Chapter 1

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F U T U R E | You D O N T Know

"Alright, Ms. Loretta."

I smiled happily as I turned my very faithful client of eight years around in her chair to face the mirror to look at the time and patience that I'd put into her hair. When she looked in the mirror, I could see the lust in her eyes as she admired how much body her hair had opposed to how it looked when she'd first walked inside of my shop. She gave me a big smile in the mirror and turned her head around to look at me.

"Girl, I don't know what I'd do if I didn't have you in my life." She cheesed. "Paul is going to love this just as much as he loves you." She laughed.

I laughed right along with her, imagining the encounter that she was going to have with her husband on this day. It was their twenty-third year anniversary and from my understanding, Paul was going to take her to this nice restaurant to celebrate. He always took her to fine restaurants and things like that and Ms. Loretta loved to eat. Just thinking about her and Paul made me think about my future with Sterling.

I hoped that he and I would be just like Loretta and Paul; me sitting in a young woman's chair, getting my hair done, reminiscing on old times about my life with my husband and flaunting my big ring, as well as sharing the news that I was going on a fancy date to celebrate our love that never faded. It would mean so much to me, the same way all of this meant so much to Ms. Loretta.

Ms. Loretta stood up from the chair, removing the purple drape that was around her and sitting it neatly in my chair. Norah, the young girl I'd hired a week ago, to keep the shop clean and tamed waltzed right over with her broom to sweep up the little bit of mess I'd made, making sure to share a smile with Ms. Loretta like I'd required her to. When she finished sweeping, she smiled at me and then looked back at Ms. Loretta.

"Have a great anniversary, Ms. Loretta." She said before walking away.

Ms. Loretta looked at me, impressed.

"She's well-mannered. Way better than the last girl." She complimented.

"Very much so. I made a great choice this time around. Sterling is the realtor of her parents. He brought in her resume and cover letter for me. She's so sweet and prioritizes. That's what I liked so much about her when I looked at her cover letter."

"Sterling is such a wonderful man, Val. When am I going to get a chance to meet him face to face?" Ms. Loretta questioned as I walked her upfront to hand over her money to my receptionist.

"Well, he's always busy showing houses during business hours, but I'll make sure to tell him that you asked about him." I smiled, making a mental note to tell him.

"Alright, baby. You take care." Ms. Loretta said before heading out of the door to get her anniversary celebration started.

I smiled big, watching her as she waddled out of the door and towards her car. When she got inside of her car, I let out a big sigh and dropped my smile, done putting up a front for her. Looking towards Janis, my receptionist, she could see the grimace too and gave me a side grin.

"Still haven't heard from him?" She asked me, referring to Sterling, my very own fiancé of just five months. I shook my head, disappointed that I'd been trying to reach him all day and got nothing.

I normally got this way whenever I'd call him and get no answer. It didn't happen frequently, but it happened and it mostly happened on the days that I needed him most.

Today just so happens to be our very own anniversary. The very day, four years ago, when he'd asked me to be his girlfriend. It may not seem like a big deal to most, but everything was a big deal to me. Times like these meant most to me and for him to not even call me to tell me that he's thinking about me on this day killed my soul. It took a lot in me to try and hold everything together as I worked, but I couldn't take it anymore. Ms. Loretta was the last straw, for me. I needed to go home. I couldn't do this anymore.

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