Weeks before her first date with Lincoln Davis, Jinx Collins, Isabelle’s best friend and work colleague Kandy Crane, met in Jinx’s office one morning for one of their many chats. Not only was Isabelle surprised to learn about Jinx’s past descretions, but she was equally stunned by Kandy’s revelation about Lincoln. Jinx Collins, a red boned, slender woman with hazel-green eyes and auburn red hair styled into a short pixie stood six feet tall. She walked with a swanky strut, cursed like a sailor, and she loved teasing and playing devil’s advocate. The setting in this excerpt occurred at Atlanta’s Emory University Hospital where all three women worked as clincial social workers. Enjoy.
Two days later, Isabelle and Jinx were having their usual morning chat when Kandy Crane barged into Jinx’s office. She had been off work for several days visiting her married boyfriend in Miami. Petite and skinny, Kandy had short, thinning blond hair. Although she was African-American, her complexion was light, almost pale.
Isabelle couldn’t stand her. She tolerated her. Kandy thought herself better than others, and this irritated both Jinx and Isabelle. She was snooty and self-absorbed, a woman with no emotional boundaries, always telling her business to anyone who would listen. Isabelle made sure she kept her distance.
Kandy stood in the middle of the floor in her white lab coat, her pockets crammed with notes and pens. She monopolized the conversation, chatting away like an old hen. Isabelle sat back in her chair with her legs crossed, bored to death.
“I had the best time with Darryl this weekend,” she beamed, shifting from one foot to the next.
Jinx rolled her lips inward as she struggled to keep a straight face. “Well, tell us about it,” she encouraged with sarcasm in her voice.
“We stayed at the Sheraton Hotel on the beach and sunbathed all day,” Kandy boasted. “The food we ate was delicious, and we even talked about getting married!”
Isabelle raised an eyebrow and Jinx bucked her eyes, turning ornery. “And his wife? Where was she?” she asked in a salty tone.
Kandy frowned, shrugging her shoulders. “Who cares?”
“How was he able to pull this off?”
“It’s not my concern,” she haughtily said, pointing her nose in the air.
Jinx bucked her eyes again. “Well, if she finds out you were sleeping with her husband and whips your little ass…I bet you’ll care.”
Isabelle burst into laughter. Thrilled Jinx jack her up.
With a clenched jaw, Kandy hissed. “You two get on my nerves!”
“Get a grip! I’m speaking truth to you, girl!” Jinx said.
Kandy snapped her mouth shut and glared at Jinx. A hush fell over the room. For five long minutes, no one spoke a word. Angry as hell, Kandy mustered up some courage and spewed venom Jinx’s way. “You used to date a married man! You got nerve!”
Isabelle whipped her head back, stunned with Kandy’s revelation. Jinx with a married man? No, not Jinx! Isabelle kept her mouth shut and cast her eyes on her lap.
Jinx, looking wolfish, stood up. “Girl, you don’t know who you’re messing with,” she snarled.
Terrified, Kandy made a beeline to the door. She stood in the doorway with her mouth gaped open, hyperventilating.
Jinx pretended to lunge at her. “You got something to say? Say it!”
“Okay, okay! I’m sorry! I don’t want to fight!” she squealed in a soprano voice, jumping back.
Isabelle howled with laughter, and Jinx joined in.
“Not funny,” Kandy whined after she realized Jinx was joking.
“Girl, you are in a relationship going nowhere!” Jinx chuckled as she returned to her seat.
“Not so,” Kandy insisted, still determined to think otherwise. “He loves me, and I love him. It will all work out. You’ll see.”
Isabelle snickered out loud again, and Kandy flashed her a dirty look. Jinx continued with her tongue lashing, refusing to let up. “He may love you, dear heart, but he’s never going to leave his precious wife. They never do.”
“I second that,” Isabelle piped in.
Kandy was defiant. “The man loves me! Aren’t you two listening to me?”
“Yes, we are, but it’s hard to process so much stupid at once,” Isabelle said.
“Smart Ass,” Kandy sneered with her nostrils flaring.
“It takes one to know one,” Isabelle snarled back.
