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UNIQUE IV  SNEAK  PEEK   A  glowing  eight-­‐month  pregnant  Unique,  was  starting  to  get  really  excited  about  her   baby  shower  for  the  first  time.    She  really  didn’t  want  a  baby  shower  because  between  her   picking  up  things  here  and  there,  and  her  husband,  Kennard  going  overboard  buying  the   cutest  little  designer  things  every  time  he  hit  the  mall,  the  unborn  baby  already  had  plenty.     But  Kennard’s  mother,  who  seemed  to  be  even  more  excited  about  her  first  grandchild  than   the  elated  expectant  parents  were,  would  hear  nothing  of  not  having  a  big  welcoming  party   for  her  grandbaby.    And  Kennard  had  learned  a  long  time  ago,  the  same  as  he  had  with  his   wife,  Unique,  that  when  his  mother  had  her  mind  made  up  about  something,  there  was  no   point  in  arguing  about  it  with  her.  There  was  no  win  or  peace.  Just  like  his  wife,  his  mother   was  relentless.    Now  that  the  shower  was  literally  around  the  corner,  as  her  mother-­‐in-­‐law   would  say,  Unique  was  happy  as  a  lark.       Before  meeting  Kennard  and  becoming  a  part  of  his  family,  no  one  had  never  really   made  a  big  stink  about  Unique  or  celebrating  her.    Though  she  didn’t  have  many  friends,   between  Kennard’s  friends,  his  business  colleagues  and  the  countless  number  of  other  folks   his  mother  had  invited,  there  were  over  one  hundred  and  fifty  RSVP’ed  guests,  who  were   expected  to  attend  the  soiree.      Though  her  invite  list  was  short,  there  was  definitely  one   guest  that  she  was  really  looking  forward  to:  Sasha,  a  new  friend  with  whom  she  had  really   connected.   “So,  girl,  I  just  booked  myself  on  the  red-­‐eye.”     “Yes!”  an  ecstatic  Unique  said.    Sasha  had  called  to  update  her  on  her  travel    plans.   “I  get  in  at  like  7am  on  Thursday  morning,”  Sasha  told  her.  “I  already  called  my  hotel   and  told  them  I’m  coming  in  early  and  I'm  going  to  need  me  an  early  check  in.  Gonna  hit  the  

ground running-­‐-­‐shower  and  live  out  a  Jay  Z  song,”  then  she  harmonized  the  Jigga  Man’s   lyrics,  “'Change  clothes  and  go.'”   Unique  laughed.       “And  my  first  order  of  business  is  to  meet  you  for  brunch.    Somewhere  fabulous  in   the  city  about  11.    Is  that  good?”  she  asked.   “It’s  perfect.”    A  smile  spread  across  Unique’s  face,  then  she  said,  “I  thought  you  were   going  to  come  in  on  Friday?”     “No,  I  decided  to  just  come  in  a  day  earlier  so  I  can  really  spend  some  real  sister-­‐girl   time  with  you.    It’s  like  we’ve  spent  so  much  time  talking  on  the  phone  and  face-­‐timing,  but   actually  getting  real  time  would  be  good.    Aside  from  that,  it’s  some  real  deep  things  that  I   want  to  share  with  you  face-­‐to-­‐face.”       “OK,  and  can  I  just  say,  I  can’t  begin  to  tell  you  how  excited  I  am  that  we  are  going  to   finally  get  to  meet,”  Unique  said.       When  Unique’s  pregnancy  bump  started  to  grow,  she  had  found  Sasha’s  couture   maternity  line  online  and  began  to  order  a  lot  of  things  from  her.    The  two  hit  it  off   immediately  from  the  first  time  she  called  to  place  an  order.    They  had  talked  for  over  an   hour.    From  that  moment  their  friendship  had  grown  and  it  didn’t  take  long  for  them  to   start  talking  every  day,  a  few  times  a  day,  and  in  a  matter  of  a  few  months  the  two  were   new  best  friends.    They  laughed  and  most  importantly  did  no  judging.    In  a  strange  way,   even  though  they  had  not  seen  each  other,  they  were  somehow  connected.    Kindred  spirits.        

