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Man Trouble (No, Not My Life - The Book)

I am writing a book. Actually, I've been writing a book for quite some time now. I have the entire book already written in my mind.This year I am going to finish it - hopefully during NaNoWriMo  (NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth)

As you can see I have a ticker (to the right) and just or a little encouragement the first chapter of my book is included below for your reading pleasure. Please comment below - I need the encouragement.

XO XO - Latina Renee

Chapter1: Sylvia’s Story
              I know I need to get my lazy behind out of this bed. I’ve already hit the snooze button twice and if I hit it one more time I know I’ll be taking a major risk of being late for the grand opening of my salon this morning. It’s not that I’m tired I just have days like this sometimes. I wish I could just lie here all day and try to figure out how I got to where I am. I mean don’t get me wrong, life is not horrible for me by far. It’s just that ten years ago you wouldn’t have been able to pay me to believe that this where I would be. But I guess we never see the storms coming. For the most part I have made it out of storm and I’m doing fine but I just know that if James hadn’t been killed in a car accident 3 years ago I would be just that much better.
              James is or was my husband of 10 years. We married young, I was only 18 and he was 20. We had been a couple since I was 16 and he was 18. We never even intended to be a couple. I was being fast and he was been mannish young and carefree. James played basketball with my brother in both junior high and high school. They were known as the dynamic duo. Anyway, after so many years of being so close to my brother James with like a family member but that didn’t stop me from noticing how cute he was.  Cute is an understatement, the boy was fine. All of the girls in the neighborhood wanted to hook up with him but he was a player and completely out of my league.  He would flirt with me from time to time when my older brother was paying attention but I knew he didn’t mean anything by it. It was just his nature to try and get as many girls as possible. But one day he came over looking for my brother, Mark, but I was the only one home.
              Even though I told James that Mark was out with one of his nasty girlfriends and wouldn’t probably be home anytime soon he claimed he would just wait because he had something very important to talk to him about. So we sat there on opposite ends of the couch watching music when all of a sudden one of those boom boom songs with the girls shaking their booties all over the place came on. I immediately started to blush because I had overheard enough of James’ and my brother’s bragging sessions to know these where the types of girls they were attracted to. I also knew that at 5’6” and 115 pounds I was nothing like those girls. I was started to get a little curve to my hips but my boobs and butt were pretty much nonexistent.
              I guess James noticed that I had suddenly become more interested in my raggedy fingernails than the videos when he leaned over and asked me “What’s wrong with you? You don’t like this song? It’s the jam girl”
Never looking up from my nails I replied
 “It’s okay I guess, it’s the video I don’t like with these basic chicks bouncing all around and acting dumb!”
              I guess he was feeling a little embarrassed about the way he had just finished drooling at the girls when he offered “We can turn if you want to. This song is getting old anyway”
I didn’t respond. I just sat there feeling stupid because here I was in the house alone with the guy commonly referred to as Fine Ass James and I had the nerve to offend him. By this time the video had gone off and commercials were in the background of our silence. On the verge of tears, I abruptly stood up from the couch and mumbled something about him waiting if he wanted to and escaped to the comforts of my room closing the door and that embarrassing moment behind me.
I knew I could leave James in the front of the house alone because first of all we didn’t have nothing nobody would want to steal, secondly James didn’t steal and thirdly I didn’t have to worry about my mama trippin because as late as Mark was going to be coming in from his date our momma Juanita would be in even later, too drunk and tired to even realized the presence of me her own daughter let alone James.
              I was in my room messing with my hair again (I wanted to be a hairdresser even then) when I heard a soft knock on my door.  I didn’t answer because I knew it was James acting more like a big brother coming to  check on me instead of treating me like the lust object that I so wanted him to. And just like my annoying brother Mark he marched his behind into my bedroom even though I hadn’t given him permission. “What” I mumbled not even looking at him.
“I just came to say bye. I'mma go ahead and get out here. Tell big head I stopped by” he said.
Again I didn’t answer. I just kept right on curling my hair while James just stood there.
“What you looking at?” I asked finally looking up at him. “I’m looking at you. I been wondering where you was getting the money to get your hairdo changed up every other week. But now I see you got the skills to pay the bills yourself”
 I smiled, “Whatever” I said softening some.
