Sanctuary : A Noire Immortals Story by Alexandria House


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Temple

“It’s your girl, Temple, and you know what time it is. I’m playing the songs that make you wanna grab someone and hold them close. It’s the Quiet Storm, kings and queens, so if you have any requests, you know what to do. Call me at 555-555-8869 or slide in my DMs. I’m @YaGurlTemple on IG. To start us off, here’s some aural gold from Quincy Jones and company: ‘The Secret Garden.’”

I leaned back in my chair as the song began to play, my eyes on the computer screen in front of me. My mind wasn’t in the room with me, not really. It was scattered, full of unorganized thoughts of the recent events of my life.

Blinking, I shifted my focus to my phone, tapping my way to my IG inbox in search of a song request that was already on the night’s playlist because I didn’t have the wherewithal to do more than that. I scrolled and scrolled until a particular message caught my attention.

BabaTunde117: Can you play “Love of My Life” by Brian McKnight?

Me: Sure. Who should I dedicate it to?

BabaTunde117: Whoever. How about you dedicate it to yourself?

Well, I wasn’t doing that. These men were something else, trying to flirt with a voice. Then another thought hit me, and I frowned a little as I robotically cued the song up, even though it wasn’t on the night’s playlist, my mind veering into the past to my prom night.

The dance.

We danced to this song…

The special dance, the look in his eyes, the pounding of my heart, the knowing. The knowing, or rather, believing that he was the love of my life. The fierce love I held in my heart for him that threatened to take my breath away, but that was almost twenty years ago, and now I knew better.

Fuck love.

And more importantly, fuck him.

Grabbing my water bottle, I took a swig and grunted, “Yeah, definitely fuck him.”

All these years and several other relationships for me later, the shit still hurt. So much for time healing all wounds.

A couple more songs, including the request, played along with some commercials, and I was back on the mic. “Hey, I wanna thank everyone who’s up listening to me right now. That last song was an IG request, and here’s another one for you—Gerald Levert’s ‘School Me.’”

That one wasn’t actually a request. It was just a song I personally wanted to hear. I was the DJ, after all.

Through a sigh, I let my eyes peruse the booth inside the studio. I was the only occupant in the fifth-floor office that housed WHTS, known locally as Hits 100.1. The on-call engineer was at my fingertips if I needed him, just a phone call away, but other than that, I was it, and I liked it this way. I liked the solitude.

My phone’s screen lit up with a notification, undoubtedly another request.

BabaTunde117: Hey, thanks for playing my song. Can I make another request?

He didn’t wait for me to reply before he sent another message: “Wishing on a Star” by Rose Royce.

I stared at the song title, my forehead and eyebrows in a tangle. Was this…nah, it couldn’t be, could it? It would be utterly ridiculous for him to be contacting me now. Ridiculous and crazy. Lots of people liked that song, not just him.

I tore my eyes away from the message and stared at the songs on the night’s playlist. That song wasn’t listed, so I wasn’t going to play it.

BabaTunde117: You there?

As The Emotions’ “Don’t Ask My Neighbor” began to play, I sent a reply in the form of a name: Sam?

Then I fixed my eyes on my phone’s screen, awaiting confirmation or denial.

Nothing.

For several minutes, there was no response, and when BabaTunde117 did supply one, it was in the form of a single word that caused goosebumps to appear on my arms—Sanctuary.





Sampson

Sitting in the back of the limo as I awaited her reply with my heart jumping in my chest, I wasn’t sure how I expected her to react to the knowledge that it was me contacting her. I just…shit, I missed her. I’d been missing her for a long, long time, and honestly, I needed her. I’d just been picked up from the airport, and the first thing I did once I was settled in my seat was have the driver switch the radio to WHTS. The second thing I did was contact her.

YaGurlTemple: Where are you?

I bit down on my bottom lip and glanced up at the driver before returning my attention to the phone and typing out: Here. In Brownhaven.

YaGurlTemple: Why?

Me: You. You’re why. I’d like to see you.