This novel is about a woman who gets involved with a man who is nothing but drama.
Webster’s defined melancholy as a gloomy state of mind. Gianna “Gigi” Thorne was most definitely the governor of the state of Gloom. Surrounded by bawdy jokes and laughter, Gigi was prepping to leave for her bachelorette party. Her bridesmaids and close friends were set to create craziness and mayhem. Gigi, on the other hand, wished she could fall through a crack in the sidewalk. She was supposed to be happy. In two days, she was going to be Mrs. Nicholas Watson and starting her new life. Yet here she was, mourning.
“Come on, bride-to-be”, shouted the matron of honor, Katherine, “We got some trouble to get into!”
Slapping on a fake smile and using her patented fake laugh, Gigi was pushed out of her house and into a waiting limo. Hearing her cell’s familiar chirp, she read a text from her wedding coordinator, Toya.
“All of the last minute things are done. The florist was paid and the arrangements are going to be just gorgeous! Oh, and I set up the hotel arrangements for you! You and hubby-to-be will be having a good time after the wedding! LOL! Talk to you at the rehearsal dinner.”
“Girl, she don’t stop until she falls out!” joked her bridesmaid, Raquel.
“Hey, this wedding better be the best, as long as this one’s better waiting on God to send Mr. Hubby!” quipped her best friend, Liz.
While the laughter continued, Gigi went into her text archives and read the last text she received from her ex, Chris.
“Gianna, did I do something 2 u that would make you really not like me? What did I do 2 you?”
Closing her phone, Gigi began to reminisce about her failed relationship with Chris. It took a long time to get over the grief and the hurt he caused her. Even longer for the anger to dissipate. Finally meeting a good man and about to walk down the aisle couldn’t rid of her lingering feelings. No matter how hard she tried, Gigi couldn’t stop loving him.
“How can I marry Nick when I still have another man in my heart?”
Three years earlier, Chris was the love of her life and her ultimate destruction. So why couldn’t she let him go?
It was a morning scripted by Satan himself. Looking back, staying in bed would’ve been a smarter move. That fateful September day, Gigi got up, pulled a calf muscle, stubbed her toe, and , to add insult to injury, the hot water tank had a date with the Grim Reaper and died just when Gigi was taking a shower.
“Lord, please! Get me out of this house before it kills me!”
Destroying her last pair of off-black pantyhose, Gigi managed to get dressed without any more freaky mishaps.
Checking herself out in her full-length mirror, Gigi thought she looked pretty nice. A young brother once remarked that she looked good for thirty-five.
“Should I have been insulted by that?” she mused.
Most people wouldn’t put Gigi at thirty-five; near flawless bronze skin, waist-length raven hair with silver highlights (hers, not store bought) and a slender shape. Glancing at the clock, Gigi started running, since nice packages need jobs to afford nice wrappings.
Doing her best Marion Jones imitation, Gigi flew downstairs and bounced off of her mother. Mary Thorne did nothing but shake her head, realizing her child was behind schedule yet again.
“Mama, you gotta sign this! The field trip is tomorrow! Hurry up!” whined Cameron, Gigi’s fourteen year old son.
Laughter filled the kitchen at Gigi’s regular morning antics. Planting a kiss on Cameron’s cheek as she signed his permission slip, Gigi grabbed a piece of toast and hurriedly spread some strawberry preserves on it. Mary sat a glass of orange juice by her as Gigi wolfed down what passed for breakfast. Regular a.m. chatter was replaced by silence once Howard Thorne appeared in the kitchen. Mary began fixing his breakfast and Cameron started grabbing his backpack and heading for the door. Gigi felt the temperature in the kitchen dive several degrees to arctic levels and walked out of the house to avoid any of her father’s nastiness.
Howard Elijah Thorne was a man respected and feared throughout Detroit. A high-profile attorney with Winthrop, Hale & Thorne, his courtroom prowess was near legend. A regular at every important function in the city, nothing in Detroit moved or shook without his say-so, so he thought. As he was in the courtroom, so was Howard was at home—a hard, hard man. The beautiful home in Indian Village was run with cold efficiency and ruled with an iron fist.
Mary tried to blunt Howard’s harshness but she herself hard edges which sometimes made the situation worse than better. Even so, she couldn’t understand why Howard never left the attorney persona in the courtroom. She did her best to create a loving, God-fearing atmosphere, but, more and more, Mary asked herself what had happened to the kind, sweet man she married.
