“Beware’’ The Signs Are There
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Copyright ÂŠ 2009 by Learetha Larry Library of Congress Control Number: ISBN: Hardcover Softcover
2009909507 978-1-4415-7534-0 978-1-4415-7533-3
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the authorâ€™s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to any actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
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This book is dedicated first to my true Soul Mate, Lover, My Friend, My Business Partner â€œJesus Christâ€?, God (Yahweh), and The Holy Spirit. He who empowers, encourages, and loves me in spite of all that I have been, am working daily to become or ever hope to be. The God who has placed purpose in me, and allowed me to go through the peaks and darkest valleys, but has brought me out whole and wholesome for his greater good. Thank you for your immeasurable love and favor on my life, and mostly, for never giving up on me. To my parents Mr. Ashley Larry and my now spiritual angel, Mrs. Cora Mae Larry who I know is walking and communing with God in heaven. I thank you both for your love and raising me and all my sisters and brothers to know, reverence, and love God with all our hearts, minds, and souls. This foundation has been the rock that held me up through it all. 6
I thank my daughters Angel, Levista, and Ria for keeping me on my knees in prayer for them and my grand babies as this is where Iâ€™ve continued to gain more strength to write and press on through the challenges of life. In this quest, it is first to continue to encourage, empower, and enlighten them to make wiser choices and to never give up. Also, that I may be even more transparent as the years go by that they may see and know that God can do anything but fail. To Ria, especially for her love, encouragement, and financial support through one of the most difficult times of my life. To Angel for her love, encouragement, and feeding me through one of the most difficult times of my life. Thank you both for changing roles with me and mothering me when I needed it. I thank Sherry Graham for making me believe that true friendship does exist, and for never wavering. For always encouraging me even in her darkness, and for staying up all night with me typing the final pages of my manuscript. To my best friend and prayer partner, Derek Wilson, for all the times you prayed me through, encouraged me, and wiped away my tears. To all my grandchildren who are by far, my greatest inspiration next to God. I desire most to be a type of shadow for them as they grow and go through life, to help 7
them to reach high, and to leave a legacy for them to be proud of. Lastly, I dedicate this book to every life partner I have hadâ€”male, female, good, bad, or indifferentâ€”for each part you played in adding to my growth and the growth of every reader.
his week had seemed like a year of dark clouds passing for Jake. As he reared back in his chair and looked out the window of his office, he felt the heavy weight of the numerous calls he’d made that day to prospective advertising clients to no avail. He hadn’t made a single sale this week and only one the entire month, he thought. And with the first of the month only days away, he wondered just how much tension would be added to both his and Chanda’s marriage if he couldn’t once again fill his end of the household responsibilities. What excuse would he give her this time? His list of excuses had just about run out. Is there a book out there that I can purchase that could possibly offer another ten thousand excuses for not being a more responsible husband, a more fruitful provider to such a much deserving wife, he thought. Jake massaged his forehead and rested his head in his sweating palms. As the dusk settled on Atlanta, he drifted into sweet memories of the fun old college days when life was free and easy with no cares in the world, days when he lived on scholarship
funding; and all that he didn’t get from scholarships, with his handsome stature and looks and suave style, the girls freely gave him anything he wanted. And I mean anything, he remembered. Jake felt a soft, cool summer breeze blow through his office window as he looked up with hopes to possibly catch the sun descending right about now. He raised his head; and beyond his palms staring at him was his wife, Chanda, in a photo sitting on his desk. She was a few years older than Jake and absolutely beautiful, classy, and sexy. She was everything he wanted in a woman and so much more than he could have ever hoped for or even felt he deserved in a wife. His memory-lane moment quickly vanished with the shame of just how far he’d allowed himself to go in thoughts of the past with such a wonderful wife like Chanda to be thankful for. She was everything a man could or should want in a woman and more. But every now and then, the past memory of one of his passionate lovers, Diane, would haunt his thoughts. And even though Chanda was his everything and Diane could not come close to anything (physically or passionately) that he had with Chanda, there was so much financial stress between the two of them that he would occasionally free himself of the weight of responsibility through memories of no responsibility just about seven years before he and Chanda met. Jake dropped his head in shame and prayed, “Father, forgive me for thinking such thoughts. I know that I’m a married man, and You’ve blessed me with such a precious gift as my Chanda. But You know how it is, Lord, You see 10
