Solace in Seven Sneak Peek: Chapter One
© K.L. Hall and www.authorklhall.com, 2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to K.L. Hall and www.authorklhall.comwith appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
Before the D.
“If you could build the perfect nigga, what would be some of your must-haves?” My best friend Lauryn asked.
I pulled the phone away from my ear with a frown across my face. “Why are you asking me this?”
“Because I need you to get out of this funk you’ve been in!”
“I told you I’m fine,” I assured her.
“Have you tried dating apps? You know, to get your feet wet again.”
“For what? To be bombarded with unauthorized dick pics from niggas who have pinky dicks in real life? No thanks.”
“I had a nigga with a small dick once. You remember Carlos from Wayberry?”
“Yeah, I do.”
“Girl, yikes. That shit was mega small, too. And all he ever wanted to do was eat my fuckin’ pussy. I mean morning, noon, and night. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner, bitch. Believe it or not, it was really fuckin’ annoying.” She chuckled.
I chuckled before kissing my teeth. “Well, at least you got some reliable dick now. I on the other hand, never want to see another dick again.”
“Um, about that. You’ve been sending me all types of cryptic messages, cryptic signals, and cryptic vibes and shit when it comes to this breakup with Omar, and you need to spill the tea.”
“What’s there to spill, Lauryn? You asked what happened and I told you.”
“So he just up and left? Just like that? With no explanation?” She quizzed.
“Nope,” I lied.
Some things were better left unsaid. There was no way I was going to let Lauryn, or the rest of my girls know the full story. That he’d cheated on me with his ex over Thanksgiving break when he flew to Florida to be with his family. My company was launching a new product for Black Friday, so I had to stay behind in San Jose. Turns out, he’d had turkey for dinner and his ex for dessert, which resulted in her getting pregnant. I carried around enough shame and embarrassment. I didn’t need it from my girls. I was nobody’s charity case or pity party.
“Wow, that’s some fucked up ass shit.”
“Some bitch shit,” I corrected her, my glacial voice holding a bitter note. “I wish I had a crystal ball to predict that shit.”
As much as I was trying to play it cool, the pain tore through my entire body like a raging wildfire. I raised a glass of Merlot to my lips while thinking back to the anniversary dinner date from hell that turned my heart into an emotional wasteland three weeks prior.
Omar sat across from me with his pecan brown eyes locked on his iPhone screen. It was easy for him to fade the buzz of the restaurant into the background, me included. I’d been trying my best to make pleasant conversation with him since we’d been seated, yet whatever was in his phone clearly had his full attention.
“Can you please put your phone down and talk to me?” I asked, glancing down at the half-eaten California roll we were sharing.
“Okay, and? You’ve been distant for months, and all I’m asking for is a couple hours of your time. I thought going out tonight would be special.”
“What’s so special about tonight? It’s Thursday.”
“Yeah, but it’s the anniversary of our very first date, Omar. I’ve been working like crazy, and I know you have too. I thought we could use this alone time to rekindle the flame,” I said, reaching across the table and grabbing his hand.
He slowly slid his hand from underneath mine and quickly sloshed the rest of his Moscow Mule down the back of his throat. “There’s something I need to talk to you about, Cass.”
“Can it wait? I really just want to enjoy tonight, baby.”
“No, it can’t.”
I straightened my posture, unsure of what was about to fly off his lips. “Okay. What is it?”
“I’m uh—I’m going to be a father.”
My brows crumpled as my heartrate started to escalate. “Omar, what are you talking about?”
“I’m sorry, Cass. I’m so fuckin’ sorry.”
My brows squinched together as my heartrate started to escalate. I looked across the table at the man I’d been sharing a life and my bed with for the past eighteen months in disbelief. There was so much I could say, yet nothing dare made it past my lips. I was still trying to wrap my head around how I could go from having a heart full of love for someone to hating them in a matter of seconds. When the words finally found their way off my tongue, out came an explosion of great proportions.
“Sorry for what, Omar? Tell me you’re not serious!” He reached out for my hand, and I quickly snatched it away. “Tell me this is a joke!”
“I wish it was, but it’s not.”
“Who is she?” I asked, quickly stiffening my tone.
He lowered his head as his waves glistened under the soft ambient lighting. There was a aggrieved look across his honey brown face as if saying her name out loud would cause him pain. Omar parted his soft pink lips and mumbled, “Malaya.”
My eyes bulged as if someone had clamped off my air supply. “Your ex, Malaya?”
Instead of responding with a yes or no answer, he simply nodded his head like an introverted schoolboy.
“She didn’t tell me about the baby until February.”
“Omar, it’s about to be fucking May. Are you kidding me right now? You’ve known for months and you’re just now getting around to telling me? And of all the times to find out, it would have to be on the anniversary of our first date. Wow, fuckin’ classic, nigga,” I said, giving him a round of applause.
“Cassidy, stop it before you cause a scene.”
“Nigga you are a scene! Are you listening to yourself? This is not a fuckin’ BET movie. This is my life! You’re fucking with my life!”
