I love the word "Tuesday". I also love the day. Even though Monday is the "first" day of the week (work week not calendar week), I think Tuesday is the day for fresh starts and new beginnings. I like the word Tuesday so much, I named one of my characters Tuesday Akers. He first made an appearance in my screenplay, "Fly on the Wall". He was the older lover of my main character, Morgan Lewis. He seemed to be more in love with her than she was with him, yet they both had other lovers. He was rich and estranged from his wife. When I started writing my novel in 2004, Morgan and Tuesday were reunited in "Letters to my Former Self".
I thought I'd share with you a bit of who Tuesday Akers is. Looking back, he's similar to Big from Sex in the City in a lot of ways, but more open with his feelings. Morgan would never be hurt by him the way Carrie was by Big - she has other men in her life who will hurt her feelings.
Below is an excerpt from my novel - Chapter Nine - the first time we meet Tuesday Akers.
Two weeks after my first meeting with Chase, on a Thursday night, we had the Bodywise Magazine Launch Party at an event space in Dumbo. I was flanked by Vicky and Tony, the latter of whom I think was more excited to meet some men. He said he was growing tired of the
East Harlem boys. He was still there to support me however.
Chase looked very good that night. He had gotten a haircut, so now his hair was just below his ears. The attire for the party ranged from business casual to evening wear. Ladies were strutting their stuff in cocktail dresses, and some wore dark denim with barely-there tops. I was included in the latter.
The music was loud. The DJ was having a good time spinning the Trip Hop music, in his own world. I knew that artist trance.
“Chase,” I said as I came up behind him and put my hand on the small of his back. He turned to me. “These are my friends, Vicky Fisher, and Tony Andres. Vicky owns and Pilates studio.”
“Pilates is so in right now. We could really use your advertising dollar.” Chase said. I felt bad that he jumped right into a sales pitch, but we were a fledging magazine and were going to need all the money we could get. “Of course, we would run your ad for the first month for free,” Chase ended.
“I’ll look into it.” Vicky said.
“Give me a call at…” he looked at the business card he had pulled out of his pocket. It still had his old office number on it. He took a pen out his inside pocket and wrote his new number on it. “Give me a call here, or you could just get your info to Morgan.”
“Ok.” Vicky seemed eager to end that conversation.
Chase turned his attention to Tony. “Do you own a Pilates studio?”
“No, yo deseo tener un restaurante un día.”
“Restaurant, ok.” I could tell that was all Chase understood from what Tony said.
“Are you becoming bodywise?” Chase asked. I guess he thought if he talked about something he knew about, he would maintain control of the conversation.
“Un poco, pero esta revista es una buena idea. Buena suerte con ella.”
I jumped in. “Thanks, Tony. Chase is really proud of this magazine.”
Tony thinks everyone should know Spanish. That’s his philosophy. The Spanish speaking minority is the fastest growing population in
– get with it. I once accompanied him and his grandmother to the Immigration offices. The announcements were made in two languages, English and Spanish. Never mind all the Asian faces in the room or the obviously non-Spanish speaking people that were there. Maybe Tony had a point. America
Vicky saw one of her clients by the bar. It seemed as if everywhere Vicky went, she knew someone there. She excused herself from the group. Chase soon followed to make the rounds and encouraged me to do the same. I was just in awe, wondering where this revolutionary got the funding for this party. Then I saw him. Tuesday Akers. One of my former lovers. He still looked so dignified. I was about to point him out to Tony when he turned around and saw me. He said something to the mulatto girl he was with and we started approaching each other.
“What are you doing here?” I asked.
“You know I know everything that goes on in this city. You didn’t expect me to miss something this major, did you?” This was major? There must be something more to this that I didn’t know about. Just as long as it wasn’t illegal. Or if it was illegal, just as long as we didn’t get caught.
“So how do you know Chase?” I asked.
“I don’t know Chase, but I know a few people here.” Tuesday was always elusive. He let you into his world when he was good and ready. That was a big thing that the both of us have in common. We just happened to open the door for each other at the same time.
“Chase is founder and Editor-in-chief of this magazine. He asked me to come on board.”
“Morgan Lewis, finally getting your own magazine…” He knew a lot of my hopes and dreams.
“Not my magazine, but it’s a good start.”
“By the looks of that kid, I think he’ll let you do whatever you want with his magazine.” Tuesday assured me.
