The Roots That Entwines Us (Chapter 5)
As Jo walked down the street to the car, she saw a peddler with the sign "if you feed this lycanthrope, he won't follow you home." She had to stop and give him some money for originality. Continuing further, she saw the driver opening the back car door awaiting her arrival. "Pleasant good morning to you Ms. Dimaren. I'm Will, your driver for today." "Good morning, Will. Please, you can call me Jo." She got in and got settled. "How long will the drive be?" "Approximately an hour and a half ma'am." "Sounds like a perfect time for a nap." Through the rearview mirror Will smiled at her. "Sounds like a good idea. I'll wake you upon our arrival." "Thanks." She was asleep before they got on the FDR. She could hear her breaths echoing loudly in the cramped space she now occupied. She tried stretching out her hands to see what she could feel, but they had not moved more than 6 inches from her side before she hit something solid on both sides. She whispered to herself "don't panic, don't panic." She could feel herself taking tremulous breaths, she tried this time to stretch her hands overhead, to see if she could get out that way. Again, her hands were stopped before they were fully extended. Now, she started to panic, she was not taphephobic, she never feared being buried alive before, but now that it was a reality, it became her number one fear. "Ms. Dimaren. Ms. Dimaren. Jo? We're here." She looked around and caught her bearings. Relieved, she realized she was in a car and not six feet under. What the hell was that dream about? She put on her favorite Dior shades and checked her messy ponytail as Will exited the car to open her door. "Thanks Will." "I'll be here whenever you're ready." Jo nodded in acknowledgement. She looked around-the building was on the mauka (mauka, she has not been in Hawaii for years, but she still remembered how they say towards the mountains) side of the road and there was a little stream on the opposite side. She took a deep breath, inhaling the fresh, crisp, clean smell of the air. The air always smelled differently to her once you left the city. She heard footsteps behind her and turned to see Marie Nikole approaching her. Jo took off her shades to greet her, but Marie paused when she got a good look at her. "What happened to you?" Marie Nikole inquired. "I was up rather late last night." Marie eyes narrowed. "Lance?" "No." Her eyes narrowed further. "Derrick?" "No. Renji." Her eyes brightened and she grinned. "So you guys finally did it huh?" She gave her a mockingly disgusted look. "No! Why does everyone keep thinking that? Yes he's bloody attractive but I don't even know if he finds me attractive. Furthermore he's an employee. He likes slimmer girls, I'm sure." "One. Shouldn't that sentence be, 'but he's an employee. Furthermore I don't even know if he finds me attractive?' I see where your priorities are. Two, it’s obvious that he's attracted to you. Wait. Let me finish,” she quickly stated when she saw I opened my mouth to interject. “He wants you to notice him. You're shielding and hiding yourself from him and it's making things harder. On a more superficial level, you two look great together! That picture of you two? Hmmm. And I'm not the only person that thinks that." "What picture?" "Did you look at the papers? Yeah, yeah I know you don't like reading the papers but I thought Renji would've shown you the article." "He told me about the article and gave it to me but I haven't looked at it yet." "I'm sure you can find it online. People are definitely talking about it in the gossip columns." She took out her phone and goggled the event. Sure enough there were a good amount of pictures of them together. She didn't even remember being photographed except while walking the carpet for the step and repeat. It wasn't planned but he had ended up walking it with her and they took a few photos together. In one picture his arms were around her waist pulling her close. In another it looked like he was kissing her cheek but really he was whispering something in her ear. She remembered that because she recalled how his breath tickled her ear and she had tilted her head more to him, not to hear him better above the noise but to rub her cheek against his facial hair. She of course, had caught herself, but the camera caught the closeness and intimacy she was feeling. What caught her off guard was in another picture he was hungrily staring after her. In another he was applauding and beaming which was right after her speech. He liked her? No way! It's just photos. "Yeah, yeah whatever." "So we're going to play the deny game? Chile, if you don't get your life and see what that man has got to offer, you will regret it." The way she said it, sent chills along her hands. She knew Marie Nikole was a little psychic. Did she know something, she's not saying? "If I want a good lay, I have people I can call." "I said, nothing about a good lay. Why must everything be sexual with you?" "What you mean? He's a man! He wants sex!" "So, what I'm hearing, is