“I wouldn’t  have  miss  this  for  all  the  red  bottoms  and  Celine  bags  in  the  world.”        

“Now that’s  deep  right  there,”  Unique  said  thinking  of  how  important  she  must  

really be  to  Sasha,  because  the  one  thing  she  knew  about  her  friend,  that  like  her,  she  was  a   girl  who  loved  her  high  end  designer  shoes  and  bags.    

“Girl, it  is  and  wait  until  I  run  down  everything  that  I  have  to  share  with  you  when  I  

see you.”    

“Wow! Girly,  what  could  be  juicier  than  some  of  the  things  than  you've  already  told  

me?” Unique  asked  with  a  raised  eyebrow.    "This  sounds  like  some  real  scandal.”      

“Trust me,  it  so  is,”  Sasha  confirmed.    

“Girlllll…you know  now  I  can’t  wait  to  hear  the  tea.”    

“I got  you.    I  just  hope  and  pray  it  doesn’t  send  you  into  labor.”  

“You so  crazy."    Unique  laughed.  "Well,  just  don’t  drop  it  all  on  me  at  one  time,”  she  


“I got  you  covered,”  Sasha  told  her.    “I’m  about  to  pack,  but  I’m  thinking  that  I’m  

going to  call  and  make  an  appointment  at  my  favorite  spa  in  New  York  that  I  use  to  go  to   when  I  lived  there.    They  have  a  pregnancy  massage  that  I’m  treating  you,  too.    And  we  can   get  facials  and  pedis,  too.”    

“Sounds like  a  great  plan.    You  know  I  love  the  spa.”  

“Yes, girl,  oh  yeah  and  call  Tyeedah  and  see  if  she  want  to  join  us.    Because  she  gets  

into town  today,  right?”    


A silence  fell  between  the  two  of  them.    Then  Sasha  asked,  “How  long  will  she  be  


“Until after  I  have  the  baby.”  

“Well, then  ee  if  she  wants  to  come  with  us  to  the  spa,  but  let’s  just  keep  lunch  as  our  

bonding time.    No  one  else.”    

“Sure, no  problem.    Seems  like  a  good  plan  to  me.    I  really  can’t  wait.”  

Just then  Kennard  walked  in.  “What  seems  like  a  good  plan?”  he  asked  her,  ear  

hustling then  jumping  right  into  her  conversation,  kissing  her  on  the  lips.    

“Heeeeyyy Kennard,”  Sasha’s  said  as  if  he  could  hear  her.  

Unique smiled  and  filled  him  in  on  her  plans.  “Sasha  decided  to  come  in  a  day  early,  and   we're  going  to  do  lunch  and  then  hit  the  spa  and  Ima  see  if  Tyeedah  will  join  us  at  the  spa.”    

“That’s what’s  up,  so  then  later  tonight,  I  will  take  you  ladies  to  dinner  after  all  the  

pampering and  girl  talk  is  done.”    He  paused.    “That’s  if  you  two  are  up  to  it,”  he  said  as  he   rubbed  Unique’s  baby  bump.            

She smiled,  genuinely  happy.    “I’m  sure  we  will  be  up  to  it,  baby.”    Then  she  said  to  

Sasha, “You  know  this  is  going  to  be  the  best  visit  ever.    Now  let  me  call  you  back,  so  you   can  get  ready,  plus  I  wanna  talk  to  my  other  baby.”  

Sasha laughed.  "No  problem,  girl.  I'll  see  you  soon!"  

Unique hung  up  the  phone  with  Sasha  and  told  Kennard,  “Thank  you.”  

“Thank you  for  what?”  he  asked.      

“For always  being  a  team  player.”  

“I’m committed  to  you  and  our  baby.”  He  leaned  in  a  kissed  her,  and  said,  “Never  

forget that.”    