We stood there staring at each other. He was freshly shaven, allowing his lips and cheeks to stand out. I loved the shape of his face. His Mediterranean ancestry was a blessing. He was aging seamlessly.
“Aren't you gonna give me a hug?” He opened his arms. I fell into his arms and it all came flooding back to me. It was like his arms were made for me. He still smelled of Givenchy Pi cologne. I wondered what he was up to now. We never officially broke up, nor were we ever officially in a relationship. We just went through hot and cold periods.
We ended our embrace. “How’s Janet?” I asked.
“I haven’t gotten a response to the divorce papers, so I’m assuming she’s still mulling it over.”
“I'm surprised you’re still mulling it over. You won’t give up on her.”
“I won’t give up on you either.” he said.
“Yeah, but maybe you should.”
“I know a diamond when I see one.” He touched my chin.
“So who was the girl you were with just now?” As I said that, I saw her approaching with two drinks.
“Would you like me to introduce you?”
I couldn’t say no with her standing right there. “Sure.”
She came up alongside Tuesday. She handed him his drink and flashed me a genuine smile.
“Morgan, this is Lyric. She’s in
indefinitely from New York .” Miami
“Lyric… that’s a pretty name.”
“It’s nice to meet you, Morgan.” She looked to be about my age. Just right for Tuesday.
“Are you up here on business?” I asked. I didn’t want to be nosy, but we were all standing around waiting for someone to say something.
“No, I'm here for personal reasons.” My mind started to wander on what those personal reasons could be. And if they involved Tuesday, they could be really personal.
He must’ve noticed my mind conjuring up lewd images of the two of them together. “Morgan, do you want a drink?”
“Yes, please.” I said without taking my eyes off her.
“Lyric, if you would…”
She looked at Tuesday. “Oh… sure. What…what would you like, Morgan?”
“She’ll have a watermelon martini.” Tuesday said looking at me with a knowing smile.
“Yeah, a watermelon martini.” I returned the smile. Lyric walked away. “You remember.” I said to him.
“I remember everything about you. It’s pretty hard to forget if you’re on my mind all the time.”
“Even as you try to reconcile with your estranged wife.” I said that to him without a trace of malice. That was just the kind of relationship Tuesday and I had.
I saw some of the workers bringing up a giant poster board that was covered in a black sheet to the designated stage for the event. That’s when I really took a good look around the loft space. There were giant glossy posters of pages out of the magazine. There I was in my white Everlast bra and boxing shorts, covered in sweat (water and baby oil) looking down and off to my right. I was a fighter who had been in a long hard battle and was finally content. There was a picture of Beck and Wesley doing partner yoga. We went to Chelsea Piers one afternoon and shot Mia as she climbed the wall. That photo was up too.
We had assigned Miller to take photos of people partaking in “random acts of urban fitness”. On the last page of every issue, opposite the back inside cover we would feature the shot he took. For the premiere issue, he took a photo of a guy running up the stairs in the subway, two at a time. He was caught mid-stride, so none of his feet were on the steps. It looked like he was flying up the stairs.
That’s when I realized I hadn’t seen Miller yet. He said he would come to the launch party. I checked my phone. There was no missed call or voicemail from him. Strange, even for Miller.
“Expecting a call?” Tuesday asked me.
“No.” I lied.
Chase stood up on the stage next to the covered glossy. He tapped the microphone. The room quieted down slowly. The volume of the music slowly went down.
“Welcome, everybody to the Bodywise Magazine Launch Party!” He said pumping his fist into the air. We cheered. Lyric returned with my martini. I thanked her. She stood on Tuesday’s right. I stood on his left. “The market is flooded with magazines about health and fitness that people read only because they don’t have a choice. Some are also filled with information on fad diets or theories that haven’t yet been researched. That’s exactly what Bodywise strives to not be. We’re here to cater to a market that’s always been forced to read about soccer moms who can work out in their homes on Saturday afternoon. We’re New Yorkers! We don’t have time for that shit! We’re on the move and when we do find time to ourselves we wanna know what’s best and want it now! That’s where Bodywise comes in. It’ll teach you how to turn this concrete jungle into your own health and fitness center.”
I loved watching Chase up there on that stage. He was so passionate about this magazine. He was finally where he wanted to be. I would do all that I could to make this magazine a success for him.
