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MY FUNNY VALENTINE BY JENNIFER EKEOBA

Copyright © 2012 Jennifer Ekeoba All rights reserved. ISBN: 1479246441 ISBN-13: 978-1479246441


DEDICATION This is dedication to all those quirky folks that dare to have dreams and have the courage to follow them.


PART ONE: NOT EVERYTHING THAT GLITTERS IS GOLD


1 INTRODUCING KENYA JONES The sound of the Beyonce ringtone on Kenya‟s hot pink android stirred her from her sleep. She groaned and rolled on to her side. Maybe it was just a text message but it continued to ring. Someone was actually calling. Kenya struggled to look at the time on the alarm clock on the nightstand and made out a blurry 8 a.m. {Eight a.m.? Who in the world is calling me this early on a Saturday?!} Kenya grabbed her phone to answer it and find out who the bold idiot was disturbing her sleep. “Hello?” “Happy birthday Bestie!” It was Kenya‟s home girl Lela. Kenya decided to let it slide, this once. “Hey Lela,” Kenya said with a tired voice. “Oooh, did I wake you up?” “Uh…yeah kinda but it‟s cool. What‟s up? Why are you even up this early?” “I‟m getting some breakfast from McDonald‟s since I don‟t have any cereal.” “Oh lawd.” “So, since I was up, I wanted to wish you happy birthday friend.” “Well thanks. What am I supposed to be doing today?” “We‟re supposed to shop for your dinner.” “Ugh…that‟s right. What time do I have to be there?” “Ashley said eleven.” “Okay.” “I‟ll see ya later hun.” “Ok girlie.” Lela Jareaux was Kenya‟s best friend and main source of fun. She met Lela when she transferred to Baylor five years ago. Even though Kenya was pre-med and Lela was pre-law, they just so happened to be in the same organizations and it eventually blossomed into a great friendship. Lela found it a chore to fight against Kenya‟s stubborn, hard-nosed attitude, but she knew she would give in, eventually. Kenya hung up the phone and closed her eyes. Today was Kenya‟s twenty-seventh birthday and she completely forgot, well she actually chose to forget. She was another year older and anxiety was setting in.

Copyright © 2012 Jennifer Ekeoba. All rights reserved.


Kenya Jones had always envisioned how her life would be at twenty-seven. She would be working on her PhD, writing a book, be married to a neuropsychologist, live on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and be a size eight. In reality, Kenya was in the third year of her psychology program at Baylor College of Medicine, writing research papers, single, living at home with her mother (temporarily until her apartment was ready in another week) and a voluptuous size twelve. She understood that God had a specific path for everyone and allowed things to happen in their own time but she was truly disappointed. She wasn‟t keen on celebrating today but her friends and family were and believed it would cheer her up. The whole day was planned for her: her brother made reservations at Grand Luxe Café for that evening, she was going shopping with Lela and friends for a birthday outfit and they were to keep her captive until the party. Kenya‟s goal was to get through the day without bursting into tears. “Good morning Nayla,” said Kenya‟s mother Gayle, who appeared at the doorway. Gayle only called Kenya by her middle name if she was in trouble or getting something. Kenya didn‟t remember doing anything wrong so it must be the latter. Kenya groaned inwardly. It looked like she wasn‟t going back to sleep. “Good morning Ma.” “Happy birthday,” she said giving Kenya a yellow envelope and a kiss on the forehead. “You didn‟t have to get me anything.” “No, it‟s your birthday. I always get my children something.” “Mmm.” “And maybe you can clean this room.” Kenya rolled her eyes. It never failed. Even on her birthday, her mother was a nag. “Ma,” Kenya whined. “Either you do it or I will. You‟re twenty-seven now, not twelve.” “Uh-huh.” Gayle Jones was like all mothers. As a widow of twenty years, she had double duty of father and mother and made sure her three children had the necessities of life, loved them and scolded them. But Kenya seemed to be the most work. The fifty-six-year-old school nurse loved her daughter and did her best to raise her to be a fine Christian young woman. Kenya was the eldest daughter and just as stubborn as Gayle. When those two hard heads got together, there was bound to be friction and it only got worse as Kenya got older. Gayle always had a hard time understanding Kenya and why she was unhappy, even as a child. Kenya didn‟t intentionally give her mother a hard time but Kenya had a fixed philosophy... “I have an opinion and I have a right to express it.” “I‟m serious,” Gayle said. “I‟ll get to it, gosh, I just woke up,” Kenya responded with irritation.

Copyright © 2012 Jennifer Ekeoba. All rights reserved.


