Diamonds In The Sky Part 2
Diamonds In The Sky Part 2
***Author’s note, I felt the chapter became too bloated, so the bachelor/bachelorette parties are posted in chapter 31, The After Party.
Kennedey, Briah and the rest of my friends were so happy for me when I told them I was engaged. “Damn, girl that is the biggest rock I’ve ever seen! Jay came through with it!” Briah shouted. The first thing Taylor and Jasmine wanted to do was throw Jay and I an engagement party. That was fine with me, just as long as they did all the planning, of course with my input. I was already starting to think about every aspect of my wedding. Jaylen and I haven’t set a date yet, but I knew I didn’t want to be engaged for several months.
Getting engaged made me so happy and I was excited some of my friends and family would be coming to town. I couldn’t believe Jaylen was going be my husband soon. I had a lot to think about, one of the hard choices I had to make was naming my Maid of honor and deciding who would be a bridesmaid. Honestly, my first choice for Maid of Honor was Briah, but then I wondered if I should name my sister. Kennedey said she wouldn’t be offended if I asked Briah, that kind of thing wasn’t her bag, which was true. I thought about Taylor being a bridesmaid, but this wasn’t her sort of thing, although she was happy to help plan the engagement party. Jasmine has become a good friend of mine and we’ve grown close, so I asked her to be a bridesmaid.
As one of my closest friends, I considered Taina to be my Maid Of Honor. Briah was family however and knew me better than anyone else. Tai had experience with these kind of things, and her taste was impeccable. Taina next to Taylor was my classiest friend. I loved Briah and her ghettofabolousness, but let’s be real, high end class and Briah didn’t go in the same sentence. Briah knew how to act when she needed to. She wasn’t familiar with the high end world I’ve come to know since becoming a model. Briah grew up a bit on the rough side. The people around her were extra hood and ghetto. I loved Bri a lot and I think with my input and direction she could take on the responsibilities of being a Maid of Honor.
I often found myself acting like both a Leeds and a De-Sai. The Leeds in me would usually bring me down if I was too out of control in the past. Apollonia’s attitude alienated much of her family. My Uncle Anthony and my mother didn’t get along. Mom was jealous of the pedestal her parents put Anthony on growing up and she resented him for it. Uncle Anthony may have fought with my mother, but he never took that out on Kennedey or me. Briah and I often hung out with his daughters, my cousins Jade and Shaina.
I’ve kept in contact with Jade over the years. The last time I saw her and Shaina was when I went to Miami for spring break my senior year in college. I was leaning on asking Jade to be a bridesmaid even though we haven’t seen each other in while. I wanted to know Briah’s opinion, since she was her cousin too. “I mean, it’s your wedding, Rea, do what you want. I’m just glad you made me the Maid of Honor,” said Briah, laughing. “You don’t think it’s out the blue? I mean, Jade and I text from time to time, but I haven’t seen her recently,” I said. Briah shrugged her shoulders. “Girl, that don’t matter. We’re family and we were always cool. I still kicked it with them after you left,” she said. I had to agree with her.
I called Jade up once Briah left and she happily accepted my invitation. She was one of the first people to congratulate me on my engagement. Jade and Shaina couldn’t make the engagement party, but would be around for the most important activities. As it stood, Briah, Kennedey, Tai, Jade, and Jasmine were in the bridal party. One more thing off my list.
The first thing Jay and I had to do was decide when we were getting married. Jaylen suggested spring, I loved that idea and we decided it was the best time to do it. Time wasn’t on our side and we needed to get on the ball. Jaylen agreed we needed to find the best wedding planner ASAP.
Jay’s friends were surprised he was getting married, but they were supportive. I told Jay we needed to set some ground rules for our bachelor and bachelorette parties. The major one being, no nudity. I didn’t care for strippers, but I realized that was a part of bachelor parties. “Alright, no butt naked big bootied girls,” Jaylen laughed. “Jay, I’m adamant about this. Amarre may be your best man, but Apollo and Aubrey’s nasty asses are gonna want to help plan it. I am not playing,” I said, Jay knew by the tone of my voice, that I was serious. I trusted him, but still didn’t like the thought of some half naked girl dancing in my man’s face. “Don’t worry, boo. I’ll let them know,” Jaylen assured me.
Unlike me, Jaylen hasn’t thought of his wedding his entire life. I already knew what colors I wanted and the style of the dresses I wanted to wear. Yes, dresses as in plural. One for the ceremony, one for the first half of the reception, and another for the second half. I didn’t care if anyone thought that was too diva like, oh well, it was my wedding. If folks didn’t like it, they could stay home.
My father arrived last night and had a chance to spend more time with Jaylen. Daddy had a new found respect for Jay after he left Appaloosa. Jaylen may have grown up around the so called streets even after his family moved to the upper middle class area in Prospect Park. Jay and his brother continued going to school in a working class section of Brooklyn, but their school was one of the best in the city. Kevin wanted to make sure they got a glimpse of what life was like for him. Jay and Amarre were both “street”, which they got from their father and who they grew up around, but they were both capable of acting like gentlemen because of what their mother taught them.
My father pulled me to the side, saying he wanted to talk to me about something “Baby, I understand this is one of those so-called platinum weddings. As your father, I could not live with myself if I didn’t contribute something to my oldest daughter’s wedding. I need to do this, not only as a father, but as a man,” said Daddy. He told me he could give me two thousand dollars if he went into his savings and took out a personal loan. I didn’t want to burden him with that. I knew he lost some of his clients due to his recovery. That amount of money would not even cover the cost of the invitations. He insisted, however.
