LONDON'S BRIDGE

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London is young, beautiful, successful, and a complete mess!

She is tirelessly and often fruitlessly searching for a love like her father’s and a comfortable life that affords her expensive tastes and a costly sense of self.

This coming-of-age story takes you on a trip with London through her eyes watching the steps and missteps of her twenties as she sometimes falls flat on her face trying to get through the highs and lows of relationships, alcoholism, love, and redemption.

You’ll find yourself laughing at her wit and rolling your eyes at her frustrating antics, but ultimately you want her to win.

London’s bridge is definitely falling down, but nothing is beyond repair…. right?

London's Bridge Excerpt

Chapter One

Let Me Pour My Glass

Putting my wine glass down on the dresser of his hotel suite, I just finished my last sip of Chardonnay and started to button up my silk blouse. 

“You sure you have to go, babe? Just stay until check-out time.”

 

I turned and looked at him. His beautiful dark brown skin, deep dimples framed his perfect set of pearly white teeth on a six-foot-two medium build, “yep,” I replied. 

As handsome as Rob was, I didn’t have enough interest in him to start a real relationship. But we had fun together, and fun was right where I planned to keep us. 

He stood up from the bed and walked toward me, biting his lower lip. Standing behind me, he wrapped his arm wrapped around my waist, and in one move, he twisted me around to face him.

I came face to face with a pair of angel wings tattooed across his chest and then, of course, those washboard abs. He’s such a good view. 

“You sure?” he asked as he kissed my neck.

Playfully, I pushed him away and finished buttoning my top. “You knew that I’d have to leave early before my afternoon meetings.”

I wanted to be showered, dressed, and out the door before he even woke up to avoid this exact conversation.

Rob smirked. “You the boss, though, right?” He plopped on the king-sized bed.

“And don’t you forget it!” I boasted as I flipped my head full of bouncy curls.

 

On rare occasions, if I straightened my curls, my deep brown hair brushed the small of my back, but I preferred the bounce of my natural coils, which sprung to my shoulders.

My Italian mom never knew what to do with my hair growing up. When she brushed out my hair, I looked like Sideshow Bob from The Simpson’s.

“I don’t know why your father married that white woman.” Aunt Kathy would mutter behind me when she fixed my frizzy ponytails each time she babysat me on some weekends.

I grew up an only child in a three-story detached home in the middle of an upper-class suburb of Bethesda, Maryland, and for me, it was just right. Mom stood out as a successful Realtor amidst homemakers. Daddy, an Architect, was a tall, handsome, dark-skinned man. We must have looked perfect from the outside―a hardworking couple and honor-roll student. But like so many of the other men in our neighborhood, Daddy was a cheater. Mom got so many “I’m sorry” gifts, it was hard to keep track. After finding a condom in his glove compartment, she finally kicked him out―for two years.

I came home from school one day, and they were both waiting in our living room to hear how I felt about them getting back together. Shortly after, he moved back in, and we were back to being the perfect family. He may even have put his cheating to rest.

As soon as I finished high school, I went straight to college to get my degree and then earned my MBA at Georgetown University.

I opened my consulting firm in DC when I was twenty-eight and met Rob that same year.

So yes, he was right. I was the boss.

I slipped on my black Stiletto Louboutin’s, tucked in my cream-colored blouse, the one that complemented my golden-brown skin, tucked it into my black pencil skirt, and gave myself one more check in the floor-length mirror.

Rob sat at the edge of the bed with his eyebrows drawn together, trying to gather the pieces of last night. We had a whole night of boozy celebrations for his new business venture. He got that big check from an investor, finally―and then lost it.

“Man, I can’t figure this out.”

“I’m sure you’ll find it. You were so drunk that we barely made it back in the room.”

I didn’t turn to face him as I put on my blazer and grabbed my tote. “You’ll figure it out.”

Approaching the door, I winked, blew a kiss, and left the suite, letting the weight of the door close behind me. 

