This is the first of many short stories to come, I hope you enjoy it! Please feel free to leave a comment below! Thanks for sipping with SweetTeeAnytime!
Annalyse Whittington had it all. A flourishing career as the head marketing strategist for one of the top firms in the country, an outgoing personality, a newly constructed brownstone in New Jersey, and a waistline that even Kim Kardashian couldn’t replicate with the best plastic surgeon. A natural beauty. Many would say she was the total package.
Growing up in the rural south surrounded by cotton fields and dandelions, Annalyse knew she was destined to be a Northerner, even as a child. When she was stressed out living the bachelorette life in Jersey, the mere thought of blowing on a dandelion took her back to her childhood, back when life was innocent and bills were nonexistent. She laughed to think of how she rushed to be an adult, not realizing that as a child, she was living her best life.
By no means was adulthood difficult for Annalyse, but as a child she was blessed to have always been surrounded by family, growing up in the care of her aunt Renee and uncle Shawn. Annalyse’s aunt showed her the meaning of independence, how to cook, and how to implement a little hood mentality for the streets, but more importantly, her aunt showed her just how far a good education could take her in life. Annalyse’s aunt Renee made sure she stressed the significance of making good grades to her favorite niece along with the importance of being involved in school, graduating college, etc. But there was one big thing that aunt Renee did not discuss with Annalyse… the qualities and characteristics of a good man.
Renee Snyder met Shawn Whittington during her freshman year of high school. It was in Ms. West trigonometry’s class during tutoring sessions that they fell in love. They dated and talked on the phone but because of their vow to celibacy, refrained from taking their relationship to the next level. Shawn knew he wanted Renee as his wife, but he wanted to make sure he could provide the best life possible for her. Once Renee and Shawn graduated, Shawn joined the U.S. Air Force, went to college and later became a Neurosurgeon, which allowed him to provide a lifestyle beyond Renee’s imagination. She was his everything and he made sure that she knew it daily. They struggled to start their family and although one pregnancy was successful, their beautiful son was stillborn. Renee was heartbroken and knew she couldn’t bear the thought of losing another child, but yearned for a child of her own to love.
It was during this time that Mona, Renee’s promiscuous sister, ended up pregnant out of wedlock. With no plan in place, Mona refused to abort the baby but knew she would not be able to provide for the child so she asked Renee and Shawn to raise her unborn child as their own. It was as if God was answering their prayers, so the couple immediately and excitedly said yes! After Mona delivered a beautiful baby girl, the new parents named her Annalyse meaning beauty, elegance, and graced by God. They never saw Mona again after that day, but they kept their promise and gave Annalyse the best life possible.
Annalyse was an intelligent child with both street and book smarts — she skipped Kindergarten and First Grade and was promoted to Second Grade. During her Sophomore year of high school, she began taking college courses and graduated as a college Sophomore with a 3.9 GPA. Annalyse’s best friend, Jerome Bryant, a star basketball player standing 6’3 with caramel sun-kissed skin, was right behind her as they both made a pact to “run the world” and be successful in their individual careers. Upon graduation, Annalyse landed a six-figure opportunity with Google while Jerome became a Brand Director for Nike.
Being a successful woman in society today, she was a free-spirited individual who liked to live in the moment. “What’s existing if you’re not living?” Annalyse exclaimed to Jerome while walking into Happy Hour. They found a table to sit down at and soon after placing their drink order Annalyse asked , “Am I ugly? Do I intimidate men? Please tell me, because you’re my best friend, you’re a man and you know me!” Jerome shook his head and laughed, “Nah, you’re afraid of taking risks, that’s all. You say you want to live but you’re just existing!”
While they were both sipping on Chardonnay, Jerome talked about his workday while Annalyse told him about the latest office gossip. It was only Monday, but they made a pact and said that no matter how difficult or tired they may be, they would always make time for each other. The night was sadly coming to an end and as they were getting up from the table Annalyse said to Jerome, “We’ll always find time to be together like this, right?” Jerome laughed and said, “Have I ever let you down?” Annalyse grinned back at him and said, “I honestly don’t know why you still put up with me, but just know that I love you past eternity!” Jerome placed his hand on Annalyse’s lower back and whispered, “always and forever.”
