Pushing Pause (Kimani TRU)

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9780373830855: Pushing Pause (Kimani TRU)

Fifteen-year-old Kenisha Lewis has it all: good friends who also live to dance, a hot boyfriend headed for the NBA, loving parents and a bling-filled home in the burbs.

But all that changes when her dad drops a bomb: he wants a divorce—and his pregnant girlfriend is moving in. Suddenly, Kenisha and her mom are squeezed into her grandmother's small house in the city, and Kenisha's sharing a bedroom with a cousin she barely knows. Could she hate her life any more? Yeah. Because her boyfriend dumps her, her friends are acting weird and her mother is getting more and more depressed. Time for Kenisha to push the pause button on her life and take a long, deep breath—.

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About the Author:

An award winning and national best-selling author of over thirty critically acclaimed novels, Celeste O. Norfleet is a prolific writer of both romance and young adult novels. Her young adult novels are realistic with a touch of humor. They depict strong characters with unpredictable plots and have exciting storylines that delve into dramatic fiction reflecting current issues facing American teens. Celeste currently enjoys a quiet life in Virginia with her family.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:



The Other Shoe

"You know when you have this strange feeling that some-thing's up and you just can't shake it? Well, I've had that feeling for, like, a month now. It's weird. I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop but I haven't even heard the first one yet."

-myspace.com

One thing you need to know about me is that I don't do the status quo thing and for that reason, my mom and I argue, my dad and I argue, and my boyfriend and I argue, but one thing that's set in stone, I can count on them no matter what to always give me my way. You see, that's because bottom line is, it's all about me, Kenisha Lewis.

I'm cool and all, they say I'm spoiled, pampered, whatever, I'm just like my mom, but make no mistake, I handle my business. I love to dance and I dance everything, jazz, modern, tap, even a little ballet, but mostly I dance hiphop. Dance is the one thing in my life I can count on and I'm good, real good.

I go to Hazelhurst Academy for Girls in Northern Virginia. It's right across the bridge from D.C. so we can, like, look out the window and see the for real world. My school is all right, I guess. Seriously preppy, but that's okay sometimes. Right now it's summer, Tuesday, August-something, hot like somebody kicked open a furnace door and just left it.

So, up until a while ago my candy-ass life was perfect. At least that's what everybody thought from the outside looking in and I just let them think it 'cause up until then it was kind of true. It wasn't a never-ending extreme shopping spree or anything like that but I was seriously cultivating my significance. I had the perfect family, the perfect house, the perfect boyfriend and the perfect life. Until...

It was about five-thirty and I was getting ready to step out. My music, a Lil Mama Lip Gloss remix, was blasting at top volume 'cause I didn't want to hear it anymore, their muffled voices, the shrill cries, the deep confessions. I learned a long time ago to tune out, first with cartoons, then with television and then with my music.

"...so that's it, you just gonna walk out..."

"...we've been playing this thing over and over..."

I had no idea what they were arguing about, but whatever it was, it was serious. I only heard bits and pieces every now and then when they got really loud, but mostly I just tuned out.

"...this is my house and I'm not leaving..."

"...you don't have a choice..."

"...we'll see about that..."

"...take whatever, I don't care..."

That one started an hour ago. They fought so loud, it sounded like World War III had jumped off up in there, friggin' scud missiles and nuclear bombs and all. My mom and dad are a gen-u-wine trip like that. They always got something going on, but lately it's been worse than ever. He walked out two weeks ago with his bags in his hands. I knew that something was up with them, but neither was talking. When I called my dad at his office and asked him, he was, like, ask your mom. And when I asked, my mom was, like, nothing. But something was definitely up.

"...you and that bitch can think again, you hear me..."

"...bullshit, this is a long time coming, you know it, here, take this..."

"...what's this, what am I supposed to do with this..."

"...read it, it explains everything..."

So tonight he stopped by and they got into it again. It's always about the same thing, my dad stepping out. He's fiftysomething, old as hell and still frontin', thinking he's a player. He used to be a professional football player, but now he's owns a computer software business and, like, fifteen years ago they developed this new software program, then sold it for big bucks.

"...screw you and your other women..."

"...you don't have a choice, my attorney..." So now he's got deep pockets and those stupid skanks at his office flock to him like flies to new crap. It pisses my mom off and I don't know why he does that, 'cause he knows that my mom is going off on his ass. She seriously needs to control her man. Thank God I don't have her issues. "...a piece of paper don't mean shit to me..."

"...this is no joke, I'm serious, it's over..."

"...you think you can do this to me, you can try..." It went on like that for a while, then I heard the inevitable slap and then a scuffle. My mom's a slapper. She'll reach up and slap somebody's face in a second. I remember we were out to dinner one time and my dad turned to check this big-boob, big-butt waitress out and just as he turned back around, my mom was there meeting him with the flat of her hand across his face. The crack echoed all over the restaurant.

Everybody turned to see what he was gonna do. As usual my dad played it off like it was nothing. He joked and laughed, lightening the mood, but I knew he had to be seriously embarrassed. He's, like, six-feet-four and all muscle at about two hundred and thirty pounds. And if he were to ever hit her back, he'd seriously knock her into next week.

Mom knew that. She took great pleasure in hitting my dad, knowing that he'd never hit her back. He'd hold her and back her away, but he would never lay a hand on her.

