Chapter 1 - Love gone wrong

“I don’t know why I put up with you. Zee, don't call me anymore, okay.” Click.

Riley Mackay was tired of dealing with men’s shortcomings. She had decided that she wasn’t having anymore drama in her life. She would finally do something for herself, and getting rid of Zee Thomas was the first thing she needed to do. Zee Thomas was a handsome, strikingly dark chocolate man with nicely cropped dreadlocks. He was co-owner of a computer engineering company, Simple Tech Inc., based out of New York City. The two were engaged. Riley hoped they were destined to jump the broom. Suddenly, Riley’s mind reflected on the evening that she learned their relationship would change course abruptly.

The flight from Montgomery, Alabama, to Manhattan, New York was long. Riley stepped out of the taxi, fingered her hair and held a black clutch, adorned with silver sequins and sapphire jewels, in her hand. She wore a one shoulder, black cropped dress that stopped mid-thigh. Frank, a middle-aged Caucasian taxi driver, retrieved her two suitcases from the trunk.

Riley checked in at the front desk of the five-star hotel and was given Zee’s room number and key. Riley beamed with joy, knowing that Zee would be surprised that she was able to fly in a day early. Once inside, Riley stood in the foyer of the spacious hotel room and placed her luggage down. Strange noises and muffled voices came from the bedroom. The trail of Zee’s khaki slacks, his green-striped shirt that Riley had purchased on Valentine’s Day, a woman’s white pencil skirt, pink blouse and wedge-heeled sandals led Riley to the bedroom. She stood in the doorway, peeped around the door frame and watched the man she loved with another woman. Riley left without a trace, tears streaming down her face causing her eyeliner and makeup to run.

Present Day…

At the age of twenty-six, Riley was where she wanted to be for the moment. Weeks after being proclaimed “Miss I Don’t Need Ya”, she felt like she had gained back control over her life. Riley was over trying to find the one. The five-feet, five-inch, bronze complexioned, dark brown-eyed, short-haired sister could handle her own. After the unfortunate discovery of her fiancé cheating on her, Riley decided to move away from her hometown of Montgomery, Alabama. She and Zee shared too many memories together in the city, like their late-night rendezvous on the banks of the Alabama River and their first date, a baseball game.

Riley’s new position was in downtown Orlando and included traveling. Lord knows, she wanted to see the world. She pulled into the front gates of her new home, the Jasper Lake Condominium Community. Beautiful palm trees and small shrubs decorated the entrance. They had better keep the scenery looking good for all of the money I’m paying up in here. Altamonte, her new hometown, was only a twenty minute commute from Riley's new job, so she could afford to splurge a little. It had been only two weeks since her transition to a new city and job position. She stuck to her home-from-work routine by watching television shows, reading newspaper articles, meditating during yoga or reading a romance novel. Not having to make red-eye flights to visit Zee during the weekend took the thrill out of her new life.

When with Zee, Riley had someone to call her own, someone to love and hold. She needed to find something better to do with her time. Sitting around in her condo only brought back memories and thoughts of yesterday. At what point had my good thing with Zee gone wrong? She rushed to put on a pair of black spandex shorts and a tank top to work off emotional stress at the gym.

The sun kissed Riley’s cheeks and the wind fingered her curls on the short walk from her condo to the community’s workout center. There was a pair of treadmills, elliptical machines, a cable chest press and stationary bikes inside the community workout center. She opted to run — it was liberating.

Copyright © 2019 by Aleta Turner