“WOW! Mommy, whose house is this? Josiah asked his mother as they walked up the driveway of the biggest house she’d ever seen in her life.
Although, as huge as the house seemed to be, and as well as the grounds were kept, it still looked like an empty tomb to her. “It’s a client that mommy is going to be working for soon. I hope,” she said picking him up so they could walk a little faster.
It was the middle of November in Winchester Illinois, and she felt sure there was an icicle forming on her left butt cheek as she walked along. But she needed this job, her aunt Harriet had told her about. Well, she wasn’t actually her aunt, she’d been her mother’s best friend for the last thirty years, so to her, she was her aunt.
Picking Josiah up, she picked up the pace to get them both out of the cold as soon as possible.
She lifted the handle on the brass lion doorknocker and knocked three times.
A woman opened the door. Her hair was cut in a short pixie cut, but it was a bright flaming red. Her hands, arms and neck were covered in gold jewelry.
Iniko marveled at the woman’s appearance and felt sure she’d seen a gold tooth in her mouth. “Hi. My name is Iniko Jackson. I’m here for the final interview for the PCA position.” She smiled.
“You’re here for the job interview with a child? Don’t you think that’s a little unprofessional?” the woman asked her staring at Iniko as if she were a booger smeared on the front of her silk blouse.
“I—well, I spoke to a Sean Adelman, who said it was okay for me to bring my son with me, since I’m on the bus and I just picked him up from—”
“BLAH, BLAH, BLAH!” the woman exclaimed making the speaking hand gesture. “Tell your sob story to someone who cares. Come on in, I’ll let them know you’re here. My name is Danea Parks, Urian is my son,” she said chomping on the gum in her mouth. “Fortunately for me, I can afford to have someone listen to your whining for me, so I’m going to leave you in the library, and Sean will be with you in a moment.”
Iniko had met her type before. She felt she was better than anyone else since she had money. She wasn’t going to let it rattle her too much, cause she really needed this job. She looked around as they walked behind the woman, taking in all the grandeur.
The house must be at least fifteen thousand square feet. A French Provincial mansion on fifty acres of land. The foyer was enormous with fifteen foot ceilings on the first floor.
“Mommy, she’s rude,” Josiah attempted to whisper to his mother.
“Shhh,” Iniko shushed him while smiling at the woman who stopped in her tracks to roll her eyes at a six-year-old boy.
When Danea had left the room and closed the door behind her, Iniko knelt down to talk to her son. “Yes, honey you are right. She is rude and tacky, but mommy really needs this job. Don’t you want to move out of grandma’s and grandpa’s house?”
Josiah nodded eagerly.
“Okay, so I need you to be quiet while I do this last interview all right? We will talk about all that is wrong with her on our way home on the bus.”
“Like, she has a gold tooth in her mouth?” he asked smiling.
“Absolutely, the tooth will be the best thing we talk about.” She kissed his cheek.
Just then, a man walked into the room. “Good Afternoon Ms. Jackson, my name is Sean, we spoke on the phone a few times before.”
“Hello, nice to meet you. I’m Iniko and this is my son Josiah.” Iniko noted that this man was a lot less rude than Ms. Parks which was a relief.
“How’s it going today Josiah?” he asked giving him a high five.
“Good!” Josiah replied.
“Why don’t we go and sit in the outdoor living area,” Sean suggested. “It’s like an enclosed oasis for when my client wants to be outside with nature but its freezing, the area is heated and completely enclosed, that way Josiah can play basketball on the court that’s out there, while we talk.”
“YEAH, YEAH!” Josiah yelled jumping up and down. He loved all sports but especially basketball, he’d been on a team at the local community center for the last two years, and he talked nonstop about his two favorite players to whomever would listen.
“That would be really nice,” Iniko replied smiling. “He loves basketball.”
“Then to the court we go,” Sean said.
After getting Josiah all set up on the court, Iniko and Sean sat down on a sectional to talk.
“So as I told you on the phone, I’m Mr. Crestfield’s attorney. It is my job to handle all his legal matters, including hiring the personnel.”
“Okay,” Iniko replied nervous.
“I had my people complete the background check and I discovered you are a bestselling author. Is that right?” he asked.
He’d discovered exactly what she hadn’t wanted him to discover. Her book. Iniko was the smart no nonsense daughter to an at home mom who’d once been a classical pianist, and a Jazz Saxophonist.
Her mother and father had divorced when she was three years old and her mother had remarried her stepdad when she was four years old.
