The Jump Off

The Jump Off

by Doug Dixon

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - Reprint)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780758213570
Publisher: Kensington
Publication date: 08/01/2008
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 6.78(w) x 10.86(h) x 0.95(d)

About the Author

Doug Dixon was born in Mobile, Alabama. Upon high school graduation, he joined the Naval Reserves and studied Electrical Engineering from South East College before attending Auburn University at Montgomery to study computer science. After earning a degree in the IT field, he lived in New Orleans before moving to Atlanta in hopes of climbing the corporate ladder and having a family. He found refuge from many failed relationships and a stressful work environment through reading books. Discussions with women in several different book clubs and throughout his travels revealed that many felt relationships portrayed in novels were sugar-coated, expressing popcorn love rather than ordinary couples' reality. Each comment, along with his own life experiences, created images in Dixon's mind that he later put on paper for his first novel. Since completing Twisted, his desire to "keep it real" has inspired Dixon to start writing several other novels about struggled relationships. When Doug Dixon isn't writing, you can find him in Atlanta's inner city recreation centers coaching baseball and basketball or attending spoken word events. His works have caught the attention of bestselling author and friend Camika Spencer and renowned editor Chandra Sparks Taylor who, with their continued support and inspiration, have made Dixon's hard work and determination worthwhile.

Read an Excerpt

The Jump Off
By Doug Dixon
DAFINA BOOKS
Copyright © 2006 Doug Dixon
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-7582-1357-0



Chapter One Breaking News

It was a Thursday evening, and I was on my way to Copeland's to meet my fiancée, Jennifer Stevens, for a late evening dinner. Copeland's was a Cajun-style seafood restaurant where Jennifer and I would meet for dinner and drinks, on the corner of Airport Boulevard and Hillcrest Road in Mobile, Alabama.

Since I had missed lunch, my stomach was growling like crazy, so I was in a hurry to get there. It was rush hour, and I had the music blasting to Ludicras's song "Move Get out the Way" and I was doing just that. I was speeding down the street trying to move everyone the hell out of my lane as I zipped through traffic.

I worked as an applications engineer for Norwood, Cook & Allen, a large engineering consulting firm in downtown Mobile. I'd been there for a little more than three years where I designed billing software on an application called Billright for clients. This application allowed our clients to process their customers' billing statements and print them on paper. Our clients consisted of corporations such as banks, utility companies, and telecommunication companies. Because this was a consulting firm, I worked under short-term or long-term contracts based on the workload of the firm. I was currently finishing up the first year of my two-year contract at which time a new one might be offered.

The first three years of my career I lived in New Orleans,Louisiana, before moving back to my hometown of Mobile, following my career path. I had hopes of one day starting my own engineering firm once I got more experience under my belt. That's when I met Jennifer Stevens. Yeah, my girl. She was an attorney for Collins & Clarke, a small black law firm in Mobile, where she practiced criminal law. She was originally from Pensacola, Florida, a city about fifty-five miles outside of Mobile.

We had first met two and a half years ago in Pensacola. I was walking down the beach one summer afternoon checking out the honeys and passed her as she sat alone on a towel reading a novel by Michael Eric Dyson, Is Bill Cosby Right?, as she enjoyed the nice weather. From the moment I saw her, I knew she was someone special. There was something that came over me that told me not to leave until I approached her. Nevertheless I kept on combing the beach, trying to get as many numbers as I could.

See, I was used to having three or four women on standby, and this was the day to add and delete. You know, add another honey to the list and delete the ones who were getting too boring or trying to hook me in a serious relationship.

Me, serious? No way. I just couldn't picture it. I could never see myself being with the same girl each and every day for the rest of my life. But, for some reason, my mind was set on meeting the girl sitting there all alone.

For most of the afternoon I kept trying to get her to notice me. Because she was all into what she was reading, she didn't even bother to look up at a brother. This went on far too long, and it was time for me to just make some kind of move. I had to say something before it got too late or before she decided to leave for the day, and then I might not ever see her again.