It would break his heart if I didn’t except something from him. “Okay, Daddy, if it’s really what you want. Don’t get a loan or clear out your savings. All you have to do is show up and walk me down the aisle,” I said, feeling guilty. Whatever he gave me, I could add it to some expense. “Alright, no loan. I’ll give you the money as soon as I’m able to get to the bank. I love you Ginger Baby,” said Daddy, smiling down at met. His dignity was intact and if it made Daddy happy, I was happy.
Kevin and Yuri flew in the next evening to meet Kennedey and Daddy, who got here the other day. Jaylen and his family were expected for dinner and promptly arrived at seven o’clock. Jay introduced his family to mine. “It’s good to meet you, Ray,” said Kevin. Daddy nodded his head,”Same here,” he said.
“Reagan, your house is so beautiful,” said Yuri, as she looked around the house. “Thank you, it’s actually both mine and my sister’s house,” I told her.
Everyone came into the living room to chat for a little while. I glanced over at Amarre who was being rude by checking his phone every few minutes. I sometimes wondered what the Powers thought of my family and my mother running out on us. They were a cookie cutter family. “So, Ray, my son tells me you sell sports equipment?” asked Kevin. “Yes, for the last ten years or so,” replied Dad. I knew Daddy was content in his job, even though his dreams of playing in the NFL were dashed, but that was a lifetime ago. In college he was slated to go into the NFL, but messed up his knee really bad and couldn’t play anymore. Still, he didn’t let that sour him on life and he did his best to make all of us happy.
Kevin and Yuri nodded their heads. Maybe my father’s job wasn’t as glamorous as theirs or took him around the world, but he put food on the table and kept a roof over our heads. Daddy was educated, but having a degree doesn’t guarantee you’ll make a lot of money. Kennedey was a double major and currently working on her master’s online, but she hardly makes jack and she was damn near a genius. Daddy could be very blunt and even rough in his delivery at times, but I asked him to hold back when he met Jay’s family.
As Kevin went on about the new projects he had in the works, Kennedey looked more irritated by the second with the whole conversation. I knew she would later complain to me that she found it appalling that Kevin’s firm was involved in what she considered to be a huge gentrification project in Washington DC. The way Kevin explained it was that his firm was designing several new mixed income developments in some of the poorest neighborhoods in D.C. Kennedey explained to me before when this happens the people who live there are essentially pushed out because they can no longer afford to live there. It was one of the many things Kennedey, Micah and their friends often protested against. She was dying to say something to Kevin but I shot her a look to not go there, at least not tonight.
The dinner conversation was light. To break the ice, Daddy brought up the conversation about us. My father described what Kennedey and I were like as children. Kevin and Yuri were quick to jump in and talk about Jay and Amarre’s many accomplishments. Kevin seemed especially proud that his kids grew up around the streets to keep them grounded. Daddy nodded his head. I knew he was thinking that Kennedey had a near genius IQ score and I was very business savvy and successful. Not to be shown up by the Powers, Daddy managed to slide this information into the conversation. I couldn’t exactly tell what Daddy thought of the Powers because of his poker face. I was relieved once dinner was over. Jay kissed me goodbye and I thanked his parents for coming over. These people would be my in laws soon and we have yet to break the ice.
A couple of days later, Briah called me up, sounding pissed off. “What’s up, girl?” I asked her. “I’m trying to tell Taylor and Jasmine my ideas for the engagement party since I am the MOH, but these heffas keep shooting down every idea I come up with,” she answered. I let out a huge sigh. I expected this somewhere down the line, I just thought the beefing would be between Tai and Bri. All I could do was tell her that I would make sure Taylor and Jasmine included her.
Taina was shocked when I told her Briah was going to be my Maid of Honor. I correctly predicted she would have something negative to say about Bri’s taste. Logically it made more sense anyway because Tai lived in Starlight, but she insisted she would have flown in every week to handle the duties of being a Maid of Honor. We dropped it for now, but when she and Aoki showed up for the party, I could tell it still bothered her. “Wow, Reagan, your new house is so beautiful,” said Aoki. “Thank you, glad you could make it,” I replied. Jax and Aoki have been dating since running into each other in LA. He was in the wedding party, while she wasn’t. I considered Aoki a friend, we just weren’t that close.
“Taylor, you and Jasmine did a good job with the party. Everything looks beautiful and classy,” Taina commented while giving Briah a sidelong glance. Briah rolled her eyes, knowing Taina was purposely excluding her in her compliments. Wanting to avoid drama, I changed to subject to the latest designers Tai and Aoki have worked with. Since I needed to focus on the wedding, I canceled all of my upcoming campaigns and shoots. I saw Tai glancing over at Apollo. She told me in the past she thought he was too thugged out and now she wondered if Apollo was going to wear what she called those “ghetto” braids to the wedding. I didn’t have a problem with his hair, I had more of an issue with that stupid grill he insisted on wearing.
“Hey, baby, you having a good time? The party came out nice,” said Jaylen. “This was all Taylor, Jazz, and Bri. They did a beautiful job,” I replied. Somewhere in the back of my mind, a little feeling nagged at me, knowing my mother wasn’t going to be around to experience my wedding. I knew she was out there, she must know I’m getting married. Nevertheless, I pushed it out of my mind, there was so much to do.
A few weeks had passed since Jay proposed. Jaylen and I met with Bailey Remington, one of the country’s most sought after wedding planners. You usually had to wait six months just to get an appointment with him. He made an exception once he heard Reagan Leeds wanted to meet with him.
“Reagan, darling, it is so good to meet you!” Bailey greeted me warmly as he gave me two air kisses on both my cheeks. Bailey turned his attention to Jay. “And this must be the groom, so nice to meet the man that snagged the one and only, Reagan Leeds!” he said excitedly. “That would be me, you can call me Jay,” Jaylen said, extending his hand. Bailey stepped back looking us up and down in admiration. “I think you two are the most beautiful couple I have worked with! You’re going to make beautiful babies one day,” said Bailey.
