When I met Scott, a relationship was the last thing on my mind. I wanted to be a star! Scott’s entrance into my life was only welcomed because we never lived in the same city and I had freedom to roam and be me. Sure, we took trips together and spent holidays together, but my career was at the forefront of my mind.
When I landed a major cosmetics campaign, Scott was the first to find out. He was
also the first to shoot the idea down. He thought I could do much better. Even
Papa was happy for me. I was ecstatic and there was nothing I would do to mess
up the chance. Enter ultimatum from Scott.
I couldn’t settle down. I was only twenty-four years old. Girls like me didn’t get chances like that so I had to capitalize on it. As the black face of Beauty Essentials Make Up and Skin Care, I traveled extensively to promote the brand. My face appeared on billboards, in magazines, on bus benches, everywhere in the United States, Canada and abroad.
My life was one big party filled with sex, alcohol, drugs; you name it, I had it. I had no limit. During the day I was the consummate professional. I showed up to castings and promotional appearances thirty minutes before call time. My personal life was a who’s who of professional sports and entertainment. Many of my college acquaintances had gone pro in football, basketball, and track and field so I was always on every party scene. Appearing in print had its advantages but the real money was in television and movies. I wanted so badly to break into the world of acting I would do anything and anyone to get there.
Scott would check on me every now and then, but we were strictly platonic friends. He
kept in touch with Papa and we made sure to spend at least one holiday per year together. I can remember one Christmas when I flew out to Miami to meet up with
Scott and Papa and had the privilege of meeting Scott’s then-girlfriend. It was on that day that I realized how deeply I loved Scott. Still, I let the fame monster get the best of me. I kept things cordial and checked in with Scott sporadically while chasing the dream.
At the start of the second year of my contract, while in New York filming a skin care commercial, I got the worse stomach ache of my life up to that point. I had only eaten a banana and a cup of yogurt for breakfast but something wasn’t agreeing with me. I had to be taken to the hospital because I had vomited on set for the better part of an hour off and on.
“Ms. Jacobs, how long have you known you were pregnant?” my agent, Christine asked tersely.
“Pregnant? There has to be a mistake. I always use condoms. I would never -”
“Ms. Jacobs, cut the dramatics. How soon can you get this situation taken care of?” Her dismissive tone induced more vomiting.
A pregnancy had thrown a wrench in my plans. As part of my contract, the agency made me sign an agreement that said I wouldn’t alter my hair, body, face, teeth, nothing without prior approval. I was immediately dropped when I refused to abort my unborn child.
At twenty-five all I knew was track and field, the entertainment industry and Scott. I had no idea who had fathered this child. There was no way it was Scott because he and I hadn’t slept together in a year. (He refused to have sex with a woman who was unwilling to marry him.)
He swallowed the hard pill of being there with me through Reagan’s birth. He signed her birth certificate and slowly built a family with me, an hour’s drive from Papa, in Miramar. Scott began teaching AFROTC classes at the local high school during the day. At night, he took Reagan off my hands while I exercised, went out with friends, or just slept. We prayed together, cooked together, traveled, existed perfectly until we didn’t anymore.
The whole family thing was cool for me for a while, but my wings were getting restless in Miami. I yearned for the freedom of my younger years. Flipping through Essence magazine one day, I saw a younger model replace me as the black face of the cosmetics company I had represented.
A spark was ignited in me and I immediately booked a flight to Los Angeles to meet with my old agent. Not only did she refuse to see me, but she also told me I should focus on being a mother.
On a whim I had lunch with Petal who had just finished her Doctorate Degree in
Elementary Education and was then working for the L.A. County School Board as a
“She’s right. Reagan should be your priority. You should know how blessed you are to be able to have babies.”
“It’s just a tough situation. I gave up everything to be a play-play wife?” I put my fork down and looked Petal in the eyes. “I love your cousin. I do. I just don’t know if I can be the wife he needs me to be. Don’t know if I want to.”
“Just try, Tawny. Try. For Reagan.”
And try, I did. I gave it a couple more years and both Scott and I decided to fold. On the eve of my twenty-ninth birthday, Scott proposed marriage.
“Scott. I can’t.”
Again, I rejected the man who had shown me more love than I’d ever shown myself. He willingly stepped in as the father of my child and loved her harder than I ever could. There was nothing he could have said to make me want to be married. I was hungry, thirsty for freedom. Scott assured me that he would always be there for Reagan, but could never give me his heart again. He pushed himself back into work and relocated to Arizona where he and a few of his Air Force buddies opened an airplane repair company.
A year had passed since then.
To be continued…
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