My Sister's Keeper

Reads: 53  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 0

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Its a story about the relationship between a pop star and her sister and law, days before her death.

Submitted: July 31, 2012

A A A | A A A

Submitted: July 31, 2012

A A A

A A A


My Sister’s Keeper

 

Then the lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother?” I don’t know he replied. Am I my brother’s keeper?”

 

 

 

Sidney Dallas lounged in her expansive suite browsing the blogs from the past few days, and looked over at her manager, Nicki Dallas.

“It feels good to know people are interested in me. They’re excited to see what’s coming from me.”

“Why shouldn’t they be? You have the greatest voice the world has ever heard.” Nicki spent a lot of time stroking her client’s and sister in law’s fragile ego.

A huge smile spread across Sidney’s face, a smile she’ used to charm America for years.

“Now all you have to do is keep it together.” She could see the sparkle leave Sidney’s eyes.

“I know. I know. I’m in a different place now.”

“You’ve been in a different place before.” Her superstar client had kicked her omnipresent drug habit before and each and every time, it came back, sometimes stronger than before.  Nicki wasn’t trying to be harsh, she simply wanted her to know that this time, she needed to stay sober and revive her career. 

“Come on Nicki, not today.”

Before Nicki could continue, Julie, Sidney’s bright-eyed personal assistant comes into the room.

“Have you decided what you want for lunch, Ms. Dallas?”

“This little pouch on my waist is saying I should have a salad. I did have a very healthy breakfast today. I also went for a swim.” She pauses. “You know what I really want? Fried chicken. I’m in LA, why not Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles?”

“Roscoe’s it is.” She says before leaving.

As Julie is leaving, Sidney’s daughter enters.

“Mommy.”

“Yes, Charli.”

“What are we doing today?” she says lying right next to her mother.

“What do you want to do today?”

“Shopping.”

“Hear that Nicki, my baby wants to go shopping.”

Nicki rolls her eyes. “When doesn’t your baby want to go shopping?”

“And?” Charli adds slowly. She knew how to get her mother to do whatever she wanted.

“And what?” Sidney looks at her out of the corner of her eye.

“I’m supposed to have lunch with dad.”

“Ok. That’s fine.”

“Will you come with me?”

“No she will have not lunch with Charlie Greene.”

“I’ll say hello.” She looks at Nicki, “can I not be cordial with my ex husband?”

“Not if your ex husband is Charlie Greene. Anyway I have some things I need to check up on, I’ll let Julie know to have a car ready for you to go shopping and your lunch date with Charlie Greene.” Each time she said his name she could feel herself get angrier.

Sidney paid Nicki no mind. While she totally understood Nicki’s contempt for her ex husband, she wanted to let the past be the past. She had every intention on moving forward. Besides, if she could forgive the man, she felt like Nicki could as well. A few years ago, Nicki arranged for her to do a two-hour interview on the Cecil Rogers show where she vilified her ex husband for the entire special and confirmed everyone’s belief that he was responsible for her downfall. It seems that wasn’t enough.

 

 

Sidney stood on the balcony and looked out at the Los Angeles skyline, she could hear Nicki come and stand in the doorway. She was fully aware of Nicki’s anger. Her actions tonight is what tabloids are made of, while she had grown accustomed to them reporting half-truths and speculations, tonight she had given them enough drama that they wouldn’t feel the need to fabricate anything. It seems living in the spotlight is simply a lifestyle she would never be 100% adjusted to, which says a lot considering at this point, she has lived majority of the life in the public eye.

“Have you lost your mind?”

Sidney kept her back turned towards her and took another pull of her cigarette. 

“What the hell am I working for?  This means nothing if I’m the only one that wants it.”

“Maybe you are the only one who wants this.” They both grew silent at that statement. Sidney was very sure of her god given talent, she wasn’t sure, however if this was the way in which she wanted to express those talents. She had accomplished more than she ever dreamed, even more than what was expected of her. Nicki was determined to return her to glory and it’s hard to disappoint someone when they have that much faith in you. Yet, somehow she felt that’s exactly what she going to do.  It’s not easy to have the world watching, simultaneously criticizing and praising. Nicki and everyone else worked very hard to protect her from the world. The real problem was; no one could protect her from herself.

In an attempt to not have a conversation she didn’t feel either of them was prepared to have, “Look, I’m not going to be disrespected by anyone, especially some child who’s never done shit.” Sidney continued.

“Sometimes you have to ignore the small things, the people who don’t matter.”

“I did for as long as I saw fit, then I reacted.  We don’t need to discuss this. I have a long day tomorrow. I should get some rest.”