Arthur Blackmore had started out working in surgical medicine. After 10 years, he’d moved to being Nuclear Biomedical Engineer, and ran a medical research firm that worked on antidotes to airborne pathogens like Anthrax. Iniko worshipped her stepfather. Whatever he loved, she loved. He was kind, warm, loving, and treated her like she was the only little girl in the world, she wanted to be just like him when she grew up.
So even though she’d struggled with Dyslexia, she’d studied hard, and when it was time to graduate from high school, she was the class Valedictorian with a year of college course credits.
There was only one thing that held her back from her bright and shining future as her mother so lovingly like to put it, her one mistake.
Jaleel had come to Iniko’s high school, their junior year and was a football superstar. While Ivy League schools were hot on Iniko’s tail for her brains and intelligence. Big ten schools were hot on Jaleel’s for his athletic ability.
When it was time to graduate, Iniko had been accepted to the top eight Ivy League schools and Jaleel had offers from of the top football schools. He’d decided to go to Northwestern University, and like many a foolish girl before her, instead of taking the offers from the Ivy league schools, Iniko had decided to go to Northwestern, not wanting to be away from her one true love. It had devastated her father and torn a permanent rift in their relationship that was still there to this day.
In her sophomore year, Iniko had taken a cultural anthropology class and one of her first assignments was to write a paper discerning how one human being can make someone do something they normally wouldn’t do.
Having watched her mother go through dealing with a dead beat dad, and hearing more than her share of her friends talk about the men they shared a child with, Iniko had decided to write a paper called. “How to Break your Baby Daddy in 15 Weeks or Less.”
What she hadn’t anticipated was her professor showing a friend who ran a publishing house or that person wanting to make her paper into a book.
Initially, Iniko had been very uninterested in writing a book. She wanted to be an emergency medicine RN, and she wasn’t a single mother. Her views came from the stories of all the women around her that had struggled with this issue, not from actual experience.
With a little push and encouragement from Jaleel, she’d written the book. It sold two hundred thousand copies the first week, and instantly made Iniko a bestselling author. The book was doing so well that she was asked to go on a book and press tour for her entire junior year.
She dropped out of school, just for a semester she’d convinced herself, and tried to convince her parents. But that was far from what happened.
She was two months into her book tour and was the talk of the town, when she got the call from Jaleel that he’d been kicked off the team and out of school for steroid use.
It’s funny how love can make you just plain stupid.
Believing that the man she loved, trusted and adored, had been wronged and his career had been unfairly damaged by the school. Iniko made him her business manager.
It was a win; win wasn’t it?
Then it wasn’t until there was a movie deal on the table that she discovered his true colors. Jaleel had spent it all, every dime she ever made and money she hadn’t even made yet.
She was broke.
He’d gambled, paid strippers, prostitutes and drug dealers her money to live the high life.
Not only was she broke but she was being sued for copyright infringement. Unfortunately for her, the stories that her friends and family had told her about their hardships, could not be published without their written permission, and since what she wrote was initially a homework assignment, she hadn’t thought to ask anyone to use their tale of woe.
Just as everything was really coming to a head, she discovered she was pregnant with Josiah. The only bright thing in her dark and miserable life.
And just like that, Iniko had risen to the heights of success, and fallen to the depths of despair in a very short period of time.
The book became the bane of her existence, along with her terrible decisions and the trust that she’d given Jaleel.
She always hoped when meeting new people, they wouldn’t realize who she was. She’d had no such luck today. “Ahh…Yes, I am,” she finally answered him.
“So how is it that you are here asking me for a job as a PCA?” he asked her.
“To be honest with you, because I decided to be my authentic self and stop living a lie. You see, I never wanted to write a book. It was a paper for a class in college, and well the point is, it wasn’t anything like what I wanted for my life. I’ve wanted to be a surgical nurse since I can remember understanding what a career is. In order for me to do that, I have to go back to college.” She looked over at her son as he threw the ball at the hoop. “To be his mother and finish school, I need a job that can give me a more flexible schedule. No more, no less.”
“Okay, that makes sense.” Sean sat back on the sofa, loosening his tie. “Well, from your test scores and grades; you will be an exceptional RN someday.”
“Thank you,” she said blushing.
“I think you would be a perfect match for this position. But I need to tell you a few things about my client before I make my offer.”
“All right,” Iniko said. Staying calm and professional on the outside while doing the Holy Ghost dance on the inside.
