who that cow is, but then that’s another issue entirely.
I’m 5’2”, Ethiopian brown, turned 37 last month, and can easily pass for ten years younger as long as I keep my hair cut short and my lips painted a soft, innocent pink. Innocent! I am learning that there are degrees of innocence. Although I have never lived hard, I assure you it would blow my friends away if they knew half the truth about what’s currently going on in my life.
Alexia, Melayne, and Becca would argue anyone into the ground if they were to try to make them believe what I’ve gotten myself into. I can even imagine them riding upon my haters like they were a posse from the old west, rushing to my defense and threatening to give my detractors an unsophisticated beat down for daring to insult my integrity, (despite how upstanding and proper they pride themselves on being). You see, my friends love me just like I love them, but I’m not at all sure they’ll feel that way after Friday.
Ah, Friday. I wonder if I’ve forgotten anything I’ll need on Friday. No need to try to rack my brain now. I can attend to those things later. Right now I need to stay focused, which hasn’t been easy lately. With all the balls I keep juggling, it’s a wonder I’m able to keep any of them up in the air.
As you know, I’m an entrepreneur? My friends like to brag about me, but I’m not entirely sure they really know exactly what all I do. I own a handful of small businesses. At least they are considered small by the Small Business Administrations’ standard, which is a good thing since with some of my firms that allows me to take advantage of a lot of exciting and profitable opportunities designed for small American businesses, especially those owned by women. My companies include RJW Commercial Realty, Afri-Trade Export Company, Maximum Shine Booking Agency, and, my newest and probably my most intriguing venture, 2-of-A Kind, Inc.
I like to laugh and say that I’ve made my first million at least three times already. It’s too bad that number is so overrated. I actually thought when I got there, when I could honestly say I’d acquired those seven digits, I’d be whole. I’m not. Not by a long shot.
I want to make it clear that I’m not engaging in a little pity party. Rather I’m in the midst of a reckoning, as the old folk would say where I come from. You make your bed hard you’ve got to lay in it. I’ve been trying to prepare myself for the possible consequences of my actions mentally, but just trying to think through this mess is wearing my nerves to shreds. I’ve really wound up taking my tension out on my friends to some extent.
I was a little testy the last time we had a sister session at Magic Hands, but I tried to check myself. Apparently I was especially snappy and uptight a few weeks before when everyone stopped by my house for an impromptu evening. I must have been unusually brisk in my interactions with Becca, whom I really adore, at least until Alexia took me to task. She tends to be our sergeant-at-arms when things get out of balance.
Hey Ro,” Alexia had finally said, following me into the kitchen at my row house in Georgetown. “What’s up with you? Why are you treating Becca like that?”
Alexia doesn’t beat around the bush. Of the three, she’s my closest friend, or, at least through the years, she has been. “And just how am I treating her?” I asked defensively. “I’m just telling her the truth! Getting involved with Marcus – the father of her step sister’s twins, for goodness sake, Alexia - is inconceivable to me. What is she thinking?”
She isn’t,” Alexia said quietly, laying a hand on my shoulder gently. “Her heart is. Normally, you’d be the first to understand that.”
Alexia was right. Normally I would be. With all I’ve been through with Drew David Ardmore III I should be the very last person to offer a less than charitable opinion about anyone’s affairs. I think dealing with Drew and the Ardmore’s over the years has served to erode my sense of well-being. Before Drew happiness was the rule of my day, not its exception. Before Drew I knew exactly who I was and exactly where I wanted to go. Truthfully, before Drew, my life had nothing in common with this endless circle of confusion.
You know what? I really need to get myself together. I’ve been fuming ever since last week when Drew had the nerve to call at the last minute with that lame excuse! You should have heard him! ‘Hey baby, look, I’m going to be a little late tonight, ah, if I make it at all. We’ve got this, ah, family meeting and I tried to get out of it but, well, ah, you know Mother, she’s insisting…’
”Boy, why don’t you grow up?” I yelled at him through the phone, but it didn’t make a difference. He didn’t show. His mother, as usual, had come first.
The truth is I was fit to be tied. We were supposed to be going to the Cellar Jazz Club in Georgetown to catch Will Downing’s final engagement performance. I had to move hell and high water even with all my booking agency connections to find tickets, paid straight through the nose with promises of return favors to the sleazy promoter I snagged the tickets from when I finally did find some, and there Drew was calling at the last possible moment saying he might not make it! Please! I freaked. I almost had one of Becca’s legendary zone out attacks!