“…Morgan Lewis, my assistant editor and lead feature writer, Beck Seifert, layout editor, distributing manager and contributing photographer, and Joya Nath, art director.” The guests started to applaud. “Come up here you guys!” Chase called out to us.
Tuesday gave my hand a squeeze before I went up to join Chase on stage. Chase continued. “Without these guys, Bodywise would just be an idea in my head.” He turned to the three of us. “I’d like to thank you guys from the bottom of my heart. You’ve become a second family to me. I know you guys know that, but I’d like to say it again.” He stopped and swallowed hard. I thought he was going to cry. If he started then I knew I would so I was praying that he wouldn’t. He looked at the floor then at the draped glossy. “All right, we’ve all waited long enough. I’d like to give you, Bodywise Magazine!” he pulled the sheet off and there it was, the cover of the premiere issue. Beck and I were brow to brow, scowling at each other. It looked like a poster for a prize fight. It was the first time Beck, Joya and I had seen it. We were all very excited. We hugged each other. Beck held me a little longer than I expected, but I didn’t mind. I thought I would feel funny seeing my face that big in a picture, but I didn’t. It felt good actually. That was our hard work and long hours, paying off.
Chase stood in front of me, he held me by my shoulders. “We did it, Mama.” He was tearing up. I decided not to stop mine anymore and let them pool up in my eyes. “We’re gonna make this work. This will be a success.” he said, not taking his gaze from mine. I had no choice but to believe him. He leaned in and kissed me on the forehead. Before he let me go, I grabbed him for a hug. His body was tense at first, but then he relaxed into my arms.
The three of us, Tuesday, Lyric and myself, found a spot on a window seat and talked for a while. After two martinis and a bottle of water, I had to use the bathroom. I excused myself from the conversation. I found the one with the shortest line and waited. A woman came out the restroom. We smiled at each other. I don’t know why people always smile at each other when they’re coming in and out of the restroom. It’s like we’re trying to say, “You won’t believe what I just did in there…” or “I know what you just did in there…”
I started walking in and was hurried into the restroom from behind. “Hey!” I saw Chase through the mirror.
“You know Tuesday Akers?” he asked as I turned around.
“That guy is loaded. How did he hear about this party?”
“I don’t know.”
“You didn’t tell him?”
“No.” In fact, I hadn’t spoken to Tuesday in months. I was still trying to find out how he knew about this launch party.
“Morgan,” he grabbed me by the shoulders again, “if you can get him to give this magazine some financial backing, I’ll sign over all the rights to this magazine to you.”
“Chase, I’ll talk to him, but you don’t have to hand over your life’s dream to me.”
“Are you sure?”
He let go of my shoulders. “Man, this is unbelievable. We put together an entire magazine! And this party is amazing!”
“You’ve worked really hard on this, Chase.”
He wasn’t even listening to me. “We’ve gotta do something to remember this night by.” He was getting that gleam in his eye again. “Come on think, there’s gotta be something we can do...”
“Yes, Morgan,” he said like I should know. He took out a pen and started writing on the wall.
“What are you doing?”
“Leaving…my…mark,” he said as he pressed down hard with the pen, digging into the wood paneling. He was going to leave an engraving. He wrote his name. “You want me to write ‘Mo’ or ‘Morgan’?”
I took the pen from him and engraved my name into the wall. “Put a heart around it.” he said. I put a heart around our names – Chase-n-Morgan. He took the pen back from me and put the date. We stood there admiring our work.
The people on the line for the bathroom gave us weird looks when we both came out the bathroom with huge smiles on our faces. “Wait!” I said, and cut in front of the woman who was about to go into the restroom. I ran into the restroom and closed the door. Finally got a chance to do what I came in there to do in the first place.
The party was now three and half hours old, and still no Miller. I wonder if something happened to him. Before my mind could stay on that topic for too long, Vicky approached me.
“Morgan… I haven’t seen you all… night...” she said. Vicky was definitely enjoying herself at this party. Her words were coming out slower than they normally do.
“You disappeared on me as soon as we got here.”
“I know!” she said with such glee.
“What you drinking?” I asked.
“Umm… Absolut and cranberry… It’s really good.”
Tuesday and Lyric joined us.
“Hello, I don’t believe we’ve met.” he said to Vicky.
“No! We haven’t!” She was so happy.