me trying my best to make things work. You know that I do all that I can to be a good husband and take care of Chanda. But for some reason, You won’t let me make any money. I know just as You see me now and know even my innermost thoughts, I know You hear my prayers. And going back in my mind to old days, when things were free and easy, sometimes seem to be my only saving grace of peace until You decide it’s okay to bless me. Anyway, Lord, if You see all my unscrupulous, sinful thoughts, then I know You know that every time I go there—You know, back to memory lane—that girl, Diane, seems to always be there waiting for me to show up. And, Lord, if You don’t want me to go to these places, then why can’t You just go ahead and bless me like You seem to do for Chanda so often. I mean, it’s like she’s got an open line of communication going with You. And even if she doesn’t ever open up her pretty little mouth, You just show up and bless her in ways that are so miraculous that even me, a young babe in Christ, can’t deny it’s You. So, Lord, I’m waiting, and in the meantime, You see I’ve cleaned my life up. I mean, I’m not the same old player, the player I used to be.” Ring, ring, ring, the phone rang. Jake jumped so hard Chanda’s picture and his cup of ink pens fell from the leather cup holder to the floor. “Hey, man, what’s happening?” It was Ken. Ken was Jake’s best friend. “Hey, Ken, man, what’s up?” “Look, Jake, remember Donald Kemper from Morehouse?” 11
“Yeh, man, he was the dude always giving those freak parties.” “You got him,” Ken said. “I haven’t seen him in forever since college. Boy, do I remember, I had some of my best times hanging out at Donald’s parties. “Some of my memories of those days are too much for my saved mind to be allowed to remember”—he chuckled—“if you know what I mean . . .” Well, he’s having a birthday party and cookout at his place down in Buckhead this weekend, Saturday, and he’s inviting all the oldies but goodies, if you know what I mean.” “No, I don’t know what you mean, Ken. Would you like to elaborate?” “Stop playing, man, he’s inviting all us old college mates that used to hang ten together, and all the old, most popular honeys.” “You mean all the for real old honeys?” Jake replied. “Yep, you got it! You down?” “Do we get to bring our wives?” Jake asked. Ken said, “Hey, for those of you cats that’s unfortunately forced to bring your wives, that’s your funeral. Hahaha!” “Ain’t no funeral for me, buddy. I love Chanda, and I’m happily committed to my marriage. Anyway those girls have probably for the most part gotten all fat and out of shape. My Chanda will most likely be the most classy and beautiful woman on the scene.” “Yeh, she’s all that now, bro! But just remember that when you get to the party if the old scene ain’t changed none.” 12
“Whatever, Ken, man, I’ll have to check with Chanda and make sure we don’t already have other plans.” “Right, Jake, I know how it works with you married folks. You’ve got to get permission to go. Goodbye. Jake, I’ll call you later tonight.” “Okay, Ken, talk to you later.” Jake sat back in his chair and thought, Satan’s always busy. He pondered if he and Chanda should go to the party. But the more he thought, the farther away the cares of the day seemed to blow out the window with each breeze of summer air as it rushed in and then took away his burdens with it as it escaped.
aturday morning came too soon as the sunlight softly seeped into their top arched bedroom window gently accented by a sheer swag that Chanda had designed. Jake looked at the clock as he wiped sweat from his shiny bald head and noticed that his pillow was also drenched with sweat. He realized that it was only 6:30 a.m., and he had tossed and turned all night. He felt like he’d been wrestling with demonic spirits in various dreams. But he couldn’t remember even the least bit detail of what they were about. He sat up in bed against the high contemporarily designed headboard of the bed and turned to look at Chanda. She was lying there, looking just as beautiful in her sleep as she often did when she finished spending so much time preparing to look her best each day. Jake thought, She is so beautiful even when she sleeps, I don’t know why she spends so much of her time preparing for what already is natural. He reached for a sip of the water left on his dresser from the night before to wet his dry mouth and throat. He raced through his memory—