that, you only feel he has sex to offer you?" Jo, remained silent and placed her glasses back on her face. She looked away from her friend and focused on the stream. Marie Nikole. "Now I know the internal struggles you have and you've done a great job at weeding out those no good, low life, no class men. You know that everyone comes into our lives for a reason. Nothing is a coincidence. You know this." Jo, a person who prides herself on her ability to speak, a logophile, didn't wish to speak. She was afraid to. She had an inkling her voice would tremble and she didn't want that to occur. She suddenly felt frangible and so, she folded her arms to embrace herself. Marie Nikole had touched on a rather sensitive subject for her. Yes, she knew that people came into our lives for a reason, and you know what, maybe Renji came into her life to be the assistant she needed. He was truly a Godsend and oh, so priceless. She didn’t know what she would do without him. "I know you may be thinking that, his purpose is to just be your assistant but something tells me-" She tapped her third eye and ears, "that it's more than that, but you're not allowing things to just be. Remember that you have the control. Remember you are always in control. Nothing sexual ever has to happen if you don't want it to be. That man got something to teach you and so do you. He needs to learn something from you." "Okay Ms Cleo." In a fake Jamaican accent she mockingly said: "Call me now." They both laughed and it broke up some of the tension. "Now come on chile. Let's go before you get all emo. You know I don't do emos. Let's make that face BEAT hunny, ‘cause you look like shit." "Jeez. Thanks." "Anytime!" Jo rolled her eyes and they walked into the warehouse type structure where the shoot was scheduled to take place. She could see a couple side lights, a front fill light, and a back light with a black background. She has done a few shoots, so she has learned a thing or two, including some of the terminology. "Ms. Dimaren! Oh my god! So happy to have you on set!" An overly excited, white, brunette was approaching them. She was very perky for it being so early in the morning, Jo thought. "Hi" Jo extended her right hand. "Oh no, bring it in for a hug sistah!" Jo saw Marie Nikole's right eyebrow go up from her peripheral vision. The young lady hugged her tightly. "I'm Kathy Clancy. That's Kathy with a 'K' and Clancy with a 'C' and I'll be interviewing you before the shoot. As you know we usually do it separately but-" "Yes, I truly appreciate Fortune being so accommodating to my schedule." "Are you kidding me? Don't worry about it. We're just very happy to have you!" "Aww, thank you. I'm honored to have made your 40 under 40 list." "How could you not? You're doing great things Ms. Dimaren." "Please, call me Jo." Kathy with a 'K' squealed. "Jo! She said to call her Jo! I'm sorry, but not only am I impressed with what you've done, but I'm a huge fan of your books." "Why, thank you." "Okay, let's save some of the excitement for later. Ms Marie Nikole will-" "Mrs." Marie corrected. Jo gave her a 'be nice' look. She knew the young lady's perkiness was probably grating her nerves. "Oh, I'm so sorry! I'll lead you to wardrobe and Mrs. Marie Nikole will take it from there for hair and makeup." "Thank you Kathy." Jo replied. Marie and Jo followed Kathy down the corridor. They passed several people who were busy scurrying around ensuring their tasks are all being accomplished. They made a right and found themselves in a small room with a few racks of clothes and several rows of shoes lined up and organized by color. She looked around and saw a slim, dark haired, 5'4” man speaking to a young girl. Her brain screamed who the person was at her but it took a moment to really register. She thought herself to be indefatigable towards being star struck but she certainly was in this moment. "O.M.G. Marie! You see who that is? It's flipping Christian Sirianio!" "Oh snap!" Was her only reply. Christian turned and saw them and walked over. He looked so stylish with his punk rock hairdo, rectangular shaped framed glasses and dressed in all black with a colorful scarf around his neck. Jo doesn't get star struck but at this moment she was. What was Christian Frigging Siriano doing here? She remembered watching tv and rooting for him and was so happy when he won the fourth season of Project Runway. He became a sensation over night and has continued to build his brand over the years. What was he doing here? "Hello darlings! Oooh Jo, it's a pleasure to meet you!" He reached for her hands and clasped them in his and gave each of her cheeks an air kiss. "It's a pleasure to meet you! This is my friend and makeup artist Marie Nikole." "Hey hunny." He said and gave Marie two air kisses as well. "It's truly a pleasure to meet you Christian, but what are you doing here?" "To style you silly! Now come on, we're on a time constraint and we gotta pick an outfit. Is there a color you're thinking of? I feel like, with your skin complexion any color would look good on