“Here, here, make yourselves comfortable. Shall I have my assistant bring you any cucumber water or tea?” asked Bailey. Jaylen and I both shook our heads no. “Thank you, but we’re okay for now,” I said. “Okay, so as I understand it, you are wanting to get married by early spring am I correct?” asked Bailey. “Yes, we don’t see why we need to have a long engagement,” Jay spoke up. “Super, we’ll make it happen, don’t worry about a thing!” Bailey said with excitement.
Bailey wanted to know what we envisioned for the ceremony. “The wedding will take place in my hometown, Miami. We don’t want a huge wedding, the guest list is very limited. I’m thinking, tons of flowers, candles, beautiful china, the works. We’re trying to create an intimate atmosphere, especially since we’re getting married in the evening,” I said. Bailey hung onto my every word, nodding his head enthusiastically. I was happy Jaylen wanted input in the planning. He was also flexible when I had to nicely change some of his ideas that didn’t make any sense. I did compromise on some things in order to be fair. “So, Mr. Jaylen, did you want to add anything?” asked Bailey, smacking his lips. “Not right now. We’ve discussed this in advance. I want my boo to have the wedding of her dreams,” answered Jaylen.
I told Bailey, initially I thought about cerulean and gold as my colors. Mint was hot this spring, but I was leaning toward teal, which was more traditional, but one of my favorite color palettes. “Those colors would look fabulous against your skin tones. Of course you’d be in white, but you can incorporate different colors in your reception gown, the ceremony and the wedding party’s attire,” Bailey suggested. Bailey must know that my mother was no part of my life, it wasn’t a secret. I was glad he was sensitive enough to not bring up the subject.
Bailey told us he would become our shadows from now until the end of the reception. He made suggestions on some of the best chefs in the country that could prepare the menu. Bailey would help with pretty much everything from picking floral arrangements, hiring security, to deciding what China would compliment the ceremony. Bailey’s services went above and beyond a lot of other wedding planners and those services didn’t come cheap in the least bit. He had the best connections and he knew how to get things done in a time of crisis. Jay and I didn’t have a problem with the cost, after all, I wanted the wedding of my dreams, money was no option.
Later on, Jaylen and I were going over the guest list for the wedding. Jay nor I wanted a big wedding and we were only inviting the people we wanted there. Just because someone was related to me, didn’t mean I had to invite them. “What’s the matter, Ma?” Jaylen asked. I shook my head. “I’m just trying to decide if I should invite my grandparents,” I replied. “You mean your mother’s parents?” He asked. “Yes. They moved back to Trinidad not too long after we left Miami. They didn’t come around too much after my mom left. I suppose they were embarrassed. Island people are very proud and take family seriously. I felt like they abandoned Kennedey and I when we needed them most,” I said, thinking back.
“I see. I’m sorry, baby. They probably regret it now. Whatever you decide is fine with me,” said Jaylen. While I had reservations on inviting Apollonia’s parents, I did look forward to my Grandma Carmen coming. Kennedey and I were very close to her growing up. She would often visit us in Appaloosa. Grandma was a kind and caring woman, but she took no mess. When my dad’s father left her and his kids she did everything in her power to take care of them, even working up to four jobs at one time. Grandma Carmen was the reason my father is the great man he is today.
Kennedey accompanied Jay and I to Miami with Bailey a couple of weeks after our meeting and found the perfect venue for the wedding. The closer we got to spring, the weather started getting a little warmer. It was a nice day outside and I needed some sunshine in my life. Today Briah, Kennedey, and I went to Aura, the best cosmetics store in town. I wanted to get a look at different make up colors and test out some perfume samples.
As the weeks went on, my stress levels went up. I have had more than one conversation with Briah about what I wanted for the upcoming bridal activities. As my maid of honor, I knew her plate was already full. At first she was calling me about ten times a day about every little detail. Now she seemed to get more of a hang of things and what a MOH was expected to do. Bri told me she did some research online about the duties of being a Maid of Honor. She seemed excited when she had an idea that I seemed to like. Jasmine was helping her along with setting up the right contacts for some of the tasks Briah was in charge of. Briah didn’t know I asked Jasmine to help her out, it would hurt her feelings if she thought I didn’t trust her. Briah didn’t have experience with this and she was more than a little surprised when I told her that she would have to accompany me to pick out such things as the wedding cake, and food and wine sampling. Briah’s idea of fine wine was Arbor Mist. Nonetheless she was a good sport about everything.
It alarmed me when I told her I needed her help to register at Neiman Marcus and Tiffany & Co and she asked why I needed pre-approval to shop there. Looking into her innocent unknowing eyes, I knew she wasn’t kidding. Once I explained what a wedding registry was, she understood. “Those places are cool and all, Rea Rea, but maybe you should think about also registering at some cheaper places. Don’t other stores got registries?” she asked. She did have a point. By the look of my guest list, I would say half could afford to shop in Neiman Marcus and Tiffany & Co. I decided to add Bed, Bath and Beyond to the mix.
I knew out of all people next to Kennedey, she had my back the most and would listen to me whine about everything and try her best to encourage me. I thanked Kennedey for coming along. As my sister it was important to me that she be involved in the planning process. Kennedey wore make up and perfume from time to time, so I knew she wasn’t totally uninterested, although she tried to act like it.
Several days later, Jade and Shaina flew in for my bridal shower and greeted me as they came into the house. “What’s up, girl? Look at you, all ballin’ and shit!” Jade loudly greeted me as she and Shaina entered the house. There was no mistaking, we’re definitely De-Sai’s. I laughed. “”Girl, stop. How y’all been? I asked after hugging them both. “Just chillin’ girl, we ain’t seen you in a hot ass minute, Rea,” said Shaina.
