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What happens when you lose focus on what's important?

9| Ayala

December 10th

When Tatum flew out Wednesday, two days ago, he promised that he would be here for the office party come hell or high water and honestly I believed it. I told myself that he wouldn’t let me down and miss something else after he missed family night.

TEDDY: Flying from Lancefield to Roseberg, VA to meet with a potential partner for D2P

I stared at the text message thinking this had to be a damn joke. Like not only was he missing my job’s party, but he told me via text message. Like was I not worth an actual fuckin’ conversation? Tatum had me feeling real low and I hadn’t felt this way since I was with Chris.

Anger and rage along with sadness and disappointment were coursing through me. I was shaking. I was so damn mad. Instantly I felt the pounding at my temples, which forced me to take several deep breaths to calm down.

When my headache was manageable, I took a BC powder and chased it with a Mountain Dew then proceeded to give myself a light beat for the evening. Luckily my hair was already done in the low bun with a part down the middle thanks to a quick trip by Sassy’s earlier.

I did my brows because that along with my lips were the statement piece of the evening. Choosing to keep my eyeshadow neutral, I used black mascara and eyeliner to bring attention to my eyes. A little foundation and concealer finishing it off with my red lip.

Once I was satisfied with my face, I slipped into my red sequin off the shoulder dress. Originally I chose this dress because I knew the amount of cleavage I was showing and the thigh high split on the left side would have Tatum salivating with just one look at me.

I needed to feel wanted by my husband, but I guess not.

I grabbed my gold strappy sandals and the matching clutch and headed downstairs. Just as I was about to check my phone, it rang with the number from the UTV car service.

“Hey, I’m ready. I’m coming out.”


I hung up, set the alarm, and locked up. An older chocolate skinned man dressed in a black suit with a light gray button up was standing at the back door of the Lincoln Town Car.

My boss, Rai, had her husband’s company provide rides for the entire staff, so that we could enjoy ourselves and not worry about how we would get home.

I was surprised when “Like You” by Asiahn came through the speakers. Although it was December, it didn’t feel like it, but I expected Christmas music to be playing.

I snapped my fingers and sang along softly. It was something about her voice and this song, it had me tearing up listening to her belt out lyrics about giving all her love to someone.

I blinked away the tears and the song switched to “High” by Alina Baraz.

“You got me soooo,” I sang.

I heard the driver chuckle before he turned the music up a smidge more. Goodt music had the power to change my mood and right now I needed this boost to take my mind off my husband.

When I caught the beat to “Love Lies” by Khalid and Normani, I rolled my shoulders and let the background sounds guide me as I danced in my seat. By the time “Feels Right” by Alina Baraz ended, we were pulling up to The Clemmons downtown.

My driver helped me out and I walked inside. I followed the signs to the ballroom, stopping along the way to greet any coworkers that I saw. When I entered the ballroom, I immediately looked around for Laine.

I spotted her and her wagon in the ole-shoulder champagne colored dress I chose for her at the bar getting a drink. What or who I didn’t expect to see was Cal standing next to her looking lovingly at his wife. Since Tatum said he was flying out to meet a potential partner I assumed Cal would be with him.

“Heyyy, Ace!” Laine greeted me. “Why you look like you saw a ghost? Where’s Tay?”

“He’s not coming. Now, Calvin, Big Bruhder, I’m not tryna put you in the middle of our shit, but can you explain to me why you aren’t with Tatum meeting this potential partner?”

“Well hello to you too, Sis. One, I made a promise to my wife that I would be here. Two, ole boy hadn’t called us back in the timeframe we allotted him.

“When he did call, we were getting out of the car at the airport to fly back. Bruh said he would go meet with him after he called you about it. I asked him if he was sure and he said he had it.”

I stared at Cal like he had two heads. Chuckling, I rounded them and flagged the bartender down to get a drink.

“Double shot of Jack please.”

“Yo, Sis–”

I held up my hand to silence him. “I’m not driving. Y’all enjoy your night.”

When the bartender sat my drink down, I quickly threw it back letting the amber colored liquor burn and warm my chest. I sat the glass down and walked off.

“Ace!” I heard Laine hiss.

Not bothering to turn around I kept walking. I just needed a moment alone with my thoughts. I wandered outside to the garden and sat on a cement bench amongst the tall shrubbery wrappe