Well I hope you’re ready to embark upon another story- this one isn’t quite as short, so hopefully you’ll stick around for the long haul. We’ll start this week off slow, just a couple of chapters. This is one of my early titles, and features a couple with a sensual, volatile history, a murder mystery and a mix of savory drama. Settle in and enjoy… TimeChange.
Queens, New York January 16, – 9:22am
“A suspect has been named in the brutal murder of aspiring City Councilman Robert Joyner. Joyner, was the local politician responsible for numerous community programs to benefit the elderly and the African-American community. He was believed to have been murdered by angered members of a white supremacists group; who felt betrayed by Joyner, because of his commitment to improving conditions in many minority communities. However; in a surprising twist, Julian Reeves has been named as the prime suspect in the murder. Reeves; an outspoken African-American college student, is known for his rousing speeches calling
for African-Americans to stop being “fooled” by the so called powers that be. He has been taken in for questioning. Police have yet to comment on what evidence they have against Reeves. In another surprising twist, prominent Chicago attorney Parrish Jeffries has been named as Reeves counsel. Jeffries is scheduled to arrive in New York today.”
The news broadcast went unheard in the Queens Salon building.
‘Elegance Salon’ was having another busy day. As usual, numerous clients filled the establishment. They were all waiting for one of the gorgeous styles the stylists were famous for.
“Sheila, I think I’ll take a simple wrap today.”
Sheila Jeffries just shook her head at her best customer, and friend, Demeshia Lincoln. “It’s like ESP or something ’cause I knew you were going to say that. Girl, why don’t you ever get something different? All this long pretty hair…”
Dee rolled her eyes at Sheila. “This style is easy for me to take care of. I get a lot of compliments on it. Besides, I don’t have time to fuss with my hair everyday like you.” She added, running her fingers through her thick mane.
“Watch it.” Sheila warned. She tilted Dee’s head back. “I got a call from Paris, Monday.” She announced.
Dee almost smiled at Sheila’s mispronunciation of her brother’s name. She never could say the damn thing, Dee thought to herself. She let her eyes drift shut, as she conjured up the image of her old boyfriend. Although she hadn’t seen him in fifteen years, Parrish Jeffries had been in the news enough for her to memorize his looks. Even though she could only admire him from television and magazines, it didn’t diminish his obvious appeal. If only things had worked out differently…
Shaking her head, Dee pulled herself back to the present. “Why are you telling me about his call?”
“‘Cause he’s coming home from Chicago sometime this week.” Sheila informed her.
“Why?” Dee asked. In the last fifteen years, Parrish had emerged as a noted attorney. He rarely made trips to New York just for fun.
“Well he’s taking that case.” Dee frowned, and Sheila continued. “You know…that college student they say killed Robert Joyner.”
Dee’s reporter’s instincts perked up, at the mention of the case. She had been working on a series of stories for the newspaper she wrote for. “Parrish is Julian Reeves attorney?”
“Mmm hmm.” Sheila confirmed.
“Hey Sheila you have a call!”
“Alright!” Sheila yelled back. “Dee hold on a sec.” She said, before walking towards the large back office.
Dee watched her friend and smiled. How far we’ve come, she thought. Sheila had gone to beauty college, after finishing high school a year after her brother and Dee. She; and an old friend became partners, and opened a small salon. Now, they had customers from all over New York. Meanwhile; Dee had gone to college, and majored in Journalism. After numerous failures; she finally landed a job at ‘The Queens Herald’, and her career began. She had earned the respect of her peers and everyone who knew her.
“Girl! He is the finest!”
Dee pulled herself back to the present, and tuned in on the conversation next to her. One of the other stylists; and her customer, were talking about something or someone. It took only a moment to realize they were referring to the television. Another report on Julian Reeves was being given. His attorney, Parrish Jeffries, was the topic.
“He’s just so young to be so prominent.” Felicia Harris; one of the salon’s newest stylists, was saying.
“Mmm.” Her client, Marcia Nelson replied. “Young and fine.”
The two women began laughing again, and Dee found herself agreeing with every word.
Felicia noticed Dee waiting at Sheila’s station, and smiled. “What do you think Dee Dee?” She asked.
Dee gave them a weak smile. “Yeah, he’s something else.” She managed.
Suddenly; Felicia snapped her fingers, a look of recognition dawning in her eyes. “Wait a minute, didn’t ya’ll use to date?”
“Yeah…in high school.” Dee answered, nodding slightly.
“Used to?” Marcia asked. “What happened?”
Dee shrugged, not wanting to get into the whole story. “A lot of stuff went down between us. We couldn’t work it out.”
