A lot can change in two years….or can it?
It’s taken two years, but Rick Jenkins has finally gotten over Aphrodite’s betrayal and ready to live again. His professional life continues to blossom, but his personal life is more fractured than a jigsaw puzzle. At the urging of his boys, he decides to try the dating thing again, but isn’t sure he can trust again…
Reggie Young, AKA Smooth can have his choice of any woman that he wants – and does on a regular basis. Well known as a big womanizer, Smooth is taking advantage of all that stardom provides. One night at the club, Mystery enters into his world and he can’t seem to figure out her identity. When he finally meets up with her, what he thought was a one night stand turns into much more than he ever bargained for…
Essence “Candy” Taylor is owner of Classy and Sassy Hair Salon, the hottest spot in all of Atlanta. She has styled the hair of the some of the biggest stars nationwide. Candy has a major breakthrough with being able to market her product at the grand Brunner Brothers Hair Show. While doing this, in blows a breath of fresh air named Rick that is making her smile again.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. In Corey J. Barnes’ sequel to the sizzling debut novel What Is This Love Thing All About, he examines if time really does cure all. Can you ever really stop loving someone once you have done so? Can you move on from hurt and love again? All of these questions and more will be answered in the next installment from Author Corey J. Barnes, Single for the Night.
Rick – Chapter 1
Time heals all wounds. At least that is what they say. Who the hell are they, anyway? Whomever it is, they must not have ever been hurt by love. In the words of my man Lenny Williams, they must have never been in love like I had been in love.
Aphrodite was her name.
The Goddess of Beauty.
I swear that girl made me listen to that damn Lenny Williams song over a million times it seemed. In the end, it was not meant to be. Another case of a good guy finishing last I guess. Maybe if I would have dogged her out, called her bitches and whores, beat her ass, and treated her like shit, she would have stuck around.
I swear I didn’t understand women. Maybe if I was a drug dealer or a gangster, maybe she would have stayed. As I looked around my office at my plaques of appreciation and service awards from various clubs I was a part of, I guess I was looking for an answer to all the thoughts and questions loose in my head.
Why was I taking this trip down memory lane?
Today would have been my two year wedding anniversary. That is, if I had ever gotten married. I was actually surprised that I was sitting there in my over sized leather office chair at my solid cherry oak desk letting the situation consume my thoughts like it was. Especially considering how she did me. But, there I was, in the midst of finishing my presentation that I give each year as the superintendent of the Greater Atlanta Charter School system. It would mark my third year serving in that role, one which had seen a lot of needed progress and effective change during my time in the position.
In bed with another woman! Not just any woman, mind you, but Tracy!
A woman I looked at like one of my boys, like a sister. I used to pour my heart out to her about my relationship with Aphrodite on many occasions and took her advice to heart. Guess I let her in too much and didn’t guard the door as much as I should have in the end.
I’d never been the type to try to handcuff my woman.
My philosophy was that a woman was going to do what a woman was going to do – bottom line. If I couldn’t trust you, there was no need for me to be with you. Life went on, though, and I adopted the mantra that what didn’t kill you could only make you stronger. I was so strong I could lift a Ford truck if I needed to. That strength allowed me to transform the Greater Atlanta Charter School system into one of the nation’s elite, continually grading out at an A level for the past two years I had been in charge.
Due to the fact that I was not ready to be in a relationship after Aphrodite broke my heart and almost made me go to prison behind her ass, I hadn’t been in anything serious since her. At first, I didn’t think I would make it and thought about just cashing in a couple of times. It seemed that God was looking down on my pathetic self even when I didn’t think it, because any time I started to get too extreme with thoughts, one of my boys would call and snap me out of it. I started seeing a nurse named Cassandra and she was a great woman, ready to settle down. But, she wasn’t willing to wait around for my ass and I didn’t blame her, either.
Almost on cue, my phone rang. Picking up the phone, I answered with a very professional, “This is Rick Jenkins, how may I help you?”
I heard laughter on the other end and was beginning to get pissed off until I realized that I was on my cell phone, not my office phone.
“Well, hey there, Rick Jenkins, this here is Reggie Young, but everybody calls me Smooth. You can help me by agreeing to go out with the fellas and get your grown man on tonight.”
Letting out a small chuckle, I sheepishly replied, “My bad, man. I get these phones mixed up sometimes. As for your invitation, I don’t think…”
Before I had the chance to finish my thought, Smooth interrupted me by saying, “Now, Rick, you have not been out in two whole years. I know you were hurt bad by that chick and today would have been your two year anniversary, but staying home all cooped up listening to Lenny Williams isn’t going to make you feel better.”
It was amazing how well he knew me. How in the hell did he know I was listening to Lenny? Before I could respond, he said, “Man, I know you, that’s how I know.”
I just shook my head and laughed. He had me cold on that one. In the past two years, Smooth had quickly ascended to become one of the top producers in the music industry. His label had churned out over ten top forty hits with three number one hits during that time on the Billboard Charts. Amazingly, he took it all in stride and handled it all like a twenty year veteran.
Leaning back in my chair with my eyes closed and massaging my temples, I tried to put up a fight to my childhood friend. “Smooth, come on now. I am really not in the mood to be out in people’s faces.”
Not to be denied, Smooth quickly shot back, “I am not in the mood to be listening to all these terrible demos right now, but I know if I don’t, I might miss the next big hit.”
It was obvious that I was not going to win the discussion. Actually, I had been able to fight off the guys for over a year in regards to going out. Anytime they brought it up, I would change the subject and they would seem to get the hint and that would be that. I guess Smooth had reached his point of acceptance. Who knows? Maybe it would turn out okay. Maybe it would not be a bad idea to get out of the house.
With a defeated tone in my voice, I said, “Alright, Smooth, what time do I need to be ready?”
I could have sworn I heard a scream on the other end of the line before Smooth replied, “Okay, that’s what’s up. We will scoop you up around nine p.m. And, don’t come out looking all busted either. I need you to be camera ready. You never know who we might see and I can’t have you making me look bad.”
I had to laugh off of that one. “Man please, don’t even try me with putting on clothes. You know that is what I do. Anyway, let me get off this phone and go finish up this presentation so I can get out here and get home and get ready.”
As we both said our goodbyes and hung up, that frown that I had been walking around with was now replaced by a smile. Smooth always had a way of doing that. That was why we were tight as we were, he always had my back. Almost suddenly, I got a burst of energy. I went over to my CD player, took out Sade, and replaced it with my Young Jeezy and Kanye. As my theme song Put On began to blast through the speakers, I perked up and got about my business. After finishing the presentation, my next focus was on finally turning the page on Aphrodite, closing the book on the relationship, and going back to the bookstore to look for the next bestseller to take home.