Love’s Improbable Possibility Series Through the Eyes of Sexy Nelly

So, one of my hardcore L.I.P.’ers, Nelly, wanted to create a visual image of the series. She took her time and put together a this video consisting of images that’s backed up by the content of the series. She carefully selected a song that she feels personafies Rayna, more specifically, her expressions via her eyes.

Thanks, Nells!

#LIPersGoHard

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My Sit Down with Azmir Jacobs of L.I.P.

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At eight-forty five at night, I sat in my office, twiddling my fingers. As I tried to fight from yawning, hoping not to run my eyeliner, my door opened. I looked up and in came an average height male with, dark silky hair that curled around his ear, wearing rectangular glasses. He was clad in relaxed Dockers and a white dress shirt under an olive suit jacket. He smiled kindly as he advanced into the room. Behind him was a petite woman of Asian descent, wearing round plastic frames herself with an ivory skirt, a blue tea-length skirt, and flats. She had a messenger bag strapped across her small shoulder as she held a portfolio flap with Global Fusion inscribed in gold on the front.

Next to pile into the room was a familiar face. A handsome figure…six feet and four inches. A lengthy man with ebony skin and eyes that affects you. He was wearing a pewter, v-neck sweater displaying his muscular upper-frame and black fitted dress pants. He was on a call, but smiled that brilliant smile when our eyes met. He immediately gaited over to me with a newspaper clutched under his arm. As I stood to greet him, I noticed a fourth person behind him; a man, walking through the door with a crate. I ushered them to available seats in my small office. I wasn’t expecting an army; only Azmir, but I understood he is rarely ever alone when out.

He eventually hung up and explained the troop. Apparently, the woman was his Global Fusions executive assistant. They’d just come from a proposal meeting with Richard about a company they’re liquidating here on the East Coast. The first man to enter the room was a marketing executive for Mauve and is in charge of the photo shoot Azmir had when he left my place that night. And the last man carrying the crate was Azmir’s intern from UCLA.

I offered them beverages, feeling bad that I didn’t have Mauve to offer Azmir, who opted for water, and then took my seat to get started. It was late, so I decided to click on the recorder right away to get started. He had a shoot soon and I needed sleep. I figured I could transpose then edit our chat the following morning.

Love: So many questions on the agenda today—

Wait…why are you sitting on the floor? We can move the pillows to create more space.

Azmir: There’s no room. You need more space in here, Love. I can’t have my staff sitting on the floor.

Love: Oh…well, yeah…I guess. I hope you’re comfortable down there.

Azmir: I’ve spent enough time on the couch to be comfortable here on the floor. Don’t worry about me; Im’ma big boy.

Love: Oh…okay.

You can sit over here once you put down that crate. [I’m talking to the intern]

Guys, because of the formatting of this interview, I have to narrate everything so that readers know what’s going on. They won’t have video, obviously, or audio. So, forgive me for speaking everything out loud until we end the interview.

But here’s my first question: What’s up with crate, A.D.?

Azmir: That’s Mauve. You said in your email that you gave away the last one I sent, so I brought a few more bottles with me.

Love: Oh, wow! Thanks! Yeah…I kind of re-gifted it last week to an author buddy of mine during an interview.

Azmir: You’re interviewing, Love? Wow!

[Azmir chuckles]

Love: Hey! That’s not funny! I have to promote this project. I don’t have big money behind me. So, I hustle! Hard!

Azmir: I ain’t mad, Love. Do your thing.

Love: I know you’re teasing. But on to my second question: Where’s Brett?

Azmir: Brett is no longer my executive assistant.

Love: Really?

Azmir: Nah. Brett’s responsibility went beyond the bounds of his job description as an intern because he was that good. When he graduated a while back, it was time for him to move on to an official role. He had to put that MBA to use. So, he’s now COO of ADJ Enterprise, my parent company that serves as an umbrella for all of my ventures. He now oversees all projects I’m engaged in.

Love: Dang! That’s a heavy position…

Azmir: Yeah, it is. It’s also what he’d been doing for some time. I didn’t want to entrust the weight of those responsibilities to another intern or assistant. Remember, that’s how Brett started out with me. And in the time he’d spent with me, my brand expanded immensely. I didn’t want to have to trust and train someone else. So, I have executive assistants for each leg of my businesses and Brett oversees them all as well the core of my business.

Love: So, he’s the man…

Azmir: Indeed. That he is.

Love: Okay…fair enough. I had a few questions I wanted to ask, but then I invited L.I.P.’ers to submit questions and they flooded the post with them. So, I’ll cut mine down to hurry and get to theirs.

First, do you know what L.I.P.’ers are, because Rayna didn’t. I don’t think Rayna has read all four books either.

[Azmir laughs]

I know…it’s funny! Who has books written about them and not even read them?

Azmir: My wife.

Love: Yes! I laughed, too, last week after the interview was over! She stopped reading at some point in Love UnExpected.

I see your assistant is laughing, too!

Have you read the books, Azmir?

Azmir: I’ve read each book, Love. I also keep up with you on social sites when I can. It’s nice to see how your following has grown. You’re like the Little Engine that Could.

