“If it isn’t Raymond Saint. What’s up, man?” I hear a familiar voice coming from behind me as I pose in front of a floor-length mirror in the women’s shoe department at Hudson’s admiring the suit I just got out of the layaway at Man-oh-Man. I have two more to get out next payday.
Joseph Morris steps into my view, and I turn to face him. “Joe, man, what’s up? I haven’t seen you since we graduated.” We share a brotherly handshake. “How’ve you been?”
“Couldn’t be better, honestly. Life is real good. I’ve been in town for about a week, visiting family. I’m actually flying back tomorrow. I was just picking up a few things before I go.”
“You moved out of state?”
“Yeah, after I graduated from U of M. I’m starting my second year of law school at Stanford.”
I’m pretty sure Joe’s father is either an attorney or a doctor.
“Man, good to hear that.” Joe was part of the crowd I hung with at Cass Tech. I’ve been out of high school since 1980. Six years now. Damn, that’s a long time to still be doing nothing.
“I see you’re still staying sharp.” Joe brushes my lapel.
“So, man, what are you doing these days?”
“You know, the usual. Right now I’m just waiting for my girl.”
He nods. “Where did you end up going to school? It’s hard to keep up with everybody. Cass is so big, and we knew everybody, didn’t we?”
I place one finger up to signal for Joe to wait, and then I unclip my pager. “This is my girl paging me right now actually. I need to find her.” I’ve got to get rid of him before he finds out the truth and every Cass Tech alumni knows that the guy voted most likely to succeed is now selling shoes. Why am I in denial? I’m sure most of them already know.
“Really, that’s cool. I was on my way out. I got what I came for.” Joe raises a Hudson’s shopping bag.
“Ray.” I hear the forceful voice of a female. I turn to see Cynthia Meyers. This has the potential to get real ugly, real fast.
On Saturday, my off day, I open the side door and notice a white Ford Escort parked out front. Cynthia Meyers is sitting in the driver’s seat. She’s at my mom’s house. I never brought her here or told her I live here. Is this girl stalking me? I’ve never had a stalker before. I’ve had women come over here after I stopped calling, which usually happens after we have sex. A few got on their knees, grabbed my ankles, and begged me to stay with them. But none of them have ever stalked me. It took my mom to get those women straight, and I never heard from them again. My mom has to do the same with Cynthia Meyers because I never want to see or hear from that girl again.
I rush into the kitchen in a panic. My mom is at the breakfast table with a cup of coffee in one hand and a cigarette in the other reading obituaries in the Free Press, her favorite pastime. “Miss King, listen, there’s a crazy woman outside. I need you to talk some sense into her.”
My mom sets her cup down and takes a long drag of her cigarette. “The only reason there’s a crazy woman outside is because you just like your daddy. Y’all drives them womens to be that way. They ain’t born like that. But once they get to messin’ with a Saint—your last name should be Sinner—they get to losin’ they mind.” She shakes her head and puckers her lips. “What you do to the girl? And don’t lie.”
“I ain’t do nothin’ to her. She too loose.”
“Loose? She loose ’cause you mens made her that way. You mens kill me, callin’ a woman loose. You the one laid down with her, what that make you?”
“But she’s too young to be that loose.”
“Young? How young? You best not be messin’ with no teenager. You almost twenty-four years old. You need to grow up and start actin’ your age. Get your own place. When you movin’ out?”
“She’s not that young. She’s twenty-one. Just talk to her, please.”
“Where she at?”
“In her car, sitting outside our house.”
“Stakin’ your ass out. Ain’t it sad the lows some womens go to behind mens. Let her ass sit there. I don’t care. It’s a free world, and last I check I don’t own any of these city streets, includin’ Santa Clara.”
About the Book
Title: Until Ray
Author: Cheryl Robinson
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Two people in the same city but worlds apart.
Until Ray is an unconventional love story of how two young people transitioning into adulthood find each other and develop a bond that will be tested through three decades.
HE IS LOST…
Ray lives in northwest Detroit in a four-family flat with his mother. When he’s not at home, Ray’s either at the mall selling women’s shoes or in the club. In both places, he’s focused on one thing—picking up women. Dissatisfied, dysfunctional, and leagues behind his peers, Ray’s ready for a change but isn’t sure how to make it happen.
THEN SHE ARRIVES…
At twenty-four, Sarita has an MBA, is a CPA, and works in upper-level management at GM. But all that success comes at a cost: she’s lonely and craves the one thing she’s never had—attention from men. Until now. Dr. Graham Emerson wants to marry Sarita, and her parents expect her to, but Sarita isn’t convinced he’s the one for her. On a blind date, she meets Ray Saint and is immediately drawn in by his good looks and sense of humor. But his reputation for being a ladies’ man raises several red flags. Ray swears he’s changed. Is giving up a sure thing for a maybe worth the risk?
Set in the mid-eighties, Until Ray explores life and love through the lenses of colorism, classism, and family dysfunction.
Cheryl Robinson was born in Detroit, Michigan, the youngest in a family of five. She grew up in Palmer Woods, a residential historic district that is now one of the settings in her forthcoming novel, Until Ray. For the past fifteen years, she has been busy writing contemporary women’s fiction. For Penguin/NAL, Cheryl wrote six novels: If It Ain’t One Thing, It’s Like That, Sweet Georgia Brown, In Love with a Younger Man, When I Get Where I’m Going, and Remember Me. Cheryl is now an independent author and the owner of Rose Colored Books. With her company, she has published The One, Like Mom, and the forthcoming Until Ray Trilogy.
Cheryl currently resides in Florida.
To learn more about Cheryl and the Until Ray trilogy, please visit http://www.untilraytrilogy.com