A Short Fun Read From Mr. Champion (Dad's POV)
Isaiah Champion by Donnia Marie
"Woahhh! Don't go out there tryna get mom, pregnant daddy." Zafirah carries on with her shenanigans while I'm in pursuit of getting the final touches on my attire. "Troy, you see old man Champion over there? I expect to see you intact like this sixty-five-year-old man, you hear me?" A hearty bellow is heard from her background. It's her fiancé, Troy, the one who I've put in so much work into since he'd been sixteen years old. At the time, I felt indebted to be there for a kid with immense weight on his shoulders. Throughout our years of bonding, learning from one another, hating and loving one's ways, I realize he would later use my teachings, which would eventually affect my daughter and their unborn seed.
"Isaiah, are you ready?" Athena calls out for me from downstairs. I rush to the mirror, scrutinizing the graying beard hanging from my chin. Three buttons remain unbuttoned from my collar shirt. My wife, Athena, loves that. It's the artwork on my left peck being emphasized from the strenuous work I put in the gym three times out the week. Being married for over thirty years wasn't as easy as I thought it would be when I stepped into this happily ever after, yet we adjusted. Ducking and dodging bullets we never set after, but four kids later, we're here. They've all moved out and tending to their own business.
"Aight, daddy, I love you." Or at least three of them are out there minding their own. Zafirah, my mini-me hasn't quite gotten the memo. She's still lurking around, despite having her own family. "I love you too, baby girl. Be good over there." Instead of waiting to hear anything more, I grab the cellphone, ending the FaceTime call, and jog my way to the main floor.
Bare shoulders, slender arms, and a tint of cinnamon cover her skin. She's beautiful, and I've yet to land my eyes on her face. Deeply I inhale from the back of her neck. "Thena."
Stock still, she remains. Allowing me to set the tone for the evening I have planned out for us. She doesn't need to emit any words for me to understand that she's enthralled at this moment. And at my good old age, it doesn't take sex to romanticize a thing. It's all in the action, the thought, and remembering the things that matter to her the most. None the less she would get that too.
"I know I'm a bit late, and I apologize. However, if you allow me to make up the time when we return…."
"Mr. Champion, no need to explain a thing." I'm flabbergasted at the sultriness of her voice. And even more, entertained at the wedges she's sporting for the night. Athena can dress and outdo most but tonight is different. I'm taken back to the old days, with her cut-up black jeans, a few inches of cleavage hanging out, and those lips. My favorite, Grape Jelly.
Without reservation, I devour them into the confines of my teeth, gently nibbling while scooping her into my arm, leaving her legs to wrap around my waist. We exit the doorway, she's locked in position, and the door does its automation work, securing itself as we walk away.
Tonight she would have a great time, letting go of the stresses from the week. As long as she had me, Athena would be taken care of. I wanted to remind her that we were still solid though we've aged and experienced ups and downs. I appreciate her and worship the grounds she walks. Athena was and still is my DAY ONE. Or however, these kids call it these days.
Mrs. Champion (Mom's POV)
Athena Champion by Twyla B. Stone
“Isaiah, are you ready?” Athena Champion was a lot of things, but late for anything was never one of them, timeliness was ingrained in her DNA. She’d been ready and waiting for twenty minutes for her husband to get himself together so that they could make their reservations for date night.
Date night used to be a staple for The Champions after all three of their girls were good and grown. But recently, their family has experienced so many changes that date night fell to the bottom of their priorities. Isaiah was more bothered by this than Athena, so it was his idea to begin instituting Date Night 2.0 once a week no matter what. This was their first attempt, so it was ironic that he wasn’t ready by the scheduled departure time, although this was his idea.
As she waited for her husband to come downstairs to head out for their destination, Athena began to think back on their 30+ years of togetherness. She thought about her first time seeing Isaiah Champion; she saw him months before she officially met him.
Athena remembers dropping her neighbor off at a local, popular Atlanta barbershop. When she pulled up to Champ’s Barbershop, a tall, dark, handsome man walked out with a small kid, seemingly telling him something important. But what was awe-inspiring was the attention the kid was giving to this man. There was an underlying tone of respect and adulation that couldn’t be faked. It was earned and dished out to those who needed it the most.
An official meeting happened two months later when that same man dropped the neighbor off after a haircut when Athena was on her way to class. Isaiah asked her out and Athena declined. Athena didn’t want anything standing between her and her medical degree. It would take Isaiah asking her four more times over the course of six months before she said yes. That was where it all began.
More than thirty years later, he still managed to surprise her and be romantic. This date night was a clear indication that Isaiah made time for the things that he deems important. Along with his wife, four daughters, and a very popular business, he still maintained his toned physique. One of the things Isaiah and Athena did early on was workout together. They didn’t have the exact body they possessed from years ago, but they were holding up well for a couple of sixty plus year olds. Isaiah’s once sleek, defined body now included a shiny bald head, with a full beard displaying spots of gray hair, but it didn’t take away from his handsome features at all. If anything, his looks improved with maturity and he filled out a suit like no other. Athena was still extremely attracted to him and she hoped that her 5’6, lean frame was still attractive to him. He always offered compliments and he acted like a teenager whenever she wore jeans. It was for that specific reason that she put on her best pair tonight!
If nothing else, ever since their first outing, Athena knew she would spend a lifetime dating Isaiah Champion. Tonight was just a continuation of her dreams coming true. After their date, when they returned to the comfort of the home that they built together, he reminded her that he was still very much attracted to her.
