• Author K.L. Hall

Something Bleu Sneak Peek: Chapter One Snippet

© K.L. Hall and www.authorklhall.com, 2022. 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.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


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Chapter One

Imani Lavender


“His name is Sebastian, and we’re so in love.”

My mouth curved into a half crescent. “W—wow. Um, congratulations, Shaquille. That’s great. I—I’m happy for you.”

I never thought I’d be saying that to my high school ex, who had been spilling all the tea to me about his new and very gay relationship while I sat in the backseat of his black Toyota Camry. To my surprise, he picked me up from the airport as my Uber driver, tasked to usher me over the bridge from Seven Pines and back into my hometown, Potomac Falls. While I would’ve loved a silent ride and a chance to catch some last-minute ZZ’s, he wasn’t catching the vibe. He’d been gushing to me like we were homegirls when there was a blink in time that he used to make my pussy crack a smile. I shuddered at the thought but tried to remain present in our conversation.

“So, what’s been going on with you? It’s so crazy running into you again after all these years.”

I dipped my chin in a quick nod. “Yeah. I’ve been gone for a while. Everything looks so different.”

“Really? How long has it been since you last visited?” he inquired, glancing at me through his rearview mirror.

My shoulders rose and fell. “I don’t know, maybe five years or so.”

“Damn, yeah. A lot has changed in The Falls since then. They shut down the roller rink on Williams Street, but they also opened a dope new art studio downtown. What kept you away so long? You got a whiff of the big, outside world and said fuck comin’ back home, huh?” he said with a chuckle.

“Yeah, somethin’ like that. I’m in town for the weekend for my sister’s wedding. You remember Isa?”

“Oh yeah, she’s marrying that white boy, right?”

I rolled my lips to contain a smile. “Yeah, Axel.”

“That’s cute or whatever. So, how have you been?”

“I’ve been good.”

“What is it that you do now? Y’know, for work?” he quizzed, taking the exit for us to head downtown.

“Well, I graduated from law school a little over a year ago. Now, I’m practicing family law as a divorce attorney at a firm in Massachusetts.”

“Look at you, a big-time divorce lawyer and shit. That’s what’s up. I’m proud of you, girl.”

His voice still had that southern twang in it from back in the day, which made me flash him a quick smile. While I enjoyed making six figures and billing clients by the hour, I welcomed the break from my caseload.

“Thanks. Excuse me, somebody is calling me,” I said before flipping my phone over on my lap. My eyes met a picture of my sister Isa and I, taken on the night of my college graduation. “Isa, this is the seventh time you’ve called me since I landed in Seven Pines. You’re abusing your facetime privileges, and I’m about to block your ass!” I told my overbearing older sister as soon as I answered.

She sucked her perfectly straightened teeth. “Where are you? You said you’d be here twenty minutes ago!”

“Chill. I’m in my Uber now. I’ll be there in like three minutes.”

“Fine. Hurry up!”

I ended the call and turned my attention to the sites outside Shaquille’s tinted back window. He wasn’t wrong about me getting a taste of the world and never wanting to come home. Little did he know, my love-hate relationship with Potomac Falls ran deeper than that. If I didn’t have family that still lived there, I would’ve burned it to the ground and salted the earth in my wake a long time ago. The time I spent in the city had some good memories, but the bad ones swallowed me whole.



*****

Shaquille pulled up in front of my destination, a bridal boutique downtown, and put his sedan in park. He promptly hopped out to take my suitcase out of his trunk and wheel it over to the back passenger door.

“Thanks for the ride,” I told him.

“No problem. It was nice seeing you. You take care of yourself out there when you leave The Falls.”

I nodded. “I will.”

To me, everybody who still lived in The Falls was in a bubble. To them, the outside world was like the moon; they knew it existed, but no one ever had the desire to visit. He drove away, and I turned to head inside the bridal shop. The bell chimed on the thick, glass door as I walked through.

Isa’s high-pitched voice rang out clear as day. “It’s about time you got here!”

I stopped dead in my tracks as my eyes locked on hers. Isa’s five-foot-four, petite frame stood on the platform in the middle of the floor. Mirrors surrounded her, allowing her to catch her dress from all angles. The dress was beautiful, and I would’ve expected nothing less than bling, bling, and more bling, for my sister’s taste. Isa could’ve been wearing a paper bag, and she still would’ve been absolutely breathtaking. Isa lifted the hem of her dress, showcasing her set of long, caramel legs and the three-inch heels she was wearing—which boosted her up to five-foot-seven. She had soft, curly, raven black hair that flowed halfway down her back when straightened. Perhaps my favorite thing about her was her smile. She lit up a room whenever she entered with a smile that could rival a Colgate model.

“Wow.”

“Oh my God. I know, right!” she squealed.

“You look…”

“I know, I know! Your reaction was everything I needed it to be, Imani! I need Axel’s ass to turn red as a beet and cry ugly tears when he sees me coming down that aisle tomorrow!”

“He definitely will. You look beautiful. No, gorgeous.”

She cheesed, flashing all thirty-two of her snow-white teeth at me. “Thank you! I’ve been dreaming about this day for what feels like forever, and everything has to be perfect.”

“It will be. Don’t worry,” I assured her.

Isa was the type who had every detail of her wedding day planned, down to the Swarovski crystal centerpieces, by the time she was twelve. She'd always liked her men more vanilla, in skin tone and the bedroom. I wasn’t surprised when she called to tell me she’d been dating Axel McAdams, the mayor’s son. Not wanting to wed a killer like our mother did, Isa made sure she dated up to keep herself in the right social circles. Soon, she caught the attention of the son of one of the squeakiest men in town. Axel was a pasty white boy with dusty brown hair, an MBA, talent, and money, so naturally, he checked all her boxes. His hasty proposal in the middle of her living room was the icing on the cake for her. She’d found her unexpected happily ever after in the arms of a green-eyed colonizer.

Had people not known who our father was, they would’ve assumed we were the furthest thing from sisters. She was two years my senior and my best friend for most of my life, yet we were complete opposites. I liked my men highly melanated and with some grit to them. A nigga had to have somethin’ swinging’ between his legs that made me climb the walls at night.

“I know what you’re thinking,” Isa declared, getting my train of thought back on the right track.

My forehead creased. “What?”

“You think me marrying Axel makes me a sellout.”

“Why, because he’s white? Because probably.” I chuckled, lips dancing around a smile.

She followed suit with a short bubble of laughter. “Shut up! He’s good to me, and I love him!”

“Then, that’s all that matters. He could be purple as far as I care.”

“Yeah. You’re right.”

“Then, why the long face? By this time tomorrow, you’ll be a married woman! You should be way more excited than this right now.”

She sighed, plopping down on the tufted, white, velvet couch. “It’s just—this whole week I’ve been thinking about what Izzy would say if he were still here, y’know?”

I pushed out a long breath, not knowing why I assumed that no one would bring Izzy up at an important family function.

Izaiah, or Izzy as we called him, was our older brother. He died the night before I left for college. It was a night I would never forget for many reasons, and one of the main reasons I hated returning to The Falls. After that day, the city brought me nothing but painful memories that I’d opted not to deal with for as long as I could. It had been eight years, and his death was still too much for me to bear.

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