The thing that intrigued me first was her body and how fine she was. The swimsuit she was wearing was not too revealing, unlike with the other women on the beach, but for the most part it kept my attention.

As I began to get closer I must have scared her, because she looked up at me like I was a thug brother coming up to strong-arm her or something. I just stopped in my tracks and smiled at her to let her know that everything was cool. While standing there ready to introduce myself the craziest thing happened, I froze up. I mean my mind went completely blank. I've been hollering at honeys all day, so why has this one got me all frigid? She just sat there looking up at me staring at her like I was crazy.

Finally she stood, grabbed her towel along with the rest of her things, and began packing them up. I wanted to say something, but I was too stunned to open my mouth.

I could tell she was getting kinda nervous by the way she was frowning at me from the corner of her eye as she dusted the sand off her legs. She finally turned and looked at me again.

"Is there something wrong with you?" she asked as she continued to gather her things.

"Uh, no, baby. I just thought you were someone I knew, that's all," I replied nervously.

"No, I don't think so," she said as she began to walk away.

"Hey, wait!" I said as I walked up to her. "Uh, I really came over to ask you your name, that's all. No harm intended."

"My name," she replied.

"Yeah, your name."

She paused, still staring at me. "Well, it's Jennifer Stevens."

"Hi, Jennifer, my name is Troy Sanders, and I didn't mean to run you off. I just wanted to meet you, that's all. Uh, can we talk awhile or do you have to leave?"

She took a deep breath. "Well, uh, I guess I can stay for a few minutes."

That day we spent the next thirty minutes laughing and talking before finally exchanging numbers and then parting ways in opposite directions. On my way out, for some reason, I tossed all those other numbers I had collected and really just thought about her.

Within two months we started going out. On the weekends I was able to get away, we went to the movies, out to dinner, even to the casinos in Biloxi, Mississippi. We did almost everything together. All that traveling back and forth pretty much ended my days of playing honeys, and I seriously considered being faithful.

As time grew, so did our feelings for each other, and we fell in love. Our love was so strong that Jennifer ended up leaving the district attorney's office in Pensacola to work with Mckellon & Horton in Mobile, Alabama, to be closer to me. Two years later we got engaged.

As I got to the parking lot of Copeland's I didn't see Jennifer's car, so I parked and headed inside to grab a table. Jennifer was very dedicated to her work, so it was no surprise that she was late.

While I sat there waiting, I had three drinks. My favorite was cognac, Hennessy, Courvoisier, whatever. I just loved the smooth taste of it on the rocks.

I drank two kinda fast and sorta sipped my third one, still waiting patiently for her. By the time I made it halfway through that one my buzz kicked in. At that point I sat there fumbling with things on the table or just watched as other couples ate their dinner, which made my stomach growl even louder. Pretty soon the liquor started working on my kidneys, so I jumped up and headed to the restroom. While inside I checked myself out in the mirror, making sure I was tight. I brushed off my neatly trimmed beard and checked my nose to make sure the coast was clear up there and made sure my clothes were in order. Seeing that I was cool, I headed back to my chair.

As I tried to sit down, I was rudely pushed aside by two extra-large honeys not looking where they were going who caused me to knock my drink off the table, and it spilled all over my pants and shoes. Damn, I thought, as I quickly grabbed a napkin and bent over to dry myself off. No excuse me, I'm sorry, or nothing, just run me over. I was pretty hot and was ready to cuss someone's ass out when all of a sudden I felt this soft touch on the back of my neck. Surprised, I looked up and saw that it was Jennifer standing over me.

"Hi, baby. What happened here?" she asked, looking down at me.

"I was just trampled by those women sitting over there," I replied, still drying off my pants.

She laughed. "Boy, you so silly. So, how was your day?" she asked.

"It was cool. I'm just hungry as hell right now," I replied as I got up to help her to her seat.

I looked her up and down as I walked her to her chair. She was wearing this black business suit that complemented her cocoa-brown skin, her shiny black hair hanging below her shoulders. As she turned her head to thank me, I could smell the sweet scent of her perfume. The scent was so fresh it followed me back to my seat.

