Sequel to The Big Apple Posse
by Wendy R. Williams
Illustrated by Sophie Escabesse
Young Adult Romance
Copyright @ 2012 by Wendy R. Williams
All rights reserved,
including the right to reproduce or transmit this
book or any part thereof by any means whatsoever,
without written permission of the author, except
where permitted by law.
Wendy R. Williams
Address illustration inquiries to:
Dedicated to Megan,
Justin and Chloe
bows," Solange blew kisses to the room full
of six-year-old dancers.
The class bowed,
then swarmed Solange, some hugging her and others
a bit shyer, staying back hoping Solange would
as many as she could, "You're the best class
ever. Now get your stuff and sashay your tutus
Solange, grabbed their gear and rushed out to
the hall as the next class entered. This was Solange's
last class of the day, so she stayed in the hallway
until the last mom or nanny arrived.
left, Solange walked over to the wall of windows
that looked down on New York City's upper Broadway.
The street below was bathed orange by the setting
sun. She loved this studio- -a glass box high
above the street; during the day it was filled
with amazing light. She had not planned on dancing
with this company when she moved to the City.
Her plan had always been to attend Juilliard,
but she missed her audition when she had to flee
New Orleans in the middle of the night. Thugs
chasing her across the country sure can mess up
It was now Wednesday,
October 31. The terrorists who tried to blow up
New York City a year ago had been tried, well,
some of them had been tried, and Solange was doing
her best to return to a normal life. She may not
be in her first year at Juilliard, but she was
living in New York City, taking classes at City
College, teaching and dancing with a dance company
and singing when she could. And the Juilliard
admission's committee had notified her that she
could audition in March. Not the life she wanted,
but a good second choice.
It was chilly for
late October in New York City. Solange opened
her backpack, pulled out a gray hooded sweater
and put it on under her black down vest so she
would be warm enough for the walk from the studio
which was in the Fifties to Auntie Tina's at 103rd
and Broadway. Solange could have just jumped on
the bus or the subway, but walking home was a
way to really see New York City, an opportunity
she rarely had with her busy schedule. She had
moved in with Auntie Tina after she left the care
of the federal marshals who guarded them during
the trial. Well not completely "in with Auntie
Tina." Solange was living next door in what
was supposed to be her cousin Vanessa's apartment,
an apartment Vanessa vacated five years ago when
she took a vacation to Jamaica and met a man in
the music business in Kingston. Vanessa was always
meeting men in the music business. Auntie Tina
had also been forced to flee and hide from the
terrorists who would do anything to keep them
from testifying, so she and some of their other
friends had stayed with Vanessa in Jamaica until
just before the trial. But now the trial was over
and everyone was back home, trying to get on with
Solange rode down
the elevator with the last of her students, descended
the steps to the sidewalk and had just turned
to head Uptown when she collided with someone,
stumbled and almost fell onto the sidewalk.
The man grabbed
her before she fell and said, "You okay?"
up and gasped. The man she had almost body slammed
was about her age and he looked vaguely familiar.
He was tall, blond and gorgeous, dressed in jeans
and a sharp black leather jacket. "Yes. You
a dancer?" He was looking at the dance studio
another clumsy dancer," replied Solange.
asked the guy.
are super clumsy. We're trained to walk with our
chin up so we never know what's happening with
our feet," replied Solange. She stopped to
look at him. "Don't I know you?"
"I don't know.
Do you?" replied the young man.
familiar," replied Solange. "Are you
replied the guy.
"Me too. Freshman
English. You sit in back," said Solange.
replied the man.
him. "Solange Montplasir."
what are you doing down here?" asked Solange.
City College was about ninety blocks north of
where they were standing.
Hey, let me buy you a cup of coffee. There's a
Starbucks up the street," said David.
him over. He was really cute, just about her age
and built. The built sealed the deal.
Solange and David
walked up Broadway to Starbucks. Inside, David
insisted on paying for her cappuccino even though
Solange protested that they were both students
and she should pay her way.
"I'll pay. You find the table," said
was an empty table, a rare find in a New York
David brought their
coffee to the table. "I hear an accent. Where
are you from? " asked David.
does not have many out-of-town students. Almost
everyone's from the City," replied David.
"My aunt has
lived in New York City most of her life even though
she's originally from New Orleans like I am. Auntie
Tina has a friend in the admissions office at
City College and she helped me enroll at the last
minute. I really wanted to go to Juilliard, but
that did not work out this year," replied
"Try no audition,"
" Were you
uh, busy. But what's your story? There are not
that many preppy white boys like you at City College,"
"So, I'm a
preppy white boy?" asked David.
Sorry, I did not mean to..." replied Solange.
