I hate my name. Always have. Mona-Lisa Dandridge. What kind of name is that? Oh, I know that the Mona Lisa is a famous work of art. I know that Leonardo DaVinci was one of the greats, a genius really. Maybe I should be honored to have the name, but I’m not. Maybe it would’ve been better if Mona was my first name and Lisa was my middle name. But no, Mona-Lisa is one name, hyphenated. My middle name is DaVinci. Yeah, you heard me right, Mona-Lisa DaVinci Dandridge. My name is concrete proof that sixteen-year-old girls shouldn’t have babies—or at least they shouldn’t be allowed to name them. There are other reasons why a girl that young shouldn’t have kids, but I won’t go into them right now.
Anyway, I used to wonder why my mom didn’t just give me her name. Christina is a pretty name. I could’ve dealt with
that. But no, I got stuck with a stripper’s name. Maybe if my father had stuck around long enough for me to be born, he would’ve stepped in and given me a normal name like Tasha or Andrea. But he disappeared as soon as the plus sign showed up in the window of the home pregnancy test. Mama said his name was Michael Tolliver. I met him once, I think. Well, that’s a long story. One I’ve tried not to remember.
Michael’s a nice name. Maybe he would’ve named me Michelle. That would’ve been nice. Michelle Dandridge has a nice ring to it. Oh well, I’ve been Mona-Lisa Dandridge for thirty-three years now. I may as well accept it. At least my name isn’t Cleopatra, like my younger sister. Cleopatra Egypt Williams. I guess twenty is not a good age for motherhood either, if you use my mother as an example. My mother loved to read, and she loved art and history, but I think that she may have misused her knowledge.
I shook my head, trying to shake my own thoughts loose, as I pulled my Chrysler Pacifica to a stop in front of the junior high school and unlocked the doors.
“Bye, Mama,” my sons said in unison as they jumped out of the truck.
“Bye, boys. Have a great day,” I called after them. But by then, they were already halfway across the yard, on their way
to the double entry doors. I sighed. They were growing up so fast. It seemed like just yesterday their father and I were changing their diapers and fixing formula. Now they’d both outgrown my 5’6” and were in the ninth grade. Morgan was even beginning to grow facial hair! That made my mind go tilt for real. What was I going to do when my boys were all grown up?
Morgan and Blair. I’d named my twin sons after my two favorite actors. They were fraternal twins and best friends. Morgan was just a hair taller than Blair. Blair was almost a carbon copy of their father, barely resembling me at all. He was Wasif all over again, from his brown eyes, to his keen nose, right down to his dark olive skin and thick wavy black hair. Morgan took after my side of the family for the most part. He had my hazel eyes and fine curly hair. He even had my ears and full mouth. His nose was a little larger than mine. His skin was a shade lighter than my medium brown. They’d both inherited their father’s tall, lanky build.
I headed back to our house on Scherman Oaks Circle. I had plenty to do before the school day ended and no time to waste. I had to make sure the house was spotless before Wasif made it home. Wasif was a neat freak, and since I didn’t work, he would throw a fit if he came home to messy house. I had to pick up some dry cleaning, take the dog to the groomers, and then fix dinner. I definitely had a busy day ahead of me.
The day zipped by, as all busy days do, and before I knew it, Wasif had arrived. “Your dad’s home!” I yelled from the kitchen. The boys were in the living room playing a video game. I’d just heard the garage door open.
“We hear him!” Blair said excitedly.
I pulled the baked chicken from the oven and laid the pan on the counter. I turned around to find Wasif standing in the kitchen doorway holding a bouquet of yellow roses. “Hello, beautiful,” he said. Wasif’s beauty far outshined that of the roses he held. With chiseled features and a gorgeous white smile, he was perfection.
I walked over to him and planted a long kiss on his lips. “Hey, baby. For me?” I pointed to the roses.
“No, they’re for Lizzie,” he said with a wide smile.
“Well, Lizzie’s already enjoyed a trip to the groomer’s, so I’ll take the flowers.”
He shrugged. “That’s between you and Lizzie.”
I rolled my eyes and turned back to the counter. Wasif grabbed me from behind and kissed the back of my neck. “You know they’re for you. How was your day?”