My cousin Cassie arrived earlier. She was my favorite Auntie Christy’s daughter. Cassie was cool and all and we spent time with her growing up. My dad preferred if I hung out with my cousins on his side, but there weren’t that many my age and I had different interests. I also found some of the Leeds cousins stuck their noses up at us on account of my mother. Cassie was different however and wasn’t a snob. She was closer to Kennedey than I was, but we got along. She recently started grad school, studying for her MBA.
“Y’all come into the living room. Since Rea Rea think bridal showers is corny, she likes gifts, though. I’m glad everyone brung one with them,” said Briah. I heard Taina mocking Briah saying “brung” because it wasn’t a word. I just wished she would stop the drama. “I can’t believe Rea ’bout to get wifed up and shit. I saw pics of your fiancé, he’s fine as fuck! Don’t he gotta twin?” asked Jade.
I noticed Taina and Aoki’s raised eyebrows. My cousins were a little extra at times, but that’s who they are. “Yeah, his brother Amarre is dating some bird, even if he were single, you wouldn’t want to get at him, trust,” I replied. “Why, what’s wrong with him?” asked Shaina. “He’s a bitch, plain and simple. One minute he be cool as fuck, but let you clap back at his girl and he be up in his feelings, all sensitive. He try to act like super save a hoe. Ugh, because he’s the best man and I’m the Maid of Honor, I gotta walk with his ass too,” said Briah, scowling.
“Rea Rea, you gots to have somethin’ better than this champagne shit. Bri, I thought yo ass was in charge, where the Hennessy, bitch?” asked Jade. Bri, Shaina, and I burst out laughing. “I did, but other folks said them other drinks looked too ghetto,” said Briah, giving Taina the side eye. Kennedey went to grab a few bottles of the good stuff. I appreciated that she wasn’t whining about participating in the bridal activities.
“Gift time!” Taina sang out, while Briah gave her the stank face. This was Briah’s department and I knew she didn’t like Tai encroaching upon it. Everyone started handing me their gifts. “Here, Rea Rea, open mine first,” said Briah. It was my own personal freak kit. Usually a gift like this was reserved for the bachelorette party. Briah wasn’t conventional and it was possible she wasn’t aware of that. I didn’t mind the contents of the freak kit at at all, edible panties and body oils, a vibrating bath pillow, handcuffs, and a few toys. I laughed to myself. “Dang, Bri, what exactly do you and Apollo be doing in the bedroom?” I asked. Briah started to laugh. “Oh, you know pretty much everything, he loves a freak. We don’t need all of that stuff, but I like to use it from time to time,” she replied.
Jade and Shaina’s gifts were also along those lines. Jade gave me a pair of crotchless panties, while Shaina gave me a vibrating ring “for him”, as she told me. “Well, I got a gift basket, aroma therapy candles, massage oils, a couple of nighties, as well as champagne. You know, the typical stuff that belongs at a shower. I didn’t go trolling some sex shop for any of your gifts,” said Taina, obviously throwing shade at Briah.
We skipped the usual corny bridal shower stuff and just talked, drank, and ate. It was nice to chill for a few hours. Jade asked how the planning was going. I told her it’s been pretty crazy and listed all the tasks that needed to be completed. “Girl, I don’t envy you. You having the wedding at night too? Bitch you gon’ be so tired, Jay ain’t gon’ get no ass!” said Jade, laughing loudly. I just shook my head, giggling to myself. It was a real possibility we would not be consummating our marriage that night, Jay would definitely think otherwise.
I don’t know what the hell has been up with Amarre, but he been having a real foul ass attitude the last few days. “Yo, what’s been up with you, son? You been acting real funny the last few days,” I said. “Oh, I don’t know, I was just wondering when you were going get around to telling me yourself Martina wasn’t invited? All I heard the other day was Reagan giving orders to tell me my girl isn’t welcomed as my plus one,” answered Amarre.
“Are you serious, A? You actually thought Martina was gonna be invited? Have you bumped your head lately, son?” I asked. Amarre had to be out his mind. “The hell you just gone come flat out and say Martina ain’t invited?” Amarre asked, his voice getting louder. “What? I didn’t even come at you like that. I don’t know what happened to my chill ass brother, but ever since you got with Martina, you wanna trip on anybody who ain’t feeling your chick,” I replied. “It’s your delivery Jay that’s messed up. For one I fully expected Martina to not want to come because of her issue with Reagan, but you could have at least let her respectfully decline!” Amarre shouted.
“You need to bring it all the way down, B. Martina ain’t family, she ain’t even your fiancée. She was never going to be invited, know that, son,” I told him, as my own voice was starting to rise. “You see that’s what I’m talking about, you allow Reagan to talk all kind of shit, she and her minions about my girl, when you need to check her about that,” said Amarre, angrily. “For one, it ain’t my place to check my woman. I don’t tell her what to do. Maybe you believe in that neanderthal shit, but I don’t. If Reagan is going off about something I don’t agree with I may say something to her, it ain’t never about your chick. Reagan damn sure will call me on something she don’t like, trust,” I replied.
“Yeah and all the while you don’t do jack when she’s throwing shots. You act like Reagan is running the world and folks gotta bow down to her!” Amarre yelled. “You wylin. You act like Martina is so damn innocent. She throws all kind of shade, she just do most of it on Instagram and Twitter,” I argued. “So, Reagan keeping up with Martina online?” laughed, Amarre condescendingly. “Actually no, Briah mentioned she saw that shit,” I responded. “That’s another thing, Briah don’t even know Martina, but she doing Reagan’s dirty work. Apollo don’t say shit,” said Amarre, his face was starting to get red. He was sweating this bull way too much. “That’s because Apollo ain’t Briah’s daddy. You gotta problem with Briah, talk to her. Anyway, I’m done with this conversation. I got more important things to do with my time,” I said and left to go meet up with Reagan.
