At eight-forty five at night, I sat in my office, twiddling my fingers. As I tried to fight from yawning, hoping not to run my eyeliner, my door opened. I looked up and in came an average height male with, dark silky hair that curled around his ear, wearing rectangular glasses. He was clad in relaxed Dockers and a white dress shirt under an olive suit jacket. He smiled kindly as he advanced into the room. Behind him was a petite woman of Asian descent, wearing round plastic frames herself with an ivory blouse, a blue tea-length skirt, and flats. She carried a messenger bag strapped across her small shoulder as she held a portfolio flap with Global Fusion inscribed in gold on the front.
Next to file into the room was a familiar face. A lengthy figure…six feet and four inches. A handsome man with ebony skin and eyes that affect you. He wore a pewter, v-neck sweater displaying his muscular upper-frame and black fitted dress pants. He was on a call, but smiled that brilliant smile when our eyes met. He immediately gaited over to me with a newspaper clutched under his arm. As I stood to greet him, I noticed a fourth person behind him; a man, walking through the door with a crate. I ushered them to available seats in my small office. I wasn’t expecting an army; only Azmir, but I understood he is rarely alone when out.
He eventually hung up and explained the troop. Apparently, the woman was his Global Fusions executive assistant. They’d just come from a proposal meeting with Richard Roberson about a company they’re liquidating here on the East Coast. The first man to enter the room was a marketing executive for Mauve and is in charge of the photo shoot Azmir had when he left my place that night. And the last guy carrying the crate was Azmir’s intern from UCLA.
I offered them beverages, feeling bad that I didn’t have Mauve to serve Azmir, who opted for water, and then took my seat to get started. It was late, so I decided to click on the recorder right away to begin. He had a shoot soon and I needed sleep. I figured I could transpose then edit our chat the following morning.
Love: So many questions on the agenda today—
Wait…why are you sitting on the floor? We can move the pillows to create more space.
Azmir: There’s no room. You need more space in here, Love. I can’t have my staff sitting on the floor.
Love: Oh…well, yeah…I guess. I hope you’re comfortable down there.
Azmir: I’ve spent enough time on the couch to be comfortable here on the floor. Don’t worry about me; Im’ma big boy.
You can sit over here once you put down that crate. [I’m talking to the intern]
Guys, because of the formatting of this interview, I have to narrate everything so that readers know what’s going on. They won’t have video, obviously, or audio. So, forgive me for speaking everything out loud until we end the interview.
But here’s my first question: What’s up with crate, A.D.?
Azmir: That’s Mauve. You said in your email you gave away the last one I sent, so I brought a few more bottles with me.
Love: Oh, wow! Thanks! Yeah…I kind of re-gifted it last week to an author during an interview.
Azmir: You’re interviewing, Love? Wow!
Love: Hey! That’s not funny! I have to promote this project. I don’t have big money behind me. So, I hustle! Hard!
Azmir: I ain’t mad, Love. Do your thing.
Love: I know you’re teasing. But on to my second question: Where’s Brett?
Azmir: Brett is no longer my executive assistant.
Azmir: Nah. Brett’s responsibility went beyond the bounds of his job description as an intern because he was that good. When he graduated a while back, it was time for him to move on to an official role. He had to put that MBA to use. So, he’s now COO of ADJ Enterprise, my parent company that serves as an umbrella for all of my ventures. He now oversees all projects I’m engaged in.
Love: Dang! That’s a heavy position…
Azmir: Yeah, it is. It’s also what he’d been doing for some time. I didn’t want to entrust the weight of those responsibilities to another intern or assistant. Remember, that’s how Brett started out with me. And in the time he’d spent with me, my brand expanded immensely. I didn’t want to have to trust and train someone else. So, I have executive assistants for each leg of my businesses, and Brett oversees them all as well the core of my business.
Love: So, he’s the man…
Azmir: Indeed. That he is.
Love: Okay…fair enough. I had a few questions I wanted to ask, but then I invited L.I.P.’ers to submit questions, and they flooded a post with them. So, I’ll cut mine down to hurry and get to theirs.
First, do you know what L.I.P.’ers are, because Rayna didn’t. I don’t think Rayna has read all four books either.
I know…it’s funny! Who has books written about them and not even read them?
Azmir: My wife.
Love: Yes! I laughed, too, last week after the interview was over! She stopped reading at some point in Love UnExpected.
