I have been so busy trying to get ready for the book release party for This Side of Crazy that I haven’t been able to sit down and punch out the rest of Nursing Dr. Miller, but it’s coming.
I appreciate all of you that following me and reading my work. To say thank you, here is a sample of “This Side of Crazy.” Enjoy!!
The alarm rang annoyingly. One of the residents of the elegantly furnished master bedroom needed to silence it. Feeling a nudge from the other side of the king size bed, Maxine Payne swung her legs over the side of the bed and fumbled for the off button.
She rose from her warm bed and went to the adjoining bathroom to prepare for her day. Maxine turned on the light and quickly averted her eyes away from the mirror. One glimpse of herself in the mirror and she would have to face her miserable life.
She dressed in the darkness of her walk-in closet, trying not to wake her sleeping husband. Exiting the closet, she walked into her bedroom and slipped on the black pumps she left near the door the night before. She forced herself to forge ahead. She dreaded waking her stepsons for school. “Ty and Terrell. Time to get up,” she called out, but got no response.
Flipping on the light switch, she called their names again. Ty turned over and pulled his blanket over his head. Maxine snatched the cover off of him and sternly told him to get up and get ready for school.
“Leave me alone. I hate you,” Ty said. His words should have hurt her feelings, but she was use to it. Getting the boys out of bed and dressed for school would take her more than an hour. Even after the boys were up and dressed, she still had to get them to school on time, which rarely happened.
Maxine Payne wasn’t sure how she got herself into this mess. Two fucked up kids who took every opportunity to remind her that she wasn’t their mother. She had tried to talk with her husband, Doug about it again last night, but he felt it was her fault. Whenever she brought up the subject of his children and their behavior, Doug told her she needed to make the boys respect her.
“Max, you’re just going to have to show them who’s in charge,” Doug told her.
How was she supposed to get them to respect her if every time she tried to discipline them, Doug would jump in and tell her that she was blowing everything out of proportion. More to the point, why would they respect her when he didn’t? Five years had passed and nothing had changed. She was tired of playing second fiddle to Doug’s children.
As usual Max was late for work. She hurried to her office so that she could get started on the work that awaited her. If she worked for anyone other than her best friend Callista, she would have been totally screwed.
Maxine worked for Callista as a relationship coordinator. Cally, as everyone called her, owned a dating service that catered to the wealthy elite in the Metro Detroit area who were looking for love not gold diggers. Financial status and position were verified before introductions were made. Currently, Truly For You Dating Service boasted a sixty-five percent success rate.
Most of the male clients wanted to date Callista. Who could blame them, she was definitely beautiful. Cally had it all, a happy marriage and two beautiful daughters, Max thought.
Callista was always the strong one in her tight group of three friends. No one was surprised when she stepped out on faith and started her own business. Maxine admired her friends strength and tenacity. She hoped after working for Callista she would get enough courage to start her own business. The idea of opening her own business excited and frightened Maxine at the same time.
Maxine didn’t need to work, nor did she need the money. Doug gave her a large allowance each month, but her mother had taught her that every woman needed to have mad money, that extra money you had stashed away in case you got mad and wanted to leave.
“Good morning, Max,” Callista said from the doorway of Maxine’s office.
“Hey, good morning, Cally.”
Maxine couldn’t believe Cally looked so beautiful at nine-thirty in the morning. Cally’s hair fell on her shoulders, framing her small face. Her make-up was perfectly applied as usual. Cally was wearing a designer powder blue suit with matching accessories and shoes. Max had tried to mimic the way Cally dressed, but a size four suit didn’t look as good on a size fourteen body. How could she still wear a size four after two children, Max wondered. Max still hadn’t lost the weight she’d gained from the fertility pills she had tried a year ago.
“We’ve got twelve new clients coming in this week. Are you ready?” Cally asked.
“Everything is ready,” Max lied.
Cally’s cell phone rang. She looked down at the display and looked up at Max nervously.
“Excuse me, I need to take this,” Cally said, walking away so fast she almost ran.