“Don’t you think I know all of that, Cass? I’ve been fucked up over this for months now, just trying to figure out what the fuck I was gonna do.”
“Oh, so you were only fucked up about having a baby, not the act that created the baby in the fuckin’ first place? Keep talking, Omar. You’re doing an amazing job,” I said sarcastically
He puffed out an aggravated sigh. “So, I’m telling you this because I—I’ve decided that I’m going to move back to Florida, t—to be there for my son.”
I pressed my lips together tightly as I locked eyes on my untouched glass of water.
All I wanted was Omar out of my sight for the rest of my days. Love be damned, I never wanted to lay eyes on Omar Devante Greyson again! All the energy had been sucked out of my body to the point where I couldn’t even yell at him like I wanted, no—needed to. “Son? It’s a—it’s a boy? Wow. Congratulations. Go ahead and order another round. This drink is on me,” I said, before swiping up my glass and tossing the water right in his face.
I left him sitting in the restaurant, drenched and embarrassed as I ran back out to my car with makeup smeared tears and a runny ass nose like a toddler. The moment I got home, I put down roots in my bed and rooted myself in my depression for a full twelve days. I told my job there had been a death in the family and they allowed me to work remotely when I could while I “grieved the loss of a loved one.” Little did they know, I was just mourning over my heart that had been blown to smithereens.
“Cassidy? Cass? Hello? Cassidy Jhene Stokes, answer me!” Lauryn yelled, bringing me back to the present.
“Y—yeah, I’m here.”
I nodded as I hugged my knees to my chest. “It just hurts, that’s all,” I admitted, fighting back tears.
“Listen, I get it. But if he could just up and ghost you like that with no explanation then he just wasn’t the nigga for you, which means there’s someone else out there that’s better.”
“That’s cool and all, but I don’t want any man ever again.”
“Bitch, who you tryna fool? You a Stokes girl like me and we love the D!”
Knowing she was right, I let out a soft chuckle. “Whatever!”
She laughed. “I’m serious! Please snap out of it, sis. Depression is not a good look on you.”
“I’m good. I told you that weeks ago.”
“You’re forgetting I actually know you, right? Like, we share the same blood. And I know you got your eating pants on right now don’t you? Burn them shits, Cass or I’ll do it for you!” She warned.
“Don’t whatever me! I have not been bustin’ my ass in the gym getting ready for a trip that you helped me plan for you to be fuckin’ up all my pictures! Family or not, I will crop you out if your ass looks ugly!”
“Oh my God, you’re so dramatic!”
“And? It’s my birthday and I need you there, Cass! Plus, you’re my cousin and my best friend. I don’t want you to feel like you have to go through things alone.”
“I just don’t want to be thinking about his ass the entire trip. Nor do I want to be the third fuckin’ wheel with you, Brielle, Shauna, and y’all niggas.”
“You won’t! I promise we will all still hang out just us girls without the guys, but you still have to come to St. Martin!”
I rolled my eyes. “Swear on Big Mama’s grave.”
“Now you know you wrong for that.”
“Fine, I swear.”
“So it’s settled. You’re going!”
I let out an exasperated sigh. “I’m going,” I confirmed. “Come hell or high water, I’ll be there with my vibrator in tow.”
It wasn’t like I had much of a choice in not going. Depressed or not, the security deposit had already been taken out of my account, I’d already gotten the time off from my demanding tech job and they’d so graciously paid for half the trip anyway. Most importantly, Lauryn’s surprise proposal was going down at her birthday dinner on our last night, and she’d never let me live it down if I missed it. The only thing that had changed was not having Omar by my side to share the three-bedroom villa I’d rented. I just had to wrap my head around a different vacation than I initially thought I’d have. Fuck, I thought to myself. It was happening and I was going.
Lauryn chimed in, jarring my thoughts. “Why pack a vibrator if you can have the real thing? Just curious.”
I sucked my teeth. “Have we not just been on the phone for the past two hours talkin’ about my sorry ass ex? Have you not been listening? I’m off men forever!”
Even though I couldn’t see her, I could tell she was rolling her eyes. “Whatever, all I’m sayin’ is there may be some fresh meat on the island. Shit, you know what they say, the best way to get over one is to get under another!”
I lifted my shoulder in a half shrug. “No thanks. I don’t have the energy to fight for a nigga to love me anymore. I’m safer being lonely, it’s fine.”
“Then hang up the gloves, girl. And just have fun for once. You out here livin’ like you in your fifties and you’re not even thirty yet. You have the dream job. You have the means. You a lil’ baddie or whatever. So, what’s the problem? You’re worth the chase so let a mothafucka chase you for once.”
“If I’m even approached by a nigga on that island, I’m gonna tell him my relationship status is Netflix, Oreos, and these very comfortable sweatpants,” I said, referring to the pants she’d already threatened to burn once.
She sighed with a slight chuckle. “I swear you’re a lost cause.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll make my flight to St. Martin.”
“Now you swear on Big Mama’s grave,” she repeated back to me.
I huffed. “I swear.”