Love: Hahaha… Funny.

Azmir: No, seriously. I’m impressed. Folks are taking to your talent. I’ve even seen some of the reviews. Great job.

Love: Really?

Azmir: Yeah…

Love: You know…I often wonder who they’re fans of: me, you or Rayna. I’d say Rayna ranks last. I may come in second.

[The room laughs]

I know…funny. But true!

Azmir: Yeah, my girl has frustrated lots of people. Now they know how I felt while chasing her. It’s all good though. I got love for her and that’s all that matters.

Love: Awwwww… Too cute. Are you trying to score points with your wife here?

Azmir: Yup!

[Azmir chuckles]

Love: Yeah, you should be cracking up! You’re shameless.

No. Seriously, Azmir, these L.I.P.’ers love you. They’d die if they saw you lounging here on my carpet with your long legs stretched across the floor. You look great, by the way.

Azmir: Well, I love them back. I see they support you, and that makes them friends of mine.

[I laugh]

You’re laughing, Love. I’m serious. Hi, L.I.P.’ers!

And thanks for the compliment, Love. And I love your new cut. Very edgy for you…and the color.

Love: Nice! You’re too sweet. The L.I.P.’ers will appreciate that.

I appreciate the compliment. I needed a change after being holed up in a room with you guys for months, finishing the series. I needed a do over button, so I started with my hair, and then I moved on to the new project.

Azmir: So, Rayna said you may not be doing the follow up?

Love: It’s not on my radar. The big guy threw it out there, but—

Azmir: But what?

Love: I have to move on to establish an identity as a writer. If I don’t, I’m no more than the writing style of L.I.P. And in all honesty, you and Rayna are all-consuming. I can’t have two deadlines on my 2014 calendar like that. If I do, I’ll never get a personal life.

[Azmir laughs]

I’m not laughing here.

Azmir: It’s only funny because Rayna told me you got smashed while away a few weeks ago.

Love: No. I’ve been smashing. There’s a difference. And I can’t believe she told you that! We are soooo not going to discuss my personal life right now.

[Azmir laughs]

I don’t see what’s so funny. I’m serious. This is embarrassing, Azmir! At least Rayna and I did our catching up offline!

Azmir: So, we can talk about my sex life—get four books out of it— and you turn red at the mention of yours? Get the hell outta here!

[Azmir laughs]

Love: Yup!

[I laugh]

Azmir: Don’t catch the giggling fit. Hold up… With who?

Love: Azmir Divine Jacobs, your colleagues are here! I am not about to discuss my sex life in front of strangers. Let’s just say that I need intimacy to be able to articulate it. I will not be one of those authors who put their fantasies in their work. I put mine into action.

[Azmir laughs]

Oh, my god… He is going to be so mad. Azmir, don’t laugh!!!

Azmir: Indeed. Okay…

One question though: Did he teach you how to service him?

[We broke out into a long laughing spout here. It took a while to be able to speak and continue our conversation]

Love: Okay. On to the interview. My only question…or topic is about how I encountered Jackson. Now that L.I.P. is done, I have to push L.I.T.

Azmir: Remind me again of what L.I.T. stands for…

Love: Love’s Inconvenient Truth.

Azmir: Got it. Oh, nice, Love.

[I laugh]

Don’t laugh. No need to be bashful. I like it. Your name up in errr’thang.

Don’t hide behind your iPad! Speaking of following you: I read your responses to readers and crack the hell up.

Love: Why?

Azmir: Because you come off as so humble. Love, you know your ass is as big-headed as they come.

Love: I am not arrogant, Azmir! Don’t confuse my confidence with arrogance. I just know my strengths! And I’m sincerely humble when readers reach out because this is one of the few arenas that I don’t have that extra air of confidence. I’m still improving on my writing. I’m just good at selecting interesting people to explore and address their issues. Now, that I have on lock!

Azmir: Touché, Love. Touché.

Love: Now, you, L.I.P.’ers believe to be arrogant in spite of how appealing they find you.

Azmir: I’ll take that. I did a lot of that while pursuing Rayna. I wanted her to believe I was the shit. I guess it worked.

Love: I love the way you just tossed your hand in the air.

Okay…let’s get started with these questions or we’ll be here all night. I know you have to go.

By the way, when are you returning home? And when was the last time you’ve seen your wife? Has it been since I’ve seen her?

Azmir: What time does our flight leave, Chad?

Chad the intern: Uhhhh… Seven in the morning, sir.

Azmir: So, in a few hours, I’ll hop on a plan to my family for Memorial Day weekend.

And I “see” her every day when I’m away. We Facetime daily. The last time I’ve had my paws on her (as she says) was over the weekend. She met me up in Seattle last Friday. We were there until Sunday.

Love: Okay… Fair enough.

Here are the questions from L.I.P.’ers—by the way, I have a L.I.P.’er friend out in L.A. to visit the next time I come out. I call her Triple S.

Azmir: Oh, yeah? Cool. Now you have your family out there, me and Rayna, and this friend. You’re doing it big, Love.

Love: Yeah…making friends. Speaking of which, can you share how Jackson came to my couch?