I see your assistant is laughing, too!
Have you read the books, Azmir?
Azmir: I’ve read each book, Love. I also keep up with you on social sites when I can. It’s nice to see how your following has grown. You’re like the Little Engine that Could.
Love: Hahaha… Funny.
Azmir: No, seriously. I’m impressed. Folks are taking to your talent. I’ve even seen some of the reviews. Great job.
Love: You know…I often wonder who they’re fans of: me, you or Rayna. I’d say Rayna ranks last. I may come in second.
[The room laughs]
I know…funny. But true!
Azmir: Yeah, my girl has frustrated lots of people. Now they know how I felt while chasing her. It’s all good though. I got love for her, and that’s all that matters.
Love: Awwwww… Too cute. Are you trying to score points with your wife here?
Love: Yeah, you should be cracking up! You’re shameless.
No. Seriously, Azmir, these L.I.P.’ers love you. They’d die if they saw you lounging here on my carpet with your long legs stretched across the floor. You look great, by the way.
Azmir: Well, I love them back. I see they support you, and that makes them friends of mine.
You’re laughing, Love. I’m serious. Hi, L.I.P.’ers!
And thanks for the compliment, Love. And I love your new cut. Very edgy for you…and the color.
Love: Nice! You’re too sweet. The L.I.P.’ers will appreciate that.
I appreciate the compliment. I needed a change after being holed up in a room with you guys for months, finishing the series. I needed a do over button, so I started with my hair, and then I moved on to the new project.
Azmir: So, Rayna said you may not be doing the follow up?
Love: It’s not on my radar. The big guy threw it out there, but—
Azmir: But what?
Love: I have to move on to establish an identity as a writer. If I don’t, I’m no more than the writing style of L.I.P. And in all honesty, you and Rayna are all-consuming. I can’t have two deadlines on my 2014 calendar like that. If I do, I’ll never get a personal life.
I’m not laughing here.
Azmir: It’s only funny because Rayna told me you got smashed while away a few weeks ago.
Love: No. I’ve been smashing. There’s a difference. And I can’t believe she told you that! We are soooo not going to discuss my personal life right now.
I don’t see what’s so funny. I’m serious. This is embarrassing, Azmir! At least Rayna and I did our catching up offline!
Azmir: So, we can talk about my sex life—get four books out of it— and you turn red at the mention of yours? Get the hell outta here!
Azmir: Don’t catch the giggling fit. Hold up… With who?
Love: Azmir Divine Jacobs, your colleagues are here! I am not about to discuss my sex life in front of strangers. Let’s just say that I need intimacy to be able to articulate it. I will not be one of those authors who put their fantasies in their work. I put mine into action.
Oh, my god… He is going to be so mad. Azmir, don’t laugh!
Azmir: Indeed. Okay…
One question though: Did he teach you how to service him?
[We broke out into a long laughing spell here. It took a while to be able to speak and continue our conversation]
Love: Okay. On to the interview. My only question…or topic is about how I encountered Jackson. Now that L.I.P. is done, I have to push L.I.T.
Azmir: Remind me again of what L.I.T. stands for…
Love: Love’s Inconvenient Truth.
Azmir: Got it. Oh, nice, Love.
Don’t laugh. No need to be bashful. I like it. Your name up in errr’thang.
Don’t hide behind your iPad! Speaking of following you: I read your responses to readers and crack the hell up.
Azmir: Because you come off as so humble. Love, you know your ass is as big-headed as they come.
Love: I am not arrogant, Azmir! Don’t confuse my confidence with arrogance. I just know my strengths! And I’m sincerely humble when readers reach out because this is one of the few arenas that I don’t have that extra air of confidence. I’m still improving on my writing. I’m just good at selecting interesting people to explore and address their issues. Now, that I have on lock!
Azmir: Touché, Love. Touché.
Love: Now, you, L.I.P.’ers believe to be arrogant in spite of how appealing they find you.
Azmir: I’ll take that. I did a lot of that while pursuing Rayna. I wanted her to believe I was the shit. I guess it worked.
Love: I love the way you just tossed your hand in the air.
Okay…let’s get started with these questions or we’ll be here all night. I know you have to go.
By the way, when are you returning home? And when was the last time you’ve seen your wife? Has it been since I’ve seen her?
