• natalielgambleauthor

Finally back from Margaritaville and ready to work!

Updated: Mar 22

So sorry I took so long shaking off my vacation malaise but you know what they say all work and no play, you know the rest besides self-care is most definitely important. That being said let's get into this. I read a post today from another author, I don't know her personally but it was like she was telling my story, she talked about working full time and writing full time, spending more time in front of a computer screen than with her family sometimes and that hit home.


I love what I do, seeing my work out there is like seeing one of my babies out there doing great things and I thank God every day for my talent but I had to ask myself am I so focused and driven to get to that #1 bestsellers spot that I have forgotten what is really important or taken my loved ones for granted? I sincerely hope not.


My point is please never let a chance to show someone you love and care slip by if someone is asking for a few minutes of your time give it to them, that project or in my case that word count wait for a little bit. I have seen more and more loss the older I get and it's really true what they say none of us are promised tomorrow so do me and yourself a favor and live every day you wake up like your last day and enjoy your life, we only have one go around so make it count!


Well until next time Lovelies, live in light, laughter, and love! Here's the next installment of 'Light Eyed Girl for your reading pleasure.


Light Eyed Girl (Continued)


Saturday mornings could only be described as trying at best. Take one religious southern woman throw in three teenage girls who would rather be anywhere but cooped up in a church until around two in the afternoon and see what you get. A lot of threats, attitude, and stress.

Don't get me wrong, we loved church, we were on the usher board, went to Sunday school and even mass choir rehearsal on Wednesdays if Aunt Bettie wasn't working late but we hated youth choir rehearsal because it ate up so much of our Saturdays.

This one was particularly bad, Aunt Bettie was making sure that our new choir dresses fit, just picture a potato sack made out of blue satin with buttons and a mermaid skirt that hit right below the knee.

Now my Aunt agreed they were hideous but that’s what the pastor’s wife had picked so we would be wearing them on the next youth Sunday which was the next day.

“Nikki I talked to Jam about Reggie.” We were at the front of the church, Raunda was showing me a dance she had seen Jam and Reggie do one day.

“And?” I hated to admit it but I was curious.

“He wants you to come over when I go see Jam today.” I stopped dancing.

“Today?!” My voice echoed through the sanctuary. “Raunda you said we were going to the mall today.” I was glaring at her with my hands on my hips.

“Nikki please just come with me this one last time,” Raunda begged.

My Aunt was moving in our direction up the main aisle. “What are the two of you talking about that you have to be so loud Nikki?” She whispered fiercely.

“I'm sorry Auntie.” She pointed at the two of us and walked away with her tape measure around her neck, straight pins in her hand. I turned back to my cousin,

“My God Raunda you won't be happy until we are grounded until graduation!” I whispered still glaring at Raunda. “Is he really worth all of this?”

She looked like she was going to cry. “Fine Raunie if he's worth all of this you go tell Aunt Bettie right now, go tell her we are going to Jam’s and not to the mall otherwise I'm not going.”

“Nikki your song is next, are you ready?” Our choir director called me over she was the pastor’s daughter.

“Yes, I'm ready.” I headed towards her “Raunda just go talk to her.” I ordered and walked up to the microphone next to the organ player, Raunda was heading up the main aisle towards my Aunt.

“Good.” I thought as I cleared my throat and sang about taking your burdens to Jesus.

Rehearsal lasted another hour before I could grab my coat and purse my Aunt called me over to her and Raunda.

“Yes, ma'am?”

“Raunda tells me she wants to go see a young man and you have agreed to go with her.” My aunt had a stoic look on her face.

I nodded, “Yes I told her I would go with her but only if it's okay with you and Mommy.”

She was gathering all her supplies in her sewing bag. “Here take these to the car.” She handed me two dresses and gave the other two to Raunda.

“I will drop you two at the mall you just have to make sure to look after each other, I laid the dresses across the pew and grabbed my coat and purse.

“Yes, ma'am.” I followed Raunda out of the church after grabbing the dresses again. She was grinning from ear to ear.

“Now will you stop freaking out and go with me?” She asked with that secret grin of hers, my eyes narrowed suspiciously, “Raunie did you tell her how old Jam is?”