"...if you think you and that bitch..."

"...you need to bump all that poor-me drama, you knew this was coming for the last fifteen years..."

My cell vibrated in my pocket, so I went into my bathroom and answered 'cause the music was still blasting.

"Kenisha, girl, you ready yet or what?" Chili asked. Chili Rodriguez is my girl. She moved to the neighborhood a few years ago, but we just started hanging out recently, when she started attending Hazelhurst Academy. "No, not yet," I told her, looking at a stupid pimple that decided to just pop up this afternoon.

"Well, hurry up, I don't want to be late. You know that place is small as hell and it's gonna be packed in there and we still have to catch the Metro into the city." Chili's Honduran and her accent is really thick, so when she's excited, I can barely understand her.

"A'ight, gimme twenty minutes."

"You better be ready, 'cause I ain't waiting all night for your ass."

"A'ight," I said, then closed my cell. Sometimes my girl Chili really pisses me off. She thinks she's hot stuff since her dad blew up large and dumped serious presidents on a BMW for her sixteenth birthday last June.

"...just go, get out, I don't give a shit, leave..."

"...I'm sick of your drama..."

Okay, enough already. I went back into the bedroom and figured that they're in the hallway now 'cause I can hear them clearly. I love my parents, but they just don't get it. They need to chill with all this drama.

So I'm named after my dad, Kenneth. They wanted a boy, expected a boy, but they got me instead. Surprise! My mom's name is Barbra. She's a young thirty-four and a serious computer geek. She had me when she was nineteen and working in my dad's office. She's usually okay, but lately she's been seriously nuts, popping pills like TicTacs.

My dad is sixteen years older than her. "That's my Barbie doll," he always says, because she's so pretty and petite and still has a slamming body. I guess that would middle of the fight, she navigate this drama and all about my drama, came in my room is that him, same game every ears and turn my back. "Kenisha, do you hear me talking to you?" she said with her fist balled on her hip while still standing in the doorway to my bedroom.

So I looked up and removed my earplugs. I picked up the remote and turned the music off. "I hear you," I said calmly, knowing that my mom hates it when I act calmer than her, particularly when she's all pissed off and out of control. I can tell she's been drinking her Veuve Clicquot or her Opus One and taking her Vicodin, Zoloft or Lustral, whichever. She always takes pills after a fight with my dad. Antidepressants, they're supposed to help her to calm down.

"Change your clothes and cover that thing up. I told you not to get it, but you just don't listen." She started in on me again, her words slightly slurred as she spoke. "And you go right out and do it anyway, then you wind up in the emergency room half the night and you think you're just going to walk out of here looking like that, like nothing's wrong. I don't think so. I told you you're grounded, no dance class and no hanging out with that boy."

"I don't know why you hatin' on LaVon, he ain't do nothing to you."

"He's a football player, isn't he?"

"No, he plays basketball."

"Same thing."

"It is not."

"Close enough, now keep that music down, you're in for the night." She turned, paused, then turned back to continue.

"And being boy-crazy won't get you anywhere in this world, believe me. You can't sacrifice your dreams and your future for anyone."

"I'm not boy-crazy and if you're referring to LaVon..."

"You know he only wants one thing from you. He's got his hormones on overdrive and I don't want you messing up your life for him and his urges."

"I'm not," I said. I don't know why she needs to go there. "LaVon and I talked about sex, but I'm not ready and he's cool with it."

"If he starts pressuring you..."

"He hasn't, he doesn't, he won't," I lied, knowing that was all he wanted to do and that was all he ever talked about. "You always think that I'm doing something, I'm not and besides, he won't even be there tonight. He's going on some college tour with his father today."

"Uh-huh, still, I said you're not going."

"Dad already said I could go," I said defiantly.

"I don't give a crap what he said and don't play that mess with me," she said, slicing her perfectly manicured finger through the air fiercely. I could see the anger spike again. "I know damn well he didn't say that you could go all the way to D.C. at some six o'clock at night for some three-hour recital. You're fifteen years old, no," she said, ending the conversation and walking back down the hall to her bedroom.

I went to my bedroom door. "It's not a recital, it's a video taping and it's at Freeman Dance Studio with Gayle Harmon and her steppers, she choreographs all the hiphop video moves. She's good and she's on TV all the time doing hip-hop."

My mom stopped midway down the hall and turned to me. "I don't care if she's on the moon all the time, you're not going and that's final. And I don't want you around that video crap, shaking your behind half-naked like you don't know any better." She turned and kept walking.

I stood in the doorway considering my options. I could go with the "dad said I could" line again, but that might just piss her off more, so I rely on the old standard then follow her into her bedroom. "Fine, but I have their tickets, what am I supposed to do?"

"You have whose tickets?" she asked.

"Chili and Jalisa's," I said, lying my butt off, of course.

"Call them; tell them you're not going. They can come over and pick up the tickets."

I looked at my watch for added convincing. "They're already on the way, we're supposed to meet there in an hour, and I'm already late." She glared at me and I smiled inwardly 'cause I know that look. She's pissed off, but there was no way she was gonna let me not go now. My friends are her friends' kids and there was no way she was gonna be embarrassed like that. Appearance is everything to her. I looked up innocently, waiting for it to come. It did. "You'd better bring your narrow behind straight home afterwards, do you hear me?"

I nodded. But we both knew that was not gonna happen.

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