Ribbon In The Sky
“Lauren, are you busy?” Benjamin asked his fiancé.
She looked down at her naked body covered in lavender bubble bath and smiled, “Ummm no, I don’t think so.” After a long day, she was relaxing in the tub and having a glass of wine.
Ben came into the bathroom and took a seat on the toilet stool. He admired her body and everything about her, not just her external features either.
“How much more money do you plan on spending?” he asked.
Lauren stopped strumming the side of her thigh with the wooden brush, “In relations too?”
“The wedding and reception. I wasn’t planning on going broke,” he told her.
Lauren looked at him, she thought long and hard before she said her next sentence.
“Babe, I can handle everything else; no worries.” Money wasn’t an issue for Lauren and to ensure that her wedding day was perfect she would spend it all, apparently Benjamin didn’t feel that way and that was perfectly fine with her.
Ben took a deep breath, “Lauren it’s not about you handling everything,” he told her.
She wasn’t in the mood to argue about nothing. Blaming Nasir on her lack of interest in arguing. He had drained her from caring about the little things and made her a total asshole.
Lauren’s heart was still made of gold, but she didn’t care as much as she used too about anything.
Benjamin could not call her all day and she wouldn’t bat an eyelash.
And the sad thing was the difference between Nas and Ben, was when her fiancé didn’t call he felt bad about it. He made it up to her by bringing roses home and giving her the world’s greatest foot massage. Whereas, Nasir would tell her to build a bridge and get over it.
Lauren asked her fiancé, “Well, tell me what it’s about then?”
“You haven’t been working. Don’t you think you should be saving your money for when we build our dream home?” he told her.
“What dream home? I like your house,” she said, in reference to his two story home in the suburbs of Virginia.
“It’s not big enough for kids, we will have to move eventually,” Ben said, shaking his head.
HE WANTED KIDS.
The life of her drained, so did the color in her face and Benjamin noticed it.
“What’s wrong? You look like you seen a ghost.”
Lauren sat up to let the water out of the drain in the tub and stood up quickly.
She didn’t bother holding onto the wall so she wouldn’t fall, nor did she make sure when she stepped out of the tub, her feet landed on the rug before her so she wouldn’t slip and crack her skull. Her only mission was to get by herself so she could cry.
It was something about crying in front of people, mainly men…Lauren didn’t do it anymore.
Foolishly, she believed that when she shed those tears in front of Nasir many years ago he lost all respect for her. Lauren had cried so many times in front of Nasir and it never affected him. He never cared.
So now, Lauren refused to expose herself in front of a man.
Not even the man she was set to marry any day now.
Benjamin ran behind her and grabbed her arm, “Stop running whenever we’re having a conversation. It’s getting on my nerves,” he admitted.
Lauren asked him, “Please leave me alone. I just need a second to myself.”
Benjamin wasn’t going to give her a second, “We are about to be married. When you go through something I’m supposed to go through it with you, Lauren,” he told her.
She knew he was right and she wished she could give him her problems, give him her worries, her fears, her setback and sadly her insecurities too, but she wouldn’t, she couldn’t. It wasn’t that simple.
“Talk to me baby. Please talk to me?” Ben asked her.
Lauren saw the love in his eyes, the genuine concern, the sympathy, the care, the desire to be on the same page as her.
“Are you sure you want to do this?” she whispered, unable to speak up.
Benjamin took a deep breath, he let go of her and folded his arms across his chest.
“I would have never asked you if I didn’t want too,” his tone softened.
Tears welled up in her eyes but she pushed them back, refusing to cry.
“I’m so broken,” she admitted.
“I’m flawed. Ben, I have done some horrible, God awful things in my life….I’m DISGUSTING,” she said each word with so much hatred.
Lauren opened and closed her eyes in an attempt to keep the tears from falling.
Ben shook his head, “Neither of us are perfect and baby our marriage won’t be perfect. But running doesn’t solve the problem.”
She knew her fiancé was right.
