From my debut novel, Scared of Beautiful.
Chapter 1: Bobbi
“I’m not crazy,” I defended softly as I rubbed my left arm with my right hand and stared at the circled patterns on the carpet. The goose bumps were evident along my skin; only confirming that it was freezing in this doctor’s office and the cool leather from the couch was not making it any better.
“I never said you were Bobbi,” Dr. Moss replied as she stared intensely into my eyes with her icy blue hues over her thick framed glasses. She was a middle-aged woman, probably in her early 40s, with stringy blond hair and bags underneath her bottom eyelids. She seemed to have needed her own help more than I did.
“I was just having a bad day. Everyone is entitled to have a bad day.” I shot back, my voice harsh and brash. Ever since being released from the hospital, people treated me like a cancer patient, causing me to lack patience. I wasn’t sick. I was fine, yet no one wanted to believe me.
“Taking twelve Nyquil pills and washing it away with an entire bottle of wine sounds like more than a bad day Bobbi. It sounds like a lot of built-in resentment and anger. Enough to where you no longer wanted to be on this earth,” she answered calmly, not at all affected by the temper slowly increasing in my tone.
Hearing the sounds of my actions always made me feel a certain way. Made me really analyze the events and emotion that led me to that moment, the moment where I just couldn’t take it anymore.
“I just wanted the images to go away,” I admitted softly, trying to avoid her stare. “Every time I close my eyes, I see my best friend on top of the love of my life. Do you know how painful that is? To be betrayed by two people who were supposed to love you the most?”
“They didn’t love you, Bobbi. Nothing in that demonstrates love,” she corrected, as I stared up at her blankly, swallowing hard before taking in a deep breath.
“They continued to tell me that they did after that day, you know? Kept calling and texting, talking about how sorry they were and didn’t mean to hurt me. I don’t know who they were trying to convince. Me, or themselves.” I paused for a moment.
“I just wanted to know what I did so wrong?” I choked, feeling the emotion stuffed in the pit of my throat causing my voice to tremble. I hated crying.
“For the last 18 months, I’ve just been trying to figure out what I did to them? I gave Jo everything I had…everything. Every bit of me there was left to give, he had it.” A tear escaped as I sniffled and wiped at my nose with the back of my palm.
“And I was always there for Tashay. Regardless of all the people that could care less about her, I always had her back and was there for her through it all. I just never thought my kind heart would come back to bite me.”
“Eighteen months is a long time,” Dr. Moss commented, jotting down notes on her pad. “I think it’s time for you to move on from all of this. Start your healing process. The worst is behind you, and your future rests before you. You’re graduating with your nursing degree in the spring, and you’ve endured a very traumatizing experience. It will be so good for you to rise above the trauma.”
I shrugged my shoulders slightly with a sniff. I was able to contain the tears like I had grown so accustomed to.
“I’ve tried, and it still feels fresh. It still hurts. It’s turned me into someone that I never thought I’d be. Cold, disconnected, heartless…I used to be so full of love and life. They robbed me of that.”
“You’ve allowed them to.”
I felt my blood boil at the sound of her words and I couldn’t hide my offensiveness.
“I didn’t allow them to do anything!”
“You’ve allowed yourself to become a prisoner to the pain.”
I sat back hard in my seat with much attitude while tapping the soles of my feet against the floor trying to calm myself down. Her words were cutting like glass. Who did she think she was telling me this?
I threw my hands up in defeat, “I really don’t want to talk about this. The only reason why I’m here is because the hospital made me schedule an appointment before I could be released. Like I said, I’m not crazy. Was just having a bad day and wanted to forget about it all. I was hoping the pills would take away the pain. I experimented and they didn’t. Now I’m over it and ready to move the hell on.”
She smirked before removing her glasses, “Why won’t you accept what you were trying to do? You were trying to do more than just take away the pain for a moment Bobbi. You were trying to take away the pain permanently by committing suicide.”
“I didn’t want to die,” I retorted; the attitude clear in my voice at this point.
She furrowed her brows, “Are you sure?”
My nose instantly turned up at her question.
“Are you seriously asking me if I’m sure of something I just said?”
“You didn’t want to die, but you had gotten to a point where you couldn’t tell the difference between being alive and just living. What difference would death have made to how you already felt?”
I was silent.
She continued, “I see a hint of who the old Bobbi could’ve been in your eyes. I can tell she still lives within you, and you want so badly to let her free, but you’re scared. You’ve been hurt, and you don’t want to feel that again. We’ve all had distasteful moments in life, but it’s how you recover from those moments that show your inner strength. You’re stronger than this situation.
You always have been. You just continue to play victim to it. You can’t remain the victim forever. Eventually, it becomes self-inflicted pain.”
