Hey everyone, this is the final chapter of Donnely place. I'm sorry it took so long but my stupid computer crashed twice, and all the work was lost! Trust me when I say it almost did not get written, so enjoy.......
Donnely Place 451 (The Conclusion)
The mood in the room was so tense, and strained, you could hear a pin drop. Sylvia had to remind herself to breathe. She glanced over at Lena, who's red rimmed eyes were trained on Paul as he worked on Bianca. She could feel herself starting to lose it! Oh God! What was she going to do? The seconds ticked down and Mrs Crenshaw appeared to be losing consciousness. Only her husband's arms seemed to be keeping her from hitting the floor. Sylvia felt like she was going to faint herself, as she watched Paul work feverishly trying to save the baby. Nothing seemed to work! The veins in Paul's neck stood out like lines on a map, as he battled for the baby's life. His shirt and jacket were gone, and his muscles rippled like cords through the thin material of his Tee as he worked. The white Tee dripped with sweat from his profuse exertion, and still no response from the baby! Everyone was fast losing hope, and both Jennifer and Dione were crying so loud and desperately, it appeared they'd soon need a stretcher as well. As the paramedics rushed through the door, Sylvia thought she heard something, almost like a small animal squealing. There it was again! She struggled through tear stained eyes to see Bianca's little reddened face, choke out a strangled cry! Screams of relief filled the room, as the baby gasped for breath. Then everyone was laughing, and crying at the same time. It was so chaotic that Michael, Paul's 1st cousin, gave a loud whistle and demanded that everyone clear the room so the paramedics could do their job. people slowly filed out as the paramedics rushed over, and took over for Paul. He backed away looking totally wiped out. Sylvia started to give him a light hug, but he grabbed her in a vise like grip, and pulled her into his arms, breathing heavily. She tried to pull away, as people were turning to stare, but he held her tightly.The emotional toll of having the baby's life in his hands, seemed to have worn him out. She knew he thinking about how close they'd came to losing Bianca because he was shaking. She didn't know what to do, so she did nothing, and just allowed him to hold her.
When he finally released her, Sylvia turned and fled toward the door, away from all the curious stares, and obviously disapproving looks. Funny, she thought bitterly. They almost lose a precious baby, and still they have the energy to worry about the handsome doctor hugging the lowly servant! She flattened herself against the wall to avoid colliding with the paramedics as they rushed little Bianca down to the waiting ambulance. Jennifer ran past glaring at her as she tried to get out of her way.
As She made her way to the first floor, Lena grabbed her in another bear hug that almost tipped her backwards. Her blond hair was wild, and her make up was smeared and running down her face, but she looked jubilant. "They're saying she's going to be ok!" She breathed deeply, clutching her salt water peals like they were rosary beads.
" Thank God. I'm so happy! - I thought......." She shook her head, unable to bring herself to say it. Sylvia nodded. "I know, I know......I did too" She murmured, as they made their way out back where everyone was congregated watching the ambulance prepare for transport to the hospital. All around the property, luxury vehicles were purring to life with family members, and friends planning to follow the ambulance to the hospital. They both watched, as thongs of people surrounded the ambulance trying to ride with the baby. They didn't seem to hear the paramedics trying to tell them that only one person would be allowed to go, and it was usually a parent. They formed a hard wall Of humanity around the ambulance, and kept demanding to know what was going on with the baby, why couldn't they go, where was the hospital etc. Lena and Sylvia watched as a tall dark paramedic lost his cool and screamed for them to back off. Their faces then registered indignant shock that he would have the nerve to scream at them. They looked at each other with expressions that read 'what do you expect from the uncultured, plebeian sect.' They never noticed how uncultured they had just acted. Sylvia wanted to laugh but she held it in. Funny how rich people could act just like common people in a crisis. Lena looked at her as if she had said it out loud. "Yes, Sylv" She nodded, watching the expression on her face. We're just ordinary people with money, that's all, no better, no worse" Sylvia nodded in agreement. "Funny, from the other side, I always thought you guys were better...." She watched as off in the distance Lena's husband screamed at a young maid because he'd discovered her child hidden in her car. Obviously the poor girl had been unable to afford a sitter and left the two year old to sleep in the car as she worked. Sylvia could almost read his lips as he screamed at her, and she knew by the girls shaking shoulders, and pleading hands, that he was threatening to call the police on her. He seemed to be enjoying the girl's terrifying fear and distress, Sylvia felt sick to her stomach watching the scene. "But some of you are definitely worse!" She finished sadly. She looked at Lena wondering how someone like her could have ever been attracted to someone like Jim. They seemed like total opposites. He had no compassion for anyone. In fact, none of these people had any idea what it was like to put your baby to sleep in a drawer, or struggle to feed your family, or be so poor, you had to sneak your baby in your car and pray she didn't cry because you can't afford for someone to watch her. They just lived in a completely different world. She had to turn her head away, as the girl, who was on her knees now, literally begged Jim not to call the police. She knew that would mean she would automatically lose her child into the system. Sylvia felt like crying with her. He was a monster to make her beg like that. "I wonder where my husband is-and what he's doing. " Lena suddenly said, brightly. Sylvia had an instant brainstorm. "Oh he's right over there next to the fence way in the back-see!" She pointed him out at the far end of the compound. Lena's eyes squinted in confusion at the young girl on the ground, and Jim's smirking face. Without a word she turned and headed his way....
Sylvia started to follow because she wanted to see how he was going to explain this to Lena, but Mr Crenshaw stepped into her way, and pulled her aside. He was still quite red with emotion. "Sylvia, we wanted to thank you for what you did, If it weren't for you..... " He choked in a strangled effort to compose himself. "If you had not done that.... " He shook his head unable to finish the thought. He drew himself up and took a shuddering breath.