I turned around and hugged him. “Busy. How was yours?”
“Tiring. Three bypasses today. Three. I’ll be dreaming about hearts and arteries tonight for sure.”
I kissed his cheek. “Mmhmm. I guess I’ll have to work extra hard to put something else on your mind then, huh?”
He smiled down at me and stroked my cheek with his finger. “You know just what to do, don’t you, babe?”
I nodded. “Always. Did you miss me?”
He leaned in and planted a slow kiss on my lips. “What do you think?”
“Mm, I missed you, too.”
After dinner, Wasif and the boys played video games for a while. I smiled as I watched him interact with them. Wasif was a great father, and it made me feel so good that my boys had him in their lives. Like I said before, I’d only met my father once in my entire life, and it wasn’t under the best of circumstances. I’d always been determined for my children to have better, and I’d succeeded. I was proud of my family.
I announced bedtime at 9:30, and the boys grumbled all the way to their rooms. I sat down on the sofa next to Wasif and laid my head on his shoulder. “I love you so much, Wasif.”
“I love you too, babe. More than you’ll ever know.”
We sat there for a few more minutes, enjoying each other’s company, and then he stood from the couch and reached for my hand. “Come with me, pretty babe.”
I smiled and took his hand. He led me to our bedroom where he showed me exactly how much he loved me over and over again. The next morning, when he left for work, I felt that familiar pain in my heart that I always felt on Tuesday mornings. It would be a week before I saw him again. He was going home to his wife that evening.**
Q&A with author Adrienne Thompson
1. Tell me about yourself: Where are you from and how long have you been writing?I currently live in Arkansas with my fifteen-year-old daughter. I am a registered nurse who has always loved to read and write. I've also always been a natural storyteller. When I rehash an event, people crowd around and listen as if it's a radio soap opera or something, lol. About three years ago, I found myself dissatisfied with my station in life and seeking to find my true purpose because, although I was a good nurse, I knew that was not my calling. After a lot of soul searching, I decided to develop my writing craft. I’ve now published 5 Amazon best-selling novels. I think I’ve found my calling!
2. Tell me about the novel—what inspired it?
Honestly, my inspiration came from a former co-worker who had a huge crush on a handsome doctor who bears a similarity to one of the main characters. With that little spark, I began to write and the story developed on its own.
3. What genre do you write in and why?
I write Realistic/Edgy Inspirational Fiction. I write about broken women who eventually find healing and love. I write about these types of women because their lives mirror my own.
4. What’s the next project for you? Tell the readers about it.I am waiting for my editor to complete her work on Little Sister (a companion novel to Been So Long) and I hope to release it by the end of this year. I am also putting the final touches on Been So Long 2 (Body and Soul) and I’m in the middle of working on Rapture (a Been So Long prequel). The characters from Been So Long have taken over my life, lol
5. Let’s put the novel aside and talk about YOU for a minute—what are your hobbies and what can’t you live without that’s non-book related? What do you do when you are not writing? If you could live anywhere in the world, where would that be?
My favorite hobby is photography. I especially love to take photos of sunrises and sunsets. I even have a Deviant Art account to which I have uploaded some of my photos. I absolutely cannot live without music. I am a music fanatic in every sense of the word. I can listen to most any genre of music as long as it’s good music. When I’m not writing, I’m more than likely watching a crime drama or crime documentary on TV. I’m a big fan of all of the Law and Order series’ and of the BBC series Luther. If I could live anywhere in the world, I think I’d live in London. Don’t know why, but I’ve always wanted to live there.
6. If a reader asked you to recommend the three BEST books to read, aside from your own, what would they be?
Running From Solace by Nakia Laushaul, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and any of the early Alex Cross books by James Patterson.
7. If you could have dinner with one author, who would it be and why?
James Patterson—because I need to know just how he became such a prolific and successful author. I’d love to mirror his success.
8. Post where you can be found—website, blog, twitter, facebook, etc.Website: http://adriennethompsonwrites.webs.com
Blogs: http://ilubmusik.blogspot.com and http://adriennethompsonwrites.wordpress.com/
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