“What did you say?” Annalyse asked, but Jerome said nothing
While they walked to the car, Annalyse couldn’t help but to reflect upon Jerome’s response to her last comment and wondered if what he said was true. Here she was, 35 years old with everything but someone to come home to. “This cannot be my life,” Annalyse thought. Then, out of now where Annalyse looked over to Jerome and said, “Okay fool, this is what I’m going to do! I’m going to go home and pray to God that he will send me my Mr. Right! I want to date, actually I want to be courted the proper way but not for too long. I want to get married, but I don’t want a big wedding, just something nice with our families and close friends. I prayed right after graduation for all of this and although I’ve been patient, God still hasn’t sent Mr. Right to me yet! I do not want to leave this earth without saying I do, loving on my man, making a few babies, and enjoying my future grandchildren. Is that too much to ask?!”
Jerome laughed and said, “Wow Annalyse, I didn’t think you had that much wine tonight but okay, if you say so. Just remember though that your Mr. Right may not come when you want him, but he’ll be there right on time.” Annalyse laughed and started singing Aaliyah’s “At Your Best” while it played on the Sirius XM station. Annalyse looked over at Jerome and said, “Hey, you’re getting old too, boy!” She was so busy singing the lyrics that she didn’t notice that his facial expression had changed.
Annalyse got up the next morning and went outside to check her mail to find that she had received a letter from her Aunt Renee. Aunt Renee believed in the old school pen and paper because she refused to think that an email could travel faster than a Forever stamp from the new Spring collection at the local post office. Annalyse laughed because she imagined the content that this letter would contain. Secretly, she loved getting the handwritten letters from her aunt because it took her a lot of time and patience to sit down and express her feelings that way. Annalyse decided to go back inside and read the letter now because it was Saturday so that meant tonight would be wine, Netflix and chill.
Before she opened the letter, Annalyse closed her eyes and prayed to God. “Lord, listen… I know I haven’t done all that I could and I may have sinned, okay okay I KNOW I sinned, but I’m ready for my husband. I don’t want just a friend with benefits, I want someone who is going to love me for me. I want someone that will accept me as I am and let me be myself — the good, bad and the ugly. Oh, and someone that can be like my Uncle Shawn was to my Aunt Renee. And last but not least Lord, please let him have that good good! In Jesus name, Amen!”
She knew that Aunt Renee always came with a good word and she was praying for a sign in the letter. While curling up on the couch, Annalyse opened the letter and began to read:
“My dearest Annalyse,
I noticed while going through old photos of you growing up that I may have not fully prepared you for this thing called life. You’re getting on up there baby and raising you has been mine and your Uncle’s greatest joy. Know that we wouldn’t trade it for anything! There is nothing that we want more than to see you happy and for someone to love you the way your Uncle Shawn has loved me all these years.
Sweetie, I want you to find the one that you can laugh with, be yourself with but more importantly someone who will be your friend. I know we always jokingly ask when you are getting married, but I want you to do it only when you know it’s right. Allow me if you will, to give you a little advice about men like your uncle. They are strong in statue but desire to be loved just as you do. The right man will love every part of you from the top of your head to the sole of your feet. He will have a relationship with God because after all, who else knows you better than the one that created you. Your uncle Shawn has made living in this mean world feel like heaven on earth for me and if living has felt this good, then I know Heaven is truly to die for!
This special man will be your very best friend. You will be able to laugh with him, cry, joke and although you may get upset, you will never be able to stay mad at him for long. He will be an awesome provider because that’s what a man does with a good woman by his side. He doesn’t want to see her struggling regardless if there are children involved or not, but don’t think you can be lazy as a woman either. Be that man’s best friend, baby! And trust me, when you meet him, you’ll know it. Quite honestly, I think you already have.
Open your eyes baby girl, sometimes the answers to our prayers are staring us in the face. And if you wonder how I know, it’s because that’s what I had in your Uncle Shawn. I’m thankful that I get the chance to experience a love like that on earth and I want nothing less than for you to experience the same.