I finally wound up ordering Kung Pao Chicken from P.F. Chang’s around seven and driving all the way out to McLean, Virginia to pick it up. I needed the drive to let off steam, but when I got back home I had lost my appetite. In tears I stuck the food in the refrigerator and jumped on the computer, which, of late, is always a disaster for me, especially if I’m angry or feeling on edge.
I don’t know, but something about that particular disappointment had another kind of edge to it. I can’t seem to shake it and things between Drew and I just haven’t been quite right since.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to give the impression I cut Drew loose right then or anything. Actually, I went out with him that very next evening. I sort of had to, really. I was already committed to being a presenter at an African American scholarship fund raiser that was being hosted by one of my top commercial real estate client’s parents, the Boswell’s, and Drew’s parents were also major contributors and participants. Drew was listed in the printed program as my escort. I swear, if the event had been hosted by anyone other than the Boswell’s I probably would have cancelled because I really wasn’t feeling it, but I couldn’t do that to my client. Her parents would certainly have blamed her, not me, if I’d dropped the ball. That wouldn’t have been good, especially since the client and I were in the middle of closing a major lease agreement, so I went on with Drew as planned.
Lawd, was that man looking good that night though? He’s been wearing custom-made designer jackets this season, and the one he had on at the Boswell affair was a subtle spotted burgundy. On anyone else it would have looked ostentatious, but on him, well let’s just say it looked like he was born to wear it!
Knowing Drew’s reputation for style, I made sure my own fashion house was in order. I heard him catch his breath the moment I opened the door. I selected an Issey Miyake black pleated silk skirt with lace-up cording and a red shadow-twist mock neck blouse. It set me back $1400 at Saks, but that sharp, involuntary intake of Drew’s breath when he saw me made it worth every dime.
All evening Drew kept trying to cajole me into forgiving him. I sulked as though I wasn’t about to for the first hour, but, by evening’s end, we had reached a tentative peace. Still, I only gave him a quick, passionless peck on the cheek at my door and said goodnight. Letting him in was out of the question! He needed to suffer at least a little longer.
I closed the door behind him and was about to just go undress and settle down in front of the computer when something inside me said ‘no’! He needed to suffer but I sure didn’t. I listened as I heard his car drive off, then I grabbed my own car keys. I was feeling much too cute to just sit home and trip.
By the time I slid behind the wheel of my car I had already started punching in numbers on my cell phone. Surely at least one of my girls had to be home or available and ready to party for a while still.
I called Becca first, but after six rings I knew she was either lost in one of her latest new world meditations or out soaking up another one of her leachy friend’s sad sop tales. She was getting herself into a royal fix, bouncing between Marcus and the guitar player who hadn’t had a job or played a gig for at least a decade. Heck, not only was Marcus the father of her step sister’s twins, but she’d just discovered he and the guitar player, Dustin, were both named as possible fathers of the child of one of her best clients, a local celebrity who never showed up anywhere unless she was dressed in a Becca DeJonas original. I couldn’t believe Becca was leaning towards believing those two loser guys over the woman, her main client, who was padding her pockets royally, but she was. “Girl,” I said aloud as if she could hear me, “What are we going to do with you!”
I shifted the phone to the other ear as I pulled skillfully into D.C.’s night traffic, then dialed the number at Melayne’s hotel, not sure if she’d decided to stay in D.C. another night or catch the red eye back to Los Angeles as she’d been considering. I was thrilled when she answered on the first ring, but her sultry voice didn’t sound like it was me she was expecting to be on the other end.
“Hey, Melayne!” I said brightly. “What’cha up to?”
She let out a sigh. “What are
up to? Girl, it’s…” I knew she was looking around her room for the time. “It’s a quarter to twelve.”
“Yep, that’s right, and it’s Saturday night. I’m dressed to the nines, just got rid of Drew, and I’m ready to party!”
I could almost see her sit up. Melayne loves to party, and to party pretty on a Saturday night in D.C. was definitely her cup of tea. I knew she’d be especially game now since she was a being hired frequently as a political pundit once more and would be stopping traffic where ever she went.
“What are you wearing?”
“Issey. I’m decked out, girlfriend!”