A Novel By: Danielle Clayton
“This is completely unacceptable; I will not tolerate you mitigating this project with this poor excuse of a report! This is a major problem, and if you can’t find a solution, I’ll find someone who can! I didn’t bring you on this team to use your brain. Your here for one reason and one reason only, to make us look good. You’re the face of our engineering department, that’s it.” The CEO of Techno Innovation, my boss was laying into me much worst now, then two hours ago. I couldn’t seem to do anything right as far as he was concerned.
“I’m sorry Mr. Stallworth, but I looked at the schematics and there are far more problems, then we initially thought,” I explained. “If you would just look,” Mr. Stallworth interrupted.
“Don’t you ever, ever let me catch you looking at our schematics. Your job title might be Head Engineer but your just a pretty face, and your only job is to stay out of my real engineers way,”He motioned to the male engineers in the room. “Don’t, look at the schematics, Don’t, touch the schematics and don’t, give me no lame brain I can everything a guy can do report, about the schematics.” He threw the report in my face and left the room. I picked up the papers, put them on my desk and sighed.
Rebel Stallworth, CEO of Techno Innovation built this company with his father. He’s long gone now, but gave the company to his son who’s a huge asshole, At least to the women. No one knows why he’s so against women when his father was the nicest, sweetest man you could ever work for. I didn’t work there then but everyone knows who his father is. Super generous and kind, even to the homeless. Now I’m is stuck with his degenerate son.
“Why do you even bother talking to him, you know he’s going shut down anything you have to say.” Miles said leaning on my desk.
“Why do you even care, your just one of his little cronies, always jumping at his beckoning call.”I shot back.
“Cause it’s job.” He smirked at me.
“No, your job is stay away from me and worry about your boss.” I rolled my eyes and looked at my computer screen of the prototype for the company’s biggest project ever, which I was due to pose for. I hung my head in defeat, exhausted. The workday was almost over and I was due home.
I stood in the kitchen chopping onions for Joel’s dinner. He walked up behind me, wrapped his arms around my waist and lightly kissed my cheek. I looked at him and smiled.
“Is dinner almost ready?” Joel asked.
“Yes. Five minutes.” I told him. He tapped me on my butt, I flinched. He gave me another small kiss, went into the living room and sat on the couch. I could see him from where I was standing. I threw the onions in the pan and stirred slow fading into a flashback.
I remember a time during our relationship when we was happy. I remember the times we laughed together and had fun. I remembered what changed, Joel cheated on me with his co worker. They worked together for a few years and we even had her over for dinner, but I never suspected anything was wrong until I caught them in bed together. He became so angry when I confronted him, he hit me with a blinding rage I’d never seen before. He had threatened to take everything from me if I divorced him or went to the police. He returned the next day after work with flowers and said he was sorry. He didn’t know what came over him and assured me he was done messing around with her and it would never happen again, but it did. Ever since that day he hits me when I don’t do what he says when he says it. I have to go to work and come home and cook and clean. I am not allowed to have any friends or speak to any males, ever. Now that I work around mostly men, he lifted the no speaking restriction. But he goes through my phone every night I gets home. And since he works at the sister company of Techno Innovation he’s very skilled at finding anything. I cant hide anything from him in my phone cause he will find it.
The smell of burning onions pulled me out of my flashback and I looked to see the onion were burned black and black smoke was filling the kitchen. I quickly placed the pan in the sink and turn on the faucet. I fearfully tried to contain the smoke but it was to late, the smoker detector went off and Joel jumped up from where he was sitting.
“What the fuck are you in here doing!” Joel yelled at me stomped into the kitchen fist balled.
“I’m sorry Babe, I wasn’t paying attention and I…”I tried to explained shakily. Joel slapped me across the face into the sink. He grabbed me by my shoulders and shoved me to the floor.”Please Joel don’t do this, I’m Sorry!” I pleaded.
“Shut up, Bitch!” Joel screamed and slapped me again and again, while I screamed out in pain begging him to stop.
The silence of the classroom was louder than Zorell’s immature screaming contest with Keyana during last night late shopping spree. I lightly tapped my pencil on my paper struggling to make sense of my assignment. Sighing in frustration as I looked at the clock. One more class than I could go to spend the weekend sitting pool side at Lilianna’s.
“Hey, if you need help I can give you answer to question 12.” Sapphire leaned over.