Reagan’s cousins flew in from Miami yesterday for Reagan’s bridal shower. I made sure I stayed good and far away from that. Reagan and I decided to have a private party for the wedding party at the club, which was closed. We wanted everyone to have a chance to meet everyone else. Amarre was my best man. Apollo, Aubrey, Jax, and Jayson were my groomsmen. From what I could tell Jade and Shaina were just like Briah, loud as hell. Reagan told me some of her friends weren’t feeling her cousins. That was some female drama. I’m glad my crew was getting along. Other than Amarre bitchin’, everyone was good. I knew Amarre would come around once he calmed down. Amarre also decided to skip the party and I haven’t seen or talked to him in a few days.
I was chillin’ and relaxing with Reagan, everyone was talking among themselves. I began to notice every time Briah said something, Taina rolled her eyes and threw little sideways comments to her. I knew they didn’t like each other, but I didn’t any of the details. “Yeah we bouts to head to New York to look at dresses,” said Briah. “The dresses for the bridal party are pretty expensive. It would be shame if not everyone could fit theirs,” Taina said to Jasmine, but it was clearly directed at Briah.
Briah took notice, she and both Taina stood up getting into each others faces. I shook my head, this was not some shit I felt like dealing with. “Hoe, if you got something to say to me, I suggests you quit throwing low key shade and just it to my face!” yelled Briah. “Oh please, you’re just a Thot from the ghetto. You have zero class!” shouted Taina. “You can kiss my ass, heffa,” said Briah getting closer to Taina. “That’s too much ass to kiss,” Taina laughed. “Yes, and my man loves it. I’m thick and delicious broad!” shouted Briah. “Please, thick? More like fat,” Taina snapped back.
The next thing I knew, Briah slapped Taina, when Taina acted like she was going to get buck, Briah lunged at her, rage in her eyes . ” I’m going to show you what a bitch from Miami about!’ shouted Briah. Apollo grabbed her around the waist. “Bri, calm down, baby! Stop, damn Briah!” yelled Apollo. “I wish y’all would stop, Briah you need to chill!” shouted Reagan.
Eventually Briah went to cool down. Everyone started to leave VIP and spill out into the rest of the club. Reagan quickly got into both Briah and Taina’s faces. Reagan’s face was about as red as her hair and I knew she was about to blow up. “I’m not having any of that shit right there! I will drop both you heffas from my wedding and not think twice about it. Trust and believe. I’m not about to have no ratchet ass mess going down the day of my wedding. Both of y’all better get it together! Go out for coffee, have a picnic, braid each others hair , I don’t care, you just better squash this beef!” shouted Reagan.
“Just chill, Baby,” I said, trying to calm Reagan down. I knew she was especially stressed and we didn’t need this right now. I also didn’t like this kind of ratchet mess going down at my club, thankfully the shit was closed.
Once things settled down Apollo and Aubrey said they needed to get at me. “What’s good?” I asked them. “Yo, dog, I asked Amarre what he wanted to do about the bachelor party, but he was like ‘I ain’t feelin’ Jay right now, so y’all can plan it’,” responded Apollo. I just shook my head. I guess he was up in his feelings because he’s been laying up with Martina ever since our argument the other day. “I ain’t got time for Amarre’s sensitive ass. I got more important things on my mind, yo. He don’t gotta plan anything,” I said. “Dog, you know we can hook it up! Nothin’ but bangin’ ass big booty chicks!” Aubrey yelled. “Yo, son, keep your voice down, you see Reagan over there. Which reminds me, we talked about what wasn’t allowed at our parties. Ma is adamant, no nudity. She doesn’t care for strippers but she knows men do that for their bachelor parties. Reagan just doesn’t want any butt naked women dancing around me. She ain’t gonna have naked male dancers either,” I told the guys, who all looked at me as if I were speaking another language.
“Uh, Reagan realize ass is everywhere at the strip club don’t she? That’s why they call it a strip club. What the fuck she want us to do? Sit around in a knitting circle all night?” asked Aubrey. We all laughed. “Nah, she wants me to have a good time and she trusts me, but she still don’t want no naked females. Y’all have seen Reagan go in and you know how she can be when she gets on the warpath. I ain’t trying to deal with that. I know the owner and we can arrange it like that,” I said. My boys looked skeptical, but it is what it is.
The bridal party arrived in New York to look for my wedding dresses and to pick out the bridesmaid gowns. Jaylen had it in his mind that he was going to purchase an Armani Tuxedo along with the groomsmen. Yes, Armani makes nice tuxedos, but Tom Ford made the best. I convinced him the cut would look best on his physique since I’ve worked with both designers and should know. Jay agreed with me once he could see that Tom Ford made the better suit. While I was looking for dresses, Jay and his groomsmen were close by getting fitted.
My father was in Miami visiting my Grandma. I set it up so he could get fitted there and I trusted my Auntie Christy to give him a woman’s opinion. Daddy was astounded that after alterations the tux cost just under $4000 dollars. Every good man should have a good tuxedo in their closet and my father deserved nothing but the best.
Because of my celebrity status, Tu Es Jolie Bridals shut down the entire store so that we could have complete privacy. “Reagan, thank you so much for coming. I’m confident we have a dress you would love for the style you desire,” the manager Giselle Dufresne greeted me she approached our group. “May I offer you ladies a glass of champagne?” offered Nicole, one of the shop’s assistants. I didn’t want anything at the time, but that didn’t my cousins for happily accepting a glass.