“As you may have put together from the house, my client is very wealthy, not only is he wealthy, he is a very well-known athlete.”
“Do you mind if I ask his name?” she interrupted him.
“He is Urian Crestfield” When Iniko showed no registration on her face as to who he was, he went on while looking surprised. “Urian Crestfield, starting power forward for the Chicago Panthers. Two time MVP, Four time All-Star. Just signed a five year one hundred and eighty-seven-million-dollar deal.” He seemed to wait for her to show some sort of recognition.
“I don’t really do sports,” she said calmly. “JOSIAH!”
“Do you know who…what is his name again?” she asked Sean.
“Urian Crestfield is?”
“OMG, momma he’s only the best player in the NBA! They said on sports center that he is going to be more of an icon than Sean Jordan,” Josiah yelled from the court.
“Well, look at that,” Iniko said shrugging her shoulders. “If you had told me my client was Henry Thomas Sampson, I would have known exactly who you were talking about and would have probably have squealed.”
“Who?” the lawyer asked.
“Henry Thomas Sampson was prolific inventor and pioneer in the field of nuclear engineering.”
“I…umm, okay. Well, now I know you will be perfect.” Sean nodded his head.
Iniko felt like there was more to what he’d just said but wasn’t comfortable yet with asking.
“So, how soon would you be able to start?” he asked her.
“Umm…Don’t I need to meet him first?” she asked. “I mean I can take care of anyone, but I think part of this being successful is him being comfortable with me.”
“Uh….Ahhhh…. Actually yes, you’re right, you should meet. Why don’t you wait right here and I will go up to the house and see if he can meet with you now.”
“Okay.”. Iniko was getting the distinct feeling that Sean didn’t want her to meet the man she was supposed to be taking care of. She figured it was because he may be a difficult patient. But weren’t most people who were ill? It was hard to have no control over what was happening to your body. She was sure an athlete struggled even more than most.
It wasn’t even fifteen minutes later when Sean returned with the tallest man she’d ever seen in her life, in person.
Urian was seven foot one, with café brown colored skin. His body was in pristine condition which she expected to some extent. But this was—wow.
He was wearing a sleeveless fitted t-shirt that molded the muscles of his chest and abdomen, while exposing his cannon like biceps. His goatee was expertly quaffed and shaped which was a complete contrast to his bald head.
“Urian, this is Iniko Jackson; she’s going to be your new PCA,” Sean introduced them. “Iniko, this is Urian.”
Standing up and squaring her five foot seven curvy frame, Iniko extended her hand to him. “Hi, nice to meet you.”
“What kind of name is that?” he muttered.
“Excuse me?” Iniko asked, her hand hanging in the air. This would be second member of this family that didn’t know how to greet people.
“What kind of name is that? Eureka,” he said again, this time louder and definitely with a rude edge in his voice.
“Urian!” Sean said rubbing the bridge of his nose.
“Actually, it’s pronounced your-ri-ko. It’s Japanese for person of purity. My mother speaks eight languages. What kind of name is Ur Anus?” she retorted back.
Josiah must have looked up and seen Urian standing there, because he came running toward them screaming Urian’s name. “HI! You are my favorite basketball player ever! I know all your stats. Is my momma gonna be working for you?” Josiah asked and grabbed his leg.
“Get the fuck off me boy!” Urian yelled pushing Josiah away. “You don’t know me, nobody touches me, I don’t care who you are. Didn’t your momma teach how to just say, hey what’s up?”
“URIAN! He’s a kid!” Sean yelled.
“Have you lost your fucking mind!” Iniko snapped at him
“Do you cuss out everyone you interview with? No wonder you haven’t gotten a job,” Urian retorted.
Iniko stared at him for a moment, shocked at what she’d just experienced. She’d thought this job would be the answer to her problems. But there was no way she would work for a man this disrespectful. “No actually, I don’t. Which firmly puts you in the vein of an afternoon with an asshole! You Prick! Let me tell you something. It’s kids like my son that made you who you are, kids that look up to you, although I don’t know why. You play a game, a game! You don’t cure cancer, or help drug addicted mothers with getting clean. You run up and down a court and throw a ball at a hole. These kids see you as someone they want to grow up and be like. Instead of you being a better example, being kind, and having respect for the blessings that God has given you? You have decided to be a shameful excuse for a human being! Sean, thank you for the opportunity, I will have to decline this offer because I know if I take this job, I may kill this ass within the first week,” Iniko yelled angrily. “OH, and Urian, fuck you very much!”