“Better yet,” Mary thought silently, “what happened to me?”
Howard’s voice broke Mary’s chain of thought. Still fighting a cold he couldn’t seem to shake added to his foul disposition.
“Can’t that heifer get outta here on time? How does she manage to keep a job?”
Cameron eased out of the door, preferring to wait on the porch for his ride to school. Mary, holding a skillet, wondered if good attorney could get her off with an insanity plea.
“Sometimes, Howard, you make a woman wonder why God even made your nasty butt!”
Mary wondered if his and Gigi’s volatile relationship played a part in the tension that always was a permanent part of the house. Their challenging relationship deteriorated even further with Gigi’s unplanned pregnancy. Gigi dropped out of college when she found out she was pregnant, further straining the relationship. It also put his union with Mary on the rocks.
Howard and Mary both were extremely embarrassed about Gigi’s pregnancy, but Howard refused to forgive her. The mere mention of her name during that time set off an angry, obscenity laden tirade.
“You acted like a whore!” he yelled at his child. “And the family’s reputation has to suffer for it! Cass would have never behaved like that!”
Cass was the favored child in the Thorne household. He was All-State in football and a National Honor Society member in high school. He went to the University of Michigan, undergrad and law school, and graduated with honors. Joining Howard’s firm after graduation, Cass quickly established himself as an attorney to be reckoned with. Gigi, on the other hand, made Howard wish he stopped at one child.
Gigi fought Howard at every turn. Thinking him unfair and puritanical, she resisted his strong arm tactics at molding her into his version of a respectable lady. Wanting to chart her own path, Gigi almost redeemed herself when she started undergrad at Wayne State University. Then she met and got pregnant by “that low-class pipe slinger”, Jackson Blake. Gigi should’ve known her father wouldn’t approve of her being with a plumber. Just as he thought, Jackson left Gigi high and dry with Cameron, and, as far as Howard was concerned, did irreparable damage to his sterling reputation.
Sitting down, Howard flipped open the Wall Street Journal and promptly dismissed his wife.
“I made an observation about that girl. A child who doesn’t use the sense God gave her.” Sensing an argument on the horizon, Howard beat Mary to the punch, “And you can save me the lecture!”
Leaving the kitchen, Mary stalked to the den to keep from breaking a few commandments. After Howard left, she returned to the kitchen and sat on her favorite barstool and turned on the radio. Listening to her favorite talk show, Mary felt icy fingers caressing her spine. She felt uneasy as she thought of her family. Those same icy fingers seemed to assault her soul and she worried about her children and wished for them all to be home safe and away from whatever evil is lurking.
As Mary fretted, Gigi was fighting traffic in an effort not to be late. As usual, navigating rush hour was a pain in the rear, but, then nothing about living in Detroit was easy. After grinding her teeth down to the gumline, Gigi made it to the parking structure. Leaning against the steering wheel, she wished she had a job she liked. As it stood, working in a call center as tech support was akin to working at the plantation. Unfortunately, with a child, a rotten economy and creditors to support, it was off to work she went.
Heading for the stairs, Gigi saw her coworker and friend, Liz Benson, puffing and cigarette and scowling.
“I already know I can’t face that hole! If they got time available, I’m taking it!”
Gigi smiled. “I already know, girl! I should’ve called in, but the spectre that is Howard distracted me.”
Liz looked at her friend and shook her head. “You better get them bills paid off and move. I do not want to watch the eleven o’clock news with you being lead away in cuffs!”
“I know. It’s hard getting it together at this point.”
“You need to get into S&M ‘cause you like suffering too much!”
With that, it was out of the structure and into the building that housed the call center where they worked. Having a daughter working for one of the largest global telecommunications corporations in the world gave her family some measure of pride, but, working tech support was technically scraping the bottom of the barrel. Spending forty hours at week listening to a bunch of numbnuts not able to get on Facebook drove Gigi to distraction. If the Michigan economy was healthy, she would’ve left a year and a half ago.
Before crossing the street, Gigi and Liz spied a nice-looking guy parking a delivery vehicle.
“Umm, eye candy. I do like ‘em big!” said Liz as she eyed the man speculatively.
