Authors: Sylvia Crim-Brown
Till We Meet Again
Copyright © 2015 Sylvia Crim-Brown and BLI Publishing, a subsidiary of The BLI Group
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Published by BLI Publishing, a subsidiary of The BLI Group, Dallas, TX.
Printed in the United States of America.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
I dedicate this book to my family members who have gone on before me especially my grandparents, Jesse and Harriet, who taught me to dream big; my sister, Tracy, who taught me no matter how much pain you are in you can still have a beautiful smile and be a blessing to others, and my Aunt Pat who showed me that I am indeed worth loving. Through your own life; your struggles and your successes you taught me the true meaning of love, happiness, generosity, gratefulness and perseverance. Whenever I think I can’t take the next step I remember you and I remember that all things are possible through the Lord. I hope that I have made you proud of the woman I am today. I love you and miss you. Till we meet again.
Thank you to those who have been there for my sons and me along the way. And for all the help you have given us; especially my mom who gave us 110 percent whenever she could. And also my aunts, uncles and other family and friends. I cannot begin to thank you all for everything you have done for us. Without hesitation you stepped up when we needed you. I am so grateful to all of you. It truly takes a village.
To my sons who have always been my reason for living, for loving and for growing. Your unconditional love knows no bounds. Remember that true happiness is being true to what you were born to do. I love you and I am so proud of the men you have become.
To my husband. Thank you for your patience (especially when I locked myself in the room to write), for your generosity, your kindness and your love. You were definitely worth the wait. I love you. And like we always say, this is only the beginning.
To my girlfriends who have been my friends for life. We’ve been through a lot together. For so many years you have been my sounding board, my spiritual guides and my prayer warriors. I couldn’t have made it without you.
To Chanelle Watson, my friend and mentor.
Talking about divine connections. I went looking for a class on a totally different subject and found your writing class instead. You helped me achieve a dream I have had for a life time. Your motivation, guidance and generosity with your time and talent has shown me that I have found a friend for life. Thank you for all that you have done to help me get my writing to the next level. You are a wonderful person and I know there are so many great things ahead of you.
To my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. You put in my heart and soul the love of writing since I was a child. Thank You for planting that seed, for cultivating it and allowing it to bloom. Thank you for the creative words and ideas you give me each and every day. Thank You for Your blessings known and unknown.
“There’s something special about looking into someone’s eyes and seeing the love they have for you. Sometimes love doesn’t need to be spoken but can simply be seen.”
~Chanelle A. Watson
Table of Contents
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
What an honor and privilege to write this foreword for Sylvia Crim-Brown. Not only does she have a genuinely great spirit but that same attribute shows up in her writing.
I remember the day I first met Sylvia in the writing workshop I instructed, “Want to be an Author? Turning Your Idea Into a Book Ready for Publishing”, I could tell that she had a story burning inside of her that needed to be released and that same story was ready to burst out at any moment. The story was a work in progress and after speaking with Sylvia, she revealed it was in “progress” for about 7 years! After further speaking with her, I knew that God had placed us on each other’s paths for a reason, and that reason is what you are physically holding in your hand, at this very moment. That reason is what Sylvia was committed to finishing because her time is NOW. That reason is “Till We Meet Again”.
Each day Sylvia would come to class eager to learn, absorb all the information I could give her, and apply it to her writing. This was evident not only physically in class but on paper with her growth as a writer and now a published author. Any tips or tricks I would suggest to her, she would apply it, and place a spin on it, like only she could.
To see the story she started with further manifest, and grow into this novel you are about to partake in, is truly wonderful! You, as the reader, are truly in for a treat! You WILL be drawn into the story that is told, you WILL relate to Simone, regardless of your gender, you WILL be at the edge of your seat for all the twists and turns, you WILL fall in love with not only the characters but with Sylvia as an Author.
“Till We Meet Again”, is truly something for everyone who is not afraid, to take a journey of love. For the person healing from a past heartbreak, or patiently waiting on that special someone to come around that you KNOW you are meant to be with, this book is for you! For the person who may be down on their luck but still has that FIRE in their Spirit to keep fighting, this book is for you! And for the hopeless romantic that is scared to trust in love and their heart again, this book is for you and WILL give you that courage to let love in!