David smiled. "Guilty.
I'm from Westchester and was supposed to go to
Princeton, but my dad has some financial problems.
One of my uncles teaches at City College so I
asked him to help me enroll late, just like you
did. I'm living with him in the City. Not a bad
plan though. There is a really pretty girl in
my freshman English class," replied David.
and said, "You too."
"I'm a pretty
girl?" asked David.
"No, but you
own a mirror, right?" replied Solange.
Solange looked at her watch. "Yikes! Gotta
go. I told my cousin I would cook dinner tonight.
He's a thirteen-year-old-boy and if I don't get
there quickly, he'll go to McDonalds and I don't
want him to poison himself," replied Solange.
"I only eat
organic food and I am trying to make sure Thibodeaux
does the same," replied Solange.
Your cousin's name is Thibodeaux?" asked
his name. Thibodeaux Botrain. He is originally
from New Orleans too." replied Solange as
she fastened her vest and grabbed her backpack.
Tina's?" asked David.
" One Hundred
and Third and Broadway," replied Solange.
a car. Let me drive you home," replied David.
a car in the City?" replied Solange.
"It was my
sixteenth birthday present. Before my dad had
his financial problems," replied David.
Solange and David
left Starbucks and walked two blocks to David's
car, a white Range Rover.
was your sixteenth birthday present?" asked
it?' asked David.
David opened the
door on the driver's side and said, "Climb
in on this side. I don't want you run over by
Solange climbed across the driver's seat to sit
shotgun. She could tell David was looking at her
butt as she clambered across the seats, but she
pretended not to notice. It was so nice to be
with a hot-but-nice-guy. David was the first man
she had looked at since she had broken up with
"Let me throw
your backpack in the back," David took Solange's
backpack from her and walked to the rear of the
Range Rover to stow the backpack.
"You could just toss it in the back seat,"
Solange started to say but then stopped herself.
What difference did it make where he put her backpack?
He was a really nice guy and she was having a
normal day for a change. And like Thibodeaux was
always telling her, she did not have to be in
charge of the world anymore.
David pulled away
from the curb and turned left to drive on the
West Side Highway. Solange loved to ride on the
West Side Highway and look across the Hudson River
to New Jersey. It was getting dark and she could
see the lights of the buildings across the water.
"So, do you
work?," asked Solange.
"I do some
tutoring. Manhattan parents are willing to pay
quite a bit for someone to help their kids with
their homework. Before that, I did some security
work," replied David.
"You a security
guard?" asked Solange. "One of my friends,
my ex actually, works security for a Hip Hop label.
He's really an intern. His brother owns the label.
grunt paper work," replied David.
reason to go to college," replied Solange.
you?" asked David.
" I get paid
a bit to teach at the dance school," replied
Solange. "Kids, I teach kids."
it?" asked David.
I love to dance and I love kids," replied
Solange. "I practically raised my cousin
Thibodeaux from the time has was born until he
Thibodeaux guy have parents?" asked David.
his dad was a musician, Cajun, not that that had
anything to do with anything. But his dad was
not very responsible. He walked outside during
the worse part of the Katrina hurricane and a
tree fell on him. That was pretty awful, but it
was hard not to laugh. He never thought he had
to play by any rules and whack- -here comes the
tree," said Solange.
his mom?" asked David.
Marie. Let's just say she and Thibodeaux's dad
had a lot in common. Auntie Tina says I had to
do all of Marie's growing up because she sure
was not going to get around to doing it herself,"
"So you and Thibodeaux moved to New York
City together?" asked David.
Katrina, Auntie Tina came to visit and check on
us. She saw I was watching Thibodeaux while my
Mom worked at the hospital. My mom's a nurse.
Auntie Tina said she did not want me to give up
my life to be a mother at twelve. I told her it
was okay, I loved Thibodeaux and I had been taking
care of him since I was about six and hearing
that really made her mad. So she enrolled and
paid for me to attend a Catholic girl's school
and for dance lessons. Then she packed up Thibodeaux
and took him back to New York City with her and
enrolled him a private school in the Bronx. So
that's our story," replied Solange.
"I want to
meet this Thibodeaux," said David.
at him for a minute. "Sure, why not?"
David turned off
the West Side Highway at 96th Street and drove
to Broadway and turned north.
get to 102nd, turn right, go to Amsterdam, turn
left and then turn right on 103rd,' said Solange.
