Sample of Chasing Serenity
“Oooooh, girl...he’s coming over here.”
Twenty-two year old Serenity Walker looked up from her plate of beef-fried rice at her friend, Jasmine. Then she looked around in confusion — she didn’t see anybody that she knew. “Who’s coming over here, Jasmine?”
“The hottie — the one who said hi to us when we first came into the mall.”
Serenity shook her head and went back to eating her meal. She’d known Jasmine ever since their freshman year in college. That had been four years ago. In other words, she was used to Jasmine talking about some hottie or another.
Seconds later, when they heard an unfamiliar masculine voice say, “Hello, ladies,” Serenity didn’t even bother to look up from her plate.
Jasmine on the other hand, gave the stranger a dazzling smile. “Hello yourself.”
The man was quick to introduce himself. “I’m Jonathan. I’m a lab tech at A&T in the chemistry department. I think I’ve seen you two lovely ladies around campus.”
The man looked directly at Serenity. “I remember seeing you last semester. You took an eight-o’clock morning class...Professor Ramsuddin’s session I believe.”
At that point, Serenity finally looked up at the stranger. She had to admit that Jasmine was right — he was exceptionally good-looking.
The muscular brown-skinned man continued speaking to Serenity. “Yep, I certainly do remember you...I’d never forget a beautiful face like yours.”
Even though his comment vaguely had the feel of a stale pickup line, for some reason, Serenity decided to humor him anyways and reply. She gave him a tiny smile. “Is that so?”
He nodded his head. “Definitely.”
“Well, thank you I guess.”
Jasmine giggled. “I’m gonna save us all some time and just cut to the chase. My friend here is single...that is if you’re interested in taking her out on a date.”
Serenity could have kicked Jasmine under the table at that point.
Jonathan couldn’t help but smile. “I would love to go out on a date with your friend, but first I think I need to at least know her name.”
“Her name’s Serenity.”
Looking at Serenity the entire time, he nodded his head. “Serenity...that’s a beautiful name. I like it.”
Jasmine decided to continue with her attempts to get her girl a hook-up. “My boyfriend and I are gonna catch that new Fast Lane movie this Friday. You seem decent enough. Maybe the four of us could make it a double date.”
Serenity wasn’t really feeling the way the two of them were talking about her — making plans as if she weren’t sitting right there in their presence.
“What do you say, Serenity? You think you’ll give a lonely, single guy like myself a chance?”
Jasmine grinned. “Yeah, Serenity. You giving him a chance?”
Serenity sighed. A tiny little voice in her head was telling her to just say no. In fact the word was on the tip of her tongue. Therefore she was surprised herself when she heard herself say, “Yes.”
* * *
Two Months Later:
Betty Walker frowned as her daughter came into the living room where she was sitting watching the evening news. “You going out with that boy again?”
Serenity sighed. “Yes I am, mama. I just don’t understand why you don’t like Jonathan.”
Betty shook her head. “It’s something about him, Serenity. I don’t know exactly what it is myself. But the Lord done put on my spirit that that boy means no good for you, baby. He’s only gonna bring you hurt and harm.”
Mama’s just tripping, she thought to herself as she bent down to give her mother a quick peck on the cheek. Sure enough, Serenity herself had been hesitant to go out with Jonathan in the beginning...when they’d first met that day at the mall. But now she was happy that Jasmine had forced her hand.
It was at that moment that they both heard a car’s horn honking outside of the house. Serenity grabbed her purse from off of the sofa. “Don’t wait up for me tonight, Mama. I’m coming home late.”
Betty simply shook her head as her only child ran out of her house. “Lord...that boy was sent from Satan. I know it! Please protect my child.”
* * *
Jonathan started complaining as soon as Serenity got into his car. “What took you so long coming out of your mama’s house?”
Serenity frowned. “I came out as soon as I heard you blow, Jonathan.”
He pulled out into the city street. “Your mama don’t like me do she, girl?”
Serenity was raised up in the church, so she refused to just outright lie. She shook her head and smiled at her man. “She just doesn’t know you like I do, bae. That’s all. Once she gets to know you better, the two of you will be like old friends.”
