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Authors: Brenda Barrett

Going Solo (New Song)

BOOK: Going Solo (New Song)
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Going Solo

A Jamaica Treasures Book

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to an actual person or persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

All rights reserved

 

Copyright © 2014 by Brenda Barrett

 

Book Cover Design: Yorkali Walters, www.theimajination.com

 

*****

Discover other titles in the New Song Series:

Duet on Fire

Tangled Chords

Broken Harmony

A Past Refrain

Perfect Melody

Amazon Author Profile and Full Book List:

http://bit.ly/AMzBrenda

 

Visit Brenda's Official Blog:

brenda-barrett.com

Twitter.com/AuthorWriterBB

Facebook.com/AuthorBrendaBarrett

 

Dear Reader

 

I loved writing every single story in the New Song Series. Each book has an element of how past decisions, events, and people can affect the present. The stories are set in Montego Bay, Jamaica's second city, and surrounds the lives of the members of the New Song Band. I hope you enjoy reading the series.

 

The New Song Series:

 

Going Solo- Carson and Alice- March 2014

 

Duet on Fire- Ian and Ruby- April 2014

 

Tangled Chords- Xavier and Farrah- May 2014

 

Broken Harmony- Aaron and Alka- June 2014

 

A Past Refrain- Jayce and Abigail- July 2014

 

Perfect Melody- Logan and Melody- August 2014

 

 

Thank you for reading.

 

Yours Sincerely,

 

Brenda Barrett

Chapter One

 

Summer 2010

 

"She's back!" Carson's office door flew open and his daughter rushed in, her eyes wide and looking overly excited. "I passed her when I was heading into the mini mart, and she didn't even know that it was me."

Carson was busy signing off on invoices, a task he took great pleasure in, as he had left the greasy jobs to his employees and was enjoying the business side of things, just as Xavier had said he would.

"Who is back?" he asked his daughter absentmindedly. It was the beginning of summer and he was already wondering what to do with his hyperactive twelve-year-old daughter. She had already read the five books that he bought for her the week before and summer school would not start until a month's time.

"The female who had me!" Mia answered primly.

Carson stopped writing and looked at his daughter properly. The little spattering of freckles, she had on her nose, seemed to merge into one, as he struggled to get her face in focus. The pen he was using clattered onto the table and he frowned.

"Stop joking around. That is not funny."

Mia walked toward his desk, her floral summer dress swishing around her legs. She stopped and jutted one foot forward, looking at him defiantly.

"I know it's her!" She folded her arms in a defensive pose. "She doesn't look much different from her pictures, except that her hair is shorter. She came out of her car and asked Emril if CarBell Mechanics was run by one, Carson Bell. Emril said, “Yes.”
She took in a long breath and went back into her car. I could see her hand trembling from where I stood. She looked shaken up. She looked human, not like the half-alien I was imagining."

Carson drummed his fingers on the table and then said softly, "She is human, Mia, and you can say her name, you know. Her name is Alice."

"Alice." Mia sneered and then slumped, all her bravado leaving her lifeless. "What are we going to do about her?"

"We are going to do nothing," Carson said simply. His heart was beating heavily though and he had a breathless feeling. Today was June 10. If it was really Alice, and not some look-alike, that would make it exactly ten years since she left—ten years since she walked out on him, leaving him holding their toddler, Mia.

The first three years he had been glad to see the back of her but for the last couple of years or so he had been yearning for answers and some closure. He did not know if he would understand her reasons for leaving. She had left him a hastily worded letter. He certainly wanted a few questions cleared up.

"I think we should ignore her," Mia said. "If she comes here, we should slam the door in her face."

"Mia," Carson looked at her sternly, "I don't want you talking like that about your mom." He looked at Mia's spirited piquant face and at the sparks that were flying behind her eyes. He saw a little bit of Alice in her, especially now that she was angry.

"She's not my mom. She's a mother," Mia said slowly and deliberately. "She's just a biological mother. She's the equivalent of a sperm donor..."

"Enough!" Carson said to his daughter, watching as she bristled with indignation.

"Mia, obviously I can't tell you how to feel about Alice but she is still your mother." He paused. He did not even know how he felt about Alice. If you looked too closely at his emotions, they would not pass scrutiny either.

"Aunt Ruby said that she was a heartless person who doesn't deserve us and that..."

"Ruby shouldn't be telling you anything about Alice. She didn't know her." Carson cut in before Mia could continue. He knew that behind all the bravado and sneering was a little girl who longed to have a female figure in her life. He would have to have a talk with Ruby, Ian's wife, or ask Ian to talk to her. She should not be poisoning Mia's impressionable mind about her mother, even if her mother deserved it.

He looked over the invoices on his desk and leaned back in his chair. The briskness with which he had been tackling the paper work was now gone. He felt a sense of doom and helplessness that he had not started the day with. He felt this way only because Alice was back.

He looked at Mia, who was chewing her fingernails, devouring them as if they were food. It was a habit he had spent the last six months trying to get her to quit.

"I am going to band practice," he said to her. "Want to come?"

"No," Mia said, "I want to talk."

"Okay," he said, packing up the papers that were strewn across his desk. "What do you want to talk about?"

