Chapter 8

After bumping into Michael, Sparkle realized just how awful she had been towards him. It was going to be hard, but she decided that the next time they spoke, she would be more kind to him. When she arrived to work the following day, she was greeted to a wonderful surprise.
   "Oh, wow! These are beautiful!" Sparkle exclaimed as she picked up a bouquet of red roses sitting on her desk.
   "Is there something you would like to tell me, Sparkle? I know you haven't been on any dates, so who could those possibly be from?"
   "Stop being so nosey, Ms. Johnson; I know exactly who they're from!" She responded defensively while taking a deep whiff of the flowers exquisite scent.
   "There wasn't a card with them, so how do you know who sent them?"
    "Ms. Johnson! Did you look through my roses?"
   "Well-I-I... Might have taken a little peak," she admitted while looking in the other direction.
   "Ms. Johnson! Please stop going through my things!"
   "So who sent the roses Sparkle? If you can't tell me, then you don't know who they're from either.
   "Oh my! Look at the time!" Sparkle exclaimed, looking down at an imaginary watch on her wrist.
   "I know what that means, Sparkle. I'll let you get back to your work," she sighed.
   Just as Ms. Johnson left the room, Sparkle began checking her emails when she landed on a message from her best friend.
"Hey, Sparkle! This is Regina! I've missed you so much, girl. I just returned to the states last night, but I'll be leaving again next week. But before I go, I'd love for you to visit me in New-York this Thursday through Monday! Think you can make it?"
 Regina Jameson and Sparkle had been best friends for over 20 years. They met each other in high-school and were pretty much inseparable until they attended different colleges.
   Since they didn't get to see each other often, they made it a point to visit each other at least once per month.   
   Just a few months ago, Regina landed her dream job as a pilot. Due to her ever-changing schedule, she often had to invite Sparkle out to her home in New-York at the last minute before she was scheduled to operate her next flight.
   "Well, since it's the holiday season, I guess I can go? There isn't a lot going on here at the center," she said aloud to herself.
 (But what about your date with Michael!) Her brain echoed loudly, as her phone began to ring.
   "Compton Community Center, this is Sparkle Washington speaking. How may I help you?" She answered cheerfully.
   "Hey, beautiful, this is Michael. I had a little extra time in between rehearsals and wanted to call you. I hope you don't mind?" he stated tenderly.
   "Hi Michael, I don't mind. How are rehearsals going?" 
   Noticing that her attitude was more relaxed since the last time they spoke, he smiled lazily to himself. "They've been going great! Rehearsals aren't the problem, but I've been heavily promoting the album while here, and it's been draining," he spoke in a lower pitch than usual.
   "Oh Yeah? Well, I can definitely hear it in your voice. I hope you get some rest soon."
    "I do too, but enough about me, how are you? Did you get the roses I sent? I'm sorry for not sending a card. I didn't realize I had forgotten until after they were sent."
   "It's alright, Michael. And yes, I did. Thank-you. They're beautiful. I figured they were from you... Also, thanks for asking how I am. I'm well, but umm, my best friend just invited me out to New-York. She wants me to fly in tomorrow and stay through Monday," she replied somberly.
   Feeling an itch arise in his throat, he took a sip of water. "So you want to cancel our date on Saturday?"
   "Of course not, I'm just torn over what to do at the moment."
   "We can just have dinner here in New-York if that's easier for you?" He kindly suggested, hoping she would agree.
   "Yes, Michael, that would be great! Thank-you! She's my best friend of twenty years, and I only get to see her once per month."
   "Oh! No problem-- I understand. So uh, I'll page you on Saturday, and once I hear back from you, I'll arrange for my driver to pick you up for our date, ok?"
    Just as Sparkle was about to reply, she heard a loud voice speaking in the background.
 [ Mr. Jackson back to the set, Calling Mr. Jackson back to the set! ] A male's voice boomed over Michael's dressing room intercom.
   "I guess you should get back to the set!" Sparkle laughed boisterously.
   "Yeah. I guess I should! But look... I'll be in contact with you on Saturday. Take care, Sparkle," he said swiftly, not wanting to keep the stage crew waiting.
   "OK. Take care, Michael. Have a wonderful performance. I'll see you soon."

***
   Sparkle arrived in New-York on Friday morning after a long and bumpy flight from California. For the life of her, she couldn't figure out why her best-friend became a pilot.
   There was nothing wrong with being a pilot, but Sparkle hated turbulence and couldn't fathom experiencing it regularly.
   On the taxi ride over to Regina's apartment, she noticed the many posters, billboards, and jumbotrons displaying Michael's image.
   "Promotion is an understatement," she chuckled to herself as she thought back to her conversation with Michael.
    Once she arrived at her best friend's apartment on the upper west side, someone grabbed her from behind.
   "What are you doing?-- Regina!" She yelped.
    "Sorry, Spark. I needed to grab a few things from the store before you arrived," Regina replied hastily.
   "Oh, It's alright! Can we go inside now? It's freezing out here!" she said while shivering.
   "Mmm. I forget that anything lower than sixty degrees in California is freezing. Toughen up. You're in NYC, baby!" Regina quipped while unlocking her apartment door.
   "Whatever!" Sparkle retorted as she pushed past Regina into the apartment.
   "So, Spark; What have you been up to?"
   "Nothing much, just making sure the center stays afloat and keeping Ms. Johnson out of my personal affairs," she laughed.
   "Oh, God! That woman is a hoot!"
    Folding her arms across her shoulders, Sparkle rolled her eyes and replied, "She sure is! Can you believe she asked me when was the last time I've been out on a date?"
   "I'm not even gonna lie. I'd like to know the answer to that question myself!" Regina snickered.
   "Well... Um actually-- I have one this Saturday night."
   "Girl! With who?"
   "No one you know. Well, at least not personally anyway," Sparkle smirked.
   Cocking her head to the side, Regina gave her a quizzical look.
   "I'm not telling! Look, it's complicated. But anyway, I won't be able to hang out Saturday night. I'm sorry."
   "It's cool, girl! I'm just happy you finally got a date," Regina teased.
   "You know what? Maybe you and Ms. Johnson should be besties instead!" She exclaimed, causing them both to laugh hysterically.
   "Oooh! while we we're laughing so hard, I almost forgot to mention that I have two extra tickets to Def Comedy Jam for this Saturday night. You can take your date to the show if you'd like. It starts pretty late, so you two should be able to make it after dinner," Regina smiled, placing the tickets in Sparkle's hand.
   "Are you sure you don't want to use these yourself?"
   "Naw! I already went to the show last night with a guy I've been seeing for the past two weeks."
   Not wanting to turn down her friend's offer, Sparkle accepted the tickets but knew there was no chance in hell of Michael being able to attend the show.
   "Aww. Thanks, girl! This is awesome!" Sparkle replied warmly.
   "No thanks are needed! I'm so glad you are here! We're gonna have a blast."

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