She smirked at me. “Girl naw! Khat she doesn't know won't hurt her.” I laughed, shaking my head if there was a way around something leave it to Raunda to find it.

Raunda had her mom drop us off at the main entrance of the Prospect Mall.

“Alright, you two be home by 7:30 no later we have church in the morning and we have to get your dresses hemmed.”

“Yes ma'am.” We said in unison climbing out of the car.

“Come on Nikki, Jam said he would meet us at the food court.” I followed her to the bathroom so she could check her hair and makeup.

“So what do you think you and Reggie will do today?” She asked looking at me through the mirror.

I rolled my eyes. “Nothing Raunda probably talk if even that, I don't know anything about him Raunie.”

She smiled knowingly. “You will soon enough.”

I swallowed a snappish comeback she was really pushing it. “Raunie can I have one conversation with the man before you have us all geeked up like you and Jam?”

“Being geeked up can be pretty fun, you haven't had a boyfriend in so long I think you forgot about that.”

We exited the bathroom and met Jam at the food court. He was twirling his keys around his finger smiling as we walked up.

“You ladies ready to go?” He asked before turning to Raunda. “Hello Beautiful.” He leaned down and kissed her.

Was I really ready for any of this and with a grown man no less? It had started to snow when we left the mall. I was so over this winter shit!

“Nikki are you ok back there?” Raunda asked when we were settled in the car.

“Yeah, I fine Raunie.”

She smiled and started talking to Jam. I stared out the window, why was I doing this? I hated the way girls acted around boys they liked, all silly and shit.

I absolutely refuse to act like that for anyone. By the time we got to Reggie and Jam’s, I decided, either way, things went I wouldn't get all caught up over this man.

Like last time when we entered the house music was blaring from Reggie’s room.

“Yo Reg!” Jam yelled going towards Reggie's room. I followed Raunda to the living room and took off my coat and gloves.

The music stopped and Reggie entered the room. “Ladies, ladies good to see you again.” He was grinning and looking directly at me.

“Nik, I’m going to watch a movie in Jam’s room, you be alright?” Raunda whispered in my ear.

“Yeah, I will be fine go ahead.” She stood and followed Jam out of the room. Reggie took her place on the couch.

“So how was choir rehearsal?” He asked smiling like he won the lottery.

“Good, I have to sing lead tomorrow.” He was staring at me like he was yesterday “What? Why do you keep looking at me like that?”

“Oh I'm sorry, no reason, so Jam said you asked about me last night.”

I gave him a confused look “Huh?” I didn't even talk to Jam last night. He and Raunda were on the phone when I fell asleep.

“Yeah he said you asked if I had a girlfriend, why didn't you ask me yourself?” Another confused look from me. What the hell was he talking about? Then it hit me RAUNDA! She set me up damn her! I was going to murder my cousin. Reggie was studying my face and I pulled myself back into the conversation.

“I'm sorry what did you say?” He was staring at me again.

“I said you can ask me anything I hope you know that.”

I nodded, “I know I can ask you anything but thanks for telling me.” My thoughts were still on murder one.

He was trying to hide his smile “Ok so why didn't you ask me yourself?” I shook my head slowly, “Reggie I have to be honest with you I didn't ask about you last night.”

He looked like he took a hit in the stomach. I took a breath and continued “My cousin decided to play cupid and I think Jam went along for the ride, she set us up.”

He started to smile again, thank God. “So this was all your cousin’s doing?” I nodded, “ Yeah, I am sorry.”

He sighed, “So I feel stupid did she at least tell you what I said?” I shrugged. “Only that you wanted me to come over today was that true?”

He looked away for a minute. “Yeah I wanted to see you again but not like this.” I smiled. “Why did you want to see me again?” He looked at me again. “Because I thought you wanted to see me too.”

“Ok considering I'm here why did you want to see me again?”

“Because I like you I know I’m older than you but I have thought of you since you left yesterday.”

I turned to my body to face him, he was thinking about me? “Why Reggie?”

He shrugged, “I don't know, I was tripping on how pretty you grew up to be, does it bother you that I thought of you?”

