Conversations Magazine, March/April 2024

Conversations Magazine, March/April 2024

Friday, March 16, 2012

BLESSED: In the Beginning, Chapters 5-7

Just finding out about C. A. Webb's serialized novel BLESSED? Get caught up with the previous chapters at

Now enjoy chapters 5-7...

Evelina’s defining moment in history wouldn’t be her seducing Ezekiel James, St. in
the late sixties. She had been demoralized, defiled and misunderstood for quite a long time, and it had all begun with a simple question: ‘Is it really so?’
Members of the League were waiting on her when she came out the Standard Life
building. “Any news?” she asked the one who was holding the limousine car door open for her.

“Our contact in The White House believes the President is going to meet with the
leadership of the House and Senate as well as the Chairman of the Armed Services committee within the next few days. We’ll be monitoring the situation there and in Israel and keep you posted.”

The door was shut, and inside the car Evelina continued her briefing with two other
male members of the League.

“What are we hearing out of Chicago?”

One of the League members smiled. “They are simply devastated at their loss. The
James family is as beloved as Oprah there.”

The three of them shared a laugh.

Evelina made herself a mental note to stay abreast of movement concerning Ezekiel,
Jr., but she knew a great deal would depend on Ezekiel, Sr. and the President.
“How did things go with Michael,” one of them asked her.

Evelina was smiling again. “Michael was himself. He still has faith that the right
decision will be made.”

“And what do you think,” she was asked.

“I think---no, I know---that men will do whatever they must to protect themselves.”

“Is that coming from experience,” she was asked with a snicker.

“You better believe it is,” came her response, and they continued their reporting as they prepared to head to Chicago.


Jeremiah Reynolds knew he had many reasons to be thankful. He was born just another
statistics in Little Rock, Arkansas who was doomed to the fate of other bastard children before him. His mother and he may not had been given much, but they were firm believers that anything was possible.

And for him it would seem the possibilities were endless.

He had evolved from being a virtual nobody to the leader of the free world in what
seemed like the blink of an eye. It wasn’t a journey without its challenges and years of hard work, but it had all seemed worth it along the way. Now as he sat in the darkness in the middle of the night, he wondered to himself how much of this really had anything to do with him at all.

Being on the City Council and even becoming Mayor could have been attributed to his
vision of bringing change to the city. His becoming Governor of Arkansas was about
something more.

Jeremiah’s entire life was about everyone working together to achieve a common
purpose. Led by his conservative principles and endorsed by the James’ influence, he was able to get the majority of the blue collar and black vote to go Republican by just being true to himself. He knew that race would always be an issue for him no matter what political office he ran for, but after winning the Governorship, Jeremiah had no higher aspirations.

Rebecca, however, was ready and eager to go higher. In early 2006 she felt as though
her winning opportunity had truly arrived. The United States was involved in two wards---one in Afghanistan and another in Iraq---and there was an uneasiness brewing about the direction of the country.

People wanted change, and Rebecca James Reynolds wanted that change to be led by
her husband. To get the ball rolling, she reached out to the brother of the outgoing President. She knew if she could get his endorsement, it would limit those who would challenge Jeremiah.

Thanks to phone calls from her father and back room negotiations through her brother in Chicago, there was an exploratory committee in place before Jeremiah had time to say he wasn’t interested in being Commander-In-Chief.

With a solid platform on his side and the ability to make inroads among groups
thoughts to be loyal segments of the Democratic party, Jeremiah easily claimed victory over the other Republican contenders and accepted his party’s nomination at a convention that rivaled the enthusiasm and excitement of a rock star’s concert.
All eyes were then on the Democratic convention, and another historic nomination:
Senator Barbara Mitchell, wife of former President Jonas Mitchell, became the first female nominee of her party. The campaign that ensued was reportedly one of the most aggressive in recent history, but in the end America believed and accepted Jeremiah’s agenda to bring about change and sent him to the White House.

Coverage of his inauguration was seen by some to be excessive, but the personal story
he carried to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue resonated with individuals around the world. Jeremiah was aware his life had once again changed forever, and a new chapter was about to be written once more.

The night of the Inauguration should have been a red flag that for Rebecca this was
about more than just what could be done to help others. He sensed for the first time that much of the work she had invested in him was for a larger purpose.

“I am so proud of you,” she was telling him as they undressed that night. It had been an exhausting series of events that day, and Jeremiah was looking forward to something he had been deprived of for several weeks: sleep.

“It was a team effort for sure, Becca. You know that.” He was lying across the bed,
watching her get ready to join him. “Most of all, I couldn’t have done it without you.”

She was leaning over him, and before he knew what was coming, her lips were on his
and they were kissing deeply. There was a fire within her that was characteristic of the woman he saw approach business, but that rarely made its way into the bedroom.
Despite being fatigued, Jeremiah found himself aroused by her aggression. She was on
top of him, grinding into his body and caressing him in a way he hadn’t experienced since the Presidential campaign had begun. ‘She wants something,’ he thought to himself as they made love for the first time in the White House.