“Tuesday, this is my friend, Vicky, I’ve told you about. We met at a photo shoot.”
“Right, right.” Tuesday remembered. “How do you do, Vicky?” he extended his hand.
“This party is great, isn’t it?” She shook his hand.
“Yes, it is. And I'm very proud of Morgan.” Tuesday wasn’t giving up easily. “So what do you do, Vicky?”
“I teach Pilates.”
“Pilates, very interesting.” Tuesday said.
“Yeah,” Lyric chimed in. “I love Pilates. Where do you teach?”
Twenty-first Street.” Vicky answered.
“She has her own studio.” I elaborated.
Lyric looked very impressed. “Do you teach one-on-one?”
“I'm not taking anymore clients right now.” Vicky answered quickly. I thought that was strange. Maybe there was something about Lyric she didn’t like. Or maybe she was just tired of talking about work.
“Do you teach classes?” Lyric asked. This was money waiting to be had by Vicky. Why wasn’t she taking it?
“Do you have a card? I could call you and get your schedule.”
“Um… I don’t have anymore cards…”
Tuesday picked up on what I picked up on. “I don’t think she wants to be bothered, Lyric.”
Lyric looked hurt. I hope she wasn’t going to take it personal. It’s not you, Lyric, it’s Vicky.
A very handsome, dancer-type guy approached Vicky with a drink in his hand. “I got you another drink,” he said. He smiled at the rest of us half-heartedly.
“But I didn’t finish this…one yet…” Vicky answered. And she didn’t need another one, she forgot to add.
“Well, I could just hold this one for you till, you’re done,” he insisted. He glanced at me and caught my glare.
While he spoke, Vicky was gulping down the rest of her drink. “All gone!” She took the new drink he had brought for her. “Mo… come find me before you leave, ok?”
“Ok, Vicky.” I said shaking my head. I already had that guy’s face in my mental bank. I wasn’t worried that he’d take advantage of her, but you never know.
I turned my attention back to Lyric and Tuesday. I was still curious about what her “personal reasons” for being in
were. From the way he was acting towards her and more importantly, the way he was acting towards me, in front of her, made me think it was nothing like me and Tuesday had…but I had to make sure. New York
“Lyric, is this your first trip to
?” I asked her. New York
“Yeah, I just arrived on Monday night.”
“Did Tuesday invite you?” I asked. He immediately picked up on what I was doing.
“No, I didn’t know him till that night. We met at the airport.”
“Yes, Morgan, I was returning from my trip to
…” A trip I was supposed to take with him. I took that as a hint to stop with my questions. Monte Carlo
Chase was mingling with a couple a few feet away. I decided I’d make his night. Maybe he could pull off the sales pitch that I couldn’t.
“Have you met Chase tonight?” I asked the two of them, looking at Tuesday.
Tuesday shook his head ‘no’.
“Chase!” I called out to him. I waved him over. He excused himself from that couple and stood next to me.
“Tuesday Akers, this is Chase Vanderwuul, founder of Bodywise Magazine…” They shook hands. “And this is Lyric…”
“Woods,” she completed.
“Nice to meet you.” Chase shook her hand.
“I’d like to say, you did a great job with this magazine, Mr. Vanderwuul. Smart choice, asking Morgan to work with you,” Tuesday said.
“Yeah, so far it’s paid off.” Chase looked at Lyric from the top of her head, to the tip of her shoes, then back up again. “You look like you’re body wise…” Chase was getting into his sales-slash-flirt mode. I always knew the outcome to that, so I started to space out.
I looked off into the distance and spotted Vicky and the dancer-type guy on a window seat, making out, and she never looked more beautiful. I always thought Vicky was very attractive, but seeing her in a sexual light, made her look even better. Vicky never talked about sex. Never. When I would tell her all my stories, she laughed with me, was shocked and disgusted with me, but she never had a story of her own. She said friends from college wondered if she was asexual. She assured them that she wasn’t, that she loves sex, and is very sensual (Taurus), but she never talked about sex.