Before Gigi could comment, she recognized the man. Chris Layton was six foot even with a tasty caramel complexion. A big guy, he was still a very handsome man. Chris returned to her church a few years earlier with his wife and three children. She heard through the CGS (church gossip system) that he and his wife had split up. She was attracted to him, but never bothered to approach him. Mentioning it to Liz she replied, “He’s fresh meat, as far as I’m concerned!”
At that comment, Chris turned and recognized Gigi as she walked by. He decided this was the day to make his move.
“Hey, Gigi, wait up!”
Stopping, Gigi was surprised to see Chris running up to her. Before she could get a “hi” out, Chris handed her his phone number.
“If I gave you my phone number, would you call me?”
Cautiously, Gigi took the proffered number. “Okay. Did you want me to call you tonight? Tomorrow?”
“Call me tonight, ok?”
After saying goodbye, Gigi and Liz walked into the building. Gigi, being a little distracted, didn’t listen to Liz’s chatter as they got on the elevator to head to the sixth floor.
“Well now, here are our happy cubicles, waiting for us to slowly go insane for the day.” Liz calmly said. “You know, one day, maybe we’ll be able to escape massa’s chains and be free.”
“And one day, pigs shall fly and sharks will do the hustle,” Gigi retorted.
Liz cocked her head, looking at her friend. She could literally see the wheels turning.
“Calculating how soon you should give up the cookies?”
Waving Liz off, Gigi was wondering if she should call Chris at all. There was no way to know whether what she heard at church was true or not. However, curiosity, being a cat killer, was leading Gigi to her execution.
“We’ll see what Chris Layton is hiding behind Door Number One.”
Meanwhile, while Chris was completing his delivery, he, too, wondered if Gigi would call.
He had been watching her for awhile from his perch in the choir. She always looked so good in church outfits and his imagination went a whole lot of places. Hopping back into his truck, his cell started buzzing.
“How you doing, Nikki? What’s up for tonight?”
As he drove off, Chris felt confident that Gigi would call him and start an interesting adventure. Later, at the end of another stressful day, Gigi arrived home. Still distracted by the number burning a hole in her purse, she still wasn’t sure whether she should call Chris or not. Driving up, she noticed that Howard’s car wasn’t in the driveway.
“He must be getting another drug dealer off on a technicality.” Gigi thought evilly.
Knowing her father wouldn’t be home until the wee hours, she figured she would have some quiet, peaceful time at the house. Slipping into the house, Gigi was immediately set upon by her child.
“What’s happenin, Mama? How was your day?” chimed Cameron.
Recognizing that was his “I need to access your ATM”, Gigi braced herself for the pitch.
“Hello, child of mine; what exactly is it that you want now?”
Then Cameron went to explain, in great detail, about his upcoming science project. Waving his supplies list under her nose, he left it with her and took off for his room and his Wii. Sighing, Gigi mentally tallied up how much money this project would cost her. While she was preoccupied with the list, Mary checked her daughter out. Noticing she seemed distracted, she wondered what actually was on her mind. So, she asked.
“I ran into Chris Layton today.”
“Really? So what was he up to?”
Gigi explained the circumstances and sensed there was more behind the scenes than her daughter mentioned. She hoped her daughter wouldn’t be getting involved with yet another bad bet. What she heard about Chris wasn’t good, with him still being married and all. Mary understood that Gigi wanted to be married more that anything; she also knew her desire to get away from her father outweighed any innocent desire she may have. She sent a silent prayer up to God to protect her daughter from another pretender to the throne.
Sighing, Mary headed for the kitchen. “Want something to eat? Dinner is still on the stove.”
While Gigi was eating, she analyzed her dating life and found it lacking. In school, nobody considered her pretty and the only guys who would talk to her were the second tier dudes. The guys at church didn’t even want to date her. She couldn’t overlook the fact that her mother dressed her boringly conservative and she had a plain hairdo that wouldn’t attract pestilence. What she wanted was a blue chip guy who would overlook all of that and help her popularity. The insecurity of never being good enough, coupled with Howard’s constant criticism, took its toll on Gigi’s self-esteem. Whether she admitted it or not, Gigi always settled for less instead of holding out a man after God’s own heart. Suffering repeated heartbreak, she hoped Chris would be different.
“Chris can’t be any worse than the previous guys I dated.”
How little she knew.