“I’m sorry… I just I don’t know. I need to go pray,” she told him and turned around to head to a quiet place in the house.
“Lauren,” Ben called her name.
“Yes?” she asked him, as she turned back around to face him.
“We can pray together baby,” he suggested.
A small smile crept across her face as she finally allowed the tears that had been threatening to fall down her face.
“I…would like that,” she told him and took his hand in hers as they both kneeled at the foot of the bed they shared and she closed her eyes as her fiancé led them in prayer.
“Mother, where are you going? The church is in the other direction,” Lori closed her notebook and looked at her mother.
They were headed to Wednesday’s night service and normally Lori would already be at the church for dance rehearsal at five, then corporate prayer at six followed by bible study at seven p.m.
Church was Lori’s life. She only traveled when it was relations to church. She only shopped for church clothes. She only watched sermons on YouTube, and only conversed about church. The few friends she did have were all Pastors, Prophets and Evangelists.
Lori didn’t have big plans to take over the church, she was a servant in the House and that was cool with her. She loved to dance, sing and pray.
Some Sundays she worked in the nursery, then on other Sundays you could find her leading people into the church, singing in the choir stand or preparing the atmosphere for her daddy to preach.
Everyone knew of the anointing she had over her life and so did she.
Her mother turned the radio down from Praise 104.2 and cleared her throat, “It’s a lot my children don’t know about me, it’s a lot of things that y’all don’t know about your father and it’s for good reason. We have an image to upkeep, a name to uphold and most importantly…Lori we are saving souls,” she told her.
Lori was clueless, so that’s the facial expression that was plastered on her face.
“And you…my beautiful daughter will not bring a baby into this family and into the church that your father and I built with our own hands. Especially not a baby by your sister’s fiancé.” First Lady Howard slammed the car on brakes and turned to stare into Lori’s soul.
Instantly, she began to cry.
“Mother, it was one time…it wasn’t supposed to happen,” she admitted.
“I don’t care how many times it was, me and you both know it wasn’t one time.”
Lori stopped breathing.
“Lori, none of us are perfect, but maybe if you have some respect for yourself then God will bless you with a man and the children you desire. But this…this is not how you will go about it.”
“Daddy, wouldn’t approve of this,” Lori argued.
She wasn’t getting rid of her child, she refused.
Her baby was a gift from God. Lori knew her child would be a gift to the nation.
Her mother smiled at her, reached behind her, picked up her Prada purse, opened a red wallet and slid Lori a check.
“It was his idea,” she told her.
Lori couldn’t believe this.
She was devastated.
“I can’t be seen driving into an abortion clinic, so you are going to walk the rest of the way,” her mother instructed her.
Lori sat there with tears streaming down her face.
All of the years the Good Word had been preached to her meant nothing anymore.
Lori was no longer a believer and someone would pay for this.
“Don’t be late for bible study, it shouldn’t take that long,” her mother said, knowing all too well the process of abortions.
Her own mother had brought her a few times before she started bringing herself.
First Lady believed God sent her Pastor Howard, he saved her from her wicked ways.
“God tells us…” Lori tried again to reason with her mother.
“And He also told you to honor your mother and father and if not, your days will be shortened,” First Lady snapped.
Lori got out of the car and slammed the door.
She called Lauren twice, but didn’t get an answer.
Lori loved her sister, she swore to God she did, but Lauren left…she ran away.
It was Lori that saw Ben all of the time at church.
He was the sexiest saved man in the building.
When Benjamin took her virginity three years ago, it was the beginning of a beautiful romance and then her sister reappeared.
And Benjamin forgot all about poor Lori.
He was unaware of her pregnancy and she had no plans of telling him until she was too far along.
Lori had no shame in standing behind her sister as a bridesmaid in her wedding.
She had no shame raising her glass as they toasted at her engagement dinner.
She had no shame in helping her finalize the wedding plans.
Lauren had no idea that Lori was aware she couldn’t have children, so in a weird way Lori felt as if she was Hagar and Lauren was Sarah.