She smiled.  “I’m  a  real  lucky  girl.”  

“No, I’m  the  lucky  one,”  he  insisted.  “But  not  for  nothing,  babe,  you  know  I’m  happy  

that you  found  a  friend.    I  know  shit  is  a  little  off  between  you  and  Tyeedah,  though  you’d  

never admit  it.    I  know  you  are  madly  in  love  with  me  and  I’m  the  man  of  your  dreams  and   all  that,  but  no  matter  how  you  look  at  it,  it’s  still  a  double  cross  when  your  best  friend  and   ex-­‐boyfriend  end  up  together,”  Kennard  stressed,  making  it  clear  to  his  wife  that  even   though  she  never  really  talked  about  the  situation,  that  he  completely  understood.    

“Yeah, you're  right,  but  honestly,  as  long  as  she’s  happy,  that’s  all  that  counts  right?”  

Unique said  nonchanlantly.      

“If you  say  so…”  he  said  with  a  raised  eyebrow.      

“It was  a  little  akward  between  us  and  the  way  they  got  together  wasn’t  normal…”  

Unique said  verbalizing  her  thoughts  for  the  first  time.    She  was  still  trying  to  make  sense  of   it  all.    But  there  was  no  use  in  trying  because  the  entire  situation  was  crazy  that  her  best   friend  was  now  in  a  relationship  with  her  ex-­‐boyfriend  who  had  tried  bring  her  down.        

Unique choose  to  laugh  at  her  own  dysfunctional  friendship.  “Shit  is  crazy,  that  I  will  

admit, but  he  did  save  my  life  though.”    

“Yeah and  he  owed  you  that,”  Kennard  said.  “Him  saving  your  life  was  the  only  thing  

that could  spared  his.”    

“Stop that,  babe,”  Unique  said  and  then  quickly  changed  the  subject.  “Thanks  again  

for being  such  a  sweetie  pie  and  taking  us  to  dinner."    

“No, I’m  really  pleased  that  you  have  someone  in  your  corner  that  seems  to  have  

good intentions.    But  time  will  tell  with  her,  too.”    

Though he  understood  the  cattiness  and  unstableness  of  the  friendships  with  most  

women, Kennard  didn’t  really  have  much  tolerance  for  it.    He    had  loyal  homeboys  that  he   had  known  for  forever,  who  would  damn  near  jump  in  front  of  a  bullet  for  him  and  he  felt   bad  that  his  wife  didn’t  have  that.    He  knew  women  were  different,  but  it  was  a  shame  that  

very friend  Unique  had  moved  from  Virginia  to  New  York  for,  was  the  same  person  that   moved  back  to  Virginia  with  Unique's  ex-­‐boyfriend.    He  knew  the  entire  situation  hurt   Unique  to  her  heart  and  since  she  didn't  have  any  family,  Tyeedah  had  been  as  close  as  any   could  be.    He  was  now  happy  that  she  had  Sasha,  even  though  she  lived  cross-­‐country  and   seemed  to  have  came  out  of  the  woodwork.          

Kennard’s thoughts  were  interrupted  by  the  phone  ringing.    He  pulled  it  out  and  

looked at  the  screen.  It  was  home  boy  and  right  hand,  Drop-­‐Top.        

Kennard had  been  pre-­‐occupied  over  the  past  few  weeks,  putting  together  a  huge  

boxing deal  with  pay-­‐per-­‐view  and  busy  with  preparing  for  the  birth  of  his  baby,  but  he   realized  that  he  hadn’t  seen  his  man  in  a  minute.        

Still he  couldn't  shake  the  light  finger  of  dread  that  seemed  to  reach  out  and  touch  

him just  then.    

He hit  "Answer"  and  said,  "Drop-­‐Top.    What's  up?"

UNIQUE IV: Love and Lies by Nikki Turner (sneak peek)  

Unique's husband and lover, Kennard has been willing to do wahtever it takes to protect what's his, but now payback has come knocking on his...

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