Azmir: That was all Rayna. After meeting him that night at the marina, she kept in touch with him. I don’t know… I think him being with Evelyn really rubbed her the wrong way. It didn’t help that he was so preoccupied that night. So, they hit it off and the next thing I knew, she told me Jax was a client of yours.

Love: Question number one: It seemed like your father played a major role in your life before his death. What qualities are remembered about your father?

Azmir: Pops was a good man. He was the traditional head of the family, a protector. He’d always have a lecture for me on life. We did things together as a family and just the two of us. He was a servant of the mosque. We worked around there on weekends when he wasn’t on duty. He was respected by people in the community. I honestly don’t have any bad memories of him. He was Dad. I was a child and couldn’t identify anything other than those traits.

Love: Do you feel you possess any of those qualities?

Azmir: Good one. I hope to. I wake up every day aspiring to be a good person. I try to be fair with everyone I encounter. I would hope people who interact with me speak kindly of me when I’m not around.

Love: Rayna’s tendency to run in relationships almost drove you crazy, how does it feel to know you have all of her completely?

Azmir: It feels right. I knew she belonged to me for a long time. I wanted to make her mine and happy. I don’t think I’m doing too bang up of a job at it; she’s still riding with me.

Love: And there’s that arrogant smile that Rayna would refer to as coochie-creaming. Okay…next question.

You were open to the possibilities of children pretty early on in the relationship, was that your way of securing a lifetime position in her life?

Azmir: Shit! Good question. I’ll keep it one hundred. It was. When she got pregnant that first time, I knew for a minute and just sat on my ass, thinking because of it, I had her in my court. As we all know, I was in for a battle.

Love: Your answers are succinct, unlike Rayna’s.

Azmir: I get right to the point. No need to elaborate the truth. It’s truth. Facts.

Love: How did you not allow the difference in religion to become an issue in your relationship?

Azmir: That’s because although I was raised in the Muslin faith, I didn’t practice over the years. When my Moms disappeared, my focus went to the streets. I didn’t build anymore…lost touch with principles. Now, as an adult, I can explore my beliefs independent of parental influence.

Love: What type of mother is Rayna? (She told us to ask you)

Azmir: Oh, did she? That sounds like something she’d do, not having the balls to toot her own horn.

Rayna’s mean on her mother game. She’s very dedicated to my kids. I don’t have to worry about anything concerning them because she’s got every base covered. I never doubted she’d be a good mother, but I didn’t know she’d be an excellent one. Her focus is locked on them…their schooling/childcare, sports, arts, play dates. All that…she handles it all.

Love: What does it feel like to look at your children and know they were created with hardcore love?

Azmir: It’s crazy. I don’t really recall life before them. That’s probably why I’m so familiar with the books, Love. Because when I read them, I’m reminded of my world before my babies. When I see my kids, I see Rayna…and shit, it’s a great feeling.

Love: What values are being taught to your children?

Azmir: Pretty much the basics: honesty, being generous (they ‘re at the stage of learning how to share), love your family, respect friends and those around you. Rayna is the teacher and I’m pretty much the enforcer. She has them with her in church regularly. I attend when I’m home, which I try to do often. I want to be aware of what my children consume.

Love: How important was it for you to have a personal relationship with Rayna’s brother?

Azmir: It was of the utmost importance. After she confessed to having this brother who she was so committed to, I wanted to meet him right away. It took a lot for me to wait until she knew that I’d learned of the whole story. It was hard for me to sit on that one.

Love: Why didn’t you give Rayna a title [of girlfriend] to secure her?

Azmir: I didn’t think it was important what I called her so long as I called her, if you know what I mean. What I felt was more important was what I showed her.  And I thought my actions were communicating a clear message, which was that I was committed to her.

Love: How as a man did you learn to become so attuned to a woman?

[Azmir laughs]

Azmir: It does read as such, doesn’t it? I don’t think I’m as good as I appear on paper. With Rayna, it was instinctive. As I said in the last book, she became an obsession very early on in our…sexual affairs. I just took my time exploring her. That and trial and error. To her it likely felt mastery. It was simple determination. I guess perception is reality to some.

Love: Are you still troubled by the miscarriage?

Azmir: I’ve let it go. Couldn’t hang on to that when I’d been blessed with my babies that are here.

Love: How has being married changed your life?

Azmir: Ummmm…I can say it feels more purposeful. I didn’t realize how lonely I was until I had a wife and then, that quickly, two babies to come home to at night. I’m enjoying it.

Love: Will we see you in another series?

Azmir: I believe we’ll be in the next project…right, Love?

Love: Yes. A smidge.

Azmir: There it is…

Love: I would like to ask Mr. Jacobs [to describe his feelings when the kids were born].

Stick to the twins.

Azmir: Ah, man… I remember them coming out all messy with blood and slimy shit all over them, wailing like crazy. When I heard their cries, it was like my entire life was vacuumed into one moment. All types of shit was made clear; times I fucked up, where I made the wrong turns, stupid shit I got away with, and two things I did right: married a great woman and made these two beautiful creatures. Rayna said I didn’t speak for like two days. I don’t know…I was dazed.

Love: I would like to know if Kid’s death is still creating a void in Azmir’s life.

