LOVE WILL DO THAT takes you through an array of emotions, which forces you to evaluate what is important. It cuts through the red tape and takes you to the core of the heart...the place where love truly abides.
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Love Will Do That
By Tabitha R. Butler
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2010 Tabitha R. Butler
All right reserved.
Chapter OneA NEW DAY
What everyone wants from life is continuous and genuine happiness ~Baruch Spinoza~
It was six a.m. and I hit the snooze button for the last time. It seemed like only minutes had passed since I laid down last night. As much as I wanted to stay in bed, I had to get going because I had so much to do. Tony's flight was leaving for New York at eleven. He had been selected to give the keynote address at a writers' conference and was so excited! His career had really taken off since taking the job at the New York Post. Thankfully, he was able to work from home most of the time, and Kendall loved having his daddy home. It was even better for me because Tony looked after him while I worked. As the head basketball coach at Grant Hall University, I had to travel a lot and without Tony's support and encouragement, I would not have been able to hold the job.
I often thought about my days playing in the WNBA. I was the first-round draft pick even after my pregnancy. I hired a personal trainer and worked out twice a day. Traveling was tough at first, knowing there was a six-month-old baby at home, but I could do it because Tony was so great bringing him to every home game and never complaining.
The adjustment to the WNBA was difficult the first month. Even though I was the number one pick, I was still a rookie and was treated like one. I had to prove myself and prove myself I did! By the second month, I was the number two scorer on the team and quickly gaining on the top rebounder. I loved it. We usually won our games by at least ten points but on a cold night in Chicago, we were down by two with ten seconds left. I quickly brought the ball down the court, dribbled to my left then back to my right making a beeline to the basket as I thought, 'Should I stop for the jumper or take it in to draw the foul?' I decided to take it to the hole. As I was going up for the shot, the center fouled me and I fell to the floor, my head hitting it hard. When I woke up, I was in the hospital and couldn't remember how I got there or how long I had been there.
After talking to Tony, he informed me that I had suffered a severe concussion and I had been hospitalized for two days. I was hysterical. The doctor came in later and explained my injury to me in more details. He told me that I could continue to play, although he didn't recommend it, but if another such injury happened again, it could result in brain damage.
Playing in the WNBA was my dream, but other things in my life were more important. I wanted to see my son grow up and didn't want to cause Tony unnecessary stress so we decided that I would end my career.
I stayed in the hospital an additional three days. My teammates visited along with family and friends. It was sad at times because I was ending my WNBA basketball career, which had been a lifelong dream, but I was thankful that the injury hadn't left me disabled.
A few months after the accident, I received a call from the Grant Hall University athletic director. She stated that her three-year head coach had accepted a job at another university and that the job was mine if I wanted it. I had never imagined a coaching career but what other way did I have to get back on the court. I spent a couple of days discussing the offer with Tony and we agreed that this would be a great opportunity for me so, on April 4, I returned to the court, my very first love.
A faint knock at the door brought me out of my daydreaming mode. I jumped right out of bed because I knew that when I opened the door, I'd see a sleepy-eyed little boy looking up at me. At the age of three, Kendall was incredibly smart. Tony and I read to him daily and made sure he watched educational programs but I still wondered where he got his wit.
One day at mealtime, I said, "Let me cut this for you Kendall. It's too big for you."
"'I'm a big boy Mommy!" he replied. "My name is Kendall Black!" All Tony and I could do was smile.
Tony and Kendall had a great relationship and were like two peas in a pod. Kendall and his dad looked a lot alike, but the one thing that just melted my heart was his eyes, which were soft and innocent. When he got into trouble, all he had to do was look at me and say, "Mommy, I'm sorry," and I would give in, which is why Tony was the disciplinarian.
Kendall ran in and gave me a big hug. He then jumped in bed with Tony, who pretended to be asleep, but he couldn't keep up the charade for long, and burst out laughing. Kendall loved playing this game with his daddy. They played for a few more minutes and then we all got up to start our day.
Chapter TwoSAY IT AIN'T SO
Alexis had gotten used to her routine. Playing in the WNBA had its challenges but the good outweighed the bad. She was able to travel and meet new people while playing her favorite sport. Since her marriage to Michael, Alexis had been on cloud nine, but it hadn't always been like that.
Shortly after their engagement, Alexis and Justine had met for coffee one evening after a game. This was a time to catch up on each other's lives. Justine and Michael usually attended the games together but this particular night, he'd told Alexis he had to work. He was employed as a mortgage broker for a major real estate company. Alexis and Justine chatted about politics, gas prices, the latest movies, road trip stories and anything else that came up, and then Alexis looked down at her watch and saw that an hour had passed. She hadn't heard from Michael, so she called his cell phone to see when they could meet up for the night but he didn't answer. She then called his office and he answered on the second ring.
"This is Michael."
Alexis smiled and said, "Hey baby, are you almost finished?"
