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Snippet: Everyone Knows It But Me (unedited)

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The sun was shining but it was cool for a spring day in May. Trees danced around in the wind. People were out on the island. It didn’t matter to them that they had to wear sweaters or light jackets. The smell of the ocean was tranquil. Even though I would have to drive an hour and some change to get to Hilton Head where the corporate meetings would be held, I still chose to stay on Tybee Island. I knew people would start looking for me and my job would tell my husband where I was which was why I took a detour to the island. Tybee Island, also known as Savannah Beach, was a tourist attraction that also offered oceanfront property rentals, another reason I chose to stay there.

The smell of barbecue and different foods were in the air. Music was saturating the atmosphere, and children were playing. The Black Heritage festivities for the weekend were already in play as I pulled onto 1st Street. I was anxious and excited to get into the house I had rented so I could relax before I had to head out to my meetings later.

 I parked my truck, grabbed my purse, and stepped out into the breeze. My dark glasses hid the red in my eyes. I had to stop by the main office of the beachfront rentals to grab the keys to the house I was renting for that four-day weekend. The office looked like a small cottage. It was all brick painted and white. The different colored hanging potted plants and the ones planted gave it the look and feel of spring time.

As I walked in, I could tell something was wrong just by the way the lady at the front desk was looking at the man standing there. He was a brother. Very tall in height, broad shoulders, bald head, chocolate, and from the side I could tell he made the gym his home. He wore black framed designer glasses and had on an expensive suit that I could tell had been tailored to fit him.

“You mean to tell me that I’ve paid a deposit for a house I can’t rent?” he asked the blonde behind the desk.

She looked as if she was about to piss herself. To be honest, I would have been looking that way too had a big angry black man been about to cuss me. I was just happy that I had been taken care of and all I had wanted was the keys to the place I’d rented.

“I’m sorry, sir. It’s our fault. We overbooked for the weekend,” she explained.

“I know it’s your fault. Now tell me how you’re going to fix it,” he demanded.

His voice was deep, rumbled like thunder.

The white woman stuttered, “S…sir, sir, all we can do is offer you and Mrs. Mitchell to share the house for the weekend.”

Mrs. Mitchell? Now, that had my attention. I just knew that woman wasn’t talking about me because the last thing I was going to do was share a house with a man, let alone a stranger.

“Excuse me?” both I and the male guest exclaimed at the same time.

I looked at the woman’s name tag as I walked up to the counter. “Excuse me, Becka, but what do you mean by share a house?”

Becka looked at me, eyes darting back and forth as she chewed nervously on her bottom lip.

“Are…are you Mrs. Mitchell?” she asked.

“Yes, I am.”

She took a deep breath then glanced toward the back office like she was ready to run.

“Let me get my general manager. Hold on, please.”

Before I could even fix my mouth to say anything else, Becka briskly walked away. I sighed, rolled my eyes, and slammed my keys down on the counter.

“This is bullshit,” I heard the man say.

I cut my eyes over at him to find he had hazel eyes behind those glasses. Dimples were placed evenly against his cheeks. Thick eyebrows and long lashes with dark lined eyes gave him a mysterious appeal. His lips were full and I couldn’t lie like he wasn’t good to look at.

However, none of that even mattered to me. As soon as the general manager stepped around the corner, I spoke up.

“What is this about the house I rented already being rented out to someone else?” I asked.

The friendly looking elder white gentleman looked at the computer screen then back up at me and the man scowling at him.

“It seems as if our staff got a bit excited about the weekend and overbooked our beachfront properties. What we can do is refund—

“Wait a minute,” I cut him off. “I don’t want a refund; I want the place I rented. I rented the space for a specific reason.”

My palms had started to sweat and I had a slight jitter. I was upset and it was getting worse by the minute.

“We can refund you your money or you and the gentleman can share the home for the weekend. Its roommate style and you would only have to see each other leaving or in the kitchen,” the GM stately professionally.

“Look, I didn’t come here to share a house with anyone. I came for relaxation,” the gentleman spoke up. “So just give me a refund, and I’ll go somewhere else.”

I breathed a sigh of relief. “Good. He’s leaving so you can pass me the keys.”

“There is nowhere else available on the island. It’s the Black Heritage Festival weekend. Everything is booked for miles. Even over in Hilton Head.”

“Are you kidding me, right now?” the man asked.

“We’re very sorry about the mix-up, but if you two choose to stay I’ll throw in some vouchers worth another full four-day weekend.”

My heart dropped in my stomach again. The last thing I wanted to do was be laid up in some house with a strange man. But I didn’t want to turn around and go back home either. There were no more rooms or hotels available anywhere so I was freaking stuck.

I turned to the man and sighed. “You’re not some rapist or serial killer, are you?”

His features frowned and he looked offended. “Are you asking me that because I’m a man or because I’m a black man?” He chuckled like he knew something I didn’t. “No worries, Ms. Lily White. I like my women black.”

“What in the hell?” I snapped. “First of all, I’m not white.”

“I don’t give a damn what you are at this point,” he snapped.

I said, “You just insulted me.”

“Bull. You insulted me by asking me that asinine-ass question.”

“I was asking to ensure my safety.”

“You want to ensure your safety? Turn your ass around and go back home,” he stated matter of fact then turned and asked for the keys to the house, which the manager happily handed to him.

When he strutted out of the office I was left standing there with my mouth hanging wide open. I turned to look back at the effeminate general manager. He had a smile and an extra set of keys dangling from his manicured fingers. My chest was rising and falling rapidly as my heartbeat raced. I stood there for a moment thinking about the mess that was waiting for me back home. So what if I had to share a house with a jackass for the weekend. I wouldn’t have to see him unless we both left the house at the same. And I was for sure not taking my black behind back home. It didn’t take much for me to take the keys from the man and head out to the house.

As I pulled my car next to the sleek black Jag with platinum trim, I sighed heavily.

“Lord, please don’t let me have to use my Taser on this man,” I mumbled.


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