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A Woman's SecretA Story of Life, Love & Tragedy
By Toyin Adon-Abel
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2009 Toyin Adon-Abel
All right reserved.
Chapter OneSYDNEY COLLINS Wednesday April 11th Boston, MA 3 years earlier.
I toss and turn in my bed; I can feel the sunlight streaming through my yellow Venetian blinds onto my pillow.
"Hmmm seems like it's going to be a wonderful day" I murmur sleepily.
I must have drifted off because all of a sudden I am back in my dream. I'm a caterpillar forming a cocoon. While the cocoon forms a voice tells me that I need to decide what color and size I'm going to be as a butterfly and asks where am I going to live.
"It doesn't matter. I've been waiting for this day all my life; do you think I ever stop to think about those minor details?" I say in the dream.
I continue swaying back and forth while my cocoon forms. I remember it being a feeling of both joy and anticipation.
Suddenly, the swaying becomes very violent and I feel smothered, I try to take a full breath but can't. I open my eyes just as I could feel and smell someone pressing down on me. This can't be Omar again can it? The last time he did something like this I'd nearly made him a eunuch! I start struggling, kicking out my legs and trying to get up while at the same time trying to scream. But I can't, the person's hand over my mouth is too strong. I continue to struggle, trying to bite any part of the person's body I can reach.
I feel a hand on my breast; I intensify my struggling digging my nails into the unwelcome hand.
We roll off the bed landing in a heap on the carpet. I suddenly recognize the person's smell as I see him.
"Omar! What the heck do you think you're doing?" I shout, enraged.
"How did you get into my bedroom?" I scream, jumping up from the floor and trying to adjust my night shirt.
"Omar! Answer me you idiot."
"What the heck is wrong with you? I warned you last time that I'll call the cops and have you arrested"
I lunge at him, swinging both arms, trying to scratch his eyes out. But he grabs my arms as I continue to struggle as hard as I can. I free one arm and slap him across the face as hard as I can.
"Are you crazy?"
I continue kicking and punching him. I'm as angry as I've ever been and his silence isn't helping the situation any.
"You are crazy Omar; you want me to call out to Dad?"
"Pops? He ain't home, I saw him drive off just as I got here" he finally says.
"I don't give a damn" I respond, just as I'm able to connect with a kick to his groin.
"Oomph, damn it Sidney, did you really have to do that?"
"Get out! Get out of my room!"
I'm screaming at him now and pushing him, propelling him toward the door. In his doubled up position he bangs his head on the door frame and angrily elbows me in the stomach.
"Aah! negro you hit me"
He finally escapes from the room just as the heavy candle I throw at him shatters on the edge of the door, narrowly missing his already banged up head.
This time Omar has gone too far! I'm tired of him following me around like a puppy dog and now he's sneaked into my bedroom again and assaulted me. He's just a friend and although he can be very nice and helpful at times enough is enough! I must have told him a million times that ain't nothing gonna happen. Angrily I walk into my bathroom.
"I need to go straighten that negro out" I say out loud to myself.
"And I will be calling the cops"
I brush my teeth and step into the shower; I'm still seething mad at Omar.
"That boy is gonna make me knock out his teeth one of these days. I haven't so much as even kissed him before. Shucks!" I mumble.
A couple of club dates, one of those in a group with four other friends and this fool thinks he can now touch me?
I take time to relax a little under the warm water, scrubbing my favorite shower gel into my skin, my eyes closed. I remember that I still need to go see Dad at his office downtown, maybe I'll even tell Dad about that idiot Omar.
As I step out of the shower I also remember that last night Dad had insisted I go straight back to college and do a Master's degree. I've been accepted to all 3 graduate schools I applied to but I think I want to hold off on more studying for a while. Maybe Dad will let me go to New York and work for him. It shouldn't be too difficult to convince him, I'm his only child and I usually get what I want!
"Heck!" I've stubbed my pinkie toe on the corner of my dresser again. It's gotta be the 100th darn time. I've got to move it a few inches. Still muttering under my breath because of the pain in my toe, I apply my make up.
I throw on a white and blue checkered shirt, a pair of blue jeans and black heeled shoes. I grab my black fur lined leather jacket and storm out my bedroom, I'm still mad at Omar.
I run down the stairs to the den where I know Omar will be waiting. He'll either be watching Dad's recordings of CSI or eating Mama's cooking from dinner last night.
I see him taking a large bite out of a chicken leg. He looks up and grins as he hears me walk in.
"What the heck are you grinning at fool? I'm calling the cops, right now"
"Hold up, hold up Syd. You're not still mad at me are you?" He asks in a panic.
"I sure am; are you kidding me? I told you last time you pulled this stupid stunt. Didn't I?" I reply angrily.
"Come on Sydney, calm down baby. You know me just playing witya. No need to bring dem coppers here, ya know."