"I'll be done in about an hour," he told her. "I have a report that's due tomorrow by 9:00 AM. Say, I saw some of the game on television. You did great tonight! Can I pick up anything before I head to your place?"
"No sweetie, just yourself," she replied.
Alexis and Justine chatted for a few more minutes then Alexis asked Justine to drop her off at Michael's office. Just as they were leaving, Michael called Alexis and told her that he had decided to cut his work short and call it a night.
By the time Michael arrived at her house, Alexis had changed into something more comfortable, as he loved to see her in a t-shirt and shorts. Playing basketball kept Alexis in tip-top shape. He planted a kiss on her lips then headed for the shower, which was part of his routine after a long workday. The scent of his Chrome body wash always made her shiver with excitement. She peeked in the shower and offered to wash his back but he politely denied the request and continued to wash. Just as she was closing the shower curtain, she noticed a bruise on his shoulder that looked like a hickey.
Her heart sank. When she asked him what happened, he said, "Oh, I was at the gym doing curls and one of the dumb bells slipped out of my hand." Their eyes met for only for a second, and then Michael turned his head away. "OK," she said quietly.
She then closed the curtain and left the bathroom.
She tried her best to stop the tears but couldn't while thinking, 'Michael can't be cheating on me! He's never lied to me, or at least I don't think he has. It is possible for him to have a bruise on his shoulder, isn't it? We just got engaged! Should I ask him about it or just let it go?' She decided to ignore it.
A few minutes later, Michael got out of the shower, put on his shorts and t-shirt and headed to the living room where Alexis was watching television.
He sat down beside her and said, "Sweetheart, I know what you're thinking ... I would never cheat on you. I love you and I know the bruise looks suspicious, but you have to believe me. Here, let me show you."
He sat on the edge of the sofa, stretched out his arm, and made a fist, as if holding a dumb bell. Curling his arm toward his shoulder and opening his hand, he mimicked the action of it falling on his shoulder. With that demonstration, she was convinced it could have happened that way.
She smiled and said sweetly, "Michael I know you love me and wouldn't do anything to hurt me. I'm sorry I got upset."
He pulled her close to him and she laid her head on his chest. Neither mentioned the bruise again.
Days later, Alexis and Michael met for breakfast to discuss their wedding plans. They were going back and forth about the number of guests. His train of thought was the more people, the more food he would have to provide. She was thinking; the more people, the more gifts they would receive! The big wedding Alexis dreamed about would have to be downsized. They came to a happy median and set the date for six months later. Alexis' mind began to race. She had to send out announcements, secure a venue, hire a caterer and choose a menu and a hundred of other things. She took a deep breath and looked into Michael's eyes but he seemed distracted.
When asked what was wrong, he replied, "Nothing much baby ... just have a few things at work I have to finish up. By the end of the week, I should have it completed."
Alexis asked, "Is there something I can help you with? I leave for a game in Dallas in a couple of days but I'm pretty much free until then."
Michael quickly responded, "No ... I can handle it. So ... what's up for tonight ... dinner and a movie?"
Alexis knew he was capable of just about any task so she said, "Let's grab something to eat then catch a movie." They agreed, kissed each other and left. She headed to basketball practice and he went to work.
Basketball practice was just like any other practice. They began with stretching, warm up drills, offense review, defense review, full-court play, free throws and sprints. Alexis was at the top of her game. With a salary of $40,000, she led the team in scoring and assists. The remainder of the year she spent volunteering as a basketball assistant at the local high school.
At lunchtime, Alexis decided to surprise Michael at his office. She knew of a nice, cozy restaurant minutes from his office. As she was driving to his office, she was slowed due to an accident involving a pickup truck and a car. It didn't seem too bad but bad enough to slow traffic. From the looks of it, there was no way she could make it in time. She called Michael's cell to ask him to meet her at the restaurant. He agreed but she heard a strange noise in the background. She asked him what it was and he said, "Oh, that's my supervisor Sharon. She was looking over some of my work and she dropped the notebook. I can get there in ten minutes. See you there honey. Bye-bye."
Alexis hung up the phone but she felt a lump in her throat. She couldn't shake it. She didn't want to be that woman who had suspicions of her man cheating but did nothing about it. That's what her mother did. She stayed with her cheating husband because she thought she couldn't do any better. She made it to the restaurant and the minute Michael sat down at the table, she let it go.
She said, "Look Michael, I don't know what's going on but I'm not getting a good feeling about you and your work. Please tell me what's going on. Just tell me!"
Michael put his head down and moments later, lifted his head back up. He began, "Alexis you know that I love you and I wouldn't do anything to harm you on purpose. The last few weeks at work have been very tough for me. My supervisor, Sharon, has been making passes at me. I've sat her down on numerous occasions and explained to her the nature of our relationship. We have a professional relationship and nothing else. Baby, the more and more I explain that to her, the more and more she throws herself at me.