I blushed “No why would it bother me?” He ran his hand down his face “Because I'm eight years older than you.”

“And what's your point? I can add.” I looked at the floor and then at him. He shook his head. “You're too young.”

I couldn't believe this conversation, could he really possibly like me too? “Too young for what Reggie?” He ran his hand down his face and looked at me.

“I'm eight years older than you.” I looked over at him with a maddening look. “Yeah you mentioned that and yet you just admitted you wanted me here, so again I say too young for what?”

He leaned closer to me. “Too young for this.” He grabbed me and kissed me, I mean really kissed me, I felt it in my toes.

I was in shock when he turned me loose, the only other person I had kissed was Valentino and it was nothing like that. He sat back his hands on his face.

“I'm sorry Nikki I had no right to do that.” I stared at him for a minute then started laughing.

He moved his hand and looked over at me. “What's so funny?” I smirked. “I guess this means you really like me huh?” He laughed too. “Yeah I do but let's make a deal ok?” I nodded. “Okay?” “Let's get to know each other better and whatever happens happens cool?”

He raised his eyebrow waiting for my answer, “Cool.” He stood up and started towards his room. “So I got that new Eddie Murphy movie do you want to watch it?” He looked back over at me

“Sure.” He smiled. “Cool, popcorn?” I smiled “I love popcorn.” I folded one of my legs under the other trying to get comfortable on the couch.

“You can take your shoes off if you want, I hope your socks are clean and your feet don't stink.” He teased heading towards the kitchen. “Whatever Reggie.” I leaned down and untied my shoes sitting Indian style on the couch wiggling my toes.

A few minutes later he walked in with a bowl of popcorn, sat it on the table and popped in the tape. When he came back to the couch he sat down turned his body away from me and leaned back putting his head in my lap. “Is this cool?” He asked looking up at me, I smiled down at him. “Yeah, you’re fine.” He leaned up and gave me a quick kiss. “So are you.”

A whole fleet of butterflies took flight in my stomach and he turned to watch the movie. I couldn't tell you what that movie was about. I kept replaying his kiss over and over in my mind.

***

“Nikki, what did you and Reggie talk about?” We were back at my cousin’s house eating dinner in Raunda’s room. A smile was playing with her face.

“Oh yeah, that reminds me you set me up you jerk!” I threw a piece of fried okra at her. She ducked, “Nikki I'm sorry I had to do something I was tired of seeing you by yourself and I see how you two looked at each other.” She was smiling I was shaking my head. “One day I'm going to strangle you, you know that right?”

“Yeah I know but in the meantime, you’re happy I did it this time right?” I couldn’t help but blush.

“Yeah, Raunie I'm happy you did he’s pretty cool to hang out with.” She shook her head. “No I don't mean to hang out with do you like him as a boyfriend?” I shook my head this girl never quit. “Raunda I don't know but if we get together you will be the first to know ok?”

She grinned from ear to ear. “Ok, sounds fair.”

We were quiet for a few minutes. “Raunda?” She nodded at me with her mouth full “Are you ever afraid you’ll get pregnant I mean I assume you and Jam do it a lot.” She shook her head. “Girl no I always make sure he wears something.”

Her eyes grew in shock. “Oh my God Nikki you and Reggie didn't did you?!” I looked at my cousin like she had lost her damn mind. “Girl no you know better than that!”

She laughed “Ok, Ok I was just making sure, so why did you ask?” I got up to take my plate to the kitchen “I don't know just curious I guess.”

I didn't tell her the real reason was that kiss, I never felt like that before and wanted to feel it again. I scraped my plate in the trash and went to find Tori, she was again kissing Robbie.

“Eeewwww you guys are so mushy!” They jumped apart and glared at me “Nikki you scared the hell out of us!” Tori tried to look upset. I laughed at Robbie’s beet-red face.

“So um I guess practice is canceled then huh?” Tori was having a hard time keeping a straight face, we kept avoiding looking at each other Robbie looked so uncomfortable, he pulled one of the throw pillows off the couch and put it in his lap.

She looked at Robbie and saw him fidgeting with his shirt and she couldn't hold it in anymore, we fell against each other laughing.

