When a young black woman discovers she is barred from procuring property, she is forced to take the course of clever schemes. She wrangles herself into one of the most prestigious positions on the Upper East Side of Manhattan that resulted in the change of corporate law through the Fortune 500 advertising media in order to get where success lies.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.55(d)|
Read an Excerpt
WHERE SUCCESS LIES
By RHONA FERGUSON
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2013 Rhona Ferguson
All rights reserved.
A True Story
2000 QUEENS NEW YORK
Susan has just realized she was seeing life through rose colored lenses. It was a beautiful autumn day in Queens New York. She loved driving to where she grew up. Coming back to this place, where it all began, was like time traveling. Touching intangible things had a way of bringing back the past, like no other way in the world. It was the perfect balance for remaining humble. Her car was pushing 60 on a 35 mile an hour road. It seemed to rush, as it were, from the present back through her past; to ghosts of familiar faces welcoming her back down memory lane. Her red hair was blowing in the wind. Her neighborhood seemed smaller than it had when she used to live there. After driving through the neighborhood, she came to a complete stop to step outside of her 2000 Mercedes. Susan was a classy Caucasian woman. She was casually dressed with a Vera Wang sweater tied around her neck. She was wearing a pair of straight leg twill pants, walking in peep toe pumps. Her parents never moved away when there came to be too many Blacks moving into the area. People criticized them for staying back with the Blacks. Her parents decided to stay behind. To struggle alongside African American families, was no disgrace. Their only fault was aspiring to build better lives for themselves, the same as were they. Susan walked up to the house where Rhoda once lived recollecting there used to be a fence around it. She spotted the giant shady tree remembering playing underneath it with Rhoda. She recalled seeking shelter underneath its branches, from the many times it had rained. Susan had not been aware that, in spite of the fun they had together, Rhoda's family struggles were unlike her own; which were only monetary. Childish laughter startled her from her thoughts. Two little girls openly played together, although they were from different races. That was not unlike the times of the past. Rhoda and Susan played together but, not in the open. That was different. Susan thought about how Rhoda was always by her side, even when she did not deserve her to be. When they had differences, they would rekindle their friendship. She loved Rhoda like a sister. Aside from her parents, Rhoda's opinion mattered most, and the reason, Susan would always return to this place. It would be the therapy she needed since the day of finding out success was not easy for Rhoda. It was just as hard for Susan, finding out about the difficulty her dear friend had, living the good life. They grew up wanting the same things out of life. They always talked about making the fast and easy money together. They danced to the same music and had the same friends. Even though their lives, no matter how much alike they were, were still viewed from different standpoints. Susan had never been closer to anyone else, and yet she has just learned the clever way Rhoda lived her life. She smiled at the thought. Although looking back, Rhoda was wiser than Susan but protected her. Susan figured as easily as some come to the realization of truth, can be just as difficult for others. It just did not seem possible to discover in a single day, how strange life can be. The truth is even ugly that way. Susan felt the same level of comfort, the same as she had as a little girl, even now; in this part of town. Her red hair caught the sun's rays through the branches that swayed in the wind. Susan sighed, leaning her head against the giant shady tree wondering. If she had known then, what she now knew, would it have turned out as well? It only seemed like yesterday ...
... 2 YEARS EARLIER 1998 HOUSTON TEXAS
GeeGee looked at the clock that had just struck 8:00. She had gotten up earlier in order to get to the bureau on time. She was not the type to waste the entire day. GeeGee was an attractive Caucasian woman in her thirties, blonde hair, blue eyes; slithering into a purple pencil skirt. She was heavy on the mascara and applying a thick layer of foundation, finishing up with purple eye shadow. Her hands were visibly shaking. She had taken deep breaths to slow down her rapid heart rate. She closed her eyes suddenly groping for the bedpost but the moment she reopened them heard the familiar crescendo of a heartbeat reminding her hands to shake uncontrollably again. GeeGee wanted that drink she managed to turn down for the third time this week. But thought ahead of what others might say smelling it on her breath, once she got there. She exhaled the final time then finished applying her make-up. She slipped her feet into a pair of purple peep toe pumps. Her reflection looked back in astonishment with one hand over its mouth. It was shaking its head silently laughing at her from another world behind the glass. GeeGee lingered watching her reflection, standing in front of a three way mirror. She turned her body from side to side walking away, then walked back to stand in front of the mirror again. She tugged at her skirt where it hiked up in the back. She shrugged her shoulders and nodded her head. She turned to face her reflection, giving it a good luck sign crossing the fingers of both hands. She paced in front of the door before leaving out the back way.
GeeGee drove up to the side of the building in order to see at a closer range the words 'LICENSE BUREAU' written on the sign. She bit her lip as she parked the car. She held onto the steering wheel placing her head between her clenched fists that would not let go. When she looked in the rear view mirror, she was still trembling. She wiped the caked lipstick from the corners of her mouth, and fixed her hair before getting out of the car.