I sighed, looking at my watch before grabbing my book bag.
“You’re wasting your time Dr. Moss. I hope you still get paid for this session.”
“We still have thirty minutes left, Ms. Cochran,” she said sweetly; I rolled my eyes.
“I guess the hospital ignored my class schedule when they made this appointment. I have to make it across campus in fifteen minutes for my Biology class. Sorry, but I can’t stay to talk about feelings.” I flung the strap to my bag over my shoulder, hurriedly making my way to the exit.
“You should come back and see me Bobbi,” she pressed.
I ignored her, slamming the door on my way out.
I pulled out my headphones, connected them to my phone, and jammed the ear buds into my ear drums as I quickly left the campus Psychologist’s office. Even going to that appointment reminded me of what a foolish and careless decision I had made from taking all of those pills that night.
Nobody understood what I had gone through the evening everything happened. I saw Jo. He didn’t see me, but I saw him. He was smiling and happy. His eyes were full of so much light and joy, completely unaware of the misery he had caused me for the past year and a half. He had moved on from the heartache he had inflicted and was casually showering some woman with affection – the same love that he once showered me with. She was grinning from ear to ear: excited for this new found love. And here I was, depressed, heartbroken, and laying in a puddle of tears every other night because I couldn’t let go.
Seeing his face instantly brought back the painful reminder of the day I came home on my lunch break. It was the home we shared together, full of our pictures and other memories. I just had a hunch. Something in my heart just didn’t feel at peace. I didn’t want to be right but I was. I came home to find my best friend and him in bed together. I saw them and blacked out.
Chills came over me as I reflected over the tragic events that had transpired, in what seemed to me like a short period of time. The way Dr. Moss was describing it; you would think it’s been longer than that. In my mind, everything still felt real, like it happened yesterday. I hated her because she was right about the things she said. I had lost a grip on reality in the midst of everything. I needed to stay focused on what was important.
I caught my breath, jogging lightly up the steps to the building my Biology class was held in. I breathed in through my nose and out of my mouth as my heart rate slowed while approaching the classroom door. Walking in, a few eyes glanced in my direction before returning idly to their phones. Class hadn’t started yet.
I took my usual seat in the back and began to unload my book and notebook for this class while smiling softly at Monica who smiled brightly at me, walking into the classroom. She was a classmate turned acquaintance. She was in the nursing program too, and we always found ourselves ending up in the same class.
Her petite, 5’4” frame made its way to a seat next to mine. She dropped her bag down next to her and turned to face me flashing her infectious smile that was filled with dimples, and her light brown skin seemed to glow more than normal.
“You need to come out with me tonight,” she demanded. I rose a suspicious brow at her, opening my book to the last chapter we were on.
“That sounds like it involves people,” I responded flatly, hearing a small groan escape her lips.
“Because it DOES involve people. I met this really cool guy the other day, and he really wants to kick it with me, but he has a roommate and…”
I quickly stopped her. “No. Hell no. I am not playing wingman for the ugly roommate.”
She chuckled before smacking her lips, “You don’t even know if he’s ugly!”
“Yeah, but I’m sure you do…”
Her facial expression turned questionable.
“Actually I don’t. Let me see if he has Instagram,” she said pulling out her phone and quickly texting away.
I looked through my folder to pull out our assignment that was due, awaiting the verdict.
“Okay, he’s not that bad,” she said squinting at the phone. I quickly snatched it from her hand.
“Wait, let me find a better picture!” she begged as my mouth dropped at the sight. The man on the screen had acne, crooked teeth, and unmanaged facial hair. I couldn’t believe Mo would try to set me up like this.
“Are you kidding me? I can’t even do it. If he tries to touch me in any way I’m calling the cops. He looks like he stinks, Mo.” I frowned handing her the phone. She couldn’t stop laughing.
“Come on man! For me! If you do this, I owe you big! I swear,” she pleaded as I rolled my eyes. So much of Mo reminded me of Tashay. She was always needy of me and wanting me to do things for her, but she never returned the favor, not once. Tashay’s world revolved around her just like Monica’s. That’s why she couldn’t become more than an acquaintance. I longed for a true friend.
“He doesn’t have any other roommates? Like one that actually gets his hair cut and washes his face?” I asked.
She giggled and shrugged her shoulders.
“I don’t know, but the friend is really cute!” She said quickly tapping away on her iPhone. She turned the screen towards me moments later. I turned up my nose. He didn’t look any better. Monica liked ugly men.
“He aight,” I shrugged as she smacked her lips in disapproval.
“Well excuse me for liking tall, dark and handsome!” she defended.