"Well, we just wanted to thank you and say that if you ever need anything, anything at all let us know"
"But... I didn't do anything, Mr Crenshaw!" She answered, completely baffled. "Yes you did" He nodded. " Lena told me about you checking on her that one last time, I don't know what we would have If you had not done that-" He shook his head unable to go on, and pulled a teary Alexis back into his arms. Alexis glanced at Sylvia though eyes a little less contempt-filled, than usual. "Yeah, Lena said you were the one that discovered her-so we..we thank you" She took a long shuddering breath. "Uh... Mr Crenshaw and I are going to the hospital with our daughter and then we're going to take the week off and have family time and just spend some time together" She turned away a moment and seemed to be studying the wall, obviously reluctant to say more. Mr Crenshaw gave a her little nudge, but she kept silent. "Uh, well anyway," Mr Crenshaw added, upon seeing that his wife had no plans to finish the conversation. "We'd really love for you to take the next two weeks off " He glanced at Alexis, who was pursing her soft lips in silent disagreement. It was obvious that this decision had been his idea and had not been mutual. "On us of course," He added. Sylvia was still, baffled. " But, but... I thought Sarita was coming back in two more weeks?" Mr Crensaw cast his wife a bewildered look. " Alexis, Didn't you tell her Sarita won't be back for months, and ask her to stay? - you told me you took care of that last week." Alexis turned her pretty face toward Sylvia with narrowed eyes. "Oh course I did honey, " She said sweetly, all the while, her eyes dared Sylvia to disagree with her. "She obviously forgot-didn't you Sylvia?" Sylvia swallowed. Mrs Crenshaw would lie over the most ridiculous things! She thought. but she desperately needed the money, so she smiled sweetly at Mr Crenshaw, and nodded. "uh... yes, it must have slipped my mind. She said casually, slapping her head gently. "Oh, well... here, let me pay you for the time," He told her. " And we'll see you in two weeks then- ok? "
A satisfied look came over Alexis's face as she watched Sylvia take the money from her husband's large hands eagerly. Why, she's practically salivating! Alexis thought. She smirked as the girl's face colored when she caught her watching. She was such ghetto trash! Everything about this little trollop spelled mediocre. And that always irritated the hell out of Alexis. And did this hoodrat really think she was going to get the credit for saving her baby! Not in a million years! Everyone knew Paul had saved Bianca! Mr Crenshaw was so busy thanking Sylvia again, he never saw his wife behind him practically laughing derisively in the Sylvia's face. Of course Sylvia saw her, but she remained silent. He reminded Sylvia they would see her in two weeks, before he walked away pulling his beloved wife into his arms. They climbed into his gray jag and headed to St Lukes. Alexis was looking at her from the open window wrapped snugly in her husband's arms. Her beautiful brown eyes gleamed with malice and she wore the same satisfied, smug smile Sylvia had just seen on Jim's face as he forced the poor maid to beg and plead for her baby only minutes before. Sylvia wanted to choke them both. Had they never known what it was like to need help or money? She felt drained and tired until, she saw the young maid hugging Lena in the background. She had a big kool aide smile on her face as she climbed in her little hatchback car. Obviously Lena had saved the day. Behind her Jim looked sullen and morose. Like a child forced to stop playing his favorite sport. Sylvia realized quietly, as she watched him sulk, that bullying was indeed his favorite sport. He tried to touch his wife's hand as she walked past. She yanked her hand away, and at the same time, turned, and gave him a scathing stare. Jim dropped his hand and his head. His handsome dark face almost registered shame. "Don't you ever let me catch you mistreating someone, anyone like that again!" Lena hissed at him through clenched teeth, before answering her ringing phone. So He got caught! She noted with satisfaction. She watched at Lena gave the valet orders, while carrying on her phone conversation. Funny, she always thought of Lena as delicate, and gentle. Wasn't that what the image of all white women.? But now, she realized that was just a stereotype. Lena was much tougher than she looked, and it was crystal clear, that there was a whole other side to her. Lena came toward her, still talking on her cell . "Ok, yes, I'll take care of it " she was saying. She got off the phone and looked at Sylvia. "Well the hospital is asking everyone, except the parents to come back tomorrow" She sighed, and began to wipe off her congealing make up with a clean wet cloth. "They don't want anymore people trying to see Bianca tonight." Sylvia nodded. She could have told them that, but somehow she knew they would not have listened. But this explained why some people had come back, and some had never left.
She turned to see Paul, surrounded by a thong of hugging, kissing admirers, trying to make his way to her. He had almost managed to reach her, when his cousin Mike grabbed him in a bear hug strong enough to break the average man's back. She watched in silent amazement as Paul accepted his cousin's heartfelt hug, while his eyes remained riveted on her. Was he really headed her way with that determined look on his face? Why? What did he want with her? I hope he doesn't grab me in another one of his bone crushing hugs. She thought. She didn't have long to wonder, for in minutes he was there. Smiling down at her triumphantly. "Save me before they throw me a victory parade!" He begged. Sylvia threw her head back and laughed. "Well, you are a hero, you know." He shook his head. "No, I'm just a home town doctor dying to date a pretty woman who won't give me the time of day" He sighed, in mock heartfelt pain. He grabbed at his heart, though the thin T shirt that clung to his toned, taut, chest. Her heart fluttered at his words, then drifted back to reality. Look at him, she thought rationally. He's so handsome, and he's got that great body. And he's a doctor from a rich family for Christ's sake! He probably has to beat the women off with a stick! There is no way he could seriously want me! Obviously he was joking. Everyone said he was a constant jester. Even if I wasn't married to such a jerk, I'd never have a chance. She thought silently. She looked at Lena. "Don't look at me!" Lena laughed, touching her freshly cleaned, pretty white face. "I specialize in divorce not matchmaking!" She pulled out a brush and began brushing her hair hard enough to make a child scream. "Lena, you're a divorce lawyer! You?" Sylvia was shocked. Lena laughed at her expression. Sylvia grabbed the brush from her and began to brush Lena's long blond hair more gently. "Well, I encourage people to exhaust every avenue of staying together, but if it's not possible, then yes, I help them get divorced." She turned and looked carefully into Sylvia's eyes. "Why don't we do lunch tomorrow? " She said subtly. "Great!," Sylvia answered a bit too enthusiastically. She was amazed at how easily Lena had picked up on her interest, she thought she'd hidden it well. The image she had of Lena now was totally different from the flaky, sweet, innocent one, she'd had of her just weeks prior. "Yeah great!" Paul echoed. His chiseled face breaking into a charming grin. The meaning of their conversation was definitely not lost on him. "By all means help her get a divorce Lena, so she can marry me!" Lena slapped him in mock anger. "You're terrible!" she laughed, applying a thin coat of lip gloss. Sylvia handed her back her brush. "Come on Sylvia, let me give you a lift home, and get you away from this immoral fool!" Sylvia climbed into Lena's Black BMW, and waved at Paul, as they pulled away. He had one hand over his heart, and was reaching the other out to them in mock dismay."Hey Lena!" He cried out. "Bring back my wife!- Bring back my wife! " He pounded on Lena's back window as she drove past, trying to chase the accelerating car down the hill. People turned to stare, laughing at him as he chased the car all the way to the end of the long custom paved driveway, before giving up. He dropped to his knees like a grieving man, his hands still outstretched and begging for his wife. Everyone was laughing as they left him there, and drove through the gates. "Told ya, he was a clown," Lena shook her head, barely keeping a straight face, but she lost it when she saw Sylvia red as a lobster, and trying desperately to sink into the dark leather seat..........