Azmir: I wouldn’t say it created a void. It just hurt. Kid and I were business associates first. That’s how we met. It just so happened that he was loyal and good at what he brought to our organization. You can’t find real soldiers like that—in a legal lifestyle or otherwise. After having someone on your team riding like that, you grow to care for them. They turn into family, you know? And…

That’s just something that fucks you up. But I’m in a better place. His family is eating well. They always will.

Love: Why weren’t [the] remaining close members of the Klan included in the house party with Jax, etc? Does Azmir’s exit from the “life” also include his exit from their friendship?

Azmir: Hmmmm… My friendships have always been segmented. They don’t all mix. Lenny and I were tight with Quincy (Jax’s dad). We kind of know Jax in the same vein, so to speak. So, when I invited him, I knew Lenny would want to hang out, too.

As far as my goons, they all know how to touch me if they need to. For years before my exit, I didn’t run in the same social circles as those in The Klan. I outgrew that block shit. But I’ve been known to do legitimate job placement, if you know what I mean.

Love: What specifically do you mean by that phrase?

Azmir: If someone needs a legal job, they know I try to assist as best I can. I fit them on my payroll where I feel they best fit.

Love: Have your travels slowed down now that you’re a father?

Azmir: I’ve worked out a more sound and reasonable travel schedule with Richard for Global Fusion. I’ve been fortunate because he enjoys traveling. His home-front doesn’t mind. As far as Mauve, I try to schedule as much as I can around my family’s activities. When it’s too much, she knows how to arrange for a flight to come check me. She always has an open invitation.

Love: Do you regret the amount of time you are away from your family?

Azmir: I don’t relish it all. I try to make the best out of every business opportunity presented. My wife’s flexibility makes it possible. She makes our family very mobile.

Love: Last one…

In the beginning of the relationship, Rayna did not express her dislike of how much you traveled because she had no title. Now that she’s your wife, is she more vocal about it or simply has accepted it in your opinion?

Azmir: Both. She’s made it known when I’ve been needed at home. Again, she’s also been very understanding and flexible with my workload. She makes it work. If she wasn’t good with it, it wouldn’t be possible; I’d have to switch up my hustle.

Love: Well, that’s all from the L.I.P.’ers.

I have a good one to close this chat.

Azmir: Hit me.

Love: Does Rayna dance for you at all…like sensually?

Azmir: Indeed.

Love: That’s it? That’s your answer?

Azmir: Well, Love, you no longer counsel us. The project is over. I’m no longer obligated to share my personal affairs with you. You don’t share your goodies, I keep mine to myself.

Love: You let me reveal your true identity and I’ll share my goodies.

Azmir: Ha! Well played.

It was a pleasure, Love.

 

###

Love Interviews Rayna of L.I.P.

Rayna Brimm Interview

Rayna comes into my office looking great, per usual. She’s dressed casually in light blue distressed jeans rolled at the ankle, a white T-shirt, pink swing cardigan, and nude Christian Louboutin Coussin Cage ankle boots. And nicely topping off her look is a Hermes Birkin Clemence Lemon handbag. Her hair is long and untamed, back to its usual thick and lengthy volume, and her makeup is minimal. She’s absolutely stunning.

We immediately exchange welcoming hugs and do our small talk. Rayna’s no stranger to my digs. She’s been on my couch for years and it’s great to have her back. We both take a seat and equally smile at one another, feeling that sense of familiarity.

Love: You look amazing as always, Rayna. So, is this how today’s Mom look?

Rayna: I guess. I flew in just last night and when I packed, I threw two days of clothes in my duffle bag, knowing I’d be right back. Nothing fancy.

Love: Nice.

Are you going to do any visiting while you’re here on the East Coast?

Rayna: Oh, yeah. I have to stop in on my grandparents. I’ll check on them for a few hours after we’re done here and then I’m out tomorrow. Gotta get back to my babies.

Love: How was your Mother’s Day? I know your travel here was right after.

Rayna: It was great. Too short though. I only had a complete family for two days. He flew home Saturday and was in the air again on Monday afternoon. It was a quiet and relaxing weekend; with and without the kids.

So, he’ll be coming to see you next week?

Love: That’s the plan. I know how busy he is, and now that we’re done with L.I.P., I don’t have first right of refusal on his calendar. So, I hope so.

Rayna: Oh, please! You know he’ll make anything happen for you, Love.

Love: I don’t know. I’ve really monopolized his time over the years. I know he feels some degree of freedom since the last release. And now my boss is saying more…a novella! Where do I find the time? Where do we get a break?

Rayna: So, you don’t want to do the follow up? I know he mentioned the possibility a week or so ago.

Love: Not right now I don’t. You know how time consuming it is. I don’t mean to sound all “Hollywood” about it, but I’m really booked.

Rayna: Yeah, I’ve heard. Well, I’m willing to do whatever needs to be done, and I know he’s always open to a sit down with you. It’s almost like…natural now. I’m actually a little jealous; I’ve heard from Jackson.

Love: Really? Have you met Elle yet? What do you think of her?

Rayna: Not yet. I’ve only heard of her through Jax. I’m getting my updates.