In fact, over the past few weeks that became Lori’s favorite bible story.
“Ma’am can we help you?” the receptionist asked Lori once she approached the desk.
Lori cleared her throat and whispered, “I have an appointment. I’m not sure the time.”
“Last name?” the receptionist asked.
Lori couldn’t believe she was about to lay down and commit sin, a sin that she didn’t have to commit if she didn’t care and respect her parents so much.
“Ma’am last name?” the receptionist asked.
She contemplated her decision, Kill my child?
Or start my own church?
Kill my child?
Or leave Virginia?
Kill my child or……..
Forty-Eight Hours Until The Wedding
“We can’t smoke in here,” Miko whispered to Noel and Mary Jane.
She shook her head at the two fools. Mary Jane pulled the blunt from in between her two thin lips and asked, “Why not?”
“We are at a church.”
“I’m not Christian,” Mary Jane informed Miko.
Noel was surprised to hear that, “You’re not?”
“God took my brother away, I don’t believe in Him,” she said seriously.
However, Noel didn’t agree. “Okay and I lost my daddy, step-daddy, sister, grandmother and my god mom,” she said.
Mary Jane didn’t discuss two things; politics and religion.
“Anyways, I’m smoking with or without y’all,” she shrugged her shoulders and sparked up the blunt.
“I’ll be back,” Miko got up and left the room.
She respected Lauren and her family too much to engage in foolish behavior, especially under the Lord’s eye.
Miko wouldn’t have any parts of it.
Mary Jane stared at the lavender dress she would have to wear in less than two days.
“Why couldn’t I sit in the pews like everyone else? I hate heels and makeup,” she complained.
Sasha rolled her eyes as she came from the bathroom, “It’s less than an hour, you’ll live.”
Noel wasn’t one for the hoopla and holler, but she knew how important this day was to Lauren, so she wouldn’t be a bitch.
“Did anyone invite Nasir?” Sasha asked nosily.
Mary Jane blew smoke out of her nose and stared in Sasha’s direction.
“Don’t be an ass,” she spat.
Sasha appeared dumbfounded, “It was a serious question.”
Noel shook her head, “No, but I think Malachi and Sean are coming.”
Sasha asked Mary Jane, “And what about Papa?”
“Do I look like Demi to you? I don’t keep up with his schedule.”
Noel giggled. “A little,” she said, ticking Mary Jane off.
“She wish,” Mary Jane mumbled.
Sasha took the blunt from her and asked, “So, you think Demi is ugly?”
Mary Jane wasn’t having this conversation. Not today. Not ever.
“I’m going to go check on the food, I’m starving,” she said and got up.
Sasha watched her leave the room before telling Noel, “Y’all can’t tell me she ain’t fucking him. I’ll bet my last dollar.”
Noel ignored her and said, “Pass the blunt.”
Lauren smiled and wiped tears as everyone danced and had a good time. She was so thankful that everyone flew out to witness love unite. Thankfully, the rehearsal dinner went off without a hitch. Tonight, she and Ben decided to keep it simple by wearing denim on denim. Lauren’s hair was pressed bone straight and she wore a pair of acid wash True Religion jeans with a denim button down from the GAP store and a pair of nude Christian Louboutin pumps with a red lip to seal the look. Benjamin wore the same, but with a pair of brown suede Cole Haan loafers.
There wasn’t a heart in the building that wasn’t warm, everyone was happy and excited for the wedding.
Lauren continued to stuff her mouth with her aunt’s famous lasagna. Her father joked at the family table, in which they all were seated in the front of the room.
“Lauren dear, I hope you’re not with child already. You’re on your second plate of food in ten minutes,” he chuckled heartily.
Ben’s face gleamed with joy of the possibility whereas Lauren had now lost her appetite.
“Let me go check on my friends,” she sat her fork down, swallowed her food down with a drop of water and got up from the table.
Her mother watched her saunter over to the table across the room before asking Benjamin, “We are familiar with Miko, Lauren’s best friend, but the other women…with all of the tattoos and piercings. Do you know any of them?”