GeeGee sat across from a man who flirted with her the entire time she waited to have her picture taken. She heard her number called as if she may have missed hearing it the first time. Instead of walking up to the window; she looked for her own reflection in it, to fix her hair again before the camera clerk snapped the shot. GeeGee blinked stepping back onto the foot of the man standing behind her and said,
"Sorry, I do not like taking pictures."
GeeGee stared at the photo she was given. She could have chosen a darker shade of foundation. She made a quick decision before leaving the bureau, turning back toward the camera clerk to ask if she could retake the picture.
"You look fine Miss." The clerk replied. Although what GeeGee wanted to hear more than what the clerk had said, was the tone of approval carried in her voice.
Once outside of the bureau, GeeGee came to a complete stop to take a deep breath. She gathered her hair flinging it behind her shoulders and with both hands spoofed it up. She walked to her car swinging her hips as she had planned all along but did not do. An officer across the street watched her every move. He leaned closer to bear witness as she began putting the tags on her vehicle. GeeGee threw her head back to laugh. He would have thought she had sneezed if she had not started dancing.
GeeGee got into her car and sped down the street before realizing an officer was ordering her to pull over using a bullhorn. She swung over onto a soft shoulder at the side of the road.
The officer watched as GeeGee began to fidget with each passing step he made closer to the side of her vehicle. She was able to sneak a last peek at her reflection in the rear view mirror to check her face and quickly fix her hair. GeeGee watched the officer approach making a roll down the window gesture and said,
"May I have your license and registration please?" While searching for the documents, GeeGee tried adding the sexiest quality to her voice and said,
"I'm sorry I was speeding officer." GeeGee would focus on his nose every time she looked up, to avoid eye contact. She once heard that it was a trick the eye cannot detect and said,
"Here they are officer." The officer began to fidget with the pen he held in his right hand, and only looked at the license instead of writing the citation on the pad he held in the other. Then asked,
"Where yah off to?" GeeGee was able to detect the sudden change in his tone.
"Really?" She thought.
"I'm on my way home." She replied.
"Is this your address?" The officer inquired as he handed back the documents. GeeGee looked into his beaming eyes.
"Yes, it is." She replied in that same soft sexy way. She raised her eyebrows giving them two quick jerks then smiled at him.
"Now you're not going to speed anymore are yah little lady?" He pleaded.
"You just blinked." She thought and said,
"Of course not" But GeeGee still stepped on the gas pedal speeding down the street. The officer only shook his head as he watched her car disappear down the road.
Manhattan was buzzing with commuting pedestrians. They were not too threatened by the oncoming traffic. They were collectively in their usual rush hour frenzy from the train station on into the breakfast nook for the bagel and cream cheese special. Rhoda will occasionally be among the ones who stayed behind eating her usual buttered roll. Others went on their way to their Fortune 500 destinations. They were careful not to spill their lattes as they weaved between the cars to get to the other side of town.
Rhoda missed her calling as a Hollywood actress, although voted the girl most likely to do whatever she set her mind on. She had a fascination for painting the town red for 'girl's night out adventures.' One night she and her friends had dressed up in 'Phantom of the Opera' attire appropriate for theatre. Upon their arrival at Carnegie Hall, they were mistaken as the very cast of performers. The attendants could not hold back the crowd who tried getting their autograph. Today, however, she was only next door at Saks Fifth Avenue pining over a pair of shoes she waited to purchase. It became apparent there were other interested 'buy standers' window shopping the same pair she would have chosen, had the price been right. There was a woman in particular who stood right beside her, whom she had dismissed to be Susan because of having a complexion far too fair for jet black hair.
"Who colors their hair jet black?" Rhoda thought. She rolled her eyes and jerked her chin away from the woman who continued to stare, but the moment Rhoda walked away she heard a familiar voice.
"Rhoda is that you?" Rhoda covered her mouth, realizing she had screamed. She stepped back in order to get a comprehensive view of the woman who had just spoken to her and said,
"Susan? I did think it was you, but your hair color threw me off altogether." Susan ran her fingers through her hair in an exaggerated way and said,
"Do you like it?" But before Rhoda could reply, Susan had already changed the subject and said,
"I thought you moved to Houston." Rhoda pointed to her car as if by showing it became the true sanction of her reply and said,
"I missed my old routine, so I moved back to New York." Susan walked to her parked vehicle to get a closer look and said,
"Hey, an Accord I like this." She looked at the license plates and said,
"When did you move back in town?"
"It's funny that while you're always the last to know, you're undoubtedly the first to find out." Rhoda said. Susan nodded and said,
"That's so true," She grabbed Rhoda by the arm and said,
"And yet whenever we do bump into one another, it is always the right moment to catch up on time lost." Susan was practically dragging Rhoda toward and on into Starbucks.
"You know Susan I somehow get the feeling you'll have a lot on your plate you'll wind up feeding me." Rhoda said.