Giselle led us to the showroom that displayed the couture and most expensive dresses in the store. “As you know we carry the finest designers in bridal gowns in the world. Bailey mentioned that you wanted a custom gown for the ceremony, correct?” asked Giselle. “Yes, I want it to be specifically designed for me. For my receptions dresses, some customization if needed,” I replied. “Perfect, we have an array of gowns to choose from. Everyone from Marchesa, Zac Pose, Monique Lhuillier, to Vera Wang. Once you try on some of the gowns, we can get a feel of what you like and decide which designer would best create your vision,” Giselle informed me.
It was all so much to do in so little time. Thankfully I had connections and modeled for each of these designers on multiple occasions and they were all happy and willing to make my wedding dress. “It’s so beautiful in here, all the dresses are exquisite,” Taina observed. I caught a glance of Briah rolling her eyes, she thought Tai was a stuck up snob. I didn’t have time for that mess, I just know these heffas better act right and not embarrass me.
I had to keep my schedule fairly open for any more measurements and dress fittings that may come up along the way. I would have my initial measurements done, but in case I were to gain or lose a few pounds that could make all the difference in the dress fitting me in the most flattering way possible. That shouldn’t be a problem because my weight usually doesn’t go up and down.
Over the next few hours, I tried on over fifty dresses. All my friends readily gave me their opinions. I wanted to know Kennedey’s opinion, who wasn’t saying too much.
“I don’t know, I think they’re all pretty,” she said, shrugging. I rolled my eyes. “Ken, you gotta have more of an opinion than that. Kennedey could be so frustrating. “Reagan, you know I’m not good at this sort of thing,” she said. “Doesn’t matter, just say what you like and what you don’t, okay?” I demanded. “Alright, whatever,” replied Kennedey.
“Reagan, I love that cut on you. You can pull off anything,” Taina gushed. “That one is cool and all, but I think it look too ‘princessey’,” Jade spoke up. “Princessey? I wasn’t aware that was a word,” Taina scowled. “I know it ain’t a word, she know what I mean. Rea Rea, the dress it pretty, but I don’t think it matches your personality,” Jade argued. I looked at myself in the mirror again and Jade was right. When I thought about the design for my wedding dress, I always envisioned something more sleek and sexy. “I do like the feathered design on this one, but you’re right. I want something a bit more sleek,” I said. “Yeah, I don’t think all that tulle and stuff works with you are,” said Briah.
After putting on and taking off so many dresses, I was relieved to find a design style I loved. Sleek in design and not full of tulle. My reception dresses were easier to find and I finally found a style for my ceremony dress I loved. “Yes! This one right here. I love it! I want something similar to this,” I told Giselle. She nodded enthusiastically. “You’ve made a wonderful choice it is breathtaking on you,” she said. Everyone agreed they loved this dress the best. Tai’s favorite was the princess dress. She could wear that for her own wedding, this was about me.
Picking out dresses for the bridal party wasn’t too difficult, aside from Jade wanting to wear a dress that was entirely too short, but she relented. The bridesmaid and Maid of Honor dresses did not come cheap. I knew Kennedey could not afford the whole amount, so I paid for hers. I decided that Zac Posen would be the best designer to go with. Before I left New York, I would meet and consult with him on the design of the dress. It was really getting down to the wire.
To think that in just over a month, Jaylen and I would be married. After a full day of dress shopping, all I wanted to do was take a hot soak in the tub. That would have to wait because Jay and I were having dinner at his parents house. Everyone else was staying in hotels, but Ken stayed with Jay and I. I asked her if she wanted to come along, but she opted to curl up with a book.
I was running behind because I was tired and moving slowly. We were expected at seven, but it was already a quarter past. For whatever reason, Jay had a stank expression on his face. I know he better not be tripping about me running late. He and his friends were fitted within a few hours and they went off to enjoy the rest of the day.
“What?” I asked Jay slightly irritated. “Why didn’t you invite my mother to go shopping with you?” he asked. “What are you talking about? For one, the thought never crossed my mind, and two the only people who came are in my bridal party,” I replied. “Your cousin Shaina ain’t and she came along. It would’ve been a nice gesture if you’d ask my mom to come along. She has good taste and knows about that kind of thing,” Jaylen said stubbornly. Jay was up in his feelings, which surprised me.
“Shaina is my cousin, Jay. I don’t know your mama all like that. We’ve only met a handful of times. This was special and intimate occasion for me. I only felt comfortable sharing that experience with people I’m close to. I’m sorry if that hurts your little feelings, but I didn’t mean to,” I said. “It ain’t hurting my feelings. You may not know my mother well, but how do you think you’ll get to know each other?” Jay asked with an attitude. “Check it, the only person who’s mad, is you. I’m not about to be rubbing and patting on you cause you’re feeling some kind of way. If you need to calm down first before we leave, I suggest you do so,” I said, rolling my neck. “Whatever Reagan, I’m ready to go, we already late,” Jaylen said, practically stomping to the front door. I called to Kennedey letting her know I would be back later.
Jay and I drove to his parents house in silence. I knew he was protective of his mom, but he needed to chill with all that. “Reagan, sweetheart, it’s so good to see you again!” greeted Yuri. “It’s nice to see you too,” I replied and said hello to Jaylen’s father. “Dang Mama, it smell good up in here!” exclaimed Jaylen. I admit, the house did smell good from whatever Yuri was cooking. Of course Jay often told me how great of a cook his mother was.
Yuri had prepared a perfect meal that looked like it could have been featured on the cover of Food & Wine. Jaylen and his father gushed about how good the food was, the best they’ve ever had, so on and so forth. Not to seem rude, I complimented Yuri on this perfect meal as well.