Ben shook his head, “No not really, but she speaks with them a lot and goes to New York once every two weeks to visit,” he informed his future mother in law.
“Her life in New York is such a blur to us,” Dwight, her brother, commented.
Ben agreed, but he didn’t say anything.
“The Best Man has finally arrived,” Ben said and excused himself to go shake his best friend and frat brother’s hand.
Latasha, Lauren’s youngest sister asked everyone, “Where is Lori?”
First Lady ignored her daughter and asked her son, “Pass the beans.”
Latasha was confused, so she asked again, assuming no one heard her.
“Has anyone seen Lori?”
“Latasha, what did we tell you about meddling?” her father asked.
Latasha was lost, how was asking about her sister considered meddling?
Her brothers kept their heads down, focused on the lasagna, beans and green salad.
“Yes sir,” she said and continued eating.
First Lady ran her hands across the back of her neck and closed her eyes.
Lori had been acting funny ever since her procedure.
She assumed she would be able to run out of the building and change her mind. But money went a long way in Virginia and there was no way out of getting rid of her child.
Strapped down to the table, Lori had no choice but to open her legs and get the life of her unborn seed sucked out of her.
Since that day, she hadn’t said two words to anyone, and no one had seen her at church.
Lori couldn’t pray if she wanted to.
While everyone was smiling and laughing, celebrating Lauren’s upcoming nuptials. Lori was in the basement of her parents’ home, crying her eyes out.
Her mother asked her to come to the dinner in hopes that it would cheer her up, but she refused.
Lori had no desire to be around such hypocritical people.
Lauren took a seat at the round table where her friends sat, “My dad is so annoying.”
“And cute,” Sasha added.
Lauren rolled her eyes and warned her, “My mama is saved, but she is crazy too. Don’t let the bible and prayer cloth fool you.”
Noel laughed and so did Miko.
“So, is that where you got it from?” Mary Jane asked.
Lauren laid her hand across her chest and opened her mouth wide, “What are you possibly talking about? I’ve never been crazy,” she teased.
Miko mumbled, “Girl please.”
“Anybody that flattens tires in front of the police, is fucking crazy,” Sasha said, speaking of that one time her and Nasir got into it in Miami.
Lauren remembered that day.
She laughed and said, “Oh I wanted to do more damage, trust me.”
Noel asked, “But what happened?”
“I knew I wasn’t going to leave his dumb behind, so it wasn’t no point. Meek, you remember that?”
She nodded her head, “Of course I do.”
They all had shared some good times.
“I can’t believe you’re getting married,” Sasha said.
“Why?” Lauren asked her, really wanting to know
“I don’t know…seems like you and Nas would have worked it out.”
“He has a girlfriend,” Miko announced.
Lauren rolled her eyes, sometimes she wondered who Miko cared for.
“Yeah, but he ain’t fuckin’ with her like that.”
Noel asked, “And how do you know?”
Sasha sipped her lemonade, “Let’s just say she ain’t never been to his house, you know the one nobody’s been, but Lauren.”
Lauren knew Sasha was picking, “Ben needs me. I’ll be back.” She left the conversation.
Mary Jane was now curious, “What house? I’ve been to his condo.”
Miko was very surprised to hear that, “You have?”
“We all have,” Noel said.
Miko shook her head, “Not the one he thinks that we think he lives in, but the one he and Lo really lived in,” she had said too much, but it was too late.
Sasha laughed, they all thought they were oh so close to Lauren, but really she wasn’t close to any of them.
Lauren let them think what they wanted. She never corrected anyone. In Sasha’s eyes, Nasir had taught her so very well.
“Yeah and they didn’t live there either,” Sasha said matter-of-factly.
Noel asked, “What’s with the hidden houses?”
Mary Jane wanted to know the same thing, and so did Miko.
Sasha turned around and looked at Lauren who was staring at Ben with so much love and shit in her eyes.
“Ask her, she’s the only person that really knows Nas,” Sasha said.