Afterwards, she confirmed his suspicions by telling him that she wanted to have a baby.

Jeremiah was ecstatic, since he had been wanting to start a family for quite some time. It had been Rebecca that had suggested before that the timing was wrong. He knew now that it was because she didn’t want a child to get in the way of her political ambitions.

Their only child, Jeremiah Beck Reynolds, Jr., was born in late 2009 at a time when it seemed as though the country was united and feeling secure in its standing even though it was fighting evil abroad. The election of a conservative man of color who was united to one of the most influential families of faith became something Americans were proud of. Jeremiah represented the hopes, dreams and ambitions of so many, but he knew now that something else was at work in his life.

It had been at work for quite some time, even before he met Rebecca. You see, there
had been another woman who proved to be a force to be reckoned with that led him to the city council in Little Rock in the first place. She had foretold the greatness that was in him and had ensured that if he remained true to his calling, the world would be at his feet.

He had believed her, and that belief started this journey. Their relationship was mostly physical, however, they would have some of the most incredible discussions at night and into the early morning hours. She was fascinating, and although Jeremiah knew there could never be anything serious with her, he believed in many ways he owed her everything.

One woman. One name began it all: Evelina.

Now as President, Jeremiah was sure there was a true reckoning coming, and she would
make sure he would be at the eye of the storm.


The door of the study opened, and Jeremiah turned to see Rebecca in the doorway. As
expected, she instantly flipped on the light switch which caused the darkness of the room to retreat into thee corners. Even in the midst of this horrifying scourge, she had remained strong and been the support her husband needed. On this night, though, it was clear the events of the past few months were taking its toll on her. Especially now that it had come into her home.

Before she said anything, Rebecca walked behind her husband, kneeled down and
wrapped her arms around him. Cheek to cheek, they exhaled and both let the tears flow. It was irony that wasn’t lost on either of them. She represented a mega family of faith. He was the Commander-In-Chief of what some argued was the greatest country in the world. Yet neither had ever felt as vulnerable and defeated as they did that night.

Rebecca cleared her throat and was finally able to speak. “Carter just called form the gate. Father will be in soon.”

Jeremiah sniffed. It had to be close to three o’ clock in the morning, and for the past few days the last thing he looked forward to was the rising of the sun. The sun. A son. His only son…

“Is there any change, Becca?”

Her pause answered his question before she ever said a word. “I was in with the nurse a moment ago. He said that Junior was resting comfortably, but the fever still hadn’t broke. We just have to keep our faith, baby. My Father will know what to do. We’re going to get through this.”

Rebecca had to say it out loud for herself as much as for her husband. She wanted to
believe her Father would know what to do. She wanted to believe he would be able to make everything alright. Her cell phone began to ring. She looked at the number, and for a moment her pulse quickened. She had to take the call.

“I’ll let them know to send Father in,” Rebecca told him as she rose from the floor. “It’s Charlene calling,” she lied, going towards the door.

“Tell her I send my love, “Jeremiah told her.

“I will,” she said, pressing the talk button. Just as she was exiting the room, her father appeared in front of her.

“Hello, Becca,” he greeted, ignoring the phone to her ear and taking her into his arms.

After she was over the initial shock, Rebecca closed the phone and returned her father’s embrace.

“How are you holding up,” he asked, trying to read her emotions.

“It’s hard, but we’re getting through it.” She looked back at Jeremiah. “He needs you. I hope you’ll be able to help him.”

Ezekiel frowned. “I was hoping you would join us in the conversation…”

“I will. I will,” she responded quickly. Rebecca then held up the phone. “I need to take a call, but I’ll be back soon.”

Her father nodded and shut the door.

“Mr. President,” Ezekiel said as he approached his son-in-law.

They shook hands and briefly embraced.

“Dad, we have citizens of this country and our own family dying, not to mention visits from angels and spirits in the Oval Office. I think we can drop the formalities for tonight.” He pointed to the sofa against the wall. “You’ve had a long night. Take a load off.” Jeremiah walked over to the bar and fixed himself a glass of Ginger Ale. “Can I get you something?”

Ezekiel was pulling some things out of his briefcase. “Just a bottled water will be fine, son. Thanks.”

They were trying to at least give this night a sense of normalcy; but the moment
Jeremiah sat down next to Ezekiel and saw he was holding a Bible at three-fifteen in the morning, the next question was obvious.

“Dad, tell me: Is my son going to die?”

Ezekiel sighed. He had never felt as old and useless as he did right now. The answers
the country was looking for from their Commander-In-Chief seemed minute to what was at the forefront of his mind. “Jeremiah, it’s not as easy as saying---”

“Don’t try and sugarcoat this for me,” Jeremiah interrupted, slapping his hands down
on his knees. He looked down, tired and frustrated by all the uncertainty. “You have always been straight with me. Don’t stop now.”

“Your son is only a part of the problem here,” Ezekiel tried to explain. “I need you to tell me everything beginning with the reports you’ve gotten about Iraq and Israel.”