you." "You know something. How about purple? I'm having an Oprah moment in my head right now. I don't know if y'all remember that Forbes 400 cover shoot where she stood between Bill Gates and Warren Buffet in a purple dress? That picture has been on my vision board for years and I feel as if this is a similar moment for me." "Yass hunny, I remember that pic. It gave me life!" Marie said. "Yasss! She was werking it!" Christian did the Z snap as he said it. "Okay ladies, let's get to work. Chop chop! The lady wants purple and purple she shall receive." "By the way, Jo will your assistant be here?" Christian asked with a coy smile. She ignored his smile and gave an affirmative nod. "Good, because it sure would be good to have a little eye candy on set." "Oh boy." "What? That man is finneee and y'all look so good together." "Preach it!" Marie said. "Oh stop it! Let's find some outfits." Marie and Christian chuckled and they went to the rack. They ended up choosing a two piece outfit. It was from his Pre Fall collection and was inspired by Greta Garbo in the film "Mata Hari." The man was an artist with saporfic taste. The top was a solid bodysuit featuring a diaphanous inset along the bodice, a crew neckline and long sleeves and the skirt was a long asymmetrical hi low metallic skirt that reflected the color purple in the light, with a train at the end. Although the bodysuit was a bit translucent, it tastefully showed her cleavage. Next, it was hair and makeup. Jo, loved her unruly curls and didn't want anyone to blow it out in an attempt to straighten it and Christian agreed. He felt that her wild curls would go with the look so they did minimal work on it. Marie had someone on her team fixing her hair while she started on her face. She used an orange color corrector to hide the discoloration under her eyes and then applied a concealer and then she used setting powder so that it stayed put. This was the base for her face and then she artfully made her face even more beautiful! She was the beauty enhancer goddess! Kathy came over and pulled up a seat. "Do you mind if we multitask a little?" She asked. "Not a problem." "Well as you may or may not know, Fortune's list was solely based on wealth from 1999-2003. Then in 2008 we started noticing the contributions that young people were making. Facebook was soaring, Kevin Plank's apparel upstart of Under Armour was giving Nike some serious competition and the list goes on and on. We noticed that a movement was happening and so we decided to...journal that, if you will, with a list. A list that isn't about just money but also ambition, influence and achievements." Jo nodded. "So there will be a series of questions, some quirky some fun just to change things up ya know?" Again Jo nodded. Kathy squealed with apparent delight. "This is going to be amazing!" She pulled out her recorder and began. “I’m sitting here with author, massage therapist, energy healer, philanthropist, motivational speaker, extraordinaire Joanna Dimaren." “Wooohooo, WOOT WOOT!!” Marie Nikole cheered. Everyone laughed. “I just listed a lot of titles there. How did this all come about?” “Man, that’s a long answer. I’ll try and shorten it for you. Well I didn’t realize my talent was writing for some time. I had an idea about starting a 30 day challenge and my cousin sent me a hortative text message to start a blog and document the challenge. I did and had a following and started blogging about my life experiences. This was back in 2013. Then one day I wrote two paragraphs, just two, and sent it to my friends and they loved the fictional piece and wanted more. That’s how my first book came about. During that time I was still in school for massage therapy and also working full time in advertising, so I was pretty busy and mentally drained often, so my writing would become the back burner. But I had to remind myself that I couldn’t continue putting in 40 hours a week into someone else’s business and 4 minutes into mines. So on my lunch break I would write and on weekends I would write or whenever I was moved to. For me I can’t force it. It has to flow. I can’t say, today I’m going to write because I must! Nothing will flow and if it does, it'll be total rubbish, so when moved, I’ll write. If I wasn’t in the mood to write towards a novel then I was writing down business ideas and how to pursue them. For the ones I had no idea about I left it blank and not stress it because I know in time things will align and I would meet who I will need to meet to accomplish what needs accomplishing. Anyway, the school I attended was very much a holistic school filled with eclectic people. Once folks knew I was a Reiki practitioner my clientele started. I would give sessions in my studio apartment and by word of mouth I became booked. I was scheduling two months in advance. It was awesome! I think the greatest time was attuning people to the energy. By the time I graduated I was making enough money to cover my rent monthly without the help of my full time job but I was scared to let it go. I started looking for jobs at spas but my heart wasn’t in it because I knew I wanted to open my own spa, so I decided to rent out a location. It was just a room but I decorated in such a way that once you enter you instantly feel at peace and my client knows that this moment is for them and them only.