24 Hours Until The Wedding
Nasir had been sitting in the back seat of the truck he was chauffeured around the city in. His driver wanted to ask him what were they doing in Virginia but he didn’t. He remained silent and waited on further instructions on where they were going.
Nasir bobbed his head to the tunes of Bob Marley as he smoked on a blunt and thought about his life.
From the villages of St. Lucia to where he was now; mentally, spiritually, emotionally and physically. He considered his social status, his bank accounts, the land and wealth he acquired and then he thought about his family; his mother who he hated, his grandmother who he missed every day. his little cousins who chose to stay back in St. Lucia instead of living better in New York with him.
Then, Nasir’s mind went to Lauren.
Which was the reason why he was in Virginia now.
Lauren never stopped praying for him, not when he kicked her out of his dorm room many years ago.
Not when, he chose others over her.
Not when, she loved him on days he didn’t even love himself.
Lauren never stopped praying for him. Nasir wasn’t as spiritual as she but he knew that the Bible read, “When a man findeth a woman, he has found a good thing”
And he wondered was Lauren his good thing? Or was it Jordyn?
He was so fucking confused and Nasir swore he was too old to be torn in between the two and unsure of what to do and who to choose.
His heart belonged to Jordyn andthen at the same time his heart clung for Lauren.
Jordyn was safe, Lauren gave him a headache.
But a headache that he loved, a headache that he missed.
Nasir hated to admit that it killed him to hear his brothers tell him they were headed to Virginia for Lauren’s wedding.
No, Nasir didn’t want to marry Lauren and no, he wasn’t planning on leaving Jordyn. But did it make him a selfish mother fucker if he wanted her to himself.
Nasir could forget the thought of that loser sliding into his precious Lauren. He could discard how she abandoned the Underworld to become a housewife.
Nasir would forget it all, if she returned to the city and back into his life.
He couldn’t see her with another woman.
“Sir I’m not sure if we can remained parked here any longer” Nasir’s driver told him.
he thought for a second and then said, “Let’s check into a room somewhere, preferably the Ritz-Carlton. I need rest. It’s going to be a long night”
“How much did this cost you?” Silas, Ben’s best friend asked him as he held the ring in his hand.
Ben was too embarrassed to tell anyone else, but he knew he could trust his best friend.
“Everything I had,” he admitted.
Silas couldn’t believe him, “A ring? Really nigga? Are you serious right now?”
Ben dropped his head. He too, thought it was a stupid decision, but the look on Lauren’s face when he proposed… He would never forget it.
She was happy, this he knew.
She was in love with him, this was true.
But the ring…Lauren wasn’t too satisfied with the ring and Benjamin would do anything to see her smiling and happy.
“I know, but man I’m working overtime as soon as we get back from our honeymoon,” Ben told Silas.
“And what about your bills? Are y’all even done paying for the wedding?” he asked.
Ben nodded his head, “She damn near paid for everything, her and her parents.”
“Where does she work again?” Silas couldn’t recall Ben ever mentioning a job or career.
“She’s a party planner.”
“Making that much guap?” Silas asked.
Ben told him, “Yeah, for celebrities and stuff.”
“Damn, that’s what’s up.”
Benjamin took the ring from him and stared at it.
The diamond was a clear cut and it was shiny too. He wasn’t the richest man in the world, nor was he the poorest. Ben was simple, he worked hard, paid his taxes and tithes while still putting money into his savings.
He didn’t have the money Nasir had, but his money was legal. Benjamin knew he had big shoes to fill when he stepped up to the plate and told Lauren he wanted to be her man.
She didn’t expect much from him nor did she ever ask him for anything, so he had to upgrade her ring.
Ben wanted to watch his wife with pride over the years, show her ring off and with the one he proposed with, she didn’t do that too often.
He had did his best and spent his last on upgrading her ring, hoping tomorrow she would be pleased.
Ben couldn’t wait to see the look on her face when he slid it on her finger tomorrow morning.
