If you’ve been following my blogs on Happiness Key, you already know that there are four major characters in the novel, four very different women. Some of you have even taken my Facebook quiz to see which character you are most like.
Beginning this week, Tracy, Janya, Wanda and Alice will introduce themselves right here, in their every own words. Here’s a secret, too. When I began Happiness Key, this was the way I learned about my characters. I let them tell me who they were. Although I always take a lot of time to prepare before I write even one sentence of the novel, this was a unique way to do it. I loved what they said so much, I thought you might, too. So without further explanation, I’ll let Tracy speak for both of us. What you’re reading won’t appear in the novel, but it will introduce you to the story. Tracy will be visiting all week to finish her tale. I hope you enjoy. Let me know.
Tracy’s Story, Part One
When C.J. said he wanted me to sit next to him in our solarium so we could talk, that should have been a clue. C.J. never wanted to talk, not about anything that required my seat in a chair, anyway. We engaged in pillow talk, of course. I told him he was a fabulous lover, and he told me how right I was. Over dinner at the club, when he wasn’t on his cell phone or Blackberry trying to purchase small kingdoms, he talked in my general direction. I heard how well things were going because C.J. was so good at what he did. I heard how out of touch most people were, along with countless illustrations that proved his point.
Some people make themselves heroes in monologues like these, but not CJ. He made himself the winner. I don’t think he was concerned about whether the things he did saved anything or anybody. CJ was all about getting there first. Enjoying the view from the top rung. Grabbing the gold cup from the grasp of the runner-up.
And me? Well, I cut my teeth on men like CJ. Driven men, not men motivated by lousy childhoods, but men who simply saw the world as one big football game, and the harder they had to push, no matter who they tackled and maimed on their way to that final touchdown, winning was the only acceptable reward.
So CJ looked normal to me. He didn’t come into my life with a laurel wreath on his head, and certainly not with anything resembling a halo. But I immediately knew him for what he was. Maybe it was the British bespoke suits and shoes. Maybe it was the Maserati that had been chosen to match the blue green of his eyes. Maybe it was the way he showered me with gifts, and never meaningless ones.
He rarely shopped himself, of course, but CJ took the time to hire the best personal shopper in the business, who took her time doing careful research. So while friends were getting trips to places they’d never wanted to go and jewelry that said nothing about them, I was flown to Jamaica to a thatch-roofed beach cottage and spa treatments in a grotto overlooking the ocean, a destination I’d yearned to experience since a sorority sister at The Beach had described a weekend there. And the ruby and sapphire earrings CJ gave me on the night we first slept together had appeared in Tiffany’s window and my dreams on the very same day three months ago. How CJ discovered this was a secret he took to prison with him.
The Feds took the earrings.
Back to that. CJ is in prison. For a very long time. That’s why he sat me down that morning at our home in Bel-Air. There are moments in everybody’s life that are as clear as if they’re on some automatic playback system, rewinding then screeching forward at random intervals and sucking you back into the scene as if it’s happening for the very first time. That moment when I took my second cup of coffee to the sofa in our sun porch and went back for CJ’s, making sure he was comfortable before he started in to whatever it was he wanted to tell me, I had an inkling that the next minutes might turn into one of those scenes.
Tracy’s Story–To Be Continued.