Lena was absolutely delighted to help her friend get a divorce. Just as Sylvia had known she would be. She agreed to keep it a secret until all of the preliminary work was done, and began proceedings. Sylvia was so happy at the thought of being free that she took Lena's advice and enrolled in a week end class and took up walking. The exercise really lifted her spirits just as Lena promised it would, and the class in computers was challenging and fun. But Best of all was that Paul kept hanging around even after she told him they could only be friends. She just could not believe he was really interested in her, and she was not about to be used. She was though being used by men forever. Tyshon had used her for years, and she made up her mind long ago, no other man was ever going to use her again. At work even Mrs Crenshaw was easier to deal with. The exercise really was a great stress reliever. She lost more and more weight until she had to get new uniforms. Dione, and Lena congratulated her, while Alexis and Jennifer smirked. But she could have cared less. Let them smirk she thought. I'm getting stronger, slimmer and richer. She was saving every possible dime for her new life, so nothing they could say could possible hurt her-or so she thought.....
A few weeks after the Crenshaws came back, they threw a bash in honor of Bianca being off her breathing apparatus, and being given a clean bill of health. (Sylvia learned they loved to throw parties for any reason.) Bianca had her own nurse now. She was a large, homely woman, with a huge swollen nose (probably so she could sniff out every secret in the house like hound dog) and bright red hair. She had a penchant for gossip and loved to get into other people's business. But her credentials were impeccable and had swayed Mrs Crenshaw to hire her, despite her frightful appearance. The Crenshaws were being extremely protective of the baby now. They were not taking any chances. Sylvia didn't get to hold her much anymore, as her nurse, Karen, was more protective than even Mrs Crenshaw! She rarely let anyone except the parents hold Bianca, and she had an air of superiority even more pronounced than her enormous nose. Sylvia did not care for her at all, but Lena often reminded her often that she did have excellent credentials.
That night, the phone rang, just Mr Crenshaw had settled down to have a scotch on the newly updated outside deck. He picked it up, and made a face. It was his office. There was a major problem with an acquisition, and since he was the boss, he had to handle it personally. He slammed down the phone, and turned to his wife. "Honey I'm so sorry.... I' won't be long I-" " It's ok honey." Alexis waved away his concern. "The party will still be here when you get back." He looked at Paul, who had just told them he had to get back to some paperwork. "Paul, can you stay-just until I get back?-I won't be long." Paul seemed to debate, then shrugged. His eyes seemed to be scanning the huge yard for something. " Sure, I guess I can stay for awhile." Alexis gave her husband a quick kiss. "Honey, hurry so you can come back and party with us soon ok? He nodded, as he leaned in for a longer kiss.
" Alexis Baby, promise not to cut or main anyone while I'm gone ok? We all know about your temper!" Alexis threw a half eaten hot dog at him. "Oh very funny John!"
Paul was taking back off his jacket. "Don't worry big brother, If any women start fighting while you're gone, I'll oil em down and charge for seats-I'd never allow a female to exploit herself for free!" This time he was the target of Alexis's half eaten hot dog. "Woman, you better throw balls, and stop wasting food!" he warned, before bouncing a large ball off Alexis's head. Alexis gave a yelp as her perfectly coiffed bun toppled over. "Your going to pay for that Paul! " She yelled, chasing him around the backyard.
Lena smiled to herself. Her brother was so transparent! She knew his real reason for staying, was so that he could get next to Sylvia.He had been scanning the area for her since he'd arrived......
Sylvia was in the kitchen preparing the chicken and thinking about the argument that she had, had with Tyshon that morning over money. He seemed to feel that she should not only pay all the bills but hand over all the pay from her second job to him as well. Sylvia strenuously disagreed. She had told him she made approximately half of what she actually made but he wanted that entire amount! She was not about to give that to him that either! And that's how a big argument had ensued. He'd called her names and threatened her. But she was sure it was all talk. He had slapped her before, but mostly all of his abuse had been on her psyche, not her body. Still, she was uneasy, he seemed to be getting more angry and volatile all the time,and she really needed to get her kids away from him. All this was going through her mind as Nurse Karen entered carrying Bianca. The baby's tiny hands reached out for Sylvia, but Nurse Karen's beady eyes pretended not to notice. She lifted Bianca's little body and brought her inches from her acne scared face, with it's big bulbous nose. Bianca screamed. "I don't think you should do that" Sylvia said firmly. She could just imagine how frightened a poor baby would be coming inches away from that hideous face! Nurse Karen shot her a -mind your own damn business look- but stopped immediately when Paul entered. His handsome face lit up when he spotted Sylvia. Karen's face snapped around at the interest laid bare by his smile. She looked toward Sylvia, then back to Paul, not liking what she was seeing. Sylvia tried to dodge past him into the foyer, but he grabbed her arm. "Can we do lunch?" He whispered. Sylvia could see the silhouette of Karen's huge horrible nose peeking around the wall, trying to listen. "No, I...I can't I'm busy"
"No you're not" Paul insisted. "Surely you get time off to eat." Sylvia felt a tad bit panicky, what if nosy Karen told Mrs Crenshaw?
"Paul please!" She hissed. "I.. I can meet you after work ok, now please go- now!" That seemed to satisfy him. "Ok then, after you're off, we'll do dinner, and I take you home" He was so close she could smell his expensive after shave and see the flecks of amber in his blue eyes. He smiled as he released her, but Sylvia was a tad bit irritated. What was he doing? Was he trying to get her fired? She wondered. She headed back to work to find nurse Karen's beady black eyes locked on hers, then she turned, and hurried from the kitchen. Swaying from side to side like a two by four. She reminded Sylvia of a morbidly obese duck. Sylvia sighed. Well, Mrs Crenshaw will know now she thought ruefully. But to her surprise, it wasn't Mrs Crenshaw who confronted her at all......
Nurse Karen slithered over to Alexis and her sisters. A young, newly hired maid named Keri was serving drinks nearby. Alexis was trying to pin her hair back up like her favorite beautician had it, before her brother in law, had knocked it down. Karen watched as Dione took a drink from Keri, while carefully balancing her blond three year old on her lap. " Oh my! " Karen sighed. "I could sure use one of those- especially after what I just heard!" Both Alexis and Jennifer leaned forward. Dione's eyes narrowed into slits as she regarded nurse Karen. She could not stand this woman and she never tried to hide it. Karen ignored Dione's icy stare. She knew Dione did not like her, -big deal, the other two were more important than Dione anyway. "What did you hear? " Jennifer asked, impatiently. Karen shook her head, and let her beady right eye scan the area nearest them. Her snake like eyes gleamed whenever she had really good gossip. She scanned the room again to make sure she was not overheard, and leaned in closely. "I heard..." She paused for drama's sake, as she sank her generous bulk into an overpriced patio chair. She ignored the chair's high pitched scream, and continued. "I heard, the esteemed Dr Crenshaw, ask that kitchen girl for a date!" All three women sucked their breath in surprise, even Dione. "And that's not all! " Karen was loving the look on their faces. She tooted up her monstrosity of a nose, wiped her oily face, and continued.