I sat down and handed Jennifer a menu while I ordered her a glass of her favorite merlot. We sat there looking over the menu, trying to find something new to eat, but as usual, we both got the same old thing. I ordered the bowl of gumbo with the seafood platter while Jennifer ordered the cup of gumbo, fried shrimp, and crab cakes in a cream sauce.

While waiting on dinner, like always I started talking about our wedding, kids, and having wild and crazy sex all night, making her laugh out loud. For some reason she wasn't into the conversation. It was like her mind was somewhere else. Seeing this, I reached over and grabbed her hand.

"What's wrong, baby? Is everything okay?" I asked.

"Yeah, I'm okay," she said with her head slightly tilted, rubbing her thumb against my hand.

"You sure? 'Cause you don't look okay," I said.

"No, I'm all right."

"Guess what?" I said with excitement.

"What?" she replied.

"I found this great three-acre lot the other day for sale overlooking the city that fits perfectly in our budget."

"Oh, really?" she said, not showing much excitement.

"Yeah, that means we can build the house we've talked about so much, you know, the two-story with the pool," I said, excited.

"Uh, yeah, but-"

"And now we can have the wedding we always wanted and the reception at the ballroom of the convention center. Isn't that great, baby?" I said.

She gave me a hard smile as though she was forcing it.

"Baby, what's up? You don't seem excited. I thought this was everything we wanted."

"Well, Troy, I am happy for you, but to be honest, it's not everything that I wanted."

"What do you mean? This is what we've been talking about since last year."

"No, this is everything that you've been talking about since last year, Troy. Look, I like Mobile a lot, but I feel stagnant here. I feel like I'm doing the same thing day after day, and it's beginning to take its toll on me."

"Where is this coming from? I thought you were okay being here. You have a good job, you make good money, we're together, so what's the problem?"

"Well, I don't feel like I'm growing here anymore. I want to get out and explore more options with my career, not just deal with the same thing every day, you know, someone beating his wife, drug dealers, and deadbeat dads. It's the same crazy thing over and over, and I'm just tired of it," she said emotionally.

"So what are you saying? I mean, what do you want to do about it?" I asked.

"Well, I was going to surprise you with my good news, but you caught me off guard with yours. For the past month, I've been on the phone with this huge law firm in Atlanta about a job. They've been impressed with my background and because I'm bar certified to practice law in Georgia, they want me to work for them in Atlanta."

"Atlanta," I said, surprised.

"Yeah, and today they made me an incredible offer."

"Offer. What kind of incredible offer?" I asked.

"Well, they want to almost double my salary, give me a bonus every quarter, and if I do well, I could be up for partner in the next two years."

"Well, have you given them your answer yet?" I asked nonchalantly.

"Well, I told them yes."

"Yes?" I replied, shocked. "Oh, so this is about you now? I can't believe you did this without even thinking about talking to me."

"Well, I was going to tell you before you surprised me with your news, Troy. Besides, they needed to know right away or they would have extended the offer to someone else. I had to give them an answer."

I shook my head in frustration. "Are you serious, Jennifer? You told them you'd take the job?" I said, looking directly at her.

"Yes, Troy, I'm dead serious, I put them off too long, and they pretty much extended the last offer to me. I had to say yes," she replied.

I looked off. "When do they want you to start?" I asked.

"Well, they want me to report in about a month."

"A month. Damn," I said. "What about us? What about the wedding and everything we've planned?"

"We can still get married. Can't you just pack up and come along with me?"

"Girl, you know I can't just break my contract like that. I still have one year left. Besides, even if I did break it, I couldn't afford to pay back all of the bonus money they gave me last year. It's all tied up in investments. That'll blackball me for sure in this field. I'm sorry, I'm stuck here."

"Well, what do you want to do?" she asked.

"Hell, I don't know. It seems like your mind is already made up on what you want."

"Well, maybe we can just put our wedding off until you move there with me."

I chuckled in anger. "Oh, so it's that simple for you, huh? Just like that. Do you think I can be without you for an entire year? I barely see you enough as it is."