I have been an author for a couple years and an entrepreneur for half a decade. I have heard plenty of people say, “I want you to help, guide, or give suggestions on how I can write my book and become an author”. I know passion and a great author when I see one and read their work. With Sylvia Crim-Brown, you truly are in for something special! This woman has the makings of being a Best Selling Author and as you read this book (and any other book Sylvia writes) you WILL understand why. I am genuinely very proud of her and excited for this journey she is beginning!
So sit back, relax, and truly allow yourself to be taken away by this story and all it has to offer. With every line, word, phrase, or name you encounter as you read, you will be able to feel the passion Sylvia has placed on every page of this book. I guarantee it! Don’t overlook any form of dialogue, any thoughts, or any nuances that stand out to you because there is truly value in every line and it all adds on to what you will EXPERIENCE with this story.
WELL DONE Sylvia, the best is yet to come!
~ Chanelle A. Watson, Author, Inspirational/Motivational Enthusiast, & Author Mentor
Chanelle A. Watson is the published author of “From My Heart to Your Soul: A Collection of Poetry To Encourage, Inspire, & Awaken YOUR Spirit” (English & Spanish), “Preparing For Your Husband: A Cookbook for EVERY Wife and “Wife in Training” Vol. 1”, and “Cupcake Girl and her Birthday Adventure”. She is also the founder of Letters of Victory, a not-for-profit organization committed to inspiring, empowering, and uplifting our local community and beyond through the POWER of written words (letters), and declaring the VICTORY through Jesus Christ.
“Which floor?” I asked not looking up and pressing the button to the 2
floor in order to go to my office.
“Third please,” the smooth baritone voice said.
I pressed the button for the third floor and looked in the direction of the baritone voice. Standing there was a handsome middle-aged man with a caramel complexion, a neatly trimmed mustache, goatee, and short curly hair, all with a touch of gray. He had full kissable lips and perfect white teeth. His tall, medium frame certainly knew how to wear that Armani suit.
When he smiled at me I realized I had been staring. Embarrassed, I was just glad my tongue wasn’t hanging out.
“Good morning,” I said checking my posture, giving a smile and hoping the garlic I had last night wasn’t introducing itself as well.
“Good morning to you,” he said. There was a brief silence. “Do you know where the ‘Harrison Room’ is located?”
“Uh, yes, when you get off the elevator make a right, go down the hallway, it’s the second conference room on your left.”
The elevator stopped at the second floor. Hesitating I went through the doors and looked back over my shoulder at the elevator occupant.
“Thank you. Have a wonderful day,” he said smiling as the doors closed.
I don’t remember the elevators ever moving that quickly. Stupid things.
Walking through the glass doors of my Compliance Department and into my office I mentally slapped the side of my head. What an idiot! I stared at that man as if it was the first time I saw anyone from the male species. He wasn’t an Adonis but there was something about him…something about the way he carried himself. And that cologne he wore…. “He must think I’m a desperate, middle aged woman,” I mumbled to myself. Well I wasn’t…was I?
Sitting at my computer I tried to erase my brain of any memory of the embarrassing moment. Just then the reminder on “Outlook” rang notifying me I had a meeting in fifteen minutes. I clicked on the reminder and froze. It was for a meeting on the third floor. In the “Harrison Room.” I had forgotten that quickly. There was a workshop for all the Risk and Compliance Officers in the Firm here at the White Plains Headquarters. Officers that worked for the Firm on the East Coast would be here today. That guy would be there. The embarrassment was going to last all day. “Oh great!” I mumbled to myself.
When the ten-minute reminder rang, Carla, my assistant, poked her head in, “Simone, you have ten minutes till the workshop.”
“Thanks Carla, I’m on my way.” I am always early for appointments but I found myself dragging my feet on this one. I pulled a compact out of my top drawer, checked my makeup, reapplied my lipstick, brushed a hand over my shoulder length hair, smoothed down the skirt of my Brooks Brothers suit, and stood up with my head held high. At least I would look like an
desperate middle-aged woman. I grabbed a mint from the candy dish on my desk; just in case.