Max wondered who had caused Cally to look so nervous this early in the morning. For six months or more, Cally had begun to act strangely. She would leave for lunch and not return for several hours telling Max she had gone home for lunch with her husband. Her story would change when Max told her that her husband had called the office looking for her while she was gone.
Cally and Max had been friends since kindergarten at St. Mary’s Catholic School in Detroit. In the fifth grade, Cyan became a part of their tight-knit group. Cally had shared everything with Max, good or bad, but lately Cally had become very secretive. Max didn’t have time to worry about it; she had too much work to do.
Max had four clients scheduled for today. “Truly For You” clientele were all wealthy professionals, who all claimed to be too busy to meet miss or mister right. The three men and a woman that Max had scheduled for today all said they were looking for their soul mate. The questionnaires that the clients completed asked questions about their daily lives and daily choices. In addition, clients were matched up by their belief systems and personal perceptions of others and themselves.
As Max stared at the questionnaires of her clients, she realized she’d rather stay in the bed she’d made than try to find another one to sleep in. Max’s marriage was in shambles, but she didn’t think she had the strength to start all over.
After each interview, Max carefully entered all of their information into the database. In the morning she would call her new clients and let them know if she had any matches for them and arrange for them to review the tapes of their perspective matches.
Max watched her co-workers walk past her office door on their way home. Now that it was time to go home, Max suddenly had the urge to stay and catch up on all of her work. The only thing waiting on her at home was the laundry and the dinner she was going to prepare. Slowly getting up from her chair, Max reached for her brown Coach bag, almost knocking over a picture of Cyan, Cally and Max at a jazz club some eight years earlier. Of the three, she knew she wasn’t the prettiest or most talented, but she thought that at least she would be happily married with a few children of her own. And neither of those thoughts was true these days.
Max spoiled Cyan’s and Cally’s children to make up for the lack of her own. Max was overjoyed when Cyan asked her to be the godmother of the child she was pregnant with. Max quickly accepted and offered to give her a baby shower. The baby wasn’t due for another few months, but Max had everything all arranged. She was just waiting until it was the appropriate time to mail the invitations. Cyan had been very vague about who the father of her third child was. The men in Cyan’s life seldom hung around, nor did she allow Max or Cally to meet them. Neither Cally nor Max pressed her about it. They would love and spoil the little bundle of joy regardless.
Max put the picture back on the corner of her desk and headed for the door. There was no use putting off the inevitable. Doug and his bad ass children were waiting for her. Max knew Doug hadn’t started dinner even though he had been at home all day.
Because Doug was determined to get as far away from the hood as he possible could, they moved fifty minutes outside of Detroit to small city called Chelsea. The scenic view of the trees and beautiful homes made the long drive home worth it. On a section of the eight miles of dirt road that led to their three thousand square foot home, the trees had grown across the roads in such a way that they looked like arch ways or tunnels. The October breeze made the multicolored leaves float down to the road. Max enjoyed the ride because the serenity of it all stopped at her front door.
How had her marriage gone so wrong? Six years ago when Doug asked her to marry him, she thought she had finally met the man she had prayed for. Doug was so charming and loving when they first met. He took her to dinner two and three times a week. He complimented her and made her feel special. She was so self-conscious about her dark chocolate skin, full breasts and her thick hips and thighs. He told her that she was beautiful she just needed to tone up. He bought her jewelry, designer clothes, always picking out items that showed off her legs and cleavage. He also helped her pay many of her bills, including her mother’s medical bills.
The costs of her mother’s medications alone were killing her. Her mother’s little social security check barely paid for her food and medical supplies. The only reason Max had been able to keep her mother’s house was because it was paid for. She was struggling and the help Doug offered was so needed and appreciated.
As soon as Max stepped in the house, she was assaulted by the loudness of the television.
“Ty and Terrell, turn that TV down,” Max said.
She walked toward the family room when she got no response. Someone had left the television on. She searched the leather sectional, she found the remote under the pillows and turned off the TV. Max dropped her purse on the sofa and headed upstairs to change out of her work clothes and put on something comfortable.