I didn’t have to do much advertising. We are in a millennia of social media and advertising, but really, I got majority of my clients through word of mouth. Anyway, I was still working full time and seeing clients after work and taking private sessions became exhausting so after maybe five or six months of doing that, I left my full time job to pursue my dreams. Then one day I was contacted by a school teacher that apparently stumbled onto my blog and thought me to be very inspiring and asked if I could speak at her school. I told her yes and before I knew it that too kicked off where I was giving speeches at schools, churches, or functions. I was making more money a month than I’ve ever made in my life so I thought it time to give back. I remember in high school I was a part of a science program and as a project we had to go around to our community and educate others in beauty salons and barbershops about osteoporosis and diabetes. So I thought to myself, why not do the same for massage therapy and energy healing. So I donated my time and as I learned about places where I grew up needed financial help, I would donate financially as well.” “Whoa. What a splendiferous story! To what do you owe all this success? “God really. My ancestors. My Empyreal Team.” “I’m sorry, Empyreal Team?” “Yes. My Empyreal Team or my Celestial Team consists of God, my guardian angels, archangels, faeries and my ancestors. They are my guides.” “Ah. I see. Interesting.” “Look up.” Marie Nikole instructed. She started applying eyeliner to her lower lid. “If we're sitting here a year from now celebrating what a great year it's been for you what did you achieve?” Kathy asked. “Oh wow. Let’s see. I am working on another book and I’m hoping to bring forth more awareness on the subject matter. I would like to do some more energy healing work in indigenous population. It’s something my first Reiki instructor does yearly and I would like to start on some work in that area.” “That’s very magnanimous of you. Very awesome.” Kathy looked down at her notes and continued. “When have you been most satisfied in your life?” “Now. Every day I wake up I’m in a state of gratulation. I’m doing something that I love. Something that I was placed on this Earth to do. I feel contentment, satisfaction and fulfillment each day.” “Well said. What advice do you have for people who wants to be like you?” “First I would say, to not be like me. Be like you. The world doesn’t need another me but the world is craving a you. So be the best you you can be and follow your intuition.” “Sage advice. To follow on the heels of that, what would you say was the best and worse advice someone has ever given you?” “Best and worse advice? Hmm let’s see. I can’t recall my mom sitting me down and telling me, Jo, be whatever you want to be, but it was very much implied. I never felt that if I decided to be a teacher, firewoman, a painter, a doctor or massage therapist that she would be particularly upset. Instead it was implied that the door was open to be whatever I wanted to be and that freedom has certainly helped with not having a limited point of view. As for the worse advice, I don’t know. When a trainer once advise that I should stop eating starch. Like, dude do you know where my parents are from? I need my dumpling, yam and bananas.” Everyone in the room erupted in laughter. “He’s clearly not your trainer still?” “Of course not! We had ahh, 'creative differences' as one of my best friends would say, so I had to let him go. I lost 85 pounds on my own and I didn’t have to stop eating anything. It was all about moderation. Don’t tell me to stop something. I’m not going to deprive myself of anything.” “Were you born in the islands?” “No. I was born here in New York but my parents are Jamaicans.” “Oh, I see. Let’s see here. Only a few more questions. What do you look for in partners/investors/new ventures?” “Open mindedness and creativity. I need people with an open mind around me at all times and I’m constantly asking how can I make my brand and or what I’m doing to make it stand out. Two plus brains are better than one so I need folks who are creative around. I actually have a Creative Guru on my team.” “A Creative Guru?” “Yes! Ryan. The man is a genius! I go to him with a jumbled idea and he sheds light to it. We’ve been working together for several years now.” “I like that. A Creative Guru….So what are some things you don’t like to do?” “Laundry, cooking, my hair-” Kathy started to laugh and Marie Nikole snorted. “What!? A question was asked and I’m merely answering.” “Last question. What are three things you like to do that most people don’t know.” “Let’s see…three things. I don’t know. I like to curl up and watch old episodes of Girl Meets World or The Big Bang Theory. Stuff