Pretty Lives…. Excerpt

 

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00020]

Pretty Lives Ugly Truths

 

 

“Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them”

 

Prologue

 

November 18, 1993

10:05am on a Saturday

Los Angeles, CA

 

“I never understood why the world loved my father so damn much.”

Malcolm Monroe stood just inches from Langston Monroe’s casket and stared down at his father’s lifeless body.  His pumpernickel skin and salt and pepper hair a testament to the man’s age and the life he lived.

At 16 years old, Malcolm knew a thing or two about death.  He knew once you died, your soul went to heaven and your body went into the earth.  He knew that everyone met their maker and judged you would be.  Most of all, he knew on this day, the day of his father’s funeral, he was glad his father was finally dead.

A gloomy LA morning coupled with a cold November day was the perfect backdrop for a funeral.  A procession of black town cars and one hearse slowly traveled down Barham Blvd before turning onto Forest Lawn Drive.  The dark clouds parted as a brief downfall of rain let everyone know the storm wasn’t through soaking the slick streets below.  The rain pellets drummed like chubby fists on the hoods of the long line of black town cars accented with silver trim.

Malcolm and his two siblings rode in silence, vulnerable to the movement from the motion of the car and the road beneath them. Lance, 14, brave but still clearly intimidated by the crowds, and Lacey, 12, innocent enough to most of the world, detached to the events surrounding her.

A faint smile drifted across Malcolm’s face as he glanced up at his mother sitting in the front seat. Eleanore Monroe sat tall and regal, her head high but her spirits low.  She turned toward her eldest son, and their eyes connected, receiving his faint smile, until turning back around, wiping a tear away.

Malcolm’s smile faded as he turned to vacuously stare out the window at the multitude of people that lined the soaked streets to pay their respects. They were cloaked in colorful parkas, rain coats and more. Many also held umbrellas to shield themselves from the wet rain.

They came from miles and stood for hours to say their last goodbyes to a legend gone too soon.  Sad eyes, eager eyes, all of whom were there to desperately try and catch a glimpse of what remained of the man they still mourned for and cried for.  They huddled together in groups, still unable to grasp that Langston Wade Monroe was gone.

Langston Wade Monroe wasn’t just a legendary singer/songwriter, he was the man everyone listened to growing up.  A man who came from nothing and rose to become one of the greatest musicians of all time.  The man who influenced countless other groups that came after him.  The man who revolutionized the music industry with his unique flare and style.  He was adored and praised all over the world.  He was an icon, a husband and a brother.  He was a father to his family, but an adversary to himself.

And now… he was dead.

Malcolm closed his eyes and replayed that crazed day and unforgettable moment of the very instant he learned his father was gone. He recalled the feeling of how he knew that everything would change and how he and his family would  never be the same.  He replayed the reporter’s voice in his head, how it was strong, informative, baffled and sad. It was a voice that Malcolm would never forget… a feeling he would always remember.

“Today, November 10th, the world is in shock as we are now hearing the news of the death of legendary singer-songwriter and musician Langston Monroe.  It was confirmed minutes ago that Monroe was found dead in his Bel Air home, with an apparent gunshot wound to the head.  

Langston Monroe was an American musician who helped shape the sound of Uptown Records in the 1970’s with a string of hits including, “The Way You Make Me Feel,” “Be Safe and Sound” and “Beneath the Beautiful.”  Shock and devastation are the words that are running through the music world on this day, (pause) shock and devastation… to the music world and millions of fans around the world, Langston Monroe will be missed… a legend…”

The reporter’s words faded as Malcolm was brought back to his present. The town car slowly turned the corner leading to Forest Lawn Cemetery and carefully drove through the double steel green gates. The grounds were massive, acres of freshly cut green grass with small headstones marking each spot of a life gone.  The procession of cars behind them lined the road like carefully placed dominos.  Each car filled with family, friends, and music industry colleagues.

The rain continued to fall, harder than before, as if the devil himself was trying to make a statement.  Malcolm looked over at his siblings, their eyes connecting and going their separate ways, each of them lost in their own personal thoughts and individual reflections.

The procession of cars finally arrived at the burial site.  The car doors opened and everyone quickly took shelter under the black blanket of umbrellas.

