I took time this past spring break to clean and get rid of old papers, clothes, shoes, etc. All I can say is WOW. There was so much stuff I had to remember where it all came from. It's not over yet; there's more to work through. :)
I covered my mouth in shock as Jamal took the folder from his dad to look inside. I saw the plane tickets along with a brochure for the beach house. I looked up at my parents who had joined us; my mom embraced me.
“Did you know about this?” I asked her.
“Of course, dear,” she replied. “We knew you two would get together eventually. Your father and I agreed that we would take care of the wedding while Jamal’s parents would take care of the honeymoon.”
“I don’t know what to say,” Jamal answered.
“I just wish you’d proposed to Yazmin sooner,” Mr. King, my father, added. “We’ve had a pool on you both for years and I was starting to get concerned.”
“I was so happy when Jamal broke up with Danielle,” Mrs. Parker stated.
“And don’t forget, dear,” my mom said, “you’re faze with Brad.”
“I can’t believe you are bringing up our exes at our wedding,” I said, trying not to laugh. They had actually betted on when Jamal and I would hook up.
“It doesn’t matter,” Mr. Parker uttered, “you both grew from the experience and it made you better for each other. You’re his wife now Yazmin, which makes you officially our daughter.”
I kissed his cheek. “You guys are amazing. Between the wedding and this trip to the Bahamas, I’m… I… thank you.”
“Jamal, just make sure you both use protection when you two consummate,” Mrs. Parker said. We all turned our eyes to look at her. “Yazmin doesn’t need to get pregnant right away. You two need time to grow as a married couple, although it would be nice to have a grandchild.”
“Mama, seriously?” Jamal replied shocked.
“Oh that would be nice to have our first grandbaby,” my mom said.
All I could do was eyeball my father and father in-law. Understanding the message, they each took their wives’ arms and directed them back to their table. Our moms were still talking to each other as if nothing had happened. Ever since Jamal and I started dating, they have been waiting for the day of our marriage. I felt Jamal’s hand embrace mine.
“They are something,” he said.
“I know,” I replied before laughing.
“Dance with me, baby?” he whispered.
I nodded as he led me to the dance floor.
Present, September 20th, 2015
I admit the beach house has a modern décor. The palms trees outside sway to the cool salty breeze. We have a pool outside and the private beach is close by. I’m standing in front of the window. The sun is starting to set; it is dipping into the crystal-clear water. The colors in the sky are breathtaking with oranges, pinks, and purples. It looks like it was painted by God.
I haven’t seen Jamal since lunch and I wonder where he is. He was out on the Jet Ski earlier and he even dared me to join him. Just to rattle him, I did and ended beating him in a race back to the shore. We ate lunch and I guess I must’ve still had jet lag because I fell asleep. I do remember him carrying me to the bedroom and although I was a little groggy, he did say he was going into town for something. I didn’t plan on sleeping that long and I’m surprised he’s not back yet. Just as I’m about to go the kitchen, I see someone walking along the beach. I’d know that frame anywhere. It’s my husband.
My bare feet are cushioned in the sand as I watch the waters crash over each other, the sun descending into their wild embrace. I let Yazmin sleep because I know she is tired. I’m feeling it too but not as much. It’s our first night here and I couldn’t be happier. I’m married to my best friend. I stared at her so long during the wedding ceremony that the preacher, Reverend James, had to remind me to say my vows. I couldn’t help it; she was so beautiful. She kept saying I was going to love the dress but I loved the woman in the dress. Then again, the dress did bring out her natural beauty, not to mention her curves. I loved the way her hips looked. I close my eyes as the memories flood my mind.
The Wedding Day, one day earlier
“Dearly beloved,” Reverend James began. “We are gathered here today in the sight of God and the company of family and friends to join together this man and this woman in holy matrimony. Marriage is an honorable estate instituted by God Almighty and should not be entered into lightly, but soberly and in the fear of God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Yazmin and Jamal have opted to recite their own vows. Yazmin.”
I watched as Alana hands Yazmin a small piece of paper and I prayed she didn’t break me. Then again, she always did. I didn’t know what it is about this woman, but I couldn’t help loving her.