Marcia shook her head. “With a fine brotha like that, we would’ve worked it out!” She bellowed, making Felicia and Dee laugh.
A few minutes had passed, before Sheila came back to her station. “Now what were we talking about?” She asked, applying setting lotion to Dee’s hair.
“I think you remember. Why are you telling me about Parrish all of a sudden?”
Sheila didn’t look away from Dee’s hair as she answered. “Because you and Paris need to talk.”
It took Sheila a few moments to glance up. “About how you never got over him and how he hasn’t gotten over you. You guys still love each other you know?”
Dee was slowly becoming agitated. “Have you forgotten that we haven’t seen each other in fifteen years. Now what kind of love is that?”
“Girl, everytime he calls home he asks about you. Sometimes I have to ask if you’re the only reason he calls.” Sheila made quick work of wrapping Dee’s lengthy tresses.
Dee couldn’t control the increased beating of her heart, but she couldn’t let that get to her. “Well, it’s too late anyway. I mean you do remember I’m getting married in June?” She asked Sheila, as they walked to the hair dryers. “Dammit.” She hissed a moment later, when her phone began to chime. “Sheila let me take this.”
“Hey Ma, it’s me what’s goin’ on?” Dee said into the receiver once Sheila got her settled beneath the dryer.
Thelma Lincoln cleared her throat. “I just wanted to make sure you didn’t forget about lunch.”
“No I didn’t forget. I’m at Sheila’s shop getting my hair done, but I won’t be late.” Dee promised.
“Alright, well we’ll meet you there.”
Dee’s brows drew close. “We? Is Daddy going to be there?” She asked, wiping a drizzle of water from her hair.
“Mmm hmm. When he found out Joel wouldn’t be there, he decided he wanted to go.” Dee sighed and shook her head. “Ma, why can’t you get Daddy to stop actin’ like this?”
“Honey you know how he is.”
“But does he have to be so obvious?”
Thelma laughed. “Well maybe you can talk some sense into him today. He took the whole afternoon off, so he could spend it with his baby.”
Dee rolled her eyes toward the ceiling. “Ma even a whole afternoon isn’t enough time to change David Lincoln’s ways.”
Dee talked with her mother a few minutes more. Once the call ended, Dee closed her eyes praying the dryer’s soothing hum would ease her frazzled nerves.
“Everything okay?” Sheila asked, while getting another client settled in the dryer area.
“Uh huh, that was my mother.” Dee sighed.
Sheila frowned. “So what’s the problem?”
“I just wish Daddy would start liking Joel better.”
“Oh.” Sheila replied. “Girl that would probably take a miracle.”
Dee fidgeted beneath the dryer. “Thanks for your reassurance,” She said once Sheila had finished with the other client.
“Dee you know how close your dad was to Paris. He hasn’t liked a man you’ve dated since him.”
“Well I’m not marrying Parrish. I’m marrying Joel.” Dee stubbornly replied.
“Mmm hmmm, but who do you really want?”
When Dee didn’t answer, Sheila gave her a knowing look before she walked away. Dee sighed, scooting further down in the chair beneath the dryer. Parrish Jeffries. She’d done a good job not thinking of him in the last several years. There were times when she asked herself how things got so out of hand. Dee compared her relationship to Parrish to dropping a lighted match to a bucket of fuel. It only took the smallest incident to send them into all out battle.
Ever since that night fifteen years ago, Dee couldn’t think of Parrish without thinking about how much he frightened her with his temper. It was better to keep him out of her head. Besides, Joel Monroe, her fiancé, was in the picture now and he was a great guy. He was very down to earth, calm-natured and safe. Not at all like Parrish Jeffries. Not like Parrish at all.
“Ooooh Sheila thanks.” Dee was saying; as she ran her fingers across her silky wrapped style.
“No problem.” Sheila said. “I hope you try something different the next time.” She finished.
Dee signed the receipt and handed it to Sheila. “Maybe.” She said, giving her friend a quick hug.
“Mmm hmm…” Sheila replied, watching Dee head off.
Dee was busy retrieving her coat from the crowded rack. She didn’t notice the tall, attractive man that entered the salon.
Sheila was cleaning her station; when she felt a strong arm around her waist and a hand over her eyes.
“Guess who?” A rich, deep voice rasped in her ear.
Sheila turned, and found herself staring into her brother’s gorgeous brown eyes. “Paris!” She screamed, surprised and happy.
“Hey baby girl.” Parrish revealed a perfect grin. He leaned over, and grabbed his little sister in a tight hug.