“Nikki, you are such an asshole you know that right?” He teased. “Only for you Robbie!” I grabbed his face and made kissing noises at him. He fell back on the couch laughing too.

“Hey so press the second recording so you can hear what I did and we will talk later.” I turned to go back upstairs.

“Nikki you know you don't have to go because of me.” Robbie had finally recovered his composure. “Robbie you know you couldn't get rid of me if you tried.” I was back on the last step. “Oh and guys?” Robbie clasped his hands together and batted his eyelashes. “Yes Nikki?” “Next time get a room!” I ran up the stairs to dodge the stuffed animal he threw at me. “Ya missed me!” I called downstairs and was on my way back to the guest room when Aunt Bettie called me into the sewing room.

“Yes?”

She handed me my potato sack “Here let’s get your dress hemmed.” I moaned, ran to the bathroom, slipped on the dress and came back to my Aunt Bettie.

“Seriously Auntie who cares if they are hemmed right? They are still ugly and don't look right on any of us.” She smiled at me. “Girl get your crazy fool self over here!” I loved my Aunt Bettie. I could talk to her about anything and usually did. She would listen to any of us go on for hours but piss her off and there was hell to pay, Tori and Raunda felt the same way about my mom too.

She was on her knees fixing my hem “You and Raunda have fun today?” I nodded, “Yeah, we just watched movies and ate popcorn.” It wasn't a complete lie that is what I did technically, lord I'm beginning to sound like Raunie!

“You know I worry about all three of you girls, you’re all growing up so fast.” I smiled down at her. “Aunt Bettie you know you don't have to worry about us, we are pretty afraid of you and mommy and know you’d kill us if we got out of line.” She smiled back at me nodding she had straight pins pressed between her lips.

“Now back to these dresses how often do we have to wear them?” She stood up her hands on her hips. “Second Sunday of every month.” I looked down at the dress and moaned. “This is the first time in my life I wished I was a boy.” She frowned. “What?! Nikki why?” I pulled at my collar and she smacked my hand away. “Because the boys just have to wear blue ties and cummerbunds with black pants, not this God awful eyesore.”

She poked me with a pin. “Girl get your foolish butt out of that dress and send Raunda in here.”

I ran from the sewing room and knocked on Raunda’s door pulling off the dress in her doorway. “Aunt Bettie wants you.” I motioned with the dress she moaned and said something low in the phone after a minute she handed it to me.

“Who is it?” She walked past me ignoring my question and towards the sewing room.

“Hello?” I frowned. “Nikki girl why do you sound irritated?” It was Reggie, instantly I got butterflies in my stomach. “No, I was confused Raunda was on the phone and just pushed it in my hand so I didn't know who it was.

“I see, but hey I didn’t want to keep you long I know Jam and Raunda were talking I just wanted to say I had fun today.” I started grinning. “I did too, you make pretty good popcorn.”

He laughed “So when can I see you again?” I sighed “I don't know maybe next weekend.” I could tell he was still smiling “Maybe? So what do I have to do to turn that maybe into a sure thing?” “Promise to pick me up and we will see I am not trekking to your house in the cold again.” He chuckled “I promise to pick you and Raunda up after school on Friday regardless of the weather cool?”

“Reggie I will think about it and let you know for sure ok?” I asked “Ok but can I have your home number until then so I can keep in touch?” I instantly thought of Antony, would he trip and tell our parents or would he be as supportive as he always was?

“Nikki, where’d you go?” He asked, “Um yeah I'm sorry do you have a pen?” I gave him my number and took his. My mind was still racing. I had never lied to my brother and didn't want to start. “So what time will you be home tomorrow?” I prayed I could trust him with this. “Um after church around 3:30.” “Ok cool, well Jam wants to talk back to Raunda so I will talk to you tomorrow and Nikki?” I was smiling and blushing my face was on fire. “Yes?” He had not stopped smiling either “Have sweet dreams goodnight Nikki.” I felt my heart swell a little “You too Reggie, good night.”

I found Raunda in her potato sack dress in the sewing room, I pinched her and handed her the phone. She tried to hit me back and moved so Aunt Bettie poked her with a pin. I laughed and walked back to the guest room.