“Jamal,” Yazmin began. I watched as she leaned her head to the side, tearing up. “You’ve been my best friend since we were nine years old. Over twenty years, you’ve been a part of my life as a friend, but now you’re in my life as my one true love. I never knew that I could fall in love with my best friend, but I did. I admit I was scared to admit my feelings, but that was because I didn’t want to lose what we had. You taught me how to be brave, to love wholeheartedly, and unconditionally. As I stand here today, I vow to love you no matter what. I know it won’t be easy and I won’t be perfect. I do promise my heart and love to you and only you. You’ll always have me as a lover, friend, confidante, and encourager. I’ll always support your dreams, because God knows you’ve fulfilled mine. I love you forever.”
All I could do was stare. Her eyes were glistening and I brushed her falling tear away with my thumb. She mouthed, “I love you.” I mouthed it back just as I heard Reverend James.
“Jamal?” he said.
“Oh right,” I replied only to hear the crowd laugh at my slip-up. I didn’t care because Yazmin was here. I turned and Phillip handed me the paper with the vows I wrote. I couldn’t decide between him and Deshawn as my best man, so I asked them both. Phillip was in charge of the vows, while Deshawn had the wedding band. I turned back to face my gorgeous bride.
“Yazmin,” I started. “I remember when I first kissed you. You were so sad that night of homecoming in high school and more than anything, I wanted to take your pain away. I hated to see you hurt and if I could do anything to shield it away from you, I would put myself on the front lines of life to protect you. What I didn’t know was that kiss would lead me on a journey and that the destination would be you. The most freeing experience was admitting to falling in love with you and the most joy I felt was when you said it back.”
She dabbed her eyes but I had to keep going.
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I can’t believe it! I’m Mrs. Jamal Parker! All I can do is smile as I stare at my ring finger. My engagement ring is a platinum, princess cut two-carat diamond ring. My wedding band is a platinum seven-diamond channel. I loved my wedding dress even though it took me two months to find. I know a wedding is only for one day, but I didn’t want to wear just any dress. I was marrying my best friend. I had waited so long to meet my husband, and it surprised me when it turned out to be Jamal.
My wedding dress was an ivory lace off-the-shoulder mermaid gown. I loved its floor length with a court train and a scoop neckline. I loved the tulle and the flower-laced patterns that run from my shoulders all the way down the train. The way Jamal stared at me as I walked down the aisle confirmed that I had made the right choice.
I am now standing in the master bedroom of a beach house in Nassau, New Providence, the Bahamas. I can’t describe the beauty of this place. I’ve never seen water so clear. The beach looks like a postcard. I still can’t believe Jamal’s parents sent us here as a wedding present. I nearly passed out when they surprised us with their gift during the reception.
The Wedding Day
Mr. Parker, Jamal’s father, looked debonair in his black tux. His bald head made him look distinguished; for a man in his mid-fifties, he was in great shape. Jamal looks like him, but he has his mother’s brown eyes. Mr. Parker has hazel eyes.
I was in tears over the speech my own father gave and I didn't know if I could take much more. He said I would always be his little girl and was happy that I had found happiness. Thank God for waterproof mascara. I chose more of a natural look with regards to my makeup, but my eyes did make a statement with the purple eye shadow to bring out my brown eyes. I went with purple, silver, and white for my wedding colors. Jamal didn’t care, he just wanted to marry me. I felt his arm drape over my shoulder.
Mr. Parker cleared his throat once he took the microphone. He appeared to be holding a manila folder tucked underneath his arm. “Yazmin and Jamal, I’ve watched you two these last twenty years and I’ve seen the friendship you two have shared. Yazmin, I want you to know that I already had you picked for my son, but it took him a while to reach this conclusion. I Love you, son.”
The crowd laughed as Jamal covered his face with his hands. I kissed his cheek.
“Anyway, you two started off as friends, and that’s what’s going to keep you together. Marriage is not easy, but it’s worth it. No matter what life throws at you, never give up on each other. You two were made for each other. Remember that. Yazmin, I can see how much you love my son and I know he adores you. I wish you both the best.” He raised his glass and the rest of the crowd joined in.
By now I was dabbing my eyes with my napkin. Jamal walked over to hug his dad. I stood to join the embrace, but when Mr. Parker signaled his wife to join us, I was certain something was up. Mrs. Parker stood at five seven with salt peppered shoulder-length hair. She regarded herself as a full-figured woman and was always telling me that a man likes meat on his woman. I always laughed it off since she knows I struggled with my weight growing up. I like my size-six body.
“As a gift,” Mr. Parker continued, “we are sending you on an all-expense paid seven-day honeymoon to Paradise Island, the Bahamas.”
