Three Years Later
Bianca sat near the edge of Siesta Key Beach, watching the speed boats skate across the Gulf of Mexico. She took her shoes off and squished her toes in the blinding white sand. She looked over her shoulder and watched her baby girl play in the sand with a new friend she had met while building sand castles with her pink pail. She smiled as she watched her daughter’s two ponytails dance in the wind. She had given birth to this beautiful little girl, whom she named Erica, seven months after her sister’s death. It was a bittersweet moment for Bianca for several reasons. For one, her baby would never get to meet the aunt that she was named for, nor would she get to meet her cousin, the cousin who died that night with his/her mother. The cousins would have been born in the same month in the same year. The other reason that the moment was bittersweet was that Little Erica had never met her uncle Darren, who had been convicted of double voluntary manslaughter a month before she was born. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison and was immediately sent to Taylorville Correctional Center. Before he was sentenced, he apologized to Bianca and her family and expressed his sorrow for the pain that he caused. Bianca wasn’t sure if she would ever forgive Darren but she knew she had to let some of her anger go for her daughter’s sake.
Her marriage to Dean crumbled after Darren was arrested for Erica’s murder. She returned to the house they shared and Dean moved into an apartment near South Shore. After giving birth to baby Erica, she decided that she could no longer live in the house. They filed for divorce and sold the house. She didn’t want to remain in Chicago however; she had a lot of fond memories of the city but Chicago was the city where her sister lost her life. She also didn’t want to return to Bethesda; she and Erica had grown up there and there were too many memories there as well. She finally settled on moving to Sarasota, Florida, having found a position with a law firm there. She also sold Erica’s magazine to another Chicago based magazine. Jennifer and the rest of the staff could not go on working there; there were too many memories of Erica. They all decided to take severance pay and find work elsewhere.
Cash decided to return to Atlanta; although he and his ex-wife never reconciled, it was a good move considering that his son was there. He had found someone that he had connected with and things were going well.
Jennifer and Carlos became engaged a year after Erica’s death and had gotten married a year after that. They became parents of twin boys and moved to New York where Carlos was originally from and where Jennifer had attended college.
Dean remained in Chicago, moving his mother in with him in his new high rise apartment. Both were devastated after Darren was convicted and they became closer after the trial was over. Dean wasn’t happy with Bianca’s relocation but he understood why she left. He made sure to visit with his little girl as much as possible. She wasn’t quite old enough to travel alone so Dean made trips to Florida with his mother to see her.
As Bianca sat and thought about the last three years of her life, a kite came along and landed near her feet.
“Mommy, that man lost his kite!” Little Erica laughed.
“That’s my daddy,” her little friend said. A very handsome well-built man approached Bianca.
“I am so sorry about that,” the man said. “The wind took the kite in a different direction than where I was trying to fly it.” Bianca looked up through her sunglasses at the guy. He looked to be about 6’4” of lean muscle. He had cocoa brown skin and curly black hair. He had a smooth hairless chest and the most perfect set of lips she’d ever seen on a man. After the divorce, Bianca had taken a break from dating or trying to meet anyone; all of her time was dedicated to her daughter. But as handsome as this guy was, Bianca was willing to change her dating status.
“That’s okay,” Bianca said, smiling. She picked up the kite and handed it to him. “It seems the kite has a mind of its own.” The guy laughed.
“Maybe this kite was meant to land here,” the guy said. “Wait a minute; that’s kind of forward of me. You’re probably married and here I am flirting with you.”
“I’m not married,” Bianca said. “Divorced…a year and a half now.”
“Sorry to hear that,” the guy said. “I’m single too…two years for me. So, tell me, what is your name?”
“My name is Bianca…Bianca Parker. And you are…?”
“My name is Anthony. Anthony Cole. It’s nice to meet you Bianca Parker.”
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