If my timing is right, which I know it is, I’m sure you’re reading this on Saturday. If you are, don’t sit up on the couch all day, go out and enjoy your life! After all baby, what’s existing when you can live?!
I love you! Tell Jerome I said Hello and that we miss him at church.
Annalyse sat there with her mouth opened when her phone rang snapping her back to reality, it was her alarm blaring because she forgot to turn it off for the weekend. She hit the off button and sat back in amazement at the words that her aunt had written on the tiny pieces of notebook paper. “I swear that woman is all the way old school,” Annalyse thought and then, the phone rang… It was Jerome.
“What’s up, what you doing?”
Nothing, sitting here thinking…
“Mhmm. Listen, so one of my homeboys is in town with his girl and I wanted to know if you were free today to come along with us. I told him I had a friend so we could maybe, ummm double date. Whatcha think?”
Boy, I guess so!
“I knew I loved you! Gon’ get ready, I’ll pick you up at five.”
Okay, that’s fine see you then!
She sat down on the bed and began looking through her phone’s photo album. Every other picture was of the duo, Annalyse and Jerome. She laughed while walking to the shower at the thought of the two of them being more than just friends.
After applying the final touches to her hair, the phone rang… it was Jerome.
Ugh, what boy?!
“You better come on and I hope you ready because you ain’t never on time!”
Okay, here I come! Funny how you think you know me!
“Annalyse, I know you better than you know yourself. The only person who knows you better than me is the Lord.”
Annalyse hung up the phone, walked out and set her alarm before closing the door. As Jerome opened the door of his Mercedes Benz for her, he watched as she slid onto the black leather seat and wondered what it would be like to do this daily. Jerome walked around to get in and Annalyse reached over to open the door for him. As he got in, she inhaled the familiar smell of his cologne and in that moment she looked over to the driver’s seat and noticed for what seemed like the first time, the most handsome specimen staring back at her with the sweetest smile. All while D’Angelo’s “Lady” played through the car’s Bose speakers.
So where we going?
“Sit back and enjoy the ride, you’re my date today remember?”
Okay then Mr. B, show me how its done!
Jerome took off while Annalyse sat back and let the smooth sounds of D’Angelo’s voice take her mind to a place where she never imagined.
Just as Jerome gets out and opens up Annalyse’s door, they hear “What’s up, my boy?”
Aye nothing much, just out here living my best life.
“Is this the lady? Man, I see you!”
Annalyse meet Tyrell. Tyrell, this is umm my umm girl Annalyse.
“Nice to meet you Annalyse. This is my girlfriend Kiesha.”
The ladies spoke to each other and walked ahead down into the pavilion so they could become better acquainted and let the men catch up with one another.
“So man, that’s Annalyse?”
Yep, that’s her.
“What do you think she’s going to do? What will she say?”
Bro, I don’t even know. Let’s just hope I don’t embarrass myself.
Up ahead, Kiesha and Annalyse wondered what the guys were talking about since they were walking so slowly behind them. Annalyse decided to use this time to get to know Kiesha.
So, how long you and Tyrell been together?
“Girl almost two years now. I swear I love that man so much! He’s been there with me through it all.”
Really? So you think he’s ready for marriage?
“Girl I hope so! I refuse to keep dating for years and besides I’m too fine to be wasting my time!”
I hear you girl!
The ladies laughed while the men followed just out of earshot.
“So what about you and Jerome? I see the way he looks at you.”
Oh, Jerome and I are just friends. I’ve never looked at him in that way. I mean, he’s fine and we get along great, but he’s my best friend — we’ve never dated or anything like that.
“Wow, I would’ve never known. The chemistry you guys have appears to be pretty special, almost like me and Tyrell!”
Annalyse had never entertained the thought of her and Jerome being together, that is, until today.
Behind them, Tyrell and Jerome spotted their destination.
“You ready man?”
Yeah, I got everything all set up.
“I’m nervous for you dog. I always knew you were a risk taker but dang!”
I know it might all sound crazy, but in the words of Annalyse herself, ‘what’s existing if you aren’t living?’
The guys then yelled for the ladies to slow up and to enter inside of the city’s well-known Italian restaurant “Flavio Stella’s” as a special reservation had already been made. The couples entered and waited to be seated.
