April 7, 2010
Dear Samuel,
You left me four days ago. You told me that you would be gone for a while and that when you came home, it wouldn’t be back here with me. Four days ago, you tore my heart out of my chest and stomped on it. Then you spat on it. Then you lit it on fire. Then you put it back in my chest.

I know this letter will probably never make it to you, and I know that I’ll probably never see you again. I’m writing you because three days after you left, I found out that I was pregnant. Yes. I’m pregnant with your child. And yes, I’m keeping it. You’ll probably never get to know him or her, to see them grow up. I just wanted you to know.

Nika

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May 30, 2010
Dear Samuel,
I lost the baby.

Nika

Nika read and reread those two letters over so many times she could recite them from memory. Though she’d written them two years ago, the pain she felt came back fresh. It had taken her months to get over the loss of the baby that she’d fallen in love with. Months. The man she’d fallen in love with though, she found that she still hadn’t gotten over him.

Nika sat on the floor of the empty Zumba studio, stretching, waiting for everyone else to arrive. She’d just met with Stephen’s publicist to give him the finished story to look over and the two letters to give to Stephen. Erika had convinced Nika to tell him about the baby while she was up writing the article, saying that once she let go of that, and finished the article, maybe she would get over it all. In hopes that Erika was right, she took the advice and was done. She didn’t think that Johnson, Stephen’s publicist would have anything to correct, so the story would go straight to Rick, then to Bullock; Nika wound have to deal with it no more.

“So, what’s this bone you have to pick with me?” Terry asked after the class, wiping sweat off his brow with a white towel.
“James. I ran into him last night.”
“Word?”
“Word. He told me that you told him about Kyle. Why would you do that?” Nika whined. “He’s so sexy. Now he must think I’m some kind of sad hoe!”
Terry laughed. “James is cool people. Look, this guy makes bank. He’s divorced because his first wife was a gold digger and he was too blind to see. The only women that run after him are the exact same way.”
They left the studio and walked to the next door smoothie shack.
“He saw you about a month ago when you came to chill with me at 2525. He asked me about you when you left, I told him I’d get you two hooked up. You never got in touch with him, he wanted to know why. So I told him.”
Nika sipped on her strawberry and banana smoothie. The cold made her feel nice after that long workout.
“My point is, now he must think I’m a sad hoe!”
Terry laughed again.
“What, you guys didn’t talk much last night?”
“Not really,” Nika smiled, “but he did ask me to go out with him sometime.”
Terry shook his head.
“You have issues.”
“I was just afraid he was like one of those high rollers that was only into floozies and whorebags.”
“I wouldn’t hook you up with somebody like that. Damn Nika! I can’t believe you think I’d do you like that.”
“Terry, my mind is all messed up these days.”
“Well you need to fix it. Don’t you have an article due?”
Nika looked away, then look back at him. “I already finished it. Done and done.” She gave him a half smile. She didn’t tell Terry about Stephen. When Stephen left, Terry was the one who was there for her. When she lost the baby, Terry was the one who took her to the doctor for the procedure and cared for her when she went through the depression. He even thought Stephen was the only reason why she miscarried in the first place; he believed that him leaving Nika like that caused her too much stress that the baby just couldn’t handle. It was safe to say that Terry hated Stephen, and Nika didn’t want him to know that Stephen was back or that she’d written the article on him. He’d find out eventually, once the story was out, but for now, she just wanted him to be in the dark.
“I’m telling you, one of these days Bullock is going to hand you a stack of business cards that says ‘Nika Noble, Editor’.” Terry said.
“Yeah right. Rick kisses Bullock’s ass. That’ll never happen while Rick is still there. Anyway, what about you? When are you gonna just be gay?” Sometimes Nika didn’t have a filter.
“Oh my god Nika! Who am I playing, I might as well just be done with the bisexual thing. I haven’t been with a chick in like, what, five years?”
Nika shrugged then nodded. He dated women but when it came time for the sex, he’d dip out so fast it would make the girl wonder what was wrong with her.
“Soon, my Nika, soon.”
Nika looked at him and laughed. If only Erika had been there, their Saturday Zumba group would have been complete. Nika enjoyed those sunny afternoons together, goofing off with her best friends, not worrying about guys or work; it always made her weekend.
******
“Before you say anything, please come here.” Erika said as soon as Nika walked in the front door. Erika was squatting on the couch like she’d seen a rat on the floor or something. Nika hurried over to her and followed her gaze to the table. Sitting open on the table was a red, velvet box. It contained a marquis-cut solitaire diamond ring so sparkly that it caused Nika to look away.
“Um, what the hell is that?” Nika asked, sitting down next to Erika.
“We had brunch this morning, a nice little brunch at this fancy little cafe downtown. I wore my striped dress with the heart looking neckline. He told me to dress nice. Anyway, we get there and we’re having such a good time. Then he pulls that,” she pointed to the ring, “out of his pocket and asks me to marry him. ” Out of nowhere, Erika started bawling.
“Sweetheart, it’s okay.” Nika put her arms around her friend. Erika shook her head.
“No, it’s not okay. My album is just about finished, my tour starts next summer, everything is finally coming together and he wants to pull this? I love him so much but now is not the time!” Erika sobbed. Nika wished she could be more help, but she was clueless. Mick was a lawyer, not even her lawyer, so there was no way he could go on tour with her and make money at the same time. And Nika knew for a fact Erika wasn’t about to give up her dream of being a world renown musician to become domesticated. Nika just sat there and hugged Erika.
“I just don’t want him to think I don’t love him. I don’t want him to leave me. I don’t know what to do.”
“We’ll figure it out.” Nika said softly, caressing her friend’s hair. Erika sniffled and let out a dry chuckle.
“He probably thinks I’m crazy now.”
“What did you do?” Nika demanded.
“Well, I kind of panicked and took the ring and ran out. He hasn’t called or texted yet. I’m sure I freaked him out or something.” Nika nodded.
“That would do the trick. Here,” Nika handed Erika a tissue, “talk to Mick, okay? Explain everything to him. I’m know he knows how important your music is to you. He wouldn’t try to ruin your career. Just…talk to him, okay?”
Erika smiled. Nika got up to walk to her room.
“Oh, how’d it go with the publicist? You alright?” Erika caught Nika before she shut her door.
“Yeah, everything is good. You just worry about Mr. Mick.”
Erika gave her an ‘ok’ sign.

Nika shut her door. She couldn’t believe Mick had proposed to Erika. She hoped that Erika would make the right decision or that the two would work it all out. While Nika pondered her friend’s situation, her phone vibrated. She picked it up and saw a message from James.

James: Hello there beautiful

Nika smiled. This guy, she thought.

Nika: Hey you

Nika replied.

James: I don’t want to come off as forward, but I really want to see you soon

Nika: How soon?

There was a slight wait before James replied back.

James: Tonight. I want to take you out, get you fat then get you drunk

Nika laughed out loud.

Nika: LOL what!?!? O_o


James: I kid, I kid but really, would you do me the honor of being my date tonight?

Nika was lying on her stomach, feet twirling in the air behind her, giggling like she was in high school again.

Nika: Yes, I would love to be your date tonight


James: Great. I’ll call you later for more details


Nika: Talk to you soon

Nika turned off her phone and smiled. Stephen, the miscarriage, everything negative was so far from her mind, she couldn’t remember being upset at all. She had a good feeling about their night.