“You mean skinny, black, and ugly?” I corrected as she rolled her eyes causing me to laugh. I had to go now simply because I knew I hurt her feelings. “I’ll go, but get your business over with so I don’t have to pretend to be interested for too long.” I sighed as she clapped with excitement. Our teacher walked in at the same time.
“Thank you so much Bobbi! I owe you!” She turned in her seat and pulled out her notebook for class. I watched our professor close the door and smile at everyone in the room.
Chapter 2: Donavon
“Ain’t nothing but ugly hoes in here,” Shane groaned.
I looked down at his short stature and laughed.
My business partner and I stood in the crowded club in downtown Los Angeles. We had spent a long day at the shop doing tattoos and piercings and made our way here to relax and unwind: the typical 23-year-old, young entrepreneur, and bachelor life.
“Relax little bro. You have to keep your eye out for the right one,” I assured him while taking a sip of my Crown and Coke.
“Aye, chill with that little shit,” he said deepening his voice, earning a chuckle from me. He hated when I teased him about his height. It wasn’t my fault he was only 5’6” and I was 6’1”.
Shane shook his head at my amusement before running his hand through his short cut. I didn’t know why he complained. Girls always gravitated towards his short frame, hazel eyes, caramel skin, and straight smile. He had no problem charming women, not to mention, women in LA were into men with tattoos. Shane and I both had sleeves full of body art. Mine extended to my neck.
I sported a short haircut like him, but I was lighter. I had the type of skin that can get pale in the wintertime, but my eyes stayed brown. Women liked me for the tiny freckles plastered from the right cheek, across my nose, and on my left cheek, and I was slim with a toned build. I didn’t have muscles, but I was in shape, and because Shane got braces in high school and I didn’t, my two front teeth slightly overlapped. It never stopped me from getting women though. They rocked with my crooked smile.
“Let’s just go by the bar and post up. I’m sure we’ll see somebody bad,” I suggested as he shrugged and followed me.
“Man I should’ve got ol’ girl wit da fat ass that I tatted today. She wanted me,” he smirked arrogantly while we stood against the edge of the bar.
“I’m sure she did with her boyfriend hovering over your neck,” I joked; he smacked his lips.
“You think I care if she gotta man? Once I told her I co-owned the parlor with you, I saw a little glitter in her eyes. She was flirtin n’shit. I know she wanted it.”
“You think everybody want you. Only person that want you is Joy.”
He gave me the blankest facial expression ever causing me to burst into a fit of laughter.
“Come on man. What I tell you about bringing up the baby mom when we’re out? We having a good time. No need to bring up her ass.”
“I told you she was trouble when I first met her.”
“That’s the first problem. You were never supposed to meet her. It was never supposed to be anything serious. Next thing I know, she pregnant.”
“Doesn’t matter. I have a beautiful God-daughter because of it.”
I killed the last few swallows of my drink then turned my attention towards the bar so I could order us a few shots. Shane and I had been boys since we were young. Me, him, and my God-brother James, all grew up together. You couldn’t tear us apart back then and couldn’t tear us apart now. James went to college, while Shane and I became apprentices at a local tattoo shop because we were both artistic. Once the business went under, we hustled enough money to open our own shop, and business had been pretty good for us. We opened in a popular area in West Hollywood. We started getting a lot of celebrity clientele, and social networking sites like Instagram and Facebook, were really good to promote our business.
I heard a small voice screech and looked to my right to witness the prettiest set of green eyes I had ever seen. She was short and petite and about my complexion with dark red hair like Ariel. Her full pink lips were perfect, and I could tell a beautiful smile lied behind her scowl.
“Damn, what I do?” I asked ,pretending to be hurt.
She looked over at me and rolled her eyes.
“Not you. The bartender. He keeps walking right by me!”
I instantly wanted to help. As if on cue, the server looked in my direction, and we locked eyes. I motioned for him to come our way.
“What can I get you man?” he asked resting his hands on the countertop.
“Um, I’ll have four Crown shots and whatever the lady wants,” I said, smiling in the beautiful stranger’s direction.
“A Corona please,” she ordered with attitude. The server nodded politely and went to fix me and Shane’s shots.
“This doesn’t mean I’m just going to offer you my number or anything,” she said randomly. I looked at her confused.
“Never asked for it.”
“You were going to.” she said confidently. I chuckled lightly while pulling out three twenties just as the bartender returned with our drinks.
“Keep the change man,” I slapped the bills into his hand, and he took it gratefully.
“Enjoy your Corona beautiful.” I said sweetly to the girl. I grabbed the shots carefully and took them over to Shane. I could feel eyes burning into my back.
“Aye, ol’ girl fire,” Shane commented looking past my shoulder.
“She knows,” I said lightly crossing my eyes and inhaling my first shot. Shane followed suit. We made ugly faces while swallowing the liquor.