“You better watch your tone. You‟re not too grown.” Kenya sighed in frustration. Why must some people start with her this early? “Now I made pancakes for breakfast. I think you better get in there before Paul eats it up.” “Paul is here?” “Of course, he‟s always here.” “Of course.” Gayle left the bedroom and Kenya got out of bed to proceed to straighten up. It was mostly books and papers, a couple pairs of shoes and a pile of clothes that needed to go in the washer. It wasn‟t a big deal but it had to be done so she wouldn‟t have to hear her mother again. Kenya walked into the kitchen and was welcomed by the smell of buttermilk pancakes, turkey bacon and scrambled eggs and made a small plate: one piece of turkey bacon, one spoonful of eggs and a glass of skim milk. She was still on her never-ending quest of weight loss and small portions were key today, especially since it was a non-workout day. Kenya took her breakfast to the living room to watch Cartoon Network but her brother Paul was already there with his rather large plate watching ESPN. “Well good morning Pookie,” Paul said with a mouthful of pancake and eggs. Kenya rolled her eyes at the childhood knick name. When was he going to let that go? “When are you not here eating our food,” Kenya said sitting down. “When mom decides to stop feeding me. So how does twenty-seven feel?” “Lame.” “Lame? Why is that?” “My life is lame. I haven‟t accomplished anything.” “Sure you have. You graduated from college and you‟re the first in our family to go to med school and you‟ll be a doctor when you‟re done.” “Well, it will be a good minute before I‟m a doctor.” “I‟m speaking it into existence. Anything you decide to do, you accomplish it so there‟s no doubt you‟ll accomplish this. Sometimes I wish you would take a break from all that work and have some fun.” “Paul…” “You know I‟m right. Ever since you moved back to Houston, you‟ve been at it non-stop.” “Well success doesn‟t just fall in your lap. Some of us weren‟t as lucky as you.” “You chose to take the hard road. You could‟ve stayed here and let me help…” “No,” Kenya stated. “I don‟t need your help.” “Pookie, I‟m only saying…” “I said no.” “Fine,” Paul said, backing off. “Well did you at least make a decision yet?” “Decision about what?” “About coming to Corpus Christi with us.”

Copyright © 2012 Jennifer Ekeoba. All rights reserved.


Kenya sighed. She had forgotten about Paul and his buddies‟ plan to spend Memorial Day weekend in Corpus Christi. Four whole days with Paul and his friends didn‟t seem like much of a good time. “Um…I don‟t know,” Kenya answered, shoveling eggs into her mouth. “What do you mean you don‟t know?” “I don‟t know if I want to go.” “Come on Pookie. This will be a good opportunity for you to let loose and have fun. Maybe then you won‟t think your life is so lame.” Kenya knew Paul meant well and was trying to make her happy but Kenya didn‟t want to feel like a charity case. Paul was ten years older and as with all big brothers, he was overprotective of Kenya and their twenty-three-year old baby sister Nikki. Since losing their father when he was seventeen, Paul took on the role as the man of the house and worked hard to take care of the three women in his life. They were his world and there was nothing he wouldn‟t do for them. Paul was the fifth round draft pick in college for the Dallas Cowboys and that meant he could take care of his family for good. Unfortunately, a tragic injury to his ACL the first season benched him indefinitely. But that didn‟t stop him. Paul used his money and his business degree to start a sports management agency. Although it was small, it was becoming quite successful. Paul still looked like a defensive end and had a short fuse but when it came to Kenya and Nikki, he was a soft teddy bear. “I‟ll think about it,” Kenya said, taking a bite of bacon. “You‟ll think about. I‟d rather you say yes. I mean even Nikki is going.” “Nikki is going?” “Nikki is going where?” Nikki asked sitting on the sofa beside Paul with a plate of breakfast. “When did you get here,” Kenya asked. “I came with Paul. Now where am I going?” “You‟re going to Corpus with us,” Paul answered. “Oh that. Yeah I‟m going. You‟re not going?” Nikki asked Kenya. “I haven‟t decided yet.” “Why not? It‟ll be fun and it‟s free.” “See, you don‟t have to pay for a thing. It‟s been taken care of,” Paul added. Unlike Kenya, Nikki didn‟t mind Paul‟s need to spoil them. They spent their entire lives struggling and working hard, sometimes it was nice to take a break. Nikki felt Kenya had something to prove aside from her stubbornness. They were alike in so many ways but so different. Nichole or Nikki, as everyone calls her, had an independent, sharp mind and a mouth to match just like her big sister but Nikki was a gentler version. She was three inches shorter than Kenya‟s five-foot-ten stature, two dress size smaller and a few shades brighter than Kenya‟s almond brown skin. Nikki was a bioengineering student at Baylor but you would assume she was a fashion design student from the kind of outfits she rocked.