I made my way into the “Harrison Room”. There were “suits” standing around as if at a cocktail party. In the middle were rectangular tables arranged in a horseshoe. There was a pad, a pen, and a bottle of water in front of each chair, as well as place cards. As I walked around looking for my name I smiled and made small talk with the faces I recognized and smiled politely at the ones I didn’t.
Half way around the room I located my name. On the left side of me sat an attractive young blond woman. I recognized her face from previous workshops. We smiled and said “Good morning.” As I adjusted my seat I felt someone move to the right of me. I turned around and the guy from the elevator was pulling out the chair and sitting down.
“Good morning, again…Simone,” he said looking at my place card and showing those perfect teeth again.
“Good morning,” I said wishing the floor would open up and swallow me.
“I’m Charles, Charles Dupree. It looks like we’re going to be spending the day together.”
As he shook my hand, I smiled as if I hadn’t a care in the world. But I could feel the blood rush to my head as I began to blush. God has some sense of humor.
As the morning continued and Charles and I had an actual conversation, I learned that he was an Attorney for our Risk Management Department on Park Avenue in New York City. He had been at the Firm for less than three months but he had been in the business for over twenty years. We hired him away from one of our top competitors.
Lunch was set up in an adjoining room. There were round tables that sat eight people to a table. Charles and I along with a few others sat together during lunch. As we continued to eat and make small talk, I observed quite a few people coming up to him claiming to know him from previous firms or knowing some of the same people. They seemed to have a lot of respect for him. Apparently his reputation preceded him. There was something special about this man. He has a strong sense of authority about him, without being overbearing. I can also see that he is a genuinely friendly person.
After lunch we all took our original seats. At this point, I was feeling somewhat comfortable with Charles as we continued talking about business and listening to the speakers.
The workshop moderator began to introduce our next speaker. It was an impressive resume. The speaker had been a supervisor with the Securities and Exchange Commission for several years as well as an Executive Director with our competitor. An undergrad of Princeton and a law degree from Columbia University, the speaker is now a Managing Director who heads the Risk Management Department. As the moderator announced the speaker’s name I was surprised to see Charles get up and walk to the podium.
Based on the applause and laughs he’s been receiving, I guess his speech is equally impressive. I have to admit I have no idea what he’s talking about. I think it was something about Regulatory Exams. I just keep staring at him throughout his entire speech. He is a confident speaker without speaking down to us. I keep watching his lips. I couldn’t take my eyes off of them. At one point I think he caught me staring at them. He smiled at me and my stomach did somersaults. As his speech continued I watched his hands. No ring. They were big, strong, smooth hands. Hands that knew how to… What? What was that? What did he say?
“Did anyone have any more questions?” he was looking right at me. I swallowed hard and shook my head.
What the heck was wrong with me? I totally zoned out. I missed the entire speech. I began to blush again as I thought of where my mind had taken me.
As the moderator introduced the next speaker, Charles sat back down next to me. Was he sitting closer? Before I could say a word I took a big gulp of cold water. “That was a great presentation.” I said trying to sound professional.
“Was it?” he said looking into my eyes. Did he know what I had been thinking?
As the next speaker began an interactive session, I tried to ignore the fact that Charles smelled so good. Was that heat on the side of my leg coming from his leg? Did I just catch him looking at me from the corner of his eyes?
At one point I lost my place in the print out we were supposed to be following. Charles put his arm across the back of my chair, leaned over and turned the page of my print out.
Was I breathing? I never had asthma before.
When the moderator announced a break Charles leaned over again and asked, “Do you want to get some air?”
“Sure,” I said, praying my legs wouldn’t buckle as I stood up.
Putting his hand on the small of my back he led me through the crowd and out of the conference room. Side by side we walked down the hallway and out to the courtyard. There were a few other people standing around. I spied a bench across the way. I made a beeline for the bench, because I still did not trust my legs.
As we sat down Charles looked at me and said, “Well we’ve learned each other’s resume. So now tell me about you. Are you married?”
“No, I’m divorced.” He looked at me as if trying to read my feelings on the subject. “For a long time now,” I continued. He looked relieved. “I have two sons just out of college. My oldest son is in Finance and the other is in Sports and Entertainment Management. Fortunately, they are good boys, or men I should say. No drama, thank goodness.”
“They’re good men because their mom did a great job with them.”