The Monroe family stood surrounding the copper and gold casket that laid before them.  The rain washed over the casket leaving a glistening reflection as the pellets slid off one by one.  There, they said their last farewells to a father who’d been the focal point of their lives, a musician who walked to the beat of his own drum, a man that no one ever understood, but worked to love him anyway.

As Langton’s body slowly made its last decent into the dark and saturated ground, Malcolm closed his eyes and prayed to the God above.  Malcolm squeezed his eyes so tight that he saw a multitude of lights before him.  It was within those lights that he proclaimed within himself – Please God, please make my father pay for everything that he’s done. 

 

 

CHAPTER 1

 

November 17, 2013

Friday, 8:05am

Twenty Years Later…

 

Alex Monroe woke to a sensual touch that was sending shivers through her naked body.  She opened her eyes to see her husband of seven years, Malcolm Monroe, looking down at her.

He smiled, seeing her finally wake.

“Good morning, birthday girl.”

“Good morning to you,” Alex breathed out as she turned onto her back to face him as Malcolm’s six foot one frame hovered over hers.  Alex reached up as she slinked her hand down his dark, hair-covered chest, going from right to left, taking it all in as she felt his erect nipples rise beneath her touch.

“It’s about to get even better,” Malcolm said as he continued on his morning mission.  He leaned down over her, and slowly and methodically rained kisses down her neck, chest and stomach.  Alex let out a soft moan as a smile danced across her face.

“What are you doing to me?” Alex whispered, feeling her wetness waking up and taking over.

Malcolm licked his full lips and smiled once again, this one a devious one. “Look at it as an early birthday surprise. You do like surprises don’t you?” Malcolm asked. Without waiting for an answer, he slid his left hand under her bare brown ass and slowly parted her legs with his.

Alex felt his hardness against her thigh as she closed her eyes and bit her bottom lip.  She felt his other hand slide down her stomach making soft circles around her naval before heading down to her love box, separating her soft lips with his thumb, spreading her juices that were overflowing all around her throbbing labia.

Alex whined as her body began to move in a slow rhythmic synch lead by his fingers.  She braced herself for what she knew would come as she reached out taking ahold of their cream colored satin sheets, a fist full in each hand as she took a deep breath, trying to relax, not wanting to come just yet.  But it was hard… so very hard.

Malcolm slid his body down, dropped his head between her legs as he found the most sensitive spot on her clit, then proceeded to feather lick it, tease it and suck it like a ripe peach on a hot summer’s day before sliding his fingers in her, slowly searching for that spot.

Alex’s body continued to respond with every move Malcolm made, moving with every twist of his hand until he found it, her G-spot.  Alex’s body did one quick jolt and felt like she hit the ceiling as Malcolm proceeded to devour her like a tiger with his prey.

“Yes, baby, mmmm…”  Alex moaned out.

She felt her climax racing to the finish line as if it were running a 40-meter dash in under five seconds flat.  Her breath erratic and shallow, she knew it was only a matter of time before it was over.  One last shutter of sensation before an abundance of colors flashed before her eyes.

Alex squeezed her eyes shut as she enjoyed the array of sensation accompanied by a self-made kaleidoscope that danced before her vision as her body made one last involuntary convulsion before she floated back down to the other side.  Alex held still, very still, enjoying her fall into that place of refuge, that place of peace, that place of pure bliss.  She smiled.

Alex continued to lay still, soaking in the moment but wanting more, wanting to feel Malcolm inside of her, wanting to take a part of him with her.  Not wanting to let him go, not just yet.

Alex took a deep breath and made it her mission to stay in the moment, waiting for more… of him.  She waited, eyes closed, anticipation high, until an unfamiliar sound, a crackling paper sound, prompted her eyes open to witness something she could not believe.  Malcolm was sliding on a condom.  Alex sat up a little taller, tilted her head to the side, her eyebrow arching up on cue, as she thought to herself, Am I seeing what I think I am seeing?

Alex held her composure, not trying to jump to any conclusions.  “Malcolm, honey, what are you doing?”  Alex asked, her tone calm, her thoughts on the tip of brewing out of control.

Malcolm stopped, mid-roll, and looked up at his wife. “I’m putting on a condom.”

“Yes, I can see that,” Alex said as she quickly sat all the way up on her butt, taking a deep breath, “But…why?”

Malcolm let out a small chuckle, “Baby, it’s not like that.”

Malcolm continued to roll the condom the rest of the way down his erect shaft.