He glanced at the clock. Every Wednesday at five, they had band practice upstairs in his building. He had a huge warehouse up there, and one of the first things he and the guys had done to the vast expanse was to create a space for the band. They had put up dry walls to partition the space where they practiced and painted it into a bright yellow. They added a bathroom, a kitchenette, and a small room with two single beds, just in case anybody needed to crash there. As time went by, someone had carried a television so that they did not miss the news or sports. Soon more and more odds and ends had found themselves up there. Last year they added a pool table. They even had a small office, a notice board, and a soundproof room for recording.

His mechanic shop and auto parts store was near downtown Montego Bay. It was conveniently located so all the band members could stop by on their way from work. Sometimes they stopped by just to hang out. The space had its own entrance and everybody had his own keys. 

"I want to talk about her," Mia said softly, after a long pause that almost made him forget that he had asked the question.

Carson sighed, "Mia, can we talk about her when we get home? I'll tuck you into bed and I will answer all the questions I possibly can."

"Promise?" Mia asked, twirling her ponytail.

"Promise." He came around the desk and hugged her to him. She burrowed her face in the front of his shirt.

"I love you, Daddy."

"I love you too, Muffin. Come upstairs and get me, if you need anything." He watched her as she slowly walked out of the office. Her slim frame was hovering between that of a child and a teenager. He would soon have to go bra shopping with her and discuss changes in her body, and boys, and all of the things that he did not think he would have to tackle alone at this stage of her life, especially since she had a mother who was alive.

He shook his head and watched, as she arched her neck toward him, her heart shaped face looked sad.

"Have a good practice, Daddy."

Sorrow and loneliness dripped off every word. Guilt, raw and unadulterated, gripped him. He felt as if he were abandoning her just by going upstairs. He tampered down that feeling. Mia knew she would always have him around, and though his natural inclination was to cocoon and shield her, he wanted her to grow up to be an independent woman, not clingy and needy. It was a tough balance to strike because sometimes he found himself wanting to be overprotective.

"I am just going to be upstairs," he said softly. "I am not going anywhere. After that, we will go home. Don't eat any junk food at the Mart, okay. I am going to fix us dinner when we get home."

She walked through the door and closed it softly. His confident Muffin was now acting like an abandoned child.

Alice, oh, Alice. Why did you leave and why are you back?
How long would you stay this time? Why are you even here?
His mind churned up question after question.

He got up from the desk and closed the drawers, pocketed the key, and headed toward the stairs in the middle of the building, and went up to band practice. Practice was the only thing that kept him sane through the years.

When he neared the section of the warehouse where they had their room, he heard hearty laughter and then some singing. It was possible for the guys to all enter from the east side of the building and use their own keys. He did not even check the close circuit camera to see whose car was in the driveway. Usually everyone would eventually show up for practice. Well, everybody but his brother, Xavier, who had migrated to the United States eight years before. Of six members, the New Song Band now had five members.

When he entered the brightly lit soundproof room, Ian was sitting around the drums playing with the drumsticks and laughing at something that Aaron had said.

"Hey guys." He inhaled. It had hit him while coming up the stairs that his estranged wife may be back. Like a delayed reaction, his body felt edgy and uneasy.

He sank down in one of the comfy beanbag chairs that was in the brightly lit room and flung his legs over the edge in an indolent pose that belied the war that was going on in his mind and with his emotions.

"Tough day?" Aaron asked. He plucked a string on the guitar and raised his eyebrows at him.

Carson shook his head, "It was okay as days go; renewed the contract to service the Palm Tree group of hotels. Thank you for looking out."

"You deserve it. You are the best in Mobay. I had nothing to do with that," Aaron said. He was Executive Vice president of the Palm Tree group, and Carson knew he had everything to do with him getting the contract, but Aaron was always uncomfortable receiving compliments or gratitude, so Carson let it slide.

Carson sighed, holding his head.

"Something is wrong." Ian piped up. "Let it out, bro."

"Mia just told me that she saw Alice," Carson said. There was a little tremor in his hand and his voice was shaky as well. Maybe he should not have come to practice after all. He needed a quiet place to process the fact that Alice was here.

"Alice! Did somebody say Alice?" Melody asked incredulously. She and Logan walked into the room at the same time. "You have got to be kidding!" she said, putting down her handbag beside one of the fold out tables in the corner of the room and putting down a pastry box on it.

"Unfortunately, no." Carson shook his head. "Not kidding. Not even remotely kidding."

Melody shook her head. "I hope it's not her. I didn't know her, but I do know that I hate what she did to you and Mia." Her pretty face scrunched into a frown as she considered Carson sympathetically.

She turned around and rummaged through her bag then held up some papers. She stapled a schedule to their notice board.

"Okay guys. As your unofficial band secretary and
Girl Friday
, I have to beseech you to read the schedule. You missed the Bethel Church's Harvest and the pastor was not pleased. You guys are professionals now and are under good management." she said sternly. "I know that you all can read, so read the notice board."

She rubbed her hands together. "I am super excited to say that we have a high profile wedding in eleven months. Farrah Knight, the heiress, is getting married. It's a huge gig! So please, please represent well. Okay?"

"Okay." They grinned as their self-appointed manager opened the pastry box and took out a donut.

BOOK: Going Solo (New Song)
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