"Don't baby me negro, and don't try to make me smile with your fake Jamaican accent." I yell.
I walk right up to him, grab the plate of chicken, greens, corn, mashed potatoes and gravy he is eating and throw it all over his chest. And for good measure I throw his drink of apple juice into his face.
"How do you like that fool? I'm out to see Dad, clean up the mess behind you. You better not get Jones to do it either, YOU do it yourself." I say smirking.
And with that said I saunter out of the house to my car.
"Good! At least he won't be able to jump into my car with me." I murmur to myself.
"Hopefully I won't see him for the rest of the day. I'd better call Jones myself and instruct him not to clean up Omar's mess." I thought.
Jones is sort of like our maid or butler and knowing him he'll try to tidy things up himself.
I dial home from my cell.
"Good morning Jones. Sorry I had to rush out the house but I'm on my way to see Dad. Listen, Omar's made a mess in the den; I don't want you to clean it alright?"
"G'morn to you too Miss. Sydney, you know I can't let Mr. Omar......" he replies, before I cut him short.
"Jones! You must not do it okay? I'm very serious, do you hear me Jones?"
"Yes Ma'am" he responds
"Thanks Jones and sorry for cutting you short just now, bye." I hang up the phone and start my car.
It'll take me about 30 minutes to get to Dad's office downtown.
My Dad, Mr. Jordan Paul Collins is CEO of CSD (Computer Systems and Development) a very successful computer firm here in Boston. He also has offices in Atlanta GA, Fort Lauderdale, FL and Chicago, IL. It took me years to break through the "rich girl" stereotype that people tend to attach to me. In my opinion I'm not spoiled. Dad always stresses the value of hard work and education. He had urged me to take various internships throughout college before he would even give me the car I wanted. He always told me that if my grades dropped, so would my allowance. So basically I haven't been fed with a platinum spoon like most people would believe. Mama is pretty laid back. She and Dad have been married for a million years it seems. Mama doesn't have a career anymore but is actively involved in various non-profit organizations and is well respected throughout the community. The problem however is that neither gives me much credit when it comes to what I'm capable of accomplishing on my own.
"All that's about to change!" I say out loud. Loud enough for me to hear myself over the booming car stereo.
I have it all planned out. I'll invite him to brunch and I'll tell him straight out,
"Dad, I'm not going to grad school right now, I need some time to figure out what I really want and I need you to be supportive of my decision."
Then I'll stare him straight in the eyes and wait for his response. Is this plan really going to work? Well, there's only one way to find out....
I probably have just enough time to enter this building, ride the elevator to the 20th floor and walk into Dad's office before he leaves for his meeting. I had called him en-route and he'd told me about an impromptu meeting he has to attend. Here I am, in downtown Boston looking at the old rustic buildings side by side with modern ones. I've always loved this city, full of history and intrigue and money. Yes, money! There's nothing wrong with liking money and the privileges it can bring, privileges that can span one's immediate family and also a multitude of others. Others that one chooses to assist in one form or the other. I have always believed in my heart that wealth is meant to be shared. One of the reasons I love Dad so much and get along with him so well, is that he agrees with me. Dad also believes that he should help anyone less fortunate than us. Mama on the other hand! That's another story. She is the youngest child of a struggling family in Georgia and has let personal ambition get the better of her generous side. As a matter of fact, I can't remember her ever having a generous side. Whatever financial gain that comes Mama's way, stays with her further swelling her already swollen bank accounts. Mama has a very successful law firm that she moved from Atlanta to Boston within a year of marrying Dad. She doesn't practice regularly any longer but she spends almost all her time involved in charity work, not for the love of it, but to socialize with all the other multimillionaire wives that participate in these events. Dad, I must admit relishes the fact that his beautiful, intelligent and successful wife, has the time to look after him to his heart's content. Who could blame him anyway? I can't. After all aren't love and contentment the most important elements of a lasting marriage? Sugar! Time to concentrate on my imminent meeting with Dad.
"Hello Jill" I say, strolling past his secretary in the outer office.
"Hi Sydney, how are you today?" she replies, as polite as ever.
I swing open the double wooden doors leading to his large office and I'm almost knocked off my feet as he picks me up in a bear hug, swings me around and kisses me on my forehead. As always Dad has a wide beaming smile, bearing all his very white teeth when he sees me. He makes me feel warm inside and constantly validates me.
"Sweetheart" he booms, "You are right on time, punctual as usual and pretty as ever!"
"Where are we having this brunch you've invited me to?" he continues, getting straight to the point in his typical fashion.
"It's almost 11am and I'm ready to eat "
"Slow down Dad" I say.
"I've decided we'll talk right here in your office, this way I'll try to be as straight to the point as you always are and not have to worry about any distractions. Could you instruct Jill that you don't want to be disturbed for the next half hour?"