Alex forced out a smile, a defense mechanism that normally used to keep her calm.  “Like what?” She questioned, trying not to let her thoughts overtake her composure.

“Like what you’re thinking,” Malcolm threw back.

“Well… what I’m thinking is that you’re a married man and you’re buying condoms?”

“I didn’t buy them, I got ‘em from Lance… my brother.”

Alex’s forced smile became even broader.  “Yeah, I know who your brother is Malcolm. Okay, let me rephrase it, why do YOU have them?”

Malcolm stopped what he was doing and looked up at Alex.  “I’m just trying to be safe.”

“Safe?”

“Yeah safe, you stopped taking the pill because of your blood pressure medication, so… you know… I don’t want to have any…accidents.”

Alex raised both eyebrows this time. Am I hearing all this correctly?  Alex cleared her throat, took a deep breath, trying to calm herself, “Accidents… as in an accidental pregnancy?”

“Well…” Malcolm rubbed the back of his neck, “yeah.”

“Really?” Alex looked away and shook her head. This is not happening, not this morning, not the morning of my 40th birthday.  Alex took another slow, deep breath, then a second one since the first one hadn’t accomplished anything.

“Malcolm, I’m forty years old today and I think it’s time, no correction, past time to start thinking about having a child.”

Malcolm rubbed the back of his neck again as he looked down at the bed he sat on, then back up.  Alex knew as far as Malcolm was concerned, his career as a filmmaker came first, and having a family second.  He wanted everything to be perfect before he even thought about starting a family; Alex, on the other hand, had a different plan.  She wanted a family and after waiting seven years she was determined to get it by any means necessary.  She was tired of waiting for that perfect time to have a child, as Malcolm diplomatically put it.  In life there was no perfect time and accidents do happen.  The time was now.

Malcolm sat back on his heels, running his fingers through his loosely twisted locks, “Are we having this conversation now?”

Alex grabbed the sheets bunched under them, pulling them over her bare legs, “I think we should have this conversation at some point.”

Malcolm breathed out his building frustrations, “I just don’t think having a child right now is… the best thing.”

“Why not?” Alex said, feeling a sense of deja vu all over again.

“Well for starters, I just dumped the majority of my money into shooting my last film which means we can’t afford a child right now.”

Alex took a deep breath, “I don’t know why you worry so much about money.”

“I worry because nothing in this business is guaranteed. If I don’t get distribution for this film, I’m fucked. And not in a good way.”

“I make enough to float us for a while until you…”

“See there you go again, I don’t need my wife supporting us.”

“Then maybe it’s time to start thinking about switching gears.”

Malcolm ran his hand down the side of his cheek, scratching his five o’clock shadow. Annoyance spread over his face quicker than a deliberately set brush fire on a hot California day.

“Are you really saying this to me right now, after all I have been through to get my film to this point?”

“Baby, I’m just being realistic, one of us has to be.” Alex couldn’t stop the words from tumbling out of her mouth.  She knew what she said would sting, sting hard and instantly regretted every syllable associated with it.

“Wow.” Malcolm gave Alex a wrathful glare. They stared at each other, each furious in their own way.  Alex watched her husband start a slow burn.

“Malcolm I…”

“No. How dare you say that shit to me?”  Malcolm swung his legs off the bed, sitting on the edge, then looking back at Alex. “I am a filmmaker period and I’m sorry if you can’t accept that…”

Malcolm stood, pulling on his shorts and didn’t finish his statement. He didn’t need to. Alex was smart enough to fill in the blanks.

Alex quickly retreated, “Malcolm, baby, that’s not what I’m saying… it just seems like you have been banging your head up against a wall without any results for a long time and…I was just thinking…”

Alex paused, struck by what she thought might be the spark of a good idea.  Maybe even something that could lessen the blow she just hurled at him.  “I could call my father. He’d love to have you come help run his construction company.”

Malcolm shot Alex a sidelong glance that said more than just get the fuck outta here.

“Really Alex? That would be just fantastic. The thought of working for your dad really makes my dick hard.”

Alex bit down on her lip, feeling as if she was sinking… fast. She reached for one last branch that might stop her descent, “It doesn’t have to be permanent, just something to bring in some extra income until something happens for you… for us.” Alex said, quickly correcting herself.

