Tessa6 promo flat“How’ve you been, Tess?”


Tessa leaned back into the plush fabric of the sofa and propped her boots up on the coffee table. Dr. Young’s mouth twitched a little. She was a fastidious little woman in appearance, so Tessa could only imagine how it irked her. But she lived to irk Dr. Young.

“I haven’t seen you for almost a month. What moved you to make your appointment this time?”

“Nothing in particular. Just thought I’d stop in and make sure my brother’s money isn’t being wasted.”

“You could always tell him you no longer need these appointments. I’d be happy to validate that view. If you aren’t a partner in this process there’s no point in our continuing.”

“I’m sorry I missed my last two appointments,” Tessa said. “Are you happy now?”

“It’s not a question of making me happy, Tess. It’s a question of whether or not you’re willing to be here. And if you’re not, I don’t think …”

“I wonder if for once you could express a genuine emotion,” Tessa said. “Just say you were disappointed I didn’t come. If you could do that for me, maybe I’d be more likely to be honest about my emotions as well, Dr. Young.”

The doctor smiled. “Fair enough. I was disappointed you didn’t come in for your last two appointments. I thought we were making some progress talking about your parents, and your brother. I’d hoped we could continue.”

“We can continue,” Tessa said affably.

She looked about the doctor’s office at the carefully neutral décor. Things were selected to look like personal objects but were actually impersonal. The art, the rug—all homey, but probably not at all like Dr. Young’s home. She’d been coming here for over a year, but felt like she knew nothing of this woman, her fifty-something year old shrink.

Trey had insisted on it, thinking that she needed someone as her safe harbor because she was moving to a new city and starting a new life. He was worried she would start messing around with drugs again because she was so far away from him. Her brother worried too much. And the irony was, the biggest stressor in Tessa’s life wasn’t her life, it was the fact that her brother worried about her life.

Trey, who had taken care of her, Tessa now felt like she had to take care of. At least emotionally. His problem was that he loved too much, too hard.

He loved her that way, and he loved his wife, Shayla that way too. Like he would lose it if anything happened to either of them. Whenever she put herself in dangerous situations—and she had done that far too many times to count—Tessa never wondered about her own safety, she wondered instead about how her brother would cope if she were seriously hurt or killed.

“So shall we pick up where ..?”

“I can’t believe you used the word ‘shall’,” Tessa said. “Like in casual conversation. Who does that?”

Dr. Young smiled. “You’re being passive-aggressive. Why?”

Tessa rolled her eyes. “I was just wondering something out loud. How is that aggressive?”

“I think you want to deflect. Not talk about your parents and your brother, so you tried to put the focus back on me.”

“Okay fine. Let’s talk about Trey and my parents again.” Tessa sighed her defeat.

“Or, if it makes you more comfortable, we can talk about why you felt like coming back here today. What’s going on with you, Tess?”

What the hell? The woman was being paid. May as well use her for something useful for a change.

“Lisa, the woman I’m sleeping with asked me to brunch with her and her parents.”

“Ah.” Dr. Young sat forward. “So the relationship is getting serious.”

“No,” Tessa said quickly. “Or at least she’s pretending it isn’t. She’s pretending it’s about Tyson her brother—long story—but I think that’s just a ploy to get me to meet her parents. Which is weird since she’s not even out to them.”

“So maybe she thinks this is a way to connect two important parts of her life, even if the two parts have to remain largely separate in other ways.”

“Exactly!” Tessa let her feet fall to the carpet and sat forward. “A ruse. She’s introducing her girlfriend without saying I’m her girlfriend.”

“Are you?”

“Her girlfriend? Hell to the no! That’s my point. All we’re doing is hooking up and now I’m wondering whether she thinks this is some love affair or something. And I am so not down for that.”

“And you’ve told her this?”

“Many times, yeah. But women are complicated. They say one thing, mean another.”

“You’re a woman. Do you say one thing and mean another?”