"The apartment house is in the middle of
Solange's instructions and drove to the middle
of 103rd and parked the car just down from the
Solange was looking
at two kids who were sitting on the front steps
of her building. They were bundled up against
the cold, but she could tell it was Amanda and
Peter, the two kids from Greenwich Connecticut
who had been trapped in the City when the bombs
went off and had become witnesses when they overheard
the terrorists talking while they were hiding
in a Grand Central Station bar. Michael, Solange's
ex, had driven Amanda and Peter to New Orleans,
where Solange became their protector until she
became a fugitive herself and they all had to
flee to Los Angeles. It was complicated.
out of the car and ran to the kids sitting on
her stoop. "Hey, what are you doing here?
Why didn't you buzz yourself in?"
Amanda jumped up
and hugged Solange. "Thibodeaux's not answering
his phone or the door buzzer. I had to come. I
couldn't take it anymore. I can't stand my Mother
and I hate that man she is with."
happened?" asked Solange trying to hide the
panic in her voice.
"My mom has
this boyfriend, Mac. He stays with us every weekend
and they boss me around and are driving me crazy,"
bossing you around, right?" asked Solange.
"Yes, I just
said that and I hate it! I hate it! " replied
is that good?" asked Amanda.
mind. I just wanted to know why you did not like
him, that's all," replied Solange.
Peter was standing
next to Amanda. He looked worried. Solange put
her arm around him and pulled him to her side.
so bad," said Peter in a low voice. "He's
a retired Naval Captain. Mom met him when she
was hiding in Boston. He was a friend of some
of her college friends that still live in Cambridge.
He teaches game theory at MIT."
glad you like him," said Solange.
" asked Amanda, looking at David who was
walking toward them carrying Solange's backpack.
Peter, this is David Berenger. He goes to school
with me. David, meet Amanda and Peter, friends
of mine from Greenwich, Connecticut," replied
"So what are
you two doing in New York City on a school night?"
"That is what
I am about to find out. Sorry, but you need to
go. It looks like I've got my hands full tonight,"
David put Solange's
backpack on the steps, pulled out his cell phone,
handed it to Solange and said,
me your digits."
Solange keyed in
her phone number and name and handed the phone
back to David, then quickly typing his name in
her phone, she handed it him and said, "You
David tapped his
info and turned to leave. "Hey, it was nice
meeting you and you too, Amanda and Peter."
Amanda just looked
at him but Peter replied, "It was nice to
meet you too."
to walk up the apartment building stoop, followed
by Amanda and Peter. She called back, "Hey,
I'm glad I met you. See you in school."
you," replied David.
Solange smiled at David, then led Amanda and Peter
into the building. They took the elevator to the
fourth floor. When Amanda and Peter started to
walk to Auntie Tina's door, Solange stopped them,
"Here, down the hall. I'm not living with
Auntie Tina and Thibodeaux. I have my own place."
"It's Vanessa's old place, but she is never
coming back to New York City. She married her
music man and they just had another baby,"
"We were in
Vanessa's apartment when we stayed with Auntie
Tina after the terrorist attack. We went through
the hidden door in the closet," said Amanda.
hidden door is still there. Thibodeaux comes through
it every night," replied Solange. "Let's
go inside and I'll call Thibodeaux and tell him
to come over. Auntie Tina is out tonight and I'm
cooking dinner. It's going to be spaghetti and
I have enough for all of us. "
"I have money.
Peter and I can buy food," said Amanda.
need to do that. I've got plenty," replied
Solange as they walked into the apartment.
pink is gone," said Amanda.
"I took care
of that before I moved in. Thibodeaux helped me
paint everything white," said Solange.
That was not all Solange did. Most of Vanessa's
possessions seemed to have vanished.
you do with her stuff?" asked Amanda.
Good Will," replied Solange. "Everything
was old and moldy and pink so my mom gave me the
money she was going to spend for my dorm this
year and told me to go to Ikea and get what I
It was an old apartment,
but with the walls painted white, the wood floors
exposed and the pink curtains gone and replaced
with white blinds, the simple furniture worked.
The decoration was very basic--framed poster art
plus the always present gris-gris. Solange was
still honoring her traditions; there were little
altars and Voodou dolls all over the living room.
three bedrooms in this apartment and I bought
new beds for all of them. I have cousins by the
dozens and I never know when I'll have company,"
said Solange. "Here is what we're going to
do. You call your mother and tell her where you
are and that you are going to spend the night.
Then I will take you back home tomorrow after
I get out of class."
have a car," replied Amanda.
"We can take
the train," replied Solange.
Michael? Can't we call him and ask us to take
us home tonight?" asked Peter. "I don't
want to miss school tomorrow."
"I don't want
to go back home. I don't ever want to go back
home," replied Amanda.
Peter looked at
Amanda and Solange and said very carefully, "Well,
maybe Michael can just take me back home."
I aren't together anymore," said Solange.