Didn't the new year just start and it's almost February? I still don't have a resolution that I wanted to follow through on for this year. Still working on book four and five of my series, and there's some more series in the works. I look forward to sharing them soon!
2017 is almost over and we see 2018 up ahead. Any New Year's resolutions? For me, not so much. I did take time to think about it and see if I wanted anything different for the upcoming year. To be honest, nothing in particular comes to mind. If that changes, then I'll do what's necessary to make it happen. Maybe that's it. Whatever it is I want to happen in my life, I won't let fear stop me. I'll go for it. I'll do my best and let God do the rest. See you all in the New Year everyone! Have a good one!
It's one week until Christmas. The only bad thing is when it comes, it'll be over. You wait all of December, and then it's over after the twenty-fifth. Still, I can't wait to enjoy my favorite holiday.
After weeks of conversing over the phone, the friendship grew into a relationship. The couple had their first date at Jessica’s favorite restaurant, Natalia’s. Ethan recalled how he wore a simple collared shirt with jeans that night, while she wore jeans and a soft pink V-neck short-sleeved shirt. They held hands for the majority of the night, for their hands seemed to fit when laced together. Moreover, when they shared their first kiss that evening, Ethan knew he wanted Jessica in his life forever. No other woman made him feel the way she did, and he did not want another woman to try.
For the next six months, they couple spent almost every weekend together. While Ethan was nervous about introducing his new girlfriend to his family, his parents quickly took to the sweet and kind Jessica. However, when he met her mother and sister, his reception was not as warm. Mrs. Mills seemed to have an issue with the affluent Ethan, even though she never admitted it to his face.
Finally, Ethan could hold his feelings in no longer. On the night of their six-month anniversary, he professed his love and proposed. To his amazement, Jessica had mutual feelings and accepted. Not wanting to wait another minute, the couple eloped that evening. Although his parents wished they could have been at the wedding, they understood Ethan not wanting to wait.
Jessica’s mother, nonetheless, was furious and insisted the couple have an official ceremony. Ethan went along with the plan for Jessica’s sake, and two months later, the couple had a traditional wedding in a church followed by a reception. Though he did not see the point in having an elaborate ceremony, he never forgot how gorgeous Jessica looked as she walked down the aisle.
Like all couples, the newlyweds at first experienced pure bliss. Nights of lovemaking, sneaking away to meet each other for lunch, and long conversations on the phone just to hear the other’s voice. But before long, reality set into their lives. Ethan and Jessica began to argue more and more.
Finally, he decided it was too much to handle. Then he made the biggest mistake of his life. He filed for divorce. After three years of marriage, he wanted it to be over between them. Of course, Jessica objected, but she finally agreed when there seemed to be no changing his mind.
Ethan recalled their last day in court when the judge declared their divorce final. Jessica walked out of the courtroom with a look of despair. The dark circles under her eyes showed she had not been sleeping. Though Ethan hated to see her hurt, he figured it was best they went their separate ways. On the other hand, after five months, he regretted his rash decision. From that day forward, he worked to get Jessica back. Nonetheless, it was not easy.
“What are you thinking about?” she asked.
Ethan directed his attention back to Jessica as she brushed her hair behind her ears. “Just thinking.”
“About what? Tell me,” she asked smiling.
“Us,” he admitted sincerely.
“Not at all.”
“Not even a little? I mean, we are getting married in a couple of days.”
“Maybe a little about the ceremony, but not about remarrying you.”
She wrapped her arms around his neck. “I love you, Ethan.”
“I love you too, Jess. I can’t tell you how much I’ve missed you saying that.”
“Maybe this time we’ll get it right. I know we’ve both made mistakes, but I don’t want to lose you. I know I said I could live without you, but I’m better when I’m with you.”
“I know I’m ten times better with you,” he responded. “We’ll get it right this time, Jess. I promise.”
“You won’t leave me?” she wondered.
“Never again,” he replied, meaning it. He kissed her again.
Yazmin and Jamal's story continues in Oceans Deep, but it began in Testing the Waters. Check out updated cover!!! Oceans Deep cover reveal soon!
The cover for Oceans Deep: Sequel to Testing the Waters is coming soon. The beloved story of Yazmin and Jamal continues!
Ebook cover for The Journal (True Love Series, Book 3). Coming soon to your bookstores!
Look what Readers' Favorite had to say about Testing the Waters (True Love Series, #2)! It has its own review page! So excited!