Copyright © 2012 Jennifer Ekeoba. All rights reserved.


Her style was urban diva meets cosmo hipster, not like her big sister‟s usual conservative Banana Republic/Gap style. If there was one word to describe Nikki Jones it would be “unpredictable”. “I said I will think about it, dang,” Kenya said, becoming irritated. “Why can‟t y‟all leave me alone?” “Fine. I‟ll leave it alone for now,” said Paul. “What time are we leaving birthday girl?” Nikki asked. “At ten-thirty probably. Lela said to meet her at eleven.” “Okay. I hope we‟re not there all day.” “Oh I don‟t plan on being there that long. What time is this thing Paul?” “At seven-thirty. I gotta check on the reservations when I come back from the barbershop.” “Barbershop? Why do you need to go there?” Nikki asked. “You don‟t have any hair.” “I need a shave and a clean-up smart-mouth. I don‟t do it myself.” “Whatever, it‟s your money Kojak.” Paul ignored the bald joke. “I hope you have fun tonight Pookie.” “You really didn‟t have to make a big deal. I‟d much rather stay home and watch a movie,” Kenya said. “Hey, it‟s my birthday gift to you. Hopefully it will change your mind about Corpus.” “Paul I said I would think about it.” “I‟d prefer you say yes.” “Don‟t push it Mr. Clean.” “Hey, hey, cool it with that Mr. Clean stuff.” “Yeah Ken, I think he prefers Kojak,” Nikki joked. Kenya and Nikki laughed at their brother. “That‟s not funny.”

Copyright © 2012 Jennifer Ekeoba. All rights reserved.


2 INTRODUCING LAWRENCE WASHINGTON Lawrence was well into deep sleep when his alarm began beeping loudly. He reached over to turn it off, careful not to wake his overnight guest Monica lying on his chest. Lawrence lied in his bed for a moment wishing he didn‟t have to get up but he promised his uncle he would help him out at his father‟s barbershop. Did he really agree to cut hair? Monica looked so beautiful lying there, breathing softly. He wondered what she was dreaming about. Judging from the smile on her face, she was probably dreaming of him. Monica Dolman was a thirty-five-year-old corporate attorney for Reily and Bartleby, L.L.P., a rival of Lawrence‟s firm Lareby and Greenberg, L.L.P. She agreed to go toe-to-toe with the corporate marvel and of course lost. Lawrence was actually impressed with her skills and he treated her to dinner as a consolation. It didn‟t hurt that she was fine too. Like any woman, Monica couldn‟t resist his sexy charm and gladly thanked him for dinner in the bedroom. “Monica, baby, I gotta get in the shower.” Lawrence whispered in her ear but she didn‟t budge. “Monica, come on.” Monica groaned and finally moved over. “Why do you have to leave baby,” she asked, rubbing the sleep from her eyes. “Why can‟t you just sleep in? It‟s the weekend.” “I made a promise to my uncle that I would cover him at the barbershop while he‟s is out of town.” “Darling, you are a brilliant attorney, not a barber.” “Well darling, I was a barber before I became a lawyer.” “Whatever. I will never understand that.” Lawrence didn‟t expect her to. Monica was a BUPPY from a rich family and Lawrence was a „boy from da hood‟. But you wouldn‟t know it to look at him. Lawrence Washington II, Esq. was a thirty-nine year old ruthless corporate lawyer notorious for his high profile deals and complete disregard for rules. He was a Harvard law school graduate with a brilliant mind, extensive vernacular, persuasive charm and looks that could kill: six-one, smooth golden skin, one and ninety pounds of chiseled muscle and a million dollar smile. Boris Kodjoe and Morris Chestnut had nothing on him. “I don‟t expect you to,” Lawrence said, getting out of bed and slipping on the black jockeys that were on the floor. “And there‟s something else I don‟t quite understand,” she said sitting up. “What‟s that?” “Why there are women sending you nasty text messages?” Lawrence laughed and stretched. “Why is that any of your business?” “I‟m just curious.” “Come here,” Lawrence pleaded.

Copyright © 2012 Jennifer Ekeoba. All rights reserved.