“What was her name?”
“I ain’t ask for it. I need her to humble herself first.”
Shane rolled his eyes, “Man, here you go. That don’t always work Don! Especially not with chicks like her. She look high maintenance. Like dudes be all over her.”
“And I’m sure they are which is why I’ve already piqued her interest. I didn’t respond to her like she expected. She wanted me to kiss her ass and pry more into why I couldn’t get her number without asking for it. She thought she had me figured out, and now that she realizes she doesn’t, she can’t stop sneaking looks at me to see if I’m just some guy here to get girls.”
Shane looked past my shoulder quickly before disappearing out of her view.
“Shit. She was looking.”
I smirked. He hated when I was right.
“Now watch. These two chicks approaching us, I’m about to turn down. Watch what she does after this.”
As I finished, two attractive women approached. Shane drooled all over them while I remained cool coming off as disinterested. I made sure to make it clear in my expressions.
“You two wanna come to our table in VIP?” one girl asked, lightly biting her lip in my direction.
“We’re good here. Thanks though,” I politely declined.
Shane looked at me as if I had two heads.
“Hell you mean?” He turned back towards the women, “Aye, I’m down. Come find me in a minute Don!”
He swiftly followed the two women, leaving the extra shot I bought him.
“More for me,” I sighed, turning back to my drinks. A few moments later I felt her presence approach. She was an open book–easy to read.
“Looks like you could you use some company,” she softly said, sitting on a stool next to me. I looked down at her and smiled. She was going to be fun.
“He had a nice opportunity. Couldn’t turn it down.”
I slid Shane’s abandoned shot in her direction.
“Then how could you?” She asked, pulling the cup closer to her as we both prepared to shoot.
“I liked my view,” I smirked slyly, quickly gulping the liquor. She smiled doing the same.
“Sorry about earlier. I just get annoyed with so many guys always hitting on me,” she bragged.
I shrugged. “Not every girl I buy a drink for I hit on.”
“Oh, so you’re just a nice guy,” she said sarcastically.
“I ain’t say that. Just looked like you needed a drink,” I said flatly, turning to walk away. I counted down from five in my head…two…one…
I turned around and looked at her with question.
“I’m sorry. I can come off rude. I didn’t mean to just assume like that. You’re different.”
“I’m Donovan actually,” I replied.
She giggled before extending her hand, “Stacy.”
“It was nice talking to you, Stacy. I better get going though. I gotta find my friend,” As I attempted to walk away for the second time, she gently rested her hand on my arm to stop me.
“I have a better idea.”
* * *
“I don’t normally do stuff like this…” Stacy panted, pushing me backwards onto her bed. I rested on my elbows and looked up at her. She was stripping her clothes off as fast as she could.
“I don’t judge,” I answered as she bit her lip before crawling on top of me. Her lips inched towards mine, and I gently turned my head, causing them to collide with my cheek.
She looked at me strangely, so I chose to give her an explanation.
“Not a fan of kissing.”
She nodded in understanding before resting her hands on my chest and swirling her tongue against my neck. I lifted my elbows up to lay flat on the bed as I let her get to work.
Several hours later, both Stacy and I laid breathless while staring up at the ceiling. She was by far the freakiest one night stand I had ever encountered. She was willing to do any and everything to me, and she honestly had me tired as hell.
I looked over, saw her eyes were still closed, and found this the perfect opportunity to catch my cut.
As I was making my way out of the bed, she softly wrapped her arms around my waist, attempting to cuddle closer with me. No way was I doing this shit.
“Where are you going?” she cooed as her legs attempted to intertwine with mine.
“I gotta work in the morning. Can’t stay here tonight.” I lied. The shop was closed on Sundays.
“Then just stay with me a little longer. I’m not ready for you to leave yet,” she pleaded.
I gave her an apologetic look before carefully removing her arms.
“I can’t tonight, Stace. Maybe another time,” Shit.
“I can see you again?”
“Put my number in your phone,” she said, sitting up and wrapping her sheets around her naked body.
My t-shirt was still on and my boxers were down at my ankles. I sat up and slid the used condom off and held it by my fingertips while lifting my boxers up with my free hand. I walked to the bathroom connected to her room and disposed of the soiled contraception in the toilet before flushing. I looked over myself briefly in the mirror and checked to make sure she didn’t leave any marks on my neck. I wasn’t trying to look crazy in front of whatever girl I picked up tomorrow.
After splashing a little water on my face from her sink, I walked back into the room and noticed she was standing up wearing nothing but a small white tank that barely covered her pierced nipples and her bottom half was completely bare.
“Don’t leave me yet, baby..” she said in a voice that caused me to get rock hard.
“Maybe I’ll stay for a few more minutes..”