“Maybe, I need a man.”

Welcome to Sunday Sips. I hope you enjoy this sample of Forever Yours

Why, oh why, did I answer the phone? Exhausted from her early start of the day at five-thirty that morning Josephine Lawrence, known as Joey, had made up her mind that she wasn’t going anywhere. Of course, she knew tonight’s event at the Black Pearl was for a good cause. No, make that a great cause. With the city’s budget cuts raising money to repair the dilapidated recreational center where she and her sisters had gone as children was important to her. But so was her own physical health. She was dog-tired and she didn’t care what her eldest sister, Samantha, affectionately called Sammie, had to say. At twenty-seven, Joey was hardly a kid and wasn’t about to let Sammie bully her into going out tonight.

“Sammie, it’s been a long day for me. I’m too tired to see straight,” Joey whined, padding barefoot over to the bureau and pulling out her favorite blue silk jammies with the white lilies.

“Tired from what? I’ve been up all day, too. But you don’t see me backing out on a promise.”

Joey’s hand squeezed her cell phone. Sammie always did this to her. Made her feel like what she did for a living was beneath Sammie’s job as an emergency room nurse practitioner. It wasn’t as if she sat around mixing up goop, pouring it into jars and then slapping labels on it and peddling it on street corners. Not that anything was wrong with it. Who was she to knock anyone’s hustle?

She paid her dues and made a childhood dream come true by earning an undergraduate degree in chemistry and a masters in cosmetic science. Naturally Lavender was a legitimate business and not a hobby, like some people thought.

Sammie was trying to bait her into an argument. And Joey wasn’t about to defend herself by launching into a long, overdrawn discourse with her sister about how she and her two assistants had started their day long before Sammie rolled out of bed. The trio had been up before daylight cracked the sky preparing batches of deep conditioner, shampoo, and styling cream to keep the shelves stocked with products. Sammie would have a rebuttal if Joey even dared mention how by ten-thirty that morning she was zig-zagging across the city making deliveries to various salons. And then later dropping off orders at the post office to ship out to online customers. By the time three o’clock rolled around, Joey was in her basement lab working on developing a curl-enhancing gel to expand her product line.

Damn it! It was the end of an exhaustingly long week. Joey deserved to take a nice long soak in scented bath salts, slip into her comfy jammies and watch the ID channel until she passed out.

Joey let out a slow breath. “I’m not doing this with you, Sammie. You’re not going to make me feel guilty. I also promised to write a check. I don’t need to go with you tonight to do that.” The promise of giving money should have gotten her sister off her back.

“You know this is a big night for Alex, too?” Sammie eased out slowly, stopping Joey in her tracks as she headed to the bathroom.

Flopping down on her bed, Joey groaned when her sister added, “You know she’ll be disappointed if she doesn’t see your pretty little face in the place.”

She wanted to reach through the phone and choke the life out of Sammie. Well…not the life out of her. That girl knew how to hit below the belt and get you where it hurt the most. She had forgotten their middle sister, Alexandria, known to friends and loved ones as Alex, had been hired to cater tonight’s event. This was a big deal for the single mom. Hopefully, if all went well, it could open up doors for the struggling caterer.

A night of relaxation and rejuvenation vanished into thin air. Exhausted or not, Joey had to go to support her sister. Alex was her biggest cheerleader and supporter. She made Joey believe she could do the impossible. If it wasn’t for Alex, Joey would be a chemist at some cosmetic company helping them to develop consumer products instead of developing and expanding her own haircare line.

“Alright, I’ll go. But you’re driving,” Joey snapped.

“Sure thing. See you in a little bit.”

Joey rolled her eyes. She could envision Sammie on the other end of the phone with her trademark triumphant grin plastered on her face. “Yeah, yeah, yeah. Whatever.”

Before Joey could hang up, Sammie’s tone softened. “Love you, Joey.”

Although her sister couldn’t see her, Joey smiled. Though Sammie was jagged as a rock around the edges, the girl could be as soft as a marshmallow when she wanted to be. “Love you, too, big sis.”

Disconnecting the call, Joey shuffled over to her closet. Sammie’s overbearing ways came from having, at the age of twelve, to help their heartbroken father raise her and Alex when their mother, Natalie, died from breast cancer. Sammie, in a lot of ways, made sacrifices no child should have to do. And Joey loved her for it. But she and Alex were grown up now. Somebody needed to send Sammie a long overdue memo, e-mail, text or whatever that they no longer needed mothering.

“She needs a man so she can get off my back,” Joey grumbled, pulling out a black cocktail dress. Joey closed the door and held the garment up to her petite body in front of the mirrored door. The dress was purchased over six months ago and still had the tags on it. A testament to her non-existent social life.

“Maybe, I need a man.” Joey smirked as she headed to the shower.

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