Azmir: What time does our flight leave, Chad?
Chad the intern: Uhhhh… Seven in the morning, sir.
Azmir: So, in a few hours, I’ll hop on a plan to my family for Memorial Day weekend.
And I “see” her every day when I’m away. We Facetime daily. The last time I’ve had my paws on her—as she says—was over the weekend. She met me up in Seattle last Friday. We were there until Sunday.
Love: Okay… Fair enough.
Here are the questions from L.I.P.’ers—by the way, I have a L.I.P.’er friend out in L.A. to visit the next time I come out. I call her Triple S.
Azmir: Oh, yeah? Cool. Now you have your family out there, me and Rayna, and this friend. You’re doing it big, Love.
Love: Yeah…making friends. Speaking of which, can you share how Jackson came to my couch?
Azmir: That was all Rayna. After meeting him that night at the marina, she kept in touch with him. I don’t know… I think him being with Evelyn really rubbed her the wrong way. It didn’t help that he was so preoccupied that night. So, they hit it off, and the next thing I knew, she told me Jax was a client of yours.
Love: Question number one: It seemed like your father played a major role in your life before his death. What qualities are remembered about [him]?
Azmir: Pops was a good man. He was the traditional head of the family, a protector. He’d always have a lecture for me on life. We did things together as a family, and just the two of us. He was a servant of the mosque. We worked around there on weekends when he wasn’t on duty. He was respected by people in the community. I honestly don’t have any bad memories of him. He was Dad. I was a child and couldn’t identify anything other than those traits.
Love: Do you feel you possess any of those qualities?
Azmir: Good one. I hope to. I wake up every day aspiring to be a good person. I try to be fair with everyone I encounter. I would hope people who interact with me speak kindly of me when I’m not around.
Love: Rayna’s tendency to run in relationships almost drove you crazy, how does it feel to know you have all of her completely?
Azmir: It feels right. I knew she belonged to me for a long time. I wanted to make her mine and happy. I don’t think I’m doing too bang up of a job at it; she’s still riding with me.
Love: And there’s that arrogant smile Rayna would refer to as coochie-creaming. Okay…next question.
You were open to the possibilities of children pretty early on in the relationship, was that your way of securing a lifetime position in her life?
Azmir: Shit! Good question. I’ll keep it one hundred. It was. When she got pregnant that first time, I knew for a minute and just sat on my ass, thinking because of it, I had her in my court. As we all know, I was in for a battle.
Love: Your answers are succinct, unlike Rayna’s.
Azmir: I get right to the point. No need to elaborate the truth. It’s truth. Facts.
Love: How did you not allow the difference in religion to become an issue in your relationship?
Azmir: That’s because although I was raised in the Muslin faith, I didn’t practice over the years. When my Moms disappeared, my focus went to the streets. I didn’t build anymore…lost touch with principles. Now, as an adult, I can explore my beliefs independent of parental influence.
Love: What type of mother is Rayna? (She told us to ask you)
Azmir: Oh, did she? That sounds like something she’d do, not having the balls to toot her own horn.
Rayna’s mean on her mother game. She’s very dedicated to my kids. I don’t have to worry about anything concerning them because she’s got every base covered. I never doubted she’d be a good mother, but I didn’t know she’d be an excellent one. Her focus is locked on them…their schooling/childcare, sports, arts, play dates. All that…she handles it all.
Love: What does it feel like to look at your children and know they were created with hardcore love?
Azmir: It’s crazy. I don’t really recall life before them. That’s probably why I’m so familiar with the books, Love. Because when I read them, I’m reminded of my world before my babies. When I see my kids, I see Rayna…and shit, it’s a great feeling.
Love: What values are being taught to your children?
Azmir: Pretty much the basics: honesty, being generous (they ‘re at the stage of learning how to share), love your family, respect friends and those around you. Rayna is the teacher and I’m pretty much the enforcer. She has them with her in church regularly. I attend when I’m home, which I try to do often. I want to be aware of what my children consume.
Love: How important was it for you to have a personal relationship with Rayna’s brother?
Azmir: It was of the utmost importance. After she confessed to having this brother who she was so committed to, I wanted to meet him right away. It took a lot for me to wait until she knew I’d learned of the whole story. It was hard for me to sit on that one.
Love: Why didn’t you give Rayna a title [of girlfriend] to secure her?