After all who could stay mad at Fine Ass James? Then, I don’t know what came over me I guess I was really turning into more woman than child when I added “Don’t come in here trying to run that game on me like you be doing them other hoochies. I’m not a hoochie so you would have to come harder than that.”
I took a few more steps into the room and stood behind me so that I could see him in the mirror I was using to fix my hair.
“You know you would be kind of cute if your damn mouth wasn’t so smart and why all of a sudden you think I only go for hoochies?”
 “It aint no all of a sudden” I said “ I been running around here since I was 7 and you were 9 wanting you to look at me and all you’ve ever seen is Mark’s little sister!”
 Now I really didn’t know what was going on with me and my mouth. I guess I suddenly wanted to be an advocate for all of the plain girls, like me, who secretly pined for womanizing fools like my brother and James. They never saw us, never even knew that we existed until they needed a smart partner to pass a chemistry class or help with a homework assignment. I was lost in these thoughts when I felt James put his arms around my waist and turn me around so that we were face to face and he was standing so close that I could feel his breath on my face when he whispered “I’ve always thought you were cute but you know your brother would kick my ass if he knew I even thought of you as anything more than my little sister.”
“I know” I croaked “But my brother isn’t here right now. Nobody’s here but me and you”
At this James raised his eyebrow and then bit one side of his lip in that sexy way that all of me and friends went crazy about and then he kissed me. It wasn’t quick and awkward like when I kissed Jerry Clemmons in 4th grade while playing spend the bottle at his birthday party; It wasn’t sloppy and wet like when I kissed Michael Cartwright in 7th grade; it wasn’t even forceful and his hands weren’t all over my body trying to make me do more than I wanted to like when I kissed my current boyfriend Eddie Massey and it sure as hell wasn’t like kissing my brother.
We spent the rest of the evening kissing and hugging and rolling around on my bed. I guess because I had known him for so long it only seemed natural to let him go all the way to third base on our first make-out session. I was only 16 and although boys had been trying since I was 14 I had never felt the hands of the opposite sex on my naked body but with James it felt natural when after about an hour of just kissing he lifted my shirt and undid my bra so that he could caress and kiss my bare breast and just when I thought I felt him going for my shorts and my head was trying to come up with ways to tell him NO he lifted himself off of me, looked into my eyes and said
“Man, we need to hold up. I’m not trying to go too far with you right now.  I mean we need to figure out if what’s going on before Marcus finds out and kills us both.”
I looked away and nodded my head in agreement and then I just laid there in a daze while he put his shirt on and left.
The next couple of months were crazy to say the least. James and I had to keep everything secret from fear of my brother Marcus. We would basically ignore each other at school and whenever he came around the house I was sure to make myself scarce; but whenever my brother was out with one of his many girlfriends James would find his way over our house and we would do our thing. I was falling in love with him and he was falling for me as well.  My brother started bugging him about no longer being a player and pressuring him to reveal the identity of the girl he was spending so much time with. Neither of us was ready to tell my brother until of course we had to.
It didn’t take long for us to have to reveal our secret affair. About 6 months after our secret little affair started my 17th birthday came and to celebrate James rented the honey moon suite at a fancy hotel about 2 cities over. That night I gave him my virginity and about 6 weeks later we were both given a rude awakening. Wouldn’t it just be my luck that after 17 full years of being the good girl, I would be the dummy that got pregnant on my first time? Many girls would have loved to be in my shoes; James was only a freshman in college but he was there on scholarship and a top contender for the NBA. But I wasn’t most girls; not only did I not want to ruin his life; I had my own career goals planned. I wanted to graduate and become the owner of a big time hair salon with celebrity clients.
              I knew I had to tell someone and since James was now my best friend and was half responsible for this mess I decided that he should be the first to know. I called James and told him to meet me at my house right after school; it was Friday and I knew my brother would be at work and my mom would be out drinking and spending the night at her latest boyfriend’s house.  I left right before the last class period at school and went home to prepare myself to break this news to James. I knew he was gonna be angry. I’d heard the way he and my brother would refer to the girls who tried to get them caught up. I prayed that he would be able to get over the anger and realized that I was just as messed up about the situation as he was.  When I heard his car pull up I raced to the front door and opened it before he had a chance to knock or ring the doorbell. I guess he could see the worry in my face because he immediately asked “what’s wrong baby?”