An excerpt from book 1 (The Heart of A Champion)
Game night with the Bennetts & the Champions
Cooling sensations fired through my fingers as I arranged an array of cold cuts onto a platter. Troy dashed up and down the kitchen, selecting garnishes to decorate our cheese and charcuterie board. I placed the rolled up prosciutto sparingly on the board before filling in the gaps with dried fruits and nuts. Troy brushed his body over mine, stroking my nape with his nose. Something about this very second felt complete. I was indeed in love with this man.
He didn’t move from behind me when loading a few empty bowls with cornichons and olives. He strategically moved the dishes onto separate sides to nestle the crostinis within.
“Babe," I moaned while meticulously grouping the fresh figs, pears, and strawberries on top. “I'll manage the rest. I imagine two bottles of wine will do for the night.”
Sounds of giggling made me refocus my thoughts. I shuffled around to see the couple interacting conspicuously, but the covers over them left me to my own conclusion. I let them dwell at the moment until I noticed it was getting late. “So, we gon forget this was game night,” I declared, turning the overhead light off opting for a lamp and a few candles.
Riana’s face rose from Benji’s chest, “I’m ready whenever you are, Zee.” I moved the embellished dish over to the dining table, and Troy added the Cabernet Sauvignon and Love Noir. Being that our friendship was new, I wasn’t sure of their wine preference, but I gave it a chance. “We can still play games, but first we,” I pointed to Troy and I. “Decided to do a wine and cheese tasting. We’ve been doing this for a while now.”
Riana stood to her feet with Benji in tow. We assembled at the table laughing, and with a mouth full of bread, I addressed the combination of cheese and bread. I owed all of this to Star. A few months back, I wanted to attempt something romantic for Troy and came up with the wine and cheese tasting, but I had no clue what it all entailed. Mestari recommended all the ingredients and it’s been a hit since.
Riana contracted her lips, “I can get used to this. Do you know how many tastings I’ve been to and none have topped this?” Benji cosigned, pulling the cork from the second bottle. Red wine filled the flute to the rim, all arms hoisted into the air. “To new friendships,” Riana cooed while our glasses touched. Darkness covered the room for half a second before the lights flickered on. What began as a beautiful day turned ugly when rain and thunder charged the atmosphere. “Ok, one game and we are calling it a night,” Troy muttered. The vote for the night was ‘Pandemic’. An apocalyptic board game we appreciated because no one could win without each other. Everyone strategized in hopes of trying to beat the spread of diseases to save the world.
Pianist Pat Coil set the mood through Pandora with his jazz instrumental, ‘Here’s That Rainy Day.’ It was late, but we all connected on several levels. We discussed the entertainment business, relationships, controversies in religion, and health in America. “I don’t think many out there take mental health seriously. Especially African Americans. We’re all battling issues in our lives, so why the negative stigma?” Riana’s ranting carried on for a while after news surfaced on Instagram about a young man battling depression who committed suicide through a drug overdose. We took turns speaking our opinions, but my heart ached for Troy. His mom’s disease wasn’t of her own fault, but this topic made me think that counseling could be useful in the long run because the toll of caring for a loved one who’s sick and terminally ill had to be stressful.
Troy’s eyes were low and crowded with pain. He fiddled with his fingers before remarking, “I feel all that but mental health, in my opinion is misunderstood by many. It’s a subject that varies per situation. I’ll be the first to say, I don’t think doctors, therapists, counselors, or whoever really know it all. I guess it’s trial and error.” I was scared where this was going, and even Benji and Riana were intrigued to hear what was next. Elbows raised and landed on the table from all of us as we planted our faces into our hands.
“I’m not sure if you two follow me on IG, but I post videos or quotes from time to time about my situation, and it seems to help others who are in similar predicaments. ”
“Yeah, I started following you a while back and noticed,” Benji admitted....
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Where do I start? This book had me laughing, crying, and not wanting to put it down. The H is the man of my dreams 😍. The h got on my nerves a few times but it was nice watching her grow. I would recommend this book 💯💯
Wow...I am kicking myself for not reading this one sooner. Zafirah and Tory are combustible....in a good way. They have chemistry in spades and they match and balance each other where needed. I love how their connection unfolds and the initial teasing of will they or will they not finally get together. I love the Champions and their whole family connection, along with how they bring others in - just beautiful.
Ms. Marie showcases some important topics in this one, especially that regarding mental illness like Alzheimer's and the caregiving involved. She does such a wonderful job of showing its struggle, but the relationship between Troy and his mother remains absolutely beautiful. I definitely recommend this and am quickly checking out the next in the series!
Amazing book so many different layers a definite page turner it was hard for me to put down I read it in 2 days !
This is the story of Zee and Troy friends who become lovers. There is a mutual attraction that Troy tries desperately to suppress . Zee's is not having it she knows that they are attracted to each other and she wants to pursue it. Dedication is Troy's care of his mother who suffers from Alzheimer. The love and support of friends is amazing in this story. This is a good book I couldn't put it down I didn't finish until 5 a.m. and it was definitely worth the loss of sleep. Well done 💕
I enjoy Donnia Marie's books very much and I was excited to see this one. Zee and Troy my oh my what can I say about this friends to lovers couple. They were absolutely great together. Mr. Champ he loved his girls and didn't take any nonsense. I can't wait to read the stories of the other sisters. Keep writing Donnia and I'll keep reading!
I really enjoyed this story! I loved Zafirah & Troy's chemistry. And I liked that they were good friends first. It was beautiful, yet heart wrenching to see Troy Carr for his mother through her illnesses. He was so devoted! And I loved seeing Riana & Benji again. I especially enjoyed reading about successful Black business owners! Great read! Can't wait to read the rest of the sisters stories.