For a few months, Rivaflowz.com will be taking four guest authors #fromblogtobook. Each week you'll be able to read a new installment from unique aspiring authors. This tale is from Deja L. Jones. Enjoy!
Read part one, here.
Read part one, here.
After her big meeting, June power walked back to her office, sent her girls a mass emergency alert to meet her at the Southern Table and packed up for the night. As she sped down the interstate, she thought about how she would break the news to her friends. She wondered if she should still go on the trip or if she should save herself from being the lonely and bitter fifth wheel. She braced herself for the lectures that would ensue and turned on her soul music selection to relax her until she could get something strong enough at the bar to really mellow her mood.
After forty-five minutes in traffic, she finally pulled into the restaurant’s parking lot. She took a deep breath as she turned her car off. It had been months since she had been at the Southern Table and she missed the ambiance. She missed the low key live jazz music, the amazing drinks and the soul food. She and her girls would sit at the bar for hours talking and mindlessly ordering rounds as they flirted with the cute bartender.
“June, welcome back!” She always loved the warm welcomes she received from Che, the short general restaurant manager.
“How you doing my friend?” He said in a thick accent as he hugged her. He made it a point to talk about his home country of Burkina Faso in Africa.
“Ugh, it’s been a day Che.” He took her coat.
She did a quick survey of the dimly lit restaurant before she found her friend Rice seated at a corner table. June had known Rice since she landed her first job in advertisement sales straight out of college. She was one of the applicants accepted into the company’s young leaders program. Rice’s real name was Janice, but most called her that as a mock of her Asian heritage and for also being the first international employee at the ad firm. She was June’s first work friend and they bonded over their love of food. Her time at the firm didn’t last long before she decided to quit the corporate world for a career in non-profit. The Southern Table had become their spot, so had the signature grapefruit martinis.
“June!! What’s happening?” Rice always had an intuitive way of knowing when something wasn’t right in June’s life. June could tell by the concerned look on her friend’s face.
“What do you mean?” June knew that Rice knew that something was wrong.
“That no good did something didn’t he?!”
June waved the hostess away and placed her jacket on the back of her seat and sat before she decided to address her friend. She at least wanted to order a drink and throw back a few shots before she began telling the final chapter of her sad tale in the chronicles of June and Trevor. Besides, their happily married friend Deanna hadn’t arrived yet.
June had somehow curated the perfect life for herself, friends included. They were women from different backgrounds and who worked in different fields. Rice worked as a nutrition counselor who recently opened up a non-profit health and wellness clinic, so it wasn’t often that she got to spend time with her. Deanna had just married her college sweetheart and girl’s nights became less than often. They were all at different place in their lives and June didn’t know how she would tell her friends that Trevor had dumped her and just the day before their trip. She was touching thirty and single for the first time in decades. How was she supposed to start over at her age? If only her love life was perfect. Her and her girls had a bet that she would be the first to marry and now here she was, back at the drawing board.
“Ladies, ladies what can I get you?” A handsome young waiter approached their table. He had a really lovely scent of sandalwood and musk, the kind that you could smell before he actually got to you. It was inviting and the girls inhaled as he stood beside them. He introduced himself as William.
“I’ll have a grapefruit martini and tequila on the rocks.” June immediately responded.
“Wow someone’s having a bad day.” Rice chuckled. “I’ll just have a water and lemon for now.”
“No problem. I will be back with your drinks in a few. Would you ladies like a menu?” The waiter asked.
“Yes and an extra one for our friend.” Rice said.
“You got it.” Rice watched as their waiter walked away.
The ladies both sat and caught up on life and work all the while avoiding the big issue at hand that June was trying to stall on. She wanted all of them there for moral support because she knew as soon as she blurted it out she was going to lose it emotionally. She had gotten so good at covering up the problems that her and Trevor were having that they almost didn’t exist in her mind.
“So are you gonna tell me what’s up or no?” Rice was eager to know what Trevor had done since she had already assumed it was him anyway.
“Let’s wait for Deanna.”
“Fine, but you know she’s never on time.”
The drinks had arrived and June wasted no time in guzzling down her tequila. She thought if the liquor hit her system quickly she’d have the courage she needed. Liquid courage. She could then sip her martini in peace. It had been a half hour before Deanna arrived and the live jazz band was just warming up for their first set. It was now dinner time and happy hour was coming to an end.