“Exactly, so why don’t you tell Reginald to go home?”

“Nicki, are you my manager or my mother?”

Sometimes I’m both, she thought to herself before storming off. She makes sure she cuts her eyes at Reginald before exiting the room.

 

 

“I thought she would never leave.” Reginald said after joining her on the balcony.

“Oh. She means well.”

“If you say so.” To say the least, Reginald had grown skeptical of whether or not Nicki had Sidney’s best interest in mind.

A breeze of cold night air causes her to shiver.

“Keep me warm, man child.”

He laughs. “Wait, I’m a useless man-child.”

He wraps his arms around her. She allowed herself to be held and was comforted by his embrace for she knew her sense of comfort would be short-lived.

 

 

 

 

Earlier that night

 

 

Sidney was used to all eyes being on her. This particular night was no different. After an impromptu performance and her spectacular reception, Sidney was all smiles.

“That was amazing. I think I’m glad I brought you here.”

“Excuse me, did you say brought me here? I am a grown woman. This is my friend’s party.”

“Oh calm down, you know what I mean. “

Reginald made his way back over to the couch. He gave Sidney a kiss on the check.

“That was great.”

Nicki didn’t bother hiding her contempt for Reginald nor did she bother moving over so he could sit comfortably, even though there was ample room for her to do so.

Sidney waved her hand towards him.

“It’s not a big deal.”

“You know it was great.”

“You know what would be great, if you controlled your women. She looked right over at a woman who had been staring at her for the entire night and not in the usual adoring fashion in which she had come accustomed.

“Oh Stacy. That’s my girl, you know my friend. We’ve never.”

“Honey, you can save it. I don’t care who she is or what your relationship with her is; just keep her away from me.”

“Too late.” Nicki was the first to notice Stacy was making her way towards them.

“Reginald, can I talk to you?”

“I’m busy right now.”

“With her?” She points in Sidney’s direction.

“Oh no little girl.”

“Sidney please don’t get into a confrontation with this woman over this useless man-child.” Nicki knew her request would fall on deaf ears. Sidney wasn’t going to it lightly that that young girl had disrespected her. After they exchanged a few profanities, Charli had joined and it was obvious  that Reginald was going to stand there looking like a deer caught in headlights, Nicki had enough. She was getting Sidney out of there.

“Let’s go.” Nicki grabbed at Sidney’s arm.

“I’m not done with Ms. Thing over here.” Nicki motioned for her entourage and security to get them out of there.

 

Once they were out of the club, before getting into the car, Sidney talked with fans and signed autographs. It was amazing how her demeanor was able to change and she could play for the crowd. She was such the entertainer.

 

 

 

 

 

Nicki placed a handful of ice in the glass before pouring in the brandy with a shot of Kahlua. She looked over at her husband who was in the bed snoring. She took a hefty gulp of her drink before retrieving her pajamas from the wardrobe. She wouldn’t sleep well if she didn’t go over the itinerary once more. She hoped Julie would be up early and ready to work tomorrow. Come to think of it, she always worked hard; it was the matter of Nicki not liking her. She was convinced Sidney hired her because her perpetual perky nature wouldn’t cease to annoy her.

Instead of the alcohol having the calming effect she desired, it allowed her vividly she replay her and Sidney’s last conversation. Her anger from the club had dissipated. ‘Maybe you are the only one who wants this.’ Could she be serious? Nicki asked herself. That voice wasn’t something you throw away. That voice isn’t something you stop sharing with the world.

Nicki had been Sidney’s manager for nearly 20 years. She had been around for the rise and the disturbing fall of Sidney Dallas. A fall she tried unsuccessfully to prevent from happening. For years now managing her career had meant she spent her time doing damage control. A few years ago, she put the pieces back together. She got rid of Charlie Green from her life. Sidney was ‘sober’ with a new album. Millions watched her special with Cecil Rogers. The world would fall in love with Sidney Dallas again. Currently, she was on the brink of another comeback. There was a new album and a new movie in the works. Nicki knew she wouldn’t let Sidney’s self doubt alter her plan.

“I’m convinced God only gives great talent to lost souls. She doesn’t want it, but I do. I wanted to sing, I didn’t have the voice, I didn’t have look. It should have been me.” And with that, Nicki threw her glass against the wall and it shattered.

“What the hell?” Her husband sits up in the bed.

“I broke my glass. Go back to sleep.”

He looks around. “It broke against the wall?”

“I said it broke. Go back to sleep.” She walked passed him and into the bathroom and slammed the door. 

