Legacy of Love(8)

By: Donna Hill



Her grandmother. Nana Zora was the thread that held the fabric of her family together. She couldn’t imagine her family without Nana Zora. Growing up, Nana had been more of a mother to her than her own mother, Miraya, had ever been. Her mother was an aspiring singer and spent most of Zoe’s youth and young adulthood traveling the country, moving from one nightclub or lounge to the other. One disappointment too many and a cigarette short of losing her voice altogether, Miraya returned to her hometown of New Orleans and tried to put her life back together and bond with a daughter she barely knew.

It was Nana Zora who encouraged Zoe to pursue her love of the arts, which she insisted Zoe had inherited from her mother. Zoe believed differently. It was her Nana who nurtured her passion for art and painting and her interest in history and other cultures. By the time Miraya Beaumont returned to New Orleans, Zoe had traveled and studied and mapped out her future—without the help or guidance of her mother. It took time and a lot of patience, forgiveness and a lot of coaxing from Nana but they’d finally found their way to each other.

It was also her grandmother who firmly believed in the legacy of the Beaumont women. As much as she didn’t want to buy into the old wives’ tale and family lore, everything that her grandmother, her mother and her aunts had said was slowly coming to pass.

She picked up the phone to call Sharlene and let her know about her change of plans and wondered what her grandmother would say about the inexplicable events that had made their way into her life.



“Tomorrow morning?”

“I don’t want to wait until the weekend. My mother sounded scared and she never sounds scared.”

“Let me rearranged my schedule. Give me your flight number and I’ll book my ticket as well.”

“Sharl, that’s too much. You don’t have to—”

“I know that. I want to. She’s my Nana, too. And you’re my sister. I’ll call you back in a few.”

Zoe squeezed the receiver in her hand and briefly shut her eyes. She wouldn’t admit to Sharlene just how much she needed her. She didn’t have to. Sharlene already knew.





Chapter 4




Jackson shut the door of his Explorer and walked across the parking lot of Clark-Atlanta University. The acrid scent of smoke still lingered in his nostrils and the image of the woman in his mind. When he’d literally stumbled upon her he couldn’t believe it at first. He was certain she was the same woman he’d spotted the other day. He could kick himself for leaving her even for a second before he found out who she was.

He cut across the lot and entered the campus grounds, followed the path to the humanities building and tugged open the ornate wood door.

“Mornin’ Professor Treme,” said a young man in a freshly pressed white shirt with an armload of books.

“Have a productive day, Mahlik,” Jackson offered before turning the corner toward his office. His first class wasn’t for another twenty minutes. “Hey, Jackson!”

Jackson glanced over his shoulder. It was his colleague Levi Fortune hurrying toward him.

“I wanted to talk with you about something,” he said, coming to a stop alongside Jackson.

“Levi, if it’s about taking over one of your classes again, the answer is no.” He stuck the key into the lock of his office door.

“Aw, come on man. Just one more time. I’ve got to put the finishing touches on my dissertation. I have to defend it in three weeks.”

“You should have taken a sabbatical.” Jackson shook his head in a combination of dismay and annoyance. He could only imagine the stress that Levi was under trying to teach three classes and get his second doctorate degree. The man was no dummy, but he was going to kill himself in the process. Jackson turned to him and grinned.

“Okay. You know I will.” He pushed open the office door. “Take a load off.” Jackson walked in and dropped his soft brown leather satchel on top of his desk then walked around his desk to open the window blinds.

Levi dropped down into the lone chair in the tight space and stretched out his long legs. “You know I owe you.”

“Big time. I’ll think of something. So how’s the work coming?”

Levi linked his fingers together. “Man, if I survive this, I’m done. For real.” He chuckled lightly. “I don’t remember it being this hard.”

“Ancient languages are no joke, man.” He lowered himself into his squeaky leather chair. “So, when you get your degree I have to call you Dr. Dr. Fortune or what?”

“You can just call me doctor. The rest of them can call me Double D.”

They broke out laughing and exchanged a pound.

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