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ABOUT THE BOOK:
Childhood can be rough and Shantell Johnson’s early days proved it. Growing up in the environment in which she lived and tried so hard to forget, Shantell becomes dependent on medication as her sole remedy to halt those unpleasant memories of abandonment, abuse and imprisonment.
Now years have passed and life has been fairly decent for Mrs. Johnson who is now a wife and account executive. However, when her husband discovers the truth of her past, she is forced to revisit olden times and the one promise she made to herself – to NEVER go back – still stands. Nothing will stop her from living the life she feels she deserves, not even murder!
High school sweethearts, Aaron and Josephine Stovall have now been married for over 20 years. Aaron, a recent graduate of law school is now an attorney for one of the biggest firms in the city and although his wife supported him every step of the way, Aaron fears his love for his wife is fading. He now desires something or someone more ‘on his level’.
Josephine recognizes that her husband’s devotion is now slipping away and worries that he will abandon her and their dream of a better life – together. She must now decide if she wants to fight for her marriage or develop a plan for the security of her future – alone. She chooses the latter.
When Josephine meets Shantell and Shantell meets Aaron, the scandalous plot begins, and poor Nicole Lynn, a single mother smitten with the unhappily married man, gets caught in the middle of the shocking conspiracy…
Thirty years to life. I’m still in disbelief. By the time I get out of here, I’ll be sixty-seven years old. My sons will be grown with their own families. My mother will be dead. This has got to be a nightmare. I wish someone would pinch me so that I could wake up.
I was in a penitentiary amongst murderers, thieves and child neglecters. The a…tmosphere was as harsh as you see in the movies. Nothing but pure evil in here. This is not where I belonged – everyone who really knows me should know this. I’ve never gotten into any trouble in my entire life, not until now. I’m angry, but I won’t let this place break me down. After getting out of solitary confinement last week for fighting in the cafeteria, I decided to stay positive and prayerful. That was all I could do to keep from going crazy in this hellhole. Just know that I didn’t start the fight though. I was minding my business when one butch of a woman tried to bully me into giving up my meal. I’m guessing that due to all of the anger that I had built up inside of me, it was very easy to beat her until all of the anger subsided and she fell unconscious. Shocked everyone. I shocked myself. Afterwards, my cellmate, a scary white woman who weighed at least three hundred and fifty pounds, offered me the bottom bunk. I was officially deemed “the crazy bitch” in a place loaded with crazy bitches.
My name is Nicole Lynn, also known as Prisoner No. K589793. I’ve been locked up at the Princeton Correctional Center for Women for approximately six months. Two visits are all I get per month and that’s when I get to see my mother and my children. They are the only ones who come to visit me. My brothers and sisters won’t come. I don’t have any friends. The “new friends” I acquired disappeared immediately following my demise. I’m sure that they are talking about me behind my back and I don’t blame them one bit. Everyone told me to leave him alone but I wouldn’t listen. I couldn’t leave him alone. He was like a drug habit that I couldn’t kick. I had to be around him. I had to touch him. I had to love him. He had my mind.
I remember clear as day as to the day that I met him. Tall, dark and handsome would describe him perfectly. You could see him coming a mile away with his Denzel stroll and tailored suit. Breathtaking. I didn’t think he would talk to me. I didn’t think I would be his type. His demeanor had supermodel-only written all over it, and Lord knows I was a far cry from that title. When I was a little girl, my nickname was Celie.
Hand in one pocket, other hand on a shopping cart, this man had a swag so noticeable that I gave my customer the wrong amount of change. It was obviously too much change because she pocketed it too fast and rushed out before I realized that the five dollar bill I thought I gave her was actually a twenty. I pray they don’t take it out of my paycheck. Lord knows I don’t make much money now.
He was next in line. “Cash or credit,” I said nervously, as I placed his groceries into a shopping bag. With only a frozen pizza, a loaf of bread and turkey from the deli department, I assumed he was a bachelor. But when I saw the diamond-cut wedding band on his finger, I felt the jealousy rise within me of a woman that I didn’t know nor have never seen. How lucky she must be to have this man lying next to her in bed every night. I know one thing…if it were me, he wouldn’t be eating a frozen pizza! Shaking my damn head at whomever his wife may be!
“Credit,” he responded, while handing me his Gold MasterCard.
And that’s when it happened. Our eyes met, only his went en route from my face to my butt. Typical, but at least I got his attention.
“What’s your name?” he asked smoothly, baring all of the pearly whites. His eyes never left my behind.
“Thanks. What’s yours?”
He smiled, signed his credit card receipt, grabbed his bag and walked away. His arrogance turned me on – I don’t know why. I had no business asking him his name anyway, especially after seeing the ring on his finger. Oh well, I knew I wasn’t his type so no disappointment on my end. Prior to tending to the next customer in line, I spotted a business card on the counter that exhibited a picture of the handsome man with no name. Aaron Stovall was the name typed in bold letters on the card. I quickly put it away and finished the rest of my workday with a smile as wide as Texas.
And that was how we met. On the first date, he took me to a very elegant restaurant called The Peninsula Room located in the Trump Tower. The exquisite food, superb service and dazzling skyline view had me in awe. No one had ever taken me to a restaurant like that before. And on the second date… Wait. There was no second date. And now, there never will be a second date.
All I can remember is waking up and him lying next to me … Blood! Smoke! Tears! Sirens!
Oh God, forgive me! I don’t understand why I did it! I don’t understand how I did it! And I don’t really know IF I did it!
I still loved him. Let me rephrase that: I still love him!