“You know, Reagan sweetheart this is only the second time you’ve been here. I must say, how embarrassed I was when you came the first time. I haven’t had a chance to fix up the living room again since we had construction on the house. I’ve been so busy designing other peoples homes, I’ve neglected my own!” Yuri said, feeling the need to explain to me. Her house was nice, the paintings were expensive, but it wasn’t highly designed even for an interior designer’s home. I knew Jay’s parents could afford a bigger house but because of their “humility” opted to buy a smaller home their upper middle class neighborhood.
I listened politely as Yuri went on and on about the home interiors she designed all over Europe. She said it was easy to work in other countries because she usually could speak the language. As she droned on about how wonderful she was, I observed her perfect ensemble. Everything was on point as usual. It seemed as if Yuri could do no wrong. She was highly educated, beautiful, spoke multiple languages, well traveled, and extremely successful. She was starting to become almost irritatingly perfect.
Yuri told me she wanted to talk to me alone and shooed Jaylen and his father upstairs to watch TV. I sat on the sofa, thinking she was going to warn me since I was marrying her baby boy . “Reagan, sweetie, you and I haven’t had the chance to really sit down and get to know each other. I’m not here to warn you about marrying my son or anything like that. Jaylen is a grown man capable of making his own decisions. His father and I were happy when he told us he was going to propose,” said Yuri.
Yuri looked as if she were waiting for me to say something, but I remained quiet unsure of how to respond. “My children have always been my top priority. It’s important for a child to have a mother in their life, especially for girls. I have boys, but I’m a daughter and I’m very close to my mother. I know it was hard when your mother left, that would be traumatic for anyone. I know it wasn’t easy growing up with her. As your future Mother-in-law, you’re always welcomed to talk to me, I’m here for you. I’m Jaylen’s mama, but you can think of me as your mom too or a mother like figure. You’re going to be part of our family soon,” Yuri continued to say as she reached out her hand to touch mine.
I was stunned at Yuri’s pronouncement. Did this woman just say I could think of her as my mom or have the audacity to approach the subject of my mother? Taking a deep breath, I turned to Yuri. “Yuri I’m dumbfounded as to why you’d say anything about my mother. You’re aware that she left, but you know nothing of my situation. I don’t find it necessary to talk about her,” I said in my calmest voice. “Reagan, I didn’t mean to offend you. I understand you and your sister had it rough, I do,” said Yuri. I looked at her wondering how would a privileged rich girl understand anything about how we had it “rough”. “With all due respect, no one who hasn’t walked in my shoes could understand what life was like with my mother. You may mean well, but you’re assuming a lot based on whatever information you’ve been told,” I said.
My blood was boiling at this point. My mother may be a lot of things, but no one, and I mean no one outside of my immediate family; my father and sister was allowed to speak on her. Briah never brings my mother up and Bri is my best friend as well as my mom’s niece. Jaylen doesn’t even approach the subject of Apollonia. They wait until I do it first. In a weird way, I felt protective of my mom. If people bashed her and said things when they didn’t know her, I felt the need to defend her in a weird way, even though I’ve been angry with her for so long. My mom may not be perfect like Yuri, but she was still my mom. Yuri coming at me like this made me uncomfortable, especially when her family was like the Cleavers, while mine was far from that.
Yuri repeated that she didn’t mean to offend me. While I found her to mean well, I let her know that this was a sensitive subject for me and I didn’t even discuss it with her son for a long time. Yuri and I didn’t speak about it anymore and a few minutes later Jay and his father came downstairs. Yuri and I remained cordial but there was an awkwardness there.
When we got back to the apartment, Kennedey was already asleep. Jay sensed something was wrong and wanted to know what was bothering me. I wasn’t in the best of moods, but finally told him about my conversation with his mother. I let Jay know his mother was out of line, but he insisted she was coming from a good place.
“Your family may be curious about mine, but that doesn’t give you the right to tell anyone about my family history. All of this was told to you in confidence, you should know that, Jaylen!” I said angrily. “Baby, don’t get mad. I wasn’t being reckless. I didn’t give them any details about what you told me, just that you’ve been through a lot,” Jaylen defended himself. “I don’t care, Jaylen. If I can’t even trust you with my family business, how am I going to marry you?” I nearly shouted. I felt angry and betrayed.
Jaylen looked surprised. “C’mon, baby, you know you can trust me with anything. What I told my parents was very minimal. Please don’t be mad,” he pleaded. Jaylen looked hurt when I told him I was going to sleep with Kennedey, even though I was too pissed to sleep right now. Jaylen didn’t like it when I was mad at him and he certainly didn’t like it when I wasn’t by his side when he fell asleep.
The next morning, I was feeling extremely stressed out. Jay and I got into an argument last night, things were awkward with Yuri, and there was still so much to do. I had an eerie feeling going through my body. The last time I felt like this was when I came to New York with Jaylen. I felt like a piece of the puzzle was missing. “What’s the matter, Reagan? I was surprised to see you get in the bed with me last night. The last time we slept in the same bed was when it was thundering out, I hated thunder,” said Kennedey. I shook my head. I heard Jay moving around in the kitchen, I smelled breakfast food cooking. He knew I was mad at him, so he was trying to make me something to eat. “I don’t know, Ken. I’m just stressed,” I replied.
“Did you and Jay have a fight? You must have been mad at him to get in the bed with me,” said Kennedey. I nodded my head. I told Kennedey everything that went down last night at Jay’s parent’s house. “Wow, I understand how you feel. I would probably have the same reaction. As angry as I was at Mom all these years, I still didn’t want people to bash her,” said Kennedey. That’s what’s bothering me and why I felt extra sensitive last night, my mother. She should have been with me looking at dresses yesterday, supporting me through this process. All of a sudden, I gave way to tears. All the stress that’s been building up in me over the last several weeks and knowing my own mother won’t be at my wedding, it was all too much to bear.