“Heeey!” Deanna knew how to be fashionably late. She waltzed in wearing a bright yellow dress and a leather jacket. The yellow created a bold contrast against her deep chocolate skin.
“Finally!” Rice said. “Sit your prissy body down we’re tired of waiting for you.”
“Yeah I’m pretty hungry now.” June said looking at her watch.
“Sorry, my surgery went past scheduled time, so I was in the ER longer than expected.” Deanna took her jacket off showing off her huge canary yellow ring. She had just gotten married a month ago and still hadn’t come off her cloud of marital bliss. She had been the eternal scholar of the bunch which had finally led to her being a pediatric surgeon.
“So June has some big news? What’s the 911 alert about?” Deanna took her seat and picked up the drink menu. She called over the waiter and order a Pinot Noir as June gathered her thoughts. Her mind was racing.
“Well…there’s no easy way to say this I guess.” June ran her finger alone the rim of her class avoiding eye contact. “I won’t be going to New Orleans anymore.”
“What?!” Rice gasped.
“Girl do you need money? We got you!” Deanna chimed pulling out her check book.
“No…no” June could feel her eyes brimming with tears. “Trevor broke up with me. After all these years!”
“That bastard!” Rice shook her head.
“I didn’t like him anyway.” Deanna was in her usual kick a girl while she’s down form. “I don’t even know why you stuck with him for as long as you did.”
“Yeah she’s right. You are so much better than him.” Rice agreed, but it didn’t make June feel any better. She was twenty-eight and alone.
“I don’t know what I did wrong though.” June sobbed.
“Girl it wasn’t you!” Deanna said before taking a sip. “He just wasn’t the right guy for you.”
“Yeah, you grew up and he didn’t.” Rice rubbed June’s back to console her.
“But that doesn’t mean you skip out on the trip because of him.” Deanna said.
“Guys, I really don’t want to be a fifth wheel on this trip. I mean you all have someone and then it’s just me.”
“I’ll tell you what; we will find you someone on this trip to New Orleans.” Rice flashed a mischievous smile. “What happens in NOLA stays in NOLA.”
“And it Mardi gras!! You can’t miss it and trust me you certainly won’t be lonely. I’m sure we’ll find a sexy bachelor in the debauchery of NOLA.” Deanna said.
“Thanks guys.” June still didn’t feel better, but she appreciated her friends for trying.
“Girl, forget Trevor. He was holding you back anyway. Can we eat?” Deanna said picking up her menu.
“If only there was some way I could create the perfect guy right?” June said.
“Interesting. What would your ingredients be?” Rice asked sipping her water.
“Well since I already have one I would go with him.” Deanna said.
The girls talked about their perfect man and laughed at how ridiculous they sounded. June was actually wondering if it were possible to create the perfect man, what ingredients she would use.
“Let’s see, intelligence, a man with the money honey, and some machine guns for arms. I like my hugs strong!” Deanna laughed.
“Eh. I don’t like his arms too big. Sculpted, but not huge.” Rice chimed in.
“I don’t know…maybe someone with a good job, nice looking and wants to get married.” June said as she gulped the last of her martini. She was pretty simple when it came to love. She just wanted to love someone and have them love her back.
Rice waved the waiter over and they ordered just as the live band geared up for their first set. They loved their time at the Southern Table, but it wasn’t really a place for chit chat. The music was so loud they could barely hear one another. June decided she would still go to New Orleans since it was already booked, she would just need to change her itinerary to accommodate a single woman in a group full of couples. She hadn’t approached a guy since 2007 when she had met Trevor. What was she supposed to do now? She thought New Orleans was certainly much too soon to get back on the horse. She hadn’t even dealt with the emotional damage Trevor had caused. Was there any damage? She thought.
After surveying the menu, the women ordered their usual and talked about their plans and arrangements for their trip the next day. Deanna would be with her husband Mike, Rice had her beau Kyle and then there was June. They decided they would make lots of club time and girl time so that she wouldn’t feel alone. She was glad to have the friends she had. They were blunt, harsh and rough around the edges with her, but she never had to question where they stood with her. The girls toasted to a fun weekend in New Orleans as their food arrived and they ordered another round of drinks.
Deja is a lifestyle writer and digital content creator for some of your favorite sites such as Madame Noire and Upscale Magazine. When she's not writing loves getting lost in the world of fiction specifically crime, mysteries and thrillers. She believes that sometimes the best and cheapest vacations are in between the pages of a new book.