“Nikki you are a jerk!” She called after me and I heard Robbie whoop in agreeance from the basement.

I just laughed and closed the door flopped on the bed thinking about Antony, then I thought about Raunda said ‘What they don't know won't hurt them’ that’s how I decided to handle Reggie.” I just wouldn't tell them any more than they needed to know. I practiced my lead one more time and fell asleep.

I made it through my lead at church and my Aunt dropped me off at my house after church so I could eat dinner with my other family. “Hello is anybody home?” I heard my nephew crying and walked back towards my mom's room.

“Hi Mommy, where is everybody?” She was lying across her bed watching TV, my nephew was lying next to her holding his bottle.

She sat up when she saw me “Hey Nik, to answer your question your sister is at the movies with DeNay, Antony is downstairs and your stepdad is at the gym.

Mom had just remarried two years ago, right around the time I was breaking up with Val. Because of this between Mom and Dad, I now had six sisters including Josh’s girlfriend Serena and three brothers. It was great to have so many siblings.

“Where are Josh and Serena?” She grabbed the bottle from my nephew and wiped the milk off his mouth. “Oh they wanted to go to dinner and a movie so I ended up with this big-headed boy. He was downstairs with Tony but he brought him a few minutes ago because he was hopping in the shower.”

She was looking at my choir dress. “Nikki baby what are you wearing?” I rolled my eyes “Oh our new youth choir dress, we are wearing these now instead of the pink and purple, ugly huh?” She shook her head. “No it's not that-I can't even lie that is an ugly dress.”

I cracked up as she handed me Josh Jr I kissed him on one of his fat cheeks and kissed his fist when he kept trying to grab my earring.

“Mom here take him for a second, let me change my clothes and put my stuff away and I’ll come back and get him.”

I went back down the hall, through the kitchen and downstairs towards my room slipping off my shoes as I went. My brother Antony jumped from behind the laundry room door. I screamed and dropped my shoes and bag.

“Dammit, Tony I'm going to kick your ass!” He laughed and followed me to my room flopping on one of my twin beds. “Whats up Bird?” He had called me ‘Bird’ since he met me I had yet to understand why.

I aimed my duffel bag at him and missed, he laughed again when mom called from the top of the stairs.

“Nikki come and get this boy! Since he saw you he won't sit still.” He was crying my name. My nephew was a year old and spoiled rotten because of me. When I wasn’t running around with Tory and Raunda whatever free time I had I gave to my nephew.

“Tony will you go get him please so I can change and put my stuff away?” He shook his head hopping off the bed and walked towards the stairs. “Should have never let him see you.”

Later on that same night I was playing with cars with Josh Jr when his dad walked in.

“Hey Josh how was the date?” Josh jr ran over to his dad and handed him a car and sat back down bumping his car into mine. “It was cool, we needed a night off.”

I went back to playing with Josh jr when Antony poked his head in my door. “Hey Nik some dude named Reggie is on the phone for you.” He said with a frown. Josh turned to me so fast I jumped “Reggie who?”

I glared at him for a quick second. “Really Josh? I'm Fifteen and none of your business.” My heart was beating fast please drop it, Josh, let it go.

“Yeah, it better not be the Reggie I know. I know he performs at some of the dances.” I rolled my eyes heavenward “Josh I haven’t even been to a dance now will you calm down damn.”

Tony looked from me to Josh “So what do you want me to do Nik?” I sighed. “Just tell him I’ll call him back in a bit ok Tony?” He nodded and left my room Josh was still shooting daggers at me.

“What Josh what?! You can't freak out every time a man calls for me.” As soon as the words left my mouth I regretted them. “You sure as hell better not be messing with men, you need to be messing with fools your own age!” Josh jr was starting to sense the tension and started sniffling. I picked him up and hugged him to me.

“Whatever Josh, no matter how much you fight it I’m growing up,” I argued. “Nik you better not let me catch you with no grown-ass man, they have no business messing with you and they know it even if you are too stupid to!” He snatched my nephew out of my arms and stormed out of my room slamming my door.

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