The following is an excerpt from my re-released novel, "Livin' Just Enough: SistaGirlz, Book #1 ~ Rachael's Story"
Weddings and Funerals...
The day after my birthday was the day that Aaron had requested to see me. However, I didn't intend to see him when I arrived at Big Mama's house. Just as I had promised Alonzo, I went to Big Mama's to return Aaron's money. That was my only intention of going there.
Unfortunately, someone else had other plans for me.
When I arrived, there were several cars in front of the house. I assumed the house would be full of Aaron's family and friends celebrating his homecoming but when I went inside the house, the mood was far from cheerful. There were enough members of the Jones family in Big Mama's house to have a mini family reunion, but from the looks on everyone's faces, you would've thought they were gathered for a wake.
You don't know how close to the truth I was with that thought.
I looked around to see if Big Mama was available so that I could drop off the money and be on my way. I went up to Aaron's Aunt Erica and asked where Big Mama was. My question brought her to tears! As I apologized for upsetting her, she stammered out, "Sh-sh-she's in h-h-her ro-oo-oo-oom..."
Big Mama's bedroom was toward the back of the house, which meant that I had to wade through a hallway full of family members. Some of them hugged me and kissed me, saying how good I looked and how Aaron always talked about me. I, in turn, hugged and kissed my way to Big Mama.
When I reached the door, it was ajar. Aaron was having a private conversation with his grandmother. Although I tried not to eavesdrop, I couldn't help hearing what was said.
"Aaron, you know you love that girl. You should've helped her out while you were in that awful place!" I heard Big Mama say.
"I know, Big Mama, but I didn't think she'd wait for me to get out," said Aaron. The sound of his voice sent unexpected tingles through my body. I couldn't believe that he still had that effect on me!
"You didn't believe she loved you enough to wait for you?" Big Mama coughed harshly.
"No, not really," Aaron replied softly.
With a raspy voice, Big Mama asked, "Why not, Aaron?"
"Big Mama... ever since my Mama died, you're the only one I've ever depended on for anything," he explained.
"Has Rachael ever let you down before?" Big Mama asked.
There was a pause before Aaron responded. "No."
"So what made you think she wouldn't be there for you while you were in jail?" Big Mama coughed again making me almost enter the room to give her a glass of water.
"Honestly, I didn't want Rachael to get tied down to me," Aaron said, barely above a whisper. "I'm no good for her. She deserves better."
What?!? Aaron, I loved you! Why would you think you weren't good enough for me???
"While I was out here, I took care of everything for her. I loved her and protected her, Big Mama! How in the hell could I do that from behind bars?!" As quickly as Aaron's voice rose, it dropped almost to a whisper. "I just hope she doesn't think she found someone better."
"No one is better for her than my grandbaby," coughed Big Mama, more violently than before. It was a rough smoker's cough. Sounded like she was hocking up a lung.
I peeked in the doorway and saw Big Mama and Aaron's reflections in her dresser mirror. Aaron reached over to Big Mama's nightstand and poured her a glass of water. After he helped her sit up, she took a few sips.
Damn, he still looks good!
It had been a week since I'd last seen Big Mama, but I didn't think she was this sick. I didn't want to interrupt but if she was in her final moments, I wanted to say my last good-byes. I knocked lightly on the door.
"Who is it?" Big Mama asked weakly.
Timidly, I replied, "Rachael."
What am I scared of? It's just Aaron on the other side of this door.
"Come in, Rachael!" said Big Mama enthusiastically.
I opened the door enough to get a full view of Big Mama lying on her bed under the covers with Aaron sitting beside her. Aaron smiled and stood up when he saw me.
"Hi, Rachael. I see you got my letter."
"Kris caught up with me last night," I said while smiling at Big Mama.
"Belated Happy Birthday, Rachael," said Big Mama with all the strength she had. "Come here and give me a hug."
Barely acknowledging Aaron's presence, I walked over to Big Mama and did as she asked. She patted the space beside her. "Sit down, child. I haven't seen you in a while."
Big Mama and I shared a laugh because she said that every time I came to visit her.