Malcolm laughed to himself, shaking his head.  “Why don’t you just say it Alex? You don’t believe I can do this.”

Alex knew his words were coming from a place of disappointment, discouragement and his defeated ego.  She knew his journey as a filmmaker had been paralyzing and intimidating.  It was a roller-coaster heading down a steep hill from which he was unable to stop or jump off.

“That’s not true.  I’ve always supported you, always,” Alex pleaded. She felt herself becoming emotional as her desperate attempts to gain forgiveness were greeted with a coldness that could rival the arctic.

Malcolm shook his head, “Well if you did Alex, we wouldn’t be having this conversation now, now would we?”

They stared at each other again, this time, the moments growing more uncomfortable the longer they didn’t speak. A  moment filled with issues from the past that always seemed to creep into the present.  Alex was quiet, and unable to speak. She was unable to save everything that was lost in this moment.

“Exactly,” Malcolm shot back.

Alex closed her eyes as the last three years of their marriage rushed to the forefront of her mind.  She thought about how most of their disagreements started after Malcolm’s first attempt to make a film had failed miserably.  The knife had been twisted since it had been something that everyone expected to do well and put him on the map.  Instead, its failure was his and had thrown his career way off course.

From that point, their life as a couple only got worse.  The days became less blissful, emphasizing that familiar saying, “Marriage is hard work and anyone who thinks differently is single.”

Alex was determined to make it work.  She was in it for the long haul.  Alex yearned to have a family, something she deeply desired that would make her life feel complete, something that Malcolm promised her when he took his vows in front of 200 of their closest friends and family, something Alex never had growing up.

“Baby, I am sooo sorry, I didn’t mean to hurt you or disparage your career. I just want us to be happy.”

Malcolm continued to look down towards the ground as if he were studying something, “Us or you?”

“Us… us,” Alex emphasized.

Malcolm looked up briefly locking eyes with Alex then turning back away.

“I don’t want to fight, I love you and I want to work through this, together, all of this,” Alex said in a pleading tone.

“Alex you know how important my career is but somehow you always seem to slam it, in turn you are slamming me,” he said, sounding miserable.

Alex hated when he said those words to her.  She hated the thought that she didn’t believe in him, because she did, she so did.  That was why she loved him so much.

“Malcolm,” she said looking up at him, “I do believe in you and your career.”

“Then why do you say the things that you say?”

Alex stared deep into Malcolm’s eyes, looking for a sliver of hope for forgiveness, “I guess that’s just my way of helping.”

“Well you have a shitty way of showing it.” His eyes filled with anger once again as they narrowed, staring at her. “Thanks for ruining our morning. Happy fucking birthday…”

He turned and stormed off, heading for the bathroom.

“Malcolm wait, please.”

Alex’s last words were met with a slammed door and an empty feeling.

“Dammit.” Alex laid back on her pillow, and felt her heart sink five inches into her chest.  She knew Malcolm’s outburst was filled with more than just his career not going well.  She knew it also had to do with the upcoming anniversary of the death of his dad, Langston Monroe, twenty years ago, tomorrow.  A legendary singer the world never wanted to forget.  To Malcolm, Langston Monroe was a man he tried to never remember.

Alex hated when they fought. No, that wasn’t right, she hated to fight period.  She wrapped her arms around her legs, pulling them close to her chest, trying to think of what to say and what to do to make this moment better.  She mentally scolded herself for even bringing up his stalled career today, but couldn’t stop herself from having that selfish moment when she wanted it to be all about her.  She had needs too after all.

Alex took a huge stress-filled sigh as she released her vocals throughout the empty bedroom, “damn, damn, damn it!”

She swung her legs off the bed, stood as she grabbed her robe and headed to the closed bathroom door.

Alex stopped, listened for a moment and gathered her thoughts.  She needed a plan of action so she could figure out exactly the right thing to say.  Where to start and where the conversation should end.

She gathered all her strength and raised her fist to knock, before quickly dropping it down to her side.  She laid her forehead against the door, and rocked back and forth. This was harder than she imagined, but it had to be done, she reminded herself.

Alex slowly turned the doorknob, hearing it squeak as it opened to see Malcolm standing by the sink, setting up his utensils to shave.  Alex took another deep breath and managed to unglue her feet from the doorway as she slowly walked over to where Malcolm was standing.