She approached her bedroom curiously; her bedroom door was never closed. She waited just outside the door when she heard her husband talking. Max felt her legs get weak when she heard her husband tell someone, “What color panties you got on, girl?” Overwhelmed with emotion, Max quickly pushed the bedroom door open to discover Doug lying on their bed with only his underwear on. His hand was in his underwear stroking his penis while he talked in a low sexy voice to someone on his cell phone. All this time, she had convinced herself that she didn’t care if Doug was having an affair, but now that she was faced with the situation she knew she couldn’t go on living like this. “Doug, what are you doing?” Max asked. “What does it look like I’m doing?” “The boys could walk in here and catch you like this.” “So they’re boys, they know the score. If you were handling your business, I wouldn’t have to jack off.”
He sat up, faced Maxine, and closed his cell phone.
“So who were you talking to on the phone?” Max asked. She wiped the tears away with the back of her hand.
“That was business. What you need to be asking me is why I’m jacking off instead of fucking you.”
“I’ve been trying to make love to you for the longest.”
“Whatever! I’m tired of that boring ass shit you call making love. I want to try something new for a change. Not the same old fuck and go to sleep routine.”
“What are you talking about, Doug? I’m the one buying gels and lotions for us to try. I’ve bought sexy nightgowns and crotch less panties trying to get you in the mood. You’re the one who’s never interested.”
“That’s what I’m talking about. That’s not new. Anyone can do that. I’m talking about some freaky shit. Shit we can reminisce about when we’re old and gray and I can’t get it up no more. Don’t you ever wonder what it would be like to do some forbidden stuff?” Doug stretched out his hands toward Max.
She stepped away before his hands could reach her. Max felt like screaming. Was she supposed to be impressed by this? She couldn’t believe her ears. Doug was trying to tell her that their fucked up sex life was her fault?
“So I’m the boring one now. What’s gotten into you? When I try to get close to you, you turn your back on me,” Max screamed at him.
“I’m just saying I’d like to try something new.”
“Haven’t you every wanted to see what it feels like to be with another woman?”
“You should know me well enough to know that’s not my style. And how is that something new for us? This sounds like it’s all about you. That’s not going to do a damn thing for me. We need to work on our marriage and our sex life, not add other people to it.”
“Forget it. I knew your frigid ass wouldn’t be open to something new. I should have left your fat ass where I found you,” Doug said with disgust. He stood, pulled on his pants, and zipped them. “That’s why men cheat on their wives. All you bitches get married and think you’ve got it made, but you’re too stupid to know who or what pleases your man. It’s cool though. There are plenty of women who are more than happy to have a man like me.”
“What are you saying? Because I don’t want to have sex with another woman, you’re going cheat on me?” Max asked.
“I said what I meant, and meant what I said. This isn’t about you being with a woman, it’s about adding some spice to our dead ass marriage. You need to get with the program.”
Doug walked out of the bedroom and stopped at the top of the stairs to put on his Gucci loafers. “If you really loved me like you say, you would at least think about it. It doesn’t have to be a woman. I wouldn’t mind seeing you with another man. It might loosen your tight ass up.”
After Doug was gone and the shock of what he said to her set in, Max found herself on the floor of their bedroom in tears. Max suspected for some time that Doug was seeing someone else. Of course he denied that there was another woman, but he told her if she lost thirty pounds it definitely would help. After awhile Max was kind of glad there was another woman. She would rather have no sex or sex with BOB, her battery operated boyfriend, than have emotionless sex with a man she no longer knew. She rationalized that it was less work she had to do.
Often Doug wouldn’t come home at all. If he did come home he usually got into bed and went straight to sleep. But at least twice a month he woke her in the middle of the night with a poke. Max was sure that Doug only had sex with her because he felt guilty or felt he owed her some dick from time to time, even if he was the only one having fun. Whenever Max tried to initiate any intimacy, he pushed her away saying he didn’t like aggressive women.
Max had thought about hiring a private investigator and waiting for a report to tell her what she already knew so that she could start over again as a single woman. Her fear of being alone and broke kept her from taking the needed steps to free herself of the situation. Sure she had some money saved, but not enough to pay her for the nursing home her mother was in.