Annalyse looked up from her phone and noticed her Uncle Shawn and Aunt Renee walking toward her. She paused and wondered why they would be visiting and not tell her.
“Hey Baby!” shouted Aunt Renee from across the room with Uncle Shawn on her heels. Even after all these years, those two were still in love like they were on the day they said “I do.”
Annalyse, still in a state of confusion wondered what was going on as she was escorted to her seat. Once seated, she turned around and saw an unfamiliar face start to serenade her with Freddie Jackson’s “You are My Lady.”
Confused as heck as to what exactly was going on, she turned to find Jerome and her Aunt and Uncle along with Tyrell and Kiesha looking at her.
Jerome got down on one knee, pulled out an oval box, held her hand and said, “when we were in high school, I wanted many times to ask you out but never thought I was your type. In college, we stayed up many nights studying together and even then, I didn’t think I was good enough. I always knew that I wanted my wife to be my very best friend. We laugh together, we go to happy hour together, you listen when I talk to you about my day and I listen to yours. I’ve been there for every success you have had as well as every failure. You’ve never really dated because you always had me. I don’t just want to be your friend, but I want to be your provider. I want to be everything I can be to you and more. I don’t ever want to let another day go by without knowing that I didn’t try. I know you were wondering why your Aunt and Uncle were here along with my best friend, but I wanted those closest to us to be here when I asked you this important question… Annalyse Whittington, would you do me the honor of being my girlfriend?”
“Boy what?!” Annalyse said out loud! “All this time my Mr. Right was right in my face?”
Aunt Renee screamed out, “Baby, sometimes God is just waiting for us to open our eyes to an already answered prayer.”
Jerome got up and smiled as he placed the 3 carat tennis bracelet on her wrist and kissed her for the first time as her man. He literally took Annalyse’s breath away as she was in complete shock that her very best friend was now officially her boo-thang.
The crowd erupted into a loud applause as many ohhhs and ahhs came from the sweet gesture. Just as the crowd simmered down Tyrell got on his knee, pulled out a beautiful blue velvet box and faced Kiesha. At that moment, he asked Kiesha to be his everything and if she would do him the honor of becoming his wife. And like Annalyse, Kiesha said yes. A 5 carat solitaire was placed on a perfectly manicured hand. She would officially become Mrs. Tyrell Lindsey!
The two guys, both grinning from ear to ear realized that in life, to get something you never had, you must do something you never did. Many times, our answered prayer is staring us in the face but in order to get to the promise, we must get out of what is comfortable and familiar and simply trust God.
Jerome and Annalyse, Tyrell and Kiesha along with Aunt Renee and Uncle Shawn celebrated the newfound relationship and the future union over dinner.
Annalyse stared at Jerome in amazement. “Oh my goodness, I’m just blown away that the whole time I was looking and praying, that God had already answered my prayers with you!”
Jerome looked at Annalyse and said, “See, I prayed too. I prayed for you the moment I saw you. And even though you talked to other guys, I knew I wanted you to be mine. I was afraid for many years but I said to heck with it, what’s existing if you’re not living!”
Aunt Renee and Uncle Shawn were overjoyed at this new found love and decided to share a few nuggets that had kept their marriage so strong all these years. Aunt Renee said,
4.Share, no space for selfishness in a marriage
5.Always, Always, Always keep God at #1 and the rest will follow.
Uncle Shawn smiled and said, “I agree.”
Tyrell and Kiesha went on to get married and lived a wonderful life using the 5 rules that Aunt Renee shared with them that day! They often visited Annalyse and Jerome since they were the soon to be godparents of The Lindsey’s little baby boy.
Annalyse and Jerome married shortly thereafter because they realized that life was too short to play games and date forever. Annalyse said that she knew she would say “I do” the day she agreed to be his girlfriend because she realized then that Jerome was everything she had ever wanted in a man.
Remember… We only get one life, so be happy! After all, what’s existing if you aren’t living?!
Keep God First!
I do not own any rights to this music….hopefully the videos isn’t removed but if it is, feel free to look up and listen to “Lady” by D’Angelo!