"But we're still friends and I'm sure he
would take you home, but I would rather take you
home myself. Or maybe we could ask your mom or
dad to pick you up."
"If you do
that, they will want me to go back home, too,
and I won't do it," said Amanda. "And
why aren't you still seeing Michael?"
doesn't like birds," said Peter.
are better than the chickens," replied Peter.
Solange rolled her eyes.
"Is that guy
David your new boyfriend?" Amanda changed
"No, I just
met him, " Solange laughed.
cute for someone you just met. Is he going to
be your new boyfriend?" asked Amanda.
so. But now we have to call your mom and tell
her where you are."
"You do it.
I don't want to talk to her," replied Amanda.
dial; I'll talk," said Solange.
Amanda pulled out
her cell phone, auto-dialed home and handed the
phone to Solange. "She's going to be mad
because she called several times and I let it
go to voice mail."
at Amanda, "Amanda, you should answer the
phone when your mom calls."
Amanda said nothing, so Solange gave up. "She'll
feel a lot better when she knows where you are."
Solange spoke into
Amanda's phone. "No, it's Solange. Amanda
and Peter are at my place. No, I didn't know they
were coming. They were here when I got home tonight."
Solange listened to Melanie for a minute and then
said, "Why don't they stay here tonight?
I don't teach tomorrow and I get out of class
around noon. We can catch a two o'clock train
to Greenwich. "
"I'm not going.
If you don't let me stay here, I will call my
grandfather and ask him to come get me."
Solange spoke into
the phone again. "Maybe you had better come
here. Are you still in the City?"
not work in the City anymore. She took a job in
Stamford, Connecticut, after she moved back from
Boston," said Peter.
"I don't want
to see her or Mac," said Amanda.
at Amanda and said, "Stop that right now."
Amanda looked surprised,
but she quit complaining.
Solange spoke again
into the phone. "Okay, what time can you
be here? Okay, okay. See you then. I'll ask Auntie
Tina to be here when you arrive."
the phone back to Amanda. "Your mom will
be here tomorrow at 4 p.m. We'll talk then. But
now, we need to eat. Amanda, get that bag of salad
out of the refrigerator and Peter, wrap that loaf
of bread in aluminum foil and put it in the oven
at 300 degrees, I'll start the spaghetti, "
replied Solange as she picked up and dialed her
"Who are you
calling? "asked Amanda.
he should be here by now." Solange spoke
into the phone, "Hey, I'm home and we've
got company, so get your butt over here."
want to see..." said Peter.
He was playing games on his XBox. He never knows
what time it is when he's gaming," said Solange.
There was a rustling
sound from the front bedroom and Thibodeaux walked
into the kitchen from the hall.
What are you doing here?" Thibodeaux quickly
hi-fived Peter and then hugged Amanda swinging
her around. Amanda was still taller but Thibodeaux
was filling out and he lifted her with ease.
and looked at Amanda's face, "Hey, hey! What's
Solange interrupted, "Amanda had a fight
with her mother and they are going to spend the
you have a fight with your mother too?" Thibodeaux
Amanda. I mean Amanda was the one who was upset..."
Peter's voice trailed off as he saw the look on
"Hey, we can
talk about this later on. Right now, everyone
will feel a lot better after we have some dinner,
so let's start cooking," replied Solange.
Amanda, Peter and
Thibodeaux quickly pitched in and made dinner.
They had all been well trained by Solange while
they were in hiding. Everyone knew their bit and
quickly prepared spaghetti made from organic wheat
pasta and heated up the whole wheat loaf of sourdough
bread. And they all knew better than to complain
about Solange's choice of food. It wasn't worth
the time they would spend.
After dinner, Amanda
grabbed her phone and walked into the bathroom
and said, "I am going to call my grandfather
and tell him what happened."|
at Amanda as she said the words "what happened."
When Amanda returned
to the kitchen, everyone finished cleaning up
and then Solange showed Peter and Amanda the two
extra bedrooms. Both were sparsely furnished with
twin beds and a dresser.
only TV is in the living room," said Solange.
"But we have WiFi."
May I use your computer?" Amanda asked.
at Amanda. It was obvious Amanda was about to
cry. "Sure. Hey, look at me. You're the bravest
kid I know. It's going to be okay."
Peter stood by
the doorway. "Solange's right. It'll be okay,
Amanda. You'll see. It'll be okay."
After Amanda took
Solange's computer and went inside and closed
her door and Peter was in his room, Thibodeaux
turned to Solange and said, "It's really
bad, isn't it? I've never seen her like this.
She was always so strong. "
she's not even fourteen yet. She can't be a grown
up all the time," replied Solange.