I thought that I could handle this without involving you but I don't want to keep anything from you. I want you to be sure of me. If there's any doubt then it means that I'm not doing my job. I want to make you feel so secure that you KNOW I won't do anything to hurt you. I won't lie to you and say that I haven't been tempted but baby I haven't done anything. As a matter-of-fact, I resigned from my job today. I didn't feel comfortable in that environment and I didn't see it getting any better. More and more, I was asked to work late or on special projects with her. I can find another job baby. I just need you to trust me."
"Wow! I thought something was going on but I didn't think anything was going on." The water from her eyes trickled down her face.
Michael looked at her puzzled. "What I meant was I had my suspicions but I was hoping I was wrong", she explained.
"Oh OK. I get it now. I not only made a commitment to you but I made one to God and I take it very serious baby."
If Alexis had a mirror, she could see that she was beside herself! She smiled and said, "Oh baby, thank you for that. Come here and give me a kiss!"
He planted a kiss on her lips, then her forehead and said, "Now, what would you like to eat?" She could tell a burden was lifted because he seemed more vibrant and attentive. They sat and talked for over an hour then they decided to go back to Michael's for an afternoon nap.
Chapter ThreeLIFE HAPPENS
Kendall and I headed back from the airport. Kendall cried a little but Tony assured him that he'd be back soon and he'd bring back a big surprise for him. Kendall's eyes lit up as Tony walked away.
After a couple of hours, Kendall forgot he left, but when bedtime arrived, he pitched a fit! He cried and cried, "I want my daddy! I want my daddy!" Tony was out of town for three days and for two of those days, Kendall cried. I made promises of going to the park, buying ice cream and buying toys but it didn't work. It was a happy day in the Black household when we picked Tony up from the airport. Kendall clung to his dad the whole day. He even slept in the bed with us for one night and that was half a night because as soon as he fell asleep, he was gone!
The next day, I had a game in Virginia so I left home around ten in the morning. Tony decided to drive to the game that evening. I enjoyed having Tony and Kendall at the games. I believe Kendall loved it the most. He often imitated my motions on the sideline and because of that, I had to keep my cool as much as I could. Although, there were plenty of times I wanted to throw a chair across the floor or break a clipboard in two. I could hear him cheering on the sidelines throughout the game. He was the team's biggest fan!
The drive to Virginia was about three hours. Tony left around 2 pm to give himself time to get through traffic and anything else that would come up. He chatted with Kendall for a while until he fell asleep then he played his favorite CD. He could drive all day listening to the old sounds of Heavy D and the Boys mixed with a little Luther and John Legend.
Tony was enjoying the music and the scenery when his phone rang. He reached on the passenger seat to answer it but it slipped out of his hand between the seats. He felt between the seats but he couldn't get to it after several attempts. He then pulled off to the side of the road, pulled his seat back and retrieved his phone. It was his mother, whom he adored. He was very close with his family. Tony's younger brother, Trevor, and his dad, enjoyed watching football on Sundays. He talked to his mother for a few minutes then pulled back onto the highway.
Tony arrived at the game one hour before it started. He and Kendall got a chance to shoot around a little before the teams came out. When Kendall saw me, he yelled, "Hey mommy!" I gave him a big hug and a kiss and walked to the bench. It was tough being away from them but Tony made it manageable.
After the game, Tony and I decided to get a hotel room for the night before heading back to North Carolina for a three o'clock practice the next day. The next morning we were up at seven. We stopped at the Pancake Factory down the road from the hotel. Kendall loved pancakes, especially if they had strawberries. We finished our breakfast and got on the interstate.
We were cruising along when we saw debris in the road. It looked like a storm had passed through the night before. We were in the left lane traveling about 55 mph when we noticed a big eighteen-wheeler swerving about three car lengths ahead of us in the right lane. I looked down at his truck tires and I could see that he was about to run over a rubber object. When he ran over it, I didn't think much of it until the rubber flung back towards our car.
Excerpted from Love Will Do That by Tabitha R. Butler Copyright © 2010 by Tabitha R. Butler. Excerpted by permission.
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Table of Contents
ContentsForeword by Pastor Wendell Jones....................ix
PREFACE - A NOTE TO THE READER....................xi
1. A NEW DAY....................1
2. SAY IT AIN'T SO....................5
3. LIFE HAPPENS....................9
4. LORD, HELP ME!....................13
5. WALKING IT OUT....................17
6. I JUST DON'T KNOW....................23
7. THEY WERE BLOWN AWAY....................27
8. I NEED STRENGTH!....................35
9. NOT AGAIN!....................41
10. BACK IN LOVE....................45
11. BLESSED TWICE....................49
12. DON'T GO!....................53
13. SUBSTITUTE PLAYER....................59
14. LOST AND FOUND....................65
15. WHAT'S THAT?....................71
16. UNFINISHED BUSINESS....................75
17. THE UNEXPECTED....................79
18. BE STRONG....................85
19. BACK IN STRIDE AGAIN!....................95
20. SHE APPEARED....................101