 

 

 

“Good afternoon, Nicki.”

“Hello Sidney.” She was relieved to see the room devoid of Reginald and his friends. However the room still smelled of their activities, mainly marijuana.

“Hey auntie, Charli says before giving her a quick peck on the cheek.

“Where are you going?” She asks as Charli gathers her purse and keys.

“A quick lunch with friends.”

“You know we have-

“A million things to do today. I’ll be back in time.”

“Has Tim come by?” Nicki asked Julie.

“Yes, the options are over there. Supposedly he didn’t bring the right shoes so he’s running back to his studio to get them”

“OK.” She turns her attention back to Sidney. Sidney was sitting in chair at the table, snapping her fingers to the music on the radio.

“Remember this Nicki?”

Nicki smiled briefly. “What are you drinking?”

“Soda water with lime.”

Nicki picks up the glass and takes a sip.

“Soda water?”

“You didn’t let me finish. It’s soda water with lime and gin.”

“It would be nice if you refrained from getting drunk today. You do have to perform tonight.”

“How long have I been doing this? I know what I need to do. And since when did one drink get me drunk?”

“I’m also worried about your voice. Its bad enough you smoke.”

“Nicki baby, you worry too much.”

“Sidney dear, you give me a reason to worry.”

“I’m quite sure you have to something to do besides harass me.”

“There sure is. I’ll be back. Julie, can I speak with you?”

Sidney ignored them as if she didn’t know their conversation would be about her.

 

“Can you please keep an eye on her?”

“I will Mrs. Dallas. She just wants me to pick up a few things for her. And I’ll spend the rest of time watching over her.”

“You do that.”

“Nicki, Sidney called from her room.

“Yes, Sidney.”

“Can you tell my brother I would like to speak with him?”

“OK.” She calls back to her. She looked back at Julie, “watch her like a hawk.”

 

 

“Where is she?” Nicki asked Julie when she returned to the room.

“She’s in the bathroom. Danni will be here in like 30 minutes to do her hair. And Eric will be here as well to do her makeup.”

They sat quietly together for a few moments. Julie flashed an awkward smile towards Nicki.

“Have you checked on her?”

“You want me to check on her while she’s in the bathroom?”

“Yes. Never mind, I’ll check on her.”

Nicki gets up from her chair and goes into the bathroom. Sidney was sitting on the toilet with a bloodied nose.

“You fucking bitch. I knew you would do this.”

Sidney  looked dazed and smiled.

“Nicki, you seem upset.”

Nicki stood there glaring at her.

“I’m just preparing for a busy day. I just want to relax.”

“You said you were quitting this time.

“I say that every time.” She smirked. Then she looked at her seriously, “I always think things are going to be different. I guess some things don’t change.”

The anger continued to rise. Nicki looked at the water running in the tub. The water was so hot, it started to steam.

“Are you too high to turn off the water?”

Sidney wiped at her nose. “You’re making a big deal out of nothing. Now can you get out of here so I can take a bath?” She dropped her robe. Where she reached the tub, Nicki  ran up to her and pushed her, her head hit the side of the tub. Sidney didn’t move. Nicki turned off the water.

She sits on the edge of the tub and holds her hand. She pats it softly. Her anger subsides.

“This is for the best. You don’t have to suffer anymore. I will take care of your legacy. I’ll take care of the family and Charli like I always do. I knew you would do this, you don’t want this but I do. It’s my time now” and with that, she let go of her hand.

Julie was making her way towards the bathroom when Nicki was leaving out. 

“How is she?”

“Oh, she’s fine. She’s getting ready to get into the tub. I told her to hurry up. She wants you to go the store now to pick up the few things she wanted. I need to get something too, so I’ll go with you.”

“Who’s going to stay with her?”

“Didn’t you hear me say she’s fine? We’ll only be gone a few minutes. She’s a big girl; I think she can manage 30 minutes while we’re away.”

Julie didn’t bother arguing with her. She wasn’t oblivious to the fact that Nicki did not like her.  She thought it was strange that she was so adamant about checking on her only a few minutes ago, now Nicki is acting like she’s the one being overbearing. 

.

 “How’s Sidney?” Bob, the security guy asked as they were leaving. She’s fine; she’s in the tub. Her hair and make up people will be here soon.

“OK.” He nodded.

 

 

 

Cecil Rogers was surprised by her last phone call. Nicki Dallas just asked her to do an exclusive interview with the Dallas family. She thought it was rather soon, but Nicki insisted that it’s what the family wanted to do, they needed to tell Sidney’s story respectfully. She understood that, Sidney Dallas name was run through the mud by most major media outlets. Cecil did feel like there needed to be a more balanced discussion of Sidney’s remarkable life. She realized even death didn’t buy you respect.