" She said yes! And they're going out right after work!" Jennifer turned to Dione, "Do you see now what happens when you allow servants to think they're just as good as we are!" "I swear I always make sure my servants know their place!" She glared toward the kitchen as if Sylvia could see it. Alexis leaned back dramatically fanning herself as if she were about to pass out. Keri rushed over to her with water and a cool washcloth for her head. Then she actually stood there and fanned her like she was princess Di! Dione shook her head. She didn't know which one these fools were worse! the idiot sycophant, or elephant woman with the horseshit nose! It reminded her of an oversized pile of excrescence in the middle of an oily field. Dione felt such repugnance looking at the woman, she had to turn away. Between the gossiping nurse, and the sycophantic maid, She didn't know which one of them irritated her more. Keri was a classic pleaser. The exact type of person Alexis loved to have around. No wonder Alexis had been telling her husband to get rid of Sylvia and keep Keri. The girl practically worshiped at her feet. And the gossiping baboon with the big snout supplied her with all the latest gossip. Dione handed her baby to Jennifer and poured herself a stronger drink. She really needed some air. Both of these women made her sick, but that ugly troll Karen, made her feel like regurgitating! She simply could not stand her! And she was such a vicious gossip and a spiteful wretch! Dione looked at Karen through cool, dark eyes. " Why don't you go take care of the baby, and leave matters of the house to those, whom those matters concern." She said with icy conviction. Karen's homely face colored. "Well I.... I ..Iwas just-" "That will be A-L-L nurse Karen," Dione interrupted. "You may resume your duties!" Dione raised her voice and her head, giving nurse Karen a dose of her own medicine. Karen looked stunned. "Take your leave now!" Dione ordered looking down her nose haughtily at Karen in a way that surely made her sisters proud. If Karen wanted to treat people like 3rd class citizens, she would show her how it felt to be on the receiving end. Karen turned her hideous face toward Jennifer and Alexis for support. But they both gazed back at her coolly, looking down their perfect noses, and waiting for her to follow Dione's orders. As far as they were concerned, she had been asked to leave. There was no rational reason for her to still be there. Their closed faces indicated that they agreed with Dione 100%. And that she, Karen, was also considered a mere servant, and an ugly one at that. She slithered away, her small beady eyes filled with embarrassment, as idiot Keri, happily brushed Alexis's long hair, painted her nails, and fetched her cool drinks....
Ironically, it was Mr Crenshaw who approached Sylvia. When he came back in, his wife pulled him aside and talked to him on the patio for a while. A few minutes later, he called Sylvia into the formal dining room. She stood before him feeling like a child called into the Principal's office, and hating the feeling. He motioned for her to take a seat. Taking off his glasses he wiped them furiously, as if stalling for time. Finally he looked up at her, his gray eyes somber and unreadable. "Sylvia, you know I'm quite fond of you." He began. Sylvia felt her heart sink. Those words always signaled trouble ahead. He hesitated, seeming to look for the most palatable words, to convey his thoughts civilly. "Well... we ah.. feel that it's completely inappropriate for you to try to date Dr Crenshaw. I'm sorry but we feel that this-" Sylvia shook her head, and interrupted. Mr Crenshaw, "I'm sorry as well... but I just don't find this matter to be any of your business!" She heard a gasp from the doorway, and turned to see Alexis and her sister approaching. "What did you just say to Mr Crenshaw?" Alexis snapped. They had been listening from the doorway. Jennifer sat near Sylvia and shook her head in mock concern. "We're only looking out for your best interest Sylvia. Dr Crenshaw is a bit of a .... shall we say.. playboy- He'll only break your little heart, and we wanted to spare you that!" Alexis nodded.
"It's true dear" She murmured patting Sylvia's arm. Sylvia jerked away like she'd been touched by the devil. Alexis's pretty mouth curled into an ugly sneer, and she dropped all pretense of concern. "Well, what do you think he could possibly want with a hoodrat like you honey?" She whispered in a low cruel voice. She giggled, as Sylvia paled. "Oh Alexis, don't be cruel" Jennifer interjected. "Perhaps... perhaps he'll marry her!" This caused both of them to double over in laughter. "Fat chance!" Alexis grinned. "Girl you have more chance of being struck by lightning while having dinner with Jay Z, and Beyounce!" Jennifer bit her lip and looked down, struggling not to laugh. "I believe in your neck of the woods they call this.... a booty call" She said softly. "That's what he wants with you!" Sylvia gasped. Mr Crenshaw turned and glared at Jennifer, but he did not say a word in Sylvia's defense, or show any concern for her as she doubled over in emotional pain. She rose up and ran to get her jacket. She could hear Alexis and Jennifer snickers turn to full fledged laughter again, as she fled the house, and ran away as fast as her newly toned legs could carry her. Far, far away from them, but she could still hear their derisive laughter.........
After that episode, she avoided Paul like the plague and refused to have anything to do with him. This went on for several weeks until Lena called one day and told her to come and sign the papers for court. When Sylvia walked into Lena's luxurious office Paul was sitting there looking like he had not slept in weeks. He had lost weight, and his beautiful chiseled face looked almost gaunt. He looked up at Sylvia slowly. "What did I do?" He asked, rising up like an old tired man. "Just tell me what I did! - am I just not your cup of tea?- or did somebody say something?" Sylvia shot an accusing look at Lena. Lena sat behind her large mahogany desk trying to look innocent. She shifted uncomfortably under Sylvia's accusing stare, then buckled under the weight of it.
"OK, ok. I'm sorry," She burst out, holding up her hands to shield herself from Sylvia's anger. "but I knew you liked my brother, and he's crazy about you! You two need to talk!" Paul ran his hands through his dark disheveled hair. "Just tell me what I did! Did I come on too strong? Why won't you talk to me anymore?" Sylvia sighed and sank into a plush office chair, and faced him.
"Paul, your family has made it clear that you just want sex from me, and that I am not good enough for you!" She felt like crying just hearing the words. They were so ugly! All her life people had used her to their own ends, and she was so sick of it! Tyshon had used her as a meal ticket. Her mother had used her as her personal maid, and her church had used her as an ATM for years. She just could not go through being used one more time! Paul took her hands and looked at her closely.
"Sylvia, I'm my own man, I don't listen to anyone except the man in the mirror, and he's made it very clear that he wants you!" "Just give us a chance that's all I ask, I swear I'm not after your body...er...I mean I am but I'm willing to wait as long as it takes!" Sylvia laughed softly, swiping roughly at the unwanted tears on her face. Paul took a tissue and wiped her face far more gently. Then leaning down, he kissed her. It was so soft and sweet, It washed away some of the pain away that she had recently endured. "Sign the papers so we can get out of here and go have dinner " He commanded. 30 minutes later she and Paul were in his silver Benz headed to an exclusive restaurant up the coast. Paul pulled her close as the scenery whizzed by. Sylvia relaxed in his arms feeling safe and warm for first time in a very long time. Every time he felt her glance up at him, he kissed her nose. Sylvia giggled, watching the muscles move in his chest and shoulders as he steered. Seeing his body strain against the fabric of his shirt, she felt a long time silent, stirring in her loins. It was scary to think that she had prepared herself to fight Paul's longings, yet, she'd made no provisions on how to deal with her own. Paul, caught her looking at his body one time too many, and glanced down at her with a devilish glint in his eye.