“You know most of it,” Jeremiah said with a shrug, still looking down. “The generals in Iraq were convinced the government there was getting in a better position to take over. We were beginning our strategy of withdrawal, dad. Then we got the report that a terrorist cell with ties to Nigeria had set up base in Israel.” He took a swallow of his Ginger Ale.

Ezekiel began flipping through his Bible. His son-in-law went on to tell him that he
sent his Secretary of State to Israel to meet with the officials to gather intelligence about the reports. “The response from Israel was not what we expected,” Jeremiah was saying. “They basically told us that they would handle it themselves and didn’t need our help.”

Israel was an ally of the United States, but the President was concerned that something was going on with their relationship. His fears were confirmed when his representatives from the United Nations sent him a cryptic message begging for a meeting.

The timing couldn’t have been more curious, since just a day before that Jeremiah was
approached at an event promoting education in New York City by someone he hadn’t seen or heard from in quite some time: Evelina. She looked amazing in a black pinstripe pants suit, and her hair was pinned up on her head, bringing obvious attention to her eyes and glowing complexion.

“Good afternoon, Mr. President,” she greeted with an outstretched hand.

Jeremiah was stunned to see her, but it was a pleasant surprise in many ways. He
motioned to his security chief to move back the press. “Evelina, it’s great to see you.”

“You’ve come a long way from working at the local copy shop,” she told him. “You
listened. You’ve begun the journey to fulfill your destiny.”

The room was slowly emptying. Out of habit, Jeremiah was scanning the faces to see if
there was anyone any one left he had to be worried about seeing them together.

Evelina was smiling.

“What,” he asked.

“I’m not a prostitute you have to be worried about being seen talking to or
photographed with,” she told him. “I’m a respected official, too.”

Now he was smiling. “I know you aren’t a prostitute. It’s just… Things have changed
since I last saw you.”

“You’re right,” she said coyly, “because the last time we saw each other you were
single and holding me in my bed.”

Jeremiah flinched as though she had slapped him.

“Don’t worry, Mr. President. I’m not going to embarrass you or make a scene, but I’m
on your schedule for a meeting tomorrow at the White House.”

“Really?” He was genuinely intrigued. “And what will we be discussing?”

She leaned forward, kissing him on the cheek and whispered in his ear. “Let's just say foreign

The next day U. N. Ambassador Herschel Dickerson arrived at the White House for his
meeting with Evelina at his side. Jeremiah welcomed them into the oval office and in spite of the objection, he told his Chief of Staff that he could handle the meeting alone.

After inviting the two of them to sit, Jeremiah leaned against the front of his desk and asked them what this was about.

“Mr. President,” Herschel began, “I invited Evelina Morales here to this meeting
because she has been instrumental in assisting me in assessing what’s going on in Israel.”

Jeremiah was taken aback for a moment, mainly because he had rarely heard Evelina’s
last name spoken.

“What have you discovered, Ms. Morales,” he inquired, once again wondering to
himself how she could have any knowledge of what was going on across the globe.
Her answer both surprised and frightened him.

“I am here to warn you, Mr. President, about an impending terrorist attack.”

The world “terrorist” was enough for Jeremiah to straighten his stance.

“A terrorist attack,” he asked. Evelina nodded. “Where?”

“Here,” she answered matter-of-factly, digesting the way he was responding to the oral report. “My sources believe within 72 hours there will be an attack from the cell we have been tracking in Israel.”

For a moment, Jeremiah couldn’t focus. He found himself rubbing his bald heard,
processing the information. He turned to Herschel. “Please tell me she is exaggerating this,” he begged.

Herschel shook his head grimly, still dealing with the information himself. “The
intelligence seems to indicate the attack will come from the sky, but will originate from within Israel.”

“Have we reached out to our allies for some kind of information on the believed
terrorists?” Neither Herschel or Evelina spoke. “Well,” he probed, “have we?”

Herschel turned to Evelina. “With all due respect, Mr. President,” she said, “we’re still trying to decide whether Israel wants to help us.”

The pause that followed that declaration was so thick it almost took the President’s
breath away.

After several moments, he was able to speak. “Thank you for the intel, Herschel,” he
said, walking with him to the door. The two shook hands. “If you could wait outside for a moment, I would like to speak with Ms. Morales alone.”

“No problem, Mr. President. I’ll make sure to keep you informed.”

“Thank you, man,” Jeremiah said, and once the door was shut, he turned his attention
back to Evelina. “Okay, out with it. What is going on here?”

Evelina initially feigned ignorance. “I’m not really sure I know what you mean, Mr.

“Don’t give me that crap,” he snapped back, seeking the protection of the Oval Office
by retreating to behind his desk. “Who is telling you this stuff, and how did you get connect with my UN Ambassador?”

She didn’t answer him, just stared at him curiously, like he was an animal on display at the zoo.

“I’m serious, Evelina. How do you know this is going to happen?”

“I know, Mr. President,” she finally answered, leaning across his desk towards him,
“because I ordered the attack.”

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