Chapter One jonquinetteI entered my third floor apartment fighting back tears. It was hot. Extremely hot. I'd forgotten to turn on the air before I'd left that morning.I tossed my keys onto the coffee table and kicked off my low-heel black pumps. "You knew they were calling for a heat wave today," I said aloud, recalling the morning weather report that I'd neglected. "Why didn't you turn on some air?"The sole of one of my stockings snagged on a nail in the parquet flooring as I stumbled into my hallway. I adjusted the thermostat to seventy and sighed, praying it wouldn't take long to drop down from the current temperature of eighty-six degrees.I continued down the hall into my bedroom and collapsed on my king-sized bed. I'd purchased it despite the fact that one person didn't need such a monstrosity to sleep alone. And sleep alone I did. Always.The red light on my answering machine was blinking. Who could possibly have called? On a Saturday, no less. Normally it would be Momma, but she was out of the country for two weeks. She'd whisked off to Paris to fulfill a lifelong dream. More like fantasy. Momma had a way of fantasizing like no other. One day I hoped she would find whatever it was she was truly searching for. I doubted she would've called more than once at those rates and she'd called three days earlier to inform me that she and her latest romantic conquest had arrived safely.I rewound the tape and hit play."Jon, what's up girl? It's me!" a bubbly, female voice squealed out at me to the point where I felt compelled to adjust the volume.Me who? I wondered."In case you don't know who this is, it's me, Darnetta."I sat up on the bed. I should've known it was Darnetta. I heard that overanxious voice daily at work. Why was Darnetta calling me at home on a Saturday? We were coworkers but rarely spoke more than two words to each other."Jon, I was wondering if you want to hang out tonight. I know we don't usually flow like that, but I have two tickets to this live concert at Club Snatch and everyone else I know has plans already." There was a slight pause. "That's not to say that you're my last choice. I was going to ask you about going out sometime soon anyway and I saw this as the perfect opportunity. You always seem so shy at work. Anyway, give me a call if you can make it. My number is -- "I didn't even bother to listen to the phone number and hit the erase button. Me in a club? No way. That meant a lot of people. That meant a lot of men. No way!I baked some chicken breasts that I had marinated in Hawaiian flavoring all day. I cut up a few russet potatoes and boiled them along with a pouch of broccoli. While I was waiting for my meal to get done, I pulled some paperwork out of my briefcase and looked over the weekly shipping records for the office supply warehouse where I was head accountant.The numbers didn't make sense. They were way under target for the week, something that normally only happened around holidays. After all, who orders office supplies for Christmas presents? Most people take vacation the week between Christmas and New Year's anyway. But we were in the middle of August, when there were no holidays.I'd broken out my calculator and was crunching numbers when my phone rang. I debated about answering for the first three rings. What if Momma was calling back? Maybe something had gone wrong in Paris. I picked it up on the fifth ring, one ring before my answering machine normally kicked in."Hello.""Jon, is that you?"I didn't utter a word."Jon, you there?""Yes, I'm here," I replied hesitantly."It's me, Darnetta!""I kind of figured that.""I left you a message earlier. Did you get it?""Uh...yes, I did. Sorry I didn't call you back but I couldn't quite make out the number.""Cool. It's no problem. Sometimes I talk too loud. I'm working on all that though. So, what's up? You trying to hang out tonight or whaZane is the author of 'Nervous ', published 2003 under ISBN 9780743476232 and ISBN 0743476239.