“As long as she’s happy,” he told Silas.
Silas agreed, “Happy Wife, happy life.”
Today was the day. The day that she had planned, prepared and prayed for. The day that she dreamed about her entire life. Lauren woke up to classical music playing and coffee brewing. Everything around her was laid out and there wasn’t anything that could possibly go wrong with this day. Last night, before going to bed, she and Benjamin spent one hour praying for this day. The day that had now come. The sun was shining, birds chirping and her mother humming around the room. It seemed as if First Lady was happier than she was.
Lauren sat up in bed, crossed her legs and asked her mother, “How did you feel on your wedding day?”
“Sick,” her mother admitted.
Lauren was confused, “Not happy and joyful?”
“No…sick and miserable,” First Lady told her.
“Why though? You told me your wedding was the best-”
Her mother cut her off and handed her a cup of coffee, “It’s not the wedding that made me sick. It was the fact that I was pregnant,” she confided in her daughter.
Lauren was very surprised to hear her mother’s confession.
She didn’t know what to say, so she inhaled the coffee and cooled it down before taking a sip.
“Lauren, marriage is a gift from God, honor the gift,” her mother stated.
Lauren nodded her head, “I will mother.”
First Lady smiled and said, “The masseuse is on the way up then we will have breakfast and go to the church.”
Lauren told her mother thank you, and as soon as she closed the door she pulled her cell phone out to call her fiancé.
They promised last night to not talk at all today until they joined hands at the altar, but she couldn’t help herself.
Unfortunately, Ben’s phone rung twice and then went to voicemail.
She assumed he was busy talking with her father, or getting a haircut, so she sent him a text message, “See you at the altar at two, love you.”
And tossed her phone onto the sheets and went to take a bubble bath.
Lauren hopped and skipped to the tub, screaming loudly, “I’M GETTING MARRIED!”
Today was the happiest day of her life and nothing or no one could steal her joy.
Bride was defined as a newly woman married or a woman about to be married. Lauren Nicole Howard was only one hour away from being married.
“Lauren, please be still,” Miko asked her best friend.
She giggled and apologized to Miko, “I’m sorry, I can’t help it. I’m so excited y’all.” She started to cry.
Her makeup artist leaped forward with a sponge, “Lean your head back,” she told her, catching the tear before it ruined he face.
Noel took the wine glass from Lauren, “Okay you’ve had enough.”
Mary Jane couldn’t stop smiling, Lauren looked amazing.
“I’ve never been to a wedding before,” she admitted.
Sasha asked her, “Are you for real?”
Mary Jane nodded her head, “Yeah, Lauren I wish you the best, seriously. You’ve been through so much…and Ben is great.”
Lauren teared up even more, Mary Jane wasn’t a woman of many words so she knew it came from the heart.
She took a deep breath, “I love y’all so much. I have sisters…but y’all are my sisters, my friends, my diaries…each of you hold a special place in my heart,” she told her girls.
After her small speech, there wasn’t a dry eye in the small room. Even Sasha’s devilish ass had shed a few tears, but hers wasn’t of happiness. They were guilt tears.
“Okay, let’s give Lauren a second to pull it together,” her hair stylist said and moved everyone out the room.
Lauren asked Miko, “Can you go check on Ben? I been calling and texting him. Just tell him I love him and I’ll see him in two minutes”
Once everyone was out of the room, Lauren put her veil on and stared at herself in the mirror.
She took a deep breath and practiced her vows. Both, she and Ben had agreed to write their own vows so as the years passed they could hold each other accountable by vows they created themselves.
“I promise to love you-”
Before she could continue, a knock at the door came.
It was her sister Lori.
Lauren had a big, wide, goofy smile on her face.
“Hey sis,” she said happily.
Lori smiled back, today was a better day for her.
“You look good, girl,” Lori commented.
Lauren blushed, she had been hearing that all day, but couldn’t wait until Ben saw her. His compliment was the one she was waiting on.