If she divorced Doug she would only get a small lump sum. Before they got married Max signed a pre-nuptial agreement that stated she got $50,000 if they divorced, unless she could prove infidelity. If she could prove infidelity, she would get one third of his net assets. She knew that he was cheating, but she would have to prove it. Max had prayed they would be able to work through their problems, but now she knew she had allowed her fear of being alone to keep her where she wasn’t loved.
She would have to face the fact that she was going to be alone. She was a thirty-six year old fat black girl with nothing. Max had never been a small girl and she was sure that nobody would want her now that she had gone from a size twelve to a size fourteen and sometimes a sixteen. To make matters worse her clock was ticking. She wanted to be a mother before she was forty.
She must have been crying for quite some time before she realized that Terrell was pounding on the bedroom door.
“What is it?” she yelled.
“I’m hungry, what’s for dinner?
“Whatever you cook,” she yelled through the closed door.
Max stood up and walked over to the mirror. Max was horrified at what she saw. She had allowed herself to gain weight, she barely put on any make-up and she couldn’t remember the last time she had gone shopping for herself. The suit she had on was at least two years old. She leaned on the dresser to maintain her balance. The gravity of her situation had finally set in. She had to get out of this house before she went insane. Max walked to her walk-in closet and grabbed a large overnight bag. After she threw in enough clothes to last a couple of days and some toiletries, she snatched the door to her bedroom open and pushed past Terrell.
“What’s wrong with you, Max? I just want something to eat. I didn’t even do nothing,” Terrell whined.
“Call your father; he’s the only one you and your brother will listen to. Let him worry about what you’re going to eat,” Max told him.
She stopped at the top of the steps leading to the family room and faced Terrell. “You’re nine, almost ten years old. I’ve tried to teach you and your brother how to cook, clean and take care of yourselves, but your father says that’s woman’s work. Well tonight and from now on it’s going to be your father’s work because I’m out of here.”
As she descended the stairs, she felt lighter. She went into the family room and retrieved her cell phone from her purse and called Mrs. Porterfield next door and asked her if the boys could come over until their father came back. She lied and said she had to go and see about a sick friend. The twins were in the same class with her son and they played together in their cul-de-sac every day after school. Mrs. Porterfield reluctantly agreed because it was a school night. As soon as Max hung up with Mrs. Porterfield, she called Doug. He answered on the third ring.
“What?” he yelled into the phone.
“I’m leaving. You need to get the boys from Mrs. Porterfield before nine because I’m not coming back,” Max stated calmly.
“Where the hell do you think you’re going?”
“The hell away from you,” Max said with confidence.
“Bitch, you better get my kids and take your fat ass back home, now.”
“See that’s why I won’t be coming back. That’s the last fat bitch I’m going to be around here.”
Doug took a long breath in, calming himself. He had already made plans to go to a party with this girl down in the Detroit area. He was not going to let Max cause him to miss his time with his girl. “How you gonna leave the boys like that? I know what I said earlier was wrong. I’ll be back in an hour and we can talk about it.”
“We’ve been talking about it for five years. I don’t want to talk about it. Pick up your boys before nine. The operative word here is your boys.”
With that said Max pushed the end button on her cell phone and threw it back in her purse.
With lighter steps, she proceeded to walk over to the stairs leading to the bedrooms and yelled out the boys’ names. When they appeared at the top of the stairs, she told them to get their shoes and coats on because they were going next door to Mrs. Porterfield’s until their dad came back.
Max waited at the bottom of the stairs until the boys reappeared dressed to go. She grabbed her purse off the leather sofa in the family room and headed for the door leading to the garage with the boys in tow. She escorted them next door and thanked Mrs. Porterfield for helping. Once the door was closed, she quickly walked to her car.
Once she was securely in her Lexus 300, she put in her favorite gospel CD by John Keys and turned up the volume on “Stand.” For the first time in a long time, Max felt like she could stand on her own two feet.
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This Side of Crazy – (c) 2010 Kimmie Thomas. All Rights Reserved