I didn’t waste any time blurting out the truth,
“I’m pregnant James and I don’t know what we are going to do about it my brother is going to kill us” I said all in one breath.
James just stood there looking very ill for about 5 minutes before finally responding
“Are you sure? You been to the doctor?”
“No I haven’t been to the doctor, but I’ve peed on about 50 of those little sticks in the past week and they all say exactly the same thing. I don’t know what I’m going to do.”
James walked over to where I had taken a seat on the couch and sat beside me. He put his arm around me and kissed me on the forehead and said
“Don’t worry baby, I’m a man and I’mma take care of this.”
“But what about Marcus?” I asked.
I wasn’t concerned at all about my parents. My mom was never around and I didn’t even know my father. The only person I was worried about disappointing was Marcus. James held me tighter and told me not to worry about anything because he had me covered.
              We must have stayed in that position for hours, him holding me and me bawling into his shoulder until I feel asleep. James must have eventually nodded off as well because all I could remember is him stroking my back and whispering that it would be okay and then Marcus standing over both us screaming at James to tell him what the hell his problem was. James was obviously groggy from the news of being an expectant father because he was completely clueless about what Marcus was referring to until he look over to me till huddled against him too scared to move.
“Oh shit” James muttered as he quickly pulled himself away from the couch.
“Look Marcus man calm down! This can all be explained”
Marcus backed James into the wall and asked in a rough voice
“Punk how you think you gone explain to me why you up in my house cuddled up with my little sister? What you think? She one of your little play things? Don’t let me find out that you been trying to get at Sylvia behind my back because boy I’ll kill yo punk ass.”
              I sat on the couch watching their friendship fall apart all because of me and I was too scared to intervene and attempt to be of any kind of help. All I could picture was the coroner removing James from our house in a body bag while the police lead Marcus away in handcuffs when suddenly I was snapped out of my daydream by James’ sweet voice yelling at my brother “I’m not playing with her. I love her man. I love her and it’s too late for you to do anything about it because I plan on marrying her!”
This sent my brother of the edge. Exasperated with James he headed towards me and pinned down on the couch shaking me asking what was wrong me
“You been messing around with this fool? Huh, Sylvia? What you now, one of his little groupies? What you wanna be just like our sorry as momma now?”
He was shaking me so hard that I couldn’t speak when James came to my rescue and pulled Marcus off of me “You can’t do her like that Marcus man. You need to chill”
“Why don’t you get your punk ass out of here? This is my sister and I can do what I want to her”
Marcus spat towards James when James took a visibly deep breath and held up his hands while backing away “Look dude, I understand that Sylvia is your sister but you can’t do her like that in her condition.”
 We all stood frozen solid for about 3 or 4 minutes when finally James finished
“She’s pregnant man. She’s carrying my child”.
               It was then my turn to let out a visible deep breath. I was happy that it was finally out in the open. James stared at Marcus, wondering what his next move would be while Marcus stared at me waiting for what I presumed, some type of confirmation or denial. I couldn’t bring myself to look up at him and witness the hurt in his eyes so I kept my head lowered and simply nodded yes. Marcus took a minute or two to look us both over with utter discuss before saying in the meanest voice I’d ever heard anybody use
“I’m about to circle the block, grab me a beer and a dime bag and since I pay all the bills up in here, I don’t expect to see either one of you deceitful bastards when I get back! Or ever again for all I care.” And with that he stormed out and slammed the door behind him.
              Once Marcus left, James and I silently went into my room and he helped me pack whatever belongings would fit into my luggage. James kept reassuring me on the ride to his apartment that it would be okay but all I could do was cry and ask him how? One night had turned both of our lives into complete messes.
              James lived in a small studio apartment close to campus. He didn’t even have a bedroom much less a bed. He only had a let out sofa; which he made up for me and got me settled in. We didn’t talk much that night. James kept trying to start conversations with me but all I wanted to do was go to sleep. I guess he got the picture when I started snoring in the middle of him trying to convince me that the whole thing would blow over and everything would be back to normal in no time. It was already after 3 a.m.