Jonathan shook his head. He highly doubted that. He felt like telling Serenity how he really felt about her scowling-face mama, but he knew she’d never let him get into the panties if he did that. And getting between Serenity’s legs is exactly what he wanted. It’s the reason he’d been paying for dates and movies for the last two months while getting nothing but some kisses in return. But he had plans to change all of that.
He took a quick glance over at the girl sitting in his passenger-side seat. Then he felt a familiar stirring in his nether regions. From the top of her head, to the tip of her toe she’s fine.
He quickly decided to change the subject from her mama. He was pretty sure if he kept talking about that old bat, his plans for the entire evening would be ruined.
Minutes later, he pulled into the parking lot of a Motel 6.
Serenity frowned. “Why are we here, Jonathan? I thought we were going to the movies.”
He reached across his console and took her hand into his. “It’s my birthday tomorrow, bae. Since I’m gonna be out of town, I figured you could give me my gift early.”
“I already bought you a gift. It’s at my momma’s house.”
He gave her hand a gentle squeeze. “You know I’m in love with you, don’t you Serenity? I was hoping you’d be with me this evening as my gift.” He brushed the back of his hand softly across the side of her face. “I don’t want to wait until the day we get married. I love you and I want to show you how much. I want you to feel how much I love you.”
She had her reservations about what he was asking of her, but she’d never had anyone besides her mama tell her that they loved her.
“Please, Serenity, baby...I love you.”
“Yes, sweetheart. Just let me show you how much. Okay?”
She sighed. Then she nodded her head. “Okay.”
* * *
Later on that Evening:
As much as he wanted to stay in that cheap motel room and hit it again, Jonathan knew he had to leave and take his piece of new booty home. He began putting back on his clothes. Then he turned to Serenity. “You were good, baby. But now I’m gonna need you to get dressed. I have a long day tomorrow, seeing that I’m going out of town to visit my sick grandmother. We have to get going. I have to take you home.”
Serenity frowned. She was feeling guilty. Everything her mama had ever told her about not sleeping with a man who wasn’t her husband came to her mind.
Seeing her crestfallen face, he decided to change his approach to her a little. He smiled to himself while thinking, I’ve got to soften her up and lay a path for the next time I want to hit it — which I know will be very soon.
He came over and gave her a hug. “I know you’re the one for me, Serenity. Don’t worry, we’re gonna have a lifetime of staying in bed together once we get married.”
“Married?” she asked, then smiled.
“Yeah, girl. You’re the one. I know it. Like I told you before...I see us getting married. Now go ahead and hurry up and get your clothes on.”
Starting to feel good from what Jonathan had just revealed to her, Serenity was happy to oblige.
Over the next several weeks, Serenity spent a good deal of time going out with Jonathan. She was even convinced that she’d fallen in love. She smiled to herself. The fact that he would tell her on an almost daily basis that he loved her, too...that they would be together forever...had made falling for him easy.
“Hey, Serenity. I’d like you to meet Catina Grey. She’s my friend from work — the one I was telling you about.”
Serenity had just climbed into the passenger-side seat of Jasmine’s car. She looked towards the back seat at the girl sitting there and smiled. “Hi, Catina. It’s good to finally meet you. Jasmine has been saying a lot of good things about you.”
As she backed her car out of Serenity mom’s driveway, Jasmine grinned. “Like I was telling you before we got here, Catina, I’m surprised my girl Serenity here agreed to help us cater my cousin’s party tonight.”
Serenity looked across at Jasmine with a confused expression on her face. “Why are you surprised about that, Jasmine?”
“Because, boo...you’ve been spending all your free time with Jonathan. I hardly every get to see my bestie anymore.”
Serenity couldn’t disagree. She couldn’t say anything to the contrary because what Jasmine had just said had been the truth.
Jasmine smiled. She reached over and patted Serenity on the hand. “It’s okay, honey. I ain’t mad at you. I know what it feels like to be in love for the first time. I felt the exact same way about Kevin — that is until we broke up.”
Serenity shook her head. “Jonathan and I are never breaking up. We’re getting married.”
Serenity nodded her head. “Yeah. We haven’t set a date yet...or gotten officially engaged. But that’s what he keeps talking about all the time.” She smiled. “Yep, he said that I’m the one and that we’re getting married one day.”