Monica got out of bed revealing her nude caramel frame. Yoga kept her petite body very toned but Lawrence preferred women with curves and thickness and the occasional full-figured goodness. Monica was acceptable because has plenty of junk in her trunk. She slipped on Lawrence‟s dress shirt and walked over to him, taming her shoulder-length cinnamon-colored hair. He caressed her face then grabbed her by the back of her neck. “Why are you checking my phone,” Lawrence said sternly. “I‟m sorry but I was concerned,” she whined. “I just don‟t like knowing I‟m not the only one.” “You don‟t need to be concerned with that. I‟m a grown man and I don‟t have to explain anything to you. You got that,” he said and Monica nodded. “Don‟t check my phone again. Now get in there and make me some breakfast.” “Sure daddy.” He smacked her round behind and Monica ran off to the kitchen. Sometimes a woman needed to learn her place. Lawrence finished his shower and dressed in Roc jeans and t-shirt, white Air Forces and baseball cap. Even though he was corporate, he still kept it hood on his off days. He walked into the kitchen prepared to eat the breakfast Monica made but found her talking on her Blackberry. It must have been another man since she was whispering. Lawrence rolled his eyes and sat at the counter where a plate of veggie omelet and toast were waiting. Monica hung up the phone and poured Lawrence a large glass of orange juice. “So, who was that?” Lawrence asked, putting margarine on his toast. “It was no one,” she lied and put the orange juice back in the stainless steel refrigerator. “No one? Really? All right,” Lawrence said, taking a bite of toast and washing it down with a swig of orange juice. “If it‟s your man, you can tell me.” “It was my ex-husband.” “What did he want?” “He was just calling to see how I was and how Brandon was doing at his grandmother‟s. He‟s still in L.A.” “Well, isn‟t that sweet of him to check in on the wifey,” he said in a condescending tone. “You told him what I did to you last night or what you did to me.” “Lawrence…are you jealous,” she asked with an eager smile. “I have to care in order to be jealous.” His usual callousness caused her to frown. “Why do you have to be like this?” “Be like what?” “I‟ve been seeing you for the last two months and you act like you don‟t care about me.” “You knew what this was when we first hooked up. I don‟t have time for a serious relationship and you said you weren‟t looking for one since you and your husband divorced. It was complicit arrangement.” “So you don‟t care about me,” she said tearing up. Copyright © 2012 Jennifer Ekeoba. All rights reserved.


“I‟m not sure what you expect me to say.” “Forget you Lawrence.” Monica tried to walk away but Lawrence caught her hand. “Let me go,” she said pulling away. “Come here.” Monica reluctantly obeyed and stood with arms folded. “I‟m sorry okay. I don‟t mean to be cruel. I do care about you and I like having you around,” he said flashing his signature boyish grin. “Do you really Lawrence?” “Yes.” “Then why not have me around permanently.” “Monica,” he breathed, already tiring of the conversation. “I‟ve already explained why. If you can‟t deal then let‟s just end this.” “I don‟t want to do that,” she said in almost a panic. “I‟m being irrational and I‟m sorry.” “It‟s all right baby,” he said rubbing on her behind, satisfied with her change in attitude. “Why don‟t we have dinner tonight?” “Dinner?” “Yeah. Brandon is with my parents until Sunday night so, we can have dinner at the 17* and I can be your dessert.” Lawrence rolled his eyes at the statement. {You talk a big game but you don’t give it up like you should.} “That all sounds nice but I have plans,” Lawrence responded. “Plans? What plans?” “One of my boys is throwing a party for his sister I told him I‟d be there.” “You‟d rather be at some little girl‟s party than to be with me…butt naked.” All Lawrence heard were those magic words....butt naked. That was a guaranteed way to coerce any man. “And I wanted to try that thing you said you liked,” she added. “And even use those toys.” “Is that right?” “Yes, as long as you don‟t hurt me too much.” “I‟ll try not to. So you‟re willing to do whatever I want?” Monica was never up to try things Lawrence suggested because frankly his level of freakiness was sick and demented at times. She was playing hardball. “I will do anything you want big daddy,” she whispered in his ear and caused his body heat to rise. “Anything.” “Any…thing,” she said kissing him on the neck. What was a man to do? He made a promise but he couldn‟t turn that kind of loving down. “You know, I hardly know the girl anyway,” Lawrence said. “I‟m sure Paul will understand.” “Thank you baby! I‟m gonna go make the reservations right now for seven-thirty.”

Copyright © 2012 Jennifer Ekeoba. All rights reserved.


“That‟s fine but do that later. You started something and we need to finish it.” Lawrence picked Monica up and placed her on the counter. “Baby you need to finish your breakfast.” “Trust me I‟m about to.”

Copyright © 2012 Jennifer Ekeoba. All rights reserved.


Итоговая резолюция II Международного форума "Большая химия"