“No that’s Ok, I’m probably going to bomb anyway.”I put my head on my paper and lightly groan.
“Don’t say that, your smart and at least your grades are good enough to pass.” She encouraged.
“Yeah, for now.” I mumbled.
“Hey! Do you girl wanna go shopping now that schools over for the day. I could totally use some much need R&R after today. How did you guys do on that assignment? I really think I aced it. I’m like, super smart. I mean not more than your guys, your total geniuses. Do you think..” Sapphire is definitely the sweetest person I’ve ever met but if I have to play 20 questions with her one more time, I’m going to lose it. That girl can talk a mile long in one breath, get every answer and still have questions. Sapphire was staring at her like she wanted to drowning her lips.
“I seriously think professor Truman has it out for me. She gives me all the hardest questions. Like, how am I supposed to know what Play dou’s reality of theory is? The guy was born like, 100 years ago, I mean get real. As if his theory can help me create the greatest modeling portfolio the world has ever seen. I’m only doing this so my mom can get off my case. She’s all like, Lilianna, your never going to get anywhere just being a model. Lilianna, having an education in something other than pretty clothes and makeup will help you later in life. Lilianna, I just want to you to have a back up plan in case you change your mind,” She scoffed. “If she knew anything, she would know that modeling isn’t my only career goal.”
“Oh yeah, and what other career did you have in mind?” Sapphire asked.
“Oh, im totally going to be a world famous artist.” Lilianna replied.
“But, you don’t paint or draw?” I chimed in.
“I know, but there’s nothing saying I cant start, right.” Lilianna closed her eyes and sped past smiling. Sapphire and I smiled at each other.
We had finally made to my house only to nearly be trampled but Zorell and Keyana fighting over a dress.
“I’m wearing it.” Keyana said angrily pulling the dress towards her. Zorell pulled back.
“No I am.” Zorell protested.
“I need this dress for my interview!” Keyana screamed.
“I need this dress for my party tonight!” Zorell pulled harder.
“Who’s dress is it?” I asked.
“It’s mom’s dress, and she said I can wear it.” Zorell stated.
“Well, she said I can wear it too.”Keyana gripped the dress while giving Zorell the fiercest death stare.
“Why would she agree to let you both where the same dress?” I asked.
“Maybe she thought they both were wearing it on different days.” Sapphire stepped in.
“Ugh, it doesn’t matter,” Keyana let go of the dress sending Zorell flying backwards. “Cause once she finds out who party she’s going to she wont be able to wear the dress.” She crossed her arms and gave Zorell a half smile. Zorell gave her a look that said you better keep your mouth shut. I knew that look.
“Who’s party is it?” I asked.
“None of your business.” Zorell snapped. I looked at Keyana.
“Its Nissa.” Keyana said behind the hand that was hiding her mouth from Zorell.
“You can’t be serious?” I said shocked.
“You CAN NOT go to that party! Nissa is one of the meanest, spoiled-est people I’ve ever met! Plus she totally only invited you to make you look stupid. I mean no offense, but someone like Nissa would NEVER hang with someone like you. That’s why she only hangs out with Melissa and that twice as mean Marlene.” Lilianna exclaimed.
“Lilianna’s right Zorell, I wouldn’t take any chances as long as she following around her queen bee. I mean, why do you think she invited you, cause your pretty.”I added.
“Look, I don’t care. She invited me so I’m going, and PS, just because they were mean to all of you in high school, which by the way you should get over, doesn’t mean she’s still the same. People change.” Zorell said walking out the room. I put my hand on her shoulder.
“People like Marlene don’t change. She’s a Stallworth. They just change who their mean to,” I said frowning. “We just don’t want you to have to go through what we went through all these years. She can’t be trusted.” Zorell pushed my hand off her shoulder and walked upstairs.
“Your just going to let her go?” Keyana asked now annoyed she has to find another outfit.
“What do you want me to do, I’m not her mother. Even if I was she still wouldn’t listen, she’s an adult.” I said looking at my mom sitting by our pool with her phone to her ear waving her arm around.
“What do you think?” I said twirling in Zahra’s doorway.
“You look great but i really don’t think,”Zahra started
“Don’t try to convince me not to go to this party. Just Jake is going to be there and I am NOT missing this once in a lifetime opportunity to meet my favorite band just because you and you friends decided to hold onto a high school grudge.” I interrupted.