Sitting in the back seat, Catina grimaced. “I dated a guy named, Jonathan, once. He used to shoot me the same lines...that is until I found out about his wife.”
Serenity looked back at Catina. “Oh, dang, girl. That’s messed up. I’m sorry that you had to go through that.”
Catina, with her lips set in a thin, angry line said, “Yeah, thanks Serenity. I’m sorry I had to go through it, too.”
Jasmine shook her head. “I tell you, ladies...I don’t care what anybody says differently...good guys are hard to find.”
Catina couldn’t agree more. “Oh, I know that’s right. The good ones aren’t hard to find...it’s more like they’re impossible to find.” She let out a breath on an angry sigh. “But finding buttwipes like Jonathan Broadnax is easy.”
Serenity pulled her eyebrows together in a frown. “Did you say Jonathan Broadnax?”
Catina nodded her head. “Yeah. Jonathan Antoine Broadnax the second. He works as a chemistry lab assistant at A&T.” She paused. “What? You know him or something?”
Serenity felt her heart tighten in her chest. It can’t be, she thought to herself. There’s no way we could be talking about the same person. It’s impossible.
Jasmine was just as shocked as Serenity. But she knew it had to be him. Why? Because the chances of two Jonathan Antoine Broadnaxes the second working at the university in a chemistry lab were slim to none. Trying to keep her cool and assume the positive, she said, “Maybe he’s not married anymore, Serenity.”
Catina shook her head. “If we’re talking about the same person, then I highly doubt that. I broke up with his behind about eight months ago — when his wife somehow found out about me and showed up at my house. I’m pretty much sure they’re still married. I didn’t know it, of course, but I was just the sidechick. According to wifey, he done pulled the same crap several times.”
Serenity was numb. She didn’t even notice Jasmine turning the car around and heading back towards her mother’s house. Not until she’d parked along the curb.
Jasmine cut her Camry’s engine. “Catina and I can come inside with you to your room if you want us to, honey.”
Serenity slowly shook her head. “No. You need to go help your cousin throw that party. She’s depending on you to show up.” Unshed tears burned the back of her eyelids. “Plus...I...I need to be alone.”
With that being said, Serenity pulled open the car door and ran into the house.
Jasmine narrowed her eyes. Then she thinned her lips in anger. “I suddenly feel like slashing some tires or putting some sugar in somebody’s tank. You know where Jonathan lives Catina?”
“Yeah. Over off of Patterson Street.” Catina shook her head. “But trust me, girl...fooling around with trying to pay him back ain’t a good idea. His wife is crazy.”
“Yeah. When she found out about me, I had to take a restraining order out on her behind.” She paused then continued speaking. “I recommend staying far away from both of them...as far away as possible.”
* * *
Serenity stayed locked up in her bedroom for two whole days. Jonathan had called her the night she’d found out about his deception. He hadn’t even tried to deny the truth — that he was a married man. That he’d lied to her about being single and unattached.
She frowned when she heard her mother knocking softly on her bedroom door. “Serenity, now I don’t know what’s going on with you. And I know you’re twenty-two — that you’re a grown woman. But you’ve been holed up in there two days now. Baby, open the door. Let mama in...we need to talk.”
Serenity stood up from her bed. She walked over and opened the door. With her eyes puffy from crying, she stared at her mother for only a few seconds then said, “You were right mama...Jonathan’s no good. He’s married and I’m pregnant.”
Betty wanted to pull her only child into her arms — it was on her heart to do so — but she just couldn’t bring herself to do it. She shook her head instead. “Lord, Serenity. I brought you up in the church — gave you every advantage that I possibly could. I tried to warn you ‘bout that boy — that he was sent straight from the devil — and now you got his baby growing in your belly?”
It was hard for her to do so, but Betty turned on her heel and walked away from her daughter. Not even Serenity’s loud sobs made her turn back around. With her heart heavy, she went to her bedroom. I wanted a better life for her than I had for myself, and now she done went and ruined it all.
Betty pulled out her Bible, but didn’t open it. She placed the holy book back on her nightstand and began to sob herself.
It took several minutes for Serenity to find the strength to step back into her bedroom. She closed the bedroom door behind herself then sank down to the carpet. Jonathan had betrayed her in the worst possible way and now her mother had turned her back on her. She was hurting so bad that she felt like she wanted to die.