“That’s nice of you to say,” a little embarrassed I wasn’t at all sure what to say.
“I’m not just being nice. I mean it. I give a lot of credit to single moms whose children grow up to be a success, especially women of color. You beat the odds. That’s not easy.”
“Thank you,” I said squirming a little in my seat.
“Was their dad involved,” he asked.
“Not at all,” I answered.
“Yes, that’s not easy,” he replied.
“So again, I ask, tell me about you.” He leaned back on the palm of his hands. He seemed so relaxed and sure of himself.
“There’s not much to tell. You know about my career. You know about my sons. My sons and career are very important to me.” I shrugged my shoulders.
“What do you do when you’re not at work or with your family? What do you do to relax?”
I didn’t think he wanted to hear “nothing.” Do I tell him that I like to read? I’m sure he wouldn’t be impressed with my extensive reading of the romance novels I keep on my nightstand. It helps to take me away from all the audit reports I read every day. As a former English major, I do like to break out my Shakespeare and Elizabeth Browning every once in a while. But I didn’t want to look like a nerd. Exercise! That’s it. “I work out at the gym. Sometimes I go running and I do a lot of hiking. There’s a hiking trail around the back of my home. It’s very peaceful and relaxing. If I could I’d go hiking just about every day. I really love it.”
“I can tell,” he said looking down at my legs. I swallowed hard.
Thank God, I thought. No runs in my pantyhose.
“So how about you,” I said changing the subject. “Are you married?” Please say no.
“Also divorced for many years. I have a son in Los Angeles – he’s a Civil Rights Attorney - and a daughter in San Diego – she’s a Pediatrician. Their mom is on the West Coast. They moved a few years ago to be near her.”
“Wow, very impressive,” I said. “Obviously you did a good job too.”
“Thanks but it was a joint project.”
I felt a little pang of jealousy, which made no sense at all. Not only did I not know the mother; I didn’t even know the father sitting right in front of me.
“Actually their mother wasn’t around much. Fortunately I had my family to help me.”
“Yes, me too,” I said. “It takes a village…” I quoted.
“That it does,” Charles said shaking his head.
My ex-wife is much more of a free spirit than I am. She got remarried shortly after the kids finished undergrad. And she and her husband moved to California for a job he wanted to take. The kids decided to follow her there to go to law and medical school. I think they were concerned about her new husband. He’s a nice guy and all…he just isn’t” Charles hesitated, “as ambitious as the rest of the family. He’s a bit of a dreamer if you know what I mean.”
Oh boy, do I? I said to myself.
I didn’t know his kids but I had to give them props for looking out for their mother’s welfare.
Not knowing what to say, I glanced around and saw others in the courtyard getting up and walking toward the doorway of the building. “Looks like the break is over.”
He looked at the others in the courtyard and said, “Yes, we should be heading back.”
With that he stood up and took my hand to help me up. He escorted me back to the building.
Back at the workshop I was feeling a bit more comfortable with Charles. I was able to relax and pay attention to the rest of the speakers. Well, that is until he asked me out to dinner.
The Holidays – “Laying the Foundation” 1979
I had turned 17 years old just before Christmas. Now it was New Year’s Day, the day the house came alive. People came to my grandparents’ annual open house from miles away. Everyone had such a great time they never wanted to leave. And when they did leave, all they could do was think about coming back again next year to the Winthrop Family’s Open House.
“Go put your shoes on young lady!” Aunt Mary, my grandmother’s baby sister, scolded me as I walked down the carpeted front stairs, leading into the large foyer, wearing only socks on my feet. Aunt Mary was tiny in frame but could stop you in your tracks with her strong voice and no nonsense look. Aunt Mary had light brown eyes, like my grandmother. You couldn’t help but be drawn to them, as they seem so intense against her light caramel colored skin. She always wore her hair pulled back in a long braid that reached down to her bottom. My grandmother and her siblings were half black and half Native American. Aunt Mary looked every bit of her Shinecock Native American heritage.
“Yes ma’am,” I said turning around and going back up the stairs. Not daring to stomp my feet or mumble to myself, as I wanted, for fear she would tell my grandmother. Then I’d be berated by both of them at the same time. Piss off one of the Harris sisters and you pissed them all off. Not a good way to start the New Year.