Jinx rolled her eyes heavenward and sighed. “Okay, ladies, let’s calm down.” She gave Kandy a wary look. “I hope it works out for you, girl.”
“It will! You’ll see,” Kandy insisted.
Jinx changed the subject, breaking out in song. “Isabelle has an admirer! Isabelle has an admirer!” she sang with melodious glee. Isabelle flipped her the middle finger, and Jinx ignored it. She kept up the teasing and blood rushed into Isabelle’s cheeks.
Furious and embarrassed, Isabelle hissed at her like a snake. “Jinx! Stop it!”
“What happened?” Kandy asked.
“Not a damn thing!” Isabelle huffed.
“Tell her,” Jinx demanded. “It’s not a big deal.”
“Tell me what?”
Isabelle slid down in her seat and folded her arms on her chest. Jinx loved kicking up controversy, even when there wasn’t one.
“Hurry up! Tell me!” Kandy said as she grabbed a chair and sat.
Isabelle pursed her lips and hesitated, taking a deep breath. “I met a man at the radio station two days ago. His name is Lincoln Davis.”
Kandy’s face lit up. “So, you took the job?”
“Yes, I did.”
“Did he tell you his wife is expecting a baby?”
Isabelle was inwardly surprised. “No, he didn’t. He left that major detail out. When is the baby due?”
“When I see him this evening, I’ll congratulate him,” Isabelle said. She was pissed. How dare he try to get in her panties, and he’s an expectant father! Damn! She couldn’t wait to get to the radio station to give him a piece of her mind.
“He’s a ladies’ man,” Kandy further explained. “Don’t let him get too close. He likes pretty women like you.”
Isabelle gave Kandy a funny look. “A compliment from you? Now that’s a first!”
Kandy smiled wide, revealing big chunky teeth. “I don’t mind giving you props!”
Jinx threw in her two cents. “So, what are you going to do girl? The man is coming after you.”
“No, he’s not!”
“Yes, he is!” Jinx said. Then her expression turned naughty. “I want to see this man. Maybe I’ll go to the radio station this week and fill out an application.”
Isabelle rolled her eyes in an exaggerated fashion. “Let me get this straight. You’re going to apply for a job so you can check out Lincoln?”
Jinx grinned. “Yep! I got to see this fine ass chocolate man.”
Isabelle shook her head in amazement. “Unbelievable!”
She elected not to tell them about her latest encounter with Lincoln. She wasn’t in the mood for Jinx’s teasing. Kandy continued to chatter away about anything and everything under the sun until a loud knock on the door interrupted the conversation.
The door flew opened and in walked Lisa Cooper, the social work supervisor. She was a tall, attractive blond, with a Farah Fawcett haircut. Her work ethic was meticulous, and Lisa expected others to follow her lead. Now she was on the warpath looking for fault in anybody she could find. With her piercing baby blues, she sized up everyone in the room.
“Are you ladies working or goofing off?” she sweetly asked in a baby voice.
Isabelle bolted from her seat so fast she almost lost her balance and fell. She regained her footing and smoothed out her dress. She hustled to the door. “I have to see patients,” she declared.
“Me too,” said Kandy, jumping to her feet and following Isabelle. They both ran out before Lisa had a chance to address them, leaving Jinx alone to deal with her wrath. “That was cold,” said Kandy, laughing her head off.
“She can handle it,” Isabelle giggled.
They hurried through the hall, splitting in different directions, Kandy going for the elevator and Isabelle to the stairs. “See you later,” Isabelle hollered as she exited through the stairwell. She ran up seven flights of stairs and stopped on the seventh floor.
Red in the face, Isabelle grunted, taking deep breaths. She rested on the couch in the waiting room. Breathing normally again, Isabelle hurled herself up and hustled to the oncology unit. While there, Lincoln’s baby news crossed her mind.
A wife? A baby? So very disappointing! Despite, her disappointment, the baby was a welcome gift. In her mind, Lincoln had no business asking her out, no business at all. Fatherhood would keep him busy. The perfect plan. Until Next Time. Thank you For Reading.