like that?” “Anything you would like to share.” “I like to go wine tasting and I love African dancing.” “Fantastic! That was great Jo. This will be included in the article along with the stats of your accomplishments.” “Stats. Oh my. Okay. Thanks for having me.” “Of course! I’m sure you’ve single handily gotten more people to get massages than ever before. You’ve been a great holistic advocate amongst other things. Trust me, it was our pleasure.” “Thank you.” She said humbly. Just then her phone rang. It was Mell. “Hi my African Queen. How’s your trip going? I can’t wait to see you.” “Hey Chica. That’s actually why I’m calling-” “Nooooo! You are not cancelling on me!” “I’m not entirely canceling. I’ll be there Sunday…night.” Mell said sheepishly. “What?! Noooo. That means you’re going to miss the show and the Bazaar. We haven’t done this weekend together in a while. This was supposed to be our year.” “I know, I know. And I’m sorry but I have to work baby love. I’m coming in Sunday night. Isn’t there a show on Monday?” “It’s sold out.” “Umm, well take Kady in my place then.” “She won’t be here. She’s leaving for the Ivory Coast and won’t be back for another two weeks.” “I’m sorry hunny. Yikes, I have to go, they’re waving at me. I’ll call you later. Oh! Congrats on your big day. What time is the shoot?” “Now.” “Oh my god! I need all the deets later.” “Okay. Bye.” “Bye buttercup.” Jo placed her phone back on the counter. “What happened? Mell not coming down for Dance Africa again?” “No she’s not.” “Fish face.” Jo sucked in her cheeks so that Marie could fan brush her cheeks. “Why don’t you take Renji?” “Take me where?” Came a smooth deep voice. Jo turned to the side and saw Renji dressed casually, albeit a sexy casual. He was wearing blue jeans pants, with a tangerine Pan African designed shirt with a colorful Heru printed on the front, with a white blazer. Crème Clarks were on his feet and he had his locs pulled back and was held back by a simply tie, which is her favorite style on him. He had his messenger bag across his shoulders and different bracelets adorned his hands. From yak bone beads to cowrie shells. In his hands he carried a purple vase filled with what must be around twenty stems of Dendrobium orchids. He came in close to kiss her cheek but Marie stopped him with a stern look and warning. One hand on hip and the other pointing a brush at Renji, Marie Nikole said, “Mess those cheeks up and you and I WILL have problems!” He smiled at Marie and leaned in further and kissed Jo’s neck instead and then whispered. “Congratulations Jo. These are for you. You look stunning.” His lips on her skin sent warmth radiating all through her. “Purple orchids. My favorite.” “I know.” He placed the bouquet on the makeup counter and clapped his hands. “So, take me where?” Before Jo could speak, Marie interjected. “Mell, won’t be able to make Dance Africa or the Bazaar so Jo was going to ask if you could go with her.” Jo glared and sent what she hoped to be venomous darts her way. Marie only mouthed ‘I love you too.’ “That sounds like a perfect plan. I’ll love to go.” Renji said. “I know you had off for the weekend and may be busy so it’ll be-” “No worries. I had no plans. I’ll be there.” Jo did not like the smug look on Marie’s face. “Alrighty. Then it’s set. I’ll meet you there.” “Meet me there? Jo we all know this is your favorite time to shop. You need a car to carry all the things I know you'll be buying. I’ll come and pick you up. Don’t worry it’ll be fine.” “Yeah, Jo, don’t worry, it’ll be fine.” Marie Nikole parroted. Jo rolled her eyes at her. “I’m going to find Kathy and have her go over with me what she’ll be printing in the article.” “Okay Ren. Thanks.” “All done.” Even though there was a large mirror behind her, Marie held up a hand mirror to her face. “Wowwwww! Amazing. I love it! This is why they pay you the big bucks!” Just then, Christian walked in. “WOW, you’re BEAT hunny! Really compliments the whole look.” “Thank you.” Marie said. “Marie Nikole. I need your card hunny. This is great!” Marie smiled and pulled a business card from her back pocket and handed it to him. Jo’s eyes brightened with happiness. Talk about a network opportunity. “Okay, they’re ready for you Jo. Let’s go.” The photoshoot took up some time and while it’s not her favorite thing to do, she caught herself enjoying the moment. This was a big accomplishment. She had a designer personally on set styling her. She had her good friend with her and she had a handsome assistant that didn’t seem to notice that both genders were drooling after him. No, instead he only had eyes for her…Huh. **********************************************************
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! Thank you for stopping by and reading the new installment of my book. Feedback is important, so please take a moment and let me know what you think of the story thus far. If this is your first time here, welcome! Hit the previous button until you reach chapter 1 and get caught up. Wishing you all the best this year!! Love, Shy