Love: Why are you laughing?

Rayna: Because I know how intense your sessions are. I don’t think they were prepared. In all fairness, I didn’t give him any warning when I suggested he speak with you last year.

Love: We’re well on our way, though. We’ve recently run into a bump in the road, but we’re smoothing it out now. I’m making sure of it.

Rayna: Now you’re laughing…

Love: Yeah. It’s all good, though.

Anyway, folks want to catch up with you. Let’s get this thing rolling. We’ll start with my questions and then get into those submitted by others.

How are you adjusting to life as Mrs. A.D. Jacobs?

Rayna: It was an adjustment at first, more because parenthood followed so soon after. When you experience an onrush of change, you don’t think about what was, because you have no time. You just adjust to life and make the best of it. Other than that, I guess it’s no different than any other new bride’s experience. He’s an amazing man. I’m truly fortunate.

Love: What type of father is Azmir?

Rayna: Amazing. He’s a totally different creature with the kids. You know how Azmir takes on different personas depending on who he’s with. Most often, he makes himself one of them. It’s one of the few times where I take a backseat in terms of his attention. I remember how good he was with Erin before the kids, but he’s far more playful and attentive with his own.

Love: Right after the last release, a few L.I.P.’ers asked what was Azmir’s reaction when he first laid eyes on the babies in the hospital. What was that like?

Rayna: Which one? I know you asked that we not speak about the gaps since you guys are discussing the idea of another short story…

Love: Let’s talk about the twins then.

Rayna: I can never contain my smile when I think back to that. I delivered via caesarian, so I was able to relax during the experience and focus on him [Azmir]. Love, Azmir let go of a few tears when the nurses placed Kennedy in his arms. For some reason, she was handed off first. And when he held them both in his big hands, his mouth hung open. He was dazed. No CEO. No thug. He was Daddy. I swear… that man didn’t speak for hours. It’s like he was in a trance. Even when they slept in the hospital and when I made my first attempt at breastfeeding them, Azmir couldn’t speak. The day we were leaving the hospital, while waiting on the last of the discharge paperwork to be processed, he whispered ‘thank you’ so many times in my ear as he hugged me. It was a beautiful moment. Our moment. I didn’t respond, but I understood his sentiment.

Love: Are you about to cry, Rayna?!

Rayna: No! My allergies are acting up…

Love: If you say so. All right…on to the next question…

Azmir shared in Love Redeemed that you’ve insisted on retaining your job. Why is that?

Rayna: Yeah… I couldn’t believe he was still stuck on that.

Will I reach retirement age working? I don’t know. But as for now, I need to work to feel grounded. I now understand the man I married. I don’t shun his net worth. I live with it every day. Nonetheless, I need my own identity. I need my own escape. And if I can be honest, Love…

Love: Please do.

Rayna: After having the twins, I thought long and hard about what my life would be like in the new roles I’d been thrust into. When you do the math, Azmir and I happened fast…and hard! It was a lot to adjust to. As I spent weeks and months nursing newborns, I had to think of the type of mother I was going to be. I considered the legacy I’ll leave for them. And for Kennedy, specifically, I didn’t want her to grow up thinking a man is the sole provider. I mean, Azmir’s ability to provide for our family exceeds most. But who’s to say Kennedy will marry a wealthy man? I want her to know that both partners should work to make a life for the entire family.

How long will I be able to keep up this charade? I don’t know. Azmir’s life is all-consuming, which in turn can overwhelm mine. I enjoy having a piece that is just for me. My job does that. If you don’t understand, when you become a mother, perhaps you will, Love. Anyway…I’m content where I am at this time. When it no longer works, I’ll regroup. I’m fortunate enough to have options.

Love: Has your relationship with your mother, Samantha, improved?

Rayna: Yeah…it has. It took some time, but we’ve found a place—or should I say, I’ve been able to discern her comfort level around me. I think it started when the twins came home from the hospital. She would come over and get busy doing something with or for them. I noticed she didn’t ask; she acted. It could have been sorting laundry, cleaning bottles, burping, changing a diaper, or just providing good energy.

The first few days were awkward for me because I didn’t know what the heck she was doing. I didn’t know how to respond. Then eventually, I didn’t think about a response. I just accepted the help. She was a huge help to the nanny, too. And so it started there. The babies initiated commonality in our conversations. Those conversations transitioned to experiences and we connected that way.

Love: For some reason people are wondering how things turned out with O. I have no idea why, because I never thought of him during our sessions. Have you heard anything about him?

Rayna: Hmmmm… I don’t think about him either. Like…at all.

Love: You’re very much in touch with Akeem. I’m sure he keeps his ear to the streets back at home. Has he mentioned O?

Rayna: Yeah…but Keeme doesn’t ‘press’ his ears to the pavement of them, if you know what I mean. Azmir wouldn’t have that. But…I don’t recall when his name has come up, though I vaguely recall Keeme mentioning him being locked up again for another crime. I really don’t recall much. He’s not someone my mind ventures to unless he’s brought up. I noticed during our times together, Love, you never asked about him.

Love: That’s because he’s immaterial to your adult life. His significance was limited to your childhood as far as I’m concerned.