I couldn’t take my eyes off of what I was seeing. That was the voyeur in me. Watching him caress Vicky’s waist, and thighs was a huge turn-on. They took a break from kissing and said something to each other, and Vicky giggled. Her eyes were narrowed from the alcohol and passion. Her lips were swollen from the heavy kissing, so pouty. I felt like I wanted to kiss them. And that’s something I said I’d never do. I never entertained the thought of being with a woman. Then I loosened up a bit and said I’d let a woman please me, a woman I’d never see again after that encounter. I would never go down on a woman, or suck her tits, or kiss her. But in this day and age, there’s a little queer in everyone. I saw part of this documentary, The Truth about Gay Animals, and there was footage of male bulls mounting each other, and two female chimps rubbing their clits together. We’re all animals.
But I know Vicky. I could never have sex with Vicky and talk to her the next day. I could do that with a guy and not think twice about it. Why is that?
Vicky and her guy continued to make-out. One of Vicky’s hands disappeared into his pants. There would be no need for me to find her before I left.
Tony came up to me. “Ok, Mama, I'm gonna go now.”
“You call her ‘mama’ too?” Chase asked Tony.
“But you call me ‘mama’ as in motherly,” I said to Chase.
“You stand corrected. I call you ‘mama’ as in ‘hot mama’.”
“Yeah, cover girl…” He always said things like I was supposed to know. But I didn’t take offense to it.
“It was nice meeting you, Tony.” They shook hands. Tony and I kissed each other goodbye and he left.
“Are you ready to go, Morgan?” Tuesday asked. Lyric and I looked at each other with the same question on our mind. I didn’t know I was leaving with him.
I looked at Chase. “You need any help in here, closing things up?”
“Please, that’s what they’re paid for. They have parties here all the time.”
“What about Beck and Joya?”
“They’re going to an after party.”
“After party?” I asked.
“Yup. It’s always the quiet ones.”
“What are you up to for the rest of the night?” I asked.
“I'm gonna make sure these glossies get back to the office, then I’ll catch a cab from there.”
“You’ll be fine by yourself?”
“Sure. I’ll give you a call tomorrow.”
The streets were deserted when Tuesday and I left the party. The traffic going over the
and along the BQE was heard off in the distance. The breeze coming off the Brooklyn Bridge East River was chilly. I could feel the goose bumps popping out of my bare back. I could feel the weight of my afro as it was blown about in the breeze.
“Come on, we gotta move. It’s getting really cold out here.” I said. I started walking, but Tuesday didn’t follow.
“Where are you off to in such a hurry?” he asked.
“It’s cold out here. I wanna hurry and get home.”
“You’re not taking the train are you?”
I was partial to the subway, but not tonight. “No, I'm gonna see if I can catch a cab on Old Fulton or by
.” Cadman Plaza
“Or you could take a ride from me on some heated seats.”
I hadn’t thought about that. Any time I went out with Tuesday or even on nights when I didn’t go out with him, I ended up in his car, his driver, Paulie, trying not to listen in on our conversation.
“Isn't that gonna take you outta your way?”
“Not for you, it won’t. He should be pulling around any minute now. I called him to let him know I was leaving soon.”
I was tempted to ask what happened to Lyric and how she was getting home. If Tuesday invited her to this party and was ditching her for me. She was new to
, where was she staying? Was he going to leave her stranded? New York
“What about Lyric?” I blurted out. I was becoming genuinely concerned. I could take care of myself. She didn’t strike me as being very street savvy.
“She’ll be alright, Morgan.”
I knew not to ask anything more about that. If he said she’d be alright, she’d be alright.
Tuesday’s car pulled up. Paulie got out, walked around to the rear passenger side door and opened it for us. I climbed in, followed by Tuesday. Paulie closed the door.
The seats were heated through, so I quickly stopped shivering. The inside of the car smelled of Hennessy and cologne. It wasn’t too overwhelming. I quickly started remembering all the other times I rode in this car.
?” Tuesday offered. Champagne
I didn’t have nearly enough alcohol tonight.
“Sure.” I accepted. I watched him pour two glasses of champagne. Out the window, past Tuesday, I saw Chase exit the building with some of the workers. They were carrying the glossies. They were all wrapped and taped for shipping. Chase looked in my direction, but couldn’t see me through the tinted windows.
I watched Chase and the two workers load the truck. Then all three of them climbed into the cab of the truck.
The tail lights came on, and a few seconds after that, they pulled off. We pulled off soon after them. I sipped my champagne as I watched the truck pick up speed on the approach to the
. I turned my attention to the Brooklyn Bridge skyline when I lost them about midway across the bridge. Manhattan