"See, that's why I was scared to date someone like you, I knew you were just after my body!" He shook his head. "And I'm just too innocent, and vulnerable to trust you!" Sylvia threw her head back and laughed. "I'm sorry, She murmured. " I guess you caught me huh?" Paul pulled her small hand up and kissed it. "Not yet, but definitely soon, you will most definitely be ... caught!" He murmured gently.......
Months flew by, Sylvia was spending every possible moment she could spare with Paul, and loving it! After a long while, she finally began to trust him and bring the kids along. Tia adored him, but Sylvia wasn't sure if it was because she had no real father or just because Paul adored her. She had strong misgivings. Her divorce was not even final yet, and she was dating! Plus she was dreading Tyshon's reaction when he found out that she had filed for divorce. She couldn't hide it much longer. Whenever she expressed fear of his reaction, Paul would try to get her to move in with him but she refused. She did want to set a worse example for her children than she was already doing. Besides it was hard enough to keep the no sex rule as it was. Both of them wanted much more. It had gotten so difficult in fact, that they'd stopped going to his house after dates to cuddle and watch movies. It was torture, and not just for him. If she had been divorced she knew she'd have given in a long time ago, but she just could not sleep with one man while married to another. She just had so much to deal with! First there was her family. They had been dating for months and still she could not bring herself to tell her family about Paul. She knew how they would react, and she was just not ready to deal with it. To them dating while married made you a whore, But dating a white man made you a traitorous, sell out, good-for-nothing, whore. Second, there was the employment situation, Paul made it clear he wanted her to quit at his brother's house, and was extremely vocal about it. He seemed to feel that it was detrimental to her self esteem, as well as their relationship. Sylvia didn't want to do it, she needed every dime. Paul did not understand that because he was independently wealthy. he also did not understand her reluctance to take his money. He didn't see what the problem was, but Sylvia didn't feel right about that either. He was not her husband, and she was not ready to take money from a boyfriend. She did allow him to buy her a gray Camry, a nice sensible safe car to get her and the girls to and fro, ( because she desparately needed it) but she drew the line there. She, and the girls loved the car! To them it was better than a Mercedes, but Sylvia was not ready to let a man take care of her, nor would she ever be. Paul tried to talk about deepening their relationship, but she wasn't ready for that either. She was not ready for a lot of things, but they happened anyway........
One Thursday, she picked up the girls, and trudged up the apartment stairs. She was brutally tired, and the baby was whining for milk. Sylvia sank gratefully into a wobbly chair and hugged Tia. she had not really given her a good hug all week, and she wanted to let her know how proud she was of her. Tia looked surprised, then happy. "Momma, I kin heat up the steak Paul bought us las nite!" she quipped, with an expectant smile. Sylvia's heart thudded to a stop! Tia popped her hands over her mouth, horrified. Both she and Sylvia knew that if her father had heard that, all hell would have broken loose. Sylvia gave her a -don't let it happen again look- and nodded. "The steak would be great baby-go ahead" Sylvia gave baby Abigail a bottle and quickly changed her diaper. Tia heated up the food, careful to not to set the heat too high. They were in the middle of a very peaceful, and very-rare, steak meal when Tyshon came in. Sylvia could almost feel her daughter tense up, even baby Abigail seemed scared to breathe. Tyshon was breathing heavily, and the putrid odor of alcohol, funk, and bad breath permeated all the air around him. He was in a foul mood and grumbling about how a black man can't catch a break, because of the white devils all around who control everything. He passed Sylvia, and she practically gagged fron the smell of unwashed ass. But when he deliberately broke a cheap glass, Sylvia looked at Tia's plate and then directly at Tia. Tia understood immediately. Quietly she took her plate and hurried to the back room. Sylvia brought her little sister in with her, and told Tia to lock the door and put the dresser against it. Tia's eyes looked enormous in her precious little face. She was shaking. "Momma stay here please!" She begged. But Sylvia knew she couldn't. That would lead him right to her daughters, and she would never allow that! She leaned down and whispered to Tia. "We're going to get away soon baby, just hang on, and stay quiet! -ok" Tia nodded as Sylvia went back to the kitchen. Tyshon was waiting, chomping at the bit.
"Ques who I done ran into at tha barb'rshop? " He mocked. Sylvia breathed deep and pretended to be busy cleaning up, but her heart was pounding. "peewee!" He answered his own question, triumphantly. "his girl cam t'get em, an she had sum mos intresting info on you! - seems da nite you tole me you only got 100.00 she saw that white mutha f*cker give yo dum azz 300.00! See she worked there dat nite too! Sylvia's heart slammed against her chest like a freight train. She thought fast, but not fast enough. Tyshon's huge cracked lips pulled back to reveal teeth so rotten, his breath smelled like the bowels of hell. He pushed up close to her face. His rotten-tooth breath making her feel like retching. She could see his alcohol enlarged pores were so deep, they looked like animal prints all over his grayish face, and some of his green and brown teeth seemed to be swaying as he talked. "Yous a sneeky no good b-i-t-c-h! He sneered. "Oh, honey- I can explain" Sylvia began, But she didn't get far, A drunken fist flew out and landed against her skull like a two by four! Sylvia screamed as she tried to run from the apartment. Tyshon pushed the raggedy table into her back, buying himself time to reach her. Then grabbing her newly grown hair he proceeded to pummel her face like raging animal. Sylvia screamed for the neighbors, although she knew deep inside, they would never come. She was briefly aware of her daughter's stricken face as she ran toward her, even though she was supposed to stay in the room. Tyshon did not see Tia, he was busy looking for something else to hit Sylvia with. Tia thew her thin arms around her mother crying wildly, and trying to hang on for dear life. Normally Sylvia would tell her to go back and lock the door, but she knew she needed to get help fast! What if she didn't survive? She grabbed Tia's arms and looked into her eyes. "Take the baby." she whispered, through her split lips. "Get to Ms Moppet, and tell her to call the police!" Tia nodded, then screamed as Tyshon swung a plastic bat that barely missed her head. She dived under the table and ran out the other side. Tyshon, in his drunken stupor was still looking under the table for her, as Tia fled to the back room to retrieve her sister. Sylvia could hear the muffled sounds of the baby as Tia tried to creep down the stairs. Obviously Tia was covering her mouth. One second She was thinking how incredibly smart and resourceful Tia was, and thanking God that they escaped. The next second , she was screaming as a frying pan came flying toward her face! Then everything went black.....
