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Authors: Marian L. Thomas

STRINGS of COLOR (7 page)

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"Do I sound like I care?"

"It was some reporter."


"Yeah, that's the one."

"What else did he ask for?"

"He asked for everything on a Jonathan Creek."

"Which one, Senior or junior?"


Misty was silent for a moment.
What is he after?

"I'll double your number. I want everything you gave him."

"Sure, do you want the file on yourself that he asked for?"

Misty hit her brakes hard; another car barely missed slamming into the back of her car.

"Funny," she said. Misty could hear her heart beating fast.

"Hey, a guy has got to find something in this business to laugh at."

Misty hung up.

As she pulled off onto a small cramped side street, she stared at herself through the rearview mirror.
Why do you want to know about me?

She reached for her phone again.

The call was picked up on the first ring. "Back so soon?"

"Get me his home address."

"I already included it, and a file on him."

"No, I want it now!"

Misty wrote the address down in a fury.

"Let me know if…."

Misty hung the phone up before he could finish.

ake nearly jolted out of bed when he glanced at his clock. It was almost ten o'clock in the morning.

As he rubbed his eyes, he screamed at himself for oversleeping. Jake had never gotten out of bed after 7 a.m. in his life. "Life happens in the morning," his mother had always said to him. He had lived every morning by those words.

Almost immediately, he thought about Misty.
It's her fault
, he kept saying to himself.

His phone rang.

"What is it?"

"I thought you would like to know that I just got a call from her."

"What did she ask for?" He tried to control the excitement in his voice.

"She pretty much asked for the same things as you did. You were right; she is a fire-cracker."

"Did she want anything else?"

"Yeah, she asked for your address. I told her that I would send it in the file that I had on you but she insisted that I give it to her over the phone. I'm sure you can expect a knock at your door real soon."

Jake tried not to smile.

"Did you give her the file on me that I gave you?"

"Of course I did."

"Good boy."

"So I've done my part, right?"

"Yeah, sure you have."

"So, you're not going to print that article on me, right?"

Jake could hear the desperation in his voice.

"You know it would be bad for my P.I. business if anyone found out that I once had a criminal record. I have some pretty major clients and they don't like doing business with anyone with my background. They can be sleazy all they want, but not the person they are paying. How funny is that?"

Jake didn't see the humor. Everything about the P.I. business was sleazy to him. However, Ben McCoy was not just sleazy; Jake knew that he was downright dirty.

Jake pulled out his file and laid it on his desk. He had been doing research on McCoy for years.
If it wasn't for Jazzmyne and this book, he would have been my plan B

"People are people, is all I can say. Look, we had a deal. You held up your end of it, so now, I will hold up my end. Nothing goes to print."

Jake began to twirl his hair.

"How did you find out anyway?"

"I'm not just some columnist, you know. I'm a real journalist."

"How do I know for sure that the journalist in you won't find yourself in need of a good story one day, and run the one on me?"

"You don't. I guess you will have to take my word on it."

"Yeah well, just remember that I'm the best P.I. around and if you double-cross me, I will find something in that so-called squeaky-clean life of yours to use against you, that you can count on."

"I understand."

Jake hung up the phone with a smile on his face. He had dealt with many private investigators before. They always say the same thing.

Jake sat on the edge of his bed, staring at the phone. He felt like a little kid waiting for a big present.

She's coming here

He looked around his apartment, picked up most of the clothes that had been thrown here and there and glanced around again.
Not spotless but clean
Mother always said that "a man should never keep his house too clean, might have a woman thinking that she has nothing to change. Women like a challenge."
Jake had always kept a dish or two in the sink, a shirt thrown on the chair and a pair of shoes in front of the couch, just in case.

I need to go by and see her. It's been too long.

Jake glanced in a mirror.
I could use a good shave and a shower,
he thought to himself until he looked down at his hands and noticed that they were shaking just a little.
Why are you so nervous
? He asked himself. "I'm not nervous, just excited," he said out loud

Jake looked back into the mirror.
Man, she already has you talking to yourself.

He laughed at himself all the way to the bathroom.

Forty-five minutes later, Jake heard a knock at his door.

Chapter 5

"There I sat on the front row, watching her. She had hazel brown hair, green eyes, and a guitar hanging off her barely-there hips. The lights had been dim, but the spotlight was shining brightly upon her."

The Spotlight

arl held the phone close to his ear. His heart was beating at an uncomfortable pace.

Why isn't she picking up
? He wondered.

He had been calling her all day, night and then some. His nerves were beginning to get the best of him.

They had barely spoken for almost a month. The conversation they did have, always seemed to be centered around one subject.