“What’s wrong, Reagan?” asked Kennedey, all of a sudden alarmed. I began balling my eyes out. Kennedey sat there and stroked my hair. “It’ll be okay, Rea. Everything’s going to work out,” she said softly. I couldn’t answer her, I just sat there and sobbed. Jaylen flung the door open.
“What’s the matter, Baby? What it is?” asked Jaylen, with a look of panic in his eyes. He came closer and repeated himself.”Reagan, why are you crying, Baby?” asked Jaylen, softly. “I’ll leave you two alone,” said Kennedey and left the room. I sat back down on the bed.
“It’s everything. There’s so much to do. I feel so much pressure. My own mother won’t see me getting married. What girl goes looking for a wedding dress without her mom? How does a girl plan her wedding without her mother’s input? She should have been there with me yesterday. As far as I’m concerned, the only people who would have mattered would be my mom and sister. How am I supposed to get over that?” I whispered the question. Jaylen was quiet for a moment and looked down at his hands. “Baby, I wish I knew what to say to make you feel better. I’m sorry, Ma, I really am. I’m sorry about last night too. I just want you to be happy. Maybe we should hire an investigator to look for her,” he suggested. I shook my head. “No, if she wanted to be a part of our lives, she knows where to find us. I know she knows about me, like everyone else on the planet,” I said. There wasn’t a whole lot Jay or anyone could do. I would just have to suck it up. What do they say? This too shall pass.
Jaylen and I were good, but the stress has been taking it’s toll on us. made up. Over the last several weeks, we’ve been busy with the wedding details. Bailey, Briah, and Kennedey came along to pick out a wedding cake. I was very impressed by the bakery, all the cakes were gorgeous, it would be hard to pick just one. Jaylen and I browsed around a bit. Since I was particular in what I wanted, we were ordering a custom cake. I wanted everything about my wedding to be special and unique to me. I’m only getting married once and everything must be perfect.
I told Jay some of things I liked about the cakes they had on display and he wrote down some of my ideas. He had his own input too, mainly with the flavor. After trying several flavors, we decided on alight almond cake drizzled with Amaretto liqueur and layered with vanilla butter cream. Kennedey later commented that she could not believe how expensive the cake was going to cost.
Bailey arranged for Chef Jean Chastain to fly out to our house and prepare several dishes Jaylen and I were thinking about serving. Chef Chastain was one of the world’s premier wedding chefs, he was highly sought after, not to mention expensive. “I’m thinking we should serve both lobster and steak baby, what do you think?” I asked. “Yeah, that’s a good idea, not everyone eats red meat,” replied Jaylen. “I know this is your wedding and all, but maybe you should think about having a couple of vegetarian dishes, so people can have more options,” Kennedey spoke up. That was a good idea, although I couldn’t think of anyone I knew who didn’t eat meat. We also needed to decided which wine pairing would go best with what dishes. Briah didn’t have much input, I guess because she knew little about wine.
I knew a lot of the wedding planning was a bit over Briah’s head, but she was being a good sport about it and learning as much as she needed to help me out. I was happy both Bri and Ken were here every step of the way.
It was almost time for everyone to head to Miami. The wedding was just a little over two weeks away. I can’t believe how fast time flew by. After talking it over with Daddy and Kennedey, I made the decision to send an invitation to my grandparents in Trinidad. My Grandma Manique and Grandaddy called me right away, saying how happy they were to hear I was getting married and they were looking forward to flying up to Miami. It was comforting having my family’s support during this process. Once everyone was in Miami, we would have the rehearsal dinner. Jaylen and I still had last minute things we had to take care of with Bailey once we arrived. The wedding party would fly to New York for the bachelor and bachelorette parties. Since we were getting married in Miami, Jay wanted to have the parties in his hometown. Whatever, I thought. I didn’t mind it too much since we’re having the parties a week before we got married.
As much love and happiness I felt because of my family, it didn’t last long when Kennedey dropped a bombshell on me. Kennedey told me she was moving out. When she first spoke the words, I didn’t quite understand her. It really hasn’t crossed my mind that we would live apart.
“Kennedey, I don’t want you to leave, we’ve always lived together. You can’t really afford to live on your own just yet. I know you can, but I’m afraid you’re going to struggle after awhile,” I said. “Reagan, I’m happy you want me to stay, but you’ll be married soon and you need to spend time with your husband. As newlyweds, you’ll need your privacy. I’ll be fine. My work is selling on an occasion so my income is a little better now,” said Kennedey. I was still sad at the thought of my sister leaving, we’ve been together our entire lives, how do you walk away from something like that? I didn’t like the idea, but I told Kennedey how much her portion of the house would be.
“Reagan, that’s more than my fair share of the house! You got a mortgage on it because you weren’t working and the Starlight house undersold!” she exclaimed, her eyes as wide as saucers. “Well I needed somewhere to move my money around and free up some of my capital. Getting a mortgage was the best thing at the time, but I’ve since paid it off. Jay will be moving in and of course we’ll take care of the bills, taxes, and upkeep together, even though he wants to pay for everything himself. Jaylen also wants to give me half of what the house is worth, but I told him no. I know the money is a bit more than your share, but look at it as an investment. Now instead of worrying about getting someone else to hang your art in their gallery, why not have your own gallery to hang your art in? No one can tell you no ever again,” I said, swallowing a lump down my throat.
Kennedey had tears in her eyes. “Thank you, Reagan. Thanks for believing in me. I’m so happy you’re my sister. I don’t want to leave either, but we have to in order to grow and stop being dependent on each other. Don’t worry, I’ll be close by and I’ll visit often,” Kennedey said through tears. I guess I had to agree with her, as my own tears began to well up in my eyes.
After reading about Reagan’s engagement in the paper, the shadowy figure spoke quietly in the darkened room. “So Reagan is getting married, interesting.”