Rayna: Yeah…I agree. I’m getting a headache just thinking about the last time he’s visited my thoughts.

Love: Okay… Here are questions from L.I.P.’ers. Ready?

Rayna: L.I.P.’ers, Love?

Love: Yeah. That’s what we are.

Why do you find that funny…why are you laughing?

Rayna: This whole thing is weird. Me opening up, almost, my entire life for people to read is crazy! So, when I hear terms like L.I.P.’er, it just reminds me of this project we took on together…so long ago. Wow!

Love: Yeah… Do you have any regrets, Rayna?

Rayna: Other than my sex life being buried in between the pages of a romance novel? Or the decisions I made in life—good or bad—being open to judgment by people I’ll never meet? Naaah!

Love: I’m glad you can find humor in this. And speaking of your sex life, buckle your seatbelt. Here we go…

Stop laughing, Rayna!

Rayna: Okay…

Love: Did your mother’s confession of the real reason your father left change your outlook on the whole situation and feelings you held toward your father?

Rayna: Wow! Ummmm… What she shared gave me a new perspective of how marred we were as a family unit. It did remind me that my father was a bit of human. He did have a hard time with my mother. But it didn’t answer why he gave up on all of us. I guess that’s an answer that will never come. I can’t wait on the logic, though. I have to keep moving forward. I have so much to focus on now. I have a partner and children of my own to keep together…and not screw up.

Love: Do you regret waiting so long to attempt to reconnect with family? To what level did your grandfather’s words of you being just like your father affect you?

Rayna: Yes and no. I certainly feel much more supported with my family being in my life now. So, in that respect, I’m content. Yet, when I consider where my head was before Azmir, before me working on me…them being in my life wouldn’t have been appreciated as much as it is now. It’s not just about what having them here would’ve done for me. It’s also about what I had to offer them, which was nothing. I needed to get myself together before attempting a successful relationship with them.

As to my grandfather’s heeding: That scared the crap out of me. It was definitely a wakeup call. Think about it: At the time of that exchange between my grandfather and me, I had isolated myself from family and friends. I had no one to reference my father and his characteristics. I just…hated him and for so long. So, when my grandfather referenced a shared characteristic, it spooked me.

Love: What type of wife/mother would best describe you? How do you feel about being a mother?

Rayna: Wow… I don’t know. Maybe A.D. can answer that. I’m enjoying being a mother. When I’m in the trenches of parenting, I perform and meet needs. It’s the same with being a wife. Azmir can be so many different people in the span of a week. It’s like how First Lady Twanece described Pastor Edmonson in one of our counseling sessions. I’m not sure which book that was—

Love: That would be Love Redeemed

Rayna: Okay. And I believe Redeemed is the last one, right?

Love: That would be correct.

Rayna: Okay… In Redeemed, when she warned that being married to a “leader” could prove challenging because of the many hats he has to wear—or something of that nature—she was dead on. He can come home withdrawn…beat up from a long flight and hours of meetings before then. He could pop up on the twins and me in the middle of the day and play with them for hours until I break them up for nap time. That man can come home in the middle of the night, in a ruminative disposition, waking me from a deep sleep and not say a word, but beckon my attention.

He can switch it up, but he never goes too far to whereas I don’t recognize him and have an idea of how to reel him back in. That part took some time to master. It took a while to learn how to manage all of him. But you do what you gotta do. It’s not easy, but he’s predictable most times and that helps me care for him.

Love: What characteristics of yourself do you see in your children?

Rayna: Oh, Azmir loves to debate this.

Wait… How can I answer this without going against your rules, Love?

Love: Focus on the twins.

Rayna: Okay… I think they have a combination of both Azmir and my characteristics. But he loves to say the more sassy ones that especially Kennedy exhibits are from me. She’s pretty strong-willed and will challenge you if she doesn’t understand your instruction. She’s like…an activist in the making. Dasu is a loner. He’s a sponge and can learn just about anything. He’s my future scholar. Azmir and I always fight over who Dasu gets his studious abilities from. It’s hilarious. In all, they’re great kids. All of them. (Sorry, Love.)

Love: I’ll ignore that…

Next L.I.P.’er question: In what ways have you developed as a person overall? How does this development play on your relationship with others?

Rayna: I believe I’ve done well with just letting stuff ride. This includes forgiving people. I don’t expend energy on petty things or things I can’t control like I used to.

Love: Yeah, Like Tara reaching out to Azmir…or Amber working in the LBC when you were considering resigning (don’t think I didn’t pick up on that right after you had the twins).

You’re laughing because I’m right. You were going to hang in the towel right after giving birth.

Rayna: Good one! Yeah…well, as far as Tara. Once I realized she had no chance with Azmir, she was irrelevant. I actually felt bad for her. Texting Azmir for support?

I remember the morning we were all at the table, eating breakfast and I caught Azmir grimacing at his phone. So, I asked why. He showed me another text from Tara, asking about real estate. Apparently, she was moving and wanted the best her money could buy considering her daughter. She told Azmir she didn’t have much, but wanted to make the most of what she could spend. I didn’t sense any ulterior motives and realized it was like the third time she’d texted him, that I knew of. I just felt bad for her and decided to reach out. I tried using the kids as a centerpiece for us getting together, but—

Love: Hold that thought. I may use it as material, depending on if I do the short project and which angle I’d take on.