When Sylvia came too, she was in an ambulance. At first everything was unclear. But the as soon as the horrible pain in her head hit her, she remembered. "Where are my babies? " She cried out weakly. "oh my God, she's awake! " She could have sworn she heard Lena's voice. But everything was foggy, and she was in so much pain, she figured she was hallucinating. She was pretty sure that her head was swabbed in some clothe, and that that her most of her clothing was gone, because she was was freezing. She was also having trouble moving anything, even a pinky. Suddenly, Lena's blue tear stained eyes were looking at her. She grasped Sylvia's hand. Sylvia struggled to focus on her sweet face. Was it really Lena, or more hallucination? Lena bent low and tried to speak calmly to her. "Your mother and sister will meet us at the hospital Sylv, Listen, they've locked that monster up, and your neighbor Ms Moppet has the kids-they're safe, ok" She wiped her eyes, and looked away. "Sylvia why didn't you tell me? I knew the marriage was bad or you wouldn't have wanted a divorce, but I never thought-" She broke off into tears. The attendant nearby cleared her throat. "Mrs Cambell, you can't upset her more. You're going to have to calm down ok?" Lena nodded and grasped Sylvia's hand. "Don't worry, everything will be alright. She murmured, hugging Sylvia's sore neck. Sylvia watched the attendant add something to her IV, then everything began to fade again.....
Two days later, when she was settled in her room, and far more comfortable, she was finally allowed to have visitors. Her mom Deloris, and her sister Nancy brought the girls for a brief visit. Sylvia was so happy to see her babies, she hugged them until nurse Betty pried them from her arms, scolding Sylvia about holding them too tight. Lena stuck her head in and offered to take the girls to get ice cream. Well Tia, since the baby certainly could not have it, but she took her anyway. She was obviously giving the family some time to catch up, but no sooner had she gone, then Deloris turned to her oldest daughter. "So you wanna tell us what dis mess is about?" Sylvia stared at her. Wasn't it obvious? "What she mean is-" Nancy moved closer to her "Why would he of done this Sylvia?" She looked her sister over carefully. "You done, done somethin t'a bring this on-wha cha do?" Sylvia turned her face to the wall. She should have known not to expect help, or sensitivity from either one of them! They had not changed a bit. "What's going on is that he beat the hell out of me because I wouldn't give him my money" She answered, as loud, and angrily as her busted mouth would allow. Both women looked at her like she'd lost it. "Yo mony!" They practicaly screamed in unison. Deloris's eyes narrowed. "Yu mean t'a tell me you done withheld fam'lee mony from yo husband? " Nancy stood up, and looked down at Sylvia like she had been replaced with a retarded replica of herself.
"And now you got poor Tyshon sittin in jail when yu shoulda just give him dat mony?" Nancy asked, her anger clearly evident in her voice. Syvia shook her head. What had she expected? " look what he did to me! " She shrieked "look what that bastard did to me?" Nancy brushed away Sylvia's concussion and other extensive injuries away with her hand " Oh, girl, you deserve that busted mouth! - She said breezily. "You aint had no bizness stealin fam'lee money!" Deloris nodded, rolling her neck. "An ya betta hope he take yo fool behine back cause we shonuf aint!" Big crockadile tears began to roll down Sylvia's face. Why did she have to have such a stupid family? What the hell was the matter with them? Just then, Paul's handsome face peeked inside the room. Both her mother and sister stared at him like he was an apparition. He brought in a big bouquet of flowers and balloons, and set them on the far table, deliberately ignoring the questioning looks on the women's faces. Sylvia was so glad to see him she felt like bawling like a baby. He turned to Sylvia, and gave her a warm hug and kiss, careful to avoid the worst areas. Up close she could see that his eyes were red and swollen, and his shirt was still damp. It was obvious he'd been crying. He thinks this happened because of him! She suddenly realized. She grasped his hands and looked into his eyes. "It wasn't about you Paul." She whispered. "He's just an animal!-always was." Then she added. "We'll talk about it later -ok?" Paul nodded, and wrapped his arms around her holding her gently. She looked up at her family, dreading their reaction. They both had their mouths open in big Os, and she could see the shock slowly turning to rage. But why should I give a damn what they think? She thought. They had defended this animal after he'd beat her and now they had the nerve to stand there glaring at her?
"How'd you know where I was" She asked him, already knowing the answer. Paul looked sheepish. "Well...Lena- " Sylvia had to smile, although it hurt like hell to do so. Lena just could not seem to keep her big mouth shut about anything!
"Don't be mad at Lena." Paul rushed on. "I forced her to tell me"
He put the flowers in a vase and turned to her. " The judge granted your divorce on the grounds of intolerable cruelty, and word is -he's going to do 5 years!" The women gasped. Sylvia could see horror in their eyes, and feel their wrath building. "Uh... honey" she said softly. "Why don't you see if you can get me some food, I've been on tubes forever, and I'm famished." Paul smiled, and kissed her hands. "Oh, course baby -I'll be right back" He practically ran out, delighted he could do something to help her. As soon as he was out of earshot, Deloris hissed at her.
" So thats what the hell is going on! - You done lost yo damn mind! You backstabbing, sell out white d*ck lovin slut! -You divorced Tyshon for a white man? Is you crazy bitch! "
"Yeah," Nancy added. " I never thought you would be so ...vile Sylvia. No wonder Tyshon cracked yo skull! You been messin aroun on him like the backwood slut you is! And wit a white man!!!"
She shook her head like Sylvia was the criminal instead of Tyshon.
"I knew you deserved that can of whup azz! maybe if hadn't been messin with the white man, he wouldn't lost it and beat the shit outta you!"
Sylvia opened her mouth to protest, but realized that she was just too weak to argue with them. She grasped Nurse Betty's call button, and rang with all her might. She noted with satisfaction the surprised looks on their faces when no- nonsense Nurse Betty appeared. She took one look at the tears in Sylvia's eyes and without preamble, told them to get the hell out! Her mother turned one final time to glare at her. "I'm ashamed of you! " She spit out, like she tasted something nasty. "You was raised t' honor black men and yu do this! " "That's rich mom " Sylvia answered weakly. " He puts me in hospital, and you're ashamed of me!" Nancy scowled at her, "Well maybe if you aint act like such a ho-" "That's enough! " Nurse Betty was so angry now her face was beet red. "Don't you ever come here harassing my patients again!" She yelled. She pointed to the Red exit sign down the corridor "GET OUT NOW!" She ordered, practically shoving them out. Sylvia lay back and cried stress relieving tears. She was so grateful to have someone, anyone fight for her for the first time in her life.....