Her producers practically jumped out of their seats, “Can you imagine the ratings?” they exclaimed.

Cecil sat solemnly in her chair and forced a half smile.

Nicki knew Cecil had to be surprised by her phone call. She could hear it in her voice. Nicki knew it was important to strike while the iron was hot. Everyone wanted to know what happened to Sidney Dallas. After all, she is the only person who knows, not that she’s telling anyone the truth. The world had yet to get to know the Dallas family. It was about time that they did. Nicki Dallas would be a very important woman in the world.

 

Charli wasn’t as easy to influence as Nicki had anticipated. Upon telling her about the impending Cecil interview, she immediately said she didn’t want to do it. This annoyed Nicki considerably. She knew she had to work harder to convince Charli that the decisions she was making, her mother would approve. Nicki then knew that was the angle she would employ in convincing Charli to do whatever she wanted.
 

Before her death, Sidney was working towards getting Charli acclimated to the music industry. Like any mother, she wanted her child to follow her dreams, but she was weary of her being a part of the industry that in some ways destroyed her and also her ex husband. The music industry wasn’t for the faint of heart. Nevertheless, when it was obvious that Charli wasn’t changing her mind, she made it her mission to make sure Charli knew what she was getting into. Sidney also wanted her to know for the beginning of career, she would probably live in her mother’s shadow.

Nicki knew of Sidney’s plan and she was going to capitalize on this with Charli. When Charli came over for dinner one evening before the scheduled interview, she put her tactics into action.

“So Charli, Cecil is still very interested in doing an interview with the family.” She didn’t bother to mention she hadn’t told Cecil that Charli didn’t want to participate. Yet, she knew the interview probably wouldn’t happen if she couldn’t get Charli to commit. She opted to make Charli feel like she had the final say.

“Grandma isn’t doing it because she feels like it’s too soon. I agree with her.”

“You know one of the last things your mother was trying to do was prepare you for a career.”

“OK, but we’re not going on Cecil to talk about my career. We’re going to talk about my mother. She’s been dead a month and going on Cecil to promote my career seems wrong.”

“Charli, realistically speaking whenever you decide to officially tell the world you want to sing, they’re going to connect with your mother, what difference does it make if it’s now or later? The reason this interview is important is because we know how the media is trying to portray your mother. Yes, Sidney had her problems, but who doesn’t? People are only showcasing the bad when we know she was so much more than that. She had a beautiful spirit. She was a loving, generous, and caring woman. Her talent was unparalleled. Her faith in god was admirable. We know these things Charli, don’t you think we should share it with everyone else? Shouldn’t her family, the people who knew her best, tell the world how amazing she truly was? What is it about that that seems wrong?”

Charli grew silent. Nicki knew she had affected her. Charli got up to leave.

“Thanks for dinner, I have to go.” She looks at Nicki, “I’ll think about it.”

 

Nicki was up at 5am on the day of the Cecil Rogers interview. Cecil’s staff was at her house there promptly at 7:30 setting up cameras everywhere.

Charli had come over Nicki’s house the night before the Cecil interview, even though that didn’t prevent her from going back and forth on whether or not she would be participating. Right before Cecil arrived, Charli agreed to a few questions and nothing more. After Charli’s brief interview, Nicki and Cecil sat down to have their interview. The cameras were on her and the lights were shining in her face. Cecil was looking at her intently. Nicki knew it was Showtime.

Cecil looked at Nicki, “Charli seems to be holding up pretty well.”

“She’s holding up as well as anyone could expect. I’m here for her. I wanted her to move in here so I could keep a close eye on her. She said she would be fine at the house. I respect her wanting to have her independence. I still make sure everything is running smoothly.”

“She knows auntie is there for her.”

“Yes, she knows me and Greg are here.”

“So has she been talking to her father, Charlie Greene?”

“A little. He’s around sometimes. Well he’s not around me, but I hear he visited Charli.”

“In our interview, Sidney and I talked extensively about her and Charlie’s dysfunctional marriage. Do you know if Sidney was encouraging her to have a relationship with her father?”

“Charlie Greene was not a subject of our conversations, so I don’t know.”

“So tell us; what was Sidney was like? You know when she was home with her family?”

“Sidney was full of joy. She was very much so the life of the party. She wasn’t the diva people portrayed.” She paused. “Well, she was a diva.”

“I was going to say Sidney Dallas wasn’t a diva. She’s like the epitome of what a diva is in most of our minds.” Cecil laughs.