              After only 3 hours of semi-restful sleep, I was jolted when James opened the blinds and let the sun glare in.
“What the hell is…”was all I could get out before morning sickness took over and I had to rush to the bathroom. After I finished what I guessed would be my new morning routine and washed up I walked back into the sitting area and found James at his little raggedy two chair dining table with a calculator and various sheets of paper scattered about.  I was about to ask him what he was doing when the sudden smell of hot sausage  and biscuits reminded me of the fact that with everything that happened last night I hadn’t had dinner. I saw that In front of the chair across from him sat a McDonald’s bag and without even asking if it was mine, I dug into the contents.
              Once I gobbled the first biscuit and sausage combo and was putting strawberry jelly on the second, I felt James’ eyes on me. I looked up to find him staring at me intensely.
”What’s wrong?” I asked for the realizing that maybe one of the breakfast sandwiches was for him.
“Nothing” he replied. He let a moment of silence pass before adding
“You know I meant every word of what I said last night?”
 I was sitting there trying to sort out what he may be referring to out all that happened the night before when he interrupted me with
“I really do want to marry you Sylvia.”
“James” I said “I know you are a really great guy and you are trying to make everything better by doing the right thing but I don’t think getting married is our best option”
“Sylvia please, just let me do right by you. I don’t want to be like the rest of these dudes in the hood, getting girls pregnant and then leaving them to live on welfare!”
“James, what do you plan on doing? Are you gonna quit school? Give up your NBA dreams? Why would you do that?”
I tried to reason with him. James walked over to me, got down on one knee, took my hand into his hand and looked me directly in the eyes.
“Baby, I love you” he said “and I intend to do the right thing. I don’t know my father, you don’t know your father, half the young people in our hood don’t know their father’s and the dudes are walking around the same neighborhood every day. I know that you are carrying my son and we are going to get married. I will work full-time and go to school part-time. If I drop the team I still can keep my scholarship and finish school. You are going to test out of high school and stay home. By the time I finish with college and get a good job, Lil James will be about 3 and we can start sending him to daycare so that you can start taking classes at the local beauty college. See baby” he said while handing me one of the scattered pieces of paper with his handwriting scribbled all over it
“I have it all worked out. I love you and I know I don’t have a  ring to give you but I want to marry you and I promise as soon as I save up I’ll get you the prettiest ring this side of town” and he finished by whispering “Just say yes baby.”
How could I not say no to that? So of course I said yes. James tried on several occasions to have a sit down with Marcus but he had washed his hands of both of us. James quit the team and was able to keep his scholarship. He got a full-time job like he promised but he didn’t drop his course load at school. He continued to study full time taking 4 classes a semester.  I hardly ever saw him especially since I dropped out of school because I got tired of explaining my situation to people. They just couldn’t believe that I got James to get me pregnant (as they put it) and some of the dumb bunnies gave me nasty looks and accused me of messing up James’ life. I didn’t care what any of them said though because I knew that James loved me.
One the day that our son was born, Marcus showed up at the hospital. Apparently James had sent word by one of their mutual acquaintances and Marcus decided it was time to bury the hatchet. He tried to apologize to us both but James and I both agreed that there was no need to explain. We both knew that we should have been open and honest about the situation in the first place. Marcus was very happy to hear that James and I had moved from the studio apartment and were now living in a small 2 bedroom house in a decent neighborhood. Once we reconnected, Marcus made sure to come by and visit at least once a week and was always helpful by bringing diapers, a little outfit and sometimes even bringing groceries or helping us with a utility bill here or there. Things were getting close to normal like James predicted.
About 6 months after Lil’ James was born; James surprised me with the cutest ¼ caret diamond ring. He proposed again and I accepted again. It was a Friday night and we spent the entire weekend making love. First thing Monday morning, James skipped classes and we went down to city hall and got married. Time flew by after that. Before I knew it, James had finished college with a B.A. in accounting and it was time for me to go to the local beauty college and get my licensed. James promised that within in 10 years he would somehow buy me my very own beauty salon. Neither one of us knew that I would be using his insurance money to do it or that he wouldn’t be around to enjoy it with me.


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