Then there was the car accident.

Something, he felt, had clicked off inside Simone when Naya's husband, Chris, and her brother, Jonathan, were hit. Being honest with himself, he knew that something had clicked off inside her after that night at The Clue.

She's not even speaking to her mother
either of them.

Carl rubbed his head. He was more than overdue for a haircut.

Who has time for a haircut?
He stared at the phone again.

He was trying hard to be there for her. To help her through it all but it seemed that all she was doing was pushing him away. When he would talk about making plans for the wedding, she would go silent and say nothing.

Carl was scared.

He was also worried about her music career.

Mia had been calling him every week since they signed that contract with her. She was just as eager to get Simone into the studio as he was.

She would ask for a date and Carl would tell her that Simone would be there but then couldn't deliver. He felt like he was not only losing his client but that he was also losing the love of his life.

The tears came. He sat on the edge of his bed, staring at a phone that refused to ring and thinking about that night at The Clue.

She had been so happy before it all went down.

There I sat on the front row, watching her. Hazel brown hair, green eyes and a guitar hanging off her barely-there hips. The lights had been dim, but the spotlight was shining brightly upon her.

My heart was laid out upon the table for her and the whole world to see.

She stood in front of the microphone with her fingers snapping and lyrics mixing with her insides.

Every note she hit, captivated the audience.

Then she stopped and looked down in my direction. Her lips parted and she began to speak directly to me.

"Before I begin this song, I want to thank a man that has been more than a manager to me. In fact, I stand here tonight because of him. In the time that I have known him I have felt like his passion for music, I have seen his determination, his endurance and even his love for me. Right now I know he's wondering if I feel the same. So, to answer that question I am dedicating this song to the man I have loved from the moment he said hello.

"It happened two years ago, right here at The Clue.

"This song is called: All You Have to Say is, Yes.

"I hope that after hearing it, he will understand what I'm asking."

Everyone strained through the darkness that night to see whom she was referring to. But I knew she was speaking directly to my heart.

I was saying yes.

But then, everything changed. Just like that. Now, here I am still trying to hold on to something that I hope was more than a dream.

That was the night that she found out about Naya Monà—her real mother. That was the night she met her brother. That was the night; she said that she wanted to marry me.

Man, this is crazy.

Maybe Jake is right, maybe I just need to give her some space. Maybe I'm pushing her too hard, trying to make her talk about things she's just not ready to.

But, should our wedding be one of them?

Does she still love me? Does she still want to marry me?

Please let her say yes.


The phone rang. Carl watched it for a moment, afraid to answer it, afraid not to answer it.


Carl could feel the tension in her voice.

"Hi, how did it go with Jake?"

"In some ways, it was better than what I expected and worse in others."

Carl felt his stomach turn.
I knew that was a bad idea

"All in all, it was still a good idea."

Carl felt his stomach begin to settle some as he quietly let out a sigh of relief.

"He gave me a tape recorder to use. I tried it tonight."

"Did that help any?"

"It did. At least there is no one staring at you and writing down every word you say."

"So, what did you think about Jake?"

"He seems okay. How did you meet him again?"

"We've been friends for awhile. We met at a music concert that he was covering.

"Why? You don't sound like you like him much."

"I wouldn't say that."

Carl could hear the hesitation in her voice.

"He's really cool and he knows his music. I've learned a lot from him about the history of the music industry from both sides and he's been there whenever I needed advice. He's like a big brother to me."

Simone was silent.

Carl continued.

"In fact, I was thinking about asking him to be my best man."

He waited for a response, any response.


He knew what was coming.

"About the wedding…."

"Please don't call it off Simone. Please don't tell me that you don't want to marry me."

"Why would you think that I didn't want to marry you?"

"Let's face it Simone, ever since that night at The Clue, when you met your brother, you and I haven't spoken much to each other. I just don't know what to think any more."

"I know I've been distant. It's been tough for me Carl, real tough."

"I know it has. I'm trying to be there for you. Trying to help you deal with the situation we're in but you keep pushing away from me."

"I don't mean to push away from you. It's just that, for so long it's only been my mother and me. Monà, that is. She has always been my best friend, my person to talk to. Now I feel like I don't have that anymore and I just can't find a way to handle it."

"But you do have a best friend Simone. I'm right here for you baby, right here. You've got to let me in. I love you Simone, I'm your man and your best friend."

"I love you too Carl."

"Then why don't you want to marry me?"

"Carl, I want to marry you. I asked you, remember. It's just that with everything that is going on in my life, it's hard for me to think about planning a wedding when I'm still trying to figure out who I really am."

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