Once inside, they could hear a selection from the Bee Gees playing. Susan danced to the music before sitting down and said,
"I used to sing that song all the time." Rhoda nodded her head following behind and said,
"I remember" She was sliding into a booth across from Susan and said,
"But what are you doing for yourself these days? What beat are you dancing to now? Are you still in real estate?" Susan motioned for a waitress and said,
"That's where the money is. Aren't you?" She could tell Rhoda hesitated and said,
"Come on, what is it? Tell me." Rhoda shook her head and said,
"Ah, why even talk about it? Whenever I make a purchase of a property it never turns out that way." The expression that lingered on Susan's face told Rhoda she did not understand the meaning behind what was so carefully conveyed, for her own good and said,
"What do you mean? You purchased property before." Rhoda only sat there trite to elaborate while Susan secretly watched how Rhoda nervously twisted the ring on her finger and said,
"You have to do better than that. You have to hang on to property for 5 to 10 years before selling it. I thought you knew that." Rhoda once again felt reluctant to report. She only sighed as she continued twisting her ring. Susan watched and said,
"Is everything alright? When did you pick up that nervous habit?" Rhoda looked up from her cup of coffee and said,
"Stop examining me." Susan laughed watching how Rhoda tried to appear unaffected by her scrutiny and said,
"I didn't intend to make you feel uncomfortable." Rhoda shook her head and said,
"I only remembered where I should have been." Susan smiled looking down at her wristwatch. It was 2:00. The tone in her voice became apologetic.
"I thought you were able to hang out with me. No pun intended, but I suppose bumping into me must have thrown you off." Susan said. Rhoda shook her head again and said,
"Well, never mind. It's too late anyway." Susan started to laugh again and said,
"You know, for a minute, I thought you were going to tell me, you needed to get home in time to prepare your husband's dinner." Susan laughed so hard she spoke in short spasmodic gasps. Rhoda joined Susan's contagious cajoling and said,
"How could I not invite you to the wedding?" Susan shrugged and said,
"Well it did seem that way. Are you serious about anyone yet?" Rhoda finished her coffee pouring herself another cup and said,
"You know I can't find the right man." Susan gave her a sidelong glance and said,
"Then what are you up to these days?" She sensed the sudden change in Rhoda's demeanor given the opportunity to transition from any previous topic to what excited her most.
"Well you know I invented a hairpiece." Rhoda replied. Susan now looked up from her own cup and said,
"Yeah, I remember when you started that patent." Rhoda couldn't help detecting reservation in Susan's response. It was neither with much effort that she was able to hear the unquestionable doubt carried in her tone. Rhoda still remained unmoved by her reaction and said,
"I just couldn't get it off the ground although soon I will be able to." Susan flashed a Cheshire grin and said,
"Just how will you do that?" Rhoda smiled and said,
"By never becoming discouraged but only compelled to finish what I have already started. I have a little accident money I'm going to use." Susan only shook her head before looking out the window.
"The real expense is when I consider marketing the hairpiece." Rhoda added and said,
"But you don't fool me Susan. I know whenever you're not in favor of something I either say or do. You carry on as if you're bored just as you're doing now." Rhoda leaned forward and said,
"Now, how about you are you serious about anyone?"
"Nah" Susan replied while looking down at her plate of food and said,
"I don't think I ever will. There are too many things I want to accomplish before I settle down." Rhoda chuckled at how she cleverly changed the subject without Susan being aware of it.
"I was doing an awful lot of thinking, about moving right here in the city." Susan said. Rhoda lifted her head and said,
"That's not a bad idea. Do you think the real estate is good in Manhattan?"
"I'm sure it is." Susan replied. Rhoda smiled and said,
"Want a roommate?" Susan set the tone of validity in her voice while gathering her belongings and said,
"That's why I'm telling you." Rhoda finished drinking what remained in her cup and said,
"I had a feeling you had more to add to that subject. Susan was smiling and said,
"You mean I finally arrived at what highlighted the reason I wanted to talk in the first place?" Susan snapped her finger and said,
"I know an apartment complex built next to a municipal parking lot on the east side."
"And guess what? It's only used for their tenants. We can go see it right now." Susan added.
"That's a great idea." Rhoda said. Susan finished the conversation with the final seal of authenticity and said,
"I knew we would one day move in together."
NEW YORK APARTMENT
Susan and Rhoda were busy adding the finishing touches to their apartment. Rhoda stood on a ladder in the living room putting the last vase on top of a wall unit and said,
"Well, that's everything." Rhoda looked around and said,
"It only took us three days to pack, unpack and organize. That's the fastest moving in on record for me." Rhoda sighed as if it proved all her hard work. She wiped her forehead of the perspiration collected under the intensity of her vigor. She looked around again and said,
Excerpted from WHERE SUCCESS LIES by RHONA FERGUSON. Copyright © 2013 Rhona Ferguson. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I Just didn't want to lay this book down. FIVE STARS+ Great book & very easy to read.