Azmir: I didn’t think it was important what I called her so long as I called her, if you know what I mean. What I felt was more important was what I showed her. And I thought my actions were communicating a clear message, which was that I was committed to her.
Love: How, as a man, did you learn to become so attuned to a woman?
Azmir: It does read as such, doesn’t it? I don’t think I’m as good as I appear on paper. With Rayna, it was instinctive. As I said in the last book, she became an obsession very early on in our…sexual affairs. I just took my time exploring her. That, and trial and error. To her it likely felt mastery. It was simple determination. I guess perception is reality to some.
Love: Are you still troubled by the miscarriage?
Azmir: I’ve let it go. Can’t hang on to that when I’ve been blessed with my babies that are here.
Love: How has being married changed your life?
Azmir: Ummmm…I can say it feels more purposeful. I didn’t realize how lonely I was until I had a wife and then, that quickly, two babies to come home to at night. I’m enjoying it.
Love: Will we see you in another series?
Azmir: I believe we’ll be in the next project…right, Love?
Love: Yes. A smidgen.
Azmir: There it is…
Love: I would like to ask Mr. Jacobs [to describe his feelings when the kids were born].
Stick to the twins.
Azmir: Ah, man… I remember them coming out all messy with blood and slimy shit all over them, wailing like crazy. When I heard their cries, it was like my entire life was vacuumed into one moment. All types of shit was made clear; times I fucked up, where I made the wrong turns, stupid shit I got away with, and two things I did right: married a great woman and made these two beautiful creatures. Rayna said I didn’t speak for like two days. I don’t know… I was dazed.
Love: I would like to know if Kid’s death is still creating a void in Azmir’s life.
Azmir: I wouldn’t say it created a void. It just hurt. Kid and I were business associates first. That’s how we met. It just so happened that he was loyal and good at what he brought to our organization. You can’t find real soldiers like that—in a legal lifestyle or otherwise. After having someone on your team riding like that, you grow to care for them. They turn into family, you know? And…
That’s just something that fucks you up. But I’m in a better place. His family is eating well. They always will.
Love: Why weren’t [the] remaining close members of the Klan included in the house party with Jax, etc? Does Azmir’s exit from the “life” also include his exit from their friendship?
Azmir: Hmmmm… My friendships have always been segmented. They don’t all mix. Lenny and I were tight with Quincy (Jax’s dad). We kind of know Jax in the same vein, so to speak. So, when I invited him, I knew Lenny would want to hang out, too.
As far as my goons, they all know how to touch me if they need to. For years before my exit, I didn’t run in the same social circles as those in The Klan. I outgrew that block shit. But I’ve been known to do legitimate job placement, if you know what I mean.
Love: What specifically do you mean by that phrase?
Azmir: If someone needs a legal job, they know I try to assist as best I can. I fit them on my payroll where I feel they’re a good fit.
Love: Have your travels slowed down now that you’re a father?
Azmir: I’ve worked out a more sound and reasonable travel schedule with Richard for Global Fusion. I’ve been fortunate because he enjoys traveling. His home-front doesn’t mind. As far as Mauve, I try to schedule as much as I can around my family’s activities. When it’s too much, she knows how to arrange for a flight to come check me. She always has an open invitation.
Love: Do you regret the amount of time you are away from your family?
Azmir: I don’t relish it all. I try to make the best out of every business opportunity presented. My wife’s flexibility makes it possible. She makes our family very mobile.
Love: Last one…
In the beginning of the relationship, Rayna did not express her dislike of how much you traveled because she had no title. Now that she’s your wife, is she more vocal about it or simply has accepted it in your opinion?
Azmir: Both. She’s made it known when I’ve been needed at home. Again, she’s also been very understanding and flexible with my workload. She makes it work. If she wasn’t good with it, it wouldn’t be possible; I’d have to switch up my hustle.
Love: Well, that’s all from the L.I.P.’ers.
I have a good one to close this chat.
Azmir: Hit me.
Love: Does Rayna dance for you at all…like sensually?
Love: That’s it? That’s your answer?
Azmir: Well, Love, you no longer counsel us. The project is over. I’m no longer obligated to share my personal affairs with you. You don’t share your goodies; I keep mine to myself.
Love: You let me reveal your true identity and I’ll share my goodies.
Azmir: Ha! Well played.
It was a pleasure, Love.