She stood inches behind him and saw his eyes in the mirrored reflection catch hers.  She took that as encouragement and slid her arms through his, around his waist. She pressed her face against his bare back and felt his body go stiff to her touch.  Alex didn’t care if he wasn’t forgiving her yet, she was standing her ground.  She squeezed him a bit tighter, smelling his morning scent, loving the fact that her man always smelled so good.

They stood in silence as their bodies swayed a bit from their natural momentum.  Alex breathed him in once again, this time gaining a bit of courage for what had to be done and what had to be said.  On her exhale she lovingly proclaimed her apologies, Baby, I’m sorry, I wasn’t thinking, I know tomorrow is…”

Malcolm’s body stayed stiff as he continued to look down, continued to organize his morning shaving utensils.

Alex looked up towards the mirror; she continued to stare at him until he looked back up, caught Malcolm’s eyes, “…kind of an important day for you and your family.”

Malcolm just looked away, back to what he was doing. “Alex, I really don’t want to talk about it.”

Alex dropped her eyes, pressing her face deeper into his back, into his soul.  Her chin, nestled in his back, rose and fell with his inhale and exhale.  She wasn’t letting him go, not yet, not until she felt that they were okay.

“I think you should. It’s the 20th anniversary.”

Malcolm pulled away from Alex, turning around to face her, “Right, twenty years that my legendary father is dead, so what do you want me to do, Alex?  Cry?  Scream? Shout out in anger to the mountain tops above?  What Alex, what do you want me to do?”

Alex stared deep into Malcolm’s eyes but said nothing.  

She swallowed hard, letting out a slow sigh.

Malcolm turned back to the sink, filling his hand with shaving cream, slathering it all over his right and left cheek.  Normally, he was meticulous with his shaving, but today was different.  She could see he was letting his emotions over his father’s death get the best of him.  Alex stayed quiet, very quiet.  She knew Malcolm didn’t like to talk about his dad.  He never spoke about the time he spent with him, or talked about the fact that the man was a legend.  Matter of fact, none of his children did.  Not Malcolm, nor his brother Lance or sister Lacey.  They were the type of family that swept despair under the beautiful rugs which were laid across their lives, pretending like their problems never existed or even ever mattered.

“I just thought… just thought if you talked about it, it might help you deal with some of the things that bothered you.”

“Alex please stop treating me like I’m one of your goddamn patients.”

“I’m just trying to help.”

“If you want to help, just let me do me and I will let you do you.”  Malcolm picked up his razor and began to shave.

“Malcolm I-”

Malcolm raised his hand, stopping Alex from finishing what she wanted to say, what she needed to get out.  “Seriously, it’s cool, I gotta get ready for this meeting today.”

Alex took a step back, feeling the frustration engulf her body. But, after seven years of marriage, she knew when to stop, when to step down, and when to take a time out.

“Right, the distribution meeting for your movie. I’ll let you do… you.”

Alex turned, about to head out the bathroom, but as a woman she had to try one last angle, one last way to penetrate her husband’s wall of steel, still searching for a back door into his emotions, “Do you need any help with my birthday dinner tonight?”

“Nope. Got it all under control,” Malcolm replied in a cold tone, continuing to stare at his reflection, carefully gliding the blade down his cheek with a steady hand.

“Okay,” Alex looked down then back up, “great.”  She stared at her husband, hoping to get one last glance that might tell her that he was okay and more importantly, that they were okay.  She waited, but there was nothing as he concentrated on shaving. Alex waited for a few more moments before finally turning and walking out the bathroom, a tear falling down her face.

Available on Amazon, Kobo and Nook

MARCH 18TH

 

Hope you liked what you read!   I would love to hear your thoughts!

Until next time, keep reading and I promise to keep writing!

~K. Elle

7 Comments

  1. Sounds like you have alittle bit of”shades of grey”(LOL)
    That bedroom scene was notorious. Can’t wait to see the rest.

  2. Benita says:

    I seriously couldn’t put it down. I was disappointed that I had to stop reading. Now I’m caught up trying to wonder what’s going to happen. Going to be a good read

  3. jak says:

    OOhhh.. I’m now frustrated, ugh!…i hate being teased! C’mon K. Elle!…You know, I really hate to rush time but March 18th REALLY? c’mon..Smh..

  4. Benita says:

    You are so very welcome. Keep up the awesome writing and I will always be a fan with a book to read 🙂

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