“It’s not just about high school. Marlene and her clones have been torturing us all our lives. Then still get under on skin til this day. Just thinking about her caked foundation and overbearing smelling perfume makes me want to throw up.” Zahra gagged.
“Whatever, I’m not letting your relationship with someone that got Just Jake to perform at their birthday party, talk me out of this. It’s to bad your not coming cause I heard Sincere is going to be there.”I looked at Zahra for her reaction. Zahra looked away.
“Ok, and?” Zahra replied. “At least he’s not going to suck up to the Witches of Stallworth Manor.” Zahra said matter of factly.
“Ah, I am not going to this party to suck to no body, In fact, ill bet you by the end of the night, they’ll be sucking up to me. It’s all in the delivery. Besides this my one chance to get Just Jake’s autograph and add it to my celebrity autograph book.” I said confidently. Zahra shook her head.
“Just be careful. You have my number. Call me if..” Zahra walked over to me.
“Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, I got it. You need some new material. You do this every time I go out.”I whined.
“Your my little sister, I love you. I’m just looking out for you.”Zahra said hugging me.
“I love you too but seriously I’m 21 now, no need to be a helicopter parent.” I walked to the top of the stairs. Zahra followed and watched as I descended down to the front door.
“Hey! 21 or not you better be back in this house before 1 am or I’m coming to get you. You think I’m a helicopter parent now, just you wait.”Zahra said winking at me.
I entered the party with enthusiasm, marveling at the decor and all the people in attendance. I made my way to the pool area when I spotted Kortney standing alone drink in hand. I wanted to say hi but was spotted by Sincere. He waved me over.
Nissa’s party a blaze and there hadn’t been an argument or fight all night.
“This is boring.”I complained throwing a tiny appetizer over my shoulder.
“The night’s still young, just relax, have another drink.”McClain said holding up a glass. I downed the alcohol in one swallow.
“Lets liven this up a bit.” I made my way over to Zorell, who was trying to get a picture with one the Jake’s.
“Hey, Zorell having fun!” I screamed over the music.
“Hey, this is a great party!” Zorell screamed back.
“What! I cant hear! Let’s go away from the music!” I motioned her away from the platform the band was playing on. Zorell nodded in agreement and followed me away from the crowd to a room adjacent to the party venue. I closed the closed behind us.
“Phew, that’s better.”I said.
“This party is awesome, are you having a good time?”Zorell asked drunkenly hyped up.
“Calm down, I need to talk to you.” I said sitting on a nearby lounge chair.
“About what?”Zorell asked.
“Well, it’s about your sister. How come she didn’t come with you?” I asked sincerely.
“I thought it was invite only?”Zorell asked.
“Do you think if it was invite only Nissa would let these sagging party killers in here?” I waved my hand in a shoo motion. “Nevertheless, I wish she had come, It’s just not the same without her.”
“I thought you hated my sister?”Zorell said confused by my calm demeanor.
“Hate? Why would you think that, did someone tell you that?” I raised her eyebrow. “Never mind, I need your help. I really want to get on Zahra and her friends, Lame-ianna and Sa-phora…”
“Lilianna and Sapphire.” Zorell lightly corrected.
“Whatever. I wanna get on their good side. And since you know them best, I need you to tell me as much as you can about them,” I stood and wrapped her arm around Zorell’s shoulders. “But this has to stay between us.”
“I don’t really know much. Plus, their pretty private. I mean she won’t even let me in her room when their around.” Zorell swayed lightly to the muffled music.
“If you do this, not only will I get you Just Jake’s Autograph and a selfie with all three Jakes, but I’ll let you be in my family’s inner circle AND give you complete access to all of the latest technology developed by my daddy’s company. I know you’ve always admired our little clan, and this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I’ll be taking over my daddy’s company soon and I need someone just like to you to help me run it.” I said convincingly as I could manage.
“Really, I get to help you run Techno Innovation?” Zorell exclaimed.
“Ah, ah, ah. First you get me in good with your sister and her friends, then you can be in the inner circle.” I cajoled.
“Oh you’ll get in good with them. When I’m finished they’ll be begging you to be their friend.” Zorell said proudly.
“Good, and again, keep this conversation between us. We don’t need everyone finding out about this AMAZING offer. A lot of people would KILL for the opportunity to be part of the largest technology invention company in the world and then I wouldn’t need you anymore. Now, let me introduce you to my friends.” I grabbed Zorell’s hand and lead her back to the party.
TO BE CONTINUED….