Tessa looked at her doctor. “No … sometimes maybe, but …”

“So Lisa may justifiably think you’re saying you don’t want a relationship but don’t actually mean it.”

Tessa leaned back. “Oh my god, Dr. Young. I think you just earned your fee!”

The doctor smiled. “It’s just a theory.”

“No! I think you might be right. There is no way I should go to this brunch. What if she thinks I’m on some hard-to-get shit?”

“Is that something else women do?” Dr. Young asked.

“Ye-ah,” Tessa said.

“You have very fixed stereotypes about female behavior, Tess. Have you ever wondered why?”

“No, because they’re not stereotypes. They’re opinions formed from personal experience.”

“And in your personal experience, are all women alike?”

“Of course not.”

“Then those views are stereotypes. Do you see why?”

Tessa spread her arms across the back of the sofa. “Sometimes it’s exhausting talking to you, y’know that?”

“How so?”

“Because of that – how so? The incessant questions.”

“Would you prefer I provide answers?”

“Yes, I really, really would.”

Dr. Young smiled yet again. “Only you have those, I’m afraid.”

Tessa shrugged. “Well then I’m going to tell my brother he’s wasting his money,” she said, concealing her smile.

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Woman-Centered Fiction Writer, commenting on books, culture and the human condition.

13 thoughts on “SAMPLE SUNDAY: From ‘LIFTED’

  1. I am interested to learn about Tessa and how she ticks. She’s a very interesting person that seems to hide who she really is because she’s scared. Can’t wait Nia!

  2. I cannot wait for this release! I emailed Ms. Nia on a release date, but I didn’t get a response, do you have a release date set, Ms. NIA!

  3. Hi Nia:

    Read your most recent post. I can relate to not feeling up to one’s craft. When that happens, I step back and rest. Once my mind and body have reached that place of ‘creative calm’ I can go forward. But, I have to rest.

    Take the time you need to refresh yourself.

    Best to You

  4. Nia, I am starting to wonder if stumbling upon you and your literary genius was such a blessing afterall…I am finding it more and more difficult to enjoy the less skilled works of others. Your novels are the benchmark by which I assess other’s work. It’s unfair, it’s not right, (I know) but your superb writing skills has made me a better and more critical reader. I have grown so frustrated trying to find my next literary come up…so, I re-read everything that you have written and seek out your recommendations on other authors. This is not good! I have said it before and so, I will say it again, you have most definitely raised the bar!!! Take your time because it is always worth it!

    1. I so agree with you Korei, before Nia my reading habit was pretty simple. I would just scan through a few books and pick which cover and title looked more interesting and really didn’t think much that 9/10 books that I read sucked some where so bad that I almost wanted to give up my hobby of reading forever. AND THEN THERE WAS NIA! she has set the bar so high and I refuse to read “junk” anymore I will give you the first chapter to show me what you got and that’s it. I have really searched high and low for great books to read in between times that Nia writes something new to no avail. I am embarrassed to say that I have read each one of her books at least 3 times and now its to the point where I just skip to my favorite parts because I know the stories so well that I can not longer get the new book rush anymore LOL. I wish that I was rich so that I could hire her to write me a short story everyday to keep me happy, but that’s crazy talk so….. I will wait until forever(maybe not forever though!) for her to complete the story in her beautiful mind so that she can share with the world her gift. And BTW, if you read this Nia, let me know if I can do anything to help out with your writing process like give you a gift certificate to get a massage( I heard if you relax, this can get you creative juices flowing) or send you a bottle of wine or anything you may need. just email me. LOL

      1. Katrina, I am so glad that I am not alone in my Nia Forrester jones! I will go in half on that spa gift certificate that you mentioned. It’s funny because the other day I was whining about the crap that’s out there passing as literature and my husband told me to reach out to Nia to see if I could help. This tickled me because he is not a leisure reader and it aggravates him when my head is buried in my Kindle but even he realizes how much Nia’s books amps me up! Yep, she is the truth!

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