Just Fine (Chapter 10)

30 03 2009

Bren was nervous. Grey had invited her to a cocktail reception with an important client and she had raided Carlotta’s closet for the occasion. He would be here at any moment and the contents of her stomach were calling for release. Why was she so nervous? Bren was a social butterfly but this wasn’t a wild party and her hell-raising alter ego. She wanted to impress this man and show him she could live in his new world. 

The girls were out so she was left to pace the living room waiting on Grey. She had gotten dressed early in case it didn’t look right and she needed to find an alternative. Jai and Carlotta had raved that the white cocktail dress was perfect for the occasion and she prayed they were right.

Grey’s footsteps on the wooden porch made her jump. With one last look in the mirror, Bren took a deep breath and opened the door. Her greeting stalled on her lips when she saw him.Grey was suddenly regretting the decision to take the Porsche. That darn gearshift would get in the way of him having the gorgeous vixen wrapped in white as close to him as legally possible while driving. For a brief second he considered making the switch but knew he would end up late for the reception.

“Bren, wow!” was all he could get out.

Hopefully before the night was out his tongue would become unglued and he could better describe to her what she was doing to his heart and a few other regions of his body.

Bren was pleased at Grey’s reaction. She didn’t need words to know that he was happy with her choice of attire. With only a smile, she placed her hand in his and gave him the key to lock the door.

Her theme song, Mary J’s – Just Fine danced in her head. Yes, she was just fine. It felt really good to not have to worry… to have a little confidence! Bren had never been in a relationship where she was completely secure and it was such a relief. She and Grey enjoyed playful banter –

“Girl, I haven’t been saved as long as you – you’re going to make me forget my religion,” Grey eyed Bren with seduction in his eyes.

Bren giggled and offered a coy reply, “Boy, please!” and then, “But I look good don’t I.”

It wasn’t a question. Bren loved it!

She took a moment to take in all the emotions she’d felt over the years and most recently – with Grey. Bren had never experienced the full emotion of love nor had she felt as if she had anyone’s support. It was always Bren against the world. Bren corrected that thought – it always felt like it was Bren against the world but in reality her sister Jai was always a shoulder to lean on and a fire under her foot.

Bren had a hard head and she wanted a certain lifestyle, which, unfortunately came with a heavy price tag. When God brought Trish into Jai’s life Bren was, initially, irritated by the intrusion but she thought God obviously had a plan for her.

Within 18 months of meeting Trish the level and intensity of violence Bren was used to, increased significantly… so much so that Bren found herself plotting to kill her boyfriend and expecting a life behind bars. She didn’t see how she would be able to escape his hold on her. It was like he could find her anywhere…

But that was the past and Bren was grateful… for deliverance… in its many forms…

Her creep to meet Christ was as bumpy and bruised as her battered life but she made it to Him, though still a bit insecure – she never regretted a moment… but this distraction in the form of Grey – no Grey wasn’t the distraction – weakness for Grey was a distraction… Spying his well-chiseled chest from the corner of her eye – she prayed Gods strength. She hadn’t had an interest in any man for the duration of her time at Hope House so she found herself in a quandary… a crossroads…

She had feelings for Grey that she wanted to share and explore but she also felt a loyalty to her newfound spiritual enlightenment. She was new in her Walk and had not yet had to experience or consider the balance between the physical wants and spiritual needs. She knew she was treading dangerous territory – she was reasoning herself into giving in to her—their physical desires…

“What’s going on in that pretty little head of yours?  You zoned out for a minute,” Grey interrupted her thoughts.

Indeed she had – when she focused she was surprised to see they’d arrived at the venue. “Believe it or not,” she crossed her legs exposing more leg than she’d actually intended. “I was daydreaming about… fill in the blank – but it certainly wasn’t as pure as the white of this dress.”

Grey’s mouth opened – actually it dropped with tongue out – reminiscent of a dog’s pant, “I mean, don’t get it twisted — we can go!”

Visibly affected – he had to, literally, restrain himself.

Bren felt like an addict wanting a fix but needing to connect with her sponsor to help her sober up from this love drunk she felt. As soon as the event was over, Bren would call upon her lifeline, Jai.

……..

