Before the Block: Seeing Stars

The call I received from Donna in Marketing came at the proper time. It was time for me to move forward in my life. I had always taken wonderful care of myself, but in the past two months, things had gotten out of control.

My main problem had been Marques.


When I first met him, he was the sweetest thing ever, but I should have known. There were signs, and I didn’t follow my gut.

I went for the superficial.

He was nice, tall, handsome and chocolate. He wore the right clothes and said the right things. He was in the right fraternity and had the perfect job.

Everything was smooth sailing until we started talking about getting married. Immediately, things got hairy. I got stupid.

I won’t forget the first time it happened.

Nakia and I had gone to Saks Fifth Avenue for a spa day and to pick up things for our sorority’s annual gala. Once we were done with our treatments and shopping, we decided to get a drink.

About 3 hours and 4 margaritas later, I finally made it home. Happy and feeling sexy. Sexy enough to try and entice my man. Stupid Starlet.

I walked in the door. Marques was pacing the floor. “You know, I know you were at Papa Black’s tonight,” he growled.

“Yea, Nakia and I ran in there for a drink after picking up some shoes and accessories for the gala in a couple of weeks. You know how much we love their margaritas.”

I chuckled and leaned in for a kiss from him.That is when it happened.

I didn’t expect the blow that made contact with my face, full and hard. I truly saw stars.

“Next time you think you need a couple of margaritas and don’t call me and let me know, you think of how that felt.”

I was stunned. A year and a half of being loved and now this.

After that first night, I plotted and planned because I knew I couldn’t live my life as a battered woman. Every day after the first incident I became more and more edgy. It was a miracle I got any work done.

My sorority sisters even commented about how skittish I had become. Finally, I had to break down and tell someone.

Nakia, my wonderful line sister, helped me out. She said we were going to get me away from him.

Now, here we are two months later. Me and Nakia packing my things and my cousin James, a detective with the police force, throwing Marques' things out of a window.

“So, you're really going to leave me, Star?”

I kept doing what I was doing and ignored Marques. Yesterday was it. I decided that this was the last time I was going to allow him to get mad at me because I was mad. I couldn’t believe I’d allowed myself to get into this situation.

“Starlet, do you hear me?”

He lunged, waiting for me to cringe as usual, but this time I didn’t. I knew James wouldn't allow him to touch a hair on me—and he knew it, too. I shook my head and continued packing.

Never in my life had I allowed a man to hit me, but I thought he could change. At least, he said he could. How damn stupid was I?

“Starlet, stop ignoring me.”

“I am not ignoring you,” I snapped, looking up. “You no longer exist in my book. I can’t wait to get all my stuff and move away from here!”

“What do you mean move away?”

“Just what I said—you have beat me for the last time.”

Marques laughed his normal cynical laugh and tried to grab my arm. “You ain’t moving nowhere!”

“I think you are confused, dear. You moved into my house. You are eating my food. I am taking me and myself away from here.”

“That's bullshit. Wait until I tell your mother.”

I snapped to attention, my eyes narrow slits. “My mother knows where I'm moving. So do my close friends. The thing is, you will never know. And you better get your shit together because the new owners will get the keys on Tuesday.”

“What the fuck? See, my boys told me that fat girls ain’t shit.” He started laughing.

I lunged toward him, which brought what could probably be read as fear and surprise to his eyes. I grabbed him by his shirt collar.

The next thing I knew, James was pulling me off Marques, who then quickly backed toward the door. “Starlet, stop before something serious happens,” James whispered in my ear.

Marques stood at the door with an odd look in his eyes.

The phone rang in the background as I stared him down.

Nakia answered it.

“Starlet, Yanni's on the phone.”

And that was the call that began my new life.