Rayna: Oh…okay. Well, I tried…and that’s because she was no threat to me.

Neither was Amber. Work is work at the end of the day. My life after the wedding and twins was fuller and more significant than I could have ever imagined. So, I immediately thought of her when I was wondering who could replace me.

It’s no biggie because they don’t matter!

Love: And Dawn?

Rayna: Who?

Love: Dawn Taylor?

Rayna: Love, do you really want me to go there?

Don’t laugh!

Remember I speak to Jax. I know you’ve been in the loop of what’s going on with her.

Love: Yeah. I know. We won’t go there. I’m just teasing you. But any regrets about running up in her grill? I still can’t believe you did that.

Rayna: Nope! And yes you can, Love!

Stop laughing! Next…

Love: Okay…a more sobering topic. Ready?

Rayna: Bring it.

Love: Why were you not more upset when you were date raped? It’s like not much was said about that. It’s almost like you brushed it off during that moment. Was hardly any emotions displayed about it.

Rayna: It wasn’t date rape. I didn’t know my offender. I still don’t. I think my reaction was so blasé because I didn’t know how to react to it. It was almost like the assailant was a ghost. Also, I was more concerned about Michelle. Maybe I deflected…I don’t know, but I tried to manage as best as I could to get through it.

Love: I have a follow up question. Do you think you should have received counseling for that back then?

Rayna: It wouldn’t have hurt. In retrospect, I can simply thank God the experience or aftermath wasn’t worse than it was.

Love: Have you adjusted to the fact that you’re wealthy? Did you sign a Prenup?

Rayna: I think I’m adjusted. It’s been in my world for a while now. But I still believe I’m a working class citizen. My pay goes to my kids’ savings. I need to make sure they’re covered. I’m their mother. Azmir provides a wonderful life for us, but they’re ultimately my responsibility.

Love: You’re sounding very rebellious. I can detect an undertone. You mentioned in Love Redeemed, that Azmir said you didn’t want a prenup while you guys were…rekindling on the air mattress in Redondo Beach. Did you not?

Rayna: First…I sound a little rebellious because I still am. Azmir can up and leave at any moment. It will still be my primary responsibility to care for my children. Remember when you told me that one time how your aunt said, “Never make more babies than you can care for alone?” Well, I’ve kept that in mind.

Love: Yeah, but I don’t think a woman in your situation has to adapt that type of mentality, Rayna. You will likely always be a financial obligation to Azmir.

Rayna: Yeah…yeah…yeah, Love. I’m still working on me.

As far as the prenuptial agreement: Chesney pushed for it. I was totally fine with signing one, giving him one hundred percent ownership of what he had the day before we married. But Azmir wouldn’t have any part of it. That day was so ugly; I don’t know why it wasn’t shared in the last book. It wasn’t a big deal to me to sign. It was to A.D.

No, we did not set up a prenuptial agreement. When he mentioned that I didn’t want it that night in Redondo Beach, it was in jest. He still doesn’t like talking about that day we discussed the prenup. It was just a mess. I thought Chesney was going to get fired that day.

Love: Okay. Fair enough.

Are people still shocked by the fact that you capture A.D’s heart? How does the opposite sex treat you when it comes to your man? Do women still try to test or is there an unspoken awareness?

Rayna: I’m not sure what people think about our marriage. I tune everything outside of my home out. The reactions to Azmir when we’re out and about hasn’t changed one bit. Aw, man! Women still do their triple takes. It hasn’t bothered me in a while, but it’s still amusing to watch. It is what it is. But it’s pretty known now that Azmir is married. I’m not a public figure. I leave that to him.

I’m not sure how much of those last two questions you want me to discuss, Love…

Love: I think you can stop there.

Next question: What happened when Azmir went through the backdoor?

Rayna:What?

Love: Backdoor…third hole. Remember in Love UnCharted when Chef Boyd and staff left for the night and Azmir tells you he wants to explore—

Rayna: Oh! That backdoor! That’s funny! Are we talking sex now?

Love: Sorry…I can’t stop laughing. We L.I.P.’ers aren’t shy when it comes to sex.

Rayna: Well, I think that’s your question to answer, Love. It was you who chose not to include that. What did you say?

Love: That I wasn’t ready to go there yet.

Rayna: Yeah…something about Ezra.

Love: Yes. Ezra’s story involves adventures of that nature and I preferred saving my energy for that.

Rayna: We’ll, there you have it! For the record, L.I.P.’ers, my sex life is thoroughly exposed in those books; clearly, I didn’t mind at all. But to answer that L.I.P.er’s question: As with every other one with Azmir, it was a great experience.

Love: Are you turning red?!

Rayna: Don’t laugh at me, Love!

Love: Wheeeeew! Okay…

Almost done. Here’s the next one…

Why didn’t you require/demand more commitment from Azmir before you moved in with him? You stated several times that you didn’t know what to make of your relationship with Azmir, but you never demanded a title or a definition from him as to where you both stood BEFORE you moved in with him.

