FORGIVE ME NOT!
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 been married for over 20 years. Aaron, a recent graduate of law school, is now an attorney for one of the largest 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!