* * *
Three Days Later:
Betty frowned. Then she cut her eyes at her best friend of twenty-five years — Carla — who was also the assistant pastor at their church. “What do you mean by I’m wrong, Carla?”
Carla shook her head. “What I mean, Betty, is that she’s your child. And yes her fornicating and getting herself knocked up is wrong. But Serenity’s a good kid...a good daughter.” She pursed her lips together then continued speaking. “We’ve all sinned and fallen short of the Father’s glory.” She pointed at Betty. “Plus, I remember twenty-three years ago you found yourself in a similar situation.”
Betty shook her head. “But I wasn’t raised up in the church like Serenity was. I had Serenity’s butt in a pew every Sunday...my mama let me run wild in the streets. Serenity should have known better.”
Carla frowned. “Betty, you know the devil’s always working, and he’s got his old evil eye on the righteous in particular. We serve a merciful God. If Serenity is willing to repent of her sins — which I’m sure she is ‘cause she’s got a good heart — the Lord will forgive her. Now why can’t you? Why can’t you forgive your child?”
* * *
It had been a whole week since the night her mother had come to her room and the strained relationship they now shared was almost unbearable. So much so that Serenity had made the difficult decision to move out.
Betty frowned as she watched her only daughter taking bag after bag out to her car. When Serenity slung her purse over her shoulder and was about to walk out the front door for the last time, Betty’s mind flashed back to the conversation she’d had with Carla the day before. Then she said, “Serenity...wait.”
Serenity frowned. Facing the front door, she refused to turn around. She didn’t want to see the look of hate and disappointment that she was sure was in her mother’s eyes. She’d seen it for what felt like a million times too many already. “What is it, mama?”
“Have you cut off your relationship with that boy?”
“He’s married...I know that now. Of course I have, mama.”
Betty nodded her head. “Good.” Then she paused. Then she let a tired breath out on a sigh. “Serenity, I don’t want you to move out. Now don’t get me wrong — I don’t like this situation — but the Lord can still forgive you and bless you and my grandchild.”
Serenity couldn’t believe what she thought her mother had just said. Did I hear her right, she thought to herself. Then out loud she said, “Can you repeat that please, mama?”
“I said I don’t want you to move out, child. I want to help you get through this.”
Serenity hadn’t really wanted to leave the home that she’d spent most of her childhood in. In fact, she’d planned on roughing it out in her car for a while — seeing that she didn’t have anywhere else to go. Despite not wanting to move out, she knew — given her circumstances — that she mentally couldn’t deal with living with her mom any longer.
She felt tears wet her cheeks as she felt her mother envelope her in a hug. She hadn’t felt her mother’s comforting arms around her body ever since she’d taken up with Jonathan.
All the fear, uncertainty, and disappointment she’d been feeling began tumbling out of her mouth at the same time. “Thank you Mama. Thank you, thank you, thank you,” she sobbed. “Thank you for softening your heart. Thank you for your support. Thank you for everything…’cause I’m scared.” She shook her head. “Jonathan wants nothing to do with this baby or with me. I...I...I didn’t want to go through this on my own.”
Betty hugged her daughter even tighter to her bosom and cried right along with her. She was grateful that God had seen fit to put some compassion in her heart for her child. She was glad that the words that her best friend had spoken to her on her situation had finally sunk into her head. “Serenity, you’re not alone, honey. You and the baby’s got the Lord and you’ve got me. Just put your hand in his hand, and everything’s gonna be alright.”
Minutes later, as she was bringing her things back into her childhood bedroom, Serenity couldn’t help but fall to her knees at her bedside and begin to pray. “Lord I repent of my sins. In my humble thanks to you...for you showing me your abundant mercy, I’m gonna dedicate my life to you, Lord...and the life of my child to you too. I’ll raise my son or daughter up in the right way, heavenly father. No more running around with men...no more playing games. No more letting men use me for their pleasure. I’m dedicating my life to you, Lord. You’re all I need. I don’t want or need no man in my life.”
As she got up from her knees from saying her prayer, she placed her hand on her still flat belly. For the first time in weeks, she was able to manage a smile. She knew that if she kept her end of the bargain, that the Lord would make things for her and her baby just fine.