Layla Washington walked to her mailbox hoping and praying that her check from Urban Essence Magazine was in there. Her story about black women on reality TV ran thirty days ago and her money wasn’t there. The life of a freelance writer, she surmised as she grabbed the stack of envelops from the mailbox. Flipping through them, she saw bills, junk mail, her check and -- was that a wedding invitation?
Sighing, she headed back to her town house. Another wedding that the 33-year-old would be attending alone. Maybe she wouldn’t even go. Layla set the mail on the bookshelf in the living room, taking her check out of the pile. She’d open the wedding invitation later. Right now, she needed to go to the bank. It wasn’t that Layla hated weddings. Hell, she’d been to three in the last year. Her best friend, Dionne Edwards, married her dream name in May. Her college roommate, Edwina Rogers, had married a man she’d met on Match.com. And reformed party girl, Deidra McRae, with her sex tape and all married a state senator.
As she hopped into her car, Layla wondered. Who was getting married now?
Reed Clarke held his naked fiancée, Zora Daniels, against his chest as the camera flashed. Why had he agreed to this non-sense? Zora was the model, he was simply a music producer, a successful one, but behind the scenes. Unlike Kanye West, he had no desire to rap over the beats he produced or get pissed off if he didn’t win an award. Zora was high profile. She’d been on the cover of magazines from New York to Paris. Now, she wanted to flaunt her relationship. It only took a hot session of oral sex to get Reed to sign on for the photo shoot. He had no idea that Zora and photographer Dana York were going to be so “artistic.”
“One more shot,” Dana said.
“Thank God,” Reed moaned.
“Oh, please,” Zora said. “You have the best position in the house.”
Dana fired off three more shots before telling the couple that she was done. Zora hopped of Reed and grabbed a robe. “Tell Imani that I loved her last movie,” she said then headed for the dressing room of to the side of the studio. Reed sighed and dropped his head. Dana glanced at him. “Are you all right?” she asked.
“Yeah,” he said. “This is just new to me. I’m more comfortable letting my artists get all of this.” He waved his hand. Dana nodded.
“Well, I’ll try not to be too invasive when I do the wedding photos,” she said.
She sucked her bottom lip in. “Oops.”
Is this what our marriage is going to be like? I’m not Kris Humphries, he thought as he took off into the dressing room. Zora dropped her cell phone in her purse when she saw Reed.
“What’s up?” she asked.
“Our wedding is turning into a media circus.”
“Really?” Annoyance peppered Zora’s voice. “Dana is the best photographer. . .”
“I don’t give a damn. This is supposed to be about you and I getting married, not a fucking photo op.”
Zora slapped her hands on her hips and glared at him. “You are kidding me, right? You knew who I was when you asked me to marry you. This is what I do.”
“Why don’t you marry yourself?”
“Reed,” she whined. “What’s wrong with some pretty pictures and a spread in Glamour?”
“Nothing if you’re trying to live the Kim Kardashian life.”
Zora rolled her eyes. “Whatever. This is good for both of us. Think of all the artists who will be clamoring for your beats now.”
“That’s already happening. I don’t need to use my wedding to drum up work.”
“But this is going to be your only wedding; don’t you want to live it up?”
“I can do that without the media circus and magazine spreads.”
“Fine, let’s just go to the justice of the peace then,” she said sarcastically. “The invitations have been mailed, people are coming. We’re getting married in a week, why are you tripping?”
Maybe this is the wake-up call I need to walk the hell away, he thought as he stared at his gorgeous fiancée. Zora’s beauty caught his eye at a club in New York five years ago. He’d just broken up with his girlfriend Layla Washington. She’d chosen her career in journalism over their relationship or something like that.
Layla had been offered the chance to intern with the Washington Post while Reed had been on his way to Atlanta for a chance to work with Jermaine Dupri. He and then-up and coming rapper Benton McGee had decided to hit a hot spot before heading to Atlanta. Then she’d walked in. Zora had just finished a shoot for her first billboard and had been in full diva mode when her dazzling green eyes locked with Reed’s brown ones. Looking at her, clad in a white fur coat and a pair of Jimmy Choo heels that showed off her shapely legs.
“Damn,” Benton had said. “That’s a hot bi. . .”
Reed had stood up and told his friend, “I’m taking her home tonight.”
“That’s what I’m talking about, dog!” Benton slapped his buddy’s shoulder. “Get over one with a new one.”
Sadly, Reed had known he’d never get over Layla Washington.
To Be Continued. . .
To Be Continued. . .