Lori fixed her sister’s hair and smoothed out her dress a tad, everyone was putting their own little finishing touches on Lauren, so she didn’t mind.
“Have you seen Ben?” Lauren questioned.
Lori’s heart stopped.
“No, no I haven’t,” she said nervously.
Lauren didn’t even catch it.
“I’m so impatient, can you ask mama how much longer until we start?” she asked her sister.
Lori nodded her head and hurried out of the room.
She hadn’t saw Ben around the church today…not since last night…
“Wait…back up, that’s his house right there,” Silas, one of Ben’s groomsmen told Dwight.
“No, it’s that one,” Dwayne said, telling his brother Dwight to pull into the driveway they were in front of.
“How you gon’ tell me?” Silas snapped.
Dwight answered him by saying, “We were just over here for dinner.”
Dwayne, Dwight and Ben all grew up together in the church and were very close. Before he and Lauren rekindled their flame, the two brothers had spent a lot of time at Ben’s house on Sundays watching football and barbecuing.
So without a doubt, they knew where Ben stayed.
“Come on, let’s just see if he’s here. Hopefully the negro hadn’t caught cold feet,” Silas said.
The wedding was supposed to start an hour ago and Lauren was in the bridal room under the impression that her father was late.
Little did she know, Benjamin never showed up to the church.
Silas knocked on the door and said, “Yo man, you going out like a sucker.”
Dwight chuckled and added, “My sister is going to kill you man.”
They all shared a laugh.
Dwayne, the more spiritual out of the three men that stood in front of Ben’s front door, leaned his ear to the door to see if he could hear anything.
He then went around the house to the window that peeked into the kitchen.
At the sight before him, he stepped back.
Seconds later, he was bent over, hurling the breakfast his mother cooked this morning onto the white pants of his suit.
“Man, what you over here doing?” Dwight asked his brother.
He saw him vomiting and asked, “You got food poisoning or something?”
Silas saw tears coming out of Dwayne’s eyes and wondered what had happened.
Dwayne couldn’t stop throwing up, but he did manage to point to the window with very big eyes.
Silas stepped towards the window and then screamed, “BEN………..NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO BENJIE!!!”
Sending Miko to Lauren’s side wouldn’t make the situation better, everyone assumed she had the magic touch of putting a smile on her face. True enough, she and Lauren were ace boon coons, ride or dies, sisters for life, and today she was set to serve as the maid of honor in her wedding. Today, her wedding day would now be no more than a date. The date that was supposed to be special and memorable was now the date her fiancé died. Lauren checked her phone a million times, wondering why her wedding wasn’t starting on time. She assumed that the Pastor, her daddy… was late or Malachi and Papa’s daughters had caught a stomach bug and could no longer be the flower girls in her special day. Ignoring her gut even though all night, it was warning her that something was wrong, that something bad had happened. She had heard the myths growing up that it was bad luck to see the groom on the special day, but she didn’t expect him to ignore her too.
Her calls went unanswered and so did her text messages, Lauren convinced herself that he was trying to savor the moment.
She turned around and lifted her veil when she heard Miko’s voice enter the dressing room, “Lauren.”
The way she said her name…it wasn’t full of joy and happiness, it was filled with guilt and pity.
She knew something had happened.
“Just tell me,” Lauren replayed the scene in her head from hours ago.
Miko went closer to her, wanting to be as close to her as possible. Lauren shook her head and held her hand up, “Stop right there and tell me,” she asked kindly.
Her best friend didn’t have the words for her, “Miko, fucking tell me!” she yelled.
Everyone on the other side of the door jumped, they thought Miko was the best person to deliver the news.
“It’s Ben,” she whispered.
“Okay, what about Ben?” she asked.
Miko wasn’t an emotional person, but on her best friend’s wedding day, this wasn’t what she wanted to do…. But Lauren eyes begged for her to just open her mouth and get it over with.
“They found him dead, he hung himself” she finally got it out.
Lauren didn’t believe it, she even laughed as she snatched the custom veil from the braided bun that her hair was styled in.