“Well what I mean is; she was still approachable. She had a way of making people feel welcomed and loved. She was such a kind soul.

 

After the break Cecil took the conversation in a different direction.

“So, you’re one of the only people that know what happened on the day of Sidney’s death. Tell us about that day.”

Nicki exhaled. She fought back emotion. Cecil assured her she could take her time.

“It was a typical day. She was getting ready for several events that day including a performance that night. We really hadn’t spoken that day.”

“Was that typical?”

“No, that part wasn’t typical. I usually speak with Sidney multiple times a day. On most days, I’m one of the first people she sees. She had been calling for me, but I hadn’t made it to her room. I was really busy that day. Julie, her assistant was with her all day. From what I hear, there was nothing abnormal about her behavior.”

“Was she doing drugs?”

“Oh no, Sidney was clean and sober as far as I know. She had too much going on and she wouldn’t be able to function high.”

“How big of an issue were drugs in the time leading to her death?”

“Honestly, they weren’t. She had really changed. Her focus was on her career and Charli. She knew she had a lot of work to do. She even stopped smoking to help her voice.”

Cecil smiles, “that voice.”

Nicki nods in agreement. “That voice. She had her ups and downs, but she could still sing. She’d still give any singer a run for their money.”

“So were you the one who discovered Sidney the day she died?”

“Well me and her assistant, Julie went to the store to get some last minute things for the party and performance that night. She had checked on her before we left. Any minute hair and make-up would be there. We were only gone a few minutes. As we were making our up on the elevator, an eerie feeling came over me. I knew something was wrong.” She paused.

Cecil assured her once again, that she could take her time.

“Before we could reach the room, I saw her hairdresser outside the room crying. I knew she was gone. I go inside to find Bob, the security guy trying to revive her. The paramedics were there soon after. Everything after that seems like a blur. I just feel like I should been there for her.”

“It’s no one’s fault, she grabs hold of Nicki’s hand.

 

 

 

“How would you know what mom would have wanted? They asked me to do it. Alone. You don’t know what the hell she wanted.” Nicki and Charli were battling again. This time a dispute arose because Charli had been invited to accept a lifetime achievement award on behalf of her mother and Nicki had insisted that she join Charli onstage. 

“Look here, you little ingrate, I’ve been taking care of your mother before you were alive.”

“You’ve wanted to be my mother before I was alive.” She mumbled under her breath.

 “What did you say to me?”

“Will yall calm down? It’s not that serious.’’ Greg usually remained silent when his wife was in action. However, he knew this was a situation he would have to mediate.

“Charli, you know your mother would want family on stage.”

“OK, so why don’t you join me on stage?”

He grew silent.

“I don’t want to talk about this anymore. I’m out of here.” Charli storms out of the house.

 

“Charli is still going through it all.” Greg tells his wife.

“You don’t have to tell me why she’s upset. I understand Greg, but just because she’s hurting doesn’t mean she gets to lash out at other people. She isn’t the only hurting or the only one who misses Sidney.”

“She’s young.”

“I know she’s a young woman without her mother. I want to protect her. She needs protection Greg. I promised Sidney I would look after her. We promised Sidney we would take care of Charli like she was our own.”

She looked at her husband with tears in her eyes. He hugged his wifely dutifully.

“I know babe. I’ll talk to Charli.”

He couldn’t see the smile spread across her face.

 

 

Nicki accomplished her goal of accepting the award with Charli.

 

 

 

 

Nicki had caught the attention of the larger than life talk show host, Regina Reynolds and she was featured in her segment on celebrity gossip, not that her entire show wasn’t based on gossip.

“So apparently Nicki Dallas, the former manager and sister in law of late singer, Sidney Dallas will be getting her own reality show. Nicki has been in the news lately with her interview will Cecil Rogers and her stunt at an award show. It seems this woman is craving the spotlight. I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s the one who leaked those photos of Sidney in her casket to cause controversy and gain headlines. Anyway, the show will feature her and the Dallas family. It will be about how they’re coping with life after Sidney and the management of her estate. Supposedly, it will also feature appearances from Sidney’s daughter, Charli. Ok folks; let’s get ready to watch this Nicki character. Is it me or does this seem a little creepy?

Her audience applauded in agreement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


© Copyright 2017 Arnetta Randall. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:

More Literary Fiction Short Stories

Booksie 2017-2018 Short Story Contest

Booksie Popular Content

Other Content by Arnetta Randall

My Sister's Keeper

Short Story / Literary Fiction

Popular Tags