 

AFTER MY last meeting for the day, I poured myself a glass of wine, almost to the very top, while sitting in my office.

You would keep wine in your office, too, if you dealt with indecisive old pricks that had no idea how to manage a business and yet managed to challenge every sensible solution offered.

I took a deep breath, letting that first well-deserved sip serve as an exhale.

That last meeting, I got called hon and dear by a room full of men, and it was clear they were more interested in my looks than business acumen.

I reached for my phone, remembering a call I had to make, and scrolled down to a name that always puts a smile on my face.

Just as I heard “hello,” on the other line, Simone swung the door open and strutted into my office. 

“Really? Simone―hey, I’ll call you right back,” I exclaimed, ending the call. “Girl, you have got to stop just bursting in my office.”

Simone brushed me off just as she usually would when I told her anything about office etiquette.

I guess that was one of the sacrifices I had to make hiring a friend to work with me. She was a great marketing executive, her work always outweighing her lack of professionalism.

“Please, you ain’t doing a damn thing in here.” She joked.

Simone slid into one of the leather chairs I had across from my desk and rested her heeled feet on my weathered oak desk. “Who were you on the phone with anyway? And why are you smiling so hard? It can’t be Rob… you were just with him.”

“Well, aren’t you inquisitive today?” I said, dodging her questions. “What do you want anyway, Naomi Campbell?”

She looked just like her, except Simone was a five-foot-six beauty with a coke bottle shape. They shared the same skin complexion, and Simone even kept her long hair bone straight, just like Naomi’s signature look.

“Whatever, London.” She tossed her hair over her shoulder and continued. “I came here to see if you wanted to go out for a quick happy hour, but I see you already got the party started.”

We both eyed my entire glass of wine and giggled.

“Oh, hush! Judge your mother! I had a rough morning.” I say as my giggle turns into a laugh. “Speaking of mothers, I can’t go anyway. It’s my mom’s birthday, and you know she wants me to come over for dinner.”

Simone’s almond eyes widened at the thought of my mom’s cooking. She first tasted her food when I brought her over to my parent’s house for a dinner party my mom hosted years ago and hasn’t forgotten her cooking since. Mom never needed a reason to host a party; she just loved having people over. 

After that dinner, Simone has been waiting for her next invite.

“Oh. Really? I’m coming with you; your mother’s dinners are the best.”

I rolled my eyes. “Yep, but you know how she gets when she’s had a few drinks; she’ll be asking for grandchildren before the night’s over.”

Sitting back in my chair, I folded my arms. “I don’t have time for her antics today.” 

Simone took a sip of my wine. “Well, then give Angeline some damn grandchildren.”

I jokingly waved goodbye. “Nope, get out; you’ve officially gotten yourself booted. First, you drink my wine, and now you’re talking crazy… security!”

She walked to the door laughing. “Come on! B.J. needs a new friend to play with.” She joked, referring to her toddler with her fiancé, Bryan Sr.

“Well, then you and Bryan better get to work,” I shot back, then continued. “And, if you’re coming, I’m heading there at six!”

“Okay. Later.”

She walked out and closed my door, leaving me alone in my office to continue with my phone call.

B.J. HAD an accident at school, so I promised Simone I would bring her a plate of leftovers to the office the following day since she couldn’t make it to dinner.

Traffic was terrible as usual, driving from DC. to Bethesda during the evening rush hour, but I didn’t mind at all. 

I was in my zone, my windows down, enjoying the cool September breeze while the sounds of throwback Beyoncé blasted through my speakers.

Holding one fist to my lips as a microphone, I moved my shoulders to the beat of Crazy in Love, not realizing the free concert I gave the teenagers in the car next to me at the red light. They laughed at me, and I couldn’t help but laugh with them, knowing how crazy I looked.

Oh well, they all just saw the performance of a lifetime.

My foot pressed on the gas pedal when the light turned green, and I continued my show until I got to my childhood home about twenty minutes later.

What do you think happens at the dinner party? Is her mom really that bad?

Find out 07 | 02 | 2021