Excuse me while I wipe my tears. I know you don’t want to keep hearing me proclaim my innocence over and over again and I’m sick and tired of trying to put the pieces together in my head so I’m going to stop writing in this stupid journal now – the journal that the jailhouse shrink suggested for me. It is almost visiting hours anyway and some new lawyer is coming to see me. Says he has some good news. Probably just another useless meeting! I was already denied an appeal.
Anyway, just know that with all of the mess I’ve been through, I know one thing… Cupid owes me an apology! He struck me with that damn arrow and didn’t leave me with anything but a bleeding heart! What a conniving little devil!!!
SYNOPSIS OF THE NOVEL AND THE STAGE PLAY:
Apology From One Sista’ To Another is the story of two women, Rita and Sophie, who make the mistake of believing in “love at first sight”, both falling for a man (Brian) based only on his physical appearance without taking the time to get to know his inner person.
When Rita meets Brian, she hopes to have finally met the man of her dreams; however, in the long run, she finds out that he’s actually a nightmare. BUT, to avoid the feeling of loneliness, she just accepts all of Brian’s bad habits, including his abusive behavior and his habit of draining her bank account.
Sophie, a bitter divorcee, believes that she has also met the man of her dreams (Brian), but there is an obstacle blocking her happiness – his girlfriend, Rita. She is aware that Brian is in a relationship and, notwithstanding that knowledge, she does everything in her power to sabotage their relationship so that she can have him all to herself, ignorant of Brian’s scheming lifestyle.
While Brian is a VERY handsome man, he is also an unemployed and abusive man who prey on “career” women for the sole purpose of swindling them out of their money in order to accomplish his goal of launching his very own construction company.
When Rita, Sophie and Brian cross paths, all hell breaks loose, and one of the relationships escalates to a level which culminates in a final, and tragic, ending…
I watched as they lowered the casket into the six-foot deep hole. My hands were shaking and my heart was broken. I hardly knew this woman, but the guilt wouldn’t let me rest – I had to say my final goodbye and apologize to her yet once again. I remembered times when I wished this woman dead, but I didn’t think it would happen – not this soon and not in that way. There was so much that I wanted to say. So many apologies I wanted to make, but now was too late. The tears wouldn’t stop traveling down my caramel colored cheeks which were of a plum color when I left the house this morning, but the rainfall of tears washed all of the color away. I wanted to end the nightmares, clear my conscience and finally sleep again.
“Sophie was only 30 years old!” I thought to myself. “30 years old! Why did this have to happen? She didn’t deserve this – no one deserves to die like this!”
The more I thought of the situation, the angrier I became. I started to break down again. My whole body felt as if it were on fire and I felt that if I didn’t hurry up and get out of there, I would faint and cause the family more grief than they already endured. Like they didn’t have enough to worry about already!
An older woman, who looked exactly like Sophie, only older, comforted me. “You two were close?” she asked.
I didn’t know how to respond to that question. Yes, I’ve had several encounters with Sophie, but nothing was friendly about it. “Uh…yes, we were friends,” I lied. And the lie only made me angrier with myself. “Are you her mother?” I asked trying to change the subject.
“Yes, baby,” said Sophie’s mother. “Sophie was my youngest baby. I can’t believe she’s gone. It’s just not fair that a child goes before her parents. But it was her time. That’s the way the Lord planned it – probably not in the way she went, but He planned for her to be with Him.”Sophie’s mother tried her best to comfort me, but the more she spoke of her daughter, the angrier she became also.“Oh, my sweet baby!” she cried. “My baby! My baby! My baby!”
I embraced Sophie’s mother. At that moment, I wished it were me lying six feet deep. “I’m so sorry, Ms…..”“Just call me Paulette, everyone calls me that,” Paulette said as she wiped the tears from her eyes.“
And you can call me Rita,” I said. I tried my best to give Paulette a comforting smile, but that only made her stare harder at me. I was starting to feel very uncomfortable and more guilty than ever before.
“You look very familiar. Have we met before?” Paulette asked.
“I think I may have seen you around at my poetry club,” I said as I looked away. I prayed that she wouldn’t remember the evening of our encounter – the evening that I started to hate her daughter.
“Yes, of course. Soul Expressions, is it?” she asked.
I noticed that Paulette’s voice was not as sweet as it was a second before.“Yes, I am the owner,” I said while feeling very uncomfortable.
“I’ve visited that place a couple of times. I always have a good time when I visit. That’s where my baby met that….” Paulette went into a trance for a second and jumped out of it when I touched her arm. She never completed the rest of her sentence, but instead gave me another warm smile. “Well, thank you, baby. Thank you for being her friend. I can tell that you loved her very much.”
That statement only made things worse. Why did she have to say that? I didn’t love Sophie and Sophie didn’t love me! I had lots of nerve for even showing up here! I had to get away. If I didn’t get out of there, I was going to puke all over myself. I panicked. I grabbed Paulette’s hand and rushed my goodbye. “Nice meeting you, Paulette. I gotta get out of here!…I mean…I have to leave. I’m very sorry for your loss.” My hands were trembling again and beads of sweat were starting to form on my forehead.
“Are you alright, baby?” she asked.
“I just gotta get out of here!” I screamed as I ran to my car. I didn’t mean to be so dramatic, but I couldn’t breathe. I felt as if the guilt was smothering me. I took several breaths trying to calm down. Nothing would rid me of my heartache. After I got in my Land Rover, locked the doors and rolled up my windows, I could no longer hold it all in. I scared myself by the way I was carrying on – like I was losing my mind! I decided to let it all out once and for all and that’s when I screamed and beat the shit out of my dashboard. “I’m so sorry, Sophie! I’m so sorry!” I cried. “Please, please forgive me!”