When Paul came back, they talked for hours. Sylvia told him everything. All about her dumb family, Tyshon, even what she had gone through at the Crenshaws. Paul's jaw muscles clenched tighter and tighter as he listened, but he never interrupted her. When she was done, he pulled her into his arms and kissed her tenderly, careful to avoid the worst bruises. The look on his face as he gazed at her reminded her of a long forgotten memory....... She couldn't seem to put her finger on it. Then it hit her! And her heart slowly sped up as it came back to he. That look! He had the same look she'd seen on Mr Crenshaws face as he gazed at his wife, that day in the kitchen.
At the time Sylvia had watched. Sad, lonely, and jealous from the sidelines. She remembered how she had believed no man would ever look at her with such love and adoration, but then God had sent her Paul, and he was looking at her the same way. She was amazed at how things really could change. He gently took her hand looking pointedly down at it. "Baby, I have to ask you something" Sylvia's cracked, and busted lips pulled back into a painful, makeshift smile. She had a feeling she knew exactly what he was going to ask her, at least she hoped she did. But one thing was certain, she sure knew what her answer would be..............
She decided to finish her assignment since it would only be a two weeks until Sarita came back. But when She tried to return to work, she was in for a rude awakening. Mrs Crenshaw herself answered the door, and looked at her like she was crazy. She was wearing a sheer housecoat, and her dark hair was sexily tousled, although her makeup was still perfect. she eyed Sylvia warily. "I told Mr Crenshaw I cannot have any street people around my precious baby" She said, in a haughtily cavalier tone. "Excuse me?" Sylvia said, as if she were confused. "Mrs Crenshaw's eyes narrowed. " Don't play dumb with me. Nurse monster-face told us everything. That's the hospital she works out of you know, the one they took you to, after your thug-hood rat husband beat you up!" Sylvia stared at her calmly "Ex-husband." she corrected quietly. "Mrs Crenshaw" She began. "I ....I can't explain-" "Don't bother!" Alexis told her, grabbing at the housecoat as it fell open, and almost revealed her naked breast. "Mr Crenshaw will mail your last check to the address we have on file." Just then the door was pulled wider, and Mr Crenshaw was there. "Um.... Baby what's taking you so long to come back to bed?" He murmured, wrapping his arms around his wife, and letting his hands slide over her breasts. Just then he noticed Sylvia and guilty embarrassment filled his face. He dropped his wife's breast and looked away. The only one who didn't seem embarrassed was Alexis, she actually looked amused. "Uh... hey Sylvia" He said finally. "How is ....er...everything?" Obviously he had not planned to tell her she was fired, or he wouldn't be so uncomfortable. Sylvia decided to spare him the trouble. "Oh... uh Mr Crenshaw I'm sorry to tell you that I've ah...got another assignment, and I won't be able to come back" She glanced at the ground then back at him. Relief filled his face. " Oh..well... uh that's great Sylvia. I'll mail your check and uh good.....good luck ok? " Then his hands were circling his wife's waist again, and slowly moving up. It was obvious he could not wait to drag her back to bed. Sylvia had already been forgotten as far as he was concerned. Alexis almost laughed out loud. Now the girl was lying about having another job when she just tried to come back here! She turned to her impatient husband "Baby, I'll be right there." she told him, trying to shoo him away, so she could enjoy the look of fear and uncertainty on her ex-maid's face, one last time. But when she looked back, Sylvia was looking her straight in the eye, with the most cryptic, unwavering look, she'd ever seen her wear. Alexis's pretty brown eyes widened in surprise. "What are you looking at? " She snapped. Sylvia's banged and bruised up face did it's best to form a smile. "I guess I'll see you around Alexis, " She told her enigmatically. "Who knows.... where we might ....meet." The heads of both Crenshaws snapped up. "What the hell is that supposed to mean?" Mr Crenshaw snapped. He hugged his beloved wife to his chest, then pushed her behind him, as if he didn't trust Sylvia.
"And You don't refer to my wife as Alexis, she's Mrs Crenshaw to you!" He barked. "No, she's nothing to me!" Sylvia retorted, angrily. "Except trash wrapped in a pretty brown package!" Both their mouths fell open, and they gaped at her in shock as she slowly walked away. She would loved to have stayed, and continued to tell Alexis off, but she had much more important business to take care of. This time, she hummed happily as she walked away from the Crenshaw mansion......
The night air was cool and crisp. Everyone was dying to see Paul's new home. It was an elegant palatial masterpiece. This housewarming was going to be big. Alexis smoothed her green designer dress, and smiled at her husband "Honey, I'm soooo excited" she breathed. "The whole town seems to be here!" The very large home seemed to be filled with lights and excitement. Dione grabbed her husband's hand and waved at her sister. "Lexis, where's Jennifer? " She asked. Alexis motioned toward the valet. "Well there's her car being parked, so they're here somewhere. Just then Jennifer and her very tall husband waved from the doorway, motioning for her sisters to hurry. "You wont' believe the house !" Jennifer told them, when they reached her. "It's simply magnificent!" "You saw it already? Alexis whined. She like to be the first with everything.
They went in and exclaimed over the house. It really was a showplace. "I'm surprised-shocked actually" Jennifer frowned. It's a beautiful house but it just doesn't look like Paul. He's always been into simple things. I've never seen him go for something this fancy" The women nodded. "It is weird" Alexis agreed. "Plus we haven't seen neither hide nor hair of him in months-Then he sends us invitations to his housewarming!" Dione giggled. "Jason thinks he has a new girl" She informed them. Her husband, Jason nodded. "It's the only thing that makes sense. He must have bought it to make her happy" Remember Alexis how John bought that over sized museum to please you?" Alexis grinned, and slapped his arm. Her small white teeth looking like small white squares in the lamplight. "There's Paul" Jennifer pointed him out. He was surrounded by people, vying for his attention. He was wearing an apron that said 'kiss the cook' and he was grilling his famous steaks while talking up a blue streak with his friends. . They all went over to hug him. "Where ya been, man? " His cousin, mike, demanded to know. "We haven't seen you in ages!" Paul smiled mysteriously. "Oh, I've been around" He hugged Dione warmly, but that warmth seemed to be missing when Jennifer and Alexis hugged him. Everyone noticed it. They could not put their finger on it, but they knew something was not quite right. Even his smile was much dimmer when he looked their way. "I have someone I'd like you all to meet " He said quietly. Everyone turned slowly as the back door opened and a shapely woman in a gold summer dress came toward them. she wore a wide brim hat, and matcing heels. Mike grinned. "I knew you had a woman, man! I told everyone-" He stopped short as Paul pulled the hat from the woman's head. She shook her curls, and turned around. " Sylvia! Is that you? " Dione stepped forward and stared into her face like she was seeing a ghost. Sylvia smiled, and nodded. Dione gave a little whoop of joy, before grabbing her in a neck throbbing, bear hug. "Sylvia!!!" Alexis screamed, she backed away with a horrified look on her face. "Hello Alexis," Sylvia taunted. She clapped her hand to her mouth in mock horror. "Oh, that's right, it's Mrs Crenshaw to me isn't it? - So we meet again. How ironic! Both Alexis and Jennifer stared at her as if she were an aparition. "So glad you came to our housewarming." Sylvia told everyone else, giving both Alexis and Jennifer steady looks. She turned to Paul. "baby, did you save me a good piece a steak?" She asked coyly. Paul chuckled, and pulled her into his arms. "Are you kidding, I set aside the very best piece for my wife!" Mr Crenshaw was sputtering. "What!" ... I cannot believe this!" are you saying? " He could not seem to bring himself to finish the thought. "You,... you married this...this office girl-slash-maid!" He raged at his younger brother. "Have you lost your mind?" Paul's face darkened. "Careful what you say about my wife! He warned. "I'm not nearly as kind, compassionate and forgiving as she is!" He was smiling, but there was no mistaking the fact that he was NOT joking this time. He wrapped his arms around Sylvia, nuzzling her soft skin and letting his hands roam over her swelling midsection. "Then he looked back at his family and friends, and raised his glass. "Everyone I'd like to introduce you to the newest Mrs Crenshaw-Is'nt she beautiful?" His brother slammed down his drink before anyone could toast and glared at Paul. "You.... bring this office girl-maid into the family without even informing us, and now you want us to toast to it! -well I'll not do it! He grabbed a bottle of expensive champagne and turned it up side down on the lawn. "This is what I think of your travesty of a marriage!" Paul's face was dark and unreadable. He moved toward his brother as if to do bodily damage, but his wife grabbed his arm and giggled into his face.