"The only difference will be that we won't be in the same city for a while, that's all."

"That's not the point, Jennifer. You really don't understand what I'm talking about here, do you?"

"I do, Troy. I just want you to understand what I'm talking about and how I feel. This shouldn't be about just you. It should be about us. Shouldn't we both be happy in this relationship?"

"Why do you think I've been working my ass off so much, Jennifer? To get you the nice house, to have a beautiful wedding, to keep you happy."

"I know, Troy. But I feel that moving to Atlanta will help me grow in my career."

"I just wish you would've told me about this a lot sooner so that we could have worked something better out with our situation. Damn! I can't believe this shit. One minute I feel like I'm on top of the world and now I feel like I just got kicked in the groin."

There was silence.

"What are we going to do, Troy?" she asked with concern in her voice. "I don't want to lose you over this."

"What do you mean what are we going to do? Are you suggesting that we break up?"

"Oh no!" she quickly responded. "I wouldn't dare break us up over this. If this makes you that unhappy, I can call them first thing in the morning and tell them I don't want the job," she said with disappointment in her voice.

I looked her in the eye as she turned her head to keep from showing her emotions. I couldn't dare let her turn down something she truly wanted to do. I composed my anger for a moment.

"You know I love you, right, and I only want you to be happy? And, well, if this is going to make you happy, then I guess I have to accept it. When do they want you to start?"

"They would like for me to report to work in about a month so that I can start this big case."

"A month, huh? That damn soon? I just don't believe this shit is happening. Can you at least put that off for a while?"

"I wish I could because this is so sudden, but I have to find a place to stay and pack all of my things. I just have so much to do in so little time."

As she continued to talk, my anger made her voice fade as I thought about how it would be without Jennifer with me. I felt like someone had just taken my stomach and tied it into knots. I started thinking about how I could keep us together and how I was going to change my schedule so I could visit regularly. As my anger started cooling I could hear her clearly again, talking about all she had to do before she left for Atlanta. I grabbed her hand and pulled it closer to me.

"Do you love me?" I asked.

"Yes, baby, with all my heart, why?" she replied, looking concerned.

I took a deep breath. "If you love me like you say, then I guess we'll have to make this work," I said with somewhat of a doubtful tone.

She smiled as tears started to build in her light brown eyes.

By the time we got our food, neither one of us was in the mood to eat. We just nibbled and sat there in silence, occasionally making small talk. Jennifer finally suggested that we leave.

With everything that had taken place I didn't realize that it was after nine o'clock. We got the waitress to box our leftovers, paid the check, and started out the door. I walked her to her car silently holding her hand. We embraced and kissed before she got in her car and headed in the direction of her apartment. I got in my car and drove around town trying to clear my head after hearing such heartbreaking news. I stopped at the liquor store and bought a half pint of Hennessy and drank it straight out of the bottle as I rode around for about an hour. When my cell phone started ringing, the first time I didn't answer, but about a minute later it started again.

"Hello," I answered.

"Hey, baby, where are you?"

(Continues...)



Excerpted from The Jump Off by Doug Dixon Copyright © 2006by Doug Dixon.Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Jump Off 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
1stMizzFranklin More than 1 year ago
I am a Mobile, AL native so the first couple of pages brought back sweet memories for me, after that I was like.... what happened? I am still trying to figure out the how's and why's.
Shantea Robinson More than 1 year ago
You will love this book. Real life events that will have you so into the story that you will have to force yourself to take a break. Job well done, I truly enjoyed it from beginning to end laughing and crying.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think this story was very well written. The characters were great and the story line was excellent. It was like a movie. Can't wait til your next book!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading this book. It was great to read about a man who is insecure in love and not always reading about a woman pining after some man. This book shows that men can fall head over heels in love and take the breakup just as hard as many women can. I get tired of reading about women whining and complaining about men all the time. Nice to see a book that shows men have real emotions also. I also enjoyed Jennifer not being beholden to a small city and wanting to better herself and not just stay in one place because of a man. More women need to take risks in life. I thought it was funny and real. Great Job!