It was hard to miss Sheila’s high-pitched voice, when she screamed Parrish’s name. Dee felt her heart skip a beat, and the coat fell from her shaking fingers. She wanted to turn around, but shock and something else wouldn’t let her do it. Instead, she started for the front of the salon.
Sheila was still hugging her brother, when she saw Dee leaving. “Dee where are you goin’?” She called.
A sharp curse escaped Dee’s shapely lips, before she slowly turned. Parrish Jeffries’ entrancing stare was the first thing she saw.
Parrish was never at a loss for words, but nothing prepared him for what he felt when he saw Demeshia Lincoln. She still had that same beautiful baby face, but now there was an added quality- a definition that made her even lovelier. His eyes traveled from her expressive, ebony eyes, down the length of her nose to her full kissable lips. And that hair…
“It’s been a long time Misha.” He finally managed.
Dee tried to calm herself, wishing she had a drink. “Yeah…I know. How are you?” She asked softly.
“I’m good.” His voice was just as soft.
Dee was finding it harder to look at him. He was devastating, she could at least admit that to herself. Those pictures in magazines and on television didn’t compare at all.
“Why don’t we all go out for lunch?” Sheila suggested.
Dee shot her friend a quick glance. “Uh no Sheila thanks, but I need to get going. Remember I told you I was having lunch with my parents? You should spend some time with your brother anyway.” She spoke quickly, as she awkwardly donned her coat.
“How are they?”
Dee stopped fiddling with her coat and looked at Parrish. His words were simple and deep, but Dee could see that warm intensity in his cocoa eyes.
“They’re fine.” Dee finally answered. “Still crazy as ever.” She added.
Parrish smiled, and dragged a thumb across a sleek, heavy brow. “Mr. D still workin’ hard?” He asked, referring to Dee’s father.
“Mmm hmm, but he took today off to have lunch with me.” She revealed, smiling when Parrish feigned surprise by her news.
A serious look ghosted over his dark, alluring features. “Well tell ’em I said hello and I’ll try to see them before I leave town.”
Dee held her breath; when he mentioned leaving, but managed to nod anyway. With effort; she looked at Sheila.
“I’ll call you alright? It was nice seeing you Parrish.” She said, before leaving the main floor of the salon.
Parrish only nodded, watching her leave marveling over the beauty she still was.
“Paris, I’ll be right back, just let me get my coat and stuff.” Sheila called.
“Mmm hmm…” Parrish’s response was absent, his thoughts still on Dee. After all those years, his feelings hadn’t changed one bit. While there had been other women in his life, he’d never been serious about any of them. Not one.
Unfortunately, Misha hadn’t felt the same. It seemed that she’d gotten over him quite nicely. He thought about her upcoming wedding. Sheila told him Dee had been seeing someone regular; and when he discovered she was marrying the guy, he knew he had to get to New York. When the chance to take that case rose, he jumped on it. While he wholeheartedly believed in his client’s innocence, he was in New York because of Demeshia Lincoln.
“Dee wait a minute!” Sheila caught up to Dee before she rushed out of the double glass doors to the main entrance of the salon.
Dee held up her hand. “Don’t Sheila.”
“Don’t what? Did you see the way he looked at you?”
Dee shook her head. “I think you read too many romance novels.”
“Honey I just call it like I see it.”
“Did you know he was going to be here today?” Dee asked, casting Sheila a suspicious stare.
“No I didn’t.” Sheila denied. “But I hope you remember what I said earlier.”
Dee rolled her eyes toward the ceiling and sighed. “You said so much today, I can’t remember any one thing in particular.”
“About Paris asking about you all the time.”
“So he asks about me, so what? I can’t afford to get pulled to him like that again.”
Sheila smiled. “We’ll see.” She said, then walked away before Dee could say anything.
Sheila finally grabbed her coat, and met her brother. After settling into the gray Yukon Parrish had rented, Sheila waited for him to mention Dee.
“What?” Parrish asked, when his sister kept staring at him.
“Don’t you want to ask about her?”
“Don’t you want to talk about the case? Nosy devil.” Parrish grumbled.
Sheila gave her brother a stale look. “Why? I believe Julian Reeves is innocent and I know you’ll prove it.”
Parrish gave a tired sigh, and gave in. “So what’s Misha’s fiancé like?”
“Joel? He’s great. I mean, Dee was lucky to find him. On top of being rich as hell, he’s sweet and real laid-back. You know, he’s…calm natured.”