"Baby, you'd think I'd stolen you from another woman!" Sylvia told him, loudly. Paul laughed, just as loudly.
"Yeah, or worse, like you stole me from a poor, sick woman who had just lost her baby, and was struggling to recuperate!"
"Yeah, while I pretended to be your friend, and help you through the death of your child" Sylvia quipped.
They both looked pointedly at Alexis, who was becomming more pale by the moment, and looking as if she would faint. Both Alexis and Jennifer were backing away, horrified at the conversation. Mike caught Alexis, who was swaying unsteadily on her feet, and about to hit the ground. Mr Crenshaw glanced at his wife, and turned even more red with rage. "How dare you! " He thundered at his brother. "Don't you EVER come near me or my wife again until you apologize! - and even then I'm not sure I'd accept it!" Paul gazed at his brother quietly. "I'd be happy to apologize to your wife John. Just as soon as give an apology to my wife, for allowing your wife to treat her like a dog, and for having the nerve to tell my wife she wasn't good enought for me!"
He glanced lovingly at Sylvia, "When anyone can see, I'm the one who's not good enough for her!"
John Crenshaw turned, and grabbed his now shaking, sobbing, wife. "Lets's get the hell out of here!" He demanded of the group. But very few people followed them, as they stormed away.....
Naomi rang the bell of the large luxurious home timidly. My God! She thought. This place must be a palace! Look how big it is! She wrung her hands nervously. God she needed this job! The pretty white attorney had told her that her sister in law just had a baby and needed some help. She asked Naomi if she was interested. Was she interested? She was much more than interested, she was desperate! Jacob had left her with two babies to care for and no money! That's why she gone to the attorney, to see if she could make him pay for the divorce, and maybe get some child support as well, so she could finish college. She'd lost her job with baby Bridgette. The pregnancy had been hard, and she'd missed too much work. If she didn't find something soon, they'd be out on the streets! She tried hard not to cry, but she was so scared! She took some deep breaths and steadied herself. She'd never get this job if she came in there looking like a raving fool. But looking at this house, and hearing that it paid 400.00 per week, for only 25 hours! She knew the competition for this job must be fierce. The door swung open and a well built, handsome white man smiled kindly at her.
"Please tell me you came to help my wife!" He practically begged. Naomi felt a flood of relief wash over her. Maybe she could get it. She thought, hopefully. She nodded, and followed the man into the most beautiful home she'd ever seen. They passed through an enormous hallway that he called a foyer, and came out on the other end into an enormous family room. Two adorable little black girls were on the thickly carpeted floor, playing with dolls on a large comforter. Naomi moved closer to them, and smiled. They smiled shyly at her. They were so adorably pretty. These must be the maid's children she thought. They certainly weren't his, but as they ran toward him, he hugged and kissed them like they were! Naomi was completely baffled. Just then, a lovely woman, in a long flowing white gown came in. She laid a sleeping baby in a nearby bassinet. The man broke into a wide smile at the sight of her. "Honey, she's here" He said softly. The woman turned and smiled at her. Naomi was in shock! She was black, like the little girls! She glanced at the baby in the bassinet. She was a bright baby with light brown hair, and a carbon copy of the man. She was obviously his child! And the lady was obviously his wife! Naomi shook her head, trying to make herself believe what her eyes were seeing. This rich white man was married to this woman! The lady motioned for her to sit, and asked her about herself. Naomi was stunned that she seemed more interested in her, than her credentials. She began to tell the woman about herself, then without realizing she was doing it. She told her all about her husband walking out on her and the children, losing her job, and not being able to finish college. Finally she explained that they were on the brink of homelessness. To her horror a few tears escaped down her cheeks. The lady patted her back, then looked into her eyes compassionately.
"Naomi, don't worry about all that" She said gently. Everyone who works for us has the opportunity to go to college, on us. And we have perfectly good help quarters on the other end of the property. You could move in there and live free until you graduate from college. That way you wouldn't have to worry about the rent all the time, and your salary could actually cover your needs."
Naomi stared at her angrily. What kind of cruel joke was this? No one would do something like that for some unknown single mother- no one! She stared bitterly at the lady. The woman shook her soft curls.
"I'm not playing Naomi," She insisted gently. "The apartment is not luxurious like this house, but it's clean, and safe, and has two bedrooms. You can live there while you go to school, and work here. The only conditions are; 1. you must keep your grades up, 2 you must work here. And 3, When you're back on your feet and doing well with your college degree and new job, you must help another single mother who's in a jam. Someone who has that same scared, desperate look that you have in your eyes right now. Naomi blinked. could this be real? Could this be the break she'd been praying for, for years? She blinked at the lady, like she must be seeing an angel. But the lady looked sincerely back at her and smiled. Naomi could feel the tears starting in the back of her eyes, and no amount of squeezing could hold them back. No one had ever reached out to help her before. All her life she had been on her own, scrounging and scraping, just trying to make it. And now this pretty lady was offering her college, a job, and a home!! It was too much, she doubled over in tears. The woman handed her some tissues and patted her back while she cried. She never tried to make her shut up. When Naomi could compose herself a little, she turned to this angel in the flowing gown. "Ma'am, She said softly. What's your name?" The woman smiled at her in a motherly way, as she picked up her fussy baby. "Why, it's Mrs Crenshaw, " She answered, gaily. "But you can call me Sylvia".........