Jai was the sister with the quiet resolve and her way of giving you her undivided attention. As a child, her sense of humor always kept the siblings laughing, and helped them to forget their most often than not tormented lives. Jai was always hopeful and was a big picture person, and tried to find the good in everything and everyone. She brought hope and inspiration to circumstances where it seemed all hope was lost. Her planning and organizational skills were unmatched, and the thought of missing a local, regional or national seminar involving women’s issues was completely unheard of.

“Does this seat belong to anyone,” the woman with the illuminating face, asked Trish.

That is the day these two women became fast friends. One talked about a recently opened state-of-the art facility that offered services to women who were victims of domestic violence, and the other wanted to be an advocate for women and men doing everything they could to improve the quality of their lives, their families’ lives, and their communities’. Jai talked about a sister that she wanted to help, but just didn’t know quite how, because maybe she was too close to the situation.

It was no accident that these two women met at the women’s empowerment conference, because after that meeting they talked once a week, and filled each other in on their weekly developments. After Bren’s last episode, Jai finally talked her into speaking with Trish on the phone. The three women agreed that Bren was in need of a life change, and Trish invited them to tour Hope House.

Jai was the only one that returned home, and she was never so thankful of anything in her life. “Thank you God, for delivering my sister to a place where she can help and be helped,” she kept repeated softly, on her plane ride home. Bren is in a good place, and I know she will find her way back home when she is ready, Jai thought to herself, while smiling.

“I think Trish needed Bren in her life, just as much as Bren needed Hope in hers. As Grannie would often say, “Everything is as it should be,” Jai remembered.

“Hey sis,” Bren said almost whispering. “I need to talk with you when I come in, if you are still up.”

“Wake me if I’m not,” Jai replied.

Jai did not need to know if everything was all right, she knew this conversation was coming, and she was ready.

Jai could hear the music in the background, and told Bren, “Go back, have a good time, and I will see you when you get in.”

The feeling that Bren and Grey shared was noticeable to everyone with a mile radius of them. Their love was warm and enveloping, and they illuminated respect, understanding and the best of possibilities for and with each other.

“Yes, this is going to be a good one,” Jai whispered aloud as she snuggled back into her covers.

……..

Trish woke up feeling quite loved. Hunter had spooned her on the couch and she was not complaining. She blushed and groaned with embarrassment when she remembered her mission to feed Hunter had been derailed by his intro to lovemaking seminar and her exhaustion. She thought of waking him and sending him off to bed as she doubted his six foot four frame could be comfortable in the sofa. She didn’t.

Trish was loving the sound of his heart pumping right under her ear. It was steady and strong as this man she loved.

“I love you Hunter,” she declared in her heart.

“I love you too Trish,” was his verbal reply. 

Hunter roused just enough to get them both comfortable in his bed. It was three in the morning and he had no plans to send her home alone. He grinned as he snuggled closer. She had said I love you twice without his prompting. It was a brave thing she had just done and he was glad to be the recipient of her confession.

……..

Jai feigned sleep when she heard her door open, signaling Bren’s return.

“I know you’re not sleeping so get up,” Bren whispered poking her sister in the ribs.

“Oh, you’re back,” Jai said slyly, pretending to rub sleep from her eyes. “My, my, my. We are glowing.”

“Jai, oh my gosh, if I had known waiting would bring this reward, I would have been a better waiter,” confessed Bren kicking off her shoes and sitting cross legged on the bed.

“No you wouldn’t, you suck at waiting. You can’t even wait for the microwave,” her sister teased.

Bren recounted all of the highlights of the evening, including meeting Grey’s client and his wife. The two women hit it off and found out they had a similar passion for at risk youth. Mrs. Andrews had invited Bren to visit the youth center and share her story whenever she was ready.

She didn’t skimp on the details, sharing how she felt as Grey had rubbed her shoulders, held her hand as he introduced her to other influential people he knew. Bren had no idea her man was so well connected and respected.

Jai listened, happy for her sister and sending a silent prayer that God had not forgotten her own prayers for a man of her own. She knew he hadn’t but it wouldn’t hurt to remind her Lord that she was waiting.

Lately, Grey looked like a man intent on making her sister his wife. She would be ready to have a life of her own when she no longer felt responsible for Bren. The two women went off to sleep grateful for how the tide had turned in their lives, brimming with joy about a future that suddenly looked limitless, and jam packed with love.

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