“Yeah I know.” Parrish sighed. Obviously, his sister thought Joel Monroe was peaches and cream. Damn Misha! How can she marry some wimp when she knows she still loves him? He certainly didn’t mean for fifteen years to pass before he saw her again. Now, he was going to have to play a good game of catch up to convince her to give them another chance.
Parrish gave a weary sigh, and realized that Sheila was still talking about Joel. “Sheila?” He called.
“Why don’t you fill me in on the family news so I won’t look so out of place when I see everybody.” Parrish asked, in a hopeful tone.
Sheila didn’t notice her brother’s attempt to change the subject, as she jumped at the chance to gossip. “Boy, there’s a lot to tell. Well Grace is on another mission, she…”
Parrish gave a sly smile, and did his best to tune into his sister. Unfortunately, his thoughts kept returning to Dee.
“Dave do you think you ordered enough food?” Thelma Lincoln asked her husband, after the waiter left with their orders.
David Lincoln shrugged. “Don’t get mad at me because I don’t have to watch what I eat.” He teased.
“So I’m fat to you now huh?” Thelma asked, frowning. The lovely woman had a fantastic figure, but she and her husband always teased each other mercilessly.
“Not fat baby…voluptuous.” David smoothly replied, pressing a soft kiss to his wife’s palm.
Meanwhile; Dee was laughing so hard at her parents, that tears were rolling down her cheeks. “Ya’ll should be on stage somewhere!” She told them, shaking her head.
Thelma smiled at her husband, and looked over at her daughter. “See what you have to look forward to.”
David sighed and leaned back in his seat. His good mood quickly vanished, when his wife mentioned their daughter’s wedding.
“Daddy thanks for taking time off to have lunch with me.” Dee said, patting her father’s hand. “I just wish I didn’t have to leave for this staff meeting.”
David looked at his only child, and couldn’t help but smile. “No problem sugar, we’ll just make the most of it.”
“Maybe we could all get together for dinner. I’ll ask Joel about it.”
David shrugged. “You know how I feel about him Dee.”
“You don’t even know him!” Dee exclaimed.
“I know he’s not-”
The mention of Parrish’s name shocked David Lincoln, but he quickly recovered. “I was going to say, he’s not right for you. But since you mentioned it, no he’s not Parrish.”
Dee shook her head. “I don’t see how you can say that when you’ve never taken time to talk to him.”
“He’s older than you.”
Thelma frowned. “You’re older than me!” She reminded her husband.
David sighed. “He’s too old for Dee.”
“And?” Dee asked. “That’s why you don’t like him?”
“He’s stuffy.” David added.
Thelma leaned back in her chair, and crossed her arms over her chest. “It’s funny how stuffy and stubborn sound almost alike.”
“Thel please, I just want my daughter to marry a man she can have fun with. Not somebody whose idea of a big night is watching the late edition of The Financial Report.”
Dee toyed with one of the thick locks resting across her shoulder. “Joel invests a lot of money, so I can see where that would be big to him.”
David held his hand out to Dee. “See, that’s where you were supposed to say ‘Daddy we have lots of fun.'”
Both Dee and her mother threw their hands in the air. The arguing threesome didn’t see Sheila Jeffries being shown to a table along with her brother.
“I tell you Paris, every time I turn around somebody in the family is either getting married or divorced. I lose track.” Sheila stopped talking, when she saw Parrish wasn’t paying attention. He was staring right over her shoulder.
Sheila turned and saw Dee at a table with her parents. She smiled, but didn’t comment.
Meanwhile, Dee was still arguing with her father. “You know what Daddy? Maybe you should just forget about giving me away.”
“Maybe that’s a good idea considering who I’d have to give you to.”
“David!” Thelma chastised.
Dee massaged her temples for a moment. Then; she looked up, and did a double take when she saw Parrish across the diningroom. Clearing her throat, she picked up her salad fork only to drop it.
Thelma frowned, and looked over at Dee. “Baby you alright?” She asked.
“Mmm hmm.” Dee nodded, but she couldn’t help looking across the room.
Throughout lunch, countless heated glances were cast across the crowded diningroom between Parrish and Dee. As a result, Dee dropped her fork several times during the meal. She almost choked on her ginger ale, when Parrish finally got up from his table and headed over.
“Don’t you people ever look bad?” Parrish asked, enjoying the shocked look on David and Thelma Lincoln’s faces. The gorgeous couple stopped their arguing, and jumped from their seats. They hugged the young man; they both hoped, would one day be their son-in-law.
“Boy what the hell are you doin’ here?!” David Lincoln bellowed, giving Parrish a hearty clap on the shoulder.
A warm smile crossed Parrish’s handsome face, as he looked down at the older man. “I’ve got business here.” He laughed.