Dad looks at me in silence for a few moments and then says
"Wow, this must be important. I see you really mean business. Let's go and sit over by the windows. If I can't eat I'll at least enjoy the panoramic view, the weather is lovely today."
"Thanks Dad" I respond,
"And try not to think of food too" I continue with a grin.
"You cheeky princess." Dad murmurs.
I sit down in the comfortable chair by the large Bay windows overlooking downtown Boston and the rest of the city. I then launch straight into my prepared little speech almost verbatim, even before he has completely settled into his armchair opposite me.
"Dad, I'm not going to grad school right now. I would like some time to figure out what I really want to do with my life and I need you to be supportive of my decision."
I take a deep sigh and wait for his response.
I'm sure it's been at least three minutes and Dad still hasn't said a word. Should I wait another three, or try to assert myself by saying something else. He's just staring at me confusingly, but do I detect a slight grin? I hope not. He's probably scheming
"Dad! Didn't you hear what I said? Aren't you going to say anything? What are you thinking? Why are you ignoring me? Are you angry? Say someth ..."
"Slow down, take it easy sweetheart, you just worried me that's all. So what would you like to do?" Dad asks.
"Travel, work maybe?" I respond apprehensively.
"Fantastic! How would you like to oversee a new branch of CSD in New York? That would allow you to travel and work at the same time." He grins again.
This time I stare at him. I have a sneaky feeling that I've been set up. But how? He didn't know what I was coming to speak to him about. Does he know me that well? Dad clears his throat as if to speak, but I quickly interject.
"Dad, if I didn't know better, I'd say that you've had this planned all along."
"Actually, I have been considering Adam Whittaker out of the Ft. Lauderdale office for this assignment. But as you have just expressed your desire to travel and work, I trust you will do an excellent job. After all, you're a Summa Cum Laude graduate. In addition to that, you showed outstanding management skills during your internships." He concludes.
My mind is swirling, this seems like a lot of responsibility but it also sounds exciting. New York! Wow! What an opportunity this would be to see the Big Apple. I could cruise China town looking for art and décor, pop into as many cafés as I please and visit the splendid museums.
"Dad, does Mama know about this?"
"I haven't run this by her yet." He replies.
"Do you want to rush home and catch her before she jets off to Haiti?" He adds.
I wonder if I could make it home on time. Downtown to Beacon Hill where we live can take as long as 40 minutes at lunchtime.
"But Dad, you sure Mama's home? She wasn't when I left"
"Yeah baby princess, she is. She just called me from her room a couple of moments before you walked in here."
"Ok Dad, I'm heading straight home, I'll call Mama from my cell phone. Consider that I'm giving you a provisional thumb up to your proposal."
I get up excitedly, feeling as if a weight has been lifted off my mind. An executive in a multi-million dollar firm! I'll get a new car. The metallic blue Mercedes Benz SLK I have always wanted, a big office with one of those big black leather chairs and a large shiny plaque with my name on it. I'll even get my own secretary ... hmm! A tall, dark, handsome firefighter I muse, laughing to myself.
"Behave yourself young lady," I tell myself, you're supposed to be renewing your mind.
I practically run out of Dad's office, barely pausing to say goodbye to Jill. I wait impatiently for the elevator; all I can think of is getting home to tell Mama before she leaves for the airport. I'm both excited and a little apprehensive about Dad's offer but I also know I just can't wait to get to New York.
Well, that went great after all. In fact, I really got the chance to challenge my own safety zone and it turned out well. As I scan my room to figure out what was going and what was definitely staying here, the phone rings.
"Hey who dat?" I ask.
"Hey Sydney, what's up? It's Omar."
"What do you want Omar?"
"Chill baby girl. I'm holding up a white flag and standing in the middle of my room in white boxers and socks, really!" He chuckles.
I can't help laughing out loud.
"You're so stupid Omar but I'm still mad at ya."
"Oh yeah!" He replies loudly.
"I haven't had this much free time since I was about 3 years old." We both giggle like kids.
"So," I ask.
"Are you still taking that job offer with IBM?"
"Yep." He responds in a tone that was all too familiar.
"Omar, what's the deal? You sound like you're not as excited about it as you were a month ago, when you got the offer. You punkin'out or what?"
"Nah" he replies nonchalantly,
"It's just that they're all serious and stuff-shirt you know. I mean I know I can't really be myself with those guys but the money is off the chain and I am kind of psyched to move out to L.A."
"Well then, there's no problem."
I want to sound as reassuring to him as Dad had sounded to me.
"You'll adjust fine. IBM needs a brother up in there that can keep it real and get the job done. They'll probably surprise you and be cooler than you think. Besides, with all the action going on in L.A. you can be stuff-shirt in the daytime and wild at night!"
Excerpted from A Woman's Secret by Toyin Adon-Abel Copyright © 2009 by Toyin Adon-Abel. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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