Rayna: I did lots of senseless things concerning that man. I was just so drawn to him that I went along without logic. I don’t know how else to put it other than, Azmir had turned my world upside down. He had me out there. I know it may not have seemed like it, but I wasn’t as in control or as tough as perceived when it came to him. I wanted him way before I wanted to admit it to myself. I was taken. So, I went with it until I couldn’t anymore… thanks to Dawn, the night of the Trey Songz concert. That’s when the rosy glasses went flying off. I needed more, even if I didn’t demand it that night we broke up. I did tell him that I didn’t like the roommate title. Stupid…but I was in love with that man and would have done a lot of foolish things just to be underneath him.

Love: Okay…next question.

If one thing from the past could change how you have acted in the present…meaning a change for the better…what would it be?

Rayna: Hmmmmm…

Only one thing…

Maybe dating O back in high school. If I’d never gotten involved with him, my brother would’ve never been sent to prison for what he did, at least. Also, that little girl wouldn’t have lost her life. That really messed my head up…for years. I’ve always been clear on that.

Love: Last one…

How did you think telling Dawn about how great Azmir lays it down in the bedroom would get her to back off?

You laugh? Is that your response? You just laugh, Mrs. Jacobs?

Rayna: Please! I didn’t think!

Love: Why are you laughing so hard. Wait…Rayna, you have tears in your eyes!

I’ll give you a moment to calm down.

Rayna: Okay… Whew! It’s funny because that was so stupid. But I was so drunk, Love! I could have given her my social security number if I felt it would piss her off.

Love: Well, that’s all, Rayna. Thank you so much for stopping by. I’ll be in touch about that follow up project, girlie…

Rayna: Anytime you need me, Love. You know what to do.

###

 

Work/Life Balance

Work/Life Balance

This concept has become more relevant to me over the past year. This is because it’s something I find myself struggling with daily.

Author Nikki Walker regularly discusses this notion in a group she facilitates. Over the past few months, I’ve been meaning to introduce the topic of friendships for my fellow-authors. I’ve noticed over the past two years, since picking up my laptop and truly writing, that I’ve become more and more reclusive. A woman who has historically thrived off interacting with people, getting people to open up emotionally and hang loose. A woman who had a particular interest in challenging people to look within themselves for solutions to happiness. A woman who enjoyed being in your face, pulling on you to open up. Yup, that is/was Love. I’ve always prided myself on establishing and facilitating nurturing relationships.

See, I’m the type of woman who has never surrounded herself with shallow, competitive “girlfriends.” I’m not the type to gravitate to guarded people like a Rayna Brimm. I’ve tried several times in my youth to do this and had been burnt each time. So, I decide years ago that I could never be friends with Beyonce Knowles. LOL! Seriously, I’m such a free-spirited and confident person emotionally that if I sense you’re not reciprocating, I walk away. I’ve conditioned myself to do just that over the years. It was and still is difficult, but I’ve learned to protect my heart.

So, getting back to my girlfriends and work/life balance; I’ve disappointed a number of them over the past two years. Not only do I have a full personal life as it relates to home, but I now have this writing thing that I’ve tried my hand at and find myself at home with and totally engrossed in. Unfortunately, to get into the most productive zone, I have to withdraw into my head where I meet these really cool people aka characters. In doing this, my “nurturing” gene transfers from my girlfriends to these characters. So not cool! I totally get this.

When completing “Love Redeemed” I felt pressure like none before from both my writing world as well as my home life and my girlfriends. Since releasing “Love UnCharted” in October of 2013, I began to receive an increasing amount of emails, tweets, inboxes and posts about the release date of this “Love Redeemed.” Great, right? Of course! I’d started developing a following! My dream is coming true! However, the demand came with an obligation to produce. My management team eventually began to demand the conclusion, too, as they occasionally voyaged my pages on FB, Twitter, and IG and discovered those inquiries. Thank goodness they don’t have access to my personal email!

So, I did what I needed to do and completed the task. I tried to manage as best as I could to get the job done. Then I got the job done. And yet and still feel I’ve come up short. Several of my relationships with my girlfriends are hanging on delicate strings and now that #Redeemed is done I’m taking inventory of my relationships and don’t really know how to go about repairing or assuaging them. And I don’t really have much time as I’m starting to complete L.I.T. ummmmm…this weekend. Yikes!

***shrugs shoulders*** I’ve been praying about this and will continue to do so, because I am really big on friendships. They’re so vital to a woman’s being. It doesn’t matter if you’re single or married. Doesn’t matter if you have just one or fifteen like me (yes, I have at least 15 women that I consider confidants and engage in nurturing relationships with. I’m crazy, I know…but that’s who I am. It’s what I’ve found myself in and wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world…unless these relationships produce catty drama, to which they’d get terminated.) friendships with women who are supportive, encouraging, mentor-worthy, positive, spiritually grounded, confident, loving, trusting and who provided reciprocity is hugely key in a successful woman’s life. Just don’t collect as many as me.

Anywho… work/life balance: how will Love achieve it?

***drumming fingers on my desk as I ponder a solution***

~LB