Thelma pressed her hand to Parrish’s chest, and shook her head. “Honey don’t mind my husband. I think he’s goin’ senile early.”
David frowned. “What are you talkin’ about?”
“Don’t you remember seein’ Parrish all over the news this morning?” Thelma asked.
“Oh yeah!” David suddenly remembered. “The Joyner case. Did you just get in?” He asked.
“Yeah I did.” Parrish softly answered, his warm gaze focused on Dee.
The Lincoln’s noticed the path of Parrish’s stare. Of course, David had to comment.
“Dee did you know Parrish was coming home?”
Dee sent her father a weak smile, before her dark eyes returned to Parrish. “Mmm hmm. I saw him at Sheila’s.”
“I guess we could’ve had lunch together after all.” Parrish noted, a smirk tugging at the sexy curve of his mouth.
“I guess.” Dee whispered, shrugging one shoulder.
Suddenly, David began clearing his throat. “I suppose you heard about Dee’s wedding?”
“David!” Thelma yelled.
Parrish smiled, and nodded. “Yeah I heard.” He assured them. “Congratulations Misha”.
“David.” Thelma called her husband in a warning tone, when she heard the gesture.
David held a hand out to his wife. “What? He doesn’t mean it.”
When Parrish began to laugh, Dee could stand no more of her father’s blatant negative comments about her marriage. Standing, she grabbed her charcoal brown cashmere coat and matching purse from a vacant chair.
“Excuse me,” she began, “I have a meeting to get to. Mommy…Daddy.” She added, casting her father a warning glance. “Parrish.” She said, giving him a lingering stare, as though she were trying to memorize his stunning attractive features.
Parrish hoped the Lincolns couldn’t hear how hard his heart was pounding. He watched their daughter, until she left the diningroom.
“Alright people, let’s have some order in here.”
The twenty reporters that made up the writing staff of The Queens Herald, filled the cluttered meeting room. All conversation ceased, when John Charles; the managing editor, called the budget meeting to order.
“What’s on schedule for today?” John was asking.
Everyone took turns stating their plans, but Dee was in another world. She couldn’t keep her mind off Parrish. It had been so long since she’d seen him, yet her feelings were as strong as ever. She’d felt so embarrassed; running out of the salon, but she couldn’t help it. As for lunch, it was all she could do to swallow her food. While he looked her way; with that uncommonly sexy stare of his, it was a wonder she didn’t throw herself into his arms. She grimaced, remembering how her father brought up the wedding. That Parrish was aware of her upcoming marriage, made it difficult to look him in the eye. Fortunately; there was Joel, and she had to think about him. He was the most important person in her life now, and hurting him was the last thing she wanted to do. Still…
“Dee? Dee you with us?” Someone was saying.
“What? Oh I’m sorry.” She gushed.
John Charles looked at the young, brilliant reporter and shook his head. “Ms. Lincoln can you pull yourself away from your fascinating daydream long enough to tell us how the Julian Reeves story is shaping up?”
“Well,” Dee began, “I have a meeting tomorrow with some of Reeve’s friends. They all live in the same apartment building. I’m really just going there to get some character info and see where the conversation goes from there.”
“Good.” John replied, nodding his head. “And what about Parrish Jeffries? When are you going to talk to him?” He asked, shuffling through some papers.
When Dee didn’t respond; John Charles raised his head, and stared at her expectantly.
Dee fidgeted in her chair before answering. “Well, I’m not sure if I’ll be talking to him yet.”
“How come Dee?” Phyliss Wilson asked, slyly. “I’m sure he’d give you an exclusive.” She continued.
John Charles looked from Dee, to the rest of the reporters; who all smiled knowingly. “Am I missing something here?” He asked.
“Parrish Jeffries was Dee’s highschool sweetheart.” Someone volunteered.
“I see.” John Charles. “Well it shouldn’t be too hard to get a few statements from him then, should it?”
Dee stared at her boss. John Charles could be a tough man to work for, but he gave her a chance when no one else would. Although he was very hard on his staff, he wasn’t ruthless. He was loved and admired by his staff, and the feeling was mutual.
“Look, what good will it do for me to talk to Parrish Jeffries? He can’t tell me anything. There is that word called confidentiality.” Dee hoped her point would be well taken.
“Honey, we don’t want Jeffries to forget his ethics. We just want a few comments. It’ll be good for the story. So talk to him alright?” John Charles insisted.
Dee bit her tongue and swallowed the feeling of defeat welling up the back of her throat.
Check Back Soon For More Of TimeChange…