“Give me a second,” she asked Miko.
“Lo,” she wanted to tell her she was here.
“GET OUT!” she shouted and threw the veil in her direction.
Miko sighed before giving her space, once she joined the rest of The Underworld, minus a few members she had tears in her eyes.
“This isn’t fair,” she said sadly.
They all stood near as their hearts ripped into pieces as they listened intently as Lauren tore the room up and screamed obscenities.
“Can someone…go tell the guest…his family…that…the wedding is cancelled?” Miko struggled with her words. She never took her hand off of the door knob, her heart went out to her friend.
“I’ll handle it,” Noel said, it was known that she was the strongest out of the bunch.
Miko dropped her head, Lauren was the more spiritual one out of their crew, but for all the times her friend had held her hand in prayer and lifted her up, right now was the time for her to do the same.
One Sweet Day
We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,—
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties.
Why should the world be over-wise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us, while
We wear the mask.
We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
To thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
But let the world dream otherwise,
We wear the mask!
Life was short, it was too short. Lauren didn’t get enough time with him. she didn’t get the opportunity to tell Ben how much she loved him, how much she appreciated him for making her whole. She didn’t get a chance to show him who she was…without the mask. His love overpowered her and she was so undeserving of it. Lauren sat on the first row with her head in her lap, she couldn’t stop crying and screaming from the top of her lungs. Out of everything she had been through in her twenty-nine years of life, this was the worst.
How was she supposed to get through life without him by her side. From a little girl, Ben had been by her side. He was her first kiss, her prom date, first boyfriend, and now he was gone.
Over and over, he had told her during the process of planning their wedding, “I came back for you. You were going to be my wife Lauren Howard”
It was his dream.
Lauren took a deep breath and sat up, she couldn’t function.
And since her wedding day, nine days ago she hadn’t slept a peep.
She hadn’t ate, unable to keep anything down.
Lauren refused to take her wedding gown off, she kept it on for three days refusing to accept that her fiancé killed himself.
His best friend accused her last night of his death, claiming that Ben had went broke paying for the wedding and her a new ring and was stressed out.
He blamed her for his death, screaming in front of their family and friends that Lauren wanted and expected too much out of Ben and he felt as if he had to buy her love.
That was far from the truth and now his family hated her.
They sat on one side and her family on the other.
Miko rubbed her back and her mother held her hand.
Lauren sobbed and tried to regain her composure, he didn’t even look like himself.
She closed her eyes, wishing they would just close the fucking casket but his mother insisted on it being open the entire time.
Lauren told her mama, “I need some air” she got up and walked out of the side door of the church.
Miko got up but First Lady said, “Give her some space”
Everyone was towering over her all day every day but eventually Lauren would be alone and today was a good day to start.
First Lady turned around and stared at Lori, who was doing as bad as Lauren was.
Lori straightened up once her mother gave her “the eye”
She couldn’t believe Ben killed himself. Lori knew that he couldn’t have been that devastated by the news she gave him, to the point where he hung himself.
As soon as Lauren heard the piano play, she knew the funeral had begun so she washed her hands and pattedher face in the bathroom with a paper towel.
“God please get me through this day, please” she whispered to herself as she combed her hair towards the back of her head.
Lauren heard the door unlock to one of the bathroom stalls but she couldcare less with who was in the bathroom was. She was mourning for the love of her life and everything and everyone was irrelevant.
“Lauren I’m so sorry for your loss” a woman told her.
Lauren was tired of hearing that already, but she knew everyone sad for her.
She knew that people cared about her, so she looked up and prepared herself to tell the woman thank you.
But when she turned and faced her, she was speechless.
Lauren stared at Jordyn and wondered what the fuck was she doing here.
“Thank…you” Lauren struggled to say.
A beautiful smile crept across Lauren’s face but instead of it warming her soul it sent chills down her spine.
“Karma is crazy isn’t it?” Jordyn asked her before walking past her and out of the door.
Resentment COMING SOON the story of Nasir and Jordyn